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SRM01-04: The Gambler
An opportunity for a payday! Your fixer lets you know that a client is looking for a datasteal in a previously scouted location. Get in, get the paydata, and get out, all without leaving a trace or a trail of destruction. Know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.

Part One: The Gambler [188KB]
Part Two: Player Handouts [340KB]
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SRM01-04: The Gambler
Introductory fiction by Rich Osterhout

Thunder shook the room and vibrated all the bones in Don Kukalakee's body. He could hardly contain the rising levels of adrenaline as the stampede headed straight for him. He stood riveted in place, unable to dodge out of harm's way. But it was nothing to fear - the horses, driven by the rainbow clad diminutive humanoid forms on their backs, rushed past him and continued on around the turn. Don's perspective drew back to allow him to view the rest of the race as his simfeed delivered all the sights, sounds, and smells of the racetrack in faraway Saratoga.

When the race ended, Don could only unplug the simfeed from his datajack with a sense of despair - another "sure thing" he thought - another "sure thing" that he'd just bet close to his entire paycheck on, only to have it fall behind in the last few seconds of the race to come in fourth. He almost cried to himself as he viewed the results of the race and the payoffs being displayed across the gambling parlor's main screens.

Dr. Donald Kukalakee knew he had a gambling problem, but he just couldn't rid himself of it. To him, it was more exciting than combat (which was just something else he could wager on the outcome of) or any other physical activity he'd tried. He would bet on almost everything. His employers at Griffin Biotechnology knew this, and tried to help him as best as they could. Just the fact that he had the problem prevented him from rising too far in the corporation, as he was considered a security risk because of his "ailment." He had already been passed over for promotion twice, and now he had to endure the likes of Dr. Josario.

Don knew deep down inside that he knew much more about the brain and cybernetic interface design than Renee, and that it should be him leading the team that worked so closely with Dr. Chontel. He quickly forgot about the horses as he left the establishment - he would have to find a way to remove Josario and take her place.

A contented sigh escaped from Fredericks' lips as he savored the rich flavor of the brandy, its fragrant aroma wafting up from the crystal tumbler in his hand. There was nothing he liked better than being right about something, especially when it followed after months of careful planning and taking a few calculated risks. Yet all those risks had paid off. Dr. Fredericks was the president of Paladin Biomedical, and one of his recent "projects" has involved an increased interest in Griffin Biotechnologies, an upstart firm that had recently received some sizeable investments from companies such as DocWagon Seattle and Ares Macrotechnology. This intrigued Fredericks, and he immediately started researching what Griffin could be developing that could attract the attention of such heavy hitters. His instincts told him to keep tabs on Griffin, and that's what has taken place. He even hired mercenaries - those they call shadowrunners - to scope out their new facility in Everett and find out everything they could, in case future incursions would become necessary.

All that homework paid off. He took another sip of the brown liquid and let it burn his throat on the way down, smiling inwardly at his luck. Other agents of his had been poking around Griffin, trying to discover what the company was working on. Fredericks knew that the weakest part of any organization was the people, and Griffin was no different. It took a few weeks, but after canvassing a few nearby bars, one of his agents finally befriended Don Kukalakee. It turned out that Don liked to gamble - an opening that Fredericks could take advantage of.

It wasn't long until Kukalakee owed money, a lot of money - money that Fredericks' agent was only too ready to give to Don, in return for a little information, of course. After a few weeks, Don was a bought man - and yet he didn't seem to mind. It seemed that he had high aspirations and few morals, something that Fredericks could work with. Mr. Kukalakee finally approached his newfound friends with an offer. In exchange for a little financial compensation, Don would pass along an opportunity for his benefactors to learn about Griffin's latest cash cow - Dr. Indira Chontel and even more important, access to her research files. His intent is to pass along the security codes and access badge for Renee Josario, his boss, implicating her in any fallout that may occur from the "liberation" of the research data. It was, as the saying goes, a deal that Fredericks couldn't refuse.

Fredericks thought of this hand that he'd been dealt as he put the crystal tumbler down on his desk. He was just like Kukalakee, but of course gambled on a bigger scale. He had opened with the shadowrun to evaluate Griffin's new facility in case an opportunity arose, and then he filled his inside straight with Don, the perfect blend of greed, a gambling addiction, a little ambition, and questionable morals. His only risk now was to hope that it was not a setup, and that any operations could not be traced back to him and Paladin. It was time once again to turn to the shadows. He moved across to his wall safe and took out the large packet of data from the previous operations. He then called a "specialist" on his staff that would procure the mercenaries needed to penetrate Griffin's labs and extract the research datafiles.

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