Patron: Noble, Agent
Required Equipment: Grav Vehicle or Small Craft
Location: (Foreven 1416) Ile Danse A56A756-B Ri Wa 404 Na
“It’s the mother of all heists,” Marco smiles, looking at the PCs with a mischievous grin. “Thirteen-and-a-half million and the thanks of the Countess of Jewell; don’t tell me you’re not interested.”
Back during the 5th Frontier War, Marco explains, Zhodani marines occupied Jewell and stole what is famously known as the Joconde artifact (named after the starship that found her). It is no less than the actual body of what some scholars believe was once a member of the race of beings known as the Ancients. The body itself appears to be a normal Droyne female, a member of the drone caste, who it is believed died during the “final war” after her ship was destroyed. Being hundreds of thousands of years old, she has been perfectly preserved by the vacuum of space and was maintained in a vacuum chamber prior to her unlawful appropriation from the Museum of Fine Arts and Antiquities at Jewell.
The Joconde artifact was on loan from the estate of Helena Stavelot, the Countess of Jewell, and as such was insured by Lloyds of Lunion. However, Lloyds refused to honor the insurance policy (worth MCr 13.5!), claiming that the theft was an act of war. In order to retain the museum’s business, Lloyds made a good faith effort to buy back the artifact from the Zhodani Consulate, but the Consulate refused to sell, explaining that such artifacts “belong to the ages” and thus cannot be possessed by any individual but rather must be held in trust by a collective body, such as the Zhodani Consulate, which represents the interests of civilization itself. Thus, not only did the Zhodani steal the artifact, but they, after the fact, stated that the Imperial system of government is illegitimate and fit only for barbarians. Needless to say, the Imperium was displeased.
Now the Joconde artifact is going on tour outside of Zhodani space for the first time. Among its first stops will be the Floating Gardens of Ile Danse (Foreven 1416). Somehow, Marco got word of where the artifact will be, when it will be there, and he even has a good idea of what the security arrangements will be thanks to the help of some clairvoyants who are in his employee. What he doesn’t have is a team of thugs who can (a) get in, (b) get out, and most importantly, get the Joconde artifact somewhere in between the aforementioned (a) and (b). That, of course, is where the PCs come in, if they choose to take on what may well be the most dangerous if patriotic job of their criminal careers.
The Floating Gardens are a series of artificial islands that are made to look real, but which are outfitted with grav-modules so that they can literally rise out of the water and thus get out-of-the-way of tropical storms. Marco’s idea is that the PCs should book a room during a time when a hurricane is predicted, then destroy the grav-module during the hurricane, so while the island is descending into the storm, they can take advantage of the confusion and panic to re-appropriate the Joconde artifact and thus make their escape.
1. Unless the PCs are wearing psi-shields, a Zhodani security agent catches a whiff of “something’s not right” as they’re doing their reconnaissance of the showroom and decides to put them under surveillance. After this, the PCs will notice that they’re being constantly shadowed by an assortment of swarthy-looking weirdos.
2. There’s another group that wants to get the artifact, and both they and the PCs sort of “bump into each other” during their initial reconnaissance. Neither one will initially know what to make of the other, until one of the PCs recognizes a member of the other group from a prison stint he or she did at point in the past.
3. Everything is going great until a wing of Zhodani fighters show up to blast the PCs’ getaway craft out of the sky.
4. All is as it seems, except for one minor detail: the artifact’s a fake. As for where the real Joconde artifact is, God only knows, but when Lloyds examines it, they will determine that it’s a clever imitation and will refuse payment. The museum will reluctantly concur.
5. All is as it seems, except that Marco is working with the Imperial Secret Service, and they don’t want any loose ends (it would be an embarrassment for them to be discovered contracting out jobs to lowly criminal types like the PCs). Hence, the PCs have to be flushed, but that’s a whole other adventure.
6. All of the above (and have a nice day).