While the characters are on Gwydion (C442535-9), they are contacted by Symon & Associates, a legal firm noted for its expertise in handling tort law cases. Tylon Symon is a tall, thin man (as are most of the natives on Gwydion due its low gravity) well into his middle age. He greets the characters in his office, offering refreshments before settling down to business. He wears fine, though painfully conservative business attire.
Tylon’s firm is managing the estate of Achilon Zeres, who passed away earlier in the year and left the entirety of his considerable personal wealth to his favorite niece, Selfina Lysaie. “Aside from being a client,” says Tylon, “Achilon was a close personal friend. He named me as the executor of his will, and I fully intend to see it carried out in the manner he intended.”
The complication in the matter of the will is that Selfina is not currently on Gwydion. In the year prior to Achilon’s death, Selfina became a member of a religious cult headed by a leader known only as The Hierophant. The cult requires its members to sell off all of their material possessions, with the money going to cult’s coffers. “The Hierophant lives an extravagant life of luxury in his compound on Wadanga,” says Tylon, “while his followers are virtual slaves, laboring for his benefit alone.”
“I will not allow Achilon’s riches to benefit the cult,” he says. “That money is meant to provide for Selfina for the rest of her life. That is why I wish to hire you to bring her back to Gwydion. You will have to find a way to infiltrate The Hierophant’s compound, find Selina and get her off-world before the cult’s enforcers can stop you. I realize this is a high-risk venture, so I am prepared to offer you a total of one-hundred thousand credits plus your expenses to do the job. I will also represent you in any legal proceedings that may come from your actions, pro bono.”
Achilon Zeres made his money by expertly managing water and mineral rights of lands he bought in his youth. He also owned or had a share in many of the companies exploiting those rights. If the characters need cargo as a cover story for their trip to Wadanga (C438131-8), Tylon can arrange legitimate cargo contracts and goods from these outfits.
Tylon will provide a detailed file on Selfina, giving the characters many means of identifying her. Tylon also provides a file on The Hierophant and his cult, along with orbital photos of his compound on Wadanga. The compound houses nearly a thousand people, creating the potential for massive collateral damage should the characters try a direct approach. Tylon will stress the need to limit liabilities to both themselves and his legal firm in the operation, favoring any plan that emphasizes stealth over strength.
1. Selfina is a prisoner. Selfina was specifically recruited by The Hierophant so he could loot her legacy. Selfina has since found out the religious leader orchestrated her uncle’s death, but was caught when she attempted to escape. She is being held prisoner in the compound and must be rescued by means of force. The referee will need to create maps and determine the level of opposition — off-world mercenaries — The Hierophant has hired.
2. Selfina is a true believer. Selfina truly believes in The Hierophant and his teachings and has found peace and purpose in his “care.” She is not only unwilling to leave, she will actively fight against any attempt to “liberate” her. In essence, the characters will have to kidnap her to get her off-world.
3. The Hierophant is a Zhodani agent. The Hierophant is actually an agent of the Zhodani government testing the effectiveness of a new psionic amplifier that is supposed to permanently affect the minds of its victims. The characters will discover this as they infiltrate the compound and attempt to rescue Selfina, risking falling under the influence of the “religious leader” themselves.
4. The Hierophant’s cult is under the influence of an alien artifact. The Hierophant discovered the artifact while he was on Wadanga a few years ago – a psionic information device containing the history of a now-extinct agrarian society that lived on Wadanga in the distant past. The Hierophant saw this as a religious vision and blueprint for the perfect society. The cult members exposed to this device are similarly affected. Only the device’s destruction will free the cult members from their visions.
5. Tylon is working an angle. Tylon wants to inherit the Zeres legacy for himself, which will happen if Selfina dies. The information about the cult in his files will leave out key elements of the cult’s defenses and disposition, plus fail to mention that the security forces are ordered to kill anyone attempting to escape the compound. Tylon would inherit the Zeres legacy upon Selfina’s death, of course.
6. Cloak & Dagger. The whole story is a lie. Selfina is an Imperial agent and Tylon is her handler. Selfina’s mission was to find and dispatch the Zhodani agent posing as The Hierophant. The cult compound is actually a base to train Imperial infiltrators in the arts of sabotage and misinformation. Selfina was captured and is being interrogated by the Zhodani operatives at the base. The characters are distraction for the primary extraction team, and aren’t expected to get out of this one alive…