A solo game really needs some sort of random event generator, which SWN itself doesn’t really have, not being intended for that sort of play. However, while Deep Black 19 is in the investigative phase of its current scenario, I can use the GM aids from the Polychrome worldbook.
While the team is approaching the orbital jumpgate, with a flight plan declaring them to be private security consultants checking the place out for a later visit by a senior corporate official, HQ contacts them on a secure channel. Identification handshakes complete, they move to the meat of the call.
“We’re sending you an image from the security cameras onsite now. This is Javed Cole, suspected maltech smuggler. He’s the only shady character facial recognition and gait analysis picked out of visitors in the right time period, so he’s our prime suspect. Unless you can recover the key immediately, capture him for interrogation.” Snakebite mutes the shuttle pickups from the pilot’s console.
“That means we need him alive, Die-Die,” he says, before unmuting the line.
“Understood. Capture for interrogation. Out.” Snakebite glances back over his shoulder at the other three. “Suggestions?”
To move things forward, one of the party should have a useful contact on the station. I roll 1d3 to decide which, and Die-Die wins. I now roll a few dice on tables in the NPC Resource Sheet on p. 27 of Polychrome to flesh out the NPC, and learn that Die-Die’s contact is a woman called Leila Patel, who values money, has heavy scarring, can be found in a church and is really working for a loved one who needs her help – this last is not initially known by the PCs. Leila knows Die-Die from “council files on outworlders”. That needs a bit of editing, so…
“I know someone,” says Die-Die. “Ex-Marine. She works in the station chapel, knows a lot of the corridor people. They might have seen something.”
“No such thing as an ex-Marine,” Snow Dog comments from under his hat, currently pulled down over his eyes as he slouches in his seat.
“Urrah,” Die-Die affirms.
The jumpgate would have a large orbital station attached, I suppose, and it would be cheaper to reuse that for the spaceport than build a new one. I imagine that like an airport, it has a multi-denominational chapel for travellers, and also like most large modern airports has a number of homeless people living there. Leila’s ex-Marine status explains both the scarring and her acquaintance with Die-Die.
Shuttle docked, and flashing their fake weapons permits at security, the team makes its way to the chapel and talks to Leila.
“Tanya!” Leila mumbles around her scars as she clasps hands with Die-Die. “Long time. These guys with you?”
“Yeah. Listen, we’re on a clock, mind if I get straight to it?”
“Of course. What do you need?”
“We’re looking for Javed Cole. You know where he is?”
A good opportunity to introduce Leila’s loved one.
“Maybe. What do you want with him?”
“We think he might have something that doesn’t belong to him. We’d like it back.”
“Wouldn’t be the first thing. Look, if I tell you where he might be, will you do something for me?”
“If I can.”
“My kid brother runs with Cole’s gang. You know how it is in my neighbourhood, you wind up either in a gang or the Marines, right? Jamal chose the wrong one. Get him out of there alive, will you?”
“Like I say, if I can. How would I recognise him?”
Leila digs into a shirt pocket and pulls out a picture.
“This is him last year. Keep it; you bring him back, I won’t need the picture.”
I select another Gateway place at random for Javed’s current whereabouts, and get Ancient Cache.
“The word is Cole lives in a pre-Scream villas in the hills just north of Silverline. You might try there.”
“Thanks. We will. Take care, huh?” Leila nods.
“Don’t bunch up,” she says as they turn and leave.
Next: Into the villa…