In the year 2346, man called EM-Khway is a charismatic celebrity warlord who directly controls large portions of what people of the 20th century called Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. His domain of direct rule is non-contiguous, and these large regions of direct rule are limited to the sparsely populated rural areas in which he is viewed with quasi-religious status. However, his influence and fame are not limited to the regions directly ruled by his followers. He travels widely, and has business interests and contacts in every major population or production center throughout the region. Thus, while he doesn’t have any direct role in or formal relations with the governments running the Free City of Bankok or the La Nan Collective (North Western Thailand) he does operate freely in those regions and those governments are often forced to cooperate or be complacent with the activities of his organization. Moreover, while infamous and feared, he is very popular in the region and through out the world. His good looks, dedication to para-military fashion, and flamboyantly violent behavior make him a delightful object for the news streams. The feeds of the bi-annual martial tournament, which he hosts and competes in, have a world-wide following. His very public and regular visits to Bankok, Hanoi or Dhaka always top the celebrity information feeds. His personal news stream, which he updates constantly, is viewed by millions. Despite this, or because of it, many consider his smuggling and extortion operations criminal. The Eurasian Alliance and the Pacific Rim Collation both have placed a large bounty on EM-Khway, with the Eurasian Alliance wanting him dead and the PRC demanding he be captured alive.
2308: The Princes in the Tower: A ten year old Khway and his twin Peha are serving as rallying point for the local militias and gangs in South East Asia. The two boys fit a local prophecy about warrior children. The PRC believes that if these boys stay put they will lead to unity among the locales. The PCs are contracted to kidnap the boys and bring them to the PRC authorities. The PRC doesn’t want the boys to be killed: they’d be martyrs. The PCs have to enter rural Thailand, fight or sneak there way past the militias hold the boys and then get them out alive. The surprise will be the boys. They are hyper-intelligent, confident, stealthy, charismatic, manipulative and ultimately uncooperative. They will try every trick, physical and psychological to foil the PC’s efforts.
2323: The Wages of Fears: The city and Arcologies Yangsoon are on the verge of collapse. It is all the PRC can do to keep the peace. Khway and his allies have effectively besieged the city by extracting huge “tolls” from every transport trying to pass through. The PCs are contracted by the PRC to travel to La Nan (North West Thailand), purchase three carry-all loads (truck loads, mech load, cargo plane loads) of rice and get it into Yangsoon (Southern Burma) at all costs. The PCs can muscle or stealth there way past geographic barriers and hundreds of irregular fighters.
3325-2345: Something gets lost in the areas West of the Mekong River and the PC need to go retrieve it. They will either need to work with EM-Khway to get it or fight him to keep it.
2339,2341,2343,2345 or 2347: The Kapan Tournament. One or more of the PCs is invited to the Kapan tournament. International high stakes martial art tournament hosted by infamous criminal-celebrity with a huge bounty on his head. Nuff said.
Information for Players
A timeline in anecdotes and factoids: EM-Khway’s international fame is largely due to stories and clips that have circulated through the news feeds. As an internationally infamous personality and criminal, most people will know of the following facts, factoids or rumors regarding EM-Khway’s life. If perchance a person isn’t familiar with EM-Khway a simple Cognet search will reveal all of the following facts. They presented here in chronological order.
1) Born a twin and a god: Khway and his twin brother Peha first gained international news when a PRC intelligence report was leaked. The PRC report claimed that the two boys, were located* in a rural village in the wilds between and Bankok and Yangoon. The locales were treating the boys as the reincarnations of the Htoo brother, famous revolutionary leaders from the petroleum era. An image accompanied the report that showed the two boys seated side by side in a gaudy gold-painted chairs at the head of shabby looking banquet hall. The small identical looking boys were between the ages of 8-10, smoking tobacco cigars and each wearing military uniform: one red-orange and one cobalt blue.
2) Black Mucus Membranes: Also detailed in the PRC report was the fact that Khway and his brother’s mucus membranes are all coal black. His lips, gums, tounge and the inside of his mouth are all coal black. This also makes it look like he is wearing eye-liner.
3) Uses Tobacco: The chief viral property of the Khway and Peha report leaked from the PRC was the anachronistic use of Tobacco by the two young boys.
4) The Murder of Li Park: Col. Li Park was a PRC mecha pilot and war hero. When the rule of law begin to collapse in Yangoon, Col. Li was sent in to ensure the protection of PRC intellectual property and personal. As part of her assignment, Col. Li elected to meet with the leaders of the various factions controlling in the area outside Yangoon. One of those meetings was with Khway and Peha. Col. Li never returned. Col. Li’s flight mecha was found standing at attention outside of the derelict shopping mall were the meeting took place. Col. Li’s remain were found inside the mall. An autopsy revealed that she was killed by single blow to the chest that collapsed her ribs and stopped his heart. Khway has never discussed the incident, but has publicly acknowledged killing Li. The PRC placed a bounty on his head that day.
5) Back Handing the Tank and Saving a Baby Goat: After the PRC completely pulled out of the Malay peninsula there was a period of chaos which included an ill-fated attempt by the Eurasian Alliance to impose direct military rule over the region. Video streams of the conflicts were popular viewing all over the world. One live stream was transmitting a battle between a lightly armed but vicious group of boom-hawkers** and a lance of Eurasian armor. The two sides were engaging each on the ancient Number 4 highway, which runs along Mekong river. The camera drone, embedded with the boom-hawkers, focused on a solitary figure walking across rice paddy field next to highway. The figure is an wearing impeccability clean red military fatigues with blue piping, a blue and red cape, blue boots and a red cap with a blue band. With his cape flowing behind him and completely oblivious to the cross fire, the garishly dress figure strode out the field and onto the road. One of the advancing tanks moved into the figures path and the figure swung out with back of his hand struck the tank. A slow motion viewing of the streams reveals a crackle of blue para-psychic energy, before the struck tank flies backward through the air and lands upside down on another tank. The man who struck the tanks then calmly lights a cigar before crossing the road. In the ditch on the far side of the road the man in the red and blue outfit lifted up a baby goat that been hiding during the battle. With the goat under one arm the man walks back the way he came. That man was EM-Khway.
6) Only Wears Red and Blue Para-Military Uniform: EM-Khway has many different designs of uniforms he wears, from old style 19th century dress uniforms to camouflage fatigues, but they always have exactly two colors in them and use the exact same shades of orangish-red and cobalt blue.
7) Live Streamed his invasion of PRC controlled Malaysia to visit his ailing mother: It is not known how the young Khway got to Burma/Thailand, but it was no secret that was he born in Malaysia***. When his mother became ill, he made it very clear via Cognet streams that was he returning to pay his respects to his mother (who was in here 90s). He assembled a force of over one thousand men and took a flotilla of armed hydrofoils down into PRC territory. He live streamed the entire effort. His force landed without trouble, over powered local defenses nearly without a shot and travelled to Singapore Extension where his mother lived. A popular video feed starts with EM-Khway kneeling by the corpse of his recently departed mother while there are excited shouts outside. Saying a few words to her softly, Khway rises, dusts off his knees, puts on a cobalt blue beret and then walks to the door of the pre-fabricated house as the sounds of shouting increase. Outside of his mother’s house are hundreds of his men in the neat courtyard of the community pointing hand held weapons at the night sky. The camera pans up to the sky, and four PRC flight mecha are hovering just above the roofs of the neighboring houses. The feed ends just after Khway leaps hundreds of feet into the air to place para-psychicly powered fist into the chest of one mecha as the sounds of gun fire and the men screams of men in pain erupts from every direction. It was originally reported that Khway died in that battle, but he again surfaced ten days later just outside Bankok. Though he lost most or all of the men he brought with him, he proceeded to upload smug and haughty monologs that mocked the PRC military, and questioned their bravery and honor. And almost everyone in the world has seen the image of a single man with flaming blue fist punching a PCR mecha in the chest.
*The phrasing of the original leaked reported suggested that the PRC had been looking for these two boys specifically. The PRC has never confirmed or denied any connection to the report.
**Boom-hawkers refers to lightly armed group of mercenaries that are generally hired to enter regions and disrupt commerce and employ asymetircal warfare tactics. The use of the term also suggests soldiers without high tech body modifications or equipment.
*** The term EM is Thai slang for people from the Malaysian archipelago. In the CE, the Malay use the term EM as all-purpose phoneme in conversation. On the islands the sound Em might mean hello, it might be a general interrogative, it might mean stop or it might mean look out depending on the tone of voice used. The Malay use it so frequently in conversation that the people in the region will refer to Malay natives as Ems or Ms.
The man called EM-Khway is the product of a Pacific Rim Coalition super solider program being undertaken on an island just south of Bankok Khway and Peha were the first two prototypes and what was intended to be a line infiltration and espionage units. The longsighted plan of the program’s director, Dr. Prem Tinonda, was to combine genetically engineered abilities with a directed developmental program. The line infiltrators were to born as infants and then raised to be insurgents and spies. Tinonda was not able to follow through on those plans. Field test of Tinonda’s first supersolider line, group 50-I, were not going well. The soldiers were proving to be unmanageable. Furthermore, the PRC was quickly loosing controls on the Malay Peninsula. The political implosion of Bankok’s PRC friendly government happened with disarming speed, and Tinonda was ordered to liquidate his entire lab and flee to Singapore.
Saved from Liquidation:
However, a Dr. Lak Soon, the embryologist epigeneticist who had been responsible for the prenatal development of Khway and Peha took the small infants. Rather then rejoining the rest of her team, she escaped separately in the chaos and smuggled the boys to her parent’s village just a hundred mile north of Singapore. Lak Soon’s parents raised the boys as their own.
Raised to be Revolutionaries:
Soon’s family were ethnic Karens, an ethno-religious sect that has existed for centuries in southeast asia. In the late 20th and early 21st the Karen’s had been led by twin boys who were believed to be demi-gods or prophets. The Soons are direct descendants of the Htoo boys that had led the Karens. Lak’s parents told the boys that they were direct decedents of the Htoo and told the boys they were destined to return to the mainland and reclaim their ancestral land.
Ascending to the Throne:
At the age of 10 the boys were smuggled onto the mainland and presented to the locales as reincarnation of the Htoo brothers. Khway and Peha were used as tools to unite the local warlords. But being as they were genetically engineered to be charmingly, thoughtful, intelligent, persuasive and ruthless the boys were soon running things in their own right. At the age of 16 the boys acquired the arcano tech nanonites (see below) that grant them there super human martial strength and abilities and they began to personally lead their men into battle. Under direct leadership of the Khway and Peha the regional fighter were organized into the Paatow Brigade. Leading this Brigade the he twins began taking control of various over-land trade routes between the Mekong River and the Ayeyarwady River.
The Killing of Colonel Li.
Twenty five years after the fall of Bangkok the last PRC friendly government west of the Mekong river, Yangoon, was on the verge of collapse. With the Second Indian Ocean War in full swing, the only way to get supplies into Yangoon was by airlift or overland. The twins, smelling opportunity, moved into the area around Yangoon and consolidated their control over the land routes. The twins began to extort higher and higher prices from the PRC in exchange for allowing supplies through. Colonel Li Park was the military commander of Yangsoon and was herself a product of Tinoda’s supersoldier project. Li was part of group 50-I. Overtime, the PRC high command had changed its view of the 50-Is. While not great foot-soldiers or grunts, the 50-Is did make good commanders and independent operatives. Colonel Li had deduced the origins of Khway and Peha. Not a woman prone to doubt or fear, Li believed that she could use this information about their shared origins to help negotiate with the twins. When Li suggested the twins were not the direct natural descendants of the Htoo, Peha struck Li in the chest and killed her instantly.
The “Death” of Peha.
Directly after the killing of Colonel Li there was a concerted push to find and kill the twins. One of the leaders of this push was another member of group 50-I named Li Chun. Li Chun worked for the PRC as an independent asset. She gathered intelligence and carried out assassinations. At the time the PRC still had an effective intelligence network in the area and they were able to locate current base of the twin operation. Li Chun personally led a squad of Nipponese special-forces that was tasked with capturing the twins alive during the general attack on the base. The battle paused when Peha and Li Chun, an accomplished para-psychic fighter herself, engaged in personal combat. The duel end with Li Chun leaving Peha skull fractured. Khway managed to extract his severally wounded brother, but Peha remains in a vegetative coma to this day.
The Cult of EM-Khway
Despite the PRC’s apparent victory over Khway’s men, Yangsoon was still lost and with Yangsoon gone fighting for control of the region was now costing more than it produced. The PRC’s moral obligation to the region was largely lost after the “tragedy” of the Hanoi Archo, and to the honor conscious ranks of the PRC military the region also became associated with a great personal shame. When PRC finally pulled out of the Malay peninsula entirely the effects of the power vacuum were immediate and dramatic. Other interests from all over the hemphisphere began to jockey for control.
It was during this time that current persona of EM-Khway was born. He took to only wearing the two specific shade of red and blue: red for him and blue for Peha. News streams and video feed of his exploits became popular all over the world. He began to refer to his soldiers as the Brigade of God and he claimed to be God’s chosen leader. The members of Paatow Brigade routinely flood the Cognet with loving and fanatical rants about EM-Khway’s greatness. Each solider willing received an agonizer implant and would daily subject themselves to excruciating pain as a show of loyalty. Even the former PRC citizens that didn’t see him as a holy man came to prefer him as the local alternative to the rule of ‘foreign’ powers.
A cult of personality grew up around EM-Khway. He came to personify haughty nonchalance and a casual disregard for personal danger. His style became infamous, he was twice voted the worst dressed man in the world, and there was an uptick in the number of tobacco cigar parlors around the world. His physical abilities became legendary. Once the region stabilized (relatively) EM-Khway started to host the tournament he calls Kapan. This biannual tournament, is held somewhere on the Malay peninsula-the exact location changes from year to year. The tournament, which last three months, invites twelve fighters from around the world to battle in a single elimination bracket for the chance to face EM-Khway himself. There have been four tournaments thus far, two ended with EM-Khway yielding and declaring the challenger the winner, and two ended with EM-Khway killing the challenger. Both the winners now work for EM-Khway. The fighters are generally para-psychics or cyborgs and the feeds of the tournament are incredibly popular.
Assets and Abilities
The Paatow Brigade and Business Interests
EM-Khway’s military strength is difficult to gage because he serves as something of an overlord to other locale warlords. Thus, he could conceivable call upon the military strength of his allies if needed. But the Paatow Brigade serves as his personal army and is ‘described as 4,000 men that eat rice in front EM-Khway every day’. They are a fanatical but a lightly armed unit. Their vehicles tend to be lightly modified civilian craft, they have no heavy weapons and typically do not wear battle armor. The members of the unit carry a wide variety of hand held weapons that are often chosen based on person preference rather than tactical concerns. The brigade does have a relatively high number of para-psychic fighting in their ranks. However, at the end the day the God Brigade is an amateur military force that would not stand against any of the superpowers frontline units. Indeed, despite some dramatic actions that went viral, the God Brigade has lost every full-scale engagement it had with the PRC or the Eurasian Alliance. It is a testament to EM-Khway’s abilities as a leader that he has been able to consistently rebuild.
The prime economic engine of EM-Khway’s organization is as middlemen, smugglers and extortionists. EM-Khway’s territory sits at the start of the Silk Road and he gets at least a part of everything that crosses the Mekong or Ayeyarwady Rivers. Plus, all the rice that leaves La Nan does so under EM-Khway’s ‘protection’. But he does have control over several other moneymaking interests. He controls several mines, several agricultural regions, has a stake in the some of the vice industries in Bankok and he earns money from his tournament feeds and celebrity endorsements.
It is commonly believed that EM-Khway is para-psychic. This is not true. He and Peha refused infusion Arcano driven nano-technology that directly channels into the River of Souls. As the nano machines channel that suffering, they also extract Arcano engery. The nanonites can use that energy to grant EM-Khway several specific physical abilities. Those physical abilities are
-Momentum strike (by touching an object he can imbue it with a great deal of momentum and thus send tanks flying or send mecha crashing to the earth.)
-Resistance to extreme temperatures
-Momentum Stabilization Field (this protect EM-Khway from injury from a fall and high force impacts)
-Electro shock (he deliver large or small elector shock to whatever he touches)
The nano machines in Khway’s body draw the suffering from specialized agonizers. These agonizers, which Khway manufactures in his own polyforge, transmit the suffering via sub-dimensional signal. Once the nano machines trade that suffering for energy they can either store the energy or use it immediately. The sub-dimensional signal has a very short range and the agonizer has to be within a few hundred yards of Khway. The people wearing the specialized agonizer can activate them voluntarily. The Paatow Brigade does this regularly at rallies that serve both to motivate the troops and recharge Khway’s batteries. Khway cause also activate the agonizers remotely with his own implants. He does this during battles or tournaments to help ensure that he will win the fight.
As a martial artist, Khway is disciplined, but is not a great fighter. He wins fights because of the immense power the nano machines give him and because he stays surrounded by members of the Paatow Brigade. With just a thought he can subject the members of Brigade to intense pain and use that suffering to defeat his opponents.
Khway is genetically designed be intelligent, intuitive, charismatic and perceptive. He has a photographic memory with perfect recall and has a talent for languages. His personality was engineered to be ambitious, confidant, gregarious, meticulous, ruthless, unsympathetic and focused. He is incapable of lust or forming strong personal relationships, and while he is physically capable of having sex he has no sex drive.
Khway was also designed to be difficult to track and detect by modern surveillance systems. All the modification were designed with standard tracking and detection methods in mind. Thus, sensors and forensic tracking device can locate Khway, but they need to be specifically calibrated to look for him.
His skin secrets and his bodily fluids contain a potent and stable DNase enzyme. Thus, while most people are constantly leaving DNA on surfaces they touch, Khway’s touch actually cleans surfaces of free DNA. His cells also express higher levels of a zymgenic DNase (higher than standard humans) that becomes activated when cells go through necrosis or apoptosis. Thus, even when getting a cell sample it is difficult to get genetic material from Khway. The bacterial flora that populates his skin and other tissue was also costumed designed. The bacteria and Khway’s own glands alternate their metabolic profile randomly to change Khway’s scent throughout the day. The darkness of mucus membrane is the result of a specialized glycoprotein that his cells produce that makes his tissue refractory to standard EM scans. His lung tissue and other epithelial tissue is also more resistant to stress damage that can be caused by fine particle exposure, radiation or temperature stress. His physiology is designed to function with an irregular heartbeat and an undulating metabolism, that most sensor programs would not recognize as human.
Khway has a presence that is felt by everyone who interacts with him. He always speaks in calm level manner, often with a smile or simple joke, but it’s a high-energy placidity. Another word for it may be intensity. Part of this is the way he pairs nonchalance with deliberate actions. For example, he has stopped a fight to light a cigar or adjusting his hat before killing somebody. These actions always suggest that he is not that interested in what he is doing. But to Khway’s persona these actions indicate that he has no doubt of his own success.
The key to Khway’s personality is that he believes his ancestors and his brother Peha are always watching him. Thus in every moment of the day he is on stage. And there is no separation in Khway’s mind between who he is, who he wants to be and who he should be. He believes it is his divine destiny to restore control of his ancestral lands to his people. He believes he is doing a wonderful job and that his ancestors are pleased with everything he has done. Thus, when he is reincarnated again he will inherit the paradise that he has created. To his mind he is his own savior.
Because Khway cannot form strong personal attachments to others he has formed a strong emotional bond to his ancestors and to animals. His connection and affection for Peha and his ancestors was because he sees Peha and his ancestors as extensions of himself. His affection for animals, he has many pets, is similar. He is incapable of loving a person, but he can find an animal cute. Animals will love him near unconditionally, which strokes his ego, and he can imbue the animals personality traits.