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Comments: 7
Ideas: 0
Rating: 4
Condition: Normal
ID: 7849


May 2, 2014, 12:38 pm

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Burly Bill's Beautiful Beverages


In a time when synth-brewing and artificial concoctions are the norm, Burly Bill's Beautiful Beverages stands out amongst the gleaming storefronts with its dark oak frames around stained glass windows.

This location is for a Science Fiction setting with human augmentation technology. It can easily be made to fit the world of 2050 or 2500, with some minor accommodations. Good settings would be the Deus Ex Universe or most cyberpunk works.

Burly Bill's Beautiful Beverages

After crossing the door with its prominently displayed "NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES" sign, the noise and sounds of the streets outside die down to a quite murmur, and the nose is assaulted with the enveloping aroma of dark ale and authentic beeswax on well worn wood. In addition, the unmistakeable smell of pipe smoking is often mixed in, as Burly Bill continues to defy the local health regulation on particulate matters in enclosed spaces. That said, don't try to light one of those newfangled electronic cigarettes or you'll quickly find your ass on the pavement outside.

The owner more than lives up to his nickname of Burly Bill. Bill is a bear of a man almost seven feet tall and as wide as two draft horses side by side, his face dominated by the curling bush of his bright ginger beard that flows all the way down to his ample and generous paunch. Generous and jovial of character, bill often gets compared to the mythical Santa Claus, and no doubt in his later years when his hairs turn white, he will make the perfect incarnation of Mr Kringle.

Burly Bill sells only traditionally brewed beers and ales, along with a slew of freeze-distilled liquors hard to find anywhere else. The focus is on the drink, and on re-discovering traditional tastes. Aficionados travel across entire continents to get to Burly Bill's. In fact, once a year, experts, brewers and connoisseurs gather for the brewing competition held there, the gold and crimson first place ribbon being one of the most sought after honours in the field.

Many other events are held at Burly Bill's throughout the year, and it isn't unusual to see philosophy discussion groups, reader's clubs, board gamers or Roleplayers enjoy themselves loudly on the carved tables. On occasions, Burly Bill himself will join in, often with most entertaining results. (Ask any regular about the dragon testicle incident).

More than meets the eyes

Burly Bill's seems at first glance simply a good old fashioned pub in which to enjoy a great drink with some delicious and filling food, but the coming and goings hide something significantly more sinister. Bill is in fact the patron and head of the dangerous Humanity First terrorist network. Along with micro-brews and casks of Ale, weapons and information are regularly delivered and distributed at Burly Bill's.

The activities of network operatives are hidden behind the unsuspecting coming and goings of genuine customers. While the normal patron appreciate the noise-insulated private rooms for loud gatherings, they seem much more sinister when one realises that more than one stain on the wooden floor was caused by spilt human blood during an interrogation. The maze of entrances and exits to the old building also helps the network members come an go without arising suspicion. With over three quarters of the building hidden underground, it's also difficult to realise the scale of activities.

Rumours are that some underground passages lead directly into the waste disposal and transportation tunnels of the city, although none but the highest ranking members of Humanity First know the true extent of the underground system.

Humanity First

The Humanity First Action Group grew shortly after the development of human augmentation technology. While not opposed to technology itself, they see any technological modifications of the human body with contempt. In particular, neural interfaces are loathed and reviled above all, and throughout their history Humanity First has been responsible for hate crimes against modified humans. They don't seem to have a problem with passive body modifications, and tattoos, piercings and scarifications are in fact more common amongst the group than in the general population.

Being such an old network, the group has seen many cycles of growth and decay, with various proportion of militancy for each cycle. This latest revival has been particularly virulent and dangerous, and has attracted the attention of global and interplanetary authorities for a string of bombings on augmentation clinics and several high profile assassinations, including Bernard Lemahieu, CEO of the largest augmentation manufacturer TransMeta Corporation.

Their adherence to techno-luddism for all their underground activities has so far restricted their reach, but has made them particularly difficult to root out.

Their network is composed exclusively of personal connections, and all messages are passed via trusted couriers, never being committed to digital form, thus being free from the usual surveillance apparatus used to clamp down on other terrorist groups.

While outwardly, electronic devices of any kind are strictly forbidden inside Burly Bill's, the suite of sophisticated counter-espionage and counter-surveillance technology active behind the oak panelling would rival most embassies. If the place ever came under suspicion, any signal intelligence gathering would return nothing but noise, while most devices would simply be fried by the powerful jammers.

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Comments ( 7 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Longspeak
May 2, 2014, 19:57
I like it. It's a bit on the short side, but it builds a nice picture in my head. I'd like to know more about Humanity First.
Voted Cheka Man
May 2, 2014, 20:34
A well-made submission.
Voted Scrasamax
May 5, 2014, 0:25
Feels like two submissions welded together here, the first half being Burly Bills, and the second half being the Humanity First AC. The two feel like oil and water, and I have trouble getting them to mix. I can appreciate the two separate halves, and I like the first half, an anachronism sitting in the middle of a shiny metal future, with wood tables. I can see the biggest crimes being committed here being the trade of contraband goods, aka honest to god tobacco products, rather than the serums peddled for the eCigs, and the presence of small batch and hand crafted beers in a setting where you could very easily have 99% of all of one product being produced by a monopoly. We have plenty to choose from, Bud, Bud Lite, Bud Black Crown, Bud Select, Bud Amber Wheat, Bud Special Batch, etc.

The second half I would need to see more developed, more explained, because as it sits, I don't know. I have a hard time reconciling the SCA Green Dragon Inn Burly Bill with a racist/bigot cyber terrorist luddite. Personally I would make a split into two characters, such as with Adolf and Alois Hitler. One was a tyrant and a genocidal maniac, and the other was his half brother who ran a bar/restaurant for the SS. Burly Bill could be the genial anachronism embracing the idealistic view of the past, with hand poured stouts and hand rolled cigars, while Bastard Bill seethes with anti-metahuman hostility and resentment, but the bond between brothers keeps the place going, with Burly overlooking, or covering what Bastard is doing, to keep him out of trouble as long as he can, and partially agreeing with some of the things Bastard believes, especially the luddite anti-modding, anti-cybernetic things.
May 5, 2014, 12:18

I love the suggestion of the two brothers. The relationship between the two could be a wonderful source of drama, tension and pathos. The PCs would have to make morally ambiguous decisions when dealing with Bill, knowing full well his intentions are essentially good and that he acts out of fraternal love. It could make for some wonderful storytelling and roleplaying.

The submission feels somewhat incomplete because it originally grew out of a scroll submission, but I didn't want to leave it as "Old fashioned pub that hides terrorist network fighting transhumanism". It was late at night so I ended up going overboard and writing a sub for it instead.

That said, I think the juxtaposition of "Bill as a nice guy" and "Bill who blows up clinics" is both realistic and interesting.

If we're talking of Hitler, there are several reports of him playing fondly with baby Helga Goebbels, or of being uncommonly attached to his dog Blondi and her puppies. Being a loving, caring family man does not stop someone from being a militant bigot. Casually murdering people as part of their role as an organised crime enforcer does not stop someone from being respectful, compassionate and caring towards their parents. A soldier can enjoy shooting "some guy in a turban" as part of his tour of afghanistan and then return home to patiently teach his son to read and make love to his wife. Your best friend at work and occasional drinking buddy could be beating his wife or molesting his children. Humanity is more complex that we make out, and while our fiction tends to use a lot of black and white, the real world is built more from a palette of grey, which is why I like the dissonant image of Burly Bill running a terror campaign.

Voted Kassy
May 5, 2014, 15:23

An interesting submission. Well presented.
Voted valadaar
May 22, 2014, 10:10
I like two-faced organizations like this and agree with the bio-polar nature of some people. Some folks are very good at compartmentalization of behaviour.
Voted axlerowes
April 6, 2018, 20:36
i was just reminded of how challenging it is write shadowrun, or cyberpunk adventures because of the depth and complexity of the setting, you need these kind off the shelf locations...physical details, a character and subplot....a great addition to any gamer's codex

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