Blackjack's People #155
Monkey Business
By Blackjack [Blackjack's Shadowrun Page: www.BlackjackSR.com] [blackjack@blackjacksr.com] [@sr_blackjack]

Posted: 2019-08-30

Maxim Denholm

Archetype: Elf Primate Dealer

Reserved and a bit paranoid, Maxim looks like he just stepped off the cover of GQ, a trait he uses to, among other things, lure willing women to his island estate and mansion. The island itself, while a mere 2 kilometers square, is almost completely covered with primate habitat buildings where Maximís cash cows are bred and cared for. While Maxim does care for the animals well while in his possession, anybody who buys one (generally by auction in a large showroom in the mansion) can do whatever they want with the creature once itís off the island. The harvested corpse of a primate will occasionally wash up on shore, proving that their destination isnít exactly the city zoo. With billions to be made the in market of primate parts, itís not surprising that around 75% of the purchases are made with no intention of keeping the animal alive.

While originally a sort of hands off leader, Maximís acquisition of a borderline (if not full) AI system (referred to simply as ĎApeí) to manage his resources allows him to take almost no part of the operation of his primate empire. The system tracks everything from the weight and overall health of the animals (as reported by Hawke) to auction times, guest invites and even the general security of the island. With no real meat security, the island is patrolled by drones operated by the central system. The system runs almost flawlessly, but has grown a bit curious as to the end result of the primate transactions. It has seen, through cameras, the corpses and, should it add 2 and 2 together, the outcome could be catastrophic (or, actually, completely neutral) for Maximís operation. The operation itself is known globally as Primate Partners.

Zillah

Archetype: Human Habitat Specialist

In charge of constructing and maintaining the primate habitats, Zillah is both a studied Primatologist [Yes, thatís a real word, I checked] and an artist and the habitats she has created are both functional and beautiful. Outside of the mansion, the entire estate is like a grand zoo with a vast array of beautifully constructed terraces, paths, and spacious habitats. Despite all of the brilliance of her creation, Zillah still does not have much of a connection with the primates themselves. She calls them by their number (as does Maxim) instead of any designated nickname, and views them all as a source of data for creating even better habitats. Better habitats make better primates, which bring in more money. Itís all a matter of economics to her and therefore she doesnít really care that a majority of the beasts will be slaughtered for parts.

Sable

Archetype: Elf Accountant

Manager of the financial side of the operations before Ape took over, Sable is now in an unstable relationship with Maxim wherein theyíre both allowed to screw around, but which mainly results in Maxim screwing around while Sable drinks and drugs herself into oblivion. During one of her drunken forays back on the mainland, Sable was approached by an animal rights group and is now pondering whether accepting the 50 million they offered for all of Maximís sales data. Itís a hell of a risk, considering sheíd be up against an AI with a borderline glitch forming that could either aid or destroy Sableís efforts.

Hawke

Archetype: Ork Primate Specialist

The actual caretaker of the animals, Hawke runs an extremely tight ship and tolerates absolutely no abuse to the animals, as evident when he caught an underling slapping a chimp and forced him to swim to the next nearest island. Hawke also works (reluctantly) with Ape to make sure food shipments are ordered and that the exhausting amount of data Hawke has to gather is properly factored into Apeís calculations. Hawke also has a seeming innate ability to communicate with the animals (probably some kind of adept power he doesnít know about) and in the 10 years Hawke has been on the job there hasnít been a single incident of the animals killing a caretaker or even one another. Hawk is well aware that most of the animals donít even survive a day after a sale, a feeling that crushed him until he had an advanced cerebral filter installed that filtered out focused anxieties or memories, in this case the final leg of the primateís trip. Once out of his possession, the system kicks in and renders all remorse moot. The system was actually funded by Maxim because he saw Hawke falling apart and quite frankly didnít want to lose such a good caretaker.

Thorn

Archetype: Troll Dock Worker

Having accepted that heís really nothing more than a meaty drone, Thorn generally whistles a happy tune as he moves the sold primates to their crates and officially transferring their possession to the buyer. They crates are still spacious, a feature that many buyers hate because they donít care if the animal was shoved inside a piece of Tupperware. Thorn also comes in handy when there is some kind of disagreement at the time of transfer, and in addition to being armed with a crowbar, he has tablet access to the entire contract and has a knack for quickly finding whatever clause the buyer is trying to violate. This combination generally ends disagreements before they start.

Gazeta, Shing, Russell, Alisia, Cynran

Archetype: Primate Caretakers

Over the years Hawke has managed to groom and maintain a select group of caretakers that follow his philosophy and care for the animals. Turnover was high before those who could not handle the dark fate of their charges gradually filtered out, leaving a crew that could endure the remorse.