The characters begin in Dubai at the Middle Eastern offices of Mystery! Science! TV. The offices are situated in the Dubai Tower, built and owned by the Tower Developments company. Both the TV channel and Tower Developments are owned by Yousef al-Masri.

Day 1, 28th November

Today is a briefing and equipment check for the entire production team of Science In The Danger Zone! This is a chance for the team to meet before spending the next two weeks working and travelling together. The purpose of this scene is to allow the players to introduce their characters and the Game Leader to introduce two key non-player characters, Farouk Hosny and Yousef al-Masri. Any background research the characters wish to do before the start of the adventure should be handled at this point. Similarly any specialised equipment they need should be discussed and added to character sheets as mundane equipment. The budget for the program is significant and no sensible request will be turned down. More outlandish requests may also be approved if the characters can pressurise Farouk into purchasing them (this is a good way of establishing Farouk's tendency to buckle under pressure).

All team members may take a bullet-proof vest which has a large, conspicuous Mystery! Science! TV logo on both the front and back. Anyone working as part of the team's security may acquire non-lethal weapons, including Stun Guns and Pepper Spray, but no firearms. The team will be crossing some of the world's most secure borders and any attempt to smuggle weapons through them will end in lengthy prison sentences.

Technical equipment such as cameras and sound recorders are in plentiful supply. This will include small home/semi-professional units, top specification high-definition video cameras, telephoto lenses and night-vision cameras plus lights, microphones and spare batteries. There are also small cameras with mounts for the inside and outside of cars as well as equipment to relay live pictures to a laptop. Gadgets such as Google Glasses are also included in the team's equipment boxes.

In addition to the technical equipment there will be a good first aid kit, emergency food & water, emergency blankets and other safety gear plus a set of useful tools. Other than the first aid kit, the team carries no medical equipment as there are good quality healthcare facilities in the West Bank and in Israel. The team's equipment does include surgical masks and disposable splash suits which provide basic protection against biological agents.

What the characters have been told about their schedule and the program's subject matter is:

  • Episode One: Plague From Space? will investigate the plague striking the city of Ramallah in the West Bank which started after a recent meteor. The plague has strange similarities to one in 44CE which was also preceded by a large meteor, and an ancient artifact known as al-Nazeb's Stone, linked to the historic plague, has been stolen.
  • Episode Two: Killed By Ghosts? is about a village in the West Bank area which was abandoned when ghosts started appearing. A local TV crew which spent a night in the village has disappeared.
  • Episode Three: Roman Time Traveller? looks at the case of a man who was run over in the Sinai desert while authentically dressed as a Roman legionary.

Game Leaders should allow the characters to do some background research prior to the start of the adventure. The characters may have done this any time over the last couple of weeks, ever since they received details of their shooting schedule. Each episode has background information which the characters may gather at any point.

A Day In The Office

The day is largely uneventful and even boring for most characters. It covers the team's itinerary and shooting schedule as well as safety briefings. Paperwork needs to be filled in, vaccinations given if required and the cars need to be loaded and unloaded to check everything fits. Farouk will also ensure that a lot of this is filmed, partly for the footage but also to get the team working together.

At some point during the day Yousef al-Masri will appear unannounced in the Mystery! Science! TV office. This will cause a minor panic as the managers rush to find out what the channel's owner wants, desperately hoping they haven't screwed anything up. However, Yousef will dismiss all their concerns and head into the conference room which the characters and the rest of Science In The Danger Zone! team have taken over for the day.

Yousef al-Masri is a short man, only 5'4" and clearly of Middle Eastern origin. He is about fifty or sixty with close-cropped white hair and a gaunt face. Thin to the point of being malnourished, Yousef would not look out of place in a refugee camp if it were not for his hand-made suit. The stylish but sombre dark blue suit matches his tie and his conservatively-fashioned shoes. He wears no jewellery and there is very little to mark him out as a multi-billionaire. What is remarkable is his demeanor. His penetrating grey eyes seemingly never blink. The way he moves is controlled, precise and he is perfectly still when movement is unnecessary. The man exudes power and it is not hard to understand how he could arrive in the US penniless yet become one its richest citizens.

Farouk Hosny will very deferentially greet his boss before introducing him to the team. Yousef will spend a moment chatting with each team member and ask questions which make it clear he has some knowledge about each of their backgrounds. This includes the more junior members of the team such as the drivers. After greeting the team, Yousef will say a few words.

"Science in the Danger Zone! will be this channel's flagship program for the autumn season. We are investing a lot into it and I expect everyone on the team to be equally committed. Each one of you has been recruited for your world class abilities but most of all, you have been chosen because you are willing to push yourselves into the unknown. I expect all of you to excel in your jobs and to hold nothing back. Only though total commitment can we deliver the ground-breaking TV we all wish to create."

After speaking, Yousef al-Masri says his goodbyes and leaves the room. The rest of the day is uneventful and the entire team spends the night in a nearby 5 star hotel.


By talking to the non-player team members and the office staff the characters may discover a few things.

The budget for Science in the Danger Zone! is very large and the project is being supported by Yousef al-Masri himself.
Yousef al-Masri did not just lend his support to the program, he initiated it and forced it on the management of Mystery! Science! TV.
The budget for the show is massive and far exceeds what a short documentary series is worth to the channel.
Yousef al-Masri has business, political and philanthropic interests in the West Bank. There is speculation that the program is part of a larger scheme.

Before dawn, the team assembles and drives for an hour to a private airfield where a large cargo plane is waiting. The vehicles can be driven straight into the plane's hold where they are secured before takeoff. Seating for the team is basic and the hour-long flight is noisy. Farouk will insist on filming parts of the journey and getting pieces to camera from the show's hosts.

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open/oneshots/petra/prologue.txt · Last modified: 2014/08/11 12:29 by darth_tigger
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