Monday, April 12, 2010

Advertising Supplement/Convenience Stores/Honest Akhbar's

Honest Akhbar's

Convenience Store

Locations: Suburbia, Upper Downtown, Lower Downtown

Description: Honest Akhbar's is a chain of dubious convenience stores located predominantly in Suburbia and Upper Downtown. The occasional franchise can be found on the first few levels of Lower Downtown. Honest Akhbar's does not maintain franchises in Uptown or Mort Central.

Honest Akhbar's stocks most mundane and sundry items and has a limited grocery section. Alcohol, tobacco, low end civilian drugs and a rather shockingly large selection of pornographic magazines are available, but kept behind a barrier of bullet proof glass along with the clerk. Akhbar's also features a menu of surprisingly good hot and cold foods for a quick meal. The average meal of a sandwich, chips and drink run about 2-3u.

Some may question how theft is controlled if the clerks are sealed up. The answer is quite simple. Honest Akhbar's has a posted policy that Operatives, Shivers and Monarchs never pay for a meal. While this does not extend to the rest of the store's inventory, the lure of free meals is enough to ensure that at almost any time of day or night, there will be some form of armed SLA employee or law enforcement agent on the premises at any given store. Wise people also know that Akhbar's clerks are a great source of information on what's going down in the streets; it pays to stay on the good side of the clerks. As a last stand against thieves, Honest Akhbar franchises are universally equipped with a unique security system. At the push of a button, metal grates drop from the ceiling to cover every door and window in the store. Once activated, these grates can not be raised by anything short of industrial equipment unless the clerk deactivates the system. With the thieves caged in, the clerk need only wait in his bullet proof kiosk until help arrives.

Advertising Supplement/Fine Apparel/Feingold's

Feingold's Fine Tailoring

Fine custom apparel

Locations: Mort Central

Description: Tucked away among the myriad shops of Mort Central is a small, unobtrusive storefront. There is no gaudy marquee announcing the shop. Simple gold scripts on the window advertises “Feingold's Fine Tailoring.” This unassuming shop produces some of the finest clothing on the planet. Apprentices at Feingold's have gone on to work for Arducci and some of the most prestigious designers on New Paris.

Anyone working at Feingold's is trained under the careful and exacting eye of Martin Feingold. He required all his apprentices to work with him one on one for no less than six months before he will even consider letting them work unsupervised. Even once they are past the apprentice stage, employees will never directly make a garment; employees are only permitted to do measurements and simple alterations. Feingold creates all the garments himself. All employees know the old man's strange job terms. When an apprentice feels they can make a garment to Feingold's standards, they are free to do so at their own expense. Feingold will then inspect the garment carefully. If it meets his strict requirements for quality and aesthetics, the apprentice is fired on the spot. This may seem strange, but it is the highest compliment Feingold can give. He has nothing more to teach at that point. Many fashion designers would kill to be able to say they were fired by Feingold on their resumes.

So how can a shop that only has one master tailor stay in business in Mort Central? Uncompromising quality. Customers know that when they walk into Feingold's, they will not be purchasing anything off the rack. The entire outfit will be custom made from the finest materials the World of Progress has to offer. Even accessories like ties and socks will be made to order. Feingold even keeps a jeweler on retainer to one-off cufflinks, tie pins and other accessories as needed. A shoemaker is also available if needed.

Feingold's operates on an appointment only basis. On entering the shop, the door will be locked and the curtains drawn. The customer will be offered a selection of imported coffees and teas to enjoy while they are measured. The customer then explains what it is they are looking for. Feingold then provides a quick sketch to verify the vision. Materials are discussed, but generally people let Feingold decide the details. Price is never discussed. If you have to inquire about price, you certainly can not afford to wear a Feingold garment. Depending on the garment and the customer, the order can take anywhere from a day to a month. On the average, a man's suit will take about a week. Elaborate ball dresses can take much longer. For those who really need to know prices, a man's ensemble (suit, shirt, tie, pocket square, socks) will cost in the area of 3500-5000 credits. An elaborate formal dress can run easily over 10,000c depending on the materials.

While the idea of a suit of clothing that costs more than a suit of Dogeybone is a little off-putting, one needs to keep certain things in mind. First, the item will be one of a kind and made by hand from the finest materials the World of Progress has to offer. Second, Feingold clothing is guaranteed forever. Once purchased, the customer may return for unlimited alterations. In the impossible event that an item is defective or wears out, Feingold will provide a replacement free of charge. Third, he's been doing this for 213 years. Being Mr. Slayer's personal tailor has its advantages.

Intelligence Report/Soft Company/Randolph Logistics

Name: Randolph Logistics

Type: Independent Soft Company

Products/Services: Smuggling/Illegal Shipping

Company Line: We get it there, no questions asked.

Public Information: Randolph Logistics started innocently enough in 901SD as a small freight handling company run by a pair of brothers, Jim and Ray Randolph. They established themselves as a quick, clean and reliable shipping and moving company. Their big break occurred when transporting some crates to the new home of a rich corporate. While loading the crates on their truck, one fell off and broke open. Inside was a cache of DarkNight weapons. The corporate, who was observing the procedure, offered the brothers a staggering 20,000u if they would just seal up the box and forget they saw anything. The Randolph brothers took the cash. The corporate let them know that if they were willing to continue to ship with no questions asked he could send a lot of work their way. Within six months Randolph Logistics ballooned to 150 employees and were operating an ion-drive cargo ship. Monthly income went from 10-20,000u per month to 125,000u per month; some jobs commanded at least that amount on their own.

What's the secret to Randolph Logistics' success? They truly ask no questions about what they are shipping. They only want to know if any special precautions need to be taken in storing or moving the containers and an honest assessment of the relative risk of the trip. They warn up front that if these critical pieces of information are inaccurate, misrepresented or withheld, the cargo will be unceremoniously dumped, at a Shiver Station if at all possible.

SLA Intelligence: Obviously, Randolph Logistics is a godsend for DarkNight, gangs and any other illegal or subversive group or individual. SLA has been almost helpless in curbing Randolph Logistics' shipping. Cloak Division strongly suspects (correctly) that Randolph Logistics must have SLA Industries employees on their payroll, as shipments are getting through the perimeter walls far more frequently than could be attributed to smuggling via the sewers or other means. On the rare occasion SLA has managed to intercept a Randolph Logistics shipment, the results have been consistent. The Randolph employees simply ditch the vehicle and flee on foot. The escapes are ensured by the fact that employees wear Keshangs, which suggest possible cooperation with Conway Motorsports, Tek Trex and Kustom Killa Chassis. As a rule, no Randolph employee will ever attempt to engage their pursuers in combat. On inspection of abandoned Randolph vehicles, all that will be found are the shipping containers. There will be no bills of lading or paperwork identifying contents, point of origin or destination. The method by which Randolph Logistics keeps track of everything remains a complete mystery.

SLA is stepping up their efforts to curtail Randolph Logistics' shipping. It is estimated that SLA's best efforts are only preventing about 7% of all Randolph traffic from reaching its destination. The threat of a shipping organization that asks no questions is obvious; SLA's promotion of Randolph Logistics to Soft Company status was inevitable.

Employees: Estimated at 150

Facilities: Unknown. The use of an ion-drive ship would necessitate the operation of a shuttle and spaceport of some description. Facilities would also have to be expansive to accommodate the large amount of business Randolph Logistics does. Satellite imaging have yet to locate any Randolph facilities.