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A Princess Of Zamarra
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Below Zero Point
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Below Zero Point

by Robert Douglas

You star in this gamebook as Sean Calibre, a renowned Field 4 Private Investigator. This first book in the series begins with your latest assignment: to secure a stolen experiment, namely the 'Globesphere', and return it to Federation custody.

The Private Investigation Bureau, although not directly controlled by Federal authorities (unlike the armed and police forces), is nevertheless a fully subsidized, licensed branch of law and order, and therefore entrusted to administrate itself responsibly. The main difference is that where a soldier must obey orders without question, the PI is virtually free to secure his/her mission objectives by any lawful means necessary, without the constant scrutiny by superiors (but a report update is sometimes necessary, depending on the importance of the mission). PI identification often proves a powerful tool throughout the Federation, and cuts swathes through painstaking yet frustrating red tape imposed by regional jurisdictions.

PI acceptance of given assignments are not compulsory - yet refusal could damage a member's reputation. A points system based on completed, failed, and rejected assignments determines the plus-minus factor. Those able to maintain an overall performance level above the low water mark are guaranteed a safe career; indeed, the higher the better, in regards of retirement bonus. However, if the notch falls ridiculously low (into what is jokingly termed the 'sediment') then that person is no longer considered a PI! Although quite an informal outfit compared to others, the PIB still has its rules and standards.

Fields of Private Investigation
Anybody without a criminal record can become a Private Investigator, providing they have some experience of the law, and a considerable amount of money saved for capital required. You have three years training background with the Police Academy, and spent another five years as a fully-licensed Private Investigator. Your knowledge and skills have served you well in past cases, building up your reputation, thus promoting you well up to Field 4. Further explanation of the known 'Five Fields' of Private Investigation are listed below:

Field 1 - Federal Surveyor: Such Investigators usually hail from a more academic background, such as ex-lawyers. Generally deal with the lower and middle classes of the public, offering information or advice. They gather all sorts of clues from various contacts who keep an eye on the streets. Surveyors are normally assigned to 'missing persons cases'.

Field 2 - Security Monitor: Monitors are those employed by corporations and possibly smaller companies, on a temporary basis. Usually, they help solve cases such as theft or arson within the business itself, where employees are suspected. Monitors act as Security Officers, and doubtless armed. They have access to all but the most restricted of corporate records.

Field 3 - Multiple Security: These Investigators are hired by the most important and wealthiest industries, and rich family cartels, thus a previous record of having served in the Police Force is therefore desirable. However, if that Investigator was previously a Monitor (Field 2) they may be promoted to Multiple status. Such Investigators are expected to cope with several cases at the same time. Possession of a weapon is compulsory. All security privileges are endowed to Multiple PIs, who have more authority than Monitors to make arrests.

Field 4 - Trained Satellite Investigator: Used for the 'tough jobs', these are Investigators more disposed to a single case under a provisional contract. Usually, these missions entail infiltration of criminal bases, covert operations, etc. Therefore, a previous training record of the Academy and/or having served in a Police Force is essential. Such Investigators are certainly armed and fully-licensed to kill if necessary. Provided this factor, Satellite PI cases are evaluated by the Government besides the PIB (Private Investigator Bureaux).

Field 5 - Mercenary: Certainly a former member of an elite military unit or covert organisation, therefore this Investigator is a true expert at infiltration, sabotage, unarmed combat, and the ability to endure very long term operations. However, such men are rarely found; unlike other Investigators, they do NOT belong to the PIB, but are in possession of various licences and permits issued exclusively by the Federal Government itself. Heavily armed and equipped.

Additional Information
You - and some opponents - have an ARMOUR score. For you, it starts with a value of 6, but may rise or fall throughout the game. It represents your chances of damage sustained in combat being reduced by half. To begin with, your armour consists of a lightweight flak jacket, boots reinforced with metal strips and a pair of metallo-cloth gloves that ensure your safety against all known virulent and acidic chemicals.

In this adventure, there are two categories of combat: hand-to-hand and firefights. They are conducted in the same way, the only difference being the weapon in use. When you select a firearm and click on USE, you are choosing the weapon that you will use in subsequent firefights; when you select a close combat weapon and click on USE, you are doing so for hand-to-hand combat. You start out with a Government 480, a standard issue handgun to law enforcers, and a titanium bladed knife.

4th September, 2202
...Only a week ago the Globesphere made disconcerting news. The device wasn't in government or military possession at the time, so it hit community tabloids like a kiloton train at full speed. Details regarding the Globesphere were sketchy, but New Scientist made an educated speculation surrounding its sonorous name: it had to be a doomsday weapon of some kind. Coupled with von Rhein's employment background with weapons research, and sprinkled with alarmingly high casualty reports from the Hippsteen War, it was the only hunch that made sense. The Federal government, realising they couldn't keep a lid on the situation, let tabloid bloodhounds loose in an attempt to unnerve those responsible. The terrorists laid low, the stratagem backfired. Matters were beginning to escalate, and officials, now apprehensive of full-scale panic, sought other, more subtle means to recover the doomsday device before terrorists could implement its awful vengeance. Sending a detachment of troops would be too heavy-handed for such a difficult problem - so they got in touch with the PIB...
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