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Re: Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang

Gatac posted in Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang on 2020-01-25 19:43:48
As he's getting pinged about the inspection, Hug'sh - no, sorry, Quartermaster Lorr - gives the galley another quick once over. After hours of agonizing over making every surface look just so, he's the proud owner of a moderately organized food prep station hovering slightly above the "sanitary" threshold. Plus, he's practiced prying forward the bulkhead by the autochef to reveal the smuggling compartment behind it.

Time to get those cookies baking, then. Should be just about ready to come out of the oven when the inspection team rolls through.

Re: Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang

punkey updated in Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang on 2020-01-25 19:40:03
The hardest part of getting the Crimson Akwhela was not finding a ship to buy. Once Angel and Arketta took a ship to the closest "legitimate" system (three jumps away), it was a simple lat transfer - gotta get deals for Kesh Holdings where you can, after all. No, the part that kept three of Bello's hackers up all night was a rush order on fake credentials and records for every tracked item on the ship. The 815 members going on the mission to Grinacanne might have had to dodge a few golden-eyed members of the Bashakra'i as they filled the oil and protein tanks their vacuum-sealed weapons and equipment were to be hidden in, but by the time Hug'sh, Arketta, Angel, and Zaef were packed and ready to go, Arketta had gotten a firm nod and a wish for good luck from their team leader.

And so began the day and a half trip to Grinacanne. Hug'sh busied himself making the galley look used and lived in - cooking in every piece of cookware available, roughing up dishes and flatware, making messes and cleaning them up, working the smell of grease, fire, and soap into every inch of the galley. The opportunity to continue the apparently endless effort of feeding his body's pregnancy-induced appetite was a nice bonus, but he managed to set some food aside for the rest of the team. Angel took the opportunity to do a full armorer-level teardown of his weapons (replacing one of the magnetic bearings in his rifle in the process) and re-zero the scope. Arketta was busy actually piloting the ship, with Zaef acting as ship engineer - both of which were rather uninvolved jobs for simply transiting through Gateways, and so most of the time was filled with Zaef teaching Arketta the basics of sounding and looking like a somewhat-illicit shipmaster.

Finally, Arketta piloted the ship through the last orbital and Grinacanne popped into existence in front of the ship - as well as the Needleship posted just above and to the side relative to their exit from the Gateway.
"Crimson Akwhela, this is the Intransigent Blade, your auth-codes have cleared, proceed directly to the inspection area," the Needleship said over vox. A large rectangle appeared in space off to the right.
"Copy, Intransigent Blade," Arketta replied. "Have the inspectors waiting for us, we're in a bit of a rush."
"Then you're going to be late, Crimson Akwhela," the operator replied. "Intransigent Blade out."
"He seems pleasant," Zaef said. "Haven't seen a system locked down this hard in a while."

----

By contrast, the team going to Ibash is going in much more pedestrian accommodations, and fortunately for the covert wing of the Bashakra'i Turai, one they already had on hand - a basic inter-system runabout. Swims-the-Black took the pilot's chair, leaving Garrett time to tutor Hale in the basics of covert operations, and Luis time to prepare their totally-real presentation (and a backup, and a backup to that backup). The Gateway flash gave way to the sight of the thousands of shipyards in orbit around Ibash, complete with the twinkling lights of construction barges and raw material skiffs flying from one destination to another. The orbit of Ibash looks even busier than Napai'i orbit, and that is definitely saying something.

Swims-the-Black keeps the runabout on the clear corridor through the buzzing hive of activity, and after a bit of buffeting on approach as a storm blankets the main city on Ibash, sets it down on a pad not far from the "nice, but not too nice" business hotel they will be calling their base of operations, and within sightline of the large glowing egg surrounded by 200-foot-tall holoprojections of the latest and greatest the Ibash shipyards and skimmer lines have to offer - the Ibash Showcase Center.

But first, inspections to attend to. Not Turai, though - a few mercenaries, one clad in scuffed Turai armor and the others in black raingear covering more basic armor walk up. Hale sees them and intercepts them before they get close to Garrett, Luis, and Swims-the-Black, as Swims and a few drones unload the ship.
"That's close enough," Hale growls, putting a hand to the chest of one of the mercs.
"I'd move that hand if you want to keep it," the merc growls back. "Authcodes or you and your friends can fuck back off out of here -" A beep in the merc's ear corresponds with Garrett forwarding their landing authorization and "don't bother inspecting them" notice from one of the Bashakra'i agents on Ibash.
"Now, now," Garrett says, brushing Hale back. "There's no need for aggression from anyone. We're here to shop a business proposal around, not start a fight." Garrett smirks. "Apologies, he's a bit jumpy since we were...hassled by some shadowport gang a few months back. Only just finally got the stains out of his boots. I trust our authorizations are...in order?" He cocks an eyebrow at the last bit.
"Yep, you're clear," the lead merc says. "Tell your tarantek to keep it cool, or we'll cool him off for you."
"Understood," Garrett says, while Hale remains stony faced.

----

Front Toward Enemy has the easiest transit of all - by parcel. The "shell" could barely be called such - just a metal box shielded ten different ways from Imperial inspection containing just enough hardware to support its consciousness and a extra-long-life battery - but it was designed by the technical branches to sail through Imperial inspections, and so almost a day later exactly from being dropped off for delivery, FTE arrived on Aikoro in "sleep" state.

The rather innocuous appearance of FTE's transport shell doesn't make the Bashakra'i slicer team any less nervous, though. Tena, the team’s second-in-command, is closest to the door when the delivery guy buzzes the panel of their office-slash-hideout, and manages to keep it together reasonably well when she’s handed a shrinkfoiled box containing an actual Sheen, at least until the door is closed.
“Anoni!” she shouts as she hustles as fast as she can, holding the parcel at arm’s length. “Take this First-damned thing!”
Anoni leans over out of the loft/sleeping quarters. “Shit, it’s here?” With an acrobatic roll forwards, she drops the ten feet to the floor and runs across the almost entirely empty open-plan office. She snatches the package from Tena’s hands as the rest of the team walks over from their work - Vama, the team’s industrial systems expert, Lena, their Turai systems cracker, and Vano, their malware coder. Lena grabs a scrambler and tosses another to Tena.

Anoni pulls the knife strapped behind her back and slices the foil open, revealing a pretty standard-looking cogitator, its power button gently glowing. “We got its shells?” she asks.
Vama nods over to two forms sprawled across a couple of desks. They look like two Turai corpses. “Yeah, got the last piece off the nanoforges yesterday. Never thought the most boring cover ever would come in handy.”
“Okay,” Anoni says. “I guess we just...turn it on.” She pushes the power button, and everyone takes a reflexive step back from the box.

Re: Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang

punkey posted in Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang on 2020-01-18 10:01:40
Paul nods. "Figured, we can get you the cracking kit we give to our cogitator teams."
"If we're going to be covering a lot of ground on Grinacanne, we're going to need long-range sconces, something we can hide," Arketta says. "We won't have good aerial support, so we'll leave sconces covering the areas we think they're going to be at, choke points and things like that."
"And we should bring the suppressed guns," Zaef says. "The Narsai'i ones. They won't show up on Imperial scans and when things do get messy, it'll give us that much more time."

"I do not think that having a slave Wherren will be a good cover for us," Swims-the-Black tells Garrett. "What business will we be going to Ibash as?"
"I was thinking something to do with the mining," Garrett says. "The cabal knows shipbuilding inside and out, but mining, we should have an easier time bluffing and being someone they haven't heard of."
Swims' fur rolls a pleased green. "Then I shall be a businessman as well. A former slave that has bribed and blackmailed their way into running part of the business." Swims sees Garrett's pained expression. "I give you permission to be a prejudiced asshole, Garrett. It will help sell the cover."
"Thanks, Swims-the-Black," Garrett says with a bow.

Garrett turns to Hale. "Anything you think you'll need? I was thinking we get you a good, simple armored suit, something with no arms and plenty of space for a pantaki or two."
Hale shrugs. "This is my first time pretending to be a bodyguard."
"You were never playing section monitor to a few trins of Turai fresh out of instruction?" Arketta asks.
"Of course I did," Hale said. "I've knocked a few heads in my time."
"Then just play that," Arketta says. "The disgust and lack of patience with the idiots you're charged with protecting is exactly what you need."
Hale thinks for a moment. "Okay, that...that makes sense."
Garrett claps his hands together. "Ngawai and I will take you suit shopping tonight." He looks over the room. "Anyone need anything else?"

Re: Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang

e of pi posted in Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang on 2020-01-18 04:04:26
"Sounds like we mostly need some good business wear to fit in on the show floor, some armor in case things go sideways, and some beamers and guns, but mostly just as insurance. We're not there to start a war by ourselves this time," Luis says. "I think gear for interfacing with, cracking open or working around those systems will be the main thing I need."

Re: Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang

punkey posted in Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang on 2020-01-18 03:41:58
"There's some small, low-level smuggling, but mostly it's all dominated by the industria cabal," Paul says. "They have basically an occupying army of mercenaries on call and armored skimmers to transport them. Nothing that would stand up to real action, but it'll keep beamers from blowing a hole in the window. Orbit-side, nothing too heavy, it's all ground level. Info-wise, they're tied into the Kansat sconces, so anything Kansat sees, they see. They probably have their own spies and sconces, but we're pretty sure they're mostly working off the Kansatai'i resources."

Re: Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang

e of pi posted in Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang on 2020-01-15 06:30:20
Luis nods, "Sounds good to me. We don't want to travel too heavy and attract merc attention, and the more time we have to scout out the show on the ground the better. Do we know what their ties into the local networks look like? It'd be nice to cut it off or turn their information advantage against them if we can bring in the right resources, but otherwise it'd just be nice to know what we have to work around."

Re: Shadow Warriors

Gatac updated in Shadow Warriors on 2020-01-13 20:56:42
Even shadows leave their mark on history.

Ramma Yadonoshi's recovery at the Kamura homestead lasted a long year. Even the scouting work he did in the defense of the Imperial palace was too much, too fast on his weakened body, and many frustrating weeks passed where he had to let his arm heal fully before he could even think to string a bow again. It was during this time that Ramma developed another use for his dexterity and took up painting, catching the essence of the Empire's people with a few brush strokes as his growing strength permitted longer and longer "excursions". Even after he had regained full use of his arm, he would return to the homestead time and time again over the years, bringing with him new sketches, new tales and coin from every province of the Empire. But something inside Ramma seemed to never truly heal, and just after his fiftieth year, he was found dead in his bedroom, though none of the learned scholars called for the autopsy could quite say what had killed him.

The mainlander by the name of Falsedge did not tarry long in the Empire. She made her passage out west as sellsword, carving a bloody path across the Empire for whoever would retain her services. Nobody knows what she went in search of - fulfillment, redemption, a warrior's death? - and where she ultimately ended up. The most credible tale sees her in league with the Lees and their returning army, leading a crusade against the strongest kingdoms on the mainland to win a new home for their people, building the Dynasty of Light that still rules the greater peninsula today. But even this victory could not hold Falsedge's interest and she wandered farther still, into the great deserts to the west and the mountains beyond. Some say that, to this day, if you stray from the long roads cutting through those inhospitable lands, you might find yourself challenged by the roving band of a warlord wielding her crescent blades.

Wayward inspector Aiko Inaba's mission to Shinju, the pearl of San'in, still remains one of the Empire's most jealously guarded secrets. Stories claim that another threat from beyond, such as the swamp yokai, was stopped under her leadership. What the public records do show is that Aiko chose to remain in San'in, finding the islands in dire need of a protector. In time her efforts to bring law and order to the archipelago led to official recognition as High Commissioner of the province, answerable only to High Lady Ishikawa in matters of law enforcement. Despite bearing no children of her own, Aiko made it her policy to sponsor an orphanage, believing that helping people in need was the best way to fight crime. By the time of her passing, more than a hundred people had taken up the Inaba name as her "children", many of them - and their children in turn - going on to serve as police officers themselves.

Aotaka Matsumoto returned to the Forge to find that "Old Man" Han had gone back on his earlier forgiveness and persisted in opposing him. From his journals, we know that Aotaka's contrition over the death of Han's sister was genuine, but his patience in the face of Han's bitterness was hardly infinite, and Aotaka's pride in being the father of the Empress turned - without her influence - to anger that he should be so disrespected. When Han, in one furious confrontation, carelessly offered to have another duel with Aotaka, the samurai agreed without a second thought. Both were shocked, realizing the awful consequences of their feud, but neither felt they could back down. Han's death, then, seemed inevitable. It was only when Olafsen and Karla - by then respected citizens - personally interfered in the duel that further tragedy was averted; both entered the ring and interposed their bodies between the two old enemies, wielding no weapons themselves. Shamed at how far he had come for his anger, Aotaka surrendered and offered his blade to Han instead, who in turn found that for all his spite, he could not bear to strike down his old enemy. The duel ended then and while it would be a stretch to call this the beginning of a friendship, Aotaka and Han never came to blows again, both agreeing that they could live very well out of each other's way. As for Olafsen and Karla, their jointly-written account of their adventures - The Tale Of The Pirate Warriors - went on to become the most popular work of literature within the Empire to be written by foreigners for well over two-hundred years.

Although Kargbeck remained on good terms with the Empire, it ultimately never became the foothold the Hanse had sought in the Empire. Distances were too great and Governor Holger's strict adherence to the laws and treaties governing Kargbeck's existence made it less attractive to foreign traders than the rather less regimented San'in shadowports. Even the Emperor's personal intercession on generous trade treaties and financial aid could not convince the Hanse to maintain its outpost. Only ten years into Emperor Toshiro's rule, Kargbeck's citizens voted by large majority to dissolve their treaty enclave and be annexed by the Empire. Today, Kargbeck's unique history is still evident by some of its old buildings and street names, such as Champagne Plaza and, of course, the venerable Von Schneider School of Artillery.

The Valley of the Masters as it existed in the Lost Dynasty era soon changed irrevocably. Many of the blacksmiths and metalworkers common to the area found themselves forced to either relocate to the growing cities or futilely try to compete against new, more efficient mass manufacturers such as the then newly-formed Kogin Ltd. - today still formally the "parent" company of Kogin Kinetics International, the Empire's foremost exporter of small arms. By Imperial decree, the War Academy expanded its land holdings and added expansive training grounds for mounted warfare, gonnery and infiltration tactics. The nearby Red Dragon ninja clan was chosen to instruct common soldiers in the latter in particular. Though some wondered aloud whether this was not debasing the secrecy of the ninja arts and many clans indeed protested the training, this move was covertly supported by Shadowwatch, who found the new, officially acknowledged "Special Warfare" units a useful smokescreen for their own, more discreet operations.

For Emperor Toshiro's cabinet of High Lords, much upheaval still lay ahead. High Lord Boota would soon after the coronation be found dead in his quarters, and though Lady Ishikawa's exceedingly detailed investigation ruled his death a suicide the High Lord had himself staged to look like a Shadowwatch assassination, many uncomfortable questions arose in the wake of his death. The doubts would follow - quietly but persistently - the career of High Lady Kamura, whose struggles in reconciling her post as Shadowguard, consort of the Empress and scion of the Kamuras have been well-covered by such accounts as "The Crane Makes Her Nest", "Fire & Shadows" or even last year's smash movie drama "Kirika". Lady Ishikawa's efforts were better appreciated in other regards, such that she would serve as High Lady of Justice for an unprecedented - and to date, never repeated - forty-three years. High Lord Shira went on to serve his post until the end of the Northside Crisis, where he took the unprecedented step of resigning his office and offering himself as hostage to the rebels for five years to guarantee the fragile peace. Though he ultimately returned unharmed, his daughter Himiko would ably serve in his stead and be a major force for renewal in the Imperial armed forces. When Shira returned, he refused to take up his office again and dedicated the rest of his life to poetry. Today, his famous sword Ryusei is the centerpiece display in the Capital History Museum's Blades of the Empire special exhibition.

Another loss to the council was High Lord Shintaro, who determined after three years of service that he did not have the ability to run the Empire's economy as efficiently as needed and requested of the Emperor that he be transferred to a more scholarly position. In his stead, the famously reclusive High Lord Youta took over, of whom it is said that he would only speak to the Emperor directly and "attended" council sessions through long, detailed letters. After two decades of transforming the Imperial economy according to his will, he was replaced when six months of silence led the council to conclude that he had "probably" died, and on the day of said replacement being announced, financial markets across the Empire immediately posted losses of more than 10% across the board. High Lord Hetechi's contributions to Imperial foreign policy, scholarship and culture need no explanation at this point, of course; his family shrine still draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, many of them students wishing to be inspired by the Rooster's wisdom. As for High Lord Tsukareta, his contributions to Imperial infrastructure were similarly enormous, though his reputation continued to be stained by his efforts to achieve clemency for Lady Ikishi, whose life sentence for high treason had made her a martyr in the eyes of many nobles who felt their influence and wealth fading under Emperor Toshiro's policies. Though Tsukareta never made common cause with the "Rose Wing" nobles and by all accounts served his office honorably, news of Ikishi's death in prison shattered him; when High Lady Himoko went to check on him the next morning, she found him dead by his own hand. Rumors that he had left a letter of apology for Emperor Toshiro were, of course, never substantiated. Finally, what of High Lord Nikochi? His fate is not recorded. In fact, no council minute shows his attendance at any session. Some said that he was needed to broker peace with the many restless spirits in the wake of the yokai crisis, which consumed him to the extent that he could not be spared for any "worldly" concerns; others claim that he was politely but firmly asked to leave soon after the yokai crisis and returned to a nearby swamp.

But to return to the start of our story - what happened to the Ayami? Well...some look at Ayami Dynamics, the notorious "security consultant" juggernaut, as the last ninja clan still around, and they certainly do claim lineage from some clan members of this vintage. Others say the Ayami were the first to lose their way in the new dynasty, foregoing the clan life and working directly on Imperial commission, apparently unworthy of the honor of being absorbed into Shadowwatch. What is known is that they were one of the few to survive the bloody upheaval of the Second Shadow War, where even such long-standing clans as the Killer Bees were defeated and the renunciation of the Old Charter made all remaining "traditional" shinobi outlaws overnight. In the coming months, many powerful warriors and ancient artifacts of immense power were lost to the darkness, and within a generation, the battlefield stories of swooping dragons and living shadows became legend, then myth, then fairytales. Today, most would have you believe that they are flourishes, dramatizations and exaggerations.

They would be wrong, though. But that is a story from another time, for another time...

Re: Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang

Gatac posted in Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang on 2020-01-09 19:00:52
Hug'sh reads the consternation on Onas's face, a quick burst of yellow making place for a blue tinge on his face. He returns the nod and shuts up, letting Garrett and Paul get on with the rest of their discussion.

Re: Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang

punkey posted in Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang on 2020-01-09 18:57:52
Onas and Paul look to each other, each slightly surprised at Hug'sh bringing that up here and now. "Well...apology accepted," Paul says. Onas doesn't say anything, and he definitely furrows his brow at Hug'sh, but he nods. "Thank you."

There's an awkward pause. "So, uh, back to planning?" Paul says.
"We'll be travelling fairly light," Garrett says. "Some broken down beamers, some explosive charges and detonators - just in case - and armor. Other than that, I recommend we dress the part of the scoundrel ravilars and industrium execs we are pretending to be. How long before your teams on Ibash have the right palms greased?"
"Probably a day," Paul says. "Puts you on Ibash in two."