Hedion 02

Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-08-31 05:09:43
The Todaki-Hedion (Akis Gateport) connection dials out right on schedule and the rundown colony world's Gateway flashes even brighter than its double star. Taking his role as vague bodyguard/fixer/henchman seriously, Angel is the first one through Todaki's relative peace and quiet and into the cacophonous cavalcade of sensory overload that is the Akis arcology. He'd been on Hedion once before; the team used Hedion as a stopover point to get into the Imperial portal schedule and onto the throneworld of Napai during Operation CHECKMATE, much like the team is using Todaki as a stepping stone now to reach Hedion.

Davis leads the rest of the team through - it wouldn't be proper for too many underlings to precede the Expansion chief through the portal - and the wall of sound hits the group like a tsunami. The traffic-flow drones barking orders, throngs of people waiting for their depatures, and the metallic whines of Kansat skimmers far above pale compared to the seizure-inducing visual display. Holograms are everywhere, advertising, exhorting, and commanding. There are people here wearing every style of clothing imaginable and who range from amphibious to zebra-striped. A cluster of Cyllan encounter suits float by and are immediately dwarfed in their strangeness by a pair of rail-thin triple-jointed squamous humans with opposable tails intertwined in a loving gesture as they walk. Even with the circus assaulting your senses, the more gaudy of the group still manage to turn some heads. The crowds give you plenty of space, though you are unsure if respect or fear is the primary motivator, and you make your way up a few vertical levels to a less bustling plaza. The view overhead is just a vague golden haze punctured by firefly-pulsing black obelisks. These starscrapers and spires split and meet again, interconnected countless times by all manner of bridges and connectors and superstructure. You cannot see the shielded dome that covers Akis' highest levels but you know it is there. The sunlight is too diffuse to come directly from Hedion's star, and for a moment a few of you are reminded of the Groi shell and the unnatural lighting that permeated that colossal construct.

With the sightseeing break out of way, you gather round and plan your next move.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-09-01 23:24:21
Davis looks out over the breathtaking vista, acting unimpressed. "Let's get this show on the road," he says over the team's encrypted short-range vox channel. "Covers on, everybody." Then he sighs, and looks over at Luis. "It's not Napai, is it, Zakest."

"Not quite, Chief, but it isn't bad," Luis says. "What's first?"

"First, you find us a proper place to eat, Zakest." Davis looks at the surroundings with disdain. "Someplace with a more agreeable atmosphere. Quickly!"

"Sure, Chief. Number one priority, someplace appropriate for dinner," Luis says. He takes out his vox to search, and rolls his eyes. "What else could come first?"

Luis has to dig deep in Akis' local Cortex to find the right place. It has to be exclusive. It has to be the best. It has to be expensive. If a restaurant or club advertises its presence it's probably not high-class enough for the team's covers or for the marks they intend to trap. Luis finally happens upon a name. Khalkiota. It's in the upper arcology and is outward-facing. It has hardly any trace on the network which means it's probably word of mouth only. It'll do nicely. Before they head off to rent a luxury skimmer, Luis tries his best to erase his tracks from the Cortex. They would have to act as if they already knew about the restaurant.

Davis - er, Haralin - sends Angel off to get a skimmer when suddenly two gleaming golden eyes peer out at Luis from his peripheral vision. He jumps, thinking of Jonnoperest's tottering corpse. The Cortex ad slams across his view, exhorting all manner of features. Night vision. Holo recording. Telescopic sight. X-ray vision. 4G - nay, 5G connectivity! They link with external or internal voxes, so you can surf porn without anyone ever knowing. All right, so it's all flavored towards the Imperial culture, but Luis' internal marketing filter translates into spam that he's familiar with. Still, Hedion's supposed to be this Imperial tech capital, and there's no doubt the ocular replacements would offer advantages... but they're his eyes. To quote Tom Cruise, his mother gave them to him.

While the ad manages to catch Luis' attention, it's not enough on its own to do anything more than plant the thought of actually getting implants. However, what does occur to him is how many of their marks have connections in the implant industry. Asking around could be a way to dangle his cover and see who takes notice.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-09-01 23:24:37
Meanwhile, Angel sees to the skimmer rental. Angel's time in the Imperium hasn't revolved around monetary transactions, so he doesn't even blink when he forks over a massive amount of lats for the aerial vehicle. His nonchalance is exactly the kind of demeanor he needs, and Angel has no trouble retrieving a lustrous black skimmer, all long curves and finely-tuned impellers, from the VIP hangar of the rental hub. Hedion air traffic is a meticulously orchestrated dance that reminds Angel of traffic in India and it takes all his meager piloting skill to get the fatassed skyboat back to the plaza in one piece. The team piles into the long vehicle with as much class as they can muster; it's a tight fit, what with the full body armor and the luggage and the tent and the stupid solar system Arakuna's got orbiting him. The fancy formal getup lies dormant in the skimmer at long last, and Luis navigates Angel towards this Khalkiota place.

The eyeballs keep nagging at him. He realizes with some ironic chagrin that if he had those eyes, he'd be able to see the route to their destination overlaid over his own vision and could simply drive the skimmer himself. Then he thinks long and hard about his line of work and how often the kauka shines on him and his teammates. Having replacement cybereyes would make trying to heal head injuries extremely difficult, if not impossible, and would require more focus and medical knowledge to regenerate any wound, lest the healing device run rampant and attempt to "heal" Luis' theoretical eyes. Ugh. He didn't want to think about that. He'd never seen anyone with cerebral implants get healed with a kauka. However, the drawbacks are no reason he can't look into it, especially since it puts his cover identity right where the team needs him.

He does what he can to check that they're secure, then runs the notion past Davis over the encrypted channel. "Hey Davis, can I run an idea past you?"

"Yeah? What do you have, Luis?" Davis replies as Angel lucks out and gets the pimpmobile into air traffic without any problems.

"A couple of the marks have ties in the implants business here. Kesh is in at Faxom-Io, and Quon's wife probably has at least some local contacts if she's been keeping her gear as up to date as we hear. If I ask around in cover, could draw some response from either."

Davis looks at Luis with a curious look on his face. "Ask around? As what?"

Luis shrugs, referring to his cover identity like another person. "Nasa. I figure he's frustrated by always doing the real work for Arakuna and getting little of the rewards. He gets implants, maybe he can start something to get out of the second banana rut. So he presents as somebody who knows what's going on but is stifled by his job, eager for a change, and asking around in areas our marks know...if that doesn't pique their interest, don't know what will."

Davis smiles. "Sure, sounds solid. We have the lats to make a buy and install, so I don't see why not. Just be careful, okay?"

Luis grins, "Of course."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-09-01 23:24:53
Your ears pop from altitude as Angel takes the skimmer higher. The morass of traffic gives way to a more stately feel. There's still many sleds and skimmers flitting between Akis' starscrapers, they're just obviously in no hurry. Khalkiota is close; the outer arcology access is a gaping bright maw ahead of you. Angel notes that this skimmer isn't like the robust larger model he and Hugh stashed outside the Quis' solar array. This vehicle runs off broadcast power and will never run out of gas. It's also limited to a rough radius around Akis. It'll carry you out to the Quis's farm - there'd be no point in getting the skimmer otherwise - but it's definitely not a vehicle you'd take to go exploring.

Musing on the qualities of luxury skimmers comes to a screeching halt as Angel weaves the pimping ride out into the blazing Hedion sunset. The sky is on fire with ferocious orange light. Khalkiota rejoices in the setting sun's glory. The restaurant juts out over an endless drop back to Hedion's surface like a baroque lolling tongue. There is a short procession of similarly classy vehicles dropping off debutantes and nobles. Thankful to have the hint, Angel slides the skimmer in line. Like a lot of the rich, Akis' upper crust are either too self-absorbed or too disaffected to notice the gorgeous scenery; they hurry inside to the faint sound of live music, eager to begin an evening all about them, them, them.

Samal Swao (Hugh) gets out first. Robin follows him, then Luis, then Davis exits and reactivates his wardrobe. Arketta follows Zaef out, and the Arena champ's armored costume draws looks of curiosity from a few guests. Angel exits last, and fiddles a bit with the parking drone commands. The skimmer auto-follows the rest off out of sight.

Haralin Arakuna's solar system wardrobe is gaudy and ridiculous... and it fits in perfectly with the crowd at Khalkiota. If Salvador Dali teamed up with Guillermo del Toro to do the Mos Eisley cantina scene, this is what would result. The very air is heady with ravedrugs and zonk, so thick you could bite into it like a steak. God, steak would be so good right now.

At least that's what Angel, Davis, Zaef, and Luis can't help but think. Robin, Hugh, and Arketta all take note of their suits' atmosphere feeds clicking over to their internal stores. It might be intentional, it might be ambient, and it probably isn't too dangerous, but the atmosphere in here has enough secondhand pharma to spook your suits.

A gorgeous woman, genemodded to perfect symmetry, smiles seductively at Arakuna. Flickering luminescent tattoos swirl lustfully across her bare shoulders. "Anything you desire, my lord." The... hostess? states rather than asks.
punkey 2010-09-02 00:21:52
Arakuna walks through the entrance to Khalkiota and inhales deeply, the subtle mix of mild euphorics going straight to his brain. He smiles. "Finally! A proper venue to relax in, before we return to our duties. Hurry along, Zakest. We must treat ourselves now, for we have much to do."
Nasa, following behind, sighs, "Of course, Chief. Can't afford any delay in getting to business, I'm sure."
"Or pleasure," Arakuna says.
Nasa nods carefully, "Whatever you say, Chief."

Once inside, the glowing walls arch above them, grown from a single massive transparent metal crystal that emits its own golden shade of light, perfectly complimenting the setting Hedion sun. Elaborate metal inlays carry light blue accents up and down the walls in a hypnotic pattern, exotic flora and fauna climb opulent trellises of platinum and gold. All of this conceals the no-doubt penetrating scope of the surveillance watching every inch of the venue.

At the hostesses' invitation, Haralin smiles and nods. "Expansion Dropchief Haralin Arakuna," he says, "and I must say, it's a pleasure to finally be on a civilized world. We require a selection of your finest evening entrées for my party -" he gestures towards the rest of the team behind him, "- particularly meats." Arakuna licks his lips. "Vidas Lam, it's been too long since I've had real flesh. Also, beverages, desserts, and all the usual entertainment accouterments. Save the live entertainment for now, there will perhaps be time for such distractions later on."

Arakuna levels a more serious look at the hostess, who is patiently memorizing his every request. "Most of all though, we require a secure and private booth. I don't know if you recognize him, but that is Zaef 'Bloodwraith' Utari." Some of the nearby patrons, curiosity already piqued by the arrival of the nobleman Dropchief, gasp and take a step back from the group at the announcement. Others take a step closer, eager to get a look at the rebel. Voxes are activated and images are taken. "One of the Talons of the Tainted Mother? He plays a pivotal role in my efforts here, and while I am quite confident that my bodyguard and Turai Trin I have brought with me are capable of keeping him secure, privacy and security for our group is paramount, wouldn't you agree? So, an isolated booth with as beautiful view as you can manage will be required, for the safety of your patrons, of course."

Arakuna thinks for a second, then looks back to Zakest almost as an afterthought. "Is there anything that you require, Zakest?" He looks over to his bodyguard, the Turai and their charge. "Or any of you?"
skullandscythe 2010-09-02 02:06:16
Zaef's smile is..disarmingly wide. "Oh, you know what I want, my lord," he says as he puts his pinky finger and his thumb together, his other three fingers pointing straight up, and twists his hand around-the Imperial hand gesture for saying 'Go fuck yourself.'

"Oh, one thing to know," he says towards the small group around him rocking out with their voxes out. He grabs a vox that he thinks is streaming live, yanks it out of the owner's hand, and, hoping it's recording video, crushes it in his hands. "These things make me uncomfortable when you wave them in my face," Zaef growls, his hands bleeding a little from the broken plastic shards embedded in them. He drops the vox, which still seems to be running even after it hits the ground, though it'll probably never work the same way again since it's been crumpled up like an empty beer can.

That should make some waves.
CrazyIvan 2010-09-02 07:31:24
Angel was never terribly good at the conversion of Imperial currency to Shit You Can Buy. Which is good, since both Davis and Hugh had looked a little green about the price of the skimmer.

Driver, bodyguard to the rich and famous...this was turning into a decent action movie.

The sunset, while spectacular, makes for something of an unpleasant driving experience, something the customers of the restaurant are themselves utterly unaware of. Still, they arrive without incident, which is good enough. Positioning himself toward the back of the 'entourage', he does his best impression of the slick, high priced, ever so dangerous bodyguard. Truth be told, it didn't feel that hard - just look like you belong, that you're absolutely carrying a gun, and that it's beneath your dignity to even consider anyone here a threat big enough to use it.
Gatac 2010-09-02 08:49:07
"Enough showboating, Utari," Hugh says, going for the whole 'tired prisoner escort' inflection. Hell, he's heard enough of that from the MPs breaking up bar brawls.

He turns to the spindly woman whose vox Zaef crushed. "My apologies, Ma'am," he says, his body language making clear that this is the most she can expect from them on the matter. That vox is not getting replaced. Your fault for dangling it into the lion cage, as it were. "Our prisoner's manners are made for the arena, and the arena only."
Community Lotion 2010-09-02 09:07:42
Robin is having trouble paying attention. Her instincts want her to size up the new location; identify the exits, figure out who might be troublemakers, get a feel for the vibe of the room, but she can't seem to pry her eyes from the double sunset outside. There's something distinctly alien about it, she thinks. Instantly her mind ads an addendum: of course its alien you idiot! All of it is alien, but it looks odder than it should.

She pulls her eyes away and back to the crowd. She scans the various tables, trying to get a feel for what kinds of conversations are taking place on each. Her view slowly makes its way towards a throng of patrons excitedly discussing the famous Arena champion's presence, and the artificially dolichocephalic skull of one fashionable individual grabs her attention. His head is two-toned, like a fucking neapolitan ice cream bar, she thinks. She stares at him for a moment longer, and then thinks to her self, sardonically, Of course!

She turns back towards the view through the high window, where the horizon is now backlit by the setting suns, and in perfect silhouette. She realizes that the arc of the horizon, much like the arc of that head, is far sharper than she is used to. As Hedion is slightly smaller than the Earth, its curvature is slightly different. She thinks of all the 'alien' things she's seen on Hedion, most of which are a part of someone's pastiche in a film or novel somewhere. Before seeing them, she was already familiar with them; double suns, strange sky-colors, holographic advertisments. The closeness, and subtly off nature of the Hedion horizon, however, she never expected.

Content with solving this little mystery, she notices Angel appreciating his rifle. She nudges him back into the present, and with a nod towards Hugh and the excited crowd, the two of them move into position to keep the encroaching throng from Zaef.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-09-02 20:38:43
The noblewoman who Zaef devoxes leaves the broken handheld where it lies. She's sheathed in a semiopaque azure gown that sprouts miniature bonsai forests for modesty. A small furry octoped with rather cute but vacant bulging eyes skitters across the woman's shoulder. She's almost surprised when Hugh speaks to her, and waves him off. She presses a step closer to Zaef and says, "Surely, champion, you chafe under all this undue attention? Why not accompany me to a quiet spot and make... reparations for my property you so casually destroyed?"

Robin and Hugh don't have a problem keeping the wavering crowd of looky-loos back. The woman engaged with Zaef engenders some jealous looks from some other women and a few men, but look is all they can do. While Robin and Hugh watch the crowd and Arketta makes a show of watching Zaef, Angel scans the interior. The team comprises perhaps the second largest entourage in Khalkiota. Nearly every obvious noble or magnate has a bodyguard of some stripe - Angel spots floating Vokenon stun-drones, besuited thugs, and quiet men and woman watching their charges from a distance - but noone brought Turai. The largest visible group is having a rollicking good time down in the main floor. Easily a dozen men and women share pots and chandeliers of all manner of food, laughing loudly and cavorting around one of the larger ornate tables. One of them looks up as he notices the team's entry and the commotion it caused, and Angel recognizes Segal Iyuzo from the dossiers. The self-proclaimed "First of Three" turns back to a comrade and they both look over Haralin's getup, Zaef's belligerence, and the three Turai. A few more heads turn, then they fall back to talking. It's obvious that someone recognizes Zaef, because Segal's table erupts in nods and lazy smiles of recognition.

"Talon of the Tainted Mother" - the Imperial's name for the team but here only referring to Zaef - filters through Khalkiota in your wake.

"...And Expansion brings this barbaric creature into our sanctuary?" A man asks Haralin from the onlookers. He's nowhere near as foppish as Haralin or many others, although the foot-tall shock of pink hair interlaced with feathers is a statement all its own. "Chaev Mahin," he says with a practiced cadence. "Anyone with an entourage as eclectic as you must have stories to match, and as you said, you are Expansion. I dare say it has been a while since you've been able to converse civilly? What about you, sir?" Mahin adds to Mr. Nasa (Luis).

The hostess nods to an invisible confidant and makes a subtle motion. She's not about to interrupt a guest's conversation, but it would seem that your chamber is ready should you desire.
punkey 2010-09-02 22:31:37
Haralin gives the room a bored glance, while scanning the room for marks and threats. Khalkiota is laid out like a massive hollow egg, with tables reaching improbable distances up the walls. Davis clocks many nobles streaming about in their fripperies, but no other marks present themselves quite yet. However, Quorona, Saloma and particularly Kesh are more reserved and behind-the-scenes players than the Iyuzo siblings, so this doesn't surprise him. No doubt all three of them already know that Davis and the rest of the team are in Khalkiota, what they all look like, and probably where they ordered here and preliminary profiles based on their behavior.

Haralin turns to look at the envoy. "It has been too long, Mr. Mahin," he says. He waves in Nasa's direction. "Zakest is my junior associate, I am the one you want to talk to." Haralin blatantly judges Mahin's outfit. "Or the one your boss wants to talk to. He is obviously curious as to why I am here, and sent you to find out. Tell him that Mr. Utari is here with me to promote and assist with Expansion, and if he wants to discuss Expansion business, he needs to do so in person. I do not discuss my missions with underlings, let alone in public, instead of the private chamber I requested for that specific purpose, like you seem inclined to, Mr. Mahin," Haralin says with disdain. He obviously thinks Mahin's an idiot for even approaching him on the main floor. "He no doubt already knows where I will be seated, tell him that he has an invitation to join us. Now, run along."

After Mahin leaves, Haralin turns to the hostess, disdain gone and replaced with a sly smile. "Please, show us to our table," he says with a nod.
Gatac 2010-09-03 08:38:25
"Step back from the prisoner, Ma'am," Hugh says. "No physical contact is permitted. Comply or Rav'turai Haaj" - he nods to Robin - "will remove you and search you for contraband."

(assuming she does step back)

"Thank you, Ma'am. This one's very dangerous and we can't take chances on anyone passing him weapons."
skullandscythe 2010-09-03 16:54:17
"She wasn't talking to you, asshat," Zaef growls at the Samal. He looks at the noblewoman and takes a step closer.

"Reparations, eh?" He picks up the vox and makes to hand it over to the noblewoman, but as she reaches out, he grabs her hand and takes another step closer to her. Zaef leans over, his mouth close to her cheek, and whispers. "I will make up for my crass behavior in a more...private setting. And you can have as much 'physical contact' as you want."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-09-03 17:02:16
The noblewoman replies, "I was thinking more like he could pass me someth-", but she stops as Zaef steps into her. The woman turns to a gaggle of what must be her friends (or peers if not friends) and gloats with her eyes. Something inside her decides that privacy is worth the cost, and she turns to leave with Zaef, saying, "I'll need a private chamber. She looks at Hugh and quickly to Robin, adding, "I wouldn't want to interfere with your duties, of course. Please, come watch your prisoner."

To the side of that little squabble, Chaev Mahin bristles subtly as Haralin gets his goat. "You overestimate your importance, dropchief," he replies cooly. "Much like anyone here. But don't worry, I will pass your invitation along." Mahin bows slightly, turns, and leaves.
Gatac 2010-09-03 17:32:43
"Vidas fucking Lam, the things I do for this blowhard..." Samal Mani Swao audibly mumbles.

"At your own risk, Ma'am," he says, then turns to Haralin. "Sir, we're taking the prisoner on a...PR appearance." The 'Sir' clearly hurts just as much as Zaef Utari getting his way while Swao's reduced to watching him 'perform'.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-09-03 17:57:05
The hostess motions for Haralin, Nasa, and Angel to follow her while a male counterpart to the hostess seemingly materializes from the crowd to lead Zaef and his catch back towards Khalkiota's private chambers. The crowd doesn't mind parting for the procession, and both groups are lead away from the main floor and up a slight curve. Aquatic life wriggles and splashes inside transparent walls and the somewhat overstated decor of the front area gives way to a more subdued, tranquil glow. You pass other booths and chambers and confirm that the appetites Khalkiota caters to aren't just food-related.

Zaef's party stops and enters an empty chamber here. The lighting has been set to "romantic but nothing serious" and the diffuse glow illuminates an ornate bed. Carefully-integrated controls can set all manner of preferences and reveal disguised panels with all manner of toys, drugs, and other accoutrements. Zaef's young catch (who caught who here, exactly?) sways in anticipation, and the blue folds and curves of her arboreal gown flow with motion like a waterfall. The host nods to the lady - she's been here before, apparently - and waves a control rod at the room.

"There's your precious privacy," the woman jokes to the Bloodwraith. "You want a slam or stim or you more of a zonk man?"

*I guess we'll just... guard the door?* Arketta sighs over the armor voxes to Robin and Hugh.


Haralin's hostess leads his group to a large pseudopod of a chamber off the last cluster of booths. Luscious pillows and couches splay in a meticulously haphazard arrangement around a long table that's already been covered with steaming hot alien meat, prepared platters of fruit, an actual human attendant/chef/bartender with an array of hand-mixable drinks, and an army of drug bowls, snifters, pinches, and sticks.

"If you require anything, just ask Eo," the hostess says with a dazzling smile. She produces a small wand from somewhere - you weren't looking at her hands - and waves it in a dismissive gesture at the room in general. "Khalkiota trusts you will enjoy your visit and assures your privacy, my lord."

Luis and Davis learned enough about Imperial culture to know that payment's not exactly a vulgar topic amongst nobility, but it's not something you dwell on if you can help it. Since there had been no problem getting the private booth, Luis assumes that Khalkiota had already somehow verified and connected to the team's expense account. A quick glance at his vox confirms the charges are simply awaiting authorization, easy as Paypal. Brinai and her rebels were good at moving money around and there's a suitable amount of resources at the team's disposal that should last for the mission, assuming a moderate level of discretion. Luis tries to keep his eyes from widening in too much shock - privacy at Khalkiota is expensive. At least that means it's likely genuine privacy. If it was free or cheap, chances are it wouldn't actually be private, but the club seems to go the opposite route. If a customer is pleased with the service, they'll return and they won't care how much it costs. Despite their carefree and aimless demeanors, Akis' upper crust probably flocks to the security inherent in that philosophy like maggots to meat.

At any rate, you have some time in supposed privacy. If all is going to plan, no doubt visitors of some stripe or another will seek you out, but until then, how do you proceed?
Gatac 2010-09-03 18:44:18
"You guard the door," Hugh voxes to Arketta and Robin. "I need to stay and watch Zaef."
punkey 2010-09-03 23:42:04
Haralin looks carefully at the woman, Swao and Zaef. "Hmm. Very well. But if our famous promotional 'volunteer' comes back in anything less than pristine condition, it's on your head, Samal."


Haralin nods to the hostess. "Thank you," he says, and takes a seat on a couch facing the entry to the chamber as he authorizes the massive charges to the room. Thank God we're spending most of this trip with the Quises, he thinks. His costume automatically pulls in the orbiting spheres, both physical and holographic. He motions to Eo. "A bottle of '88 Stentrazi," he says. "Three drops of venom to cut the sweetness."

Eo nods and prepares the drink as Haralin tucks into the closest piece of meat, a beautifully marbled rump steak from some large animal, covered in spiced juices recirculated by a pump built into the serving tray. It has a similar taste to steak, but smoother than any steak he had ever had before. Eo places his merlot-glass sized portion of the softly fizzing beverage, its straw yellow color swirling as the venom interacts with the drink. Haralin picks it up in between his middle and ring fingers, the many golden rings on his hand softly clinking on the glass, and takes a drink. The sweetness of the beverage is almost overpowering, with a small spice note that quickly explodes as the venom is activated by the heat in his mouth and changes the drink and attacks his taste buds.

Haralin motions to Luis, who is still standing at the entrance, vox in hand and disapproving look on his face. "Zakest, please, help yourself. This scrofa in particular is to die for." He then looks at Angel. "Tanakta, do you want anything? Eo will cut you whatever you want and get you a standing table."

Haralin looks back to Eo. "Speaking of to die for, what mix of stim to you recommend? I'm looking for something mild, not combat-grade, just enough to put the edge back on that this excellently mixed drink takes off and give me a bit of a leg up for the rest of the day."
Eo nods, and wheels over a table, its clear middle filled with medically-sealed vials containing dozens and dozens of different drugs. "Of course, my lord. Do you have a preferred delivery method?"
Haralin thinks for a second. "A bowl for now, and then a few patches to keep the stims flowing."

Eo nods. "Excellent choice, my lord." He activates the holointerface on the mixing table, and selects a few different stims and a delivery method. Pumps pull drugs from vials in the storage area underneath the table up into a dispenser head that pours into a small sealed glass bowl through a clear rubber gasket. Eo pours the bowl to a certain amount, then turns the flow off with a gesture. A patch goes into a head attachment, which is fitted to the dispenser. The drug flow is turned back on, and the patch is infused with the stim mix. The head is removed and the patch pulled out, and two more patches are produced the same way.

Eo then places the bowl and patches on a tray and places them in front of Haralin. "Your stims, my lord."
"Thank you, Eo," Haralin says. The bowl is uncapped, and an electronic atomizer wafts a wave of drug-infused vapor out of the bowl. He sticks it under his chin and inhales, the stims quickly taking effect. His vision feels sharper, his motions more precise. Eo's preparations for Luis and Angel seem to move slightly slower, as Haralin takes another breath of the stim mix. He smiles. "Excellent choice, Eo."
"Thank you, my lord."
CrazyIvan 2010-09-04 02:59:08
Days Earlier:

"Look Ngawai...someone's going to ask me what I'm having, and as proud as I am of having figured out a rough translation 'The local microbrew please', it doesn't exactly fit with the look. You know, the whole 'dangerous gunman for a man with more money than God' thing. So tell me what to order..."


Angel raises an eyebrow at Davis, then turns to Eo, his speech clipped, short, precise. Like a man who values movement and precision.

"Sunburst. Flank if you have it." Local fauna, which at best description looked a hell of alot like an otter the size of a horse. Apparently on its way towards extinction. Might as well. His gaze flicking down to the mixing table. "And a SX-78." Unmixed, and unlike Davis' choice, it was combat grade. 'Duelist's Choice' was its most common brand name, at least on the world's where Angel's cover was allegedly from. "Subdural," giving the departing hostess' rear end an appreciative glance, he smiles at Eo. "half-dose. The night is still young after all."

Of course, once that was combined with a ludicrously inefficient delivery Ngawai had shown him, the stim would have all the effect of a No-Doze.
e of pi 2010-09-04 08:20:03
After some cajoling, Nasa finally settles into a chair at the table and cuts himself some of another portion of meat. When Eo asks whether he would care for any stims or drink, Zakest orders a Southern Twist, Sambasan style--a mixed drink that, while extravagant, is almost plebeian compared to the orders already placed by Haralin and Tanakta. Despite this, when the drink arrives, several brightly colored layers separated by density with a straw that allows the drinker to sip from all layers at once, Zakest takes a long draft and finally relaxes slightly.

"This is excellent, Eo. I rarely find someplace that prepares these correctly. Either the layers are wrong, or the straw doesn't adjust to follow Sambasanian ratios as you drink."

After savoring a few bites of the meat and more of his Twist, Zakest sits back, "So, Chief, given much thought to who we need to see first about everything?"

Haralin thoughtfully chews a bite. "I figure, whoever is most interested in participating in whatever we have planned will show up soon enough. We can wait while our Talon puppet finishes satisfying his barbaric urges, and then we shall see, hm?" He washes down the meat with another drink.

Zakest chuckles to himself. "If we're going to wait while that one works out all his base urges, we'd be here all week. However, I suppose I might as well order another Twist and really enjoy myself."

Haralin shakes his head. "One of these days, Zakest, you will learn what it really means to be an Expansion agent. You must learn to enjoy yourself as much as you work, or you will never make it as an agent. Look at me, Zakest. I am being fed sumptuously, with fine drink and -" Haralin sticks his nose deep into his drug bowl and inhales deeply, "- partaking in some first-rate substances. And yet everything is under control. I have everything under control."

Zakest merely returns his attention to his food, unable to summon words to respond in a way that will allow him to keep his position.