Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang

punkey 2019-12-15 05:58:57
Before the Narsai’i first stumbled out of the gateway on Whiirr, the Bashakra’i have been on the ground at Grinacanne. The planet has been a priority target for the Bashakra’i rebellion since before Brinai consolidated control: resource-rich, working class and therefore sympathetic population, and at the start, relatively light Turai presence. Brinai’s plan involved subtly moving operatives into position, assassinating and replacing key officials, and dropping the hammer all at once. Unfortunately, one of her rivals had a different idea, and bombed the planetary headquarters of one of the mining industria on-world to “demonstrate their resolve”. Aside from immensely setting back efforts to win over the workers brought to Grinacanne to staff the offices instead of the mines and ruining Brinai’s efforts to bring a mining industrium into the fold, the bombing made Cortex widecasts across the galaxy and turned Grinacanne from potentially the first Bashakra’i success to the Imperium’s first brave stand against the Bashakra’i terrorists. Still, it’s the best chance the Bashakra’i have to achieve resource sustainability for their war machine and stays one of Brinai’s top priorities. Through various bribes, favors, and assassinations over the last fifteen years, Brinai has brought the Bashakra’i close to having the support they need to push the Imperium off the planet for good. Of the three industria on Grinacanne, her agents control one outright and have strong influence in the other two and the workers are on board - which makes the Imperium even more desperate.

And desperation, for the Imperial Turai, breeds brutality. Grinacanne has been under martial law for the last two years, with the workers basically living in prison garrison conditions, which only got worse when Emperor Thrax sent his chosen hand of Turai to the planet to sort things out once and for all. Truthseeker sweeps are routine, the Turai monitor all traffic that isn’t on foot in the city, and any sign of support for the Bashakra’i is grounds for corporal punishment at best, and spot execution at worst. It’s not an effort designed to win the planet back from the Bashakra’i - it’s designed to smoke them out and eliminate them while keeping the rest of the population too scared to do anything about it. Fortunately, the Bashakra’i have been on world long enough to know how to blend into the background well enough to avoid detection, but that’s just lead the hand, lead by Rav-Odun Kai Viestha, to get more creative. If they’re not going to bother winning hearts and minds, then all they need to do is maintain control over the workers and squeeze.

His plan is pretty simple: no one’s going to fuck with the Turai if every infraction leads to them being couriered a piece of their loved ones. So, Viestha tasked four quads to maintain that pressure on the on-planet industria heads and local leaders. Three of the quads stay in the city - door to door sweeps, targeted strikes when intel comes down, the boot on the neck. The last quad is the stinger to the head, specifically that of their loved ones. They’re out in the desert, among the dunes, hills of still-cooling lava, and active volcanoes, holding roughly 20-30 people hostage in a makeshift prison camp that shifts around every few days. It never stays in one place long enough for the Basharka’i to get a bead on where it is, and without that knowledge, they have no way of striking back and even attempting a rescue mission. That would be where the 815 come in. Searches of the desert haven’t turned up any permanent encampments that the quad has been moving in and out of, so all the Bashakra’i know is that they’re setting up their own camp every time they move, which means inflatable shelters and no serious defensive measures beyond what can be packed up and moved. Given the size of the quad and the amount of hostages in tow, which means at least 3 Mantas and a couple heavy lift skimmers for equipment. This isn’t a small operation, but it is highly mobile, which means the team going after it will have to get creative to track it down and strike.
Gatac 2019-12-23 17:23:40
Everyone's got a lot of reading to do with their mission briefs. Hug'sh is no exception. He's going over the list of hostages, the scattered intel of what the Bashakra'i know about the camp's previous locations. He's putting it all together. Everything is just this close to making sense.

That's when he smells the fire, again. Hears the screams, again. Stares at Jorumm again. Crushed under a fallen cage, her cubs and mate crying out for her as someone - someone? - pulls Hug'sh, no, Hugh with them, out of the dying ship.

"Get my family out," she signs. Then the airlock slams closed and it's a lifetime later, Hug'sh is here now, his family is safe, they're on Whirr, everything is fine, except nothing is fine...that's why they're doing this.

"You alright there, Hug'sh?" Paul asks from nowhere.
Hug'sh looks up, yellow pushing violet out of his face. His palms are sweating and it feels like he's been holding his breath for a minute. "...fine," Hug'sh yelps. "I'm just...worried about Grinacanne. I mean, we save these hostages - if we can figure out how - are we sure we can keep the Imperium from trying this again? There are already too many innocent lives in this crossfire. And I'm...I'm worried about what we're going to have to do to win."

Another deep breath, without giving Paul the chance to answer.

"Okay," Hug'sh says. "Infil via bulk freighter seems like our best bet past gateway controls. I take it that once we free the hostages, there'll be strikes against turai infrastructure that render exfil less of a problem. Which brings us to the Pie're in the forest: finding the camp. Or limiting its movements, in any event. I'm worried that will still leave us with a gargantuan AO. We need something we can track, skimmer paths, heat differential against the ground at night, comms, anything. Any ideas?"
CrazyIvan 2019-12-30 01:24:02
Angel stares down at an old-fashioned paper map of where the Bashakra’i knew where they had been, a frown on his face.

"The sites aren't random. We know that - no one is actually random. They can think they are, but they have preferences. Terrain. Liking coordinates that end in '7'. Something. The best way to get the drop on them is to be there before them - have we had the Sheen try to crunch what we know so far into a list of probable sites?"
punkey 2019-12-31 07:48:17
Garrett cracks his knuckles. "Lots of approaches on Ibash. Yarruis is the obvious one, but he's also probably the slipperiest one of the bunch. Toa's a thug, but thugs can still be about honor, so maybe an approach there. Teon's obviously interested in more than what she's allowed to have, so that could drive the group apart well. Voath's a sociopath, pure and simple, and can probably whipped into a murderous frenzy pretty easy. The only one I don't see a good approach for yet is Quaj, but really, we need to get eyes on all of them. Is there any sort of meeting or get-together or public function we can crash? Short timetable, but all we need to do is get them to start killing each other and it can get pulled apart from there. Just want to have a good approach before I commit to a plan."
punkey 2019-12-31 07:57:02
Onas speaks up from behind Paul. "I can pass a request along to the Sheen to run some simulations," he says. "They should get back to us fairly quickly."

(Garrett uses Wits and Something Out of Nothing Aspect: 2d10 vs. 1d8 = 4, 8 v. 1: GREAT SUCCESS)

Paul swipes through a few reports from Ibash and his eyes light up. "In fact, all the industriums are having their annual trade show to show off their skimmer, ship, and product lines for the next year tomorrow, and we already have a trin infiltrating to get eyes on the event. They'll be going as ravliars, so they'll have access to all of them for interviews. Think you can make something happen with that?"
Gatac 2019-12-31 08:46:05
"Good," Hug'sh says. "We can do more footwork on Grinacanne regarding the location, then."
"Hold up," Paul says. "Hug'sh, you....brushed past your infiltration strategy. What do you mean, bulk freighter?"
"The heightened security makes footgates impractical," Hug'sh says. "Even if they don't recognize Angel Kesh, I see no way to smuggle the weapons and explosives we'll need to pull this off."
"...explosives?" Paul asks.
"We'll need to blow up the camp after we rescue the hostages," Hug'sh says. "Cover our escape...and send a message."
"O-kay," Paul says. "Back to the freighter?"
"They can search cargo holds and voids behind panels," Hug'sh explains, "but they can't scan a whole bulk chemical tank. Fill it with some sort of dangerous but industrially useful chemical and it becomes the perfect place to hide gear in. You put the gear in a glass container for protection, anchor that with - something non-reactive, whatever, it just has to stay in the middle of the tank. Any samples the turai draw from the fill port will be pure chemical and since they can't weigh the tank by itself, the discrepancy in overall density won't be noticeable by their sensors."
"Doesn't sound like any smuggling technique I ever heard of," Paul says.
"Because it requires an industrium to pull it off," Hug'sh says. "Smugglers don't have 50,000 gallons of valuable chemicals to throw around as chaff or a factory that can make a single-use glass container to spec. On the flipside, the Imperium can put a lot of Turai on a gateway security post, but they can't keep tankers on standby for an hours-long draining/inspection/refilling cycle for every bulk liquid freighter coming into each system. Especially because they'd need to have a separate setup for every conceivable kind of chemical - else you're getting into contamination of very valuable and sensitive goods at best, which would piss off the industrium that owns the shipment and make it impossible to run any kind of high-tech manufacturing. Worst case, cross-contamination yields runaway chemical reactions. That's not a risk you want your grunts to be taking." Hug'sh grins. "We just need a legitimate enough buyer planetside. Deliver the chemical, have them drain the tank, then we can retrieve the gear through the access hatch while we 'clean' the inside of the tank for the 'next shipment'. Freighter takes on another load of something to be shipped off-planet and leaves. Nobody the wiser. We could do without either in a pinch but if we can keep the method secret throughout, it might be useful for other operations."
"And you -" Paul begins.
"Oh, me?" Hug'sh says. "I'm the cook. Obviously."
e of pi 2020-01-02 05:51:58
Luis studies the reports from Ibash. "A trade show is handy, it means a lot of news and rumors, and people they won't know. I was thinking we could use something like that as a lever. Teon has this new exoatmospheric skimmer that Getkesa's doing, and Yarnius has their old runabout lines, and Toa's probably nervous that he's not brining much to the combine personally they can't get from Quaj's Kansatai taps and other ways to hire muscle. What if we start pushing out data, leaked plans, and the like that Voath and Quaj are looking to replace Toa while also spreading that Toa is thinking of going to his old Kansatai friends about how they're being bypassed, and that Teon and Yarrius are looking to make a break at independent ship production to break out of the combine? It'd be a start at getting every one of them looking over their shoulder."
punkey 2020-01-03 19:23:15
"A bit too much, maybe," Garrett says. "We want them distrusting each other, not wondering who's running a game on them. But it'll be worthwhile to ask whatever groups are on the ground to pump up whatever rumors already exist. Something like this, there's bound to always be rumors of one person betraying another."

Arketta nods to Angel. "I like that plan. Chasing a quad across the desert and trying to move to them, we're too easy to spot. If we get them to come to us, if we're already there, they won't spot us until it's too late." She smirks. "And I'm the shipmaster."
Gatac 2020-01-03 19:26:16
"Excellent," Hug'sh says. He turns his smile on Angel. "Now all we need is a wealthy patron."
CrazyIvan 2020-01-04 07:56:26
Angel grins. "And his checkbook I presume?"

He shrugs. "Lets go buy a tanker."
e of pi 2020-01-06 04:06:07
Luis shrugs. "It's a point, too much coming onto the scene at once and they'll worry it's external. But if we can play up just a rumor or two like that that are already there, make them sound more like organic leaks, then that can help. I can see what's in the local nets once we're there."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2020-01-07 17:59:07
FTE doesn't mean to interject, it just arrived at a plan and needs to know if it maintains operational standards. "Does the crew on Aikoro have the means to build a cybershell there? I don't have to go in this-" it gestures to its Turai-analog form - "if I can just go as data."
punkey 2020-01-07 18:08:27
(Aikoro Cell Tech skill, minus Aspect because Sheen are scary: 1d12 v. 1d10 = 11 v. 1)

"Well, they're undercover as nanoforge workers, so you can probably have a couple shells if you need them, or one of your Turai shells," Paul says.
Gatac 2020-01-09 18:46:06
"There is one more thing," Hug'sh says. He looks to Paul. "I don't mean to put you or Onas on the spot, but there's something I need to get off my chest in front of all of you, for my sake."

He sighs.

"There's not a lot of human Hugh left, but I'm still ashamed of the way I treated you both back when we first met. Denigrating your love for another was ignorant and hateful. It was wrong, period. I am sorry and I hope my apology - and my conduct going forward - goes a little way towards making up for how I treated you then."
punkey 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."
Gatac 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.
e of pi 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."
punkey 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."
e of pi 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."