Jade Imperium - Came To Make A Bang

punkey 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?"
Gatac 2020-01-18 19:05:45
"I think I've said all that...needed saying," Hug'sh grunts. "Let's go get some payback."
punkey 2020-01-25 19:31:21
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.
Gatac 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.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2020-01-28 21:04:09
Front Toward Enemy wakes up, more or less, to detect primed weapons in the room and two available shells within broadcast range.

"Hello there," it sends to the team's voxes via narrowband. "If you kill me, you're just gonna waste all that time you spent smuggling those shells out of the forges. I'm Front Toward Enemy, and you all must be the people who want to shove Olona's harvester up his ass."
punkey 2020-01-29 21:44:25
"Yeah, that's right," Anoni replies. "Let's all just relax, and turn those scramblers off, yeah?"
FTE's limited sensors in the transport shell detect one scrambler deactivate, and then a few seconds later, another turns off. It's not possible for electronics to turn off reluctantly, but that one definitely comes close.
"So, you're our backup?" Anoni asks. "Never worked with a Sheen before. They're letting you in to the 815?"
Admiral Duck Sauce 2020-01-29 22:12:15
"You could say I was born for this," FTE sends. "I'm going to attempt a connection with that shell 2.83 meters to your right, don't be alarmed. It'll be easier if we can just talk."
e of pi 2020-01-31 04:52:46
Luis watches while both Hale and the mercs take their chance to assert authority, and waits to see if the mercs take things any further. Mostly, it just seems like posturing to see how they react.
CrazyIvan 2020-02-07 05:32:28
Angel grunts, and tugs slightly at his coat to straighten the lines. The ship might be well worn and a little lived in, but his appearance is immaculate. Every inch the kind of man who would both hire a ship like this because he has uses for the kind of people who fly in it - and also the kind of man who views this all as every so slightly beneath him.

The kind of man who, to the average port inspector, might feel like more trouble than he's worth.
punkey 2020-02-09 08:37:22
Arketta eases the Crimson Akwhela into position in the pre-bracketed-for-fire space, lowers the power to station keeping only, and climbs out of the shipmaster's seat. She grabs her dark brown work jacket, throwing it on over her Turai crimson snap-up shirt and brown pants. She didn't get why Hug'sh and Angel snickered and called her outfit "shiny", but right now, she has to put on her best "I'm a smuggler, but an honest one" face for the inspection.

The Manta arrives a few minutes later, but it doesn't dock. Zaef warned her about this - an easy way to tell an experienced shipmaster from a novice is the newbies always assume that the inspection team will dock. Instead, the Manta heats up its guns, parks a few hundred meters away, and depressurizes the troop cabin to let two trins out the back on EVA packs. The six Turai jet over and land in the open airlock as Arketta, Zaef, Angel, and Hug'sh wait on the other side.

(Angel Intimidate: 2d8 v. 1d8 = 5 v. 1)
(Arketta Talk: 1d6+1d8 v. 1d8 = 6 v. 7)

Arketta puts on her best nonchalant smirk as the airlock opens. "Welcome to the Crimson -"
"Pursuant to system-wide order by Rav-Odun Duand Yarakaj, all ships entering the Grinacanne system are to be boarded and searched for contraband and any individuals with known terrorist sympathies," the Samal says, already sounding bored. "Stand aside and let us do our jobs so we can both get moving, Shipmaster."
Arketta slowly nods as the Samal walks right by her. "...right. Well, we've got nothing to hide. Panels are popped open, containers are spaced out for inspection."
Angel, on the other hand, doesn't move. He stands right in the Samal's path, looking both very rich and very used to getting his way.
"Noble on his way from...somewhere, he didn't say and I didn't ask," Arketta says. "His containers are laid out, but he refused to let them be opened for inspection, I tried to tell him, but..."

Angel glowers harder at the Samal, who visibly pauses to consider pissing off someone rich and powerful enough to walk right into a restricted system without proper ID and expect to get away with it. He quickly flips a haptic, and his scanner runs against the same bulkhead Arketta's pretending to have encountered, but also tells the Turai to let Angel through. A definite do not fuck with sign.

"Right," the Samal says. "Well, let's get this underway."
Gatac 2020-02-09 08:49:33
Hug'sh-as-Lorr eases forward. "Shipmaster," he says to Arketta in barked Naranai, "can Turai look at galley first? Must put freezer back soon." He gives the Samal an apologetic look, ears flattening and eyes cast to the floor. "Sorry for asking. There are cookies."

Assuming the Turai go with it, Hug'sh will give them the ten-minute tour of the galley, going over inventory, hygiene regulations and, of course, the smuggling space cleverly hidden behind the freezer, which Hug'sh has disconnected, unbolted and slid forward for inspection. The tray of fresh cookies sits on an unused counter, ripe for plundering by anyone who might feel peckish.
punkey 2020-02-09 09:15:51
It's a short drone skimmer ride to the hotel - owned and operated by Getkesa Combine, naturally. Hale leads the way into the hotel lobby, followed by Garrett, Luis, and Swims-the-Black in the rear with the gear. As the team steps into the lobby, a rather simple yet stylish polished-stone-and-carpet affair, a fit young man in a somewhat revealing Getkesa Combine blue and yellow uniform approaches them. Hale intercepts him immediately, but the worker doesn't blink. He must be used to a certain degree of security paranoia from the hotel's guests.
"Mr. Namas and party?" he asks.
"Yes, I am Namas," Garrett replies.
"The rest of your crew is waiting in your room, number 943," the worker says, tapping his vox and "flicking" the room codes to the team before leaving with a quick bow.
Garrett looks to the rest of the group. "I guess we go to room 943."


A quick elevator ride later, as rain starts to beat on the seamless glass window rising the whole height of the lift's run up the building, and the team files down the hall to Room 943. The room has the standard buzzer-sconce combo that the berths on Atea have, save the matching aesthetic to the hotel, but beside that is another sconce attached to the wall. As soon as Hale and Garrett step into view, the hotel room door slides open and a man in his 30s with perfectly coiffed hair sticks his head out. "Ah, our second team is here," he says. "Come on in, we need to plan our coverage before the show starts."

The room inside is already dominated by carryall crates for equipment, with sconce drones and a couple cogitators already unpacked and set up. A big dark-skinned man with braided hair looks over his shoulder and nods at the team, while a slight woman looks up from her equipment with interest as the painfully good-looking man closes and locks the door behind him. "Don't worry, we've already swept the room for the Getkesa listening devices," he says, then bows. "Kodor Viaweph, team leader." He points to the big man at the cogitator. "That's Qumu Manloni, and her name is Vaaosa Ilnu. So, we're told you're jumping onto our annual recon to cause some kind of trouble? Cover's a business proposal, and you want to get the whole rotten cabal to turn on each other?" He whistles. "That's gonna be one tall order."

Luis' ocular implants are naturally drawn to the tech that Ilnu is working with - some kind of hacking device? A broad-spectrum vox jammer? Sophisticated 3D scanner? Or...a multi-channel audio recorder and drone controller? Swims peers over the shoulder of Manloni, and sees that instead of some kind of complicated recon as it first appeared, Manloni is actually editing sconce video together, something about one of the new skimmer models on display. Garrett, for his part, can recognize the careful cadence and accentless-accent of a ravilar anywhere.
punkey 2020-02-09 09:38:31
(FTE Trust: 2d8 v. 1d8 = 8 v. 1, Trust is now Neutral)

The mere act of telling the humans that it was going to jump shells seems to be enough to lower their guard, so when FTE sits up in one of its new Turai shells, the scramblers are lowered and turned off.
"When Brinai told us we were getting sent a Sheen to help...we had to be sure you wouldn't just...take over everything and blow our cover," the woman that opened the transport shell - Anoni Hoim, according to the team's Bashakra'i files, said. "Name's Hoim. You're the 815 Sheen?" She nods to the others, starting with Tena Telosa, the team's listed second in command. "That's Telosa, intrusion expert." They narrow their eyes at FTE, obviously distrusting - but the scrambler stays off. "Vama Abeon, industrial systems, and his sister Vano, offensive code." Vama nods to FTE while Vano pokes at the transport shell before looking back to FTE, obviously excited to get closer. "Raand, Turai systems." She nods to FTE, and it doesn't need the team's files in its memory to know Lena Raand learned how to stand like that in the Imperial Turai.

"So, Sheen," Hoim says. "What's your story?" The tone in her voice changes, and not for the better. "How long have you been with the 815?"
CrazyIvan 2020-02-11 00:28:37
It's a careful line to walk. After all, the Technically-Still-a-Specialist knows that there is an immense joy to be found in fucking with people who are under the mistaken belief that they are too important to be fucked with. This is, as far as he is concerned, at least 20% of the appeal of reenlistment.

Instead, the goal is to simply appear impervious. Like a particularly stylish boulder. Both above whatever is going on right now but also impossible to get a rise out of. The kind of man who can simply make everyone's day a little bit worse. Once the Samal is done, Angel inclines his head once, picks up his effects, and makes to leave.

"My thanks, Samal Teaobo." Again, neither threatening nor with the salaciousness that suggests future bribes - the kind of thing that could set off the sort of upright Turai they have stationed on Grinacanne. No, just the sort of man who remembers names, and stores them away for later as an idle habit, one more way of ordering a universe that is his. Picking up his personal effects, he proceeds a respectfully unaffiliated distance away before connecting with the local Cortex, arranging for his bags to be delivered to the nicest hotel available.

"Nicest" being a decidedly relative description.

Though it's also one where Angel has just bought out an entire floor.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2020-02-12 01:24:23
"Longer than you," FTE sasses back. "Look, there's no answer I can give that earns your respect. Was I there when your BFF Jonnoperest died in that gilded zoo? No. I wasn't even a subroutine then. So yeah, I've been with the 815 a couple months, and I just met you now. So what? I'm here to teabag motherfuckers who think they know what to do with your fucking planet. Let's get our heads out of our asses and get to it."
e of pi 2020-02-13 00:30:22
"Yeah," Luis says. "If we can get them to turn on each other, it'll be spectacular, though." He admires the very-well-disguised gear for a moment. You've got a really good setup here. how tight is the security? The port was mostly just mercs, do they look hard at you on your recon runs?"
punkey 2020-02-17 07:48:22
(Hug'sh Bribery: 1d8 v. 1d8 = 3 v. 2, Success)
(Arketta Talk: 1d6+1d8 v. 1d8 = 6 v. 4, Success)

"So, normally we'd keep the special compartments closed, but on a stop like this, we all know that you know where to look," Arketta says, standing back as the trins start their scans. "Figured I'd just save us all the trouble."
"So you admit to being a smuggler," Samal Teaobo says.
"I admit to having a ship with smuggling compartments," Arketta replies with a smirk. "Hard for me to be smuggling anything when I throw them open for you trins to take a look."

Teaobo picks up one of Hug'sh's cookies, sniffs it, then takes a bite. The spice goes well with the sweetness, and he nods appreciatively. Guess he figures if he starts to go down, they can always just blow the ship up. "Well, your...candor is appreciated, Shipmaster."
"Anything that gets us on our way and out of point fire range," Arketta replies. "Spent way too long living in Needleships to want to spend any time near them now."
"You're a banner sister?" Teaobo asks.
Arketta nods. "Did my time in the Third, made Rav-Turai before I...got a better job offer. Worked something else for a bit, and now I fly this crate." She leans over to look at the trin scanning the containers in the hold. "Speaking of which..."

(Turai Scan: 2d8 v. 2d10 = 6 v. 8)

"Find anything yet?" Arketta asks.
"No, Shipmaster," the Rav-Turai leading the other trin says.
"And you won't," Arketta replies, and looks back to Teaobo with a smile. "So? Are we free to go?"
Teaobo looks over to Angel's still closed and locked luggage, then back to Angel, then back to Arketta. "You're free to go, Shipmaster. Follow the corridor or you will be fired upon."
"Wouldn't dream of doing anything else," Arketta says.

The two trins file back into the airlock, and Arketta waits for the hissing of air inside to subside before she breathes a sigh of relief. "Vidas fucking Lam."
"You did good," Zaef says. "Now, can we not hang out under a Needleship?"
punkey 2020-02-17 07:49:00
Hoim blinks at FTE's directness. "Yeah. Sure. Let's...get to it."
Gatac 2020-02-17 15:53:40
Hug'sh takes an experimental bite from one of the cookies. Not much substance, but definitely the right move to not go too far afield with those. Better bland than blech.

"Guess we're all officially scoundrels now," Hug'sh says. "I'll let you know when the galley is secured."
punkey 2020-02-17 19:45:10
"Tight," Manloni grunts from his work. "The Baroness has come down from her tower."
"We pinged mercs at all the entrances yesterday, I made a map." Ilnu waves her hand and a holo of the convention center appears, with red dots marking what you presume to be mercs. There's a lot of red dots.
"So any action on the floor..." Swims muses.
"And it's going to get very exciting, very fast," Viaweph finishes. He looks to Garrett, who's been very quiet so far. "What are you thinking, o Smiling Beast?"
"I'm wondering where else they're vulnerable," Garrett says. "Because this might be the perfect place to get them riled up and at each other's throats, but any action here seems like a death wish. Maybe get them mad enough to have a summit somewhere, we crash the party, pin the deaths on the other factions, and they take each other out before the survivors get thrown in the Arena?" Garrett looks to Luis, Hale, and Swims-the-Black with a raised eyebrow.