Jade Imperium - This Time It's Personal

punkey 2007-07-30 21:02:12
"Well, let's think about this for a second. Kakuas, as far as you know, only work on your species. They also work on us. Since we've never left this planet before six months ago, you must have come from here, you know it and I know it. Since your tech must have come from somewhere, it follows that there's a great deal of Master technology here on Earth. We've only been working on it for less than a year and we've already figured out how to use all of the tech that we've found so far. Just because we haven't found all of it yet doesn't mean it isn't there, and when we do, we'll have one hell of a collection ready to go. We have teams working on the fundamental physics behind the Master artifacts right now. You want knowledge? We're about to corner the market. I'm giving you a one-time offer, Hethna. Help us work on these artifacts and you'll learn things that you can't even imagine. All I want from you is one piece of information. A fair trade, considering the wealth of knowledge I'm putting before you."
fanchergw 2007-07-30 21:17:15
His tactic works as well as he could have hoped, though he takes a shot to the knee as the price of success.

Livia seems cheeful enough as she gets up. It's her comment about getting the next challenge dressed that really catches his attention. What could she mean by that?

At the fountain, Semo rinses his mouth with several big swigs of water, spitting each one back out. Then, filling his bottle, he spots Hugh just turning a corner, but the captain appears distracted and disappears before Semo can hail him.

Livia swishes by with the she-Turai in tow. Suddenly a sinking feeling settles in Semo's chest as he starts to realize what he's going to be up against next.

"White Fang? I've seen that one. Terrible. You're better off losing," Semo retorts. He pauses to stretch a bit as Livia gets Arketta prepared.

When she's ready, Semo takes his place on the mat. He knows the she-Turai is tough, and will no doubt cheat as Livia suggested. Plus, he has to keep an eye out for Livia or others entering the mix at any point.

This could be bad. Good thing it's just practice...
punkey 2007-07-30 21:48:29
"I need to know where one of your index of known planets is. We know of a few planets, but we need to know more. Tell you what, I'll leave something in your room, just to give you a glimpse of what's to come."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-07-30 22:22:13
The next session with Varos sees little difference from the arrogant old bastard.

"Agent Davis. I thank you for your gifts. If what they say is true, your kind truly are barbarians. You have been engaged in constant warfare since... forever. Why would you deny Imperial authority? We could provide you with energy, boundless energy. Your carbon-fuel wars would disappear. Overpopulation? There are countless worlds waiting for those who would tame them. Disease? You know of the kauka, but you know nothing of what else we could offer you. The Homeworld itself is a jewel; you would not see the bombardments that glassed Bashakra. This world could be paradise once more."

"Why should I help you.... " he searches for the words... "help you... kill the cat that lays the golden egg?"
punkey 2007-07-30 22:59:38
Davis smiles. "Because everything you just said is a lie. We know that the Imperium is engaged in constant warfare itself, trying to maintain its territory. Also, as you've read, we're not fond of foreign rule. You know that we won't submit to the Imperium, no matter what happens, and when that occurs, they'll glass this planet smooth, if they're not going to already after we killed one of the emissaries of the Emperor. All these beautiful promises of peace, energy and land are false, and you know it. Everything here will be destroyed. At best, submitting to Imperial authority means living the rest of our lives in slavery, and more likely, they're going to vaporize every living thing on this planet, and we'd rather (Davis switches to Imperial) die on our feet than live on our knees, Hethna Varos."

Davis pauses, then continues in English. "Instead, we're offering you a better way, Hethna. You cooperate with us, we will give you the same freedoms we have. You can work on the Master technologies with our researchers. You prove that we can trust you, and we will give you more and more freedoms. Look at this." Davis puts a small viewscreen on the table. It shows security camera footage from earlier, featuring Arketta and Hugh playing video games and laughing. "You recognize Capt. Verrill and Arketta, I assume. They were the bitterest of enemies when we brought you two here, and now look. She likes it here, Hethna. We can give you the same freedoms, if you just cooperate."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-07-30 23:24:38
"Whetu!" Varos whispers. Silence hangs in the room a moment, then: "I suspect that you know as I do - that the truth lies somewhere between your Armageddon and my Eden. I agree we are the same, but that seems to matter little to your people and even less to mine."

Varos stares at the footage of Arketta playing Xbox. Davis can tell he's trying not to, but Varos can't help but idly fiddle with the chains on his wrists. "I will help you, but in return I want ambassadorial status and an appropriate domicile."
punkey 2007-07-30 23:51:29
Davis stands up and smiles. "Excellent, that's great news, Hethna. We'll get you set up with your identification and room immediately." He closes the viewscreen and opens the door. "I'll get the guards in here to escort you to a briefing room while I get one of our researchers in here to brief you. I'll be right back."

He walks out of the room and talks to the guard. "I need Dr. Kilgore down here right away to brief Varos. When I come back out, take him out of restraints and assemble a four-man team to escort him to a briefing room and guard him. Make sure he doesn't try anything stupid."

Davis walks back inside. "It's all being arranged right now. The quarters here aren't quite as nice as they could be, but this is a military base after all, not a luxury resort. And about the location of that index..."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-07-31 05:52:08
"The Repository of Benevolent Spirits on Napai, the Imperial capital, or the Keeper's Spire on Boranai, Citadel of the Keepers of Ancient Ways. Those contain what you seek, and more besides. You'll excuse me if I'm not yet forthcoming with the details, seeing as how your end of the bargain is not in place."


Arketta shrugs, like "are we waiting for something?", then circles in with a leg sweep. Semo steps over her kick and slaps away Arketta's baton thrust. He rebounds back with a slash to the throat, eskrima style, but she blocks his forearm with her other hand. Semo grabs Arketta's forearm on her return stab and shoves her off of him. She rolls backwards and, unencumbered by her usual armor, quickly gets to her feet in time to duck under a would-be coup-de-gras.

Her fighting style isn't as exotic as Semo expected. It's different, sure, but she's still a human, two arms, two legs, and trained to kill. He notices that Arketta doesn't slash with her baton. If it's a sword stand-in, the Turai must use their blades as stabbing weapons first and foremost.
punkey 2007-07-31 07:09:56
"Wouldn't expect any less of you, Hethna. Anything you can tell us about both locations, layout, security, contents, would be greatly appreciated at the mission planning meeting, which you are invited to attend as an advisor. In the mean time, we have guards ready to escort you to your briefing with the head of our science team. I will see you again later, when I take you to your quarters." Davis stands up and leaves the room again, letting the guards in to unbind Varos and take him to the briefing room. He walks down to the end of the hall, but the instant he clears the audible range of Varos, he pulls out his phone and starts to jog. He's got a lot of work to do in what he suspects will be a very short amount of time.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-07-31 16:46:39
Semo parries and ducks two more of Arketta's stabs; the strikes are never straight on against the chest, always downstrokes towards the lungs or stabbing uppercuts, meant to slip underneath the layered abdominal armor. In a flash, however, the fight's over; Semo parries Arketta's last strike down and whips his baton across her helmet. The blow would've killed an unarmored man; Arketta's lifted off her feet and spins, hitting the mat hard. She tries to get up but then Semo's on top of her, baton pointedly thrust into the back of her neck. She taps out.

Hugh gets a call while watching the fight; Davis wants Arketta to meet Varos in Reynolds' (the British advisor) quarters.


Sturgis tells Davis his man'll have the room set up in no time. "Have the meet there," he advises.


Max and Luis are in one of the sublevel briefing rooms, using up their third whiteboard on mission planning, when Hethna Varos, uncuffed but escorted by a quartet of soldiers, enters the room. Max can spot Agent Davis lurking in the corridor beyond.

"Dr. Kilgore," Varos states in Imperial, "I have been granted the status of Imperial Ambassador in exchange for my help in planning this theft of the Imperium's Gateway codes. What do you need?"
fanchergw 2007-07-31 17:34:27
It actually surprises Semo that no one else sneaks into the fight with Arketta. However, as short as it is, he learns a few things. Clearly, she's using the baton as she would one of the swords, which gives him ideas on how best to use it against the Turai armor. The downstroke and upstroke attacks are obviously intended to get past weak points in the armor, even though the swords are perfectly capable of going right through it. Although, that may be partly a function of his strength.

Once she taps out, Semo rises and offers her a hand up. "Thank you, Arketta. That was helpful."

Brushing the sweat from his face, he looks over at Livia. "We done, or you got more fun planned for me?" Part of him is really starting to look forward to a nice hot shower...
Gatac 2007-07-31 20:40:12
Hugh waits for the inevitable "good fight" posturing to die down, then quietly escorts Arketta out.

"We've been requested for a meeting. Please hurry if you want to shower."
Dieter 2007-07-31 21:09:07
admiralducksauce wrote:

"Dr. Kilgore," Varos states in Imperial, "I have been granted the status of Imperial Ambassador in exchange for my help in planning this theft of the Imperium's Gateway codes. What do you need?"

Max's brow furrows at the thought of addressing the Turai with any more pleasantries than required.

"That's....That's just great." replies Max, shooting Luis a measured level of stifled disapproval before continuing.

"The bottom line is we have obtained multiple Gate codes that would seem to be valid but they always fail to activate our own Gateway. We just don't know why our Gate doesn't want to work with your codes."

Now be so kind as to give us the info we need so we can nuke your people back to the Stone Age.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-08-01 19:35:03
Arketta eyes Semo suspiciously, trying to discern any sarcasm. She shrugs, then gives a one-handed salute with her left hand, like one half of a stereotypical monk's bow. "Can I at least dividuh Air Bud?" Arketta asks Hugh as they leave.

"That's all I got, Poopoo," Colomaya replies to Semo's inquiry. "You should be able to handle whatever they're gonna throw at you."


"Your trials with your Gateway reinforce a theory the Keepers have had for a while," Varos states, never straying from his native tongue. "The possibility exists that there may be more than one network of Gates. We've discovered a handful of Gateways on worlds that we thought were defunct; my people may still consider them thus. It is why the wreckage of the Masters' vessel on the beast-world went untouched. The only Gateway that was not damaged didn't work, and as for the others... even the smallest child knows you do not activate a damaged Gateway."

"Our Gates, that we create with the molecular forges... they appear to be on a different... frequency, or wavelength, or code. They will talk to each other. The codes you no doubt have been trying are meant for Gates such as these."

"Still, I would not think that you could exhaust all the possibilities of your current Gateway so soon. I doubt any working codes would lead to Imperial territory, however."
Dieter 2007-08-01 20:03:35
admiralducksauce wrote:

"Still, I would not think that you could exhaust all the possibilities of your current Gateway so soon. I doubt any working codes would lead to Imperial territory, however."

Max scoffs at Varos' implication of defeat.

"I never said we have exhausted our options, it's just the ones we have tried thusfar have not yielded positive outcomes. Maybe you could look over our findings, provided your ever-growing list of negotiation terms is amicable. I believe it's Steven Seagal Night at the Base's theater... Am I right, Sgt Stanhill?" asks Max, knowing Luis' stance on the collected works of the Aikido Master.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-08-02 18:38:32
The fact that Varos has no idea who Steven Seagal is is not lost on either Max or Luis. The guards with Varos suppress some giggles.

Hethna Varos looks over the Gateway codes. Most of the ones you have you got from him or Arketta in the first place. He confirms this, and gives names like Aikoro, Dantumi, Boranai, Napai, Sambasan, Hedion, and Bashakra. If what he says about different networks is true, these codes won't work until Diego Garcia's keg finishes its Gate construction 4 months from now.

There are three codes, however, that you didn't get from the Turai prisoners.

"This one, this one, and.... this one look like valid codes, although I do not recognize them," Varos says. "You have tried these?" Max checks his notes, and sure enough, those three codes resulted in the amber glyphs of a blocked connection. No radio contact was attempted for fear of tipping your hand to the Imperium, but if these codes are on a different network then the Turai might not even know about them. Of course, there might not be anyone there to hear any attempted radio contact or unblock the Gates.

Lastly, Varos points out some common threads between Gate codes that allow Max to cut out a lot of gibberish results from his gate-cracking algorithms.
Gatac 2007-08-02 18:44:19

"Dog is...cute," Arketta says.
"Yes," Hugh replies.
"You...play basketball?"
"No. Used to."
"Play basketball...with dog?"
"Um, no."

They keep watching.
fanchergw 2007-08-02 18:59:08
Semo returns Arketta's gesture as best he can, then snaps a smart salute to the captain as they leave.

"So, practice tomorrow?" he asks Livia. "After all, no sense in letting these new skills atrophy." In truth, he just wants to spend more time with her, but isn't willing to come out and say that in front of others.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-08-02 19:00:47
"We not have dogs," Arketta says. "Your... pets, is word? Pets are strange. Scrofa are like... ham-inamal. Ham animal. Pig. They are for eating, not... living room."

"I like your Earth movies," Arketta says a bit later. "I am not understand jokes, but maybe some think they have more funny than they are?"