Jade Imperium - NQOOC (Not Quite OOC)

Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-08-06 21:28:15
This is not necessarily an IC thread. This is more like a planning session for the counter-invasion of the Imperium. All the PCs are basically hunkered down in weeks and weeks of humdrum military life, sheltered from prying public eyes and any chances of actual adventure beyond the occasional movie night with alien quislings or Arnis sessions with CIA spooks.

In this thread, you guys play the part of the brass. The high muckamucks. Come up with a scenario for the next phase of the game and snag that Black Book of Secrets.

1. How is the team going to get back to the Imperium?
a. Use Diego Garcia's gate and one of the Imperial codes from Varos or Arketta?
b. Find a way through or discover a code to an unknown place using the MN gate?
c. Figure out how to get through using the Whiirr-code?

2. Who will be going?
a. Obviously, all the PCs
b. Will you trust Varos or Arketta enough to bring them?

3. What will they need to take to get the job done?

4. How will they get back?

If nobody really wants to step up for this, that's fine as well. I can have brass spit a plan down to you, which you can then adapt or ignore on the fly. It's just that I know we don't have a lot of stuff going on IC and I wanted to keep people involved who otherwise don't have a lot to do.

As for additional intel from your prisoners, go ahead and ask. I believe Agent Davis is current working on their trustability, not their cooperability (yay for made-up words!). Both Varos and Arketta are happy to provide intel at this time.
fanchergw 2007-08-06 22:31:56
To me, the big question - and one we can't really plan without - is whether any of our codes will get us onto the same planet as, and hopefully fairly close to, one of the Black Books. After that, we need a whole lot of intel on things like routes, security, defenses, etc.

And no, I wouldn't trust either of the aliens on the mission.

I think we need to take along some kind of security specialist.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-08-06 22:54:55
Varos has given intel on two possible Black Books:

1. The Repository of Benevolent Spirits which lies in the Imperial City on the planet Napai.

2. The Keepers' Spire, which is the base for Varos' own organization, the Keepers of Ancient Ways. This facility is on Boranai.

The ROBS is much more than their Black Book - it is, in a way, the Imperium's Internet and Library of Congress all rolled into one. The Imperial City is one of the most heavily guarded places in the known galaxy. I can expound on this later, but know that the rewards are commensurate with the risks. You have way more than the Imperium's enemies at your fingertips if you get this far. Not to mention the Emperor himself is in the Imperial City.

Varos has the Gate code for Napai, although there are security measures above and beyond dialing and walking through.

The Keepers' Spire is less well-guarded, but then ANYTHING would be less well-guarded. The Keepers are the branch of the Imperium that catalog Master-level technology, among other things. They handle First Contacts when possible. You get in here, the chances of finding all sorts of wierd alien shit goes through the roof.

Varos has the Gate code for two Gates on Boranai - one is the public Gate, opening into a small spaceport. The other Gate runs on elevator-like rails up and down the length of the Spire, allowing visitors to immediately access the sections they need. The spaceport gate has the least security, as the general public has access to it. The Spire Gate has additional codes that you must transmit before they let you through.

As for tech specialists, Max is your specialist for things requiring hacking, rewiring, etc. Luis can handle any physical security with his demolitions skill, plus he's not shabby with the electronics.

I will expound on the ROBS when I can tonight.
Gatac 2007-08-06 22:56:54
Regardless of how we get there, we need to blend in. That means some bulky clothing, hidden weapons, nothing heavy.

Neither of our two guests come with us. I want them as advisors near mission control, though.

We need more detailed info, but at a glance, our fireteams, a laptop able to interface with the black books and a shitload of explosives to turn the place into slag when we're done - just to let them know we care.

Exit strategy is crucial. For this reason, we need to find out how many gates the "black book" worlds have, plus establish forward posts at other, uncolonized planets that can act as "safe harbor" in lieu of a direct route to Earth.

Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-08-06 23:09:42
I ran this setting in tabletop form a while back, and the PCs needed to get to Napai. I forgot I wrote up the defenses, so this is a slightly-altered version (the other group had already blown their cover, so it was even worse for them). This is harsh, but keep in mind this is like a hobo trying to get into the Oval Office or something.


The Imperial City is located on the planet Napai, which means "All-Mother" in Imperial Standard.

Court of Heavenly Purity
The Emperor takes audience with his loyal servants in these lavish chambers. Unshakeable Whiirr guards, the Alef-Ka, protect the Courtroom.

Halls of Tranquility
This massive space surrounds the inner Court. Rows of enormous pillars reach into darkness. Each pillar bears the stories of past dynasties and the lineage of each Imperial world. The records are in chronological order for the most part, and there is a blank pillar inscribed with "Narsai" - Homeworld.

Repository of Benevolent Spirits, aka the Imperial Library
The Imperial City's private cortex is in this bustling hive. Tens of thousands of Keepers and Overseers maintain the Imperial knowledge base here, and at other sites like it across Napai. Cyllans (the Truthseeker jellyfish) move in aquatic tubes, scanning all present for thoughts of traitorous intent. Humans enter the information into the cortex and codify the thousands of reports coming in from the Imperium.

* The Cortex has backups. Data modules and even books and scrolls hold the entirety of Imperial knowledge.

The Cortex
The Imperium exists on two levels - the physical and the informational. Nearly every world (except for the most backwater) has its own cortex/internet/matrix/grid. Most Gateways are set up to transmit their world's cortex data updates whenever a gate is activated. These updates piggyback all the way back to the central cortex on Napai, where they are inspected and added to the RoBS.

Eternal Gardens
The Imperial zoo houses flora and fauna from the many worlds of the Imperium. Their DNA is stored here as well, within a heavily secured cryo-databank.

Imperial Defenses
1. Outsystem Space Gates (2): Each outsystem gate (the 500-foot diameter kind) lies several hours' travel from Napai (about the asteroid belt to Earth). Napai's star system is home to many space stations - bureaucratic, martial, mercantile, and scientific. The outsystem gates are the only ones authorized for general civilian travel. There is a needleship (the Immaculate Monarch and the Imperious Leader) at standoff distance from each gate - close enough to hit newcomers, but far enough away to have a chance to intercept blockade runner tactics and to scramble fighters. Every unscheduled ship in the system is escorted by a pair of interceptors. Imperial vessels transmitting proper codes are allowed through. Varos has proper codes for this leg of the journey (assuming you have a spaceship).

2. Planetary Defense Fleet: Two Needleships, the Invincible Overlord and the Emperor's flagship, the Vidas Lam, orbit Napai. It is common for human cargo to constantly be coming and going from Napai, although it is not a terribly industrial world. It's a bureaucratic, cultural, and habitation world. At any rate, failure of ANY ship to transmit authorization codes results in a swift death. Traffic patterns are heavily enforced.

3. Akwhela's Eye: The Imperial version of the Pentagon sits in high orbit. It is a massive space station the size of Delaware. It enshrouds the primary orbital gate and acts as Customs. Ships coming from outsystem or arriving via the Eye are scanned and boarded if necessary. Warning is given to incoming ships (assuming normal standards of orbital gate usage are in place) to reduce speed prior to entering the Eye. They can see through the other side and LIDAR the speed; if it's not within safe parameters, they cut the gate transmission. The Eye is one of the only orbital gates that can actually block the ring. They keep the ring blocked, only allowing communication, not transport, until authorization codes are transmitted. Varos has codes for Akwhela's Eye as well, but you don't exactly have a spaceship.

4. Napai has two space elevator/orbital gate stations each containing one personal Gateway. They sit lower in orbit than the Eye, and are ONLY used for OUTBOUND traffic. One beanstalk sprouts right from the City itself, while the other one is on the opposite side of the equator.

5. Airspeeders: Once inside Napai's atmosphere, the Akwhela's Wings fly guard over the vast holdings of the Imperial City.

6. Killdrones: Unauthorized or deviant flight patterns prompt swift response from surface-based drone accelerators.

7. Defense Grid: Beam emplacements are capable of striking vessels in low orbit and shooting down any enemy drones or projectiles.

8. Security drones: The Imperial City is littered with thousands of ensconced security drones. Armed with neutron beamers (the only drone variant to be so armed), the drones act as the City's security monitors.

9. Sensors and sniffers: Sensors integrated within the Imperial City detect radiation and energy spikes from weapons fire. There is little to no chance they would detect gunpowder weaponry.

10. Turai: There is no lack of Turai in the City.

11. The Alef-ka, the Jade Caretakers. The most loyal, highly-trained guards in the palace are Whiirr, not human. A non-human cannot become Emperor. Their loyalty comes from the honor their position brings to them and their families. Furthermore, while they are not quite as good as a Cyllan for detecting treachery, they are very good at reading body language and acting before a potential assassin has moved in for the kill. They are protected by golden suits of armor in a similar motif to the Imperial Avatars (the thing that Hugh riddled with bullets).
Dieter 2007-08-06 23:12:46
Everyone not already having fluency in Imperial-speak should also start learning it. Max will help with teaching the infiltrators. I'd also like to work on a PDA program that translates the Turai alphabet should those who can speak it need to also read it. Speaking is infinitely easier than reading a language.

We need Varos/Arketta to elaborate on customs, greetings, standard social protocols. We don't want to botch the entire mission because we didn't know we were supposed to bow when bowed to, shake with left hand only, etc.

I think one of the biggest obstacles to overcome is the possible horrific meal choices we have in store for us. I think the Deltas could stomach the more unsavory dishes, but I doubt the Nerd Herd would last past the first course of spider egg soup and such.

It would be good if we could some how integrate our technology into what we've acquired from the Turai or (at the very least) utilize it for our purposes.
punkey 2007-08-06 23:27:08
I find it hard to believe that the capital city of the Imperium would only have one gate. I think that the capital is our best bet for a target. It's probably not on alert, but once we pull off this mission, we'll never get anywhere near it again, and probably never be able to set foot on Napai again. If we hit there now, we get more info and make a much bigger splash. It's not going to change how screwed Earth is, but it'll definitely help us when we want to make new friends with the Imperium's enemies. It'll also be easier to blend in to a massive city than a desert planet.

As far as getting there, I think that we cut the plan into three parts: getting in, setting up, and executing the assault. Getting in involves making it through the gate, disappearing into the city, and finding a place to hide out, preferably with a view of the target and maybe even a view of our entry point. At this stage, we bug out at the slightest sign of anything suspicious, and carry only silenced carbines and pistols so we remain undetected. When we get set up, we find some way to smuggle in our heavier weapons, SAWs, AT-4s, C4 explosives and the like and scout the target in any way we can, including exit routes, and I think the execution phase is self-explanatory.

(Edit: Okay, that info makes things a lot easier. It looks like once you get past orbit, things get a lot easier. The only sticking points of a strike on the ROBS is the entry of the planet and the ROBS itself. We might need some help with a spaceship, but I think that Varos can at least name one location where he knows people who aren't fans of the Imperium are that we could bring on board.)
fanchergw 2007-08-06 23:59:40
Personally, I think our chances in the Imperial City are nill, or even less than that.

If we want to actually accomplish something other than messy deaths for ourselves, Boranai is the place to go. The terrain supports an assault nicely with all that cover everywhere. Go in by the public gate and escape by the private one in the spire. Weird alien shit is a plus, too.
punkey 2007-08-07 00:39:29
I think that if we really need to, we could hit Boranai after this. If we ever could use something out of the ROBS, this is our one shot. It'll be harder, but I think it's doable if we're careful.
e of pi 2007-08-07 02:35:20
Punkey has a point: Either way, once the Imperium knows that somebody they can't instantly crack down on is striking at them from their "Narsai," they're going to go to Red Alert, and all that security on Napai is going to get a lot worse. If we're going to get in, it's going to need to be one of the first things we do. On the other hand, it seems to me we might just be better off hitting the Keeper's Spire. Less defended, more of the National Science Foundation than the Department of Defense, if you get my analogy. It'll still be heavily defended, and I'd like to hear what Varos has to say about that topic (Bonus: he'll have more personal experience!), but not as much.

On the other hand, I do have an idea for another Narpai operation not involving data collection, but rather posturing and propaganda. You see, it seems to me that that blank "Narsai" pillar is just aching for some nice, touching, consise words along the lines of, "We, the leaders and people of Earth, do hearby kindly invite you to keep your greedy little paws off our soil, if you please." It's a wierd idea, but somehow I like it.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-08-07 04:45:47
When considering equipment, you should not overlook the portability and sheer destructiveness of backpack or suitcase nukes. :)

The Napai system may have many gates, but you know what Varos and Arketta know. Two outbound-only personal gates at the top of space elevators. One starship gate at the Akwhela's Eye. Two more public space gates out-system.

The Imperium may simply also not have as many Gateways as you expected.

I should also mention that as a general rule, space-based gates never have their exit side facing a planet. It'd be too easy to shove a rock through there and bam! instant dinosaur calamity. :)
punkey 2007-08-07 08:38:20
I was thinking that we should just blow up the ROBS when we're done, especially if there's a Gateway somewhere in the building. I can't imagine there isn't one.
Gatac 2007-08-07 09:26:32
All descriptions of security measures that Arketta and Varos do not confirm independantly are highly suspect, the ones they do verify should still be treated as best-case scenario.

All passwords and access codes Varos has are effectively worthless.

Any plan that depends on specific quirks in the Imperium's security procedures rather than a general understrength security planning is just asking to go horribly wrong.

Plan accordingly.

(To explain, the first one is a function of how much we trust both of them and how much the Imperium has tried to make their knowledge of security details worthless; the second one simply comes from the essential security measure of disabling passwords for compromised personnel.)

punkey 2007-08-07 10:20:15
I think that Varos knows the codes for someone that if they don't know the location of an alternate gate onworld and maybe even a gate inside the ROBS, they'd at least know someone with a ship that can get us onworld.
fanchergw 2007-08-07 17:59:43
Punkey wrote:

I think that if we really need to, we could hit Boranai after this. If we ever could use something out of the ROBS, this is our one shot. It'll be harder, but I think it's doable if we're careful.

Did I misunderstand? As I read it, both places held copies of the ROBS, thus going to Napai isn't a necessity for getting what we need.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-08-07 18:15:24
Let me expound on the Boranai security real fast:

1. Let's assume you'd come in through the public Gateport. The primary security there is the local police, the Kansatai. There will probably be a Quad of Turai for the entire spaceport, broken up into four "Trins" of three soldiers on patrol. They've got what you've all dealt with before. The Kansatai tote lasers and wear the equivalent of the Turai undersuits (but even these can turn a typical rifle hit from "kill" to "wound"). Any drones used in public places will be surveillance only or armed with less-lethal weapons at the very most. The stinger drones are pure military.

2. Surveillance and weapons scanners would be ever-present in the spaceport. They might not have a split-second reaction time, but they'd have your faces. Any powered-on Imperial weapons would be detected.

3. Your advantage here is that unless you start something, they WON'T be looking for you, there won't be any access codes needed that would give you away, and you could either strike out cross-country for the Spire or bribe/steal/persuade a local spacer to acquaint you with a ship. Hell, you could get a ship here and go for Napai next.

4. The warrens in the Boranai countryside house dangerous fauna, but you'd be protected from any satellite coverage. Getting lost, yes, that's a possibility, but you could also nearly walk right up on the Spire.

5. The Spire is 600 miles from the spaceport. There are a handful of small ranching/farming settlements between the two points, but the Spire is an arcology: it doesn't have suburbs or satellite communities.

6. Turai patrol the Spire outskirts, but Arketta will tell you that they're guards in the worst sense. It's a mind-numbing detail. They're there on the slim chance someone were to try something, but they hardly ever see action aside from scaring off kids or the odd tarantek beast.

7. You need clearance to be inside the Spire. You don't need to be a Keeper necessarily, but you need to work there, be a family member of someone who does, or have military clearance. There are manned security checkpoints, so it's more than just a card reader kiosk.

8. Once inside, you've got a sprawl 5 miles in diameter. You're clear, though, until you reach the center Spire itself. Only Keepers are allowed into the primary Spire, or of course, the specially authorized Kansatai who provide a face to the security measures.

9. Like the spaceport, the interior of the Spire is watched by ensconced surveillance drones. Aside from any personal bodyguards personnel might have, the Kansatai on the lower levels and a handful on standby in the Spire Gateroom have to take the same gravlifts as anyone else.

10. The Spire Gate is suspended on a vertical track that runs the length of the Spire. When not activated, it faces skyward at the top of the Spire. When active, the access code you send it also indicates to the Gate's housing which level you need, and the Gate system runs the artifact to your desired level and repositions it.

All this definitely sounds better than Napai, as people have said, but you other guys are right - if you do ANYTHING to tip your hand, Napai's current security systems will look like a cakewalk.

Now, getting ships:

The Jade Imperium was built on exploration of new worlds. Although every scout vehicle sent out is the end result of months of meticulous planning, not every planet and star system is as hospitable as long-range sensors might indicate. Whether by misfortune or choice, people do come to these outcast systems and in many cases manage to eke out a shady existence relatively free from Imperial rule.

A shadowport is a haven for scum, villainy, and the sentients who hunt them. They provide a necessary outlet for the Imperium's undesirables as well. The denizens of these shadowports tolerate bounty hunters, as the alternative would be a bloody subjugation by the Imperial Turai. Conversely, the Imperium has no desire to spend resources on policing the outcast systems as long as they police themselves. Besides, many an Imperial official has made fortunes making underhanded deals with the criminal element.

While Varos and Arketta don't know any shadowport codes, if you were looking for a place to disappear after your dirty deeds, there's a good chance any full-time spacer would know at least one code. They are typically only reachable by ship, and take steps to hide above and beyond that - nebulae, asteroid belts, high radiation systems... basically the bad luck that led scout-ships to these systems in the first place usually provides means of warding off the casual sightseer.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-08-07 18:18:08
fanchergw wrote:

Punkey wrote:

I think that if we really need to, we could hit Boranai after this. If we ever could use something out of the ROBS, this is our one shot. It'll be harder, but I think it's doable if we're careful.

Did I misunderstand? As I read it, both places held copies of the ROBS, thus going to Napai isn't a necessity for getting what we need.

The true ROBS is on Napai. Most every world has its own Cortex (to shamelessly borrow terminology from Firefly), but each is only part of the actual ROBS. The ROBS is the culmination of Imperial knowledge.

Boranai has the information you seek on Imperial discoveries, enemies, etc., with the added benefit of potentially having high technology loot like Turai kegs, more frisbees, and who knows what else.

Napai, however, has ALL THEIR ACCUMULATED KNOWLEDGE. Good luck putting that shit on a flash drive. :)
e of pi 2007-08-07 18:39:00
Frankly, I think Napai is going to be impossible to crack open without fielding a team of at least ten, fifteen people. Of those, I figure a third or so will be killed, another third seriously wounded or killed, and the rest probably captured, interogated, then either killed or imprisoned indefinitly. The only measurable gain, if we were to pull it off, would be possible access to military data like ship capabilities, spec, and deployments. However, put the same size team on Boranai, and we could get not only the black book, but maybe a couple of kegs (very handy, especielly if we get the type that produces all the other types), all while having a higher liklyhood of sucsess and fewer probable casualties. Napai is a nice idea, but at the moment, I think it's simply unfeasable. Getting onto the planet alone would require as much effort as the entire op on Boranai.
fanchergw 2007-08-07 18:43:28
So Boranai doesn't have the mind-reading jellyfish like Napai? To me, that's a major difference. I have no idea how we would get by those.
CrazyIvan 2007-08-07 19:01:12
My take on things:

The capital is a tempting target and - because we're PCs - we have the vauge chance of it working. It does however require a major component of badassery on our parts.

If we do go, weapon loadout wise, I vote for no Imperial Weapons. In case you haven't noticed, Angel is pretty anti-alien-gizmos. Just like a gun detector won't notice a longbow, Imperial defenses may not be primed for chemical slugthrowers. Frankly, if we set off Imperial security, we're screwed, regardless of how many nifty Turai rifles we have.