Hedion 04

skullandscythe 2011-01-10 06:24:36
Zaef starts moving Hugh towards cover before everything goes tits up and draws his blades.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-10 19:03:48
Zaef's surprised at how fast Hugh's bouncing back. The Homeworlder's moving under his own power well enough to take cover behind a half-wall at Zaef's urging, and his eyes are focusing on things again. The two men hear booted feet step out onto the rubble above, and count four Kansat squeezed into that skimmer. They are clearly not here in an official capacity if they're running four to a vehicle and aren't using drones.

"Get this guy down and let's get out of here," says one of the Kansatai over the sound of a portable handsaw powering up.

Now that the Kansatai are away from their vehicle at last, the little utility drone shoots up towards the surveilling skimmer. Its operator must have known the Kansat vehicle would fire as soon as it spotted the drone and so the little machine vaporizes as soon as particle beams lance down at it from above. A shower of fragments and high-velocity penetrators rip through the skimmer. The windscreen goes red with blood and the vehicle lists to the side, gradually sliding farther away and down. Nobody on or in the building even sees where it impacts.

A beige unmarked skimmer, long enough for a proper carpool, rises up from the nearly empty airways below. Unlike the Kansat vehicle, this one comes in fast and sloppy and slams down on the opposite side of the roof from the Kansatai with an impact that rattles more debris loose. A half-dozen rough men in pilfered utility suits disembark the skimmer as the rooftop quivers nervously again. The goons exit their transport just as a great screaming, creaking, painful heave goes up from the building and the newcomers' skimmer slides off the roof along with a half-ton of loose debris.

The goons, reduced to very few options, decide to rush the Kansat. They're armed with well-maintained hand- and long-lancers and have the hard look of career criminals. They ignore Zaef and Hugh as much as the Kansat do and both sides take cover among the debris. Lancer beams snap and hiss across the rooftop in a deadly light show while the officers try desperately to finish cutting Kohan's bonds before the thugs can reach the Iyuzo and take him for themselves.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-11 15:11:27
There is a firefight.

The Kansatai don't have their air support anymore and they can't call for backup because no doubt they've called the all clear back to their official headquarters and are here covertly. The hired goons knew there'd be someone, corrupt or not, with a skimmer or two floating overhead and they came prepared. The Kansat hold their little slice of rooftop wasteland as long as they can but there's only four of them. The last officer is cut down as he tries to drag Kohan's limp form to the Kansat skimmer.

Of the hired goons, two make it through the brief but brutal battle mostly unscathed. A third mercenary stumbles along behind his comrades, his handlancer held weakly at his side. Blood and fried meat stains his utilitunic from a abdomen wound.

"Get the skimmer started," one of the healthy goons tells the wounded man. "We'll get the boss and then we need to get both of you to a medicae."

"What about Pax, Delelo, and Hojim?" asks the second goon, picking up Kohan's legs as he speaks.

"They're dead, man. We'll glass the rooftop with the skimmer on the way out, make it hard to ID anyone."

The second man grimaces but nods. "Who you figure these fucks were?" he grunts, nodding to the dead Kansatai. Above them, the wounded goon is barely cresting the relatively flat area where the skimmer still sits. Another few moments and all three men will have very little cover.

The first man shifts his weight to help carry Kohan up a broken path where water flushed out the lighter rubble. "Think about it. Who's got the Kansat up here in his pocket, and bought out enough to shut down a clusterfuck like this? Who would want Mr. Kohan captured and not just killed or something? It's his fucking brothers, man."

"Don't know why they just can't kill each other and get it over with," the second man asks.

"I dunno. This is messier than anything I've been on so far. Maybe something's pushing 'em to get serious."

"Yeah. Shit just got real," agrees the second man as they bring Kohan up onto the "mesa" formed by what's left of the original top floor. The goons still haven't noticed Zaef or Hugh.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-11 18:34:20
Right after the goon utters the words made immortal by Smith and Lawrence Hugh's beamer shot takes the right side of his face off. Not to be outdone by the barely-conscious Delta, Zaef puts two shots into the other goon's chest. Kohan hits the ground with a thump along with his dead hirelings. The third wounded goon finds a surprising amount of fleetness and Hugh's second shot goes wide. The man moves with something incorporating a roll, a fall, a sprint, and a flail, but he only manages to open the Kansat skimmer door before Zaef and Hugh finish what the corrupt Kansatai started a few minutes earlier.

A few minutes later, Kohan is secured once again and lies limp across the skimmer's rear seat. Zaef takes off and they quickly put the ravaged luxury hab behind them. Whatever arrangement the corrupt Kansatai had with their contacts, it must extend to the dispatchers at Kansat headquarters. No stink has been raised about the biomonitors flatlining on the dead men and no patrols have come looking for either skimmer. Most likely that entire system has been shut off at the source, but it'll be back on eventually and there will be hell to pay if Hugh and Zaef are caught with the skimmer.
Gatac 2011-01-11 20:53:58
Hugh's had enough of driving skimmers for today (and the rest of the year, too), so he's in the back with Kohan, trying not to wince with every move.

"You've seen what we can do," Hugh says. "Make your offer."
skullandscythe 2011-01-11 21:27:06
"Hold on a sec."

Zaef stops talking and looks back at Hugh in his rearview. Even with the visor down, he manages to look concerned and exasperated at the same time.

"Are you going to keep threatening the unconscious guy, or are you going to pat him down and make sure he can't escape?"

Zaef clicks the vox back on and starts talking to Robin again.

"Yeah, bring Ang-er, Tanakta and meet us about a block from the hideout. I'll, uh, drop off the Samal and Kohan. And could you talk the doc into dropping by? I gave Swao a pass with the kauka, but I don't know how well I patched him up."
CrazyIvan 2011-01-11 22:27:59
"Never say life with us isn't interesting."

Angel begins to withdraw from his perch while the team tries to redeploy.
Gatac 2011-01-11 22:34:49
"He's uncon-what?" Hugh asks, then looks at Kohan again. "Heh. Hah! Guess he won't be talking."

Hugh always knew those kaukas would someday get to his brain somehow. Looks like that day has arrived.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-13 22:47:35
Davis takes one of the Kesh estate vehicles and picks up Hugh, Zaef, and Kohan near where the weary and bedraggled men dump the hot Kansat skimmer. Kohan's scanned for weapons and transmitters on the way back to Gorlan's place. When they get there, Luis is waiting with his own kauka and finishes what Zaef started. It comes as a surprise to no one that the Kesh estate has a secure interior room screened for outside transmissions. Kohan is deposited there to recover while everyone else busies themselves in preparation for Tora's memorial service, which after the day's events looks to be an even smaller, more private ceremony than what was originally planned.

Arketta finally gets the team in the same place a few minutes before you're all expected out in the estate gardens. "I never got a chance to tell you what Segal Iyuzo's henchman talked to me about during Reno's thing," she says. "Segal gave me the go-ahead to sabotage the rectenna array however I can." She looks to Luis. "Which means Lu-dammit, Zakest can introduce whatever flaws he has planned. I'd have mentioned it sooner but things got pretty busy," Arketta apologizes.

There's not much time to dither. Gorlan and his retinue meet the group and you all proceed into the gardens. A large oval area, ringed with flickering torches, has been cleared amidst the largest and most exotic of the garden's multicolored offerings. There is no coffin, no dais or pedestal like with Reno's service, just a simple sturdy monolith that rises up to waist height. You notice a scant handful of similar markers in the garden now, but their purpose was never clear until now. With so many different planets and microcultures in the Imperium, it's hard to say if any given practice is widespread; if the markers are divided along gender, purely a Kesh tradition, or simply individual preference remains unknown.

Gorlan steps forward. His face is (pardon the pun) grave, weary with the culmination of far too much stress over far too little time. When he finally speaks, his voice is soft and unhurried.

"Tora loved the unknown. It is easy to see why she felt a rapport with you. She loved to see... what would happen. In life, in love, by accident, by design. She loved this garden and its dichotomies. I don't think she would have been timid at her fate, just disappointed that she did not get to see what would happen with you," he pauses. Gorlan doesn't meet Angel's gaze. He takes one of the torches and sets several clusters of flora alight around Tora's marker, then steps back to speak once more.

"She goes on ahead of us now to explore the greatest adventure," Gorlan says. "And as we say farewell I burn this garden and wait to see what will grow from its ashes." The flames lick up some of the shorter fronds and smoke spirals up into Akis' enclosed sky to be carried away by the arcology's massive atmo feeds.

"Please, if anyone else wishes to speak..." Gorlan offers the group.
CrazyIvan 2011-01-19 19:43:42
Angel stands in the garden, not meeting Gorlan's eyes either as he listens, his gaze on the small memorial in the garden.

He nods when Gorlan finishes, though he doesn't step forward. "I can't claim to have known her long, or well, but she wanted to see new worlds. Wanted to see how change would come. And she died trying to do right by that. Died trusting us to see that through."

He sighs softly, smelling the smoke of the slowly burning garden.

"Lets not disappoint."
skullandscythe 2011-01-19 21:54:17
Zaef steps forward next, holding a shot glass and a bottle containing a faintly glowing yellow-orange liquid, rather like the spreading fire. He carefully pours out a shot and holds it out towards Tora's grave for a second.

"For our fallen comrades. Never forget them," he intones before downing the shot slowly. He passes both bottle and glass to the person on his left and then he walks away without a word, leaving everyone else to wonder where in the hell he got the booze from.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-20 22:03:42
The estate walls contain the blaze that spreads from the Aikoran firewillows to the rest of the garden in a matter of minutes. The assembly takes their turn with Zaef's found liquor but the memorial is over all too soon and the necessities of life undercover in hostile territory rear their ugly heads.

Kohan Iyuzo is restrained in one of the estate's more... private chambers. The serving staff alert Gorlan that he is awake and none too pleased with the situation.

Davis finally gets a ping on the shielded Cortex "dropbox" he set up to lure in the Perus and his Throne agents. The message is curt to say the least. *Message received. We need to talk, Arakuna.* No other details are supplied.

The more weaponry-inclined team members are inspecting Kohan's rifle when Gorlan Kesh approaches Angel. He still gives off an uncomfortable vibe around Angel, as if he's continually resisting the easy urge to blame Angel for Tora's death. That way lies too much confusion over his present course of action, which already requires a dedication of purpose far in excess of some smuggling on the side of his Faxom-Io job. Gorlan's waist-deep in treason now and he can't afford to doubt his allies.

With an even tone, Gorlan nods to Angel - about the most interaction the two men have had thus far - and presses a small trinket into his hand. Stepping away from the impromptu artillery show, Gorlan says, "I think this is... appropriate for you to have. I know Tora saw something in you to set her down this path of rebellion. Who knows, you might find it useful as well." Angel looks down at the largest of Tora's digital soltoxin rings. When he looks back up, Gorlan is already pedeconferencing with one of his staff, on his way out of the room.

As for the Iyuzo cannon, its closest equivalent would be an anti-material rifle. There's a little bit of magic that comes from a bank of capacitor-powered microimpellers; it's as if the weapon's hooked up to a tiny starship crash couch when it's fired. It's cheaper and probably almost as effective to apply a series of muzzle brakes and padding like Earthling fifty-calibers, but the microimpellers are a brute force solution to the lack of mechanical refinements. The real magic is in the rounds; there are four left and they look to be around 20mm. They appear to have some sort of rudimentary guidance as well, packed in around a high-density penetrator.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-21 03:34:18
After checking his Cortex messages, Davis looks for Gorlan. The man's relatively easy to find, he's currently surrounded by a small swarm of functionaries. Some of them seem to be familiar with the man and his requests - Davis guesses that they worked with him before today - while the others must work for the Kesh household and previously reported to Reno. After he sorts out cleaning up after tonight's action, finalizes his schedule with Faxom-Io tomorrow, and signs off on the note of a day of mourning to be wide-cast to his Faxom-Io division and Kesh Pharmaceuticals, Davis finds a spot to approach Gorlan.

"So, have you ever had to fall off the Cortex before, Gorlan?" he asks.

"...and keep an eye on any Kansat investigations regarding that rooftop thing," Gorlan finishes with one of his men-at-arms. He shakes his head at Davis. "I haven't had that dubious pleasure, no. But something tells me you have."

"Not the Cortex per se, but I've disappeared a few times in my life," Davis says. "First, it helps to have a team at your back. Are there any concerns you have about anyone in Faxom-Io or any of the Kesh holdings getting any funny ideas while you're supposedly off-world? We take care of problems like that beforehand, it keeps them from biting you in the ass later."

Gorlan nods. "Possibly, although framing it as a time of mourning should stave off any of the mundane attempts. And I can have Vortala stay behind to watch most of my original interests. For the most part, the serfs are serfs. They transfer to me as written under the old law. What I cannot predict is how the other players you have set up are going to react, but if the plan proceeds well I suppose they will be dealt with in turn."

"We're only going to need to disappear for a day or two. Okay, well, Luis and Hugh need to talk to Quon and Segal, but once we have the details we'll get a final plan together," Davis says. "We do know who you'll be staying with, we're friends with an information broker down in the Undercity, you might know him, Maq?"

"Yes, you mentioned him before the service," Gorlan replies. "Um.. one thing, though," he adds, holding up a hand to dismiss the remaining entourage. "What do you intend to do with Kohan Iyuzo? I don't like the idea of keeping him here. I'm trying to change the reputation of this place away from a blackmail factory where terrible things happen very quietly to influential nobles. Obviously, if he meant to kill me... it changes things. But I don't know that yet. I suppose I did gather a great majority of nobility into the open today."

"That's what I aim to find out," Davis says. "I'm going to have a talk with Kohan." He sees Gorlan's eyebrows rise with concern. "No, no torture, but he does need to be...have you ever cooked meat? He needs to be properly prepared, marinated, tenderized. After we both finish our disappearing act, I'll come back here and question him. Until then, strip him down to his underclothes and keep him in the dark, lights out, door closed, no contact. If he needs to take a crap, have your most trusted guards blind him with a bright lamp, put him in restraints and keep his head in a bag for transport." He thinks for a moment. "Oh, do you have a really annoying music station and can play it in the room? If you do and he's still defiant after 12 hours, blast it in there. A day or so of that, and he'll be ready to talk to me."

"His treatment cannot come back to me," Gorlan says firmly. "There would be reprisals, and from more than the Iyuzo. We are nobility," he continues, "and we do not do this kind of thing to each other," he finishes with more than usual sarcasm.

"Tell your guards to drop some hints that Kohan's been transferred to the Ethics Gradient, and I'll get all dressed up in my Turai armor. If we're careful about how we release him once he's told us what he was doing, who his target was and why he was doing it himself, he should be none the wiser."

"You tell them. The less I'm involved the better, just in case. Just make sure it doesn't come back to me; I am barely squeezing by his thrice-damned brother as it is. If you have to kill him, don't use my people and don't do it on my property."

"My thoughts exactly," Davis says, and puts an arm around Gorlan's shoulder. "Relax, Gorlan. I've done this sort of thing before, too." Gorlan obviously isn't too comfortable with people touching him, and Davis lets go, and lets his sincerity come through. "I promise you, we will get you through this in one piece and safe. We do whatever it takes for our friends. Your safety is just as important as anyone else's on my team."

Outside, Tora's garden burned.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-21 21:23:04
Luis strolls alone through one of the more verdant of Akis' garden blocks. He doesn't see Tealni Quorona, which is just fine. It increases deniability just like their choice to use short-range direct burst transmissions instead of a traditional meeting place.

Tealni's vox-voice sounds clear inside Luis' head. "You called us, now we're here. What do you have for us?" she queries.

Zakest grins, "It seems to me that with Reno's protection gone, you might appreciate a chance to deal with your Gorlan issues. Permanently."

"We're interested. Your rather clever influence in getting Arakuna from Expansion to Faxom-Io has opened up an avenue of attack. By morning both Gorlan Kesh and Haralin Arakuna will no longer be Faxom-Io assets. They'll be unable to legitimize their role in the rectenna project and they'll have no value to the industrium, so there won't be a need for a corporate investigation if something should happen to them. We would probably have been fine with just their economic ruination, but if you're offering to remove them from play altogether, by all means let's hear it." Luis can feel the anticipation in her voice.

"I can get a location for one of their meetings, the security arrangements, and everything else. I can use that, make sure I can eliminate both Arakuna and Gorlan in a way that has no ties to me or you. They simply are eliminated from play. You get a potential annoyance removed for good, and I get to show Arakuna exactly how much he's taught me. The rectenna project concludes, and we all we all get rich. He's profited from my work often enough, it'll be nice to see that go the other way." Zakest's grin grows wider.

He grows a little more serious as he considers the details of his plan. "I have a suspicion that Samal Swao would not be reluctant to assist me, so there's not much need for additional resources from you. Minimizes your risk. I can get you the appropriate verifications of success, and all our problems are dealt with."

"Hold on," Tealni voxes. There's a pause - presumably she's consulting with her husband. Luis takes the opportunity to surreptitiously glance through the trees and bushes and sure enough, finally spots the Quoronas enjoying a small picnic on one of the low benches in the park.

"This arrangement is acceptable," she sends in reply. "With them out of the way, we should all have a clear run to the project's completion. Steward Saloma will have the facilities constructed on schedule, of that we have no doubt. You're removing the last of the wild cards, and we are ensuring that the mariposas behave in the prescribed manner when the array is ready."

Luis notes that the Quoronas appear to have the mariposa hack on their agenda without his prompting. If so, all the better - there'd be no way to tie such a tricky affair back to the team if the orbiting satellites were manhandled without any consultation whatsoever, although he'd still need to see their program to ensure that he can inject just enough sabotage to cause a recursive error handling meltdown once the array overloads. Luis signs off with Tealni and, after meandering through the garden a while longer, disappears into the nearest transit station.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-23 23:02:15
It’s night throughout the arcology, leaving the industrium drone hangar lit by a cascade of purples and flickering greens from the still-open late-night automats and general stores. It’s not the classiest place Hugh expected to meet Segal Iyuzo, but perhaps his coffers really were running low enough to preclude another private room at Khalkiota.

The Iyuzo contingent arrives a few minutes after Hugh, Robin, Arketta, Zaef, and Angel get out of their skimmer and case the area. The hangar affords sparse but solid cover in the form of those damnable arcology drones in case things went south, not that any of the previous meets with Segal approached violence. Still, better to be safe than sorry.

Segal’s group exits their two skimmers in quick and precise fashion. Henchmen with barely-concealed weapons take up outward-facing positions at the entrances. Segal isn’t wearing most of his usual ridiculous space-bling, instead opting for a still-overblown but much more functional armored cuirass. Tor’s with him this time, and Mohawk is the one absent.

“Samal, Zaef, ladies,” Segal addresses the group with most of his smooth delivery having survived the possible assassination attempt from earlier. “It would appear that Gorlan Kesh was not as receptive to your efforts as you believed.”
Gatac 2011-01-24 06:29:17
Hugh decides to be diplomatic.

Which means he smiles a little when he says "Fuck you, Segal."

"We just put our lives on the line to save your ass - from your own brother, no less. Wasn't easy. Left a hell of a mess."

His facial muscles move to a smirk.

"And you didn't wait where I told you to. Spending a few hours not knowing what happened to you wasn't good for my blood pressure. So now you show up here and ask about Gorlan? Gorlan's done and he knows it. Whatever clever scheme Arakuna had for him got a few big holes shot into it. So, no, Segal, he wasn't as receptive as I hoped, but he did get the message."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-24 19:00:35
The outward-facing gunhands turn inward as Hugh verbally lights up their boss.

"I waited there as you requested up to the point where there was gunfire!" Segal shoots back. "Wait a moment," he double-takes. "My brother... that was you? On the roof? Those Kansat were expensive, Swao," Segal accuses. "But it's all turned out well, it seems. Tell me where Kohan is and we can call this entire fiasco even."
Gatac 2011-01-24 19:17:53
"Hm, giving up Kohan to you and pissing away all my hard work - tempting," Hugh says. "See, I'm wondering what he was doing there to begin with. And why you had the kansat standing by for his escape. Those are the kinds of surprises I do not appreciate."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-24 20:10:32
"Escape? Escape, my well-appointed ass!" Segal laughs harshly. "Those men were there to capture my brother. As to why he was hovering around Kesh's home, well, I have no doubts now that he intended to kill me. He would have known I'd make an appearance at that destestable estate. Well if that's how he wants to play it after all this time..."

Segal smiles at Hugh. "I certainly hope you aren't keeping Kohan at Gorlan Kesh's estate. If word got out that was so, the entire Iyuzo clan would have no choice but to defend their family's honor. My brothers and I have our differences, that is true, but we have always united when faced with threats to the family," Segal warns. "Of course, I'm sure you're not keeping Kohan anywhere near that place. Nevermind that your master, Arakuna, is so far up Gorlan's ass he can't see his belt and our dear departed friend Reno was fond of keeping secrets. I'm sure he would never have privacy-screened holding rooms built into his own home, no matter how much that sounds like something he would've done or how convenient they would be for holding my brother prisoner. How positively uncouth."
Gatac 2011-01-24 20:52:17
"Hm," Hugh says. Then he lets that hang in the air for a moment.

"Well, you know me. I think subtle is spinkshit. But go public about any of your guesses now - which you have zero evidence for - and this place is going to blow. Tell you what, though. I've used my free time to make a new friend, and much like me, he does not like Arakuna or Gorlan. The playing board's shifting again. I don't think it'll be very difficult for you to take your brother back after we've made our next move. Hell, I might just hand him over to you myself - if you can keep it in your pants for a few more days."