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[IC] Exigency: Infinite Sky

EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
edited February 2012 in Critical Failures
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OOC thread!

Infidel as Officer Ledifni (Enforcer Officer)

tastydonuts as Dustin Marvough (Corporate Spokesperson)

Winky as Stephen Dawker (Corporate Neuroscientist)

Lanlaorn as High Councillor Rel Morrow (Hicop Extraordinaire)

Munkus Beaver as Randolph Tibbs Alptraum (Corporate Criminal)


Zandracon as Charles Konev (Cyborg Vigilante)

Reserved.

Edcrab on
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«1345

Posts

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Dustin, Stephen

    Stephen Dawker mused on the difficulty of trying to hack into a mainframe when said mainframe was currently serving as cover. Photon blasts tore through the metal cases with deceptive softness, turning the hulking monoliths into dominos with smoking dots. And yet they continued to run normally. No point questioning small miracles.

    He and his associate had been investigating a secret (well... formerly secret) research facility positioned deep beneath a gigantic multicorporate arcology on the appropriately gigantic multicorporate world of Maladria. It had transpired that the Duality Corporation's generous budget, as well as that of several partners, had been misappropriated to fund this complex. Asperia Solutions had a rotten truth beneath their light and airy offices.

    But what had prompted this fire fight was the discovery that the last visitors here, curious ambassadors and investigators representing the Corporation, had been... disposed of. And then the facility's chief of security had threatened to do the same to Stephen and his associate, Dustin Marvough, waggling a large firearm. The facility's late chief of security.

    Stephen hadn't felt much in the way of sympathy because he had told the man what was going to happen if he didn't stand down. Dustin's job title was Spokesperson, and the chief had failed to realise that the beneath the smarmy, artificial facade of forced enthusiasm and sales pitches lay an assassin so loyal and dedicated that the Domarian Enforcers considered them equals.

    A small grenade impacted near a control panel, leaving a scorch mark on the already dark carpet and turning a swivel chair into an ugly piece of modern art.

    The security computer was a Duality-made model, as were the attached turrets. Which was perhaps a tad ironic. It wasn't Stephen's forte but at least the architecture was more than familiar. Indeed the whole command centre had a layout typical of the Duality Corporation's own facilities; a circle of computers with a primary desk at the centre, autonomous guns folded away in the ceiling but quite capable of deploying and drowning the entire chamber in plasma.

    Sooner rather than later. Stephen had already taken the liberty of contacting Duality's main office on Maladria (not their largest base of operations, but at least they had a small military contingent) but he wasn't sure if he and his colleague could hold out that long. He needed to get the guns online before they were overwhelmed. His own pistol lay close to hand, but it seemed so minute compared to the hulking great barrels of the dormant cannons.

    Meanwhile, Dustin prepared to kill things.


    Rel

    "I'm sorry sir, but we can't allow you past this point," said the receptionist. She looked rather nervous, but that's because the "sir" had just introduced himself as High Councillor Rel Morrow, Field Operative.

    Her desk sat at the door like a blockade. She pressed a button and a moment later a group of uniformed, unsmiling guards came out of a side room. They took up positions and folded their arms meaningfully.

    Rel Morrow knew something was amiss at Asperia Solutions, and those two Dualists going in had finally prompted him to take action. And he was actually well within his rights to make this surprise inspection; Maladria was a High Council world, arguably the High Council world.

    It's just that Asperia's employees were well within their rights to deny his entry too, as he didn't have a warrant. Rel had suggested the operation to his superiors. By which he meant he intended to mention the operation to his superiors after he'd completed it.

    A particularly large guard cracked his knuckles.


    Randolph

    Senior Councillor Korpec nodded. He looked flushed, and from his unstable stride (and the smell) Randolph Tibbs Alptraum could tell that he was a tad drunk. Perhaps not just drunk. That complicated matters. There was no guarantee he'd feel the same way when he sobered up.

    "Investing in a mine? Yes, yes that might interest me." The hems of his embroidered robe were getting sodden and muddy in the puddles on the street. It was as if, for all its glitz and glamour, Maladria couldn't entirely escape the fact that it had been one giant swamp before the High Council set up shop here.

    "I, I mean," the Senior Councillor stuttered, "it's not like they'll be able to trace it back to me? Right?"

    Before he answered, Randolph noted the shadowy figures edging closer. They might well complicate his sting.

    "Hello, Korpec," said a voice dripping with false friendliness. "Who's your friend?"


    Ledifni

    "Ledifni," said the Enforcer Mech. "Your file indicated that you'd be an inch taller. Curious."

    Ledifni couldn't help thinking something similar. His former partner had been larger than this mech. Significantly so. This one almost looked... petite by the standards of Paleon Guardians, although he still weighed a number of tons.

    Unit Custos wasn't a "standard" Enforcer Mech. He had no partner, he did not attend missions. His presence here wasn't entirely understood by Ledifni but it was authorised by Command all the same.

    "I hear you have been sent to attend the High Council's ceremony. The traditional exchange of guests. Most bizarre."

    Much of the complexities of human etiquette and diplomacy were apparently lost on Paleons, but Ledifni knew- from experience- that this was utter rubbish. Paleons understood social trends better than humans did, they just maintained the facade because they found it funny to belittle and disparage human habits.

    The High Council and the Domarian Legion hated each other's guts, but they wouldn't dream of failing to send a representative or two to each others' respective ceremonies. As an Enforcer Officer, Ledifni had the equivalent rank of a police captain, with the added mystique of being part of Alpha Sector's most respected (and feared) security service. Even on Maladria, a planet awash with the rich and powerful with High Councillors living on every street, no one would deny the Enforcers' reputation.

    The warehouse was huge and empty. Water dripped from a hole in the roof, pooling in a puddle that the hulking great robot currently stood in.

    "We need to talk," said Unit Custos.

    Edcrab on
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  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    The High Councilor remained still as the security detail stepped into a position their corporate manual no doubt praised for its Maximum Dissuasive Effect, each adopting a Suitably Intimidating Stance.

    Well, this is a good sign, they must be in the middle of something ludicrously illegal to skip straight to physical intimidation. I wonder if this counts as probable cause?

    He tosses a thought at the web of sensors draped around the inside of his skull and his e-Secretary begins to download and comb through the Maladrian legal codex.

    That would be a nice change of pace.

    The silence lasts another beat before Rel Morrow breaks it with a sigh... followed by a telekinetic thunderclap as four of the security detail simultaneously fly away from him, crashing into the walls in mangled heaps. He leisurely turns in place, meeting the large guard's gaze with a particularly biting stare and saying in a rather bored tone,

    "Surrender your weapons and access or authorization devices, kneel on the ground and place your hands atop your head."
    Spoiler:

    Lanlaorn on
  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    Ledifni had conversed with all matter of beings and sentience in his tenure, of wildly varying degree and quality. The highly enjoyable discourse with ideogogues bent on ill-conceived but passionate goals, the spars with High Council politicals, the confessions of the insane or worse. Quite the number were rather one-sided in Ledifni's favour but interrogation had that satisfaction regardless. Truly, how can one really compare besting an intellectual in debate to defeating a lesser opponent but so soundly that his very being has cracked?

    The Paleons were a depressing lot conversationally. They were quite adept, with a machine wit and vocabulary to rely on, fast analysis to turn over every word. And they shared the same twisted satisfaction that humans did in watching an opponent squirm. Verbally jousting with a Paleon was a technically interesting adventure but Ledifni found it bereft of any satisfaction he drew against humans. It was an irrelevant measure, and their unimaginative stubbornness seemed to breed the incapability of being broken by words.

    There was only one Paleon that Ledifni actually enjoyed speaking with, his ex-partner. Straightforward, juvenile, but respectful even if it was in a colloquial jab wrapped in formal syntax. He definitely wasn't like most of his kind, however. Ledifni wondered briefly where he might be. If he even knew that Ledifni was still alive.

    Maintaining the diplomatic edge of his current mission's persona, despite the meager company and accommodations, he responded to the Paleon.

    "You must be here for the ceremony as well. Most bizarre."

    All the thing needed was an acknowledgement to continue.

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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Rel

    The guards spiral backwards in various states of injury and discomfort. Moments later a chorus of groans starts up. The receptionist has gone missing; either she's cowering behind the desk or she slunk off during Rel's demonstration.

    Rel takes a jab at the big guard's mind and is slightly surprised to discover that he has psionic abilities of his own. The man winces at the incursion and then breaks into an unpleasant grin, slowly kneeling and placing his hands atop of his head.

    "Oh, of course, I'll just give up shall I? Because you're a scary psionor and the Highs have a monopoloy on hiring psionors?"

    A gust of force, like the sneeze of a giant, emanates from the kneeling guard and threatens to pin Rel to the ceiling.
    Spoiler:


    Ledifni

    "Hah. In a manner of speaking," said Unit Custos, "but the specific locale is not relevant. I am here because you are here. We are communicating in person because I do not trust the Maladrian relays.

    "Are you familiar with the term 'Infinite Sky'?"
    Spoiler:

    Edcrab on
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  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    "Keh. Are you going to do anything useful, Dawkins?" Dustin hisses as he fires off four shots at the approaching masses. Four hasty, lousy shots, according to his HUD combat efficiency tracker. Imogen was the the wrong tool for the job. If only he had a grenade or two.
    Spoiler:

    tastydonuts on
    “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”
    ― Bill Cosby
  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    "You know, Dustin, there was a time when I was a research scientist," Stephen brushed his fingers across the console rapidly, "hardly anyone ever tried to shoot me with anything back in those days."

    He withdrew his MediStat from the briefcase at his side, though at this point the device hardly resembled a commercial MediStat at all. It had undergone a number of necessary alterations over the course of Stephen's career, some bought and some done by his own hand. While his area of technical expertise still really remained in the workings of cybernetic implants, at this late point in his life he had come to learn the value of broadening his technological knowledge.

    "It makes me wonder why I ever decided to get into this sort of work at all," Stephen's dripping sarcasm faltered a bit as a photon blast struck a nearby desk. "Oh wait, I didn't."

    Stephen established a link with the mainframe and immediately began the process of decryption.

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Dustin, Stephen

    Imogen deftly sears her way through four of the guards, smudging out throats and heads and chests with a wisp of hot ash. The last one dives for cover, away from his twitching comrades on the floor and away from Dustin's killzone. He looks on the verge of fleeing altogether; so much for loyalty to the company.

    The second squad, uncowed by the fate of their fellows, treats Dustin and Stephen's position to another volley. Their pistols spite photons in unison.
    Spoiler:

    Stephen is treated to a garish flashing error message. The network administrator had been informed of his access attempt. Not that it mattered in the slightest, now.

    The network is full of holes; even though he was off his game he still manages to rummage around in the private network. Looking at the camera feed, he can see half a dozen fresh squads heading towards the command centre. Stephen weighs up his options.
    Spoiler:

    Edcrab on
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  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    Ledifni

    "Yes, quite familiar. What of it?"

    Despite not needing further information at the time, Ledifni spins up his connection and queries for Infinite Sky, cross-referenced with the Paleons in particular. It is out of habit, but one that serves well when electronic warfare causes issue and he can still rely on his local cache. He likes having the information at the edge of his cyber-periphery.

    And he might well need something entertaining to sift through if this conversation does not pique his interests.

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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Ledifni

    "I suspected as much."

    The query brings back several pages of results; mostly used by poetic types running short of synonyms for the intranet in speeches and prose. Curiously, Ledifni cannot find sources as to whom, specifically, first used the term.

    And the search engine would have him believe that no page, anywhere, has mention of the word "Paleon" coupled with "Infinite Sky". Someone has tampered with the results.

    Unit Custos made a low rumbling noise, the robot's equivalent of clearing its throat. "Let me save you some time. It was discovered by a man named Doctor Petrich Falmer. You will not find any record of him. He was excised from history.

    Petrich was not referring to the intranet when he talked of his discovery of the 'Infinite Sky'. That was merely the story presented to the masses."

    Edcrab on
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  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    Ledifni

    Ahhh. Something clicked, and it wasn't the whirling microservos of Unit Custos.

    "It seems you do not agree with the history as presented in the records? Which would explain a distrust of the comm networks as well, given the common keepers."

    Ledifni interrupted the query and set it instead on the metadata of the records retrieved. Maybe his access-level could grant something interesting, some timestamps even would be of value.

    "So what is the story as presented to me?"

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  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Dustin nonchalantly moves his head to the side as photons tear another hole in their cover. Snapping around he lets off two more shots with Imogen and then curses under his breath as his HUD informs him that she's recharging. Grenades.

    Lacking grenades, Dustin wordlessly reaches out and snatches up Stephen's gun in a manner that the researcher had grown accustomed to by now. Firing again he ducks back behind their cover and glares at him.

    "We'll run out of cover before they run out of men, ne? And don't think that I won't kill you first just so they can't." Dustin says before smiling that smile of his. "Now work faster."
    Spoiler:

    tastydonuts on
    “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”
    ― Bill Cosby
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    Ledifni

    The metadata is access-restricted. And the very fact that an Enforcer Officer can't view it speaks volumes in and of itself: it has been altered at the highest level.

    Unit Custos nodded. Or at least dipped his eye up and down. "The popularly known story, circulated for the past few centuries, is that an unknown division of Outworld Acquisition located a type-II phase relay on a planet on the extreme outskirts of the Orokos Spiral Arm; a marked improvement over the type-Is that the peoples of Alpha Sector had been using at the time.

    They spent weeks excavating the device and testing it before announcing their discovery.

    This is not true. Doctor Falmer did not discover a mere relay, and he did not have a team with him. The Paleon Network believes that he discovered something very different." Unit Custos goes silent for a moment, and when he speaks again it is not in his own voice. It is in the slightly reedy tones of a soft-spoken older gentleman, a monologue from a man long-dead.

    "It's incredible. A glimpse into something truly alien, a place we had never seen or even conceived of before now. An endless expanse, an infinite sky..."

    With a beep, the recording ends and Custos's voice is back. "We believe, based on his accounts, that he found some kind of rift. An opening into another dimension. He meant it literally and not metaphorically.

    We have long disagreed with the Supercomputer's decision to censor this information. But now Command takes our theories seriously.

    There are reports of similar sights. And this time they are not confined to the Orokos Spiral, or the diaries of an easily dismissed scientist."


    Dustin

    Dustin empties his laser weapon into the squadron and then switches to Dawker's pistol without missing a beat. Three men fall. Now incredibly aware that they underestimated their target, the two teams converge for the same control panel and huddle down behind it, becoming a trio.

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  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    "Faster? Would you like to do it instead? I imagine you've got so much experience breaking into corporate networks while they're melting," Stephen shot Dustin a dirty look before turning back to his MediStat. It occurred to him for a second that in Dustin's line of work that wasn't so far-fetched, but he pushed the thought out of his mind to focus on the task at hand.

    He successfully managed to access the lockdown trigger for the command center, and sent the center into lockdown. "We'll see if that slows them down."

    "Now let's see if I can get those turrets going..."

    Winky on
  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    The guard's psionic capabilities catch Rel by surprise, and his defensive response is slowed just enough to find him pushed up toward the ceiling.

    Well, this is embarrassing.The price of hubris!

    Might as well take advantage of the situation, though


    The secretary's desk rises slightly off the ground and races across the floor, smashing right into the kneeling guard's grinning face. It comes to rest then pulls back slightly and once more slams into the guard, crushing him against the wall again.

    "To answer your question,"

    For good measure the High Councilor focuses on the guard's mind and bashes his psyche as well.

    "Yes, because I'm a scary psionor."

    Spoiler:

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Stephen

    Stephen watches with satisfaction as the reinforcements run into the rapidly descending blast doors. But the sensation is short-lived. Two very large mechs of indeterminate make are following behind the troops, and they no doubt have sufficient firepower to breach the hatches given enough time. By his calculations Stephen is halfway to activating the turrets, and from the looks of the plating on the mechs they'll be sorely needed.
    Spoiler:


    Rel

    The table lurches off the floor and breaks the guard's nose, dislodged computer components cascading off its surface. Rel falls gently to the floor as the guard flops backwards- but rather than easing off, Rel adjusts the desk's trajectory and brings it smashing down on the man's prone form. With a shattered knee pinned down by tasteful wooden furniture, the guard can only grit his teeth and clutch at the offending limb.

    "You mad bastard! You broke my leg!"

    Meanwhile the receptionist, having been deprived of her cover, does her best to casually walk out of the building. Time for a change of employer.
    Spoiler:


    Randolph

    Randolph appraises the Senior Councillor, just in case the man is on to him. But it seems clear that any concerns Korpec has are purely associated with risks to his reputation; Randolph and the legitimacy of his offer are beyond reproach. But right now? Right now Korpec is more worried about the newcomer. And with good reason.

    A suited businessman steps out of the shadows, and four more shabbily dressed men follow him.

    "I said," he says to Korpec, "who's your friend? Have you forgotten?"

    Randolph instantly reads him as a criminal, a well-to-do one by his garb and body language, but his escort is likely made up of under-skilled hired muscle. They're all vests and stains and body odour, hideously out of place amongst the exaggerated gilt and tacky glamour of Maladria. Likely fresh off a ship.

    "Well, I know." The man sneers. "He's a rep of Steinne Excavations. Korpec told me all about you last time he was drunk."

    "Look here, Graham," Korpec stammers, "we don't need to be like this-"

    "Shut up, old man," Graham snaps. "I'm thinking that the two of you want to make a generous donation to me and my friends here. Wouldn't do if your involvement in this new, unlicensed, illegal mine became public, huh? What would your boss think?" he adds to Randolph.

    Randolph's boss could think anything Randolph wanted him to, seeing as the boss, the mine, and Steinne Excavations were entirely imaginary.

    Edcrab on
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  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    Ledifni

    A précis request is dispatched for a "Doctor Falmer" with the playback from the Paleon attached as a voiceprint identifier. He might make a connection with the bland dossier he had on Unit Custos. Maybe not. Hopefully it wasn't already scrubbed in connection with whatever over-reaching coverup was in play.

    The coverup had at least made this interesting for him.

    "I don't see why I'd be of interest to you yet. I'm awfully preoccupied with running out for these dog shows as late, as you're aware. Does Command have something else in store for me?"

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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Ledifni

    Discounting hits of the wrong age and gender and voice, Ledifni's search finds reference in old headlines to a doctor who was institutionalised due to poor mental health and died while still incarcerated in an Orokos facility. Any other existing quotes are similar- but far more manic- to the lines that Custos had recited.

    Reading further, it seemed that Falmer had been apprehended by a Unit Noscito. And cross-referencing her led to... Unit Custos. Custos's "mother", so to speak, the Paleon of the former generation who provided most of his core material, had been the Paleon operative who brought Falmer in to the authorities when he went on the run hundreds and hundreds of years ago.

    This probably counted as a family matter, by Paleon standards.
    Spoiler:

    Ledifni makes a further deduction when he looks further back... not into Falmer's past, but into Unit Noscito's. She was that rarest of things, a Paleon Guardian who hadn't found their way into the service of the Domarians. She had worked for Outworld Acquisition as the general assistant and bodyguard to a high-ranking researcher in the marketing division. And Ledifni was willing to bet that that researcher had been Doctor Falmer. No wonder Custos had access to an apparently unique voice recording- his mother had been there.

    "I appreciate that you are busy, as does Command, and you will of course be allowed to attend the ceremony and complete your duties on Maladria. But they felt it only fair to offer you this assignment before anyone else.

    Your former partner has been sighted near the most recently reported rift, and many of those before it."

    Edcrab on
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  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    "Ah, the door turrets!" Dustin looks over Stephen, obviously not satisfied with his progress. He then vents his agitation by firing on the guard units again. The look on his face suggests that he's dissatisfied with his own progress as well.
    Spoiler:

    tastydonuts on
    “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”
    ― Bill Cosby
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    Dustin

    The trio of guards finally goes down. But not before one of Dustin's shots goes hilariously wide, burning off the pale plaster of the far wall and revealing the reinforced concrete beneath. An "employee of the month" plaque is thrown clear, scything into the carpet. It smoulders quietly to itself as the feats of some plucky security officer are obliterated forever.

    Dustin- and Stephen too- can hear the stomping feet of something large and heavy behind the door. They're alone in control centre, but likely not for long.

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  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    "You mad bastard! You broke my leg!"

    "Yea, well, "surrender your weapons" implied "don't telekinetically attack me"."

    Rel casually extends an arm and the guard's keychain flies from his belt to the councilor's hand. Reaching into the guard's mind,

    I'm going to go take a tour of the place now, it would be nice if you just let me know what's going on and any useful access codes

    Bouncing the various keys, dongles and cards in his hand as he turns to leave, Rel thinks to the guard,

    I'll call you an ambulance on my way out. You're wasting your talents working in a place like this though, if you ever decide to join the High Council send a message my way, I'll write you a letter of recommendation. The name's Rel Morrow.

    Recognizing the thought, Continuity, his demure e-Secretary persona, adds "Contact Medical Services" to her to-do list and takes the time to report that "Menacing" is indeed a misdemeanor on Maladria, but she can find no precedent creative enough to justify the impromptu search of a multinational's property.

    There's a first time for everything.

    Spoiler:

    Lanlaorn on
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Rel

    The guard says nothing, mulling it all over.

    Talk of "reading" minds was blown out of proportion by the non-psionic media who didn't know any better- it was much harder, in fact, for a psion to read a non-psion than one of their fellows. But the telekinetic guard had had the misfortune to be thinking about his superiors down below, and Rel had reeled those thoughts in.

    The corridor behind the sealed security door (although its light had already turned green when Rel pointed a hardkey at it) led to a T-junction: to the right, Asperia Solutions' offices and residential apartments, taking up a tidy chunk of the arcology. To the left, an elevator that led to the six hexagonal labs and workshops stacked on top of each other a hundred metres below the surface, with the largest floor- the command centre- at the very bottom. Like a tower in reverse.

    Between the man's hardkeys and today's access code (currently oldereurthy%micdeXterityno*mad450, a randomised mouthful that Rel commited to his computer rather than trying to remember) Rel deduced that he'd be able to beat most of the facility's defences. He approached the door and inserted the appropriate hardkey, and then advanced beyond it.

    The guard hadn't known where the Dualists were headed, but he did know that there were a pair of repeater turrets defending the elevator; and they happened to use biometric scanners on a seperate circuit to the network.

    As he'd thought, most of the facility's defences. Rel stops at the end of the corridor, knowing that when he turned the corner the sentry guns would come online.
    Spoiler:

    Edcrab on
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  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    Ledifni

    "Your former partner has been sighted near the most recently reported rift, and many of those before it."

    Oh brilliant. Couldn't wait to drop that bomb, could you? What an awkward carrot.

    Ledifni raised his hand, a finger across his chin. The dress-uniform white of the glove across his skin demonstrated what great extent his pale features held. He was in that age where it was clear he had at least some number of decades but thanks to science would remain ambiguous.

    "Unit Munkus? I doubt very much that you have made the great effort of tracking his exploits solely on behalf of I."

    What is Munkus involved in?

    Whom is after what here?

    "I could find means to excuse myself from the proceedings, that is, if Command wishes to send new orders."

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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    Ledifni

    "Unit Munkus was one of the best. But I am sure I do not need to tell you as much. There are those of us in the Network who wish to bring him back into the fold, and the Enforcers would be eager to return him to active service. Nevertheless. There are rules, and there will be consequences for breaking those rules. I am sure Unit Munkus understands that."

    Unit Custos sagged slightly, as if exhaling. "As for your duties here, we appreciate your co-operation but that will not be necessary. To my understanding the ceremony has a presentation tonight and tomorrow night and then your assignment here is over.

    The rifts have proven to be very regular. The next is due in four days time. It is our intention to transport you to the affected systems on a specially chartered phasecraft."

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  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    Stephen would've had a snarky quip in regards to Dustin's questionable aim, but at this point he was at his peak focus. He summoned the same cold efficiency that he brought into the operating room in order to work with precision and control. The system unfolded before him as though he had sliced it open with a scalpel.

    "Now Dustin, who would you like to shoot first?"

  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Leaning against the wall at the corner he was about to turn, Rel takes the time to adjust his gloves as he ponders the situation, his lashknife floating out of its interior breast pocket sheath and waiting patiently for him to grip it. Nothing useful with regards to defeating these turrets was found in either the fragments of thought from the guard or the security network options available to him. He establishes a kinetic field around himself and plays out some cable from the base of the knife, wrapping a few loops around his palm for a solid grip and easy inductance.

    Well if no elegant solution exists, time for some property damage
    Spoiler:

    With a few twirls for momentum Rel leans around the corner and lets the knife fly, cable unreeling in its wake. As the blade sinks into the metal of the turret to the left of the elevator door he pushes electrons along the line with the same practiced ease he uses to shove gross matter.
    Spoiler:

    Lanlaorn on
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Stephen, Dustin

    With the hissing of hidden motors, three gigantic turrets unfold themselves from the ceiling, rotating towards the entrance. They look like something stolen off the top of a miniature tank.

    "Online. Scanning for targets."

    A moment later the blast doors collapse in the wake of a barrage of beam weapons, drawbridges of crumpled metal. A dozen guards take up positions at either side of the two towering walking weapons platforms, whose laser batteries are already humming in preparation for another volley.

    For what it's worth, Dustin thinks he recognises them as a C'heshinese model. Excellent firepower but a poor choice for such a confined space.
    Spoiler:


    Rel

    Rel steps around the corner and immediately feels a barrage of superheated gases smash against his psi. He does his best to hold the turrets at bay, aware that their fire would eat through his uniform and flesh with ease.

    Trying to concentrate, Rel lets his knife fly. It skewers the leftmost turret's centre pivot... and Rel electrocutes it to the point of glowing. The first turret shorts out in a fireworks display of noise and sparks.
    Spoiler:

    Edcrab on
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  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    No warning before firing, enough firepower to tear into a mech? With this level of security I must be on to something interesting indeed, something worth the hassle every time some poor bastard makes a wrong turn.

    As the first turret falls silent he turns his gaze to the remaining one.

    At least they're relatively fragile

    With a thought Rel simply tears the turret straight out of the wall and steps fully into the corridor, whipping the lashknife back to his hand with a well practiced flick of the wrist. He drops it from his hand by a few inches slack and absentmindedly keeps it swaying like a pendulum as he uses the guard's authorization at the elevator door.

    Probably best to secure the command center first

    As he waits Rel extends his senses outward, attempting to get an idea of what lies below.
    Spoiler:

    Lanlaorn on
  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Fireworks are going off in Randolph's mind. To an inexperienced, green con-man this scenario would cause absolute panic and terror. Thugs encroaching on the mark and threatening extortion? Many man would cut their losses and grab the next shuttle off the rock before trouble came back round to bite them in the ass.

    But Randolph's brain is afire with possibilities.

    He takes a bit of a cowardly tone with the thugs. "Please...please sirs, there is no need for threats. No need Mr. Steinne or the Council to hear about any of this." He stammers a moment then nervously swallows. He leans in toward the shadowy man and whispers in his ear: "You see...my problem right now is that I have no funds free to speak of. Steinne has written off this mine as defunct and ordered me to scrap its workforce for parts. But on my last inspection, I found something remarkable. Those backwater buffoons had been scrapping artifact tech thinking it was rubble! They think they are moving garbage when they are burning treasure!"

    "I cannot offer you funds, and it would do the Councillor's reputation harm if he openly gave to you, sir. But in exchange for your silence I can sell you the deeds to half the defunct mine. The Councillor cannot afford the entire deed and once excavation starts, the opportunity will be lost! If it will buy your silence, I will gladly sell these to you for no cut at all. Just please, we mustn't tip our hand."

    Randolph can tell that the thug is buying the load, so Randolph decides to sweeten the pot and seal the deal. All while winning some points with the Chancellor.

    "I...I will even offer you a cut of my profits with the Councillor on top sir. We do not want trouble!"

    The thugs wore sadistic grins. Randolph couldn't tell if they were more pleased by the terror they had inflicted on the unsuspecting businessman or the funds he had pledged to their cause. Randolph briefly considered how much harder he would have to work if people weren't so eager to take advantage of his misfortune.

    "We can get a lot of those deeds you know," the thug smirks. "Maybe more than you can afford to sell."

    "I'm giving you all that I can! My cut with the Chancellor, the rest of the deeds at defunct price! Just please tell me you will be discreet!"

    One of the less sophisticated thugs chimed in, "Oh yeah, discreet is our middle name." His knuckles made an audible crack.

    "I'll...draw up the paperwork right away," muttered Randolph. He was eager to get back to the handling of the Councillor, his first mark. It'd be easy to finish the con on these street-thugs and take their money, but the Councillor would take a little massaging to make sure that he didn't regret any drunk deals.
    Spoiler:

    Steam name: munkus_beaver
    Blizzard thing: munkus#1952
    Nintendo ID (3DS thinger): 0619-4510-9772
    Please give to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America: http://www.ccfa.org/
    Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but it dies in the process.
  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    It was very apparent that Dustin was going for quantity of shots over quality as he hastily commands a shot from one of the turrets and then fires off two pulses from Imogen at any person that was still still standing.

    "Keh, Grenades. Why didn't I bring grenades?" He mutters to himself in agitation. "Ne, see if there's a grenade cache documented somewhere!"
    Spoiler:

    “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”
    ― Bill Cosby
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Rel

    Having ripped the turret out of its socket, dashing it against the floor, Rel takes the elevator down. It reaches the first level of the underground facility and then locks down. The lights go red, a siren sounds in his ears, and the door remains sealed.

    He can hear a low whining, which from his experiences indicates that some kind of plasma detonator is charging. The elevator is about to blow.
    Spoiler:


    Randolph

    "Artifacts are worth like... like, millions," says one of the slower thugs.

    The one in the suit waves at him to be silent, disgusted. It's funny how some idiots consider themselves above other idiots.

    Randolph is used to seeing the grins of people convinced they're taking advantage of someone else. All of them are sneering at Randolph's apparent weakness, gleeful at the prospect of making so much money. Although their boss looks like the kind of man who wouldn't want to share. He nods along eagerly, even though the details Randolph lists off are suspicious at best and completely nonsensical at worst.

    They don't question having to pay up-front for a share of the profit, ostensibly so Randolph can cover up the transaction and field transfer fees. The fact that Randolph seems so conflicted and hesistant just persuades them that it's a great idea.

    "Pleasure doing business with you," the boss says after Randolph goes through the motions. He laughs as he and his troupe start to walk off, turning as he leaves, miming making a phonecall; "I'll give you a ring!" Unlikely, as the contact ID Randolph had handed over was a dummy account he'd created for just such a purpose. Although he could always listen to the inevitable angry, confused voicemails later.

    Randolph leaves the encounter with the bank details of a man listed only as "Mr. John Smith". There's 17,000 credits in it, a steal for a principal share of the production output of a mine full of Uclasion relics. The gang leader had felt very smug and clever when he shook Randolph down from 20k.

    He'd made far more money before, but never so easily. Maladria bred them rich and dumb.

    "I'm... I'm not sure what just happened there," says Councillor Korpec, after waiting a moment.


    Dustin

    The plasma bolt strikes the mech and detonates with a flash of coruscating light, consuming three luckless soldiers and eating a chunk out of the mech's side. It staggers but straightens back up, blasting at the heavy turret. The blinding pulse dances over the other machine but the heavily plated gun shrugs it off.

    The second mech fires at Dustin, but it forecasts its actions so obviously that the Spokesperson has little trouble evading it. The other squadron of guards moves forward- no doubt realising the turrets' potential for collateral damage- taking up positions behind a databank and opening fire on Dustin.
    Spoiler:

    Edcrab on
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  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2012
    "You should have warned me, Councillor," Randolph takes out a handkerchief and dabs his forehead. "If I had known we might have been able to pay them off without selling those deeds. Even with five percent of the cut on the artifacts from this mine I will still have enough to pay for my sister's operation and live comfortably in a retirement chateau."

    Randolph visibly regains his composure, continuing, "But it doesn't matter. I've run the calculations, there is only so much that one organization can buy up before attracting the attention of headquarters that something is amiss anyway. One person buying an entire mine that is supposed to be defunct attracts attention. That says the mine has value. A dozen buyers grabbing up small portions and equipment is commonplace, taking advantage of the economy and shortselling. We can't use those deeds, and so selling them to buy silence and discretion is a fair trade."

    He gauges the Councillor's interest and produces documents from a hidden lining in his jacket. The flair of 'clandestine' deals is intoxicating to dreamers who live boring little lives. Korpec may be a politician now, but he was once a child who had swashbuckling dreams. "The lion's share of artifacts are in these deeds, however." Money is so much sweeter when it's secret money.

    Munkus Beaver on
    Steam name: munkus_beaver
    Blizzard thing: munkus#1952
    Nintendo ID (3DS thinger): 0619-4510-9772
    Please give to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America: http://www.ccfa.org/
    Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but it dies in the process.
  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    As the elevator locks down, Rel isn't surprised. It was inevitable that a human or halfway decent AI would take a closer look and hey, he got the first hundred meters of the shaft out of the way at least. Then the plasma detonator began to charge.

    What. His lashknife's lazy pendulum motion stops.

    You've got to be fucking kidding me!

    He applies a shear stress where the elevator doors meet and smashes them apart as the locks fail.

    "And let me guess, this floor is the military grade Cyborg Psionic Gef break room", Rel grumbles while telekinetically propelling himself out of the elevator, without sparing a look to where he leaps. But he couldn't contain the small smile forming as he cleared the doomed elevator.
    Spoiler:

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Randolph

    It dawns on Korpec that the best is still to come and that he hasn't lost out after all. The worry flows off his face and he smiles, putting a brotherly arm over Randolph's shoulder.

    "Have I mentioned the annual ceremony we have here? I think you're a shoe-in for services to the High Council."


    Rel

    Rel smashes the door aside and dashes forward, landing just as the elevator flares red and collapses down the shaft in an avalanche of glowing shards.

    The room is hexagonal, as the mindscanned guard's thoughts indicated, and seems to be some kind of office. Workers are standing up and peering from cubicles with alarm. Two guards walk swiftly towards Rel from opposite sides of the chamber, hands reaching for their pistols.

    Edcrab on
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  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    "It's always more weapons with you. You're never satisfied!" Stephen changes his focus to attempting to break into the database. With any luck he'd find something useful, if not something more destructive for Dustin.

    While waiting impatiently for the crippled Asperia network to let him in, he spotted the scattergun left on the floor next to the chief of security's splayed out body. "Why not?" he muttered as he picked up the gun, poked out from around the side of the smoking console and fired a quick shot off in the general direction of the guards.

    Winky on
  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    "Excuse me, I got off on the wrong floor."

    The High Councilor skates backwards an inch off the ground and back into the shaft he had erupted out of. As he falls, he throws the lashknife into the shaft wall and uses the cable to turn his fall into a controlled rappel down.

    Meanwhile he queries Continuity to bring up the map he had before, and she dutifully complies with a convenient marker showing his position.
    Spoiler:

  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    "And you my friend, are satisfied too easily. Ne?" Dustin responds.

    With Imogen recharging her reserves, Dustin directs the fire of the other two turrets to fire some more.
    Spoiler:

    tastydonuts on
    “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”
    ― Bill Cosby
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Dustin, Stephen

    Stephen watches as the database download's progress ticks down. It was more a matter of time than effort, now.

    Stephen's scattergun shot clips a guard but fails to do them any real harm. The turrets, however, are less merciful. The first blast brings a mech to the verge of destruction, killing a guard in the process. Now the six-strong squad on the right are all that remain. Very much aware of this fact, they continue taking potshots at Dustin.

    The second mech gains a smoking hole in its centre, but this time the left over guards are too far away from the blast to be harmed. Together the mechs swivel towards the centre turret, the first to attack one of them, and deluge it was laser light. It emerges unscathed.
    Spoiler:


    Rel

    With his improvised climbing kit and his psi slowing his fall, Rel swings into the door none too gently. But he's unhurt, which is all he could have hoped for.

    By his count this is the fifth floor down, the second-to-last of the facility, and the armoury if the telekinetic guard's mind is anything to go by.

    Edcrab on
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  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    Rel considered his position, going straight to the command center and shutting down the facility from the "top" down had seemed like a good idea, but considering the security response would only be fiercer, perhaps taking a look around the armory is in order.

    He extends his mental senses outward, looking for other minds on the armory and command floors, while slowly prying open the armory elevator doors, cautiously peering i.n
    Spoiler:

  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2012
    "Korpec, I must say you are brilliant. With a services award...Steinne will assume that your purchase of these deeds is you doing a favor for a newfound friend of the High Council. It'll be a real feather in my cap and would give me an excuse to sell more of the deeds than I would be able to in normal circumstances! Mr. Steinne will never suspect a thing. Absolutely brilliant thinking, Korpec!"

    Munkus Beaver on
    Steam name: munkus_beaver
    Blizzard thing: munkus#1952
    Nintendo ID (3DS thinger): 0619-4510-9772
    Please give to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America: http://www.ccfa.org/
    Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but it dies in the process.
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    Rel

    Rel sweeps the doors aside and swings himself into the armoury, reeling his knife back in when he lands.

    His psi is drawing a blank but the place is deserted according to his mundane senses too. It's smaller than the other floors and more drab to boot. A concrete bunker filled with gun metal grey shelves and gun metal grey... well, guns, appropriately enough. The racks are looking very bare and there's a certain disarray to them, as if a large crowd had rushed in and seized themselves some equipment and left without bothering to tidy up.

    There's still a few suits of light armour, and some pistols and stubby rifles on the racks. A small crate of grenades lies upended on the floor, lost in a heap of its emptied fellows. As there's still a five-pack of frags left, some simple mathematics tells Rel that the guards who were here must have twenty-five between them.

    Any other corp would have a crate with a hundred of the things... but no, Asperia Solutions buys doughnut boxes full of explosives. Perhaps it drew less attention than an apparent office complex purchasing freight containers worth of fragmentation grenades, but it still seems odd.


    Randolph

    Korpec is beaming at his own genius. It's fascinating how he went from nervous to self-congratulatory in a few short minutes.

    Leading Randolph out of the alley- and frankly Randolph has no clue why a man draped in the finery of the High Council would wander down a dark alley in the first place- Korpec has an idea.

    "There's a place I go to on nights like this, nights worth celebrating. It's... it's not strictly legal, but it's big and there's lots of people there, so there's obviously something wrong with the law, right?" The Councillor realises he's getting sidetracked. "Anyway. It's a bit of a fight club. The drink is good and the waitresses don't wear much. S'good for gambling too, if you can look at the ring and see who's who. I bet you'll love it."

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