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[IC] Exigency: Infinite Sky

124

Posts

  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Stephen responds through his MediStat. Despite having no actual implants of his own, the MediStat is well enough tuned into Stephen's signature that it is reasonably proficient at recording particular thoughts and transferring messages. It's not nearly as accurate as an implant, or a psioner, or even Rel's minimally invasive personal computer, but the MediStat had been trained to be highly sensitive to Stephen's own mental shorthand.

    "I agree. This is fairly novel, if impractical, and there might be more to it. I want to get my hands on that data and I know the research director will too. I would label it a highly valuable asset. Also, I suspect this is more complicated than it seems, the Vigilante's memory has been tampered with and I get the impression this whole situation might be time sensitive." Stephen transferred the rest of the relevant data he had collected so far and some of his own conclusions along with it to Dustin's gibson. Dustin could decide how much of it he'd want to look over.

    Winky on
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  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    Rel begins explaining to Farris while Stephen performs his tests,

    "It's something that's probably going to be more frustrating to you than alarming, but that memory, of the female Councilor? I'm afraid it's just a very high quality fake. I'm not sure it helps that they tried to frame Lord Councillor Teliesien, the woman is a thorn in the side of many."

    Rel takes a few "screenshots" of the visual portion of the memory showing Teliesien's face and places them on the shared network with Dustin and Stephen. Continuity appends some background information quickly drawn from the intranet, highlighting helpful statistics like voting record, activities, etc.

    "Itrea's good enough to spot it if you want a second opinion you can trust, I know it must be difficult to question your own thoughts and memories. What I'm curious about is what else they may have tried to erase completely. This would be a great time to mention any habits like "I collect a coin from every world I visist, and lo and behold I have one I don't remember picking up", etc."

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    Dustin

    "Roger that. We have encountered no resistance in upper levels. Now on final approach in service elevator." The signal is cut. She didn't ask for identification; it's enough to know that a Dualist speaker on a Dualist channel must be a Dualist. It is not a language that can be picked up lightly, it's a form of encryption in and of itself.


    Randolph, Ledifni, Charles

    Senior Councillor Korpec's gambling losses were hardly slight, but he's in a surprisingly good mood. Randolph has been explaining the situation, suggesting that they go find the surprise champion to discuss a business proposition.

    Randolph has failed to mention that he made ©30,000 betting on Konev's success. But he's mentioned how impressive the win was, and Korpec agreed that it was a hell of a bout.

    Randolph led the Councillor out back, looking for Charles, only to find that the cyborg was surrounded by Feldeng and others. The alley was wide but it was almost filled by the crowd surrounding him. Randolph counts ten in total, but Feldeng was the only cyborg.

    And there's an Enforcer at the other end of the alley. He'd know that uniform anywhere.


    An Enforcer was the only Domarian post that could put the fear of god into a legal citizen of a High Council world. On Maladria at that-- practically their throne. Everyone had heard the stories of what the Enforcers were willing (and capable) of doing to succeed on their missions.

    "Ledifni," Sottle, one of his many contacts, swallowed. "You know I'm telling the truth. Wouldn't dream of lying to you guys! The information is legit. I mean, that's what I was told. Honest."

    If Ledifni is annoyed, it doesn't show in his expression. The data merely corroborates what he already knew, but it tells him that the latest anomaly sighting had been noticed by powers other than the Paleon Network. Either that or the Network had been talking to members of Sottle's two-bit smuggling syndicate.

    Ledifni hears Feldeng and Konev's argument. They're barely fifty feet from his position, and their voices are raised.

    "Ah shit," Sottle moves closer to Ledifni, realising that in a bizarre turn he was probably the least dangerous of the alley's current inhabitants. "Looks like trouble is about to go down. We should get out of here."


    Having a man like Feldeng around buoyed the confidence of others. The gang was spoiling for a fight, even though in other circumstances they'd have taken one look at Konev before running. And then possibly flying, leaving via the nearest spaceport.

    But Feldeng didn't really say much. He stood impassively, arms folded, still bloodied around the mouth and eye. It was his manager who was yelling at Konev.

    "It's really simple, mech! You won by cheating, so either you hand over your winnings or we beat them out of you! What, do you think we won't do it?"

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  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Recognize anyone?" Randolph whispers to Korpec as he scans the mob. He check for the bulge of weapons and muscle, the confident stance of a leader, or signs of troublesome psychic warrior. "Like maybe the Enforcer?"

    Randolph can see that the manager is definitely packing heat. Not a pistol; it's a full-sized SMG, threatening to burst out of his suit jacket. A couple of his men have scatter guns and they're not even trying to hide them.

    Psionors often have a certain readiness to them; except it's their minds that are primed and tensed and wary, not their muscles. Randolph doesn't see any of the classic signs in the gang. They're all just hired thugs.

    "An Enforcer?" Korpec looks down the alley, then notices Ledifini. "Oh. Him. No, I haven't any ideas. I don't recognise anybody..."

    The Councillor looks wary. "I don't think we should be here."

    "Korpec, Korpec...this is exactly where we should be," he grinned at the Councillor. "We're about to assist a Domarian Enforcer and a prize fighter that recently came into quite a sum of money. You can't buy Domarian gratitude, Korpec...but I'm sure Charles there would be willing to try." He gave Korpec a knowing wink.

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  • ZandraconZandracon Registered User regular
    Konev momentarily flicks his sight upwards, and attempts to connect to a Vigilance database using his implants to check if any of the gang around him happened to have a bounty put out on them before continuing his argument.

    "Well now, this is certainly news to me. I cheated? Who do you think I am, some sort of dumb robot whose only objective is winning? I would never cheat on something as little as this!" He grins slightly and scratches his head. "Look, if you need the money for a kid's operation or something, I would be sympathetic. But from what I can tell, you all don't look like the child rearing type."
    Spoiler:

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    edited March 2012
    Charles

    Konev does a cursory scan of the local Vigil database. Feldeng has a record, but it's petty, expired stuff and no contracts have been taken out on him. His manager? His face brings up one Rick Palisar, linked to smuggling, protection rackets and unregistered merc activity. There's a 50k bounty on his head but its long since expired; probably, let's face it, because he paid off the right people.

    Beyond that, a single one of the scattergun thugs is worth all of ©1500, wanted for questioning in regards to armed robbery. Not exactly Maladria's most wanted.

    "What's that supposed to mean?" Palisar demands. "You saying I wouldn't be a good parent? Huh? Someone shake the money out of this goddamn mech."

    No one volunteers. Even Feldeng stays back, and Palisar sneers at their cowardice.

    "What do I pay you idiots for? Got to do it myself." He withdraws a stubby SMG and holds it under Konev's nose. "How 'bout we try this again? Hand the money over."

    Edcrab on
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  • ZandraconZandracon Registered User regular
    "Oh dear, you should be careful with that brand." Konev pats the man's SMG, taking care to ensure the integrated coilgun in his arm is directly over the power source. "They have the bad habit of breaking at inopportune moments, Mister Palisar." He smiles and fires at Palisar's gun before kicking him backwards into the group of thugs.
    Spoiler:

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    edited March 2012
    Charles, Randolph, Ledifni

    The high-velocity slug shatters the SMG into tiny pieces, and as Palisar blinks in amazement Konev sends him flying backwards into his nearest selection of flunkies. They all collapse into an ungracious heap.

    Feldeng immediately steps forward; the men with scatterguns swear. They can't get a clear shot while "their" cyborg is in the way. The hulking bion takes a couple of swings at Konev.
    Spoiler:

    Edcrab on
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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    Dustin, Stephen, Rel

    The cavalry arrives. Liaison Patel is a tall, severe woman, and her garb is not dissimilar to Dustin's. The three Vigil operatives shadowing her cover her advance, rifles raised.

    The fourth, the tallest, isn't in uniform; nondescript body armour and a long jacket. But the fact that one hand is slightly over-scale is a big hint to his identity.

    Patel notes that the remaining hostiles have been pacified, and chooses to ignore them.

    "Liaison Patel." She extends a hand to Dustin. "I take it you are Messrs Marvough and Dawker." She glances at Rel. "Not familiar with your... comrade."

    "Hey," says Voln. "Long time no see, Dustin. Nice to see you too Doc."

    Voln's trademark stammer is not in evidence; a welcome reminder of his time spent under Dr. Dawker's care. Voln looks at Farris and his team with some confusion.

    "Huh. Care to fill us in on what happened here?"

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  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    She glances at Rel. "Not familiar with your... comrade."

    Rel looks the woman up and down as he takes the glove off his right hand, holding it in his left and extending the bare hand to her.

    "High Councilor Rel Morrow, nice to meet you. Although you may not return the feeling when you learn about the extent of the mess down here."

    Turning to include the big cyborg in the conversation, he continues

    "So far we've got a secret facility that's home to wildly dangerous and illegal research, backed by sources with potent psionic powers at their disposal and a penchant for misdirection and character assassination.

    "My e-Secretary's been constantly writing a field report of all these activities, and sending you a copy would be the easiest way to get you up to speed, but I'm not quite sure who I can trust with it yet - no offense."
    Spoiler:

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    Rel, Dustin, Stephen

    She nods, and shakes the hand. "Hopefully the pleasantries will persist for as long as possible."

    "Name's Voln," the cyborg introduces himself in turn. James, charred and forlorn, gapes in awe. "Worked with your Dualist buddies here. Hell of a job."

    "And Morrow huh, I know that name," Voln adds. "The Highs gave me access to the operative database. He's one of their best."

    Patel raises an eyebrow. "Is that praise or diplomacy talking?"

    Voln snorts. "Man. Diplomacy? It's like you don't even know who I am." He motions to the other three Vigilantes. "Go patrol the perimeter. There must be more security guards left in this place." They salute (which isn't actually Vigilance Movement policy, but they do it regardless) and follow their orders.

    The cyborg looks at the downed mech, and his eyes widen when they drift over the exposed fleshy thing at its heart. "What the hell is that?"

    " 'That' is evidence that Hugh Smithselen's work didn't die with him," Patel murmurs. "Confirmation. Not what I wanted."

    "I know secretive crap is basically the Duality Corporation's M.O.," Voln replies testily, "but give me a break. Elaborate."

    "We have reason to believe that Smithselen's research was not lost on Enthiliun. Particular... sources gave us cause to suspect that the data found its way into the hands of rogue elements within the High Council itself. Why did you think you were sent to Maladria in the first place?"

    "I dunno," says Voln. "Meeting a minority quota? Don't get many cyborgs around here."

    Patel rolls her eyes. "Just as well that you were here, Marvough. Less... apt operatives might not have penetrated the facility successfully."

    "Am I supposed to know who Smithselen is?" Farris snaps. He doesn't take kindly to being ignored.

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  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    Rel tilts his head towards Farris and offers by way of explanation,

    "Farris here has had a rough time of it, just learned his memories have been doctored."

    Grinning at Voln, he continues,

    "You know, I'd like to joke "I thought you'd be bigger", but it just isn't true. I'm glad you're on our side, though."

    Meanwhile, picking up on the context of the conversation, Continuity automatically starts searching for and displaying data regarding "Hugh Smithselen" and "Enthilium", displaying the results in his peripheral vision.
    Spoiler:

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    Rel, Dustin, Stephen

    After his e-Secretary obnoxiously corrected the spelling to "Enthiliun", it cross-references that outworld with Hugh Smithselen.

    The widely circulated story was that Hugh Smithselen died of a tragically undiagnosed respiratory disorder* during a well-deserved retirement on the quiet former swamp world.

    *
    Spoiler:

    Patel is aware that the assembled men are recounting events.

    Voln clears his throat. "Not my finest moment."

    "Sad state of affairs," Patel agrees. "To my understanding, the specific records thought to still be at large relate to one 'Goribrin', a telekinetic native whom Smithselen augmented, ostensibly as a favour to the Spire but essentially as a sleeper agent. Or more a sleeper WMD."

    She looks to Dawker and Marvough. "I assume you remember him." Patel gives Rel another nod. "And I'm sure the resident Councillor understands the significance of the following statement:

    We believe that Goribrin was a Tier twenty-three pre-augmentation. Smithselen's procedure increased that to thirty-one."

    Voln folds his arms. "Yeah? Me and Cutter beat Goribrin up. We made him explode."

    Patel waves a hand dismissively. "No doubt. But imagine how you would have fared if there'd been an army of him. Every faction in Alpha Sector has a vested interest in controlling and regulating the development of psionic ability in the populace."

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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    Randolph

    Korpec swallows, and moves behind Randolph. Slightly. As if he's trying not to do it obviously.

    "Should we do something? Or leave?"

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  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    "Hm." The notification that he's received several messages from a "DAWKER, STEPHEN" and that they have been moved into his SPAM folder according to his previously established filter settings continues to blink in just in the corner of Dustin's peripheral vision.

    "So where do we go from here, I wonder." Dustin says to no one in particular.

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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    Dustin, Stephen, Rel

    "In the short-term? That's simple." Patel waves a hand, as if to encompass the whole of the facility. "The complex will be searched. Samples gathered. Any remaining-" she looks at Farris, shrugs, and continues "-workers will be rounded up for questioning. I can keep you informed of the developments. I suppose you could think of us as orchestrating the confiscation of the entire building."

    "Who's 'us', in this instance?" Voln asks.

    "The Duality Corporation. Who else? With, ah, support from the Vigilance Movement."

    "What, you want to turn the place over before anyone else gets a look at it?"

    Patel frowns. "I do hope you're not trying to suggest that Duality would retain any illegally acquired information found in the sweep of this facility."

    Voln laughs. "Oh, yeah, right, what am I thinking, that's never happened before."

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  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    "This base is just a collection of scraps someone didn't care enough about to clean up, anyway. There's someone out there with the production model of these prototypes, the research behind it and enough influence to just not care who they cross. I mean, it's generally not healthy to offend Duality and yet here you are."

    Rel gathers the various reports, play-by-plays and graphics Continuity had been assembling into a veritable tome of paperwork and begins sharing information with Patel and Voln as a means of illustrating his points.

    "You can almost definitely trust," image captures of Lord Councillor Teliesien and accompanying subtext documents detailing the mind probe results transfer, "Lord Councillor Teliesien given the effort they went to attempting to frame her. Hell, she's the one I plan to report to. Share information on all of this," -- report segments dealing with the weapon research, illegality thereof, and the feral psi-borgs, psychic impression thereof -- " and you'll have her attention. With the political backing of a Lord Councillor and the impressive resources at your own disposals we could uncover the motive behind all this, apprehend the masterminds."

    High Councilor Rel Morrow smiles,

    "And I just happen to be looking for a real case."

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    Rel, Dustin, Stephen

    "The Councillor has the right of it," Patel agrees, grateful for his input. "Any finds would be mere remnants of a larger project taken off-site. Splitting hairs about the future of this specific facility would get us nowhere."

    She glances at her wrist computer. "I have taken the liberty of informing both my superiors and this Lord Councillor of yours. We can expect a pair of investigative teams to take the place apart. For now, I strongly suggest that we all rendezvous at the Chambers. To my understanding all the High's most senior representatives are preparing to attend tonight's ceremony in their great hall."

    "I've been invited, of course." Patel sniffs. "This time I might actually attend. But for now I'd like to meet this Teliesien in person."

    "And I guess I get to hold the fort," says Voln. "No worries. Can't say I'm a fan of big grand ceremonies, I don't even know what this one is for."

    "I expect to meet this Lord Councillor," Farris pipes up. "It's my goddamn brain being used as evidence here."

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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    edited April 2012
    Everyone

    "I need this like I need a kick in the gut," grumbles Teliesien.

    Lord Councillor Teliesien's aides doubled as bodyguards. They look very prim and proper, but Rel's psi and Stephen's medistat can passively detect that they're powerful psionors.

    Not that Teliesien is any slouch herself, if the stories about her youthful exploits are anything to go by. Her hair is cut short, and she wears spectacles with large lenses – like many Councillors, she's chosen not to have her vision invasively augmented, but still found herself needing a more hands free method of information retrieval. From the way her eyes move, she's clearly reading a great deal of data, siphoning through Rel's report.

    Rarely for High Councillors, especially those having an audience with high-ranking off worlders, Lord Teliesien isn't in robes. Dustin recognises that her suit is designed by one of the Sector's premier fashionistas, but that probably counts as casual by a Lord Councillor's standards.

    Senior Councillor Korpec raises a hand. "If I might, Lord Teliesien, I should remind you that–"

    "Korpec, don't start talking," said Teliesien. "I don't care if Ysril made you Speaker for Military Acquisitions. You're only here because I'm obliged to have you here, I don't need to listen to you and your made-up goddamned title."

    Korpec lowers his hand meekly. Randolph and Charles sit nearby, allowed access only because Randolph persuaded the Senior Councillor that he needed an escort of his own; which, as Randolph knew perfectly well, was one of the unspoken laws that Teliesien had to abide by.

    Korpec is one of four Senior Councillors sat in the Lord Councillor's meeting chamber. A dozen lower-ranking officials fill seats, but mostly in their capacity as guards and aides to others. Rel is the only basic Councillor present at the behest of Teliesien herself.

    Liaison Patel is flanked by Dustin and Stephen. The three all have roughly equivalent rank, although Dualists weren't in the habit of explaining their hierarchy to customers.

    Pissed Off Cyborg Voln sits in a corner, brooding. It turned out that he had to come along too due to some nebulous tradition and/or law, and there is nothing that Domarians hate quite as much as High pomp and ceremony and bureaucracy.

    "I don't see why the Enforcer needs to be here," states Senior Councillor Comura, referring to Ledifni.

    Comura is a former Hicop, competent and ambitious, but mostly propelled up through the ranks by the fact that both her parents are Seniors and that she is the great-niece of a Mastery Councillor.

    She is not fond of Rel, mostly because Councillor Morrow brought down a renegade who Comura failed to apprehend. Despite facing said renegade in combat on four separate occasions.

    Teliesien smiles woodenly. "I'm sure you'd prefer to have to tell the Legion's Command why we didn't alert them to the incident, despite being bound to do so by no less than three treaties. Not to mention that Command probably already knows. The Vigil no doubt informed them."

    She nods at Ledifni. "I appreciate you leaving the ceremony to attend this meeting. I'm sorry to take up your time, but you're the most senior Domarian on the planet." Teliesien checks a snippet of information on her lens-screen. "Also the closest, let me be honest."

    Officer Ledifni sits alone. After being sandwiched between simpering dignitaries in the event hall, perhaps he doesn't mind.

    Teliesien looks to Patel. "I need to know what procedure calls for. I don't want Maladria to end up crawling with Dualists and Enforcers and Mercs and Vigilantes and whoever the hell else is entitled to turn up and look at the damn Asperia facility. I don't have any particular objections but my peers would not react well."

    Liaison Patel is only too happy to elaborate. There's something exhilarating about addressing a bunch of Councillors from a position of importance. "The Mercenary League has no legal right to involvement, and the Vigil are involved only in their capacity as hirelings, I mean contractors, of Duality Corporation and the High Council..."

    "Yeah, uh," Voln clears his throat. "Sorry, that's not the whole story. Once we're involved we stay involved. Vursoun Treaty says that any third-party caught up in a potential international incident can–"

    "Yes, yes we all remember. We don't need reminded. Slip of the tongue." Liaison Patel continues. "The Legion is allowed to access any and all data seized from the disgraced corporation, but a presence on the planet may only be established with the government's consent." She pauses. "And to my understanding, on Maladria the High Council is the government."

    "Then as the government," says Comura, "we are entitled to interrogate the illegal Vigilantes captured during the raid."

    "Farris and his team are my prisoners," Teliesien responds. "They will be dealt with according to the law, and I do not need to be reminded."

    Farris is actually housed at Duality's Maladrian HQ, where James is benefiting from the prowess of highly trained biotechnicians. An expert High telepath is also present, both as a guard and as an examiner to judge the state of Farris's mind. He's also Teliesien's son, and trusted implicitly by both her and Rel.

    Farris wasn't too happy when he learnt that he would not be meeting the Lord Councillor in person.

    "In that case, the Dualists are welcome to take the lab apart as long as some of our people can remain on-site and monitor proceedings." Teliesien shrugs, and takes a video board off her desk and hands it to an aide, who folds it up and pockets it. "My concern now is following this up. Figuring out the nature and the location of this... thing they shipped off. I'll have to inform the rest of the Council, and I'd much prefer to have something to reassure them with. I have a squadron of my own operatives ready to–"

    "With respect Lord Councillor," Liaison Patel begins smoothly, "and please forgive me for interrupting, but I believe Councillor Morrow is already attached to the case. Resolved to ascertain the itinerant project."

    "Morrow is as well-suited to detective work as a main battle tank," Comura scoffs.

    "I never implied otherwise," Patel continues, honeyed tones becoming acid, "but that's irrelevant, as he'll be accompanied by Duality's best."

    Teliesien considers this, and then nods half-heartedly. "Perhaps. But you seem to be forgetting that there are other factions with a right to be involved."

    Edcrab on
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  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    Rel smiles at Comura,

    "Somehow I manage to get by, and in any case, when you stop to consider the dangers involved I'm sure you'll be happier with me on the "front lines", one way or another."

    He continues, addressing the meeting as a whole, "And I'm sure everyone is well aware we need to limit our exposure here, whoever is backing this has unknown intelligence capabilities. We should keep those involved to a minimum and make up for the lack of quantity with quality."

    The Councilor finishes with a laugh, "Which I'm personally hoping means the Legion donates a warship for when we inevitably have to go off world."

  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    That is cue enough for Ledifni. He rises from his seat.

    "Quality indeed. The Legion may perhaps be inclined to demonstrate its generousity, and its wisdom, in providing an appropriate vessel for the task."

    Clasping hand in the other behind his back, he addresses Teliesien. "The Legion will assist in the investigation on the condition that I have full access to information and prisoners as required in the process and policy. It will also be required that I be allowed interrogation of captives privately for our own records."

    Ledifni pauses for a moment and gauges the reactions of the council members.

    "With that you will have our full cooperation in this matter."

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  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    "It will also save everyone involved a lot of embarrassment if we keep this operation small," Stephen was somewhat notorious for giving his opinion whether it was desired or not, but in this instance he felt he had a worthy stake in the proceedings, "we managed to expose Asperia in the first place; I should think you will trust our ability to follow through. We won't get anywhere fast if every party involved feels entitled to their own investigation."

    "We are talking about data of potentially astronomical value with a trail that's going to go cold long before your bureaucracy can catch up," Stephen states with only some exaggeration in his standard smugly disinterested tone, "Let us handle this our way. Give us whoever you need to tag along and ensure oversight, but if you want to prevent a potentially far worse little incident then this one I suggest you do it before we leave the room."

    "And, for the record, I second Morrow. He, at the very least, seems to play well with others."

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  • tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    Dustin remains silent, opting to devote his energy to taking in the situation rather than influencing it further. Besides, speaking with Councillors was always a pain. The less interaction he invited upon himself, the better.

    "Ne, the man has done a swell job so far," Dustin adds in support of Morrow.

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

    Randolph hears the words "astronomical value" and whispers something to Senior Councillor Korpec.
    Spoiler:

    Spurred on, Korpec pipes up, speaking with uncharacteristic speed and confidence. "I would like to take this moment to offer the services of my new contractors. Charles Konev and Randolph Tibbs Alptraum, two individuals with skillsets perfect for this mission."

    "I'm not familiar with either of your... friends," Teliesien states. "For all I know they're drunks you picked up at the bar."

    One of Teliesien's aides/guards leans in and says something to her. Phrases like "new champion", "Vigilante op", "single-handed" and "fourteen men" can be made out.

    The Lord Councillor shrugs. "They'll still need to be vetted."

    "Charles Konev is legit," says Voln. "He's an auth-2 Vigilante. The other guy has to be a safe bet, 'cos you'd have to be suicidal to tag along with a guy who's allowed to arrest or kill you."

    Teliesien seems to muse on the subject for a time.

    "Very well then. I hereby appoint Councillor Rel Morrow as the High Council's representative on this investigation, vested with my authority as a Lord Councillor, with the understanding that he co-operates in full with the Dualists and the Enforcer. Konev and Alptraum can serve in their capacity as Vigil contractors to the High Council, loaned to Morrow to support his efforts."

    "There's still the question," Comura begins, "of who's actually in charge of this venture. I strongly disapprove of an Enforcer meddling in our affairs, let alone allowing him to supply the ship."

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  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Randolph coughs briefly and stands.

    "Colleagues, I am no strong-man or wunderkind like some-" he gestures toward the Domarian "-people of resource, what I am good at is utilizing those resources. I recognize opportunities and-" he brings up his hands and gestures like a casino dealer, indicating to the pitboss that he has nothing up his sleeves, "in a multi-interest investigation like this, you want someone decidedly neutral."

    He straightens his suit and continues: "I am a businessman. Displacing your interests is bad for business. My employer, my company, my own need is making sure your needs are met so that we might have future business."

    "So let's talk business."

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  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Rel leans back slightly, resting his chin on an arm propped against a handrest in order to conceal a growing grin,

    If he manages to sell Comura a used starship as part of this pitch I'm buying him a drink

    Lanlaorn on
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    Everyone

    Comura seems impressed despite herself. But she clears her throat, and tries to make it obvious that she's not quite sold. "Who is this man, exactly, and why should we put that much trust in him?"

    "Would you have us put our assets in the hands of Duality, or the Legion?" The Lord Councillor hands the last of her video boards to an aide, clearing her desk. Making it obvious she considers that to be the end of the matter. "We need accountability. And it might as well be this man consolidating our efforts."

    Teliesien looks over her glasses. "Although I'd be interested in knowing about your past experience in such matters, Mr. Alptraum. I have no objection to you serving as a de facto team leader, but it shall fall to your allies to decide whether it's worth letting you lead."

    "I have every confidence in Messrs Marvough and Dawker," Liaison Patel states impassively. "I trust them to strive to work at their utmost efficiency, and I trust them to take action should that goal be compromised in any way."

    Patel peers at Randolph curiously. "I'd like to know what he considers to be 'business', because I suspect renumeration will be involved somewhere."

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  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    "I'm sure Korpec will vouch for my employer, who will vouch for me." Randolph smiles. "And believe me, colleagues, I know the value of reputation. I a good reputation is more valuable than a cadre of artifacts."

    Randolph sits and pulls a document out of his jacket and scribbles quickly across it. "I will waive my usual finders fee and management fee...in fact, I will do this case without any personal fee at all, extending my arm to a fruitful future relationship." He continues to scribble, pausing briefly to pensively bite at his pen. "My employer is not keen on charity...although given the importance of this matter I can probably talk him down to 50% of the company rate. Possible more if I can show him proof of future business."

    He finishes his writing and raises an eyebrow at Comura. "And I'm certain that the Council has plenty of information on my background, there is no need for posturing here. You may feign ignorance, but I can tell I am dealing with experts."

    Of course, the background of Mr. Alptraum is clean as a whistle. Randolph can only hope that these bureaucrats did at least a basic background check to find his 'credentials.'

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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    edited April 2012
    Edited.

    Edcrab on
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  • ZandraconZandracon Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Charles lets slip a small yawn while half-listening to the conversation. He pulls out a datapad and starts fiddling with it, and attempts to discreetly ping Voln, the only person he knew of in the room to be affiliated officially with the Vigil, in an attempt to learn more about the situation.

    <<What the hell is actually going on here? Randolph and Korpec dragged me along into this meeting, but there seems to be a hell of a lot more going on here than just some routine bodyguard assignment.>>

    Zandracon on
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    edited April 2012
    Charles

    Voln: It's a big mess. I just came back from a raid with the Dualists; a place called Asperia Solutions has been doing some nasty research. Psionic brains in jars type nasty. All we know is that they've shipped off a secret project elsewhere, and they've got a telepath messing around with their contractor's heads.

    Voln: Personally I reckon a High Councillor is dirty. One of them is on it.

    Edcrab on
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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    Everyone

    Comura tries to casually read up on Mr. Alptraum. Which is hard, as she has to pull a communicator from out of her robes, and her lack of optical implants makes browsing it blatant.

    "Hmmph," she says. And then she puts the comm back in her inside pocket. "I don't have any objections."

    "His record certainly is glowing," Patel admits grudgingly.

    "Nevertheless, I do not pay up front," Teliesien explains, waving away Randolph's documentation. "You can claim your fee back on expenses, as and when the need arises. Councillor Morrow will be your go-between in this sense. You shall both have access to my private channel, keep me informed."

    "In turn I will be updated by my colleagues," Patel adds. "They will be authorised to take action as they see fit should the mission or Duality's values be... compromised."

    "Splendid." Teliesien stands up. "I shall take that as motivational spiel and not a thinly veiled threat. This session is over. Your team has free access to my chambers but I suggest you leave and, if necessary, get off planet at your earliest convenience."

    The others file out of the audience hall, leaving the party, Patel, Voln, and Korpec.

    "Don't screw this up, Morrow," Comura hisses, before allowing the door to close behind her.

    "And now I shall retire." Teliesien, flanked by her guards, heads towards a different and much more ornate door, leading to the heart of her private chambers. "Message me if anything urgent comes up."

    "Did... that go okay?" Senior Councillor Korpec asks hesitantly.

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  • LanlaornLanlaorn Registered User regular
    Rel sits up and shrugs,

    "When we succeed they'll be much more interested in the operation and their crucial roles in setting it up. Anyway, let's review what leads we have. I'll put in a request for whatever else they pull from Faris' mind," he mentally composes the message literally as he speaks, although there is a delay in sending as Continuity applies a diplomatic edit, "but I'm not sure even a full psychic surgery team could recover anything substantial."

    The High Councilor begins absentmindedly telekinetically twirling a pen by his hand.

    "I doubt the forensic teams and interrogators will pull anything useful from the Asperia site, but is there anything useful in their database?"

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    Everyone

    Voln stands up and stretches, giving a huge yawn. His servo motors creak and crack. "Sorry. Haven't slept in a while. But from what I heard, their files were a dead end."

    "Don't speak so soon," Patel interjects with the slightest of smirks. "Dawker uploaded the entire Asperia database to Duality's network. Everything specific to this unknown project was purged, it's true, but we decrypted their inventory and financial backlog. They requested custom-spec parts from a division of Haegtnol, based on an orbital platform circling a gas giant just past the Crivinia/Lodor border."

    "That doesn't sound like much to me."

    "Perhaps it would if you listened," Patel tells the cyborg acidly. "When we finally located the platform, the station commander insisted that their factory did nothing but mass produce components for Haegtnol's fleet; that they never sold parts to outside interests, and that they certainly never did items to custom specifications. And when we contacted Haegtnol's executive offices, as anonymous potential customers of course, they denied the very existence of this division."

    "You could've mentioned this earlier," says Korpec, looking affronted.

    "I only recieved the report twenty minutes ago. But I wouldn't have mentioned it anyway, not when the wider High Council might be compromised." She sniffs. "And I'm not sure about you either, frankly."

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  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Randolph puts his hand on the bridge of his nose, closes his eyes, and breaths deeply.

    "Let me get this straight, you asked about a cladenstine operation out of the blue?" He rubs his temples for a moment in frustration. "Patel, if a stranger asked you about a dirty little secret, would you tell them? How much trust would you need before you spilled the beans in a tell-all book? If Haegtnol is compromised, then how quickly do you think they'll tighten secruity? How much harder did you just make our jobs?"

    He puts a hand on Korpecs shoulder.

    "The Council compromised? You tipped our hand because you weren't careful. Councillor Korpec was at least smart enough to wait and listen instead of rushing forward!"

    Randolph scratches out something on his paper, scribbling replacement numbers. He slides it over to Korpec while keeping his eyes on Patel. "My contract has changed, providing for the extra expense this will cost us. Teliesien may not pay up front, but you will pay the difference so my team can get the equipment it needs."

    Steam name: munkus_beaver
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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    edited April 2012
    Everyone

    "We have elements inside Haegtnol, and if they tighten security they'd only be informing us of it. We are one of their primary security contractors, after three major Mercenary League units."

    "Keep in mind that Haegtnol are old hands, but we are very good at what we do. This is not my first investigation, Mr. Alptraum."

    Patel smiles. "But I like your paranoia. We need that kind of thinking. But not enough to discuss fees," she scoffs, "that is not how Duality works. Likewise, we will not provide funds. We will, however, allow you to requisition equipment straight from our stock. Mr. Marvough is more than familiar with our practises. You can make do."

    Patel is seemingly unaware that access to military-grade Duality tech is worth more to a prospective hireling than any finder's fee.

    Her communicator beeps. She sighs, and checks the reading. Then she freezes. Slowly, she turns to look at Ledifni.

    "I'm informed that a Domarian gunship is already requesting permission to dock at Maladria's military starport. If I didn't know better, officer, I'd think that your people had planned to come here well in advance of your announcement to provide a ship."

    Ledifni's own feed privately forwards him a message.
    Spoiler:

    Edcrab on
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  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    "As you know, we simply had business in the area. The entourage, if not needed or appropriate, is never far behind." He smiled at Patel as he spoke, in a way that lets him know it is the kind that is reserved for dignitaries and fops, lampshading the posturing of both.

    "Fortunately that means we have efficient and expedient transportation available for us all. Unless there are objections?"

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  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    "The faster we get this sorted out, the better," Stephen says, happy to leave trifles like logistics to anyone else but himself whenever possible. He regards Mr. Alptraum's berating of Patel with amusement, but he does his best to ignore the man. Stephen is fine with him, as long as he doesn't attempt to stick his nose too far into Stephen's work.

    "Did you plan on joining us as well, Voln?" Stephen nods towards the cyborg.

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  • ZandraconZandracon Registered User regular
    "I suppose a hireling has very little say on all of this... but the faster we can get out there and do something more interesting than this committee meeting, the better."

    Keeping Voln's message in mind, as well as Patel mentioning the council being compromised, Konev attempts to make a quick unobtrusive scan of the electronics of the area to see who happened to be listening in. He wasn't really hoping for anything, though he would be amused if he caught anything in his net.

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    Everyone

    "I don't see why not," Voln grins at Stephen's suggestion. "It's not like I've got anything better to do, and as a Domarian with Dualist implants... hell, I wouldn't even be out of place on a Legion ship with Dualists and Councillors."

    Patel clears her throat noisily.

    "Although I'll only be attached to you for about a week," Voln adds. "Prior, uh, engagement."

    Randolph casually brings up the catalogue on his screen and selects the Price: Highest to Lowest option.

    He then earmarks half a dozen 70,000© DCx550 "Mistline 3" nanoconstitutional kinetic-impactor rifles. He would have selected more, but there's apparently only six in the entire Sector. And then notes the presence of crate upon crate of ion and EMP grenades; usually prohibitively expensive, but it appears that the Corporation has thousands going spare.

    Some long-range phase transcievers- miniaturised too, not the half-bricks most militaries are content to give their comm officers- and reactive polymer armours round off the deal. If by deal you mean "covertly bookmark 4-mill of prototype gear".

    Sadly there's no way of acquiring said equipment without collecting it in person from a major Dualist armoury. But Randolph intends to remember his reservations.

    Konev performs his scan. Teliesien's room is crawling with dormant bugs, but they appear to be her bugs, feeding back to a local computer. She obviously believes that even her private chambers shouldn't be entirely private.

    Patel nods. "You're right, Konev, you don't have much say. Although perhaps you should, as I'd like to see you all get off this High Council-controlled rock. No offence, Morrow. Or Korpel."

    "Korpec," says Korpec.

    "Whatever." Patel absently presses a button on her wrist computer. "I shall return to the Asperia facility and continue to oversee it's reclaimation."

    The big double-doors swing open, framing two Dualist officers with sidearms standing at a docking balcony. They must have been waiting outside the whole time.

    "Canfield? Hanson?" Patel indicates each in turn. "Drive these gentlemen to the starport. And consider yourselves in the service of Marvough and Dawker. If they want you on their ship, that is."

    "Our ship," says Voln.

    Canfield is a tall, severe woman, and Hanson is a hulking brute of Voln or Konev-esque proportions. Canfield snaps her fingers and a sleek Dualist-made limo rises up from the ground and draws level with the balcony. Hanson opens the door and gestures inside. But politely.

    "Go on," Patel urges. "Report once you've broken orbit. I want regular updates."

    "Me too," mumbles Senior Councillor Korpec.

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