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  • Locked thread
Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011


In the event of extended deadlock, we will rule in favor of actions that best support previous inclinations. Defaulting to C.





You can practically feel the energy rippling off of Kamula's coiled muscles and servos, so you decide to speak up before he can leap through the window and start blasting all and sundry.

“Hokay. So. The Bar-Yen are bad news, no question. Poole is a slimy drokk, also no question. But if we want to get out of this paid, and get out of this with all out parts...Sorry, with the number of parts we came in with, then we need to play chel here. No initiatory popping.”

Kamula gives you a brief, unreadable look, before nodding sharply.
“Right then,” he growls, checking over his armor and weapons as he speaks. “They're expecting Kore, so Kore's in first, with me on point-defense.”

“I'll prep a drone command to trigger if anything goes bosc-shaped.”

A.I'll command it to overload the light fixture. Bar-Yen are sensitive to bright lights, and the powerful flash should prove disorienting.
B.I'll command it to sabotage the thermal exchange coupler. The thick cloud of vapor should help Ramadi get Poole to safety, and otherwise conceal our designs.
C.I'll have it ignite the coolant conduit. Risky; it'll have to sneak around the mob to get there, but hopefully it'll be able to get clear once the coolant goes up...
D.I'll have it try to distract and harry anyone attacking _________. It's not a combat unit, but it could make the difference for us.
E.I'll have it broadcast an all-bands distress signal. Security for this sector will be goons from the Nergal Cartel, and while they might not respond (and definitely not in time to help), it could make Fury Praxis think twice about being here.
F.Something else:___________________.

“Copy. Kinu, things go to drokk, you get your boy out. Bar-Yen qwags get one free point-my-gun-at-you, with respect to Kore's wishes, before getting krumped in the grifing face-hole.”
He looks at you with an odd gleam in his eye, and the gallows grin of a warrior facing his death.
“Right. Kinu, pop the hatch.”

Ramadi actuates the access panel, and the hatch hisses open. When no pulser blasts immediately fly through the doorway, you steel yourself with a deep breath and step inside.



The flechette carbines of the Bar-Yen immediately swing from Poole to train on you. Under normal circumstances, this would be cause to evacuate bladder (for ballast purposes, of course), but the keen edge of your predator's survival instinct cuts through the icy haze of fear, and you banish all but what is needed to play your role back to the darkness of your reptilian brain. You flinch and goggle convincingly enough, looking to Poole in only partially-feigned discomfiture.
“Poole,” you croak, “what--?”

Poole begins to lift a calming hand to speak, but looks askance at the Praxis enforcer and stops short.

“Regal Kore,” the mechanized voice of the enforcer greets you, “then you do exist. And that must be the Ramadi Kinu lurking there behind you, but who...” As Kamula steps in, the enforcer's shoulders roll back smoothly, gauntleted hands drifting over hips.
“Well. It's been a long time since Optium, Kamula K.”

“Too long,” growls Kamula. “the whole betrayal and attempted krumping murder bit had gotten a little hazy.”

“Water over the bridge, Kamula. Let's set aside our trivial personal matters for a moment.”

“Alright,” you begin, “let's--”

“You shot me with a krumping missile, Praxis!”

“And you seem none the worse for wear. We have something more important to discuss. Specifically, you have taken the liberty of relieving a certain free merchanter of his cargo. Cargo that was intended for me. Normally, this would end...extremely poorly for you, but since I haven't yet paid for the shipment, and in the interest of discretion, I am willing to entertain a deal.”

A river of ice runs down your spine. The job had been a simple one, and one you'd done before. Distract a docked smuggler, and make off with a tiny portion of his cargo. You'd always managed to stay out of Cartel business before; apparently Poole's vetting of this job was...inadequate.
“Of course,” you reply, as the warm glow of a deal in the works submerges your rising panic. “Now that everyone's here, let's talk numbers.”

“Midas already dropped your figure,” replies Fury Praxis. “I found his pitch unsatisfactory.”

“Fifty Exo-ducats is a very competitive price for shatterpillar controllers,” you counter, noticing keenly that Pool winces when you name the figure, “especially for totally clean models. No imprints.”

“Fifty. How interesting. Although you seem to have questionable taste in associates, Regal Kore, I can appreciate your resolve. It seems to me that we have two commodities here. One being the helical disassembler controllers, the other being secrecy.” Praxis looks over the Bar-Yen, who take a step back, brandishing but not pointing their weapons. She then crosses her arms behind her back and assumes a modified parade rest stance.
“Here is what I am inclined to offer. I will transfer fifty exo-ducats to you, and you will all walk out of here alive. In return, I will of course take the controllers, but you will remain utterly silent about what, and with whom, you dealt today. Additionally, I will at some time in the future, require some discreet task, and I shall call upon you at that time. You will be rewarded commensurately for this task, but you will perform it.



“Are my terms...acceptable?”

G. Take the deal. Praxis seems entertained enough for the moment to overlook your crew's theft and Poole's scheming. Just take the deal.
H. Accept the deal overall, but try for some additional minor concession. Cartel work, a piece of restricted gear, a small favor trivial for Praxis but significant for you. You risk fouling Fury's good mood, but can probably smooth it over. Specify: ______________________.
I Angle for a better offer. More ducats, or a more significant boon from Praxis. This is very risky, and if you fail, there may be no going back. Specify: ______________________.
J Take a loss in the interest of relations. Come down on your asking price, either for some favor in trade, or just to smooth things over that much more with the Cartel. Specify:______________.
K Having carefully weighed all factors, I have thoughtfully elected to kill everyone. Take advantage of the slightly more relaxed atmosphere and get the drop on these qwags.
L. Something else: ________________________________.

Bee Bonk fucked around with this message at Nov 8, 2017 around 20:33

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HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





1. A
2. H, Cartel work. Something that won't kill us, or else he can't get that favor later.

We get one payday for almost no trouble, with one or two more lined up. Sweet deal for us, even if Poole isn't thrilled.

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


A
G


Dumbshit cowards act like dumbshit cowards.

Blasphemaster
Jul 10, 2008



A

H


"Your terms are quite generous! Unfortunately, there is the niggling issue that we know not what you may request of us, and would aspire to be prepared so that success would be more assured. If we were to reduce our asking price, to say 40, perhaps you could provide us with a contact who could provide paying tasks in the interim. I would not dare ask that we be contracted directly by those who employ you, or...whom you employ? You clearly run in circles of power. Were we available to complete contracted tasks valuable to you and yours, -of course through intermediaries and not so integral to your designs as not to risk a breach of the secrecy you require, we would both benefit? Your designs would be forwarded, and we would be both provided with paying work and more able to complete the future aforementioned contract required by the deal! What do you say?"

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


There's no way we could put that many words together with that much eloquence.

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012

Cut loose before the god eaters show up.


Outrail posted:

There's no way we could put that many words together with that much eloquence.

Quite. It's generous we've made it this far with full bladder control.

##vote
A.
G.

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011


You pause, briefly considering how to accept most gracefully without seeming a complete pushover. The beginnings of an eloquent presentation begin to crystalize in your mind, then are hastily cast aside. Poole tried that angle, and nearly got ventilated for his trouble. Poole is a schemer, while you are a thinker. Folding your claws thoughtfully, you peer back at the armored enforcer. The bladder-voiding panic pounding against the doors of your conscious mind fades to a dull roar as you take a calming breath and commence your offer.

“No wetwork,” you respond evenly, “and I pick my own team.”

“Generous terms,” replies Praxis. “Not even professionals can always get that much latitude.”

“I'll do you more good if you put me in the right place, is all...” You trail off before your voice cracks, and thankfully Fury steps into the void.

“And if I wanted you dead, there are less elaborate ways to do it? Fine. You'll be hearing from me soon.” Praxis casts a sidelong glance to the Bar-Yen. “Grab the box. We're done here.” Two of the gangsters shuffle over to the security lockbox on the floor, a casual brush from one bulky violet body sending Poole tumbling off the back of the crate he'd been perched upon in a cascade of empty bottles. Ramadi wrings her hands, eyestalks fully retracted, as Fury Praxis and the Bar-Yen make their exit through the side door. Kamula only stares, watching Praxis go with white-knuckled tension.




Moments later, outside...


“That was...surprisingly nonlethal,” comments Ramadi.

"You come out of that less killed than you anticipated?"

"Appreciably. Good job, Reeg."

You release a long, deep breath, and turn to discuss the take with your companions.
“Well then, I think--” you are interrupted as Poole's face, contorted with anger, presses close to you.



“Now we're well and truly slotted, my dear,” he hisses, thrusting an accusing finger in your face. “Your maka-drokk hedging cost me big this time, Kid! I have been more than patient with waiting for you to grow a cluster, but I am done – entirely done! You are a lethal therapod with plasma knives for toes, and I refuse to shelter your precious sensibilities any more! You could eviscerate just about any drift-scum this leaking old vatch of a station could spool out even without the drone support and the warmech-what-walks-as-a-man, but no – grife-forfend anyone gets hurt!”

Ramadi raises a hand to interject, but Poole flaps his cape at the Raq in irritation, and she recoils. “At least Kinu usually brings in more credits than she smokes away, and has not, to date, gotten us in bed with the Praxis Cartel!” Poole's whiskers quiver, and he presses a hand to his temple as he closes his eyes. He takes a long, ragged breath, but before you can interject, he seems to catch a second wind. “We're going to fix this,” he growls, eyes flying open wide, “Regal Kore, you are going to do every last thing I tell you to if we intend on getting out of this one. First, you...”



How do you interrupt the venomous spew issuing from Poole's mouth?



A. With my words. Gonna let Poole know exactly where I stand on his involvement in this debacle, and where he can install his opinion on my handling of the matter.
B. With a nod to Kamula, who Poole hasn't noticed coming up behind him. Why even have a combat cyborg if you're not going to use him?
C. With my bionic fist of justice. Punch the words out of his mouth-hole.
D. With my disemboweling plasma claw. A slight escalation perhaps, but it does make an unmistakable point.

That done, you currently owe 20 exo-ducats to Vrade. Assuming you pay him off, that leaves 30 to split. What's your plan for the take?

E. Even four-way split.
F. Full shares for the original crew, with a half-share for Kamula.
G. Full share for Poole, with Kamula's half-share taken from your and Ramadi's shares.
H. Three-way: Kamula gets Poole's share.
I. Some other split: __________________.
J. Money fight!

Bee Bonk fucked around with this message at Nov 8, 2017 around 20:36

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012

Cut loose before the god eaters show up.


##vote
A.
E.


We are not his personal killasaur. Any halfway sane sophont would reward his squirrely behavior on the gig with nothing more than a sound thrashing and a parting of ways. So he should take his share and shut up. Especially since we personally absorbed the Cartel job risk. We're the only one on the hook there and if he dares to keep bitching about it, we're absolutely picking him as a teammate when the time comes.

I did not know we were quite that personally lethal. I like that aspect though. We don't seem to be built for non disembowelly brawling so we don't throw our weight around physically. When personal violence is so final we end up looking like a coward more often than not simply cause we're not a sociopath. Cool beans. Neat change from the usual goon character.

Not Alex fucked around with this message at Apr 8, 2016 around 19:02

HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





C+words
E


I ain't your bot, Poole. You don't own me, and I ain't linked to your brain. So if you're too much of a weasel to say what the job is, don't be surprised when I act like I don't know. It wasn't me who invited the cartel here, and it wasn't me who started a friendly chat with them neither. Should I kill your business partners next time you want to be a vague cloaca?

If you still have an idea then go ahead and say it. Just don't forget it's a suggestion, not an order.

HBar fucked around with this message at Apr 11, 2016 around 05:32

HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





On second thought, that doesn't really convey what needs to be said.

B+words. Normally it'd be better to do the deed ourselves, but this makes a nice illustration of the importance of maintaining friends.

Maybe I stink at writing speeches and what I put earlier doesn't sound like Kore, but here are some points to cover:
-gently caress you, you don't own me.
-Be grateful that I just saved your rear end from the death you nearly brought on yourself.
-The Bar-Yen were nearly right about you. I'm the only friend you have left, and you're making it really tempting not to be. Even your Khaldean errand boy hated your guts and wanted you dead. You don't treat your partners with respect, you withhold crucial need-to-know information, and you think you have the right to boss others around when you can't even handle your own poo poo much less anyone else's.
-Suppose I did kill them for you. What then? We'd have a better payday, sure, except we'd never be able to enjoy it because we'd be spending the rest of our shortened lives in hiding from every cartel hitman and bounty hunter in the quadrant. I only came here to save your rear end, not to get involved in a war you clearly have no plan to win beyond the first skirmish.
-So if you're not serious about taking on the cartel, I just gave you the graceful way out. If you are serious, it's a long-term project that's going to take a hell of a lot of intel and planning. We'd need to know them inside and out, what their strategic picture is, what internal divisions to exploit. We'd need friends on the inside, and I know for sure you don't have any right now. So if you've truly lost your mind and you want to do all that, I just lined up our first covert operation.

Blasphemaster
Jul 10, 2008



HBar posted:

On second thought, that doesn't really convey what needs to be said.

B+words. Normally it'd be better to do the deed ourselves, but this makes a nice illustration of the importance of maintaining friends.

Maybe I stink at writing speeches and what I put earlier doesn't sound like Kore, but here are some points to cover:
-gently caress you, you don't own me.
-Be grateful that I just saved your rear end from the death you nearly brought on yourself.
-The Bar-Yen were nearly right about you. I'm the only friend you have left, and you're making it really tempting not to be. Even your Khaldean errand boy hated your guts and wanted you dead. You don't treat your partners with respect, you withhold crucial need-to-know information, and you think you have the right to boss others around when you can't even handle your own poo poo much less anyone else's.
-Suppose I did kill them for you. What then? We'd have a better payday, sure, except we'd never be able to enjoy it because we'd be spending the rest of our shortened lives in hiding from every cartel hitman and bounty hunter in the quadrant. I only came here to save your rear end, not to get involved in a war you clearly have no plan to win beyond the first skirmish.
-So if you're not serious about taking on the cartel, I just gave you the graceful way out. If you are serious, it's a long-term project that's going to take a hell of a lot of intel and planning. We'd need to know them inside and out, what their strategic picture is, what internal divisions to exploit. We'd need friends on the inside, and I know for sure you don't have any right now. So if you've truly lost your mind and you want to do all that, I just lined up our first covert operation.

I like it.

##vote
Plan HBar
E

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011


As Poole rants, you let your gaze drift meaningly over his shoulder.

“First,” he shouts, beginning to look puzzled, “you...”

Then you nod.



Poole's tirade is abruptly terminated, his words morphing into a strangled howl of pain as Kamula effortlessly yanks his left arm behind his back and breaks the forearm. Poole has the presence of mind to reach for his pulser, but the merc merely responds by backhanding him to the ground. Shaking his head, Kamula proceeds to rain blows on the smaller man until Poole is reduced to a moaning, shuddering heap.

The whole action takes no more than ten seconds, and you are frozen in horrified fascination the entire time. You lift one hand to stop Kamula before he beats Poole to death, but the cyborg has already stepped back and begun rubbing the blood from his bionics. Exhaling deeply, you approach the miserable pile, letting your talons click the deck plating next to his face meaningfully.

“First,” you correct him, “you get this through that smoky, web-filled cavity you call a cranium: Praxis was right. You don't have friends. Just allies you haven't slotted over one too many times yet.”

Poole groans something near-unintelligible through a probably-broken jaw, and you prod him silent with a clawed foot.

“No, I haven't forgotten. You helped me out when I was in a bad way. Got me on my feet. But don't think for one millicycle that that means you own me. Or that I'll kill on command for you. I saved this grife-forsaken cluster-krump of a job from your ego, and managed to pull your substandard carcass out of the airlock in the process..as far as I'm concerned, we're square. Take your share, take what's left of your dignity, and haul jets. If you still want a part of all this, well...you know where to find me.”

“Time to evac,” growls Kamula, “before the scavvers start sniffing for a flooding taste.”





The combat helmet detached from its yoke and depressurized with a soft hiss, as Fury Praxis lifted it free of her head and placed it on the table next to the bulky lockbox. Pulling off a a gauntlet and slicking back sweat-soaked hair, she took a deep breath of the station air. Ozone, coolant, Bar-Yen spores, and a thousand other stinks vied for supremacy in her nostrils, and she suppressed a shudder. Her suit's chem-scrubbed and recycled air always reminded her of the atmosphere in Praxis Arcology. Sleek lines and pristine geodesic panels. The garden of actual soil where her grandmother grew floral cultivars centuries old. Of a home where she was no longer welcome.

Shrugging away the pang of memory, Fury entered the pass-glyph on the strongbox's access panel with her unarmored fingertips, waiting for the glassy orb to flush green before thumbing open the latches. Lifting the lid, she scanned the array of crystalline chips, nestled in their insu-foam cradle, before activating the comm implant in her mandible with a particular twitch of the jaw.

“Gaff, see me in arsenal 3.”

“Aye, on 'em,” came the gruff reply in her ear. Moments later, the groaning hatch admitted the rough figure of a Jurani woman, bristling with weaponry and loaded with swagger. Under a riotous nest of plaited platinum hair, the woman's skin bore the irregular melanization that told of years of spacing with substandard ray-shielding. Two baleful pinpoints of light gleamed from chromed sockets sunk deep in pocked, scarred flesh, and her mouth was twisted into a dry sneer. “Y'say?”



“Come in, Gaff. Our I've got something for you.” Gingerly lifting a board from the case, Fury let the dim deck lighting play over its etched crystal pane.

The pirate whistled appreciatively.
“She's a beaut, no drokk. We in business, then?”

“Just so, Gaff. Have you had any trouble from the help?”

The pirate began to spit, then glanced at Fury and seemed to reconsider, miming the expectoration instead.
“From that lot? No chance. Few of the brainjobs 'figured out' this for a downlow Cartel op, an' they'll tuck that away in the interest of a bonus downstream. None with any inkling yer in truth working for yerself instead of the esteemed councilor.”

“Good. I really am glad I didn't shoot you when we first met, Gaff.”

Gaff grinned wryly in response, flicking one of the carved wooden charms tied to her hair.
“Aye, I get that more'n you'd suspect. You manage the trader what lost these jollies?”

A pensive look crossed Fury's face, and she held up three fingers, then lowered two.
“Did you know that an Algorabi loses the capacity for coherent speech after they lose two of their brains? No? Nor I – I learned something today.”

The pirate pulled a grimace of distaste, discreetly signing an old spacer warding gesture with one hand.
“Ech...that'll keep the rest of the runners in line, true word. Dare I query regarding the thief?”

“Ah, that one. I gave her a job.”

Gaff was silent for a moment, then gave an exaggerated nod that set her charms clacking.
“Aye, that'll be you all over, Cap'm. You all over. I'll take these cards to Chune an' get him pluggin'. We'll have those shatterpillars down wet an' crackin' sparkle by next cycle.”

"Good. As you were, Gaff."
Fury leaned against the wall and watched the pirate sketch a hasty salute and depart through the hissing hatch, crossing arms over her chest as she mused.
“But helicite's not what you're looking for,” she asked quietly to the air, “is it, Councilor Praxis? You may just find that your errant daughter learned more from you than you thought...”




You have 7.5 exoducats to spend.
Required: Select a lifestyle.

A. Rough. You've lived rougher, but not by much. Just enough to keep your meat running and prevent scavengers from harvesting your organs. (0.5 xd)
B. Average. A nicer grade of squalor, with some pleasant diversions and treats for yourself, without the risk of running dry before the next job. (2 xd)
C. High. The meagre luxuries of Thoon do not come cheap, but you'll be living high on the octohog until your next job. (5 xd)

With remaining funds, select all that apply; anything not invested in options will be lost, spent, and/or stolen.

D. Store some (specify) in a secret cache. Has the benefit of being relatively easy to access in a hurry, unless someone else finds it first.
E. Sink some (specify) out-station with a tracking beacon. Almost perfectly secure, but hard to recover.
F. “Invest” some (specify) with Vrade. A middle ground of savings options. Your money will be safe, but the arrangement is contingent on staying in Vrade's good graces.
G. Buy a second-hand microsub, as-is. It will need extensive work to be made opertional. Comes with a crude berth. (7 xd)
H. Buy a hand pulser. A simple, economical, and popular particle weapon. (1 xd each)
I. Improve your neighborhood. Make Habstack East 3 a little more livable by acquiring amenities, paying for repairs and maintenance, and slipping Vrade protection money. (5 ed)
J. A personal energy shield. Significant and low-profile protection from particle and ballistic weapons, with a battery life of about 15 minutes. (4 xd)
K. Advertisement. Make your money work for you, and get your name out there. (1 xd)
L. Upgrade your drone (specify).
M. Some other purchase (specify).

Bee Bonk fucked around with this message at Nov 8, 2017 around 20:39

Lazaruise
Jan 25, 2009


##vote
B
F (any left over)
H (1)
K

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

Yeah, I like this idea.

Lazaruise posted:

##vote
B
F (any left over)
H (1)
K

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012

Cut loose before the god eaters show up.


Invest is in quotes. We'd be putting our money into the bank of the local crime boss. It is unlikely to grow.

Also I'm far more interested in the shield and drone upgrades than the gun. Just imagine pulser bolts bouncing off us as we deliver a flying plasma kick to some thug's neck stalk. Not that we'd be so crude, of course. Curious how much the shield's battery packs cost to replace between jobs or if they're rechargable (at lifestyle levels with access to power)?

Finally, I feel like advertising will draw the wrong sort of clientele. We want discrete jobs.

That said:

##vote
B
J
L Datajack


Let's be a rigger! Having the drone be able to sneak around and access computer systems seems fun.

Not Alex fucked around with this message at Apr 12, 2016 around 03:48

Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


Not Alex posted:



##vote
B
J
L Datajack


Let's be a rigger! Having the drone be able to sneak around and access computer systems seems fun.

Hell yes! Rigger vote!

##vote
B
J
L Datajack

HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





B
H
- Sometimes we'll need to use a weapon at range, and we can hand it to Ramadi or another teammate for the times we're going with claws. And it's only 1 ducat too.
L Datajack

What spectra can the drone see? If it's visible only, we should also upgrade its sensors to cover the whole spectrum so we can see through unshielded walls and barriers, get infrared heat signatures, pinpoint broadcast sources, etc.

F for the remainder.

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011




You manage to score an unregistered hand pulser from an arms dealer friend-of-friend of Kamula's. More expensive than projectile weapons, the pulser is favored for use on ship and station. The phased plasma pulser (pulser, or three-pee) fires packets of superheated helium enveloped in small magnetic fields, useful for anti-personnel use, but largely incapable of penetrating any but the thinnest of structural materials. The electromagnetic firing coil is powered by a rechargeable energy magazine, capable of producing eight shots at standard intensity, or between four and sixteen at variable settings. You receive two extra magazines with your purchase.

You also blow two and half exoducats buying widgets to stick into your tiny robot. You install a datajack, allowing your it to interface both remotely (where applicable) and physically with electronic systems, as well as a robust sensor suite capable of IR, UV, EM, RF, and radiation detection. As part of the process, you also upgrade its transmitter/receiver, increasing its operating range.

The remaining two ducats you invest with Vrade.



Vrade had been expecting you to renege on your debt, and is pleasantly surprised when you not only pay them back in full and on time, but show an interest in their financial services. They're not even upset about not being able to sell your various components to recoup their loss, and you are promptly allowed into the Plume Skate's VIP lounge, where the drinks cost twice as much.

Over the next few cycles, you hear nothing from Fury Praxis, and that feeling of dread withdraws into the back of your mind, assisted on its journey by the Skate's intoxicating VIP benefits. You and Ramadi are taking in the local talent and happily expanding your tab with a selection of exotic and neurotoxic potables when a young Rigele edges up alongside you, one arm-growth slung around a giggly Jurani woman. The Rigele is Virbe, one of Vrade's assorted relations (you're sketchy on the specifics; Rigele reproduction is as confusing as it is nauseating), but the woman you don't know.



“Kinukore, my friends,” Virbe burbles, “please to meet Bila Kistar. She wishes to speak professionally on matter of personal importance.”

“Virbe, honey,” Bila trills before you can respond, “be a treasure and get me one of those drinks I like? You know the one...”

“Double uvula spritzer,” Virbe intones, plasm rippling with resignation, “hacked and whipped, twist of fleck rind. We are on this.” Detaching from the woman with a faintly audible “schlorp,” the Rigele tramps away toward the bar. Once Virbe is out of sight, Bila pulls up a seat beside you, her flighty demeanor instantly falling away.

“They'll be gone a while,” she says, carouser's lilt replaced with a steady professional tone, “it takes some doing to make the uvulas congeal without exploding.”

“Hello...”

“Baz Kemandi, Stellarine Progress. I'll make this quick.” She unwraps a bangle from her wrist, and after a series of clicks and twists, places the ornament on the tabletop. As she presses a tiny stud, a holographic image flares to life above it.



“This,” she says, “is Commander Sephua Manes, Jurani League Navy. Officially on Gigas to negotiate with the Gigantes for helicite. Does a brisk side business running slaves into the Hegemony interior.”

“I don't zero for pay,” you protest, “Virbe should have told—”

“I want him exposed, not dead. I want to blow his little operation wide open. Nobody in this drokk-pit will care, but...”

“But the navy brass will,” you finish.

“Precisely. They'll recall him, pull his diplomatic credentials. And those credentials are the only shield he has against the many unpleasant beings he's offended in his time here.”

“Looks like you want him more than exposed,” interjects Ramadi. “This is personal, true?”

Baz looks conflicted for a moment, then nods slightly.
“My brother was an ensign under Manes' command. It...didn't end well.”

“So why do you need us,” you inquire, "why not contact Strategic Command directly? They've got spooks for this sort of op."

“Hold on," she replies, miming receiving a transmission in an earbud, "I'm getting a newsfeed: Jurani Strategic Command unable to locate own cloacas with starchart and advanced spectrometer; Would You Like to Know More?"

"Sure, I get it, but why us specifically? You're the journalist..."

"Because some drokk-scraper said too much. My cover's intact, but Manes is on guard; if I go poking around, I'll be made for sure. You, though...”

“Us, he doesn't know from Adama.”

“Virbe says you're a drone rigger,” Baz continues. “If you can get video evidence of sapient trafficking, that'll be enough with what I've already got on Manes.” She twists a dial that looks like a rhinestone, and the holo-image changes to a Jurani pinnace.
“Manes sets his flag on the JLS Celitarius, but that's docked in the orbital. Downplanet, he uses this pinnace, Prestine, which berthed in Sector G with a squad of twelve...” Looking over her shoulder, she nods toward Virbe, returning to the table while balancing drinks. Deactivating the hologram, Baz reconfigures her bracelet and slips it back on, a vacant expression crossing her face.
“So thirty's okay, right,” 'Bila' chirps, tilting her head to one side, “I could probably get more, but I'd have to call Daddy, and it'll be a whole thing...”

A. “Thirty's fine. We'll find your...necklace.”
B. “Thirty-five, and we'll get you your, uh, lost baycat, safe as seals.”
C. Regal: “Hail Daddy, because we're talking forty for this...” Ramadi: “Your errant cousin has fallen in with some suspect types; and I'd know.”
D. “Sorry, this really isn't our kind of deal..."

Bee Bonk fucked around with this message at Nov 8, 2017 around 20:41

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012

Cut loose before the god eaters show up.


##vote
A


Work! Well paying work! Well paying work that has the moral highground! *bzzzt* Oops, just tripped my too-good-to-be-true threshold. This is gonna go pear shaped. Ah well.

Not Alex fucked around with this message at Apr 13, 2016 around 18:27

Lazaruise
Jan 25, 2009


##vote
B.

Lets not push our luck but getting a little extra out of it wouldn't hurt

HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





B, she knows to start low and expected us to raise it.

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011


Bila/Baz agrees, and if Virbe thinks 35 exo-ducats is an exorbitant fee for finding a lost baycat (designer hypoallergenic model or no), they make no indication. You take a few moments to savor your drink, bubbles tickling the roof of your mouth, then rise to your feet.

"Little reccy?" Ramadi inquires around a pull of the heavy concoction in her glass.

"Just gonna take the little spark for walkies," you reply, "go ahead and finish your...whatever that is."

"A brown dwarf," she croaks, swallowing with a small cough, "but the key is not letting it finish you."

---------------
Optional: Speaking of the little spark, have you named your drone? If so, what?
----------------
















If Thoon is a polar grubber gnawing at the underside of Gigas' ice crust, Sector G is the twitchy little mouthparts. Hundreds of access shafts, exhaust ports, subspace ansibles, and launch bays thrust up through the ice inside tunnels drilled by the thermal bores of countless beings. The "docks" are a chaotic cluster of bays and passages that avoid becoming the site of a major inter-vessel collision only by the undeniable luck, prodigious skill, and blisteringly obscene language of the Vrantic tug pilots. An eyeless species with a well-developed telempathic sense, the tugjacks literally fly by instruments and spite.

The pinnace Prestine is filed away in the most spacious bay in her launch stack, the generous accomodations probably more a testament to graft than regard for the Jurani Navy. The boat herself is a great blunted wedge, Hegemony colors sharp and freshly painted on her hull. If Baz is to be believed, Commander Manes operates with a skeleton crew not much larger than the minimum, Prestine's additional passenger space given over to cargo.



Your external scans have borne this out; over the last two decicycles you've seen the marine guard (one on the gangway, two on the cargo ramp, one on the station access) change once, as well as the NCO commanding them. You've also seen the Loadmaster and two apprentices, shifting cargo. Assuming a small bridge crew, that makes no more than 16 beings, not all of whom are aboard at once.

Carefully keeping your drone out of sight, you scan the cargo as it crosses the bay. The stasis crates the crew loads are shielded, and normally you would be required to open them to ascertain their contents, but your latest upgrades have given your drone an unfair advantage. Its scanners penetrate the container's EM envelope and scan for organic heat traces. Unfortunately, these crates seem to contain only crystalline structures with the signature radiation profile of helicite.

Looks like you'll have to do things the hard way after all.













Kamula K shoots you an extremely dubious look out of his organic eye.
"If a grife-bedamned reporter has got 35 ducats to burn, then I'm a Drevelian krumping silk dancer."

"Of course there's a catch," you say defensively, "but--"

"A catch is when the briefing doesn't tell you about the bunker's particle shield. This, this is a certain slotting trap."

"Okay, so you won't do it, no prob--"

"Of course I'll krumping do it. Just so long as all the children in the krumping circle know where we stand. I'm well not gonna wind up with my cod flopping in the slotting drift."

"Great...I'll...just put that in as a strong maybe..."

It looks like if you want to get eyes (organic or otherwise) on the illicit cargo, you're going to have to get someone on board that pinnace to search the cargo hold. 
Who are you recruiting for this job? (choose all that apply)

A. Ramadi Kinu. She knows her way around the docks, and can probably let us slip in and out of the sector in a hurry. Also where to find the best tubeworm kebab dockside.
B. Kamula K. When this job inevitably goes wrong, I want the option to aggressively remove all obstacles before us. He also might have insight into the military types we'll be dealing with.
C. Poole Midas. You haven't heard from him since the last job, but a nice payday could smooth things over with him, if you're interested in that. His tangled worm-knot of a brain would also be very useful to analyze the patterns, dispositions, and morale of the pinnace's crew.
D. Hire someone through Vrade; your standing with them gives you access to a stable of ethically-flexible operatives eager to clear their debts. They come from a wide variety of specialties, and the chances of them betraying you are extremely low, due to the fear of catastrophic disarticulation.
E. Get a being on the inside. Through bribery, extortion, or other social engineering, turn one of the pinnace's crew or support staff. Depending on how mean you want to get, this would be a job well suited to either Ramadi or (you grudgingly admit) Poole.

Bee Bonk fucked around with this message at Nov 8, 2017 around 20:43

Lazaruise
Jan 25, 2009


##vote

E. See if you can find a member of the crew with a drug or alcohol addiction, use that as leverage to get information

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012

Cut loose before the god eaters show up.


##vote
Optional: Scuzzy!
A; B; E

Not Alex fucked around with this message at Apr 15, 2016 around 19:43

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011




As Astrogator Second Class Martel flips observes the progression of images on her scriv, her expression flashes from panic, to anger, and finally to an increasingly deep and resigned dread.

"This--"

"Save the story for the inquest panel," you interrupt. "This is the sort of thing that could lose a young astrogator her commission."

"But--"

"Like, everybody knows astrogators are super on drugs,” Ramdadi muses. “Guessing it's on account of the whole, 'skating the ineffable unfathomability of the cosmos' thing...and stuff.”

“Right,” you continue, “Everyone knows you're all as high as the rings of Anteb basically at all times. Ramadi-level smoked. But there's 'knowing'..."

"..And then there's a full-d slideshow with siiiiick zooms on all the sordid details," Ramadi chimes in. "Scuzzy does some drokk-hot snapwork, but I did the editing. Do you like the transitions, by the way, Reeg?"

"Very dynamic, I think. Illuminates the struggle."

"Reeg.” Ramadi's triple eyes are huge and earnest. “Reeg, I was precisely going for that, for real! I wasn't 100% sure about the wipes, but it works, right?"

Martel regards your banter with disbelief edged with horror.
"Are...are you for real?"

"I dunno," replies Ramadi, cocking her eyestalks and pointing at one of the more salacious images, "is that for real? How would it even fit? You've got...like...bones?"

"It doesn't have to go down that way, Martel," you offer gently before your mark can completely melt into her chair. "Awkward moments happen, and they don't need to ruin careers."

"I don't know anything about the Celeritarius," the astrogator protests, "my security clearance is for drokk! I can tell you who farts on the bridge, or which marines are only competing in the combat simulator to hide their erotic feelings for each other, but nothing compromising, I swear!"

You lean in close, letting a few teeth show.
"You don't consider an illicit slaving operation compromising?"

Martel's face, already fallen, collapses.
"It's not...I mean, I just..."

"It's the Commander's racket," you finish for her, "you just navigate. That's why we're talking...I don't take you for a hardcore slaver, and if what I've heard is correct, serving under Manes isn't precisely to be desired."

"Just show us on the doll," croons Ramadi as you bring up a holo of the pinnace Prestine, "where the mean ol' Commander keeps all the sad, tied-up people."

Martel looks confused for a moment, then shakes her head.
"Not on the pinnace, he..." She stops, then leans in close, even though you're alone. "You can make this go away? And protect me from Manes?"

"Manes is going down," you state, "and you would do well to be far away from him when he does. You let us document his special cargo, and then you go to Strategic Command and spill the entire sad tale. You might even be able to make a bit off the story...I know a journalist with suspiciously deep pockets..."

She stares at the table for a long while, nervously wringing her hands.
"He doesn't ship slaves on Prestine. He contracts a smuggler...a Verdugar named Yngado to do the run."

"Where can we find this Yngado?"

"The Limpet Beds. He ferries by sub to Alektos; has some kind of deal with the pirates there. The Commander's meeting with his supplier in Deep-3 tonight at cycle-shift, and Yngado will be jetting out of here as soon as the delivery is made."

"Deep-3," Ramadi questions, concern printed on her face, "that's the Raq Enclave. What do the Raq have to do with this?"

Martel shrugs. "That's...that's all I know. We good here?" Her eyes are almost pleading, but her spine seems to have recovered a bit of steel during her testimony.

"Yeah, get going," you reply with a nod of your crest, "and when the drokk hits the turbine, remember to duck."



What is your plan to catch Manes in a compromising position?

A. I want to lie in wait at Yngado's sub, and catch Manes in the act of delivering the slaves.
B. I want to spy on Manes' deal with his supplier. Ramadi in particular is quite interested in the involvement of her people.
C. I want to do both; I should specify how, as this will be difficult to manage unless I place agents in both locations.

Bee Bonk fucked around with this message at Nov 8, 2017 around 20:44

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012

Cut loose before the god eaters show up.


##vote
B


I feel like it's harder to wriggle out of buying slaves than it is to justify passing them on to a random smuggler. He could claim he thought the guy was freeing them.

Also Ramadi deserves answers and stopping the slavers further upstream is the more moral thing to do. None of that is our official reasoning of course.

HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





B. He might be lying low during the transfer, but he probably does his own negotiating.

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011


“Only on Thoon would faulty hydro exchanges be marketed as an amenity,” you comment, squinting into the constant light rain that turns the air of Deep-3 into a murky haze. Ramadi turns sideways to allow a group of hooded passersby to pass on the walkway.

“Raq like what they like,” Ramadi says, uncurling her sinuous fingers in the rain, “and know how to pay as little as possible to get it. Can't get a much better deal than a leaking aquatic habitat.”

“Boarded a Raq freighter once,” growls Kamula, “the captain actually asked us for a signed krumping affadafit...Said he'd have to account to the slotted Elders for the fuel he burned on evasive krumping maneuvers!”

“Maybe not so loud with that one,” you wince.

You make your way through the rainy warrens of the Raq Enclave, dodging streams of outflow and knots of robed Raq. A flooded underwater station is hardly your idea of a pleasant visit, let alone a nice place to settle down, but the Raq seem quite at home. Stepping past the doorway of a temple, you are briefly overwhelmed by a heady waft of chanting and intoxicating smokes.

“Careful there, Reeg,” says Ramadi, ushering you along with a hand. “You think that's bad, you should be here for the fete of One and Hundred Ecstatic Smokes. Or, you know...not be here. I get a buzz just remembering it, and I'm Raq.”

“That's the place across the way there,” you say, stepping into the shadowy lee of the structure and powering up your drone. “Let me try to get Scuzzy in there, and we'll see what there is to see.”



Through the optics of your drone, you watch the two parties converge. An aged Raq, heavily robed and wearing a bulbous hat perched atop the faded skin of his head, approaches from one side.

“Elder Wasit!” Ramadi's eyestalks retract in horror.

“Know the guy?”

“Know him? He wiped the egg-slime off my gills! What is he--”

“Stow it,” whispers Kamula harshly, “here comes our guest of krumping honor...”

Opposite Elder Wasit approaches a man who could only be Sephua Manes, uniform crisp and clean from epaulettes to pelisse, in defiance of the sector's environment. The marine escort accompanying him seems unconcerned, assuming a parade rest stance without unslinging his rifle.

Of further interest is the thrumming jailer's field that imprisons a cell packed with lost souls. Mostly, but not entirely Jurani, but universally shabby and unhealthy-looking.

“Doesn't seem like much value there,” you whisper to Ramadi. “Not that I'm an expert, but they don't look so hot.”

“Strung out,” replies Ramadi, “the lot of them. Spicers on the last lap of a death spiral...wouldn't give any of them more than another two cycles out on the street. Wasit...what are you doing?”

“Quiet, and we'll find out.” Making a few minute adjustments to your drone controller, you dial in a better listen of the proceedings.

“Quite a crop you've reaped this time, Wasit,” Manes says smugly. “The bottoms of your barrels must be impeccable now.”

“Your disrespect is, as always, unwelcome, Jurani. Let us not belabor this distasteful business any longer than necessary.”

“Wasit, Wasit. Always so above-it-all. As if you're not hip-deep in this muck. The usual arrangement, I assume?”



The scuff of boot on wet ground sends you whirling around in alarm, hand reaching for the pulser in your belly-holster. Kamula has already pulled a (so far unignited) thermablade from his back and assumed a ready stance. Approaching you you see another high-hatted Elder, this one flanked by a younger Raq and an armored one carrying an incapacitant lotus rod. Ramadi gasps as the Elder points a squirming finger at her, a withering scowl creasing his visage.

“Rama-ki,” he croaks with a voice like a stagnant pond, “what is the meaning of this?”
Ramadi goggles, eyes bulging, then retracting.
"Being shunned wasn't enough for you," the Elder continues, "you come lurking back, trailing this...synthetic filth into your home pool? Do you intend to break your clutch-bearer's bladder once and for all, wretched child?"
Ramadi's mouth opens, but only only a small choking noise bubbles out.

The Raq are very conservative in their own way, and greatly value propriety. Do you let Ramadi handle this, or intercede on her behalf?

A. Let Ramadi speak; interfering will only make things worse for her.
B. Let her speak, but step in if it looks like she's having trouble.
C. Speak up immediately; Ramadi might be cowed by a tall hat, but you're not in the club.
D. Pull your pulser and get some answers; you're not going to let some slaver talk to your friend like that.

Bee Bonk fucked around with this message at Nov 8, 2017 around 20:45

HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





B. We could win a fight, but afterwards we'd probably need to flee the crime scene meaning the mission is slotted. We don't have the context or the standing to be very useful trying to talk our way out of this, Ramadi is the better hope if she can pull it together.

Can we consult our own knowledge about Raq society? Do we know anything about shunning, and whether there are any circumstances when it would be acceptable for a shunned Raq to reappear? What if she was a slave not acting on her own free will?

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



CTake over. Ram's too flummoxed to come up with a good like at this point.
(Lie. Lie a lot.)

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011


HBar posted:

Can we consult our own knowledge about Raq society? Do we know anything about shunning, and whether there are any circumstances when it would be acceptable for a shunned Raq to reappear? What if she was a slave not acting on her own free will?

The Elders have no actual political power, but their social control over the Raq Enclave is basically total. A shunned Raq is not physically expelled, merely denied all services and social contacts until they leave on their own or make amends. You know that Ramadi was shunned for some youthful indiscretion or another; her story changes frequently. She makes light of the whole thing, but you're pretty sure that's a cover for deeper wounds. You're not entirely certain about the mechanics of rapprochement among the Raq, but believe it to be largely contingent on an arbitrary decision from influential elders. You're certain, however, that for Ramadi to have any chance of returning, she'd have to drastically alter her lifestyle and make some fairly significant overtures toward the Elders, none of which she's shown any interest in.

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012

Cut loose before the god eaters show up.


The Lone Badger posted:

CTake over. Ram's too flummoxed to come up with a good like at this point.
(Lie. Lie a lot.)

Yep.

##vote
C

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011




Ramadi is floundering, stuggling with whatever history she has with this Elder, so hurriedly shutting off the drone feed (but still recording), you step in.

“I was looking for a missing person,” you explain, “and I hired Ramadi as a guide.”

The Elder regards you with obvious distate, and turns one rheumy eye toward the armored Raq beside him.

“They were monitoring Elder Wasit, Elder,” the electronically distorted voice of the Raq replies.

“Yyyes,” you quickly fabricate, “technically, but only by chance. It wasn't him we were looking for.”

“I find it difficult to believe,” the Elder replies, “that any of the wretches kept below have anyone who cares to look for them. Let alone pay...synthetic mercenaries for the privilege. But that hardly matters.”
He turns to focus squarely on Ramadi, dismissing you and Kamula entirely.
“Destroy your recording and leave now, and that will be the end of this matter.”

“We—we can't just...” Ramadi stumbles for a moment, then seems to muster a bit of resolve. “What are you doing pushing slaves, Elder Basra? I can't even imagine what...Why?” Ramadi falls silent, folding her hands and looking very much like a lost child.

Elder Basra is quiet for a moment, a morose expression sagging his face. Then he takes a deep, dewlap-inflating breath, and begins to speak.
“When we fled our drying world for the questionable refuge of this cesspit, we took on the responsibility to safeguard our people, and keep our laws and traditions. Everything we do is to fulfill this charge.

“These slaves...They are refuse. The crusted scum drifting at the edge of the pool. We find them in our gutters, and scrape them from our cells. Thieves, killers, desperate addicts who make a mockery of the gifts of Argemone in their wretched dissipation. We flush away this filth to keep our people safe, and receive much-needed funds to support our community. Funds that keep our Enclave the safest sector on this cursed station. Funds that pay for our air, our water, and our peace.

“Most of those creatures would open your belly for the chance to lick a used narcojet filter. And you would choose them over your own people? That is why I must tell you, child, turn back.”

“If we report this,” you interject, “Commander Manes will fall. But that's a matter for the Jurani Navy! You said yourself, Thoon is a cesspit, and no one will miss the beings you're selling. What's to stop you from carrying on even without Manes? If anything, you'll be cutting out the middleman...”

Elder Basra sighs, regarding you like a particularly slow child. The younger Raq accompanying him shoots you a look that is far less pleasant.

“You think us backward,” Basra wheezes, “but it is you who seem to lack understanding. The Gigantes do not care about the legalities of the rest of the Hegemony, that much is true. But they care greatly about their own enrichment. They allow this station to exist because they are compensated to do so. Every pirate chief, crime lord, and cartel boss pays them their rightful portion. We operate in secret, through such a distasteful creature as Manes, to prevent the Gigantes from discovering our work. Report him, and you...what is the vulgar phrase? Throw us to the worms as well.”
Turning back to Ramadi, Basra places a paternal hand upon her shoulder.

“It is not too late for you to be embraced by your mother pool once more, Rama-ki. But you must set this foolish business aside. Destroy this weapon you now point at your people.”

Ramadi turns to you, her expression desolate.
“Reeg, I...What do we do?”

A. Destroy the recording, and call off the job. It's not worth ruining Ramadi's people.
B. Outwardly as A, but secretly keep a copy to bring to your client.
C. Offer to sell Elder Basra the recording. The job will be ruined, but at least you'll make something out of it.
D. As C, but keep a copy for your client.
E. Refuse. Leave. Mission accomplished.
F. Refuse, and suggest they use Ramadi as their new broker. This leaves the looming spectre of Gigantes retaliation.
G. As F, but suggest they hire you to mediate with the Gigantes on their behalf. You currently have no idea how you would go about doing that, or if you even can, but the Raq don't know that.
H. As G, but offer to do the mediation pro bono.
I. A brilliant alternative plan, that goes like this: ______________________.

Bee Bonk fucked around with this message at Nov 8, 2017 around 20:46

HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





D. There's nothing like getting paid for the same job twice. But we better hope the reveal ruins them so completely that they can't retaliate. And that we can somehow convince Ramadi not to hate us forever.

Tran
Feb 17, 2011

It's a pleasure to meet all of you. Especially in such a fine settin' as this. Just need us some music an' a brawl an' we'll be set.

H: We have remarkably few friends, and a knack for letting ambition overrule sense.

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012

Cut loose before the god eaters show up.


#vote
D


He'd be suspicious if we just rolled over anyway.

Blasphemaster
Jul 10, 2008



I. Throw your claws up in the air in frustration and tell Ramadi to decide. This decision has WAY more impact for her than for us. She better at least get us something to cover operating costs and find a good explanation for mission failure. Friends is friends but ducats is ducats. Don't make us choose!

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011


"What do we do?"

You watch as Ramadi stares plaintively at you, and you can feel the knowing gaze of the Elder and his retinue scanning you for weakness. A frisson of panic creeps into your chest as you can feel the whole job disintegrating around you.






“You ever see so many ducats in one place, Kid?” Poole Midas sweeps a hand across the open case, glossy black and gold currency gleaming within. You merely shake your head; you've had a centi-ducat in your hand exactly once, as part of a job, and you had to give it back. Your frame of reference has been profoundly shaken.

“Where's Aunt Livia,” you ask guilelessly. “She'd love to see all this!”

“We may not be seeing her for a while,” Poole replies cagily.

“Why?” you inquire, eyes huge and moist with disappointment.

“Well, you'd say your Aunt Liv's a good person, right,” Poole asks.
You nod vigorously.
“Well, she might...take exception to the way we came by this particular windfall. She'd try to do the right thing, and then some mean people would come take me away...and you'd be all alone. You wouldn't want that, would you?”
You shake your head just as vigorously.
“That's the trouble with people who mean well...you never know how they're going to foul the works. They're unpredictable. Give me a being who's in it for the currency any cycle; you know where you stand with someone like that.” Poole reaches out and combs back the messy straggles of your newly grown crest with paternal affection.
“People are messy, Kid,” he intones sagely, “but ducats are ducats.”





Your resolve hardens, and you nod to Ramadi.
“Fine.”

Looking back to the Elder, you reactivate the holodisplay on your drone link for all to see.
“I can't destroy the recording,” you begin, continuing before the Raq can respond, “because I have a job to do. But if you were to own the recording...well, you could do whatever you wanted with it, yeah?”

A flash of furious understanding crosses the younger Raq's face, but the Elder places one calming hand on his junior's shoulder and nods, tendrils wobbling.
“Yes, he croaks, “of course. Because in your own twisted way you seem to care for Ramadi, I will submit to your extortion. What do you want?”

“Welllll,” you croon, “I wouldn't want to cause any undue hardship...I just want to recoup my losses on this mission. Tell you what: You pay us the 40 exo-ducats we were going to get for exposing Manes, and we can all just get on with our lives.”

Ramadi's expression is guarded and not a little bit fearful, but she nods gingerly and allows you to continue.

“Forty!” The younger Raq shrugs off the elder's hand, eyestalks extended and rigid, “that's--”

“That will be acceptable,” intones the Elder tiredly, grasping the junior's shoulder again, this time with sufficient force to cause the other Raq to blanch noticeably. “The ways of outsiders, mercenaries, and synthetics are not ours. We will do what is best for our people, as we always must. You shall have your payment...destroy the recording.”

“Glad to see we're all on the same tab,” you offer genially, bringing up a file management radial on your link. You make a bit of a show of entering a command that, to onlookers, indicates that you are deleting the recorded data, but that in actuality backs up a copy to the miniature datavault installed in your left arm.

The Elder looks to you, then to Ramadi, with a brief sadness that is quickly masked by a hard facade.
“You will, of course, never return.”

“If that's the will of the Elders,” you reply. Looking to your companions, you shoot a universal “we're leaving” gesture, and walk off into the mist and rain.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, you've got the recording. Are you going to turn it in to your client?

A. Of course! I set up a double payday, and by drokk I'm going to get a double payday!
B. Not if the Elder holds up his end and the payment goes through. Consider it an insurance policy.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



The accessway linking the deep sectors to the rest of the station is busy just after cycle-shift, crammed with droves of tired, relieved miners making their way to the habstacks, and tired, grumbling miners coming the other way. Your small party slips into the wake of a cargo trundler, and you note how quiet your partners have been through the trip. Not unusual for Kamula, but you'd normally expect Ramadi to be talking your tympanic membranes off after completing a mission.

“You don't need them, Ramadi,” you offer in consolation. “They haven't been your family for a long time.”

“I know,” she replies, tone still wounded, “it's just...it's complicated.”

“That's people,” you say. “Complicated. But ducats are ducats, and we just got ourselves a bonus.”

“At the expense of our krumping rep,” growls Kamula. “You really think our slotted client, Ms. Probably-Not-Really-A-Krumping-Journo is going to take this drokk lying down?”

“Don't worry about Baz Kemandi,” you reassure the cyborg. “I've got an angle.”

“Drokk-simple for you to say that when--"
Suddenly Kamula stops short, and instantly, the cyborg is in motion. A thermablade flares to life in his hand, the edge of phased plasma incandescent within its magnetic containment envelope.
“Move,” he barks, "move!"





On the back of the cargo trundler, armed forms emerge from the stacked stasis crates. You see and hear additional attackers forcing their way through the crowd toward you, and Kamula quickly moving to intercept. You have no time to formulate a plan, however, as one of the massive crates flies free of the restraint webbing, and tumbles toward you!

C. Dodge!
D. Jump!
E. Slide!

Then...

F. Shoot!
G. Slash!
H. Dive for cover!
I. Protect Ramadi!

Bee Bonk fucked around with this message at Nov 8, 2017 around 20:48

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012

Cut loose before the god eaters show up.


##vote
A
E
I

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HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





A
C
G


I love your artwork, but all of the photobucket images in the thread are showing up as an "Oops!" message now. Can you try imgur or another hosting service?

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