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Choose Your Own Adventure

Episode 03

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#1
CrazyDreamer

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Alexi called the briefing to order.

 

"I hope you've all had a good rest while we dealt with our prisoners, ship, and recaptured booty, because this is a strange one. Or rather, a strange two; we've got two requests for assistance, neither of which wants or needs a full squad. You can volunteer for one or the other or take an extended vacation, as you see fit.

 

"First up, we have a request for assistance from another CCS crew." He made a small gesture and the common room display flickered to life. "This is Tatsu. Some of you have been there before. It has a bunch of human colonists and a bunch of traditional Zentradi colonists. They don't like each other. The fact that the humans include large numbers of Yakuza who keep making deals with the Zentradi and then backstabbing them—according to the Zentradi, anyway—hasn't helped.

 

"For the record, neither side likes the NUN; they kicked both the UNS and NUS off-planet shortly after the start of the three-year war. The NUNS maintains a peacekeeping fleet in orbit just to make sure the Zentradi don't get off-planet. Oddly enough, neither side liking the NUNS is part of why they hired CCS; we're mercenaries who don't really like either side, so we're as unbiased a third party as they're going to get.

 

"There's been some rapprochement between the two sides lately. They're holding a soirée at a specially-constructed dual-size ballroom." He made another gesture, and several views what appeared to be a fancy building in a park appeared. Judging from the nearby trees, the upper balcony level circling most of the inside and outside walls would be about chin-height on a Zentradi, allowing a human and a full-sized Zentradi to converse face to face. "They've hired CCS to provide security for the event. A force recon squad consisting mainly of Zentradi has taken the contract. They need a few humans or micloned Meltrandi to fill out the human-scale side, plus Olga."

 

Olga grinned. "Hoo, yez."

 

"This is a dismounted, concealed-weapons-only mission in formal attire. I wish I could come with you on this one, but I can't. Any questions before I move on to the other option?"



#2
Rivel

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Nick listened and grinned a little.  This seemed rather up his alley, but he wondered what the other mission had in store.

 

"If people are complaining about being backstabbed, do we know who's doing the complaining?  Have they given any names about the people they're complaining about?  A Who's Who of the local scumbag wildlife would be really helpful."



#3
CrazyDreamer

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"The who's who is basically the same as the guest list, and calling them 'scumbag wildlife' to their faces is not a good idea. Yakuza bosses and Zentradi warlords aren't big on them or their people being insulted."



#4
Rivel

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"I figured I could afford to be unpolitic before the politicking starts."

"Still, that clarifies a lot.  This isn't just a meeting between two groups of colonists, who each have a seedy sub-group, but is more a meeting between the warring subgroups.  Or are you telling me that those publicly in power amongst the Zentran faction would have no qualms with dealing directly with Yakuza provided they kept their word?”"

 

“As… that could actually simplify things a lot.”

 

He quieted down to listen to the next response, and then quietly said to the person next to him "How would that even work?  Are there, like, Yakuza-branded superstores?"



#5
CrazyDreamer

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"I don't think the Zentradi on Tatsu have any factions that aren't violent militants, but this is a major one, yes. The yakuza aren't perfectly aligned with what there is in the way of human colonial government and its laws, so I'd guess that at least some of the families are approachable if the Zentradi needed something from or done in the human parts of the planet. We don't have good data on the operations of the family we're dealing with other than that they more-or-less own part of the planet and don't like snitches."



#6
Vertigo

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"I dunno, Nick" Eric said, returning the specialists question "I don't see them putting any obvious signs out for just anyone to stroll in.  If half the crime movies I've seen are true on the subject people who do that tend to get ventilated.  And then someone else gets a pinky finger cut off."

 

Eric raised a hand.  "Pursuant to my employment contract, article VIX, clause 3, stating no macloning pods ever due to eclectic genes I volunteer for the miclone side of the event.  I'm assuming both sides will have proper representation at both rooms.  Do we have VIPs who need special attention or is this general babysitting?  Also, does armament need to be strictly non-lethal or can we take a few RPGs in case someone big decides to step on the little people?"



#7
Coolhand

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Quola had already made up her mind to volunteer for the first option. She had a lot of experience with 'traditional' Zentraedi and knew just how stubborn they could be.

 

She did however have one rather important question.

 

"How formal is formal? Are we mingling with the crowd or are we dressing like security pros?"



#8
Hiro Protagonist

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Natalya had joined the military to get away from over dressed parties. In part, she had left the Vanquish circuit for the same reason.

She wasn't about to volunteer to rub elbows with stuffed shirts, even if they were murdering jackals. She certainly wasn't going to play rent a cop and be looked down on people she could buy by the baker's dozen.

She kept quiet and let the interested parties do the talking. There might be something relevant to the other op. She just hoped she didn't draw another ground slot.

#9
CrazyDreamer

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"You will be, if not necessarily socially mingling, in there with them. For men, a cheap rented tux tailored to hide a shoulder holster will suffice. The ladies will require long dresses or gowns with plenty of room to move. I'd recommend an ankle holster rather than a handbag, but that's up to you. I've already lined up a vendor who does formalwear for security and bodyguards."

 

He turned to Eric. "You would be amazed how some people can't resist challenging a room full of Yakuza." His eye flickered around the room. "Or perhaps not." He cleared his throat, although it wasn't clear at whom.

 

"I'm not sure who's showing up; there's probably some politicking about that still going on, and there might be surprises. The Unit Lead for the team you're backing up should be able to point out who's who when they roll up.

 

"Armament is lethal, because they wouldn't respect you otherwise. Try to to restart their war, though. Olga's crew should be able to keep anyone from stepping on you."

 

Olga grinned in anticipation of future violence.



#10
CrazyDreamer

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"Now, before you all get too obsessed over the details of formal attire, let me tell you what the other mission is." He gestured again and the display helpfully cycled to the CLA logo with the New Kara Colonial Intelligence logo inset in one corner.

 

"Someone I know in the CLA has contacted me on behalf of the NKCI with a job offer based on the recommendation of . . . let's just say 'certain persons.'" He eyed the room again. "They're supposedly doing this via back-channels because they think that there's a mole in Intelligence. I believe them, but I also suspect that they want the opportunity to disavow us if this goes sideways. We will get paid upon delivery and not before."

 

He took a deep breath before continuing. "At the close of business yesterday, a CLA general left work and went to his car in a secure garage. It blew up, killing him." The screen switched to an interior shot of a parking garage. There was a small crater in the middle of a decent-sized blast mark; whatever had been parked there wasn't in large enough pieces to be recognizable and the cars around it had all been pushed back a space or two.

 

"The suspect was tracked to a high-density slum." Aerial and long-range photographs came up on the screen, showing a warren of stacked prefab colonization units. "A large-scale sweep would provide too much advance warning, Intelligence is possibly compromised, and the cops aren't going to be able to handle this assuming they aren't spotted a mile off. They need undercover outsiders, hence our involvement. CI will still run the forensic end of things and has something going to discover the mole, but for obvious reasons they aren't blabbing about what that is. Our job is simply to infiltrate the slum, find the suspect, and call for a response team if we can or take him ourselves if we have to."

 

The screen went blank. "Unfortunately, we have little intel on the suspect. Security footage and logs from the bombing are missing; someone got into a high-security server room at the facility and pulled the physical storage media immediately after the bomb was planted but before the next burst transmission to the remote backups. However, a non-government security camera did get a distant shot of the suspect leaving the garage."

 

The screen changed one last time to show a shot with the garage in the background and a figure in grey coming out of it. It zoomed in, giving a low-res look at the putative bomber dressed in what was probably a janitor's or mechanic's jumpsuit, although the logo wasn't readable.



#11
Coolhand

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Her mind was made up, until Alexi showed the photo of the potential bomber. Quola shot a glance over at Nick and leaned in close "Is that who i think it is?", simultaneously Alexi's Sari-C lit up with the same question.

 

All thoughts of dresses and parties were gone from her mind now, she'd spent weeks looking for this guy only to have him show up in the most unlikely of places. Besides her talents were much better applied to an investigation such as this.

 

*

 

Dwer, like Natalya kept silent. Like her he was a pilot at heart, yet he had agreed to take part in such missions where needed. Of the two choices the infiltration mission was a write-off, nobody wanted Dwer on such a mission least of all Dwer himself. He rubbed his right leg subconsciously, he still bore the scars from his last foray into undercover work.

 

Security detail was a much simpler proposition and normally he'd have been fine with such a job, but there was one catch. Dwer didn't like Zentraedi, specifically the male end of the species. However a job was a job and he had hangar bills to pay, so he'd just have to swallow his pride on the matter.



#12
Rivel

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Nick answered by not answering, frozen in place and staring at the screen.  The humor in his face was replaced with a mask of shock and disbelief.

 

He didn't trust himself to say anything at all.



#13
CrazyDreamer

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Alexi's fingers skittered through the air, the results visible to no-one but himself and Quola: "We go looking for a guy and conveniently get a picture back that looks like the picture we were asking about? I'm in paranoia mode until we get proof. And I do mean 'we.'"

 

Out loud he added, "I'll be accompanying the New Kara team personally, although I'm too slow and too easy to I.D. to wander around too much; that will be up to you."


Edited by CrazyDreamer, 30 March 2014 - 04:23 PM.


#14
Abaddon

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Tommy and Joanna had arrived last to the briefing and taken seats near the rear of the room. Tommy listened intently while Jo causally rested her head on his shoulder.

 

"How about a nice night out of the town?" Jo whispered to him as Alexi finished explaining the first option. Admittedly Tommy was about to agree with her when Alexi outlined the second option.

 

"Sorry love..this one is more up my alley." Tommy sighed as whispered, obviously he would have preferred the first option. 

 

Speaking louder Tommy made his choice, "I'll stick with you on New Kara boss."

 

"I'm good for security." Jo added her own choice into the mix.



#15
Rivel

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Nick coughed and warmed up his vocal chords.

 

"Yeah, I think I can do a lot of good on the second assignment.  I know my way around all kinds of places, and might be able to talk my way in for a change."



#16
Rivel

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"Can you give us any updates on the general activities of the CLA in recent years?  That might give us more to go on in finding this person." Nick said, when the room remained quiet.



#17
gradius

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Roderick had arrived late, managing to grab a seat just before Alexi had started the briefing.  He didn't say anything until now as he was still catching his breath from running over full tilt.  He didn't feel any preference for either, but he definitely didn't like the thought formal atire.  "I volunteer for New Kara."

 

 

Tiff frowned cutely as she considered the options.  She waited for other questions to be answered before she asked one of her own, "Is the Tatsu security detail going to be totally low profile?  I mean, could we go in as a band?  We could then disguise our weapons as band equipment.



#18
CrazyDreamer

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"As you know, the CLA ended their alliance with the NUS and withdrew from the war after we formally ceded New Kara to them. Especially after the revelations late in the war, the New Kara government had the moral high ground compared to the ex-NUS colonies surrounding it. Since the NUS fell apart they've been using that position to play peacekeeper whether the other colonies like it or not. I can look into what this general had to do with that if you want me to, but the suspect's not exactly holed up in someone's embassy; we need to find out where he is now, not where he came from.

 

"That said, it's important to remember that the CLA is under civilian control these days, and 'Colonial Liberation Army' is more of a trophy title than a mission statement. The colonies that dislike the CLA's actions protest to New Kara's ambassadors and hold press conferences. The last time anyone car-bombed a general, it was the NUS on Eden; God help us if this is the opening shot in a war."

 

The memories of his boss's death came rushing back, and Alexi had to spend a moment to collect himself. He still owed someone a walk out an airlock without a spacesuit for that one, but now was neither the time nor the place. He turned to Tiff instead.

 

"The folks on Tatsu are a bunch of full-sized Zentradi who expect the Yakuza to double-cross them and a bunch of human Yakuza who will be surrounded by full-sized Zentradi who would just love to squash them. If we were discovered smuggling weapons in, both sides would assume that we'd be paid by the other to assassinate them and we'd only be spared the resulting war on account of being dead.

 

"Besides, I don't think you can play the cello."



#19
CrazyDreamer

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There being no further questions, the meeting broke up and Alexi told his team to meet him at the docking port in one hour; a charter flight would take them to New Kara. The Tatsu group would head to their mission after the tailors dropped off their outfits.

 

[OOC: Move to your threads.]







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