Chapter 5: Sacrifices...   Posted by Shan Yu.Group: 0
Shan Yu
 GM, 495 posts
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 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 11 Jan 2012
at 05:32
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

At 1830, the appointed time for the final briefing, the crew filed into the lounge area in ones and twos and seated themselves at the tables facing Taggart.  His people were already there...Jenna was seated, fully decked out in her finery and looking totally professional, directly in front of the Alliance Colonel, and even Captain Chen had managed to find her way out to listen in.  As the crew entered, Taggart cast a discerning eye over each.  His eyebrows raised at Makani's entrance, obviously impressed, and stayed raised as Jin and Burne entered, registering surprise as well.  The Colonel began to chuckle as he saw Cole, and he quickly found something profoundly interesting on the deck in front of him to intently focus on as he clapped his hand over his mouth.  He waited a minute or so as the scraping of chairs subsided, indicating that everyone had taken seats, before looking back up at the group.  There was still a hint of a smile on his face as he clapped his hands several times.  "Not bad...not bad at all.  I applaud your efforts.  There's not a one of you who looks out of place."  He pointedly looked at Cole.  "Well, not TOO much out of place."

He paused before continuing.  "So...let's get down to business.  I was hoping to have some updated information for you, but unfortunately, the rapidity with which events have unfolded have effectively stymied our efforts.  I don't have much more to tell you.  All we know is that there is a conference of some kind involving most of the main players in the slavery trade for the entire system.  Your mission will be to infiltrate the conference and acquire as much information as you can using the skills and equipment that has been provided to you.  Especially valuable will be names, locations, and dates...good, actionable intel that we can use to destroy their operations.  I'd love to be able to just waltz in there tonight with a platoon of Interpol troopers and clean out the whole frickin' nest of them, but we weren't expecting anything like this, so all I have is a squad from the patrol vessel in orbit.

In attendance at this conference will be some 50 or so members of several tongs, Captains of slave ships, and perhaps some dirty politicians as well.  I can't emphasize how important the information that you collect could be.  But...that same level of importance makes this mission very dangerous.  If one of you is discovered, it will probably mean that all of you will be killed, or more likely, become more familiar with the slave trade than you expected.  So don't screw it up.

On a different subject, I have nothing new on your young Lydia's situation.  We don't know where she is, but no ships have tried to escape.  She's still here, and her fate hinges on your success tonight."


Taggart reached down and lifted a small rucksack from the deck, placing on one of the tables.  He looked at Stacey and said, "Here's some items for you, Captain.  We scraped together four flash-bang grenades and four smoke grenades.  If you have to use them, it means something's gone wrong.  There's also a small handset in there, tuned specifically to my frequency.  I've tagged your shuttle with a homing device, so we'll be able to follow you.  We won't be far away, and if anything happens, I'll be able to provide some support, but like I said, all I have is one squad."

He turned and paced slowly in a circle, his brow furrowed in thought.  After 15-20 seconds, he stopped and looked up, audibly sighing.  "Well, there's always one thing that you forget in any operation, but I've told you all I've got for you now.  Your guide should be here in a little over an hour, so let's clean things up here and make this place look suitably...disreputable.  Any questions?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:37, Wed 11 Jan 2012.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 357 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 12 Jan 2012
at 14:27
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Stacey listened carefully to Taggart. He heard the words but studied the man, searching for any hint that the alliance Colonel was lying or meant to betray them. The crew had been left with no choice, and had little but a liar's words that their abducted friend might be found. It was a helpless corner to be backed into.

"Is there any way the ground team will be able to communicate with me, or get a signal to me without being detected?". He glanced at Jin. It was possible she might have some device that could help if the Alliance had nothing to offer. Stacey was fairly sure basic commsets would be stripped from the 'whores' on entering the place. But something more discreet might still be used.

"And if we need that support squad, how far out will you be? Are we talking 2 minutes, 10 minutes, more?".
He paused for a moment considering Taggart's reply to his first questions before adding another. "And can I get some of that drug in a vial? Say I'm sharing a drink with the local guards, it might come in handy to give them a taste if things dont go to plan.".
Shan Yu
 GM, 498 posts
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Thu 12 Jan 2012
at 21:59
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Taggart shook his head at Stacey's questions, visibly restraining himself from being the Taggart that everyone had grown to love.  "I doubt that the slavers will let strangers in with commsets.  However, I also doubt that they will conduct thorough searches, since it will probably be understood that possession of a prohibited item will result in painful body piercings and such.  I wouldn't recommend that anyone try it.  Actually, I'm ordering it.  I don't want this show going to hell in a handbasket over possession of a simple commset."

"As for the support squad, I have no idea how far away we'll be, since I have absolutely no details about where the conference is or how everything is set up.  All I can say is that support will be there...eventually."

"Oh, and no, you can't have any of the drug.  You'd be waiting a long time for it to work, since it must be injected, not dumped in somebody's Shirley Temple."

"Anything else?"

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 358 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 18 Jan 2012
at 21:27
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey listened and nodded curtly at Rooney's response. Curtly, the Captain swallowed the angry bile he held in his stomach for the Alliance villain and glanced at the rest of the group.
No estimation of support ETA. No emergency signals.". If Stacey didn't know better, the Alliance was leaving the crew of the Duck exposed.

He chuckled darkly. Of course the Captain knew better.
The crew of the Duck was alone.

With the questions over he moved up toward the shuttle, flicking switches to bring the small ship into life.
Shan Yu
 GM, 500 posts
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Thu 19 Jan 2012
at 04:29
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Taggart walked away, lifting a hand to the earbud of his compact comm headset and pausing.  After a few seconds, he started to walk away again, calling over his shoulder.  "Captain Yanoro, I just received confirmation that my people are in place.  They will be able to see any vehicle approaching the Duck and give us some advance notice.  You might want to relocate the shuttle to the ground near the cargo ramp.  Hopefully it will keep our visitor outside the ship.  I'd hate for him to see something aboard the Duck that sparks his interest."  He disappeared into Major Tang's quarters.

The next hour passed uneventfully...if you could call the growing tension uneventful.  Time began to draw out, and every timepiece in the ship seemed to advance at a snail's pace.  Taggart returned to the lounge, slowly pacing around the deck, waiting for word of the arrival of the slaver escort.  Jenna sat by herself, lost in thought, reliving the moments of terror from that morning when her best friend's life was extinguished in a hail of lead.  The others did whatever it was that they did to pass the time...and more than one was undoubtedly feeling the cold knot of fear squeezing their innards.

Taggart suddenly stopped his pacing and raised his hand to his ear.  After only a few seconds, he grinned and clapped his hands.  "Showtime!  A hovermule has just entered the spaceport and is making a beeline for us...should be here in about a minute.  Everyone but the hookers and the Captain need to lock themselves in a cabin."  He didn't wait to see if his orders were being complied with, but headed once again for Madame Tang's cabin.  He stopped at the door and spoke to those remaining in the lounge.  "Wait until he knocks before answering the door...you aren't supposed to know that he's here.  Good luck, soiled doves."  He disappeared into the cabin and shut the door, the **click** of the lock seeming unnaturally loud.
Cole Jackson
 player, 246 posts
Thu 19 Jan 2012
at 11:51
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole watched the arrogant Alliance officer move about.  As every one fidgeted at the approaching craft, Cole kept one thought in his mind.

I'm going to love shooting him.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 320 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Fri 20 Jan 2012
at 00:01
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
[Lounge]

Burne leaned near the old fashioned gas lantern, with it's soft glow.   The dress was a tad on the tight side, so sitting wasn't as comfortable.  Of course, heels weren't exactly built for taking a hike either, so the point was moot.  This was all for show.

She watched Taggart leave, waiting for the show to begin.  She glanced in the mirror on the wall of the Lounge, strategically placed to make the room look bigger, as if a client had something to look out upon.   She used it to make sure there was no powder under her nose.


[img to right is Burne, but gloves are fingerless so that she can use the ring as instructed]

This message was last edited by the player at 02:33, Sat 11 Feb 2012.

Jin Chu
 player, 229 posts
Sat 21 Jan 2012
at 14:59
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Lounge

"I might have an idea Captain.  Not sure how feasible it is but it will leave us with more than nothing..."
The woman looked around at those in the Lounge with them, she didn't want Taggart knowing particularly, Jenna wasn't so much of an issue.  Carefully chosen words then.  "I wonder if it's worth me taking my case.  Packing some extra clothes, maybe a few tools of the trade if the Corporal has any she can suggest.  I might be able to slip a comms set by in the bottom, wrapped in something they're less likely to want to search through.  Maybe anything else you think useful.  There won't be much room but..."  She shrugged.  The intention was to strip out her kit box, hide anything they might need in the concealed compartment and fill the rest with 'stuff' almost anything that might be allowed through and could be argued as something a whore might find helpful.

Her lips twisted in a wry smile as she thought over Taggart's 'painful body piercings'.  He wouldn't hesitate to hang them out to dry and she'd rather risk getting shot for smuggling something in that they didn't like than than not try and leave them at the tender mercy of fate.  Jin had no questions for the Colonel, he wouldn't give them straight answers and it would require her finding a polite phrasing for what she really wanted to say.  Usually such things were well within her experience but tonight?  Tonight she was more of a mind to tell the man exactly what she thought of him and that wouldn't be wise.  Not before they went in anyway.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 360 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 23 Jan 2012
at 21:15
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey glanced around to make sure Taggart had gone and moved closer to listen to Jin. Despite his familiarity with the crew he had to admit, he was finding it hard to know where to look. They scrubbed up well.
He nodded slowly. "If you think you can do it discreetly...". No doubt Jin was used to smuggling her less legal equipment through Alliance checks. "But if they find anything hidden, it'll be a problem. A big one. Its your call.". He would trust her decision.

Knowing their guests were imminent Stacey glanced toward the airlock. "We're running out of time though.".
Makani Ano
 player, 271 posts
Thu 26 Jan 2012
at 23:00
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and (the painfully missing) Lydia's quarters.) -> Lounge

Makani studied herself in the mirror.  Gone were the trappings of Makani, the grad student, even Makani the companion was hard to see behind the makeup and clothes she wore.  She was careful to not look too  “companionly” while not looking too cheap either.  She needed to keep a balance.

If anything she looked like a down on their luck companion, not that the sisterhood would ever allow that.  She slipped her derringer into her bodice, knowing that her pistol was a tad too ungainly.  As she studied herself, she practiced with her ring, making sure she had the feel for it.

She wore a boldly colored sari, her makeup playing up her more Asian features, but there was no hiding her height or grace.  It was simply who she was.

She offered up a quick prayer to Hi’iaka before stepping out to check on how the others were doing.
Jin Chu
 player, 230 posts
Fri 27 Jan 2012
at 21:29
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Jin frowned, thinking it over.  "Well you've seen my box of tricks.  It will be pretty obvious that I'm taking something in, the question will be whether or not their security is good enough to be suspicious."  With a sigh, the woman finally shook her head.  "It's not worth the risk is it?  A trunk will pull a lot of questions no matter what it seems to have in it.  From Taggart if he hears back, never mind the guys we need to sweet talk."  She ran a hand back through her hair as she answered her own question.  "Guess we'll just have to rely on what we can stash in...hard to reach places."

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:13, Fri 27 Jan 2012.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 362 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sat 28 Jan 2012
at 09:45
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey offered a reassuring smile at Jin.
"Hey, its your call. Good idea though I think you're right.".
The Captain glanced in the direction of the airlock, knowing a knock would sound soon.
Shan Yu
 GM, 506 posts
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Wed 1 Feb 2012
at 22:29
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

The silence seemed to drag on forever as the group stopped speaking and awaited the *knock* on the door.  But in reality, it was only about thirty seconds, and when it came, it actually caused Jenna to flinch.  The ramp was down, but the inner airlock doors were shut, and it was the buzzer that was mounted on the bulkhead outside these airlock doors that sounded first, quickly followed by a loud banging.
Makani Ano
 player, 272 posts
Thu 2 Feb 2012
at 21:01
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani laid a gentle, comforting hand on Jenna's shoulder.

"I think perhaps, you will need someone to talk to when this is done," she kept her voice calm and even. As she waited for the Captain to verify who was waiting on the other side.

He was rather impatient.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 366 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 3 Feb 2012
at 14:37
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
"There we go..." murmured Stacey as he stood. With one last look around the faces in the Lounge to make sure all were ready he moved toward the airlock.
His eyes scanned the sensors that pointed outward to see who waited. Their 'guests' clearly weren't the type who expected to be kept waiting. For this to go smoothly, the crew of the Duck had to do whatever they could to make the Tong think everything was moving along as normal.

Stacey punched in the code to open the airlock, taking a step back and resisting the urge to place a hand on his weapon. He offered a slight bow.
"Good afternoon. The Ugly Duck and her passengers are at your service. We good to go?".

Recalling Rooney's warning to avoid encouraging any interest on the Duck itself, Stacey called over his shoulder. "Ladies, grab your things, our visitors have arrived. We'll wait for you outside; lets not keep anyone waiting.".
The Captain nodded toward the shuttle outside, starting to walk down the gangway and out of the ship toward it. By parading out of the ship he hoped to prevent their guests from needing to head in.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:43, Fri 03 Feb 2012.

Shan Yu
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Sat 4 Feb 2012
at 04:49
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

A tall Chinese man, face covered with tattoos...or a muscular brute with eyepatch and prosthetic hand in the shape of a hook...or perhaps a sultry, long haired woman who moved with the grace of a hunting cat.  Whatever Stacey was expecting in the way of slaver representatives, what he got was disappointing.  The man at the airlock was pretty nondescript in every way, except for a general air of dishevelment.  He was of average height, average weight, wore a rather threadbare (but mostly clean) pair of tan coveralls, and several days worth of beard stubble covered his lower face.  At Stacey's greeting, he merely nodded and grunted, "Yeah, we're good to go."  He turned and waved at the hovermule's driver, who nodded in return and gunned the vehicle back the way he came, causing a thin trail of dust to curl up around it.  The man turned back to Stacey.  "My name's Travers.  I'll be showin' you the route.  You got your own pilot, right?"  He gestured with his thumb toward the Duck's shuttle.  "If not, I can fly that thing for ya...no extra charge."  He tipped his cap back on his head and craned his neck to try and look around Stacey into the ship as the Captain began to walk down the ramp.  "Say...you don't reckon I could maybe get me a little sample, do ya?  I mean, we're both spacers...my ship's parked over there a ways...and we don't often get a chance to be around some of this high class stuff.  Don't worry, I'll be done real quick."  He suddenly turned red, quickly sputtering, "I mean...I won't take long...not that, well, you know..."  His voice trailed off, but he still cast a hopeful sideways look at Stacey.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 369 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sat 4 Feb 2012
at 11:57
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey led the man over to the shuttle, glad to see the mule drive away. "We're good for a pilot, tho thanks all the same.".
It would do Stacey good to get behind the stick and if he wasn't seen to be the pilot, he'd have no excuse for being on the shuttle when it left.

He laughed at the man's 'request', clasping him on the shoulder with a consoling sigh. "Ahh me and you both Travers. But these are top end goods. Ain't worth considering what Tong would chop off if we got caught foolin.". He shrugged. "But hey, I'll put a good word in for you. if one of the girls wants to get feisty with you of her own accord...well, I'd say that's fair game.".
Sordid as it seemed Travers would be good practice for one of the crew. The low level worker alone was a low risk warm up and might even have some useful information on where they were headed.

Reaching the shuttle Stacey let the door slide open and ducked inside to power up the small vessel. Taking care to focus on the console before him he asked conversationally "So where we goin chief? Reckon it's going to be a big party?".

He assumed the others would congregate on the shuttle when they were ready.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 323 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Sat 4 Feb 2012
at 18:24
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
No sense in standing around here in heels for no reason.   

Burne followed Stacey out the airlock, keeping her distance from the two men, and then over towards the shuttle.   She'd rather be behind the wheel, it was more enticing than what she thought tonight would be.  She rolled her fingers, feeling each joint stretch and loosen, and the corresponding tingle that ran up her arms towards her shoulders.  She'd rather be dancing, fighting, or best of all flying.  She wanted some action, and was hoping to get it soon.
Shan Yu
 GM, 510 posts
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Sun 5 Feb 2012
at 20:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside the Duck)

Travers' face brightened at Stacey's semi-agreement to allow for a little outside action.  "Really?  That would be..."  Unfortunately, he couldn't help but notice as Burne strode past, and he tugged at Yanoro's sleeve.  "Uh, shouldn't they be staying inside until I get a chance to, uh....anyway, I'm supposed to talk to a Madam Tang."  The man's eyes narrowed as he looked at Stacey.  "Who the frell are you, anyway?  You the pimp?"
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 370 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 9 Feb 2012
at 23:16
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey shrugged.
"I'm the pilot and get to ferry these princesses where ever they're hearts desire.". He glanced at Burne with a teasing wink and added "Hey I know what you're thinking Travers - pilots are normally the mad ones. Dont worry though, your in safe hands.".
As the undercover ladies (and Cole) congregated on the shuttle he began to warm the shuttle engines. Trying to act as if nothing was out of place he continued "Oh yeah, Tang. Didn't you hear? The old girl had a fall. Broke her darn leg dont you know?".
Looking up from the console Stacey scanned for Makani. Seeing the graceful woman he waved her over confiding quietly to the Tong agent "Ah Travers, now, if you'd met Tang, trust me, you'd be almost pleased she been replaced. That is a real woman.". The pair waited for Makani to approach.
"Madame Ano, allow me to introduce Mr Travers, or guide to the rendevouz. I trust your team are ready to depart? Best not to keep our employers waiting hmm Travers?".
Jin Chu
 player, 235 posts
Fri 10 Feb 2012
at 16:58
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Jin sauntered out and onto the shuttle, letting a little of her martial arts experiece creep into her walk.  It wasn't an aggressive gesture, rather lending an extra fluidity to her movement.  She couldn't match Makani of course but it all helped to add to the illusion.  The woman flashed a smile at their guide and a sly wink in Stacey's direction, playing up the role she had taken on for the night.

A close look at her revealed some nerves though, her thumb rubbed against the band of the ring she wore and her other hand clenched occasionally as if reaching for something that wasn't there.  Still, it seemed reasonable for a working girl to get a little stage fright before meeting a new crowd, never knew how your performance was going to be taken.  She concentrated on breathing naturally as she found herself a seat and settled in.
Makani Ano
 player, 274 posts
Wed 15 Feb 2012
at 03:23
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani smiled and glided forward giving Travers a demure nod.  "I am Madame Tang's Protoge, Madame Ano," she said mimicking the tones Madame Tang had used when introducing herself and her 'staff'.

"As our pilot said, Madame Tang had a rather nasty fall, and her injuries have left her unable to perform certain duties.  As her protoge, I am here in her stead."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 372 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 15 Feb 2012
at 10:58
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey nodded to reinforce Makani's words. She had always been a graceful woman, but now as her role demanded more, she seemed to flower into something even he had not expected. She was an impressive woman, though truth be told he probably preferred the more relaxed and comfortable persona that she'd held before.

Cheerily he chipped in to focus Travers again "So where to?".
Shan Yu
 GM, 516 posts
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Thu 16 Feb 2012
at 04:16
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Travers struggled to pull his eyes away from the ladies as they walked out to the shuttle (though he didn't seem to pay much attention to Cole), focusing with equal interest on Makani as the woman related the fate of Madame Tang.  "Oh, that's too bad...I hope she gets better soon.  I also hope it don't leave you short handed.  Uh, if anybody asks, just make sure they understand that it weren't my fault that Madame Tang got hurt."  He shuffled his feet self-consciously, not sure what else to say, but was saved by the Captain's repeated question.  "Uh, we're goin' to be headin' northeast for about half an hour or so.  There's a resort...at least it's what they call a resort here on this pile of go suh planet.  Of course, they didn't want to go to a planet where they might attract too much attention, so they settled for this place.  What a dump.  At least it ain't a desert.  Anyway, I got the headings and landmarks memorized, and all you got to do is follow my directions."

By the time he finished, the crew had all exited the Duck and entered the shuttle, making themselves comfortable in the bulkhead seating.  Travers was obviously disappointed that he wasn't afforded the opportunity for closer inspection of the "merchandise", but at least he didn't appear angry.  With a shrug and a sigh, he looked at his watch.  "Well, I reckon we'd best be gettin' on our way."  He motioned toward the shuttle, then took the lead.  After a few steps, he stopped and turned.  "Oh, sorry 'bout my uncivil behavior, Madam.  I shoulda let the lady go first."  He waited until Makani passed him and entered the shuttle before he followed suit.

Once inside, Travers waited near the cockpit door for Stacey to take the pilot's seat.  Stacey settled himself in place as Travers slid into the co-pilot's chair, then quickly brought the small craft to life.  The engines pitch rose and the ship gently lifted off.  Travers pointed to the northeast.  "Thataway.  I'll let you know when to make any turns."
Burne Catweazle
 player, 324 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Thu 16 Feb 2012
at 20:16
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Burne sat with her back to the bulkhead, and closed her eyes, feeling the motors spin up as the ship got underway.   The feeling excited her in ways that others wouldn't see on the surface.  Her fingers moved reflexively along her lower thighs as she imagined the controls in response to the tilt of the ship and the hum of the engines port and then starboard.    Flying never lost it's excitement for her, not even on a little ship like this one.

Her mind wandered, and she recalled the deep thrum of the X-thrusters burning through cloud and upper atmosphere as she escaped the thin layer of oxygen left now.  Somewhere down on the ground there were explosions.  She couldn't feel them of course, but the scanners were telling her about them.  And somewhere amid those fires, dead bodies were burning.   The body of her navigator was left behind on that planet, the swords sitting in the seat behind Burne were the only proof the woman ever existed.

It was all history now.

Back aboard The Ugly Duck, Deirdre guarded a pair of similarly matched blades.  The history of Burne was tied to them.   Her left arm moved to glide up her right sleeve, feeling the fabric beneath her fingertips, and she imagined the nerve implants beneath.  Some memories couldn't be escaped.   Sacrifices made were never forgotten, even if other more pleasant memories were lost along the way.

Pleasure...

Would tonight hold any?   Would it be memorable?   Only time would tell for sure.

This message was last edited by the player at 20:23, Thu 16 Feb 2012.