Chapter 5: Sacrifices...   Posted by Shan Yu.Group: 0
Shan Yu
 GM, 350 posts
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 the works of Shan Yu?
Tue 17 May 2011
at 04:01
Chapter 5: Sacrifices...


Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Frank was the first to show his face in the galley the next morning.  To tell the truth, he'd made several trips there during the night since he couldn't sleep.  Instead, he kept the coffee pot full, then did his best to promptly empty it.  Surprisingly, he missed the shepherd.  Delatorie always made sure that there was coffee and some kind of snack, and he was good at what he did.  Coffee made by engineers and mechanics was notorious throughout the 'Verse as being incredibly strong and usually smelling of lubricating oil.  Frank's wasn't that bad...but it wasn't up to Delatorie's standard.

After he got his coffee, he went back to his engine room to listen to it and see if she had any complaints.  Just as he arrived, he heard footsteps on the stairs coming up from the lounge area.  He turned in the hatch to the engine room, and saw Madame Tang emerge into the passageway.  She apparently didn't see him, and she turned away from him, going into the galley.  She looked around a moment, then watched her fill a mug with coffee and take a sip of the black liquid without adding anything too it.  She then disappeared from his view, apparently to sit at one of the tables.  Frank frowned for a second, thinking, "I thought she was a tea drinker."
Burne Catweazle
 player, 244 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Tue 17 May 2011
at 12:54
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(cockpit)

Burne finished her complicated stretching and meditative techniques that focused her for the start of another day.  Like most things with Burne, it didn't last long.   She hit the head before feeling fresh enough for a proper outfit and something that would hopefully keep her interested.

Once more within the pilot's seat of The Ugly Duck, she pressed in the unlock to listen to the signal once more, seeing if it would bring up any old memories.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 239 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 18 May 2011
at 10:59
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey let the brisk coolness of the water splash over him as he showered. The day felt fresh and despite a nagging insistence Corone werent the nicest people, sleep had come quickly.
Soon enough the captain rose and dressed, ruffling the fur of his eager companion before his footfalls echoed confidently against the ducks forward passage. Quickly he climbed to the galley and turned toward the cockpit to see who was awake.
The familiar figure of burne awaited him.
"Good morning ms Catweazle. Sleep well I hope?" Stacey swung into the co pilot chair beside her, nonchalantly flicking a series if buttons."Ah I see frank has already detached the mule has he? Excellent. Once the others surface a trip into town will give us all something to enjoy.".
Jin Chu
 player, 174 posts
Wed 18 May 2011
at 11:36
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Jin showered and dressed, sleep had left her feeling more herself and given her a chance to get used to life without the feel of the engines thrumming through the Duck.  A smile drifted across her face as she remembered that Burne had something for her to look at this morning.  Nothing like starting things off with something to get the brain functioning.  Her hair still damp she headed out to the galley to grab a cup of whatever was brewed.

"Good morning Madame Tang."  She offered a brief nod of her head to their passenger.  "I trust you slept well."  The plan had been to meet Burne in the cockpit and she knew she needed to check whether the pilot was up or not.  No harm in taking a moment or two to be polite though.
Shan Yu
 GM, 353 posts
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Wed 18 May 2011
at 14:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Madame Tang was sitting at one of the tables in the galley, out of sight of anyone unless they were also in that area.  She nodded in return and replied to Jin's greeting, "Good morning.  Yes, I slept well enough, thank you.  It was an interesting evening, though I don't recall seeing you in the lounge or patio areas.  Perhaps I just missed it."  Seeing Jin prepare herself some coffee, Madame Tang held up her own mug and said, "Beware of the coffee...it's rather strong.  Whoever made it apparently did so with the intent of staying awake for the next week."  She drained the last of her coffee, stood and made her way back to the sink, where she deposited her empty mug.  "Do you know if the Captain is awake yet?  I need to speak to him, so if you see him, could you please ask him to find me?  I'll be here for a little while longer, and then I'll be in my cabin.  Thank you."  She returned to her seat at the table, resting her hands in her lap.
Jin Chu
 player, 175 posts
Wed 18 May 2011
at 14:58
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

"I passed through once or twice, everyone seemed to be having an enjoyable evening.  I hope that I shall be able to be more sociable in the future."  She smiled and sipped at her coffee, seemingly unaffected by it's strength - or perhaps the amount of sugar she dumped into it ameliorated the effect somewhat.  "When I see the Captain I shall pass your message on to him, I am sure he will be awake by now."  She paused for another moment.  "Please excuse me but there is something which I am assured requires my attention in the cockpit."

Jin raised her coffee cup in a half salute and turned to go, smooth steps carrying her towards the cockpit without putting her drink in danger of spilling.

(Cockpit)

She pulled the door open with her free hand and was somewhat surprised to find it already realtively crowded.  "Morning Burne, Captain."  She greeted the other two.  "Hope I've not kept you waiting too long."  This to Burne as Jin slipped into the cramped space and folded down the little seat at the comms unit.  "Captain, Madame Tang is in the galley and expressed a wish to speak with you when you have time."  Folded into the available space, she sipped at the coffee again and leaned back waiting for the other two.
Cole Jackson
 player, 174 posts
Wed 18 May 2011
at 22:45
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside the ship -> Forward Airlock)

Cole approached the forward airlock, sweat dripping from his face.  Having had an restless night, the first officer had decided an early morning run would get his blood moving for the rest of the day.  Only a few times did his lungs give out and put him into a coughing fit.  He pushed through, however, and felt better that before the run.  Now it was time for a shower and a trip into town.

(Galley)
As he made his way upstairs, Cole thought about the events of the previous night.  Guests who were entirely too docile after an evening of debauchery, someone who was labeled a runner and then viciously beaten, a young lady who was either having fun at him or becoming very attached, and a lot more questions than before landing on this rock.  Cole knew that if he kept thinking about it, his head would soon explode.

Passing through the galley, Cole gave a polite smile to everyone gathered.  He was  aware that his smell was rather pungent only because he could not smell the coffee brewing in the pot.  Opening his cabin, he reaching in and grabbed a cleaner set of clothes.  Gonna need a laundry trip real soon, he thought to himself.

Turning back through the galley, Cole mumbled, "shower" and continued on, ready to enjoy a hot shower.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 240 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 19 May 2011
at 08:22
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

"Mornin'.". Stacey offered a welcoming smile as he shifted to allow Jin to make herself comfortable. When she mentioned Tag he stood. "Thanks Jin. I had better go and see how I can be of service.".

Pulling himself up Stacey ducked from the cockpit and strode into the Galley. The lithe precisely dressed figure of Tang awaited him in stark contrast the tall vigorous security officer that entered at the same moment.
"Madame, Cole, good morning to you both. I trust you both slept well? How's the weather out there Cole? Pleasant for a trip into town I hope?". Stacey eased aside to let the perspiring Jackson move by before heading to the coffee pot. Relaxed, the Captain helped himself to a dose from the still warm pot before turning to face Tang again.
"Jin tells me you asked to see me Madame? How may I assist you?".
Shan Yu
 GM, 354 posts
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Thu 19 May 2011
at 16:06
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Madame Tang waited until Stacey had poured himself some coffee and had turned to face her.  "Good morning, Captain.  I'd like to thank you for your efforts yesterday.  We had a successful evening, and please pass on to the crew my appreciation.  Unfortunately, your planned trip into town may need to be curtailed.  I'd like you to make plans for getting underway immediately.  Our destination will be the city of Zafiro on Verbena.  Please let me know as soon as you can when we might expect to arrive there."  Although she had obviously finished speaking, she remained sitting at the table, looking at the Captain.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 241 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 19 May 2011
at 16:26
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey blinked in surprise at Tang's words and for a second he wondered if he had heard correctly. Despite the command being unexpected however it was certainly welcome. Getting Corone's brutes behind them and sailing to a new port would suit him just fine. At least now they could forget the unnerving feeling that had been nagging the crew and concentrate on doing their job.

To Tang he nodded. "If that is your need, then of course we'll be glad oblige. I'll organise the crew and we'll weigh anchor as soon as we have Corone clearance. I trust all your crew are on board and ready to depart already?". He paused to sip his coffee before continuing. "I had thought the plan was to stay a little longer though? I can imagine there will be many broken hearted miners who were looking forward to our second night here?".
Burne Catweazle
 player, 246 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Thu 19 May 2011
at 17:07
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

"I did thank-you,"
Burne told the captain.   "Some fresh air, and some undisturbed rest will do wonders to keep the years off a girl.  As for Frank being ready, he's top notch.  I don't think there is any better, though he did think mighty highly of that Wallace fellow too.  Birds of a feather and all that."

"Speaking of which our Duck seems to be doing well.  Don't mind these console wires out.  Its only on my station while I work those upgrades we talked about.  The secondary station your at is being kept in typical fashion, and I gave it a thorough PM, so it's good to go."

Just then Jin entered, and Burne gave her a good morning.   It seemed like the Ugly Duckling was off to a good start for the day.  Outside the windows some high atmosphere static was putting on a display which gave a glimmering effect on the glass, and caught sparkles in the rock.  It was a nice effect, and another oddity specific to the planet.

Once Jin told the Captain of the upcoming meeting, Burne thanked him for coming by and sent him on his way with a smile and her gratitude for stopping by to be sociable.   While she greeted Jin, she also told the young woman, "I'm unlocking those messages that came in last night, and copying them to the Wave Cache.   You should be able to access them from there.  On the surface they sound like static, but I've run into something like it before, when messages were being encrypted.  I thought it was strange the way one came in, and the other right out again as if someone was expecting the one and responding to it.  That led me to believe there is more to them than a random signal spike, or bad transmission unit sending out static."

"There's no sense in bringing static to the Captain though, I don't have the tech to analyze it properly.  From what I've seen on the trip here, you do.  I thought it might be something fun we could look at together.  You up for a challenge?"

This message was last edited by the player at 01:07, Fri 20 May 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 355 posts
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 the works of Shan Yu?
Fri 20 May 2011
at 01:42
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Madame Tang stood and walked toward Stacey.  "Yes, the original plan was to stay longer, but that incident last night unnerved some of the girls.  We had a meeting and decided it would be best if we just moved on.  All of my associates will be remaining aboard except Dem, who will arrange for the return of the decorations, tables and chairs we rented.  I'd like to launch before noon, if that is possible."  She passed by Stacey and turned toward the aft stairway, pausing and turning at the hatch to face him.  Quietly, she said, "The sooner we leave these animals behind us, the better."  She then disappeared into the hatchway and footsteps could be heard on the stairs.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 242 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 20 May 2011
at 18:28
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey bowed fair well to Tang as she turned to depart.
The sooner we leave these animals behind us, the better.
Maybe the beating the other night had spooked the girls. In their line of business knowing when to cut and run before trouble had to be second nature for them and her words found further resolve in Stacey to put Corone security behind them.

Downing the last of his coffee he stood and strode toward the Cockpit, calling back toward Cole's cabin as he moved "Cole, need you in the cockpit when you're ready.".
Reaching the small space he paused by the door to ponder what Jin and Burne were up to. It was good to see relatively new acquaintances working on some project together and he cleared his throat to make them aware of his arrival.
"I spoke to Tang, and shore leave is cancelled. Our employer wants us to set sail for Verbena. Zafiro City. At least we can put Corone security behind us and get on with our job.".
He absently tapped the metal bulwark beside him in good spirits. "I dont think any of us liked this rock anyway.".

This message was last edited by the player at 18:30, Fri 20 May 2011.

Burne Catweazle
 player, 247 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Fri 20 May 2011
at 21:20
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

"The fuel supply was topped off yesterday.  I'll run the numbers and make sure we have everything good to go.  I can check with Frank too, and give him an update if you like Captain Yanoro."


"There wasn't any good racing to be had here for Vengeance, so I can't say as I'll miss the planet.   Still, you mentioned cancelling shore leave; I take it that means we're in a rush to get out of here?  We can't pull out through that static in the atmosphere until it cancels out."  She indicated the light that was still dancing outside.  "From what I gather, they don't usually last that long.  I can keep you in the loop as I find out exactly what time we can go if you like sir."

This message was last edited by the player at 01:15, Sun 22 May 2011.

Jin Chu
 player, 176 posts
Fri 20 May 2011
at 21:25
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

Jin thought for a moment, running down her list of gear, she was sure she could come up with something although there was no dedicated de-crypt kit in her set at the moment.  "You're right about it being odd, if not downright suspicious."  Her eyes glittered.  "Then again, a lot of things struck me as being odd last night.  You're on."  She accepted the challenge with a broad smile and was about to say something more when the sound of someone at the door distracted her.

The Captain's words left Jin with mixed feelings and another set of questions.  She didn't want to end up interrogating her employer though so she bit her tongue for the time being.  "Fair enough Captain.  How long do we have?"  Would she and Burne have the chance to probe the static 'messages' before they left the planet.  She shot a look at the other woman, wondering how Burne was going to respond.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 244 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sat 21 May 2011
at 19:13
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

Stacey shrugged. "No huge rush, but I think the shenanigans of Corone security last night left a sour taste in our passenger's mouths; good to know our guests are decent folk after all. We wont be doing business here tonight so no need to hang around. Having said that, we don't need to rush either. We can wait till mother nature clears our path of static.".
He nodded toward Burne.
"Give Crystal Wells port authority a call and let them know we're looking for clearance to hit the black. And leave them this message. If a shepherd named Delatorie asks about us, let him know our destination.". He smiled fondly, wondering what Gregory was doing. No doubt the gentle padre was out there somewhere working his humble magic. He'd said he would try to catch them if he had chance so Stacey planned on leaving his friend a trail to follow.

For a moment Stacey paused tempted to ask what the pair were doing.
Makani Ano
 player, 173 posts
Sat 21 May 2011
at 21:38
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's quarters -> Galley)

Makani spent her first hour away sitting zazen, simply listening to her body before clearing her mind of all else.  As the ship started to come to life, so did she, trading meditation for grueling practice of one of the temple dances she knew.

She moved at half speed focusing on making every move precise and every hand position just so.  When she had finished the dance, she began again, this time at quarter speed.  This time focusing on her breathing, synching it to each move.  When she was finished she splashed some cold water on her face, gave herself a quick sponge bath and slipped into a pair of comfortable worn slacks and a shirt better suited for working as a ship's crewman.

When she got to the galley, she took one look at the coffee, pulled out an oven mitt and dumped it.  After carefully scouring the pot she set it up again, this time setting the filter to 'decent'

Realizing that the Padre was not there to make breakfast, Makani went to work making a pleasant repast for the others.
Cole Jackson
 player, 175 posts
Sat 21 May 2011
at 22:08
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole made his way back from the crew shower.  He had taken his time this morning and enjoyed an entire three minutes worth of hot water.  Drying and then dressing, Cole was still rubbing his hair with his towel as he walked back into the galley.

Pausing, Cole was surprised to see only Makani present.

"Did I miss something?" Cole asked, looking around.  "There were people here when I went down just a few minutes ago.  Don't tell me there's some new problem to deal with.  There's already enough what with last night and yesterday morning."

Cole walked to his cabin and through the dirty clothes and towel into the corner.  He then grabbed his belt, which was hanging inside the door.  He pulled it around his waist, buckled it, and proceeded to tie the holster to his leg.  He then turned back to Makani and smiled.

"Fresh coffee?"
Burne Catweazle
 player, 249 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Sun 22 May 2011
at 01:17
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

"I'll make the necessary arrangements," Burne assured the captain.
Makani Ano
 player, 174 posts
Sun 22 May 2011
at 04:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

When Cole asked about the other passengers, Makani merely shrugged.  She had no idea who was out and about yet, having lost all track of time training that morning.

"Nobody tells me anything," she answered in a light hearted tone.  When Cole returned from his room down the hall she answered his question by handing him a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
Lydia Li
 player, 179 posts
Sun 22 May 2011
at 10:13
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cabin to the Galley)

Lydia was a late sleeper, as has become normal being away from the farm, and thus by the time she got up, Makani had already left. Sighing to herself, she gave herself a quick freshen-up, slipped on a clean tee and pants, and headed to the Galley.

She glanced around as there was no where here but Cole and Makani. "Where's everyone? Did I sleep too late, or did Mr Cole try'n cook sumthin?"
Shan Yu
 GM, 357 posts
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Sun 22 May 2011
at 10:42
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)



The sound of giggling and animated discussion could now be heard coming from the stairs, and within a few seconds, Jenna and Ping appeared, both dressed in bright silk kimonos.  When they saw Makani and Lydia, they turned their attention to the two crewmembers, and, as usual, Jenna was the one who started the talking as they made a beeline toward the coffee and tea.  "Good mornin', y'all.  Looks like great minds think alike.  We were just thinking about how the shepherd was gone now, and since we were his apprentices, we needed to jump in and take over.  But it looks like we don't need to.  Is there anything we can do to help?"
Jin Chu
 player, 177 posts
Sun 22 May 2011
at 12:10
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

So they would have time for some investigation before they needed to be taking off.  "If you've copied them to the main cache I should be able to pull them up on my terminal.  I can run it through the gauntlet and see what I can pull up.  You want to come with if we're not heading for the Black straight off?"  She asked Burne.  The Captain was still there but she saw no particular reason to keep their activities a secret, they would take the results to him anyway if it was anything important, Burne had just wanted to be able to take more than static.  A faint smile crossed her face at Stacey's use of 'static' as a descriptor of anything that might get in their way during take off.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 246 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sun 22 May 2011
at 12:42
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit to Galley)

"I'll leave you pair to it. Let me know when you have a departure window lined up Burne.".
Leaving the pair to whatever project they were working on Stacey turned to follow the sound of voices from the galley. The warm scent of food preperation wafted from the chamber as he entered to see Cole, Makani and Lydia all present.
Waiting for a pause in conversation he began, "I'm glad I found you all here. We've a slight change in plan; shore leave is cancelled. We're to up anchor in the next few hours. Burne and Jin are up in the cockpit organsing it with the port authority now.". He nodded politly to Jenna and Ping.
"Madame Tang tells me we're to head to Verbena. There will be a few dissappointed miners here tonight I'll wager?".
Lydia Li
 player, 183 posts
Sun 22 May 2011
at 14:23
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Her eyes went to Stacey, and widened as she heard the news. She licked her lips, glancing at Jenna and Ping, then back to Stacey. There was concern in her eyes, and said eyes began drifting across the cabin, as if looking for something.

Time on the run taught her many skills. And one of them was how to sneak onto visiting ships to get away from a hurtful place. And that was immediately where her mind went. She caught Cole's eyes, then let her eyes drift to the ceiling ducts, as if voicing an unsaid worry. As a security chief, she hoped he would get her question without her voicing it to the girls present, who didn't need to know.
Shan Yu
 GM, 360 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sun 22 May 2011
at 14:25
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)


In unison the two associates of Madame Tang bowed and offered their greetings.  "Good morning, Captain."  Their simultaneous response elicited a burst of giggling, but it was Jenna who offered a response to Stacey's question.  "Oh yes, I'm sure there will be some.  I kinda liked it here, myself, but you know how it is with any business.  If you aren't making as much money as you were expecting, you just need to pack up and try somewhere else.  I think Madame Tang talked with their chief and it looked like business wasn't going to be as good as we would have preferred.  But I'm sure Verbena will be more to Madame Tang's liking."  Ping just nodded in agreement as Jenna spoke.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:25, Sun 22 May 2011.

Cole Jackson
 player, 176 posts
Sun 22 May 2011
at 14:28
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Cole took the offered cup of coffee with a gentle "Thanks."  He took a sip and sighed.  Black nectar.  Life blood of the soldier, pilot, and farmer.  One of the best parts of signing on to a ship was that there was almost always coffee.  Better than other situations in life usually brought.

Before he could comment further, Lydia arrived.  His smile turned into a scowl as she commented on his cooking skills.  He had taken a breath to respond with Jenna and Ping arrived.  Suddenly the big man felt outnumbered and decided that discretion would be the better idea today.

"Uh...I'm gonna go find the Cap'n," Cole said, throwing a look at Lydia before leaving the galley and heading for the only place he could think Stacey would be.

Cole had just turned when Stacey walked in.  He listened as new orders were given for the day.

"What about last night, Cap'n?  We just going to up and leave knowing something is wrong out here?"
Burne Catweazle
 player, 251 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Sun 22 May 2011
at 23:05
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

"That's what I was thinking too," Burne told the other woman.  "If you can't access them from that station, sure, we can head back to your quarters and take a look.   That static display outside isn't going anywhere right off, and we are already fueled.   I can contact the port authority and get things started, while you get everything set up if that helps."

Burne was moving while talking, pulling up some of the navigation displays, the satellite weather maps showing the static storm outside, and getting a communications link to the port authority.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 248 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 24 May 2011
at 11:33
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey nodded politely to Jenna's response. "Aye, I've been to Verbena. Decent folk there.". He thought back to the war and the stories he'd heard of Browncoats standing against Alliance zealots.

Strange she didn't mention Corone though.
The Captain glanced toward Cole as he mentioned the beating, then back at Jenna. Tang had given the unsavoury behaviour of Corone as a reason for leaving not poor custom.
Instead of responding directly to Cole he leant against the table and looked at Jenna, trying to avoid putting words in her mouth. "Business seemed to be going pretty well last night actually? Half those guys looked like they were falling over themselves to come back and see you girls a second time.". He shrugged. "I confess I'm not overly accustomed with the services you girls offer. Did I miss something?". He left the statement hanging.
Shan Yu
 GM, 362 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Tue 24 May 2011
at 12:11
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)



Following Stacey's question, there was a pause as Jenna and Ping looked at each other.  Then Jenna turned to Stacey, a hesitant smile on her lips.  "Well...I guess there were some satisfied customers.  I can't talk about exactly what goes on, though.  Madame Tang says we shouldn't discuss our business with others.  I'm sure you understand."  She started rummaging through the cabinets, loudly clanging pots together.  "Let's see...where is that fryin' pan.  You know what would be good?  French toast.  The shepherd showed me how to make it."
Lydia Li
 player, 185 posts
Tue 24 May 2011
at 12:41
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Lydia sighed as she was ignored, leaning against the bar. The hesitance on the girls was worrisome in itself, and she kept an eye on them, watching their expressions, getting a feel and a read of them, looking for some insight into this madness. If she could get some clue about lies or hidden coverups or soemthing, she could be useful here. It's what Stacey relies on her for anyway.
Makani Ano
 player, 175 posts
Tue 24 May 2011
at 15:23
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Makani smiled and greeted the girls.  "Good morning ladies... yes, I realized that without the preacher here we were liable to starve..."  She laughed teasingly knowing that wasn't likely to happen.

"I was going to make pancakes, but French toast sounds good."  She made room for the girls and winked at Lydia.

Deciding not to worry about it for now, she took everything at face value, leaving the interpretations for later-- when she was alone.
Jin Chu
 player, 178 posts
Tue 24 May 2011
at 15:53
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

Jin nodded and, while Burne was contacting the authorities, ran a standard diagnostic on the comms.  "Sounds good to me.  I'll leave the cabin door open, no need to knock.  With any luck it won't take us too long to get some sense out of this."  She gestured to the screen in a general indication of the messages they were working on before heading out.

(Galley)

She offered a bright smile to those gathered in the galley as she wandered through on the way to her cabin.  There was significantly more activity there than there had been a few minutes ago and seemed to be a concerted effort to do something about breakfast.  "Morning all."  She greeted them as she breezed towards her cabin, leaving the door to her personal space open as she did so.

(Jin's Cabin)

Leaving the door pulled up, Jin moved towards her desk and started getting things set up, her terminal was already powered up of course and it took her only a few moments to patch into the main system and find the messages that Burne had saved to the main cache.  She played them through as normal to begin with, frowning at the static but reassured that they certainly seemed to be the same waves the two women wanted to try and decode.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 252 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Tue 24 May 2011
at 19:37
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)
Burne was chatting with one of the local color that had a title longer than what his job duties probably entailed.   This chap was far too picky about her departure vectors, flight plans, and even asked about why they were leaving early.  Being the pilot made life easy in this one instance.  "Change of plans.  We'll be heading out as soon as the atmospheric storm clears."   He mentioned something about getting in a quickie.  "Sorry, we've already packed up shop.  We're securing all the cargo now." 

The most disgruntling bit of the local color was less than surprising.  Most folk on these worlds were trying to get what they didn't have.  In this case, that was money.  Burne was going to have to tell Madame Tang that the deposit for the rest of the week was forfeit.   No matter how Burne had tried, they just weren't willing to cough up the other days.

"Once they have the credits..." she said quietly to the empty cockpit, "they don't ever let em go."

Burne saw the flash on Jin's communication station, showing that the main cache was being activated.    She looked at her own console for confirmation.   Nothing was there.   She poked underneath the console, found the connection hub and gave it a wiggle.   Back on top the appropriate indicators came on the digital screen.   She fetched a zip tie and secured the loose connection.    "It'll hold for now..."  She had created so many new connections during the interface conversion that they couldn't all be properly secured yet.  Not till they were all in place, then they could be finalized.  Till then, it was a bit patchwork, but things were getting better.

Once all the navigation was set in, she secured her terminal, and the Wave files again.  She left the copies in the Main Cache in case Jin needed to access them multiple times.  Likely the girl would just make her own copies.  She closed the door to the cockpit and secured it, reminding herself for the hundredth time that she was going to have to give the captain and the other crew members a new ship-code now that the Shepherd had left the crew.

Frank would probably complain about it.  For a man who spent his life fixing the problems of others, he hated change.   And if he couldn't smack it with a hammer, or twist it with a wrench, it was twice as bad.   Burne, on the otherhand loved anything electronic.


(Galley)
She left CHESS secured in her quarters, and moved to the galley, where the smell of fresh food greeted her.   Her stomach growled in response, announcing her to the room.  disobedient stomach... she reprimanded it mentally before greeting everyone in the room.

"Seems I've arrived just on time once again," she said with a smile.  She moved to where the coffee pot stood, its small black spout still dripping a bit of the black elixir that calmed her mind in ways Ascerbellus did for the rest of her.  She poured a cup, enjoying it's strength.  "Somebody slept with Arbuckle's." It was praise for whoever made the coffee.

She saw some of the French Toast just about ready, and asked Jenna if she might "get a slice for the road."  She didn't want to waste much time here, but gave the captain an update.

"Everything's clear on the ground.  Soon as the storm clears, we're skybound."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 250 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 25 May 2011
at 10:10
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey stretched as Jenna and Ping turned to cooking. To be fair to the girls, the decision to move on may have been solely taken by Tang. Besides, it was a decision he could appreciate and would put the suspicion of Corone's blunt security behind them. While they cooked, Stacey turned to Lydia, offering her a smile. The kid looked concerned and he raised a questioning eyebrow. "How are things this morning Lily? Looking forward to a trip to Verbena?".
Tang's request to ttake off had not come with absolute urgency and so the Captain allowed himself to linger in the galley and talk with the folk present. He apprecitivly wolfed down the surprsingly tasty French Toast offered and called out his approval for their cooking.
When Burne arrived he looked up and swallowed the last of his breakfast. "Good work Ms Catzweale. How long before our departure window?".
Lydia Li
 player, 188 posts
Wed 25 May 2011
at 10:16
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Lydia shrugged uncomfortably, not feeling ready to talk among prying ears. "Little... apprehensive... Ya never know what new stuff is gonna be thrown our way on a new planet, ya know? Never able to expect the unexpected. Too many secrets in strange places n people, ya know?" She sighed and scratched her head. She was never good at innuendo. Could catch it a mile away, couldn't do it herself. She turned and waved at Makani, hoping Stacey would figure out something out of that trainwreck she just blubbered.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 253 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Wed 25 May 2011
at 13:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

"I'm no meteorologist or versed in this rocks specifics, so I can't tell exactly how long.   These storms can pass in an hour, or days.   Though usually a few hours seems to be the average.  If the weather permits, we'll be skybound by lunchtime."

"In the interim, I wouldn't suggest going outside the ship.  It's a bit dangerous.  As I understand it, the static burst use bodies as grounding points.   For that reason, the town tends to close shop, stay indoors, or do whatever they do in the deep mines."

Jin Chu
 player, 179 posts
Wed 25 May 2011
at 22:52
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Jin's Cabin)

Jin settles herself infront of the terminal and watches the waves play through.  Nothing more than 'normal' static.  She expected that.  Now to see if she could pull anything useful from the snowy garble on her screen.  She rolled her shoulders and set her fingers to tapping across the controls.
Cole Jackson
 player, 179 posts
Wed 25 May 2011
at 23:20
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole frowns at Stacey's announcement.  He really wanted to get into town to feel what was going on.  But Stacey was the captain and Cole knew how to follow orders.  Instead, he consoled himself by eating the wonderful tasting french toast.

"This is real good," he said between mouthfuls.  "Shepard who?"  This last was said with a smile.

As Lydia spoke, Cole let his fork hover midway between his plate and mouth.  When she was finished, he cocked his head to one side.  He knew that she meant something by what she said, but Cole was never one for riddles or covert meanings.  Straight to the point was Cole's preferred method.  Either the point of a knife or tip of a bullet, if he really had his way.

"You been spending time down with Frank, little lady?" Cole asked.  "Fumes'll make your brain go all fuzzy.  Don't want your pretty self getting as adle-brained as a brute like me."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 251 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 27 May 2011
at 08:43
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley to Lounge)

With everything looking well in the galley Stacey stood with a stretch. Leaving the others to their breakfast he took the short stairs down toward the lounge and emerged in the opulent space looking for Tang.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 255 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Fri 27 May 2011
at 15:29
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Jin's Quarters)

With no input from the captain or others, Burne accepted the offer of some French Toast, took a second slice for Jin, and left with coffee in hand to the young ladies quarters.

Peeking her head inside she told the woman who was intent on the screen, "Hi.   I brought some French Toast.  Care for a slice?"   She sat down next to her partner.

"If it's anything like what it reminded me of, it isn't a straight math cypher.   The static encapsulates the code.   During the war, a message would be broadcast in the static with a patterned surge.  I don't know if you have any programs that could help pick it out if they knew what to look for."

"There!"
  Burne said pointing at the screen.   "That box-like shape in the upper right is what made me think of it.  I used to see that all the time on encrypted messages that would reach me in the field.  The computer would analyze it and do it's thing, but they were always there if you had a sharp eye."

This message was last edited by the player at 21:22, Fri 27 May 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 365 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sat 28 May 2011
at 00:43
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Stacey emerged into the lounge to find Dem behind the bar, replenishing his stock, and Kelly Chan seated at the bar.  They were talking to one another, and Stacey overheard the very end of their conversation, with Kelly saying, "...never expected to get lucky on our very first night.  Hopefully, Verbena will be..."  Kelly stopped in mid sentence as she was surprised by Stacey's sudden appearance.  She turned on a smile and said, "Good morning, Captain.  I trust you slept well.  Is there something we can do for you?"
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 252 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sat 28 May 2011
at 09:19
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey smiled at Kelly as he glanced around the lounge. Any remenants of the evening before had been deftly cleaned away by Dem the space looked as new as ever.
"I was just coming down to let you all know our departure plans are now well underway. Corone authorities have given us the all clear and the Duck herself is ready to fly. There is a little static in the atmosphere which may delay our take off by a couple of hours, but nothing serious so I imagine we'll lift off soon enough.".
Shan Yu
 GM, 366 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sat 28 May 2011
at 15:45
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Kelly nodded at Stacey's information.  "Thank you, Captain.  If you'd like, you could let Madame Tang know personally.  She's in her cabin, just there behind you...Cabin 2.  I'm sure she'd appreciate it."  She and Dem continue to look at Stacey, as if waiting for him to leave so that they could continue with their conversation.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 253 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sat 28 May 2011
at 23:12
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

"Of course.". Stacey bowed, turning toward the direction Kelly indicated. Despite himself he couldn't help but allow his eyes to linger on her form, attracted by her subconcious allure. Instead he distracted himself with a light tap on Tang's door, waiting for a response.
Shan Yu
 GM, 367 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sat 28 May 2011
at 23:20
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Madame Tang's door opened almost immediately.  She was wearing an intricately embroidered blue silk dressing gown.  "Well, Captain...this is an unexpected surprise.  To what do I owe this visit?  Oh, look at me...I've completely forgotten my manners.  Would you please come in?  I was just getting dressed."
Jin Chu
 player, 180 posts
Sun 29 May 2011
at 18:36
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Jin's Cabin)

"Mmm, thanks."  Jin looked up as Burne walked in and accepted the food happily.  Her eyes didn't leave the screen for very long though and her fingers moved erratically across the keys.  She took a bite of the toast and looked for somewhere to set it down where it wouldn't leave grease on anything important.  Eventually it was balanced carefully on the edge of her desk and Jin licked her fingers clean before saying anything more.  "This is going to take a while I think."  She said, sighing and leaning back.

"I had some decrypt chips back home but couldn't...Bringing them with me wasn't much of an option.  We're going to have to do this the long way.  I've not had much experience of doing decrypt work from scratch so we're going to be working mostly from first principles and a bit of trial and error."  A smile crept across her face as she looked up and Burne again.  "I haven't had something like this to get my teeth into in ages."  Her eyes sparkled and she obviously relished the challenge.  "Any code has to have a key, we find that, we're on the way to cracking this thing.  The code is likely to be embedded randomly as well so I'll need to pull out the pertinent bits."  She shifted over, offering Burne a seat on the edge of her bunk, it wasn't quite as close to the terminal as Jin was sitting but there wasn't room in the tiny space for two chairs.  "I don't suppose you have any ideas of where to start?"
Burne Catweazle
 player, 256 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Sun 29 May 2011
at 18:50
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Jin's Cabin)
"Yeah, I have one or two, only because I've seen so many of these before.   That is assuming it actually is what I think.  May I?"
Burne asked for explanation, and followed the simple controls that Jin instructed her to use.  She rewound the first message to the start, and then as she was playing it forward pointed out the sections on the screen that stood out to her as familiar to an encoded message.

"In all the messages I saw, there were always these concentrated areas that were slightly different than the static behind them."
Burne wasn't sure if it was something that she could see with her eyes alone, or if others could naturally.  Either way, she figured she could point them out.   She tapped the freeze frame.  "See, like this one here."  She hit play, and then rewound it until she got it on another frame.  "Or this one down here."

"If they're the key, maybe they're like tumblers in a lock, and you have to locate them all or something.  I don't know.  I do know that I try to locate all the wires of a system I am working with and identify the runs, even the ones in the embedded chips, before I can expect a full understanding of the system.  Maybe it's the same here?"

Cole Jackson
 player, 181 posts
Sun 29 May 2011
at 19:29
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Cole finished his breakfast with a satisfied sigh.  These girls might just give the shephard a run for the money when it comes to cooking.  Cole suddenly did a mental inventory and realized he had not seen Frank or Jin for breakfast.  Burne had just left with food toward Jin's cabin.  Frank was surely hungry.  Grabbing a couple of slices of toast, Cole made his way back to engineering.

(Engineering)

Reaching the hatchway to the engine room, Cole knocked.  He tended to stay clear of working machinery so he was not sure the proper decorum for entering another man's projects.

"Frank, you in here?" he called out.  "Girls whipped up some french toast and I figured you might want some."
Frank Shelby
 player, 91 posts
Sun 29 May 2011
at 19:57
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Engine room)

The door to the engine room clanged open to reveal the engineer with his workbench covered in blueprints and schematics.  Instead of the sound of engines and generators, the predominant sound was some Chinese opera playing quietly in the background, coming from a small radio.  "Oh...hey, there.  C'mon in.  Don't worry about wiping your feet.  Did I hear you say something about French toast?"  The man's eyes lit up when he saw Cole's gift.  "Damn...since the preacher left, I didn't expect to see anything like this for a long time to come.  Thanks."

He took the plate of food and took a bite, closing his eyes as he chewed.  "Mmmmm...that's some fine cookin'.  Pull up a chair...I was just trying to learn more about this flying boxcar."  He reached out with his foot and slightly kicked a chair, which apparently was engineer-speak for "this is your chair", while he settled himself in one next to the spread-out papers as he ate his breakfast.  Between bites, he asked, "Anything new about last night?"

(Posted by GM)
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 254 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 30 May 2011
at 09:58
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Tang's Cabin)

Stacey felt a little colour rouse to his cheeks as Tang opened her door in the sleek intricate gown. "My apologies, I did not mean to intrude ma'am. Perhaps I should return later?".
The Captain lingered by the door as absently his eyes scanned the room.
"I wanted to make you aware that preperations for departure are underway. We've the all clear from port authorities and once a little turbulence in the atmosphere clears up we'll set sail for Verbena.".
He paused, unsure wether to excuse himself or await further instructions.
Shan Yu
 GM, 368 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Tue 31 May 2011
at 10:36
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Madame Tang had moved aside when she invited Stacey into her cabin, but when he did not immediately enter, she stepped forward again.  "Thank you for the notification, Captain.  The sooner we launch, the sooner we can get to Verbena.  Unlike here, we will most likely not have a definite client, so we may have to land at the main spaceport until we can secure the clientele that we wish.  There will probably be a day or two with not much to do.  I just wanted you let you know."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 255 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 31 May 2011
at 11:46
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Tang's Cabin)

Stacey nodded understanding.
"We've no objections to a few days of quiet. It may give us an opportunity to find a little extra business of our own.".
He paused, wondering if there was anything else he needed to cover with his client.
"Will you need our assistance at all in securing your next clients? I assume you have everything under control, but as always we are at your disposal madame.".
Satisfied the Captain glanced back out toward the lounge where Dem still polished glasses from the night before.
"Is there anything else we need to discuss madame?".

This message was last edited by the GM at 12:03, Tue 31 May 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 369 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Tue 31 May 2011
at 12:06
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Madame Tang's cabin)

There was a moment's pause as Madame Tang just looked at Stacey.  "Thank you, Captain, but I believe we can manage.  As for anything we need to discuss, I can't think of anything.  But you may rest assured that I will seek your counsel, should the need arise."
Lydia Li
 player, 190 posts
Tue 31 May 2011
at 12:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

As the others left, Lydia grabbed a plate and headed over to Makani. She sat down and spoke in a hushed tone over her food, not wanting Jenna or Ping to overheat. "Yer opinion? They're definately hidin' sumthin, and ya don' need my... abilities to see it. And the quick exodus... Ya know, coming from a stowaway's experience myself... Now is a good time ter hide in a duct or something an' get away from hell... Or have someone hide ya. Something like this is right exact how I got away."

This message was last edited by the player at 12:34, Tue 31 May 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 256 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 31 May 2011
at 15:37
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Tang's Cabin)

Stacey retreated with a polite bow. There was something he just didn't 'get' about the woman. Different people from different walks of life. He wasn't going to let it bother him though.
"Then I shall beg my leave Madame and ensure everything is going according to plan upstairs.". Smiling gently he turned back through the lounge before heading up toward the galley itself.
Makani Ano
 player, 177 posts
Tue 31 May 2011
at 17:50
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani smiled at Lydia and gave a slow graceful nod.  "Things... do not balance out and nature is all about balance."

She took a sip of tea and debated about the French Toast.  The idea of eggs didn't sit well on her stomach so she simply grabbed an apple instead.

"Do you think we should be looking for something in the duct work?"
Cole Jackson
 player, 182 posts
Wed 1 Jun 2011
at 02:01
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Engine Room)

Cole took the offered seat with a nod.  He tried to look at the papers Frank had out but the schematics meant nothing to the soldier.  He knew nothing of engines, life support systems, or flight mechanics.  However, ask how to field strip a revolver or sight in a long rifle and Cole was the man to go to.  He looked up again as Frank asked for information.

"Nothing new, no," he said.  "Something's happening, though.  We're packing up.  Captain is making ready to break atmo.  We're heading for Verbena.  Find it fishy as I thought we'd be here for a few days.  We ain't even had time to look for work."

Cole looked as if he had finished talking.  There was something on his mind and he was trying to figure the best way to bring it up with the mechanic.
Frank Shelby
 player, 92 posts
Wed 1 Jun 2011
at 02:51
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Engine room)

Frank didn't pause in his eating, but merely nodded at Cole's comments.  "Yeah, Burne already told me.  But one of the advantages of having me is that you can count on the engines being ready to go at a moment's notice."  Another bite, and Frank stopped, fork midway to his mouth.  He looked at Cole and put down the fork in the plate.  "You know, now that you mention it, it does sound a little strange that we'd be leaving so soon.  I mean, they went through all the trouble to arrange everything ahead of time, and it seemed that the Corone folks were treating us really well.  I know there was that little bit of excitement last night, but I can't believe it would be enough to make the Dragon Lady decide to leave. Hmmm."  He went back to his French toast, finishing off the last few bites.
Lydia Li
 player, 192 posts
Wed 1 Jun 2011
at 13:04
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Lydia sighed and shook her head. "Prolly not. I didn't see or hear anything if thats what ya mean." She sighed and pushed her food, untouched, away from her. "I might jus' be jumpin at shadows. Ignore what I said."
Cole Jackson
 player, 183 posts
Wed 1 Jun 2011
at 23:21
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Engine Room)

"Either they hit a major payday last night or they realized this place was not going to bring anything in," Cole said.  "Course I thought they'd been contracted for the haul.  Guess I didn't get it right.  Just wish we'd had time to go into town.  I was hoping to find out what happened to the fella last night.  Guess we'll never know."

Cole sat quietly again for a few moments.  He kept glancing up as Frank as he did.  He took a deep breath and focused on Frank fully.

"Look, I ain't good at this, but I wanted to say I was sorry for what happened that first morning."  Cole looked like was slightly uncomfortable in saying it.  He kept going anyway.  "I tend to get worked up sometimes and don't always think about what I say.  I'm sure it comes from years of taking orders that I didn't always agree with.  I think I heard Lily say something about 'repressed anger' one time.  Anyhow, we're part of the same crew.  We gotta work together and fighting or avoiding one another ain't the right way to go about it."

Cole looked back down, obviously having said what he had meant to say.
Frank Shelby
 player, 93 posts
Thu 2 Jun 2011
at 00:07
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Engine Room)

Frank fidgeted uncomfortably on his chair, not looking at Cole as the man said his piece, but instead just randomly moved his fork around the plate.  When the man was done, Frank looked up at him and smiled.  "Water under the bridge.  I'm sorry as well for anything I might have said that got your goat.  Like you say, we're on the same crew now.  So...no hard feelings."  He shifted the plate to his left hand and stood, offering his right hand to Cole as he handed the plate to him.  "Drop this off in the galley for me?"
Makani Ano
 player, 179 posts
Thu 2 Jun 2011
at 11:49
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Makani sat down next to Lydia and placed a hand on the younger woman's knee.

"Lei Hulu," she said softly.  "I will never ingnore what you say.  Something is wrong here.  I know it... you feel it.  Hi'iaka put us here for a reason and we must be open to cany clues as to why.  Trust your insticts... I do."
Jin Chu
 player, 182 posts
Thu 2 Jun 2011
at 21:35
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Jin's Cabin)

"It's always a good place to start.  Even with the most basic codes you can have a beast of a time cracking them if you don't have all the information.  If nothing else, picking out all these areas might give us some perameters to work with.  The timings between them, possibly the locations as well - they might be significant or they might not but winnowing through information for the good stuff is far better than trying to solve a case with only half the facts."

Jin leaned over Burne's shoulder, tapping keys to cut out the section the pilot had indicated and label it.  Cypher 1.  "Trying to pick out all of these will be the first job though.  You have a better idea of what you're looking for than I do, you up for staying a while?"  She grinned.  "And by a while, I'll try not to mean all night.  Captain won't be too impressed if I leave you running on fumes and you have to pilot the Duck."

She pressed a button that started her terminal playing the static messages frame by frame.  "I suppose one thing to try will be overlaying the areas, see if they throw anything up when they're all together.  It'll sure keep me out of trouble between here and Verbena."
Burne Catweazle
 player, 258 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Fri 3 Jun 2011
at 01:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Jin's Cabin)

"I can stay until pre-flight.  Then I'll have to work with Frank and get our Ugly Duck airborne.  After we're unroot and clear of the markers, I can set our course and let the auto-pilot alert me if I'm needed.  It really depends on if the storm clears up early.   Let's plan on spending the next couple hours looking for them.   It used to pass the time when I was floating in deep space, to review the static after the message came in."

"Since these messages are so short, we can go over each of them a few times."

With Jin's help, Burne sat down with her coffee and began to identify the clusters as she saw each.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:41, Fri 03 June 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 375 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Tue 7 Jun 2011
at 14:30
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
The static storm subsided after nearly four hours, and the Whittier planetary flight operations center approved the departure of "The Ugly Duck".  There was a final plea from the Corone district office in Crystal Wells to reconsider their departure, even threatening the ship with an involuntary Land Lock for breach of contract.  But the ship launched without incident, and Burne provided another superb take-off.  The ship's autopilot was soon engaged, allowing the pilot to join Jin in their continued efforts to crack the coded messages.

The trip was uneventful, lasting the better part of 2 days, and arriving in orbit over Zafiro City on the morning of the third day.  From space, the planet appeared to be nothing like Whittier.  Where Whittier was largely brown and barren, Verbena is just the opposite.  Verbena is a lush world of thick forests and jungles, a border world with few centers of population.  The few towns are sprawling, ramshackle affairs with little to show in the way of architectural advances.  The planet was a center of resistance during the war, with bombings of the few industries serving to send the world into an economic depression.  At the time, Verbena had little else to offer, and Alliance presence and influence drastically waned as assets were shifted to more important and economically attractive worlds.  There was also an exodus of the general population, with settlers being left with nothing to keep them on Verbena.

Just a few years ago, however, Verbena began a massive agricultural program that has thrived in the Kalidasa System, a system with many barren planets and moons.  Huge tracts of land have been cleared and developed, and one corporation has emerged dominant, gobbling up the independent holdings and "discouraging" smaller companies from trying to establish footholds.  The Biederman Agricultural Combine, one of the few farm businesses to remain on the planet after the war, was somehow able to suddenly turn huge profits in just two years, and thousands of acres are now under cultivation, providing much needed foodstuffs to the rest of the system.

Interestingly enough, little is known about the company, and even less about how they achieved their phenomenal success.  Based in Zafiro City, they have managed to maintain a veil of secrecy that has raised many questions and few answers.  And this is likely to remain unchanged...the presence of the Alliance governmental entities, having largely departed during the war, never returned, and Verbena is an open world under minimal Alliance control.  The Biederman Combine provides most of the organization and control on the planet.


This message was last edited by the GM at 03:34, Wed 08 June 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 377 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Fri 10 Jun 2011
at 04:57
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
"Alliance registered mid-bulk transport Ugly Duck, this is Verbena Flight Control...permission is granted to land.  Please proceed at approach vector 328 to release point Alpha.  From that point, you may land at the spaceport or in the clear-cut fields to the south of the city.  Fuel and maintenance facilities are available at the spaceport.  Contact Zafiro City spaceport ground operations to arrange support.  Overflight of any cultivated fields at altitudes below 1000 feet is prohibited in any craft larger than a standard shuttle.

Welcome to Verbena, Ugly Duck."


The voice of the flight controller came over the radio loud and clear...so much so that the personnel gathered in the ship's cockpit could almost hear laughter in the background at the mention of the ship's name.  Madame Tang looked at Stacey and said, "Captain, you may land at the spaceport if you wish for refueling or for administrative purposes, but I'd think somewhere in that field that was mentioned would suit our purposes better.  Once I have a chance to contact prospective clients, I'll be better able to decide exactly where the best location might be."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 260 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 10 Jun 2011
at 10:42
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

Stacey leant against the bulkhead at the rear of the cockpit. Beside him stood the diminutive figure of Tang and the pair listened to Verbena's welcome. It was nice to be on a world less dominated by corporate dictatorship.
"Burne, set her down at the space port for now. Tell them we may have in atmosphere flights to do but that we'll go through the standard channels for clearance.". The pilot made flying look easy and Stacey had become used to her eccentric mannerisms behind the stick.

He turned to Tang. "If we set down for a day or so at the space port we can get the ship prepped while you liaise with your contacts. If your clients then prefer a more rural setting, we'll move accordingly. Because of our departure ahead of schedule before most of the crew didn't get chance to visit town or look for work. A few days of urban sprawl will be welcome.".
Jin Chu
 player, 183 posts
Fri 10 Jun 2011
at 12:28
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Via Intercom to Cockpit)

"Captain, sorry for the distraction on my part.  You want me to do some checking of the local freqs and see if I can find anyone looking for what we can offer?"  Jin's voice drifted from the intercom in the cockpit.  She had chosen to stay put during the landing, knowing that the small space was going to be crowded enough as it was.  Besides, there wasn't a lot she could do up there.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 261 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 10 Jun 2011
at 13:50
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

"Yes, see what the locals are chattering about if you will Ms Chu. Our passengers are our first priority but we'll not say no to a little extra business you can find us something suitable.".
Outside the main window gaps in the grey cloud appeared exposing the land below. The Duck sailed over the planet surface, seemingly oblivious of her clumsy angular shape, her engines humming to defy the laws of gravity. A low rumble shuddered through her bowels as a swathe of turbulence buffeted the ship, but with a glint in her eye Burne calmly sailed them through.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 260 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Fri 10 Jun 2011
at 16:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

Burne worked the controls of the ship following her chosen captains directions, and listening to what everyone in the cockpit was talking about.  It seemed that it was to be the spaceport first.  She caught the captain lurch a bit at the turbulence, as he grabbed the back of her chair for support.   The planet had some lovely winds to ride, and the shudder of the turbulence was little more than a pleasant roller-coaster that called with yearning to her inner child.

This message was last edited by the player at 16:49, Fri 10 June 2011.

Jin Chu
 player, 184 posts
Fri 10 Jun 2011
at 16:50
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Jin's cabin)

Dragging her mind away from those intriguing little blobs of static, Jin set her terminal to scanning for local, public wave frequencies.  She thought about tagging her signal with something that would suggest the body on the other end was looking for paid work but there would be time for that later.  Advertising could be useful but it also meant you could get innundated with a lot of luh suh.



luh suh = garbage
Cole Jackson
 player, 185 posts
Sat 11 Jun 2011
at 00:04
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Cole weathered Burne's landing from the "safety" of the galley.  His first impression had left him sour to the pilot's flying style.  Now, after two landings and a take-off, Cole was beginning to appreciate her abilities.  Even something as unwieldy as the Duck was handled smoothly.  So Cole rested in one of the chairs, feet up on the table, enjoying a cup of coffee.  He had not been sure of how long the coffee had been around, and judging by the taste it had been a while, but he soldiered through it.

As the Duck settled, Cole smiled.  He was looking forward to a few hours in town.  He was still a little riled about their previous port of call.  He hoped that Verbana would provide some more distractions for himself and the crew.

"Maybe Stacey'll let me take a few folks in town," he mumbled to himself.  "Sure the ladies wouldn't mind some shopping."

Cole smiled again and watched the hallway toward the cockpit, waiting for Stacey to reappear with orders.
Shan Yu
 GM, 378 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sat 11 Jun 2011
at 14:22
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

Madame Tang appeared quite pleased with the skill shown yet again by the pilot, and she demonstrated her satisfaction with an uncharacteristicallly generous decision as the ship landed at the spaceport.  "Captain, when we touch down, I would like to once again borrow your hover vehicle.  Once again, Dem can drive it, and I'll need to make contact with a few people I know here to see what kind of contract we can negotiate.  While we are doing that, please see to the refueling and such administrative requirements as may be necessary.  I think today would be a good day to give both your people and mine a little "shore leave", as the Navy calls it.  I don't foresee us needing to do anything until at least tomorrow, so everyone can spend the day as they wish.  From what I saw out the window, the town is quite close, and is easily within walking distance, and I believe I saw some public conveyances as well.  One of my people will stay aboard, just in case there's any need for someone to represent me while everyone is gone."  She bowed to Stacey, then another to Burne.  "Excellent job, Burne.  Captain, Burne...if you will excuse me."  She took her leave, disappearing down the passageway.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:25, Sat 11 June 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 379 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sat 11 Jun 2011
at 14:39
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Demonstrating her usual extraordinary piloting skills, Burne brought The Ugly Duck down to a near-perfect landing at the spaceport, close to the terminal and exit to the city.  The view of the surrounding area as they made their final approach revealed that the port was located at the southeastern boundary of the town, with the uncultivated clear-cut fields adjacent to it to the west.  All that could be seen to the north, east and west of the town were forests and cleared areas that were now fertile fields.

The town appeared to be typical for a border planet.  Zafiro City was the largest "city" on the planet, and the majority of interspace commerce passed through there.  There were few buildings larger than 3 stories in height, and it was obviously a constant battle to fight against the encroachment of the jungle upon the urban areas.

The spaceport itself was divided into sectors, depending on the type of spacecraft.  Two thirds of the port was devoted to large bulk transports and freighters that transported the agricultural goods that were the economic mainstay of the planet.  The remaining portion was reserved for passenger craft and transport ships not engaged in agricultural commerce.  The port was a large one for a town the size of Zafiro City, and there appeared to be a fairly constant flow of traffic in and out.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 261 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Sun 12 Jun 2011
at 00:54
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

Burne's hands never strayed from the loose controls and myriad interface pieces that had not yet been finished.  She had been spending so much time with Jin that her baby Ducks upgraded pilot interface had not yet been finished, but it was quite a bit more comfortable with the modifications she had achieved so far.

Outside the flash of the port light counted down and showed she was aligned properly.  She flipped the switch that would balance the ship if the dock was uneven.   Once the ship was secured she thanked Madame Tang as formally and graciously as she knew how.

"Captain, if there's nothing further I needed to chat with Frank."
Frank Shelby
 player, 93 posts
Sun 12 Jun 2011
at 01:17
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Engine Room)

Frank had arrived in the engine room over an hour before their orbital approach.  He was always there during take-offs and landings...if something was going to go wrong, those were the most likely times for it to happen.  What's worse, if something went wrong, there was very little time to do something about it before it was too late.

Today, things went quite well.  There were the usual groans and creaks, but that was normal when Burne was flying.  She tended to treat every ship like a fighter...her turns were a little tighter, her speed adjustments were more abrupt, and her altitude changes were steeper than the larger ships were usually made for.  Mind you, her flying didn't put the ship in danger or anything like that, but over time, the additional stresses that the ship is put through by a pilot like her would eventually cause breakdowns and structural fatigue.  It wasn't a problem today, and probably wouldn't be a problem tomorrow.  On a ship as old as The Ugly Duck, though, there was no telling what the ship had been through during all those years.  It was just a matter of time until she felt her age.

(Posted by GM)

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:17, Sun 12 June 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 262 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sun 12 Jun 2011
at 21:10
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

Stacey offered a cuteous bow to the departing Tang before turning to watch Burne guide the Duck low over the skies into the spaceport berth. She settled with a dull echoing thud and the Captain tapped Burne's shoulder appreciativly.
"Nice landing pilot. I'm going to take a team planet side. Ask Frank if he needs anything from town, then I'd like you to come and join us dirtside. I'm sure our resident engineer will take care of the Duck.".
He straightened and reached for the intercomm.
"Attention all crew. We've made our berth at at Zafiro City. Permission for planet side leave is granted for the next 24 hours. Anyone ready to take a look around meet me dirt side in 15 minutes.".

Eager to feel the ground beneath his feet Stacey moved through the ship to the Galley where Cole waited. Scout dozed lazily in one corner and looked up as his master entered.
"Fancy a trip into town Mr Jackson? Why dont we go and see what this place is made of.".
Cole Jackson
 player, 186 posts
Sun 12 Jun 2011
at 22:31
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
"Thought you'd never ask, Cap'n," Cole said, dropping his feet off the table.  "Truth be told, I'd like to get away from the ladies downstairs.  Clear my head a bit if you know what I mean.  Gonna grab a few things and meet you on the ground."

Cole went to his cabin and shut the door.  He pulled his trunk out from under his bunk and opened it.  Reaching in, he pulled some out some script.  He also pulled some coins, in case Alliance script was no good here.  Luckily, he still had some but realized he would need some more soon.  He closed the trunk and pushed it back under his bunk.

Cole then checked the load on his pistol as well as the loaders he carried.  He adjusted his knife to be more comfortable and then nodded.  Feeling ready, he left his cabin, locked the door, and made his way to the port airlock to meet the rest of the crew.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 263 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 15 Jun 2011
at 11:06
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
With Cole moving to fetch his gear, Stacey knelt to scratch Scout's furry neck fondly. The animal let out a deep rumble of satisfaction before the Captain stood and moved through the rear of the ship. The air was warm as he ducked into engineering, the Duck's engines offering a low hum of welcome as they cooled from the recent flight. "We're heading out and about Frank. Give me a call on the comm set if you need anything.".
After a short discussion the Captain took his leave and moved down through the ship. Tapping the opening code into the security console, the airlock eased open to whisper a gentle breeze into the Duck. Stacey strode out onto the landing strip and survey'd his surroundings, waiting for the others to join him.
Frank Shelby
 player, 94 posts
Wed 15 Jun 2011
at 12:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Engine room)

Frank was skimming through a technical manual when Stacey entered, trying to track down what might be causing a .5% drop in the inertial dampener coil pressure.  He looked up and grabbed a rag to wipe his hands as the Captain outlined their plans for the day.  "No problem, Captain.  I got some things here that I need to check out, so if everyone else decides to go dirtside, I'll be here.  I'll give you a wave if anything pops up."
Burne Catweazle
 player, 262 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Wed 15 Jun 2011
at 14:09
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Quarters & Cockpit)

Burne finished up what she needed, gave a change, picked out her large black glasses, white top, swords, knife, and left her sidearm behind.  She brushed the dust off the plastic that covered her uniform and said goodbye to Deirdre.  "I'll bring you back something nice girl."  After locking her quarters, she double checked the cockpit out of habit, and secured it's door with the crews access code.

(Engine Room)

Finding Frank alone she gave him a bit of the small chat they were accustomed to.  He mentioned the king, and she tapped it in her pocket.   "It seems like I'm the man for today.  We had a bit of an incident on the way in," she told him.   She exchanged some details about it before continuing, "It came off like turbulence, but it's that number three engine again, the same as when we were leaving through the storm.   No need to worry everyone, but I thought you should know.  My Ugly Duck has been through a lot worse, being built to dodge and weave incoming fire while bringing troops to heavy combat zones. I think sitting wasn't good for her, and I know your experienced hands can do things the civvies can't."

"I can take one of the ship's comm's we used previously, and then if you need something, you can keep in touch.  How does that sound?"

Frank Shelby
 player, 95 posts
Wed 15 Jun 2011
at 16:11
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Engine Room)

Frank had barely returned to his manual following Stacey's visit when Burne came in.  With a little chuckle, he said, "Damn.  Nobody steps foot in here for days, and now everybody just can't wait to see me."  As she detailed the potential maintenance tweaks that she notice, Frank just nodded, already thinking of how the things she noticed might be connected to the dampener coil pressure irregularities.  "Hmmm...I may need a part.  Since you've got a comm set, I'll give you a wave if need be.  The Captain said he's got a comm link as well, just for your info.  Now, go do some shopping for shoes, or whatever you girly-girls like to do when you have a few extra credits to spend.  I got important things to do."  He immediately turned away so Burne wouldn't see his grin, and appeared to be immersed in digging through a toolbox.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 264 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Wed 15 Jun 2011
at 23:09
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Engine Room)

Girly Girl...  Since she was dressed to go out on the town, she chose to see her friends dig as a compliment.   "I'll be sure to get my hair done too as long as you'll notice when I get back," she added with a taunt.

"Thanks for the burst," she told him, referring to the information on the captains comm.   Frank was the reason she was here, and a good friend besides.   She never forgot that.   "My quarters are a little cramped.  It seems like there's plenty of space in here," she said turning and heading to the door.  "It's good to know in case I need a place to hang my bra's or panties."

She ducked out of the low hatch, having witnessed him tear into a junior mechanic once who had done that exact thing on one of the jobs they shared.   Frank was a menace with a wrench in his hand.



(Dirtside)

Exiting her Duck, she caught the smell of old fuel, exhaust, and unprocessed air from the spaceport.  It was a healthy greeting for those who loved planetfall. There were a thousand sounds of civilization in the distance that didn't exist in the Black.   Burne wrinkled her nose.   She hadn't even set foot on soil yet, and already she was ready to lift off.   She rubbed her nose absently, and then moved to the Captain.

"The controls are secure, and I'm ready on you.  Is it just the three of us then Captain?"
Shan Yu
 GM, 381 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Thu 16 Jun 2011
at 14:19
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside the Duck)

The first thing that the crew outside the ship noticed was the heat and humidity.  Unlike Whittier, Verbena was almost tropical, being the second closest planet to the Kalidasa System's sun known as the "Black Tortoise".  Like most semi-tropical, heavily forested worlds, Verbena atmosphere was rich with the smells of vegetation, and at the edge of the spaceport, the vegetation that had been clear-cut for the clearing to the east lay in huge, decomposing piles.  The crew felt the humidity almost immediately, and skin quickly took on the sheen of perspiration.  The town was visible to the north, probably only a ten minute walk, and even at a distance, brightly lit signs could be seen on the rather dingy and ramshackle buildings.

No sooner had Burne posed her question than the hover bay platform began to descend with a loud **CLANG** as it disengaged from the ship and began to descend to the ground.  The hover mule rested on the platform, and was surrounded by the entire Tang entourage, except for Kelly Chan.  As the platform came to a rest on the ground, Dem started it up and slowly moved it away from the bay until it was in open ground.  As she climbed aboard the vehicle, Madame Tang called over to Stacey and his group, "Dem and I will probably be gone most of the day.  I have a comm link if you need to contact us.  Cat, Jenna and Ping have decided to do a little shopping and...sightseeing."   As she said the word "sightseeing", she cast a slow, obviously disapproving look around the area.  There wasn't much to see, other than jungle, so it was likely that the "shopping" part of the planned activities would dominate the social calendar for the day.  "Captain, I'll talk to you later today, when we've both returned."  With a nod to Dem, the hovermule pulled away, headed for the town.

Jenna and the other two girls walked over to the group.  The outgoing young woman cheerily said, "Y'all can come with us if you like.  We only plan to wander around and see what Zafiro City has to offer, and do some shoppin'.  If y'all got your own plans, though, we understand."  Ping smiled and nodded in agreement to Jenna's remarks, and Cat gave her usual slow, sensual perusal of the crew, a hint of a smirk on her lips.
Shan Yu
 GM, 382 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Thu 16 Jun 2011
at 14:19
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside the Duck)

The first thing that the crew outside the ship noticed was the heat and humidity.  Unlike Whittier, Verbena was almost tropical, being the second closest planet to the Kalidasa System's sun known as the "Black Tortoise".  Like most semi-tropical, heavily forested worlds, Verbena atmosphere was rich with the smells of vegetation, and at the edge of the spaceport, the vegetation that had been clear-cut for the clearing to the west lay in huge, decomposing piles.  The crew felt the humidity almost immediately, and skin quickly took on the sheen of perspiration.  The town was visible to the north, probably only a ten minute walk, and even at a distance, brightly lit signs could be seen on the rather dingy and ramshackle buildings.

No sooner had Burne posed her question than the hover bay platform began to descend with a loud **CLANG** as it disengaged from the ship and began to descend to the ground.  The hover mule rested on the platform, and was surrounded by the entire Tang entourage, except for Kelly Chan.  As the platform came to a rest on the ground, Dem started it up and slowly moved it away from the bay until it was in open ground.  As she climbed aboard the vehicle, Madame Tang called over to Stacey and his group, "Dem and I will probably be gone most of the day.  I have a comm link if you need to contact us.  Cat, Jenna and Ping have decided to do a little shopping and...sightseeing."   As she said the word "sightseeing", she cast a slow, obviously disapproving look around the area.  There wasn't much to see, other than jungle, so it was likely that the "shopping" part of the planned activities would dominate the social calendar for the day.  "Captain, I'll talk to you later today, when we've both returned."  With a nod to Dem, the hovermule pulled away, headed for the town.

Jenna and the other two girls walked over to the group.  The outgoing young woman cheerily said, "Y'all can come with us if you like.  We only plan to wander around and see what Zafiro City has to offer, and do some shoppin'.  If y'all got your own plans, though, we understand."  Ping smiled and nodded in agreement to Jenna's remarks, and Cat gave her usual slow, sensual perusal of the crew, a hint of a smirk on her lips.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:21, Thu 16 June 2011.

Cole Jackson
 player, 187 posts
Thu 16 Jun 2011
at 23:02
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole watched as Tang and Dem left.  He had reservations about them taking the mule, but it was their ship.  The crew was merely filling in.

As the three ladies approached, Cole found himself hoping that Makani and Lydia would be joining them.  He was not sure that the combination of the heat, frustration of lack of work, and the presence of Cat would bode well for the man.  Makani was always a welcome distraction and Lydia provided comic relief when Cole most needed it.  But there was still that morning...
Lydia Li
 player, 196 posts
Fri 17 Jun 2011
at 20:21
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Throughout the Duck)

Lydia got up early and went searching out for Mulan. It was the Read Admiral's breakfast time after all!

In her pursuit of something small and cuddly, she paused at the hatch leading outside. Seems some of the men are going to town. She chuckled softly, then ran back to their cabin.

"Makani, wanna go into town? New world n' all, an' prolly not gonna get shot at! Prolly..."
Jin Chu
 player, 185 posts
Fri 17 Jun 2011
at 20:41
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Jin wasn't sure about going into town, she had nothing in particular to buy and was still a little uncomfortable after the incident on Whittier.  In all she decided that it was best that someone stay on board the Duck and besides, she could keep at the strange static she and Burne had been working on.  Just when she felt that she was getting somewhere with it, something came up to prove her current theory incorrect.  Still, there were only so many times something could be wrong before she hit on the right combination.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 265 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sat 18 Jun 2011
at 09:13
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside the Duck)

Stacey was enjoying the fresh air outside the duck, sharing a few light hearted words with Burne and Cole when Jenna and the girls arrived.
Despite himself the Captain couldn't help but notice their tantalising nuances; they were certainly attractive women. A little sheepishly he admonished himself, reminding himself they were business relations no more.
So with a nod he responded. "We've no exact plans to speak of; a walk into town and a good look around being the order of business today really. We might pick up a few things for the Duck and see if we can't find a little extra work for credits, but there's no reason for you not to join us.". He smiled. "We'll gladly walk with you.".
The Captain paused, glancing up toward the Duck to see if any of the rest of the crew were to join them on their trip out. Making a desiion he hit the intercomm by the airlock door. "This is Stacey. We're heading into town along the main road east of the Duck. We'll walk slowly, so anyone else looking to join us should be able to catch up easily.".
Satisifed he turned and gestured for the group to start their stroll. Stacey himself fell in beside Jenna and began light conversation.
"So, any of you girls been to Verbena before?".

This message was last edited by the player at 09:18, Sat 18 June 2011.

Makani Ano
 player, 180 posts
Mon 20 Jun 2011
at 10:48
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Storage area, throughout the ship)

With the ship coming in for a landing, Makani knew that they might very well get some cargo this time and she would lose the area as a practice room, so she took her time warming up and then simply let the dance take her where it willed.  When she finished she cleaned the comparment thoroughly making sure it would be ready for anything.

Also, with a new planet on the rise she was half tempted to leave a sign on the door to the galley saying 'closed.'  She did however, make coffee knowing that if she didn't the mechanic would make something almost but not enitrly like coffee that would take several washings and at least three pots of hot water to clear out of the pot.

When Lydia found her Makani smiled and thought about going into town.  It was not without its risks but as her cover story said, there were always new people with stories to tell.  Then again, as Lydia had pointed out, there always was the possibility of people shooting at them.

"I'll need to get my things," she answered with a chuckle.  In their quarters she changed into a pair of jeans, a tank top and slipped a shirt on over it, leaving it open and untucked.

She gave herself a once over in the mirror and headed out to join Lydia.

"So my dear Lilly, what do you want to do first?"
Shan Yu
 GM, 384 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 22 Jun 2011
at 04:06
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(On way to town)

Jenna was walking arm in arm with Ping, giggling about some private joke when Stacey asked her about her prior experience on Verbena.  "Nope.  I ain't never had no cause to come here."  She looked at Ping.  "How 'bout you?  I don't think you never said nothin' 'bout bein' here before, neither."  She didn't wait for a response from her friend before adding to her earlier response.  "Neither of us have ever been here, and from what I've seen, we didn't miss much.  Now, Cat's been around a bit more than us, so she might have been here before.  She don't talk much about that stuff, though.  She's usually more interested in inflictin' pain upon her admirers."   Uncharacteristically for Jenna, she actually sounded a bit hostile toward someone else...in this case her co-worker, Cat.

They reached the entrance to the spaceport, and immediately the streets were a little more crowded...nothing like on Beaumonde, but for Zafiro City, this was probably rush hour.  Jenna stopped and gave the Captain a wave.  "We're headin' over this way...see what we can spend our money on.  We'll be seein' you back on the ship."  She and Ping peeled off toward several shops, followed by Cat who had been bringing up the rear by herself.  She seemed totally uninterested in anything that any of the others were doing, making no effort to be sociable.  She slowly meandered along the street, stopping now and then to look at a shop's wares.  She came adjacent to a section of blank wall that was being used as a bulletin board and absently glanced over at it, then came to a sudden stop.  She quickly looked over at Jenna and Ping, who were engrossed in looking at clothes at a small shop, then looked at Yanoro's group, who were talking amongst themselves as they walked in an opposite direction.  She then reached up and pulled down a piece of paper from the wall, tearing it in the process.  She quickly folded the paper and put it in her pocket, looking once again at the others to see if they had noticed.  Then, with a smile, she moved off again to join Jenna and Ping.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:16, Wed 22 June 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 385 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 22 Jun 2011
at 12:27
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole just can't keep his eyes off Cat, until the two groups separated.  Stacey, Burne and Cole slowly moved away down the street when Cole heared a sound that seems a little out of place...the sound of paper tearing.  Quickly looking in the direction of the sound, he saw Cat standing next to a wall, quickly folding a piece of paper and stuffing it in her pocket.  He immediately looked away, and his attention was not noticed by Cat.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:14, Wed 22 June 2011.

Lydia Li
 player, 197 posts
Wed 22 Jun 2011
at 14:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Lydia perked up and quickly grabbed Makani. "Lets get then before we're left behind!" She laughed, happily. "Ooo, lets go shopping! I haven't had a good change what to shop inna while! Too many miner places and not-so-good establishments ain so good on a young girl like myself."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 266 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 22 Jun 2011
at 17:22
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey smiled at Jenna's wave, gesturing for them to go ahead. "You ladies have fun, far be it for me to get in the way of a girl and her shopping.".
Oblivious to Cats actions he turned away, distracted by the traffic and row of shops ahead. "What do you think Burne? You're our pilot, which way to a decent meal?". He asked the question good naturedly, scanning the scene for an inviting establishment. Some food and a chance to get some locals lay of the land would do him nicely.
Cole Jackson
 player, 189 posts
Wed 22 Jun 2011
at 22:56
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole held his position for a moment, trying to figure out a way to get a look at whatever Cat had done.  She had ripped paper from somewhere.  Maybe it was a posting board.

"Hold on a second, Cap'n," Cole said.  "I think I saw a board back this way.  Might be something we could use."

Cole turned in the direction he had seen Cat.  Sure enough, it was a bulletin board.  Cole approached, hoping to see some sign of whatever Cat had been doing.  Based on the ripping sound, he looked for a torn sheet or a pin with nothing attached.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 265 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Thu 23 Jun 2011
at 01:39
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Dirtside)

Burne looked at him, her mind drawn back from the low sound of the hovering silver race sled nearby.  "Hmmm?  Rats," short for rations, "are fine by me.   As long as it's not purifier fungus."

"Perhaps we could-"  She stopped as Cole started speaking telling the captain, and therefore everyone to hold up.  She watched to see what had caught Cole's attention.
Shan Yu
 GM, 386 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Thu 23 Jun 2011
at 14:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole examines the bulletin board, but finds nothing that could definitively be the source of the tearing sound.  There are countless layers of pasted posters and handbills, most of which are torn as feeble attempts were made to remove them before pasting new ones over them.  There were also numerous pins, nails and staples with nothing or scraps of paper attached to them.  One had the words "For a g..." and two numbers, "47..".  Another had "Mi...", "Ly...", part of a photographic image, and the numbers "22...".  Yet another had "Emplo..." and a photographic image of a building.  There were also several intact documents posted, including ads for items for sale and ads requesting employment, usually as common laborers.  The ground is also littered with scraps and crumpled pages.
Makani Ano
 player, 181 posts
Fri 24 Jun 2011
at 01:47
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Ugly Duck - Road to town)

Mikani laughed at Lydia's joyful response.  "Far be it from me to stand in the way of your shopping..."

She led the way only to find the others had already headed out.  She hit the ship board comm.

"Burne... Frank... Just to let you know, Lilly and I are going to head into town."

That said she nodded towards town.  "Maybe we can catch up..."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 267 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 27 Jun 2011
at 15:45
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Dirtside)

With an intrigued shrug Stacey gestured for Burne to go ahead and follow Cole, the Captain himself a yard behind. Around them the local traffic streamed on by, uninterested in the trio as they came to a halt before the notice board.
"Find anything interesting Mr Jackson?". Lingering for Cole's response Stacey was only half paying attention. Instead he looked up and down the street and when a man in a well worn business suit started to walk past he halted him with a polite question.
"Sorry to disturb, but is there a trading floor about town? We're a ship fresh in with room for a little extra business. Can you point us in the right direction?".
Shan Yu
 GM, 387 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Mon 27 Jun 2011
at 21:03
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Zafiro City)

The man in the suit gave Stacey a quick up-and-down look, then did the same for Cole and Burne.  "I guess you might be looking for the guild offices.  All those commercial guilds...maritime, trader's, pilot's...have small offices in the same building."  He points to the west.  "Next street over...then about 3 blocks north.  It's a big brown building..."  He laughed as he said that.  "I guess just about every building here is a big brown building.  Anyway, if you can't find it, just keep asking."
Cole Jackson
 player, 190 posts
Mon 27 Jun 2011
at 21:16
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Dirtside)

Cole frowned as he looked over the board.  His paranoia was in over time in regards to the posting about a "Ly..." and "Mi...".  He stared hard, hoping that some clue would present itself.  When nothing jumped out, he turned back to the captain.

"Nothing here, Cap'n," he said aloud.  "Thought maybe the board would have something we could use.  Just labor type work."  I got some more later, Cole thought to himself.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 268 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 27 Jun 2011
at 21:49
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey smiled greatfully to the passer by and bowed his head slightly. "Xie xie xiānsheng. To be fair as we flew in there seemed more green than anything. A welcome sight indeed.". Yanoro moved aside to let the man move on his way. Most folk liked to hear their home looked good.
Returning his attention to Cole the Captain took a final glance at the board and shrugged. "Always worth checking over though. C'mon, why dont we head toward those guild offices and see if we cant find some lunch on the way over.".

Waiting for Cole and Burne to join him Stacey strode off North.

Xie xie xiānsheng = thankyou sir
Burne Catweazle
 player, 266 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Mon 27 Jun 2011
at 23:37
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
There was little interest for Burne in checking out notice boards.  She never found good information on them.  Her best information was found when she spoke with people.  Maybe interrogated is a better word, she mused to herself.

Cole's idea to find work was a good one, and the Captain seemed focused on the idea.  That would help to make them all money.  That would be necessary sooner, rather than later.

Burne knew from past experience that small crews liked this did well staying together on unfamiliar worlds.  At least at the start.   Besides which, it avoided questions.   She stretched her back feeling the harnesses straps, and moved to follow the captain and cole.
Shan Yu
 GM, 388 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 29 Jun 2011
at 15:21
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Zafiro City)

The trio followed the directions given to them by the citizen they encountered, and within ten minutes they came upon a large brown building (as promised) with a red tile roof.  A placard on the wall next to the front double doors proclaimed the structure to be "Guild House".  Upon entry, they found themselves in a wide hallway with doors on each side.  Each door also had a placard mounted next them, each identifying the rooms by guild.  On the left were the Pilot's Guild, Trader's Guild, and Dockworker's Guild.  On the right was the Maritime Guild, the Farmer's Guild and the Factory Guild.  At the end of the hall was a door labeled Other Guilds.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 269 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 29 Jun 2011
at 15:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Zafiro City, Guilds)

Stacey walked at a relaxed pace, enjoying the freedom underfoot and gentle breeze that carried through the air. Zafiro was no gleaming modern city, but that suited the Captain. The men and women around him seemed decent working folk and as they walked to the Guild building he chatted amicably with Burne and Cole.
When the trio arrived Stacey nodded to the centre of the three doors on their left."Im going to see if there is much going on with the local traders. Maybe's there's some rich fellow looking for a ship like ours. You want to join us Burne, or are you going to see if you can find something interesting to do with that goblin of yours in the pilot's guild?".
Burne Catweazle
 player, 267 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Wed 29 Jun 2011
at 20:10
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Guild Hall)

Burne had enjoyed the sights, and what is more, she was finding that the Captains company was becoming more welcome.  If she had to be dirt-side, it might as well be with someone that didn't agitate her.   She found herself missing Frank.

"No, you told me to come, that puts me with you for the duration.   No need to wander yet sir."  The fact that she hadn't seen any promising signs to distract her and pull her towards one racing circuit or another helped to make her answer an easy and honest one.   There could be something right around the corner in the guild hall.  There could be danger too, and she wasn't willing to just abandon The Duck's captain so quickly.

This message was last edited by the player at 08:38, Thu 30 June 2011.

Makani Ano
 player, 182 posts
Thu 30 Jun 2011
at 00:41
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Ugly Duck)

Getting no response from anyone ship board she tried a direct line to the engine room.

"Frank?  Are you still here?"
Frank Shelby
 player, 96 posts
Thu 30 Jun 2011
at 02:15
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Engine room)

Frank was at his workbench when the second intercom call came from Makani.  He reached over and hit the transmit switch.  "Yo...I'm here.  Burne went with the Captain and Cole, though.  I thought everyone had left but me and one of Tang's girls.  Was there something in particular?"
Makani Ano
 player, 183 posts
Thu 30 Jun 2011
at 02:18
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Ugly Duck)

Makani smiled and laughed as she hit the button again.

"Nothing in particular... just wanted to make sure someone was still here and knew we were heading out... didn't want to accidentally abaondon the ship."

After a pause she continued.  "Is there anything you need or want while we're out?"
Shan Yu
 GM, 389 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Thu 30 Jun 2011
at 02:26
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Engine room)

Frank hit the transmit switch again.  "Naw, I'm good.  You folks be careful out there."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 270 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 30 Jun 2011
at 08:24
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Zafiro City, Guilds)

"Lets take a look inside then shall we?".
Stacey pushed open the door to the traders guild and entered with Cole and Burne. He scanned the area with interest.
Makani Ano
 player, 184 posts
Thu 30 Jun 2011
at 10:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Ugly Duck-> the Road to Zafiro)

"You too.  I'll lock the door behind us."

She headed down the ramp and waited for Lydia to join her before closing and locking the door.

Then she gestured towards to town.  "Shall we?."
Lydia Li
 player, 198 posts
Thu 30 Jun 2011
at 15:28
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(The Road to Wherever!)

Lydia giggled and nodded. "Aimin' to misbehavin', ma'am!"
Makani Ano
 player, 185 posts
Thu 30 Jun 2011
at 15:50
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(the Road to Zafiro and beyond)

Makani laughed and shook her head.  "Just don't misbehave too much Lei Hulu.  We don't want any trouble..."

She enjoyed the walk into town, the warm sun on her back felt good and for once she didn't have to worry about getting 'too tanned.'

When they reached the town proper she turned to her companion.  "what sort of shopping did you have in mind?"

She looked at the available shops and watched her friend's reaction.
Shan Yu
 GM, 392 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Tue 5 Jul 2011
at 12:39
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Zafiro City)

The day wore on, and it wasn't until mid afternoon that folks started arriving back at The Ugly Duck.  Stacey and his companions had been largely unsuccessful in obtaining additional work.  Most of the transport jobs were contracted out to shipping companies, and attempts to contact individuals who had posted smaller scale opportunities were unsuccessful.  Makani and Lydia made the purchases that they had planned, and returned to the ship to find several trucks standing by, filled with chairs and other decorations, similar to the rented items on Whittier.  Madame Tang and Dem had already returned, and had obviously arranged for another contract for their entertainment services.  Of Madame Tang's employees, Ping and Jenna arrived together, followed an hour later by Cat, who had broken off from the other two to conduct her own shopping.  Finally, Stacey, Burne and Cole arrived, to find Madame Tang waiting.  She notified them that she had arranged for another contract for that evening, consisting of Biederman management members.  However, the ship would need to be relocated the the cleared field outside of the spaceport.  The trucks containing the "patio" furniture were waiting to follow.

With the speed born of experience, Burne relocated the Duck, setting her down after the short trip to the empty field.  The trucks followed, and once the ship was comfortably settled, Dem had the workers quickly unloading and setting up the furniture.

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:03, Mon 11 July 2011.

Makani Ano
 player, 188 posts
Tue 5 Jul 2011
at 17:46
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(outside the duck

As Makani and Lydia approached the Duck, she noticed the activities.  "I should see if Madame Tang would like us to give the lounge area a once over... not like it needs it, but you can never be too clean I guess."

She headed over to the two and nodded a greeting to Madame Tang and Dem.  "Good afternoon, it seems you have everything under control, but I wanted to make sure you didn't need anything... Lilly and I can help with cleaning inside again, make sure everything is as it should be..."
Lydia Li
 player, 200 posts
Wed 6 Jul 2011
at 01:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Following Makani)

Lydia smiled a little and nodded. She never liked the set up. It was... well... whoring. Something she really didn't get along with. But the girls were nice enough (outside that skank Cat), so she eagerly nodded as Makani suggested helping, and meekly followed her friend.
Shan Yu
 GM, 394 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Fri 8 Jul 2011
at 13:09
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Patio area near The Duck)

Madame Tang bowed graciously at Makani's offer.  "Thank you very much, your offer is most generous.  I believe a few of my associates are already cleaning up a bit inside, so if you could lend them a hand, I would be gratefull."

When Makani and Lydia enter the lounge area, Cat and Kelly are both busy wiping down tables and chairs...Cat a bit less energetically than Kelly.  Both look up as the two young women enter, and both offer smiles and greetings to the two...even Cat seems almost pleasant.  She even paused in her pretending-to-work activities to comment.  "Welcome to our little cleaning party.  Are you here to jump in and help?  From what I hear, we have a good crowd tonight.  I assume you two will be present to do a little "research"?"  Whether it was intended or not, the way she said it sounded rather suggestive.
Makani Ano
 player, 189 posts
Fri 8 Jul 2011
at 22:05
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani smiled her greetings and set their purchases to the side, trading them for a dust cloth.  She tilted her head slightly and the shrugged.

" I'm always curious to see what people experienced during the war... the everyman side of things instead of a tactical aspect..."

She started with the tables, humming as she worked, remembering her days in the training house.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 273 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 11 Jul 2011
at 22:41
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Zafiro City, day)

Despite the lack of paid work the day spent dirtside had been a welcome sojourn. Stacey had enjoyed the chance to stretch his legs and more importantly to spend some time with their eccentric pilot. He'd confessed to Scout the day they met her that he wasnt quite sure how to take her. But with Luka (the surprisingly charismatic traveller) following his own winds they'd had little choice.
Now Stacey was pleased at the change in personnel fate had brought them. Burne was clearly an excellent pilot and despite her quicky nature an astute member of the crew.

Walking back toward the Duck that afternoon Cole and the Captain had brought Burne carefully up to speed with the 'runner' events of Verbena. Now on a new world Stacey was pleased it was back to business as usual; but he couldnt quite escape some nagging feeling that the episode with Corone security was more than it seemed.
He'd mused to the pair of them openly. "From a business point of view things went well on Verbena. But it was out first shot at dealing with Tang's line of work. Now we know better I think we can tighten up a little.".
The Captain went on. "We had no idea who that runner was last time. That means we didnt pay enough attention to our guests. Cole, I want you to count the number of guests we have tonight. Burne, Cole will radio up to you numbers as the night goes on.". He shrugged. "I dont mind how you mark 'em Cole, by hair colour, clothing, whatever. I'd just like to feel we've a closer eye on our guests.".
As the trio walked the conversation had continued, but soon enough the angular form of the Duck loomed over them and they'd entered her to find Tang's arrangements ready to distract them.

(Ugly Duck, early evening)

It was several hours later when Stacey was done with over seeing the pre evening preperations. Sure enough Dem seemed to have things under control and Tang's hawk like stare roved the scene demanding perfection. He'd heard the girls chatting from the lounge and satisifed everything was going well enough, he took up position at a table to the edge of the patio.
The evening breeze sailed gently through the grass as Stacey leant back to watch Scout roam.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 270 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Tue 12 Jul 2011
at 02:03
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

Burne stroked the tarantula crawling on the back of her left hand.  It moved slowly up, enjoying the affection and the quiet time they were sharing.  She had filled her little friend in on most of what she had learned when she was talking to Frank.  It had been good to get his take on the situation as well.  Now, relaxing in the cockpit, she was alternating between talking to the spider and tinkering with the wiring harnesses.  Too often, Deirdre interrupted while she was inside one console or another, and so her focus changed often.  The time underneath and inside the many controls had gone well, and soon it would be time to start buttoning things up for good.  It had been a non-stop process, but it was worth it to Burne.

"It seems like you and the folks we are hieing about are the only ones going to get much in the way of sleep.  The rest of us are pulling day duty, and night duties."  Burne covered the yawn that escaped.  It was a lot of sun today, causing some extra sleepyness.

She checked the clock and new she still had time for a nap before tonight.   It would be better to be as fresh as one could get for tonights show.
Shan Yu
 GM, 397 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 13 Jul 2011
at 02:31
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside the Duck)

The sun had barely set when the first of the customers began arriving.  Like the clientele on Whittier, these customers were members of the management of the  Biederman Agricultural Combine, by far the major industry on the planet.  Also like Whittier, these customers were fairly conservative, law-abiding types.  But unlike their previous port of call, here the customers arrived in ones and twos, some landing shuttles at the edge of the spaceport tarmac and walking the rest of the way, and some arriving in ground transports.  There was no special security provided here, other than an occasional personal bodyguard and two rather bored looking local police officers who had obviously drawn the job of securitiy detail for the evening.

Madam Tang and her ladies greeted the arrivals with their usual pleasantries, guiding them to the bar and making them feel at home.  It wasn't until the first ten or so customers had arrived that the first of them were escorted to the rooms.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:31, Wed 13 July 2011.

Makani Ano
 player, 190 posts
Thu 14 Jul 2011
at 12:03
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(In and around the Duck)

Makani kept the conversation light, talking about the town and the shopping as they helped get the lounge ready for the night's activities. Part of her wondered if anyone would even notice the difference tonight, knowing full well, the real cleaning would come the next day.

Once the area was cleared she said her good-byes, picked up her share of their purchases and led Lydia back to their quarters.

It was hard to tell if Cat was just 'begin Cat' or if she had something up her sleves, but the last thing she wanted was for Lydia to have more reason to dislike the woman, or for the woman to focus on her chrage.

They rested while they could and helped out as needed, and once the customers started arriving Makani checked in with the captain.

"Captain, would you like me to keep an eye on things here? She asked.  "I could work on my research project, unless you need eyes elsewhere."
Cole Jackson
 player, 193 posts
Thu 14 Jul 2011
at 22:33
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside the duck)

Cole moved around the outdoor lounge as customers began arriving.  He tried to look as if he belonged there, being friendly with everyone that arrived or carrying a drink around.  Every few minutes, he would radio up to Burne, "Two more black, a blonde, and a clean."  By using the hair, Cole had to figure a way to refer to those who were bald.  Knowing that he was likely to go that way some day, he wanted to avoid 'bald' or 'shiny top'.  So a clean cut but was the best he could come up with.

After a few minutes of this, Cole realized that he probably looked predatory.  He found a seat at the outside of the area.  He tried to look like he was a customer just waiting for his chance at one of the ladies.  Of course, he found himself thinking of how long it had been...

This message was last edited by the player at 22:34, Thu 14 July 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 274 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 15 Jul 2011
at 16:29
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey looked up as Makani approached and smiled gently, glad to see her familiar face.
"I've not seen you around much today Ms Ano; I hear you and Lily have been busy helping organise things for our guests?".

When she asked about duties for the evening he nodded. "I think tonight would be an ideal opportunity for you to continue your research. Cole is running security but Im sure he'll be glad of your presence down here too.". He paused. "I've no objection to Lily joining you too, but I'd also like her to ensure any crew on the ship are catered for.". The Captain wanted to give the most discreet member of their crew an excuse to continually move through the lounge and past the bedrooms. "Will you ask the girl to regularly check in with Frank and Burne and make sure no one wanders lost onto the ship by accident?". Stacey knew the door through to the main ship would be locked, but it would do no harm for Lily to move around freely.

Seeing a pair of early visitors move toward a departing taxi he glanced down to the note book he'd been scribbling in. The page held a scattering of musings on Verbena, a half finished 'to do' list, and a series of small marks in one corner. Absently his pencil scratched through a pair of lines as the taxi pulled away.
Makani Ano
 player, 191 posts
Sat 16 Jul 2011
at 20:51
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Ugly Duck)
Makani smiled and gave a short nod, at least... she tried to.  It still held much of the grace and gentleness of her usual half nod/half bow before heading towards the room she shared with Lydia.

She looked around as she gathered up some folers and a notebook for taking notes if any where to be had.

She dressed appropritatedly, working to look more like a student than a deck hand or, god forbid the way she normally looked.  It was getting easier and easier to believe she was what she presented to her crewmates.

Once properly dessed she went looking for Mulan, knowing wherever the cat was her 'niece' was bound to be near-by.
Shan Yu
 GM, 398 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Mon 18 Jul 2011
at 05:13
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
As the evening wore on, the same patterns emerged as had occurred on Whittier.  Customers spent about thirty minutes in the rooms, and upon their reappearance, were ushered to the bar where they were provided a free drink by Dem or whoever was behind the bar.  The happy, satisfied customers spent ten or fifteen minutes at the bar, each apparently lost in thought as they relived the pleasures they had just experienced.  After a while, new customers replaced those at the bar, and the patio area now took the overflow.  As on Whittier, there seemed to be no trouble, and even the party atmosphere and copious quantities of alcohol failed to generate the usually inevitable rowdy troublemaker.  The only occurrence that was at all different or remarkable was the appearance of three well dressed men who sought out Madame Tang as the evening was coming to a close.  The four of them adjourned to her cabin, re-emerging about ten minutes later.  She escorted them off the ship where she deferentially bade them farewell, waiting until they had boarded their shuttle and lifted off before she returned to the ship, a decided spring in her step.  Once in the lounge, she made eye contact with Dem, who raised his eyebrows in a silent query.  She smiled and gave an almost imperceptible nod, then went to each of her employees and whispered to them.  The girls tactfully escorted their customers out, claiming that it was late and they needed to close.  It took about fifteen minutes, but by midnight, the last of the customers had departed.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 271 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Mon 18 Jul 2011
at 10:23
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

Burne watched the external sensors, most specifically the rear cameras.  Watching the last customer leave, Burne stretched like a cat in the pilot's chair, feeling each muscle pull taught and then relax as she did so.  Deirdre scurried from Burne's arm onto the console, and made for her little cage.

"Looks like it's going to be an early night after all girl."

She contacted Cole to verify the numbers he wanted.
Shan Yu
 GM, 399 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Mon 18 Jul 2011
at 13:20
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
As the girls were ushering out the last of the customers, Madame Tang went to her cabin and shut the door.  In the lounge, clean-up efforts began.  In the cockpit, the comm panel light began to blink, indicating an outgoing wave.  The message was identical to the ones that were currently under decryption by Jin.  The message was short...a mere 4 seconds...and sounded like static, both characteristics of a coded burst transmission.  Less than a minute later, an incoming transmission was received, coded and condensed identically to the one just transmitted.  The comm panel was set to automatically record such traffic, so both messages were recorded.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 272 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Mon 18 Jul 2011
at 14:31
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

Burne filed the two messages away, a copy for her, and a second copy going into the folder for Jin to review.  Burne would find the young woman, try to point out the areas that stood out to her AP eyes, and do what she could.

If the passengers wanted to send encrypted things, that was their business, as far as Burne was concerned.  The fact that the signal had the same markings as High Alliance held a separate concern to Burne.  It probably isn't what you think, she reminded herself.  But her training took precedence, and it had to be explored.   Burne deleted the two messages from the main directory, leaving only the copies.
Maybe the new data would help Jin to find out what was going on.  Then with a bit more consideration she deleted the copies from Jin's folder, choosing to share them when the two girls could get together.
Lydia Li
 player, 201 posts
Mon 18 Jul 2011
at 18:08
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Lydia kept with Makani the entire time, her alert eyes out and about. Thus she was one of the first able to notice the three men with Madam Tang, then the victorious walk later. She glanced at Makani as the people started piling out and leaned over, whispering, to Makani. "Good news?"
Makani Ano
 player, 192 posts
Tue 19 Jul 2011
at 03:43
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Ugly Duck - 'patio' area)

Makani looked up from her notes, which made a good cover while she was watching.  She had approached a few of the guests after their time at the bar to get information for her 'research.'

She gave Lydia a slightly rasied eyebrow.  "I don't know, but I believe something is definitely afoot.  Perhaps we should pack it in as well?"

She began gathering her folders, placing them back in their box.  "Lilly, will you take these to our quarters, I'll see if they need any help bussing the tables..."
Lydia Li
 player, 202 posts
Tue 19 Jul 2011
at 15:09
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Lydia nodded and scampered off. On the way, she seemed unnaturally able to wander into Stacey's path (lucky isn't she, especially when she's trying not to be noticed looking for him!). She smiles her prettiest smile at her captain. "Oh, captain! Think ya can accompany a pretty young lady to her cabin? These folders, they're so heavy, and I'm oh so tired tonight... Yeah, I need my Captain's help!"
Makani Ano
 player, 193 posts
Tue 19 Jul 2011
at 17:48
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Ugly Duck)

Once Lydia had headed off with her papers, Makani streteched her hands and and stood  She dusted hers hands off on the back of her pants and headed over to one of the ladies who was cleaning up the tables.

"Would you like some help?"
Shan Yu
 GM, 400 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Tue 19 Jul 2011
at 20:15
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
  Kelly was busy cleaning some of the tables when Makani offered to help.  All four of the girls were there, along with Dem, all engaged in the post-business hours activities of cleaning and re-arranging.  With the customers all gone, things had gotten much quieter and more relaxed.  Madame Tang's deputy looked up and smiled, "Sure, always glad to have help.  Unpleasant chores always go quicker, the more hands to help." She looked around, "Where'd your shadow go?"
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 275 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 19 Jul 2011
at 21:04
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey chuckled at Lydia and pulled himself to his feet. "Can't have a feather like you straining herself now can we Lily?". Easily he slipped the heaviest folders under one arm and nodded. "Of course I'd be honoured to take you inside.".
Glancing around the quickly emptying patio the Captain saw the tall sentinel that was Cole speaking quietly into his commset. His own notebook had attempted to count their customers on and off, but until he caught up with Cole he wouldn't know if their combined attentions had been worthy, or a waste of time.
Stacey strode up into the Duck with Lydia habouring mixed feelings about the night. Things had gone smoothly again. This time there had been no 'runner', and the folk coming and going seemed decided more decent than those on Verbena. Something about the reaction of the customers didn't sit quite right, but still, what did that matter? The crew of the Duck were being paid for a job that was going well. Did musing on what went on behind closed doors matter?

Sonn enough Stacey and Lydia had climbed through to the galley and he raised an eyebrow to the girl.
"How'd you enjoy your 'research' kiddo? Did you keep Burne, Frank, and Jin watered for me?". The Captain was intruiged to know if Lydia's constant wanderings past the 'entertaining' cabins had proven interesting, or just embaressing.
Makani Ano
 player, 194 posts
Wed 20 Jul 2011
at 00:23
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Ugly Duck - 'patio' area)

Makani smiled and picked up a wash basin and began filling it with anything that would need washing.

She smiled and laughed at Kelly's description of her 'niece'.  "Well, if she doesn't get distracted by the cat... she's supposed to be taking my research back to our rooms for translation and transmission."

She smiled pulling a wash rag from the basin and wiping down the table she'd just cleared.

"I got a few interesting stories," she said cheefully.  "People don't really think about the affect war has on everyday people, and..."

She sighed and shook her head.  "And they have no idea how special their stories really are..."

She refrained from asking how 'things' had gone, but was more than willing to talk about anything the others brought up.

This message was last edited by the player at 12:41, Thu 21 July 2011.

Lydia Li
 player, 203 posts
Wed 20 Jul 2011
at 12:37
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

She chuckled softly. "Think they stay watered well enough themselves. As for the research, its interesting enough Makani wanted you to glance at the notes." She glanced around, making sure there were none of Tang's girls or Dem around (or Tang herself) then glanced up at Stacey. "Don' spose ya glanced to see the three well to do men with Ms Tang earlier, and how quickly they shut down after they left? Someone's a mite bit springier in her step too." She bit her lip and glanced at the paperwork, then spoke what people are thinking. "Things are getting a hair bit weird, if you wanna ask me. I mean, sure, a job's a job 'n all, but..." She shrugged and trailed off. "Anyhow, yeah, Makani wanted you to go over her research as well."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 277 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 20 Jul 2011
at 15:25
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Walking with Lydia the Captain suppressed a smile at her infectious good spirits. As they arrived in the empty galley Stacey flicked open the folder in his hands, loosely interested in what he would see there. His eyes scanned the pages and he responded to Lydia.
"If it's weird for an evening's entertainment to go off without disruption I've no objection. Quiet and slightly weird might be just what we need right now.". He met her upward gaze. "But look. I agree our passengers are not quite what we expected. And sure, maybe I agree there is something kinda off key in the air. But folk have a right to do business in private. From what I can see we're being done no wrong so for now I've no problems letting Tang continue as she is.". He shrugged. "We'll all keep an eye on things, and likely next week chuckle at how jumpy we were. Unless you have another suggestion?". Stacey raised an eyebrow expectantly. It wasn't a hollow invitation to child, but a genuine openness to hear what the lithe girl had to say.
Cole Jackson
 player, 195 posts
Thu 21 Jul 2011
at 02:16
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside the Duck)

Cole had started walking again.  He watched as 'guests' entered the Lounge and left looking different.  Cole tried to keep track of who went in and came out, but combined with watching the outside, he lost track of the men fairly quickly.  He did not worry much about it, though.  His orders for the night were to pay attention to who was coming and going around the patio.  That he focused on.  And for once, one of the few times in his life, Cole was glad that nothing was happening.  After their last stop, he was sure that control would be hard to come by if another episode occurred.

Cole found himself distracted as the suits showed up.  He made a point to give them their own designation when he called in to Burne.  "Three suits just showed up and are going directly with Tang."  No one could say the designations were brilliant or inspired.  A short time later, he watched them leave.  He gave them his full attention and missed anything else that might have happened elsewhere.

As the night wound down, Cole could not help but notice that the departure of the suits brought an end to the festivities.  Cole found this troupe odd.  Normally, professions such as these went into the wee hours of the morning.  But not with these ladies and their gentleman.  Cole wondered if Stacey had noticed the same thing.

As the guests left and cleanup began, Cole moved outside of the ship's lighting into the outskirts of the field.  He watched the cleanup while straining his ears for anything that was out of place.
Shan Yu
 GM, 402 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Fri 22 Jul 2011
at 14:02
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Madame Tang's face appeared around the corner of the stairs leading up from the lounge are, and her face broke into a cheerful smile.  "Ah, there you are, Captain."  She joined Lydia and Stacey in the galley, bowing to both.  "We're closing a little early tonight.  The girls are a little tired and need some rest...which brings me to another point.  We won't be opening for regular business tomorrow.  We've received a special commission from, well, some well-placed clients.  Tomorrow evening, a shuttle will arrive to take my associates and myself to...somewhere...where we'll be spending the evening.  You and the crew will have the ship to yourselves.  There's no need to wait up, since I'm sure it will be very late when we return."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 278 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sat 23 Jul 2011
at 12:57
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey looked up from his discussion with Lydia at the arrival of Tang. He returned her cheerful smile and nodded understanding as she spoke.
"Things seemed to go well tonight - the calibre of customer seemed somewhat better than those miners.".
"Sound's like an important commission you've earned tomorrow evening? Congratulation. Local big wigs must have heard good reports about your services. The crew will be glad to have the evening off Im sure.".
Lydia Li
 player, 204 posts
Sun 24 Jul 2011
at 10:03
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Lydia was about to speak as Madam Tang came up. She jsut watched her quietly, her face neutral.
Shan Yu
 GM, 404 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 27 Jul 2011
at 21:59
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Madame Tang bade the Captain and Lydia good night and retired back to the lounge.  The evening quickly came to a close, with nothing else of note occurring.  Other than possibly the interlude with the well dressed men, there was nothing suspicious or unexpected that happened, and even the added vigilance provided by Burne and Cole failed to reveal anything of interest.  Jin continued working on breaking the communications code, and was narrowing down the possibilities to the point that another day's effort would probably bring success.

With the cargo ramp raised and the ship locked up tight, crew and passengers turned in for the night.

And the night proved to be uneventful for several hours, with only the occasional creaks and whines inherent in a ship at rest to break the silence.  About an hour before dawn...

A muffled click.

The nearly imperceptible sigh of a door slowly opening.

Stealthy footsteps...bare feet padding silently on metal and carpeted floors.

Soft clicks as a security access code was tapped into an airlock door's keypad, unlocking it.

Retreating footsteps, now hurried, and after perhaps a half-minute delay, another click as a door shut.

Several minutes later, the small passenger door located in the cargo ramp opened with a slight metallic thunk, and the hands opening it paused for a few heartbeats.  Then the door swung open the rest of the way, and a series of figures, clad from head to toe in dark clothing, rushed into the lounge area and crouched down until seven intruders had entered.  One of the men, apparently the leader, pulled out several pieces of paper, and a tiny flashlight was turned on, its pencil-thin beam illuminating the documents.  Two of the documents were photos, and one was diagram.  The leader showed the photos to the men, and said something in a hushed whisper.  Then, referring to the diagram, the leader pointed to each of his men, then at a corresponding point on the paper.  Finally, the leader looked up and extinguished the light, whispering "Go!"

The group quickly rose and silently moved toward the stairs.  The subdued emergency lights that were always on in the passageways provided more than enough light to keep the intruders from stumbling, and they moved rapidly.  The light also showed that the men were armed...some with pistols, some with rifles or machine pistols.  Two men stopped just outside the four passenger cabins while the other five moved past the infirmary and up the stairs.  At the top of the stairs, the lead man carefully looked around the corner toward the engine room and then toward the galley, and finding them empty, waved the others forward as he stepped over the threshhold.  The group dropped off one more man in the galley and then moved forward to the stairs, where one man entered the cockpit.  The final three men descended the stairs and positioned themselves outside the cabin on the left...the one belonging to Makani and Lydia.  The leader readied his machine pistol while one of the others tried to slide open the door, only to find it locked.  He kneeled and began to pick the lock.

In the cabin next door, a dog began to bark.
Scout
 player, 5 posts
 You talkin' to me?
Wed 27 Jul 2011
at 22:00
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Scout was racing across a field, bursting through the huge herd of rabbits and sending them in every direction, running for their lives.  The beasts had no chance, of course...not when faced with the incredible power of Scout's muscular legs.  His motions were nothing short of amazing...he could turn on a dime and give back 9 cents change...he could accelerate from 0 to 50 mph in less than two seconds...and he could leap distances of at least 30 feet through the air.  He had identified his prey...the fattest, tastiest looking rabbit in herd, and he streaked toward it...closer...closer...

Scout's head jerked up as something awoke him.  Sometimes it seems like a dog can hear the same sounds day after day, and think nothing of them.  But change the sound by the slightest bit, and an alarm bell rings.  Such was the case now.  Scout constantly heard movement outside of the cabin he shared with his man-thing friend, or in the cabin next door (where that stupid not-a-dog lived), and never let it interfere with a second's sleep.  But this was different.  There was a feeling of...danger.  He must warn his friend.  He jumped off the bed and ran to the door.

Scout began to bark.
Shan Yu
 GM, 405 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 27 Jul 2011
at 22:35
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(The Duck)

The leader of the intruders hisses an obscenity when he hears the dog barking, and he snaps his fingers to get the attention of one of his men.  He points at the right hand door, behind which the dog appears to be, and the minion readies his machine pistol, pointing it and focusing all his attention there.

Upstairs, the intruders barely hear the muffled barking, and quickly exchange glances before they ready their weapons, focusing on the numerous doors in the passageway, in the galley area, and near the cockpit.
Makani Ano
 player, 196 posts
Thu 28 Jul 2011
at 00:11
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's quarters)

Makani awoke to a faint stractching outside her door and Scout barking in the next room.

She rolled over and turned on her light.

"Mulan?" she called figuring that the 'Admiral' was trying to get away from the fat, smelly loud not-cat.  "Is that you or a rodent you should be catching..." she added softly as she listened for a sign from the cat.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 274 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Thu 28 Jul 2011
at 01:59
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Pilot's Quarters)

Burne had no way of hearing the dog from her quarters at the front of the ship.  She was locked in for the night behind her custom interface, relaxing after the wasted effort of counting Madame Tang's guests.   Burne had spent some time unwinding with her knives and targets afterwards, but even that had become boring, and the promise of a few hours sleep seemed more appealing than anything else.   She was laying on her back, with her Super Soldier PJs her only protection.  CHESS sat in the bed with her in easy reach, useless to a sleeping person, but very handy if awakened.

Outside her room, the standard lock on the door to the cockpit kept it secure.  The new security protocols had not yet been updated since Gregory's departure, so those codes were still in effect. Time in a day was always a factor when it came to keeping a ship running, and the time for extra's like upgrades was always secondary.   If it wasn't such a passion for Burne, her own door locks and pilot controls would not have been completed already.  Like her friend Frank, the allure of the job itself kept her coming back.  He couldn't stop fixing things, and she couldn't stop tinkering with electronics.  It kept her occupied, and anything that kept Burne's mind active, was helpful to her.

This message was last edited by the player at 02:02, Thu 28 July 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 280 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 28 Jul 2011
at 09:06
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Captain's Cabin)

Stacey blinked awake instantly as Scout's bark broke the peace of sleep. He knew his companion well and as he awoke in the dim light he heard alarm in the animal's voice.
Swiftly he slid from his bed and reached for his pistol listening cautiously.
"Whats up Scout?" he asked gently approaching the hound.

This message was last edited by the player at 10:41, Thu 28 July 2011.

Cole Jackson
 player, 196 posts
Thu 28 Jul 2011
at 11:26
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cole's Cabin)

Cole turned in his sleep, his face contorting as he watched the 'runner' get beaten by yet another security guard.  In the physical world, Cole's breathing was ragged and sweat was rolling down his face.  Thanks to the physical limitations of REM sleep, however, his body stayed still, his muscles not reacting the way his dream self was.  At least until he woke up.

Cole's body shot upward to a seating position as he gasped for breath.  It took a moment for him to remember that he was still in his cabin and it was most likely still the middle of the night.

"Gorram dreams," Cole murmured to himself as he oriented himself to his surroundings.

Wiping the sweat from his face, Cole lay back down in the bed, his eyes wide open.  It had been a long time since dreams had bothered his sleep.  Even then, it was after the war that they occurred.  He had made peace with those ghosts and the dreams stopped.  Now he was reliving a potentially innocent man getting beaten viciously.

Cole contemplated just getting up.  He could take a walk around the ship to clear his mind and get some fresh air.  Glancing at his watch, it was still early in the morning.  Cole shook his head, deciding that staying in would be better.  A morning run would take care of things.  A cup of coffee also sounded nice but Cole dismissed it almost immediately.  He did want to go back to sleep.  So Cole found himself staring at the ceiling of his cabin, wishing for sleep.
Jin Chu
 player, 189 posts
Thu 28 Jul 2011
at 13:08
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Jin had slept restlessly.  She was close to cracking that damn code, she was sure of it.  It had taken an effort of will for her to go to bed rather than sitting at her terminal all night.  She was vaguely aware that she had been rather anti-social, avoiding the rest of the crew as she worked but it was nice to have something to distract her, something that felt like old times again when she would sit up all night with him bringing her cups of coffee and...No, not a train of thought conducive to sleep.

Just before dawn she was in a light doze, not awake by any means but not in a deep sleep.  A noise bothered her, her bladder was feeling uncomfortable, there was a cold draft from somewhere...Jin groaned and turned over in her bunk, pulling the covers up higher and trying to let her brain shut down properly.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 282 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 12:00
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Captain's Cabin)

Moving to the door Stacey knelt beside Scout, reaching out to calm his friend with a gentle hand. Sleep still hung on his eyelids as he loosely gripped the pistol in his hand. It was an absent dirtside habit rather than true concern that had made him pick it up. "What's up boy, something woke you up? Shall we have a look?".
The Captain stood and cautiously opened the door to his cabin. Expecting to see the dim lights of the Duck's passages holding little but a stray cat, or one of Tang's girls come to pay him a friendly visit his eyes widened as the unexpected scene unfolded.
Shan Yu
 GM, 407 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 12:54
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
The intruders were prepared for Stacey's action, and as soon as the door slid open, a brilliant light flashed into Stacey's eyes, completely blinding him, and the door was roughly pulled open.  A voice from somewhere in the hall hissed loudly, "Drop the gun and don't say a word, or you die!  And shut up that dog!"

OOC: Reminder that the cabin doors slide open, and do not swing open.
Lydia Li
 player, 205 posts
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 14:25
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Lydia jerked up as she heard the dog barking. Her dreams were troubled as normal, but there was something else going on.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:28, Fri 29 July 2011.

Lydia Li
 player, 206 posts
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 14:38
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Lydia suddenly tenses as her head clears. Danger. And its near. She looks to Makani, absolute terror in her eyes, as she quietly nods to the door and mouths danger to her guardian.
Mulan
 player, 5 posts
 Meow?
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 14:43
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
As if a companion to Lydia, Mulan was in the captain. The Rear Admiral had to have a good place to avoid that yippy non-cat thing, and her handmaidens were a pleasent diversion.

Then the dog began yipping. The cat woke up, irritably stretching. She had enough! She was gonna go find that four-legged menace and teach it to not interrupt a cat nap.

But as she woke, she immediately felt there was something wrong. Scents of things not familiar. While her nose wasn't as delicate as Scouts, a cat knows when things are different, and like other cats, Mulan did not like different. Especially when her younger handmaiden was beginning to notice as well. Something was going on, and the Read Admiral did not approve.

And, thus, like all cats, she hissed and growled, then sped under a bed to hide.
Makani Ano
 player, 198 posts
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 18:00
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's quarters)

Makani had started to get up when it looked like Lydia was having a nightmare, but when she mouthed 'danger' and Mulan ran and hid Makani went from comforting mode to protector.

She pulled out her derringer and carefully concealed it before drawing her pistol and setting it on the bed beside her.  She signalled Lydia to hide then quickly made her charge's bed and scattered her research folders on both beds as if she were sorting through details.

She dind't know what was going on, but if she'd learned anything-- confusion was a good delaying tactic. And nothing confused people more than the unexpected.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 283 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 20:49
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
The shock of the bright light made Stacey blink, instictivly raising his forearm to block the light.
He staggered, taking a step backward as he almost tripped over Scout who barked louder than ever.
The Captain's instincts took over and blindly he aimed his pistol at the opening. It was a defensive move, protective as his brain struggled to comprehend the sudden change in circumstance. And yet the sudden realisitation he was under threat thumped along with his beating heart.
Stacey's eyes blinked as his vision cleared and vague sillottes materialised. More than one man; weapons aimed at him. Helpless he picked out the speaker, aiming the pistol at the dark form.
"What the cào are you doing on my ship?".
Adrenaline pounded through his veins, his words were instincitve. And yet as the blur of his vision cleared the cold truth of the situation loomed large. Without lowering his weapon Stacey waved a hand toward Scout, his fingertips brushing the animal's mane. Im dead. Stacey's heart pounded as he spoke, tense, quiet, doomed. A stand off.

cào -  a profanity that can easily be guessed at
Shan Yu
 GM, 408 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 03:17
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Once the door was opened, the brief flurry of barks from Scout would have been noticed by anyone in the forward half of the lower deck and anywhere on the upper deck except the engine room.  To anyone in a cabin (except for Makani's/Lydia's), the sounds would have been felt more than heard, not really identifiable as a dog's barks, but as sharp, staccato vibrations through the hull and bulkhead plates.

Scout quieted at the touch of his master and turned his head to briefly look at Stacey, then faced the intruders again, a low growl rumbling in his throat.  At Stacey's sudden response to the light, the leader of the strangers had to restrain his men, whispering harshly, "Don't shoot him, gorram it!  We may need him!"  Even though Stacey couldn't see those that menaced him, he knew that the next words were directed at him, still uttered in that same low-pitched hiss.  "I told you to drop your gun, and I meant it!  Nobody's going to get hurt if you cooperate.  Remember, you got others on this ship to worry about.  Wouldn't you hate to be responsible for their deaths?  Now drop your gun and kick it over to me.  Then tie up that dog, or throw it in a locker or something so we don't have to kill it...and be very careful."

This message was last edited by the GM at 03:25, Sat 30 July 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 284 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 10:31
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Captain's Cabin)

Multiple figures, weapons aimed at me. On our ship. How? Inside help?.
Despite his pounding heart and mind racing to come up with some alternative, it didn't take long for Stacey to realise the obvious.
"Easy, easy. No need for anyone to get hurt.".
His voice was low, but deliberatly not too low. He prayed Makani and Lydia could hear. "There, im putting my gun down now.". Slowly his actions mimiked the words. The pistol let out a loose dink as he lowered it to the floor.
"You're gonna have five angry crew mates and a whole lot of shooting if we don't all stay calm.". He nodded to the door opposite. "Makani is always grouchy when shes woken up. Sleeps with a gun by the bed. Hell she might even have a visitor in there with her, and she likes the rough ones.". He paused. "Let me speak to them. Whats this all about?".

Beside him Scout's growl was a low rumble, his form tensed to attack. "Here boy.". Stacey took a small step toward the desk behind the door. He hoped his movements were at least partially obscured by the darkness and position of the desk. His actions were deliberatly slow and his body blocked a view of what lay on the surface before him. Acting quickly Stacey reached out for his watch, and second the leash occasionally used to tether Scout. A second later he leant to tie one end of the leash to the foot of the desk, and the other to Scout's collar. Crouching in the darkness the Captain fumbled with the leash he slipped the watch onto his wrist. "Sorry boy..." he mumbled while he moved. "You wont be here long.". As a final act Stacey reached for a box of the dog's food pouches and kicked them over to where Scout could reach.
At last he stood slowly and faced the intuders, awaiting their response.
It was their move.

This message was last edited by the player at 10:43, Sat 30 July 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 409 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 14:01
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Walls of rooms, and bulkheads of ship cabins, are designed to provide privacy to their occupants.  Sometimes they fail miserably, as described in the cliche phrase, "walls like paper".  The bulkheads of The Ugly Duck did not fall into this category.  The ship was a military ship, built to be sturdy, and the bulkheads effectively blocked normal sounds from travelling from compartment to compartment.  Loud sounds could be heard, but not necessarily identified, and in a totally silent environment, such loud sounds could travel through the hull, detectable by the human auditory structures.  Stacey's words would only be heard by those in the passageway, and would only be a slight rumbling sound, even to ears pressed against the bulkhead next door to him.

The leader of the intruders whispered, "Shut up!  Quit stalling!  We've already taken care of the rest of the crew and your passengers, too.  It won't take much for me to take the easy way out and just start shootin'.  You just keep cooperatin', and nobody dies.  "  He waited until Scout was tied up, then continued his commands to Stacey.  "Turn around and face away from me, drop to your knees and put your hands behind your back.  NOW!"
Lydia Li
 player, 207 posts
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 17:42
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Lydia nodded and glanced around the room, reaching for an old pistol that was given to her a while ago. She barely knew how to use it, and her hands were shaking so unsteady that any shot was liable to go ary. But she had to fight too. She winced in the feelings of danger and waiting, gripping the gun and staring at the door. She pointed at the door, trying to get Makani to let her know someone was RIGHT out side the door, but how many, she had no idea. They just need to get out of here and get it done fast.
Cole Jackson
 player, 197 posts
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 19:03
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cole's Cabin)

Cole could hear the muted barking coming from somewhere outside his cabin.

"Gorram dog barking in the middle of the gorram night," he said to himself.

Cole started to get up, ready to go have words with Stacey about his dog and courtesy toward other members of the crew.  As his hand reached for the latch, he froze.  Scout's never barked before, least not at night.  Stacey always keeps him in his cabin.  Cole realized that it meant that Stacey was not sleeping and was most likely not in his cabin.  What would have the captain up in the middle of the night?

Looking down at himself, Cole realized that walking around in his underwear might not be acceptable.  He pulled on a pair of pants.  For completeness, he put on his pistol belt.  No telling how long I'll be up.  Cole went back to the door, this time opening it with every intent to see what Stacey was up to.

This message was last edited by the player at 20:53, Sat 30 July 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 285 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 23:17
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Captain's Cabin)

Stacey glared into the darkness defiantly. "Turn my back and get shot you mean? No. This is my ship, and folk on board are my crew.".
He stood in the doorway as his heart pounded. He was walking a fine line - but if he knelt now he might be as good as dead. He'd already given up his gun and wasnt ready to give up the crew without more assurance. "If you're going to shoot me, I might as well sound the alarm. Give me a good reason I shouldn't shout out right now.". The Captain remained standing, defiant and immovable. In the back of his mind he pictured himself kneeling, a silenced bullet through his brain, the crew murdered. Cautiously he bargained in a low voice "I'll do what you want. You dont need me tied up.".
Makani Ano
 player, 199 posts
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 23:24
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's Quarters)

Makani looked at Lydia, stood and gently took the gun from her hand.  "Hush mai-mai," she whispered softly.

"I believe you... but if trouble has gotten this far on board, we are trapped, and we must think of the others... Hide... be safe, be quiet... please..."

She nodded towards her luggage knowing the smaller woman could hide there if need be.

She knew it was a a dangerous game but there was no other way she knew of handling this... She just knew that rushing an unknown number of assailants on a ship full of potential targets was not the answer.
Shan Yu
 GM, 410 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 23:53
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
The leader of the intruders wasted no time.  "Okay, we'll do it your way.  You had your chance."  Before another word could be said, the man squeezed the trigger on his pistol and there was a muffled pffft, followed by a sharp sting in Stacey's thigh.  Almost immediately, Stacey felt woozy, and within seconds, he lost control of his muscles, collapsing to the floor.  He couldn't move or speak, but his essential functions such as breathing seemed unimpaired, and he was still able to see anything that lay in his field of vision.  In this case, he happened to fall facing the passageway, so he was able to see what transpired.

The leader turned to the man still kneeling near Makani's door.  "You got the lock figured?"  The man nodded.  "Yeah, just gotta turn it and it's open."  The leader responded, "Okay, get your tranq guns ready, no bullets.  We'll try to take her without tranq-ing her, but don't waste time, if she resists, knock her out.  Don't even mess with the old saoba, I'll take care of her.  Okay, do it!"

Two of the men pulled back a little ways, weapons trained on Makani's door.  The man kneeling by the door turned his picker's key and slid back the door in one quick movement, and three powerful flashlights flooded the small cabin with blinding light.  The leader, still loudly hiss-whispering, said, "Don't move and you won't be harmed!  Raise your hands!"

Upstairs, the guard in the galley saw Cole's door move, and he activated his powerful beam, training it on the door.  Following what was apparently their standard procedure, he whispered, "Freeze!  Come out with your hands up!"



saoba - bitch
Cole Jackson
 player, 198 posts
Sun 31 Jul 2011
at 00:08
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Cole's left hand flew up to shield his eyes from the blinding light.  His every instinct told him to pull his pistol and start shooting.  However, with the speed the man reacted to Cole's appearance, the first mate was sure he already had a weapon trained on him.

Left my mesh behind.  Stupid! he thought to himself.  He'd have to try another tactic if he was going to get out of this one on the winning side.

Cole stepped fully from his cabin, raising his right hand out and away from his pistol.  He lowered his left hand slightly, squinting into the light.  He was not concerned with seeing who was behind it.  He was merely trying to find it's exact source.

"What are you doing on my gorram ship? he asked as he stepped into the galley, his voice a growl.  Using his peripheral vision, Cole was trying to place the man in relation to the table.  If the man was on the far side of the table, his plan was out.  "I think you got the wrong group, Tah mah de."  Cole drew himself to his full height as he spoke.


(OOC:Tah mah de - bad name for a bad person. (I hope))

This message was last edited by the player at 00:09, Sun 31 July 2011.

Lydia Li
 player, 208 posts
Sun 31 Jul 2011
at 12:24
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Lydia did what any traumatized little girl would do if confronted with something terrifying: screaming at the top of her lungs and running. Part of it was simple instincts, but a small part of it was a hope to distract the men from Makani, and alert the rest of the crew to the danger.

Despite the terror, she still had her wits. She's been in firefights before, and she was tiny and knew how to use it. She wasn't ill-prepared like Cole or Stacey, but already moving to a hiding place. So she, still screaming, lept for cover with incredible speed.
Makani Ano
 player, 200 posts
Sun 31 Jul 2011
at 14:45
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's room)

Makani turned standing between their attackers and the now screaming Lydia.  The gun she held was not her own, but rather the one she'd taken from Lydia. It was still a gun and it could still fire.

She fired at the lights since they were the one things she could make out.  As she fired she did the thing she hoped they wouldn't expect.  Instead of dropping for cover, she used the gun to clear a way as she closed quarters on the men, taking the fight to them she hoped it would take away their advantage.

Her heartbeat like the war chant of her people as she let her training take over.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 286 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sun 31 Jul 2011
at 21:19
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Captain's cabin)

Stacey felt the sting of the tranq puncture his skin and he slumped to his knees. His mouth gaped open to speak, to say something but instead of distinct sound a dull slur was all he could manage. All to clearly he saw the door to Makani and Lydia's room open, saw the intruders advance.
Part of him was suddenly thankful to be alive. That could have been a bullet, not a tranquiliser, and yet the adrenaline that surged through his veins ignored such wisdom. Instead he struggled uselessly to force his body to respond. To say something.
Behind him Scout had begun to bark, barring his teeth but helpless against the leash. Stacey's mind raced. Whoever wanted them, wanted them alive. The attackers had tranq's but if things got out of hand they might switch to live ammo at any moment. Unable to stap himself falling Stacey slumped to the side uselessly.
Jin Chu
 player, 190 posts
Mon 1 Aug 2011
at 11:02
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Jin's Cabin)

It felt as though they were taking off - the humming of the engines was starting to throb through the metal structure of the Duck.  But it was the middle of the night still, and the sound wasn't right.  Finally shaken into full wakefulness, Jin sat up and started to try to put things together.  The vibrations were short and sharp, as if someone was hammering on something, a glance at her watch told her that it wasn't the middle of the night at all and that the sun would be thinking of rising soon.  Either way the situation suggested that something was definitely wrong.

Jin sat up and rubbed her eyes, reaching for a robe to sling on over her PJs and her gloves.  She wasn't quite sure why the latter other than the fact that they were comforting and left her at least a little prepared for the trouble that her mind was inventing for them.  Perhaps one of their passengers' clients had decided to return (or stay) and cause trouble.  It crossed her mind to wonder if Cole was awake, the officer certainly seemed to have a nose for trouble.

Her feet still bare and the fingerless leather gloves looking decidedly incongruous emerging from the sleeves of a silk kimono, Jin slid her door open quietly and headed out into the galley/lounge, area.  Her ears pricked for any other clue to what was going on.
Shan Yu
 GM, 412 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Mon 1 Aug 2011
at 15:11
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Along with Lydia's scream, Makani's gunshot eliminated any need for any further attempts at stealth on the part of the intruders.  The three facing Makani acted instinctively and returned her fire, and the only thing that saved her life was the fact that they had dart pistols ready instead of their regular firearms.  As it was, Makani felt two sharp, powerful stings, one in her belly and one in her shoulder.  Her body almost immediately ceased to obey her commands, and she collapsed to the deck.

She wasn't the only casualty.  Even as she dropped, she saw one of the torches fall to the ground and one of the attackers crumple, the victim of her gunshot.  With no further need to be quiet, the leader called out in Chinese, "Xao, just tranq the girl and take her out through the airlock and get her on the truck!"  He gestured at the passenger airlock just to their left, then unclipped a commset from his belt.  "Chang, bring the truck now!"  Not waiting for an answer, he moved to open the passenger airlock door leading outside.

The man called Xao bulled his way into Makani's cabin, his torch beam focused on Lydia as she scrambled to hide.  He fired once, leaving a dart quivering as it missed, embedded in the wall.  He quickly fired a second time, and the dart bit into Lydia's shoulder.  Like Makani, she immediately went limp, and Xao shoved his pistol into his belt, then roughly grabbed Lydia and threw the diminutive girl over his shoulder like a sack of laundry.  "Got her!  Let's go!"  The leader pulled open the passenger airlock door just in time to see a truck hurriedly pull up.  The leader grabbed his commset and uttered, "Let's go...we'll swing by the ramp entrance to pick up Bud and Chou!"

Upstairs, the man facing Cole found himself suddenly face to face with a sleepy woman in pajamas as Jin just walked out of her cabin, oblivious to what was happening just yards away.  A second later, before the gunman could even order the woman to raise her hands, gunfire suddenly erupted downstairs.  The gunman instinctively reacted to the outbreak, and started jerking the trigger of his pistol as fast as he could as he backed down the passageway toward the cockpit.  Most of the bullets went wild, but Cole felt a punch in his left side and he dropped to the deck, with the table blocking any further view of the gunman.  The attacker near the cockpit door looked all around him in a state of semi-panic, but he held his ground, his machine pistol covering the cabin doors near the cockpit.  Down the hall, Dem burst out of his room, armed with a pistol.  The gunman with the pistol had just reloaded after firing at Cole, and he emptied his newly reloaded weapon in Dem's direction, hitting the bartender at least once, but taking a bullet in the arm himself as Dem returned fire.  Dem staggered back into his cabin, dropping his pistol in the corrider.  At the end of the passageway, Frank pulled open the door to the engine room where he had been sleeping.  He quickly had to duck back inside as the flurry of bullets that missed Dem ricocheted against the the passageway bulkheads and the metal door of the engine room.

Down in the passenger area, the five women were awakened by the sounds.  Ping immediately ran out of her cabin and was cut down by a burst from a machine pistol.  The tiny young woman was thrown against the bulkhead, where she collapsed in a bloody heap, leaving a red smear on the wall.  Jenna watched her friend die, and backed into a corner of her cabin, sobbing uncontrollably as she curled up in a ball.

Madame Tang had just opened her door, pistol in hand, and the motion attracted the other gunman's attention.  She immediately slammed the door closed, but the man fired anyway, stitching a row of holes across the door and wall of Tang's cabin.  Kelly flung open her door and used the distraction to launch herself at the attacker.  A dagger seemed to materialize out of thin air into her hand, and with one quick swipe, she slashed the throat of the gunman.  She spun to face the other man, but realized she was too far away and instead leaped with the agility of a cat back through her open door just as he fired at her.  Her quick response saved her life, and she was only struck in the leg.  Cat burst out of her room with her hands held high, begging, "Don't shoot!  Don't shoot!  I'm unarmed!"  The one gunman remaining in the lounge area pointed at her and said, "You!  Come here!"  Cat did as ordered, and the gunman grabbed her by the arm, holding her as a shield as he backed toward the small door in the cargo ramp.

The men near the cockpit heard their leader's message to evacuate the ship and quickly descended the stairs, exiting through the passenger airlock and slamming the airlock door behind them, following the leader and Xao with his tiny burden.  The piled into the truck which sprang forward with spinning tires and a cloud of dust.  It raced the length of the Duck, skidding to a stop at the rear of the ship and loading the remaining gunman with his hostage.  Barely had they climbed in the back when the tires spun again, and the truck took off, accelerating into the darkness.
Lydia Li
 player, 211 posts
Mon 1 Aug 2011
at 15:45
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Her worst nightmares came to life as she saw Makani crumble. She didn't notice if it was guns or tranqs and didn't care. Then the sting in her shoulder dropped her like a 2 pound sack of taters. She flopped listlessly, her body refusing to respond despite the sheer terror raging in her head, her eyes welling full of tears as she watched herself be taken away from her home.
Cole Jackson
 player, 200 posts
Mon 1 Aug 2011
at 16:24
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Cole lay on the floor, willing the pain in his side to go away.  He was right to think the man had a weapon trained on him.  Should have just tried to shoot the ruttin' bastard, Cole thought to himself.  He rolled, trying to get himself situated where he could tell the extent of the damage the bullet wound caused.  As he reached down to feel his side, he remembered Jin having just come from her cabin.  He heard additional gunshots after he fell and assumed they were aimed at her.

"Jin, you OK over there, gal?  Tell me something."
Jin Chu
 player, 191 posts
Mon 1 Aug 2011
at 16:35
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Galley

Jin had blinked a couple of times at the gunman, trying to clear her vision and convince her that she was really seeing the scene before her.  A dozen ideas went through her mind and were discarded, any move she made was likely to end only one way, and it didn't go well for her.  She ducked to one side to avoid the shots that went wild around Cole, but it was a controlled crouch, ready to take an opportunity to move fast in any given direction.  The opportunity didn't come and the two men were soon leaving down the stairs to the lower deck.

"I'm not hurt, pissed as hell.  Any idea what that was all about?"  A few quick steps took her over to Cole's cabin where she hit the intercom switch to shipwide broadcast before kneeling to take a look at the man's wound.  Medical matters weren't her field but she knew you ought to put pressure on if it was bleeding at least.  "Jin to all public intercoms - Anyone out there hearing me?  Y'all alive?"
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 290 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 1 Aug 2011
at 16:46
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Hall outside Captain's Cabin)

Stacey lay helpless as the scene erupted. He ached to respond, to do something but was powerless as Lydia was torn from the ship.
His mind raced as he felt nausea in his stomach - perhaps from the Tranquilliser, perhaps from the kidnap of the youngest of their family.
Jin's voice over the intercomm grabbed his attention and relief as it echoed in the now empty halls. Did it mean those upstairs were safe? Maybe the intruders had only attacked the two downstairs cabins...
The Captain's body tingled as he tried to force his muscles to respond. Taking steadying breaths he repeated in the back of his mind; Chang, Xao, Bud and Chao.
Makani Ano
 player, 204 posts
Tue 2 Aug 2011
at 01:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's Room)

Makani tried to fight the effects of the poison, but no amount of training could counter the affect.  She lay there, helpless as Lydia was taken from her.

She had failed.

She stared at the retreating forms, ever beat of her heart became a mantra.  'I still live... and while I draw breath... I will do everything in my power to find you... I still live... and while I draw breath... they will be found... '
Burne Catweazle
 player, 275 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Tue 2 Aug 2011
at 12:59
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Pilot's Cabin)
There was no mistaking the sound of gunfire in closed quarters.  Burne's right hand locked on CHESS while her left hand grabbed the knife from beneath her pillow.   She rolled from bed and aimed around the room, the heat lamp from Deirdre's cage gave a warm glow to familiar objects.   No intruders.

She slipped the knife in the side of her panty for the moment, and retrieved Miyamoto from the sheath.  Tapping the command, her door slid out of the way, and her gun was leveled, prepared to take action before words, as she had done throughout the war.

(Hall outside Cockpit)

No flashing lights.  That was a good thing.  The former Shepherds door was closed, and the cockpit door still showed secure.  Perhaps the gunfire was a misfire.  She glanced left down the hall, and saw the flash, and heard the repeat of more gunfire.  Her adrenaline was flowing immediately as she put her back to the bulkhead.   She debated for only the briefest of moments going into the cockpit, and throwing the locks on all the access points, but that would expose the ships controls, as well as herself.  Both violated her AP training.  Barefoot and silent she began moving towards the rear of the ship.

She was passing the head and about to go up the stairs to the galley when she heard the familiar sounds of an airlock come up the stairs to the lower floor.  That meant that their were assailants in multiple parts of the ship.   Her mind flew to Frank, probably in his bunk, or possibly Main Engineering.  No time for sentimental ties, she decided to secure her ship first.  There was more crew at the rear, and Frank could take care of himself.  She ducked across the corridor, aimed down the stairs to make sure it was clear, and then leaped, landing on the balls of her feet.  Her gun swung left and right ensuring it was clear, and then she was up again, and near the wall moving towards the main hall.

She glanced out.  No targets.  Then she moved into the hall that led from fore to aft.  She could see the door to Makani's room open, and she could see the prone form.   Still, there were blind spots.   She moved forward and ensured the corridor was clear.  The Captain  was down, Makani too.  She checked them, and pulled the darts.

They were breathing though, so it couldn't have been a Death Squad.  She had no idea if the captain or the others could hear her, but she said in a low voice, "I've got to secure the ship first.  I'll be back."

She stood back up and moved to the nearest airlock, still ajar from whomever had used it.   Outside something was tearing away into the night.   She closed the airlock, used Miyamoto to spring the control cover, and pulled the power control wires.  The only way to open it now would be from the inside if someone took the time to reattach the wires.  She moved past the downed crew and did the same at the ventral airlock.

"You should be good here.  I've got to check on the others."

She cleared the hovermule bay, and then made it back to the stairs, working her way up and towards the galley to see if there were any intruders there.
Shan Yu
 GM, 414 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 3 Aug 2011
at 00:32
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
The intercom crackles to life in response to Jin's call, and the weak, gasping voice of Kelly Chan is heard.  "Hello...this is Kelly...by the infirmary...we need help."

Also responding, though not doing so via the intercom, was someone else.  Jin could hear the sounds of running feet getting louder, clanging on the deck plates of the passageway from the engine room.  A quick, terrified glance in that direction, fearful that the sounds were from the gunman, quickly changed to relief when she saw Frank, a huge spanner clutched in his hand.  Before he slowed to a halt, he said, "What happened?  Are you okay?  Anyone hurt?"
Cole Jackson
 player, 201 posts
Wed 3 Aug 2011
at 01:02
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Cole reached his hand up from his side.  It was slick with red.  Reaching back, he found more blood.  Straight through.  Ok...  Cole lay flat on his back and pressed on the front of his wound, trying to compress the wound.  That turned out to be just as bad as bleeding to death.  His face blanched with pain.

"Rib..."  Cole rolled his head to the side.  He was finally registering the pain full on.  He fought to keep his head clear.  Frank's arrival gave Cole a something to focus on.

"Frank...get aft.  Check on the passengers.  Kelly's the...closest to a medic.  Jin.  Forward.  Check on the captain.  Find Burne.  She can help.  Move..."

Cole left out the part that he was going to need help soon as well.  He was bleeding freely and breathing hurt.  He slowed his breath as much as he could.  He had to breath shallow, so he quickly found himself getting light-headed.

"I really hope you two aren't still standing there."
Makani Ano
 player, 207 posts
Wed 3 Aug 2011
at 01:13
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani's efforts to move were quickly giving way to frustration and possibly full on panic.  She was trapped in her own body, helpless.  She could hear the comings and goings of the others, but was unable to respond.  Hearing the call for help she blinked in frustration.

She did the only thing she could: she prayed.

This message was last edited by the player at 11:02, Wed 03 Aug 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 291 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 3 Aug 2011
at 08:29
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside Captain's Cabin)

The sight of Burne's familiar face brought a wave of relief though her visit was achingly short. Still, the Captain understood she was doing the right thing; he couldn't voice the orders he'd heard for the intruders to depart. More importantly the realisation that the unmoving form of Makani to the edge of his vision was still alive was another relief.
Frustrated Stacey tried to force his body to respond again. The strain only brought a ragged choked sound and increased feeling of helplessness.
Forcing himself to close his eyes Stacey concentrated on his breathing, waiting for help or the tranq to wear off.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 276 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Wed 3 Aug 2011
at 13:21
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Burne's head cleared the stairs at the forward end of the galley and she began to get a view of just what was happening.   She wasn't there for Cole's commands, but she could hear people talking.   She flipped the wakizashi down from the strike position and glanced warily around the room.

Asking if everyone was alright was pointless, the blood showed that wasn't the case.

She began moving through the galley, taking in who was there, who was injured and the like.  She saw Frank duck into the door to the aft stairway, and could hear him descending.  She said for everyone in the galley, "The forward part of the ship is secure.  The Captain and Makani have been tranqued but aren't in danger.   Do we have a status on the rear and lower?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:46, Wed 03 Aug 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 415 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 3 Aug 2011
at 13:38
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley -> Lounge)

Frank looked at Cole, unsure of what to do.  Engines were easy to fix...people, not so much.  "Right, check on passengers, get Kelly."  He turned and moved swiftly to the stairs leading down to the lounge area, then slowed as he descended, just missing Burne as she arrived in the galley via the forward stairs.  He didn't know what he was walking into, but obviously from Kelly's message, something bad had happened.

He reached the bottom of the stairs, and the first thing he saw was Kelly, leaning up against the wall near the intercom next to the infirmary.  She was covered in blood and was holding her left arm tightly against her chest.  Several feet away from her toward the lounge was a man's body, also covered in blood.  Kelly saw Frank before he could speak, and she winced as she spoke.  "Frank, get Makani and Lilly, they can help with the wounded.  I think Madame Tang is wounded in her cabin..." (she gestured at cabin P-2, just down the passageway from her) "...and I think Ping and Jenna might be hurt as well.  I think Cat was taken by the gunmen...I heard her yelling for them not to shoot.  Come back to me in the infirmary as soon as you can."

Frank just nodded, clearly a bit overwhelmed by everything that had transpired.  He pressed the button on the intercom, "Makani, Lilly...we need you in the galley and in the lounge...we have wounded."  He went next to Madame Tang's cabin and slid open the door, noting the numerous bullet holes in the door and wall.  He immediately saw Madame Tang propped up against the wall near her bed.  Her shoulder was bloody and the right side of her face was bathed in red.  Next to her on the floor was an open silver briefcase, with some type of electronic gizmo inside and what looked like a small Cortex screen.  She was looking at the screen and Frank heard "Roger...ETA 15 minutes."  The screen blanked and she looked up at Frank, smiling weakly and waving him  away as he moved to help her.  "Help is on the way...I'm okay for now...check on the others."

All Frank could do was nod, and he turned aft to check on the rest of the girls.  The carpet squished as he approached the body in the passageway, with blood surging to the surface at Frank's every step.  The gunman was obviously dead...the nearly decapitated head stared vacantly toward the wall next to it.  Frank turned left to the other two passenger cabins, and saw Ping crumpled in a tiny, bloody heap.  He rushed to her, but she was already dead, and he jumped when he heard a sob coming from the open cabin nearby.  Carefully pushing open the half closed door, he saw Jenna sitting on the floor in the corner, arms hugging her knees to her body and sobbing uncontrollably.  He started to approach her, but could see that she was unharmed.  He thought "She can wait...gotta get back to Kelly," but offered a quick "Jenna, you stay there, we'll be back in a minute."  He left the cabin and carefully entered the lounge, looking around for Cat or anyone else.  The room was deserted, and he quickly crossed to the open passenger door in the cargo ramp.  He quickly pulled it shut and locked it, then returned to the infirmary.

Kelly was inside the infirmary, rummaging through drawers and cabinets.  She limped from place to place, favoring her bloody left leg, and only used her right arm to grab items, holding her left arm immobile against her body.  She saw Frank and paused in her efforts, obviously exhausted.  "Frank, I'm not as bad as I look.  Most of this blood came from the gunman when I cut his throat.  I do have a flesh wound in my left calf and I think I broke my arm when I dodged to avoid fire.  I need you to help me so I can help others."  She directed him to inject her using a hypodermic that she had already retrieved, filling first from one small bottle, plunging the needle into her good arm as she gritted her teeth in pain, then refilling the needle from a second bottle and repeating the injection process.  She then pointed to a rolled ACE bandage and had him quickly wrap her broken arm against her chest to temporarily immobilize it.  Finally, she instructed him on placing a pressure dressing against her leg wound.  The entire process only took 5 minutes, and when they were finished, she told Frank to grab the same items he had used on her and help her move to Madame Tang's cabin, where she began to treat the older woman who was barely conscious.  She paused in her ministrations long enough to say, "Frank, something must be wrong with Makani and Lilly, please go check on them."

In the forward cabins of the Duck, Makani and Stacey were beginning to recover.  The drug was obviously meant to tranquilize for a short period only, and already the two drugged crewmembers could move their heads and found that they could speak, as well.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 292 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 3 Aug 2011
at 14:33
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside Captain's Cabin)

Stacey spoke first - he'd been hit before the rest and it meant control was returning to him first.
After a few gagged slurs he found his jaw loosening up and he spoke to the prone form of Makani near by.
"Uggghhh. I think...". He swallowed hard, pausing as he recomposed himself. His throat felt loose, but concentrating he tried to speak again. "I think the tranq is wearing off.".

Despite being prone on the floor the act of communication helped. "You ok over? I'm sure the others will be down soon.".
Focussing carefully he inched his neck upward a little at a time to better see the former companion. It was a relief to see her prone form not lying in a pool of blood, but it was the fierce fire in her eyes that stood out.

Quietly he added; "We'll get her back.".
Jin Chu
 player, 192 posts
Wed 3 Aug 2011
at 15:39
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Jin had been moving when she met Burne coming in the opposite direction, the woman clearly coming from the forward end of the ship where she was bound.  "Understood." She nodded, "What about Lilly?"  Jin paused, realising that only two of the three people in the front cabins had been accounted for  Frank was checking the other crew cabins, passengers as well, they weren't her problem just yet.  "And is the cockpit clear?  I'll head down with a jug of water, see if any of them are with it enough to talk yet.  I'm no use with medical type stuff 'nless you want me to fix wiring."

While she talked, she moved, filling a jug with water and grabbing a handful of cups. The best thing would be if she could get them close enough to being on their feet to head back up to the galley.

(Outside Captain's Cabin)

Stacey was the obvious figure on the floor when she got to the base of the stairs, he looked to be coming back to something resembling functionality and Jin moved to his side, her eyes picking up on Makani's still form as well.  The woman's eyes were open and spoke of anger, life was unquestionable.  Letting her gaze drift to the other cabin, she caught her breath and frowned.  That wasn't a good sign.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 277 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Wed 3 Aug 2011
at 21:11
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)
In response to Jin, Burne said, "I only saw the two.   It's possible she's hiding or in another part of the ship.  I heard gunfire.  My focus is on securing the ship from the enemy."

This message was last edited by the player at 21:12, Wed 03 Aug 2011.

Cole Jackson
 player, 204 posts
Wed 3 Aug 2011
at 22:23
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Cole listened to Burne's report.  Makani and Stacey were tranq'd.  Where's Lydia?  Cole had not missed her omission.  He could only see red as he thought of her hurt.

Realizing that he needed help to stop his bleeding, as well as a popper or two, Cole forced himself to a sitting position.  The pain at his ribs was excruciating.  He had almost had his arm removed before and for some reason his ribs hurt more.  He could not help but chuckle at the absurdity of it.  Of course that small act brought more pain.  Seeing Burne, Cole reached out for her.

"Give me hand up, will ya?" he asked.  "I need to get back as see what's happened to the passengers."

With Burne's assistance, Cole stood, steadying himself on Burne and a nearby chair.  Slowly, the pair made their way to the lounge and infirmary.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 294 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 4 Aug 2011
at 08:38
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside Captain's Cabin)

Hearing footsteps Stacey managed to awkwardly shift his weight and look upward.
"Jin...".
He swallowed again. Each minute that passed it felt easier to talk, to feel his muscles returning to normal.
"I'm ok. Check Makani.". He nodded vaguely toward the woman. Stacey knew he was essentially unhurt, and could even twitch his fingers now. He hoped Makani was in the same boat.
As Jin moved the Captain continued to speak. He closed his eyes to concentrate on the movement of his lips.
"Three men. They took Lydia.". Adrenaline and tranq made him revert to her true name not realising the slip.
"Is the ship secure? What's happening up there Jin?".
Makani Ano
 player, 209 posts
Thu 4 Aug 2011
at 12:09
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's quarters)

Makani managed to lift her head but everything was sluggish, as if moving through water.  She knew she should have been grateful that she was still breathing, but breathing and getting her Lei Hulu back were two different things.  She prayed to Hi'iaka for healing, to Pele for vengeance upon those who had taken Lydia, and again to Hi'iaka for Lydia's safety and well being.

Vengeance and healing, two sides of the same coin, sister goddesses who loved and fought each other and formed the cycle of life, of cleansing fire and upheaval, leading to the creation of land, and the cooling healing process that brought life to the new land.  She burned with the fires of Pele’s volcanoes, trying to keep the Ohi'a Lehua blooming.  Fire and flower, those were now her only purpose: death, rebirth, healer and guardian.

---

(and since I forgot all the translations and haven't posted them in a while)

Lei Hulu - Dear/beloved child - literally 'Feathered Lei'
Hi'iaka - Goddess of the hula/healing/gaurdian
Pele - Volcano Goddess (and a very good soccer player)
Ohi'a lehua - A flower that is very special to Hi'iaka

This message was last edited by the player at 16:34, Thu 04 Aug 2011.

Burne Catweazle
 player, 279 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Thu 4 Aug 2011
at 13:00
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside Infirmary)
Burne, who had not stopped in her progress through the galley towards the aft hall found herself wondering how she went from securing a ship to being a crutch for Cole.   Now she was trying to hold a sword and a gun in one hand, and supporting Cole down the stairs to the infirmary.

The two made an apt target for any enemies that were still in the ship.
Jin Chu
 player, 193 posts
Thu 4 Aug 2011
at 17:15
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Outside Captain's Cabin

"Ok, I'm..."  The slight turn as she made to move to the other cabin caused her eyes to fall on something that she had either missed or blocked until this point.  "We have..."  Jin was at the side of the dead man in a few quick strides and it didn't take her long to realise that the face was not familiar.  "Captain, we have a dead intruder."  She relayed the information calmly  "I doubt he'll have much of use on him but we might be able to find a clue as to who these people are and where they've taken Lilly."  Either she hadn't noticed Stacey's slip of the tongue or she was ignoring it.  "Ship is otherwise secure as I understand it, Frank has been dispatched to check aft, no crew seriously wounded as far as I'm aware but I didn't get many responses to the shout out.  Cole has taken lead but is mobile, mostly.  I left him in the galley with Burne."

That done she moved back to the cabins, heading for Makani this time.  "Makani?  Are you with us?"  Jin spoke more softly now, crouching down beside the woman to assess any obvious injuries.  Finding none she sat back.  "Can you move yet?"  Her eyes clouded over for a moment, she wasn't exactly sure of the relationship between the two but it was clear that a lot of caring was involved.  "I'll help you turn the Verse upside down to get her back.  I know what it's like to lose someone."  Jin promised in a whisper.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 295 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 4 Aug 2011
at 22:44
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey coughed as he lay there and Jin reported.
"Ok. Good.". Her words were reassuring; it didnt sound like the rest of the ship had been hit badly. "What about our passengers? Are they ok?".
Despite being incapacitated the Captain felt his focus returning as the adrenaline in his blood subsided. The fact he could now curl his toes and stretch his fingers helped; it meant the tranquiliser was continuing to fade.

With Jin seeing to Makani, Stacey strained his neck to look back toward his cabin. Scout peered out from under the desk sorrowfully. "Next time you wake me up at night i'll be sure to heed your warning boy.".
Makani Ano
 player, 212 posts
Fri 5 Aug 2011
at 02:53
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's quarters)

Makani looked up at her tears of anger and frustration giving way to thanks.  She blinked her eyes slowly as if trying to say yes and after several tries she managed to get a weak, "Pa... ra... lized...They took... Lilly... my Lei Hulu...didn't want to endger... "

She sighed and shook her head awkwardly.  "Sorry..."

When Jin offered to help, she met her gaze, grateful for the offer.  "Too dangerous... cannot ask..."

She closed her eyes and bit her lip, trying not to think the fate that would await Lydia if she failed.
Jin Chu
 player, 194 posts
Fri 5 Aug 2011
at 13:19
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's quarters)

"You didn't ask, I offered."  Jin flashed a fierce smile.  She had set the jug and cups down earlier so now had both hands free to help manouevre Makani into a sitting position assuming that the darts they had been hit with simply caused a paralysis rather than locking the muscles.

"No news on the passengers yet Captain.  No answer from them when I called but Frank was heading downstairs, he should be able to give us some idea of how things stand fairly swiftly."  She raised her voice enough to carry out to Stacey.

This message was last edited by the player at 13:20, Fri 05 Aug 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 296 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 5 Aug 2011
at 15:18
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside Captain's Cabin)

"Ugghh.". He croaked. "Thanks Jin.". Awkwardly he tried to move an arm to shift his weight, but nothing happened. Patience is a virtue Stace. Instead he turned his head back toward Makani and Jin. Eyes closed he tried to rest as he spoke, thinking it might help his body recover. His memory wandered back to the attack.

"There were 3 of them when I opened the door. Should have listened to Scout; I had my pistol, but they were ready for me. They never intended to harm us; the tranqs were already loaded.". Stacey spoke to no one in particular, uttering the words to help solidfy the memories, incase he'd missed anything important.
"The leader mentioned four names; Chang drove the truck. Xao took Lily. Bud and Chao were somewhere else on the ship.".
A thought struck him.
"Jin, how the hell did they get on board? Can you check the front airlock, has it been opened?". The logs would tell. "Unless we were betrayed...". A new grimace of concern creased his brow. What if Tang's girls or Dem were involved? "My pistol should be on the floor near by. Make sure you are armed Jin.".
Shan Yu
 GM, 419 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Fri 5 Aug 2011
at 16:00
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Near infirmary)

Frank acknowledged Kelly's instructions with a nod, turning and hurrying into the passageway.  He felt he could trust her absolutely, something he hadn't felt for any of the passengers prior to this.  "Tough lady..."

He almost ran into Cole and Burne, and his face broke out in a smile of relief when he saw his good friend.  "Thank the heavens, Burne.  Are you okay?"  His eyes shifted to Cole, who was obviously not okay, and he immediately moved to help the wounded man.  "C'mon, let's get him into Tang's cabin.  Kelly is in there attending to the Madame...she's been shot, Kelly too.  We also got a dead gunman..." (he gestured toward the bloody body just feet away toward the lounge) "...and one of the girls is dead in the side passageway.  There's another girl in one of the cabins..she's a basket case.  I haven't seen hide nor hair of that Cat woman.  I also locked up the back hatch."  He suddenly remembered that he was on his way forward.  "You see anything of Makani or Lilly?  They're the other ones with medical training, and we can use them."
Burne Catweazle
 player, 281 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Fri 5 Aug 2011
at 21:16
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Tang's Quarters)

"I'm good," Burne told Frank as she followed his lead in moving Cole into the available room.  Once Stacey's man was down, she switched her weapons back to the other hands.

"So you have the rear secure then?  No intruders on board?"

She quickly filled him in.  "Makani is up front.  She and the captain were tranq'd.  I didn't see any sign of Lilly, I thought she might be back here.  If she isn't, that means she's either hiding in one of the rooms or the shuttle.  Or she's been taken, but that would mean secrets again..."  She stopped speaking then, the words had come out as her brain ran through the implications.   Unfortunately Cole was still in ear shot; he might be in on whatever was happening.

She moved out of the room to the hall, telling Cole before she did, "I'll let them know you need medical help, and see if I can't get one of the ones with training down to you right away."

Once she and Frank were secure from other ears, she went on.   "That leaves everyone accounted for except Lilly and Cat.  And if you had a person on the inside for a smash and grab would you leave her behind?  No, you'd take her with you, or kill her.  The fact that the others were tranq'd means they wanted something, and lives weren't the cost of getting it.   So whatever they wanted, they got, and chances are they took their compatriots with them."

"So my question to you is what was so valuable?"
  Burne wasn't concerned with checking the rear of the ship now.  She trusted Frank completely.  If he said it was secure, it was.

"I should head back up and let the captain know everything is secure here and find out if we need to do a room to room to verify Lilly and Cat aren't onboard."

This message was last edited by the player at 21:18, Fri 05 Aug 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 420 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sat 6 Aug 2011
at 01:29
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Near the infirmary)

Frank shrugged his shoulders when Burne posed the question about what was so valuable.  "It looks like the only things they took were Lilly and Cat.  So what's so special about them?  Based on what I've seen of Cat, it wouldn't surprise me one bit that she was involved.  When I first came down here, the passenger door in the cargo ramp was ajar, and there was no sign of forced entry.  It would have been easy for her to sneak out here, open up the door for her friends, then pretend to be taken by them."  A sudden look of dread came over his face.  "I just thought of something!  Dem looked like he was hit up in his cabin, and I haven't seen him since things quieted down.  I hope he isn't hurt bad."  He started running up the stairs, and arrived at Dem's door seconds later.  Carefully sliding open the door, his worst fears were confirmed.  Dem was inside, lying motionless on the floor, a large red puddle surrounding him.  Frank exhaled a long breath and leaned over the man, checking in vain for a pulse.  "Gorram it."
Makani Ano
 player, 214 posts
Sat 6 Aug 2011
at 11:56
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's quarters)

Makani managed a smile at Jin's comment and let out a relived sigh as she was able to move a little more, but she had a long ways to go and meanwhile Lydia's kidnappers were getting further away.  If they made it to a ship...

"Truck...(they) called to man in (a) truck... can you trace (the signal)... follow?"

She shook her head in frustration as only half the words would actually form. She had failed Lydia, was still failing her.
Jin Chu
 player, 195 posts
Sat 6 Aug 2011
at 12:02
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's quarters)

"Wilco Captain."  Jin replied, again at a volume that would carry through.  "There is a jug of water along with some glasses just outside by the Captain."  She continued, speaking more to Makani now.  "I think he is starting to get some movement back and I would suggest that both of you have something when you can, ground yourselves a little."

She thought for a moment, "Gorram, if I'd had half a brain I'd have grabbed one of the headsets so we didn't have to be broadcasting everything to the whole ship..."  A quick sigh, irritated at herself for not thinking sooner but not willing to dwell on it.  "I'll check the air lock then pick up our..."  She gestured at the body in the corridor with a grimace.  "Pick up his radio, that should make traking far easier."

Moving quietly she left the cabin and headed the few paces down the corridor to the main airlock.

In a few moments she was back again.  "Both secure and not opening until either Burne or I get at them with some tools."  She reported.  "They've been disabled from the inside and not in such a way as to cause permanent damage.  Was Burne down here before me?"  It seemed the most logical explanation.  If the intruders had intended to 'lock' the doors then surely they would not have been so concerned about leaving the wiring so easily repairable.  While Jin spoke she moved cautiously over to the dead gunman, clearly very uncomfortable about searching him for any kind of comms device.  "Renci de Fozu...  I can't believe I'm doing this."  Eyes half closed and breath held she checks for something resembling a comms device, looking for an earpiece or head set before delving into his pockets for a radio or the like.


(Renci de fozu - Merciful Buddha)

This message was last edited by the player at 12:27, Sat 06 Aug 2011.

Burne Catweazle
 player, 282 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Sun 7 Aug 2011
at 13:26
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside Infirmary)

Burne had considered talking to Madame Tang, but she didn't want to interfere with Kelly's treatment of Cole and the older woman.  Besides, other things were a priority.   When Frank mentioned Dem, that hit the top of the list, and she followed Frank to Dem's quarters.

(Dem's Quarters)

Inside Frank confirmed that another man was down.  Burne wondered what had happened.  Some were shot with tranquilizers, and some had been gunned down.  Still, a Death Squad would have cleaned the ship.  And they would have done it more quietly than this.  With the exception of the tranquilizer darts, this had the look of amateurs, a smash and grab gone wrong.

It was all speculation right now.

"Captain will need an update.  Hopefully he's moving by now.   I'll head forward and bring him up to speed.  Anything you want me to tell him?"

(Through Galley towards Captains Quarters)

Burne and Frank parted ways shortly thereafter, and she made her way to the front of the ship.  There was no more need for stealth, and no need for the weapons now it seemed.   Still, there were priorities.  She could change and put her weapons back after the current crisis was over.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:10, Sun 07 Aug 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 421 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sun 7 Aug 2011
at 14:26
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Near Captain's cabin)

Jin searches the dead gunman, her reluctance evident in the hesitant way she reached into his pockets.  There wasn't much blood...Makani's shot had killed him instantly, piercing his heart.

The man was dressed in plain dark clothing, and Jin found no commset or other communications gear.  Near him on the deck, she did find a small tranquilizer dart pistol and an electric torch (which apparently broke when it fell to the deck).  She also found a 9mm pistol tucked in his waistband, a dozen credits in his pocket, and in a small pouch on his belt, one extra magazine each for the 9mm and the dart pistol.  As she was searching him, she noticed a tattoo of a black flower on the side of his neck.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:27, Sun 07 Aug 2011.

Frank Shelby
 player, 97 posts
Sun 7 Aug 2011
at 14:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Near Dem's cabin)

Frank stood back and looked at Dem's body for a moment, shaking his head.  He had liked the man, and who knows, maybe he caught a bullet that would otherwise have hit him.

At Burne's announcement, Frank shook his head.  "Naw, I don't need anything.  I'll start a more thorough search, starting with the passenger area and lounge.  Should be able to confirm that Lilly and Cat aren't down there, at least."  As Burne departed to go forward, Frank hit the stairs and quickly returned to the lounge.  There weren't many places to hide, and his search went quickly, finding no one other people than Tang, Cole, and Kelly in Madame Tang's cabin, and Jenna in hers.  With the traumatized young woman, Frank was amazingly gentle, helping her off the floor where she continued to cower in the corner, and virtually carried her to Madame Tang's cabin, doing his best to keep her from seeing Ping's body.  Once in Madame Tang's cabin, he sat her on the edge of the bed.  "Jenna, you need to help Kelly now.  She's hurt her own self, and needs you to assist her in patching up Cole and your boss."  Without a word, Jenna just nodded and began to follow Kelly's directions.

Frank backtracked to the passageway where Ping's body lay.  Entering her cabin, he pulled off the bedspread and draped it over the tiny figure.  He paused and looked down at the body, muttering, "It just ain't right."
Cole Jackson
 player, 205 posts
Sun 7 Aug 2011
at 15:10
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Tang's Cabin)

Cole leaned against the cabin wall, not wanting to sit and flex his ribs any more than he already had.

"Thanks, much," he said to Burne before she walked out again.

Looking over at Madame Tang, Cole tried to assess their situation.  Cole kicked himself for not checking Dem in the hallway.  In everything, he'd been more worried about the ladies than the men.  He'd had to send someone up to check on him if Frank, Burne, or Jin had not already.  There was a dead gunman in the lounge.  Frank had also said that Ping had been shot.  Tang and Kelly also injured, with Cat and Lilly missing.  This had not been a good night.

"Madame Tang?  How are you holding up?  Has anyone told you what has happened yet?"
Jin Chu
 player, 196 posts
Sun 7 Aug 2011
at 15:27
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside Captain's Quarters)

"Ta ma duh!  Stupid son of a...Who pulls a stunt like this without carrying comms?"  Jin wiped her hands carefully on her pants before straightening up and stepping away.  Her usual careful manners were lost under the tension of the situation.

"Captain, we've got no comms on this one but I'll still do what I can in the way of tracking them.  There's a tattoo here, looks like it could be significant, he doesn't seem to be the kind to get flowers for the hell of it."  She moved to hit the intercom outside of Makani's cabin, flipping the switch to the open channel she cleared her throat before speaking.  "Jin to anyone listening.  How are things where you are?"  She wanted to get a sense of the rest of the ship - not to mention letting Stacey hear whatever the report was - before giving too many details.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:18, Sun 07 Aug 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 422 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sun 7 Aug 2011
at 16:27
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Madame Tang's cabin)

Madame Tang rotated her head to face Cole.  She was patiently allowing Kelly to administer to her, but had refused any morphine...at least for now.  She was pale from loss of blood, but now that the blood covering half her face had been cleaned off, she looked in control and even managed a weak smile.  "Well, Mr. Cole, I've been better.  I don't really know what's gone on...I've just heard bits and pieces.  We were boarded by someone, for reasons yet to be determined.  I know Ping's dead, and possibly Dem, as well.  There also may be other wounded or dead amongst the crew.  Do you have any other definite information?"
Shan Yu
 GM, 423 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sun 7 Aug 2011
at 22:16
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Almost twenty minutes had elapsed since the attack.  Kelly continued to provide medical assistance in Madame Tang's cabin to Cole, Madame Tang and herself.  Frank and Burne ensured that the ship was secure, and their cursory search failed to locate either Lydia or Cat.

Forward, Stacey and Makani were quickly recovering.  Stacey was able to stand and move about, though a bit wobbly.  Makani, probably due to the fact that she received a double dose of the tranquilizer, improved less quickly.  Unable to stand unassisted, she could still struggle to her knees and had full control of her arms.

Suddenly, ***KANG***KANG***KANG***

The small passageway near the forward passenger airlock reverberated with loud clanging sounds, apparently from some heavy metallic object banging against the airlock door, and undoubtedly causing near fatal cardiac seizures in Jin, Stacey and Makani.

Someone was at the door.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 297 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 8 Aug 2011
at 16:21
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside Captain's Quarters)

While Jin searched the dead man Stacey tried to pull himself upright. With some effort he propped himself against the bulkhead and took a few breaths. His legs were weak but feeling was returning.
When she mentioned the black flower tattoo, the Captain looked meaningfully at Makani, but only said to Jin "Good work Ms Chu.".

As the seconds passed and they awaited a response to Jin's call to the rest of the ship Stacey tensed and pushed his body upright against the wall. Precariously he regained his feet. For a moment he thought he would fall, but despite feeling like jelly his legs held firm.

***KANG***KANG***KANG***

The sudden noise made him jump and Stacey looked toward the airlock. "Tell the others we got company.", he ordered Jin urgently as he lurched into his cabin. As quickly as he could he hefted his rifle - it felt like lead in his numb arms and when he stepped back from the desk it slumped to his side as he struggled with its weight.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:00, Mon 08 Aug 2011.

Jin Chu
 player, 197 posts
Mon 8 Aug 2011
at 17:05
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside Captain's Quarters)

Jin had all but forgotten that she was still in a pair of silk pjs, she was glad that she had paused to grab her gloves though. Flexing her fingers to feel the slight weighting she slapped the intercom once more.  "We have visitors people.  Able crew members who aren't putting someone back together, to the forward air lock."  Ship wide again, if no one turned up she would go hunting for people herself but right now she did not like the idea of leaving the Captain and Makani to deal with this themselves.  Stacey seemed to have shaken off more of the effects than Makani but neither of them were exactly working at full speed.

She was working on adrenaline so the sudden banging had made her jump but she wasn't sure that she could get any more hyped up.  Meditation...meditation would be good or just sleep...
Shan Yu
 GM, 424 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Mon 8 Aug 2011
at 17:05
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Throughout the ship, the sounds of the metallic clanging on the airlock door could be heard or felt through the metal bulkheads, but muffled by the layers of obstruction.

***KANG***KANG***KANG***
Cole Jackson
 player, 206 posts
Mon 8 Aug 2011
at 21:32
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Tang's Cabin)

Cole had filled Madame Tang in on the situation as he knew it.  Admittedly, he was missing several important facts.  He forced himself not to speculate however, as Kelly worked to patch the bleeding.  He knew the injured rib was likely outside of her area of expertise and said as much.

"I'm due for a trip to the hospital, aren't I?" he asked, trying to sound as charming as possible.

His train of thought was interrupted by the sound reverberating through the ship.

"Now what?!" he said louder than was necessary.  His questions was answered by Jin's broadcast.  "Sorry, Doc," he said to Kelly.  "Duty calls."

Standing, Cole lugged himself foward.  Climbing the stairs brought twinges to his ribs, but either he was getting used to the pain or Kelly was better than Cole thought.  Reaching the top of the stairs, he saw Dem's body laying on the floor.  For only a moment Cole mourned for the man.  He only allowed a moment as there were current matters that still affected the living.

Stopping to another moment in the galley, Cole  pressed the broadcast button on the comm.

"I'm on my way down.  Don't start the party without me this time."

Cole continued forward, reaching the next set of stairs and starting down.

"To many gorram stairs," he breathed to himself.  "Need to open it up down below."

When Cole finally reached the lower level, he glanced at Makani and Stacey.  His vision went red as he realized that Lydia was not with Makani.  He stepped around the corner, hiding his already injured left side behind the bulkhead.  With his uninjured right arm, he drew his pistol and aimed it at the airlock door.  Whoever was trying to come in had better be on the right side of things this time.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 298 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 9 Aug 2011
at 08:32
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside Captain's Quarters)

Stacey nodded weakly to Cole as he arrived. He was glad to see the man but noted the blood that darkened his clothing with concern.
"They've taken Lily.".
The Captain still felt sluggish and for a second he thought about releasing Scout, but decided against realising he wouldn't be strong enough to lift the desk. Instead he took up a position by the door to his room, leaning on the wall for support.
"Makani can you move at all? Cole, can you help her get out of the hall way?". Stacey looked to Jin. "Get the door. Can you get the speaker or vid working and see who is out there? Don't open it until Cole is ready.".

This message was last edited by the player at 08:34, Tue 09 Aug 2011.

Jin Chu
 player, 198 posts
Tue 9 Aug 2011
at 12:04
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Near forward airlock)

"Shouldn't be a problem."  Jin moved up to look at the scrambled wiring that had been used to 'lock' the airlock.  Even without her tools there might be a chance that she could bring it back to some semblance of working order.  It didn't look as though the connections for the vid screen had gone.
Makani Ano
 player, 215 posts
Tue 9 Aug 2011
at 22:58
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's room)

Makani had been staring at the closet trying to peice everything together and the mention of the flower tattoo only confirmed her worst fears.  She had been afraid that the kidnappers had been hired to do the deed, the tattoo said otherwise.  It meant there would be no barganing from them or with them.  They would take her as immediately as possible straight to her own personal hell.

She tested her amrs but knew her legs weren't up to working. Reliably. When she heared the pounding on the door she placed Lydia's pistol lovingly on the younger woman's pillow and pulled out her own, then crawled to the doorway of her cabin.  She might not be able to stand but one didn't need to stand to shoot if it came to that.

Her little family had been through enough.  It was time to figuth back.

She gave the captain a determined nod as she took as covered a position as possible.
Shan Yu
 GM, 425 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 10 Aug 2011
at 00:14
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Surprisingly enough, the wires to the airlock, including the vid screen, proved to be simple to reattach.  There was a tendency in the military to try and make things simple, and the wiring of this former Alliance warhorse was no exception.  Jin was able to reconnect everything in less than two minutes, during which there was one more clanging attempt for the visitor to gain entrance.  If it was someone determined to enter, they might very well be resorting to a cutting torch very soon.
Jin Chu
 player, 199 posts
Wed 10 Aug 2011
at 00:22
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Near Forward airlock)

Satisfied that everything was back as it should be, Jin activated the vid screen and took stock of what she could see outside.  With any luck they would get some chance to see what they were dealing with before their visitors got fed up of being polite.
Shan Yu
 GM, 426 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 10 Aug 2011
at 00:38
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Forward airlock)
Jin activated the vidscreen that would provide a view of the area immediately outside the forward airlock, then stood back to allow everyone to see.  The face that suddenly filled the screen was one they had seen before, and within seconds, the man noticed the light indicating that the screen was active.  "Ah, I see someone is still alive in there.  If you would be so kind as to let me in, I've brought medical personnel with me, and I know they are urgently needed."


This message was last edited by the GM at 02:21, Wed 10 Aug 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 299 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 10 Aug 2011
at 09:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside Captain's Cabin)

As the small vid screen flickered into life Stacey's eyes narrowed as he tried to make out the face. It was authoritive voice that crackled through the speaker though that trigged recognition.
Relieved he croaked to Jin "Let him in. Its Rooney.".
What the man was doing here on this planet, at this time was another question, Right now they needed all the help they could get.
They needed to get back on their feet.

They needed to save Lydia.
Cole Jackson
 player, 208 posts
Wed 10 Aug 2011
at 11:08
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole was glad to see Rooney's face on the screen.  It meant that he wasn't going to have to try to move Makani.  It did bring up suspicions as to why the man was here.  Still unhappy about being shot, Cole kept his pistol out and ready.
Jin Chu
 player, 200 posts
Wed 10 Aug 2011
at 12:17
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Forward airlock)

Jin nodded confirmation to the Captain but privately her mind overflowed with suspicions.  What was he doing here, how did he know there had been trouble and how in the name of all that was holy did he get here so cursed fast?  Knowledge, that could have come from the good Madame or one of her people she supposed but the swift arrival?  That implied that he had been dirtside here already and that seemed a little odd.

She shoved it all down and painted a polite smile on her face though, pulling her manners back into place like a well worn coat and opening the airlock doors to admit Mr Rooney and his people.  "Mr Rooney, it's good to see you sir.  Especially in the wake of our last set of visitors."  She stood aside to let the group enter.
Makani Ano
 player, 216 posts
Wed 10 Aug 2011
at 12:53
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Hallway/doorway to Makani and Lydia's quarters)

Makani breathed a sigh of relief and lowered her weapon.  WIth Rooney here it meant that the others would be tended to and she could do what needed to be done... once the full effect of the drug had worn off.

It would give her time to think and put herself in the right mind set.  She had failed as protector, but she was also the huntress and her prey were those who held her Lei Hulu.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 300 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 10 Aug 2011
at 19:32
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Outside Captain's Cabin)

As Jin opened the door, Stacey was already thinking about Lydia. Hell knew why, but Rooney was here. Yet the most pressing matter was the girl. That vulnerable young firebrand who had somehow become the daughter of the group.
Makani's eyes seemed to burn with anger and Stacey felt and absent realisation sink into his veins.
You are not who you are because you yearn for authority. You are not a Captain for wealth. You are what you are because you owe it to your wife. You owe it to her her to start the family you both dreamed of.
Why Rooney was there Stacey didn't know. The only thing he knew was that Lydia was gone. It focussed
"Jin, we're safe here. Get to the cockpit.Do anything you can to track those bas*ards. Tell anyone who isnt injured my order are to hunt down those dogs.".
Stacey scowled as the airlock slid open.
The job was over. No one did this to his crew.
Jin Chu
 player, 202 posts
Thu 11 Aug 2011
at 09:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Jin snapped a salute and headed for the stairs leading back into the main body of the Duck.  She would check the galley area first, see if anyone was still there, then perhaps the infirmary.  She didn't go much for the idea of sending this message out on a public broadcast to the ship.  Besides, she wondered if she might be able to catch Burne, maybe ask if the pilot had an idea of where to start looking.  Not that Jin was lacking in ideas but it helped to have another opinion and Burne had a different background - she wasn't one to narrow her field of knowledge through stubborness.
Shan Yu
 GM, 429 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Thu 11 Aug 2011
at 13:54
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
The airlock door slid open, revealing the figure of their employer, George Rooney.  Gone were the canes, along with any apparent need for them.  The man strode into the passageway with no indication of so much as a limp, deftly hopping over the body of the dead gunman while hardly even giving it a glance.  Gone too was his suit...he was dressed instead in the field uniform of an Alliance Interpol Colonel.  Following closely behind him were two men dressed in doctors smocks and an Interpol officer armed with an automatic rifle and dressed in full combat gear.  The two doctors were obviously reluctant volunteers, and were prodded none too gently by the officer to ensure their forward motion.

Rooney paused to look at the group before him, and when his eyes met Stacey's, he actually smiled a tiny smile.  "Captain Yanoro, it's nice to see you again, though the circumstances could be better.  I received a wave from Major Tang indicating that your ship was invaded by gunmen, and that several people were wounded.  I "volunteered" a couple of surgeons from the Zafiro City hospital to accompany us here to take care of anyone in need of medical attention...though I'm afraid that taking anyone to the hospital is out of the question.  Any treatment will be done here."  He took a quick look around the area.  "Apparently, you, Miss Chu and Miss Ano are unharmed, but Jackson appears to have been wounded."  He turned and grabbed one doctor by the lapel of his smock, pulling him toward Cole.  "I'll call you Doctor Smith...you take care of this man."  He looked at the other doctor, then at the officer.  "You're Doctor Jones...Tucker, please escort Doctor Jones aft to the passenger area and find Major Tang.  Render any aid necessary.  I'll be back presently."  The officer merely nodded, then prodded Doctor Jones toward the stairway to the top deck and ultimately to the passenger area.

Rooney looked back at Stacey and placed his hands on his hips.  "Well, Captain Yanoro, what have you done to my little operation?"
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 303 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 11 Aug 2011
at 22:29
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey was taken aback as the face he regognised seemed to belong to another person entirly. The surly, stiff man that had been the Rooney of old was replaced here by a strong dangerous figure. An Alliance officer.
Stacey only had a few seconds to think before Rooney address him, but in those moments his mind raced.
Alliance Colonel? Major Tang? This was all some sort of elaborate operation then. But why were they involved? Conincidence, or worse? Hell, if this man wanted he could probably have the whole crew locked up in jail and the key thrown away.
Despite himself the Captain swallowed carefully. Tread lightly Stacey.
"With respect sir, we had no idea this was an operation.".
Absently Stacey was reminded why he hated the arrogance of the Alliance. Rooney's attitude exuded careless disdain for normal folk. For a second he glanced at Cole. The tall XO wore his feelings for the Alliance more plainly than Yanoro. Stacey didn't want him to end up like Kinny.
"We were hit about 20 minutes ago by intruders. They've taken at least one of my crew with them, and god knows what else.". Was the apparent Alliance operation something to do with the raid? Or more likley was the Tong as unaware of Rooney's true colours as the crew of the Duck.
"What the hell is going on?".

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:26, Fri 12 Aug 2011.

Cole Jackson
 player, 212 posts
Tue 16 Aug 2011
at 00:37
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole barely lowered his pistol as "Colonel" Rooney and his entourage entered the duck.  His face went from seeking revenge to one of pure revulsion.  Cole knew from the beginning that something was wrong with the deal they had been given.  Nothing was easy.

As Doctor "Smith" approached, Cole gave the man the dirties look possible.  However, he could tell that the man was not hear because he wanted to be.  Knowing the Alliance, the man had been pulled from his bed and forced into service.  Cole stepped back from his corner and allowed the man access to his wounds.

"Keep me lucid," Cole whispered as the doctor began his work.  Cole then tuned out the man and listened to whatever exchange was happening with Rooney and Stacey.  It only took a moment for Cole's temper to go into overdrive.

"Don't give this man any respect, Cap'n," Cole all but shouted.  "This piece of go se set us up!  It's obvious what the hell is going on!  Once again the gorram Purple-bellies show that they ain't above using decent folk just out trying to make a livin'.  The right question is 'What the hell are you doing here, Rooney?'"

Cole looked down.  He had moved while speaking.  The poor doctor was having to dodge his swinging arms to even examine him.

"Sorry," he said softly to the man, obviously just trying to do his job.
Jin Chu
 player, 203 posts
Wed 17 Aug 2011
at 17:58
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Towards galley)

Already on the move, Jin heard only the beginning of the conversation between Rooney and the Captain.  'Wave from Major Tang' caught her attention, the waves going in and out of the ship, that she and Burne had been working on.  She frowned, keeping her pace although she would have loved to stay and hear more.  The situation had just jumped several levels in messed up.
Shan Yu
 GM, 430 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Thu 18 Aug 2011
at 02:05
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
When Stacey started speaking, Rooney crossed his arms over his chest and leaned up against the bulkhead.  It was hard to discern what exactly he was thinking...his face was mostly inscrutable, with the possible exception of a tightness of his lips indicating a certain degree of anger.  He maintained his posture when Cole delivered his emotional statements, but now Rooney's slight smile returned momentarily...then it was gone and he was back to being inscrutable.  "First of all, the name's not Rooney, it's Taggart.  George Rooney was that cripple who hired you.  He served his purpose, and since I don't need him any more, and for that matter, didn't expect to ever appear as him again, I've decided to return to my true identity.  As for an explanation of what's going on, I think that can wait until we get a better handle on everything.  I have a couple troopers outside who have secured the area and will ensure that no more unwelcome visitors come calling.  Likewise, until further notice, no one is allowed to leave the ship."  He looked at Cole before continuing.  "You need to relax and let the doctor do his work, since you won't be seeing a hospital anytime soon."  He returned his gaze to Stacey.  "And you, Captain, need to get with your crew and find out exactly what went on here tonight.  Meanwhile, I need to go see Major Tang and see how she's doing, and find out what has happened to the rest of my people.  I'll meet with you and anyone else you wish to attend in an hour up in the dining area.  Perhaps I can give you some more information at that time."  He looked down at the dead gunman.  "If you don't mind, could you please search that scum and bring anything you find with you to the meeting?"  He pushed off the bulkhead and slapped his shoulder to knock off whatever imaginary dust might have accumulated.  He walked toward the stairs, turning the corner to ascend the steps, calling over his shoulder, "See you in an hour."

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:10, Thu 18 Aug 2011.

Burne Catweazle
 player, 283 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Thu 18 Aug 2011
at 02:20
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley -> Cockpit)

When Burne left Frank, she originally planned to go directly to see Stacey, but as she approached the cockpit, she decided to double check as many ship systems as possible from there, just to make sure there weren't any more surprises.  She had just started examining the displays when the sound of someone at the airlock echoed throughout the ship.  She got up and carefully descended the stairs, waiting just around the corner.  She remained there during Rooney/Taggart's entrance and she listened intently to the conversation, taking a moment to poke her head around the corner to see what this Taggart guy looked like.  When the conversation appeared to be over, she started to leave, but the sudden appearance of Jin gave her pause.  She waited until Jin came closer, then asked, "Where you off to?"
Jin Chu
 player, 204 posts
Thu 18 Aug 2011
at 11:32
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
"Looking for you."  Jin responded with a wry attempt at a smile to cover the fact that she had jumped at being addressed.  "Seems things really were too easy when we set out and now the other shoe is dropping.  Captain has asked me to do anything necessary to try and chase down the huen dahn who took Lily.  Got some ideas about our little project as well, maybe not so useful now but it might help us get things straight when no one else will tell us true.  You in?"

She sighed, brushing her hair from her eyes and meeting Burne's gaze frankly.  If this had happened when she was more away there might be a little more enthusiasm but right now all her feelings from their first meeting with Rooney/Taggart were coming back, that nasty little sensation of being taken for a fool.


huen dahn - bastards
Burne Catweazle
 player, 284 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Fri 19 Aug 2011
at 11:44
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Near forward airlock)

Burne gave a quick nod to Jin.  "Sure, I'd love to lend a hand...can't do much else right now.  Just let me give the Captain an update on the situation, then we can go.  Oh, and you can fill me in on this Alliance Colonel."

Burne approached Stacey and almost gave him a salute...force of habit.  Instead, she just waited for an opportune moment, then delivered her situation report.  "Captain, here's what I see has happened so far.  An unknown number of intruders entered through the rear passenger hatch.  Unless it was carelessly left unlocked, which I don't believe, I think it was an inside job.  When the gunfire started, Madame Tang and Kelly were wounded, and Ping and Dem are dead.  Jenna is okay, but a little shell shocked right now.  Cat has disappeared...I'm thinking she may have been the inside contact for the intruders.  One intruder was killed in the lounge area, and one killed here.  Frank is unharmed as well."  She nodded at the corpse lying a few feet from her.  "You know the situation down here.  I overheard that Colonel say he'd meet with us in an hour...I'll let Frank know.  Meanwhile, I'll be with Jin, helping her try to track the dogs that did this."

(Posted by GM)
Makani Ano
 player, 217 posts
Fri 19 Aug 2011
at 18:26
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani shook her head at the announcement that no one would be leaving the ship.  She had to go after the ones who had taken Lydia.  She coudln't chance them getting off planet before she could reach her Lei Hulu... and Hi'iaka forbid if that souless spineless bastard of a butcher were on planet.

She had to get Lydia back.

She rose shakily to her feet and the effort was almost too much.  "They have taken my Lei Hulu... Lilly... I cannot stay here while someone has her..."

Her voice was soft, as of she had used all her stregth to speak.

This message was last edited by the player at 15:32, Sun 21 Aug 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 307 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 22 Aug 2011
at 19:07
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
As Rooney, or whatever your gorram name is spoke Stacey felt an anger rise in his belly. Cole was right of course, and until the so called officer strode away the Captain had been close to doing something stupid.
This is my ship you b@5t@*d. It wouldnt take much to shoot you and hit black before your gorram alliance freinds can catch us.

Taggart's disdain saved him. Before Yanoro could act he had left with as much disregard as he'd held when he first arrived. Forcing himself to take a few deep breaths Stacey knew he was still recoving from the Tranq. He knew they needed the doctors Taggart had conscripted, and worse he guessed they needed Taggart's resources to find Lydia.

With a grunt the Captain nodded to Cole. "Get yourself fixed up Jackson. We'll deal with him later.". He hoped the XO shared his disdain but understand why they had to play along. For now. "You've got ten minutes before I need you on duty.". Stacey knew Cole would feel the loss of Lydia as cruelly as Makani and himself. He'd know time was of the essence.

A second later Stacey heard Burne's approach and turned to address her. The Captain listened with as much patience as he could muster; but it was circumstance that made his reply short.
"We dont have an hour god damn it.". He looked to Makani, glad at least she too was able to move again. "Rooney, or Taggart, whatever his name dosnt run this ship. I do.".

Stacey lurched back into his cabin, the effects of the Tranq lingering. It wasnt that he cared more about Scout, but that he needed time to think. "Give me a hand.", he growled to Burne as he lifted the desk Scout had been tied to. He himself was to weak to lift it but Burne's assistance freed the animal and the Captain turned back to his pilot. Makani's silhouette was dark against the door frame behind.
"Burne, get the engines warmed up. If we wait an hour, it'll be too late.".

Feeling like they had lost a daughter Stacey moved toward the fallen intruder. A pained grunt from Cole reminded him what they had almost lost as he knelt beside the body searching it.

Quietly he added; "I hope Jin can find a lead...".
Burne Catweazle
 player, 285 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Wed 24 Aug 2011
at 00:41
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lower deck, near Stacey's cabin)

After helping the Captain right his furniture, Burne rubbed her hands against her pants legs as Stacey delivered his orders to her.  She paused a second, wondering if any comments from her would be welcome, then finally shrugged and said, "Listen, Captain...I can fire up the engines, but the question comes up..."What then?".  We don't know which direction they went, or even who we're chasing.  I imagine they've already changed their mode of transportation, and with all due respect...we're already too late, and an hour won't make much difference.  If you still want me to crank up the engines, I'll have it done in thirty seconds...but I think the only chance we have is to enlist the help of Rooney, or Taggart, or whatever, and his Alliance contacts.  I don't know this guy, but I spent some time in the Alliance Navy, and I think they can help.  But they won't lift a finger if we antagonize them.  I think they're already pretty pissed about something that somehow involves us."

"Okay, that's my say.  I'll go fire up the engines now, if you still want."


(Posted by the GM)

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:41, Wed 24 Aug 2011.

Makani Ano
 player, 220 posts
Wed 24 Aug 2011
at 02:32
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani tried to remember everything she could from the attack, voices, wording, any hints as to where they'd come from.

She knew waiting was the wrong thing to do and she knew if she was going to find Lydia she would have to move fast, faster than the proscribed 'meet in an hour'

But if they were keeping her from leaving... there had to be another way... she suppressed a smile:  the shuttle.

She paused then looked at the Captain.

"Captain... an aerial view could give us what we need and they've covering the exits... what about the shuttle?"
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 308 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 24 Aug 2011
at 09:39
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lower deck, near Stacey's cabin)

Stacey knew in his gut that Burne was probably right, but it didn't change his mind.
"We wait for another hour and the trail goes even colder. Worse, when the hour is up, how do we even know Taggart has any intent on helping us? What is Lily to him?". They'd already witnessed the Alliance officer's careless disdain. "If Jin picks up on anything I want to be ready to act.". Torn he added with reluctant sincerity, "Burne you're probably right, but we have to try.".
He was about to go on when Makani suggested the Shuttle. The idea was perfect and Stacey looked at her thankfully.
"You're right. Do you need help setting her up?". The Captain looked back to Burne. "Ok, keep the Duck grounded for now. If Makani needs help thats your first priority. Second, see if you can pull up any of the airlock cam recordings. Maybe we'll see the vehicle they left in or something.".

Below him the corpse of the intruder lay in a pool of his own blood. Stacey began to run through the man's pockets, checking the body over.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 286 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Wed 24 Aug 2011
at 23:10
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Captains Cabin)

Alliance Navy matched the resume she had submitted.  It would bounce back as valid on all checks into the pilots identity.

Then the captain asked for her opinion.  "Unless there is something about Lily you don't know, she'll mean nothing to them."  That was a true enough summation.  bystanders were expendable to the greater mission. "But it isn't her he'll be searching for.  The intruders took her.  They violated Major Tang to do so.  So Taggart will need to track them, and by connection Lily, to take his next step.  He won't let the trail go cold."   In the same situation Burne wouldn't.

The airlock cams were close range and had been used that night to focus on the faces that came in and out.   They were old military, rugged, built to withstand harsh landings, and not designed for high definition distance.  They were built to ensure the enemy wasn't standing outside the hatch when the door opened.  Still, they were lined up to show incoming and outgoing folk for the night.   There might be something.  Maybe one of the intruders had forgotten to put a mask on before entering.  "I'll let Makani know before I start checking the recordings.  Will Makani's flight be being cleared?"

It was a simple way of asking whether the Captain was going to be clearing it with the Colonel, or if he was going to put the young woman in harms way with a takeoff that could easily appear as someone fleeing as it could be of dubious help to Taggart's purposes.

She waited for Stacey's response before heading back up the stairs to Makani, her quarters and the cockpit.

This message was last edited by the player at 13:06, Thu 25 Aug 2011.

Makani Ano
 player, 221 posts
Thu 25 Aug 2011
at 12:06
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lower deck, near Stacey's cabin)

Makani shook her head.  "I'm not as familiar with the shuttle here, but I should be able to prep her on my own... and I think... "

She paused and let her breath out.  "It should be on my own... I don't want to endanger your standing here... you have to think about the rest of the crew."

"I will do what I can... get you as much information as I can, if there even is anything."

This message was last edited by the player at 16:50, Thu 25 Aug 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 311 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 25 Aug 2011
at 15:03
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
The anger confusion and loss that welled with Stacey were a cruel undercurrent as he strove to somehow atone for his failings. You've lost Lydia. True enough there was little he could have done, but as Captain he felt responsible.

Burne's reasoned response though might have been just what he needed.
"You might be right. Hell I hope you're right. Taggart still wants something, else he'd have left us to limp to hospital. We'll not start a wild goose chase without reason.".
He nodded to Makani.
"Go ahead and get to the shuttle. There is no harm getting yourself set up, but dont you even think about flying off on your own.". A grunt from the near by Cole reminded them all that they call cared for the girl lost.
"If we find something to go on we wont waste time waiting for our 'employer', but till then promise me you'll stay grounded.".

Looking at the pair he continued "Still, Burne is right. I'll tell Taggart what we're doing. If he decides its worth his time to tell us what his plans are then maybe we'll hold off launch and listen to what he has to say. Until then we do everything in our power to drag up some kind of lead.".
His search of the corpse at his feet was nearly over and pulling himself upward the Captain glanced at Cole to see how the tall man was doing.

This message was last edited by the player at 15:06, Thu 25 Aug 2011.

Burne Catweazle
 player, 288 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Thu 25 Aug 2011
at 16:29
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

Burne nodded in agreement with the Captain and saw herself out.  Her mind was still thinking about the one solid lead they had, the signal she had shared with Jin.   She would have to check in with the girl and see if she had developed anything on the signal.

Burne stopped at her quarters and dressed with Chess now in a proper holster.  She let Deirdre know the ship was secure before locking her own quarters and moving into the cockpit next door.  Once at her controls she began pulling up the feeds to see if there was anything on the wide angle that might give them some extra information.
Makani Ano
 player, 223 posts
Thu 25 Aug 2011
at 17:11
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lower deck, near Stacey's cabin)

Makani let her breath out slowly.  She knew she was not alone and that going off alone would be a fatal mistake but she couldn't risk not being allowed to go after her.

She owed little if anything to Taggart.  She mourned the loss of Dem and Ping but the loss of Lilly was far worse.  Yes she was alive and her captors would do everythign they could to protect her... so that she would be whole and well when her 'husband' too custody.

She almost objected when the Captain asked for her word, but he was right, and he knew that once given she would do everything she could to keep it.

"Captain, I respect you too much to give you my word on this.  I promise you that I will stay put as long as I can and try to follow your request, but... if I can do something for my Lei Hulu by breaking that promise... I will."
Shan Yu
 GM, 435 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Thu 25 Aug 2011
at 17:32
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
In the next ten minutes, several activities took place, most of which proved to be largely unsuccessful when it came to helping to locate Lydia or identify her attackers.  The cameras that were located at the airlocks were not designed to be security cameras, but were there merely to show the ship's occupants who was at the door should someone come a-knockin'.  They didn't even automatically activate when the airlock was opened, so there was no video evidence to help the crew in their investigation.

Likewise, Stacey's search of the dead body uncovered nothing more than Jin had found, except that Stacey noticed the man had a profusion of tattoos, primarily Chinese in design and style, and many were tong related.

Any hope that Jin would discover a means to track the assailants was quickly dashed, as well.  There was no electronic footprint detected that allowed her to reveal anything that might help.  However, when she first entered her quarters, she noticed her computer blinking, and the message "Decryption complete" was displayed on the screen.  Quickly accessing the now decrypted waves that had been collected over the past week, the first wave (the outgoing wave on ) started out with "Interrogations of Corone personnel has proven to be fruitful.  There is some mention of a meeting on Verbena in four days.  Request permission to terminate activities here and relocate to Zafiro City.  Tang."  The incoming wave that followed was simply, "Approved.  Taggart."  The more recent outgoing wave from last night was, "Interrogation has revealed a major conference underway involving principal parties.  Have received invitation to provide entertainment tomorrow night.  Will attend, should be able to interrogate major players.  Tang."  And the final incoming wave..."Roger.  Taggart."

Meanwhile, Burne and Makani waited, the former in the cockpit and the latter in the shuttle, for word from Stacey regarding their next move.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 312 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 26 Aug 2011
at 11:58
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey stood from his examination of the corpse and lingered to make sure Cole was ok. Ahead of him Makani and Burne had departed and the Captain took a few minutes to throw on a shirt and make himself more presentable. He tucked his pistol into its holster and when he was ready he reached for the comms.
"Taggart, I need to see you in the Galley. Stacey out.".

Determination to find Lydia drove him and he strode up to the galley.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 289 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Fri 26 Aug 2011
at 12:36
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

The video hadn't worked out, as Burne had expected.  There was still the option with Jin, if the data bursts panned out.  Burne hoped they would shed some light on things.

For the third time she went over the controls, and the pre-launch.  Everything was good-to-go.  She opened up the Cortex and the local traffic, seeing if there was anything being broadcast about fleeing trucks, visiting ships being hit, or the like.  It was highly doubtful, but even local sheriffs were lucky once in a Miner's Moon.

As she was tuning in, she heard Stacey's broadcast.  The captain sounded unshakable.  She wondered how that would turn out with the new Alliance personnel on board.
Makani Ano
 player, 224 posts
Fri 26 Aug 2011
at 13:53
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Shuttle)

Makani set herself to work familiarizing herself with the shuttle's controls and beginning the preflight checks and configuration.  She forced herself to focus on the job at hand.

While it did not help Lydia directly it would help should the need arise.  As she worked she began a prayer to Hi'iaka, praying for Lydia's safety and a safe return.

She kept her darker thoughts submerged.  Vengence was not what mattered now.  All that mattered was Lydia.
Cole Jackson
 player, 214 posts
Fri 26 Aug 2011
at 23:20
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole gave a final grunt as the doctor finished patching him up.

"Remind me to thank you later.  You'll likely be patching me up again."  If the doctor was bothered by Cole's words, Cole did not bother to watch.

As Stacey called for Taggart, Cole set his face.  Stacey's face said everything that Cole was feeling.  There was going to be no waiting.  They needed to find Lydia and Cat soon.  Whoever they were, they were organized.  Cole had barely left his cabin when the guy blinded him.  That required professional training or advanced knowledge of who was on the ship.  Either way, this attack was not random.

Cole followed Stacey up to the Galley.  He wanted to be there when Stacey spoke to Taggart.  With any luck, he'd get to shoot someone very soon.
Shan Yu
 GM, 437 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Fri 26 Aug 2011
at 23:59
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey and Cole arrived in the galley to find it empty, though they were able to see Jin in her cabin, hunched over her collection of electronic gadgetry.  A minute passed, then two, then five, and still no sign of Taggart.
Jin Chu
 player, 207 posts
Sat 27 Aug 2011
at 10:52
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Jin's cabin)

Jin looked up from the computer at last, a mix of emotions playing through her.  She had waited a few minutes to hear something from Burne but clearly the woman had been distracted by something, other orders maybe.  Then the broadcast from Stacey...Glancing out into the main galley area she saw the captain and XO sitting waiting and, with a sigh, decided to deliver the news, both bad and...interesting.

(Galley)

"Captain, Cole.  I'm sorry, these people have left no kind of signature that I can trace, unsurprisingly there's no sign that they went through any kind of channels if they came from off planet and they've not been kind enough to leave me a local trail to get my teeth into.  I do have something that you might want to see though."

This message was last edited by the player at 18:50, Tue 30 Aug 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 314 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 30 Aug 2011
at 09:36
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

The absence of Taggart was no surprise. It only reinforced the evidence that the callous alliance officer did not care for the crew of the Duck. The Captain was considering doing something foolish to get the man's attention when Jin approached.

Stacey listened carefully to Jin's report. At first it sounded like another dead end and his concern grew like a dark cloud of rolling thunder. But when she spoke of news he nodded, allowing himself  a glimmer of hope.
"We need anything you've found that might be helpful. What is it?".
Following her lead he waited for the diminutive woman to share her discovery.
Jin Chu
 player, 208 posts
Tue 30 Aug 2011
at 12:50
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Jin triggered the playback of the messages again, text flashing up on her screen.

"Interrogations of Corone personnel has proven to be fruitful.  There is some mention of a meeting on Verbena in four days.  Request permission to terminate activities here and relocate to Zafiro City.  Tang."

"Approved.  Taggart."

"Interrogation has revealed a major conference underway involving principal parties.  Have received invitation to provide entertainment tomorrow night.  Will attend, should be able to interrogate major players.  Tang."

"Roger.  Taggart."


She paused for a second after the final one, studying the Captain's face.  "Burne noticed that there had been an odd set of waves after our visit with Corone.  She pointed them out to me and mentioned that they seemed like nonsense but reminded her of some Alliance coding she had seen.  We set to unscrambling them.  The programme finally got done tonight while we were all..."  She gestured broadly, lacking a suitable word for the events of the past couple of hours.  "You've just seen the results.  The first two are from Whittier, outgoing and incoming respectively.  The latter pair are from last night."

Jin ran a hand through her short hair, careless of the mess she made of it.  She was annoyed that her news wasn't more helpful for finding Lily but it might at least give them a little more idea what Rooney/Taggert's game was.

This message was last edited by the player at 18:50, Tue 30 Aug 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 316 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 30 Aug 2011
at 13:33
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey listened to the messages carefully and strode around the small room in silence.
"Good work Jin. Pass on my appreciation to Burne too.".

He paused thoughtfully.
"I wonder, do you think they know we recorded these, or are our Alliance friends unaware their conversations can now be monitored?". He continued carefully. "And if we wanted to, could we artificially replicate these messages with our own content?".

The decryption offered possibilities, but for now it left them dead in the water and Lydia's captor's no closer.
Jin Chu
 player, 211 posts
Tue 30 Aug 2011
at 22:26
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
"I don't think they're aware of it, if they are it's likely that they're confident in their encryption."  She spoke carefully.  "And now we've got the hang of things it will be easier for my programme to keep a track of anything moving either direction.  As to faking messages..."  She shook her head, "I wish I could say yes, that I'd got us a new asset.  From what Burne told me they change the codes at least daily.  Without knowing what the current key is there is no way I could produce something that would pass, all we could do would be replicate previous codes - that would raise even more alarm bells.  I don't know of any way to predict the codes either, they're randomly generated I would imagine.  Burne may be able to tell us something else."

There, honesty.  Useless but honest.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:44, Tue 30 Aug 2011.

Frank Shelby
 player, 98 posts
Tue 30 Aug 2011
at 23:53
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley/dining area)

Another five minutes passed with no appearance or word from Taggart.  Then Frank surprisingly appeared from downstairs where he had been searching the lounge and passenger cabins for clues.  His face was stern as he approached Stacey and handed him a torn, crumpled piece of paper.  "Captain, I found this in Cat's cabin...it was wadded up in a ball and tossed under the bed."


Cole Jackson
 player, 215 posts
Wed 31 Aug 2011
at 01:42
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Cole looked at the paper Frank had handed to Stacey.  His face fell as he realized what he had looked at just the day before.

"The gorram board," he swore through gritted teeth.  "She saw the picture on that gorram board in town and called it in.  That's what she tore off yesterday.  I saw the other part but didn't put it together."

Cole's face fell as he spoke.  Realization dawned on him.  He had seen a warning the day before.  He just could not put it together.

"It's my fault," he whispered.

If only he had pointed it out.  Maybe Makani would have recognized it better.  He should have taken her when he suspected something from Cat.  Or he should have let Stacey make a decision.  He was better at this stuff then Cole would ever be.  Cole shot people or tried to keep people safe.  But he had failed even that job.  He let himself get shot.  He let them take Lydia.

Underneath all of Cole's new self-doubt a nugget of anger continued to flare.
Makani Ano
 player, 225 posts
Wed 31 Aug 2011
at 11:18
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(shuttle)

Makani's hand hovered over the controls as she finished her pre-flight configuration and tests.  The ship was ready to go as was she.  The question remained: stay or go.

She had promised to wait as long as she could, but nothing more.  She stilled her mind, thinking of what she would need.  If she left without the captain's say so... it would mean leaving the ship and the crew behind.

She would need more than just her pistol... truth be told: she needed help if this was to be any more than a fool's errand.  She stood little chance against the men who had taken Lydia, even less once they got her to their final destination.

She stilled her hands and began reviewing everything she knew from the beginning, trying to find what she needed.

She found her hands shaking as she thought about the time they were losing, but they were bound by the owners of the ship...

She let her breath out slowly.

This trip was an Alliance covert mission.  The question was: how many of Madame Tang's people were part of the mission and how many were simply... there for appearances?

The Alliance would make a great enemy... or a powerful ally.   She paused and realized she no longer needed to remain silent.  In her head she began composing a message... one she knew only another dancer would understand.

She opened the ship's com unit and turned on the camera and pointed it towards the open area behind the pilot's chair.  It would be hard but hopefully she would be able to convey the message.
Jin Chu
 player, 212 posts
Wed 31 Aug 2011
at 13:57
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Having emerged from her cabin once more when the waves had been shared, Jin was standing against one of the counters in the galley when Frank appeared.  She had been trying to stop herself pacing restlessly, it usually helped her to think but in this case she had nothing to think about, no information that might help.

She watched the engineer show the paper to Stacey, watched Cole's reaction then came up to take a look at the paper herself.  The photo was clearly Lily, the name was wrong. ...ia, Lydia, that was the name that had been used earlier.  Something suspicious going on and no mistake.  Why was the girl wanted?  Jin would have been happy to let the change of name, the hiding from something slide, people did it all the time.  She was going to need to know if she stood any chance of helping find the girl though.

"Is there something I need to know if I'm going to be able to help you?"  She aimed the question at both men, her voice soft, the one she used with upset clients.  Make it their choice what they told her but make it clear that she wanted to help.  It was a narrow line to walk and she could only hope that the fact she wasn't a complete stranger any more would be a blessing rather than a curse.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 319 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 1 Sep 2011
at 13:00
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey glanced at Cole then back to Jin and Frank, then sighed.
"I think...perhaps there is.". Silently praying lydia could forgive him for what he would now reveal he spoke.
"Lily's real name is Lydia. She is a fine girl, but one who has faced an unfair share of suffering in her life. We hoped the past was behind her, and that in changing her name she could look to the future. Instead...".
The picture on the flyer showed a younger lydia, reminding him how vunerable she still was. They needed all the help they could get and that included friends like jin, burne and the engineer.
"Our best guess is that she has been taken by the Black Lotus Tong, to a man who claims to be her husband.
More than that...it is not my place to tell,  or perhaps not mine to know. What matters is that lydia was part of this crew and taken by those who mean her harm.".

He met the gaze of the diminutive woman before him with an honest plea for help.
"We have little to go on, save for that note.". He cast a grateful nod to Frank."Without it we would be lost. But with it...Jin, there must be a finite number of lines with that number at the end. Can you pull up a list? Maybe there is some way we could cross reference it with the Tong or recent usage.". Stacey didn't know where it would lead, but it was all they had.
"I'm going to speak to taggart, though I've not figured out quite how much to tell him yet. I guess that depends on him. But anyone has any suggestion at all how we can help Lydia, Id be mighty grateful..".
Cole Jackson
 player, 216 posts
Thu 1 Sep 2011
at 22:15
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Cole looked up at the thought of Stacey telling Taggart all of this.

"That rat don't need to know nothing more than one of our crew got taken," he said, raising up to his full height.  "And it was one his people that caused it."  Cole did not care that the flyer was the only scrap of proof that Cat was involved.  As far as the first officer was considered she had a huge target on her.  "He owes it to us to help get her back."

Cole was sure that Taggart would ignore any such request.  He was Alliance.  When did they ever help the common person.
Frank Shelby
 player, 99 posts
Fri 2 Sep 2011
at 03:58
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Frank watched the exchange between Jin and Stacey with some curiosity.  The revelation that Lilly wasn't who she was purported to be, and the involvement of the Black Lotus Tong opened up all kinds of possibilities.  Frank felt a bit resentful that he and some of the other crewmembers had not been trusted enough to know about Lilly/Lydia, even though he knew it was probably prudent on the part of those who did know that the full secret, whatever it was, was kept a secret.

"Well, I can't say that I'm real pleased at having information kept from me, especially information that could put me at peril, but that's something we can settle later.  I have some questions, though.  First...how do we know that we're dealing with the tong in this case...or is there still more that we haven't been told?  Second, if it is the tong, what can we expect?  I know next to nothing about them, and I think it would be a good idea to let us know what we're up against."  He paused as he looked from Stacey to Cole.  "You know, while we're waiting for Taggart to grace us with his presence, maybe we ought to get everyone down here so that we can all be working off the same set of blueprints."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 321 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 2 Sep 2011
at 16:53
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey looked sternly at Frank in response to his rebuke.
"She's a young girl who wants to forget her past and she wasn't looking for trouble. I don't doubt shes not the only one of us who has flaws Frank.". The Captain subsided slightly and added earnestly "This crew is a family, and we support each other.".
He sighed.
"As for the Tong...like I said, its not my place to tell Lydia's history. But what I do know is the body down stairs has the mark of a black flower on the neck and that ties in with what little I know of Lydia's tale.".
Frank Shelby
 player, 100 posts
Fri 2 Sep 2011
at 17:08
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Frank's anger flared at Stacey's admonition, but he kept it in check as he responded.  "I got no problem with having a past or having flaws.  Lord knows that I've got plenty of both.  And I've known plenty of secrets about others that I managed to keep close to my vest.  My problem is an apparent lack of trust.  A family that supports each other?  I guess that only applies to some of us.  Me and Burne and Jin...I guess we're supposed to provide support to the "family", even though we can't even be trusted to know everyone's real name, and even though we might be asked to risk our lives for our "family".  His jaw was clenched as he glared at Stacey.  "Don't lecture me on "family".  I thought I had one here.  Maybe I was wrong."
Jin Chu
 player, 213 posts
Fri 2 Sep 2011
at 17:31
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Jin kept her opinions to herself on this one.  She understood Stacey's position, reasoned that it had been Lydia who asked him to keep her secret.  She could share some of Frank's frustration as well though, mediation was what was needed here.  "Sounds to me like it wasn't the Captain's secret to tell.  I've had plenty who trusted me with their own lives not talk about other people's because they were asked not to.  You think a past is going to stay buried and sometimes there's no need to shout it around and sometimes the best way to keep it buried is to keep it quiet."  She sighed.  "Hurts when it turns out someone's not been as trusting with you as you were with them though.  Now it's important to us, we know.  Seems to me that knowing didn't keep Cole any safer, or the Captain, or Makani."  Her shoulders lifted in a slight shrug.  "Mean time, if someone wants to put the coffee pot on it would be deeply appreciated."  The last was directed at the Captain, maybe getting him to do something sociable would help calm nerves and frustrations all around.

Leaving the men to talk about their differences without any further input from her, she headed back into her cabin to start working on the half hints that the poster gave them.  In theory there was only a finite number of contact numbers that could end like that...it was just a very big finite number.  The sliding door stayed open, so she could still talk to those out in the galley without yelling her head off.
Cole Jackson
 player, 217 posts
Fri 2 Sep 2011
at 19:22
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole looked up at Stacey mentioned the number.  The board.  It was on the board.  There was a page that was familiar.

"The board," he said, looking down at the ground trying to remember.  "There was a piece of paper.  I didn't think nothing of it at the time.  I heard something rip while Cat was there.  When I went a looked a bunch of sheets were ripped.  One had 'Ly' and some numbers.  I don't remember the gorram numbers.  We need to get to that board and take a look."

Cole looked up at Stacey.  His face was full of both pleading and resolve.  Anything would help bring them closer to Lydia.
Shan Yu
 GM, 441 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Fri 2 Sep 2011
at 22:24
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

  As they were talking in the galley, Jenna appeared from the stairway door.  Her face was red and swollen from crying, and her arms were wrapped tightly around herself.  She walked over to the group and said to Stacey in a quiet voice, "Captain Yanoro, Colonel Taggart says he will be up here in 5 minutes to discuss the situation with you.  He also says to please have your crew assembled here with you."

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:18, Sat 03 Sept 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 323 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sat 3 Sep 2011
at 10:56
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey looked around as Jenna appeared. Despite what had gone on before, and her possible hidden alliance role, her tears were clearly real and it softened him to her. "Thankyou Jenna. We'll be here.".
Turning back to Frank he continued, a note of apology in his tone. "You're right Frank. But we didn't know it would come to this. Now we are here I hope you will help us.". The Captain wanted to reconcile any differences with the engineer. "Will you find Burne for us? I think she is up in the cockpit. Please tell her what we have just discussed before Taggart gets here.".
That should mean the crew would have a good idea what was going on, and get folk gathered for Taggart's meeting. Who knew where that would lead them.

Turning toward Jin's open door down the hall he called "Did you catch that Jin? Taggat will be up here in 5.  Do what you can before then.". In all honesty Stacey had no idea what was possible in Jin's world. Maybe she could kick off some searches, maybe it took longer than that. What was important though was that her 'equiptment' was concealed from Taggart for now.

That left Cole and Makani to deal with. The pair were hurting more than anyone else, and the torn emotion in Cole's voice spoke volumes. "Come on." he said to the big man. Together they moved toward the shuttle, out of hearing of Jenna, or Taggart if he showed up. They found Makani within.

Knowing time was short Stacey brought the former companion up to speed. "Taggart will be in the galley in 5 minutes. We need to make a quick decision.". He spoke quickly. "What you guessed already seems correct; Tong. The body downstairs had a black flower tattoo and Frank found something in Cat's room. It looks like half of a wanted poster, with Lydia's picture on it. The scrap has half of a contact number, but not everything.". The Captain looked at Cole wanting to reassure the man. "Cole thinks he knows where the other half of that poster is; on some board not more than a few hundred meters from where we landed.".
Cole and Makani would need to decide what to do next.
"Either we wait to see what Taggart says, or you two waste no more time and get over there now. I'll handle our gorram Alliance guest.".
He paused. "Its your choice. I'd say wait for Taggart then decide, but I'll understand if you dont think we can afford that time.".

This message was last edited by the player at 19:49, Sat 03 Sept 2011.

Cole Jackson
 player, 218 posts
Sat 3 Sep 2011
at 14:09
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole took a moment before he answered.  He wanted to run through anyone between himself and the board.  That was their only lead to Lydia.  At the same time, Cole knew how the Alliance works.  The shuttle was likely to be taken down almost before it cleared its moorings.

"Let's hear was Taggart has to say," Cole said.  "At least then I'll have a reason to hurt someone."
Frank Shelby
 player, 101 posts
Sat 3 Sep 2011
at 15:11
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley->Cockpit)

Frank offered a curt nod to Stacey when the Captain asked him to get Burne.  Without another word, he made his way to the cockpit, knocking before he slid back the door.  "Yo.  That Taggart guy is going to meet with everyone in the galley in five minutes.  The Captain would like everyone to be there."  He paused a few seconds before continuing.  "Before we go, there have been a few twists in the plot."  Frank briefly outlined the information that had been revealed...the real identity of Lilly as Lydia, the rather vague involvement she had with the Black Lotus tong and that organization's probable involvement in the attack, and the wanted poster found in Cat's quarters, suggesting her complicity in the attack.  Since Burne was a trusted friend, he also touched on the resentment he felt about the perceived lack of trust, and the minor argument he had with Stacey.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 291 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Sat 3 Sep 2011
at 16:09
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)

"Cat being involved doesn't surprise me.  Once she went missing, it stood to reason she would be involved.  We'll be lucky if there isn't more to it than what we've seen so far."  Burne found herself talking more quickly as her mind processed implications and extolled on things she had been considering during this down time in the cockpit.  She caught Frank's gesture and slowed herself down.

When he expressed his concerns she went on,"We knew something was amiss from when we were hired with the lower than usual pay, but we accepted it.  That meant accepting the unknowns of this crew in order for you and I to fly a ship together again.  The Tong doesn't bother me."  Burne had her own experience with a few of their members when they were enlisted to hide one of her targets.

No matter how fast she talked there was only a limited amount of time.  While they spoke she had been locking down the ship once more.  With the unknown status of Makani, Burne chose to leave the docking clamps in the control of the shuttle, so that no one would have to be at the Ugly Duck's controls for it to depart.  That should fulfill the Captains requirements.

She holstered her sidearm, and exited the cockpit securing it once more and reminding herself that she would have to upgrade the hatch interface to match the one she had installed on her own quarters.  With the ship being broken into it seemed more of a necessity than when they were just ferrying whores from one moon to the next.

The light engaged showing the cockpit was secure.   "No, I don't need anything," she told Frank as they moved away from her quarters.  "Anything physical that is going to unfold in the Galley is going to happen quickly.  Otherwise, we're just there to talk."

(Galley)

Following the directions of the engineer the two headed back to the Galley, where Burne took up a position near the hatch she had entered by.
Makani Ano
 player, 227 posts
Mon 5 Sep 2011
at 00:11
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Shuttle)

Makani looked at the captain as he explained the situation.  "Captain, I believe that any perceived breach will be met as a breach by all... if I leave... I will not be able to come back.  Scanners have given us nothing... I have prepared a message to my mentor... I do not know if she will be able to help us or not.  As it is, I think I will be needed in this meeting.. in my full.. training.  But the longer we take..."

She stopped, logic obviously warring with emotion and the only thing keeping her in check is the knowledge that in order to help Lydia she must not become a liability or a casualty.

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:05, Mon 05 Sept 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 324 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 5 Sep 2011
at 05:46
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
"Then we are agreed.". He rested a reassuring hand on Makani's shoulder for a second, seeing the loss that was held in her eyes. "Cole, lets go and see what Taggart has to offer. We can decide what next from there.".

Turning, the Captain ducked out of the shuttle enclosure and moved back down toward the galley for the meeting.
Shan Yu
 GM, 442 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Mon 5 Sep 2011
at 12:30
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Five minutes after Jenna had returned downstairs, a heavier tread could be heard ascending the stairs, and a few seconds later, true to his word, Taggart appeared, closely followed by Jenna.  His face was like stone, cold and emotionless, and his facial scars rippled as he clenched and unclenched his jaw.  He stopped, facing the Duck's assembled crew, and folded his arms over his chest.  "You'll be glad to hear, I hope, that the doctor expects Major Tang and Captain Chan to both fully recover.  You are aware, I'm sure, that Staff Sergeant Xanakis and Corporal Ping are both dead.  Petty Officer Fortunato appears to have been abducted, possibly as a hostage, and an operation that has been in the works for over a year has just gone up in smoke."  He gestured toward Jenna behind him.  "Corporal St. Pierre here is the only member of my team that came out of this unscathed."

He paused, looking from face to face.  "From what I understand, this ship was assaulted this morning by unknown assailants, for reasons unknown.  That's a whole lot more unknowns than I like to hear.  We've got two dead attackers, and nothing but questions.  I don't suppose anyone could shed any more light on the subject, could you?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:26, Mon 05 Sept 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 325 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 5 Sep 2011
at 13:37
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey stood solidly as Taggart entered. He was concious of the pistol that hung from its holster and tense frame of Cole near by. They listened to their guest's opening words in silence. So they're all Alliance. Not just Tang and Taggart.
"From what I understand we've been lied to about this whole operation. Worse, one of your so called officer's has brought the crew of this ship into danger;" He glanced at Jenna and corrected himself "Both your crew and mine. Into danger.". Despite his anger at Taggart and the adrenaline that the helpless loss of Lydia now fuelled, alliance or not, people were dead and injured. People who'd done naught wrong.
"You've not given us any reason to trust you Taggart.". He sighed. "But I dont think an argument is going to get us anywhere. The way I see it if we're on Alliance business then no problem. But we can only function if we know where we stand.".

Stacey paused. Did he reveal all to the disdainful officer that stood before them? Or play it tough as his adrenaline demanded; and risk being outlawed or worse for what would then ensue. Neither option was appealing. They had to know what Taggart had to offer, where his agenda lay. So instead Stacey offered something.

"The body downstairs had a tattoo; a black lotus. I've heard of a Tong by that name in my time.". The Captain wasn't ready to tell all yet. "Plus, I heard the names of four men. Chang, Xao, Bud and Chao. You folk keep files on everyone don't you?". Taggart (Rooney back then) had certainly done his research well enough on the crew of the Duck. It was possible the man already knew more about Lydia's past than anyone except Makani. "I need to know what you intend to do about all this.".

This message was last edited by the player at 13:41, Mon 05 Sept 2011.

Makani Ano
 player, 228 posts
Mon 5 Sep 2011
at 14:47
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Shuttle)
Makani drew a deep breath and nodded.  As the others left she hit send, hoping her message would reach Mother Jenna and that she would be able to help in some way.

(Galley)

Makani joined the others and listened, thinking about what the Captain had said as well as what Taggart said.  She drew a deep breath and gave a slight bow.

Gentlemen,” she said softly in a voice the Captain would recognize as her ‘mediating tone’.  “If I may:  each of us had our own goals here.  You, Colonel speak of your operation has gone up in smoke.  That is not necessarily true depending on the nature of that mission.  To me personally a young woman who is my mentor’s niece, and therefore my niece has been kidnapped and in your missing Petty Officer’s quarters we found part of a poster saying she was a missing girl.   I believe your Petty Officer may have triggered this fiasco either for profit or perhaps to get a lead in your mission, but I believe you would know if that were the case.”

I understand that you have your operation, I have my niece to worry about.  We can either work cross purposes here and ruin everything for all of us or we can pull our resources and perhaps salvage your operation and bring my niece home safely…”
Burne Catweazle
 player, 292 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Tue 6 Sep 2011
at 03:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cockpit)
While the cockpit itself was secured, certain console features were not.  The shuttle could come and go at the discretion of a pilot at the controls.  Similarly, the link to The Ugly Duck's Cortex connection was intact, allowing incoming and outgoing traffic from normal stations such as the shuttle Makani was in.

(Galley)

Burne stood stoically near the hatch she entered by.   Being off to the side, there was no need for her to move as Taggart entered moments later.   He tossed around names she knew adding depth to the faces she was already familiar with.  While filing ranks and such away, a more familiar part of herself took solace in her own training.  It was more direct, and serviceable than the type on this mission. The only difference was their covert training was more about being sociable and blending in, Burne's wasn't.  They were built to work as a group, and she was built solely or in pairs.  It left her more calculating, analytical, and driven for mission accomplishment.

She thought of Taggarts abruptness, and her own shortcomings.  Hell, she would probably like the man if he wasn't spouting about "unknowns" so much.  She knew now exactly why she had liked Tang from the start:  Confident, self controlled, composed, sharing only what she needed to.  The only real difference between Taggart and Tang was probably this situation.  Right now, Taggart had a myriad of elements to resolve with a group of unknown civilian elements.  Burne was grateful she had been selected for the program she was a part of.   She didn't have to worry about a mess left behind; Taggart did.

She bit her lower lip to stop from saying the word expendable as she wondered about the status of the crew and Taggart's mission parameters.

She listened to Makani start speaking.  It seemed like the woman was trying to find a common ground with the colonel.  It wasn't a bad idea, but Burne didn't see it being as successful as what Makani probably hoped for.   There was no reason to find Lily for him.  Plus, Makani mentioned the possible betrayal of one of his own; that wouldn't score any points, but would open up what he was probably wondering about.  Burne took a slightly different tactic, working on the foundation that Makani was setting up but looking for an alternative way of connecting with him.

"Whatever the reason, Petty Officer Fortunato is missing.  If there are answers to be had about why she was taken, and whether the mission has truly been compromised they will be found with her.  If this was merely a petty officers greed, than the mission merely hits a snag without compromise.  The invaders may have already slit her throat or paid her off and left her in town while knowing nothing about the larger mission.  Depending on the timetable of your mission Colonel Taggart, we can find her, get your answers, and the other members can heal up on the way to wherever the next destination is."  Burne wasn't going to assume there even was another destination, but she had to be open-ended if she was going to expect to make this a common goal.

Burne didn't believe Cat was merely greedy, or randomly taken hostage.  Cat was in this up to her eyeballs, and Burne wasn't so foolish as to believe the entire picture was being revealed to everyone in the galley.  She figured Taggart hadn't made colonel (if that was his real rank) by believing such superficial answers handed to him.  Not with a background in covert operations.

"Either way, the current unknowns become fewer once we find her."  And it would help this crew find their missing crewmate at the same time.
Jin Chu
 player, 214 posts
Tue 6 Sep 2011
at 12:25
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Jin's Cabin)

It hadn't taken long for Jin to smack herself in the head and realise that looking for possible numbers was a ridiculous idea when she could just search out the missing poster on the cortex.  It was bound to be out there somewhere.  She had just punched in the search perameters when footsteps announced the arrival of their employer.  Leaving her machine to do its thing, Jin exited her cabin, carefully closing the door behind her this time.

(Galley)

Leaning against the wall nearest her own cabin, Jin watched and listened in silence.  She was having some difficulty biting her tongue at the man who had lied to them from the start and now seemed intent on blaming them for the problems his mission was suffering.  It did occur to her to wonder why they had only incapacitated Stacey and Makani whilst Cole had been shot with actual lead and Dem and Ping killed.  Perhaps they had only taken tranqs down to the lower deck so there was no chance of hurting Lily...Lydia.
Shan Yu
 GM, 443 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 7 Sep 2011
at 02:28
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)
Taggart's face was impossible to read, largely because of the milky whiteness of his left eye and the large amount of scarring on the left side of his face.  "Captain Yanoro, spare me your indignation.  You didn't know the truth because you didn't need to, and it would actually have worked against our needs.  You were selected to crew this ship because of your background.  The fact that you and at least one other member of your crew..." (his gaze shifted to Cole and returned to Stacey) "...were known to be less than sympathetic to the Alliance, and this was something that could easily be documented, made you ideal for our purposes.  With you and this crew running the ship, no one would suspect it to be part of an Alliance operation.  We weren't able to find out as much about the other members of your crew, but it didn't really matter.  You and Jackson were more than enough to project the image we wanted.  We even picked a ship and gave it a name that would elicit disdain and contempt, a far cry from what would normally be associated with the Alliance."

He paused and looked around the group, focusing specifically on Cole, Makani, Burne and Jin.  After several seconds, he continued.  "I guess it's time you knew a bit more.  As I mentioned, this operation was planned over a year ago.  There has been a steady  increase in the trafficking of forced labor throughout the Kalidasa System...yes, I'm referring to the slave trade.  With the 'Verse-wide chaos brought about by that Miranda hologram business, all sorts of criminal activities suddenly found themselves able to operate with newfound freedom and impunity, and their operations virtually exploded overnight.  Of course, we all know that big business and legitimate corporations aren't adverse to the bending of laws if it can help their profit margin, so it wasn't long before those who needed labor teamed up with those who could provide cheap labor.  This unholy alliance of slaver and client has reaped huge rewards for both, and with money comes power.  If things continued the way they were, in a few years it could conceivably result in the institution of slavery becoming, if not legal, at least accepted, as politicians and those in power behind the scenes benefitted from the wealth heaped upon them to provide protection to their newfound "friends".  This operation of ours was designed to find out who the slavers were, and who their clients were, and to gather sufficient evidence to put them all away before things got out of hand.  We suspected the Corone Mining Consortium, or at least some of their operations such as the one on Whittier, of being a major clients, along with the Biederman Agricultural Combine here on Verbena.  The first needs miners, and the second needs farm workers.  Both are virtual governments unto themselves on the worlds upon which they operate, so they were able to keep tight reins on access to their planets.  We thought up the idea of a high class travelling bordello...something that would always be welcome to the lonely managment-level employees.  We recruited reliable, intelligent, attractive women from various branches in the military who could serve as prostitutes.  The final team members were selected for their...innocence...for lack of a better word.  Few would suspect them to be Alliance military.  Major Tang was selected as the leader...she's an experienced operative in my own branch of INTERPOL, by the way...with several successful operations under her belt.  And a ship's Captain known to have been an Alliance traitor could only serve to further allay any fears."

He paused again to let things sink in, but his face became thoughtful as his eyes shifted from person to person.  "Corporal St. Pierre, why don't you continue?  Fill them in on some of the specifics, if you would."

This message was last edited by the GM at 11:28, Wed 07 Sept 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 326 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 7 Sep 2011
at 15:54
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey listened to Taggarts revelations with interest. He had to confess it made sense. Worse he reluctantly admitted to himself that if it was true, the cause this seemingly callous man fought for was worthy of support.
The Captain shifted his weight uncertainly as he turned to the apparent Corporal to continue the revelations.
Shan Yu
 GM, 445 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Thu 8 Sep 2011
at 03:35
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

At Taggart's introduction, Jenna's face registered surprise for a second, then she nodded and said, "Yes, sir."  She turned to the group, cleared her throat, and began.  "Our job was to pose as prostitutes, catering to management level personnel.  Colonel Taggart's undercover network would ensure that we were given the opportunity to offer our services to the particular clients that we wanted...in this case, the Corone and Beiderman corporations.  For most outside observers, we conducted business as any brothel.  The clients would retire to the rooms with the girl...or man...of their choice, returning to the bar after about half an hour, fully satisfied with their experience.  But what actually happened was very different."  She glanced at Taggart, as if to seek reassurance that the information she was revealing was authorized for release.  "In reality, we would take the client to our rooms and sit on the edge of the bed, facing the large mirrors that we have on the walls."  She held up her right hand, wiggling her forefinger...and bringing attention to the gold, serpent shaped ring she wore.  "Each of us has a ring like this.  They may differ in design, but all are depictions of snakes.  The eyes are miniature studs, that when pressed, cause a tiny, spring-loaded needle to shoot forth from the snake's mouth.  It injects a drug into the bloodstream of the victim, causing an immediate reaction...we call it a "love bite"."  She paused to flash a quick smile that immediately disappeared.  "The victim doesn't even feel the needle...that's how fast it works...and the puncture immediately seals itself with no telltale sign.  The drug makes the client extremely susceptible to suggestion, and they will answer any question they are asked.  In our case, we questioned each client about any knowledge of slave trading in their organization, to include suppliers as well as other buyers.  We record the entire session on vidcams located behind the mirrors, which are two-way mirrors, or whatever they're called.  Once we're done questioning, we "suggest" to the clients that they will remember nothing of the questioning, and that instead, that they just had the most amazing and satisfying sexual experience of their lives.  I don't know exactly how it works, but the drug actually causes the brain to make up the details of the experience, based on the client's own fantasies and experiences and such.  Anyway, we then take the client out to the bar, where Dem...where Dem would serve them a drink laced with another compound that would remove any trace of the drug over a 15 minute period and bring the clients out of their stupor.  They'd still have the memories of their fictitious experience, and to them, it would seem as real as me talking to you now, even though nothing ever really went on in the rooms.  Then, once we closed down for the night, we'd all get together and report what we found out, showing the vids if necessary.  Madame Tang then reported to Colonel Taggart and they figured out the next step."

She stopped, wiping her eyes that had started to tear up when she mentioned Dem's name.  She looked over at Taggart.  "Is that enough, sir?"
Jin Chu
 player, 217 posts
Thu 8 Sep 2011
at 10:47
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

"And of course it would make sense of the 'runners'."  Jin mused softly, wishing again that they had pushed that particular incident harder.  She  hadn't quite settled on an emotion she was feeling about the current situation, Jin didn't enjoy being lied to but was not unaccustomed to it.  Now the important thing to do seemed to be concentrating on how they could all pull in the same direction to destroy...Horror, that was an easy one to feel at the thought of slavery.  They could sort out the irritation at being used as tools but Taggart and his people when the bigger problem was dealt with.
Makani Ano
 player, 232 posts
Fri 9 Sep 2011
at 11:55
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...

Makani listened to Jenna's description of the operation, wondering how much more they would have gotten if they crew had been spending their time looking for clues rather than trying to figure out their passenger's real business.

She knew the mission was, if they were actually telling the truth this time, worthwhile.  The problem was-- Lydia now faced that very same sort of horror they were trying to prevent.

"Your mission is not without it's dangers... how exactly were you going to handle being at the ... client site.  WIthout your rooms where they might be watching over you?"

He tone was gentle.  It was quite possible their goals were not that crossed.  Slaving was exactly the sort of thing that the black lotus would go for - especially since it meant both money and power.
Shan Yu
 GM, 448 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Mon 12 Sep 2011
at 03:59
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Taggart stepped forward.  "Thank you, Corporal...that will be fine."  He faced Makani as she asked her question.  "Just last night, Major Tang was contacted by representatives of Biederman.  Apparently, there is a conference of some type going on, right here on Verbena, involving both clients and suppliers...tonight.  Wishing to be good hosts, they wanted to engage our little troupe for an exclusive, 1-night engagement.  This was exactly the kind of break we were looking for.  The value of the intelligence that we could gather in a single night cannot be overstated, and could even be the final bit of information we would need to break their organizations forever.  Who knows if we would ever stumble upon such an opportunity again.  We tried to talk them into allowing The Ugly Duck to go to wherever they are, but they refused.  Instead, we compromised on taking the shuttle, and they were going to send an escort this evening to show us the way.  Once there, we would use their facilities.  It's by no means ideal, but we can't pass up this opportunity.  We won't be able to use the vidcams to record the sessions, so we'll be using micro-miniature audio recorders only.  And since we won't be able to administer the antidote in our regular manner, each of girls was going to have a bottle of this "special" booze with them and have the clients drink just before leaving the room.  I'm not concerned with anyone spying on the activities in the rooms.  These are people who fear being spied upon more than just about anything...they aren't about to do it to themselves."

He fell silent and looked around the room again, his eyes narrowing.  "But that was before this morning.  Last night, I had five women and one man who were going to put themselves in harm's way to destroy a criminal organization that has brought untold misery to thousands.  Today, I have only one operative left, and unfortunately, our targets are expecting six people to show up tonight."  Another pause.  "Gee, if only there was somewhere that I could recruit some replacements."  As he said this, his gaze moved meaningfully from Makani to Jin to Burne to Cole, lingering several seconds on each as he looked them up and down, then returning to Stacey.

"Yes, indeed...finding replacements would be nearly impossible on such short notice."  He leaned up against the wall, drumming his fingers on the bulkhead as if waiting for some kind of response, his milky eye fixed on Stacey, a wry smile playing on the corner of his mouth.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 327 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 12 Sep 2011
at 10:02
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey met Rooney's gaze unflinching. "You've another problem too. Maybe you can no longer trust Cat. Maybe she thinks there is more money to be gained working with the Tong, and telling them of your plans, than playing your games. Biederman would probably pay good money for that information, and the Tong know it.".
He looked around the group then back at Rooney. "Say we help you, you're still down five folk. Even if Makani, Jin, Cole, and Burne wanted to put themselves in danger for no apparant reward, you dont have enough women to pull it off.".
The Captain fixed his gaze on the officer before them. "Tell me how we save Lydia and whats in it for my crew if they help you, and maybe we can get this show on the road.".
Cole Jackson
 player, 222 posts
Mon 12 Sep 2011
at 16:50
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole's anger at Taggart grew to a boil again.  This man was asking them to put their lives on the line for his operation, which they were tricked, and seemed to think he had them over a barrel.  Cole was not sure what Stacey was playing at considering the offer.

"You ain't getting me to play no whore," Cole blurted out forcefully.  "We got a missing crew member to find." Cole almost mentioned the pain in his ribs, but kept it to himself.  Lydia came first.
Jin Chu
 player, 218 posts
Tue 13 Sep 2011
at 21:03
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Jin blinked, biting back an instant retort.  So, Taggart saw herself and the other women of the crew as potential replacements for his lost operatives.  No matter that they weren't actually expected to act as hookers...Her expression set, a hardness creeping into her eyes.  She could see the potential in helping Taggart and even the potential for using it to their own advantage.  A big part of her heart agreed with Cole though, retrieving their own missing member came first and what was being asked of them - they might not be civilians but she sure as hell wasn't an Alliance operative either.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 294 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Wed 14 Sep 2011
at 12:47
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(GALLEY)

Cole's less-than-personable manner was easy to imagine interacting in a whore house.  "Cole, they want to open a door, not have it slammed in their face," she said looking at Stacey's second. "This isn't the first time that appearances could open an otherwise closed door."  Cole could probably be dressed up.  Speaking would be the difficult part.

Burne didn't know Lydia.  The girl hadn't gone out of her way to get to know the pilot so far.  But the young girl was part of the crew, though Burne still couldn't figure out exactly what her function was.  Burne had agreed to be part of that same crew, and as such, she would go along with helping to recover Lydia.  Besides, it beats sitting around here.

She was still waiting to hear what Taggart was going to offer.  The Alliance always offered something, even if it was just the ability to keep your life.  It was standard operating procedure during the war: "obey or die."  Give the target the impression he is choosing his outcome, that he has a measure of control in what is going to happen.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:52, Thu 15 Sept 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 449 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Thu 15 Sep 2011
at 12:12
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Taggart chuckled and shook his head.  "Assuming Cat has decided to accept other employment, as best I can figure, our slave trading operation is totally separate and unrelated to anything that happened here this morning.  The knowledge she has is undoubtedly valuable, but she won't trust the tong with that info.  Once they had the info, they'd sell it to the slavers and Cat would find herself fed to the pigs.  Fortunately, Cat was not privy to the information about tonight's job.  Major Tang was going to brief the girls this morning.  So, Cat has no idea about the time sensitive nature of her info, and she'll play her cards slowly, knowing that the only thing keeping her alive is her potential value to the tong.  We'll deal with her soon enough."

"As for the discrepancy in numbers, when the Biederman representative arrives this evening, he'll be met by Madame Tang, who met with an unfortunate accident just this morning.  She tripped going down the stairs and seems to have sprained her ankle and dislocated her shoulder, so she won't be able to accompany the group to the conference.  So...only five will be going.  Her able apprentice, Jenna..." (he sweeps his arm to bring the startled Corporal into the conversation) "...will fill in for her."

Jenna immediately began to stutter.  "Oh, no-no-no...I...I...can't do that, Colonel.  I'm just a Corporal.  I never...I mean, I don't know...please don't order me..."  Tears began to well up in her eyes as she held her hand to her mouth, shaking her head.

Taggart addressed Jenna with the tone of a stern father.  "Nonsense.  You've been trained to do this.  You'll do it because it's your job, and it's for the good of the Alliance.  Madame Tang and Captain Chan are both out of commission, and I know you'll do your best."  His features softened fractionally and he reached out to grasp her shoulder.  "That's all I can ask of you.  Besides, you're the only one with any experience...slight as it may be.  I'm sure you'll do fine."  This last remark seemed to lack the conviction of the rest of Taggart's commentary.

His eyes returned to Stacey, and his visage became hard.  "Captain, there's something you don't seem to understand.  Your negligence led to an important government operation being seriously compromised.  And you ask, "what's in it for your crew"?  How about not being prosecuted for obstruction of justice and conspiracy to interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation?  And while you're thinking about your defense against those charges, remember that you are aboard a ship that belongs to me, and if this operation collapses, I won't need a crew any more.  You'll quickly find yourselves with baggage in hand, watching me lock up the Duck until I can bring in a Navy crew to ferry her back to Beaumonde.  Oh, and by the way, your precious Lydia will be long gone by then."

His expression returned to one of amusement.  "But being the old softie that I am, should you decide to show a little patriotism to your government and support the operation, I'll undoubtedly be overcome by my emotions, and I'll probably do something crazy like offering every asset at my disposal to help find your poor child.  The first thing I can do is put a land lock on every outgoing ship, and with the patrol vessel orbiting above us, I have the capability to intercept any ship trying to leave."

He made no reply to Cole's comment, but just shook his head.  But when Burne added her remarks, Taggart snapped his fingers and pointed at the pilot.  "There you go!  That's the kind of pragmatic attitude that we need!  It's not like you're being asked to actually do anything...unsavory.  A few hours of your time, and you have a new adventure that you can tell your kids about."

This message was last edited by the GM at 12:15, Thu 15 Sept 2011.

Cole Jackson
 player, 223 posts
Fri 16 Sep 2011
at 00:06
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole paused in his fuming.  He had not thought far enough ahead to think that Taggart might be able to help.  He was used to just avoiding Alliance "help".  However, this time the Alliance might be the only thing that gets Lydia back.  They had no information to go on otherwise.  But Cole still hated be kept in the dark.

"Now don't go calling nothing 'unsavory'," Cole said.  "Girls like that need to make money, too."  Cole realized that he was about to overstep his bounds, but he could not stop himself.  "You'd really help us?  Help Lydia?  How do we know you wouldn't...no.  It don't matter.  If you'll help with Lydia."

Cole turned to Stacey.  He was surprised with what he was about to say.  He knew that what happened to Lydia could have been stopped if he had paid better attention in town.  He blamed himself.

"I'm in, Cap'n.  Don't matter what you decide.  I've got to help Lydia anyway I can.  I always said I would."

Cole turned to Makani.  He gave her the most pleading look he could manage.  If anyone else would join him, it would be her.  But she had been quiet this whole time.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 328 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 16 Sep 2011
at 09:50
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

"Negligence?". Stacey felt his anger boil at Taggart's threats, but he forced it to subside. "From what we can tell those folk got onto this ship with the help of your operative. The Alliance put innocent people at risk.". He let the point slip; it wasnt like the Alliance worried about such things. Instead Stacey knew no matter how much they disliked this man, they had to work with him.

"We get our girl back, then maybe we can help with your operation. Like Cole says, we've no desire to obstruct your mission and you get our girl back we can go from there.".

He continued. "But we need assurances for once the mission is over. As you say, we're stuck on this rock if you get bored of us. After we help you, <after we put ourselves in undue danger for you, I dont imagine we'll be all too popular with the locals. Worse, we dont want to find ourselves caught up in some official Alliance investigation into the deaths of your officers here today.". He met the Alliance man in the eye. "If my crew agree to help you, then we need two things. Lydia first, our future security second.". He shrugged. "I don't think that's alot to ask to save this operation and put ourselves in harms way for the Alliance.".

Taggart knew half of the crew were relatively new to Stacey and their involvement might not be assured by only the offer of Lydia's retrieval. Besides, Burne had said something downstairs that nestled in Stacey's subconscious as he glanced at their surroundings. Did Taggart need the Duck after this operation?
Makani Ano
 player, 233 posts
Fri 16 Sep 2011
at 10:20
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Ugly Duck)

Makani bristled at Taggart's threat to the captain.  There were times she hated how 'the game' was played.

"Sir, I have studied people and cultural reactions to differing circumstances as I see it the issues with your mission are multiple.  There has to be a way to assure the safety and well being of those involved.  Audio recorders may be detectable, and if they are discovered I'm not sure 'for our own safety' is a good enough cover.  The people you are talking about, no matter how... 'celebratory' their 'meeting' may be... they know they are up to no good and 'hired' for one night might not entirely be their plan.  I am assuming you have a way of getting people out should the need arise?"

She paused as she gathered her thoughts.  "There is the additional danger that this is the sort of... market... one might expect the Tong to be involved in... therefore anyone coming from the Duck is, at best, going to be watched with suspicion... at worst would be walking into a trap."

She looked at those gathered and thought for a moment.  "I know some people who might be able to help, but odds are none are close enough to get her in time.    I have studied with them and one of the ... jobs, if you will, of an anthropologist is to blend into the society they are studying.  It makes them trained actors and chameleons..."

"As for taking the role of Madame Tang's apprentice,  Jenna is, and I mean no disrespect here...  rather young .".

She gave the younger woman a compassionate smile.  "You are rather young for the role.  It is not unheard of and your 'un-sureness' could be useful,"  she added before turning back to Taggart.

"But with the type of people you're talking about any sign of weakness or indecision on her part might be seen as a weakness that could be exploited.   These are not the type of people you want looking at you as 'prey.'"

She drew a deep breath knowing that if she did this she would have to sever all ties to her ... training.  It was worth it for Lydia and the added possibility of stopping this slave trade... but Taggart was using the same sort of threats and bullying that the slavers were using... carrot and stick to get them to finish this 'less than optimal' mission.

"I believe with proper background information I could take on the role, or perhaps Burne  as she has the strength and will power for such a role.  Jin possesses the quiet strength and shrewd business dealings... They might be better in the role.  It might also take some of the pressure off your agent."

She paused.  "Another issue is - if you begin the lock down now, it will cause suspicion and endanger those going in.  If you have not already initiated the lock down... I fear Lydia will be long gone."
Burne Catweazle
 player, 295 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Fri 16 Sep 2011
at 10:42
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

So now it was negotiations time.  That is going to be a hard tack, considering the direction of the Alliance wind.  Burne doubted there would be time to rescue Lydia first, and then try to make the nights rendezvous that Taggart was describing.  Parlaying for ownership of The Duck was smart.   Assets on a mission were disposable at the end, especially low-tech old assets like The Ugly Duck.  That was profitable for Stacey.

Then Makani started talking.   She was more eloquent than Burne.  Her voice never increased in speed, and she moved easily from point to point.  The overall effect was pleasing to watch.
Shan Yu
 GM, 451 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Mon 19 Sep 2011
at 02:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

At the barrage of comments, Taggart just sighed, taking a step forward to sit on the corner of one of the galley tables.  "Apparently I'm not making myself clear.  This is not a job interview and I'm not here to answer your questions.  I don't have time to screw around until you all are satisfied that everything is to your liking.  I have a mission that needs to be done, and the only way that's going to happen is if you stand up and proudly vow to serve your government in its time of need, regardless of the hardships incurred or sacrifices required.  Of course, it's your choice.  If you decide to decline, start packing your bags now because you have two hours to get off my ship.  What you do then is completely up to you, and our association is ended, unless someone decides to bind you by law for obstruction of justice.  I'll defer any such decision to others, since you all occupy such a tender spot in my heart."

"But if you decide to serve your government, you'll do so under my orders and in the manner I dictate.  You WILL be equipped as I see fit with the devices we had planned to use.  You WILL go where I tell you, when I tell you, and perform any actions I tell you.  And if things go south and you find yourselves in unpleasant circumstances, I promise to shed a tear at your funerals.  And as for any rescue operation, that will occur after completion of your mission here.  I have no plan to inform you on what actions I will take, or have taken already, to find your young lady.   I'm not going to give you a big hug and reassure you that everything will be all right.  I said I'd put every asset at my disposal to helping you if you help me, and I meant it. You'll just have to trust me.  Yes, I said trust me, and please don't launch into any of your sermons about how evil the Alliance is or how dastardly I am.  All that does is waste more time, which we don't have.  I need from you either an unconditional agreement to help, or a tearful farewell as you move your collective asses out of the airlock."


He slapped his hand on his thigh and pushed himself off the corner of the table.  "Right.  I'll give you all ten minutes or so to discuss it.  I'll be back to hear your decision."

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:38, Mon 19 Sept 2011.

Burne Catweazle
 player, 296 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Mon 19 Sep 2011
at 12:29
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Taggart hadn't left much to discuss as far as Burne was concerned.  The crew hadn't bitten on the illusion of choice, and so the choice had degenerated into a less pleasant decision.  Still, it was a decision.

Helping the Alliance wasn't an issue for Burne, but as she considered she wondered about Frank.  If Frank left she would go with him, but that wouldn't help the missing girl.  Burne figured Frank would stay for that reason alone.  Innocent victims captured him in a profound way.

This message was last edited by the player at 12:29, Mon 19 Sept 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 329 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 19 Sep 2011
at 14:18
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey watched Rooney go in silence.
Their situation was clear; the Alliance officer's position clearer.
A moment of silence passed and he looked between each member of the crew.

He sighed. "Well, what do you think? Correct me if Im wrong but on our own we have next to no chance of tracking down Lydia alone. Putting aside that issue, this is a farming planet. Even if we do find her off our own backs, without Alliance resources or a ship, finding any decent work to get off this rock will be tough.".
He growled, wishing there was some other way. "That tah mah duh hwoon dahn hasn't given us much choice. Trusting him is our only option.".

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:52, Mon 19 Sept 2011.

Jin Chu
 player, 219 posts
Mon 19 Sep 2011
at 14:24
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Jin had carefully bitten her tongue as the conversation went on, noting that Taggart didn't like advice, was (unsurprisingly) a bit of a control freak and didn't have much consideration for his own operatives aside from as assets.  With that in mind she wondered just how many of his resources would actually be available for helping them.  Still, they hadn't been given a great deal of choice.

"Going along with things for now and accepting his help."  She corrected Stacey.  "Very little is going to make me trust him."  Jin ran a hand through her hair with a sigh and stifled a yawn, it seemed like the day had been an awful long one already.  "I'm willing to fall in with this one.  What they're doing isn't a bad thing and some help with Lydia is better than none.  If nothing else he might be able to track down Cat who might be able to tell us something about where and who she dealt with.  In the mean time, I'll see if the cortex has thrown us anything interesting from the number."

She spoke quietly, not her usual soft and soothing tones, more the kind of quiet that people use because they think they'll end up yelling if they get any louder.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 330 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 19 Sep 2011
at 16:19
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey nodded. "Thanks Jin. The part I like least about this is that we help him first, then we maybe get his help saving our crew member. If it were the other way around I don't think we'd have a difficult choice to make...".
He shrugged, resigned to what they had to do. "Unless your information comes up with a real shot at us going after Lydia alone...then we have a real decision to make. The longer she's gone, the harder saving her becomes.".
He looked at Makani. He knew this would be hardest for her.
Makani Ano
 player, 234 posts
Thu 22 Sep 2011
at 11:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley - Ugly Duck)

Makani shook her head.

"The man thinks he knows everyone, and everything.  In other words, he is a military officer.  He is not used to people questioning him, or the possibility that anyone could have a valid point outside his own."

She sighed.  "What officers understand is order, honor and the mission."

After a pause she continued.  "Unfortunately, judging by his... demeanor, honor is reserved for those in the military and we are... we are resources, not people and worse, we are resources to be manhandled and bullied into doing what he wants."

"It is easier than getting to know us-- because that does not further his goal, his mission. There is no reason for him to help us... but there is no reason not to either."

"At worst we are walking into a trap meant for his opperatives, either as operatives or as potential... mechandise... at best it might give us a clue on Lydia... "

She bowed her head.  "I really see no alternative than to play the hand we are offered. I will do what is necessary."
Shan Yu
 GM, 452 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Mon 26 Sep 2011
at 13:30
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Ten minutes after Taggart departed, footsteps were once again heard climbing the stairs from the lounge area, and the scarred face of the man soon appeared around the corner of the hatch.  He approached the crewmembers standing in the galley, speaking as he walked, "Well...did you come to a decision?"
Burne Catweazle
 player, 297 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Mon 26 Sep 2011
at 14:51
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
"I can fill the role as you have described it."

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 331 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 27 Sep 2011
at 22:03
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey looked around the group as rooney returned then looked the man in the eye. They'd been given little choice and until they knew their alliance employer had at least begun to act to help lydia that distrust and reluctance would remain. Still, hd cleared his throat and responded.
"You have your under cover team. If you can show us movement toward helping our missing crew member then you'll have a team who actually want to help you too.".
Makani Ano
 player, 235 posts
Sat 1 Oct 2011
at 13:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Makani winced at the catpain's less than diplomatic phrasing but it was true.  She studied Taggart for a moment or two trying to gauge his interpetation.

She smiled and bowed gaciously.

"It would be easier to focus on you mission if we are were not worried about her safety and well being," she agreed.
Shan Yu
 GM, 454 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Mon 3 Oct 2011
at 02:29
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Taggart smiled broadly at the agreement from the crew to participate in his operation.  "Excellent.  You probably won't regret it...if everything goes as I hope it will.  I'll need you all to collect down in the lounge in about 30 minutes.  I need to see if Corporal St. Pierre can collect her wits enough to teach you everything you need to know."  His smile fell and he shook his head slightly, sighing.  "Truth be told, I wish Captain Chan was fit enough to go...I'd have no doubts about her being able to play the part of madame.  All the girls attended 3 days of classes on how to act like...hostesses, shall we call them?  But it takes more than a few days of classes to be able to naturally put men at ease, but young Corporal St. Pierre is the only one I have to fill the role.  I do believe she will need to do some serious maturing in the next 12 hours, though, if she's going to pull it off."  His smile broadened again...but there was a loss of conviction in it.  "Still, I'm sure everything will go just fine."  He turned back toward the stairwell, then paused.  "Oh, by the way, I already had an order relayed to planetary flight control to put a land-lock on all outgoing vessels until they can be searched by Interpol.  The directive states that an Interpol deserter was last seen here on Verbena, and may be trying to escape.  So...I'll have a couple of my people search any outgoing vessels, just to make sure your little girl doesn't slip away.  See?  Already we're working together."

"Don't forget...downstairs in 30 minutes."

Cole Jackson
 player, 225 posts
Mon 3 Oct 2011
at 11:17
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Asd Taggart walked away, Cole felt his guts drop.  He knew he was doing this for Lydia.  It was the only option they had available to get her back from the Tong.  There was also the bonus of hopefully finding Cat and letting an 'accident' befall her if she truly was involved in this.  But the way that Taggart spoke and his lack of confidence in his own people made Cole nervous.

"Why do I have a bad feeling that I'm going to get shot again tonight?" he said as he turned back to the rest of the crew.  "That girl ain't going to be able to teach us anything.  We need someone with some real know how.  Someone who's done this type of thing before for real."

Cole kept his eyes from tracking towards Makani.  It was not his place to reveal her past.  But he knew and he was sure Stacey knew that she was there best chance to not get caught.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 332 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 4 Oct 2011
at 09:52
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey felt a partial sigh of relief as Taggart confirmed the planet was already locked down. It meant Lydia at least was not getting further away, and that the callous Alliance officer was at least doing something to honour his side of the bargain.

He let out a slow breath and looked back to the rest of the crew. He nodded imperceptibly when Cole spoke and his eyes met Makani's.
"Ok. We are where we are, and all being well we might still come out of this in one piece. Interpol are the best chance Lydia has right now; and the sooner we help Taggart the sooner we can focus our efforts on her.".

He hesitated then looked to Cole. "Taggart says this is a straight forward mission. Im actually inclined to believe him. Jenna is distraught right now but she's been trained for this. She'll know the drill and Tang will probably be down there to give us pointers too.".

But

Jin, Burne and Frank were about to risk their lives. A crew functioned by working together. While part of him wanted to keep Makani out of danger he also needed to do what was best for the whole.
"We might have another option though, might'n we Makani?".
Burne Catweazle
 player, 298 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Tue 4 Oct 2011
at 11:46
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Burne watched Taggart walk off.  It was a typical mission directive, and she was looking forward to the briefing.   The sooner they started, the better it would be for the impatient pilot.   She began drumming her fingers on her leg wondering which of her outfits she was going to wear.  I wonder if Madame Tang is up to making a suggestion...  She determined to visit the woman before leaving The Duck.

When the captain addressed Makani, Burne was forced to wonder whether he was thinking of her taking the shuttle on a mission again.    It didn't seem appropriate, and she gave the captain more credit than to do something so foolish.  Now she would just have to wait and see if her appreciation of the man was well placed.

Burne looked towards Frank, judging his response to all this.   And then she wondered what he would look like dressed up as a male whore.   Burne smiled broadly.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:27, Wed 05 Oct 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 455 posts
 Are you familiar with...
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Wed 5 Oct 2011
at 02:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley -> Lounge)

The crew assembled in the lounge at the appointed time, finding Taggart, and a pale, trembling Jenna.  Next to the arrogant, uniformed Colonel, the young woman seemed positively tiny and hopelessly timid.  Tables had been set up in a row, and chairs placed on one side, all facing toward the Colonel and "Madame" St. Pierre.  At the approach of the crew, Taggart brusquely pointed at the chairs and said, "Please grab a seat.  We don't have much time, and by tonight, Corporal St. Pierre is going to have to teach you how to talk, walk, dress, and behave like a gang of prostitutes.  Of course, since you won't actually be engaging your customers in the full range of a prostitute's normal activities, we'll forgo any such training.  Instead, we'll focus on the equipment you'll be using, and the procedures that you'll need to follow.  Unfortunately, Madame Tang and Captain Chan have been sedated under doctor's orders..."(he frowned over toward a doctor standing near the passageway, causing the man to suddenly depart, obviously having remembered an important place he had to be)"...and will probably remain so through tomorrow.  Any questions about Madame Tang's whereabouts will merely consist of the truth...she shattered her leg and is remaining aboard the ship under sedation.  So, Corporal St. Pierre will be filling in as the Madame's representative, and she will teach you what you need to know for tonight.  I have every confidence in her, and your cooperation would be greatly appreciated."  He looked over to the young woman, who offered a weak smile and stammered, "Uh, y-yes sir...I thank you for this opportunity, and I'm sure that, umm, everything will go p-perfectly tonight."

Colonel Taggart walked over to the side, leaving Jenna standing alone before the tables.  She looked even smaller now, and undeniably afraid.  "Y-yes, well...I think that first I'll introduce you to the equipment we will be using."  She grabbed a small box from a table next to her and walked over to the end of one of the tables.  She moved down the length of the tables, handing out to each of the crewmembers several items.  First, each crewmember received a serpent shaped ring.  The rings differed in design, but all represented a coiled serpent with mouth open, prepared to strike.  To Cole, she handed a black serpent ring.  "This was Dem's"  To Makani, a large, slender, flexible gold snake that entwined around two fingers.  "This is Major Tang's."  Jin got a gold serpent with ruby eyes, and Jenna hesitated a moment as she lay the ring on the table, her voice faltering.  "This was Ping's."  Burne received a snake with alternating bands of gold and turquoise.  "This is Captain Chan's.  She said she'd hunt you down if you lost it."  In addition, each person received a small vial of yellow liquid, a small bottle of clear liquid, and what looked like a small black sugar cube.

Jenna returned to the front of the "class" and held up her own ring.  "These are our secrets of success.  Each ring holds a tiny dose of a drug that I can't pronounce...hydrohexa-something.  You press the left eye, then the right eye, then place the snake's mouth next to the vict...uh, target's skin.  It must be bare skin, 'cause it can't pass through even the thinnest cloth.  Three seconds later a teensy needle springs out, penetrating the skin and delivering a dose of the chemical to the person.  We call them "love bites."  She smiled at the pet name, then demonstrated the device, but the needle was so tiny, none of the crew could even see it.  "The effect is almost instantaneous, making the target extremely suscep-ceppitible to suggestion."  Though Jenna seemed to become more confident as she went, it was apparent that she was still experiencing a serious case of nerves.  "You gotta really be careful, though, 'cause if you stick yourself, you can get drugged as well, so don't stick yourself.  The needle automatically retracts after it delivers the dose."

She waited until her ring retracted, then looked at the crewmembers.  "Any questions so far?  If not, go ahead and practice engaging the needle.  Don't worry, there's only water in them now, so if you stick yourself, nothin' will happen."

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:36, Wed 05 Oct 2011.

Makani Ano
 player, 236 posts
Wed 5 Oct 2011
at 11:13
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley -> Lounge)

Makani had noticed the looks the others had given her but focused on observing everything she could.  As she had stated earlier, she would rather have Burne or herself playing the role of the Madam's second.

As they settled in for their lessons she allowed the student persona to fade as she observed Jenna and Tagert.  It would not due for the 'Madam's student' to be anything less than an alpha personality.  She was the one who kept the 'employees' in line and the wolves under control.

She studied the snake ring and paused before retreating to the bar for a moment before coming back with citruses from the bar."Perhaps it would be best to practice actually puncturing something...more skin like..."

She tossed an orange to Cole, and placed a bowl of fruit in the middle for the others.  Then she sat down with her own fruit in hand.

After a few tries, she called Jenna over with a supposed 'question'

This message was last edited by the player at 11:15, Wed 05 Oct 2011.

Jin Chu
 player, 220 posts
Wed 5 Oct 2011
at 12:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Jin's cabin -> Lounge)

Jin had found her searches mostly frustrating but they had been better than facing Taggart again, she was finding it increasingly difficult to bite her tongue around him.  Putting the planet under lockdown was all well and good but a small icy voice in the back of her head prompted her to wonder if Lily...Lydia had been taken off the planet before it was in force.  If so, all it would do was get in their way.  That wasn't a concern to share with the others though, they were already in a state of high emotion.

Her time alone had also given her a chance to study her own reactions, to realise why she had instantly thrown herself into the cause of rescuing the girl.  She knew what it was like to lose someone, to have them vanish from your life with no warning.  They had more of a lead on Lydia than she did...If she could help them get the girl back then maybe...  Jin blinked fiercely then set about getting changed.  She was sure that nothing she owned would be deemed suitable for their task tonight but at least she could look smart for their 'training session'

When Jenna set down the ring that she would be using, Jin flashed the girl a sympathetic glance.  She would like to have done more but with Taggart lurking it seemed a bad time.  Instead she picked the ring up and brought it to her lips, muttering something under her breath before she slipped it on.

The left eye then the right and a tiny needle.  Jin frowned down at it for a moment, looking from the ring to the bowl of fruit and back again.  If it only had water in at the moment...She brought the mouth of the serpent to the back of her own arm.  Puncturing fruit was all well and good but wouldn't tell her just how much pressure needed to be applied to get needle in contact with skin, how it felt against human skin, what she would have to cover from her 'client'.  With the serpent's golden fangs barely touching her skin, she felt a tiny sting, barely perceptible.  That would be it then, no need to make firm contact, just the back of her hand stroked across their skin, a friendly gesture.  They were ingenious pieces of work, beautifully crafted and the spring mechanism must be absolutely miniscule.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 299 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Wed 5 Oct 2011
at 14:48
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Burne accepted the ring thinking about Captain Chan's alternate identity.  "Something to look forward to then," she replied with a smile.  The fact that Captain Chan had a message for Burne but was supposed to be sedated didn't escape the ever mindful pilot.  Watching the doctor scurry off was disappointing.  Burne wouldn't be able to have that chat with Madame Tang after all.

Burne slipped the ring on three different fingers until she found that it fit the middle one of her right hand the best.   She purposely handled it roughly, and was pleased to see that it's function didn't allow for an accidental activation of the needle.  They were an ingenious little ring.   Similarly the snake eyes on her ring were set far enough apart that by moving the fingers on either side of it, she could depress one eye and then the other to engage it.   She didn't know if Chan had requested it this way, or if the designer had done so, but the performance aspect was on a par with her swords.

Burne couldn't help but wonder if the rings were hand crafted as her swords were.  Judging by the unique look of each one handed out she believed they were.

Burne was about to test the ring when she saw Jin perform a test on her arm.  Smart girl... if there is a knock out drug in there, now is the time to see just how trustworthy Ping will be as leader.   Burne already had an idea about her technique she would employ tonight.  As such she reached behind her neck and moved her hand across the neck until she felt the love bite occur.  It was hardly noticeable.  She touched her fingers to the place where the bite had occurred.  Looking at them afterwards, she was surprised that there was not even a drop of blood.  The needle was that small.  The drug must be very strong.

"How many doses does the ring carry before it must be refilled?"

This message was last edited by the player at 14:51, Wed 05 Oct 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 456 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Thu 6 Oct 2011
at 04:28
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Jenna responded to any questions or requests for assistance, but it appeared that everyone was becoming accustomed to the operation of the rings with little trouble.  To Burne's question, she replied, "Oh, good question.  The ring only holds a single dose, but it's easily refilled."  She walked to Burne's table and retrieved the small vial of yellow liquid, holding it up for all to see.  "This is the chemical we use, each of you has a bottle.  All you do to refill the ring is take off the top...you'll see that there's a nozzle sticking out of the top of the vial.  Hold it upside down over the bottle cap, and a single drop will drip into the cap.  Then take the ring and hold it over the cap, and press the eyes in the opposite sequence, right, then left.  The needle will extend and refill the reservoir in the ring.  And you're ready to go.  Don't forget to refill the ring before you bring in a customer...might be kinda hard to explain what you're doin' otherwise.  Go ahead and practice refilling the ring, but just use water for now."

Makani's wave caught Jenna's eye and she went over to the older woman.  "Need a hand?"
Makani Ano
 player, 238 posts
Fri 7 Oct 2011
at 12:58
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Makani smiled and nodded graciously. She kept her voice soft and understanding, the same tone she would use with the novices and trainees in the guildhall.
Shan Yu
 GM, 457 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sat 8 Oct 2011
at 03:19
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

To the others in the lounge, Makani and Jenna appeared to enter into a private, hushed conversation.  Jenna's demeanor was one of worry and uncertainty, but she certainly seemed to have a lot to say.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:00, Mon 10 Oct 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 335 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sun 9 Oct 2011
at 16:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey watch the 'lesson' in silence at first. His eyes moved from students to teacher, then back to Taggart who seemed entirly uncaring of the whole situation.
Stacey had hoped Jenna would rise to the task of leadership; if she was taking his crew into danger it was vital she was up to the task. But as he watched he became more nervous. He was their Captain, and Taggart's plan left him helpless on the Duck while those he was supposed to protect went into danger led by a child.
After 10 minutes the Captain couldn't hold himself any longer and despite knowing better, he appraoched Rooney,

"Can we have a word? In private?".
Shan Yu
 GM, 458 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Mon 10 Oct 2011
at 14:00
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Taggart had been standing at the rear of the lounge, watching Jenna instruct the Duck's crew on the finer points of drug induced interrogations, but looked at Stacey as the Captain approached.  At Stacey's question, Taggart just shrugged and gave a single nod, turned and walked down the passageway to the infirmary.  He took a quick glance inside, and seeing it empty, motioned for Stacey to enter.  Once inside, Taggart sat on the corner of the exam table and said, "What's on your mind?"
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 336 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 10 Oct 2011
at 16:38
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Infirmary)

Stacey left the sliding door ajar and suppressed a frown as he noticed a smear of blood on the floor from the recent attack. When Taggart was ready the Captain began. "I appreciate you locking down the planet. Its a move that will go a long way to help folk out there concentrate on the task at hand.". He paced the room continuing. "I'm concerned though. Your girl knows her stuff in a safe environment but look at her; she's just seen her comrades shot and she lacks field experience or conviction to carry this through. If something goes wrong, they're all screwed.".
The Captain ceased his pacing and looked directly at the Alliance officer. "First, I think you need me on the ground. Frank can stay with the ship, but if those folk need help quickly they need someone experienced close by. I don't care what the 'official' reason is for me being on that shuttle, but I want to go with them. Second, my crew are used to working together. Taking a lead from an inexperienced girl they've hardly met might work, it might not. When we go back in there, you should consider appointing Makani to direct this operation on the ground.".

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:59, Mon 10 Oct 2011.

Makani Ano
 player, 239 posts
Tue 11 Oct 2011
at 09:21
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(lounge)

Makani smiled and getnly patted the younger woman's hand.
Shan Yu
 GM, 459 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Tue 11 Oct 2011
at 14:41
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Infirmary)

Taggart's eyebrows raised at Stacey's suggestion to appoint Makani as the leader of the undercover team.  He gave a chuckle as he replied, "I should turn over my team to one of your passengers?  Nothing personal, but that's got to be the craziest suggestion I've heard lately.  Corporal St. Pierre might not be the ideal choice to be leader...she certainly wouldn't be my first choice...but she's all I've got.  At least she has some experience dealing with...customers."  He paused, his brow furrowing.  "Then again, maybe there's something I'm missing.  Is there something I should know?"
Shan Yu
 GM, 460 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Tue 11 Oct 2011
at 14:56
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

As she inaudibly conversed with Makani, Jenna's face registered relief, and a quick smile crossed her face.  It disappeared just as quickly as she shook her head in seeming resignation.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:21, Tue 11 Oct 2011.

Makani Ano
 player, 240 posts
Thu 13 Oct 2011
at 03:32
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Makani gave Jenna a kindly smile, her eyes twinkling slightly at some private joke as she tilted her head.


As she spoke, Makani's movements became far more refined and graceful.  She again gave gave Jenna a consoling smile as she stood.

"Thank you my dear," she added as she moved towards the door, following the direction the Captain had taken.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:35, Thu 13 Oct 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 461 posts
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Thu 13 Oct 2011
at 04:56
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Jenna watched Makani as the older woman walked toward the passageway leading to the infirmary, finally returning her attention to the group at the tables.  "Y'all can continue practicing with your rings for the rest of the day, but come this evenin', you should start wearin' them.  Be sure not to use the real drug, but if you do, it will wear off in about an hour or so."  She took from her table the bottle of clear liquid and held it up.  "Which brings me to this.  This here is the antidote for the drug.  Usually, when we're done with a customer, we bring them out an sit their butts on a stool at the bar, where Dem..." Jenna paused when she mentioned her dead comrade's name.  "...where Dem would give them a free drink with a few drops of this in it.  It quickly counteracts the susceptibility to suggestion, so that there ain't no accidents, like somebody suggesting that it would be a good idea to jump off a cliff.  The customers are still a little disoriented for a while, but they only remember what we told them to remember in the rooms.  We'll be taking several bottle of alcohol with us, and since we don't have a bar to give them the antidote, you'll need to be sure to spike a bottle with this stuff, and give the customers a drink before they leave your room."

Jenna paused, looking around the room for anyone with questions.
Makani Ano
 player, 241 posts
Thu 13 Oct 2011
at 09:38
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge to Infirmary)

Makani gave Cole a coy nod as she walked past him and continued on to the infirmary.  With each step the image of the scholar faded away and she allowed her training and the confidence that came with it to shine through.

By the time she reached the door to the infirmary she was everything she had been trained to be.

Makani closed her eyes, schooled her features and gave a polite double knock on the infirmary door.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 338 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 13 Oct 2011
at 17:38
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey paused before responding. He wouldn't reveal his crewmate and freind's history, but Taggart needed to get the message.
"Makani is one of the most capable women I've ever met. Im sure there are things about her that neither of us know but what I can say is that she's someone you should consider.".
A knock on the door prevented him from going on, and without waiting for permission from Taggart he stood to see who was waiting outside. A gentle smile flickered on his lips and he looked at her with his head cocked. "Were your ears burning Miss Ano?". Something about her stance was different and stepping back he waved her to enter the infirmary. Her presence was reassuring and the Captain moved aside to let Taggart see who had arrived.
"Come on in. I was actually just saying to our employer here that you might be more of an asset for this mission than he realises.".
Makani Ano
 player, 243 posts
Thu 13 Oct 2011
at 19:05
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(infirmary)

Makani smiled and gave a throaty chuckle at the captain's greeting.

"Captain Yannaro, I thought we were well past that," she said with the slightest flicker of amusement in her eyes: amusement and something else, something far more dangerous.

"And it should surprise neither one of you that I am here," she said with a graceful nod that included Colonel Taggart.

"Although there are certain 'assets' that will need to be re-allocated shall we say.  I cannot even pretend to be a prostitute or to accept a job of espionage without either the Guild's approval or without first tendering my resignation."

She smiled and gave an appraising nod to the Colonel.  "You see Colonel, we have not only our safety, but the success of this mission in mind.  Corporal St. Pierre is a quite capable agent, but what you are asking her to do... "

She paused shaking her head as she regally took a seat.

"The yoke of command is not something one simply assumes.  It is learned, and it is earned... and the sort of command you are expecting her to take is not the sort she was trained for."

She paused tilting her head with confident and practiced ease.  "It is the sort of thing the type of men we'll be dealing with will pick up on.  I was not objecting to the job earlier, but you would do well to listen to me now.  You need someone who is used to being in command, having their orders and wishes obeyed and will not take guff from our... 'suitors.'"

She smiled as she continued.  "Of the people going on this mission I would recommend either myself or our pilot.  Burne is more suitable to the military side of this mission and you may or may not find that more comfortable, but... and I do mean 'but' she does not have the training I have.  I am used to the sort of attention we will be getting and I am used to using it to my advantage on a professional level.  That is what will be expected and necessary."

She paused giving the Colonel to not only think about what she had said, but to make his own assessment.

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:52, Thu 13 Oct 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 462 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Fri 14 Oct 2011
at 22:21
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Infirmary)
As Makani talked, Taggart looked back and forth between Stacey and the Companion, a growing expression of confusion on his face.  When she finished, he sighed and scratched his head.  "I think that maybe I must have missed an important episode of this soap-vid, because part of what you said doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.  But of that which I do understand, Miss Ano, I appreciate, but with all due respect, a writer, or journalist, or whatever you are just isn't exactly the person I'd look to for expertise in these matters.  You're an attractive woman, and your other physical attributes make you an excellent choice for one of the prostitutes, but you just don't have any relevent experience.  And don't worry about your good standing in the Writers Guild, or whatever other literary society you belong to...I can't imagine them revoking your membership over a great story opportunity like this."

"Look, I agree with your remarks about the need for leadership and such, but like it or not, Corporal St. Pierre is the best qualified.  She's the only one with prostitute experience...well, fake prostitute experience...and she's got military experience, as well.  The only other female with any relevent experience is your pilot, who I am reluctant to place in a position of authority.  I've seen her military record, and there are some...irregularities, shall we say?  Physically, she's quite acceptable, but I'm not sure how her military mindset will work in her role as a hooker."

"It's all well and good to list all the "should haves" and the "this is what we needs", but we have to use what we DO have, and like it or not, it's a damn small labor pool that we have to choose from.  Now, you've got the rest of the day to learn how to act like a prostitute, so I suggest you return to the class so that Corporal St. Pierre can try to pass on whatever it is she knows."

Makani Ano
 player, 244 posts
Fri 14 Oct 2011
at 23:58
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Infirmary)

Makani sighed and gave the Captain a resigned look.  If the situation wasn't so serious she would have been laughing.

"My dear Colonel, I spent the first five years of my life being told that I was the worthless child of a common whore.  My benefactors felt it important that I be reminded of that constantly so that I would not make the same mistakes my mother did."

She sighed, knowing that the Captain didn't know the full story.  She had hoped to tell him the full story long before this but it never seemed... necessary.

"When I was old enough they sent me out as a servant, thankfully I was sent, not to a brothel, but to a Companion Hall, where I cleaned up after girls a few years older than me, where I learned to dance..."

"As I grew, so did the level of my chores, until the Ladies and Guild Mothers noticed me.  When the girls from my area moved to the next level-- I joined them.  Not as a servant but as an apprentice."

"As I said... I have experience... not as a prostitute but as a fully trained and licensed guild companion.  If you doubt my credentials, please feel free to contact Mother Jenna at the Guild House on Sihnon"

This message was last edited by the player at 17:32, Mon 17 Oct 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 463 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sun 16 Oct 2011
at 02:19
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Infirmary)

When Hell freezes over...

When pigs fly...

When Londinium stops spinning on its axis...

Some events are SO unlikely to occur that they become cliche phrases used specifically to serve as examples of unlikely occurrences.

Now add to that list, "when Taggart is rendered speechless".

And yet, it happened.  Taggart was rendered speechless my Makani's revelation, his mouth hanging open and his eyes wide and staring.  There was total silence in the infirmary for several seconds, then the Alliance colonel began to laugh.  He slapped his thigh as he rocked back and forth, and the people attending the class in the lounge all looked up from their endeavors, exchanging questioning glances and wondering what in the world had just happened.

After about ten or fifteen seconds, the Colonel was able to suppress his laughter.  "A Registered Companion?  Well, spank my butt and call me Judy!  We conducted full background investigations on the crew, but I didn't think that it was really necessary for the passengers.  Just goes to show you...don't do things halfway.  Of course, I believe you're telling the truth...now that you've said so, it's so obvious in your carriage and bearing that it's a wonder I didn't figure it out sooner."  He smiled at Makani, then pushed himself off the exam table, bowing formally to the woman.  "Lady Ano, I would be honored if you would consider taking the role of madame for tonight's operation.  I believe it will come as a relief to Corporal St. Pierre.  Shall we return to the class, where I will make the formal announcement?"
Makani Ano
 player, 245 posts
Sun 16 Oct 2011
at 20:50
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani smiled and gave him a slight half bow, half nod in response, but as she stood and held her hand up, asking him for a moment.

"Colonel, I cannot go as a companion, nor can I be a companion when I do this.  Would you allow me to contact my guild mistress and resign?  It is very important that I do this and I fear if I do not do it quickly... I shall not have the strength to do it."

This message was last edited by the player at 17:30, Mon 17 Oct 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 339 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 17 Oct 2011
at 11:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey listened to Makani's words in silence. They were personal, vital to her being and he met her eyes with gentle support. He wished the situation had been different, that he could repay the sharing of her essence with the parts of his own past that he held dear and secret. The Captain knew that what she was doing was for the good of Lydia and he would ensure it was not wasted.

As Taggart erupted with laughter the Captain scowled, instinct driving him to protect Makani's grace. But his words and Makani's patient dignity made the Captain hold himself in check. Instead he responded gently "Makani, you do whatever you need to do. We can inform the others of the change and the practical lessons from Corporal St. Pierre can continue as before until you are ready.". He paused and added meaningfully "Thank you.".

Looking back at the alliance man Stacey stood. "We should tell the others. And like I said, I want to be with them on the shuttle in support.".
Makani Ano
 player, 246 posts
Mon 17 Oct 2011
at 18:30
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani gave the captain a grateful smile.  "Thank you Captain."

When he mentioned coming along Makani gave a graceful slow nod in agreement.

"Perhaps a precaution arranged by Madame Tang since I'm am merely her apprentice.  Untried, I may not be able to keep the girls from forgetting their contractual obligations to Madame Tang, and therefore would need someone with a more... forceful presence?" She suggested with a coy smile.
Shan Yu
 GM, 464 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Tue 18 Oct 2011
at 14:05
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Infirmary)

To Makani's request, Taggart just shrugged.  "If you wish to contact your Guild, I will allow it.  I don't understand why you might wish to or need to resign as a Registered Companion, but that's your business.  Captain Yanoro and I will notify the rest of your crew of your status."  He looked at Stacey, "As for you accompanying the group, I see no reason why your presence would be a problem.  You're known to be the Captain of the ship, and it's reasonable to say that you are just along to protect your assets.  I'll have a squad of troopers standing by, in case they're needed, and you could be my eyes and ears, and let us know if you need help, should things take a bad turn and get unpleasant.  Uh...you can fly a shuttle, can't you?"  He immediately shook his head as if to dismiss the thought, and continued.  "Actually, it's no matter.  Someone else can fly it, and you'll just be tagging along.  I think you'll have to remain with the shuttle once you get there, but they might invite you in as well, possibly with the idea of recruiting you.  They can always use transports.  Regardless, it's probably a good idea to stick close to the shuttle, just in case you need to beat a hasty retreat."

"I'm not expecting their security to be too tight, which is both good and bad.  These types live by the gun, and packing a sidearm is normal.  I doubt they'd search anyone, and you'd probably even be allowed to wear your gun openly.  The interrogation team could likewise probaby justify a weapon or two...as long as they are concealed.  The bad part is that things could get deadly if there is any compromise of our mission."


He motioned toward the door leading out to the passageway.  "Shall we?  As they say, we're burning daylight."
Makani Ano
 player, 248 posts
Tue 18 Oct 2011
at 14:37
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Infirmary, to bridge)

Makani smiled and gave Taggart a slow nod.  "It is a political matter, and I shall not bore you with the details...but I will be back momentarily."

"Gentlemen," she said with a formal bow.

With that she left the infirmary and returned to the bridge where she sent her previously recorded message and then initiated a wave to the guild hall on Sihnon using the Companion Guild's private channels used to keep client information secret.

This message was last edited by the GM at 03:52, Thu 20 Oct 2011.

Burne Catweazle
 player, 300 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Tue 18 Oct 2011
at 15:13
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Burne watched Makani enter and walk through the Galley without a word to anyone, wondering what transpired behind closed doors.   It wasn't a concern, so she didn't follow the woman.   There were few places she could be going, and possibly the woman was headed for the shuttle to do something with the captains previous plan of a flyover.
Cole Jackson
 player, 229 posts
Wed 19 Oct 2011
at 01:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Cole had practiced his "technique" a couple of times on the fruit that Makani had provided.  The more times he tried to puncture the fruit in a manner that was considered subtle, the first mate found himself wishing that Frank was more available for this time of subterfuge.  Cole was more of an up front kind of person.  He wore his sentiments on his shoulder.  This could very well backfire and he knew it.

As Makani finished her conversation with the Corporal, Cole found himself wondering what was transpiring.  As Makani walked past and gave him a smile, Cole began to realize that the "passenger" was beginning to get lost.  By the time she reached the infirmary, Cole knew exactly what was being said and was glad that she would be able to help.

With Makani inside, Cole turned and watched the rest of the crew.  Burne and Jin seemed to be having a better time of the needle than he was.  He needed help.

"Any chance one of you ladies could show me some of the finer points to use this thing?" he asked.  "I'm worried some lady's gonna think I'm trying to manhandle her or I'm gonna stick myself."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 340 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 20 Oct 2011
at 21:53
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey nodded and led Taggart out of the infirmary. His gaze watched Makani's form dissappear in the opposite direction and he felt a cruel stab of guilt. Maybe if he had acted differently when Scout woke up...if he had made the ship more secure...Lydia would still be with them. Instead Makani was about to give up a part of her self because it was all they could do. All they could do if they wanted to save the missing girl.

As he returned to the galley though a new feeling of resolve and commitment swelled within him. Taggart had agreed the Captain would be of value on the mission, and instead of an untried, unknown girl leading, there was a strong woman he could trust. The situation was under their control as much as it could be.

For a few minutes he stood with arms folded, watching the lessons and giving Makani time to do as she needed. Then Stacey cleared his throat as a lull in the training emerged.
"I need your attention folks. Our benefactor and I have had a short discussion and agreed on a couple of points. First, I will be coming with you, nominally as your security. That means if things dont go to plan, help wont be far away.".
He glanced at Jenna. The girl looked almost hopefully at the Captain.
"Second, Makani Ano will be taking the lead role in this mission moving forward. As some of you know, Makani has more experience in this area than any of the rest of us. If your customers are going to believe your story her experience and leadership will be vital.". He looked at Jenna, hoping she would take the news well.
"Corporal St. Pierre will of course remain a vital part of the mission and work closely with Makani to ensure Alliance interests are served.".
The Captain looked back toward Taggart meaningfully.
"Mean while the Alliance will do everything they can to track down our freind.".
Burne Catweazle
 player, 301 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Sat 22 Oct 2011
at 02:37
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Burne was considering Cole's odd request.  Her ring was a subtle and precise instrument.  She could see why it would do well in the hands of an Alliance agent...

or assassin... a command could be given for the target to kill themselves, as easily as forget...  What other purposes have these little fangs been used for?

  Part of her felt bad for the first mate.  To struggle for precision and subtlety wasn't something that came easy to everyone.  It made her think of Frank with his wrench in one hand, wrestling with the goblin fighters engine.  There was little that could be as direct and calloused as her best friend.   But Cole wasn't too far off from him.

When the captain stepped up, she gave him her attention while she absently stroked the head of her ring.  She could feel the cool sensation of the drugs she had taken when dressing earlier.  Her eyes were on the captain, but part of her mind was spiraling through space, considering variables and vectors such as the rings other uses.   She dismissed the ideas.  It was too noteworthy a piece, and she would likely be returning it.

"So Frank is going to be here guarding the ship?" She looked over towards where the ships mechanic had been when she started practicing with her ring, wondering what he would have to say about a ship filled with Alliance and only him on board.  "Captain Yanoro, will our guests be leaving the ship to do everything, or will they be onboard."

The Alliance probably hadn't divulged extra info like that.  Why would they?  Still, if the Captain knew 'what' to ask, he might get a straight answer.  In the meantime she could talk to Frank.  He would have time to prepare himself.

Makani mustn't be preparing for a flight then.  She's probably using the Cortex.  Good thing I didn't shut any of the communications down.    Burne had initiated the recordings right after she and Jin had started examining the strange communications.  She made a mental note to delete the recordings.  They were private conversations, and none of Burne's concern now that they knew who the transmissions were going to and from.

The captains words about Makani showed that the pilot and mechanic had been given the bare minimum on yet another thing.  A persons past was his or her own as far as Burne was concerned.  After all, no one here knew anything more than the Cortex propaganda about her, and she was quite pleased leaving it that way.  She absently rubbed her upper lip brushing away white powder that wasn't there.

Well... Except Frank...  But he had proved himself an acceptable risk, and their lives were intertwined now.
Makani Ano
 player, 250 posts
Sun 23 Oct 2011
at 21:53
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Bridge to Galley)

Makani drew a deep breath and centered herself before activating the cortex and calling home as it were.  She wished she had better new, but at least there was hope.

She could only imagine what Lydia was going through at that moment.  Makani had never wished anyone dead before. She was a protector, a follower of the dance and of Hi'iaka herself.  She would have been perfectly happy to allow the bastard live, if only he had been willing to leave her Lei Hulu alone.

He would not and now, given the chance, she would hunt him down.

SHe closed her eyes and let her breath out again.  This was not the frame of mind she wanted to be in when she spoke with Mother Jenna.

When she was ready, she activated the com.


It was not a long conversation, there was not much to say, not much she could say.  She hoped that her friend and mentor understood and forgave her, but there was much work to be done and now was the time to do it.

She allowed herself a moment to gather her thoughts before heading back down to the galley.

When she reached the galley she stood in the doorway, studying those who would be going on this mission with a critical eye.

If they were to pull it off, they would need to play up their assets.  It was going to be interesting at best.

This message was last edited by the player at 21:53, Sun 23 Oct 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 341 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 25 Oct 2011
at 10:57
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Before Makani returned Stacey continued to address the group. He responded to Burne first.
"Frank will stay with the ship. Its an Alliance asset so I expect Mr Taggart will ensure appropriate security is in place.".
The pilot's question was a good one though, and he offered it to the Alliance officer. "What are the plans for other folk like Tang and yourself? I assume she will stay onboard too; our hosts may legitimately want to contact her here before they let us inside.".

Burne's question led on to security in general.
"Where we are going wearing a piece might not be out of place. Unless anyone objects I suggest you all make sure you are carrying a shooter for self defence. You can store any more significant weaponry with me on the shuttle.". He knew given the chance Cole might go whoring armed to the hilt with grenades and rifles. While the first mate would be forced to limit what weapons he carried on his person, Stacey could at least maintain an arsenal on the shuttle incase things went sour.

"I want as many of you as possible to have a commset too. I'll be on the other end incase problems arise. Jin, can you do anything to find us a secure frequency?". He looked hopefully at the lithe woman.
"Incase we are monitored, if you are in trouble but cant talk openly, then use nicknames in conversation. Call me 'Stace' or something and I'll know something is up.".
The Captain paused and looked around the room to invite input.

Soon enough though he saw Makani re-enter the galley and walked over to join her.
"We've told folk you will be taking the lead, but little else other than that.". He offered a supportive smile. "They are your team now Makani. This is your command. Orders?".

This message was last edited by the player at 10:57, Tue 25 Oct 2011.

Burne Catweazle
 player, 302 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Tue 25 Oct 2011
at 13:57
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Having familiarity with the need to not be noticed in her past Burne asked the obvious, "Guns and comm sets aren't exactly common whore-issue items anywhere I've been.  They're likely to arouse suspicion.  And leaving them on the shuttle isn't going to be helpful behind closed doors."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 342 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 25 Oct 2011
at 16:49
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey looked to Taggart for support before responding to Burne.
"We're not visiting an Alliance installation. Our destination is a criminal domain with their own rules. Alliance intelligence suggests wearing a weapon discreetly for self protection may not be out of place.".
The Captain had been to rough meets and plenty of dangerous 'business' addresses in his past.

"As you say though, you will be playing the role of whores, not upper class escorts. Some of your potential customers may not be gentlemen. Its reasonable for you to have self defence.".
He shrugged.
"Maybe you will all be asked to disarm. If so, we wont cause a fuss and will be no worse off than if we'd gone unarmed in the first place. Remember, you are going in a trusted whores with a reputation. They are not expecting trouble so may not be looking for it either.".

"As for the shuttle, I'd rather be safe than sorry. We dont know how this is going to play out and if Cole wants to leave some grenades in my care...I've no objection. If everything goes to plan I'll sit bored on the shuttle. If I need to come into play, I'd like to be equipped for any eventuality.".
Cole Jackson
 player, 230 posts
Tue 25 Oct 2011
at 22:54
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole smiled as Stacey spoke.  Going in armed was a definite.  And they would have to thoroughly search if they expect him to disarm.  As Stacey continued, Cole found himself laughing at the Captain's opinion of him.

"Don't know what they've been telling you, Cap'n," he said with a large smile plastered on his face, "but I ain't got any grenades.  Never saw a need for 'em.  If I'm going to be needed that kind of firepower, I'd rather be taking my shots from a distance.  Best you'll get from me is the Remington.  I ain't been able to find a decent weaponsmith in months."

Cole looked around at the rest of the crew.  He knew that Burne carried a weapon and he assumed that she was good with it.  Makani had her particular brand of justice and Cole had seen the mess it could make.  Jin was a question, one he wouldn't ask in front of Taggart.  The corporal was the only other question and based on her nerves, Cole figured she would not be much use in a real fight.  Cole hoped it did not come to that.  He was in the mood to be much more personal if it came time for violence.

"Not to rush anything but how long we got before we're expected to leave.  I'm guessing some sleep and a change of clothes would be a good idea."  Cole indicated his own blood-soaked clothes for emphasis.
Makani Ano
 player, 251 posts
Wed 26 Oct 2011
at 03:08
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani smiled at the others and walked into the room.

"While weapons and comms are all very well and good-- they are backups.  We are going to be posting as, not quite 'common' whores, she said with a slow nod to the Captain.

She let her breath out slowly, and then looked around at those gathered, friends, both old and new.

"Some of you know my past, some of you do not.  It is time you know, because it will, I hope, help us in our current situation.  Unlike 'Madame Tang' I have actually studied as a companion.  In fact, I worked as a registered companion for a very long while."

She looked at those gathered, her expression serene and honest.  If they were going to survive this, she needed to teach them what they needed to know.

"Thankfully, the protocols and requirements of our mission, are not nearly as involved as those of a companion."

She turned to Cole.  "Unfortunately, there is much to do before we rest."
Burne Catweazle
 player, 303 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Wed 26 Oct 2011
at 09:28
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

"As I understand it, this is a covert mission," Burne answered the captain.  "So if we're pulling guns, never mind grenades, than the mission is Wong Dahn."

"And if we can't complete our mission, what are the odds, Mr. Taggart, that you will complete finding our crew?"


Best to have the cards on the table now.

When Makani spoke up too, Burne watched her with a new respect.  "You ever fly on The Vestal Star?"  The pleasure liner was well known for it's high end clientele, and entertainment, which naturally included companions.  It was also a ship listed on Burne's application when she was screened to be a pilot for the crew.

*Done for, or imminent doom

This message was last edited by the player at 20:25, Fri 28 Oct 2011.

Makani Ano
 player, 253 posts
Wed 26 Oct 2011
at 14:10
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani shook her head.  "I am afraid I have never had the pleasure," she answered with a graceful nod to Burne.

"Weapons are not as uncommon as one would assume.  I myself often carry a derringer for my own protection, and if I am 'packing' you can be sure that a Madame and her girls would be as well.  This is a dangerous world we live in and part of the advantage of traveling in a troupe is that there is strength in numbers."

"Acting the part of a prostitute is very much about the business.  How you move..."  As she spoke she gave a coy tilt of her head as her eyes met Burne's.

"How you talk... she added, bowing her head slightly but looking up at Jin.

"It's all about... advertising..."  she smiled at Cole biting her lip slightly as she tilted her should slightly to make certain attributes move.

And the image you portray

She paused looking at each of them.  “The key is to project… sexuatliy,”  She said as she met the captain’s gaze she closed her eyes slightly as if envisioning him in her bed.  “Sensuality…” she added as she ran her fingers along a chair as she looked at each of them as if she was both aware of them and totally unaware of any connection she had between them, as if all that existed was the moment and the sensations from her hands.

After a moment she looked at them and smiled without anything behind it but the compassion and friendliness the others had grown to expect.

The key is finding what you’re most comfortable with.  People pick up on visual cues more than we give them credit for.  So if you’re nervous, if you’re uncomfortable… they will know.  So we need to find out what each of us in comfortable with.  That’s one of the advantages of posing as prostitutes rather than Companions.  A companion is expected to act a certain way, to have certain skills, while a prostitute…

She paused, trying to think of the best way of saying it.  “Is selling something very specific and as such, markets that … skill, that product in a very personal way…

She paused as she imitated the moves she’d seen Madame Tang make, melting into Cat’s sultry stalking moving into a more demure stance and then on to something down home and wholesome, yet fun-loving girl.

The key is finding what works best for you, because that will be the easiest to maintain, so I want you to think about that… think about how you behave in a bar,” she said nodding towards the bar.

Think about how you would try to attract someone’s attention, and make them think of something more horizontal…

She blushed slightly at the phrasing and chuckled.  “Captain, Colonel… if you would be so kind as to take a seat at the bar… we will need someone to… practice with once we’ve worked out our… methods.

She gave Jenna a slight wink.  If these people were going to do something they were uncomfortable with, it would help to give the Colonel a taste of his own medicine.  Besides, she needed someone who wasn’t in on the planning stage to give their real reactions.
Cole Jackson
 player, 234 posts
Fri 28 Oct 2011
at 01:12
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole felt his hand slip off the table as Makani made her motions around the table.  Her teasing bite of the lip almost set him off.  It was only the seriousness of the situation that kept him from doing things he might have regretted later.  Or might not.

"You and I and Lydia are having words when this is all over," Cole said as menacingly as possible.  He was sure the punch behind the words were missing though.  "But you ain't getting me to practice on them two."  Cole jerked his thumb toward the two officers.  "'Sides, what do you know about being on this side of things?"
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 345 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 28 Oct 2011
at 09:43
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey met Makani's gaze as she looked at him, noticing not for the first time how they sung like pools of deep water bathed in morning sun. Her words, her phrases, the language of her body though was different now and he was almost relieved when her attention shifted to another of the crew.
He ran a hand through his hair, subconsciously awkward while he listened to her teaching. When she asked for 'actors' at the bar he opened his mouth almost to object, then suppressed a chuckle, relaxing. He would do everything he could to support her methods and despite any potential embarrassment, he trusted this crew intimidation. A glance at Taggart though was more than a little amusing.
"Shall we colonel?".
The Captain moved to the position Makani had gestured and while she talked to her students, poured himself a drink.
Makani Ano
 player, 256 posts
Fri 28 Oct 2011
at 11:50
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani frowned at Cole's question, but since she was in the position of 'secondary madame' she did not immediately slip back into the more relazed persona she'd adopted.  Part of her mourned the openess and truer version of herself, but now was not the time.  Lydia was depending on them, on all of them assuming their roles.

"I assure you Cole, I have practiced this sort of... advertising both as the one doing the enticing and the enticed.

Finally she let go of 'secondary madame' and laughed.

"I assure you, in the training hall we have practiced with each other.  What," she added with a slight laugh when she saw his expression.  "Do you think companions train like beauty schools... get a trim from a novice... pay half price to let them 'practice' on you?"

Now came the hardest part for Cole, and perhaps the others.  She let her expression shift to the very open, very real version of herself.

"In this environment... you may have members of the same sex looking to ... uhm... yeah..."

'Yeah,' she thought to herself.  'This could be a very big problem...'

She looked arround the room and sighed.  "Think about what I've said.  I'm going to talk to each of you individually and see what we can work out..."
Burne Catweazle
 player, 304 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Fri 28 Oct 2011
at 20:46
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
"Colonel I'll need an alliance uniform."  The words were out of Burne's mouth too fast for her to retract. "Any older one, fit for a woman will do."  Old uniforms could always be had, but there wasn't a lot of time to go shopping for one.

Makani went on with her seductress training to the other men.  Burne's mind flashed to the other game being played:  choice of weapons.  She would have to trust Makani's experience with both whores and companions in this case.  The companion was probably right that whores would be more likely to protect themselves.   Burne knew the CPL companions weren't allowed to carry weapons.  The pilots had to.  But a companion in the field, going to strange locations?  That probably made sense.  I wonder what the contractor thinks when he reaches only to find a cold steel derringer instead of something more warm and inviting?
Shan Yu
 GM, 476 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sun 30 Oct 2011
at 22:33
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

At Makani's revelations regarding her background, Jenna's jaw dropped in surprise, and the younger woman just stared as Makani recounted her "qualifications".  Once the shock wore off, though, a look of profound relief came over Jenna's face, and for the first time in several hours, the young Alliance operative actually seemed to be happy.  She even managed to make a joke at Cole's expense.  "Cole, I reckon you been on the other side of things up 'till now, but I can assure you that you don't have to worry about bein' manhandled.  You're a fine lookin' fella, and you're gonna have to fight off the customers, 'cause they'll be pawin' and gropin' you like a you was a prize pig at a fair."  With a smile, she threw in, "And that's just the men!"  She gave a quick laugh.  "As for practicin' with your ring, sometimes I get worried that I might stick myself, and at times like that, I'll just wear it around my neck on a chain.  I'll only put it on just before I stick a customer."



Taggart waved off Stacey's request to join him as a guinea pig for the crew to practice their "wiles" on.  He backed off a few steps and folded his arms, making it clear he was strictly an observer.  At Burne's request for a uniform, he just gave her a "you've-got-to-be-kidding" look.  "Gee, I guess I left all my old, extra, female-fitted Alliance uniforms back on Londinium.  Listen, you aren't posing as someone in the military...quite the opposite, I don't want even a hint of any Alliance military service.  There's plenty of slinky hooker duds available...I'm sure Makani will help you pick out something appropriately scandalous if you're stumped about what to wear."

He raised his voice for everyone's benefit.  "Okay, it turns out that we have a real expert here, and she's in charge.""  He looked at his watch.  "You are supposed to be meeting up with their representative between 7:00 and 8:00 tonight, which means you need to be all decked out and ready to go by 6:30.  You have from now until then...about nine hours or so...to learn all about the recording equipment, the rings, interrogation procedures, and how to be a prostitute.  It isn't a lot of time, so don't waste it.  Any questions you have of me, ask now, because I have other things to do."

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:21, Mon 31 Oct 2011.

Burne Catweazle
 player, 305 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Mon 31 Oct 2011
at 21:32
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

"No one said I was going as Alliance, that would be stupid in a covert op.  And the fact that you think one of this crew would be that foolish shows exactly how much you value us... including Lydia."  So Taggart wasn't the sharpest sword in the arsenal.  Burne didn't have a lot of respect for most of the officers she met on both sides of the war.  Of course respect was earned by demonstrating character. So far Madame Tang had earned more of Burne's respect.

When Taggart mentioned being trained how to act like a whore, Burne cupped her chest.  "They're called tits, and we're going to be whores, not companions.  There isn't a whole lot of training needed to be nice while you're sold like meat... Unless someone here has never been on a date."

This message was last edited by the player at 21:32, Mon 31 Oct 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 478 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Mon 31 Oct 2011
at 22:28
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Taggart slowly shook his head back and forth as he softly chuckled to himself.  "Oh, I make no secret of exactly how much I value you all.  The phrase, "not at all" comes to mind.  Your value to me lasts only as long as you serve my needs, and once that's done, you become faceless, nameless nonentities, free to go your merry ways and continue with your meaningless lives.  I dare say that I hold a similar place in your hearts.  You'll do what I want because I'll do what you want...it's that simple."  He turned to Stacey.  "Captain Yanoro, since Miss Catweazle seems determined to make things difficult, could you please try and elicit her cooperation?  I believe you'll have more luck than I.  Failing that, I'm afraid I'll need to replace her.  I'm rather concerned about her mental stability...you know that she was booted from the military because of that exact reason...and we really don't need someone as volatile and unbalanced as her mucking up the works.  One of my reaction team members is a woman...Sergeant Martell...and I'll just have to call her in to fill the last position.  Mind you, she has a face like a badger, and would only look appealing to a miner who has been underground for about ten years, but I've pretty much run out of options.  I'd hate for this operation to fall apart for lack of cooperation by your people...just think of how that might affect your young Lydia."

The man smiled as he looked around the group.
Cole Jackson
 player, 236 posts
Tue 1 Nov 2011
at 00:54
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Cole's hand dropped down to his sidearm.  They needed Taggart but his attitude was starting to wear thin on Cole.  Rather than confront the Alliance...officer, Cole directed himself toward the crew.

"Listen up," he said, using the voice his old TI had used hundreds of time on him.  "We've been given all we're going to get.  Deal with it.  We do this and we get some help getting Lydia back.  Maybe even get to keep our lives, which ain't worth much in the Alliance scheme of things.  Anyone else who feel like mucking things up deals with me."

Cole hoped that the look of menace on his face was enough.  He wanted to get this job done (and it was only a job, he kept reminding himself) and get Lydia back.

Turning to Jenna, his put on his best smile.

"Ma'am, I'll have you know I've been to plenty of fairs.  I am the prize and I'm willing to show anyone."

This message was lightly edited by the GM at 05:38, Tue 01 Nov 2011.

Burne Catweazle
 player, 307 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Tue 1 Nov 2011
at 11:20
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Burne had already slipped the ring off, preparing to accept Taggarts offer and flip him the ring.  She didn't trust Taggart worth a damn -which was par for the course with anyone- and she didn't like the idea of leaving Frank at the ship alone.  Then Cole started speaking.  She held onto the ring for the moment while he finished.

She pressed the ring tightly then, feeling the contoured edges dig into her palm.  Fine.  Burne had committed to helping, and she wouldn't send in an unqualified person just because Taggart couldn't figure out how to get the most from his people.  Some people passed Officers Training School, but never learned how to properly lead.  Inspiring others was a charismatic gift, not something that could be learned from a book.  And those who couldn't elicit respect, had to rely on the rod of discipline.  Taggart's cutting remarks for people he needed were ample demonstration of his shortcomings.

Cole finished his bravado, and Burne decided to let the moment stand.  No sense fanning Taggarts sparks.  The man was easy to push into revealing his weaknesses.  That was an explosive tendency, a calm exterior that was too tightly wound underneath, with no caring.  She had met enough like him.  They were expendable, hence they treated others that way.  A sad life, for a sad little man.

Maybe I'll take care of that for him...  She could hear Franks voice in her mind, reprimanding her over a cup of hooch,  People aren't disposable... you know that better than most...  God, she hated his reminders, even when it was her own imagination giving voice to his words.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:58, Tue 01 Nov 2011.

Jin Chu
 player, 222 posts
Tue 1 Nov 2011
at 14:45
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Jin had remained silent while the back and forth was going on, the instructions, the confrontations.  She had nodded at the Captain's request for a secure channel, she would see what she could do, perhaps link it through into the ship's channel.  The ring, she had continued to fiddle with that as Makani made her revelations and gave them pointers on the finer points of their 'mission'.  Her mind was anything but silent though, it had been whirring, planning, considering...suppressing panic.  She didn't generally think of herself as a sensual person, not anymore.  She hadn't been trying to attract male attention in bars for a long while but a big part of her job was acting anyway.  Maybe playing the slightly arrogant, cool type would work - let them think that they had tamed the ice maiden.  She would have to ask Makani later.

Weaponry, she wouldn't be able to wear her gloves, her pistol was small enough to be concealed under a jacket or something, as long as she could get away with wearing one over whatever 'slinky hooker duds' she ended up thrust into.  And of course, these people would have joints and pressure points, same as anyone else.  She had to bite her tongue at Taggart's assessment of their opinion on him; Jin was certain that they felt a lot more about him than he did for them, he would not go back to being a faceless nameless entity when this was all over, he would stay as a 'problem'.  He needed them more than he cared to admit and had neatly manoeuvred them into a position where they were reliant on his help to regain one of their own.

"Cole, if you want a guinea pig for spiking I'll volunteer so long as you don't mind me practising hitting on you in return."  She offered a half smile.  "Mr Taggart, I don't think any of us need to take up any more of your time unless you're in the mood to watch the bunch of us making fools of ourselves for a while."  The smile turned up a notch or two but lost some of its warmth.  Getting him out of the way would calm the atmosphere down, allow them to talk and work without looking over their shoulders all the time.  Not to mention being able to let off some steam.
Makani Ano
 player, 262 posts
Tue 8 Nov 2011
at 11:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani worked with the others individually, knowing there was very little time and so much for them to remember she tried to play up their abilities and personalities and keep it as 'them as possible.'

She knew, for her part, she needed to be a bit more carnal and a lot less sensual and controlled.

She had never felt bad or ashamed of being a companion before.  It was a title she held with pride, but somehow... after all this time simply being Makani, she felt her heart breaking at the thought of losing that... connection with the others.

To be a companion was to hold yourself apart, to remain serene when all around you is not-- to be the eye of the storm.  But her eye of the storm was not to be found.

Once she had finished her demonstrations and tried out her new role, she bowed and once she was sure there were no further questions, she excused herself and returned to her quarters.

Once alone she fought to keep herself under control, but it was a losing battle.  Her loss of Lydia, doing what she had to do to protect her Lei Hulu and the crew of the Ugly Duck... she had never felt so utterly alone.

She quickly grabbed her things and went to the shower, trying to wash it all away as she had been trained, but it wouldn't leave.  She had never felt so... dirty in all her life.

The loss of her friends, of their opinion of her... she would willingly give it all up if it meant Lydia's safety, but there was no way of knowing if her sacrifices were in vain.

Despite herself she sank to the floor of the shower stall and wept.

This message was last edited by the player at 13:49, Tue 08 Nov 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 347 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 14 Nov 2011
at 12:36
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey watched the training from his position by the bar, helping where he was needed but gladly allowing Makani to take the lead. He ignored Taggart's disdain and any suggestion that Burne (or anyone else) wasn't up to the job and focussed on what lay ahead. His role would be simple; to hold in the shuttle and be ready to respond to whatever was needed over comms. That might be nothing, or it might be more dangerous than he cared to imagine.

When Taggart drifted away he approached Burne and cocked his head slightly to ask "Why do you want an Alliance uniform anyway?". Their 'employer' had suggested she'd been released from the navy for her volatility. Today the crew had been finding out alot about each other. Perhaps it was time to understand the pilot better too.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 312 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Mon 14 Nov 2011
at 13:14
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

"Hmm?"
The pilot came back from her reverie with Franks mental image.   "Oh, it was probably something that just caught my mind for the moment.  Since Taggart made his suggestion I was considering what I should wear.  Not having a good feel for the clients makes it a little difficult.  I'm guessing as a whore, it would have to look easily accessible, rather than slinky and complicated.  What's your experience suggest?"
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 348 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Wed 16 Nov 2011
at 12:24
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey raised an eyebrow, trying not to smile at Burne's bemusing question.
He coughed a little awkwardly and responded "Well, prostitution isnt exactly my area of expertise Burne... But as I understand it you're not quite playing the role of street whores, but something a little more presentable.". They'd all seen girls walking the street in next to nothing in the poorer districts near space ports. That way of life ok for some but to Stacey it left a bad taste in his mouth. The women were more likley to be on drugs or working for some pimp than willingly enjoying their roles like a companion might. The Captain though was not a man who visited brothels however and so his answer to Burne was more of an educated guess than fact.
"If I were you I'd copy what we've already seen Tang's girls wearing before. They were certainly eye catching, but had a touch of elegance. I suppose you want your mark to think you are offering a romanitc experience and not just a little rutting. Dressing up market might make the men easier to manage.". He shrugged. Makani would know better.
Glancing back accorss the room he looked at her sideways. "You still didn't say why you wanted an Alliance uniform? Do you miss it?".
Burne Catweazle
 player, 313 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Wed 16 Nov 2011
at 15:39
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
"Tough to miss something you've never lost."

"ooo... that might have come out wrong.   No.  I wasn't asking for an Alliance uniform because I missed having one."

She looks at The Ugly Duck's captain, "Maybe it was more to see how Taggart would respond. Knowing his weaknesses and flaws can give us a better insight into what to expect from him."

"And as to your suggestion, I'm not into feather boa's, so I think I'll leave them off the list and just wear a form fitting dress.   They tend to divert a man's eyes towards other aspects, and form fitting means they can't just rip them off.  So a distracted slow pace gives me time to do what I need to do."

Shan Yu
 GM, 486 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Thu 17 Nov 2011
at 02:20
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
The undercover recruits continued their familiarization with the equipment needed for them to accomplish the mission, as well as learning the ways of the ladies (and men) of the night.  The technical aspects of the equipment was fairly easily learned for the crew...folks who made their livelihood running a ship weren't usually intimidated when it came to technology, and there really wasn't that much to learn, anyway.  The rings only required a little practice, and the recording equipment wasn't all that different from the larger units that everyone was already familiar with.

As for the...non-technical...lessons, there was a much steeper learning curve to overcome.  However, Makani proved to be a consummate professional and a fine teacher, and it didn't take long for the others, even Jenna, to realize that they would need a year or two of practice to know half as much about their new "profession".  Still, her familiarity allowed her to at least instill some basic concepts into the minds of her friends and co-spies.  Jenna scrounged through the wardrobes of her fellow operatives and provided a large assortment of clothing choices for everyone, separated into piles for each person, based on size.  Even Dem's clothing seemed to be a fit for Cole, though some of the flashier choices might prove to be more humorous than seductive (maybe a rugged cowboy persona might be more suitable).

Hours passed as the group prepared for their mission, and Taggart was everywhere, watching...evaluating...inspecting.  He didn't miss much, and by mid afternoon, he actually seemed to be fairly satisfied.  Eventually, he moved to center of the lounge, where everyone was still collected, reviewing fashion choices and going over their equipment lists.  He clapped his hands several times to attract everyone's attention, waited a moment, then addressed everyone in a loud voice.  "It's now 1730 hours, and it's almost showtime.  You have one hour to grab chow, then get yourselves all gussied up and meet back down here for a final inspection and briefing."  He became serious as he looked around the group.  "Make no mistake, my little soiled doves, that tonight you have a chance to make a real difference.  The information you collect has the potential to virtually wipe out the slave trade in this system.  And with a little luck, by this time tomorrow you may have your little cabin girl with you to celebrate.  So keep a clear head, and don't get killed."
Burne Catweazle
 player, 314 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Thu 17 Nov 2011
at 20:08
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
The words "Final Inspection," rang in Burne's ears.   The fact that Taggart felt the need to inspect a whore's outfit said something.   Then again, maybe he just had a lot of experience with whores, unlike Yanoro.   The more dooming part was the word "Final."   Burne remembered her final inspection, it was long ago.   Somehow when Taggart said the word, it brought other thoughts to her mind.

She left for her room, not wanting to eat anything before Taggart's Big Night.  There she picked out her form fitting dress, the one she had only worn a couple times, and never on a date.  A few other primps and props to fix the shape and look, and she would be ready to return to the galley and get things started for the evening.
Cole Jackson
 player, 241 posts
Mon 21 Nov 2011
at 04:27
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cole's Bunk)

Cole stood next to his bunk, looking over the clothing options he had.  On the right he had a two pair of pants.  Their were the least dirty and worn pairs he had.  They still looked like they had seen the underside of a herd of cattle before being thrown in with the pigs.  Then somebody pretended to wash them only they must have used dog turds for powder.  Next to those pants say a white shirt.  A stain could be made out under the right arm.  A lucky shot at some point in time.  Or someone's head that was bleeding while Cole was "encouraging" him.

Cole sighed.  The truth was that the pants and shirt looked fine...for deckhand on a cargo ship.  They were clean and free of stains.  But compared to the clothes on the left side of the bed, they were worn but a batch of workers tunneling under a chicken coop.  Dem's clothes were fashionable, clean, pressed, and completely beyond his comprehension.  He had asked for some help getting something out of Dem's collection and someone had dropped this outfit on him.  Cole wished he remembered who.  Then he would know who to throttle later.

Cole dressed in the clothes provided for him.  Finishing the last button on the shirt, Cole looked at the small mirror on his wall.  He almost did not recognize himself.  He was clean, shaved, and dressed like a clown in a circus.  For a brief second the first mate began to regret his decision to help Taggart.  And then Lydia's smiling face crept into his mind.  Every time that happened, Cole set his resolve to do whatever was necessary to get her back.

Stepping to his trunk, Cole pulled out the ankle holster and pistol that he had taken to not wearing while aboard the ship.  He strapped it to his right ankle.  He then looked at his long knife and regular sidearm.  While they might look out of place on his hips while performing tonight, he knew that they would stay with Stacey on the shuttle.  And just to make sure, Cole grabbed his shotgun and it's full bandolier.  He'd hide them as best as he could on the shuttle.  His pistol being taken would be ok if things went south.  The roomsweeper would be more important for maximum collateral damage.  After last night, Cole was not going to take any chances.

Cole stepped out of his cabin into the galley.  He wanted a drink but settled for a large glass of water.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 349 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 22 Nov 2011
at 17:47
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
As the lessons continued Stacey watched the time. Knowing Makani had everything under control down here he made his way to the shuttle to refresh his memory of the controls. He'd not flown for a some time, and while the trip wouldn't be overly challenging he could imagine Burne chuckling at his expense if he misjudged the landing or something similar.
When he was satisfied the Captain moved toward his cabin to change. Removing the clothes he'd thrown on after the attack he prepared himself for combat. A heavy jacket concealed his body armour from any cursory glance and he began to pack the rest of his gear. Quickly he gathered weapons and commsets.
He hoped his role would not come in to play but if trouble arose, he would be there to help the crew where he could.
When he was ready he moved toward the shuttle again.

Like Taggart said; they were doing this for Lydia.
Jin Chu
 player, 225 posts
Wed 23 Nov 2011
at 19:34
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Jin's Cabin)

Jin had taken her time rummaging through the available clothes.  There was nothing that she would wear given half a choice in the matter.  It ran towards spandex and sheer fabric, more to the point, there was almost nothing to fit her that didn't involve some kind of skirt.  Either it barely covered everything she considered decent or it fell to her ankles and was slit up to her hips.  She frowned down at the scattering of clothes she had brought up from the lounge and picked up some of the less offensive garments.  At least they were things that she would be able to move in, something that she wouldn't be constantly readjusting and giving away her lack of familiarity the the style of dress.

Eventually, she made her choice, in theory she was covered, her clothing perfectly modest.  In practicality... Jin tried to avoid looking in the mirror once her makeup was done.  She wore a skirt, clinging about her hips, and pooling about her ankles in her bare feet, she was a couple of inches too short to wear it comfortably.  It was split at the front so that when she walked, her legs were revealed to mid thigh.  She would have to be very careful when she sat down in it or she would end up flashing far more than she intended to.  The top was corseted at the back but opened with a zipper down the front, leaving her very little recourse if anyone was determined to get her out of it.  She could only hope that the drug really would work just as well as Jenna had promised.  Jin placed no hope in any of Taggert's words, that would imply a level of trust in the man that was far from the truth.
Over the corset, she had managed to find a jacket.  It didn't quite reach her waist, meaning that she would only be able to carry her pistol if she could borrow an underarm holster from someone.  It buttoned up in the front, just to the top of her bust where the fabric disappeared, a wide cut out showing the expanse of flesh revealed between the corset and her neck.  The sleeves were sheer, some gold fabric that made her skin glow beneath it.

She hoped it managed to fulfil the proper image as well as making her as comfortable as she was ever likely to be in these kind of clothes.  Her makeup was simple but she had applied it with rather more abandon than she might have done usually.  Eyes heavily outlined in black and hilighted with gold and a deep red, lips painted a similar red.  She took one last look at her reflection, favouring it with a deep sigh.  The only piece of jewellery she wore was the serpent ring she had been lent.

A pair of high heels in one hand, Jin slipped out of her cabin and headed into the galley, intending to make her way back to the lounge to join the others when they were ready.  Her timing meant that she encountered Cole, looking as though he could use a stiff shot of almost anything.  She offered him a grim smile, sharing the discomfort and trepidation that she thought she read on his face.
Cole Jackson
 player, 243 posts
Thu 24 Nov 2011
at 01:27
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole smiled at Jin as the converged on the galley.  Her outfit brought a gleam to his eye that could not be mistaken.  Thankfully, he was focused enough to remember that he was first mate and she was part of the crew.  It would not be proper.  Instead, he turned the focus to himself.

"I gotta say that you look a might better than me," he said.  "Not sure who decided that purple was a good color for a man."  Cole gestured to the monstrosity of a shirt he was wearing.  "And I think someone forgot a few buttons up top.  Think my boots might stick out?  Dem's shoes didn't fit me."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 350 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 24 Nov 2011
at 07:31
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
The shuttle prepped Stacey went in search of taggart. Finding the callous officer he asked the questions on his mind.
Do you have any more Intel on the enemy? Any key individuals we should watch out for? Is there an extraction plan or support available if things go real sour? Any update on lydia?
He didn't expect the man to give him much, but the questions might cover something interesting. Carefully he explored Taggarts resources too. Did he have access to a handful of smoke bombs and flash grenades? Anything Stacey could use as a distraction would be useful.
When he was done the captain hunted down Frank. Speaking quickly he asked the engineer if he could rig some sort of timed device and remote device. Something small that Stacey could use to trigger a distraction without the need to be right beside it.
Finally the captain hurried to the infirmary to pull together a medical kit.
He prayed he wouldn't need to use it.
Shan Yu
 GM, 495 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 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
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
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
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
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
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
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
 GM, 508 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
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
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
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
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
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.