Part 10 - A hero's work is never done.   Posted by The Force.Group: 0
The Force
 GM, 282 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Mon 11 Jun 2012
at 08:28
Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
As it happens, the "Heroes of Alrirkr" get very little time to sit back and bask in their own glory.  Only two days after returning from that mission, they find themselves summoned to another briefing.

Not all of them will be present, though.  Vekkis Lund is still considered unfit for duty, even though he is out of the infirmary.

Reldan Jalt, Captain of the Dancing Bantha, will apparently be providing transport for the time being.  He sits in the briefing room, lounging back in his chair with his legs stretched out in front of him, hands behind his head, and eyes closed.

R2-O0, Reldan's astromech droid, is at the back of the room, standing alongside UY-3PO.  The protocol droid gleams in the light from the ceiling panels, having been cleaned up and given a series of maintenance checks.  The two droids are talking about something in Binary, the complex series of whistles, bleeps, chirps and other noises sounding almost like birds singing to each other.
Shard
 player, 438 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Mon 11 Jun 2012
at 16:20
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Shard meanders into the briefing room, her head pounding.  She's spent the last day and a half sequestered with quicklearning texts on emergency medical aid, all culminating with a frustrated night of Zidran brandy.  Not a wise idea, and she's relatively sure it has undone most of the exercise she did during her breaks.  Stupid.  Let down the team.  Not a good idea.

How much of the First Aid has sunk in is also open to debate.

"You-why," she mutters, passing the droids.  "Oh-Zero."  A nod to the ship captain follows.  "Jalt."  At least she knows the Dancing Bantha.  The older woman slowly lowers herself into a chair.  Waking this morning had been difficult, to say the least, but she managed and cleaned herself up nicely.  The only remnant of her bender now is a throbbing pain behind her right eye that even pills can't disperse.

Stupid, stupid woman, she curses herself.

She'll shape up this mission, Shard promises herself.  One night of drinking didn't put her back to where she was before.  But how many times, part of her mind whispers, has she thought the same?
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 386 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 11 Jun 2012
at 18:12
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Rhijans...stalked...into the briefing room.  He, for one, was thankful for the lack of downtime--he didn't know what to do with himself when they were 'on standby'.  The number of people around on the Rebel base made him irritable...if he'd been inclined to drink, the offers for bought drinks at the commissary would have been flattering, but as it was, they were more of an annoyance--though not as bad as the people who kept asking for details about the 'raid' and how so much damage had been done before the Headhunters even came in for their attack run.

Stupid kids, he told himself.  They didn't get it.  The mission might have been a success on paper, but they lost a man...that was nothing to drink over.  Not in celebration, anyway.  He'd had a couple of quiet drinks in the corner in Jacobs' memory, when he'd finally been surly enough long enough that people had left him alone.

The irony of being glad to be back together with the team (even the annoyingly brash Dak), just a few weeks after starting to work with them and wondering if he'd ever be able to tolerate being around so many people, never dawned on him.  He just wasn't introspective on that kind of level.  These people had fought and suffered with him...they understood...they wouldn't pester him with stupid questions about it.

And right now, he felt like that was what he needed.

He gave a nod to Jalt, feeling a little pleasure in the fact that they'd at least shaken the 'no pilot is ever willing to work with them twice' aura that he had feared the team was developing.  He gave a half-hearted wave to the droids, but he was pretty sure whatever they were beeping about back there had their attention focused far too tightly to notice.  His gaze settled on Shard.

"Rough night, huh?" he asked.  Remarkably enough, something akin to sympathy crept into his voice.  He noted the way she seemed to wince at some of the sharper whistles from the droids, how one eye squinted a little tighter, especially when facing the brighter sections of the room.  He hadn't been there, himself, but he'd seen enough others dealing with the aftermath of a drinking binge to recognize the few subtle signs that she let show.  As long as she's got it all back together by the time we go in, what she does in her off-time is her affair, he told himself.  They all had their own ways of dealing with stress, and with the let-down of that stress disappearing after a mission was done, and he wasn't going to judge hers.  If it worked for her, that was all that mattered.

He took a seat next to her, without further discussion.
Juragga
 player, 162 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Tue 12 Jun 2012
at 07:48
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Juragga shuffled in, looking tired and disheveled.  He wasn't hung over... more like still a little drunk.  But he made slow and steady progress to his seat, the scent of yeast and hops on his breath.

Far from a party, he'd been able to put himself in a good mood for a few days by self-medicating.  But now the fun was over and it was time to get back to work.

He belched lightly, a good Wookiee ale-induced burp, and sat down in the back of the room, straightening his poncho with as much dignity as he could muster, considering the food stains on the front.
Haarmon Dak
 player, 177 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Tue 12 Jun 2012
at 12:55
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Haarmon entered the room at what can best be described as a half-saunter. There was some strut in his walk, there was no doubt about that. And some swagger in his step. And his face was still set in that leering smirk that seemed to communicate the vastness of his impatience with the universe.

But all the same, he looked tired. Wrung out. Used up. Like he hadn't slept much more than a few restless fitful hours in days. His skin was pale and there were dark circles under his eyes. He gave the room no more than a cursory sneer before plopping himself down next to Juragga.

He looked up at his friend and snorted. And it was a genuine Dak snort. "Hey Rags. You wearing the food now? This some kind of Wookie courtship ritual? Cuz thanks but no thanks, you know what I'm saying? I respect you and all, but..."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 389 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Wed 13 Jun 2012
at 06:42
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Rhijans snorted softly to himself.  The kid was having a hard time adjusting to the new realities of life, it seemed, judging by the signs of sleeplessness...but he was resilient.  In spite of himself, Rhijans had to admit a grudging fondness for the brash behavior.  He'd never say it out loud, because the last thing he wanted was to encourage more of it focused his direction...but he liked the kid, just the same.

He just hoped that he'd be able to continue saying that, I like this kid, present-tense.  Part of him...a much larger part than would have been involved before Jacobs' death...feared the likelihood of having to say, I liked that kid.
Shard
 player, 441 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Wed 13 Jun 2012
at 13:02
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Rhijans' greeting snags her attention and Shard squints up at him suspiciously for a momment.  Nope; he's not fishing, nor is he mocking.  Relaxing, she settles a little further down in her seat, the sullen student of the class.  "Yeah."  The older woman clears her throat, hoping her next words will sound a little more smooth.  "Done now, though."

As always, the professional is easy on the eyes.  Clean, sharp of features and eye, and radiating an aura of relaxed preparation.  It's good having him around, Shard reflects.  She's a little jealous of his charcoal hair, sleek and flowing; her own hasn't been that splendid in a decade, and is threaded with silver strands to boot.  "Looking good, Rhijans," she mutters.  "Someone has to."

Juragga joins the crowd, looking about how she feels.  No, Shard decides with a critical eye, worse.  She can't blame the Wookie; hope for finding more of his kind had turned to ash in the raid, and everything certainly hadn't gone as planned to boot.  But best he keeps himself in the back and doesn't draw attention, as the Colonel could be a stickler about these things.  I'll cover for him, she decides.  Her own squadmates have done the same for her in the past.

Haarmon doesn't look much better, trundling in on Juragga's heels.  Maybe he hadn't sampled the drink, but sleepless nights looked like the style, hereabouts.  Frowning, Shard purses her lips.  They're spread out over the room, all in little groups of misery (except Rhijans, with his customary cloak of cold professionalism).  It's not right.

"You up for a walk?" she mutters to the man beside her, pushing herself up.  "Better we stick together.  Maybe make a tighter knot, or the Colonel's going to figure something's wrong and split the unit."

It's not...quite...true, but it might as well be.  Things could go poorly Really Quick Now on a mission, and if the group didn't move right it could be the end of all of them.  And that'd break us up just as quick as if the Colonel did, she considers, pushing herself up and over a row of seats to sit one row down from Haarmon and Juragga.

Even if Rhijans decides not to move, they'll all be linked in a line.

Craning her neck, she eyes the mismatched pair.  "You two..."  Shard shakes her head, and with a wave indicates herself included in the observation.  "We gotta come to these briefings a little more spiffy-like, or the Colonel's going to figure we don't want to be here."
Juragga
 player, 164 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Wed 13 Jun 2012
at 15:15
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Juragga eyed Haarmon and grunted in reply, then flashed a weak Wookiee fanged grin before turning his poncho around so the food stains were on the back instead of the front.  They showed less that way.

He nodded to Shard as she settled into the row ahead of him.  He figured they'd have had more than two days off and not be summoned on (what he considered to be) short notice.  But such was life in the Rebellion.  But the Jedi was right.  It wouldn't do to be tossed out for lack of enthusiasm.  He might never find his family that way.

He might never find them at all.

"Wasn't expecting the call so soon," he muttered in a low guttural. But then he stopped.  He didn't want to go on and sound like he was making excuses.

This message was last edited by the player at 15:19, Wed 13 June 2012.

Rhijans Thanus
 player, 391 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Wed 13 Jun 2012
at 16:29
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Rhijans followed Shard's lead.  He wasn't certain, precisely, of the reason for it, but until such time as the woman gave him reason not to trust her, he'd take cues from her.  It seemed like the right thing to do, at least...this 'team' thing was still an unaccustomed challenge to him, although he was definitely gaining an appreciation of it.  He have never pulled off that last mission solo, although it was extremely unlikely that they'd send a single individual in with those kinds of objectives in mind.

He steepled his fingers, thoughtfully, as she gave the others her mild admonition.  He didn't expect the Colonel would take too much exception to the team coming in and looking a little ragged around the edges--the kinds of missions they'd been given were things that couldn't be accomplished by conventional means, and allowances were often made for those who could accomplish the unconventional.

Still, it wouldn't hurt any for the team to come in looking ready to go--and as Shard was the one who brought it up, she obviously felt some need for it.  Given the track record thus far--"Here's your mission, you leave in an hour, good luck..."--it was certainly prudent to maintain a state of readiness.  Considering the fact that they were part of a rebellion, and their base could be attacked at any given time, it seemed only prudent to him to maintain a state of good operating order, personally...never knew when you'd have to make a run for it or have to fight your way out.  But he'd also long ago resigned himself to the knowledge that the standards he held for himself wouldn't be matched by many others, and he certainly didn't feel it was his place to start dictating them to anyone.

Now, the first time he felt that someone's personal habits made them unreliable in a time of need...that would be different.

All this flashed through his mind, thoughts arising, being weighed, and sorted out, in fractions of a second.  Behind his steepled fingers, he nodded, apparently at Shard's words, though more at his own conclusion to the thought process they started.  He could guess at what the Wookiee rumbled, and commented, "Appears we can't expect any definite duration of downtime.  It also appears we're becoming one of the Colonel's go-to teams for missions with dangerous objectives.  Like it or not, we're likely to be regarded as on-call for whatever comes up...the only way that'll stop is if we totally botch a mission, which means a lot of dead bodies and likely us among them.  I wouldn't count on getting a day or two advance notice before we get sent out...the kinds of missions we've been drawing don't operate that way."  He left it at that...they could all draw their own conclusions.  They all knew what demons persecuted them...how to deal with those demons was something only the individuals could decide.
The Force
 GM, 286 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Thu 14 Jun 2012
at 13:39
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Colonel Kourene enters the room, this time accompanied by only one of his aides.  As he stalks to the fromt of the room, it is clear to everybody that the Rebel commander is not in a good mood.

He reaches the front of the room, and without preamble launches into the briefing, "Right, everybody quiet down.  This will need to be quick, I have two more teams to speak to after you.  I know that most of you have just come back from a tough mission, and were probably hoping for some downtime, but we're a bit stretched at the moment."

An image appears above the holoprojector.  The world has no oceans, no vegetation, and few clouds.  More interstingly, perhaps, considering this group's most recent mission, there is no sign of even small ice caps.

"This is Osmur.  We've recently received intelligence reports from our agents on Dor-Tennia which suggest the the Imperials are up to something on Osmur.  For a baren world with only one settlement of any significance, there seems to have been a lot of shipping bound there in the last month or so."

"We need somebody to go there and see if they can find out what's happening, avoiding any trouble with Imperial forces if possible.  That job falls to you.  Captain Jalt will take you to Dor-Tennia where you will meet with one of our operatives, Kaer Paxlo.  Paxlo will provide you with a ship which you will use to travel to Osmur, and an Imperial security code which will let you bypass the Imperial ships currently in orbit and land."

"Any questions?"

Haarmon Dak
 player, 178 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Thu 14 Jun 2012
at 14:11
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Haarmon offered Shard a strained smile at her comment that spoke volumes about how little he wanted to be there. But all the same he guessed she was right. Maybe after the briefing he'd go down to medbay, see about getting some help getting to sleep. Well, more accurately, staying asleep. He dropped off whenever he stopped moving. No problems there.

But then the dreams started....

He shook his head a couple times, as if to clear it. Listened to the Colonal's talk. He raised his hand at the request for questions.

"So what you're saying is that our mission is to go down there and find out what our mission is? Do we know what's being shipped? Civilian transports? Military? Do we have eyes on the settlement? Been any changes there? New buildings? Businesses? Even Imperial super-commando-tech-ninjas like lap dances after they wrap up Ops for the day, am I right?"

His energy level is visibly higher after this little rant. Eyes a little brighter. Posture a little straighter. Nothing like throwing around a little hostility to perk a guy up.
Shard
 player, 443 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Thu 14 Jun 2012
at 18:58
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Shard mutters assent to Juragga's excuse. "Hey, I'm not exactly spec myself," she mumbles back, studying Haarmon.  The lines of strain around his eyes speak volumes, and as she studies them a memory spikes in her mind.

"W...WHY?"  Shard spins in a circle, nearly cutting one of her arms off with the humming tool in her hand; her youthful body is agile and light, but bile fills her throat.  Her feet squelch in something unpleasant on the ground.  The stench of burned meat fills her nose.  And everywhere her eyes fall, there are bodies - bodies in white armor, bodies in gray uniforms, bodies cloven and carved like slaughterhouse victims.

"Void...cursed void, why?" she implores.  "They were techs!  You didn't...
we didn't give them a chance!"

The tall, ascetic man tucks his own, silent tool into his sleeve and studies her with placid eyes. "We could not know if one would draw a weaopn mid-fight.  Techs or not, they were imperials, and they were armed." 

His preternatural, empty calmness sends shivers up her spine.


While the first casualty of war is the truth, the second is always innocence.

Her eyes flick to Rhijans.  "That's...remarkably cynical, Rhijans.  And probably bang-on.  The screw-ups get shuffled off to rear-echelon, the ones who get things done shoulder more."  She shrugs.  "Self-pitying, maybe, but -"

Enter the Colonel.  Shard zips it.

Their boss moves to the front of the room with long, distance-eating strides.  He's in a hurry, he's stressed, and Shard does a quick shift of her internal landscape.  Better keep the comments to her inside voice for now, and she's sure to have a lot of them.  This looks like it's going to be a void-damned mess.

And the Colonel doesn't disappoint.

With mounting dismay, Shard listens.  They're flying by the seat of their pants completely on this one.  Intell?  Using that word would be an insult.  Backup?  None to speak.  Potential leverage on the mission site?  One settlement of Imperials means no locals to provide assistance or information on a barren world.  A nightmare waiting hungrily to spring.

And Haarmon, understandably, starts to fall apart.

"Hey."  Twisting in her seat, Shard waves a finger to get his attention.  "Good questions, and I'm sure the Colonel has some answers." She hopes.  Twisting back, she raises her voice with the intent of focusing any ire on herself.  "Right, Colonel?  There has to be something there, and we have to have some knowledge?  From those agents?  Plans, maps, personnel lists.  Something?"

C'mon, Juragga.  Help him out.  The Wookie knows his friend best; maybe he can talk him down without triggering an explosion.
Haarmon Dak
 player, 179 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Thu 14 Jun 2012
at 19:57
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Haarmon, who thought he was being remarkably calm, given the circumstances, sees the concern in Shard's face and checks himself. Quick breath. Relax. Quick look at Juragga, see if maybe he had some time-honoured Wookie wisdom to add.

"I'm cool, Shard," he says, in a voice that says that's only half a lie. "I'm calm. If the Colonal doesn't have answers, then we'll go get some. That's how we do it, am I right?"
Juragga
 player, 166 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Thu 14 Jun 2012
at 20:28
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Juragga's first insane thought was to ask the Colonel if there was any beer on the planet.  He thought better of it.

Catching Haarmon's reaction, he smiled, but then saw Shard's concern.  He knew Haarmon was just winding himself up and expressing his voodoo that he do so well.  He wasn't worried, but he did give the kid a mild cuff on the shoulder and laughed to let him know it was all good.

"GrrrrrrrAAAAuuuuwwwrrr," he warbled aloud, asking the Colonel: So this is a 'recon in force', then?
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 392 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Fri 15 Jun 2012
at 09:06
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Rhijans had a half-smile start forming when Dak went on his little tirade.  It finished forming when Shard called the kid on it, and with Dak's response.

"Can't say that anything I've done with the Alliance has suffered an overabundance of available intel.  Really, what we've been given isn't all that much less to go on than we did our first round out.  At least this time, we know we're going out to get Imperial intel...that's a more concrete target than meeting a droid who will take us to who we're supposed to pick up."

He shrugged, fatalistically.  They'd likely stand out, being non-Imperials on an Imperial world with a single settlement...the trick was to make people believe they were either legitimate independent spacers, or that they were connected to some kind of crime ring...the Hutts, or something similar.  Pirates and Rebels would get a decidedly unfriendly welcome.

"Do we have any information available on what kind of ship is being provided for us to make the final leg of the trip into the Osmur settlement?" he directed to the Colonel.  If they had to come up with some kind of cover story, it would be best to start now, so they could work it out before any demands to keep it all straight came up.
Colonel Kourene
 NPC, 13 posts
 Commander of
 Defiance Base.
Mon 18 Jun 2012
at 14:05
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
"Your mission is, as I said, one of reconnaissance.  Pure and simple.  For all we know, everybody in the settlement might know exactly what the Imperials are up to, but we haven't had a chance to find out as yet." Kourene pauses, gathering his thoughts, or possibly remembering the days when a commanding officer didn't have to9 justify orders to those under his command, "Every mission starts like this.  Somebody hears a rumour and passes it on to us.  Before we can send a team to deal with situation, we need to confirm that is a situation.  Sometimes we trawl for information on comm channels or the HoloNet, other times we send somebody to take a look.  In this case we've decided on the latter course, because Osmur isn't really a communications hub.  That job has fallen to you."

"All we really have is a rumour about a lot of traffic from Dor-Tennia to Osmur.  You might get to Osmur and find that they've simply had a natural disaster of some kind, and that the extra ships are bringing in emergency supplies and equipment."
he shrugs, "Or it could be a new stormtrooper training garrison.  Or a secret weapons research facility.  We really won't know until we have eyes on the ground, and you are those eyes."

"What we do know is that the shipping, so far, has been a mix of military transports, which makes me disinclined to believe that it'll turn out to be a natural disaster.  No combat ships as far as we know.  There has always been some civilian traffic, so a freighter coming in wouldn't raise any alarms.  However, to be on the safe side, you will be using an Imperial Lambda class shuttle."

Rhijans Thanus
 player, 393 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 18 Jun 2012
at 14:11
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Rhijans gave a tight-lipped grin.  "We have Imperial uniforms that we can requisition from the quartermaster, right?  Or stormtrooper armor?  Because I'm pretty sure nobody's going to buy me as 'standard Imperial issue.'  Unless we go with the notion of a few 'sub-human' attendants of some sort..."  He didn't want to get too far into the subject...that was something they could iron out specifics on while en route.  But they needed to define what their cover story would be on arrival so they could get any appropriate supplies here, where they were available.
Juragga
 player, 167 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Mon 18 Jun 2012
at 17:26
Re: Part 10 - A hero's work is never done
Juragga nodded at Rhijans' words and waved a shaggy paw.  "Gruuuuh!" he commented.  Nobody was going to mistake him for an Imperial.

Perhaps if there were wilderness areas near the encampment to scout; but the planet was basically a rock.  He was going to end up sitting on the ship or skulking the desert wastes.  He could imagine one of Haarmon's holocomix now: Wookiee By Night.

Now when it came time to dismember stormtroopers and blow stuff up, he's be fine...