Part 12 - Osmur.   Posted by The Force.Group: 0
The Force
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Thu 7 Feb 2013
at 19:32
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
"Thank you, My Lady." the admiral stands a little straighter, and he glances towards where Haarmon is working.  "Would you be interested in seeing the rest of the complex, once your aide is finished here?"

"I do have other matters to attend to, but Captain Alates will be pleased to guide you further."


The officer in question pushes past the two droids and Shard's stormtrooper escort, though he is careful not to actually push past Juragga, giving the Wookiee a wide enough berth that he doesn't actually make physical contact with the massive furry alien.

Haarmon starts stowing his equipment, and stands up...
Rhijans Thanus
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Sat 9 Feb 2013
at 02:56
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
As soon as Rhijans was aware of the Captain moving past, he gave ground, slightly.  He was, after all, just a lowly stormtrooper...to the best of his knowledge, he didn't even warrant a rank, much less rank enough to butt heads with a Captain.

The thought dawned on him, as he stepped back, that perhaps the hand-picked escort of Ghea Nimadda didn't need rank in order to be regarded as intimidating to 'normal' troops, but at that point, it was too late...he'd already moved.  He opted for a compromise, following Captain Alates with his gaze, the inscrutable faceplate of the stormtrooper helmet concealing whether the look was questioning, annoyed, or amused.

It was, actually, none of the above.  While the helmet was looking in the Captain's direction, Rhijans was trying to monitor the reactions of the others in the room...whether the break in the seemingly mindless compliance of a stormtrooper raised eyebrows or drew closer looks.
Juragga
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Sat 9 Feb 2013
at 23:36
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Playing his part, Juragga allows the man to pass, but subtly keeps his massive frame present as if ready to intercede should anything threaten 'Nimadda'.

Haarmon had done his work.  He had faith in the kid.  Now if they could just figure out a plan, and a way to communicate it without tipping off the enemy.  Until then, the overriding thoughts in Juragga's mind were Don't screw this up and Die well...
Shard
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Mon 11 Feb 2013
at 13:21
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
About time, Shard thinks, completely unaware that Haarmon has done something grossly beyond 'getting the information'.  She doesn't bother thinking over the Admiral's question; someone like Nimadda wouldn't take any time consider her replies. "I'll take that tour, Admiral, though we may have to cut it short.  Captain Alates, then?"  A cock of that eyebrow at the man as he moves forward, then 'Nimadda' smiles. "Of course."

Sucking in a breath, she takes another long look around the control room.  "You've certainly done your job, Admiral.  That will be reflected in my report.  For now, though, I release you to your duties."  The glacial expression warms a touch.  "Thank you.  You've been most helpful...also to be reflected in my report."

"Captain Alates."
  His intent stated and goodbyes made, the admiral is no longer her concern.  "Lead on."
The Force
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Mon 11 Feb 2013
at 19:26
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
After a brief look around to see that nobody has become separated from the tour group, Captain Alates says, "This way, please, Lady Nimadda."  He starts back towards the door, which opens to admit a blast of furnace heat from the desert beyond.

Outside, the walkway clangs and reverberates beneath their feet.  Alates leads the way towards the shield projector, and has to raise his voice to be heard above the noise of their progress.  "Projecting a shield from a ground based installation is not, of course, a new idea.  What is new is the scale of this one.  Normally they are used, as you doubtless know, to protect ships which have gone into orbit above Naval facilities to have their own shields generators repaired or replaced."

"Typically, those shields enclose a volume which is, at most, a kilometre in radius.  The projection equipment is proportionately smaller,"

They step into the shade of the dish, still almost two hundred metres from the entrance to the bulky support tower.  The temperature drops sharply.  A short distance ahead, a metre long reptile lifts its head at their approach, hisses, and scuttles off the walkway.  It gets perhaps five metres before the sand beneath it erupts upwards, and a large mouth, surrounded by vicious hooked mandibles fastens onto the hapless creature and drags it below the surface.

"That is why we have these raised walkways.  Some of the indigenous life forms are rather dangerous, though that particular species does not seem particularly common." he glances at Rhijans and Reldan, in their armour, "Even stormtroopers need to see their target to fight it, and your slave would not provide more than a snack, I think, My Lady."
Rhijans Thanus
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Mon 11 Feb 2013
at 20:19
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Rhijans' gaze lingered on the settling dust cloud where the reptile had been dragged to its demise.  His mind catalogued and filed the information...in the event they couldn't manage to set back the operations here before departure, this was need-to-know stuff.  All approaches either had to be via established walkways or by repulsorlift...there would be no over-land approaches on foot.

And while that made getting in more difficult, it could help when it came time for getting out.  If the starport could be isolated from the rest of the installation...destroy a few walkways, and they couldn't chase you without risk of losing an unknown quantity of troops.  Knowing the Empire, that wouldn't slow them down much...troops would be ordered onto the sand, anyway, en masse, in the hopes that the sheer volume would over-run any predation losses.

Still, it was a glimmer.  A good sharp-shooter could disrupt command and communications by shooting anyone who was giving orders...while the Empire had massive resources, initiative wasn't necessarily one of them.  Without officers, troops often lost cohesion.  Didn't help them at all against the armada orbiting the planet, either...but it was a solution to one problem.  It was a starting point.

All that processed in fractions of a second, and a grim half-smile settled on his lips as he took up his place in the procession and dropped back into step.  With enough intel, and the right resources--and enough time--any problem could be solved.  They were in precious short supply of all three...but the situation was improving, at least marginally.
Shard
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Wed 13 Feb 2013
at 16:03
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Shard leans over the railing, eyebrows rising at the display below her, then turns back to face the captain.  Her grin might be likened to that of a shark. "Oh, I doubt I'd require my trooper's assistance for that one, Captain, nor that of my...assistant...but it's certainly another effective deterrant to any kind of ground assault."  Her lips quirk slightly.  "Assuming any transports get past your blockade, which I doubt."

She waves a hand out toward the sky.  "I suppose they could come in on the opposite side of the planet, but it's a lengthly trek even if they put down a few thousand kilometers away, and if the world is as hellish as you suggest, not one I'd want to personally attempt."

Her eyes turn up toward the shield generator.  "Rather...large," she notes.  "Immune to bombardment through its own shield, I take it?  Good."

In truth, she's cataloguing the points against any attempt to actually come back here and both destroy the shield array and sabotage the actual...death-station they're building.  It's coming up to an impressive tally in her mind.  This...this isn't going to be as easy as I thought.

And I really didn't think it would be easy before.


"Continue, Captain."
Haarmon Dak
 player, 225 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Wed 13 Feb 2013
at 16:28
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Haarmon tried his best to follow along and be all bored-by-my-own-superiority Imperial superspy. But it was hard. Every moment that passed just increased the risk of setting off the little digital bomb he had planted. And once it went off, it would get hard to just hop in the spacecraft and run away. Once they underway? Easy. No one would bother them on the way out once the world tipped sideways. But it would look awful strange for them to start high-tailing it out if it happened while they were still here.

But Shard was into the role. And the Captain was having a good time. And he didn't want to break in and break protocol or make it seem too obvious that he wanted out. And now. That might be remembered. And he had a slicer's almost genetic aversion to  being remembered.

Plus, he figured Rags and Rhijans were having fun gathering all the sweet intel they were getting. He didn't want to interrupt that. That stuff would all be important to whatever pack of nerf-herders got stuck with coming back here.

Two more minutes, he told himself. Two minutes and I'm gonna have to pull the plug on this thing.
The Force
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Thu 14 Feb 2013
at 23:10
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
"The generator and projector are protected by their own shield and, of course, the fleet overhead would make it difficult for any attacker to get into position for  a bombardment of the surface."  Captain Alates' smile is very smug as they approach the entrance to the tower, the air around them almost... chilly... in the shade of the dish.

"As you can see, there are heavy laser cannon emplacements on the tower itself, as well as E-Web blasters.  These are intended to provide omnidirectional protection against ground assault by anything from infantry up to heavy vehicles."

The door opens, and the air which blows out is warmer than that outside, and redollent with the smells of hot metal and ionisation.  Moisture condenses on the white 'trooper armour.

The space inside the tower is dark, lit mainly by the flickering of welding equipment, reflecting from and around silent hulking metallic forms.  Skeins of cable are suspended prom points lost in the gloom high above.

"Most of the work in here has been completed.  All that remains, for the most part, consists of connecting the generator units to their power supplies.  There is, however, one more unit to be delivered, and we are expecting that shortly."

Alates gestures towards a narrow metal staircase which circles around the wall of the chamber, "Would you care to see the upper sections of the equipment, My Lady?"
Rhijans Thanus
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Mon 18 Feb 2013
at 06:58
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Rhijans surveyed the structure with a critical eye, adding 'demolitions engineer' to the list of skill sets he wished he'd had time to develop before he got thrown into this situation.  A couple of people with the right explosives and a half-hour or so of time to work could probably make a royal mess of the tower...

His ears caught mention of the generators not yet being connected to their power supplies.  That makes this a very valuable target, at the moment... he told himself.  Destroying either the generators or the power supplies would set back work on the shield generator, which would, in turn, set back the Empire's 'safe' timetable for work on the space station.  And if the power supplies were active, at all, destroying them would likely be an easy process.  Dangerous, but easy.  A couple of grenades to imbalance the coolant flow and disabling the failsafes and they'd overload and blow up with plenty of force.  It wouldn't be the surgical precision of an engineered demolition...but it could also potentially be attributed to accidental conditions, rather than being a blatantly obvious attack.

The captain suggested going up, and Rhijans found himself torn.  It wasn't his place, as 'bodyguard', to suggest anything, though they could, perhaps, play it off as a specialist clad as a stormtrooper for the sake of anonymity.  It was the truth, after all...at least, from a certain point of view.  Getting a closer look at the power supplies would be immensely valuable...but if they went up far enough in the tower's superstructure, the Captain might just suffer a terrible accident...

Which one's going to give us the most strategic opportunity? Rhijans mused.  The obvious answer was to hit the power sources...but the tragic fall of a high-ranking officer could potentially create enough chaos to open some other doors for them.  Unable to judge between the two, he opted for a third option...sit back and wait for Shard's response, and see what spun out of that.
Shard
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Wed 20 Feb 2013
at 18:02
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
"Presumably your tower also provides protection from those beasts we saw earlier," Shard dryly states, eyeing the tower with pretend approval.  But she doesn't like the captain's smile; it's too satisfied, too relaxed.  He'd be better off falling over himself trying to keep her happy, too busy with concerns over her impression to worry about small inconsistencies.

And inside the tower, she has her opportunity.

"'Most' of the work," Shard whispers thoughtfully, gazing about herself.  "'All that remains'.  'For the most part'.  A great deal of qualifiers, Captain."  Standing in silence for a long moment, she taps her fingers lightly against the cylinder hanging from her belt, ruminating.  "Yes.  Yes, I would like to see the upper sections of the equipment Captain Alates and -" her voice sharpens "- how long is 'shortly' and why is one unit remaining?"

Turning in a circle, she gazes around herself then heads for the staircase.  "If every other piece has arrived and is installed, fully or 'for the most part'," she continues, her voice acidic, "then why a single piece missing?  An error in preparation?  One unit was substandard or damaged when it arrived?  The supplier did not include it in previous runs?  Why, Captain Alates, and who is responsible?"
The Force
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Thu 21 Feb 2013
at 22:19
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Alates smile falters, then makes a brave attempt to rally as an opportunity presents itself, "There was an incident at the manufacturing facility, an explosion in their power generator, I believe, and several days' production were lost, so the final unit was not completed in time for the last shipment.  The admiral ordered the completed units delivered on schedule.  He decided it would be better to install the ones we had, while waiting for delivery of the missing one, rather than delaying installation of all of them."

The officer starts up the stairs, still explaining, "We are expecting the missing unit to arrive in approximately ten hours.  Work will begin immediately on installation, after which the last of the connections will be made, and everything will be powered up."  There, that should do it... a failure at the manufacturing facility, an a decision by the admiral.  In no way could either of those be blamed on Captain Alates.

The ascent of the stairs is gruelling, the climb itself is arduous, and the temperature rises as they get higher in the structure, even as the air quality declines.  UY-3P0 and R2-O0 stay at ground level, neither of them being particularly suited for prolonged stair climbing.

At the top of the stairs is a small platform, filled with a series of man-high equipment cases, all of them linked to the outer wall by large conduits, and beyond the platform, several cables, each as thick as one of Juragga's arms, lead upwards a ring of irregularly shaped cases attached to the roof of the tower, each one about the size of of a landspeeder.  Below, at the lower end of the cables, are perhaps a dozen or so massive structures, which look somewhat menacing, in spite of being (currently) inert machinery.

"This platform will, of course, be off-limits to all personnel while the shield is in operation due to high levels of thermal radiation from the equipment." Alates points to the equipment cases on the platform.  "These are the cooling system for the array of large shield generators below, while above are the control relays which allow for manipulation of the diameter and strength of the shield.  All of this is monitored and regulated from the control room."
Rhijans Thanus
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Fri 22 Feb 2013
at 04:34
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Rhijans dropped any pretense of 'stormtrooper detachment' as they approached the platform.  His head moved regularly, sweeping the limited field of vision the helmet provided, looking for video surveillance gear.  It was, in some ways, a test of just how paranoid the Imperials were...or if they suffered from the standard Imperial 'supreme confidence' and figured that any interlopers would have been noticed long before they got here.

He had an idea...but if it was going to work most optimally, it relied entirely on a lack of surveillance footage.  It could still work, even if they were on camera somehow...he'd just prefer that the only account of events be the story told by the survivors...
Shard
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Mon 25 Feb 2013
at 15:36
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Better.  Better.  Forced on the defensive, the Captain thinks about himself, not about them.  And his explanation?  It leaves her with an opening, as well. "In the manufacturing plant, then?"  She studies him for a few moments more before beginning the ascent.  "Very well, captain.  I'll expect the details on that manufacturing plant, and will pay it a visit, myself.  The explosion might have been sabotage.  It should have been reported...but at least your admiral's decision minimized the delay.  Better the installation of nine ahead of time, then one when it arrived, than waiting for the final one to arrive and a labourious installation of all ten."

"Sabotage," she mutters on her way up.  "Terrorists are everywhere, captain." Another searching look.  "Terrorists and their sympathizers."

She's less pleased upon arriving at the top, though she hides it.  Need to really get back in shape.  Her endurance isn't exactly what it used to be.  To save time, she takes a moment listening and staring out at the sights.  They're impressive, to be sure.  "Interesting."  She cocks an eyebrow at the captain.  "What prevents the cooling system from being targetted?  Beyond your layers of security against a force coming close enough."
The Force
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Mon 25 Feb 2013
at 21:22
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Alates' face pales.  He is about to do something which could be very dangerous...

"I... I was under the impression that it was reported, My Lady, and that your own department is currently investigating the incident."  There... he has pushed responsibility for dealing with this back to the ISB.  Dangerously close to telling Ghea Nimadda that she must have forgotten something, or didn't know it in the first place.  If he survives it might make an interesting tale to tell in the officers' mess.  If...

Her next question catches him by surprise, and leaves him momentarily puzzled.  She seems to be asking, "What are the defences of this facility, apart from the defences?" and that can't be right, can it?

He decides to repeat his description of the defence, mostly to give himself some time to think, "Apart from the numerous ships in orbit, the tower's own defensive shields, the stormtrooper patrols on the ground, the extra troops who will be stationed here shortly, and the defensive batteries... " and just as he's running out of things to say, inspiration strikes, "... there is the ceaseless vigilance of everybody associated with the project, and their loyalty to the Empire."
Rhijans Thanus
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Tue 26 Feb 2013
at 06:51
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
It was time to act...but whether to act impulsively, or maintain some caution?  There were ways he could cheat surveillance...but perhaps, he could maneuver things so he wouldn't need to...

"Lady Nimadda," he said, breaking the silence that he'd maintained since starting down the ramp of the shuttle.  He stepped forward, his body language shifting, subtly...no longer the rigid precision of the stormtrooper, more natural, and almost intimately close to Shard, a range that, almost certainly, no standard stormtrooper would approach.  His tone, likewise, held no question in it, as to whether it was proper for him to intercede at that moment.  It held the quiet assurance of someone who was exactly where he was supposed to be, doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing.

"We should take a look at the generators that are in place.  If one was damaged at the point of manufacture, the others may have been sabotaged, as well, and just haven't been under enough stress to set them off."  He turned that inscrutable faceplate to the Captain, for just a moment, as if assessing him, and then back to Shard.

"It's entirely possible, in the eagerness to try and maintain a timetable, they weren't properly inspected before installation."  He let the smirk on his face creep into his voice, as he imagined the captain's reaction to such a verbal slap in the face.  If things went smoothly, Captain Alates would walk them down to the most important part of the structure.

And if they didn't?  Well...Captain Alates would still be preceding them to the ground floor.  He'd just arrive quite a bit faster than they would.
Juragga
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Tue 26 Feb 2013
at 07:40
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Juragga looked at the captain and loomed menacingly, a low rumble in his throat...
The Force
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Thu 28 Feb 2013
at 21:34
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Alates looks at the trooper, then at the Wookiee, at which point his nose all but wrinkles in distaste.  Then back to what he believes is a high ranking ISB officer who has direct access to Moff Kivost himself.

"I can assure you, Lady Nimadda, that the apparatus has been inspected and tested prior to installation.  The Admiral was very insistent on that point.  If you would like, I can show you the results of the test sequences, and the inspection documentation."

Behind him, Reldan Jalt moves closer, taking his cue from Rhijans and Juragga...
Rhijans Thanus
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Fri 1 Mar 2013
at 01:54
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
"All of which can be falsified by an over-eager officer trying to cover up for problems in a project under his command."  Even with the filtered sound of the helmet, it was hard to miss the disdain in Rhijans' voice, and it was underscored by the way he once again looked at the Captain, this time giving him a visually obvious up-and-down, as if assessing him to be of specifically that sort.

He turned back to Shard.  "The only way we can be certain of this, milady, is to verify it ourselves.  A project of this urgency can't be left to the say-so of intermediaries."  It was tempting to let his tone become scathing, but Rhijans turned his voice cold, detached...he was betting the captain would be more upset if it sounded like a professional assessment than if it sounded like a political toady trying to take someone down from a higher spot on the totem pole.  "We were sent to make a readiness assessment, and that's best accomplished if we do the assessing.  Too much has already been lost in taking the word of the officers in charge of other projects."

Either agree to it, or make an outburst...either one works my way, Captain, he urged, silently.  He half-turned, so he could see Alates at the edge of his limited peripheral vision.  After all, he knew there was no threat to him from Shard...
Shard
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Mon 4 Mar 2013
at 13:54
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Shard glances back and forth between the two men, absently waving a hand at Juragga. "Not...yet," she murmurs to the looming Wookie.  "Documentation can be...inaccurate, captain, for a variety of reasons."  A warning glare shoots toward Rhijans.  "Not merely falsification; Captain Alates has been useful, let's not jump to conclusions." 

Back to the captain.  "But written information, in and of itself, certainly doesn't tell the whole story.  First, the inspection ourselves.  Then documentation to follow; it will, one hopes, support what we see for ourselves."  Her voice loses its thoughtful tone, sharpening.  "Captain Alates, take us to the generators.  My people are...comprehensively trained in such things, and will make their own on-site examination of the situation.  If all is well, then good.  If not?"

A small shrug.  "Well.  I have my own comprehensive training.  But let's see if it doesn't have to come to that."

Push the man.  But not too far; anyone forced into an untenable situation will react, and they want him off-balance, not lashing out.
The Force
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Mon 4 Mar 2013
at 20:31
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Alates opens his mouth to speak, then closes it immediately.  He gestures towards the stairs, and tries an alternate speech.

"Of course, My Lady.  This way please."


They descend again, but only part way, to where a narrow walkway leads off from the staircase, running between two of the shield generators to a small circular platform, only about five metres in diameter in the centre of the tower.  The platform is some sixty or seventy metres from the lower floor, and surrounded by a low rail which bears folding trays to support equipment.

The shield generators loom silently around it, menacing and dark, a little less than a metre beyond the edge of the platform, and there is clearly space for one more to be installed.  The gap gives a clear view all the way down to the floor.  The side of each of the generators which lays closest to the platform has a panel on it, with various controls, a screen displaying diagnostic information, and a dataport.

All of the screens currently show that the generators are not operating.
Rhijans Thanus
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Tue 5 Mar 2013
at 07:25
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Rhijans gave a small nod in response to Shard's unspoken rebuke...for all that he was some mysterious security expert masquerading as a stormtrooper, as far as the Captain knew, Shard was still playing someone who was the ruthless right hand of the Sector Moff, with ISB connections to boot.  It was a good time to go silent again.

He followed as Alates led them to the dormant heart of the building, and looked around at the truly frightening potential energy that surrounded them, in the form of the shield generators.  A good tech could probably link them all together and start an overload cycle from a single control console...if they were all online, it was even plausible that an overload from a single unit could cascade into the next and trigger the same cycle...

At this point, even a good grenade, in the heart of one of the machines, would render the thing inoperable.  That kind of damage could be relatively quickly repaired, however...not with local parts, Rhijans was sure, or they'd be building the generators here, as well.  But there were now PLENTY of options for them to make trouble in some way.

And only Captain Alates to prevent them from exploiting one of those options.  Rhijans spaced himself within the group carefully, making sure that he had a line of sight on Alates...a line of fire, more importantly...that would potentially send the Captain plummeting from the perch where they found themselves.  And waited.  Shard seemed to have something in mind, or had at least been assertive with the situation before.  He was willing to wait to see if she had some plan of her own in play, before plunging ahead with his own.
Shard
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Tue 5 Mar 2013
at 20:02
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
"Very good," Shard commends the captain.  It's uncertain if she's discussing the field generator, his alacrity in bringing them down here, or his wisdom in shutting up, earlier.  She leaves that open to interpretation; perhaps he'll consider all three.  It really doesn't matter at this point.  Rhijans wanted them down here.  They're down here.  She hopes it hasn't caused any problems of which she's currently unaware.

The one problem of which she is aware is Getting Out Again™, but that's a pretty common issue for them.

Raising her hand, she sketches in the air.  "These generators...you have people alert for treachery, captain?  Perhaps a rebel agent who has suborned a worker here, or a disgruntled tech?  It's all well and good to stop the enemy from entering the complex, but what if the enemy is within?"

Turning her head, she eyes first Rhijans, then Harmon. "Commence the inspection, gentlemen.  At your discretion where to start.  Juragga, with me."

Hot.  Void.  We're in it now.
Juragga
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Tue 5 Mar 2013
at 20:09
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
The looming Wookiee fell in beside Shard as if he were an automaton glued there.  His teal eyes scanned for trouble, especially from the direction of the captain.
Rhijans Thanus
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Wed 6 Mar 2013
at 05:55
Re: Part 12 - Osmur
Ah, the lady's sharp.  Inside his helmet, Rhijans smiled grimly.  He had only the limited surveillance he'd noticed earlier to go off of, and down here there were more places such surveillance could be hidden.  Their 'inspection' could turn a bunch of it up, if it was there...but if Alates volunteered the information, it would save them a lot of time.

Holding himself in a ready posture, he started a quick visual once-over of the generators, to keep himself from appearing too eager to hear the Captain's response to Shard's question.  All they really needed was a blind spot...even just a small one...