Part 13 - Mothessh.   Posted by The Force.Group: 0
Juragga
 player, 310 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Mon 13 Jan 2014
at 21:37
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Juragga looked sadly from Shard to Haarmon, looking forlorn.  "Uuurrrrf," he commented mildly to Haarmon, an entreaty but not a hopeful one.  He'd made his case the best he could, but the circumstances were difficult.  He obviously wanted to go with Shard, but wasn't going to leave Haarmon.
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 639 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Wed 15 Jan 2014
at 08:32
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Rhijans nodded.  "Unorthodox, I do very well.  The whole group does.  I just want to make sure that success in the field isn't mistaken for superior leadership.  We do well because we complement each other...where one or two of us are lacking, another one makes up for it, most of the time...and if not, then we've got several very different minds looking for a way to either salvage the situation or wreak as much havoc as possible."  He took another drink, this time not quite as long or urgent.

"You can take hyperdrive conduit and use it to get a damaged gun working...but that leaves you with a gun that isn't as effective as it should be, and a hyperdrive that doesn't work at all.  Usually best if components are left where they are most functional, rather than trying to jury-rig some kind of compromised option."

The talk of making him...or any of them, for that matter...a commanding officer left him feeling very uncomfortable.  He knew there were people in the Alliance--just like in the Empire, or the Hutt Syndicate, or any one of a dozen mercenary organizations--who'd joined up specifically to try and win their way to a position of power, to land some kind of perceived honor from having hundreds or even thousands of people jump at your command.  He was not one of those people.  He'd joined to make the Empire pay for what they'd done to his family...his people...and he found it much easier to extract that payment when he was out in the field and on the move.  Tucked behind a desk, or in some combat-information-center, he was too removed from it...his situational awareness didn't work when he wasn't in the situation, after all...

And, frankly, the thought that dozens or hundreds of beings could die because his instincts didn't alert him to something scared him.  A lot.  He'd rather be a low-ranking, high-efficiency operative than a high-ranking, low-efficiency officer.
Haarmon Dak
 player, 313 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Wed 15 Jan 2014
at 12:55
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Haarmon shot Juragga a look that tried to be long-suffering, but was probably mostly gratitude. Came through for us again, big guy, he thought, never doubted you for a second.

To Shard he offered a dramatic, over-done shrug. He figured that dramatic and over-done was about how he did things even when he wasn't being a giant drama-queen.

"Fine. Rags says we go see him. So we go see him. Lead the way. But I'm not taking any lookit-here-son-back-in-my-day poodoo from anyone. And not from him."
Shard
 player, 663 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Wed 15 Jan 2014
at 13:01
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
"And there we go," Shard pronounces, looking satisfied.  She is, really, but not for having 'won' the argument (thanks to Juragga); she's quite pleased that the plan remains a plan, and not escalated into full-blown dissatisfaction.  Having Haarmon and Juragga leave the team would prove disastrous, for a variety of reasons.

"We'll see what he says, Haarmon."  Shard grimaces.  "Can't promise anything...see you later, Quartermaster."  This with a small wave for the man.
Juragga
 player, 311 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Thu 16 Jan 2014
at 05:57
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
"Wuuurrf," Juragga rumbled, relieved.  He fell in with Shard and Haarmon, glad the immediate crisis was over.

All this duplicity was making him hungry.
The Force
 GM, 461 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Fri 17 Jan 2014
at 19:29
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
The mismatched trio make their way quickly to Colonel Kourene's office, where they find Rhijans and the Alliance officer engaged in conversation.  A conversation that is interrupted as they arrive, and Kourene stands, "Ah... glad you're here.  Walk with me, please."

All five of them head out of the base, taking a somewhat indirect route, and out into the hot, humid jungle.

Finally Kourene explains why he has asked to speak to them, "Sorry to bring you out here, but it seems that if there is a spy in the base, and I'm starting to think there is, they'll find it harder to eavesdrop on a conversation if we keep moving.  I don't want anybody in the base, outside the five of us, knowing anything about this."

I'll get straight to the heart of the matter.  There's a ship on its way in.  The captain is a smuggler who isn't directly tied to the Alliance, but has proved reliable enough in the past, transferring personnel and materiel, that I feel I can trust her to take you to Carodol to negotiate with the Hutt for the release of the slaves that you rescued from Alrirkr."


They continue moving, as the temperature continues to rise, "You'll be issued with enough currency that you should be able to purchase the slaves, should Oomba prove disinclined to simply release them out of the goodness of his hearts."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 640 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Sat 18 Jan 2014
at 01:32
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
"Oomba has hearts?" Rhijans quipped drily.  "I thought the race had evolved out of them several centuries ago."

He gave Kourene a steady look, and added, "Any chance that we might also have enough munitions to help discourage any other interested bidders?" he asked.  There was an edge to his voice...and a glint in his eye...that hinted that he might have some other, unstated purpose in mind for those munitions, but he said nothing further on the subject.
Shard
 player, 664 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Mon 20 Jan 2014
at 12:54
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Shard remains silent through the explanation.  That the Colonel has dragged them all the way out here speaks volumes to his lack of trust in...well, everyone.  Not a good situation.  But her heart lifts as he explains their purpose.  It's what she has wanted, to free the slaves, and for once it looks like she might just achieve her desires.

You're not there yet, you idiot.

She breathes out a chuckle at Rhijan's dry humor, but it's only half-hearted.  Instead, her thoughts speed elsewhere, his words triggering some considerations of her own, and her right hand rises to rub her left wrist. "Or sellers."  Shard turns away, ambling a few steps.  "Oh, I know we don't want a war with the Hutts at the same time," she clarifies, waving off her earlier comment.  Her tone is light, airy, and somehow more toxic than dioxin.  "I just had a thought of how nice it would be to see Oomba go down in flames."

Shard glances over her shoulder with the hopeful smile of a young girl. "Literally."

Turning back to stare into the jungle's depths, she gives herself a small shake, relaxing into her habitual stance.  "How much time do we have to prep?"
Colonel Kourene
 NPC, 23 posts
 Commander of
 Defiance Base.
Mon 20 Jan 2014
at 17:25
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Kourene smiles at Rhijans' comment about Hutts and their hearts, but the smile fades as he turns to the more serious  parts of the discussion.  "You will, of course, be issued with power cells for your weapons.  Though I'd rather you didn't get into a shooting war with Oomba's own people, especially on his home ground.  He has a lot of resources at his disposal, and if he were to decide to make life difficult for us... well... while he might not stage a direct assault on Mothessh, things could become uncomfortable."

"Having said that, he's a businessman."
  The Colonel's gaze sweeps over the nearby foliage, as he continues, "For a decent price he'll likely turn his blind eye towards any trouble that doesn't directly affect him or his operation."

"You probably have about five hours to get ready.  The ship is still on its way in, and Karja will want to get her offloaded and resupplied before she goes anywhere."

Haarmon Dak
 player, 314 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Mon 20 Jan 2014
at 17:38
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Haarmon wasn't sure what his role in all this was. It was just Kourene here, and if he was the rat they were all screwed, so maybe he wasn't supposed to keep up the act. But then, no one told him he could drop it. Or said anything about it. Or told him what to do. So maybe there was some super-secret spy-agent super-soldier reason to keep it up and he'd just missed that part in basic training because he was chatting up hotties on the nets? Who can listen to all that crap without drifting off anyway?

Sigh. It was hard being him sometimes.

In the end, practicality reigned. They had to trust someone. It might as well be the colonal.

"So this is just a buy-bust? Like a snatch-and-grab? Are we supposed to be paying fair market price for them, or whatever?"
Juragga
 player, 312 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Thu 23 Jan 2014
at 05:13
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Juragga perked up at the details of the mission.  At last!  He'd been wracked with angst about the slaves, and had vowed to find a way to free them.  There just didn't seem to be a chance to do so quickly.  He was glad that had changed.

"UhhHHHRR!"
he hooted in enthusiasm.
Shard
 player, 665 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Thu 23 Jan 2014
at 14:01
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
"Outstanding."

She's not being sarcastic, either.  Even if they can't take out the Hutt as well - and that might be a tad problematic - getting the slaves back is the main thing.  Sure, it rankles that they need to play the Hutt's game, paying him off to release them.  But still - better that than leaving them in his clutches.

"Five hours gives us enough time," Shard mutters.  "Maybe I can actually get a shower in."  She still stinks of 'burn'.  "Don't need any specialized equipment.  This is a negotiation; beyond a thermal detonantor, I can't think of anything that might make a difference.  So power cells it is.  The quartermaster will be pleased."  She frowns.  "Maybe."

Reaching up - waaaaay up - she claps Juragga on the shoulder.  "Let's go get those people freed."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 641 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Fri 24 Jan 2014
at 01:32
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Rhijans grinned darkly at Haarmon's question.  "At a guess, I'd wager there's not much that's fair about the market price for them.  And I'd also wager that if we go in sounding too eager to get them all, Oomba will inflate his asking price.  We need to figure out a way to ask to purchase them all without sounding like we're terribly fussed one way or the other about whether or not we get them.  Possibly playing ourselves off as purchasing agents for an illicit mining interest that's looking to set up operations somewhere in the sector...gives us a plausible reason for asking about slaves taken from a mining post, but also leaves us with a very plausible out if Oomba wants to try and make negotiations too steep...we can always tell him that our employers aren't interested in paying THAT much and they'd rather start fresh with slaves from someone else..."

He shrugged.  "Sound workable?"
Colonel Kourene
 NPC, 24 posts
 Commander of
 Defiance Base.
Mon 27 Jan 2014
at 12:59
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Kourene leans back against a tree, arms folded, and listens as the team starts to plan.  He stays quiet unless asked directly for clarification of details, and inrtead studies the dynamics of the team.  Rhijans, for all his protests, seems to have assumed the lead, a role which the rest of the team readily accept.  But the others seem happy enough to make comments and suggestions, some of which are folded into the plan.

He had thought to mention Oomba's reputation, but it seems likely that nobody would be too surprised to hear that a Hutt is considered to be a shrewd businessman with a penchant for using hired thugs to back up negotiations.  Very good hired thugs.
Haarmon Dak
 player, 315 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Sat 1 Feb 2014
at 13:03
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Haarmon scowled. This was his real scowl, which wasn't so much the slap-inducing y'all so dumb I can't even see you from here scowl that he gave Shard earlier (that scowl he'd learned and perfected as a skinny abrasive unpopular kid in school), this was the something 'bout this just ain't right scowl that meant he was thinking.

"Any way we could somehow make those slaves more trouble than they're worth? And then maybe he'd offer them to us if we went looking for any old slaves you got  lying around, Oomba my Good Slug, just make sure they're cheap. Yeah?"
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 642 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Sun 2 Feb 2014
at 04:38
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Rhijans gave the closest thing to a real grin that passed his face, in general.  "Only problem I see with that approach is, Oomba might just try and give us any old slaves he has lying about.  The fact that these slaves all have experience in mines gives us a way to fish for that specific group without making it apparent that we're hunting for them."

His grin faded, and his brow knit briefly in a fleeting scowl.  "Of course, this will all become academic if that Ubese is lurking about Oomba's court.  The moment he sees us, he KNOWS our connection to the slaves.  If he says something to Oomba, it then becomes a game of whether Oomba is more interested in gouging us to capitalize on our guilty conscience or in handing over a bunch of potential Rebels to stick it to the Empire."

He gave a microscopic shake of his head.  "And that's assuming that our intel leak here is Imperial, and isn't Oomba selectively selling out the Alliance in order to appease the Empire.  But we could paralyze ourselves worrying about all the potential things that could go wrong, going in.  But we definitely need to maintain some degree of indifference to whether or not we end up with the slaves, or we're definitely going to have a whole new class of trouble from the Hutts."

He turned and looked at Shard and Juragga, his head inclining slightly.  "That means that we may be stuck having to play it cool if any of them are being abused in front of us.  For some of us, that may be harder than others.  But we need to keep the long view and the greater good in mind...play it cool over the possible suffering of one or two in order to secure the freedom of the whole lot.  Yes?"  While he was asking, his tone was clear...it was more of a warning than a request.
Shard
 player, 666 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Mon 3 Feb 2014
at 12:34
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
"I'm not very good with long views," Shard notes, shifting away to pace. "I can't promise anything, Rhijans.  I won't stand by and let something terrible happen to someone.  There's always another way, and if that means changing plans on the fly...." She shrugs.  "I didn't pick this job because it wouldn't be risky.  Buuut...that's also putting everyone else in danger."  Her teeth grind for an instant.  She truly understands Rhijans point, and wishes she could see things that way; the good of the many, and all that, it makes perfect sense.

But when someone is screaming in front of her, the nebulous future of the many loses its importance.

"Maybe there's a way we can get around that.  Something new."  She rubs her forehead to stave off the incipient headache.  "Cards on table.  Tell Oomba we want these specific slaves.  Tell him what we have to pay for them.  That's it, that's all - that's the limit of our creds.  He wants more?  We don't have it, and maybe we'll have to end up doing something stupid everyone will regret, with no profit for anyone.  Cash on delivery."

She snorts.  "Anyone ever try to play it straight with Hutts?  Probably not, but why even bother getting all tricky and so forth?  They're better at it."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 644 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 3 Feb 2014
at 18:15
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Rhijans gave another thin smile.  "Only problem I see with laying all the cards on the table is, it doesn't leave us with much of a contingency if that plan doesn't work.  The less we tell him, the better...chances that he'll tie us back to the Alliance go down, the less he knows about who we are and where we're from and all that."

He looked at Shard...it was true that people didn't often play things straight with the Hutts.  The notion was just outrageous enough that it might work...except...

"Hutts aren't generally known for their morality.  They're also not known for settling on a first offer.  We have no way of knowing if we're the only parties interested in this group, and if we're not...and we walk in and make a one-time, take-it-or-leave-it offer, all the other group has to do is top it and we've got nothing left to play, except trying to find some way to dissuade them from being interested.  And Hutts are also notorious for discouraging that particular kind of negotiation in their courts.  I'd like to try and do this in a way that doesn't leave us with violent action as our primary contingency plan...I think we need to keep that as an option, yes, but I'd like it to be at least the third or fourth option."

While he was used to solving many of his problems with violence, he'd always had the good sense to realize that there were sometimes easier options.
The Force
 GM, 463 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Mon 3 Feb 2014
at 23:20
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
The discussion continues.  The main thing that is becoming clear is that this whole business will have to be approached very carefully.

There is growing rumble from overhead, and Kourene lifts his head skyward, where a transport is dropping down towards the base.  "That's Karja now.  I need to go and speak with her.  I'll give her the credits, because it will look less suspicious for me to be paying off a smuggler captain, should anybody see me.  If you need any extra equipment let me know, and I'll authorize it."

He walks away, but after about four or five paces, he stops and turns back, "Oh yes, you can trust Karja.  She's hated the Empire since before I joined the Alliance.  But just watch out for her, she's got a bit of a temper.  She won't betray you to the Hutt, or anybody else, but she might throw you off the ship in vacuum if you upset her."
Juragga
 player, 313 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Tue 4 Feb 2014
at 00:48
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Juragga smirked at that, then rumbled uneasily as he turned his attention back to Rhijans, and Shard.

"Rfaaaaaahhhhrrrr,"
he commented darkly.  I'd like to have a few words with the Urbese. By words, he meant ripping his arms off.

"GggGGGuuuuhhhhn,"
he added.  I'll try to play cool, but I can't stomach slaves being abused. "rrRRRRAAaaaa," he commented.  And I'm always looking for my family.  Or any other Wookiee slaves.
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 646 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Tue 4 Feb 2014
at 02:00
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Again, the thin smile flickered across his features.  "Sounds like she and I speak the same language, then.  Good to know she's someone we can trust.Not that I plan on it any more than is absolutely necessary... he told himself.

But it WAS good to know that if they needed to, they could.
Shard
 player, 671 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Tue 4 Feb 2014
at 19:02
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Shard accept Rhijans' greater knowledge of the Hutts without question.  He's probably right, and going in straightforward would just cause more problems than it would solve.  Mind, she's not sure how they can actually expect to out-bargain or fool the Hutt.

Maybe Rhijans has some solid experience dealing with them that'll come in handy.

"Karja sounds like a treat," she grumbles. "I'll probably end up getting thrown out of the airlock." Reaching over, she pats Juragga's arm.  "Don't worry.  If we bump into that little sleaze, I won't be holding you back."

Her lips thin. "And I agree about the rest.  We'll wait and see what we find."  Her voice drops, low and grim.  "And take whatever steps are necessary."
Haarmon Dak
 player, 320 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Thu 6 Feb 2014
at 14:10
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Haarmon laughed at Juragga. He knew his old friend only too well. "In case y'all are wondering, few words is a Wookie euphemism for make you eat your own pancreas. Which suits Mr. Opportunist Urbese just fine, in my humble opinion."

He paused. Thought a moment.

"Is there any way we could make the slaves, those slaves, have an actual cost to the Hutts? Like, I don't know, make it known that someone would explode anyone with them, or something? If Hutt-boy thought that he might actually be better off without them, and then we say we want some..."

He shrugged.
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 647 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Thu 6 Feb 2014
at 18:06
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
Rhijans considered the idea, and slowly shook his head.  "I don't see an effective way to plant the story.  If we had agents inside Oomba's organization, close to him, that could plant the rumor, then maybe...but I don't see a way to make the idea credible, otherwise."

He thought again, and added, "That's assuming that Oomba wouldn't just choose to not deal with the threat at all and have them shot outright to eliminate the potential problem."

He glanced around the group briefly before focusing on Haarmon again.  "If you can come up with a credible method of planting the story...and can work out some wrinkle to it that would make it worthwhile for the Hutts to risk one or more of the slaves blowing up in order to wait for a payment of some kind...then I say go for it."  He smiled thinly and added, "Actually...what might work best would be to start a rumor that Oomba had one or more of them implanted with some kind of explosive device in order to make sure they weren't stolen and didn't try to escape...might serve to quench some enthusiasm from anyone else who's looking to buy them if it's believed that there's a safety risk.  And if there's only one enthusiastic buyer...well, Oomba's a business-being.  He's not going to try and gouge the only guy who's interested in buying, especially if we manage to convey a willingness to turn around and walk away if the price is too far out of range."
The Force
 GM, 464 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Thu 6 Feb 2014
at 20:01
Re: Part 13 - Mothessh
The plan seems to be taking place rapidly, but takes a brief pause as the transport, much larger than the Dancing Bantha or Bold gambit, drops out of sight behind the intervening jungle.  As the sound of the drives fade, the discussion picks up again.

Like all the best plans, the current incarnation of this one seems to be simple. persuade other buyers that the slaves are, in some manner, more trouble than they're worth.  Then convince Oomba that he has only one group interested in buying them.

Simple.  There's probably only a million things that could go wrong, and that has to be better than the last mission.  Right?

Just as long as they don't end up trying to persuade Ghea Nimadda that she should be looking elsewhere for slaves...