Part 23 - Errand of Mercy.   Posted by The Force.Group: 0
Shard
 player, 1468 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Tue 11 Feb 2020
at 02:05
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Shard suppresses a sigh of irritation.  At times, You-Why's attitude grates against her nerves.  It's not a common thing by any stretch, and she wouldn't want it gone -- it's part of who the droid is, after all -- but it can be irksome.  Of course, You-Why might have a few things to say about her attitude, in all fairness; yet another reason why she should just keep her thoughts to herself in this case.

Rhijans handles it with aplomb, and by the time he and the droid are finished, they've arrived at the office.  Haarmon has been quiet -- that's worrisome.  Juragga said he would meet them, and there's no sign of the huge wookie...yet.  Instead, they're brought into a room with a woman Shard can't place.  And a tool kit.

Suspicions deepen.

"All right," Shard murmurs, moving to a chair.  She keeps one eye on the woman, whose entire attention seems on You-Why.  Getting a little concerned, here.

It's just your paranoia, Shard.

But what if it isn't?

Colonel Kourene
 NPC, 44 posts
 Commander of
 Defiance Base.
Wed 12 Feb 2020
at 21:22
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Once everybody is settle, Kourene gestures towards the stranger.  "This is Karra Hedine, she's a tech who has a fair bit of experience with droids."

Hedine nods, and smiles nervously.

"I called her in after UY-3PO came to see me.  I'm hoping she will be able to do something to help him, preferably without wiping his personality, which has, quite frankly, proven useful on occasion.  Simply put, this droid has developed some traits which make him a unique resource."

There follows a brief conversation, in which Kourene and You-Why describe the droid's situation, with additional details from the rest of the group.  During this discussion, Juragga enters the office and squeezes himself into a seat.

"I just have to say," says Hedine finally, "that I think this problem can be corrected, to everybody's satisfaction.  The main issue is that I don't think I can do it.  I do, however, believe that I know somebody who can.  But he isn't here, on Mothessh."

"He is actually a prisoner of the Empire."

Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1419 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Wed 12 Feb 2020
at 21:30
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
"Of course he is..." Rhijans muttered.  The look on his face was plain to read, however...he was going.

"It might be best if we take something other than the Bantha...after spring the Colonel from Imperial detainment, I'm sure she'd draw some attention."  If there was any doubt about his expression, his tone cleared it up.  They were going, it was just a question of how to get in and out.
Shard
 player, 1469 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Sat 15 Feb 2020
at 13:06
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Excellent news, that there is a possible 'cure' for You-Why's 'condition'.  "I think it's to You-Why's satisfaction that the problem needs correcting," she muses.  "His choice on this.  But if there's someone who can correct it -- and You-Why is in agreement with this course -- then I'm all for going. To...to..." Her brow furrows. "Where exactly is this person being held?"

Rhijans has already begun strategizing; she leaves him to it, sure he will better clear the details for that than herself.  Her eyes shift to the droid.  "You-Why; I figure you probably want this problem fixed, but...asking might be a good idea.  Do you?"
The Force
 GM, 1099 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Sun 16 Feb 2020
at 21:51
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
You-Why sounds surprised as he replies to Shard's quiestion.  "Oh my.  Yes.  If I can be restored to full integrity, then that is definitely what I want.  Part of my core programming... any droid's core programming, in fact... is to ensure that we keep ourselves at peak efficiency."

"The last I heard, my brother... oh, sorry... that's who we're talking about here, my brother, Najdo.  He's the one who can fix your friend.  The last information I had is that he is being forced to work at the deepdock on Ord Mantell." Hedine smiles hopefully.

Kourene, however, isn't smiling.  "Ord Mantell?  That's half way across the Galaxy!"  He lowers his head and takes several deep breaths, before looking up again.  "If your brother can help You-Why, then that's where the team will need to go.  That's all."

"I can find you another ship to get there too."

Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1420 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 17 Feb 2020
at 02:49
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
If Rhijans was at all surprised by the announcement that they needed to go to Ord Mantell, it didn't show on his face.  "That might actually make it easier, for us.  We've been involved in enough actions, in enough places around the sector, that sooner or later, we're going to be recognized."  He didn't say it; but a quick glance down at the gray skin of his hands and his eyes shooting a glance at Juragga said plenty...there weren't that many gray-skinned humanoids travelling with Wookiees in the galaxy.  Haarmon and Shard enjoyed the relative anonymity of being human and, therefore, practically omnipresent throughout the galaxy.

"When's the last you heard anything about your brother's status there?" he asked.  Current intel was always useful...but rarely available.  Unsaid, but lingering in the tone of the question was another...Are you sure he's still there?
Shard
 player, 1470 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Wed 19 Feb 2020
at 02:49
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
“I figure it’s everyone’s programming – instinct for us – to want to keep ourselves working well,” Shard muses, considering You-Why’s shocked response.  “Course, sometimes something goes wrong in the programming…or our heads, same thing…and we don’t care as much about that any more.”  Her smile is lopsided, a crooked thing hanging on her face, like a once-glorious, now-faded painting left askew on its hook.  “Good to hear that’s not the case for you.”

Hedine parleys out some information regarding her brother, and the colonel is less-than-pleased by what she reveals.  Even so, he acquiesces, offering a ship to boot.  Shard, however, still remains uncertain; it wouldn’t be the first time she has been hoodwinked by someone with personal reasons to play her false.

Keep it steady, Shard.  This could be You-Why’s only chance…only easy chance, anyway.  ‘Easy’ being relative.


If one person can do it, so can another…but this is the only one of whom they have any information.  Sneak out an Imperial prisoner, or search a galaxy blind?  The former edges the latter by a hair.

More questions from Rhijans follow, leaving Shard waiting for answers.
The Force
 GM, 1100 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Wed 19 Feb 2020
at 22:54
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Hedine shakes her head, "Not too much real information.  The deepdock has tight security, as you'd expect at a place where the Imperials build star destroyers.  Najdo was being transferred to Ord Mantell, and another prisoner tried to escape when the ship they were on developed a fault, and the prisoners had to be switched to a new one.  In the confusion Najdo managed to pass a message to a transport captain in the hope that he might actually deliver it.  That's how we learned where he was being sent.  That information was from about two months ago."

"My guess would be that they have him building computer systems, or programming construction machinery.  Probably under heavy guard, since either of them would be  sensitive areas.  Or they might have him working on sanitation, but that would be a complete waste of his abilities."

Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1421 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Thu 20 Feb 2020
at 01:56
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans snorted softly.  "That actually leads me to think he might be working sanitation.  The Empire isn't exactly the model of efficiency that they'd like us all to believe.  If they were, we'd have been dead a long time ago."

He shrugged.  "Two months isn't as recent as I would like, but as intel for an operation like this goes, it's not bad."  He looked at Kourene, and added, "If we had some kind of computer spike that could scramble their construction processes while we're there, it would be a pretty significant strike for the Alliance.  It'd have to a be a really good one, I'm sure they've got a pretty tight security system on their network there...but it would potentially give us a window of chaos to get back out."  Not that he had any good ideas on getting in, really, although the past trick of dressing him as a stormtrooper, with Shard and Haarmon as techs or officers, had held up pretty well.
The Force
 GM, 1101 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Sun 23 Feb 2020
at 21:08
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
The Colonel ponders briefly, then nods.

"That's a good idea.  If you can do some damage while effecting the rescue that would make the expedition even more useful.  I'll assign a team to create a spike for you.  I'm sure Haarmon can take care of using it."

Then, after a short pause, he adds, "Just remember the rescue is the important part of this.  If you need to get out without using the spike, then do it.  The rescue is the main priority."
Shard
 player, 1471 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Mon 24 Feb 2020
at 01:05
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
"No worries on that part, colonel," Shard quietly returns. "Without getting her brother out, we've nothing to help You-Why, and that's a tad more important to me at the moment." Her liPs quirk in a mirthless grin.  "We'll try to deliver the package, but...yeah, getting the tech out takes precedence."

Any existing amusement -- faint it might be -- fades from her voice.  "So, we're getting a different ship.  Maybe different clothing, or armor, or something.  Right now we're rather...recognizable." Between Rhijan's skin, her clothing, and Juragga, they stand out; it's rather bizarre to say that You-Why and Haarmon are the most normal looking of the lot of them.  "And we'd better do it fast - two month-old information is getting a little stale."  Best not to think of the possibilities, only consider that their knowledge of the situation might be grossly incorrect.  And leave it there.

And now her expression definitely sours.  "And we're working on a timer, to boot."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1422 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Thu 27 Feb 2020
at 01:14
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans nodded.  "If there's anyone that can slice some decent Imperial IDs, we can always go in that way again.  I know we've done it before...but it's a big Empire.  Easy for a handful of individuals to disappear in the masses."  He glanced over at Haarmon.  This sort of thing was definitely more in Haarmon's part of the universe...

"Might even be able to plant some orders telling them to expect some kind of specialist, his or her assistant, and some new manual labor coming in under guard, so we're at least not an unexpected sight coming off whatever ship we use, if orders like that would fit in."  He gave a minutest shrug, indicating that he wasn't familiar with Imperial protocol.  If the right name was on the order, it wouldn't matter if they were unexpected...people would go out of their way to NOT notice them...but he didn't know whose name would have that kind of power.
Colonel Kourene
 NPC, 45 posts
 Commander of
 Defiance Base.
Thu 27 Feb 2020
at 21:07
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
"I'll get you whatever you need, just let me know.  Work out among yourselves what you expect to have a use for, and I'll get you a ship.  A pilot as well."

Hedine clears her throat, and raises a hand.  "I'd like to go along too, Sir.  I can recognise my brother, even at a distance.  Even if he's not in the best of health, or if he's grown a beard again.  And they might need a tech."

Leaning back in his chair, Kourene thinks briefly, then, "I'll leave the final decision on that up to the team.  If they say you can go, then, as far as I'm concened you can.  But you do so on condition that you do whatever they tell you to, and don't do anything stupid."

"Yes Sir.  I can live with that."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1423 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Thu 27 Feb 2020
at 21:31
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans snorted softly at the advice to not do anything stupid...as most beings in the galaxy would consider a fair portion of what they did on a fairly regular basis to be pretty stupid...but said nothing until the exchange concluded.

"Any experience in combat?  Or life-and-death crisis situations?"  It wasn't a judgment, although it could potentially have been taken as such.  Those familiar with him would recognize the tone, however...assessment.  How much were they going to have to carry her along?  As far as he was concerned, unless she was a total disaster under stress...which was unlikely, or Kourene wouldn't have brought her in for the conversation...the mission would be a lot easier with her than without her.  He was just trying to figure out how much easier.

"And have you been involved in anything that would potentially make your face recognizable to the Empire?"
The Force
 GM, 1103 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Sun 1 Mar 2020
at 21:07
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
"Well, yes, kind of." Hedine says, with almost no hesitation, "When I was younger a unit of militia troops were stationed in our town.  A defence unit, intended to protect the town if the Empire landed and tried to conquer the world.  Well, they came, and our family was forced to flee while a battle went on around us.  We made it to the port and got onto an evacuation ship."

"I don't think the Empire would recognise my face though.  I was ten years old when that happened, and I've kept my head down since then."

Shard
 player, 1472 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 02:04
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Shard quietly laughs.  "I would guess you're correct on that one.  Though I don't think being part of a firefight that long ago would qualify for combat experience now."  She studies the woman for a moment, a deep sadness welling up within her.  Ten years old...and part of a militia.  Void.  Fault of the Empire?  Or fault of those who made the militia?

Either way, it was a crime against this woman.

"Knowing that you're short on that kind of skill, we'll be better able to work in tense situations," she continues, her voice still low.  "That's not a cut against you, it's just fact.  We don't 100% require everyone on the team to be great shots when the blasterbolts are actually flying."  She waves a hand, first at You-Why and then, with an ironic smile, at herself.  "Cases in point."

People wouldn't actually qualify Shard as even a decent shot at the best of times; she'd be lucky to be judged 'barely trained', and years of diving into a bottle -- any bottle -- hasn't helped steady her hands.

Though recently, the shaking has disappeared.

"I don't personally take issue with you coming, as long as you keep the colonel's words in mind -" this with pointed glance toward Rhijans, his snort having been noted and understood "- but it's not just up to me."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1424 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 2 Mar 2020
at 21:07
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans nodded.  If he had any sort of emotional reaction to the news of her serving in a militia, his face betrayed no sign of it.  "Then it might be best to have you and Haarmon go in as tech specialists of some kind...maybe with Shard as a supervising officer.  Make the rank high enough and it gives her a reason to have a stormtrooper as a bodyguard and her own personal Wookiee..."  He glanced at Shard, calculating.

"A captain,or maybe a major, if we go Army.  No higher than captain, if we go Navy.  If we can finagle an ISB cover, we could do just about anything, but I'd still stay third-grade, rank-wise.  ISB is the most likely to instill fear and the least likely to get questioned, unless there's already ISB present for something.  Navy is probably the most generic choice.  If she's a Commander or captain, there's enough of them out there to still be not worth noting...once you move into Commodores and Admirals, people get suspicious if nobody recognizes your name."
The Force
 GM, 1104 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Wed 4 Mar 2020
at 20:55
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
"No, not really combat experienced.  But I think I kept my cool pretty well, for a ten year old kid crossing a town that two armies were happily turning into a battlefield around me." 

Kourene listens in on the discussion, while checking information on his desk terminal.  "Bear in mind that this is a shipyard.  ISB and Navy are likely your best choices for disguises.  Navy is less useful unless I can get you an Imperial shuttle, but ISB sometimes draws too much attention from other ISB agents.  A fair bit of low-key in-fighting in the ISB."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1425 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Thu 5 Mar 2020
at 06:17
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans nodded.  "Let's see if the resources are available for a Navy cover ID...maybe with a secondary ISB ID for someone, as an emergency backup.  That could even be me, at that point...we wouldn't need to use it for long, if we did use it, but if anyone starts giving us too much trouble, being able to pull that out and say that whichever one of us it is was operating undercover to investigate rumors about the operation there, it buys us a way out."  He could think of a few other options for ways to use it, as an emergency measure...but he didn't want to start anyone else thinking about all the things that could potentially go wrong.

"But if we can go in low-profile, too innocuous to even be noticed, that's gonna get us our best point of insertion.  Anything else is gonna put eyes on us from the moment we get close enough for comm traffic.  But if we don't have the uniforms...or more importantly, a shuttle...then we can figure out another plan."

He looked around the group.  "Sound good to everyone?  Shard can be the baby-sitter senior officer, Haarmon and Hedine are tech specialists sent in to look at some subsystem...we would have to figure out which one.  I'm the stormtrooper bodyguard and Juragga's the pet..."  He looked over at the Wookiee and shrugged.  "Nothing personal, Juragga.  But it's either that or new slave labor.  Hard to justify the presence of a Wookiee in an Imperial facility."
Shard
 player, 1474 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Mon 9 Mar 2020
at 00:37
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Some misunderstanding, there; in a way, Shard is relieved.  The woman hasn't been part of any kind of militia at the age of ten.  Regardless of what this says about her lack of combat experience, it's a far, far better situation.

"Void," she sighs as Rhijans lays out his plan.  "This again?  I have to stand up straight and act like I'm Nimadda?  Or someone similar?"  She eyes the grey-skinned bounty-hunter with some exasperation.  "Starting to feel a little typecast...you have some private opinion about me I should know about?"  That said, the plan HAS worked before; the only threat is whether or not the Impies will be on the lookout for it by now.  "All right, I'll do it.  Should probably practice barking orders or something on the flight there.  Just...next time, can we make me the janitor or somesuch?"

OOC - now I know what I'm going to need to do with my experience points...so much for using them to put a whopping one point into a Force skill!  :D
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1426 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 9 Mar 2020
at 02:21
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans gave Shard an impersonal, assessing look.  "Well, Nobody will buy me or Juragga as Imperial officers.  And they're both too young to have a high enough rank to be taken seriously.  If you've got another option, I'm willing to hear it..."  As usual, there was no indication of any personal opinion...it was pure, cold assessment.

"If it will make you feel more comfortable, we could try putting you in the armor and me in the officer's uniform.  But I don't think anyone would buy that for a moment."
Haarmon Dak
 player, 845 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Mon 9 Mar 2020
at 11:55
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Haarmon listened quietly and nodded as he followed along. One the one hand, it was interesting, and mildly entertaining, that running a seat-of-the-pants incursion into heavily fortified Imperial installations was kind of their thing now.

On the other hand, that was horrifying.

All the same, orders was orders, and although he (Haarmon) might not have rode the 'best You-Why you can be' train this far down the track, if the team was in, he was in.

"I say secondary ISB ID is a great idea. Someone gets wise and is all you guys are a little short for Navy inspectors, we can be all boom, ISB, we're going to have to ask you stand aside. Best way to cover a lie is another lie."

As for the rest.

"Shouldn't be hard to spike their operation once we're inside. And I'm sure I can mock up a little something for us to be doing there while we fly. Keep me off the streets anyway."

He kept quiet about who can shoot and who can't. He'd been practicing. He was hoping to get a chance to put his new skills into action in the field.
The Force
 GM, 1105 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Mon 9 Mar 2020
at 20:00
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
The discussion continues for a while, an then tapers off as Kourene continues trying to make arrangements.  Eventually Hedine announces that she is hungry, and this signals a sort of impromptu lunch break.  The Colonel promises to call them as soon as he has something for them.

True to his word, he summons them all an hour later...

"I've managed to get you Imperial Military IDs, including an ISB one.  Uniforms are easy enough.  I also tracked down a Lambda class shuttle you can use, but you'll need a ship to get you to it, and a pilot who can fly it.  Bold Gambit should be here tomorrow, and you've worked with Vekkis Lund before, so I think that'll be the best bet."

Shard
 player, 1478 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Mon 16 Mar 2020
at 00:47
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Searching for a solid reply to Rhijans, and peering at him suspiciously -- a joke, perhaps? -- Shard is taken off-guard by Haarmon's reply.  For a long moment she eyes the young man speculatively, then turns to Rhijans again, pointing a thumb toward their resident hacker.

"As usual, Haarmon seems to have put the icing on the plan's cake.  I like that; if we could wrangle enough ISB's ID for all of us," saving Juragga, but she doesn't say that, "that would be fantastic."

A heavy sigh escapes her lips.  "But probably not."

And true to expectations, they only get one.

"All right," Shard mutters.  "It's going to be me, then." Haarmon is too young, Juragga is waaaay out, and while Rhijans might pull it off, he doesn't seem to like the idea.  Which leaves her.  Not liking the idea either, but that doesn't seem to make a difference in the end.

"Lund isn't a bad idea.  We can't have Jalt for this one?" Her forehead wrinkles. "You're not splitting us up permanent-like, are you colonel?  Jalt and us, we have business to take care of."  A see-saw motion of her hand follows this ambiguous statement.  "Personal stuff."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1432 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 16 Mar 2020
at 04:48
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
If Rhijans had been joking, there was no visible sign of it...not that they were ever abundant in the first place, but even the occasional 'he might be joking' looks were missing.  "If you go as the officer, I can take the ISB ID.  If anything goes wrong, the cover story is that I was assigned to observe you..."  He shrugged.  It seemed pretty common sense to him to go that route, rather than risk all their potential clout on one individual.

When the question came up about Jalt, he angled his head slightly.  "I think Jalt's ship is due for a little maintenance time," he offered.  "I'm not even sure if they parts we got from Dargo's maintenance area were actually the correct parts, or just 'this will do for now' stuff, but I'm inclined to think it was the latter."

His face quirked into what might have been a grin...or a grimace...for a fleeting moment.  "And considering that it just recently stole a major Alliance officer from an Imperial Star Destroyer, I'd imagine it's getting a reputation that might just extend beyond the Sector Command.  Lund's ship has been quiet for a while...it's a safe choice."