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Subject: Dead Man Walking - IC thread...let the games begin rss

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Dan Schaeffer
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Vargr blips his Muse. Muninn, if you have mesh access, run a search on Maendeleo, Ndugu, and Urven. And as soon as you can get Mesh access, I want you or Huginn to see if there's any chatter that might point to this secret Direct Action weapons system. Also look for anything that might suggest another hypercorp's involvement, too. [If it helps, I have Interest: Hypercorps and Hypercorps Politics - numbers slightly in flux, but over 50 for each.]

Aloud, he says, "Sarin's raised a good point: what do we get out of it, other than the satisfaction of a job well done?" He shifts slightly forward in his seat, and despite the emotional damper's effects on his intonation, it's pretty clear that the mission spec has piqued his interest. "I mean, I don't mind looking for something you misplaced, but I usually get paid to do that."
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Dave G
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Gris laughs gruffly and rubs his hands together.Ah, how I long for the more sophisticated times, when we could discuss a job without everyone slavering over the payment terms. Yes, you will be well-compensated. Of course there will be the obvious, a large bump in your reputation on the Civicnet, (bump to your c-net rep score) and with Direct Action in particular. You will also receive a credit for a custom morph, built to your specifications. Finally, for delivery of Urven and/or the weapons system itself you will receive a sizable plot of land in the system of your choice. (This is so generous a reward as to make you a bit skeptical) This is serious business, gentleman, and there will be a serious reward.

I've reactivated the mesh connection for the ship, so I am uploading further briefing materials to your muses now. Ask anything you like about the mission now, but Gris won't answer you in character, I'll fill you in Feel free to connect, but we are monitoring strictly for any attempts to retransmit this information, and I suspect you will find the consequences for doing so to be unpleasant.


Gris turns to walk out, and then turns back.

Oh, dear. And I almost forgot to mention...Direct Action currently owns the companies that hold the backup insurance for all five of you. Fuck with me, gentlemen, and the gorilla that feeds you your own balls will be the last memory your poor ego ever makes. We will release your backups once the job is completed. I'll be back in an hour or so. Please make your decision as to whether or not you'd care to participate, and begin your planning. I need to brief someone else, then I'll introduce you to your direct commander on this mission.

Gris leaves the room through the door he came in. The gorilla Sarin identfied as Frasier grins at him and thumps his chest once emphatically, a viscerally intimidating gesture. Everyone flinches involuntarily but Vargr, and he's only saved by the lingering effects of his emotional dampening. Two gorillas go out each door, and take up positions on either side. You're not being held, exactly, but you're sure as hell not free to go.
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Dave G
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Rolling against a target number of 30 for Dan's general interest in the Hypercorps--skill of ~60 with a negative due to difficulty in knowing much about black ops. 1d100 = (69) = 69

None of this registers with Vargr's existing knowledge of the hypercorps, but most of that is around public knowledge and rumors. There are plenty of rival hypercorps who might want to fuck with Direct Action, but no reason to suspect any in particular.
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  • Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:50 pm
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Luthar knows better than asking questions in the heat of the moment, especially with an employer all too eager to assert their dominance with outbursts of anger.

Oh! Well, for the time being, he'll follow the usual pattern and do what he does best, mesh in with the rest and react accordingly.

Then, to one of the gorillas, he asks: "Dear Sir, by any chance, you wouldn't happen to know when the transaction would take place, would you?"
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Jean-Christophe Cubertafon
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Benedict says softly, always smiling: "I am impressed by your generous offer.". Taking a very professional pose and tone, he argues: "Your intelligence operative experts found that I will fit that well chosen team. So I guess you know that I will access my own source of informations as soon as the mesh will be back online. I hope that you won't consider my researches as an attempt to transmit our conversation and your little secrets. It's up to you, you want this mission to succeed, or..."

Smiling again, he adds: "Nevertheless, I'm look forward to getting to know our team leader. I hope that she is that beautiful female exalt morph, green eyes and dyed purple hair, who was following me before the exfiltration. I was impressed by her efficient professionalism, actually."
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Dave G
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The gorilla guard doesn't answer, but suddenly like a ray of sunshine into a dark room the mesh connection is live again and everyone is back online. The data from the detailed mission briefing streams in. Luthar's question is answered in the mission timeline--DA's sources indicate the transaction will take place in about six weeks.

Gris nods dismissively at Benedict on his way out, with a gesture that seems to indicate both that he understands Benedict must check his own sources and also that he is supremely confident in his ability to bring an unpleasant punishment to bear should Benedict try to publicize this mission.


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Smiling again, he adds: "I'm look forward to getting to know our team leader. I hope that she is that beautiful female exalt morph, green eyes and dyed purple hair, who was following me before the exfiltration. I was impressed by her efficient professionalism, actually."

Gris stops short, visibly surprised. He turns back and fixes his icy, one-eyed stare on Isles. Shayna was impressed with you too, Mr. Isles, but I am not. You would be wise to keep your speculations to yourself.

It wouldn't take a mind-reader to see that Isles has hit the nail on the head. The others look at him and he quickly uploads his XP lifelog to a private net connection for them to see. A quick comparison with their own logs shows a similar pattern--Shayna, whoever she is, was there for all their abductions, standing out like an arachnoid morph in a brothel line-up, and yet no one can remember seeing her then or anytime before.


Other questions about the details of the operation? Your muse will be able to tell you basically anything you need to know now, no rolls necessary unless you want to try connecting dots or applying a specific skill to analyzing the mission briefing you've been given, but it's quite comprehensive.
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Dave G
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The file on Urven is depressingly thin. The DA intelligence arm has been able to confirm that she does, in fact, seem to exist, but not much beyond that. Occasional pop ups on the social nets, but not often enough, and none since the first contact with a known Maendeleo operative. Whoever she is, she's careful, and there doesn't seem to be much about or her relationship to Ndugu. On the other hand, most Maendeleo operatives that have been interrogated seem to know of her at the very least. Someone high up in the organization would be likely to know more.

Also, you all make note in the briefing download that while the merc has apparently agreed to a price with the unknown bidder, all sources report that Maendeleo considers the matter still open. It would appear that they're marshalling resources in an effort to meet the set price and buy back the cortical stack for themselves. There are also rumors (no confirmation in the reports) that they might make a move on the buy themselves in an effort to take the stack by force.


Third thing of note: the identity of the seller. Name of Cael Gramby, a merc squad leader for a small band of privateers. This file is very odd. Perhaps a closer look is in order.
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Yohann
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Luthar relaxes on his chair, his hands crossed behind his neck, relaxed and ready to set off.

After all, he knows full well they're being played with and will be disposed of unless they excel and from being disposable become invaluable.

Who knows, a band of gorilla mercenaries could even come in handy in the future.

But for now, they need a base of operation, start to gather their intel and start to infiltrate the premises. Six weeks is really short to pass completely unnoticed, but perhaps there might be a way, playing with their targets weak spots.

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Alex Nguyen
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All of Isaac's considerable lists of protests silenced themselves when he heard the magic words, "ample bonus." He'd been in the midst of attempting to finance his next excursion off-world anyways so in a way this job landing in his lap was most opportune. These thoughts went through Isaac's mind but apparently he'd vocalized some of it as he looked up and realized he'd been talking.

Isaac decided to shut his mouth and listen to the others.
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Jean-Christophe Cubertafon
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Benedict settles on his chair, a fleeting smile of victory.

The situation is quite amusing: desperate Hypercorp executive, so-called expert intelligence team, short deadline, terrorists, black market brokers... The pieces fall into place on the board. In a few moments, the next piece come into play openly, potentially a centerpiece that must be handle with care. When she arrives, it will be time to fill the blanks.

Benedict relishes the lull and the calm. Very soon it will be time to play the Game. He cannot stop the rush of excitement.

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Dan Schaeffer
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"And again, we're waiting. This may be the highest-drama job offer I've ever had. My guess is DA's really worried. You sort of have to wonder what this 'weapons system' really is." Vargr shrugs. "Well, whatever. We're doing the job, right? Our friend Gris has us by the short and curlies - no offense to you, Steinn - so we might as well lay our cards on the table."

He looks around the room for a few seconds. "It looks to me like you're all the brains of the op, which strikes me as a possible problem. Then again, Gris is no idiot, so I doubt he's put together a team with too much overlap. Some redundancy is probably advisable, backup functions, and so on. Probably best for us to identify our specialties and figure out what we can and can't do."

He stands and begins pacing in a slow circle around the room. "For instance, my thing is acquisitions. Physical goods mostly, but I've been known to acquire some soft assets from time to time. A cortical stack's no trouble at all." He pauses briefly in front of Frasier - whatever the gorilla's real name is, he's going to be Frasier to everyone - then turns back to the group and continues walking. "Of course, I'm sure one of you is better suited to figure out where the thing is. But once you find it, I can get it."

He sits back in his original seat and casually tosses a pair of manacles to Frasier. "Yours, I think." The gorilla catches the cuffs, checks his belt where they had been hanging a minute ago, then narrows his eyes and bares his teeth at Vargr with a low snarl. Vargr seems unperturbed.

Dave, I didn't bother rolling this [Palming] for dramatic reasons. If that's a problem let me know.
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Yohann
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No offense taken, Vargr., Steinn says, relaxed.

So, you're an asset manager. This is really interesting. By the way, procuring cortical stacks may not be any trouble at all, but what about the keys to read what's inside? Is there a parallel market we could look into? That could be an angle of approach to study.

By the way, you can call me Steinn. I'm what you could say a "chameleon". My little hobbies encompass sports like infiltration and scheming.

Let's say that I prefer my jobs from an inside perspective.
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Jean-Christophe Cubertafon
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I agree. You're totally right Vargr, DA is really worried, if not desperate. Gris wants to keep up appearances. Whatever.

So, we have a DA's former top-notch hitter, isn't it Mr Sarin, an acquisition expert and asset manager, as our undercover friend, the inside man, has so poetically called him. I'm really excited to know what is the "little" speciality of our friend Isaac.

By the way, I guess you'll like to know about my "thing". Well, I'm a librarian... sort of, Benedict pauses, I acquire, gather, analyse informations. I provide intelligence services, from data mining to intelligence operations and physical data acquisitions.

Benedict relaxes on his seat, waits 30 secondes.

Oh! I almost forget... I suppose that you would like to know that I actually work for Stellar Intelligence. This information is not classified.

Benedict raises a smile.
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Sarin drops the teasing and smugness with Gris out of the room. "I'm just your typical jarhead: weapons, tactics, military & security ops, squad logistics...hurting people.

This does seem to be an unusual situation. Gris doesn't usually act like he's in over his head."


Louder he says, "And Frasier's demoted to a monkey suit."

Dave, Sarin has 55 networking: hypercorps and all 50 reps in C-rep. Would he know anything else right now or be completely in the dark? Here's a roll just for the heck of it: Networking: hypercorps 1d100 = (31) = 31
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  • Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:16 am
Dave G
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Your rep only helps you if you want to basically ask around within that social network. You can roll that separately, but the difficulty will be high as you need to ask without tipping anyone off so Gris doesn't kill you. On the other hand, I'll treat your roll now as more of a "do I remember anything or has anyone posted to the social nets anything of interest, and as such...

Sarin uploads an interesting tidbit from some of the Direct Action social nets to add to your briefing files. It seems that there's a persistent rumor lately that Xanthes Gris has done something to fall on the bad side of the company. The wilder rumors even talk about him being thrown out, but there isn't much to back that up. What's clear from the scuttlebutt is that at the very least he's not quite the golden child he used to be. No definitive information exists about whether it's related to this mission, as the speculation on the reasons for his trouble range from the far-fetched to the outright ridiculous.
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Dave G
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another thing you would all know! based on the way this world works. I left it ambiguous in case someone might stumble on it, but I'll nudge you along here...

There's one other thing that strikes you as odd about this situation. Direct Action specializes in shock troops/squad-level assaults. Why would they send an outside merc team in to take out Ndugu? They have scores of operatives like Sarin at their disposal, tough guys with combat training and experience. That's what they do.
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Sarin sends an encrypted low emission message only to his new teammates in the room (beaming so to speak). Gris has gone rogue, maybe criminal. We need to play along to get out of here. I have some ideas on how we can play both sides of this and perhaps even control the situation. I don't think he can deliver what he's promising to pay.
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Benedict returns to his muse Ieva: "Please, Ieva, open a secured channel to SI datas silos, my accreditation level. I'm looking for informations about Xanthes Gris, and DA covert ops in The Belt at first.
Then, find any relevant datas about Cavara Ngudu, Urven, Maendeleo... And about our new friends here: Sarin, Isaac, Vargr, Steinn, and Shayna of course.
Tell me if you ever find classified files beyond my accreditation level. I'll take these in charge."

I don't really know if there is any relevant skill to handle this.
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Dave G
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No skill needed for this one, I think. Though basically all your networks are going to give you the same basic information.

Benedict shares Ieva's report on the mission factors, and the others corroborate similar findings from their own various networks. Cavara Ndugu was a mid-level weapons engineer. Unremarkable career, never pursued by the other hypercorps in a meaningful way, no reports of corruption or corporate espionage, no interesting sexual kinks or thrill-seeking behaviors. The SI data does show an unusually high number of top-secret clearance level projects in his portfolio for someone on his career trajectory, but it's possible that was just coincidence.

Urven is a phantom. A ghost. As in the Direct Action files, no one can find much about her other than an occasional pop up on the nets, and not in any meaningful pattern. (FYI, it's not possible in this universe to live "off the grid" like this, so this information tells you not that she's not using the nets, but that Urven is not the identity she uses in her everyday life.)

Maendeleo is also a bit of a mystery. Not on the surface--there's plenty of background: the group originated six years ago as a religious/political group founded on the outdated tenets of evangelical Christianity. (Christianity and Judaism have all but disappeared from the world at this point. Islam exists in a much more liberal/secular form. See religions on page 82-83 for background.) The odd thing is that for the first four years of their existence the group was basically just a small fringe group making a little bit of noise here and there with protests outside of pleasure domes and the like. Then something changed and seemingly out of nowhere the group was militarized. Several brute force assaults, including several that went unreported in the mass media. Their XP uploads show a hooded figure ranting about how humanity has ignored the day of judgment and the rapture (See the background on "the Fall" in the sourcebook to get where they're coming from here) and is now facing a reckoning. Over and over again their XP uploads refer to "the breath of God" as it pertains to this reckoning.

Benedict doesn't broadcast back what he's learned about his teammates, but he knows everyone in the room is doubtless downloading similar information. (See the various character related posts in the OOC thread and here. All you can find is what's been revealed in those places. Players please note in the OOC thread if there's some part of your background or character sheet that you'd prefer the others not "know" in-game for some reason.)
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Alex Nguyen
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deborn wrote:
I'm really excited to know what is the "little" speciality of our friend Isaac.

With a straight face that some folks might read as harmless and others as rude Isaac replied, "Some things we don't talk about in polite society."
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Dan Schaeffer
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Vargr gives Steinn an appraising look. "Looks like we may be in the same line of business, Steinn. Since we're going to be working together, we might want to compare notes some time."

He looks around the room. "Before we spend too much time getting to know one another, I think it's important to agree that we discuss plans and information someplace that is not here. Let's get the rest of our briefing, and then make our way to someplace secure. If none of you have a secure haven that you are willing to share, I will find us neutral secure territory somewhere."
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I agree Vargr. Let's see what Shayna have to say. replies Benedict.

I think I could provide such a secure place. It's part of my job after all...
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I agree, Vargr. Let's go find some comfortable place to discuss all that.

Then we'll be able to compare notes and plan the job, and most importantly assign tasks.

Anyway, I'm glad to be back working in team, it's been... quite a long time.
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Dave G
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One of the gorilla guards lets out a grunt and steps to the side of the door, and the purple-haired morph from the snatch job walks into the room. I'm Shayna. I know you already. I'd like to get together and do some planning, but we need to get out of this zoo so we can talk openly. Benedict, we need to be on Locus. I imagine you have some space there we can use? Benedict nods. Excellent. Transmit the coordinates to me, and meet me at the aft shuttle in fifteen minutes. Shayna nods curtly to you and strides out the door. Frasier (or one of his lackeys, who could be sure) grunts at you. This way, assholes. He pokes a powerful stubby finger at Vargr. And don't fuck with me.

The shuttle ride is uneventful, and you mostly sleep for the three hour trip. You were already near the system. The shuttle drops you at a bustling spaceport. (Check out page 101 in the sourcebook for details on Locus. It's a sizeable city, and your characters know that it's probably been chosen because the Hypercorps are fairly limited in power there, prevent Direct Action from making a show of force.) After a cursory security check you press into the crowd separately, each taking a circuitous route through the city until you reach Benedict's apartment near the Amoeba sculpture in the center of town. If you had any doubt of Benedict's cred as an elite Hypercorp lackey, you don't now. The apartment is spacious and well-appointed, and the view in particular is impressive.

Nice digs.
Shayna seems impressed in spite of herself. Now let's get down to business.
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Dave G
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So as I'm sure you've tumbled to already, the sale of Ndugu's cortical stack is due to take place right here in Locus, up near the port. My sources have confirmed with me that the new buyer is being bankrolled by the Triads, but we don't know who they're sending. We also know that Gramby and his team are here. We have a couple orders of business to take care of: 1) We need to come up with a plan of attack here. Do we smash and grab? Try to isolate Gramby and recover the stack before the sale? Infiltrate Gramby's group? Impersonate the buyer? Throw me some ideas.

2) Morphs. If anyone wants a new rig, now is the time. We have a facility here in town. Nothing custom at the moment, but we can get you any of the basics if there's something you think is relevant to the job. (This is your chance to resleeve, but only if you want to. Depending on the plan you choose there might be something useful. For example, who would ever expect an uplifted penguin cat burglar? I know I wouldn't.)

3) Urven. I want to know who this asshole is, and I want to know if she's here with her Maendeleo thugs. Work whatever networks you have available to you here in Locus. I'm sure you found just as we did that the nets haven't been much good here. If she's here, Maendeleo might be planning a move, and we need to know that.


Shayna looks at you expectantly. What's the plan?
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