BELT Bad Guys

Discussion in 'Open Roleplay' started by Tadgh, Jul 15, 2018.

  1. Omar Martinez

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    Earlier...

    Omar noticed something between the way Lyla and the Captain were interacting or, rather not interacting. Something had happened. Again. He'd ask after the mission. No need to press buttons now and make someone emotional, which would then lead to a mistake. Omar just hoped that wouldn't happen anyway.

    Now...

    Omar was back home. Hopefully that didn't get him and his crew killed. It had been years since he was back last, but chances were there'd still be people around which might recognize him. He pulled on his EVA suit and strapped on the bag he'd be taking with him. His firearm, the restraints, blowtorch, and a few other odds and ends they might need for the mission. He then repeated the ritual of checking of seals and equipment that the others were doing.

    "Good luck, sesata" he said to Lyla as she entered the airlock.

    "OK, amigo, let us know when we clear, ya?" he called up the ladder to Tadgh.
     
    #61 Omar Martinez, Aug 5, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
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  2. Alanna Marston

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    Alanna had opted for the regular EVA suit, which she knew how to use, and not the combat suit, which she didn't. The trauma plates, which might have been heavy and cumbersome in Martian gravity, moved effortlessly through the air as she strapped them to the suit fabric -- tight enough to stay put; loose enough to avoid abrasion and fraying.

    She looked the handgun over once and then slid it into her holster. A quick glance at the in-helmet control board showed green lights on the important systems and yellow on a few unimportant ones. Well...the helmet polarizer could be important. Alanna made a mental note to not look at the sun. "Ready here," she called.
     
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  3. Sophie Iverson

    Sophie Iverson Tell me your secrets

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    Cockpit, MV Rockhopper, Near-Callisto Space

    An hour out from Pallas, just at the point where such things became observable, Engineering Chief Liu was finally satisfied that their drive flame looked like an Epstein that had suffered a few years' neglect. They were still under thrust, having needed almost all the distance from their drop-off to Pallas for the deceleration burn, but now they were running at something closer to a quarter of a gee and her patchwork team were starting to relax.

    Sophie looked around the cramped ship once more and admitted to herself that Captain Kasari's engineering team had risen to the occasion spectacularly. The little supply tug had been cut apart, expanded, customised and weathered to within an inch of its life - now the spitting image of a grubby little asteroid miner with a few million kays under its belt. Racks for tools, suits and other equipment were arranged around the cabin for authenticity, along with personal touches and jury-rigged components.

    Her crew, too, were improvising and adapting. All but one were volunteers to the mission, regulars from the Yeager. There was some degree of self-interest in it, as Captain Kasari's ship was known for being a springboard for "interesting events" in the Belt - but Sophie didn't think that this made them any less brave. The sole non-volunteer was one Lieutenant Denver - newly rotated out of ONI HQ for some field experience.

    "We're in contact with Pallas Control, Lieutenant Iverson."

    The naval intelligence officer looked up at the main view, where Pallas was resolving itself on the long-range optical interferometer array.

    "Very good, Lieutenant Denver. Request docking and prepare for our approach. Chief, how are we looking?"

    "Green board, Iverson. We've got power to spare."

    "Iverson, we've got something. Flag from the ONI analysis suite."

    She looked at her terminal just as the files slid into her workspace. A long-range shot of a slightly elderly Martian frigate design, low-res and foreshortened to hell, but there was a certain familiarity to it.

    "Comms, put us on tightbeam uplink to Yeager. Request they put sensors on this vessel, advise this may be the Nehalem asset."

    Nehalem was an old contact of theirs, listed as a freighter captain. She opened the file and read through as fast as she was able.
     
    #63 Sophie Iverson, Aug 6, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  4. Lyla

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    There was something almost serene about the silence that came with an environmental suit, or at least, Lyla found it peaceful. Others that she had worked with in the past often complained about space walks, or going anywhere that required a suit, but that was a sentiment that she'd never shared. Of course, she could understand a person's wariness, but that risk was part of the allure for her.

    Inside the reflective visor of her helmet, Lyla was grinning ear to ear. She lived for this sort of thing. One could never really know what kind of person they were, unless they pushed themselves and every venture out into the black was just that. Or at least, that’s what she told everyone about why she enjoyed spacewalks so much. What she never actually explained is how oddly intimate it is, how calming. It’s like floating out and finding your center. In the void, all you can hear is what is directly in your suit. Which in most cases, was just yourself. For some, the silence was deafening, panic inducing, but for Lyla… it was almost euphoric. She could hear her own heartbeat when the radio was silent, the way her breath sounded with every gentle exhale.

    Once the outer airlock door had opened, Lyla clamored out of the airlock onto the outer hull of the Azimuth. Stretching out before her, Callisto's rocky surface was almost indistinguishable from the other small moons and asteroids that she'd ventured out onto. Up ahead, she could see the dome of the old access hatch that she would be using to get into the systems that she needed.

    The walk itself was uneventful, aside from her quiet humming to herself as she loped along in the low gravity of the moon. She glanced down at her screen, double checking to make sure that she was in the right place. Satisfied that she hadn't some how gotten lost, she pulled what had once been an old hand terminal from a pocket and slid it into the card reader on the door. The faint red light stayed defiantly unchanging for nearly thirty seconds, before it finally flicked over to green and the hatch to the airlock popped open.

    Inside was a mostly abandoned maintenance tunnel that had simply been carved out of the rock. She could see the lift down below her, though she couldn't quite tell just how many levels down it was. Ten or so, at a rough estimate. After she had secured herself to the ladder that was built into the side of the tunnel, she made her way downwards until the map on her screen blipped a bright green, and a soft chime dinged in her ears. Thankfully, there was an access panel marked Q17 in front of her faceplate. Another smile spread over her lips as she pried the small panel open with a slender tool that had been tucked away in one of the secured loops on her sleeve. Like any good rock hopper, she had all of her equipment lanyarded off to her suit.

    Her chin pushed forward to key on her mic to the secured channel, "Azimuth, this is Red. Plugging in now. Estoy lista, whenever you are." She informed the crew in a soft tone of voice.

    That joyful quiet could only last for so long, unfortunately. There was work to be done, after all.
     
  5. Tadgh

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    Beep-boop

    Tadgh had transferred his comms over to the suit so the message appeared on the inside of his HUD. Opening a flap on his forearm to reveal a panel he tapped out a quick acknowledgement.

    "Way is clear. Glen, OPA have dropped off a cart at the base of the lift for you. Don't sit it in carrying a weapon anyone can see."

    Even through the visors, Tadgh could see zglen staring daggers at him. The kid had always wanted to work for the OPA and Tadgh was nervous he was going to do something rash.

    "Best count is eight within the building, two admin staff and should be unarmed."

    Tadgh kept his carbine in a bag over his shoulder. The Pinkwater security office was in a cavern where many miners lived below the surface. Getting stopped on the way was effectively the end of the mission.



    The airlock opened to give him a view of the surface of Callisto. Several heavy loaders were approaching the ship now to swap out the cargo. He could actually feel the slight air resistance from the thin atmosphere. For an Earther he had always moved confidently in low gravity. Living on Luna for so much of his life contributed to it.

    Tadgh raised a finger to point towards a large structure a hundred metres from them. There wasn't a great deal on the surface. Just cargo storage and docking bays. Most was underground. Within the main building was the lift down to mining colony Delta-7. Where belters were being harassed by the security supposedly there to protect them. Time to be heroes of the people. To get paid.
     
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  6. Steven Maguire

    Steven Maguire Gotta keep flyin'.

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    Maguire was about to step out when his hand terminal received a message. He read, hesitated, and read it again. After a moment's thought, he put on his helmet to keep things private and then proceeded to record his reply. He ran his Texan accent out to the fullest, as he usually did when talking with Earth's finest. It let them know where he stood.

    "This is Nehalem responding to Avatar. I'm on a job right now, 'bouta hit a Pinkwater station. Neg-a-tive on your package of interest, Avatar, I'm not your guy and I don't know your guy. My handler is Volodin, mid-level OPA. If you're going to ruin my job, I want double in compensation and backup from your muscle. Get back to me fast. Nehalem out."

    He shook his head. He didn't know anything about this Avatar person - the last one had been called Fermi, and she had been unpleasant even by the lofty standards of spooks. But that was the thing about getting yourself involved with that kind of cloak-and-dagger work. It tended to come around again sooner or later.

    He sent his response, and tugged his helmet off again.

    "Omar, if things get hairy, you know the plan? Could you take over if ya had to?"
     
    #66 Steven Maguire, Aug 12, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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  7. Omar Martinez

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    Omar raised an inquisitive eyebrow. "Could" he said, then paused for a moment, considering his captain. "Something I should know about? Planning on getting yourself dead?"

    Omar wondered what the Captain was getting at. Risk was part of the job. He didn't usually sound so dire, like he was going to meet his maker. Unless he's got one of his usual crazy plans, in which case things could get very hairy indeed.
     
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  8. Steven Maguire

    Steven Maguire Gotta keep flyin'.

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    The captain's expression was set in grim lines.

    "Remember the job we did for Winters? Looks to be goin' the same way. Might needa split and meet with them before things go south, and if so need you to cover for me."

    The Winters job had been an exquisite mess. His memory of the convoluted event was starting to fail him, but it had started as a job for the OPA that had been hijacked by agents from Martian Naval Intelligence and devolved into a tangle of conflicting interests and betrayals. All he knew was that they had come out of it without burning too many bridges and with their books in the black - and that was as much as a captain could ask for, these days.

    "Red, you there? I got a bad feelin' and I'm hopin' you can help me shake it. Can you dial up the docking logs and look through recent arrivals? Say, two hours either side of ours. Lookin' for anything with a link back to the Earther navy."
     
    #68 Steven Maguire, Aug 13, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
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  9. Sophie Iverson

    Sophie Iverson Tell me your secrets

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    "This is Nehalem responding to Avatar. I'm on a job right now, 'bouta hit a Pinkwater station. Neg-a-tive on your package of interest, Avatar, I'm not your guy and I don't know your guy. My handler is Volodin, mid-level OPA. If you're going to ruin my job, I want double in compensation and backup from your muscle. Get back to me fast. Nehalem out."

    Sophie held herself steady, resisting the urge to ease her frustrations. It wouldn't do for her team to be questioning her now. The notes for Nehalem said he was a mercenary, last interacted with the Fermi asset on a data capture job. The job's files were sealed, but she trusted Fermi's judgement of the man.

    A Martian on the ONI asset list, but not as a defector. A freighter captain in the Belt, but privately owned. She raised an eyebrow at the contrasts, then unbuckled herself and headed to the airlock.

    "Lieutenant?"

    "I'm going to meet Nehalem. Hudson, with me. You're backing me up. Denver, you too - this will be a good chance for you to practice being a tail."

    "Nehalem, Avatar. We can't avoid the issue. Let's meet and we'll talk. If this is nothing but a coincidence, then we'll go our separate ways. If it isn't, then we can work something out."
     
    #69 Sophie Iverson, Aug 13, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  10. Lyla

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    "Red, you there? I got a bad feelin' and I'm hopin' you can help me shake it. Can you dial up the docking logs and look through recent arrivals? Say, two hours either side of ours. Lookin' for anything with a link back to the Earther navy." Maguire's voice murmured over the mic in her helmet after a few minutes of static. The rocky surface weakened the comms somewhat, but she was still able to make out the words without too much difficulty.

    "I'll see what I can dig up, sir." She replied in a cool, professional tone. The playful warmth that usually accompanied her words was absent.

    Grunting quietly, she wrapped a strap around the small of her back and clipped it into place on the metal pipes in front of her. It was a simple device, but it would allow her to use both her hands to work, instead of trying to brace herself. With her keypad hooked into the node, many of the security measures had already been bypassed, but there were still accesses that she would need to get through. As much as she hated to admit it, Maguire's hunches were fairly reliable. If he was anxious about something, there was likely a reason for it.

    If there hadn't been the pressure of time, Lyla would have been able to slice into the systems with relative ease and without leaving markers that could raise suspicion if someone was paying close enough attention. As it stood, however, she needed to get as much information as she could, as quickly as possible.

    The narrow tunnel was cast in a pale, blue light from her terminal as she worked. This would have been easier if she had the Azimuth's systems to help her run the analysis, but her own programs on the portable device would have to do. She input the parameters for the search into the program -- ships that had arrived in the time window that Maguire had given her; and set back on her improvised sling to await the results.

    Several minutes later, the terminal gave a soft chime and a database opened with 19 vessels that had met the criteria. Lyla's nose wrinkled in thought and she chewed at the corner of her mouth as her eyes swept over the information that was before her. The system had automatically flagged six of the ships for closer review -- two for inconsistencies in their flight plan, two for a suspicious cargo manifest, another was marked for transponder malfunctions during flight, and the last ship was tagged with all three of the previous markers.

    Her gloved fingers tapped against the slender edge of the plastic device in consideration. Immediately, she dismissed the last ship, the Last Chance. There were too many identifiers, and the ship had already been locked down by the port authority for inspection. If Earth's navy was involved, they wouldn't make such glaring mistakes. Inconsistencies in flight plan didn't add up either, those were easy enough to forge for an experienced individual. Again, those ships were dismissed for blatant sloppiness. One of the ship's with the questionable manifests was one she actually recognized, the Posh Mirage. It was a smuggling vessel employed by a smaller OPA faction, with which she was quite familiar. A slight grin tugged at the corner of her mouth as she typed in a command to clear the ship from inspection, passing on a favor to the captain.

    The two remaining ships, the Rockhopper and the Nefarious Mistress, had arrived within thirty minutes of one another and neither of them had actually been flagged for an inspection. A "faulty" transponder was hardly a rare occurrence in the Belt, especially given the heightened military patrols, but those little "glitches" generally only happened in the middle of a ships flight. The Rockhopper had supposedly taken off from Ganymede, ventured out to the faint Jupiter rings to collect the valuable ice, and then hauled it back to Callisto. Something niggled at the back of Lyla's mind. It was a straightforward enough flight plan, but why the extended lapse in transponder squawks?

    She decided to let the Rockhopper brood internally for a few minutes while she processed the second ship. The Nefarious Mistress bothered her, as well. Their transponder had been on for their entire trip, and there had been no unexpected stops along the way. They had also flown out of Ceres, but that was hardly suspicious in and of itself, that station was the largest port in the Belt, after all. What did raise a red flag, however, was that they had left an hour before the Azimuth, and then arrived at roughly the same time. If the job hadn't come from a man who had already betrayed her, she might have let the coincidence slide... but there was that old expression of "fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, shame on me" for a reason.

    Something clicked and she flipped back to the Rockhopper. How had that ship taken off from Ganymede with their transponder turned off? That moon was positively swarming with military vessels from both Inner planets. They never would have allowed a ship flying dark to just skirt past them. If it had been faulty on Ganymede, it should have been fixed before takeoff. Or, at the very least, there should have been a maintenance request put in once they had touched down on Callisto; but there was no log of such a request in the system.

    She chinned the mic on. "I've two ships that don't smell quite right, sir. The Rockhopper didn't turn their transponder on until they were almost here. There's no record of them filing a maintenance request once they docked. A ship like that should have something wrong with her. Plus... that name is just trying too damned hard to sound Belter." With a flick of her wrist, she uploaded the two dossiers to Maguire, Omar, and Tadgh's terminals.

    "The second one is called Nefarious Mistress. Flagged for a suspicious cargo manifest, but they haven't been selected for an inspection. They left Ceres about an hour before we did, as well. Just doesn't sit right. Not sure if they're UN Navy but... those two are the closest to what you're looking for."
     
  11. Tadgh

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    He heard Glen mutter something else as they walked for the lift shaft to take them down to the mining colony. If the kid could keep his mouth shut and head down for the duration of the mission then it would go a long way towards cementing their reputation here. In a small crew like this you were always exposed. What you did well was noticed, what you did badly was very clearly noticed.

    Tadgh needed this work. With his previous employer drunkenly badmouthing his reputation into any ear that cared to listen, he had to do a good job here. Whether that meant staying on for the long run or using that to hop onto another ship was yet to be seen. Tadgh preferred the larger vessel where he wasn't so exposed. Where he could drift from day to day without getting noticed as long as he kept a reasonable baseline of work going. Never a man holding onto vast aspirations. Solid meals, enough yen to buy the odd nice holiday, a good work-life balance. Less of the former, more of the latter. Not too much day to day risk.

    This wasn't shaping up to be his perfect job so far.

    The lift as marked on the map was actually comprised of two elevators. One heavy duty for goods and cargo, one for those in foot.

    "If we have someone following they might be able to take the other lift," he raised. "But... Have we got a more serious problem?" Tadgh asked. He was third in a chain command of not many people. Main job was to watch the terminal and pass messages back and forth with their contacts leaving Omar and Maguire to call orders. It seemed now that there was something else going on that everyone needed to know about now.

    He could sense eyes on them. Hopefully their OPA contacts watching them rather than Pinkwater or something worse.
     
    #71 Tadgh, Aug 15, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
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  12. Steven Maguire

    Steven Maguire Gotta keep flyin'.

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    The captain took Lyla's reply and tapped a rhythm with one glove against the thigh of his suit, a soft drumming coming from the rapid polymer-on-polymer impacts. He recorded the rest of the message without bothering to put his helmet back on - anyone watching knew something was up now, even if they hadn't caught the actual radio packets.

    "Good job, Red. I'd put money on the Rockhopper being our ship. How big is she? Any room in there for Earther muscle?"

    He turned back to Omar and the rest of his crew.

    "Plan has a wrinkle. I got a spook askin' questions about the job. That ain't the problem, but sure as hell the real problem is comin'. 'm gonna meet with her and work this out. Omar, you're in charge. If things get messy, I'll make my way over."

    Nothing was ever easy.
     
    #72 Steven Maguire, Aug 15, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
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  13. Alanna Marston

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    There was chatter going over the radio that Alanna didn’t completely understand. She could see Maguire’s lips moving; no audio, though, so he was on a different channel. The whole job was smelling fishy. Why would anyone be interested in a small-time Pinkwater hit-and-run like this — to the extent that they were here in person? And why did Maguire, the hardened, fearless commander that he was, seem worried about the plan going south? It had been a simple mission up until now. Alanna hoped it wouldn’t devolve into chaos like some sort of TV show or thriller novel.

    The best thing she could do now was her job. That was what she’d learned over her years of military training: leave the problems to your superiors and follow orders without question. It worked. No matter how romanticized disobeying orders was, having a coordinated crew was better. She keyed her radio. “You think we’re being tailed, Kearney? Maybe we can split up at the lifts, keep both covered that way. Don't want to get cut off from the exit down there.”
     
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  14. Lyla

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    Humming softly to herself, Lyla recalled the file on the Rockhopper to read over what information she could find. According the the database, the ship was a roughly patched together typical belter rockhopper. There were even drive plume readings that were attached the file, which she found a little surprising. To her, it came off as someone trying entirely too hard to convince people that they were what they claimed to be. She clicked her tongue softly against the back of her teeth. On paper, everything was in order, minus the lack of needed repairs and the transponder "malfunctions".

    "Hmm..." She mused quietly, not quite loud enough to trigger the hot mic of her radio. On a hunch, she backed out of the port authority database, and delved into the actual security camera footage of the berth where the Rockhopper was docked. At a glance, the ship looked like every other hunk of belter scrap that puttered around through the system. It looked as though it was barely holding together. At least, it did to the untrained eye, or to someone who wasn't trying to find something wrong with the vessel in the first place.

    Lyla, on the other hand, was all but disassembling the ship in her mind as she looked it over. Whoever had welded it together, had done an incredible job of making their impressive work look like garbage. She desperately wanted access to the internals of the ship, just so she could get a proper idea of what they had done to it. Judging from the hull structure alone, it was obvious that the shuttle had been modified. Sweeping through the various camera angles, she was able to get a better picture of the ship itself. When she caught sight of the drive itself, her head canted curiously to the side. "Well... hello there. Aren't you an interesting one?" She muttered quietly to the display screen in front of her.

    "Captain. According to the logs, the Rockhopper is a small hauler shuttle. I pulled up the camera feeds on the docks, and upon visual inspection, it's very clear that ship has been heavily modified. I can't tell what it used to be based on the hull signature alone, however, I'm looking at what is quite obviously a newer Epstein drive with bits of metal welded to the outer structure. It's easy to mask your drive plume to hide, but the hardware itself is... more difficult to cover up. There are structural reinforcements as well, which leads me to believe they've altered the interior considerably. Can't know for sure without getting inside though." She relayed the information to her crew members, considered patching in the camera feed to their HUDs, but decided against it. They didn't need to actually see the ship itself, and the camera feed would only clutter their display.
     
  15. Steven Maguire

    Steven Maguire Gotta keep flyin'.

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    "This bad feeling ain't goin' away, Red. Alright, well, if it's a shuttle they can't be too many of them spooks hangin' around, and if they're tryna keep a low profile then they won't jump me in public. I'll be back. Red, you're Omar's - we still need you for the job like we planned."

    He pressed down firmly to unlock the magnetic holster for his sidearm and tested that it slid out without catching on anything, then rolled his neck to loosen the joints - both his and the suit's.

    "Any questions before I go?"
     
    #75 Steven Maguire, Aug 15, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
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  16. Tadgh

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    "Hmm," Tadgh considered @Alanna Marston 's question. "Don't think that's necessary yet," he replied turning towards Omar in case he had another view.

    "Lots of questions Captain. Too many. Good luck with what you need to do."

    This felt bad. He didn't understand the dynamic of the crew yet and certainly wasn't part of the mix properly. The captain leaving them as they entered a dangerous job felt like a set up. Nothing they all said or anything in the way they had acted around him made it seem true, Tadgh just had a suspicious nature. Glen - enthusiastic, stupid Glen - was loyal. If only there had been a sensible way to change the plan now to keep him closer.

    The lift doors parted ahead of them. Four miners walked out and turned away from the crew. They wore heavy, industrial suits. The workers here probably spent ten hours a day below ground minding the heavy machinery. It was hard, dangerous work. One of them looked over his shoulder at the crew for longer than necessary.

    "Hey!" Glen called. "You left..."

    "Shh!" Tadgh interrupted as soon as he saw what the kid was making a fuss over. Glen picked the dropped envelope up off the floor and looked back in confusion.

    "But he dropped..."

    Tadgh snatched the enveloped and ripped the seal. A small card dropped free. A small card with a holographic Pinkwater insignia.

    "Red, we'll need those cameras, but I think someone dropped a front door key for us." That explained the feeling. They were being watched but not by Pinkwater. But where did Maguire's new mission fit into all this? "Do we go?" Tadgh asked Omar, looking at the waiting lift.
     
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  17. Omar Martinez

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    On top of the primary mission, where they already had to worry about Pinkwater security and the possibility of Volodin double-crossing them (again), now they had to deal with Earther spooks. Omar shifted when the Captain had mentioned the Winters job. It wasn't quite a wince, but it was almost a wince. Too many of the wrong ingredients in the pot could mean trouble.

    When Tadgh looked at Omar after Alanna mentioned the possibility of splitting up he said, "No harm in splitting up. Just because looks safe doesn't mean is. Tadgh, you and Glen go down first. Go make sure the cart is there. Alanna and I come down two minutes after."

    When Glen picked up the access card and the workers (presumably OPA) started walking off, Omar gave a quick look to his surroundings. On the wall about 20 meters back and to his left he saw a security camera that looked to be turned off and pointed at the end of its radius away from them. Omar tilted his head its direction. "Si, vamo. Won't stay that way forever." Whether it was the handiwork of the OPA or Lyla, it didn't matter.

    Omar turned back to Maguire. "Okay, bossmang. Go play with your friends. But be home before curfew or you don't get dessert." He gave an impish grin that came easily to him, especially if he was using humor to mask anxiety.
     
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  18. Steven Maguire

    Steven Maguire Gotta keep flyin'.

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    The captain chuckled a little unconvincingly and turned to walk away. As he did so, however, a taller guy in an MCRN-surplus suit like his got up hurriedly and put his hand terminal away - but his stare was firmly fixed on Maguire.

    The old Martian almost rolled his eyes. That was hilariously bad, even by the low standards of the Earthers.

    I'll lose him to make a point and hit the rendezvous to get Avatar off my back.

    With that thought in mind, he ducked into a small access corridor heading towards a customs storage bay. He made sure that he hadn't been followed, but when he looked ahead he was drawn up short by a woman in the familiar and entirely unwelcome dress blacks of the United Nations Navy's Office of Naval Intelligence. She was leaning against a structural column and was checking messages on a hand terminal, not even deigning to notice him.

    Despite himself, he looked around again at the way he'd come in, where a much heavier-looking guy with a compact shotgun on a sling was joined by the guy in the MCRN suit.

    There was nothing to do but laugh, and he did so. He'd been played - and very well at that.

    The woman to his twelve o'clock looked at him at last, all disdain and aloofness. She was pretty, in a way that was probably slightly too eye-catching to be convenient for field work. Her eyes sparkled with a cold intelligence, and she looked entirely comfortable in that uniform. When she spoke, her accent was pure upper-class Earther.

    "Ah, Nehalem. I'm glad you could join us."

    Maguire exhaled, making sure his hands stayed well away from his weapons.

    "Avatar. I was hopin' we could've grabbed a drink before gettin' to business."

    He winked. It was the done thing, like the first probing flicks of a fencing match.
     
    #78 Steven Maguire, Aug 17, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
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  19. Sophie Iverson

    Sophie Iverson Tell me your secrets

    Messages:
    165
    Discord:
    HSAR
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Sophie watched the Martian freighter captain step into the access corridor on microcam. He was tall and strong-looking despite his years thanks to a combination of Martian selective gene editing programs and simple hard work.

    Genetic intervention or no, however, he'd walked straight into her trap. Lieutenant Denver had played his part well; a bit too overt for her taste, but it had worked and now they had him.

    "Avatar. I was hopin' we could've grabbed a drink before gettin' to business."

    She gave him a dark and slightly seductive smile, playing into his image of the femme fatale. It was convenient, and she didn't mind admitting that it was also a part she enjoyed playing.

    "I don't mix business and pleasure, Nehalem. Let's get to it."

    She opened her hand, palm up, and let the hand terminal resting there activate its holographic projector. It showed them a missile in an older configuration dating back a few decades - large for an air-launched weapon, or small for a torpedo.

    "I ain't here for a history lesson, Avatar."

    "Play nice. Fermi wrote well of you."

    He didn't respond for a full minute, long enough that it started to rattle her. He caved, eventually - reluctantly.

    "We called them SS-280 Savannahs. They're short-ranged missiles that go on a lot of launch platforms. Surface launch, air launch, and we knew they had at least a secondary naval anti-ship capability. We knew they had variable payloads. VECKS, sub-fusion. Probably could carry a fusion warhead too."

    Sophie blinked uncertainly. She hadn't expected that level of information.

    "How... do you know this?"

    "I used to do frigate design, Avatar." He ran a hand through his hair tiredly, as if even thinking back that far caused him fatigue. "I was pulled into point defense work more than once. We were briefed on the kinds of threats we were expecting, and Savannahs were a key threat vector for frigates."

    Well, isn't that interesting. She'd have to update the file, try and get him in on a deep intel debrief. If this was all true, he was a goldmine. Why hadn't Fermi put out a tag-and-bag on him?

    "Let's move on for now. What you call Savannah we call the BGM-213H Shrike Naval Weapon System. As you say, it has a multiple-mode seeker-head with short range and high maneuverability for close-in work. Conventional and nuclear-tipped warheads. And we've misplaced some."
     
    #79 Sophie Iverson, Aug 20, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  20. Tadgh

    Messages:
    151
    Discord:
    Raziel
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Tadgh truly despised whoever had decided to put a window on the wide of the elevator. Gravity here was low enough that when the lift had started down his feet had briefly left the floor. Now they were at a consistent velocity and he wouldn't have realised how fast they were going were it not for the window.

    Smoothly cut rock passed them at perhaps twenty metres a second. They were going down deep. At times like this he wished he could switch his brain off from the scales at play. A few kilometers of solid rock was next to nothing. The entire moon had been a speck against Jupiter's clouds not long ago. In the grand scheme of things he was an insignificant speck that could be snuffed out by a faulty seal, or a collapsing tunnel.

    Tadgh felt himself grow heavier. The lift slowed.

    "Lots of air seals," Glen explained. "To no wanya trust just one to get da job done."

    The lift juddered to a halt and then moved at a snail's pace. The view of rock was replaced with metal. A few seconds stationary and then they were moving again. They passed three more seals until they reached atmosphere and the mining colony. Just a few metres from the door and they were afforded a view of the semi-natural cavern.

    Perhaps a kilometer across he could see most of the settlement from here. There was housing for the workers. Compact rows of pre-fab terraces that painted a picture not far removed from the mining towns on industrial age Britain. Expansive warehouses covered the nearest ground with wide roads for mining machinery. Tadgh couldn't see them, but he assumed there were several exists from the cavern to reach the mines themselves.

    With all the rock between them his suit only registered Glen on the private network now. It piggy-backed a signal over the wider network to reach the surface docks.

    "We're down, looks quiet. Red, got any cameras on us?"
     
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