Mutiny Aftermath

Smythe, Livingstone and Corto explore further. They find nothing pertinent and head back to the main areas. As they do so, something takes off from the rock diametrically opposed to the Salamander and we are unable to intercept it. It was a small starfighter that, as it turned out, was hidden in an exit close to where Sir Arthur’s group circumvented the cave-in. Not long after that Corto experiences another deja vu, but this time not in his immediate experience, more like a waking dream. He felt like the stars are forming into the shape of a bird and taking off from the surface of moonbase alpha. He calls in the Marquis, and Ucas picks up some trace of a craft leaving and targets it. Unfortunately, it is too faint, and he fails to hit, but at least lets them know we know they are out there.

The team head back to Lomax’s stash, and try to uncover something of value. On a corrupted data stick, they find “HR Director ……atanbe authori………….oper……utmo……gency….ll reso………expen…………..Task…………..36 Bossgrunen” (. They find some credits, that Smythe takes, and a picture of a woman that Lomax seemed to hold dear.

Ucas manages to decipher some of the spoof transmissions on the bases cams, and gets “The Shadowless has authorised op alpha”

Armitage knows that no one knows who they are , but all the bosses seem to know how to contact them, and they are everywhere. They’re called shadowless man, because they seem to never be where they are at any point, so much so that they are said to not even have a shadow. It’s a man or many, no one knows, but they are hired assassins for the mob. They never do internal stuff only external marks

Under the deft control of the Marquis the Salamander docks on a tense, sad, but now calm Moonbase Alpha…..

Smythe quickly makes his way through the air lock and is ushered into the Marquis presence by Bart. Smythe thanks the Marquis sincerely for the assistance his team has rendered during the Mutiny, saying it was critical to ensuring Lomax and his supporters didn’t ultimately end up with control of the station. He also thanks them for their professionalism in minimizing the loss of life, despite the trying circumstances.

He moves on, reflectively, to add that he is however thinking maybe Armitage is right about the mutiny not being spontaneous, what puzzles him is the timing. Why do it when Lomax knew the Marquis and his team was there to react? If it was really about working conditions, or something on Moonbase Alpha, why do it when it had literally the least chance of success in recent times?

Smythe wonders out loud, if there is anyone in the system who holds a grudge against the Marquis or his team, do any of you owe money to some unscrupulous individuals, any dodgy business deals gone wrong or powerful people crossed?

When pressed by the Marquis for the experiences of déjà vu and visions by Armitage, Dr Ntesh and Corto. He becomes slightly more reticent. He explains that all that has happened has benefitted the crew and indeed Smythe, he stands by his assertion that he knows of nothing on the Moonbase, aside the mutineers of course that have any nefarious designs on his teams or the Marquis and your team.

He is prepared to intimate that what you have experienced is indeed a form of psionic communication, and that as far as they were ever able to find out the moonbase was part of some kind of ancient node of a mythical instantaneous system-leaping communication network. He can’t tell you anymore, but refers you to the Baron who should be arriving momentarily….

The Baron arrives on a yacht 3-4 times bigger than the salamander, with his personal veteran guard in Combat armour and assault rifles of 11 men, and a squad of additional security guards. He comes down on a shuttle, with two remarkable people: A woman with plant like tendrils that float around her (Keri), and a man with almost unnaturally smooth skin, and no hair, who moves with grace and ease, wearing Asian style black pyjamas (Karin).

The Baron comes in and talks to Smythe, and instructs his two people to “do their thing”. He invites the officers to his yacht (The Marquis, Sir Arthur, Lt-Col Corto), whilst Armitage and Morle stay on the rock. Onboard, he is keen to hear of our travels. The Marquis presents the various findings in brief, saving the advanced laser pistols till last. The Baron is very interested, and suggests a joint venture to develop both the weaponry and power packs, equity 70/30 and voting rights 51/49, discretely within a shell of corporations the Baron already owns.

He also informs us that there has been a major incident on Andor, a rebellion, that involved a Nuclear detonation in one of the minor cities. He has mentioned to Imperial Intelligence you could offer some valuable insights into what transpired.

He also knows we are looking for a dropship. His own line are too pricey for us, but Baron A’vorta may be able to put us in touch with a refurbished one for a good price. He also suggests we are able to claim for the 7% salvage of enlisted Imperial forces instead of the standard 5%, provided it is done discreetly. He also has a message from Hukat, on a data stick, encrypted.

The Marquis informs the Baron of the psychic incidents, and the Baron talks little about this network, but doesn’t know much beyond what Dr N’tesh told us. He asks us also to look out for that in future travels - thereby confirming he is happy with our progress and keen to continue the expedition arrangements.

Broadly, the Marquis has told the Baron about the Blackburn Halo mining op, run by the Keysks, and shared the invoices and notes. The Baron may be able to use them, and will cut the Marquis in for 1% of any profit he makes off such things as price movements or undercutting.

The Marquis has told of the discovery of the ancient installation in the Glacier, and given the Baron the Artefacts for his collection (given, or sold….?).

He has NOT mentioned the planet Yellan or Wiffa, nor the station Kask, nor the Cult of Djil or Sisterhood of Jil

He has shown footage of the Advanced Laser pistols in action against spoor zombies and taking the scout ship, and handed over 2 pistols as his equity in the JV.

When he brings up the Secret room, the Baron explains that he split with his father some time ago, and was cut out of his will. This asteroid was his last chance, and yielded some alien tech that he was able to monetize, and in time, add more research teams to the facility to look for similar rocks to identify ancient tech.

They agree to meet in approximately 1 month, after the meeting with A’vorta on Iderati

Armitage goes with Karin. He moves almost pre-naturally gracefully, and Armitage suspects he is not human. This seems confirmed when he rips through the data and logs and programmest high speed, interfacing directly with the machine his finger. He seems quite open with Armitage, and explains he has identified two two issues allowing direct access: a sleeper circuit within the system that is very old, 30 years or more, in effect a backdoor, that was not not necessarily planted by the mutineers. It got them behind the newer systems, and allowed comms. The second issue is that is was an advanced commercial hack. Not military, but very good and hence very, very expensive - reducing the number of potential culprits to a very small number (in system, or wider if sub sector). His expectation is the Keysks are behind it, although this is only a preliminary conclusion, based on the data here, and using some of the yacht’s computing power. Based on Lomax’s personnel file, he was the in situ asset and not up to the task. He precipitated the mutiny on knowing the Baron was coming with greater security and it was botched, but it was a near run. Armitage disputes this assessment, explaining that it only appeared to be a near thing as they were trying to minimise casualties on Smythe’s request; if it had been gloves off it would have been a different story. Karin does have some unexplained points: On the 2 ships leaving, the data suggests and comms accessed (peeled back layers of confusion, partial logs remain) there were only comms w 1 ship. It leaves open the possibility there were 2 independent actors on this rock - in fact he gives a 43.7% probability of 2 Independent actors. Modus operandi strengthens this assessment. The roll call from Smythe shortly to take place may shed more light on this.

He decodes the transmission as ““HR Director of Watanabe authorises Operation utmost urgency all resources may be expended on task 36” although there is some ambiguity about the message.

Meanwhile, Morle lopes after Keri. Despite the gliding fast pace she moves at,she does seem to have normal legs and feet, although she moves rapidly without any outward sign of it. She has 5 tendrils coming out of her body, 1 that appears to be stronger or larger, that she uses like a 3rd hand. There are some nasty thorns on 4 the smaller tendrils, which is little bit disconcerting. Otherwise, she has quite strikingly attractive auburn hair, that goes well with the green tendrils. They get to the brig, and she asks Morle to wait outside whilst she has a discussion with the mutineers. Morle looks through the cracked and blurry viewscreen, and see her stroll in and talk to them for a minute. She then moves up closer rapidly, and a tendril wraps around one of the man’s neck and starts to squeeze. In mounting panic, another one steps forward, and another tentacles waves at him. He says something, she lets go, and comes out.

“They know nothing, she says. Dumb idiots. Lomax stirred them up. Imbeciles, idiots. What a waste”.

On Morle’s polite enquiry as to what she does, she replies “I solve problems for the baron. Big, small, male, female”. Morle asks about the Keysks and she says “The Keysks? We are engaged in a Great game with them. We have been Dancing for years. Do they have the same capabilities? Well, Similar ones certainly. Everyone has ever visible ever present security that doesn’t do anything, its paper maché. Behind the scenes, there is cyberwarfare and corporate espionage. Karin and myself are part of the hands on team.”

They head to the bar, where Keri greets Marianne “Marianne. It’s been a while” “Keri. A pleasure”

Marianne serves 6 glasses of water for Keri, and a Moonbase Alpha Ale - MAA for Morle. Morle asks how they know each other, and Keir explains “We’ve known each other for 10 years now. There was a Little bit of trouble while back. Quite unpleasant. (on Morle asking how this rated on the “trouble” scale) “This? This was just a bump in the road. That was a serial killer. Psychopath stuck on the rock. Tech wizz too, ensuring things were not visible. Took Keri to track him down. I was the bait, and she did her job.”

Morle flirts, unsuccessfully, but amusingly. Keri seems slightly open. Morle explains Armitage and Dr N’teshs dreams, which Keri seems to think were messages that didn’t really make there way through. Corto’s “deja vu” and his message about the ship taking off though, she is enthusiastic about, especially when she hears he suffered severe head trauma. “You poor dear, you’re not psychicly inclined at all are you, but not all of us are un-useful in this world. It seems like you have a Guardian Angel.” Keri puts a tentacle on him and says she’d like to see him again.

Incidentally, there are rumours about a massive space station outside imperial space somewhere, the embodiment of the wild west, covering drug manufacturing, home to multiple artificial worlds, and at leading edge of cyberpunk modifications if your prepared to give up some of your humanity

Hukat’s stick decoded yields: “Dear Friends. I’ve had my ear to the ground, lots of noise in the networks going round, ppl asking about someone in glittering combat armour seen during the riot in the Arch Stargazers capital. Other enquiries about the yacht Salamander that left during the riot and much more discreet enquiries made about the potential location of the arch stargazer. Managed I think thru some contact to ID, and think it is the new arch stargazer asking after u and guy in combat armour and the Salamander. I’m pretty sure it’s endo guards who are asking. They’re not the ones asking about the old arch stargazer - that’s some criminal gang, the claw gang. not able to confirm, they are super careful. PS. Almost out of funds”