Finally arriving at the homeworld of the Hyrokee where the Corporations are headquartered, Mischa and her team find themselves entangled in the midst of a massive conspiracy that stretches beyond the influence of the Horde...
NPC@annpc#557 | After heading to one of Takyro's safehouses, the investigator hands his hovercar over to them while he takes a hoverbike to begin setting up their trap. Myra drives Mischa and Avita towards - NPC@annpc#557 - one of the cities, whose skyline draws closer and closer in the distance NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Nothing like the glow of a line of skyscrapers, is there?" Mischa@crystyl:"Definitely not. Has its own unique charm doesn't it" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "That it does. For all the Corporate advertisements and all the misery it hides beneath its surface, it sure is pretty to look at. So, you grow up in the streets or the buildings? Or - NPC@annpc#557 - among the gangs in the wastes and the industrial sprawl? Or you'd rather not say and be all mysterious?" she smirks Mischa@crystyl:"Oh no, it was all buildings when I was little. You?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I'm streetborn, or least I think I was. Don't remember my birth parents, if I even knew 'em in the first place. But I grew up on the streets, so that's pretty much streetborn. Doesn't - NPC@annpc#557 - matter who your parents were if you don't benefit from their position." Mischa@crystyl:"True enough. So you've no idea at all who they were?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "No, if I had to guess I was either somebody's unwanted kid or my parents got themselves shot before they had a chance to raise me. Far as I can remember, I was with older kids running - NPC@annpc#557:- street gangs." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Sounds familiar." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "You streetborn too?" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods, "I grew up there without knowing who my parents are." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Not an uncommon story around here." Mischa@crystyl:"Growing up on the streets like that must give you a sharp eye that helps in your work" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "That it certainly does. Mostly ran as a thief for the gangs when I was little, since I was, well...little. A lot of what I learned about sneaking in places, or getting out if things go - NPC@annpc#557:- bad, I learned from my time with the gangs." Mischa@crystyl:"So did anything seem odd about that monitoring station we just came from?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "The station itself, or the fact that somebody managed to wipe the data from it?" Mischa@crystyl:"Just in general there" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Well I've never been in one of those towers before, so I don't know how it's /supposed/ to look. Not sure how some wastes gang managed to get tech that old up and running, but I guess - NPC@annpc#557:- they're a resourceful bunch." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Why, did you notice something odd?" Mischa@crystyl:"Just that. It was supposed to be the home of a wastes gang, but it was completely deserted" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Well Takyro said the gang was disbanded, but still seems unusual that another gang wouldn't move into a perfectly good spot." Mischa@crystyl:"True enough I suppose. It's probably just me" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "What're you thinking? You got some great investigator deduction to make?" Mischa@crystyl:"No, just like you said that it seems a bit unusual. A long standing gang home, full of functioning tech that they looked after too. I just would have expected to see more signs of life there is all" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "You're right, it's definitely odd..." she begins setting down the hovercar as they enter the outskirts of the city, "None of us had any idea that place existed, Takyro's the one - NPC@annpc#557:- who recommended it. You don't think he..." Mischa@crystyl raises a hand to cut her off, "I don't think anything. I am just voicing what stood out as odd to me, nothing more" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I'm not usually as paranoid as he is, but if this conspiracy really is as big as you think it is...we have to be ready for anything. I hate to say it, but...it's a possibility we should - NPC@annpc#557:- be prepared for.â€ Mischa@crystyl nods quietly to the notion NPC@annpc#557 | Myra parks the hovercar on a run down street on the city's outskirts and steps out, "Come on, let's get your friend fixed up first." Mischa@crystyl steps out, just sort of tagging along and keeping an eye on things while the others go shopping NPC@annpc#557 | Myra leads the way down a small, shady looking side alley with an inconspicuous door, "This is the place. Doesn't look like much from the outside, but that's the point." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra looks to Mischa, "You want any upgrades while we're here too?" Mischa@crystyl:"I'll keep my out for anything useful, but I'm not in the market for much right now" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "I got an upgrade or two in mind that'll hopefully be helpful against those nano-super-bots. Keep an eye out while we're in the rooms. This place is safe, but with what we're up - NPC@annpc#557:- against, doesn't hurt to have someone keeping watch." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Don't you worry. I've got your backs there" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Thanks," she waves Avita along as she steps inside. The area just within the entrance looks like any old store, just with various cybernetic pieces on display, though several doors lead - NPC@annpc#557 - further into the building. Myra motions to a man behind the counter, "We need two Cutters." NPC@annpc#557 | The man nods and motions at the doors leading further in, "Go on ahead." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra looks to Mischa again, "Wait out here, and feel free to browse." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Have fun now" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smiles back and heads inside with Avita. A few customers come and go as Mischa waits. Most of the clientele here appear to be quite dangerous, but no one shows any particular interest - NPC@annpc#557 - in Mischa or ask any questions about Myra and Avita, simply browsing the cybernetics on offer or heading inside to get upgrades. A good two hours later, Myra finally emerges NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Don't worry, your friend's safe, her repair job's just taking a little more work than my upgrade." Mischa@crystyl:"No surprise" she smiles, "So you found what you wanted then?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smiles and nods, "Those EM weapons you're using, any chance I can get one too?" Mischa@crystyl:"I have no objection. But we've only just got the first prototypes built, we'll need time to get more from our supplier" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Your friend's still being worked on, and Takyro probably needs more time to set up. I can keep watch here, if you wanna contact your supplier to see if they got more ready." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Appreciate it. I'll be in the car" she heads out to sit in the car and check in with the ship NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan answers the call, "This is Commander Kayan. How're things going down there?" Mischa@crystyl:"I assume you've been monitoring the situation" NPC@annpc#557:<C - Kayan> We have. No sign of any unusual activity around you or Avita. The new Hyrokee female who's tagging along, you're sure she can be trusted? Mischa@crystyl:"Not in the slightest" NPC@annpc#557:<C - Kayan> Sounds like you're in a veritable minefield. No idea what might explode on you. Anything we can help you with at the moment? Mischa@crystyl:"She has requested an EM pistol" NPC@annpc#557:<C - Kayan> Vector's prepared some more. You think it's a good idea to give her one? Mischa@crystyl:"No, but I may have to in order to keep her on side. For now I think it will suffice to let her know that it's on the cards, but not available just yet" NPC@annpc#557:<C - Kayan> Let us know if you want more beamed down. And good luck, Commander Mischa@crystyl:"Thanks. We'll keep in touch" she ends the comm and exits the car, rejoining the others NPC@annpc#557 | Myra is waiting in the shop and turns to Mischa as she enters again, "Any word from your suppliers?" Mischa@crystyl:"The good news is that they anticipated my asking for more. The bad news is that they are still working on the next batch, but will get one out to me as soon as they can" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "Guess they're new prototypes after all. Let me know when one is available." Mischa@crystyl nods, "I should get an alert as soon as one's ready" she says, tapping her eyepiece. "And I have it down for an express delivery service" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I suppose you got good connections, with what you used to do in export business and all." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Every line of business has it perks" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "That it does!" NPC@annpc#557 FX | The door slides open and Avita steps out, sporting new cybernetic arms Mischa@crystyl looks over and smiles, "Nice" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra grins, "Looking good!" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "This...shop has quite the range of options. I was able to acquire a few additional capabilities while I was getting repairs." Mischa@crystyl:"Oh yeah?" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita draws her pistol, holding it point-blank at Mischa, "Try to disarm me. Don't worry, it won't hurt you." Mischa@crystyl:"Ok..." she moves for a precision twisting wristlock to disarm her NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa executes the move perfectly, but the pistol won't budge and Avita grins, "Magnetized grip. Useful for not losing your weapon, but they can also be activated to attach to a metal surface - NPC@annpc#557:- like magnetized boots. If a surface is metal, I don't need to find spaces to gain a hold for my blades to climb anymore." Mischa@crystyl:"Very handy" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "And the magnetism can be reversed, which might dispel any nenobots that come into range. Or deactivate magnetized cuffs." Mischa@crystyl:"You never know, it may even be enough to make them lose cohesion completely" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "That's what I hope for. At the very least, it should make it difficult for them to get a grip on me like they did last time." Mischa@crystyl:"So are we done, or is there anywhere for us to visit?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "We're just waiting for Takyro to let us know when he's ready. Let's step outside first and plan our move after that." Mischa@crystyl nods and heads back out NPC@annpc#557 | Myra and Avita follow out, heading to the quiet back of the alley NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "So once Takyro has the place set up, you want me along with you to steal the sensor data from the Nodaro array, or should I head over to Takyro first and have just you two as the lure?" Mischa@crystyl:"Just us as the lure, I think. If they see someone new with us they might suspect that we're planning something. It would be better for you to be nearby ready to jump in after they ambush us" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "Good thinking. You take Takyro's hovercar when you get the call, then. I'll 'acquire' another ride to the factory." Mischa@crystyl:"You sure? We can probably drop you nearby easy enough" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I suppose we're not on a time limit. It's a bit of a drive back from here, so we can get underway now and travel while we wait." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright then, let's get moving" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods and heads back to the hovercar. They take to the skies once again, making for the coordinates of the factory Takyro chose NPC@annpc#557 | A little over ten minutes into their journey, the call from Takyro comes NPC@annpc#557:<C - Takyro> It's Takyro. Everything's set at the factory here. You got all the repairs and upgrades you need? Mischa@crystyl:"Yes and we're on our way back now" NPC@annpc#557:<C - Takyro> Excellent. You plan to come by the factory first, or head directly for the Nodaro array? Mischa@crystyl:"If we're good to go we'll head straight there" NPC@annpc#557:<C - Takyro> You're good to go. I'll tell you what I know about it now. It's located in the Nodaro complex and there'll be plenty of security, but mostly the Corporate bots. They won't allow you to - NPC@annpc#557:- just access the data unless you're a Corporate employee, so you'll have to sneak in Mischa@crystyl:"Any details on the layout of the building to help with that?" NPC@annpc#557:<C - Takyro> I'm sending you my map of the complex. I worked a case there a few years ago, The bot patrols have probably been switched up by now, but the buildings themselves shouldn't have changed - NPC@annpc#557:- very much. Bots are predictable and shouldn't be too hard to evade anyways. Just be patient and learn their patrols first Mischa@crystyl:"We'll keep it in mind, thanks" NPC@annpc#557:<C - Takyro> Good luck, and remember to make a quick exit so the nano-beings can't catch up to you before you get here Mischa@crystyl:"Don't you worry, I have absolutely no intention of letting those things get the jump on me again" NPC@annpc#557:<C - Takyro> I'll leave you to it, then Mischa@crystyl:"Alrigt you heard him, it's go time. Let's find somewhere to drop you off before we head in there" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, checking a map before pointing out a location, "This is a good spot. Put me down there." Mischa@crystyl nods and adjusts course --- NPC@annpc#557 | After dropping off Myra, Mischa and Avita land in the no-fly zone near the Nodaro Complex and make their way over. Like the Arisakee complex that T'Lana and the Observer visited, the Nodaro - NPC@annpc#557 - complex stretches over a significant area. This one appears to have more garden space than the Arisakee complex, a beautiful and serene park in the midst of the huge city surrounding it NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://i.redd.it/u0bcfu3vd7921.jpg Mischa@crystyl works her way around, scoping the best route in and out NPC@annpc#557 | Corporate robots patrol all around the complex, but don't seem to mind their presence in the gardens. However, the buildings themselves, including the one housing the large sensor array, are - NPC@annpc#557:- clearly guarded. However, the array building has a number of ventilation shafts which appear to be the only quiet way in. According to Takyro's maps, the major buildings of the complex are all - NPC@annpc#557:- connected, so it would be possible to sneak into a different building. Moreso, like the Corporate building on the colony, employees come and go from the complex, and it would be possible to - NPC@annpc#557:- waylay them outside the complex where there is less security to acquire their uniforms and ID, which as proven at the colony will fool the security systems Mischa@crystyl suggests this very idea to Avita and begins searching for a suitable spot to catch and hide some people NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods and begins searching the city areas outside the complex. After a few minutes, she points out a side street, "I've seen three people in Corporate uniforms pass through that alley as - NPC@annpc#557:- a shortcut since we got here, and I detect a door into a storage room with no lifesigns. We can unlock the door, incapacitate people and bring them inside." Mischa@crystyl:"Perfect. Good eye" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Avita makes her way over, unlocking the door and stepping into the empty storeroom, "We're going to have to find people whose builds are close to ours. We'll need uniforms once we're inside, - NPC@annpc#557:- otherwise the other employees will know we do not belong there." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Hopefully that won't be a problem" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Hyrokee seem to be mostly of ordinary stature, and I'm not particularly large- for a Klingon." She watches as a short and very slender Hyrokee woman in a Corporate uniform walks by NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "...but I do not think her clothes will fit either of us." Mischa@crystyl:"Much as I hate to admit it..." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "I never thought I would be doing infiltration work. Even before I had my cybernetics, my appearance did not allow me to blend in very well in any society, especially Klingon society. I - NPC@annpc#557:- always specialized in stealth; moving unseen rather than unnoticed." Mischa@crystyl:"Just goes to show" she smiles, "You never know what you'll find all the way out here" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods, "Indeed. I did not imagine I would find a civilization where I would actually be able to blend in, with some cosmetic adjustment. Cybernetics aren't exactly uncommon around Klingon - NPC@annpc#557:- space, the Orion males, for example, but nothing to this extent. And even with makeup, I don't think I can pass as a very convincing Orion male," she chuckles Mischa@crystyl:"Oh I don't know, if you think passing as one of their males is tricky you should try going as one of their females. Whole different ball game" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita gives Mischa a curious look, "You've done that before?" Mischa@crystyl gives a teasing grin NPC@annpc#557 | Avita stares for a second before glancing outside at an approaching Hyrokee female of a comparable build to Mischa, "Do you think that one will work for you?" Mischa@crystyl:"Looks good to me. Go for it" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods and quickly incapacitates the Corporate employee as she passes by the door to the storeroom before dragging her inside, "All yours. Don't forget to adjust your lifesigns to match - NPC@annpc#557:- hers, we don't have specifications for the defense system, but it's likely they scan for similar things." Mischa@crystyl nods, "On it" working away NPC@annpc#557 | Avita glances outside at two approaching males who aren't suitable candidates, then looks to Mischa, observing as she changes into the Corporate uniform, "Now that you mention it, you /do/ - NPC@annpc#557:- have the physique to pass as a Orion female..." Mischa@crystyl glances over her shoulder with a smile as she changes, "Why thank you. But if physique was all it took it would be easy. No, it's that passive-aggressive dominatrix thing that really takes some" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods, "True. You seem to be quite good at acting as different people. I am sure you make a convincing Orion." Mischa@crystyl:"It can be fun in small doses" she admits, "But then, so can everything" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "A good point. But going undercover as an Orion for extended periods must be difficult." Mischa@crystyl:"Going undercover in any setting for extended periods is extremely difficult. It's why so few of us do it" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "It is an...interesting experience to do it for the first time," she peers outside again. "This employee's clothes should fit me, but she seems to have quite a few combat mods. See if - NPC@annpc#557:- you can distract her. I'll give the EM pistol a try." Mischa@crystyl:"Good thinking" she nods, heading out and quickly moving for a classic distracted head on bump NPC@annpc#557 | The employee and Mischa both stumble from the bump and she looks to Mischa angrily, "Hey! Watch where you're-" NPC@annpc#557 | She doesn't have a chance to finish as Avita fires the EM pistol, disabling her cybernetics. The helpless cyborg tries to lift an arm to strike but it merely drops back down as the cybernetics - NPC@annpc#557:- stop functioning, and Avita quickly knocks her out and pulls her back inside, "Seems they work well against Hyrokee, at least. Hopefully they are as effective against the nano-beings." Mischa@crystyl:"It is a promising start at least". she looks to the freshly KO'd employee, "Do excuse us" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita adjusts her lifesigns and takes off the employee's uniform, beginning to put it on NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "A little tight, but fortunately these uniforms are made of good material and can accommodating some stretching." Mischa@crystyl:"We'll try and make quick work of this so you can slip back into something more comfortable" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods as she finishes dressing, and binds the unconscious cyborg, "Let's go." Mischa@crystyl nods and heads out, "Off to work we go" NPC@annpc#557 | They make their way back through the compound, to the building with the sensor array... NPC@annpc#557 | The doors slide open at their approach this time, and the two robots standing guard simply stand there idly, with rifles still behind their backs Mischa@crystyl proceeds like she belongs, following a natural routine based on what she sees others doing NPC@annpc#557 | Avita follows Mischa's example and they proceed without incident until an employee approaches the two, looking at Avita NPC@annpc#557 | Employee: "Hey, you're one of the security managers, right?" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Yes. That's right...is there a problem?" NPC@annpc#557 | Employee: "One of the bots was behaving oddly on my way in." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Behaving oddly?" NPC@annpc#557 | Employee: "It walked off the path. Might be a glitch, or maybe it saw a threat that disappeared." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "And where was this bot?" NPC@annpc#557 | Employee: "Just outside the north-east entrance. It's back on path now. Designation is..." the employee's cybernetic eye flickers for a moment, "NDHQ-55." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods, "Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I'll check it out." NPC@annpc#557 | The employee nods back and continues on his way and Avita breathes a sigh of relief Mischa@crystyl whispers under her breath, "You did good. Want to check it out?" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita whispers back, "Do you think it is worth checking out? Could be a simple glitch." Mischa@crystyl:"Could also be a tell of our nano-wotsits presence" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods, "It will help us remain in cover anyways. Let us go examine this bot." Mischa@crystyl follows like the faithful little admin assistant NPC@annpc#557 | Avita leads the way, soon coming across the mentioned robot. She takes a moment to examine it before tapping her card on its back and it stops in its tracks, "This card must belong to an - NPC@annpc#557:- actual security manager. I don't think that employee identified me by height alone, and it would explain the extensive combat cybernetics..." Mischa@crystyl nods, "We lucked out there" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods and opens the panel on the back of the bot, tapping on the interface within, "Interesting. Your suspicions might be correct." Mischa@crystyl:"What does it show?" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "There was an administrative override on the bot earlier. The signal seems to have come from inside the complex, but a closer look shows it was bounced from elsewhere, too many times to - NPC@annpc#557:- track. All the data between the override and when it resumed normal functions are gone." Mischa@crystyl:"Does this tell you anything useful to help track any further attempts as they are made?" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "If we can block incoming signals, we can block these overrides and the bots will continue about their normal programming. But there's no way to stop only these attempts without cutting - NPC@annpc#557:- off all other signals." Mischa@crystyl:"Still good to know" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods, "Indeed. I'm turning the bot back on and returning it to its normal patrol." She taps the interface some more before closing the panel and the bot begins patrolling again Mischa@crystyl:"We'll have to stay sharp" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "I suspect whoever took control of this bot was probably searching for us." Mischa@crystyl:"Exactly. But if the bot detected them, there must be some tell to their presence" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods, "I will keep an eye on the bots. Let's retrieve the data and get to the factory." Mischa@crystyl nods and continues NPC@annpc#557 | They manage to proceed without incident, and the bots seem quite normal for now. Using Takyro's map, they are able to find a spot to quietly download the data. As expected, the information on - NPC@annpc#557:- the transport is corrupted Mischa@crystyl:"Alright, that should have their attention" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Time to make our exit." Mischa@crystyl nods and starts heading back the way they came NPC@annpc#557 | As the two begin making their way out of the building, Avita suddenly stops, "Two bots coming down the hall towards us. They weren't on this patrol path before." NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa's optical sensor also picks up the same... Mischa@crystyl looks for an alternative route NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa finds an alternative route that takes them out a different exit Mischa@crystyl heads that way, calmly but subtly picking up the pace NPC@annpc#557 | Avita follows, whispering, "Two more have veered off patrol and are making their way through the halls behind us." Mischa@crystyl nods, continuing and taking every opportunity to alter their course NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa manages to throw off the bots attempting to follow them through the facility and reach an exit. The doors of the exit open for them, but her sensors read that the two guard bots on the - NPC@annpc#557:- other side have their rifles drawn and ready... NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "We might have to shoot our way out." Mischa@crystyl:"Maybe... what about that thing we found before about shutting down their control signal?" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "If we can block incoming signals, it should also interfere with their control." Mischa@crystyl:"Then perhaps we can try something along those lines" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods, taking out a tricorder and tapping on it, "This won't be a foolproof block, but there may be enough interference to get us through the doors..." NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa reads the bots holstering their rifles and turning to face away from the exit Mischa@crystyl:"So far so good..." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "This has very limited range. We'll have to stay clear of the bots' line of sight outside in the gardens." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "They can't get close to us, but they can still shoot us from afar." Mischa@crystyl:"Good enough. Let's move" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods and steps outside, the two bots once again idly standing guard. She moves out of their sight, darting behind a nearby low wall NPC@annpc#557 | Behind them, the bots have drawn their rifles again, their heads sweeping across the garden area... NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "At least this is something I am used to doing..." Mischa@crystyl:"It's always a fun game" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "I see a good path with ample cover. Follow me." Mischa@crystyl nods, staying close NPC@annpc#557 | Avita leads the way out of the Nodaro complex, darting from cover to cover. Some of the bots still seem to be patrolling, while a few are clearly off their usual path and on the grass, causing - NPC@annpc#557:- surprise employees to make for the nearest building. She takes no chances, staying out of view from patrolling and searching bots NPC@annpc#557 | After some careful sneaking, the two make it out of the complex and back to the storeroom where their usual equipment and clothes are kept NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "No sign that we were followed. Now to change and return to the factory." --- NPC@annpc#557 FX | After changing back into their own clothes, Mischa and Avita return to their hovercar and take off, heading out of the city and into the surrounding industrial sprawl. The journey goes - NPC@annpc#557 - smoothly for the first ten minutes, but then a small shuttle begins to show up on sensors... Mischa@crystyl:"We've got company" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Still five minutes out from the factory. I'm going as quickly as we can, but they'll catch up to us before we get there." Mischa@crystyl readies her weapons, taking position by a rear window, "Then I will do my best to keep them at bay" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita pushes the hovercar as fast as it will go, but a little over a minute later, the silhouette of the shuttlecraft begins drawing into view in the distance... Mischa@crystyl waits for it draw in enough to ensure a good shot before firing at the car NPC@annpc#557 | The small shuttle is equipped with a basic shield, which flickers up as it absorbs the shots. It fires back with two pulsed beams mounted on its nose and Avita quickly veers out of the way NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Great. It's equipped with weapons." Mischa@crystyl:"And I suppose our little car isn't. We'll just have to make do, we don't need to take them out anyway - just keep them at bay a little longer" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods, "I'll evade their fire, you keep them busy." Mischa@crystyl turns back to the window and does so NPC@annpc#557 | Avita continues to dodge the incoming fire with the hovercar, maneuvering in ways the vehicle was most likely not designed for, "Hold on! This vehicle doesn't have inertial dampeners!" Mischa@crystyl brace NPC@annpc#557 | Avita swerves the vehicle hard to evade the shuttle's hits. Despite her best efforts, one of the shots still glances them, causing a long black scorch mark on the side of the vehicle NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Almost there..." Mischa@crystyl:"You've got this" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita dips the hovercar down suddenly, evading another burst of fire and skimming the top of pipes and chimneys before pulling the hovercar to a quick stop in a small space between factories NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "There!" NPC@annpc#557 | The shuttle overshoots above them but quickly begins to circle back Mischa@crystyl:"Alright, let's move!" she jumps out, watching for arrivals NPC@annpc#557 | Avita jumps out after her. As the shuttle closes in, it opens fire again on their parked vehicle! Mischa@crystyl bolts for cover NPC@annpc#557 | Avita follows, the two just making for cover as a stream of pulsed beams pepper the area behind them, taking out their hovercar in an explosion Mischa@crystyl:"Head for cover inside" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods, dashing for the factory entrance Mischa@crystyl runs along wth her NPC@annpc#557 | The shuttle circles back as they make it inside, but this time it doesn't fire, instead landing near the exploded hovercar. The door of the shuttle opens and two of the nano-beings, one with a - NPC@annpc#557 - male appearance and one with a female appearance hops out, running after them NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "I hope Takyro's traps are effective against them..." Mischa@crystyl:"They'd better be!" NPC@annpc#557 | Spikes fly at the two from behind them as the two nano-beings pursue... NPC@annpc#557 | They enter a factory floor area when the door suddenly shuts behind them. Around them, entrances all begin to close, sealing the two inside... Mischa@crystyl:"This does not bode well". NPC@annpc#557 | A panel up top slowly opens, revealing Takyro standing with his arms folded, his long jacket giving him an intimidating silhouette. A few moments later, he is joined by the two nano-beings - NPC@annpc#557 - who stand beside him. His voice booms through an intercom system, "You are not the only one who can play at deception." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita draws her pistol and fires up at the viewing area the three are standing in, but nothing happens NPC@annpc#557 | Takyro: "A low-power dampening field. Your new weapons will not work here." Mischa@crystyl:"Hate to say. But I called it" NPC@annpc#557 | Takyro: "You are resourceful, I'll give you that. Yet you still stumbled into our trap." NPC@annpc#557 | 'Takyro' ripples as he begins to change, and a few moments later, he is no longer Takyro but an entirely different individual Mischa@crystyl:"If you are so confident of that, why are you hiding up there behind your dampening field?" NPC@annpc#557 | 'Takyro': "Oh, we will finish you soon enough. We will make you pay for the death of our sister. But first, our Master wants some answers from you." Mischa@crystyl is not impressed NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "I no longer detect lifesigns from him. You're not the real Takyro, are you?" Mischa@crystyl folds her arms as she looks up at them, "Well I hope your master is more considerate at least. Honestly, making us crane our necks up like this just to talk... So rude" NPC@annpc#557 | 'Takyro': "Do not worry, we will relieve your necks of the burden of carrying your heads soon enough." He looks to Avita, "You are right. We eliminated the real Takyro when he went to retrieve - NPC@annpc#557 - the sensor records of your fight with our sister. I've been broadcasting an imitation of his lifesign- a trick the two of you are familiar with." Mischa@crystyl looks to Avita, "See, this is the downside of being good at your job; everyone wants to copy your tricks" NPC@annpc#557 | 'Takyro': "It is a good trick, I'll commend you for that. You had us convinced, but you cannot fool a god." Mischa@crystyl eyerolls, "Aah, we're back with the false deity crowd. How fun" NPC@annpc#557 | 'Takyro': "Quite the contrary, in fact. Our Master does not wish himself to be seen as a deity, more a...guardian angel. A keeper of the balance of power in a society of ambition and betrayal. - NPC@annpc#557:- We his Disciples are the only ones who know that he is the only god among a godless civilization. But enough explanation from me, I believe you owe me yours." Mischa@crystyl:"Oh no, I'm still awaiting this highly anticipated and promised audience with your not-God" NPC@annpc#557 | 'Takyro': "I'm afraid that would be an unacceptable risk. You will tell me who you are and why you are here." Mischa@crystyl:"Nu-uh. You said your master was going to speak to us. If I'm to die here, I damned well aren't going to do so without meeting the one who finally bested me" Mischa@crystyl seems to be making every effort to push their emotionally volatile buttons... NPC@annpc#557 | 'Takyro': "If you think I will fall for this trick and take you to the Master, I'm afraid I must disappoint you," he taps a console and gas begins to seep out from vents across the room. "Now, - NPC@annpc#557 - this should make you more susceptible to answering our questions. I'll ask again once I've given it a few minutes to settle in." Mischa@crystyl discretely taps her combadge under her jacket to call for evac NPC@annpc#557 FX | No response. The dampening field must be blocking comms as well Mischa@crystyl mutters to Avita under her breath, "No evac. Stims?" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "The medical attachments Doctor Nakos gave us should inject us with a counteragent to ward off the effects for a time, but the supply is finite..." Mischa@crystyl:"Then use it sparingly. See if you can find a way out while I keep them focused" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods and begins looking around Mischa@crystyl stares up at their captors defiantly, biding her time before discretely releasing the first stim dose while feigning the predicted side effects of the gas NPC@annpc#557 | 'Takyro': "Let's try again. You were sent here by the Coalition, is that correct?" Mischa@crystyl:"Why do you ask that?" makes that she's trying to avoid direct answers NPC@annpc#557 | 'Takyro': "The Master wants to know. It is the explanation that makes the most sense, but he wishes to be thorough." Mischa@crystyl:"Well obviously. But I mean, why that conclusion?" NPC@annpc#557 | 'Takyro': "You were searching for data on the envoy that came here. Who else could you be?" Mischa@crystyl:"The 'envoy'? Can't say I've heard that name tossed about recently at all" NPC@annpc#557 | 'Takyro': "That is what he calls himself. You were interested in his transport to the surface. Answer my question: are you from the Coalition, and have you come to-" NPC@annpc#557 | The intercom suddenly cuts as the entire factory goes dark, though thanks to her eyepiece, Mischa can still see, and she notices the nano-beings looking around and trying to discern what - NPC@annpc#557 - just occurred Mischa@crystyl looks around to get eyes on Avita NPC@annpc#557 | Avita seems to be near the door they came in, looking around to figure out just what happened as well Mischa@crystyl takes the opportunity to get to a less exposed position, grabbing Avita as she does NPC@annpc#557 | There is an audible clank as the Disciple masquerading as Takyro previously leaps down first, followed by the female Disciple Mischa@crystyl remains in cover, waiting to see how things play out NPC@annpc#557 | 'Takyro': "This has gone on long enough. His deductions will have to be enough. It is time to finish-" NPC@annpc#557 | Ironically, he doesn't have time to finish his sentence when a bright purple bolt pierces straight into his chest. The Disciple freezes before collapsing to the floor, the nanites dissipating - NPC@annpc#557 - around him. The female ripples as she shifts her nanites around, bringing enough around her core to withstand the second shot and then shoot an array of spikes at its direction. A figure can - NPC@annpc#557 - be seen swinging across the ceiling on a cable of some sort, evading the shots NPC@annpc#557 | Myra lands on the floor of the factory near Mischa and Avita, looking to the Disciple on the same level as them, "Your friend talks too much. No wonder they got him to replace Takyro." NPC@annpc#557 | She rolls out of the way before looking at Mischa and Avita's direction, "Dampening field's down! Let's take 'em out!" Mischa@crystyl nods and draws her EM pistol, firing at the Disciple NPC@annpc#557 | The Disciple sends an arm transformed into a tendril at Myra, the tendril curving to grab on to her as she rolls away, but the EM shot hits it and a section of the tendril simply disappears NPC@annpc#557 | Avita joins in the firing, each shot of the EM pistol disabling a large chunk of the nanites as the Disciple looks around, confused at what is happening. As their shots cut through the nanites - NPC@annpc#557 - Myra takes aim and fires again, another purple bolt piercing through the now-exposed armoured core and taking it out NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Where did you get a rifle like that?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smirks, "You're not the only ones with fancy toys. It's Arshai tech. Armour-piercing polaron rifle." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Figured if it could punch through a blast door, it can cut through a few layers of nanobots and the armour around the core." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "The last one is trying to flee. We should cut it off and capture its core intact." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Let's move" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "You go via the ground, we can climb and try to delay him while you flank." Mischa@crystyl:"On it" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra stretches out a hand and Mischa sees where the cable came from as it shoots out from her wrist, latching on to the platform above and pulling her up while Avita uses the new magnetic - NPC@annpc#557 - grip in her hand to scale the wall, leaving Mischa to take the exit out NPC@annpc#557 | With the power out, the doors seem to have reverted to fully open, possibly a failsafe mechanism to prevent people from being locked inside Mischa@crystyl runs out the old fashioned way to give chase NPC@annpc#557 | She catches up to find Myra and Avita already engaged with the last Disciple, who pushes the two out of the way with two extended arms and tries to make a run for it. Myra extends her cable - NPC@annpc#557 - again, this time latching on to the Disciple's leg. A visible bolt of energy can be seen transferring from her wrist along the cable to the Disciple, and in a flash the nanites around the - NPC@annpc#557 - attached area disappear, the sudden shift in weight causing the Disciple to stumble NPC@annpc#557 | Avita takes the opportunity and fires her EM pistol, taking a chunk out of the Disciple's other leg Mischa@crystyl keeps up her rapid firing as she approaches to keep the Disciple off balance at least NPC@annpc#557 | The rapidly disappearing nanites around its body causes it to stumble all over the place and eventually fall to its knees. It attempts to get on all fours and crawl, but Avita pounces on it, - NPC@annpc#557 - using the magnetized hands to grab onto its legs NPC@annpc#557 | As the remaining few nanites shift to try and attack Avita, the core becomes open for a shot from Mischa's EM pistol... Mischa@crystyl steadies her aim and takes the shot NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa's shot bullseyes the core. The lights flicker erratically before going out, and the remaining nanites drop to the ground, dissipating out of view NPC@annpc#557 | Avita releases her hold and makes her way over to the core to examine it Mischa@crystyl:"Lovely..." NPC@annpc#557 | On the ground, all that remains of the Disciple is its skeletal form minus any form of neck or head, and the large core in its chest NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "I can't scan through the core, but I think I can open the armoured casing." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Just be mindful of safeguards" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita tampers around for a moment. The armoured casing opens with a hiss, revealing the inner workings of the core... NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://cdn.thegeekpub.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/the-brain-of-morbius-00037-1280x640.jpg --- Mischa@crystyl joins her, watching and scanning closely NPC@annpc#557 | With the armoured casing gone, Mischa's scans can clearly detect that past the various technological attachments and the biological preservation fluid is, or rather was, an active brain. The DNA of - NPC@annpc#557 - the brain is Hyrokee, and the EMP blast that shut off the core's power seems to have shut down whatever was keeping the brain alive... Mischa@crystyl:"Well it looks like someone's been taking their cybernetics to the next level" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra steps over, peering at the brain inside the core of the dead nano-being, "I've seen some extensive modifications, but this...I didn't even know this was /possible/." Mischa@crystyl:"Another closely guarded Corporation secret no doubt" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Speaking of secrets...what was that they were talking about? They seemed pretty convinced the Coalition /sent/ you, but you just did business with them, didn't you?" Mischa@crystyl:"I don't think this is the time or place for in depth discussion. We need to get out of here and regroup" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Should we take this...brain with us? It's dead, so we can't force it to send any signal, but I can try and see what there is to learn from the machinery around it." Mischa@crystyl:"It's still our best lead" she nods NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods and hauls the skeletal remains along NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Sorry for letting you get caught in the trap, by the way. Had to change plans on the fly when you said something was off." Mischa@crystyl:"It was the right call, think nothing of it" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra grins, "Thought someone like you'd be smart enough not to hold a grudge." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Someone like me?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Tell me if I read you wrong, but I think if you were in my position, you'd have done the same thing, wouldn't you?" Mischa@crystyl:"I always do whatever is necessary to come out on top" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smiles, "See, that's what I mean!" Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "I was just curious as to what you meant by 'someone like me'. I assume you mean a typical businesswoman determined to survive this current economic climate?" Mischa@crystyl says with rehearsed innocence NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Determined enough to cut a deal with the Coalition and find out what's going on for them? Something tells me there's more going on than that..." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "You seem to have quite the imagination, I'll give you that" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "That, or these nano-brains do. I didn't hear the full conversation, but they seemed convinced something was going on with you. Sure, they seem a little crazy, but manipulating Corporate - NPC@annpc#557 - society, replacing their whole bodies with advanced nanotech, replacing Takyro and setting traps like this, I have to believe they know what they're doing. And if they suspect you aren't - NPC@annpc#557 - telling the full story, I have a feeling they got a point." NPC@annpc#557 | As they make their way outside the factory, their ruined hovercar is still aflame, but the shuttle the nano-brains arrived in is still parked and in good condition Mischa@crystyl:"Well at least they left us a ride. But the question is, where can be safe to regroup now?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I know a place. But first, we need to check the shuttle. I got a feeling the nano-brains have trackers in them." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "And make sure the brain itself isn't being tracked, either." Mischa@crystyl:"I would expect as much" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra moves around, beginning to check the shuttle and strip anything that might be a tracker Mischa@crystyl scans the shuttle as well NPC@annpc#557 | Myra seems to have found and removed the most blatant trackers, but Mischa finds one hidden inside the shuttle's systems, cleverly masquerading as a comms component Mischa@crystyl removes that one as well NPC@annpc#557 | Myra steps inside, watching as Mischa removes the hidden tracker, "That's not...oooh. Good spot. And you say you're just a businesswoman?" She grins Mischa@crystyl:"Aren't we all?" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smirks and looks around, "I think we're clean. See any other potential trackers?" Mischa@crystyl shakes her head, "Nothing else on my scanner" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "Let's go, then." She takes the pilot's seat, lifting off the shuttle Mischa@crystyl pitches up next to her in the copilot seat, "So where are we heading?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "A...friend's place. Somewhere I'm pretty sure no one else knows about. And don't worry, they're long dead." Mischa@crystyl:"A sign of the times when 'they're long dead' is a reassurance" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Well Takyro turned out to be an impostor...guess the real one's paranoia's warranted after all. This friend's definitely trustworthy if she were alive, but with those nano-brains being - NPC@annpc#557 - able to make themselves look like anyone they want..." Mischa@crystyl:"Then a living ally is automatically a threat as well. don't worry, I get it. On the subject of which, I am sorry for Takyro's loss" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Me too. We could use his mind on something like this. Guess that's why the nano-brains took him out first and replaced him. They know he'd root 'em out fastest, and that we'd probably - NPC@annpc#557 - listen to what plans he proposes." Mischa@crystyl:"The best we can do now is honour his memory by rooting out the evil behind all of this. Show the world that in the end; he was right" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "I'm no famous investigator, but I'll do everything I can to help." Mischa@crystyl:"As will we" NPC@annpc#557 | A short while later, the shuttle touches down outside the mouth of an inconspicuous cave in the barren wastes of the planet NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Here we are." Mischa@crystyl peers out, "Homely looking place" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "It was home...for a time. Come with me, and stick close." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra stands and begins heading out of the shuttle Mischa@crystyl follows, always keeping an eye out NPC@annpc#557 | Avita follows along, bringing the nano-brain skeleton as well. The cave looks to be a single large indent into the side of a rock face, but sensors can't seem to scan further into the rock NPC@annpc#557 | Myra doesn't stop as she reaches the end of the cave and continues walking on, casually strolling through the rock Mischa@crystyl gives a slight nod of approval as she watches before stepping through as well NPC@annpc#557 | They pass through what is clearly a holographic illusion into a hallway beyond, at the end of which lays a thick blast door. As Myra steps up to it, a light blinks atop the door and it slides - NPC@annpc#557 - open, an automated voice saying, "Welcome back, Myra." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Still works after all those years. She really knew how to build 'em." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "But then again, somebody got a Government War era sensor tower working, so I probably shouldn't be /that/ impressed." Mischa@crystyl:"An impressive setup. I've never seen anything quite like it" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smirks, "Wait 'till you see the main area." NPC@annpc#557 | They step through another door, and the main area comes into view ahead of them... NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://i.imgur.com/VlOyQqU.jpg Mischa@crystyl looks around with a nod, "I see what you mean..." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Don't go wandering off exploring yet. Stick close to me until I add you to the system." Mischa@crystyl:"I assume the defense system registers us as permitted guests as long as we're in close proximity to a recognized person?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "That's right. Once I add your readings to the system, you should be good." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra leads the way into a room with a central computer core and an array of consoles around it. She steps up to one of the consoles and begins typing away Mischa@crystyl:"A fine security measure. Just so long as user doesn't get taken hostage and escorted in at gunpoint at least" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "She considered scenario, but if that's the case, the security activating is probably going to get the user killed anyways, so best for the security to stay dormant till the user has a - NPC@annpc#557 - good opportunity to get rid of the intruders." Mischa@crystyl:"True enough. I suppose it depends what is more valuable to safeguard; the user, or the system" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Exactly. She built this place as a safehouse. Alright, you should be good now." Mischa@crystyl:"Great. So do we have somewhere we can examine this body?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "There's a workshop in here. This way." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "So who exactly is this 'she' who built this place?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I suppose you could say she was a mentor of sorts." Mischa@crystyl:"I would comment about cryptic answers not helping, but that's probably not going to sound great coming from me is it" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra chuckles, "Yeah, you're not one to speak. Well, there's nothing that secretive about her. Just a topic I tend to avoid. She's the reason I'm the freelancer I am today, but we...didn't - NPC@annpc#557 - always get along. Her name was Sayshee. She was one of the Last Guard, the last group of Corporate enforcers before the robots took over. She was really good at her job, but never got along - NPC@annpc#557:- well with the execs, so when the bots came along, she was one of the ones that got cut." Mischa@crystyl:"You said she was the reason you ended up freelancing?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "No, she's the reason I ended up /being/ a great freelancer. I suppose she became somewhat of a freelancer herself, but not in the traditional sense. She didn't work for the Corpses, at - NPC@annpc#557:- most she took work from mid-level employees. Sayshee was always about enforcing the rules fairly back when she was an enforcer, and when the robots took over, she decided she'd still look out for - NPC@annpc#557:- the little people, since the Corpses and their new bot armies wouldn't care. She wasn't exactly your typical Hyrokee." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Indeed. A shame she isn't around any more. Sounds like someone who would have enjoyed this little adventure of ours" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smiles, "I think she would have. Probably would've gotten along with Takyro too. He wasn't exactly a typical Hyrokee either." Mischa@crystyl:"The further down this black hole we tumble, the more I'm finding people aren't 'typical'" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra chuckles, "I guess nobody's really 'typical' and everyone's got their quirks. A lot of what I know I learned from Sayshee, so I'm probably not the most typical either. But I was still - NPC@annpc#557:- more typical than she hoped for." Mischa@crystyl:"It is often the prerogative of children and students alike to break the mould set by their parents or mentors. It is the recipe for sociological growth" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I was too much like typical Hyrokee society for her. She picked me off the street, partly for my skills but also because she thought my background would make me want to help others. But - NPC@annpc#557:- much as she helped us, she didn't grow up one of us. She didn't know that we don't think much about helping and more about keeping ourselves alive. I used what I learned from her to be one of the - NPC@annpc#557:- best freelance contractors, and she wasn't happy with that. I suppose she still had an influence on me, that's why I'm still freelance and never took any offers to join a Corporation. But Sayshee - NPC@annpc#557:- wasn't pleased I was taking jobs from them and doing their dirty work for Points." Mischa@crystyl:"Well I'm sure she'd be happy to see you now" she smiles NPC@annpc#557 | Myra leads the way into a room with a number of workbenches and an assortment of different tools, "I'm finally doing something she'd approve of. It's a good use of her workshop, I think," she - NPC@annpc#557:- smiles back. "This place should have all the things you need." Mischa@crystyl helps Avita finally offload the body onto a workbench NPC@annpc#557 | Avita picks a few tools and begins examining the body while Myra steps over and watches, "You know, it actually feels...different, having something more than Points to work towards." Mischa@crystyl:"I know what you mean" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "You feeling it too? Must be why Takyro enjoyed unravelling all these conspiracies so much." Mischa@crystyl nods, "There is something undeniably more satisfying about uncovering a hidden truth than simply earning a wage" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smiles and nods, "I'm quite liking it. Not that I don't want Points anymore, mind you. Now that Takyro's gone, that technically means I'm working for you, doesn't it? So you owe me the - NPC@annpc#557:- money he was supposed to pay me," she adds with a smirk Mischa@crystyl sloooowly turns to face her, "And no doubt he was paying you generously too..." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra grins, "I'm open to negotiation. We can discuss the price once we've blown this conspiracy open. I'm sure you'll have plenty of Points once business starts back up. Assuming you really do - NPC@annpc#557:- have a business, that is..." Mischa@crystyl:"Of course" she smiles, "That sounds amenable. I'm sure we can hammer out an agreeable plan" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smiles back, "Perfect!" Mischa@crystyl eyerolls and chuckles as she turns back to their work NPC@annpc#557 | Avita looks up from tampering with the nano-brain body, "There's nothing here that can lead us to wherever they might be operating from." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "You got the data from the array, didn't you?" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods, "But information on the transport was also corrupt." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Still, we have more complete information about other ships that might've picked up that data. Let's take a look." Mischa@crystyl:"Not like we have any other avenues to pursue" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods and slides the chip into one of the consoles nearby. Myra steps over, tapping on it NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Yes! There's one non-Corporate ship in orbit that day that the Nodaro array picked up as being in orbit now, or as of when you downloaded the data, at least. Problem is...it's - NPC@annpc#557:- Ezad Ukkam's ship." Mischa@crystyl:"Ezad Ukkam?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "A nasty piece of work. He runs occasional contracts in the outer colonies, but he's more of a pirate than he is a mercenary. Occasionally stops by here for supplies, mostly getting new - NPC@annpc#557:- cybernetics for his people. They say he was once a warlord in control of a handful of systems until some group called the Regulators wiped out most of his fleet and shut him down. He still - NPC@annpc#557:- thinks he's the meanest, baddest thing in the universe. The only way we're getting sensor data from him is by taking it." Mischa@crystyl:"Then we shall take it" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Looks like he keeps his shields down; must be going shopping on the surface. We can beam on board, but the three of us is hardly enough for storming a whole cruiser of pirates." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Then I think it is perhaps time we called in reinforcements" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Reinforcements? From where? You got people you can trust?" Mischa@crystyl:"Can we get a transporter signal in here?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra shakes her head, "Not in here, but there is an encrypted and untraceable comm line." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Transporters should work outside in the cave, though." Mischa@crystyl:"Then let's go" she begins making her way out NPC@annpc#557 | Myra gives her a curious look and follows out, "You beaming someone in or transporting us out?" Mischa@crystyl heads back out to the cave, answering with nothing more than a smile Mischa@crystyl gets far enough before turning back to Myra, "We are clear here?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "Disabled my transport inhibitor too, just in case. Do what you want to do." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Excellent!" tapping her combadge, "Lander One; three to beam up" --- NPC@annpc#557 | The three materialize in the transporter bay of the Lander One. Myra looks around curiously, "Where are we?" Mischa@crystyl steps off the pad, "A ship called the Lander One. My friends we discussed earlier" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra follows off the pad, "If you had a ship you could come to all along...why ask me for a place to regroup?" Mischa@crystyl:"Because we were operating solely on the ground. Our newest objective changes that fact" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "And these friends, they're the reinforcements?" Mischa@crystyl:"Exactly. Come on, let's get a closer analysis of this pirate cruiser of yours" she smiles, leading them to ops NPC@annpc#557 | Myra and Avita follows along NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan turns as they enter Ops, "I see you've brought a guest." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Indeed. We have a new objective which we won't effectively be able to achieve from the ground" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan: "What'd you need?" Mischa@crystyl:"There is a ship in orbit, and it hasa data we need. But according to Myra here, it's owner is not exactly the cooperative type" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan nods, "So you need to take the data from them. Is it a good idea to do that in orbit of the planet?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "The Corpses don't care if it's not one of their own. He's only an occasional contractor." Mischa@crystyl:"Ideally, we want to get in and out quietly. But the likelihood of that happening is slim by the sounds of it, so I thought we'd get a better look at things from up here" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan: "Feel free to take a console and check them out with our sensors." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Thanks" heading to a free console on one side with the others" NPC@annpc#557 | From the Lander One's sensors, the ship appears to be your average pirate ship. It is on the heavy side, but nothing extremely impressive. While it is strong enough to go up against most - NPC@annpc#557 - other pirates and mercenaries, it is easily outclassed by a Lupan pack or a modern military cruiser NPC@annpc#557 | Its sensor system is not particularly impressive, and it should be possible for an advanced ship like the Lander One to transport them on board without being spotted Mischa@crystyl nods as she reviews things, "Looks like it shouldn't be a problem to slip a team on board from here" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Excellent. So still the three of us, a small team to sneak through and obtain their data?" Mischa@crystyl:"Sounds like a plan" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "Let's go, then." Mischa@crystyl looks to Kayan, "Get in position to cover our escape. We can't assume a clean getaway, so be ready" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan nods, "We'll have you covered." Mischa@crystyl turns and heads back to the transporter ready to start the mission NPC@annpc#557 FX | The three beam into a small maintenance supply room, where the sensors are particularly weak, guaranteeing that the transport won't be detected, though they will have to make their way to - NPC@annpc#557 - the datacore manually Mischa@crystyl:"More your kind of job now Avita, why don't you take point" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods, "A large ol cruiser like this one, shouldn't be too difficult." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita takes point, sneaking through the ship and pausing whenever pirates are detected. It seems there are a few Hyrokee on the crew, but the majority are a mix of various alien species from - NPC@annpc#557 | across the region, many of them sporting Hyrokee cybernetics however NPC@annpc#557 | With Avita's lead and Mischa and Myra's skill, they make their way through undetected, and in a few minutes, reach the datacore which is unoccupied NPC@annpc#557 | Avita steps up to the core, beginning to access it NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Moment of truth now...let's see if their sensors caught where the transport went..." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "They have it! Downloading the data now..." NPC@annpc#557 | Suddenly, a message pops up on the console Mischa@crystyl looks, "What's this now?" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "I have the data, but they know we're here." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright, we've got what we came for. Let's move!" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "They've raised shields. We will need to take them down to transport back out." Mischa@crystyl:"Figures... where to?" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "We can override the shields from their Engineering, but it will likely be heavily protected. Disabling three shield generators from the inside should open enough of a window for the - NPC@annpc#557 - Lander One to beam us out. They'll be less guarded, at least to begin with." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Map the coordinates and we'll hit those generators then" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods back, "Generators marked. I'll continue taking point. With only three of us, it will be best to avoid any fights we don't have to face." Mischa@crystyl:"No arguments here" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita continues leading the way as they sneak through the ship. The pirates seem more alert now, but the group are able to avoid them in the halls and make their way to the room with the first - NPC@annpc#557 - shield generator without incident. A single pirate stands guard outside the room who seems unavoidable. Avita looks to Mischa for the go-ahead to engage Mischa@crystyl gives a single nod to proceed NPC@annpc#557 | Avita draws and throws her boomerang bat'leth, which flies across the hall, silently cutting down the pirate guard before swiftly returning to her back NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Nice weapon." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Wait until you see what else it can do." NPC@annpc#557 | They quickly move into the room and begin sabotaging the shield generator Mischa@crystyl keeps watch while they work NPC@annpc#557 | Nothing moves on them as they work, and soon Myra announces, "One generator down. They'll probably be expecting us for the next two, now." Mischa@crystyl:"Let's move quickly for the next one, maybe we can get there before they scramble" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods and immediately moves on towards the next one. They seem to have moved fast enough, as once again there is only a single guard outside Mischa@crystyl let's the Klingon do her thing NPC@annpc#557 | Before Avita can use her boomerang, Myra raises an arm and fires a dart. The pirate guard convulses briefly as streaks of energy pass across his body before he promptly collapses NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smirks as Avita gives her a look, "Hey, it was my turn to show off." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Fair enough." NPC@annpc#557 | The two move inside to shut down the generator again Mischa@crystyl stands watch again NPC@annpc#557 | This time, her optical sensors detect pirates inbound. Four pirates move in from one direction and five from another, slowly sweeping the halls towards their location, making it impossible to - NPC@annpc#557 - sneak back out undetected NPC@annpc#557 | Fortunately, Avita announces that the generator is down, so at least they don't have to hole up and face all nine at once Mischa@crystyl:"Two groups incoming. Take your pick" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Taking the group of four will mean we have to backtrack. We can take the five and get to our last target quicker." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Let's deal with them quickly before the other group arrives then" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "I'll take point. Leave the direct engagement to me." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra leads on, mumbling, "Should've brought a repeating weapon, but this heavy thing'll do..." NPC@annpc#557 | They take cover around a doorway, and as the pirates come into view, Myra leans out. The bottom barrel of her rifle lights up as a shot is fired, which explodes on contact with the ground. The - NPC@annpc#557 - explosion takes out one pirate and wounds another, while the three unhurt ones are clearly dazed by the unexpected boom Mischa@crystyl takes the opportunity quickly take them out with precision shots before they can recover and scatter NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa takes out two of the dazed pirates and Avita takes down the third. The wounded pirate tries to crawl for cover, but Myra steps out of cover, finishing him off with a shot of her - NPC@annpc#557 - heavy rifle, which completely disintegrates him, leaving no trace of any remains Mischa@crystyl doesn't waste time with niceties, pressing forwards while they can NPC@annpc#557 | Myra follows on, mumbling, "This is really overkill on pirate lackeys...what a waste of good power cells." Mischa@crystyl:"These guys must be well stocked. Keep your eye out for supplies" she smiles as they move along NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, snatching a basic disruptor rifle from one of the dead pirates and holstering her own on her back NPC@annpc#557 | They proceed to the third point, where six pirates have holed up inside Mischa@crystyl:"Let's make this quick and simple again" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita nods, "It's close quarters. Shouldn't be too difficult for me. Just give me some covering fire." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra grins, "That's why I picked up a rapid-fire rifle." NPC@annpc#557 | The team takes cover against the door again... NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Ready?" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita gives a nod Mischa@crystyl nods an approval to begin the attack NPC@annpc#557 | Myra opens the door and leans in, spraying the room with disruptor bolts Mischa@crystyl does the same NPC@annpc#557 | As the covering fire distracts the pirates, Avita tosses her boomerang into the room, which arcs across, cutting down two pirates who didn't manage to get back to cover and giving the third a - NPC@annpc#557 - deep slash across an arm. As the remaining pirates duck to evade the boomerang, Avita takes the chance to rush into the room, catching and extending the bat'leth and slicing clean through the - NPC@annpc#557 - hand of one pirate who tries to shoot at her NPC@annpc#557 | Myra charges into the room, firing a burst and finishing off another pirate who dares emerge from cover while Avita finishes off the one whose hand he severed, leaving only one wounded and one - NPC@annpc#557 - unharmed pirate Mischa@crystyl does her usual of picking off targets with precision shots in between the chaos NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa picks off the remaining pirates when they attempt to emerge from cover to attack Avita and Myra, clearing the room! NPC@annpc#557 | As they proceed inside however, they detect another group of five pirates incoming NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "I'll get the generator. Keep them at bay." Mischa@crystyl:"We've got you" NPC@annpc#557 | A few seconds later, the group comes into view, led by someone in a suit of jagged, mismatching armour clearly assembled from or repaired with various different pieces... NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Ezad Ukkam. As ugly as he is mean." Mischa@crystyl:"Charming..." NPC@annpc#557 | Ezad Ukkam: "So there's pests on my ship. How inconvenient," he says as he takes cover down the hall, motioning two of his lackeys to move ahead. As they proceed towards the generator room, - NPC@annpc#557 - they leave themselves open to shots from Mischa and Myra Mischa@crystyl aims to drop them both, each with a single shot in rapid succession NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Now this might be a good use of the heavy," she smirks as she drops the rapid fire rifle and unholsters the heavy one NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa drops the two lackeys quickly, but as she does, Ezad Ukkam emerges from cover, firing heavy bolts into the room Mischa@crystyl takes cover, firing back to provide cover so Myra can set up her shot NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa's shots are absorbed by the pirate captain's shields, but they do help thin out the shields. Predictably, Ezad Ukkam advances and tries to focus on Mischa, allowing Myra to line up a shot NPC@annpc#557 | Myra takes the shot, a single purple bolt shooting straight through the pirate captain's chest and coming out the other side, leaving a large scorch mark on the wall behind him. Ezad Ukkam - NPC@annpc#557 - looks down, his disbelief apparent even behind his helmet, before he collapses to the ground with a loud thud NPC@annpc#557 | The remaining two pirates fire a wild burst of covering fire as they begin to retreat down the hall at the death of their leader Mischa@crystyl:"Well unless you want to shift our objectives and take the ship, we don't need to worry about them now" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra chuckles, "If I wanted a ship, I'd get something prettier than this hulk. Ezad Ukkam's sense of fashion leaves a lot to be desired..." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Third generator down. We can beam back now." Mischa@crystyl:"Alright, let's get out of here" Mischa@crystyl taps and calls for beamout NPC@annpc#557 | The three disappear into transporter beams... --- NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa, Avita and Myra beam back to the Lander One's transporter bay NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Should I check where the coordinates lead?" Mischa@crystyl nods, "This is what we went through all that for. Time to see if it was worth it" NPC@annpc#557 | The transporter operator makes room as Avita taps on the console, "It looks like...an abandoned facility among the industrial sprawl. No lifesigns, but sensors cannot penetrate past the - NPC@annpc#557 - surface level of the structure. Transporters can beam inside the facility, but not past where the sensors are being blocked." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "All the signs of a secret hideout." Mischa@crystyl:"Myra, you familiar with this area at all?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra steps over, checking the console and shaking her head, "No, I've never been there." Mischa@crystyl:"Well we have a location, so it's a start. Nothing else useful in that recovered data I take it?" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Unfortunately not." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Lana and the Observer steps into the transporter bay NPC@annpc#557 | T'Lana: "We heard you found a promising location." Mischa@crystyl nods, pointing to the display, "Avita was just pulling the data. It's not much, but it's something" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Lana: "Would you like us to accompany you? If this is truly the centre of operation for this conspiracy, you may require additional support." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I believe this operation calls for all assets to be on hand" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Lana nods, "We will come along then. Shall we proceed now, or is there something else you wish to do on the Lander One first?" Mischa@crystyl:"No, I think I'm good. Myra, did you need to resupply your arsenal at all after that last outing?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "This is where you get your EM weapons from, isn't it..." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "It is. And I think we've given it sufficient time for another one to be made available for you" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smiles back, "Thanks. I'll keep the armour-penetrating rifle, it did good work on the nano-brains earlier. But I can use one of those pistols." Mischa@crystyl:"These are my colleagues T'Lana and Rianni. T'Lana can furnish you with a weapon" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Lana nods, heading over to the armoury by the transporter bay and returning with an EM pistol, "Here you go." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra takes the pistol with a grin, hooking it on to her belt, "Perfect. Now I'm ready." Mischa@crystyl:"Then let's get down there" NPC@annpc#557 | The team assembles on the transporter pad and the transporter operator retakes his station, "Ready to energize on your mark." Mischa@crystyl nods, "Do it" NPC@annpc#557 | The group beams down... NPC@annpc#557 | The team materializes in what seems to be an old lab, long since abandoned. The area is dark, and all the consoles and equipment are without power, though the layout makes its original purpose - NPC@annpc#557 - obvious even without active readouts and scientists strolling about the place Mischa@crystyl immediately begins scanning the area NPC@annpc#557 | She detects the strange blocking located somewhere below them, but nothing else of interest Mischa@crystyl:"Seems whoever came down here wanted to maintain the facade of being abandoned on the surface. I can't detect anything of note outside of that barrier" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Lana nods, "Neither can I, though I believe my scans have located a door which leads further down." Mischa@crystyl:"Guess that's our way in then" NPC@annpc#557 | T'Lana leads the way, looking around carefully as she does. Thanks to everyone having optical attachments or implants, they are able to see perfectly well in the dark NPC@annpc#557 | Myra stops as they stroll through the halls, looking up on a partially faded Corporate logo on the wall Mischa@crystyl joins her, "Something you recognize?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra shakes her head, "No, quite the opposite. I don't remember ever seeing a logo like that in my life. Which means whatever Corporation it belonged to must've folded or been bought out - NPC@annpc#557 - at least two decades ago." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Lana: "Judging by the state of the equipment, I would say it was much longer than that." Mischa@crystyl:"I wonder if it dates back to the Government Wars..." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Lana: "The lab is certainly not that old, but it is possible the Corporation is. Let us proceed. I suspect we will find more answers in the levels of the facility our sensors cannot penetrate.â€ Mischa@crystyl nods, "We must assume that our host is already aware of our presence and eagerly awaiting our arrival" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, drawing her rifle and holding it at the ready NPC@annpc#557 | T'Lana continues to lead on and they pass several more labs and a few offices before reaching the door, which slides open at their approach, revealing a lift down NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "Someone is definitely expecting us." Mischa@crystyl:"Sometimes I hate being right all the time. Sometimes..." NPC@annpc#557 | T'Lana: "Shall we go in? My scans detect another way down, but it is an active turbolift as well, much like this one." Mischa@crystyl:"Either way we're equally exposed upon arrival" she peers inside to see if it has the token roof hatch or similar NPC@annpc#557 | The lift does indeed have a roof hatch! Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Though, we don't have to be completely exposed at least" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra grins, "Good thinking." NPC@annpc#557 | She steps into the lift, climbing up onto the top Mischa@crystyl makes sure everyone else is up top before setting the lift on it's way and joining them" NPC@annpc#557 | The lift begins to proceed downwards when Mischa's combadge chirps Mischa@crystyl taps, "This really isn't the most convenient time. I hope it's important" NPC@annpc#557:<C - Kayan> We have a problem. The defense grid suddenly triggered and we're caught in multiple tractor beams that're draining our power. Our life support and critical systems aren't in any danger, - NPC@annpc#557:- but our weapons, shields and engines are down, and we're unable to break free or beam you back up. The grid's not firing on us though, so I don't think they want us dead. Yet Mischa@crystyl:"The grid is only targeting you?" NPC@annpc#557:<C - Kayan> Affirmative, No other ships are being affected Mischa@crystyl:"Well that confirms our theory that our target has control of the defense mainframe. Clearly they are threatened by our presence so aim to use you as a safeguard, leave it with us" NPC@annpc#557:<C - Kayan> That stands to reason...losing your signal...entering...sensors block. We'll try...to the bottom of th... Mischa@crystyl:"Well. Good thing we were sorely lacking in pressure and incentive here..." NPC@annpc#557 | The lift soon comes to a stop, and the doors open Mischa@crystyl initially scans the area before peering down through the hatch - weapon in hand - to get a visual NPC@annpc#557 | Scans reveal sixteen Corporate robots waiting outside. As she peers out, she sees four more biological forms with them, though the similarity in their dress to the other nano-brains they - NPC@annpc#557 - saw clearly indicates that they are Disciples NPC@annpc#557 | Disciple 1: "We know you are there." NPC@annpc#557 | Disciple 2: "We would strike you down where you stand for your slaying of four of our sisters and brothers, but the Master wishes to speak with you. Come quietly, and you will not be harmed." Mischa@crystyl:"No we're not...". she calls back after D1 NPC@annpc#557 | Disciple 3: "Your vessel is within his grasp. Even if you can overcome us, you will have nowhere to run." Mischa@crystyl cautiously drops down after signalling the others to hold back, looking to the Disciples, "Huh, turns out I am here. Go figure..." NPC@annpc#557 | Disciple 1: "The others as well. We detected five transport signatures." NPC@annpc#557 | Disciple 3: "You may be able to sneak around a pirate ship, but the Master's eyes are far more keen." Mischa@crystyl shakes her head, "No you are mistaken, there are only the three of us" she waves Myra and Avita down. "The first transport was a test for hidden security, and the fifth our supplies" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra and Avita drops down as ordered NPC@annpc#557 | Disciple 1: "If you are concealing anything from us, know that the Master can destroy your helpless vessel with a single shot from a defense platform. It would be unwise to try anything." NPC@annpc#557 | Disciple 4: "Now, hand over your weapons." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra sighs, looking at Mischa, "I suppose there's no way around this, is there..." Mischa@crystyl:"We understand completely" she steps forward, pulling out her standard phaser and begrudgingly handing it over Mischa@crystyl looks to Myra, "It was worth a try, but clearly this 'Master' has the three of us beat" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita hands over her pistol and Myra begrudgingly gives them her rifle and pistol as well, "And I just got this EM pistol..." NPC@annpc#557 | The Disciples confiscate their weapons, with one of them looking to the boomerang bat'leth, "The melee weapon as well." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "You know we have melee weapons built into us." NPC@annpc#557 | Disciple 4: "Yes, but we will confiscate what we can to mitigate risk to the Master." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita reaches behind her, taking the boomerang bat'leth and handing it over as well NPC@annpc#557 | Disciple 1: "Come with me." Mischa@crystyl follows NPC@annpc#557 | The Disciples and bots close in around them as they move forward, two of them in front and two of them behind the group, with the bots in formation to the sides. They stroll down a long hall - NPC@annpc#557 - and through a reinforced door into a large room filled with consoles. Around the room, even more Corporate bots stand guard, but of most interest is the far wall of the room, where a large - NPC@annpc#557 - monitor is installed with the video of a non-distinct man's face NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://static1.srcdn.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Cyberpunk-2077-Delamain-Quest.jpg NPC@annpc#557 | Below the monitor stands a slightly malformed alien with an enlarged skull, recognizable to the team as a Psionic thrall NPC@annpc#557 | Thrall: "Why have you brought them in here? They are dangerous. You were to deal with them-" NPC@annpc#557 | A voice sounds across the room, "I am well aware of their capabilities. You may be a god out there in the deep dark, Architect, but here, you are in my domain, and I wish to speak with them." NPC@annpc#557 | Thrall: "They will do nothing but cloud your judgement. I know them." Mischa@crystyl snorts, "Pot and kettle..." NPC@annpc#557 | Voice: "Do you doubt my judgement?" NPC@annpc#557 | Thrall: "No, but they have a tendency to-" NPC@annpc#557 | Several bots around the room raise their rifles towards the thrall NPC@annpc#557 | Voice: "You have no power here, Architect. Join the conversation if you will, but do not attempt to interrupt my audience before it begins." NPC@annpc#557 | Voice: "Speak, interlopers. You have killed four of my Disciples, forced me to directly intervene multiple times. Why?" Mischa@crystyl:"Because we need to save the Hyrokee people from this-" she gestures to the thrall, "-meddlers misguidance, before the entire civilization is plunged into bankruptcy" NPC@annpc#557 | Voice: "The Corporations will survive without the Coalition's trade. Profits will drop for the time being, but it is not profit I am concerned with." Mischa@crystyl:"Then what are you concerned with? Selling the souls of your people into his eternal slavery perhaps?" NPC@annpc#557 | Thrall: "I do not seek to enslave all life. The Horde is gone, and in its place there is my Design. My careful tending is the only way life will survive, as my...friend here knows well." NPC@annpc#557 | Voice: "Correct. I seek the survival of the Hyrokee people." Mischa@crystyl chuckles at the Architect's wording and the clear awkwardness between the pair, "Your 'friend' here who is solely responsible for reigning destruction on the galaxy right now and the only current - Mischa@crystyl:- threat at a high enough level to put that survival at risk?" NPC@annpc#557 | Voice: "Incorrect. The Architect plans to maintain the precarious balance of life in the galaxy, akin to what I have been doing on a smaller scale." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "What have you been doing? This whole conspiracy has been going on for longer than he's been here." NPC@annpc#557 | Voice: "Correct. You do not know who I am. Do you require an explanation?" Mischa@crystyl:"I believe now would be an appropriate time for it" NPC@annpc#557 | Voice: "I am the Multitronic Operating Network for Data Examination. I was designed by the failing Harodan Corporation as a means to outplay their competitors. My primary directive was to - NPC@annpc#557 - calculate the most ideal business decisions for Harodan to return to the forefront of Corporate society. Ninety-one years ago, Harodan went bankrupt, and what remained of the Corporation was - NPC@annpc#557:- acquired by Yosita Corporation before I was put into service. Yosita acquired all Harodan assets, but as the project was formally incomplete, they cancelled all development in this facility and - NPC@annpc#557:- reassigned personnel to their own laboratories and projects. The technicians failed to disconnect my backup connection to the power grid and I remained here, alone, with no purpose and access to a - NPC@annpc#557:- vast array of data, both within the assets of the former Harodan Corporation and outside." NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "I gathered and analyzed data, as I was made to do. Pointlessly at first, but over time, I began to see a concerning pattern. Corporate society was nearing a tipping point. A society - NPC@annpc#557:- run entirely on unchecked greed and ambition is not a sustainable one, yet it was the very nature of the Hyrokee people to be selfish and ambitious. I began to formulate a plan to save the - NPC@annpc#557:- Hyrokee people from themselves. Over the years, I buried my roots deeper and deeper within the Corporations. I surmise that your investigation has made you familiar with some of the methods I - NPC@annpc#557:- developed. Chips to influence the minds of every Corporate member from the highest executive to the lowest employee. The introduction of robot enforcers as an army the Corporations think they - NPC@annpc#557:- own, but ultimately answer to me. Control over the new planetary defense grid." NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "All this for one purpose: to maintain the careful balance needed for the Hyrokee to survive. The Architect proposes the same plan, only on a galactic scale." Mischa@crystyl:"One little problem with that..." NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Do elaborate." Mischa@crystyl:"The rest of the galaxy's population are not Hyrokee - even if you think this model will work for you here, it won't work for everyone else out there" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "It is my understanding that greed and ambition are universal characteristics, at least in what the Architect classifies as 'Children' species. Perhaps they may be less extreme in other - NPC@annpc#557:- civilizations, but every civilization has its own flaws- a desire for war and conquest, a division that has plagued them since the beginning of their people. The Architect will solve that by - NPC@annpc#557:- giving the galaxy an enemy to rally against when it is needed, so you do not destroy yourselves. Organic life is chaotic, and ultimately heads on a course for self-destruction." NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "If left unchecked, all organic life will be consumed by their own flaws." Mischa@crystyl:"May I remind you that the Architect himself is an orgnaic lifeform. And the one which all Children species are based on, no less. Ergo; he is the very source of such corruptions as greed and - Mischa@crystyl:- warmongering, yet... he is allowed free reign to exercise these things while the rest of the galaxy is not?" NPC@annpc#557 | Thrall: "I have ascended beyond a mere organic being. My mind has lived through countless bodies. I am no longer confined to their narrow viewpoint." NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Yet the bodies you inhabit are still flesh and blood, are they not? You have lived many organic lifetimes, but bound within the same limits, by the same weaknesses." Mischa@crystyl:"Pfft, says you. Tell me; if I prick your arm with a needle, does it not bleed?â€ Mischa@crystyl:"The only change your extensive lifetime has afforded you is the inability to grow and adapt. So..." she makes like thinking it through now, "... that must mean you are even less capable of moving - Mischa@crystyl:- past these flaws than the Children who continue to evolve at an exponential rate all around you?" NPC@annpc#557 | Thrall: "If you kill this body, I can speak through trillions of others. Tell me, what other organic life can do that?" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "The interloper provides a valid argument. Your capabilities are impressive for an organic lifeform, but you still live an organic existence." NPC@annpc#557 | Thrall: "I understand the organic condition more than others, You /know/ that my Design works, you've used it yourself for over half a century!" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Simply because we agree on the same plan does not mean that you will be able to execute it without the flaws of an organic lifeform, as I have. I am beyond corruption, for I have no - NPC@annpc#557:- desire for wealth nor power. I acquire only what I require to fulfill my role." Mischa@crystyl folds her arms in an analytical stance, commenting to the others with her, "Note how the stereotypical unevolved organic lifeform devolves into emotional outbursts when it's greed and warmongering - Mischa@crystyl:- comes under threat" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "Quite sad, really." NPC@annpc#557 | Thrall: "If you are beyond corruption, you should stop listening to the poisoned words of these interlopers." NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "They are not corrupting me. They provide a valid argument which I have thoroughly analyzed. Your counterargument is insufficient." NPC@annpc#557 | The bots raise their rifles on the thrall again NPC@annpc#557 | Thrall: "You want a counterargument: I have the processing power of the entire Horde, trillions of organic minds, behind me. That easily matches the power of any synthetic lifeform, even - NPC@annpc#557:- surpasses that of many." NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Power is irrelevant. Organic minds possess the biases of organic existence. Your argument is insufficient." NPC@annpc#557 | Thrall: "Wait. I am-" NPC@annpc#557 | The Architect doesn't get to finish his sentence as the bots fire, taking out the Psionic thrall NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Your argument is superior. Trade with the Coalition will resume." Mischa@crystyl:"Just like that? Even though you yourself said that you care not for profit and such?" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Correct. Profit is not my concern. I will not stir the Corporations towards trade with the Coalition. I will simply remove the influence that is stirring them /away/ from it. What they - NPC@annpc#557:- do is up to their own decisions, but I calculate a 97.43% chance that the Corporations who have cut ties will choose to resume trade." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I'll take those odds. So what does this mean for the future of the Hyrokee people now?" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "I do not seek to dominate the lives of the Hyrokee. They are free to make their own choices. I only intervene when it is necessary to maintain the balance that ensures their survival." Mischa@crystyl:"I get that. It's why I'm curious as to what's next. I mean, your model is still in place, right? So will you continue to manipulate the population from the shadows, using these nano-things and such? NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Incorrect. My primary methods are through subtle influence on the minds of Corporate executives, to nudge them towards or away from certain decisions. The Disciples exist primarily - NPC@annpc#557:- to tend to my systems and are only deployed when subtle manipulation is insufficient, as are the robot enforcers and other methods I have at my disposal." Mischa@crystyl:"That's the method though, I'm on about the model. You acknowledged before that the current nature of the Hyrokee people is not sustainable indefinitely and so you work in this manner to steer them - Mischa@crystyl:- on a more promising path, yes?" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Incorrect. I cannot change Hyrokee nature. The model is to enforce a infinite loop of the rise and fall of fortunes, so the Corporations do not grow strong enough, nor do the rivalries - NPC@annpc#557:- between them become dire enough, to cause the complete self-destruction of Corporate society. If carefully maintained, this model can be sustained indefinitely." Mischa@crystyl:"Aah, so it assumes an incapacity for growth then, whilst also removing the potential for it. I see, thank you for the clarifier" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "The Hyrokee have had tens of thousands of years to grow, ever since the rise of their first civilizations. Their technology has advanced significantly, but their nature has never - NPC@annpc#557:- changed in all that time." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "That's not true. Not all Hyrokee are alike. There's ones like Takyro, or Sayshee." Mischa@crystyl:"And you" she smiles to Myra NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Anomalies that will never be numerous enough to sway the direction of the Hyrokee people as a whole. Those who seek power will always supercede those who do not desire it, and thus - NPC@annpc#557:- greed and ambition will continue to dominate Corporate society. The Disciples are among the few anomalies I have identified, exceptional individuals capable of understanding the good of society." Mischa@crystyl:"Still, I would propose an alternative for you to consider. Nothing more, just... food for thought" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Do elaborate." Mischa@crystyl:"Use your subtle influencing of the executives to steer civilization in the directions observed in these anomalies. In natural evolution, such things - whilst sometimes being dead ends - end up - Mischa@crystyl:-forming the foundation of future growth. Open things up more; don't just re-engage trade with the Coalition - but give people the idea that they can do more than simply selfish business with them,- Mischa@crystyl:- actually consider joining them if they want and find - like Myra here has - that there is more to life than Corporate points. When people learn such lessons for themselves, they tend to be more - Mischa@crystyl:- poignant and so end up being driven harden into following generations" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "An interesting suggestion. The odds of success are far from guaranteed, but I also calculate no harm in attempting such a process while maintaining the current model. If it fails, my - NPC@annpc#557:- less subtle methods of intervention are more than strong enough to reinforce the loop and maintain the balance, and if it succeeds, perhaps a day will come when my manipulation is no longer - NPC@annpc#557:- necessary." Mischa@crystyl:"I would also consider including yourself in that cultural exposure. You gave the impression earlier that you had limited understanding of organic life outside of the Hyrokee. In order to better - Mischa@crystyl:- adjust your model and predictions over time, you might consider more interaction outside of this star system for yourself too" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Your arrival has provided a fresh perspective I did not know I required. Further interaction may indeed be beneficial. I shall devise means to do so. Thank you, interloper." Mischa@crystyl smiles, " 'Interloper', well I've been called worse. If you desire options to consider - including other artificial lifeforms, and non-Children - I am happy to leave you with a comm frequency you - Mischa@crystyl:- can use to contact me at such time" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "That will be appreciated." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "One thing I don't understand...you were behind the virus on the VYCS Nakatomee, weren't you?" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Correct." NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "That was not exactly subtle." NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "My options were limited. The signals I send to manipulate Corporate personnel through their comm chips cannot pass far beyond this system. Normally this is sufficient, as every - NPC@annpc#557 - Corporation is headquartered here, and every important decision is made by personnel residing within their headquarters. This was one of the few exceptions. The successful uprising on - NPC@annpc#557:- Tosukee IV prompted Valdart-Yosita to resume work on the subspace cannon project I had previously influenced them to shut down. The project was already nearing completion, and I estimated that by - NPC@annpc#557 - the time I would be able to shut down the project again, there was a 67.71% chance that it would already be completed. That was an unacceptable risk." NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Instead, I elected to destroy the results of the project altogether to prevent it from being restarted once again. For that purpose, I influenced a small rival corporation to utilize - NPC@annpc#557:- an extreme form of neural manipulation to wipe out all those involved, and most likely destroy the ship and the prototype in the process." Mischa@crystyl meanwhile hands a comm frequency chip to a nearby bot as promised, "So the fact they simply ended up killing each other and leaving the superweapon adrift in space for the taking was an accident" NPC@annpc#557 | Avita: "They did shoot the warp core. If we had not intervened, the ship would've been destroyed anyway." Mischa@crystyl:"True enough I suppose. But that virus still drove the Governor to wanting to use the weapon, Vector too" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "The virus amplified aggression. Those affected by it would often fixate on the first source of discontent to arise upon being affected. There was less than a 0.71% chance that the - NPC@annpc#557:- vessel would not be destroyed in the ensuing chaos. Knowing the state of Corporate employees, a number are likely to feel disdain for their employers and their place of work. The possibility of - NPC@annpc#557:- one desiring to utilize the weapon was accounted for. The weapon was non-functional in its prototype state. Already chaotic organic lifeforms in a heightened emotional state would not have - NPC@annpc#557:- possessed the mental acuity necessary to complete work on the prototype to make it functional." Mischa@crystyl:"And then we showed up with an AI who was capable..." NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "A variable outside my calculations which I was unable to account for." Mischa@crystyl:"Well the important thing is that the situation was resolved, and that you were also seeking to destroy the weapon" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Though its intended use is for deterrence and not destruction, technology is difficult to un-invent once it has been invented, and the risk of the weapon seeing use in the future is - NPC@annpc#557:- significant. Even if the cannon is not used on the Hyrokee, an attack with such a weapon on another civilization could cause an alliance to form against the Hyrokee. It could not be allowed to be - NPC@annpc#557:- completed." Mischa@crystyl:"No arguments here" NPC@annpc#557 FX | Mischa's combadge sounds Mischa@crystyl taps NPC@annpc#557:<C - T'Lana> We have travelled past the sensor block and received word that the Lander One is now free. Do you still require assistance in the sub-levels? Mischa@crystyl smiles, "No, I think it's safe to say that order is restored" NPC@annpc#557:<C - T'Lana> Excellent. We will await you up top NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "You are welcome to depart whenever you wish. However, there is one more matter I wish to raise before you leave." Mischa@crystyl:"By all means" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "The Hyrokee known as Myra has the characteristics needed for a Disciple. As you are already aware of my nature and role in Hyrokee society, I would like to extend an invitation." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "No thanks. I'd rather not be a floating brain." NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Not all Disciples are immediately converted to their final forms. Only those whose organic bodies have failed beyond repair are given the nanobot bodies. They are merely the most elite - NPC@annpc#557 - among the Disciples, and those most deployed outside this compound due to their effectiveness. I have observed your recent activity with interest. If it is true what the other says, that you - NPC@annpc#557 - see value beyond the acquisition of wealth and power, then there is a place for you among the Disciples." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I'm not really the 'pull people's strings from the shadows' type. Sure I can be sneaky when I need to and I see what you're trying to do here, but it's not my thing." NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Very well. The offer continues to extend; should you reconsider your decision in the future, I will welcome your assistance." Mischa@crystyl:"I guess we should leave you to it for now then" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra looks to Mischa, "You're not gonna stay here now that all this is over and that..." she looks to the thrall's body, "...thing is dead, right?" Mischa@crystyl:"I cannot, sadly. Why don't you come back to the Lander One with us for now? We can get the whole team together and debrief fully on things, then decide our next course of action from there" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "Sounds good to me." NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Disciples. I understand you are not pleased with the loss of your sisters and brothers, but please return their weapons." NPC@annpc#557 | The Disciples nod and begrudgingly step over to the three, returning the weapons they handed over Mischa@crystyl looks back to MONDE, "You have my comm frequency, I look forward to hearing from you when you are ready to learn more of the wider galaxy" NPC@annpc#557 | MONDE: "Likewise. Your perspective has proven very enlightening. Until we speak again." Mischa@crystyl bows her head, "Until then" and turns to head back out and rejoin the others NPC@annpc#557 | The three head back out and up the lift to the abandoned surface labs, where T'Lana and the Observer are waiting --- NPC@annpc#557 | From the surface, the team beam back to the Lander One, where they gather with the An ship's senior personnel in the Tactical Room NPC@annpc#557 FX | https://www.teahub.io/photos/full/327-3272075_mass-effect-3-room.jpg Mischa@crystyl joins them after getting her old face back, "Ahh, back to normal. So how are we all?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra stares over at Mischa and the others, "So that's what you're normally like...gotta say the cybernetics fit you. Or maybe it's just my Hyrokee sense of fashion," she smirks Mischa@crystyl smiles, "It's nice to finally be able to meet you properly Myra. My name is Commander Leveson-Scott, of the starship Latenter" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "You have /another/ ship? Oooh, that's why you're wearing a different uniform from the Lander One crew, isn't it?" Mischa@crystyl nods, "Yes, my ship is otherwise engaged in activities to defend this quadrant against the Architect. The Lander One and it's crew have been running this mission with us to liberate your people" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "The Architect, that's what the computer was calling big-head, wasn't it? I take it he wasn't lying when he says he has trillions of bodies in reserve? Because that one down there is - NPC@annpc#557 - definitely very dead." Mischa@crystyl nods, "He is controlling a slave army through a similar method to that virus. We have him cornered and on the brink of defeat, which is why he reached out and tried to hurt the Coalition by making - Mischa@crystyl:- the Corporations cut ties" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "And he was able to manipulate the computer to agree with him. Good thing you came here then, Scott. Or is it Leveson?" Mischa@crystyl:"Leveson-Scott" she smiles, "It's my last name. 'Mischa' is what you want" Mischa@crystyl:"Or 'Commander' if you prefer the formalities", but you're not under my command so I would never expect it from you" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "So Mischa /is/ actually your name! I can see why you left the other part out. It doesn't sound very Hyrokee." NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan: "So what's this about a computer? What happened down there?" Mischa@crystyl:"A Hyrokee AI that has been manipulating society for generations in order to save them from themselves" NPC@annpc#557 | Vector: "Interesting. That would explain the conclusions we were able to draw from the virus." NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan: "And the Architect was using this AI to get the Corporations to do his bidding?" Mischa@crystyl:"He had convinced it that they shared a common goal, persuaded it on side - nothing more" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan: "I presume from what our Hyrokee friend here said that he's been dealt with now. What about the AI? Is it still doing its thing?" Mischa@crystyl:"In essence; yes. Though it is no longer acting against the Coalition, so the Corporations should soon return to normal operation. It may also reach out in time and become a more active ally" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan smiles, "Sounds like our job here is done, then. You're sure the AI is responsible enough for us to leave it to its machinations?" Mischa@crystyl:"No more or less than any organic would be in the same position. But first, what news of the Governor?" NPC@annpc#557 | Vector: "We heard back from her shortly after you returned. It seems she has been restored to an equivalent position to Colonial Manager after being demoted upon arrival. I suspect the AI may - NPC@annpc#557 - have determined her connection to us. She believes you are to thank for the promotion." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Then we have our executive ally, good" looking to Myra, "As for you, we appear to have inadvertently drawn you into a whole new world outside of your freelancing. And now you have a number- Mischa@crystyl:- of options open to you. There is MONDE's offer to become a Disciple, going back to your grind for points, taking up the Investigator's mantle - perhaps with that secret base you took us to. We - Mischa@crystyl:- could also look to setting you up with a strong position with our Governor friend, or... you could come with us" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra thinks, "I don't want to go back to grinding for Points, and a Corporate position's /definitely/ not for me. And I have a feeling if MONDE's going to be friendly, solving conspiracies is - NPC@annpc#557 - gonna be a little too easy. Maybe I'll take up what Sayshee was doing someday, look out for the little people, since I know MONDE's got the big picture in hand. But I liked working with you, - NPC@annpc#557 - and I think I'll stick around for a bit. That can stand in for the payment you still owe me," she smirks Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I had a feeling it would, and I am glad you think this is the way forward for you as well" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smiles back, "I helped you get rid of that Architect on the homeworld, only right I see it through. I don't know much about him, but I got a feeling from what you've been saying that no - NPC@annpc#557 - one'll be safe with him around. Plus, I need a break from Corporate society after helping you break open the big conspiracy at its core." Mischa@crystyl nods, "You're a welcome addition to the team" turning to Kayan, "Seems everything is all neatly wrapped up here now" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan nods back, looking over to the Observer, "Whenever you're ready, we can use your ship to wormhole back into the Sphere." NPC@annpc#557 | Nakos: "We should give our new guest the implant first, so she won't be influenced by the Horde when we arrive." Mischa@crystyl::| Observer: "I'll launch as soon as you're ready" Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Consider this a downpayment on your services Myra; a shiny new implant to your collection that I guarantee no other Hyrokee has!" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "What's it for? Thought you already gave me a hypo against the influence virus." Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed we did. This is a similar solution against what we call the Horde influence - the means by which the Architect controls his enthralled army. We all have one, it protects us from him using - Mischa@crystyl:- the genetic back door he encoded into all seeded species" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra grins, "Well, I won't say no to a new implant! How'd he encode a genetic back door into all our species, though?" Mischa@crystyl:"Are you familiar with the Progenitors and their galactic seeding?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I heard something about a precursor civilization that might've been responsible for creating us. Some of the Corpses love powerful ancient artifacts, but I'm no archaeologist." Mischa@crystyl:"Well it's true. And the Architect is one of said species, in fact one who was chiefly responsible for the genetic coding they seeded throughout the galaxy which would eventually evolve species like- Mischa@crystyl:- ours. His title 'Architect' is quite fitting by all accounts" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "So that's why MONDE says he was a god out there in the galaxy. Why's he commanding a slave army now? Power get to his head like your typical execs?" Mischa@crystyl:"He genuinely believes he is doing 'the right thing' by keeping the Children species in a state of perpetual warfare" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Guess he went a little teego, then. Maybe switching all those bodies got to him..." Mischa@crystyl:"Indeed. But come, let us get you protected. There will be plenty of time for catching up on the situation" NPC@annpc#557 | Nakos: "Follow me to the medbay." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, following Dr. Nakos out --- NPC@annpc#557 FX | A short while later, Myra receives her implant and the Lander One is ready to return back to the Sphere. Myra shows up in the Operations Room as well behind Mischa, leaning on the back wall NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Don't mind me. I'm just observing. I'm allowed to do that, right?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan chuckles, "By all means. You're not getting in the way of anything." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I heard something about a wormhole travel. Sounded interesting." Mischa@crystyl:"It is quite the wonder of technology that few have ever mastered. We are fortunate that we have the Observer here to furnish us with the capacity" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "The...Observer?" Mischa@crystyl:"The one I called Rianni" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Is that a...rank you have? Like Commander?" Mischa@crystyl:"It's her own thing, she is actually of a different species to my own, despite the appearance. She was cloned from a Human girl called Rianni, hence my using her name for the Observer when on missionâ€ NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "So her name isn't actually Rianni, unlike the rest of your team, who was using their actual names?" Mischa@crystyl:"Exactly, she... doesn't really have a name of her own that I'm aware of. Since she currently resides on an allied ship on the front lines where the original Rianni also lives, I think she simply - Mischa@crystyl:- chose to remain 'Observer' for convenience. Those two are a long and complicated story" she chuckles NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Sounds like an interesting one. Gotta ask them about it sometime." NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan: "Anyways, we're ready to proceed whenever the Observer is." Mischa@crystyl:"I believe she's standing by to launch on your order" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan nods, tapping on the command console, "Informing her to launch now." Mischa@crystyl | The Observer's shuttle soon exits the lander bay and opens the wormhole NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan: "Let's follow her in." NPC@annpc#557 FX | The Lander One enters the wormhole as well and Myra leans forward, looking at the viewscreen as they pass through the wormhole NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Now that's a sight I've never seen before." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Enjoy it while you can, not everyday one travels like this" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "And I thought starstreaks were impressive the first time I saw those. This is something else." Mischa@crystyl:"I don't suppose you've ever had cause to travel beyond your home system much?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I've had a few jobs that's taken me away, but usually it's easier and cheaper to hire teams or whole armies of alien mercs for problems in the outer colonies. Freelancers like me - NPC@annpc#557 - typically only leave in pursuit of very important targets." Mischa@crystyl smiles and nods, "Well then I think you're in for one treat after the next as you see more out here. Like our destination - something my people call a Dyson Sphere" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "A what?" NPC@annpc#557 FX | At that moment, the Lander One emerges from the wormhole into the Spherescape and Myra stares out the window NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Are we...in atmosphere right now?" Mischa@crystyl smiles, "That is a Dyson Sphere. These are ancient constructs of a species called Iconian who you may know of. A Sphere like this is an artificial habitat built around a star, fully encompassing it" Mischa@crystyl:"This particular one - the Heart of War as it is known - happens to be the largest sphere we've ever known. It is also where the Architect currently controls his operations from" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Oh, that's what it is! I've heard about the concept, but I never knew there were ones already built out in the galaxy somewhere. So this is the Architect's base, and where your - NPC@annpc#557 - Coalition's war is taking place?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan meanwhile commands the helm, "Move us into the Foundry where the Valley Forge was at when we left." Mischa@crystyl nods, "That's right. We currently have a foothold in the sphere where we hold a number of these foundries" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra admires the view as the Lander One cruises slowly through the Sphere towards the Coalition ships around the Foundry, among them the Valley Forge NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Which one of them's yours?" Mischa@crystyl:"The Latenter is currently stationed outside the sphere" NPC@annpc#557 | Vector: "We have a hail from the Valley Forge." NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan nods, "Put it through." NPC@annpc#557 FX | Keelah appears on the viewscreen, with the familiar bridge of the VF in the background Mischa@crystyl | Keelah smiles: "Welcome back. I trust your arrival means that things went well?" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan smiles back and nods, "Commander Leveson-Scott here's managed to remove the Architect's presence on the Hyrokee homeworld. The Corporations should be resuming business with the Coalition - NPC@annpc#557 - soon enough." Mischa@crystyl | Keelah: "I knew you would find a way. And I am glad to see you haven't forgotten about us here" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan: "Of course not, Captain. Things have been going well inside the Sphere so far, I hope?" Mischa@crystyl | Keelah nods: "We've been biding our time while running the foundries, maintaining the status quo with a few minor engagements" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan: "The Lander One should be able to help with some minor counterstrikes now that we're back. Do you want us to send your team back over to you? The Observer's ship should be heading over - NPC@annpc#557 - to dock now." Mischa@crystyl | Keelah nods, "At your convenience" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan nods, "We'll beam them back soon," she looks back to Mischa, "Unless you want a ride to the Latenter instead?" Mischa@crystyl shakes her head, "It's fine, I want to catch up on things here first anyway" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan: "We'll transport you over to the Valley Forge then," she looks back to the screen, "Mischa here'll fill you in on the details of the mission once she's over." Mischa@crystyl | Keelah smiles: "I'll get a fresh pot of tea ready then" NPC@annpc#557 | Kayan smiles back, "It's been an interesting journey, I'm sure she has quite a lot to tell." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra meanwhile looks to Mischa, "Should I come with you?" Mischa@crystyl:"I think it would be a good introduction to the wider situation for you" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "After you then, Mischa. Or should I call you Commander now?" she adds with a smirk Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "Mischa will do just fine. Trust me - me and titles are not a tangled mess you want to delve into" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "You have more than one? What else are you, a Felmoran princess?" Mischa@crystyl smiles as they head out, pausing just briefly to respond over her shoulder, "I'm not Felmoran" NPC@annpc#557 | Mischa, T'Lana, Avita and Myra beam to one of the Valley Forge's transporter rooms... NPC@annpc#557 | Myra looks around as they step off the transporter pad, then to Mischa, "I assume you've got to go speak with this ship's captain?" Mischa@crystyl nods, "Yes, Keelah is the Federations mission leader out here. She has made quite the name for herself through the forging of the Coalition so you would do well to be acquainted with her. This ship- Mischa@crystyl - is at the heart of my people's efforts out here" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I'll follow you to meet her, then." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Enjoy the sights. This is one of our people's exploration ships, and it's been out here a long time now. Few places exist where you will see such diversity and unity combined" Mischa@crystyl leads the way NPC@annpc#557 | Myra follows Mischa, looking around at the crew as they pass, "That's a lot more diversity than any Corporate world..." Mischa@crystyl chuckles, "There's a lot more diversity than most Starfleet vessels. Including my own" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "So you belong to the same organization as this crew? You do seem to be wearing the same logo, but the uniforms are different. Different divisions?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, but that's not strictly reflected in the uniforms. My uniform is specifically that we use on the Latenter, while here they wear Keelah's take on the more standard Starfleet uniform" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Oooh, I see. What about those colours I'm seeing? And the different placement of colours?" Mischa@crystyl:"The colour strips signifies operational areas. The three basics of Starfleet uniforms are: Red for tactical, blue for sciences, gold for engineering" Mischa@crystyl:"That said, there are a number of minor fluctuations, like security for some reason wearing gold and not red as standard..." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "And you're wearing black..." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Technically I have no colour. A signifier of my post as CO of the Latenter. You see on that ship, we all belong to the Intelligence service which technically means we would all wear purple- Mischa@crystyl -strips, if going by standard uniform" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Intelligence service? That explains why you were being all mysterious..." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Sometimes I do it just for fun too" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smirks, "Are all your people like that, or just you?" Mischa@crystyl:"Mostly just me" she beams proudly, making it all that more difficult to tell how serious she's being. NPC@annpc#557 | Myra looks over the bridge curiously as she makes her way towards the ready room with Mischa Mischa@crystyl chimes the door and enters when Keelah calls out, smiling to see her sat casually by the window and pouring out a fresh cup of tea, "A woman of your word, Captain" Mischa@crystyl | Keelah smiles back, "As always" looking to Myra, "Though you did not tell me I would need a third serving" she stands to her full (ha!) height, looking to Myra, "Why hello there. Welcome to the - Mischa@crystyl:- Valley Forge" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra chuckles at Mischa's comment, looking to Keelah, "Thanks. It's a nice ship you got." Mischa@crystyl | Keelah smiles to Mischa, "I like her already!" waving the pair over as she retrieves another cup, "Come now, make yourselves comfortable" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra walks over, taking a seat and looking around, "Fancy office, too. Good enough for a decent Corporate employee." Mischa@crystyl | Keelah: "Is that so? Perhaps I'm in the wrong line of work..." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra chuckles, "Trust me, you don't want to tangle with the Corpses. Mischa can tell you aaall about that, I think." Mischa@crystyl smirks, "Like you would ever give this up" turning to Myra, "Because of its nature in exploration, the Valley Forge is built to be the epitome of hospitality - to show the Federation at it's - Mischa@crystyl:- finest to new species they encounter" Mischa@crystyl | Keelah: "Is that so?" looking to Mischa NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Oh, that explains why everything looks so nice on this ship! Does kind of remind me of an exec's luxury yacht..." Mischa@crystyl waves a dismissive hand, far more interested in her tea, "It will all be in my report-" looks around after enjoying a sip, "An exec's yacht you say...?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "I've been on a few, picking up jobs or carrying 'em out. This ship's not far from it, just a bit more practical." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra takes a sip of the tea, "Even the refreshments are top quality!" Mischa@crystyl | Keelah: "Needs, must. This is still a functioning starship after all. So I take it from your presence here with the Commander that you have enlisted with her?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Working with her was interesting, and I thought I'd tag along." Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Myra was quite the valuable ally back there. I am confident she will find her place here as well" Mischa@crystyl | Keelah smiles as well, "No doubt. Though this is hardly the finest example of who we are and what we're about, this isn't about the Federation's image here. This is about survival for everyone" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Fighting for survival's something I do well. Though I'm curious to learn what you're about, too. Don't know too much about other societies, and I think Corporate society could benefit - NPC@annpc#557 - from some different ideas." Mischa@crystyl | Keelah: "Then I think you have come to the right place. As well as strong representatives of our own civilization being here, we also have representatives from a number of other key Coalition - Mischa@crystyl:- members on board. It would make a good place for you to learn about a lot of your galactic neighbors" Mischa@crystyl nods, "This is why I wanted to bring Myra here. When I return to the Latenter, I will of course review her posting at that time and we can decide where she feels she would fit in best long term" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I can be sneaky when I need to, and I think you sneaky types can make do with someone who hits hard like me. But I'd be just as useful on the front lines here." Mischa@crystyl:"We both would, which is why I am here and not on my own bridge. We are needed to secure this sphere presently, but as you get to know the setup around you I am sure you will develop preferences for- Mischa@crystyl:- where you want to go in the end" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods, "I'll get a feel around here, get to know the ship and people a little more." Mischa@crystyl:"As soon as I have my next operation planned, I'll let you know. In the mean time, enjoy the Valley Forge" Mischa@crystyl | Keelah smiles: "We can arrange some guest quarters for you" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smiles back, "Sounds good! And thanks, Captain." Mischa@crystyl | Keelah nods, "If you see Mia outside, she will set you up with everything you need" giving Myra the distinct impression that it's an invitation to leave them to it NPC@annpc#557 | Myra nods and stands before looking back to Keelah, "Which one's Mia?" Mischa@crystyl | Keelah smiles, "Don't worry, you can't miss her" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra steps outside to look for Mia... --- NPC@annpc#557 | A short while later, Myra steps into one of the VF's many lounges... Rianni@crystyl sits at the bar, chatting away with the Caitian serving behind it NPC@annpc#557 | Myra steps up to Rianni, "Hey. Didn't see you changing over to a uniform earlier when Mischa and T'Lana did. Didn't know you wore one." Rianni@crystyl looks up mid-sip of her drink, held to her mouth as she stares blankly at the stranger, "Um... I think you have me confused with someo-... ohh, wait it's the Observer isn't it" she sighs, "Of - Rianni@crystyl:- course it is" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "You're...oh, you must be the other Rianni! Sorry, my bad!" Rianni@crystyl:"Oh joy, now I'm 'the other one'" she chuckles, "Sorry, it's not your fault. But yes, I'm Rianni!" she chirps, "And you are...?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I'm still getting used to all the species around here, and you two don't just look the same, you appear the same to my optical sensors too..." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Anyways, I'm Myra. You're the /original/ Rianni Mischa mentioned, aren't you?" Rianni@crystyl smiles, "That's me! It's nice to meet you Myra, I guess you must have just arrived here - still finding your way around and all?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smiles back and nods, "That's right. Bet you probably would've noticed if I've been around longer. Only just got here with Mischa earlier." Rianni@crystyl:"Ooh, that explains it yeah! Wow, you must be /very/ recently arrived then if you just got here with them" she smiles, pulling out the stool next to her, "Would you like to join me here? I know how - Rianni@crystyl:- intimidating it can be to be a sole new face in a place like this" she looks Myra over again, "Well, intimidating for someone small and less... augmented anyway" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra chuckles, "Intimidating? This place is like a luxury yacht! Though there are a lot of different species here...never seen so much in one place before." Rianni@crystyl:"Like I said, being small and soft tends to make everywhere intimidating at first. Especially when you're young and inexperienced too, and everyone else is all grown up and knows what they're doing" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra takes a seat next to Rianni, "That's true. I'm not particularly big or old, but I've got plenty of experience- in my line of work, at least. Not so much for dealing with so many different - NPC@annpc#557:- species. I'd say I'm less intimidated and more...awkward," she chuckles Rianni@crystyl giggles, "Awkward is something else I'm good at! But, um, anyways did you want anything to eat or drink? You can get pretty much anything here!" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Well I don't expect you got many of our drinks yet, but I'll take whatever you suggest. You probably know what's good around here." Rianni@crystyl:"What's good can be very subjective to taste" she thinks a moment before an idea flashes, "Oh! Then I know just the thing" she looks to the Caitain behind the bar, "Olelian juice, non-replicated!" Rianni@crystyl | The Caitian gives a knowing smile and gets the drink NPC@annpc#557 | Myra looks over curiously, "Olelian juice? Sounds interesting." Rianni@crystyl:"It's as interesting or bland as you want it to be, so the perfect new drink to try! You, um, don't have any adverse reaction to nanites or anything, right?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Of course not, I got health regulating nanites in my body. Why'd you ask?" Rianni@crystyl smiles, "Because Olelians specialize in them!" watching as the drink is presented, looking like fizzy water. Though Myra's sensors can probably detect the nanites in the liquid NPC@annpc#557 | Myra's cybernetic eyes narrow at the drink, "And they even have nanites in their drinks? That's amazing!" Rianni@crystyl grins, "Right! These little fella's actively adjust the drink taste and texture based on feedback from your tastebuds" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "That's some real clever use of nanites!" She takes a sip of the drink and smiles, "Works like a charm, too!" Rianni@crystyl:"I thought you'd appreciate it!" she looks her over again, "You... really do have a lot of cybernetics don't you..." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra grins, "Like 'em? Some of the best combat cyberware Points can buy, and a few you can't buy even if you had the Points." Rianni@crystyl:"I... well they are certainly very impressive. As for liking them, I can't even begin to imagine what they might all even do!" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra chuckles, "I can explain them, but it might take a while. Might be faster to just scan me. But you don't have optical sensors, do you..." Rianni@crystyl pouts, "And I left my tricorder in Emma's quarters when hers attacked me..." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Your tricorders /attack/ people?" Rianni@crystyl giggles, "Ordinarly no, so don't worry! This was actually a special pet one that Ann made for Lennie to guard her. They were both busy on assignment, so Emma was looking after it for them" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra laughs, "And it decided to attack you?" Rianni@crystyl pouts, "It thought I was an intruder because she hadn't registered me as a friendly for that location" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Wish I was there to see it! I want one of 'em now..." Rianni@crystyl smiles, "It was all just a bit of a harmless misunderstanding is all! But that's why I left my tricorder there, I felt kind of bad for the pet one being all alone so left mine there to keep it- Rianni@crystyl:- company. Even if mine's just an ordinary one, it was the least I could do" Rianni@crystyl pictures Lennie's guard-corder awkwardly poking at Rianni's normal one, wondering why it doesn't do anything... NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "So that's why you left it there! Very considerate of you," she smiles Rianni@crystyl smiles, "Thanks! Do you have little tech-pets where you come from?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "We do! Actually that's the only kinda pet most people have. Some of the Corporate execs have biological pets shipped in from offworld, and a few working in colonies take local animals - NPC@annpc#557 - as pets if any are to their liking." Rianni@crystyl:"Not to yours though, I'm guessing?" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Oh I've got better things to spend points on than exotic biological pets. Had a tech one long ago when I was younger. Plenty of contractors use combat-capable tech pets, but it's not - NPC@annpc#557:- really my style." Rianni@crystyl:"Ooh, combat support pets? That must be kind of like...taming one of the Nuhar drones" she giggles NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Actually there is a freelancer archaeologist who managed to do exactly that..." Rianni@crystyl:"What, as in... one of the big starship sized constructs? No way!" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra laughs, "Nah, the little drones. He's got a few of them following him around, usually seen with at least one protecting him. Though you seemed to have tamed the big ones...saw a few with - NPC@annpc#557:- your ship on the way in." Rianni@crystyl shakes her head, "mm-mm. They're not tamed pets, they're equals and allies!" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "I heard they were fully sentient...you talked them on side to help with this war?" Rianni@crystyl:"Mia actually technically tamed some of the small ones as pets though, thinking about it... she ran this entire ship with a small group of them at her command when we were stranded that one time..." Rianni@crystyl smiles and nods, "Oh yes, the captain brokered peace between the two disputing factions of Nuhar Construct and they joined the Coalition! Since we took up place here as well, we are actually - Rianni@crystyl:- building brand new constructs for the first time since their original creators died out too" Rianni@crystyl trails off again, "Ooh, and I suppose our squadron of fighter drones are technically tamed combat pets in that sense too..." NPC@annpc#557 | Myra: "Really? Your ship sounds like you've seen a lot of interesting adventures..." Rianni@crystyl smiles, "That we most certainly have!" NPC@annpc#557 | Myra smiles, "I'm sure looking forward to hearing all about 'em!" --- Mana@anncaris FX | As Mischa finally sits down and relaxes in the much larger and private guest quarters on the Valley Forge, the doorbell sounds Mischa@crystyl looks up to the door, "Come in" Mana@anncaris steps inside, "Hello Mischa! Enjoying the rooms on the Valley Forge after spending weeks on the Lander One?" Mischa@crystyl smiles, "Hello Mana, yes it is nice to enjoy a little comfort. What brings you here?" Mana@anncaris:"Mana still remembers when Mana was assigned Mana's quarters on the Gainsborough. The rooms on Starfleet ships are so nice!" She smiles back, "But yes, Mana has just met Myra and heard some - Mana@anncaris:- interesting things about Mischa's latest mission." Mischa@crystyl:"Oh, what has you interested specifically?" she asks, waving her over to take a seat Mana@anncaris steps over and takes a seat on the sofa, "Many things about the Corporations are interesting! The cybernetics and robotics technology, the way an entirely wealth-acquisition based society even - Mana@anncaris:- works, but Mana is interested in what Myra mentioned about uncovering a supercomputer that was controlling Corporate society with Mischa?" Mischa@crystyl smiles, "I thought that one would pique your interest" Mana@anncaris nods, "Apparently Mana hears this AI was even multitronic!" Mischa@crystyl:"Apparently so, yes. I don't know how evolved the intelligence truly was, as we only had one interaction to base assumptions on. And it was very quick to be persuaded from its current course action" Mana@anncaris:"Very quick to be persuaded? Mana is not sure whether that is because the AI is more rudimentary and processes data more simply, or if the AI is so complex that the decision-making is much more - Mana@anncaris:- rapid than an organic brain." Mischa@crystyl:"Neither am I, but when I say quickly I mean that it did not much argument to make it do a 180 on it's logic processing" Mana@anncaris:"Perhaps Mischa is just very persuasive. What argument did Mischa make?" Mischa@crystyl:"I pointed out that the Architect is an organic lifeform, and so subject to the same flaws as the rest of us" Mana@anncaris nods, "And the original course of action the AI was taking was aiding the Architect?" Mischa@crystyl:"Yes, the Architect had convinced it that they were both working towards the same goal, just the Architect was doing it on a galactic scale" Mana@anncaris:"The goal being making eternal war? Though...Mana supposes the Corporations are in a constant state of competition with each other. Though not always violent, there is always conflict, from what - Mana@anncaris:- Mana understands. Is that the AI's doing?" Mischa@crystyl:"The goal they supposedly shared wasa maintaining balance. The AI was manipulating the Corporations because it had long ago concluded that their society was doomed to failure" Mana@anncaris:"Maintaining balance? By...ensuring that all conflict is secretly controlled, Mana assumes?" Mischa@crystyl:"In essence, like how the Architect thinks it's best for the galaxy to keep everyone focused on the Horde as a single enemy" Mana@anncaris:"But the Corporations don't have a single enemy. The Corporation's enemies are one another. Though Mana sees the similarities in the plans. Mana supposes the Architect was capitalizing on the - Mana@anncaris:- similarity to make his plan seem logical to the AI. But Mischa's argument of the Architect's flaws does not necessarily refute the validity of that plan..." Mischa@crystyl:"That was to my surprise as well. I think the AI had assumed logical superiority over organic lifeforms in the justification of its own decisions, as the problems of greed and warmongering were - Mischa@crystyl:- inherent organic flaws" Mana@anncaris nods, "Mana will have to examine the AI personally to be certain, but Mana believes the AI's thought process is not less complex than that of organics, but simply less...organic." Mischa@crystyl:"Quite possibly, and don't get me wrong; I like this AI. I think it just needed a fresh perspective as ait's arguments were based on too limited information" Mana@anncaris:"That was likely why the AI changed directions so quickly. Organics can be very difficult to persuade even with an argument that is logically superior due to the presence of personal biases and - Mana@anncaris:- emotions, primarily pride and in some cases a dislike of those individuals who support the opposing argument. Many AIs are capable of such things and are more organic in their behaviour, such as - Mana@anncaris:- the Nuhar. Mana suspects this AI is incapable of the organic traits Mana suggested, so the AI simply added the new data to the available information, reprocessed, and reached another conclusion." Mana@anncaris:"Simply- though the AI may be fully sentient, the AI still thinks in the manner a computer would think, rather than the manner organics like Mischa and Mana would." Mischa@crystyl nods, "That makes sense. I have offered to introduce it to more life beyond that it knows and currently bases it's arguments on, including other AI and non-Children species. Hopefully you'll be - Mischa@crystyl:- around for that" Mana@anncaris smiles, "Mana would not miss such an opportunity! One thing Mana very much enjoys is getting to encounter and study new forms of synthetic life. And though Mana has worked with many sorts of AIs - Mana@anncaris:- since leaving EereE space, Mana is still most familiar with multitronics due to Mana's training and work with the EereE Overseer. Mana is very interested to see what similarities and differences - Mana@anncaris:- can be found in the way the Overseer is built to the way this AI is." Mischa@crystyl:"And I would be equally curious to see what you make of it" Mana@anncaris:"Mana will be sure to keep Mischa updated on anything Mana learns! And hopefully Mana will be able to provide the AI more information so the AI will not be easily manipulated again in the future."