Otto and Shaun have to book public transit to New Harmony gate because when they went back to the Zone where they left their ship docked they found it missing. Apparently Pilgrim had recovered from his broken jaw and come back to find a way to get out of there. He left a note saying I.O.U. 10,000cr or whatever, I.O.U.’s are just as good as money right?
Just before the departure time on public transit to New Harmony Gate Both Otto and Shaun receive a call. Otto’s call is from Angel who says Sinclair is going to be on New Harmony within the hour and is willing to speak to Otto but this is a business only exchange and that is to be clear from the beginning. Shaun’s call is from Tigh who says he will be on New Harmony shortly and the exchange of information can be much more casual as he is on leave and the conversation is off the record for the moment.
Arriving at New Harmony Otto receives a few funny looks since just a few days ago he was pulled from a dumpster that was recovered hurtling towards Harlinn’s world, one doesn’t soon forget that. Otto, Deefor, Shaun and The Syndicate goons try to find a place to hang out while they wait for everyone to arrive. Shaun’s guts are all full of bad feelings and Otto’s mind is racing with thoughts of vengeance. Angel gives another call to Otto and tells him to meet at a dive bar down by the loading bays.
The bar is as described, a seedy dive of a place, frequented by hustlers and whores. Inside the place is full of wanderers seeking a good time from the pros and shifty gamblers trying to make a quick score while passing through town. The bartenders are quiet and professional, they mix their drinks strong and most likely keep a blaster under the bar.
Angel waves Otto and company over to a back room, next to the stock rooms and bathrooms. Sinclair sits towards the back of the room at a circular table she is speaking with Tigh who is accompanied by a fully armed and armored RIFU soldat. Sinclair works in the interzone, it makes sense that she would know Tigh who is an independent agent for RIFU. Angel escorts everyone to the table and the conversations can begin. Tigh offers up the floor to Sinclair and Otto first, he would prefer to wait and hear that discussion first before speaking to Shaun.
Otto begins his conversation with Sinclair by voicing the topics he would like to discuss mostly the Skyforger Pirate clan and their family gathering and how to stage an attack with limited resources. Sinclair cuts to the bottom line and explains that before anything is discussed the nature of the business at hand needs to be explained and the payment for services rendered needs to be made. If she is here as a hired gun, the price is much more expensive than as a simple uninvolved consultant. Otto looks to Shaun who suggests they opt for the fee for consultation before deciding if they need to hire her as a mercenary. Sinclair tells Shaun the fee is 1000cr per hour and she expects the first hour up front. Shaun wires the funds from his account to hers and the conversation begins.
Otto starts his questioning and finds himself in a strange position. He is sitting across the table from someone who any of his usual social tactics have no affect on. He cannot seduce her with promises nor can he make her feel unsafe or insecure. Sinclair is someone who has no love or fear of The Syndicate; a tool Otto inadvertently uses with regards to his social manipulations, as Otto would never overtly bludgeon someone with his connection to the organization. Otto sees that he should simply voice his needs and allow Shaun to do the negotiating.
Being a bit more adjusted to social sparring of this nature Shaun begins the questioning. Since Shaun thinks the Skyforger situation has a whole lot less to do with Reeva than Otto thinks he tries to steer away from that. Beside the fact that Shaun kind of likes Reeva and feels he’s lucky to have gotten out of there early on. Shaun does bring up that the Skyforgers have been a thorn in their side as one of their former team is part of the clan. In the recent past certain stealth technologies that are not exactly the normal thing seen have been used against them. Once when the RIFU cruiser was shot down and the other was when the pirates assaulted Otto. The Gate Station here also has experienced several difficult to detect objects around the time Otto was assaulted. Shaun wonders if Sinclair has ever experienced any tech as he is describing. He also questions if a small force could have much effect on a whole pirate clan, if say we did hire Sinclair as a means of revenge.
Sinclair has had experience with stealth tech similar to this, as the Kokorans use different stealth tech and the pirate clans such as the Skyforgers and Dark Eye clans are known for having slightly off normal tech as well. As for how to get around it, sometimes it’s as simple as tweaking a sensor or as complicated as shooting blind. This makes Shaun think that his former Team in The Coil most likely had recruited Reeva to steal his knowledge of this technology then left him hung out like the rest of us. He asks if it would be possible to kidnap a Skyforger technician and force the secrets of this technology from them, but Sinclair thinks that would be just as foolish as trying to attack the clan outright. A loyal clanner won’t go against the family so they may die before divulging any secrets. Furthermore on the matter of attacking the clan, with or without her help, is a fools errand. There are far too many of them in the area right now, it would be like attacking a nation. Sure one or two can be hunted down at a time, but we can’t afford her prices to go off and hunt pirates for a revenge scheme and Otto lacks the skill to do so alone.
Shaun then tries to get into the situation of his former team mates in The Coil but wants to approach the situation without giving away too much information. He finds himself stumbling around for a way to explain that he and Otto were once involved with some people and they cannot remember any of the reasons for their involvement. These people now appear to be trying to hang Otto and he out to dry, as well as Reeva, Ryan and Gabriel. Where Shaun does begin, is with how to find Ryan Williams and the destruction of the Nebula Queen.
She tells Shaun that if she wants to find Ryan all he has to do is contact Ajax Stone a big time player in the Greyjackets. Stone doesn’t hold a high rank because he sees himself as a working man, preferring Sergent to something more lofty like Commander, even though, that’s pretty much what he is to the Greyjackets. Stone thinks with his heart which makes him a good man but a bit of a soft leader on the battlefield. Stone is heir to the Ragnarok Arms fortune but had forgone his windfall in favor of doing something he was passionate about. Stone is a softy for cases like Williams. A guy torn between obligation, family, country and what is right. If we want to find Williams we need to contact Stone, since he was holding Ryan’s ship for him, docked on the Stone Cold, his personal ship, just before Ryan left Nexus Gate. The key to talking to Stone about Williams is to make it sound like we’re trying to help him. Shaun mentions that they need to find Williams because they had apparently made a deal with Kraffenburg who represents the military of the Alliance who just want him back, while apparently his family has a bounty out on him. She again stresses that Stone will block all attempts to find Williams if we do not convince him we are trying to help. She also states that it is best not to double cross Kraffenburg or we will have to hire her as a bodyguard.
With regards to the Nebula Queen, she explains that from what she knows it was attacked. Tigh speaks up repeating that several Regency investors helped to build it. The question is, says Sinclair, who would benefit from it’s destruction? Now Shaun knows or thinks he knows that his former Coil mates had invested money in the project and had done so using complicated dummy accounts. Maybe they were not really funding anything, but rather using it as a way to shelter funds for something else, maybe they would benefit?
Shaun sees no way around getting to his point of hunting down his former team mates and finding the truth, so he mentions The Coil and Sinclair has no idea what they are. Shaun says that he believes he and Otto were once a part of this group, as well as a handful of other people they know. He feels that this group has left them behind, possibly to take the fall, while they operate on their goals. Their goals might include shutting down gate stations, as it seems they already nearly shut down Blackwatch.
Sinclair seems a bit confused by the paranoid ramblings since Shaun is providing little information and no proof of statements made. She suggests that Shaun ask this question; why would anyone want to shut down the gates? Once he knows this it might give insight into their plans.
It hasn’t been long since Shaun had begun to discuss The Coil when Sinclair offers a shot to everyone from a flask on her belt. She says it would be wise for everyone to drink quickly, as she can smell what’s coming next. Otto, Tigh, and his marine put on rebreathers as Sinclair drinks. Shaun spends his first few moments calling and alerting the authorities, while the two Syndicate goons reach for the flask. Shaun wastes the rest of his time asking a few paranoid questions regarding why he should drink from a strange flask. The goons were not soon enough and Shaun wasted precious moments as some kind of poisonous gas fills the room, incapacitating them.
Tigh puts an explosive device on the door and he and his marine stand ready on one side of the door, as Sinclair and Angel take up the other. Otto looks for his backup and sees that yet again Shaun has opted out of a fight and lies unconscious most likely by choice, while his goons lie slumped over the table in an effort to reach for the antidote. It looks like it’s Otto and Deefor back to back.
When someone from the outside tries to force the door the explosive device goes off, sending force and door fragments in an outward arc, causing no damage to the inside of the room. Several light combat armored mercenaries lie dazed or worse on the ground. Several more are seen in the bar, casually killing everyone inside.
The RIFU Marine takes a handful of micro grenades and tosses them out the door towards the middle of the bar. Concussive force accompanied by flash and smoke fill a large area, disorienting and confusing the oncoming attackers as the marine exits the room. Sinclair also tosses a handful of micro smoke grenades to hide her movements as she rolls out of the room and takes position inside the smoke. Tigh, Otto and Angel take shots on the outskirts of the smoke disabling several attackers.
The marine comes face to face with a few of the mercs and engages in a brief combat, ending with him holding one of three men hostage, while the other two are down.
Sinclair continues to roll from one downed table to the next, taking shots at anyone who would enter the bar. She is steadying a heavy slug thrower over her arm, which turns in such a way that no human arm does. Apparently she has a cybernetic arm and she’s learned to use it to assist in stabilizing her heavy weapon for more accurate shooting. The firefight continues and Deefor tires of hiding in the back room and rolls out to kick a little ass of his own.
Otto, angel and Tigh continue to try to battle the mercs who are closing in on their position. Deefor has taken up position on the outskirts of the smoke and is ambushing anyone who would seek to use the smoke as a means to sneak up on the back room. By assaulting several mercenaries in their genitals, he manages to either send several people into shock or outright death with his newly installed vice clamp and his trusty old buzz saw.
The mercenaries that manage to get close enough toss some grenades into the door and Otto steps in front of Angel to toss her free of the blast, taking much of the force in his back and lower legs, sending him sprawling.
The RIFU marine falls back and guards the door with Angel as Tigh administers some potent combat and healing drugs to Otto. Otto comes to his senses, grabs a carbine off of one of his goons and exits the room into the smoke.
Otto, Sinclair and Deefor make quick work of the remaining mercs and allow one to run away. Sinclair states, that one will tell the story of what occurred here and either they will stop coming or I may have stepped up the quality of goon sent after you.
Shaun and the Syndicate goons begin to stir and awake. Shaun has questions about what just happened and Otto glares at him for the insult. Otto continually buts his skin on the line in every scuffle and Shaun always finds a way to remain clean, how long will he continue to put up with this cowardice and betrayal. Shaun senses Otto’s disappointment and he reminds him that situations like this are why they need Gabriel back and they need RIFU’s help. He tries to further explain that this is why they need a plan. Otto turns his back on Shaun and tells the marine to bring the prisoner he took, into the back room.
Between Tigh and his pharmaceutical persuasion and Otto’s natural charms they force some answers from him. He was sent by a man who sounds much like Hwar Do. They, like many other of the backwater mercenary and fringe pirate groups have seen notice for work. It sounds like Sasha and the other members of The Coil are hiring desperate people to stand ready to attack Otto and Shaun on short notice. As soon as they sense they are moving, it seems people show up to either slow them down or stop them. Is this how The Coil is staying one step ahead? Shaun voices his further concern that it had seemed the fake ID’s they bought on Dust have been exposed or used before and they forgot. Either way those identities are blown and they need new ones to continue to operate with some level of secrecy. Tigh says he might be able to work something out but he needs to get to Nexus Gate to do so. Everyone agrees that they should leave before the authorities arrive and cause too much trouble. Shaun hacks the security feed and sends an edited version, showing mostly the mercs trashing the place but no evidence of who stopped them, to the authorities.
Tigh gives passage to Nexus Gate where the second half of this conversation can begin and Sinclair says that her hour is up, unless we want to continue paying. Shaun opts to end the discussion here, because he has some good leads to go on for now, though he may contact her later for consult. Otto and Shaun and the goons take the ride, leaving Deefor behind who had gone missing now that his governor had been disabled by Otto and Deefor is now acting on his own, unrestricted. Before departure Shaun calls Jorge to warn him that their apartment may not be safe. Hwar Do just sent mercs to attack them on New Harmony and he may attack Jorge next. Jorge says he will move position and contact Shaun later.
At Nexus Gate Shaun tries to convince Tigh to give them Gabriel and help them get new ID’s so they can get from place to place with some secrecy and avoid being attacked at every spaceport as he just saw. Tigh says that he can try to get Gabriel but that will require more than speculation that members of his old team may or may not be assaulting Gate Stations. The ID’s on the other hand are much easier to obtain and he will try working on those as a show of good faith while Shaun does more work on researching the operations of The Coil. He explains that getting these ID’s, Good quality Regency ID’s may take time, several days at least. Tigh goes his way with his marine and Otto and Shaun go theirs, off to the wharf on Dust to meet Caleb.
Caleb gives Otto an open welcome and offers his place for Otto to stay as long as he needs. Otto explains, in private, his run in with The Syndicate higher ups and how they tried to get him to sell out Caleb for selling those drugs for him earlier. Caleb says The Syndicate can go fuck itself as they need him more than he needs them and he can’t care less if they approve of how he does business. Caleb also asks Otto if he had found Mister E on Harlinn’s world as they had discussed last time they spoke and Otto says he had forgotten to look, but will do so as soon as he gets back. Caleb tells Otto to look in Zone 3, that’s where Mister E was before he went to Zone 6, Roddy Harlinn’s Zone. Mister E went missing there, strangely enough, that’s the same Zone that The Syndicate cargo ship went missing. It left from the wharf right here and disappeared with it’s men and cargo. Caleb reminds Otto that The Syndicate wanted him to look into that very matter.
Otto, now openly speaking, also explains his troubles and how he’s been harassed by pirates, attacked by former team mates and the whole mess. Shaun tries to be funny and lighten the mood on the whole situation and continues to butt in making Otto’s situation sound more easy and comical than it really is.
Otto tries to ignore Shaun’s interruptions while Caleb feels no need. He backhands Shaun and threatens to cut him if he doesn’t keep quiet while he is here. It is explained that Shaun’s input is not wanted and if it does become needed he will ask for it but he should not hold his breath waiting for that moment. Should Shaun want to remain here, he is welcome, but he is to do so quietly and respectfully as a good guest, not a yapping pest. Furthermore, if Shaun would listen instead of talking so much he might learn some of the answers he’s been looking for.
Shaun is utterly shocked and taken aback that someone who he mistakenly thought was more friendly with him than he really was had just struck him and told him he was not very important. Shaun had overstepped himself around Otto’s connections and paid the price. Shaun is not Syndicate, Shaun is not Otto. To Otto’s contacts Shaun is someone Otto knows, or Otto’s information guy, at worst he’s a bitch or a pet. Shaun needs to watch himself around these people, he might get himself killed. Shaun slinks away to a back room and busies himself with research and trying to think of a way to convince Ajax Stone to help him find Ryan williams.
While Otto and Caleb catch up on things, Jorge contacts Shaun to tell him he has set up in Zone 3 at a hotel. Gary3 helped him move position and has taken up as his bodyguard in the mean time. Also, to keep things going, Gary3 had his gang begin some riots and trouble in the streets. Gary wants to move forward on the plan to take down the government using Gabriel’s old plan of brute force. Shaun hopes they can get Gabriel back and make this whole mess work.
Shaun spends the next day or two researching the Nebula Queen and the whereabouts of Ryan Williams and Otto puts the word on the streets about anything regarding Williams.
Otto finds out that there are several bounties on Ryan and none of them are with The Syndicate. The largest and most noteworthy is 500,000cr for Williams alive but they will pay 50,000cr for him dead. Otto pries into this bounty and finds out that too many people that have asked too many questions have wound up going missing with regards to this bounty. He pushes further and everyone in the underworld goes silent, nobody wants to end up missing. So Otto gives a call to his Alliance law enforcement contact Dodger Hayes who says he will look into it and this matter regarding Kraffenburg for him. Otto takes some time off from research while Shaun continues plugging away with little results.
Shaun has one conversation with Jorge who reminds him that they need to meet with Abstract very soon and that Deefor had shown up when they were moving position. He had collected a few things and left again without saying anything. Shaun gets further frustrated because Deefor has gone missing, and begun to do whatever it is he wants, while Hwar Do may be out there trying to capture all of them. Shaun asks Otto how it is possible that Deefor can be acting on his own with the governor on, and Otto tells Shaun he had disabled it a while back then he leaves before Shaun can begin his bitching and whining about it.
Shaun is left standing there wondering how it is he is supposed to get anything accomplished when the person who is supposed to be in charge, Otto, doesn’t seem to care. Shaun is trying to get more resources but Otto is letting what they have just run amok and go missing. How can they put Sentinel back together if Hwar Do captures Deefor?
Otto is leaving for Nexus Gate to get augmented because he knows he can’t trust Shaun at his back, the guy runs away or falls unconscious at the mention of a fight. If he doesn’t do something soon, and the attacks continue he might end up dead or worse. He’s got nobody worth a damn at his back, he’s beginning to miss Gabriel. Shaun has a point in wanting to get some things from RIFU, but getting things to help them hide isn’t what he wants. He’s not going to sit around and wait for stupid Fake ID’s, he’s off to the clinic for an augmentation of whoop ass.