FUTURE PERFECT: Identity Function

...What the Blender Said.
Otto and Shaun drug themselves and experience some strange hallucinations, Deefor exhibits multiple personalities, everyone realizes that they've all been double-crossing themselves, and Cole Turner is blamed for an explosion in Zone 1, Harlinn's World

Shaun was having little luck in tracking down the political dissident on the list of people to eliminate, and Otto was attacked when trying to go after Gary3.

Otto is wounded, angry and in need of rest, while Shaun sets down to once again allow his mind to reach out onto the network while he sleeps under the influence of drugs. Having little place to sleep, due to the increased number of people, Otto removes Shaun from his place in the common room. Instead of Shaun blankly gazing off into netspace, he is left hallucinating while staring at the corpse in Gabriel’s room.

Shaun snaps out of his sleep and is horrified at the scene before him. He is stuck trying to figure out the situation before him, trying to decide whether it is real or a result of the drugs. He concludes that he is in Gabriel’s room and makes his way downstairs.

Shaun confronts Otto about what he just did and Otto denies everything. Shaun gets belligerent in his state of intoxication and Otto threatens him in return. Shaun pushes the issue of Otto’s nightmares and the messages he was getting while Shaun was high last time.

Getting angrier at Shaun by the minute, Otto pushes him aside and Shaun persists. Shaun and Otto fight for a little while, and Deefor shifts his attention from the chaos going on and his repairs to Stitch, which is not like his usual self. The fight results in Otto knocking Shaun down and resolving to prove a point. Meanwhile Deefor acts more like Reeva when he is obsessed with tinkering with some new gadget, as opposed to acting like Gabriel and being forceful and antagonistic.

Otto takes half the flask of drugs and pours it into some instant soup. He mixes up a heavy dose of drugs and drinks it down. He shows Shaun what it’s like to have to deal with a menace who is high all the time.

Shaun and Otto trash the place and the housekeeping robots give up on trying to keep up with the mess. The two of them have a bit of a shared hallucination and Deefor responds to some of the things they do or say during their experience. Otto keeps hearing an ice crushing machine that is making snow-cones or slushies. Shaun and Otto speak to one another in a series of static like tones similar to what old modems sounded like. The other residents of the apartment are bullied around with Otto bullying Pilgrim and Shaun making demands to Charlie their new bodyguard. Shaun insists Charlie get him food and other things out on the town and he offers Charlie little money to do the task.

Otto grows bored of the indoors and heads outdoors to speak to a tall slim black man who beckons to him. The man offers some shed some light on Otto’s situation and Otto is interested. The two Syndicate goons stand nearby as Otto has a lengthy conversation with the mysterious tall man. When charlie arrives back at the apartment he wonders why Otto is standing on the curb whispering to a light post with his men looking puzzled behind him. He gets inside and Shaun is trying to reach out in the netspace and contact some sort of psychic force and Deefor is making noises like he is in diagnostic mode.

Charlie goes back outside and tries to help the Syndicate goons get Otto back inside. When inside, Otto mentions wintergreen to Shaun multiple times. When wintergreen is mentioned, Deefor appears to transmit something and Otto and Shaun make the same strange static noises. Shaun insists that Charlie go back out and find them some wintergreen extract to add to the drugs.

Charlie reluctantly is forced from the apartment to go and get some extract. When he arrives back, Shaun and Otto are deeper into their hallucination nearly incoherent. Shaun takes the extract, mixes more drugs and both he and Otto drink more soup. By now almost the entire flask of hallucinogen is empty and the soup is dangerously potent.

Shaun and Otto begin to vomit all over the apartment. They destroy the bathroom, living area and many of the upstairs apartments. Shaun begins again to badger Otto about his nightmares and Otto gets angry. Otto threatens to force Shaun to eat the corpse upstairs if he does not stop his line of questioning. Not long after, both Otto and Shaun pass out in pools of vomit.

Time passes and the two awake. Nobody in the apartment is nearby, as it appears they have retreated to one room and locked themselves inside, away from Otto and Shaun who are a menace. Otto asks Shaun if he got what he wanted out of the experience and asks if he liked dealing with a drug addled menace. Shaun surveys the room, asks Deefor to replay many of the nights events in fast frame and discovers the strangeness of he and Otto speaking in noises. He feels confident that he and Otto were transmitting something through Deefor and they may be onto something. This may be how they are to reach out to some of their former team members. Deefor mentions a craving for ice cream which is unusual for a robot who does not eat. He also begins to express that he feels itchy, as if he has skin, then goes back to some research and repair work.

Shaun suggests yet another day of hallucinations. He and Otto go through some more soup with Shaun drinking much more than Otto. Nothing noteworthy happens, in fact Shaun grows very sick and is left barely conscious on the bathroom floor. With Shaun apparently in the middle of an overdose, Otto leaves the apartment slightly under the influence of the drugs and feeling violent.

The Colonel had delivered a pass to use the robot cabs so Otto flags a cab. Charlie and the goons run outside to go with Otto, who sees there is barely enough room so he breaks the Robot cab driver from the seat to make more room. This action alerts the authority and Charlie suggests they beat it fast.

Otto wants to find Gary3 and get this over with so Charlie suggests that he go speak to Stefan, since the 9 of Spades is in the same area as the bar Gary and his gang hang out in. Otto dismisses Charlie to go watch over Shaun and he takes his goons to go find Gary3.

Otto goes to speak to Stefan and Stefan is creepy as always. He makes more innuendos about gay sex towards Otto than he gives useful information. He suggests that Otto seek Gary at his gang’s bar.

The bar is not so much of a bar but rather a series of large tents surrounded by motorcycles and other vehicles. Inside, gang members are busy drinking and being rowdy. Otto tries to get himself a whiskey and is told that only members are served. He tries to be nice, saying that he would just like a drink and a minute of Gary’s time, he’s even willing to pay for an introduction.

Overhearing an opportunity to make s few credits, a kid offers to tell Otto where Gary is. Otto pays the kid and even gets a drink for his generosity. Gary3 is at the 9 of Spades where he always is, Otto is told. But Stefan told Otto to look here when he was at the 9 of Spades, who is lying here? Before Otto heads back to the 9 of Spades, he picks up Shaun for some back-up in the social arena; he does not like being lied to and Shaun will sniff out the liar.

Meanwhile, at the apartment Shaun has resumed his search for the political dissident and he receives a hit back on some of his inquiries. Apparently this man is an Alliance operative who specializes in starting rebellion in enemy territory and quelling rebellion in Alliance space. Most recently he had gotten involved in one group of protesters in Alliance space who were making things difficult for the government and soon after his involvement everyone ended up missing. The M.O. of the dissident here in Zone 1 Harlinn’s World appears to be doing much the same, except he is inciting the public against the ProVee. Shaun contacts The Colonel and informs him of this man and his capability. The Colonel wants him dead A.S.A.P.

At the 9 of Spades, Otto confronts Stefan and is fed a line of BS covered in creepy innuendo. Shaun recognizes the tells of a liar and informs Otto who roughs up Stefan until he gets the truth. Gary3 is in the back office, he and Stefan were in business together and Otto was involved. They were keeping this whole thing a secret from The Colonel. Otto and Stefan were using Gary3 to train the hand selected best of the best in Stefan’s stable of fighters. Under the watch of Gary3 and Otto these men would serve as Otto’s personal strong arms. Otto barges into the back room to confront Gary3 with Stefan in tow trying to stop him.

Gary3 is indeed in the back room and he is going over some footage of fights so he can better advise some of the men. Gary3 greets Otto with confusion as he had not seen him since Otto’s club burned down months ago, he feared their plans were off. Otto is curious about the plans but does not want Stefan involved so he throws him out of his own office.

It appears that Otto has indeed planned a coup of the present ProVee in favor of the Syndicate. He and some others from the former “Coil” were involved in this matter. We had, according to Gary, enlisted his aid along with that Alliance operative Kraffenburg, who is discrediting the local ProVee for us. Apparently we promised Kraffenburg our pilot Ryan Williams. He was searching for Williams and was partly responsible for sending out Cole Turner to go find Williams.

Shaun gets to thinking that all along, all these problems, are because we may be double crossing ourselves. We apparently had every intention on turning in Williams, we may have had intentions in turning in one another as the need saw fit. That is why we’re having such trouble now and why our enemies seem to know so much about us. Our enemies may be us, and Shaun may have just turned in one of our allies, also he may have sent Otto to kill the hippie who was his former drug dealer who may have sold him the drug he used to contact other psychics in the netspace.

Sensing that he may have little time to spare, Shaun contacts The Colonel and says he had made a mistake. The man who is the dissident may not be who he thought he was. New information has come to his attention and he wants a little time to figure out a few things before they take any actions, but he believes the person in question to be a pesky Alliance cop named Cole Turner. The Colonel has heard of Turner and his dangerous ways, apparently he killed a bunch of people and blew up some buildings on Dust near Nexus Gate.

Shaun puts the word out that he wants to speak to Kraffenburg and suddenly his messages stop being deleted and he is answered from his own position. Whoever is speaking to him makes the communication appear as if it is all coming from the same location, he is hiding his signal. “Kraffenburg” gives a location and time, and tells Shaun and Otto not to be late, he will speak to them there.

The meeting with Kraffenburg is simple.He has everyone meet in a bar in Otto’s neighborhood. A drone is speaking for him and two most likely robotic “faceless” men guarding the drone. Kraffenburg expresses his concern over not yet having Ryan Williams in his possession as promised. Furthermore he refuses to do any more work on the project at hand unless some form of payment can be reached and money means little to him. He really wants more information on Williams and he can’t think of anything else he would want or need from anyone like us. Shaun explains that he nearly turned him in to The Colonel but realized nearly too late to cover the mistake, that they were working together, as he had lost his memories.

Kraffenburg doesn’t care that Shaun hung out Cole Turner but warns that using this “boogeyman” approach one too many times will become less and less believable, as this one person cannot be responsible for all the ills they suffer. Kraffenburg says he will think about what else he might possibly want from Otto and Shaun and suggests they keep trying to get him Williams int he mean time. He will contact them at a later date with new word. The drone falls to the table and the two guards exit the room as the drone on the table goes on blinking a red light faster and faster. Otto and shaun flee the building as it bursts into flame killing all the patrons and making Otto and Shaun look bad, as news media drones are outside the bar recording the event. Kraffenburg now has leverage on the two.

When The Colonel asks Otto and Shaun about the bar, he explains that his suspicions were confirmed when once again they had been attacked by Cole Turner, who fire bombed the bar.

Otto and Shaun are left with the task of trying to track down a member of their old team that they apparently planned to back stab, who disappeared over a month ago on Nexus Gate. They now understand that they don’t work for The Colonel, they are also planning to back stab him as well as his boss, the ProVee of the Zone. It is unknown why Otto wanted to gain control of the area for The Syndicate but that seems to be the plan. And out of it all the guy they thought was their enemy, Gary3, is the only one giving them any information on what exactly it is they were planning before. Could Gary3 be playing the two or have Shaun and Otto really been fooling themselves all along as Shaun seems to think?

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Now Who's the Shit Heel, Otto?
Otto has a very bad day when an ambush turns into the Skyforger's Revenge... Meanwhile Shaun does research, Pilgrim sees a Dentist, and some skeleton's in Gabriel's closet are revealed.

Shaun wakes up in a pool of his own vomit on the bathroom floor. The small cleaning robot is not fairing well in it’s clean up tasks because Shaun is in the way and had been unconsciously batting it away.

Otto, as usual, has fallen asleep naked in the shower. When Shaun stirs, he snaps awake from his restless sleep ready to kill. He grabs Shaun and throws him forcefully from the bathroom and barricades the door before Pilgrim can try to get back in.

Otto washes away the nightmares and the things he heard the night before. He scans the room and becomes sick at the mess that it is. There is vomit on the floor and a full bowl of excrement and vomit. The whole of it makes his guts tighten into knots and his muscles react the same. This scene of human weakness repulses him. He leaves the bathroom still naked and wet from his shower and shoves pilgrim’s head into the wall as he exits the room.

Shaun looks for some food to eat and finds only vegetarian fare in the refrigerator. It appears Jorge does not eat meat and loves soy food. Having a weak stomach already from the drugs, Shaun opts not to eat this kind of thing and grabs some cereal. Shaun eats and again Pilgrim seeks the comfort of the bathroom, which is still trashed, and begins to get sick once again.

Otto emerges from the upstairs living quarters, fully dressed with a glass of whiskey in his hand. Shaun asks why this book of fables was left open on the floor and he had read the story it was open to. Did Otto feel guilty about something? Otto tells Shaun he had thrown the book at him in his sleep because he was freaking out.

Shaun calls for Deefor who rolls into the room and is unlike his normal antagonizing self. At Shaun’s request, he plays back the events of the prior night. Shaun hears the voice warn of Otto’s guilty conscience and sees him throw the book, the book that strangely lay open to a tale of morality warning of guilt. Shaun questions Otto who changes the subject to Shaun’s drug habit.
Shaun tries to get back on topic and Otto ignores all attempts. He suggests they not waste time and get going on their next target.

Shaun gets researching the political dissident and the rogue soldat, while Otto calls The Colonel. Otto is praised for his work and The Colonel informs him he has been paid the standard amount of 5000cr for the person he “removed from the path of progress”.

Shaun determines that the dissident is too hard to track down at the moment and he will need possibly several days to get even a weak lead on where he is. He suspects that since he only communicates via sysnet, he may not even be on planet. That leaves the heavy combat option of the rogue soldat and Otto will need some information before he can determine what kind of manpower he will need. Shaun hits the sysnets and puts out the word about this rogue and he hears back shortly.

The Man is named Gary3 and he is from the regency. He has a reputation in the underworld as bad news. He had broken free of his conditioning and gone on his own into the criminal world. He quickly gained a reputation as a ruthless and violent man who would stop at nothing on his conquest for dominance.

Shaun hears there is a file containing the military record of this man in a low security regency info storage area. He and Otto hire two hackers in the area to try to retrieve the file. The two are in competition to get the file first for a good payday. The file reveals that Gary3 is a regency soldat created for the purpose of military service. He broke his conditioning at a young age and had disappeared into the underworld for several years. He dominated the criminal activity in an area and once on top, he grew tired and walked away from it all. He left a trail of bodies of those he had to remove from power on his climb up. The M.O. of Gary3 is one of stealth and violence. He will take what he wants and has been known to be involved in home invasions and theft. He was drawn back into service with the promise of amnesty for his crimes if he returned to service. Unfortunately for the Regency, Gary3 grows bored easily and every so many years he goes rogue and back to the criminal underworld, where he is at present, hidden on Harlinn’s world.

Otto insists that he and Shaun go out on the streets and try to dig up more information on the whereabouts of Gary3. Shaun tells Otto that he knows Gary3 spends much of his time with a local violent biker gang near the 9 of Spades. He tells Otto to start in that neighborhood but Otto insists they stage their own street investigation and he drags Shaun along against his wishes. Shaun complains that there might be some heavy violence, considering Gary3 is a violent criminal with ties to violent men. He suggests that maybe Otto should go to the 9 of Spades to get some goons instead of dragging him along, since men like Gary3 will be able to instinctively tell how much of a pussy Shaun is. Otto ignores Shaun’s pleas and drags him along anyway.

Otto and Shaun walk the streets and with a few credits slipped into the right hands, they find themselves talking to a shady man in an alleyway that insists that he has worked with Gary3 on many jobs. He claims to be Gary3’s spotter, he plays lookout when he is pulling B&E jobs.

The mannerisms of the man set Shaun off and he does not believe anything he says because he is acting very sketchy. The man insists that he will lead them to Gary3 for 1000cr and Shaun turns him down flat. The man uses a moment where Shaun and Otto bicker with one another to slip away nearly unnoticed down an alley. Otto goes to follow the man and when he exposes himself into the open street, he is shot at by automatic blaster fire.

Otto and Shaun have armored clothing, but they do not have any firearms, as they are illegal in this zone. The two of them may as well be sitting ducks. Otto takes one of his nightsticks in hand and runs down the alley where the man had gone. As Otto enters the alley,a barrage of fire erupts from the roof as well as down the alley. Shaun tries to radio Otto and is getting no response. Shaun flees the situation thinking Otto is dead.

Otto is on his radio trying to contact Stefan, he is calling him for backup in his present situation. Stefan informs Otto that he and his men are easily several miles away and will take some time to get there.

The assault of blaster fire continues and Otto pinpoints it as coming from the roof. At the end of the alley where more fire had come, he can see the man that fled, dead on the ground with a knife in his throat.

Trying to protect himself, Otto seeks cover and tries to remain hidden. Not many moments pass before yet another series of shots ring out. Wounded and vulnerable, Otto jumps into a dumpster to avoid being shot further. Blaster fire scorches several holes in the dumpster as Otto tries to intimidate the assailant with threats of what he will do to him, if he gets out of this.

Things are silent for a few moments so Otto peaks out of the dumpster. He sees a person in full tactical gear. The assailant has advanced imaging goggles, hermetically sealed combat armor, a barrier shield and an automatic weapon. Otto only has the opportunity to see any of this, since his assailant had just allowed his stealth device to drop.

Seeing he has no clear shot against a soldier with a barrier shield, he tries to make an acrobatic roll out of the back of the dumpster and break into a local shop for further cover. Before he has the chance to take any evasive actions a grenade is dropped into the dumpster and Otto is not quick enough to toss it back out before it’s lights out.

As Shaun is fleeing, he calls The Colonel and gets one of his staff. In a panic Shaun drops Otto’s name and demands to speak to The Colonel now. Shaun tells The Colonel of the attack on Otto and how if Otto is dead, it compromises everything they are working towards. He suggests that the military get involved in the neighborhood to rescue Otto. The Colonel says he will send police forces to the area and he had heard that Stefan had already dispatched several men of his own. Having little more he can do, Shaun retreats to the apartments and begins investigating Otto’s situation via security feeds.

Quite a few hours pass and nobody has turned up much. The Colonel reports that there are signs of a firefight but there are no signs of Otto’s body, but there is one man dead, stabbed in the throat the way Otto would have done. There is also a signature of stealth tech found in the area and it matches something Shaun had found regarding several stealth vessels giving trouble to the gate security. Shaun uses The Colonel’s authority to put out a bulletin looking for a stealth vessle that may have come from zone 1 Harlinn’s world.

A blip has shown up on the scanners and Shaun is contacted regarding the anomaly. The blip appeared following another instance of the stealth tech phenomenon.

Otto awakes in a small dark space, he is covered with slimy filth that smells of rotting food and feces. He is bound by his hands and feet and he is being restrained from exerting himself by an inhibitor collar like had been on the prison ship. Otto tries to struggle and the result is being rendered unconscious again.

He awakes an undetermined period of time later only to again attempt to free himself from his bonds and has no luck. When he stops struggling, the space is opened up and bright lights fill his eyes. Something disgusting is thrown in his face, it was a bucket latrine. Someone emptied several days worth of human waste in his face and then speaks. “Who’s the shit heel now Otto?” and the space is again closed and locked. Otto has been thrown in a dumpster full of garbage and has been regularly doused with buckets of human waste. He is restrained and locked inside this bin, with apparently no sign of being released. Worse yet, he has no idea who his captors could be, unless it’s Reeva and Biggs getting their revenge on Otto which is the only conclusion he can draw from what they just said. Otto continues to struggle and he soon feels himself moving quickly, then feels only weightlessness.

Shaun is told more of the anomaly, there appears to be a metal dumpster, protected by a force field of sorts, hurtling towards the planet of Harlinn’s world. Otto breaks free and sees much the same, he is sitting up in a dumpster full of waste, spinning out of control towards the planet. Shaun asks the security force to obtain the dumpster as an associate of The Colonel should be inside.

Shaun asks that The Colonel send a ship to pick up Otto on the station, but he is only able to provide a shuttle for Pilgrim to pilot. Pilgrim and Deefor go to retrieve Otto and Shaun gets busily to work on further research on the Political dissident now that he has the time. Shaun is deeply ashamed at his actions but he is rationalizing his fear and cowardice as the only way he could have saved his friend. If he had not gotten away then he would not have been able to discover Otto being shot into space and have him rescued. The Colonel and Stefan both chastise Shaun for his actions and he shoots back the same rationale to them and tells them to get off his back. Deefor calls Shaun a bitch and a worthless meatbag before he leaves to go get Otto.

Shaun gets to work on a plan to gain some assistance on their current set of problems. He speaks to Jorge about How they were previously attacked by what appeared to be Sasha and how Hwar Do had been a thorn in their side. Jorge reminds Shaun that when the whole “Team” was together last, they had different goals and modes of operation. It is possible that “The Coil” is not one but two entities with different goals.

Shaun thinks that since it appears that Sasha is trying to shut down gates that maybe he can make this a whole situation he can get RIFU involved in. If one gate being shut down is bad for business, the others Sasha may be planning to sabotage may be just as bad. The only problem with this plan, is that he has no proof, just a hunch and a strong premonition. The other problem is that he and Otto have little to no memory of their involvement in “The Coil” and their apparent foes know their standard M.O. making any move nearly impossible, because their enemy seems to know what they will do before they do it. Shaun figures, that if they can get RIFU to work with them on this issue, which is something they would not have done before, maybe they can throw their enemies off. Also, RIFU will be an added boost of firepower and resources that they so badly need right now. Now all Shaun has to do is come up with some proof of Sasha’s plans and make this all happen.

Shaun spends the better part of the next several hours trying to dig up anything on Sasha, Hwar Do or any of the other Coil members and is turning up nothing. Again it seems either their adversaries knew how and where Shaun and Otto would look and covered those tracks, or they are messing with Shaun and drawing him into the open while he is investigating them. Shaun grows frustrated and more ashamed at leaving Otto out to dry. If he can’t come up with some sort of solution fast then he may have just gotten himself killed, Otto will not tolerate this betrayal.

Otto is retrieved by gate station security and is freed from his dumpster prison. Otto emerges, absolutely covered in filth and silently boiling over with rage. Otto is not a stupid man and he knows that if someone called him a Shit-heel just before launching him into space, it had to have something to do with Reeva and his buddy who should be dead.

The security guards, wearing bio-suits, remove the restraints on Otto and decontaminate him with hand-fulls of powder. Otto is now a slimy powder covered mess that is hosed down and stripped naked. His clothing is sent away to be cleaned and he is given a nondescript jumpsuit to wear in the mean time.

Otto is approached by Deefor and Pilgrim and as soon as Otto sees Pilgrim he is reminded that Reeva vouched for Pilgrim. Pilgrim is only here because of Reeva and whether Pilgrim had a hand in Reeva getting some revenge or not, he’s going to pay.

Otto lunges towards Pilgrim before anyone else can react. The guards try to restrain Otto but are not successful before Otto’s fist connects with Pilgrim’s jaw. Pilgrim is hit so hard that his jaw breaks, and he loses nearly all of his teeth. His skull is fractured, his neck may be broken and he is most certainly on death’s door. Zergs are not the most hardy of folks and Otto hits like a bear. Since Otto is an associate of The Colonel and Pilgrim is listed as his slave, there is not much the authorities can do but drag Pilgrim to an infirmary and try to save his life. Otto spits on Pilgrim and he and Deefor leave Pilgrim and head back to the planet surface to speak with Shaun.

When Otto arrives Shaun has his head down and is obsessively trying to get any sort of proof of Sasha’s plans. Otto approaches Shaun and calmly asks what he was thinking when he left him behind. Shaun comes up with a story about how he was able to sense the ambush a moment before it occurred and Otto rushed ahead. He had tried to warn Otto but he persisted and Shaun had no other choice but to flee and call for help, as he is no good in a fight. Thanks to his quick actions, Otto is here now, a rescued man, instead of hurtling towards the planet surface in a dumpster.

Otto accepts the cowardly heap of shit that Shaun just spewed because he does not want to kill him. He tells Shaun he will be going out soon to find some manpower to back him up should this ever happen again and he heads upstairs to the showers.

While Otto is in the shower, his clean clothing, as well as a transportation pass is delivered to the front door by The Colonel’s men. Otto uses the transport pass to hire a robot cab to bring he and Deefor to the 9 of Spades. At the 9 of Spades, Otto has the displeasure of speaking with Stefan about his ordeal. Stefan offers medical attention to Otto’s wounds if he will agree to one exhibition fight. Otto accepts the trade and receives medical care from two medical robots. After Otto receives his care, Deefor partially disassembles one of the robots and hides his parts around the club.

Otto has a quick bout with a large black man named Charlie. Charlie is one of Stefan’s personal champions from his hand picked stable. Charlie is not as big as Otto but he comes pretty close. He also holds himself like a man who has seen more than his fair share of fights.

The match begins with a slow pace until Otto gets aggressive. Otto nearly kills Charlie with a devastating head shot but Charlie recovers and turns the tables. Several body blows are exchanged with Otto feeling the worst of it and eventually with both men staggering, Charlie lands an elbow to the side of Otto’s face as Otto is distracted by his communicator ringing. “Hello, Otto, It’s Shaun… I have a bad feeling that you’re just about to get knocked out, are you ok? Hello, Otto…”

Otto recovers from the fight and gets to his feet. He smashes his communicator and heads back to the medical robots for further treatment. He thinks to himself that he must have gotten soft since his earlier days in the street gangs. He would have gutted a guy like Charlie without blinking, but today he got put on his ass. Charlie speaks to Otto and makes his apologies, but Otto wants no apologies, he learned a lesson, he got soft. Stefan offers to hire Charlie out to Otto for a reasonable price, since it looks like he can use some muscle. Otto accepts and Charlie packs his things to come along.

While Otto is out, his two Syndicate goons have finally arrived at the apartment, where they were supposed to eventually rendezvous. since they used The Colonel to get inside, they have a full compliment of weapons and armor. Now that there are more people than there are available spaces to sleep, Shaun tries to look into some of the locked rooms in the upstairs sleeping quarters. One of the areas is labeled as Gabriel’s room and is completely cut off from the computer system. The room is on lock down and there is no way to see inside. The computer says Otto and Gabriel requested this to be so.

When Otto returns with Charlie, he greets his men and sees the same problem of room for people. Shaun wants Otto to give authorization to unlock Gabriel’s room since the AI won’t listen to him. Otto and Deefor over ride the system and gain access to the room.

Gabriel’s room has all the windows blacked out and there are used condoms tacked to the walls. The room stinks like rot and the closet is sealed shut. When the closet is pried open and rotting corpse is found inside. The corpse is that of a woman who has the trappings of someone well off. Without medical equipment there is no way to find out who she is.

Shaun requests that Deefor assist him in rebuilding Stitch and asks Otto to give the order. Uncharacteristically Deefor volunteers and swears he will not do anything to harm or change Stitch while fixing him. Deefor gets to work on rebuilding the dismantled body and fragmented programming of Stitch. Otto spends some time in the room with the corpse, while Shaun can’t take the day any longer and he goes to have some more soup laced with drugs. While the goons and Charlie get used to their chaotic new surroundings.

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It Takes a Whole Lot of Man-Power to Toss a Hippie Out a Window
Otto and Shaun get involved in regional politics

Jorge has his arm bandaged by Pilgrim and a nanotech shot is given to him, which begins to mend his arm quickly.

He begins to explain to Otto and Shaun that they were the ones who got him involved in this mess in the first place. They had needed his expertise on matters concerning starships and the spaceways. They were involved in project Nebula Queen and were searching after a certain Hyperion Command Carrier containing a Sentinel AI. They were part of a team that called themselves The Coil. The team consisted of Otto, Shaun, Reeva, Gabriel, Hwar Do, Sasha, and Ryan. There were others involved, like his associate Dax Hellspont, another scholar in Regency space, their medic friend, and a rogue mind cop who has since been captured. They were all trying to find this ship that appears to be jumping through space, disappearing and reappearing strangely.

The fact that Otto is marked for death by The Coil means that he must have done something against the group to put him on the outs. Also if they marked Otto, shot Reeva and have opposed Shaun’s efforts, it stands to reason that since Hwar Do usually worked with Sasha that she is most likely the one leading things now. Also it is learned that she was actively trying to shut down gatestations to restrict movement from place to place, possibly trying to trap the ship that keeps jumping around so quickly. Jorge realizes that he has much to figure out before he can explain this much further. He suggests that they wait for Abstract the person pretty much responsible for bringing them together in the first place.

Otto and Shaun go through their living quarters and find some of their belongings. Among them, Shaun finds a hacking rig that has a very large file on it. The file appears to be some sort of decryption code. Shaun connects it to Deefor and finds out that the program is meant to deconstruct and reorder the pieces of the Sentinel that they, The Coil, must have had and taken apart into 12 parts. The program finds several parts of Deefor that are part of Sentinel and cannot complete it’s whole process since Deefor does not contain all of Sentinel.

Otto focuses on the messages left on his messaging device. He has several irrelevant messages such as solicitors and such but there are a few that seem important. There are three messages from a Stefan, owner of the nine of spades club. Shaun also has messages from Stefan, trying to reach Otto.

The messages are old, from back when Tony Danzig disappeared and his club burned down. Stefan wants Otto to call him immediately, wanting to know if everything is alright and still on schedule. Otto refuses to call this man who sounds effeminate and creepy, so Shaun is left to the task.

Stefan is in fact, effeminate and creepy when Shaun calls him. His conversation is full of innuendo and double entendre making everything seem sexual in nature. It might appear to someone trained in verbal misdirection like Shaun, that this man does this to make some people underestimate him or feel uncomfortable, thereby throwing them off their game.

Stefan tells Shaun that he is overly happy to hear from him and looks foreword to another “encounter” with The burly Mr. Murrin and hopes, he will take it easier this time, as he’s just recently been able to sit properly again. Shaun inquires about the nature of the business that Stefan and Otto had. Stefan tells Shaun that he specializes in “man-power” and he has all the man Otto might need, close at hand. He breathes the last few words into the communicator making Shaun a bit sick at what Stefan might be doing while he is talking. Stefan suggests that Otto and he come down to the Colonel’s party tonight, hoping that Otto still had Shaun secured as his personal slave as he did last time, noting how fun that all was before. Stefan tells Shaun that he will inform the Colonel that Otto is back in town. Shaun ends the communication and turns to Otto, pissed off knowing that he was most likely Otto’s slave the last time they were here, as that is something Otto would do. Otto ignores Shaun’s outrage and suggests that he quiet down before he makes him worse than a slave if he keeps it up.

Otto asks Jorge about his former relationship with Stefan and he is told that he did not like Stefan very much, pretty much referring to him as the “cocksucker” all the time. Jorge also tells Otto that he was working with the Colonel to enforce law and order in the streets, hence the reason the local neighborhood is so clean and orderly compared to the rest of them around.

Otto receives a call from “The Colonel” who is a gruff sounding man who is a bit forceful with his words. He tells Otto he is glad he is back in town, as he had feared that he might be trying to back out of the business agreement they had before. He thought that when Otto had burned down his own club for the insurance money and disappeared, that he might be trying to back stab him. Though he is glad to see that things should be going back to plan. He will be sending a car with some men to pick he and Shaun up so they can attend his party tonight, he hopes Otto will not insult his hospitality by not accepting. Having little choice and less answers than choices, Otto agrees to the meeting and forces Shaun into the same.

The transport arrives shortly and Shaun is pushed out the door before Otto so he cannot try to back out. Otto drags a protesting Shaun to the transport where they are taken to the palace that is the residence of The Colonel.

There are the poor and hungry milling about desperately outside the gate of the palace. They claw and reach through the cold metal bars, trying to grasp at something they will never attain. Many of the people beg and plead for charity, they throw their lives at the mercy of the military who look on passively through armored visors. Shaun is disheartened by the sight, as these are people willing to do anything for food and shelter, but they have had so much taken from them in the name of strict government and order. The rich get richer and the poor sell their souls for nothing before dying out young like that girl at the checkpoint.

Inside the palace the building is furnished with gaudy riches, like the fortress of a greedy warlord would look. The walls are cluttered with artworks and hangings most likely taken from the homes of the locals. The counter spaces are full from wall to edge with vases and gold and crystal chandeliers light up the huge rooms. There are rooms full of rugs and pillows and soft furniture for lounging. Other rooms are for viewing sculpture or performance arts, sometimes the two are mixed, like they are in the Wrhappe room. A room named after the former leader Stanislav Wrhappe who preferred to have prisoners dressed and costumed as statues. If he could tell the difference between the real statues and the performer, he would have both destroyed for his pleasure so it paid for prisoners to remain very still for hours on end. The whole palace is opulent beyond any measure of need, it is more of a hoard protected by a conqueror and his army. The palace also holds a hoard of weaponry that the public can no longer get their hands on, so any sort of rebellion would be starving, weak men with sticks fighting well armed soldiers wearing hermetically sealed combat armor.

The Colonel greets Otto and Shaun and notes that Shaun walks as a free man this time, and congratulates him on his accomplishment. He tells Otto that they have much to discuss regarding their former arrangement but insists that they all go and have friendly conversation and refreshments before business.

The servants in the palace are the same sort of people that were outside. it appears that The Colonel employs some of the beggars for his parties, and has them serve food and drinks to his guests, while they remain hungry and wanting. Shaun begins to badger The Colonel regarding his behavior and the condition of his surroundings. He is sarcastic and biting, turning everything The Colonel says against him. He chastises the treatment of the people and the hoards of riches that grow larger by the day. Stefan tries to diffuse the situation as The Colonel is becoming annoyed with Shaun who does not seem to be backing down from the implied threats of violence. Otto stands, mostly indifferent to the situation, except for what he thinks of Stefan, he would love to hurt Stefan.

The Colonel speaks with Otto privately for a moment in regards to their former agreement. He again insists that Otto finish what he started for the previously paid money for a completed job. Otto just has to clean up a few more sections of the zone, and things will be all set.

Shaun butts into the conversation and resumes his biting comments towards The Colonel. Growing tired of Shaun, who is yapping like an obnoxious little lapdog, The Colonel pulls him forcefully aside. Shaun is informed that if he keeps up his yapping he may blow the whole plan. Shaun is let in on some of what The Colonel has been doing.

This whole sector of Harlinn’s World has been degenerating pretty rapidly over the years. His boss has stepped in and is trying to clean up this sector, zone by zone. He is in charge of this zone and once cleanup has finished and order has been restored he plans to give back much of what was taken from the people. He claims to be simply safeguarding valuables and objects of art so that during the operation much of what would have been destroyed will have been saved by him. He equates the people of this area to wild animals who need to be dealt with so the honest and decent people can rise above the violence and poverty. He further illustrates his point by showing Shaun that he employ’s many of the locals to work for him and his operation. He hands out much of the food that he has on his tables, but does so in secret behind the palace. His superiors would see his kindness as weakness and may look down on him for it. He sees himself as a people’s hero, someone who will usher in an age of law and order, a time of justice and decency. A stark contrast to the contemptible conditions he views today.

As he speaks to Shaun, Shaun begins to soften his stance and understands that this man means well. The people Shaun saw with his own eyes were desperate and greedy. They tore one another apart for little more than satisfaction of having a superior position over on another. If it were not for the military, run by The Colonel, the whole zone would be a combat and violence riddled waste. Drugs and weapons would be available on the streets and the strong would have buried the weak long ago. Understanding his own position in the world, Shaun has only one logical option and that is to agree that The Colonel, although maybe misguided, is doing what is right. He is protecting those who cannot protect themselves and he is protecting others from the monsters that they, themselves, are.

Shaun speaks to Otto regarding The Colonel and they both agree that they should set back to the work they were doing before. They had three more targets to remove from the path of progress. They can either dispose of the person entirely, or persuade them to join the cause. These people range from political dissidents and protesters, to combat trained violent criminals who command the respect of the street gangs.

Shaun and Otto mingle with the crowds and try to learn who the last three targets might be, as The colonel himself was frequently left out of the loop on these matters when Shaun and Otto were here last. In fact he preferred it that way. It allowed him to step in once a situation had presented itself and clean up the mess and appear to be the law while Otto played executioner.

Not long after Shaun and Otto have begun to gather information, Otto is accosted by a woman. She is yelling and pointing fingers. She accuses Otto of being the butcher for The Colonel who is having all of his opponents removed from his path. Shaun tries to calm her explaining she has it all wrong. She recognizes Shaun as the friendly mouthpiece and faceman for Otto the Executioner. She accuses them of being two of the worst people she has ever had the misfortune of dealing with. Otto is a soulless monster who has no heart and will do anything to get his way, while Shaun is the charming veneer for Otto to hide behind and make himself appear human. Together they are a cunning serial killer. The woman ends her ranting and leaves the room, the whole crowd is now hostile to anything related to Shaun and Otto.

Shaun advises Otto to leave the room and let him do his thing. Shaun picks one man who appears the most outraged and asks what that was all about. Shaun is filled in on the public perception of Otto and The Colonel. Shaun finds out from the man that he is the personal accountant to the state and he sees in the books that The Colonel has been funneling quite a bit of money into a separate account and is not giving everything to the higher authority. In an attempt to win this man over Shaun tells him that The Colonel has been taking that money to give back to the honest and deserving people, once the violence has been ended. This thought seems to soften this man a bit and he offers Shaun his card, so they can speak at a later date on this matter.

Shaun pinpoints the major sources of opposition to The Colonel and his efforts. One is a Cult leader of sorts who believes in unlimited freedoms and no boundaries. He preaches peace and sharing and taking what you need and giving what you have. Much of his cult are drug addled beggars who have taken over whole blocks and driven families from their homes, owners from their businesses and are now residing in these places. The second is a voice of distension who speaks to the educated. His presence is mostly in the sysnets and he exposes secrets of the local military and law enforcement. He weakens the hold the establishment has over the people by exposing it’s corruption. The final threat is a rogue soldat from the Regency. This threat is the most combat oriented. He was once a soldier, went rogue and integrated with the criminal underworld then was drawn back into military service to gain amnesty for his crimes and then has apparently gone rogue again. This man is a known killer and like many soldats, has no conscience. He seems to be the default leader of a local violent motorcycle gang the Blood Angels. Shaun determines the cult leader to be the easiest target for Otto and begins to gather specific information on him.

Otto and Shaun leave the party, but not before Stefan offers his contact information repeating that he specializes in manpower. The 9 of spades is a combat club where people fight for sport. Stefan has a stable of champion prizefighters who are perfect weapons in a land where there are no weapons unless you’re military.

Back at the apartment Shaun finalizes his research on the cult leader and Otto heads out. While Otto is out Shaun and Jorge discuss what Shaun learned and Jorge informs Shaun that he always thought Otto intended to stage a coup of the local government. He planned to stabilize this zone, move in the Syndicate and basically execute the leaders of the higher authority once he exposed their corruption. This way The zone would again be a safe haven for indulgence and criminal activity as it always had been, but would do so under the appearance of an organized government sanctioned by the Coalition central authority.

Meanwhile Otto has made his way to the neighborhoods where the cult leader and his cult reside. The streets are littered with unwashed and scruffy people. Many of them lounge around in the streets hallucinating or drunk. The buildings are hollowed out shells of what they used to be and they now serve as flophouses for these people. Fires burn in trash cans as the only light and heat in the area. Many of the people huddle together for warmth and comfort.

Otto ducks into an alleyway and changes out of his clothing and rubs himself in trash. He emerges looking much like one of the locals but naked and vulnerable. He is quickly approached by a young woman who wears little more than rags herself. She is holding a bowl of what appears to be soup and she offers it to Otto who appears to be freezing.

She offers to take Otto in as one of the many lost and forgotten who live here. She offers not only food and shelter, but her own clothing to make him comfortable, explaining that the leader has taught them that things are not static, things change. Her clothing is not hers, it belongs to the universe, the whole of everything. If Otto were to take her clothing then it was meant to change hands, like much of the neighborhood that they took over was meant to change hands. She asks Otto for a name, but he feigns not having any memories of a life before this morning, not even a name.

Otto takes the clothing and a blanket, but refuses any soup and when pushed to eat, he fakes eating and spills the soup. He learns of the leader and his habits of how he comes and goes. He learns that the leader sleeps during the days, gives sermons in the evening and meditates through the night. He is protected by devout followers that would die to serve him as they feel they have ascended to a point where their lives are no longer static and can change or move on, and giving them to the leader would mean it was meant to be.

Otto wants to meet the leader and the people are excited to present a new lost soul. The leader lives in a large tenemant building where all the doors and many of the walls have been removed. The floors are covered in rugs and other cloth that people lay on. He has just woken up and he is eating soup with his closest followers, he invites Otto to sit and listen. Otto is again offered soup, that he sees the leader put some strange liquid into, and again he refuses the food. The leader and his devotees share conversation about their philosophy and views on the world. He asks Otto about his thoughts and views and Otto tries to remain vague as he attempts to deceive the man. The leader remarks that Otto seems to have a strangeness about him that speaks of a unique view of life and death. The leader excuses himself fromt he inner circle to go give his sermon.

On an outside porch the leader adresses his followers who have gathered around the building in a large mob. He speaks of things he has dreamed the night before and things he has had visions on in his meditation. He speaks of the ever changing nature of the world and the new lost soul brought before him today. He says this man is living a lie and he is not who he claims to be, yet he believes him to be lost. The solution to the issue is to take the mans life from him and let him be reborn in the flock, removing his lies, and passing them on in the universe.

Otto appears shocked as the mob turns to face him, arms stretched to take him in. Knowing that his lie failed to trick the leader, he makes a hasty retreat into the building and out of a back window and into the landscape, evading anyone who might follow.

Hours later, under the cover of nightfall, Otto tries again to breach the tenament building compound of the cult and remove the leader. He has since retreived his belongings from the alley where he had changed and is fully suited for work.

He is spotted by a look out who recognizes him as the man who ran away this morning. The look out calls to him and tells him to wait a minute as he would like to speak to him. Otto waits for the man to approach and they have a brief exchange. The man thinks Otto is not who he says he is, but believes him to be a man of actions. He has always wanted to get into a really good fistfight but never has had the oppurtuiniy and asks Otto if he knows of the 9 of Spades club. He asks Otto to assist him in getting into a real fight, insinuating that they go to a prize fight at the club. Otto assists in another way and smashes the man in the face so hard that he cracks his neck in the process, leaving him dead.

Otto stalks his way into the building and slips past many other look outs. He comes upon the large room that the leader used to meditate. He is in the center of the room in a cross legged pose in a deep meditation. There is a small pot boiling several herbs and roots and the scent is similar to the liquid he added to the soup earlier. An empty bowl of soup is ste in from of the leader and several naked followers lay sleeping all around him. Otto sees no way for him to get close enough to the leader to put his hands on him. His instructions were to not kill the man in front of his followers as they would see it as the leader moving on in the universe and becoming a martyr, making him even stronger of a force to follow.

Waiting for an oppurtuiity and still moving around to avoid notice, Otto is addressed by the leader. His eyes snap open and he looks right at Otto and speaks to him while seemingly still in a trance. He speaks of Otto’s inhumanity and his crimes against his fellow man. He warns that the nightmares Otto has are because he knows what he is and feels guilt. The leader speaks in a voice that seems not his own and yet the voice seems to know Otto.

Otto thinking his cover is blown anyway, makes a mad dash for the leader, scoops him up onto his shoulder and jumps out a fourth story window. As Otto is hurtling towards the ground, he instinctively tucks and rolls to brace for impact, using the body he is carrying to soften the blow.

When the two hit the ground, the cult leader’s body is crushed beneath Otto’s weight and his back, and ribcage are broken in several places. From the sounds of ragged breathing and copious blood loss from the head and several areas in the chest, Otto can tell this man has no time to live. Shortly after Otto picks him up off the ground, the noises stop and the blood ceases to leak, the man is dead, crushed to death.

Otto beats a hasty retreat into the background neighborhoods and dumps the body in a dumpster. He calls The Colonel for a cleanup, and that’s exactly what happens. The body disappears without a trace hours later and nobody is the wiser concerning the disappearance. The cult leader has “moved on into the universe” and hopefully for Otto and his plans, the cult will follow.

Back at the apartment, when Otto returns, he tosses Shaun a flash he found on the cult leader. The flask contains an oily liquid that was being added to the soup, possibly causing the shared hallucinations. He also tells that the cult leader seemed to know his name and speak as if someone was speaking through him. Shaun believes that the cult leader, under the influence of this drug and combined with his meditation, had opened his mind up to a psychic message intended for Otto. Shaun would like to try to re-create this possibility as it may reveal some secrets to them.

Jorge tells Shaun that he used to take a compound similar to this, that he was having made on planet Dust in a drug lab. Shaun notes it is the one they had just busted up. It is explained that Shaun would take this drug and go into a deep sleep while his mind raced through the networks using his rig. His mind, opened up by the drug and combined with his latent precognative ability, managed to contact “The Monk” (I forget his name) who is a man who many believe to be on the verge of a new human evolution with his incredible psi abilities. He had also claimed to have regular contact with the Monarch of the Regency who had gone into seclusion quite some time ago and many believe he may be being held captive or missing. This confirms Shaun’s suspicion that he may be able to make contact with this voice who spoke to Otto. Otto is not interested in what the voice is or has to say and he tries to talk Shaun out of the drugs, but Shaun does not listen.

Shaun tries to take a few drops of the drug and it has little effect. He then mixes it with some soup and when the oils of the drug contact the fats in the soup, color swirls appear in the broth and the drug has been activated. Shaun puts himself to sleep and had Deefor record the whole event. He is allowing his mind to reach out through the networks to see if he can contact anything out of the ordinary.

Shaun has a strange slumber and he does indeed contact something. The voice again warns Otto of his misdeeds and tells him that his nightmares are his penance for what he is. Otto dislikes what he hears and throws a book at Shaun to wake him up. Shaun does startle awake, still heavily under the influence of the psychotropics.

Shaun sees before him a beach and sea water lapping the shore and he tries to move forewords. Otto tries to intimidate Shaun into lying back down, and Shaun sees him as a huge thundering storm that threatens to consume him. Shaun reaches out to touch the sea water that is now seething beneath the storm. He is reaching for his soup bowl. Otto instructs Deefor to stop Shaun and Deefor extends his arc welder, sparking it up. Shaun sees a tiny green man, surrounded by snakes as one of them glows with electricity. He reaches out and touches the electric snake and feels a numbing jolt.

Deefor is taken aback as Shaun has just willingly touched the arc welder and is holding onto it with no effect. Shaun crawls away to a nearby cave he sees, which is in reality the bathroom, where Pilgrim had been spending the last 18 hours as sick as could be. Shaun ejects Pilgrim and curls up at the base of the toilet, vomiting the night away.

Otto looks at the book he had hurled at Shaun and it seems it is a children’s book of morality tales. The book lies open to a story warning against certain behavior as the result will be a guilty conscience.

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Losing Your New York Privileges
Otto gets chewed out by his Syndicate bosses, Shaun helps an old friend out of the closet, and Pilgrim gets enslaved... All before breaking an old professor's arm in the backwaters of Harlinns World

Having just been thrown off Reeva’s ship Otto, Shaun, Pilgrim and Deefor have no way other than public transportation to get from Nexus Gate to Harlinn’s World where they have a meeting with Abstract in two weeks or so.

Since Tigh has already finished with his job regarding the Blackwatch Gate incident and the Bioplague on Rakkhan Prime, he is willing to give a ride to the assembled group back to Blackwatch.

Shaun inquires about the success of the mission to fix Blackwatch. Tigh tells Shaun that the bioplague has been dealt with and there shouldn’t be any more outbreaks. As for the computer virus, that’s still an ongoing situation that is nearly fixed. They had to remove several heavily corrupted pieces of the system and repair some of the others. With things the way they are now, Blackwatch is up and running much more efficiently and should be 100% very soon. Shaun calls Watchdog, his security connection on Blackwatch, and informs him that he will soon be there and wants a quiet way in.

Watchdog is not in much of a position to help Shaun get onto Blackwatch unseen because he has been suspended from duty. Tigh uses his position as a RIFU agent to get everyone on station without many papers being checked.

Shaun visits Watchdog and gets the story of his suspension. Apparently while the bioplague was affecting the station, Watchdog saw no other way to keep order than to shoot anyone who would not stand down or was aggressive. He’s potentially being charged with dozens of lives lost. His superiors need to review the case to see if they feel there was any other way.

Since Shaun is involved with Tigh, who was the head field agent with regards to the cleanup of the bioplague on the planet’s surface, he asks if Tigh can give his expert opinion on the subject to help his friend. Tigh, puts in his field reports for consideration on the entire matter concerning the plague on Blackwatch and refuses to lie about anything to make Watchdog look like a hero. In the end, Tigh does his job, hands in his reports and Watchdog’s case is reviewed. Considering there wasn’t much else Watchdog could have done, except quarantine the infected,where they would have died anyway if he hadn’t shot them, he is released with a warning. It’s not a proud mark on his record but he keeps his job. Watchdog offers Shaun and his company a place to stay while they are on Blackwatch and shows Shaun that he has Stitch his medical robot friend.

When the virus was tearing through Blackwatch it infected every system that connected to it, including the robots charged with maintaining the station and it’s personnel. Luckily for Stitch, Shaun had gotten involved early and told him not to connect to the station network anymore, limiting the damage done. Stitch had thrown himself in a trash heap and shut his systems off, where Watchdog found him. Stitch is now a disabled heap of a robot packed away in the bottom of Watchdog’s closet. Shaun collects his friend and begins to go through his memory core to reprogram any glitches, finding an extensive job that may take him several weeks.

Otto is easily bored by the computer and robotics work and heads outside to stretch his legs. While outside of Watchdog’s place, Otto spots a bit of graffiti, which happens to be Syndicate code. The message indicates that Otto should meet someone in the shipping district of Blackwatch Gate.

Otto takes a leisurely stroll from the residential district to the shipping and storage district. Along the way he is approached by a homeless derelict who harasses him to an extent for some money. The man gets in his way and keeps his hands out waiting for some sort of charity. Briefly Otto considers killing this man for being in the way, but uncharacteristically takes the kind road and throws a few credits to the ground for the man, and pushes him out of the way. As Otto shoulders past the man, he is grabbed by the arm of his jacket by the homeless man. He looks Otto in the eye and says that he is not exactly as his reputation had said he would be and he thanks Otto for the kindness. He says that in return he will afford Otto with a little kindness in return and warns him that the people he is about to meet want to kill him. With a slight distraction diverting Otto’s attention for only a moment, the man disappears, leaving Otto standing at the entrance to the warehouse where he is supposed to meet someone.

The door to the warehouse is unlocked and there are no lights on inside. All the windows and other portals into the building have been blacked out and shut tight, leaving the inside pitch black. With only his predatory instincts to guide him, Otto enters the room and picks up that there is someone breathing somewhere in front of and above him. Thinking that this person may attempt an attack, he moves away from in front of the door where his adversary will think he is, and stealthily changes position.

A bright white light cuts the darkness and the hum of the hot beam shatters the silence. Otto is left standing still, blinded by a spotlight that illuminates his face, it’s heat feeling uncomfortable on his skin. Otto shies away from the light, placing his hands in front of his eyes, trying to shield his vision enough to see something in the darkness. A shadow of a person steps partially into view and he can sense others nearby, but cannot see them.

One of the people speaks using some sort of voice modulator. The device not only makes it difficult, if not impossible to discern the true voice of the user, but also uses the acoustics of the room to echo the voice, making it hard to pinpoint where the user is in relation to the listener.

Otto is informed that the Syndicate is displeased with his choices as of late. He has been making too much noise and his actions are too apparent. They inform him that they know he has been marked for death by “The Coil” which has brought them some troubles. They also tell him that they know that he used Syndicate men to bust up a drug cartel, getting one of the men killed, then sold the drugs which is against Syndicate policy. They do not condone drug trafficking because it leads to rivalry and violence which they do not need. Making matters worse, the drugs he sold ended up in the hands of a man who was once involved with the Syndicate, but has since lost his favor and is on the outs. The person in the shadows wants some answers. He wants to know who “The Coil” is, where Otto was for several months, who he used as his middleman to sell the drugs and who he is working for.

Otto feigns ignorance and tells the people, that he works with RIFU at the moment and they remind him that he is Syndicate and moments like this are meant to change the persons life. Either they are being elevated to a new level or they are being given a chance to fix something they messed up. Otto is being given a chance to fix his mistakes, instead of being punished.

Otto informs them of the little he knows of “The Coil” and how apparently they are people he once had business with but has lost his memories of the matter and that’s where he was for the several months that they knew little about. The hidden voice tells Otto that he was involved in several business deals during this time and he needs to sort them out, starting on Harlinn’s world. This might also help him understand his dealings with “The Coil” a little better.

The hidden voice now pushes the issue of the drugs. Otto knows he fucked up because he never deals with drugs, that’s Shaun’s dirty little habit, but they were desperate to fund their situation so he had Caleb help him out. The voice wants to know who the middleman was and they want answers quick. Since Otto’s mentor Mister E, had once said that Caleb is the only man he truly trusts, Otto opts not to sell out his contact. Maybe the voice here will respect him for not selling someone out under pressure. Otto is asked again if his contact has a name and if the answer is yes, and not an actual name, he will be shot. (A gun is heard cocking in the shadows.)

Otto asks if an answer of no, would be better. Otto is shot in the neck and he is aware that some sort of drug filled dart has been used against him. Some time is allowed to elapse and again he is asked for the name of his contact. Otto is beginning to suspect that a truth serum was used against him as he feels a little drowsy and confused, but shakes off the effects. He again replies that he doesn’t sell people out, he’ll take the punishment himself. The voice in the shadows tells Otto that he has lost his privileges on Rakkhan Prime until he cleans up his mess. He is warned not to come planet side until his problems are dealt with or he will be shot. The lights go out and shortly, Otto can no longer tell there is anyone else in the room.

Meanwhile Shaun had been working on the broken programming of Stitch and Pilgrim is catching up on some news on the video feeds. Otto returns from his “Walk” and tells Shaun that they need to get to Harlinn’s World. Shaun suggests that they head to Rakkhan Prime first, so they can search around Calvert City where the plague was and see if they can scavenge a ship that was left behind. Either that or Otto can use his connections in Starlight Port to confiscate someone’s ship that owes taxes or something. Otto refuses the idea and tells Shaun that he will pay for first class accommodations to Harlinn’s World if they just leave now.

Shaun and Otto leave, leaving Pilgrim to pilot the Equalizer with Deefor and meet them in Zone 3 on Harlinn’s World, which is a resort zone. While traveling to Harlinn’s World Shaun presses Otto about why he doesn’t want to go to Rakkhan Prime and Otto warns Shaun to leave well enough alone and orders himself a Scotch.

The three meet up in Zone 3 which is a resort area, that has much cultivated plant and animal life, a veritable Garden of Eden. They are here to meet someone who they suspect to be a Professor Jorge Arroyo from the Coalition, who left them a message to meet them at the usual spot. Shaun looks into the zones of Harlinn’s World and tries to guess the place where they would most likely have spent their time. Each zone is independently operated under their own ProVee and the rules and regulations vary widely. The consistent thing here is that each zone is operated under a dome. The outside environment of the world is hostile to human beings and there are bands of mutants who roam the surface. The mutants have their own society with a loose agreement of non-involvement with the domes. If anyone is found outside of a dome they are no longer safe and may be captured by the mutants.

The zones are either privately owned and outsiders are only allowed in by invitation, or if they are public property, the zones are places for relaxation or indulgence. The zone Shaun zeroes onto is zone 1 at the top of the world. Zone 1 is a place where anything goes and all vices can be fed. There is open prostitution and gambling. It is common to see human combat games and any and all sexual perversion goes on here, sounds just like the kind of place Otto would like to go. Transport is hired to get to zone 1 and advise is given to acquire heavy coats upon arrival, lest they freeze to death.

Otto also makes a call to Angel to see if she might know where he would have spent time on Harlinn’s World and she reminds them of their youth, where they had gone to zone 1 and paid a guy to do horrible things to himself, just to see how far he would go for how little money. The conversation with Angel and Shaun’s research both point to zone 1 so everyone heads out.

On the way to the zone, the transport is stopped by boarder guards, heavily armed and armored soldats. The bus is emptied and everyone is asked to produce identification while the vehicle is searched for contraband. Otto and Shaun check out as they have their fake papers as Tony Danzig and Scott Dayo of Dust. The guards recognize Otto and laugh at the Tony Danzig papers, while welcoming him back to the area. They also note the name on Shaun’s papers and joke with him. They inform them that their robot is not allowed in unless they pay a luxury tax of 1000cr and have a special governor placed on the robot at all times, which will track the robot and restrict certain actions which might be illegal. Pilgrim on the other hand, being a drifter and zerg who was born in space, has no ID. Because he has no ID, he is not a person and non-persons have no rights, so he could suffer severe consequences. Otto steps in and pays the tax, plus an additional 1000cr to the guards and informs them that Pilgrim is his slave and personal property. Under those circumstances, Pilgrim is allowed passage and has no rights that Otto does not allow, enforceable by the ProVee of zone 1. Otto also inquires about where to buy some warm coats in the zone and is directed to one of the guards uncle Giuseppe, Otto thanks the man for the tip.

The guards finish their search and have taken one young girl aside. She appears dirty and very poor. Her clothing once was attractive, but is now worse for wear, the same goes for her face. The girl must have been attractive once, but now she is used up and worn out. The girl is being questioned and she appears frightened. One guard searches her belongings and nods to the other guard when he sees her ID. The girl runs quickly, trying to get away from the situation but she is not as fast as blaster fire. Both soldats crouch to one knee, take aim and fire off shots simultaneously. At a distance, the girl falls limp and no longer has a head. Her body is dragged back and thrown into a pile of other contraband and bodies.

Back on the transport, Shaun inquires about the girl and what her offense was. He finds out that she was a prostitute who had gotten knocked up and was unable to work. Since she had no income, she was unable to buy food and had stolen bread. Apparently the penalties for breaking the law are very stiff here, and trying to evade the guards is punishable by death.

Once inside zone 1, Shaun tries to get a map of the area from a local sysnet terminal and finds out that terminals cost 60cr a week for access with a 200cr luxury tax. Deefor tries to hack the terminal and is shocked into stopping his action by the governor. Deefor beeps and blips several curse words and complaints in IO and backs away from the terminal. Shaun pays the fees and gets a map of zone 1, as well as some old news from a few months ago, when they were supposedly here last. Apparently there was another T.T Bar Nippleopolis here, which is the same name of the club Otto frequents on Rakkhan Prime. The place was owned by a Tony Danzig and had burned down, and Tony has been missing since. Another quick search into public record shows that Tony Danzig owned a building that was converted into apartments, not too far from where they are.

Otto is trying to hire a cab to take the lot of them to go buy some coats from Giuseppe and is being hassled by a cab driver who insists that there are better coats elsewhere. It is becoming apparent that everyone in this area is on the take and are always trying to make some credit any way they can, even by referring visitors to clothiers. Otto insists on Giuseppe, and tells the driver that if he won’t drive him there, someone else will. Otto and company get a ride to buy some coats, and are heavily taxed and overcharged by the cabbie.

The interaction at the clothier shows Otto and company just how badly everyone is taxed around here. Simple and plain necessities are not taxed, things like bread, water and unadorned single color clothing. Things like information, tailored clothing, fresh food and basic public services are heavily taxed. The taxes are often several times the value of the thing being purchased, making most things impossible for the public at large to afford. The clothier goes as far as to work with a broken service robot, because one that is fully operational would be taxed so heavily, he would be driven out of business.

Not liking the interaction with people in the area, they opt to hire a robot cab. The robocab is more expensive in the short term, but if you buy a service pass for a week it ends up saving the customer money as the cab points out. Combined with the savings, and the fact that it doesn’t talk back or have an agenda, everyone is happy.

The ride to the neighborhood where Otto owns a building gives everyone a chance to see the living conditions of zone 1. Thick icicles hang from the dome as proof of how bitter and cold the area is. The buildings in many areas are run down and broken, with the people looking much the same. Violence in the streets is common yet short lived, as citizens prey on one another for things to survive, and are then shot by the guards if they are caught. What strikes everyone as odd is that the neighborhoods surrounding Otto’s building are well kept, clean and well ordered, and nobody is in the streets after dark.

Otto and all approach the building and an AI system greets them over the intercom. They are allowed in and given direction to their respective living quarters, apparently Shaun, Gabriel and Reeva also lived here at one point as they all have rooms.

Entering the living quarters, Otto can hear someone sleeping quietly in the open living area. He approaches the sleeping person and finds an old man and several piles of books and files around him on the floor. When Otto approaches, the man snaps awake and grabs him by the throat. Otto responds by breaking the arm that touched him. When the man is finished screaming, Otto forces and introduction from him and discovers that this is Professor Jorge Arroyo, who left him a message, and this must be the usual spot.

Jorge inquires about the absence of everyone for the past few months and receives more questions than answers. He soon discovers the amnesia everyone has and begins to understand that they know nothing of what was or is going on and he will have to explain absolutely everything, from the beginning.

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So It's All About the Bro Code...
Reeva meets the Dark Eye Clan, Shawn finds six lost months, while Otto learns to fly. Sh'teals are found adrift in space, and mutants make for some interesting friends...

Reeva has hitched his ride and gotten through to Harbinger’s Gate. The Dark eye Clanners are nowhere to be found and so Reeva sets off to find where they might be. It appears that the Dark Eye clansmen have set themselves up off the gate, where they are holding a large sell and swap. Many people looking for strange oddities are going there to buy or trade, Reeva has his work cut out for him. Instead of a one on one trade, he has to compete with the public.

Reeva gains access to the Dark Eye ships and fights his way through the crowds to the counter where he hopes to buy something. There are groups of people on either side of him buying things, most notably a Regency Noble who is in the company of several Soldat guards.

Reeva is faced with a man who has a Droid and a wee-zerg assisting him. He speaks to Reeva in heavily accented Imperial Standard and wears obvious pirate clothing. He and Reva make introductions and trade begins. The problem with the trade is that Reeva doesn’t know what he wants and he’s hoping to look at several loose lots of oddities so he can pick and choose the gems with his skillful eye. The pirate he is dealing with is not willing to allow him access to the back rooms so he can pick through lots of goods with no supervision. Instead several boxes of unsorted goods and broken bits are brought from the back rooms.

Reeva selects a few pieces that he feels are worth the most as they appear to be ancient tech from a long destroyed robot. he thinks he has purchased a battery and a part of some kind of arm and shoulder which is incomplete.

Reeva makes an offer to the Dark Eye clan that they are a bit confused by. He offers to do salvage jobs on the side. He is looked at strangely and told that they keep their work in the family. They suggest that he look to his own clan for work, reminding him that being part of a clan means family. The Dark Eye clanner is left wondering if Reeva just doesn’t understand what being part of clan is or if the Skyforgers are not a tight knit as the rest of the clans.

When Reeva leaves the Dark Eye ship he is hailed by a Regency vessel. Lord Jefferson Pike would like to have an exchange with Reeva. Lord Pike informs Reeva that he had purchased something that belonged to him and he is willing to pay a 50% mark up on what Reeva just paid, so he can have his property back. Reeva attempts to negotiate an unreasonable deal where he would be paid many times more than he just spent for the broken robot parts. Lord Pike refuses Reeva who he notes is a pirate and locks his weapons on Reeva. He is again told to reconsider the fair offer of a 50% mark up on the parts, as he knows Reeva only spent 1000cr and a 500cr profit for ten minutes work is a great profit.

Reeva tries to get out of the deal by offering to tell Lord Pike where the Dark Eye clanners claimed the found the broken parts. Lord Pike informs him that the mining colony that the pirates took this from are part of his family’s property. Seeing as his property is still in the possession of a known pirate, he is within his rights to take what is his by force. He again urges Reeva to accept his generosity and make the trade, as he really is not the type of person to use violence to get his way.

Reeva levels with Lord Pike. He tells him that he bought these oddities in hopes of enticing an eccentric technician to work on a broken weapon system on a Ragnarok Arms fighter. If the ship is not repaired by this person, then the pilot of the ship will harm or kill his friend who damaged the system in the first place.

Seeing how Reeva is desperate and in need of a good deal he makes a much more kind and generous offer. He tells Reeva that he is a charitable man from a wealthy family who in their day once built ships. He will agree to trade Reeva a set of design schematics on the ASP fighter. The schematics are a full modification, turning the ASP into a stealth fighter. Reeva agrees to trade the robot arm piece for the schematics and asks that Lord Pike remove the target lock on his ship. In good faith, the lock is disengaged, an encrypted file is sent to the computer on the equalizer and Reeva docks on Lord Pike’s ship.

Reeva is met by two of the soldat guards and a very short man, possibly a wee-zerg or midget. The tiny man holds a small device that he says will decrypt the plans sent to his ship already. He attempts to make the trade with Reeva who slyly tries to stick to the letter of his bargain and offers up only the arm piece and not the battery. The tiny man calls to Lord Pike over the intercom system and regretfully informs him that the pirate seems to be going back on the deal. Lord Pike tells Reeva over the comm that the battery and arm joint are part of the same piece, the same as a shoulder is part of an arm. If he tries to go back on the deal or attempt any more negotiations, he will order his men to shoot him for insulting his offer that he considers charity. Again explaining that the things he holds are relics belonging to his family, and he has the right to take them by force if he wishes. instead he has decided to offer charity to a desperate man trying to help his friend in exchange for his property. Reeva sees he has no other choice and has been given something a great deal more valuable than what he has, accepts the offer and leaves, escorted out by the tiny man and soldat guards.

Reeva gets back to the equalizer and uses the decryption device. It transfers the data from the ship’s computer onto itself, erases the original copy and displays the decrypted schematics. He quickly realizes that if he were to keep the plans, he could open a business doing modifications on ASP’s as they are a very popular ship in this sector. Instead, he decides to try to use them to barter for the ship repair that may save his friend’s life.

Meanwhile, while he is recovering from his wounds that he received while rescuing the RIFU employees, Otto is getting flight lessons from Deefor who is teaching him using Reeva’s ship, and Shaun is busy looking into exactly how much time is missing from his memory by confirming and dating his memories using the sysnet information feeds. Otto and Deefor joke that Reeva made a mistake in handing his ship to them, because they don’t have to give it back and he can’t take it by force. Otto begins referring to Reeva’s ship as his own. Shaun is busy doing some investigating on the time he lost that he can’t remember and finds that it is about 6 months, and Gabriel has gone back to a RIFU facility.

Reeva comes back to Otto and Shaun and tells them what he managed to get to trade to Waddler. Shaun gets busy trying to figure out how to arrange a meeting with Waddler, while Reeva asks Otto to come with him to try to approach Waddler’s station on their own. Otto picks on Reeva saying that he’d be happy to give him a ride on his ship, pointing to Reeva’s ship, but drops the joke and gives Reeva his property back. He warns Reeva not to trust just anybody with his things without some kind of insurance that his interests are protected. They head off to the dark side of Dust to try to meet with Waddler’s people.

Shaun’s investigation is quickly grounded and he comes to the conclusion that if he is to get a meeting with Waddler he has to first get his name and face out there in the community. Shaun heads off to the entertainment district of Nexus Gate and goes tot he bar where known mutants hang out.

Entering the Bar, Shaun removes his turban which hides not only his hacking rig which is stuck to his head, but also his obvious deformities. Shaun was to be a Big Brain, but ended up stunted for some reason and never fully developed, only gaining a partially increased intelligence and near perfect recall on all memories. He falls quite short of the advanced intelligence and computer like capabilities of true Big Brains. Shaun hopes that the obvious deformities and custom hacking rig design might help endear him to the kind of people Waddler might trust.

Shaun works the bar, socializing and having a few drinks with the clientele. He is approached by a woman who has a skin deformity, leaving her with a dry scaly condition. She speaks with a hiss and her “S” sounds come out slow and prolonged. “Sssooo, you wisssh to ssspeak to Waddler?” She and Shaun have a bit of a conversation concerning his desire to meet with Waddler over a business proposition. She agrees to introduce Shaun, on one condition. You see she thinks Shaun has such nice smooth skin, and would like…

Shaun makes a scene, freaking out on the woman ranting and screaming about everyone trying to take fucking samples from him. He won’t give the woman his skin, even though she hasn’t yet even asked for anything of the sort, and he storms out of the bar.

Meanwhile:

Pilgrim is left with the Equalizer on Nexus Gate and Reeva and Otto have reached the perimeter of Waddler’s station and are met by a small flight of fighter ships who hail them. Reeva tries to explain his situation and the pilots who seem to be trying to subtly steer him away from Waddler’s station are not paying much mind. The head of the flight is a large cat-like feral who seems to command some sort of serious rank or respect among the station security force. As Reeva is more insistent on docking at the station, the large cat-man orders the turret guns on the station to lock onto Reeva’s ship.

Reeva is again stuck in a negotiation for something he wants, but has nothing to offer to get it. He seemed to hope that his pirate reputation would gain him access to the station, but soon finds out that Waddler and his community aren’t very pirate friendly. Reeva is asked nicely to back his ship up to the border of the territory and the targeting locks will be removed. Reeva complies and hovers on the edge of the territory, trying to think up another scheme to get onto the station.

Since Shaun had blown any chance of a lead in the mutant bar, if not made a reputation for himself that he’s crazy, he needs to find another lead. He puts his ear to the streets again and comes up with a second option of where he might get an introduction. There is a bar where military men, mercenaries and generally combat oriented people gather to trade war stories and unwind. Many of the patrons are soldats and ferals who work for Waddler’s community.

Upon entering the bar, Shaun can tell that the group of ferals seated in front can smell the “bitch” on him. He doesn’t belong here and they all know it. He feels uneasy and looks for a table where there might be someone he can speak to without getting into a fight. He chooses a table full of pilots and soldats and offers to buy them some drinks for some information. He asks about Waddler and is pointed towards the table full of ferals that are making him uncomfortable. He is advised that they can have a temper and don’t want their time wasted. Knowing that he has only one chance at making a first impression, he cuts to the chase and offers to pick up the tab for the ferals night if they’ll give him a few minutes to speak to them.

They accept the offer and give Shaun a seat with his back to a table across the room filled with big brains. Shaun figures they must be commanders or tacticians, since he doesn’t think they would make the best soldiers. The largest of the ferals, a cat-man named Snarl slaps Shaun on the back and tells him that he has to at least have a few rounds of drinks with them before they can trust him enough to have any conversation.

Shaun and company drink pretty heavily and have some decent food. Insults and jokes are hurled back and forth between the groups of mercs and soldiers and things are getting rowdy, Shaun even gets picked on by the big brains who call him a stunted retard of a big brain, then notices that Snarl had put a sign on his back when he patted him on his shoulder (Big Brains give the best head). Shaun keeps his cool and seems easy about things even after so many drinks and all the ribbing. Snarl decides the kid is alright and starts up the conversation. Shaun tells him of the situation, and how Sinclair has a Sh’teal hostage.

Snarl puts two and two together and figures out that Shaun is with the pirate kid and his syndicate buddy that they pushed away earlier. He and his buddies gather around Shaun and snap a few pictures and send them to Reeva’s ship, with a message. “We have your friend.” The picture shows a drunken Shaun surrounded by ferals with snarl holding his claws over Shaun’s face. Otto tells Reeva to turn the ship around and head back to Nexus Gate, they have to rescue Shaun.

Before they get too far, Shaun calls in and tells the guys that he met some people who work for the security force on Waddler’s station and that they have agreed to introduce them to Jameson, Waddler’s assistant. Snarl seems to feel that for some personal reason Waddler won’t be interested in working on Sinclair’s ship. He tells Reeva and Otto to hold still and that he and the ferals will meet them shortly.

Snarl gives Shaun a ride to meet with Reeva and Otto and gives an escort onto Waddler’s station. Snarl gets everyone past the security force and into the station itself, where he directs them through the place to Waddler’s workshop. Instead of Waddler the group meets Jameson, Waddler’s assistant, as Snarl had suggested would happen.

Jameson is a tall man, who seems much shorter by virtue of his horrible posture and hunched over and slouching stance. Also an obvious mutant, Jameson has amphibian like features. His skin is greenish, soft and clammy. His eyes and throat bulge out slightly, giving him a frogish appearance and croaky voice. When he breathes, he gulps air and his first words after a breath come out in a croak that he must correct by clearing his throat. Jameson is friendly and takes his appearance and mannerisms in stride. He knows some people might be disturbed, but none of that matters to him. For someone so different from normal he doesn’t seem to notice at all, as if all people are the same to him.

Jameson extends his clammy hand to Shaun and shakes hands vigorously with a tight grip. Shaun grimaces at how slimy and unpleasant the handshake was, but notes that the condition must make masturbation easier and the two share a huge laugh. Jameson is willing to hear what Reeva has to say and gives his apologies. He tells Reeva that sadly for his friend, there is no way that Waddler would work on Sinclair’s ship. Jameson is interested in the Stealth Asp conversion plans as he and Waddler have already put most of the pieces together without a schematic, but the design specs of the creator would make life much easier. Since the deal sounds good to Jameson, he offers to fix Sinclair’s ship. He states that he’s seen the problem many times and it is an issue inexperienced techs run into without specialized equipment to work on Ragnarok Arms ships. Also he throws in that Waddler would most likely delegate a simple task like this to him anyway, even if he agreed to do the job himself.

Reeva inquires as to why Waddler wouldn’t work on Sinclair’s ship and Jameson tells him the story. Apparently Sinclair was romantically involved with one of Waddler’s best friends, Gavin Dace. Sinclair and Dace are no longer involved, so Waddler no longer has anything to do with Sinclair. Jameson mentions, it’s nothing personal, but Waddler follows the code of men. “Bros before Hos”

Reeva makes several lewd remarks about Sinclair and her appearance, since she is as renowned for her sex appeal as she is for her kill count. Jameson says that Waddler doesn’t finder her particularly attractive, but he’d be more than happy to slime skins with her any day.

The negotiation goes well and Reeva is comfortable with making a deal with Jameson. Jameson suggests that Reeva pay him the schematics and send Sinclair by. He tells the group to tell Sinclair that Waddler has agreed and he’ll do the work without her knowing the difference. Shaun stops him there and explains that from what he can tell Sinclair means business and all of this mess started by trying to deceive her. What he suggests is that he will make her the offer of having Jameson fix her ship as Waddler will not, due to his friendship with her ex. If she accepts then we’re in luck, if not, then the Sh’teal gets what he bargained for and he dies because his family wouldn’t pony up the 5,000cr.

Shaun puts out a call to Sinclair and she seems nerved by the whole situation. She’s a bit shocked that Waddler would still not do business with her after this whole Gavin Dace issue. She seems to appreciate the honesty of the negotiation and accepts Jameson working on her ship. She informs Reeva that his buddy is in a safe place, which Shaun mistakes for meaning she has him locked in a safe.

Reeva gives everyone a ride back to Nexus Gate and goes to pick up his buddy. Instead of his friend, what he his handed is a small tracking device. Sinclair had spaced Biggs hours before Reeva and Sinclair made their deal. She had waited 16 hours, to the minute, with 8 hours of life support in the suit; 24 hours total as promised. Reeva jumps back in his ship and plugs the tracking device into his astrogation computer and sets his ship on course to follow his friend.

Off in the distance Reeva can see his friend with his scanners. He is sealed in a space suit hurtling towards the nearest sun. His friend is tumbling and moving quickly through the vacuum of space. Reeva locks on his tractor beam and attempts to snare his friend, halting his movement and saving his life.

Otto and Deefor are poking around the control panel of the ship while Shaun is watching the situation anxiously. Otto asks Reeva “Which one of these buttons fires the weapons?” as he presses a button, he is sure will do just that.

The weapons discharge and although Otto has never fired a ship’s weaponry before, he is dead on. A shot fires through space and hits square in the midsection of Biggs Sh’teal. Sparks fly and there is a visible hole in the space suit, as Biggs goes spiraling out of control. Otto shrugs at the circumstances and Deefor rolls away quietly as if he’s trying not to be noticed.

Reeva panics and desperately makes a last effort to save his friend’s life, that he has already worked so hard for and traded so much for. As Biggs spirals into the void Reeva understands that he is in part responsible for the death of this man’s family and the destruction of his business. Reeva thinks back to all the deals he made, all the pieces he put together to save this man, who just yesterday he looked down on for being a Sh’teal. Reeva understands that the two of them are alike, they both have lost their family due to bad business dealings, they’re all the other has left. For a moment, Reeva becomes calm and pulls off a flight maneuver far beyond his own skills would normally allow. He scoops up Biggs into the cargo bay without use of his tractor beam, just fancy flying, and runs down to meet him.

Biggs was spaced by Sinclair, but he was not just in a space suit, as a suit might have been breached by debris, forcing Sinclair to break her word against her intentions. Biggs was protected by a small force field as well. The ships weaponry hit the force field and as it was forced down by the weapons, it sparked and broke. What breached the suit was the remaining force after it had been drastically depleted by the efforts of the force field.

Biggs is barely clinging to life as he has severe burns from the shot from the ships weapons, as well as the standard complications of being in the vacuum of space unprotected. He is not breathing, and he looks like he may still, not make it.

Without any knowledge of medicine, Reeva links into his ship’s medical system and begins to resuscitate his friend. Shaun stands around like he wants to help but doesn’t know how. Otto says he didn’t think this would happen, but in a mocking tone boasts to Reeva, like Reeva always does to everyone. “That was a hell of a shot, you have to admit that, your buddy was all flying through space at high speed, spinning out of control, and bam! shot his ass right out of the air.” Then Otto changes his expression and tone back to serious and says “He got what he deserved, he arranged bad business, we had to get involved.” “Sinclair should have killed him.” Shaun throws in “That’s what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass.” He laughes a little trying to make light of the situation. Reeva remains uncharacteristically silent and pilots his ship back to Nexus Gate as he continues to tend to his badly wounded friend.

Back on Nexus Gate, Pilgrim was waiting with the Equalizer and he rushes aboard when he hears of the wounded Biggs. Pilgrim, a trained medic, assists Reeva and the two of them stabilize Biggs.

Reeva stands up from his work, looks Otto in the eyes and calmly tells him to get off his ship. Otto stares back at the kid, smirks and asks what he’ll do if he refuses. Standing firm on his demand, Reeva repeats “get off of my ship now.”

Otto laughs at the kid and walks off the ship repeating that Biggs got what he deserved and that Reeva is lucky he’s not dead for getting involved. Shaun tries to calm things down with words and Reeva stares Shaun down. Reeva tells Shaun to shut up and get off his ship as well. Shaun stammers something about always just trying to help but Reeva thinks Shaun is as big a piece of shit as Otto is. Deefor rolls off the ship beeping in IO that he’s got it. Deefor had stolen every bit of information off Reeva’s ships computer while Shaun unwittingly distracted Reeva by trying to talk to him.

Pilgrim revives Biggs and as he comes to he tells Reeva of a Skyforger Clan meeting near Harlinn’s world, just off New Harmony Gate. Reeva smiles and tells Biggs that this is exactly where they’re headed and makes the offer to Pilgrim as well. Pilgrim declines saying he thinks he may yet make some good money by working with Otto and Reeva warns him “Otto Murrin casts a big shadow and it’s hard to live under it.” “Spend too much time there and you might be worse off than when you started.”

Pilgrim rejoins Otto, Shaun and Deefor and Reeva flies off into the vastness of elsewhere.

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Otto says no to drugs!
(The drug lab bust up from "This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!")

Weapons in hand, after destroying the Sh’teal business, Otto with his Syndicate goons, Deefor, Gabriel and Shaun prepare to head out to the underground bunker they think the RIFU employees are kept. Otto and company board Reeva’s ship and Reeva takes the Equalizer, as agreed, to go try to get something he can trade to gain Waddler’s attention.

Reeva heads to Nexus Gate and hitches a ride to Harbinger Gate to go meet the Dark Eye clan to trade.

Otto and crew hit the area where the bunker was seen and they do a bit more scouting. What is noticed is that the hover tanks and small ships the captors were using on planet are parked a bit north of the bunker. Gabriel is sent on foot to deal with anything near the vehicles. If anyone is waiting in the area, or the vehicles can be used against Otto’s crew, he’ll deal with it.

Otto, and Shaun try to find a means of breaking an entering into the bunker but the ventilation system is too slick to climb, so Shaun hacks the lift and lowers it down, carrying Otto, Deefor, the goons and himself.

On the way down Otto has Shaun stop the lift so he can take hold of a ladder on the side of the shaft, used to make repairs to the lift when not in use. He plans to use this position to set up an ambush on anyone below. That causes Shaun to think. “Otto, anyone down there knows we’re coming, we’re using what amounts to the front door.” “They’re waiting to ambush us!”

Shaun halts the lift once it crosses the point of the ceiling and he can see below, indeed there are many armed men waiting. Shaun backs out and makes the lift go back to the surface, he’s not going to get involved in this mess. Otto has his men convince Shaun to reconsider, and Shaun resumes lowering the lift at gunpoint.

Once the lift hits ground floor, all hell breaks loose. The first exchange of fire leaves on Syndicate goon dead and one of the opposing force dead. Otto leaps down to a failed surprise attack as they saw him coming and he is now in way over his head, and has no gun of his own.

Shaun runs like a bitch for cover and Deefor follows. A firefight continues with one more Syndicate goon falling wounded and Otto staying alive by closing distance and engaging gunmen in hand to hand. Using polyglass knives Otto guts several men on his way down a hallway. Meanwhile Shaun kills a guy who was exiting a bathroom and he takes his place in the room, hiding for his life.

Deefor is scouting the facility, reporting that there is no system network available, it seems this facility is fairly manually operated and old school. Deefor is confronted by a gunman and he lets loose his arc welder on the poor bastard until he stops moving. Shaun shakily uses a rifle that is way too much weapon for him. He sends several poorly aimed shots down a hallway and luckily manages to take out another gunman coming to inspect this area.

The last of the Syndicate goons is running around like a madman, killing anything that moves. He kills at least half a dozen if not twice as many as he takes control over half of the compound single-handedly.

Once Otto reaches the end of the hallway he was in, he busts down a door on the right. Instantly, Otto takes fire and is wounded pretty badly. The best armed and armored of the guards is in this room, that contains three of the RIFU scientists, who are being forced to cook up designer drugs.

Otto shakes off the pain and engages the man who shot him. The struggle between the two continues until two more gunmen arrive and threaten to fire into the melee. Two of the three scientists grow bold at the thought of rescue and try to fight back. One hurls combustible chemicals at the gunmen, while the other tries to fend off the guard watching them, using a piece of broken glass. This skirmish continues for a minute or so longer before the room fills with smoke and the head guard is now on fire. The scientist with the broken glass has been shot and the third man has shaken off his shock and managed to dispatch the guard with a small medical knife.

Shaun finds himself relatively safe as all the gunmen were drawn to the rampaging goon and Otto. Shaun tries to contact anyone over the comm with no reply as Deefor is now busily trying to break into a heavily locked room. Getting no response, Shaun fears the worst, that he is alone, and in an act of desperation he charges out of the bathroom and fires on the gunmen in the hallway outside the room with smoke billowing out of it.

Shaun wings a gunman who spins around to see him. At this point the syndicate goon gets beside Shaun and takes a shot before the two gunmen can react, but he is out of ammunition. Without hesitation, he drops his weapon and kicks Shaun’s rifle from his hands into the air. He pushes Shaun to the ground, as gunfire blasts from the hallway at them, and catches the rifle midair and returns fire. His body count has risen by two more now and he’s heading towards the smoking room. Both he and Shaun see blaster fire and hear battle, but not much else through the smoke.

The sprinkler system comes on and Otto is standing covered in soot and smoke, his chest and arms littered with blaster burns and he has two live scientists, one dead one, but Hatch clones his men as an insurance policy, so the body is useful. The scientists indicate that across the hall are the cells containing the remaining scientists and most of the marines. Apparently a few of the marines had died since their capture, maybe the captors made an example of them. The door to the cells can only be opened with a key that the head of the compound carries on a chain around his neck.

Deefor has broken through door one and has gotten to door two, he seems to be on the way to the inner chamber of the head of the compound. Shaun fears Deefor may be in danger and rushes across the compound, pistol in hand to assist. By the time Shaun arrives, Deefor has entered the main office of the compound. If Deefor were the height of a man he would have been shot, but being short, the fire goes over his head as he rushes the metal desk the man sits at. Shaun gets into the room as Deefor has overloaded his batteries and is busy electrocuting the man through his desk, nearly killing him.

Keys in hand, Shaun goes back to Otto. Tigh has contacted Otto in the mean time and informed him that he is on the way now, since he was busy deploying the bioplague cure on Blackwatch. Otto frees the RIFU employees and Shaun loots several casket sized cylinders of drugs. He needs money to pay back Clarance Czak and this should do it.

Tigh looks the other way as Otto and company take the contraband from the site and takes his men back to a RIFU safe-zone where they can get treatment and the one dead scientist can be zipped into a new body. Also, he takes the men who were in the compound as prisoners to question later.

Otto offloads the drugs to Caleb, under the code of “selling news by the article not the word.” Otto pockets the money as Shaun is informed that Hatch had paid off Czak and allotted Shaun a nice wage for his efforts in finding and rescuing his men.

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This Is What Happens When You Fuck A Stranger In The Ass
Sinclair is willing to deal, Sh'teals aren't given a choice, the PCs bust up a drug lab(Which will be included in the next post), and Cole Turner is a VERY bad man.

Shaun and Pilgrim go to the hotel room with Gabriel as bodyguard, awaiting Clarance Czak to send his men to “talk”. Shaun sets down for some much needed rest and Pilgrim spends more time in the bathroom.

It seems zergs have a problem planet side. They spend so much time in zero-g environments that when inexperienced zergs go someplace with gravity, they get really upset GI systems. It’s what zergs call “gravity sphincter”, it’s kind of like getting your “sea legs”. You need to acclimate your body to digesting in environments with gravity. You see, a person’s body has to work less to digest and move food along in zero gravity, so their system is less strong or practiced. This leads to a form of dumping syndrome they refer to as “gravity sphincter”.

Gabriel is guarding the pair in the hotel, getting more and more bored by the minute. He begins to carve graffiti into the walls after Shaun has asked him to stop hitting the walls which was causing not only damages that would have to be paid, but too much racket to allow him to sleep.

Luckily for Gabriel he doesn’t have to wait too long before the fun begins. Shaun rented a room in a bad neighborhood very close to Czak’s territory. He made it easy for Czak to find him. Two hover vehicles, lightly armored and built for off road operation, pull up to the hotel. Two armed men step out of each vehicle and begin to approach the hotel. All four are stopped dead in their tracks as plasma fire erupts from an alleyway, dispatching the men and their vehicles.

The loud explosions wake Shaun who goes outside and begins to send live feed of the event to Czak himself. Gabriel walks half a block up the street where two more vehicles are approaching with men firing assault weapons out of the passenger windows. Their efforts are futile as Gabriel’s armor absorbs the shots harmlessly, and their vehicles are ripped apart by assault cannon fire.

Shaun finishes recording the event and looks into the recording device to send a message to Czak. “I told you I would make right on our debt, if in fact I owed you anything, but you had to try to strong arm me.” “Look what this tactic has cost you.” “Had you just waited this through and allowed me to pay you on my time, on my terms, you would have been four vehicles and eight men richer now.” “If you continue to threaten me, I will send Gabriel to deal with you personally.” “Your strong arm tactics are bad for your business when it comes to Gabriel.”

Czak responds in short time, a little more angry than last they spoke, but seemingly more willing to listen to Shaun. “So I see you still keep that maniac Gabriel around, I wish I knew that ahead of time, this would have gone differently” “Alright, you wanted to know where the Hover tanks went?” “They went north, through my territory and into the hills.” “Also, Shaun, make right on your debt because you can’t hide behind Gabriel forever.” “And, until you do make right, don’t come near my territory or I will kill you, Gabriel or not.” end transmission

Shaun goes back to sleep, with a little concern on his mind that he seems to owe this man 15,000cr that he can’t remember and eight men just died for it. Pilgrim makes his way out of the bathroom and gets himself some sleep as well.

Reeva decides that wandering around or standing still will not get his buddy saved. He goes to get onto his ship so he can meet Sinclair in person and try to cut a deal. On his way to his ship he meets Otto who is in need of a ride to Nexus gate himself, he explains he has one last bit of business to attend to.

Reeva tells Otto where he is going and Otto recognizes the name of Sinclair as someone to steer clear of. She is on the Syndicate watch list and she is someone who is to officially be watched but not interfered with as dealing with her will cause more collateral damage than it is worth. Otto tells Reeva that he cannot count on him to assist him in any negotiations or dealings with Sinclair.

Reeva makes his trip to the hangar bays at Nexus Gate anyway and has his arrival announced to Sinclair. She accepts his offer to negotiate and as usual, gives him a very short time to make his case, as a short time to deal leaves little time for deception. When Reeva does arrive, she instantly notices that he is in the company of Otto Murinn, known strong arm of the Icon Syndicate. She scoffs at the idea that Reeva would try intimidation tactics on her by way of the Syndicate. She suggests that he should have done his research first and found that she doesn’t sweat criminals or pirates, as she hunts and kills them for fun when she’s off duty.

Otto explains his presence as merely something to be ignored as he has no stake at what is at hand, he’s just catching a ride with this guy on his way to conduct business, so they should go on as if he were not here.

Reeva offers to pay Sinclair the money she paid to get her ship fixed as a no questions asked refund. As he hands over a sweaty, wrinkled wad of cash money Sinclair eyes the gesture with disgust and spits at his offer. She wants to be dealt with like a civilized human being and have the money credited to her station account. Lucky for Reeva, Otto had already contacted Shaun who is busy gathering any and all information on Sinclair for Otto as he can. Shaun wires the money promised, directly into Sinclair’s account, and once it arrives she nods her approval. But, before negotiations can resume, she asks Otto who it is he is speaking with over his comm link that just wired the money. He informs her it is Shaun the man that contacted her for Reeva a few hours earlier, she accepts the situation and allows negotiations to continue.

Reeva explains that what Biggs and Coleson had done for her was run a diagnostic check on the tractor beam and found nothing wrong. They then looked over the standard mechanisms for calibration and saw no issue and figured the malfunction she complained of to be a one time glitch. Unfortunately, her ship is of Ragnarok Arms design and well beyond their capability to diagnose or understand. To make matters worse apparently their inferior diagnostic equipment blew out her targeting system in the process, unknown to them. So the short version of the story is that they did not sabotage her ship or attempt to rip her off. They just fumbled a job because they aren’t equipped for or skilled enough to work on a ship of her quality. What Reeva purposes is that he will work on her ship for free and fix all the problems the Sh’teals created in exchange for Biggs’ release.

Sinclair looks at Reeva and asks him why a refund of her money and getting her ship fixed, as she had already paid for, is even exchange for what she already bargained for. Not only did she not already get what she bargained for but, she got the added threat and inconvenience of having to enter into a hostile job with no knowledge that not only had the repair not been made, but further damages had been done. Again she wonders why Reeva would attempt to make such a deal, especially one that did not include payment for damages done and something to satisfy her need for retribution. If she lets this go without retribution, everyone will think it’s alright to do shoddy work on her ship that she relies on to keep her alive. She again nods her head to Otto, is that what he’s here for, maybe not to speak but to show me that you are affiliated with the Syndicate? That maybe if I don’t accept this bum deal that “something might happen”.

Again Otto tries to dismiss his presence as coincidental at best, but his reputation has betrayed him and she’s not buying it. In an attempt to smooth things over he tells her that he is a fan of her ruthless nature and in a way he wanted to meet her and watch her operate. She rolls her eyes at the obvious kiss ass compliment and lets his being there slide. Otto berates Shaun over the comm for giving him that line that made him look like a fool. Shaun reminds him that he may look a little foolish, but it worked and trouble had been averted. Otto stands to the side and tries not to get in the way of the negotiation but it seems that even his name alone is bigger than Reeva is in person concerning this deal.

Reeva tries to explain his superiority over the Sh’teals when it comes to repairs and further boasts that his services are worth far more than what she had originally asked for. As for retribution, she had already kidnapped Biggs, threatened his life and scared the hell out of him, he thinks that should be sufficient.

Again, Sinclair looks to Otto and asks if this kid is as good as he says he is. Otto looks back and asks her why she is asking him, as he has stated he has no stake in this negotiation and she should act like he is not there. She reminds Otto of his reputation and cannot pretend that someone of his station is not standing there in the room. She also notes that he would not have the reputation he has if he let people push him around, so she trusts him on this matter. If he were in her shoes, would he let Reeva fix his ship.

Otto quickly says no, “the kid is a blowhard and he thinks he’s way better than he is, the only thing I’ve seen him do is jury rig things to work temporarily. Don’t get me wrong he’s clever in a pinch, but I wouldn’t trust him to do anything lasting.” Sinclair looks at Reeva and says, “If you want to see your friend alive, get me Waddler, now get out.”

Reeva leaves the hangar dejected and wonders who Waddler is and where to find him. Otto leaves but not before Sinclair lets it be known that she knows Angel, Otto’s ex and also ace pilot in the interzone. She says that Angel mentioned Otto was not what you would think he is. Otto shrugs and moves along. Shaun gets to investigating Waddler and finds that he can be found on a kitbashed station that always sits on the dark side of Dust.

Waddler’s community is made up of mutants and various mutates. It is one of the few places where mutants can come together without prejudice. Mentally fractured soldats and free ferals make up the bulk of the standing militia that protect the station from unwanted outsiders, nobody sets foot without invitation.

Waddler himself, is a strange man with obvious mutations. Physically he is a heavy man with small legs, he has trouble walking quickly, people say that if you look at him, it is hard not to know that he is a mutant. Mentally though, is where he is different than most. Waddler is a genius of sorts, he views technology and the inner workings of machines on a level most people wouldn’t understand. He is a technician and inventor with a large reputation for being one of the best, if not the best in the field of cutting edge tech. The drawback to being that kind of mind is that he is also prone to incredible lows. Waddler is described as a manic/depressive who when you get to know him and break through his shell is a great friend, but he has trouble with new people.

Shaun pieces together that Waddler must have been a very social and friendly child, prone to moments of incredible genius and insight on machines. He must have been very excited when he found places where he thought he could help or fit in, but found the world to be an oppressive place for mutants, especially obvious ones. Then when his adolescence set in, his bouts of manic/depression begun and coupled with his bad experiences with people and their prejudices, caused him to be a bit of a recluse. At least that’s what Shaun thinks, and he bases his advice to Reeva on that foundation.

First, Reeva needs an invitation to the station in order to even begin a negotiation. In order to get Waddler to work on Sinclair’s ship, Reeva will need more than money. Waddler has no shortage of pilots and ship captains who would love him to work on their ship and they have no shortage of cash, Reeva will have to have something interesting to deal with. Shaun says he will worry about setting up an introduction with Waddler while Reeva needs to acquire some interesting new or very old Tech to trade to Waddler.

Reeva makes a few calls to the Dark Eye clan who he just helped out by getting them exclusive salvage rights to the space bomb ship on Nexus Gate. They agree to trade with Reeva, as they usually collect oddities that are mechanical in nature. They ask him what he has to trade in return, and Reeva offers cash, and not much of it. They tell him that one or two thousand credits won’t get him much. Shaun whispers in Reeva’s ear through his comm that he should trade the information of the ancient ship that we saw the Regency take from the gas giant outside Gryff’s world. If they like ancient tech, that seems like a great tip to trade. Reeva immediately offers up that information, and they thank him. He asks how much it was worth and they tell him that he already told them, they can’t un-know what he already said, and they certainly won’t pay for something they already know.

Reeva grimaces at his obvious mistake as he hears Shaun slap his forehead over the comm. “Come on kid” Shaun says, “that was your big guns, you could have tried to parlay that into a good deal.” “Now your only bet is to go there in person and look through some of their oddities that they think are less valuable or broken” “That way you might be able to make yourself a better deal based on your technical expertise.” Reeva gets the clanners to agree to a face to face meeting where he can look at some of their salvage in person and make a few offers. They tell Reeva that they will be near Harbinger’s Gate in six hours.

Now, in the mean time, Shaun suggests that they get back on the trail of the missing RIFU personnel. They will need to scout the area and try to determine the threat of the situation.

Shaun hacks a weather satellite and searches the area as Reeva and Otto take Reeva’s ship to scout in person. Pilgrim takes the Equalizer and does some scouting of his own as well. Between the three searching parties this is what is found in the area. There is an underground bunker of sorts emitting a gas from one large vent in a 20 minute pattern. The ground is too dense to scan through so there is no way of knowing if there are life forms inside. Pilgrim notes that up ahead there are all the vehicles and ships that were seen earlier interacting with the space bomb ship.

Reeva and Otto swing back to pick up Shaun and Gabriel. Otto sends for his three Syndicate boys that he had assigned to him. Reeva offers to allow the assembled group use his ship in their assault if he can take their Equalizer to meet the Dark Eye clan, as several hours were used up searching and scouting. Otto agrees on one condition, Reeva helps them get back the crate of weapons he sold to the Sh’teals, as he will need to arm the marines held inside the bunker, if they are indeed in there at all. All assembled, head off to the Sh’teals business and home.

On the way to the Sh’teals Shaun warns Reeva, “Make them understand that we are not asking for those guns, there is no negotiation.” “We will be taking those guns whether they like it or not.” Otto mirrors Shaun’s statement, “Taken from them, like it or not.”

Reeva tries to keep this situation in hand as he walks through the door. Pilgrim immediately runs for the toilet again, as it seems “gravity sphincter” has struck again. Reeva sees Pat at the counter and tells him that they are here for the guns, and Pat denies knowledge of any such thing. Shaun scolds Reeva, “make him understand, we’re taking those guns, we need them.” Again, Reeva tries, this time sliding a measly 200cr across the counter, “We’re taking the guns, like it or not.” “I know where they are , I’ll get them myself.” Otto takes the 200cr off the counter and reiterates, “taking the guns, not buying, no options.” and he follows Reeva.

Pat, as he did to Shaun when he tried to take the cash from the register to save Bigg’s life, steps in the way. This time, he’s met by Otto, who shoves the man aside and stares him down. Reeva calls out to Coleson in a demanding and authoritative tone, “Get out here now!”

In a joking manner, Reeva tells Gabriel, “When he comes in here, shoot him” and he looks at Pat as he says this. Pat is now shitting his pants, again, Reeva asks him where the guns are as Coleson enters the room. “What the fuck do you want now Reeva!” A slight hum can be heard as the assault cannon heats up and a pulse sears the air. Coleson is gone before anyone can blink an eye and Gabriel is smirking at Pat.

Reeva is in shock, muttering something about not being able to joke with Gabriel like that. Shaun is in a near panic as he is now party to a murder in cold blood, and really all he’s concerned about is how he’s going to sneak away from it all, not that someone just died. Pat is now sobbing deeply, he has just lost family, Coleson was his family. Pat is in shock, wondering where it all went wrong, Biggs trusted Reeva. Sure the kid was a dick, but this! He never expected him to do this. Pat stands powerless a grown man reduced to a blubbering sobbing pile of shit.

Otto gets a gleam in his eye and he smiles warmly at Pat, “You might not know it but, A grown mans tears, as he cries for his dead children… it’s a real turn on.” “Get in the bathroom, Reeva, you too.”

In the bathroom Otto commands Pat to strip nude and if he’s not compliant he will cut him. Otto forces Reeva to watch, pointing his knife at him, “Don’t blink kid, I don’t want you to miss a thing.” “Alright you.” Pointing his knife to Pat. “Bend over the sink.” Pat’s sobbing has quieted and his breaths are shallow and full of terror. Otto runs his knife blade along Pat’s skin, not cutting him but slightly brushing the surface with the promise of bloodshed, raising the hairs on his body. Otto is rough with Pat grabbing his shoulder and forcing him to his knees, he grabs the back of his head and looks into Reeva’s eyes, now full of fears and regret.

“Do you see this Reeva, this is what happens when you run your fucking mouth, someone might come along and shut it for you. Do you understand?” Reeva stands paralyzed by the situation, as sounds of the building being ransacked can be heard in the other room. Otto points his knife in Reeva’s face, amid the sounds of things crashing and breaking on the floor. “I asked you a fucking question Reeva. Do you understand?” Reeva just nods affirmative and Otto seems pleased. Pat by this point has his eyes squeezed shut so tight that tears can no longer escape, causing his eyes to well up. His sobs are stifled and quiet as he is sure he will be forced to do terrible and unthinkable things before he too is killed.

Otto, having Pat by the back of the head, forces his face into the toilet that Pilgrim had been shitting in since they got in the place. Otto had forgotten about Pilgrim in the room entirely and had not expected such a mess in the toilet. Seeing the mess Otto flushes the toilet to remove the waste, simultaneously giving Pat a swirly. When the water fills back up, Otto does not let up on Pat’s head until he stops struggling, he has kept his face under the water until he has passed out.

Reeva is in shock over the brutality and abuse that just occured and he tries to scurry out of the bathroom, Deefor blocks the way. Deefor beeps and blips in I/O saying to Otto, “you want me to finish the lesson? you want me to show him what happens?” Otto cocks his head and looks at Deefor, “what happens?” Deefor extends his arc welder and powers it up, Otto smiles and nods. Deefor rolls closer to an unconscious Pat and says “When you fuck a stranger in the ass!” As he inserts and simultaneously engages the over charged welder sending electricity through Pat and into the water ending Pat’s misery as his heart stops.

Gabriel yells from the other room, “Found em’!” He is holding a crate of assorted pistols and rifles on his shoulder. Shaun had broken into the register as Gabriel was searching and stolen the 6,500cr inside. He’s been panicked asking Gabriel what they were gonna do and he didn’t seem to care. Shaun then rationalizes, OK, the most prominent guy here is Gabriel. He’s in a sealed armored suit, those things are faceless. How many could there be, he asks Gabriel. Gabriel points to his crotch showing that he keeps a pair of plasma grenades dangling there, you mean with these? Shaun yells at Gabriel for the notable signature on his suit and decides that he does have to try to cover this up.

As Shaun is taking a handful of the stolen money to head outside and pay off vagrants and addicts to say they saw nothing, Otto emerges from the bathroom, pushing past a shocked Reeva. “Wait Shaun, I know who did this, let’s get out of here and I’ll make a call.” Everyone leaves and Gabriel tosses two plasma grenades and between the charges and the starship fuel, the place is up in flames.

Otto calls Captain Dodger Hayes of the Alliance security forces, an apparently corrupt high ranking Alliance official. Otto tells Shaun what to say and what to do and he complies without hesitation to save his own ass. Shaun pays off street scum and tells his story, he also hacks into security at Nexus gate and here on Dust. All the records and security feeds tell a story.

He checked his ship through queue at Nexus Gate just hours ago and headed planet side after grabbing a drink and a bite to eat at Snake’s Place. Once planet side he took up his search, his obsession some might call it.

The first place he hit was a hotel room supposedly where a Shaun Uday and Gabriel Harcourt would be, he had questions for them. He didn’t find either of them what he did find was trouble in the form of eight border guards from Clarance Czak’s turf. They must have had hostile words, because their bodies and transports were found in a wreck in the streets.

The trail leads to the seedy neighborhoods, where drug addicts, whorehouses and chop shops set up. If anybody was low enough to sell out their friends in this rathole, it would be the Sh’teal’s.

The negotiations with the Sh’teals must have gone sideways, or been particularly rough, because again all that is left following the passage of this man are flames and carnage.

One bad day and all he wanted was to track his mark. He’s been looking for a ruthless killer. A deserter from the Alliance military, Ryan “Vertigo” Williams. This man, that sorrow and pain lie in his wake, Cole Turner: Bounty Hunter with a badge.

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Loop De Loop and the Space Bomb!
When some RIFU personnel go missing, Hatch has Shaun, Reeva, and Pilgrim investigate... but what they find is a GIANT SPACE BOMB!

Loop De Loop…

Otto, and company arrive in Nexus Gate and everyone gets to work. Otto heads off to Planet Dust and the wharf district of Xiu Xi City to meet with Caleb about business.

Reeva takes Shaun and Pilgrim to the Sh’teal pawnbroker where he buys and sells odds and ends. As they make their way, he also explains that Biggs Sh’teal and his assistant Coleson are pretty good at fixing things as well, and with any luck he can get some space to fix a broken sensor in the Equalizer.

The Pawnshop: Sh’tole is crowded with stray cats who lay about, mark their territory, and howl horribly when visitors approach. Reeva makes his introductions and Biggs listens to Reeva’s proposal. Reeva has traded a dozen rifles and a dozen pistols of Securitech make (from the Wayfarer) 5000cr and several hours of his labor for a sensor to fix the Equalizer, a basic computer system for his own ship, and a space for him to make adjustments and repairs to both ships.

Reeva sets himself up to make the repairs and is given Biggs’ assistant Coleson to help him. Reeva resents having to work with the kid, as he sort of sees him as a pushy know-it-all who is always suggesting some proper way to fix and or modify something. Reeva throws the kid off his game by tweaking things in his own eccentric way, half jury rigging, and half by the book work. He also shoots his mouth off, insulting the kid every time he suggests a more straightforward and traditional repair option, calling him a barely literate Colson clanner who is lucky to be working with Sh’teals who are at least a step up the social ladder. The kid gets sick of the ribbing and insults and simply assists Reeva and stops giving his input, stating that he is not a Coleson.

Pilgrim pokes around the shop and is offered some cat food and moonshine to eat. Not knowing much better, he eats some of the canned food and politely declines any further hospitality, saying he’s suddenly gotten sick to his stomach. They offer starship fuel to huff, which they state takes the edge off, and when Pilgrim smells the stuff, his abdominal cramps and pain get worse and he heads off to the bathroom to fire out half of his colon.

After a few hours pass and Shaun has gotten bored observing the Sh’teals operation, exhausting his curiosity for the neighborhood locals and such, suggests that he Pilgrim and Reeva go meet Hatch to see what is going to be done next regarding Blackwatch. Reeva leaves Colson to continue repairs on his ship with instructions to follow his lead as to what he had been doing already and not to deviate back to the typical boring shit he usually does. Colson gets sick of the whole mess and ignores Reeva, immediately stopping all work on the project as soon as Reeva leaves.

Back at the RIFU offices, Hacth and company have continued their efforts but have a concern. When Shaun and Reeva arrive, Hatch asks if they had been followed as he suspects that someone is attempting to sabotage or slow their efforts, as a whole transport ship of his marines and scientists went missing. Shaun looks at Reeva, makes a face of shock, and comments back to Hatch over the video-comm terminal. “You do realize that you just asked a paranoid freak and an overconfident blowhard if they were followed?” " You will get both a yes and no answer, one from each of us, and to all examination we will both appear to be telling what we believe to be the truth." “So how can you believe anything we say in the matter?”

Reeva laughs at the situation, as does Shaun, Hatch on the other hand explains his concern for his missing employees and reminds the two to remember that these people have families that will not think this is so funny. Shaun turns back the asshole knob on his personality and offers Hatch his services to locate the missing employees. Hatch gladly accepts the offer and tells Shaun to submit paperwork for any expenses he may incur during his investigation. Shaun is left dumbfounded that he might have to submit official paperwork for paid bribes to vagrants and miscreants. “You do realize the only expenses I will have are bribes out of pocket, right?” Hatch smiles and nods, “Yes, make sure you get receipts.” Shaun gets flustered and sarcastically asks if they have official paperwork if he has to kill someone. Hatch replies, “Yes, just check the radical social change box” “It’s the corporate term for assassination.” Shaun leaves the comm terminal mumbling “Fucking corporations, unfuckingbelievable”

Shaun and company head back to Nexus Gate to begin investigating the disappearance of the RIFU transport. First it is confirmed that indeed, a RIFU transport with the designation markers of the missing transport did come through the gate and head planet side to dock. Shaun hacks the security feeds and creeps through recordings of the docking bays to locate the ship upon it’s arrival. The ship docks and they are immediately surrounded by three heavily armed and armored vehicles, akin to hovering tanks. The tanks stay off camera and several armed men disembark and forcefully usher the RIFU employees aboard the tanks, six marines and eight scientists total.

Shaun attempts to track the vehicles but quickly figures they left Xiu Xi City and headed to the planet’s surface where they may well be nearly impossible to track, as they are in a hover vehicle and left hours ago.

Needing more of an eye in the sky perspective, Shaun hacks a visual satellite and begins to scan the planet surface. Just outside Xiu Xi City he discovers something worth investigating in person, an encampment of varied ships, mostly Coalition and Collective make, some matching the description of the hover tanks.

Reeva and Pilgrim take a flight down planet side in the Equalizer and attempt to get a good scan on the assembled ships, while Shaun continues to watch via satellite. The attempt is to prove that the RIFU employees are indeed on the assembled ships before any moves are made.

Pilgrim keeps a low profile and stays inconspicuous during the investigation. It is incredibly difficult for Reeva or Shaun to get a solid bit of information, as the scanners won’t tell much at this safe distance. If they want more information, they will have to take risks and get closer.

While deciding if they will indeed take those risks, a large Coalition make drop ship descends from low orbit to the atmosphere, where it nearly collides with the Equalizer. Taking immediate evasive action, Pilgrim spins the Equalizer, bad sensors and all, into an impressive corkscrew like maneuver and beats a hasty retreat.

Shaun watches as the drop ship is engaged by the assembled ships on the surface and then all ships depart. It seems like the planet side ships were loading something onto the larger ship, before it left planet and took course for Nexus Gate.

The large ship sits in Gate queue and is headed for Collective space. Shaun thinks this is the last chance he will have at locating the missing employees and doesn’t want to involve Hatch without having any solid facts. Reeva comes up with a plan to put word on the street that valuables of some kind are on this ship, making it a target for pirates and such. This might give them a distraction to put a plan into action.

Shaun calls Hatch and explains the situation. Hatch cannot offer any physical assistance, but assures Shaun he will contact Gate security and inform them that he and Reeva are there on RIFU’s behalf, granting them certain authority.

Shaun puts the word on the street that the large ship contains a huge shipment of “Maguffin Tops” and in short order, several seedy looking ships begin to hover. Shaun tries to contact actual contracted gate security for assistance, but gets nowhere fast. He takes his backup plan of involving gate queue security, who mainly scan ships for contraband and dangerous goods.

Shaun convinces these men, who are little more than scanner technicians who observe ships going through queue, that he and Reeva are there to prevent a serious threat. He informs them that the ship is about to be attacked and when it does, they need to be able to board the ship itself. They make excuses about lack of authority and other concerns, frustrating Shaun. Reeva has begun to modify the sensors so he can get a more thorough examination of the ship and its contents.

Reeva quickly points out the lack of any biological signatures on board, as well as the stripped down nature of the vessel. It appears that nearly everything except a computer, climate control and hyper drive has been stripped off, leaving hollow facsimiles in their place. Shaun and Reeva draw the same conclusion, when the H-drive is scanned further, this ship is rigged to be a bomb. Shaun, noting further, that this may very well turn Nexus Gate into the next Blackwatch.

The pirate ships hovering about the ship are contacted by Reeva and asked to stand down, as the ship is a dangerous and volatile explosive. They do not believe him, thinking he may be attempting to claim the cargo for himself, to which Reeva waives all rights to any salvage, giving them first picks if they stand down. Seemingly by themselves, the other set of ships stand down. A third group of ships consisting of one well known Bully fighter arrives to oversee the event. Several Gate Security officers arrive in full gunsuits to lend assistance to the “RIFU independent contractor team”. Shaun and Reeva split up responsibilities on the ship, Reeva taking the engine room and the explosives, and Shaun taking the bridge and the computer.

The environment on the ship is hostile to life, containing combustible, slightly corrosive gas. It is guessed that the ship itself is set to fragment upon explosion, causing maximum collateral damages. Whoever is doing this job, wants to cripple, if not destroy Nexus Gate. Shaun attempts to take control of the system, but is opposed by what appears to be a hostile AI, but in reality is similar to the virus on Blackwatch or similar to the “Sentinel” he had in a suitcase.

Shaun physically disconnects several components of the computer, severely crippling the virus, as it cannot fully launch itself into action now. He first gains control of the climate control and attempts to fix the environment, finding out that the system has been loaded with this gas instead of breathable air. To further complicate things, the controls believe this mix of environmental conditions to be normal. None of the Gunsuited guards may fire in this environment, as it would set off an explosion. Shaun has all the airlocks opened and begins to vent the gasses into space.

Meanwhile, Reeva has made his way to the engine room and finds the whole room locked down and there is no power to the doors. The whole room is sealed tight and Reeva can see the ship’s H-drive is cycling power back into itself, causing it to overheat and glow. He knows he has little time to get inside, so he gets to work. He breaks open the control panel and locates the lever that will allow the door to be forced during emergencies and forces the door open. Once opened, Reeva realizes that there is far to much radiation emitting from the drive and he cannot get inside to stop it. That’s when he figures out to send in Pilgrim.

Pilgrim is a Zerg, meaning that biologically he is more resistant to the effects of harmful radiation than normal men. That fact, coupled with his armored flight suit that is lined with radiation resistant materials, means he can enter the room largely unaffected.

Pilgrim enters the room, with a remote tech drone under his arm. Reeva is carefully supervising Pilgrim through the drone and is using the small arms of the drone to examine things. Reeva concludes that the drive is not only cycling power back into itself, causing it to overcharge and store extra power on its way to detonation, but is also rigged with several small charges set to explode if the drive it turned off or any of this rig is tampered with in any way. There are three explosive charges that must be disabled before the drive itself can be allowed to power down.

Reeva tries to tell Pilgrim exactly how to disarm the explosives, but Pilgrim keeps fiddling around with the wrong wires. Eventually, as time ticks away down to the point of no return, Pilgrim finally manages to disable one of the charges. He follows the same instructions for charge two, but loses focus on three and Shaun snaps him back to reality by yelling at him to cut the same color wire he had the last two times. All three charges are now disabled, leaving the task of powering down the H-Drive.

Reeva has lost all patience with Pilgrim who had wasted valuable time fumbling about with the wires. Pilgrim tries to tell Reeva that he’s not nearly as skilled as he is with this sort of thing, and he’s just excited that he managed to do as well as he had. Reeva yells at Pilgrim to just do as he says and finish powering down the drive, at which point Pilgrim decides he’s tired of Reeva’s yelling and tells him to go in and do it himself.

Reeva runs in, presses a series of buttons in a sequence and in his haste and panic, fails to power the drive down. He calls to Shaun to vent some of the radiation and heat out of the room so he can make a second attempt. Shaun attempts to vent the room, but there is little he can do with so little time, though he does manage to open a hatch beneath the drive. Reeva takes one last dash inside and hits all buttons in sequence, the drive begins to power down, but it appears that it may still explode, as it is overcharged and overheated.

Reeva disconnects a few of the main mounts for the drive, and readies to space the whole unit. As Reeva launches the drive into space, the doors for the room slam themselves shut when the hatch beneath the drive is opened to the vacuum of space. Reeva is now trapped inside the engine room, which is still full of radiation and intense heat. If he fails to escape soon, he may end up cooked in the engine room.

Shaun and his team exit the ship with many of the computer components containing the virus, and rendezvous with the security guards and Pilgrim. Reeva on the other hand is left with little option, he exits the ship via the H-drive ventilation port that he spaced the engine through. Reeva spacewalks his way off the ship using the mag-boots on his suit.

On dock, everyone watches as the gate security pushes the overheated drive away from the station, before blowing it up. Reeva mentions that there was a body attached to the drive inside the engine room, he assumes it was the engineer, who died in the room due to the conditions. Shaun figures it was most likely someone infected with the bioplague and once the ship exploded, the disease would have been spread across Nexus Gate. No matter what the reason the body was present, it and it’s purpose were just blasted into oblivion.

Gate security and officials arrive on the scene and are looking for a report on what just happened. Shaun takes a low profile and gives all the credit for the avoided catastrophe to the scanner technicians who he duped into helping him in the first place. He claims the men are heroes and due to their spotting the problem and quick action, they saved the day. Once Shaun tells his story he fades into the background and leaves the scene.

Reeva on the other hand is busy telling the tale of how ingenious and brave he was. How due to his tech-savvy and general superior ability, he was able to single-handedly avert certain doom. Luckily for Reeva the only ones listening to him be a blowhard are some Dark Eye pirate clanners. The pirates listen to Reeva’s story and claim their right on the salvage of the vessel that was to be a bomb, getting Reeva in good with the Dark Eye clan.

More mysteriously, on the dock is Otto speaking to Caleb who seemed to be in charge of the second group of ships that were hovering around the large vessel when it was heard there was valuable cargo aboard. He approaches Reeva and tells him he should thank Caleb for making the situation so much easier than it would have been without him. Then Otto vanishes back into the crowd, off to conduct more business.

Shaun reports to Hatch that another Blackwatch situation had been averted, but unfortunately, his employees are still among the missing. Shaun, Reeva and Pilgrim, resume their investigation for the missing persons in full.

The next few hours of research are less eventful and it is believed the hover tanks containing the RIFU personnel passed through the territory of a warlord Czak. Shaun contacts this warlord through the sysnet.

Shaun has a rough negotiation with Czak who claims not only will he not assist Shaun in his present endeavor but that Shaun already owes him 15000cr for previous assistance. He states that Shaun had already promised him money for some stealth paint that he and Hwar Do bought from him some five or six months ago. Shaun is confused and attempts to convince Czak that he has no recollection of the events and wants proof. Czak sends video feed of his claim, Hwar Do, Reeva and Shaun purchased stealth paint from him, when he says they did. It appears the memory loss Shaun has goes further back than he expected.

Czak isn’t buying any excuses from Shaun who he claims to know as a smooth talker. Reeva tries to take over negotiations and as he begins to shoot off his mouth Czak reminds Reeva what he told him last time he ran his mouth. He tells Reeva that if he doesn’t shut up quick, he’ll send someone to cut out his tongue. Shaun attempts to explain to Czak that he will make good on whatever deal he made, but he simply cannot do anything about it right now. Czak threatens Shaun that if he is not paid by morning, he will send people. Shaun radios to Hatch and gets Gabriel assigned to he and Pilgrim, who are going to stay openly in a hotel, awaiting Czak to send people.

Reeva takes the time now to head off and speak with Coleson who had been working on his ship. At the shop, Pat Sh’teal informs Reeva that Biggs had a message for him, but he went off to Nexus gate not long ago to go grab a few drinks. Reeva yells for Coleson to report on the progress, and he enters the shop saying that once and for all he is not a Coleson. Reeva produces a crayon drawn birth certificate and states that this is all the proof he needs, and it states he’s a Coleson. The kid yells back that the paper is drawn on in crayon. To which Reeva replies, you’re a fucking Coleson, you’re lucky it’s written at all, you fuckers are usually illiterate. He badgers the kid some more when he realizes that he hasn’t done any more work on the ship.

Reeva contacts Shaun to ask if he can help him get hold of Biggs on Nexus Gate. and Shaun tells him to come by the hotel and pick him up. Shaun breaks into the sysnet and looks on camera for Biggs. He locates his whereabouts in Tweaks Wreck the pilot’s bar, but the security feed is old, he was there about an hour ago. Shaun patches a transmission through to the bar and allows Reeva to speak to the bartender. The bartender states that Biggs left with Arashi Sinclair and it didn’t look friendly. Short order investigation leads to Sinclair’s reputation as bad news. She’s an ace pilot and mercenary who does lots of work in the interzone. She’s known to hunt down and blow up pirate vessels for fun.

Reeva has Shaun contact the hangar where Sinclair is docked and Shaun will only patch him through as far as the front door of the facility. The hangar guard speaks to Reeva, confirms that Biggs is with Sinclair and patches Reeva through to her hangar.

Sinclair gives Reeva thirty seconds to speak then she’s hanging up. Reeva states that he is friends with Biggs and wants to know what’s going on. She explains that she hired Biggs and Coleson to work on her ship’s tractor beam. When they had finished repairs, she was caught in a combat not only without use of the tractor beam, but the targeting lock was all fucked up too. She is holding Biggs hostage until his family pays her ransom, 5000cr alive, 2500cr in pieces, their call. Shaun asks how much for the message that Biggs had for them, as that’s all he really cares about anyway. She puts Biggs on the line who uses the last few seconds of the call to beg Reeva to save his life.

Reeva and Shaun head back to the shop to speak to Pat about the ransom. Pat doesn’t seem concerned, stating that things like this happen all the time. They do shitty work here and people threaten them all the time. Reeva gets it out of Coleson that indeed she stated the tractor beam was malfunctioning, but all they did was run a diagnostic check and couldn’t find anything wrong. so they charged her 600cr and sent her on her way, stating it was fixed.

Shaun tries to get the 5000cr from the register that Reeva had paid for his computer system, so he could simply pay the ransom and be done with all this. Pat pulls a gun and stops Shaun where he stands. Shaun argues with Pat over the life of Biggs and comes to the realization that he cares nothing for these Sh’teals and wants no more of this ordeal. He leaves calling them scumbags for leaving one of their own hung out to die. Shaun takes transport back to the hotel for some rest.

Reeva is left standing there alone, in over his head again. He just wishes he knew some way he could save his friend.

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Who's the Sentinel Now, Bitch!
Sentinel is revealed to be a Suitcase Virus, Deefor is revealed as a super bot holding a portion of the real Sentinel, Otto and Shaun get in good with Gryff, and Reeva just wants to get laid...

Shaun attempts to convince Otto that Deefor could be a threat, but Otto isn’t buying it. What he does manage to convince him of, is that Deefor is more than it appears to be. After a bit of a discussion regarding how to go about scanning and investigating the robot, Otto agrees Shaun can do as he wishes. Though he does advise the use of discretion and try to gain Deefor’s assistance, or at least it’s permission. Shaun and Reeva approach Deefor while Otto and Hatch take their prisoner into the back rooms of the Wayfarer to interrogate him.

Shaun and Reeva begin their diagnosis of Deefor by talking first. Shaun attempts to convince Deefor that there may be information storage units and possibly other hidden components within him. He further explains the attack on the RIFU cruiser and his suspicion that the hostile AI was looking for Deefor’s core dump. Deefor will not allow anyone to shut him down and dissect him, but he will agree to a full diagnostic and schematic scan. Deefor the repair/astrogation robot, is found to be much more than it was previously thought it was.

Meanwhile, Hatch opens up his briefcase to reveal that it conceals more than paperwork and files. He mixes two drinks from his hidden supply of liquor, one whiskey on the rocks for Otto, and some sort of tropical rum drink for himself. He hands the glass to Otto and tells him to take it easy with the interrogation, as he would not like to be party to torture, and toasts to success in this matter. Otto takes his glass, loosens his tie and walks into the back, closing the door behind him.

The prisoner has been stripped of his armor and weapons and is restrained in a chair. Two RIFU marines are standing guard in full armor with assault weapons in hand. Otto confronts the man and begins some simple questioning. Otto tries the pleasant route first, asking the man who sent him and why he would do something as foolish as attack a RIFU ship, containing himself and his companions. He explains that if he does not answers his questions honestly and without hesitation that he will be forced to cause this man harm.

The man explains that his employer will kill him for talking, so he cares little for the harm Otto has threatened. Otto offers protection in trade for the answers, and this man spits at the promise of protection from Otto Murrin and the Syndicate. He laughs that protection from a man like Otto is a quick and painless death, so that nobody can ever do harm to him again, the he smiles and clenches his jaw shut.

While Shaun is running his diagnostic of Deefor, he gets a flash of premonition and radios Otto. “Otto, the man you’re interrogating is trying to chew out his own tongue, if he is not stopped, he will no longer be able to speak to you.” Otto slaps the man in the mouth, knocking his jaw open, to reveal in fact that he was attempting to bite off his tongue.

Otto picks up his drink, takes a large gulp and takes off his jacket. As Otto rolls up his sleeves, he apologizes to the man, he didn’t want to do this. Otto asks the two marines to hold the man still as he pulls out his knife. He looks into the mans eyes and severs one of his testicles. As the testicle rolls around on the floor, and the man screams, Otto repeats his request for information. The man screws up his guts and spits blood in Otto’s face, saying that what The Bitch will do to him is far worse than what Otto will do.

Otto looks at the two armored marines and asks them if the man had been searched for weapons. They gesture at the man in his underwear restrained by binder-cuffs and seated. “What do you think?” Otto shakes his head. You guys don’t understand, has he been searched, “fully”? Did you check everywhere? The marines look at one another and stare back at Otto. “You mean, ::Gestures to the man’s lower half:: in there?” Otto nods and stands the man up. He roughly pushes the man over the back of the seat and orders one of the marines to preform a cavity search.

One marine says he simply can’t do this and steps back with Otto. The other marine, attempts to take off his armored gauntlet, but Otto stops him. “No, leave it on, you never know what this sick bastard has in there.” Otto puts his arm around the marine who stepped back with him and tells him, it’s ok, he’ll be there to hold him through this, as he smiles. In short order the marine has done serious damage to the man with his rough search, but, he has found a small strange, non-metallic knife and notes a tattoo.

The man is barely conscious and bleeding badly. The marine forced to search the man is trying to wash the blood off his hands, but can’t seem to get it all off and the second marine is nearly vomiting in his armored suit.

Otto comes back out to Hatch, knife in hand and sends Pilgrim in to tend to the man’s wounds. He tells Hatch that the man won’t talk, but he did find this. Hatch won’t touch the thing, but comments that it looks like a crude stone knife, laminated with plastic polymers to make the knife stronger and unable to be detected by normal scanners. He comments that those sorts of things are popular in the freespace and frontiers. Also, given the tattoo, the man appears to be a pirate from the Colson clan.

Otto recalls the Colsons were also involved in the episode on the prison transport ship and thinks there may be a connection. Otto and Hatch resume the interrogation. Pilgrim says he did the best he could with the damage, but things got pretty torn up and he thinks the man may still bleed to death unless he gets him to medical bay. The only thing keeping the man conscious is a heavy dose of stimulant. Otto pulls his knife and attempts to resume his questioning. Hatch stops Otto and asks that he be given a chance. Hatch promises mercy to the man, he also swears that he will not allow Otto to touch him again if he is given what he needs to know.

The man sobs and reveals that he has been hired by someone he only refers to as The Bitch. He says Hwar Do also works with her and she has been offering huge sums of money for mercenaries. She has been recruiting out in the freespace and frontiers, and many of his clan saw this as an opportunity to make a name for themselves and secure a small fortune. He swears he never would have taken the job had he known the risks and the kind of people he would be forced against.

Otto relays the information to Shaun and Shaun recalls that Reeva had heard a woman’s voice over the terminal in the bunker. The woman who thanked him for information on Sentinel being around and who claimed to know Shaun very well.

Otto, thanks the man for finally talking and begins to regretfully inform him that he did not speak with honesty and without hesitation, so unfortunately, now Otto will have to hurt him. Hatch ends the mess before it begins, one shot hits the man both ending his agony and fulfilling Hatch’s promise. The fear fades into relief as life escapes the man’s eyes.

Hatch straightens himself up, and says he’s going to get another drink. The marines are both close to shock over the brutality and Otto cleans himself up, keeping the knife that was found.

Hatch shows his feelings for what Otto had done and says he wished Otto had listened and not tortured the man, as he cannot abide that kind of behavior as he is a different man than he used to be. Otto looks at Hatch puzzled and asks him how he tortured the man. He says he was playing nice, he even offered him protection for the information, but the man was impossible. Hatch and Otto finish their drinks in silence.

Reeva and Shaun use the tech scanners on the Wayfarer to get a full schematic of what is in Deefor and how it all works. What they find is that Deefor has one central core for programming and information, but several areas where it appears information and programming may be stored. Also, most notably, it appears as if the major components of this robot are what one would expect to see in an H-space drive. It would appear as if Deefor can hack into or install itself into an H-Space drive. Program coordinates, and power the drive, all at once. Deefor could hijack a large vessel and take it where ever he pleases.

Shaun is busy collecting data from the storage units inside Deefor, while Reeva is examining the internal components on the scanner. Deefor, itself, is examining the information brought to it’s attention and is in a state of disbelief, it feels Shaun is tricking it into allowing Shaun to disassemble it.

Shaun has Deefor help him go over the date found inside it’s hidden information cores. To do this, Shaun has implanted a hacking rig inside Deefor, so Deefor can hack itself and access the other cores. Shaun is copying everything Deefor is outputting and examining it for anything unusual, which is precisely when the unusual happens. Shaun notes that Deefor goes still several times a day to go into a partial shutdown and diagnostic mode, checking all the systems. This time, when Deefor goes into diagnostic mode, the hacking rig is still active and is outputting to the scanners and screens.

A recorded message plays to Reeva and Shaun. Deefor is in fact one of twelve parts of the real Sentinel, and the Sentinel we have in the suitcase storage unit is a very powerful virus, posing as an AI, as the “hostile AI” that attacked the RIFU cruiser was. With this information, it is learned that the AI being recovered by 61TO in the bunker is also a part of the real Sentinel. This explains some of Deefor’s advanced capabilities, some of his programming is that of a Sentinel.

Both Shaun and Reeva wonder how this trashcan could possibly contain and run such advanced technology in such a small body. Further examination reveals cutting edge computer and robotics technology that make up part of the core guts of Deefor. Whoever built the parts left their signature on the components and Shaun suspects he may know who the person is.

This information is given to Hatch who recognizes the signature as belonging to someone who had been creating advanced microchips in the Interzone not long ago. Shaun suspects that it may be Abstract, the hacker he met on Nexus gate a few weeks back, and is set to meet again in a few weeks time. This is the same person Hatch suggested to Shaun that he seek out to “hack his brain” for the information in the neurostorage unit.

Hatch had already finished collecting all the samples he needed to repair the damage done to the people and environment by the bioplague and had sent his people back to collect the pieces of the wreckage of the cruiser as well as any biological remnants of his employees. RIFU has a practice of keeping genetic backups of their employees as an insurance policy. You see they can just clone the employees and implant their memories back into them, so they may resume their lives.

Hatch tells Otto and company that he has collected all he needs and now that they have one of the twelve parts of Sentinel, to safeguard of course, he is ready to go back to Nexus gate to continue the research. He will leave his men here to collect the broken pieces and they will be along shortly. As Otto and the Wayfarer, head off to Blackwatch Gate, yet again Securitech attempts to hassle Otto and are run off by Tigh and his Ragnarok arms assault freighter. Shaun suggests to Otto that they get rid of this ship as soon as possible, as they won’t have Tigh around to scare away Securitech always.

Otto, Hatch and company hit the queue at Blackwatch and are in Nexus Gate in no time. Hatch and his men leave the Wayfarer to set up the next step of this process. Hatch tells Otto there will be a meeting in 6 hours. Otto replies “maybe I’ll be there” and takes off in the Wayfarer. Shaun is already busy tracking Gryff and attempting to set up a trade for the Wayfarer.

Nexus Gate to Harbingers Gate. Otto, Shaun, Reeva and Deefor are through and getting ready to meet Gryff, who Shaun contacted and told them he was in the marketplace getting rid of some old ships and picking up a few new ones. Unknown to Otto, Deefor had set the call beacon of the ship to blare out through communications, that “this is the military vessel Otto, stand down and allow passage”.

Several calls hail in through communications, mostly mercs and pirates offering escort for money. The gate security advise Otto that he turn off his beacon, as he is drawing attention from people who might see a Coalition military vessel this far from home a threat and target. Otto turns off the beacon, but not before one more interested party hails him.

Otto is hailed by a Black Dragon courtesan who does not identify herself as such (But speaks in a baritone voice), she simply offers her services to the captain. Otto accepts and drags Reeva with him to meet the woman when she docks. Reeva boast of his sexual prowess the whole time and Otto tells him he will have every chance to prove his manhood, as he tosses Reeva to the docking bay and locks the doors.

The woman enters the docking bay with two guards and in a manly tone, offers herself to the captain in turn for traded services. She appears to want something from the crew she thinks is military. Reeva postures and lewdly flirts and the woman understands the Captain of the vessel wasted her time by sending a boy and leaves, offering a location where she can be reached if the Captain wishes to stop fooling around.

Reeva returns to the group with a tale:

An excerpt from Reeva MacGuyvern: An Erotic Life

I entered the room, ushered in quickly by Otto who I imagine needed me to step in as “acting Captain” and handle his problems, female in nature. I brushed myself off, my gestures, masculine and erotic by instinct.

There she stood, eyes transfixed on my every move, obviously mesmerized by my bulging manhood, or was that my tool belt. Her face obscured by a porcelain mask, painted to be feminine to the extreme. Her guards, who I assume were meant to be menacing, were cowed my my epic manliness. They as well, awed by my sexuality. The gayness in the air made me uncomfortable.

She spoke, her voice husky and familiar. Does she drink whiskey by the pint-full and smoke three packs a day or is this a …

Man, her body was something. Her moves so graceful as she approached my gyrating crotch. Though I never did see her breast, I imagine her boobs … were just rockin’. She kept herself covered in her thin silken robes, attempting to entice me further, it worked.

My sexual overtures were forceful and animal in nature. She must have felt like prey being hunted by a great big manly unicorn, but you know with like a giant horn in it’s crotch. She grimaced as I approached, obviously afraid of my size. Her two guards stepped in, but I’m not into dudes so I backed away.

She wasn’t woman enough to handle me, so she left the hangar with a message to Captain Otto. “When you’re ready to do business send a man, not this Superman you sent, because I just can’t do that”

Fin (Ok, that didn’t happen word for word in game, but that is my homage to Dennis Reynolds: Always Sunny in Philadelphia)

The courtesan leaves the ship and Otto and company head off to meet Gryff in the large market just off the gate station.

Otto and Shaun meet Gryff and make a trade. They explain how hot the Wayfarer is and that they basically just need to offload it quick. Gryff feels bad that all he can offer is an Equalizer Heavy Fighter. Shaun asks Gryff if he still had the security droids they sold/traded to him and he explains that two of three have been sold off but he still has one. Shaun would like to examine it for the same kind of tech found in Deefor.

The droid presents itself, with a proper British affect to it’s voice and demeanor. Gryff has set it to this mode, so it appears less threatening than it really is. Deefor takes an aggressive stance to the new robot and tries to challenge it to a fight. Deefor charges up his little arc welder and threatens to zap the robot who mockingly backs down. Shaun comments, "Otto did you see that, Deefor just backed down Gryff’s security robot with his little “thing” there" Can you imagine that, a big bad security robot, scared of Deefor’s “little thing”. Gryff, Otto and Shaun have a laugh at the robot’s expense but Gryff ends the laugh, explaining that those are the robots orders, he can assess threats and Deefor isn’t a threat to him.

Reeva takes this time to pipe up, way after the jokes are over, and tries to tell his erotic tale from the ship, and how he scared away the Black Dragon courtesan with his “little thing”.

Nobody laughs and Gryff gets annoyed. Reeva goes on to boast, that he could easily best the security robot as well, since the scar on his face is proof of his superiority over robots in combat.

Deefor charges up at Reeva’s mention of attacking a robot, and Gryff takes a hostile stance as well. Deefor is begging Otto for permission to shock Reeva silly again, while Gryff warns Reeva not to run his mouth regarding things he cannot back up.

He explains that that kind of exaggeration is the same as lying in his book, and he can’t stand the dishonest. Further he notes the scar looks like Caleb’s work and that he’s lucky to have gotten away from Caleb with so small of a warning. He advises Reeva to keep his mouth shut a lot more often and to carefully choose his words when he does dare to speak.

Gryff gives some advice and warnings regarding the courtesan, but Otto has no intention of meeting her. He parts ways with Shaun and Otto in more of a friendly term than last time, saying that he still owes them something for this ship. Reeva tries to ask what he will get, but he is told he already got all he’s going to get. Today he got advice, and he got off easy, “stop running your mouth kid.”

Shaun shakes his head and feels sorry for Reeva who is simply confused why nobody seems to like his stories.

The four hit the Gate, and as luck may have it, it is heading back to Nexus Gate. They take their new ship and hitch a ride through the queue. They are now on their way to meet Hatch and the next leg of the job to cure the bioplague.

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Two, Two, Two Feints in One...
While Shaun is struggling to contain the damage being caused by an AI accessing ship functions on Hatch's RIFU Cruiser, the vessel comes under attack... and its up to Pilgrim, Reeva, Rodeo, and Deefor to stop the attackers...

Hatch and his team of specialists have invited Otto and his companions aboard his orbiting cruiser. Once aboard, the crew of the cruiser notes that Securitech had sent several pursuit ships after the Wayfarer, but are quickly run off by Tigh and his Ragnarok Arms Bully heavy fighter ship. At which point Tigh docks his ship and heads to the meeting.

The cruiser is more of a laboratory and massive computer than anything else. There are engineers and technicians busily working, as well as a crew of command and support staff. There are small barracks for a few dozen marines, but most of the troops are deployed.

Hatch would like to conduct a meeting about the next step in things but is interrupted by Shaun who takes Otto aside.

Shaun asks Otto if he really feels that he is being paranoid and a threat to the proceedings. Otto tells Shaun that he has been very unreasonable and has no reason not to trust Hatch who seems to be conducting business, not some crack-pot plot that you might hear in a conspiracy theory.

Shaun informs Hatch that he needs medical attention to help regulate his medication. Tigh insists that Shaun does not need medication, that he is making himself worse. The medical crew goes over Shaun with simple medical scans, but Shaun still denies them access to a simple blood sample or a deeper scan. The result of the simple tests are that Shaun is having a severe reaction to the medication he has been taking. Not only was he taking huge over dosages but the hypnotic beneficial effects of the drug have been causing him to become paranoid to the point of hostility and have most likely been causing him to repress memories. Shaun leaves medical bay without allowing them to dig any deeper after they insist he does not need medication at all.

Back in the command room, Hatch is again trying to begin his meeting and is again interrupted by Shaun who tells him that he has a neurostorage system that is locked to him. He explains how he has been trying to hack his own brain for some time now and has had no luck. He had gone as far as trying to have the company who implanted the device attempt to unlock it, with no success. Shaun says that he feels that the key to what they are going through right now might be locked inside his brain, if he was indeed part of this mess when it begun.

Hatch thanks Shaun for the information but explains there are too many “if’s” in the situation and would prefer to go on with the facts and information he has already collected, hence the meeting.

Hatch and Tigh begin to explain their findings. It seems that Doctor J had been going over Gabriel’s bio-samples and found something quite impossible. It appears Gabriel is a clone of a soldat, and soldats cannot be cloned. Furthermore, they believe we were the ones to have Gabriel made. There are other issues with Gabriel, such as hallucinations and imperfect memory. He believes he has enlarged body parts that are not enlarged, it may be a sign that his sense of self or being is impaired. Gabriel may not be able to sense himself for who and what he is. Also, it seems Gabriel is having breakthroughs, remembering things that occurred during our time of memory loss, via moments of Deja’Vu.

The concern is that Gabriel is so unstable around the bioplague that he may have been a much more deadly threat than we had first imagined, which is half the reason Hatch had him removed and brought to Nexus Gate. The other half is that Hatch is intrigued by the mystery. He wants to know how it is Gabriel is a clone from something un-clonable. Doctor J had theorized that the only ones that might be capable of something so on the cutting edge of genetics would be Prometheus Innovations, a relatively new bio-engineering corporation in the Interzone.

Hearing the name, Shaun explains that the moment he had his neurostorage system locked down was when he had been creeping through a Prometheus database and suddenly something was downloaded into his brain. He woke up some time after feeling very ill and unable to access his storage system. Since then he has had more problems with his memories and has gotten weaker, whatever he has in his head, it’s taking it’s toll on him.

Hatch tells Shaun that if he cannot hack into his brain, that he should seek out someone who can. He suggests the man Shaun was going to meet on Harlinn’s World in a few weeks, Abstract. Apparently not only is Abstract one who gathers information on the strange and obscure, but he also dabbles in it’s application, such as knowing how to hack a human brain. The other thing Hatch offers are the services of a forensic accountant, Cal Haverdash III. A forensic accountant will be able to track where the funding came from to create someone like Gabriel. Hatch further tries to explain to an unimpressed Shaun that the one thing RIFU knows is money. Not just currency, buying and selling, but the knowledge that everything takes resources and funding to accomplish. With that knowledge they can track it, and effect it.

Otto tells Hatch that they had plans to go to Harlinn’s World in a little over three weeks time to meet Abstract. Also he tells that they had recently received a communication from a scratchy voiced man who explained he will meet us in our usual spot. Shaun takes the sets of astrogation coordinates he salvaged from Reeva’s robot and asks Hatch if he can use his computer. He plugs in the coordinates using first Harlinn’s World as zero point, and gets no results, but when he uses New Harmony Gate outside Harlinn’s world, he has a match. The points are, an oceanic planet in Recengy space, several markers in the salvage areas around planet Twilight in Alliance space and several other spots that at this point don’t seems to make sense at the moment.

Thinking that there was hidden information on the astrogation robot on Reeva’s ship, Shaun believes that since Deefor seems to know Otto from before, it may also have hidden information somewhere in it’s programming or in Sentinel’s programming. Shaun tries to contact Sentinel on the Wayfarer to gather information and is told Sentinel has been blocked and contained by Deefor. Deefor refuses to explain himself any further than he was stopping Sentinel from taking the ship. Shaun gets agitated with Deefor who refuses to cooperate with any of his requests and continues to block all attempts to access Sentinel. Shaun asks for Otto’s help as it seems Deefor only responds to Otto. Otto speaks to Deefor and convinces it to agree to send a core dump for Shaun to go through on the cruiser.

Not long after the core dump is received the cruiser computer systems go haywire, Shaun instantly distrusts Deefor and assumes the worst. He thinks the robot is a plant from our enemies in the Coil who have a hit out on Otto. Hatch gives Shaun permission to begin countermeasures to regain control of the ship’s computers. Quickly Shaun notes that he is up against what appears to be a hostile AI that is searching the system for the last information received by the cruiser. Shaun physically disconnects his information storage unit from the system, safeguarding the core dump from Deefor. Shaun continues to try to battle the AI by trying to contain it, but what it appears to be doing is consuming resources and taking ground. Every sector of the system that it searches, it takes control of simultaneously and then locks it down. Shaun seems to be fighting a losing battle as every sector he regains control of is again attacked and taken by the AI again, as it continues to attack and lock down new areas as well. The only thing Shaun can think of is to hook up his storage unit to an area where the AI will be tricked into going, and then physically disconnect that part of the ships computer, containing the hostile AI.

While Shaun is doing what he can to regain control of the cruiser’s computer, everyone else is involved in a larger threat. A torpedo had connected with the hull of the cruiser and luckily didn’t do much more than cosmetic damage. Even though the first hit was not much to speak of, it did signal that they were under attack. Tigh gets into his fighter ship and heads out to deffend. Reeva looks for a gunner amongst the marines, and selects one soldier to play gunner while taking four more as a small boarding team if needs be. Pilgrim is itching at the chance to get into some action with the Wayfarer and with Otto’s permission, he and five marines make a zero-g space jump from the RIFU cruiser to the open bay of the Wayfarer and Pilgrim takes the helm.

Pilgrim takes the controls and has Rodeo the pilot/gunner from RIFU take the guns. The sensors on the Wayfarer aren’t really up to the task of finding the ship that had attacked the Cruiser as it appears they may have an advanced cloaking system. Reeva attaches his freighter to the docking bay of the Wayfarer and reminds Pilgrim that 61TO had tweaked the sensors and he needs to turn on the advanced features.

With the advanced scanners active, Pilgrim notes an anomaly on the screen and heads off to investigate. It appears something around the size of a medium ship is hanging back at a distance from the cruiser. When Pilgrim is about half way to the anomaly it fires off a pair of torpedoes and three drone fighters, giving away it’s stealthy position. The drones streak past the Wayfarer as Reeva takes a shot at them, blowing one out of space. Reeva detaches from the Wayfarer to try to defend the cruiser that the drones are going to attack.

Pilgrim and Rodeo are now locked in a gunfight with a collective make Rakshasa stealth gunship. Rodeo is taking shots at incoming torpedoes while Pilgrim is doing all he can to force the Wayfarer towards the enemy. With a little evasive maneuvering, clever use of a tractor beam to create a web to slow down torpedoes, the depletion of all the Wayfarers micro missile packs and expert gunnery on the part of Rodeo the Wayfarer continues to make it’s way towards the Rakshasa.

Reeva takes out another of the drone fighters and calls to Tigh for help. Tigh is not responding, so Reeva tries to contact Otto inside the cruiser and has all communications blocked by the hostile AI. Reeva radios Deefor who is actively scanning the area for the Rakshasa that has cloaked itself again, after deploying a half dozen torpedoes towards the Wayfarer. Deefor takes the message and multi-tasks the sensors and contacting Otto. Deefor somehow either hacks the system or deploys a brute force worm program that burrows a hole to send word to Otto. The people inside are made aware of the assault and attempt to take defensive actions and Otto puts on a space suit. Reeva no longer sees the third drone and again calls to Tigh for his position. The third drone reveals itself as it takes shots on the cruiser and the power on the cruiser goes out.

Inside the cruiser Shaun has failed to stop the hostile AI and he could not lure it into a trap. The only way Hatch feels they can regain control is to shut down the power of the cruiser to everything but life support and try to reboot. Otto tells Shaun that they will die in this cruiser today, Shaun reassures Otto that he is the psychic and they aren’t going to die.

Shaun and the technicians shut everything down as one of the drone fighters takes a shot and disables all their scanners. The passengers on the cruiser are all in the dark, and they are blind to the outside world.

Security on the cruiser radios Hatch and informs him that a hostile team has boarded the cruiser and killed several men. They are pinned down in the docking bay next to engineering. Otto and Hatch head out to assist.

Reeva continuously calls out for assistance and Tigh indicates he is busy with another attack, it seems the attack on the cruiser is a feint. Three other drones had already been deployed, most likely when the first of the torpedoes hit the cruiser. These three drones are hurtling towards the planet’s surface right for the underground bunker where 61TO is collecting the inactive AI, and Tigh is in pursuit. Reeva disengages the drone that was attacking the cruiser as it flees when the power goes out, and heads off to assist Tigh.

Otto and Hatch meet the security guards who are in a standoff with the boarding party. They give orders to the guards who re-enter the docking bay and use sonic stun grenades to shock the boarders. The following firefight leaves the RIFU security worse for wear and several of the boarders wounded and stunned. Otto takes two grenades from Hatch, one Stun, one IR smoke. Otto makes his way, stealthily, towards the docking bay and tosses in the grenades. Two of the RIFU security rush in and take shots at the now confused boarders.

Hatch meets up with Otto and the two enter the obscured area. Hatch takes one side, breaking the neck of one boarder with a kick to the neck. The security guards continue their fight against the exposed boarders and end up on top, with few injuries. Otto stalks the boarders in the smoke and takes one hostage, then guts him with his knife.

Using the corpse as a human shield, Otto stalks another man. This one recognizes the huge frame in the smoke as belonging to someone other than one of his fellow boarders and panics. Otto makes several slashes towards the man’s face and leaves him oozing brains.

As the smoke begins to subside, Hatch stands with two guards flanking him, and Otto menaces the remaining boarders. One man flees out the escape hatch and one is left shaking with piss running down his leg and is taken prisoner.

Reeva and Tigh are racing towards the surface of the planet in pursuit of the three drones who seem to be on a kamikaze course with the underground bunker. Reeva overloads his guns and takes several shots at the drones and with a little luck, he takes two out of the sky. Reeva taunts Tigh for not having any kills yet, and Tigh responds with a blast from his hex cannons, decimating the third drone into nothingness.

Pilgrim closes in on the position of the Rakshasa that he and Deefor managed to track down in stealth mode. Unfortunately, the thing they tracked down was a decoy image left behind by the ship as it made it’s way elsewhere. Deefor locates it immediately and Pilgrim attempts to wheel the ship to face it. The Rakshasa is below the Wayfarer and headed towards the cruiser, it appears as if the attack on the bunker was also a feint. It appears that the target was the cruiser all along. They sent drones to take out the cruiser’s scanners, an AI to shut the ship down and drones to the surface to keep the smaller ships busy. The only thing the Rakshasa had to do was get the Wayfarer far enough away that it could never turn around fast enough to stop the last few torpedoes that it was presently deploying on the cruiser.

Torpedoes are launched and Deefor calls out to Otto. Otto informs Hatch of the eminent doom and radios Shaun that he isn’t much of a psychic, because indeed, they are about to die. Shaun warns the whole bridge crew and everyone he can. He attempts to use the intercom system and remembers that the power is out to everything except life support. Shaun gathers anything that looks important from the bridge and jumps into an escape pod.

Otto grabs his hostage, and tells everyone to prepare for death. Otto opens the boarding door in the docking bay and jumps into the abyss of space. The two guards step next to Hatch who turns on a force field that creates it’s own environment, they are also sucked into space.

From their position, hurtling towards the surface of Rakkhan Prime, Hatch and Otto watch as the cruiser is blown in half by several torpedoes.

Pilgrim uses the tractor beam on the Wayfarer to collect Otto, Hatch and their people. Reeva hits the planet’s surface and picks up Shaun and the things he took from the cruiser, including Deefor’s core dump.

Hatch suggests they all meet on the Wayfarer to discuss what just happened. Shaun distrusts Deefor, because it seems he can do much more than repair and astrogation, not to mention the attack followed the sending of it’s core information. Otto wants to interrogate his prisoner, so he takes the two guards to the back with him. And, as always Reeva boasts about how spectacular of a job he had done, how clever he is, and how without him, we would all be dead right now. Shaun tries to calm Reeva’s ego, by explaining our losses and reminding him that we fell into an obvious set of feints. Furthermore, he would like Reeva’s assistance in going through Deefor to find out if anything is hidden in or on it, as it seems to be a robot that is way more than it appears to be.

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