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Game Log 2 - "The Story Begins"

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 2 months ago

"The Story Begins"

May 23, 2004

The new recruits arrive on time for their first briefing. They sit in comfortable chairs at a long briefing table. Each position has a personal flat panel view screen and a black square palm scanning plate inset flush with the surface of the table. Both sides of the room feel very open because the vertical louvered doors remain open, one leading to tech ops and the other the office space. The short sides of the room host a computer terminal and a water table, with a pitcher and glasses. In the center of the room is a hologram of the ISI logo, very transparent and rotating slowly. The image is being projected from a lens set in the center of the table.



The room is quiet and serious as hushed conversations are shared between neighbors. Across from Aleth and Turk is Tara Chang and two others. The first is a male, tan with short blond hair, cut into a crew cut on top and shaved on the sides. He is wearing wrap around mirrored sunglasses and a cocky grin on his face. He is obviously very muscular. It is obvious because his see through plastisilk stretch shirt doesn’t hide a thing. He is also wearing brown tru-leather fingerless gloves. He stands up to get some water and you notice he is wearing combat cargo pants that seem to change color and reflect the rich mahogalike paneling in the room. A small view screen is strapped to his thigh and appears to be turned off. He brings back an extra glass of water and offers it to his female partner. She looks at the water, then her eyes narrow as she slowly turns her gaze up to him. He is standing perfectly still, the cocky grim seems permanently etched into his face.



“I didn’t say I was thirsty” she coldly states to him. Neither one blinks or flinches as what appears to be some sort of staring war begins, neither one willing to yield.


The female is wearing a one piece velaise body suit which covers her from wrists to ankles. She has oily neck length black hair which clumps together slightly, and falls where it pleases. She would be considered beautiful if she wanted to be, but right now she would best described as rugged. A small name badge is on her shoulder which reads “Sukhu”.



Across the hall you can hear Director Goyle’s door swish open and shut and finally the male flinches and withdraws the water offer and heads for his chair with both glasses in hand. As he passes behind the girl he quietly says “Geez Evadne you can be such a prick sometimes”. Evadne just grins the faintest grin of victory and seems unrepentant of the tense atmosphere she created in the room.


Goyle sweeps into the room and quickly announces “Computer, seal the room for briefing, level 5”. The outer butterfly doors along both sides of the room slowly rotate, sealing off the room without a sound. The rooms lighting changes to red as the palm scanner plates begin to glow. A thin rod with a flat side rises up in the middle of the table and the holographic logo vanishes.



A slightly inhuman voice sounds “Please present palm for biometric identification scan”. When everyone’s hand is on their plate, the rod in the center of the room begins to rotate and the bright blue vertical laser slowly scans over their faces and every object in the room. It stops over the male and the voice announces “Captain Bolante, please remove your glasses”. Evadne and Tara snicker a little, while he complies. The laser continues its sweep until a full 360 degree arc has been completed. The scanning rod descends and the glowing plates dim out. “All identities confirmed and logged, no EM transmissions, computer safeties released, room is secure to level 5”. The light flickers back to normal and the ISI-Section 6 logo appears on the view screen, as its sparks to life.


Sitting at the head of the table is a diminutive older man, his graying hair cut just millimeters from his scalp with age spots providing some contrast. His face is thin and drawn, and a very rare five o’clock shadow is growing on his chin and cheeks. His lips are dry and thin and nearly the same color as his skin. Everything about him makes one think of him as a kindly old grandpa, soon at the end of his career. But then he looks up and gazes at everyone at the table. They see his eyes for the first time. His eyes are on fire with determination. They are both deep and understanding, but also dreadful. There seems to be a limitless reservoir of focus and strength behind his eyes. Everyone there feels as if he could smile at them or destroy them with equal ease. They observe now that everything about him speaks of focus and intention. His simple black business suit detracts in no way from his message. There is no jewelry save for a simple wedding band. He carries with him a simple view screen.



He begins the briefing by nodding at the two new comers and getting straight to the point. No introduction is made and they realize they will not be given any slack for being on their first mission. They feel like small fish in a big pond, but something about him makes them want to succeed.


“Good morning. The device you collected from Ceril 7 has been safely delivered to our labs and our scientists still have no idea what its purpose is or how it works. You did excellent work retrieving it. The loss of the team is regrettable, but their sacrifice has not been empty. The device appears to be made from plans drawn up by the architect of Reidyr Xander I.



His name was Olin Idalamar, and he died 8362 years ago. Idalamar was something of a prophet. He predicted the beginning of the Universal Technological Recession of mankind, 20 years before it began. After Reidyr Xander’s death in pre-Imp 7900, he was persecuted by the Dia Khovaria and discredited. He suggested that science would someday allow us to know god.


After his death, his workshop was destroyed, his ideas auctioned and his plans and sketches were scattered among the inhabited worlds. No one knows where it all went, and until recently Idalamar was considered nothing but a novelty or a footnote in history.



We now have an interest in acquiring and analyzing his works. We first heard of Idalamar last year when the IAI (Imperial Archeological Institute) was cataloging one of his notebooks from Beta Hydranis. In it he details the basic design of a Tachyon Beam Dictor network, all before faster-than-light travel was developed!



Now you know me, I’m a skeptic. I don’t believe in miracles or magic. You make your own luck with good planning. This is all ridiculous right? Then I saw this…”


An image of a U-shaped device sketched on old paper come to life over the holoprojector.





“IAI Director Krystovnich was translating and cataloging one of Idalamar's earliest designs, when she realized that what she was looking at was the design for a fluorine based quantum computer. Today our best researchers have only just now determined fluorine’s suitability for quantum computing.


I believe the device you retrieved from Ceril 7 is a device based on this design. Unfortunately, the design was written on two pages, and we only have one. The other page somehow addresses what is analogous to the ‘software’ for this device. Without this page, it is impossible to understand this device. It is also unclear what Idalamar’s intention for this devise was.


The second page has been traced to the private collection of Mitchell Andunser, an Executive Vice President of Cygnus Corp. Until last week, it was on the docket to be auctioned, however it has now been removed and we think someone may have tipped him off to its value. The document has been placed in a security box to which he alone has the key, which he keeps on his person at all times.


In twelve days Mr. Andunser will be hosting a new product unveiling of their latest model courier. It will be held in the showroom of their executive office tower. Mr. Andunser’s vault is at the top of this tower. We’ve arranged for you to be invited to this gala affair under the guise of being an industry trade reporter being sent to photograph and cover the event. The other agent will perform ghost support from an electronic warfare (EW) van parked close by.


It turns out that Cygnus Corp takes it’s computer security very seriously and intruding from here has been very problematic. Therefore you will bypass their data screen by interfacing a radio modem to their computer system from the inside of the building.


Tara will now go over your Op-Tech.”


Tara stands and seems very excited. She is holding a camera.


“This is just a beautiful piece of photographic equipment, right? Just your basic handheld 3D imager. But look! The body and the lens separate and the body is a 2Ghz radio modem, self contained, self powered and capable of insanely fast interfacing speeds! The lens, aside from being ground from the highest quality sythglass and imaging tech, also serves as a tech scanner (+30) and Random Password Generator. (RPG, no, no explosives).


Oh! And it has a 450:1 zoom!” She grins enthralled with the motion of the lens as she pegs in from wide-angle through telephoto and back. “Cool huh!”


“Also included at no additional cost are these special monits… not any old monits. If you bend it, it will break 2 internal capsules and a chemical reaction will begin which slowly builds up pressure. In about five minutes, the “monit” will burst a seal and 2 streams of high pressure gas will be emitted that will squeal louder than any teapot you’ve ever heard. They’re as effective as any standard sonic grenade, with the exception that they take about 5 minutes to “pressure-up”. Enough time to get a martini. It will break any glass or sythglass within a 50m radius, so be sure you finish your martini before it goes off!” Tara sits down.


Goyle begins to speak again. “Your mission is to recover the box and the key and return them safely here. You have been assigned the Achilles, which will be piloted by Anthony Bolante, along with first mate Evadne Sukhu. You will arrive at Cygnus in 10 days and make contact with Fedj Higgins. He will give you the keys to an EW van. The Achilles will refuel, enter geosynchronous orbit over the Cygnus Corp executive tower and establish a TBD comm. link to us and provide scanner intel, layouts and motion tracking data to the van and ghost operator.


The van will pull up to within sight of the building. At that point one of you will enter the party, plant the radio modem, acquire the key and the box and then proceed together to an isolated area where the van will be destroyed and you will rendezvous with the Achilles for dust off. Under no circumstances are you to open the box.


Questions? “


A short silence ensues.


“You leave in 24 hours from here. A shuttle will take you to the Hyperion Spaceport at 0900 tomorrow. “


Goyle stands and declares “Computer, set security level to default. Dismissed!”


They travel to Cygnus, scan the facility where the party is being held and set down. They meet their Cygnus contact Fedj who delivers their paperwork and turns over the keys to the EW van. They realize that NONE of them know how to drive! Aleth (Gary) gets to the site without incident, parked outside in the proverbial unmarked (EW) van.. Turk (Albert) arrives via public transportation and enters the showroom with his sonic monits, "camera" (actually a radio modem/repair scanner/Random Password Generator), invitation and ID identifying him as a reporter. His mission: plant the radio modem, pickpocket the key from their target Andunser, and get the Idalamar box.


Turk goes into the kitchen to find a terminal and is chased out by the staff. He goes to the DJ to try to get an invite in, but no good. Then Turk encounters Andunser and his lady friend at the DJ Kiosk. He bungles an attempt to lift his wallet and the REALLY bungles a cover up lie and is escorted away by security to a mezzanine level security briefing room, where his invitation, ID and "camera" are confiscated.


Aleth, realizing that things are going badly, contacts Fedj for another invitation/ID match for him. 10 minutes later Aleth has it. Security called the local police who arrive shortly. Aleth breaks into a store across the street which happens to be a Media/Theater Production supply house and starts going through their inventory looking for a police costume. All he can find that is even close is a riot police uniform! (Ha!) As the police arrive he rushes in ahead of them with a note pad and approaches Andunser. His lady friend walks off as he approaches. Posing as a reporter he interviews Andunser and intentionally drops his pen. As Andunser predictably bends over to get the pen, Aleth skillfully pickpockets the necklace off Andunser and discovers a key on it!


Meanwhile, up on the mezzanine level Turk cracks one of the sonic "monit" grenades that begins a 5 minute countdown before it goes off. The police are heading to pick up Turk. Quickly the monit gets hotter and hotter in his pocket as it approaches the trigger point. When it finally goes off even Turk is surprised at how loud it is and everyone in the room is forced to hold their hands over their ears or pass out from the pain. The glass walls around the showroom downstairs begin to quiver and crack and people begin to panic! In a sudden realization that all the glass walls are about to shatter and hundreds of kilos of broken glass are about to come tumbling down on their heads they make a mad rush for the exits! Large sheets of glass break loose and come tumbling down spreading razor-sharp shards across the floor.


Aleth tries to access the freight elevator but is slowed by a security panel. He yelps in delight as he bypasses the security, but as the doors open 2 police officers and a security guard step out. Thinking quickly, Aleth yells over all the commotion if they have any comments to make regarding the situation. They say no and rush pass the "irritating reporter" who quietly slips into the freight elevator as the doors close.


Meanwhile, back at ground zero, Turk leaps up and onto a table in one surprising leap still holding his ears shut with both hands. He engages the guards using only his feet and legs and a hilarious battle ensues where all the combatants are thrusting and blocking only with their legs while holding their hands on their ears. One guard drops his hands to unlock a door only to be quickly incapacitated by the shrill sound and pain as both his eardrums burst. The fight rages for 40 seconds with Turk slowly gaining the upper "hand", or foot as the case may be. Finally Turk kicks his foe into unconsciousness and quickly dispatches the second guard. The sonic grenade finishes, just as Aleth breaks down the door intending to rescue Turk, but it is obvious that Turk has already rescued himself.


Together they plant the radio modem underneath a nearby ruined terminal and Aleth heads back for the van to begin his part as mission "Ghost". While Turk is waiting he notes some "banging" in the duct work but thinks it is only maintenance people. Aleth, safely back at the van, is able to "inhabit" the network and quickly sends the penthouse elevator to the mezzanine level to pick up Turk.


Just then their co-pilot Evadne, monitoring the mission from orbit, alerts Turk to an unusual heat source occurring in the vault holding the Idalamar box. Aleth reconfigures to view the room through the security camera and sees that someone is cutting into the vault room from below! He instructs Turk by radio to head immediately for the vault! At that moment a warning goes off and Aleth's computer's ALERT program has detected suspicious activity in his own CPU! The next turn his "Disengage" program is erased, which now dis-allows him from safely breaking his neural connection to the network any time he wishes. He must now navigate his consciousness to an exit before "unplugging". A moment later the scuttling charge (thermite bomb) intended to cover their tracks when the mission was over is activated and a 2 minute countdown begins! Unless Aleth gets out in 2 minutes he will be engulfed in a super heated explosion which will burn the van down to ashes. Aleth tries to navigate back to the EW van computer to catch the invader but is too late. By that time the floor to the vault has been completely breached and a female in a "sneak suit" emerges from the hole. It was the girl who had earlier been with Mitchell Andunser. There is something about her....Hmmm.


Aleth can only watch as she walks over to the box and loads it into a case. Aleth calls for security to report to the vault immediately. Lifting the case, she then walks over to the Chrysteel vault door and kisses it leaving a big red lipstick smudge. She then gives a little wave to the security camera and disappears from site back into the hole. As this is all happening, Turk is riding up the elevator listening to the soft jazz stylings of "Girl from Epaneema". As soon as the girl has left the vault, a burglar alarm is tripped. Aleth "virtually" enters the security computer and catches his enemy "Ghost" there. A short round of cyber-combat erupts there but then the "Ghost" disengages and disappears. Aleth radios Turk to stop at the 19th floor and to look for the girl.


When Turk finally arrives at the 19th floor, the room below the vault contains some duct work that comes from the floor and crosses the ceiling. Turk realizes that they have misjudged her exit point.


The thermite charge continues to count down toward its fiery destination. In a desperate last ditch effort Aleth begins scanning all the security cameras and catches a back door closing. Switching to a parking lot camera, he sees a fast moving van, not unlike their own, speeding away. Aleth contacts Evadne in the orbiting "Achilles" to track the van, but it suddenly disappears from their scopes. EW was engaged and everything from that area is scrambled. With the remaining time, Turk clears out of the building and Aleth erases all computer evidence of their presence. With only 10 seconds remaining, Aleth disengages from the network and leaps out of the van just as it triggers it's molecutronic scrambler followed shortly after by a thundering roar and flash that lights up the night sky. Within moments what was once a very advanced piece of electronic warfare technology is reduced to a puddle of burning slag. More sirens sound in the distance as Aleth and Turk head back to the spaceport to await evacuation by the now descending Achilles.


Aleth, fumbling in his pocket and pulls out a graceful men's necklace with a single, ancient looking "key". He has never seen an actual, physical "key" before and can't help but wonder,...was it all worth it?




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