Voyage of the Jeanne d'Arc

Betrayal!
The Adventure Begins

Excerpt from Macha's journal.

The action began in the ship's mess, when we suddenly discovered a Synth named Noxis making lunch. No idea where he came from, but he's not half bad. Captain Shara seemed a bit over excited about it, but she's just a child. We traveled to a Shanrazi city on Mars to meet with a fixer named Razza.  I always enjoy being on Mars, it has a rather ancient and musty feel to it.

Razza seems fairly trustworthy, as far as a fixer can be trusted.  Smartly dressed, no nonsense. The Thirsty Canary (the bar where we met her) had a very strange drink made from some sort of magic fungus. It was unusual, to be generous, though it seems like Shek didn't take to it to well. It was nothing Calliope couldn't fix.

Our job is to retrieve an object for a Mr. Johnson from a decommissioned facility.  Should we accept we will meet him tomorrow at 10 pm at the Jaba Hut. (Where do they get these puns?)

We went out separate ways for a while, I went to a local orphanage to tell stories and spend time with the children. I know that Calliope had a nice 'wife gig' for the evening, I hope she'll find it entertaining. (I can't lie, I do worry a tiny bit, sometimes you can never be sure who these clients really are.)


The secret codes that kids use these days, "a large ginger caramel with an extra shot of espresso and three shots of watermelon syrup." What ever happened to something more simple like asking for more waters than the table occupants need?

Anyway, we met with Mr. Johnson, a Haryani man, very wealthy by the look of him, gave us the details. The base is on Metis, a moon in the Hephestus sub-system. The planet itself is uninhabited, the old Consortium base is located near the south pole. There's the possibility of some sort of secret project in a room blacked out on the map. Our mission is to bring what ever that is back to him, we're welcome to keep what ever else we find. The base was abandoned 30 – 40 years ago so security should be very lax. I've been entrusted with the com link to contact him when we return.


During our trip we managed to gather some salvage for the ship.


Metis is pretty much a dead rock. We found the base, and it had electricity, a weak artificial field, and life support is still intact.  The base is located by the south pole. 

The entrance is huge, the holographic rock disguise is rather clever. Thankfully, Shek is very competent with computers, he gets us through the gate in no time. The first thing we encounter off the elevator is a decontamination room. So far nothing too concerning.

Massive computer lab was the first real thing of substance that we discovered.  It's odd, there is trash and debris, but no real personal effects. Maybe they left quickly or didn't stay long. Shek wants to download the data and our esteemed pilot wants to salvage the computers. There is wisdom in that and we don't have a need to hurry.

Things were going smoothly until the data download went wrong. There were some drones, but we thankfully we came out of that mostly unscathed and with the system hacked we are now registered as personnel.  (Thank goodness, Shek says there are 30 of them more on the network, even if only 5 appear functional….)

The next thing we stumble across is a bio lab with nothing really worthwhile in it other than some old medical equipment.  The barracks though was a whole other matter. It was horrifying, and someone wrote on the wall "He is coming" (what ever that means).

Again the security systems are no match for Shek. It really makes me wonder if the Consortium is as good as they claim to be.  There's a lot of arcanium here. The secret room has a massive arcanium door, magic cannot see inside. 

What we found was deceptive, a solid arcanium crate (well there was a tiny bit of wood in it) and a computer. The only thing on the computer says "He is coming," over and over. (This can't end well).

We pack up and head back to Mars to meet up with Mr. Johnson. The drop off is at an abandoned factory, we're meeting at midnight. Mr. Johnson met us, complete with snipers (Great, I feel like this isn't going to end well). Inside the box is the name of a demon. I won't write its name here, it's too risky. Poor Calliope has been infected by it somehow. If I could kill that man, I would have. I pray I will still get the chance. Right now, I must do all I can to help her get better. Though I will speak with Shek about what we can do to protect her should the infection start to spread. She's a strong woman, but demons are insidious things….

Our next step is to head to the Nim system to find a Rasim Elchin, he's an expert in such things. Looks like I need a big hat. 

 

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Interlude: After Mars

Taken from the personal logs of Chief Maintenance Officer Shek Decker

508 CT – 05 – 25
Late Night / Early Morning

After meeting with Mr. Johnson on Mars, Macha came to me. She expressed great concern about Calliope. This demon infection can be spread by words. This puts us all at risk. She asked me to construct a REDACTED

I can tell Macha cares greatly for Calliope. Macha wants to protect us as well as keep the rest of the crew safe. I trust them both after helping me escape my life in the Consortium. Although, to be honest, I am not as optimistic as Macha. REDACTED

Macha asked for this to be between us. I told her that the captain must approve all ship modifications of this scale. I agreed to ask the captain for permission to improve our brig, and no more. This way, I will be able to meet both Macha’s request for discretion and my need to be on the captain’s good side.

Breakfast
While dining with the crew, I mentioned to Shara that Macha had raised concerns about the ship’s security. I had some ideas and with the captain’s approval, I could easily upgrade our security. Shara agreed. The plans go forward. I will begin designing immediately. When we have time to stop for supplies, I will begin construction.

Day
While preparing to travel to the Nim system, I began drafting the plans to upgrade the brig.

Macha’s requests are going well. But what else can be done? I began frantically thinking up ideas to better protect us all.

Night
I think I got it. I will build Macha’s new brig. What I will not mention to her or anyone at this point REDACTED. I hope she will forgive me.

I must prepare for bed. It is quite late and we will be heading into Nim space soon. We must be quick and precise in this system. I must be on my best ability.

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Seeking Aid
Exert from Noxis' data log

I'll go back and type it when I have my binder on me.

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Episode 4: Job On Nefarista Station

Taken from the official mission logs of Chief Maintenance Officer Shek Decker

508 CT – 06 – 02
Morning
Journey to the Sylvaar system went without issue. Border security in this system appears more lax than that of Nim. Protocol in this system requires docking at Nefarista Station, the visitor and immigration hub of this system. Nefarista Station orbits around Sylaar Prime, a world that Shara mentions is a ravaged world. Due to being ravaged by Demons, the mana field of the planet is highly corrupt and travel to the world is not allowed. However, our information from our contact on Nim spoke of a holy woman who traveled to Sylvaar Prime long ago who may have possessed the Spirit Feather. We must find it for the sake of this ship and crew. Noxis comments that the sensor array on Nefarista Station is quite impressive, capable of scanning the entire Sylvaar system. This would certainly make movement down to Sylvaar Prime difficult. He wonders if he could sneak into the sensor control room via the vents. I feared more easily said than done. The cleaning system would have eradicated any living being. 

Docking / inspection went well. Noxis decided to take the form of a box although the inspector did not seem too interested in looking thoroughly around the ship.

Seeking some information, Shara remembered a place where people like us could get information without many questions. The bar was called Devil’s Punchbowl and it was located in the ghettos of the station. I suppose other cultures have places for their unwanted, just like the Consortium.

We arrived at Devil’s Punchbowl, a vagrant bar with a style I am beginning to get used to. There appeared to be only a few people in at this early time. One man stood out, he was sober. Callopie tapped Noxis and myself on the shoulder, her eyes telling us that this man was checking the two of us out and he would be the man to talk to.

We approached the man who quickly ordered beer for all our us. Tikal seemed to like this guy right away. The man, olive skinned and mundane, introduced himself as Iskander and information was his business. He mentioned the bounty on Noxis and my head has gotten quite high.

Excerpt from Personal Log
Have I been found out? Would he turn me in? Can I trust anyone? I had to be strong and stood my ground.

We noticed this bar was protected from prying eyes and ears via a nice jamming device. I wonder if we could get something similar for our ship to protect us in this system.

He asked us our business. We mentioned the need to get to Sylvaar Prime. I asked about his jamming device and if he knew a good way around the scanners. I was prepared for quite the technical discussion. Instead, Iskander laughed and told us he could help in a much more pragmatic way. He bribed the people who run the array sensors on the station. He liked to keep his business private.

Excerpt from Personal Log
Oh well, sometimes the best solution is not found via technology. Quite a hard pill to swallow.

He asked us why we wanted to go to such a terrible place. We told him the story of the Spirit Feather and that it might be down there. And that we needed it.

He told us it would take him twenty four hours to research a price for such a request. He asked about Callopie being mute. She told him she might explain if we survived. I thought that caught him off guard that she could speak at all. I hope she will one day be able to speak REDACTED again.

Day / Night
Since we had twenty hours for free time, we decided to split up and find activities on the station. Tikal spent most of his time in the bar. Noxis tried his luck at earning some credits via entertainment. Callopie had asked Iskander about his tailor and went on a clothing adventure. I really admire her tastes. Shara wandered the ghetto taking in all she could.

The crew stayed at an inn near Devil’s Punchbowl. I decided to sleep on the ship and do some general maintenance. Noxis decided to sleep on board as well.

Excerpt from Personal Log
I thought this would be a good time to put some finishing touches on the special cell I had constructed. I do not think Noxis noticed anything out of the ordinary though. I had to ensure the safety of the crew. At all costs, including REDACTED. We need to get this feather.


508 CT – 06 – 03
Late Morning
We assembled at Devil’s Punchbowl and met with Iskander. He gave us our price. Noxis and Tikal talked him down a hefty bit. It helps to have people who can talk and interact with other people.

He told us around 400 CT, a mysterious woman by the name of Ekundayo showed up in the Sylvaar system to heal Sylvaar Prime of its demonic corruption. She made numerous trips to a from the surface. No one was sure how she could do this with Nefarista Station preventing travel. One of her trips to heal the capital of Sylvaar Prime, she did not return. She clearly was a woman of great power and was said to have a number of powerful artifacts. He did not know for sure if the Spirit Feather was one of them, but it was our best shot.

As a bonus, Iskander said he would be willing to bribe contacts in the Protectorate who operate the sensors. He would get us codes that would make our ship look like a drone to the sensor array. Authorized drones had almost free roam of the Sylvaar system. This process would take him about three days to setup and complete.

Since we had three days, he offered us the communication ID of Yima, a fixer on the station who could float us some work. The Sylvaar system apparently operated a bit differently from other systems. Here, we would only deal with the fixer. Mr. Johnsons do not deal directly with vagrants to keep more anonymity, especially if Mr. Johnson was a member of the Consortium. I had no problem with that arrangement. The further away I was from members of the Consortium, the better.

Noxis reached out to Yima via comms. All he received back was a set of coordinates and a time of 12:15 PM.

The place was a Stuffer Shack, a fast food joint that was the oldest Corps still around. This Corp started back on ancient Earth in the mid 2000’s CE, a time long long ago.

11:45 AM
We arrived early to Stuffer Shack. We decided to grab a meal before our meeting with Yima. Callopie only ordered something to drink. Shara only ate a salad.

Excerpt from Personal Log
The last time I had food from a Stuffer Shack was when I was living my old life. Eating here again gave me a sense of comfort, but still no desire to return to that life.

12:15 PM
Like clockwork, a late middle aged man approached us. It was Yima. He greeted us in a language I did not recognize. I was told it was an old Earth language called Japanese. Others in the group seemed to know how to respond to the greeting. Yima seemed pleased.

Callopie mentioned to us later about a glyph tattoo on Yima’s neck. She did not say how, but she mentioned something about the Tower of Secrets, whatever that is.

Yima sat down with us and told us about the job he had for us. His client had issues with shipments being delivered to him onboard the station. The client kept getting robbed. Our job was to provide extra security as a show of force. If our efforts got on the news as a powerful message to those who would wrong this client, there would be a bonus in it for us.

The next shipment was scheduled for 2 AM.

Afternoon / Evening
We started our preparations for the job. I purchased two used C1 New Roaches. I thought they may be useful in surveillance and recording our actions for news broadcast. Tikal took an interest in one of my roaches and asked to borrow it. After I agreed, he summoned a fire spirit and bound it to the roach. 

508 CT – 06 – 04
2 AM

We arrived at meeting place, an airlock in the shipping section of the station. The door opened and we were greeted by a Heromi service droid behind a large hover dolley. A male voice announced from the droid and asked if we were the security detail. Upon confirming, the voice said to follow this service droid to its destination.

I sent my roach ahead to scout. Tikal commanded his roach to follow close to him. His roach seemed quite angry as it started to grow hot, and took on a slight red glow. I suppose working with spirits has many benefits along with some risks. Tikal said not to worry and that we would too go ahead and scout. As he slowly walked ahead, we all seemed to forget he was even with us. His power to relax is truly impressive.

2:30 AM
Ahead of the main party near a three way junction, some crates seemed out of place. Deliberately out of place. My roach was able to see about five people hiding behind these crates, your run of the mill bandits. Unfortunately, refurbished models are not quite precise. An overhead sign got knocked over, and alerted the bandits to our coming. It however, remained in a prime location to record the events.

Our fight ensued. Noxis used his abilities to turn one of the bandits into a barrel of pitch. Which in turn, Tikal’s fire roach lighted on fire. Noxis then lifted the flaming pitch and dumped it on some of the bandits. Horrific was all I could think. Three of the bandits shot at Shara, wounding her left arm. This was no match for Callopie’s ability to heal wounds, Shara’s arm was back in no time. Without blinking an eye, Callopie went from defense to offense blasting an ice lance from her hands. All of a sudden, two of the bandits started grabbing at their faces and screaming. This must have been Noxis’ doing. One of the bandits seemed quited relaxed, thanks to Tikal. Two bandits rushed toward Shara and attacked. I heard a snap, it must have been her rib. Callopie froze those two bandits and Tikal ordered the fire roach to burn them. It complied, and burned Shara in the process. She held composure and only let out a whimper as the flames seared her body. A bandit turned into a balloon and Noxis poped it. I grazed a bandit across the head who took to running who Callopie froze. The battle was over.

Shara and Noxis were ready to kill the still breathing bandits. Tikal and Callopie thought the lesson was learned and the survivors would tell others not to mess with the transports anymore. I abstained, is it really my place to vote in such a situation? Tikal and Callopie won the argument. A few casualties, but some will live to tell the tale.

As we walked to complete our mission, I told the group when we return to the hotel that I would tweak the video from my roach and send to a news outlet. Then Callopie touched me on the shoulder. She motioned for me to be quiet. I was confused, I did not know why. Tikal said I slipped. Two against one, even if I was right, I hung my head in shame as we walked the rest of the way.

Excerpt from Personal Log I would remember if I slipped, right? Of course I would.

4 AM
Back at the hotel, Tikal contacted Yima who sent him coordinates for a meeting at 5 AM.

I began preparing to submit video to the news. As I typed, Callopie looked over my shoulder. I never liked people reviewing my work. It made me anxious. She grabbed my shoulder. It is so rare to hear her speak any more. All she said was, “Stop typing. Delete it.” Why? Why did she prevent me from getting our bonus? I had to trust her. So I erased the written report for the news outlet. She then reached over and hit delete on my keyboard again.

Excerpt from Personal Log
Did she not see me do it? Is the infection taking over her mind? Or over mine? And why was I sweating when she told me to erase the data?

Tikal mentioned to the group that he looked at our auras. He could see the infection in Noxis, Shara, Callopie, and myself. He found it interesting though that Callopie’s soul seemed to be fighting back against this infection while the rest of us did not. She truly is a willful elf. Shara cannot believe that she is infected. She tells us repeatedly. Callopie with fire in her eyes just slapped her across the face, called her an arrogant child. Noxis with his control of illusions, helped Shara to see her own aural pattern to prove her infection was real. He told us he had trouble remembering details when we slip. He described it as a dream almost.

4:30 AM
Tikal told the group he was going to meet Yima alone. He seemed to not want to be around REDACTED anymore.

The time passed quietly. I kept to my room. Things were happening too fast. All I could do was go inward to try and find possible solutions, or fail safes.

5:30 AM
Tikal called the rest of the crew on comms. He asked, “Who is Naraya?”. I had no idea. Callopie though seemed relieved by that question.

Excerpt from Personal Log
What does this mean? How is Callopie related to Naraya?

6:00 AM
Tikal returned to the hotel to tell us how the meeting went. He mentioned that Yima met him at an abandoned lot decorated very nicely. Tea was served, with only two place settings. Yima spoke of our infection and that he knew it well. The Spirit Feather was indeed on Sylvaar Prime. He said the journey would be terrible. If we happened to succeed, he told Tikal that we should travel to the Sol system to the moon of Io. And we should seek out his sister there. Tikal mentions that Yima asked him not to use his name on Io and attempted some sort of magic. Tikal said he would not speak his name.

After Tikal told his story, a plain young woman appeared behind him. She wore large metal armor that seemed beyond ancient. She placed her hand on Tikal’s shoulder and begged us not to go to Sylvaar Prime. She said she might not return. Tikal agreed that if anything were to happen to us, his last act would be to release her.

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Episode X: Carving Out Corruption

Personal Log, Tikal Karah

Starting Speech-to-Text Logging

Eh, really need to get some proper Shanrazi characters into this stupid thing.

After getting away from Sylvaar we booked it to the Sol System, heading for Port Io as Yima recommended. Had to find his sister, Haruko, to tell us how to work this damned knife. Meanwhile, Macha and I traded off handling the Spirit Feather…was no telling if one of the others might snap and try to take it.

After we landed, nobody seemed to want to stay on the ship. Can't blame 'em, I wouldn't want to be cooped up on the ship either if I couldn't talk to it. I relented, but made sure they moved together…especially had to have sharp eyes on Shara. The fool girl still seemed to have no idea of the real danger her incessant yammering was putting everyone within earshot in. Probably shouldn't have let 'em go. Whatever. Was a little drunk. Port Io, for its part, was great. A vagrant's home through and through. Haven't been that comfortable around people since I left Mars. Didn't even get a bunch of funny looks, and was able to lower some of my usual coverings. Nice to let the face and ears breathe every once in a while.

It didn't take much effort to track down Haruko. Uncommon name, and she's got a good reputation around Port Io. Works as a Geisha at a place called “The Sake Room.” Guess adherence to tradition runs in the family.

This place was, to put it lightly, swanky. Real traditional, old timey appearance. Had a gold cat outside, heard it's supposed to be lucky or something. Dunno, might have been seeing things, was a little drunk. There was an obvious bouncer parked on a stool outside…I'd seen that sort of thing before. He was taking the cover charge for the place…as a matter of exclusivity. You had to give him the right charge to get in. Also, we'd have to look the part going into a place like that…Macha went and got us some fancy old-fashioned Japan clothes on Calliope's dime. That shit was DIVINE. I'm keepin' that kimono, comfiest thing I've worn my whole damn life. Flattering too. Not that anybody was ogling the Shanrazi freak.

We kept an eye on the place, didn't take long for a good mark to come out…a rather amiable shipping mogul of sorts by the name of Garth Norwood. He was stumbling drunk, too…eeeeeasy mark. Macha and I didn't even have to try to get the cover charge out of him. Twenty bucks a head…cheaper than I'd expected, but I guess that's the point eh?

We got into the place…the main room was a large sake bar. We spotted four Geishas working the joint…two of them were Mystics, and one of those Mystics was very powerful. Fourth Order Seeker. No question that'd be our girl. Just had to get her to ourselves, and that involved putting in a special request. We found out her specialty was something called a Kagami biraki. Uncasking of sake. We'd have to wait for an hour to get her, but we weren't in a rush. Me, I was excited as hell, and getting disturbingly sober during that hour, but it'd be worth the wait. This was the REAL shit. Actual fucking alcohol done right, and we were getting a whole cask! I'm gonna be stocked for WEEKS.

We kept with etiquette…didn't talk business until after the first round, after which we explained to Haruko why we were there. Granted, she's a damn Seeker, so she already knew. She offered to make us a deal…another Geisha, Yuko, decided to undermine her reputation to drum up her own business. Not exactly fair play, but you've gotta appreciate that kind of drive. Anywho, Haruko wanted us to convince her to stop, and gave us her home address, before resuming pleasantries. Very pleasantries. Gotta say, by the end of the night her charms were definitely doing their trick, even with me. Then again, I was very, very drunk.

Shek did some digging later. Found out Yuko was actually a Synth, named Saron-09. Could've used that to play dirty, get some blackmail, but eh. I wanted to do this one clean. Girl probably just needed the money…and after a visit from me an' Macha, turns out that was exactly the case. Saddled herself up with some nasty debt. Needed to make more. Well, we proposed that, instead of attacking Haruko's livelihood, we could help her bolster her own. Spread some good word, drum up her business. She agreed to stop the nasty rumors if we did that, so we left to make a plan.

On our way back to the ship, we spotted our beloved fool of a captain putting away her comm after sending all of us a simultaneous message…no question in our heads as to what it was. That fucking Demon…she didn't remember a thing of it. We had the message deleted without looking.

I didn't like the implications of that. Means that shit can spread its corruption through the written word, not just spoken…after we're done here, gonna send a note to Shek to run an automated scrub of the logs. Clear out any names we don't specifically exclude.

Back to it. I came up with a surprisingly great plan, if I do say so myself, despite still being pretty drunk. Macha was going to work through Garth, get Yuko some high end business. Meanwhile, I'd hit up the docks and find some incoming vagrants with money to spend and a taste for booze. Turns out my job was reeeeal easy. Kept the kimono on for it, but made it clear I wasn't a shill. Seems the moment you tell a space-weary crew that they can get real alcohol they're sold.

…despite the kimono, everyone still seems to think I'm a dude. Meh. I keep wondering whether I should actually start caring at some point.

I set things up with Garth to manage having him as a business contact after we were done…after all, smuggling's a specialty of ours. I'm sure he'd have use of our services.

Went back to The Sake Room, got ourselves a poetry reading. Couldn't really afford another cask. It's fine. I was still drunk. Haruko told us how to use the Spirit Feather. The user had to attune to it and be free of corruption. Then? Jam it right into a person's heart. It'd leave them unconscious for a while, but would carve out their corruption. Also makes for a powerful weapon against Demons, assuming you're in a strong mana field. Much as I wanted to take it, I let Macha do the attuning. I've never really been too capable with a knife. Also, I was pretty drunk. We got ourselves a private room, she gleefully stabbed Calliope, Shek, Noxis, Shara, and then we sat down, drank more, and played cards until they came too.

Not really sure how long that was. I might've blacked out a while. Dunno. Was really drunk.

After they came to, we started working out our new plan: Shek would keep tabs on Asshole McBoxman, so that hopefully we could track him down and give him what for. In the meantime, we'd get ourselves some work to rebuild our funds, and, more importantly, go get some Mystic Training.

…what a fuckin' busy day. Enough to drive a girl to drink.

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Diseases and Demons
In which terrible terrible things happen.

We had lunch with our old friend Garth Norwood today, he has a lovely vintage style to his home and good taste in food. He had an odd job for us. There was a Consortium Science Vessel, ‘The Lenore’, dead in the water, it had been exploring Pluto and Charon before it suddenly stopped moving. While I have some misgivings about going to another possibly abandoned facility to find who knows what, Garth seems a more decent sort than that “Mr. Johnson”. We are to explore the ship and bring back any valuables we find. Garth his mostly interested in the ore and our pay depends on the value of what we recover. He was kind enough to provide us a 3D rendering of the ship, no maps with redacted places this time.


 

So we set off and arrived in record time, we want to get there and back before the Consortium does. We found the ship with power but disabled engines, 12 faint life signs, a functioning RF beacon localized to a Consortium frequency, and a very low mystic field. The security is rather adaptive so we had to break the lock to get in. Roaches were in first, finding closed doors, no people, and no damage, so we enter. First place to check was the bridge, 4 apparent corpses, that were to our horror, still alive and in great pain. (Just when I thought I’ve seen everything…) The terminals were fried, shot by energy weapons….odd….

 

Nox managed to transform the captain so we could speak with here. From our brief and rather painful conversation we learned a little and once she shared what she knew we put down her and her crewmates as a mercy killing. In the med bay we were able to put together the full story. They were investigating mineral deposits on Charon. The Science Officer got a tear in his suite, and became patient zero, first it seemed like the flu, then he turned violent, insane from the pain of the disease, within 24 hours he started to desicate into a husk. Even in husk form there is full awareness and unbearable pain. It passes by touch and a raised mystic caused whatever it was in the soil to mutate into this rage mummification flu. The virus only lasts minutes outside a host, but can live forever in flesh, so we should be safe. (We’ll call it RMF for short.) We were unable to find a cure so we continued to do the only thing we could for the afflicted crew. Based on the ship’s roster two crewmembers were missing. We found them in with the mana field generator.  The turrets in the cargo bay also gave us quite a bit of trouble, it was not a pretty fight but thanks to Nox and Judith we came out victorious.

 

We gathered up the supplies we could, weapons, armor, medical supplies, the ore, and the personal effects and letters of the crew. Those personal things will go back to their families, of course. The rest we took to Garth and completed our business. I’m starting to get a little worried about some of these recovery missions……abandoned anything seems to lead to horrible revelations lately.

 

One week later Raza had some work for us, she called while Sheck was building a new arcane gun placement to the ship, for Calliope to throw all her arcane fury at whomever should cross our path.. A Lt. Henderson of the Serious Crimes Division on Port Io is looking for some aid on a case. We are to meet him at 8 am on the center ring. Apparently he is a well known and well respected figure in Port Io, quite decorated and nearing retirement. (I serious doubt that someone that decorated and driven will ever retire.)

Tikal mentions some rumors of tensions flying around Stat Sec, but nothing concrete.

We arrive for our meeting at Stat Sec’s very nice central office, the front desk is a bit sour, we have to leave our weapons, and any other dangerous things behind, not that I find it all that surprising, we are in vagrant space after all.

Lt. Henderson’s case is a rather gruesome one, seven horrific murders of women have taken place over the past two weeks. The killer seems to always avoid the best efforts of the good Lt. so he suspects a mole, which is where we come in.

 

There is a witness to the last murder, an Erin Killian, aka Glitter, in a catatonic state in the hospital. She’s our best lead, unless we manage to find some physical evidence in one of the crime scenes. All the victims have been found in their “work rooms”, so its likely someone pretending to be a client. Different edible organs are missing from each one, removed perimortem…the monster, but that’s not even the strangest thing. The strangest thing…they all are found smiling.  Our task is to find who is behind this before there is another victim. Finding the mole is a bonus. The victims were Honey, Sparkle, Jasmine, Belle, Diamond, Cherry, and Roxane. All of them were human women, Erin is not, so perhaps humans are his type.
 

Nox manages to charm us through to the extreme intervention wing of the hospital to talk to Erin. She speaks of an unbelievably handsome man, and she was so jealous that he chose Roxanne over her. (What kind of power does this monster have that even knowing what was done, she still feels jealousy over not being murdered?) She’s clearly shattered mentally, but there’s no demonic taint to her. According to her chart, Stat Sec brought her in the night before last, her toxicology screen was clean, no substances, other than the standard stimulants used in such professions. What’s odd is her super low dopamine and serotonin, it’s rock bottom. Her acetylcholine and adrenaline are raised….I’m not a doctor, but sadly this may be permanent for her.

 

We head back to the ship to pour over the notes, Calliope surmises that Erin’s problem is that she’s burnt out, her reserves of dopamine and serotonin are completely used up, the victims all have the same issue. Nox creates a likeness of the man Erin described, on paper he’s not much to look at, but a paper drawing doesn’t convey the soul behind the face. Perhaps there’s something magical going on, some type of unnatural charisma. Our digital murder board, complete with red string, plots out where each of the victims were found, it’s random but they are all within  a 5k radius of one neighborhood in particular, all happen between 2 and 4 am. Stat sec has been unable to find physical evidence. That’s odd…perhaps the mole is making sure it gets lost, that would be a bit lucky though, to be on each crime scene. Roxanne and Erin both worked at the Red Room, perhaps we can still find something Stat Sec missed. It’s a rather fancy establishment, the girls on the floor have special undergarments to chastise groping hands. The bartender wasn’t able to tell us much about what happened to Roxanne, her friend, but she does tell us which room to go to. The room is the standard you would expect, bed, window screen, dresser, nightstand. There’s no blood stains, most of us turn up empty in looking but Tikal (No idea how to spell it, but this is my best guess.) finds a small white scarab carved from bone, likely for one of the victims, about the size of my thumb nail. It has a faint hint of demonic corruption which could explain how our rather plain John has managed to be so attractive. Her last client was Dais Marso, a strange name, but it turns out to be an anagram for Adam Rosi. He’s a beat cop on disciplinary leave due to frequent absence, but he was once an exemplary cop. I suspect we’re getting close to our killer. His last call was to an unregistered ship at the dock, potentially a smuggler ship. The ship is still in port. His partner Jeraldine Cross died in a shoot out at the ship, so there is probably no mole. If Rosi is our monster, then his skills as a cop are how he’s able to stay ahead of them. We pass on our conclusions to Lt. Henderson and receive a blank page order. Rosi’s home is in the center of our circle, so we should pay him a visit. Tikal tried to get a fix on him, but there was a lot of resistance. We move in on the non-descript building, Nox and a roach go up the wall to recon, the rest of us go up the stairs, sans-Judith who has been unwell. The smell in the hall is horrifying, Shara gets viciously sick, well there goes our cover. I went in first, kicking the door open and getting my ribs broken in return. (I’m getting too old for these sorts of theatrics….why did I even think that was a good idea….)

The mask he wears, radiates demonic energy, and it makes for a very vicious and bloody fight. I’d rather not talk too much about it…we managed to save Rosi and Henderson and the cavalry arrived after it was all over to clean up. Needless to say the day was saved. I….need a strong drink and to not think about what happened in that room….

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The People-Destroyer Job
A classic smash-and-grab heist is on the menu...

Personal Log, Tikal Karah

Starting Speech-to-Text Logging

Still in orbit over Mars. Ship's almost fixed. Not sure if I should be happy or disappointed we haven't had reason to go to the surface yet. Lot of memories down there. Not sure I'll ever be drunk enough to face the bad ones. About a week went with nothin' to do but spend my bar dollars and enjoy the company of my brothers and sisters while it lasted.

Was enjoying a nice late breakfast with the crew when some Haryani guy just plopped down with us out of nowhere. Great. Because THAT doesn't stand out around here. I hid my immediate disinclination towards the man and let Macha do the talkin'. Probably for the best. I was still a little drunk anyway.

Called himself a Johnson…because that certainly never turned out badly, right? I shouldn't be one to be bashing on creativity but seriously, figure out a damn pseudonym. It ain't hard. Hell, I came up with three on the spot just for this job. Anyway…apparently the guy didn't care for that Chey asshole, because his payment for this job was telling us where he was and how to get to him. Not like we'd done a particularly good job of hiding the fact that we want that bastard's head on a pike. Aaaaanywho, he wanted a bit of 'quid pro quo' as he put it. Did he expect us to be impressed with the old-timey slang? The job was to get our hands on a prototype and schematic from a workshop, and delete the original schematic. A nethertech grenade that alters the astral corruption in the area. Pretty nasty stuff. Apparently it was being developed by Azram's Fine People-Destroyers. Not sure why everyone seemed upset by the name…sounded pretty straightforward to me.

Shek got right to it on the research. I decided to go spend more of those bar dollars…told him to call me when he was done. Shara came along for drinks, oddly enough. Not sure if she just wanted to mooch off my bucks or actually hang with me, but we had a good time 'til she passed out. What I didn't expect was for Shek to take ALL FUCKING DAY. Seriously. That nerd needs to get out more. At least he got some good info though…maybe a bit more than we needed.

I was pretty much at black out point by the time Shek called us back. Shara had already gotten drunk, passed out, woke up, and sobered up by that point. Apparently at some point I won a medal for “First Place at Spending Bar Dollars Quickest.” I'm keepin' that medal.

Once I'd sobered a bit Shek laid down what he learned. The place had been in Azram's family for the entirety of the 75 years it'd been in operation. About 150 enployees, so not a little mom an' pop shop. Got a focus on energy weapons, with primarily drone-based security in the form of modified roaches with heavy weaponry. So long as we knew where we needed to go and what static security they had set up, getting in and out wouldn't be too tough. Next we needed to do some ground work.

Noxis recommended using the cover concept of being members of the Jibiru Syndicate…a vagrant group that trades in slaves. Not a bad idea…plus it gave me a chance to boss Noxis and Shek around a bit. I took charge on the deception…whipped up some simple mundane disguises for the group before we went to Azram's, topping my look off with Noxis' Slave Glove. Shara stayed with the car. Probably for the best, in case things went south…and to reduce our chances of things going south. Least. Charismatic. Captain. Ever.

I went in with a minimal game plan. A false name ready…Mekrah Arahn. The receptionist was pretty rude…I kinda expected that, it's pretty common for Shanrazi, but the others seemed a bit surprised by it. I stayed polite and we waited until eventually our sales rep showed up…a red-skinned Shanrazi named Howard. This guy was a grade A greasy pile of sleaze…the perfect kind of salesman. There was a fair amount of showmanship to the whole endeavor, taking us into a break room with plenty of amenities, three gendered bathrooms, and solid security and privacy protocol. We left our comms and such in a secured locker before moving along, and he started giving us the whole blurb.

3 accidents a month, 1 fatal on average. A big multilayered facility with all these different security and safety precautions and blah blah blah I was too fucking SOBER to listen to that drivel and it burned into my DAMNED BRAIN. Ugh. Anyway, we got him to move along to a prototyping area, and we kept an eye out for anything of interest, but nothing so far aside from the broken up mana fields in the facility. Makes sense…good for security and good for safety. He showed us the firing range, and there I think all four of us easily determined our ingress…a ventiluation shaft there was only minimally protected, and led directly to the outside. I kept the conversation going as the others looked around, heading back to his office with him for the final sales pitch.

We made things believable…and didn't strictly lie. Our first request was for a ship mounted weapons system…something that could pack a punch. Something we actually really could use. It came down to a choice between an EMF Cannon and something called a Mass Driver…of course, we probably weren't actually going to be able to buy, but it was nice to see our options. When Shek started asking nerd questions I called him Quincey and told him to be quiet.

For our second 'problem' I had Noxis, who I called Ionus, demonstrate his abilities…he turned my medal into illusory spiders, and then turned Howard's desk into some kind of fleshy monstrosity. This got the point across…and eventually in our discussion I got Howard to make mention of the corruption grenade. Got enough information to narrow down where it was hiding, and confirmation that they didn't have any extras…we figured it was behind that super high security door with a separate mana field that we just walked past during our tour. He gave us pricing information, and we took our leave to start planning the heist proper.

Shara would be our getaway driver again. I'd cover their route of egress, make sure nobody paid any attention to the wall with the ventilation shaft. Shek got a couple of junker Hiromis and loaded them with Crafted grenades to act as a distraction, and Shek, Noxis, and Macha would infiltrate the building alongside the distraction.

They busted in easily enough. Disassembled any security measures in their path. Macha used her Throughsight ability to avoid people, and Noxis used his Masking to keep the drones and cameras from seeing them. Don't know what all happened in there, but I made sure to remind them to not make it look like a targeted strike, and to swipe a few other items on the way. They came back out before I'd even taken more than a couple of swigs, carrying backpacks with a big gun, a knife, and the grenade…and that last one felt WRONG. I spied it with Nethersight…the grenade was packed full of spirits. Dead Mystics, specifically. Fuckin' abomination…for a GRENADE. Yeah. I didn't want these people to be able to manufacture these either.

Shara got us back to our hotel in a hurry, and we took our time, once Macha wasn't carrying the bag anymore, to examine the other prototypes. The gun was the Azram MkIII Rifle, a heavy energy Nethertech rifle capable of stunning targets. The knife wasn't Nethertech, but was an undersized Monofilament Saber. We passed those to Shara and Noxis, respectively.

Johnson was waiting for us at breakfast…we gladly passed along the schematics and the prototype. I'm just hoping he's on the up about it. Noxis gave me a bit of a dirty look when I mixed my caff with whiskey…not sure why, I always do that. Plus, I hadn't had a good damned drink in a day, and that just couldn't stand. Johnson gave us the info he promised…Chey is going to be on Gateway Station for several months, negotiating a trade deal with a Consortium-affiliated merc company. Getting there and out again, he suggested, would be a matter of contacting and hiring a ship called The Gruffer, whose crew specializes in sneaking people on and off of Gateway Station.

He took his leave, and I did as well, after breakfast. Needed something a bit harder. Now it was just a matter of finding that ship…and of course, the easiest start would be finding someone else who'd taken it. I'm not sure where we're gonna start yet, but…old Auntie Morsha came from the Earth Belt herself, I know that much. Maybe she knows more about The Gruffer…

Alright…time for Tikal to be Tikal…

Unintentional sounds detected.  Truncating…

…shit it's still on. END LOG YOU STUPID PIECE OF-

END OF LOG

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