Episode 519: Spoils Of War
Air Date: 07 Jun 2011
Present: Andy, Bobby, Kim, Maer, and Terri
Friday, 24 Jul 2522
Foster’s Folly, Regina
Georgia (Huang Long) system
1000hrs, ship’s time
We’ve successfully extracted 6 Independent sleeper agents from Vandenberg, Boros. We lifted off at 0400hrs, local, from Nala’s ranch and ran the blockade around the planet that morning. We blasted off on a false trajectory and then came out of pulse en route to reset our course for Foster’s Folly, Regina.
It’s a 5 to 6 hour journey to Regina and once we’re there, we find Foster’s Folly is a copper strip mine with a handful of miners ekeing out a living. Approximately 150 people live in the area. Our passengers gather up their gear and walk off our ship once the dust of our landing settles. We wish them well and when they’re clear we dust off for the coordinates on the landsat photo we’d found.
Why not? It’s on Regina, we’re between jobs, and it’s a piece of the puzzle presented by the safe’s contents. Something from Potemkin’s past that he’d felt important enough to stash in a hidden safe. What’s out there?
So of course, we’re going to look. However, we should know by now that poking into anything that Potemkin’s got his fingerprints on is a risky endeavor.
We fly to the coordinates and of course, all we see is a big lot of nothing. Nika finds a place to land and we step off our ship. Yep. Nothing but rattlesnakes and roadrunners are out here. Undeterred, we spread out in a line and do a line search outward from the ship.
As we search, Beglan talks about geology and terraforming. He psots a newly terraformed patch and we decide that this x marks the spot.
“Got shovels?” asks Beglan.
Ooops. Rina and Joshua make the walk back to Equinox and load up our hover pallet with digging tools, a bomb from our weapons bay should anything prove hard to dislodge, and water and tarp for shade. We’re working in a desert and the last two items will be important in our survival out here.
While the rest of the crew are waiting for Rina and Joshua’s return, Beglan explains the terraforming process.
Rina detonates the bomb to clear the soil from the rock formation we’d found. When the dust and debris settles we approach and find a metal panel with the words “New Earth Corp” on it. It’s a buried TF station.
We dig and clear more of the soil away, until we have a fairly large hexagonal pyramid exposed. At first glance, we can find no way of egress and Rina’s sent back to the ship to fetch her cutting torch. However, she’s quickly called back when the door is spotted. It’s buried almost to the top of the opening. We dig and shift dirt until dark. By then we’re dirty, sweaty and tired. We decide to quit for the night and go back to Equinox to clean up, eat, and sleep. We’ll come back in the morning and finish the job.
Even though we’re in the back of beyond and it’s unlikely anyone knows we’re here, much less what we’re doing, we set 2 hour watches through the night. Luckily, the night is uneventful and aside from waking crewmates for their turn on watch, nothing else happens.
Saturday, 25 Jul 2522
We get up and go back to work. Once the door is cleared of soil, Arden picks the locks. The door opens and we take a cautious look inside. It’s dark.
Rina goes inside to find the power panel and sees a power coupling was removed. She goes back to Equinox for parts to make a coupling. Joshua goes with her. While they’re gone, Nika tries to pry open the central elevator door. I’s a nested-cylinder style door and it’s rotated shut.
Rina and Joshua return with the parts and restore power to emergency level. Arden tries bypassing the elevator controls. An alarm goes off and Arden doesn’t evacuate but stays.
Beglan and Rina are behind everyone else as we push out. Vibrations, tingling, and arcing from metal objects happens all around.
It’s a microwave trap.
We figure that the microwave transmitters must be incorporated or concealed by some ceiling mounted speakers in the room. Rina and Arden get on the hover pallet and raise it until they can reach the speakers to investigate.
Was the trap triggered by a preprogrammed automatic response? Or are we being observed and it was triggered remotely?
Joshua tries to Read the site for another person’s presence. Perhaps a residual psychic clue left behind.
Meanwhile, Rina and Arden find a second set of speakers behind the 3 big ones mounted at the ceiling. We use scrappers gel to cut the conduit lines to all the M/W transmitters. It’s the safest way we know to kill the damned things without setting them off again. Kiera’s packed scrappers gel and passes up 2 yards’ worth. The job only takes a single yard and we lower the pallet and get the heck out of the chamber before we activate the stuff.
Sizzle! Pop! Burn!
Transmitters neutralized we go back inside and Arden gets the elevator locks working again. We file into the elevator and take it down. There are five levels to this place and we take it to the basement.
The door opens. We jam it so it can’t close behind us.
The room beyond is huge and circular, the full circumference of the silo. There are trunks both horizontal and vertical scattered across the room and there is a safe as well.
Rina goes to a vertical trunk, opens it up and finds clothes. The clothes are pretty generic—jumpsuits, work clothes and work boots.
Kiera opens a horizontal trunk, finds it filled with Russian MREs, canned caviar and jellied stuff.
We also find a weapons cache. Rina and Kiera arm up with grenades and a gun and clips.
At this point, we decide to split up the party. Beglan and Joshua go up the stairs at the far end of the room. The rest of the party take to the elevator again and get out on level 4. It’s living quarters.
Joshua and Beglan take the stairs up and enter a different level. It’s level three and it’s fixed with a laser trap.
Nika goes up the stairs on level 4 to shoot out the laser trap on level 3. The laser is motion activated and Joshua plays bait for it so Nika can shoot it. Nika hunkers down at the stairs and aims.
Joshua breaks cover and runs, avoiding the first shot from the laser. He gets hit on the second shot. Nika shoots and nails that sucker solid with her pistol.
When it’s all clear, Arden patches Joshua up and Nika cautiously peers around the elevator shaft in the center of the room to find 2 other lasers mounted at the ceiling past its curve. The first one had been set to cover the stairs up from the basement. The other two cover the main room and the stairs going up to level 2. Nika moves and trips the sensors on one and everybody ducks the shot.
Nika comms the rest of the crew to come up but to stay on the stairs on the safe side of the room. She and Kiera tag team the remaining lasers. They both miss and shoot again. Kiera takes hers out. A third shot takes out Nika’s. Immediate threats removed, we investigate the room.
It’s obviously living quarters. There’s some food, a kitchen area, some tables. Also there are control panels with screens, cameras, and comms gear.
Two floating robots hover out of their hiding places. Kiera and Joshua notice them first. Arden and Rina notice them second. Rina shoots at the one closest and misses. It shoots at her in turn and she successfully dodges. The shot hits the deck and instead of ricocheting off it, it lands and hisses.
Nika turns and sees the one next to Rina. She skins out of her coat and throws it over the bot at Rina. The coat blinds it and renders it unable to fire.
Meanwhile, Joshua is trying to find the bot controls on the main control console.
The covered bot pauses, rises to fifteen feet above the deck, and hisses. Nika’s jacket starts dissolving.
Arden shoots at the second of the three bots. He hits. It explodes.
Beglan stands stock still to avoid setting off the third bot.
Rina shoots at bot #1 and misses. Nika does the same and misses.
Arden moves over to join Kiera, tries to see what she’s looking at, fails. A shot misses him and hits the table behind him. More hissing.
Rina shoots and misses again. The bot moves for her. Joshua decides to jump the bot and moves into position.
Kiera shoots and misses the third bot, the one she’s been keeping her eye on. Nika dodges a shot from the bot and misses getting hit by acid. Rina shoots and misses a third time.
Joshua jumps the bot and pulls a soccer/Kung Fu Panda move on it. He grabs it and throws it into a large closet.
Rina chooses her target and steadies herself to aim properly.
Beglan dives under the table closest to him.
Nika shoots at the first bot and connects. It blows up. Both she and Arden turn and shoot at the remaining bot but both of their shots miss. The bot moves from its position over the second level stairs and edges into the room. It shoots and Kiera dodges nimbly out of the way.
Joshua jumps up onto a rolling cart and Rina pushes it at a run. Joshua rides it like a surfboard and jumps off, spiking the remaining bot like a volleyball. Unfortunately he misses and falls hard, faceplanting on the deck.
Kiera and Arden shoot at the bot to give Joshua covering fire. Arden’s shot hits the mark and the bot blows up. When the dust settles and our ears stop ringing, Nika looks over at Joshua.
Nika: Joshua! What did you touch?!
Joshua: (points) That control panel.
Arden and Rina go to the panel and check it out. The find the controls for the lasers on levels 2 and 1 and turn them off. They also find something labeled “Gravitic Earth Mover” and give it a wide berth. Not touching that one, nope.
We make quick work checking out the rest of the levels.
Level 2 is kitted out with guest quarters, likely for workers.
Level 1 is broken down, filled with destroyed controls. Was it sabotage? There are radiation warning signs, caution tape, and so forth all over the place. Perhaps it’s a faked scene to scare people away?
We split up again and search the levels more thoroughly.
Nika, Rina, and Kiera do level 4 where the living quarters are. Beglan and Arden go back down to level 3, above them. Joshua goes all the way down to level 5 to see if he can crack the safe.
On level 4, Kiera triggers a gas trap in a foot locker and takes some stun. Nika is okay and Rina makes it out of there in time, too. Kiera tries scrambling out of the way but gets fouled in some curtains. It delays Nika and Rina while they extricate her and the gas spreads out to reach all of them. Nika gets hit by the gas. Rina hauls on Kiera. The women make it to the stairs up and start climbing.
The gas is heavier, however, and sinks down the stairs toward level 5. Joshua notices the stuff creeping down the stairs. He runs for the elevator but remembers seeing gas masks in a box. He grabs one, puts it on, and takes extras up the stairs through the gas to the women above.
During that time, Rina takes a stun from the gas and when they get the masks, Joshua warns them of it. Well, yeah, hello. We know. We’re the ones who accidentally triggered it. Our bad.
We have to wait for the gas to settle and Kiera goes back to the chest to see what the hell was in it that warranted a booby trap to guard it. There’s a data chip inside, the sort you can plug into a Cortex box. She puts it in her pocket for safekeeping and we go back to searching.
We turn our attention to the safe. There’s an acid trap on it. Joshua argues with Arden who gets to crack it. Beglan suggests making a base solution and use it to counteract the acid trap. We look around and find what we need. We make a slurry of detergent and water and frost the safe like a cake.
Joshua attempts to crack the safe … and just manages. We look inside and see what our efforts were worth.
Quite a lot apparently. There’s platinum stacked neatly in trays. 1000 worth. There’s gold, too, about 500 credits worth.
We find more things during our search, among them a forgery kit. Now that could come in useful if we need to forge papers for any more extraction jobs.
We turn our attention to the data chip that Kiera found. We find a box and boot it up and plug that chip in.
It’s a wave. Or rather, a covert recording of a wave. It’s between Joseph Potemkin—there’s no mistaking that voice!—and a middle-aged and still-attractive Chinese woman. They talk. We listen. We find out a few things.
Potemkin’s been selling slaves to none other than Director Ah Toy of Jing Jing Bei. And to put the cherry on the grisly sundae, he outs her as the infamous Devil of Dashan. She calls him on his indiscretion, citing her clients on Beaumonde would not appreciate knowing that about her. Potemkin says she has nothing to worry about. After all, this is a secure channel. The recording ends and we look at each other stunned.
This is what we’ve been looking for. We have proof enough to take Ah Toy down.
We pull out of there, hauling everything we can load up on our hover pallet, and make haste back to our ship. We dust off and plot a course for Beaumonde. It’s a two week trip to Kalidasa. Time enough to lick our wounds and to come up with a plan to put the ghosts of Jing Jing Bei to rest.
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