Episode 520: Toy Story

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Air Date: 21 Jul 2011
Present: Andy, Kim, Maer, and Terri

Before we take off from Regina, we resolve to give Potemkin’s safehouse to the six Resistance agents we’d extracted off Boros. We line up cargo to take to Beaumonde and during the two-week flight to Kalidasa, we stop to refuel at Grasshopper station. When we dock we find there are 15 Feds ships—some corvettes, patrol, and medium ships—docked alongside. We calmly refuel and don’t do anything to attract their attention. We get that fuel and get away with nary a brow raised.

Saturday, 08 Aug 2522
En route to Beaumonde

We’re still in en route to Beaumonde inside Kalidasa when Joshua notices some lights on in the comms and computer systems console are blinking.

He suspects we’ve been hit in a strong sensor sweep, possibly by a ship that specializes in it. At possibly long range, too, out of missile range—which is a relief. If they’re of the mind to shoot, they can’t. Not yet, anyway.

Thing is, the Feds don’t have a fleet station here. But who else has the ability to paint someone from a distance like that? No matter. We can’t stop and investigate. We have only 53 hours of fuel left after reaching Beaumonde—if we don’t drop out of pulse now—and we will have to fly on with our eye on the scopes in lieu of investigating. Looking at the data further, we see that the sweep came from somewhere on the ecliptic plane … somewhere.

Everyone’s woken up to take their stations, just in case, and the rest of the trip to Beaumonde passes uneventfully.

Our cargo needs to be transferred in orbit around Beaumonde and we dock up with a ship. The transfer goes without a hitch. Business concluded, we hail orbit control of our intentions to land. We also tell them that once entering Kalidasa space, we were scanned. We weren’t able to ascertain who did the scanning. We thought we should pass the information along so Beaumonde control could know.

We know that Ah Toy’s place is in the city of Nouveau Lyon. Ah, Nouveau Lyon. Home of General Nyguen’s Cordon Vert Culinary School. The site of our factory job. The city where we lost Mike to the Feds.

Yes, we have fond memories of Nouveau Lyon.

We pause while still in orbit to plan our next move.

Nouveau Lyon is repped for two things.

  1. Free-wheeling capitalism.
  2. It and New Dunsmuir both have the 1930s Paris Between-Wars Bohemian atmosphere. Feds and Independents mingle here a bit. What happens here, stays here.

Looking things up on the Cortex, we find that Ah Toy’s establishment is a combination of Old Earth’s Moulin Rouge and the infamous Hellfire Club (only without the mutants and esoterica). It’s in an old Opera House in the city.


We will have to case the joint first, then move in. We will send Kiera in as a patron of means and Joshua will go with her disguised as her toy-of-the-moment. No one will give him a second thought and he can get covert reads on them. Besides, toys of his sort can gain access to areas that Companions and others can’t go. Kiera and Joshua quickly concoct a story with suitable explanations as to his behavior—for instance, his Mistress has forbidden him to speak more than once every 15 minutes—and Rina can rework a collar from one of the Baron’s slave girls into a concealed comms device for Joshua to wear.

We land in Nouveau Lyon and the clock starts ticking down.

Sunday, 09 Aug 2522
Nouveau Lyon, Beaumonde

We spend the day refueling and restocking supplies. We also spend some credits toward suitable attire for Kiera and Joshua’s recon into Toy’s. 110 credits go to some good quality and convincing S&M wear for Joshua. Another 110 credits go to a good dress for Kiera. Wealthy and slumming it, is the look Kiera decides on. Slave-in-Training is the look for Joshua.

They go in to scope the place out. Rina preps the covert comms for both of them. She also digs through the public records to see if there are plans of the opera house as it is now, as opposed to the way it was before Ah Toy converted it.

Our mission goals:

  1. Discredit Ah Toy and deprive her of her patrons and contacts, ruining her.
  2. Rescue all the people enslaved by her.
  3. All else is secondary.

Once everything’s purchased and modified and in place, we settle for the night and rest up for the coming op. Tomorrow night, Kiera and Joshua will go in undercover and gather the intel we need to take Ah Toy down.

Monday, 10 Aug 2522

There are still a few last minute things to do. We spend a 100 credits to give our remaining armored car a paint job. We pick a glossy black as being suitable for Kiera’s persona. We will arm it with a driver—Nika—and give her an SMG from our safe house haul on Regina. Nika decides on 4-inch heels, a tight black short skirt, a smart jacket and a chauffeur’s cap … and that SMG.

It will take roughly 40 to 100 credits a night to maintain their cover identities at Toys. Luckily for us, we have Potemkin’s gold. There’s a certain justice in using his money to take down an associate of his. We’re certain he most definitely would not approve. We arrange the drop-off/pick-up schedule.

Having done what we can, we drive Kiera and Joshua to Toys.

Kiera arrives and is recognized by some people who knew her from her Coreside days. There’s a polite distance in play, however, like her father has disowned her or something. Joshua is brought in on a leash, scantily clad in leather, and introduced only as “The Boy”. He’s in Trainins, she explains, and he can say only 5 words every 15 minutes. In fact, she’s got a special punishment for him if he gets out of line. Shall she demonstrate it?

Meanwhile, back at Equinox, Rina’s keeping herself busy making a 3D model of the opera house plans, the better to plan the op. She’ll amend it with the details Kiera and Joshua bring back from their recon.

Joshua manages to go off and explore Toys. He finds the ‘Toy Room’, the room where other servants of the clientele are allowed to wait until called for. He strikes up a conversation with a girl named Daisy. They talk. She tells him her boyfriend is very powerful. He also gambles.

A Chinese man, sporting a limp and a glass eye, walks in and warns Joshua that this room is for staff only. Daisy tells Joshua he’s like a bookkeeper for Ah Toy and he has her ear. Joshua decides to take the man’s advice and leave. He times his return to Kiera to be 20 minutes late so she can slap him around to establish his cover.

Meanwhile, Kiera is asking around about the club, talking to a Coresdie acquaintance. Could she point out some people Kiera would like to see? Or meet? Any movers and shakers? Those people don’t have a regular schedule but if something is coming up that’s big, they big wigs show up.

Huh. You know what? Where the hell is Boy?

Ten minutes later, Joshua shows up. He plays footstool as punishment for being late and then is ordered to get her a drink.

Once Kiera and Joshua leave the club and get into our car, we discuss what they’ve found out on the way back. We need to figure a way to draw the big wigs to Toys if we’re to discredit her with them. Joshua describes the Chinese One-Eye as a possible substitute: he’s in a position of power but doesn’t like the operation. Can he be the guy who takes the info and runs with it? He’s got Ah Toy’s ear. Can he arrange a bigger party? It’s a big gamble—does the man want to take her down?

Kiera’s willing to dinf out what the man wants to do, but she’ll have to go carefully. They spotted Ah Toy’s security guys. They are ex-military, well trained, and they won’t be easy to fool or overpower in a fight.

Once back at Equinox, Kiera and Rina both notice Joshua’s maintaining The Boy’s submissive behavior … and Kiera pointedly addresses him by the name Joshua to snap him out of it.

Thinking over our options again, what if we arranged for a show to be given at Toys to draw the people we need? Or what if we set ourselves up as a patron of a party—no, arranging it would take too long.

Then again … we could draw the big wigs in to celebrate Toy’s business license. Her 10-year Anniversary is coming up in one week. If we make it a costume party, we could easily go in disguise. No, costumes would not be a good idea. For this to work, everyone would have to know everyone there, and not be able to weasel out of it by remaining anonymous.

Could we talk to the One-Eyed Chinese man? Could we approach him with a plan to project a special birthday message for Ah Toy? We’ll need a dummy message to show him, then when the time comes, we’ll swap it for the Potemkin wave recording. If all else fails, we could bribe someone to play the message (Plan B) or go through the roof to the projection booth and play it ourselves. (Plan C).

Tuesday, 11 Aug 2011

Kiera and Joshua go back a 2nd night. They find out the name of the One-Eyed Chinese man is Li Shen. It’s a name familiar to Joshua—Li Shen was listed as one of Jing Jing Bei’s crew. He tears a page from the JJB journal and tucks it into a letter of introduction, and goes off to find and speck to Li Shen.

Beglan says he knows a Cardinal Finn, who can be useful to our plan. He cannot refuse to handwave the broadcast of our recording. We should send him an invite to the party too.

Joshua tries to cash out a Potemkin gold piece (as part of a ruse) to get Li Shen to come down from his office. He comes down and Joshua notes Li Shen limps like Faria. Bionic limb? Definitely the man is ex-military in his body language. Joshua hands over the letter of introduction and Reads him.

He Reads:

Li Shen: I do not believe this is real gold.

He walks away and when Joshua persists, threatens to call security. Li Shen, however, takes the letter with him.

Joshua slinks back to Kiera. They take a taxi home to Equinox well before the pick-up time. Kiera and Joshua fill in the rest of the crew on their findings.

Kiera and Joshua go back to Toys and get in. While they are there, someone approaches Kiera and says Mademoiselle, there is a call for you downstairs. She goes down and finds out that her invitation has been rescinded. The staff calls a cab for her and her toy, courtesy of the house, and they are escorted with all dignity out the front door to preserved the fiction of membership.

Time to go to Plan B.

Nika and Rina go in to observe the servide habits of the place and to suss out the projection layout and security.

What they find is the opera house floor plan is shaped like an hour glass. the curving stairs that curve up both sides of the front room with the colonnade and the reception area rise up to a balcony. The rear of the balcony opens out into the back half of the house, overlooking the auditorium of a grand stage which has been converted to a casino. The stage still exists, the better to put on stage shows for the patrons. Under the balcony, ornate double doors allow access to the casino. Directly off the balcony over the doors is the projection booth where we will need to plug in the chip and play the Potemkin wave.

Rina and Nika slip out back to check it as a possible means for pick-up or escape. Nika notices someone furtively calling someone else off the rear loading dock. She comes up to him and recognizes him as Di Lan Jeun, the Federal Marshal we met on Bernadette. We assisted him in getting the goods on Potemkin’s slavery business and got him put away in prison. Di Lan Jeun recognizes her too and to head off any suspicions by onlookers, he sweeps her up and kisses Nika. She wraps her arms around him and rolls with it. He comes up for air, yells to someone on the dock, “I need 10 minutes” and he and Nika walk away. Once in the clear, they talk.

Di Lan Jeun is on leave. He has no official capacity as Marshal right now. He tells Nika what he knows of Ah Toy, but admits he doesn’t have enough evidence to convict her for her crimes.

Nika tells him what we know.

Di Lan Jeun tells her that Li Shen is the one puzzle piece who doesn’t fit, that he’s responsible for the physical maintenance of the building. He’s not particularly good at it. He either has something on Ah Toy to avoid getting fired or has something to keep from getting fired. Why does she keep him? He’s verbally abusive and generally unpleasant to have around.

Nika tells him to meet us at our ship to work on a plan. We have a 3D map of the place. Come help us fill it out.

He and she part company and Nika gathers up Rina to go back to Equinox. We’ve gained an ally and with Di Lan Jeun in the picture, we need to work him into our plan.

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