[NOVA] Dinner Party? (K/M 3.2)

edited October 2014 in NOVA

So, that was how it began. This is how it starts.

It's three days after you debarked on Ainhoa, and it's been amazing. Snorkeling among artificial reefs teeming with Terran, Agiran and Xeno sealife. Sunning by the pool at The Landing (that's the main house you saw when you first docked), fishing and grilling over the firepit with Zoo and Dinah, socializing with the other guests and Pierre, interacting with the charming but otherwise near-invisible staff. (It's hard to pinpoint the number, by the way... they wear no nametags and bear a certain family resemblance.)

Mei, this morning a new letter was waiting for you on your tablet. Please go here to read it.

This night, Pierre has arranged dinner for your foursome with Premier Lovejoy and his wife Leona, Dr. Upshaw, Ms. DeJesus (a famous singer, apparently... who knew?) and her accompanist, Mohammed Chatman. Gina DeJesus is to give an informal recital later. Mei, you have the sense that there is some public diplomacy involved here. Harold Lovejoy is the prime mover in the politics of his home world, Keiko, and a mover-and-shaker among the loose coalition of the Independent Worlds.

Dress is casual, and Dr. Upshaw, a renowned cyberneticist, has expressed interest in the capabilities and lacks of your systems, Ksenia, do you wear your arm to dinner?

Regardless, you are past the fresh-caught fish and the whole pig cooked over coals in a pit carved from the sand. You have retired to the Great Room of The Landing. Maybe you're sipping water, or juice, or maybe some of the exquisitely fermented products of Agira's numerous vineyards.

Then, in short order, three things happen:

First, you see a bright light from the harbor.

Second, you hear the boom of an explosion, which rattles the glass windows of the Great Room.

Third, about a dozen persons, dressed in paramilitary-style garb, with obvious armor beneath, burst through the doors and windows.

"Hands in the air, and empty! Now, now, now!" The leader shouts in tones of control that you recognize, Ksenia. Whoever she is, she trained with the Corps.

What do you do?

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Comments

  • image
    Yes, I wore my arm. I've enjoyed discussing it with Dr. Upshaw. We've spent far too long talking about the intricacies of this tool. I enjoy his company, too.

    Once the invasion happens, I look over the crew. First glance to Mei, of course, but then Dai and Red. My friends are most important. Then, the guests, Ayala and the servants. Servants last because they are unseen, they are in the least amount of danger.

    The mercs haven't hurt anyone yet. They're Corps trained. This is both good and bad. I realize there's no use playing off like I'm some dumb citizen, with the arm and all, so I stand up, raising my hands, palms forward, towards them.

    This is why I don't like vacations.
  • Mei-header

    I'm really not stuffing my face with fish and roasted pig when the attack happens. I raise my eyebrows and drop my fork. So much for vacation.

    I box up my concern for Ksenia and put it on a mental shelf. What's she doing? I check on Lourdes, Zoo, Pierre, and the others out of the corner of my eye. How are they all reacting? I'm surprised that I check on Lourdes first. Not now, Mei. Focus!

    I put my hands in the air, tensing for action. I ready my psi, reaching cautiously out to the leader first to scan her. Maybe it's a sham? What kind of weapons do I see?
  • Ksenia, despite your pacifying gesture, the attention of the leader and the two soldiers flanking her immediately snaps to you. She takes you in with a glance, eyes reading your stance, your physique, your "after market" arm. In a moment, you see her draw a conclusion. She barks, "Sit down, sergeant. Now."

    Mei, your quick scan tells you that this woman is not to be fucked with. She is deadly serious about whatever's happening here, and has a deadly intelligence behind it. She also apparently has some training, her mind locked as tight as any non-psi you've encountered. One thing, though, so central to her identity that it shines through. She thinks of herself as "Major Brownlee," and you have a glimpse of the interlocking bronze triangles of a Marine Major's insignia.

    Cora has already been alert, paying attention to the taste of the food and the pleasantries being exchanged. She comes fully to the surface now with the familiar taste of lemon and acute angles brushing your skin.

    The dozen men and women in the room are heavily but practically armed, slug throwers and sidearms for each. A few have bandoliers of grenades slung across their chests.

    What do you do?

  • image
    I sit down as instructed, but being called "sergeant" is a hell of a surprise. Does she know me? If so, her knowledge is out of date, which is interesting in itself. This has to be some kind of op. What are they after?

    I glance at the table for a steak knife, and if I can bring it down with my hand, I'll do that. While doing so, I'm watching the leader of these mercs very carefully. Do I recognize her, anything about her?
  • edited September 2014

    Ksenia, you don't know her, but you know the type. After your time in the Corps, you could peg this woman as a Marine officer from a mile off. From her easy command and the surety of her posture, probably a field officer, but on the young side, so you'd guess no higher than Lieutenant Colonel.

    You do manage to slide a steak knife into your hand, as the leader checks in with other teams.


    If you want, you may make a roll to see what you can learn by trying to interpret the overheard chatter. If you do, roll against an 11 and I'll base what you learn on how much you beat that target by. If you fail, you'll call attention to yourself.

  • image

    d8 Duty: I know the Corps, this lady is Corps, I will piece this together
    d10 Leader: The Lt. Colonel is familiar, I need to know what's up
    d4 Veteran of the Aenid Cluster Conflict (using as d4 for a PP)
    d8 Church relationship - what has he gotten us into?
  • image

    (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 4. Total: 4) Duty
    (Rolled: 1d10. Rolls: 3. Total: 3) Leader
    (Rolled: 1d4. Rolls: 4. Total: 4) Veteran of the Aenid Cluster Conflict
    (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 3. Total: 3) Church
  • Mei-header

    Only my eyes are moving, watching the squad and assessing.

    I reach out with my psi, touching the minds of Ksenia, Dinah, and Zoo for a sending.

    // it's mei // stay frosty // i'm scanning them //

    Then, words match actions and I'll quickly scan the rest of the squad and the other guests. The mercs all can't be steel traps. At least one will be weak-minded, and I aim to influence or learn more.

    Brownlee's silence worries me, though. What's this all about?
  • image
    Spending a PP to make the 8 I rolled into an 11.

  • Ksenia, here's what you learn:

    Three other, smaller teams.

    One at the dock, where the explosion was, mostly on their way up to the house, leaving a few behind to guard the group's own transportation.

    One at the bungalows, securing the area.

    One farther in, destroying the comms tower and doing a general sweep.

    Comms are tight. These are professionals, and discipline is significantly above average if they're a pick-up mercenary group.

  • edited September 2014

    Mei, you push your thoughts out to your friends and prepare your scan. Dinah's eyes widen—she still seems sensitive about you being in her brain—but she quickly recovers and gives a quick, small nod. Zoo, on the other hand, just relaxes slightly on hearing your voice in her head, reassured.

    Number One

    It's been just a minute or two since the attackers broke into the house. The leader finishes on her radio. "If you do nothing foolish, no one will be hurt. At least not yet. You may address me as Number One, if you must address me."

    "Our goal is to prevent the success of negotiations for the Agira system to join the Polity. Between Mr. Ayala's wealth, Premier Lovejoy's political clout in the galaxy at large, and Ms. DeJesus' fame, we will have much to negotiate with." She turns to you, Ksenia, "You four are a surprise, which I do not care for. Please move slowly together, hands up, and sit against that wall." She gestures to indicate her intention as two of the soldiers step out of the line toward you.

    "Again, no one will be harmed, provided our demands are met."

  • image
    Great. We're caught in the political upheaval of some dustball of a planet. Damn, Church, why did you do this to us? There are far too many for me to have a chance against. I'll play along for now. Wish I had my butterfly knife in my leg. That bit about "not yet" sounds ominous. I have a feeling we're the expendables in a hostage negotiation. I look over to Mei, willing strength and love to her. I glance at Zoo and Red, too, giving them calm eyes.
  • Mei, even a quick scan of 16 people will take some time. If you want to take it slow and casual, it will require about half an hour. If you want to take that down, you can roll against a static challenge of 9. For every 1 you beat that target by, subtract three minutes.

  • edited September 2014
    Mei-header

    d10 Duty - Nobody threatens my crew on my vacation!
    d8 Security - Know your enemy.
    d4 Alien-Enhanced Psionic - [OOC: gain 1 PP] My psi is an advantage and a weapon.
    d8 Church - I have a nagging feeling he knew this was in the cards.

    [OCC: spend 1 PP]
    d8 Cora - She's awake and scanning already.

  • Duty - (Rolled: 1d10. Rolls: 4. Total: 4)
    Security - (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 1. Total: 1)
    Alien-Enhanced Psionic - (Rolled: 1d4. Rolls: 2. Total: 2)
    Church - (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 4. Total: 4)

    Cora - (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 2. Total: 2)
  • [OCC 4 + 4 = 8, and a juicy 1 for you.]
  • Mei, so many minds, and you're trying for speed. You'll get there, for sure, if you're given time before being distracted or interrupted.

    For now, you get the following:

    One of the soldiers is worrying about her baby son, Lars, who she's left with neighbors. You're pretty sure her name is Dominique, but you have no idea what her "number" is.

    Premier Lovejoy and Mohammed Chatman had been planning on meeting up for a "rendezvous" later tonight, after the Premier's wife was asleep.


    Also, I'm picking up that 1 to give you a d6 Complication for the rest of the session. (Take 2 PP). "Who's Who?" Your attempt at a speedy scan has led to some confusion about which mind matches which face. For the rest of the session, until you have a minute or two of "real" conversation with one of those 16 people, I'll add that d6 to the Challenge when you try to use your Psi on any of them.

  • image

    I'm looking for a chance to talk to Number One. I figure she doesn't need to babysit these troops of hers, so once things die down, if Mei hasn't launched us into anything, I'll see if I can catch Number One's eye.
  • Within another few minutes, Number One has things completely in hand. The team from the docks secures the staff in a separate room, and the Great Room is quiet aside from Leona Lovejoy's quiet, hiccup-ridden sobs and Mohammed Chatman murmured prayers.

    Ksenia, Number One senses your attention and meets your eye. After a glance around the room, she walks over to your group. "Who are you? You four are very inconvenient to me."

  • Mei-header

    I raise my head, set my shoulders, and with a little swagger, answer, "Misty Brown and entourage." I have a half-cool, half-cocky smile.

    Sometimes I surprise myself.
  • image
    I shrug, following her lead. "Muscle." Then I add, "We don't have to be inconvenient, Number One."


  • image image

    Dinah, ever adaptable, chimes in. "We're her personal stylists." To which Zoo quickly adds, "Trust me, she needs two of us. No eye at all."

    Number One keeps her attention on you, Ksenia. "How do you mean, Muscle? Are you making me an offer of some sort?"

  • edited September 2014
    Mei-header

    I smirk at Zoo.

    "Watch it, Onesie. I've got dibs on her. I'm not sure you can outbid me." My, Misty Brown is cocky!

    I am slowly adjusting my psi, trying to lock in on Brownlee's wave pattern. There's so much interference.
  • image
    I cross my arms, arch a brow and look at Number One. "I'm hired muscle. I certainly don't want to be inconvenient. And this," I reach my right hand up to gesture to Number One, her squad and the dignitaries, "Has nothing to do with us. We're on frakkin' vacay."
  • "So you just happen to be the personal guests of the richest man in the Agira system? Just at this moment?" She turns to "Misty," playing along whether she believes the act or not.

    "How do you know Mr. Ayala, Ms. Brown?"

  • Mei-header

    A thousand-watt Misty Brown smile. "Personal connections. You'd have to ask my accountant for the details."

    I give Brownlee an assessing look, and affect a slightly bored and impatient tone. "How long are these negotiations of yours going to take? I haven't had my massage today." I look at her squad, as if hoping one of them could service.

    I think a few thoughts to get Cora's attention.
  • Mei, Cora's attention is fully engaged. You feel the whisper of her communication as sentence diagrams of a language you don't know. taban

    Number One snorts dismissively. "Banter is unproductive." To the two soldiers who peeled off, "Watch them closely. It is time to make contact." Most of Number One's soldiers remain alert but relaxed, eyes moving slowly around the room. One of the men has started setting up a self-contained communications package.

    A second begins unpacking a simple-looking device, a sleek box with a series of indicator lights along the top and a few control dials on the side. Mei, you saw this in your Psi Corps training, and you know it's going to present a challenge. What does it do?

  • edited September 2014
    Mei-header

    "Then you haven't had good banter, sugar." I give her a knowing smile, staying in character.

    Good. She bought the act.

    Then the one with the glasses unfolds the electric donkey and I know I have to warn the others. This crew means business.

    The device is a kind of Skinner box, except it works at a meter or two to simulate pain or pleasure in a subject. It's less variable than a human psionic and less damaging than outright torture, without enough power to make someone an addict. This one looks pretty crude by Psi Corps standards, but still effective.

    The carrot and the stick. That's why they call it an electric donkey. The name just stuck.
  • The comms package has been assembled, and one of the soldiers begins unspooling a long, thin cable, out the door and in the direction of the docks. Number One speaks to the room. "In a few moments, I will be in communication with the Chief of State in Agira City. I encourage you all to cooperate with any requests I make." She gives a significant look at the second device.

    Lovejoy

    Premier Lovejoy, who was initially cowed by the suddenness of the invasion and has been preoccupied with comforting his wife since, finally lets his indignation show. "This is outrageous!I don't know what you hope to accomplish, whoever you are, but I will see you punished for this!"

    Leona

    Lovejoy's wife flinches at his tone. She says, "Sweetie..."

    Ayala

    Ayala makes a placating gesture. "Mr. Premier, perhaps this is a moment for cool heads?" He refocuses his attention on Number One. "What do you need from us?"

    Number one cuts everyone off with a gesture. "Mr. Ayala, all I want for the moment is for you all to be quiet until I ask otherwise, and continue doing as you're told."

    Ksenia, Ayala is making a gesture that catches your eye. It seems idle, a nervous tic, but you recognize it as a recognition signal employed by some covert ops teams. "Following your lead." He catches your eye to make sure you've noticed, then looks away.

  • Mei-header

    Whatever Brownlee has in mind for her communique, I need to know. I want to get in her mind. I'll toy with my hair and look bored, glancing at the others.

    I send to Cora, // this one might be tricky //
  • edited September 2014

    Number One moves in front of the rig, allowing the operator to check angles, lighting and sound. He also swings the camera around to pan across the faces of Ayala and the five other guests, once again adjusting lights.

    image

    yes this one yes

    Mei, you feel a stillness from Cora, and then you sense an image in the nerve endings of the soles of your feet. You, looking at Brownlee intently, and a fractal ribbon that you somehow know is Cora emerging from you to touch the woman's forehead. When the ribbon makes contact, Brownlee's eyes open wide and she looks around the room suspiciously.

    this one yes is less like to notice my attention if you place skin against skin

    Another image. This time your nipples harden as a cold wind of logic and the fur of soft animals brings it to the soft skin of your belly. You, touching Brownlee's arm. The ribbon this time barely registers as a shimmering transference from your fingers. Brownlee smiles.

  • Mei-header

    I send to Cora, // perhaps she will notice my attention //

    I'm watching Brownlee. I can't just run that way, vault over the couches, and grab her; no matter how amusing that failure would be. I must be more subtle... I can slowly send her some raw arousal, increasing the intensity slightly when her gaze happens to fall on me.

    I idly rub my neck.
  • Mei, you concentrate on sending a trickle of desire to Number One/Brownlee. That's the plan, right? Just a touch at first, then associating yourself with it when she happens to look your way?


    This will be a roll. Here's the challenge:
    Non NPC-Challenge: 3d8 (That's 2d8 for the basic challenge, plus 1d8 for "Across a Crowded Room": there are a lot of people here, and you don't have her attention to start)
    Number One: 1d10 (we've established she's a tough nut to crack)

  • Here's the roll:

    Non-NPC: (Rolled: 3d8. Rolls: 2, 3, 6. Total: 11)
    Number One: (Rolled: 1d10. Rolls: 2. Total: 2)
  • edited September 2014
    Mei-header

    d10 - Discovery - I want to know what she knows. Who's pulling the strings and what is she going to try? This much resistance from a non-psionic is interesting, too.
    d8 - Love - Cora's... excitement is getting to me.
    d4 - Alien-enhanced Psionic - Focus, Mei. You've got this.
    [NB: Gaining one Plot Point]


    d8 - Cora - The musty warm fractals swirl and loop, curious, fuzzy, seeking, so orange it hurts
    [NB: Spending one Plot Point]
    d6 - Cora Box - I hope they're not reading the logs on this too closely. Goodness, what they must think of me.


  • (Rolled: 1d10. Rolls: 1. Total: 1) - Discovery
    (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 7. Total: 7) - Love
    (Rolled: 1d4. Rolls: 2. Total: 2) - Alien-enhanced Psionic
    [NB: Gaining one Plot Point]


    (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 6. Total: 6) - Cora
    [NB: Spending one Plot Point]
    (Rolled: 1d6. Rolls: 1. Total: 1) - Cora Box

  • [OOC: 7+6=13, with two delicious, tempting ones for you to pick up.]
  • edited September 2014

    As she waits for the uplink to be active, Number One glances around the room. When her eyes meet yours, Mei, the contempt they contained earlier shatters and is replaced with raw want.

    She strides across the distance separating her from the Stalker Jane quartet, stopping two paces away. In the same voice of command you've been hearing, she says, "Ms. Brown, please stand up." When you do, with that impish grin, she looks at you for a moment before closing the last of the gap, reaching a hand behind your neck, and bending down for a fierce kiss. How do you respond to that?

    Regardless, you have your contact, and Cora unfolds, leading your psi into the woman's mind.


    That was a clear success. I'll tell you about her plans for the communique, as requested, and you may also ask me two other questions of about the same level of specificity.

    Those two 1s? It's actually a mixed blessing. Let's call it Can't Help Falling in Love. For the rest of the scene, Mei can add a d8 to any interaction with Number One, but if she tries to interact with anyone else, Number One will actively interfere, and I get to add the d8 to my roll.

    Oh, and there's a little hangover here, as well. When it wears off, she's going to remember this moment of irrational desire, and probably be suspicious.

  • Mei-header

    Oh!

    I make a small sound of surprise in the back of my throat, and allow myself to get pulled into the kiss. The depth of her passion surprises me; I sense she's had either a long dry spell or something, because this is a yummy kiss and my body responds to her want.

    She's different from Ksenia, and from a man, and not the greatest kisser, but very enthusiastic, and one of my hand flutters up to her shoulder to grab lightly and I press my body into her, partly from desire and partly to show off. I feel Cora unfurling to experience the touch sensation. This isn't quite the subtle I was hoping for, but take what you get.

    How do you like seeing someone else kissing your Taban, Ksenia?
  • image
    That. Was. Unexpected.

    It's interesting to watch Taban with someone else. It would be nice if the "someone else" was attractive to me, but hey, it's still interesting. She presses her body against Number One like she does mine. I guess that's her signature move.

    It's pretty hot. I mean, for a glimpse. I'm much more concerned about getting us the frak out of here.
  • Mei, as it turns out, her plans are pretty much what she's already told the room. She's going to contact the planetary government, demonstrate that she has three very high-value hostages, and demand that they withdraw from the negotiations regarding being annexed by the Polity. You further know that she has no plans of showing any of your little group on video, and that she intends to terminate the connection upon issuing her demand, with the intention of re-establishing contact in six hours.

    You have two questions. What would you like to ask?

  • edited September 2014
    Mei-header

    How did she harden her mind to psi influence?

    Which of her hostages is she naturally most attracted to, and why?
  • Mei

    There are a few factors that contribute to the strength of Brownlee's defenses. First, she's naturally a near-null, her pineal gland producing a very low level of the paracognisine-precursors that even a normal, non-psi brain manufactures. Second, she's received extensive training. The details are fuzzy, but you have the sense that she was once Marine Intelligence Services. Third, she is intensely private by instinct, folding into herself at the least provocation.

    As to hostages and attraction, that's a bit fuzzier under the haze you've induced, but you sense that it's Ayala himself that holds her attention most. His seeming ease of manner and the playboy lifestyle she's heard of are a complete opposite of her own tightly wound internal life, and there is a great appeal in that. Also, she thinks he's pretty, and she likes older men.

  • Mei-header

    When she pulls back, I add a bit of sparkle to my eyes and quip, "Now I see why they call you Number One," and I chuckle throatily. I drop my hand, and say quietly, "Let me know if you want to dish out that massage later on, honey."
  • The soldier that earlier left with cable returns. "We're live to the sat-dish, Number One." Number One pats your cheek, Mei. "Don't go anywhere."

    She turns and walks back to the comm setup, fitting in an earpiece as she goes. Once she's in place, she signals the tech to start capture. She composes herself, then begins speaking. "Hello. I speak for those that wish for the Agira system to remain independent from the Fascist Polity. I hold three hostages that may be of interest to you." With a gesture, the tech pans across the faces of Ayala, DeJesus, and Lovejoy. Once the camera is back on her, Number One continues. "You have five hours to disengage from the annexation negotiations. We will be monitoring this channel for your response."

    Ksenia, you notice that Leona Lovejoy has also clocked Ayala's signal. She gives you a wide-eyed look that also carries intense focus.

  • image
    Wait... does she know what Ayala was signalling, too? I'll drop her a quick non-verbal, see if she reads it. That would be a hell of a thing.

  • edited September 2014
    Mei-header

    I manage to look coy. At least she patted my cheek and not my ass.

    Hmph. Fascism. I lean back, glancing at my friends with a tiny shrug. Maybe it's an apology for my behavior, maybe it's inviting options. Five hours is not a long time. I wonder how Pierre feels about the annexation?

    I'll test out with my psi, working out the kinks like a tight muscle. I don't trust myself to let slip anything confidential until I know I can get a lock. It would be terrible to tip off the squad! I touch a mind here and there, lining up thoughts and faces with actions. One of the squad members is surreptitiously picking his nose; that's the one thinking about a handkerchief.

    I clean some dirt from underneath a fingernail.
  • Ksenia, you give Leona a signal, basically a query: "Do you understand?" She makes the "OK" sign low, in her lap.

    Mei, aside from Number One, Ayala, and your friends, the room is still a psychic jumble to you, but you do start to unravel the threads.

    After Number One finishes her brief transmission, she indicates that her troops should keep the room secure. "You've got the protocols, soldiers. B squad has perimeter security for now, and C squad is finishing their sweep of the island."

    She starts to leave the room, then turns to look at you, Mei. "Miss Brown, would you care to join me for a walk? It's a lovely evening."

  • image
    Oh frak me, we have a little unit now. Four of us, plus Zoo and Red, we might be able to do something.

    I signal the two of them to stay frosty, watch for weak spots. I'm waiting for a report from Mei. From my Psi training, I know sometimes psi links can be established. I wonder if Mei can do it?

    Or maybe... Cora?

    Cora, you twisted little sexy thing, can you hear me?
  • Ksenia, you feel a familiar tickle of grammar and strawberries as Cora responds to your mental query. Apparently, she was replaying (reliving? re-experiencing?) Mei's recent encounter with Number One, because you have a fleeting sensation of lips on yours, a tongue in your mouth.

    yes taban's lover i can taste your mind

  • image
    Cora, I'm hurt. Aren't I your lover, too? Maybe I remember things differently. Shit, I'm flirting with an alien. This Number One and the others, they are not our friends. Right now, we're in the way, and they mean to do violence if some other people don't do what they say. We've got a few hours, and I need to coordinate activity with Taban, that older, handsome fellow there, the adorable MILFy blonde and Zoo and Red. Can you link us all?
  • edited September 2014
    Mei-header

    Good, I can still pick out my friends and Pierre. I focus on them and psi-send.

    // brownlee's box can cause pain or pleasure / be on alert / i may take one for the team here //

    "Certainly, Onesie. I haven't seen this world's stars yet. Have you seen the sauna room?" The last sentence is lower, full of suggestive ideas.

    Mei, what are you getting yourself into?
  • Ksenia, an image forms in scent and symbolic logic. A single light, and five unlit points surrounding it. A wave of fractal color connects the first light to a second point. The first light brightens and the second begins to glow, as bright as the first. The fractal wave continues to the third, fourth, fifth, sixth points, and as each lights, they continue to burn brighter and brighter, until your vision-analog is near-blinded.

    this can be done / each node feeds energy to others / feedback loop possible

    At your second sending, Mei, Ayala frowns, then gives the subtlest of nods. Dinah and Zoo are already staring at you and Number One in puzzlement, but both of them turn their attention to the box for a brief moment.

    When you continue your flirting with Number One, she makes a sound somewhere between a growl and a purr, and strides out the door, expecting you to follow.


    For those left in the room, silence falls. The sound of the surf filters through the windows.

  • Mei-header

    I stride right behind her, letting anyone who cares to enjoy watching me go. Brownlee might look better not dressed in tactical gear. I get the sense she's fit, just by watching the way she moves.

    How far are you willing to go here, Mei?

    If I get her alone, perhaps in the sauna room, I can incapacitate her. This isn't one of Dinah's video games. I can't vamp them all away one at a time, and that squad won't idly wait five hours doing nothing.

    I crack one knuckle, thinking, worried, excited.
  • image
    To Cora, I thinksay, If this loop is dangerous, then link me with Mei. I am willing to risk us, and we already share a connection. I will communicate with the others through conventional means.

    To my lover, Taban, Mei, I see you're taking Number One. We'll see if we can work on the unit in here. Once we secure this group, we should be armed and ready to take down the other units. Do whatever it takes to keep her communication offline. I trust you, babe.
  • Mei-header

    Ksenia's voice in my head is tinged with grapefruit and velcro, but it's still her. I blink, surprised, but pleased and drawing strength from her.

    I psi-send directly, // my love my love / be careful / im sorry / im grateful for your trust / we must talk later / i love you / kick their asses but good and ill make it up to you //

    Get under control, Mei.
  • edited October 2014
    image
    Mei's words come to me in the way Cora's have, that odd sing-song style. I'm just "thinking" at her. I wonder how she "hears" me? Probably the same, but damn if it's not trippy.

    To Taban, again, Asses will be kicked. Do what you gotta do with her, just don't show her all our tricks... see if you can pick up a new one or two. We're going to make it.

    I do not want to tell her I worry that Number One will be sorely pissed at Mei for tweaking with her head, or that tactically we're loose ends that should be dealt with in a very final way. No, that wouldn't help at all.
  • Mei, you feel Ksenia's comforting presence drifting to you through Cora, who is fully alert and, you sense, very much interested in whatever is about to happen with Number One.

    You walk along the beach for a few minutes, until you reach a little picnic area with table and benches crafted from the same wood as the walkway to the bungalows. Brownlee pushes you back onto the table and, looking directly at you for the first time since leaving the house, issues a single command, in a tone both demanding and pleading. "Strip."

  • Mei-header

    I swallow. Careful, Mei.

    I send to Cora, // you asked for skin against skin / i trust you cora / but be careful in there / let's see what's possible //

    I slip a bare shoulder out from the strap of my dress, keeping eye contact, looking fetching in the evening light. "Do you want to help?" I say suggestively.
  • edited September 2014

    Ksenia, here's the room:

    Great Room

    ("G" means "Guard".)

    Veronica

    Veronica DeJesus turns to speak to one of the guards, her voice shaky but still rich and musical. "What happens if they don't give you the answer you want? Five hours to stop a negotiation that's been going for years?"

    The guard doesn't respond.

    Ayala reaches for the decanter of fruit juice on the table and pours a glass. He offers it to the guard closest to him, who shakes her head with seeming regret. "No, thank you."


    Mei, Number One does help, with such passion that she nearly tears your dress. Once you're naked before her, she pushes you back onto the table and kisses you again, fierce and hungry. Cora starts humming to herself in tones of magenta and elliptical orbits. In moments, you feel the woman's hands exploring your body, her touch demanding and insistent.

    Ksenia, you feel the echo of what's happening to Mei in your own body, but filtered through Cora's otherwordly perceptions. Cora's desire for sensation does wash into your mind, though, and you nearly reach a hand to your own breast before you stop yourself.

  • Mei-header

    I'm balancing between desire and detachment. With Cora so involved, it's almost as though I'm watching it happen to someone else, yet I can feel every caress and whisper of her skin on mine. It's not entirely pleasant, but it's very flattering. Why do I feel like I'm betraying my love?

    Back to Brownlee- she's stuffed into her gear. "Let's see what you've got for me, cutie. I say in Misty Brown's drawling way. I'll work her gear off, the clunky armor, the suit, the headset gets popped out when I nibble her earlobe. I can be insistent too. I want skin-on-skin, and I'm looking to see if she has any tell-tale augment scars. I take a breath and get to kissing.

    I psi-send to Ksenia. // brownlee is very distracted right now //

    Mei, Mei, Mei, you didn't think this through very well. What did you think was going to happen?
  • Mei, you manage to get Number One undressed, with a little help from her. She is easily as fit as you, and more muscular.

    She continues her attentions, wordlessly but not silently. She is on you, she is in you, and Cora revels in it, making a meal of Brownlee's eager hunger and your reluctant pleasure, spicing it with some of Ksenia's echoed arousal and feeding it back to you.

    Meanwhile, Ksenia, the intensity of what Cora is sharing with you increases. Zoo looks over at you, about to say something, but she changes sentences mid-stream. "Boo, are you okay? You look flushed, do you have a fever?"

  • edited September 2014
    image
    Zoo's concern brings me back. For a minute there I was a little spaced out, just feeling the pleasure of someone else going down on Mei, and frak me, it was good. My breath is a little quickened, but I can calm myself.

    I blink it away, shaking my head to clear it. "I'm good, Zoo." I put a hand on her shoulder, trying to, you know, clap it like a comrade, but instead I squeeze a little, and I'm thinking about her and me, and how it's been a while....

    No! Frak no, Cora. C'mon girl, you alien hussy. We are in danger here, and while Taban can go for hours, it doesn't mean Numero Uno can. I do a quick assessment of the room and threats. There are three of "us" in here, how many of them?

    A dozen. Damn, this won't be easy.

    I talk to the captain in a low tone, conversational if I can pull it off, "Zoo, baby." I look at her, serious, focused. "You heard that bitch. She thinks we're trouble. There's too much planning for them to let us stay here being trouble, you get me? I need you and Red to stay safe, and do what I say, when I say. If you're good, there's a little somethin-somethin in it for you later, coo?" I am keeping it light, flirty. I don't think she's a coward, but this is out of her depth, so I'm trying to keep Zoo happy.
  • Mei-header

    Her long hair feels nice, silky slink over my thighs, cool air and warm woman everywhere. I hold her in place, it's soooooo different. She doesn't know me as well as Ksenia, so she's exploring differently with different feelings and different touches and different everything! It's good, but the contrast is so very unsettling- I keep expecting metal when there's flesh, and she goes just there when Ksenia goes here. It's like flying a left-handed ship almost. My reluctance eventually falls to the ferocity of her hunger.

    She is very fit, and I think of Lana briefly, feeling a fractal shimmer looping around my spine.

    I psi-send to Ksenia. // i love you // There's guilt and a little shame there, but also a thrill of selfish pleasure. // you're better than she is / and she's off comms / oh my / im so sorry //
  • Ksenia, as Mei reaches her climax, you try to maintain a calm front before Zoo and Dinah, who has turned her attention away from the guards and to the conversation. The soldiers don't seem to mind your quiet chat, or even much pay attention. They're attuned to body language and quick movements, not your seemingly mutually comforting talk.

    "If you think you're going to take on twelve soldiers on your own, Boo, you're wrong." Dinah chimes in with a surprisingly archaic reference. "All for one, one for all, right?"

    Mei's waves of pleasure wash across your mind. What do you do?


    Mei, Brownlee brings you to your climax with more enthusiasm than skill, then steps back after one more fierce kiss. She picks up her underwear and begins to step into them.

    What do you do?

  • Mei-header

    "Oh no, sweet cheeks. You're not gonna kiss and tell that Misty Brown is selfish." I'll snatch her underwear and twirl them around a finger. "Maybe sometimes, though." Now it's my turn to push her down on the picnic table and with a grin of promise, I begin to work my hands and fingers, saving a few tricks for later.

    I psi-send to Ksenia, // how long do you need / i can keep her distracted for a time / but not for long // When Brownlee next closes her eyes in moaning pleasure, I glance at her kit on the fine dark green grass. There must be something I can use to incapacitate her.

    To Cora, I psi-send, // do you like this? //
  • image
    I use Cora to send to Mei, Give me another twenty minutes. There's a frakking dozen of them out here and only a few of us. I imagine a soothing voice, not sure if it comes across, C'mon, girlie, I can feel how fun it is for you.

    I give Ayala a signal to draw the four guards near the western door in the upper left-hand corner of the room to him. I give Lovejoy a signal to draw the attention of the southern five towards the double doors, motioning for her to move quick. That will leave the three for me. I'm looking to disarm and disable. I will fire if need be, but I do not want the other groups to be alerted.

    If I get high signs from Ayala and Lovejoy, then I'll head over to chatter with the guard by Upshaw's chair to get in tight.
  • Ksenia, Ayala and Leona Lovejoy both give you the slightest of nods. Ayala seems as relaxed as ever, while Leona's face shows a hint of worried determination. As you stand to move toward the guard you've targeted you draw the attention of 24 eyes, but no one moves to stop you. When you feel close enough, you speak up. "Hey, don't I know you from somewhere?" The guard gives you a close look, as if she's trying to remember.


    Why don't you give me a roll. I figure you could take any three of these soldiers unarmed with no problem, so I'm adding dice for each three beyond that. Ayala and Leona will contribute a d8 and a d6 to your roll—I'll let you decide who gave you which die after the roll. The civilians in the room, who will certainly react in the worst way possible and get themselves in trouble, add 2d6.

    Basic Challenge: 2d8 (despite the complexity of the situation, this is your jam)

    A dozen trained men: 3d6

    Civilians in the way: 2d6

  • Basic: (Rolled: 2d8. Rolls: 8, 1. Total: 9)
    Guards: (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 4, 2, 4. Total: 10)
    Civilians: (Rolled: 2d6. Rolls: 3, 3. Total: 6)
  • Mei-header

    I psi-send to Ksenia, complex waves of guilt and pleasure and wistfulness and duty and power and sadness and . // fun would be if you were with me / this is different //
  • edited September 2014

    Mei, you glance at the jumble of clothes and gear on the ground. Brownlee's sidearm is clearly visible, and about half a dozen milspec carbon fiber zip-ties are spilling out of one of the utility pockets of her vest.

    Brownlee's enthusiasm continues unabated as you give her the benefit of your considerable native talent and your extensive recent experience with Ksenia. Her moans increase in volume as she begins to spasm in the first wave of her incipient orgasm.

    As your body serves Number One's needs, your mind is keenly aware that Ksenia is about to make her move. Anticipation coils like a spring, and somehow the fact of Cora in the mix makes anticipation of K's action and anticipation of Brownlee's orgasm one and the same. Any moment now, she's going to ride you over the edge. Any moment now, her radio is going to crackle to life with warning. Cora's presence becomes even more intense, as if she is driving your tongue and your fingers.

    In seconds, Number One will be momentarily helpless, and Ksenia will be on the attack.

  • edited October 2014
    Mei-header

    I deftly kick her radio into the calmly lapping waves.

    I quietly smile to myself at the mental pun.
  • edited September 2014
    image
    Mei think-says to me she would be having fun if I were there. I chuckle in my mind back to her, Silly girl. I'm always with you. Always.
  • edited September 2014
    image

    d10 Sacrifice - I'm taking on a desperate situation for my friends
    d10 Security - violence is the answer to the problem
    d10 Captain Zoo - I'm counting on, and sure, I'm hoping to impress her, too
    d4 - Temper Distinction - I'll be doing this... with authority (rolling as d4 for a PP)
  • image

    (Rolled: 1d10. Rolls: 6. Total: 6) Sacrifice
    (Rolled: 1d10. Rolls: 10. Total: 10) Security
    (Rolled: 1d10. Rolls: 4. Total: 4) Captain Zoo
    (Rolled: 1d4. Rolls: 4. Total: 4) Temper Distinction
  • image

    (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 4. Total: 4) Ayala help
    (Rolled: 1d6. Rolls: 1. Total: 1)Leona help
  • edited September 2014
    image

    That's a 16.

    I'll buy that 1.

  • Ksenia, Ayala and Leona Lovejoy must have read you right, because they do just what you were hoping. Pierre starts asking with evident concern if his four guards aren't hungry, informing them that there are ample comestibles (yes, he used that word) in the pantry, just through the door. Leona gives a shriek and runs toward the doors to the outside, drawing her five with her in equal parts concern and alarm.

    Then things start rolling, and it becomes the familiar sequence of snapshots.

    FLASH You disable the woman you were talking to with a single jackhammer strike to the gut from your right arm. She falls to the ground, gasping and curled around her abdomen.

    FLASH Leona collapses to the floor in apparent distress, then curls her leg around one of "her" guards, bringing him down and tangling another with him.

    FLASH you slam the other two of yours into each other, head-to-head, and they fall limp to the ground.

    FLASH Pierre brings up a knee into the crotch of his nearest hostile, with enough force to send him to the ground moaning in pain.

    FLASH One of the guards that just fell near the double-doors engages her radio. "Code Red, Main House!"

    FLASH Zoo launches herself up from the couch where she was sitting and runs toward the guards at the main door. One of them, about to draw his weapon, instead backhands her, and she falls limp.

    (Spending a PP to give you the d6 Complication "Zoo is Hurt." Note that you can spend my one to eliminate that, if you justify it in the fiction.)

    FLASH FLASH FLASH You've laid into the guards at the door, and as you approach Pierre, he is facing off with two of his four. Ksenia, does he need your help?

    FLASH They're all down for the moment, and Pierre and Leona are using their own zip-ties to restrain them. You know that the other teams have been alerted. What do you do?


    Mei, you feel all this, without the details, through your Cora-enhanced connection with Ksenia, just as Number One falls over the edge into a bucking, twisting, explosive orgasm. Instead of shouting obscenities or invoking the deity of her choice, though, she calls out a single name. "Kevin!" And then she lies limp against the table, panting, as her radio calls unheard from beneath three feet of water.

    What do you do?

  • image
    Ayala might not have needed my help, but I wasn't taking the chance that number four would get a chance to clock him. Steak knives aren't the most aerodynamic devices in the world, but if you throw anything hard enough with a cybernetic arm, it will hurt. I didn't "stick him" like I hoped, but the blunt end of the knife caught him in the temple and sent him sprawling. Ayala flowed with it and did this Bruce Lee-like "Oop!" type noise and chopped the sucker in the throat hard. I inwardly winced. It was vicious.

    "Arm up, we'll have incoming. Funnel them to the double doors." I'm checking on Zoo, moving up quick and kneeling beside her to check how bad off she is.

    To Mei, Team one down. Seems like you're "finishing off" Number One already. Make sure she's out and get back here. The other teams know. Good job, Taban. We're getting out of here. I'm pushing my worry for Zoo out of my head.
  • image
    I'll spend that "1" to put a d6 Asset for my side. "A snake with no head".

  • edited October 2014

    Ksenia, Dinah moves quickly up to join you at Zoo's side. The Captain is out cold when you get there, but her eyes flutter open in a few seconds. Her breathing is shallow, and you can see a lump beginning to form on the side of her head where the soldier struck her. Dinah gives you an accusing look. All she says, though, is "Help me move her over to the sofa, out of the way."

    Ayala and Leona Lovejoy have armed themselves. Ayala locks the interior door and blocks it with a chair. Surprisingly, Veronica DeJesus also goes to the pile of weapons and pulls out a large handgun, checking the chamber and the clip, then grabs a few spare magazines. Dr. Upshaw speaks up. "How can I help, Ksenia? I've never shot a gun, but I've thrown a few punches in my day."

    Premier Lovejoy stares at his wife, who so recently violently disabled at least three armed attackers and is now arming herself and strapping on a bandolier of deadly-looking grenades. "Leona?"

    Leona pauses only briefly. "Oh shut up, Howard." She turns back to her preparations.

  • image
    "Upshaw, help my friend with her," I'm back to soldiering and yes, Red's pissed at me, or worried about Zoo. I don't blame her. I want to tell her these a-holes were going to off us, but I stow it for now. "Once she's on the sofa, I need you and Red to keep an eye on her."

    I glance around. We've got four combatants on our side. "Alright, you three need to hold down the fort here. I'm going down to the dock and clear it. Ayala, how do I get word back?"
  • edited October 2014

    Pierre Ayala

    Ayala walks to the wall closest to him and a panel opens when he places his palm against it. A space about the size of a footlocker is revealed, containing an assortment of very useful looking equipment. He pulls out two radios. "These are encrypted and use a band-cycling algorithm that should keep anyone from listening in without a lot of effort." He tosses you one. "Why don't you come take a look, see if anything I've got appeals more than these rifles."

    When you look closely, it's like Christmas. Ayala apparently believes in preparedness. Ksenia, why don't you tell me about a few things you pull out to take with you to the docks?

  • image
    Well, first I turn to him, put my arms around his neck, and kiss him. Nothing too dramatic, but my blood is up and holy frak I needed this. I'm all smiles when I pull back, and say with a grin, "Oh daddy, you shouldn't have."

    I'm still smirking when I quickly pull out the collapsible sniper rifle and a couple clips, then I pull my stupid dress, that I wore for Taban, over my head and pull on the kevsuit with optic cloaking. Not sure if this model did thermal, but beggars can't be choosers. Then I take the MP-8, which has a frakking smartlink that syncs with my arm and and oh my God, a carbonoid K-bar knife that nearly makes me cream my jeans, so to speak.

    "I see why Church likes you, daddy." I quip. Then, I'm heading for the door at a jog, no time for shoes, but whatevs. "Watch out, everyone. I'll radio when I clear a path." With my sweet radio. This guy. I love this guy.
  • edited October 2014
    Mei-header

    I wonder who Kevin is, stroking her cheek, watching Brownlee's eyes focus and unfocus, watching her breathe hard. I feel a little distant and sad, my conscience tugging insistently. I used her. Almost a violation. Am I really cut out for these morally grey Psi Corps ops?

    While she's momentarily out of it, I'll roll her to her tummy on the table as though I'm not sated. I stop short of planting a few kisses and instead stroke calmly and gently along her back and flanks. Soothing with one hand while my other grabs her binders. As soon as I do, I'll zipstrip her wrists behind her back, move down and bind her ankles, fast as I can. I harden my face and try not to feel. I don't want to leave her naked and bound face down on a table. There's no way my clothes will fit her, but I can at least drape my cute dress over her ass for modesty. I brush her hair out of her face. "I'm sorry, Onesie." I almost called her Brownlee.

    I slip into my panties and throw on her armorvest, cinching it tight. I look faintly ridiculous, but at least I'm not wearing high heels.

    I go through her gear, collecting her sidearm and holster, not leaving anything behind. Even the radio might work if it dries out. Milspec, anything's possible.

    Those binders might come in handy.

    I psi-send to Ksenia, // taban incoming / sitrep please //

    I take off running for the house, sticking to the treeline.


  • edited October 2014
    image
    Taban checks in as I open the door and start running towards the docks. We took down the guards in the dining hall, but one of the a-holes clocked Zoo. I'm pretty sure she'll be okay. Ayala and Lovejoy are SpecOps trained, Taban, they're keeping everyone secure while I head to the docks. I could use some back-up, if you're done... doing Number One.. I wonder if you hear my mental laughter or not? Okay, I couldn't resist that one. I'm in my hyped up mode. I really am an adrenaline junkie and this is the best high I get.

    I'm seeing movement ahead. I need to focus, but I keep "an ear out" for my girl.
  • edited October 2014
    Mei-header

    They clocked Zoo? A twinge of worry runs across my shoulders. I feel less bad about what I did with Brownlee.

    I psi-send, // ha ha ha / i left her tied up if you want a turn / and somewhat decent / me not so much / dont laugh when you see me//

    I keep ducking low in the tree cover, and head to the dock. Brownlee's sidearm is out and pointed at the ground.
  • edited October 2014
    image
    I'm picking out a snipe spot. Cora, doll. Direct Mei to me? Can you?
    To Mei, That was your deal, I'm not interested but thanks. I asked Cora if she can drop a nav point to me. I'm trying to snipe some of these guys before I get all Rambo-licious.
  • edited October 2014

    Mei, you realize that Cora is trying to guide you to Ksenia, but her senses and your senses are so different. In the end, you close your eyes and trust to your reflexes as you follow the fractal line that stretches between you and Ksenia like a rubber band, constantly moving in the direction that most reduces the tension.

    Ksenia, you see Mei walking toward you, eyes closed, wearing nothing but her panties and a flak jacket. She is approaching from an angle out of view of the men on the dock, and she stops 18 inches from your nest. Her eyes open.

    What do you do?

  • Mei-header

    "Hi." I'm not at my best. My feet are dirty, I've got some scratches on my bare thighs from the run, I'm wearing cute dark blue panties, a too-large and nearly revealing flak vest, I'm toting a sidearm and I can't imagine how I smell.

    I blink rapidly, there's so much I want to say. But I cover it by looking around. No time to distract either of us.

    "How many?"
  • There are four soldiers on the docks, standing guard over four fast, dangerous-looking boats that couldn't possibly have the range to get to the nearest land mass you saw on the charts in the hydrofoil. The smoking wreck of that vessel is still slowly sinking at the outer end of the dock.
  • image
    I'm in a sitting position, hunkered over the sniper rifle trying to line up my shots when she comes up. I glance over, smirk, and say, "Just four. I love those panties, Taban."

    I'm not so worried about the first shot. I'm trying to angle the second, third and fourth. A good combat sniper is like a good billards player. You don't think about the shot right now nearly as much as how making this shot sets you up for the next shot. The great billards players are thinking about the entire table, how to set up a run.

    I'm not saying I'm great. But I am saying I'm going to headshot four of those a-holes. "Mei," I say as I continue watching them trying to move and coordinate action to get up to the house. "You wanna head down there and take advantage of the commotion I'm about to make?"
  • Mei-header

    She always knows just what to say to make me feel better. I smirk a little too readily. "Thank you." I do not feel anything like modest right now, but I shake it off.

    She's amazing with a sniper rifle, and I lovingly tousle her hair as I walk by. "Pity about the hydrofoil. I guess we're stuck on vacation island for a while." I know she's watching me go; with a hint of a sashay I look over my shoulder at her. "I love you. Kick ass." I duck in the underbrush to make my way to kick some ass of my own.

    I really wish I had some better footgear right now.
  • edited October 2014

    So, let's see some dice. Four opponents, highly disciplined and trained, alerted by radio that something is going on? For you two, that seems like a walk in the park.

    I'm going to roll the following challenge. It applies to both of you.


    • Basic Challenge: 3d8 (these soldiers are alert and ready for an attack)

    • Opponents: 1d8 (Two would be a walk in the park for K and M... four is just a bit more difficult.)

    • Mei, I'm going to roll an extra d6 against you, for your current, not-exactly-ready-for-prime-time state.

    Both your results will be compared against the Challenge I roll.

    No big deal, right? Let's make this interesting...

    If neither of you beat the guards' roll, one guard is down and whoever rolled highest did it.

    If one of you beats the guards' roll, two guards are down, and whoever beat the roll did it.

    If both of you beat the guards' roll, all four guards are down. I will compare your rolls using a proprietary algorithm developed by Waterhouse-Price to handicap the Miss America swimsuit competition. Or, fine. If the rolls are within 2 of each other, you both take out two guards. If one of you bests the other by 3 to 5, that one takes out three, the other takes out one. If one of you beats the other by 6 or more, that one takes out all four guards while the other watches.

  • Rolling

    Basic: (Rolled: 3d8. Rolls: 5, 8, 4. Total: 17)
    Four Soldiers: (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 6. Total: 6)
    Mei's Foot Issues: (Rolled: 1d6. Rolls: 4. Total: 4) (only applies to Mei)
  • Results - to clarify

    14 for both of you.
  • Mei-header

    Sacrifice - d8 - This is for the millions of people on Agira and the billions in the Polity... and for my friends, and for my love, and for Zoo.
    Security - d8 - Two parts stealth, one part confusion, six parts badass, and one part wit.
    Plucky - d8 - Nobody takes me hostage. Nope.
    Ksenia - d10 - I love working alongside her, we compliment each other so well.
  • Sacrifice - (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 3. Total: 3)
    Security - (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 8. Total: 8)
    Plucky - (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 2. Total: 2)
    Ksenia - (Rolled: 1d10. Rolls: 4. Total: 4)
  • [OOC: 8 + 4 = 12. Spending 1 PP to keep 3. 12 + 3 = 15, with zero ones.]
  • edited October 2014
    image
    d8 Duty - its my duty to the Corps extends to the frakkin Polity.. dammit
    2d10 Security - I will secure the safety of my crew and friends
    d4 Vet distinction (rolling as d4 for a PP)
    d6 Mei relationship - step back, babe, let me show you how it's done
    d6 Asset - "Snake without a head"


    using Fighter from Vet distinction to spend a PP to double Security.
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