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Re: Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3

Gatac posted in Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3 on 2018-12-17 20:42:56
Hug’sh is waiting for Arlana in the Turai training room by the time she’s stripped out of her carapace and down to her skinsuit. Getting out of the house and back into action has let her Turai genemods do the work of bringing her back into peak condition, and it doesn’t take much warmup for each of the muscles on her arms and shoulders to look ready to knock someone out on their own.
“Grab the bag, please,” Arlana says, nodding to the one next to Hug’sh.
There’s a tiny violet fringe running down Hug’sh’s back as he picks up the bag and brings it into position. Pissed-off elite Turai working out her anger on the bag? That’s not gonna be easy to keep stable, even with all his bulk. But that’s what you get when you say “yes” - well, say something that heavily implies “yes” - so Hug’sh gets to it and digs his claws into the rough leather of the bag, bracing his feet like an Alef-ka stance to absorb the impacts. ”Ready when you are,” he says.
Arlana takes two steps forward - not cautious steps, momentum-building steps - then plants and delivers a spin kick straight to the middle of the bag with a huff of effort. The force goes straight through the bag and into Hug’sh’s side. He was ready for that one, but somewhat less ready for the hard right hook that sent force straight through the bag and into the side of his head, and the reverse elbow that did the same.
”Have you considered shipping in a proper mount?” Hug’sh asks, blinking his eyes in an effort to clear his vision.
“Too expensive,” Arlana says. “But none of the Narsai’i or even my Turai will hold the bag for me anymore.” Arlana delivers a roundhouse kick that Hug’sh could swear bruised...whatever organs he has under his ribs and knocks some of the wind out of his lungs.
”Are you kicking the bag or me?” Hug’sh asks.
Arlana isn’t hearing him anymore, and lines up one more front kick that Hug’sh feels in his gut.
Hug’sh lets go of the bag and takes a step to the side. ”Stop,” he says.
“Hold the bag,” Arlana says, cheeks wet with more than just sweat.
”You’re coming at this bag with enough force to hurt me, so I can only imagine what this does to humans,” Hug’sh says. ”Let’s talk about this.”
“Hold the First-damned bag,” Arlana says again, turning her fighting stance away from the bag and towards Hug’sh as her words turn from furious to pleading.
”No,” Hug’sh repeats. ”You’re hurting me, Arlana. I don’t think you want that. Please stand down. I think we need to have a talk about this.”
Arlana tries to keep her guard up, but it’s already sagging. “Please,” she begs one more time.
A fringe of blue runs over the fringes of Hug’sh’s face. ”No,” he repeats softly. He spreads his arms a bit, silently offering a hug.
Arlana finally just breaks down completely, stepping forward and returning the hug as she weeps into his chest.
Hug’sh holds her up in his embrace, drawing her closer and letting her sobs get soaked by his chest. Without thinking, he bows his head down and gently licks the side of her face.
It takes a few seconds before Arlana calms down and gets control of herself again. “Thank you, Hug’sh.”
”Anytime,” Hug’sh rumbles softly. ”Tell me when you’re ready for the talk.”
“I haven’t felt like this since Arketta went off to primary training,” Arlana says. “And her first mission - ooh, I had to give the first formation to my Rav-Turai, I was such a mess.” She sighs and takes a seat on a bench. “I thought I was over this, but...I guess not.” Arlana manages a slight chuckle and looks up at Hug’sh. “How about you, Hug’sh?”
”I’m a fucking mess,” Hug’sh admits. ”Easily 90% of the people I call friends are currently in a firefight with terrorists - a firefight I should be in right alongside them, if I wasn’t stuck unfucking Narsai’i bullshit that will get people killed. Also, we’re pregnant and I told Rhea to go home even though the only thing I want is to be close to her, because our daughter is bawling her eyes out every night without me while I’m in this godforsaken desert and not home where I should be if I had any fucking sense!” Hug’sh pauses after that, realizing just how loud he got and how hard he’s breathing. He doesn’t need a mirror to know there’s a rainbow of colors dripping from his head down all over his fur. ”...so, like that.” he finishes.
“Exactly like me, then,” Arlana says. “With a pregnant daughter in a firefight, and a husband on the other side of the world living with a target on his back from the people on this rock that I can’t protect because I’m here.” She sighs. “What are we doing here, Hug’sh?”
”The right thing, for the greater good,” Hug’sh says. ”That’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? I’m...not 100% familiar with how you joined the Turai, but I imagine there were easier paths available to you. Paths that would have seen you be with the ones you love, left you alone to raise your family and live your life as you please, to pursue your own happiness. Instead, you looked at a career that you knew would consist chiefly of hard work, sacrifice and hard decisions.” He chuffs. ”Looking at you, I do not believe that your choice was in doubt for a heartbeat. I cannot claim to be quite this driven, but ask my friends about all the stupid choices I made because I felt I had to. The right thing, for the greater good.”
“It’s what the Quis women do,” Arlana says. “My mother was Turai, her grandmother was Turai, and her grandmother was Turai. My sister is Kansatai, it’s...what we do. We protect. And we know what that means, but...it’s something else to see your daughter go through it, and not be there to protect her.” She sniffles as her voice starts to break again. “My little girl.”
Hug’sh puts his hand on her shoulder again. ”I won’t pretend I have something smart to say about that,” he says. ”All I know is...sometimes it sucks and the only thing we can do is cry and get a hug.”
Arlana nods, and takes the side hug from Hug’sh. “Just wait until your little ones are grown up. If they’re anything like you, at least one of them will be off to war before you know.”
A thick blue streak runs through Hug’sh’s fur. ”The worst thing about this war is knowing our children will probably still be fighting it,” he says. ”I really hope I’m wrong about this.”
“If not this, then something else,” Arlana says. “My mother told me she hoped I would never see what she saw in the Sheen Wars, and her mother told her other stories about rebellions and terrorists.” She sighs. “I’m sorry, that’s not going to make either of us feel better.”
”Maybe not,” Hug’sh says. ”But letting my fears and insecurities eat at me didn’t work so well, either. Wounds don’t heal without sunlight.”
“Well, here are mine,” Arlana says. She stands up and sighs. “I think it’s time we try another time-honored Turai way of dealing with nerves.”
”Alcohol?” Hug’sh guesses.
“A lot of alcohol,” Arlana confirms with a nod. “I hope you can keep up, fighting isn’t all the Turai H’lapa are good for.”
”I think I’m quite prepared, as there are similar rituals among the Narsai’i and my people,” Hug’sh comments. ”I suppose truth is truth, no matter who speaks it.”

Re: Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3

Gatac posted in Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3 on 2018-12-17 20:40:42
Strangely, it’s much more interesting for the off-worlder contingent when they’re doing the planning. A half-hour later, the whole plan for their part of the push has been substantially reworked - still keeping their forces well out of the way of any face-first charges into enemy fire and with easy escape routes all round (Iro’s #1 concern) - but putting their forces in the key role of scouts and calling in fire support for the push - Gunny in particular emphasized that part - out in front of the main thrust. The Narsai’i look a bit put out to Hug’sh - their plans are looking like quite a lazy mess at this point, and the not-so-subtle racism of the plans hasn’t been touched on directly but all four of them made sure to obliquely poke at it at some point. The other commanders mostly just seem pissed at having their side shown up so very badly, but a few are giving approving nods at the in-depth and on the fly planning.

“...and a few accelerator shots could probably bring that down,” Gunny remarks, tapping a particularly steep hillside on the holo.
“A bit of sliding gravel doesn’t sound very impressive to me,” Arlana counters.
”Our enemies are not turai - even if they show up in carapace, they won’t know to trust it to keep them alive,” Hug’sh says. ”And if the hillslide doesn’t bury them outright, it will still cause disruption to their line of battle. Of course, we should make sure to avoid this approach ourselves, but if we can drive them into the riverbed -”
“- they’ll shit their pants when this comes rolling down the mountain,” Gunny finishes.
”Good,” Hug’sh says, then looks at the holo for a few more seconds. ”Okay, that looks good to me. Gunny, can you compile that into a briefing holo?”
“Done and done,” Gunny says. “You think they’ll drop the attitude when we make this work?”
Hug’sh looks around. ”I doubt it,” he says.
“Figured,” Gunny remarks.
”I’ll talk to them,” Hug’sh says. ”Um, if you would be so kind…”
“Maybe next war, we should instance a few more interpreters,” Gunny grumbles, but then walks with Hug’sh as the Wherren general wanders over to rejoin the upper echelons of Narsai’i military leadership in the tent.
”We’ve finished the adjustments,” Hug’sh says to Cooper and Matthews. ”We’ve tried to minimize the alterations to your movements and fields of fire. Gunny here will disseminate our version of the plan to you for review, of course.” He then looks to Matthews. ”...and I’m sorry for hijacking your presentation in this way, Colonel Matthews. I will make sure we sit down and iron out my concerns before the command briefing next time.”
The unspoken “You won’t get away with cutting us out of planning again” is received loud and clear. “’Thank you, General.’” He looks back to Cooper. “’Any other questions, sir?’
’No, and I think we can take a break before sustainment is briefed,’” Cooper says. “’Everyone, be back here in ten minutes.’

The assembled Narsai’i stand up and make their way out of the room, while Cooper walks over to the off-worlders. “’So, where will Task Force 815 be?’” he asks, getting straight to the point.
Hug’sh considers the issue. ”...there is some business in country to take care of before they set out for Akwhela’s Eye,” he says half-committally. ”I realize that answer may not engender much trust, but on the other hand I would also prefer not to lie to you, General Cooper. And this is business I myself was only made privvy to under condition of keeping it in confidence.”
’How much trouble are they planning on getting into?’” Cooper asks. “’And I presume - from their reputation - that they have planned not to put our efforts in danger with what they are doing.’
”No trouble,” Hug’sh says grimly, ”and even less trace. This may actually help your efforts in the area, but I admit my reading of Narsai’i politics in this region is not as sophisticated as I would like it to be.”
’They will be on their own?’” Cooper asks, the question not really a question.
”The alliance neither condones nor sponsors their actions in this regard,” Hug’sh says. ”Not that the 815 needed our help for this.”
’Who do they answer to these days, then?’” Cooper asks.
Hug’sh smiles. ”An excellent question, but one I’m not qualified to answer,” he says. ”They are on our side. I choose to leave it at that.”
’A perfectly disconcerting answer,’” Cooper replies. “’Thank you for your input, Walks-the-Fire, Quis, Iro, Gunny,’” he says to each of the leaders in turn. “’Be sure to grab some coffee before we start back up.’” He walks off.

“I almost wish I was with that insane kill mission right now,” Iro says.
“Certainly more fun than bludgeoning death by Powerpoint,” Gunny adds.
The mention of the mission makes Arlana reach for her vox by instinct. “...excuse me, I have to send a message to Arketta and Luis.”
Iro nods. “Of course.”

Hug’sh watches Arlana leave, a bit of a worried blue for his own family playing through his fur.
”...anyone for second breakfast?” he asks.
“Got another hour of briefing left,” Iro says, clapping a hand on Hug’sh’s shoulder.
”But I already said all the smart things,” Hug’sh protests.
“And that matters very little,” Iro says. “There’s a reason why I’m a insurgent and not a soldier.”
“And why we don’t have them at all,” Gunny adds.
”Well, that’s what I get for becoming General,” Hug’sh muses to himself. ”Let’s get some sandwiches, at least.”

---

The rest of the briefing covers the mundanities of large military assaults - comms frequencies, logistics trails, contingencies for contingencies, the kind of stuff that Hug’sh tried hard not to nap through in the back of the room during his human days. About halfway through, the assault on Wazir’s compound started in earnest, and the four off-worlders suddenly found something much more interesting to keep them awake. Iro kept surreptitious notes on the assault for his own purposes, Gunny, being Sheen, might as well have been simulating a thousand possible outcomes, not that Hug’sh could tell. Arlana, on the other hand, looked ready to knock out the guards watching them, steal a skimmer, and crash-land it in the middle of Wazir’s compound and come out beamer blazing. It is for this reason that Hug’sh makes a point to stick with Arlana once the meeting is concluded and everyone heads out to suck on some fresh, sandy air. Iro and Gunny also stick close by.

“Assault sounds like it’s going well, by 815 standards at least,” Iro says.
“Big explosions and gunfire,” Gunny adds. “Predictive computation branches are placing bets on who ends up with the highest body count right now.”
Arlana doesn’t seem particularly interested in any of that. She rubs her hands against the pauldrons of her carapace and stares to the west, towards Kabul.
“Well, I’ve got to brief the Turai,” Iro says. He claps Arlana on the shoulder as he walks past. “They’ll be all right.”
“Yeah, they’re tougher than diamond-plated iridium penetrators,” Gunny says. “Later.”
Hug’sh watches the two leave, then turns to Arlana. ”I will go easy on comforting metaphors,” he says. ”Are you all right, Arlana?”
Arlana nods, but her face says something different. “Hug’sh,” she says. “I need you to hold a bag for me. In the training room.”
”Naturally,” Hug’sh replies. This is not feely-talky time. This is feely-punchy time. Important to recognize the signs and go with it.

Re: Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3

Gatac posted in Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3 on 2018-12-17 20:37:26
Turns out, there’s not a lot of notes to take - the Narsai’i have basically relegated the rest of the alliance to rear guard and flank duty. A vitally important role against a well-organized and modern military force (even one as low as Narsai’i standards) but less so against disorganized insurgent forces whose best strategy when faced with a real military push is to scatter to the hills and wait for things to quiet down. They’re pretending that being spread out on either side of the main push is some sort of vastly important honor, but none of the four off-worlders are buying it.
“What kind of spinkshit babysitting detail is this?” Arlana asks.
”Exactly what it looks like,” Hug’sh comments. ”But I think we can work with that. Arlana, I’d like your help with the tactical holo, and Gunny, I would be very grateful if you could translate for me.” Hug’sh clears his throat and raises his voice. ”Pardon me, Colonel Matthews,” he says, ”but we have a few notes about this scheme of maneuver.”
The increased volume alone gets the attention of the room, but it’s Gunny’s translation that gets a response. “’Please wait for the end, General,’” Matthews says, the comment alone telling the room how seriously he takes that rank.
”There’ll be time for comm frequencies and ammo dump locations later,” Hug’sh counters, waiting for Gunny’s translation to catch up. ”I just have one question, Colonel: what about grid square MM54IW?”

The question hangs for a moment; with a nod to Arlana, she gets up and throws a tactical holo of the area into the middle of the room. Hug’sh might not be an artist with the haptics, but he’s worked on enough of those to rotate and zoom the view onto the dry riverbed in the middle.

”Your plan includes crossings here and here,” Hug’sh says, poking a claw at two bridges to highlight them. ”According to the area brief, they were last surveyed a full five months ago. Your briefing package includes no current geospatial intelligence on the AO. What is your confidence that those bridges are still in place, and what’s your plan if they aren’t?”
That was not the kind of comment that Matthews seemed to be expecting from that side of the room, especially from Hug’sh. “’Well...General, the rivers should be dry at this time of year -’
”Should be,” Hug’sh says. ”I assume somebody has a current weather report?”
’It’s later on in the briefing -’” Matthews starts, getting his feet under him for a moment.
“Not like it matters, because nothing says ‘soft target for improvised bombs and indirect fire’ like a convoy trying to bumble its way across a dry river bed,” Arlana says, cutting that out from under Matthews. “They could park on the hills here and here -” highlighting them with a swipe of her hand to rotate the holo and two quick gestures, “and just light us up with slugthrower fire and indirect.”
“Sounds like a deathtrap waiting to happen,” Iro adds. “Or the half-hour halt in a village in MN33PS.” The holo zooms again. “Do we have any intelligence on this village, or are you parking our forces in a hostile town?”
Matthews has turned pale - he knows this particular kind of reaming well, and is just letting it wash over him. “’The most recent intel is -’
“Is six months old,” Iro says. “Plenty of time for your enemies to take control.”
Hug’sh lets that hang in the air for a moment. ”I think we might want to prioritize getting fresh eyes on the AO. Especially in light of the ambushes we ran into the last time we tried this.” He lets his eyes sweep the room. ”We can be those eyes,” he says.
’You don’t exactly blend in,’” Matthews says with a smug smile.
”I have the results of several joint training exercises that beg to differ,” Hug’sh replies. ”The territory favors dismounted scouts and medium-altitude aerial recon. Your operation may have two strike packages on call but you’re light on surveillance assets tasked to orbit the AO.” He looks around the room. ”I know you want this victory. So do we. We can provide the scouts you need and leave behind enough troops to secure your flanks. You can roll in your firepower as you planned, but with the assurance that the land has not shifted from underneath your maps. Together...together we will bring to justice the men who killed our sisters and brothers. Together, we will prevail.” He trails off, leaving the alternative unspoken.
’Sounds like a job for Task Force 815,’” Cooper says.
”I agree,” Hug’sh says. ”Unfortunately, they are not available for this mission. But that is more reason to make good use of the troops we have, not less.” He smirks. ”And I don’t see why they should get all the glory.”
That doesn’t seem to settle too well. “’They are one of our assets,’” Matthews says. “’Not available is not an acceptable answer.’
”I understand that you see it that way,” Hug’sh says. ”However, they have engaged in a mission that is vital to Narsai’s overall security. A mission of absolutely critical importance and one that none but the 815 could possibly attempt; General Cooper has been briefed on it alongside the rest of the alliance leadership. Make no mistake, our mission here is also very important, which is why we’re all here to fight at your side.” His eyes narrow at Colonel Matthews. ”Do you believe this mission cannot be completed without the 815, Colonel?”
’I believe that our assets -’” Matthews starts.
”- are there to defend your planet in whatever way is necessary, not sit around to be drawn into missions that do not require them,” Hug’sh cuts in. ”Because we have now listened to two hours of your briefing and we are only speaking of 815 now. So either they are surplus to the actual requirements or the mission which is less than half a day away has been planned in such a way that only the 815 could make it work.” He chuffs. ”Which is it?”
Cooper - and everyone else - looks to Matthews. “’It would be what they are supposedly the best at,’” Matthews offers feebly.

Hug’sh doesn’t even dignify that with a direct objection. Maybe it’s that he’s extra-crabby from hormones, or maybe he’s just finally out of patience. ”The 815 truly are exceptional,” he says. ”Before meeting them, I never would have thought it possible for a planet of billions to cower behind a half dozen warriors.” He lets his look sweep the room. ”What of it, then? Are we going to stand here and bemoan the absence of our heroes? Why do those men hold you under such sway that you hate and fear them so? Are you not well-taught, skilled warriors?” He drops his voice a step. ”Thousands of years of military knowledge, they told me. And yet I sit in this briefing, listen to your words and speak my mind; who among you can offer a substantial criticism of our suggestions? Where are those of you who ought to know better than me the tactics of your enemies, the capabilities of your own military, the soil on which we fight?” He shakes his head. ”Because I know they are among you. Perhaps you are afraid to speak your minds to me. But I say to you, if you will not face me here, how do you plan to face your enemies? Is this all the fight you have left in you?” He sighs. ”The 815 are not coming. Now, we can either back down from this battle, or we can plot how to win it. The choice, I leave to you.”
Cooper looks to Matthews after Gunny finishes its translation. “’Well, Steve?’” he asks Matthews.
Matthews nods. “’No 815. Understood, sir. Any other comments, sir?’” he asks Cooper.
’Ask Walks-the-Fire, Captain Quis, Iro, and Gunny,’” Cooper says, and Matthews reluctantly turns your way.
Hug’sh nods. ”I’ve picked out a few ridgelines for our scouts to seize and hold,” Hug’sh says. ”To facilitate that and prevent blue-on-blue, I think we should modify killbox Charlie, like so…”

Re: Empire

Gatac updated in Empire on 2018-12-16 14:58:20
(Real quick housekeeping: Technically Toshiba might have still been under the effects of Sickened but the talky bit has gone on long enough by this point that I'm ruling he's over it. Makes the math easier, too. Anyway, on to...

INITIATIVE!

Toshiba: 34
Takao: 28
Yo: 25

Toshiba delays to let the better grappler Takao go first.

Takao's Athletics = (11)+19 = 30
Yo's Athletics = (3)+13 = 16

Yo is Held.)

"Tie me up? Hardly!" Yo cries, surging forward - his kick is too fast for him to stop when Takao dodges it at the last moment, instead letting a small rope noose slip from his sleeve. In a flash, he's got Yo's leg bound up. Sad, really.

(Toshiba's not that good at Athletics. But he's got Sneak Attack dice. And the Wicked Dance stance...oh boy.

Toshiba's Attack = (17)+10 = 27
Toshiba's Damage + 3d6 Sneak Attack + 2d6 Wicked Dance Sneak Attack + 1d6 Knife Sneak Attack = (5)+1+(1)+(5+5+6)+(4+4)+(4) = 35
Yo's Fortitude save vs Bleeding = (17)+8 = 25 nope
Yo's Fortitude save vs Critical Damage: Yo's Fortitude save also nope.

In addition to the damage, Yo is now Bleeding. Plus he gets a Critical Injury. Let us consult the Table of Ouch: oh, that just says Bleeding again. By RAW this does nothing but that's lame, so I'm gonna rule he takes twice the Bleeding damage due to this.)

"Then I will have to take you down myself," Toshiba sighs as he draws his...knife.
"You will do nothing of the -" Yo shouts, flailing a fist at Toshiba. What that earns him are a few cuts across his arm and chest. "DAMN YOU!" Yo cries as Toshiba dances away from his counterstrike.
"I thought the plan was grappling," Takao remarks dryly, dodging a jump kick from Yo's free leg.
"You're grappling him, aren't you," Toshiba replies. "Just a bit of blood loss. Nothing permanent."

(Yo does not have much choice but the attempt to free himself.

Yo's Athletics = (12)+13 = 25
Takao's Athletics = (5)+19 = 24

Yo is no longer Held! Yo uses Quake Strike!

Yo's Trip = (11)+16+4 = 31
Toshiba's Acrobatics = (14)+15 = 29
Takao's Acrobatics = (3)+6 = 9

Both Toshiba and Takao become Sprawled!

Yo uses Master's Touch I to make an attack using both the Knife Hand and the Guillotine Kick trick. And no, don't ask me how you make a knife hand with your foot. Yo's just that good at kicking people, apparently.

Yo's Attack vs Toshiba = (9)+18 = 27 HIT!
Yo's unarmed damage x2 = (2+2)+8+10 = 22 with an effective AP of 6, so reduced to 19 by Toshiba's armor.)

It should be taken as a given that Toshiba carries rather a lot of knives on him at all times. Usually, this is good. You never know when you need a knife. However, in this instance, it's more like you never know when Yo needs a knife. Toshiba catches the glint in his fingers too late, realizing that the nimble ghost assassin / assassin ghost stole one of Toshiba's own throwing knives from his arm sheath when Toshiba cut him. Toshiba whips his upper body away as Yo kicks up into the air one more time, but his target is neither of the two Shinobi: instead, it's the loop holding his ankle, and the knife cuts true before embedding itself into the far wall of the mill. Not content to leave it at one party trick, Yo comes down hard onto the ground, ramming his fist into ground. Spirit-augmented strength ripples through the floorboards and throws both Toshiba and Takao to the ground. As if to punctuate his point, Yo brings down his heel on Toshiba's chest. That hurts a lot more than a kick should, even through the Blue Oni's suit.

"Fine!" Yo crows. "Anyone who gets in my way shall be -"

Hiro's response is to throw one of his sticks at Yo. With unnatural speed, Yo snatches the weapon from the air - and returns it posthaste, striking the unprepared Hiro in his guts! As the ninja master bowls over from the burst of pain, Yo gives him a bitter laugh.

"Wait your turn, old man!" he snarls. "Your lackeys lined up to die first."

(Oh, almost forgot the Bleeding damage.

Yo's Double Bleeding = (1+4) = 5)

---

It's only a few minutes across the harbor to the dock where Ueki is waiting, having taken his shirt off and trying to wring the salt water out. Kirika and Yukio, after a minute of holding onto each other for dear life and exchanging a few reassuring kisses, managed to reposition themselves back to a seated position on the row boat - not that they've let each other go, just that they're now sitting upright and holding onto each other in more of a "I'd prefer you to stay right here" hug.

As Yukio tosses the line to Ueki with her free hand, the latest rumble and crash from Ikishi's private island and palace sounds out. Everyone turns to look in time to see one of the last standing parts of the main body of the crypt/mansion fall over as another geyser of water shoots from the underground complex as another chamber collapses. The entrance is still standing, but the rest is either crumbling or has already fallen over as water pours from underground, rushing over the rubble like a river to either side.
"Good riddance," Yukio says.
"Where's Kaede?" Ueki asks.
"Returned to her side with the rest of my ancestors," Kirika replies, giving Yukio another squeeze.
"Okay," Ueki says, clearly over the supernatural events he just witnessed. "So...we just killed General Noronu. That's a thing. I guess Ishikawa won't be happy." He looks at the collapsed mansion in the distance. "Man, those machines - and people said I was crazy."
"Hold off on building a secret workshop under the pier until we win, if you could," Kirika jokes as Ueki ties the rowboat off.
"Yeah, no," Ueki says. "I'm keeping my future activities above sea level, thank you very much."
"Had enough adventure for today?" Kirika asks.
"Yep!" Ueki says. "Definitely. I'm good on adventure. Who's good on adventure for today and the rest of the week and maybe forever? This guy!"
"But you were very important today," Kirika says. "You need to let go so I can get out of the boat," she whispers to Yukio.
"And you need to let go so I can get out of the boat," Yukio whispers back.
"You first," Kirika replies with another peck on the cheek.

Yukio's response is to sweep up Kirika into her arms and carry her out of the boat, bridal style. Impressive strength and balance.

"Ooh! I'll get you for this later," Kirika protests.
"I look forward to it, dearest," Yukio says.
"Ahem," Kagemaru says. "I hate to be Daimyo Downer but there's a loose end that wasn't just buried under thousands of tons of rock. What happened to General Noronu's body?"
"Went down with the ship," Kirika replies as Yukio sets her down. "If it would not be too much trouble..." She looks at Kagemaru. "I think we all want to be sure he's dead and find out exactly...what Noronu was."
"I'll go after it in a moment, but I do have one piece of the puzzle right now," Kagemaru says. "He was Master Sinan, somehow. Or at least he told me he was. Said that's how he knew about me and how to trap me."
"Uh..." Yukio says.
"Oh, right, you don't know him," Kagemaru says. "Head of the Ayami clan I...I guess I'm still one of them. Haven't had the opportunity to sort that out yet."
"Actually, I know who he was," Yukio says. "He sacrificed himself to banish the demon inside Ikishi's arm after Kirika cut it off."
Kagemaru doesn't have visible eyes but he does stare right through Yukio. "...okay, more after I get the body," he says, then dives into the water without making any splash whatsoever.
Ueki looks to Kirika. "...I have a really bad feeling about this," he says.
"Which part?" Kirika asks. "The way Noronu was controlling an entire ninja clan? How he managed to swap bodies? That he was animated by powerful magic? Or that he seemed to...be some kind of magical construct and not really a person at all?"
"E) All of those," Ueki says. "I mean, not to fault your swordsmanship, but didn't he....kinda go down a bit easy? Not for a human, not even for a General, but if he had all those woo-woo mystical powers and he impersonated a ninja clan head for years then...uh...what I'm saying is, I've read enough stories to know that nobody's dead until I see a body." He pauses. "And with these guys? I wanna see two bodies, minimum."
"Fair enough," Kirika says. "But right now, I'll settle for one."

Minutes pass as you wait for Kagemaru to scour the bottom of the bay for the sunken boat and return. There's no doubt that he can endure down there, and the crowd that is coming to gape at the spectacle is smart enough to keep their distance from you, but still...Yukio draws Kirika tighter, while Ueki makes a show of racking through the mechanism of his gonne, showing that a little water won't keep it from working insofar as it may need to work.

Finally, Kagemaru steps out of Ueki's shadow. Not on his shoulders is General Noronu's body. Instead, he quietly holds out a stone in his hand, intricately carved with mystical runes but utterly inert even to Kirika's touch.

"...fuck," Ueki says.
"The boat was ripped apart on impact," Kagemaru says. "It's possible the body was flung away too far - even I can't see a lot down there - but I'm not holding my breath." He looks around. "Because I don't breathe anymore?" Ueki coughs. "Tough crowd," Kagemaru concludes.
"We should take this to Nikochi," Kirika says. "Hopefully he can make sense of it."
"And that's where our dry clothes are," Yukio adds.
"Gods yes, dry clothes," Ueki says.
"I'm all clothes," Kagemaru says. "How do you think I feel?"
"...are you asking us to...wring you out?" Kirika asks.
"No," Kagemaru says. "I need to soak in some warm soapy water first. Get all the dirt and salt out, you know?"
"...well, I guess Nikochi can meet us in the laundry, then," Kirika says.

Toshiba

Gatac updated in Wiki on 2018-12-16 14:53:12
Toshiba Shiretoko

Vigilant Warden [+2 Wis, -2 Int, May always act during surprise rounds, Max Notice ranks CL+5, Gain Lightning Reflexes Feat, +1 to lower of Int or Wis, +5 Initiative, Practiced Investigate, Unbreakable, Bonus Feat: Pathfinder Basics (Forest)]

Class: Scout 12



Strength: 12

Dexterity: 18

Constitution: 10

Intelligence: 14

Wisdom: 19

Charisma: 10



Knowledge Check: (2 Int + 6 Studies) +8

Action Dice: 4 d8

Base Speed: 30 ft.



Initiative: (11 class + 4 Dex + 5 Origin) +20 (Roll twice, keep best)

Defense: (10 base + 7 class + 4 Dex + 4 Class Ability) 25

BAB: +9

-

Vitality: 69 (Nice!) /108

Wounds: 10

Fortitude: (8 class) +8

Reflex: (8 class + 4 Dex + 3 Feat) +15

Will: (4 class + 4 Wis) +8

-

Unarmed: +9, 1d4+1
Dagger: +10, 1d6+1+1d4, T19-20, Bleed, Hurl



Proficiencies: Unarmed, Edged (Forte), Hurled, Bow, Siege Weapons, Blackpowder Weapons

Advanced Tricks: Salt the Wound (Attack Trick: Inflict additional 1d6 damage if target is Bleeding), Arrow Cutting (Initiative Trick: 3 times/combat when hit by ranged attack, roll Reflex save vs. attack roll, success reduces damage to zero, special effects still apply.)

Class Abilities: Trailblazer (Scout Core), Stalker (DC 23), Rough Living +2, Bonus Feat (Pathfinder Mastery, Pathfinder Basics, Pathfinder Supremacy, Pathfinder Basics, Animal Partner), Sneak Attack +3d6, Huntsman: Trail Signs (No penalties for speed while tracking), Huntsman: Expertise (Sneak) , Master Tracker 1/session, Huntsman: Darkvision I

Feats: Lightning Reflexes (Gain +3 to Reflex saves, roll Init twice and keep best result), Pathfinder Basics [Forest] (+2 to Sneak checks), Knife Basics (All knives on you are considered readied, Gain Stance: Wicked Dance [+2d6 Sneak Attack, can't move]), Knife Mastery (1/round, Feint (at -4 penalty) opponent you've hit this round with knife as free action, Gain Knife Attack Trick: Blade Flurry [Hit by 4 or more, inflict damage twice, hit by 10 or more, inflict damage thrice]), Pathfinder Mastery (When in Pathfinder territory, gain +4 gear bonus to Blend and Survival, and +2 gear bonus to saves), Pathfinder Basics [Mountains] (+2 to Climb checks, Falling Resistance 5), Knife Supremacy (Knife attacks inflict 1 die of Sneak Attack, gain Knife Attack Trick: Shank! [If target is standard character with lower Int score, he fails damage save automatically, 1/round]), Pathfinder Supremacy (Double numerical bonuses from Pathfinder Basics feats: +4 Sneak, +4 Climb, 10 Falling Resistance, 10 Sneak Attack Resistance), Devilish Legacy, Pathfinder Basics [Indoor/Settled] (5 Sneak Attack Resistance), Edged Master (+1d4 damage with knives), Animal Partner (Gain 75 XP animal as NPC under your control, is special character with TL = your career level - 4, gains no AD but you may spend AD on its behalf), Eye On The Ball (+1 Dex, +1 Wis)



Acrobatics 11, 15
Athletics 12, 14 (+4 for Climb)
Blend 11, 11
Crafting 11, 13 - Carpentry, Metalworking, Chemistry
Investigate 14, 18
Medicine 6, 8
Notice 14, 18
Resolve
Ride
Sneak 14, 22
Survival 11, 15
Tactics 9, 11



Interests

Language: Common, Hanse

Studies: Haiku, Flute, Famous Ronin, Dirty Secrets of the Imperial Court



Lifestyle: 3

Panache: 3 (+1 Appearance, 30s income)

Prudence: 0 (15% Money saved)

Coin in Hand: 10

Stake: 300

-

Gear:

Dagger
Partial studded leather armor
Rope
Grappling Hook
Cloak
Flute
Food
Carrying Gear

-

Animal Partner: Konoko

Predatory Eagle (Tiny Animal Flyer/Walker — 75 XP): Str 10, Dex 20, Con 10, Int 6, Wis 14, Cha 6; SZ T (1×1, Reach 1);
Spd 60 ft. winged flight, 20 ft. ground; Init II (+4+5); Atk V (+7); Def III (+4+5); Res II (+2); Health III (Vitality: 21, Wounds: 5); Comp —; Skills: Acrobatics II (+7+5), Notice IV (+10+2), Search IV (+10-2), Tactics V (+12-2);

Qualities: Class Ability, (Sneak Attack +1d6), Feat (Coordinated Attack, Misdirection Basics, Wolf Pack Basics, Wolf Pack Mastery), Improved sense (sight), Rend, Swarm

Attacks/Weapons: Bite I (dmg 1d4 lethal; threat 18–20; upgrades: bleed), Talon I (dmg 1d3 lethal; threat 20)

-

Renown: Heroic 5 (The Blue fucking Oni.)

Reputation: 14

Legend: +3

Re: Empire

Admiral Duck Sauce posted in Empire on 2018-12-16 13:24:47
"And then tie him up," Toshiba answers. The backup plan would involve cutting tendons to remove the threat, and Toshiba was still trying to play nice.

Re: IC 6 - Hamburg - Day 3

punkey posted in IC 6 - Hamburg - Day 3 on 2018-12-16 11:16:38
Mason reaches into the tool bag and tosses a roll of duct tape over to Blake. "Sensors are on the stalk sticking out the top - looks like cameras with IR and ultrasonic. Cover them with the tape and they'll be blind. They didn't put tamper sensors on it, or you'd be twitching on the floor already." He motions down the hallway. "Once we own the cameras, find the others and tape them up too."

Jacob%20Mason

Gatac updated in Wiki on 2018-12-16 11:05:38
Bio

???

Abilities

Investigative

Academic
  • Human Terrain 0/1
  • Languages 3
  • Law 1
  • Military Science 0/1

Interpersonal
  • Bullshit Detector 3
  • Flattery 2
  • Flirting 3
  • Interrogation 2
  • Negotiation 1
  • Tradecraft 1/2
  • Streetwise 1

Technical
  • Notice 2/3
  • Outdoor Survival 2

General
  • Athletics 8
  • Conceal 4
  • Cover 13
  • Disguise 2
  • Driving 4
  • Explosive Devices 2
  • Hand-to-Hand 4
  • Health 5/6
  • Infiltration 5/6
  • Mechanics 1/2
  • Medic 4
  • Network 7
  • Piloting 2
  • Preparedness 6/8 (MOS)
  • Sense Trouble 8
  • Shooting 8
  • Stability 4
  • Surveillance 4
  • Weapons 8

Cover Identities
Stef Heimans, ABP - BURNED

Contacts
  • Alira Holden, ex-ASIS agent and fiancé (7 points left)

MUY CALIENTE!

Mason also brings with him 4 points of Extra Heat: 2 points in Colombia and 2 in Chechnya. But surely, the hateboner of two major groups of organized crime are not gonna create any problems for you at all.

Personality

Drive: Altruism. Mason's all about doing the right thing. He just lives in a world where the Right Thing usually is to kill bad guys.
Symbol: A family on their knees with guns to their heads. The names, the faces, the dates...it blurs together for Mason, who's seen this too often. The people just outside that neat little picture, the ones holding those guns? Mason's gonna bury them, bury them all, so he never has to see this picture again.
Solace: Alira Holden, ASIS. Mason and Alira have crossed paths before, both professionally and...less professionally. And unlike the rest of Mason's conquests, Alira was a good choice. Would be a great choice, even, now that she's got a medical retirement and is out of the game for good.
Safety: A farm deep in the outback. Breed ostriches, drive a fuck-off big ute, keep an arsenal of "hunting" weapons large enough to repel an invading army. What could be safer than that?
Trust: Tim 1, Luc 0, Blake 0

Re: IC 6 - Hamburg - Day 3

Gatac posted in IC 6 - Hamburg - Day 3 on 2018-12-16 11:04:34
(Mason spends Military Science to ID the drone.)

Listening to Blake's description of the drone over the radio, Mason recalls three important nuggets of information:

1) A six-month old security breach at Hanwha Techwin's R&D that pointed to North Korean agents may have resulted in China getting software for autonomous weapon systems either because Best Korea sold them the goods or their involvement was only ever a smokescreen for Chinese agents to begin with.
2) A classified briefing that China deployed "autonomous protection devices" in reaction to "production disturbances" at some of their new factories.
3) Plus a few rumors about directed energy weapons tech that failed to yield anything particularly noteworthy aside from excellent knockoff Tasers, with extended range and prongs that penetrate both body armor and skin with rather more enthusiasm than the US models.

Okay, so far so humdrum, but if it rolls like a drone tank, scans like a drone tank and fucks shit up like a drone tank, is that enough to link those to the bigger drone you blew up in Amsterdam?

"- armor panels," Mason and Blake say over each other. Behind the Lexan shielding, this thing clearly has some protective plating on its chassis. If you dismantle that and have it analyzed, you may not only prove that it was made in the same factory as the drone tank, but being that this machine is rather less exploded, you'd get to recover intact parts off it, making it much easier to trace them to an actual manufacturer or at least the system integrator who put these things together. The drone tank was a plausible one-off, maybe, but a dozen of these things? Somebody's manufacturing them on an assembly line, at least in small scale.