Paying the Obolus I
THE EX-BLUE SUN AGENTS:
Starbolt Class Personal Transport "Unity Prophet", bound for Athens
While the ex-agents continue their troubled slumber, ASREV's from the pursuing patrol boats close in and let lose EMP warheads at close range. Though this silences the bleating alarms that Sierra had set up earlier (and everything else on the ship for that matter) the concussive force that washes over the small transport manages what the alarms could not. The team is disturbed to find themselves rudely shaken awakened before their dreams can reveal what happened next. The team then quickly finds that having their chemically induced recall disturbed so violently is rather detrimental to their state of mind. As they flounder, unable even to recall who or where they are and paralyzed by an especially overwhelming fight or flight response, the Unity Prophet is drifting and the two patrol boats have already begun pulling alongside.
But the human mind is nothing if not tenacious when it's properly set on a particular course of action and the team recovers quickly enough. Which is to say they find themselves falling immediately back into the previous reality before they can properly acclimate themselves to the current one.
THE YOUNG READERS:
Taking a curious interest in Dover's job offer Team Bravo Six agrees to meet with her at the Archopolis City Library later that evening. Once she's met with a new local contact concerning a future news story she'll be available to discuss details, though she indicates ahead of time that it will likely involve a more in depth series of interviews. Once she departs the team discusses the matter and agrees that, while further appearances on the Federal News Network should definitely be avoided, Dover presents an excellent source of information that they shouldn't pass up. Deciding to use the job offer to get access to whatever useful information she may have they decide that they'll just take whatever steps are necessary later on to prevent their interviews from making the cortex.
Having decided on this course of action the team is finally able to move beyond the barricades unhindered and examine the bomb site up close. Though they spend a while closely examining the area, they are unable to find anything of interest or uncover any new leads. With no custodian or apartment manager on hand for them to question the team catches the local street car back to their hotel.
After a spending time pouring over the public cortex for anything that might jump out at them, Echo Five takes a chance and makes a pass at the local law force system. With her ICEbreaker software backing her up she has Extraordinary Success in breaching their cortex defenses and copies a few secured files on the most recent terrorist attacks. Unfortunately it seems the locals are wise enough not to include the specific details the Feds have been covering up within their own official files and she finds little that hasn't already been released to the news networks. What little she does find she files away for future reference. Having exhausted the cortex for any possible leads the team gears up and heads to the local library to rendezvous with Sara Dover.
Among the rim world's paper version of a database, the team spends their time idly reading the local inhabitants as they wait for Dover to arrive. In due course the time has come and gone; and Dover is soon over an hour late for their appointment. Echo again hits the cortex, digs up the listing for the three upscale hotels in the city and places calls to track her down. Having identified where she is staying the team takes the public transit yet again over to the Oasis Hotel to check in on her. From the hotel lobby they place a call directly up to her room but receive no answer.
Michael spends a couple of Plot Points striking up a conversation with the desk clerk, "reading" him to determine how best to influence him and successfully convincing him to allow them upstairs to visit Dover personally. Up the fancy (by rim standards) elevator they approach the journalist's door where they receive no answer to their knocks. With a glance up and down the hall, Sierra picks the lock and the three enter cautiously. Within they quickly find no signs of foul play and, from all indications, it appears that she merely left the room for the evening. Sierra notices a notepad and pencil by the bedside phone and soon has a rubbing of the last note scratched on it, a name and address in downtown Archopolis. After finding nothing else in the room of interest (as it appears Dover took all her gear with her, leaving only toiletries and a few changes of clothes) the team heads for the lobby and waits until dark to see if she returns.
As evening comes and Dover still hasn't shown, the team heads out for the address from the notepad. They find the address easily enough and without a desk clerk to stand in their way, simply approach the door of the apartment upstairs to knock. Again they receive no reply though Sierra barely detects a muffled cry from within. Discretely loosening their concealed lasers in their holsters the team sets Sierra to peek under the door with her snake-eye lens. Beyond, across the room from the door, she spots a middle-aged woman gagged and struggling against the cloth binding her to a chair. Showing the scene to the others from her video capture Sierra gets their nods and quickly picks the simple door lock. The team then enters the room...triggering the incendiary explosives in the hall, downstairs and in either side room of the apartment they've just entered.
All three receive mild burns from the blast of heat when the explosives ignite around them. Knowing that a burning building won't leave them much time for action, the team dives forward together to release the woman and effect a rescue. They have her cut free in moments and quickly drag the nearly hysterical woman towards the door. A quick glance down the stairs shows readily enough that the flames below have already partially blocked the path to the exit, which was likely the arsonist's intention. As they start down the stairs, however, the woman finally gets the source of her hysteria across to the team...her children have been left behind. Without a word the team simply shoves her haphazardly down the last steps of the stairs and dart between the flames consuming the hallway above them to seek the children in question.
Now actively seeking some sign of the them they can readily detect the faint cries coming from the side room, currently engulfed in flames. With fire already closing in on all sides the team continues to move with the lightning precision instilled in them by the merciless instructors of the Academy. Echo snatches a foam barricade canister from her pack and, with Michael and Sierra intuiting her intentions and instantly doing the same, begins laying down a crude path across the burning floor to the closet where the sounds emanate. While her teammates follow suit trying to smother the flames threatening her from either side she dashes across the quick-hardening foam to throw open the closet door, taking mild burns in the process. There she finds the two children within bound at the wrist and ankle, snatches one up immediately and runs back to safety. Michael passes her on the way in his gambit to rescue the other child and the team soon has them both back in the apartment's main room.
Despite their decisive actions they find the hallway outside nearly in full flame already, making the short dash to the stairway a might treacherous. Having no other discernable option they make their way through quickly, avoid further injury and take the steps three at a time. With their misfortune in full swing they naturally find the floor around the base of the stairs has already collapsed into the basement below. With the leap to the front doorway of the building (where the children's screaming mother now stands) at just less than ten feet, the two terrified children in hand make it an entirely formidable obstacle. Casting around for another route, Michael notes the hanging light and the wooden beams stacked outside the apartment building. Without consulting the others he leaps for the light and quickly swings for the doorway, landing with all the grace he can muster. Stopping to give the hysterical mother a quick smack to bring her to her senses, the two of them set to tossing boards across and bridge the chasm. As Pamela crouches with the children, doing her best to keep them calm in the blistering heat and smoke, Sierra hastily arranges the boards at her end to form a semi-stable path. In moments the two have each carried a screaming child across the rickety boards to the safety of the yard outside.
In the front yard of the apartment building the team takes advantage of the mother's distraction as she tearfully gathers her children to her and disappear before the local authorities arrive. Down the street a ways the team discusses the situation before deciding to contact the local Federal marshal’s office and enlist his aid in tracking down Dover. Presenting their clearances (and waiting impatiently for the officer on duty to verify that the youngsters on the other end do indeed have a certain level of Federal authority) they soon have him stepping and fetching to get the Federal News Network office on the line. Unfortunately they find that they haven't heard from Dover since earlier that day either, though they admit it's not unusual for a field journalist to go for sometime without checking in. Though disappointed they nevertheless take the opportunity to inform the marshal of the fire they just escaped so he can take charge of the incident and insure an Alliance-friendly outcome to the whole mess.
With the marshal on the way the team reconsiders leaving the scene and decide to head back and endure the inevitable questioning until he can arrive and take control of things. Hopefully they'll get a crack at discovering why the fire was set in the process. After giving the thankful mother the opportunity to fawn over them and the local law force to praise their heroism, the questioning begins and the team does their best to play the role of modest Archopolis city school students who happened to be in the right place at the right time. Once the firemen have the fire under control the authorities soon begin wondering about the thick patches of burning foam present among the rubble and the team are relieved to see the marshal and his crew arrive before the locals begin asking difficult questions. In short order the Federal marshal has taken over the investigation and the locals are pushed out, leaving the only survivors of the fire to them.
After pulling the disgruntled local marshal to the side and coaching him on how to approach the interview with the woman, the team ambles over with him and observes. It soon becomes apparent the woman doesn't know why she was targeted for the attack and never even saw her attacker's face. She only came to her senses less than an hour ago, bound to a chair and listening helplessly to her children's cries for help from the other room. Her husband, fortunately, is away from home working late and she had been expecting him to return soon. While she was originally sure he would find them and rescue them, the fire that was triggered when the team entered the room makes her glad he's running late. She doubts he would have reacted as quickly as the three brave youngsters did and that may well have proven disastrous for them all.
As the woman and her two children are taken away to be checked over at the local hospital, the team waits with the marshal and his men in case the husband returns home before he can be contacted. Michael sets Echo to getting what publicly available information she can on the husband via cortex and the marshal checks his sources as well. They both soon confirm that the man has no file at the marshal’s office and the semi-public listings Echo can access merely show him as a clerk at the local customs office.
The team spends the next anxious half hour deflecting the marshal’s questions concerning what the heck is going on as well as taking a moment to put him in his place when his displeasure at taking orders from folks half his age becomes clear. Soon enough the marshal’s men have contacted the man at his office and the lot of them move out the intercept him at the local hospital.
Arriving there just as he does the marshal gives the man time with his wife, under his watchful eye, before taking him aside for questioning. Presenting the team as local students who were fortunate enough to have saved his family, they are on hand when the man spills his guts about the illegal activities he's been engaged in over the past several months. In moments the team has heard the story first hand of the shipments of explosive compounds and other normally restricted incendiary agents he's been slipping through customs at the behest of a well-paying third party. Michael soon becomes frustrated with the marshal’s inept interrogation techniques and finally steps forward to present his identification and take over. Despite his obvious youth having a negative effect on an attempt to intimidate the customs clerk, Michael pulls it off nicely and soon has a rough listing of the kinds of explosives he's been pushing through customs and the name of the man who's been receiving them, one Miles Charon. A Federal suspect file is quickly produced and the multiple entries tagged with references to the Interplanetary Firearms, Explosives and Weaponry statute make it clear this is their guy. Despite his lackluster interrogation skills the marshal proves fairly jingcai at organizing a raid and the team is suitably impressed when he has the ball rolling before they can even give the order themselves.
Within the hour the team is on hand at the private mansion of the comfortably wealth Miles Charon as a dozen Federal Marshall's swarm the place, armed with search warrants and automatic weapons. As the marshal turns to assure the team that his men will have the whole thing wrapped up in moments his words are cut off when the mansion is unexpected rocked by a string of explosions in and around the first floor of the building. It's immediately clear that few of the officers inside could have survived the explosion and even the two who hadn't made it in yet have been completely engulfed with whatever burning material comprised it's incendiary component. As the marshal and the only two other officers not on fire rush forward to attempt what is surely a lost cause in aiding the burning men, the team hears the unmistakable squeal of a ground car from the mansion's rear and witness the vehicle's mad smash and dash through the service gate in the far corner of the compound.
Without hesitation the team turns and piles into the marshal’s range truck behind them. Michael takes the wheel with Echo and Sierra leaping into the back, sidearm already drawn and at the ready. Having no particular driving skill Michael soon finds a high-speed chase through the narrow city streets, devoid of the normal pedestrian bustle though they may be, quite the challenge. Even dropping a trio of Plot Points on the effort he barely manages to draw within weapons range of the fleeing car. Realizing they could lose their suspect at any moment, or that Michael may just as easily lose control of the vehicle altogether, the girls open fire the moment they come within a range. Both cut lose with their lasers, scoring solid hits on the fleeing vehicle, but they can see it will take a few shots to slow it down. Almost immediately the driver pours on the speed, clearly desperate to escape the fire he's come under. Michael immediately begins to lose ground at a discouraging rate, unable to compete with the suspect's superior driving skills. Fortunately two more shots laid across the rabbitting car manage to hit something essential and the team is gratified to see it slow dramatically, throwing a shower of sparks down the stone streets when one tire explodes. Now able to keep within range long enough for the girls to get in another round of fire the team soon comes to halt as the ground car ahead of them veers and impacts a side building.
As the team springs from their truck to cover the vehicle they can see the driver is still dazed from the crash and they rush forward to grapple him before he can come to his senses. After a short struggle they have the man out of the car, his pistol in their possession and a set of handcuffs firmly in place.
An hour later, back at the marshal’s office, Michael conducts the interrogation personally with Echo and Sierra pitching in their Reader assets as well. Though Charon, a professional arsonist/assassin (and apparently illegal arms dealer as well), proves to be a cool character, Michael manages to break him within the hour thanks to the insights the team's combined abilities lend to the endeavor (Charon, it seems, has a phobic fear of castration). With the meager amount of information they've already obtained since the investigation began and the lengthy confession by Charon it becomes apparent that the "customer" he's been supplying with weapons and explosives has been coordinating the string of terrorist attacks all over Athens recently. Though Charon is unable to provide a name or even a description of his customer the team is able to piece together enough clues with the new information for Michael to make an educated guess that they're based in one of the small towns near Archopolis. A quick check of the local map shows Erindale perfectly positioned in relation to Archopolis and Athens' two other cities as well as possessing everything a band of terrorists could hope for in a base of operations.
- Leave us a note!
- Marvel Heroic Roleplaying
- Star Trek (Decipher)
- Our Atomic Highway Campaigns
- Our D&D Campaigns
- Our Cortex: BSG Campaigns
- Our Cortex: Serenity Campaigns
- Cortex: Supernatural campaigns
- Our Cortex: Homebrews
- Our D20 Modern Campaigns
- Atomic Highway resources
- D&D Resources
- Cortex: BSG Resources
- Cortex: Serenity Resources
- Cortex: Supernatural Resources
- Cortex: Homebrew Resources
- Cortex: Homebrew Campaigns and Settings
- Cortex Adventures