Seattle Mission 20: Operation Aimless Dog – Part 2

Written by: Marius           Played on: 22 Jun 2013
PREVIOUS: Mission 20 – Operation Aimless Dog – Part 1
NEXT: Mission 20 – Operation Aimless Dog – Part 3

Moving quickly past the subject, Detrius continues, “So the Marahal Program went on. Nyx Genetic’s records indicate the first combat ready prototype went into testing several years later and was tested against a Mercury Express Junior Executive who had been selling corporate info. Nothing too important, but enough to justify eliminating him. The record indicates the prototype was only just barely stopped by the executive’s bodyguard. The record of the events was tagged in your file, Marius.”

The attack on the Mercury Express executive, as well as Detrius’ and Marius’ missing parents, date back to Marius’ original character bio.

Marius exhales loudly as he continues, “Less than a year later, they began the first of their testing with magical research. Executive orders brought Kaguya Hime on board in spite of Dr. Strughold’s protests. The first combat group of forcibly bound and augmented group was tested under the command of a UCAS Combat Mage. The General was apparently heavily involved in the testing phase. They threw them against a UCAS Special Forces team operating just outside of Seattle in Salish-Shidhe Council territory that same year. The group managed to wipe the floor with most of the unit before finally being put down by one of the soldiers. Details are sparse, but it seems like the surviving Special Forces soldiers were released from active duty, to ensure they wouldn’t cross paths with and recognize the tech used in any future units. Your file was tagged in that record, Wheeler.”

The attack on the UCAS team dates back to Wheeler’s original character bio.

“Christ…” Wheeler’s pursed lips weren’t relaxing any either.

“After that, research for the Marahal Prgoram went into two sub projects. One for forced control of unwilling or mentally unstable subjects. You guys. Well, unwilling anyway, not mentally unstable.” Detrius shrugs nervously. “Looks like subjects in that program underwent dangerous and often extreme augmentation, often being pushed beyond their body’s limits. It doesn’t seem like they cared as long as they had the bonds in place to control them. They could be all metal, wires and vat grown tissue as long as it had a brain stem and a tattoo. Still, the less human they were the harder they become to control, which explains why you are all alright.

“The other half of the program was conditioned for more limited but still illegal levels of genetic modification of trained and generally stable soldiers. Among the limited list you guys pulled, your friend Notorious shows up as having made several visits through the facility. Seems like he couldn’t get enough.”

Notorious was also linked to Wheeler’s past, showing up most recently when he attempted a hit on the team. He failed, but escaped with his life.

“That douche,” Bear curses. “Not man enough to rely on himself, he has to pussy out with cyberware.”

“Hey…” Marius, Wheeler, Cho and Jade all start simultaneously.

“Well… you know what I mean.”

“Anyway. So military application always seems to have been an avenue for funding the program, with regular payments from the UCAS Military R&D division being routed through Mercury Express. However, it appears that the Marahal Program has been long in the making and has greater applications, but I don’t know what their endgame is yet. They… uh… picked up on my snooping before I could find out much else.” Detrius gestures at his leg, up in a sling in a cast, as though that explained everything else.

“I don’t know what they intend to do, but I think I know how we can find out. Kaguya Hime, Dr. Strughold and General Bezalel all mentioned him; Father. I can’t think of anyone that describes better than the Father of Nyx Genetics, Father of the Marahal Program, Father of Knight Errant; the man himself.”

The references to “Father” who was calling the shots, was included in several conversations, scenes and pieces of evidence found in past runs, though they never made it into any of the player written logs. I figured now would be a good time to remind the players of those hints, since it might be kind of important soon…

Detrius takes a deep breath. “You need to have a conversation with Damien Knight.”

After a long silence Bear finally speaks “Fuck, dude.”

“Heh, I know, right?” Dee says back. “So how the hell did you guys find me anyway”?

“That’s a looong story.” Cho answers. Everyone turns and stares at her in disbelief.

“You not there, crazy bitch.” Chekhov spat in his eastern bloc accent. “What you know of long story? We almost die because you no pick up call”

Cho’s face flushes with anger, in so much as an asian can flush. “Fuck you man, I’m entitled to a break from your dumb ass every once in awhile! Marius, tell the fucking story. It’s not like Dee has anywhere to be any time soon.”

Dee coughs while nodding and pointing at Cho.

“Right, Well… So we got your phone call. When we got there you were gone. We combed the scene, and then I went and talked to security. I pulled out some BS about us being a private security firm charged with guarding you. They were… Uncooperative.”

Bear cuts in, “They tried to arrest you and I had to save your ass by making you invisible.”

“Yeah…” Marius says “That. So after we left there we hit the streets for info pretty hard. Had to go through one of your competitors for some hacking and we were able to get security footage that showed a paramilitary team of five men doing a snatch and grab. We used that same guy to narrow down your location from the comm you had on-“

Detrius’ call requested that the team meet him at a secure location, in this case a room he rented at the Halliburton Suites, which the team had visited one time before. Detrius lives with the team, though they secured the Mercury Express drives for him, I established that he also rented an apartment across town to do his work from, just in case some flack ever came back on him;  a hack gone bad or latent security on the data drives.

To the players it looked like, and was, Detrius being a thoughtful guy looking out for their best interests. In reality, I knew this run was coming far ahead of time and needed a solid excuse for him to not be around their home when a heavily armed assault squad burst in, kidnapped the ork and torched the building without killing, kidnapping or being stopped by any of them in the process.

“Bullshit!” Detrius exclaims before breaking into a cough. He recovers and Marius hands him a glass of water. After a few moments he continues, “I bounce my signal through many nodes. No one could pinpoint my exact location.”

“Cool your jets there ‘decker extraordinary’, we were only able to get it down to three possible locations.” Wheeler states.

“That’s more like it.” Dee says.

“Right” Marius continues. “So, we narrowed it down to three locations; a shipyard, a delivery truck and the warehouse where we found you. We stopped the truck and, when you weren’t in it we… well… I’m not proud of this, but we pretty much stole it and burned it to the ground, kind of just for fun.”

Bear interjects, “It WAS fun, you gotta admit.”

Sometimes player motivations and fun beat out character motivations and fun. Because it IS fun.

Two out of the three scenes were red herrings, meant to distract the team and burn a small amount of resources as they tried to find the real one. The third option, that they didn’t explore, would have taken them to a dump on the edge of town where some ghouls were prowling around Detrius’ hidden commlink. Given their past history with a particular ghoul, it wouldn’t have been outrageous for them to think a ghoul might have grabbed Detrius out of revenge, but it would have turned out to be a dead end.

“True enough,” Marius agrees. “Anyway, from there we headed to the warehouse.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. You are not getting off that easy.” Detrius interrupts. “Bear, tell me about this truck.”

“Dude, it was way cool.” The dwarf’s eyes light up. “So we did the standard pull in front of him and stop thing. Marius jumps out and shoots open the back of the truck while I tell the driver that we are form corp-sec. He totally buys this line of drek I was slinging. Hands over the access codes to his truck and agrees to ‘wait for backup’ as we drive off with his rig. It was so epic. I think we snagged some merchandise too.”

“Aces.” Dee says.

PREVIOUS: Mission 20 – Operation Aimless Dog – Part 1
NEXT: Mission 20 – Operation Aimless Dog – Part 3

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