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IE Journal 12

Page history last edited by Michael 8 years, 2 months ago

back to Journal entry 11


116/598 (or September 1st, 12505 AD)


Mount Shaoshi, China -- the Shaolin Monastery


Our Heroes have been having a heated discussion about motives, plans, and history, aboard the Spirit of Vinland. As MacDougall has been healed of his terrible wounds by the Queen of the Ice Pagoda, they politely take their leave and fly the ship to Rome.


Rome:  a group of seven islands a few kilometers from the Italian peninsula. The very inbred and hyper-civilized aristocrats of the Tyrant's Court spend their nights indulging in computer-moderated virtual reality dreams. There is a landing field near the city, where fine wines, rare foodstuffs and other luxuries are imported; and exotic, forbidden datasets to power high-Index VR dreams are exported. Defense of the city is provided by an Index 3 mercenary Anvil platoon. They have four Hammer fighters and a dozen Anvil sleds; there is no real aerospace defense network (aside perhaps from a few point defense systems).


The Spirit of Vinland sets down, and Our Heroes walk over to the customs shed, where they get perhaps the most perfunctory customs and entry procedure ever. It's pretty much the Bizarro Department of Homeland Security. The young aristocrat in charge of the shed is entirely distracted by some virtual reality feed he's receiving. A grav sled "limo" is provided, and Our Heroes are taken to an Abode, on one of the islands. The city is dusty, quiet, and built of ruins upon older ruins, atop a base of immeasurably old ruins. The serfs are tremendously servile.


On one of the islands is the Hall of Health, where Eric O'Reilly is presented to receive his Crucis. After a bit of comedy when he realizes he still has his hair, and doesn't want to have it permanently removed, he eventually gets the Crucis installed (spend 1000 Σ). A couple of Our Heroes are, uh, forced to come up with comic-opera titles:


  • Admiral Frank Burns

  • Colonel of Marines Jason McClellan


The other Heroes visit the Market, where an immense variety of virtual reality datasets are available. Much of it is very "arty", and not all of it is interactive; and as an art style it has in recent milllenia become very stylized and inward-facing. Even so many of the classics are available, from back in the heyday of the Federation. Besides the large amount of drama and "adult" entertainment, Our Heroes purchase a large number of military training simulations, and some dream synthesis software. (spend 200 Σ)


In the evening, the party dresses up and attends the Tyrant's Court. The main hall is an eerie sight, with dusty, faded banners and pennants hanging from the cobwebbed darkness of the ceiling, and an array of mis-matched "thrones" with crucis interface plugs in them. About 4 dozen aristocrats are in attendance, some apparently from Rome, a few from elsewhere on Earth, and some from offworld. Most seem unhealthy or out-of-shape, but there are half-a-dozen which stand out to McClellan's "ghost goggles" for not having souls, and another person (Lord Owen) is a Vaylen! The most notable of the soulless aristocrats is General Marx.


The Tyrant enters alone in real life -- but in the virtual version of the throne room, he is accompanied by a fanfare and flights of "space cherubs", with an escort of what might be called "Knights of the Round Table in Warhammer 40K". There are some brief acknowledgments and comments to a few favored courtiers, and then the "trailers" begin.


The courtiers and visitors are all presented with a series of dream experiences, some recorded from living persons, and some presumably synthesized artificially. The participants have limited volition in these dreams. The big finish for the evening is a dream that seems to go on for months, in the life of primitive tribesmen on some far world.


117/598 (or September 2nd, 12505 AD)


O'Reilly takes the Spirit of Vinland and flies to New York City to do some trading, buying and selling. The five nieces of Baron Chan throw him quite the party and celebratory orgy to welcome him to his new Corvus-and-Crucis status. While in New York, he sells some of the 20 extra cryoberths the ship is carrying, buys a scanner of some sort, buys a lot of cigarettes and luxury trade goods, and makes a few other purchases -- including a Collegium Medicos textbooks and the Collegium ID of a failed medical student. (spend appropriate Σ, including 200 Σ for the textbooks and ID card) 


The nieces seem quite interested in New York City.


Meanwhile, MacDougall meets with General Marx and a couple of his aides (including Lt. Patel, also soulless) at a small restaurant in Rome, where strolling ukeke players are found. Marx is a vassal of a Darikahn Forged Lord, Baron Thadd of Belem; that world is located about 50 light-years "east" of Terra Insula. He admires Our Heroes, and invites them to join with the Belem Hammer fleet on a mission deep into Vaylen space; or even just to stop by and meet the Baron.


That evening, Our Heroes sneak into the Abode of Lord Owen; after a short gunfight, Owen is captured (though MacDougall is wounded).


118/598 (or September 3rd, 12505 AD)


A while after midnight, O'Reilly and the Spirit of Vinland return to Rome from New York City. MacDougall is still in the Hall of Health, but rejoins his comrades at the Abode for breakfast. Lieutenant Patel pays a short call to present the General's best wishes for a quick recovery. By mid-day it's clear to the Roman constabulary that Our Heroes have rooted out a set of Vaylen infiltrators. MacDougall is to be invested with the Order of Civil Merit (2nd Class) that evening, and will also be inducted as a Lance-Major in the 1st Roman Legion.


119/598 (or September 4th, 12505 AD)


Our Heroes fly in the Spirit of Vinland to Mount Song, to meet with the Queen of the Ice Pagoda again, and (perhaps more importantly) to have MacDougall's face healed. Afterwards they fly back to Rome to meet with General Marx, who tells them how to contact an anonymous "deal broker" in London. They fly on to London, stopping briefly at Paris to view the strange city from a safe distance.


120/598 (or September 5th, 12505 AD)


Our Heroes meet the anonymous broker at the Crown and Plasma Lance in the morning. He offers them a job:  recovering 40 artificial wombs from an asteroid, where they've been captured by a group of extortionists. Our Heroes agree, for a payment of 150 doses of Foam.


121/598 (or September 6th, 12505 AD)


The Spirit of Vinland lifts off, headed for asteroid 26858 Misterrogers. Accompanying it is a Hammer fighter, "Red Five". (spend 1000 Σ as pay for Red Five) 


123/598 (or September 8th, 12505 AD)


Our Heroes approach, enter and conquer the secret base in the abandoned mines of  26858 Misterrogers. There are 40 Index 7 or 8 artificial wombs present, each with an infant boy being gestated; the boys are all clones, and are not Vaylen.


from the journals of Hadrian Black

The Spirit of Vinland drifts in stealth mode towards the asteroid 26858 Misterrogers, touching dust and rock away from the main airlock, in a place least likely to have surveillance.  he ‘away team’ leaves the ship, McLellan, Burns and Black wearing Iron, O’Reilly and MacDougall wearing Anvil. Along with the usual equipment of destruction, Macdougall (?) is carrying an emergency airlock. 


Outdated maps loaded into the Iron’s computers give a rough idea of how to get to the main storage area where the equipment to be retrieved should be:  40 index 7 or 8 artificial wombs. The team makes their way carefully into the body of the asteroid and through the wrecked passageways carved many hundreds of years ago. What looks to be an alarm system is tripped, whoever is waiting at the other end has probably been made aware of the team’s presence.  Shortly thereafter, two options are presented. A hallway leading directly to the storage area but several hundred meters long and exposing the team to fire along its whole length, or a circuitous passage through many rooms. Figuring that their presence is known, the team opts for the longer route, with more cover. 


During this time, the opposition has launched its fighter, which took a few shots at Red Five and seeing that it was also up against a frigate, retreated to a safe distance.  The 1,000 Standards turned out to be a wise investment to protect the Spirit of Vinland, and it was easier on the team’s conscience that Red Five survived too. 


After scrambling through a series of ruined rooms, the team comes to a door beyond which McClellan’s ghost goggles show are a number or ambushers. Macdougall crawls through a duct and reports back that he sees hostiles, one in Iron, and several more in Anvil.  He retreats along the duct, the team prepares, and then McClellan forces the door open and (?) lobs in a satchel charge. The resulting blast eliminates all hostiles in the room, but rebounding shrapnel pierces McClellan’s Iron, wounding him grievously. He is saved by his armor and its foam, and the team continues.


A long hallway leads from the devastated room to what should be the storage area, and towards the end is an airlock with a green light, indicating pressurization on the other side. Macdougall (?) sets up his emergency airlock to the rear of the team, and the airlock is cycled.  What looks like a large explosive device is floating in the airlock with a wire leading back to the other side.  Black aims to shoot it in hopes of destroying it without its going off, but McClellan is in the way and deftly severs the wire.  Someone (Macdougall?) destroys the airlock and starts to go through, but someone in Iron (McClellan?) rushes ahead, accidentally throwing him very roughly to the side.  Macdougall (?) is not injured, but would have been killed but for his armor. 


The plan was for (Burns?) to go left, (McClellan?) to go up, and (Black?) to go right. 


On the other side are two men in Iron and maybe half a dozen men in Anvil. The battle is hot and fierce, torrents of firepower being unleashed on both sides, with the bad guys focusing their fire on the men in Iron.  Black decides that his Iron powered war pick will do more damage to the armored foe and goes screaming across the room to destroy them. Burns (?) is badly injured in his Iron and barely survives; after engaging several opponents Black is all but killed, but also survives. Foam is a beautiful thing. 


When the battle is over, the team recovers the 40 artificial wombs and anything else that is salvageable.  Amongst the spoils are two suits of Ferrara Guild Iron, very badly damaged but worth rebuilding, assault lasers and several other armor killing weapons. 


The team licks its wounds, loads up, and returns to Terra Insula once again to be healed by the ever-gentle Ice Queen. 


125/598 (or September 10th, 12505 AD)


The Spirit of Vinland returns to Terra Insula, landing at Mount Shaoshi. Once again, the Queen of the Ice Pagoda gently and graciously heals their terrible wounds. After a bit of rest in the cool, soothing breezes of the Shaolin monastery, they lift ship in the evening and travel to London. Here they unload the 40 artificial wombs and receive the balance of their pay (the total was 150 doses of Foam, including the up-front payment).


126/598 (or September 11th, 12505 AD)


Flying for an hour or so across the Atlantic, Our Heroes arrive at New York, where they contact a skilled and well-equipped stentor to make repairs to their damaged Iron, and to evaluate the value of the captured Ferrara Guild Iron. The repairs willl take 2 days (spend 50 Σ). Port charges for landing at New York City are 300 Σ each time, so spend 600 Σ. London only charged 50 Σ per landing, so check off 100 Σ for your two trips to that city. Landings at Paris, Peking, Mount Sinai and Mount Shaoshi were free! Total port charges on Terra Insula so far:  700 Σ. Also, by the time the Shining Slate returns to the Karsan League, it will be slightly overdue for an annual maintenance check (takes a week or so, and will cost 3200 Σ).


on to Journal entry 13

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