The Setup: The Dread Abyss Pirate Demetrius, Logrus Frat-Rat Devan, and Cupio the Renegade Prince of Avalon have been hired by Ambassador Horatio of Amber to hunt down Fiona of Amber. They have tried and messily failed at this twice. Now, however, Horatio has gotten word that a contest for a Spikard is being held in a specially-molded Shadow, and that Fiona is likely to attend. And so our brave crew enters the lists...
Log file opened at: 4/2/01 7:35:57 PM
MLoader: The weapons systems look fine, though I'll note two things about yer class-2s...
MLoader: First, while the shooty parts work everywhere, you may have trouble with tracking/targeting in some shadows. Second, use em enough and they'll drain a jump charge, same as the main gun.
Demetrius nods. "Understood."
MLoader: Anyhow. iirc you were just about to jump to the competition Shadow, right?
Devan: *thinks* I think so, yeah
MLoader: Okay. Cupio taks the helm, enters mental coordinates. The Radiant jumps...
MLoader: It appears in space, just off a large disclike space station, painted a dull purple, orbiting a gas giant.
MLoader: You can see a fair number of other craft in the system... mostly cargo haulers.
MLoader: It appears in space, just off a large disclike space station, painted a dull purple, orbiting a gas giant.
MLoader: You can see a fair number of other craft in the system... mostly cargo haulers.
Demetrius turns to Cupio. "So... the Spikards in this shadow, and we either have to find itand then mug Fiona when she comes for it, or just plain find Fiona, right?"
MLoader: "Here we are," Cupio announces. "Wherever the fuck here is. Ugly purple frisbee off the port bow, Capt'n Kirk."
MLoader: "Yeah, I guess."
Demetrius nods. "Give me a full sensor sweep, Mr. Barrington."
MLoader: "Already done, sir. Lots of cargo haulers of four basic design styles, five zippy little light fighters, and that station."
Devan: "... Wouldn't it be easier to find it and have her come to us? If we have this ship prepared to face her..."
Demetrius nods to Devan. "It probably would, and we'd get a Spikard in the bargain."
Demetrius: "But I don't know how to find a Spikard. How about you?"
MLoader: "The fighters have blue and purple insignia. Looks like most of the freighters are privately-owned, or at least use different markings."
Demetrius: "Ambient magic levels?"
MLoader: "None. I mean, just about nothing. You couldn't light a cigar in this Shadow using magic, sir."
Devan shrugs helplessly. "I'm not sure." He hmms, testing something. Conjure up beer or something.
Demetrius: "Well, that's good... wait. You said 'just about nothing.' Are you getting a trace reading?"
Demetrius: "That could be the Spikard."
MLoader: "I'm not getting anything, sir." Devan, no luck. Looks like magic Just Don't Work here.
Devan: "Hnh... so for all we know, the spikard could just be an ordinary ring and there'd be no way to find out till we leave here?"
Demetrius nods. "Hmm. Hail the Ugly Purple Frisbee."
MLoader: "Looks like those fighters are sweeping in for a closer look, sir."
MLoader: The frisbee comes on screen. "This is Zanati Refinery. Business?"
Demetrius ponders a bit, then decides to go with the truth. "We're here for the Contest."
MLoader: "Contest?" the voice on the other end sounds puzzled. "Is the MTC holding another promotional again?"
Demetrius blinks. "MTC?"
MLoader: "Yes. The Miranu Trading Conglomerate. You're not from around here, are you."
Demetrius: "Nope. We're here by invitation, on a hunt for a Spikard."
Demetrius depresses the mute button for a second. "This will either get us info, puzzlement, or shot at."
Demetrius: "Don't you love a choice?" <grin>
Devan: "... Or they could join the hunt and increase the competition."
MLoader: "No wild animals here. This is a refinery. You probably waint Leiton, in the Leita system. It's two jumps to the galactic east. You do have a hyperjump map, yes?"
Demetrius: "Not a local one. We use an unconventional FTL drive. I don't suppose we could buy one off you?"
MLoader: "Sure thing. Transmit 2500 in credit and we'll send you a MTC map, guanteed accurate.
Demetrius holds down the mute button. "Nelson, do we have any precious metals still in the hold from Chaos or Durban?"
Demetrius turns the comm back on. "We don't have any local e-currency. Will you take payment in precious metal?"
MLoader: A pause. "Wow, you must really be from out of town. Sure, we have a commodity exchange. I'm sending you a docking signal now."
Demetrius nods. "Nelson, follow the good man's signal, will you?" Mute. "And Yellow Alert. These guys might just be friendly, but I've got a vibe."
MLoader: Okay. You make your final approach and dock without any trouble.
Demetrius straps on a slugthrower and a few other high-tech weapons and heads for the airlock with a squad. "Ser Devan, Prince Cupio, you want to come with?"
MLoader: "Sure, why not. See what this dump has."
Devan nods. "Check... pass me some of those weapons, will ya, T?"
MLoader: T tosses Devan a slugthrower.
Demetrius: And we all troop off to the airlock?
MLoader: You go out into the refinery. The inhabitants mostly seem to be some kind of tall, thin, blueish humanoids, who give you many curious looks.
Demetrius: *Well, so much for blending.* Demetrius looks/asks about for the guy he spoke to.
Devan eyes the inhabitants. Was it a good idea to come out so obviously armed? Hm. Does Logrus still work here?
MLoader: "The dockmaster?" says a worker. "Oh, he's on duty. If you want goods or services, just go to the MTC kiosk."
--> DevanYou?'ll have to try and see.
Demetrius thanks said worker and heads for said kiosk.
MLoader: The kiosk is only too willing to take your metals and exchange them for credits. They sell you a complete MTC galactic map, and Cupio buys several datafiles.
MLoader: History, culture, military science.
Demetrius eyes Cupio. "Good idea." Can i score a datafile on current events?
MLoader: They're happy to sell you a complete current events news datafile, and a subscription to MTC News Hypercast Live.
Demetrius: Anything else interesting-looking?
MLoader: Not really. Trade goods of various sorts, including something called Saalian Brandy.
Demetrius: Hmm. I score a bottle of the Brandy for my liquor collection. and then I'm done.
MLoader: Okay. Devan?
Devan: At the moment? I'm going to see if I can score some sort of high tech weaponry, that I can't simply conjure
Demetrius: We have tons of that in the Armory, Devan.
-*Devan* Use logrus sight.
MLoader: They don't seem to be big arms merchants, though they will sell you some lil laser pistol thingies.
--> Devan Logrus sight still works.
Devan: Hmmm. I can't honestly think of anything offhand I want, really, though... you know, I wanna see if there are rings being sold here and there.
-*Devan* Hmmm. Can I use Logrus to chase down the spikard here?
--> DevanGonna? try extending a tendril?
-*Devan* yeah, but not right here
--> Devantell me when you do.
MLoader: Heading back to the ship?
Demetrius: I am.
MLoader: Okay. Cupio starts sifting through datafiles.
Demetrius gives the galactic map to Bogdozan and Nelson to synch up with the Abyssmal Drive, and tells them to set a course to Leita.
-*Devan* since we're back at the ship.
Demetrius: He then ushers Cupio into the wardroom to go over datafiles with him, and turns the news on in the background. "Hey, toss me that one on military history."
--> Devan Your tendrils aren't working.
-*Devan* Hmmm. *frowns* So on the bright side, this means SHE'S probably in the same boat.
MLoader: Okay. The Abyssial Drive fails to respond.
Demetrius blinks. "Mr. Barrington, fire a one-shot burst from one of the Abyss Turrets."
MLoader: Nelson and Barrington confer. "Sometyhing's blocking our jump ability, sir." A burst is successfully fired.
Devan hmmms. "Do you have any way to scan for hidden ships or something?"
Demetrius tries to open an Abyss Portal himself, then tests his Abyss Form.
MLoader: Your Abyss form works. Your Abyss portal doesn't.
Demetrius: "Not really; if we can't detect something, we can't detect it." Demetrius frowns. "Is Logrus working?"
Devan hmms... "Lemme try something."
MLoader: Nelson says, "We do have a working in-Shadow drive, sir, that just uses technology."
-*Devan* Focus it inwards to see if I can form a Logrus shield, rather than external.
--> DevanYup?, no problem.
Demetrius nods. "I'm aware. I was just exploring options."
MLoader: A shield of some sort of force appears in front of Devan.
Demetrius: "Well, lay in a course to Leita, the-" Blink. Stare.
-*Devan* Hmmm... Try various other internal means, and skip the tendril.
Demetrius: "Logrus Shield?"
Devan: "Looks like that works, at least.
--> DevanBasically?, you get the impression that you can't use abilities that would let you get places or find the spikard easily.
Devan: "Okay... I'm guessing anything that's related to transport doesn't work."
Demetrius: "Looks like. Although none of us has Trump."
MLoader: Nelson lays in a course, and you jump to hyperspace.
Devan hmmms, looking at Cupio. "Maybe we should try trump, given Fiona's capabilities with it.
MLoader: "Already tried. Doersn't work."
-*Demetrius* Mike,how much do I know about what Pattern can do? The basic, well-known abilities?
MLoader: After a time, Cupio has the computer compile a quick rundown on the Shadow as gleaned from the datafiles.
Demetrius: "Hmm. Prince Cupio?"
Demetrius: "You know that thing you Royals can do where you seek through Shadow for something you want?"
Demetrius: "Will that work inside a single shadow? Like, if you didn't try to leave it?"
MLoader: "YEah, it don't work neither."
MLoader: "Nope. Purely trans-Shadow."
Demetrius: "Damn. Thanks anyway." Demetrius hits the datafile.
Demetrius: OOC: Wow, this is chewy.
Devan: ooc :there's.... a lot.
-*Demetrius* The Radiant pack an energy shield?
Devan: (OOC: It sounds like some races from Star Control O.o0
--> DemetriusYup?, in Shadows where it functions, like this one.
Demetrius hmms. "I'm impressed, but not all that impressed. We can take any one of these battlewagons in one-on-one combat."
Demetrius: "They don't seem to have developed massive, dediated weapons like our Main Gun."
MLoader: "Looks like they focus on smaller weapons systems," Cupio agrees.
Devan: "But how large are their forces?"
MLoader: "Real big. Thousands of ships."
Demetrius nods. "They like fighters."
MLoader: "Looks like it. Most of their big battlewagons double as carriers."
Demetrius: "So do we, fortunatly. although we don't cary any heavies."
Demetrius: "They never worked right in low-tech shadows."
Demetrius: "SO..." Demetrius taps the map. "Where do we begin? I have no idea where to even _start_ looking for Fiona."
MLoader: "Well well well," Cupio says suddenly. "This is real fuckin' interesting."
Demetrius: "We're here, with the MTC... so we could root around here for awhile, or head to the Cresent Strands or galactic south to the UE."
Demetrius: "Mmm? What is?"
MLoader: "There's a big-ass reward out for you and your old ship."
Demetrius blinks. "Show me."
-*Demetrius* I've never been here before, right?
Devan peers along with Demmy.
MLoader: He hits a few buttons, and puts a video clip on. The logo 'BIG SHOT' appears on the screen.
Demetrius groans. "Why does this show follow me through EVERY spacefaring shadow?"
MLoader: "Hi all you bounty hunters!" a male Strand announcer says cheerfully. "We have a very special bounty for you today!" "Ooooo, who?" squeals a female Miranu. "It's the Dread Pirate Demetrius, infamous human renegade and the butcher of Troub! The Azdgari government has put 30 million credits on his head!"
Devan: (OOC: falls down laughing. Bebop?)
Demetrius: (OOC: Yes. >.<
MLoader: "30 million!" the Miranu screams in shock. "That's got to be a mistake!"
MLoader: "I know! They want this hombre bad! Apparently he stole an experimental ship, the Tempest, and used it to slaughter an entire colony! Millions dead!" "Golly, what a bad man!" "Humans are like that when they go bad, Ami!"
Demetrius: "I hate her sooooooo much."
MLoader: "An update! The miranu government claims to have destroyed the Tempest, but says the pirate escaped! So he may be piloting a different ship. Good luck, bounty hurters, and big in that big 30 million, a record in galactic history!"
MLoader: End of show.
Demetrius sighs, and checks to see where in the galaxy this will get him shot at by law enforcement.
Demetrius: OOC: And who are the 'Strandless,' and does it matter?
MLoader: The Azdgari have orders to shoot you on sight. The Miranu have orders to report you to the local authorities. Every bounty hunter in the galaxy wants you.
MLoader: The STrandless are Crescent outcasts who don't beling to any one strand... sort of independent states.
Demetrius: But the other two Strands, Sol, and Voinia won't be shooting at me just as a matter of course.
MLoader: They don't have any warrants out on you atm.
Demetrius: "Okay. As long as we avoid the Strands, we should be fine."
Demetrius: "I've chainsawed through bounty hunters before, this'll be no different." He grins. "Maybe Borodin'll show."
MLoader: Your ship enters the Leita system. "We're being hailed by a gunboat, Arada-class," Bogdozan reports.
Devan smirks. "I don't see why we're going to see Ivan again... Hm?
MLoader: A scarred human looks back at you from the viewscreen. "Captain Demetrius."
Demetrius raises an eyebrow. "Do I know you?"
MLoader: "Power down your systems and prepare to be boarded. This is the Zachit."
MLoader: "Multiple incoming warships," Barrington reports.
Demetrius: Mike, I don't see Arada-class listed on your info page.
Devan: "... Well, great."
MLoader: Look under Crescent strands.
Demetrius: Ahh. Any Crescent fighters or Laziras?
-*Devan* Test Logrus and see if it works here still. u.u
MLoader: Many, many C Fighters. No Laziras.
--> DevanNope?. Shield works, ight works, tendrils don't.
Demetrius: How do my Mad Warfare Skillz tell me I stack up against these yahoos?
MLoader: Looks to be all Aradas and fighters.
MLoader: You would guess you can take them, though with possible minor damage if they breach the shields.
Demetrius quirks a smile at scar-boy. "Not today, my friend. I believe you have me at a disadvantage, though."
MLoader: "Goodbye, renegade. Let 'im have it, brothers." Communication cuts. The screen suddenly starts tracking incoming projectiles and phase cannon fire.
Demetrius: "shields up. Mr. Barrington, let'em have it with everything we have. Oh, and pick a likely-looking Arada and blow it to bits with the Main Gun."
Demetrius takes the Big Chair and cooly begins to command his mean.
MLoader: Nelson starts dodging and weaving as best he can. Barrington opens fire, shredding three Aradas and a fighter. Cupio looks bored. The Zachit go berserk, swarming all over you like angry hornets. The shields take a beating, but are holding.
Demetrius continues to be Large and In Charge.
MLoader: Then the planet launches its defence fleet.
Demetrius: Ooooooo. That's bad.
MLoader: Five Crescent Warships, backed up by 40 Lazira and scads of fighters, start rising out of the ionosphere.
-*Demetrius* Mike, are we carrying anything super-nasty, like antimatter warheads? I want to leave some gifts behind.
--> DemetriusYou? have some nasty mines, yes.
Demetrius sighs. "Time to exercise discretion."
-*Devan* (... I suppose it's too late to use sight to see if other ships are around, but do it anyway.)
MLoader: The Zachit and the Leiton Defence Fleet hammer away at your ship. Shields are starting to drop dangerously.
Demetrius: "Mr. Barrington, prep some mines. Nelson, get us out of here. Plot a course for... Dislor."
MLoader: "Aye sir."
--> DevanNone? you can see.
-*Demetrius* Let's leave the mines behind right aswe jump out.
MLoader: The Radiant jumps to hyperspace. You last scan is of a Crescent Warship hitting a mine.
Demetrius hrrms. "Nelson, pull up the nav map."
MLoader: He does.
Demetrius: "Hmm. Seeing as how we have no idea where to hit the Spikard OR Fiona, I think we should go someplace reasonably safe."
Devan: "Next time we do this, oi, Demmy, I suggest we check to see if other ships are around first?"
Demetrius: "Soooooo.... we should cut down here, to DSN-1154, jog over to avoid the UE Listening Posts, and make for Saalia, in human-controlled space."
Demetrius: "Hey, that's probably where the brandy comes from."
MLoader: Cupio shrugs. "Devan?"
Devan: "Hmmm. What makes you think this is safer than any other?"
Demetrius: "Well, the Vionians don't like humans, the Strands all want me dead, and the Miranu, we just saw, aren't particularly welcoming."
Demetrius: "We'll probably have to swat away bounty hunters like flies, but there won't be any planetary defence forces coming after us."
Devan: "Hmmm... and probably there's where we're most likely to find Fiona anyway. Worth a shot."
Demetrius nods. "We're also going to be watching the MCT News the -entire way-."
MLoader: Course is set, and off you go.
MLoader: About midway through your jump, you get a few bits of news.
MLoader: The Voinians, under command of a mysterious new 'Supreme Leader,' have launched a massive new offensive, and the UE is getting MAULED. It looks like the tide has turned again, in the Voinian's favor.
MLoader: Inter-strand commerce has ground almost completely to a halt, and humans aren't being allowed into Strand space either.
Demetrius: Are they attacking through Bakka, Dogovor, or Yandros?
MLoader: All of them.
MLoader: An offensive all along the front.
Demetrius: What about DSN-1810?
MLoader: Captured. The UE Fleet has fallen back to Saalia.
Demetrius: Damn. Have we passed through DSN-9608 yet?
Devan: "So what now?"
MLoader: Not yet.
MLoader: Cupio laughs, and thumbs on a video clip.
MLoader: "AMIGOS! Welcome to BIG SHOT!"
MLoader: "An update on the record bounty on the Dread Pirate Demetrius!" "Ooo, what, what?" "Apparently the fiend destroyed much of the Leiton Defence Fleet with the cowardly use of space mines!" "Gosh! Those are banned by every starfaring race, aren't they?" "YES! Only Renegades use them. Human renegades!"
Demetrius massages his head. "I hate her so very, very much."
Devan: "... Fiona, eh?"
Demetrius: "No, the blonde." He guestures. "This damn show is EVERYWHERE. I've even hit it on the Amber side."
MLoader: "In addition to destroying the flagship of the defence fleet, the pirate also killed many heroic members of the Zachit." "Oh, I love the Zachit! They're so brave!" "Yes, they defend the helpless against renegades... and sometimes pay the price!" "How sad and noble!"
Devan rolls his eyes. "The blonde's cute. Just get her in the sack, maybe she'll be more willin' to sing your praises. Right, Cupio?"
MLoader: "The Zachit Widows and Orphans Fund has added two million to the reward. It's now 32 million creds, care of the Azdgari government!" "How nice! Good luck, all you bounty hunters!"
MLoader: Show ends.
Demetrius: "She's horrible in the sack. All tease, no preformance." Demetrius stares at the screen morosely.
Devan: "Oh you already tried that?"
MLoader: "Yeah, chicks like that gimme the creeps," Cupio says. "I hate that fuckin' show."
Demetrius: "In a manner of speaking." Demetrius changes the subject rapidly. "Okay, who wants to do a really big favor for Earthgov so they like us?"
Devan: "Depends on what it is."
-*Demetrius* If the Voinians have pressed through to Saalia, that means they're supply line is extended through DSN-9608 and 4044, right?
Demetrius traces lines on a map. "we're here. DSN-1154."
--> DemetriusIt? could be.
-*Demetrius* Uh-huh. So if i came up behind them, I couldtheoretically cut their line, loot a bunch of freighters, and then fall on Saalia from behind?
--> DemetriusQuite? possibly.
Demetrius: "I was thinking that if we lay in wait... _HERE_ in DSN-9608. The Voinian supply line has to come through here for them to assault Saalia."
Demetrius: "We can pounce on that, loot a bunch of freighters, cut their lines, them come upon Saalia from behind and catch them between us and the UE forces."
Demetrius: "Then the UE will like us, and helpus find Fiona."
Demetrius looks at Devan and Cupio. "Well?"
MLoader: "Sounds fine," Cupio says. "As long as we blow shit up."
Devan slowly nods. "I can't think of any objections, unless Voinia suddenly picks up allies we don't know about."
Demetrius: "Well, their 'Supreme Leader' and sudden pickup in combat efficiency leads me to believe Fiona and Gerard landed there, but that's just me."
Demetrius: "But they won't be out on the frontier."
Demetrius calls in Bogdozan, runs the plan by him for suggestions, and lays ina course for DSN-9608.
MLoader: You enter the DSN-9608 system to find a heavily modified Crescent Warship blowing the living spit out of a Voinian convoy, running rings around a Voinian Heavy Cruiser that is frantically trying to turn to bring its main guns to bear on it.
Demetrius acrhes an eyebrow. "Somebody beat us to the idea."
Demetrius: "Mr. Barrington?"
MLoader: Voinian Supply Ships are scrambling about in terror and trying to stay out of the way. A Voinian fighter, aerodynamic as a rock, sails past and explodes. "Aye sir?" Barrington says.
Demetrius: "Blow that battlewagon out of space. One shot, please; I want a clean kill."
MLoader: "Er... which one?"
Demetrius: OOC: By battlewagon, I mean the heavy cruiser.
Demetrius: "The cruiser."
MLoader: BLAM. The heavy cruiser vaporizes.
Devan: "Uh... shouldn't we find out why they're doing..."
Demetrius grins. "Hail the Crescent."
MLoader: The Crescent Warship casually guns down a frigate, then hails you.
MLoader: A human appears on the monitor. "That was my Voinian," he says grumpily.
Demetrius smiles. "Begging your pardon, then, Captain."
MLoader: "That's better. Make you a deal; I'm out of cargo space. I'll raid the safes, and you can take what's in the holds. Or I can blow you away too. Never seen that class of ship. Who made it? What's the specs?"
Demetrius: "Tempest-class. Custom design; I decided I wanted one big gun instead of lots of little ones."
Demetrius: "The holds will be fine. Dibs on any intelligence documents, though."
MLoader: "It's a nice gun. Cruiser in one shot. Of course, I'd already worn it down. Won't be any documents worth having on those tubs. Henri Bonfleur, captain of the 'City of Trier'. You?"
Demetrius: "Dread Pirate Demetrius, Captain of the 'Radiant.' Not the one the bounties on, though."
MLoader: He looks a bit twitchy at the word Pirate, but doesn't reach for the gun controls. "Oh. Okay. If you find a rubber chicken, it's mine."
Demetrius: "You're a Privateer, I take it? You don't look UE, begging your pardon if you are."
MLoader: The City of Trier starts moving to board a supply ship. "Freelance. Fast packet runs, renegade extermination, planetary conquest, Voinian killing a speciality. Hate Voinians. Hate renegades." Twitch. "Dibs on any rubber chickens."
Demetrius starts tractoring in a bunch of supply ships. "I'm a mercenary by trade. 'Least, I was till someone stole my name and got a bounty stuck on me."
MLoader: "Been there. Done that. Strand is touchy. Vape one little battle group and they put a price on your head."
MLoader: The supply ships are thoroughly looted. No rubber chickens are found, though you do fill your holds with goods.
Demetrius: "So they say. I'm not from around here. Got stranded when I jumped in and my Aby- er, my Wormhole Generator wouldn't work anymore."
MLoader: "Weird. Ain't got one of those. Got other nice toys and lots and lots of guns and armor and shields." Twitch. "I hope the chicken wasn't on that cruiser." Twitch.
Demetrius: "Uh.... huh. I always kinda depended on size, myself. I've got a specialized power core."
Demetrius: "So where're you headed? I'm thinking Saalia; come up behind the Voinians, buy myself some favor with the UE."
-*Devan* This is so out of my element that I'm keeping quiet and listening and learning. x.x
MLoader: "Size don't mean much. I..." He pauses, then starts fidding with a hyperband pickup.
MLoader: "Incoming emergency signal," Bogdozan says.
Demetrius: "Onscreen. Or speakers."
MLoader: "...all ships, this this Admiral MacPherson? commanding the Saalian Defensive Line. We are under heavy attack. A general amnesty and cash reward is offered to any ship who comes to the aid of the system. Repeat, a general amn..." static.
Demetrius arches an eyebrow. "Well, how convenient."
MLoader: The City of Trier is already powering up its jump engines.
Demetrius powers up to follow.
Demetrius: "Let's go get our throats cut, lads."
Devan: "I'd like to keep my throat where it is."
-*Devan* Hm. Test something, shapeshift when I'm free.
MLoader: Devan briefly practices shapeshifting.
Demetrius: "It sounds a lot more inspiring before the translation."
On to part 2!