Friday, October 12, 2012


Party time! A night of dancing, drinking, and domineering! And it was all going so well, too, right up until Lyta's dancing partner apparently murdered the local head of the SRID, right under SecBuro's nose...

[For some time, Our Heroes (tm) have been trying to get in touch with Ennik. He finally picks up his phone.]
Lukas: "We're in a city full of big purple people."
Ennik: "Me too. I think we're in the same city."

[We meet up with Ennik at our business, the Corner Coffee Haws. Whereupon we meet our thug-turned-employee, Perry.]
Lukas: "How are things?"
Perry: "...Good?"
Josh: "This is why you guys hired him -- comic relief."

[Sometime since we last saw him, Perry took a few weeks of a business course. And while he's not the brightest bulb in the box, some conclusions are inescapable.]
Perry: "I think, if I understand properly, our business is fundamentally flawed."

[More of the same.]
Perry: "We're not making any money."
Lukas: "Well, very little money."
Ennik: "Wait for it. He just learned the word 'overhead.'"

[Perry reflects on the whole not-making-any-money thing.]
Perry: "That's not a business model."
Lukas: "A very bad business model, anyway."

[Perry having been placated once we informed him that our business model was, in fact, a front for smuggling, we retire to the back room. Where Ennik has a job for us: pretend to be mercenaries and put a little pressure on a Kolson mole in the Desert Wolves while attending a fancy party.]
Lukas: "Well, we are mercenaries."
Ennik: "I didn't think it would be a major stretch."

[The Kolson mole will be meeting with Leo Kinross, local Kolson head. There is an elaborate set-up which will end, we hope, with Kinross killing the mole.]
Ennik: "I mean, how mortified would you be if you had to kill your own mole?"
Lukas: "On a scale of 1 to 10, no more than a 5. A 3, if I were a Kolson..."

[Sometimes you need to be precise. Or vague, as the case may be.]
Lukas: "Our mutual friend has suggested to us... And by 'mutual friend,' I mean our most important mutual friend."

[Recall that the main reason we're in Port Arthur is to rescue Katchelli from the diamond mine prison.]
Ennik: "You have a job already, don't you?"
Lukas: "Yes. And you're not gonna like it."

[It turns out that Ennik, while a prisoner of the CEF, was never actually imprisoned in the mines.]
Lukas: "Damn! Your expertise is useless to us!"
Torgath: "Should we find someone with a better-looking Gear?"

[It turns out the big party where Ennik needs us to pose as mercenaries is the same party that Lukas and Minnie are attending on their date.]
Josh: "Okay, so how I am I getting in?"
Georges the GM: "Well, I assume you planned something."
Josh: "You want to know why there's so much intrigue..."
Brock: "I thought it smelled like Georges!"

[The Officers Ball is rapidly becoming the Badlands social event of the cycle. Our primary job: hassle the Kolson mole, Jared Baxter. Our secondary goal...]
Lyta: "My job is to make sure Torgath doesn't cause an international incident?"
Lukas: "That's it."

[This year, due to Minnie pulling a few strings, the Officers Ball is a masked ball. Which poses a few unforeseen problems.]
Lukas: "So we look for the guy in the wolf mask?"
Ennik: "Basically."

[At the party, naturally, are Billy and Jimmy Croyden.]
Billy Croyden: "What are you doing here?"
Torgath: "..."
Lyta: "He's drinking wine. Then he'll probably drink more wine. And try not to cause an international incident."
Josh: "We can do that here!"

[Torgath has been spending a lot of time lately staring at Billy Croyden, trying to figure out how he blends in so well into crowds. Of course, the staring can be open to other interpretations.]
Jimmy Croyden: "Billy figures you fancy him."
Torgath: "..."
Ariel: "Every time Torgath sees Billy now, he's gonna blush."

[Meanwhile, Lyta has been practically swept off her feet by a man named Alain, who has whisked her onto the dance floor.]
Alain: "Who is your principle?"
Lyta: "...What?"
Alain: "You have been dancing with me for nearly a minute. You clearly have the physique."
Josh: "He thinks you're a whore."
Alain: "You are body-guarding someone, are you not?"
Josh: "Oh. That kind of whore."

[The local Kolson head, Leo Kinross, is also in attendance.]
Minnie: "That's Leo Kinross. I can introduce you."
Lukas: "That might not be wise. What's my status with the Kolsons right now?"

[Leo Kinross is a condescending bastard, whom I'm guessing George the GM based at least in part on Atherton Wing from Firefly. It's a good thing Minnie is able to give as good as she gets.]
Leo Kinross: "Mrs. Bartok, I'm surprised they let you out into polite society."
Minnie: "Society is what you make it. For example, they invited you."

[Lukas bristles a bit at Kinross' treatment of Minnie. Kinross notices.]
Leo Kinross: "Night's a little young for a duel, but if at any point you desire satisfaction, I would be pleased to besmirch her."

[Kinross takes his leave. Not without one last parting jab.]
Lukas: "I will say, sir, it has been a revelation to meet you."
Leo Kinross: "Indeed! I await the day I meet someone worth meeting on Mrs. Bartok's arm. Good day to you."

[Lukas reflects on the meeting.]
Lukas: "If you want him killed, I could just have Lyta bump into him."

[A little bit more reflection, and some very bad ideas.]
Lukas: "Should I be looking over my shoulder for a Mr. Bartok?"
Minnie: "Not until the zombie apocalypse. I'm widowed."
Ariel: "They have zombies here?"
Julie: "Don't get him started. The last thing we need is zombie GRELs."
Georges the GM: *huge grin and two thumbs up*
Ariel: (to Julie) "...This is all your fault."

[Lyta is having a drink with Alain. He's a very smooth operator.]
Alain: "Of course, if you are to make any mistakes tonight, I hope it would be with me."

[Lukas, meanwhile, has been introduced to Gavin Hippolyte, the dull-as-dishwater Humanist Alliance ambassador. Extremely astute readers will remember that Lukas met Hippolyte when he was impersonating Jerry Donner.]
Gavin Hippolyte: "I'm very sorry, but I can't quite..."
Lukas: "That's all right. I'm quite unmemorable and you, of course, are the opposite of that."

[Also part of the conversation are Minnie and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Dr. Tom Chambers.]
Lukas: "Dr. Chambers is a man of some significance in the Badlands. You can hardly turn over a rock without seeing his name on it."
Dr. Chambers: "I do like putting my name on things."

[Torgath has fulfilled our primary mission of engaging Jared Baxter in conversation, to make it look like we're mercenaries hassling him for our payment. Of course, that's only true if you know the ruse, which Billy and Jimmy Croyden do not.]
Billy Croyden: "What the fuck was that about?"
Torgath: "...It's business. What are you doing here? Are you having fun?"
Billy Croyden: "I don't have fun. I endure."

[Turns out, unbeknownst to all of us, Billy Croyden is something of an emo goth. He's less than impressed at Torgath's choice of novels.]
Billy Croyden: (disdainfully) "You read... fiction?"
Torgath: (oblivious) "I do! It's so awesome!"

[Lukas arrives to bring Lyta away from the clutches of Alain. The two men take the measure of each other.]
Alain: "She is a notoriously poor liar. Unlike you."
Lukas: "I'm a notoriously expert liar."

[Lukas suggests that he and Lyta are here as cake judges, which Alain mishears as 'cake jugglers.']
Lyta: "I suck at cake juggling."
Brock: "Anything that requires coordination, she's an expert at."
Josh: "Five times out of six!"

[The cover story: we're here as cake judges for a new SNS food magazine. Alain is not interested. And very punny.]
Lukas: "I wouldn't have pegged you for a man interested in food magazines."
Alain: "No, I find them hard to digest."

[Lukas leads Lyta away from Alain, whose last name turns out to be Vulpei. He's a mercenary clearly working for someone, though we don't know who. This bodes ill.]
Lukas: "When I come across hired guns in a place where there shouldn't be hired guns, in a place where I am that I shouldn't be... I don't believe in coincidences."

[Minnie is introduced to Tom Chambers and spends some moments in private conversation. When she comes back...]
Lukas: "What did you think of Chambers?"
Minnie: "He's smaller than I thought."
Lukas: "Shorter?"
Minnie: "Yeah, that too."

[Leo Kinross and Jared Baxter head for the door. Lyta and Torgath intercept them, make some small conversation, and then let them leave.]
Jimmy Croyden: "I'm dying to find out what that was about."
Ennik: "How much would you pay?"

[Just as the party's winding down, a man is killed on the premises and Major Beria, head of SecBuro, locks the door and begins interrogating the guests.]
Minnie: "It may be impossible for you to avoid meeting--"
Lukas: "How angry could he be?"
Minnie: "..."

[As a pseudo-cover, we engage Tom Chambers and Major Jeremiah Stone in conversation. So when Major Beria arrives...]
Jeremiah Stone: "I have been discussing banking issues with them and the doctor for fifteen minutes. It felt like an hour."

[The murdered man is Gérald Petit, local head of the SRID.]
Lukas: "Well, I am pleased to say it is someone we have never met."

[Lukas can't help but taunt Major Beria. Just a little.]
Major Beria: "You know what happens to smart-asses?"
Lukas: "They get slapped?"
Major Beria: "..."
Josh: "Fondled? Touched? Caressed?"

And that's it for this week! The good news is that the murder victim is completely unknown to us! The bad news is that the most likely murderer is Alain Vulpei, whom Lyta was dancing with all night. Of course, she had just met him and had no idea about his plans. But I doubt Major Beria is gonna believe that...

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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