Friday, March 7, 2014


Operation "Keep the Mekongese businessman blissfully ignorant of his own imminent peril" went off better than we had any reason to hope it would. It's good we have other strategists on the team besides me, because all my ideas were uniformly horrible.

[Lest we forget, this week's session started with the need to plan and execute an op whereby a Mekongese businessman, Shan Lao, remains blissfully ignorant of the HIRA agents sent to intercept him and the fact that we are intercepting those HIRA agents. The plan starts as all good plans start...]
Brock: "So, here's my plan..."
Zac: "Start a shell company?"

[In fact, the plan started with getting a second opinion. Or maybe a first opinion.]
Jimmy Croyden: (on phone) "Hello?"
Ariel: "Is that Jimmy?"
Jimmy Croyden: "Of course it's Jimmy!"
Ariel: "It didn't sound like Jimmy."
Jimmy Croyden / Georges the GM: "Well, give me a moment to get my voice out."

[Lukas cuts to the chase.]
Jimmy Croyden: "So what can I do you for?"
Lukas: "Something that requires your particular skills."
Jimmy Croyden: "That bad, eh?"

[Jimmy is fishing for information on where we are. Lukas under no account takes the bait.]
Brock: "I don't want one of the bigger information brokers that we know knowing where we are."

[After his conversation with Jimmy, Lukas has A Plan (tm). It starts with one of the female team members getting close to Lao.]
Lukas: "So, Fennec or Ryss will pick him up..."
Fennec: "Do we know which way he swings?"
Lukas: "No. But we will err on the side of the overwhelming majority of the planet."

[Continuing on the same line of thinking...]
Lukas: "Ideally our femme fatale will be able to slightly camouflage him. Ridiculous stargazer hat, etc."

[Meanwhile, as the femme fatale is distracting Lao...]
Lukas: "We need a dupe!"
Fennec: "A dupe, you say?"

[The reason we need a dupe.]
Lukas: "Our plant does the fake hand-off, walks back, and hopefully gets dog-piled by HIRA."

[Not all the details have been worked out at this point. In fact, most haven't.]
Lukas: "Let's just talk about broad brush-strokes, no details."
Fennec: "In a perfect world..."
Torgath: "In a perfect world we have two more people."

[Of course, there are certain things that will need to be worked out.]
Fennec: "Where are we getting this dupe?"
Lukas: (dismissive) "Details!"

[From the department of running jokes...]
Lyta: "I haven't had to say this in a while, and I don't like saying it now because I have nothing better, but this is a stupid plan."

[One alternative comes up, though perhaps not a good one.]
Lukas: "We could just call in a bomb threat, cancel the event, problem solved."

[We don't like the alternative and go back to Plan A: femme fatale distracts Lao while a plant does a fake hand-off and draws out the HIRA agents. There are still a few problems, though...]
Julie: "You're just thinking of me taking on four HIRA guys, aren't you?"
Georges the GM: "No, I'm thinking of the hard part: you seducing him."

[We consider the possibility of jamming HIRA's signals, or at least preventing them from receiving our signals.]
Fennec: "If only we had a high-end, military-grade ECM rig..."
Lukas: "If only. I hold you 100% responsible for not bringing it."

[The question remains: where to get the dupe?]
Fennec: "In a less-civilized society, I feel this would be easier."
Lukas: "If we had access to homeless people? Sure."

[We go with the next best thing to homeless people.]
Georges the GM: "You can totally hire the thespians. I just wanna hear you direct them. 'What's my motivation?'"

[Lukas hires some actors to play the part of fake-Lao and fake-contact.]
Lukas: "My camera crew are extremely competent and have filmed this sort of thing before. You'll just have to trust that the cameras will always be on you."
Georges the GM: "...Roll your Intralingua for 'chase-cam,' 'wide-angle shots,' and 'close-up.'"

[Meanwhile, Lyta gets a new outfit to use for her femme fatale role in the plan. It's very expensive.]
Julie: *fails her haggle roll*
Georges the GM: "It's 900 dinar."
Brock: *rolls 7 on his haggle roll*
Georges the GM: "The price remains unchanged."
Brock: "...They've convinced me it's a great deal!"

[Of course, we don't want to go undisguised.]
Brock: *botches disguise roll for Lyta*
Julie: "So not only do I look like myself, I look more like myself than ever."

[There may be one glaring oversight we're missing.]
Lyta: "You realize this whole plan revolves around me seducing him, right? We're doomed."

[After a while, we seem to have hammered out all the details.]
Georges the GM: "I think you guys have a plan! Time for tea and cookies!"

[The plan begins. Lyta approaches Mr. Lao as he's at dinner at a restaurant.]
Georges the GM: "I need to figure how all-out into character I should go."
Zac: "And how inappropriate?"
Georges the GM: "Oh, yeah."

[Mr. Lao turns out to be a stereotypical Asian nerd.]
Brock: "On the plus side, his counter-seduction techniques shouldn't be too advanced."

[This caused the entire table to break down laughing for a good 30 seconds.]
Shan Lao: "And you, do you come to Perth often?"
Ariel: (as Lyta) "No, I'm a sexy young athlete."
Zac: "Grizz wrote her a script."

[Mr. Lao is super-stereotypically Meokongese.]
Lyta: "You're from Mekong, right?"
Shan Lao: "Yes. How you know?"
Lyta: "...Lucky guess."
Brock: "Liar!"

[Lyta rolls surprisingly well on her seduction roll. Less well on her theatrics.]
Georges the GM: "He's overwhelmed enough that he assumes you're a ditz. Occasionally you get the feeling he thinks you're an escort."
Julie: "That's acceptable."
Brock: "It's free until you have to pay."

[Recall that one of the primary reasons for Lyta seducing Lao is to keep him away from the stargazer party long enough for our decoys to make the fake exchange.]
Georges the GM: "Lao invites you to the stargazer party."
Lyta: "I'm flattered. I ask if we can have one more drink first."

[Stalling is hard.]
Georges the GM: "He's really into a Mekong rice-paddy clog dance."
Lyta: "Oh, please! Tell me more!" *contemplates shooting herself*

[Meanwhile, everyone else is at the stargazer party.]
Brock: "It's like Shakespeare in the Park but with planetarium people."

[Everyone takes their positions.]
Zac: "Todd is just being himself. That makes him inauspicious."
Georges the GM: "Inconspicuous, even."
Julie: "No."

[Step one: try to figure out who the HIRA agents are.]
Brock: "Fennec uses her modded telescope to scan the crowd."
Zac: "That seems far-fetched."
Brock: "More far-fetched than this whole plan? Inconceivable!"
Georges the GM: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

[Torgath is getting really into scanning the crowd, like in one of his spy novels.]
Georges the GM: "Your very good notice and your exceptional creativity are only bridled by your ability to realize this is nonsense."

[Togath notices someone in the crowd he suspects might be a HIRA agent.]
Zac: "He has a familiar unobtrusiveness."

[Lukas has noticed someone else he suspects might be a HIRA agent.]
Georges the GM: "That guy's really well built for an astronomer."

[Lukas goes over to the HIRA astronomer.]
HIRA agent: "You, newcomer, what's your favorite constellation?"
Lukas: "...So many constellations. How can I choose?"

[More of the same.]
Lukas: "What's your favorite constellation?"
HIRA agent: "The sleeping barnaby, of course."
Lukas: "Minor or major?"
HIRA agent: "Major!"
Lukas: "Compensating for something?"

[Eventually we suss out three HIRA agents. But not the four we'd been given to expect.]
Zac: "They probably have someone on Lao, which means they probably have someone on Lyta... Oh, that's not good."

[We have our actors start to conduct the fake hand-off.]
Georges the GM: "The actors approach each other."
Ariel: "Has my guy noticed them yet?"
Georges the GM: *rolls* "Yes."
Julie: "Given that they're being totally obvious in their surreptitiousness."

[The actors conduct the hand off. Two HIRA agents break off and start tailing the actor impersonating Lao.]
Lukas: (to actor over comms) "Between now and the end of the shoot, no matter what happens, your only goal is to get back to the limo."

[The two HIRA agents are following the actor, and Fennec and Torgath are following the HIRA agents.]
Brock: "It's like a conga line of people following other people."

[Torgath tries to psych himself up for the inevitable combat.]
Ariel: "Everyone calls me Broomhilda because I bring the broom!"
Zac: "Not because you sweep up the trash?"

[Torgath attempts to catch the HIRA agent by surprise.]
Torgath: "I put the chloroform to his face."
Georges the GM: "So, minus two dice because it's a called shot... and a sneak attack..."
Ariel: "It's hand-to-hand?"
Brock: "I can literally hear the xp dropping out of your pocket."

[Torgath fails in his surprise attack.]
Zac: "Grizz is now the most conspicuous inconspicuous person ever."

[Fennec tries to take down the same guy that Torgath failed to take down.]
Zac: *botches roll* "I hit Grizz."
Georges the GM: "Actually..."
Brock: "I don't mind telling you that that's what he was supposed to roll, not what you were supposed to roll."

[Getting somewhat desperate, Fennec uses a heavy metal hook on a rope to crush part of the second HIRA agent's face.]
Brock: "Remember, you're not supposed to kill anyone."
Zac: "She came at me!"
Brock: "I'm sure Torgath has said that 100% of the time."

[Torgath and Fennec take out two of the HIRA agents.]
Zac: "Do we have a pre-established rendez-vous point?"
Brock and Julie, in perfect unison: "Yes."
Zac: "...Where is that, exactly?"
Brock: "The place we pre-established."

[Meanwhile, Lyta and Lao have arrived at the far end of the park. In an attempt to minorly disguise Lao, Lyta has put a ridiculous headband full of star and planet baubles on Lao's head.]
Georges the GM: "He... doesn't want to argue with you."
Brock: "That explains every fashion choice man has ever made."

[Lao has spotted his 'friend,' and asks Lyta to stay behind while he meets up with him.]
Lyta: "You don't want to introduce me?"
Shan Lao: "No, baby, I want you all for myself."
Julie: "...That's smother than I would have given him credit for."

[There was indeed a fourth HIRA agent following Lao and Lyta, a woman dressed in motocycle gear. She begins to move in.]
Brock: "Remember, when innocent people are attacked they call for help."
Julie: "I'm not playing the innocent. I'm playing the Badlander chick who's dealing with a rival. And clearly everyone in the Badlands knows how to deal with a bar fight."

[Lyta screams obscenities at the incoming HIRA agent, making Lao believe that she's some sort of rival, and then knocks her down. Sadly, she's still not unconscious. Lukas, a 'helpful bystander,' steps in to help.]
Lukas: (to HIRA agent) "Are you hurt, ma'am?" *darts her*

[Lao has run away from the scene having completed his hand-off and none the wiser. Everyone else ghosts out before the POP arrive.]
Brock: "I feel we sold that well... relatively speaking."
Georges the GM: "There are bodies porcupined with darts."
Julie: "But the important thing is that the guy who wasn't supposed to know anyone was on him doesn't know anyone was on him."

[Lukas receives a call from Daniella Morris, our employer, congratulating us on a job well done and telling us to join her for a breakfast meeting tomorrow morning.]
Daniella Morris: "Dress... professionally." *hangs up*
Brock: "How professionally are we talking?"
Georges the GM: "There's an ambiguity to the term I appreciate."

[The night passes uneventfully.]
Brock: "I sleep soundly. I know when the POP comes for us, it won't be with sirens. And it won't be the POP."
Zac: "It'll be the VDSS... with flash-bangs."
Brock: "That may be one of Lukas' recurring nightmares."

[At the morning meeting, Daniella Morris is meeting with another woman, who has four bodyguards. The bodyguards have no guns, but they do have rather heavy umbrella.]
Ariel: "They're tactical umbrellas."
Georges the GM: "Exactly."

[The other woman is named Miss Winters. They talk for a while about how Morris will provide her some assistance for Paxton in the Humanist Alliance. Just as things are wrapping up...]
Daniella Morris: "WestRim has had a spot of trouble in Thebes -- I'm sure you've heard."
Miss Winters: "I haven't, actually."
Daniella Morris: "Of course you haven't; it hasn't happened yet. Ensure it doesn't happen to you. Good day."

[Once Winters leaves, Morris informs us that in addition to our 8k salary for last night's op, she also paid 15k to the Comptroller, which would have been his cut of Radsley's smuggled perishable goods.]
Ariel: "Wait, for our op she gave us 8k and a 15k bonus?"
Georges the GM: "Yes."
Ariel: (to Brock) "Wow, you were really out-negotiated."

[In further conversation, Morris lets us know that the 'spot of trouble' that will happen to WestRim in Thebes will actually be caused by us as the op that will get us an introduction to the Comptroller.]
Daniella Morris: "The only people I hate more than Northerners and their companies that steal our secrets are those who work against Southern interests and sell it to them."

[Morris asks us to stop some WestRim spies and the informants who are giving them their information.]
Lukas: "How 'stopped' are we talking?"
Torgath: "Do you want them erased?"
Daniella Morris: "Yes, you may use extreme prejudice. In fact, it's encouraged."

[Lukas informs Morris that we don't usually kill people.]
Daniella Morris: "Consider it a patriotic duty."
Lukas: "We're not patriots."

[More details on the job.]
Lukas: "You want us to tell them who it's from?"
Daniella Morris: "Certainly."
Lukas: "And who should we say it's from?"
Daniella Morris: "The entire AST. Their business is not welcome."

[Lukas suggests that if this is a patriotic mission, Morris might just want to send in the authorities.]
Daniella Morris: "The SRID doesn't operate in the Alliance. And their equivalent, HIRA, can't be trusted."
Fennec: "Can't be trusted to do their job, anyway."

[Of course, there's always the other side to worry about.]
Ariel: "What protection can she provide if people accidentally fall on bullets?"
Georges the GM: "None. Don't get caught."

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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