Saturday, June 28, 2014

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter VII: Aftermath

Okran entered the cafe, his barrel chest squeezing by the young woman sweeping up some debris from the renovations taking place on the storefront.

He walked in and found Lorelei immediately in the nearly empty establishment. He sat down and gave her a wink.

"I see your wounds have done nothing to dampen your spirits," she said, a little more peevishly than usual, he thought.

"Ah, well, I ain't wounded anymore, love. I've just got a few new scars."

"I always thought you had too many to start with."

"Really? I’d reckoned you fancied my scars," he joked, but she didn't seem in the mood to reminisce.

 "Have you spoken to your assets?"

"Yeah, we discussed finances yesterday. Quinn was none too pleased about the dent in the profit margin of the deal. He was concerned about our reception committee and I can't blame him. Any leads on who exactly was waiting for us and how they got there?"

"Would it surprise you to find out we had intelligence of an SRID team infiltrating the Alliance 72 hours before your operation? We believe they were on the train."

"I'd figured as much," he said, looking around for a waiter to take his order. He was in the mood for a cool beer as the summer heat came upon Oxford.

"A source in the MILICIA says Genereux's regiment was temporarily seconded for 'sensitive materials testing' in the Badlands a week ago.”

"Sure sounds like clandestine services speak for back-up on a black op."

"I agree. I also believe your asset came to the same conclusion or found some evidence of this on their own," she said coolly.

"Might be. He actually asked me if there had been a leak on our end of the operation." Okran was puzzled. There didn't seem to be any staff working, just some contractors.

"I think he knows it was the SRID." Something in the tone of her voice drew his attention back to Lorelei. It had been a while, but he hadn't forgotten the sound of her voice when she was displeased.

"What do you mean?" he asked, abandoning hope for a beverage.

In lieu of an answer she handed him her datapad -- a video was queued. He hit play and watched the surveillance footage from a cafe, this cafe in fact. It was time stamped from the day before.

He noticed the motorcycle rider, which led him to notice Danyela Morris, and then Quinn.

"Is there any audio?" he asked.

"No need, it speaks for itself," she answered enigmatically, and then he saw it. A slight shift in Quinn's position, the flower centerpiece on the table exploding in petals and the back of Morris’ head exploded onto the visor of the motorcycle rider. Another shot came from out of frame, hit, then two more from Quinn. The rider struggled out the door and Quinn followed, overthrowing the table in the process.

"Do we have outside surveillance?" he asked impatiently.

"Only a wide angle, nothing that shows faces, but there was another shooter in here as well as one outside. The motorcycle rider didn't make it past the stoop in front. Two others got away."

Lorelei didn't hide disappointment well. In fact, Okran knew that she made a point of expressing it, but she was relatively sanguine. He, on the other hand, was starting to feel a deep anger welling up: a season spent working with these assets was going up in smoke.

"Have you got them?" he struggled to ask through clenched teeth.

"No, they have successfully eluded me. And more importantly, the POP."

Okran felt a new wave of disgust surge over his anger. "They know. They've seen this?" he said, pointing to her datapad.

She nodded. "Oh yes, that how we got it, when it was flagged to the VDSS."

Okran really could have gone for that drink now and vainly looked up again for a waiter only to realize that, of course, there were none. There had been a violent murder here the day before, an execution in fact. The damage to the establishment was minimal -- it would be open by tomorrow. The damage to his operation, however, was enormous. It would take him another cycle or two to find a comparable set of assets.

"Oh, don't look so dejected, Okran. I'm not displeased with you."

"Oh, here it comes, the 'I told ya so'. Well, I wouldn't want to deprive you of that. I'd reckon that's been the bright point keeping you going through this shit-storm or a wrecked operation since you saw this." He seethed, trying to keep his emotions and voice in check.

"You know me well, Okran.” She smiled.  “But you don't understand the ramifications of this development, or the potential."

He was taken aback. He stared at her and realized she wasn't gloating, she was pleased.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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