Thursday, May 7, 2015

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter IX: Unsavory Choices.

Lukas spent 45 minutes doubling back on himself and using every possible countermeasure to make sure he wasn’t followed before settling in on a place to have dinner. He held the parcel under his arm, aware that if a tracking device was embedded in it, his best spycraft would serve no purpose. That was the reason he wasn’t returning to his safe house. That and he was hungry.

The restaurant was good enough. He had found better ones but he refrained from frequenting the same haunts more a few times. This one had decent pasta but even better escape routes. He settled into a table near the back, where he could get to the bathroom or the kitchen in a hurry, and opened up the package left for him by Nightingale at their pre-arranged dead drop.

It was, unsurprisingly, a datapad and for all he knew it did have tracking capabilities, but having been exposed to these a few times, he knew its functionality would be short-lived. The din of the restaurant was enough to make eavesdropping impractical but he still put in an earbud before pressing play on the prerecorded message.

“Hello, Mr. Lassander,” Nightingale’s image intoned. “I’d like to start by complimenting you on your connections. Consider me impressed. I’d very much like to continue employing you. If you are viewing this I’m going to assume you would like to continue in my employ. So here’s the deal: we will pay you on a contract basis for your services. Our terms are non negotiable. We will offer you thirty thousand per mission plus expenses. We expect to offer you between four and six missions a cycle. If you agree, press yes.”

The datapad went black save for a white counter at the top ticking away from 30 seconds and a green “YES” button sitting ominously in the middle of a black screen. He appreciated the simplicity. If there had been a “no” button he probably would have walked away instead of waiting for the ramifications of that choice. His current choice might be just as lethal but what else was he going to do? He pressed yes.

“In addition to your usual fee, expect a twenty thousand signing bonus as you’ve already put some work into this one. As you undoubtedly know, slavery is illegal in the AST. While life is cheap in the Mekong Dominion and the Eastern Sun Emirates, commoners are not without rights. Even an Emir must first condemn a commoner to criminal charges before sacrificing him in some disgusting bloody arena as a form of capital punishment.

“But everything can be found in the morally decadent markets of the ESE, including slaves. Although the MILICIA stops any overt slavery it finds, it is more concerned with weapons trafficking since the Basal revolt of 1920. The Comptroller has been making a lucrative business of selling weapons to the ESE and is being paid back in part in slaves.

“Human trafficking is morally reprehensible to us in the Alliance; it is anathema to Gropius’ ideals about the respect for all humans and their potential. We need the trafficking to end, but not before we know the Comptroller’s network and not before we know who is buying his weapons. Therefore you are to continue your operation with the Comptroller’s organisation. You are to map out his human trafficking ring but, no matter how despicable it is, not jeopardize those operations until we know who is buying guns in the ESE. Report to me when you have the weapons buyer identified.”

The screen went dead and then made a small cracking sound. Lukas had seen this a few time before. The pad was rigged to short itself out and fry the onboard memory. Nothing would be retrievable anymore. It was crude but effective. Just like Nightingale’s instructions. Human trafficking is bad, we condemn it and would never endorse slavery, so only do it as long as necessary.

He tossed the dead pad aside and picked up the menu. He considered heading to a preferred restaurant as nothing seemed appetizing but thought better of it. By this point he was famished.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.