The low rumble of the moving of the Viper Convoy accompanies you as it goes onwards to your next destination. You were given a chance to rest and ressuply, and it was certainly quite an experience to move around the Convoy to get to the various facilities, bridges are extended from truck to truck for people to go from one to the other without stopping the convoy. Each truck is in itself a small room, there's a general store, there's something like a traveller's inn (comprised of four trucks) and you ever get to go to the armory truck to restock.
Serenity: "I wonder how often they need to do maitence if they pretty much never stop…"
Anton: "Rejoice friends! Your good friend Anton has arrived~. … To a conclusion, that is!" He enters the Traveller's Inn with a hearty laugh.
Hughbert has been introduced to six of the Vipers, Mattel, Lin, Amadeus, Forca and Syl, they're among the Vipers trained for underworld operations that'll be contracted to him for now. Due to the nature of the work they can't actually just follow him around since that kind of job requires time to prepare the field, but between the six of them they should have all the cities in Orsis covered one way or another. Hughbert's given a small device used to get in contact, active it and whoever's nearest will answer the call. For now, they've already left (in a small vehicle that was being carried by the Stork, a truck to carry cars).
Serenity: "Hmm?"
Anton: "This is quite possibly the coolest vehicular setup I've seen!" He nods sagely.
Harriet is fascinated by it all. "Anton's right - the engineering in these bridges must be solid to withstand these pressures."
Harriet: "You'd have to account for so many factors, but this all seems to be working like a well-oiled machine. I'd love to buy whoever did this a drink."
Serenity‘ may have snagged the device from Hughbert at something, examining it as best she can without actually taking it apart,
Amal grins a little proudly. Some of this -might- have been their design, but if it is, they’re not telling.
Harriet just gives Amal a look and passes them over a drink.
Hughbert: "I've taken quite a few notes about what a preliminary investigation reveals about its design- without taking anything apart, at least. I will have a copy made for you later. Of particular note, you should like to see how they keep all the Goddess-blessed sand out."
Serenity: "Man."
Serenity: "This thing has got to be the smallest radio transmitter I've ever seen by the way. Wonder how the hell it has such good range…"
Harriet: "Maybe once all this is over you can grab a copy and figure it out."
Hughbert looks at Serenity, then checks his pockets, then takes it back and puts it in a different pocket- which he then buttons shut. "If you would like to convince them to part with one, we can negotiate after the mission."
Harriet: "Seems like it'd be in your wheelhouse."
Serenity‘ Frowns at Hughbert. "Fine, fine."
Hughbert crosses his arms. "I don’t believe you should suffer any physical or mental harm from the act of asking first."
Amal siiiiip.
After a while you hear a light thump sound on the ceiling, a moment later the Black Viper heads in through a hatch "She feels like she just might, Hughbert" she says, grinning as she heads down. She has changed from her combat getup to something different, a dark red cheongsam with snake-scale patterns (the sort of clothing none of you have seen before) "We've arrived, at any rate. As close as we can get without drawing suspicion"
The Traveller's Inn, for what's worth, has also served a bit of food- It's pretty unique food, it's all served in cups to be eaten standing, or bread of various kinds (from flat to french) with some form of filling of all sorts, packed tight to eat while walking. Whereas it's all very filling, you wouldn't really call any of this lunch or dinner.
Hughbert nods. "Our thanks. We had a wonderfully restful journey, up till now."
Harriet finishes tearing through one of those bits of bread. "Yeah, it's been great. I love your setup."
The Black Viper nods "Please, it's a pleasure to house any wanderer in my convoys" she grins proudly at Harriet "It's a design a friend of mine came up with, i'll be sure to let them know. Really effective for a travelling band of warriors"
She then goes over to the door out "I've already set the bridge to the Stork, we pulled your car over to it while we were going and took the chance to put in fresh batteries. The presidential villa should be the next exit left"
Serenity: "I guess it's easier than breaking for camp, but it seems like it'd be a pain in the ass having to have that many night drivers instead of a fraction of the number of night watchmen."
Harriet: "The work on those bridges is solid, I'm impressed. How often do you have to stop for maintenance, anyway?"
The Black Viper chuckles "That's true, the other Convoys have an issue with drivers, but we got some very dedicated drivers that love the job, they wouldn't trade it for anything" she looks at Harriet "Full stop only once a year for full maitenance of the connection system, but it's not difficult to replace and maintain while in movement, that's the main function of the Stork too, we load vehicles for maitenance on it and perform it on the go"
Black Viper: "Kind of like a drydock"
Harriet: "That's a pretty impressive setup," Harriet grins.
Black Viper: "I love being impressive"
Serenity: "…Wait only once a month? Holy shit."
The Black Viper chuckles "I am quite proud of my Convoys. But they're difficult to built, hence why we only have three, two of which we are in Rissan, and this one"
Hughbert: "Once a YEAR, Serenity."
Harriet: "You're set up in Rissan, too? That's pretty cool."
Serenity: "I'm pretty sure she didn't actually mean once a year, not running non-stop in a desert."
Amal just chuckles.
Amal: "The Vipers are a Rissani company, Harriet!"
The Black Viper just stares outside, so Serenity doesn't sees her expression
Harriet: "Oh! Right, that makes sense."
Black Viper: "Come on now, don't dawdle"
Serenity: "What?"
Serenity: "Oh, you want us to get out."
Black Viper: "I feel kind of dirty trying to move you along, i'm not fan of narrators after all, but we're getting pretty close if you want to actually accomplish your mission"
Amal giggles.
Harriet: "Right, right." Harriet stows her cup, makes sure all her gear's strapped on. "It was nice meeting you, Viper."
Black Viper: "Unless, of course, you got something better to do?"
Serenity‘ glances between Viper, Hughbert and Anton. Doesn’t look like she's making much of an effort to get off the couch she's laying on.
The Black Viper turns to Harriet and smiles "Good to meet you all as well"
Amal: "She was distracted, gosh!" They scoot over and give the Black Viper another big hug.
Hughbert: "…Are you making Anton drive again? I'm ready whenever you are."
The Black Viper hugs Amal closely, in a surprisingly tender way, petting his head "Take care now"
Serenity: "Yeah okay I'll move it a lot if it means not seeing much more of this weirdness right here."
Harriet laughs, shaking her head, and pulls down her goggles. "Let's get going."
Serenity‘ rolls off the couch, climbs up the ladder out of this car.
Hughbert picks up a pillow from the couch and prods Serenity with it a few times until she acquires a Hustle.
Harriet clambers on out.
Serenity` mumblin’.
The bridge to the Stork is as solid and stable as any of the others. Your car's in there, ready to be unloaded at it's rear. Once everyone's inside the engineer in charge of operating the vehicle-carrier pipes up "Remember to accelerate a little bit before you actually hit the ground. Don't worry there's no cars behind you" before they lower the back ramp and release the car
Hughbert lazily drops it back on the couch- yet it drops exactly where it belongs. The other pillows that Serenity knocked about also returned to perfect order. Did the air around there just shine for a moment…? Hughbert's gone by the time anyone might notice.
Anton follows after the others. He gives Hughbert a thumbs up. "So what's the plan, Hugh?"
It's not actually difficult to get off the Stork, but having never gone through this exact procedure it gets just a slight bit rocky as you can't find the proper time to accelerate making the car jostle a little bit. Once you're out the Caravan accelerates again, heading onwards. You see the Black Viper climb on top of a truck, and in fact various other Vipers climb on top of trucks, waving at you as they vanish
Harriet waves back, of course!!
Harriet: "They were nice."
Up ahead, however, there's a sign pointing to the left "Presidental Residence" , the sign has seen better days, there's a road heading down that way
Serenity: "What a bunch of weirdos."
Serenity‘ turns off the highway.
Hughbert waves in return! "For now, we follow the signs. Once we’re closer, I will get a better idea of what we must do."
Heading down the other path it looks like this side road was once a beautiful way heading towards something important, with decorations of stone on the sides and an artificial lake. However, all of that has fallen into disarray, the stone has been corroded and eroded, the artificial lake grown stagnant and lifeless. Even the road has been in need of maitenance, you're certain vehicles far too heavy for this road have gone through it far too often
Harriet: "Talk about potholes."
In the distance you see what looks like a large mansion, in fact not just a mansion but it looks like six different buildings set around a central courtyard. But here is also where the road starts heading down, a slight bit of a valley here, a river runs right through the courtyard. And once you look further down you see there are walls around the entire place, for safety of course
Amal: "Man… Orsis has really seen better days."
Serenity: "Man. What a fucking waste of water."
Serenity: "I hope they at least have a health fish population living in it."
JayM: Isn't life a disappointment, Serenity
Serenity: "Also who the hell needs a walled Villa? Seriously."
Hughbert: "Hmm… I don't believe the president gets visitors often." He turns to Serenity, "The people who don't want the president to leave the villa do."
Serenity: "oh."
From here you also see something else, a lot of people moving around. And they don't seem the friendly sort at all. They're almost all armed, some wearing some form of armor. Their outfits seem uniform, all matching the black color and absolute lack of designation
Harriet: "So how're we gonna get around it?"
JayM: The people here aren't professionals, thus the [Infiltration] skill would be useful
Hughbert: "If we park a fair distance away and stake out the perimeter, we can determine an opportune moment to slip through the patrols."
Serenity: "Uhh… I feel like maybe Harriet and her dozens of grenades and the ECC maybe aren't gunna be great at sneaking but…"
Harriet: "Yeah, how about we just blast a hole in the wall and tear through?"
JayM: There's a lot of guards, are you ready for a longass slog?
Amal: "…sneak through and then somehow distract the guards and the rest of us can follow?"
Hughbert gestures to the A Lot Of Guards. "I do not recommend it. As long as we have a proper opening, we can make noise and still avoid notice."
Anton scratches at his cheek. "You're looking at around twenty five guards just on the perimeter."
Anton: "And that's just the ones I can sense at a glance."
Harriet: "Yeah, I guess you'd know better, Hughbert."
Harriet: "I'll follow your lead."
Serenity: "Well, if you say so." Serenity makes sure to park behind the incline, and not in frotn or or on it.
Anton: "I'm also sensing someone capable of greatly impacting the world line on the third floor of the main house. It could be the president or it could be a real pain to deal with."
Hughbert: "Keep your heads down, then. I will look for a 'soft spot' to break through, and try to find what timing will suit us best." Hughbert gets out of the car and peeks around the hill, waiting a moment, before he steps further out and begins his [Investigation.]
Anton: "I'm not getting any other significant readings though so if the president is in the building he's on the third floor. Or that's just someone else entirely and he isn't in at the moment."
Serenity: "Or he's not important in the grand scheme of things…?"
Serenity: "Viper sort of implied he was someone's puppet no?"
Harriet: "I dunno, I never really paid much attention to politics."
Anton shrugs before smiling. "Our fates are locked together regardless. Whoever it is, we'll likely encounter them at some point regardless of the tactics we take."
Hughbert returns back to the group. "Scouting complete. I have prepared an entry route." He points a single finger at Harriet and pauses a moment for emphasis. "We're climbing the fence. Commence whining; you won't have the chance in a moment."
Amal gives Hughbert a very quiet, very sneaky thumbs-up.
Harriet: "Uuugh do we have to?"
Serenity‘ glances down at her long skirt. Glance back over at Hughbert. Frowns.
Anton winks at Serenity. "Is it time for me to whisk you away, my auburn-topped highness?"
Serenity: "Oh well I guess this is why most of them have cuts in the side -" Pause.
Serenity: "Yeah sure."
Harriet: "Some of us are in dresses." Harriet gestures down to herself.
JayM: What a predicament
Hughbert headtilts. "You will have to be content allowing my ’superpower' to outshine yours this fine afternoon."
Anton nods before kneeling down. "First one to hop on my back doesn't have to climb the fence!"
Amal resists the temptation.
Serenity‘ is already there.
Amal makes little ’taking pictures' gestures.
Harriet claps her hands together and turns to Hughbert. "Capital idea."
Hughbert: "I'll go first. I've located a back entrance, so follow me. As long as we pass the fence with no issues, we will have no problems getting inside."
Anton glances over at Amal before grinning and mouthing a 'sorry'. He then hops over the fence in one clean parabola.
Harriet: "Hmph. Fine." Harriet follows!
Hughbert silently mouths "what part of 'follow me' was so hard to grasp" before turning back to Serenity and Amal and bolting for it.
[OOC] Hughbert: *his back to
It doesn't take longer to get where Hughbert has found the way in. The path is a little bit out of the way and muddy, making it difficult to move proper. The path looks entirely devoid of guards, for now at least. You head over to wall… It's quite tall, mostly stone in the lower portion and then fence in the upper portion. Anton makes a single hop over, while the others will require climbing the old broken stones one by one
Amal snickers a little and follows close after Hughbert!
Harriet grumbles the entire way up, but at least she does it quietly.
Serenity‘ pats Anton on the head and lets go after they land.
As soon as you finally land on the other side of the wall you hear something on the other side- Obscured by the wall itself you’re unseen but you hear the noise of someone walking by "Did you hear something splashing about here?" you hear someone talk
Either way, the way to the central building is free, nobody can see you from the outside so going ahead isn't unsafe. It's a large three-storey building made entirely of old stone
Serenity: "…That wasn't the reaction I was expecting."
Hughbert makes an effort to push the water's course away from Serenity's and Amal's footsteps pre-emptively, when they follow.
[OOC] Hughbert: *Harriet and Amal
There's no lights visible, and most of the windows could use some washing. You're now in a courtyard that haven't seen a good caretaker for years, the ground is a little muddy here but soon dries up as you find a stone path
Serenity‘ glances back over her shoulder in the direction of the voice, shakes her head.
Harriet frowns as she glances around. It’s all pretty dilapidated.
JayM: The door, however, is unlocked and open
Anton glances over at Hughbert before muttering under his breath. "(Eight people inside the building asides from the person on the third floor.)"
Hughbert: Hughbert opens the door most gently. "We look for a stairwell, then."
Serenity: "'Kay."
Serenity‘ tilts her head around, but seems more like she’s listening to something than looking for something.
Harriet glances around as she walks. She's… trying not to make too much noise, at least. It's kind of hard.
The door opens to a long hallway, heading further into the building and then disappearing into the darkness, nobody set up lights here?
JayM: The issue is, things are going on
JayM: So an [Infiltration] skill check is required to get anywhere without being seen
JayM: Your opponent is yet unnamed. Someone makes a skill check, CoS of 45. +20 if you have Infiltration. You can bet luck to increase the CoS by 10, keep it if you pass, lose it if you fail. If anyone thinks they have an applicable skill to help out, you can bet your own luck too, but you get to pay that LP if you pass
Hughbert keeps an eye out on the wall. ( "I see an Exit sign leading this way… The stairwell must be that way, then." ) ((I'll toss a LP in the pile by guilding us directionally with [Investigation] ))
Serenity‘ clicks her tongue.
Serenity: "Ah, military. Okay. Hmm."
JayM: Now, who’s leading this stealth effort? Seems like we have 55 CoS as it is
[OOC] Hughbert: not me b/c assistmans!
[OOC] Serenity: but we're following you D:
[OOC] Hughbert: I'm not rolling is the thing to take from this! :O
Anton isn't so much a stealthy lead as he's abusing his near-sight to avoid as many possible futures of him waltzing in front of someone as he can. ((Unless someone is doing another assist I'm rolling.))
Harriet notes down what the room's layout looks like, and suggests, on inspiration and intuition: "(It's down there, that'd be the most convenient spot for it.)" That's where she'd locate a stairwell. [Wild Card, -4 Luck +40 CoS]
Anton rolled 1d100 and got 96 ( Total: 96 )
[OOC] Anton: :D
[OOC] Harriet: so mad
JayM: … By one?
JayM: Really?
JayM: Wow
[OOC] Anton: I failed by 1 on the mines too
[OOC] Anton: When I had 90 CoS
[OOC] Hughbert: I chipped one in too, doesn't that put us at 100? or is it capped
[OOC] Hughbert: or
[OOC] JayM: Base 45, +10 from you, +40 from Harriet, 96
[OOC] Hughbert: no ignore me
[OOC] Hughbert: remembered that was the order of numbers as soon as I said it
Harriet isn't wrong, there is in fact a stairwell right there, it looks like it'll take you up to the third floor… You hear a noise, footsteps of something coming in from the same way you're heading to. And then you hear more footsteps of someone coming in from behind, this time it's five people. One ahead, five behind
Anton scratches his head mid-stride. "… oh. We're on THAT future."
Anton: "Huh."
JayM: What now? If someone tries to Second Chance by doing something crazy you can re-try the skill check, but the CoS begins at 0
Anton: "We're pincered in 36 seconds by the way."
Serenity: "Oh was that not intentional? I thought Hughbert had A Plan."
Harriet pulls out a pocket toolkit, and tinkers with the release valve of one of her cryogrenades. Thirty-six seconds? Easy. Talking while working: "No, we can do this. I'll make us a smokescreen to deal with the guys in back." [-6 luck, 60CoS]
JayM: Sounds like a last resort check
Hughbert: "Distract them and keep moving forward. We need to keep moving deeper in. Just keep moving, and I'll take care of our new friend up a floor. Let me repeat. Do NOT stop moving." [Command, -3 LP +30 CoS]
JayM: Keep moving, Harriet, you heard him
Serenity: "Mm'kay."
JayM: That's a 90 CoS and a lot of luck wagered
Harriet finishes with sixteen seconds left on the clock, pulls the pin, and rolls the grenade gently down the hall. It comes to a stop, and instead of exploding, it hisses and releases a chill which frosts the area and covers it in a dense fog. She doesn't look back to make sure it worked - instead, she keeps moving up. "Let's go."
Harriet rolled 1d100 and got 60 ( Total: 60 )
Harriet and team dives right past everything as the grenade goes off with a light hiss. Footsteps hitting lightly against the wooden stairs you head your way up. As you reach the second floor you catch sight of something- Someone in a hood and a cloak just ahead, making their way into a room to the right, they haven't noticed you yet
Either way your way further ahead is up the stairs, to where the President should be. It'll be simple to leave this person alone and move along
Hughbert: ( "Anton. Is our VIP the shadow over there, or the president over there?" ) His queries include pointing gestures at the respective targets.
Anton smiles. "(Wrong floor, my man. In terms of these grunts he's probably a leader but the one we need to watch out for is still a floor above us.)"
Amal: "(Harriet that was cool!)"
Serenity: "(For what it's worth, the world shaker is also the threat. So it really comes down to do you think the military is working WITH him or AGAINST him.)"
Harriet grins at Amal and flashes them a thumbs-up.
Serenity: "(Given the proud spook says it's military though… I'm guessing the world shaker is not in fact the guy we're looking for.)"
Serenity: "(Guy we're looking for might be with him tho.)"
Hughbert: "(Harriet. Give me something to seal a doorway with. I'll even take dia-ragnite if you've got it.)" Hughbert is glaring at the intruder's doorway, one hand extended.
Harriet hands Hughbert a little canister with a tube and a little gadget on the side. There's a switch. "(Don't ask how that's made, it'll pretty much hold anything together.)" It's definitely based on dia-ragnite.
Hughbert gently closes the door- it doesn't matter if it creaks or not, at this point. He points the… nozzle? He hopes this is the nozzle. It's pointed at the doorframe- he flips the switch, and with a few swift strokes, seals the closed door shut with Harriet's wonderful solution. He hands the canister back. ( "Alright. The next stairwell is this way. Planning how to deal with this situation will be easier with one less unknown
Hughbert variable. ")
Harriet slots it back onto her belt and nods to Hughbert. She'll follow him!
JayM: Poor person. You hear some noise for a while, something falls inside there. A moment later, there's silence
Serenity: "…The spook just sushed me."
Serenity‘ rolls a shrug, heading up the next stairwell.
Up the next stairwell, you see a long corridor. It looks like the entire corridor is comprised of just five large, sprawling bedrooms. A luxurious bedroom attached to a study room.
Serenity: "…Oh."
Serenity: "Oh I just remembered what that means."
The first bedroom is empty, but both the one after and the one at the far end have light under the doors
Serenity: "Uh anyway their commander is at the back of this hallway,"
Anton nods to Serenity in confirmation.
Serenity: "But I’m like, pretty sure there was a secret passage in the room Hughbert sealed up."
Serenity: "So they probably know we're here."
Anton: "They're moving up through the wall right now. They're about to exit the study on our side."
Serenity: "That solves one mystery."
Hughbert: "Unfortunate. Let's intercept them, then head to the world shaker." He heads straight into that room.
JayM: That's the case. The person you trapped is in the same room where the 'world shaker' should be
[OOC] Hughbert: oh, same place
Serenity: "Same room actually."
[OOC] Hughbert: read that as a different room- so who's where? the infiltrator and the world shaker are both in the same room, 2 other rooms are occupied, 3 are empty?
[OOC] JayM: No, infiltrator/world shaker are in the same room, the second room in the hallway. Enemy commander is in the last room in the hallway. Three empty rooms
[OOC] Hughbert: or 1 room is occupied (contents unknown), 1 has the boss and the sneak, 3 empty…?
[OOC] Hughbert: aha
[OOC] Hughbert: should… we seal the enemy commander in before we go to the boss fight?
JayM: That would be a little difficult to pull off without him noticing… You could do it alone without the rest of the party making noise, but you'd have to go for an [Infiltration] check CoS 45 all on your lonesome
[OOC] Hughbert: pulling off such shenanigans doesn't sound worth it in that case
JayM: So heading to the other room, then?
[OOC] Serenity: yes
As you head into that study you find yourself into a rather well lit room, it's clearly a study and there are many books in the shelves. The books are old and worn, clearly read a thousand times over. At the far end there's a desk, the papers stacked in it seem important, but also pretty beaten up. Sitting there is an older man, past his fourties with hair colored of his age. He sits there with his chin resting against his hands and elbows on the desk, you notice his right pinky finger is missing "Ah, guests" he says in a tired voice
In his desk there are also four picture frames, three of them are face-down
Anton waves cheerfully. "Hiya!"
The man nods at you "And… To what do I owe the honor?"
Serenity: "Uhh… depends on who you are."
Harriet: "Harriet Babbage, utter genius. And you are?"
Hughbert looks about the room, mumbling to himself. "Where did…"
Lumes: "I suppose it would be too much to ask you to know me." he keeps his eyes trained on Serenity "I am President Lumes" "
Anton: "Don't worry. I knew you buddy!" He gives a thumbs up and a winning smile. "I looked into the future first and heard you telling us!"
Harriet: "Great! We needed to talk to you."
Lumes raises an eyebrow at Anton, then looks at Harriet with a 'go on' look
Serenity: "Ah. Then it was something about corruption and problem solving."
Lumes: "You are not very good at making yourself understood are you"
Amal gives him a wave! (A decorous wave, not a crazy frantic wave.)
Harriet: "It's not my fault people are too dumb to understand my notes. Anyway, your country's fucked and we're here to fix it."
Hughbert salutes. "First, a question for you, mister president. Who is your friend? You aren't alone here, are you?"
Harriet: "We're the Fatebreakers! We solve problems."
President Lumes blinks, and looks at Harriet "Fatebreakers?" he looks at Serenity and Anton "Ah- Of course, it would make sense for an oracle to be here, then"
Lumes: "Diogenes, come on out, they're friends"
Anton chews at his lip before making his way over to the window. "Actually, I've got to jet. There's a guy hiding behind his bookshelf by the way."
Anton smiles before opening it up and jumping out. He seems to be going up a floor.
Harriet waves at Anton as he leaves.
Serenity‘ pauses, glances over at Hughbert.
Amal: "Stay safe~!"
There’s some rustling- And the bookshelf Anton points to moves! It slides to the side and there's someone in there. The cloak is recognizable, the guy from the lower floor. He's wearing a mask, however "You sure, Lumes?"
Serenity: "You really need to figure out how to get him and me to actually, properly share information before we do things."
Hughbert flicks his eyes to Anton, then looks at Serenity. He's a little tired-looking. "…Just trust him for now. Please. Doing anything else will cost you precious hours of sleep."
The president nods "I can recognize their kind, Dio" he relaxes his stance and looks at Hughbert "Good of you to notice. He's part of the miner's union, east branch. He… Helps me get in contact with people"
Lumes chuckles "I figured they must be tiresome… I would tell you to make yourselves comfortable but as you may know i'm under watch"
Serenity: "How the hell does the ruler of a country get placed under arrest by his own military?"
Harriet: "Yeah, aren't you supposed to be, like, the most powerful guy in the country?"
He sighs "By not having any power, more or less"
Amal: "Easy. Who pays the bills?"
Lumes: "Mostly… I needed help to deal with that"
Hughbert: "Ah, I understand now. Hm. Still, he was an unknown variable… (Well, I'm sure Harriet has a dissolvent for that glue.)" He mumbled that last part pretty quietly.
Lumes: "As it is… I hope you're willing to do a little bit of dirty work, or at least underground work."
Harriet: "Oooh, cloak and dagger."
Serenity: "Ask him about the ghouls."
Hughbert: "I'm sure I can make it look clean. What is on your agenda?"
Amal grins a -little- creepily. "We'll do what it takes to help, don't worry."
Lumes: "Hrm… The ghouls, yes. It would also be good to have their help, if possible" he ponders, then looks at Hughbert "I'm… I may not have been elected by the will of the people but I do have some plans on how to deal with the… Growing corruption"
Lumes: "Our legal system isn't… Very reliable. But I have managed to wrangle my way into appointing a supreme judge that does have the best of the people in his heart, or at the very least proper fairness. However, due to how our system works he can only do his job in one place, the Central Court… And getting him there alive is a problem"
Serenity: "…Why is everywhere that isn't Masharas so dumb…?"
Dio: "Pretty much. Judge Molinar was part of a worker's court in Altissia to the west… We know of plans to kill him in-transit to the capital"
Hughbert: "Ah, you already carried out the assassination of his predecesor, I see." Hughbert adjusts his glasses.
Dio and Lumes looks at eachother, Lumes has no further reactions
Lumes: "Because it seems like you have the monopoly leadership wisdom, ma'am"
Amal shakes his head a little. Everything is so much easier in Rissan! "So, step one is bodyguard work, okay."
Harriet: "Just point me at the bad guys and I'll test these babies out on 'em."
Lumes: "Afterwards…"
Serenity‘ glances out the window.
Dio: "Well, it’d be helpful to find a way to get the Miner's, Craftsman's and Trader's unions to work together. We'd need to get all three leaders in a meeting"
Dio: "I'm certain they'll be all for working together with Lumes… If we can get them untangled from the distractions they've been given"
Lumes: "As for the final issue… There is no success to be achieved without the populace help, though the unions do speak for most of the working population there are many, many of those with nothing to their name, they too are deserving of having their voice heard"
Serenity: "Distr… oh you mean the shitty ass deathtraps they work in/with on a daily basis?"
Lumes: "That, the need to try to keep their members safe. And such… False gains, as well. Such as certain companies paying in those company 'scrips', fake money which can only be spent within that company. What worth is it a raise of the so-called salary if the prices are raised at the same time, if you are still required to spend only with your employer, yet they become distracted by such small false gains"
Serenity: "Who's the asshole down the hallway by the by?"
Amal: "…if a Rissani company tried to do something like that…" They shake their head and 'tsk'.
Harriet: "That's pretty fucked up."
Lumes: "The man in charge of security"
Lumes: "Unfortunately… After the… Issues with the Goddess' Dreams decades ago, well… Most of destitute in the ghost cities, terrible wild, lawless lands filled with monsters. Thankfully, Ghouls are… Of closer to human mind, and since the rise of the Icy Maiden they have taken to… Kind of… Caring for those cities"
Lumes: "Having their aid too would be great"
Amal raises both eyebrows.
Harriet: "Sooo the monster people really are the good guys, huh?"
Lume sighs and looks at the picture frame that is standing "They're people… People who're paying for the sins of their fathers"
Lumes: "Good guys, bad guys, people like us"
Amal: "Hey, if they want to be part of the solution rather than the problem, people shouldn't be afraid of 'em. I'm certainly not!"
Hughbert: "I do agree with your plan, mister president. Let's start from the top. The Miner's union must need something in order to listen to us. Do you know their demands?"
Serenity: "Said the the demon…"
Amal grins cheerfully at Serenity.
Hughbert tries to catch a glimpse of the photo off the reflection of a framed photograph on the study's wall, or perhaps a glass cabinet built into a bookcase…?
Dio: "Well, right now the Miner's Union has been busy pressing for working conditions on the deep mountain mines. It… They're only making pretend progress"
Harriet: "We saw some of the 'progress' they're making on the way in." The way she says 'progress' is the same tone you'd use for, say, plague rats.
Serenity: "What was the Goddess' Dream anyway?"
Dio: "Ah, did you run into one of those mines? Yeah…"
Hughbert: "My guess, Serenity? The medium-induction drug that turned the next generation into ghouls. No?"
Lumes looks at Serenity "The Goddess' Dream more like… The Goddess' curse. It was a drug, I admit a hell of a drug, you would feel like heaven, wonderful… Just remembering to this day makes me…" he takes a deep breath "Anyway… It's addictive, deeply addictive, and ragnite-based… And well, ragnite-based drugs tends to… Create monsters- As he said
Serenity: "A reasonable guess but it's always nice to know for sure what dumb codenames you're talking about rather than guessing."
Harriet: "Rule A, never ingest ragnite."
He sits down back down, he puts a hand one of the pictures that's face-down for a moment, and lets go
Lumes: "Many were addicted to it… The government of the time did nothing- Workers who used it would not complain about their working conditions, the poor would not complain of hunger if they used it"
Amal lets out a puff of breath. "Wow…"
Hughbert: "I can't blame you. Could you imagine if we were talking about no less than three different entities of the same gender and only referred to each by 'her' or 'she'? Sheer lunacy." He clears his throat, then turns to the president. "Has the drug been taken off the streets by this point?"
Lumes: "While it was around, nobody complained… Until the first… Kids were born. Those who were lucky would just slowly freeze to death throught their lives, while suffering of mental breaks and fits of feral rage."
Lumes: "The less lucky… Would barely be born with a mind, ragnite growing out of their bodies, heads, brains damaged- Little more than wild beasts…" his voice wavers as he recounts that, he looks at Hughbert "Yes, though I regret that not through my help. The main traders were all killed off by Glaci- i mean- the Icy Maiden"
Hughbert: "So if there are any supply lines that have yet to be destroyed, this saint of a woman would be able to tell us." He nods.
He sighs sadly "I'm certain she can"
Hughbert: Hughbert takes a quick breath to make sure his tone is a bit softer. "I… take it that tragedy has affected you personally?"
Lumes sighs and looks at Hughbert "I was addicted to that drug when I was younger, yes…"
Lumes: "My daughter… She only lives now by the blessing of her mother's blood… She is a ghoul herself. It is nothing short of a miracle she has lived this long"
Serenity: "The blessing of… what a weird phrase."
Harriet: "What's the big deal with her mother?"
Lumes looks at Serenity "Well… Ghouls… They make everything around them cold, they can't control it. So cold that they hunger for heat as well as food, and inevitably they die of frostbite, by fault of their own bodies"
Lumes: "My Himiko, my lost wife… I met her in Masharas, she is of a lineage of the old priesthood, and she herself was not a medium but… My daughter has inherited that power"
Hughbert: "At the least, I can ensure that the Icy Maiden knows that you are sympathetic to her cause. That, and the fine engineers of the R+D Corps will be interested in doing what they can to devise a solution to let ghouls live normally, if at all possible."
Lumes: "And as such… Somehow, rather than suffer from the cold, the cold seems to feed her"
Serenity: "Uh?"
Serenity: "Not sure how those things are related in the slightest but interesting."
Lumes: "That is what she believes at least"
Lumes: "I haven't seen her personally in years"
Amal: "Huh. That's interesting. …if we see her, want us to say hi?"
Harriet: "So, like, is she the Icy Maiden?"
Serenity: "Also I mean probably just shove 'em in an ice box and then work on portable A/Cs Hughbert."
Lumes sighs "Yes"
Lumes: "Glacies… Has done more for this land that I have"
Amal: "Hey. Don't beat yourself up over it, it sounds like your hands have been tied!"
Harriet: "You… named your probably-going-to-die-of-cold daughter Glacies?"
Amal: "But- we can help with that!"
Serenity‘ tilts her head, looking up at the sky outside the window.
Lumes: "It was not me, at the time we did not know of what would become… But Himiko had always loved the snow and the ice, and named our daugther after that which she loved the most"
Lumes: "Such a strangely omnious choice, is it not?"
Harriet: "Wow, you must’ve felt really bad about that afterwards."
He just chuckles sadly
Anton slides back into the room through the window before scratching his head. "So, uh… just to confirm you can't call off the guards, right?"
Hughbert: "More generally speaking, what is it that the ghouls require to join our cause? Immediate treatment is likely beyond us at present, but perhaps we could give them something in the short term-"
Lumes looks at the incoming flier "Certainly not, they do not answer to me"
Hughbert very slowly turns to Anton and stares.
Harriet: "Ragnite tubing sweaters? I'm thinking ragnite tubing sweaters."
Lumes: "That… Would be up to you to discover, unfortunately"
Anton: "Well. Ask your important questions now, then. As I've distracted them with images as long as I could."
Hughbert: "Why- where? Anton. Report."
Lumes: "As you can imagine, my influence is fairly limited with them"
Anton glances at Hughbert. "The brief version is we want to wrap this up soon or we're going to get surrounded."
Harriet: "Oh, so we can stop sneaking around? I'm good at that part!"
Harriet: "Okay, Lumes, where's your daughter these days?"
Anton scratches his head. "I mean. If you want to just plow your way out, I guess…?" He nods to Harriet.
Hughbert: "Harriet, do you have a dissolvent for that glue we used earlier? We can take the secret passage back out."
Lumes looks at Anton "Are they closing in?" he looks at Dio "Use the ballroom path" he looks at Harriet "It would do you little good to try to remove the guard, I can still do nothing even if physically free. Dio can guide you outside through the hidden paths, however"
Lumes: "As for where Glaci is… I wouldn't know, she keeps herself well hidden as she is hunted. But in any ghost town you should be able to find information"
Harriet: "Fine, fiiine, hidden paths it is. I'm sure Dio can lead us out, he got out of there somehow."
Dio nods "Alright, follow me. Unless you got any last moment things to settle?"
Hughbert: "Any advice on getting the general populace on our side? I assume each of the unions has similar enough problems."
Serenity: "I suggest " not being the people in charge ", it'll be super easy."
Lumes: "The populace at general is desparate, any hope is all they need. But they've been stringed along by empty promises for very long. Show action, not promise"
Amal: "I'm sure we'll be able to find her~."
Harriet: "I'm an engineer, solving problems is what I do."
Serenity: "I think Amal wanted to go eat the owner of the consortium or something anyway…?"
Serenity‘ ducks into the secret passage with a shrug.
Dio waves you over "Very well, this way" Dio takes you outside and into an empty room, in there using a small circular device he makes one of the bookshelves move, making way. He leads you down through dark, tight hallways and then at the end of it he uses the device again to make the wall open. It leads to a large ballroom, he looks around "Keep to the shadows now"
Anton follows after the others before nodding. "So what’s next on the agenda? I can look at your discussion when we get out of here."
Hughbert salutes the president. "I just ask that, should we be able to reuinte you with your family, you do so with pride. Do your best to make it a happy reuinion." He the steps into the tunnel…
Dio then leads the party through the edge of the ballroom and to what looks like the door to a lavatory- Inside, he once again uses the device to open a secret door in the wall, it leads clearly underground. He takes you down the path, it's long and not lit, the air is stale "I don't like this pathway…" it really is terrible, but you othrewise emerge in the other side
Hughbert then whispers over to Serenity, ( "I am a bit curious what those face down pictures were. I got a glimpse of his family on the face-up one, but…" )
The exit in the other side is under a boulder, that slides away to reveal a trapdoor. It's on the other side of the hill, you can see the car from here
Harriet heads into the tunnels with the others, coughing when she gets to the stale air. "(Ugh. This hasn't been used for a while has it.)"
Harriet gets out of the trapdoor. Looks at the car. Looks at the trapdoor.
Harriet: "Are you fucking serious."
Serenity: "Shoulda just flipped it over then, can't imagine he woulda done much other than frown at you."
As you're finally out Dio comments "Not in forever"
Harriet: "That's our car! We could have just… with the trapdoor… and avoided all that sneaking!"
Amal quietly facepalms.
Dio chuckles, he puts the circular device near the rock and it slides back into place "You couldn't"
Serenity: "That's funny."
Dio: "Not without the key"
Harriet: "Oh. Can we have a key?"
Anton frowns. "Awww. I'm sorry, Harriet. I'll look further into the future next time before we do a recon. I was more focused on tracking the number of guards and their positions."
Serenity‘ glances over at Dio.
Hughbert: "Call it an officer’s instincts. Misbehaving in the presence of a head of state for no reason besides pure curiosity would not seem wise to me."
Serenity‘ makes shooing motions at him, pushing him away from the boulder after it closes back up.
Hughbert: "I believe no such thoughts would cause you to lose sleep, however, no?"
Dio moves out of the way "Huhn?"
Serenity` then places a single hand on it before closing her eyes. "Open sesame."
The rock does, in fact, opens up
Harriet: "Don’t worry, Anton, you couldn't have known. Or, well, I guess you could have… okay, yeah, that's on you."
Dio: "Whoa, what'd you do"
Serenity: "Magic."
Dio: "That's what he was talking about you guys, then"
Amal: "Mmhmm."
Serenity‘ then tilts her head back at Hughbert before climbing back into the car.
Dio crosses his arms as you get on your car "Alright, go on ahead. Be careful, too"
Serenity: "Hasn’t lead to anything actually bad happening to me or harriet or anton or amal yet…"
Harriet hops on into the car. "See you later, Kio."
Anton: "I'm pretty sure Oracles are a dime a dozen at this point as we haven't met one person who seemed influenced in any way from me saying I was one!" He huffs as he gets into the passengers seat.
Harriet: "Wait, no, Dio. It was Dio, right?"
Dio: "Diogenes, actually. Whatever's simpler for you!"
Serenity: "To be fair,"
Serenity: "I don't think even half of them knew what an Oracle was."
Hughbert gets back into the car as well. "Did I mention any stories about the major? Getting flipped upside down in the air, broken tables, bruised backs? You'll have to forgive me if I behave myself properly." He clears his throat and thanks Diogenes for his help.
Serenity: "Just call yourself a sorcerer."
Serenity‘ squints at Hughbert from the rearview mirror.
Harriet: "It’s okay, Anton, some people don't recognise genius when they see it."
Anton: "No. But now I'm kind of interested in sifting out your life story, Hugh~."
JayM: Sounds like you've learned of your objective today, at least
Serenity: "Oh."
JayM: And wasn't that quite an interesting stealth adventure
Serenity: "Dio your boss was totally involved in the drug's creation right?"
Dio was turning around to leave when Serenity asks "Hrm? You mean the president? No, no way"
Hughbert: "I've distracted Anton from prying into history, if only briefly, Serenity. Does that not make you feel better?"
Dio: "He wasn't older than fifteen at the time I don't think"
Serenity: "Are you sure? 'Cause he definitely had that particular timber of 'what have my hands wrought' guilt to his voice."
Dio crosses his arms "Well, his daughter's a monster, his addiction eventually led to the death of his wife, some kind of debt thing I hear"
Harriet: "Hey, I was doing crazy shit when I was fifteen."
Dio: "He has reasons to be regretful"
Serenity: "Oh, just normal boring guilt then. Okay."
Amal: "…I think he just feels guilty because he couldn't do enough to save his country, on top of that. I wanna help him…"
Serenity: "See ya later."
Harriet: "He fucked up Rule A. Everyone feels bad when they fuck up Rule A."
Dio waves Serenity away, and then heads away
JayM: Seems like off you go now, finally
JayM: You managed to dodge an encounter with a load of mooks actually
JayM: So have the [+7 XP] you'd have gotten from defeating them

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