The smells of the morning in Kestrel's house are indeed quite enticing. You're woken from your beds (bed? however many did decide to share the same mat in the end?) by the smell of breakfast. A plate has been set in the living room, it's pretty light including a type of very mildly sweet and incredibly puffy kind of bread topped with a sweet syroup you can't really identify, as well as small round balls of something that looks like bread, it has a hard outer shell but is very soft on the inside, with the approximate texture of hot cheese (it tastes somewhat like cheese too), which is served with butter. For drinking, coffee for those brave enough to try ashen blend (uses a volcanic ash filter instead of a paper filter, pretty unique taste, somewhat more acid than normal and incredibly strong), and sweet tea otherwise
Though the plate is served by the time you're in the living room you haven't seen Kestrel quite yet- You catch him getting downstairs holding a cat upside-down by the rear end in his right hand and a small boy clingling to his neck like a doll, both looking mightily sleepy, he waves lazily and heads into the kitchen with both, eventually emergency without either.
But the morning still holds one final surprise- A loud noise, that builds to an amazing level of noise for a while before stopping abruptly- The noise of an engine.
Hughbert picks at a plate full of food and sips at a mug of coffee. He waves to Kestrel when he enters, then turns his face over to the source of the noise. "Expecting visitors this early?"
Harriet slept on a seperate mat, of course! Once she's gone and changed somewhere at least passingly private (gotta switch that sleeping mask for those goggles), she heads on into breakfast. And, of course, she drinks the coffee. All coffee is good coffee. But, as always, she's easily distracted from food by - "Hey, what's that out there?" - engines.
Anton is more than eager to eat something that isn't travel rations. He sips on his drink before glancing at Hughbert. "So what's the plan?"
JayM: For what's worth, Harriet, this house has what can best be described as 'studies' which as small rooms wherein people can have their privacy, each resident has one and there's two spares (supposedly nine people live here but most are away?)
Harriet absolutely used one of those. They're handy!
Hughbert: "Ah, right. Our information gathering, was it? There are a few things we need to get a grasp of. Let's see…" He pulls out a notebook and reviews its contents over some sips and bites.
Amal went for the coffee; it's been long enough since they've managed to have any of this style. "That engine sounds sad."
Serenity: "The hell is this cheese bread stuff?"
A few moments later the front door opens up, in enters a titan- or rather a woman. Hair a discolored shade of dark blue, as wide as two of Anton and at least meters tall, she's wearing a part of what can best be described as a combat uniform, having ditched the armored parts due to the heat. She's carrying two things, first is an excessively large belt-fed machinegun, that she props on the wall like you would an umbrella when arriving home, and the other is a man, a little into his late twenties who is using her as support to walk in, he looks certainly lost in a daze "Birdie, i'm home!" she shouts- Then blinks and stares at you all in the living room "Oh, that's a lot of guests today"
Serenity: "Yup."
Harriet swallows the little cheese thing she was eating as the woman walks in.
Harriet: "Hey, I like your gun."
Serenity‘ alternates between shoveling bits of pancake and bits of cheesy bread into her mouth, looking like she’s unsure if she actually likes either of them or not.
She smiles at Harriet "It's cool, isn't it?" as she helps the man sit down somewhere, he looks winded and lost.
Hughbert feels his seating jostle him a little from the impact of heavy weaponry being casually discarded. "…Ah, hello there. Allow me to introduce us," giving his name and rank first before going around the table.
Harriet grins. "Yeah, it's pretty cool." And she shoves some more pancakes into her mouth, because wow she's hungry for things which aren't trail mix.
The woman nods "I'm Lucia, first Vulcan division. I suppose this guy's your package, then? Mailer dropped this really confused guy at our door saying something it was for our guests"
At this point Kestrel comes up from wherever he was a moment ago "What- Oh, Lucia you're back, how was it? Also, please, don't call me like that in front of the guests please"
Amal raises an eyebrow. "Special delivery, then."
Serenity: "…Did you order a small, confused guy completely out of his element, Hughbert?"
Serenity: "'Cause I didn't."
Harriet: "Wasn't me."
Hughbert inspects the unfortunate fellow.
The man weakly raises his right hand in a 'wait' motion, and starts checking his pockets for a while, before he pulls out a small document case
Lucia: "Ahaha, oh, don't be shy birdie, they should know how much I like you" she says in a teasing manner "Not bad, not good either. That job source's dried out, thankfully and sadly, but I couldn't get that other contract done either" "
Hughbert takes the document case and flips it open. "Would this, by chance, be…"
Serenity: "Also do you have any coffee that doesn't taste like a toilet?"
Harriet: "It's… unique. But caffeine is caffeine!"
Amal looks at Serenity in shock, feigned or otherwise. Probably otherwise. "Serenity! You're a guest here!"
Serenity: "Which is exactly why I should have coffee that isn't shitty, yeah." Serenity points her fork at Amal.
Hughbert stops himself from casually opening it, performs a sequence of dial-turns and knob-adjustments, then opens it- "Yes, yes it would. At ease, help yourself to some coffee." - addresses his agent, then returns his attention to the documents.
Serenity: "Or some juice I guess."
Anton nods to the group. "Malik."
Amal can't help giggling a tiny little bit. "More for me, then~."
Serenity: "Actually juice would probably be better given how savoury all thi - huh?"
Amal: "Mmm?"
Serenity‘ shakes her head at Amal, gesturing in Anton’s direction instead with her fork, before going back to stabbing at her pancakes.
The man smiles at Anton, and nods "O-oh, hi" he shakes his head "S-sorry I… I never rode so fast"
Lucia just shakes her head at Serenity "You do look like the lightweight kitten" she looks at Kestrel "Did you make some for the kittens? She would probably like it"
Anton gives him another passing nod before proceeding to stuff his face more.
Harriet: "Hey Marik, you should try the cheese balls." And Harriet goes back to eating.
Hughbert stares intently at the document, flipping pages back and forth, grinning a little… "How interesting. This is a bit unexpected."
Kestrel sighs exaggerately, and goes pick up a different coffee pot and returns with it. This one tastes a lot more familiar, 95% like the one back home, though you'll have to sweeten it yourself if you want it that way
Malik helps himself to one of the cheese balls, and attempting to drink some of the coffee makes him reel "Okay, okay! This sure wakes you up, how"
Harriet tries the new coffee pot. "Oh. Oh yeah. This is much better."
Serenity‘ does, indeed, sweeten it with whatever she can find. Even if that just winds up being the syrup from the pancakes.
JayM: There is some form of brown sugar
Lucia: "Ah, nobody appreciates real coffee out of here, such a shame"
Anton smiles apologetically. "I already checked. I wouldn’t like it."
Amal chuckles. "I liked it, but I've tried it before."
Serenity: "That's because all coffee is bad, but it mixes with other, sweeter things pretty alright."
Kestrel: "Don't worry, there's one thing she's an asshole about is how to make coffee"
Lucia: "Listen up, this is how coffee has been made since it's discovery, it's exactly the right way that draws out it's most beneficial effects"
Kestrel: "Luciii… It's too early for that conversation"
Harriet: "As an engineer, I can appreciate one-hundred percent efficiency. But as a person with taste buds…"
Serenity: "I mean, okay. But that doesn't mean it isn't gross until you dump a couple spoons of sugar, some milk, a bit of creamer, and like, some vanilla or almound extract or whatever else into it."
Kestrel is just laughing as Lucia shrugs "I'll never understand your kind"
Hughbert folds up the papers and tucks them back into their container, which is then tucked into his jacket. "Thanks for coming out all this way to deliver this information, Corporal Malik." He gives him a familiar salute.
Lucia: "But whatever works for you"
Malik is still a bit shaken, so he can't get the salute quite right "Hey, excited for my first assignment" he shudders a little "Wasn't expecting such a start, though"
Amal half-turns towards Hughbert with an eyebrow raised.
Harriet: "Oh, so you're a newbie! Don't worry, you probably won't get exploded."
Hughbert: "I won't assign you to your task just yet. Rest for a bit, and once you have a healthy appetite, help yourself. Then we'll talk business. Sound good?"
Serenity‘ pauses, leaning over toward Hughbert. "(Why did you order a….)" gestures towards Malik while sitting back down.
Malik: "Sounds super good"
Hughbert: "(You will see soon. Even rookie specialists in the R+D Corps are first-class.)" He’s got a bit of a prideful smirk.
Serenity‘ gives Hughbert a Judging Look, before returning her focus to what’s left on her plate.
Lucia stands up after eating some "Alright, i'm getting washed up, see you soon birdie"
Kestrel: "You're doing that on purpose. See you soon"
Serenity: "…Your wife is huuuuuuge by the way."
She giggles as she heads upstairs, while Kestrel turns to look at Serenity "She is beautiful isn't she?" he says with a smile
Harriet: "Wait, that's your wife? Huh."
Kestrel: "Indeed"
Serenity: "Muuch better than the cat, yeah."
Malik forces a bit more coffee down his throat "I was surprised to hear you wound up in this assignment, Anton"
Malik: "Especially after the incident in the armory"
Anton scratches his head. "I'm surprised you remember that."
Serenity: "Oh wait do you actually know this guy Anton and you weren't just being a weird ass creepo?"
Kestrel: "They're not jealous"
Amal: "Anton has lots of friends! He's really friendly!"
Anton glances at Serenity. "Geeze, thanks! I met this guy at Oracle school."
Serenity: "He's also really dumb and socially awkward, though."
Serenity‘ turns and gives Malik a scrutinizing look.
Anton: "And thankfully none of you retain much of what I say, so I think I’m good about the armory story." He winks.
Malik: "Yeah, I shared classes with Anton for about an year" he stares pointedly at Anton "Who wouldn't remember. I heard professor Cassia swear that day, she doesn't do that" "
Harriet: "Wait, so he's an Oracle?"
Malik: "Not quite, Harriet. I dropped on the second year"
Malik: "I mean, as interesting as it sounds on paper it's a really, really boring thing"
Harriet: "So like, you're… not an Oracle but went to Oracle school anyway? How does that work?"
Malik: "Well, I mean, I got the potential, I sorta know some of the basics?" he shrugs "But I didn't find it interesting so I got no training, more or less"
Serenity: "Probably like how a lot more people than we thought are actually Mediums but most people are so shit at it they don't realize it."
Malik: "I mean did you ever change courses in college?"
Malik: "Like that"
Harriet: "Nope, I just completed my courses and then picked up new ones."
Amal: "Harriet probably ran them clean out of courses to teach."
Harriet: "Yeah, pretty much. Eventually they just went 'you're done here, go start making things for us'. So I did!"
Harriet: "I mean, I guess I could have gone into the social sciences, but that shit is not real science."
Malik: "Ahahaha, really, Harriet?"
Malik: "I suggest you be careful, then" he smiles "You never know when you're going to be proven… Wrong"
Harriet: "Oh, everyone's wrong sometimes, that's how science improves itself. Even I, however rarely, might be a little bit wrong. Just, you know. Not often. On account of me being amazing and all."
Anton: "Doubley amazing with an oracle advisor." He nods sagely.
Serenity: "When the fuck have you ever helped with anything technical?"
Malik: "So I hear. From making a purifying system in Terchuan to wiring up a city-wide heating system in Orsis"
Malik: "You're quite the accomplished creator"
Harriet: "Well, he is going to be the next Divine Oracle. Besides, he'll be a great help when I get leads on Aetas."
Harriet grins. "So you've heard about the things I've done? Awesome."
Serenity: "Being a test subject doesn't count!"
Anton: "I told her which thing to cut one time!"
Malik nods "I have. I mean part of my job but otherwise, since you got that radio going there's beena lot more information going around"
Harriet: "Also, if I'm ever not sure which project I should go for I can always ask Anton. It's a neat little hack."
Anton nods. "She almost always makes breakthroughs!"
Harriet: "I know, right?" Harriet turns back to Malik. "It's gonna be amazing. Think of the progress everyone is going to make now they're connected!"
Serenity: "Oh sure give HER all the credit for the radio thing."
Hughbert finishes his breakfast, then quickly ascends from the table. He breaks his silence, "Pardon me, I must step out for a moment. I'll have our plan ready momentarily. This report provided quite the tasty food for thought, and I just need but a moment to digest," then steps outside for some air.
Harriet: "Oh, fine, fine, Serenity did a lot of work too. I just get kinda carried away with this stuff."
Harriet: "Actually, she's got a lot of expertise in radio work which was instrumental to the project."
Amal giggles.
Harriet: "And she gave me the idea to make an invisible cannon."
Serenity: "That's better."
Malik chuckles "Your singing has turned into a legend, truth to be told, Serenity"
Serenity: "As long as it properly freaked the Professor out…"
Malik: "That it did"
Serenity: "Yessss."
Harriet: "Mission accomplished, Serenity?" Harriet grins.
Serenity: "You know it. Although now that you mention it I'm kinda curious how that effected stuff back home, I know it kicked the tower over here into overdrive.
Kestrel watches as Hughbert steps out
Malik: "A variety of things happened, while the song was going on most force gears were working slightly weird, like they wouldn't turn off. Sure whipped the entire scientfic community in a frenzy, of course, a bunch of new projects looking into radio transmission have appeared"
Serenity: "Ah, so more or less same thing. That's kinda funny."
Malik: "They did seal the tower for real after the incident, though. Only reducing to the usual security on it about three days later"
Malik: "Not sure what went on there, though"
Serenity: "The uh… weird tower no one can climb up in the middle of the industrial complex?"
Serenity: "That's usually sealed off anyway…?"
Harriet: "I guess it was double sealed?"
Malik: "There's… 'Forbidden entry but they got one lazy guard and nobody fixed the chain link gate since it got damaged in a storm three years ago', and then there's 'The High Guard estabilished a perimeter around and put up barrier fields to prevent entry'"
Serenity‘ starts laughing.
Malik: "So something really did go on in there for a small while, but they didn’t anymore is my guess"
Serenity: "Holy shit that's so dumb ahahaha -"
Serenity: "Why would they think that was her I told them that was a completely different song, ahahah."
Malik: "Oh, do you know something?"
Serenity: "Kiiiind of."
Harriet: "We're the Fatebreakers, we know all kinds of stuff."
Malik: "You make me jealous, wish I knew as much"
Serenity: "Shoulda keep up your boring ass studies and taken Anton's apprentiship then."
Malik: "Maybe"
Malik: "Or I could just find the right person to ask"
Harriet: "I'd tell you, but I just don't care enough to go over it all."
Anton: "Serenity, are you saying that I'm easily replaceable as the divine oracle?" He feigns being insulted.
Serenity: "Yes."
Serenity: "Well, unless we specifically need dumb hover boot maneuvers, you're probably exactly the man for that job."
Anton nods content. "See. Unreplaceable."
Kestrel: "Aha… You do have a sylpheed build"
Kestrel: "I wonder if your flight style's too different from ours? Would you like to see later if you want to spend an evening with one of our sylpheed units?"
Kestrel: "Heavens know they're going to love seeing a foreign flier"
Hughbert steps back inside, looking a bit like the coffee finally kicked in. "An exchange of data could be helpful for both sides to improve technique and equipment… Malik, are you prepared?"
Malik jumps up to his feet "Ready and willing, sir"
Serenity‘ snorts, barely keeping the coffee that was in her mouth from escaping.
Kestrel: "Hey, exchanging experiences is important"
Anton: "I don’t get it."
Hughbert: "Alright. Once everyone else is ready…" He looks over to Kestrel. "It's up to you if you want to listen in. Perhaps it would sit better with your conscience if we didn't discuss plans you cannot afford to be entangled with under your roof, though."
Kestrel crosses is arms "Discuss as you see fit, then. As for myself" he stands up "I suppose I better go about my duties, then" he says, before heading upstairs "I suppose I could take the family along for that"
Kestrel is quick to leave alongside the rst of the family and allow you to be alone- Seems he was also particularly careful to not allow anyone else nearby- He's giving you a good chance to have nobody listening in
Hughbert adjusts his glasses. "Down to business, then. Let me begin explaining."
Amal leans forward, listening!
Hughbert: "I'll recap our mission for your benefit, Malik. Miss Altamira Sonne Geist, Baroness of House Geist, is going to be absent from duty in a few days, when she's due to renew the contract between our friends in this tribe and Akavir. This absence will result in the nullification of the contract and an end to our friends' obligation to Akavir."
Malik nods, listening
Hughbert taps his jacket over where he's stored the papers. "The intel you brought me… Well, Anton, go ahead and look into this for me. Inevitably, in the near future, Altamira is going to botch her mission due to her abrasive nature. This will result in a diplomatic breakdown, and inevitably, an annexation by imperial Akaviri forces. Right?"
Serenity: "…How does her botching her mission end with them having even more control…?"
Anton: "Akavir invading is still a while off, but it's very likely it's going to happen, yeah."
Amal: "Akavir always finds a way to turn chaos to their own ends."
Malik: "Akavir, particularly the chancellor, has proven quite capable of using turmoil to their own ends. Any excuse, however thin, is often used"
Harriet: "So, basically, Akavir is awful."
Amal: "Yyyyup."
Hughbert: "Intelligence supports that, too. She's been set up by her homeland- she's very ill-suited to the mission. Half the governing body won't have anything to do with her, and the other half has given her the perfect platform to ruin herself."
Amal: "Almost feel bad for her now. Her lucky day that we're around, I suppose."
Malik: "A suicide mission, more or less… Icky business that"
Amal: "Maybe she'll defect after the dust settles."
Hughbert: "Now, before she has the chance to become her own worst enemy, my plan is to find - or create - evidence of the House of Common's plotting against her and House Geist. We'll present her this evidence and persuade her to intentionally fail her mission."
Amal: "…ooh, even better."
Serenity: "Your plan is to… find evidence of a Akavir political entrapment scheme… set up by their ruling class… while we're in the fuck ass middle of no where desertville?" Serenity scrunches up her face.
Hughbert: "We'll help her get everything she needs to take her antagonists to court over their part in the failure, and by assigning the blame to them, she gets the privilege of being a victim most worthy of pity."
Amal: "Listen, if Hughbert says he can do it, I believe it."
Malik: "Hrm… Did she bring bodyguards of her own or were they assigned to her?"
Malik: "If they aren't of her own house, it's likely they are doubling as handlers and informants for the people who set her up. I'm fairl ycertain I can get my hands on any number of communications between them and homeland that might be implicating"
Hughbert: "I wouldn't call this the 'wheelhouse' of most of our present company, Serenity… Save one, of course." Hughbert gives a confident nod in Malik's direction.
Malik nods "Dealing with people, now that is what i'm good at" he considers for a moment "Do you have a specific timeframe in mind? Just to see how much I need to push on this mission"
Malik: "Let it be known, if your intel officer tells you to do something, you do it and don't think you know better. Goddess I hope he just ignored orders rather than not being given them but at this rate…"
Hughbert gives Malik a grin. "Don't worry- if you overestimate your opponent, you're doing good work."
Hughbert makes some quick scribbles in his notebook. "Hmm… Shift right here, substitution there… Perfect. This is just what we need."
Harriet: "Gonna take your word for that. What's the plan?"
Anton: "More importantly, what am I doing?" He grins.
Hughbert: "We've got to figure out how to get an audience with her. A private one, without any of her… No… Without her Akaviri guards. The Stingers actually have an ounce of integrity, thank the Goddess. We've also got to make a good first impression. She is, after all, a xenophobic foreign diplomat…"
Serenity: "Oh."
Serenity: "That's easy."
Malik: "Oh, you've got an idea?"
Serenity: "We have an Oracle and a whatever the hell Amal is, this is probably the easiest thing we'll do all week."
Malik: "Hrm… Actually with your whole assortment of skills… That does sound like about anything would be easy"
Serenity: "Just look around for where ever she goes drinking or gets dinner, then send Hughbert in to look pretty and talk smooth and we either distract the whoevers or make them sleep."
Serenity: "And Amal can do whatever gang signs killer desert mercenaries have that means 'we won't fuck your job promise' at the Stingers."
Amal grins a little dangerously at Serenity.
Hughbert furrows his brow a bit and looks troubled… He looks over to Serenity after a moment. "A most interesting plan. Could it be that I've been a good-looking and charming individual this entire time?"
Serenity‘ gives Hughbert an incredulous look. "Why else do you think we keep you around?"
Amal snorts.
Harriet: "Yeah, you’re, like, objectively pretty."
Hughbert gestures to Anton, though? "Are you sure you're not thinking of someone else? We can put him in a suit and comb his hair back, he'd be a whole new man."
Anton 's face pales before he quickly shakes his head. "No. Nonononono. Just looking at that future is enough for me."
Serenity: "Yeah I'm pretty sure we send Anton in for her gets locked up in some kind of weird sex dungeon."
[OOC] Serenity: for her, he's getting locked up^
Hughbert: "Ah, so… I believe that means you would put me at a sensible seven or so, but Anton would simply be far too much for her and you'd rate him at a nine or a ten. Is that correct?" Hughbert adjusts his glasses.
Anton: "Awww. You shouldn't have, Serenity! You need to say what you're thinking more!"
Serenity: "Naw more like, you got this cool, collected beauty thing goin' for you. You're nice and pretty but also serious and no nonsense looking. And then Anton is a really cute, big dumb dog. And if you give him a treat he'll follow you home without thinking and is really fun to mess with."
Harriet: "You get all that from how they look? Damn."
Amal: "…all of you, I swear." They giggle into a sleeve.
Anton: "I'll have you know Serenity, I'm the one that hands out the treats so that doesn't happen!" He pulls out a lollipop before crunching down on it.
Serenity: "What? He asked." At Amal.
Serenity‘ then gives a glance at Anton while shaking her head.
JayM: Sounds like we’ll have a small distraction op going before Hughbert goes in for the… Interview?
JayM: I'd love to do it right now- I don't think I can keep going, though, i'ms orry
JayM: So for now, let's settle for what we've accomplished
Hughbert: "…Ah! I see now. Right, I can certainly do this, but…" He taps Amal on the shoulder and whispers something into his ear.
[OOC] Hughbert: *their
JayM: Thank you all for playing, and for dealing with the broken pacing :<

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