It feels as though something, anything, should be breaking the silence at this moment, perhaps a breeze, or a distant noise. Yet there is not a single thing to do so at this point, you simply sit silently in a secluded corner. The young intelligence corporal that Hughbert called from home has given you valuable intel, which coupled with his superior's skill has given rise to a plan: It's possible to make Lady Altamira leave her post on her own, if you can get an audience with her without the interference of her akaviri bodyguards/handlers. It's just a matter of convincing her of something that is honestly true, she's being set to fail.
And fail she will, it's a matter of in whose favor, yours, or Akavir's?
Hughbert: "Hmm… You were just saying a moment ago, Serenity, that we should track down a place of food or drink our Baronness favorites, right? I wonder if we can be certain she'll be without her bodyguards at that time before the time we would meet her comes."
Serenity: "Like I said, doesn't matter if they're there or not. Amal can get the mercenaries to back down, and I have full confidence between myself, Anton and Harriet we can manage to knock out two people."
Harriet: "Oh yeah, that's, like, literally no issue."
Anton: "Let's just hope these ones aren't holding on to critter bombs." He laughs.
Amal: "Yeah, I should be able to pull some strings…"
Serenity‘ gives Anton a Look, then shrugs towards Amal. "I imagine us having no intention of harming her, and thus fucking over their contract, would help a bit, anyway."
Hughbert: "If possible, I’d like to avoid directly confronting them. I'm sure the Lady will be more cooperative if we avoid hostilities."
Amal: "Mmhmm!"
Harriet: "That sounds easy enough. I mean, how hard can it be not to terrorise someone?"
Harriet: "On second thought, you do the talking."
Amal: "Listen, Harriet, sometimes it's really tempting!"
Harriet: "It really, really is."
Malik, who's been just there for a while, has been thinking "I'm curious how you're going to go about it. If it helps, I've noticed she prefers to not have her Stinger bodyguards unless necessary"
Malik: "So long as you don't give anyone cause for alarm she should be without them, she tends to prefer a certain bar at the north end of the town"
Amal: "So, catch the bodyguards off-guard, have a chat with 'em… then we make our move!"
Serenity: "The Stingers are the ones I'm least worried about anyway."
Malik: "The staff… Is not a fan of her presence, which I imagine is why she likes it. It's easy to notice as it's set on the remains of a decomissioned armored vehicle, pretty small, mostly outdoors"
Hughbert: "We'll stake out that bar, then. If the bodyguards aren't there, then we'll have you remain on standby, and if they are, then… Deal with them as you see fit. Make sure you leave enough of them to blame for the failure of the operation afterwards."
Malik: "Alright. I'm good at distracting."
Hughbert: "I'll have to stick to my suit as my night-life clothing, I think. I'll be discussing official business for the sake of forging a partnership between an Akaviri house and Masharas, after all."
Malik: "Isn't it… Kindof hot for that?"
Harriet: "I'm pretty sure his suit has, like, a cooling gear installed somewhere."
Harriet: "I just haven't figured out where."
Amal: "Hughbert's a wizard. A suit wizard."
Serenity: "Uhh."
Serenity: "His entire gear is designed around water manipulation, Harriet."
Harriet: "I mean, sure, if you want to be boring about it."
Serenity‘ looks at Harriet, glances over at Hughbert, then back to Harriet.
Harriet: "… yeah, good point."
Hughbert shrugs. "I had to modify the summer uniform a bit for the environment. It doesn’t look any different unless you look very closely, naturally."
Harriet: "Seriously? That's the modified suit? You're good."
Amal: "Ahahahah I thought it was a joke but, no, it's one hundred percent the truth."
Hughbert: "What do you mean, 'the' modified suit?" Hughbert adjusts his glasses.
Harriet: "Okay, yeah, you definitely have an entire wardrobe full of suits which look exactly the same and do some crazy shit."
Whenever you decide to go, the place you are looking for is the Spoiled Spoils bar. It's an interesting little place, all the seating is outside, and there's a cloth tarp over the seating area and the kitchen and serving counter are inside a hollowed-out akaviri tank, actually a pretty recent model. The signs of combat damage on it are extensive, it's a miracle if this thing could even move, no wonder something else has been done with it
Harriet bets she could get it working. But just, you know, silently to herself, because she's trying not to ruin the gambit.
JayM: Harriet, please. "get it working" and "build a new tank" are synonyms here
Harriet could make it a better tank. With more gun.
Serenity: "…A bar… with all its seating outside… in a sandy desert…"
Serenity: "Why…"
Harriet: "I dunno, people are dumb."
Harriet: "I mean, they marry cats here."
Anton: "You're still hung up about that one, huh?" He grins.
There's a handful of people around, and four cats sunning on top of the tank. Particularly three people stand out badly, the first is Lady Altamira, she's there in all of her haughty glory- She has the kind of smirk on her face that tells that she is enjoying someone else's pain, you've missed whatever it is she said to the waiter but you see him clenching his free hand before he returns to the kitchen with… Something
Amal: "Tch…"
Sharing the table with her is a younger man, rifle slung on his back, watching everyone carefully and in silence, she seems to be ignoring his presence.
Harriet: "I will never not be hung up about the dumb cats. Anyway, it looks like she's already pissed someone off."
The third of them is somewhat younger, his clothing seems somewhat too bulky and he seems unarmed aside from an excessively large metalworking sledgehammer on his belt. He's not in the same table, he's slowly nursing a drink, and seems to be brooding
The other stingers hanging around just seem like your average civilian or off-duty soldier, they're visibly annoyed at Altamira's presence, but nobody wants to relent and leave
Amal: "(Hmmm…)"
Serenity‘ makes a vaguely explosive motion with her hands while mumbling "bwooosh." under her breath.
Harriet: "(Wait, I thought we weren’t blowing everything up this time.)
Amal: "(We need a distraction, not something that'll make them pay attention to their job!)"
Hughbert keeps the documents hidden close while he waits for his chance to approach…
Serenity: "That's why I didn't actually do it."
Amal giggles.
JayM: What sort of opening are you waiting for?
JayM: The engineer seems to mostly be keeping to himself, trying to not suffer too much. The gunner is doing his best impression of stoic guard (admittedly he's drinking a fair bit, but seems okay)
Harriet: "(Well… I could always go talk shop with the smart one.)"
[OOC] Hughbert: the plan was to move in when the two akaviri bodyguards let her be, since letting them hear "hey have some evidence that those two are going to betray you" would prolly cause A Problem Or Two
JayM: It shouldn't be hard to make the engineer go away- He seems like he doesn't wants to be there at all
JayM: The gunner might be harder, but if you give it a while he is likely going to have to take a moment with as much as he's drinking. Someone's still not used to the heat
Malik considers, he's been with you for a while now "They're not used to the weather, I can tell… Way he's going… Yeah, give me five minutes and i'll take the gunner away. Have a plan for the other?"
Malik: "As far as I gathered he's real proud of his work, but he's a squire, servant to a noble, and quite unhappy with his lot in life. Had all sorts of complaints about both of his company"
Malik: "He'll take any excuse to get away if you give him one"
Serenity: "Uugh are we seriously just going to stand around here doing nothing because violence is bad?" Serenity groans, then looks over at Malik for a second.
Serenity‘ sighs overly loud, before reluctantly stomping her way over to the engineer, pulls out a chair at his table, then plops down into it. "Buy me a drink."
The engineer is startled "W-what?" he looks around, uncertain of what to do with his hands, then waves the waiter over
JayM: Honestly Serenity he’s the super flustered type, it seems
Malik chuckles "Like the attitude. One moment" he says, before heading over to the bar. He talks something with the staff, and buys a pair of drinks to be anonymously delivered to Altamira's table. He gets out of sight before they reach the destination- Altamira makes an ugly face at her drink as she tries it, and shoves it back to the waiter. The gunner, however, just drinks his completely.
Serenity‘ is getting more than one drink then, sounds like, and begins to complain at length about any random thing that crosses her mind to the startled engineer. Starting with the sand. Oh my goddess all this damn sand. And heat. And who the hell even accepts a job for a research expedition in the middle of fuck ass nowhere, and all her coworkers a re dumb and etc etc etc.
The engineer seems to really empathize, and is very quick to start his own rambling at how terrible his life is as well, bad coworkers, bad boss… Although something just feels kind of wrong in the way he describes things, particularly pertaining his boss (not quite Altamira but someone else)… You’re not quite certain you've ever heard of someone having so much… control over those they employ
JayM: It's not but a couple of minutes before the gunner has to excuse himself
JayM: Sadly, nobody invented a public version of what he's looking for a the moment yet, at least not here. So he sets off running towards the house where Altamira and crew has been staying at- It's a long ways
JayM: If you want an opening, it's now
Harriet: "(Hughbert, looks like you're up!)"
Amal scoots right in, as soon as the gunner's out of sight - and there's a flash of a certain specific signet ring, and a quiet conversation…
[OOC] Amal: or- oh shit
Hughbert steps under the tarp and into the shade (if only from the moonlight), and pulls out the seat besides Altamira for himself. He flashes her a smile. "Mind if I buy a round, Baronness?"
[OOC] Amal: oh nevermind that's fine
The baroness looks suitably surprised "I certainly wouldn't" she looks Hughbert completely from top to bottom "So rare to find good manners these days"
Hughbert waves down the waiter and gets an order placed. While he mixes everything, Hughbert continues, "Then I'd presume your companions are about as mindful as mine, no? I'd hope they're at least reliable help, to compensate."
Altamira: "Oh, at least one certainly is. But you can never know with those commoners"
Altamira: "And who do I have the pleasure of speaking with?"
Hughbert: "Lieutenant Hughbert Marcel, Masharas R+D Corps. Pleased to meet you."
Altamira nods gently "Ah, an officer of Masharas. I wonder what you would be doing in this… Unique… Desert"
Hughbert: "Here on business, naturally." He takes the chance to pull out two sheets of paper, which he lays down on the table- a questionable tea recipe, and a decryption guide. "And if I'm not wrong, since you've got the unmistakable confidence that Altamira Geist carries, my business bring me to you. Take a look at this…" After a moment, he puts a third sheet down- his own handwriting, rather than her familiar guards' script. "A quick
Hughbert: transcription, if you're not good at ciphers. "
Altamira raises an eyebrow, and looks at the papers. She does takes a while to read and decypher the tea recipe "… I had heard that the officers of Masharas were… Good in their job" she is staring holes through the papers
Altamira: "(Have they seriously…)"
Altamira: "… Do not misunderstand me, I appreciate what you have done but… I know you have your own interested, Lieutenant" she looks at Hughbert "What is it?"
Hughbert: "Yours to keep, regardless, by the way. Consider that a token of trust. You'll need it, because I believe you can use that to right the wrongs that have been committed against you. You see now that your mission is set to become a tragedy… But the one who suffers need not be yourself."
Altamira gently folds the papers, putting on her pocket "I will… Remember this, Lieutenant Hughbert"
Altamira: "Just remember, I am loyal to my lord"
She looks around for her guards, and spots the engineer talking to Serenity "Ian!" the engineer turns to her suddenly, surprised "Show some dignity! We are leaving"
Altamira stands up, and the engineer scrambles to her side. She nods to Hughbert, and starts heading towards her home
Hughbert: "Of course. But upholding the honor of House Geist will be much easier once you've forced the saboteurs in your midst into the open." He nods to Serenity, then bows politely, adding "Good evening, Baronness," before paying for the drinks. He turns to Serenity, "Want one on me before we go?"
Serenity‘ sighs, gives a wave as the engineer scrambles to follow her out. Then finishes off the most recent drink a bit more slowly.
Serenity: "Sure."
Hughbert gestures for the others to come out from their watch and join in. "Your acting was phenomenal. I almost believed the part about how you don’t absolutely adore your teammates."
Amal lets the gunner escape their conversation at a fortuitous moment, of course.
You're left to your own devices for now. Although at this point the waiter brings not just Serenity one more drink, but basically one for the entire party, plus some slices of fruit that seems to be just cold enough to help offset the heat of the early night "On the house, really. Thanks for getting rid of her"
Serenity: "Acting? Oh, yeah. I'm fucking amazing."
Harriet munches on that fruit. "Oh, that's delightful. Good job, guys."
Serenity: "Not the kind of bar snack I'm used to… but I like it.
The bar seems to pick up some more as time passes, as the night grows deeper and the time on the clock matches the darkness in the sky
It isn't until considerably later that you finally see the fruitos of your labor. It isn't any more fanfare than the sound of an engine that doesn't belongs, growing distant. Should you decide to be curious, you will see what looks like a modified akavir APC already a distance away from the city when you get it in sight, past the banners and pathway
JayM: Was it truly so urgent for her?
Serenity‘ squints, hand over her eyes. "Y’think she took her guards with her?"
Hughbert: "…Huh. Perhaps, though if they did, they may wish they hadn't. Well, if she's acting immediatelty, the ensuing paperwork is very likely to be a death sentence for that contract."
Amal: "…I think she did. Heh."
Amal: "Someone's about to get thrown the entire book at. Wish I were a fly on the wall."
Serenity: "Awesome. Mission accomplished."
Harriet: "We did it, we're the best."
Harriet: "So, like, what's next?"
JayM: That was the most immediate part of your deal with Kestrel
JayM: The other, well, that'd require contacting Masharas to arrange the rest of the deal
Serenity: "Make sure whatshisface is onboard with the deal still, I guess."
Hughbert: "The deadline IS still a few days off, so I believe it'd be wise to check back in before it's too late and ensure nothing went amiss. Otherwise, tomorrow morning we will be moving onto our next goal." He gives a nod and a smile to Malik. "Great work today, Corporal."
Malik smiles and nods "Not bad for a first assignment, eh?"
Malik: "Knew I was right in changing jobs"
Harriet: "Wait, so what'd you do before this?"
Serenity: "The Oracle thing, Harriet."
Malik: "I was going to join the church's support staff"
Harriet: "Oh, yeah, I guess that does count as a job."
Hughbert: "You wouldn't have gotten to travel as much, for sure. Ah, on that note, you should take it a bit slower on your way home. I'm sure you've got spare budget to rack up some travel expenses- Amal can tell you all about what places you won't want to miss eating at, I'm sure."
Anton: "It's different from your research, that's for sure!"
Malik has a sort of awkward laugh "I am never asking one of those mail people to 'Go as fast as you can' ever again"
Malik: "They don't just have good vehicles… They're crazy"
Malik: "What's wrong with these people"
Amal: "Haha, can I ever!"
Malik: "That would be great, i'd love to enjoy the trip a bit this time"
Harriet: "Oh, try all the fruity drinks!"
Hughbert nods. "We tried keeping up with one of those motor bikes in our car. I'm not sure if you should feel more sorry for the motor bike that had to hold back, or our car that did her very best."
Once you're ready, you can return to Kestrel's house to ask him about the continuance of the deal…
Although once you enter you're surprised to find the living room packed full, twelve people of varying ages all mingling about, some conversing, some reading, some younger ones playing. Kestrel and Lucia are right about the middle of the mess of people.
Harriet: "What is this, some kind of party..?"
Harriet: "I usually only see crowds like this in these sorts of spaces when someone's made a breakthrough they really wanna rub in people's faces."
Serenity: "I think this is just the family." Serenity makes a face.
Lucia looks up from entertaining a young one "Hrm? Oh, right that" she chuckles "No this is just everyone being around at once" she waves in the general direction of the party "Everyone, those are the Masharas people you heard about" she waves to the family "This is the immediate family"
Harriet: "This is immediate..?"
Kestrel, who's apparently working on some papers, comparing them to books beside him, looks up "Yes… For our values of immediate. Which is up to cousin. Most of us don't really grasp families outside aren't this close, but y'know, is how it is"
Amal just chuckles at Harriet's reaction. "Well, yeah."
Kestrel: "Had had any success?"
Serenity: "She's gone."
Hughbert waves! "Well, as long as you're not too busy to talk… She has left, yes."
Kestrel extricates himself from the center of the mess and waves you over to a somewhat more free corner of the room "Ah, good. So that's the first part of the deal done"
Kestrel: "Now, I imagine you remember the second part?"
Serenity: "You *don't* vote some total assholes who want to watch the world burn since you won't be duty bound to do so anymore…?"
Kestrel leans back "Heh… I'll do my best on that part" a pause "Which is to mean yes, that's my part"
Kestrel: "But I still need assistance to rebuild Hidden Valley, otherwise… We'll still be just as vulnerable to being used as we have been"
Harriet: "Rebuilding is my middle name!"
Serenity: "Oh. Well, luckily for you Harriet likes building things and I like bossing people around."
Harriet: "Together we're an unstoppable team."
Amal: "It's true."
Kestrel: "Remember, I asked of you three more things. I need a weather specialist, someone with the skill to rebuild natural landscapes, and literal land, earth. I do know Hughbert already passed that requirement back home the first time we met yesterday, or so you told me anyway, but it bears repeating"
Kestrel chuckles "So you fancy yourself all-skilled, huhn?" he considers "Sure, I guess you've also earned yourselves a trip to Hidden Valley. Particularly so if you can help"
Serenity: "I can't imagine whatever you want us to do is anymore complicated than the continental broadcasting tower or the Groves."
Amal: "Hey we call ourselves the Fatebreakers, either you back that kind of name up or you hit the road!"
Kestrel chuckles "Well… How about we leave tomorrow, then. I feel like it'll be a lot more up your alley than all this cloak and dagger stuff"
Hughbert: "We would've hesitated to accept the task if we had reason to. Before we tackle the next task, however, I believe we need a good night's rest first."
Serenity: "No idea where the hell they're gunna bring earth in fro - oh wait yes I do."
Kestrel: "The room's still avaiable for you. Oh, and do tell if you're missing any food from home. Can't quite say we got anything from Masharas per se, but we've some extra supplies from our spoils from Orsis and I think they're a good enough match to make stuff"
Serenity: "Eh the food's fine as long as you guys chill a bit on the fire peppers, really…"
Kestrel chuckles "Alright, i'll get you something lighter…" he considers for a second "But do try to drink a little bit more milk, then. The peppers are there for a reason, helps keep the airways clean of ash. Milk helps around as much"
Serenity: "That's fine. The milk helps with the taste of hot anyway."
And with a mission accomplished, and a perhaps much more enjoyable mission in the future
We leave the Fatebreakers to rest

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