Travel, the bane of one's existance, particularly when lacking proper means of travel.
Your destination is a small, misty town set at the edge of a lake. The only problem is that it is rather far from where you currently are, and regardless of the wisdom of continuing to use the stolen train it is not accessible by so. Perhaps on purpose such a location was chosen, outside the beaten path, so to say. Takes a full three hours on foot to reach the edge of said lake, but thankfully bartering passage across it from an old fisherman that just happened to be there at the time (far too fortuitous a timing, and he was far too helpful for no reward, but he didn't seem antagonistic at least) is easy and you make your way into the stone pier of the town
It's not large, set at the base of a hill with a large mansion at it's top, there's a dozen or so stone houses that comprise the town in it's entirety, plus the vineyards and sheep pasture that dot the surrounding landscape. You arrive together with the mist, that rolls in from lake in your wake.
Harriet: "Uuuuuuugh. We've invented so many better ways to travel than walking. This is such a pain in the ass. Do you know how heavy all my kit is?" Harriet's been whining for a while, but at least she's relatively quiet.
Your directions tell you to go to the local pub, a small affair mostly for locals called "The Blade And Cup" , it is nontheless a cozy little place that seems to keep a small stock of local specialty just in case travellers show up (it's, no surprise, wine)
Serenity: "That's why I stick to two weapons - my gear and myself."
Harriet: "Yeah, well, I might be called on at any moment to be incredibly clever, and it helps when you have tools."
Serenity: "I'll I'm saying is, you wouldn't be nearly as tired if the lighting gun was also the lava gun was also the ice grenade launcher."
Harriet: "Shit that's actually a good idea."
Amal giggles. "I wasn't sure if Harriet was gonna kill you for that, or get a good idea…"
Serenity: "Of course it was."
Serenity‘ places a hand on Amal’s head, while moving her own towards Hughbert and Anton. "Do we know what the guy we're looking for… looks like?"
Harriet: "If I killed Serenity then I'd only have one scientist to bounce shit off of, and no offense, but Serenity went to a nice comprehensible school for normal people instead of eldritch fuckversity."
Amal giggles!!!
Harriet: "Oh right, our guy. Uuuh… I dunno, if we just do what we do he'll probably turn up?"
Hughbert heads on inside and claims a table for the group. Perhaps the letter specified which one to take to meet our contact at? "Let me read this again, we are looking for…" He flips the letter from Sanger open.
JayM: The letter just says it's a bard you're looking for
JayM: Which happens to be the young man on the far end of the pub, who's playing a rather upbeat love song on a lute, it's a song about missing one's lover but it's… A bit took cheery rather than the usual melancholic tone
Hughbert: "…Anyone who looks like a bard. What our contact 'looks' like seems not-so-important, actually. Harriet, feel free to set your gear down at our table for a moment." Hughbert approaches the bard, waiting for him to end his current song.
Serenity: "…I guess there wouldn't be a lot of musicians all the way out in middle of no where, yeah."
The bad's own demeanor speaks of a jolly nature, his movements are exxagerated and obviously used for damatic effect, especially his short blond hair, getting flicked for emphasis in some points in the song. He dresses in a fairly mild manner, aside from the white cloak he wears.
Harriet: "Thank the Goddess." Harriet goes over and sets down her gear. *Thump.*
Once his song is finished, a couple of people applaud and he bows deeply to them as if in a great stage. Then he smiles and turns to Hughbert "Oh, dear, I seem to have made a new fan!"
Hughbert: "Your performance was splendid. A friend of mine encouraged me to come hear you perform, and I'm glad we stopped by here to do so." Hughbert adds in a hushed tone. "My friend's name is mister Sanger," before continuing normally, "If you'd like a drink, you'd be welcome to join my companions at our table."
He smiles "Certainly" he says in a pleasant tone, following Hughbert to the table "My, what a veritable congregation of beauties are your friends, master Hughbert" he waits for Hughbert to sit before sitting down
Serenity‘ opens her mouth, closes her mouth. "Actually I guess we are collectively pretty hot, huh?"
Anton: "Amal especially." He nods sagely.
Bard: "Ah, yes, like angels sent by the Goddess herself, to soothe this bard’s pained heart" he says overly dramatically "The name's Ignis, it's an indescribable pleasure to meet you"
Hughbert doesn't keep him waiting and sits. "It's very likely our rating will rise by a number or two after we've had the chance to clean up from our little three-hour hike… I'd introduce myself, but I don't believe that's necessary. I hope we didn't keep you waiting long."
Serenity: "No doubt." Serenity mumbles something under her breath while offering a hand.
Amal blushes.
Serenity: "Don't worry Amal no one was including you in that."
Harriet: "I'm Harriet, I'm amazing, I'm not interested."
Serenity: "Not until you decide to sit in big hulking swordmaster mode again, anyway."
Ignis: "Oh but such an… Otherworldly beauty, of this young man cannot be understated…" he hears Harriet's answer and puts his hand over his chest "Oh, but why must you-" at this point, someone else appears, this person wearing both a cloak and a hood sits down beside the bard, but not before bonking him on the head first "Ow… That was uncalled for" "
Harriet: "What? No, this guy. I don't date artists."
Hooded Man: "We've work to discuss, do not be distracted by your flirtatious antics"
Anton: "Isn't an artists cycle of self-loathing similar to inventing things?"
Harriet: "Yeah, but one of them needs you to be smart."
Ignis: "Ooh… Are you jealous? I could certainly understand-"
Anton raises a hand to his mouth before smiling apologetically at the bard.
Hooded Man: "Really? Can we get down to it already? The viscount can't hide us here forever"
Hughbert: "Right, we came here to talk business… Mister…?"
Ignis clears his throat, there's a certain strange shift in his tone of voice, it's quite clear he's speaking seriously as this "Well, then… Let's not leave our guests waiting for their assignment, then. But let's, also, not aggravate them needlessly. Is there any particular task you find too unsavory? As it stands, I have three tasks that'll be very important, sabotaging a large armament factory, stealing intelligence and some project work
Hooded Man: "There's no need for my name at this time"
Serenity‘ gives Hughbert a look. "You already forgot his name…?"
Hughbert gives Serenity a puzzled look, but stays focused on the task at hand. "Espionage is not our primary expertise. Tell us about the project first, then perhaps the sabotage."
Amal can’t help giggling a little bit. It's nice to know they're not the only party full of goofballs. "Honestly, we've been pretty goody-two-shoes so far. I think we've been looking forward to getting our hands dirty~. So don't worry about it! Whatcha got?"
Serenity: "Neither of those sounds especially bad….?"
Harriet: "Don't worry, I wasn't going to remember your name anyway. I'd be better at sabotage than stealing, but what's the project?"
Ignis nods "You are aware of how the most recent… Catastrophe caused severe landscape damage, including three fourths of our military factories. They're areas that need reconstruction, and one in particular isn't recieving permission not even to rebuild the local town until some very strange specifics are fulfilled"
Ignis: "I would like to say this is merely an attempt to prevent or stall the resconstruction of an area of importance to me, but given how the specific appears to be some form of wall, I believe there is more to it"
Amal: "Hehehe. We haven't met a fate we can't break yet!"
Ignis: "Unfortunately, I am currently… Lacking in engineering expertise at the moment along my allies, and was hopeful you could take up that slack"
Serenity‘ scrunches up her face.
Harriet: "See? Told you I’d need tools."
Hooded Man: "There are a series of towns that have had those strange reinforced walls built on them, I have friends investigating the direction they are point towards"
Hughbert: "Ah, right. If those are the fortifications I'm thinking of… It's likely that they are designed to protect settlements from a sort of feedback or discharge of a weapon of unnecessarily huge size."
Serenity: "So uh how does helping getting the military industry back up and running help us exactly?"
Ignis: "This happens to be the only factory currently supplying the Imperial Guard, which is no longer there."
Serenity: "Aha."
Ignis: "Standing opposite to the Reinford's Four Factories, currently supplying the house of commons and the chancellor, which I would have you sabotage their armament branch. Factories Two and Four are nearby eachother, with Four being their military branch and Two being their public utilities branch, I would have the sabotage happen without damage to Factory Two if possible"
Amal: "Hehehe. That sounds fun!"
Hooded Man: "As for the intelligence theft, it is to validate Hughbert's claim and if it is real to find it's location. Currently there is a fort where the intelligence service currently stores most of their information, or personnel that holds said information, we would have you infiltrate and acquire"
Hooded Man: "An acquaintance that serves at the fort should provide you entrance, but that is as far as they can take you"
Ignis nods "I do have others aiding me in my quest, although I would appreciate if you would take those more dangerous tasks
Hughbert: "Hmm… Just to be clear. Are you requesting we handle all three of these, or just what we're most suited towards?"
Ignis: "All three, if you would be comfortable"
Serenity: "Shouldn't be too hard. Amal and Anton and go steal the stuff, the rest of us can go help with town repairs, then meet up to sabotague the factory."
Anton: "Sounds good to me!"
Harriet: "Sounds like a plan. Stealing stuff isn't really in my wheelhouse."
Hughbert raises an eyebrow. "You must have enjoyed that dinner at my home quite a bit. You're awakening your inner strategist, Serenity."
Serenity: "Man that's one's not even hard. That's literally what me and Harriet do for a living, and between Amal and Anton it's not like anyone else would have fuck all to contribute to theft."
Hooded Man: "Serenity, also be cautious. They have been prototyping a some new form of defense against your skillset, so you may have trouble applying it so freely"
Serenity: "What, gear-less casting specifically?"
Harriet: "Did they go in for electricity? Please tell me they went in for electricity."
Hooded Man: "No, your ability to influence other's gears. They have been working on a way to insulate against outside effect"
Serenity: "Oh."
Hooded Man: "I am uncertain as to how effective it is at this point, but it is there"
Harriet: "Uuuugh they had one job."
Hughbert: "…Though, I believe I'd best help with the infiltration. I may be able to command your allies to help us move freely in a safe, discreet manner. Plus my investigative talents may be required to pull a tricky document from a bureaucratic crevice."
Serenity: "Well I mean they should be doing that anyway even without me existing, that's how you keep your shift from spontanously combusting."
Serenity‘ shrugs in Hughbert’s direction. "Don't matter to me none where ya go, you'll basically just be middle managing in either case."
Ignis: "Well, to commemorate a plan being formed, here!" he puts down ten pieces of paper down- Those look like tickets for something "Two for each, each one a train trip. I know you left your flagship vehicle behind, and I would have loved the chance to ride on it, so those should prove to be very helpful" "
Harriet: "Okay you're my favourite now."
Hughbert: "It was an unfortunate necessity. We'd hate to get any bullet holes on her. Much appreciated!"
The hooded man also hands down a map "This shows where the facilities are, i've arranged with the viscount transport to here" he points a nearby town "Where you'll find a train station"
Hooded Man: "On a twist of fate, or perhaps due to his influence, your pretenders are incredibly unlike you in appearance, so you shouldn't be identified at first glance if you keep a low profile"
Serenity: "Neat."
Amal: "Hehehe, this is great!"
The tinkling bell of someone entering the pub. Neither of your companions turn to look, but the hooded man looks at Ignis for a moment, who sighs. "Unfortunately we must part ways at this time, I wish you good luck then. Don't worry, i'll know when you succeed" he nods to his companion and they go to leave
Serenity‘ scoops up her tickets while glancing towards the door.
Harriet: "See ya, try not to die."
A woman dressed in rather plain looking clothes, although rather outdated in style, has made her way in. She heads to the bar, and when she sits down is when your companions leave. A moment after they do so, she makes to stand up but the barkeep suddenly draws her attention with something- He manages to distract her for a couple of minutes before she disengages
Hughbert salutes. "Now then… I believe we have time to wash up and change before our train. I’ll get us a room to do so. After all, it wouldn't do to smell like sweaty hikers while trying to keep a low profile." He gets up to place such a reservation.
Serenity: "Awesome."
There is a local inn, it's a small affair with only four rooms which don't seem to see a lot of use
Thankfully, it's also cheap so there's no great damage to your wallet, isn't it so convenient that all countries use the same currency at effectively same exchange rate? Not like you'd notice that.
The night passes quite uneventfully, except for a bit of noise that comes from the viscount's manor- Which you learn also serve as a training grounds for swordsmen, there's apparently a famous swordsmanship school in this town. Nontheless the breakfast is simple and filling, if not a bit on the heavy side, as you'd expect from people who do heavy work from the morning to the afternoon
Harriet is totally fine with a heavy breakfast, knowing how often she forgets lunch.
Nontheless at the time of your choice you'll have transport avaiable, it's a simple farmer's truck but it has an ample front cabin capable of carrying all of you. It's a happy older farmer that's taking you, and the trip isn't too long either.
The town you arrive at is actually rather busy, it seems to serve as a trade hub for the smaller towns around, there's even a great building that looks like a giant warehouse that's apparently a market. Bulk-trade only, unfortunately, so no stopping for snacks on the way. In fact, most of the town appears to be focused on bulk-trade in one way or another, your driver takes his truck to get serviced at a local shop after he drops you off.
The train station itself is 90% material transport, but it handles such a variety of food and livestock it doesn't looks nearly as industrial as the previous trains you've seen. There is, however, a smaller segment dedicated to passenger transport, which seems to be serviced by a considerably small train. From here you can get to your primary assault locations: Fort Glass, such an ironic name for a fort but because it was originally repurposed from a glass factory in some ancient war, is the closest while the Archylte Steppe where the reconstruction project is going on is much farther northeast and will take a while to reach.
Serenity: "Hehe, fort glass."
JayM: The final location of the mission, the sabotage, can very easily be reached by train, the Red Basin appears to be a very, very large manufactoring city at, you guessed it, a basin. Why would they make a manufactoring city at a flood-prone place nobody knows
JayM: I'm willing to handle any mission right now, you wanna split and synch-handle or do one at a time?
[OOC] Hughbert: anybody need to go afk for Life Things Happening?
[OOC] Hughbert: if not, we might as well unpark all of julian's cores and synch the two
[OOC] Hughbert: welp, nobody has spoken up so let's do that!
JayM: Alright, then. So Harriet/Serenity off to the Archylte Steppe and the rest towards Fort Glass
Harriet: "Now this is my idea of a girl's night out."
Serenity: "Haha."
Serenity: "The only down side to Hughbert being gone means I probably have to project manage…"
Harriet: "I mean, if it's just the two of us, coordination shouldn't be too hard."
Harriet: "We don't have to deal with any morons, after all."
Serenity‘ shakes her head. "Goddess, no. We’re not fixing up an ENTIRE town on our own. That's way too much grunt work."
Harriet: "Uuuugh… yeah, I guess you're right, we're gonna have to involve the locals."
Harriet: "There's got to be someone in this place who knows a wrench from a winch, right?"
Serenity: "Well, I imagine there's a crew on site, probably. Or some in charge of public works at their town hall, at least. They pretend not to be backwater hicks here, anyway."
[OOC] Serenity: someone^
Harriet: "Let's get on-site, if we go to town hall we might get waylaid by politicians."
Serenity: "Works for me, wandering around town with little direction'll help us get a lay of the land and scope of the issues anyway."
Harriet: "Yeah, problems do tend to just kinda jump out at us."
Harriet: "Then we fix them and everyone loves us."
Harriet: "That's, like, my entire MO."
The train rides are at least pleasant business, nothing at all like the frantic, maniacal speed of the first stolen train no, this is a lot more well paced and considerably more enjoyable. It helps that since the trips are rather long the trains both have food cars as well, making the trip just that much more enjoyable. The two teams drop off at completely different looking locations, however
The station doesn't drops you at Fort Glass, why would it, but it does drops at a town no more than half an hour on foot from it. It's actually rather barren for a town, not a lot of people, but a bit of an excess of stores, it's such a lazy town as well that seems to somehow thrive on commerce. Once you get close enough to see the fort, however, you understand why. Fort Glass is a great structure where you can imagine easily three or four hundred people working, there's a perimeter wall and the fort itself seems to have been renovated a lot over the years, giving it a slightly chaotic shape but nothing out of the ordinary (aside from one tower that's only connected via bonded ragnite plates, making it float eerily in the air)
The Archylte Steppe, you've never seen just such rolling grasslands before. As your train travelled to it's destination you realized how much the scenery changed over time, the great sea of green only shattered by the clear line of the catastrophe, a single cleft in the earth spanning as far as the eye can see. Here in the steppe you can see something a little unusual too: Packs of wild horses, sometimes running in the distance. They drop you in a small rural town, it's a bit of a weird town as well as among the houses, mostly made out of wood, there's a handful of tents. The town you're actually looking for is further northeast, and you need to take another transport there, unfortunately the terrain is just uneven enough that cars are problematic to drive and there are no roads. There's a brave trader who offers to take you on his truck, however, since he's heading there anyway
Of note, the trader in the Archylte Steppe has two particular traits to him that call to attemtion, he's something like a scarf tied around his waist and something on it feels familiar, and he also has a gas mask tied to his left forearm
Harriet: "So, what's with the mask?" Never mind his name.
The man looks at Harriet "Oh, the mask? A… Reminds of home, you could say"
Harriet: "Gas masks remind you of home? Must've been a hell of a place."
Driver: "Sure was"
Serenity: "Mining town, or other kind of hell hole?"
Driver: "Oh, almost literally a hell hole, you wouldn't believe it. I'm not actually from Akavir, if you'd believe it. Just working here for now"
Harriet: "It was totally a volcano, wasn't it?"
Drive: "Oh? How'd you guess that on the first?"
Harriet: "I've been to a lot of places."
Serenity: "…Oooh. Yeah that makes sense then."
Harriet: "But honestly, it was the gas mask that gave it away. Not many places you'd call home which also need those."
Harriet: "Are you one of the guys who came here on commission?"
Driver: "Yep, I did. I guess we're done with that? I got distracted by another project, though"
Harriet: "Oh yeah, you're super done with that. It was a whole thing, we did something clever." \
Harriet: "What's this other project?"
Driver: "Oh, so it's you guys? Weren't there supposed to be more?" he thinks for a moment "It's… Well, you'll see, we're getting close"
And you finally arrive at the town… And it honestly looks considerably bad as the cleft in the earth seems to have tore the town in a literal half, with small portions of it to each side of the cleft. There's a temporary bridge built linking the two sides. There's a side wherein you can see what looks like the foundation of some greater structure has recently been put, but work has completely halted. Both of the halves of the town have some people milling around, looking rather miserable. As the driver stops he heads down a group comes by to pick up what he brought, it's mostly food that gets distributed, but there's some some raw construction material, real base level stuff like wood and stone.
Serenity: "We're shit at what the others are doing, and they're shit at what we need to do here so we took different trains."
Serenity: "Actually I guess Amal could help here too but I mean, more useful to Anton."
Serenity: "Also this place looks fucking wild."
Serenity: "Wonder if they plan on trying to fill the ravine or just, like, building around it."
Harriet: "Yeah, they really did a number on this place. So, who're the engineers on site?"
Kinar: "It's… Me, at best. Kinar by the way. This is my project, helping fix this place. Honestly they got a lot of people used to hard labor, but hardly anyone with actual engineering skill"
Harriet: "Oh, good, that's actually the best configuration possible for us."
Harriet: "Hi, we're the actual engineering skill."
Kinar: "There's no way we're filling that in, we're going to set up a bridge, scale it up enough we could conceivably run a train line on it, need to think of the future. But we need to build the wall first and I can't get an idea on how to do it"
Kinar: "Ah, so you must be Harriet, man it's a relief having you here" he looks at Serenity "That'd make you Serenity, right?"
Serenity: "Yup!"
Serenity: "What's the hold up with the wall then? Walls are like, super basic. Especially if you're not putting stuff on top of them."
Kinar: "That's the case… It needs very specific energy dissipation values, it can't be just any wall it needs to be capable of shielding against either giga-joules of singular impact"
Harriet: "Well, that's one way to make a wall interesting."
Kinar: "That's… That's one hell of a force, that can take down any way I could make"
Harriet: "Okay! What materials do we have around?"
Serenity: "Oh, reinforced blast walls. Yeah okay that would do it."
Kinar: "Well, right now we have mostly limestone and wood, if I wrangle my suppliers I can get access to iron, steel, ragnite…"
Serenity‘ pulls a notepad out of Harriet’s supplies and starts taking down note on project specifications needed, and a list of available materials.
Kinar: "Let's see… I'm not sure if I call home I can get anything actually here but they can surely try"
Serenity: "…They wanted you to make a townwide blast wall with… limestone and wood…?"
Serenity: "Whoever gave you this job definitely doesn't deserve to have theirs."
Harriet: "Okay, well, we're gonna need the ragnite."
Kinar: "It's…" he winces "Actually, it's me. The wall's not supposed to be built it, but i'm not letting the reconstruction continue without it… I know it needs to be here and- I just recently managed to get access to some extra resources"
Serenity‘ gives him a skeptical look.
Kinar: "Okay, let me be sincere. I’ve been fooling everyone that's been trying to get this place rebuilt, because I know the backfire is going to annihilate this place without the wall, I just barely got access to resources because the chancellor doesn't wants any infrastructure supporting the prince rebuilt"
Kinar: "So I need to pul la miracle off here"
Harriet: "Oh, so they want to sacrifice the town."
Harriet: "That's kind of a dick move."
Kinar: "Yes, yes"
Serenity: "In their defense if it's already mostly destroyed it's probably cheaper to put funds into bulking another town up but… yeah fair point. No point in rebuilding if it's just gunna be blasted to shit immediately."
Harriet: "Hey, Serenity. Can you do your thing and find me a deposit of natural ragnite?"
Harriet: "I've got an idea."
Serenity: "Hmm…" She tilts her head, looking distracted.
Harriet: "See, there's no way we can build a wall that'll absorb all that energy from wood and limestone… if you want it to survive. But if you want something that'll absorb one huge blast, we can use the properties of ragnite to do that, and with the materials we've got on hand, we should be able to neutralise the knock-on blasts."
Harriet: "Like, you do any work with fuel cores? Ragnite which absorbs sufficient energy disperses to nearby ragnite. Basic principles. So we use the wall to direct the energy up and away, wood's a pretty good absorbing factor, the force gets transmitted to a nearby ragnite pocket, everyone's safe. Oh, the wall probably shatters like an eggshell, but what do you want for a setup like this?"
Serenity‘ makes a vague while sort of vaguely gesturing north.
Serenity: "Kin, what’s the deal a couple of clicks north of here?"
Kinar: "North? Well, there's nothing there"
Kinar: "I mean, that's the direction the wall will have to face, but other than that"
Serenity: "Huh… wonder what she ment by recent shed blood then."
Harriet: "Oh, yeah, eighty giga-joules definitely sheds blood."
Harriet: "I mean, honestly speaking, that's a really impressive amount of force."
Serenity‘ scratches at her head.
Serenity: "Well, there’s a huge untapped vein around there, though I suspect Some Weird Shit is going on with it."
Harriet: "Okay, well, I guess we're gonna find out what's going on, because that's our meal-ticket."
Serenity: "My first guess was that's where the gunfort's being set up but apparently not? SO yeah."
Kinar: "Recent shed blood?" he furrows his eyebrows "I mean, the Steppe is perhaps the most conflict-free part of Akavir, hell as far as I know none of their conquest wars happened here the people of the Steppe just… Joined on their own. I think there's some more history to that but it was otherwise peaceful too, for all the town's offered to have the imperial guard industries built here, this place has never seen actual war"
Kinar: "So, recently even? Unless something happened just now, I wouldn't know"
Serenity: "Only one way to find out I guess."
Harriet: "Let's go blindly into the face of danger!"
Serenity: "Now I miss Anton and Hughbert."
Harriet: "Oh, sure, because sneaking up behind the face of danger is so much better."
Harriet hefts her ECC. "We'll be fine!"
Serenity: "Well, yes."
Kinar: "Well, you sure do seem ready. Good luck out there"
Harriet: "Besides, ragnite veins are so totally your thing. You can just do something clever."
Serenity: "Borrowin' your car by the by." Serenity says while climbing into the driver's seat. "
Fortunately, the trip is short. Even more so, it's uneventful?
Aside from the rolling hills, there really is nothing going on here. The wind blows gently and the grass wave, yet there is no sign of anything having happened, or anything going to happen
Harriet: "Man. This place is picturesque. It's too bad they're gonna fire a doomsday weapon and hit it all with the blowback."
Serenity‘ heads on towards the part nearest the surface, so there’s less drilling involved.
Serenity: "The sacrifices people make for global domination, I guess."
The lowest part of the hills, it's over here
Serenity‘ parks off to the side, then lets Harriet set up the extraction equipment while attempting to coax it closer to the surface, gently.
The process is kind of slow, this bit of ragnite seems particularly adamant against manipulation, nothing unnatural but certainly the most resilient type
Harriet rigs up the equipment and lets Serenity get to work.
You hear a whistle to the side, however. "What she means with recently shed blood is her own, by the way" when you turn to look, it’s Alcor "I never would have expected her to actually take any proactive action… But no, there you have it, a literally recently-born ragnite deposit" he looks genuinely astounded
Serenity: "I didn't realize she was capable of doing that."
Harriet: "Oh, cool. That makes this three against… how many passengers have you got now?"
Alcor: "I didn't realize she was willing to do that" he muses "Which is even more astounding…" he smiles "I just… Honestly felt you had to notice this, since Amal isn't here to do the other half of noticing it for you"
Alcor: "Hrm… I wonder…" he closes his eyes for a moment "Well, anyway. I'll see you at the Grand Carronade, be ready for it" he says, a ring of light appears under his feet- And in a flash, he disappears
JayM: Still… What a strange, strange interlude
Serenity: "I mean, it was a thought rolling around in the back of my head, but also seems comparable to me telling my heart to start spitting out blood in a new direction so…" Serenity shrugs.
Serenity: "What's your deal any- … well, okay then."
Harriet: "Go ahead and let the door hit you on the way out!" Harriet calls after him.
Harriet: "Ugh, I can't believe that guy."
Serenity‘ pauses, looking horrified.
Harriet: "Huh? What’s up?"
JayM: But one way or another, you can get access to the ragnite vein. It's not so difficult to set the infrastructure you need, you can't do it all now, you'll need someone to buy a great deal of tubing and run it that-a-way but the grunts they can do that job, it would take concerted effort to fuck it up
Harriet will be sure to write instructions.
Serenity: "Wait, you don't think Alcor has a thing for me, do you? I mean Cor was almost as pretty as me when she was younger and we're both kind of sassy…"
Harriet: "Oh, ew! That's the last thing we need, our arch-nemesis getting all kissy and shit."
Harriet: "Why is it always with the kissing? Ugh."
Harriet: "Look, if he tries to make a pass at you I'll brain him with my cannon, deal?"
Serenity: "I know right! Would explain all the weird uncessary attentino I get when Anton's right there though…"
Harriet: "I mean, would it be any better if it were Anton?"
Serenity: "Yes, absolutely."
Serenity: "For one it could be not creepy since they actually have personal connection,"
Harriet: "Yeah, but Anton might actually flirt back, and then we'd have mid-combat banter."
Serenity: "And even if Alcor was creepin'… better Anton than me."
Harriet: "It's a lot harder to zap people who are just casually talking about things which matter to them. It's like they're people!"
Harriet: "Definitely gotta draw a hard line under anyone flirting with that guy."
Serenity: "That just gives you more time to get the charge up time goin'."
Serenity: "Though I mean, yeah, obviously none of us would want to return the gesture."
Harriet: "Goddess, no. We have taste."
Harriet: "Well, we have sense."
Serenity: "I have both of those, thank you very much."
Serenity‘ fills up a few containers on ragnite to get a head start on the project, then drives on back into town.
Harriet: "I’m gonna be honest, everything I know about fashion I learned from my mother."
Harriet: "I just don't care enough, you know?"
Serenity: "Believe me, I know."
The drive isn't long, and nothing has changed on the trip, time it took aside. You find Kinar sitting down working on a blueprint ,a house apparently
He sets it down and looks at you as you park "Oh, there you are, how was it?"
Serenity: "Good! Quiet."
Harriet: "The blood thing was metaphorical. Kinda. Well, no one died."
Serenity: "Ragnite seems pretty good quality, hopefully you guys got spare tubing."
Kinar: "Not right now, but I can get my hands on it if need be"
Harriet: "Here's numbered instructions, find someone who won't fuck them up." Harriet hands over her notes.
Serenity: "It'd make your life a lot easier. Literally no one else but us and some other random Oracle even knows that vein exists at the moment, so."
Kinar picks them up "Okay, simple enough. I can get this done soon"
Serenity: "Awesome. Harriet will work on wall blue prints, I'll do some drafts for town utility shit in the meantime."
Harriet: "Good plan, let's get it done."
Combined, the Fatebreaker Engineering Team manages to get the blueprints ready. The hardest part is obviously the wall, and takes considerable time to get right, particularly having to re-check calculations every now and again (you only have one chance at this remember), but you're very confident everything looks correct. Serenity is faced with a bit more problems than she might have expected, either the utilities on both sides of town have ot be separate or they need to connect through the bridge, either way it's going to be a pain, but there's a solution regardless
It's almost by the end of the day when they're done, however. Seems like the people who're living here have mostly been living out in tents or ruined buildings, aside from a half-dozen that have been fully rebuilt and are housing about twice as many as they were built for. Still, this is a hopeful place
Harriet gnaws through 9.5 pencils, fills 12.75 wastebaskets with scrunched-up paper, and shakes down the locals for six cups of coffee. But she does, eventually, draft up a plan she's satisfied with.
JayM: The coffee's a bit strong and a bit flavorless- Subpar beans, for sure, but at least propared right.
Serenity‘ leans back in her chair after calling it a night. "Alright, I guess the design part of engineering is kind of fun when no one’s telling you 'no'."
JayM: Serenity has certainly been prolific
Kinar is looking over the designs, and he honestly looks kind of amazed "Uhn… I will admit, this is mostly way out of my depth, but… If it's you, I suppose it'll work"
Kinar: "Going to put my faith in you, thanks, honestly"
Kinar: "There anything I can do to help back?"
Serenity: "We could probably make a little model wall and blow it up just to double check first, if you want."
Serenity: "Uhhh. Hum." Serenity glances at Harriet, then back at Kinar. "Don't die, don't help them build the fortgun, and, I guess, help the Prince get his shit back up and running if you're gunna be here a while?"
Serenity: "He's the dude we like here."
Harriet: "Yeah, that stuff. Oh, and make sure you get home eventually. Or like, send a letter? Everyone was really worried about you guys out here."
Kinar: "Hah… A little too late for the second one… But alright"
Serenity: "Well, any further, obviously."
JayM: Now isn't it nice, to achieve something to completion?
JayM: But we're not ready quite yet, while Serenity and Harriet start heading back, we turn over to the rest of the team, Hughbert, Anton and Amal
Amal: "Hehe. Bet they're havin' fun, whatever they're doin'."
Before you stands Fort Glass, bit of a haphazard fort in construction over time, but still a very effective one. There's a perimeter wall, just light chain link, and patrols. The intersting thing, however, is that the perimeter wall is chain link for a reason- It is electrified, sufficiently strongly to make sparks.
Amal: "…ooh. Nice."
You have, however, a way inside. That is, you know an insider. You should look for a young intelligence trainee, short hair, glasses, shotgun as his weapon of coice. There's a part to the back of the fort where it leads to a bit of a wooded area, therein is where you find him, resting against a tree, reading a book
Amal: "Hey there, friendo!" Wow, this'd better be the right guy.
The man, or rather barely into his late teen years, looks at you as you approach. He blinks, adjust shis glasses and stands up "Well, the Major told me you were somewhat eccentric, did not expect you to approach me so boldly, however"
Amal: "Meh, I knew it'd be okay."
Amal: "Nice to meet you!"
Hughbert introduces himself, name and rank. "We'll be working with you while we're in the fort."
Charles: "Good to see you here, wait a moment" he picks up a briefcase that was hidden in the brush and pulls out a length of wire with two clamps on it, he walks over to one side of the fence and puts a clamp there, he heads over to a different portion and does the same, after a moment he nods to Hughbert "Charles. Here, I shorted this segment of the fence, just climb over it"
Charles: "You don't look anything like what the chancellor's been parading around"
Amal: "Hehehe."
Amal: "Thanks for the assist. Things are gonna be okay around here, I promise."
Hughbert hops over it. "Thank you. Out of curiosity, what DO our impostors look like?"
Charles: "Alright, the documents you're looking for are in the third floor vault" he pulls out a metallic card out of a pocket, he unfolds it into a really complex key, and folds it back showing you how to do it "This is the key" he closes his eyes for a moment "Don't think they will, but they're going to be better" "
Charles: "Well, yours looks a lot more… Imposing, like, wide shoulders, picture of a general. There's this one really slim one, with the flight boots, super tall and kind of ethereal looking? I mean, nothing like the real Anton. And I guess you're Amal, right? That guy is always wearing a robe and stuff, but, he actually looks like he's not… You know, my age"
Amal: "Hehehe. Nobody expects any of us to be who we are. Makes it useful for situations like this!"
Charles: "Yeah. Their advisor got it completely wrong. Thankfully, nobody's going to think you are who you are"
Charles: "Then again don't get caught, okay? The best way up is taking the garage's entrance, head for the stairwell and head up that one, it's normally empty at this time"
Hughbert: "Alright. Not to worry. I'll stay alert for any traces of patrols."
Said garage is right over there, there's a couple of large volume personnel transports, and a pair of trucks as well. The garage seems empty at this point, in fact you just see one of the mechanics go inside. There's a small doorway off the side heading in
Hughbert heads into the garage side door, after making sure that mechanic won't see, and looks for a good spot to scout out the garage.
Amal looks thoughtful…
The garage is… Empty as it is. There's no car inside at the moment, but there's an engine on the table being worked on. There's only one way out through a large double-door
A cool breeze blows from behind Hughbert
Hughbert motions for the others to enter before going in and heading towards the next door.
Amal taps Hughbert on the arm - and starts guiding the group of them through the garage. "(Stairwell's empty. Meeting on the second floor so we gotta stay real quiet.)"
Hughbert nods. "(Seems you've got a grasp of the layout. What do you want me to keep my eyes open for, then?)"
As Amal said, the stairwell is in fact empty, first floor's easy enough to get through, nobody to see you, but as you're halfway through the stairs to the second floor you hear voices- The exact opposite of fortuitous timing, whatever meeting was going on, it has ended just now and people are filtering into the hallway, discussing things, right in your way
Hughbert listens intently on the voices with his ears, his eyes looking for a convenient shelter to duck into…
Amal gives Hughbert a big thumbs up!
Hughbert: "I apologize in advance, seems this installation doesn't have a 'little higher-dimensional-beings room', so we'll have to grab some stalls in the mens' room." Hughbert takes the lead and guides the party into a bathroom to avoid the rush.
Anton chews at his lip. "So what's your approach, Hugh?"
Hughbert takes you to the bathroom, which is honestly quite a nice one, considerably larger than it'd need to be, but it's there and easy enough to hide in.
JayM: I promise you'll be safe as longa s you keep your pants on
Hughbert: "Once the meeting crowd disperses, we continue onwards. We must be patient."
Amal: "Haha, I knew you'd know where to lead us~."
Anton: "I'll let you know when anyone important is out of the way."
Takes a long while, but the crowd eventually disperses. Thankfully nobody needed to use the bathroom, but you manage to make your way up the next flight of stairs
The third floor, which seems empty at first glance. The place you want, according to the sign there, is down this corridor and to the left.
Anton: "Two people up ahead, by the way. Don't seem to be moving."
Hughbert: "Hmm… Guards, perhaps?"
Anton: "Got it in one. Well trained I might add."
Anton: "They're basically flat out looking at the only way in."
Amal: "Hmmmmm."
Amal: "So… distraction, right?"
Amal: "Any bright ideas?"
Anton: "The door is locked on top of that, but there is a window we can get into if they're distracted."
Hughbert: "I don't think both of them would chase after an intruder-shaped image if we sent one then. But if we can enter through a window, then that might be good enough."
Anton: "It's pretty much guard duty 101 that one leaves to investigate and the others stay, yeah."
Anton: "I did say they were well trained~."
Amal: "…a really good distraction?" They're doing their best here. It'd be nice not to have to kill anyone!
Anton scratches his head before glancing at Hughbert.
Anton: "You know me. I'd send an image out or taunt something and roll away on my force boots. I'm out of ideas." He grins.
Hughbert: "Is there a safe spot within listening range but outside of line-of-sight that I could observe them? Perhaps I can overhear something."
Amal: "Maaaaybe…"
JayM: You couldstand by the door, they seem to be stationary and it'd be easy enough to listen (it IS closed)
Amal veeery quietly sneaks everyone up to the door…
The guards really should be silent, but they're just human after all. There's a bit of chatter, you get the feeling they've been here for a while. From te looks of it the shift change should happen soon, that'd be one possibility. Or you could wait a bit more for a different one
Amal: "(Mmm. Probably just hang out until the shift change, we're in no hurry…)"
Anton scratches his head. "Did we have a timeline on when we needed to be back by?"
Hughbert: "(If we could pose as their relief, we could get them to leave… I wonder if either of you could pull off that sort of disguise. It'd be a problem if they're required to wait for relief to show up first.)"
Anton: "(Oooooor just a suggestion. We could just go through the window.)"
Hughbert: "(I suppose their attention would be elsewhere during the change… Alright, I'll go in and get what we need. Anton, can you keep an eye and make a distraction if I need one to get out?)"
Anton salutes. "(Aye aye, captain.)"
JayM: Alright, so you're going to wait until shift change and then Hughbert's going in while Anton gets ready to provide a distraction?
JayM: Alright
Hughbert scoots back to be out of line of sight of the next patrol, getting an eyefull of the window's opening and/or locking mechanism on the way back.
Hughbert: "(And if there's suddenly a second door made of flowers or stars or some unfathomable construction material, then I'll know who to thank for that, Amal.)" He adds that with a grin.
Takes a little while, but the shift change comes by. They head inside, and Hughbert follows just closely enough to go undetected. He gets a peek inside, and the four guards are talking something- One of them makes an inquisitive noise and- It appears that he has noticed his gun has some form of defect going on, to which the other three decide to assist him before they leave, what a serendipitous occurance.
JayM: If you're careful, the vault door's right there, unfold the key and open it, you can make it inside- Which- What is this, an obvious security flaw nobody expected? Admittedly it is very high up, but why isn't the window inside the vault barred?!
JayM: Either way, you find the documents you want, they're on an unmarked folder but a bit of looking and you find the documents regarding the Grand Carronade. You don't, however, have the time to head back out- Thankfully you closed door but you're not locked inside
Anton stage whispers to Amal. "(That's some good foresight zero fating if I ever saw it.)"
Hughbert tucks the folder inside his jacket. "(As narrow as my window is, by my estimate…)" He turns around to another cabinet and flips through it for a moment or two. "(This will do nicely.)" He tucks the second folder into his jacket and begins to exit!
Amal: "(You know it!)"
The window, you notice, was in fact once barred- It just seems like rust hit just the right places for the bars to fall, you can even see them sitting on a slight ledge down below. This would be comical, if it weren't sad. Either way once outside you can definitely get a timely rescue from Anton, getting you back in the corridor. He has to be kind of fast, so nobody notices, but it's doable
Amal: "(Hehehe, they're gonna be SO confused. Think we should leave a note?)"
Hughbert does a tumbling roll forward to get around the corner and safely out of sight! "(Now let's get out of here.)"
Anton considers before replying to Amal. "(Only if we have a cool codename.)"
Amal: "(Maaaannnn if you wanted us to design a calling card we shoulda done that BEFORE the heist. Oh well. Not worth going back now, it'd be too hard to line up all the threads the right away again just for a joke.)"
You manage to get down to the garage, and from there outside- The fence however is no longer shorted out and Charles is nowhere to be seen- It only takes a few seconds to notice he left the wire used for shorting the fence hidden in the tree he was sitting by, however, and it's easy enough to re-do the same steps and head outside
Anton pouts. "(I see how it is. Go back in time to avoid us from getting trainwrecked but now it's too hard~.)"
And… You're home-free, provided you keep your head down until you hit the town and get back on the train
Anton: "(I was meaning to ask, how does that work? I understand you going back in time after something simple fails. But that's more of a 'you're dead' scenario when can you snap your fingers?)"
Amal: "(Well yeah you're not gonna DIE if you can't do something cool. Besides, you're already cool.)"
Amal: "(…ugh dying sucks and I don't want to think about it. I usually bail as soon as I know stuff's not gonna go the way I planned it.)"
Anton: "(So you HAVE died before then?)"
JayM: Seems like you've accomplished more today than I expected.
JayM: I also puttered out bad at the end right there, my apologies. I overestimated my capacities.
JayM: Still, A-Team+Hughbert and Serenity and Harriet (well, seems like the H-Team got split) got each of their missions accomplished. And next week, it's time for some sabotage, and some action.
Amal looks sad :(

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