11/01/3050. Day 49, 5:05
11/01/3050. Day 49, 7:15
Ruin Dmitar was contacted and curtly ordered to a nearby diner. On the way the person who contacted him, Agent Mary Brown (presumably an alias) beckoned him into an ally and demanded his report. She also handed over a specially prepared pistol Black Rose. The pistol appeared designed to aid the detection of targets using optical camouflage, but was also designed for armour piercing rounds. This seemed unnecessary because the problem with sneak suits was they are notoriously poorly armoured.
11/01/3050. Day 49, 8:30
Layne-Lars Kinnesson woke late as she had been working around the clock to complete the data analysis on the communications dampening phenomenon, and presented an Initial Report to Samara Hellstrom, Hauptmann. When she delivered the report she was noticeably more professional as a soldier.
11/01/3050. Day 49, 9:00
In light of Layne-Lars Kinnesson‘s report about the lowlands communication issues and Jacques Dubois’s report about the developing condition in Argyre, Samara Hellstrom, Hauptmann began formulating plans to improve the situation. Her plan revolved around annexing some of the now unused buildings in the Old Quarter of Argyre and establishing a military-industrial cooperative. Like the model for the New Quarter there were advantages to centralised facilities, and it would be possible to set up a government funded complex to process the raw materials from the smaller independent mining companies without forcing them to merge into consortiums as had happened in the New Quarter.
11/01/3050. Day 49, 9:15
While inspecting the Zmey’s facilities Layne-Lars Kinnesson and the communications staff detected a faint sensor contact closing on the base. Samara Hellstrom, Hauptmann ordered weapons active and had the searchlights focus on the location of the signal.
Ruin Dmitar was sent out on foot and found footprints in the area that appeared to belong to a battlesuit. Realising it was still in the area, but unseen, he concluded it must be equipped with stealth technology and that likely meant it was a ComStar operative. He addressed the presumed target, but when the Zmey got a clearer sensor-fix and refocused the searchlights the target jumped away and withdrew, letting Ruin see it was indeed some sort of battle armour.
Layne-Lars Kinnesson went to her battlemech to add a second set of sensor gear, supporting the Zmey and watching for a return of the stealth suit.
11/01/3050. Day 49, 9:30
Jacques Dubois met up with his forces and completed their negotiations with the territory to the north, which had been mainly a marketplace and commercial district now guarded by former shopkeepers. They were eager to join up with Jacque’s ‘South Side’ bloc for protection and also to hopefully restore order (the current chaos was ruining their businesses).
He also helped consolidate his group’s move west into a largely abandoned area which also quickly joined the fold. This however increased Jacques votes in the Orange Council from two to four.
11/01/3050. Day 49, 10:30
The stealth suit tried and failed to approach the Zmey again, but withdrew without being captured. Samara Hellstrom, Hauptmann declared that was ‘strike two’ and if the target returned they were to open fire.
11/01/3050. Day 49, 11:00
Ruin Dmitar left the Zmey to meet up with Jacques Dubois. Almost immediately he was tailed by the stealth suit. Thoroughly fed up with shadowy individuals tailing and surveiling him, Ruin Dmitar moved into an ally and chastised the target, demanding they just approach, ask, and get on with whatever they were there for. He realised the gun was intended for just such a target but decided against using it.
The chastised spy began scanning Ruin’s head, and when queried nodded to affirm that. When questioned Adept VI-Iota Michelle Abnett identified herself and the fact she was not authorised to speak to him. On the other hand this was the first opportunity she had had to close with her target and get detailed scans.
Her initial scans indicated the chip in Ruin’s head might not be the instrument of terror that her order feared.
11/01/3050. Day 49, 11:15
Ruin Dmitar rushed back to the Zmey and had Layne-Lars Kinnesson check him for bugs. As he suspected, he had been bugged and that was how he had been tracked so quickly and easily. Layne-Lars Kinnesson detected a reciever picking up signals from the bug (same frequency) located near the annexed barracks.
The pair then rushed to the abandoned building, and due to their haste caught Adept VI-Iota Michelle Abnett in the act of retrieving it. She was embarrassed to be caught but again impressed by Ruin, starting to fancy him. Still awkward with the direct-contact with her surveillance target, she did her best to explain this was not more secret surveillance but packing up the now-concluded surveillance.
During the conversation Layne-Lars Kinnesson was fascinated with the technology in the Adept’s suit and snuck in questions about the equipment. Now revealed as the sensor and communications expert ComStar was very interested in, Michelle tried to tempts her to come and learn more, but Ruin saw through that and chastised Michelle for attempting to abduct and recruit the ensign.
11/01/3050. Day 49, 12:00
Plans and preparations for the Orange Council meeting were completed.
Samara Hellstrom, Hauptmann went as an independent observer, accompanied by one squad of troops.
Layne-Lars Kinnesson was sent secretly with three squads in a unmarked truck packed with surveillance gear, tasked with maintaining security around the meeting.
Jacques Dubois and Ruin Dmitar went with some of Jacques lieutenants representing his growing ‘South Side’ territory.
Arriving before the scheduled start of the meeting let the various factions mingle.
On arrival Ruin Dmitar was singled out by Adept VI-Iota Michelle Abnett who had come to guard him and pump him for information about various matters including the location of Adept IX-Epsilon Bryce Alexander. There was no doubt she was going to stick close to Ruin and protect him, particularly once Samara Hellstrom, Hauptmann informed her that Dr. Jonas Lange would be arriving shortly and could operate on Ruin to inspect the chip in his head. Michelle accepted the invitation to attend, and to offer her assistance.
The leader of the Grey Party, Mist-Dreamer Blue-Stream detected Ruin Dmitar was a twilight user and began talking to him about it, but (narrowly) picked up on Ruin’s blatant gestures to shut up because Samara was right there. Ruin deflected the violet-eyed twilight-hippie on to Jacques Dubois who turned out to be very receptive to the Grey Party message in light of Layne-Lars Kinnesson’s findings the fog of the lowlands was laced with some sort of Strata native spores.
Mist-Dreamer Blue-Stream also represented the Resplendent Order of Twilight’s Harmonious Embrace who were hoping to begin trading the food crops they were growing in their greenhouses in exchange for other goods. This worked well with Jacques Dubois and Samara Hellstrom’s plans.
Ruin Dmitar‘s main objective for attending the event was to draw out ’Hedley’, and discovered that the secretary of the Orange Council was Robyn Hedley, a woman in her early forties. However Robyn Hedley showed no reaction to a message sent from the Sons of Brion communications devices. Four people in the crowd did display a reaction, and Ruin reacted by claiming one of the catering trays and delivering them to each suspect.
11/01/3050. Day 49, 13:00
The meeting proper began. Secretary Robyn Hedley seemed to be the organiser of the agenda and responsible for maintaining order and procedure.
- Chairman Ross Williams of the Orange Council opened proceedings and outlined his groups agenda (and the purpose of this gathering) to unify the different factions.
- Rene DuVal was called to speak next and represented some of the Worker’s Resistance Militia, the most militant and least united of the factions. He reminded the gathering that the militias were the guardians of the revolution, but, clearly they were bereft of any plans or direction other than guarding their territories or the revolution.
- Collett Durand was called up next, a firebrand speaker for the Worker’s Liberation Movement who espoused the need for Argyre to declare independence and eliminate the class inequality. She also railed against the government and military, while the known hero Samara was sitting behind her and detracting from her message. Samara had of course recently restored the hospital to operation as well as her earlier exploits suppressing bandits in the area and securing the trade routes.
- Paul Hines of the New Orange Union spoke next, a somewhat dry but down to earth speech about workers rights and keeping focused on their core goals. His group was the most united and least militant. They were at odds with the Worker’s Liberation Movement in what they hoped to achieve and the social model they wanted to see emerge after the revolution.
- Mist-Dreamer Blue-Stream of the Grey Party was called up next, began speaking about the mother-wilderness of Strata and how it was being discovered and considered at last now people were moving into the lowlands…then got distracted and called their ‘new guest’ Samara Hellstrom, Hauptmann to speak.
- Samara Hellstrom, Hauptmann gave a great speech calling for the community to pull together, citing the importance of Argyre to Strata then explained her ideas to help revitalise the Old Quarter with government funded military-cooperative projects. She expertly hit all the buttons and had applause from the crowd at various points. She warned of the proliferation of heavy weapons in Argyre particularly inferno ammunition. She offered an amnesty and buy-back scheme for any inferno rounds, which drew mixed reactions from the crowd.
Jacques Dubois noted one man who took the amnesty news very poorly, he was later identified as leading the Worker’s Resistance Militia in the north-outskirts territory
borderign the New Quarter. Tactically this matched the south-outskirts territory where the Sons of Brion had been attempting to smuggle ordinance into the New Quarter.
11/01/3050. Day 49, 13:25
Layne-Lars Kinnesson spotted two young men acting suspiciously near one of the trucks. She called in one squad and left the truck to close in on them. The lads spotted the troops and legged it, directly towards the ensign. She ordered them to stop, and one stumbled and slipped on the wet road, falling on his face and breaking his nose. The other stupidly reached for his gun, and wouldn’t back down. Layne-Lars Kinnesson was forced to shoot to subdue him, hitting him in the arm just before the troops arrived to arrest and interrogate them. They turned out to be simple carjackers.
11/01/3050. Day 49, 14:17
Layne-Lars Kinnesson detected the activation of a shoulder mounted missile system, and relayed this information to the squad of troops she had sent to watch for snipers. They had secured good firing positions, spotted the shooter and the resulting crossfire of assault rifle fire killed the man before he could fire. He fell from the rooftop to the road below, but the inferno rounds went off engulfing everything within fifteen meters in flames.
It was later discovered he was aiming at the trucks not the council chamber, and his inferno rounds had come from the distant twin continents Olympus and Elysium. His name had been Andrew Gardner and he rented a property in the north east territory.
This resulted in Samara Hellstrom, Hauptmann pulling rank and shutting down the meeting, and securing safe transport for the various factions. She also summoned in the cadet lance for higher security.
Jacques Dubois was sent with the suspected militia leader from the north-east territory, who realised they weren’t going back to his headquarters and tried to fight his way to freedom. He was firmly subdued by Jacque, and his bodyguards were subdued by Jacques crew. They were then taken to the brig in the Zmey for later questioning.
11/01/3050. Day 49, 17:00
With the meeting disrupted and the various factions returned safely to their bases of operation, this left the core of the Orange Council there at the meeting building they had annexed. Ruin Dmitar and Samara Hellstrom, Hauptmann took this opportunity to engage Robyn Hedley in conversation, but the elusive woman gave them no evidence or indication she was the spymaster they suspected. She was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the situation of Argyre and keen to help the Hauptmann realise her plans of improving things in the Old Quarter. Still frustratingly untouchable, Hedley responded to Ruin’s message that it had been ‘well played’ with a polite ‘pleased to meet you’.
11/01/3050. Day 49, 20:00
Ruin Dmitar was prepped for surgery. Adept VI-Iota Michelle Abnett and Layne-Lars Kinnesson were on hand as experts on the chip and operating sensors. Dr. Jonas Lange was there as head surgeon. The HPG system at Delphi was shut down and isolated in preparation, and the Zmey was maintaining communications jamming.
Initial scans revealed the chip appeared to lack significant communications capacity, and could only interact with very close range devices, similar to a RFID reader or equivalent. This added to the security but the other precautions were not lessened as a result.
Keyhole surgery revealed the chip did not connect to Ruin’s brain and did not monitor his life signs. At this point the ‘dead man switch’ story appeared to be disproven. Dr. Jonas Lange found evidence of prior head trauma and it appeared the chip had been inserted while repairing the skull fractures in that area, corresponding to medical reports from Ruin’s time in prison. Ruin however did not remember anything about those events.
The chip responded to a standard ping on one specific frequency, requesting a password. After a few potential passwords Michelle knew from the earlier operations involving Ruin, she and Layne-Lars Kinnesson agreed that more failed-attempts might be unwise.
Expert surgery saw the chip removed with only a thin incision required in Ruin’s skull, which the doctor assured could be healed quickly and fully. The chip was retrieved intact.