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The Expanse 6 months 3 weeks ago #3849

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The first thing he could smell was shit and piss. Then sweat....

And fear. Both his - and someone else's...

The hood was pulled off his head. He had to spend a moment for his eyes to adapt to the flickering fluorescence...

He quickly realised his hands were free for the first time in what seemed an age. He was sitting in a circle of light, projected like a cone from above. Beyond that he couldn't see. It was completely dark. The only other thing he could see was in front of him. A grey-hooded man, sitting in a chair in a cone of light much like himself. He was dressed in black trousers and a black shirt, both of which were covered in dust and dirt. No shoes, blooded feet, hands tied behind his back. He seemed to be blubbing, crying and snivelling beneath the hood. "Ah", thought the Boy, "Now I know where the shit, piss and fear came from."

Suddenly, a man's voice pierced the darkness. It echoed round the room. A deep, refined voice; with a Belter accent, the Boy noted.

"Welcome. Your time is now. You are the new breed. This is your final task. Then you will ascend."

"What must I do?", asked the Boy.

"End that which is precious.", replied the Voice. "Take what is under the chair, remove the hood, and use it upon them."

The Boy slowly bent over, reached under the chair and produced - a gun. He examined it. Un traceable, with one bullet in the chamber. He then stood and walked over to the chair. When he arrived, he removed the hood.

As his head lolled side to side to settle, the blooded and bruised eyes of the grey-hooded man opened and blinked repeatedly to adjust, eventually settling on the face of the Boy, standing in front of him, gun held down by his side. He tried to speak, but he realised his mouth was gaffa-taped shut.

The Boy stood back. Shocked. The gun felt heavier than usual.

"I...I...I can't. He... he's - "

"I know who he is. That is why he is here. If you are to truly ascend, then you must free yourself of all mortal bonds. Such frailties will distract from the Cause. Do this and you will be more powerful that you will can ever have imagined. To end the life of an innocent, and a loved one at that, is the final step to your ascension."

"But he is a good man! A man of the people. A man of the cloth! He follows our Cause!"

"Then he is willing to follow it further by moving beyond this plane to one of glory."

The Boy stood there for what seemed an eternity, uncertain of what to do. Then, the man in the chair seemed to right himself. He brought his head up, fixed his eyes upon the Boy and nodded with a look of acceptance and resignation. And, what seemed to be relief. The Boy looked at the man in the chair. Their eyes now locked. An understanding passed between them.

And then, the Boy swiftly raised the gun and shot the man in the chair in the face.

The Boy dropped the gun, and hung his head, tears of pain streaming down his face.

"There they are. Let those tears, those last vestiges of humanity, leave you forever more. And embrace your position. From this date on, you are no longer Pablo, but Cassiel - the Angel of Tears."

Out of the darkness, a hand loomed and rested onto the Boy's shoulder. The Boy turned and faced the Voice.

"And you. You truly are Azreal, the Angel of Death - My Lord."

And with that, Angelus smiled.
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The Expanse 6 months 3 weeks ago #3850

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definitelyon the dark side
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The Expanse 6 months 3 weeks ago #3855

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Episode 3 - Stuck in the Middle with you...

Recap

The Group take stock and find that their new captives are stable but going to be out for a few hours yet. Reuben looks the crates over and confirms they are MCRN and used for storing the same Plasma torpedoes Thatch found the schematics for. Everyone had heard there was some sort of scandal going on with Protogen but no one had heard any specifics so the crates were a concern. Joe was going to come back from his random wanderings and kindly volunteer to open one while everyone else left the room but in the end Xiang just walked up and opened the damaged box.

When he failed to die or his face melt off the rest went for a look and found a few shards of a flexible black material in the bottom. Reuben gave it the once over and noted it seemed to absorb light well. Thatch recalled the stories James Holden had spouted across the System about stealth ships blowing up the Canterbury and they put two and two together to assume that, somehow, ascension had gained access to enough to coat a few torpedoes. There were 15 empty torpedo crates in the room. This was not a good thing.

With a few hours to kill before they can ask their captives for clarification they decide to split the party to check a few loose ends. Firstly they look up the passenger list for the Black Lotus. The only name of note is Henry Krupp, the heir to the Krupp business empire. Joe is called and arranges for a tarp to be ordered and dropped nearby and they load the two terrorists snugly into an ammo crate before loading them on the cart and throwing a tarp over.

Ziang volunteers to take them to his "place" but, much to his disappointment, Angelus makes him promise not to kill, main or question them until he returns. Ziang walks them back but on the way stops by the butchers and buys a joint of synth pork...

Thatch tries to message Jim Reynolds again and, not getting a response, reaches out to Hickory asking him to check the cameras on the promenade where his device last pinged to see if they can see anything. Hickory grumpily ackowledges the request but Thatch asks Reuben and Victor, who are going to the Tranquility Medical centre to look into Gustav Holt, to swing by the same location and see what they can find.

They have a long and exciting adventure which the narrator definitely didn't miss getting a round in at the bar. The summary is belters are racist arseholes, sending a Duster to ask questions after an Earther policeman was probably not the best idea, Gustav passed recently and Victor is now apparently his sole living relative...
Thatch and Angelus go to check out the Jane for information. They find the dock and the access code lets them in with no difficulty. The ship is... aged... but well tended. There are only two crash couches on board and, thinking ahead that they may need to fly to the black lotus and the real owner being otherwise deceased they have a look and work out they can probably get the ship fitted with enough crash couches for everyone, fueled and ready to fly in 12 hours. The flight plans for the Black lotus and the Vostok taken from the computer in the Ascension safe house tell them they could be there around 24 hours before the Vostok. At this point Thatch gets a text message from Hickory:

"Jim Reynolds' device is active. It's 50 km Sunward"

Ceres is around 950km across but they're on the Sunward side and close to the surface... Thatch quickly pulls up space scanner and confirms there's no ship at the coords of Jims device... It seems they got to Jim and he had a short walk out an airlock...

Worried that Authority may be against them Thatch volunteers to stay with the ship and wait for the parts Joe has ordered. He spent a few years working at Bush Shipyards so plans to help the fitters get everything ready. Angelus heads back to Xiangs hole and knocks. Xiang opens wearing a long plastic apron, two elbow length gauntlets and a grin.

Behind him Angelus can see the Grunt (who we would come to finds name is Lucius) hanging upside down from a chain gagged and blindfolded while Bright was strapped into a chair in front of him also gagged. both are groggy and both are naked but otherwise as yet unharmed.
Through Angelus' persuasive questioning and and Xiangs enthuiasm they manage to completely break him using only a blow torch, a chunk of synth pork and an ice lolly...

Lucius lets slip the below:
⦁ The Leader of Ascension is Pablo Mendez. A name Angelus recongises as one of Ascensions old Security people.
⦁ The Seraphim was just a test. To see if the slug and master key worked. Joachim killed to tie up loose ends
⦁ The plan is for Lion to use the slug on the black lotus then jump ship to be picked up by the Vostok to kill "all those inner scum". This is Project Eden.
⦁ He doesn't know who Lion really is.
⦁ The Torpedoes were coated in the stealth material. Why he didn't know.

A gagged Bright hears all this disappointment in his eyes. Lucius is a deadman he just doesn't know it. Angelus and Xiang pull Bright around in front of Lucius and remove his gag. At this point Reuben and the Doctor come back just as a knife is pulled. Lucius says "I have children". Angelus replies "so did Joachim" and slits his throat.
As Bright shudders his last they turn to Bright. insisting he fill in the gaps. But Bright is made of sterner stuff. The pork and ice trick fails to work on him and Reuben, getting frustrated simply lays into him before Xiang removes first his little finger, then his ear, humming some classical music while he does so.

They never quite break Bright but he, ambitious fellow that he is, suggests that maybe they let him go. Maybe he lets them know the plan and where Pablo is. Maybe they kill Pablo and maybe that leaves an opening for Bright to move up.
The group are amenable to this idea and Bright reveals that Lions real name is Miles. He's posing as an engineer on the ship. He's fairly scruffy looking and they get a good description and some details about Ascensions bank details. However the group aren't comfortable leaving such a person in the wind. while debating this with Bright Reuben gets fed up and just shoots him in the head. Problem solved

Deus Ex Joe is used to remove the bodies while the group decide their best plan is to fly to the black Lotus and hunt down Lion/warn the crew in person. The easiest would be to pose as guests but this is a luxury liner. That costs. Worryingly Victor seems adept in tax Fraud and money laundering (questions were quietly not asked) and they managed to siphon off a chunk of money from the Ascension accounts through various shell companies to buy them each a ticket with some cash left over to help play the part.

After shopping for posh holiday clothes the rest of the group head to the Jane and find Thatch almost finished. Inexplicably despite there being no motor oil used anywhere on a 24th century Epstein Drived star ship he still manages to have Greasestains on his face and overalls from getting the ship ready but she's good to go. Angelus jumps into the pilots seat, comfy behind the console once more as Thatch jumps on the Ops panel.

Everything is going well until several days into the trip they are hailed by the MCRN Niagara. A Martian fast attack frigate. They cite a load of legalise to them which basically boils down to a routine random cargo inspection. Thatch has dones this work and reuben has seen it before so they pull over and wait. The two man marine crew board and start asking questions of the crew. All is going well until suddenly they stop as they hear something over their earpiece and run back towards the umbilical to their ship. The crew (we're a crew now) all look at each other and Angelus quickly pulls up the local scans which show the PDCS on the niagara shooting at something we can't see. A few explosions happen (similar to a stealthed torpedo being hit by PDC rounds...) before the Niagaras luck runs out and a explosion tears it in two...

The group pick up what seems to be a UNN Frigate heading away from the rough direction the torpedoes would have had to come from. It's the same model as the Vostok although they can't be sure. So still a few days out from the Black lotus they sneak away trying not to be noticed in their ship with less armour then the cheap stab vests they bought thinking "well fuck..."
Key points
We're on a boat!
⦁ Actually a ship but that's not how he song goes
⦁ Lion is Mylo and needs to be stopped
⦁ We don't really know anyone in authority but should we have told someone?
⦁ If we stop the bombing is the Vostok just going to let the Lotus leave?
⦁ Where is Pablo? Is he on the Vostok? Bright didn't think so
⦁ Are people somehow going to think we blew up a Martian frigate with the Space equivalent of an RV?
Last Edit: 6 months 3 weeks ago by rhodsey.
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The Expanse 6 months 3 weeks ago #3856

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That's everything up till now. I'll keep on top of it going forward. Lemme know if I missed anything.
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The Expanse 6 months 3 weeks ago #3859

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Brilliant everyone if this usedxp I'd give you at least 3
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The Expanse 6 months 2 weeks ago #3867

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Episode 4 - Y'arrr!

We began with a flashback that I shall leave to the GM if he wishes to share or not...
The destruction of the Nautillus brings Joe out of his shell and he becomes much more engaged. After demanding the access codes for the Jane on the basis roughly half the interior was paid for by him and his contacts (which Thatch gives him as well as everyone else) the group discuss what to do now. Thatch says that Joe, being the sole Martian onboard WITHOUT a dishonourable discharge hanging over his head, should put a call into the MCRN reporting the incident and sending their datalogs. Him being a better spokesperson than a Lunan, an Earther doctor and Earther who would probably threaten them and a reformed Terrorist...

After they convince Joe that just turning the transponder off and running away wouldn't work he puts in the call stating the facts, that they were being inspected then another ship blew them away with copies of the ships logs to back it up. they then continue on to their rendezvous with the black lotus. There's a 30 ish minute light delay on the comms so an hour later they receive orders to to hold position. Joe looks at Thatch and says "I told you so" with his eyes.

After convincing the Martians they cannae change the laws of physics and slow down fast enough they are instructed to fly to Ganamede. Angelus manages to plot a course that LOOKS like we're heading there while conveniently flying right past the black lotus' current location and the MCRN accept it. Reuben knows the Martians, if they wanted us they'd come get us which means they probably accept our explanation and are just clearing up loose ends but we don't have time to waste.

We make our way to the black lotus. On the way we decide that Angelus, Victor and Joe will pretend to be the toffs while Thatch, Xiang (complete with his "eccentric" sword) and Reuben will play their security to allow them to take some "non-lethal" weapons with them. After docking the ship the group have 12 hours left before the Vostok is due to rendezvous so by a majority vote the group decide to take an hour to abuse the facilities in their suites.

As Thatch settles into an actual real bath of water ready to start poking at the computer system with his tablet to see what he can get access to the door chimes. He uses the intercom and finds it's the head of security for the Lotus, Which would be a bigger concern if it also wasn't an ex Marine called Hicks. One of the few that he got along with on the inside. Hicks saw his name come up as a guest and, wondering how in the hell a lowly grunt afforded a ticket for this place, decided to pay a visit and find out why his friend is so far from home in such eccentric company. Also why does he have the MCRN demanding the entire Black Lotus divert to Ganymede since they are harbouring "fugitives" (that's us!).

Thatch tells Hicks everything. That he's no idea quite how it happened but they are apaprently trying to stop terrorists destroying the Lotus. We know the guy is called Miles and is in engineering. Hicks takes Thatch at his word and checks. Miles was recently restricted to quarters after being found in an area of the ship he didn't have access to. Thatch convinces Miles to let him and his friends speak to him and try find out what he did with the Master Key. Hicks says he'll be back in 5 minutes.

Thatch puts in a call to tell everyone there is a change of plan and to come to his quarters (pulling an annoyed Xiang away from the massage section of the rooms menu). He explains what has happened and that he trusts Hicks. At that point the engines cut out and everyone go's on the float. Hicks comes back and says it has been done as a precaution thent takes them down to Miles' room where they find a floating corpse anchored by his magboots. Victor quickly confirms he died from cyanide. Hicks gives Thatch a key card and go's to check on the ships drives just incase they need to eject it or to evacuate the ship and Thatch go's to work on the computer system while th rest search the room.

Thatch finds he had used the key to hack into the CnC systems to get access to the tightbeam. He'd send several messages out to the Vostok all starting "Handheld Banana Syrup". the first was four days before saying that "Lion inplace and integrated" and another a few hours before the present stating "Possibly Compromised. Pod release scheduled. Execute plan Beta on Pod Failure. Ascend". Thatch quickly checks and finds that one of the escape pods has been programmed to launch in 10 hours.

Joe meanwhile is paying unusual interest in Miles' underwear drawer. Reuben catches him move a box with MCRN markings which, when questioned, Joe denies all knowledge of until it's pointed out in front of him. Victor looks at the box and finds it's OsteoArthritis medicine presumably for Miles who, like a lot of belters, suffered and was probably in a lot of pain. No one sees any harm in letting Joe keep it. While he finds that Xiang spots a snowglobe on his desk. Picking it up it seems to be of the UN building on earth. He gives it a shake and hears a slight rattle. turning it over he finds a compartment with a little computer stick he quickly shows to Thatch who confirms it's the slug.

Using the Slug, and after warning Hicks, Thatch scans the system for the code used and quickly finds a command set to blow the reactor one hour after the escape pod is supposed to launch. Five hours, copious amounts of fizzy caffinated beverages, multiple lucky escapes, and many snacks later Thatch sits back and rubs his eyes. He's managed to diffuse the bomb.

Meanwhile the rest have come up with a plan. Stopping the ship exploding is all well and good but there's still a frigate out there armed with Stealth torpedoes and this "plan Beta" might just be shoot it till it's dead. Angelus, knowing Ascension aren't the sort to leave a man behind, assumes they really DID plan to pick up Lion. Therefore if they can get aboard that escape pod maybe we could take their ship and board them? Hicks, after being told the ship isn't about to blow, agrees to the plan, sending along three of his men (Anderson, Belicheck and Krump) as well as letting the group gather armour and rifles from the ships armoury. Xiang is disappointed to find they cannot loan him a Cutlass and an eyepatch.

As they board the Escape pod, angelus letting Joe pilot to make it look less competent, Thatch stumbles on the of "lion" sending a text message to the Vostok (using the right codewords) to advise them the "bomb" is planted but detonation was delayed for another 5 hours and that he'll explain on pickup.

Ascension buy it. Telling them to dock at the normal airlock. Having no idea and no inclination to guess they just dock at the one nearest to the control room and the Ex Marines (Thatch and Reuben) get ready. The second the hatch opens they shoot, taking an old guy apart before he can even finish Hello. they charge forward knowing speed is of the essence and take out another around the corridor before the iris to the main control room is closed. Thatch quickly hacks the door open and Joe throws in a grenade. There's a loud thud and Reuben and thatch push themselves down through the "roof" of the command deck head first seeing two men behind the Holo table one an old belter the other a young mixed race kid who Reuben recognises with a start.

As they bring their weapons up Reuben shoutss "Peter! It's me!" (Overly Dramatic Prairie dog!) "Peter! Your father is here!" He hastily opens his helmet to let them see his face. At this point several things happen at once.

⦁ Peter looks suprised
⦁ the old Belter turns his gun on Reuben
⦁ Thatch, having no fucking clu what is going on, opens up on the old belter before he can take Reuben out. Taking him out first
⦁ Joe throws in what he thinks is a gas grenade.
⦁ It's not
⦁ Thatch gets as far as "Motherfu...." before getting a face full of bang
⦁ Reuben dives on top of Peter. Shielding him.

Thatch manages to take most of the blast on his armour but he was definitely riding his luck (all 2 points of it he had left!). The rest of the group quickly spread out and search the rest of the ship finding no one else as Peter is restained. Angelus asks "what's going on?" to which Reuben suggests he might want to come down ASAP. Angelus looks at Peter and see's he has his Aunts eyes (Overly dramatic Prairie dog!). Peter, it seems, is Angelus' almost 19 year old son. Preusmably of his partner Gillette who must have survived along with Pablo.

Peter want's nothing to do with his "traitor father" openly ignoring him while Reuben tries to convince him to talk. Eventually he reveals Gillette is dead and Angelus convinces him to come somewhere private so they can talk. Thatch calls Hicks telling him everything is safe. Hicks is grateful beyond measure then asks whether they are coming back to face the Dusters or did they "die when the escape pod was blown up". Thatch acknowledges what a shame it is to die and, after getting Hicks' men back to him, arranges for the escape pod to be blown up by the Vostosk PDC's. Hicks promises to tell the truth of what the group did, saving so many Earther lives but how they tragically died trying to board the Vostok.

The group now take stock and suddenly realise. "Hey. We own a frigate now!" and start to take stock of their new home and decide what to do next...

Key Facts
⦁ We're on a (bigger) boat!)
⦁ The Vostok has only one basic torpedo left, which is probably why it didn't take them out when it blew the Niagara.
⦁ They also find 10 sheets of Stealth comp in the stores as well as 6months worth of supplies and rations
⦁ The ships logs get purged weekly but there is one hardcoded "bolthole" location which is an old asteroid int he belt (LV432-b)
⦁ The log also mentioned a successful test of "Azrael Torpedo" Cere being compromised (wonder why...) and a meeting with the Loca Griga going well.
⦁ There is one message from a Bepp saying "the Angel is coming Father"...
⦁ The Vostok has no transponder active.
⦁ What do we do with a frigate while deadmen?
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Candi - Fri 6 Dec - 00:02

Bravo Loderan's your conquests are impressive.... lets see how you stand when you face me! In your last session you will face Kel'Thuzard!!! Muhahahahaha

Steboacha - Thu 5 Dec - 20:16

Sorry running very late. Should be there around 9.

Candi - Thu 5 Dec - 19:55

Janice! Cant find ya sheild in my folder have you taken it?

Candi - Thu 5 Dec - 18:50

Great No probs!Death awaits all who seek it!

Andy Boyne - Thu 5 Dec - 18:27

Hi Black Falcons - I am coming but will be late. Estimating between 8:30 and 9.

rhodsey - Thu 5 Dec - 16:13

I'll skip as well then since I've got lurgy and was nly coming for Battletech :) Sant if you can run next week please let me know

Sant - Thu 5 Dec - 16:05

Something's come up tonight since silly season has started so I'm going to miss this week. Sorry sarge.

Mehitabel - Thu 5 Dec - 15:39

Sorry Black Falcons, not going to get there tonight. Knuckles, I made the revivify scroll for you, so consider it given to you and I hope you don't have to use it.

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