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Chapter 2; Something Wicked

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  • Sinope:

    Murotsu finds herself lying on a sheet of plywood atop a pile of debris. She gets up half slowly shaking off the hit and doesn’t even bother to try a “heal.” She just takes the soreness and pain in stride.
    Standing up she starts towards the withdrawal point. As she does she looks up. Anyone seeing her expression could tell she is in one foul mood; but there is no one looking…

    “Qarxaq! Yubka arxasinda gizlänän! Istifadä digär! Däyärsiz qurdu! Siz rüsvay adi äsgär! Yad olmaz därinlikärinda cähännäm!”

    (Coward! Hiding behind a skirt [she means curtain here but uses it as an insulting double entender]! Using others [to do your dirty work is implied]! You are worthless [done in the feminine as an insult] and nothing but a worm! You [feminine again] are a disgrace to the title warrior! You won‘t even be remembered in the depths of Hell!)

    Murotsu shakes her fist at the sky.

    “Biz üsün äläcäk sizin! Mäz scäxän öldümäk! Dähscät mäzi Merrin! Siz etdi yenilmäz düscman! Maz taqib säni üscän öldürmäk!”

    (I will come for you and I will personally KILL you! Fear me Merrin! You have made an invincible enemy! I will chase you to hell to kill you!)

    Murotsu is truly pi$$ed off!

    Natuna Besar late 2011


    When they return to Natuna Besar Kasakabe finds Lori immediately! Anyone can see she has not cooled off one bit. “Find Merrin! Find NOW!” she half shouts at her. She turns and storms off.

    “Understood.”

    If only I could contact Ginshar or there were other Ginsharians here… Lori thinks as she turns to carry out her orders.

    Lori immediately starts going through all of her data and looking for incidents that fits Merrin’s pattern. She also starts looking for “Esper” events that fit with Merrin’s known capabilities.

    As Kotomi’s list of stuff she needs grows it becomes apparent that not only is what she’s doing grotesquely expensive, to the tune of possibly hundreds of millions of dollars, it is bound to attract attention sooner or later.

    She asks for a scanning electron microscope with a molecular x-ray diffraction device attached along with a very powerful HP server to do the analysis. Then it is a gas chromatograph. Then she wants SPT 100 and TAL 100 Hall effect generators from the Fakcl Company of Kaliningrad in Russia.

    “I need them to build a neutron scintillator” she tells Kim matter-of-factly, like people did that everyday.
    “Oh, I could use twenty kilos of Lanthanum hexaborate and another twenty of Lanthanum Oxide. I need that to build a directed plasma anode to load the grid…”
    Kim wants to pull her hair out at the cost of this stuff.

    Kotomi talks to Lori one sunny afternoon on her progress. “You know Lori, I could really use a flux capacitor…”

    Lori looks confused. “Flux capacitor? I have not heard of that device? Can we procure one here?”

    Kotomi gives Lori one of those looks and a smile. It takes Lori a moment to recognize what Kotomi’s doing. In a lightning quick move Lori grabs her and then pretends to beat her up.

    Kotomi laughing “I didn’t know you had a human sense of humor!”

    “I learned such things from my friends Doctor Zan and Ikki Ten. Can you tell me what we really need?”

    “A ten kiloton nuclear bomb would work. Hooking up to a fifty megawatt power plant would do it as well.”
    “What would this produce?” Lori asks now quite serious.
    “In a zero gravity environment I could open an alternate universe, an FTL well, about a tenth of a light year deep. The only problems I still have to resolve are keeping the equipment from melting down and making a stronger magnetic field than the magnets I have will.
    Think of it! We could send a probe or satellite deeper into space than Voyager in just a week! Lori, I can make stable micro alternate universes now! They are so small you can’t see them except on instruments. The Shadow detector works! I can find one or detect one accurately every time now!”
    Kotomi leans over and hugs Lori hard. “I have you to thank for that! You made it possible!”

    Lori thinks for a minute. “We may have to go to a government. You are Japanese. Would the Japanese government give us what we need to complete your work?”
    “How?!” Kotomi replies. “We are wanted criminals in at least three countries…”
    “Japan is not one of them. They can grant us diplomatic immunity.”
    “I don‘t think Japan is going to believe me, or you on any of this…” Kotomi continues to protest.
    “Publish your paper on the calculations. It has been done for some time now.”
    “But that would expose us. Besides, I‘m not exactly credible in the science world after being put on the wanted list.”
    I will ask Damien and Kim for help on that. Your paper will convince scientists and they can convince the government. We have to move forward. It is our only way home and the only way to clear your name.”
    Kotomi shakes her head in agreement. “You are taking me with you if this works, you know that!”

    Comment


    • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
      Sinope:
      Murotsu is truly pi$$ed off!
      Oh, we're just getting started with that little feud.
      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

      Natuna Besar late 2011


      When they return to Natuna Besar Kasakabe finds Lori immediately! Anyone can see she has not cooled off one bit. “Find Merrin! Find NOW!”


      Lori immediately starts going through all of her data and looking for incidents that fits Merrin’s pattern. She also starts looking for “Esper” events that fit with Merrin’s known capabilities.
      What you uncover is that ESPers with believable abilities have been popping up all over the place, and then vanishing. Thia makes it easier for the public to blow the whole thing off, but Lori finds that what is behind the scenes is even more interesting.
      The world's intelligence agency's have been in a mad scramble to scoop them up, and have only been partly successful. Even Lori cannot tell exactly how successful they have been, the whole campaign seems to be a mess. The long established masters of the world are dealing with something new, something they don't really understand.

      There is a list of secretly wanted people, and at the top is one Sushulana vin Treewater who's powers are so deadly that a "shoot to prevent escape" order is out. Traveling with 2 associates, all three vanished last summer and have not been heard of since.

      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
      “A ten kiloton nuclear bomb would work. Hooking up to a fifty megawatt power plant would do it as well.”
      “What would this produce?” Lori asks now quite serious.
      “In a zero gravity environment I could open an alternate universe, an FTL well, about a tenth of a light year deep. The only problems I still have to resolve are keeping the equipment from melting down and making a stronger magnetic field than the magnets I have will.
      Think of it! We could send a probe or satellite deeper into space than Voyager in just a week! Lori, I can make stable micro alternate universes now! They are so small you can’t see them except on instruments. The Shadow detector works! I can find one or detect one accurately every time now!”
      Kotomi leans over and hugs Lori hard. “I have you to thank for that! You made it possible!”


      That is a HUGE step forward, even in just the 2 years you have spent here.

      Other things have happened in the time you have been here.
      Luchaan seems to have a thing for Kasakabe, enough of one to accept repeated beatings on the sparing grounds. He just can't seem to take no for an answer, for the first 6 months of the current year, anyway.
      Out on an OP (you have several successful ones this year, and only one mis-hap) Luchaan was stabbed by one of the kids you were trying to rescue. Its a routine hazard but he was taken by surprise, and nearly died & ended up loosing a Kidney.
      Now grown to be a man, its time for Luchaan to decide if he will stay or leave to make a life of his own somewhere. He has degrees that will get him work in biology or agriculture, so its not like he has to stay.

      Lori has a multitude of suitors, almost every boy above 13 has approached her at one time or another, and several of the girls (Dannon especially).

      Kotomi, on the other hand, has been just too spacey and absorbed in her work, she does not even seem lonely, so it is assumed that she has a relationship with Lori or Kasakabe or both. Once Kotomi becomes well known to them, the only social contact of an even slightly aggressive nature is when the twins make her take a break to go shopping, picnic, or whatever.
      Rama keeps close contact with Kotomi and Lori, he learns a lot and is as helpful as Dannon, in his own little ways. He is especially adept at the Hacking side of things.

      Overall;
      You are all accepted, and expected to join in other sorts of fun that don't include mayhem. 2 Christmases so far, when Damien seals the place off from the outside world to have the sort of holiday that he remembers from his short childhood... yeah, dressed up as Santa and all.

      Pretending to observe Muslim holidays may be confusing, but a necessary part of the fiction that keeps this little community safe.
      The funny part is, they want to know what Holidays you folks from the stars celebrate, and then will try to surprise you with them. Kasakabe will of course be provided with a graceful exit, should it seem needed at such times.

      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
      Lori thinks for a minute. “We may have to go to a government. You are Japanese. Would the Japanese government give us what we need to complete your work?”
      “How?!” Kotomi replies. “We are wanted criminals in at least three countries…”
      “Japan is not one of them. They can grant us diplomatic immunity.”
      “I don‘t think Japan is going to believe me, or you on any of this…” Kotomi continues to protest.
      “Publish your paper on the calculations. It has been done for some time now.”
      “But that would expose us. Besides, I‘m not exactly credible in the science world after being put on the wanted list.”
      At least you don't have an XPD attached to your files.
      Lori will have to do some serious digging to get to the bottom of that one, and it didn't seem high on her list, so I let a few months go by.
      Expeditious Demise.
      A bored and unimaginative bureaucrat must have lifted that from an old Spy Novel. What this means (to the few agents high enough to see it) is that this person, if seen and verified, must be killed as soon as possible by any means at hand, regardless of publicity, collateral damage or diplomatic repercussions.
      Damien will be surprised, but not shocked or horrified when(if) you show this to him. "They sure know how to cut through the red-tape when they want to." He puts a reassuring hand on your shoulder. "Don't worry about me. I have an understanding with those people. I don't mess with their world and they don't mess with mine. The occasional degenerate that gets caught up in one of my OPs is one that they are well rid of, and they know it."

      "Don't tell Kim!"
      Obvious enough, but she is intuitive enough to know something is being withheld from her. That does not stop her from keeping the children here secure in a warm cocoon of love and understanding, one that she always tries to include the 3 of you in.

      Breakthroughs;
      Kotomi gets an unexpected insight on night when everyone is gathered around to see a movie... its called 2012. The premise is a bit silly to her (the part about the neutrinos acting like a huge microwave) but its a good disaster romp... when suddenly she sits up with that look on her face.

      December 21, 2012... the date that is being bandied about as some sort of D-Day because a old calendar runs out, and a rare alignment takes place. Very rare, and helpful to you. Sun, Earth, the middle of the Milky way and the collosal Black Hole at the center of it... all in perfect alignment.
      If she is willing to trust her instincts and if she can gain access to all the data being streamed in real time, 80% of the work and the items that Damien cannot obtain just became obsolete!
      On that date, she can do almost anything she wants to, Zero-G be damned.

      And its just over a year away.


      There is one more post I need to do here, wait for midday tomorrow before making your last post in this thread.
      "Why is the Rum gone?"

      -Captain Jack

      Comment


      • On September 10th 2011 Lori celebrated "Made Day." This was a holiday invented by her Mische friend Doctor Itzanahohk'u to celebrate what it is to be Ginsharian.

        Kasakabe and Kotomi helped with the arrangements as did some of the kids and others.

        For the first time Lori passed out mustard yellow colored Ginsharian food packs. Daminen and some of the others skeptically looked at these as they reminded them of US military MRE packages even if the only markings were series of eight digit number groups on them.
        They also passed out cups and white wine Lori had purchased specially for the occasion. She also made sure to have a stock of German chocolate available (in lieu of having any M desert packs).

        She explained to those gathered, "Today is Made Day for Ginsharians such as myself. It is a special day for us when we get to celebrate our having been manufactured and the wonderful life we have had as a result."

        She holds up her glass of wine. "I am Lori Sixteen of Ginshar I was made to be an essential part of my model. Because I was made my model has been improved. I am Lori Sixteen! I am Ginshar!"
        She takes a drink from the glass as does everyone else.
        Lori then tells everyone that they can experiance Ginsharian food and to open the food packs she provided.

        Inside everyone is a bit surprised to find a small fork-like utensil and that the pack contains a tray with a number of colorful cubes about 3 cm on a side on it.
        Trying these brings immediate astonishment to people's faces. The taste, texture, and smell of each cube is incredible! Lori says that non-Ginsharians typically react that way the first few times they get to try Ginsharian food. She helps various people out pointing out ones she thinks they might like.
        "This is what you eat on Ginshar all the time?!" Kim asks gulping down another cube.
        "No" Lori replies. "These are military food packs and not nearly as good as what is served on Ginshar itself."
        "You could make a fortune selling the recipies here!"
        "Sorry Kim" Lori says. "I am not... programmed... to be a cook or anything like that. I have no idea how any of that was made."

        They bring out a birthday cake for her. That is a bit of a surprise but Lori says she knows about birthdays and responds correctly to this event.

        The fun continues for several hours.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
          Chris leads them to a bus-stop locker, where he retrieves his saddle bags and long-guns, and then they head out to the deserted parking lot. "I'd like it if you could get my bike through this time, if it's not too much trouble....I'm tired of having to find a new one." Sulshana rolls her eyes, and Kendra starts. "We're not doing THAT again?" She exclaims. "Well, do you like your odds staying here with three dead agents that were looking for you? Chris replies.

          Sulshana fiddles behind them and there's a bright light near the motorcycle.....
          "Any preferences on where we are going?"
          On a hunch, Chris hands her a gold card.
          She winces and snarls at him. "I hate that place, hey... how did you know I knew this one?"

          "Lucky guess. You seem like the sort."

          Kendra; "What place, what sort?"

          Chris; "The sort of person that doesn't need a guide to find the heart of darkness."

          Sushulana actually seems offended, another first. "You know, they tell me it can be a full-bore catastrophe if you ever blank one of these gates up. I just hope your along for the ride if I ever do." and she marches through.
          Kendra will have to be dragged, unless you go through without her... in which case she is right on your heels.

          (and, this wasn't such a bad way to go. Between you and the Gulf of Siam are only 3 countries where your mode of travel would have been prohibitively difficult; Iran, Afghanistan, and China. Unfortunately they form a barrier between you and that place)

          Yes, its bright and sunny here, and wet. You are standing in salt-water up to your crotch (a bit more on miss master-mage) gently lapping at the nearby beach. By the time you get the bike muscled up onto dry land the girls are too tired for the cat-fight they were threatening, and across the bay you can see the city you were wanting to reach.
          It won't take long for the bike to dry out, its terribly hot here in the middle of the day.

          Kendra; "You know you cursed us, right?
          Sushulana; "Honey, that wasn't even close to a major blank-up."

          There really isn't room for 2 girls on the back, and to avoid the possibility of you leaving her behind, the elf climbs on in front of Chris, facing him. She's small enough to not be in the way, but Kendra stares daggers at her... when her pony-tail isn't hitting her in the face. Curiously, that pony-tail never hits Chris in the face.

          In town, nobody seems to speak English, but when you ask about the Church of Violence or flash the card they quickly point the way and hurry off to do something besides talk to you.
          It sure looks like a Catholic Church, stained glass windows and everything. The effect is spoiled by the "Nun" that answers the door. She is a tall, sharp-edged blond with pink Gargoyle sun-glasses, a harsh attitude and a half-smoked joint in the corner of her mouth.
          "This ain't a Hostel for tourists, whaddaya want?" glances at Chris, "Your a long way from Wyoming, ain't ya?"
          He's wearing that hat because he has nothing else to keep the sun from baking his brains in this sun.

          Once again, the Gold card gets you in the door, but only after the Nun bites it and takes a close look.
          "Alright, lets not gab out here. Come in and wait for the Mother, and don't break anything!"

          It still looks like a real church inside, Except for that alcove where a card-table is sitting with a couple of half-empty bottles.
          Yep, whiskey.
          Wandering that way, Sushulana stops dead in her tracks and stares at a calendar with wide eyes and shaky knees. In a quiet voice, she admits; "Okay, now THAT is a major blank-up."

          March 15, 2012.

          I still have one more post to make here, should be in about midday tomorrow.
          "Why is the Rum gone?"

          -Captain Jack

          Comment


          • A revised listing of the people at Natuna will be posted in the main thread

            Natuna Besar, Dec 22nd 2011;

            Note; on reflection, the starting of different players at different times in different ways was a bad mistake on my part.
            At the start of the next chapter we will all be in the same place and time. The Black Lagoon crew will be backed up slightly in time, but all that is real & solid will be the same (feel free to take a look at prior posts of mine, the hardware in the Hangar might be interesting)

            another Note; this next event is something I hated doing and expect to be hated for, but it is needed. Andrewza's crew came to this place when it was in a certain state and I need to keep it that way. That, and putting you folks in the Drivers Seat means that I have to partly remove someone from it.

            Breakthrough;
            Lori this time- a pattern emerges that points to North Korea.
            You might have missed it if it were not for a related search related to the hunt for pedophile rings. A combination of missing people ranging from 8-12 years old, medical shipments and a few highly specialized and unscrupulous people all point to the N'orks. Evidence points to a project that involves aggressive brain-surgery and behavioral control.
            If true it is a new project that has no parallel to any projects undertaken in North Korea prior to 3 years ago. It could be something designed to create concubines that can function physically yet not comprehend any of the secrets that they might overhear while working under important clients.
            This could be a reaction to the recent successes that Damien has enjoyed thanks to Lori and Muro. International traffic is under-age sex slaves has crashed, so much so that you now have no major targets left by August of that year.
            Or... certain signs point to another possibility... on that only Lori can spot.
            Somebody in North Korea might be trying to mass-produce psychics.
            If Merrin is trying to create an army, this would be the perfect place and way for him to do it.


            But, North Korea is one of those places that Damien's network and capabilities can't quite reach. He's never been on good terms with Russia or China, and South Korea and Japan are Developed coutries, not the sort he has ever messed around with.


            On the 22nd, you 3 are having a chat with Damien about some of the things you need. He is shaking his head about the Nuke.
            "Look, not only will I never consent to such a thing coming anywhere near this place, but you cannot steal something like that from anyone without them finding you. Eventually, they will track you down. Now, if it is absolutely, positively required that you get one of those damn things, I may have a way. The bombs that exist are off-limits... but the ones that don't exist, that's another story. My sponsors have-"

            He is cut off by Vondonna, who is running around panic-stricken for no reason that you can understand, and she can't either. However, she is babbling that something is wrong with her sister and she has to go out and find her NOW.

            Its already too late. There is a column of smoke rising to the south.

            I will summarize, rather than keep you reading for an hour and a half-

            Nin loved driving the Lincoln. It was a bit of a struggle for him, but that made it more of a challenge, and he would chauffeur people around whenever he got the chance. So, it was natural that he would take Caupanna to the Clinic. As it turns out, it was for her first prenatal exam, and that was a secret shared only with Kim. All three went together.
            An autopsy will later reveal that Nin suffered an aneurism while crossing a bridge and went straight into the path of an on-coming truck, which was immediately rear-ended by another truck transporting propane.
            It must have been quick, the blast collapsed the bridge, tumbling the burning wreckage into the ravine and the river below.
            The triple funeral is held on what used to be called Christmas Eve here.

            The household is just gutted, the heart just went right out of it and it is doubtful that it can ever recover. Damien and Vondonna are shattered and turn to each other, disappearing for days at a time during January. Luchaan tries to assume leadership temporarily, but he's not really suited to it, no more than Kasakabe would be suited to the UN.
            However, it is Her, Lori and Kotomi to whom the devastated children turn to during this dreadful time. Yasmin and Oaan, who might have been previously thought to be useless, rise to the challenge and do their best to fill the void left by Kim... but the one left by Damien's withdrawal can't be filled by anyone but the man he used to be.

            He starts doing his best to get things back to normal by the end of January (TAG can put another post in this thread to illustrate any 'encouragement' they might lend) and during February he immerses himself in the affairs of the house during the day, and in work during the night. If he sleeps, its a secret between him and his shadow. Vondonna. Damien looks ten years older, but Vondonna is almost transformed; Darker, sharper and hair cut straight across the shoulders, she looks as if she is always looking for an excuse to put Kasakabe's lessons in hand-to-hand to good use.

            Kotomi remembers some friends of hers back in Japan that might have be able to help here, but she has had no contact with them since leaving California. What would she even say to them?

            February leads to March, and things get better for the kids, but nothing like what it was before. There are also late-night meetings with Arab-looking men and some business trips that you are not invited to go along with. Kim's airplane is restored to its full glory, better than new, in fact. Fully armed as well.

            March 15, 2012

            During the first 2 weeks of March, the results start to add up. One morning, Damien (who has gone back to using The Heratic as his public tag) meets you at the dinner table and announces "North Korea is back on the table. And so is that special package we spoke of."

            While you are absorbing that, Vondonna adds; "A special crew is coming to be our guest. They are the Black Lagoon transporting company, smugglers we have been saving for when we needed the best in the business. They are not nice people, but they will be tremendously useful. Lets not discuss your work in front of them... in fact, it might be best if you avoid them at first. I have a feeling that you folks are gonna mix like oil and fallout."
            Before you start to argue, there is a phone call that Vondonna answers.
            "Oh, what do you want, you tight-ass bi- .... what now? How many?"
            She holds the phone out to Damien. "Eda, at the Church in Ranapoor. A Cowboy with 2 bimbos just turned up with one of your cards. One that Pariah has been scratching on."

            "That a fact?" Damien scratches his chin. "Is one of them a pilot?"


            Oh, about that church;

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOKYD7ua0sY
            Last edited by The Exorcist; 17 Oct 13, 15:41.
            "Why is the Rum gone?"

            -Captain Jack

            Comment


            • Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
              Natuna Besar, Dec 22nd 2011;

              Breakthrough;
              Lori this time- a pattern emerges that points to North Korea.
              You might have missed it if it were not for a related search related to the hunt for pedophile rings. A combination of missing people ranging from 8-12 years old, medical shipments and a few highly specialized and unscrupulous people all point to the N'orks. Evidence points to a project that involves aggressive brain-surgery and behavioral control.
              If true it is a new project that has no parallel to any projects undertaken in North Korea prior to 3 years ago. It could be something designed to create concubines that can function physically yet not comprehend any of the secrets that they might overhear while working under important clients.
              This could be a reaction to the recent successes that Damien has enjoyed thanks to Lori and Muro. International traffic is under-age sex slaves has crashed, so much so that you now have no major targets left by August of that year.
              Or... certain signs point to another possibility... on that only Lori can spot.
              Somebody in North Korea might be trying to mass-produce psychics.
              If Merrin is trying to create an army, this would be the perfect place and way for him to do it.


              But, North Korea is one of those places that Damien's network and capabilities can't quite reach. He's never been on good terms with Russia or China, and South Korea and Japan are Developed coutries, not the sort he has ever messed around with.
              Lori explains that she has only limited reach into North Korea due to the lack of electronics and interconnection to the rest of the world. She does enlist Kasakabe to do some clairvoyance “reads” on the target areas but the results are inconclusive.


              On the 22nd, you 3 are having a chat with Damien about some of the things you need. He is shaking his head about the Nuke.
              "Look, not only will I never consent to such a thing coming anywhere near this place, but you cannot steal something like that from anyone without them finding you. Eventually, they will track you down. Now, if it is absolutely, positively required that you get one of those damn things, I may have a way. The bombs that exist are off-limits... but the ones that don't exist, that's another story. My sponsors have-"

              He is cut off by Vondonna, who is running around panic-stricken for no reason that you can understand, and she can't either. However, she is babbling that something is wrong with her sister and she has to go out and find her NOW.

              Its already too late. There is a column of smoke rising to the south.

              I will summarize, rather than keep you reading for an hour and a half-

              Nin loved driving the Lincoln. It was a bit of a struggle for him, but that made it more of a challenge, and he would chauffeur people around whenever he got the chance. So, it was natural that he would take Caupanna to the Clinic. As it turns out, it was for her first prenatal exam, and that was a secret shared only with Kim. All three went together.
              An autopsy will later reveal that Nin suffered an aneurism while crossing a bridge and went straight into the path of an on-coming truck, which was immediately rear-ended by another truck transporting propane.
              It must have been quick, the blast collapsed the bridge, tumbling the burning wreckage into the ravine and the river below.
              The triple funeral is held on what used to be called Christmas Eve here.
              Kotomi is distraught and takes this hard. Death and funerals are hardly something she’s accustomed to.
              Lori seems stoic but it is more a case of not understanding such things having been to exactly one such event in her lifetime and having no equivalent in Ginsharian society to draw on.
              It is Kasakabe that once again surprises everyone. She shows up with her students all dressed in their finest clothes, some clearly just bought or made for the occasion. Kasakabe is wearing an incredibly expensive komono and looks very much like a Geisha or Japanese female mob boss might. Where she got that is anybody’s guess. She carries two swords Samurai- style on the outfit.



              As if that was not shock enough the kids help her set up pictures (Lori flatly told her no holographic projections whatsoever) of people most of whom no one recognizes such that they face the dead as if gazing on them.
              “What is going on here?” Damien whispers to Lori. Vondonna leans in to listen.
              “I have seen this before with Murotsu. That is her private name, I think you should know that. She is sending them off to meet their ancestors as required by her religion. Those pictures are her ancestors. They will guide the dead on their journey.
              She takes this with deadly seriousness. I do because she does. I suggest you do likewise” Lori whispers back.
              Murotsu then lights sticks of incense placing them around each of the deceased. She lines the kids with her up and herself in front of them all facing those gathered.
              She claps her hands twice putting them together. The kids following her action. She and the children bow. It is clear they rehearsed this quite a bit to get it right.
              With the children in unison she starts saying what must be a prayer in Ral Ranthan for the dead.
              Finished with the prayer she stands straight and looks at the others present. The children start passing out small cups to everyone and produce bottles of Saki from somewhere. With everyone having a cup and some Saki Murotsu raises hers, drawing out a sword and lifting it at arm’s length into the air she shouts:
              “Dädäbaba gömäk düscmän äsmäk!

              Anyone can see the seriousness of what she is saying. Lori says loudly “May your ancestors always watch over you and may your enemies tremble before you!” translating Kasakabe’s words.

              Afterwards she is sure to seek out Damien before he can get away. “Make sure ancestor know come! Welcome them! Make ancestor proud!”

              Damien does not know fully how to respond to that. He grabs Kasakabe and hugs her tightly. “Thank you. Thank you.


              The household is just gutted, the heart just went right out of it and it is doubtful that it can ever recover. Damien and Vondonna are shattered and turn to each other, disappearing for days at a time during January. Luchaan tries to assume leadership temporarily, but he's not really suited to it, no more than Kasakabe would be suited to the UN.
              However, it is Her, Lori and Kotomi to whom the devastated children turn to during this dreadful time. Yasmin and Oaan, who might have been previously thought to be useless, rise to the challenge and do their best to fill the void left by Kim... but the one left by Damien's withdrawal can't be filled by anyone but the man he used to be.
              With no one left in clear command Lori steps up. She assembles the remaining adults and older children she can find. In a very military fashion she orders everyone present to get everyone, adults and children, no exceptions together and assembled in a common room in the main building. “You have thirty minutes. Do not be late! Understood?!”
              The response is varied.
              “UNDERSTOOD?!” Her sudden firmness is something of a shock compared to how she is usually very polite and easy to work with. Finally everyone says “Understood” back to her.
              “Twenty seven minutes twenty one seconds…” she replies making it clear the meter is running. Lori turns and leaves them.
              “Do or else!” Kasakabe says clearly concerned about the consequences of not carrying out Lori’s order. “GO! Get everyone!”
              The group comes to the realization they better carry out what Lori ordered. With everyone assembled, at exactly thirty minutes Lori strides into the room.

              This is the first time anyone other than Kasakabe has seen her in a uniform. They are used to her dressing like a college co-ed. This time she is wearing black tights with tall polished black boots. She has on a black suit jacket that is almost a very short dress. Underneath she has on a crisp white blouse with black tie.
              On the shoulders of the jacket are gold lace epaulets. There is a stylized wing device below a star in a wreath with small silver stars on it on her left breast.
              She has her hair up tightly and is wearing a black peaked cap with a similar star and wreath on the peak but this one adds crossed swords and stylized wings to it. The hat band has gold leaf running around it.
              At her natural waist is a polished black belt with gold buckle and she has a pistol holster on. Between the uniform and her demeanor she looks absolutely imperious.

              She faces the group looking it over for a moment checking to see if everyone is present. They stand in a loose group facing her.

              “We all know what happened” she begins in ‘pilot voice‘. “Mister Damien has taken a leave of absence. Until he returns I am assuming command as Kapitan Lori Sixteen of the Ginsharian Navy on detached duty to the Mariposian Navy. As senior officer present that is my duty. You will follow my orders as you would Mister Damien’s. Understood?”
              The group looks vacantly at her. Several nod glumly. Lori is about to say something when Kasakabe steps up.
              “Understood Kapitan!”
              Kotomi recognizes her lead. She shouts “Understood Kapitan!”
              Dannon and Rama both say loudly “Understood Kapitan!”
              This brings a chorus from the others as they recognize they have not been abandoned after all and that someone is really in charge.


              He starts doing his best to get things back to normal by the end of January and during February he immerses himself in the affairs of the house during the day, and in work during the night. If he sleeps, its a secret between him and his shadow. Vondonna. Damien looks ten years older, but Vondonna is almost transformed; Darker, sharper and hair cut straight across the shoulders, she looks as if she is always looking for an excuse to put Kasakabe's lessons in hand-to-hand to good use.
              Lori bridges the gap nicely. Some have a bit of difficulty with her rigid style of command and expectation of total obedience but manage with it. Everyone is just glad to have someone in charge and keeping things in order.
              When Damien returns Lori defers to his command. She moves back to being “Intelligence officer” when it is clear Vondonna has become an effective second to Damien.
              Kasakabe gives Vondonna one of the wooden swords she uses and it is clear Vondonna, much like Kasakabe isn’t about to bunk any guff from anyone, Damien included.
              Damien seeks Lori out to thank her. He goes to her quarters careful to wear only the cleanest clothes and remove his shoes at the door.
              “I want to thank you for taking charge of things” he tells her. “You held things together and did great…”
              Lori looks at him in one of those almost “pilot mode” expressions she has. “Command is a primary function for my model. I was simply performing that function as programmed. I thank you for commending me for being successful in performing that function and noting I am performing as designed.”
              Damien just starts laughing…

              Kotomi remembers some friends of hers back in Japan that might have be able to help here, but she has had no contact with them since leaving California. What would she even say to them?
              Kotomi, then Lori reiterated that the alternative to a nuclear device was getting about 50 Mw of electrical power or more from somewhere, possibly a floating power plant or something like that.
              The gravcoupe was also fitted with Lori’s laser carbine as a weapon. It took some effort to get it mounted and then hooked up to the vehicle’s power supply. After the installation was finished, mostly to Lori’s satisfaction, she tried it out on some inch thick steel plate targets at a range of about 1000 meters.
              To make calibration easier Lori set the weapon to emit a visible pulse in one in five pulses much like tracers. The test drew an interested small crowd.
              “It’s just like Star Wars! several of the kids exclaimed with glee watching Lori cut the plates to pieces in a virtual instant with the laser by subtitle moves of the gravcoupe.
              “We now have a flying tank to use Terran terminology” Lori pronounced to Damien, much to his obvious satisfaction. He was also clearly thrilled to find that the gravcoupe’s hull was the equivalent of about 20 cm of armor plate up front and 8 to 10 cm equivalent elsewhere. “This is necessary to protect it from micrometeorites in orbit” Lori explained.
              Being told the vehicle produced about 75,000 horsepower impressed him too.

              “No wonder it can do the stuff it does!”

              February leads to March, and things get better for the kids, but nothing like what it was before. There are also late-night meetings with Arab-looking men and some business trips that you are not invited to go along with. Kim's airplane is restored to its full glory, better than new, in fact. Fully armed as well.
              Lori says she would like to fly it but that will have to wait for now with other things going on. It’s clear her sense of duty is too great for her to be distracted with pleasures.
              On the other hand she has proven quietly promiscuous with several of the others who all have discovered that she was not exaggerating in the least about her abilities in that area.
              Vondonna has a talk with her about this as it starts to cause problems. After a long chat sipping tea and nibbling pastries Vondonna comes to understand how a Ginsharian like Lori sees relationships. She explains as best she can in turn that with humans this will cause major problems and could be disastrous.
              “I will return to having a relationship with just Kotomi for now” Lori says to the surprise of Vondonna. I didn’t think that girl ran that way…! But then again from what I know now Lori is damn near irresistible…

              Kasakabe asks several of the kids if they would become apprentices of the Owato Clan during this time. At first Damien objected to this strenuously but once she explained that it was their decision and she would exert no pressure on them to do so he relented. It helped when Murotsu explained what this entailed.
              Essentially, they were agreeing to be trained as variously spies, couriers, assassins, or smugglers (called Transporters) depending on their abilities and talent. They were under no obligation to get made (become permanent members). As apprentices they only had to obey their Usted (or teacher Kasakabe) unquestioningly in training. She would not send them out on some dangerous mission on their own as apprentices.
              If later they proved themselves capable they could become “made” into the Clan as Kasakabe was. For this they had to speak Ral Ranthan fluently, were in for life, had to succeed at each task the Clan gave them or die trying, do everything their Boss told them to do. They would also be expected to stand as one against any enemy and come to each other’s aid.
              She asks Sian, Oaan, Lexi, Zel, and Luchaan if they want to apprentice explaining to each one separately what this entails if they choose to do it including getting a tattoo on the back of their upper left arm marking them as Owato. Murotsu shows them some of her own “Owato” tattoos saying everyone gets them, her included. She shows them her apprentice one she got years ago.


              March 15, 2012

              During the first 2 weeks of March, the results start to add up. One morning, Damien (who has gone back to using The Heratic as his public tag) meets you at the dinner table and announces "North Korea is back on the table. And so is that special package we spoke of."

              While you are absorbing that, Vondonna adds; "A special crew is coming to be our guest. They are the Black Lagoon transporting company, smugglers we have been saving for when we needed the best in the business. They are not nice people, but they will be tremendously useful. Lets not discuss your work in front of them... in fact, it might be best if you avoid them at first. I have a feeling that you folks are gonna mix like oil and fallout."
              Before you start to argue, there is a phone call that Vondonna answers.
              "Oh, what do you want, you tight-ass bi- .... what now? How many?"
              She holds the phone out to Damien. "Eda, at the Church in Ranapoor. A Cowboy with 2 bimbos just turned up with one of your cards. One that Pariah has been scratching on."

              "That a fact?" Damien scratches his chin. "Is one of them a pilot?"
              Lori tells Vondonna and Damien that only the “unique” part of their history really needs to be kept quiet.
              “Hiding us will only produce questions” she explains. “Better we are in plain sight and those things needing to be secret are kept that way.” So, when the Lagoon boat arrives Lori and Kasakabe are both present.

              Murotsu keeps a low profile with non-descript clothing and being faded. Lori on the other hand is anything but…
              She shows up in an absolutely skin tight body suit that definitely leaves little to the imagination. It is a bright shade of blue and has flowers that bloom and then disintegrate into petals that fall down it. As she moves the suit seems to flow like water over her while the flowers seem to float almost in three dimensions on the surface of it. She also has a pistol holster strapped to one leg.
              Vondonna spins Damien around. “YOU are NOT looking at THAT!” she exclaims to Lori’s giggling.
              “What the HELL do you think you are doing wearing something like that? Where did you get that anyway!?” Vondonna exclaims.
              “It is a body suit from my time” Lori says. “They are very expensive and have a number of useful features. If you like I can show you later. For many people wearing one is nearly addicting. You can put it under other clothes; I frequently do that here.”
              Vondonna looks skeptically at Lori. “That doesn’t explain wearing it here.”
              “Mister Damien and you have said the crew of this boat that is arriving are important and useful to us. I simply intended to use my built in ability to persuade others to increase that usefulness.”
              Vondonna just rubs her forehead as she shakes her head.

              The motor torpedo boat approaches and ties up to the pier. There is not much fanfare about it. Damien and a few of the others are on the pier. He told Lori in particular, along with those unnecessary for tying the boat up to get out of sight for the moment.

              Revy sneers; "The (bleep)ing heroes of Balikpapan, what a-"
              A boy of about 13 sitting across from her nods fiercely and smiles, cutting her off. "Yes yes, you really are, we saw the whole thing. You were amazing!"
              Its not what he says that stops Revy cold, but the thick Romanian accent.

              Benny; "You saw it?"
              "Yup, yes, hacked the Al-Jezeera live-feed, pre-production, not the edited junk they put on the air."
              “Oh, so now you guys are hacking satellites are you…?!”
              “Nah“, the boy says innocently. “Kapitan Lori does that for us! She gets all the best anime too!”

              Kapitan?! Dutch replies his ears perking up. You have somebody like
              Balalaika working for you now Damien? I thought I knew you better than that!”
              Damien rubs his forehead and sighs. “Kapitan Lori Sixteen is nothing like Fry Face.”
              What the f%^! Damien are you really competing with Hotel Moscow now?!” Revi sneers in surprise. “You can’t be that f%^! stupid!”
              “She isn’t Russian. Believe me she’s from a whole ‘nother planet!”
              “We gonna get to meet this super hacker?” Benny asks, now as much excited as curious.
              “How come I get a bad feeling about this?” Rock interjects.
              “SHUT UP ROCK!” Revi exclaims. “So, what about it Damien? You gonna show us your latest acquisition or…”
              Damien has a pistol drawn on Revi coming out of nowhere. “She isn’t an acquisition and I’ll warn you now not to comment on her appearance. She will kill you if you do!”

              To be continued….
              Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 19 Oct 13, 12:25.

              Comment


              • “I’ll be nice” Revi says…. “But she better be too!” she adds waving a hand at Damien as he puts the gun away.
                Damien just gives up at that point. He waves his hand signaling the others can come out and meet the Lagoon crew. It’s Lori that nearly instantly gets their attention. She in the middle of a group of kids all walking towards the boat. At 180 cm or so tall with her heels, that incredible body suit, and her appearance in general it’s impossible to miss her. Vondonna is following and Murotsu goes unnoticed off to one side with her jacket hood up and being fully faded. Kotomi, next to Lori can’t compete for attention.
                Rock just stares in amazement. Benny stares mouth dropped open. Dutch is hard to read. His expression really does not change and you can see his eyes behind those sunglasses.
                “F$^>!” Revi exclaims.
                The kids laugh and prance around Lori and Kotomi who hold the hands of a few of them. The herd arrives on the pier where Benny and Rock get a close up view of things. Dutch is still on the boat with Revi and Damien.
                “You were right my friend” Dutch says to Damien. “She’s nothing like Fry Face!”
                On the pier Benny stammers “You are a hacker?!” The kids all laugh and point at Lori. “Hacker!” they exclaim laughing.
                Kotomi recognizes Rock as Japanese and immediately engages him in Japanese “Hello, I am Ichinose, Kotomi. Who might you be?” she says to him with a small bow and wave of the hand Japanese style.
                That distracts Rock from his staring at Lori. “Oh! Hello” he replies pleasantly. “I am Okajima, Rokuro very nice to meet you…”
                The two start to talk.

                Lori walks up to Benny who is still awe struck by her appearance.
                “I need a f$>& drink!” Revi exclaims. She starts to get off the boat and head towards the compound.
                “Don’t get into any trouble Two Hands” Dutch calls after her.
                She waves a hand back at him without turning around. She just gives Lori a dirty look as she passes her.

                “It must be your system on this boat I was told to remove my surveillance from” Lori says very sweetly to Benny with a smile that gives Benny a whole new problem.
                “THAT WAS YOU!” Benny exclaims with a newfound reason to be even more infatuated with Lori. “You really ARE the Goddess of Hacking! I LOVE YOU!” He starts to lunge to hug her.
                That ends instantly as Lori now has her pistol screwed up his right nostril.
                “You are eww. You smell bad, need a bath, and considerable improvement in your hygiene. Do not touch me! Do not talk to me until you are clean.” she says in “pilot voice.”

                “Warned all of you…” Damien says non-pulsed.
                Dutch is just laughing too hard to say anything. So are the kids who now taunting Benny “Smelly belly!” and other similar stuff.

                “Um Miss, um I am sorry but is that really necessary?” Rock interjects into Lori’s threatening Benny.
                Lori looks at him without removing the pistol from Benny’s nose. She inches it up a bit instead putting him on the tips of his toes. “Yes. He is eww.”
                “I’ll bathe! I’ll get a hair cut! Just tell me what you want!” Benny grovels.
                This has gotten Revi’s attention she half shouts at Benny “She’s out of your class Benny! And I like how she uses a gun!”

                Revi turns to continue towards the compound for her drink taking about two steps and crashes into the faded and all but invisible Kasakabe. That surprises her as Murotsu seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.
                Muro gives Revi a toothy grin. “Touch again fa’yu DIE!” she growls now holding two foot plus long blades where Revi can see them.
                “I don’t know who the f^$& you think you are b*^>#h but you are DEAD!” Revi sneers back going for her Cutlass pistols.
                The two are now clearly ready to go at each other.
                “Kasakabe NO!” Lori says turning towards her. “No dueling today.” Lori still has her pistol up Benny’s nose however.
                “What’d I tell you?” Dutch shouts at her. “Play nice with the girl.”
                Muro and Revi continue to stare at each other. “Kasakabe. Out drink YOU fa’yu!” she grins at Revi.
                “It’s so on b*^>#h!” Revi replies with an equally evil smile. “You are going down!”
                The two turn and head for the compound.

                “Where on Earth did you find those two?!” Dutch asks Damien.
                (Sorry for usurping Dutch and the others but I wanted it all to mesh quickly)

                Comment


                • You may have goon a little too quickly.
                  But at least it took us to a place where they can compete on an even playing field.

                  The thread is closed.
                  Do not respond to this here.
                  I will transfer all of this to Chapter 3, with my revisions in place.
                  "Why is the Rum gone?"

                  -Captain Jack

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