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Chapter 3; The Mask is Strange,

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  • The next day a convoy of tractor trailers show up at Damien's compound. Two are carrying four each 2 meter diameter aluminum cylinders about 2.5 meters long on them. A third has an additional cylinder and something that looks like the top of a corn silo on it.

    "They're here!" Kotomi crys in glee running to meet the drivers and direct them to a place to unload.

    Vondonna and Damien don't take long to show up.
    "What the hell is this?!" she demands.
    "You better have a very good explaination young lady" Damien adds.

    After getting things unloaded and stashed in one of the larger sheds Kotomi explains to the now more numerous, and curious, people standing waiting for this.

    "That's the hull for my starship!" she exclaims excitedly. It's a double wall aluminum construction with a foot of borated and lead filled foam insulation in-between! That makes it safe from solar radiation and non-magnetic!
    Oh, I have a bunch of other stuff coming too...!"
    She proceeds to tell them that she ordered it as parts for a geo-thermal "green" air conditioning system for the estate... That way nobody would question what they were for.

    Over the next few days additional parts arrive. Most of it is mundane electronics or items no one would concern themselves with:

    Computer monitors, cameras, motherboards, that sort of stuff.
    Several aluminum bunks, chairs, and other bits that look like they would go in an aircraft and look custom made arrive.
    Several smallish pumps, electric motors, and a bunch of tubing and pipes.
    The arrival of a truck carrying eight 12 meter long 1 meter wide waveguides shaped like horseshoes and sheets of thin magnesium sheet metal are a bit difficult to explain. "Those are the jump coils" Kotomi tells those who ask.
    She says they were made in Japan and are constructed out of pure lanthanium with a neodynium outer plating. The billing slip shows she paid nearly half a million US for them.
    A crate with tank periscopes and another with what look like hatches off a submarine (Kotomi says they are off an old Russian sub) show up. Other odd parts like that arrive each day as well.
    A truck brings bottles of oxygen, nitrogen, and other gasses but this is nothing new. That has been going on for quite a while now.

    Vondonna finally asks as the pile of stuff grows "How much did all this cost and how did you pay for it?"

    "Lori gave me a million US dollar line of credit" Kotomi meekly replies. "This is only part of what I need. The real expense is the superconducting generator and hydrogen peroxide turbine. Those I got quotes on at five to eight million and it's probably going to be closer to ten..."

    "So you think you can really make a space ship?" Vondonna asks.

    Kotomi takes her in the shed. There fitted together is a 25 meter long tube just over 2 meters in diameter.
    "That is Earth's first faster-than-light starship and it will work! I calculate it can jump half a light year. It's only a prototype for proof of concept but it will work!
    Think of it! We could be going to another star in just a decade or so if it works! I get chills just thinking about that!"
    Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 17 Nov 13, 16:40.

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    • Damien goes straight to Lori. "You go double-check and then check again to make sure that the paper-trail for all this crap is scrambled up good! It might be too late, but I need you to buy us some time before somebody out there realizes that a frakking space-ship is being built in Indonesia!"

      He then goes and backs Kotomi up against one of the trucks. "Just went and did it, did you? Fine, can't undo it now, so tell me; what happens to all this if we have to leave the island with 3 hours notice? How long will it take you to finish this, and can it be towed behind a boat?"

      Looks like we won't be doing the raid up this weekend after all.
      Okay, we can take this in stages.

      Oh, forgot one thing; Helmets.
      We have a type like the small Israeli Kevlar one with ear-flaps that fold up and out of the way, or can be detached (but you loose the personal commo if you leave them off) and two options for face-masks; a chainmail mesh or a tinted plexiglass shield that is not recommended for night-ops. The third option is no mask at all, but few choose that since the mesh is easy to see through.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
        Damien goes straight to Lori. "You go double-check and then check again to make sure that the paper-trail for all this crap is scrambled up good! It might be too late, but I need you to buy us some time before somebody out there realizes that a frakking space-ship is being built in Indonesia!"
        "There is no electronic trail whatsoever, Mister Damien. Kotomi was not allowed to order anything herself. I did that to ensure, with her help, that everything ordered had a random and common purpose.
        The only item we could not do that with were the jump conduits. Those were specially made for the purpose. Terran technology currently does not recoginze the end use for which they were made so the cover used was they were part of a new type of electromagnet...
        You should also note that everything was designed to be moved by the gravcoupe and we could place the equipment to date in orbit in under a week. There is no difference in time moving it to a new location on the planet either.
        I would think you would place more confidence in me to not expose your operations than that also" she adds as clearly a jab back.

        He then goes and backs Kotomi up against one of the trucks. "Just went and did it, did you? Fine, can't undo it now, so tell me; what happens to all this if we have to leave the island with 3 hours notice? How long will it take you to finish this, and can it be towed behind a boat?"
        Kotomi whimpers and whines, scared to death. "Lori helped me with this! She knows how it can be moved! I just designed... I wanted... I..." starts crying.

        Looks like we won't be doing the raid up this weekend after all.
        Okay, we can take this in stages.

        Oh, forgot one thing; Helmets.
        We have a type like the small Israeli Kevlar one with ear-flaps that fold up and out of the way, or can be detached (but you loose the personal commo if you leave them off) and two options for face-masks; a chainmail mesh or a tinted plexiglass shield that is not recommended for night-ops. The third option is no mask at all, but few choose that since the mesh is easy to see through.
        Lori and Murotsu have ones that go with their suits so they don't need something on those lines. Murotsu also gives her apprentices going some of her clothing that is essentially bullet proof to wear for the operation.
        "Owato one" she tells them. (The Owato Clan is in this together would be the full English version)

        Comment


        • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          I would think you would place more confidence in me to not expose your operations than that also" she adds as clearly a jab back.
          I see, and that covers the expected. I just hope that there is nobody on this Earth that is as clever and nosy as you are when it comes to this sort of thing. I did explain that whole thing about what XPD means, didn't I?"


          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          Kotomi whimpers and whines, scared to death. "Lori helped me with this! She knows how it can be moved! I just designed... I wanted... I..." starts crying.
          This is not the 1st time Damien has gone a little too far bracing an unruly youngster. Still with a dead-pan look on his face, he does a perfect 3-Stooges nose-squeeze on Kotomi, then backs off.
          "Relax kiddo, I just don't do well with surprises like this. Okay, one week? And then.... well, it makes no difference, you, Lori and Muro have no serious training to do for Korea, Rama either. But Dannon needs another 50 hours stick-time before anyone at Iwakuni will believe that she's the sort of pilot I'd let fly an antique.
          Just make sure nobody sees you conquering space until your 100%, okay?"


          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          Lori and Murotsu have ones that go with their suits so they don't need something on those lines. Murotsu also gives her apprentices going some of her clothing that is essentially bullet proof to wear for the operation.
          "Owato one" she tells them. (The Owato Clan is in this together would be the full English version)
          "Just don't leave that behind, we don't want to give the Norks a leg-up in the arms race."

          Okay, the next things I wanted to do it get Sushi and Muro on the ground, then the airshow and the returning group, then the raid itself.
          But.... its really about what you guys want to do, so I'm open to whatever.
          Said it, meant it.... who's more interested in the spaceship? (no, we can't keep this a secret from the people that are staying here, they have eyes and minds).

          BTW- I have a map here that says the target is only 500 miles from Iwakuni, and its 150 miles straight-line from there to the island for refueling.

          Comment


          • In the interests of getting "this show on the road";

            Dutch and his crew have to leave first, and Pag-asa is on the way.
            On that tiny island they meet folks willing to sell fuel for a good profit, they don't get much support from the rest of P.I. and can't even do anything about the Chinese fishing boats that tear hunks out of the reef in plain sight of them... their boats are full of holes and the engines are rusted.
            20 miles away the Chinese have constructed a base, a multi-story building and helipad with a big radar dome that look like something out of a Bond film.

            On Taiwan, you find that the idealistic and dedicated folks that Damien use as contacts and conduits for these kids have NO idea where the next batch is coming from or any clue as to what might be special about them. These are Catholic missionaries, with a world-wide network, and their trust in Damien is a little... disquieting.

            This is the longest trip you have taken for a while w/o Rock, and Revy is edgy and smiling a little too often. If there is any shooting to be done, she is likely to be at her best and her worst at the same time, if you know what I mean.

            Comment


            • Dutch

              More detail?
              Okay, but until you give me a little direction, its hard to know when I am going to far and seem to be leading you but the nose.


              The leading figure at Pag-asa is the "Mayor" of PI's claims in the Spratly chain. He has several other places to worry about, includig a reef that is guarded by nothing but 8 men an LST that run aground there a decade ago. He and the rest of his people are in danger of getting run out of town by the Chinese and they know it.
              However, like the rest of P.I., they have no hard cash or any other way to entice you to help them. So... Damien's offer to buy fuel at triple the market rate is a very welcome proposition.

              The folks in Taiwan have enough influence to gt you into a good dock and a restful situation for a day or two, and know better than to ask too much about what you and Damien are up to.
              These Taiwanese Catholics are wise in the ways of the world but still eager to help try make it a better place, and they will try to encourage you to see things in a similar way... everyone but Revy may find something helpful here.

              You can do something at either, both, or none of the above. Just providing options here.

              After that, its up the Ryukyu Islands, last fueling stop is a small island off the south end of Korea, and then the rendezvous with the tanker truck.

              Have you seen the Google map of the island you are going to use yet?

              Comment


              • I will not be doing any thing at either points other than secuer the fuel and make sure the holy ones are ready for the kids.


                Nope have not seen the island yet.
                you think you a real "bleep" solders you "bleep" plastic solders don't wory i will make you in to real "bleep" solders!! "bleep" plastic solders

                CPO Mzinyati

                Comment


                • Somewhere over the East China Sea.

                  The Caribou has been airborne now for about an hour and a half out of Luzon. There is nothing but ocean some eight thousand feet below as far as anyone can see. In the cargo compartment everyone going with the “air show” to Japan sits trying to make the best of the flight they can.
                  It is noisy and the drafty chill of the air circulating through the compartment make riding in the uncomfortable canvas on aluminum frame seats more a test of endurance than anything. The Caribou literally shakes and rattles and the monotonous, roaring, drone of the engines is mind numbing.
                  Kotomi sits looking out one of the port windows. Flying alongside a few hundred feet away is Dannon in the Focke Wulf who is following Lori, Sushi, and Murotsu in the Isotta. Kotomi seems lost in the beauty of the sunset.
                  Rock, wearing his usual ridiculous white shirt and thin black tie, leans over and half shouts over the noise “beautiful sunset!”
                  Kotomi looks at him and shakes her head “yes” giving him a weak smile. She points out at the Isotta. “I’d rather be over there in the gravcoupe!” she shouts back. “It’s comfortable; and heated!”
                  She then looks more wistfully at Rock. “The first time I ever paid real attention to a sunrise or sunset was just a couple of years ago with Lori when she and Kasakabe took me on a flight to Chile. It was the first time I ever got to ride in the gravcoupe!”

                  The hours go by and darkness has set in. It is pitch black outside and except for the stars and navigation lights on the aircraft there is nothing to look at. Cloud cover has increased and the three aircraft are now flying in and out of the top of it. Kotomi looks out the cabin window.

                  The lights on the Isotta suddenly go out. All she can now see is the bright blue of the drive as the vehicle comes to full power. The Isotta disappears in seconds in a steep climb now headed to North Korea. Everyone on the Caribou hears the thunder of the sonic boom as the Isotta gains speed and altitude away from them.
                  Damien announces “They’re on their way! Things have started!”

                  Rock looks at Kotomi. “They’ll be fine. They’re professionals” he tells her trying to relive the worry her face reveals.
                  Kotomi bites her lip and nods grimly. Be careful Lori, I don’t want to lose you she thinks.
                  Rock taps her. He’s holding out an MRE for her. “Dinner!” he half shouts.
                  Kotomi smiles back and pulls her pack from under her seat. She pulls out two Ginsharian meal packs and offers one to Rock. “These are much better! Lori gave them to me for the trip!”
                  Rock looks at the mustard yellow package and the blocks of numbers printed on it. “What is in it?” he asks in curiosity starting to open his.
                  “Just try it!” Kotomi replies. “You’ll love it! They’re better than Kobe beef and sushi at a high end Tokyo restaurant!”

                  The two sit in the semi-dark cargo bay of the Caribou having an Alien dinner and a discussion in Japanese about things that take their minds off the danger of what they’re doing…

                  Just then something comes loose from the overhead of the compartment and clatters to the deck with a loud bang!
                  "That's not good!" Rock shouts in alarm.
                  Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 24 Nov 13, 15:08.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by andrewza View Post
                    Nope have not seen the island yet.
                    40 kilometers WSW of Inchon In't Airport is an island called Guleop(-ri).

                    You meet the truck at Yeonghuengdo at dusk and escort them there.

                    Guleop is very irregular,almost 4 km. long and the landing area is the 1,000-meter long sandy isthmus at the east end. From there is a path to a tiny village that appears to have a little farming and minimal fishing going on. The only clearly defined path leads from the landing area to the village 400 meters away (as the Crow flies, more than double that walking the path).

                    There are a multitude of coves here that are perfect for meetings between smugglers, and for the purpose of this game that is exactly what is going on here. This place has no other visible means of support and no other information is available on it... and it is too small for any military presence at all.
                    TAG found us a nice bit of nothing right next to a pretty crowded country.

                    It is likely that something nefarious will be going on when you arrive; if the weather is good for us its also going to be good for other nefarious folks as well. What it might be is unknown and you will have to be ready for anything.
                    You might even have to do some fast-talking... without Rock to do it for you.

                    If anything goes wrong, you could end up with a couple dozen people crowding your decks all the way to Taiwan.

                    You have time to work this out, the rest of the raiders need to catch up with you.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                      Somewhere over the East China Sea.

                      The Caribou has been airborne now for about an hour and a half out of Luzon. There is nothing but ocean some eight thousand feet below as far as anyone can see. In the cargo compartment everyone going with the “air show” to Japan sits trying to make the best of the flight they can.
                      It is noisy and the drafty chill of the air circulating through the compartment make riding in the uncomfortable canvas on aluminum frame seats more a test of endurance than anything. The Caribou literally shakes and rattles and the monotonous, roaring, drone of the engines is mind numbing.
                      Damien saw this coming, and kept the kids up late the last couple of nights. They spend most of the time sleeping as a result, but everyone took the time to do a little sight-seeing in Manila when we over-nighted there.

                      Kendra is glad of the draft; "First time I've felt cool since we left Europe." Everyone else stays bundled up in blankets most of the time.

                      Up in the cockpit, Chris gets a lot of hands-on training from Yaun-Ti. If that man has any flaws its not in his flying ability... but you would expect that from a man who had been working as a test-pilot.
                      Funny thing, as careful as he is in the air, he didn't hesitate a second to take the job once he knew what the N'orks were up to.
                      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                      Kotomi sits looking out one of the port windows. Flying alongside a few hundred feet away is Dannon in the Focke Wulf who is following Lori, Sushi, and Murotsu in the Isotta. Kotomi seems lost in the beauty of the sunset.
                      Dannon was reminded not to show off her new skill at short landing and take-off at the airshow, and on this trip she is experimenting with ways to extend her range, playing with the mix and so on. She will be a big hit at the show, what with her perfecly black skin, and a Dove-gray flight suit wrapped around her rail-thin limbs.
                      The plane itself has been massaged to perfection, you even have the correct lettering and abbreviations on the drop tanks. It will be a shame to re-paint it after this job is over.


                      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                      Just then something comes loose from the overhead of the compartment and clatters to the deck with a loud bang!
                      "That's not good!" Rock shouts in alarm.
                      I assume you have something in mind for what that object might be?
                      Last edited by The Exorcist; 24 Nov 13, 16:01.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                        I assume you have something in mind for what that object might be?
                        Actually, no. I've been on too many military aircraft with too many years on them too many times... Bits just seem to do that but they don't crash. It adds color...

                        Damien looks at Rock. "Don't worry about it! If it was important we'd be crashing rather that flying now!"

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                          Actually, no. I've been on too many military aircraft with too many years on them too many times... Bits just seem to do that but they don't crash. It adds color...
                          "
                          Oh, it sounded more like a heavy weapon or something fell out of the ceiling.

                          Okay, lets skip to the advanced team, the scouts. Phaing loaded up on stuff back at the armory but you don't see much of it on her now, as if she helped herself to a private stash or something. She dyed her hair black and can pass for Asian, if you don't look too closely. How far and at what compass heading are you landing from the target?

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                          • 0120: North Korea 39.406112 N, 126.786287 E, altitude 14,000 meters.

                            “We are now over the drop point” Lori announces in pilot voice. For the last two hours Murotsu and Sushi have been “partying” as they headed to the drop point. Sushi explained that doing so would increase her mana while Murotsu said she’d use her awareness skills to refresh herself before they arrived. Lori relented and let them indulge in each other and several bottles of liquor.

                            “See you on the ground ” Sushi tells Murotsu blowing her a sarcastic air kiss. “Pop!” She disappears teleporting to the ground.

                            Lori and Murotsu put on their suit helmets and check their equipment.
                            “Set?” Lori asks.
                            “Good” Muro replies as she opens the cabin door on her side and turns on her thermoptics shimmering into nothing. “Back day, two!” she calls as she freefalls out of the gravcoupe.

                            Plummeting towards the ground Muro uses her clairvoyance and the suit’s head up display to aim towards exactly where Sushi landed. At a thousand meters she turns on the grav belt and slows her decent to land gently on her feet.
                            On the dark hill side among the trees she and Sushi take a minute to plan their next move.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                              40 kilometers WSW of Inchon In't Airport is an island called Guleop(-ri).

                              You meet the truck at Yeonghuengdo at dusk and escort them there.

                              Guleop is very irregular,almost 4 km. long and the landing area is the 1,000-meter long sandy isthmus at the east end. From there is a path to a tiny village that appears to have a little farming and minimal fishing going on. The only clearly defined path leads from the landing area to the village 400 meters away (as the Crow flies, more than double that walking the path).

                              There are a multitude of coves here that are perfect for meetings between smugglers, and for the purpose of this game that is exactly what is going on here. This place has no other visible means of support and no other information is available on it... and it is too small for any military presence at all.
                              TAG found us a nice bit of nothing right next to a pretty crowded country.

                              It is likely that something nefarious will be going on when you arrive; if the weather is good for us its also going to be good for other nefarious folks as well. What it might be is unknown and you will have to be ready for anything.
                              You might even have to do some fast-talking... without Rock to do it for you.

                              If anything goes wrong, you could end up with a couple dozen people crowding your decks all the way to Taiwan.

                              You have time to work this out, the rest of the raiders need to catch up with you.
                              Ok I am going to make a quike trip arround the island to scope it out. I am all so going to get the quade gun ready for acstion. All so have benny check the airwaves for any radio chatter. Will decide what to do latter.
                              you think you a real "bleep" solders you "bleep" plastic solders don't wory i will make you in to real "bleep" solders!! "bleep" plastic solders

                              CPO Mzinyati

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                                On the dark hill side among the trees she and Sushi take a minute to plan their next move.
                                Nice to hear they are getting along so well, was afraid it might go the other way... but at least Muro has some idea of how deep Sushi's background goes.
                                She landed in a bowl-shaped depression about 2 km. due west of the target. That's pretty close, but it minimizes the amount of walking in the open you will have to do. That's probably a good thing, because there is Dog-scat that she points out, and Guard-dogs could mean serious trouble.
                                "So, we have two options from my view. Make a high hide somewhere Dogs don't like to go, or just go strolling through the village in some sort of disguise like we own the joint and see if we can't get a look inside 24 hours ahead of time. Who knows, there might be an attic we can spend the day hiding in."
                                As for changing appearance, her options are unlimited, but Moro is restricted by what she brought with her... and the combined imaginations of 2 not-stupid people.

                                A high hide in the rocky hilltops is do-able, but it would be impossible to leave it without being see in daylight hours. Its going to be nice and sunny tomorrow, and all you have right now is a little ground-mist down in the flatlands

                                At least you don't have to cross the road or RR from where you are now.


                                Originally posted by andrewza View Post
                                Ok I am going to make a quike trip arround the island to scope it out. I am all so going to get the quade gun ready for acstion. All so have benny check the airwaves for any radio chatter. Will decide what to do latter.
                                Okay, this part goes about 24 hours ahead of whats up above;
                                The island is so irregular that it seems like several smaller ones from most angles, it would be Dutch's fondest wish to have an island like this available to him back in his usual haunts, the hills and the surf hide ops and mask sound perfectly.
                                That huge truck-tanker is wallowing along and not responding to your signals very well. Afraid of being swept away by the cross-current, he is bulling towards the landing beach like Queen Victoria on her way to the Royal commode.

                                Lucky for them, there is nothing going on at the beach you want. Flip a coin... lets say you go ahead and do a clock-wise sweep of the perimeter. Nothing to see (May 5th is too early for beach-goers, but only just) at the southern or northern coves, harldy a light showing at the village.
                                But at the Northeastern-most cove there are three boats gathered without lights and 2 are parked stern-stern, the classic way to park to transfer goods while still ready to bolt in a heartbeat... or so they must hope. These boats are an 80-foot cabin cruiser and a 100-foot fishing trawler, the other one might be a problem; boat #3 is a small, low speedboat that is prowling around using a narrow-beam spotlight to inspect the narrow, rough little beach.
                                It occurs to you that the cammo pattern on your boat could be mistaken for what some South Korean Navy boats use...

                                Chris, Kotomi and the rest;
                                You guys are a great hit at the Airshow. Dannon can't do any acrobatics anyway, you guys got scheduled too late to take part in any of that, but her and the FW are mobbed by locals and tourists. (she has the real guns on board, but wrapped in 10 pounds of lead foil they look just like the dummy weights).
                                The only things she knows how to do that would qualify as a good "stunt" is an 8-point roll, she has been concentrating on more practical flying, so maybe its just as well.

                                Its the Caribou that gets the attention of the Marines and other Americans here. It turns out that here are only about half a dozen still flying in the world, and nobody had heard of this one yet. Damien can handle the questions and is not shy about showing his face here; he shaved his head, let his bear grow out a little and has an eye-patch on... and winks at Chris whenever he seems shy about running into any of the older Marines.

                                Its up to Chris if he sees anyone he knows from the old days, or not-so-old days... and how he reacts.
                                Given the situation, it might not be bad to have connections here.

                                Kotomi and Rock seem to be getting along very well, and that's a good thing. They will have to cooperate to keep control of the kids that are seeing something besides Natuna or a violent romp through the 3rd world for the 1st time in years. Tonight you will have to pretend to be twice as many people checking into a hotel and then tomorrow is time for a little sight-seeing or a quick trip home... it really depends on you how that goes.

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