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IC: STARFINDER: HEROES FOR HIRE - EPISODE ONE "YOU MEET IN A TAVERN..."

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"Bunks, right. Hold on - " Sunshine waves them along, munching as she went. She looked confident, but not fully so, as she led them along.

"So first things first, the decontamination suite is good, but this is an interplanetary ship and bugs are gonna happen. If you find any bedbugs in your cot, let us know and we'll tie it to the hull. Couple of hours at absolute zero out in the Suck oughta kill any bedbugs, and anything the Suck doesn't kill is probably gonna give us bigger problems than an itchy mattress. Around this way - wait, this way - " Sunshine looked momentarily confused, following the signs to the living space. "Sorry, spend most of my time on the bridge. Where you all going to be stationed, then?"

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"Not quite sure to be honest,"  she followed the gerbil, raising a worrisome eyebrow at the mention of bedbugs.  She knew it wasn't an uncommon practice to strap a mattress down in an air lock and let the vacuum and cold of space do its thing, but that didn't make the idea of vermin anymore inviting.

"Some decided they didn't want any part of this until they'd had the opportunity to look the ship over, bow to stern.  I'm not sure why, since they could have done that while we were en route to wherever this contract will take us.  If they didn't like the place they would at least have 10,000 credits in their pockets.  I suppose once they're done wasting all of our time, well be getting our duty sections.  In the mean time, I just got off stage and am in serious need of shower.  I hope once I'm done freshening up, they'll be done doing," she waved in a dismissive motion.  "Whatever it is they're doing."

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Evana found the cabins but none suited her until the last one which when the door opened she looked in on a room, smaller than she would have preferred but otherwise perfect. All the niceties she required that had been absent in the other cabins were present, and not only present but almost exactly what she liked. The bed was the perfect size and the reclining surface (mattress) was of an extremely comfortable firmness.

"Oh i think this will do." She said out loud pleased that none of the others had gotten to it first.

"Please state your name." came a soft voice from...the room?

**************

Tours conducted, cabins claimed The ship was in excellent condition although the layout proved to be somewhat unconventional. When asked about this and who had built the ship, Sunshine just shrugged "Who knows, I gave up trying to figure that out months ago"

Before any more questions could be asked the ships voice spoke. "All hands are requested to gather in the forward lounge, thank you."

Arriving at the lounge they found that Atuz had returned to the Ship and was eager to get underway. "I hope you have found everything in top condition and that you have all agreed to my proposal. Those of you wishing to decline I hate to be rude but I must ask that you leave the ship immediately. The rest of you we must get underway now.

Captain Sunshine," He hands the Ysoki a data crystal, "That contains the beacon coordinates for our destination. And this, " he tosses a carrier pouch on a small table, "is what i promised, the remainder of my personal wealth. It isn't as much as most of you have imagined and surely not as much as you wanted, but it is all that i have left in the universe. I give it too you now to show my trust. All I ask is that  once this is done you return My princess and myself to Aquitaal."

 

Spoiler

If there are no posts today I will assume that everyone agrees to go and move us to the next phase

 

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"Welp," Echo said, hands laced behind her head through her long black hair as she lounged back in one of the lounge seats, "I've been up and down the ship, everything seemed shipshape. No bombs or other negative 'incentives' that I found. If there's a poison pill here, I don't think it's in the ship."

She shrugged. "So sure, I'm in. Lets go rescue a princess." The android snickered at that and twirled in the chair.

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Sunshine took the data crystal in hand, sniffing it, her eyes unfocusing a little. "They always smell funny. Whuh. Okay, then. Before we go wheels up, in case we run into trouble, who is stationed where? We'll need folks in engineering, gunners at the turrets, and people managing the informational warfare suites and internal  coordination."

Spoiler

Sunshine, presumably, is taking on the role of Pilot, so this is a chance for everyone to declare where they'll be stationed if things get hairy.

 

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Ninura had come into the lounge last and plopped onto the floor (at least she was dressed) near Gorunta. During Atuz's speech she had paid no mind to him or anything else except The Vesk's large feet which she hunched over several times reaching out a finger but not ever quite touching...

"Why?" She asks when Sunshine makes her statement, "we have never had to have anyone in those places before, even when it was just you and me. Before gold man and metal bits came and disrupted our harmony.

If it is tradition, why did you not mention this before?" the veil flutters as she speaks.

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Evana felt a million times better.  After her shower and freshening up she took a few moments to wander a bit, but didn't get far before the ship asked them all to the meeting.  She certainly was consistent in her theme, however.  She was in deep purple yoga pants and a matching zip up hoodie with an ice blue accent to them, even her sneakers matched, a simple pair of purple and blue running shoes.  Her hair was bound up in a tight ponytail.  She wore a matching sports bra under her hoodie and made sure to keep unzipped enough for a tease.  She seemed to put very little effort into her appearance and yet her ordinary lounge look was equal to if not more so alluring than her stage look.

"I've a variety of skills," she started.  "I've learned to be adaptable, but I'm not really a specialist in any one field except people and management.  The entirety of my career thus far has been either modeling, singing, dancing, or being a sex symbol in one fashion or another, to give the people of the 'Verse what they want or need from their idols.  Running a ship is not much different from running a career, the day to days are very similar, the real difference, honestly, is the venue.  So, I'm putting my hat in for playing the annoying 'boss'.  Handling duty schedules, administration, expenses, logistics and inventory,"  it was almost cute the way she said 'inventree' instead of 'inventory'.

"Secondary, I'm sure I can do just about anything needed of me, except give Gorty fashion sense and a personality.  I'm fabulous, but I'm not a miracle worker."

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Gorunta as it happens was wearing straightforward black and gray, albeit with a definite stain of some kind on the shirt. It fairly looked like true to Evana's words, the Vesk didn't care much for his appearance beyond the requisite aura of menace and hurt. All the same she got a big Vesk middle finger thrust at her briefly. "Me," Gorunta's harsh rumble said, "The entirety of my career has been fighting, beating and killing people in the service of whoever paid me."

"Not much change here, I can handle most any weapons, and I can use the ship's guns just fine. Personalities, well, I didn't come here to date any of you."

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Evana looked him up and down, smirking.  "Well, that's good, the physics alone in that whole idea is... probably best left a mystery."

"I can confirm his penchant for wrecking face," she powered on.  "Last week he beat a mook within an inch of his life for groping by," she made a cupping gesture with her hands.  "Well, you know.  It was one of the romantic things any one has ever done for me, until he mentioned that I if covered them up once in awhile deviants wouldn't be so attracted to me..."

"Yep," she nodded.  "Definitely killed the mood.  He's a big sweetie though, don't let his abrasive attitude fool you.  Get a couple drinks in him and he'll be singing old Veskarium war dirges... it sounds like two bandersnatches fornicating but it's fabulously entertaining."

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Though not a pilot or engineer, Jordayn had been on plenty of ships, traveling here and there, including on luxury yatchs. The Solanya had the oddest layout of any he had ever been on, though it had its own eccentric charm. Each bunk had its own unique design rather than being differentiated purely by furnishings. Jordayn chose one of the bigger rooms he'd seen, an open plan rather than a small suit, with bland, spartan furnishings. He'd spruce it up later and alter to taste as his whim changed.

Evana wasn't the only luxuriating in the amenities offered on the Solanya. The shower was the first he'd been able to get since washing up on 8-Pieces port. On board a ship once more, he put on his enviro-suit as a matter of habit. He strode into the lounge wearing a golden-red Ysoki Refractor Suit cling to his lean, trim frame, a dark maroon vest with numerous pockets giving him a more casual, comfortable look.

Jordayn chuckled in amusement at the banter between Evana and the big Vesk Gorunta. It had taken a while to adjust being a Vesk, but he learned there was more behind their stereotypical belligerent, taciturn demeanor... usually. He gave Evana a nod, openly falling for the tease with an appreciative though not crass glance. She would do very well at the Cathedral, very well indeed. "Believe it or not, luv, the dirges sound better the more singing them there are. By the way, love the outfit and I'll have no issue working under you."

He gave Atuz a short, smooth bow. "I hope to prove worthy of your trust, Atuz. I definitely accept your offer - not going to lie, the generous off has something to do with it - and will seek to reunite you with your princess."

Jordayn spun a chair at the table around and straddled it, folding his arms on the back, extending his attention to include everyone. "I'm a doctor, both conventional and mystic, so I'll do my best to keep you all in mint condition come what may. I've traveled a fair bit so I'm pretty good with languages and been exposed to an eclectic variety of cultures. Oh, and I'm a priest-companion of Arshea."

He gave them a wry, friendly grin. "No worries, I'm not the proselytizing kind of priest - I'm not going to try and convert. Everyone should seek out their own faith, but my services are available to you all, if you're looking to relax or unwind. Even if all you need is an ear to vent in."

Spoiler

Think of Priest-Companions of Arshea like the Companions from Firefly. Yes, they are religious courtesans, but sex isn't all they offer, or even the main thing, though many assume so. They offer massage and personal grooming, someone to speak at or with, someone to play games with or simply their presence so people don't have to feel alone for a time, any number of things you need in a friend or companion.

 

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Echo did another spin in her chair, staring up at the ceiling. But for the thin blue circuitry lines etched here and there on the skin of her face and arms where the rolled-up sleeves of her snugly-fitted jumpsuit showed them, she could have been human. Her hair was the messy kind of long that implied not so much that she'd wanted long hair as much as she just hadn't gotten it cut. Her slim, petite build was probably pretty handy for squeezing into engine manifolds and tight access-ports.

"I'm good at mechanical work...better at infowarfare, but it's all good. I know, right? Android who's good with machines. Never saw one of those before."

She looked back down at everyone, her pale-blue eyes finally settling on Atuz for a long moment before sweeping around the room to linger on each of the others' faces. Echo didn't blink, it seemed. Ever.

"I don't really care who's in charge, as long as they're not an asshole about it. A crew this size, we can pretty much change shit up whenever and however we need to, until we find a good fit. So lets not overthink."

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Jexa sat back, with her heavy boots crossed and propped up on a chair beside her. She listened as she glanced around, still taking it all in. Once there was a break, she spoke up.

"Yeah. Jordayn's cool. I can vouch." she said as she looked over each of the others she would be doing this job with.

"Been a spacer most of my life. I can build, fix, modify, hack or analyze most things, mundane and magic. As a Technomancer, it's all the same to me." Jexa said with a shrug.

"Okay in a scrap and good at disguises too. Depending on what we are walking into, that might come in handy." she added before looking to Atuz.

"So, you know anything about the magic field on this ship?" she asked.

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"Okay then. If you're all settled in, we should be clear to take off shortly. Good to meet you all." With that, Sunshine trotted over to the pilot's helm, plugging in the coordinates crystal and flicking her tiny plastic lashunta dancer for luck.

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A few days later...  Raviss System.

The ship dropped from drift space.  Sunshine soared the Solenya easily through and between massive asteroids that formed a wide belt that separated the solar system's inner worlds from its outer worlds.  Unlike the pact worlds only two of Raviss's six worlds were habitable.  Achio (Ah-key-oo) was on a circular orbit around the Raviss star.  It's second planet Bosha (Boo-sha) was on an elliptical orbit that carried it close to the sun and far away over the course of it's two year cycle.

Sunshine stayed the course on the crystal and soon the Solenya entered Achio's atmosphere and they docked in Tarantis, a mid-sized metroplex that was easily a paradise wrapped in its own problems.

Sunshine completed the docking procedures and the ship's systems powered down.  They had arrived... now, to rescue Atuz's kidnapped love.

Spoiler

Raviss is only six planets.  Picture our solar system.  Achio orbits like Earth.  Bosha, over the course of two years orbits from where Mercury would be, to as far as Mars, then, obviously, back again.  Like our system, there is an asteroid belt.  It's Bosha, Achio, Asteroid Belt, remaining four worlds not worth noting (gas, mineral mining, etc...)

I've left it open so you guys can interact with Atuz, gather what gear you want to take and work on finding a lead as to where Atuz's love is.

Tarantis Metroplex, Achio, Raviss System
CG Metroplex
Population
3,500,000 (49% human, 9% android, 5% ysoki, 7% lashunta, 2% shirren, 5% dwarf, 4% halfling, 4% kasatha, 3% vesk, 2% gnome, 4% Elf, 6% other (mostly goblins))
Government
Mayoral Council (Council led by elected Mayor)
Qualities
academic, cultured, financial center, major port and trade center, technologically average
Maximum Item Level
11th (Legally)

 

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After performing post-dock lockdown, Sunshine got her gear on, which included a hunting rifle, a laser pistol and her armored, carefully scuffed freebooter's outfit. She nodded at the others on the exit ramp.

"Okay. Let's start asking around. Someone always knows something in these ports."

Spoiler

Sunshine will take Evana's lead, backing her up with skill assists from Sense Motive and Bluff as needed.

 

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"It's finding the someones who know that's the thing," Jordayn said, nodding down at the diminutive Ysoki.

Over his reflective red-gold Refractor Suit, he was wearing his open-fit, deep red priestly vestements, his static arc pistol holstered far back on his hip. His pale blonde hair tied back in a casual bun, the handsome half-elf stood on the docking ramp, looking out pass the space docks towards the greater part of Tarantis with bright interest. He had never been to the Raviss System before and while they did a paid commitment to pursue, he did enjoy visiting new places.

"I'll go see what I can learn in the Temple District, or what passes for one, if there is such a place in Tarantis," Jordayn revealed. "The priests here might keep tabs on the various cults, if for no other reason than that might draw away some followers and their offerings and tithes. Even among those who seek a 'higher' calling, credits, or the lack of it, speak loudly." He waggled mobile brows at his female companions. "Any of you care to accompany me?"

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"Not a bad idea," Evana nodded  to Jordayn.  "Everyone, please, a moment... before we all head off for clues, please keep to the starport district if you're going to be digging in your armor and sporting weapons.  After all, no target has ever gone to ground once they've seen or heard that well armed mercenaries are looking for them... right?  Pack lightly, but be prepared for trouble just in case and do try to remember: this is a civilized world, not a lawless space station."

"Sunshine, Atuz and myself are going to see if we can reenact the kidnapping and see if there are clues near where she was taken," she turned to Sunshine, a sympathetic look in her eyes.  "Sorry, hun, do you have anything a little more... casual?"

Once again Sunshine's opportunity for rough and tumble adventure were stolen away by the claws casual socializing.

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"Yes, yes!"  Atuz seemed excited at the thought.  "We were taking in all Tarantis had to offer.  The resorts on the coast, fine dining... even some time in the casino.  We were having all sorts of fun.  Then, those men barged into our room and took her from me."

"I-I can show you where."  He nodded.  "I don't know anything about the... cult, but I know you can find them, I know it."

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"What's her name and what does she look like? Seriously. We at least need an image of her to we know who hells we're actually looking for." Jexa said as she adjusted the clothing she was wearing over her skintight, black metallic refractor suit to conceal it.

Though she was armed, Jexa did not look overly so, with her laser pistol on her hip, as one would expect people to carry some protection, while her auto-pistol was concealed and her arc pistol stored in the concealed, quickdraw mechanism of her refractor suit. Her battlegloves she left as well. They were handy, but a little too overt for now. 

"We'll need more to go on if you want this done with any speed, because it would suck ass to just walk right past her and not even know it because we didn't know what she looked like." 

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"Even a name," Echo said in agreement with Jexa. She was walking down the gangway just behind the technomancer, a jacket pulled on over the Lashunta bodysuit she had on. The tempweave had environmental processing machinery stored in the forearms of the suit, making them thicker and sturdier...and concealing a nice little compartment to hide her arc pistol in. "I can find an image if you give me something to work with. Who even is she?"

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"Ah... uh... yes... well,"  Atuz scratched his head.  His cheeks flushed a bit as he searched for the words that would form the answers those he hired were looking for.  "I suppose it was an inevitability... her name is... Queensie."

From his pocket he produced a disc shaped holo-projector and the image it produced spun about slowly.  Queensie was not what they were expecting.  She had six legs... a small fluffy carefully groomed into a variety white poofy balls about her six adorable feet and a cute pom-pom on her head.  Her long bottle nose and and blow hole just accented her all around cuteness.  "She's a... uh... she's uh... a poolphin.  A genetic hybrid between a dolphin and a poodle, I spared no expense.  She's my everything..."

The image spun about slowly as Atuz stared at his lost love.  He beamed a smile and tried to touch the nose but it only distorted the image.  "She's... she's so precious... yes she is."

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Echo stared at the image, then shrugged and took a quick photo of it with her rig.

"Right. Well that'll narrow things down some. Whoever's got her will need a big tank, a supply of fish or whatever those...whatever she eats. We'd probably better get a line on a portable tank we can put in the cargo hold too. Actually, I'll take care of that. I have some other shopping to do anyway."

Atuz was not right in the head, but his credits were good...as far as she knew. Best thing for it was to spend it quickly, do the job and hope he was actually insane enough to make good on the offer of the ship. Rescue a princess...ship a fish a few parsecs...what did it matter, really, if the reward was worth it?

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There was a long palpable silence, with no member of the Solenya's crew yet able to muster a response to through their disbelief. "Good fucking son of a demon fever addled Aspis whore!" Gorunta's voice boomed in loud, unrestrained, crass shock and vulgarity. "You... you're paying us to do all this, giving away everything you have, to get back a mere pet! No wonder your family said no. They're probably wondering right now what generations of siblings held threesomes with each others and Eoxians to produce your lunatic carcass!"

"Gorty-" Evana broke into, trying as ever to smooth over and restrain the Vesk from going any further.

"I am fortunate that there is money and that Damoritosh respects the conquest, and not solely the caliber of the foe." The vesk grunted in resignation. "A cult that decides to capture a fluffy pet for sacrifice? How fearsome could they be?"

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"A cult.. uh... yeah...," Atuz shirked away a bit one the massive vesk had his outburst. It was obvious Evana had the big under some semblance of alm but seriously pondering either getting hers, or supply Gorty with a gun.   "I may not have been completely clear about the definition..."

"Also, I may have accrued no small amount of debt at one of the private casinos," He raised his eyebrows and looked around sheepishly.

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"I understand completely," said Sunshine, with all sincerity, upon learning that Atuz would cross half a system to secure an adorable pet. "We'll find them!" She then paused, thinking about the other thing Atuz had mentioned. "Wait, what's this about house debts? Are these to the people who like to take people's fingers off?"

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An eyebrow twitched, but Jordayn sighed ruefully. There were all sorts of desire and love in the galaxy. The love one held for a special bit was no less valid than other sorts of love, and like them, came of all sorts of intensities. It was just different, and there was nothing intrinsically bad - and often, there was a great deal of good - about different.

Jordayn paused and turned to look up the ramp at the others. He waved a hand in Sunshine's direction. "Fingers, legs, I take it you mean this cult is a cult of collection agents, of the more violent variety?" He smirked wryly. Arshea preserve us as we jump into the folly of love. "Which casino would this be and how much much is the debt, Atuz? I don't mean to embarrass you, but it may give us a hint about how... hmm, serious and ... excessive they will be in holding onto Queensie, here."

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"Well, it's not a small amount, but well in my ability to resolve," distressed and out of options Atuz gave little resistance to the questioning.  "No, the problem arose when they requested more than was acceptable in terms of payback.  We all accrue debt, and I was more than willing to cover that which was owed... when I refused they were more than amicable, which should have been my first warning.  I trusted them however, and here I am."

He addressed Sunshine as he continued.  "I was staying at the Cupidity Casino.  It's a nice place, really.  Good food, attractive staff, got an excellent rating on Space Book and they make these delightful little complimentary pastries with whipped topping and wibbleberries..."

"Atuz," Evana cut him off.  She was irritated and it was obvious, unlike the others she was not as understanding and seemed like she was ready to look for her gun and shoot him non principle.  "...for crying out loud, focus.  We don't care one whit about pastries."

"Um, ah... yes... I don't believe it was the casino itself that arranged this.  Doing so could seriously damage their reputation.  My guess is that this some sort of an inside scam, underground or underworld dealings perhaps... I don't know.  Maybe you can get further than I did... I tried to find them before I sought you out, but I came up with nothing."

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"Follow the money," Echo said. "Cupidity Casino is a start. What game though, do you know who you were dealing with? It'll help narrow things down if the casino itself isn't directly involved."

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Ninura sniffed "i care about pastries..." she mumbled from where she was climbing the forward landing gear and sticking her head in the gear well.

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"I dealt with many of the staff, it could have been any of them, all of them..."

Evana sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose.  "Knowing what we know now, it's probably best of he stays on board.  The rest of us can fan out and try to learn what we can about shady dealings and who might be behind them, especially when it comes to extortion rackets.  Now that we know, it should make things easier."

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"Casino sounds great to me, though maybe we better make a map to the exit in case, ah, things get hairy. Lots of them are designed to be hard to get out of. Are we gonna fan out there, or fan out in general, i.e. all over the port?"

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Evana sighed, she seemed visibly irritated.  "I don't know, why is everyone is asking me?  Why is it every time we answer one question we just sit around and ask five more?  Iomidae's ass cheeks people, motivate yourselves!  At some point you will have to make a choice without calling to verify it with me first.  I know what I'm capable of, so I'm going to the casino to ask around.  Personally, I'd like to see this thing done so I'm going to get the ball rolling on something more than standing about asking questions all day."

She made it about ten paces before stopping and sighing.  Noticing her attire she grunted in frustration.  "After I change into something more appropriate for a casino... meet me there or wait, either way I'll be there soon."

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Sunshine cocked one fuzzy eyebrow as Evana headed off, then shrugged. "Well, this is the fanciest thing I have, and I figure they won't turn down anyone there to spend chits, so I'm heading to the casino too. Hope they don't have a weapons check..."

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"I'll go with you," Echo volunteers, working her neck a little to get a kink out. krick "The casino's the only solid lead we have now."

"I doubt the target's physically on the premises, but it's a good place to go to scope the network out. See if I can get access somewhere."

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Turning from giving Atuz a doubtful glance - Jordayn didn't think the temples would have any particular interest in a band of scam artists rather than a cult (though they were often the same - the half-elf gave the Android and Ysoki ladies a nod of acknowledgment, his eyes lingering for a moment on Evana's delightful behind.

"A solid start, ladies. With three of you at least pursuing leads at Cupidity, I'll try a different tack. A hybridized pet like a poolphin surely has exotic dietary and environmental needs." He sighed deeply and turned to Atuz. "That is the case, I take it, Atuz? If you'll explain the needs your... princess requires, I'll browse any likely shops and pet supply depots in and around Cupidity and further a field perhaps, see if anyone has been looking for or asking about the requirements for keeping a poolphin."

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Atuz nods vigorously at the friendly priest, "Of course Princess must be fed 3 times a day and her favorite..."

After Atuz explains and Evana returns in a different outfit the group sets off about their tasks.

 

Spoiler

Good morning Nina here I am taking over again so dave can play :)  is anyone going with Jordayn to the pet shops, if none of you go with him I will have Ninura go with him. everyone else I will assume is going to the casino. The robot will stay and guard the ship. if no one replies today we will go with that and I will be moving the story along. Thanks for your patience

 

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Jexa pats Jordayn on the upper arm with the back of her hand and gives him a nod.

"I'll go with Jordayn. If we start asking asking around, word might get back to the people we are looking for, so it's best to have backup. Besides, we've worked together before." she said with a shrug.

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There was a weapon's check.  Not surprisingly, Evana was the only one who seemed comfortable giving up her weapons in a cesspool of iniquity and sin.  In fact the whole place seemed to slip onto her like Asmodeus might slip on a dinner jacket.  Still, she walked in like she owned the place.  The place was amazing and reeked of greed and excess.  The floor of the casino was massive.  The ceiling was massive and from it hung crystalline chandeliers.  The golden rings of the fixtures reflected the sparkling light of the magical crystals that floated in orbit around it.  Off to the left were rows of slot machines and to the right were a variety of card and dice games from a variety of worlds all over the galaxy.  The place was packed and it was a hedonists dream.

Her outfit was sensible, for her.  An ice blue sequined miniskirt with a neck line that plunged low enough to show off her navel ring.  It was a wonder the woman even bothered with clothing at all considering her lack of modesty (in comparison to the rest of her current company).  "Uh," she took in the air and exhaled.  "Do you smell that?  Greed, excess, poor life decisions," she grinned back at her companions.  "You all sure know how to treat a lady to a night out."

Spoiler

I'm going to wait a post or two before I get down to business, for now she's just gonna drink and meander about.

 

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IN THE CITY

Jexa and Jordayn took a trolley from the space port into the city proper it was a good distance but the grav trolley (imported not built locally) traveled at over 200 DUPTU (Distance Units per Time Units, yes, I know, awkward). Once the exited the trolley they found themselves in a very modern High tech city, bustling with lifeforms going about their lives. No one paid any attention to the new comers.

Finding an information kiosk, the priest was able to use the public computer directory to locate several shops specializing in pets and other animals and the supplies needed for them while Jexa watched the surrounding crowd.

Downloading the list to her own data tablet.t he two friends of circumstance start off to the shops nearest the casino.

Some time later after a degree of absent luck which bordered on the suspicious, none of the four shops they had visited had any supplies that Atuz had named and in fact none of them had anything a Poolphin would eat at all. As far as they could tell none of the shops seemed to carry anything which would be associated with any sort of canine or canine sort of pet. All of the shops had various exotics, reptiles, avians, felines (the felines were all very expensive breeds and in all four shops were treated with a very high degree of care far beyond what the other animals received.

Now they were entering their fifth shop and while Jordayn went to the counter Jexa looked at the animals on display. As far as she could see it was the same here as at the other shops, no dogs or dog supplies.

“How can I help you ser?” The lavender hued near-human asked Jordayn while Jexa looked around.

Jordayn smiled at the young man whom Jordayn thought seemed tense.”I'm looking for Poolphin supplies particularly these,” he show the clerk the list.

The man stiffens. “Umm.. we don't deal in Poolphin's or any sort of canine derived animals. So sorry.”

Jexa peered at the window from the inside watching a group of VisCat Kittens playing with a ringing ball. When she glanced up and looked at the thoroughfare outside her eyes narrowed. She saw three beings, a goblin and two half-orcs, that she was sure she had seen before. The goblin was watching the shop from across the wide street while to half-orc watched the both directions up and down the street and the goblin.

Spoiler

fantasy_cat_by_hon_anim-db0xme0.jpg The VisCat kitten

 

TWO HOURS AGO AT THE CASINO

17 hours ago, Evana said:

"Uh," she took in the air and exhaled.  "Do you smell that?  Greed, excess, poor life decisions," she grinned back at her companions.  "You all sure know how to treat a lady to a night out."

When she turned back there was a tall Felinoid standing in front of her not quite invading her personal space. He was dressed elegantly in a black velvet suit wich accented his own ebony fur. Behind hi and one either side were two hulking half-orc and two more were coming up behind the shipmates.

“Welcome to Cupidity Casino, Miss.' the cat man said showing his fangs his voice ozzing with both contempt and sensuality. “You are all welcome to enjoy all we have to offer, except for him,”  The  catman points at Atuz,  ”He banned and need to vacate the premises immediately, but you are very welcome to stay darlin.” he purrs a huge grin on his predatory face.

 

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In contrast to the high-visibility approach from Evana and Atuz, Echo ducked away from the others almost immediately and vanished into the crowd. She wove between people around the game tables towards the back of the cavernous expanse of the casino floor. There was an array of simple payout machines like slots there, but more importantly there was a staff-only door that servers occasionally left from and went into.

If she could swipe one of those outfits, her life in the next few minutes would be a little easier. She needed to get to a network access point to do what she did, but there was a lot of surveillance on the casino floor. Getting in via the employee area would be easier, but riskier. Either way, she needed to look the part, so security didn't immediately descend on her.

Holodisguise, she thought to herself. I need to get one of those one of these days.

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