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"UNDER THE DRAGON CLAW"

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NOVA PRAXIS: HOLD BACK THE NIGHT

“UNDER THE DRAGON CLAW”

 

LUNA

 

A snake riding the lightning.

The passenger train on the Serro/Rho Transit Mag line was slashing across the desolate moonscape at over 300 kilometers an hour, but to the passengers onboard that sense of speed was lost. There was nothing along the line to zip past to give a sense of the speed at which the train traveled, just lonely flat seas of dust. Most of those riding the train were tourists to Luna from other worlds or stations within the solar system a few were from out system and even fewer were Luna residents, commuters traveling to Rho for work or recreation.

Visible only from the first car without using the VR system the dome housing Rho grew larger and larger the only feature on the vast plain that allowed the human senses to recognize the speed at which the train traveled. The Train was autonomous so there was no need for a control room which would be found on much older versions of the train. Instead the front of this particular train, the newest and most advanced in service anywhere in the Coalition, even Mars, was made of transparent alloy allowing those in the first car an unparalleled view of the passing moonscape and the Dome looming larger and larger in the distance.

Chani Coppley was 12 years old and was with her parents on a vacation from their home on Mercury, where her parents were technicians working in the antimatter factories. This was the first time Chani had been off world and she found it amazing the moon was, to her beautiful and when the first glimmer of the Dome housing Rho first came into view like some glittering jewel on the horizon she was in awe. She had asked and her parents granted for permission to go to the front of the car and watch the approach into the dome. Chani had rushed forward and while noting that the right hand seat was occupied by a man she paid no attention to, instead focusing soley on the fast growing dome.

The train didnt begin to slow until it crossed the juncture where the line passed trough the outer Dome wall. The Gravity compensator's shifted keeping the interior at a stable 0.96G while the train itself began its rapid deceleration to safely enter the city. The train sped into the Dome shooting over the buildings and between two of the casino towers on it was to circumnavigate the central lake before eventually entering the Station on the far-side of the city.

As she watched she grew uncomfortable, she could feel someone watching her. Chani glance sideways and saw the man siting across from her staring at her he was clutching a carrying case in his lap and was pale. She turned and looked at him squarely as she saw his lips quiver and a tear slide out of the corner of his eye

“I'm so sorry”

The train was a quarter of the way around the lake it's speed having dropped from 300kmh to just about 150kmh and was still decelerating when the mag tunnel exploded.

 

 

RHO, LUNA

INSIDE THE DOME

 

Fire fighting drones, police skiffs and other emergency vehicles still hovered in the cordoned off area where the terrorist attack against the maglev had taken place. The charred, twisted and melted metal of the train cars were scatter and almost unrecognizable only the first car resembled what it had once been and it was still a broken piece of machinery full of the dead. According to the passenger list eighty seven people had been on board all were assumed to be killed. Another eighteen deaths and numerous casualties had been reported. The death toll on the ground was likely to rise.

Most of the dead would never be identified due to the extreme heat of the fire their bodies incinerated into charred skeletons which would likely not have any serviceable DNA.

Det. Ken Anselmo watch as his partner...sashayed was the only term that came to mind, her way through the wreckage to join him at the first car. “Hope you skipped breakfast. It's a fucking mess in there.”

Jordan “O'K” Kurosagi paused at the bottom of the step ladder and looked up at her partner who was unabashedly trying to stare down her blouse. She turned her head to look at the mangled yet intact and even more curiously unscorched front of the car and the at the back where the final third of the car had the first signs of heat and fire damage.

“I saw the mesh footage on my way over, The Thermal sphere was fully formed by the time the first car would have passed through. Why the hell doesn't this one look like all the rest?”

Ken climbed down to join his sexy partner... fuck it was so hard... not to think those thoughts.. “Jesus O'K, I know this shit excites you but you think you can dial back the pheromones, you're giving me a hardon here.” He walked around her and pointed at the mangled front of the car. “Brand spankin' new. First of it's kind in operation anywhere in the galaxy. It's not a mag train not like normal. It uses gravity inducers. The engineers tell me that there is a gravity wave, whatever the fuck that is, that makes a bubble the heat from the pyoxy sphere would have been bent around it. They said the bubble would have collapsed about where you see the first scorch marks back there.” Ken was making gestures and wide sweeps with his hands and arms to emphasize and illustrate his words. He tended to get carried away which annoyed Jordan to no end.

Ken faced Jordan and looked her square in the eye all hint of his earlier inappropriate playfulness gone. “And that's why we have uncooked meat that we can Id up here. But I have an even better question for you, O'K. This is terrorist shit, why the fuck did we get assigned this case?”

 

GHIRARDELLI ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE SHOP

CHICAGO, THE EXTRANET

 

Vaugn paused outside the door it was a warm afternoon here in Chicago, perfect for an ice cream. The boardwalk was crowded with sightseers and kids all enjoying an afternoon in VR of course some were AIs there to add to the crowded festive nature of the simulation, but Vaughn didn't see any that weren't what they seemed. Still, he thought it a funny place to have a meet.

He went inside.

 

Immediately he saw that all of the staff were AI, there were a half dozen others present all appeared to be VR users and not SIMS.

Then there was the Samurai

There was no mistaking her. She stood, back to the counter, leaning casually. When he enter she gave a slight nod toward a booth with no one else near by. The booth was empty.

Vaughn moved to the booth and sat a ai waitress came over dressed in a mid twentieth century skirt and sweater a paper pad and a pencil in hand.

“What ya gonna have Honey?”

Vaughn made an order and when the waitress left he watched her pleasant sway as she walked away. When he turned back the Shogun was seated across from him.

That sent a shiver through him none of his programs had warned him of her entrance into the local virtuality. She had no tags but he knew her image. A quick glance around and he was certain that only he and the Samurai could see her.

“Greetings Vaughn. I am pleased that you could come and see me I know it was short notice and I hate to have caused any disruption in your own work. But I have need of your services.”

 

 

RHO, LUNA

INSIDE THE DOME

ODAIBA TOWER

 

The return to consciousness was abrupt not at all like waking up from his short sleeps, just nothing, then sudden awareness. His body tensed as sudden fight or flight instincts wracked his brain then it passed. His auditory sensors detected two heartbeats neither in distress.

Ryan opened his eyes.

It was weird.

“How long” his mental inquiry to his agent.

“6 hours 24 minutes and 43 seconds. Transition and recovery were seamless.”

Rayan tilted his head (it felt like his head, but his head, at least the one that had been his for the last ten months, was over 14 lightyears away) and took in the room.

He was lying in a portable resurrection chamber in what looked like a very expensive hotel room, one he could not afford by any means. There were three people he could see but he only heard two heart beats. Those two he identified easily enough both wore stylized form fitting uniforms of a pleasant pink color and each had badges and emblems that identified their ranks and work classifications. One, a very young (really too young) looking man who appeared to barely be out of puberty, was a doctor. The other who was older with a pleasant bearded face and a genuine smile was a mnemonics technician.

The third whose heart he couldn't hear was a beautiful woman with long blonde hair and expansive ocean blue eyes. She was dressed in an expensive lavender fire diamond evening gown which accentuated her perfectly sculpted figure.

“Hello Mr. Church, your probably disoriented but that to be understandable after all you have been through a very traumatic experience. Just relax and don't move fast or try to sit up.”

The voice was bendy while Ryan could understand the words he couldn't tell which of the two pink uniforms spoke. He saw the beautiful blond look past him.”Do you need anything else, madam?”

“No, you and your staff have done well thank you, you should notice the bump momentarily. Again Thank you now if you will please leave us alone.”

The words were still bendy but he recognized the voice, he watched the two men pick up a couple of cases and the blond simple rez'd out, then he bent back his head to look behind him and saw the upside down Shogun.

 

 

 

 

 

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RHO, LUNA

INSIDE THE DOME

ODAIBA TOWER

Once he was alone with the woman he thought of as his benefactor, for that was a much nicer term than "Master" for both of them,  he laid there for a moment, going through the basics he'd taught himself when he "woke".   Finally he spoke.   "Shogun, Mutsuharu, this is an unexpected, yet pleasant surprise.  I didn't expect to see you so soon. "  

He'd been called from the field with an emergency summons to suspend his current mission and report in.   Following that report, he'd been cast all the way to Luna, with very little information, being told only that he'd be informed of the particulars of this emergency once he was there.  Now, looking up to see her standing over him, he took things slowly, Sitting up, testing the extremities of this body, before rising  from the chamber and ensuring he was cleaned off.    She'd not brought him all the way here to lay around, and since she'd interrupted a mission she'd asked him to undertake for this one, he knew it was important.

Once he was out of the chamber, he quickly set about getting dressed in the clothing that was provided for him,  not really out of a sense of modesty, but more because it would better use her time for him to not dawdle, so he would dress as she spoke, unless she demanded he stop.  "It must be important for you to do all this, how may I be of service to you?"

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GHIRARDELLI ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE SHOP
CHICAGO, THE EXTRANET

"I wasn't expecting to meet as eminent a figure as yourself, Shogun Aria." Behind the polite expression, Vaughn's mind worked double-time to assess and make sense of the situations. Appearances could be faked, even if it was very unlikely someone would dare cross House Kimura by impersonating Aria or Tomoe Gozen. He had programs of powerful SINC that could dig further and confirm their identities...

...But if Aria was the real deal, she'd have top-notch defenses even against Savants. Her undetected entrance backed that line of thought up. And the risk of offending her would be too great. No, the odds were 98.93% (as an analysis by Smiley, his Agent returned) the real McCoy Aria Blake Condileeza Mutsuharu. Which led to the next question, one embedded solidly in the subtext of his pleasantry. Why was she here?

After all, Aria was a Shogun, one of the 14 individuals who ruled House Kimura. For all the faint outlines of this Shadow War that Vaughn was piecing together, one fact was obvious. People at the top don't meet with Auxiliaries. They had middlemen, subsidiaries and everything to keep them insulated from the slightest hint of malevolent criminal plotting. Yet in defiance of all that, here she was. With Tomoe Gozen in tow, whom if not quite so august was a major celebrity and PR asset for House Kimura. If Vaughn were on the Board of Governance, he wouldn't be sending Gozen to meet an Auxiliary either.

Board of Governance. That got Vaughn considering. Samurai pledged to Governance dealt with internal affairs. The most plausible explanation was that this was something up that alley. A sensitive matter that would justify the involvement of 'specialists' like himself - but not illegal. Hence making it kosher for the Shogun to be sitting across from him in a VR booth over rich chocolate fudge brownie sundaes.

"But it is an honor that you would personally call upon me. What can I do for you?"

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RHO, LUNA

INSIDE THE DOME

Jordan held her partner's eyes for a moment then glanced around the semi-intact car with an arched brow. "We are homicide and here, we have a homicide. Dozens." If she couldn't help the velvet sultriness of her new voice, the wryness still came through. She flashed Ken a smirk, forgetting for a moment that it would come across at enticing rather than sardonic. "Maybe the boys in CTU (Counter-Terrorism Unit) didn't want to deal with the paperwork and shuffled this shit onto us." She shrugged, the shifting contents of her blouse drawing Ken's eye again. "Or maybe someone up top just doesn't like us."

Ken grunted. It wasn't like he mouth hadn't gotten him in trouble before. And his partner was what she was now. Young for being an detective, she'd always been driven. That intensity in her new sleeve could be rather... distracting... but a lot more pleasing on the eye and frustrating in the pants than the hard-faced red-head she used to be.

"And here I thought you liked being on top, O'K," Ken quipped.

Jordan rolled her eyes as she pulled on a pair of latex gloves, chrome coloured nails flashing for a moment under the light of smoldering flames and the emergency lights of Centurion skiffs. I do like being on top, she thought to herself. She'd have blushed if her Venus-model biosleeve was capable of it. The reason she'd arrive on scene after Anselmo was breakfast. No what she had, but who. She had indulged herself again with the man she had picked up last night and had to run to her apartment to change before coming into work. It was a necessity.

"Don't let them know that," Jordan countered, a glance upward referring to their superiors as she began to move about the fallen. "I'll never get them off my ass."

And what a nice ass it is, Ken mused. He wasn't particularly keen on those who resleeved, but at least Jordan's new sleeve didn't have the same bland good looks and similarity as most in the RLCD (Rho Luna Centurion Department) who decanted into standard Rho model Centurion Biosleeve. "Too easy, O'K. Too easy."

Jordan snorted. "I try to oblige."

She crouched among the dead in the front half of the car, trying to not to disturb or contaminate the scene as she looked for anything conspicuous or out of place and tried to get a good look at any faces that she could send her Agent Cathbad off to identify through facial recognition. The techboys would be around soon enough to get what IDs they could through DNA, but the sooner she got something, the sooner she could get to work on it.

"Let's set up an alert on the Extranet feeds, see if anyone is claiming responsibility," Jordan said. "Not like there isn't enough assholes who might do this. Apostates, Purifiers, Talons of Freedom, Savants just because they can."

She gritted her teeth as she stood up and pulled off her gloves. Savants were her own issue, but she wouldn't pull them off the list, still bitter about her own sleeve-death.

"We'll have to see if any corps would benefit from this new mag-train getting - fuck me - derailed. And we'll have to give the passenger manifest a look, in case this wasn't a terror-statement, just made to look like one to knock off someone in particular for the regular goddamned reasons."

She pursed her lips as she considered the dead in the car, the dead in the rest of the mangled and scorched grav-train. "We should take a look at the Resurrection Insurance policies of those on the manifest and any we get an ID on, too. See if anyone just recently got a policy or if any have been called on suspiciously quickly after the incident. Or even recently got fitted for a mindset and mnemonic core." Jordan grimaced beautifully. "Suicide bombing hasn't been the same since the Singularity made Apotheosis possible."

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RHO, LUNA

INSIDE THE DOME

“Wasn't a suicide bombing.” came a mildly un-enthused voice from the CSI who was looking over a thin metallic case. “Bomb was outside the tube, from the size of the thermal sphere probably a 300kg mining charge of pyoxycylene. Who ever set it up was a pro.” He had pulled out a small tubular scanner from his pocket and was waving it across the face of the cases lock while he talked.

“What do you mean, a pro?” Ken asked his voice maybe a little quivery. Jordan glanced at her partner then followed his line of sight. He wasn't watching the CSI but instead was staring at the broken body a a small child.

“Well those mining charges are built with a magnetic field that lets them flow after they get set off that's how they burn those tunnels into asteroids and stuff if they don't have a Vulcan swarm. This one was placed perfectly so that the spheres mag filed would lock onto the tubes field and become stationary. If it had been set even slightly out of phase it would have fallen to the surface then burned in whatever direction it was built for. Would have been a total fucking mess then.”

He set the case down and looked up at the detectives and saw then looking at the dead girl. “I mean more than it is.”

Jordan cut him a glare “Are you going to open that?”

“Can't it's House Locked, going to need a court order.”

 

GHIRARDELLI ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE SHOP
CHICAGO, THE EXTRANET


 

The vision across from him folded her hands on the table top in front of her, her calm poise making him somewhat uneasy as did her willingness to make eye contact with him.

“There has been an alleged terrorist attack on Luna”

At the mention Vaughn's agent began feeding him the relevant data.

“A member of the House has been Identified as a passenger on the train in question he may have been in possession of sensitive material.”

One part of his vision now showed a slim Asian looking man of maybe forty yeas in full 3D a biography scrolling along. The mans name was Sigamund Kwon he was a cyber-systems designer, but what caught his attention was the large red red letters that blink across the display. RENOUNCED.

 

“As you can see, Vaughn, Mr. Kwon had renounced his affiliation with Kimura almost a year ago on Changden where he was living and working. His separation was complete and we saw no need to maintain contact after he left Changden and the House. It was assumed he went to work for one of our rivals. Imagine out surprise when his name was tagged as a member of our House in good standing as a passenger on this train. At the same time when the train catalogued him as a passenger it also received a property ping also belonging to our House, in Mr. Kwon's possession.”

One delicate hand reached up and took hold of the spoon in the sundae on the table she took a spoonful and looked at it before placing it in her mouth. She closed her eyes as she savored the taste and feel if the ice cream on her tongue. “Mmm amazing.

This case should not have been in this mans possession and this man is not a member of our House. Yet according to every bit of data recorded today, he is and it was.

The case is missing from where it is supposed to be, and we assume that it is now in the wreckage of the train we do not know if it has been recovered by the authorities yet.

We are sending in an... investigator, to locate and recover the case. He is unfamiliar with the locale and with this sort of work. I wish you to assist him in this endeavor.

You will be compensated for your time and cooperation.”

 

RHO, LUNA

INSIDE THE DOME

ODAIBA TOWER

 

There was a slight flicker in the Shoguns image and was that a time delay in her response that he noticed or was he still out of it from the needle cast.

“A little more than 6 hours ago a commuter maglev was attacked and destroyed in an apparent terrorist attack. On board was man identified as a member of our House and according to the train he was in possession of an item that was stolen from a lab here on Luna. I need you to retrieve that case and the man's mnemonic core regardless of what condition they are in. They may shortly be in the possession of the Rho Centurions if they already are not. Do not do anything illegal and don't draw any undo attention to yourself. Once you have the case and the core we may need your services further.”

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RHO, LUNA

INSIDE THE DOME

ODAIBA TOWER

"So, to make sure I'm tracking right, I'm to go down to the site of a terrorist attack, recover the mnemonic core and case of a man who is a member of our house, from under the noses of the Rho Centurions, without drawing attention to myself, or doing anything illegal.   Forgive my impertinence Shougun, but this Cybersleeve, doesn't do subtle all that well in my experience.   If they've already got the case and core, what then?  Is there some way I can be officially recognized as the duly appointed representative to reclaim our citizen and property from the Centurions?"  That approach would make the most sense, and would be easiest route in his mind, not involving any falshehoods.

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GHIRARDELLI ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE SHOP
CHICAGO, THE EXTRANET

Well, that provided the explanation for her being here. Vaughn read the reports Smiley provided him. A bombing on the Serro-Rho mag-line? Someone had big ideas. Big violent ones. It sounded rather strange that the lead investigator was an inexperienced one - but presumably the Shogun had her reasons. And if this person knew what they were doing, Vaughn wouldn't be getting this job.

"Two questions. One, do you want me to look into the curious status of Kwon? Second," Vaughn considered Shogun Aria carefully, "if the case is in the hands of the Centurions...?" Because in that case, House Kimura could demand their property back right away and probably get it. Unless there was a catch somewhere.

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RHO, LUNA

INSIDE THE DOME

Jordan's lips tightened in an irritated grimace as she pulled her long, shimmering white hair over her shoulder. Things always got complicated when dealing directly with a House or whatever they claimed as theirs. She gave the case another, more incisive glance. It wasn't usual to find something House-Locked on public transportation.

"Which House, Lockley?" Jordan growled, though it sounded more like an invitation.

"Kimura."

"Hmm," Jordan murmurmed, perusing the passenger log on her Mindset, using her Centurion Status to gain access. "Hmm, seems the case was logged in possession of a member of House Kimura in good standing, a Sigamund Kwon. Curious." She glanced around the bodies once more, her gaze skipping over the child with a tightening of her sculpted jaw, then nodded at the CSI. "Log it into evidence, could be motive for the attack, however remote and make a note for the ME that Kwon's Ego is of interest, if it's recoverable. I'll might know someone that can expedite the court order on the case."

O'K had always pursued connections among the Centurions to make managing the bureaucracy and access easier in the course of her job. With her new sleeve, it was even easier to gain and maintain new contacts... which admittedly, hadn't always been towards the benefit of her job.

"Stop staring, Anselmo," Jordan said, with a scowl.

"Rather stare at you than a dead child," Anselmo rebutted. "You scowl so sexily."

"I do everything so sexily," Jordan replied with sultry bitterness. "But if you're just looking, why not take a look at the local Mesh networks, see if we lucked out and caught anything. I'm gonna look up reports and compiler logs, see if anyone is missing or requested 300kg of pyoxycylene. Must need an industrial license for the stuff. Can't be that many on Luna with ready or legal access to it."

Spoiler

If I need to make any rolls, I'll edit them in at Nina's request.

 

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RHO, LUNA

INSIDE THE DOME

ODAIBA TOWER

On 6/14/2018 at 4:17 PM, Ryan Church said:

"So, to make sure I'm tracking right, I'm to go down to the site of a terrorist attack, recover the mnemonic core and case of a man who is a member of our house, from under the noses of the Rho Centurions, without drawing attention to myself, or doing anything illegal.   Forgive my impertinence Shougun, but this Cybersleeve, doesn't do subtle all that well in my experience.   If they've already got the case and core, what then?  Is there some way I can be officially recognized as the duly appointed representative to reclaim our citizen and property from the Centurions?" 

The Shogun laughed, it sounded like crystal chimes in a gentle breeze. “Of course you will be official and you will have an assistant. The authorities are still fighting the fire and trying to recover any survivors it will be hour yet before the police are ready to gather evidence.” Her image walked around the tube like resurrection chamber to stand in front of him. “This is Rho Mr. Church, you'd be surprised at how easily your sleeve will fit in. Now let's go meet the man you will be working with.”

At the Shoguns instruction Ryan excepted a VR stream and found himself in an Ice Cream parlor.

 

 

GHIRARDELLI ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE SHOP
CHICAGO, THE EXTRANET


 

On 6/14/2018 at 6:26 PM, Vaughn said:

Two questions. One, do you want me to look into the curious status of Kwon? Second," Vaughn considered Shogun Aria carefully, "if the case is in the hands of the Centurions...?" Because in that case, House Kimura could demand their property back right away and probably get it. Unless there was a catch somewhere. 

“We need to recover what is ours first. Once that is done and they have been... verified. We will give you further instructions.

But now,” a flicker near the Samurai and a ...thing came into being almost seven feet tall, not human, a walking tank. “I would like you to meet Ryan Church. He will be our agent on the ground you are to accompany him and help him however you can. He is a stranger here and might find himself needing guidence. Ryan this is Vaughn.”

 

Spoiler

Vaiughn and ryan can exchange pleasantries and so forth. Sean hold off on posting for the time being.

 

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GHIRARDELLI ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE SHOP
CHICAGO, THE EXTRANET

VR was something Ryan had a passing knowledge regarding, thanks to the life he once lived, and he looked over at Vaughn's Avatar.   "It's nice to meet you Vaughn, I trust we'll work well together.  The Shogun is an excellent judge of talent and ability."    He had worked with others before and knew well that the Shogun didn't hire those who were incompetent.

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GHIRARDELLI ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE SHOP
CHICAGO, THE EXTRANET

"Thank you." Vaughn chose to make no comment of square pegs vs. round holes in this situation. "I'll be your Extranet support and local expert for today." He added, mimicking the stock line the waiters would use here in Chicago. "Any physical involvement on my part will involve drones. I moved on from in-the-flesh a long time ago."

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GHIRARDELLI ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE SHOP
CHICAGO, THE EXTRANET/ODAIBA TOWER

Vaughn was alerted that the environment was changing by his programs it gave him a moments pause and an uncomfortable sensation to be at the mercy of other peoples programming whims.

The Ice Cream parlor faded to be replaced by the Hotel room where Ryan was physically. Both Vaughn and the Shogun were present in VR, the Samurai, Tomoe Gozen, was not.

“I have been informed that the fires have been contained or extinguished. The Centurions will be on the scene and poking in the wreckage momentarily. Ryan a car is waiting for you on the roof. I want those items back. If you run into any problems at the very least retrieve the case.” The Shogun walked to the window over looking the city as she approached the opaque surface became translucent and Ryan and Vaughn could see the lake and across the way the smoke of the accident it was less than a kilometer away. “The Mesh is still down from the disruption at the accident location, you will find a remote on the desk there Ryan. Vaughn you will have to use that when he gets to the train. Drones are restricted currently. Once you have the Items contact Tomoe, she will have instructions for you.”

The Shogun derezzed without further fanfare or farewells leaving Ryan sitting on the edge of the coffin and Vaughn by the window in VR. The door opened and Tomoe Gozen entered.

She went straight up to Ryan and lifted her ppc her thumb flashing across it's face. A Ppc on the coffee table beeped. “Those are your credentials. You are a members Harekaze Security, that allows you access to class 3 and lower restricted materials. Ryan Church, those cases by the bed contain personal items such as clothing and exact copies of your weapons and other things from Chengden. You may keep them after this assignment. You should get dressed and go. You can reach me with your ppc after you have obtained the case and the core. Try not to get into trouble with the centurions, we have only so much pull here on Rho, we don't want to have to burn favors.” She gives both of the men one present one a ghost a sharp look the turns on her heal pulls the door open and is through it with the door shutting before either can say anything.


 

RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

 

Something was bothering Jordan but she couldn't put her finger on it. She and Anselmo had stood back and let the CSIs do their thing, there were no witnesses to question and she still wondered why they were even there. Ken had gone to get some coffees and Jordan had checked with HQ for the fourth time almost six hours had past since the explosion and still no one had claimed responsibility. She didn't work AT but she knew that something as successful as this should have been claimed by someone.

“Detective!” a shout from a Uniformed Centurion caught her attention He was pointing back beyond the holographic police barricad at a luxury skimmer landing and a... thing... getting out of the back.

“What the fuck?”

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GHIRARDELLI ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE SHOP
CHICAGO, THE EXTRANET Odaiba tower

 

Given his extra instructions, credentials and gear, Ryan moved swiftly, dressing and taking up his gear, preparing quickly.  He didn't think carrying the rifle would be a good idea, so it was his plan to leave it in the car for now.  Taking up the remote he finished getting kit out and head for the car.   "Let's get going, with any luck we get in get out, and this doesn't turn into some huge incident for us."

It already was a big deal, but they had to move fast.   He knew if he was on the other side, he'd be suspicious of anyone claiming what he would be, and that the credentials would have to hold up.  That meant serious rep to make this all happen so fast, and pass inspection. He was somewhat familiar with Harekaze, and was more concerned with the Samurai's attitude, there was far more going on here that they weren't being told, but to him, a job was a job.

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ODAIBA TOWER

While Ryan was handling his meat-space prep, Vaughn leaned back in the well-furnished studio apartment that was his home environment. Drawing out a TV remote, he turned on a widescreen 21st century style Samsung LCD, which popped up an image of the late (temporary or permanent) Sigamund Kwon. Like many such things in VR, it was a metaphorical representation of the digital actions Vaughn was taking, as he began digging through the Extranet on the person of interest.

Enroute in the car, Ryan found a black-winged image pop up on the telepresence remote. "Did some researching on our man."

"Sigamund Kwon, an original upload pre-Fall. Was with Kimura from founding, first wave colonist and resident of Chengden. Worked exclusively for Lotus Cyberworks. Unmarried, no living relatives. Two years ago, he suddenly chose to default and resigned his position as Head Mnemonic Researcher at Lotus. Then he renounced his Kimura citizenship and applied for citizenship with House Tsarya. He left Chengden, registered destination of Proch."

"Now here's the really messy part. He's not a Tsarya citizen. For that matter there's no record of him anywhere in the Coalition in those past two years. Until today."

 

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RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

Jordan was getting frustrated, which wasn't uncommon for her these days. Canvassing for witnesses turned up nothing, no one was claiming responsibility, and in trying to contact her Captain to get an explanation as to why she and Anselmo had been assigned the case, she kept running into his Agent, Porky - an animated, anthropomorphic pig - running interference. And to top off, as the hours ticked by on the scene, Jordan was already beginning to feel antsy and some of the CSIs and firefighters were starting to look... appealing.

She needed something to occupy her mind so she didn't dwell on other... things. He has a nice ass - dammit!

On 6/16/2018 at 9:45 AM, Jordan O'Quinn-Kurosagi said:

"But if you're just looking, why not take a look at the local Mesh networks, see if we lucked out and caught anything. I'm gonna look up reports and compiler logs, see if anyone is missing or requested 300kg of pyoxycylene. Must need an industrial license for the stuff. Can't be that many on Luna with ready or legal access to it." 

"Trawl through Mesh feeds?" Anselmo protested, giving Jordan a look that wasn't quite a leer and not quite affronted. "Why does it seem like every pretty woman wants to busts my balls and to give me the boring, repetitive jobs?"

"We had a meeting," Jordan countered with a smirk. "Training a man takes consistency and repetition." She waved a dismissive hand, pulling her eyes from a pretty - if hulking - emergency responder, straightening her shoulders and inadvertently thrusting out her impressive chest. "I'm just giving you a hard time. If you'll look into the pyoxycylene, I'll send out Cathbad to scroll through the local Mesh."

She nodded towards where the case was secured and logged into evidence and the vehicle where Kwon's body was being prepared to be taken away for autopsy. "I smell something off with Kwon and gonna do a bit of fishing. Probably has nothing to do with the attack, but doing something is better than doing nothing."

Perched on the edge of her skiff, sipping coffee, Jordan gave her Agent its search parameters and send it off. Go, Cathbad, don't get lost. The long, dark reptilian-feline creature, its fur edged in glowing blue, visible in AR, nodded then scurried across her shoulders and dived into her cleavage, disappearing, as it went off on its task. Jordan rolled her eyes in exasperation. I wish you wouldn't do that. Then keeping half an eye on the scene around her, Jordan pulled up her own augmented reality artifacts, searching through various databases and media feeds, both public and private, as she looked up one Sigamund Kwon.

She frowned as she dug pass the initial indication that Kwon was a Kimura Citizen in good standing. Exclusive contract with Kimura subsidiary Lotus Cyberworks. Original upload from before the Fall, and a first wave colonist to Chengden. Never married, no living relatives known. It was too bland, too clean. Anyone alive before the Fall should have had a bigger digital footprint than this. Jordan dug deeper, and found some inconsistencies and incongruities. Her frown turned into a victorious, vulpine grin.

"That's not an 'O' face, but it looks like you've found something you like, O'K," Anselmo commented dryly.

"I did," Jordan said not even trying to scowl at her partner. Her hand gestured deftly as she tapped out a request for a priority rush on the Ego Recovery for Sigamund Kwon on a display only she could see. "Kwon was the Head Mnemonic Researcher at Lotus Cyberworks, Kimura."

"Smart guy, then."

"Mmm. Two years ago, he resigned from his position and went into default."

Ken actually met his partner's gaze directly in surprise without strain. "That's... unexpected."

"Mmm-hmm. Soon after that, he renounced Kimura Citizenship and sough membership into House Tsarya."

"Ouch. His Daimyo probably didn't like that. Might've wanted to talk to him 'bout it, the choppy-choppy way, figuratively or literally."

"Maybe. There's no record of him actually be granted membership status with House Tsarya." Jordan finished her coffee and tossed the crushed cup into the receptacle in her skiff. "Thing is, he left Chengden on a registered flight to Proch... and that is the last Coalition record we have of Sigamund Kwon... Until now."

The two Centurion detectives shared a look, then both glanced back towards where Kwon's body was being held. Anselmo turned back to his partner, who arched a fine brow at him. "So where has Kwon been for the last two years?"

"Good quest-"

On 6/23/2018 at 4:23 PM, NP ST said:

“Detective!” a shout from a Uniformed Centurion caught her attention He was pointing back beyond the holographic police barricad at a luxury skimmer landing and a... thing... getting out of the back.

“What the fuck?”

"What fresh bloody hell is this?" Jordan growled, standing up from her skiff and closing her AR displays with a clenched fist. Cathbad reappeared from the digital ether, giving a negative chirp, indicating he hadn't found anything of note on the Mesh. Savant-work or other hacking?

Anselmo loved it when O'K swore. With her new voice and new looks, it came off as particularly dirty. "From the look at that monster, at a guess, I'd say Kimura is moving fast. Want a certain case or a certain Kwon, you think?"

"Maybe they are being responsible Coalition citizens and are coming to the Protectorate with valuable information about the domestic terror attack Rho suffered today?" Jordan feigned seriousness for a moment before snorting delicately. "Yeah, I doubt it too. Let's see how easy he'll be put off."

"How do you know it's a 'he'?" Anselmo mused idly, though he didn't doubt it himself.

"Please! Only a man would overcompensate with that much hardware."

Jordan strode - undulated might have been a better word with the way her hips and the hem of her fitted, black longcoat swayed - towards the luxury skimmer and the Centurion barricade, and the towering cybersleeve approaching from the other side.

"Excuse me, Citizen," Jordan purred. Onlookers would be forgiven for believing the ivory-haired woman was one of the high-class escorts or sensual sensie stars that frequent the glamorous city of Rho, save for the Centurion Detective badge clipped to her lapel, matching the one her apparent partner had. Jordan carefully didn't glance back toward where Kwon's body and the House-locked case were being held. "This is an active scene. I have to request strongly that you remind on the other side of the Centurion barricade." She flashed him a brief, tight smile. "For your safety and the integrity of the scene."

Spoiler

Agent Cathbad Investigating the local Mesh Network, looking for anything suspicious that might indicate the arrival or placement of the explosive, or for perpetrators of such: Cathbad Investigation Roll: 1d8o8 7

Jordan Investigating Sigamund Kwon: Jordan Investigation roll: 1d8o8+2 4 1d6o6+2 30

 

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"Great, so we've got a dead Ghost, and we're here to recover his core and the case he was carrying,  Us showing up like this is just going to arouse all manner of suspicion.   Do you have any good news for me Vaughn?  Any chance you've got a workup of a writ that allows me to take custody of the case and core?"  He said before exiting the vehicle, hoping that armed with such, this could be done quickly and cleanly.

Beholding the woman who spoke to him from the other side of the Barricade, a Centurion, no less, made him long for a flesh and blood body momentarily, before the flash of desire passed,  and he gave her a curt nod, drawing near so that when he spoke, only they would hear.   "I understand that perfectly well, but I am here on official business, as a representative of Harekaze Security.  My name is Ryan Church, and  I have come to recover a case, carried by Sigamund Kwon, along with his memory core."
 

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RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

Jordan craned her neck up to meet what passed for eyes on the figure. She wasn't a short woman, if taller than she'd been in her birth sleeve, but Church's cybersleeve towered over her by more than a foot. She took a pair of steps back so he wasn't looming and she didn't have to tilt her head back so much. Her cool smile stood on the precipice between professional and suggestive. That someone was already asking about Kwon and the case so soon after the attack was interesting to say the least.

"I'm Detective O'Quinn-Kurosagi," the ravishing Centurion replied, her sultry voice holding a faint old Irish brogue. "I'm afraid you will be delayed in your business Mr. Church. This is an active scene of domestic terror and we are pursuing all avenues to determine the motives for the act and the act's perpetrators. In our preliminary research, Sigamund Kwon has become a person of interest." She arched a brow and eyed Church once more. "Further, we have not determined any current connection between Kwon and Harekaze Security, or your company's parent House, nor that you possess any actual authority over him. As such, Sigamund Kwon and his memory Core will remain in Centurion custody, his Ego recovered as soon as feasible for a little... conversation."

The gorgeous detective planted a hand on a provocative him, her other hand making a graceful gesture as she sent Church an AR evidence recovery form. "House Kimura may have a claim on the case, but unfortunately, it has been logged into evidence." She heaved a sympathetic sigh that made her blouse gape wider at the neck, but her indigo eyes didn't look sympathetic at all. "We may live in a post-scarcity society, but even the highest Rep can't avoid all the paperwork, for all that it's digital. The case was in Kwon's possession at the time and we have no log or report that it has been stolen. If you can provide anything info regarding the providence of the case and that it has been stolen, that will go a long way in allowing Harekaze Security in recovering the case."

Jordan smirked. "Of course, if you can provide the Rho Centurion Department with the key to the Kimura House-lock so we can look inside and determine whether the contents had anything to do with the attack, you may be able retrieve the case and its contents all the soon."

Or not, depending on what we find...

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RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

Mimir's restrictions prevented the human mind from losing its defects, even when digitized, but still, Vaughn was freed from the grip of hormones a bit. Sure, in VR you could still have hot sex and the fun, but some things didn't translate over between meat-space to Extranet, thankfully. Besides, this was not just a pretty face (and succubus body). She apparently knew about Kwon. Odds of getting the core back went down drastically.

And the case would be more difficult for sure - hello hello, what's this? Smiley delivered him with a slight bow, a manila envelope, which Vaughn opened up with a flourish. Ryan received more private AR communications from Vaughn. "Do remind her that by the same token, she can't open it without a warrant - and I doubt a judge will authorize one considering this."

It was a page showing the public launch date of the grav train - which certainly wasn't today, or tomorrow. It was well down the week. "This was an unannounced test run. The first car clearly was intended to be incinerated along with the rest." And Kwon as well, leaving only the indicators that he was still part of House Kimura. Most interesting. "She can't demonstrate that the case had anything to do with the bombing. I have prepped a writ and can fast track it to a friendly judge for good measure... but let's hope our points can change her view. Post hoc ergo prompter hoc and all that. I'll handle the recovery form and pass it to you for the digital signature."

The joys of multi-tasking! But Vaughn knew what laws to reference - being able to handle stuff like listed the contents of the case with the appropriate DECLARED HOUSE SENSITIVE under provisions of Act XYZ245 made going through it easier.

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RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

 

Thankful for Vaughn's aid, Ryan shook his head.  "I'm afraid that is something i cannot do, Nor can you, without a warrant, Detective.   I have it on good authority that this wasn't a normal test run, or at least it wasn't one that was announced and planned beforehand."   He gave her the barest of moments and then plunged on.   As he'd not surveyed the site, he couldn't reveal the  potential targeting of the first car,  but kept on with the rest.  No sooner had Vaughn requested his digital signature than Ryan gave it, and continued speaking.   "I believe that the case being House-locked is enough.  As the duly appointed member of said house in charge of recovering both the case and core, I should think that's enough for you to turn them over to me.

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RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

Jordan gave Anselmo a narrow-eyed, sidelong glance that he couldn't decide was suppose to be a glare or an invitation to any suitable surface. They should have known or already found out that today wasn't the official, public test run for the new grav-train. The ravishing detective crossed her arms, another inch or two of cleavage swelling into view, and shook her head in feigned apology.

<Something is hinky, here,> Jordan sent to her partner Anselmo, via her flowing agent Cathbad. <Kwon's records have been tampered with. Ken, How 'bout you give Church's credentials a run through, just in case.>

"Under normal circumstances, I would love nothing more than to accede to your request, Mr. Church." The Centurion's natural sultry tones almost made it seem like she was referring to something else. "Unfortunately, the situation is... complicated." Her grin was challenging. "You may not be aware, but there seems to have been... an error in Sigamund Kwon's records. It seems he is not in fact, a House Kimura citizen - he apparently renounced it two years ago. Just a glitch in an automated system, I'm sure."

Jordan knew she had been lucky to have found that out, her search accidentally leading her into an unsecured database. She had logged the details of her search, of course, and put in a ticket with a forensic analyst for corroboration. She gave the big cyberman an incisive look, trying to determine if the revelation was a surprise to him, though it would be hard to tell with his mechanical and electrical composition. She didn't quite understand people who preferred metal to meat, even if the meat wasn't original recipe.

"That being the case, the issue of the house-locked case becomes more... prickly. I don't question that the case is the property of House Kimura. However, with it being in the possession of Kwon, who is not a member of House Kimura, it becomes an issue of theft. If not connected to the bombing, it now becomes evidence in another case, I'm afraid."

She shrugged apologetically. "I can't turn it over yet until this is resolved or we receive a court order. But I want this resolved as much as you do. Kwon is being taken to the medical examiner for autopsy and to recover his core. What I can do, is if we can recover Kwon's Ego, I can give you the opportunity to speak with him - supervised of course - to determine how he came into possession of the case." She arched a brow, her tone becoming slightly imploring. "Work with me here. A lot of people in my city have been killed. I want to know why. And if Kwon doesn't have anything do to with it, I don't need the distraction."

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RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

 

The male cop, who was staring at Church, took a swig of his coffee, when Ryan turned his head slightly to look at him Ken held his cup up. “You want a coffee? They make a good cupa over at the support van behind the police line over there, where you should be. Over there, behind the line.”

Jordan cut her eyes and suppressed a laugh. “Look Church we have a lot of work to do, if you can clear up the anomaly about Kwon and let us open the case so we can see that it's not pertinent to our case” she did snort a little laugh,”No pun intended. If you can do that I see no reason we cna't let you have what you want. You can eve accompany the body back to the recovery and they can make a priority on pulling his core for you.”

Ken squinted and looked sideways at his partner but remained silent.

Vagun was processing. How in the hell did some dumb cop find... what the.. the security safeties on the Kwon files had been shredded...someone let her in!

 

RHO, LUNA

PHEADALON GARDENS AND SPA

INSIDE THE DOME

 

Yoyo lit the last candle, so many gone. She had been watching the news feed ever since the building had shook some 6 hours earlier and the sky had been lit by a second sun only a few kilometers away.

So many gone unrecoverable those with out back ups, gone forever.

She was in the meditation room attached to one of the side building in the Garden Spa. Pheadalon was a tourist spa, with some of the most varied and rare plants and small fauna that could be found on Luna. Some of the wildlife had even come from real stock brought up the gravity well before and during the exodus. The rest were of course cloned. She had been here a little more than a year, back from her wandering she had touched all but one of the worlds that humans had settled and now she was back near the birthplace of her kind. Trying to teach by example.

The moment before the door slid open she heard the foot fall without and a slight smile tilted the corners of her mouth into a small smile. She was facing the door still seated on the floor cushions when the tall woman came into the room.

Tilda Baily was the perfect example of unmodified humanity. Oh she had some enhancements no one who served as long as she in the military, any military stay 100% pure it was just a fact now a days. Tall muscular, hair worn short, attractive if some what masculine for a woman. She was a well known and wanted terrorist who belonged to the Talons of Freedom. Her own freedom was due to the authorities not being able to convict her and also because of her public persona she was the unofficial negotiator with the government.

Yoyo had met her when Tilda and representatives of the Government had held several clandestine meetings there at the Garden's as was their want. The two had quickly made an impression on each other and Tilda had started attending the spa and had even taken some instruction from Yoyo. The two had become friends.

Yoyo was not really surprised by her appearance today what with all that was going on outside.

“Before Yoyo could even say a greeting Tilda the door closing behind her stepped close shaking her head.

“We didn't do it.”

 

 

 

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RHO, LUNA

PHEADALON GARDENS AND SPA

INSIDE THE DOME

 

Yoyo rose from the mat with such precision and grace that it bordered on mechanical. It did not show up too often, but when it did, it could be a just a little off-putting, reminding those viewing Yoyo that she was far from natural. Tilda, though, had grown somewhat used to it since they had met. Everybody had quirks, after all, some were just a little more obvious than others.

Yoyo turned to face her friend, pulling back her hood and revealing her hair in a bit of a poof at the front, gradually turning into single brain going down the back of her neck. Her hair, just like her skin, had the slightest metallic sheen in the candle light. She looked to her Tilda, her blue eyes glowing faintly in the dim light, and offered a small, reassuring smile. Even in a world with custom sculpted biosleeves, Yoyo's features were beyond exquisite, her smile almost seeming to be that of some ancient goddess showing her favor.

 "Of course not, my friend.", she said as she took Tilda's hand and place her other hand atop it in reassurance. "I makes me wonder as to who would do such a thing though. All of those lives, each with a chance at immortality and untold potential, just snuffed out."

She looked back to Tilda and shook her head. 

"I thought the inaugural run was not for at least some days from now. If a statement were to be made, it would have been bust done with eyes on the rail opening day. This... was no accident, nor a political statement. This must have been something else." she said as she looked back over her shoulder briefly at the lit candles with a wistful sigh.

"Have you hear anything about it? Who would even know the rail would be running today?"

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RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

Yet another twist in this. Someone first going to lengths to make Kwon appear a Kimura citizen, then someone now letting her have access to information proving he wasn't - rather thwarting their ability to gain access to the core, if not the case. It looked like he was going to have to pull strings and fast track the writ so they would have something to bring back to the Shogun.

Spoiler

Making the Favor request, Nina made the difficulty at 1.
Rep-Rating Favor: 1D6 = [6] = 6
Success, Vaughn takes the hit of 1.

 

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RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

 

“Heads up Church, the cops should be getting something right about now.” Vaughn's voice materialized in Church's head

 

Jordan's PPC buzzed and her commander's face appeared as a small VR construct “Kurosagi, You have a Kimura rep there to take possession of a security case?”

“He's here.”

“Alright verify his Identity, and if you don't have anything that points to this being more than incidental then the Identity of the deceased is a Kimura matter and incidental. Turn the case over and once core is extracted let him have that as well.

As for the rest of it, how soon can you clear the site? This is probably going to get bumped up to a military case.”

 

RHO, LUNA

PHEADALON GARDENS AND SPA

INSIDE THE DOME

Tilda looked at her friend “Only what we have seen from the news. But most of our contacts in government have gone quiet. And one 'good' friend on Mars sent word that a Marine contingent left mars about three hours ago on an unscheduled training excersize. We think they are coming here.”

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RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

Jordan scowled at the image of her Centurion Commander. With her new, younger-looking face, the Centurion Commander thought, not for the first time, that it made her look sulky rather than stubborn or angry. Nice rack though. Jordan caught the VR construct's eyes shift downward for a moment and her lips tightened.

"There's something there, Commander, I just need--" Jordan began to protest.

"Any actual proof of that, Detective?" Her Commander's tone was tight. He was being pressured too, either by his own superiors, or House Kimura, directly or through subsidiaries.

"Circumstantial," Jordan was forced to admit with a grimace. "I logged it in the report."

"It's not enough, O'K. Cut him loose and turn over the case and the core."

"Fine!" She almost snarled. "We're almost done here, just to got bag and tag the bodies in the front car. The CSI boys and girls got their pics and samples. Less than an hour."

The VR image broke apart into dispersing motes and Jordan refocused on the big cybersleeve in front of her. "Seems like someone has some pull," Jordan said with a sigh that made the neck of her blouse gape wider. "Let me run your Harekaze Security credentials, and if everything checks out, Mr. Church, I'll have the case turned over to you. And then, if you'll follow me to the ME's office once the site has been cleared, when Kwon's core is extracted, that will be turned over as well."

The members of House Kimura might be surprised that the detective relented after her stubborn obstinacy, but she was clearly not happy with the situation, her lovely eyes narrowed with suspicion. She moved off, hollering at Centurion techs, getting the last things done to clear the site.

She wasn't done looking into Kwon, however. While clearing the site, she began a search, trying to backtrack Kwon's movements using the MESH Grids, using her connections in the Centurions to gain access to records and the monitoring AIs outsider her regular jurisdiction, if her search led her afar. Like Hell I'm gonna let Kimura claim you just because they want you...

Spoiler

 

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"Great work Vaughn, I'll make sure that they make good on that for you."  Ryan answered over their private comms.   He was happy though it didn't show, thankfully.   Ryan nodded at Jordan's words.  "Of course, it's good to handle things quickly and professionally."  He was polite to a fault, as he knew the stereotype was for his House in public.   He waited for her to finish coralling her subordinates and clearing the site.  Confident that his credentials would pass muster, his master wasn't known for half measures or shoddy work.   Through it all, he kept an aloof air and not quite totally relaxed posture, such as it was with his towering cybersleeve, waiting to have the case turned over and then the core.

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RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

Anselmo his face locked in a scowl flicked off his PPC and waved the CSI guy over. "Go get the case." he commanded curtly. "Looks like Investigator Church Checks out O'K," The CSI guy delivers the Case to Anselmo who takes it steppes up to Church and presses the case flat against Ryan's chest. "What makes a guy give up being human?" He asks Ryan quetly.

Jordan flicks off her PPC shaking her head her sentiments echoing her partners. "They have the bodies loaded. I have Kwon tagged as a priority for recovery. You can ride with us or follow and well get the core and you can be on your way back to your masters." Ryan could feel the disdain dripping in her voice.

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RHO, LUNA

PHEADALON GARDENS AND SPA

INSIDE THE DOME

 

"Marines? I doubt anything good'll come of that." Yoyo commented, turning her head to the window as she contemplated.

"That was quite the explosion..." she mused.

She then turned back to her friend, with a soft smile playing across her lips.

"You know, In my time thus far I have met many people from all strata of society and made many friends. Perhaps some might remember a recent acquisition of explosives, be it legal or illicit, by an, as of yet, unnamed party..." she thought aloud.

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RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

 

Ryan nods, as he takes the case and chuckled inwardly.  He'd expected that question.   "I am a man of my word.  That is why I have the body I have now, nothing more, or less.   I don't think of myself as inhuman, just different than I was before."  

He ignored the disdain in Jordan's voice, and gave the equivalent of a smile.  "I'll follow behind then. It will be easier to complete my task if i have my own transport once I take possession of Mr. Kwon's core."  There was some truth he admit in her disdain for a dog of another house, but all the same, it was what it was.   At least he'd not been cast aside, as an apostate, or worse, his core destroyed that fateful day.

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RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

Vaughn sat back in his home environment, contented with a job well done. Getting the core was an unexpected bonus. But be it 20th century flicks or real life in the current day, one thing remained true about police higher-ups. They were always sensitive to the big interests, be it the mayor or a Coalition House. "Well," he comforted Ryan, "I doubt they'd be any friendly to a private contractor like myself if they knew I was here." It was a bit uncalled for though, the disdain and hostility.

Kurosagi and Anselmo were members of a House, after all. If you were a Coalition citizen, you belonged to one of the Houses. Sure, the Protectorate, the military, the government all pledged a higher loyalty to the Coalition as a whole, but the line between the Coalition and the six Houses was rather indistinct in reality. Of course much of the Coalition's success was based on convincing the public it was otherwise.

And its own people too.

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RHO, LUNA

THE WRECK AT THE LAKE

INSIDE THE DOME

Jordan slipped into her Centurion Skiff, well aware of Anselmo's - among others - eyes on her legs, and closed the door with more force than necessary. She leaned back against the headrest, closing her eyes for a moment as she stretched, tasking her agent, Cathbad, to plot a route to the ME's office then send it to Anselmo and Church.

It wasn't so much having to deal with and accede to another House that bothered her. It was knowing there was more to it and not getting the support from her superiors. Whether a terrorist attack or the machinations of one or more Houses, the case had been foisted onto her and Anselmo, yet they were going to be hobbled in the investigation, she just knew it, and then the case will go cold, and stuffed into archives, unsolved.

She loved her job, but it could be so frustrating when House Politics got involved. She grunted as Cathbad chirped, indicating the route had been calculated and sent. Work wasn't the only thing frustrating at the moment, feeling the yearning ache of her over-sexed sleeve beginning to rise. She took several deep breathes to collect herself, checked her reflection in the windshield monitor. She brushed the luminous white hair from her face, then shifted her skiff into drive and peeled away from the crash site with perhaps a touch more speed then warranted, the anti-grav propulsion skirling up debris and detritus from the road.

"I'll take lead," Jordan commed Anselmo. "You follow behind them, Ken, in case Church loses the way, or some other bullshit shows up. It's been that kinda day."

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The Mesh

The Machine sees all

Hears all

Knows all

 

It stretches not through a building, not through a city or a world. The Mesh encompasses all of civilization.

The Mesh is Everywhere

Every city on every planet every home, every car train plane even space ships are connected in one way or another.

And the Monitors watch

They Record, Interpret, Report

This is Security, there is no Privacy

 

 

Vaughn soared through the void his digital agents casting out tendrils seeking data seeking truth.

Too much about this was shrouded in to much obvious manipulation. But every where he looked he found more mysteries to solve more leads to follow … he stopped his ego floated above it all he had almost fallen into the trap he now saw laid out before him the information trails which would multiply stretching him thinner and thinner tangling him into a web of false data expertly laid out a cunning trap for most.

Fact: the bomb had to have been placed. Yet there is no record of it from the local Mesh

Fact: Kwon is seen from Mesh records leaving the facility where the case was reported missing from yet there is no record of him entering that Facility and no Mesh recordings of him from within the Facility, Records contradict that He is a member of House Kimura but Kimura records also show he gave up his citizenship.

Fact: the Mesh shows Kwon boarding the train yet no Mesh record from the Train exist due to the bombing.

 

Someone is manipulating the Mesh. Which is impossible.

 

 

The Morgue

Church sat in the waiting room the Kimura case resting on his lap its weight much heavier than it's dimensions would imply. The two cops stood by the door to the Autopsy/Recovery room both scowling neither talking much even to each other. Church could not help but watch the female cop her form was enticing to say the least and his dormant libido was definitely being tempted to awaken. They had been waiting fro almost an hour, they had arrived as the bodies had been being unloaded. Kurosagi had given the Recovery Officer the authorization to prioritize Kwon's extraction but there was still procedures to follow. Church was uncomfortable, everything about this was uncomfortable.

The door opened and the RO came out a tablet in his hands

“We have a problem.”

Anselmo brought his palm up to his face and bowed his head slowly shaking it from side to side.

“What's the problem?” “What Kind of Problem” Kurosagi and Church both asked at the same time. They each turned and glared toward the other.

“The body delivered here from the incident sight isn't Sigimund Kwon It's a clone and there is no record of Sigimund Kwon registering a clone. Which mean technically this is a John Doe. I can autopsy it to determine cause of death, and I can extract the memory core but I cant do anything with it except physically store it. Not without a very specific court order.”

RHO, LUNA

PHEADALON GARDENS AND SPA

INSIDE THE DOME

Tilda smiled and came close to her friend taking her hands in her own. “I don't want to cause you trouble But anything you could find from your contacts would be a great aid. I do so very much appreciate all that you do.

Now that isn't the only reason I came and I know I didn't make an appointment but if you have the time If I recall you where going to instruct me on Maharia Meditation stances...”

 

An hour later after what felt like a good session although Yoyo could tell her friend was troubled, Yoyo and Tilda are walking through the blessed garden to the gate where Tilda's driver waited.

Suddenly Yoyo with her enhanced senses hears two very low pitched pfft noises followed by the thump of something heavy falling to the ground outside the gate... The gate swinging open.. a black barrel of a firearm extending inside....

Spoiler

yoyo there is at least one assailant with a gun probably a needler of some sort.. you may act this is narrative combat so make it look good don't worry about rolls

 

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The Morgue

What the hell?   The situation was getting stranger and stranger, and now this.  There was no way he'd be getting that core, not without even more favors burned.  "Vaughn, see what Order you'd need to get that core and lets get on it, don't burn any favors, let's see what this is going to take.  There's so much here we weren't told, this is getting far more complicated than it should be."

"I see.  You will of course do what you have to do.   In the meantime I will speak with my superiors, with regard to how they wish to proceed from here."

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"Fuck." With Jordan's sultry, velvety voice, it sounded more like an invitation than a curse, but her indigo eyes were hot and her full lips were twisted in a scowl for everyone. "This shit just keeps going sideways." She gave the RO an accusatory look, who tried to keep his eyes on her face rather than her heaving, prominent chest. She folded her arms - which didn't help the RO on keeping his eyes up - and pinched the bridge of her nose. Her gaze slanted toward Church. "You go call management, I have a court order to get."

She should probably call her Captain for, but she wanted to get on top of the court order before the Kimura boy blocked her. Jordan sent her agent to do the prelim work on the court order - find out the specific requirements and such, while Jordan began skimming her contacts. She knew a lot of people in the Centurions and Protectorate court system, one of the must be able to help her put a rush on the order and see it in a favourable light. And if they wanted some trade in kind, that would solve two issues at once.

"Hey, Anselmo?" Jordan said quietly, sidling up to her partner. "You wanna update the Captain while I get on top of this court order?" She snorted delicately. "From me, he might just think I didn't want to take no for an answer."

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Vaughn sighed and explained to Church: "It would appear there's Savants at work." He was going to trust that someone directly working for the bigwigs like Church would have the sense not to question the existence of them like most whom considered it all rumors and urban legends. Vaughn wasn't going to tell anyone flat out he was one.

And the race between Detective OK and Vaughn was underway, but Vaughn was sure with the benefit of Agent Smiley and his own mesh expertise, he would get the prize in first.

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Once he was alone, and satisfied it was safe enough to make the call, he called to check in, and advise Tomoe Gozen of the situation and the difficulties they were now facing, with the latest revelations.   Had the RO not revealed that to everyone, he knew there was likely a way to get the core, but with the Centurions right there, well things had to be all out in the open now, that was the only way They'd let them leave with the case and Core.

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Yoyo charged down the gravel pathway at the gate, her hood catching the air and falling about her shoulders while her long braid danced and bounced behind her. Once close enough, she leapt at the gate with a flying knee, swinging it back at the armed assailant on the other side, catching them by surprise when the gate swung back to hit them with such force, stunning them for just a moment. Without hesitation Yoyo grasped the barrel of the gun, yanking it forward to pull the wielder forward and off balance. She Then traded a grip on the barrel for a vice-like grip on the assailant's wrist, slipping her other arm across is elbow and yanking the wrist back in a painful 'kimura' arm lock, neutralizing the weapon as she scanned the area for more threats.

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THE GARDEN

Yoyo and the assassin struggled but she had the upper hand, out of the corer of her eye she saw a second assailant barrel through the gate followed by a third. The first one through raised his weapon but hesitated for fear of hitting his own man. The other gunman had no such qualms raising his weapon in both hands and emptying the magazine at Yoyo and his own associate. Yoyo twisted bringing the man she was restraining between her and the shooting gunman.

A needler on full auto against an unarmored human body is not something you want to see much less be holding when the flechettes go home.

The man in Yoyo's grasp came apart as thousands of the tiny plastic darts tore him apart passing effortlessly through his clothing and the flesh beneath. Yoyo was covered in red gore as those same flechettes tore through her clothing but failed to penetrate her armored skin.

Tilda was in shock and for several seconds did nothing but the death in such gruesome fashion seemed to trigger her fight or flight response. Tilda was not a soldier she was a politician and this was out of her realm it was to her credit that she didn't scream instead she chose flight. The assassin who had hesitated didnt even pause when it came to shooting Tilda but her quick dive behind a garden statue saved her life as needles chipped into the soft stone.

Spoiler

assisan o is dead #1 is fireing at tilda he missed when she dove for cover #2 is reloading

 

THE MORGUE

 

O'k barely registered what Ken was saying to the captain while she waited for the call to go through to a judge she had worked with a year ago before the incident. She also watched the Kimura Investigator who was standing aside obviously communicating with someone elsewhere looking like a misshapen statue.

A technician came into the room from the operating area and approached the RO he showed him a PPC and pointed to it several time. O'k noticed the furrow of the mans brow and the deep frown.

“Detective, You might want to wait a minute before calling anyone.”

Spoiler

Church is aware of this exchange. Vaughn is only if church passes it on.

 

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The corpse of the man Yoyo had restrained fell to the ground, or at least most of it did, the few bits of skin, muscle and sinew unable to keep the man's shredded torso together, tearing and snapping to fall at Yoyo's feed in a wet heap. Yoyo was left standing in place,bathed in blood and gore, her robe and tunic shredded. he clothes shredded and being doused in crimson gore left her looking like some overly sexual piece of vampire art, as the now exposed curves of her body and luscious, bared breast would seem to only exist in deepest the fantasies of erotic artists.

In her hands she still held the man's arm in her joint lock, the severed limb still attached to most of the shoulder. The fact that they would kill one of their own told Yoyo plenty about the type of people they were dealing with, while their armament told her that they were certainly not expecting to encounter resistance such as her. The flechettes were easily able to shred an unarmored target, but they had no chance against her sleeve's skin reinforced with genetically bolstered spider silk and graphene. Still though, several flechettes, maybe a dozen or so, did manage to barely stick in her augmented flesh, each slowly dripping blood or with bits of sinew dangling from them.

Yoyo's resolve hardened. She had hoped to simply restrain and question the man, but his accomplices had killed him to get her without a second thought. Another life denied eternity. nd now they were firing on her friend, Tilda. She had to end this quickly. 

Yoyo' still held the wrist of the severed arm in her left hand and with her right she brushed most of the flechettes from her skin effortlessly in one, smooth motion without even looking, her eyes intense and faintly glowing, focus on the assailants before her assessing the changing situation. One was shooting at her friend, while the other was reloading, and therefore not a threat for a few seconds. That made the decision simple. She had to put down the one shooting at Tilda fast, then deal with the other. 

She was like a machine, ripped right out of one of those old Earth movies with the assassin robots sheathed in skin, sent back in time to kill somebody. She was focused, cold, unconcerned with her near total nudity, the blood coating the front of her body or the mess at her feet. Her movements where deliberate, almost robotic at times, yanked the needler from the dead hand, tossing it toward Tilda as she charged the man shooting at her friend by diving over the mangled mess at her feet, tucking and rolling to com up before her target. With near perfect form she delivered a kick to his ribs with her left leg, followed immediately by right cross, putting every bit of power her synthetic body could muster in an attempt to put him down hard and fast.

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The morgue

 

Ryan halted his call before it could go through at the commotion, not wanting to proceed without more information.   Seeing it, he quickly advised Vaughn of it over their private internal link.  "Something's up Vaughn, those two look very nervous.  We're going to play this by ear abit longer.  Though I am abit concerned that they didn't come to me first.  This can't bode well for our mission."

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