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The Pacific Ocean, International Waters

September 13th, 2010

Agents Carver, Parker, Jaunt and Johnson had all had the night to review case notes, consider options, fret and worry, or do whatever else it was that an Argonaut likes to do on the night before an especially dangerous op. Lee kept herself busy doing Assistant-Directorly things, or pretended like that’s what she was doing, anyway.

The agents were all supposed to be prepped and ready to go by 0530 hours – or, as Agent Jaunt referred to it, ‘Stupid-o-Clock’ – and to be gathered together for departure. Even though there was to be a initial ban on teleportation during the actual op itself, there were no such problems with teleportation before the op began. Therefore, to save time, Jaunt and Section 3’s Gamma Team leader, Jeremiah Jackson, were asked to provide the transportation.

Their destination was the island nation of Palau; specifically, the island-nation’s state of Peleliu, where they had transportation waiting for them at the tiny island’s town of Kloulklubed. Though the mission plans had made it obvious to all of them long before they’d ever left, it was still jarring for most of the Argonauts (except Jaunt, who was used to such things) when they stepped through Jackson’s portal – or arrived with a *whomp*, as was the case for Jaunt and Parker – and found that it was already late into the evening* on the island. It’s one thing to objectively know that time is not recorded the same everywhere, or that the sun does not shine on all parts of the world simultaneously, but it is something else entirely to be confronted with that fact in so immediate and sudden a fashion.

A boat had been chartered at the town’s docks and was already fully stocked with the gear the agents would need for this operation. The boat’s captain, a Palauan native, already had the boat prepped for departure and the engine running when they arrived at the docks and in no time they were out on the open ocean. However, as fast as things got underway, they promptly slowed back down again as the boat ride out to their drop-off point would take them several hours to reach and so everyone found themselves with lots and lots of free time in which to perfect the art of squinting into the wind and spray off the ocean (assuming they weren’t hiding out below decks, that is).

Finally, as the clock approached half-past 0200 hours, local time, the boat’s motor cut off and the captain brought her to a drifting halt out in the open ocean. A good forty-five minutes before that, Lee and Parker had already pulled everyone together to begin checking their gear and to get changed into their combat-grade diving suits and their rebreather gear prepped, so within minutes of the boat’s engines cutting out they were already deploying the DPDs* and getting underway.

Five miles later, the team found themselves floating submerged underneath the Shi Lang, the massive boat’s anchor trailing down into the black depths beneath them.

And finally, Operation Hornet’s Nest was officially underway.

Click to reveal..
Evening on Palau: The particular area of the Pacific they’re going to is a good fifteen hours ahead of Sul de San Juan, Mexico, so 5:30 am in Mexico is 8:30 pm on Palau (p.s. – that’s 2030 hours, for those operating on military time wink ).

DPDs: Diver Propulsion Devices.

OOC Stuff:

How is the Shi Lang laid out? Good question. Obviously, I do not have full schematics of a fictional vessel for you, but here is a pic of the outside of a similar-model Russian carrier (mentally subtract the jets) and here is a surprisingly detailed schematic of a 'generic' aircraft carrier (again, subtract the jets).

The schematics that you all have been given to review show that the living quarters for the crew and the 'prison guards' are still located up in the bow of the boat (where they're shown in the linked diagram). What would have been the main hangar, below the main deck, where the planes were stored when not out flying, has been converted into the cells for the nova 'detainees' (the aircraft elevators and their loading doors have been removed and sealed off because of this). The flight control tower is where all the computer stuff is, as well as where the SSI sensor arrays should be located. The main engine rooms are where they're show in the second linked diagram. Both diagrams should be giving you guys a sense that there is more than one way onto this boat besides simply climbing up onto the deck - because there is.

Let me know if any of you has more questions about this, either via PM or just in the OOC thread.

Gear: If it’s important for any of you to know specifically what your PC’s “gear” is, let me know. Otherwise, assume you have “the basics” (i.e. a flashlight, a knife, a multitool, etc), plus any equipment that would be specifically useful to your character (so Dr. Carver probably has some sort of medical paraphernalia on her). Again, if you need/want more details let me know, I’m happy to discuss specifics with any of you.

Weapons: Aside from the knife mentioned above, you have all been given tranq-guns. These will largely function “narratively” (i.e. assuming you hit your target, he/she passes out). In combat, however, these will be treated as having a “damage pool” of 10d10, against which the victim rolls their Resistance (but since these guys will largely be extras, I’m not expecting any of them to beat the roll). If you're not clear on how you would use your tranq-guns outside of combat, please reread the rules on Ambushing.

Tranq-gun Statistics: Acc: -1, Damage: (as described, above), Range: 20, Clip: 7+1, Conc: P, Mass: .5

Note that the tranquilizers are not effective against novas.

Additionally, your PC may also have been issued weapons from the following list:

Flechette Rifle, with Suppressor and 2 extra clips

Silenced Light Pistol, plus 2 extra clips

Two Flash Grenades

Your characters are not required to have taken anything from this list if you do not want them to; they are there simply as an available option. Note that if you’d like a firearm, and you’re going for quiet, the Flechette Rifle is actually the better choice (though, by all means, take both if you like). They use magnetic charges to fire depleted uranium fragments rather bullet casings with explosive primers in them, so they fire quieter than normal firearms to begin with and with the attached suppressors the majority of the noise comes from the clacking of the firing pin.

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Eva removed her re-breather and clipped it to her bag. She had sidled up beside Lee as they approached the bottom of the boat, and now handed off the back and melted out of the black wetsuit. A gunmetal grey blob had replaced her and shot up towards the boat, oozing along the edge nearest the control tower as she sought out a point of entry.

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Atlanta gave Jackson a brief smile, finding his blue-collar presence soothing ever since he had found her on the steps of the Oratory. Stepping through his portal, she blinked as the bare hint of dawn abruptly became star-speckled evening and though the experience wasn't commonplace for her - unlike some - she had been a part of Gamma Team for it not to throw her off. She was a little disappointed that she didn't get a chance to walk the streets of Kloulklubed, the boat being already primed for their departure.

The wiry woman spent the boat trip in blank contemplation, body rocking instinctively to the rise and fall of the ship as she focused solely on the task at hand, no troublesome memories of similar events intruding. Prepping her gear took little time.

Instead of the diving suit she let her FUEfiber (Fucked-Up Eufiber) sheath her body like a second-skin, warm with a pseudo-life of it's own, her eyes covered by clear lenses to keep her vision clear underwater. Likewise, she neglected the cumbersome Rebreather Unit - technically, she needed to breath, but her need was minute and she was able to compress an impressive amount of air in her lungs. Other than the basic gear and tranq-gun in the small, sealed pack on her back, she had a brace of throwing knives strapped to her thigh, covered by her malleable bio-polymer and her ever present gladius sheathed tightly against her back.

Despite herself, a bubble of escaped air tumbled from her lips as she watched Parker blobify herself, surprised, but only for an instant. A moment later, synapses projecting her will through micro-filaments, Atlanta's outfit rippled, than reformed into black, corrugated tendrils over her body, across her face, and ending in points on the back of her hands. She hoped it looked... Taintish.

Then she eeled after the Parker-blob, staying a ways back so there was no chance of both of them being seen at the same time, but close enough to come to her aid if needed.

Click to reveal..

Not sure if you are rolling now or not.

If necessary, I guess I need a Wits + Weave Roll and an Appearance + Style Roll for her pseudo-disguise.

Maybe Dexterity + Stealth Roll to stay unseen and a Dexterity + Athletics Roll for swimming.

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Willow got half of the boat ride. It was her last chance to be up and in control until the end of the mission, so she tried to make the most of it. Everyone else seemed to be caught in their own pre-mission thoughts, so she left them alone. As always, she thought about how she came to be here, the odd turns in her life that had left her with half a body. And how she wasn't even real.

The psychologists had assured her over and over that after all this time, she was a full-formed and distinct personality. That this was her life, even if it hadn't started as her life. It felt like it was hers, but the simple truth was that she was the invader, granted sanctuary because the fake-girl was more appetizing than the beast she kept sheathed in her soul. And she was tolerated by that beast because it had been made clear that it needed her to survive.

The pilot turned and nodded to her; she'd asked him to let her know when they were halfway. Willow felt Lee's eyes on her but neither woman said anything as Willow silently said good-bye to the world. Willow was ready to not wake up, in case Jael fucked up and got them killed. She took one last breath of fresh air and went to sleep, or maybe more like a coma -

- Releasing Jael fully. Jael felt Lee's eyes on her; she turned and gave the half-machine-half-woman a saucy wink. Lee's return smirk was bemused rather than upset. That was why Jael like working with Lee; the woman knew how to play it cool. Jael could respect that.

The sociopath gave a lazy stretch and leaned her head back to let the night air whip through her hair. God, getting out felt so good. Damn moralists and their stupid rules. With a happy sigh, she contented herself with looking down into the water, sensing the life below their boat as they roared past.

She suited up with easy familiarity, enjoying the sensations of the world first-hand rather than muted through Willow's perceptions. It was like having a cotton blanket lifted from her and Jael once again cursed the man who'd left her trapped with that simpering girl. Ready to go, she paused only a moment before grabbing the backpack that Willow had prepared. Despite being called a 'backpack' it was strapped against Jael's front, the compact bag designed to minimally impede her. Something that went on her back would have been best, but that was already occupied with her rebreather, something that Jael sadly needed.

Jael brought up the rear, both because she liked not having people at her back and because that was usually the best place for a medic - away from the bullets and the angry people shooting them. As she ghosted along at the end of her team, she wondered if Ms. Mountain or Skippy would be the ones to give them away. Mostly, she just tried to stay hidden and let their red-headed leader find the ingress point.

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Points of Ingress

Parker found her entry point fairly quickly. It was a docking-stair that led up to a sealed door approximately half-way up between the water-line and the ship's deck. Unfortunately, the door was sealed more tightly than she could fit through, even as insubstantial as her current form was. Moreover, a cursory glance was enough to confirm that the door's locking mechanism was fitted with electronic security, meaning it would take something more subtle to get it open than just having one of the novas rip it off its hinges.

As the mercurial blob that was the Argonaut in charge of this operation attuned what was currently filling in for her eyes to the darkness all around them, she spotted a number of shafts and vents higher up, closer to overhang of the main deck itself. Several of them looked to be more than adequate for her liquid-metal form to slip through - and she knew very well that the smaller ones would almost certainly be lacking in any real security sensors or triggers (no sense putting the entire ship on alert every time a seagull missed its mark and smacked into an air-duct, after all). They were too far up for her to reach by jumping, perhaps two stories over their heads, but it occurred to her that any of the three novas in their little group could probably toss her up there... if she were willing to trust their aim.

The rest of the party needed an immediate way in as well, and the door in front of them provided the best bet, but Parker knew, from having reviewed the provided excerpts from his personnel file included in her case notes for this operation, that Jaunt should be able to get through the door himself, whether she stayed to help or took the riskier (but quicker) route through the ship's vents. The door itself should let them in only a few levels below where the ship's "guests" were being held and, likewise, only a few levels above that of the main engine room - both of which were designated targets of this op. The command tower - which was where the other main objectives of this op were to be found - could be reached through any of a number of routes, though taking the higher ground would certainly get her there faster than just about any other route she could think of.

Regardless, she knew that they needed to get moving quickly; it was almost inconceivable that the people running this place would simply leave such an inviting point of entry into the ship unobserved for long.

Click to reveal..
Parker's Assessments: Parker, I rolled Tactics for you and you rolled quite well, hence the rapid and thorough assessment of Eva's surroundings. Another option that would occur to Parker, but which is really kind of risky (though not a definite mission-fail), would be to have Lee and/or Atlanta leap right up onto the main deck. Either of them could probably carry someone else with them, if desired, with only a minimal increase in stealth difficulties (taking two people up would also be possible, but they'd have to forget about being stealthy or graceful). The problem with this is that it's the main deck - there's little in the way of cover, and it's guaranteed to be patrolled by more than one guard, making the risk of being spotted exponentially greater. If you have any further questions and/or would like a bit more advice on how to proceed, let me know. The roll really was pretty good. smile

Atlanta's Rolls: Atlanta, you can assume that you're pretty much invisible until the start of a new scene (i.e. you guys get inside the ship) or you purposefully do something 'unstealthy'. You got 5 successes on your Style roll, so while I do ask that you keep it believable, feel free to play up your new, super-stylish and oh-so-tainty appearance. wink

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Eva swam back down, slipping into her wetsuit before becoming solid again; she fitted the water-proof headset they'd been issued back on her head. "Alright. Lee, I need you to toss me up to the highest vent opening on the ship, about two stories above the waterline where we are now. I'll make my way to the command center through there to get the security systems down. Jaunt, there's a sealed door about halfway up the ship. Take Carver and Atlanta through there. Head to the engines first to get a look at them and make sure any dead-man's switch is firmly in the 'off' position, then get yourselves to the nova holding cells. Lee, after you toss me, jump up on deck and get cover as quickly as you can. Jaunt's probably going to set off all sorts of alarms, so people will most likely be rushing down - the three of you will need be on high alert, obviously - so make your way up the tower as quietly as you can. I'll be heading the same direction through the vents. We'll take out the main security hub first, then get the computer data. Once Carver has what she needs from the novas, Jaunt, get her out of there asap. If you have time, come back for Lee's information. Atlanta, Lee, the three of us are going to make our own exits unless Jaunt has time to pick us up. Atlanta, once Carver is out, make your way to Lee or I. Everyone ready?"

"Oh, and Lee? Could you grab my wetsuit after it drops? It would be nice not spend the entire time on board naked."

Click to reveal..
So....I hope that was a good plan. Not being a master thief or secret agent, I'm doing my best. wink Please anyone feel free to point out major holes the plan and whatnot. Thanks!
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Listening through the headset and still holding her breath, so unable to speak - at least, not without losing too much oxygen - Atlanta gave Parker a thumbs-up at the plan. She was one more for acting out a plan than coming up with it. She swam for the surface, undulating like a shadow in the gloom shrouded ocean.

Atlanta breached the choppy surface like some sea-creature from the depths. Her bio-polymer covered her in a mottled hide of black, grey, and green, raised, corrugated veins following the delineations of her sleekly muscled body, hands and feet ending in short, sharp talons. She flowed onto the bottom landing of the docking-stair, matte colouring glistening from the salt-water sloughing off her body, and disappeared into the shadows cast by the overhanging deck.

Face obscured by sable tendrils, obsidian spines reaching through her pale blond hair, Atlanta kept a wary watch on their position, eyes hidden by bulging, carapace-like lenses.

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Jael waited until Eva was done talking; then she gave her a thumbs up as acknowledgement. She had been enjoying the swim: the dark colors of the ocean and the pressure of the water over her wetsuit. It had been tranquil and silent, like being in the womb. Despite the fact that she'd been delighting in the moment, she was glad to get on with the mission. That was where the fun was and Jael was going to have some fun.

Grinning eagerly, Jael sidled next to Jaunt, waiting for him to teleport her. She wondered if he'd take advantage of the moment or not. She could see it going either way at this point: either he'd be professional because they were on the job or he'd be himself. Jael didn't mind either way - him coping a feel would be the most action she'd gotten in years. Willow was a prude in most senses of the word and excessively picky about men. She and Jael hadn't agreed on one in a long time.

Maybe she'd get close to lucky for a second.

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