USH'S STAR WARS GAME- CAMPAIGN II EPISODE II (DARK SIDE)- In the Coils of the Serpent
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And as the first note... Takuan has passed a Manifest Destiny roll...
I'll use Dreams, in a PM, I guess....
(I too shall use Dreams, also via PM.)
(And Huzzah for Takuan...)
Galder leaves the Scorpio and stretches his limbs, then cracks his neck, as is his habit.
"Well, pretty good set-up you have here, Doon. I take it you are well payed for...whatever you do."
Galder hangs around to see where everyone else plans to go.
(What's around Galder?)
Rand steps off the ship with an eccentric wave of his cape.
"And now we can breath the air without the putrid stench of those unhuman monster of piggish death," Rand says, with a dark tone in his voice. "You hear that? Not one crackle of an Osokan whip, or a cry of pain as one of us is struck..."
(Rand will use Manifest Destiny, with the Augury bonus added to that, and a Force point used...)
"The service industry pays well," says Doon.
There are actually other people around here, Galder, doing little jobs; maintenance, stock control etc. (he has a huge cargo area). They've been expecting you., But around here- just a living area, wine cabinet, some electronic recreation units (i.e. games) and so forth.
You know, Rand... something about you automatically likes this place.
(It's your megalomania. Secret mountain bases appeal to it)
Rand takes one look about and rubs his hands together.
"Doon, if you ever consider giving away this wonderful place," Rand says. "I would be delighted to declare it under new management soon after..."
Rand wanders to the wine cabinet. "Mind if I confiscate a bottle, Doon?"
(Oh, and I would like that Premonition in a PM. I actually want to succeed in my Premonition this time...)
"You are strange," Galder says lightly, passing Rand.
"Care to take me on in a game?" Galder asks him, examining the recreational systems that Doon has installed.
"Depends on what there is..."
Damn thing is locked, Rand! He opens it up for you though. In fact he is now providing refreshments in general.
You'd be hard pressed to fail, to be honest, Rand And... you haven't. I'll get it done soon. Takuan already had his, but you know what his ones are like; he'll be all year figuring it out.
"We'll be resting here for a day or two," says Doon (during which time you can have your premonitions), "but I'll fill you in on the plan as soon as everyone is comfortable."
(Good, I want to achieve things this time...)
Rand grabs a bottle of wine, pops the cork with one of his long knives, then examines it thoroughly to 1) make sure it is good wine and 2) make sure it isn't poisoned.
Satisfied with his findings, he calls a wine glass to him with the Force and pours himself a glass.
"Go ahead, Galder, play a game, and maybe I'll become interested..."
"Suit yourself!" Galder says, not allowing himself to add any derogatory statements.
Galder selects a shooting game and picks up the false gun, blowing away a few holographically generated Gungans before putting the game up a notch to Very Hard.
It's pretty good wine actually. Doon has a certain luxury taste. You wish he dressed better though; he looks like a mechanic, mid-job.
Um, Tanic is waiting for a chance to talk to Doon alone - no doubt he'll have that sometime during the stay - about Doon's recognition of him.
Til then, he moves over to Galder, unsure of how well he will be accepted, and wary of the man's skill.
"I'll take you on, if you're looking for a partner," he says firmly, not showing his thoughts.
(Kicks BB in the face) - REX
Having a brief look at the gun, Tanic took hold of the grip and started shooting, aiming, when he could, to take Galder's kills.
(BTW, I'll be taking MD... In secret, since noone else is doing it publicly!)
"Certainly, though you know I'll win!" Galder declares, confident in his skills with the blaster.
He tosses one of the game's blasters to Tanic and goes back to shooting his opponents, now in the form of very large Rancors.
(Speaking of Rancors, now we know what happened to Kuylen! Sort of...)
"Hey, don't take my kills, dammit!" Galder says, then starts trying to outshoot Tanic with his trained hand.
"Blowing stuff up. Why am I not surprised." Rianna says.
"Because you don't need the Force to predict that Galder and Tanic prefer destroying things, rather than this fine wine," Rand says to Rianna.
"How did your part of the escape from Cynelline go, my young apprentice?" Rand asks.
Even if his posse of Dark Jedi are not really his apprentices, he refers to them as that anyway.
(is there wine in sw universe?
Takuan, getting off the ship, find himself a nice isolated corner to think things through for a while.
he appreciates the safety of the place, but keeps his awareness intact.
seeing as he doesn't know doon for a long time. even if he did...he wouldn't trust him completely
"Now, now Rand. Wine is all good and proper when served with the correct food," Tanic mutters, returning his attention to the game, where he noticed Galder had taken advantage of the distraction to pull ahead. He renewed his rate of fire.
For that matter, is there Gold? I put that in the first Episode, so this one can have wine. Make it an odd colour if you want.
Must be said, Galder, Tanic might not have your warrior's instinct, but he's a damn fine shot. You'd feel better duelling against him, though you doubt this place has the facilities.
"Right then," says Doon, as he returns after having checked things are running smoothly. "I had best begin. I have to kick off with bad news, I am afraid."
"...we'll not go into our part of the escape, Rand..." Rianna says, glaring in Tanic's direction.
"Bad news? Well, what is it?"
Holstering the gun when he had regained at least some of his dignity, Tanic walked over to Doon, trying to work out where he could know him from.
"Well, bad news for some of you, at least," he says, "probably just more of interest for the rest.
"I am afraid I exaggerated the smoothness of Kuylen's position. it is true that he escaped the trap Helkin set for him. However, his escape to a safe place in the Galaxy did not go well. He was intercepted by a Bureau ship on then planet Pandateria. Kuylen managed to cut their comms before they could link up with anyone else, but then he had to kill every single Osokan on board over the course of the following week in order to secure his own position.
"This he did, but at too great a cost. Kuylen is critically injured and almost totally paralyzed, and I cannot guarantee that the damage is treatable. It was only when he saw how desperate the situation was that he called me in; he's a proud man and only calls for help as a last resort. I had to leave him there when he gave me my orders; there was no way to safely bring him back to Demarus or anywhere near you guys.
"He may even be dead by now. I have not heard from him. He could have died of natural causes, or the Bureau might have pieced together what the deal with teir missing ship is."
Doon is silent for a few seconds.
"But on the other hand, maybe things are going to plan. The Bureau has been pretty distracted by you guys, so I doubt they have gone to Pandateria yet. Kuylen told me to extricate you guys first and get you to towrk, and THEN go back for him. He should be safe there, and if he is still alive he might be well enough to travel..
"So I am afraid the other piece of bad news is... I can't be with you when you guys go to the Ghost Citadel. I'd only slow you down in a full scale fight anyway. I have to pick up Kuylen, extricate him by force or brains if necessary, just like I did with you guys, and then we'll rendezvous back here afterwards. We're a long way from where the action is here but ut is the safest place to meet- still, I'll have a back-up rendezvous ready in case we need to meet more quickly. If Kuylen is dying, he says he has a message he wants to pass onto you people... but ONLY if he is not going to make it.
"Just to remind you... when I say 'you people', I mean Galder, Takuan and Rah. I'm not really sure what the best time to tell him about the others is."
"i see.." mutters takuan.
"well..i assume you can choose whether or not to tell us teh message after you assess his situation.
in the meantime...what are our objectives? and what is the ghost citadel?"
"That will be his call, about the message," says Doon. "Maybe he won't trust me with it after all.
"And yes... well, if you are all ready to hear about his orders? Actually... that reminds me. I have some presents for you first."
(oooh..i know what they are. for his old and special crew. a one and only..well..three of a kind anyway magic +1 to saber skill giver necklace
special edition too: adds +5 mkp to saber when weilder wears necklace
"as you say...let's hope he's not dead. what presents are you talking about?"
(Heh... sabre crystals that give you +2 to hit and so forth... bloody KOTOR)
"Just a few knickknacks he had with him," says Doon. He leaves, and returns a few minutes with a packing crate, which he opens. They are indeed items for Kuylen's old crew.
For Galder, he has a bastic warhead SMG and five clips. "I hope this is your style..." says Doon.
For Rah, a fully powered Zeitonian Kinetic rifle. "Buggers up Lightsabres I understand," says Doon, "which isn't much good to us now, but I played with it myself- it doesn't make any visible shot, so it's a nice stealth piece, if not as hard hitting as a proper blaster."
And for Takuan...
"... he said you would know what this was," says Doon. He hands you a somewhat weighty object wrapped in cloth.
Rand, your Intuition has suddenly kicked in and gone off the scale, the moment Doon hands that over to Takuan.
Takuan unwraps it and looks..
It's a stone tablet. It appears to be blank.
Rand- Must... have...
Takuan grins looking at it.
he puts his hand on it's back
Somewhat uneasy at Doon's comments, Tanic speaks up,
"So, if you're not going to tell Kuylen about us yet, what do you expect us to do?" He looks between Rand and Doon, awaiting his answer.
The stone is cold, Takuan. But when you put your hand on its back, it feels warm... as if it is vibrating slightly...
And letter by letter, writing shows up in a plage green light on the front, in an obscure ancient language... the language of the ancestral Sith...
Rand- a Sith archival tablet! The rumours about Kuylen were true- they do still exist! The secrets of the Sith, codified, in physical form! Nowhere else is there any such knowledge in the Galaxy!
Rand, your Jedi Lore score is very high. You can read these tablets! You are getting giddy just thinking about it. If there are more, somewhere...
Meanwhile, Galder, all you are thinking about is how long it took to dig those damn things out of the ice on Avalar.
"Hey, what do you know?" says Doon. "It DOES work. Doesn't with me. Must only respond to people with... your talents."
"no point in teasing you about it Rand" says Takuan (though i was, for a second there
"what does it say?" he asks approaching him
"Cool! My fav non-sabre toy...." Rah says in rather chuffed manner.
"Um I dont suppose you'd like to trade this light blaster for something a little more robust would you Doon? Rah asks hopefully...
the urge for returning (if you canc all it that, seeing as he didn't go there in the first place) to Avalar hits Takuan on the moment. But perhaps it is not the time..
Rand narrows his eerie black eyes at the tablet and Takuan.
"Takuan, may I see the tablet?" Rand asks, reaching out a hand as if the thing was calling to him, tempting him to just snatch it from Takuan...
Resist... Rand urges himself. Resist!
Galder solemnly accepts the machine pistol from Doon after hearing the news of Kuylen's injury.
"This is not good," Galder tells the others, but secretly thinks to himself that maybe some more time away from Kuylen would mean that their current group could become more...successful.
From your peek, Rand, the tablet seems to be talking about some sort of entry ritual. You could spend hours or days studying this thing... the Sith speak from across the millennia!
"Yeah, I've got an armoury here if you need it," says Doon. "Anyway, you know how it is with Kuylen. Not the type to just lie down and accept death. He'll be back.. just not right now.
"I am glad you like that toy, Takuan. I understood in the early days Kuylen and the others made off with quite a portion of whatever was on Avalar."
"But here is something it seems Kuylen never told you you. Did you know ... that one of the tablets in the central archive on Avalar... wasn't there when Kuylen found the chamber?"
(Galder's area of expertise for the group: Avalar
"Really?" Galder says, amused and disturbed by Rand's urge to see one of the ancient tablets. "I was the only one of this group that was at Avalar."
"What tablet was it that was missing?"
"no, i didn't know that" says Takuan
"From what Kuylen tells me, it was possibly the most important one. It certainly contained knowledge that he desperately needs.
So... you guys are going to go and get it."
it's whereabouts having something to do with..the ghost citadel...
"Absolutely. In as much as it is in the Ghost Citadel."
Rand, now you have a bad feeling that you know what that place is.
"Tell me," says Doon," have you ever heard of a man named Siva Lantarnas?"
People's reactions in their minds at this point depend on their Savoir-Faire rolls.
For Takuan, Rah and Rianna it is "Nope... he a singer or something?" Takuan and Rianna just never saw much of the Galaxy; Rah just never paid attention beyond what he could nick from people.
For Galder it is "Err... some drug smugglers I ran into a while back used to talk about him..."
For Tanic, it is "Siva Lantarnas, the founder of the Golden Serpent? Aw crap..."
For Rand, it is "Oh, it IS the place you are thinking of... hell, this Kuylen guy has get you pissing around with the Golden Serpent now... not good."
"what's the golden serpent?"
Not that you would ask that, unless you can read people's thoughts...
"Siva Lantarnas is a legend, the King of all Bandits, the greatest rogue and robber of them all," says Doon.
And so he is. Tanic and Rand, you both know the shadowy legend of this guy. Dead now for a good thousand years, he is the inspiration for countless hundreds and thousands of young thugs and pirates who all aspire to his golden image. No heist was too daring, no goods too secure, and no woman too cold, for Siva not to get his way.
He is rather like a Robin Hood figure; the legend that has built up around him has twisted and turned and become something it wasn't. This is deliciously ironic, because many of these thugs say that they are following the golden dream of Siva, talking about how he was his own man who bucked the system and thumbed his nose at bureaucracy, answering to no man, beholden to no woman, representing all things afree and proper and so on and so forth... and of course, most of these young thugs end up doing dreary extorition work or mass slavery and murderous piracy until they die violent deaths.
That's ironic because the truth is that Siva himself was a vicious murdering bastard. He just happened to be a very GOOD vicious murdering bastard, and he was also clever and brave and cunning, and also lucky in no small measure. Very few of these thugs know the truth about Siva, but end up becoming more like him than they suspected they ever would- except in aptitude and ability. And brains. Ok, they become more like him in evil violence than they suspected they ever would.
Siva's greatest moment was when he performed the crime of all crimes. The ultimate test of his cunning. The most daring, the most dangerous, the most fantastic crime perhaps ever performed. Siva Lantarnas performed a heist...
... on the Sith Armada.
Of course, this might be stretching the definition of 'crime' somewhat; the Jedi might have eben aggrieved that Siva pulled off something none of them would ever dare do, but they were hardly going to pursue him for it (mind you, he was wanted on several hundred other counts by that time). However, the Sith owned a not inconsiderable portion of the Galaxy at this point, and THEY sure as hell thought it was a crime. In fact, some legends have it was at the hands of the Sith that Siva met his final end, when they eventually caught up with him. True or not, he had still pulled off this ultimate feat; to steal from the epitome of evil and danger itself, and they never recovered what was stolen.
Of course, no-one ever really knew what it was he stole...
"... but in case you have not guessed," says Doon, "the centrepiece of his haul was the missing tablet. Not misisng until he took it of course; it never even reached Avalar. The Avalarian Sith might have made more of an effort to get it back- if they hadn't all been killed by their fellows not long after the Monastery was completed, of course.
"Meanwhile, that tablet became the ultimate proof of Siva's almost God-like reputation, and it became the coronation centrepiece in the organisation he set up after he retired from his active life of crime... the Golden Serpent. Precious few people know that about the coronation- a reminder to the leadership that nothing and no-one is too big or dangerous for the Golden Serpent to take on."
so the ghost citadel is the golden serpent's headquarters...
"Yes indeed. Whether Siva built it himself, or it came later, no-one is quite sure. But the entire of the Golden Serpent operation eventually owes allegiance to the Ghost Citadel."
And that is a lot of allegiance. Again, Rand and Tanic know the score here. There is no criminal activity in the Galaxy that they do not have a hand in. The organisation as a whole is somewhat vague, but incredibly powerful, and notoriously vicious, determined and resourceful.
In fact, they are the most powerful criminal organisation this side of the Galaxy, and second in power in the whole Galaxy only to the Hutts. In many ways, you would even rate them more dangerous than the Hutts, because the Hutts are powerful in that they control entire planets in the area around Hutt Space. The Golden Serpent isn't really into openly controlling planets like that, but their insidiuous influence is to be felt everywhere. One way or another, you can flee the Hutts. The Golden Serpent, though, will find you anywhere in the Republic. And where the Hutts represent the vile culture of an alien civilisation, the Serpent is a distinctly human phenomenon; you can decide for yourselves whether that makes them better or worse.
The Serpent remains untouched by the Jedi- anyone who could tell them anything useful that gets caught is invariably killed before they can give evidence. Some small successes have been had but major progress has been impossible- the Jedi suspect, correctly, that the Serpent is exercising political control (in the form of bought and compromised Senators) to de-rail any chance of a successful investigation.
Still, whilst they are present everywhere, Coruscant included, they don't like to operate anything big too close to the Jedi, so it is out on the frontier where their power is supreme.
They are not people to mess with unless you are deadly serious- cunning and deceitful, many have been caught up in their plots,. Perhaps Siva was a little too much like the Sith for his own good; it may explain how he was able to pull one over on them though, as he operated the same way they did. Even a thousand years later, the organisation reflects his character.
Rand, you killed a not unimportant Serpent sector enforcer once in your Jedi career. The fall out from that- in attempted revege killings- took years to sort out. However, that's not your only relevant knowledge about them. You know the Mecrossans have always had a 'vibrant' relationship with the Serpent, which is to say they loathed each other. Easy to see why- the Mecrossans were sponsored by the Sith, whilst the Serpent grew out of having defied them. It was a brutal shadow war between the two of them for a long time, but that has all been over for centuries now., You cannot quite remember why.
Tanic... there are three people- two men and two women- on your 'list' that are not dead yet. You actively had to avoid them. That sub-section of your list was originally four strong, but only when you killed the first did you find out that all four were Serpent members. That was an arse- you released a bigger storm on yourself than you thought possible. MAN, those people won't let grudges go, and your plea that if they just let you alone to kill the people on your list, you wouldn't bother them again, didn't seem to satisfy. In fact, you were hoping, once you ha dhooked up with Rand, to beocme part of something powerful enough to go back and finish the job sometime- killing those people was too risky for you, solo. Seems like the Bureau have put paid to that plan- for now.
Serious business, the Serpent. Very serious.
"so we are to infiltrate their base..and get the stone tablet...."
"that sounds very dangerous"
"Not to mention completely insane." Rianna adds, crossing her arms.
"Yes it is. Dangerous and insane, and Kuylen didn't want to do it alone, and now he can't do it at all. It's YOUR job.
"Still, there are some compensations I can offer. I might not be going in with you, but I can help get you in. I have a few favours I can call, and a few resources for you- including a small smuggling ship that the Serpent thinks is their own. In fact, play your cards right and I think we can pass you off as Serpent members."
he also thinks it's insane.
"well compared with those Pigs we were just playing with this actually sounds like it might be fun!" Rah says eagerly...
Takuan has his doubts
"The plan will be all yours," says Doon. "I'll get you in, you guys take it from there, I'll see you at the rendezvous. All the preparation you need, I will do my best to sort for you. Other than that, this ball game is all yours.
"Your main opponents will be the Lantarnas family, of course. Siva's descendants still rule the Citadel and the Serpent; Vigo Lantarnas has an iron grip on all around him, and four sons and a daughter, none of whom are to be underestimated."
"Serpent members?" Galder says, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.
"They sound an awfully lot like us...like Dark Jedi."
"But...I do not deem it completely insane. I have performed worse tasks than storming some damned fool's collection in an organization named after a snake!"
"And frankly, nearly anything could be an improvement over fighting droves of Osokans. At least this time, we'll be on the offensive instead of constantly on the run." Rianna says, looking around at the others.
Rand shakes himself from the self-induced trance from staring at the tablet.
"I will get to see that later, Takuan," Rand says, trying to be non-threatening, but obviously failing.
"Do not underestimate the Golden Serpent, however," Rand tells them. "They were able to pull one over on the Sith, and they have the nerve to stalk Jedi. It is disturbing, at most. I was followed by Serpent members for years. YEARS. Nearly a decade. They do not let up. Unless we can disappear- again- they'll stalk us more than the Bureau will."
Galder shakes off his amusement at Rand being drawn to the tablet.
"We can fend for ourselves, Rand. And they obviously didn't kill you!"
"Ah, but I was supported by hundreds of Knights..."
we need to have a nice chat and figure out an effective plan.
once we know everything there is to this mission
After looking thoughtfull for a few minutes Rah pipes up "Well first off we're gonna need plans of the citadel, the location of the tablet..." He thinks for a moment "also it might be a good idea if we knew what there armaments are like, do we need to take out their arms cache first to restrict the amount of fire power they can use against us." He looks at everyone "We're good but one thing the Osokans taught us is that we're not indestructable!"
"Ah," aays Doon. "Fact is, the Ghost Citadel is a bit of an unknown. You have to understand, the Citadel is a legend. The Serpent has millions of members througout the Galaxy, maybe a billion, and that is not counting the countless smaller groups that pay up to them. Only mere thousands ever get to see the Citadel; it is accounted an extreme privilege to do so.
"So you have to understand, it's a minor miracle that I can even tell you where the Citadel IS. In fact, that is why Kuylen contacted me in the first place; I am the man in the know. That was to be my entire contribution at first; only when the Bureau showed up did I become more involved, before meeting you guys.
"I can get you in there... but I don't have the slightest clue what it is like on the inside.
"As for their guns... the Serpent are rescourceful, they might have some sophisitcated firepower in there, but on the whole, you will most likely just meet grunts with blasters. The Lantarnans will be the ones that are tooled up, if you are worried about it."
"ok..where is it? and how do you get us in there?"
"With that ship I am giving you; the rest is up to you.
"The Ghost Citadel on the first moon of the gas giant Fernau. Unfotunately that leads to some complications... which I had better run through with you, actually."
Takuan waits paciently
"Well, the point is... the 'Ghost' Citadel... that's not actually just a fancy name..."
"it's not easy to find, i take it. the fact that it's on a gas giant isn't random, no?"
Tanic, on hearing of the Golden serpent, quietly contemplates revenge against them. Maybe now he is powerful enough to kill it. Lop off the head, and the tail can be his.
"It doesn't sound so hard if we actually put some thought into it. I must ask though, Doon, if the members of the Serpent... The tail? If they are willing to die for their cause?"
(he will answer that in a moment, Tanic)
"Heh! It's not actually ON the gas giant," says Doon. "It's on one of the moons, like those old Sith temples on Yavin. Unfortunately, the biosphere provided by that gas giant is... unhelpful.
"Basically, the moons of Fernau are barely habitable. In fact, to most sentient lifeforms, they are totally inhabitable. The atmopshere is highly poisonous and kills anyone pretty quickly.
"But there is some native life to the first moon- plant life, mainly. They have evolved with an immunity to the poison, and luckily this can be made use of. The extract of the root of the Yaran plant from the moon can be taken to give you immunity to the poison yourself. So you will all have to be supplied with that, else your life expectancy will be pretty short.
"Trouble is... the Yaran plant is a hallucinogenic... a pretty powerful one. You can build up a tolerance over time, though they say the effect never fully goes away. But for at least a month after you start taking it, you get affected by all sorts of weird crap. People see things that aren't there... the ghosts, of the Ghost Citadel.
"Of course, I am pretty sure, and I know Kuylen was pretty sure as well, that you guys won't have a problem with that." He taps the side of his head to make his point. "What with your gnarly magic senses, you will be able to tell what is real and what is not, yeah?"
"Yes... Gnarly. That's probably the best description I've heard of the Force in a while. Would make that bastard Windu scream," Tanic says, a cold smile touching his lips, "Have they exported the drug?"
"Not widely, but I have a supply for you," says Doon. "As for the serpent members themselves... they are very dedicated, yes. If it comes to a fight, they'll all die before letting you take the tablet out of there."
"Alright then. So, Doon, is that the general way of things? Should we get down to specific tasks? Have you got any ideas on who should do what, to start?" Tanic asks, still aware he needs to talk to Doon alone at some point or another.
Has Doon kept giving Tanic those looks?
"Well, don't wear your brains out. We have a few days here to recover, and plan, and for you to talk to anyone you think might provide useful info to you."
"Okay then. Well, if that's all... sir?" Tanic asks, a slight sarcastc undertone to his voice, as he looks at Rand, "I'd like to get some rest, and explore this empire of the mountain."
As he waits for an answer, he suddenly thinks of something,
"Doon, do you know which sub-sectors the Serpent is most active in?"
"The rim on the part of the Republic directly opposite to Hutt Space; why?"
"Then we will have to wipe them out," Rand says. "Not without caution, however. This is to be an extraction, not a miniature war, after all."
"Miniature wars get attention, as we all know by now. And the Kuylen veterans should know better than anyone."
"And we certainly do not want to attract any unwanted attention. So we have to plan this out carefully." Rianna adds.
"With the utmost caution I'm sure." Galder cocks the submachine gun (it'll look like a futuristic MP-40 just for style...). "But sounds like the only problem we'll face will be the Lantarnans. Our skill will blow through their defenses quickly, and then we'll cut them down..."
"Well, of course with caution; we're supposed to be sneaking into this base where there will be countless people opposed to us to steal this tablet, I don't think parading in carelessly will get us very far." Rianna responded. "And while I agree that we shouldn't have too much a problem with their defenses, remember how much trouble we got in when we underestimated the Osokans. To that end, I think we should find out all the information we can about the Ghost Citadel and the Lantarnans so we can form a plan."
"Well, sounds like we won't be getting any more information from Doon, here, miss!" Galder reminds, examining the barrel of the gun, then remembering to turn on the safety before looking down the barrel. "And we won't be able to do very much spying on their base! I don't want heavy hallucinations in my future."
Rand takes note of Tanic's sarcasm.
I have been his mentor for a year or so, now... he thinks, launching into paranoia. Tanic and Rianna seem to outgrow me as we sit here...
"Maybe that is a risk we'll have to take, Galder," Rand says. "I have every intention of finding out all that we can about the Ghost Citadel of the Golden Serpent before we begin our heist."
"I meant if there was a possibility of any other source of information we could possibly use, though there probably isn't. Hallucinations wouldn't be very helpful...and watch where you're pointing that gun, Galder." Rianna says, rolling her eyes.
"I know how to handle my own guns, Miss Xi," Galder says, rolling his eyes back at her. "Firearms and lightsabers are my profession, after all."
"Hallucinations are unavoidable I know- just wait til I'm shooting at imaginary targets!- but I would like to avoid having more mirages appear than necessary!"
"No other way but the plants, huh Doon? Why not hardcore suits?"
"He wouldn't have suggested the plants if there was an alternative, Galder," Rand says. "You will deal with it, or I'll send you to that moon without the plant..."
"Even if suits were a possibility, they'd probably hamper our movement, which would certainly not help us any." Rianna replied.
"As if I would let you anyway..." Galder grumbles, testing to see if the safety was working by aiming the SMG up into the air. He pulled the trigger and loud cracks sounded...the sound of a working safety.
"I need to thank Kuylen for this when I see him..."
"If there's enough supplies it may be worth us taking the drug now so that we can start getting used to the effects before we get to the ghost citadel." Rah suggests
and steps away form his jolly team mates acting like...muppets
"I agree with Rah. If there's enough, that is."
"How would you feel having to wonder around your own headquarters in an environment suit?" asks Doon. "That being the case, you guys would be a tiny bit out of place there in them. Nor would you be able to eat or drink for any significant period.
"I am afraid there aren't enough supplies, Rah. I can get you one day in advance and no more, and that is how long it takes to have an effect anyway."
"why don't they generate artificial atmosphere to accomodate their need. instead of being drugged all the time..."
but i know the answer to that:
" it's because i needed a plot reason to get you all high! and the plant does it! "
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to re-atmosphere a world? We haven't seen it once in SW- not to mention that did it not occur to you that Siva chose that place on purpose? So Takuan can lose 2 xp for such a silly question.
not reatmosphere a WHOLE world. but build environmentally friendly nets of buildings.
Which would also be very complex, and why bother, and as I say, they prefer it like this.
well ofcourse, seeing that it IS so.
but takuan didn't think it was an unreasonable question, seeing as the plant has it's downsides
Good for keeping out whoever they don't want around...
Only to newbies, which suits them fine. You may as well ask why they didn't just build it on a habitable moon, which would have been a whole lot simpler than sealing off your entire headquarters and just, presumably, abandoning the rest of the planet.
bwah..that is highly relative. but...if we're gonna get into details with this..
for defensive reasons, there are TONS of advantages for a consealed environmentally safe headquarter speciffically against people who are trying to steal something from it rather than blow the heck out of it from the orbit. it's easier to defend. way easier, actually..seeing as it is a confined space.
now i am sure that that moon must either have been enhabited before => the enhabitans shared the plant secret with shiva OR shiva found it...and took a hell of a lot of time to discover the plant properties. which is a fortunate discovery...lest the only alternative to living there was building a base.
now...i cannot argument farther..because i don't know the full history of how shiva got there...i'm just stating possibilities. YOU made the stories afterall. i don't know why you're so pissed....and why you take this as an attack to you plot line. it wasn't!
it was just a question....and i'm trying to prove that it had some thought behind it, rather than just acting noobish
i think i'm beyond comparing the situation with a why didn't they place in on an enhabitable moon in the first place situation..
Hah! No you are not. That's the basic point that undermines your entire argument. There are no such tons of reasons at all that bear up to anything more than a cursory examination made with any intelligence at all. Being environmentally secure doesn't make you any safer from intrusion in the slightest.
And no, of course the moon wasn't inhabited before; I have no idea why you would assume that. No intelligent life lives there; Siva created the operation from the ground up.
There wasn't actually anything beyond your comment than being smart-assed, and that sort of comment in game deserves a good kicking, and is not appreciated, so you can either accept that, or leave.
Seriously, folks- don't argue a point with a GM in his own game. That's a cardinal sin in RPing. Argue or think ill of him in private, but in the game his word is God, uncontestable, and there is no other practical way to run games, and if you don't like the vibe, don't play.
The xp loss was a joke, btw, before I really did get annoyed by the point continuing to be contested.
Anyway, let's move on. You have your situation, but obviously in-depth planning at this point is impossible until you get in. So now is a time to use contacts or any other ideas you can think of to get more information and improve your chances.
Your Allies, btw, are still missing. Doon is going to see if he can find out where they went, if he has time.
very well..i'll think of a plan. and then we can all put together what we have.
how are we supposed to pass as members of the serpent? clothing?
Ah, converstion with Dexx has revealed the root of this issue, as ever a misunderstanding. When I said
"Only to newbies, which suits them fine," I meant that the root was only a problem to newbies, which suits the Serpent fine. Dexx trhought I was calling him a newbie.
Sorts that out. Ok, let's keep the game going... enough Dark Side self-loathing for today, maybe I will give everyone extra xp, you will be surprised how generous I can be...
Oooh I like that idea!
So, yes. We need to know how we'll be able to pass as Serpent members, so we'll need to know if they have any sort of uniform or anything like that...as well as some other things that have slipped my mind at the moment. Damn.
sounds perfect...i'll think of a plan. you guyz too...see what you can come up with
Ok, here is what Doon has to say on that.
"Serpent members don't have any identifying gear, or secret tattoos, or stuff like that. They are very much like terrorists in that respect; membership is by cell and a full membership list probably doesn't exist. Like I said at first- they are a somewhat vague organisation.
"Nor do they have any particular mannerism, because they are a Galactic organisation, and are too big to be specific. You can impersonate Serpent members form some place they have never heard of there, or at least never been to.
"A certain knowledge of how such criminal organisations work and act and to be able to pass that off will be handy, of course. As will a certain attitude- such places thrive on violent respect. Of course, subservience to the Lantarnans is paramount.
"Talking of them... it is a long time since Siva lived. Not that Vigo should be underestimated, but at the end of the day, he's just a trumped-up thug with a messianic complex, and some of his family are brain dead.
"In fact, the whole point is... tradition, and experience, and hard work, makes the Serpent what it is. But they live off this legend of being the people who pulled one over on the Sith... and they just aren't the same people any more. Probably, in fact, less at the Ghost Citadel than anywhere. No-one has challenged them there within living memory. You'll be surprised how slack security might be. Not for the tablet itself, of course. That will be solidly protected. But getting in, and getting away with it... that's not too bad.
"It is pissing off the Serpent that scares most people away. You guys... well, I know Kuylen thinks you are above that sort of worry."
Um, I ain't got much to contribute...
Except Ush, could Tanic get in contact with his contact - the crime lord?
You could give him a call (Doon has a scrambler unit you can use; there is no be no betraying the location of this place!)
What do you want to ask him?
What he knows of the Serpent. Okay, before I call, we need to list some facts that we want to know.
I don't know if there is much else we could say....
Maybe rival factions inside the Serpent? LIke, sibling rivalry?
(Wow, that's something I didn't even see from Quam!
(And we now know that Takuan's fortress will be reatmosphered...)
"Pissing off the Serpent worries me in the least," Galder declares, slinging the gun over his back.
"It should worry you more," Rand notes.
"I have a suggestion to make," Rand says. "The Mecrossa Order...they were very large enemies of the Serpent. Perhaps I could stir up the Mecrossans to fight their enemy once more."
"Shall we pay them a visit, personally or otherwise?"
"You hang around with the Mecrossans?" says Doon, perhaps looking slightly uncomfortable for a moment. "They aren't very sociable people..."
Indeed they are not, Rand- they prefer not to meet at all. At least 90% of your contact with them is by remote communication; you have a unit that decodes their messages (not dissimilar to the units that Kuylen;s old posse carry that accept the signal from his transmitter, except that it works two ways).
If you want to meet, you will have to send a message to an Operative first and discuss the possibility. You'll have to work on encoding the message.
(Galder idly dreams about mowing down endless fields of snakes...)
You can ask that kind of stuff if you wish, Tanic- come up with a finalised list and we shall see.
"Yes..." Rand says. "I have ties...I'm virtually a member. They trained me in some of their dark ways..."
"Care to assist me on encoding a message to them? They are particularly pleased when it is especially encoded."
(Well, only if they are large snakes, Ush, something worth killing...
(And as long as they don't have Osokans for friends, or neurotic...I mean...neurowhips as defenses!)
"also....when you say they guard the tablet very carefully. what use did they find for it over the years? appart from the simple object that they curageusly stole from the sith. do they safeguard it just for the honour of that?"
(Um, I think we should make some sort of list of what we want to knwo about the Serpents. I got down Possible Rivalrys - what else?)
"Err, I don't know a thing about Mecrossan encoding..." says Doon. "You'd better handle that.
"Meanwhile, as far as I know they make no use of it at all, save a ceremonial one. So you are basically right, Takuan."
"Suit yourself," Rand says. "Direct me to your comms system..."
Encryption accepted and decoded.
Rand. We are pleased to hear of your continued existence. News of the Bureau has spread slowly throughout the Galaxy but we have now become aware of the threat it represents to you. Bureau Agents will be considered for Retirement in the correct circumstances, but for now a risk assessment as to their value is taking place.
I must regret, however, that we are unable to fulfill your request. We find the situation very alarming.
You requested more information on the state of affairs between the Mecrossan Order and the Golden Serpent. I shall remind you of those affairs, Every year, the Serpent pays us a considerable retainier; the return on the deal is that all Serpent members are exempt from being targetted by our operatives. This is an arrangement that suits us well- to be clear, although the retainer is considerable, we could reasonably expect to make far more by accepting contracts, for leading Serpent members have many affluent enemies. But it is simply not worth the hassle and danger involved in making an enemy of the Serpent. Previous differences were buried a long time ago when both sides were in danger of being fatally compromised.
You will understand then, therefore, that it would be highly inappropriate for us to offer any help. In fact, there is considerable feeling that you should be instructed to not proceed, under threat of expulsion and targetting. However, your previous good service to us, and the unique asset you represent, is not to be ignored. We shall take efforts to disavow you if necessary; luckily, the Serpent is more likely to think you are acting as part of your own group than as a member of the Mecrossans; needless to say, that you are a member must not be allowed to be known.
We hope you will not be too downcast by us being unable to offer aid. However, we do have some advice for you.
Rand, it is the opinion of the Order that you should not go on this mission. Amidst the underworld of the Galaxy it is an established rule that entangling yourself in the Serpent only ever brings destruction. They have a saying on the western fringe, where the Serpent has an iron grip.
Those who would play with the Serpent, ALWAYS get bitten
Whatever resources the Bureau can confront you with in terms of sheer offensive power and technology, the Serpent can match with their cunning and duplicitious ways. The Eyes beguile, the Coils entrap, the Jaws kill. If you must go, trust nothing in the Ghost Citadel- the people are no more reliable than your eyes, in that place, and many are the people who have found themselves entrapped despite having taken all poosible precautions.
Do not play with the Serpent, Rand.
Oh well,Tanic, your guy can give you a general appraisal of things.
First of all, of course, he gives a certain amount of concern about your plan, reminding you that the last place someone like you should think about going is INTO the Serpent's Lair.
"And it could reflect upon me badly as well," he adds. "It's not unknown that I got my position off the back of your actions; I had to pay up my dues to the Serpent when I took over this segment, and I don't go near their operations here, and they leave me alone in return. My predecessor started to get big ideas about recruiting Serpent members, which is why you ran into them, but his talents gave him a survival edge in doing that- I want to do nothing but stay clear. If you mess this up, their punishments will be severe and my... family might have to re-consider backing this whole organisation."
After a little bit, he calms down, though, and admits that the Serpent has been becoming a little stale of late.
"Plenty of talented people IN it," he says. "But the word from the top isn't inspiring anything new. Vigo Lantarnas is solid but unimaginative. Worst of all, his eldest son Yago is a moron. The Lantarnas line hasn't ever been pure, of course; a thousand years down the line the name is almost an affectation. They all have SOME claim to descent but it hasn't been like a continual monarchy. If Siva's talent went anywhere, it certainly didn't all go down into those guys."
He can give you the details of a Serpent cell close to his space that you guys can impersonate being from. You know the area, Tanic, so you can impersonate such people quite well.
"So long as they aren't given cause to check, you might well get away with it," he says. "Just don't cause any trouble. And seriously... watch those guys. A lot of people have got burned dealing with the Serpent."
As for rivalries...
"Well, as I say, there are a lot of talented Serpent members out there. Some might say that the real power of the Serpent isn't in the Ghost Citadel any more. Just like any criminal organisation, a lot of these people would want the top spot from Vigo, but like I say, he's solid, and besides, there is an ancestral feel of power by right to the Serpent that makes that impossible. Yago is going to get the job next, and everyone else is just going to have to deal with that. If you are thinking about trying to exploit that, I'd forget it, you'd only get caught up in a convuluted mess, and the Serpent will certainly unify against any meddlesome outsider before it turns on its own. You'll be in enough trouble there as it is- just get in, do the job, get out, I'd say."
"Thank you, brother. Unfortunately I must go. I'll inform my... associates... of the cell. If I need anything, I'll be in touch. And don't worry, I won't get you involved. You and your family just watch the drama unfold..."
Tanic returns to inform the others of the cell.
okay....so yago would be an important hostage....if we are to resort to that. so..we can note that down as plan...D or something
Oops, my mistake, Yago is the youngest son. But his eldest son, Bora, is still not exactly considered brain of the century.
"Could I get a full list of Vigo's family, so that we know how many idiotic Lantarnans we are dealing with?
Yup, he can give you that. Four sons, in order: Bora, Mika, Deva and Yago, and one daughter, Jena, who comes in the middle.
(as the actress said to the Bishop.)
(People under 18- ignore that)
"Any one of them done anything notable with their pathetic lives?"
Well, Eastern European, like Krisha and Jolanta.
"They run entire sections of the Serpent; that is pretty significant on most counts. None of them have done anything like stealing the Supreme Chancellor's underwear."
"They didn't earn their section, though, they inherited them..."
"All combat types, right?"
"Yes- inherited or otherwise, you have to be able to back your position; no weaklings could do it. Some of them are smarter than others; they say Jena is the brightest spark of the bunch.
"Vigo himself is a very fierce man; he fits his position well."
"I will deal with him myself..." Galder says, but remembers the Bureau. "...if it comes to that."
Rand sends a reply, voicing his disappointment but also his thanks. It was actually not at all what he was thinking.
Nume Rand comes to Galder and Doon, scowling.
"The Mecrossans will not give us aid," he tells them. "They would like to keep the Serpent from biting them."
"let's hope we won't get to the necessity of having to deal with anyone, galder." says Takuan.
(takuan always disaproves you killing everyone, rex..you know that
"so...Jena is most likely to inherit the lead of the serpent....that would, make her our most valuable hostage. If we are ever to get to that.."
adds Takuan suddenly having thoughts of Jena in the middle
Stop that right now! No evidence that Lust leads to the Dark Side...
Oh, except it did for Scrace... him and his tractors... very well, proceed!
"Incidentally," says Doon, "it won't be a problem, but I cannot help thinking you will be annoyed if I don't mention it...
"... but Fernau is in the Republic. Not too far from Demarus, unsurprisingly."
(Dammit, I'm not even 16! You guys are warping my fragile innocent mind!)
So we could grab the stupid one, and somehow convince him showing us the tablet would get him our alliance, then slaughter the silly bugger and **** off in our borrowed ship?
"Not far from Demarus? That's great. I was hoping to never have to go back near there ever again..."
"Well, that's great news!" Galder says in disgust.
Rand chuckles at Takuan's wandering mind.
"I would not worry about it," Rand tells the others. "While it is close to Demarus, the Bureau thinks that we are dead. And unless they just happened to have stocked up on that particular plant we will use, the Osokans will die if they come to Fernau."
"Takuan, you know we are going to have to deal with the Lantarnans! They will undoubtedly come to defend their treasure."
"But you do have a smashing idea there, comrade...taking Jena hostage..."
(At which point, Alana should say something about Dr. Strangelove...and if she doesn't, she's not as obsessed as I am...)
"yes...we will definitely have to fight our way at one point or another.
though the planet being in the republic is serious bad news." says Takuan worrily.
"What makes you think the Republic will rush to the aid of a criminal organization?"
"Well, really, even if the Republic were to come, they couldn't actually go down to the Citadel...unless they have a stock of the plants or were willing to clomp around in suits."
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