Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk
JP (Pitbull) ——————————-Black Knight
Location : Stargun Airfield, Heroditus, the Periphery
We spent the better part of a two days accounting the salvage from the battle for Little Heaven and performing a series of close searches of the two captured DropShips. Modesty spent time each day in “duels” with Wraith, providing a little entertainment to our crews in betting who would win. Modesty proved to be a surprisingly capable swordswoman, and was possibly augmented, as well, with cybernetic neural nets. Other than her over-bearing personality and cutting words, she was very quiet and kept to herself in her locked closet aboard the Dingoes Den. When things seemed secure, we held a staff meeting and discussed where we stood, and where we should go from here.
It was decided that we needed to re-think our assets, and either drop our weight class or find a means of improving our existing Mech engines and speeds. Ultimately, using “Dingo Pack Tactics” was one of our key reasons to watch our cruise and flank speeds, and it was decided to stay with a minimum flank speed of 85 kph. Various plans were drawn up by Glamour and Fixer, and supply lists were made for future reference to find the tools and equipment we needed to hit that profile unit-wide.
The unit also looked a little closer at the hard-copy equipment lists Fixer and Wraith had pulled from “The Barnyard” curio scrapyard in Myrmos. Several items were noted as valuable, but would have to wait until we could actually inspect them a little closer in a couple weeks.
It was agreed our plans for “tapping into” Modesty’s neural core was not possible with our existing tech and skills.
Advocate spoke with Talker Muriel about establishing ties with New Hedon, to better organize matters for the future of her people. She spoke with her council, and they agreed; she would travel to New Hedon as Little Heaven’s “ambassador”, build a consulate office, and establish formal ties with their parent nation. The Dingoes, for their help in stopping the raids, were granted “citizenship” papers in Little Heaven, allowing them to act as attaches to the consulate and make a formal and fully legal claim on the two DropShips of Sunburst Enterprises.
After a day of packing and plans, we sent a pair of tech squads back along with an infantry squad, Advocate and Talker Muriel, aboard the Crimson Sands for a quick sub-orbital hop to New Hedon’s starport. It was the first time she’d ever flown, and Talker Muriel had a rough time of the short trip. They spent the rest of the day giving a tour to Muriel of our “home ship”, before making plans for the trip to the Libertine Council’s Hall.
Back at the Airfield, we packed the salvaged Mechs (…a headless Centurian and headless Thunderbolt, and a mostly intact Archer) up out of the valley to the “Hot Booty”, and tied it away for later transport, while the rest of the Mechs prepared to travel in a convoy north to New Hedon the next day. The Dingoes Techs finished studying the cryptography on Modesty’s computers, and using one of their best computer Techs, Tech Brandis Turgan, they were able to crack it. It revealed the following;
- The “Hot Rod” had been engaged in hauling several ship-loads of convicts to the Stargun Airfield, from Scrope Correctional Facility for “…community service…”.
- Dame Modesty Scrope had been issuing direct commands to these convicts and assault teams, to “…dispirit and impoverish the colony so that they will be willing to sell their lands cheaply…”.
- Various financial transactions from several New Hedon banks to certain accounts had been made, though the exact names and accounts are unavailable; just numbers in the millions have been transferring recently.
They also interrogated the flight crews of the “Hot Booty” and “Hot Rod”, determining they were fairly innocent of the whole matter, though some were minor members of “House Scrope”. It was decided that they would fly their own DropShips back to New Hedon, along with a squad of infantry on each ship to ensure they get there… A handful of convicts were rounded-up, and their testimonies taken regarding the whole incident. The command staff also inquired of Lieutenant SG Jenna Seedar as to whether they could access some “truth drugs”, and her shock and dismay against using them was backed by the fact they had to avoid getting a “coerced” testimony, so the idea of chemically interrogating Modesty and the convicts with such serums was abandoned.
Advocate went with Muriel to the Libertine Hall, and began a series of bureaucratic snafus that led to eventually meeting with Protocol Officer Shaka Ben Suzuki, a government political officer assigned to assist Muriel in establishing a consulate in the city. Muriel was given a series of addresses to check-out for the offices, and three names; “Bassinger & Bailey”, “Weiss, Terra Nova & Sung”; and “Zeal Associates”, to be contacted if the consulate needed legal support for anything. They were listed as equally eminent and skilled.
The first, slower Mechs of the Dingoes left the camp, while the remaining faster Mechs remained to escort the Dingoes Meadowlands Carriers, remaining Tech crews and “the Football”. The group would rendezvous several days from now near the edge of the jungle. Once the convoy had reached the outskirts of the city, the DropShips (hosting the rest of our infantry) would rendezvous at the Starport, and formally filed papers would lay claim to their possession at that time.
In New Hedon, the offices chosen were in “Harmony Tower”, a 69-floor glass and steel monstrosity near Myrmos that many of the similar mining colonies to Little Heaven were based from. It had a reception area divided in half by a low counter, three offices along one side, and a long, thin boardroom along the other. A secure safe had been built into the support beam of the plush, corner office. The tower itself actually had private halls and a roof garden suitable for hire in functions and meetings.
Advocate chose and contacted the law firm “Zeal Associates”, informing them of everything the group was involved in, staking a formal claim on the two DropShips as “spoils of war”.
Later that day, Advocate and Muriel formally met with PO Suzuki, who informed them of some of the protocols for the upcoming meeting with the President of the Libertine Council, a discussion about clothing and, of course, the present… “What present?”, asks Muriel and Advocate at the same time. It quickly becomes apparent, through the horrified PO Suzuki’s babble, that having a gift to give at the presentation to Gabriel Fur’ Seng-Geng, President of the Council of Herotitus Libertines, is the accepted protocol. It should be both representative of the colony or realm, and be “delightful”.
Advocate inquired what does Little Heaven export, to which she replied “Cigars, Bauxite, and a little Dream-Fern Resin…”. “What’s Dream-Fern Resin”, asked Avocate (echoed by the rest of the group). Muriel identified it as a noxious weed that grows widely across Little Heaven’s valley; it has only one redeeming quality, it helps with pain when processed properly and consumed. While the Dingoes second medical team (a handful of former bio-chem students), examine what information they can about it… Doing a little research, the Dingoes determine that “Dream-fern resin” is not registered anywhere as a narcotic, but they think they might finally know why the Scropes were interested in the valley.
The next morning the bio-chemical analysis of the Dream-Fern Resin was made available. It is indeed what they think it is; the resin can be processed to provide a base chemical used in the production of a local drug, known as “Waste” by the streetwise. Although it has potential use in medicine in improving alertness, boosting self-esteem, and increasing libido, it is also highly addictive and prolonged, regular use (over 6 months) causes neurotoxicity and amphetamine psychosis, as well as severe cardiovascular damage. The Scropes were trying to get a lock on the drug trade in New Hedon, and possibly beyond… It is decided that of all their options, a 1/2 kilo of Dream-Fern resin will be retrieved from the colony to be used as a gift for the President… come what may. The Crimson Sands was dispatched, while Advocate went in search of a proper container to present the resin in, and Muriel spent the day getting her dress “just right”.
The day arrives for the meeting, while the rest of the Dingoes gathered into the larger convoy a few days out of New Hedon. PO Suzuki arrived for last minute detail work, and although not especially happy about Muriel’s dress, or the present, he talked Advocate into wearing a “Dingo Formal Uniform” taken from their SLDF uniform cache. He then asked “…so, when is the landau arriving…. what do you mean you don’t know what a landau is?” He cried a little, then asked what vehicles were available for trasporting the pair to the ceremony… all they have is Senior Techs John and Susan Gibbons hover truck “The Chuckwagon” (with its massive freezer and storage bays for food in the back) or SRM Jeep – “Nerf”, since the “Football” is still in the convoy. PO Suzuki made some panicked calls, but was unable to get a landau, since they were all pre-booked for this event. He cried a little more and ordered a taxi…
Advocate arrived with Muriel and PO Suzuki at the Libertine Hall Palace. A complete “red-carpet event”, with all the planet’s noble and celebrity best and brightest in attendance. The arrival of a common taxi and the “sparkly normal” gown of Muriel attracted immediate notice. The news media went insane. Although a deer trapped in the lights of the oncoming media storm, Muriel was introduced as the “Ambassador of Little Heaven”, along with her escort, “Advocate of the Iron Dingoes”… The carefully wrapped package is moved on down the line, drawing many interested looks, and eventually the group approached President Gabriel, offered their gift, which was accepted to great fanfare. He didn’t just like it, in his drugged-out stupor, he called a recess while he and his two female companions retired for a “break” (which lasted the rest of the evening), accompanied by his little gift, and the enigmatic “Ooo…. we’ll remember Little Heaven, indeed we shall… I formally recognize your colony and accept its gift… now where’s that man with my resin?”. The rest of the evening passed with a mosaic of all walks of Heroditus life. The Freaks. The Geeks. The Dangerous. All rubbing elbows. Advocate even thought he saw the Huntsmen at one point, but after a couple hours, PO Suzuki hustled the pair back out to their taxi and “home” to the Den. It looked like a success.
In the morning, the local media was all ablaze, talking about Little Heaven, as the “…plucky little colony that stood up to a Liao invasion.” There was talk about what parties the consulate will begin, and how soon. The Dingoes legal team, Zeal Associates, bring word that they have discovered the following regarding the Dingoes’ claims;
- The two ships present a problem. Yes, their users can be tried for being involved in piracy, but there is another interest – the finance houses that own them, known as Sunburst Enterprises. This company is owned by a selection of investment funds and individual shareholders.
- The professional soldiers who served as hired mercenaries, were defeated, and their war material is now the legal possession of Little Heaven, and they have claim on their assets (though this has already been cleared-up by the Dingoes, and did not need further work).
- The customs officials who planted bombs aboard the PCs equipment (back when they were leaving the city) should be arrested and tried for sabotage. The investigation has ended regarding this matter, however, since the man responsible for commanding the searches, was a Commander Germana, who unfortunately slipped and killed himself while polishing his cutlass only a few days ago…
Several days passed, during which the Dingoes’ convoy finally made the trip to New Hedon unmolested. As they approached the city, they were stopped by the local security forces, but they let the Dingoes pass with little trouble. When they passed through the city, they pick-up a handful of news VTOLs that follow them, until they were chased away from the starport. Although stopped by security a couple times they are never halted long, and soon even had an informal escort of police vehicles. Security forces were polite and considerate this time around. The pair of captured DropShips were able to land in a pair of staging bays some distance away from the Dingoes unit assets.
Early the next morning, after the news of the Iron Dingoes return to their home aboard the Dingoes Den was posted everywhere, Zeal Associates contacted them, with an offer from Sunburst Enterprises. They proposed a “No Contest Salvage Claim” and the immediate transfer of one third of each ship’s full market value to the colony (roughly 92,747,058 Cs). After a few attempts to try and get a better deal (first 75% and then 60%), Zeal informed them Sunburst would not budge. “Take 30% or see you in court”. Later that night, a pair of techs failed to report back in for duty… Tech Mitsuko Kitsune and her best friend, Tech Brandy Wiebe.
Wraith went ballistic. Initially the Dingoes contacted the city security forces, but they seemed uninterested in resolving the matter (tourists go missing all the time, apparently…). Within minutes, Wraith had armed himself and headed off to where they were last seen along the Copacabana. The rest of the Dingoes tried to stop him, but he ignored their calls and took the monorail to the shopping district… in body armor…. with guns… lots of guns…
The next morning, a package arrived, consisting of a vial of blood tied with a bow of black hair and a note. Essentially, the note demanded the colony of Little HEaven and its attaches, the Iron Dingoes, withdraw all charges against Modesty Scrope and admit the whole campaign was undertaken to discredit the good name of Scrope. If they do not fulfill these requirements in 6 hours, they will lose their two techs and family, and other certain, less-flattering aspects of the PCs past will come to light… The Dingoes unilaterally agreed they would not do that.
Soon thereafter, Wraith was escorted into the Dingoes Den by planetary security, with the groggy words “She didn’t wander in, did she?”, to which Voice responded “Well, some of her did…”, and handed him the note. Wraith had earlier been “subdued” with tranq guns and sonic rifles when he’d been found accosting the security at a rave club near where his sister had been kidnapped. His diplomatic credentials had kept him from jail, but they suggested he be kept under key for the duration. The unit tossed him in the only secure facility they had – in the tool closet with Dame Modesty Scrope.
Voice contacted Lieutenant JG Abbey Chase “Peaches”, figuring she might have contacts they could exploit, and she arranged for the security footage used along “The Strip” of the Copacabana to be made available. As a high-crime location, it had extensive coverage all along its length. The Dingoes contacted PO Suzuki, who had heard about the kidnapping, and was enroute to city hall to see what help he could get the group. Turned out, he kinda liked the Dingoes. That took an hour.
Two hours into the waiting period, the tapes arrived, and the group realized they didn’t have anything they could view them on. The city security wouldn’t likely give them access, so they pondered options. Glamour realized the equipment on-board the “Hot Booty” was likely the only means they had in viewing the tapes, and so while the rest headed across the airfield to view those tapes, Glamour contacted Muriel at the consulate in Harmony Towers, to determine that Muriel was fine, and headed over there in the Football to be available in need. Pitbull gathered a pair of squads Scout Infantry and getting them armed, arranged to have Nerf and one of the Meadowlands Carriers available as transports. PO Suzuki responded with authorization for the unit to bear open arms within the city, as well as a warrant to act as legal security for any search and siezures required in direct relation to the kidnapping. That took the second hour.
In the closet, a now somewhat sobered Wraith abandoned beating on the door and swearing at the guards to let him out, and turned to Modesty. He apologized for having treated her like this, and asked her to be gentle when she makes her inevitable escape, and try not to kill anyone. She responded, "Actually, the way things are progressing, I’m more concerned what will happen when they come looking to “collect” me…" After the exchange of a few more pleasantries, the two had “a moment”, and before you knew it, the two were at each other like rabid voles in Pon Farr.
The next couple hours were spent examining the reams of security footage, and Voice spotted a scene where masked figures in an unidentified speeder swooped down on the pair as they were walking along the Copacabana, captured them unceremoniously in a net gun and bundled them into the hover trucks’s back. The vehicle then swung north into Oldtown before disappearing into the shadows. Knowing what they were looking for in a vehicle, the Fixer, Paladin and Voice all closed in their searches, eventually spotting a similar speeder near the Barton Station monorail. The vehicle, carrying a large bundle in its back, then swooped into the construction site, and dropped its cargo into a big hole in the ground, leading to its underground water and electrical connections, before whisking away into the shadows. Located near the Cleon Memorial Stadium, it was a locally known landmark, and Pitbull took his troopers out into the city straight towards the Memorial Stadium.
Glamour, meanwhile, had Muriel draw-up a formal statement, regarding the “deplorable actions of the Scrope Family”, and calling upon the Moot to formally oust the entire family from power. Using their recent media glory, they had it broadcast across several channels just as Pitbuill’s team arrived at the construction site.
With an hour to go, Pitbull’s unit spared no time searching the site, and abandoning their vehicles, they slipped into the ventilation/electrical shafts exposed. Searching around, Pitbull found a single rail used for electrical “tunnel cars” to assist repair crews in covering vast distances quickly; the trail led down deeper into Oldtown, and eventually he found an abandoned railcar covered with a tarp next to a tunnel leading up into a private townhouse. The entrance proved to be untrapped, though it was lightly barricaded against casual intrusion.
The assault on the townhouse was quick and brutal. Three men proved to be guarding the site, and they were both well-armed and armored in military-grade heavy weapons and armor. Since the Dingoes assault had come from the only un-monitored entrance, they were able to rescue both girls (mostly) unharmed, though the three thugs guarding them were drugged out of their minds and would not go down quietly. The assault squads took limited losses; none of the kidnappers survived. The unit quickly looted the thugs of their weapons and armor, though most of the upper floor was blown-out and flattened in the fight. Pitbull sent the girls down into the tunnel with one squad and then took the lead thug’s hand (which had a tattoo of some mercenary jump infantry company) wrapped in one of the corpses’ own sets of fatigues. Together, the unit slipped back up the tunnel to their vehicles (unmolested), and quickly made their way back to the starport.
As things seemed to finally be in hand, and Wraith was discussing a few post-fun matters with Modesty, an explosion rocked the Dingoes Den. Security immeadiately reported someone had landed a pair of Karnovs near the docking collar of the DropShip, and had blown the main docking corridor open. Several security squads quickly mowed through the initial resistance, as various Dingo staff officers began to respond to the alarms. There was a single squad broken into several small fireteams of two raiders each moving rapidly throughout the upper levels of the DropShip, shooting random panels and people, while two dedicated invading squads began a methodical search of the living quarters of the DropShip. A fourth squad remained to hold the airlock. Wraith asked Modesty to please open the door for him, which she did with a single hard kick (to the surprise of the two guards in the maintenance room). Wraith gathered his arms, and recruiting the two gaurd troopers to assist in the DropShip defense, asked Modesty if she’d be alright… she simply smiled, blew him a kiss and closed the tool closet door…
As the Dingoes numbers grew, and defense of the upper levels stiffened, the raiders began to retreat, unable to quickly find what they were looking for. None were captured alive. Using assault shotguns, “diplomatic armor”, dueling cutlasses and pistols, the initial assault turned against the raiders, especially as they met the full fury of the Dingoes defenses and its command staff. The raid was quickly put-down, when the surviving raiders retreated to the airlock, and with the “guard” squad fled into the VTOLs and quickly moved off down the starport towards the shuttle pads.
While Commander Darryn Thane contacted the starport to relate they were under attack and not involved in an illeagal “fly-by”, the casualties of both the raid on the Dingoes Den and eventually those from the rescue efforts from the townhouse in Oldtown were brought to the medical teams aboard both DropShips, saving many from certain death. The VTOLs were reported to have landed at the shuttle impound lot, and had seized several LR shuttles held under the Sunburst Enterprises aegis. Arrangements were quickly made to dispatch the Crimson Sands and follow the escaping shuttles. Only a short hour behind the escaping shuttles, Lieutenant JG Dara Gideon, spent the next couple days following them to Heroditus’ L3 Point, where it rendezvoused with a Merchant-Class DropShip (of unknown registry), and jumped away from that pirate point. The Crimson Sands returned with their information.
With knowledge that the Scropes were gone from the planet, Modesty was released and Wraith asked her if she wanted a place among the Dingoes until she figured out what to do next. Her only question; “How big’s your bed?”…
The mess, both diplomatically and physically was immense. Over the week, the media suddenly became hostile to Little Heaven. The story was quickly spread that “…some country bumpkins and urban scum…” shot up some escaped convicts, made a big splash in the media, had tea with the president, and then couldn’t protect their own dependents when bandits raided their camp. The Iron Dingoes were referred to as a “…ratty, third-rate mercenary command..”. As the week passed, small groups of agitators began to spread graffiti and minor vandalism throughout the city, calling “Mercenaries Go Home!” and “New Herod for Libertines, not Foreigners!”.
There were, however, some compensations;
- The colony gained free title to the “Hot Rod” and the “Hot Booty” – the Scropes left debts, but the colony had a prior aggrieved claim. Both were turned over to the Dingoes by the colony Elder’s Council, since they have no interest in the “…big, beastly things”.
- The remainder of Sunburst’s assets, five aging *KR-61 Class Long-Range Shuttles along with a collection of military goods were found in a hangar complex on Governor’s Island. The goods consisted of six SRM Support pods, other basic equipment and soft goods sufficient to arm six squads of SRM-Infantry. In addition, a MASH unit and three Hover APCs were recovered. It appeared from documents, that the Scrope family had kept the equipment against eventually making a final push against the colony. The colony, as lead claimants, took two of the shuttles, seeing them as useful in contacting New Hedon in the future. The other three and all the remaining equipment, they left to the Dingoes.
- The neutral minor members of the family, namely the pilot crews and engineers held in prison were released from their contracts, meaning they had to find other jobs…
- All remaining assets of the Scrope family were seized by the Libertine Council, and their name stripped from the Moot.
- The lead kidnapping thug was identified (mostly through his name on his uniform combined with identification of the tattoo on his hand…), as one Gunnery Sergeant Levi Kent, a former member of the small Jump Infantry Merc Company “The Jumping Junkies”. His friends were local street thugs, Miles Strasser and Theoi Chun.
To every silver lining, there’s always a cloud. PO Suzuki paid the Dingoes a visit, and informed them that Little Heaven’s success at uprooting and toppling a minor noble house (albeit murderous pirates) had upset the planetary Moot. It would be best if the consulate kept a low profile, keeping open as a contact for trade and any individuals seeking to join them, but not get involved in any important diplomatic events or other matters that might draw attention to them. He suggested the Dingoes follow suit for a while. He also hinted that the Scropes might send trouble their way through their friends in the Moot or other means. Although the Scropes are a reviled name on Heroditus, they seemed to have Liao connections, and that might come back to haunt them.
PO Suzuki also informed them he had been promoted; First Secretary of the High Commission of Colonial Affairs. He, his wife and two daughters were moving soon, and they would be unavailable for a few weeks as they restructured their lives… but he could be used as a contact in the future. The Dingoes asked him to find a contact in the planet’s Admirality that could trade their two new DropShips for a Union-Class. A day later, he put them in contact with a military salvage yard that had something they might be interested in; “Iridium Lion”. Although it needed some work and expense, it was in good condition and could serve them well. What a hard, sloppy fight to get a Union!