Pilot Episode: Returns

Port Endeavour is a deep space outpost located in neutral space, jointly operated by the Interstellar Alliance and Constitutional Dominion of Ersetu.
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HarperMadi
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Pilot Episode: Returns

Post by HarperMadi » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:59 pm

Unscheduled launches, unscheduled returns, smarting off to officers in such a way to appear as threats, and the Oracle's misbehavior. Now she had released at least two larval Sutakame on the station, to be lost in the woodworks, so to speak. Thorn knew she was not on the best of terms with the Port Authority, and she was doing her best to make it right, the Oracle attempting to negotiate the very discounted sale of the asteroid field's survey data from its time in Sutakame territory.

The gremlin herself sought a Tai Pan Rooster by the name of Sakomoto, who could likely feel her growing, radiating annoyance from far away. Sharp green eyes surveyed the marketplace, hunting for the distinctive Tai Pan storefront. She found it presently, approached, and took a deep breath. Entering, she breezed through the wares, casually opening her link to the Oracle and pulling an ID image. Goddess, how good it felt to be connected. The Sutakame's isolation of the two had made her feel naked and uncomfortable, but she couldn't imagine how the Oracle's far less organic intelligence felt in that situation. It was certainly behaving a lot more readily since the incident.

Nonetheless, her wrist's inbuilt datapad displaying Sakomoto's profile for Thorn to show, she approached the counter. "I need to find this woman. Do you know where I can find her?"
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Re: Pilot Episode: Returns

Post by CadetNewb » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:48 am

Walking through the vast, tall brass and wood trimmed hallways of Port Endeavor, the shop that Thorn finally found stood both blended in and stood out all at once.

Despite being marked as closed, the opaque glass and wood framed door smoothly and soundlessly slid open to reveal a place where old and new came together. On entering, a small spot for visitors to quickly have their shoes taken off and stored or be put back on was present should they step onto the feet outlines. However, the rest of the store was elevated off the floor ever so slightly, tatami mats with comfy memory foam cores neatly covering the floor. Though the majority of tables and shelves were clearly of a far eastern aesthetic from old Earth, the lights overhead simply felt advanced. Down the central isle, the tables and shelves arrayed to either side of the small store, sat a single modern looking table and cash register, another cutely designed drone floating about as its companions restocked the almost emptied out shelves. Staring at Thorn with its big, puppy dog eye-like cameras, it bobbled up and down as though nodding, and vanished into the back, only to reappear moments later.

"Ara, ara. I was starting to get worried!" the feathered vixen smiled. "I heard the news - I'm so sorry for all that you went through!" Sakamoto apologized, sliding up to her seat. "Are you alright? Here, take a seat! Let me cut you some watermelon, on the house," she offered, procuring a large cube of a fruit as a portion of the stark white table separated from the rest and folded into a chair for the small explorer.
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Re: Pilot Episode: Returns

Post by HarperMadi » Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:43 pm

"Thank you, Miss Sakamoto." Thorn nodded to the small bot, as well, before pulling a small datachip from the folds of her suit. Her flashlight flickered slightly as she craned her neck to look over to one of the more interesting items on the shop's shelves, before returning her eyes to Sakamoto's form. "Down to business, then?"

She carefully placed the chip on the table before sitting down. "This mission represented significant risk, more than I was expecting. Even looking past simple illicit mining and piracy, and my own stupidity that got me captured. You didn't tell me anything about a risk of dealing with psychics. Had the people in question not been Sutakame, I would not have been captured. That said, the Oracle and I have gathered a good bit of data. Oracle, herself, was busy with passive scans as they attempted to break her encryption. I lost the audio portion of the logs, unfortunately. But we brought back pictures, patrol patterns, identifying repairs, and notes. All of which you'll find on this chip."

Finding herself not hungry, she left the watermelon alone, for now, unlatching her gloves and setting those to the side as she pulled a small hologram projector from some pocket on her thigh. The Oracle was happy to connect to this and display an image of the Sutakame mining operation, a three dimensional model with magnetic resonance data of the asteroids they were consuming. Data that Thorn hadn't known the Oracle had taken the initiative to collect. It didn't surprise her, but she still resolved to modify the AI a little bit for operations security. Piloted ships were marked, and various communications channel noise was displayed as three consecutive rings below the main image. A trained eye would note that this showed nothing more than background.

"In hindsight, the Sutakame should have been obvious. Or at least psychic communications of some sort. I don't have those sensors, and had, until now, never been contracted against possible psychics. I think it's safe to say you and I both want this infestation cleansed."
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Re: Pilot Episode: Returns

Post by CadetNewb » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:30 pm

"Ara," Sakamoto softly exclaimed in surprise, a set of feathers momentarily raised to her mouth like a fan. "I had only heard rumors of what happened when you had come back on station, but I was hoping that they were just overstated fact or even gossip," the Taianese woman replied, one of her small floating drones coming up to Thorn's side. "I only wanted to help, and had absolutely no idea that the threat was so serious. Only that a colleague of mine was having a bit of trouble, otherwise, I would have offered more for the job," she admitted. As the cute little drone looked sadly up at the small explorer like a puppy in apology, it opened up to produce a credit chit for her to take in exchange for the data. "I've added a bonus for your troubles, but this is sadly all I can offer."

Were they simple pirates, the sum would have been quite good. But after all she had witnessed? Not so much.
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Re: Pilot Episode: Returns

Post by HarperMadi » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:23 pm

"About that," Thorn responded coolly, patting the little robot gently. "I trust you've received the Oracle's supply report, and deducted the costs of anything bought and not used in this expedition? As you can see, I live rather spartan. Most of my money goes to my ship, insurance, and such sundries."

Thorn's scarred face gave as sweet a smile as she could muster, an almost sad look passing over her eyes as she took the chip, which would have to be installed in the cabin of the Oracle to process. She knew that her next words would have to be careful, as she was not negotiating for an increased payout, but a lessened one, in a different form. "Slavers, in any form, are an infestation. To be cleansed in fire. I think we can work together to make this Sutakame threat less of a reality. If we apply any bonus to supplies and components. But to do that, I need to be able to catch them off guard. I will purchase those necessary components from you. Especially considering what I owe for my shenannigans in the port. I'll be in the port for some time while repairs are in progress. Consider this as long as you need to."

She slowly got up, as though about to leave, giving one last smile to Sakomoto.
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Re: Pilot Episode: Returns

Post by CadetNewb » Wed May 01, 2019 10:17 pm

"Oh, really?" Sakamoto pondered aloud, the almost contrarian remark looming over them like a shadow. "I'm no expert on the Sutakame, I admit - " the exotically feathered woman began, delicately spearing a succulent cube of watermelon on her delicate fork. " - but even I know that this is far above your pay grade, and my own." Popping the ripe delectable into the mouth, Thorn watched as Sakamoto savored the juicy morsel before swallowing. "Perhaps more importantly, as a merchant of Tai Pan, I'm told that as long as I keep my distance, their powers would have no sway over me or others." Leaning in, a thin, sly smile graced the Rooster's lips. "You got close to them, didn't you? Maybe some fancy flying? A few acrobatics, here and there?" Sitting back up again, she added,

"If you weren't so reckless, I would consider the thought, though you seem to be rather fixated on 'cleansing' and perhaps forgot the victims on board?" Sakamoto then shrugged. "No matter. I'll make sure this information gets to my military friend, and that will be the end of that if we are lucky."
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Re: Pilot Episode: Returns

Post by HarperMadi » Wed May 01, 2019 11:08 pm

"You'll find some intel on the state of the victims in that disk." Thorn nodded. "I understand the situation is far more complicated than I implied. I have some research to do, and data to gather. A few pet projects need attended to."

With a courteous bow, Thorn stood up, taking her projector as she prepared herself to leave. "Thank you for your time. I hope we can work together in the future."
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Re: Pilot Episode: Returns

Post by CadetNewb » Thu May 09, 2019 3:54 pm

"You're quite welcome. I'm sure we'll have a good opportunity to work together again in the future," Sakamoto graciously replied. Taking the data, she inserted it into her terminal as the routine scans began before analyzing the contents.

*****

"It would seem that this instance was a failure," Sakamoto remarked. "The quality isn't the best considering the range, but judging by the footage captured by our probe droid, the freelancer's attitude on station and in the field are both consistent with each other," she began to explain. "Arrogant, cocky, and lacking common sense despite her ability for intelligence, which appears to be often neglected thanks to her brash impulsiveness and self importance. Pausing, she added, "Not that we are not guilty of this from time to time too." Needless to say, the other was not pleased with that remark. "Rather than taking the information I had asked of her to retrieve and leaving, or even just leaving once the danger was clear, she pushed far harder than was necessary or safe, and was captured." Sakamoto then sighed. "Really, if only she had run like she was supposed to. The space turtles would have just packed up and left with their guard lower, thinking some civilian had found them, and gone right into our trap."

Outside in real-space, Thorn was still departing as the Taianese woman popped a sweet, succulent square of melon into her mouth.

"It is not often our forces are in position to exploit the creatures, even if we locate them with our droids. I expect that the next opportunity will not be wasted," Hoshiko coldly stared back.

"Of course. I'll make sure to use all my tools properly. This one, I've began to understand quite well," Sakamoto replied with a smile.
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