Mustered Out on Mertactor

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Day at the Ranch

The party members sleep in a little as it’s still dark outside and will remain that way until evening time.

They check on the captive. It seems as if the Tarsuline has given him a bout of diarrhea, but that’s the limit of its effects. William gives him some tablets to stop it.

Grim begins editing his DD/R holoVid recording to show the thug in the swamp admitting to his buddy’s killing of Mr Traske, eliminating all footage that could be used to identify us. He also edits in the footage of the thug in the warehouse showing that esteemed gentleman naming Jimmy-Joe, again leaving no traces of us…He carefully adds in sympathetic vids and stills of Taeva’s father from her files and from any stills. He also edits in stills of the “pastoral” nature of the ranch, again from Teava’s files.

Hyrm is busy all day making preparations for the harvest. Clint and Billy-Bob prove to be useful additions to the group, especially Billy-Bob with his extensive experience of being a mechanic, as he is able to help Hyrm a lot in getting all of the machinery ready for the job.

William continues his investigations into the Tarsuline, but continues to draw blanks – there’s just very little about the moss on the databanks and he doesn’t have the equipment or knowledge of botany to make any detailed experiments upon it.

By 19.00, it’s light again. Clint drives Taeva, Jie and Arvor back into the swamp where they remove all of the sonic stakes, switching them off as they do so and putting them in the back of the air/raft before returning them to the ranch where Taeva hides them in one of the barns.

The party members enjoy a relaxed, late dinner and then head off to their rooms once more.

Comments

You now have one more day at the ranch, followed by one day travelling into the Plain getting the equipment and your positions ready for knobbling the nobbles and then there will be a third day spent on the harvest.

Please let me know if you have any special intentions during this time – otherwise I’ll run straight through it.

What are you going to do with the bad guys’ two immobilized air/rafts which are still sat in the swamp? The tracking mechanism is an integral part of the control mechanism and so it is not going to be possible to move them without anyone knowing where they went.

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We should drive them to Evander to a safe parking lot somewhere near the warehouse. That should fool anyone tracking them into thinking they had run as usual, but leave them for us to pick up when this is all wrapped up.

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So – Max, Billy-bob and Clint would go in 1 air/raft, and then Clint and Billy-bob each in one of the captives air/rafts would drive to Evander, with Max along driving the rental, then they would return to the ranch in the rental.

Hopefully, even if anyone is watching the tracking, they will only query for their own vehicles and won’t notice our retnals.

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That will be easy enough to do – they can be sent back on autopilot without tying up the drivers for a couple of days.

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Ah, excellent idea. Of course, even today google can run self-driving cars. I forgot about that.

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Pity about burning down the warehouse. I daresay it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I would have liked to grab at least any communications equipment before it was burned. They only shot up the computer right? Perhaps there was some other means of communication there? Any transceivers?

Personally, in the middle of Evander I would have strictly been using the stun carbines. It was one thing to use lethal force in the swamp, when being hunted by folks with live ammo. It is another in an urban setting, especially when we are dealng with what might well be essentially white collar criminals – or at least not killers or directly responsible for killing themselves. However, since the decision was made to use lethal force, I might as well be hanged for sheep than a lamb.

Maybe we can try hacking the comm-net for communications by the company. If they used the planetary comm-net at all.

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Re: SuSAg – as you say, we do not know it is them or anything to do with them. In fact, even if we suspect, we should pretend that such a connection has not occured to us. Even if we wrap up with proof of such involvement, we would be better off to disguise the facts so as not to show we know of such involvement unless we can somehow bury SuSAg itself – which is not going to happen. Otherwise we will have a very powerful and influential enemy that can see us locked up for a very long time. In other words, we know nothing. Even if we know something.

In game, even if Arvor (from his limited experience) had some inkling by now, he certainly has not mentioned it in character, nor would he consider it wise at this point.

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Jie looks forward to the harvest. It will probably remind her of simpler times in her youth when she harvested large quasi-sentient forests of kelp while riding her genetically altered Orca in the warm seas of Pagaton. What little time she has to herself during the work day is spent pondering what Jimmy-Joe is thinking. Does he feel the end swiftly coming upon him? Has he surrounded himself with body guards he believes will protect him? She follows Hyrms instructions and tries to keep loose for the upcoming showdown.

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Just a word about computer and commos skills – having the basics isn’t going to mean that you’re going to be able to hack every database on every planet.

Computer-1 to me means that someone would be able to reinstall Windows and use Torrents – it’s not going to be enough to start hacking Verizon accounts. Logically, trying to get into any encrypted data would either be a Very Difficult or Formidable task, otherwise every shop assistant at Best Buy would be getting into the Pentagon’s launch codes.

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{Grim remembers it well: it was his second term as an engineer. They had just opened the base enlisted quarters on an airless moon in the Calabolg system. The men were drinking and playing cards in the mess. Grim and his squad had just entered the airlock, returning from their maintenance shift at the power plant, when the substandard wall panel gave way and the entire building experienced sudden decompression. Grim could still see their contorted faces through the thick airlock viewpane, their limbs spastically twitching as they died. The contractor who’d provided the paneling had been working under a subcontract from Sternmetal LLC and had only been fined for providing faulty materials. Little comfort to the families of the seven men who’d died, especially PFC Gianni’s mother, as he’d been holding a straight flush at the time and the pot had been rather large…}

Grim would have no problem drawing a line from “backwater hijinks involving biologically active substances” to “hey, there’s a big pharmacuetical company with a private moonbase overhead” ;-) But, as has been mentioned, even with evidence a megacorp is too big for us to handle. That’s why I proposed, and still adhere to, the idea that we “co opt” whoever is behind this, be they megacorp suits or just a few mid level baddies, to work with the ranchers. The theory is that they didn’t want this in the public sphere (the moss gathering) and we’re in a position to see that it stays private. Their alternative, now that we’ve overturned their operation, is to kill not only us, but the ranchers as well, and not just the Traske ranchers, their neighbors too. I have an acquaintance who’s an FBI agent. He was originally assigned to go after bank robbers but was overjoyed when they switched him to Drug Enforcement. I asked him why, he replied that bank robbers are all crazy losers who hole up in small apartments from whence they have to be “dug out” at great risk to the agents. Not so drug dealers, at least higher up the food chain: he’d wait outside the fancy restaurants where those guys ate dinner, let them finish their meal, poltely arrest them as they exited and then take them to HQ to wait for their lawyers. At the higher level of this moss operation, these are (probably) the types of individuals we are dealing with. They’re gonna be faced with two choices if they want to continue to operate in the swamp: kill everyone or let the ranchers gather the moss and cut them in. Let’s do what we can to make the latter choice the most enticing, ergo, how far do we want to push the revenge thing? Are we just msking a point to upper management or are we going all the way up the food chain with guns drawn?

Grim/Ian

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I too am worried about the level of violence we used. From reading the posts (I could be wrong here), we fired first in both the swamp and the warehouse. Certainly in the swamp we were dealing with suspected killers. Don’t get me wrong-I’m not criticizing and would undoubtedly have enthusiastically joined in had I been there-I just think we might have stepped over a line and have some atoning to do. Anyway, water under the bridge and we didn’t shoot nobody what didn’t deserve it.

What are we going to do with the captive? We’ll have to release him and he can, of course, identify us and the Trasks are implicated by association if nothing else.

We need to ensure the ranch is protected while we’re off ranching. If I were JJ and now knew the Trasks were the problem, being a psychotic killer I’d come straight to the ranch and wipe out every living soul. Do we need all hands on deck to wrangle the nobbles or can/should we leave some firepower to protect the ranch?

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Let’s send the captive back with a message:

“We know what you’re up to out here. We’ve stopped your operations for the time being but have no wish to engage in a long term conflict. Cut a new deal with the ranchers and we’re outta your hair.”

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“If I were JJ and now knew the Trasks were the problem, being a psychotic killer I’d come straight to the ranch and wipe out every living soul.”

I don’t know if JJ would make such a bold move, after all the only reason Taeva’s father was killed was because one of the moss gathering rednecks lost his cool and fired without orders. Everything JJ and company have done prior to this has been designed for secrecy and misdirection, not open range warfare. It seems like a stereotype to assume JJ is psychotic just because he’s the main bad guy, especially when everything his group has done has been carefully arranged to avoid exposure.

If it does turn out to be the case that JJ is either crazy or maybe just wants to make a point by “marking his territory” with our blood, we have a natural ally: the militia. Nick said (please correct me if I’m wrong here) that, out here in the hinterlands at least, the TDF relies for law enforcement on local militias, comprised of the very ranchers who are friends and neighbors to the Traske family. How far would JJ’s moss operation get with the local militiamen knowing that he openly attacked one of their brethren? In fact, it’s my bet that JJ, having tried somewhat to avoid attracting the attention of these very militiamen, is now lamenting an escalation that can only end with the permanent cessation of his activities in the swamp. That is, unless he co opts some, or all, of the locals.

Grim/Ian

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We didn’t have the stun carbines-locked up at starport.

The intent wasn’t for it to go Nova-it just did. I don’t know what the SuSAG talk is-I’ve not mentioned it.

Teava’s problem is that as soon as we go away all this will start up again after a suitable delay. We do need to inform the Ranchers Association that ‘someone’ is trying to muscle in to collect Tarsaline.

If it were someone like SUSAG then essentially we cannot push it beyond the embarrassing stage. JJ will now be pretty much on the defensive and making his preparations accordingly- so I think if we did anything after the several days delay it would end in another shootout.

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I like Grim’s idea re. captive (but what Captive?)

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Although I am all for an action movie style shoot out with Jimmy-Joes superiors, after reading Grims assessment of the situation I am now kind of agreeing with him about dealing with the moss wranglers, whoever they may be. (And it’s not just because Grims Avatar is a monkey with a suit and a gun, which is cool) Jie hasn’t put much thought into the end game scenario and leans toward Grims veiw, however she will follow Taevas lead because she is born of this society and is the one who might want to seek deadly vengence. I vote we give the captive a half roll of toilet paper and release him (His word against ours) and as for being vicious gun toting maniacs I don’t mind it as long as we’re in right against real bad guys with intention to kill us. I for one in real life am not a vicious gun toting maniac, mainly because I have no gun and am pretty relaxed. Therefore I’m kind of a lazy maniac. maniac.

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(LOL Russ! me too, bought guns when I was young, wondering why I still have them, the only one I use is a shotgun loaded with birdshot for killing the innumerable rattlesnakes we have here…should sell the other half dozen and get me a new riding mower for the spring :-)

I second Jie here re: Taeva. Whatever she decides is good enough for Grim. It was her dad after all.

Grim/Ian

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NickPendrell

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