"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Cassandra Kusanagi asked, as she peered at Commander Desanges over the sheaf of papers she had been reading.
"No, but it's the only lead we have and you know how the Interventor Corps get when we ignore their intel."
"Ugh, don't remind me. Are you sure about this, though? Letting this Mr. Up Yours take point in the undercover operation?"
Desanges looked at Kusanagi with a straight face. "No one else was willing to volunteer to play the part of Ligma Bohls, Tunguskan Billionaire, all around quantronic tech bro, and potential majority investor in WhaleCoin and its founders' seastedding project."
"I hate everything about that sentence."
"Me too, ma'am. Me too."
Up adjusted his tie, as he mingled with all the rich and powerful currently sheltering in place within Montalban's yacht club. He closed his eyes, remembering the mission briefing.
-Five hours ago-
"Right, so who are you again?"
"No no no! You're supposed to introduced yourself as Ligma Bohls. You made your fortune in the quantronic markets and are now looking to invest both WhaleCoin and WhaleLand while also pitching your Commissioner Couples or Commish Couples NFT collection to the WhaleCoin people."
"I remember this!" Up declared. He unfolded the piece of paper he prepared for the presentation. He was very proud of his pitch for a line of images picture cutesy dates between O-12 and various commissioners and various aliens to usher in this brave new era of interspecies cooperation.
Rainbow looked at Up Yours with mild concern as he proudly showed off the proposal. "Right, yes, that," she said. "Just remember that we traced a large WhaleCoin transaction from 37713's wallet to a wallet belonging to a PanOceanian front company which later forwarded a good chunk of that haul over to our target. It'll be up to you to bring him in so we can question him and hopefully find our pilots. Any questions?"
"Yes; who's our target again?"
"Gerard Dolfine. The famous actor Andrew Dolfine is his brother and known quantronic tech bro, WhaleCoin founder and seastedder. He's so Libertarian he thinks Tunguska is full of statists but I digress. Find the dolphin and we find your 37713...uh...hello? Up?" Rainbow said, as Up began to gaze a thousand miles away at a fantasy only he could see. "This is going to be a loooong briefing..."
8 Working Angel Combined Rapid Response and Reconnaissance Company
Casum Angelorum Timete
Task Force Bohls' Angels
Trolley Problem and Railway Switch - Szalamandra and pilot
Interventor - Rainbow Riot
Clockmaker - Georgia
Salyut Zond - Proof of Purchase
Hellcat - Renaissance Smear
Hellcat - Random Passerby
Bran Do Castro
Sin-Eater - Alistair Spook
Vertigo Zond - Care Package
Morlock - Up Yours aka Ligma Bohls, all around quantronic tech bro billionaire
Morlock - Casual Encounter aka Padma Bohls, Ligma's sister and business partner
1. I lose the deployment roll. Kampilan opts to take first turn.
2. Kampilan spends a command point to take two reserves.
"We're in," Up said to the earpiece connecting him to Rainbow and the rest of the team.
"Ugh, that MagnaObra executive just wouldn't stop talking," Casual complained. She was joining Up in the big to-do for Concilium's rich and famous, as Ligma Bohls' sister and business partner. "She was trying to sell me on joining this pyramid scheme she was into. Something about selling Pupnik care products."
"Huh, Pupnique. Saint almost got roped into that one. They make more money from the associate sellers than any customers, you know."
"Right!? Anyway, we're still looking for our mark. Any idea where he might be?"
"Give me a second. Ahh, here we go. He's right at the--" the sound of smashing glass interrupted the conversation, as Haqqislam operatives burst into the Yacht Club. "The hell's going on, Rain? Haqq High Command didn't mention anything about them holding operations in the area."
"Shit, it must be a Hassassin hit squad. Find our dolphin tech bro now."
Up Yours gripped his proposal tight, crumpling the image. "37713!!!! I'm coming!" he screamed, as he tore through his suit and charged at the surprised Haqqislam hassassins who were not expecting a lovestruck and unhappy Morlock.
"Hold on, Rain! Bsy right nao. I'm about to offload all my WhaleCoin to this sucker, lol!"
Mary turned around. "Sorry about that," she said. "Had to tell a colleague I was busy. Now about all the Whale--" she staggered, as she looked at the blade sticking in her gut. The techbro she was talking to flickered into a hassassin. "Not cool, bro," she said, as she fell limp.
"Gods above and below. Switch, get in there and give Up some breathing room."
"On it, boss lady. Buckle up and brace, everpony! TAG incoming!" The Szalamandra smashed into the yacht club, completely upending the buffet table. The Fiday that revealed itself to Up Yours cursed and charged forward to tangle with the sudden threat while Up Yours charged through unheeding.
"I'm sending Care Package your way. Use them to transport the HVT once you've gotten a hold of him, Up."
"Got it," he said. He saw the zond romping towards him and he beckoned for it to join his side. They turned the corner, leaving Trolley and Switch to deal with the Fiday only to stop short as they find another Fiday standing over the limp form of Mary Problems.
"Uh, wrong room," he said, as he tried to scramble back. He grunted as he felt the spray of boarding shotgun ammo hitting him and Care Package square in the back. He groaned, as he toppled over and then he felt the sudden rise of heat and a scream as a burst of flame flew over him to catch the Fiday that had downed him. Trolley and Switch were here: they'd see the mission get done.
Top of 1:
1) Fiday 1 gets Mary Problems.
2) Fiday 2 activates but has to work around the Szally's flamer. Manages to dodge and clinch the TAG.
3) Two Hassassin Barids move forward to throw pitchers. One succeeds, the other which was trying to pitch towards the TAG fails. We forgot the rule about engaged only having LoS to the opponent, so I dodge the TAG out of engaged by mistake.
4) The Barid that failed attempts to pitch again. Succeeds but at the cost of ARO fire from the hypermagnetic rail cannon.
5) Fiday 1 clambers down to catch the Morlock and the Vertigo Zond. Succeeds in downing them but gets cooked by the Szally's heavy flamethrower.
"We need more support here, Rain," Switch shouted through the comms.
"Hold tight. Activating some assets and rerouting some backup."
"Hey, Ren," Switch shouted through the comms while fending off the Fiday's CCW with his big gun. "Glad to see you haven't turned yourself into an art piece on the wall on this jump. I could use a little help."
"Rude, but fair. Ran and I have dropped safely and have our repeaters down. Table's yours, Rain. We'll try to link up and help our boys on the ground."
"I'm dealing with their hackers right now, but shit. There's a fireteam moving up with a missile launcher."
"I've got this," Bran interjected on the comms. He moved to intercept, shooting his breaker combi wildly to get them to duck, as he jumped the missile launcher wielding Ghulam. "I have 'em. You have a window to move, Switch. I suggest you and Trolley get to it."
"Copy. Thanks, Bran." With a burst of mechanical strength, he shoved the Fiday out of the way, and began to motor. Switch's monitor showed a number of targets, and he spun up his hypermagnetic rail cannon to spray at them.
"Careful, they have panzerfausts."
"It's okay. I trust the ar--"
Rain winced as the comms was cut off by a dampened whump followed by Trolley Problem disappearing from her sensors to be replaced by Switch's beacon. "Fuck, we just lost the TAG. We're not doing so hot."
1) I lose my second Morlock in the impetuous phase while attempting to lay down smoke. Typical Morlock behavior.
2) I walk in two hellcats on either side. One Zond manages to dodge out with a ZoC ARO. The reaktion rem and a Barid are disabled through hacking.
3) Bran Do attempts to kill the missile launcher Ghulam. Flubs their combi roll and enters NWI but manages to get into melee.
4) I activate the Szalamandra to clear the repeater and try to hit a couple of targets. The repeater is destroyed and nothing much happens with the other F2F rolls, but the Szalamandra takes a Panzerfaust and loses its structure in one go due to a really bad roll. This happens every time I take the Szalamandra so I am starting to think this specific mini is cursed.
Gerard huddled in a corner of the yacht club, desperately hoping that the Hassassins wouldn't find him. He knew they would find him eventually. Even know he still remembered his last encounter with them. How could he forget even when it happened in another life to another person who wasn't a dolphin.
He had been human once. A member of equinox. He and his cell were all about saving the environment at all costs, and then Plankton had come up to them saying he'd started a cryptocurrency called WhaleCoin to help fund their activities.
It had succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, and soon they had to expand their operations. To that end, they rented a lakeside property near on the lakes Bhai University was using for their terraforming program. What they didn't tell the people they were leasing the space from was that they needed the water to cool their quantronic computers, and their needs were such that in the span of months they managed to parbroil the inhabitants of the lake but the number was going up and they were going to save so many more aquatic life with all the money they were earning!
Then Bakunin and Haqqislam came for them like the Hassassins were doing now. He'd run and as far as he knew, he was the only survivor. He had used all his training to dodge them, before finally getting in touch with a Bakunin black market outfit to set him up with a new identity. What he hadn't expected was the dolphin Lhost and the backstory as the long lost brother of a famous dolphin actor. The fuckers had pulled on on him, but he couldn't make them back out of their sick prank so he had started the new life. The call of WhaleCoin was too big to ignore however, so he found himself coming back to it, but this time he would do it right. He'd start by spending part of his fortune to start a commune in international waters away from the reach of O-12, Haqqislam or any other power, and then he'd show them all or so he thought. He knew it was just a dream now, as sad a dream as any sad castle in Montalban's sand as his holographic disguise began to flicker and fade.
"We're going to try to retrieve the HVT, Rain."
"You sure? This mission looks like it's just gone up in smoke."
"Have to give it a shot or we won't be able to look Up in the eye once we've gotten him into his new Lhost."
"Yeah. Wish us luck."
"Ugh..." Rain watched helplessly as Bran Do and Switch attempted to move forward. Unfortunately their quantronic oversight had degraded and the reaktion REM had managed to reboot. The silence a few minutes later told her all she needed to know. The mission was over, and it was time to pull back.
1) With most of my firepower gone, I attempted two last ditch efforts to push buttons with Bran Do and the Szalamander pilot. The plan was to hopefully reveal the main target and shoot them with the hellcats which had a clear line of sight. Bran Do manages to reach the console only to fail the button push attempt. The pilot doesn't get much done either as they get shot and killed almost immediately after egressing from their wreck.
2) I concede at this point and Kampilan plays out their top of 3 to get the final results with Haqqislam winning 9-0
Andrew heard the steps coming his way. The gunshots had stopped, but no matter who had won, he knew that he had lost...
Desanges massaged their temple. The mission had been a mess, and they now had to factor in the downtime in getting new Lhosts and getting his men uploaded into their operational capacity. They would be working at a reduced capacity from hereon out.
It wasn't a total loss however, the Nomad High Command had sent out a complaint and while they received no acknowledgement that any such incident had happened, they did receive an envelope filled with data extracted from the late Gerard Dolfine, who had once again mysteriously disappeared. The media was having a frenzy over that--poor Andrew--but there was nothing to be done and Desanges' men had other concerns.
They had found their pilots. They had found 37713. They were going to Edda.
Commander Desanges sighed. "I best prioritize Up Yours' upcycling back into duty. He's going to want to be front and center for this..." There was a lot of paperwork to be done.
1) Kampilan was memeing and worried because they didn't bring a TAG. I built a list that expected to fight PanO and TAGs but we sort of started matching up using who was immediately available and my PanO opponent came later and we wound up doing Edda instead since I already got my Montalban game.
2) Even then, I don't think it would've been that bad if I hadn't lost the Szalamandra so quickly. I could've absorbed the loss of the Vertigo and even Mary. I knew the Fidays were coming though I forgot those things didn't need rolls but losing the Szalamandra to very little gain was rough, especially since it flubbed an attempt to kill the haqq reaktion REM that was immobilized.
3) Overall just a lot of swingy dice rolls that decided a lot of things for me this match. It happens but really really think my Szalamandra is cursed because I have yet to have a good game with it in all the years that I've owned it. Ahaha.
4) Still nice overall to get in-person games again and we're finishing this dolphin soap opera come hell or high water.