Part 49: Rebellion - Part 05 - July 4th, 1179 NC: Observe and ReportRebel Preamble now uploaded!
July 4th, 1179 NC: Observe and Report
Another day, another mission.
"Ory-Hara!" comes the friendly voice of Geoff Daniels when you walk in. "Over here!"
You walk over to him and he pushes out a seat and invites you to sit down after shaking hands.
"That scanning technology has turned out to be something of a goldmine," he begins with glee. "We now know that New England is where Bureau HQ is located. The emissions that cause the machine to light up were, quite simply, the result of the enormous amount of high-level holo traffic going in and out of the system. We have already dispatched someone to the planet to begin scanning the transmissions.
"We also found that a lot of transmissions were coming from one particular system," he continues seriously, "Nesre Secundus in fact. That's where you come in. Are you interested in going down there and having a look around?"
"Excellent," he exclaims happily. "In reality it is very simple. We want you to head down there and have a look around. While you're there, land on <DST> and see what you can find out. Once you've done that, return here for a debrief.
"Don't spend too much time out there," he warns in a slightly odd tone. "I'm getting the feeling that things are starting to come to a head. I believe that we are beginning to stumble onto the edges of something big that the Bureau has been putting together for a while. If I'm right, they might not like an outsider nosing around. Take care of yourself out there."
As you land you wonder what so many ships are doing in the system. And seeing the level of activity on the station only arouses your curiosity further. They are obviously preparing for something, but what?
Eventually you come to a slightly less busy part of the station where you can access an info terminal without being too worried about someone looking over your shoulder. You search for over an hour before you find an order from Admiral Raczak to the Chief Supply Officer telling him to have the war stocks increased to a level of three months.
Three months! Nobody stockpiles three months worth of stocks unless they are preparing to begin operating without the chance of regular resupply for a while. And the only time Federation forces would do that would be if they were operating in enemy territory.
You suddenly realize that you had better get back to Rebel II to let them know about the planned invasion into Auroran space, and soon by the look of the level of readiness already achieved.
They're a bit too busy to bother scanning us, luckily. We return to Rebel II.
Upon landing you are greeted by Geoff.
"What did you find?" he asks smiling.
You quickly relay the events of your trip and he just as quickly loses his smile.
"This is bad," he comments seriously. "But maybe we can turn it to our advantage. How long do you reckon it will take the Roughnecks until they are ready to begin operating independently inside Auroran space?"
You tell him that they are ready to begin now, but if they are going to stick to the three month stockpile, then they probably still require possibly another two months. Geoff mulls that over for a moment.
"Good work," he say finally. "Come by the bar soon, and I will have something for you. I think that it's too late to head it off, but we might yet manage to squeeze something out of it."
As you sit quietly sipping your drink you hear a surge in the conversation at the door as a number of rebels greet one of their superiors. You ignore it until you catch a glimpse of the man they are greeting, you recognize him as General Smart who makes his way over to you.
"Sorry to interrupt your relaxation," he says by way of greeting, "but Geoff Daniels is off somewhere doing whatever spooks do when they disappear. He left a message in my hands to pass on and when I heard that you had stopped by I dropped everything to come down here to get it to you. Are you interested in learning more about the mercenary organization that calls itself the 'Wild Geese'?
The troubles indeed. We need to raise some money, so I take up piracy - a few Pirate Carriers and Manticores net us a couple million, and I capture a few Rebel ships for escorts. Hopefully they won't mind too much.
"They are a mercenary outfit operating out of New Ireland in the Tuatha system," he explains. "They are the main reason why the Federation has allowed New Ireland to remain independent even though it is completely surrounded. Not that the Federation is above using them to shore up their defenses; they are currently being employed to man Spacedock VI.
"Apparently there is some history between the leader of the Wild Geese, Eamon Flannigan, and Admiral Raczak," General Smart explains further, "and Geoff believes that seeing that Admiral Raczak seems to be in charge of this invasion, the Wild Geese might be prepared to help us when the time comes for action."
"In essence", he continues earnestly, "we want you to go down to New Ireland in the Tuatha system to talk to Eamon Flannigan to find out what he wants in return for the aid of his forces in the coming troubles."
There's an especially nice E-Class Rebel Mod Starbridge that I keep for myself. It's not Rebel proper but it's still one of the best ships they field. Credits spent on Sigma upgrades, better weapons and speed upgrades give the ship a fighter's speed and a cruiser's firepower.
With all the escorts fully upgraded (E Class for the Starbridges, Class IV for the Valkyrie) we are an incredibly deadly force.
Thus prepared, let's go meet the Geese.
You can enter the Rebellion via the Wild Geese as well, which ends up with dialogue much the same as in the Auroran plot we followed.
You are greeted by a heavily muscled man with the savage tattoos of an Auroran warrior. He has some kind of stylized bird on his face that fascinates you in particular. He introduces himself as Eamon Flannigan.
"I know you by reputation, 'Ory-Hara'," he states with a lilting accent. "And if my speculations are correct you represent a certain group of people who intensely dislike the actions of a certain bureau and they want to know what I want in return for lending military aid."
You nod, explaining the situation in detail while he listens carefully.
"Raczak's involved, eh?" he says thoughtfully. "For that piece of information you can tell your superiors that I'll do it for free. It probably won't take you long as I believe that you know that man over there already."
He points out Geoff Daniels sitting nearby who comes over smiling.
"I think we've found out what we needed to," he says grinning at your confused expression. "Let's get out of here before he changes his mind."
On the way back Geoff explains that Eamon Flannigan is a very capable man. Apparently the man has been initiated as an Auroran warrior of the Heraan House, and the heron tattooed on his face symbolizes his mastery of their martial arts.
"Only three or four Heron masters are known to exist," he explains seriously.
He explains away his presence by saying that he knew you were going to be turning up sometime, so he got dropped off there and just waited.
"In the meantime I had several chats with Mr. Flannigan," he smiles reminiscing. "He is a very astute man. Very few people in the universe are anywhere near as well informed about the events that go on throughout the galaxy. He does have a weakness about Raczak though. It goes back to an incident several years ago between the two of them where Raczak refused to admit that he had been saved by Flannigan and his men. Apparently that annoyed the hell out of the Wild Geese leader, and they have basically been at each others throats ever since.
"I don't know how Raczak does it," he continues shaking his head in disbelief. "If I had irritated a man as capable as Eamon Flannigan I would be going out of my way to make it up to him somehow.
"Good work out there," Geoff praises warmly as he snaps out of his reverie. "Keep stopping by the bar. It shouldn't be too long before I have something else for you."
There's a neat dogfight between a Rebel and Federation Viper while we're out pirating. The Federation Viper maneuvers more poorly but uses chainguns, outranging and picking apart the Rebel ship.
We take to raiding Federation stations via the Hypergates at this point. The UFS Razorback falls victim to us, and like all named ships, carries a grudge as it continually respawns. This just means a reliable supply of credits, as the Flagship-class carriers are no threat to ships with anti-fighter weaponry. Geoff has more work for us soon enough.
"There you are!" exclaims Geoff with a grin as he gets a drink from the barmaid, "I was hoping you would drop in."
The two of you walk over to his regular table.
"We want to make the coming invasion as difficult for the Federation as possible," he says neutrally after you both sit down. "So we want to find out how prepared the Aurorans are. If they are pretty well prepared we'll concentrate our efforts into other things, if not we'll have to give them a hand. That's where you come in.
"We want you to scout out the Aurora system to see what's going on," he explains. "We don't want you to land; the Aurorans have some tricky customs regulations that usually involve killing and maiming. If I were you I would avoid that. But if you could just find the system Aurora and have a look around, that would be ideal.
Thank goodness for the Hypergates. We're met by hostile Aurorans, which is nothing out of the ordinary, but the Federation IFF they run under is. I accidentally land anyways, but nobody really cares.
""Seeing as you have actually opened a chapterhouse for the Guild of Bounty Hunters," Geoff muses, "you should be familiar with the way the Aurorans do things. Good luck."
"So what did you find?" asks Geoff after you step out of your ship.
You relay the events of your trip and he raises his eyebrows when you mention the presence of the two vessels with Federation identifications in the Aurora system.
"Are you sure?" he asks, surprised. You nod. "Can you tell me their designations?"
You reply that the techies can probably do better than that once they analyze the data from the holo-scanner you took with you.
"True," he agrees with a sheepish grin. "This incident has sparked my interest. I think that it will be very interesting to find out what is going on down there. It is not at all like Aurorans to impersonate the Federation.
"Anyway," he continues brusquely, "stay close to the bar. I get the feeling that I will need your expertise again very soon."
You look over to see Geoff sitting in his usual seat. He signals you over with a tired wave of his hand.
"I need to send you on another long journey I'm afraid," he says tiredly, rubbing his eyes. "We didn't get anything conclusive from the holo-scanner except that the ships with Federation designations were real Federation ships. Obviously there is something going on here that we need to know about. So I want you to go to Moash in the Moash system in the hope that you will find something more useful there. You won't be needing the holo-scanner as we've now discovered that the Aurorans don't use holo-transmissions very much at all.
"I hate to ask this of you," he continues apologetically, "but are you willing to do it?"
"I want you to know that I really appreciate this," he says sincerely. "Now I need to tell you a few things to help you survive this mission.
"Firstly," he explains seriously, "the Auroran warriors have a custom of challenging newcomers to their worlds to a duel. Don't try to engage them in hand-to-hand combat. They train for years in those disciplines. If they attack you, shoot them, and shoot to kill. Maiming is bad form and will cause others to join the fight. A clean death is much more honorable.
"Secondly," he continues tiredly, "don't get into a verbal joust with them. They respect doers of deeds and dislike speakers of rubbish.
"Other than that," he concludes running his hand through his hair, "just keep your eyes open. They have a habit of jumping on you from unexpected angles. Good luck down there."
Well there's certainly something going on.
This is absurd. Even when we were Auroran Warrior-Jesus we carried a gun, before we were able to mind-flay people. You might also notice that we set our blaster to stun whenever facing the Pirates, but to kill whenever we face the Aurorans...
You land wondering what so many Federation ships are doing in this system. You cease wondering when you see the ten savagely tattooed warriors arrayed outside your ship wielding various brutal-looking blade weapons.
You waste no time drawing your blaster and begin calmly shooting them dead one by one as they charge. From ten meters away, the last one falls at your feet with a smoking hole where his left eye used to be. The warriors looking on grin and salute your shooting prowess and bravery in standing against the charge.
You shake your head and start looking around for clues as to what is going on. It's not long before you run into a group of what appears to be Bureau negotiators talking to a Moash warrior. Listening, you overhear detailed information concerning the Bureau plan wherein Raczak's men are going to be destroyed in a PR exercise to start a war involving both the Federation and the Auroran Empire.
You decide it is time to get back to Rebel II to pass this on to Geoff.
Next time: Unwarranted fame!