Report by Kai.
After the dramatic attack of the forks, who broke their originals out
of virtual imprisonment, the repatriation step did not go quite as
smoothly as planned. Some of the forks, like Quill‘s and Kay’s, were
definitely targeted for export to Saturn. But Cable-Alpha (aka Stryfe,
aka Dark Frodo, aka Shermy) wasn’t going so easily, and neither was
While the rest of the team engaged in a new round of shopping and re-
arming, most notably gaining skillware, seeker missiles and some more
upgrades for Kay’s synthetic body, Cable-Alpha farcast to Extropia to
enlist the help of Kaos Crusher in his plan to break Batakuout of
Prosperity’s Black Lagoon facility. His pitch was enough to get Kaos
interested. Kaos linked Cable up with the Barsoomian Liberation Army
(BLA) – if the Fastball Express could do them a favour, they might do
a favour back.
This is the way mercenary jobs get arranged on Extropia: You meet with
Mr Sharif of the BLA in a virtual room, and he tells you about the
job, which involves collecting and escorting an orbitally inserted
shipment from the BLA’s secret sponsors in the Lunar-LaGrange Alliance.
Then Gibral Isa of the Sisters of Blood and Fire, a mercenary escrow agency, shows up to get both parties’ agreement recorded.
Then in another separate virtual room, you meet Narayan Singh of the
LLA (same guy who was managing the ice asteroid hijacking operation in
Callisto space). The rendezvous is arranged: A courier from the LLA
named Keanu will be orbitally dropped into a remote location in a
Martian crater valley, and Fastball Express operatives will pick him
up. Again, Gibral Isa is there to keep everyone honest.
Then you log out and beam back home, get your memories played back for
Cable-Alpha, and then you, Cable-Alpha-Beta, get summarily deleted.
Wait, there’s more?
Oh yeah, so the team, consisting of Cable, Cable-Alpha, Kay, Quill and
Ina, venture out into the Martian wilderlands in an enclosed buggy.
The Cables reason that this LLA agent of chaos might not be in any
shape to ride on a Mars scooter when they find him. Always good to
have a vehicle you can lie down to sleep in.
Expected hazards? The usual dangers: the solar wind, dust, terrain
hazards, bandits, neo-baboons, roving psychic hiveminds, rogue machine
intelligences (you know, apart from Kay), Cable Entity, spirals and
other TITAN remnants. Just the usual encounters to be expected as we
assist the heroic Barsoomians in their efforts to stall [[Planetary Consortium | Planetary
Consortium]] development of their planet. Let’s just hope we don’t kill
more heroic Barsoomians in the process, like that one time, Kay.
The landing site had puke and footprints in the dust – and no sign of
Keanu. After some Smart Dust application and tracking, we figured he’d
been taken by a marshall and neo-baboons to the nearby settlement, a
little farm/terraforming site called New Pyongyang (don’t blame Ivan,
it was my idea). Kay and Ina slipped out of the truck, went invisible
and prepared to strike if anything went wrong. Quill and Cable-Alpha
went right into town to talk to the marshalls and find out if they’d
picked up any strangers in the wilderness lately. As it happened,
there was a John Doe in custody. Quill used her talents to convince
them that this was her rightful ego hunter bounty, and they let Keanu
go, just like that, fighting averted.
We drove off with Keanu still feeling woozy: “Whoa. I should have
taken the blue pill.” A careful examination and scan revealed that he
had multiple sets of redundant organs in weird places. Kind of
like…an Ultimate? Dun dun dun…
To be Continued…