Report by Kai
Themes: Repression. Bioconservatism vs transhuman freedom. Scars of the Fall. Broken families. The pros and cons of celebrity.
Elements: Mothers and Daughters. Prison. Old people. Old people sex. Cheerleaders yay!
NPCs of interest:
Judah Boch, environmental engineer on Pushing Ice, organizer for the Jovian People’s Transhumanist Committee.
Elias Boch, poet and dissident, political prisoner, uncle of Judah Boch.
Boomer, Human Liberation Front terrorist.
Lee, HLF terrorist.
Helo, HLF terrorist.
Dr Susan Keller, former Deputy Minister of Education of the Jovian Republic, political prisoner.
Chief Tyrell, petty officer aboard the Umm al-Ma’arik, rebel sympathiser.
Major Kate Stackhoff, executive officer aboard the Umm al-Ma’arik, terrorist hunter.
Colonel Noah Mannheim/Marui Saeko, captain of the Umm al-Ma’arik, war hero, former transhuman mercenary.
Also, the POTUS Club:
Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison, Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln, Johnson, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison, Cleveland (same as before), McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama.
The Fastball Special docked at Pushing Ice in orbit around Europa for refueling and to meet with the local Jovian People’s Transhumanist Committee contact, Judah Boch, who contacted Mitsuba to get her to free his uncle from a prison ship around Ganymede. Elias Boch had fought alongside Mitsuba’s long-lost mother, Saeko the “Lioness”, during the Fall, and now he was an internationally renowned dissident poet who spoke out against the bioconservative military dictatorship ruling Jupiter.
Sunlamps. Rack after rack of vegetables and plants. Mist. Sudden violence with electric shocks, agonizer, vibro-shears and garrote. After a brief brawl in Pushing Ice’s hydroponics module, the Fastball Express team recovered Judah from a cell of Human Liberation Front terrorists and put the captured terrorists on ice on board the Fastball Special. Maybe for future use as spare sleeves, maybe as residual human resources, we don’t know yet.
Judah presented the offer: Fully paid fuel and expenses plus 50,000 credits of miscellaneous fees, great rep with media and autonomist factions, plus a portable ego bridge for downloading Elias. The target was kept along with many other political prisoners aboard the decommissioned warship Umm al-Ma’arik (Mother of Battles), which was also a militarily symbolic port of call for Ganymede. Since the Fastball Express was already bringing the POTUS refugees home to the Republic, they had an excuse to visit umm al-Ma’arik. Judah would arrange for his contacts in the Planetary Consortium to designate the Fastball Express as a human rights delegation making the annual visit to see the political prisoners…and since Mitsuba was now a major media star, she would fit the profile of a celebrity ambassador. An inside agent, Chief Petty Officer Tyrell, would help the team to smuggle the ego bridge on board. If everything went as planned, there would be no need for violence at all.
A week later, the Fastball Special docked with the venerable warship Umm al-Ma’arik, delivering the POTUS Club. Although Kay and Hokusai were confined to the ship due to their transhuman status, the others were able to step on board the prison ship, and things seemed to go as planned…at first.
The crew met Colonel Noah Mannheim, warden of the prison, a war hero from the Fall. Elias and Saeko had been involved in the risky rescue mission to retrieve him from the wreck of his ship, and we learned that Mannheim was revered for his part in the war, but that he had been initially suspected of being compromised by the Titans. The Colonel seemed to be quite taken by Mitsuba, and wanted to get to know her better.
They also got to meet Major Kate Stackhoff, a young and stern executive officer who had risen to fame in a ruthless and brutal crackdown on rebels around Europa. She’d just been acquitted of blame in the deaths of 12 captured “terrorists” and this new posting at the prison ship was a step up the ladder for her.
After a big welcoming ceremony for the geriatrics of the POTUS Club, the officers of the ship feted the guests and Colonel Mannheim immediately started asking Mitsuba all kinds of personal questions, something she did not discourage, as she wished to develop him as a potential ally.
Quill seemed to strike a nerve in Major Stackhoff, who kept asking why Quill insisted on acting like a little girl. “But I AM a little girl,” said Quill, which only made Stackhoff more upset. Stackhoff took Quill, Bishop and Harriet on a tour of the prison ship, during which time the local Jovian media started taking an interest in Bishop, who had acquired some infamy while fighting on various missions for the Fastball Express. A journalist tried to portray Bishop as a remorseless and inhuman killer in an interview.
In Colonel Mannheim’s private quarters Mitsuba was shocked to see his extensive media folder of new articles and imagery of Mitsuba’s public life as a celebrity. He seemed anxious for her to explain everything about herself…especially her rumoured “marriage” to the flexbot-morph Kay. “Did you have a relationship with that…dog-thing?!?” he asked angrily. Mitsuba was quick to mollify him, and he seemed to cool down…while stroking her hand creepily. Then the topic moved to Mitsuba’s mother, the “Lioness,” a mercenary who had saved the Colonel from a shipwreck during the Fall. He admitted to only having hazy memories at first. But after thinking about it, he revealed more. He opened a safe and gave Mitsuba a pendant that had belonged to Saeko, a pendant with a picture of Mitsuba and her two sisters as kids.
Could the Colonel be her true…father? Harriet’s fears of “ewww old people sex!” soon turned into fears of “ewww old people incest!” But mercifully, Mitsuba’s visit ended and she went back to her quarters to ponder the mystery of Mannheim.
Meanwhile, Quill ran a background check on Stackhoff, looking for something she could use to manipulate the Major. She found out that Stackhoff lost her husband and young daughter in a terrorist attack five years ago, and pursued a private vendetta against all dissident groups ever since.
The next day, Quill, Mitsuba, Bishop and Harriet followed Stackhoff on another official tour of the ship. Most importantly, this tour would end with their visit to Elias Boch, their one chance to rescue him.
A large crowd of civilian contractors and media had gathered in the hangar to gawk at the outlander mercenaries. Quill saw Stackhoff and offered her a lollipop, which just made the Major angry and disturbed.
Harriet spotted a figure on a gantry above the group, climbing into position and then leaping down (slowly) to ambush Bishop with a spanner. Fortunately, Bishop was able to avoid the blow with ease, taking the attacker down quickly. Other attackers rushed forward, and it seemed that Major Stackhoff’s guards were intentionally letting the visitors get attacked. The crowd seemed to cheer the “home team” against the despised foreigners. Harriet sidestepped and tripped a second attacker with a knife, but a third thug came at Bishop, swinging a wooden bat. Mitsuba leaped in front of Bishop to take the blow on her forehead.
Even as Mitsuba slumped down and the rest of the team got ready to fight, Colonel Mannheim arrived in the hangar, firing his sidearm in the air to get the crowd to back off. Clearly upset at this turn of events, he picked up Mitsuba in his arms and rushed her to the sickbay.
In the wake of the chaos, the rest of the team discovered that their inside man, the Chief, had been stabbed to death – possibly by Stackhoff’s own men. As the dead crewman was taken to the morgue, Harriet, Quill and Bishop determined that they needed to recover his stack, before it disappeared along with other evidence of the murder.
Meanwhile, in Sickbay, the Colonel apologized for what had happened, telling Mitsuba that he was glad to see she was all right. Mitsuba finally made the breakthrough to get the Colonel to open up, possibly because of her injury. She finally got him to tell her that “Your mother would be so proud of you.”
When the others called Mitsuba to ask her to retrieve the Chief’s stack, she was able to get the Colonel to help right away. He walked over to the body in the morgue and just chopped the stack out with a knife, handing the bloody diamond chip to Mitsuba. “You’d better get on with that visit to Elias, and hurry, before they lock down the ship and keep you from leaving.”
Guards escorted the team to the cellblock where Elias Boch had lived for the past five years. The room was luxuriously furnished, and the famous poet was tinkering with a piano when his visitors arrived. First they tried subterfuge, asking him to “sleep on this pillow” which contained the ego bridge.
Eventually they just bluntly confronted him with the truth, that they had been hired to upload him so that he could escape. But to their surprise, he had not been informed of this mission, and what was more, he didn’t want to leave! Despite all his brave poems about freedom of uploading, he realised at the last minute that he really didn’t want to be uploaded and lose his uniqueness. He also couldn’t bear the idea of himself being out there, while he was still inside the prison at the same time. And he really didn’t want his original self to die.
The team’s consensus was that Elias was a wimp and a coward. He tried to come up with a poem on the spot to explain to Judah why he wouldn’t go, but he failed miserably. Harriet declared that it was his choice, and they shouldn’t force him into it, so the team decided to pull out and cut their losses. But first, Mitsuba asked Elias if he know where Saeko was.
“I believe the Jovian Republic allowed her to retire here under an assumed identity. They let her download into the brain-dead body of one of their war heroes. Colonel Noah Mannheim. Have you met him?”
Mitsuba was stunned. It also took Bishop a moment to understand what Elias was telling Mitsuba: “He’s not your father, he’s your MOTHER.”
There was no time to lose, though. They left the cellblock and headed back to the ship, hoping to avoid being searched. But they found their path blocked by a suspicious Major Stackhoff. In an effort to keep her from finding the ego bridge, Quill tried to influence the Major’s mind. When that failed, she fell back on old fashioned persuasion and blinking her eyes adorably. Somehow, perhaps because she reminded the Major of her lost daughter, Quill succeeded, and the Major shooed them off her ship, telling them that they were no longer welcome.
Mitsuba had hoped to reach the Colonel one last time, but there just wasn’t enough time. As their ship decoupled and began the trip back to Europa to meet Judah, she sent a message to her…mother. Hoping to someday understand.
5 Rez Points for each character involved in this adventure.
+5 c-rep, for publicly bringing the POTUS refugees home.
-4 @-rep, due to the failed mission (although it technically wasn’t your fault). The autonomists will be asking YOU a favour to make up for the wasted resources put into this rescue attempt.
+2 f-rep for Quill and Harriet, the Fastball Cheerleading Squad.
+5 f-rep for Bishop Six, for his interview on Jovian news.