Well, this is awkward. The Archive’s Cortex is unusually subdued. The typical ambient white noise of powerful computers and environmental systems is softer than usual. There is no panoply of holographic screens ringing Historia-7’s desk. The room is still, as is the leader of the Dataphiles. For a handful of heartbeats, her eyes remain fixed at some spot on the wall and unaware of any disturbance.
Welcome to the game! We'll start as soon as everybody is in. You can post introductory flashbacks while we enjoy this moment of awkward silence
Chadrah is a Lashunta with green skin and dark green hair. She wears a lab coat on top of her light armor and carries around a backpack with a Medkit.
She arrives at the Archives while reading her datapad, finishing her last minute shopping, and when she notices the unusual silence, she looks up in confusion, wondering for a second if she took a wrong turn on the way here... but no, these are the Archives, indeed.
"Good day, Historia-7," she tentatively asks. "uuh... Is everything alright?"
Just after Chadrah enters, a male verthani dressed in a d-suit centers as well. Tall and thin as is common for his race, it is obvious from his eyes that he is someone who believes in augmentations. Pure Ones do not have cybernetic eyes.
Noticing Celita’s far off gaze, he asks “Is she in VR?” as his neck cranes to see if she is using a datajack.
“I’m Cydney, by the way. Don’t think we’ve met before.”
Still waiting for Khubelu and Rattus to report in.
The awkward moment of silence just seems to linger, as if the video feed is lagging....
A humanoid creature that looks like it is entirely made of water wearing brightly colored armor enters the room. You can see a small fish through a transparent panel in the front of the armor looking around curiously. The creature is a quarter of a meter long, with a wide, flat body and tentacles beneath its eyes, its skin sparkling like it had swum through glitter and changing colors - to a subdued maroon as it takes in the silence.
<Greeting to each of you,> a smooth telepathic voice says from the fish's direction. <I am Khubelu. I believe I was sent because of my skill at negotiations. It is a pleasure to make each of your acquaintances, and I am sure this will be a highly fruitful mission.> She moves the water-body's head to face Chadrah. <Greetings once again, friend Chadrah. I trust you have been well since last we met?>
The watery shell gestures to a raxilite with a white rose growing from its head wearing what looks like a wetsuit. <My assistant, Kaqköj>
"I'm Kaqköj, and I'm the smarts of this operation." A withering glance from the stellifera cows the plant creature. "Ahem. My job is to assist Khubelu by providing relevant information that her prior training has not exposed her to. And then hide in the leg of that watery beast she runs around in when trouble shows up."
Cydney takes a moment to look at Khubelu and Kaqköj before greeting them and giving them his own name.
To the group he says “Well, we won’t be short of telepaths this mission.”
Looking to Kaqköj, he asks “What is your field of expertise? Mine is cybernetics.”
Chadrah gives a welcoming mind-hum to Delea and waves happily to Khubelu.
"Nice to see you again! All has been going alright... I still need to get some equipment going."
"I know a little bit of everything, but my specialization is as a Bioengineering Lab Technician. I have a good grasp of Diplomacy and Medicine. I believe you are by far the expert here, so I'd gladly provide my assistance with Computers and Engineering whenever you require. I'm not particularly good at combat tho, but I can distract enemies and provide insight into their weaknesses."
She has Computers +9 and Engineering +6, so she will do Aid Another whenever Cydney rolls those. In combat she can do Clever Feint, Get'em, Inspiring Boost and will do harrying fire if the enemies appear to have high AC.
“Oh good, sounds like we have the sciences covered as well.”
...and just like that, the awkward moment of silence passes over. Historia-7's eyes turn to the door and she stares for a few seconds before she reorients her swivel chair fully forward. “Come in. Sit,” she directs. “Let’s begin.” She waits until the room is situated.
We're complete save for Rattus - I'm just putting the briefing up while we give him a bit more time to join in.
“Prior to the incident at the Scoured Stars, my predecessor…” Historia-7 trails off momentarily before resuming her briefing. “My predecessor, Historia-6, and other Society colleagues investigated several corporations as well as the system itself. That research was deleted prior to the system-wide event that crippled us. We discovered the discrepancy accidentally when an ally reconstructed Historian-6’s data links, and we compared them to our own logs. Essentially, we were hacked,” she says flatly. “By parties unknown. I’ve been leading a series of ongoing investigations into this threat ever since.
“The data trail led to private space station owned by a solar-energy corporation, Arch Energy Consortium. The company’s growth was curtailed while their station served as a clandestine meeting place for this group’s board of directors. While their identities remained obscured by a series of complex transactions and shell companies, we did identify a security consultant hired to facilitate some of their operations.” Historia-7 gestures with a finger, and a holographic screen opens in midair to the side of her desk.
“Meet Hira Lanzio, if you haven’t yet already,” she gestures toward the screen, which depicts a human corporate executive, clean cut with short dark hair. “We intercepted Lanzio on Songbird Station in the backdrop of a Strawberry Machine Cake concert. Lanzio believed he’d been contracted to release a magical computer virus aboard the station, not realizing that he was the primary target. The virus was intended to attack the station’s reactor. Let me underscore that for you. Whoever this group is,” she stresses as her voice rises, “they were willing to commit mass murder against thousands of innocent sentients, just to get rid of and obfuscate one man who might lead us back to them.”
Historia-7 pauses and appears to collect herself. “The Stewards have Mr. Lanzio detained here aboard Absalom Station. He has not been cooperative, but we’re not going to give him a choice. Not if… Not if I have anything to say about it. Approximately twelve hours ago, after a productive session with Mr. Lanzio, he let it slip that he’d set up a private data facility for the group on Verces. On the outskirts of the city of Cuvacara. There’s no listed owner, but we’ve identified the site. I need a team to go there immediately, before it gets scrubbed clean. I’ll be candid: I don’t have as much information to give you as I’d like. My own attempts to interrogate Lanzio… they have not been productive. I’ve arranged an opportunity for you to interview him directly. You might get something more useful out of him.
Slides have been updated with a portrait of Lanzio. Please make sure to upload your own token and add your initiative, if you haven't already done so.
There's not a whole lot that Gather Information would bring, but you can ask question to Historia-7
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“How vicious do you think Mr. Lanzio is? If the positions had been reversed, would he have sent someone else in to blow up a reactor?”
“I ask because he designed the facility you want us to break into.”
He pauses a moment, then asks “Also, where on Verces? I’m wondering if it is someplace I’ve been before,”
That's a question you could ask him. One would expect he’d talk to improve his situation or apply some leverage of his own. We... I assumed he’s acting out of loyalty, but it’s clear that he’s more scared than anything else. I haven’t been able to establish a dialogue, and my predecessor either caught him off guard or got lucky. In fact, ascertaining why he’s not turning on his employers might be a good strategy when you interrogate him.
The data facility is on the outskirts of Cuvacara
Culture check to find out more about Cuvacara
Culture is Trained Only. Although he is from the planet, Cydney wasn’t the type to learn about the details of the world around him. :)
Chadrah will open her datapad and use the infosphere to look up information on Cuvacara.
((Take 20 for 29))
As she does this, her eyes look up to Historia. "Are you feeling well Historia-7? You seem a bit distracted... Anything else we should be looking out?"
"Rattus here! Do you think he's hiding anything?"
“More like how much is he hiding and is it important to us.”
Cuvacara is known as the Dusk Jewel by the locals. Verces is tidally locked, and Cuvacara, like most major cities on the planet, is built in the shadowed band between the light and dark sides of the planet.
Twilight bathes it in a perpetual night just a shade past sunset. Most Vercite cities are beautiful, but Cuvacara is particularly striking due to its diversity of architecture, gleaming triangular skyscrapers, iridescent glass towers, brightly lit floating neon displays, and ribbons of multilayered roadways and bullet trains festooned with lights.
Historia-7 also further elaborates on the location of the data center:“I have a satellite recon photo. The facility must be underground because we’re seeing a small concrete bunker with the equivalent of a blast door. There’s a shuttle pad nearby. It’s constructed on the border of the industrial side of the city. Away from entertainment district. It’s an area of nondescript warehouses and buildings that all look the same. Other than that, the facility is a black box. We can shuttle you to it,however, and have an extraction ready for when you’re finished.”
"Are you feeling well Historia-7? You seem a bit distracted... Anything else we should be looking out?"
Historia-7 remains still for a moment after Chadrah asks the question, almost as if to confirm Chadrah is right. She then proceeds: You’re after data files, so you’re looking for a primary computer or server. One that isn’t networked, probably quite large and under tight security. I’d expect obstacles where skills with computers and technical equipment are helpful. I don’t like to send you in cold, so get what you can from Lanzio. You have time to purchase any extra equipment you think you need, before or after you talk to him, but then I need you to head to Verces immediately after.”
She hands over a portable data storage device, This is a fractal data container, specifically modified to store large amounts of data. You will be able to capture any data from a reasonably sized mainframe. It's optimized for storage, though, so don't expect to be able to process data volumes of that kind in the field.
"Right... Thank you," Chadrah nods with a slightly worried smile. She takes some notes on the questions she would like to make to Lanzio and is ready to continue.
Somewhat worried, Cydney says “I believe you mentioned a virus that was to be released by Mr. Lanzio. I would just like to confirm, it combined magical and technological elements?”
After getting the answer to that, he looks to the rest of the group and asks “Do any of you know anything about magic?” It is clear from the way he asks it, Cydney does not.
Cydney looks over at Delea and says “I don’t know the difference.”
“Hopefully you can sense it and when we hit a magical trap do something to deactivate it. Given their method of attack, we should expect magical defenses.”
“Guess it is time to talk to Mr. Lanzio. See what has him to spooked.”
After the events on Songbird Station, the Stewards have held Hira Lanzio in custody aboard Absalom Station. Lanzio is detained at their headquarters, the Bastion, a relatively short journey from the Lorespire Complex.
The accused terrorist Hira Lanzio waits in a stark, bright-white interview room, at a white table and seated in a white chair. His once-styled, dark wavy hair is now slightly disheveled, and Lanzio is bereft of his signature sunglasses and all other trappings of privilege. The interview room is otherwise featureless except for a one-way mirror connected presumably to an adjacent room.
You must leave all weapons behind while interviewing Lanzio - standard security protocol.
Do any of you have the Tip of the Conspiracy boon from Star
Sugar Heartlove!!! ?
You can choose to enter the room, or go to the observation area to remain unobserved.
I don’t have that boon on this character.
Cydney leaves a couple of knives and a rifle in the security locker. He asks if he should leave his batteries there as well.
He decides to go to the observation area, explaining “Not much of a talker. Let’s exchange Comm IDs so I can alert you if I have any insights or questions for you to pose.”
Do any of you have the Tip of the Conspiracy boon from Star Sugar Heartlove!!! ?
Many copies, but not on this character.
Khubelu provides a comm ID to Cydney. <The Society has sent a persuasive group to talk to him. I'm sure we will be able tof ind out the information we need. But let us watch him for a few minutes first. Perhaps some insight will come to us.> She watches him through the window, hoping to find something that will help decide on what tactics to use.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 + 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 6 + (1) + 1 = 27
Three envoys again, but this time Khubelu has the best Diplomacy modifier, so she should take the lead.
I do!! xD Also... I tried to post earlier today. Seems like it got lost.
Chadrah will leave her weapons outside.
"I can share my own insights telepathically. I would appreciate if you can aid me with your presence."
She enters the room with Lanzio with a soft smile.
"Hello Lanzio, long time no see."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 + 1d6 ⇒ (8) + 10 + (6) = 24
Cydney leaves a couple of knives and a rifle in the security locker. He asks if he should leave his batteries there as well.
Only if they are rated at more than 27 Ah the security officer responds.
"Hello Lanzio, long time no see."
Gone but not forgotten he snorts, You think just because your android leader figured out you got hacked, that you’re safe now? Think again. My best chance is they decide it’s not cost effective to bother trying to kill me again. That can happen only if they don’t think I’m helping you.”
Khubelu notices that Lanzio slight shift in attitude for the better as Chadrah open up, but he seems clealry nervous about being on the record.
And, just to be clear, if you want him to answer, you need to ask him a question ;-)
The observation area has a tape recorder, loudspeakers that play back anything that is being said, and a microphone. The view of the interrogation room is clear and complete.
<GRreetings, Lanzio. As you have probably gathered, we have some additional questions for you. I hope we can come to an arrangement.>
Diplomacy, Aid Another: 1d20 + 13 + 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (11) + 13 + (1) + 1 = 26
If you want to try good cop, bad cop, Khubelu also has +13 Intimidate.
Cydney checks if the recording equipment is active. He then checks if the group wants it recorded considering once recorded they would have no control over who saw it.
Although the suspicious sort, he is willing to record the conversation if others want it.
"Don't worry Lanzio, I understand your concern. They tried to get rid of you and everyone in that station. I think we can talk to the Stewards about their security measures. If you are convinced this is the place where you are the safest, then you should also trust they can keep this conversation protected. But if it makes you feel better, maybe we can ask to turn the recording off for the moment."
Chadrah looks back at Cydney and whoever Steward is in charge of the recording.
"Is it possible for us to have private conversation with him, please? Off the record?"
If possible, Can you use my diplomacy above if needed to convince the guards to turn off the device?
Cydney doesn’t wait for a guard, they turn off the recording equipment when Chadrah asks.
Delea also has that chronicle boon.
Actually, your best chance is to tell us everything you know so we can make sure these people are never able to try to hurt you again...
diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (7) + 9 = 16
Chadrah nods to Cydney, thanking him for turning off the equipment and proceeds telepathically with Lanzio.
"We can add an extra layer of protection like this. Delea and I can talk through our minds with you... so there's not even need for the Stewards here to know what we are saying. This is your chance to do some good Lanzio. You can help us stop them and keep them from ever trying to do something like the concert incident. We know there's a facility with important information... what can you tell us about it?"
At this point I need to determine APL, which I have at 5 - that means high tier. Could those who haven't already done so sign in to RPG chronicles (link) and leave their info?
Lanzio nods as Chadrah communicates telepathically, but is not able to respond in kind. Instead, he speaks: “I came up with the basic specs, but they customized it after I sold them on the proposal, bear that in mind. The facility is forty feet underground and shielded from an EMP pulse. There’s no network connection from the outside. So you can forget hacking from a hotel room or from across the street. You’ll have to physically go to this computer. The vault has an independent power supply and climate system, with limiters hardwired to prevent a software glitch, so I don’t think you can exploit those. That said, I think if you can somehow raise the temperature even a few degrees where the data core is housed, you can put a strain on the processor, which might make it easier to compromise. I hope you’ve got some talent with computers or at least electronics. If not, best of luck.
Khubelu seems to have a positive influence on the captive, and Lanzio also volunteers: “There’s not a lot of traffic through the facility. It’s devoid of personnel most the time except for maintenance or if they need some analysis they don’t want to risk on a networked machine. It’s not really an office as much as it is a vault. So the defenses are automated. I wouldn’t expect an AI, but the security software might be have some pre-programmed contingencies. The more mistakes you make, the more difficult it might become.”
Delea tries to further convince Lanzio to volunteer info, but is unsuccesful. There might be more he knows.
RPGChronicles site was down part of the day. Just came back up.
As Rattus asks about guards, it seems like Lanzio knows more, but is unwilling to volunteer that right now.
Diplomacy, Bluff (if you find a good narrative) or Intimidate might help
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Bad cop it is.
<I know how these things work. You gotta protect the organization.
But the thing is, the organization won't protect you. You already talked, so you know what will happen if we just set you loose.> The stellifera's body flashes a vivid red for a moment. <How about you make it worthwhile for us to keep an eye on you?>
Intimidate: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (9) + 13 = 22
Chadrah plays along with her friendly role.
"Now now... It's not necessary to do that. I think you have helped us a lot with this. We just hope that there won't be anymore surprises. Because if we don't come back from this, it will look bad for your case and we don't want that either. Are they at least treating you decently here?"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 + 1d6 ⇒ (17) + 10 + (1) = 28
I... I don;t know anything about guards, I only gave them basic specs, remember? “They’re also involved in magical R&D, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you ran into at least something… out of the ordinary. That might also be an opportunity. I get the impression their magical assets are not as disciplined as their technological holdings, and someone in the Starfinder Society might be able to trace their research or materials. I’m sure your Historia-7 told you to get digital files, but any example of their arcane projects could be valuable to you.
Lanzio is now singing like a little bird, and providing all the info he knows.
After the interrogation, one of the stewards comes up to the group. The lashunta introduces herself as Xatina Marcos. We've been remotely monitoring your exchange, to make sure nothing went out of hand. I must say I am impressed with the way you handled it. The Council of Legates recognizes the Society is not only acting on its own agenda but toward the safety of all the Pact Worlds. I would therefore want to offer you my token of appreciation.
She offers the team the following resources to support their investigation: two darksight goggles, two mk 1 diffraction cloaks, and mk 2 serums of healing, one targeting computer upgrade, two purple force field upgrades and a credstick with 1630 credits.
If you want to make purchases, you can still do so before we leave for Verces
It's time to depart Absalom Station for Cuvacara, Verces. The city exists just past the peretually illuminated band, bathing it in beautiful twilight colors. It has a diversity of architecture, gleaming triangular skyscrapers, iridescent glass towers, brightly lit floating neon displays, and ribbons of multilayered roadways and bullet trains
festooned with lights.
Although Cuvacara is densely populated, the area where the shuttle lands rests within one of the most sparsely trafficked areas. The adjoining city blocks and streets are predominantly warehouses, storage facilities, and city utilities.
There isn’t much to the facility site from the vantage of the small shuttle pad built adjacent to it. From the landing pad, a concrete walkway leads west behind a twenty-foot-high chain-link enclosure. The gate to the enclosure is padlocked to dissuade normal transient foot traffic, particularly from the Southwest Facet, Cuvacara’s industrial and lower-income district. East of the landing pad is a heavily fortified bunker entrance constructed of concrete and steel. The bunker is octagonal and thirty feet wide on all sides, with a heavy steel door on the south side.
<I would like to note now that I am willing to discorporate my waterbody and be tossed over or pushed through barriers, but I would prefer other options be exhausted first. Getting myself back together is... not convenient.>
Cydney looks at Khubelu with surprise and disbelief.
“Sorry, I’m not sure I heard you right. You can do what?”
No purchase for me, spent my money before the briefing. :)
Khubelu briefly dismisses the waterbody, falling into Kaqköj's waiting arms as her equipment drops to the gorund. <This is all that is truly me.> She then reassembles her waterbody and, with the raxilite's assistance, dons her armor and other gear.
Stellifera are innately Diminutive, so about a quarter of a meter long.