Tag Archives: Tomin Kora

[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] Hallows #roleplaying #storytelling #otherspace

As Kam waltzes into the Last Orders Tavern, she grins saucily over her shoulder to O’Dell. But as she glides over the threshold, her smile becomes a little more predatory, her dark navy eyes darting left and then right before they hone in on the bar. “Almost feels like home,” she comments lightly.

Fedya’s smile goes cold as he enters the room. He nods in response to Kam’s statement, but says nothing aloud. He makes a slow scan of the bar while waiting to follow the pirate captain’s lead, his right thumb hooked into his belt a few inches from where his revolver is tucked away.

Kam nestles her back up against the bar as she surveys the room. She twists slightly to eye the bartender. “How about we start with a beer,” she orders. “Sit and have a drink, querido.”

As per the instructions given, Fedya sits down beside Kam, keeping an eye on anyone outside her field of vision even though it puts his back to most of the room. “Zhigulevskoye,” he orders from the bartender with a nod, putting a few chits of local currency on the bar.

Landon Briggs steps into the bar. Unlike many patrons, Briggs does not emanate hostility, but rather seems to go unnoticed by most. Briggs is a man adept at not standing out. Average height and build, if a bit wiry. His non-descript clothes would fit in on TK, Earth or most human dominated worlds.

Landon makes his way to the bar, exchanges a friendly greeting with the bartender and tosses a few credit chits in exchange for a clear drink in a not so clear glass.

“Was looking to see if you had any leads on possible work,” Kam says to the bartender, flicking her braid of long red hair over her shoulder. Landon only gets a brief look, mostly sizing him up, before she continues on with her conversations. She’s a tall, well proportioned woman in utilitarian clothes.

Fedya O’Dell sits beside Kam at the bar. He’s a few inches shorter than her, though of more stocky build. He has dark hair, somewhat unkempt. The mechanic glances up as the newcomer arrives at the bar. “Good evening,” he says, a bit curtly, his Ungstiri, Russianesque accent quite heavy.

Landon offers a friendly grin to Fedya, “Good evening to you as well.”  He sips from his glass, staring at the holo broadcast of some sport event that is playing in the corner.

The bartender just eyes Kam up and down and shakes his head. He’s got nothing to say at the moment. The redhead shrugs, turning to nestle her chin against Fedya’s shoulder and eyes Poe up and down with more interest this time around.

“Got all kinds of work around here,” the bartender finally replies. “Depends on what you got a taste for. Wet work? Hacking? Confidence trickstering? Espionage? I mean, don’t just come in here waving an ‘I want work’ sign and expect shit to just drop in your lap, lady. What do you bring to the table that Lord Fagin wants?”

The Ungstiri glances to the side at the redhead’s face beside his. Seeing her giving Poe a once-over, he gives her a mock glare, though it quickly breaks into a grin. As the bartender speaks up, Fedya scowls his way. He seems about to answer, but thinks better of it, allowing Kam to do the talking.

Landon half hides his smirk behind his glass as the bartender chews out Kam. “First time on Tomin Kora?” he says, his tone friendly but also somehow mocking, as only Sivadians can manage. “Landon Briggs. I get things places.” He slides a few credit chits to the bartender. “Their next drinks are on me.”

“We’re easy,” Kam replies lazily to the bartender. “And we’re discreet and affordable.” She straightens up to turn her attention back to the bartender. “Have a ship available for transportation. Any kind of transportation that might be needed.” Landon, however, gets a cool look. “Don’t need slick nobodies to front us any money.”

“Name?” the bartender inquires of the female, after giving a nod to Briggs. “If Lord Fagin’s got any work, I’m sure one of his operatives will be in touch after you’re vetted. And I sure hope you pass the vetting, lady, because…well, His Majesty ain’t fond of undercover Sorties poking around his business.”

“How you no have more scars on face with mouth like that?” the Ungstiri replies to the Sivadian, still grinning. He sips at his beer, following along with Kam’s conversation with the bartender.

Turns to the Ungstiri. “I haven’t found a conflict that a few drinks, some well placed money and perhaps a little self-deprecating humor can’t diffuse.” He nods his head to a table filled with local roughs, a few of which appear to be keeping an eye in this direction. “Plus, it helps to have people who know you’ll show your appreciation if they back you up when things get rough.”

“Kam,” the redhead replies, looking back at the bartender. “We-” she gestures to O’Dell, “fly the Queen Anne’s Revenge to wherever and back for the right price.”

“I’ll pass the information along to Lord Fagin’s people,” the bartender replies. “They’ll be in touch.”

“Ah,” the mechanic replies, still maintaining a somewhat antagonistic grin, “You buy all you friends? Or just when you come to TK?”

He turns to nod in agreement with what Kam is saying.

“I maintain fruitful business alliances. It’s worked for me for 7 years.” Briggs finishes his drink and pushes away from the bar. To the bartender he says “I’ll be on planet for a few more days if anyone is looking for me. I’ve got room in my hold.”

“Room for what?” the bartender inquires.

Kam’s brows actually raise a little in Landon’s direction. “You seriously trying to swipe potential work right out from under us while we’re standing right here?” She asks. Fedya gets a look. She’s annoyed but somehow still smiling. “Best watch your back. TK isn’t always the friendliest place to those who don’t know their place…”

Fedya kind of gives Kam a “What?” look, but then turns back to Briggs. He looks past him, sizing up the group at the table. His right thumb hooks in his belt, about half a foot from where a revolver is stowed.

“His Lordship knows my work, but in case others are asking: No bioweapons, no nukes, no slaves. Small cargoes or a dozen or so passengers. More if comfort isn’t an issue. Specialize in security avoidance, blockade running and time sensitivity.” Landon turns back to Kam. His cheery smile fading for a brief moment, his lips pursing into a thin line. “I know my place. Do you? I don’t doubt that you are as tough as you are trying to appear.  That you would shoot me if you thought it would help you get respect. But I doubt you have enough money to buy out my insurance policies,” he nods towards the table of thugs, “of which they are just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve been doing business here for quite some time. There is plenty of work to go around, and I doubt you will be offered the jobs I usually take.”

“You haul trash?” The bartender picks up a dirty glass from the counter, starts rubbing it with a grubby-looking cloth.

Kam just shakes her head, giving Fedya a brush on the shoulder with her hand. “We know our place,” she says, nodding to her partner. “And we don’t go intruding in on other people’s conversations, trying to steal work. So you’d best keep your little body guards close since you’re not man enough to walk the streets on your own and stay out of our way.”

The redhead’s words bring a smirk to Fedya’s face. He grins over at the bartender. “Can haul some trash right now if you is liking,” he says.

The bartender gives the narrow-eye to O’Dell. “Yeah? OK. You’re on. Pallet full of garbage will be delivered to your ship within the hour. Get rid of it to Lord Fagin’s satisfaction, you’ll get ten thousand credits.”

Briggs’ expression turns to that of appreciation. “You’re in with the sanitation guild? I underestimated you. Sanitation is one of the hardest guilds to break into. I knew a guy was hauling trash without guild permission a couple years ago. Heard they threw him into compactor to make an example.” Landon shudders at the thought. “In any case, have a good day.” With that he walks out of the bar, not looking back.

Kam’s face never wavers. “We’ll make sure the ship is ready to get rid of your garbage for you,” she replies evenly. She nods in Fedya’s direction. “Go get the ship ready. Make sure everything is at 100%.”

Fedya’s face wrinkles in amusement at Briggs’ parting shot, but nods quickly to Kam. “Is done,” he says, reaching out to quickly squeeze her elbow, speaking in a quieter tone, “Be careful.” With that, he moves quickly off towards the space port.

As Fedya and Kam arrive at the spaceport, they find next to the Queen Anne’s Revenge a pallet stacked about four feet high with…something? Under a black tarp. Boots, some slick with blood, jut out from beneath the tarp.

Kam strides towards her ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, her hands tucked into the back pockets of her pants. Her nose wrinkles slightly at the pallet nearby. “Could have at least wrapped it up first so it doesn’t leak all over my damn ship…” she growls. “We’ll just have to make do.”

Fedya steps out of the vessel, chuckling faintly at Kam’s protest. “Will be fine,” he says with a smile, “Already set up for that.” He taps in a key code to open an exterior cargo hatch. As the massive door slides open, a plastic tarp large enough to wrap the whole palette can be seen laid out on the floor. The Ungstiri goes to fetch a hoverjack, which he prepares to load the palette with. “Any sign of troubles?” he asks the pirate captain.

Kam shakes her head, though she does do a quick scan of the landing pad. “None that I saw,” she replies. “But let’s just do this quick. Never know what kind of clock they’ve got on it.” Her eyes shift upwards to the Revenge with a look of affection, “She all set? I’m thinking quick drop and move along. Don’t need to overcomplicate it.”

One of the bodies under the tarp was on an angle, apparently, and slides out from beneath the tarp. It’s a young woman with two scorched plasma wounds in her forehead – killed execution-style. She’s wearing a dark blue uniform with Vanguard insignia.

“Engines is warm and ready for raise up,” the Ungstiri replies, stopping the hoverjack to try and heave the sliding body back into place. “Give me hand here?” he asks, shoving the corpse without hesitation.

Kam tugs a pair of work gloves tucked conveniently in her belt onto her hands. “Best wrap ’em up a bit to keep it cleaner.”

Fedya grunts, nodding as he draws a roll of twine from his jacket pocket, starting to tie the tarp down to the pallet.

It’s hard to not notice certain elements of the dead and while Kam’s eyes do skip over the uniform, there’s no indication that she cares. “Just in case this is some sort of trick, best keep them out of sight. Wouldn’t surprise me if we oh so conveniently got boarded. See if we might snitch to save our own skins. Better to not have anything worth seeing out and about.”

“Is good idea,” the Ungstiri replies, going about the process of tying down the tarp. Once he is satisfied that he can safely do so, he gets the hoverjack going, moving the pallet towards the large drop cloth. “I turn off gravity for cargo bay. When we make turn with door open, garbage fly right out!” (edited)

Kam nods. “Simple, effective plan,” she replies. She steps back, out of the way of the pallet. “Seems like nothing could go wrong, but keep an eye out. Nothing is ever easy on TK.”

“Da,” Fedya says with a nod, “I remember. Wonder what happen if we look up Cabrerra’s great, great grandfather, eh?”

Kam’s eyes twinkle with amusement. “You hoping to change history a little, querido?” she asks lightly. “Though I guess us being here means it’s not history anymore and who knows what our world will turn out like now.”

“Just wanting have little fun, da?” the Ungstiri replies, grinning widely as he sets the pallet down on the tarp, pulls the hoverjack out, and starts to wrap up the package while closing the cargo bay doors. “You want get us up while I finish this?”

Meanwhile, against the violet-blue backdrop of the Tomin Nebula in high orbit of the rocky wastes of Tomin Kora, the smuggler ship Forgot to Pack Lunch drifts on inertia while occasionally blooping the maneuvering thrusters to stay on the float and out of the rather weak grasp of Lord Fagin’s adopted homeworld.

The Lunch’s captain, a fat little woman named Ela Pryn, sits in the cockpit watching a holovid broadcast of an Odarite “symphony” in which dozens of insectoids click their legs together to produce ancient Earth music, such as the current selection: “The William Tell Overture”. Her entertainment is soon interrupted by the wailing of her ship’s alarm klaxon as sensors detect the arrival of a Vanguard warship dropping to sublight. She transmits a warning message planetside.

Aboard the destroyer Clarke, a signal officer confirms to Captain Leonard Hallows: “Picking up the sub-cutes of our missing soldiers. Looks like they’re in the vicinity of the spaceport in Freewheeling.”

Hallows nods, then thumbs the commlink: “Marines, suit up for ground action. Gunners, stand by for anyone making a run for it with our people.”

Kam is just starting to start her warm up sequence to get the ship ready to move when she picks up the warning message from far above. A frown begins to mar her features. “There’s incoming,” she transmits back to Fedya. “Vanguard. Looks like it was a set up. Search those bodies quickly and get them hidden as best you can.”

“Jebat…” Fedya spits, peering around the cargo bay. He runs to a toolbox he keeps at the far end of the room, rummaging until he can find an RF scanner and a knife. He slashes the twine that holds the wrapping together and pulls off each body, using the scanner to pick up anything that might be giving off a signal. He throws each item into a pile. This done, pulls out a handkerchief, and wraps all the transmitting items into a bundle. He races down to the engine room, and steps up to the sublight engine’s ignition chamber. Pulling open an access panel, he tosses in the satchel. “Ok, get us in the air!” he yells into the comm before he runs back towards the cargo bay. (edited)

The Marines are just disembarking from a blocky landing craft on the other side of the spaceport when the sig ops non-comm assigned to the squad smacks the side of his PDA and then announces: “We’ve lost all the signals. Last known location was about half a kilometer to the northeast.”

Captain Hallows looks toward the sensors officer: “Track the course of any vessels launching from the spaceport.” He then orders the Marines: “Go to that last known location. Shake a few trees. Bring me back a name.”

Kam’s eyes keep watch above, waiting for the descent of the Vanguard ship. Beneath the golden hue of her skin, she pales slightly but slaps a hand down on the console lightly, revving up the engines. It doesn’t look like she’s in too big of a rush to depart as she carefully guides her ship up. “We may get chased. Make things look as clean as possible. Clean yourself up too,” she radios down to Fedya. “Want to solve any problems without getting the Vanguard down on us.”

Fedya opens up the cover of a shielded smuggling bay, but does not put the pallet in it, leaving it slightly open. He re-wraps the pallet, and moves it to the corner of the cargo bay door, using the hoverjack to stack a few large, but empty crates on top of and around it.  Then he takes a pulse pistol to the decking, incinerating any potential biological evidence on the floor. “If you make to solar orbit, cargo is ready for dump,” he calls into the comm as he races into the shower, disrobing within.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge rumbles upwards with a slow ascent toward the stars. Kam keeps an eye in general on the Vanguard ship until it’s too small to spot and her immediate direction is toward the closest star to make a quick dump of their cargo. “We better divert to a new planet for vacation after dump. Wait a few days for Vanguard to leave before coming back for our payment. Any place in mind?”

The Ungstiri thinks about the question from over the comm. “I hear Quaquan is nice!” he calls over the shower, “And they no like Vannies much, da?” He steps out and dries off while awaiting the response.

“Sounds like a plan!” Kam chirps in response. She guides the ship away from the planet, making a change in course for the nearest star.

“Sure, I can give you the ship’s name,” the bartender says casually to the trio of Vanguard marines looming over him in the pub near the spaceport. “Won’t be cheap,” he adds.

“No,” one of the marines replies, drawing a shock baton. “But it’ll be painful.”

Hallows, aboard the Clarke, paces in the command center as he awaits word from Tomin Kora. Precious minutes have passed. He’s not happy.

A comms officer reports: “Source tells us the soldiers are all dead. Taken by a man and a woman. Ship called the Queen Anne’s Revenge.”

Hallows considers the information, then says, “Notify HQ. I’m sure General Avocet’s going to put a steep price on their heads.” He then looks toward the nav officer. “Lay in a course to Mars.”

[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] #rp-tominkora: Fool’s Errand

Outside the door, across the street stands a human woman dressed in tight blue jeans and a red, tight fitting button up blouse.  Her back is to the door as she seems to peer around the shuttered up windows of a nearby storefront.

Lyddmull Seamel lifts the visor of his helm, revealing the recent first-degree burns his face has suffered. He winces as the slightly acidic air hits him. Closing his eyes while still slightly shaky on his feet causes him to stumble and sway dangerously towards the shoulder of the woman.

Surprised by the man’s sudden presence at her shoulder Maria pulls away, trying to avoid the man’s touch, “Hey watch it!” she scolds, eyes fixed on Seamel as she takes a couple of quick steps back, trying to put distance between them.

Blinking in surprise the armored knight staggers a few steps in the other direction. “I do apologize, miss,” he manages, steadying himself, “Are you alright?”

There’s a moment where Maria seems to be measuring up the armored knight before she suddenly grimaces, “You ever look where you’re going?” she asks, stance shifting ever so slightly to favor her right leg.

“Most of the time,” Lyddmull replies, somewhat sheepishly, “Though I am typically not recovering from a recent roasting.” He gives the woman an appraising glance, noting the limp. “Know you where one can find a doctor less likely to cheat the injured?” he asks, “We can have them look at your leg.”

“I wouldn’t want to keep you,” she quickly replies.  “I mean.” She lifts her gaze. “I’m sure I can get myself to the doctor.” A slight hesitation. “Although..” She purposely pats at her pocket for a moment before shaking her head  a bit and making eye contact again. “I mean, I wouldn’t want you to have to pay my doctors bill.”

“I appreciate your concern,” the Fastheldian replies, a smile sending another wave of pain through his face, “But as you can see, I find myself in similar need. Taking you there would not even put me out of the way.”

Maria seems a bit put out by that answer. “You look like you’ll be all right.” she replies and takes a step forward, suddenly not seeming to limp quite so badly. “And I’ll be all right, I’m sure. Yeah.  Kora’s not exactly the place for doctors, ya know.”

“No, but it does seem to be exactly the place for injuries,” Lyddmull replies wryly. He takes a bit of a step back as she steps forward, keeping a wary eye on the seemingly unpredictable stranger.

Maria shrugs noncommittally, “It’s Kora.” Another pause, “Listen man…you don’t want to go to a doc here.” she says, tone ringing honest all of a sudden, “You’re not from around here,” she states matter of factly. “Whatever you’re doing here…you should probably get going.”

“Miss, every inch of me is painfully aware of what I *should* do,” the tall, dark-haired Baron says with a sigh, “Unfortunately, it runs in direct opposition to that which I *must* do. As it is, where I must go from here is far less hospitable.”

“What you must do?” Maria asks with a raised eyebrow, “Buddy, don’t know what they’ve told you…but there ain’t anything you’ve *got* to do when you’re in Tomin Kora…’cept maybe watch your back.”

“That much is known to me,” replies the Seamel, “And no one has told me anything. There is something I came here to do. It remains undone, and now my road takes me to realms far less forgiving than this. And yes, I am well aware that no one I have met or am likely to meet comprehends what I am speaking of.” He shakes his head in some frustration. “So I take it you are wholly unharmed?” he asks.

The woman suddenly takes a step back, cautious once more, “I’ll be fine.” she repeats.  “And where the hell is less forgiving than this place?” she asks.

“The Parallax,” Lyddmull says, not even caring about revealing his plans to a complete stranger at this point. He seems about to walk off before he turns back to the woman. “Do you live here?” he asks curiously.

“The Parallax,” the woman exclaims, shocked. She quickly steps towards him as he starts walking away, “You outta your mind?” she questions.  “And of course I live here.” She says as if that much should have been obvious.

“I might be,” Lyddmull admits, snorting with faint amusement, “Though I might ask you the same question. Why would one live here? Intentionally, anyway. There are a plethora of reasonably pleasant places where one can live and work. So, why here?”

“Born and raised on Kora.  Can’t think of a better place to be.” she replies with a shrug.  “So what’s in the Parallax?  What’re you going after?”

“I take it you have not been anywhere else,” the  knight replies wryly. After a moment’s thought, he comes up with no reason to hold back the answer she seeks. “A confused young man fleeing from the responsibilities of impending fatherhood,” he says, “Apparently, he was taken and sold as a slave to the Nall…”

“And there’s a bounty on him.” Maria replies knowingly.  “Must be a good bail for the risk. ”  She looks back over her shoulder before turning back to the knight, “You know…if he was sold to the Nall…he may not be alive anymore.  Might cost you more than you make.”

“There is no bounty, no bail,” the Knight replies with the tired voice and smile of one who has repeated the answer many times, “And I am well aware that he may be dead. I was half-expecting to find he had died here, but apparently, he survived longer than I thought he would.”

A look of utter confusion comes across Maria’s face.  “No bounty….no bail…then why in the world are you wasting your time on it?” A pause. “Look…if you got a death wish.” she says seriously, “I’ll point you in the right direction and it won’t cost you nearly half as much.”

“No, I rather prefer to be alive,” Lyddmull says, laughing quietly, “And it may well be a waste of time. But I gave my word to his wife, and his mother, that I would do everything I could to find him and convince him to return home. With the Light’s blessing, it may be that a moment of fear and cowardice need not leave his small family without a husband and father.”

Maria shakes her head. “You make absolutely no sense, you know that?” She starts walking in the same direction as the knight was previously walking, all signs of a limp now gone.  “How do you even plan on getting to Nall space?  You got a ship or something?”

“So I have been told,” Lyddmull mutters darkly as also lurches into motion through the occasional grimace of pain, “And given that I only just now became aware of the perilous direction my road would take, I confess that I have no plan whatever. I have some vague inkling that despots like the Nall must needs generate resistance in some form or fashion. Such people might be convinced to aid me on the chance I might at least prick their oppressors, however minutely.”

Maria shrugs noncommittally. “Sure they got enemies.  Who doesn’t.  But being an enemy and being willing to march up to their door.” she shrugs, “Sounds like a fool’s errand.” She casts a sidelong glance at the knight, “I know a doc…but you’ll need money.”

“I have enough for that at least,” the Seamel says with  a stiff-necked nod, “And I agree. It is all too likely that I will be doing the marching alone.”

“Only if you can’t find a way of making worth folks while,” Maria responds, taking him down a side street. “You find a way to do that…you’ll have no trouble finding yourself a crew here.” a pause, “No matter how crazy a mission…or how dumb your reason for undertaking it.”

The Seamel considers this, almost stopping in his tracks. “It is a polydenum mine…..” he finally says.

Maria comes to a sudden stop, looking back over her shoulder at Lyddmull. “Polydenum?” she asks before a grin spreads across her face, “Now THAT I’m sure we can work with.”

“I have no wish to encourage theft,” Lyddmull replies with a faint grin, “But if anyone deserves it, it would be Nall using slave labor.”

“Now THAT,” Maria says with a chuckle, “Is something I can get behind.”  She nods back in the direction they were walking. “Come on,” she says with some excitement, “let’s get you to the doctor.” And off she goes again, leading Lyddmull off through a network of alleys and side streets.

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[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] #rp-tominkora: The Unicorn’s Quest

A bronze-clad figure makes his way through the crowd gathered about for an upcoming slave auction. Trying his best not to attract unnecessary attention, he strolls into the reviewing area and begins scanning the “merchandise” for any familiar face.

It’s hard NOT to pay attention to someone who looks like he’s wandered in from a medieval Earth re-enactment.

A little wiry human man with mousy brown hair waves a hand to get Lyddmull’s attention and asks: “Looking for a new squire? We’ve got the best!”

The Seamel raises an eyebrow at this, but makes his way over towards the man. “I seek Javel,” he says simply, “I was told he had one such as I need.”

That gets wide eyes and a shocked gape from the dealer. “You’re making a mistake, stranger.”

“So I have been told,” Lyddmull replies with a quick nod, “It rather makes one curious as to whether or not he actually sells merchandise.”

“He does,” the wiry man replies. “Through folks like me. I’m in sales. He’s more of a…merchandise acquisition manager.”

“So, you are a broker,” the Fastheldian replies, his brow furrowed, “Then perhaps you can help me after all.” He draws the picture from his pouch. “This is the youth I mean to acquire,” he says, showing the image to the slave-seller.

The broker eyes the picture, then shakes his head. “Sorry, friend. He went with the batch three days ago. Acquired by the Nall. Cried like a baby all the way to the transport. But, I mean, wouldn’t you?”

“Possibly,” Lyddmull says, setting his jaw in frustration. He looks away for a moment, none-too-pleased with what he is about to say. “In that case, I am afraid that it is indeed Javel I must see,” he says.

“Why?” the broker asks. “And who the hell are you?”

“Who I am does not really matter, does it?” the knight replies with a sigh, “I need to find the boy, Javel knows to what Nall labor camp he has been sent.”

“Fine,” the broker says with a shrug. “You want to see the man? Go to Candlelight Imports on Nebula Street. Tell the bot you need a facial.”

Lyddmull sizes the man up for a moment to determine whether or not he is lying, but nods either way. “My thanks,” he says simply before turning away and leaving the market.

It’s not far to Nebula Street, with most of its dusty storefronts shuttered with metal plates. One of the few open enterprises is Candlelight Imports. A tripedal Phyrrian lurks outside, plasma rifle in hand, scanning its surroundings with optical sensor clusters arrayed on its triangular head.

The Bronze Rider, sans charger, strides up to the mechanoid. “I have been told to request a facial here,” he says, opening his visor.

The Phyrrian clicks and whirs. “Have you? Then step inside. Enjoy your stay.”

Lyddmull hesitates for just a moment before he steps past the Phyrrian, his jaw set as he enters what is sure to be a wretched hive of scum and villainy, surrounded by an entire city of scum and villainy.

Inside, he finds a well-appointed showroom with several display cases under amber plasma lanterns. A thin man, six-feet-tall, wears a dapper black suit and spats. Tufts of white hair sprout from behind his ears. The man stands behind a display case that sits between Lyddmull and a closed door with a digital lock. “Welcome,” the man greets. “How may I be of assistance?”

“Greetings,” Lyddmull says, his eyes scanning the man before him quickly.  He takes several steps across the floor towards the man. “I seek Javel,” he says simply, “Are you he?”

“Oh, heavens no,” the man replies. “I am Lutheran Prady. I handle day-to-day affairs and appointments for Javel.” He pulls a PDA from behind the display case and activates a HUD. “I have an opening on Friday next.”

“That is … not likely to be sufficiently early, Mr. Prady,” the Seamel says. He pauses for a moment before continuing. “Perhaps you can help me,” he says, “A transport of your merchandise left three days ago for Parallax space. I need to know the location for which it was destined. Now, my question is, what would it take to get such information?”

The well-groomed old man gives a pained sigh and winces. He pinches the bridge of his nose between two fingers like he’s fending off a headache. Then he regards Lyddmull with a rather predatory gaze. “You will have to address such inquiries to Javel himself. If you wish to make it a priority, well, that can be arranged. I cannot guarantee that it will be without hazard.”

“Do I seem like a man not accustomed to hazard?” the heavily armed and armored knight inquires, a hint of a smile flickering across his face, “The matter is, of course, a priority to me and my business is of no threat to Javel’s. I would appreciate what could be done to expedite the matter.”

“What you are accustomed to is hardly my concern,” Prady replies. He tilts his head, then taps out a sequence on the PDA. The door behind him unlocks and hisses open, revealing a shadowy corridor beyond. “Find what you seek down that hall, good sir.”

The Seamel sighs a bit then nods, moving past the display case and into the corridor. He pauses for a moment, allowing his eyes to adjust to the relative darkness.

The door clunks shut behind Lyddmull, and then beeps as the lock reinitializes. He’s plunged into total darkness at this point. And more or less total silence, except for the faint hiss of air cycling through the overhead vent.

The knight actually rolls his eyes. Invisibly, in the darkness, that is. His left hand taps a control on his helmet and the visor flips shut even as his right draws the Songblade from its scabbard. He stands still while getting used to the faint glow of the blade, shrugging the shield on his back free and bringing it forward on his left arm.

“If I wanted you dead, you would’ve been dead days ago,” comes a disembodied male voice over a loudspeaker. Apparently, it’s sunken in the ceiling above the door at the far end of the corridor. “Still could be, if I don’t enjoy the outcome of this conversation.”

Moving slowly forward, Lyddmull nods to the invisible voice. “I have been warned as much,” he says, “So theatrics aside, what is it you want?”

“Let’s start with why you’re so insistent about finding just another sad fool who ran afoul of reality on Tomin Kora,” Javel wonders.

“I am not certain the answer will make much sense to you,” the Seamel replies, smirking faintly, “He leaves behind a young wife and unborn child. I would that a moment’s cowardice not leave his child fatherless. While I am aware that he may already be dead and that even if I find him, I might be unsuccessful in counselling him to return, I have given my word to do my best to locate him, and that is what I shall do.” He continues down the hall, the sword in his hand granting only a few feet of visibility.

“Tomin Kora boasts a rich tradition of orphans and bastards,” Javel says. “Fairy tale knights ought to know better than come looking for happy endings.”

“If you think a knight expects a happy ending,” Lyddmull replies, coming to a stop near the speaker, “I do think you might be reading the wrong stories.”

“The one you want is gone, bought and paid for,” the disembodied voice explains. “He’s probably mining polydenum on Shadin IX already. If he’s lucky, he’ll die in the first week. But he didn’t strike me as lucky.”

“I do not disagree,” the Seamel says with a faint shrug, “And while I thank you for granting me the name of the world to which he has been sent, I somehow doubt you would go through all this trouble to tell me that.”

A light chuckle. “You want to find him? I’ll help you, friend! The Nall are going to *love* you. Might not waste you in the mines, though. The noble warrior schtick should go over great in the arena.”

“I imagine it might,” the Bronze Rider replies, “Though that might prove more costly to them than simply whatever you hope to receive.” He remains still, cautious.

The hissing sound intensifies overhead: a bluish-green gas starts roiling into the corridor. “We’ll see. How long can you hold your breath in that getup?”

“The filters should be able to handle this for some time,” says the Seamel. Still, he uses the faint light of his sword to see if there is any other exit. If not, he’ll return to the door through which he entered. “So your intention is to drug me into senseless so that I will not prevent you from taking me to the very place I want to go,” he adds, “It seems a bit wasteful, does it not?”

“Tarcyx gas is cheap,” Javel replies. “Easy enough to make with a few chemicals and exhaust fumes.” The doors are locked, with digital interface pads that seem to want alphanumeric codes. Beyond that, there’s just the vent overhead that’s spewing gas. The conduit might be large enough for a pre-teen to enter.

The Seamel nods slowly. “Well, I do not suppose you mind if I raise the cost a bit, then,” he says as draws a rarely used plasma pistol from his side and aims it up towards the vent, pressing the firing stud.

The gout of energy from Lyddmull’s weapon ignites the combustible chemicals in the gas mixture. The concussion of the blast flings him back toward the showroom and against the door with a THWUMP! The conduit is sealed before the fire can spread deeper into the building, so the fiery blast is contained within the corridor.

Upside: The fire consumes the gas in the air and is quickly exhausted. Downside: Lyddmull is baking inside his armor for a few seconds.

The Seamel cries out in pain from the burn and removes his helmet once the fire is out. The bronze-clad composite armor is, of course, not true medieval plate armor, it is simply designed to imitate it. Nevertheless, it certainly doesn’t tickle. Catching his breath from the impact against the door, he eventually speaks up. “Are you still there?” he asks the disembodied voice.

“Oh, good, you’re not dead yet,” Javel answers.

“Not yet,” Lyddmull says, forcing himself to his feet. “You know, this really is not necessary,” he says.

“Necessary? Perhaps not,” Javel agrees. “Amusing? For me, at least, yes.” A few moments of silence, then: “I was going to unleash the ninjas and thugs in wave after wave. Then I was going to try the spike trap beneath your feet. And if that failed, I was going to crush you between the corridor walls. But that really would result in the squandering of some resources and, well, no, you aren’t worth the mess. You want to go find your little friend? Be my guest. Go ask the Nall to give him back.” The light on the digital lock by the door to the showroom flickers from red to green. CLICK. “You are free to go.”

“Well, I am glad you are amused,” Lyddmull replies wryly, stooping to take up his helm and replacing it on his head. With a grunt of pain, he reaches out to open the door.

The door slides open with a hiss to allow the Seamel to depart the corridor for the showroom. Lutheran Prady waits outside, hands clasped behind his back. The brief widening of his eyes is the only hint of surprise at the knight’s return.

“A satisfactory meeting, I trust?” Prady inquires.

“Rather surprisingly, yes,” Lyddmull says, replacing shield and sword, “I, hopefully, received the information I needed. Of course, I should rather my next steps were less … for lack of a better word, terrifying, but that is not the fault of this particular parley.”

“Terror, when it comes to the Nall, is healthy,” the old man says. “Pursuit of this quest, on the other hand, is anything but. You really should reconsider. Even assuming you make it past the Line of Pain – and that is a serious assumption in the wake of that horrible creature’s recent incursion – you’re unlikely to reach the mining planet or the encampment without an encounter with our reptiloid friends. Whatever his family offered to pay cannot be worth your life.”

“His family is certainly in no position to pay anything,” Lyddmull says with a faint smile, stepping out of the perilous corridor. “And you are not incorrect,” he says, “I certainly would not bet upon the odds of my survival in this venture. However, poor as a measure of morality is cold pragmatism. Were I to step away now, my word would count as nothing.”

Prady sighs. “A man with morals on Tomin Kora. Next you’ll tell me a communist is running the Odarite Merchant’s Guild.” He shakes his head. “Javel must like you. He didn’t kill you outright.” He does his best not to glance at the mop and bucket waiting beside the doorway. “I feared I would be on cleanup detail.”

“I confess my joy at your avoiding that duty is entirely self-motivated,” the Seamel replies with a broad grin, “At any rate. I had best go in search of either a ship to stow away on. Or a crew of mad men…”

“You’re rare as a unicorn in a field full of boars as it is,” the old man muses. “Good luck finding more than the usual pigs.” With that, he takes the mop and bucket and disappears down the corridor toward Javel’s inner sanctum. The door closes behind him. The digital lock telltale shifts from green to red.

The Bronze Rider considers the lock for a moment, deciding whether or not to be concerned for the man’s safety. He can only do so much, however, and so he maneuvers himself gently towards to door, wracking his brain in search of a plan.
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[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] #rp-tominkora: Missing

Baron Lyddmull Seamel is an unusual figure amongst unusual figures in the Last Orders Tavern. When he reaches the bar, he removes his helm to order a drink. Doing his best to ignore any of the attention he draws, he begins going over his notes on a small tablet he produces from a pouch at his waist. “No sign of the boy?” he asks the bartender, sliding over some currency as his drink is poured.

“Which boy?” the bartender replies – after scooping up the currency. He tucks the money into a pocket, then nudges the filled cup toward Seamel. “They come and go here.”
The Seamel pulls up a picture on the aforementioned tablet. “The one I came here looking for,” he says. A young humanoid in his teens, light-haired and dark-eyed. “I am, of course, aware that you have plenty of faces in here every day,” he adds.
“Does he have a name?” the bartender inquires. “I could reach out to a few people. Thing is, someone goes missing on Tomin Kora, either they don’t wanna be found or they *can’t* be found.”
“Jacob Garfield,” the Fastheldian replies, nodding, “And yes, I’m aware of that. It occurs to me that if I have not found him within the next couple of weeks, he has likely met an untimely end. A pity as well; his young wife is with child.” He shrugs a bit, “Poor boy lost his nerve. I promised I would do my best to bring him back under his own power.”
The bartender tilts his head, scratching his stubbled chin. “He ran *here* to avoid fatherhood? Where’s he running from? Nalhom?”
The knight chuckles mirthlessly at this, and nods. “True, the actions of a young fool,” he says, “To some, the life one might live in this Light-forsaken world would seem far less terrifying than the weight of responsibility. Still, I would preserve his life, if I can, though I do not expect much success. His child should have a father.”
“You might check with Mannerly, over at the Violet Strand,” the bartender suggests. “Maybe the kid just wanted to plow a few more fields, no strings attached. Tell her I sent you, maybe she’ll give you a discount for a session with one of her girls.”
“As appreciative as one might be for that, I am afraid I have not the time,” Lyddmull replies, “Though I will ask her about the boy. My thanks.” He dips a faint bow before paying for his drink and making his exit.
Some time later…
If Lyddmull Seamel stood out in the Last Orders Tavern, he is downright outlandish on the Violet Strand. A few inquiries and a few delicate extrications lead him to Mannerly’s place. He grimaces a bit, sighs, then steps in.
The front desk clerk in the entrance parlor – adorned as it is with burgundy drapes and brass highlights – is a male Timonae with long silver hair bound in a twisted tail. He’s wearing a dark blue satin robe. He offers a warm smile to Lyddmull and asks: “Welcome to the Violet Strand. First time? Free appetizer. What menu would you prefer?”
The bronze rider offers a faint bow as he removes his helm. “Good evening,” he says, politely, “I have been sent here by the tavernkeeper at the Last Orders to speak with Miss Mannerly.”
The clerk eyes Lyddmull suspiciously: “Do you have an appointment?” His warm smile becomes a frosty grimace.
“I am afraid not,” the Fastheldian admits, “I am certain that Miss Mannerly is very busy; if an appointment is necessary, would I make one with you? Or is there someone else I should speak with.”
“I’ll see if she’s available,” the Timonae replies, and then disappears around the corner down a shadowy hall.
The Fastheldian nods gratefully as he steps to the side. “And when I think of all of those afraid to enter the Shadow District,” he mutters to himself, doing his best to remain aware of his surroundings without appearing curious.
A short while later, a middle-aged woman clad in opaque blue silk wrappings walks out of the darkness and into the pale light of the lobby. Her exposed skin is covered almost entirely with colorful tattoos. Her nose is studded with gemstones and a single golden side hoop. She stands about six feet tall. One hand is behind her back. The other rests on her hip as she stares at the stranger. “Who are you?” she asks Lyddmull. The other hand emerges from behind her back, aiming a pulse pistol at the knight’s chest. “And why are you coming into my place of business, asking questions? My customers don’t like nosy visitors. They expect discretion. And when someone is indiscreet, they expect me to deal with the problem. So. Explain how you are not a problem.”
The Fastheldian makes no offensive moves, even when the pistol comes out from behind the woman’s back. “Well, to begin with, I have asked no questions,” he says with a smile, “Not yet, anyway. However, your instinct is correct. I do seek someone. An off-worlder, of no consequence to the machinations of this city. A young man who belongs here about as much as a fish in the high mountains.” He, slowly and carefully, draws a picture from within a belt pouch and shows it to the woman. “I intend no harm to you nor your establishment,” he continues, “And would like as not never come here but that the tavernkeeper at the Last Orders suggested speaking with you. In truth, it is likely that the boy has already met an untimely end.”
Mannerly gives a cursory glance at the image at first. But then a pierced eyebrow arches. She gives it a longer look. “Friend of yours?”
“I am a friend of the family,” the knight replies, “And I have known him for years. The boy leaves behind his young wife, and as yet unborn child. I would find him before a moment’s weakness leaves his child fatherless.”
“Yes, well,” she sighs. Mannerly tucks the pistol back into the belt of her silk wrap. “Last time I saw him, he was in the hands of Jaxel the Slaver.” She shakes her head. “Probably sold into servitude. The Nall are always looking for no-questions-asked, no-strings labor for their polydenum mining camps.”
The Seamel sighs in frustration, putting the picture away. “I thank you for your help in this,” he says, dipping his head, “Could I presume upon you further to ask where one might find this Jaxel the Slaver?”
Mannerly shakes her head. “You don’t want to find him. Believe me. You don’t look like you belong here anymore than your friend. Start asking around about Jaxel, you’re liable to end up in one of those death camps.”
“You are not entirely wrong,” Lyddmull admits, smiling once more, “Still, I gave my word to his wife and to his mother that I would find him if he lives still. At any rate, I appreciate your kindness, and if you have need of such service that is within my power and conscience to provide, do not hesitate to call on me.” He offers a small data chip with his comm contact with a bow.
She accepts the chip, then nods to the Seamel as she says: “Good luck.” Might be a hint of sarcasm in there. Maybe. With that, she heads back down the shadowy hall.
The Seamel seems to have no illusions about his luck. After he nods his thanks to the receptionist, his face turns quite grim as he turns to make his way out to the street, drawing out his comm to make what might be a final call home.
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