Trouble Beyond the Borders

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs

The date is PE 0467-242, the system and planet are called Burrows. It’s not an interesting planet as such go, most of the people live underground in, well, burrows.

The startown is in a large underground bubble, hollowed out with a thermal bomb, with an artificial sun above. The Purple Palace is in the middle part of startown, bad enough that if you have to leave late you should have an escort, but good enough that you can probably trust the escort. The hat-check girl also checks weapons, as most weapons are forbidden in this joint, though not in the startown generally. And yes, they have a detector, ever since they lost three “companions” to a traveling preacher.

At this time of evening, the first floor is roughly split in half with the right half made into a bar and the left half set up for dinner. The dinner is actually edible and fairly inexpensive, so you might want to eat here. Later, the bar takes over most of the dinner area and a small stage for live music and even a small dance floor. The music is cheap and the booze is expensive and bad, so you might not want to drink here. The second floor is where the “companions” do their business (after an obligatory two drinks for both of you).

You do notice that several other people other than yourself are merely checking the place out also.

Comments

The date is PE 257-0467, 7:00 precisely. A thin, short man, mildly sloppily dressed, with two large dogs and a huge blue macaw on his shoulder walks into the Purple palace, and orders dinner for three and two extra servings of bread. When he sits down the dogs take up close bodyguard positions, where they can look over pretty much the entire crowd.

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

For those observing and staking out the place. They will see one of the bouncers come in a bit early for his shift grab a bottle of water and sit and talk with the odd fellow with dogs and a bird in the Purple Palace.
“Hello and to what exactly do I owe the pleasure of this visit?”

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

“Hello, I am doctor Sherman Wison,” he says with as he gets up and shakes your hand. “Perhaps you could pull another table over, as I expect our group will grow here. I’ve already arranged with your supervisor for the use of your time. Perhaps you would know what food is good here?”

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

A stunningly ordinary looking woman saunters up to the table where the thin man sits, with his dogs, birds, and bouncer company.

“Dr Winston, err, Wilson..no, wait…” she pulls a paper out of her vest pocket, ‘Wison? Dr. Wison, I presume? May I join you, sir?’ She turns to the bouncer character, ‘hey, hows about buyin a gal a drink?…’ She plops her ample butt down, opposite side of the table from the dogs… ‘them boys had thier shots?’ waving her hand generally toward the dogs.

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Dr. Wison smiles slightly, “Captain Alazar, I wouldn’t worry about the Ixies, they’re friendly and I don’t think a small dram of your blood would contaminate them beyond repair. This bird, on the other hand, has a bite that is worse than her screech.”

On hearing this, the bird in question looks you in the eyes and says “Buy a poor bird a drink, lovie?”

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

“Hahaha. The bird wants a drinkie! Hey, buddy,” nodding toward the bouncer, “make that 2 drinkies, k? And a ham sandwich. Can he get you anything to eat, bird?”

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

“Half a qwi-bird sandwich, please. >squawk<”

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Mimir steps over to the bar and gathers up some stuff and asks that real food and not the usual textured algea and soy be served. He also grabs a glass of water a pile of shot glasses and tells them to bring some decent bourbon or brandy over to the table ..and to put it all on the odd balls tab .
Mimir returns to the table and places a glass of water in front of the bird and says “drinks and real food will be along shortly.”

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“Hey, cool. Thanks, man. Viva’s the name.” offers her hand. “Slosh is a bit weak, eh bird? hahaha, So, Dr., big table for the 6 of us, seeing that two are on the floor and one is on the shoulder, they don’t take up much table space. How many more are we expecting? I’d like to get this shindig started.”

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Mimir is my name Ms Viva and well met. As to the drinks at least your not getting the waterey rot gut they serve the stiff’s..

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Dr. Wison says “We will wait for the others until the stated time. I am sure that my friend is keeping count of what we are doing. You might not want to get drunk until afterward. Though I have been told that if you can point out my friend on the first try and on your own, she’ll interview you early. I must warn you that I’ve known her for almost 2,000 years, though we only meet every hundred years at a bar on Tamaqua, and when she doesn’t want to be noticed, she won’t be. I would suggest waiting a few hours when she’ll interview everybody.”

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

She sits down at an empty table by the door. She keeps her head down, but watches every person entering and exiting. The dream-sent leads her to the man with the two dogs and bird, but she doesn’t watch the man as others gather at the table. She wants to seem inconspicuous so, she listens to them and tries to piece things together. Why is it leading me to this man? Who are the other? What is the reason there are all gathering here? Questions fill her mind. She listens more.

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Viva looks around the room, counting things, taking note. Anything of note to see? Or count? BWAHAHAHA ONETWO

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Udzoe, the dream sent you to following the scent of a woman. Her smell is somewhere near the man, but it isn’t any woman you can see. You will have to get closer to find out who it is.

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Viva, there is a Wolven in the room and she’s looking at Dr. Wison.

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Yes, I’ve changed the name of “Vargr” to “Wolven”. This is, of course, the human name for them. Their own name is translated as “the pack”.

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Dr. Wison takes a look at the clock over the bar and says, "Dinner time is over here in about 1 hour. I was hoping that we’d have another two, though I think that we have an unexpected guest. Nixie, Pixie, please escort the Wolven to the table.

The two dogs stand up and walk over to the Wolven. After a short staring match, the three come back to the table. The Wolven has a slightly confused look on her face.

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Mimir stands up and pulls a chair out for the Wolven .." Hello have a seat "

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Viva says in a friendly tone ‘Hey, Mimir, why don’t you fetch the wolven a drink.’ snicker. very small snicker….

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Mimir Raises one eyebrow at Viva ..tsk tsk ..turns to the Wolven and asks “What would you like to drink and eat?”

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Dr. Wison looks at his watch and says “Hmmm. They’re closing down the dining area. I suggest we go to the back room. We’ve rented it for the next hour and it will be unobserved. Nixie, Pixie, come along.” He puts the macaw on Viva’s shoulder and says “Behave now.”

[As GM, I will state that there may or may not be two others around (William Ackerman, and Treco Binus); they haven’t responded, but this interface can be a bit confusing to some. They can read the job offer, and if they respond by tomorrow evening they’re in, otherwise they may have more convincing to do it they want to join in.]

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

The doctor leads the way, and you find yourself in the back room. There is a tall thin redhead with complex hair there, and there is a table and some comfortable fold-out chairs. The seat at the back of the room next to the redhead has a neat pile of papers on it, so you are pretty sure it is the patron’s.

The woman stands and bows a little. “Thank you for coming. I am called ‘Sister Moon’. Jakii will be joining us momentarily.”

You fill the other seats as you see fit. When you’ve gotten seated, the parrot starts to glow, and the glow moves to the middle of the table as it gets larger. When the process ends, a woman that nobody has seen before appears; the table creaks a bit.

The Wolven suddenly looks alert and takes a large breath as if scenting something both expected and surprising.

The woman hops down gracefully to the floor and then takes her chair. “I’m Jakii. Shall we begin?”

“First, I have to ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement.” She passes the papers out handing one to each person.

“If you don’t wish to sign this, I understand, but you’ll have to leave us.”

She gives you time to read the forms. They are very similar to normal non-disclosure forms, except for the Emperor’s seal and the printed on signature. Until you notice that it is actually a signed signature, and yes, it looks like the signature on paper banknotes. It might be that it is the Emperor’s signature.

At this point, all who don’t wish to sign the NDA can walk out now and leave the game.

After everybody has either signed or left. Jakii says “Thank you for hearing me out. I am going to make you an unusual offer.” Again she shimmers, and this time she looks like she’s dressed for the Imperial Court. "I am High Dame Jakalinne Keenan, but I prefer if people just call me Jakii. I was knighted for finding treason at the highest level and knighted again for eventually catching the villain five years later. I am a member of the Order of the Mirrored Box and am the newest troubleshooter for our Emperor as the Raven Knight of Harlequinn. He knows what I am and that he can expect total loyalty from me. My other human form is the one I prefer now; I use it for undercover activities, and in that form I normally call myself ‘Jakii Sparkles’.

“As to what I am, it’s complicated. When I was born, near the end of the Federation, I became, at the grand age of 2, a Divine Guardian of the Wind, what many people called the Republican Windguard. When I was 12, a kinetic energy strike took out the creche an all of my friends. I hooked up with some other sisters and we did what we thought was right to protect the spirit of the Republic; unfortunately I think it had died too long ago.

“When I thought I was the last of the Windguard, I thought that the Gene Lords were the ones to blame. So I set off on one of the last clean ships to bring them to justice. What I found were mostly self-serving fools who thought they could run things better than the rest of them. And no, I only killed the ones that forced me to do so in self defense. I even found a few good ones.

[GM Note: I have to continue this either later tonight or tomorrow. I’m more tired than I thought. If anybody has any questions for Jakii, please post them. If the missing ones want to post, now would be a good time.]

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

[GM Note: I’m back for a bit. Let’s hope I don’t crash in mid-post again. :) ]

“Finally, a while after the Republic fell, I ran into something I couldn’t take on. I found a Gene Lord who had done something I still don’t understand. He had created monstrosities that shouldn’t have been able to exist. I fought them, but they eventually they impaled me through though my armor at least three time, injecting poison. They would have won, but then allies came. An alien race I’d never heard of destroyed the monstrosities and saved me. The poison had all but killed me, and I was given a choice – I could die, or they could save me as one of them, as one of the Dreen. I took the latter choice because I still had things to do in this world.

“After I was changed, they had me sleep until about the year PE 300. When I woke up, the world had changed. After a short bit of getting used to things, I went to work for the Imperial Department of Justice, shortly becoming an undercover agent. As Jakii Sparkles, I pose as a jewelry fence and information broker. You’d be surprised at how many crimes you can solve by finding the jewelry associated with the victims.

“After I was granted a High Knighthood, I didn’t know what to do. I’d suddenly become too famous to do the only work I knew how to do. But the Emperor came to my rescue. He made me one of the Order of the Mirrored Box, one of his personal troubleshooters. I carry an Imperial Warrant in my ID card.

“That’s who I am.

“However, the problem is that now there is something happening on the spinward border of the Empire. We’ve discovered a new interstellar nation that has jump drive and perhaps a large navy. And it claims to be the proper descendant of the Republic of Humanity, which is what it calls itself. We’ll call it the ‘Second Republic’ for now. The trouble is that too many people think of an idealized version of the Republic rather than the reality. And these people may want to join the 2nd Republic rather than the Empire. Even some rim worlds may choose to switch alliances. And the 2nd Republic is doing some sabre rattling itself.

“So the Emperor is sending as much of the fleet that can be spared to this area to end the threat and force them to become a part of the Empire.

“The fleet will arrive in about six months.

“My job, and yours also if you will, is to find out the secrets of the 2nd Republic and see if we can stop the war.

“I would like each of you to become Oathbound to me. I have the paperwork here. I have an exception granted to me by the Emperor. If you accept, I can promise you an interesting time, and also that I will do whatever I can to protect you and to restore your honor where it has been improperly tarnished.

“Now, are there any questions?”

[GM: You might want to look up “Oathbound” in the glossary. It’s in the “Wiki” tab under “Glossary” → “Misc” → “Oathbound”; one thing to think about as players is that a) this is a great honor, b) it could indeed be interesting, and c) she gets to take care of your expenses any buy you what you need. Please get back to me as soon as possible.]

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Mimir is willing to sign the NDA and the Oath .. preventing a war is a good thing.
[Mike: you may want to send a general announcement the adventure log does not kick an email out to alert anything is going on so mabey give the others a bit longer]

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

[GM: I have tried to send them emails and gotten nothing. I have put notes in their forums and every other way I can think of. They have until the end of the weekend to respond.]

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Viva is intrigued. She agrees.

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Treco spends some time apparently reading the NDA, but more considering the story told by Jakii. He too is intrigued, and eventually signs the NDA and agrees to be Oathbound.

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Like most people, if you’re carrying your datapad or a mini-comm (cell phone) you can check out part of her story. It is true that a Sr. Investigator of the IDoJ, Jakalinne Keenan, who looks like the taller woman you saw her shape into, was knighted (twice) by earning two of the highest medals the Empire can give: The Imperial Medal of Valor (for removing an unspecified danger to the Empire), and then 5 years later, The Emperor’s Star (for capturing the former head of the navy now turned pirate – his turning pirate happened five years previous – single handed), She was then immediately inducted into a rather exclusive order of nobility, The Order of the Mirrored Box.

Jakii changes into her taller form, and takes Mimir to another room to administer the oath. Another woman, dark skinned, opens the door and may be the witness.

High Dame Jakalinne Keenan says to Mimir, “I would like to say that you can still refuse, and you will have no penalty from either myself nor the Empire. This is the second most binding oath under Imperial law, and I want you to make sure that you are doing this willingly.”

When Mimir thinks for a few minutes and then agrees, she administers the oath.

Then she does the same for the others who agreed, in the order that they agreed.

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

After those initial three, Dame Jakii turns to Udzoe and asks “Would you like to help also? If so, then come with me.”

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Udzoe says “I will join you” She turns to Dr Wison, “don’t let your dogs do that to me again.” She glances at the dogs and gives a low growl, then stands to follow Jakii.

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Dr. Wison bows his head slightly. The dogs give you an open mouthed grin, and you know they think the situation extremely funny.

Jakii explains what she has said before to Udzoe, but adds that she will have to come to an agreement with the dogs.

She takes your oath solemnly.

And you will have to speak with Sister Moon at least one hour per day. Do you have any questions for me?

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Treco enquires about the next steps in his cultured voice. When do they need to leave, and what preparations might they make? Is there any indication of the environment(s) they’ll be working in?

[ Being not very bright, he copes by over-preparing. ]

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Jakii responds, "You should take anything you can pick up quickly. We’ll be taking the shuttle to the up port as soon as we can.

[Answer: I’m working on testing this. I get email alerts so for a long while I assumed you all were getting them also.]

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

[GM: It looks like only the GM is getting notified. I’ll see if I can change this.]

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

I will read the various documents very, very carefully before signing anything. Specifically, I am looking for the out clauses in case of fraud. I am paranoid and twitchy there days when it comes to nobles and peers. I don’t rightly trust them and I will be damned if I am going to take a fall with an unknown shapeshifter.

Speaking of just how common are shapeshifters anyway, I don’t know about the rest of the people here, but I am just a bit unnerved and creeped out by “Jakki’s” display. She may have wished to impress us, but me she just freaked out and scared.

Still, no better way to catch the badguys than to jump into the trap, so provided I can find my out in case of troubles, I will sign.

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

The only document is the NDA. There is no out clause from the Oathbound oath.
Glossary → Misc → Oathbound

You’ve never heard of any non-mythological shape shifters before.

On the other hand, the signature on the NDA is almost definitely the Emperor’s from your experience; you’re as sure as you can be without specialized equipment. It’s on the correct stationary and you found the almost invisible watermark which most forgers forget or don’t know about. The signature was written (not printed), and then the paper seal was applied, and then the NDA was folded into an envelope, which had a blue wax seal that only documents signed by the Emperor personally can have.

If it’s a forgery it’s really good.

The one good point on the NDA is that is explicitly states that if you refuse to go further, this refusal will not cause you prejudice or harm. Jakii didn’t shift for you until you signed the NDA.

And (as GM) I was intending for the people to know what they were getting into. To be an Oathbound is the second most powerful oath in the Empire (second only to a direct oath of fealty to the Emperor.

If you request it, Jakii can, at her will, release you from the Oath. Or the Emperor can, if Jakii is not living up to her side of the oath.

Do you take the oath when asked?

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

About Jakii’s shape shifting. A few of you might have noticed. As a parrot she stood on the table with no problem, but the table visibly sank a bit in the center when she changed to human. And her two different forms are different in weight also.

In other words, unless something even stranger is going on, conservation of mass has gone on vacation for her.

Another thought about the Oathbound, think of them like the oath a Samurai takes to his lord.

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Well, since they appear to be the real deal, and even if they did kick me out for some reason (which by the way I plan on finding out the who, what, why, etc of), after twenty years of true and faithful service to His Imperial Majesty I find myself still in my heart the Emperor’s Man, so I shall take this Oath. Hells with her alleged connections I might even get a few returned calls someday and find out who burned me.

(And when I get a chance I am doing a bit of research on these ‘aliens’ she spoke of.)

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Mimir is going to go let his boss know that he will need to fill a vacancy and will promptly gather up his tools and possessions and prepare to leave.

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

Jakii suggests that either people should gather small stuff that they can easily carry, or arrange to have them shipped upside to the port care of “The Gael Storm.”

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

“Ok. So we’re dismissed?” Udzoe prepares to go get her belongings. “When do we meet at the ship?”

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

“When do we leave? I can be ready in 2 clicks, heals that is.”

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
 

[GM: Please use the forum to do this. The Adventure Log will be used by people to describe what went one in the forum. We’re doing this because the forum will send you email reminders when people post. – If you haven’t read the forum, you may not know exactly what’s going on. There was a vote, and neither of you voted so it went the way of the forum.]

The forum to be used is: forum tab → “PE 0467-242 Walking To the Port”

Please repost there so that the others will see this, and then Jakii will respond something like:

Jakii will respond “We’ll walk together and leave in a few minutes. We may have to rescue poor William first. I don’t want to think of him as an oath breaker, and the Emperor had such faith in him.”

A Sleazy Joint, With Dogs
DangerousThing

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