Integrity

[12:26] <FrontierWarGM> ["Way-Line transit complete," Said Tran. "Now within the Wall system."-
[12:27] <FrontierWarGM> [Throughout their journey through Shrinepath space, they had bypassed many empty systems, but- on advice from Russkra- had stopped briefly in inhabited systems as a courtesy to local governors, and to gain permission to pass through their Gate Stations if they had them. Nowhere was this more true than for the Wall System.-
[12:32] <FrontierWarGM> [There was a single colonised planet, named Evergreen- a plus-size world covered in rainforest so thick that even the oceans sported forests of a sort, where the Devoted competed with a devious, billion-strong species of arboreal marsupials for coverage and resources. Around Evergreen was a large space station- and an even larger battlefleet. This was, Russkra had said, the Battlefleet of Redemption, only to be corrected by Vlui- it was in fact the Meditative Battlefleet, as the Redemption fleet had been destroyed some time ago.-
[12:33] <FrontierWarGM> [After security separated the two after only minor injuries, the systems governor- quite possibly the burliest, most scarred Devoted they had ever seen, one large enough so that even Inara only came up to her collarbone- gave them permission to pass through without any trouble.-
[12:33] <FrontierWarGM> [It was on dirac jumping to the far end of the system that they ran into a problem.-
[12:35] <FrontierWarGM> ["Captain?" Said Gregory. "I'm picking up a faint distress signal coming from within this system. A Federation signal. Judging from the encoding, it seems to be… The FSS Integrity?"-
[12:35] <FrontierWarGM> ["The Integrity was lost fighting Freepath forces a few weeks ago." Said Franco.]
[12:39] <Kayoko> "Seems that's still up in the air," Kayoko chirped, curiously examining the encoding. "Encryption seems to match Starfleet standards."
[12:45] <Rora> "…Should we not investigate, regardless? Whatever ship is, in fact, in distress, they could very well require assistance, yes?"
[12:46] <Inara> "With caution, yes," Inara agreed.
[12:47] <Kayoko> "Oh yes," Kayoko agreed, "We can hardly ignore a distress call, but it could be… well, a lot of things. Let's find out, hm?"
[12:48] <FrontierWarGM> ["Ready to go, Navigator." Said Idris.-
[12:48] <FrontierWarGM> ["Commencing Jump."-
[12:48] <FrontierWarGM> [A moment later…-
[12:50] <FrontierWarGM> [The FSS Integrity was a battlecruiser, and here indeed it was, adrift in empty space. The ship bore massive hull damage- breaches, ruined weapons turrets, its engines torn apart…-
[12:52] <FrontierWarGM> [But perhaps 'adrift' was the wrong word. For attached to it was a vessel slightly larger than the Integrity. This vessel bore no markings, but was long, boxy and ruggedly utilitarian in shape. Great clamps connected it to the Integrity, which it was using to drag the vessel away with it.]
[12:54] <Kayoko> "Scavengers…?" Kayoko murmured. "Does anyone recognize that design?" she asked, glancing at Violet and then Russkra and Vlui.
[12:54] <FrontierWarGM> ["Yeah, maybe you blew up a few ships like it?" Snapped Russkra.-
[12:55] <FrontierWarGM> [Vlui hissed-
[12:55] <Kayoko> "Oh stop it."
[12:57] * Kess shook her head a bit. "I am not sure…"
[12:58] <FrontierWarGM> ["Not unexpected, young one. I identify the design, but that doesn't help us, one daisy amongst a million." Said Violet. "Vessels such as these are produced by the Ardent Taxiarch Republic, but they sell stripped back designs to anyone with the money to buy them. This vessel is likely privately owned, and could belong to anyone or anything."]
[13:05] <Kayoko> "Exciting. Gregory, if you could hail them…?"
[13:05] <Liane> And right about then, Liane suddenly blips in on the holographic comms. "… Captain. Did I hear you correctly, that there was a distress call from the FSS Integrity?" … There was a certain urgency in her voice that was rarely evident from her. … Also, she was already suited up.
[13:06] <Kayoko> "… That's right, Ensign. You're familiar with it?"
[13:08] <Liane> "… It was my last posting before the Valletta," Liane replied. "Intimately so."
[13:11] <Kayoko> "… ah," she said blandly, giving this new problem the attention it deserved. "Well I need you to stay put for the moment, Liane. We're going to make contact and decide what to do from there."
[13:13] * Liane … frowned, but nodded. "Yes, ma'am. Let it be known that I volunteer for whatever mission we have to send out."
[13:13] <FrontierWarGM> ["Hailing frequencies opened. Putting it on screen."-
[13:14] <FrontierWarGM> [The bridge of the ship was as boxy and hard-edged as its exterior. Sitting in a chair, buckled in, was an Overseer- or a Defector. It was actually hard to tell.-
[13:14] <FrontierWarGM> ["Stranger! Ahem. Know that you speak with…"-
[13:14] <FrontierWarGM> ["…"-
[13:15] <FrontierWarGM> ["A citizen, yes, of the Overseer Empire! Kowtow to me three times, or I'll make you all into my lunch!"]
[13:18] * Liane frowned deeper. "I wasn't aware the Overseer Empire counted pirates among its citizens," she remarked sarcastically, unable to hold back her vitriol at the moment.
[13:19] <Kayoko> "…" Very slowly, Kayoko grinned. "An interesting idea. Another ide-"-
[13:19] <Kayoko> She paused, glanced meaningfully at the Liane hologram and then muted it.-
[13:19] <Kayoko> "Another idea I have is for you to tell me why you're in possession of one of our warships."
[13:20] <FrontierWarGM> ["Really? I don't see your name on it."]
[13:24] <Kayoko> "Do you know my name?"
[13:25] * Liane didn't show Kayoko a clear reaction to the glance.
[13:26] <FrontierWarGM> ["Your name? Why would I know your name! A mighty Overseer like me doesn't have to worry about anyone's names! The only name worth anything in this sector is mine!" The Overseer preened, and ran one hand over his mask.-
[13:27] <FrontierWarGM> [His two bottom arms had remained steadfastly stuck to the seat's arms the entire time. To Kess and Violet, it gave the effect of making everything he said come off as slurred.]
[13:33] * Kess …stared intently. This lookwed really weird. And the diction was weirdly… bad. On top of the slurring and lack of good gesturation. Positioning suggested…
[13:34] * Kayoko just smiled. "What are you really, stranger? Because I'm pretty sure you're not an Overseer."
[13:34] <FrontierWarGM> ["Fine! You caught me."-
[13:35] <FrontierWarGM> [The Notaseer leapt out of his chair and in one movement, threw off his robes and helmet to reveal…-
[13:35] * Kess allowed a plumage display. insect in stolen plumage - seemingly a less direct reference to Warfriends.
[13:36] <FrontierWarGM> [A shockingly human-like figure, with a delicate elfin face, lush, vivid pink hair and silvery skin. "A Symphonian! And not just any Symphonian! I am the syncrarch of the seventh city of adamant-"-
[13:38] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet sighed. "Captain, I think I know what's going on. Please have Idris launch a flare of neutron radiation at this thing, and we'll see for ourselves."]
[13:39] <Kayoko> "Sounds like a plan," Kayoko agreed. She seemed to be growing bored with the display. "Idris?"
[13:39] <FrontierWarGM> ["On it."-
[13:39] * Kess turned at Violet and … put two and two together. Silent, waiting. To see what it's like when worlds uncollide
[13:39] <FrontierWarGM> ["When I was nineteen, I alone managed to fuse with a Great One and GHKKKKK."-
[13:40] <FrontierWarGM> [The form of the Notphonian rippled, warped and bent.-
[13:40] <FrontierWarGM> [Then an outer layer of fluids sloughed off its body, revealing…-
[13:41] <FrontierWarGM> [A bumpy, sandpapery red-skinned creature with long arms and legs, no neck, and a single eye for a face. The face itself was oddly shaped, like a starfish bent to resemble a lotus flower.-
[13:42] <FrontierWarGM> ["[Gendered insult]!" shrieked the alien, little mouths opening up across his rocky 'petals', his words being intercepted and censored by the Defector translators.-
[13:42] <FrontierWarGM> ["A Scumslinker, the juice that congeals at the bottom of a bin." Said Violet.]
[13:44] * Liane rolled her eyes.
[13:44] * Kayoko clapped her hands gently. "Now! Why do you have one of our warships?"
[13:45] <FrontierWarGM> ["Grrr."-
[13:45] <FrontierWarGM> ["Listen, [gendered insult]. I found this ship a day ago, abandoned with no life signs on board. I'm salvaging it."-
[13:46] <FrontierWarGM> [The Scumslinker slunk back into his chair. He had twelve little legs- no feet, just pointy legs.-
[13:46] <Liane> … Liane's expression darkened visibly at that.
[13:48] * Kayoko leaned a little closer to the comms window, still smiling but now without a trace of warmth in her eyes. "Now I hate to interrupt, friend, but if you call me that again we may also have to stop being polite. Am I understood?"
[13:49] <FrontierWarGM> ["Tccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccchhhhhh."-
[13:49] <FrontierWarGM> ["Fine."-
[13:49] <Kayoko> "Wonderful. Please continue."
[13:51] <FrontierWarGM> ["Now listen here. I am an employee of the Cyclogene Foundation, and as per the Cyclogene Free Trade Agreement of Year 8,221, we have rights to salvage vessels that are adrift with no lifesigns." Said the Scumslinker. "Signatories to the Agreement have the right of first refusal to their own ships, but as your people are not signatories, I don't owe you anything."-
[13:51] <FrontierWarGM> ["And since the Shrinepath Devoted are signatories, attacking me is an act of piracy. Got it?"]
[13:54] <Kayoko> "An interesting argument. And if we were to ask you to prove there were no lifesigns?"
[13:56] * Liane whips off a text message to Kayoko's terminal! And how does he *know* we have anything to do with the Shrinepath?
[13:57] <Kayoko> [we don't]
[13:58] <FrontierWarGM> ["You're not a signatory to the Agreement. I don't have to prove anything to you." Said the Scumslinker. "The Shrinepath battlefleet in this system asked me for proof. I produced it. They were satisfied. If you want proof, ask them."]
[14:00] <Liane> Liane quickly sent back a reply. [then I'm not sure of the significance of the SD's signature to us, what is he on about]
[14:03] <Kayoko> "Here's the thing. I'm fairly sure you haven't spoken to any Shrinepath, given you've apparently been flying around posing as an Overseer." Kayoko suggested.
[14:05] <FrontierWarGM> ["I'm a Virile One." Said the Scumslinker. "We shapeshift. It's what we do. Got a problem with that, speciest?"]
[14:14] <Kayoko> "Oh, no problem with the shapeshifting. That's quite wonderful, in my opinion," she said brightly.-
[14:14] <FrontierWarGM> ["Cease, pervert."]
[14:14] * Kayoko made a face.-
[14:16] * Kayoko tapped her hand on the side of her console for a moment. "Alright. Here's my offer: Are you open to a trade? Transmatter for the ship, and we can both leave happy?"
[14:20] <FrontierWarGM> [He waved a cloud of stubby fingers at the screen. "I am open to a trade, at the right time and the right place. You see, I am taking this and other goods to my Base of Executive Operations, which is in a nearby system. There I will be auctioning off my choicest goods, including this ship! So of course you can come and bid for it there. In fact! Because this will be your first time at a Cyclogene Auction, I'll throw in a treat: just for you guys, food, drink and companionship are free. How does that sound? (Offer not valid at other Cyclogene auctions in the future or from other employees, and 'free' implies a limit of three thousand litres of food, drink and companionship, total, divided amongst your crew as appropriate)."]
[14:24] * Kayoko glanced at Franco and Violet, looking thoroughly dubious about the offer.
[14:25] <FrontierWarGM> [Franco's expression was flat. "That thing's going to be a mess, Captain."-
[14:26] <FrontierWarGM> [He added. "Especially since he measures companionship by volume, which honestly makes me want to be a monk."-
[14:27] <FrontierWarGM> ["It might be to our advantage." Said Violet. "Cyclogene Auctions are major events, and attracts a huge blend of people from various cultures. We might find allies there, and if we bank on our diplomatic skills and the novelty of the Twiceborn, we might get away with all we wanted and more."]
[14:33] <Tao> "Agreed…" she nodded. "Alright, sir. I think we'll accept your offer."
[14:34] * Liane bit her lip, and spoke up, apparently having circumvented whatever muting Kayoko had applied. "I'm more interested in the fate of the missing crew, myself. If it'll get us some clues in that direction…"
[14:34] <FrontierWarGM> ["Brilliant. Engorged Acquirer out!"-
[14:34] <FrontierWarGM> [The comms cut off, and the boxy ship- and its precious cargo- began to fly away.-
[14:35] <Tao> "… Engorged Acquirer," she said blankly.
[14:35] <FrontierWarGM> ["Scumslinkers." Muttered Violet.-
[14:37] <FrontierWarGM> ["I'm worried too." Said Idris, looking at Liane. "The Integrity had an Evangelion on board. Chao is as precise as a sigilite scalpel, he's not the sort to lose his head in a crisis… My hope is that he and the crew escaped, inshallah, and we will find some clue on board. Otherwise, Chao will be the first Evangelion to die."]
[14:40] <Tao> "No point in worrying until we have more information to work with," Kayoko said. "Half an hour ago we thought the Integrity was lost with all hands. If anything, their odds have just improved."
[14:41] * Kess shook her head again. "…They are certainly… colorful beings. But yes. What happened to them is up to considerable debate…"
[14:44] * Liane nodded firmly. "Chao was the last one I spoke to before I left. But I was good friends with all three of the other Superheavy pilots aboard the Integrity at the time of my departure." Her face was twisted with worry, somewhat, an expression rarely seen on her. "Ibrahim, Barry, and Ekaterin…" She let out a sigh, and gave Tyrell a knowing look. "God. I still remember that damn
[14:44] * Liane party."
[14:48] <FrontierWarGM> [Zima patted Liane's holographic plinth supportively. "My gut says they'll be fine. It takes a lot to kill a Twiceborn and more to kill a Superheavy pilot."-
[14:50] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet settled back into his chair and folded his hands together. "Scumslinkers…"]
[14:51] * Inara had been quietly watching this all with her chin propped up on her fist. "What's the plan, then? Are we actually going to bid on the ship?"
[14:55] <Tao> "If that's an option available to us, yes. We have trade goods and allowances to use them, and the Chancellor was quite clear that she wanted to avoid us making waves."
[15:01] <FrontierWarGM> ["And if someone else buys the ship?" Asked Franco.]
[15:02] <Kayoko> "We adapt."
[15:04] <FrontierWarGM> [Vlui shot Russkra a wordless look that nonetheless said a lot.-
[15:04] <FrontierWarGM> [Russkra shot Vlui a hand sign that was almost certainly obscene.-
[15:06] <FrontierWarGM> ["We'll need more information before we can determine our full plan, but yes, adapting on the go is necessary." Said Violet. "The name 'Engorged Acquirer' doesn't mean anything to me, but it's rare for a Scumslinker to rise high enough to own their own Base of Executive Operations without plenty of cunning and wit, even if he does seem the fool."]
[15:13] <Liane^> "Admiral Vlui?"
[15:14] <FrontierWarGM> ["Yes?"]
[15:19] <Liane^> "What is standard Freepath protocol with respect to prisoners of war?" Liane asked calmly.
[15:20] <FrontierWarGM> ["Treat them well enough. Why?"]
[15:22] <Liane^> Liane nodded. "And were the Freepath fighting in this sector?"
[15:23] <FrontierWarGM> ["A few systems away, possibly. It's been awhile since I've had full access to Freepath information. Attacking the Wall is a little much."]
[15:24] <Liane^> "Damn… We should have asked that …uh… Scumslinker where he found it."
[15:25] <Kayoko> "I doubt he would've told us. There'll be time for that later."
[15:25] * Kess thought about it. "The eva being nonpresent is awkward enough, though."
[15:26] <Liane^> "Yeah… Chao wouldn't just leave the ship. I know that."
[15:27] <FrontierWarGM> ["Regardless, we have the coordinates for this Base. Shall we set a course?" Asked Franco.]
[15:28] <Liane^> "We know anything about the local protocols? Might be good to know what they are with regard to weapons…"
[15:30] * Kayoko looked to Franco. "Set a course, yes. We'll hold the Valletta at a safe position and send the ground team by shuttle."
[15:30] <FrontierWarGM> ["It's possible the laws have changed, but unless you've done something untoward previously, you're permitted personal weaponry in the open-to-the-public areas of a Cyclogene Base." Said Violet.-
[15:30] <Liane^> "I don't plan to start shit, but, you know, seedy trading post full of unsavory types like that guy."
[15:31] <FrontierWarGM> [Idris glanced at Liane.-
[15:36] <FrontierWarGM> ["Course set." Said Tran. "Preparing for jump."-
[15:36] <FrontierWarGM> […-
[15:38] <FrontierWarGM> [The Base of Executive Operations was, fundamentally, a massive space station with giant engines strapped to it.-
[15:40] <FrontierWarGM> [It presented as a nest of towers and buildings, almost city-like, connected by flimsy-looking tubes holding train cars. All of it was contained, indeed built on, the bones of a creature at least a hundred kilometres long, with the rib cage raising up around the central cluster. Shields and docking bays had been built directly into the bone.-
[15:41] <FrontierWarGM> [Here and there, ad-hoc additions had been made- an asteroid here, parts of a blatantly foreign space station attached to the superstructure…-
[15:42] <FrontierWarGM> [Around the Base was a swarm of vessels, most of them unidentified. Violet started picking a few out, but gave up after a minute- the count was in the hundreds.-
[15:43] <FrontierWarGM> [There were even a few Devoted vessels, some Shrinepath and some Freepath, positioned tactfully at opposite ends of the Base.-
[15:43] <FrontierWarGM> ["Incoming vessel, you are cleared to dock at Rib Bay Upper Eight." Said a robotic voice shortly after Gregory requested permission.-
[15:45] <FrontierWarGM> [The Valletta itself sat at the terminus line of the system, with the roomy shuttle easily fitting inside Upper Eight's hangar. The Superheavy pilots had gone along, as had Kayoko, Violet, Zima and a pair of marines. Tran's hologram piloted the shuttle in, then vanished after giving them a peace sign.-
[15:46] <FrontierWarGM> [A swarm of robots and droids helped tether their shuttle and cleared space for them- as large as Upper Eight was, it was nonetheless crowded, and space was parceled out vertically- in fact, the shuttle had been 'docked' eight metres away from a wall.-
[15:49] <FrontierWarGM> "You are aboard the. Cyclogene Foundation. Base of Executive Operations. 'Engorged Acquirer's Base'." Said one prim droid, waiting at the end of the gantry. "Please sign your. Name and affiliation. Note that signing your. Name and affiliation. Means agreeing to our terms and conditions for use of our. Cyclogene Foundation. Base of Executive Operations."-
[15:49] <FrontierWarGM> [It held out a tablet.]
[15:50] <Liane^> "And you can show us these terms, I trust?"
[15:51] <Kayoko> "What she said."
[15:51] <FrontierWarGM> [A hologram of the terms and conditions appeared. It was…-
[15:55] <FrontierWarGM> [… Well, it was long and dry. The fundamentals were the following: all transactions were to be done using Cyclogene 'Moks', a currency. They could trade goods for Moks, as well as other currencies if those currencies were accepted as actually having worth, where 'worth' was measured against a reserve of…-
[15:55] <FrontierWarGM> […-
[15:55] <FrontierWarGM> [There was also the requirement that their weapons and ships be registered, with penalties if they were used outside of self defense or in another sanctioned way, like settling a bounty or chastising a slave.]
[15:59] <Kayoko> "… Nothing too disruptive," Kayoko said eventually. She'd been reading the document with painstaking care, her arms folded across her chest. "I'll sign first.
[15:59] <Kayoko> "*
[16:00] <Liane> "I assume, then, that we're following 'when-in-Rome' protocol with regard to that last part," Liane remarked dryly.
[16:02] <Kayoko> "Well we won't be chastising any slaves."
[16:03] * Kess sadly nodded. "As it seems, yes. It would be counterproductive to interrupt others doing so." The paradox that enlightenment of many may require waiting out suffering through the ignorance of some
[16:04] <Liane> "I know we won't, it was more of a question of whether I should ignore others doing it." She nodded, though.
[16:04] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet remained silent as he crossed the gantry.]
[16:08] <Kayoko> "If you can disrupt them nonviolently, feel free. However we're here for the Integrity, and we can't do that if we're fighting the entire station."
[16:09] * Rora blanched a bit, glowing with faint turquiose disquiet, but nodded nonetheless.
[16:10] * Liane nodded. "Non-violently. Understood, ma'am," she said with a smile, and registered her electronic signature as well.
[16:10] <Kayoko> … Kayoko didn't seem too happy with needing to give the order, though.
[16:11] <FrontierWarGM> […-
[16:11] <FrontierWarGM> [The hangar had dozens of elevators, carrying them to the main promenade- a space the size of a city in the core of the station.-
[16:13] <FrontierWarGM> [And what a space.-
[16:14] <FrontierWarGM> [We invoke the word with some irony, because it was crowded. All around them were other visitors, ranging from those who looked startlingly familiar- humanoid creatures with hair and eyes and ears- to the utterly alien- a globe of moss floating along in an anti-gravity sphere of luminescent jelly, manipulating things with magnetism- to the mysterious, such as a collection of creatures wearing armour so thick that their actual bodies could not be seen.-
[16:16] <FrontierWarGM> [And besides the people, were the hawkers, just as diverse as the visitors. Many were occupying trolleys and carts, selling food (with allergy warnings for various species, naturally), or souvenirs, or in one case, weaponry. Some merely sold advertising.-
[16:19] <FrontierWarGM> [The closer one came to the middle of the promenade, the more these hawkers had to compete with actual permanent shops. Crowded restaurants and deliberately seedy-looking bars crowded next to mech armour shops, computer stores and information brokers. One place they passed was home to a diverse collection of armoured and well-armed figures; the sign read "Couriers Guild Branch, Services Available."-
[16:19] <FrontierWarGM> [Another, more ornate building had no one outside of it and no windows; it was labelled simply as "Defector Telepath Guild."-
[16:21] <FrontierWarGM> ["Holy shit." Murmured Zima, as they watched a small Scumslinker shapeshift into a fat, gas-filled fish-like creature and float into the sky, merely to turn into a bird and swoop back down, handing a freshly-caught bug to one of his many delighted friends.]
[16:24] <Liane> "… Permission to take pictures, Captain? I'm gonna need some souvenirs for Hannah and Lena, and I suspect the usual standby of foreign currency will be too expensive here," Liane laughed.
[16:27] <Kayoko> "Mm. Don't make it too obvious you're a tourist."
[16:28] <Liane> "Of course not, that's inviting trouble," Liane replied.
[16:33] * Kess filtered through the area, bristling her plumes every now and then, though she briefly paused. "…interesting." ,,,Namely, at the sight of a… a pet store. With some wildflower-world animals she had never seen before1 Like the little creature with oversized eyes that looked like reptilekind's answer to a squirrel, to the Filament Dancer, a small fuzzy ball with no seeming features, that yet extended small translucent
[16:33] * Kess filaments of dubious matter to grapple and dance around its enclosure. Under her breath, Kess commented something about tribbles. Whatever those were, as far as others were concerned.
[16:42] * Rora stared
[16:49] * Rora passed by what looked to be a music shop…but with no instruments he could've recognized. Long, spindly metal weaves with innumerable holes and clasps; a wheel with various sized cloth packets that still somehow managed to produce a pleasant hum; even a black matte sphere with no discernable interface, that he nonetheless heard echoing in the back of his mind.
[16:55] * Inara was… bristling with distraction. Petshop? Yes. Her notepad had come out, and she was furiously scribbling some things down. A strange, legless sentient creature drifted past, the lower half of its body shimmying to and fro like the movements of a very large anaconda. Inara instantly switched gears, staring, scribbling, and absentmindedly following.
[16:58] <FrontierWarGM> [A sudden sound startled not only the party, but also the animals and passersby- the legless creature suddenly bolted.-
[16:58] <FrontierWarGM> [The sound was that of a loud, deep rumbling guttural roar.-
[16:59] <FrontierWarGM> [Most of the crowd rushed to the sides of the main road- and as they did, Liane and the others would see what was behind the noise.-
[17:00] <FrontierWarGM> [A troop of Warslaves marched down the road, four abreast, plasma glaives in hand. Behind them were Overseers.-
[17:02] <FrontierWarGM> [Sitting atop a giant Warslave ten metres tall, its back permanently bent was a silver palanquin, decorated in engravings, statues of mythical creatures and swirls of gemstones arranged in geometric patterns. Lounging atop the palanquin was Conqueror-of-the-Last-Frontier.-
[17:04] <FrontierWarGM> [Riding on another giant Warslave was Planter-of-the-Tall-Trees. Unlike his brother, Planter was sitting up, waving at the crowd.-
[17:05] <FrontierWarGM> [Alongside the giant Warslaves were a new species that the Twiceborn had not yet seen.-
[17:08] <FrontierWarGM> [They were lavender skinned, and shockingly human in appearance; they all had long hair, all straight, all of various colours such as red, green, and royal blue. They wore robes of white that fell to their very ankles, almost shrouding small black shoes. Their eyes were all uniformly closed. In their hands they bore musical instruments and pennants, which they played and waved.-
[17:10] <FrontierWarGM> [Conqueror did not seem to notice them as he passed. Planter, meanwhile, threw them a cheery wave with two hands.-
[17:10] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet exuded a literal red aura of anger.]
[17:11] * Liane had been almost about to surreptitiously snap a picture of nothing in particular when she heard the noise, and immediately, the camera was put away, herself snapping to attention at the noise that Conqueror and his retinue were making. And… she merely stared back, impassively, not showing any particular emotion.
[17:15] <FrontierWarGM> [The general attitude amongst those watching the parade was a mix of respect, hatred- and terror.]
[17:16] <FrontierWarGM> [Some, meanwhile, took the time to cheer the parade.]
[17:16] * Inara glowered briefly. This interruption was completely uncalled for. Deliberately, she turned away in search of new lifeforms among the crowd.
[17:17] <Kayoko> Kayoko watched this with a raised eyebrow. Without Conqueror watching, an illusory crest appeared behind her head as Planter went by. watch out for bugs, she signed, and winked.
[17:18] <FrontierWarGM> [Planter's mask shifted to match Kayoko's face. He raised a hand to his- her?- lips and blew her a kiss.-
[17:18] <FrontierWarGM> [Half the crowd on her side turned to stare at her.]
[17:18] * Kayoko grinned with apparently sincere amusement.
[17:19] * Kess muttered something under her breath again, and made the subtlest of gestures to Violet. a loud horn signals its hunters. …But she was soon shifting towards Kayoko, as if to establish… something. Maybe to make Keyoko less remarkable.
[17:20] <FrontierWarGM> [Inara would nearly knock a poor alien over as she turned.-
[17:21] <FrontierWarGM> ["Pardon me." Said the alien in perfect English as he brushed past, squeezing between Liane and Zima as he went. He was humanoid, and wore a frayed robe of silky blue with a hood that hid most of his face; he held a gnarled wooden staff in his hand as he went.-
[17:22] <FrontierWarGM> [The head of the procession was being met by Engorged Acquirer personally, who was reading out platitudes and praises. Acquirer offered Conqueror a slave- some sort of hunched monkey creature- but Planter cut in and refused the gift before Conqueror could reply.-
[17:23] <FrontierWarGM> [Shortly after this, of course, a little message would beep onto the personal comms of the team-
[17:23] <FrontierWarGM> [("Meet us at the Sky Tower in three Twiceborn hours. I have a proposal for you that you'll find interesting.").-
[17:23] <FrontierWarGM> [Courtesy of Conqueror.]

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