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Inside the Great Maker - Exalted IC

Dice System
Exalted 2.5
OOC
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Characters
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Lore
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Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
The lead investigator, a man named Royas, looks over at Flowering and says, "These grenades are not simple 'one use and discard' items, but they are reusable artifacts that we do our best to recover to recharge for later use. They can be either thrown at an enemy or placed against a structure you are trying to damage with a timer set to give yourself enough time to get away from the blast. We have recovered a total of twelve of the Essence Pulse Grenades, all of them set to deliver fire damage. If it were not for the rapid response of both you and Ray, having a half dozen of these things going off in the middle of the Estasians would have surely killed all the mortals of the delegation, and could have even destroyed one or both of the Champions that they brought along as escorts."

From her seat across the table, the Jade caste Exalt Glorious Will eyes Royas and says, "Are you able to trace where the perpetrators got ahold of these weapons? I would have to believe that you have some sort of security on these."

"Yes, Champion." Royas reaches out with is data tablet and taps a few keys on it and on the main wall screen, a ident picture of all eight of the insurgents is displayed. He points at one of the men, and says, "This is Ram, a member of the security force guarding one of the weapon lockers. My team has already determined that all twelve grenades have come from there, with counterfeit records showing that they were properly dispensed to security teams. From what we know of Ram's training, he does not possess the needed skills to be able to forge such documents, but from our video surveillance cameras in the area, we have images of him doing just that. Dr. Tarok of the Surgeons is working to try and identify just how it is possible, and she has given me initial reports that the knowledge of how to acquire these weapons was implanted by someone."

Speaking of Dr. Tarok, she comes into the room and sits down in one of the empty seats. "Please forgive my tardiness. I was elbow deep in the cerebellum of one of the insurgents."

Royas nods. "Of course, Doctor. What can you tell us?"

"All of this is still in the very early stages of my examination, but what I can tell you is that someone that is a real master of memory alteration and implantation was at work here. This level of manipulation either required the use of one of our full sized operating rooms to make use of the advanced equipment in there, or it was done by an Exalt using the Charm 'Memory Implantation Surge' and a sizable amount of time. Since there are no records of anyone making use of a surgical suite to perform neural surgery, I would have to guess that all of this was done by an Exalt of some considerable talent. We need to find this Exalt as soon as possible."

Royas asks, "Will it be possible to recover the true memories of the eight subjects to try and identify the Exalt responsible?"

Dr. Tarok shrugs. "It might be possible, but I am not hopeful. Whatever Champion did this scrubbed the minds of his or her subjects to thoroughly erase any trace of their original memory engrams. Very detail oriented. But excellent work does not always mean flawless work. I will continue to probe the prisoners and see what, if anything, I can recover."

Royas replies, "Excellent, Doctor. Keep us informed of any changes to the status of your work with the prisoners."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Needle is silent, deep in thought. Her normal intelligence team never heard even a whisper of this, and that just won't do. I will have to have a meeting with the team, and make sure that failures like this one don't happen again! She looks at the others in the room, and asks, "What of the summit between our people, Yugash and Estasia? A lot of work went into trying to set this up to resolve our differences before all three nations are pulled into all out warfare."
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Ray leans against the wall, arms crossed, nursing a half-empty cup of coffee, annoyed and a little bit bored. Yeah, someone went to town with the happy fun spike, she could have told them that. That's a Needle problem if she's ever seen one. Ray has nothing to do until Needle finds them and it's time to flush them out or blow them up. She can't even smoke in here, and the coffee is mediocre at best. She could be napping, or inspiring the populat, but no, some asshole had to go and cause a major diplomatic incident on her watch, and nearly get a bunch of innocent citizens killed in the process. To top it all off, they failed to kill even one Estasian. Not so much as a scratch on any of them. It had better have been an enemy plot, because otherwise it was just embarrassing. The hunt was on for a memory manipulation wizard moonlighting as an amateur assassin. What they lacked in talent they more than made up for in enthusiasm.

Ray snorts derisively at the mention of the peace talks but covers it badly with a cough.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Royas says, "Members of the Tripartite Assembly have been in contact with their counterparts on the Estasian shuttle, and have been successful in easing their concerns and have gotten them to return to Ein for the summit. Their arrival will be met by several of our Champions, and no civilian members of the populat will be allowed nearby."

Then, Glorious Will grumbles out, "Well, good. Perhaps now we can get some answers from your people about the multiple incidents where our border outposts have been subject to unprovoked attack by your people."

This is news to all of you. As far as you are aware, the "incidents" that have happened have all been made by the Estasians against various Kamaki outposts and smaller towns, not the other way around. Royas frowns, obviously wanting to question her assertion, but knows that he is not the one to bring up such inconsistencies.
 

Arynne

Salmon of Doubt
Flowering looks startled. "What attacks are these? To the best of my knowledge, the Tripartite has not authorized our military to take action as yet."
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
The orange light behind Ray's irises flares, arms uncrossing and hands balling into fists, "You've got some nerve. I've been on two extermination patrols in the reaches that came under fire from your people unprovoked, and I've seen reports of a dozen other incidents. If our people fired first, it was only because they can't be expected to sit still and wait for ambush."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Needle is not often struck speechless, but the comment from Glorious Will has done just that. As her two fellow Champions chime in, she is finally able to say, "I do hope that this is your idea of a joke. We have been watching as Estasia and Yugash have been in active warfare for some time, and as we continue to support Yugash, your people have made multiple attacks against Kamaki civilian targets! Our forces have made no offensive actions against Estasia, and have only reacted in self defense from the unprovoked attacks against us. We have multiple bodies of fallen Estasian soldiers to prove it."

She takes a breath to calm herself, then goes on to say, "That being said, Kamak has gone through a lot of effort to try and get this summit underway to allow our diplomats to present to your Tripartite Assembly the evidence of how we have been wronged here."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Glorious Will lets out a snort. "Hardly a joke. You all can claim to be innocent, but I have seen the damage done by your people personally, so I don't want to hear it. Let the diplomats deal with the 'proof' you say you have, and we will see what happens. Now, I need to check in with the rest of the delegation from Estasia and tell them what I have learned here so far."

Royas nods, "Of course, Champion. I will have you escorted there."

"Thank you." She tries to stifle a glare (but doesn't try very hard), and rises and heads out of the room with Royas on her heels, leaving the three of you in the room by yourselves.

It has now been several hours since the disrupted attack. What do you do now?
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Needle frowns as Glorious Will is speaking as her mind goes on overdrive. Once the other Exalt has left, she looks at her two companions and says, "I have no love lost for the Estasians, but . . . I wonder, what if we are not being lied to, but both sides of this are being played against each other for some reason? It has already been demonstrated that our own people have had their memories tampered, so it is possible that this mystery Exalt is trying to start a war between our nations? Am I totally out of my head, or is there a chance that I'm right? If there is some way to prove this, it might be able to keep us from full out conflict."
 

Arynne

Salmon of Doubt
"I did wonder, earlier, if this Section Nine might be a rogue faction in our own government, trying to force a war," Flowering admits. "I told myself I was being paranoid."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Needle looks over at Flowering and asks, "But why? What purpose would it serve anyone in our own government to get involved in a bloody war with Estasia? Could it be because some think that we should be supporting Yugash with more than just our material aid?" She shakes her head. "I cannot believe that anyone in a position of authority would do that, considering the risks involved to Kamak! Perhaps it is someone from Estasia? Or . . . a different party altogether."

She suddenly stands, saying, "I must get in touch with my intelligence network and do some digging. Despite my own opinions, it is possible that there is someone here that are behind this."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
With a grim expression, Needle says, "That is what I need to find out. It is still possible that someone in our own government is responsible for this, and I don't want to flush our target just yet. We need some proof, evidence that we can take to the Assembly, one way or another. Otherwise we are just grasping at mist and all we will have done is warned our mystery Exalt that we are on his or her trail."

Needle heads towards the door, but pauses just before leaving. "Keep your eyes open, and watch your backs. I will be in touch with information as soon as I get it. Just to warn you, though, in order for me to keep this quiet, it will move slow, even using the pretense of the investigation on the attack as cover for what I am really searching for."

With that, she heads out, making her way though the halls of the city to where her own workspace is located. By now, word of the attack on the Estasian delegation has gotten around the city like fire on an oil slick, and she fully expected to see most, if not all, of her spies waiting for her to get their orders. Assembling them into a briefing room, she quickly got down to business of filling in her people of what they found out so far, including her suspicions that someone was deliberately trying to start a war.

Sherwood Sherwood Do you want me to start off with a few Int/Manipulation + Investigation rolls?
 

Arynne

Salmon of Doubt
While Needle begins her task of following the threads, Unexpected Flowering of Heroic Fortitude has work of her own to get back to. Maybe not as urgent to the situation they currently find themselves in, but critical too, in its way. She still has a sermon to finish writing, a minor festival in honor of Kadmek to help plan, several visits to creches to teach social-emotional development lessons, and the final version of her newest hymn to submit to the censorship bureau.
 

Arynne

Salmon of Doubt
Oh, and she has some work shifts to put in at the brass tubing factory - with that recent influenza outbreak, they've been running behind schedule, but with her Physical Augmentations installed she can do the work of several laborers, allowing them to meet quota without forcing extra shifts on an alread stretched-thin workforce.
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Ray sings softly to herself as she follows the others out, flicking off the lights as she goes, "Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die." Maybe it was Yugash. She could hardly fault them. She wouldn't want to be kicked around for years all alone, and the one thing Estasia was good at was kicking people around. Whatever, Needle would figure it out. She had a report to write, and then a quota-exceeding manufactory to reward and liberal rations of libations to consume distribute. She'd suggested inspiring the underperformers, but apparently that sent the wrong message.

"Let us know if there's anything we can do," she says before pulling up the scandalously sheer gold mesh that serves as her facemask and stepping out into the cold.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Three long days pass by, and Needle, Ray, and Flowering are all extremely busy performing their duties for the populat, with Needle spending much of the time in sleepless study as she goes over records of the men and women involved in the attack on the Estasians, trying to find some common thread to how they were all chosen to be involved in this attempt on the lives of the ministers. Flowering is doing what she can to maintain the morale and productivity of several different factories, spending her time with the workers and telling her tales of her and Ray's bravery, and how Needle was able to get your three Ministers out of harms way without losing any lives to the terrorists. Ray is keeping herself busy looking into the attack from another angle, helping the Adjudicators chase down video feeds, questioning suspects, and doing what she can to review the security around the weapons that were taken by the terrorists in the attack.

With the aid of the Meticulous Surgeons, the Adjudicators have been delving deep into the corrupted memories of the captured terrorists, trying to reconstruct their original thoughts and trying to catch any hint of the person or persons responsible for this. It is very slow going, and even the best of the neural scientists are uncertain of their chances of being able to restore the lost memories and reconstruct their true lives back to what they were before the tampering.

Right now, it is late in the evening shift when Needle finally decides to take some time to catch some much needed sleep. As she stumbles along to her quarters, Needle spots a small datacube sitting on the floor directly outside your door. You know that it was not there the last time you were at your quarters, so it had to have been left sometime in the past two days.

Psychie Psychie What do you do with it?
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
With the appearance of the data cube on her doorstep, Needle carefully looks around to see if there are any people in the hall that might be watching her. If she sees no one, she will carefully reach down to grab the cube and heads inside to examine it. As long as there is nothing untoward about the thing, she will insert it into her reader to examine its contents, getting a second datapad ready to record what she finds in case it has some bizarre way of vanishing off of the screen when she reads it.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
There is no one in sight as Needle looks around, showing that you are alone in the corridor. When you lean down to get the cube, nothing horrible happens, and soon after you are seated safely in your apartment in front of the cube reader. There are two folders on the cube, one being a short message and the second one is much larger, containing what appears to be several still images.

Which do you open?
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
With a raised eyebrow, she decided to reach out to her fellow Champions to see if either Ray or Flowering were available to come to her quarters to see for themselves what is on this data cube. If yes, she will compose herself to wait for the two to arrive.

Arynne Arynne Random Word Random Word
 

Arynne

Salmon of Doubt
"...bearing splendid light, unwearied fire, with flaming torrents bright:
Strong-handed, deathless, and of art divine, pure element..."

Flowering
has more reason than many Exalted to require private living space of her own. Kamaki love music, but the process of creating it is inevitably discordant and noisy, two major taboos in Kamak.

"All-taming artist, all-diffusive power..."

Getting Needle's message, though, causes her to reluctantly put aside the chordophone for the time being and head over to the Starmetal Caste's quarters.
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Ray is knocking back a drink at a regulator precinct recreation hall after a long and fruitless shift spent poring over security footage when her communicator lights up. She sighs inwardly, but the corners of her lips creep upwards. Of course it would be now, but if Needle was calling her that might mean it was time to blow something up. Then again, it wasn't the emergency code, so probably not immediately. Enough time to finish her drink, salute the bar, and declare, "Double shift tonight," before pulling on her coat, pulling up her mask, and stepping out.

The soft hiss of the gently falling snow evaporating on contact with the red jade walkway is barely audible over the noise of the city as she walks up to the busy motorway. She plucks Ultima Ratio from her ear and holds it out, giving it space to unfold into a gleaming orichalcum motorcycle. She's astride it the moment it unfolds, its wheels are spinning before they touch the ground, and she's off, coat trailing behind her, weaving dangerously between ponderous cargo moving automata and spirits, catching a ride atop a fast moving and very packed passenger train carrying most of a manufactory shift, and making a wing-assisted leap to an overpass before finally coming to a skidding halt outside Needle's hab complex.

She transforms Ultima Ratio into its essence cannon form and slings it over her shoulder as she steps into the lobby, giving the duty regulators a playful wink and a placating, "No need to get up on my account." She steps into the elevator and moments later steps out onto an upper floor to find Needle's suite.

"Hi boss. So, what needs to be annihilated for the good of the populat today?" she enquires airily, leaning her essence cannon far back over her shoulder to fit it through the door.
 

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