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Diremast

The Abysswalkers: Terrenus Branch HQ

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Operation: Shattered Sun


“Is this all?”

“Yes, sir. That was all we were able to scramble together with our limited timeframe.”

“Very good, you’re dismissed.”

The soldier saluted, turned and departed from the office with determined steps. As the door shut behind him Master Sergeant John Wilson brushed his fingers along the edges of the  folders of documents he had just been placed on his desk. There was a look of disdain painted across his face as he examined the information before him. He knew how lethal it could be to rush operations without a thorough background check of all the operatives and he had voiced his concern to the board of directors but as always he was met by deaf ears. All they could hear was the sound of money they had been offered for taking on such an orthodox contract. It didn’t smell right to him.

It didn’t smell right at all.

But he had been given his orders and he wasn’t paid for his opinion but rather for his resolve and he wasn’t about to shy away from his purpose over a bad hunch. Although he didn’t very much like to admit it, something a little faith was needed. But even with their rushed timetable he would was not about to send people to their death. He have led more than a dussin operations and taken part in even more and he had yet to lose a single operative on his watch and he was not about to start now. After adjusting the light of his standard issue table lamp to better illuminate the contents of the documents he would proceed to carefully examine them one by one.

It was time to get to know the squad.


Report

Hana Alenko [Tech Specialist]

Age: 16

Bio: She may be young, but make no mistake she is a natural and an expert when it comes technology. Not much is known about her past aside her affiliation an organization called Amalgam which in turn we know even less about. A lot of unknowns here, but she can get the job done that is for sure.

I was not able to confirm this but she supposedly played a crucial role in the development of the Su-47 Berkut which seems to be some kind specialised aircraft. Now if I have had been given more time I could have provided more. So don’t complain to me if it’s not enough.  

End.

 

Signed,

Head Intel officer Shane Dawn


Report

Delistair Paige [Infiltration Specialist]

Age: 30

Bio: Active sergeant in the Terrenus military, communication and recon division. Yeah I know what you’re thinking but he was cleared twice by Intel for the operation. Look on the bright side, at least he will be used to follow orders. He’ll be an asset on the ground don’t you worry about that. He’s also some kind of magician in the art of Abjuration.

Whatever the fuck that is.

Nothing out of the ordinary from his childhood, except the fact that his village was raided and his family killed when his was twelve which when I think of it makes his childhood anything else but ordinary. I managed to get a hold of some old medical documents which suggested that he was fatally struck but it seems he was saved by an unknown individual.

I haven’t been able to find anything about the man aside from that though, he must have been saved by a ghost or something. I have witnessed stranger things happen, and from reading your folder so have you so try to keep an open mind with this guy, eh?

Other than that, from what I gathered he if driven by the need to protect others. Quite noble don’t you think? Well everybody is a hero until they get shot. Oh and there are records of him and Hana partnering for several missions so they shouldn’t have any problem getting along.

End.

 

PS

Don’t even think about trying to give me any shit about looking into your folder to your C.O, it’s my job to keep track of you bunch of fucks and so that’s what I am doing. I don’t care if it’s classified, I’m the fucking head of intelligence I decide what is classified or not.

 

Signed,

Head Intel officer Shane Dawn


Report

Saotome Yumeko [Ranged Combat Expert]

Age: 17

Bio: She’s the current Captain of the Tamonten Military Academy Para-Military Club. Since she outranks you, perhaps she should be the one leading this mission? The club spends their time teaching and I quote “ins and out of Freelance Para-Military operations”. Perhaps she can teach you something. Most people use the club to gain some live combat experience and then either going freelance, joining up with mercenary corps or enlisting to the terrenus military. But then you have people like Saotome here who ends up as captain of the merry bunch, the cream of the crop in other words.

Let me break it down to you, when it comes to using guns she’s the complete package. She’s smart, experienced and ready and able to put a bullet in anyone standing in her way. Not the typical school girl, that’s for sure. Just point her in the right direction and then just watch as the bodies start to hit the floor.

And make sure to thank santa for bringing you an early gift.

End.

 

Signed,

Head Intel officer Shane Dawn


After he finished going over each of the member he turned to store them in his personal safe which was unlocked by an eight digit series of numbers. He had not much time to contemplate or worry as the screen of his workstation had notified him that they had arrived and was standing by for briefing. Making his way through the compound he couldn’t prevent his thoughts of wandering. The group might not be that old in age, but they sure didn’t suffer from a lack of experience. He brushed his brow.

Even so the group seemed like a wildcard to him, and that was never a good thing. He knew nothing about their own agendas. I mean a sergeant from the Terrenus military. They must really have been scrambling when they put the team together. For some reason they had insisted to use outside operatives on this one, that was always a risk but there is a difference between a calculated risk and just being reckless. But it did provide them with public deniability if things were to go south.

The politics of war, it made him sick to his stomach

He stopped as he reached the door to the room to which their brief had been assigned. After taking a deep breath he opened the door and moved along the edge of the room until he reached the other side of the room where he turned to continue to follow the walls. He stopped in the middle where a desk had been placed. A single row of stools had been provided before their arrival. He gestured them to sit down before turning and writing his name on the whiteboard that stood behind him.

“Welcome to the Abysswalkers. I am Master Sergeant John Wilson and I will be the one leading this operation. You have all been selected because you are the best at what you do and that is what I am expecting from each and every one of you.” As he finished presenting his name in writing he turned back to face the group.

“I expect nothing but the best.” He paused for a moment to let his words to sink in. While doing so he took measure of each of them in silence. You could only get so much from a file and granted to could paint a good picture of the person but to really get a sense of the character of an individual you should look them in the eye.

“I’m aware that some of you might already know each other, but nevertheless I would like you do introduce yourselves to each other. You’re a free to do it in whatever ever means you feel appropriate but name and specialty would be much appreciated.” After he finished he proceeded to cross his arms over his chest in wait for them the present themselves. While doing so, his gaze went left to right and back between them.

Edited by Diremast

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"Nice place," Delistair commented when they were brought past the bar and into a series of corridors, until they reached their briefing room. The staff who brought them in did not respond. "Master Sergeant Wilson will be with you in a moment," he said, and left.

Del had left behind the uniform that identified him as part of the Terran military, and instead donned his green cloak that was armed with protective spells. His gun and wand had to be left at the entrance; an apparent rule for outsiders. Not that it left him in much of a vulnerable position, since he had spells at his disposal. For Hana, however, he wondered if she felt naked without her weapons. It seemed that she always carried a gun, and it was her expertise with the firearms that he had partnered with her for a number of missions. Their ongoing arrangement was that he would enchant her items with defensive spells, and she would train him in gun fighting.

This time, however, he did not take on the mission as a Terran military operative, but as a mercenary. As a recon personnel, his clearance  level allowed him access to information that helped to further his personal search for his missing sister. This information that they were tasked to retrieve in the Abysswalkers' mission, he believed, might contain clues to her whereabouts. Technically, he wasn't allowed to take on external operations without approval, but he figured that he could explain away his breach of protocol by 'investigation of suspicious activity' if necessary.

John Wilson walked into the room. Veteran, Delistair thought, just from the way he carried himself. No-nonsense. Good, he wasn't much of a talker himself. 

"Delistair Paige," he said, when they went round for introductions. "Experienced in recon and infiltration. I have tools for decryption and for hacking access systems, but if those fail, we have Hana." He indicated to her. He had seen by his own eyes the machines that she had built, and it was no doubt that she was an expert engineer.

"I specialize in abjuration magic," he continued. "Not a common field, but you can think of me as a bomb disposal expert in magical terms. Breaking down and setting up magical barriers, things like that. I work best in a support role, but I can handle a gun as well."

He felt no need to mention the military, or to elaborate on his partnership with Hana. John Wilson likely knew enough about him anyway. He had seen enough of the building he to know they were serious about their business. Such an organization would have a solid intelligence department. Which meant that this mission they were on was either something the Abysswalkers did not want to be seen as directly involved in, or it was so urgent that they couldn't form an internal team in time. He couldn't decide which was probably worse.

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Definitely not @Off Topic: One can't have a briefing without a briefing theme.  Everyone knows this.

"I'll leave my weapons at the door after someone gets a wizard to leave their spells at the door."  The armed teenager uttered in defiance as she stepped forward into the room with arsenal in tow.  "Hello there"  The teenager briefly waved to others allies present which only seemed to be Del so far.  It would likely pay a bit to greet the superiors with a degree of politeness after flouting their security measure.  The intelligence report contained no details the teenager didn't expect the average individual to find.  It was of no bother to her and she believed that even if they thought they discovered what they thought was sensitive information it probably wouldn't be of much worth. 

"You can call me Hana.  I can conduct myself when it comes to combat, and if there is technology involved I'll be able to handle it.  I'm sure Delistair can handle the magical bits."

Something about the mission irked the teenager.  She didn't want to put herself into danger without all the details, and Hana had the feeling that something was being held back.  "What can you tell me about this piece of information we're recovering.  If I know what I'm going after I'll have a far better chance of finding it.  Also this General'ny Direktor fellow appears to be very intelligent.  How do you know she hasn't already made a copy of your data and has it stored elsewhere?  If I were the Direktor I'd definitely keep a backup of my information off site."

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The briefing occurred, but the end result was likely not as these abyss walker folks expected.   There were too many gaps in the information provided in the alleged briefing, and that was where Hana's trust for the organization would come to an abrupt end.  After briefly surveying the inside of this headquarters structure the teenager would exit out the way she came in.  She expected Del to follow.

She would take a seat on the ruins of a nearby dilapidated building while waiting for Del to return from the structure.  She was relieved to see him finally emerge, but not because she was concerned for his well being.  She had plenty of other reasons.  There were other factors at play that led the pair to this point and Hana felt the need to learn more.  "I've never seen you so eager to take on that kind of mercenary work before.  If you've still got a reason to go up that tower I'm still interested in going along with it.  If you don't mind I'm curious what details you know about the place."

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The briefing ended with Hana’s abrupt departure, and because a few people who had signed up for the job decided not to show up. Delistair shrugged and told Master Sergeant John Wilson not to worry about it. Such things happened occasionally when hiring mercenaries, and it would not be the first, nor the last time.

Squinting against the light of the sun, Del stepped out of the Abysswalkers’ headquarters. With his long black hair and lean build under his mage’s cloak, he didn’t have the look of a military man. Neither did the teenage girl waiting for him on the steps of an empty and abandoned building. He joined her on the steps. 

“I've never seen you so eager to take on that kind of mercenary work before.”

It occurred to Del then that till now, the friendship between him and Hana had been strictly professional. They had never talked about themselves, nor what had brought them to where they were. He looked up at the sky above. Rai would be just a few years older than Hana now. He wondered if she grew up as strong and independent. 

“It’s for something personal,” he preferred to keep the details vague. “I found some discrepancies in the data on the Tower’s operations, in the military’s surveillance reports. Some figures on the ins and outs of money and goods that didn’t add up. I wanted to see what’s up for myself, before the military got wind of it.” Some resources that were sent to the village of ‘Glenarm’, which didn’t exist anymore. He should know, since that was the village he was born in, and the village where he saw the slaughter happen.

“If the military proper got to it first, I might not be able to get the information first-hand. The Abysswalkers’ objectives happen to align with mine,” Del said. “I still want to get in the tower, but there’s no reason for you to risk yourself and your rank to do this with me.” He looked down as he said this. If it got found out that he abused his access for personal means, he was going to get severely punished.

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The information wasn't an incredible revelation revelation as the teenager expected, but that fact did little to bother her in the moment.  She kept just as many or more things about herself carefully hidden.  Regardless this incident varied from others in the fact that Del was nearing some sensitive information.  It wasn't that Hana wouldn't like him to find it, but some facilitation would be necessary.  "Well that's something different."  She mused.

"I appreciate your concern, but I'd rather be involved than have to watch you confront what that tower has to offer all by yourself."  Hana had a good idea of how the tower's defenses, and security worked and even with significant confidence in Del's abilities doubted he could emerge safely with his objective accomplished.

"I have an idea that could solve your problem without undue trouble for the both of us.  I have some connections in the tower that could provide the information you're looking for.  Doing it that way wouldn't draw unwanted attention.  I can help you gain your information more easily, but whatever choice you make your actions and goals are safe with me."

Without total knowledge of the situation the knowledge the girl gained wasn't quite blackmail, but likely held more than zero leverage in her back pocket if things took a very unexpected turn.

Edited by spacegy4

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Del regarded Hana for a long moment. They had been through several missions together, and worked well with each other. It wasn’t a surprise that she would offer to help, but in her eagerness, Del wasn’t sure if she had thought of the extent of what would happen if things went awry. Hana was very capable and far from cowardly, but the mission was his alone. With the withdrawal of the backing from the Abysswalkers, there was no gain Hana could get out of this risk. He didn’t want to drag anyone else into his personal matters. Besides being unable to ensure their personal safety, he didn’t want to ruin their careers.

“What I’m intending to do is a breach of confidentiality,” he stated bluntly. There was no point in pretending otherwise. “Involving you or your connections doesn’t seem right to me. I don’t know much about the Direktor who owns the tower, but I doubt he would be happy about information being leaked to outsiders. In a militaristic organization like that, punishment will likely be severe. This is my burden to carry.”

As a recon officer, Del had access to information mined by the military that not even Hana knew he had. He intended to use the military system to scrounge up as much information about the tower’s defences as he can, possibly find out where they kept their data, infiltrate it and smuggle, or copy them out so he could analyze them.

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"There is a burden I'd prefer not to carry, and that would be you going in there by yourself and something happening.  Along with what could happen to me afterward in that event."  She didn't want to lose an ally, but in the back of her mind the teenager had concern to the potential of unwanted military surveillance that could be drawn to her.  

"Like it or not I feel like I'm already involved."  She shrugged.  "Were something unfortunate to happen to you then I'd be in just as much of a fix for letting you go."  Hana was obligated to provide information to the military to prevent the misuse of such assets, and to be caught not doing so when such an incident occurred could land her in just as hot water.

"I find it in my interest that you succeed and don't get unwanted attention that could ruin your career and mine."

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Hana’s words sunk in, and Delistair was silent for a moment. She was right: if he was caught, she wouldn’t be absolved of all blame, not that now she knew what he was going to do. He was grateful that at least she didn’t attempt to dissuade him from it. The choices boiled down to either to go with Hana, or abandon the endeavour completely. He made a decision.

“Well. I was hoping the Abysswalkers would have more information on the structure and systems of the tower,” he said, standing up. “Now that it is a dead end, I’ll have to rely on the information that I gathered from the military systems to make a plan. I have the papers in my room.” He extended a hand to Hana to pull her to her feet. “Coming?”

 

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