Spacecraft & Spycraft

Striking Back, Part 1

Shu receives a message to go to the virtual chatroom for the next mission. Greeting him there is the usual balding man with a gravely voice, wishing him well. The man lets Shu know that the SJG is still working on scrubbing their computer systems after his last stunt, and it’s to the point where they may need to consider replacing it completely. In the meantime, the SJG received a request from Cathay Media, who has a mission on Earth.

The company has their eyes on a group called “Homeguard” – a xenophobic group that recently made headlines in Bonn, Germany, after their horrendous assault on a Narn visitor, beating and branding him with their logo. A man with the name Carl Kamfmacht walked into the police station for self arrest. Cathay Media is certain that the man wasn’t actually involved in performing the act, but rather is using this high profile case as a platform for his extremist views – especially since the man is extremely intelligent and an excellent speaker. The case right now is causing a huge stir to the point where lawyers are trying to push it through so that he doesn’t have the ability to deliver polemics, though Kamfmacht’s own representation is just as good at trying to slow the case down.

The SJG is to investigate the Homeguard and find out whatever they can about them – what their involvement is, why this is blowing up so fast, etc. – and as always, deliver justice if needed. Unfortunately, due to the large increase of false media in recent times, they are unable to get any good information from their normal sources. They have until the trial begins to do so, and after the meeting, Shu contacts Lawrence to use his abilities to bog the trial down in bureaucracy even further.

Shu then meets the Cathay Media representative in Bonn, and asks them if they know any information about Kamfmacht already. The representative lets him know that they have very little on him – Kamfmacht appears to be zeroed, and will not give up any of the other men in the attack. PsiCorps has apparently probed him as well and did not find anything of use. A quick and easy hack of Homeguard’s website also revealed very little information – just that they grew extremely fast, a lot of people are using false identities, and that the current best guess on actual members is around half a million. Cathay’s representative lets Shu know that there are protestors that meet every day in front of the courthouse, and that may be a good starting place to get information.

Back on the ship, Kit tells Drew that she found a new boyfriend on the internet and shows him a picture of the young man – which appears to be a young Pierce Brosnan. When Drew tells her this, she tells him that she knows and that’s what excites her – he’s using fake credentials and everything, which means that he must be good. He pinches her nose and tells her to be careful.

After some discussion, the group decides to split up into two different teams to infiltrate the protest gathering – Drew and Jess are put into the press angle while Patterson and Leonie go in as the investor angle. The next day, as Drew and Jess are doing interviews, he hears a whine in his ear from Kit. She tells him that her boyfriend is actually ancient man of 35, and that he’s super creepy especially since they were talking about hotels and such. He pinches his forehead again, asking why she’s doing that, her reply being that it’s like Drew keeps her locked up or something. He warns her to stay away and goes back to doing interviews, though unfortunately were not able to gather any more information than any of the other news organizations there.

When Patterson and Leonie get there, they look for the organizers of the event to speak to. What they notice is that this event has been set up in a military fashion. Leonie notices Bester from PsiCorps in the crowd, and gives everyone a heads up so that they know to avoid him. Leonie and Patterson then make their way to one of the organizers who appears to instantly be smitten with Leonie. He tells her that he’d be very interested in talking with her, and wants to take her to a nearby hotel bar. They exchange business cards – it turns out that he works for a marketing company. The information gets passed on to Shu who does some research, and it turns out that the marketing company is one of the top in Germany.

As the organizer gets drunker, the two of them go up to the presidential suite. Leonie seduces him in the room, then immediately touches him to knocks him out cold. She leaves an embarrassing note for him and then lets Patterson into the room. They rifle through his belongings and find keys to his house as well as his personal computer. They deliver it to Shu, who works on rifling through the company’s internal network. He finds out that the rally is being paid for by one of those pro-humanist’s organization – DFD. When trying to hack the DFD, Shu finds black ice in the lower layer, and immediately avoids it, unfortunately unable to get any further information from that angle. The upper layer simply shows that they are opportunists.

The reporter crew goes to the bar with the rest of the protestors. Jess somehow seemed to be the highlight of the party, and unknowingly got dragged along to what turned out to be an orgy at a nearby hotel. Meanwhile, Drew notices a small group of people hanging out in the back, passing around the picture that Shu released on the internet and whispering furiously about it. Drew goes over there and tries to talk to them, but did not get any success – the group immediately hid the picture and gave him short and curt answers. It wasn’t long until they took their leave, bidding him adieu.

As they leave, Parker and McCoy follow the men out. As McCoy turns a corner, the men grab him and accuse him of being a German investigator. As Parker turns the corner to ask if there’s a problem there, McCoy was able to telepathically administer confusion to the one that has grabbed him and was immediately released. McCoy administered some extremely poor acting, saying that he spotted an alien – which surprisingly worked on the four guys as they turned around and made a beeline for their hideout. McCoy and Parker decided to follow the trail, with McCoy ditching his forged investigator ID in the alleyway in case they get caught and searched again.

When they get into the hideout, which was under a Chinese restaurant with a tin roof, the two men inside were arguing with the rest asking why they brought McCoy and Parker here. They appear very dangerous and ready to kill, though allows one of them to speak before they decide to pull the trigger on them. McCoy says that he spotted an alien, and then points to the picture on the wall that happeend to be the one that Shu released of the Shadow previously. The group was extremely impressed, and it turns out that they actually worship Shu like a messiah, calling him the Founder. McCoy and Parker hype the group up, saying that they have heard grand stories of the Founder and that they have encountered the aliens in the photo previously, which the group ate it up. They tell the group to get them in contact with the Captain so that they can share information that they had learned previously, and gave them contact information for the Captain to reach them.

As Parker and McCoy head back to the ship, Parker suddenly goes flat on his face unconscious and McCoy receives a PPG in the neck. It turns out to be Bester, who tells McCoy that he’s a legend – there are entire teams dedicated to finding out if McCoy actually exists or not. Despite their positions, Bester tells him that they’re on the same team actually – Morden is in the area after all. He wants to exchange numbers to contact McCoy, since they may have valuable information to give to each other. As a gift, he gives McCoy a hint that Abraxis is developing biological weapons in their factory recently – while he personally doesn’t have the resources to investigate, McCoy may have the ability to do so on the other hand. Bester says that it’s good to know that there are other people fighting this thing, then walks away. Parker is suddenly able to get up, doesn’t believe that he tripped on himself, and they make their way back to the ship.

Once the group comes back together, they learn that Carl Kamfmacht was found dead in his jail cell. Contacted Cathay Media with the information they have already, and Cathay Media wants them to dig deeper. On request, Cathay hands over the information they have on Abraxis. As for Kamfmacht, they have no information though they heard that the area of his jail cell is locked down and military access only.

Parker meets with an old military friend who was part of the ordeal – he lets him know that the entire building wing is locked down and all the doors welded except for one, where scientists and doctors are able to enter. The soldiers believe that whatever is in there is completely over since one of the suits torn while inside the area and it’s fine, though Kamfmacht’s body is still in there – some sort of chemical damage, he believes. Later, Shu was able to find pictures and notes of the event showing that Kamfmacht’s foot appears to have been stung and that his blood all coagulated.

As the group were discussing what to do next, a knock happens on Leonie and Patterson’s door in the hotel. While Leonie goes invisible, Patterson opens the door. The man greets himself as the Captain, who comes into the room with a bodyguard that performs a sweep of the whole room. The bodyguard doesn’t notice Leonie, and says that the room is clear. He was dismissed to stand outside, and the Captain says that he was told that his group says that he may know the founder personally. Patterson shows him the video from the Abraxis station in the asteroid belt, which impresses the Captain quite a bit. The Captain wants to know what the Founder wants, and Patterson tells him that they believe that secret aliens had taken the life of Kamfmacht, saying that he was killed because he would expose the aliens to the world. They also tell him that Abraxis Corporation was involved.

A horrible noise was heard outside of the room. Patterson braces the door shut, and then hears a couple thumps against the door. Shu accesses the video cameras in the hotel, and he sees that the bodyguard outside has been completely beheaded. He then sees something invisible hitting the door with immense force. Leonie reveals herself which surprises the Captain, who then offers to pay her double what Patterson was paying for as a bodyguard. Leonie breaks the window to help the others go down – on their way to the ground level, the bug breaks through the door and charges through the window. The force was enough to completely break the frame and shatters glass on top of the group. The bug starts to climb down the wall but the stucco was not strong enough to hold its weight, causing the bug to come crashing down. Leonie goes invisible again once she gets down, collects a sample using a hotel glass, then walks away. Jess took pictures of the bodyguard first, and then goes to hide the body.

The captain says that he must have been followed, and that the aliens are truly dangerous. Patterson says that they must fight back against them, and wants to know if the Captain is willing help. The Captain gives him a burner cell phone where he can be reached instantly if need be. If he is pleased, he will give another one.

Shu talks to his hacker group, gives them all the photos and video that were taken of this event, and say that it needs to be held secret until just the right time to release it. The group then gets back together, and start planning their break in of Abraxis’ Warehouse….

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