Author Topic: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles  (Read 2709 times)

pistolgrip

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Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« on: (23:26:40/01-31-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iraq

Achilles didn't much care for boats, but the Caspian was one of the most reliable and discreet routes to Iraq from Russia. Flights were scarce and roads were tolled, bandit-ed and paracritter-ed. But the Caspian was, for the larger part, simply boring. The southern part saw its share of illegitimate "inspections" and "tariffs", but in actuality the presence of armed watercraft helped keep the paracritter population in check and make boating easier. At least, as long as you knew how to hide anything valuable.

But of course Achilles had just shoved everything into a kit bag and consequently had his AK-87 "assessed" right out of his possession. A credstick from his boot got him a bouncy truck bed ride into Rasht, but the mix of decayed 20th century ruins and sprawling new construction made navigation in the city confusing. Worse yet, armored corp sedans drove among sheep herders while government authorities, private security details, and cartel forces managed a tense peace while patrolling the streets with small arms. Far too many cultural considerations for Achilles to handle, so he just kept his head down and stuck to alleyways until he could reach the central bazaar.

Two unconscious thugs and four miles on foot later, Achilles let his new-to-him Uzi III hang by the sling as he approached what appeared to be some kind of eating establishment attached to a motor vehicle garage. Or, rather, a drinking establishment as it happened to be once he'd entered. He put in the earbud paired to his commlink and pulled up the translator 'soft as he approached the bar. His thick Russian came out in a jarring mechanical Kurdish after he finished speaking into the 'link's microphone.

"I need an escort into Teherán." he said, the words turning alien and barking out from the 'link speaker.

The man replied, then a robotic Russian voice played through the earbud. "Which part?" The man had stopped cleaning glasses and was looking at Achilles with something between suspicion and amusement.

"The bad part." Achilles said plainly. As the new words played from his commlink, those drinking around him grew silent and turned to stare. Eyebrows went up and necks craned from further away to see what this foreigner in military fatigues was all about.

"Suicide." came the reply in the earbud. The bartender set down a glass and put both hands on the bar, his gaze leveling with Achilles'.

"My choice." Achilles answered, tossing a credstick on the bar.

The bartender swiped it over the hard terminal to check the balance, then pocketed it and shrugged. "Go with HedAyat. He will take you to the outskirts." He said, pointing to a Persian man at a corner table, smoking something in an atomizer and flanked by a woman on either side. They seemed like standard mistresses, but for the printing of a handgun around the thigh area that Achilles noticed on one of them.

Achilles considered the suggestion for a moment, but wasn't sure he had a lot of other options. He decided to think about it over an ork vodka, but the place apparently didn't carry such Russian standards. The bartender gave him something called "arak" instead, and as he prepared to drink it, he accidentally made eye contact with a brawny, weathered-looking westerner seated nearby.
« Last Edit: (13:51:44/02-01-16) by pistolgrip »

adamu

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #1 on: (18:39:26/02-01-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Al raised his glass to the ork and stood up. He was a very short man with a huge wolfish grin on his face, teeth clamped tight around a cigarette dead center in his mouth. Somehow he still managed to speak. His voice was tight but ebullient, gregarious.

"Come over here an' hug me, amigo. Like we's old friends," but his voice sounded like he was saying something along the lines of my old friend, so happy to see you here, of all places.

"These assholes don't speakee a blessed word of English, but ol' HedAyat there don't take too kindly ta folks poachin' his biz. So if'n ya want a real guide inta Tay-ran an' not some infidel-hater gon' put a knife in her back once ye's outta town, ya jist make like we's old friends, gimme a big ol' tusker hug, an' sit down a spell."


pistolgrip

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #2 on: (19:16:13/02-01-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Achilles gave an honest effort to translate the version of what he was almost certain was meant to be English that the apparent American was speaking. Luckily, with his commlink in hand and earpiece still in, the robot voice did a better job. A look of realization came across his face and he strode forward and clapped the stranger on the back, careful not to mash anything on his commlink in that hand or spill his drink in the other. Hugging strangers wasn't something Achilles really did very much, or even hugging family or friends for that matter, but just getting to Rasht made him trust Americans more than the people here. But that didn't say much about Americans.

Achilles took a glance over the American's shoulder at the Ayet fellow, who seemed to be studying them with distaste. But he didn't make any move to get up or go for a weapon, just stared. And hell, people stared at Achilles everywhere he went. Orks with chrome are a sight apparently, even in the '60s. So he let it slide and broke contact with the American, clipping his commlink to his belt where it could still translate for him but didn't take up a hand that might have to be used for self-defense. He spoke in his best conversational English.

"Ah, 'old friend', comrade, it is pleasure to see you here, in..." he paused, looking around. "drek hole?" Achilles half-smiled, anticipating a confirmation of understanding, then threw back the short glass of arak, subsequently looking at the empty glass with surprise, then back at the bartender. "Either he tried to poison me, or I will have to get a case of this 'arak' before I return home."

adamu

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #3 on: (19:25:17/02-01-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Al motioned to a chair and sat back down himself, never looking at HedAyat. He set his smoke in an ashtray and patted the ork's hand amiably with his own, which looked like it was melting, so horribly was it burn-scarred. His voice remained full of excited surprise. "Okay, the bar guy will have already let 'im know yer here fer a guide, so we's gon' shoot the shit fer jist a bit, then yer gon' go ask 'im fer rates, make a good show of it. By the time yer done I'll be down the street - there's a shisha bar with a big red banner an' gold birds on it, I can't read the name, it bein' in Persian an' all. I'll be in there sittin' way inna back if'n ya want a real guide."

He waved for two more drinks. "Long as we's play actin' at bein' old friends, might as well introduce myself. Alouicious Harlan Guthrie, esquire, at yer service."

pistolgrip

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #4 on: (23:33:32/02-02-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Achilles laughed as he spoke to the American, in keeping with the tone. He kept an eye on HedAyat as he listened to the American's instructions and  introduction. He winced a bit as he saw the scars on the man's hands, but didn't break cover. "Esquire Guthrie, it is my pleasure. I am comrade Nicolas Kostiy. I must ask you, why should I trust you more than our friend in the corner?" Achilles responded with a smile and jovial gestures. However, he accidentally made eye contact with HedAyat and saw the man whisper something to the woman on his right, who then looked over towards them. They didn't make any moves, but Achilles had a gut feeling he'd be dealing with that man in one capacity or another eventually.

adamu

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #5 on: (07:52:14/02-03-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

"Well, fer one thing I ain't a damned heathen. River-baptized, yessirree, an' where I come from that counts fer somethin'." His voice was jovial and his face was open, but that could have just been part of the 'old friends' act. "Second, I speak English. How ya gon' tell if someone's bullshittin' ya if ye's hearin' 'em through a chip? An' third, that feller himself'll tell ya he only goes to the fringes, so even if ya trust 'im not to go Joseph an' the Dreamcoat on yer ass, what the hell good is he? Now me, I'll take ya anywhere yer stupid enough ta wanna go in there, know the safest routes, know what an' who can be paid off, even what flavors they like."

He stood up, grabbing the ork's hand for another vigorous shake in farewell. "But don't believe all that - ask around fer yerself. Al Guthrie. I'll be where I said I'd be, an' ya show or ya don't. Tasty falafels fer me either way. Inshallah, amigo."

And he walked out onto the street, where he was quickly distracted from his purpose by a stall selling cards with dirty pictures on them.

pistolgrip

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #6 on: (17:06:11/02-03-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Achilles stood as the American bade his farewell. "Very good, esquire Guthrie."

Once he'd left, Achilles strolled over to the bar to settle up, making a point to ask about things like mercenaries for hire, boat departure times, and even street drugs for sale in the area. Mostly it was to throw off any tails or suspicion of his intentions, but there was also the matter of trying the local stimulant scene. He'd done a little digging beforehand and knew what he was looking for, but finding an honest dealer was the trick. On his way out of the bar, he could sense HedAyat trying to look too busy to notice. He decided to let that problem sort itself out in the future, and for the time being worry about the present.

Once outside he noted the layout of the general market area, including where the political districts were likely to be. Where there are politicians, there are good quality dealers. But that would have to wait for now. The American was supposed to be in an unnamed establishment with a recognizable red banner and golden birds. But as he looked around, he couldn't help but note how many establishments looked terribly similar. It was like being in the old underground without a map, only with better air quality and direct sunlight. He strode amongst stalls and buildings, rumbling trucks and buzzing scooters, ground-farm workers and corp goons in suits. At one point he had to dodge a manhole-cover-sized hover drone that went blasting by. Eventually, however, he found himself standing outside of what must have been the establishment the American spoke of, and he managed to do it without buying anything or getting his pocket picked any other way.

adamu

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #7 on: (17:45:43/02-03-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Having spent quite a bit of time admiring the pictures on the cards and haggling with sign language over the price of the deck he'd selected, Al had barely sat down in his back corner booth when the ork arrived. Al stood up and motioned him over, grinning ear to ear and acting for all the world exactly as he had when pretending they were old friends. Maybe he thought by now they actually were.

"Take a seat there, kemo sabe, put yer damn feet up. Food here's real good, jist order anything, on me. Don't know what none of it's called on account of I don't do Persian or Galiky-Galaky-Ga-whatever the local dialect is called, an' I sure as hell would rather jist wave my hands an' jabber'n use a thrice-cursed chip. That's mostly how they talk here anyway, jist a lotta jabberin' an' hand-wavin', ya git the rhythm down ya do jist fine. Jist point at something onna menu, it's always real tasty. Don't worry about gittin' inta Tehran though - most things we gotta deal with don't really talk no more, and them what does, they was most of 'em real educated once, it havin' been the capital an' all, so they can mostly do A-rab, which I am passable fluent in. Now, tell me where ya wanna go, an' let me tell ya how ta git there."

And then, just when Achilles thought the little man would never arrest his verbal flashflood, he fell suddenly silent.

pistolgrip

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #8 on: (22:58:09/02-03-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Achilles nodded with a furrowed brow as the American spoke. He picked up about half of what he said without the commlink's help, and another quarter with. That left the rest to be inferred, but he was fairly certain of the general message. He used his 'link translator to order "the house special", trusting it to be something he could choke down. He had, after all, been eating Red Army military food for most of his life. At least while in training. This was the kind of thing he got to expense, which made it just that much more enjoyable. But the American might have offered to pay somewhere in that slurry of thick regional accent. He decided to let that one sort itself.

He thought for a moment about the American's question. It might have taken less thought in clear English, of course, but nothing could be done about that. After a few seconds he tapped out some instructions on his 'link and a 3D projection of a man's face appeared above it. He set it on the table for him to see. "I look for man called 'Geber'. Rumors say man is great magician and scientist. But also lunatic." Achilles explains. "Source last spotted him with small convoy to Teherán. No trace of Geber or convoy since. Was over 3 months ago." Achilles waved his hand over the 'link to page through images of vehicles, satellite photos, and identity profiles of other convoy members. "I have no specific location data."

adamu

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #9 on: (08:23:46/02-05-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Al shoved greasy strips of lamb into his unshaven face and wiped his fingers on a prehistoric pair of button-fly jeans. "Manhunt, huh? I like it. so far i jist mostly been takin' perfessors ta rescue shit from museums, or people after valuables they done left behind or think they know about - gold, jewels, bearer bonds. Always go one place, leave. Alive if possible. Boring as all hell. But a hunt! Well," he rubbed his hand together excitedly, "I am without a doubt yer man. An' I'll tell ya this, if yer boy Gibber there really is a Satanist one sandwich short of a picnic, then Tehran is exactly where he'd go."

He wrapped a big clump of hummous into some pita and shoved it all into his mouth. Spoke anyway, barely intelligible: "So when do we leave?"

pistolgrip

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #10 on: (16:55:34/02-09-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

His food came and he looked down at it with a skeptical glare before trying it. Achilles listened to the man discuss the mission and tried to make sense of what he was saying. The commlink pinged complaints in his ear with "unrecognized language" multiple times. He nodded as he ate, frowning a bit, both at the food and at the man's confusing accent. After the American finished speaking, Achilles looked around and took another bite. He didn't see anyone that looked overly interested in their conversation, but he put his commlink away regardless. He chewed for a moment and swallowed, washing it down with an unidentified drink. He resumed eye contact with the American and spoke. "Where is your vehicle? I wish to leave as fast as possible." He looked down at his kit bag and thought for a second before adding, "But first I must buy from shops." He made a general hand gesture towards the door.

adamu

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #11 on: (17:26:47/02-09-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

The small unshaven human's eyes lit up greedily on the indication that he'd gotten the job. He took a deep draught from a mug of tea, liquid spiling down over his chin. "Got me a sexy little Landy in a shed onna south side.Air-con-ditionin'! Yup, no cookin' inna dessert sun fer Al's guests - first class all the way! We can hit some shops onna way. Jist lemme know what yer lookin' for, I prob'ly know someone'll give ya a cut rate. Quality goods only, mind.'

The man was already up and leading the way out, since the ork did not seem particularly interested in his food anyway. Pausing, he said, "You gon' eat that?" and without waiting for an answer he snatched a strip of doner off the Russian's plate.

"Let's go - time's money. An' speakin' of, this bein' a rush job means I gotta add on a small surcharge. An' then if this Gibber feller's dangerous, there's hazard pay ta think of..."

pistolgrip

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #12 on: (23:24:56/02-10-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Achilles shopped with the American for a while, mostly buying things like paper maps, rolled depressants, and a few inhalation stimulants. He also acquired a good luck charm from a blind vendor and put it around his neck. It was something of a habit or tradition for him to get a charm from each place he visited. Mostly he liked to decorate his quarters with them.

After some time, their movements took them to the south side where the vehicle was reportedly stationed. "I will let you lead the way, Esquire Alouicious." He said with a broad gesture of his hand. He then began checking gear in his bag, muttering to himself in Russian. He put the earbuds away since he'd acclimated to the man's accent somewhat, and stashed his commlink somewhere in the bag as he rummaged through his gear. "I hope you are not made nervous by firearms." He stated, looking up from his bag to make eye contact with the stocky American.

adamu

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #13 on: (19:34:41/02-11-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

"Only when they's pointed at me," Al said with a wink, grinning teeth grit around a cigarette jutting from the center of his mouth. "Car's right up here"

Ten minutes later they found a sort of stone-age car park - a line of healthy-looking vehicles under a big stretch of canvas supported by a makeshift open framework. A couple of young men sat in the shade playing cards, AKs on their backs. Al tossed them something as they approached and they smiled gamely, calling out to him in Gileki, to which Al smiled broadly and called back, "Allahu fuckin' akbar ta you too, ya damned motherless heathen," in gregariously friendly English.

"They don't git a damned word," he confided in Achilles as he pulled the tarp off what looked like a well-maintained Landrover. Al started it up with his commlink before loading the ork's gear, to get the air conditioning going sooner. Once he figured the temperature was below a hundred they got in and Al pulled out without really asking where they were going. Instead he queried - "You a Russky or somethin'?"

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Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
« Reply #14 on: (21:38:30/02-15-16) »
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

"They don't git a damned word," he confided in Achilles
"I cannot imagine why." Achilles mumbled in Russian.

"Yes, yes, I am from the nation of Russia. Have you ever been?" He asked, switching back to English. As the rover bounced along, he rummaged through his bag and pulled out his recently-acquired uzi. He stripped it down on the spot, polishing the sand from the internal components with an oily rag. Once he had it back together and in satisfactory condition, he began loading magazines and stashing them in the pockets of a tactical vest. He worked slowly and carefully to avoid losing any ammunition to the floor due to the American's driving. "How many times have you made this trip?"