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RP [York] - When the Stars are Right

Discussion in 'Side Stories' started by Luca, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. Luca

    Luca Administrator Staff Member

    Albion, York, Ordonlea Police Headquarters
    Boreal York upon Albion was an auspicious place to magic users of all stripes throughout Aleph Null and beyond. For its rich history intertwining Albion's first monarch - it was his meditations beneath a waterfall where he gained insight on how to turn the tide of the rebellion against the Tyrants during the Old War.

    Here and now, the residents of York were living and working beneath the watchful eye of Orbital Object: Null and the dim glow of a Winter Solstice. Celebrations had been taking place throughout the night, and the next few days would see a flock of magicians from near and far congregate at the major universities to share ideas, insights, and trade knowledge and money for wares and insight. Such an influx of people also brought a series of unknowns to the town as well - as not everyone who visited York necessarily shared its values.

    Some visitors made an effort to respect the local customs of the boreal city, while others could be forgiven for not understanding the nuances of a law-based constitutional republic dressed as a monarchy. Even so, the truly belligerent cared not for laws, nor order - seeking to use the city as a nexus for illicit wares and knowledge considered abhorrent in their nature and existence. Spells that flayed people alive and made it as painful as possible, incantations that raise the dead, Weirds with an appetite for destruction or were destructive by nature, and knowledges best left unknown brought to blinding light.

    Such acts didn't gel with the police department, who were working overtime to monitor and react to infractions in York's legal code. Detective Inspector Genndy Malkov was pigeon-holed in a meeting room, poring over photographs of evidence seized from a bust in a warehouse in Trader's Run. A pin-board with photographs of the arrested suspects loomed behind him, newspaper clippings and notes connected with white strands.

    The wares themselves were undergoing a quarantine by the force's subject matter experts on magic, while Genndy was piecing together the next plan of attack. No black-market operation worked alone - and connecting each ring's intersections together was crucial. He didn't want. Genndy's train of thought was paused as the door to his temporary office opened up.

    It was the shoe-in from Sargasso via an exchange program - assigned to work with the experienced York detective. He had a folder under his arm, and a tropical shirt with the sleeves rolled up beneath his vest. The new arrival was also half an hour late, and such idiosyncrasies rankled Genndy. "Davies, about time. Did you find anything at the warehouse?" He asked, looking at the folder - a photograph was poking out the front.

    Constable Alexander Davies was much more laid back than his Albion overseer - a culture of focussing on solving social crimes and home disputes, coupled with the automation of punishments for petty and overt crime by Traveller's Units meant his skillset was remarkably different to the hard-bitten Malkov. "You betcha - Constable May and I spoke to dozens of workers around the area."

    Davies put his folder down on the table, in a clear spot away from where Malkov had spread his information. Genndy was grateful for the acknowledgement of space. Within Davies' files, there were the photographs he'd been showing the stevedores of York, and a local area map of the Ordonlea docks, with routes originating from the warehouse the bust took place in. "I pieced together the movements of buyer suspects Ildib, Reece, and Talrus."

    Genndy seemed pleased with the outcome - the out-of-towner had some use after all with their soft touch. "Show me?" He asked. Davies nodded and leaned in, tracing the freshest routes with his finger. "Interesting, interesting..." Genndy said, pointing at a hotel. "Reece and Talrus are staying at this hotel, the Blue Diamond. They must be together."

    "That's what I thought. When I went to the hotel to observe their motions, Talrus is staying at another location - possibly laying low to distance himself from Reece," Davies noted, looking over at the photos of the suspects on the board. "I haven't tracked him down yet. Someone at the hotel's agreed to keep an eye on Reece."

    "In return for what?" Genndy asked, sceptical that a hotelier would divulge such details without a catch.

    Davies tilted his head. "What do you mean?"

    Genndy's hard-bitten experience had taught him some harsh lessons when dealing with people, especially those with access to many assets and a desire to acquire more, like a mid-range hotel. "Who's to say that the hotel isn't on the take with the black marketers?"

    Davies blanched, raising a finger in protest. "No, but-"

    "Did you consider that they're leading you on?" Genndy had his hands down on the table now, eyes level with an incredulous Davies. "That they've tipped off the buyers and scared them off?"

    The Sargasso constable put his hands up, clenching teeth and shaking his head. "Settle; I didn't ask the front of the house. I asked the bellhops - all they see is people coming in and out and for a little extra tip money, one agreed to be my lookout." He held up a concave, semicircular coin, minted from electrum. Worth five units of Albion Currency. One could buy a loaf of bread and a carton of milk with it, with some change left over.

    This revelation defused Genndy, and the detective raised his eyebrow in confusion. "Pardon?"

    "I gave him a banana, and now he's helping for a day or two." Davies replied, sticking his tongue out.

    Genndy rolled his eyes, grimacing at his previous assumptions. "In that case... he'll keep you posted?"

    "It's all gravy, and just in case, Constable Benjamin is undercover, keeping an eye on the premises as well."

    Genndy still wanted to cover his ass, looking aside before returning to his partner. "And if any harm comes to the bellhop...?" He let the question trail, gauging Alexander's reaction.

    Davies folded his arms, nodding confidently. "Then Benjamin reports, and we act."

    So he isn't a total wash-in. This could make some meaningful progress. Genndy thought before speaking. "Excellent work. Anything further to report?" Davies shook his head. "Then keep me posted on our suspect's movements, and any other events - I'm still waiting on the results from the boffins at the labs - until then we can't establish a signature on where these illicit materials came from." Genndy explained, as Davies was nodding along - Davies hadn't much experience with dealing with magic artifacts. "Dismissed."
     
  2. Luca

    Luca Administrator Staff Member

    Albion, York, Overlooking Trader's Run
    The broad and agitated Unestad river split the boreal city of York in half during an overcast evening with light snowfalls, bright diodes in the sky guided the crowded lanes of aerospace traffic - an artificial river flowing in both directions, at varying speeds. From above came the new arrivals, trailing motes of energy from their trip down Orbital Object: Null at relative speeds and a sudden stop without inertia - yanked in an unknown direction spotted by Object Null into Albion's stratosphere, or straight back up again from the black octahedron - an extension of Object: Null - cradled in the southern part of the bustling province of Valley Run.

    Looking below, trader's tugs and frigates were laden with produce from around York: Raw spruce and redwood timber into sawed planks, granite from beneath the heart of mountains turned into slabs and bricks, and carriages of red-streaked iron ore processed into batches of iron prills for industrial use. People were coming and going too, as the heads up display of a police Fantail looking down Trader's Run indicated. Over the hum of the engine in a still holding pattern and the air traffic control readouts and transcripts, detective inspector Genndy Malkov was watching, waiting, taking in all he could in the pilot's seat of the Fantail.

    To Genndy's left, Constable Alexander Davies, feet up on the dashboard and zoned out from the informational noise and focussing on a seven-petalled floral symbol he'd been given to keep an eye out for on a clipboard of his findings resting in his lap. Earlier in the day, the stevedores he buttered up with free lunch were quick to recall which of the cargo frigates from outer space were carrying the illegal goods, and grease the wheels to get the relevant paperwork in his investigation's hands. Even so, the people Davies was querying for had done their part in the operation weeks ago.

    "Tell me, who exactly are we looking for again?" He asked as he examined the manifests of the tagged vessels, and their subsequent travel - as soon as they'd dropped off their product off with the distribution ring the cops had busted, the bagmen left via Orbital Object: Null to get paid back home. "These guys are all long gone now, they won't be back for weeks, months even." And Davies had been here since lunchtime with Genndy.

    "Don't sweat that." Genndy replied curtly. "Lab narrowed down that our illicit produce is coming from the Acala system," Genndy said, dismissing a local trader the HUD had indicated who'd been known for doing salvage cargo-bay sales and being tight-lipped on where he got his this-and-that from, "based on dirt in and around the packaging material."

    Davies took a bite out of a tuna sandwich he'd packed for this stage of tonight's stakeout. "Them?" The constable queried - it didn't line up with his experience with New Kashmir residents he dealt with in a domestic dispute back in tropical Sargasso. "I thought they hated magic, despised it even. What with the rampaging weird thing that happened a while back."

    A blip came up in Genndy's peripheral vision, followed closely as he explained to his colleague: "Fudou doesn't. They just see it as means to an end to agitate New Kashmir into getting its way-" Information gleaned onscreen as the Fantail's sensors scanned the vessel down and matched it against the local database and the manifest information Davies had plucked. There was a match. "Aha. This one's from Acala, same manifest." Davies lifted his feet off the dashboard and scooted forward, paying full attention now. Genndy explained what this arrival meant, punching commands into the autopilot function. "We have a possible lead."

    The navigations technology installed on this police-model Fantail was robust compared to civilian grade, with a chase prediction analysis suite which factored into keeping the vessel steady and its occupants safe during pursuit. "Let's hope they're dumb enough to use the same place again," Davies remarked as he tossed his clipboard aside and straightened up to, "that'd make this evening be done with much quicker."

    "Oh, shame," Genndy remarked sarcastically as the Fantail's engines spurred up and the aerospace craft begun wading into the traffic lanes, neatly slotting in with the rest of traffic. The Fantail he and Davies were piloting bore no insignia, stripes or numberings of the York police force. "I thought there was a real connection between us."

    >TO BE CONTINUED!
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  3. Luca

    Luca Administrator Staff Member

    Albion, York, Over Skinny Creak Following Air Traffic
    A stratum of traffic high above the dark trees and translucent arcs of domes flowed like a mechanical river, the smokestacks and silos of factories stood out in the night snowfall, carved up by the cargo railway lines and many stations as roads between domes and out into York's wilderness and throughout the city-state were a strata above that. York's skyline was defined by its flatness and natural features, with few dots of light breaking up the silhouettes of the trees and mountains in the night's gloom, the fog of long and snowy nights in the Solstice season, shielded beneath the warming glow of the arcology-domes of York.

    So far, Genndy and Davies had been tailing the suspicious truck amid scores of other vehicles just like it from a layer of air traffic above their target. With autopilot handling traffic and accepting input, the Police Fantail the two officers were piloting had been heading west over the river and along Skinny Creak parallel to the southern bridge. A navigation tool-tip showed that the turnoff they were following to keep an eye on the target was heading towards Rittbaster, and further on was Packer's Row.

    Indeed, most of the heavy vehicles the police officers had been seeing included low-flying, slow moving lumber and stone carriers - frequently moving to and from the storage yards out in the flat Packer's Row. Davies was looking off to the left, watching the mountain housing the Kirin's Peak, a prancing Kirin in neon was cutting through the clouds and inviting bored customers to play. The Sargasso-born constable's gaze swivelled back on Genndy, who was keeping an eye on where the autopilot was taking him and the target. Low lights inside of the cockpit and a glow from the instruments provided a dim silhouette of the senior detective.

    Continuing to follow the tagged aerotruck, something caught Genndy's attention: "Flight computer's picking up something" he said - Davies sat up with concern. One of the trucks from the lane of traffic below was moving up into this one, and steadily making its way towards the police Fantail "we've got a tail, manual control-" Over the hum of the engines, a thump could be heard from through the bulkhead of the Fantail as the thrusters on the new arrival kicked into ramming speed.

    Genndy blanched as warnings blared and cast the notes on his lap into the cockpit as Davies lunged for the co-pilot controls, snapping the Fantail out of autopilot. With his other hand on a Z-axis control, the Fantail ducked under the truck, causing the aerotruck to surge overhead and into empty air. The truck's heavy load caused it to continue barrelling forward upon inertia, reverse thrusters were woefully inadequate to stop with the speed they'd accumulated - and they smashed into the back of a double-stacked freighter tug loaded with stone.

    Inside the Fantail, the sudden dipping had sent a brief sensation of weightlessness before both Genndy and Davies fell back into their chairs and the g-forces dissapated through them, stomachs each catching up a moment later. "Right!" Genndy yelled, reaching for the externals controls and putting a communications headset on, while Davies was still piloting the craft. "Central this is vehicle 0066, we are in pursuit of a suspect vehicle linked to operation Slash and Burn. An unknown party possibly linked with the suspect attempted to ram us too!" Genndy had no time to ask if Davies knew what he was doing - in the midst of the chaos, he was clenched in concentration as the lights and sirens blared while the Fantail's engines fought against gravity.

    The ball of lights and sirens chased the suspect's truck in earnest, both aerospace craft breaking away from the ordained traffic zones over Packer's Row and towards the fields and yards of the industrial district which clung to the Lumber's Rapids. "I think we've struck a nerve, Malkov!" Davies said, shaking his head in disbelief that things had escalated so quickly. The pursuit was flying parallel to a train track heading north towards dark, still logging yards. Lumber in thick billets stacked atop sleepers, watched by deactivated machinery and perimeters of wire fencing. Radio chatter from Central indicated use of force was authorised - they just saw footage of the truck attack.

    An altitude warning came up as Genndy took control of the Fantail's weapons. They were less than seventy-ish meters from the ground and other structures below, and the altitude had been dipping steadily since the pursuit had started from about five hundred meters up. The train tracks they were following provided uniform 'roads', without risk of running into sawmills or silos. "I suspect they're leading us into a contingent ambush," Genndy noted, looking beyond the cockpit glass for the blind corners they could be ambushed from.

    Weapons above and below the nose of the Fantail were winding and warming up. One cannon upon a target-acquiring gimball, and a laser fixed forward with minimal wiggle room. "Stay on him," Genndy said, watching crosshairs leap and sway within the reticle, trying to lock onto the flank of the vehicle. "I think we can hit a anti-grav rail or cluster, force it down."

    Davies nodded back, "Whatever works - hold on!" he suddenly banked left to chase after the truck, leaning into it with all the weight he couldn't affect the ship's momentum and inertia with. Counter-thrusters and a well-known exploitation of the gyroscopic properties of the reactor housing allowed the ship to rapidly turn in place and continue in a straight up to the slower truck, forced by their physical limitations to manage their bulk and weight at a slower pace. Now on an intercept trajectory at the truck's five o'clock, the crosshairs flashed red and a blip sounded.

    A burst of beams snaked through the air from under the Fantail, cutting through the fog and leaving an ionising crackle in its wake. The beam of white and gold lights lanced through the alloy panels of the aerotruck, melting into slag - striking through and super-heating the gravity coils into uselessness, electronics smoking and losing power rapidly. A plume of cobalt and sheoul red smoke followed as the truck begun to lean to its back side before attempting to self right manually. The Fantail wove away from the closer to the slowing truck, as Genndy barked over communications override to the truckie: "Pull over, NOW!"

    Davies was keeping an eye on the flight radar, watching listening for additional blips. A blue silhouette of a Police Shrike was high above them, pointing down at the truck with specialised optics and scanners which could identify and data-match a pilot's history and scan cargo from afar. Genndy was hearing something in his earpiece and blanched, putting his cigarette out to concentrate on piloting with Davies. "Good news is, they're pulling over, and the cargo is confirmed contraband." Genndy relayed with an eye on the radar.

    Davies clicked his tongue as he begun looking through the globe-radar too, a handful of angry red blips tagged by the Shrike were converging on their location, a crossroads that seemed to be covered thoroughly by the criminals. "Bad news is... there's two Butcherbirds, four Wagtails, only two of us and the cavalry's gonna be late." The constable guessed, donning his headset and listening into the communications and flight feedback - grimacing as he realised just how screwed he and Genndy were.

    The constable rubbed their back into their seat, straightening as he drummed his fingers along the six-axis joystick and the throttle, a shiver running up their spine. "If we live... do we get to go somewhere with a decent climate, at least?" he said in laid-back Sargasso beach bum drawl to cut the tension as the blips were around nine hundred metres away and closing in fast.

    >TO BE CONTINUED!