002 - 1122.
Ethan having spent last night in the Grenadier Club is still there, recovering from a hangover.
He is approached by a "seedy" looking woman. Who says that she was referred to Ethan who said he could get things done. Through the foggy haze of his hangover he asks who she is. She gives her name as Audrey Jones. She apparently is a member of the club as well. She claims to be working for an outreach type charity. St. Stanislov's Outreach which runs a small hospital dirtside. Audrey says that she has a group of people on a secondary planet in the Denome system who are due to finish up their tour as it were. She states that her people are not able to get to the starport because of difficulties with the local government. Audrey would like to hire Ethan to go get her people out before something bad happens. She has an old "378 ton" ship to take us in. Ethan asks "How Old?" "40 some odd years" is the reply (oh goodie). Audrey tells Ethan that she can pay 10kcr now and 10kcr upon return. Her information shows that they would be running up against tech 6 equipment (Yeah...Right...) Ethan agrees to the terms and advises Audrey to return to the club tomorrow. Ethan takes a few minutes to collect his thoughts and make the pain in his head less noticeable. Before she leaves Ethan makes sure that she has the cargo space he requires. He does not specify what the cargo is. Ethan starts calling around to find some additional hands for this mission. What he finds is that most of the people he knows who would go on this op are either way to drunk, or incarcerated. (sigh). Wait...Wait... Tessa... I'll get Tessa... She owes me. When Ethan calls, a stranger answers the phone and says "Rocky?... I'll get you the money". When Ethan tells the person he wants to speak with Tessa he yells out " Hey Tessa... Rocky wants to speak to you". Ethan waits and finally gets Tessa on the phone. Ethan explains that he has a contract and wants to know if she's interested. She says she is. Ethan asks her to join him at the Grenadier Club. Ethan asks if she's an S.E.H. holder. She tell him she is. After the phone conversation Ethan has the club's on duty manager set Tessa up with a membership. Ethan pays the fees. Ethan orders breakfast while he waits for Tessa to arrive.
Tessa considers what one wears to the Grenadier Club. Eventually she arrives at the club. Tessa is given her brand new "glowing" membership card. She and Ethan discuss the mission and make sure they have the equipment they need. They spend most of the day researching the planet and it's climate. It's gonna be chilly
Audrey shows up the next morning. Introductions are made and final questions asked. Everyone is ready to go. While the cargo container is being loaded Ethan and Tessa notice that the ship is an old liner that has had some rather serious structural modifications. It's a long crowded jump. During which Ethan, Tessa and the pilots make arrangements for L.Z.'s and encoded communications. It's decided that the ship will be refueled before heading to the secondary planet in the system.
Arrival in the Denome system. There are some communications transmissions from the planet. Sounds like Nirvana.. NOT! The propaganda is heavy with the "glorious success of the rebels in overthrowing the corrupt president" Also discovered are a couple of weather satellites orbiting the planet. There shouldn't be able problem sneaking past these. There is also a natural satellite and a third communications satellite (Radio and TV). The ship heads for Denome for scheduled refueling. On the way back out another transmission that President Alveres's troop have retaken the capitol city. And that Alveres has asked for a warrant of arrest put out on his brother-in-law. It's decided to land 2-3 kilometers north of the village. The escort team arrives on the planet at late afternoon. Tessa and Ethan wait a bit after the ships boat leaves to let the wildlife settle down again.
About a click from the target village An abandon military fort is located. A couple of block houses and a split rail fence surrounding it. A sign on the fence reads "Fort Winston" Ethan checks with IR and sees that the place is not emitting any heat plumes. The grass is also longer than standard military regulation. Tessa is going to recon the fort. As Tessa approaches the fort she sees movement and can now smell smoke. Tessa alerts Ethan to the location of the movement. The movement appears to be a pair of wild animals. The block house has a large lock on the door and there is smoke coming from inside. The door has been chopped open with an axe. The inside looks to have been tossed and there is a small smoldering fire among the debris in the center of the room. Tessa checks the second floor but doesn't find anything else out of the ordinary. Tessa heads over to the second building and determines that it is secured by a large military lock. The building has firing ports. Tessa and Ethan ponder the benefits and drawbacks of breaking in when Ethan is contacted by the ships crew. They are picking up a transmission in our area that does not belong to us. Ethan gets the frequency and listens in. Something about just the police being "there" The orders are to send in "machete and his people" The response is that "They are there...Even the outlanders" The transmissions end. Ethan at first thinks that they have been spotted but then believes that the communication is regarding the village and the medical team they have been sent to escort out. Ethan and Tessa head for the village in a hurry thinking that the medical team has been captured. Just outside the village small noises like creaking and snapping of twigs is overheard. Just prior to reaching the village Ethan stealths up to the noises. He locates a dozen horses and a couple of guards. The guards seem to be annoyed at having been left behind by their follow raiders. Ethan stealths back out to meet Tessa. A couple of shots are fired from the village. Definitely at least two different firearms. One rifle the other a pistol possibly. Tessa and Ethan make haste for the village. They arrive to find a man and his dog have been shot. Tessa charges the house. Ethan backs her up. Tessa sees a man trying to rape a 13 year old girl. Ethan sees a little more. A man with a machete is facing off with a small boy with a knife. Tessa opens fire on the rapist. Ethan fires at the guy with a machete. Tessa drops her target. Ethan puts his down too. Both Ethan and Tessa close on their targets to double check. Ethan sees two more hostiles down the hall past the machete guy as one of them point a handgun out the door. Ethan puts a short burst through the door and takes out the pistol wielder and his fellow who is struggling with an older woman. Ethan charges the door. The third guy in the house is on the floor writhing as his foot has been shot. Ethan places the muzzle of his gauss rifle between the guys eyes and one foot on his chest... He stops struggling. Tessa caps the guy with the machete and the guy in the doorway. She then checks the boy and the girl. They are okay. The older woman wants to kill the hostile. Ethan stops her. As Tessa is heading down the hall someone bangs on the door and yells that there wasn't supposed to be shooting. Tessa talks the older woman into opening the door. The third hostile takes a knife and swipes at Ethan, missing, Ethan butt strokes him in the throat and crushes his trachea. (damn... wanted him alive). The older woman distracts "Big Frank" (The last thing the third hostile said before his throat was crushed). Tessa grabs a rifle from the house and clubs Big Frank in the ribs. Tessa drags Frank into the house. Ethan heads to the main room of the house. Tessa Disarms Frank while Ethan covers them. Needless to say Frank is a little distracted at being captured by the hard assed bitch who's going to eat his balls for dinner. But he does remains silent. The older woman says that there isn't anyone in the house. Her husband (the dead man out front) was a policeman. Ethan sneaks out to collect the husband's body. Tessa starts asking the woman questions. She tells us that the army has gone to the capitol and that she knew something bad was going to happen. The woman tells Ethan and Tessa that the outlanders are at the local hotel. She explains where the hotel is located. It's called the "Hotel Royale". Ethan goes to Frank and takes off his helmet. This causes Frank a great deal of consternation as Ethan is not what Frank expected to see. Ethan questions Frank in detail to find out where the rest of his men are. Frank at first tries to hide some of the facts until Ethan extends the claws on his combat armor. Frank then pretty much spills his guts and tells us that one of his men is at the police station with the police locked in their own cells. The other men he tells us are at the hotel holding the outlanders hostage. Ethan tells Frank that he has outlived his usefulness and that he's going to leave him here for the widow to deal with. Frank becomes agitated and starts spouting something about "The Matador" and "high tech weapons". The widow does not want to kill frank herself and herds her children out of the room. Tessa puts her gun in Franks face and shoots him dead. The widow and her kids are going to leave. Money is collected from the dead guys and given to the widow. The boy asks if "Bronco" is dead, meaning the dog. He is told his dog is dead.
Meanwhile Ethan picks up soma additional transmissions from the local bandits. They are explaining a little about who is at the police station. and that they will be ready in a couple of hours. Ready for what they do not say. Tessa and Ethan head for the police station. Ethan sees a police car going by with it's light on. It just seems to be circling the police station. After a bit it stops in front of the police station and the occupants get out and walk to the hotel. They are allowed to leave. Ethan recons the area around the police station. The station itself is about a story and a half high. There is a coffee shop next door though that is a full two stories high. There is only about 2 meters distance between them. The coffee shop has an external fire escape. Ethan and Tessa decide that they will see if there is a way into the station through the roof. Ethan comes up with a brilliant plan. Since he's taller than the distance between the building he'll lower himself across and then pull himself up onto the station roof. Tessa will handle the line attached to Ethan to control his fall. This actually works as Ethan is stretched across the span. Everyone freezes as Sven comes out of the police station. Apparently he heard a noise or something. Fortunately Sven doesn't look up. After Sven leaves Ethan pulls himself up onto the station roof. He anchors the rope so that Tessa can come across. They locate a door in the roof that they manage to get open with a minimum of squealing hinges. It opens into a small area where there is a folded ladder and a ceiling hatch. Ethan rides the ladder down and sees Sven. Shots are exchanged. Sven goes down but not before he gets a shot off. Ethan doesn't notice that the barrel of his gauss rifle has a streak of lead embedded in it. Tessa does however. They find 4 dead police and the clerk who's had his fingers broken. No sign of the custodian though. Tessa and Ethan check the station looking for the custodian. He actually find them first as he swings a broom at Tessa. Hitting her in the groin. (Thank god for armor). They take the custodian back to where the clerk is. They explain to the custodian to take the clerk to where he can get medical attention, but not until they have entered the hotel. Ethan and Tessa decide to make a side entrance into the hotel... even though there isn't one there yet. Tessa is spotted as she comes over the side. The gunfire ensues.
Most of the bad guys are dead now. The two guards bring in the horses. They spook and try to run but are shot down. Things start to settle down and the locals emerge from their homes. The locals are afraid of the "Matador" The medical team doesn't want to leave the locals defenseless. Ethan calls down the ship's boat with the heavy fire power. The ship's boat comes in steep and can be seen glowing in the night sky. It does however land safely. Most of the medical team is loaded up on the ships boat. Ethan and Tessa unpack the battle dress to prepare for an assault on the "small army" headed this way. Ethan deploys his recon drone and lets it get some altitude to check for light sources nearby. It locates some faint light sources near the old fort they found earlier. The recon drone is able to get a good enough view to show Ethan and Tessa the gathering of men, horses and a pair of wagons with cloth covers over the back. Ethan is also able to determine that there are several combatants carrying R.P.G.'s. These people are designated as primary targets. As are the two wagons, which have had the covers removed to reveal two water cooled SMG's. The guy on the nice horse with the expensive looking tack they figure is the leader possibly the Matador. So he is tagged as a secondary target as is the man next to him with the radio's. The rest are targets of opportunity. Tessa and Ethan take up positions on each side of the road to ambush the bad guys as they march down the road. Tessa picks out what appear to be a couple of forward scouts. To bad they are smoking. The Matador is leading his army towards the town with several of the grenadiers up front and more following him. The wagons with the machine guns are next. The ambush is set.
To Be Continued...