Our intelligence network has been keeping an ear on Eagle Corporation’s communications, and someone in the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior has “hired” a team from Eagle Corp’s Promethean Division to help detain a notorious white-collar criminal. This is to be done “on the sly”, so they’re officially showing up as part of an Eagle Corp trade show in Cairo. There’s a suspicion that the criminal is using either a Promethean, or is using an artifact. The perpetrator has managed to evade seven arrest attempts, usually simply disappearing into thin air when the police storm in. Our job is to take a vacation to see the pyramids, and quietly try to retrieve the artifact (if it exists). Lady Lightning is handed the reins, since she’s familiar with covert operations.
The team she assembles is herself, Shockwave, Casanova, Autumn Breeze and Xeadas. We teleport into Cairo, discovering to our embarrassment that we’ve popped up next to a throng of tourists waiting for their tour of the Great Pyramids. We vacate the area as quickly as we can, while pretending that nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Lightning’s making comments about wanting to find a dark corner to curl up and die in.
Once we’re out of sight, we start trying to gather information about the Egyptian police investigation. Lightning borrow’s Casanova’s wrist computer, and worms her way into the police computer network. The police have a solid lead to go on: the criminal has taken an entire company’s financial system hostage, and is ransoming it back to them in exchange for information. They have arranged a meeting tonight with a representative of the company in order to arrange the transfer. The Eagle team is there to assist in capturing her, their only payout is that they can keep everything that she has in her possession. The investigation team has a full psychological profile of the perpetrator, but no physical description. Casanova notes that the profile would fit a woman better than a man.
Lightning suggests getting some Eagle Corporation uniforms locally, and then using the same ploy that the Eagle team tried in Bonn (Revenge is sweet!). Xeadas notes that the Egyptians may call back to Eagle if we show up in place of the expected personnel, which would blow the operation on the spot. He recommends that we try altering the police records to show that the meeting has been relocated. Hopefully this will send the police, and Eagle Corp, off on a wild goose chase that will leave us clear to do our job.
We also dig into the case files to see what the perpetrator has actually been perpetrating. They are targeting affluent businesses and will take a decent chunk out of their finances, but not enough to fatally damage them. Over a 3 year period, they’ve managed to get away with about $10 billion. From their inspection of the victims’ computer networks, the hacking was done by someone who was physically present at the location. The suspect’s name is unknown, she’s identified in the records as “Blade”. As well, the police were given the current lead by a 3rd party, the “hostage” corporation did not contact them directly. The current police operation is designed to keep as many people as possible in the dark, which should help our job. When Casanova gets the name of the hostage, he sends a quick email to somebody (his investment broker perhaps?).
Since this is a large and complicated investigation, the alterations to the records will have to be extensive. We will also need to build a system that will keep them from finding out that the records have been falsified, which will involve real-time redirection of communications and records as well as alteration of existing records. Lightning will need a fair bit of time to set this up, so we get a hotel room close by where she can work in peace.
The actual meeting is going to be held in an highly exclusive private club, so we’ll need some better-looking clothes than our UN-sponsored paychecks are going to cover. I mention that someone should stake out the airport to see who’s showing up from Eagle Corp. Since I mentioned, I get volunteered for the job. I pick up a set of binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens so I can get a closer look. Casanova and Autumn head off to go clothes shopping for the rest of us.
The Eagle Corp Lancer is towed into a hangar after it lands, but the ground crew don’t bother to close the hangar doors afterwards. The binoculars and zoom lens come in handy, I can identify Voltage, Bright Feather, and Lifeline, there were a few more people on the aircraft that I couldn’t identify. They get into an armoured limo, and leave the airport with a full police escort.
Casanova is out spending prodigious amounts of his personal wealth outfitting us. He’s setting himself up as a wealthy investor with connections to the Italian government. Xeadas and I will be his bodyguards, and Autumn and Lightning his “companions”. He comes back with clothes worth twice what any two of us are paid in a year, along with $100,000 worth of jewellery that he’s rented for the occasion. The girls’ clothing is spectacular despite its (relative) modesty, I get a couple of photographs for posterity. (SW: those are SO not getting onto the internet, except if the subject requests it) Lightning wishes that Cassie was there, she’d be all over the “dressing up for a night out” thing in a heartbeat.
We also pick up some standard radio systems, so we can keep in contact. The girls earpieces are easily hidden by the headscarves, while the “bodyguards” earpieces are conspicuously displayed. During our final system checks, Lightning notices that someone has breached her custom software setup, but hasn’t actually changed its operation. Since everything is still intact, she suspects that Blade has been keeping an eye on the police as well, and has figured out that someone is diverting the police from her trail. (SW: This was a reasonable assumption at the time. Given that someone did a superb job of clearing up our tracks for us within minutes of us teleporting out, its more probable that our mysterious blonde Promethean is the culprit)
Since the club is members only, we’ll need to get ourselves onto the membership list. Lightning doesn’t have any problem getting in, and adds a membership for “Antonio Giovanni”, affiliated with Italian Ministry of the Environment’s Department of Energy. Casanova has a look over Lightning’s shoulder at the member list, his secret identity doesn’t have a membership but his father does… There’s also one name that Lightning finds a little bit familiar. Her eidetic memory pulls up a character from a Japanese video game that was based on the legend of a master swordsman. The catch at the end of the legend is that the swordsman is actually a woman. Casanova mentions that the police psychological profile did fit a woman more than a man.
As we’re on route to the club, Lightning listens in on the police’s tactical briefing. They’re not completely convinced that the location is changed, so they’re hedging their bets. They’ve got four tactical units ready: one is at each meeting location, one is at the corporate representative’s home, and one is in reserve. The Eagle Corp team is splitting up as well, and the police are stationing plain-clothes officers at both locations to do covert surveillance.
We take a limo to the club, and get in without incident. The club’s main function hall is on the upper level, in the lobby are a pair of staircases, twisted into a double helix, with a 30ft tall glass statue/chandelier in the centre of them. At the top landing is a greeting area surrounded by pillars, there are club waiters with drinks and hors d’ouevres waiting. A live band is playing. Casanova is only picking up positive emotions on his passive senses, but he does notice that one of his brother’s business associates is in attendance. We’ll have to keep out of his way, there’s a possibility that he could blow Casanova’s secret identity.
As Casanova and the ladies mingle, Xeadas and I do the job of bodyguards by keeping a watch on the room. None of the guests seem out of place, and the house security detail is evident but quite unobtrusive. Xeadas is tasked with room security, while I’m keeping an eye for any Prometheans than come in the entrance. The young platinum blonde lady in the red dress that sweeps in is impossible to miss, she’s beautiful enough to send Helen of Troy to her room in tears. She walks right up to a local oil baron, dismisses the person he was talking to, and strikes up a conversation. As Rosa checks her out, she wistfully notes that she’s everything that Rosa’s adoptive mother wanted her to be. (SW: Remind me to give you a copy of the photo I took of you in the hotel room. As I’ve stated before, you really do clean up well)
Lightning takes a washroom break to get into the club’s computer system and check the guest list. One new entry coincides with the new arrival, both the name and organization were entered as “Eagle Corporation”. Casanova’s empathic senses pickup that everyone in the room is focusing on the new arrival. Even with our Promethean wills, it takes effort for us to NOT spend all our time looking at her. What does worry him is that she’s essentially a hole in his empathic environment, either she’s got a power that hides her or she’s so well disciplined that she has no identifiable surface emotions.
She’s making the rounds of the room, giving everyone at least a little bit of time with her. Casanova’s trying to avoid meeting her face-to-face, while simultaneously trying to avoid looking like we’re try to do that. He pulls the company representative into a side corridor for a brief private discussion of their mutual oil interests. The representative is clearly nervous, but calms down a little as Casanova speaks with him. When Xeadas looks out the window he notices that there’s a ninja on the rooftop across the street, looking back into the club. I notice a plain-clothes policeman on the street, pretending to be a drunk.
As we return to the main room, Casanova picks up a wave of fear from the representative. He’s currently talking to a very small woman in a Japanese business suit. She’s not Asian, but the suit was definitely made for her and she knows how to wear it. They talk for a short while, then she turns and begins to leave the room. Casanova’s scan detects that she’s thrilled, presumably she’s gotten what she came for. As she heads toward the exit, the blond Promethean makes her grand exit, leaving both Blade and us to follow in her wake.
We catch up to Blade in the lobby of the club. Casanova engages her, and tells her we’re here to help, and that the authorities are waiting outside the building to arrest her. He offers to help her get away, if she’ll agree to come with us. She agrees, and Lightning decides to teleport us out on the spot. As the teleport builds up, she feels the connection beginning to break up. She pushes through, and everyone arrives safely at Lajes Field in the Azores.
As soon as we’re there, Blade turns to leave. Casanova introduces himself, and says that we need to look at any Promethean artifacts she might be carrying. He also tells her that Eagle Corporation was also waiting for her, along with the Egyptian police. When she doesn’t answer, he asks her how she manages to get into the well-secured buildings to hack their computers. She still doesn’t answer, and we see her typing one-handed on something. Lightning tells the device to turn off, and she throws it at her and tries to make a run for it.
While she may have a Promethean artifact, she’s definitely no Promethean. Autumn has her tied up in bonds of wind before she can take her first step. Lightning inspects the PDA, the contents are encrypted but all she needs to do is tell the PDA to decrypt itself for her. The start of the text message was “In danger, c”, which is all she had time to type before the PDA shut down. Her speed dial list only has two entries, one is the PDA itself and the other is an un-named contact.
Meanwhile, Blade tries the give Casanova a $1 million bribe to let her walk away, given that she’s gotten away with $10 billion over the last 3 years the size of the bribe is more insulting than tempting. He keeps on about whether she’s using Promethean technology, while also actively using his telepathy to see if she’s lying. She say’s she’s not, but the artifact us currently on her back. Her tailor is of EPIC skill levels, she’s managed to strap a full-size katana to her back without disturbing the cut of her jacket. When we take it away from her, Casanova feels gets sense of crushing sadness from her.
While most Promethean artifacts have a distinctly “alien” appearance, this isn’t always true. Xeadas phones Ivanka to get more information. After giving a brief description of the artifact, all we get is “Oh boy”, and a request for a picture of the other side of the grip. Apparently there is a file on this artifact, and it was logged into the Vault some time ago. She gets Miss Midnight on the phone, she hopes that the swords were made as a set, and that the one that should be in the Vault is still there. The blade cuts through distance, allowing its user to move from point to point without actually passing through the intervening space. She says she’s going to check the Vault right away. She also tells us to leave one person with the artifact, and get back to Cairo and clean up the mess we left behind by our sudden teleport.
Lightning tries to get Blade to tell her where she got the sword, in exchange for a free drop-off anywhere she wants. Blade says that she got it from her employer, and that she’ll be in danger because she’s lost it. She can’t finish what she was supposed to do without the sword, she doesn’t think we’ll be able to protect her from her employer, and she CERTAINLY doesn’t want to be anywhere near Japan. She does promise to consider her offer, and Lightning enters her personal phone number to the PDA’s list. Xeadas breaks her free of Autumn’s wind bonds, and she walks off in the direction of the airport terminal.
Xeadas takes off to fly the artifact back to the base, and Lightning teleports the rest of us back to Cairo. This time, our landing point is fairly close to the club, so we sneak around back and get the limo to pick us up at the back door and return to the hotel. At the hotel, Lightning uses Casanova’s watch to get back into the club’s computers to erase our traces. What she finds is that someone has already re-written the security camera footage, and added in footage of us walking out the front doors in a perfectly normal manner. In a reflection from a car window outside, we can see the Lady in Red looking back in through the window. Lightning sends a copy of the video to her email address for further analysis.
Once Xeadas arrives at base, Midnight informs him that the first sword is still in the Vault, so there were at least two blades in the set. Xeadas says that Blade didn’t want to back to Japan, so her employer is probably located there. When Midnight checks the second blade into the Vault, she simply tells the Centurion to log it in and lets it fill in the volumes of paperwork that are needed. Xeadas simply says “Son of a bitch”, he’d been filling in all the paperwork long-hand before. As they’re taking the elevator up, he says he’s got a bottle of whisky in his room, that deserves a drink on him. She starts to decline the offer when the alarms go off, then suggests that she’ll consider it later.
Back in Cairo, we’re still packing up at the hotel when we get an emergency call from Miss Midnight. She’s in the briefing room, and we can hear the Centurions coordinating some sort of combat action in the background. She tells Lightning that she needs to get us back to the base immediately. Casanova gives her some encouragement to try and push her skill and hit a target as small as the Titan’s base. She reaches out into the electric fields, searching for a target to lock onto. Out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, she finds a point that glows with enough energy to light New York City. With Casanova’s encouragement, her confidence is strong enough that her aim is dead on.
We emerge in a part of the base that we’ve never been in before. There are two huge combat robots guarding a large vertical column that pulses with blue light. Evidently Lightning locked onto the base’s fusion reactor, and we’ve dropped in uninvited to the main reactor room. The robots promptly evict us, and we find that the base’s elevator has a hidden back door that can’t be seen from inside the elevator cab once it’s closed.