The first half of the briefing is pretty straightforward, some sleazy characters in Rio de Janeiro have gotten their hands on one of Dr. Prometheus’ left-overs, and are planning on auctioning it off to the highest bidder. No problem, just kick in the door and retrieve it in the name of Truth, Justice and World Peace.
Unfortunately, the Brazilian government seems to be in a bit of a snit, and they’re not going to give us permission to walk in and kick down the door in the name of Truth, Justice and World Peace. So we’re going to have to drop in uninvited, and then discretely disappear along with the device.
With a few of the crew unavailable, the only people left for the mission are myself, Xeadas and Jade. Rosa’s got a day in court (she cleans up REAL well, but bubblegum pink hair so doesn’t go with a business suit), so a detour by teleportation will have us in Rio with no-one the wiser.
Ivanka hands us a list of go/no-go places in Rio, and shortly afterwards we’re tramping down a road towards a hotel on the “go” list. Compared to a North Atlantic storm, the weather’s great…except if you’re wearing a hoodie sweatshirt like Jade. Checked into a couple of connected rooms in the hotel, thank the Lord for off-season rates because we’ve got a whopping USD 1200 to finance this mission. The bellhops offer to take my armour’s transport cases, its a good thing they’re big lads.
Jade and I are laying low until our dinner date with our in-country contact, but Xeadas’ face is unknown enough for him to get out and hit the pool. He’s got all the luck, Brazilian bikinis would probably get an indecent exposure citation in most of the northern hemisphere. There’s this one black girl who seems to have attracted a spectacular following, not surprising given that she’s so good looking that she wouldn’t need airbrushing. Her beauty is pretty much superhuman, in fact. Which isn’t really surprising, given that it’s Diamond knocking back Pina Coladas in a lounge chair.
Staying in the hotel room was definitely a good idea. The locals might not notice who I am if I act casual enough, but Diamond would have picked me up just looking at me. She definitely gave the big Irish guy in the pool a second look, but it looks like she didn’t pick up on who she was really looking at.
The restaurant is much swanker than Xeadas or I are used to. Xeadas is missing football on the big screen TV, beer, and nachos, and I’m wondering when the bouncers will toss me out the kitchen door. The wine and tapas are good, however, and they’ve even got a house beer to keep Xeadas happy. The menu is a complete loss for all of us, the only Titans who can actually read it are currently in Russia somewhere. Fortunately our contact arrives to rescue us from our inability to read Portuguese.
The auction is in town tomorrow night, but the artifact is being kept in a secured compound. It’s small enough to fit in a briefcase, and there will be a demonstration before the auction. Our contact has an invitation for himself and a guest to the auction, and has enough “rep” to get someone into their compound for a visit. Since Xeadas seems to be anonymous enough, he’ll be the one getting the site tour. He’s going to need to be better dressed than he is, so a visit to the hotel’s on-site tailor is in order.
Once we’re back at the hotel, its obvious that there’s some sort of air show going on. Definitely not the Brazilian Air Force, whoever’s up there is pulling stunts that are physically impossible for any normal aircraft. Bummer, looks like Diamond brought a friend to the party. I can make out the “aircraft”, its someone with a set of wings on their back. On the wings are hardpoints, looks like they’re carrying a couple of small missiles and a pair of miniature bombs. The jet contrails aren’t coming from any sort of engine, so the “pilot” is the one who can fly, and the wings are probably just there to carry weaponry.
So far its 3 to 2 in favour of the Titans, but a proper reconnaissance run would be good. If Rosa’s back from her court date she should be able to get into the hotel registry without a problem, and then check how many people are checked in on an Eagle Corp. account. Jade’s pretty confident that he can get in by himself, so he heads out to a local internet cafe so that he isn’t logged into the hotel network while he’s trying to crack it.
The hotel’s firewall holds the line about as well as the UN peacekeepers at Srebrenica. There’s four people in adjacent top-floor rooms, a couple of coded emails to headquarters gives us what we know from their after-action reports (you are filling these in, right?):
- Duria Nanami
- aka Diamond
- Our records only have her turning up fairly recently, but her Eagle Corp public profile has her starting several years ago…
- Melinda Cassidy
- aka Apex
- father was a Promethean, currently a USAF fighter pilot in Texas
- she’s the “pilot” from the airshow
- Miguel Delahue
- aka Voltage
- Lady Lightning’s obnoxious twin brother
- criminal record a mile long, he and Rosa’s crime spree may be partially responsible for the USA’s dubious treatment of 2nd generation Prometheans…
- Cassie Lee Jacobs (aka Wraith)
- A brief note in the record (thanks Rosa!) says that she’s got a taste for the finer things in life, other than that there isn’t even a picture
Well now we’re eyeballs-deep in the stinky stuff. Its now 4 to 3 in favour of Eagle Corp., and there’s one of them that could be the girl that walked by us in the lobby yesterday. A cunning plan is in order, and Jade’s got an idea. Wraith’s file said she’s quite fond of the fine life, and the hotel has a spa. If we can get her in there for a full day of the royal treatment, she may blow off the mission for an extra hour of Swedish massage. However, this is definitely something that’s going to need to be dealt with in the morning.
Xeadas and our local contact get a ride out to the compound. A brief tour around gets the layout, but the building that the artifact is probably locked up in is inaccessible. Since we’re officially not here, having the 15ft tall green bug peel the roof off the building is right out. It looks like we’ll have to either grab the artifact when it leaves the compound, or wait until after the auction and relieve the winner of it. In the meantime, the party is in full swing, so its almost morning by the time Xeadas drags back to the hotel.
A little bit of bribery gains the desk manager’s enthusiastic assistance, and her and Jade head off to the spa at about 9AM to make arrangements. Unfortunately, the ever-helpful Wraith has decided to fall for our plan, before its even been implemented. Seeing as she’s already booked the spa’s entire massage team for the day, we blow the rest of the mission funds (and some of Jade’s personal cash) on buying Wraith a delightful evening of excellent cuisine, fine wines, romantic music, and a complete lack of hand-to-hand combat.
A quick peek off the balcony finds Diamond and Apex soaking up the rays by the pool. Xeadas heads to the pool, with some sort of devious plan in mind, while Jade and I stay under the radar. Devious plan + “tank” = head-on assault. Apparently Xeadas’ devious plan involves getting Diamond a drink and sitting down for a chat.
The good news is, the unlimited booze charged to an Eagle Corp. expense account means that she’s spectacularly talkative! Eagle Corp. is pretty tight with the Brazilian government, so they’re in town to deal with a Havoc Engine that someone found out in the jungle. The air show was part of their contract, which seems to have slightly annoyed Apex. Voltage arrived late, so he’s still asleep in his hotel room. Wraith is delighted to be turned loose in the tropics with an Eagle Corp. expense account, and is burning money like it grows on trees. The discrepancy in Diamond’s records came about because she was a child labourer in an Eagle Corp. factory in Africa, she’d been with them for a number of years but was only transferred to the Dept. of Promethean Affairs recently.
Once everyone’s reassembled in the hotel room, Jade finds out that we’ve just wasted most of our money on preventing someone from interfering in a mission that they didn’t even know about. I’m in favour of staking out the compound and taking the artifact as soon as possible, but we end up deciding to have Xeadas and our contact attend the auction, and then mug the winner. They’re buying a contraband Promethean artifact from a group of drug smugglers and heroin manufacturers, so its not like they’ll be filing a complaint with the Rio police department.
The artifact is demonstrated to the assembled bidders. Its a dual mode energy blaster, the first mode has a rapid fire “machine gun” effect and the other is a single powerful blast with a significant armour-piercing effect. They’ve also brought a airport X-ray machine and metal detector wand. The X-ray machine just shows it as a solid lump, and the metal detector doesn’t even hint at metal.
The auction starts at 6 million USD, and quickly escalates. Xeadas puts in a couple of bids, and then sits back to watch the show. Our contact seems to be familiar with a lot of the bidders, most of them are from various criminal organizations that really shouldn’t be playing with this sort of thing. Eventually, someone that our contact tags as a CIA operative wins with a bid of 11 million USD. We tail him back to a building in Rio, and our contact insists that we cover the exits while he retrieves the artifact. He emerges a little while later with the artifact, he doesn’t mention what went down in there, and this it would probably be a bad idea to get inquisitive.
We need to get the artifact out of sight ASAP, so Xeadas takes the artifact and starts a low-altitude flight out over the coast. A short while into the flight he gets a phone call. Its Apex on the phone, telling him that he’s about to (literally) run into a warship that’s on an anti-drug patrol. A quick detour takes him around the ships radar scans, and then its a LONG flight north to home base.
I’ve been essentially sitting on my butt for the past two days, so I’ve got no objections to Jade’s suggestion that we offer some freelance firepower for the Eagle crew’s run at the Havoc Engine. Diamond and Apex seemed to be pretty congenial out of combat, and when it comes to Havoc’s left-overs there is no such thing as overkill. Jade slips a message under Wraith’s hotel room door, but a while later we get a rather curt text message from Voltage(!) telling us that they don’t need our help.
Since Xeadas has taken off with the artifact, and the Eagle crew won’t let us play in their end of the playground, we call back home for extraction, and eventually get teleported home by our friendly pink-haired taxi service.