The agents (team Protect):
- Doll, a dwarven lady with a love for French bread
- Visage, a human smoothtalker with a love for French profanities
- Zen, a human summoner with a love for teeth
Their Mission, should they choose to accept it:
To go to an anti-terrorism conference and protect Agatha Lancer against assassins.
The agents (team Serve):
- Templar, a human sneaky shifter with slick fingers
- Bluepin, a human decker who handles his metadata well but has the worst luck
- Bubbles, an elven spying recon eye there to watch everyone’s back, literally
Their Mission, should they choose to accept it:
To go to an anti-terrorism conference, steal paydata from Victor Mondreau and then assassinate him.
Both teams, minus Bubbles, received invitations from the Argos company for jobs of various professions, each person being offered something fitting their fake licenses. Most realized the sender was this month’s codephrase, except Doll who needed a ‘friendly’ mailed reminder. Each agent went to their local Argos office to pick up their briefing with, as always, their advance and their datachip with instructions.
Team Protect received a curious briefing, with an exasperated Mr. Smith vocally telling his technical staff that no, the datachips should NOT be rigged to self-destruct rather than self-erase. Inbetween his complaints he delivered his instructions. The team was to attend the Joint UCAS-CAS Anti-Terrorism (JUCAT) Conference in Norfolk, there they were to protect sociology professor Agatha Lancer against likely assassination attempts, caused by her vocal opposition against terrorist groups.
Team Serve lucked out that their briefing was made second, so no self-destruct suggestions were debated in their briefing. They were informed that they were asked to attend the JUCAT Conference in Norfolk, where they had to obtain paydata owned by Victor Mondreau. Once the paydata was confirmed, they were to assassinate Mondreau. Since this time there was no contact on site, team Serve also received a decent bit of intel on their target.
Each team member took the plane to Norfolk, while also wondering about what all to bring. Licenses checked out fine, though Doll sent her explosives on another plane instead. As for Visage, the proud creature of comfort upgrades his plane ticket because if one is to travel around the country stuck in a big metal tube, one might as well do so in style!
The JUCAT Conference schedule, spanning 3 days from wednesday to friday, was quite simple. On thursday and friday there would be readings during the day, interrupted for a lunch in the afternoon. On these days there also would be a dinner available. On wednesday and thursday there would also be cocktail parties. Important for the teams was that on friday the last two readings would be from Lancer and Mondreau.
Lancer’s lecture would be about that the UCAS and the CAS should be wary of cartels sponsoring terroristic organisations to waste government resources, all so their drugtrades could do better. To counter this, she believed the countries should share more intelligence.
Mondreau, on the other hand, wanted to argue that the Intelligence Agencies should decentralize, split up more in a cell-structure. This because otherwise turncoats could do massive damage by leaking intel, not to mention that politics could result in one party leaking intel on another party’s agents. In effect he was arguing the opposite of Lancer, and his panel would be the closing one of the conference before the last supper.
On the plane Bluepin browsed the Matrix for intel on Mondreau and shared the intel with his teammates. As it turned out, their target was a sociologist who had a long history of arguing against the centralisation of intelligence services. Also a blogger who loved sharing his talks, meals and more. To the trained eye it appeared a sham, where even Mondreau’s well-covered peanut allergy seemed phony.
Team Serve arrived in the afternoon and first went to deposit their luggage at the hotel. In their rooms they found some extra tools of the trade, namely several toxins to pick from to either inconvene Mondreau, slowly kill him or take him out real fast. The killers were injection poisons, while inconvening here meant a contact-poison that would cause a severe pseudo-allergic reaction. A perfect counter to someone pseudo-allergic. The final tool they received was a maglock passkey copier, quite useful in a modern hotel.
A bit after five team Serve left for the conference building, checking out its security and quickly reaching the conclusion that unfortunately sneaking in covertly was not an option. Meanwhile team Protect arrived, dropped their stuff in the car and went back into the airport to pick up Lancer.
When the team walked up to Lancer they could tell she knew who they were. Another thing they noticed was two likely-assassins observing them from a distance. The team immediately jumped into action with Visage leading Lancer out, Zen quickly making Lancer invisible and Doll moving to head off the assassins.
Needless to say, casting magic in a crowded Airport is not the best way to not draw attention. As people voiced their shock, security immediately moved to surround Zen while everyone else scrammed. During this Doll managed to catch up to an assassin, whose response was a rather Cold-War-like cyanide pill in their teeth. As the assassin started foaming Doll quickly slipped into the crowd and got out of dodge fast.
Eventually Zen managed to convince security he didn’t cast anything harmful and was let off with a severe warning. Visage and Lancer made it to the car just fine, but Doll had to run back to actually pick up the lady’s luggage. Then they headed for the hotel and, to avoid any room-rigging by would-be assassins, immediately fiercely complained their way into better rooms.
When they hit their new room, the first thing Zen did was cast Extended Detect Enemies on Lancer so she’d be able to notice enemies coming. The second thing he did was summon an Air Spirit to stand guard, after which he went to check out the convention hall for anything and anyone suspicious, only noticing Private Eyes in disguise that were pickpocketing people. Meanwhile, the first thing Lancer did was raid the minibar since Uncle Sam was now paying the bill.
In the evening both teams visited the cocktail party, sitting out a dull introduction speech and then jumping into drinks. Team Serve kept an eye on Mondreau, who was accompanied by ‘friends’ , and played the waiting game while team Protect played the ‘listening to Lancer complain about Mondreau’ game. Things came to a head when Mondreau approached Lancer and started hassling her, which received both verbal and physical violence, in the form of Visage namecalling him in French and Doll grabbing a baguette to hit him with.
At this time Bluepin had started hacking Mondreau’s commlink and was failing miserably. Fortunately for him Mondreau was too busy being smacked around to notice his commlink alerting him to the attack, so Bluepin quickly pressed on and stole all the encrypted data from there. Unfortunately the data was a bust paydata-wise. Meanwhile Security decided to hold off on interfering so the fight could resolve itself, which it quickly did with Mondreau less bruised than his ego.
Afterwards a waiter walked up to Lancer and offered her a complimentary drink. The group realized he was an assassin and stealthily gestured for security to come. As the security guards took the assassin by the shoulders, Lancer finally paid enough attention to detect he was an enemy… Just in time for this one too to off himself by cyanide. As he lay writhing on the floor, rather upsetting the party and the carpet, Templar took the opportunity to swipe Mondreau’s keycard, copy it and put it back without anyone but Doll noticing.
Back at the hotel Bubbles joined team Serve, sent to give them aid by watching their backs and enemies with her drones. Everyone went to sleep while drones and a spirit stood guard inside the hotel rooms and, in one drone’s case, inside a vending machine. Thus ended an eventful first day.
Thursday morning Mondreau went for breakfast with his bodyguards, so Templar left the hotel, changed his looks by magic and returned a different person. He then snuck into Mondreau’s room with the copied keycard, after checking for traps of course and knowing exactly how to fake nobody had entered the room. Inside he noticed no suspicious electronics. One thing he did notice was a painting hanging slightly crooked. Giving it a push, and comparing it to one in their own hotel room, revealed that the painting likely had a small weight upsetting its balance.
A cautious inspection revealed a datachip hidden inside the painting. As he plugged it into his commlink, for Bluepin to hack, Bubbles warned them one of the bodyguards was returning. Bluepin checked the chip for traps, finding several protected files with Databombs on them. He tried to disarm the weakest but almost failed, scraping by with his teeth.
After this Bluepin did not dare try to disarm the others, so instead he corrupted another datachip and left it in the vending machines at the end of the corridor. Templar then left the room, switched the datachips and received a free Twix from a Fly-Spy, then planted the corrupted chip back in the painting. He left the room and set up the trapcard at the door to conceal his visit, getting into the elevator just as the bodyguard stepped out of it.
Team Serve then had the tough choice on what to do with the datachip. Bluepin did not dare risk it, so they called Mr. Smith and made arrangements to send it back home. Unfortunately all they had now was a file showing a bodyguard’s schedule, with the only thing of use being that a month from now he’d be protecting Daniella Mirando in the UCAS. Also Mondreau’s convention itinerary, including what questions he’d ask Lancer and what insults he’d throw her way to interrupt her speech. Not enough to be the paydata Team Serve needed and as such, until the datachip was succesfully decrypted they were not allowed to move on Mondreau…
At lunch security was in charge of the waitering due to people being afraid of poisoning attempts. And not normal security, no the elite security that normally was on standby… Needless to say this did not put them in a good mood. In the afternoon the only action was when a lecturer got confronted by his angry wife, who emptied his water pitcher in his face and stormed off. Team Serve did their best scouting for all their possible assassination chances, but unfortunately they were still on a red light.
During dinner Team Protect confronted the PIs they had noticed before, who revealed they were working independently. One had come to find proof the lecturer from before was cheating on his wife, which had been succesful. The other revealed she was there because the resort manager responsible for the convention grounds was suspected of embezzling. Unfortunately this interrogating left the atmosphere tense, which meant Visage had a hard time convincing staff to take his order.
At the cocktail party, Lancer got into a conversation about cartel politics with another guest, when the party was over they continued the conversation in her sitting room, while Doll stood guard outside. Just as Lancer’s guest was leaving, Doll spotted two men approaching that she realized were even more assassins. The assassins knew that she knew so they ran, chased by a combat monster unwilling to relent.
Bullets started firing and it was the gel ones managing to take out a combatant. The second assassin went out a window and started climbing down, which turned out to be a very bad call. Doll had no interest in letting him go so kept pulling the trigger until the guy got knocked off, falling to his death. A mere second later security arrived and put a gun to her head. Hours later she was finally released from questioning.
On friday Zen brought his Air Spirit with him to the convention. Given the repeated assassination attempts on Lancer, Security was ill-equipped to refuse. They did force the spirit to wear a coat and guest badge though.
Half an hour after lunch Team Serve finally received their green light. The paydata had checked out and Mondreau was now officially a dead man walking. Or rather, a dead man lounging at the lobby, ignoring the afternoon lectures and preparing for his coming confrontation with Lancer. Templar took his poisons and sat down at the bar nearby, waiting for a chance.
That chance arrived when Mondreau requested another bottle of water from the convention staff, who all were wearing gloves. Templar prepared his allergy-poison, putting some on his own glove. When the bartender readied the bottle, Templar took it and passed it on to the waitress with a charming smile, who then delivered the bottle to Mondreau.
Several minutes later the poison caused Mondreau to spasm heavily and, after a careful wait, Templar offered his medical assistance with an epi-pen. That the pen was loaded with poison and killed Mondreau in seconds, well how was he to know… With confusion and security approaching, he played his part then bowed out, leaving the aftermath to those poor sods.
Inside the presentation hall rumors started up about the incident, which came to a head once the presentation was over. Massive gossiping caused a bit of chaos, leaving an opening for the final assassin to exploit. With all his comrades dead or captured, he pulled out his metal-detection-proof HK Urban Combat and went for Lancer. Zen spotted him and managed to warn the rest, but it was the Air Spirit who got off the first shot. His attack came as a real shocker to the assassin, slowing him down enough for Doll to take him out before Lancer could even get shot at.
At this point the final bang, figuratively, came when a courier arrived with Doll’s explosives. As the chemsniffer alarms went blazing the security guards dogpiled the poor man.
When the talks continued, things were shaken and stirred but still standing. Lancer did great on her speech, and Mondreau’s speech was replaced by one coming from the convention organizer, holding a passionate speech about the dangers terrorists formed for this society, including the new organizations such as the Hand of Five and even the intra-corp Omega Dawn! Ignoring all that boring intel, Teams Protect and Serve just served their time in lecture hell, then went for dinner and their planerides home, another ten grand richer than before.