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 Dark Dilemmas

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Registration date : 2007-04-26

Dark Dilemmas Empty
PostSubject: Dark Dilemmas   Dark Dilemmas EmptyMon 13 May - 9:43:24

Dark Dilemmas

Manny seemed satisfied that the party accompanying the missing scout was genuine in their story about the scout having an unfortunate accident. I still would have felt happier if I had been able to find evidence one way or another but my impression was that the river was big enough to contain nasties who might be partial to scout sushi.

So eight days until we meet the relief force, after eight it could all be over. For some reason this doesn’t reassure me much. The terrain is becoming more difficult as we continue northwards through the foothills and we begin to encounter giant beetles that seem harmless enough and retreat in the face of flaming brands so don’t appear to present a threat, except perhaps to our digestive systems if we decide to try hunting down some giant beetle stew - doubtless a marathon undertaking.

Most of our time is taken up with practicalities: We get a woodworker amongst the ex-slaves to start churning out cups and bowls and divide up teams of foragers and hunters to keep the column supplied. A concern remains the surly contingent of armed slaves who seem to resent any form of authority and are not necessarily enamoured at the prospect of a return to serfdom. What a galaxy we live in!

Manny tries his best to keep up morale with his prayer sessions and counselling, though his holy gestures seem to lack his usual pizazz at present. Maybe we should drop Kobe for Mars, God of war, he might be more help. Following the river bank we also get some fishing underway with some very basic rods. Manny also introduces some code protocols for his conversations with the spymaster in case our coms are monitored, but of course if they are monitored they heard him set the system up.

We remain suspicious of three slaves amongst our hunting group who were apparently the longest serving residents of the camp. Collaborators perhaps? Or perfectly reasonable that they should have picked up most about technology use? They tell us that at times up to four ships had visited the camp and mention a leader who wore a cage on his head. We speculate that this was the powerful psyker and the cage was a faraday cage* of some sort for psykers to conceal him from detection.

*Oops er whatever that is – I expect John Michael must have explained it to me.

They also say that they could not tell where the strange caged mini demons had come from – possibly they came by ship, or more worrying, possibly not. Perhaps they are gambolling around throughout the forest as we speak playfully feasting on butchered beetles whilst they build up an appetite for escaped slave?

That night guard duty does not go well: We are using one person from each team of eight escapees on watch at all times plus one from our group. With the forest pressing close we have to keep a sharp watch for anything around trees.* Well I was very tired, gazing up at the Milky Way - I just rested my eyes for a moment and next thing I knew Manny was waking me to take over the watch. Worse though, in the morning I noticed my comlink was missing. Still not too much of a problem.

*Subtle this one, read slowly out loud

Unfortunately that idiot Manny mentions it on his next check in with the spymaster who points out that if as we suspect, there is a least one wolf amongst the sheep* and he or she has stolen it, they could contact the slavers and reveal that a hostile party using technology and purporting to be acting for the Baron and the Duke has attacked the slavers, thus exposing the Duke to the King’s wrath and revealing his hand months before he is equipped to put up any kind of a fight against his brother and his offworld allies.

*Or possible a yorkie amongst the kittie kats?

His solution? If the comlink is not found, liquidate the escapees, they are a write off any way and one transmission could blow the whole house of cards down. This puts us all in a quandary and we agonise over our choices.* John Michael, our helpful tame offworld walking IT helpdesk helpfully points out that even if we agree with the spy master’s scorched earth policy, we would still be loose ends that he would probably be just as keen to tidy up. This makes the situation even less straightforward, even Vizral, who was quite looking forward to the wipe out option now has cause to pause.

*For bloody hours

We even begin to consider the unthinkable: If we are in a no win scenario and Kirk cannot reprogramme the simulation, perhaps we need to be wiping out the spymaster and his force so that only we emerge from the mountains with whatever story we want to give the Duke and Baron. This scenario could still involve wiping out the luckless slaves as witnesses. Manny is surprisingly open at times to the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few approach, but after many struggles with his conscience tends to fall back on staying on the side of right, saying ‘let the sin fall on the spymaster not the loyal followers of Kobe’.

We suspect the three long serving slaves, Oscar, Fisher and Igor: perhaps they have a lingering loyalty to their captors after getting their gold watches. We spirit these suspicious smarties away in the vehicle to interrogate them and reveal our problem to them before searching and quizzing them. Manny seems satisfied (as usual) that they are innocent, so at least we have three allies identified now, plus we assume the eight guards we know from before should be ok. We have also searched the pope for what it’s worth and he should definitely be loyal at the rate we are paying him. The main issue is the eight armed men.

So we will have difficulty separating the eight from the main group: We consider leading them away to help collect weapons from a crashed slaver vehicle or other such bounties, but we feel they are sufficiently distrustful to make this approach unlikely to succeed. Even then we cannot be sure these are the droids, sorry men we are looking for.*

*Happy Star wars day

Increasingly desperate and not even sure if I had simply mislaid the infernal device that I wish I’d never seen, Vizral and I drive back to re-search the campsite without success. I even check the cess pit we dug there. Manny bless him, is increasingly deciding that an appeal is called for and on our return he lines up his congregation and explains the whole thing to them, calling on their support. He spins it that there could be someone ready to bring the slavers down on us, not that their own liege lord would probably find it an acceptable price to pay if his loyal subjects were all neck shot.

He manged to get the mob onside and we searched the whole camp, taking almost an hour. Nothing. The comlink had disappeared? Black Magic? Genuinely lost? Then a cry, the pope had found the comlink, obviously dumped by someone. The even better news, no signals sent from it. Panic over, time for celebrations! We report in to the spymaster who seems pleased at the news, maybe we are just paranoid?

So there you have it, not a great tale for the minstrels perhaps but a mind bender for those of us who fought through it. We split all the comlinks and their batteries including John’s and lock them in the vehicle, hopefully no curious slave will be tempted to grab a memento again.* So older, wiser and still possibly doomed, we continue north to our rendez vous, no cause for communal revels yet.

*If that’s what really happened of course!

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