• Nobles of Null is a forum based roleplay site where sci-fi and magic collide. Here, Earth remains fractured and divided despite humanity reaching out to the stars. Worse still, the trans-human slaves of one major power have escaped, only to establish their own Empire, seething with resentment at abuses of the past. Even the discovery of aliens, though medieval in development, has failed to rally these squabbling children of Earth together with its far darker implications. Worse still, is the discovery of the impossible - magic. Practiced by the alien locals, nearly depleted and therefore rare, its reality warping abilities remains abstract and distant to the general populace. All the while, unseen in the darkness of space, forces from without threaten to press in. For those with eyes opened by insight, it is clear that an era is about to end, and that a new age will dawn.

Chapter 2: Practice Makes Perfect

Piston1937

Member
Wiki Moderator
Jamison would have gladly attempted to escape back to his room now that the exercise was over but food was food and while he could survive on the few rations he stuffed into his bag he’d prefer to save those, and eat actual food, instead.

Ignoring Reenee’s look he walked pasted her and peered into the fridge, without taking his armor or exosuit off. Since the stove was already in use by someone else Jami decided it would be best to just grab a drink and wait for his turn, though he was definitely trying their meats, it had been a long trip and meat was good even if it was lab grown.
 

Uso

Moderator
Wiki Moderator
Mari would follow as well, gliding along the floor so that she could wait just inside the door way to the food-room without making any move towards the food.
 

Kharthus0716

New member
Caleb sits down across from Renee, covertly looking behind him, at whoever she was leering at. "Ah, the angry brood, solid choice, have you considered the concentrated leer, as a special move?" He smiles jovially at her, and leaned back in his chair waiting for his chance to get some food. He found it was just easier to wait until everyone else was finished.
 

DUCATISLO

Member
Žana was sitting next to renee as she was waiting for her food she did had to curl her tail around a bit so it's not everywhere for now she was looking down at the empty table and waiting for the meal unless she has to go her it herself.
 

Acewing13

Member
It’s times like these where I wish I’d learned Russian, Bee thought, as she followed the rest of the group into the kitchen area. Would be really useful right about now. Glad Žana’s got it somewhat under control though, so at least we have that. Would pay to see her wrap up Froststorm or Shephard though. She chuckled at the thought, as she loaded up a plate with food.

Picking a spot across from Žana, she almost started to dig in, before pausing at both Renee’s look and the snake-lady’s lack of food. “You guys going to get food?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.
 

Ray of Meep

Administrator
Wiki Moderator
As if on cue, Billhook carried the large pan in one hand and a dozen bowls and sets of utensles in the other hand, balancing all of it on his two arms. In a swift, graceful motion, he laid down the bowls in front of everyone and plopped stir-fry steak, barley, and spinach in front of everyone, slightly flooded in a white, dull looking soup. He nodded to the Lancers and his own teammates, before sitting down and eating.

Eberhard tabbed off his datapad, and took a bite out of the dinner, before explaining to the team. "Billhook and I have come to an agreement." He eyed Caleb specifically, "We'll take the diplomatic route first. Try to talk to our fellow citizens, try to see why they blockaded themselves in their building. If that doesn't work we'll go with our pincer maneuver. Given our track record clearing tight hallways and corridors, the Lancers will be going through the basement, while TF52 will go through the rooftop."

"You've gone soft on the Commonwealthers, captain," Froststorm scoffed at Billhook, leering at him. Billhook leered back and crossed his arms. Taking note, the hooded man took up his bowl to bring to his own room to eat. Probably would've slunk away alone anyways. Snorting a sigh, Billhook turned to Mari and spoke in translated English, "Exemplar, the Commonwealthers will need access to the building's comms. I assume that'll be no problem for you." His gruff, slavic tone was respectful and patient.
 

Poe

Member
Renee was aware of Zana and Caleb appearing, but was still staring towards the others until Caleb spoke. She fixed him with the glare. "Have you considered dropping out yet, yank?" she inquired, the corner of her lip curving upwards in a sarcastic smirk that demonstrated the comment was a joke rather than an attack. She just had an odd sense of humour, sometimes.

As Bee spoke, Renee's eyes flicked towards her and the smirk dropped. "I ate before training, and I shall eat later than this," she answered - she had gotten used to eating at set times and then having to go entire missions with minimal time to eat, so something like this didn't phase her. "I am fine, Bee," the French woman added in a slightly more gentle tone, as if telling her not to worry.

It was at that moment that Billhook dropped the bowl of soup down on the table in front of her. Renee frowned. So much for her strict timetable. She begrudgingly picked up a spoon and poked the stodgy liquid before raising a small spoonful of it to her lips - it didn't taste too bad, but it wasn't exactly gourmet cooking. As Eberhard spoke, Renee frowned - diplomacy was, evidently, not her strong point. She was better at being bad cop, or just storming buildings. This would be more stressful than intended.

Froststorm's comment bristled the woman, and she was relieved when he left. As Billhook and Mari spoke, Renee tried to catch Eberhard's eye and nodded her head towards the skulking form of Froststorm exiting the room with a questioning look in her eyes - a gesture that seemed to be expressing distrust for the unknown soldier.
 

Uso

Moderator
Wiki Moderator
"I can not confirm access to the building's internal network until the operation starts. Moving beyond the beachhead phase of a cyber attack on the facility could alert their internal security, so we will be waiting until just before the ground operation starts before attempting to gain control of their systems.

Their internal security is tight, and there are internal air-gapped high security networks that are impossible to access through conventional means. It is likely these networks control their internal security systems like access control, closed-circuit surveillance, and critical data. The high-security area of their facility also appears to block wireless signals.

The outer layers of security have highly guarded access points and penetration remotely from an exterior connection appears impossible with their level of security. Even if this exterior network were to be compromised, it only has access to lower level metadata about the goings on at the facility." Mari explained, wanting to drive home the impossibility of someone just casually 'hacking' into a competently guarded cooperate network. "Even if we were able to gain access to the network, exfiltrating data would be detected by their intrusion prevention system and be flagged for a response from their on-site technical staff."

Mari would pause for dramatic effect, the Magnetic Assembly had sent one of their best for this operation to show solidarity with the Soyuz.

"I expect to have control of their system before the operation begins."
 

DUCATISLO

Member
žana stood up from her place to get her food since she forgot it as she returned she sat back down next to renee without speaking anything as she tried to eat her food. she was here just in case renee tried something stupid.
 

Kharthus0716

New member
Caleb smirked back at Renee, her remark losing its bite. "Can't drop out, remember?" He smiled, thinking about the injector on his wrist. "Anyway, I like this, so you can't get rid of me that easy"

"Thanks" He said as the bowl of food was dropped in front of him. He took a bite, it was not what he was used to, but it wasn't bad either. "Okay, so diplomacy with no way to contact them. Unless we could contact them from in front of their compound, they have cameras set up, they could see that we are alone, minimally armed, we just go up to their intercom and ask to speak to someone lower on the totem pole, someone unimportant they could give an earpiece to, act as a liaison between, without risking the higher ups in the company, we can broker a deal of some sort, negotiate their surrender, and find out what we can about the attack."

Something was irking Caleb about this situation. "What if they were working together, and omnigrow stayed behind to act as the sacrificial lamb in order to give the others time to escape?"
 

Acewing13

Member
Whoops, Bee thought, as Billhook brought over the food to them. Figures that I should have fallen back on old British manners. Thought it was a ‘serve yourself’ thing. She shrugged, before taking a bite. Not bad. Helps that I’m hungry.

I’m honestly surprised that Eberhard got any compromise out of the Soyuz. I don’t know if I would in their shoes,
she thought, looking at Froststorm’s retreating back.

“What, don’t think Omnigrow would capitulate at the sight of a virile American?” Beatrix asked with a smirk. Taking a moment to take another bite, she added, “Well, we don’t exactly have any leads on the other corpos at the moment, so I think we’re at the ‘take what you can get’ phase. If we don’t find any physical evidence, hopefully our Assembly friend can find something in their computers.”
 

Piston1937

Member
Wiki Moderator
Nodding with his helmeted head still in the fridge Jami grabbed a pair of water bottles in one hand and with the other he grabbed what he sincerly hoped was bread, or something bread like they somehow cooked up in a lab to look like bread, maybe a bread substitute that tastes like cardboard. Seeing everyone else get served and seeing spare bowls he decided to add this possibly bread to that meal.

Manuvering around everyone he looked at the chairs and was glad to see them being sturdily built, unlike most earth chairs which were form over durabilty. The man sat down and started eating, the food being decidadly better than MRE's he ate. Removing his helmet and putting it next to him on the table he began to eat the soup stuff along with the thing that was most likely bread he began working away at the post exersize hungers.
 

Ray of Meep

Administrator
Wiki Moderator
Billhook and Eberhard exchanged knowing glances. Billhook continued to eat while Eberhard nodded to Caleb. "We can't rule out the possibility that all three of these corporations are compromised, involved in the bombing, given their behavior."

"Assuming Mari can force them to look at us, we'll still approach, as planned. We're not going to negotiate, we're asking for a surrender before we knock their door down." Eberhard's voice hardened. "They broke local law by refusing to communicate with law enforcement here. We should be grateful that the Soyuz is allowing us to take on this task in the first place, otherwise they would just blow the whole place up without questioning." He spoke in mixed Commonwealth, but Shephard must've learned a few European words, because she scoffed out loud.

"Damn straight. It's clear as day that they tried to kill our leaders. You should feel honored to take down your own people."
 

DUCATISLO

Member
žana just listening their talks she rubs her snoot a bit and spoke up a bit with a slightly tired/bored expression "well I think they won't surrender so easy at first but we should try to arrest a few if not all for information and such, maybe if we knock them and such?"

after her talk she does go back to eating her meal.
 

Kharthus0716

New member
Caleb nodded at the words, surrender was much harder to negotiate outright if they had no leverage on their side. Finishing the bowl in front of him, he rinsed off his bowl and put it into the washing machine.

"Then I suppose we go to them with the terms of their surrender, and try to get it done without having to blow up the whole complex. What do we do if they threaten to destroy evidence? Do we negotiate? How far can the negotiation go? I understand the whole "No negotiating with terrorists" But I assume this is an attempt to gain information, not just an excuse to kill a bunch of people in there"
 

Uso

Moderator
Wiki Moderator
"They have already signaled their intent to break the law. You should be arresting and restraining individuals as you come across them." Mari said, feeling physically sick that she had to be 'the law man' in this group. It seemed like a betrayal of her very being! But alas: she seemed to be the only one who knew how to run an operation like this.

Not that she'd ever been a part of one herself.

Or at least not on this side of one.

"You are conducting this operation with less than half of the numbers required for success. Without a follow on team to handle prisoners you will need to address them as you come across them. You must also assume that users will attempt to destroy data upon operation start. Your primary goal should be preventing users from accessing their terminals, and restraining all individuals in the building as fast as possible so an investigation can be conducted. It would be optimal to catch users before they are able to log out or secure their systems so that I can access data. "
 

Poe

Member
Renee listened to Mari's explanation, frowning although it made complete sense. She took another mouthful of soup, looking up briefly when Zana sat back down beside her, before her slate eyes flicked up towards Caleb with a smirk present on her pale face. "Oh no," she quipped back, tone sarcastic, before straightening in her seat as strategy began to be discussed once more.

As a Commander, she was used to some forms of strategy - but that strategy was planned months ahead of time and run through thousands of simulations to make sure that they could crack the entire terrorist cell. At Bee's remark, Renee let out a small sigh by way of laughter, before stirring her soup as she thought. It would make sense if one company was the fall guy, and if that was the case, then Omnigrow would have a higher chance of betraying the other companies, providing that the right leverage was applied. Although she was better at knocking down doors, diplomacy wasn't unknown to the ex-counter terrorism officer, but it didn't mean that she was very good at it. In fact, she was rather awful at negotiating.

Shephard spoke, and Renee felt an odd feeling of respect enter her chest. It was an honour to take any criminal down, and that is what Renee had always believed - regardless of their standing or if they benefitted society or the economy or the government. A criminal was a criminal, and it was a black and white judgement for Renee. It was her greatest asset, but also her worst trait. Whilst analysing her personality, Renee took another sip of the soup.

"There is no certainty that Omnigrow are terrorists, and mass arrests would be ineffective and pointless. The executive board and committee should be detained immediately, with other workers questioned according to their rank. Has anyone performed background checks on the employees?" she asked, as if mulling over the ideas out loud. "Access to the web should be cut seconds before we enter, and power to terminals should be removed."

Her grip tightened on her spoon as Mari spoke, her back hunching slightly as if she was ready to launch towards the technically minded officer. "Maybe you should lead this operation instead," she snapped, eyes flicking towards Eberhard and Billhook with a brief look of regret in her eyes.
 

Uso

Moderator
Wiki Moderator
"We may not be certain that they are terrorists, but we are certain that they are concealing something... and of the methods of discovery available to us, this is the one that has been chosen." Mari said, not really commiting to supporting the action but not explicitly turning it down either. There was a distaste in her synthetically modulated voice for these actions. The honour of taking down criminals just wasn't as sweet for her.

"We would prefer to leave internet access enabled. There is only one physical access point to their facility. We will be monitoring them from the ISP's side, and will be able to bottle their traffic for analysis later. We will similarly be using a Stingray system typically used by the GDW to spy on its citizens to bottle their wireless traffic. As they call for help, we will capture all of their signals and be able to observe who they were reaching out to. Similarly, if we jam wireless signals going in, then I will not be able to provide real time surveillance of the interior of the facility through user's personal devices."

Then there was the question of power.

"Disabling power to the facility is a double-edged sword. It will keep users from enabling a disk-nuke to make recovering data from their hard drives more difficult, however it will also log us out of any active users sessions which will require us to break their encryption before we can access their data. If we leave their power on then we may be able to catch users before they can log out which will allow us access to their systems immediately. This also may be an unnecessary distinction as their critical systems may have backup power in the event external power is interrupted."
 

Acewing13

Member
Beatrix ate her soup while the rest of the crew talked, it’s satisfying weight in her stomach making up for the relative lack of taste. Could have used more seasoning besides salt, she thought, before Mari brought up the lack of personnel. “Reminds me of the time we had to go through a spaceship with three people, tying up people with zip ties,” she said, shaking her head. “Looking back, we were pretty lucky things didn’t go badly. Do we know how well armed the corpos are going to be? If we get stuck in a firefight, that’ll give them more time to delete any incriminating evidence.”
 

Ray of Meep

Administrator
Wiki Moderator
"We should assume that they're armed, at least with small arms: handguns and the like." Eberhard eyed Billhook and the rest of TF52, who kept quiet and focused on their food. No doubt this was a blemish on their pride, that somehow these foreigners managed to pull off an attack on the Yasny capital despite the nation's careful isolationism. Eberhard looked down. This was probably one of the last times Commonwealthers are every going to set foot on Soyuz soil, at least for the foreseeable future. This attempt at internationalizing the Soyuz has blown up, literally, in both the face of the Soyuz and of the GDW.

Eberhard idly tapping on his datapad to check the news for a small distraction, a break in pessimistic thoughts, which was probably a bad idea. The GDW diplomat party are to meet their Soyuz counterparts tomorrow at an undisclosed location. Hopefully that'll end well. He perked up at Beatrix's comments and smirked. "Yeah, we were certainly in over our heads, still are I say." He chuckled, and admitted. "The policy stands. If someone points a weapon on you, you have permission to kill on sight. But knowing that we might be dealing with unarmed employees, exercise extra trigger discipline."

He stood up, putting his empty bowl in the dishwasher. "We won't give them much time to surrender, given the urgency to obtain information and preventing them from frying what data they have. Be sure to get some good sleep tonight. Tomorrow's going to be our baptism by fire."
 
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