I joined Wiscohorndog (Rodge)'s Mission Critical Narrative Event and I'm making the trip up to Waupaca, Wisconsin tomorrow. Since it's a Narrative Event, I'll do my best to log each game so I can make Narrative Baterps of them. And to justify my Sand Cats' (and Wrecking Belles) participation, I made a small intro to this small Interlude: Mission Critical: Porlogue Raita Returns Ever since the beginning of the B4ackd00r Crisis, Sireen Barakat has had her hands full. However, compared to coordinating Haqqislam’s Forces during the Wotan Campaign, working in Human Edge, in command of just her ship, the Desert Duchess, and doing mostly Search and Destroy Operations, felt like a well-earned vacation. But trouble was brewing in Dawn, not only because the Japanese had finally seceded from the Yu Jing State-Empire, but also because her father had somehow been Resurrected by his partners and was up to his old scheme of Human Trafficking. On top of that, not being directly linked to Haqquislam High Command in a Potential War Zone, meant most of her expenses would come from her own pocket; and the Anti-Contraband and Anti-Counterfeit Agency, of which her Wrecking Belles were a part of, was not known to be a generous Patron, or pay on time. So, when Apple Pie came with the News that Chief Isler had joined the girls' Unit and reopened their Investigation concerning her fathers' Cube Smuggling Ring; Sireen lost no time in opening up the Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC Schedule for Contracts that would take them closer to more civilized places in the Human Sphere, and be able to restock her now depleted Turkish Coffee supplies. Sireen felt extremely satisfied when the first Request came in just seconds after she opened un her Company's Schedule. She even decided to answer herself, as a courtesy to her first costumer in almost a year. She opened up an AR Session with the Bridge of the Desert Duchess with her in the Captain's Chair, wearing her Commander Parade Uniform with the first three buttons of her shirt open, giving her interlocutor a clear view of her ample cleavage. The woman who materialized was wearing ankle-high Combat Heels, a light-green mini-skirt with a matching top and a dark-green coat that gave her a regal look; all complemented with a dark-turquoise hijab that accentuated her ginger hair. "Raita, darling!" said Sireen mentally cursing herself for being so spontaneous, and not checkin who was calling before answering. "Don't you dare 'Raita darling' me, Sireen Barakat!" said Raita Salik, War Correspondent of Nebula News Network (3N), flaring from her nostrils. "You left me down in Paradiso, while you went smack in the middle of the Wotan Gate Crisis! And adding insult to injury, you go hunting Backdoor Files and don't even bother to give me a heads up?! I thought we were FRIENDS!!!" finished Raita red as a tomato. Sireen couldn't supress a grin. 'Friends' was, in her opinion, a gross inaccuracy; but she had known not to get on the bad side of The Press. "Raita, you kow how it is," she said in a pleading tone. "I wanted to tell you, but you know how the Bureau Aegis gets where Paradiso is concerned..." Raita crossed her arms and stamped her foot. "Yeah, yeah, I know." she said taking Sireen's bait hook, line and sinker; and mumbling a not so complimentary string of adjectives for the unsuspecting Bureau Aegis. Sireen closed her eyes, knowing that she would regret her next sentence. "You have a job for us?" Raita sighed and took a deep breath. Immediately, the AR Room took a red tint as hundreds of red hexagons surrounded both women. Sireen recognized it as a Civillian Level 5 Encryption. Nothing a competent Military Hacker couldn't breach, but secure enough to give them time to notice the attempt. "I'm doing a piece on a Research Facility. I can't say much about it-" Sireen gave Raita a stern look and lifted her index finger. "All right, all right," said Raita raising her hands. "It's a PanOceanian Reseach Facility. They had a breach in one of their Laboratories and are hiring Mercenaries to round up some of the Test Subjects." Sireen Barakat narrowed her eyes. "I swear I don't know anything else!" continued Raita trying to sound truthful. "My contact said that they were researching something to do with Symbio-Weapons, nothing else." "So you want us to be YOUR Mercenary Force." said Sireen unenthusiastically. "I get to do some digging, you get paid by them, Win-Win." "Goodbye, Raita." "Ok, ok, wait!!!" Raita opened a holoscreen and swiftly made a Credit Transfer to the Sand Cats Tactical Security Main Account. Sireen waited for the information to reach Aleph's Central Banking System in Concillium, reach Bourak's First National Bank and finally make its way to Sireen's Invoice. Sireen opened a holoscreen on her Comlog and nearly fainted on the exorbitant amount of money that had been transfered. "That's... How... Wha..." Now it was Raita's turn to sport a big grin. "My source was right about Wotan, and then right again with the Backdoor Crisis. 3N doesn't want anyone else beating me to this scoop." "You got your Mercs." said Sireen heaving. "Where do you want us to pick you up?" "Circular Eight. In three Cycles?" "We'll be there." The Encryption Protocol disolved, then Raita Salik's Geist and finally the AR Room. Sireen was left alone and feeling weak in the knees. With that money she could give juicy Bonuses to her Sand Cats, while also being able to get High-Quality LHosts for them, just in case. She could even order enough replacement Subdermal Armor to compensate the Wrecking Belles' Death Rate. She pressed the intercom in her office to reach her assistant, Ravenna Rowe. "Ravenna, get the word out, three days until Deployment." *Ma'am, we're in the red.* came Ravenna's reply on the comm. *I don't think it's advisable...* Sireen sent a copy of the recent transfer and was rewarded with absolute silence. *Sending the word out, Ma’am. * replied Ravenna when she finally recovered from the shock. ---000--- The Common Room was bustling with activity, as women moved in groups of two and three carrying their belongings into their Quarters, and then back into another part of the ship. Eren Isler felt he had joined a PanOceanian Sorority instead of a Mercenary Company. All of the women were very young, and as they came out of the Quarters' Hall, they came out wearing Nighties and comfortable, but skimpy clothes. "It's like being in Heaven. Call." sighed Ouroboros, the Yuan-Yuan, while taking a swig of a Pulpi Beer can. He had joined Apple Pie, Battle Charmer, Agent Valentine and Eren Isler in a game of Poker by offering Pulpi Beer to all the participants. "I'm glad it's not an All-Female force, that would have made my Transfer request a tad uncomfortable. Raise." replied Eren drinking Pulpi Beer for the first time and finding the taste to his liking. Ouroboros roared with laughter, while the Wrecking Belles deliberately averted Eren's eyes. "It IS an All-Female Force!" said Ouroboros when he could finally talk again. "We're the only two male troopers, well four if you count our Pilot and First Mate Rattlesnake; but they rarely hit the field. All-In." "Funny, I didn't know that. Call." replied Eren with an accusatory stare at his three new team members. "How did you get accepted?" "Oh, it was all thanks to the Bombshell, here." said Ouroboros winking at Apple Pie; and getting a kick in the shin and a stink stare from the brunette Odalisque. "Apple Pie wrongly asumed Ouroboro's Gender, based on his File Name. Call." said Battle Charmer unfazed by Apple Pie's expression of shock. "And the man has proved too competent and resourceful to let him go. Fold." finished Agent Valentine giving Ouroboros a respectful toast. "Yeap, yeap, yeap, yeap, ahh! Trading my days of pillaging for this has been the best decision of my life." "So, about the new assignment..." began Eren to give a break to the mortified Apple Pie. Ouroboros shuddered. "That Raita Salik is a Storm Crow." "She does seem to be a Trouble Magnet. Granted, she's a Warcor, so it comes with the territory. Read 'em and weep." said Apple Pie revealing a Straight Flush. "Savage." said Ouroboros getting up. "That will teach me not to underestimate you." he said to Apple Pie, who gave him a toothy grin while picking all her winnings. "I find it awfully convenient that her gig is close to the general area of our boy Pyotr’s last known location." said Eren giving Agent Valentine a conspiratorial look. "Her source seems to be well informed." replied Agent Valentine with her natural Poker Face. "I suspect she's also smart, resourceful and very good at Poker." said Eren noticing with satisfaction the smile he drew out of the corner of Agent Valentine's mouth.