The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Love continues to follow the three ponies of interest and memorize any scents she may have missed during their meeting. She starts routing the BugBot with her lightweight bug detector around to herself. She takes the safe/slow route with that BugBot since she assumes they have time before departure. There were three ponies there at the meeting. Interesting. Love was too busy scanning for electronics to have noticed.

    They've certainly done some absurd requests, but they are delivering a bomb!? A friendly bomb, but a bomb nonetheless! She really hopes this doesn't blow back in their faces. Oh, Celestia. She is talking like she has already accepted the fact that they'll make the delivery.

    She says to Longshot, "Who knew our trip would be so interesting. No harm, but I'd like the iron chin's second opinion on this one sooner rather than later." Brazen should take a look at the bomb to make sure it's designed proper for its mission. They may be able to gleam more information that way.

    She cheers, "Hustling!" Love steps it up. A bomb in her backpack; she better rush too much.

    She says to Rose, "Make sure our stuff is on top! I don't want to wait forever to unload."

    Phew, Rose deciphered Love's cryptic message. Love's text to Rose, "Yep! I'm going to need a drink after this one as well! Wanna see what we can scrounge up for drinks later?"
    Last edited by Elbeyon; 2019-06-10 at 07:09 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elbeyon View Post
    She says to Rose, "Make sure our stuff is on top! I don't want to wait forever to unload."

    Phew, Rose deciphered Love's cryptic message. Love's text to Rose, "Yep! I'm going to need a drink after this one as well! Wanna see what we can scrounge up for drinks later?"
    Rose texts Love back, 'Maybe l8r on the drinks. I'll watch the cargo. Don't blow up.'

    She goes back to observing the deck hands.
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    "And lookie, everypony is leavin conveniently after we get it..." That certainly didn't lend credence to this being a fake bomb. He moves over to investigate the package for himself.
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  4. - Top - End - #154
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    The package contains a very simple timer attached to enough explosives to blow up the entire ship's superstructure. If it were left on the bridge and went off, everything above the level of the deck would be obliterated. Also, it is set to go off in an hour, 20 minutes, about 50 minutes after they should be out to sea, far from land and help.

    It looks as though the sailors are loading the last of the stuff. If they ship functions on a 'last on, first off' basis, the EDF's gear will definitely be in the first wave.

    If they go to board the ship, they will find two marines guarding the way. They'll look the four of them over and hand them a set of ragged, but serviceable, cold weather gear.

  5. - Top - End - #155
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    "Yeah. I know, it's never dull around here. Hopefully, the captain keeps to his schedule or at least sends us a notice if something delays him."

    Longshot accepts the cold weather gear and begins shrugging into it.

    "In the meantime, let's carry on as best we can. Be careful not to lose anything important in the transfer."

    Translation: Love, keep an eye on the Captain and sound the alarm if he doesn't board the ship-- and bug the package so we always know where it's located.
    Last edited by D.KnightSpider; 2019-06-11 at 07:15 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Love texts Rose, "I'll keep an eye out for you after work. I'm not going to embarrass myself!"

    Longshot needn't worry. Love is already on the case! She isn't about to let the three most interesting ponies in the room escape her attention. Love doesn't seem happy with the thought of the captain being late, "If the boat is late, our entire schedule will be thrown off."

    She smiles at the two guards. "Thank you!" She takes the clothes. They look worn. She gives them a smell. "We came a little underdressed." Love rubs a hoof over her legs each in turn. "I thought I was going to freeze out here." She'll wiggle into a jacket. Yes! Clothes. Sweet warmth! Now, Love can slip on her new jewelry without it being in sight. Third sight, regained!

    "Rose is watching our stuff. We shouldn't lose anything, or I hope not." Rose will watch the box, and Love will watch the Captain and friends! "I can't wait to meet everyone!"

  7. - Top - End - #157
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    As Love watches, the Captain, Seaworthy, and the secretary meet up at the back door and step out. They pause outside for a moment and look expectantly at the secretary. Her horn begins to glow and she frowns. "Someone's got a camera on us," she says, "Take route B. I'll take the original route."

    The captain nods. "I trust we will see you there, comrade." He and Seaworthy turn and walk one way, the secretary walks the other.

    Meanwhile, everything is a-okay on the ship. One of the marines offers to show them the passenger area, where they will be staying until they arrive. It will only be a short trip, not even a full day.

  8. - Top - End - #158
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    Love intently watches the secretary and tries to suss her magic. The pony's words dawn on her with the meaning of the spell. Sense Observation! Oh, pony. Love hopes she hasn't caused them too much trouble in their route to the boat.

    Still, they have already detected someone watching that area. She best not make things worse for her companions. Love has to be much more careful with a strong mage in the group and gives her robots some new commands. Follow the captain and his ensign. About the spell, Love abandons a robot there to watch the spell. Removing the eyes as soon as they are spotted is more suspicious and active than generic observation. Love tries to get new eyes on the secretory from the dock (assuming she leaves the observation area). If Love can see her from the dock (or if she is headed to the dock), she has the previously detected robots cease their activities.

    Love says to Longshot, "We should wait for Rose, but I do love the idea of a tour."

    Love will try to line up a laser on Longshot's eye. She texts that she is following the group, them splitting up, and provides some basic pictures. That way he can identify the secretary mage.

  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Longshot receives the laser image and escapes with his vision intact. Interesting. He tests out the Neural Interface to send her a confirmation message. All good.

    "Affirmative." Longshot nods to Love. "It wouldn't do to get split up yet." He turns back to the mariners and asks for a moment before being shown to the passenger area.

    "Hey, Rose, Tiny, you two ready to go?" He calls.

    So many factors and time to digest them. That was a weird place to be.

  10. - Top - End - #160
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    Oh! The feeling might be disconcerting to anyone not used to retinal-imaging, but it's a harmless invisible beam. It should be anyway. Love has never blinded anyone with the thing yet in her hours of using it. It can make for a fun game of laser tag!

    She scomms! "Reading you loud and clear. Hopefully, they're coming around the long way."

  11. - Top - End - #161
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    Rose hears LS call out and gets on board the ship. "Yeah, I'm ready."

    She procures her hobo coat for the trip, a mighty fall from the old days of something that actually was maintained when sailing at several thousand feet through the air. It was cold up there too.
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  12. - Top - End - #162
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    After long, winding routes, the Captain, Seaworthy, and the Secretary eventually meet up a short ways away from the ship. Wordlessly, the secretary begins casting a spell again, probably the same one.

    And so, (reunited?) Harrier Squad boards the boat. The Ardor, an armed merchantman. Though the Vedinians are not known for subterfuge, this ship hides most of its weapons to lure in pirates before revealing its true nature and blasting them apart.

    The 'common room' is the mess hall, a cramped area that is currently not in use. Behind the shutters to the kitchen, however, they can hear the ships's cooks hard at work. And it smells...decent. About average for ship-board food.

  13. - Top - End - #163
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    Love gives Rose a small smile. "Everything make it aboard alright?"

    They accept the tour! Love asks for a moment to slip on as many layers as possible. She wishes she brought a scarf like Longshot.

    Scomm to Longshot, "I think the secretary is using magic that detects if anyone is watching an area, and the spell lasts a long time." She sends some pictures to his 'hud.' That's why she is about to direct the BugBots away from watching that area. "We have to be more indirect in our observations until they leave that area or else she'll know that area is watched." Longshot and Love do share the robots so he could turn them back towards the area to observe the trio. The trio would know they're being watched, but the team wouldn't miss anything (though the trio will likely abort their conversation.)

    About that spell: If Love thinks it is the same spell, she'll avert her eyes away from the area. She'll have some robots watch the surrounding area instead. That way she'll know what is going on around them even if she doesn't know what is going on with them.

    Scomm to Longshot, "I'm thinking we slip the Officer a note and try to arrange a meeting that way?" She is simply brainstorming. Hah! With their brains, well, closer to using their brains then their mouths at least. Their brain stuff is still separated with stuff in the middle.

    Love sees if she can drop some BugBots on the ship, but she doesn't do anything with them besides hide them away for now. Slow and steady now instead of rushing later.

    She chats up their tour guides as they move through the ship. Her mind more on continuing those tests on the bomb. She wants to figure out who hoofed this thing. Scents, hoofprints, or any evidence. Did the Captain prepare the bomb? The Secretary? Love pulls out the full forensics kit. She doesn't see any magic on the thing.

    She takes a deep breath at the smell. She asks their guide, who is being kind enough to show them around, "What's cooking?"

  14. - Top - End - #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elbeyon View Post
    "We have to be more indirect in our observations until they leave that area or else she'll know that area is watched."

    Scomm to Longshot, "I'm thinking we slip the Officer a note and try to arrange a meeting that way?"
    Longshot acts as though he's surveying the room and decor, as he silently comms Love. "Negative. I think passive data collection has gone as far as it can; it's time to become more direct in getting answers. By the way, please tell me you were recording our meeting with the captain."

    Longshot mulls over their options. Heh. He must have developed a flair for the dramatic over the past six months because he was getting a nasty idea.

    "I think we should do a return to sender. We'll have to hurry." He says silently. Aloud, he says: "Hey, Tiny, we should get you some fresh air before the ship really gets underway. Maybe we can stave off your sea sickness this time."

    He takes possession of the package and heads back the way they came. The captain was his destination.
    Last edited by D.KnightSpider; 2019-06-12 at 09:15 AM.

  15. - Top - End - #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elbeyon View Post
    Love gives Rose a small smile. "Everything make it aboard alright?"
    "As far as I can tell, yeah," Rose replies.

    She watches LS and Brazen head outside again. Good, the whole package thing just reeks of suspicion now that they know what's inside. Geez, not even the most hazing of hazing rituals back in the Air force involved explosives. She let's Love chat up the tour guide, just watching the passages they pass by on their tour.
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  16. - Top - End - #166
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    Since Love averted her attention, then she does not know exactly what the captain and his posse are up to! At least not until the three of them make for the ship, moving in a calm, business-like manner. Which means the GM doesn't have to spend time describing it.

    Love's constant use of these bugbots could get her in trouble, if its discovered. Surely, spying on your ally without telling anyone can't blow up in your face, right? It could never be misconstrued in a situation where they are already concerned about spies.

    Love's chemsniffer detects the Captain's scent on it as well as Seaworthy's. Nopony else.

    The guide glances at the cafeteria barrier and shrugs. "Lunch, I shouldn't vonder, comrade." He sighs. "Ten to vone it vill be gruel again."

    --

    Longshot and Brazen head out and meet the trio as they are arriving at the gangplank. The trio move forward without a sign of recognition, though they do pause to wait (impatiently) for the two of them to disembark so the trio can board.

  17. - Top - End - #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miltonian View Post
    The guide glances at the cafeteria barrier and shrugs. "Lunch, I shouldn't vonder, comrade." He sighs. "Ten to vone it vill be gruel again."
    "What kind; oat, wheat, or rice? And do you boil it in milk or just water like they do in Equestrian Air Force?" Rose asks. Food should never taste like the cardboard box it's packaged in.
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  18. - Top - End - #168
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    Love scomms, "I record myself stopping to smell the flowers." She quips, "I'm going to record interesting." Love not recording might be slightly more surprising, ever so slightly. "I've been gathering information off the package."It's so nice to have scomms again! She missed talking.

    Love doesn't resist her teams efforts and the package is away. She trusts them. Love's saddlebag is a real hot spot today. Sharing - they are becoming true comrades!

    She tries to help Longshot's dramatic flair by providing any information. Love scomms, "Seaworthy is tense, but trying to play it cool. I'm not reading any hostilities."

    Hopefully, that security team 'paperwork' is making progress back at base.

    -----

    She jokes, "I hope the gruel is a ten, not a one. " Love pokes her head around the group to look at the kitchen's shutters.

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    Longshot slows his gate as he reaches the end of the ramp. Nervousness (born of recalled romantic difficulties) manifests in his demeanor.

    "Excuse me, sir." He says, quietly, as though addressing a stranger with far more standing than himself. "We had some concerns over the safety of this ship and vessel. Is it customary to use live ordinance in your exercises?"

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    "Have to ask the chefs," the marine says dourly, "But if the pst is any indication, oat and vater." As for the shutters, they are pretty solid. Not terribly see-through. Love can hear a lot. She might be able to slip a bugbot in.

    ----

    The captain's annoyance appears to grow. "Civvie," he says, "You're welcome as a guest, but stay out of our way. We know how to run our ship. Unless you have something important to say, step aside and let me on my ship."

  21. - Top - End - #171
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    For the benefit of those watching at a distance, Longshot endeavors to maintain his nervous disposition. For the benefit of Stormwind, Longshot endeavors to put some steel into his voice. The duality of this posture is interesting. Gone are the days when new personalities could be manifested at a whim.

    "Then suffice to say," He hisses. "attempts to ferret out a spy are well and good. Attempts to paint us as terrorists will not be tolerated."

    Longshot holds his position for a moment and then steps off the gangplank to allow the 'good' captain access to his ship.

    With friends like these, who needs IronBeak?

  22. - Top - End - #172
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    Love looks back to the marine and asks, "Mind if I take a look? I love the sight of a busy kitchen." She raises her hoofs as if to signal she won't be touching anything. If he seems agreeable, Love will walk over to the shutter and try to sneak a peek into the kitchen. If the marine seems more interested in continuing the tour, Love figures there is always meal time.

    She does keep trying to manage the chemsniffer when she isn't focusing on the deck. The data could be useful for learning the Captain's or Officer's patterns (once she captures the Officer's scent). It'd be useful to know where everyone sleeps.

  23. - Top - End - #173
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    The captain pauses and turns towards Longshot with a raised eyebrow. "Terrorists?" he says, "What a curious term. Is there something you'd like to confess?"

    ---

    The marine glances over at the shutter and a sly smile crosses his face. "Go right ahead, Comrade," he says, "the cook would love to meet you, I am certain."

    As for Love's attempt at reading ponies...she can't. The three targets have good poker faces up now. Their true emotions are hidden away.

  24. - Top - End - #174
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    Where's Question Mark when you really need him?

    Longshot studies Stormwind. The nagging feeling that he was playing a game in which the rules were entirely unknown was... well, way past manifest and more like on high alert.

    "A short while ago you hand us a package for a griffon." Longshot provides a brief, quick description in a low voice. "The contents of which make me wonder if you're setting us up for a fall."

    Silent comm.: "Love, I might need Rose ASAP. Don't let her near the kitchen."

  25. - Top - End - #175
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    "So, what you you do for fun around here?" Rose asks the marine.
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  26. - Top - End - #176
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    Scomm, "Roger. Want me to come up?"

    "I'd love to meet the cook." Now, may not be a good time though.

    Love checks her phone. "Rose, you're wanted on deck."

  27. - Top - End - #177
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    The captain, the ensign, and the secretary are all looking intensely at Longshot now. "If you feel that way," the captain says coolly, "Then you are welcome to stay here. The ship will be departing in five minutes."

    ---

    "Cards," the marine says with a sly grin, "It is a friendly game. Promise. And we welcome newcomers, if they have credits."

    "By all means! Go meet her. I would love to watch." He chuckles.

  28. - Top - End - #178
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    Thoughts of his Tartarus encounter with Rainbow Dash came to mind. His failure to stand down back then prompted a lot of frustration. Best to at least try and at least learn from experience.

    "We'll see this through to completion." Longshot tries to thread the needle between de-escalating the situation and refusing to cower from it. "I merely wanted our standing on the record. If you'll exist me, sir."

    A quick turn and scurried hoof-steps took him back up the gangplank. He tried to maintain his outwardly nervous disposition.

    Message to Love: "Captain was less than helpful. We're committed to his test."

    This was such a fine mess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miltonian View Post
    "Cards," the marine says with a sly grin, "It is a friendly game. Promise. And we welcome newcomers, if they have credits."
    "Credits, huh? 'fraid I don't carry any at the moment. Might have to earn some for a night."


    Quote Originally Posted by Elbeyon View Post
    Love checks her phone. "Rose, you're wanted on deck."
    "Hmm, do what now? Um, okay." Rose makes her way up to the main deck.
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  30. - Top - End - #180
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    Scomm, "I'll keep exploring the options."

    Love rubs her chin. "Everyone being gone makes for a wobbly tour. Maybe, a small break will see everyone re-united?" She smiles real big. "How about me meeting that chef?"

    Love sees if she can open the shutter and sneak a peek into the kitchen.

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