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"In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats."

-- Ancient Alliance proverb

2783.021
Stannis Law

Now that they're off Highguard, Sharra puts Ace's hand back on. It's attached with thirteen successes, which is really pretty darned good.

Kye checks in with the local IPX office. There are only a few people left there now, and the door is locked and barred. Kye badgers them into letting him in - everything is in boxes ready to be shipped out. He tells them it's time to mail the boxes to New Light. They brief Kye on a couple of Memento Mori employees who might be willing to go turncoat:

The group drops in on Eddie the stock boy first - Sharra and Akito are in ninja suits, which surprises Eddie a bit. Kye offers him a job in the GE aphrodisiac factory as a replacement for his stock boy job, which Eddie thinks is a serious improvement. Eddie describes the Memento Mori vault security, though not very competently:
"You go through the door, because it's always open, dude. Then you show the guy in the airlock your badge, and say 'it's me, dude.' Then he yells at you and you say 'oh yeah, right, this is Eddie blah blah yadda yadda' and they let you in. And then the boss lady tells you where the box is and which shelf it's on and you go and get it, and if you get the wrong box, you get yelled at. And she takes stuff out of the box and puts new stuff in, and then you have to put it back in the exact same place or you get yelled at again."
The party decides that they want to use his badge as part of their As Yet Not Quite Decided plan, and they convince him to call in sick for the rest of the week. Kye pays him extra to cover not picking up his last paycheck, plus the previously mentioned 50 aster bribe.

Eddie sketches the group a map of the vault, drawn in Cheez Doodle, though Kye gives him a real pen in exasperation. Eddie claims to only have seen boxes of "stupid stuff, like pot shards", and Kye refrains from leaping at him.

While everyone else is talking to Eddie, Akito investigates the video game he was playing. It's a pretty good fighting game. Akito starts playing. Eventually, Eddie notices:

"Hey, there's a high score. It beat me while I wasn't paying attention... that's not fair."
Next, it's off to Smythe's. When Kye rings the doorbell, Smythe panicks - Kye wasn't supposed to come here! What if they're watching? Kye blithely assures him this was convenient. Smythe wheezes and gasps and has to get a glass of water.

Apparently, his price is 1000 asters plus tickets for his family to "somewhere with good air". They decide Nonesuch would be good - he's heard that someone with money can do well there.

Ace checks around outside for people watching the house - nobody seems to be. However, when he and Ciernan search for bugs inside, they find one in the living room. Sharra isn't immediately able to tell it to stop reporting in, so she squishes it. The living room lamp panicks - don't kill them! Sharra reassures the lamp, though this doesn't reassure Smythe, who is busy having another asthma attack.

Ace points out that the gig is so high that it might be up. It's off to the spaceport, stopping on the way to pick up the Smythes' daughter. Mrs. Smythe is not pleased at having to leave so immediately, but was on board with the plan of moving to the outworlds.

On the way to the spaceport, Smythe briefs them a bit more on the way the vault works (though he doesn't have clearance himself for it). The main room is just stuff like pot shards. There are four secure areas: Valuable, Dangerous, Historically Significant, and Extra Secure. That last one is only opened when Dr. Chrichton or one of the other high-ups is there.

There are only five keys to the outer doors - the shift supervisors have them. Smythe pulls up a list of their names and home addresses. The voiceprint analyser in the airlock only allows people who are authorized to be in the vault; this includes Eddie but not Smythe. The outer doors are opened and closed from outside; the doors into the secure areas are controlled by two switches behind desks in the outer vault. It's impossible to find anything if you don't look up the location on the computer first, though.

Smythe gets checked into a hotel under a false name (he rejects Ace's first suggestion of "Smith" as not going to fool Memento Mori), and gets given the tickets.

Getting into the spirit of things, Akito demands code names for the operation! He declares himself to be Mr. Black. Ace is the Jack of Hearts. Ciernan's code name is Dr. Cain, and he picks up some toy guns to use as disguise if he has to shoot any lightning bolts. Kye's name is Gore, and Sharra is Babe. And the party is promptly christened Strike Force (that Russian "Yuckysnuck" letter that looks like a "b").

The group goes to ambush the shift manager deemed Most Ambushable - the one who lives by himself. The group stakes out his house until he comes home. The lights come on inside, and Ciernan rolls in the fog to surround his house.

Ace climbs through a window, and unplugs the house phone. The guy is eating Chinese food on the sofa, watching TV. Ace isn't sure he'll be able to sneak up and hit him with a Turquoise patch all without any of it being noticed, and wants a distraction. Ciernan sends a moth through the open window to flap itself at the guy and then the TV. The guy calls his dog, Rex, to get the moth, but Ciernan starts controlling Rex instead, to bark at the TV. The moth hides under a table; the guy goes to swat it, and Rex jumps on him. With this amount of distraction, Ace successfully Turquoises him and then grabs his keys from the front hall.

Sharra builds a remote-control key-turning device, and then Strike Force is ready to go. They sneak up on the building, and Ciernan starts putting the people in the security office to sleep by taking all the oxygen out of the air inside. One of them succumbs, but the others notice this before passing out, and run out of the room.

Ace hasn't quite finished picking the lock on the front door yet, so Akito smashes it open. The zzzting of neural disruptors fills the air; sadly for the security guys, none of them quite gets back into the office to hit the big red alarm button before being leapt upon by two ninjas, two people in disguise, and Dr. Kye, their mortal enemy.

Dr. Kye takes one of the guards down, and he starts dying. Akito flings people around, and then stabilizer-packs the dying guy, to not enough effect. Akito tries to grab guards to be neural disrupted, but nobody takes advantage of the fish-in-a-barrel guards and Akito eventually gets bored of this plan.

Ciernan heals the dying guy, and stabilizes him again. Everyone else is stunned and neural disrupted, and then tied up. The guards' radio earbuds are taken, and their bodies are hidden in the bathroom. Ciernan waits outside, to cloak the building in more fog and scout around with birds.

Everyone else heads in with Eddie's card (only four people fit in the airlock), and Ace starts hacking into the computer. The computer security system starts waking up, but Ace thinks he has some time. Ace pulls out the box number that the gi is in: box HK14. Well, that's probably in the Historical secure section.

Sharra and Akito simultaneously press the buttons to open the door to the Historical storage area - Ace is pretty sure he can avoid the deathtraps, unless there are area effect things like poison gas. He heads in, and the door closes. However, there are shelves and shelves and shelves, and it's not at all clear where HK14 is. Oops. They open the door again and he leaves.

Ace looks up HK14 in the computer, and gets a shelf number - then he successfully retrieves the box. Yay! The box contains a gi, wrapped in tissue paper, and a report that Crichton successfully extracted the DNA, after which the gi was restored, cleaned, pressed and otherwise made ready for display in a museum.

Well, this is nice, but it's not what the party needs. The report gives the DNA sample number, which is sufficient to look up the next box: Kye 2, on Crichton Personal Shelf 17, in the secure area. Again, the door is triggered and Ace dashes in - the room is very very cold, but the deathtraps still avoid hitting him.

Kye checks the box - yup, it's a DNA sample container. Mission complete!

Ace wonders if they should press their luck and look for Hippocrates boxes, or find out what else is in the Kye Boxes, but Kye thinks that with the front window/door being broken and all, they should get while the getting is good.

Resisting the urge to pick up the pot shards which are not nailed down, the group piles back in the airlock and Sharra triggers her remote key-turner.

As it turns out, there are some new security guards outside when they get out - Ciernan has done his best to lose the rest in the fog, but a few have made it to the door. There's more neural disruptor fire; Ace and Akito take some people down hard, but more stabilizer packs are applied. The last guy, with just one die of Pre of Body left, attempts to throw his badge at the red panic button, but misses. He surrenders.

Sharra loots the videotapes from the security office, and thinks she found everything. The ten eyewitnesses are all pretty clear Dr. Kye was here, though.

Akito proudly puts the gi on: anyone with martial arts skill, but less than Akito has, will instinctively call the wearer Sensei, Si-Fu, or Master, depending upon their style. On the flaw side, it's clearly stolen property for those who notice that sort of thing.