Thankyou aka Eckhard Roberts
Serge “Castiron” Merkel
Introducing Ramón Ortega
TY and CI heal up a bit in Seattle before leaving some of the drones with SEATac Sweetie and hiring on with Nomusa Iblis to do some work in Asamando. They apparently want some friendly outside agents to act as watchers for the UN inspection teams (seeing if Asamando is fit to be recognized), and make sure they don’t get into any trouble, or see anything they shouldn’t. They fly over on a diplomatic flight, only to get rushed out towards a prison in the boonies, hearing that the situation has apparently gotten bad! They are to retrieve the UN team intact, if possible, while keeping them from seeing any undue violence, if possible. There will be a hazard pay bonus, but Nomusa won’t be joining them in the field, as he’s busy coordinating.
Ramón Ortega, having fled Bogotá during the Aztechnology crackdown, has hired on through an NGO contact to work security on a UN convoy heading into Asamando to inspect some secret prison facilities. The UN group splits into 5 teams to hit all of the known facilities, with 2 inspectors and 2-3 guards each. RO’s group has himself, 1 other guard, amd 2 inspectors in a small APC. They cajole their way into the prison past the civil militia guards, but the prison admins try to get them back out again. A military chopper eventually arrives and the prisoners riot, seeing that the UN delegation (their potential saviors) are being forced out. Ortega and the other guard hole up in a gym at the prison with the 2 inspectors and try to fortify, but the other guard is wounded in the fighting. Guards, soldiers, and prisoners are attacking one another, and the facility descends into chaos. They are having a hard time getting comms out, as they seem to be getting jammed.
TY and CI arrive, and drop onto the roof. They fight their way through the prison facility (pitch black, lit only by flashing “emergency” strobes), freeing some guards in the top level and killing some prisoners who attack them. CI has his feelings hurt when some of the prisoners call him a “pig”. They seem to be a surprisingly nationally diverse group, and the prison seems overlarge for how many people Asamando could possibly arrest, even with their draconian laws. They reach the first floor and end up in a gunfight with an Asamandan military unit who is attacking the UN position. With RO’s help, they are able to defeat them, saving the 2 inspectors. However, their comms are still jammed, and they hear a loud grinding noise, and notice on the blimp feed that a huge population of feral ghouls have been released (from somewhere) onto the prison grounds, assaulting everyone inside, as the military fires indiscriminately from outside the fences and walls of the compound.
The team finds that their fight has weakened a chunk of floor that seems to lead into some subterranean tunnels traversing the prison, and head down. Encountering large masses of ferals in the pitch black, they respond with gunfire and grenades, although they have to leave the injured guard behind to flee fast enough. CI carries one of the inspectors while the other keeps up on foot. They eventually see the mechanisms bringing the ghouls to the surface: some old mining elevators with meat bait above them, bringing one full load of ghouls up each trip. They descend further, deeper into the caverns and workings of an abandoned mine, which seems to have been used as a feral storing house. They eventually fight their way through, ascending a steep verticle shaft above a pile of broken feral corpses (they seem to be dumped in here), and climbing from there through the mineshaft proper to daylight. The UN team finally gets a satellite signal and calls in extraction from a local fixer, as TY and CI crash from stimpak abuse.
Innocent Dobiri lands in his bushplane and flies them out to Lagos, where they can lay low in a friendly aid office. None of the other teams seem to have made it, so presumably something went wrong at the other facilities too. Horizon is already spinning it as a coordinated prison riot by Azanian human supremacist gangs in the country’s maxsec prisons, with the UN loss of life being a tragic consequence. The 2 inspectors are quietly spreading their tale, while trying to stay hidden and not get killed. They split up to help. They pay the team a hazard bonus and provide medical. Nomusa is unreachable, and the team is told to stay out of Asamando for their own safety. Apparently the UN had some intel that when Asamando gained Corporate Court recognition, they made a deal to trade access to the country’s plentiful natural resources for a steady food supply: unwanted corp prisoners. As this violates the UN’s terms for admittance, they were curious to see if it was true, and it seems much worse: the feral ghoul population of Asamando is much higher that thought, suggesting that the transformation process is less stable than advertised, with a much higher incidence of feral-ness.
This was all too much for Queen Thema Laula’s heart, and she died on the way to address the nation about the “UN tragedy.” Her daughter, Rani Laula, ascended to the throne, eating her mother’s heart in a symbolic act, and declaring a period of mourning days equal to the years of her mother’s reign. Rani Laula also made clear that Thema Laula’s call for all ghouls worldwide to move to Asamando still stands, especially in the face of some of the recent “gossip and lies” being spread about ghouls- it is less safe than ever to be a small ghoul community, isolated from support.
The team feels distressed about the “true” nature of Asamando, and is also distressed to hear that there have been more incidents occuring to Jackpoint members, now including Lyran and Orbital DK, as well as the ex-member Riser (who was recently banished alongside FastJack and Plan9 for possible infection with…. something). TY is stressing out. However, they have a useful new comrade in Ramón Ortega.
The Confession of Ramón Ortega: “Bless me padre, for I have sinned. I have killed, again, and I have caused others to come to harm. I killed two men by my hand, and countless mindless ghouls. I regret none of those, for they intended great harm to me and to mine. They would have killed me, given the chance. However, there is a far greater sin that I do regret: I was unable to save one of my compatriots. I did not know this man, but we fought alongside each other. He may have been a good man, or he may have been a monster. That is not for me to judge. However, he was on my team. He was injured during our escape from a wretched place of death. I tried to bring him along as long as I could. Unfortunately, we were assaulted by hordes of the devil’s own mindless ghouls, and we had to leave him behind. I wish I could say that he died a good death, but that I do not know. I do know, however, that he fought to his last breath, and helped the rest of us to survive. For that, I know that his soul is worth praying for. I will light a candle for him the first chance that I get. I do not know his name, but I know that I regret his loss. Please absolve me of this great sin. Amen.”