Episode Description[edit | edit source]
Eager to refill their coffers, Kal’Mera Broun has brought SBBR to meet Kesh noble (and HORIZON commander) Gucci Garantine, who offers the group a daring opportunity to both make some money and get access--however temporary--to some Stel Nideo state secrets along the way.
The target is a secure Palace facility in the canyon city of Orzen, where raw footage is given final review before being shipped off-world for permanent archival. But with Apostolos’ Barranca Loop on lockdown, its harder than ever to get things off of Partizan, which means that more material than ever is available in the facility.
Plus, with each Stel reinforcing their borders ahead of what feels like inevitable war, this city deep in the Pique Ridge has been left without its usual guards. Where once the noble hallows of Imperium’s Plume guarded the people of Orzen (and the Palace staging facility hidden beneath the town), defense has now been contracted to a group of Oxblood Clan mercenaries. Oxblood clan mercenaries with motives and loyalties all their own...
This week on PARTIZAN: Deception in the Canyon City
///Operation Dossier\\\[edit | edit source]
//Organizations\\[edit | edit source]
HORIZON: In the popular consciousness, HORIZON is a radical, anti-Principality terrorist organization. In actuality, they are a radical-reformist group, which seeks to drive out what it perceives as corruption in an empire that ought be pursuing noble (instead of selfish) ends. Rumored to be funded by Stel Kesh’s House Brightline.
The Partizan Palace: Across Divinity, the Palace provides citizens with authorized archival information, approved news reports (kept up to date locally by the day, galactically by the week), and art and entertainment determined to be canonical to the Divine Principality.
Oxblood Clan: What started as a group of orphans turned into a labor guild and criminal enterprise with connections across Partizan. Occasionally run rough-and-tumble military ops for extra cash. Allies with SBBR.
Imperium’s Plume: A Hallow unit blessed by Imperium, one of the very first Divines of the Principality, tasked with inspiring support for Stel Nideo on Partizan by ensuring that even the home of Progressive Asterism remembers the strength of NIdeo’s virtue.
//People\\[edit | edit source]
Gucci Garantine (she/her): AKA Saint Dawn. Vassal and political attache to House Brightline of Stel Kesh. She and House Brightline reportedly have ties to the “reformist” (read: terrorist) organization HORIZON. Rivals with Clementine Kesh, and contact of Kal’mera Broun.
Jesset City (he/him): Previously worked for Adamant Arms and Manufacturing, Jesset became full time Oxblood Clan lieutenant (and rising star) after his participation in the fateful mission in Obelle. Expert technician, rapidly developing hollow pilot, and Cipher Certified by Stel Nideo. Utilizes prostheses on his right arm, switching between an affordable myoelectric model with grip hooks and a custom model specifically designed for interfacing with a hollow cockpit. Pilots a Yoke.
Meridian Street (she/her): Gucci Garantine’s second in command in HORIZON. Dark lipstick, blue crewcut, expertise in matters logistical and military. Pilots a Yoke.
Thetonious aka “Tone” (they/them): Gucci’s bodyguard.
Aram Nideo (he/him): Often called the “The Father of Asterism,” Aram Nideo penned the “Many Stars Argument,” which became the backbone not only for the Divine Principality’s faith but also its governmental structure. Posthumously awarded Divine status.
//Places\\[edit | edit source]
Orzen: Deep in the mountains of the Pique Ridge, this city of 75,000 sits at the end of a box canyon. What started as a mining town grew to be a popular destination for both the religious and culturally inclined, as the city is home to a massive cathedral, Divine statuary, and one of the moon’s largest theaters.
//Things\\[edit | edit source]
Perspective Bleeding: Once, before they were a Stel, the Columnar would collect and join together the thoughts of hundreds, thousands, or even millions, to arrive at policy decisions. This “Perspective Blending” was the heart of a democratic system that has been eradicated. In its place is the edgily-named “Perspective Bleeding,” which offers a taste of that experience for just a few credits, if you know the right person. In Orzen, Gucci Garantine uses a Perspective Bleeding device not to relax or explore the consciousness of others, but to temporarily gain access to the skillset of someone else.
Poetic Cipher: A security system used by Stel Nideo. Requires knowledge not only of up to date passcodes, but also a high level, intuitive understanding of poetic techniques, conventions, and history.
Herd: Developed from the basic AdArm Troop design, the Herd’s centaur like silhouette is famous to anyone who has faced off against Apostolos. The Troop’s bipedal legs have been replaced with piston-driven, heavy quad legs that are able to shift between two modes: Movement (with legs paired parallel like an ungulate, allowing for high speed traversal or charges) or combat (spread in a wide cross shape for stability in firing or traversal, moving like a spider). Armed with heavy shoulder cannon, and spears that can be used for both melee combat and as javelin-like explosive projectiles.
Yoke: The Oxblood Clan’s unique, further customized Herds. Though they cannot transform into the Herd’s “combat” mode, they have upgrades that allow them to serve a unique command and operations role when deployed in pairs. Their heads feature unique horn sensors which can generate battlefield map data and targeting assistance when two Yokes can provide complete data. Wields a giant fortress shield in left hand, a kanabo in the right, and a vertical missile pod on back.
Wave Fried Art: An underground creative technique mainstreamed by Columnar musicians and performance artists Jerica Vault and Roland Tenten on their “Wave Fried” tour, which involves either creating something susceptible to standard Perennial Wave interference or else intentionally exposing something to a high degree of Wave. Regardless of method, the intent is to create a unique work that explores the boundaries of the Wave and makes more visible the context that delimit all artistic production.
//Additional Notes\\[edit | edit source]
SBBR’s Objectives: Primary - Escort Gucci Garantine into the Palace facility and safely secure her extraction. Secondary - Maintain ruse for length of mission.
Rules of Engagement: Do no harm to the Residential district and minimal harm to the Theater (commercial) district. Damage to the Cathedral, Statuary, Quartz district, or Palace Staging interior is acceptable.
Opening Narration[edit | edit source]
Before they were Stel Nideo, progenitors of Asterism put little in as high esteem as poetry. So sublime was verse that they made it the cornerstone of their faith, filling their doctrine with metaphor and metre, and even naming the greatest defenders of this prelapsarian twilight after its most eloquent expressions. But by the fifteenth century of the Perfect Millenium, Stel Nideo had developed a more functional relationship with the poem. To rhyme was to draw attention. To deploy imagery was to influence. And to build a canon of texts was to make a vault, inside of which civilisation would be protected, forever.
Which is why it should come as no surprise that Nideo's most complicated locks are built around poetic cyphers and literary charades. Accessing the Stel's innermost secrets requires more than just knowing a code phrase or being able to quote the great works. It means inhabiting the aesthetic logic of empire. Few know this as well as Jesset City, rising star of the Oxblood Clan, who'd spent years studying a literature which wielded a sort of disinterested cruelty towards people like him. The poems of the great masters would not simply call him wounded or disabled but unfinished or broken. All so that he could take on jobs for the sorts of people who loved their own words so much that they'd turned them into keys.
Well. He had his cypher certification now, didn't he? And the technical know-how, combat experience and raw nerve necessary to put them to use. And so, when a simple job protecting the Partizan Palace came across the Oxblood Clan's desk, he saw an opportunity drenched in irony. They'd taught him how to open the doors that he might repair them. Instead, he decided, he'd blow them the fuck open.”
Plot[edit | edit source]
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