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Author Topic: Voluntary Relocation (Ngoverse v3?, original by Cannonshop)  (Read 1795 times)

croaker

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This one wasn't listed in Trace's index of Ngoverse v3, but it could fit in either v2 or v3, I think.

I've added spacing to avoid wall of text syndrome, that's the only change I've made.


Voluntary Relocation


March 21, 3086...

"Stone Go Home!" the crowd in the marketplace was huge-and they had a definite view of what they appeared to desire.

"I think we're not as popular here." Captain David McKinnon said wryly.

"That's an understatement. It's been like this since we landed in January." the Intelligence Officer, Gloria Barncourt, said blankly.

A stone bounced off the lead APC's windshield, leaving a small white mark where the stone had chipped.

"Well... I guess we get to it, then... Company, Suit up, disperse this mess, the New Governor's arriving in a few hours."

The rear hatches of the four vehicles dropped open, and battlesuited infantry poured out.
 
"Platoon, Arm weapons." The suit unit formed a cordon around the vehicles, as the loudspeakers came on.

"You are conducting an illegal demonstration, you will disperse in five minutes, or be fired upon."

someone in the crowd shouted something, and the demonstrators started throwing rocks.

"Warning shots first." the Captain said.

Barncourt watched a screen in the back of the vehicle, and shook her head, "Here it comes..." she muttered.

The suits fired their machineguns into the air.

Someone in the mob threw a Molotov, and suddenly, it wasn't very funny anymore.

"Suppress the riot." the Captain said.

More bottles of flammables hit- vehicles, suits, everywhere.

Then, the suits replied.

sixteen pairs of Machineguns opened up, mowing people like grass, as the unit advanced.
Barncourt looked over at the Captain. "I thought we weren't supposed to be using deadly force, sir." she said.

He shrugged, "None of 'em are Citizens, besides, they shot first-we're just returnin' fire... besides, who'll miss a few Laosers anyway? It's not like we're here for them, we're here to promote the interests of the Republic, and they're not necessary for that... maybe we'll get the leaders or something, that'll resolve it."

Barncourt muttered something, and continued recording.

Three weeks later...

"I'm Not interested in your excuses, Captain-the Republic's already allocated the properties."  Governor Jonah  Mackowicz snarled.  "The resettlement ship is coming." 

Barncourt sighed, "Sir, with all due respect, there are several areas that aren't claimed outside the main city-"

He wasn't interested.  "Look, get those people removed, I don't care how, as long as it doesn't make trouble later... hell with it, I'll pass it into McKinnon's hands..."

She gasped, "You-That's-he's... Sir, we had to spend days cleaning up the mess last time!"

The Governor shrugged, "Sometimes, Gloria, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette-besides, it's not like we're talking about people that are part of the Republic Voluntarily-the ungrateful bastards deserve what they get.  McKinnon will handle it, you just make sure it stays quiet, we can't afford to have...uncomfortable accusations right now."

Coordinates 012345 by 4112109, Southern Landmass,  January, 3100...

With the reduction in fusion economies, Petroleum was big business, as was coal.  How big?  Big enough that with the change in Planetary Governors, Dennington Earthworks was able to get an exploration license in an area the previous administration had been adamant about fencing off.

"Okay, Shelly, what've we got?" Dennington "Big Dennis" Nguyen asked, standing at the rear-gate of the sensor-truck.

"Echo-sound shows a cavity about ten meters down, looks artificial..."  Dr. Shel Mosovich said, smoothing a lock of her hair out of her eyes with one hand.  "Picked up something about five meters below that, though-looks like maybe a layer of dense shale..." She sighed, and added, "Funny readings in the cave, though-loose stuff, maybe mixed with clay..."

Big Dennis looked around, and levered himself up onto the deck.  The Nick came from his remarkable physique-remarkable, that is, in that he barely topped three feet tall.
The Elemental half-breed Geologist he was talking to stood well over seven.
"How big's the pocket, maybe there's some gas..." he said.

She shrugged, and showed him the test-off.

"Weirder and weirder... the rest of the topo  survey says there should be pockets here..." he muttered.

"Pop a drill?" she asked.

He nodded, "Yeah, we'll pop a drill-sample.  Set it for Ninety."

She typed in the programme instructions, and the two climbed back out of the truck, and walked to the trailer, with its portable coring rig.

"Checks out... okay, Set a first-stop at that pocket-maybe someone stashed their valuables in there and we can pick up a Salvager's check."  Denninger said.
Shel nodded, and punched in the codes.

The machine hummed, and coolant flowed over the outside barrel of the drill, as it bit into hard sandstone, cutting a perfect, ten-centimeter wide plug out of the ground.

Every five meters, it stopped, and ejected a core.

At ten meters, it suddenly ran overspeed for a few seconds, and what came out was not... well...

Bones. Bones and fragments of cloth.

"holy shit."

The hopper ejected a sample that contained the head of a plastic doll, and a half-pair of glasses.

"I'm going to be sick." Denninger said, his face ashen.
and he was.

Four days later...

"Carbon dating sets this around '86 or '87, boss."  Shel said, wiping her already clean hands on a rag.

"You're sure?" he asked.  She nodded, "Eighty-six or Eighty Seven for most of the...debris.  That 'sandstone' we cut into ain't natural either-high-tensile polymer resin mixed with local sand and dust and heated by laser-someone didn't want this hole dug, and spent a lot of C-bills to make sure it looked like it wasn't here."  She opened a drawer in the living-trailer, and pulled out a pack of Dopesticks- a substance illegal in many systems (including this one.)  "Gotta light?" she asked.

He nodded, and passed across his lighter.  "If we reveal this, the investors are going to shit bricks." Denninger said.

Shel grunted, and dragged deeply on the narcotic.  "Yeah... wanna hit?" she asked.
He shook his head.  "Nope.  go ahead and smoke your brains out..."  He grumped, "I'll be in the main truck when you come down."

The night air was cool, and clear.  Dennington closed and locked the sleeping-trailer's door, and hopped down to ground-level.

Someone wanted that hole not to be found... someone with the resources to dig it, bury a bunch of people in it, and cover it over again...in a way that would fool an echo-sounder.  He wandered up to the coring trailer, and adjusted the depth-finder for one kilometer-where the instruments said a large liquid mass was holed up in a pocket created by tectonic folding.

he started it, and watched as the machine bored downward.  Well... that leaves a very small number of suspects, especially today-those people were buried sometime around '86, so it wasn't the Cappellans...  He stroked his chin, as the status-lights greened, and the drill continued downward.  And it wasn't the Word of Blake... leaves a damn small number of suspects, don't it... He sighed, and watched the monitor-readouts as the drill sounded its way downward, correcting speed and pressure for varying layers of rock.

That leaves the Republic...or someone tied really close to it, and someone with authority...  He nodded to himself silently, as the rig pushed another segment of pipe onto the drill-shaft.

Which leaves me, in turn, with a serious problem-go to the authorities, and maybe end up like those poor folks down there, or keep it to myself, and maybe never sleep again.
He grunted, At least, not without a dopestick in my mouth, and you can't run a business like THAT.

He sat down on a "Rock" and contemplated the site.

So... what do I do?

Sunrise, Coordinates 012345 by 4112109...

Dennington heard a rumble that woke him up, followed by a rotten-egg stench.  He sat up, and felt a jolt of pain in his shoulder, right before the gusher let go.  The readout said "1.1 Kilometer".   Under pressure! He hit the breakers on the drive-mechanism, shutting off the cutting head, then, he grabbed the valve-wheel, and closed the flow off.

Then, as the last spurt dribbled back down the temporary derrick, he checked the pressure and locked the hole down with the automatics.

Then, he went back to the Trailer.  The door was unlocked, and open.
He mounted the steps, and looked carefully inside.

The smell of fresh coffee hit him like a freight train.

"Shel?" he called out. 

"...mmm-in here..." came from the shower-cubicle, "..rab some coffee..."

He entered the trailer, and closed the door.

She came out with her hair wrapped in a towel, wearing a towel wrapped around her hips and another draped over her chest, carrying a small, paper-binder.

No flushing in her skin, she must've put it out early... he looked at the table.  The ashtray was half-full (it had been empty the previous night.)  He used the two-step to reach the upper cupboard, and pulled down his coffee mug, while she sat down at the table, and started reading.

"What's that?" he asked.

She didn't look up, "I found it in the bathroom-it's... interesting."

He poured the coffee into the mugs, and brought them over.

She took hers without looking up.

"Didn't answer my question." he chided her.

Shel shrugged, "It's... interesting. I'm reading it over again, now that I'm straight." she said.

He craned his neck to get a glimpse of the text.

She shifted it.  "It's a play." she told him.

He sat back, "A...play?" he asked her.

she nodded. "Yeah...very interesting."

he sighed, and shook his head, "We got a gusher on the test shot..." He told her.

"mmm...that's nice." she said, without inflection, not paying attention.

"It's great... Your fly's undone." he said.

"Okay..." she responded, turning to the next page.

"The investors called, they want you to take up prostitution in the Magistracy of Canopus after you get your lobotomy." he said.

"Uh-huh... I'll get that taken care of in the morning." she answered.

He put his cup down, and reached across the table, setting his hand on the pages.  "You're not listening." he said.

She looked up, and for a sudden moment, he thought she was going to take his head off.
"sorry, what was that?" she asked.

"Oil.  The layer we thought it would be at-there's a hell of a lot of it." he told her, now that he had eye contact.

she whooped, and lifted him up.  "That's Great!!!" she stopped, and looked confused, "What about the grave-site?" she asked, shifting from joyous, to unhappy in the space of a sentence.

"I have an idea, At least for the time being.  We move the next shot over away from the actual mass-grave, and claim that one as the first, now that we know the liquid layer really is what we thought it was...once we've got the field producing, and we've had time to figure out who we can tell about this, (because we're going to need a lot of money for protection), we leak the news... maybe."

She frowned again, deeper this time.  "Yeah... we have to be careful... you know, Reading that play's given me an idea..."

She stood up, and headed back to the rear of the trailer, to get dressed.

Dennis waited a moment, and looked at the temporarily forgotten manuscript.

The cover was calligraphed in a most cunning manner, as if the lines actually moved on their own, but the title was almost impossible...

The King in Yellow? He felt an urge to open the tattered cover, which he realized wasn't yellow from dyes, but from age...

Later that same day...

Shel came back, and found Dennis laughing. 

"I told you it was interesting.  Probably the best spoof I've ever read." she said with a smirk of satisfaction.

Dennis looked up, and wiped the tears from his eye, "I'll give you That, I don't think I've ever read a better parody of classical lit in my life. The part where Thotep explains the procedure for selecting a new king is hilarious."  He closed the binder, and Shel sat down.

"So, we're going to drill the field in a pattern?" she asked.

He nodded, "Yeah, you know, this-" he patted the manuscript, "Has given me an idea, of course, the Republic's people probably aren't into Classical Lit, especially Horror or the Occult..."

Shel sipped her coffee (she got a fresh cup before she sat down), and nodded.  "We can afford a couple in-jokes..." she said.

Dennis nodded, and his grin widened.  "You still have contacts on the old home-patch?" he asked.

She frowned, "A few-I retired with a clean record, why?"

His grin didn't slip.  "I think we need to bring in some, to investigate... then, I think we can turn this-" he gestured at the manuscript, "-along with some other spine-tingling classix, into a real psyops campaign."

She leaned back and grunted in disgust, "Dennis, you got bounced on your head when you were a pilot, didn't you?  We're civilians now, the War's over."

He nodded, "oi, I'm sure that's what the folks down there in the test-hole thought.  you didn't screw the samples up, did you?"

She shook her head, "No, they're clean...still..."

He nodded, looking serious, "Still.  How much you want to bet, those people's property belong to immigrants here now, and that they've been listed either as war-dead, or relocated on a voluntary basis to some bombed-out hell-pit?"

She shrugged, "I won't,  it should be easy enough to check, DNA records Were kept by all sides during the war, and during the immediate formation of the Republic..."

He nodded.  "Easy enough to check-we'll start on the missing lists after we run the next ten wells down."

February, 3100, Dennington well-site....

From the air, the joke would have been painfully apparent-particularly the pattern of lines running from the wells to the refining point.

The lopsided five-pointed star formed thusly included the correct angle of curvature to make an "Elder sign", and the environmentally-required "greenage" areas filled in the spaces, it stood out.

All of which, of course, was lost on the inspector from the Planetary Governor's land-use department.

"When are you going to finish the reclamation plantings?"  the Inspector asked.

Dennington giggled, "They are-the required plantings for the number of wells-per your own department's guidelines, has been met-five hectares per well."  he said with a smile.

"But-but aren't you going to... to drill additional units?" she asked.

He shook his head, "Smaller pocket than we originally thought-to keep production sustainable, we're about where we need to be, at least, on this site... snack?" he offered her a bowl of jerked squid.

She wrinkled her nose, "no thanks..."

He shruged, "Suit your self... now, if you want to review the records..." he led her into the trailer that now served as an office.

Inside, the wall hangings included various simple patterns, arranged around the desk-table to create a slightly asymmetrical feeling, both cramped, and expansive.
A small statue of a squid-headed humanoid with bat-wings crouched in front of the black-painted window.

"Em... interesting decorations..." the inspector noted, as he handed her a stack of discs.

"It's cozy enough." he said.  The inspector shivered a bit, and plugged the discs into the reader, glancing uncomfortably at the statue as she looked over the files.

"Uhmmm...everything seems to be in..order... thankyouforyourtimeIreallynee dtogo..."

She signed off on the paperwork, and scampered out.

Dennis reached under the table, and flicked a switch to the "Off" position before he removed his earplugs.

"Well...we know THAT works." he said, as Shel came back in, and the lighting changed back to normal frequencies.

"We still don't know who the target is." she pointed out.

He shrugged, "Let Russell do his work-  Who're we going to point to as 'Nyaralathotep'?" he asked.

Shel shrugged, "I haven't really decided-the Cappellans would be too obvious, I think...maybe a Freeworlders group?"

He looked thoughtful.

Der KrakHaus Bar, planetary capital, Mid June, 3100...

Gloria Barncourt rolled off the couch and dropped her pipe on the floor "nnnwhaaatchuwann?" she mumbled, staring up at the young man who'd entered the room. 

Henry Russel was a native of Filtvelt, and an employee of the Van-DerHoos Financial Consortium.  His specialty being defined as 'Asset Protection'.
He brushed a hair out of the drugged woman's face. and said, "You are Gloria Barncourt, late of the Republic Military?"

"nnyeaahh..." she seemed to be struggling to regain clarity.

He smiled, "I'm Hank Russell, I'm with a private company, I was hoping to talk to you about a job...you need, like, money, now, right?"

Her head kind of flopped, and she closed her eyes.

He checked her pulse, and pulled out a pre-loaded injector, which he pressed into her neck. The detox would soften her ride back from the deliberate overdose.

Gloria's eyes opened again.  "Bastard...whatchu want from me?" she muttered.

He smiled, "I think the better question, Madame, is what can I do for You, We're interested in some historical events, and my backers feel that if you can help me-quietly- to ascertain the actualities, we can provide you with ample and generous compensations...and not a small amount of protection..."

Anonymous hotel room, capital city...

"...all arranged neatly.  I took the sensible route, and kept my mouth shut until my tour was up, and got out." Gloria said.

Russell nodded, and flicked the recorder off.

"Is that when you started hitting the opiates?" he asked.

She shook her head, "Hell no! I had a kid, right? well what kind of mother does that to their kid?"

His brow crinkled, "not a good one... why the drugs, then?"

She sighed, "Vinnie...is gone, so why not, right? it's like god was punishing me for what ... happened, for not doing something about it when I could've... maybe when I should've, I mean, I don't think Devlin Stone meant for us to massacre a bunch of people when we got here, it just doesn't square with what he's always saying..."

Russell nodded, "Why didn't you report it? why haven't you said something?"

her face dropped, "I'm as guilty as any of 'em...what would happen if it came out?"

Russell folded his hands, and sat back, "You were born in the Federated Suns, right?" he asked her.

She nodded, "Yeah, so?"

he shrugged, "Just making conversation, the Neo-Pentothal wore off about an hour ago, I'm wondering why you haven't panicked yet."

She laughed, "Once you got me going, it was kind of pointless to try and lie about it-I mean, what're you or anyone else going to do about it? it's not like shooting me is going to fix it,  and unless someone can find the records, there's no way it can be traced back with anything more than the say-so of junkie..."

Russell smiled, "My Employers aren't interested in prosecuting anyone-least of all you... we're after the guys that gave the order, and the team that carried it out, not the person who was... well... you covered it up, but you were under orders.  Being angry at the hand when it's controlled by a mind makes no sense, being angry at the mind...well, that's at least somewhat productive.  How'd you like to have your dignity and soul back, madame Barncourt?"



And so we come to the end of another lovely, chilling tale of the Ngo'verse.

Dave Talley

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Re: Voluntary Relocation (Ngoverse v3?, original by Cannonshop)
« Reply #1 on: 23 October 2015, 23:26:41 »
ooooooh nasty
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