Voyage of the Colonel Darvish

Yasuda is unconcerned

Yasuda’s corpulence fills the overstuffed chair as he is pushed into position by his subordinates. A third woman appears and sets tea out for everyone. It is several anticipatory minutes before Yasuda finally speaks “Well? you have something for me that is urgent?” Maze mulls it over, does Yasuda not know anything about the killing?

Maze calmly explains the situation, feeling that Yasuda does know everything and is testing Maze as to how truthful he will be. Maze explains about sending Charlie to the Rock Twins house and finding them dead. How the assassins were still there. Charlie then produces the Kabar that he found in the body of one of the rock twins.

Yasuda looks at the knife, “is this not your knife?” he asks. “No this is my knife,” Maze produces his kabar for Yasuda to compare. “They look identical,” Yasuda states looking intensely at the knives. Yasuda puts the knives down and asks about the Sea Horse and what Maze was doing that day. Maze fills Yasuda in, explaining that a bow of a submerged cargo ship has been marked on the charts and Dr. Margaret Suzuki would be providing them with updated charts soon.

Yasuda seems less concerned about the Rock Twins demise and more interested in the Sea Horse, and that portion being taken care of. Eventually he asks Maze rhetorically, “So what should I do about these Koreans being killed? I am inclined to ignore it, but it looks as someone wants to frame one of my soldiers.”

Yasuda stares into Maze’s eyes. “I’m going to send an envoy to the Koreans. Since your assistant here absconded with the evidence, the connection of you to the crime, we will surmise the Koreans do not yet blame you, or us. Let us hope this does not blow up in our faces…..”

Yasuda motions and his subordinates pull his chair back, he stands and the women and guards accompany him down the hallway from where he entered. Maze is left with his entourage and the 5 men originally in the room.

Maze stands and motions his group up and out. They file out and back down the stairs and out of the castle. The group walks Kazumi home then breaks up with Charlie and Maze heading back to his place, some light banter between them. Maze is sure he will hear of the envoys contact with the Koreans and looks as he can do nothing but sit and wait

Game time is late Saturday

Maze has most of Sunday off he can try to get more spies, possibly into the Korean area. He could try to disguise himself and take a look too. Could just lay low and wait for word actions?

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Up to Yasuda's lair

Charlie was losing at Black Jack…again when a blue suited man with a curly mop of hair walked to Maze and said “Yasuda is ready for you follow me”. Maze reached over Charlie’s shoulder, covered his loss and tipped the dealer. He hand guestured “on me” 4 Pip and Donk moved quickley over as Kazumi grabbed his arm

Slo-mo camera shot
Blue Suited Asian with a mop of Dean Martin-esque hair followed by Maze looking sharp checking his wristwatch, Kazumi clutching his arm with her left arm while her right pops a makeup mirror out to make sure she’s perfect. Charlie slicking his hair back with his hand and then the weight of 4 Pip and Donk

There is a grand staircase to the right of what used to be the reception desk. Blue suit begins to climb the stairs which are covered by a stained and worn red carpet. Up on a balcony Maze sees a few casino “eyes” guards who watch from the balcony to monitor the casino floor. There are several other guards, carrying compact SMGs Mac-10s and PM-9s Maze wonders to himself what would these fools do if they needed to fire those weapons. Those SMGs would spit out bullets like grapeshot and hit everyone. Idiotic not to have a man up here with a decent rifle who could end a conflict with a few well placed rounds…..

Blue suit led the group down a hallway to a door flanked by more dark suited heavies. These two were standing with ceremonial polished swords. Tip in the floor, hands resting on pommels. Like Buckingham palace guards, rock still as Blue suit pushed open the door and led them inside

There was a small bar and lounge in here. A bartender behind the bar, 2 men occupy 2 of the 6 stools. 2 more sat at a card table. Far to the back a large tuck and roll semi circle booth, in front of it an overstuffed leather chair, Yasuda’s “throne” Blue suit asks that 4 Pip and Donk have their choice of a casual game of Oicho-Kabu (Eight-Nine a card game similar to Black Jack) at the table, or a seat at the bar and drinks.

“Your soldiers look thirsty, or do they prefer a game?” he motions.
Your call do they sit at bar or sit at card table?

The rest of the group is ushered to the semi circle tuck and roll booth Maze knows that Yasuda will enter and use his throne to block you in the booth. It is a submissive type of arrangement that he enjoys.

Maze’s muscle sits at the bar as Maze Charlie and Kazumi all slide into the large oversized booth. Maze can see that wherever his muscle would have sat, the other choice has a good line on their backs. Clearly set up that way to make sure that Yasuda’s men in the room would be able to get the drop on them, Maze also sees that it is a crossfire. If bullets were to fly everyone would die.

A gong is heard muffled and then closer. A woman comes in through a back entrance with a hand held gong and rings it. Two men enter and take up places on either side of the half circle table that the group is at. Maze recognizes them as Yasuda’s personal bodyguards and finally Yasuda….ugly like a potato with a well tailored shark skin suit.

He sits in the overstuffed chair and the two bodygaurds push him into position at the head of the table. The woman has set the gong down on the bar and has moved over to massage his neck as he speaks. “So I understand there is some trouble….”

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A journal is read

Levi and Jose sift through the drawers. Most notably they find several bottles of cheap bourbon. Before the war these bottles of Jim Beam were cheap and plentiful, but pre war booze was now worth its weight in gold. There is a half empty one and they find a couple glasses. A little bit of bourbon and it becomes story time as they find page after page of typed journal. Levi is reading out loud as Jose goes over the boxes and equipment scanning the supplies…..

HIGHLIGHTS FROM JOURNAL

6/5/95 We’ve been getting more and more done on the shelter. Civil defense has continually warned about the threat of ICBMs, food shortages and being prepared At night I lock the doors and sleep down here. Jenny has a key but prefers to sleep upstairs. We try to keep the kids from leaving the house. But this looks like it is gonna hit the fan. It has taken me several years to build this and get all these things together. I KNEW this would happen

7/8/95 Russian and China are fighting. They’ve used some tach nukes.

8/15/95 There are riots going on in the east. Food shortages are starting. I’m continuing to stock up

12/12/95 We had a huge argument about the shelter. Anthony will not come in. I thought about forcing him but he says that this is revelations and he will ascend. He’s almost 20 now, I can’t stop him
1/10/96 It was awful. I managed to get Jenny into the shelter. She didn’t want to leave with out the kids. Anthony is on the porch, with his bible. We raised him a good christian, but I wish he was here with us. Liesl never came back. Jenny is hysterical;

2/11/96 Anthony knocked on the door and we let him in. Both of them have keys but he seems to not be in his right mind. He told us he loved us and is going into Oakland to ascend. Jenny tried to stop him, but he struck out at her. He is like a savage

4/12/96 Our children are gone. The USA is collapsing. Jenny is lethargic, she just sleeps and barely eats a thing

5/15/96 Jenny wouldn’t stop screaming. She just wouldn’t stop screaming. Whoever finds this know that I did this out of love. She lost her mind. She couldn’t stay here. I had to stop her screaming. If I survive it will be my cross to bear. But I don’t think I will survive

Since things really didn’t completely go tits up in US until 1997 nukes race riots plague food shortage It looks as though this family panicked early and couldn’t cope with the psychological things that were occurring. Adult kids fled. Mom freaked out, Dad killed her, then looks to have died shortly thereafter

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Unlucky at cards, you must be lucky at dice

Maze’s entourage walks to The Castle. It is a bustle of activity, many of the people Maze recognizes as fellow “Lieutenants” and other higher ups in the organization. He sees local dignitaries and community figures, along with a general rabble of people all trying to look good and press their luck at the casino that occupies most of the first floor.

4 Pip and Donk take their place on a outer wall with a good view of where Maze will be in an overwatch position. There are several obvious heavies and bodyguards scattered about, watching their employers and flexing.

Maze doles out some script, both Japanese and MilGov to Charlie and Kazumi, “Have fun” he says like a father sending kids off into an arcade with a pocket full of quarters. Maze moved past the western style gambling that occupied the front rooms, blackjack and craps, he moved to the rear where the more traditional eastern games like Majong, PaiGow and Cho Han were played.

The ChoHan room was a place Maze had come more than a few times to forget everything with this dimple dice game. Players sitting in a semi circle around a shirtless heavily tattooed dice roller. Players bet odd or even as the dice roller cast 2-6 sided dice. Winners took the losers money, with the house skimming 20%.

Maze made his way into one of the circles and began to bet ordinary amounts, “passing the time” but was delighted when his efforts were generally rewarded. Even a few double down bets were rewarded with wins. After a half hour Maze excused himself, tipping both the dice roller and the girl who had brought him tea nicely.

4 Pip and Donk were nearby and Maze folded some of his won script into their pockets He wandered about the casino taking stock of the situation. He found both Charlie and Kazumi, busy at various games and pressed more script into their hands. Charlie was down a bit, holding his own against the craps table. And Kazumi had broken just broken even with Majong.

The entourage regrouped and shared some tea, then watched Charlie loose at Black Jack egging him on then razzing him when he lost. Maze was actually having a good time, especially because he was still a bit ahead, even with Charlie losing.

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Radio Radio

Levi is interested in the radio, cracking static every few minutes, just for a second. He sits in front of it, waiting patiently and watches it crackle to life, needles pegging, a slight pop of static from a desktop speaker, then shutting itself off again. He times these bursts out and it seems about every 5 minutes.

There is also a set of headphones, standard jack, that can be switched with the single speaker, There is a desk microphones.

Levi looks at the wiring and follows it up. Telling Jose to Lock the door behind him he moves cautiously upstairs, just in case anybody came in when they were down there. The sky is still overcast and only the occasional bike or pedestrian moves outside. Levi finds the wires coming up through the floor and in a metal channel bolted to the wall, upstairs he finds similar, the wires heading outside to the roof.

He surmises that there is probably a solar panel on the roof. What little sunlight is out there is providing enough power to start the radio up, but that is all. He would have to climb on the roof to prove this theory,

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The Castle

Maze’s entourage walks to The Castle. It is a bustle of activity, many of the people Maze recognizes as fellow “Lieutenants” and other higher ups in the organization. He sees local dignitaries and community figures, along with a general rabble of people all trying to look good and press their luck at the casino that occupies most of the first floor.

4 Pip and Donk take their place on a outer wall with a good view of where Maze will be in an overwatch position. There are several obvious heavies and bodyguards scattered about, watching their employers and flexing.

Maze doles out some script, both Japanese and MilGov to Charlie and Kazumi, “Have fun” he says like a father sending kids off into an arcade with a pocket full of quarters. Maze moved past the western style gambling that occupied the front rooms, blackjack and craps, he moved to the rear where the more traditional eastern games like Majong, PaiGow and Cho Han were played.

The ChoHan room was a place Maze had come more than a few times to forget everything with this dimple dice game. Players sitting in a semi circle around a shirtless heavily tattooed dice roller. Players bet odd or even as the dice roller cast 2-6 sided dice. Winners took the losers money, with the house skimming 20%.

Maze made his way into one of the circles and began to bet ordinary amounts, “passing the time” but was delighted when his efforts were generally rewarded. Even a few double down bets were rewarded with wins. After a half hour Maze excused himself, tipping both the dice roller and the girl who had brought him tea nicely.

4 Pip and Donk were nearby and Maze folded some of his won script into their pockets He wandered about the casino taking stock of the situation. He found both Charlie and Kazumi, busy at various games and pressed more script into their hands. Charlie was down a bit, holding his own against the craps table. And Kazumi had just broken even with Majong.

The entourage regrouped and shared some tea, then watched Charlie loose at Black Jack egging him on then razzing him when he lost. Maze was actually having a good time.

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What's Sam doing here?

Diego had been walking for just under an hour when Sam appears on the tandem bicycle. Diego shouts at him as he nears “My movements are not as clandestine as I had hoped, young Sam.” Diego figures involving Sam into his investigation has probably opened up a can of worms that will not ever be closed.

“Yea, I figured you were coming here, and I figured you didn’t want me following,” Sam says, “But i just GOTTA know.” Diego climbs on the back seat of the tandem bicycle, unsure whether to scold Sam or to just drop the fact that Sam was following him.

Sam! Well, isn’t this an unexpected, if not entirely predictable circumstance!" Diego says with a sarcastic grin. “Nonetheless, I’m glad to see you. I’m afraid what I have to share with you will be entirely underwhelming, but if I don’t share my experience with someone, they simply become wasted air, so much C02 expelled into the void.”

Choosing his words carefully, Diego spins his encounter into one of a brief conversation shared with a altruistic, if not slightly mad, ‘cult leader’ who is of little consequence. Diego then tries to correlate past ‘cultists’ into a history lesson, correlating Manson, Jim Jones, and Santos’ “dreams” with the hopes that upon droning onward, Sam will lose interest and move onto different subjects.

As always, in what is probably a mute action, Diego closes his remarks with, “as per usual, Sam, these conversations, though seemingly inconsequential, are shared in the hopes of mutual confidentiality.”

“Now, good sir, let’s ride onward lest we not take advantage of this sublime weather!”

When they reach the school they agree to meet in a few hours for dinner at the mall. Diego will fill Sam in, in detail then. Diego retreats to his room, noting is disturbed. He locks his door and takes a short siesta

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The Corpse and the Key

The corpse is sitting in a comfortable plush office chair, with wheels. Jose and Levi slowly move the chair back and are able to get to the top desk drawer. First thought is correct. The top drawer of the desk hold a variety of office items but most notably a ring of keys. There are also several loose keys probably duplicates.

The cord from the lamp is connected to an extension cord and just snaked under the door. One of the keys on the ring fits the lock.

Several minutes of making sure there are no traps and the two men again stand away from the door and turn the lock, this one opens inward toward you……

Levi pulls the door slowly toward him. The room behind is also 30×30 but more cluttered. A pool table with boxes atop it is in the center of the room. Along the walls home mechanicals, water heater, furnace a washer and dryer. To the far wall an open door to a small bathroom, in front of it another body laying sprawled on the floor.

The cord from the lamp runs into a red box on the floor that has PowerPak printed on it. The box has several house hold 110V outlets and is beside a treadmill. The treadmill appears to be a power generation device, with the PowerPak a storage battery. Several electrical cords snake away from it.

A quick look about the room reveals more supplies and sundries. There is a HAM survival radio in the corner on a desk. There is a rain barrel, appears to be piped outside. There is a pump with a filter atop the barrel.

Pots pans blankets containers, a record player with a large collection of vinyl albums, A treasure trove of everything that would be in pre war 1990s home. There is an open gun safe. A Mini-14, Ruger .308 hunting rifle and a Marlin .22 are stood inside. A snub .38 and a larger Ruger .44 revolvers are also in it along with many boxes of shells for each gun. There is a hunting crossbow with a couple dozen bolts as well

The body appears to have been that of a woman, also dressed in LL Bean type rugged gear. She lays face down also mummified and long dead. Levi thinks he hears a whirring noise then a burst of static startles both men who flinch and instinctually duck.

The static came from the radio, somehow it has power….

Levi gives a low whistle of appreciation. “Man, you’re family is set! Food, trade-bait, self-defense, panic room, you hit the jackpot! Even a way to use your gerbal/kids’ energy. Always a plus for the single parent . Unfortunately, I wonder about this gerbil’s demise”. Levi looks at the corpse knowing that generally a person doesn’t generally die in a prone anatomy-man position.

Levi starts humming Video Killed the Radio Star as he investigates the radio. “It still has juice, but the corpse is older than Bob Hope’s jokes. That battery pack must be something else! Or is it attached to something solar?. Or is there a wee gerbil inside?” He gently raps at the radio and makes kissy/squeeky sounds. He sees cords snaking up into the ceiling, maybe a solar panel?

He kneels by the woman’s corpse. It is unable to determine how she died as the body has been here over a decade. It does not look as though she has any obvious trauma though

The house mechanicals are pre war and not functioning, would need more constant power than this human generator battery wahter is powering radio can give. You figure the treadmill could power a few lights maybe the radio and record player. Battery pack is a commercial survival battery and says it is capable of giving 400 watts of total power for an hour. (4 100w lights for an hour or 1 100w light for 4hours)

A ‘secret’ door is found but it appears to be a crude waste removal system. 16 inch square, door in knocked out cinder blocks that lead to a dirt floored hole small room. Looks as though solid waste/poop could be pitched in here.

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Maze's entourage arrives at the Alieolie's bike garage

Alieolie had set up in an old 3 bay garage with 3 stories of what would have been cheap rental rooms before the war above it. On this day both garage bays were up and at least a dozen young men of various ethnicities sat smoking or working on a couple dozen bikes and rickshaws. Bicycles zoomed in and out it was a bustle of activity.

This was Charlie’s territory. Maze instructed Charlie to get Aliolie’s bike couriers to keep an eye on the Sea Horse captain for the next 10 days or so whenever he was ashore. Maze knew the bike couriers were invisible whenever they chose and a discrete eye was all he wanted. He’d leave the matter of assignment and compensation to Charlie. He knew these kids best after all; but Maze was pretty certain “compensation” would be food-related.

Perhaps it was time to “misplace” the keys to a rice warehouse for a day or two to let Charlie keep the whole thing “off the books”. California was a big part of Asia’s “rice bowl” before the war, and the return to “manual farming” meant little change for this part of the world. Rice was back-breaking work 1000 years ago, 100 years ago, last year and tomorrow. And the Organization has had substantial concerns producing some of the best short- and long-grain out in the Sacramento Valley since long before the War.

He’d also ask that a couple keep an eye on the boat when docked. As for the time on the water, Maze would assign a temporary additional crewman himself for the next 10 days—call it “hazard overwatch” or some shit. Just keep an eye on the old man and the boat to try and frustrate alternate avenues of attack.

As Charlie greeted some of the bike messengers and disappeared inside, Maze and the others waited, Maze thinking to himself, " Am I getting too paranoid for this shit?" Maze silently wondered. “Probably. But,” recalling the words of an old squadmate, “on balance, ‘paranoid’ beats ‘dead’ every fucking day and twice on Sunday.’ Just gotta make it through the next 10 days…”

Maze isn’t entirely sure why he’s organizing around that figure. He plucked it out of his ass, after all. But he can’t shake the feeling that talking to Yasuda—and anyone watching him would recognize this little parade for what it was—would force “them” to reorganize a bit before taking a next step. Figure 3 days for that and then a week to execute. This world doesn’t allow many to play a “long game” for anything but the highest stakes and Maze wasn’t about to flatter himself about his place in the world. No, if whatever the fuck is going on isn’t in full motion within the next week and a half, they’ve moved on to something else.

Maze thought he felt a drop of rain from the overcast sky, “Now if we can only beat this fucking rain to the Castle. I’ll never hear the end of it from Kazumi-Kai if her makeup is anything short of flawless when we hit that room.”

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You might get eaten by a Grue
Levi and Jose open the second door

Both men are hugging the walls as they slowly push the door open. Nothing pops out at them or goes bang. Both men peer around the frame flashlights dancing on the interior, a 30 × 30 room to the right a set of bunk beds straight ahead a desk, both men flinch backwards as they see a figure, their brain’s already processing that it is a person long dead ‘mummified’ sitting upright in the chair behind the desk.

The corpse stares at them through a pulled back smile of death, skin turned to leather on the face, a rictus grin. The air is quite dry as they breath in there isn’t a smell of must or rot, dry and dusty is the experience. The two stand there flashlights scanning the room. Boxes and some machinery on the walls. This does look like a bunker, built to protect a family from the bombs. Doesn’t look like the occupant or occupants ever got out though.

There is a police shotgun on the desk, Shelves lined with books, boxes and crates and a door on the opposite back wall… Everything is covered with a thin layer of dust, no one has been moving in here in years.
Levi and Jose move cautiously about. Levi goes left toward the shelves and crates and the wall mounted machinery, Jose moves right toward the bed and the corpse.

Levi’s flashlight falls onto a large ducted piece of equipment first. It appears to be a furnace, but is connected to what appears to be a recumbent bike w/o wheels. There is a plush reclined seat and a set of pedals. A V-belt and pulley system instead of a bike chain heads into the machinery. The ducts head up to the ceiling and out toward the back of the house.

Levi remembers when they first arrived that there were two basement windows covered with bars and screen at the rear of the house. He didn’t think anything of it then but it appears that this is some type of ventilator system, human powered by the bike liek apparatus.

His flashlights scan the crates boxes and buckets that are on metal shelves. All are labeled, all are a delight. All are pre war commercially available survival supplies. Dehydrated food, medical kits, water purification tablets, fire tablets, MREs, jugs of water, sealed bins of rice and of beans. Probably enough to keep this guy alive for a couple years at least….Levi looked over to where Jose was examining the body.

There are 2 metal bunk beds, with wool blankets, sheets and pillows. There are chests near them labeled “Blankets/Sleep stuff” At the back wall are two large dressers and standing closet. There is an office type desk complete with typewriter, desk lamp, pens pencils scattered paper, a marine grade stainless steel S&W 12 gauge pump shotgun lays across the top as well.

Jose’s flashlight is on the corpse’s face, as Levi turns and moves toward the corpse, his flashlight highlighting it as well. “He’s got plenty of supplies here for quite some time.” Levi states as Jose moves near the body. “You think he set himself up here then heart attack? suicide?” Jose questions aloud.

The corpse is dressed in LL Bean type survival gear, it is covered by a layer of dust. Everything is dusty and undisturbed, probably at least 10 years. Jose bumps the lamp as he examines the corpse. “LAMP!” Levi says loudly, noticing an electrical cord running onto the floor and under the door in the back wall.

The lamp rocks but doesn’t tip. “Did he have electricity in here too?” Levi questions as both men move toward the door in the far wall…it is locked

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