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/qst/ - Quests

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You are Lieutenant Richter Von Tracht, tank platoon commander of the Archduchy of Strossvald, as well as currently an undercover intelligence agent. While not at all within the normal duties of an armor officer, it had not been the strangest cap you had worn since you began your professional career scant days ago.

You and most of your companions had assumed the identity of members of a now officially defunct paramilitary group once known as the Shields of Liberty. A simple task, as one of your partners in crime was the acting leader of the nearly extinct movement. Utilizing her contacts, you had negotiated a way to sneak into the headquarters of the Dawnseekers (a seperatist militia, whose goal was supposedly to have the territory where they lived rejoin the Grossreich of Czeiss), through joining their ranks and abandoning any former “disagreements.” After that, it had been a deceptively simple manner of showing up at the right place with the right people, and you had quite literally been led straight into the heart of their operation. Your little party consisted of yourself, as well as Malachi, your driver, Von Metzeler, one of your subordinate officers, and Signy, the daughter of the founder of the group you were posing as, and heir to what was left of it.

“Alright then, hail victory and all that, we’ll just go right in.” you say as you flick your hand in a gesture that roughly translated to “Now piss off.” The two Dawnseekers who dutifully led you to their base, did so promptly.

“This is rather too easy,” Von Metzeler said under his breath when your guides had left. “Unsettlingly so. An organization with this little caution should not be so developed.”

“We’ll be finding out why soon.” Signy replied, “What are we waiting for? We’re honored guests.” Signy descended through the door. You follow closely, and in little time the small corridor opens up to a vast arena, a hollow in the hill supported by dozens of thick steel pillars.

Aside from its vastness, the base of the Dawnseekers, forcefully appropriated from the Shields of Liberty, wasn’t what you thought it would be like.

Its sheer size was impressive, of course, but something was off. There were a few tanks scattered about, as well as parts, tool carts, ammunition, but not nearly as much as one would expect, and unquestionably far too few to possibly fight the onslaught coming here in little less than an hour and a half. The fighters skulking around were also not nearly as high in spirits as you had seen from before. They were universally hopeless in expression, dead eyed and weary. They would look up at you in blank curiosity for a fraction of a second before returning their gaze either to the ground or to the numerous dice games going on.
You recognized most of what they were playing. Tank crewmen of Strossvald were a rather diverse sort, coming from many backgrounds from the poorest paupers to personal servants of nobility, but they all shared an appreciation for gambling. Gambling games between soldiers was hardly exclusive to tank crewmen, but the human element of the panzer forces seemed particularly fond of such things. Wherever there are more than one set of crews around with down time, one can find a multitude of games being played, cards being dealt by one vehicle while dice are rolled in an old wooden bowl by another; in the absence of the usual game pieces soldiers will even resort to a simple game called King’s Head Dice, where six pfennings are used in place of dice.

The stakes of these games are almost never high. Tank crewmen usually sent their pay home, thusly not often having enough money at hand to make the games much more than ways to pass the time. Common bets were pocket change, candy, and in times of war, trophies and loot. Games over the latter are the highest stakes ever get, as much of tankers’ pay is sent home. The games over these are thus the most exciting, as most tankers do not see enough battles in their time of service to pick up much in the way of trophies, due to the brevity of Sosalian wars.

Of those you saw before you who were not gambling, a surprising amount were reading. The few that spoke with one another were speaking of rather complex subjects, considering the common background they supposedly came from. Many were quite young, as well; around your age.

The ones who were reading or otherwise idling without purpose seemed to keep far away from the gaming circles. Any low cheers of a small victory of chance would prompt a distasteful glance from a few.

You spied a few faces among them that were hauntingly familiar. They had been somewhat roughened, you could foggily discern, but if you were to get closer you were sure you could recognize them from some place.

>Visit one of the gambling circles
>Approach some readers
>Find some hopeless sack
>Walk on

>previous threads pastebin: http://pastebin.com/UagT0hnh
>twitter for announcements is @scheissfunker
>Visit one of the gambling circles
Try for the gamblers, play and chat and see what slips.
>Approach some of the familiar faces and try to remember them.
>But cover us up somehow so they don't also recognize us.
>And hide Malachi from them, he's very memorable.
You decided the common looking gamblers would be easier to get some basic information out of. You planned to go for the familiar looking people too, but they could wait til you had a better handle on the situation, you felt. That, and you wanted to try and blend in more before going for them. You explain this to your compatriots.

You and your crew approach the nearest gambling circle. They appear at a glance to be playing Vier-Funf-Sechs; or VierSechs for short; a game played with three dice and a bowl for rolling them in. Simple, cheap wooden bowls were usually procured through unofficial means, since metal mess tins and cups were ill suited to rolling dice in.
The rules of VierSechs were simple. One player acted as the dealer, who rolled first after the bets were made, and the other players tried to beat his roll. Valid rolls were doubled numbers with a single different number; the differing number was the score of the roll. Other valid rolls were triples (which won triple their bet if not beaten by better triples; the best triples were Snake Eyes, but otherwise 2-6 were equal in value), and 4-5-6; the namesake of the game. Rolling 4-5-6 required the dealer (or the players) to pay double the bet laid down to whoever made the winning roll. Rolling 1-2-3 had the opposite result, requiring the roller to pay double rather than receive.

It was a game suited to the cheap stakes usually being played for, but the drama of the gamble directly correlated to the bet; it was often said by those who wished to bait their opponents that the size of the bet indicated the size of the balls.

This particular game was different from what was usually seen. These men were playing with Strossmarks and what appeared to be sentimental trinkets; much larger bets than the pfennings and food usually rolled over.

The last few players were rolling as you approached. The dealer had made a roll of four, you overheard, and the rest of the players had either failed to roll valid rolls, “busting,” or had rolled piteously low. The very last man rolled triples, restoring some excitement to the floor and forcing the disgruntled dealer to pay out most of what they had won.

“Hey, let me in.” you stand just outside the circle. “I want to play.”

The former dealer blinked up at you as he shoved the bowl to the side. “How much you got? We ain’t playing for pfennings here. Nobody wants to waste their time with somebody who can’t pay for winnings. Throw a bet in and we’ll see if you’re our type.”

The sort of money you had seen being slung around was impressive for commoners; five strossmarks or more were often laid down.

>You have twenty three Strossmarks and ten 5 Pfenning coins, as well as various other service items such as a knife and watch. You also have the Imperial Seal, but you’d have to be pretty dim to bet that.

>Toss in a Strossmark
>Toss in five Strossmarks
>Throw in an item instead of money
>Make another bet
>Toss in five Strossmarks
>Pay close attention to the players' speech and manners, try to determine where they are from.

These guys are real tankers who got a large pay recently. The readers are the real Dawnseekers.
You peel five Strossmarks from your wallet and toss them in front of you as you take a seat. “I’ve got more than that, of course,” you look around at all the players in the circle, “I’m starting with a safe bet.”

“Safe?” a player to your right echoed. “You’re ready to pay fifteen marks?”

“Mhm.” You nod. “You aren’t playing for pfennings, right? I’m up for that.”

“Alright then,” the first dealer leaned back on his hands, throwing a few bronze half-Strossmark coins before him. When the rest of the players had made their bets, he turned to the man to his right who was now dealing. “Smitt, go ahead.”

“Oh, uh, yeah.” The new dealer threw the dice into the bowl. Both players and crowd craned their necks to see how they would turn up when the tempest of chance came to an end.

The first two die tumble to a stop; two threes. All watching drew a breath in anticipation of a triple.

The third die finally turns its last. A four.

The dealer twinges a bit, but is not shaken. A four, after all, is a decent roll, and on average isn’t beaten; even a tie was little to worry about, as that only meant that neither person had to pay.

Two tankers, as you presume them to be, make their rolls before you. They roll a one and a three; both give up their pay, the second nervously counting through their remaining coins and bills before forfeiting his bet.

All eyes are upon you as you are passed the bowl and dice. You pick up the little yellowed cubes and roll them lightly in your hand. Despite their discoloration, their edges were still even and well angled.

You toss them into the wooden bowl.

>Roll 3 D6. /qst/ doesn’t have a bowl option so you’ll have to use your imagination for that.
>If you don’t know how to roll, in the options field, you type “dice+(number, dice type)”. So for this you’d put “dice+3d6.” First roll is what we go with for this.
Rolled 1, 2, 3 = 6 (3d6)

Oh wow. This is fail.
You watch the dice with only a little regard for what could turn up.

It turns out that your luck is impressive. On the first roll of the game, the dice turn up 1-2-3. The absolute worst possible roll.

“You’ve got to be kidding me…” you mutter to yourself. One roll in and you were ten marks in the hole.

A smile slowly makes its way across the new dealer’s face. “Wahoo!” he cheers, and he greedily scrounges up your bet after you add the penalty to it. “Wow, it’s really not your day, is it?”

It wasn’t a good sign for certain, especially considering what you were here to do.

The loss has at least garnered you some pity. A few tankers strike up idle conversation with you as the rest of the rolls are made.

“So where’d you come from?” one asks, “I thought I’d seen everybody who got off the train.”

“Train?” you feign ignorance, “No, I’m from the Shields of Liberty. We joined up with the Dawnseekers today.”

“Shields of Liberty?” the man you addressed, rubbed his chin in contemplation, “Oh, you mean the guys who used to be in this base? Yeah, we had a hell of a time cleaning you up. No offence. None of us are here because we want to be, anyways.”

“What do you mean?” you continue to feel around as a cry goes up; apparently a player further along had beaten the dealer’s roll of four. “I still don’t understand what you mean by getting off the train.”

“You haven’t heard?” another tanker, one with a thick moustache, entered the conversation. “Our train got stopped on the way to Blumsburgh. The whole battalion got marched off, everybody was half asleep and nobody thought there’d be bandits or freedom fighters or whatever. Now we’re here.”
“You don’t seem to be very well guarded for prisoners,” you observe.

“We aren’t prisoners anymore,” the man you were originally talking to says, “The higher ups made a deal for us to go free.”

“There’s quite a few of you to just let go free,” you say skeptically, “What’s the deal?”

“One of the bluebloods could tell you better,” the tanker replies, “We haven’t been told much. If you want to talk to one of the commanders they’re hanging around here and there.” He points around to the various people standing around or reading, “As far as I know, there’s some foreign sympathizer group that the Dawnseekers really don’t agree with. They say that now that the Dawnseekers have so much more strength, this other group’s about to make a big attack and try and take out the Dawnseekers before they get stronger than them. So the deal is we fight them off, then we get to go, with a little pay, even.”

“Is that what this is?” you glance to the money being collected by the dealer.

“Yep,” the conscripted tanker confirms, “They gave us all a bit of compensation. Some beer, too. Just one fight and everything’s back to normal, and it’s against people we ought to be fighting anyhow. Everybody’s just waiting for all this crap to be over.”

You had a very bad feeling about this.

>Ask some more questions; (Write in whatever you want)
>Make a bet and try and win some of your money back before going on (write in bet)
>Break off from here and speak to these men the tanker says are commanders
>Break off, but ignore the commanders and explore deeper into the base
>Make a bet and try and win some of your money back before going on, else we'd be suspicious
>Bet 5 more Strossmarks
If we lose, curse our luck and break off
>>Break off from here and speak to these men the tanker says are commanders
Rolled 4, 2, 6 = 12 (3d6)

Well the event I thought would take most of the day only ended up taking a bit less than the whole day. It wasn't worth it. I'll be on pretty much the rest of the night, and I'll try to up the pace a lot

“I see…” you turn your attention back to the game. Nobody ever made just one bet and lost, you think to yourself. You needed to make one more bet; if not to try and make some money back, then at least to maintain cover. The bowl is passed to the next man in the circle, and the bets are made and you toss another five strossmarks in front of you. The newest dealer makes his roll…
Rolled 3, 6, 3 = 12 (3d6)

The dealer rolls a bust. He frowns, then makes another roll. Another bust.

You feel bad for the man, but if he botches all three rolls, you’ll get some of your money back without even having to roll. The dealer grimaces, and makes his fateful third roll…
Fate takes the man’s side; he rolls a six. It’s an incredibly strong roll, and all in the circle know it; their former excitement cooled to freezing by this turn of events. The man before you, naturally, continues his losing streak. The bowl is passed to you, and you look fretfully at the dice. Can you beat a six?

There’s only one way to find out. You toss the dice into the hands of Lady Luck.

>roll 3d6
>I didn’t state this earlier since the hilariously unlucky roll happened, but if you don’t get a valid roll, you have to roll again until you fail to get a valid roll three times.
Rolled 2, 6, 2 = 10 (3d6)

Chance looks kindly upon your misfortunes, and graces you with a tying roll; neither of you have to pay. The round ends with you as the only one of the players whose money stays in his hands. You excuse yourself immediately afterwards; you had other goals to pursue, and you didn’t seem to have a good feel for the dice right now anyways.

Things could have been worse than losing ten strossmarks. You could be set to fight a hopeless battle against many times your number of armor and heavily armed grenadiers.

Now, however, it was time to approach some of the other groups in this cavern.

You took some slight precautions to try and make yourselves look less recognizable to any potential old “friends”; mostly by messing up your faces with dirt and adopting different expressions. Anything past that you thought wouldn’t be able to be amended easily. After all, your voices would still give you away in spite of any attempts to disguise it, and you had to talk to ask questions.

While you had some slight concern about how suspicious your resident masked man would be, his concealing covers had been the article most paid attention to. Every piece was different from his normal attire; so long as he didn’t open his mouth and gurgle whatever abomination of a language he spoke, you thought yourself safe enough.

One person off by himself looking hopeless, you recognized after only a little approach. It was Von Hertzel.

You remembered Von Hertzel from the academy. He wasn’t somebody who belonged in the military, to say the least; he had a gentle, nonconfrontational nature, and while this had made him easy to boss around it also gave him the inefficient flaw of trying to please everybody and inevitably failing to do anything but frustrate all involved in the process. He had been one of your platoon during the final exercise at the academy, but otherwise neither of you had seen much of each other.

Close by was a band of faces you definitely remembered, but knew you had never met. The three men who you presumed were tank commanding nobility carried themselves highly, but they kept their speech low, as if they were plotting something.

Having moved around some, you noticed a person you had not noticed initially; either something had distracted you from him, or he had recently entered the room, but this new person was notably older than the rest, around his early forties; if you had to guess, either a senior member of the Dawnseekers, or if he was one of the people picked off the train, a higher ranked officer of the battalion.

>Go for Hertzel
>Try for the unknown triad
>Catch up with the older looking man
>Go for Hertzel
>>Try for the unknown triad

Conspiratorial whispering is good, maybe we can convince them to work with us.
Unknown triad.

Wanted the unknown man but might as well tiebreak
You decide to give the suspicious three the second shot in your investigation. They were of the right age to be recent graduates of the armor academy, as most of this lost battalion had been, so you were hopeful that they were tank commanders, and perhaps privy to more information than the lackadaisical enlisted. They didn’t seem to notice you until you were rather close, so you were able to overhear some of their speech.

“That bullshit won’t work!” one with a pointed, knife featured look complained in a loud whisper, “We already fucked up once, we’re on the shit list forever now.” His right eye was black and purple; apparently he had a way of getting on people’s good sides.

“Cool it, Walen,” another member of the little cabal advised, his eyes dark and heavily lidded with the signs of poor sleep, “Even if it’s a long shot, we have to try.”

“Don’t ‘Cool it’ me, Von Neubaum,” the one called Walen, presumably Von Walen, said heatedly, “Maybe you don’t recall, but the last ‘clever’ plot Von Igel came up with put us even deeper in the shit than last time. Probably because you didn’t get lashed like the rest.”

Von Igel was presumably the smallest man among them, with a broken pair of opticals and a fat ugly scar on his chin. Despite his visual impairment, he was the first to notice you, and hissed urgently to his companions.

Von Walen and Von Neubaum looked over at you, the former startled then angry.

“The hell do you want?” Walen demanded, fists clenched, “The fuck are you? I’ve never seen your mug here. You another one of our ‘guards?’” Walen was doing a worrying job of working himself up. “You scum think you can just beat the hell out of people for asking questions they ought to know! It’s time for a taste of your own medicine!”

Walen lumbers towards you, arms raised in a crude stance. He was, despite his aggression, a rather weedy sort. Even though you yourself were somewhat slim, you were still larger than this man.

“No, Walen, stop,” Von Neubaum said with no enthusiasm, “What could possibly happen if you attack another guy who’s bigger than you and has backup.”

>If he wants a fight, he can have one. Meet him in combat.
>Wow, déjà vu. Perhaps some masked weirdo will smash this aggressor as well? That being a rhetorical question, because this time you ask Malachi to do it.
>”Are you frustrated?”
>Try to reason with him (Write in)
>Try to reason with him
>"Hey, hey! I'm new here, and not exactly by my own will. And I certainly have some questions I'm wary to ask as well. Please don't yell, wrong people might hear you."
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“Hey, hey!” you draw backwards as Von Walen approaches as menacingly as one shorter and smaller than you can, “Wait, I’m new here, and not exactly by my own will, either. I’m not a guard or anything like that.”

Von Walen blinked at you. “Am I supposed to believe that line of nonsense?” He drops his fighting stance nonetheless, though. “Tch. There’s no point if you aren’t even going to try and fight back.”

You felt that Walen, whoever he was, had come dangerously close to being broken apart by your driver. “Don’t make such a racket,” you scold, “the wrong people might hear you. The sort that don’t like people like us asking too many questions.”

“You say people like us,” Walen cut you off before you had quite finished speaking, “Who the hell are you? You and your hangers on, that is.” He squints at Von Metzeler before looking back at you, “Give me one reason why I shouldn’t just tell you to piss off forever.”

>”I’m an officer just like you. Richter Von Tracht.”
>”We’re members of a group called the Shields of Liberty. We were forced to join.”
>”You’re quite the rude sort to demand who we are first. How about you introduce yourselves first?”
>”We’re members of a group called the Shields of Liberty. We were forced to join.”
Maintain cover
“We’re members of a group called the Shields of Liberty.” You only partially lie. Signy was really the only one among you who was a member. “We were forced to join.” Another partial lie. You doubted you held these people’s trust enough for your infiltration to not be compromised by sharing too much.

“Shields of Liberty?” Walen echoed, “Never heard of you.”

Signy grunted irritably but said nothing.

“You certainly picked a swell time to arrive,” Von Neubaum strolled up beside Walen, “You’ve at least heard of what’s going to happen in an hour, right?”

“The attack, yes.” You nod to him.

“We’re supposed to be all set up, and we’ve done a unique job at becoming combat ready.” Neubaum spoke with palatable dryness. “That is, everything is a mess.”

“Are you tankers as well?” Von Metzeler also feigned ignorance, “We spoke with some of the others, and they said they came from a military train, kidnapped.”

“We’re tank officers, thank you very much,” Walen shifted attention back to himself, “Commanders. Nobility. Yet our new slave drivers have seen fit to gift soldiers who fight clad in armor, none, but would rather we go and kill ourselves fighting with rifles like we’re cattle.”

“You are cattle, now.” Signy bristled.

“I’d say he’s more like a goat.” Neubaum commented.

“Both of you-“ Walen started to retort, but he was interrupted.

“None of us want to be here though, yes?” Von Igel finally made his presence known, “Do you want to…work together for something?”

“Von Igel!” Walen rounded on his bespectacled comrade, “We haven’t even met them for a minute, and you want to scheme with them?”

“We have an hour until we could all die, Walen,” Von Igel adjusted his glasses, “Every second is precious. If anything, I trust these new people more than our former comrades. Our last attempt at doing anything about our situation failed because we were sold out, not because the plan was lacking in itself.”

“You were sold out?” you ask them. It would be a poor situation if any esprit de corps had been undermined by single-minded survival of the fittest.

“We’re too unimportant,” Walen spat, “Von Igel had the bright idea of roping a Captain into our little plan. Turns out anybody who’s got a higher rank than cowshit’s in on something bigger. And that set an example for everybody here. Now we can’t trust anybody, nobody can trust each other. Not even you, although I guess Von Igel’s gone and pissed that into the fucking wind.”

>There’s no need to be worried, we can help you. But we need to know more about what’s going on. (Write in questions)
>We won’t tell anybody what you’ve said, but we can’t risk anything. Sorry, but we have to play things safe.
>It’d be inconvenient if it turned out we weren’t so trusting, wouldn’t it? Tell us everything we want to hear and we won’t rat you out. (Write in Questions)
>There’s no need to be worried, we can help you. But we need to know more about what’s going on

>I heard we are supposed to fight against some foreign sympathizers, but I thought the Dawnseekers were foreign sympathizers themselves?
>If you're to fignt on foot, who'll command the tanks?
>Did you notice anything strange about the officers? They seem weird for a provincial militia group.
>How did they even capture you? A whole military train with tanks?
>How many thanks is there at the base?
>Who is the head honcho here?
>Are all these people everyone there is? Or did part of the Dawnseekers leave earlier?

>Oh, and please behave as though you hate our guts, so that no one suspects we're in cahoots. Do some threatening gesture or somerthing.
“There’s no need to be worried, we can help you.” You reassure them, “But we need to know what’s going on here.”

“Ask away, then.” Walen threw up his hands, “Apparently we can’t be picky about who our friends are.”

You begin.

“I heard we are supposed to fight against some foreign sympathizers, but I thought the Dawnseekers were foreign sympathizers themselves?”

“What?” Von Walen looked absolutely bewildered, “Where did you hear that? Are they really?”

“I’m sure the Dawnseekers have told us nothing but the truth.” Von Neuman said with so little tone that it was difficult to interpret his sarcasm. “It’s not like anybody else has had the chance to whisper in our ears.”

“The Dawnseekers are Czeissan sympathizers!” Signy coughed, “They’re imperialists! The Kaiser’s own army of boot kissers!”

“God damnit,” Walen shoved his hands into his arms, “Fuck that. I’m not risking my neck for any Imperials, no way, no how.”

“Shouldn’t everybody be told this?” Signy said, “Nobody knows who they’re really fighting for!”

“No. Do you recall what environment this is right now?” Von Igel said flatly, “Supervisors and stool pigeons are keeping a keen eye out for troublemakers. They could just deny it and beat us half to death. Again.”

Good to know.
“You said you weren’t fighting in the tanks?” you continue your friendly interrogation, “If you’re fighting on foot, who will command the tanks?”

“All of our numerous tanks will simply drive themselves to war.” Neuman said.

“Knock that off.” Metzeler said helpfully. “I presume from what I can see right now that there aren’t many tanks here at all. Is that the real reason you are on foot?”

“Quite.” Von Igel finished for his more temperamental ally, “Most of our gear got moved out of here. We aren’t even being given that much ammunition, they say it has to go somewhere more risky. Another illusion, I suspect.”

“So how many tanks are actually here, you think?” you ask.

“Maybe a dozen, at most.” Von Igel says, “We’ve been told that that’s plenty for who we’re set to fight, but what you’ve said’s made me nervous about the veracity of that.”

“What about the officers?” you ask, “the leaders of the Dawnseekers. They’re…weird, for a provincial militia group.”

“A lot of things are weird.” Neubaum drolls.

“Weird, as in…motivated?”

Walen looks at you quizzically. “You know more than we do. We hardly ever talk to them. Our rank is mud, you know?”

“How did they capture you then?” you asked, “A whole military train, all the tanks?” Von Metzeler as well as the crewmen from earlier had already informed you about how the battalion had been captured, but you felt it necessary to ask them anyways, to ensure that you didn’t somehow know more than you’d been told by this bunch.

“Tanks aren’t transported with ammunition or fuel inside, so they wouldn’t have been much help anyways.” Von Igel replies.

“It was a rather crap display all around though,” Von Walen criticized his past experience, “Strossvald’s a safe country. It isn’t some shit pit like Sosaldt where you need armed guards to even walk down the road to get your mail, or utter fucking chaos like Plisseau where one day all’s peachy then the next an army from another city is burning everything to the ground.” Walen sighed heavily and kicked some dust off the floor, “Looks like that’s changed, though. A lot of us were asleep when the train stopped and these Stormtrooper looking fucks charged on board with rifles and submachineguns. When you’ve got nothing but your limp dick in your hand, you aren’t going to try and put up a fight against five people with guns and grenades, are you?”

Apparently Von Metzeler did, and succeeded, but you didn’t say that.
“Who’s in charge here, then?” You press onward.

Walen shrugs. “Of the Dawnseekers? Hell if I know. Apparently we didn’t even know they sucked up to the Reich. Our boss is Lieutenant Colonel Weil. Good luck talking to him right now, though.”

You knew of Lieutenant Colonel Weil, considering he was most likely going to be your commanding officer, despite your delayed conveyance here. He was a veteran of the Archduke’s elite armored division, the Silver Lances, so despite his common origins he held a high rank. For how many decorations he held, though, he was low on the ladder; some speculated that he was being blocked from advancement by jealous nobility.

The final question on your mind presented itself as you recall the composition of most of the people you’ve spoken to. “Are all these people everyone there is? Or did part of the Dawnseekers leave earlier?”

“Yes, the heroes of Strossvald are all too eager to join the cannon fodder in a climactic battle.” Neubaum drones. “We’re most of what’s here. There’s just enough of them to keep people from misbehaving. Or, if you’re Walen, to make an example of you.”

“So your battalion is most of what’s here?” You say incredulously.

“More were here before, but they’ve all gone for the most part. We’re set to be the noble sacrifice.”

An alarming change of events. The attack that was scheduled to overwhelm this place would encounter almost nothing but troops that would otherwise be on your side.

Most of what you were wondering had been addressed now.

“I think I know enough to be helpful, now,” you announce. “Oh, and please behave as though you hate our guts, so that nobody suspects we’re in cahoots,” you suggest, “Do some threatening gesture or something.”

“My pleasure,” Von Walen says, and he socks you right in the face.

You can tell it isn’t nearly as hard as he could have hit you, as he pulls his hit right before his fist connects, but Malachi couldn’t feel what you felt. Before you could tell him to stand down, he had picked up Walen and thrown him into a pile of wooden crates, smashing them to splinters.

“Fuck,” Walen spat, “Alright, alright, stop, aaagh,” he groaned as he sat up from among the ruins of the empty boxes, “Why does this shit always happen to me?”

“Sorry.” You apologize weakly.

>So what’s the plan? We might be able to help you see it through.
>We can help you, but we have to see somebody else first. Take a better look around. We’ll be back.
>I’ve got more questions, actually. (Write In)

>What would happen if we tried to talk to Weil?
>So where are these guns you're supposed to use in the attack? Do you have access to them right now?
>So what’s the plan? We might be able to help you see it through.
“Actually, I thought of a few other things.” You think of a few other things to ask. “So what would happen if we tried to talk to Weil, anyways?” You ask more questions, “I don’t see why that isn’t an option.”

“The Lieutenant Colonel hasn’t been seen since morning,” Walen brushes some splinters off of his sleeves, “If we try asking the Captains they just say it’s none of our business. Also, do we still hate each other? I’d appreciate a warning if I’m going to have the shit knocked out of me again.”

You look around briefly, and nobody seems to care much about your interactions. If anything, people have moved away from you.

“Only if it’s necessary.” You say vaguely. “You’ve at least got guns for the battle, right? Can you get them right now?”

“Sure,” Walen replied, “Not much point right now though. They’re all sitting in boxes and on racks, unguarded. We’re supposed to pick them up as soon as we get the call to go, which shouldn’t be long from now.”

“That covers about everything,” you conclude, “So, what’s your plan? We might be able to help see it through.”

Von Igel beckoned you closer. He whispered the plan to you.

“See, they have people watching for anybody who tries to run away. Not for you, presumably, but for us. All the guards know us, they know who’s under who, and they’ve offered rewards for anybody who helps them. Trying to run out early would be pointless for us. There’s one thing, though, that we could run away with and we couldn’t be hurt in.”
“A tank.” You guess.

“Yeah. We’ve been left with the bare minimum. No anti tank rifles. No anti tank cannons. Only these. All we have to do it find a way to get ourselves into one so that once we deploy, we can just book it.”

“Surely they’ll put one or more of their men in each tank, at least,” you are doubtful of how well this plan could work, “Even if they don’t do that for yours, if they see you splitting off, they’ll just shoot you.”

“Well,” Von Igel looked embarrassed, “I’m still working out the kinks.”

“Getting shot as soon as you start is a rather significant flaw.” You say with a dour undertone.

“What, do you have a better idea?” Von Igel asks irritably.

You might, you think for a minute.

You were supposedly not being watched as much as these soldiers were. Despite what you had told these conspirators, you had come entirely on your own initiative; the Dawnseekers couldn’t control you, according to what Signy had said the contract was, your organizations were parallel in authority, and worked alongside one another, and not necessarily one for the other. If the Dawnseekers decided otherwise, there wasn’t much you could do to stop them, but Signy had assured you that their guard was down. You could either trust her on that or not.

>I can’t think of a better idea. I need to go find more information; I’ll be back.
>What if we were the one or two people in each tank? Nobody says we have to take just one.
>That plan’s just too risky. We’ll see if you can just be smuggled out.
>How's the mood around the tankers? Do you think if we yell loudly that the Dawnseekers are Czeiss sympathizers AND intend to make us a sacrificial pawn, we could raise a general rebellion?

>We're going to try to talk our way deeper into the base so we can find Weil and get more information on what's going on. If you hear gunfire, you might want to grab some guns and try to incite the rest of the tankers to join you in rebelling. Hopefully we'll keep the Dawnseekers distracted and if you start killing them quickly enough you won't give any traitors time to rat you out. Hopefully they won't run to join the side that's getting its ass kicked anyway; just make sure that side isn't yours.
“We’re going to try and talk our way deeper into the base so we can find Weil and get more information,” you tell Von Igel, “There just isn’t enough information to act on right now, but I’m sure there’s a better way.” Just in case, though, you tell him how you would do things if shit hit the fan right there and then. “If you hear gunfire, go and grab some of those openly kept arms from the armory and try and revolt. If we can keep the higher ups and thugs distracted, maybe you can gain enough of an advantage to convince anybody who’s unsure to join the winning side. Just make sure that the side getting its ass kicked in that case isn’t yours.”

“Er, about that.” Von Igel shifted and looked away, “There’s a lot more people who want to just get this over with than there are who want to escape. I’ve seen groups the same rank as us, and also anybody higher, making strange offers, or threats. Nobody’ll stand up to them; they’re the people who were the best back at the academy...where we shipped out from, I mean. Anybody like us just wasn’t worth the time to try and buy or whatever they’re doing.” Von Igel didn’t seem to have confidence that a revolt would indeed break out.

You try to probe further into just how subdued these former comrades were. “So what if we just shouted out that the Dawnseekers are Imperialists, and also intend to make us a sacrificial pawn? Is the mood around the tankers such that we could raise a general rebellion?”

“Sacrificial pawn?” Von Igel repeated, suspicion mounting in his voice, “What do you mean?” He stares blankly at you, processing what you just said, and then his eyes narrow. “…Did you forget you were talking to somebody you were planning to set up? Are we not supposed to win?”

You seem to have forgotten that the only people who know about the coming military assault were you and your allies. As far as these men knew, they were preparing to battle against another paramilitary militia.

>Feign ignorance; you didn’t mean anything by it.
>Try and play it off as being an uncertain affair; they’re underequipped, it could go badly
>Reveal your true identity; Von Igel already suspects that you aren’t who you say you are
>>Try and play it off as being an uncertain affair; they’re underequipped, it could go badly

I mean, no offense but you guys aren't exactly the most impressive fighting force we've seen; you're a bunch of tankers being sent out to fight on foot with hand-me-down rifles against an unknown enemy. Plus the Dawnseekers have barely committed any of their own men to the fight. It's pretty clear they plan to use you as cannon fodder. I wouldn't be surprised if they plan on killing off anyone who survived anyway, rather than let you walk away with their money and knowledge about their base. They're pretty despicable people, if you couldn't tell by the whole taking you prisoner and beating you into submission and forcing you to fight for them thing.
Say you've heard rumours from various acquaintances that the local units are mobilizing
“Isn’t it obvious?” you give Von Igel a look of mock astonishment, “You’re a bunch of tankers fighting out of their element with handed down equipment against an enemy you don’t know. There’s hardly any actual Dawnseekers if what you’ve said is right, so it’s pretty clear they plan to use you as cannon fodder.”

Von Igel looks defensive. “Cannon fodder doesn’t necessarily lose. Even with old guns and little ammunition, we still have tanks on our side. You know something we don’t.”

“Tanks under the command of your captors,” you remind him, “I wouldn’t be surprised if they sat safe in their steel fortresses while you all got killed, then cleaned up any survivors after it all ended, instead of letting you just walk away with their money and knowledge of what happened. Call it a hunch, but I doubt these people are shining examples of morality, in case the whole taking you prisoner and beating you into submission and forcing you to fight thing didn’t tip you off.”

“I don’t like it…” Von Igel’s voice had a new weariness, “…but I guess there’s no reason they would really let us go, unless…”


“Something is happening in two days,” Von Igel said, something you had heard before from other people, “Something really big. They aren’t being secretive about it either; saying that it wouldn’t matter whether we knew or not at this point.”

“I still wouldn’t count on their good side,” you force him to stare back into the pessimistic angle on matters once more, “Who says they’ll let you have even a chance of interfering?”

“Eh.” Von Igel thought for a few seconds, then snapped back up, “But you seemed so sure. I still want to know why you think that’s how things will go down.”

“We’re part of a militia, remember?” You make up on the fly, “We hear about what other militias do. There’s way more of them than the Dawnseekers are letting on. They’re just finding a convenient way to get rid of you so they can have your equipment.”

Von Igel doesn’t seem very impressed by your explanation, but it assuages his suspicion enough to stop his leering. “I guess that makes sense. Did you hear anything else?”

“Plenty,” you try to break away, “I’m on the clock, you realize. It can wait for later. Just try not to get in trouble.”
After a brief explanation of the benefits of subterfuge in this situation, you are able to break away from the tank commanders with minimal excuses. You are set free to explore the rest of the base, at least, as far as you’d be allowed.

“Von Tracht,” Metzeler whispers to you, “There is far less here than I anticipated. Individual photos only indicate minor smuggling, not the true depth of what is being perpetrated. With so little materiel here, our only plausible recourse will be finding sensitive documents.”

“Couldn’t we just get an eyewitness account from one of the commanders here?” you ask.

“Testimony has little value to the Intelligence Office,” Metzeler said patiently, “If there is a matter that threatens the integrity of the country in two days, indisputable evidence is required, the sort that attracts the attention of the entire department when it arrives. Otherwise they will not so much as acknowledge it until long after the critical date.”

You nose around some corridors and note what certain locations appear to be. You consider the best locations to investigate.

>The offices of senior members and administration is clear by the amount of rough looking individuals with sunburst armbands patrolling about. You could try to win an audience. Or perhaps force your way through.
>Less guarded but still occupied are the living quarters. You could root around in here looking in the belongings of the Dawnseekers.
>There are a few senior officers walking about. You could try and get one to speak with you.
>The offices of senior members and administration is clear by the amount of rough looking individuals with sunburst armbands patrolling about. You could try to win an audience
We did ostensibly come to join their organization. Let Signy try to initiate joining talks.
You felt it prudent to go straight for the head of the lot. With any luck, you’d find Lt. Col Weil, and with more luck, the leader of the Dawnseekers themselves. And you knew of a simple way of going about it.

“Well, great leader,” you poke Signy, “I think you and anybody in charge should be equals, shouldn’t you? We need to shoot for the top to get anywhere.”
She didn’t reply. Her gaze was fixed, wide eyed, down the hall, and her arms were fixed to her sides.

“…Are you alright?” You discretely prod Signy again, “Hello?”

“I know that man,” she said, not pointing to anybody, but it was obvious to you who she was talking about at a glance. Among the roving enforcers, there was one who was staring intently back. A pale, slender faced man with the eyes of a snake, thin lipped and high cheeked. He was as still as a statue, not even blinking.

“From where?”

“From…” Signy swallowed hard and her hand shakily came up to her neck, her fingers lightly brushing against it. “…cut me.”

When you had first met Signy, she had a large wound across her throat; it appeared it was only millimeters from exsanguinating her the moment the cut had been made, but she had evaded death until you had discovered her, when the wound had reopened. It must have been an understandably stressful moment for her, considering it had only happened yesterday.

Signy breathed deeply and closed her eyes. “No, I can’t hide behind somebody else anymore.” Despite her self-encouragement, she couldn’t hide her fear. You noticed her shivering before you had even resumed walking, and she was neurotically humming a tune you recognized as a lullaby to herself. You felt her hand grope around for yours at your side, without the false amorousness she otherwise displayed around you when claiming you to be her significant other.

>Are you sure you’re up for this? You look like you’re about to faint.
>Enough of that. You need to look strong for this.
>Say nothing
>Are you sure you’re up for this? You look like you’re about to faint.
>We're all here to back you up, and we as a group are here not at the mercy of these people, but to fuck their shit up, and they're none the wiser. You are the strong one now.
“Are you sure you’re up for this? You look like you’re about to faint” you whisper in Signy’s ear. You notice that she stops trembling when you speak to her.

“I have to.” Signy said, “I’m not going to be the weight around our ankles.”

“We’re all here to back you up,” you reassure her, “Our tactical position is superior. We’re here to destroy them, and they don’t even know it. You can crush him under your little finger if you want.”

“Now you’re just being patronizing.” Signy muttered. Sass was preferable to fear, at least.

You marched in a line up to the door guarded by the disturbing looking man.

“We’re here…to see, uh, the general.” Signy’s voice was more uncertain than terrified, but it wasn’t much of an improvement.

The man reacted little. “The Lieutenant Colonel has no appointments.” He said in a voice that practically crackled and popped with an age far beyond his appearance.

“I am Signy Vang, the leader of the Shields of Liberty,” Signy tried to sound frustrated and assertive, as much as one could sound with one’s voice cracking every other word. “I want a meeting right now. I don’t want to be told what to do by anybody but the guy who’s in charge of everybody.”

“I know who you are.” The ghostly man said. His fingers clicked as he moved them together, “The Lieutenant Colonel,” He tugged on each finger, cracking them loudly, “Has no appointments.”

“W-well, he does now!” Signy’s frustration was beginning to conceal any fear that remained. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, how are we supposed to be working together if I can’t even speak with the people in charge?”

“The Lieutenant Colonel is, although not against his will, being held prisoner.” The guard said coolly, “You have no authority to request an audience. You may speak with the leader, Edmund Molt, but he is not here. You will wait if you desire to speak with Weil.”

“Tracht,” Signy says out of the corner of her mouth out of earshot of the stubborn gentleman, “I don’t think I can boss him around.”

>Come up with something to try and intimidate the guard
>Try and bluff that you have some measure of higher authority or approval. You’ll probably need something that looks the part for this, though, and not just your word. (Write in proofs)
>You’re four against one. Just force your way in.
The only thing I can think of that has any relation to authority is the Czeiss ambassador's trinket. But we can't use it if we're not sure Czeiss is behind this all.

What do you think anons?

My instincts tell me that we shouldn't play that card so easily and uncertainly. However my instincts also tell me that life is far too horrifying and miserable for any human to possibly endure, and yet here we are.

It's probably worth a try if we can't think of anything else. The only thing I can think of is if we shot him then pushed him in the room before anyone came to investigate the noise, but that's an even stupider idea, so...
Hey fellas, if you don't see a way forward you can try something else and go back later, or ask about anything that the character might or would know in context. I'll answer as best as able to any questions about what's going on, within the limits of the character's knowledge.

I'd rather not give outright hints, since I respect your intelligence and would rather engage in a mystery, but if you sincerely can't think of a way forward that's a fuck up on my part.

So as far as a hint goes here, you might (might) find something if you look elsewhere first. You're on a clock, but a fire isn't under your ass quite yet.

Of course, I didn't make these sorts of things a clear option, but I'm incredibly far from infallible.
>Let's try and pilfer the living quarters. Dawnseekers isn't a real military after all, so they might have left some sensitive material lying around.
You deem it best to try again later. This man couldn’t stand in your way for long; that is, if you found anything you expected to find lying around in the barracks.

You pull Signy back. “I have an idea,” you explain to her, “but I need some more evidence that it might work. If these people are who I think they are, it might be worth the risk…but if not, I don’t want to play the card too early.”

“What is it?” she asks.

“The ambassador your friends tried to kill, Rogel Zierke, gave me an emblem of the Kaiser.” You make absolutely certain not to say this in earshot of anybody but your group, “It’s a guarantee of the Kaiser’s favor, specifically, an audience.”

“That doesn’t seem like a thing you’d give away lightly.” Signy says quizzically, “Are you sure that would help?”

“No.” you admit, “Which is why I’d prefer to find out more before trying to use it, even as a bluff.”

Signy seems to trust your judgment. She goes back up to the guard in front of the door to Weil’s quarters.

“We’ll be back,” Signy makes sure she has the final word against the doorstop. He says nothing in reply as you all retreat back down the hall.

You make your way to the dusty portals to the troop barracks. For an organization that was arguably peaceful in intentions, the Shields of Liberty had militarized quite impressively; the facilities were such that they could not have been assembled in the scant time the Dawnseekers possessed the abandoned mine. There are no guards for the barracks, and upon entry to them, it’s plain to see why; they are practically empty, with only the messy remains of a hastily made absconding. Many personal looking possessions are strewn about the place, as well as bits of other garbage and old clothing. One person, who seems like they have been late for quite a while, is hurriedly stuffing their belongings into a bag.

There is a room to the side, a door to perhaps an office or more private quarters. Upon trying it, you find that it is locked.

>Scavenge the accessible barracks for any clues
>Ambush the straggler and search their belongings, and maybe interrogate them
>Break into the office
>Ambush the straggler and search their belongings, and definitely interrogate them
>Break into the office
“Hey,” you gather your followers close to you, “Two of you, Von Metzeler and Malachi, go and get that guy. Beat him down and drag him and his stuff over. Signy and I will break down this door; we’ll bring him inside and interrogate him at the same time we look in the office.”

You scarcely had finished laying out your plan when Malachi had sprinted over to the barracks’ other occupant and wrapped his arm around his neck, his thick upper arm constricting his target’s throat in a single swift movement, while his other hand went over the unfortunate man’s mouth. Metzeler could only hurry over and try and gather up your prisoner’s belongings now.

You heard a clatter and a soft grunt to your side. Signy rebounded from the door and into you, knocking you both over.

“I don’t think I can break it down by myself,” Signy said only somewhat sarcastically.

“Did you try using your hips instead of your shoulder?” You say, unable to help yourself after having tumbled to the floor.

“Don’t be a pig.” Signy scolded you.

Another couple of assaults on the door yield no fruit, whereupon Malachi comes up from behind and drives his boot firmly into the door near the lock, popping it open with ease.

“I loosened it for you,” you try to salvage some dignity as you all pile into the little room. You throw the door closed behind you, and look around the room after turning on a switch to a little electric lamp.
The little light did not do much to illuminate the room; it was barely enough to cast a yellow glow over the place, and everything in the room, you, all of the various objects on the desk, and the furniture, cast long black shadows.

Von Metzeler began to tear through the drawers and boxes, so you deemed that your task was assumed for you.

The subject of your ill will was still wheezing when you dragged the chair under you and sat lazily into it. Malachi had kept an arm around the man’s throat, so no unhelpful ideas would spring to his mind.

“What the…hell do you…want?” he hacked and coughed, “Who told you to do this? Kroner? Are you the guy in the mask? What’s going on?”

“Sure, Kroner.” You go with the convenient excuse the man made up, “We have a few questions we were hoping you could answer.”

“Whatever.” The Dawnseeker gasped, “My birthday? If I stole Kroners rations all week? Just let me go if I tell you.”

Clearly this man did not know what he was about to be subjected to.

>Interrogate your prisoner. Keep in mind certain questions may make him more guarded, or not want to answer more or feign ignorance in the face of actually knowing. Also keep in mind that, right now, he thinks you’re his ally, albeit a rather violent bully of one. It is possible to ask questions in the frame of one of his own.

>Where are you from? Are there others from the same place?
>Who’s in charge of you? Not the leader of the Dawnseekers, the guy above him. I know you’ve got backers.
>Tell me about yourself. How did you get here?
>We have reasons to think this whole shebang is not what it seems. And we also have reasons to think you know something about it. So speak.
You seem to be in quite the hurry? Care to explain where you're going?
“You seem to be in quite the hurry?” you say mockingly to the captive, “Care to explain where you’re going?”

“Come on,” the lanky man whined, “Just because I’m not a soldier like the rest of you doesn’t mean I don’t know the plan. We have to get out of here soon!”
“Get out of here soon?” you exaggerate your incredulity, “Is all not that it seems? What do you know about this reason to get out?”

“Of course I do!” He had become well and truly frustrated, at least, to the point he was allowed before Malachi would tighten his grip for a few seconds, “I don’t want to be here when Von Blum smashes and burns everything here and slams everybody in prison! Everybody’s already left except you, me, were I not so rudely interrupted, and that half insane Emrean War fossil Luca the Cutter!” Suddenly he had a realization, “Wait…you are Imperial, right?...your accent, it’s too eastern. Like somebody from near Strosstadt. That’s not something I would have needed to train out.”

You might be able to bluff your way into a more advantageous position.

>Sure, I’m an agent of the Reich. (Show him the emblem you received)
>Play with him some more. Ask for his proof he’s from the Reich
>No, of course I’m not. Thank you, my loyal toady!


>Ask more questions
>We’re done here, knock him out and tie him up
>You’re through with him, let him go

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