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 Season Two: The Wild Cards

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Better Alex



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PostSubject: Season Two: The Wild Cards   Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:09 pm

The war is over. Peace reigns throughout the Milky Way. The Terran Empire and its confederates abolished their old states and unified into a single nation: the Central Galactic Union. A new constitution, a new government, and a new system of laws. Upon their conquest of the many alien states of the galaxy, the Union legislated the inferior status of alien species. The National Humanist policies that had guided the Terran Empire were combined with brutal efficiency in Dictator Maximilian's new order.
However, the conquered aliens did not rest easily. In 3279, mere years into the new Union, several remnant governments organised a rebellion. The conflict spread across the new colonies--former alien strongholds--with many species rising to fight. The suppression action by the Central Galactic Navy, termed Operation Crassus, was spearheaded by the war hero Rear Admiral Charles Taylor. The fighting in the New Colonies is ongoing.

But in the deeper realms of human habitation, the scars of war have begun to heal. A new era has dawned.


Setting
In the outer rim of the former Terran Empire sits an island of peace. This is the planet of Keystone, an agricultural colony with a long history of sparse settlement. It's usually thought of as a backwater, left alone by the Empire and left alone by the Union for much of its history. Outside of basic services, its people take care of themselves and are governed by a light hand. An insignificant but prosperous colony in the wilderness of space.
The year is 3280, five years after the Great War came to a close. You are all mere civilians, plying your trade and living your life on what was once the frontier of human-colonised space.

Level: variable. You will be no lower than 3rd level, but total level is dependent on character backstory, age, and life experiences.

Location: Keystone is an old, Earth-sized planet with roughly Earth-normal gravity and atmosphere. Its climate is mostly arid scrubland and prairie in the subtropical regions, with swamps in the tropics and tundra in the far polar regions. Due to the aridity, it is not heavily forested, with much of the planet's native vegetation being grasses, shrubs, and mosses. Trees were planted by settlers, and now mostly cover the northern subtropics and the tropical belt. Calm, narrow seas and one vast ocean separate the expansive, dry continents.
The planet's age has led to a more stable volcanic geology and largely eroded the vast mountain ranges. Rainfall is light but even, lending to the world's productive agricultural economy. It has also staved off the worst effects of desertification.
Upon initial settlement, the release of Terran fauna into the wild was a significant ecological issue. After considerable effort on the part of the colonial government, the invasive wildlife was curtailed and brought into equilibrium with native fauna and flora. The largest impact that has been made is the presence of T. rex populations, descendants of clones released illegally by sports hunters centuries ago, which roam the northern central continent.
It possesses one natural satellite, named Voussoir.

Its population of just over one billion is primarily descended from Russo-Terran and Germanic settlers that colonised the planet in the mid-27th century. It has been inhabited by humans for over six centuries, expanding from an initial settlement of 5,000 people to include several major cities and thousands of towns. Much of the population is centred on tropical and southern subtropical coasts and river valleys, with outlying concentrations in the northern subtropical region and sparse settlement of the arctic polar areas.
The world's economy has long been focused on the export of agricultural products and petrochemicals. In recent years, an expanding information technology sector and the prestige of the Keystone Institute of Technology in high-level physics research has broadened the global economy. It is, however, largely unindustrialised.
Keystone's culture varies from region to region, but it is mostly agrarian, clannish, and reflexively conservative--like many colonies. Its success in agribusiness and long history of settlement has led to it being viewed as a flagship colony, a powerful success story for the otherwise backwater Outer Rim.

Keystone is administered through the Department of Colonial Affairs, with a governor appointed for renewable six-year terms by the agency. The incumbent is Governor Rufus T. Blackwall, who has been in office since 3262. As with most colony worlds, Keystone is largely autonomous with a devolved system of government: the governor presides over an elected legislature, the Planetary Council, and delegates authority to regional units called Prefectures. Each Prefecture is governed by a Prefect chosen by the Planetary Council and an elected assembly; these are divided into Provinces, which are divided into Districts, which are divided into Counties. At these levels, government is locally elected under the consent and review of the Prefects.


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PostSubject: Re: Season Two: The Wild Cards   Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:01 am

Map of Keystone, with borders of Prefectures and the major cities.
Spoiler:
 
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PostSubject: Episode One recap   Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:54 am

Episode One: Bring Me the Head of Carmen Santana
A new era dawned in the Galaxy. With the war over, the nations and empires that made up humanity, bound into a confederation, united to form a single republic. Dictator Maximilian Compton has been vested with near-absolute authority to set the galaxy to rights.

On the dusty, outer rim colony of Keystone, much remains to be set right. Organized crime, banditry, and political corruption abound beneath a veneer of success and placidity. Our story begins in early June of 3280, as two hired killers converged on the planet for a job. Richard Hawking, the Prefect of a northern province on one of the continents had undertaken measures against crime in his district: vigorously pursuing legal cases against major crime figures and authorizing shoot-to-kill orders against bandits and other outlaws. As he had proved to be intractable to corruption or threats, two separate criminal groups placed orders for his assassination. He was scheduled to take a tour of the southern city of Hauberk to join in a conference of continental magistrates. And it is there that these two assassins made their moves.

One, an infamous alien only known as Carmen Santana, famed for his professionalism, was hired by the Bandit Union, an unofficial network of bandits, outlaws, drug dealers, and street gangs operating out of the rural areas of the continent. Swift, careful, and deadly with his twin six-guns, Carmen sought out to lay an ambush for the Prefect in the city's government district. His entrance on Keystone was rocky--crash-landing his spacecraft, he was forced to kill two harassing farmers to prevent them from reporting his presence. He self-destructed the craft and fled into the city. Once in town, he rented an apartment, faked a gas leak, and set a trap for the day of the parade.
The other, a guilt-wracked veteran by the name of Seth Kubrick, along with his adopted daughter Keira Montoya, pursued their contract as unofficial enforcers of the Fenian Daggers, a largely Irish syndicate that had grown to be the largest criminal group in the galaxy, with chapters on almost every human-colonized world. He took the direct approach, holing up in a hotel across the way from the Prefect's. Keira scouted out the hotel, but the entire infiltration went awry and she wound up being chased by government agents. She held the Prefect's head of security, Julia Bauer, hostage while spinning a false yarn of being an escaped prostitute who had just learned of a plot to murder the Prefect. Seth inadvertently confirmed her story by shooting a guard with his high-powered sniper rifle from the roof of his hotel. The building was locked down, police arrived, and Keira was put into protective custody.

She managed to escape custody, stunning a policeman with a taser and causing a serious vehicular accident that killed three officers. Seth picked her up, and they packed their things. With time of the essence, he got hold of local Fenian mobsters for help. He met up with Fenian Daggers captain Arthur McBride and was paired with two mobster contacts to complete his task: a midget bedecked in a green suit and bowler hat named Patrick Joseph "Big Joe" Brady, and a slender, trim man in a leather jacket with bulging cybernetic eyes named Michael Francis "Squinty Mike" Foutley. Together, the four set out a plan to ambush the Prefect at the parade. They scouted out the government district, and came across Julia while she was inspecting apartment buildings on the parade route. They followed her into one and attacked her. Big Joe and Seth tied her up and interrogated her before Big Joe bashed her head in with an iron frying pan. They put her corpse in the room's oven and set it on high heat to disfigure the body. Keira attempted to sneak through the building, but wound up breaking into the apartment of an apparent serial killer--discovering a severed head in a jar in the occupant's refrigerator. She held onto the object even as she reconvened with Seth and Big Joe, only disposing of it before fleeing from the building. Going through Julia's possessions and data, they discovered the parade route and its security, her itinerary, and her schedules. And they set a plan in motion to assault the motorcade and capture the Prefect of Fort Dusken.

Meanwhile, the police began investigating the murder of the two farmers. They contracted out to the Meshcheryakov Ballistics Laboratory at the Keystone Institute of Technology, ran by Professor Artem Yuryevich Meshcheryakov. His top intern, Sarah Sterling, helped analyze the raw data at the crime scene and deduce several facts about the case: the killer used twin magnum revolvers with custom, explosive ammunition, had odd-shaped feet or boots, and fled into the city. Sarah began to work directly with police captain Aurora Beaumont, head of the homicide division. They determined that the killer had to be one of a limited number of persons with extensive knowledge of how to make and customize firearms. They interrogated several suspects, including Professor Meshcheryakov himself. Unbeknownst to them, the real murderer was Carmen, who had slain them to avoid detection as he filtered into the background of city life. Disguised as a human in a duster, sombrero, sunglasses, and a scarf, Carmen rented an apartment near the parade route and planned his ambush.
The day of the parade came, and both assassins set their plans in motion. Seth and his scouts captured a radio station, with Seth setting up on the tower with his rifle while another team set up with a truck to ambush the motorcade near the city hall. Things were all set to go when the motorcade passed by Carmen's apartment; smoke bombs set off a cloud of obscuring smoke while Carmen ran out, shot the Prefect with his magnum revolvers, and surreptitiously ducked back into the building. The motorcade sped onto city hall, calling for medevac to save the Prefect's life. When they arrived, the Fenian Daggers struck and kidnapped the Prefect, barely escaping with their lives as soldiers marched out to join the police guards in fighting. They escaped to a hideout where Seth interrogated the man and murdered him, finding out the Prefect's connections to people that had, at one time, ruined Seth's life. The dead official was discovered hours later by police.

The investigation on the farmers was merged with the new investigation on the Prefect's death. During her initial look at the crime scene, Sarah was captured and kidnapped by Carmen. His employer, a criminal overlord known as the Bandit King, arranged for a wheelman named Duncan to assist in the getaway. Equipped with a modified, fast hovercraft, Carmen and Duncan far outstripped any pursuit. They slept at a motel for the night, but the following day Duncan took a detour to talk to some bandit drug lords on behalf of the Bandit King. A shootout ensued and Duncan was killed. Carmen was forced to take the car and speed off with Sarah, stopping at a diner. She ran into an old acquaintance, Adrian Lancore, who aided her escape with his own vehicle. Frustrated, Carmen declined to pursue and instead headed further north to meet with the Bandit King. He received a new contract: to bring him the head of the person who killed the prefect and undercut his reputation. Sarah, meanwhile, wrecked the car along the way back to Hauberk, but she did manage to steal a cache of datapads before being picked up by a police patrol. The datapads, however, went missing after soon after her return.
At the same time, Seth and his daughter drove up to Lakeside City, accompanied by Big Joe and Squinty Mike, to personally meet with Finn MacDougall, the head of the Fenian Daggers on Keystone. MacDougall acted outside of the normal chain of organization, and offered Seth a job on his own: kill whoever attempted to murder the prefect before they had struck, and find out who ordered the rival kill. MacDougall surmised that another criminal organization was attempting to make a move on the Fenian Daggers, and he was not about to let it happen on his watch. The assassin, his daughter, and the two mobsters returned to Hauberk to plan an ambush. Meanwhile, the Hauberk police had been examining the video evidence for clues. Positive identifications of Mike and Joe led to arrest warrants, and the police closed in on Mike's house after their return. An attempted raid went awry, with four officers killed and Aurora Beaumont critically injured; the criminals escaped and went to ground in a dockside safehouse, where they set up a sniper's roost.
Carmen arrived with the hovercraft, named Duncan 2.0, and began scouting out the dock where the prefect's body was found. Surmising that the killer would return to the crime scene, he was caught somewhat by surprise when he fell into the midst of an ambush. Seth shot him and Big Joe murdered two patrolmen before spiriting the wounded Carmen to the warehouse for interrogation. The police were notified and launched a more organized raid with SRT units and backup in place within twenty minutes of the shooting. Special Response Teams stormed the warehouse and gunned down Big Joe and Seth. Squinty Mike surrendered, but Keira and Carmen escaped via different routes: the girl went down a maintenance shaft into the sewers, while Carmen scrambled across rooftops to hide in a dumpster. Helicopter overwatch failed to find him and he managed to escape in Duncan 2.0.

Keira attempted at night to sneak through a college campus, but she ran into Sarah Sterling. A moment of recognition led to a brief chase and Keira's capture. She was detained and desperately attempted to contact Finn MacDougall. The mob boss refused to speak with her after discovering that she was under arrest. Despondent and afraid for her life, Keira attempted to kill herself with sleeping pills. Keira was sent to the hospital,  barely surviving an overdose. Sarah took a week of forced leave from the case, resting to clear her head. During this week, the situation on the planet took a turn for the worse: in a coordinated attack, the  governor's office was bombed, his manor was assaulted and razed, and he was shot to death in a restaurant. Billiam Brown, the special agent in charge of the investigation, offered Sarah a place in the Keystone Police forensics laboratory as a consultant. She was given 48 hours to settle her affairs. She tearfully bade farewell to Professor Meshcheryakov and Captain Beaumont.
However, the day before she was meant to leave, Agent Brown alerted her to the fact that Keira had awakened from her coma. He would be staying on a bit to interrogate her, but Sarah was still intended to go to Lakeside City to join the investigation team there. Carmen snuck his way back into the city, and broke into her apartment. He captured her, sedated her, and gunned down Agent Sanderson, her assigned escort, after Sanderson attempted to shoot through Sarah to eliminate Carmen. Carmen kidnapped her once more, taking her to his cave hideout, and it was there that she discovered that he was in fact completely blind. He rigged the hover car with a bomb as a contingency plan in case they were discovered. After she awoke, they had some amiable conversation--until her tracking beacon brought forth a visitor: Adrian Lancore.
Adrian explained to them how he came to find her and his plans to hunt down and kill the Bandit King, Constantine Bronstein--though much of it came out sounding half-mad and manic. He convinced Carmen to join him in his quest, though he let it slip that he was responsible for the infamous mass murders in several counties, including the rippings Sarah had investigated briefly in the outskirts of town. This sent her into a hysteria, and they were forced to drug her. Duncan offered a solution: fake Carmen's death by leaving some of his accoutrements in the car and setting off the bomb. Carmen took Duncan's AI core with him before leaving; Adrian picked up the girl and their equipment, and they left the cave. The detonation brought down the cavern, collapsing part of the cave system. Sarah woke up on a cliffside, alone and confused. A rescue helicopter tracked her and found her; she passed out again and awoke in a hospital. She didn't remember anything that had happened in the past 24 hours with any clarity, and lashed out at everyone around her. She babbled incoherently and slipped into a psychotic break. She was placed into a psychiatric hospital for the duration of her sickness.

All the while, Adrian and Carmen flew away to parts unknown.


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PostSubject: Episode Two recap   Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:55 am

Episode Two: A Fistful of Gangsters

Sarah was hospitalized afterwards for a week, and a subsequent psychiatric evaluation showed that her existing anxiety had synergized with the traumatic events to cause a brief psychotic break. She was given drugs for treatment and returned to police duties on July 1. She travelled to Lakeside City to join the investigation team for the murder of Governor Blackwall.
Meanwhile, Carmen joined up with Adrian to seek his revenge on Constantine Bronstein, who had sent Carmen to his death against Seth. Adrian saw the Bandit King as the source of Keystone's corruption and chaos, and a thorn in his side during his mission here to 'acquire' children for the NEXUS program. But with his skeleton crew, Adrian needed access to better information flow. Carmen was given access sneaking equipment, as well as a new cat-like robotic remote platform for Duncan, and was dispatched to Fort Dusken, the site of the local State Security office. He was to break in and steal data, as well as install a worm that would continue the data flow from the office to Adrian's home base in the forest at the borderlands of East and West Norden prefectures. Carmen barely made it out without being caught, and returned to Adrian's. Informed by Gary that Adrian was out and about, busting a human sex trafficking ring in Port Crosspoint, Carmen was forced to wait for the large man's return.

Back in Hauberk, Keira survived an assassination attempt by a Fenian suicide bomber while in holding. If she was going to be attacked, she might as well screw over her assailants. On July 3, Michael Foutley's trial began and Keira was called as a witness. During the trial process, a pale man wearing short shorts and a blue button-up shirt strode into the courthouse and attempted to kill Keira with a custom-made suppressor-equipped shotgun. The mysterious assassin fired from the upper balcony at her, but Foutley ran into the line of fire and caught the shotgun blast to the chest. As police were called and converged on the court house, the assassin fled on a motorcycle. Keira, stunned and horrified by Squinty Mike's noble sacrifice, agreed to go into witness protection. The news reported her death alongside Mike's, as cover.
The next day, as she was being transported to a safe location, the vehicle was captured and she was kidnapped. She was taken to Cove City, an industrial city to the north side of Lake Norden, and confined under sharp watch. While briefly assaulted by one of her guards, her captors mostly kept to themselves and treated her well. A few nights later, as both her watchers were sleeping, she attempted an escape and managed to slip quietly out of the run-down textile mill she was being kept in. She bounced around Cove City for a few days, trading sex for shelter and beating up Fenian criminals, even leading the police to capture and arrest her captors--several of whom died in a shootout. Satisfied and rapidly losing any semblance of stealth, she sent an email to Seth and set out for Lakeside.

Across the lake, the investigation into the governor's death revealed a number of striking details: the governor had been shot in the back of a restaurant, his home had been assaulted by apparently highly skilled gunmen, and his office had been bombed. The evidence was determined by the team to indicate that the Fenian Daggers did the deed: they had the resources to hire a bombmaker, the obtain the weapons linked to the crime scenes, and the motive to kill him. Personal records showed a working relationship between the governor and organized crime, including kickbacks and prosecution immunities. The relationship seemed to have broken down near the end, and the Daggers struck at him just as they had struck at the Prefect of Dusken. Of the investigators, only Sarah Sterling held doubts; to her, the evidence didn't add up and her analysis of the data indicated that someone rather more cold and professional was at work. Their capture of the bomb-carrier was a massive boon to the investigation, and he mentioned a bomb-maker named "Needles". The police brought Finn MacDougall, managing director of local McGrady Corporation assets and alleged chief of the Fenians on this world, in for questioning but he was released after his lawyer spoke to detectives. After this, Sarah went to speak to Finn MacDougall himself, and they came to an understanding: Finn felt he was being set up, Sarah agreed, and she sought to clear his name of this, if only because it meant that the actual culprit could be brought to justice. The first place to look, he told her, was for this mysterious "Needles".

Around the same time, Seth awoke from his coma. He was told that Keira died, and that his only way to avoid the death penalty was to confess to being hired by the Fenian Daggers, and provide information on Finn MacDougall for an ongoing criminal investigation. Seth reluctantly agreed, but made a show of his irreverence towards the court and justice system. During the pre-trial hearing, he mocked the judge and walked out, rejecting at the last minute the plea bargain. As he was leaving, he suddenly doubled over with nausea and vomiting and ragged coughing. He remembered the cigarette that one of the people in the crowd outside had given him; some man in short shorts had given him a hand-rolled cig, and now he was violently sick. Hours later, at the hospital, he was diagnosed with radiation poisoning; the cigarette had contained a large amount of ash-form radioactive material. He could be given medication to slow down the progress of the cancer, but it would not stop it. The doctor gave him around six weeks, maybe two months. Consigned to his fate, Seth lay in bed. Agent Brown came to him and offered him an opportunity: if he would act as an informant by meeting with and "working" for MacDougall, he would be given amnesty and they would do their best to secure proper medical treatment for him that could eliminate the rapidly-progressing cancers in his system. Seth wavered until he read the email from Keira confirming that she was alive and needed his help. Seth immediately accepted and began travel to Lakeside City, with one thing on his mind: vengeance.

Seth's arrival began his final, epic machination. Contemplating his fate, he burned the list of names--the list of people whom he sought to slay, of people who had sentenced him to ten years of war--and committed himself to a renewed sense of purpose. He met up with Keira and kept her hidden and safe, and plotted to orchestrate MacDougall's downfall. He made the façade of working with MacDougall to act against rival crime groups in the city, after confirming that the rival assassin on the Hauberk job was dead and had worked for the bandits. The Fenian Daggers had a lockdown on a major port, providing security and keeping the local stevedore union in their pocket, and guarded against rival attempts to muscle in on their turf. Seth was tasked with tricking the Italian and Japanese mobs into fighting each other, and was told to work with John Dolorossa to accomplish this. Seth knew who he was when he saw him: the pale man who had attempted to kill Keira, who had poisoned him, the assassin in short shorts.
Seth spoke first to Yoritomo Manzō, the head of the regional Yakuza, and informed him of MacDougall's plans; he suggested to Yoritomo to fake his death, and lull the Daggers into a false sense of security before striking at their headquarters. He then met with the two Italian mob bosses: ageing immigrant Carlo Vossi and his former underboss Vincent Lombardo, and feigned to cooperate with their attempts to patch things up and renounce their rivalry. In truth, he had schemed to have the Italian clans fight the Fenians at the docks, and had set up Dolorossa to be caught in the crossfire. On the night of the attacks, the plan went off without a hitch. The strange assassin died, and many of the competing mobsters killed each other in the shootout. Seth departed to join the Yakuza in attacking Finn himself.

Unbeknownst to him, earlier that day Keira had come to MacDougall to kill him, and put it all to an end. To protect Seth and herself; to her surprise, MacDougall was a skilled fencer and dove at her with great speed with a rapier, and stabbed her to death. Her body was put into cold storage. That night, Seth assaulted the McGrady building with Yoritomo and his top street soldiers. Armed with swords, they stormed in and slaughtered the Fenian guards. Fighting MacDougall was a tougher proposition; he taunted Seth with the death of his adopted daughter and his imminent acquittal of the governor's murder, how he would be clean and free once more. Seth took grievous wounds from MacDougall, but he succeeded in cutting the crime lord down and beheaded him. Yoritomo thanked Seth for his help, and promised him that his organization would do better than MacDougall to inject some honour into the criminal underworld. Seth accepted his fate that, now having betrayed the Fenian Daggers, he would be hunted and hounded all his life by the mob, and with his daughter dead, he had nothing left to live for.

Seth intended to plunge his sword into his belly, ending his life, but Yoritomo convinced him otherwise. He was promised a chance to start a new life in service of him, and the possibility of a wider revenge against the Fenian Daggers which had pushed and pulled him along for years as their puppet. A new life as a man of respect and prestige in his clan.
Seth accepted, and left the building just before police arrived.


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PostSubject: Episode Three recap   Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:56 am

Episode Three: The Outlaw Roddy Jacobson, or: Carmen Down Under
In the midst of all this, Deputy Agent Sarah Sterling began the search for the mysterious bombmaker named Needles. Accompanying her was her assigned State Sec watchman, Special Agent Francis Frank, who agreed with her that something sinister underlay all of these events and that the truth was important enough to search for. After some investigation, they determined the house linked to business transactions with Needles. They broke in and found that Needles wasn't just a bombmaker, but an iculian--one of a race of tiny reptilian aliens--explaining the fineness of his work. Capturing him and threatening his prosecution, he agreed to help them find out who was responsible for all this. He informed them of the identity of his business contact, who was cross-referenced with a database to uncover that he was a State Security agent. The man had recently acquired airfare for Port Glimmer in the Oka islands region, and the Sterling team followed him.

At the same time, Adrian had discovered the presence of an old friend and compatriot, through the mountain of data Carmen had provided. On July 11, they travelled to Sutherland City in search of this man, who Adrian kept referred to as Primus, to get his attention and make their presence known to him. After interrupting a live television broadcast off a parade in the city, Adrian scampered off to "satisfy his urges". He told Carmen to keep making trouble in the area, to let State Sec know that Adrian was there. He was informed of a large bandit presence in the wilderness and mountains of Sutherland. Carmen rode out to the next largest city, a provincial capital named Samabama, to seek out bounties and information on the local bandits. Equipped with Duncan's car and cat forms, a stealth-coated duster, and new robotic arms and surveillance equipment, he was prepared to hunt down anyone if it got him one step closer to killing the Bandit King.

In Oka, Sterling's team met with Needles' local informant, a wealthy artist, businessman, and information broker named Kayla. Kayla sold them the method to track the government agent, provided they did a favour for him. They were to travel to Samabama in Sutherland prefecture and inform a man named Teardrop that "Roddy did it" and give him a data packet with evidence. The details were kept vague, but the favour was necessary and contingent for him giving them what they wanted. Reluctantly, they boarded an aircraft for Sutherland and travelled by car to Samabama to seek this man named Teardrop. They came to find the city half ablaze and dozens of innocents shot. Not long before, Carmen had arrived and acquired the bounty contract to kill or bring in the man who had done this atrocity: a local bandit lord named Roddy Jacobson, who dwelled up on the mountains in the old bauxite mines owned by his family, called Jacobson's Hollow. Carmen flew in Duncan to hole up in the nearby caves, with the car scanning for any bandit movement. The next day, they detected a column of bikers riding out to raid another town. Duncan attacked them with missiles, and Carmen shot at them on foot; but Duncan was damaged by an antimateriel rifle in the fighting, leaving Carmen to be injured and captured by the bandits. Desperate, Duncan fluttered down the mountain for help.
Meanwhile, Sarah and her accompaniment had found Teardrop and delivered the message. The biker leader departed with three fellow bikers to complete their vendetta with the bandits. He offered to escort them back to Sutherland City, but along the way they were attacked by strange native wildlife and while stopping at a hospital were approached by Duncan. He made a personal plea to Sarah to help rescue Carmen, who at first refused but was convinced by Frank to save him and take down the vicious criminal Roddy Jacobson. However, Frank had Duncan secretly laden with explosives in case he went rogue.

Along the way to the mountains, they learned more about their target. Roddy was a violent member of the "Bat" Clan, a family of dangerous raiders and killers from the mountains who had once been immensely wealthy from a mining business but had declined over the past century to banditry and violence. Rumors abounded that Roddy, who led a bizarre cult from his mountain chapel, was a cannibal and serial rapist. Few accusations were ever brought to court, let alone proven, in part because of his reclusive habits and blindly loyal followers in the shanty town nearby the mines. Arriving at the shanty, Frank and the bikers planned on sneaking in and bluffing their way through to get close to Roddy. Sarah got cold feet and tried to escape them, but wound up in the procession to the peak chapel and pretended to be one of the crazed cultists. The bikers successfully bluffed into the crowd as well, hearing claims of the cultists that Roddy would be performing a human sacrifice on the mountain that night. Needles took off into the woods and into the mines, utterly escaping the notice of Francis Frank and the others.
As they sat in the pews and listened to Roddy's sermon, they found it hard to not lash out and finish it. Sarah was anxious as she sat in the front row, having a full view as Roddy brought a new cultist up to the stage and shot him in the head. He picked out Sarah from the crowd and call her up, and held her hostage; he sensed some great power in her, innately feeling her psionic energy. The congregation filtered out to watch the great sacrifice: a blue horned alien was tied to a cross and a crowed of loyal cultists. The sacrifice went pear-shaped when Teardrop and his bikers tossed aside their disguises and attacked; the sacrificial crowd, set ablaze and jumping off the cliff, distracted Roddy long enough for Sarah to free Carmen and escape. Handing him a gun, and drawing one herself, they chased Roddy after he injured Teardrop and ran into the chapel. Roddy injured Sarah before hopping down an escape hatch, with Carmen hot on his heels.

In the tunnels, Roddy seemed poised to escape and destroy the mountain to foil his assailants. He was surprised when a tiny alien, Needles, blasted him with a laser gun, whom he shot in turn with his shotgun. Both were fatally injured when Carmen walked up to interrogate Roddy before shooting him in the head. Needles pressed a button on his belt, cursing Carmen for taking his kill. The bombs placed by Roddy and his own sets of explosives detonated, blasting the mountain apart and demolishing the mines. As Sarah, Teardrop, Frank, and the bikers escaped via Duncan, the platform Carmen was on collapsed and tumbled down the flaming mineshaft, Needles' body flying off and being immolated. July 16 dawned with Jacobson's Hollow erupted into flame and rock, and the fate of Carmen Santana up in the air.
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PostSubject: Re: Season Two: The Wild Cards   Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:57 am

Episode Four: The Good, the Blind, and the Bloody

As it turned out, Carmen survived the bombs and lay injured in the bottom of a mineshaft. Meanwhile, Sarah and the others fled to nearby Samabama, communicating with Adrian--who informed them that Finn MacDougall was dead and this organization had gone rogue--and with Kayla, who put them in touch with his field man. Teardrop was dropped off for medical treatment along with his bikers. Sarah and Frank planned to depart on a flight to Lakeside City, but she slipped away and escaped into the night. Frank and Duncan searched for her, coming across a wounded Carmen; they took him to a hospital, and continued to look for her for a few days. Sarah contacted the man from Kayla's organization with the intent to track down the two shadowy men who had been tailed. She took a flight to Port Glimmer and then to Port Crosspoint, and followed the men throughout the city; she overheard them in a restaurant, and decided to follow a third man they had met, who seemed to be their leader. Boarding a plane to Hammond, which would stop and reorient for a flight to Lakeside City, she tracked the conspirator. No matter what, she was going to see this through to the end.

At the same time, Carmen and Duncan and Francis Frank had travelled to Adrian's, intending to parley with him to use the vast State Sec database to track and find Sarah, and to get to the bottom of the chaotic events of the past couple months. Adrian had discovered the likely location of the Bandit King, and dragged Frank with him and Carmen to hunt and kill him. In a confrontation in his icy canyon base in the frozen north, Constantine Bronstein ambushed them with a group of bandits and one unexpected guest: Reon, Carmen's former partner and adopted brother, a graal assassin and criminal. In the ensuing battle, Reon lopped off Carmen's leg and called him out in a fury, "We were ninjas together! But now, because of you, we're all just scum!" Adrian, however, ably handled most of Bronstein's men. Until the Bandit King came riding in on a fearsome mount: a cyberized T. rex, replete with robotic arms and control implants. He gripped Adrian in its maws and thrashed him about before attempting to swallow him whole. As Carmen lay dying, and Bronstein cackled in victory, a small cut emerged in the dinosaur. The cut became a wide gash and Adrian cut his way out. Bronstein was thrown from the animal, and took off into the canyon to escape. Adrian punched the injured animal in its head, knocking it unconscious, and threw Reon to the ground, before collapsing from pain and exhaustion. Francis Frank apprehended Reon and interrogated the sole surviving goon. Frank shot the man once he found out what Bronstein had done...but it was too late. Adrian woke enough to help put Reon and Carmen in the car, and attach the dinosaur by a rig. They flew back to base, T. rex in tow.

In the air nearby Lakeside, just south of the city, Sarah eyed her target and watched from the window. But her safe, calm sense of closure was broken by the flash of a second sun within Lakeside City. On August 3rd, 3280, the planetary capital disappeared in a nuclear fireball, and the plane began to spin out of control from the resulting EMP. As the plane was crashing, the government agent snapped to action and seized Sarah. She realized that she knew this man: it was an agent she had met on Luna. It was Primus Lucan. Primus parachuted out of the plane with her, and was picked up by a liaison aircraft. While in-transit to his headquarters, he explained the whole situation and, with his own psionic abilities, helped her piece together the considerable information she had acquired: Primus had come here a year and a half ago, ostensibly to perform a State Sec audit of local affairs and, unsatisfied with the peaceful veneer, stayed on to investigate and build up a base of operations. Through shell companies, he funnelled money and equipment onto the world and constructed small State Sec installations throughout the planet, with secret bases and listening posts hidden within a chain electronics store, another of his shell corporations. He had coordinated the placement of anti-crime candidates in local elections and appointments, including the Prefect of Dusken, Richard Hawking. When Hawking rebuffed attempts to bribe him, and pursued even tougher measures on bandits and organized criminals, including shoot-to-kill orders for police witnessing crimes in wilderness areas, both the Bandit Union and the Fenian Daggers moved to remove him by violence. Primus knew of this and allowed events to play out, and he could capitalize on any result. Both crime groups brought in outside hired guns--Seth Kubrick for the Daggers, and Carmen Santana for the Bandits. Both hits went awry and the ensuing chaos has spilled out across the planet. With the Governor wary, he began to entreat the organized crime syndicates on the world to help keep order; Primus sent strike teams to assassinate him and his household, and orchestrated the bombing of his office, all to look like a gang hit in order to bring down the Fenian Daggers. With the death of Finn MacDougall, a police crackdown had begun and made a serious dent. Individual crews started to fight against each other, vying for power in a struggle for turf, while the Yakuza embedded themselves.
Primus had also learned of the presence of an acquaintance of theirs, Adrian Lancore, who was on paid leave but had taken it upon himself to travel to this world to secure assets for State Sec programs. Perhaps in an effort to restore himself before their boss. Either way, he had made a ruckus to get Primus' attention, and it had worked. The violent events in Sutherland had seen to that. Primus then made Sarah an offer: help him take down the Bandit King, who had caused all of this chaos and destruction. Overwhelmed and exhausted, she reluctantly agreed before fainting.

Over the course of the next week, Sarah trained herself in anticipation of her role in the grand investigation. Primus had called for outside assistance, from a crack team of counter-terrorist police. Men and women who would traverse any distance, bypass any jurisdiction, and had a record of success: the Silver Team, a group of former Sagittarian space cops who had retained their unit in the shuffle and established place for themselves as by-the-book, well-disciplined counter-terror operatives. Sarah was to rendezvous with them in the ruins of Lakeside City, investigating ground zero for any clues. After a bit of wandering and interviewing straggling survivors, she did so near a demolished stadium, the team making a dramatic and flamboyant entrance via a silver-painted dropship. Their leader Silver Lion, greeted her with his operations officer Silver Tiger, his sniper specialist Silver Wolf, and his stealth specialist Silver Snake. Together, they investigated the city and discovered that people were recalling two explosions, one near the bay and the other at the stadium; many people were being shuffled into overwhelmed refugee camps and, to Silver Tiger's horror, were being shipped away and experimented on by state forces. A tense stand-off ensued, but the team slinked away with nothing that they could do, secure with the information they had gathered.
At the same time, Adrian and Carmen interrogated Reon for information; the graal revealed was that he was dying of cancer, as had his father before Carmen shot him, and he had been called to settle a score. Now, despondent, Reon told Carmen what he wanted to know, and hoped for the best; in return, Carmen bluntly broke the news about how their "father" had been just a criminal, and used them as hitmen and petty thieves for his own gain. Adrian sent Carmen and Frank back to the canyon to search for clues, where they found a large computer mainframe and Reon's spacecraft. Downloading the data to Duncan, they sped back to Adrian's base. There, Adrian's men set to work on analysing the data they had captured from the Bandit King's hideaway. Some of it could be decrypted, including locations of other bombs. Lacking sufficient processing power at his meagre base, he reluctantly contacted Primus and sent him a copy of the data. Primus set to work analysing and decrypting it. What they could glean was that there were several bombs, all in major cities, with the exception of the Oka region, and a map of Bandit hideouts across the continent of Nordendusk. Primus and Adrian to pool their resources, and sent combined teams of agents to scout out and disarm the weapons. Sarah was to be deployed in Hauberk, seeing as how she knew the city. The Silver Team went with her, and they were to rendezvous at the university with a team of Adrian's agents.
All the while, Keira had undergone nothing short of a rebirth. Through experimental techniques, McGrady Corporation managers seized her corpse, saved most of her brain and fragments of the body, and began a rapid-reconstruction process using advanced cloning and replication techniques. She awoke and received physical therapy, but sought only escape; she managed to flee and disguise herself long enough to slip out of the facility, and find that she was in city she didn't know. She ran into Primus, who offered her an opportunity: join him and become a government assassin. She agreed, desiring to kill the people who had taken Seth from her. Now, he brought her to his secret base and introduced her to Sarah and the others as "Alice."

Sarah and the Silver Team investigated first the airport, and then looked into some buildings along the way to the university. All of their data had indicated that the bombs were tied to new construction, as they had been in Lakeside City, and related to the downing of several defence satellites four years ago. The airport had added a new terminal, a new office/shopping mall had been built in the downtown commercial district, the university had built a new parking garage, the water treatment planet had been renovated, a games stadium had been constructed, and new warehouses had been built in the industrial park. They began to look into all of these, while Sarah went with Lion and Tiger to rendezvous at the Keystone Institute of Technology. She briefly spoke to her professor, an astounded and surprised Dr. Artem Meshcheryakov, and told him bluntly to get out of the city. There was an atomic bomb threat, and she wanted him to be safe. He agreed, and wished her well. Sarah them moved to the car park, and met up with none other than Carmen Santana, Francis Frank, and Duncan. A strangely enthusiastic wave of greetings were followed by a look at the new building, but they found no sign of disturbance. Just then, over the line, Snake announced that she had found something and was investigating. Lion and Tiger went to check out the shopping mall, while Sarah went with Carmen and Frank to back up Snake and Wolf.
Lion spoke cordially with the managers of the office building, and looked into possible bomb locations, while Tiger foiled the activities of a small gang of Fenian ruffians near the mall's sporting goods store. Meanwhile, Sarah and Carmen arrived to find a fleet of police vehicles outside the airport. They went into an apparently hidden door in the building and searched for Snake. They found that a misunderstanding had occurred: Snake had opened the door to a secret set of back-entrances and corridors for airport workers, and accosted two airport security officers thinking that they were terrorists--who in turn had thought that she was a terrorist. The embarrassing blunder cost them time, and they split up again. Sarah, Carmen, Frank, Lion, and Tiger went to investigate the water treatment plant, while Wolf, Snake, and a section of police officers went to look into the stadium.

At the water treatment plant, they found nervous armed guards which set off their suspicions. Suspicions that were confirmed when a fight ensued, Tiger and Lion apprehending two the guards quickly and quietly. Tiger snuck into the building, while Carmen listened at a door--and heard a terrorist leader commanding his men. Carmen blasted his way in and engaged the terrorist, a slim man with close-cropped hair and electric eyes, who surprised him by ignoring his tear gas and hacking his robotic arms. He and Frank eventually took him down, Carmen interrogating him before he succumbed to grievous damage. The man revealed that he was an android, who had died before and returned through the help of experimental technology, and would never relent in the "colonial fight against the imperialists".
Tiger broke into the top floor and attempted to subdue a terrorist working on a large tubular device. But a combat robot began to attack him. Lion rushed to his aid, bashing through the wall and crushing the robot with his modified Lucerne hammer. The captured terrorist committed suicide rather than help them.
Sarah backed them up and began to work on the device, apparently an electronically-coded nuclear weapon. She had to hack her way through four layers of security to get to the disarm coding, but the system was too difficult. A rushed timer began, half an hour immediately jumping to five minutes. Lion commanded them to go, ushering them out. Sarah attempted to stay and fix her mistake, but Lion brusquely shoved her out of the way. Duncan arrived at the window and Sarah leaped to safety, the car taking off as Lion knelt to pray towards the east in his moments of imminent death. In the distance, the bomb detonated and wiped out the water treatment planet--and Silver Lion along with it.
As the team rendezvoused at the stadium, they found that no other bombs were in place. The only one had gone off, taking the port district with it. They mourned the loss of their leader and departed to Primus' base.
Another week of searching defused most of the bombs. But some had gone off--Grady Bay West and Grady Bay East were both demolished, as was Fort Hill--and the death toll from the poisoned lands rose to nearly a million. All the while, they were no closer to uncovering the true location of Constantine Bronstein. His bases in the north were all raided and shut down, but he was in none of them. Silver Tiger planned to take revenge on Bronstein, rather than capture him, which pushed Silver Snake away; she left to go back to the Silver Menagerie. Sarah remained at Primus' base to crack the code on the data, waiting for the reinforcements Silver Tiger had called in: three more members of the team, sword expert Silver Dragon, close combat specialist Silver Rhino, and all-around tough motherfucker Silver Ape--the only alien member of the team. Tiger departed with Carmen, Frank, and Wolf aboard Duncan to Adrian's base for resupply, and planned to go to the Oka Islands to search for Constantine. It was the only region where no bombs were in place, it had to be his base of operations.

At Adrian's base, Carmen received new cybernetic legs and enhancements. Tiger spoke to Adrian, concluded rightly that he was a maniac, and watched from a distance as he tried to tame their captured Tyrannosaurus rex. Tiger found it all rather bizarre, but left with Carmen and Frank to Port Glimmer, to speak with one of Primus' informants in the area. The three arrived and were treated to an audience with Kayla, now calling themself Alexandria, who implored them to destroy Constantine. He bandit king has cost him a lot of money, and was a nuisance upon the world. In the meantime, they were going to an orbital station until things became less heated. They indicated the pirates operate out of the waters between Butterfly Island and the Tidehollow archipelago, and that an oil rig had recently been built at Tidehollow. Carmen, Tiger, and Frank sped off, intervening along the way in a pirate capture of a shipping boat. As it turned out, the ship contained machinery and uranium, and was being seized by pirates working for the Bandit King--who called himself the Pirate King in these waters--who were then going to head to Tidehollow. The three agents messaged Primus and Adrian the details and began to concoct a plan.
Meanwhile, back at Primus' base, Sarah was hard at work decrypting. With much effort, she broke through the encryption; the graphic representation, previously a cloud of symbols, now aligned to form two sine waves that gradually coalesced. When they did so, the line of code turned red and the screens all went blue. Primus was perturbed, and upon rebooting the computers and scanning along satellite feeds, they realized with horror that they had played right into Constantine's hand. The decryption had installed a worm onto their computers, which hacked all comm satellites and brought them crashing to the surface. Defence satellites launched their weapons before careening into cities, detonating dozens of nuclear weapons and sending kinetic kill vehicles straight at major urban areas.
Primus was sent into shock, but Sarah snapped him out of it. The recent arrival of the remaining Silver Team agents reminded him of his duty. He ordered them to mobilize for action; they were going to Tidehollow, to end this. They geared up and departed in twin hoverdynes: one silver, one black.

Back in Oka, the satellites falling had rushed their plans; a quick scheme was needed. They hit upon the idea of sneaking into the base, disguised as pirates, and using machinery from the cargo to kitbash a cannon. With Duncan's expert engineering knowledge and three men working, they constructed a makeshift gun and Carmen produced several simple explosive shells. Tiger would sneak in, and Carmen would position around back. The ship would remain some distance away, with Frank manning the gun. On a signal, they would all attack at once.
As they anchored offshore of the oil rig, Silver Tiger slipped in on a speedboat, hailing the bandits and claiming he was a pirate. They escorted him down an elevator to their undersea base, a large facility connected directly to ocean-floor communication cables. This explained why he was still able to communicate with his cells in the hinterlands, and coordinate an insurrection.
But to Tiger's chagrin, Constantine was no fooled by his clever disguise. He knew he was a cop, and had his men hold him still while he plunged a hunting knife into his side. Tiger used shock net to hurt his opponents, and Constantine had him thrown to the ground in a rage, overtly planning to rape him. Tiger just smirked and keyed his radio to signal Frank and Carmen. Shells came raining down upon the facility, demolishing platform surfaces and killing numerous mooks. Carmen fluttered down from the nearby cliff on his wingsuit duster, invisibly kicking a goon before rushing to an elevator platform, hurrying to support Tiger. The support teams converged on the location, Adrian reaching there first and deploying via parachute from his hoverdyne while riding his new and improved cyberized T. rex, equipped with powerful ocular lasers. Constantine left up the elevator to deal with the situation.
Tiger began to fight the guards, no longer being held, and Carmen burst in, shooting dead one of the other guards. Adrian rode his mount into one of the large elevator platforms and dangerously stomped his way into the atrium, rescuing them and carving into several guards. Primus' gunship arrived and he rappelled down with Sarah and Alice. The Silver Team jumped in, distracting several bandits with their flamboyant fighting moves. The two female agents moved to the elevator shaft, and quickly descended, intent on hunting and killing Constantine--unaware that he had already gone topside. Below, they were greeted with the scene of Carmen and Tiger discussing how no longer surprising it was to see Adrian storm in to save them while riding a cyborg dinosaur. Sarah hacked into the mainframe computers in the atrium, downloading all of Constantine's sensitive data, including his master plan. Tiger told them where Bronstein had gone, and Alice turned right back around. Carmen skidded into the elevator just in time to join her.
Back above, the fight had become a chaotic mess of gunfire and crushing blows, pirates versus ninjas in a gruelling battle to destroy a monstrous terrorist. Alice and Carmen spotted Constantine, donning a flak vest and boarding a helicopter to flee. They both fired at him, Carmen repositioning to attack at close range after Alice missed her shot. She took Wolf's sniper rifle as the space cop shot down two other goods. Constantine shot Carmen and mocked him, preparing for a final strike on the blind alien gunfighter. But from above came a saviour: a robotic doglike humanoid frame leaped from a hovercraft, swinging a great scimitar about his head and growling "Get away from my brother!" Reon had returned, fully cybernetic and devoid of cancer, ready to fight to the death to defend Carmen. Constantine flung himself into the helicopter and it began to take off, but Reon grabbed hold of it by the landing strut and the wing. The pilot fired a missile, which Reon was grasping while trying to grapple the aircraft; Reon was sent careening away, pulled by the rocket. Carmen, in a rage, gunned down Bronstein and the pilot; Bronstein fell down, injured and bleeding while the helicopter crashed into the sea. Carmen coldly executed him. Sarah arrived shortly afterwards.

Alice walked up and tried to shoot him, for "stealing" her kill, but Carmen reacted swiftly and disarmed her. Reon, damaged, came stumbling in from the smoke, asking what he had missed. Primus called for them all to cease firing; the battle was over. His agents moved around, securing weapons and ID'ing corpses, and fetching the injured Silver Tiger down below. Over their radios, a voice boomed, "This is General Brian Kessar of the Security Forces. Navy ships in orbit have constructed an ad-hoc satellite communications array, and we are prepared to deploy ground forces. To any and all State Security, Military, and Police forces: report in, I repeat, give me a sitrep. If you do not, we will be forced to land troops and begin orbital bombardment to pacify this planet and return it to order. You have one hour."
Primus, the chief State Sec agent for the world, immediately responded and outlined the situation. He recommended employing surgical strikes to take out Bandit leaders across the world and snuff out the insurrection, and using civil affairs units to restore order in remaining population centres. Heavy-handed repression would not work, he said, and would only inflame the insurrectionists. Kessar agreed and deployed pinpoint strike teams; he would meet with Primus personally at Primus' headquarters.
As Silver Tiger was hauled away for medical treatment, Primus and Sarah discussed her safety with Security Forces soldiers landing across the planet. He and Silver Wolf spoke and agreed that Sarah would be safer offworld, and suggested that she go with them. Wolf went a step further and suggested that she join them. Sarah decided to become the newest member of Silver Team, embedding herself in the system--the last place McGrady's men would look. She departed in their silver hovercraft.
Reon and Carmen embraced as brothers, and greeted Adrian as friends; Carmen swore to give up the assassin business, to go legitimate as well as he could, though he doubted his prospects. "Men like us," he said to Adrian, "are always going to be tough guys for someone. We're always going to work in the shadows." Adrian replied, "But sometimes, lad, you've got to step into the light."
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PostSubject: Epilogue recap   Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:18 am

Epilogue: Once Upon A Time...In Space
Primus met with General Kessar, and the two shared some personal understanding of the tragedy that had befallen Keystone, as well as the relief of averting total orbital annihilation of a world that could still be saved. Sharing data and information, the two planned to coordinate a series of strikes across the globe and cut down the insurrection; all criminals would be summarily shot. Rebellious prefects-turned-warlords would be tried and executed, to set an example. Primus suggested allowing a planet-wide election to install a new governor, after the clean-up operation had been settled. Kessar agreed, thinking it would help defuse tension between central government forces and the local colonial government. But that time, he said, would be some ways away--State Sec had hard work ahead of them.

Sarah was kept safe among the Silver Team during Kessar's inspection of Primus' headquarters. She departed with them a week later, when Tiger had recuperated. Arriving at the Silver Menagerie, the team's deep-space station and base of operations, she was formally inducted as Silver Fox; her identity records were altered to cover up her placement and she was present for Silver Tiger's announcement of an extended leave of absence from police work. For now, he was just "Kurt", and he departed to continue his search for justice at home--having revealed to Sarah personally his troubled history. Silver Dragon took command as leader of Silver Team, and they resumed their assignments.

Meanwhile, Reon and Carmen returned to Adrian's base. His task completed, and having helped save the world to boot, Carmen offered Reon partnership in whatever endeavours they would undertake. Adrian helped him forge a false identity, implanted him with an ID chip, and gave him a wondrous present--aside from his personal phone number and an offer to help whenever he needed it: Reon's starship, refurbished and repaired, fully fuelled, and ready to go. Adrian and his men packed up their equipment, having felt that their work on Keystone was done. Adrian, aboard his own spacecraft, escorted Carmen and Reon's new ship out of the naval blockade using his State Sec credentials to bypass all security. Once out of range of the planet, they said their goodbyes and hoped to see one other again.

In parting, Adrian said to Carmen over the comm: "See you, space cowboy."
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PostSubject: Re: Season Two: The Wild Cards   

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Season Two: The Wild Cards
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