Wintertime Kata
GM: Johnny
Players: Annie, Johnny
Synopsis: Johnny and Annie discuss the fallout and plans for how to handle the 'annie is a terrorist' thing.
Date: 1-14-70

Finding Johnny isn't a problem once Annie checks in with Marcus, who's washing Johnny's mustang at the base. Follow the creek from the south side, to the fork, then look under the canopy of the big oak, near the waters edge. It's where Johnny is today, even in the deep winter cold.

Annie walks toward Johnny, not particularly bothering with her staff since she isn't putting on the persona for this meeting. "How's it going Johnny?", she inquires as she draws near then gets straight to the point, "I presume someone briefed you on our trip west?"

Johnny, as it happens, is half nude. A simple set of buckskin pants. Almost native American, but not in the style or cut. More… well… Cara Fahd than anything modern. He was, when you approached, moving through a series of blade kata with a pair of heavy swords crafted along a wicked scimitars line, inscribed with what looks to be Or'zet (not the modern interpretation, but actual ancient ork) on the blades. He turns as she approaches, the swords being places to scabbards that hang from the tree.

He looks to Annie. "I've… got some data, yes. Whats on your mind?"

Annie leans against the trunk of the oak tree and crosses her arms across her chest. "Yeah, as you know by now the job wasn't really a shadow-op…at least not on our end. We were called in basically to 'Witness' the awakening and subsequent eruption of Abejo peak.", she shrugs, "We did so…but serving as a Witness entails bringing that subject into the light of day. Since the Ute government has seen fit to play hardball with me, I reckon I may as well return the favor."

Johnny grunts understandingly. "Witness is a powerful position." He admits quietly, one hand coming to brush off a bit of dirt sticking to the back of his shoulder; probably some athletic tumble or another. Lets just say at higher end ability, a simple Figure-H kata does little to improve or test skill. He doesn't betray any outward emotion as he reaches for a simple enough vest of leather, a red hand print emblazed on the back. He then reaches for a very modern thermos and a cup. "Want some coffee?" He asks, pouring a hot, steaming cup therefrom.

Annie seems about to automatically refuse the offered coffee on sheer reflex, but seems to reconsider and then nods. "Please, so long as it isn't the soy crap. But knowing you it isn't.", she offers a wry grin and then gets back on track, "Plus the identity I publicly used on that op is known for her work with SAIM and as a staunch and active supporter of Coleman through a very rocky period for the NAN. It's got credibility. Especially once I point out that the Ghost Dance erupted a few volcanoes and then go into the similarities between that and this event. The UTE have apparently forgotten that the land isn't forgiving of atrocities and is as likely to turn on them as it is on the Anglos."

"The similarities have not…" He offers the cup over… "Escaped the notice of those who have the eyes to see." He then offers a smile… "I'd sooner drink my own urine than drink soy." He admits. "So. You want to reveal what happened. How do you want to to this? There are lots of avenues, but one thing I'm seeing here… is this wasn't Ute nation's actions. I'm getting an overall picture of whats going on, but it's still too sketchy to focus right. A bunch of cross-purpose threads."

Johnny then seems to reconcider something, holding up a finger.
Johnny clarifies then. "This wasn't the actions of the Ute nation anymore than the actions of William Jarman reflected the actions of the American People as a whole. As is always the case, the actions of those in power who act unilaterally don't reflect the passions and pathos of the people."

«OOC» Johnny says, "OOC note: Jarman = President of the US who issued Executive Order 17-321"
«OOC» Annie nods

Annie accepts the cup as it is offered and takes a few moments to warm her hands on it, finally taking a sip while Johnny speaks. "I understand what you are saying. The Ute as a whole aren't responsible, most of them don't care much beyond what it takes to keep a roof over their heads and food in the mouths of their children. But those responsible need to be shoved out into the light of day.", she responds and then continues, "I have some media contacts, and with the Terrorism charge looming would likely be fairly eager to arrange a prime-time interview. I have video footage of the eruption as well as some sensor data from Obie which managed to capture a transponder ping from one of the JPC attack choppers.", she pauses before adding, "Additionally Popper had quite a bit of data accumulated from his surveillance…I thought between you and I we might be able to convince Falloon to pressure the CIA to unass some of it. There could be other sources for corroborating data…such as transponder pings on the JPC choppers evac'ing and heading back to San Francisco. If we were really lucky, perhaps even a record of the VX."

Johnny thinks that over as he leans on the tree next to Annie. He watches in the distance as a deer paws through the snow to get at dried grass under the pack. "Won't need Faloon, but he will help if he feels its in his interests. The trick, is to make it in his interests. The transponder data can be gathered. I understand a flight of Nightwraiths was en route from Buckly to Fort Lewis got some telemetry." He says offhandedly, drinking directly from the thermos. What a man.

"If you do this, though." He says, looking to Annie. "You become enemy number one of who ever is behind this. You play your hand, and you've got nothing left for leverage."

Annie nods, "I've already considered that and accepted it. Some of the hardest things to do also come with the highest personal cost. For whatever reason I was asked to bear Witness to that event and it appears this is the direction I am being pushed into.", she shrugs, "Plus it would have the added benefit of taking the heat off of Janie and Slinger."

Johnny nods to Annie. "I understand." He says simply, thinking it over. "I want to say; I really respect that answer. It takes a lot to stand for something these days. To not make incessant compromises in the name of the greater good. I envy you."

Annie chuckles as she takes another sip of her coffee, "Yeah, well I am sure I will have cause to regret it over the next few years", she exhales slowly as she takes a moment to look down at herself, "I will miss this form…it's one of my favorites. It's actually that of my maternal great-grandmother. Probably pretty close to what I would look like if I didn't have that pesky elf longevity gene."

Johnny looks her over for a long moment, taking in the details and wrinkles, the stoop and posture, way her hair flows and whirls. "It's a good form. It has character. But faces…" He shrugs then. "They come and go. I miss Samuel Thayer, he was as close to comfortable as I ever was in a face. But they are tools."

Annie nods to Johnny, "Yes, but if this form has to die for a purpose…this task is at least worthy of it and a fitting epitaph.", she shrugs, "But yes…it's just a face and one I was probably becoming far too fond of. It's viability in the shadows has been pretty much shot due to the publicity over the terrorism charge."

Johnny nods to Annie. "Yeah. Thats why I had to kill Sam. The starks Debacle was just too much heat on that face. Anyway. So. We have some legwork to do. You need… what, transponder data… the CIA footage and what else?"

Annie passes over a small leather chip case, "Here is the vid footage from my goggles and the raw senor data from Obie. Make of it what you can and if possible pretty it up for a media broadcast.", she chews on her lip as she considers your second question, "The telemetry from the Nightwraiths, the CIA intel, and optionally if you can find it…any fingers that point to the origin of the VX. The CIA data should show that it was used…but where did the JPC get it? That would be the final nail in the coffin of whomever is pulling these strings."

Johnny purses his lips. "Well. Thats a problem." he says. "The VX Gas, if they got it from old US stores, could only come from one of three sites. The United States had 3 chemical weapons depositories. One was in Pueblo, and the PCC incinerated the whole site with US assistance. Full burn there. There was one at Umatilla, which is now Salish. Again, full burn there. The only site where the US stored VX that is unaccounted for…" A pause. "Was Deseret."

"Which is of course smack dab in Ute lands.", Annie murmurs as she considers the ramifications and takes a moment to view the location on a pocsec map, "Perhaps I need to head to Deseret to get the final pieces of this puzzle. Hmm, nice and close to Tooele as well."
Johnny nods slowly. "Intel suggests the commander there was recently killed by supposed raiders and smugglers, but it's tagged as suspect by the Company."

Annie drops her pocsec back into it's pocket, then peers over at Johnny. "Have you had any agents over in that area to investigate this?", she pauses and adds after a moment, "And if not, do you think it is an avenue worth further investigation?"

Johnny shakes his head. "My contacts have been mostly caught up in the events in California. There's a big push in FDC right now to investigate the possibility of shoving out the Japanese and raising the stars and stripes in Sac again." Johnny then offers somewhat offhandedly. "Theres good memories of liberating Buchenwald, you know."

Annie hmmms, "Well if the Japs have acquired a source of VX, that might be some useful ammunition for that particular battle.", she finishes off the last of her coffee and offers the empty mug back to Johnny, "If you think it would be worth my time, I could go and pay a little visit to Whitebone along the way."

Johnny hrms quietly. "Actually." A pause. "Talk to Kassandra about that. I think she had a runin with her. There's an entry in my flight log about a trip Mustang Alpha took to SLC recently."

Annie nods, "I will do that. If you don't think the Deseret angle is worth my time, then I can visit Whitebone in an Astral trip."

Johnny shakes his head. "No, I think its worth your time, I'm just concerned with you going back in to the Ute Nation. I know Slinger thinks he's fucking Steven Strange, but there are sorcerers out there who can take him. The old saw; if I can shoot you… you can shoot me."
"It wouldn't be easy, that's for sure.", Annie murmurs in response, "I will save it as a backup option. Necessity may force it on me eventually, but if I am going to go this route I should not be holding back or pulling any punches."

Johnny nods to Annie then. "I'm really…" a pause. "Concerned here, Annie. This is the big leagues, so to speak. This isn't the Ghost Dance anymore, where one side has the Fat Man and Little Boy and the otherside is just overwhelmed. This is… if it goes hot, going to be a nasty, nasty situation that could destabilize most of north America. The last thing we need is Azlan feeling they have a chance to steal the rest of texas or the PCC."

Annie nods, "Well, the old saying about Great Men probably applies here. They weren't born great, they simply had Greatness thrust upon them and had the intestinal fortitude not to scuttle back into the shadows.", she chuckles, "I realize I horribly slaughtered that phrase, But I was chosen to bear Witness this event for a reason and I plan to see it through to it's conclusion regardless of the personal cost."

Johnny nods to Annie. "I won't lie to you. I'm going to be busy in the background, like a three legged cat trying to bury a turd on a frozen pond. But if I have resources you can use, they are yours."

Annie chuckles at that imagery, "And it will be a great comfort knowing that you are in the background doing what you do best.", she pauses and leans back into the tree as if drawing from its strength, "I will get with my media contact and work at arranging the interview. How far out do you think I should push it in order to give you the time you will need?"

Johnny hrms quietly. "Depends. 2 days at the least. I can can always tell Sally to give me the data or I'll just hack NORWESTSEC again." Johnny grins then. "She hates it when I do that. You'd like her. I'll introduce you sometime."

Annie chuckles and offers a nod, "I think I can offer at least that amount of time.", she stands up straight and offers you a smile, "Thanks Johnny, I knew I would be able to count on you.", she offers a final wave and heads back to where she parked the car.

"Hey!" he says after a moment. "Stop by for -conversation- now and then! I don't have herpes or anything!"

Annie turns and walks backward a few paces as she offers you a grin, "I plan on it. Maybe once all this shit is taken care of I can spare a few weeks of non-working vacation."

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