The Expedition (part 1)

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The party decides to stay in Dyfedd for a few days. Frank, who has been kept in the hospital for observation is impressed by the medical equipment they have there.
Alex manages to get a new suit from LavOrg since his was ruined when he was shot. Rave goes shopping.
In the afternoon, the party is approached by Karl Piersson (second in command for Silvana Black) for a private chat. He's got an assignment for them.
Mr. Piersson elaborates a bit more on their assignment, and tells them that their main goal is to keep a certain Devon Gray alive. This mister Gray will contact them a few days from now for some kind of expedition. They are to accept that job, and join the expedition. LavOrg Security fears for the life of Mr. Gray because he has recently contacted the Gorchoff Crime Syndicate, though he does not know what for.
Alex sees an opening and starts negotiating with Piersson to get equipment from LavOrg to assist them on this job and manages to get an extensive list of diving equipment, including the loan of a power ski with option to buy the thing against reduced rates at a later time.
After Piersson has left, Alex calls Rick Orchard to inform him that the party are now official LavOrg heroes.
Rick is suitably impressed. Alex informs Rick that a Mr. Gray may contact Orchard Enterprises for a lucrative job, so the Flying Fish should be available during the next few weeks.


Later that week, when Frank is released from hospital the group travels back to Haven.


The Flying Fish arrives. Vicky and Bernard are given a few weeks off and the group takes the boat out to see who the best helmsman is. Luca wins easily.


During the morning routine an anonymous email attracts Frank's eye. This may be the job they've been waiting for and decide to present themselves at the 'Lonely Chef' as instructed.


The party arrives 15 minutes early and are heartily greeted by a handsome young man who introduces himself as Devon Gray.
Devon is accompanied by a beautiful occidental girl, whom he introduces as his fiancée Lau.
Scanning the 'Lonely Chef' Rave spots an enormous silva clad in black leather observing them from the shadows. He mentions this to Devon, who tells them that the silva is Manny who 'watches over him'.
At 17.00 an old haggard looking man enters. Devon gets up to greet him in the same friendly manner he received the party. The man introduces himself as Gunther Kettman, a wilderness guide and outfitter.
After some more pleasantries Devon gets down to business and tells that in 2 days time he and Lau want to mount an expedition.
The goal of this expedition is to capture a specimen of Poseidon's wildlife. He does not reveal what species 'for security reasons'. There are other groups also hunting for this animal.
Devon offers 20.000 cs to each group for joining, plus a 50.000 cs bonus for the group responsible for capturing the specimen.
The party wants to know which other groups will be joining. Devon states that one additional group (twins, both expert divers) will be participating as well.
Kettman accepts immediately, as does the party. Soon after everyone goes their own way. Rave follows Devon to make sure he is not followed.
Back home Frank searches CommCore for information on Devon. He is very circumspect and only finds ount that Devon and Lau are HIST students (as they claimed). He also finds references on a Raijha Akkad, also a student, who appears to be a friend of Devon's.
There is a discussion on whether or not to take the Albatross with them. Luca could command it to follow the boats at a few km's distance. After realizing that there need not be a good spot to land the Albatross they decide to leave it home.
The next hot item is who will be cabin-mates. After a few innuendo's it's settled that Frank and Luca will sleep in Vicky & Bernard's double bed, Rave and Alex will share the other cabin.
Frank rigs a separate communicator to the Fish's Locator beacon. When the comm is called the beacon is activated. Rick will monitor the beacon and when activated he'll take the Albatross as fast as possible to the Flying Fish.


Frank and Alex go shopping for a passive sonar and a few MHD sleds.


Heavy rain pours down as the party takes the Flying Fish to the meeting point. Devon hails them from his luxurious yacht 'The Reliant'.
There are two other boats: an old and battered fireboat named 'Metal Heart' with Kettman at the helm, and a sleek looking hydrofoil, 'Slicer'.
Devon issue a schedule with travel, breaks and stops for the night. He requests radio silence until well out on open sea.
That night everyone is invited aboard the Reliant for dinner. Luca is not feeling well and stays below decks. All ships are tied together so they don't drift away.
At the dinner table the party meets Raijha, the geeky friend of Devon, and Stahn and Svetlana Kishov (the 3rd team)
Devon is a gracious host and has provided a very good meal and drink.
Rave tries to chat with Manny, but Manny only answer in gruff, short sentences and after a while he gives up trying.
When asked after previous jobs the group has done they say they've mainly done retrieval jobs, but no big game hunting before now.
Gunther Kettman is initially quiet, but once he warms to the group he tells them that he has had this job ever since his wife died some 30 years ago.
Alex makes small-talk with Stahn and Svetlana who are not too forthcoming with information either. Rave notices they are both aquaforms (squids).
Frank strikes a conversation with Raijha and soon the discussion is so cluttered with technical terms that Alex decides to direct his attention elsewhere.
Frank asks if there are any other vehicles aboard the ship and Raijha invites him below deck for a look at 'Little Buddha', his remote submersible.
After a bit of flattering by Frank Raijha shows that 'Little Buddha' is not unarmed, as at his command a hidden torpedo launcher emerges from the ROV.
The group tries to get more information out of Devon concerning the goal of the expedition but he courteously turns down their questions. He assures them all questions will be answered when they have reached their destination. The only information they get is that on arrival the ships will be arranged in a triangular pattern, each using sonar to listen for their quarry. The group which first detects it will get paid the bonus if it results in capturing the specimen.
As a kind of compensation for his secrecy he gives a tour around the Reliant. It is a very luxurious vessel that could easily house 12 persons. Devon is invited for a tour on the Flying Fish later.
After dinner the journey continues until it's time to sleep. The group creates a guard schedule to make sure that the twins -who are suspected of being Gorchoff members- don't attempt anything funny.
During Rave's watch an organic yellow ball with black spots bumps against the Flying Fish. Rave sees there are at least a hundred of them drifting with the currents.
When he takes a picture of the ball the flash wakes the thing. Startle, it unfolds and takes off. To Rave's amazement it's an eel dragon. A bit further away it lands again on the water and curls up to continue it's sleep.


The weather has cleared, but it's still a cloudy day. Shortly after noon Devon announces they have reached their destination. The expedition has arrived at the west end of the Copper Isles. A small island (not 200 yards across) is half a mile away.
He tells all that the hunt will start tomorrow and all are invited again to have dinner aboard his yacht for dinner.
Later that afternoon the clouds give way to sunny spells, and at the horizon the sun's light reflects of something shiny in the waters causing irregular light flashes.
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