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Vector
November 28th, 2013, 12.04AM, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Sounding like a gurgling throat, the black waves beat and crashed against the dock. Their motion and power kept the small ship constantly moving despite thick lines mooring it to the heavy concrete and steel. The crew aboard it were crouched against the gunwales, watching the narrow road that quickly vanished into darkness until the main dock lights glared in a cacophony of hellish orange, occasionally shining on a truck rumbling past. Each time one passed by, they visibly tensed, only to relax as it disappeared.

 

Then one turned.

 

It was unmarked, save for a simple, generic logo on the sides proclaiming that it worked for one of the smaller shipping companies out of Gold Coast. It rumbled to a halt before the pier, and the back door swung open to disgorge several heavily-built men who looked about as nervous as the men on the boat, who scrambled to assist with loading long, heavy boxes from the boat into the truck. The driver remained in the cabin, but Vector could see that his eyes were wide behind the balaclava, and his knuckles were white on the wheel. With a dull thud one of the boxes fell from hands that were slick with sweat, and every last man there froze. As one they turned to look at the crate, and sagged with relief. Then glared at the one who had dropped it.

 

"S-sorry" mumbled the man, looking askance as he reshouldered his burden "I just...not used to this stuff, won't happen again"

 

"It better not" snapped a man thinner and more terrified than the rest who seemed to be in charge "None of us wanna get turned into dog food 'cause ya got nervous!"

 

The unloading hurried along, everyone there desperately hoping they could finish their work quickly enough not to be seen first...

 

Graft

November 27th, 2013, 8.04AM, Waterfront, Freedom City, USA

 

Tyrone had started hearing about the shipments only a couple of days ago. It had seemed like a normal, generic kind of freight truck that bustled about the metropolis until some of his patients had opened it, and decided to try and steal one of the boxes. Luckily they had survived the strange explosion with his help.

 

Their muddled memory of the event had been light on a lot of details, but their description of the truck meant Graft recognized it at once when he saw it. Or at least one eerily like it.

 

There hadn't been any companies registered with the brand emblazoned on the side(a red circle with a lightning bolt through the center), and the warehouse it stopped at had obviously not been properly used in the last decade, at the least. Rust hung on the main door as it creaked open, and the windows were cracked.

 

Sure were a lot of very fit, very edgy-looking young men though. And the elongated bulges in their winter coats did nothing to make them suspicious.

 

Stormbreaker

November 27th, 2013, 8.04AM, Skies above the Waterfront, Freedom City, USA

 

"Captain, ladyship!" barked the voice of Age's Lost's science officer, their multi-faceted eyes gleaming in the light of several data readouts on the bridge "I've got some kind of unusual energy signature, from the hyplothadrooga scanners it appears to follow the main wavelength associated with...Terminus radiation. Odd. A significant cluster of the energy sources is directly inside this structure." spindly fingers brought up a crisp picture of one of the innumerable warehouses far below. A large red rectangle pulsed in the center.

 

"Shall we investigate, captain Silvia? I believe this is very atypical for Earth technology." the science officer's face nearly shone with hopeful curiosity.

 

Edited by Arichamus

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Vector frowned as she watched the men loading the cargo, perched on top of a nearby cargo crate.  She wasn't all that good at stealth, but the night helped her to avoid notice, and her relatively small size didn't hurt either.  And, well... the men weren't paying much attention to up high.  Not very good of them.  Well, competent.  From the way they were being all cloak-and-dagger, not 'good' was kind of assumed. 

 

Smuggling of some sort, it looked like.  And from the way they looked like they were treating the cargo... well.  That said weapons of some sort, and dangerous ones at that.  Vector's frown deepened, as she studied the side of the van, trying to make sure the logo was committed to memeory. 

 

Then she stood, backed up, ran to the edge of the container she had been crouching on... and jumped, the arc of her flight carrying her from the top of the container... to right in the middle of the men, her fall creating a mini-crater in the ground as she landed on her knee... then stood, striking at the closest man in a quick jab which was, admittedly, reinforced by her vector-control abilities to carry much more force than it otherwise would.  The small woman was outnumbered heavily...

 

She almost felt sorry for the guys, as the first two fell to her quick strikes. 

Edited by horngeek

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There were few weapons that seriously threatened Graft, but he couldn't be sure these weapons were conventional. Luckily, he was faster and stronger than most people, and he knew how to come in from angles other people couldn't possibly attack from. With that in mind, he bounded up the side of a nearby building to watch the men below.

 

He wasn't really afraid of them, per se, as dangerous as their weapons were, he could probably drop most of them before the rest could fire on him. Still, he was a smart man, and he was not about to throw himself into combat against an unknown number of unknown foes.

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Captain Silvia takes a look over her science officer's shoulder, getting a look at the data herself. "Interesting."

She doesn't have the training to identify the wavelength herself, no, but she's looked at the scanners enough for a sense of scale. This... is big. Some humans have been known to emit small amounts of Terminus energy themselves, but this is much larger than those little blips. Either a gathering, or a significant stash of their tech. Either is worth looking into

"Helm! Set a course for the energy signature. Tactical! Ready arms. If these are Terminus weapons in human hands, they may have grown bold." And if they choose to do things the hard way, well, it's just that much easier to justify turning a profit.

And so, the flying galleon soars through the air, absolutely zero attempt made to hide its arrival on the scene.

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GM

 

Australia

 

As two of the back-alley longshoremen hit the ground, Vector clearly heard several muttered, whispered, and two shouted curses. The vast majority of the men glanced fleetingly at each other, their foe in yellow and white, and took to their heels with impressive speed, vanishing into the night. Their skinny leader wavered, rage and terror equally on his face, but he steeled himself and jumped behind two of the slower workmen, yelling "Get it loose, quick! Quick!" The driver stayed where he was, petrified.

 

With speed and grace the crate was unceremoniously put on the ground, the case torn off and in moments a glittering silver weapon was in the leader's hands. Several prongs arcing over the short barrel flared with power, he whipped it to his shoulder and pulled a lever. With a roar that echoed the booming surf, swirling ribbons of brilliant ochre flashed through the air and whirled around the heroine, moving so fast she couldn't so much as follow their orbits as they sped past her eyes.

 

Almost at once she felt herself getting heavier, limbs leaden, like she would sink into the ground any moment, and the only way out was through the energy ribbons that cracked and hissed menacingly!

 


America

 

It wasn't hard for Tyrone to find someplace with a better view, and soon the young doctor had made out a simple route into the warehouse that wouldn't get him caught in a hail of whatever the kids were packing. He could see that the driver had jumped out and was talking quite calmly with the young men who had gathered nearby, two, one in a ray and one in a red hoodie moving almost lazily to shut the main door.

 

As he watched though, Tyrone felt almost like something about the situation wasn't right. Something he was missing...

 


Meanwhile, the Ages Lost hurtled down on its way to destiny, streamers lashing like colorful whips! The crew moving with the ease of long practice to where they could jump to battle stations, just in case the advanced extra-terrestrial starcraft wasn't enough on its own to intimidate whoever lay below.

Edited by Arichamus

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A force field. That was new. He added it to the list of things he ran into and decided to focus on bypassing it. Either by going through it or finding a way to shut it down. As it were, he had no idea. So, he figured the best way to handle things would involve checking with one of the employees.

 

He extended his tentacles from his shoulders and kept them coiled above, waiting for one of the goons to walk under just right. The moment one appeared in the right spot, the tentacles shot forward and grabbed him up, leaving his weapon behind.

 

As the man found himself staring face to face with Graft, he heard a harsh whisper. "Stay quiet, and this goes easy for you. Tell me where the switch is to that force field"

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GM

 

The man yelped in surprise, but by that point shouting was useless and he knew it. Dangling in front of a green insectile monster, he was clearly years younger than Tyrone, probably just a little more than sixteen, the boy nonetheless managed a desperate sneer and said "It's out of your reach, buddy. The only way you can get to the switch is if you can get to the driver, and no way can you do that. They'll see you coming and shoot you down!"

 

"And don't bother trying to get me to do it, I'm protected" he added proudly "just give me a hard pinch and everyone down there will know it. And even if you do manage to figure some way around that, that field's a solid wall for anyone without the right DNA! You'll break that truck before you get through!"

 

The helpless thug smiled with shaky confidence.

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If he wasn't busy being the scary superhero, Graft would have sighed. He was a kid, he was an ignorant kid who didn't know anything of what he was talking about. He was a helpless kid.

 

"I don't believe you, but I don't believe you know what you're saying either." He said. "This is a stupid place for you to be, you know that? These people are in to something bigger and meaner than you're prepared to deal with. You want out of this, you don't want to be involved in whatever it is these people are doing. It's dangerous, it's bad, and it's way above your pay grade. Go home, kid. Before you get somebody killed, or yourself."

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GM

 

The young man seemed to shrink up inside himself, looking away bitterly "Yeah but...look, you won't tell anyone? Mom doesn't care where the grocery money comes from, but she pro'lly will if she finds out I was some hood..."

 

What he did know came quickly to light: in about fifteen minutes a small boat would arrive that would carry the contents of the truck somewhere down the coast, part of a lengthy relay. Whatever was in the boxes was apparently a closely-guarded secret, to the point where even his boss and the driver didn't know. But it was very, very dangerous. However, that meant that they would be that much quicker to consider giving up before something bad happened to them, too.

 

"...An' there's a weak spot in the shield around the truck, me and the guys used to drop crates on it for fun on night shifts. Right by the driver's door. Uh..." he looked down "Can I go now?"

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Graft nodded and let the young man go. He realized he could hammer away at the shield, yes. Needed to find out what it was they were shipping, and to where. If he could break the force field, he could find out what it was and use that information later. Whatever it was, it was bound to be incredibly dangerous. Bad news no matter how he looked at it. Stealth, subtlety, and cunning were the way to do things.

 

Too bad he wasn't that sneaky. So, with that in mind, he started observing the patrols, looking for an opening, an opportunity to hammer at the shield so he could get in and see what it was. He knew they would come after him, but luckily, he could fight, or he could escape.

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GM

 

Graft

It wasn't very long before Graft spotted a hole in their routes. With that kid gone, they were wholly blind on the northeastern section of the streets facing their warehouse, and the other guards(mostly well-disguised as insolent layabouts) were evidently used enough to his being there that they didn't so much as bother to check. On the corner of the building was a side door, leading into one of the rooms adjacent to the main garage-like cavern. There he could easily strike from surprise.

 

Had he happened to look up at the sky right about then, he would have been stunned at the distant sight of a galleon under full sail hurtling through the air towards the scene...

 

Stormbreaker

"Unidentified life-form, cap'n!" announced the same science officer, who was by now looking almost unhealthily excited "Protean, by the look of it, strong too, I've never seen this...hold on" its voice changed sharply from glee to unease "looks rather like a Grue specimen we encountered a while ago, back around Quintillion X you know that one that was, er, wearing that poor fellow underneath? Well there's a human in there. Somehow...compelling..."

 

"I'll keep an eye out for another ship" it muttered, putting word into action as another eye emerged from its head and fixed on the appropriate screen.

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Graft decided that a direct approach was probably the best, but he wasn't going to charge in blindly. So, he dropped down into the hiding spot he noticed and proceeded with operation: Hit the shield a lot. He knew he was faster than they were, that he could absorb a lot of punishment, and that he could hit them harder than they could hit him. That was a small comfort, considering what he needed to do.

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GM

 

When Graft first slipped into the building, all was silent besides the faint sound of voices farther in. The driver and seeming leader of the small gang had apparently gotten started on something a little more serious than the light chat they'd been having a minute ago. Graft distinctly picked out "blockade" and "meltdown", mostly because they were spoken so emphatically.

 

Slipping in as quietly as the hulking mass of armor allowed, Graft had a tense few seconds as his sheet size and weight shifted a few of the crates a milimeter, causing a creak of wood and steel that sounded to him like the death-knell of the universe. Thankfully, it and the rattle of a small box, seemed to quickly be lost in the cavernous warehouse.

 

The force-field was still there, noiseless and nearly invisible, though as the various smugglers passed by it they visibly reflected something that shifted like water. This close, it soon became obvious that the one Tyrone had snagged wasn't even the youngest. Mostly they hung back from their leader, a sinewy, older man with curly blond hair and a bushy mustache who exuded authority,  who was talking intently with the driver, a smaller man with a short mohawk and cavalier manner. The weak spot of the truck seemed to be less than well--guarded.

Edited by Arichamus

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Graft reached for a nearby box and picked it up gently with his tentacles. When he found one that was light enough to move easily, he lifted it quietly and brought it closer to him. His plan was simple; touch the force field with the box, and see what happened. If it did no damage, then he would test it with a tentacle. If that did no harm, hammer at it until it broke.

 

He sighed and gingerly touched the force field with the box.

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GM

 

With a dull '*WHungggg* ' the gingerly-moved box hit the formerly invisible field with a clang like a bell, a rounded white shell crackling into place! That alone would have gotten attention, even without Graft's outstretched arm bearing the container and proclaiming his presence to all who saw him. Even before the echoes began to fade the warehouse was filled with panicked shouts, the sounds of running feet, and before Tryone could move his arm back and brace for battle, a purple orb slammed into the tentacle like a baseball into a taut rope!

 

To make matter worse, in case that was necessary, one of the guards, a lean young black man, bald but as youthful as the rest, rounded the front of the truck, donning menacing black gauntlets with a businesslike look that turned to sheer horror when he caught sight of the alien-bonded doctor! Whipping his arms up by reflex, a pair of massive red hands reached out from thin air and clutched at Graft's mighty shell.

 

In case that wasn't enough, the blast had knocked the crate free of Tyrone's grip, and was rocketing right at his head.

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Vector grimaced for a moment, her power switching from helping her avoid blows to deflecting the blows themselves.  She glared at the central man for a minute, before dashing forwards, moving faster than any unpowered human possibly could.  The ribbons parted over her skin- causing a brief hiss of pain from Vector- before her fist slammed into the stomach of the man who had fired the weapon at her.  Even though she held back a little, the solid blow, enhanced by her powers, still caused the thug to groan and roll to the ground, knocked out.  The other two men looked at each other... then quickly surrendered. 

 

The heroine breathed a sigh of relief, then quickly called the police, alerting them to the weapons smuggling.  That done, she looked at the two thugs still present and consious and smiled.  "Look, the police are on their way now.  Can you two tell me what, exactly, was going on?  What these weapons are, where they come from... I can put in a good word for the two of you if you cooperate."

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GM

 

Vector

 

Her two informers risked a momentary look over their shoulders at the man lying several meters away, faint gasping whimpers signalling that at least their former leader was alive. Turning back to the heroine, the burlier one stepped forward, motioning his comrade back as he took the stage. Gulping a little, he said hesitantly "Uh, well, y'see Vector, we-we were told by that guy there," he jerked a thumb over his shoulder "that this stuff was some kinda alien gun s*** left over from the last invasion, and if we shipped it outta Australia we'd be helpin' to break the Omega Mob who wanted to get their paws on it. He payed well too, and I kinda needed the money."

 

"We just unload 'em onto the boat" put in the smaller, slightly broader man with a worried look "we didn't take any out of the crates until now. One got dropped once, and the poor guy's still in hospital, I...uh...we're sorry? Never said where the stuff was from, just that he stole it from them Omegas. Never thought to ask more."

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Vector frowned as soon as the Omega Mob was mentioned, a frown that deepened as the men went on.  "...they've never done anything involving high-tech weapons, though."

 

The heroine looked at the man on the ground, thinking.  If the men had been told the truth, the Omega Mob was branching out into new, and really worrying, grounds.  After all, a gang that outright called itself the Omega Mob?  Her fist clenched at remembering how her mother still had to use a cane to walk, twenty years after the invasion.  After that level of damage that had been caused... any group that called themselves something like that was either made up of young idiots, or the dangeous kind of crazy.  Either way, they needed to go down. 

 

On the other hand... something didn't fit.  Where did the Mob get the weapons in the first place, how could this guy have stolen the weapons, and why not turn them over to the police?

 

She sighed.  "I think someone's been lying to you.  Can you tell me anything you know about him?"

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GM

 

Vector

 

 

"...they've never done anything involving high-tech weapons, though."

Both of the former smugglers' faces were suddenly dominated by the unmistakable open-mouthed, wide-eyed look that said across the furthest reaches of time and space "I got took."

 

At the question of who it was that had fooled them, that too changed: into cold and remorseless fury as they turned to look at the man lying unconscious nearby. The slighter one set off purposefully towards him, while the other stayed and explained curtly "Told us his name was Brian, that he had ties to the Omegas and was some kind of undercover agent trying to bring 'em down from within. Whenever we asked 'bout his contacts, he'd get real cagey real fast. Figured it was just him trying and keeping 'em safe, not an act to **** around with us."

 

"We'll leave him to you" announced the leaner gent, as he dumped the softly groaning man into a heap before the superheroine "We'll, uh, head off. Warn other guys 'bout stuff like this. Right Ted?" he added with a pointed glance at his cohort, who nodded emphatically.

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Vector gave both men a look.  It wasn't an angry look, just... trying to get them to stop and think.  "That's not how it works.  I can put in a good word for you, but you need to actually be here.  If you aren't, you're leaving the scene of a crime- you need to stay here at least until the police arrive.  I'll recommend they let you head home after giving essential details to them, plus your details, but again.  You need to be the ones to tell them this."

 

She looked at them both, waiting until they nodded in agreement.  "Okay.  Let's settle down and wait for them, then..."

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"Captain, closing in on Terminus energy signatures," the cat-eyed navigator says with a slight course shift. "Locations... the city of Sydney, in the continent of Australia."

"Very well," the captain acknowledges. "We shall make an entrance; perhaps a show of force can end this without incident. Gunners! Power the cannons for full broadside. Weapons hot."

Silvia advances to port as a row of glowing-red plasma cannons show a brilliant row of red along the side of the ship.

Moments later, a flying galleon bursts into view above the scene of the recent fight upon a trail of starlight, weapons trained on the humans below.

"PEOPLE OF EARTH!" She calls out below, the trained voice carrying far simply by speaking loudly, vice yelling. "We have detected signs of illegal alien technology in the vicinity. It is to be turned over forthwith for immediate extraction from the Sol system! Failure to comply will be dealt with harshly." At that, the red barrels glow brighter, letting off an audible hum, the rippling air from their heat visible from below.

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GM

 

Vector

 

"Yeah, we get it." said the sturdier of the pair, looking a little crestfallen, "I'm Charles Blake". His buddy was quiet except for a muttered "Edwin Docker", but nodded glumly. Obviously neither were feeling up to explaining how they and their pals had been so totally fooled by such a threadbare story.

 

The police were a little skeptical at first("Terminus weapons? Here? Look, if this is a joke..."), but instantly agreed to show up when they heard that the mysterious Vector was involved, the officer on the phone saying "You supers don't go in for bad cases! This'll have some meat on it for sure!" 

 

Getting the still woozy smuggler trussed up with packing rope, which the two men did with relish, had just been accomplished, when the glittering space galleon fell from the black clouds and swept into position above the battleground, the captain's challenge ringing out over the roaring wind and tossing waves that followed her arrival!

 

Blake glanced momentarily at the gun tossed onto the ground, but a second look at the ship told him what a futile gesture that would be, and he promptly sank to his knees, hands on his head, followed by Docker who whispered up at Vector "Uh...is this Cap'n Kraken?" "I don't think Kraken's a lady," Blake said thoughtfully "But whoever, they're all yours Vector!" he added with a thumbs-up and a weak smile. The half-conscious man who had bamboozled them wasn't in sound enough mind to be intimidated, and in a cracked and wavering voice shouted awkwardly up at the glorious vessel "C-c'm'n down if ya hard 'nuff!"

In all the commotion, the noise of distant sirens was pretty easily lost.

 

Stormbreaker

 

The communications officer suddenly raised a tendril, swiftly adjusting a receiver for radio waves "Incoming message, captain, coming from the habitation center."

~"whzzzkrsheeee-ou know I hate clams. Hey, is this the Ages Lost? If you can hear this, captain, this is the Sydney Police Department. Glad you showed up so soon."~

 

The voice sounded just a little more cautious than grateful.

 

~"We're getting reports that something's happening up in Freedom City, ASTRO Labs just sent out word that a burst of Terminus radiation was recorded on their science detectors. The FCPD has gotten calls about some kind of disturbance down at their shipping ports. Could be nothing, but...we'd be grateful if you'd check it out, and quite willing to discuss a suitable reward. If Vector's there Anyone can be Vector over the phone, Jerry, we could use some more supers on this too."~

 

From the aerial vantage point, it was easy to make out the flashing red-blue lights as the cruisers raced to take charge of the otherworldly cargo.

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"No, it's not a joke."

 

Vector sighed as she put the phone away.  "Alright, then, now-"

 

And then, pirates.  Or whatever.  This night.  Seriously, this night.

 

She raised her voice, yelling back.  "THE WEAPONS ARE EVIDENCE OF A CRIME!  I DON'T HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO TURN THEM OVER TO ANYONE, ESPECIALLY SOMEONE WHO I HAVE NO IDEA OF!"

 

Geez, she needed to figure out some way to call out over long distances.  Maybe later. 

 

"PLEASE IDENTIFY YOURSELF, AND ON WHOSE AUTHORITY YOU'RE ACTING ON!"

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The police on one end, some Earth hero on another, and some idiot with a gun he can't begin to comprehend on the third, all nagging for her attention. The demands on a captain are never-ending.

But for now, there is a challenger. That needs tending to first.

She looks down at the arrogant man, her open hand pointing vaguely in his general direction, and with a flick, the 'battle' is done. A swirling vortex of wind builds up under him, lifting him high into the air, just a few feet off the port side, dangling a hundred feet up with nothing to hold him but air.

"Before you get any unfortunate ideas about proving just how 'hard' you are, I recommend considering what physics might have to say about your situation should I find myself distracted. I trust I make myself clear?"

She doesn't wait for a response. If he's fool enough, he shall earn a fool's reward.

Next, to comms, to send a message back to the police. "Let them know that their message is received. Request exact coordinates and inform them that I shall be on my way as soon as this site is secured."

And finally, the hero down below. Silvia floats down to speak with Vector, leaving her new 'guest' suspended high above.

"By interstellar safety ordinance, for your own protection, technology so advanced and inherently dangerous cannot be allowed to remain on so primitive a planet. As such, I claim right of salvage, that these weapons may be properly processed and disposed of." For a significant fee for delivering the power cores, of course.

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Vector sighed.  "Look, no offence, but I can't just hand them over just on your say-so for any number of reasons- they're evidence of a crime, I don't know on what authority this ordinance is based, so on.  On the other hand, I don't think anyone in law enforcement wants this stuff to stay in Australia- but we'd prefer to find the source and shut it down, not just remove this shipment and then find out that there's more on the streets or wherever.  That said, if this operation's shut down entirely, we'll see."

 

She watched Silva carefully, looking for any signs that the... Captain... would try to push the issue.  "Anyway, I'm Vector.  It's a pleasure to meet you, Captain..."

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