The Heroic Epic of Porter and her Merconauts
The Tale of the Merconauts
Part I- The Paragons
Born and raised in MercTown, Kat's parents got the raw end of the deal in the changeover from the old New Paducah government. So they ended up in the Warrens. Her father was killed in a drive-by by the Greenskins when she was 11, and her mother was crippled at the same time. After that, Kat hit the streets, learning the 'game' and supporting herself, her mother and her kid brother Jason. She avoided most gang entanglements, out of personal malice toward them for ruining what was left of her childhood. The one part of MercTown she enjoys better than the Warrens is the Mystic Quarter. All the stuff there is so neat!
Kat Porter is starting to build herself a bit of a reputation in the Warrens as a girl who can find whatever needs finding, as long as you're not asking about slaves. She has managed to date to avoid entanglements with the Defenders, even on those occasions when she leaves her beloved Warrens to deliver packages to the Hub or Spokes. She banks heavily on her life-long citizen status to avoid suspicion, and only stepped outside the city gates twice in her life before becoming a mercenary, to smuggle long-arms into the city for the Black Market. One of those trips didn't turn out so well, and she ended up getting some rough treatment at the hands of Boss Dutcher. When she wouldn't give up her colleagues or the gun's location without getting her pay, Dutcher decided her loyalty might be useful in the future. He let her go. (That's his mistake, he just doesn't know it yet.)
Kat doesn’t much care about most people, and wouldn’t think twice of plugging anyone who crosses her, but on the street loyalty is a valuable commodity, so she will not betray those she regularly associates with unless betrayed first. Her primary loyalty is to her mother (who she has been saving to buy a cyber-spinal replacement for), her 14-year-old brother (who she wants to send to Headhunter Academy, to keep him out of her line of work), and a mere handful of friends she has had since she quit school (all of whom are also into the same business).
Chapter One: The Princess and the Warrens Trash
Then the criminal Kat met a giant named Iacchus, and the thought of becoming a real mercenary got in her head. Why not? Seems like every merc I've met is loaded.
Kat joined Paragon Acquisition Services as it formed, and did her part in securing information and goods from the Black Market. (Not to mention, the Black Market and half the Warrens got a good look at her hanging out with a giant who went on to join Heroes for Hire.) She even got her mom's spine fixed by a cyber-doc named Branimir Zhuko. Too bad the group's management changed, and the giant left. The drunk Sardonis doesn't strike the impression the giant did in the City Rat.
Rather, this is the kind of mercenary the girl got her first illegal money from. The drunks who pass out in alleyways often had such nice stuff to pawn. Sometimes she could even strip them without them waking up. Something about that as a boss turned the girl off, and Kat stayed behind as the group left, and made sure her mother got back on her feet properly.
Kat couldn't stop worrying about Bran, Pieter Dravos, Cries Tears of Blood, Beanpole, or even the drunk Sardonis. She felt a responsibility to join them, and the return of a recruit named Tanner with news that she needed to come with reinforcements.
The City Rat also felt a responsibility to Iacchus to track his gems down further. She caught up with Tommy, one of the men responsible for stealing the gems. While in the process of talking to him, she was made and he went for his weapon and ended up quite dead. It was only after that she found out he had a debt to the Greenskins, and they had his sister for collateral. Now, the Greenskins want Kat for the money Tommy supposedly owed them, and Kat's ready to leave town for a minute. Only the paid-off bartender and the well-tipped bouncer managed to get her safely out of the Firewaters Bar.
Deciding to heed the call for reinforcements, Kat tried twice to contact Izon at the Collegiate Arcane, and then was approached by two mages and a cowboy who knew her by name. Along with the girl picked up at the gate, that seemed 'reinforcy' enough for Kat.
She arrives in Lazlo to meet up with the group just in time to see the drunk get himself thrown in jail. The assembled select Pieter Dravnos to lead and Kat takes her role as second in command. After losing a few more allies, and gaining back Dakota, the group prepared to depart Lazlo for the northern reaches.
Encountering a Coalition patrol in the process of slaughtering D-Bees, the group sprung into action. Unfortunately only a single person was saved from the slaughter.
Not long after that, the group successfully rescued the princess, but Magnus, the evil Diabolist, managed to escape through a rift. Flush with their success the group makes its way back to MercTown.
Chapter 2: Greenskin Bop
On return from the North, Kat made the somewhat rash decision to sell several valuable items at the Hub Swap Meet, where after placing some calls, the bidding on a Power Armor reached 25 million Universal credits before all hell broke loose- someone coordinated the Greenskins and the Mephisto's Horsemen to cause problems while their high tech bandits made a move to claim the armor. Kat took the best bid left standing, while Alexandrea flexed her considerable mental powers defending the team. The Coalition was the winning bid and they helped a little as well.
A week later and Kat was ambushed by some Greenskins and rendered unconscious. She wasn't coherent for some time. Meanwhile the rest of the group found out Kat's mother had been kidnapped by the Greenskins, who expected ransom- outrageous ransom. The group teamed up with the Red Terror and took the fight to the Greenskins. During this time, Kat was 'invited' to join the local Black Market in exchange for 20% of her take from the Swap Meet debacle. (Invited being a polite term for being threatened with her brother's continuing safety.)
They discovered Deevil backing to the Greenskins new aggressiveness and the group converged on a warehouse as Kat returned to the fight. Even the Defenders helped a little. Unfortunately the Deevils managed to escape, kidnapping Kat's mother and several other residents of MercTown in the process.
Chapter 3: In the Desert
The group quickly determines to follow the Deevils, and are offered a small reward by the MercTown Defenders. Kat quickly put her affairs in order, ensuring her brother's survival by leaving Ted Dutcher his percentage of her earnings, payable after six months.
Quickly things on the desert planet Inculta went a little sideways. It appeared demons and deevils were having a battle royale over a fragment of a pulsar star, or something of that sort. Teaming up with local Eandroth tribals unhappy with the otherworldly invaders, the Paragon team managed to steal the fragment & free a whole load of slaves (including Mother Porter) and return to Earth victorious.
Kat was initially happy, but losing her close ally Alexandrea, followed by the realization nobody else wanted to even consider selling the Star Heart got our erstwhile champion of capitalism very heated. She left her resignation stuck to Pieter's hotel door, affixed with a sharp knife, after splitting the company's payout from the Defenders as she saw fit.
Part II- A New Day: Templar
Chapter 4: In the Woods
Kat spent some time in MercTown, twiddling her thumbs and considering revenge against her erstwhile colleagues. That Star Heart surely would have set them all for life. Nice penthouses, and owning the buildings underneath. Oh, and Kat could have done in Dutcher. But no, Kat understands majority rule, and if Pete's so damned keen on keeping it for P.A.S., may Zeus strike them down, cause Kat doesn't have the stomach for it (they were her friends, after all), nor the firepower.
Instead, Kat paid her obligations to Dutcher like a good soldier, and joined up with another established group as a Acquisition Specialist. The Templar, having just lost their sponsors, were happy to take on anyone who could help keep them afloat. The Templar aren't all that used to being mercenaries, you see. They did good deeds, and the Warrior's Temple kept them comfortable. That all ended shortly before Kat arrived. So, unsurprisingly the first mission was a good deed, although it was one that did pay, somewhat. A boy brought word of his village, not far from here, paying a bounty for killing some demons. Kat lent the boy a firearm for his return trip, as he hadn't been provided one by his village. The Templar found another group after the same bounty. They agreed to team up, sort of. The Templar then stumbled across the remains of the boy from earlier, and a Mutant Bear fighting some demonically strong wolves. Kat tried on 'Weapons Technician' as a job hat, but it didn't really stick. Through only marginal assistance from Kat, the group manages to survive both the demons and the traitorous Quebecois mercenaries.
Disappointed with her performance, Kat kind of wanders off after patching herself up. The next six months, Kat scrapes by as a laborer and hired gun for local farms, spending all she earned during this time making appropriate offerings to the twelve gods.
Catalog of the Merconauts
Paragon Acquisition Services
Sir Sardonis Lamir- Drunk Human Cyberknight and former leader, banished to alien dimension in Lazlo (Alumni of Badgerbold's Cartographers)
Beanpole– Glitter Boy Pilot, retired without leave en route to Lazlo after skirmish with Corrupted. (Later Joined AA Protection Services)
Blake Mertylson- Human Burster, retired without leave before leaving MercTown due to conflicts with Sardonis.
Tanner- Human Mercenary, retired with leave en route to Lazlo under condition of passing message to Kat Porter.
Dr. Branimir Zhuko- Polzinik Cyberdoc, missing after fleeing skirmish with Corrupted.
Iacchus Nikeophorus- Titan Magus and former leader. disappeared at the Quiet Warrior Inn in MercTown. (Later joined Heroes for Hire, helped found group)
Alexander- Titan Juicer, killed during a bounty hunt in the MercTown National Park & Botanical Gardens in MercTown. (impetus for group forming-not officially a member but was admitted to the group before he made an ass of himself and was banned by TGM)
Dreakon Vanes/'Drake' – Operator, retired with leave in Lazlo.
Sicahowa Istamnihapi We/Cries Tears of Blood – Fetish Shaman, retired with leave in Lazlo.
Gryx/El Poqueno – Goblin Crazy (M.O.M.), deserted in Lazlo after being sneezed on by a camel.
Dakota/Allith- Dakotan Pure One, retired after Iacchus disappeared, reappeared after Sardonis departed.
Pieter Dravnos – Techno-Wizard
Katherine Porter – 'Adventurer'
Kyle Edwards – Shifter, retired with leave after the first mission
Thoar Darksbane – Asgardian High Elf Ley Line Walker
Marion Hayha – Rogue Scholar, retired with leave in Lazlo
Alexandria Westing/'Alex' – Phlebus Mind Melter
Dr. Coleson Daniels 'Cole' - Human Rogue Scientist
Rudderick- Dwarf Full Conversion Cyborg, KIA during Greenskin Bop
Magellan Piangi- Mutant Wilderness Scout, MIA during Greenskin Bop
Ezekiel- Auto-G Paratrooper, left to infiltrate Greenskins
Samantha Beckett- Human A.T.A.C. pilot
Sun Yi- Human Chun Tzu
Rocky Rhodes- Psi-Ghost, former leader of the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
(Kat's record ends when she left)
(Kat's record begins when she joined)
Galan Sharpe- Human, Ex-Coalition; went AWOL from Templar before Kat's first mission
Marcus Hawk- Mutant Human Body Fixer
Sifnos- Octurill Operator
Jason Long- Human A.T.A.C. pilot, Group Leader of The Templar
Sakura Asuna Masamori; 'Asuka'- Human Mystic Ninja
Katherine Porter- Human 'Adventurer', joined immediately prior to Entering the Wolves' Den.
Max the Bear-CS Ursa Warrior; came to aid of group while searching for honey during Entering the Wolves' Den.
Kilo- Ogre Titan Juicer
(Kat's record ends when she left.)
Catalogue of Foes
Tommy the Gem Thief- Killed by Kat Porter in Firewaters in MercTown.
Tentacled Bum- Captured by P.A.S. outside of MercTown.
Corrupt- Defeated by P.A.S. in a skirmish en route to Lazlo.
Coalition Skelebots- Destroyed en route to Magnus' lair.
Coalition Glitter Boy Killer- Destroyed en route to Magnus' lair.
Lots of Greenskins- Killed by P.A.S. with the assistance of the Red Terror and the MercTown Defenders
Giant Worm- Killed on Inculta by P.A.S. and the Eandroth
Demons at the Oasis- Killed on Inculta by P.A.S. and the Eandroth
Demons and Wolf-demon things- Killed by Templar near MercTown
French Mercenary Jerks- Killed by Templar near MercTown
Mephisto's Horseman- Killed by Kat Feb 10, 111 PA
Magnus - Diabolist, foiled kidnapper, escaped through a rift.
Dex- Ogre Greenskin gang member. Threatened Kat's life in Firewaters in MercTown. May or may not have been killed by other PCs in an unrelated Greenskin-killing adventure.
Gur- Orc Greenskin gang member. Threatened Kat's life in Firewaters in MercTown
Deevils who infiltrated the Greenskins
Leader of the French Mercenary Jerks
Catalog of Allies & Associates
Creepy Larry- Drug Dealer, hired rat and spy for Kat Porter in MercTown
Bouncer at Firewaters- Well tipped, beat up Dex in Firewaters in MercTown
Joshua & Family- Orphan child, escorted to grandparents home in Lazlo
'Glowing Band' TW Gang- Based in Lazlo, Kat has purchased gems and helped identify Lazlo undercover police infiltration.
Geb- Alien pilot hired to drive APC in Lazlo.
Dez- Tattooed Woman, defected from Magnus.
Emperor Pongor Pal- Lord of another dimension, first client. Rescued daughter from Magnus.
Elizabeth Porter (maiden name Preston)- Kat's mother
Jason Porter- Kat's brother
Hatsheput- Leader of a tribe of Eandroth
Eandroth- Natives of Inculta at war with both demons and deevils.
The farmers around the area outside MercTown the Templar saved.
The Hellenes of Porter
The Twelve Olympians of Kat Porter
, as the King of the Olympians, God of Thunder & Lightning
(Offerings: Bulls, Oak Branches. Invocations: Calls for strength)
, as Goddess of the Harvest
(Offerings: Wheat, Pomegranate, Blood offerings)
, as the Hero God and Patron of Adventurers
(Offerings: Lions, Boars, and Apples)
, as the Titaness of Magic and Crossroads and Patron of Spellweavers
(Offerings: Dogs, Nightshade, Poppy, Garlic, Yew Branches. Invocations: Magical aid, crossroads.)
, as the War God
(Offerings: Puppies, Frankincense, Weaponry. Invocations: Force of Arms)
, as the Goddess of Passion
(Offerings: Apples, Pearls, Limes. Invocations: Seduction)
, as the Lord of Tartarus
(Offerings: Black Sheep & other Black Animals. Invocations: Intent to Kill)
, as the Goddess of Wisdom
(Offerings: Olive products (branches, olives, olive oil), Owl feathers. Invocations: Calls for Wisdom, Strategy)
, as the Sun God and Patron of Vampire Hunters
(Offering: A horse-drawn chariot, charged over a cliff. Invocations: Killing creatures of darkness)
, as the Goddess of Victory
(Offerings: Wreath of Bay Leaves, Shoes & Other Goods that carried her Name or Image. Invocations: Calls for victory)
, as the Mechanic God
(Offerings: Crafted Goods. Invocation: Acts of Artisanship (Tinkering))
, as God of Commerce and Border Crossings and Patron of Messengers, Thieves, and Athletes
(Offerings: honey, cakes, pigs, goats, and lambs. Invocations: Criminal Acts, Calls for Wealth)
Other Hellenic Deities
Posiedon, as God of the Seas (Doesn't factor into Kat's equation, she's hundreds of miles from the ocean. She'll make sure to dedicate a shrine to him before any sea voyage.)
Hera, as the 'Traitor to Women' (Demonized by Kat, who is a female adherent to Zeus.)
Artemis, as Goddess of the Hunt (not central to a metropolitan understanding of the Greeks(Hellene))
Apollo, as the Silver-Bowed Slayer of Achilles (Kat isn't a fan.)
Charun, as the Boatman of the River Styx, Guide to Tartarus
Dionysus (or Bacchus), as the god of the party, patron of the wasted
Deities not of Hellenic Origin
Thor- Thunder God, introduced to Kat by Thoar.
'Spirits'- Various nature spirits, introduced to Kat by Dakota/Alith
A ripped out magazine article Kat keeps with her.
Another Random Note in Kat's Pocket
Ravenshome Thieves' Guild wrote:Tragedy in the Hub
Twenty-one innocent civilians killed, yes twenty-one innocent civilians were killed by a missile meant for the mercenary team known as the Paragon Acquisition Specialists (“PAS”). First, the fifteen names of the known innocent victims who were citizens of Merctown:
1. Shanae Madon – Single mother of four children, who are now all orphans.
2. Annamaria Huyler – Newly married and mother of a 6 month old girl, survived by her husband of 1 year and daughter.
3. Stan Botcher – Single father of three children, who are now all orphans.
4. Aurore Kimoto – sixteen year old orphan girl who dreamed of being a merc.
5. Antoine Dechico – a retired merc who was selling a few of his old treasures, survived by his wife of 45 years.
6, 7 & 8. Sheridan, Nicki & Marie Dickhaus – Mother and two daughters, survived by a father/husband who was last seen leaving Merctown swearing he will have vengeance against PAS.
9. Providencia Marder – Wife survived by her husband of 10 years.
10 & 11. Yulanda & Vincent View – Mother and Father of two, who are now orphans.
12. Aide Smithj – 13 year old student.
13. Alita Harmann – 19 year old who was about to begin training at the headhunter academy.
14. Argelia Shiverdecker – Single mother of three.
15. Cheree Bodi – Mercenary
The six other victims are as yet unidentified.
How did these poor innocent people end up victims to a missile meant for the Mercenary Team, PAS? Let me start from the beginning. PAS was returning from a mission up north with a very rare suit of armor constructed in a serpent style. This armor was built by the Splugorth minions know as the Kittani. Several dealers in rare tech have informed me that this type of armor, if sold to the right government/company/individual, could go for as much as one hundred million credits. If sold in a properly notified auction it could easily sell for fifty million credits and if sold quickly it would still sell for twenty-five million credits.
Now you ask why was an item, with that high a market value, up for sale at the Merctown Swap Meet? Well Pieter Dravnos, team leader of PAS, allowed his second in command, Kat Porter (lifelong citizen of Merctown) to put this eight figure worth of tech up for sale at the Merctown Swap Meet, in the Hub. As the buyers and sellers in the Swap Meet know, it is a huge deal if a damaged Sampson suit of power armor is put up for sale there. So as soon as the Kittani armor was put up for sale it instantly started to attract a crowd.
You ask what kind of security precautions were put in place for the sale of such a valuable piece of tech in the open air Swap Meet? Stated simply, absolutely none! Did Dravnos and Porter even inquire into security precautions for such a high profile sale in an area where it was obvious that no regular customer could afford this kind of tech? Again, the answer is no they didn’t.
This reporter interviewed several security specialists regarding this sale and each one stated that they would not take the job to secure such a sale in the Swap Meet. Each one said it was too dangerous and that such a sale should be conducted in a private secure location. Furthermore, they claimed that the risk to innocent bystanders was too great to have such a sale in such a location.
As most of Merctown knows, a group of criminals made a grab for the valuable tech. It was reported that Naruni and Titan representatives were whisked away by their security teams when the attack commenced. On a side note, no representative from Northern Gun appeared at the Swap meet. I interviewed a PR person at Northern Gun and found out that no one attended because they thought it was a hoax that someone would be selling such a suit at the Swap Meet.
The PAS and apparently a group of Coalition agents fought side by side to protect the valuable suit of armor. As the teams protected themselves and the armor with force fields, they watched the death of the above noted civilians as the missile detonated mere yards from their position. What would it have taken to set up a field to protect the civilians too? Obviously, I don’t expect anything from the Coalition agents, but the “Paragons” could have done something to protect the civilians from the PAS’ folly. PAS also allowed the Coalition agents to smuggle out of town one, if not two, of the criminals that perpetrated this vicious assault on Merctown, but for that they will have to answer to the Defenders.
Next, what did these “Paragons” do after so many civilians were killed and injured by the attack on PAS? Did they assist with the injured or dead? No they didn’t, instead they went shopping! Yes, I’ll say it again, they went shopping! What kind of miscreants create a situation that causes the deaths of twenty-one people and then ignore it and go shopping? Enough said.
PAS should, at a minimum, pay compensation to the families of the victims. For the unknown victims this reporter recommends that PAS create and fund an orphanage here in town, but not in the Warrens. If Dravnos refuses to perform these simple and necessary steps, this reporter recommends that the city renounces the citizenship of Ms. Porter and that all merchants in town start charging any member of the Paragon Acquisition Specialists at least double for any purchases they wish to make in the city. The PAS must pay for their folly!
Byline: Anonymous Reporter
Nicodemus Preston wrote:
(The penmanship on the letter is neat and precise; each individual letter of the alphabet exactly the same as its identical counterparts. There is almost a machine-like quality in regards to the writing, down to the "typewriter a's".)
To Which Member of the Porter Family Is Holding This,
Greetings. My name is Nicholas Pressman, and I am a would-be writer. My planned work is a collection of old stories and legends concerning various families in MercTown, and your name has come up in my research. I am hoping to meet with you at some point in order to discuss any old family tales or legends you would be willing to share with me. If you would be so kind as to oblige me request, please leave a message with Fixer, and he will deliver the note to me.
I thank you in advance for your time.
(The letter is unsigned.)