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An Assassin in Agra Fort

[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] attn: @anyone interested in joining ((officially an open thread))

Garbed in a sleek black jama with matching black pyjamas underneath, with a gold and black pataka slung over his shoulder, not yet having taken the time to wrap it around his waist as was the style of the Mughal era, Cross finished the process of strapping and tucking hidden gold hilted kards around his legs and arms, now completing his outfit with the ornamental golden khanjar that would remain sheathed while in the Sultan’s presence. For this particular holoprogram, Cross had opted for natural facial hair growth to match the Mughal trends, the excitement for this new collaborative holoprogram motivating him to move past the intial itchy stage of hair growth.

Taking one last look at himself in the anteroom of the holoarch that would take him into Agra Fort where the games would begin, Cross gave a grunt of self-approval. He looked the part of Sultan’s personal guard. But, given that this was to be a game of cat and mouse, he did not look so glaringly obvious so as to give himself away prematurely to his competitor already at play within the holoprogram. When he’d first learned of the new type of holoprogram, where players entered the prescribed setting at different intervals, working independently to achieve their prescribed character's objectives, all the while not knowing who the other player was, Cross had immediately checked his schedule for a time he could take part. The matching of players was handled by the computer, with a date and time being sent separately to ensure anonymity. All Cross knew at this point in time was that his competitor was already within the holoprogram. He was uncertain about what part they were playing and what their objective was. For himself, Cross knew that at 2 am, approximately three hours from this point, an assassin would make an attempt on the Romulan sultan. His job was to make sure the assassin was unsuccessful in their attempt, potentially intercepting them earlier in the program and earning more points in the process. The danger, intrigue, and mystery worked together to fuel his natural competitive streak and as he reached out to press the button for entrance, Cross felt another warming thrill hum through his body.

The scent of heavily spiced food, wine, and incense wrapped around his senses upon entering the program. The lavishly decorated corridor lit by torchlight, bordered by ornate pillars, seemed to be alive on its own, the fog of humidity and smoke undulating in the low light, beckoning Cross to venture further into the adventure. He could hear the partygoers of the Sultan’s festival in the adjoining room. An approaching group of dignitaries, clad in rare and exotic silks encrusted with jewels and bells, proved to be the perfect cover for his late arrival. Inserting himself among the rest, Cross entered the large feasting room, immediately spying the Sultan seated at the far end, his son, the crown prince, on one side, and his favorite concubine on his other. Seated on lush pillows surrounding him was the rest of his household, his various wives and children, though only the favored ones, all perched as beautiful Romulan statues, ever waiting for an indication from the Sultan on what action to take next. Along the massive room filled to the brim with drunken revelry, Cross could see soldiers coyly hidden in the shadows, tucked just out of sight. Musicians made their best effort to compete with the din of conversation and laughter, seated on the balcony overhead the Sultan.

Cross smiled to himself. Clasping his hands loosely behind his back, he began the delicate and delightful process of moving through the room, observing and detailing potential clues to stop the assassin before they could even get started. Let the games begin!

Re: An Assassin in Agra Fort

Reply #1
Ens. Sarah Bjørge | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08| Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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This game had been going on for nearly an hour, and even yet, she still couldn't figure out when the second player had entered the game. Swirling about the room with the Sultan's other harem girls in a dance coordinated specifically for his viewing pleasure, Sarah did her level best to not slip and fall on the beautifully embroidered Lehenga she had been given for her part in this holoprogram. Its rich, swirling fabrics and bright pinks and reds suited her well she thought, but it was definitely made for someone much taller. The other girls varied in species and color, so it was, thankfully, impossible to tell which harem girl stood out from the rest, but as for that matter, the entirety of the game was incredibly diverse. As she swirled around and stopped next to a short-haired Andorian girl, she supposed it was for the exact reason to throw off the other player from figuring out who was who. If all the holograms were Romulan, then it'd be too easy to pick out who the other player was. Smart. She would have to give a good review.

The dance ended with a disparaging loud thum of the drums in three slow beats. Their hands were raised upwards in unison for the finishing pose, and only did they stop when the Sultan waved them away with a smirk as he leaned luxuriously against his throne of pillows and layered tapestries. Thank the winds above, she was already exhausted and ready to take a breather. How did this game expect her to flawlessly execute an assassination if she was sweaty and tired just in the first hour? There was time to recoup, but she definitely would not be going for a physical altercation route. No, she would need a way to sneak it so that she could win this game without having to fight. Safeties on or not, she was a nurse, not a combat medic.

Tagging along with the other girls, she grabbed refreshments from the gorgeously decorated buffet table- fitted with every possible food and drink one could imagine from the minds of a palace chef. As she deeply drank from a golden goblet filled with some sort of sweet yogurt drink, she gave some more thought to her choices of cover. It would be in her favor to blend in as much as possible, so staying within the group of harem girls, or as close to the Sultan as possible would be her ploy to not look like an outlier. The other player was likely looking for someone sneaky, someone suspicious. Who was likely to kill a Sultan? A political ally or perhaps even one of his sons in order to ascend. A look at the Princes and their mothers who sat nearby the Sultan himself, all absorbed in the displays before them set an easy scene to take advantage of. So caught up in the acrobatics of the troupe who had followed them up, he probably wouldn't even look up if he was handed something to eat or drink..and would likely just..eat or drink it. A marvelously devilish idea sprung into her mind- but it would involve a trip to the kitchens without being noticed. How would she sneak off without being noticed? Looking down at her scant bit of silk and sheer coverings, she was bright, colorful, and jingled when she walked. She was a walking advertisement.

Well, she supposed that was wherein the fun lied.

The group of women began to disperse, some finding their way back to the lofty piles of pillows and sheer curtains of their canopies, while some others began to peck at the food and others socialized with the newly arrived dignitaries in attendance. She would need to make a move quickly to not seem out of place. Setting down her cup on the table, she began piling a small plate with fruit and sweet, sugared fried bread, intent to carry them over to the Sultan. If she simply made it look like this was her job, and she had been doing this all night..when the time finally came for her to kill him, it would not look quite so..auspicious.. than if she had just done so randomly and the Sultan suddenly dropped dead.

Yes, yes this was a good plan.

Once the plate was filled, she weaved through the crowd of visiting officials, guests, guards, and other general staff to get to the Sultan, intentionally coming from the side so that he could see her bend down onto her knees and hold the plate upwards as an offering to take a step forward onto the velveteen purple spreads. Not just anyone was allowed to directly approach the Sultan after all, but in this game, she was considered an 'up and coming favorite, due to replace the current.' There was a chance if she acted the part correctly- the Sultan might indulge her.
Ensign Sarah Bjørge, Nurse

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Re: An Assassin in Agra Fort

Reply #2
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @anyone interested (officially an open thread)

Soon after joining the party, Cross had crisscrossed his way closer to his lord, taking note of anyone who seemed out of place. There was no point in noting anyone who kept a steady gaze on the sultan, for that was nearly everyone in attendance. So many were here by his leave, so many were here wanting to garner favor with him. It was sickening to Cross that this had been a reality of sorts once upon a time and that this alternate reality featured this type of culture with such alacrity. His arms crossed over his chest, Cross continued his silent observation from the shadows nearest the sultan's chair. He had seen the newest courtesan as she'd approached, a platter filled with the delicacies of the party balanced in hand. A brief squint of surprise flickering across the Romulan’s face in response to her approach was all it took to goad Cross into action.

Surging forward, Cross grabbed hold of the courtesan’s wrist. The clatter of the fallen plate was barely heard over the drone of the music, and so too were the gasps of the favored wives as food spilled across the plush purple pillows the courtesan had been kneeling on. Cross yanked his arm back, pulling the courtesan’s torso directly against his. As she fell into him, his other hand—the prosthetic now disguised with flesh—grabbed fistfuls of garment over supple flesh near her waist. Cross became fully aware of the allure of her beauty the moment his gaze met hers. He'd already enjoyed the mixed thrill of having such a soft beauty vulnerable in his arms and the potential danger that she could be the assassin, but to have locked eyes like that had Cross' fingers flexing against her skin, his head lowering instinctively as if to claim what his mind began to scream was his to claim.

“My head guard acts too quickly,” the sultan's deep voice purred, breaking the moment of silence that had fallen over Cross’ senses as he’d held the courtesan’s warm curves against his hardened muscles, “he will fetch me a new platter and feed us both. My newest courtesan will sit by my feet.”

With a flick of his hand, the sultan’s order had Cross letting go of the courtesan and stepping back. Not waiting to see how she responded to the sultan's order, he pivoted on his heel and left without a word, also not bothering to pick up the forgotten platter or clear away the fallen food. There were other servants for that. He would act as the loyal dog for now and fetch another plate of food. At least if it was Cross feeding the sultan, he could be certain that it wasn’t poisoned.

Re: An Assassin in Agra Fort

Reply #3
 Ens. Sashenka Kreshkova | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08| Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz  @anyone

Sash had been sent a cryptic message that she was to arrive at holodeck 2 at an appointed time.  Her costume and assignment would be given to her when she arrived.  All five foot of her strode down the corridor where she would find holodeck 2.   Looking left and right before she entered to see if anyone else was coming, no one was in sight.  She tossed her green bangs out of her face and headed stepped up to the doors which opened for her.  The program had created an antechamber.  She received her instructions.  Her assignment was to take out the Sultan without getting caught.  “Zhat vizhout getting caught part iz vhere zhe problem lies.  Killing someone vould be easy, but zhis vill require finesse like a pilot zhreading zhe needle, and zhat I can do.”

After looking over the rest of the instructions, the character she would be playing - the Sultan’s oldest daughter - and the layout of the holoprogram, the anteroom provided her with an appropriate costume.  It was a harem style seafoam green dress, the opaque bikini style bodice was adorned with dangling gold disks which made plenty of jingling noises as she moved to put it on.  The lower part of the outfit sat snugly on her hips.  This was made of four overlapping triangles of opaque fabric covered with longer see-through silks of the same color.  The edges of the triangles were again edged with the same types of hanging gold disks.   The same types of disks created an ornate covering for her head from which the same shade of opaque scarf fabric created long trails from the sides and back of her head with a shorter veil that only allowed her eyes to be seen.  She took some time to outline her eyes with a dark eyeliner to help them stand out since that’s all of her that would be seen.  Her outfit was completed with a pair of stiff silk shoes for her feet and castinets for her fingers.

When she was finally appropriately attired, another door slid open into the program and she slipped into the next part of the program.  The first thing that hit her nostrils was the aromas that permeated the air and added to the ambiance in the torchlit hallway.  The light and shadows danced across the stone walls.  The hallway opened up into a large stone paved room.  The edges of the room were filled with tables laden with pungent smelling foods and sweet smelling drinks. 

Knowing what would be coming shortly, she made her way to one of the tables with drinks.  She looked around and made the choice of a smoking burgundy liquid.  Flames licked at the bottom of the container applying constant heat to the concoction.  She slipped a small cup under her veil and took a sip.  It was shockingly - despite the smoke and flames - not hot, but it almost had a cooling effect.  She drank deeply of the liquid and set the silver cup inlaid with jade on one of the trays for used eating accoutrements.

After setting that aside, she turned, and with confidence and long, smooth strides into the middle of the open floor and stood facing her ‘father’ the Sultan.  He gave two claps and those in the center of the room parted.  Another two claps and the musicians placed off to the side behind a row of pillars began a baleful tune.  ‘Very appropriate,’ Sash thought.  All eyes were on her.  The body moved in time with the music.  As she did the silks moved and floated gracefully in the air as her short, but slique limbs rolled and swayed with the tune.  The castinetes which she wore on her thumb and forefinger tinkled with emphasis as her body made certain moves.  Arms extended one way while one foot stretched out the other way rolling her leg high up in the air before circling back down to the ground.  With each beat her small form twisted, turned, rolled in time with the doleful music.  Forward and back, in and out, up and down.  And the melodic minor keys cressendoed until with a loud series of crashes on the drum brought the music to an end.

A several second silence was followed closely by a raucous surge of clapping.  Sash crossed her legs and folded herself in half with her arms outstretched.  The sultan motioned for room to be made one person away on the other side of his favored wife - her mother.  The young woman nodded and turned to make her way to the dias.
Lieutenant Reika Sh’laan, Assistant Chief of Operations (V3) [Show/Hide]
Ensign Sashenka Kreshkova, Unassigned Wolf Trainee [Show/Hide]

Re: An Assassin in Agra Fort

Reply #4
[Lieutenant JG XamotZark zh’Ptrell | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08| Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] @Ellen Fitz @Dree

The ethereal blue beauty walked in, eyes twinkling, and the translucent veil that covered her mouth barely did much to prevent anyone from seeing the grin that was plastered onto her face.  If she had actually lived in such a setting and been a member of the domestic staff, she might have felt differently.  At the moment though, Zark was 'playing' a domestic, and it was just that, so she could gawk at the rich imagination that had come up with the simulation. Not that she really did gawk since that would have been out of character. She carried the tray of finger foods and rose tea around, she gracefully bent down next to a cushioned onlooker as they watched the cute green haired woman dance to the beat. The hair was an immediate give away that she was another participant, much like her blue skin and antenna were.  It was all part of the fun, part of the act, and she revelled in it.  A programmed courtier cast an appreciative gaze over the female figure in front of him that brought some finger foods.  What wasn't to appreciate though, and privatley, the outfit thrilled Zark.  It was meant to show her off, and she like it.  Everything from the golden bra and panties, to the sheer skirt, veil and head dress; it screamed a superficial attempt to cover up someone without really trying.

She was nothing more than mere furniture in this play and it gave her a chance to watch the crowd. Passing behind several others, blue hands gently waved a fan at the food and someone would turn and raise a hand to signal they wanted something.  Some times, it took a little longer to get their request right, but that was becuase the woman in the middle was doing a very good job of distracting everyone, and Zark had to admit, to herself, doing an amazing job of making herself the centre of attention.

Blue green eyes looked around once more and someone on one of the guests stood out and she slowed her pace as she stared at the man for a moment, then her grin got wider and pulled to display a couple of teeth. "Well, well, well Mr. Cross, that are you doing here? I sense mischief about with our intrepid Commander and the girl who's hair stands out."  She whispered to herself as she made her way around. When she got to him, Zark smiled brilliantly and bent over so he could take full advantage of viewing her figure. The Andorian demurely turned her attention back to quietly laying out tea and food.  The wife gazed over in her direction and motioned for the servant to come over and Zark got onto her feet and practiaclly glided her way over as the woman with green hair was summoned over and shown where to sit.  Maybe the Sultan wanted the pleasure of her company, maybe he wanted to spite his wife by having the attractive dancer near him. Only the various lines of code running the program knew what was going on.  Zark quickly and gracefully knelt in front of the wife on the steps below the dias and poured the rose tea before placing several food items on a plate for the wife to eat.

She stopped what she was doing when horns suddenly blared out a greeting march and the grand doors opened letting in a white and green clothed chamberlain. "Your royal highness, Ambassador Quarim, Lord of the Horse, High Holder of the Sacred Chalice, Commander of the Palm Order...."  Zark was prepared to go cross eyed as the number of titles the new visitor had went on for a solid three minutes before it ended with "... from the Emirate of Qumran seeks and audience to pay homage and tribute to your Greatness."

The Sultan nodded and waved the visitor and his party in.  Another triumphal march began and the Andorian's eyes lit up in utter amusement as a tall burly bearded man wearing gaily coloured pantaloons, vest, ornate turban, and a comically large sword walked in.

[Lieutenant Commander Frank Arnold ]

He'd stopped fidgeting as soon as the door opened and his face was stern as he walked in. He'd been more nervous when he'd learned of the absurd number of titles his character had, and how much responsibility it was supposed to entail.  Still, it was all on the holodeck and just for fun, so he had a confident strut as he approached and his eyes twinkle as he saw the blue skinned hellion kneeling next to the wife in a manner more subservient than he though she was capable of, but dressed as expected in next to nothing that left damn little to the imagination.

Stopping at a pre-arranged spot, the music ceased and he and bowed deeply. "Your highness.." Frank's deep voice intoned. "Thank you for allowing me to grace your presence.
I have come from very far on behalf of my Emir to offer you these humble gifts as a token of your esteem."
  Frank stepped aside and indicated towards the door as music took on a calmer tone to accompany the various servents bringing in trays of fruits, delicacies, wines, art, a pair of black stallions, and even a jaguar. The Sultan nodded in gratitude and invited Frank to sit next to him, incidentally bumping the dancer from her spot. "Come sit, and enjoy the show.  Fetch this man drink and food so he may enjoy the show."  As Frank moved to sit himself on the lavish cushions, he nodded to the dancer and gave her a friendly grin before turning his attention back to th Sultan. "We just had a wonderful demonstration from the girl of a most entertaining dance." The Sultan then looked at Ensign Kreshkova.  "We must have another performance, perhaps something with more life in it." He told her in a politely toned order.

 

Re: An Assassin in Agra Fort

Reply #5
Ens. Sashenka Kreshkova | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08| Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz  @RyeTanker @Dumedion  @anyone

Sasch sat between her ‘parents’ on a square cushion behind a low table.  A servant brought her a large chalice filled with a smoking burgundy liquid.  Because it was smoking, she thought that it would warm her, but it was an incredibly refreshing drink.  ‘Maybe it works on a similar principle as dry ice - without being dangerous to ingest,’ she thought.  She watched the vapors as they ascended and dissipated into nothingness.  The way the steam gamboled around was almost hypnotizing. 

Her father clapped once again, and servants scrambled out of many different entrances with platters of food.  The royal family was served first.  Her ‘father’ then her ‘mother’ then the woman who Sasch guessed was the second wife.  But only seconds later, a large plate of sumptuous meats, cheeses, nuts, fruits, and cooked vegetables was set in front of her.  The smells were tantalizing.  How the holodeck was able to make all of the different elements not only look and feel real, but smell and taste real as well still boggled the Wolf’s mind. 

She indulged in the meal, despite the fact that she knew it wasn’t real.  Like everyone else, she used her fingers whether she was eating the meats, cheeses or cooked vegetables.  The flavors and sumptuous juice of the means or fruits burst into her mouth and filled it with textures and flavors and spices and scents.  When she dropped, a small reddish potato into her mouth the juice from the sauce that covered it, dripped down her fingers.  

She quickly grabbed her napkin and wiped away the liquid.  But after she cleaned away the mess, her eyes swept across the room and alighted on a scantily-clad buxom Andorian.  She quirked her head as she tried to decide if she had seen her on the Theurgy in passing.  The Zhen looked slightly familiar, but she couldn’t quite place her.  ‘Besides,’ she told herself, ‘I have to figure out to she had to kill my father in a way that would go unnoticed.’ 

This time she returned to the refreshing drink while her eyes flitted here and there across the room for something or someone she might be able to use in her quest. 

It was then that a pompous, burly man strutted in with an entourage of people and even creatures.  It was the stallions that especially caught her attention.  They were such majestic creatures and high stepped into the room in sync.  It was all that Sasch could do to keep her seat instead of heading down to pet the steeds.

But as she popped another piece of cheese into her mouth, the man announced, “Thank you for allowing me to grace your presence. I have come from very far on behalf of my Emir to offer these humble gifts as a token of your esteem.

To which her father replied, “Come.  Sit and enjoy the show….We just had a wonderful demonstration from the girl of a most entertaining dance.  We must have another performance.  Perhaps something with more life in it.” 

Sasch wanted to stick her tongue out at her ‘father.’  ‘I know, so mature,’ she thought.  With a sigh, she extricated herself from her seat as the man-bearing gifts ousted her from her seat.  At least she had already eaten, but she took her cup and a few apple slices with her and made a face at both men behind their backs as she walked away. 

But as she did, a thought struck her.  She was just a character in this program.  ‘Maybe my character would know about horses and how to work with them and dance with them.'   She tossed back the rest of her drink and deposited it on a tray for that purpose.  Sasch jogged over to one of the horses.  She approached it slowly.  The horse pawed at the ground and shook its mane.  With hand extended and holding one of the apple slices in her fingers, she inched her way closer and closer.  The horse lowered its nose to smell the apple slide.  Sasch offered it to him.  He took it and chomped on it.  Sasch fed him three more slices before she tried to pet him.  He did whinny, but as she ran her hand down his mane, he whinnied contentedly. 

Sasch held onto his bridle and led him back out into the middle of the room.   She faced her ‘father’ and holding the bridle out, she waited for him to nod that she may begin.  Once he nodded, she looked over at the musicians and they started their music.  She started by leading the horse in a circle around the middle of the room.  After which she mounted and rode the horse around twice in a circle.  Holding onto the saddle horn, she swung herself over one side of the horse so that her feet were just out of reach of the floor.  Then she lowered herself so that she could run for several more steps before using the saddle horn and a jump to help her swing over the other side of the steed.

She continued the spectacle for almost five minutes before she dismounted and she and the horse walked forward together.  Both bowed to her ‘father’ before standing back up to another rousing round of applause.  She patted the horse’s neck and led it over to the side of the room before she grabbed another of the smoking drinks and began sipping on it.  She found a quiet corner to hole herself up, drink the liquid in her cup, and consider how to assassinate her 'father'.
Lieutenant Reika Sh’laan, Assistant Chief of Operations (V3) [Show/Hide]
Ensign Sashenka Kreshkova, Unassigned Wolf Trainee [Show/Hide]

Re: An Assassin in Agra Fort

Reply #6
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Dree @RyeTanker @anyone interested (officially an open thread)

His eyes narrowed as Cross observed the sultan’s daughter. If he were a betting man, which he wasn’t typically, Cross would put latinum bars that the assassin was a woman. And if it wasn’t one assassin but a pair working in tandem, with one serving as backup in case the other failed, he again wouldn’t be surprised if both were female. From his training, Cross knew that women tended to be the better spies and assassins, culture-dependent, of course, because they were more often overlooked and underestimated.

The new arrival of both the Andorian Zhen and the human “emir” intrigued Cross even more. Though the program had outlined the main plot as assassinating the sultan, perhaps there was a subplot for rulership overthrow? The presence of another ruler of sorts, this one with beautiful horses to boot, was indeed something to keep an eye on.

“Guard, fetch the stablehands before the horses ruin our floor.”

Cross set aside the empty tray he’d been holding up for the sultan and bowed solemnly. At least he wasn’t considered a eunuch in this program. As much as he loathed leaving the sultan alone, he signaled two of his most trusted men to step in closer, standing on either side of the sultan’s dais, well-oiled, muscular arms crisscrossed over their chests.

It was treacherous going, weaving between the courtesans and the sultan's entourage all perched along the steps leading to his opulent dais. Cross was almost to the main floor when his left got caught in the sash of one of the more portly viziers. No longer in complete control of his center of gravity, Cross pitched forward, hands already outward to brace against the closest thing that seemed remotely sturdy.

Pert, rounded bosoms of blue quickly filled his hands as the Andorian woman passed in front of him. There was nothing for it. Cross only had a moment to blink in surprise and start to mutter an apology before the rest of his body weight pressed them both toward the floor.

 
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