Bloodhound

Synopsis

Excerpted from official press release:
Bloodhound is the exciting chronicle of a freelance ego hunter, Lovec, trying to find his place in the world. After being born a Lost, Lovec fell into the field of freelance investigation and ego acquisition after his indenturement with a private security force on Extropia. Since then, he has made a mark on the world of contract police work. As his career begins to move forward with ever growing momentum, we invite you to ride along. Bloodhound is full of gunfights in exotic locations, exciting insights into the Extropian justice system, and interesting revelations about the nature of being a Lost. Join Lovec as he brings his own brand of justice to Nyse…and the rest of the system.

NOTE: Please understand that due to the nature of Bloodhound and the work of contract ego hunters everywhere, efforts have been made to protect the identities of many of the subjects apprehended on Bloodhound. If you or a loved one feel you have been unfairly portrayed or exposed on Bloodhound, please direct all legal inquiries to {dsmiley@betasnake.nyse}.

Episodes

Episode 1: Deception on Venus
Synopsis: This episode details Lovec’s journey to apprehend a hypercorps executive who has escaped to Venus in order to sell stolen Extropian technology. This episode begins on Octavia, where two of Lovec’s associates are destroyed in a bomb-blast while trying to find information regarding the target. After receiving information from an unknown informant, Lovec and two other associates, an uplifted octopus known as Octavio, as well as a mercenary named Wredschirt infiltrate an atmospheric craft. The retrieve the target and the stolen technology, though they are discovered by the crew of the ship, but exfiltrate by blowing a hole in the side of the craft and escaping to their vessel.

Episode 2: Never Leave a Debt Unsettled
Synopsis: Lovec is after a man who has run up a large gambling debt on Extropia. The episode begins with him visiting an old friend and fellow Futura, and a touching moment is had as the two men reflect on their lives and how they have become so different. Afterwards, Lovec tracks the man to a small alley in the Bazaar, and chases him through the shops, eventually ending up in territory apparently belonging to the target’s gang. A small firefight ensues, though Lovec continues running after his target, eventually catching him and delivering him to Eicken Security Services to process the arrest.

Episode 3: King of the Jungle
Synopsis: In a change of pace, Lovec is asked to put his investigatory skills into practice. He is taken to a habitat that has gone dark, hired by the owners of the habitat to find out what happened. Upon arrival, he finds a bloodbath. Several of the habitats residents have been murdered, and some of them show evidence of worse crimes. Lovec leads his team through the overgrown jungle that makes up a part of the habitat, only to be accosted by several morphs who have apparently been infected with a biological agent. They show signs of atavism, with pronounced muscular structure and primitive behavior. At first, Lovec is apparently able to ‘alpha’ them into submission, raising his diamond hatchet and screaming at the occupied jungle (an iconic moment for the episode). However, after walking through the jungle and to the living quarters and finding no survivors, the group is attacked by a number of the atavistic morphs. Wredschirt, most notably, is taken almost silently, though his lifeless torso is found later. Concerned for his life and the lives of his compatriots, Lovec spaces the habitat after assuring there are no survivors. He then boards the ship and returns to Extropia to report to his clients.

Episode 4: Getting the Scent
Synopsis: Lovec and his crew (including a re-sleeved Wredschirt) report to the clients who hired him to investigate the Wivel habitat. They are concerned that the events on Wivel were a terrorist attack, and that their assets are being targeted by the organization behind it. Lovec makes a few inquiries into the shipping manifests from the Wivel habitat, and finds something fishy: the regular pilot of the shipping craft that made the last delivery to Wivel had stepped out, and another company had been contracted. By the time Lovec tracks this lead down, the only thing it leads to on Extropia is a vapor trail heading to a small asteroid base, thought to be defunct. He charters a ship with his team, but they are attacked enroute to the asteroid. The episode ends on this cliff-hanger.

Episode 5: Follow Your Nose
Synopsis: The episode begins where the last one left off. Lovec and his team are being attacked. Octavio, the octopus, and Lovec manage to make it outside, finding several spider-like robots destroying their ship after punching a hole in it. The robots are subdued after a somewhat lengthy battle, and the ship continues to the ‘abandoned’ asteroid. Upon landing, an active habitat is found, which the team approaches from a distance. Roger Smith and Doctor Seamus, the two most ‘normals’ of the group approach, while Wredschirt, Lovec, and Octavio remain in full chameleon mode as they infiltrate. Inside, they find a detachment of the Jovian Navy, who tell Smith that they are not the only ones in the habitat, directing them to the tunnels below. Carefully, the team maneuvers through the tunnels until they find, at last, the ship they had been looking for. Inside, the ship is carrying a shipment of arms. As the team tries to solve this newest memory, they are attacked. Humanoids in black armor stream in from both entrances while the team attempts to scramble out of the landing bay and rendezvous at their own ship. As Lovec makes his way down a micro-grav hallway, shooting behind him as he floats, the asteroid begins exploding, killing Doctor Seamus. The ship barely makes it out of the blast radius with the rest of the team intact (aside from Wredschirt, who has lost his legs). Lovec tries not to despair in this failure, when Octavio reveals he has valuable information about the operations of the terrorist group.

Episode 6: Across Red Sands
Synopsis: Lovec and Octavio have tracked the terrorist organization to Mars, but still know little else about them. The client gives Lovec the go-ahead to take his team to the Martian surface, but informs them that they will not be within Martian laws, being ego-hunters operating within Martian territory. Lovec leads his team down anyways, picking up a new member: the Scum pit-fighter Swiss. There is a short interlude in the episode where Lovec shows up to meet an outfitter on Olympus City, the asteroid that connects space and the red planet via an elevator. Lovec talks about, tests, and agrees to purchase the Segomo Labs XL98 Rail Submachine Gun, citing his need for increased firepower against up-armored enemies.

Sufficiently armed, Lovec gets back on the trail following a Chinese-descended gangster known only as Bo. The trail leads him well outside the city when he reaches the bottom, and he finds one of the meeting areas of the sect, presumably before they split in different directions. However, at this meeting area, the group is assaulted by Martian synthmorphs who, Lovec ascertains, have probably been hired by the Jovian black ops team they disrupted on the asteroid. The team dispatches them, and then beats feet back to the city to book the train to New Shanghai, where Bo is supposedly headed. There is another brief – yet very tense – scene when Martian law enforcement begins leading a car-to-car search of the maglev, looking for unspecified offenders. Afraid that the team has blown their cover, Lovec moves to make an exfiltration off the top of the train, while Roger Smith keeps an eye on the inspectors. The inspectors, instead of going after Lovec and his team, open another private room, spray the inhabitants with bullets, and drag the remains out, apologizing to everyone for the delay.

As the train continues on, Lovec pontificates on the brutality that still exists in the ‘new’ human society, and how wrong he was when he thought he’d left it all behind after the Lost project. The episode closes on a shot of him falling asleep on the train.

Episode 7: Crisis Rising
Synopsis: Lovec and the team make their way through New Shanghai on the trail of Bo. He has been seen at a small, criminally-owned night club. When Lovec enters to ask questions, the owner calls him back to his office. Lovec explains the situation, and offers to give the owner a cut of the reward for tracking down Bo, but is refused. Swiss and Lovec both have quite a reputation, and the owner will tell them whatever they need to know if they’ll participate in an illegal pitfight at his club. Agreeing to the terms, Lovec returns to the hotel he is staying at, reminiscing on the last time he had to kill a person: a fellow Lost who attacked him at the Hoffen settlement, before he was indentured to Eicken. As he talks, he takes a pair of clippers to his hair, cutting it short so it can’t be grabbed during the fight.

The next day, Lovec, Swiss, and the rest of the team arrive and are given the rundown of the rules. All members of Lovec’s team will fight, including Octavio (who confesses to never having needed to fight before this). Octavio will be sleeved in a robot, the rest will be in the pit, sans armor or any sort of ranged weapons. When the team arrives in the pit, the arena itself is built to be a death-trap, and the opponents are either well-known or rising pit-fighters themselves, or so doped up on combat drugs they might as well be. Before the fight begins, Smith doses himself on several different experimental combat drugs, giving Lovec an injector filled with atropine should anything go wrong.

The fight is brutal, but quick. The team each run across the sand, expertly dodging obstacles, and begin engaging their targets. Lovec himself takes out an uplifted bonobo who hurls insults at him, burying his diamond hatchet deep in her forehead. Smith and younger man begin cutting each other up maniacally. Wredschirt strides around confidently, assisting Octavios giant robot with defeating two other opponents.

However, the real star of the ordeal is obviously Swiss. She picks out the most well-known opponent on the opposing team, and the two ascend a chain that sways precariously over several obstacles. Swiss’ bouncer morph is capable of gripping the chain and letting her fight upside-down, giving her not only an advantage, but a sort of deadly grace. Her opponent, sleeved in a new-looking Olympian morph, eventually falls, and the match is called.

True to his word, the owner of the club gives the team the information they need to proceed. He directs them to a sand-crawler that will take them where they need to go: deep into the Barsoomian outback, to a hypercorps forward operating base.

Episode 8: Crisis Averted
Synopsis: As the episode opens, Lovec and his team are in a sandcrawler, making their way across the Martian wastes. Lovec talks about how it can be tough to be around the team for this long, especially in such a cramped area, and mentions that he thinks Swiss has issues she isn’t attending to. While those issues aren’t making a problem of themselves, Lovec’s concern is evident. Smith spends time recovering from the experimental combat drugs he took before the pitfight, and over a montage of shots featuring the Barsoomian landscape, he and Lovec spend time discussing the pitfight and whether it constituted murder. A deeply philosophical conversation ensues, with Smith assuring Lovec that all participants stepped into that ring knowing the consequences full well.

At one point, the crawler comes upon a settlement of sufis, Islamic mystics who take the team in, give them tea and information. They tell the team that the crawler they are tracking indeed came through, but they never stopped to dine with the mystics, who are proud of their hospitality in such a dog-eat-dog society. They seem a bit taken aback by Lovec, who does not remove his rebreather in their crawler, nor drinks their tea. As they leave, he speaks of how much he regrets letting his paranoia get the best of him in situations like that.

The crawler finally arrives at the outpost, which is deserted. There are a few bodies, however. Some are hung by their feet, their throats slit in the break room. Others are bound to chairs in a secret room by the outpost’s greenouse. Their cortical stacks have all been crudely removed, making them unable to act as digital witnesses.. Searching the empty outpost, they find evidence that the terrorists might be planning an attack on a Martian terraformer.

As the team makes their way to this terraformer, they are attacked. A quick flashback reveals that the culprit is someone who has attacked Lovec before: a gorilla uplift who tried to kill Lovec on a Venusian habitat. The gorilla has a team rain down fire on the crawler, nearly destroying it. A small battle ensues, but the gorilla is finally stunned just as the last of his men are taken out…only for Octavio to fire a killing blow with his pair of shredders. A quick search of the uplift, though, shows the coordinates and plans of the group that Lovec’s team is tracking.

Making as much haste as possible, they make it to the terraforming station, infiltrating by going over the wall while their crawler causes a distraction. They are spotted on their way in, however, and are required to shoot their way into the facility. Smith takes several serious wounds, but Lovec stabilizes him as they wind their way through the industrial terraformer. Finally, a guard who escaped the terrorists gives them the lowdown: they are planning on setting off a nanite bomb that will spray bugs across the surface of Mars. Lovec and his team act with haste, unfortunately leaving Roger Smith behind in the process.

In the final scene of the episode, the team expertly infiltrates the room where the hostages and bomb are being held. Bo is killed in the ensuing firefight, as are many of the mercenaries and terrorists working for him, but the bomb is stopped, and Lovec’s team is successful.

For now.

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