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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:06 pm 
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She is cold-blooded!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:42 pm 
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I think this can blow in her face. Becoming a loose end is not a good health indicator, and she is a loose end.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:50 pm 
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Hmm, are we getting close to an actual sighting of the sentient behind the curtain...?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:30 pm 
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I think major arms dealers are not easy loose ends to tidy up, and when they become loose ends the correct solution is to make like you've seen an ordinance technician sprinting.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:39 pm 
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(name here) wrote:
I think major arms dealers are not easy loose ends to tidy up, and when they become loose ends the correct solution is to make like you've seen an ordinance technician sprinting.


Difficult loose ends only need more firepower to tidy up. We are talking here about a plot to create a civil war in a major polity. She knows the name of all the "Mr Smiths" that have placed weapons order. Do you think that the UNS will remain content with only the name of the 3 that cancelled the order? Also, the other Mr Smiths as soon as they hear what happened will start thinking that it behooves for their well being that her health deteriorates catastrophically in the very near future.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:48 pm 
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Zeus67 wrote:
(name here) wrote:
I think major arms dealers are not easy loose ends to tidy up, and when they become loose ends the correct solution is to make like you've seen an ordinance technician sprinting.


Difficult loose ends only need more firepower to tidy up. We are talking here about a plot to create a civil war in a major polity. She knows the name of all the "Mr Smiths" that have placed weapons order. Do you think that the UNS will remain content with only the name of the 3 that cancelled the order? Also, the other Mr Smiths as soon as they hear what happened will start thinking that it behooves for their well being that her health deteriorates catastrophically in the very near future.

Unless I'm mistaking the intent of the comic today, she doesn't know the names ... but she can set the authorities looking in the correct direction.

Plus which, if you plan on being a difficult loose end, you usually have contingency plans in the form of "Upon my death" directives, leading to tidy little caches of embarrassing personal information for a variety of interested persons. Heck, you could save a lot of overhead costs on bodyguards and the like by making sure that each of your potential "Misters Smith" know--in precise detail--that his/her/hir personal information is at risk if ANY of your enemies get you.

What better way to ensure your security than to have the people that you are blackmailing be far more interested in keeping you safe than in keeping you tidy?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:08 pm 
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I think the moral of the story is "if you don't pay your bills, we're not going to be bound by client confidentiality. So pay up."
And it must be noted that the entire city of Dom Atlantis, with the exception of the garrison was the very definition of a soft target. I imagine the Planet Mercenary CEO is going to be at least as hard to take out as Colonel Pranger - with the added security of not leading missions into hostile/neutral territory such as House Phica. Any attempt on her life would probably involve so many resources that it would be easy to track down the culprits, and would still have less than an even chance of success.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:18 pm 
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The thing about a business with business records is that it isn't as simple as killing one person. Unless you can take out Planet Mercenary and ensure that all its records and backups are eliminated - which you probably cannot ensure- you're better off trying to make sure they have no reason to sell you down the river. Or making sure in advance that any information you gave them can't be traced back to you. One or the other.

By cancelling their orders without so much as a "sorry for your trouble", the conspirators involved in the arms deals are either confident they can't be traced, confident it doesn't matter if they're traced, or damn stupid.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:37 pm 
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Arky wrote:
By cancelling their orders without so much as a "sorry for your trouble", the conspirators involved in the arms deals are either confident they can't be traced, confident it doesn't matter if they're traced, or damn stupid.

Maybe one of each?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:00 am 
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To borrow from a regular contributor over on the Baen Bar forums, "embrace the power of 'and'."

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:16 am 
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It's never a good idea to stiff mercenaries.

Anyway, paying off Planet Merc might have left even stronger money trails, since presumably they'd have to funnel significantly more money than they already have (and they had planned on doing so only when said trails wouldn't matter.) And extrapolating 21st century laws, it's quite likely that Planet Mercenary would be legally obligated to turn over any specific records that the UNS got a court order for, confidentially notwithstanding. So they were damned either way.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:35 am 
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What species are those creatures? Re-created dinosaurs, or that dinosaur-like race the Psychobears were at war with?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:20 am 
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Indeed Kss'thrata. I expect she is the CEO of Planet Mercenary, per Howard's new Twitter account.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:05 am 
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I would assume that an arms dealer who sells discreetly has some method of avoiding being forced to reveal their customers. In this particular case, most likely by operating outside of UNS space. And I remain doubtful that forcibly silencing an arms dealer is an especially viable option for the people who buy guns from them. It would maybe be problematic if all the other Mr. Smiths became concerned about their information being leaked, but if she just releases information about the people who opted to skip out on their orders it won't concern the others overly much. UNS intelligence obviously would want information on all of her customers, but that doesn't mean they'll be willing to start a war to get it.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:26 pm 
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(name here) wrote:
I would assume that an arms dealer who sells discreetly has some method of avoiding being forced to reveal their customers. In this particular case, most likely by operating outside of UNS space. And I remain doubtful that forcibly silencing an arms dealer is an especially viable option for the people who buy guns from them. It would maybe be problematic if all the other Mr. Smiths became concerned about their information being leaked, but if she just releases information about the people who opted to skip out on their orders it won't concern the others overly much. UNS intelligence obviously would want information on all of her customers, but that doesn't mean they'll be willing to start a war to get it.


I agree, but dealing with intelligence agencies is very much like dealing with the devil. The invisible print in the contract make such dealing a losing proposition always. The UNS will not be happy and unhappy governments tend to sick government agencies on the source of their unhappiness. I think planet mercenary will start having regulation and tax problems, which will hit their bottom line very hard.

The other Mr. Smiths unrelated to the plot will be unhappy and probably can be calmed down, but those involved, which probably are more than the three that cancelled their orders, will become very nervous and will start looking for loose ends to tidy up before the battleplates show up.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:45 pm 
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There is no reason to believe the UNS has any authority whatsoever over Planet Mercenary. If UNS intelligence could coerce information out of them, the Mr. Smiths wouldn't be buying from them in the first place.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:06 pm 
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(name here) wrote:
There is no reason to believe the UNS has any authority whatsoever over Planet Mercenary. If UNS intelligence could coerce information out of them, the Mr. Smiths wouldn't be buying from them in the first place.

Pretty much this. I suspect the WORST the UNS could do to Planet Mercenary is through what amounts to a trans-governmental, trans-planetary lawsuit, and threatening to never buy from them again. Which with the name probably amounts to little. Oh and battleplate waving... but that might have other consequences for the UNS.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:57 pm 
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There probably is a planet in Planet Mercenary.

As in they own one, and thus are likely their own government.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:01 pm 
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Oh, not Kss'thrata. According to a post by Howard on that other Schlock community-thingie on that CountenanceTome social media place. So, new species.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:05 pm 
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Arky wrote:
The thing about a business with business records is that it isn't as simple as killing one person. Unless you can take out Planet Mercenary and ensure that all its records and backups are eliminated - which you probably cannot ensure- you're better off trying to make sure they have no reason to sell you down the river. Or making sure in advance that any information you gave them can't be traced back to you. One or the other.

By cancelling their orders without so much as a "sorry for your trouble", the conspirators involved in the arms deals are either confident they can't be traced, confident it doesn't matter if they're traced, or damn stupid.
Damn stupid is a certainty. You at least offer to do something to make it up to them. You pretend to regret the situation and buy something else, because politeness pays.
Zeus67 wrote:
I agree, but dealing with intelligence agencies is very much like dealing with the devil. The invisible print in the contract make such dealing a losing proposition always. The UNS will not be happy and unhappy governments tend to sick government agencies on the source of their unhappiness. I think planet mercenary will start having regulation and tax problems, which will hit their bottom line very hard.

Because all sensible intelligence agencies DESPERATELY WANT a reputation that if you voluntarily offer to sell them information they desperately want about a dangerous enemy they then try to destroy that voluntary source's livelihood and to mess with them in every way possible.

After all, it's not like they actually prefer people to be willing to sell them information...

Out of all Planet Mercenaries clients, the three UNS intelligence desperately wants are exactly the three she proposes to sell out to them. WHAT POSSIBLE SANE REASON would UNS intelligence have to mess with her for voluntarily offering them what they most want?

Yes, she can give them more, but trying to force that "more" out of her simply means that EVERY source in the entire galaxy dries up as the rest realize that Planet Mercenary, a large, well funded, well armed group found it impossible to survive helping UNS intelligence because UNS intelligence gratuitously stabbed even them in the back for no actual reason OTHER THAN that they'd given UNS intelligence valuable information and UNS intelligence ASSUMED there was more where that came from and decided to squeeze rather than offer more payment.

Seriously. This is insane. UNS intelligence will say "thank you very much" and pay the woman, they may then offer her more money for other information, but if she says, "No thank you, that was a one time deal because a former customer had messed with both of us", they will say "Thank you for your time and courtesy, I hope we can do business again in the future".

Then they'll save proof that she did sell out some customers just in case they ever do need to apply a bit of pressure, but they won't use that until she does something else that seriously ticks them off.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:33 pm 
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Doug Lampert wrote:
Arky wrote:
Seriously. This is insane. UNS intelligence will say "thank you very much" and pay the woman, they may then offer her more money for other information, but if she says, "No thank you, that was a one time deal because a former customer had messed with both of us", they will say "Thank you for your time and courtesy, I hope we can do business again in the future".

Then they'll save proof that she did sell out some customers just in case they ever do need to apply a bit of pressure, but they won't use that until she does something else that seriously ticks them off.


That's what I mean when dealing with intelligence agencies is worse than dealing with the devil. They will smile at you, give you your money and their thanks and then slip the hook, line and sinker inside your guts when you are not looking. Thus next time they just have to yank and you're screwed.

But if they need other info and she does not want to provide it, then things like an IRS Audit will start happening and nobody but the two parties involved will know what the real problem is.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:44 pm 
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There's one big problem with that theory: If an intelligence agency gets a reputation of "dealing dirty" (directly or indirectly) with its clients, informers, agents, and other agencies, no one will want to do anything with said agency, or even the government said agency is supposed to represent.

There's a lot of "The Great Game" that isn't covered in law books, national or international, but is just as binding as US (or UNS, in this case) code. Informal agreements that certain actions are beyond the pale, even among competing agencies that are hardly known for being big softies, can keep uneasy situations from becoming explosive ones where everyone loses everything instead of everyone coming off a bit unhappy.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:59 pm 
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Gerko wrote:
Oh, not Kss'thrata. According to a post by Howard on that other Schlock community-thingie on that CountenanceTome social media place. So, new species.

He said (on twitter) that if her feed was any indication she is "Female, Kss'Thrata, and horrible to work for". So yes, Kss'Thrata.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:55 am 
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Gerko wrote:
Indeed Kss'thrata. I expect she is the CEO of Planet Mercenary, per Howard's new Twitter account.


I wonder how much of that feed is canon exposition, because the "tater hacking" thing seems extremely relevant to the story.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:13 am 
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I haven't double checked, but I think those tweets coincide with the reveal of Landon wielding the mega-tater, or at least the JSC opening fire with live rounds. That'd make that corporate opportunism; "Hey, those things can be hacked and it looks awesome, I want to sell that to people."


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