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[M - A06] Shibboleth

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Location: A06 (Guinevere)




After Scorpio's brief adventure on Barnius, the council had decided that--despite the sustainability of the planet--M.A.N.T.I.S. resources were needed more urgently elsewhere. His discovery of foodstuffs had earned him an impressive commendation from the Council (“such an excellent variety of mushrooms! And the Barnian grubs are the finest we have tasted in Andromeda!”), so he imagined he would be sent on yet another food-finding mission. Yet the brief Scorpio received was nothing he had ever expected.

“We need you to go to Guinevere. On a spying mission.”

“What? But I’m not a spy!”

“Not important now. We need you to go because you’re resourceful…”




“…and most importantly…”


“You’ve got a bribe bag.”

“Ah, well then, fair enough.”

“Your dossier will contain further instruction. Any questions?”

“Yeah, do I get a cool special suit or something?”

“<sigh> Yes, I suppose you’ll need one.”

Scorpio was to be accompanied by a small detail of special forces, as M.A.N.T.I.S. had gathered that there were be hostile forces starting to build on the planet’s surface. Further investigation had confirmed these reports, also adding the reason for their suspected colonization: gold was found in tremendous supply.

Scorpio’s mission was to (1) determine the strength of any enemy forces on Guinevere. Once that was accomplished, he was to (2) obtain a sample of the gold for analysis, and make observations considering large-scale mining and extraction. The rest of the unit’s mission was to guard the gold Scorpio the gold. If the team’s presence were discovered, the special agents were to terminate any enemy threats, with interrogation and torture optional.


Scorpio almost laughed when he was introduced to his team—they were not full-fledged agents, but Special Police in Training—SPIT, as they called them back on Torresta. It was actually a term of endearment, and was no way a knock on their abilities. The brief had just made this sound like such an important, high-profile mission, and here he was, a non-spy, being sent out with two—yes, only two—rookie guards. Oh well, at least he got a special suit.

As a scientist, he outranked the SPIT, but this essentially just meant they called him "sir" all the time and then did whatever they wanted. Not that Scorpio minded; it seemed like they knew their job pretty well.


They touched down on Guinevere, and the heat was overwhelming. The air, despite the sulfuric odor, was safely breathable, so long as you had a filter against the volcanic ash. Scorpio took off his helmet in an attempt to cool off, but the SPIT left theirs on (“combat gear, sir”).


They ambled around until coming to a low, bubbling volcano. Scorpio’s scanner was picking up a weak signal nearby, when suddenly he was distracted by the sight of gold. Right on the surface. Sure, it was surrounded by molten, bubbling lava, but this was no different than back on Torresta! Mining and extraction would be a cinch. First to procure a sample for analysis...


He took his pick and extracted a nugget, then summoned the teleportation crate. The gold secured inside, he punched an auto-analysis formula, and the code to return the crate to the ship. One thing he liked about this mission already was that he got cooler toys.



Scorpio then had to turn his attention away back to his primary task: spying. “Why couldn’t they have sent an actual spy?” he muttered to himself as he fiddled with the calibration. They could see no signs of activity, so why was there a signal? Suddenly, one of the SPIT broke the silence. “FREEZE!” Scorpio spun around and saw a man in an Octan uniform just a short distance ahead, hands up. He dropped his instrument.


"Found an Octan agent, sir!" The lead SPIT reported.

"No, no, guys, you've got it all wrong! I'm here with you guys!"

"They why you wearin' that Octan gitup?" The lesser SPIT spat.

"Well, uh, we heard reports there might be Octan personnel in the vicinity, so the, uh, Lady K sent me in disguise, just in case."

Scorpio thought the scenario sounded fishy. "The Lady K, huh?" he asked. The stranger nodded. "Then where is the rest of your unit?"

"We crashed on entry to the planet. I have been wandering for hours—good news, I haven’t seen anyone else. I reckon Octan is light years away from this place. The real Octan, that is. You know. Not me. ‘Cause I’m not Octan. I’m with you fellers.”

"Do you want me to blast this liar?" The SPIT interjected.

“Well, you see, I would have radioed in, but my coms broke," the stranger explained. Scorpio ignored him; his patience with this Octan spy had worn thin.

"Who was your unit leader?" Scorpio asked.

"Uh, Dave. I was a part of Dave’s team," came the reply.

Suddenly Scorpio's expression changed. There had been two missions sent to spy on Guinevere--Daring Dave had been the one leading the team on the opposite side of the globe. They had supposed to have contacted each other shortly after landing, but Scorpio had been unable to reach him. What if this guy wasn’t actually a spy? Perhaps he was telling the truth.

"Did anyone else survive the crash?"

"I don't believe so. I was unable to survey the wreckage because of the flames."

Still, Scorpio couldn’t tell if he was for real. They hadn’t noticed any smoke from wreckage, yet given the planet’s volcanic activity, how could they? He needed a test, to make sure. Then, an idea came to mind.

He whispered to the SPIT, “Private--keep your guns trained on him for just a second." Then to the stranger: “Well, we’re sorry to hear about the crash. I had better send a report to the Lady K immediately, and see what she would have us do. In the meantime, I am sure you are quite hungry..."

"Oh yes, do you have any food?" came the earnest reply.

"Why, of course.”

Scorpio pulled out a jar, which he had kept from his trip to Barnius, and it pulled from it two fat, wriggly grubs. He could practically feel the anticipation in the air as the two SPIT licked their lips.


"Well, here you go. A real tasty morsel, to help calm your nerves after all that you've been through."

The stranger stood motionless.

18823493151_451691c6df_z.jpgWeek 4 of Andromeda's Gates by rodiziorobs, on Flickr

18633082638_85c9d363c7_z.jpgWeek 4 of Andromeda's Gates by rodiziorobs, on Flickr

18794563276_437c69cf71_z.jpgWeek 4 of Andromeda's Gates by rodiziorobs, on Flickr

"Boys, he's all yours!"

Two quick pulse blasts later, the lesser of the SPIT inquired, "Do you think he really was an Octan, sir?"

"Certainly; he wasn’t one of us, I can promise you that. He was probably sent up here to investigate our arrival, and the rest of his buddies are down there over that ridge setting up their own mining encampment. We had best proceed carefully.”

This encounter raised a lot of questions: how did this spy know about the Lady K? and Dave? Was it a just lucky guess? or had Octan cracked their encoded communications? Or worse, yet, was there a mole in M.A.N.T.I.S.' operations? Surely the answers would not come easy. But in the meantime...

18633077148_cc01eea330_z.jpgWeek 4 of Andromeda's Gates by rodiziorobs, on Flickr

"Looks like Friday came early this week, boys, but I think you've earned it. Eat up, and let’s go see what we can see."

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Wonderful use of minifig expressions on the Octan 'spy' :laugh: Great work putting some gold into the rock too :thumbup:

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You know, for such a serious group as MANTIS, they have some really funny builders! Love the story. Clearly that was a Kawashita spy in Octan clothes though, our guys are way smarter than that. :grin:

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Great build! Love the faces! The gold inclusions on the rocks are great, and I love the back/bottom lit Lava! Sneaky strategy getting those spy outfits! :laugh:

I gotta agree. Mantis is a great combination of serious commandos and "for the lolz" space orcs! Kinda what I imagine Blacktron to be! :laugh:

You know, for such a serious group as MANTIS, they have some really funny builders! Love the story. Clearly that was a Kawashita spy in Octan clothes though, our guys are way smarter than that. :grin:

Yes. I can confirm, as head Scientist, that we've been training our spies to not puke at the notion of eating disgusting maggots. In fact, that is the reason we attempted to steal some. We need to culture those maggots, obviously as our own food is vacu-packed and completely sterile, with the exception of our "pick-a-flavour!" Probiotic "smooties" :look: clearly a Kawashita false flag op. Clearly. Octan is the "Nice" Corporation, after all.


~Dr. Long

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Haha, hilarious build! The bit with the larvae and the Octan guy's faces is sheer brilliance :grin:

Nice landscaping too, and great work on those SPIT - their guns are awesome!

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