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Things Get Worse

With a loud crash, the cargo elevator hits the floor of level five and the crew are hurled around by the impact. When they get up, the first they note is that Captain Stanbridge appears to be unconscious – Ibrahim checks her out and is relieved to discover that she is not badly injured. Unfortunately, the medical systems in her combat armor has been damaged and, as a result, she’s received an extra large dose of painkiller that has knocked her unconscious. Shy of exposing her to the unknown contaminants in the station which he strongly opposes, Ibrahim has no way of countering the drugs to wake her up, so the crew hastily rig a stretcher and carry her.

Rather than remaining in the elevator, they exit it and make their way back toward the non-cargo elevator shaft that will take them down to the sixth level which ostensibly houses a secret database. En route, they encounter a handful of protomoss zombies, but easily drop the ambulatory reanimated corpses who are absolutely not space zombies. Buck seals off the habitation section once the crew passes through, ensuring that the not-space-zombies cannot swarm over them but also ensuring that the way back is going to be slightly more difficult. That’s a problem for later, though.

Proceeding down to level six will require some careful manipulation – Ella is unconscious, after all – so while Buck and Haank first pry open the hatch and then rig up something to lower her down, Ibrahim and Lorain poke around into some of the rooms surrounding this lift shaft but do not find anything particularly interesting. Since he’s wearing space armor, Buck is the first to descend so as to ensure that they wouldn’t be swarmed by more glowing blue not-space-zombies. Once satisfied that a horde of ambulatory reanimated corpses are not waiting for them, the crew descend to level six.

A strange bio-organic computer-like device dominates the chamber that the crew enter upon exiting the elevator lift shaft on level six. Immediately, Ibrahim’s constant headache significantly intensifies; Buck looks over his suit, but does not find anything wrong. Looking around, everyone notes the unusual architecture of the room – it appears as if the strange bio-organic device was discovered here and the room around was formed around it. While looking around, Aris discovers another of the strange dial-out devices.

Jim the Drone is sent to further map out this level while Buck continues to poke around the chamber; he eventually theorizes that nanites were likely utilized to properly sculpt this room. He then breaks out a gizmo of his to do a quick scan of the protomoss sample that Ibrahim has in his possession, confirming that it is mostly comprised of nanomachines and is basically a ‘soft solid’ that is one step short of grey goo.

While this is going on, Ibrahim who is lurking near the elevator hears and observes the sounds and signs of a gunfight several levels above them; the elevator itself appears to have been completely destroyed so they’ll need to find a different way out. He advises the rest of the crew of this as well as the fact that someone is still fighting. No one is quite sure who to root for and decide that the Imperials are the least of three evils.

Aris begins examining the bio-organic device and confirms that it is some sort of computer, but he decides that he cannot begin to figure out how it actually works; from what little he can guess, it acts as a connective bridge to the stellar gates. Haank jokingly (mostly) declares that they’re in a really big router. They’re able to locate what appears to be a database of some sort and Buck tracks down the solid-state drives and simply removes them rather than trying to download them on the theory that they can figure the rest of the stuff out on the Aimless Pilgrim where it’s safe. They’re also able to determine that, despite the reactor having been mostly turned off, this level still had power to it.

Jim finds a sealed access hatch and alerts everyone of this. While Haank is talking to Gloval and exchanging a situation report, Lorain suddenly exclaims in surprise: she’s found a simulation that the Sky Raiders were running regarding the protomoss. If this stuff gets off the station, the entire Imperium could be threatened! It targets carbon-based lifeforms and then spreads insanely fast. If she understands what she’s reading correctly, the entire station was built from this stuff. The entire crew agrees: they can’t let this stuff get out.

When Armin opens the door that Jim found sealed, multiple yellow klaxon alerts begin sounding in ancient Vilani, warning of a ‘containment breach.’ Beyond the door, she sees an airlock looking into a tube that almost looks like a vacuum bridge used during spacecraft docking. Aris, Ibrahim and Lorain join her to investigate while Buck and Eddy stay behind to cover the elevator shaft in case of an attack. Haank has started trying to isolate the transmitter source.

Proceeding on through the airlock and traversing through the tunnel that is exposed to vacuum, Aris, Armin, Ibrahim and Lorain reach another hatch. Cracking the seal, they look into a chamber that is heavily overgrown with protomoss … and then the bluish lumps start moving. Abe immediately hits the CLOSE door and an ambulatory corpse stumbles into the hatch, momentarily halting it from closing. Jim the Drone immediately engages with his close-assault weapon and then Armin steps forward to deliver a powerful kick that sends the not-a-space-zombie flying back. This allows the door to close up but something explodes inside the room. Immediately thereafter, the alert klaxons turn red and a recorded voice declares, “Warning: critical contained breach detected. Evacuate the station.” Inside the room, the protomoss begins melting together … and then begins breaking down all of the materials around them. As the four (plus the drone flee), Ibrahim hears a psionic scream that fades into nothing…

At almost the same time, strobe flashbangs drop down from the elevator shaft, momentarily dazzling the defenders, and an instant later, a trio of Imperial space marines drop down into the room, bellowing for the crew to throw down their weapons and surrender now! They are to throw down their weapons and surrender or they will be fired upon. And almost at that very moment, the critical failure alerts begin sounding.

Eddy immediately lowers his rifle and raises his hands to surrender; Buck follows suit as does Haank as the heavily armored jarheads respond. A marine officer joins his team, demanding to know the reason for the alarm, which is about the same moment that Aris, Armin, Ibrahim, and Lorain stumble out of the airlock. Haank begins hurriedly explaining and the marine officer listens, then happens to notice a vidscreen with a camera feed of the room with the blue goop. The marine declares open a wide channel that all marines are to begin retreating at once; since his team have contragrav belts, they can get the crew out of danger.

The crew informs the officer that this stuff cannot get off this station; they need to destroy this station. Buck declares that he can rig the reactor to meltdown but he’ll need to go down a level; Armin volunteers to accompany him as protection and Aris decides to send Jim along as well. To try and earn some goodwill with the marines, Ibrahim volunteers to join the assault team that is engaged with Kalamanaru personnel and Haank declares that he will accompany the medic, while Eddy, Aris, and Lorain get Ella to the shuttle and begin prepping for dust-off.

Reaching the reactor level is no trouble and Buck immediately goes to work, intending on rigging the reactor to blow within an hour. While he’s doing this, Armin briefly wanders away to look around … and she’s almost jumped by a proto-not-a-zombie! Unfortunately for the ambulatory corpse, Armin is intensely strong and very skilled in martial arts, so she quite easily destroys the creature.

With a marine escort, Aris, Eddy and Lorain get Ella to the level where they have docked their shuttle. While there, they immediately get into an argument with the marine sergeant who has orders to escort them to the Imperial ship, not the Aimless Pilgrim. Eddy tries to talk the man down, but the sergeant refuses to bend, so Lorain interjects and offers the dialing device the crew discovered here on the station. This, along with Eddy’s valid points, leads the sergeant to let them go their own way.

Meanwhile, Haank and Ibrahim join the marines engaged in a holding action against Kalamanaru personnel. Abe immediately springs into action to help out a downed marine private, while Haank decides to sneak away in an attempt to flank the hostiles. During his attempts at stealth, he is detected and assaulted by Taren who has been far more successful in trying to stay undetected. The two exchange a flurry of blows, each attempting to get the other into an arm lock … and Haank is successful. In addition to breaking Taren’s arm, Haank then uses this arm lock to wheel his foe around into the line of fire of several Kalamanaru gunmen. As Taren goes limp from the fire, Haank reaches forward to arm the grenades on the man’s armor then shoves him toward the approaching gunmen before diving to cover. There is a satisfying explosion behind him as Haank retreats to the marine line and rejoins Ibrahim to ensure that his medic successfully retreats.

Now with their away team back on the shuttle, Haank takes flight controls and everyone buckles in. As they angle sharply toward the Aimless Pilgrim, the shuttle comes under fire from the Kalamanaru ship and takes damage. Trailing smoke and debris, the shuttle crash-lands in the Pilgrim’s landing bay…


Player Notes:

  • Technically, Armin wasn’t with us throughout the early parts of our space station exploration, but we just handwaved that away. What are you talking about? She was always there!.
  • Ronnke was in a hotel during the session but fortunately their wi-fi was good enough that he didn’t drop as everyone feared.
  • No Mel this session since she was off, lounging on a beach … like most of us would like to do.
  • CommJunkee’s Traveller run is winding down – he’s guessed that next week will be the last session. Gigermann will be taking over afterward with a Dungeon Fantasy game and the current plan is for me (Rigil Kent) to pick up with Traveller again after he’s done (although that likely won’t happen until well after the first of the year.)
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.

Spinward Star, LLP

Live Stream
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Husks of Men

The station’s reactor has come back online and, as a result, the strange blue ‘protomoss’ has begun to glow ominously. There does not appear to be an immediate threat, but still, the crew cannot help but to think that this is not going to end well. Attempts to kill the reactor from their current location fails and it appears that some sort of interlock is in place preventing this from happening; according to Aris, this interlock appears to be modern code, which the crew take to mean Kalamanaru’s people.

Aris then hacks into the station surveillance systems, which are now coming back online, and in the process of this, stumble upon a quick image of several ambulatory humanoids covered from head to toe in the glowing protomoss. All attention immediately turns to these … creatures and, though the resolution of the image is not the best, Ibrahim theorizes based simply on what he can see that they are former Sky Raiders whose biological components appear to have been taken over by some sort of bio-mechanical apparatus which prompts Eddy to suggest that might have been infected by the protomoss, especially since they do not seem to require life support. This seems pretty logical to everyone, although Ibrahim points out that he won’t have confirmation until he can open one of them up. Everyone immediately double-checks the integrity of their vacc-suits and Eddy looks askance at Ibrahim’s eagerness to encounter these things. Aris reports that he is unable to seal off the level where these … things are.

Ella attempts to make contact with the Imperium naval personnel boarding, using the Aimless Pilgrim as a go-between, but they instead receive only further warnings and threats from Commander Ferris. While this is transpiring, Aris is able to detect counter-hacking attempts as someone endeavours to take control of the surveillance cameras; rather than engage in a protracted contest, he simply crashes all camera feeds. If he has to blind, then so do they! He extracts as much data from the obsolete systems as he can manage, but this data still does not clear up the exact nature of the biological event or what this protomoss actually is. There is reference to a secret database located on level six, which they do not have floorplans for.

Initially, the crew intend to go directly to level six and, as before, opt to traverse through the elevator shaft itself rather than summoning the lift; as they do so, however, the lift arrives at level four – below them – and since the Imperials are just arriving, this is clearly Kalamanaru’s team. Suspecting that the would-be pirates are attempting to go down to the lower levels as well, Buck steps forward and uses his engineering expertise to sabotage the power supply of the elevator, thus trapping Kalamanaru’s on four. As he finishes, he hears the distinct sound of gunfire, prompting the crew to suspect that the criminals have run afoul of the strange glowing blue bio-mechanical things.

From their current position, the crew head deeper into the facility, intending on heading to the cargo elevator that is on the far side of this level. As they do, a pair of the bio-mechanical humanoids approach the crew from behind; Ibrahim is the first to engage with his storm carbine, but the gunfire draws a great deal of attention, and in seconds, an entire swarm of the things flood toward the crew. With his line of fire clear, Ibrahim advances on his felled target, kneels and begins conducting a full scan of it with his medcomp, covered by Eddy and Lorain while the rest of the crew unload their weapons upon the creatures. Buck is gang-tackled by several of the creatures but they are incapable of bringing him down and with Haank’s assistance, he promptly breaks free; Jim the Drone once more hovers above the crew, raking a steady stream of gauss rounds at the charging hostiles. Once the hostile creatures are down, the crew take stock of themselves: Buck’s space armor is smoking from acidic saliva scars from the creatures while Ibrahim announces his findings, that these things definitely were human once, but are now mere husks of men thanks to this bizarre protomoss.

The crew press on to the cargo elevator, encountering no additional resistance. They creep through what was once the equivalent of a botanical garden but has now been transformed into a hellish landscape thanks to the protomoss, halfway expecting an ambush at any moment. Upon reaching the hatch leading to the cargo elevator, Eddy opts to unlock the smaller personnel door rather than the much larger vehicle entrance. Once through this hatch, they summon the elevator and crowd in; even though they have selected level five, the elevator display reveals they are heading to four instead. Buck mashes the emergency stop, then hacks into the system and overrides all other commands to ignore all other commands. As the elevator resumes its descent, Ella, who is standing next to the door, hears a metallic-sounding tink!

“Grenade!” Ella shouts in warning.

And then, an explosion rips the doors apart and sends the elevator in a sharp dive.


Player Notes:

  • Loki was out this week as well. No Mel next week (presuming Hurricane Irma doesn’t prevent her vacay) so based on the way this episode ended, we expect that Ella will be knocked out or something. I suppose the fact we’re aware of the biohazard present – the ‘protomoss’ – is a legitimate excuse why Ibrahim doesn’t pop open her suit to get her squared away.
  • Lots of weird technical issues this session due to some map/image sharing issues.
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.

Spinward Star, LLP

Live Stream
YouTube

Through the Looking-glass

With Kalamanaru reinforcements on the way, Byard urges the crew to get clear as quickly as they can manage while he covers for them with the Imperium forces that he’s called in. He can give them twenty minutes tops, which is going to be tight for them as it will take Aris ten to fifteen minutes to get the shuttle here. The crew take this time to gather as much of the loot from the Vault that they can physically carry and, once the shuttle roars in, they scramble into it with Ella taking the controls. She has to do some fancy flying to evade the sensor nets that are freaking out over the shuttle’s (as piloted by Jim the Drone!) unscheduled departure, but eventually, she manages to dock with the Aimless Pilgrim once again so they can discuss their options.

Admiral Gloval is initially ready to get out of Corfu, having made sure to refuel the ship beforehand, but Lorain insists that what they’re looking for is in-system. Based on her understandings of the information they’ve gathered, she eventually identifies the coordinates which point them in the direction of the asteroid belt; unfortunately, there already appear to be multiple ships – an Imperium cruiser, Vargr corsairs, and an unidentified craft that everyone expects to be Kalamanaru-owned – converging on that location which confuses everyone: how did they know to go there? After some discussion, Haank suggests that they burn away from the coordinates and toward one of the inner planets. Once there, they will deploy a false beacon with their transponder code – rigged up in a missile; this is Eddy’s idea – and slingshot around the planet toward the coordinates while running silent.

Ibrahim retreats to the medical lab to study the data that Ella obtained at the lost temple since the trip will take multiple hours; what he discovers is confusing references to a ‘biological event’ that caused the Sky-Raider exodus to Corfu. Unfortunately, very little else can be gleaned from this treasure trove due to the extreme age of the storage units and the data itself being mostly corrupted. He suspects that he as lucky to get as much as he did.

While en route to the inner planet, the sensor operator notes that they’re being pinged by an Imperium sensor net and one of the Vargr corsairs are apparently pursuing the Pilgrim which causes Ella to wonder if they have a spy aboard. She digs into this, enlisting Buck’s and Haank’s assistance to poke into the systems on the ship to see if there are any indications of transmissions from the Pilgrim but find absolutely nothing. They are very confident that no one sent any messages out nor are there any signs of a homing beacon. Still, it’s somewhat troubling.

Many hours later, they reach the inner planet and conduct their slingshot maneuver complete with the deploying of the ‘cry-baby’ distraction device. With the Pilgrim now running silent, they race away toward the asteroid coordinates. Almost immediately, Eddy starts a pool about how long it will take the Vargr corsair to realize that they’re not following the ship. Buck ends up winning this pool – he guessed two hours and he’s almost exactly right on the nose – but the corsair is now multiple hours out of range.

A little more than a day later, the crew begin closing in on the coordinates where they find a mess waiting for them. Not only are there multiple Imperium ships, but the Vargr corsair and the unidentified vessel are both trying to maximize their stealth approach. The crew discuss and decided to replicate their cry-baby beacon (with a missile again) as a possible distraction; once this is implemented, their beacon is dropped and set to activate on a timer … and is very quickly destroyed by what appears to be a mine! Wide-beam comm-buoys begin transmitting warnings that this is restricted Imperium space and violators of this quasi-quarantine will be fired upon.

The Pilgrim matches velocity with an asteroid to use it as cover while the crew opt to send Jim the Drone out to peek over it and get line-of-sight of the target coordinates. What the drone sees is an immense but seemingly powered down gate-like structure that is being patrolled by multiple Imperium patrol craft; Lorain, fiddling with the ‘activation’ device, realizes that when it lights up, so does the stargate. While experimenting with this, she accidentally causes the gate to fully activate!

Almost immediately, the Vargr corsair burns hard toward the gate, passing through it before Lorain is quite aware of what is going on; the unidentified vessel everyone presumes to be Kalamanaru follows suit and Haank, realizing what’s going on, shouts for Lorain to turn it off. The corsair manages to get through before the gate deactivates and the Imperium patrol craft in hot pursuit simply passes through the ring without effect. Realizing that they may have just given Kalamanaru the keys to the Sky-Raiders tech, the crew decide to make a hard burn themselves to it. Everyone straps in and Admiral Gloval instructs his pilot, Lee, to ‘light this candle.’

The Pilgrim accelerates forward, ignoring Imperium communications ordering them to stand down. A volley of missiles head their way and the Pilgrim’s gunners go into point-defense mode to shoot them down. Lorain activates the gate via the device and they flash through the ring, hotly pursued by an Imperium patrol craft. With a suddenness that is exceedingly dangerous, the Pilgrim experiences a high-g deceleration which knocks everyone out briefly.

When they come to, they find themselves in a region of absolute darkness with no sign of stars. Arrayed in a perfect ring around several asteroids are a large number of additional ring-gates, though they all appear to be powered down as well. In the very center of this zone is a station that appears to be integrated into the largest of these asteroids; both the Vargr ship and the Kalamanaru vessel appear to be heading in that direction. The Imperium ship that pursued the Pilgrim appears to have suffered some damage and, at Haank’s suggestion, Admiral Gloval reaches out to what he will learning to be the Lightning as captained by Lieutenant Commander Ferris. The Lightning’s skipper is understandably furious with Gloval and the crew at their violation of Imperium law but after several minutes of … let’s call it ‘penis measuring’ for politeness, the two men agree to mostly leave one another alone for the time being. Gloval kills the comm-link when Ferris begins making yet another threat that includes words like impound and incarceration.

Upon seeing the Kalamanaru ship making a docking run at the station, the crew decide to follow suit, but opt to instead take the shuttle and board on the opposite side of the station. Lorain insists that she needs to be present since she’s the expert and she hands off the activation key to her uncle. After Ibrahim finishes attending to everyone’s superficial bruises and the like – Lorain’s father is the most badly injured, with a broken collarbone, so he cannot join them as he would like – the crew gear up and make sure they are fully armed and ready. Everyone expects to face Kalamanaru resistance somewhere and even Eddy grabs a gun.

Upon docking some hours later, the crew find the station dark and completely powered down. They are forced to manually open any hatches they find and they creep forward slowly, half expecting an ambush at any moment. Painted across several of the doors is an Old Vilani symbol for ‘Danger’ and Ibrahim reminds everyone of the ‘biological event’ that he read about. Since there is no atmo here, though, everyone remains sealed up in their suits. In the course of their examinations, they find a strange-looking foam or mold. Ever curious, Ibrahim cuts a piece free and deposits it in a sample bag that auto-seals up; while he does this, Eddy notices that this fungus seems to very briefly light up when Abe gets too close. After he passes this on, Ibrahim experiments, using a battery to determine that this strange mold-like substance seems to draw energy (and promptly drains the battery completely.)

Based on what they can see, the inhabitants of this station left in a hurry, which isn’t ominous at all. Moments after the crew use the turbolift shaft to proceed down a level into what appears to be a command deck, there is a minor rumble that vibrates through the deck of the station. Instants later, lights begin activating; Kalamanaru’s people have reactivated the reactor.

And then, almost instantly, the strange fungus-mold lights up in a brilliant almost neon blue light…


Player Notes:

  • Loki was out this week.
  • Amusingly, while listening to the recording on YouTube and working on the recap, I realized just how frequently we said some derivation of “What could go wrong?” when talking ourselves into doing something crazy. That should probably be our official company logo or something…
  • Every single one of the players has watched The Expanse on SyFy (and at least two of us have read the books that I’m aware of), so immediately upon entering the station and finding the strange growth in it, we started shouting “protomolecule.” Plus there’s the whole ‘GM is stealing from Book 3: Abaddon’s Gate’ thing for those of us who’ve read the books, so we’re all trying to brace for vomit zombies at any moment…
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.

Spinward Star, LLP

Live Stream
YouTube

The Lost Temple

Having retrieved their errant crewmembers from the train and stranded the driver of the armored personnel carrier in the middle of nowhere, the crew turn to their next step. Upon returning to the Doctors Without Sectors clinic, they quickly learn that the recent events have caused major chaos … but then, blowing up a couple of buildings will do that. The DWS personnel are being rapidly returned to Imperium-controlled territory, which provides Armin an opportunity to rejoin the rest of the crew as Lorain pores over maps to identify the supposed Temple of the Sky-Raiders. After briefly discussing this, the crew opt to head there in the APC, while leaving behind Jim the Drone in the shuttle.

Upon reaching the coordinates, they discover an immense metal door that has clearly not been opened in centuries. There are ancient Vilani glyphs alongside the door – Ibrahim has Lorain translate these for him and they confirm the Sky-Raider linkage, but not much else. Gaining entrance to the complex requires the crew to use the winch and cable assembly on the APC, but it results in the door being thoroughly ruined. Buck quickly detects a tripwire beam that he identifies as a trigger to activate the facility’s lighting systems. To everyone’s surprise, some of the illumination actually still works, despite this temple having been abandoned for more than five thousand years.

In the distance, Haank is able to see a plume of sand, a clear indication that someone is heading their way. Too late, the crew realize that they failed to actually check Lorain for bugs and, indeed, they are able to quickly locate a subdermal tracker that she was unaware of. Ibrahim quickly and easily extracts it.

Upon locating a great hangar door, Eddy goes to work on figuring out how to hack it open. Unluckily for him, his efforts cause a massive power surge that permanently fuses this door. They’re not going in that way! Based on the temple layout, the crew eventually decide to split up, with half of them taking an alternate route in an attempt to gain access to the interior. Ella will lead Eddy, Ibrahim and Lorain on the wide sweep around, while Haank takes charge of the rest of the group who will hold position to defend against the approaching vehicles.

At Haank’s request, Buck rigs up a shotgun shell to contain it for Haank who then fires the tracker a great distance away. Unfortunately, this does not seem to sway the direction of the hostiles and Haank estimates that they have about forty-five minutes to an hour before things get very interesting.

In the process of their exploration, the team led by Ella discover a blocked off door that is half-buried by fallen debris. They immediately set to work to move the rocks out of the way. During this, on a suggestion by the rest of the crew, Ella makes a call to Dyrin Byard where she requests some back-up. He advises her that he’ll see what he can do. The rest of her team continue work while she’s on the comm, finally removing enough detritus that they can access the next room where they find dozens of star maps scattered around. Strangely, though, there does not seem to be actual navigatigation points showing how they transited from one system to another. There are no Jump routes.

After consulting with Haank, Buck decides to jump into the APC and drive off in an attempt to lead the approaching vehicles away; unfortunately, only a pair of small ATVs break off. Seeing this, Buck begins conducting a wide sweep around. The rest of the defenders find solid, supported fighting positions with good angles of fire. Two trucks continue on approach to the temple and Haank begins making a tactical plan.

Ella’s team continues forward, entering a large storage area with a corridor leading to a hangar bay where they find an immensely old spacecraft. While Ibrahim and Lorain continue poking around, Ella and Eddy advance to investigate whether the ship is still functional.

The two trucks arrive and offload a number of armed personnel. Bren Pylory is in charge of these men and, via a loudspeaker, orders the crew to surrender; when she receives a negative response, she tells them that they brought this on themselves. A moment later, a rocket is used against the front door of the temple, causing much damage but no injuries. From his vantage point in the APC, Buck was able to see the streak of a ground-to-ground missile.

Eddy and Ella are able to identify some functional laser turrets on the ship, but the vessel’s reactor has long since been depleted. Fortunately, Ibrahim and Lorain have located the barely functional generator room and a crazy plan is hatched out: they will plug the ship into the generator and charge it up! This plan is very quickly put into action, with Ibrahim and Lorain dragging power cables to the ship while Eddy and Ella continue doing what they can to get the obsolete craft running. In the process of this, Ella observes a medallion similar to the one they discovered on Focaline, though this one is fully intact; she grabs and pockets it.

Haank, realizing that they need time to put this plan into action and having spent the last six months or so learning about crisis negotiation, stalls. He engages Bren in a shouted conversation that serves only as a delaying action by declaring that there are valuables present, so any further shooting might damage them. This works for a little while but Haank recognizes that ‘a little while’ is the best he’s going to be able to do. Buck, who had already decided to send the APC on a suicide course, quickly rigs it so the vehicle will continue forward and then dives out of the truck into the sand. The APC does not crash into the Kalamanaru thugs like he’d hoped, instead grounding itself against a rock. Once grounded, he gets on the comm and starts talking Ella through how to bring the ship reactor back online.

Their part in charging up the ship mostly done at this point, Ibrahim and Lorain continue to do some exploring and, in the process, discover a secret passageway that leads to a vault filled to the brim with ancient loot. Perhaps just as importantly, though, they also find a corridor that leads out of the entire facility, albeit well out of view. Ibrahim informs Ella of their discovery, then returns to the generator room so as to keep an eye on the power transfer. While there, he’s instructed to throw the switch on the auxiliary power. The generator hums ominously but does not explode as everyone feared.

At the breach point, Bren’s patience is exhausted and she orders her team to engage. As her crew rush the temple, Haank opens fire with his gauss shotgun pistol which is currently loaded with high-explosive round. The first man through the door is literally blown apart, which definitely causes the rest of the team to hesitate. Under the cover of this chaos, Buck grounds his comm gear and begins retreating into the desert, hoping to evade any hostiles. Almost on the heels of this, Bren’s team hurls canisters of prismatic smoke into the breach, which renders laser weapons ineffective, before charging in. Unfortunately for them, Haank is using a gauss weapon and Armin is death on two legs. In seconds, the two have dropped the entire first wave of the assault, though Haank is wounded himself. During this fight, as Buck is maneuvering into the desert, someone lunges up out of the sand and pulls him down; it is Dyrin Byard! He informs Buck that more Kalamanaru reinforcements are on their way while pointing toward an approaching shuttlecraft.

Just as this initial assault is faltering, Eddy and Ella have finished successfully powering up one of the weapon systems on the spacecraft while also activating the contragravity systems. Without waiting for Ibrahim (who is responding to Haank’s call for a medic) or Lorain (who is still following Abe), Ella takes the gunner’s seat and blasts open the hangar door so Eddy can nudge the ship out. The destruction of the hangar door certainly draws all attention and Eddy accelerates out; rather than actually engage the parked vehicles, he simply uses the starship’s considerable mass to smash the trucks into pieces and throw any of the Kalamanaru personnel to the ground.

Suddenly, however, the approaching shuttle banks hard and there is a flash as a man-portable missile is fired at them. Ella, being completely unfamiliar with the weapons systems of the ship, opens fire in an attempt to shoot down the missile. Her shots go wide but Eddy slews the ship around to dodge it. The missile slams into the rockface and explodes. Ella sends another wild salvo of fire toward the shuttle, once again missing wild. A second missile is fired but Ella’s walks her laserfire into the missile, tearing it apart. Eddy grimaces at how quickly the weapons are eating their power and warns the captain; they’ve got maybe three more shots before they’re going down one way or the other. Ella then sends another burst of fire at the shuttle; she misses the craft itself but her laserfire does tear through a nearby archaeological spire. The building behind the shuttle begins to collapse and the pilot clearly does not see this soon enough; rubble and debris sends the shuttle careening down into the archaeological dig. At the same time, Eddy faces screaming alarms about them being on emergency power; he sets the ship down hard, crushing one of the Kalamanaru trucks. A moment later, everything begins to shut down as power completely fails.


Player Notes:

  • Loki rejoined us this week.
  • There was some technical issues on Ronnke’s part this week – with him being down on the bottom of the world in Australia, he was mostly out of power for about half the session so he was basically just listening into us on TeamSpeak via his phone app; once power came back for him, he started steaming on Twitch. It then didn’t occur to me until well into the game that I could use the XBox app in Windows 10 to start recording. Once the game was done, I then had to jump through some hoops to get him a nearly 6 GB MP4 file so he could stitch it together with what he had, so the YouTube recording will, no doubt, be very interesting viewing, especially since I tend to stretch Fantasy Grounds across two monitors during play…
  • Amusingly, the two least competent pilot-slash-gunners were acting as pilot and gunner on the ancient (with a lowercase ‘A’) starship. Ella didn’t even have the appropriate skill. Which made the entire scene that much funnier.
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.

Spinward Star, LLP

Live Stream
YouTube

High Speed Pursuit

We begin in media res, with the crew already in hot pursuit of the Kalamanaru vehicles leaving the compound. Following Ella’s … “discussion” with Dyrin Byard, they snuck closer to the dig site where they subdued some guards and retrieved a pair of vehicles in the form of a large truck and an off-road dune buggy. It was originally their intent to make a night rescue using these vehicles as their escape route with the hope that the Kalamanaru guards are less prepared. This is not to be, however, as the entire compound suddenly erupts with gunfire and explosions, thus forcing the vehicle convoy outside to leave abruptly. The crew promptly follow – Ella drives the ATV with Abe and Buck in it, while Eddy handles the flatbed truck with Aris and Haank in the back – as several of the crew saw Lorain being forced into the front vehicle. Behind them, an immense explosion levels the compound, making everyone quite happy that they didn’t go in after all.

Now in hot pursuit of the kidnappers, the crew closes in on the convoy just as it comes alongside a train. The convoy itself is comprised of an armored-up truck which is in the lead, a single ATV identical to the one that Ella is driving, and a pair of flatbed trucks like the one that Eddy is behind the wheel of. On Ella’s command, Aris, who has joined the crew under the cover of a drone reporter, sends Jim ahead on an attack run.

Jim the drone, which is faster than the convoy, races forward and opens fire with his minigun; the gauss rounds tear into the rear vehicle, inflicting only negligible structural damage. The eruption of gunfire counts as the signal for the rest of the crew to engage. Ella immediately guns the engine of her ATV and closes in with the intent of drawing close enough for Abe to use his gyroc pistol currently loaded with EMP rounds.

As the Kalamanaru personnel react to this unexpected assault, the crew continue their attack; Jim’s next burst of fire rips apart one of the tires of the rear truck , causing it to dramatically slow and swerve erratically as the driver struggles to control it. From the ATV in front of them, a Vargr takes several potshots at the crew but the unstable platform and the haste in which he shoots ensures that none of the laserfire comes even close; at the same time, Jim is able to detect several other Vargr move to the back of the other truck which drifts into the path of Eddy’s vehicle. Ella, seeing a narrow opening, guns her ATV engine once more and they briefly go airborne; this unexpected maneuver catches Ibrahim completely by surprise and his carefully aimed gyroc shot strikes the middle vehicle instead of his intended target. The EMP round immediately shorts out the engine of the truck – while this is only temporary, it effectively removes that truck from the chase. Buck simultaneously unloads a sharp burst of fire at the Vargr in the ATV ahead of them, but his weapon badly misfires.

As all of this takes place, several of the crew observe Taren briefly pop up out of the armored vehicle to see what is going on; Jim unloads a sharp burst of fire into the cabin of the rear-most vehicle, but in the drone’s haste, all of the rounds go wide. At almost the same time, Jim takes fire from one of the Vargr. Ella angles sharply toward the armored vehicle and Abe fires a quick, unaimed shot with his gyroc at it as, but grimaces when he sees the round ricochet off the armor plates; even the EMP burst cannot penetrate the armor.

Suddenly, Lorain is shoved out of the top hatch of the armored vehicle – Taren is forcing her out as the driver creeps closer to the train. Everyone immediately recognizes his plan: he’s going to transfer Ms. Messandi from the APC to the train!

As Jim continues to fire on the driver of the rearmost vehicle, badly crippling him, Ella continues to draw closer to the APC where Lorain is and, as she gets alongside it, Ibrahim surprises her by springing out and onto the truck’s exterior; while clinging on the outside, he begins shifting along it toward the train. Buck begins to crawl to the back of the ATV in preparation for a jump himself, though he’s obviously less enthusiastic about this than Abe appears to be.

Taren, now fully out of the APC, grabs Lorain with both hands and hurls her onto the train. She screams. A lot. Abe continues to crabwalk along the back of the APC, cursing steadily in Arabic under his breath as he does so. Once he’s in position, he makes the ill-advised leap onto the train as well and manages to expertly stick the landing; only as he’s crouching and realizing that Taren has followed suit does Abe realize that, in his haste, he left his pistol behind on the ATV! Nonetheless, he springs up and charges Taren.

Now in position, Buck makes the jump as well, though he lands alongside a cargo hatch on the side of the APC and opts to try it; to his delight, the hatch comes open easily, revealing an armed (and quite surprised) Kalamanaru goon crouching there. Before the man can really react, Buck seizes his rifle and pulls. Hard. The goon goes flying out of the APC and Buck scrambles in, now armed with a seized rifle. He jams the weapon’s barrel into the driver’s neck and demands the man move. The driver does so with alacrity.

Haank opens fire with his shotgun at the trailing vehicle’s tire and his fire shreds it, immediately causing the driver – who is already badly injured thanks to Jim’s fire – to lose control and crash; unluckily for Eddy, the truck’s roll puts it squarely in front of him! He swerves hard, narrowly escaping what would no doubt be an explosive collision

At the same time, the other ATV swerves closer to Ella’s vehicle while the passenger opens up with his laser rifle, tearing into the body of her buggy. Smoke begins spewing out of her ATV but she easily manages to maintain control while drawing her pistol and then opening fire with it at the Vargr. She hits both the driver and the shooter; for a moment, it seems as though the driver is going to be able to maintain control, but that moment passes quickly and the ATV is soon tumbling end over end.

Atop the flatbed train, Ibrahim and Taren exchange a flurry of blows, each attempting to get the other into an arm lock in order to force their opponent from the train. Ella, seeing this scuffle and not being able to get a clear shot at Taren, opts to sling her pistol onto the train near Lorain; her throw is a little off, forcing Lorain to scramble for it. She then slides into position in front of the APC, now driven by Buck. An instant later, Taren badly overextends with a kick, giving Abe a perfect opportunity to retaliate with a push kick that sends the man tumbling off the train.

Ella has a momentary jump-scare as Taren strikes the ground in front of her; luckily for him, he manages to avoid getting hit by her ATV and Eddy’s flatbed truck. She looks up with wide-eyed surprise to see Ibrahim standing there, looking at least vaguely badass as Lorain rushes to hug him. Later, when they circle back to where they saw Taren last, they are unsurprised to discover there is no sign of him.

Once the crew manage to get Ibrahim and Lorain off the train, the rescued woman is very vocal in her gratitude but (amusingly to all of the other members of the crew) doesn’t let go of Abe. She tells them that she’s discovered the next clue about the location of the Sky Raiders’ base but managed to avoid telling her captors. The crew is, for the first time, one step ahead of Kalamanaru’s men.


Player Notes:

  • No game next week on account of five players being at GenCon. Whoot!
  • Per the GM, all PCs had the Daredevil advantage for this scenario only so as to ramp up the cinematic feel for the chase. Hence, Ella taking us airborne briefly and the like.
  • The result of Abe’s fight with Taren was a surprise to all of us, including me (Rigil) as Abe’s player. I was expecting to delay him long enough for someone else to swoop in and finish the job, but the dice gods were being generous. Following the kick, Abe critically succeeded on his parry, which resulted in Taren rolling on the Unarmed Critical Miss table. This caused him to end up one hex past Abe and with his back to him; one hex beyond put Abe literally on the edge of the train platform. Abe succeeded on the push kick roll (All-Out Attack (Strong), Telegraphed) and then rolled maximum for the damage (total amount 9.) A push kick (per Martial Arts) does no actual damage, but you double the normal damage to determine knockback, so this is 18 points which was enough to send Taren flying from the car. Rather than have Taren splat against one of the pursuing vehicles or get run over by them, the GM had him react quickly enough to flatten himself so the vehicles went over him without smooshing him. We all expect to see him again …
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.

Spinward Star, LLP
  • GM: CommJunkee
  • MSG Apome (Rigil Kent)
  • CPL Blake (Andricus)
  • PVT Hanson (Ronnke)
  • PVT Snow (Gigermann)

Live Stream
YouTube

De Oppresso Liber

Somewhere on Corfu, an elite strike team of absolute badasses (who have been stuck on this miserable backwater waiting for hostilities to kick off) is briefed on an emergency mission: deep within Vargr territory, a civilian named Lorain Messandi is being held by agents of the suspected crimeboss, Eneri Kalamanaru. Operatives on the ground report that Messandi is an expert in archaeology and Kalamanaru is forcing her to locate a specific trove of possible Ancient technology suspected to be at the recently excavated dig site. The Team’s mission is to insert into the target site, then locate and extract Messandi. Several potential complications are present: in addition to a nearby garrison of Vargr militia, a team of private mercenaries are also on-site and appear to be solely interested in extracting Messandi; this team appears to have been contracted by her family and, while not considered hostile, could be a potential threat.

To deal with the multiple layer threat, the Team leader – Master Sergeant Apome – splits his strike force into two groups, with one, led by Corporal Ricks, to hit the nearby motor pool to disable any vehicles and prevent escape of surviving forces before moving to a supported to position in order to suppress an Vargr reinforcements, while the second group, led by Apome himself, will breach the mercenary compound where Messandi is believed to be held, reduce the defenders, and retrieve the precious cargo. Both teams will deploy via a high-altitude, low-opening parajump with a planned breach time of zero two-thirty local. Rules of engagement are the usual loose ‘aggressive defense’ that special operators of their caliber utilize which the Team members all take to mean “kill any and everyone you feel to be a threat.”

Almost from the point of deployment, the Team recognizes that Intelligence has dropped the ball once more: there is already a convoy of vehicles being prepped to depart! Unfortunately, by this point, they’re already engaged, so Apome gives the go-signal. His team bounds to the wall and prepares to go over it; the designated marksman, Private Snow, has Private Hanson boost him up into place which allows Snow to engage and reduce a sentry with his railgun.

Using this as a signal, MSG Apome and Corporal Blake go over the wall – thanks to their battle dress, it requires only a short hop to get over. Blake, being the heavy gunner, immediately begins engaging hostiles with his gauss machine gun and every target he shoots goes down hard. Under cover his fire, Hanson and Snow spring over the wall themselves and start seeking targets of opportunity; at the same time, Apome hugs cover – he’s getting too old for this crap – to direct his Team before engaging hostiles himself.

Naturally, as soon as gunfire erupts, alarms start to sound and reinforcements rush out into the open, though more often than not, they’re cut down by Blake’s stream of fire or Snow’s precision shots. Apome takes an unexpected shot that penetrates his armor and badly injures him, but his armor’s automed features instantly stabilize him and allows him to return the favor; he seeks cover and creeps along slowly, engaging only when appropriate.

Over the comm, the Team can hear Corporal Ricks reporting that the vehicle convoy they observed upon landing is deploying ahead of schedule. He also announces that they are engaging the Vargr reinforcements. Everyone present is thinking the same thing: this op has just gone to hell in a rocket-sled.

As Blake advances, a pair of hostiles exit a garage atop a wheeled utility, complete with pintle-mounted machine gun at the back. Unfortunately for them, they enter Apome’s line of sight and he fires a trio of grenades at the vehicle, one of which tears apart the gunner in the back. The vehicle is now on fire – at least one of the tires has been destroyed thanks to Apome’s grenades – and the driver is forced to ditch as he loses control of it and the entire thing begins to roll. Blake steps toward the driving and gives him a battlesuit-enhanced kick that kills the man instantly.

At the same time, Snow is playing cat and mouse with a hostile heavy gunner who, upon seeing a buddy of his reduced by the marksman’s railgun, has dove for cover. With no visible target, Snow instructs Hanson to use his grenade launcher to try and flush the man out of hiding; unfortunately, the shots only serve to drive the man into deeper cover.

And then, a hostile armed with a rocket launcher steps into view and fires his payload. Although he’s targeting Blake (who is using a parked vehicle as cover), the rocket punches through the first vehicle with relative ease and then streaks toward a second one … which is loaded with fuel cells and generators and explosives intended for excavation..

The resulting explosion flattens the entire compound.


Player Notes:

  • With two mission critical players out, CommJunkee didn’t want to progress the PC-specific aspects of the campaign, so we sort of did a one-off set within the constraints of the actual game and it turned out to be quite fun.
  • To no one’s surprise, this basically turned into one long firefight, which was probably the GM’s plan all along. Rather than go round by round, I’ve sort of just narratively told the story which makes the recap itself seem a bit shorter than it was.
  • And honestly, nobody was surprised to see the Colonial Marines from Aliens show up as our avatars.
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.

Spinward Star, LLP

Live Stream
YouTube

Doctors Without Sectors

Having arrived at Corfu and docked, the crew has realized that the far trader which escaped Focaline ahead of them is berthed next to them. It bears unmistakeable Kalamanaru Enterprises markings, so the crew immediately set about gathering information about its arrival date and crew. First, regarding Corfu itself, Haank digs into recent events via available news sources and learns that the planet is currently experiencing some planetary strife related to a recently discovered archaeological site; the planet itself is heavily balkanized, especially in the wake of the recent viral outbreak, and the population is around 30% Vargr who dislike the very strong Imperium presence due to the before-mentioned dig site. Due to this strike, non-Vargr are warned to only visit the Imperium controlled regions as their safety cannot be guaranteed.

As this is most definitely Eddy’s area of expertise, he takes point in this and quickly identifies the lead traffic control officer. Upon discovering that this individual is female, he puts into action a plan that is surprisingly bold in its implementation: first, he purchases flowers from one of the highport’s small kiosks, then seeks out the woman in question at a cafe before presenting them her, claiming that he has been paid to deliver them from a secret admirer. The ice successfully broken, he then promptly segues into a very discreet interrogation where he eventually learns that the Kalamanaru ship arrived several days ago and most of the crew disembarked to go dirtside. He flirts with the middle-aged woman nonstop throughout the entire conversation and successfully gains a great deal of information.

While Eddy is social engineering, Buck – who has discreetly accompanied him to ensure his safety – notes the arrival of several Kalamanaru crewmembers, including a Vargr he recognizes from Focaline. He later uses his more than capable computer hacking skills to penetrate the higport’s firewall which is easy enough; he then attempts to access the systems of the Golden Dreamer (which is the Kalamanaru ship), but this is quickly detected and countered, so he disconnects and retreats from his hacking location. After relocating, he then re-accesses the highport’s systems, downloads all related data to the Kalamanaru ship, and then wipes all records of his presence. From the data he pulled, the crew is able to determine that Lorain was taken dirtside.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim, who has spent the entire trip from Heya to Corfu interacting with the ‘Doctors Without Sectors’ physicians they are escorting, makes several inquiries about joining with them and, when he is given an enthusiastic response, he approaches Captain Stanbridge with this as a possible legitimate reason to go dirtside. The DWS angle will get them much closer to their target site and, from there, they can formulate their next step. With a dearth of alternate options and a concern that the entire hacker issue earlier could be problematic, Ella decides that this is the way to go.


Dyrin Byard

Once the supplies are secured aboard the Pilgrim’s launch, the crew (plus the three passengers) lift off with Armin at the controls and Aris assisting. They land at the Imperium landing pad soon after and accompany the passengers to the nearby ‘Doctors Without Sectors’ offices where they fill out the appropriate paperwork; fortunately, a caravan is heading out in the morning to the small Vargr city that overlooks the dig site, so the crew manage to obtain slots on the transport. They are warned by Dyrin Byard, the lead ‘driver’ and primary bodyguard, about the general xenophobia of the Vargr with regards to ‘Imperium spies’ and, during this safety briefing, he eyes the crew askance, clearly not buying their story about them being proper Doctors Without Sectors employees. His suspicions are only worsened when Eddy accidentally reveals on a poorly hidden rifle case; if I can find it, Byard says, so can the Vargr. The weapons are hidden again, this time much better. Armin and Aris remain behind with the launch so as to stand by should an emergency extraction be required.

During the trip, Ella (who is listed on the manifest as a Nurse) converses with Byard, having already deduced that he is a former marine. They exchange war stories with both of them talking around the things they don’t want to discuss and Ella ends up strongly suspecting that Byard never actually left Imperium service but is instead on a deepcover assignment. Haank will later engage Byard in conversation once Ella has stopped and inquires about the lay of the land around the medical compound.

Upon arrival at the Doctors Without Sectors clinic, Ibrahim is put to work almost immediately and easily impresses all of the other physicians with his skills. This gives the other crewmembers plenty of opportunities to poke around and discreetly observe. They are actually able to see the dig site from the clinic’s spot, though there is a considerable Vargr presence between them due to the location of a small town. That evening, when the crew gathers together once more to discuss their options, they note that none of them have seen Byard all day. When Abe briefly mentions his absence to his new physician friends, they mention that he disappears frequently.

At this revelation, Ella opts to dig further. With Buck keeping an eye out, she first cleans up and changes into some better-looking clothes before she seeks out Byard’s sleeping quarters and knocks. When she discovers that there is no one home, she enters and promptly begins snooping. What she discovers is that the quarters seem very Spartan, with everything in its proper place and no clutter at all. In this process of this, she discovers a case under the bed that she recognizes from her Navy days as belonging to Marine Force Recon units; it is missing the longarm and a pistol. Her theory that he’s on assignment seems confirmed.

Outside, Buck is caught by surprise when he noticed Byard suddenly appear around a corner and head toward his quarters. He is too far away to intercept the man and Byard’s unexpected appearance catches Ella in the middle of snooping. Fortunately, the man does not overreact and instead has a friendly conversation with Captain Stanbridge, especially once she reveals the real reason they’re here: to rescue Lorain Messandi. As that is the only thing that they have in mind, Byard is inclined to assist. He provides with some extremely detailed images from close up, which Ella takes to indicate that Byard has someone on the inside; he will confirm this but doesn’t go into further detail about the individual’s identity. On the off chance that someone (other than Buck) saw her enter Byard’s quarters, Ella stays for a while, especially when the marine reveals that he can cook quite well. Fortunately, what happens on Corfu, stays on Corfu.


Player Notes:

  • Andricus unexpectedly missed the game tonight.
  • The whole ‘Doctors Without Sectors’ thing started out as a joke a session or two ago but we’ve run with it and Ibrahim is no doubt going to look into actually joining the organization. Not sure if it’d be an Ally Group, a Contact Group, or a Patron just yet … mostly, though, it’s going to end up being a good cover for him to go places.
  • It is currently up in the air whether there will be a game on 5 August; we have two players who are a definite miss – Herodian and Mel – and originally, the GM thought he was going to be out due to work, but that turns out to not be the case.
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.

Spinward Star, LLP

Live Stream
YouTube

The Proverbial Barfight

Having successfully arrived at the spaceport orbiting Heya, the crew immediately turn to replacing their lost arms and equipment. Ibrahim immediately heads for the local dispensary in order to replenish the medical drugs that were lost on Focaline, where he also inquires about the amber status of Corfu. From the head physician there, he learns that the pseudo-plague mostly affects Vargr, but that it is under control. On a whim, he also inquires whether they have any cargo or passengers destined for the planet since the Aimless Pilgrim is scheduled to go that way. This leads to him putting the coordinator in touch with Haank to arrange for the Pilgrim to carry these supplies. Abe departs the medbay rather pleased with himself as he’s now provided the crew a legitimate excuse to visit Corfu.

Meanwhile, Eddy goes hunting for an under-the-ladar arms dealer to replace their weapons and, after some time searching (and selling off some of their captured loot), successfully locates an appropriate merchant. From him, Eddy learns that the local control rating has jumped up a notch following some recent “unpleasantness” involving a group of Vargr who caused a great deal of trouble. As a result, starport authorities have clamped down hard on all weapons, which results in the price for replacements being significantly greater than normal. Eddy attempts to get a better deal by banking on the argument that the weapons aren’t doing the dealer any good just sitting in his warehouse, but is expertly countered with the fact that this clamp down will ease soon enough and, even if it doesn’t, there’s always going to be a market for guns. In the end, Eddy goes for the current price and hands over the list which the dealer agrees to have shipped to the Pilgrim. His part in this complete, Eddy informs Ella that he’s got a date to get to; she advises him not to be late when they ship out in three days.

While here, Kelso disembarks and disappears into the orbital starport, having taken a few trinkets obtained from Focaline as payment. He intends on selling them and finding his way back to his home.

On Day Two, Armin and Ibrahim take a shuttle dirtside to arrange for the replenishment of shipboard stocks with fresh supplies (although to be fair, Abe is mostly along to obtain some dirt for his ongoing collection from every world he’s visited.) After arranging for the shipment to be sent to the orbital starport and the Pilgrim’s docking berth, they decide to visit one of the local taverns for a pint of Heya’s best. Almost at once, Armin is accosted by several ruffians who promptly begin making lewd suggestions and unwanted passes at her. She is having none of this, however, and tells them to go pound sand; one of the men doesn’t take no for an answer and reaches for her hand … but immediately finds himself snared in her deceptively powerful grip. Armin smashes the man’s wrist against the bar, breaking it instantly, before telling him coldly to leave her alone. The man’s companions spring to their feet, furious at this, and the fight is on!

While Abe successfully holds his own against one of the men, successfully locking him down with an arm lock, Armin wipes the floor with the other three using a combination of acrobatic dodges, elbow strikes and brutal kicks to the head. Two of the men are knocked out completely – including the first one – and a third staggers away, hurt and moaning about telling his father about this. Abe’s foe is released once the short fight is over and he wisely bolts for the door at top speed, leaving the two Aimless Pilgrim crewmembers to return to their drinks and for Armin to bask in the adulation of the crowd who are greatly impressed by her martial prowess.

Shortly thereafter, local authorities arrive, having been summoned by the bartender the moment he saw that the fight was beginning. They are understandably surprised that this tiny slip of a girl did the most damage but still have to take the two to the station to get a proper statement. This means that Armin and Ibrahim will miss the last shuttle back to the starport, so they must spend the night. While in custody, Abe asks to call Ella to advise her of their situation; upon receiving a call from ‘Starport Security,’ she automatically presumes that Eddy has gotten into trouble and is thus somewhat flabbergasted to learn that it is her kind-hearted doctor who has gotten into a fight! He assures her that everything is fine and that neither of them are being charged, but they will have to take the morning shuttle.

The following day, as Armin and Ibrahim head out to the shuttle pad, they realize that the are being followed by a pair of rough-looking fellows. Rather than risk another fight, the two take off at a sprint, hoping to reach the landing pad without incident. Their pursuers have other ideas, however, and chase, going so far as to draw sidearms and take a couple of wild shots at them. One of them even tries to scramble up a ramp thing and then tackle Abe from above, but the doctor narrowly parries this. By the time they reach the starport, they find armed security in a high state of alert, having heard gunfire. Abe shouts out a warning – ‘Guns! They’ve got guns!’ – as he and Armin scramble for cover; this results in a brief firefight between security and the pursuing thugs, with the latter retreating once it is clear that they aren’t going to be able to take out their targets. Some of the security types pursue them while the others quickly begin to interrogate Armin and Ibrahim about why they were being chased by McMurphy’s men. Seeing no reason to lie, Abe admits that they might have been upset that Armin kicked some of their asses in a bar fight last night. Thankfully, these guys have seen those vids and recognize her so to the two are allowed to board their shuttle after giving a quick statement; one of the security guys comments on how familiar-looking Armin is, which prompts Abe to realize the same though he cannot quite put his finger on who she reminds him of. Once back aboard the Pilgrim, Abe describes these crazy events to Ella who is disgruntled that they may have obtained a new enemy (even if it is just a local.)

Eddy returns soon after, though he’s walking funny and quickly seeks out Abe for some sort of soothing cream for his … ahem … rashes; during the treatment, Ibrahim inquires whether Eddy knows who McMurphy is, then has to explain the

Now with a valid excuse for visiting Corfu – the medical supplies and several doctors who need transport- and the entire crew assembled, a debate transpires about their next course of action, whether they should try to sneak into the system or enter legally. Buck brings up the possibility of changing their transponder code (which brings its own problems, particularly with the whole ‘shoot on sight’ mandate that the Imperium follows for ships without transponders) or simply deactivating it and then claiming it is malfunctioning. In the end, they decide to operate legally and in open (which is a massive relief to Haank.) Onto Corfu they go.

Upon arrival six days later, they immediately start receiving warnings from a jump beacon about this being a quarantine zone. A local Imperium system patrol boat races toward them, transmitting an order to stand down and prepare to be boarded for inspection. This is to be expected, of course, and Gloval instructs everyone to comply as they surely have nothing to hide. Eddy grins and then disappears to double-check that none of their ill-gotten artifacts are openly visible. The Imperium forces board soon after and complete their scans – in the process, the officer gives Armin a strange look, as if he almost recognizes her; several of the crew note that Gloval tenses at this, then relaxes when they let it slide. Once the inspection is complete, they are directed to move onto the orbital spaceport to dock.

Upon approach, as the Aimless Pilgrim moves into their docking berth, the personnel on the command deck recognize a ship berthed next to them: it is the far trader that fled Focaline ahead of them. The lowlifes they thought were weeks behind them are already here!


Player Notes:

  • Due to circumstances outside her control, Loki had to drop out of the game for a while. Mel played Armin during the bar fight.
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.

Spinward Star, LLP

Live Stream
YouTube

Escape from Focaline

Only moments have passed. A pair of vargr corsairs race toward the Aimless Pilgrim, their weapon systems charged and locked. The local system defense boat is well out of position, having pursued another ship which the crew now strongly suspect to have been the one that escaped with the abducted Lorain Messandi. Upon Aris identifying the ship classes of the approaching hostiles, Admiral Gloval decides to burn toward them and make a hard thrust to a safe distance for Jump; he expects to be able to easily outrun these corsairs due to the Pilgrim’s superior engines.

The crew report to their respective battle positions and, in standard Imperium Navy practice, don their vac-suits before evacuating the atmosphere from inside the Pilgrim. Long minutes creep by as the vargr continue to maneuver into position while the Pilgrim accelerates toward them. Haank makes an attempt to send a distress signal dirtside, but discovers that communications are being jammed; so much for calling in Imperium reinforcements! The command crew – Gloval and Ella – issue tactical directives as they reach maximum effective range and the gunners engage, though their shots are ineffective. Missiles are also launched, but these are easily taken out by point-defense systems.

With the Pilgrim continuing to build up speed, the three ships draw closer to one another and once more exchange weaponsfire; this time, Armin and Dawes do not miss with their respective weapons, and they brutally ravage their target. The vargr corsair is not crippled but is definitely badly damaged and loses several members of its crew; it’s return fire and that of its fellow hostile is utterly ineffective, thanks to the Pilgrim’s armor and sandcasters. This brief exchange of fire will be the last real shots of this brief engagement as the Pilgrim easily outruns the pursuing vargr, though they do have to deal with a couple of missiles hurled their way.

The 100-Diameter limit is reached without further incident several hours later, despite a false alarm in the galley likely caused by Eddy’s bad luck, and the Pilgrim Jumps, destination: Keng and then onto Heya before moving onto Corfu. On the expectation that the ship they’re pursuing is slower than the Pilgrim’s awesome Jump-3, the crew hopes to beat the unknown far trader to Corfu and then ambush them. Six days elapse while in transit to Keng and, upon refueling at a local gas giant, they jump out once more, reaching Heya seven days later.

Recognizing that they need to resupply, what with most of the landing party’s equipment having been blown up on Focaline, they touch down at the starport. Ella immediately instructs Eddy to do that thing he does and find out whether the far trader they are pursuing is here; he eagerly does so and disappears into the starport to make friends. He quickly locates a young lady who works at the starport and has a lovely evening with her; she agrees to keep an eye out for the far trader and they exchange contact information.


Player Notes:

  • We got a very late start as the GM was returning home from a trip.
  • As expected, the majority of the session was the space battle as we had to re-acclimatize ourselves to the Interstellar Wars space combat. I think it’s probably safe to say that the group is divided with regards to these rules; half of us dislike them, strongly or otherwise, and the other appear to like them.
  • Following the space battle, we sort of fast-forwarded through a lot of stuff, much of which we would later return to on our message boards, particularly the whole re-equipping thing. We might need to revisit this next session.
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.

Spinward Star, LLP

Live Stream
YouTube

The Sky God

Upon discovering that both Ross and Professor Messandi appear to have been captured by local aliens, the crew immediately pick up the trail and begin to pursue with Kelso at the forefront (since he’s the most experienced with tracking and the like.) None of them are especially enthusiastic about traipsing around in the jungle, especially Haank who is experiencing withdrawal symptoms from his VR addiction. Based on their progress that day, Kelso is fairly certain that the ‘gogs’ are making better time than the crew but do not appear to be concerned about concealing their trail. Along the way, the crew disseminate equipment and weapons, with Buck and Ibrahim swapping rifles (since the former is better with the assault rifle.)

The day passes without incident, though Kelso is forced to forage for extra food to supplement their limited foodstuffs. Fortunately, the night is just as uneventful, and the crew set out once more come morning. Along the way, Aris also determines that part of Jim’s long-range and encryption communication module is still functional, which he believes can be combined with the emergency beacon to maximize distance while simultaneously ensuring security. It is decided to hold off on this action until they have recovered the professor and Ross. By nightfall, Kelso is convinced that the crew is gaining on their quarry – they are only a half day behind!

With food notably dwindling, the third day since the abduction of their companions is considerably more stressful. Everyone is filthy, sore and hungry. Haank is in even worse shape as the first twinges of his datastarve is beginning to really kick in; he’s holding on, but really wants a VR fix right now. According to their internal timetable, the Aimless Pilgrim should be in-system now, though they don’t know exactly where at the moment. The trail of the natives continues along the coast but appears to have turned westward, which Kelso hypothesizes might indicate a village of some sort.

Rather than a village, though, they discover a bizarre stone temple-like structure wrought in an almost human-shape (complete with dark cave) before which the natives who had captured Ross and the professor appear to be conducting a ritual of some sort, complete with ominous chanting in their native language. In the very instant the the crew exit the jungle and find themselves looking down into this strange tableau, they realize that Ross is strapped on an altar of some sort. Before they can react, the apparent leader of the aliens, adorned like a primitive shaman, plunges a knife into Ross’ chest!

Eddy reacts impulsively, crying out a loud ‘No!’ and charging forward, armed only with a vibro machete, while the others advance in a slightly more tactical manner. Aris, Haank and Kelso all dart forward as well, though in a different direction, while both Buck and Ibrahim take aim with their weapons at the native shaman who has just stabbed Ross. Alerted to the arrival of the crew thanks to Eddy’s cry, the ‘gogs’ turn toward them, automatically readying their crossbow-like weapons or maneuvering toward the crew. One of them seizes the professor and uses Messandi as a (literal) human shield while another releases the six-legged cat-like creature that Kelso previously identified as an aiyankira.

There is a sudden fierce flurry of fire as the crew open up with their weapons. Ella blows the foot off of one of the aliens, inflicting so much pain that the native passes out, while Ibrahim’s shot takes one of the shaman’s arms completely off and forces him to to scurry behind cover. As the aiyankira charges toward Aris, it comes under a withering barrage of fire from Haank and Kelso, both of whom inflict massive amounts of damage upon the creature. The ‘gog’ counterattack is weak and, in seconds, more than half their number are on the ground, dead or dying, while the survivors scramble to escape, especially when they see Kelso blow away the shaman scrambling for cover. Even before the shooting stops, both Eddy and Ibrahim start rushing toward the downed Ross; the former reaches him first and even if Abe had all of his gear, saving the man would have been difficult though the effort is made. In the end, though, Ibrahim is forced to abandon his efforts. He’s lost another one.

Professor Messandi, once rescued, is very pleased and then immediately distracted by the statue looming over them. Absolutely convinced that this will prove all of his theories, he wanders into the cave even before Ibrahim is forced to acknowledge that Ross is beyond his ability to save. Ella briefs runs herd on the crew – ordering a distraught Eddy to follow the professor, she then instructs Abe to see what he can do to patch up Aris while Haank assists Kelso in field stripping the now deceased aiyankira and Buck begins jury-rigging Jim’s communication array with the emergency beacon. She then follows the professor in as well where she discovers him (and Eddy) before a pair of statues and a strangely sealed door that, after a moment, strikes her as very evocative of a starchart. With that in mind, they are able to unseal this door, revealing …

The interior of a five thousand year old Vilani starship. There are two mummified corpses present who almost immediately begin disintegrating, having evidently been hermetically sealed for this entire time. Eddy begins exploring the small craft, pocketing some baubles that he expects will be worth considerable money. Upon one of the skeletons, he finds an iridium medallion which appears to be only part of a greater piece; he hands it off to Ella almost without thinking.

While this is going on, Buck successfully makes contact with the Aimless Pilgrim before demanding they go full secure; once they have done so, he asks for an emergency extraction but, when he is told that they intend to have the local authorities pick them up, he passes the comm on to Ella who then explains the situation to Gloval. After a moment of consideration, he agrees that they need to do this discreetly – thankfully, the crew knows of the sensor hole that they can use – and Gloval informs Ella that Armin will arrive within two hours in the shuttle. This gives the crew plenty of time to get ready.

When the shuttle touches down, the crew is waiting and ready to start cramming crates into it. After grabbing a tool kit, Aris and Buck spend some time extracting the memory crystals from the vessel, though some of them crumble and break. It’s the best they can do, though, since these are several thousand years old. Aris is hoping to get information from them if at all possible as the data on these crystals is potentially worth more than everything else here.

They lift off with Armin at the helm and, as they climb into orbit, her panel pings a few times, indicating that someone, somewhere was trying to get a targeting solution on them. Almost as soon as they dock with the Aimless Pilgrim, Gloval’s voice rings out via the intercom: all hands to action stations! There are two ships converging on them in clear attack vectors!


Player Notes:

  • Loki joined us again and ran Kelso during the fight since her regular character, Armin, was still on the Aimless Pilgrim. Armin became active following the fight but since that was the last 30 minutes or so, I stuck with Kelso as the active PC.
  • The fight took up the majority of this session.
  • Next week will be the first space combat we’ve done in a very long time; I honestly expect the majority of the session will end up there as we refamiliarize ourselves with the rules…
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.