The Network

Ashley Madison, Investigative Journalist
Descent Into The Past

This is a mystery story involving ancient history and modern heroism, technology and grit, intellect and danger.  The story starts with the discovery of ancient artifacts on Maikagun III, and the vague concepts of an ancient human empire, and some terrible threat that destroyed it.  Now Humanity again has an empire, and again it is under existential threat from a mysterious threat.  Coincidences over thousands of years are usually merely coincidences, but this reporter cannot shake the feeling that these two circumstances are connected.

Our "happy few, our band of non gender specific familial connections" continued the exploration of this fascinating, yet dangerous system.  Our wisecracking bush pilot managed to navigate the swirling whirlpools of gravity and mass that plague our efforts.  She skillfully manages to dock with a lab ship, clearly here to investigate the planet below.  Through various searches it becomes apparent that the crew abandoned the ship months ago, obviously to scout the surface.  In a final piece of piloting skill beyond belief Tranny puts the lab ship in a stable orbit amid this maelstrom, all while stuffing her face like a recently dumped freshman.  Supplies and irrelevant miscellanea are transferred back to Old Beardy.

Donning a delightful new number in the vac suit genre intrepid Ashley Madison, your reporter, descends to the service with the help of this rag tag bunch of mismatched heroes.  An ancient ship lies dead on this barren service.  The interior is comprehensively recorded by this reporter as a future service to mankind.  But the crew must move on for there to be mankind to receive this exploratory gift.

The search reveals greater confirmation of the story suggested on Maikagun III with additional details.  This is an ancient, alien ship crewed by men as human as you or I.  There is a star map tracing their path from their home, a place called Terra.  Rough estimates put the human empire in question of existing around 3,000 years ago, but on the verge of annihilation by a threat known as The Doom.  There is no sign of the researchers, who appear to have been from Brown and Volokh partnerships.  Why have they kept this quiet?  Could the rumors of eugenics be true?  Are they attempting to use alien technology in concert with their biotech division to produce a "superior human?"  There's only one way to find out.

Descending into a hole presumably dug by the researchers the raggle-tag crew of Greenbeard the Invincible an almost immediate attack causes confusion and mayhem (see holographic recording).  This reporter must make that most difficult decision, to objectively observe and report, or to enter the fray and become one of the actors.  Faced with the imminent demise of one of the crew, Slug, this reporter briefly abandons her objectivity and risks her own life to save him.  His blood stains her hands.  She has now known war.

These are heroes, risking their very existence for simply the possibility of doing good.  We must return Slug to the ship for medical treatment, but our fate is clear.  We must go back and risk everything to save everyone.

 

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Notes from the med bay

When we first accepted this mission I expected a nice calm journey into the stars, seeking out new life and new civilizations.  Instead, I lay here in this damn med bay waiting for the burn bots to finish their job.  And yeah – it hurts!  Worse yet, I bet the rest of the crew is raiding my stash of space coke while I'm stuck in here!  I hope someone remembers to keep stocking the autostill.

The system we wound up in, one that most of my cohorts except Tomi had been to before, is pretty damn weird.  While we've found traces of ancient people, there is no one here.  At least, not that we have found so far.  I still have no idea what's going on with the artificial planetoids and hopefully once we get done exploring it will give us some answers.  Did I mention I was shot – and that it hurts?  Once we found the tunnel to get below the metal … door?  Whatever… we quickly came under attack.  I have to hand it to the crew – they handled themselves really well.  Me?  Not so much.  I tried to take cover and then got shot… a few times.  Lucky for me Ashley acted quickly and patched me up as best she could while the rest of them moved in.  I tried to rally, myself and everyone else – and I got shot AGAIN!  This time it was more than we could fix in place with just medkits, so once the bot was dispatched we returned to the ship.  And, here I wait.. wondering how much of my stash will be left.  Why didn't they outfit these things with morphine buttons?

Obviously my first time around as a captain with this rag tag bunch of heroes didn't go exactly as planned, but it wasn't all that horrible either.  I just hope I can heal up so we can figure out what is down that hole.  If it's more security bots I'm going to be super pissed.  Maybe there's ancient drugs down there!

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Session 13

GMs Log:

The party started on the derelict lab ship in orbit around the planetary fragment.  Believing that they had failed to fully explore the vessel, they decided to continue their explorations in addition to restoring power so that logs could be retrieved. 

Most of the crew quarters were found in disarray.  Ashley was somewhat put out by the class of citizens that must have occupied these rooms.  Dirty, unkempt individuals.  She was, however, pleasantly surprised to find one of the rooms neat and orderly.  She recognized a few of the items located in the room as reminiscent of devices she  in the sorority house at University.  She retrieved a Clothing Consultant, Hair Styler, and Sonic Stain Remover in addition to a small droid programmed with Profession – Tailoring 2.

Daphne made an odd discovery in the Galley.  A sink full of dirty dishes with an unopened box nearby.  Further examination of the box revealed it to be a   sanitation droid.  The markings on the box indicated that it had been delivered some 4-5 months prior.  Some debate amongst the crew occurred on why a sanitation droid was left inactivated next a sink fully of dirty dishes?  Was this a trick?  Could the droid be infected?  Could droids be infected?  They decided not to activate the droid but saved it for further research later – perhaps using the ship infection widget to test the robot in some fashion.

Tomi made straight for the sick bay to reconnoiter the drug situation, she was able to find 10 doses of slow drug, 10 doses of fast drug, and a TL13 Medkit.  The rest of the equipment which might be expected to be found in a lab ship had been removed. 

The crew was then able to rig up a method to provide a modest amount of fuel to the reactors and restore power.  Ashley and Slug were caught a bit off guard by the sudden restoration of gravity and were injured as the ships systems came suddenly online.  Tomi was able to successfully retrieve logs from the ships computer and did a little digging as to the nature of this vessel.  They learned the following:

  • The was purchased by the Brown and Volokh Partnership (BVP) corporation earlier this year.  They made their way here for another look at the facility on the planetary fragment below.
  • References were made which indicated this was not the first such expedition.  A prior expedition had occurred in the past which had procured technology samples which were ultimately provided to Erik Ericsson for research.  The second expedition occurred when BVP agents learned of the facility discovered by the Heinlein crew on Maikaguun 3.
  • The ship arrived in system some 4 months ago.  The scientists on board left for the surface and never returned.  The ship eventually ran out of power.

They decided to boost the orbit of the lab ship into something a bit more stable.  The odd gravitational effects of the planetary fragment made this a bit of a challenge, but Daphne was able to expertly pilot the ship into an indefinitely stable albeit elliptical orbit.

The crew brings their new-found loot back to the ship for later analysis.  Slug attempts to deploy a survey drone into an orbit that will relay signals from the surface back up to the ship.  His first attempt damages a drone, the second attempt is successful.  He assigns the utility robots to first repair the droid, then continue on addressing any other needs the ship has.  Ein’s Good Boy program is activated and he is bid to keep an eye on things while they descend to the planet.

The crew then set their sights on the crashed alien vessel below.  Daphne put on her small spacecraft hat and was able to again navigate the odd gravitational influences and touch down near by the alien craft.  She was able to approach using a spiral pattern so that they were able to get a good look at the relic on the way down.  The alien vessel was only ‘half there’.  It appeared as though the rear half the thing was just suddenly vaporized.  The front half dropped from orbit and buried much of the nose into a rocky formation as it crashed.

Everyone cautiously began exploring the entrance to the wreckage, probing for a way inside.  The bulkhead doors had sealed when the craft lost pressure.  Lacking cutting equipment, Daphne throws a few well-placed rounds from her PGMP to blow the door off the frame with minimal damage to the surrounding ship.  As the begin to explore the ship, she finds that what remains is largely crew quarters, the bridge, and a single laboratory. 

Ashley, ever interested in human interest stories, starts with the crew quarters and everyone else follows suit.  They find that while the wreck is frozen, the contents were fairly well preserved.  A few uniforms, shaped as though made for a human being are located.  A small card with a picture on the front is found.  The universal translation program they found on Maikaguun III translates the text to read Taj Mahal.  They also locate a small, felt-lined wooden box.  Inside is a primitive however beautiful chrome slug thrower bearing a small inscription.  Colt 45.  USMC.  10 Nov, 1775

Next, they encounter a laboratory with a small computer system.  After some work, they are able to extract some data.  Most of the information is duplicates what was already learned in the Underground Facility of Maikaguun III.  One of the cabinets in the lab has a large box filled with something called Luna Bars.  Daphne snatches them up, laying her claim.

Moving on to the Bridge, the first thing they notice are two corpses in vac suits.  On examination, they are a bit surprised to see that they are completely human.  Indistinguishable from any random person they might run into in the High Port of Barnett.  A quick science check proved that these folks survived the crash, but ultimately died of asphyxiation.  A retracting transparency is found on a conference table in the middle of the room.  It seems to show the route the ship took from its home port – 10 jumps away. 

Further study of the computer systems here shows that a debate between the military and the scientists on board was the last thing noted in the ships logs.  The scientists were angry at the order to evacuate the system and destroy their research base on Maikaguun III.  They had convinced the military commander of the vessel that one last trip to the facility on Maikaguun IV should be undertaken.  The solar flares interfering with the defensive systems in the facility could end soon.  It could be thousands of years before flares would again render the facility approachable.  The technology in that facility may be the only thing capable of warding off The Doom causing the collapse of their civilization

Much of the rest of the data on the ships computers were protected by security protocols, however they were able to able to extract a few fragments here and there:

  • The logs seem to indicate that the ship arrived here in the year 2729.  Basic investigations lead everyone to believe this ship is between 2500 and 3000 years old.
  • They are from a civilization based on a world called Terra.  Terra is the home to an empire called The Second Imperium.  References are also made to ‘The Rule of Man’

Our intrepid band if fearless hero types decide to now explore what lies below the metallic plate.  Slug manages to recall a drone from the ship to help with this endeavor.  They are able to locate a large hole that has been excavated out near the Launch from the lab ship.  The hole goes down some 100 meters or so before where it intersects with some maintenance tunnels.  The group begins making it’s way down the tunnel which run in wide circular path.  The drone, scouting out just ahead of the party, transmits data bank to Slug’s neural comms.  A robot of some kind comes into view on the scans, Slug sends a quick warning to everyone to take cover.  The machine, a Centurion manufactured in The Network turns to open fire.   Ashley and Tomi, being quick on the draw, manage to get behind cover but realize they lack adequate arms to deal with this kind of threat.  The centurion is able to score a hit with its gauss rifles on Slug, but misses on attacks against the other crew members.  Daphne and Fenton both maneuver into positions, taking shots as they go.  Ashley, heads to Slug to apply some first aid.  Additional shots are exchanged, Slug is again injured, but ultimately Fenton is able to dispatch the droid with authority.

The party realizes that Slug really needs more advanced medical attention than can be performed on here in a dirty tunnel.  Further, they make note of a vertical shaft being guarded by the droid.  They lack the proper equipment to make use of this shaft and agree they should probably return back to the Launch and regroup.

To be continued.

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Tomi's Diary
To Maikaguun

Finally done with battling the headless, heartless monster CAIN (that may or may not be evil, when you really give it a good think like I do when sampling the ship's stash of space yummies), we headed back to Barnett for some R&R (recreational drugs & re-evaluation of life).

At the base, I ran into one of my pirate waif friends from ago. Except, she was no longer waifish, but quite tough and rather buff. She introduced me to her trainer, Marmoduki, and he agreed to train me for – let's just say – a fair trade. Basically, I spent 3 weeks waking up at the crack of dawn, joining Marmoduki and his crew of women-getting-beefier in their old fashioned training facility, and returning under cover of darkness. No one else from Heinlein really noticed my absence – kind of like they don't notice my presence unless they need my help. And in 3 weeks, I became pretty good at jabbing and bludgeoning and dodging and general juking. My sap has never been so cunningly wielded. I will miss the training, though I was not sad to say goodbye to Marmoduki. 

Meanwhile, Slug has become Captain Important with the crew. I can see Ashley gaga eyed for him, but I just laugh to myself at how mismatched they are. Slug wrangled a new boat and a new mission from the Powers That Be. Still, I'm never sure if and when we get paid for this stuff, but I'm glad to tag along for free room and board and access to space coke. And, come on – I'm not naive – a fair share of the profits and zero share of the risk. It's nice to be somewhere you aren't not wanted.

The crew seemed not all aces when we left Barnett. Daphne's a great pilot, but for some reason (tacos? eggrolls?), we landed way on the edge of the fueling system. I glanced at the sensors and saw a fuel-laden comet not too far away, so we saved a little time and money mining fuel with our new fancy drones. 

When we got to Maikaguun, I noticed a strange binary planet system like I've never seen. Two identical twin planets circling the tragic remains of a larger planet, like the whole system had been crafted. Again, blame it on too much space coke, or the after effects of 3-weeks worth of concussions, but my sensoring wasn't on point. We searched one of the twin planetoids first and found nothing. Cobb and I searched an abandoned lab ship (that may have been one of his former ships – so strange!) and found nothing but an empty droid-charging station. Finally we found some weird metal plate on the core planet remnant which we are about to check out.

Oh, and I thought to play nice with Ashley. She's always with the wise-cracking like I don't understand language. But I showed her some new ways to do her hair since she is always commenting on mine. She thinks I like her now, which is the safe way for me to play it, and she even gets my name right sometimes.

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Ashley Madison
Journalism Notes

Physically weary from our travails in the battle against the inhuman CAIN, and soul weary at the tragic but heroic loss of our comrades, our rag-tag bunch of heroes returns home in the almost wreckage of their noble vessel Heinlein.   (too much melodrama?)

After the months of stress among the stars, never knowing who or what might be an enemy, a return to the familiar environs of sweet Barnett was a sweet balm to the crews pain.  Taking the opportunity to reconnect with our roots the crew split up for some R&R.  (I went yachting with Nigel!)

But duty calls and (insert something martyrish here, grab a poem out of somewhere) Scout service calls us up, CAIN held at bay temporarily, Barnett has engineered a widget that stops virus contamination, but for some reason that the boffins understand we need bigger, alien computers.  Off we go back to Maikagun, but Heinlein is being repaired so we get a scout ship (smaller, with less romance, what is the crew of the Heinlein without the Heinlein?)  Two weeks later we are there and scanning the system there's a weird bit.  It looks like someone broke up a planet to make two smaller, identical planets orbiting the whole mess.  (Remember to ask Chomey about boring technical details.  Q. can she read?)

There's an abandoned spaceship, a crashed ship, and some people already there.  Bravely the RTBOH head down to investigate and save humanity (again).

Ashley, this is not your best work. Will need to do more research later to provide the perspective of the vast importance of this mission.  Will also need some personal hooks to provide the opportunity for the reader to become engaged at the human level.  If only there was something to these "people" that was worth paying attention to.

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Session 12

GM Recap

The crew spent some time unwinding and catching up on recent events after their return to Barnett.  The scout service contacted Capt Bartholomew 'Slug' Slugopolopolous for a debrief since the return from Lagar.  The Major apologized for having to commandeer Slug's scout vessel for a priority mission, but was able to extend an offer:  A new mission specific ship is being rushed into service.  He will be given use of the vessel if he accepts the mission.  The mission itself is somewhat specialized and stands a much greater change of success with the expertise of a few of his known associates.  

The biological computers discovered by Capt Jones and crew are uniquely suited to defend against infection.  The design, however, is only suitable for smaller ships.  It would take years reverse engineer and build out computers suitable for capital ships, space stations, and the like.  Further, these computers are so effective at combating infection, some speculate that they were built for that very purpose.  Perhaps the original builders are familiar with the source of the virus and have techniques which can be utilized to defeat it.

  • Find the source of civilization that built these devices.
  • Enlist the aid of that civilization in the manufacture of newer/larger devices
  • Find the source and origins of the virus, if possible
  • Find a way to purge the virus from infected systems
  • Determine if there is a way to inoculate against the virus

Ashley helped negotiate a 'free fuel for life' deal – Slug ultimately accepted the mission but soon found the ship to be incomplete.  Some finishing touches were needed in order to make the vessel 'expedition ready'.  A ships boat was purchased along with vehicles and drones.  Additional equipment was borrowed from the Heinlein.  While waiting for deliveries, the crew was able to stock up on supplies and spend a few weeks brushing up on their studies.  Interesting tidbits of information learned from Newcasts:

  • Scientists have finished constructing an air gapped research facility on a small asteroid.  No physical, nor transmitter based network connections are available.  All data coming out of the facility is completely analog based reporting.
  • Infection starts as a seed.  Once delivered, it needs to 'unpack' itself.  Depending on the speed of the host system, this could take anywhere from 15 minutes to days.  It may even just lay dormant and wait for an opportunity to retransmit the infection.
  • Scientists have been able to design a rudimentary test to determine if infection is present.  When the virus infiltrates a system it will start by exploring control paths.  A small widget can be integrated into a detection device.  The act of exploring controls on an otherwise unnecessary widget will cause a control arm to extend, lighting up a notification, which in turn physically breaks the control  arm in the process.
  • A new class of ship constructed in partnership between SAIC and Ultra Prime was rushed thru trials and sent to Lagar where they engaged the enemy.  Their heroic sacrifice is believed to caught the Viral invasion off guard and suspended it's march into more densely populated areas of the sector.  Sadly, there were no survivors from the Lagar system.
  • CAIN forces are numerous but are limited to smaller jumps, this allows the Corporate Federation time to potentially meet threats.   Minor battles happen occasionally, but it's more of a stalemate for the time being.
  • Corporate Federation is issuing Letters of Marque to privateers authorizing them to engage in acts of piracy in territory held by CAIN.  Letter of Marque is also an electronic breaker wired into the comm system, should the ships computer show signs of corruption, the reactor will blow. 

    • Most Privateers hope that there are no CAIN forces present and an easy snatch and grab job will net quick profits.
    • A privateer fleet has formed under the banner of an unknown party.  The fleet has been conducting deeper excursions into enemy territory trying for bigger jobs.  They have even returned back to Federated space with refugees

      • Refugees state that largely, CAIN is securing industrial capabilities.  Farming worlds and humans seeking refuge are left alone unless they pose a threat to industry.
      • There are many robots being used for these purposes.  Oddly, no one has seen a Zerubabel Enterprises robot being used.

The ship set course for Maikaguun, but misjumped on their first stop coming into Udibi.  They arrived far into the outer solar system.  Luckily, a nearby comet was located which allowed them to refuel over the course of several days.  Meanwhile, Daphne spent several days with a protein bar in one hand and a servo-spanner in the other as she calibrated the jump systems.  Slug and Tomi were able to lean on Erik Erricson to install the same neural technology that he previously gifted the other crew members.

The next jump into Maikaguun was successful, placing the ship within km of their anticipated arrival point near Maikaguun III.  Tomi immediately jumped on the powerful new high resolution scanners to see what secrets the system would reveal.  An odd phenomena was noted as it appeared as though 2 identical, manufactured? planets were in orbit around each other at Maikaguun IV.  

The crew cautiously approached the planets and found a large thick cloud a the lagrange point of the orbits which their scanners would not penetrate.  The launch entered the cloud and found a partially disassembled planet at the core.  Seeming relatively safe, the crew returned to the ship and proceeded on to the planetary fragment.  Tomi's scanners, no longer blocked by the gaseous cloud, was able to locate a number of points of interest:

  • A large metal plate on the surface.  The plate is many many kilometers across and has a seam running the length of it.  Adjacent to the plate is a small ship's launch, common to lab ships.
  • some distance away, a crashed ship of unknown origin on the surface, it was very will embedded into the rocky terrain and was almost overlooked.
  • A lab ship, possibly identical to the one traded in by Capt Jones, was found in a degrading orbit.  Scans revealed the ship to be dead, and completely without power.  

Deciding to start in orbit, the crew docked with and boarded the lab ship and found it to be abandoned.   A brief search that it was as it appeared: a scientific vessel.  The crew quarters appeared to have been vacated for a mission, and then never returned.  The ship eventually ran out of power and started it's slow decent as it slipped from orbit.  Tomi also noticed that there were empty droid charging stations on board.

 

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Post Session 11

As the Heinlein spent a day making their way out to the 100 diameter range from the gas giant, they zeroed in sensors to record as much of the battle as possible.  The missile cruiser was no match the viral fleet.  However, the viral fleet was clearly not aware of the new torpedo technology.  The cruiser used this to their advantage as it squared off against a dozen or so frigates; with a C&C vessel, and a fuel tanker behind their line. 

The cruiser was able to distract the frigates with huge barrages of missiles.  Meanwhile, torpedoes mixed in with a few missiles were sent toward the C&C.  A missile only barrage would normally have been relatively easy to intercept and that failing would not have caused significant damage.  In this case, the torpedoes were able to get thru and cause massive damage to the C&C vessel.  This threw the viral fleet temporarily into disarray.  The cruiser capitalized and launched massive volleys on the Tanker causing it to go down in a brilliant explosion.  The C&C vessel, on a nearby flank, was caught up in the explosion and was also destroyed. 

The frigates reordered their line and pressed the cruiser anew.  Several more volleys were exchanged.  The cruiser was able to take down just two of the frigates before damage to the point defense cannons left it unable to defend itself.  The cruiser attempted to retreat but was destroyed before it got far.  The remaining frigates then set course to leave the system.

 

The crew of the Heinlein returns to Barnett.  Damage to Heinlein incurred during the battle at Lagar I, Moon 1 was significant.  The crew wonders how the ship stayed running as well as it did.  They even suspect some sort of divine intervention by a mystical material known as Dragon's Milk Stout caused someone to forget to roll on the critical hits table.  Luckily the patchwork done in the field is enough for them to limp home, however, hull damage and damage to the reactor core will take many months to repair properly.  The scout service, grateful for their service, agrees to repair the Heinlein free of charge in their own maintenance facilities.  Meanwhile, the crew is able to liquidate the Luxury goods they pulled out of the skimming operation in Lagar and convert that into 8.8 million credits.  They also turn over the data retrieved from Lagar to the Scout service for analysis.

 

The next session will begin approximately 3 weeks after the Heinlein jumped out of Lagar.

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Session 11

GM Recap

The crew has just arranged for the skimming operation to deorbit itself into the gas giant.  As they are shoving off, Tomi makes not of a scout vessel approaching their position from 50k km.  The scout ship hails them with a text only communication.  They indicate that they were attacked by pirates and are seeking assistance.  They took damage in the attack and have not been able to fully repair their comms yet.  The crew waffles for a bit before responding back with a distress signal of their own and a .  The two ships close in on each other rapidly, the Heinlein then decides to set course for the moon.  The scout ship asks if they still require assistance and provide it in the form of a missile salvo.  

The two ships engage in combat, the scout vessel under armored and heavily armed; the Heinlein heavily armored and under armed.  The Heinlein only has one weapon that can fire at range and opts to bide their time dodging missiles and taking pot shots when possible.  The scout vessel closes the gap as rapidly as possible and then hits the Heinlein with a high density data transmission …. no effect.  The biocomputer recovered by the crew from the archeology site and then installed by Sallah was successfully able to prevent intrusion into the ships systems by the powerful AI Virus.  The Heinlein is able to score a lucky hit and damage one of the turrets on the scout ship.  The scout ship, attempts a boarding run at the Heinlein but is unable to maintain a lock.  The Heinlein spins around and surprises the scout vessel with 3 direct hits with mining lasers fired at point blank range.  The Heinlein finishes off the scout vessel but notices that a cutter had separated from the scout ship earlier in the battle and was making it's way toward the moon at high speed.

The Heinlein sets off after the cutter and sees the orbiting lab ship around the moon break orbit and head out of the system.  The Heinlein pursues the cutter and arrives at the moon an hour or so behind.  Following the cutter's movements on sensors the entire way there, they note that it appears to deploy some sort of satellite in orbit before it heads into the moons atmosphere.

The Heinlein cautiously approaches the satellite and are surprised to see that it disappears shortly after being deployed.  Being wary of the possibility of a stealthed orbital weapons platform they decide on the most logical course available to them.  Mining drones and mind altering space drugs.    After the mining drones are destroyed, they consult documentation on the planet and learn that it has a mix of lakes made of ammonia and hydrazine.  Believing they could ignite an ocean by firing on it they attempt to circumvent the satellite by giving it a wide bearth and keeping it beyond the moons horizon.  Finding only ammonia based oceans below.  Another round of space drugs really gets the crew going….directly into firing pattern of the cloaked satellite.  After a couple rounds of taking heavy damage the crew sobers up and takes cover.

Obviously the hydrazine based lake is collocated with the mining installation.  The Heinlein approaches as closely as it dares using mountain ranges for cover.  From their they set out in the ATV.  They find an Anti-Aircraft gun on the roof being manned by a droid and little else outside.  Opening the installation's garage door is a Centurion waiting on their arrival.  Combat ensues, Slug and Fenton are injured.  The centurion is obliterator in a massive explosion at the hands of Daphne's PMP.  The crew sets the reactor to overload and spends a few moments investigating the facility.  They don't find much of value below.  On the roof they find the AA gun being manned by a fairly advanced droid.  Fortunately that droid was only proficient in heavy weapons and related tactics – it was easily overcome started showing up on the roof.  Daphne investigated AA gun and found it was quite simple to lock onto the 'friendly' satellite target above and the satellite was dispatched in this way.  Ashley and Henry remove the data core from the cutter and they had back to the Heinlein.  

The Heinlein is just leaving the atmosphere when the installation blows in a brilliant spectacle.  The ship rides the shockwaves all the way into orbit.

The Heinlein sets course to leave the system by the most direct route possible when they are hailed by another vessel.  A Missile Cruiser has entered the system and explains they are there to assist.  Sallah has installed the extra bio computer they left behind and the vessel has been updated with a new torpedo based weapon system.  On the opposite side of the planet a very large infected fleet is approaching.  The fleet consists of dozens of frigates, a 500k ton fuel hauler, and a command and control vessel.  The Missile cruiser bids that the Heinlein leave, they know they are here on a suicide mission, the Heinlein must carry the word back to the rest of the sector.  Missiles and torpedos start flying furiously as the Heinlein makes it's way to a safe jump distance and leaves the system.

After 11 sessions, +1 Character Gen session, the crew is awarded 12 weeks of training/xp.  The game will be on hiatus for the next 2 months.

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Session 10

GM Recap

As The Heinlein enters the system, the first thing they notice is the line of ships waiting to refuel at Michaels and Michaels  They set course for the skimmer and broadcast a propaganda package prepared in advance by Ashley and Slug.  The journey in from the jump location takes 1.2 days.  During this time, Tomi is able to intercept communications chatter from refugees waiting to fuel up at skimming operation.  The talk is as expected – they can't wait to leave this system after what they witnessed in Glengarry.

Tomi also makes note of an additional vessel docked to the operations space station: a mobile factory owned by Dark Sun Equipment Rentals.  As they approach they can determine that a steady stream of mining drones is bringing in raw materials as the ship appears to be cranking out 1000 ton fuel bladders.  Captain Jonio Jamill indicates that he has been subcontracted by Michaels and Michaels to build these bladders.   He is quite anxious to complete his job and be on his way.

The Heinlein makes contact with the CEO of Michaels and Michaels, Sir Sammel Brownback.  At first, he is completely uninterested in vacating his family's operation.  Several months ago he had taken on a fuel contract with Cain for the Navy and it was almost due.  The operation will be in the black for the first time in years.  The orbit of the gas giant is littered with fuel bladders for this contract.   After some extremely smooth talking and wild promises, he ultimately relents.  The crew docks with the station and signs paperwork guaranteeing the corporation in the event of any financial losses.

The mining drones are set to start puncturing the fuel bladders, allowing them to leak their loads into space.  The crew retrieves some cargo from the space station and arranges for most of the staff on the space station to be frozen and transported back to Barnett by Dark Sun Equipment Rentals.   The CEO and his attorney are given crew accommodations on board the Heinlein.

Once the station is evacuated, Sir Brownback programs the colony ship to gently push the station into the gas giant.  As they are pulling away and turning their attention to the moon, Tomi makes note of a new sensor contact – it's a scout vessel, similar to the one she and Slug had been traveling in…

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Session 9
Grand Corporation Summit

GM Recap

Both crews are recalled to the Scout Service's offices in orbit.  There they meet with a Lt Col Boone, Sallah, and representatives from the delegations of the major corporations in the region.  The Lt. Col explains that the Scout service has contacted Sallah and requested assistance in extracting information from the data cores recovered by the Naughtia safely.  Sallah, using his newly acquired biocomputer and the scans made available by the Heinlein is able to develop a crude interface capable of pulling some information from the device.  They determine the following:

  • The infected merchant vessel entered the system and bypassed all other vessels, heading directly for the station
  • The station seemed to start having problems when a tight band, high density transmission occurred at a range of 10,000km (medium range).
  • Moments later, the other ships in the system seemed to start loosing control as well.
  • As the ship closed in on the station and settled in to dock, a large explosion then damaged station as well as the merchant vessel.
  • Analysts believe that the standard distance at which an infected ship may infect another is 10,000km.  This, however, may be variable based on the strength and capabilities of the sensors and communications arrays involved.
  • While the infection seems to paralyze a target vessel almost immediately, it seems to take some time before the AI is able to transfer itself fully
  • The infected ship detailed information on the Lagar system, specifically a refining operation there.
  • Analysts believe that the infected fleet is only able to make use of Jump 1 technology for whatever reason.  They believe an attack on Lagar is imminent before moving into the densely populated central core of the sector.

The major corporations are extremely concerned about this information.  Representatives from the delegations go on to remind everyone of their lines of business and the imminent threat:  An AI virus infested fleet of ships is closing in on two of the largest shipyards in the sector, one of the largest robotics manufacturers in the sector, and the single largest weapons manufacturer in the sector.  The crews are 'voluntold' to go to Lagar, evacuate the system, and destroy any an all means of refueling the infested fleet possible.

One of the members of the delegation happens to be [[:tammy1 | Tammy Swanson]] , an ex lover of Slug.  The last time he was with Tammy, he was found floating in deep space with no memory of what had occurred.  He is virtually powerless to resist her demands.  She explains that her delegation is in great need to return to their home system in great haste and will be needing to borrow his vessel.  She milks him for an extravagant dinner and a shopping spree.  Slug returns to the Heinlein the next day completely spent.

As the crew is about to disembark for Lagar, they decide it may be prudent to arm the vessel.  Tomi and Ashley put their heads together, comparing notes and contacts, and are able to able to make contact with a black market arms dealer.  Ditzie Spofulum was thought to be merchant selling reactor processing equipment but this turned out to be a front for his arms business.  

The crew is able to meet Ditzie that same morning at a hotel in the slums.  The level of squalor really takes the high society members of the crew aback.  Walking past the police outline of a severed arm, they enter the hotel room as directed by the instructions and find it has an adjoining door.  The comms ring and they are granted permission to enter.  The room next door is extremely lavish, it doesn't look like it belongs on the same planet as the rest of the hotel, much less in the building.  Ditzie greets them, they conduct some business, and are given vouchers to retrieve weapons from a man named Rocko in customs.  

Rocko delivers the merchandise after extracting his cut and the crew is on their way, deciding to install the weapons themselves while enroute rather than paying and extra 5% for installation.

As The Heinlein arrives in Lagar, they note that there are refugee's from Glengarry lined up at the refueling station.

 

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