The Network

Ipidina Part 1 and Part 2
Referee POV

The Greenbeard entered the binary Ipidina system in the vacant orbital slot 5.  The many months they had spent in space had begun to take it’s toll – as they entered normal space, Ein reported an alert on the fuel system.  They have a leak.  They were able to isolate the affected bladders, however it will be impossible to fill the tanks adequately for a jump until the damage is repaired.  Several of the more mechanically inclined crew members headed down to the workshop only to find that they had not stocked raw materials to print the needed parts.  At a crossroads, the crew debated the best course of action:  An asteroid field was available in orbital slot 8.  Or the primary world in orbital slot 3 might be able to provide some parts – if there was anyone still there.

The crew keenly remembered their last foray into asteroid mining in the last system and the near disastrous result.  Bemoaning the lack of personnel needed to properly crew the vessel 24/7.  Resolving to take on some ‘red shirts’ at their next opportunity, they opted to try their luck with the main world – Ipidina I.  Taking shifts to keep the sensors and turrets manned as they approached, they were able to reach the planet in a little over a day.  As they approached the world, they opted for a long elliptical orbit that would allow for a quick pass of the scanners.  Once within 250km or so, they received a voice communication:

If you desire landing navigation data, press or say 1. 

If you have reached this system in error, please press or say 2 and reverse course immediately!

For all other matters, please hold or press 3, a ballistic missile will be with your shortly!

Puh puh puh press ni__, ni__, ni__……. Three or just stay on course to repeat these options.

Everyone on the bridge immediately yelled one and scrambled to find the 1 button.  The slumbering crew was recalled to the bridge.  Tomi had been scanning the world from a distance, and as they approached had switched over to life scanners.  While it was a simple matter to determine that the world was an airless void, she was able to pick up the existence of domes covering lava tubes near their assigned landing location.  She initiated a life scan but wasn’t given an opportunity to complete it before the Greenbeard set down.

Daphne was pleased at the opportunity to actually land the Greenbeard somewhere – not an opportunity they have had often given its lack of ability to maneuver in atmosphere.  Expertly dropping the vessel on the landing pad they see a nearby freight elevator and briefly discuss how to traverse the distance.  The crew gears up and opts to take the Skiff of the Ancients across the airless surface and into the elevator which begins to pressurize as the doors close.

The voice of Friend Computer advices them that the environment has been pressurized for their comfort and that they may remove their vacc suits.  Descending for quite a distance, shifting to horizontal movement, the decending again – they finally come to a stop.    As the doors open, Friend Computer advises that weapons and armor is prohibited in Alpha Complex.  They are to deposit their gear in nearby bins and remember to take a claim ticket.  A diplobot will be with them shortly.  Most of the crew complies.  Slug finds himself be shock/stunned by the door pad as he notices the rest of the crew coughing and loosing consciousness.

The players awaken in a large room.  It contains a towering pillar of cryotubes.  None of them had ever seen something on this scale before.   The first thing that party noticed was that all of their former cybernetic implants, limbs, etc were missing.  The second thing was that they were naked.  Looking around, they noticed that everyone’s naughty bits were pixelated out.  They also saw names floating over each other’s heads:  Tomi-R-OUT-1, Fenton-R-OUT-1, etc.  A ‘1’ was tattooed on their forearms.  Groggily rising from their beds a voice spoke threw speakers scattered throughout the room:

‘Greetings, new citizens!’  ‘Welcome to your first day in Alpha Complex. Any memories you may recall are pseudomemories uploaded to your brain lobes, to aid orientation and minimise psychotic incidents in fresh clones. As citizens of Alpha Complex you are now valued members of our great community. You will be given roles and tasks, some simple and some perilous, and your contributions will be rewarded with –’

An explosion occurs on the far side of the room.  A small scrub-bot that had been sitting idle near a wall of mops springs to life and attempts clean the junks of rocks and debris.  A door opens and a man with a floating name over his head steps into the room.  Flanagan-R-PET-3 tells everyone to get dressed – a terrorist attack has occurred in a nearby sector.  He states that they don’t have clearance to hear the rest of the briefing, but are free to access to Alphapedia through their Cerebral CoreTech if they have any questions.  He instructs them to each grab a mop and get to work.  If they complete their task efficiently, they will be awarded 10 XP.

The players all grab a mop, save Fenton who grabs two mops.  Everyone starts scrubbing and clearing debris.  Fenton, enthusiastically starts cleaning everything in sight – including Flanagan.  The scrub bot was damaged trying to clean debris – it is partially repaired, but some of the sharp pointy bits are stashed for possible later used by Tomi and Fenton.  Friend Computer thanks them for their service and issues them each 1<s>0</s> XP.

As they are wrapping up, another explosion is heard and alarms begin to sound.  A popup window appears on everyone’s iBall display which obscures everyone’s vision.  It indicates that the terrorist known as Wossisname the Not Dead is in proximity. 

‘Be careful!  He may be after your mops’

A man bursts through the door – the name floating over his head is Wossisname.  He has 5 traitor stars as well.  The work party springs to life and great hilarity ensues.  When the dust settles.  Wossisname is dead, as is Flanagan.  A few of the party members have shiny new treason stars floating over their heads.  A mop is broken.

Friend Computer is very pleased that they have successfully stopped the terrorist Wossisname.  It states that they are being granted 500 XP, but is subtracting 5 XP because of the broken mop as a reminder to take care of their equipment.  Sadly, this leaves everyone 4 XP short of achieving Orange security level.

Friend Computer provides another update directly to the iBall displays.  Retrieve your new red clearance laser pistols from a locker and report for mandatory volunteer nutritional duty in The Lunchbox.

The party of troubleshooters enters The Lunchbox and finds it be a large cafeteria style room – shaped and colored like an old thermos.  They all split up picking their own preferred food options:  Tastes Like Something Orange!  Flavor Meal Bar, Taragon Happy Fiz Drink, Guacamole Flavor Puff Crunchers to name a few.  Most of the party mingled and made new friends, trying to extract information about their new surroundings.  As the nutritional period came to a close, they were ordered to report for duty.

Joining on them on this duty was a new troubleshooter who was assigned to replace Flanagan.  The new clone – Phil-R-OSE-1.  As they prepared to move out, a Molotov cocktail dispatched a group of nearby clones.  While it initially appeared to have been thrown by Slug, it was later found to have actually been thrown from a table of nearby Commie Mutant Traitor Scum.  Phil-R-OUT located a duct and beckoned everyone to evacuate.  Slug couldn’t resist the temptation to throw a Molotov cocktail as he departed and was welcomed by the warm embrace of a flamethrower for his trouble.

The route to the elevator they were to take was recalculated as they entered the ducts.  The new route turned out to be quite fortuitous as they heard the commotion of security enforcers and laser pistol fire as they made their exit.  Arriving at the elevator – they are joined by Slug was surprisingly less crispy than they expected.  He was, however, sporting a ‘2’ tattoo.  After a brief conversation they entered the elevator and left for sector PIE.

Just short of their destination, the elevator stopped.  A speaker states that an inconvenience is preventing the doors from opening.  Daphne pops thru the roof to see if they can climb out but sees no method of actually climbing up.  Left with no alternative, the force open the doors to find that they are stuck between two floors.  A red viscous fluid, that smelled of strawberries, pours through the elevator doors and begins to fill the cab.

The troubleshooting party climbs out and begins to explore the sticky sweet environment.  They come across the occasional clone bobbing along trying to find a way out.  A few abandoned breakrooms from which they are able to liberate some additional equipment also crosses their path.  As they make their way through PIE sector and enter HOY sector, some sort of catalyst triggers a giant wave of liquid desert.  A fresh set of alarms again being set off.  Riding this wave is an upside down table with two clones on top.  They have a jolly rogers flag hung from one of the legs. 

‘A-HOY sector! Torrents amidship on the scurvy bow port!  Overclock the mainsail and prepare to be motherboarded!’

One of the men, Lloyd-R-Dru-1 has an unspoken conversation with Phil-R-OUT-1.  After some posturing, they agree to make their escape together.  As the escape is made, Lloyd relates some of what he has learned as a custodian of this sector.  There are other complexes – at least a Beta-Complex and a Gamma-Complex.  Each is built in large lava tubes topped by a dome.  There was a Tech Level fall back when ships stopped coming some time ago – now the cities compete for the limited life support resources available on this barren world.

The crew is convinced they need to seek out the Scarborough-I-JON who is rumored to be in OSE Sector for additional answers.  On their way they run into Flanagan-R-PET-3 who has been reassigned to security here in Orthodontic Supply and Equipment.  He immediately halts the party and demands to see their O2 Ration cards…  Phil-R-OUT-1 prepares to activate a buzzbot, but suddenly – Flanagan leaves, with a somewhat bewildered expression on his face.

Finally reaching Scaraborough-I-JON, the party is finally able to start getting some answers.  It isn’t long, however, before an all out Melee erupts.  Def Leopard is first broadcast thru the room, then throughout the entire sector.  Lloyd is almost tranqued, almost killed, and almost retranqued a few times, before being tied up with surgical tubing.  Slug uses rocket boots to blast his head thru the ceiling while playing air guitar.  The entire sector loses power.  Emergency lights come on, the little strings tied to the air vents all go limp.

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Ashley's Rant
Not for publishing.

I cannot believe these guys!!  A bunch of pirates break into the Greenbeard and all these military veterans go all hmmm, what shall we do?  So they just wander on up to the bridge and start bitching like they own the place and what do the soldiers do?  "Hmmmm, what should we do?"  And then Slug gets bitchslapped and these tough guys go, "Hmmmm, what should we do?"  So I had enough and just left them to it.  And then the pirates just walked off the ship, leaving a broken door.  Then they just flew off.

Then we go down to this shithole planet, that has all these poor people suffering because of all the atmosphere.  What do they all do?  Stroll around from bar to bar making drug deals and talking to prostitutes until they decide to get hammered at the only decent place in the dump.  Even that they can't manage to do!  I have a great time with some people with some class and they end up pissing everyone off and going to jail.  The best evidence I have for them being framed is you need some competence and willingness to fight something to kill anyone.

So next I spend all day going around and investigating, talking to important people, viewing the crime scene, until I make a deal to spring those losers.  What do they decide to do next?  Do they try to free the town from the clutches of the evil tyrant who tried to get them lynched so he could make some money?  Did they decide to live up to the agreement that got them out in the first place, and so honor my word?  No, the went, "Hmmmmmm, what should we do?" and then ran away like cowards.

I am so pissed but I suppose if I have to save humanity I have to try to be the adult in the room.

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Session 20
Zisurar part 2

We open the scene with three individuals arrested for the murder of Pearle de Vere – Slug, Tomi, and Fenton.  As they familiarize themselves with their surroundings, they learn that they are really in a secure storage room for the Colorado Freight Company’s office.  A woman named Calamity Jane snores in the cell next door.  The crew does some communication amongst themselves and with the ship using their Neural Links and plots some next steps.  Ashley will do some investigtation at the scene of the crime.  Daphne will run back up to the Greenbeard and return with Dr. Phil.  The imprisoned crew will try to negotiate with their captors.

Slug kicks the metal wall between their cells and rouses Jane.  She wakes up with a curse and walks out of the cell, over to a desk, pulls a bottle of whiskey and takes a few plugs.  Shocked at Jane’s apparent escape, the crew tries their own door but finds it to be locked.  Jane appears to setup a small crude laptop and begins typing away.  Occasionally looking at shipping labels on the boxes and typing them in.   After several failed attempts to swing something, they end up engaging in a drinking game with Jane.  A shot a question, honest answers only.

Jane asks if the crew really did the crime, asks about their origins, and learns quite a bit of additional information about the crew going shot for shot.  The crew is able to hang for a while.  They learn that the Jane believes the murder was done by Hearst, the crew extracts some information about his nature.  Jane offered some hints regarding the nature of her name, stated that she was formerly of the Freedom League and formerly a Space Viking that flew with Bill and Charlie.  Unfortunately the crew, succumbing to effects of the drinking game, didn’t press for additional information on those topics.  They did manager to learn about Jane’s pantaloons, favorite colors, and grooming habits instead.

Meanwhile, Ashley returned to the scene of the crime: The Pearle.  She finds the body of Pearle on display out front.  A long line of folks shuffle past to pay their final respects.  She questions a few of them, but these sad saps are largely from Lungertown and don’t really know anything.  She then enters the Pearle, and states to the doorman that she is acting as the Advocate of the accused and would like to examine the evidence against them.  While he initially registered anger at seeing her walk in, her statements immediately changed his attitude and he escorts her to a couch where Poker Alice Tubs is lounging.  Ashley also spends some time examining the scene of the crime – Pearle’s bedroom.  She sees no sign of a struggle or a forced entry.  The window is unlocked.  There is small blood spray on the ceiling above where her body was found.  The ground next to the window is hard packed and rocky – no opportunity for footprints.

Ashley meets up with Phil and Daphne.  They head over to Wu’s hydroponics operation.  Phil, sells 120 doses of Sunburn for 650 credits.  He is quite pleased with himself, although Daphne notices Wu chuckling with his minions after the price is negotiated.  Wu’s take on the situation is that this Hearst fellow is a cocksucker – they are unsure if the translation program is operating successfully, but it seems to be a common all-purpose curse in Deadwood.  Asking how they can free their friends, he send them to Al.

Next stop is Al, at the Gem.  He greets them in his second-floor office with shots of whiskey for all.  He seems to be noticeably pained.  He tries to talk some business however Phil insists on getting him medical attention, despite Al’s statement that the Doc said he would be fine.  Ashley and Daphne talk about Hearst, getting their friends freed, and the like while Phil runs some scans with the medkit.   Phil finds that Al is suffering from kidney stones and that the situation is days from becoming quite serious.  A bargain is struck – Al will arrange for the release of his friends and aid in dealing with Hearst in exchange for medical treatment.  They also slip in a map of the polities in the region.

Having patched Al back up, they then meet Wild Bill with Al and arrange for the release of the prisoners.  Slug and Bill extend apologies for earlier misunderstandings back in the orbit of the gas giant.  Bill extends a grave and serious warning about the dangers of this place and advices them to leave.  He also drops hints regarding the nature of space traffic in the region, but no one bites and probes more deeply.  Slug uses this opportunity to test out some of the product Wu was selling and Trixi warned them to steer clear of.

The crew takes the GTFO back to the Greenbeard for the night to plan their next steps.  A number of different plans are floated, ultimately the crew decides just to leave the system.  The crew spends the next few hours transiting out to a jump location – opting to leave behind an opportunity to sell their cargo of medical supplies and manufacturing parts to a town full of people that have a lot of Gholde, but are sickly and unable to manufacture filters allowing them to breath clean the air.  Slug begins to get extremely tried and ultimately falls asleep – leaving Fenton in charge.   As Slug drifts off to sleep he muttered something under his breath about offering passage on the ship all the former Star Vikings on that planet who were simultaneously disillusioned with their lot in Deadwood but also had a wealth of information both about this region of space but of their destination as well.  Sadly, no one heard.

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Tomi's Diary (session 19)
Oops

Well this is shitty. So let's start at the beginning when things were only sort of shitty.

We arrived in the Zisurar system at the 8th ring. We're getting all cocky lately, so we started preplanning for everything and decided to fuel up now in case the inhabited planet was hostile. (In case? Stars alive, we should just assume that anything outside the Network is hostile.)

So fueling takes about 8 days, and I decided I'd use the time to really get to know the sensors on the ship. Let me tell you, I was really hardcore nose-to-the-pedal studying my ass off, cerebellum deep in user manuals, schematics of schematic rendering schematicizers, etc.  So into it, in fact, that I really wasn't actually checking the sensors. (I said "oops" already, right?)

So we're almost fueled up and I check the sensors on a whim (I get a whim like this at least once a day, I swear). Well, twist me in the titty! but a ship was right there, like right there, right up on us. Docked. Appeared out of nowhere (or well, appeared when I wasn't checking for it). 

Anyway, these two space vikings with bad attitudes just come on the ship with a cockamamie story about they thought we were abandoned, and I know pirates, and I know what they were after, but turns out they aren't good pirates, because they didn't even rob us. They just tried to trade us a map for a ton of goods. Ashley had the right idea and tried to drug them with that delicious moxie squid, but they rudely let the squid get cold and rubbery while they hustered and blustered and blew any chance of decent dialog. 

Now, Slug was in his "cups" (that's what some people say, but really I think he was in his drugs), and a bit overly confident and overly dim. He tried to fire at one of them, but that damn tall one had blasted the blaster out of Slug's hand before Slug could even get his finger near the trigger! It was the fastest damn draw I ever saw in my damn life. But that just about ended it. They stormed off without a word and without any loot and took off on their frieky-ass looking accordion ship. I knew I should have snuck behind and sapped the smart one as soon as they were on the Greenbeard, before we even said howdy do. (oops)

So long story short, we get to Zisurar prime and land in the only habitable area of the godforsaken planet. I have to wear my vac suit out there cuz the air is dangerous, so all of us look pretty ridiculous among the inhabitants—who are a mix of gutter rat poor and swanky tourist moneyslingers. There's lots of brothels, so I thought to bring some of my sex toys down for trading, since I knew they wouldn't be taking our credits.

I met a nice whore named Trixi at the Gem. She got a kick out of the dildo I brought, said something about not getting splinters with that one. Poor dears. But no one really wanted to trade. She warned me to stay off the crank that Wu sells but thought he might like to buy some of our "cups" (nope, I really like "drugs" better). So we went out back, met up with Wu, and saw his gaggle of drugged out junkies and talked some trade. We also heard some about 4I (the Fourth Imperium) rising in the Gateway. Useful intel: it's 4I credits they use on this world. We should probably try to learn more.

But that's when highclass Ashley wanted to go to a "nice place" so we go to a fancy brothel run by a hoity toity bitchy witchy who was a straight up cunt of sand. Funny her name was Pearle… I didn't even plan the sand pun there! Well she totally ignored me even though I showed her my best butt plug (the one with the fiber optics) and didn't offer any money for it.

But then we came into a lot of money, and well, that's where it gets hazy. (oops) I remember drinking some liquor made from the alien-looking flat leaf plants they have on that tumbleweed of a planet. Tequila/ToKillYa I think? And I'm hoping I didn't do any of Wu's shit, but I definitely was mixing my cups/drugs. I remember every time I heard Pearle speak or laugh I literally wanted to kill her. She just got a ballistic rise out of me with that tinkly I-come-from-money-and-class-and-am-better-than-you fakeass laugh. But I don't remember killing her….

In fact, all I know for sure is that I woke up with a hangover to loud banging on the door. And the tall guy and the smart guy bust in – get this, now they are "sheriffs" and they throw me in jail along with Fenton and Slug. Apparently, we are wanted for muder of one Ms. Sandy Cunt Pearle de Vere. Oops? Well this is shitty.

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Session 19
Zisurar part 1.

GM's log:

The Greenbeard entered the system near the outermost planet in the system, a gas giant.  The target world for this system world was found to be a five and a half day journey to the inner most orbit.  With the remaining inner planets being rocky vacuum worlds, the crew decided to refuel here prior to heading to the inner system.  After some debate, the crew decided to use mining drones to do the refueling.  While it would be slower, they would be able to avoid the risk of a skimming operation with the Greenbeard.  The extra time would be utilized brushing up on their studies.

Tomi elected to leave her studies and do daily sensor sweeps over the course of the week it took to fill the Greenbeard’s fuel tanks.   Unbenownced to the crews, near the end of the refueling operation another vessel started to approach the Greenbeard.  Over the course of a half a day, the vessel continued it’s approach.  With the Greenbeard making no attempts to move or communicate, the other vessel decided this was either a trap or a salvage opportunity.  Either way, they were going in.  Bad luck/timing struck as Tomi didn’t do her daily sensor sweep just as the other ship was docking and breaking their way into the airlock.

The crew congregated on the bridge and debated for a while the proper course of action.  Meanwhile, two men were seen to board via the ships security cameras.  Using some kind of handheld device they seemed to be tracking toward the bridge.  Without their being time to do much else, the crew opted to greet them at the entrance to the bridge.

The two men entered the bridge and introduced themselves at Colorado Charlie Utter and Wild Bill Hickok.  Charlie did most of the talking and was extremely suspicious at their presence there.  This was his secret jump in location for the system and he’s supposed to believe it’s just a big coincidence that another ship is here waiting for him out here in the Wilds.  Crew offers that they are obviously sitting here refueling, and yeah – it is a coincidence.  Bill took some measures to try and calm his friend Charlie down.  However the crew decided to openly discuss right in front of them the option of murdering them and taking their ship.  Bill, being amused at the bluster, tried in his way, to diffused the situation by making light of it – the two of them, being Former Star Vikings, had been through countless such engagements.  Capt Slug then decided draw on the two men.  Before Slug even knew what happened, Bill had drawn a chrome six-shot revolver and fired in one fluid motion.  Slug’s weapon lay damaged on the deck and Slug was bleeding profusely from his hand.

The two men backed out and made a hasty exit while the crew rallied to support their injured comrade.  As they discussed next steps, the two men exited through the damaged airlock and proceeded to pull away.  Luckily, Fenton was already working on damage control and was able to prevent a significant loss of atmosphere as the other ship pulled away.  Over the next few hours they watched the other ship exit sensor range while they continued refueling.

The fuel being topped off, the Greenbeard set course for Zisurar prime.  As they approached the planet they received an audio transmission from the planet’s surface.  The man on who hailed them tore into a string of obscene insults and gestures, as he mistook them for Colorado Charlie Utter.  Apparently, Charlie was grossly overdue on a delivery of much needed supplies needed to keep this world viable.  After the case of mistaken identity was cleared up, they were invited to go visit the man, named Algen, at his saloon named The Gem.

The crew left Phillip Adams on board the Greenbeard to keep an eye on things and descended to the surface with the GTFO.   Daphne stayed on board the GTFO to ensure it too wasn’t jacked – as they had already had a bad taste about this system already.  The rest of the crew set out to explore the town of Deadwood after landing.  They had observed that the planet’s atmosphere was heavily contaminated.  A narrow band of conifers ran near the planets equator and seemed to be filtering out some of the effects.  The location of Deadwood was the ‘sweet spot’.  While rebreathers would definitely be needed for any long term exposure, in the short run it was possible, yet difficult to breath. 

 

While they were told to land at the starport – it was really just an area with hard flat earth.  No facilities or refueling services were available.   One other ship was visible at the starport – a 200ton yacht.  The crew attempted to communicate with it but received no response.  The first stop after the yacht was a place called Lungertown.  It’s reminiscent of many shanty villages which typically surround a starport.  The residents of these place all had horrible weezing coughs.  The residences here did not appear to have much in the way of an ability to clean the atmosphere – probably leading to illness over exposure to toxic pollutants in the atmosphere.  Fenton is able to get the skinny on the place from a local resident who shares with them the keypoints in town.

The Gem is owned by a person named AlGen.  It is a lower class everyman saloon offering gambling libations, and prostitution.  The Grand is a middle class establishment offering lodging and meals.  The Pearle is operated by Pearle DeVere.  It is a new place serving only the most wealthy clientele.  It offers lodging, gambling, and prostitution. 

The crew elected to visit The Gem next, where it was rumored a person named Wu could be found bartering in illicit substances’.   Tomi struck up a conversation with an ‘employee’ named Trixi.  After some conversation, Tomi ended up selling some dildos she had acquired on Treber.  Trixi warned Tomi not to use any of Wu’s substances but directed her to the back of the building if they wished to locate him.

The rear of a building led to an area that was walled off with towering class walls.  A large hydroponics operation was being conducted here to manufacture all manner of biologicals.  After being introduced to the big man, Wu, the crew attempted to negotiate the sale of Sunburn.  The left a sample with Wu, who had a minion test the product out.  He instructed them to return in the morning for further negotiation.

Having some down time, they opted to next visit the Pearle.  Pearle de Vere greeted them immediately as they entered the building.  Ashley felt oddly at home in this place.  It reminded her of places her daddy used to take her to when she was younger.  Fenton is well acquainted with such places – only he would have neither the means, nor the welcome at such a high class establishment.  Pearle, being a self-made woman of means, is also a savvy in matters of both business and personal relations.  She offers to comp the newcomers in their fancy launch of exotic design a free room should they wish to stay.

Everyone decides to spend the evening carousing and then back to Wu’s in the morning.  Sadly, that was not to be.  While Ashley had a decent evening before turning in for some rest.  Something did not go so well for Slug, Tomi, and Fenton – they were arrested for murder by Sherriff Seth and his Deputy Wild Bill Hickok early that next morning.

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Session 18
Whitesheet pt 2

Having fixed the last of the sensor stations, the crew decides to head back to the town and regroup.  The triplets are still at large, however Ashley is done with this world.  Dirt and bugs everywhere.  No where can a proper latte be found – she wants to move on.  She marches straight to the Mayor's office and tries to bluff her way into getting the data so that they can leave this backwater world.  She explains that the sensor network is fully repaired and they have slain many of the beasts.  The mayor was overjoyed at this news.  Ecstatic, she exclaims that she and Ashley will walk out together to walk to examine the corpses.  Trust but verify – that's what her pappy taught her.  It eventually comes out that they aren't exactly certain the beasts that were slain were the triplets.  They also needed help trying to figure out how to use the sensor network, which was more advanced than the models available in The Network.  Outwitted, Ashley seeks refuge to pout and leaves in a huff.

After a few attempts at using the scanners, Tomi eventually locates a heard of 23 of the beasts about 20km from the town.  Never would such a congregation occur if the triplets were not present.  Slug determines that the safest course of action would be to relay the sensor data back up to the Greenbeard, and use the ships weapons to blast them from orbit – it's the only way to be sure.  The plan sounds simple, safe, and effective – everyone heads back upstairs.  After some deliberation, they decide to use a single shot from the particle barbette.  The resulting radiation exposure should be limited to the immediate area and shouldn't be dangerous to the town at this distance.

Bullseye.  A single blast obliterates most of the heard, the remaining few drop to the deck unconscious.  There is some debate over whether to use a second shot or to mop things up using another method.   Tomi manages to strap the gatling laser to the GTFO with surprising ease.  They head down and pelt the remaining vlard from a safe distance.  Video evidence of the assault is sent back to the Mayor as the crew heads back toward town.

The Mayor quite pleased with the arrangement, offers up whatever information they need to continue.  The crew immediately starts tossing terms around like 'computer' and 'data dump' – the Mayors eye's momentarily gloss over before she states that Saga Jordan will be the one who can assist them with their needs.  Saga has been studying the old records her entire life.  She is quite pleased share her passion on this subject with the crew.  She arranges to transfer what records she has been able to recover to the Greenbeard as she rattles on about The Ancients and The Droyne.

The crew also queries her on both Terra and the Third Imperium.  Explaining that the colony was setup some 150 years ago by the Imperial University to study the temple on this world.  They are believed to have been related in some way to The Ancients.  The Third Imperium closely guarded most information about the Ancients, which they estimated to be at TL25.  The colony, being formed so far beyond the Imperium's borders, allowed the research to continue in privacy.  Some 25 years after being founded, supply ships stopped coming.  The residents were forced to abandon research and focus on making their community self sustaining.  They were able to maintain their technology at first, but little by little things slipped when they were unable to fabricate replacement parts.  No one knows why the supply ships stopped coming, they have been essentially trapped on this world for generations with no outside contact.  When asked about Terra and The Rule of Man, she states that the Second Imperium, as it was also called, fell some 3000 years ago.  After it fell, a period called The Long Night washed over this region of the galaxy as the knowledge of interstellar travel was lost for nearly 2000 years.

She is convinced to accompany the crew to the temple and aid in their investigations.  Ein relays scan information from the Greenbeard to the GTFO while they are on route.  They see that there is a weird energy signature coming from the area, but are unable to identify where exactly or the nature of that energy.  The scans show that a mountain has had it's top flattened and the temple hewn from the rock underneath.  There are a series of stair wells and chambers though out which lead back to the floor of the jungle.  Arriving, the GTFO and lands on the roof of the temple.  Everyone disembarks and begins to explore the area.  There are many hieroglyphs present which Saga is able to at least partially translate.

One are of the carvings seems to show a sphere on top of a mountain with weird bird looking things next to it, Saga says she believes these are Droyne.   Through her research, she believes that the writings indicate that a primitive Droyne culture once lived on this world.  They believe they were brought to this place by a race of gods.  The way this planet is depicted, it seems much larger than their point of origin.  Droyne were known, in the Imperium, to prefer planets of a lesser gravity, this would have been a difficult world for them.   The primitive Droyne would come to this temple on the longest day of the year with gifts, filling the chambers of the temple – hoping their gods would return and show them favor.  There are depictions of sick and injured Droyne being carried to the temple but then leaving under their own power.

The crew spends hours trying to determine the source of the energy signature but to no avail.  Ashley is even convinced to come down from the Greenbeard and lend assistance once it is demonstrated to be reasonably safe.  Ultimately, Ashley and Tomi put their heads together and have an inspired idea – they realize that this day is the summer solstice on this world!  Perhaps they need to make an offering to the gods.  The mining drones are reprogrammed to harvest the crops laying in untended fields and bring them here.  They also leave a watch and a ton of advanced manufacturing goods in one of the temple chambers.  Suddenly, the entire temple begins to glow with a blue-black light emanating from the floors/walls/ceilings.  The crew decides to enjoy the light show from the roof of temple while enjoying some brownies provided by Dr. Phil.  Apparently Phil had biologically engineered a pot brownie plant.  The brownies sprout right out of a plant, ready to eat.

The crew instantly begins feeling better – all wounds are healed.  Even old wounds such as a missing eye and long lost leg from early in the Traveller's careers are regrown, gently displacing the basic implants.  In a final flash of blue-black light, the offerings disappear and everyone feels more intelligent (+1 permanent increase to stat).

A position with the crew is offered to Saga, however she is unconvinced to leave her husband.  She does offer to trade some information regarding some interesting botanicals on this world in exchange for some help restoring some of the lost technological capabilities on this world.  A deal is struck – the information for 2 tons of Advance Manufactured Goods.  An additional offer is extended to the guard they met on first arrival, however he too was not interested in leaving his family.

Taking their leave, a course is plotted for Zisurar.

All players are granted 8 weeks of training for completing this story arc.  (plus one for the week of travel to Zisurar)

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Backwoods Armpit
I hear banjos in the woods.

The rag-tag bunch of heroes, sacrificing everything for humanity, continue onward through the great quest of history.  Unfortunately we had to stop at this <s>shithole</s> <s>hicksville hillbilly pigfucker armpit of a planet</s> technologically disadvantaged system.  Entering the system the heroes decided that it was vitally important to spend hours after hours after hours looking around the system.  In shocking news it turned out there was nothing except this planet, upon which there was basically nothing except one <s>shithole hicksville hillbilly pigfucker armpit of a </s>small settlement.  It looked fortified so the rag-tag bunch of heroes prudently decided to park the GTFO a short distance away and egg to the settlement.

On the way a giant life thing appeared out of nowhere and mindlessly attacked the egg.  (Seriously, I really think this biology thing might be overrated.  Daddy's robots never did anything like that.)  The supposedly tough "heroes" decided to run away to Mouthbreatheryokeltown, where the rudest greeting this reporter has ever encountered.  (Although there was nothing suggestive of prostitution which suggests a greater level of intelligence than those moral pygmies.)  Gunfire, yelling of instructions, no comments about awesome outfits.

Turns out this was a functional planet until the ittle wittle losers didn't get shipments from elsewhere and then totally collapsed.  This reporter was tempted to explain what Daddy taught her, that you have to work for everything you get and can't just rely on others to do everything for you.  I mean, look at this reporter, it's not like I got any help on my path to becoming humanity's savior.  So apparently everything went to hell once these human leeches stopped getting their hands held and they had to hide behind fences like little bitches because of some wildlife.

So, whatever.  Anyway, like the rag-tag bunch of heroes went into the <s>shithole hicksville hillbilly pigfucker anus dump</s> settlement where they were all demanding and hoity-toity, sending us this way and that as if we couldn't have leveled the whole <s>stinking cesspool of grunting cavemen </s>place from space.  The questers politely asked for some information to help with the mission (to freakin' save humanity!!!!) and they had the unmitigated gall to demand that we do something first!!!!!!  So, like, because <s>we </s><s>weren't raised in a swamp of mammal poo</s> some of us are good people we agreed to fix some sensor stuff or transmissions, anyway, some sort of backwoods machinery in return for their information.

So we flew off and these nasty animals showed up again and we did fixing and shooting and flying around until this rag-tag bunch of heroes <s>completed this menial task that these plebes should have handled themselves</s> saved the world!  see attached holography of the fighting and stuff.

I hate this place, this zoo.  I can't stand it any longer.  It's the smell.  I feel saturated by it.  I can taste its' stink, and every time I do I feel I have somehow been infected by it.  It's repulsive, isn't it?  I must get out of here.

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Session 17
Whitesheet

The crew arrives at the next system on their map, Whitesheet.  They find the system heavily populated with worlds.  The first and only habitable planet is densely populated with life.  Welcome to the Jungle, your all gonna die.  A small settlement is located on the largest continent.  That settlement appears to be the only location for intelligent life.  After a few cautious flyovers, the crew notices that the city is walled – they decide to set down some distance away.  Finding an open field, they set down the GTFO near a small farm house.  Going inside, it looks like everything had been neatly packed up and vacated some months ago.  The crop was left standing in the field.  A road going towards town is located.   The Skiff is used to head that direction, suddenly, a large beast, at least several tons in weight bursts through the jungle and takes a swipe at the skiff.  Some sort of shield absorbed the damage but they are left with the impression that the shield is no longer present.  The trusty pilot decides to gun it and outrun the beast.

Arriving at the town they are ordered to halt……  The second order to halt is accompanied with a few warning shots from a 50 cal.  They prudently stop and speak with a guard in the gate tower.  After convincing him that a giant rampaging beast is right behind them, he allows them to enter the gates so long as they disarm.  After coming into the town, they are soon met by the towns Sheriff.  He indicates that the beast which chased them thru the jungle is known as a vlard and that they have had some significant trouble with them of late.  They have not seen outsiders in their lifetimes, and have no protocols for this sort of occasion.  He opts to lead them to the town Mayor who will no doubt be eager to speak with the newcomers.

The people of the town obviously once enjoyed a much higher tech level, but have been in decline for some time.  Still, they are a proud folk and make due with what they have.  The Sheriff is still sporting an old laser pistol as his sidearm.  A fusion plant seems to be still running near the towns security offices.  Many of the buildings are vacant, some are a bit run down but still in impressive condition given their age. 

Meeting the Mayor, they learn that the town was a colony established by a research group from a University in the Third Imperium several hundred years ago.  Some 150 years ago supply ships from the Imperium stopped coming.  Being scientists, they were able to trod along ok for for some time, fabricating their own parts as needed.  Eventually, time took it's toll as things broke for which they had no ability to make replacements.  Little by little they slipped further back on the technology scale.  Fast forwarding to current events: a local fauna known as a vlard has long been the alpha predator of this planet.  The vlard are exceptional dangerous but always loners and could be dealt with by their security forces.  Recently, a freak of nature has caused some of the vlard to begin working together – they now hunt in packs.  Their local academic has studied security footage and believes that three triplets were born with some sort of psychic link.  Using this bond, they have subjugated the other males and forced them all to work together.  After the subjugation, the next course of action was the destruction of the sensor network which the towns folk had been using to track the beasts.  Next, they started attacking outlying farms, moving closer and closer to the town with each attack.

Local farmers have now all abandoned their crops/livestock and retreated within the city walls to protect their families.  The situation in town is now starting to grow perilous as they are unable to grow enough food within the city walls to feed everyone.  The mayor strikes up a bargain with the crew:  Repair the sensor network, Kill the Triplets.  Once this is done, they will share whatever information they can.

The crew is invited to dine with the Sheriff and his wife, who happens to be a scientist.  She is very intelligent but a bit disheveled and unused to dealing with people.  She let's it slip that the original colonists here chose this world to study some ruins deep in the jungle which they believed to be related to The Ancients.  Realizing that she has overshared she quickly shifts topic and moves on to talking about some of the local flora which is of interest.

The crew decides to get moving an start repairing the sensor network first under the hope that they can use this to track the triplets.  There were 12 stations to repair, they ran into vlard scouts at about 1/2 of them.  While successful in driving them off, there were a few close calls.  Luckily, all the sensor stations were able to be successfully repaired.

…to be continued.

Contacts made:

Town Guard:  Ranjit Erato (male)
Early 30s.  Wearing a uniform.  Manufacture of uniform is crude, but well tailored.  (natural colors, no dyes.  Stitching is down with leather threading).   Was a farmer.  Lost all livestock to wild animals.  Moved family into town for safety some years ago, took on a job with the security forces.  Vlard mostly hunt in the early morning.  Daylight hours.  Not nocturnal creatures.  They double guard on the towers during those hours.

Town Constable:  Hunter Jordan (male)
Late 60s.  Has a well worn but finely made uniform.  A very old laser pistol connected to a battery pack/holster/belt.  Full head of grey hair atop a leathery weathered face.  Very fit, shows a life of hard work, even now in his older years.  Penetrating stare that makes everyone a bit uncomfortable, like he is simultaneously reading minds and seeing thru them like they aren't even there.

Town Mayor:  Gydrra Roy (female)
Late 40s, to look at her you think she was barely into her 30s.  Only her voice betrays her age.  She wears a simple but well tailored dress with a belt made of elaborately crafted silver.  A bit of tarnish in crevices reveal that it is old and cared for as best it she could without the proper resources.

Town Academic:  Saga Jordan(female)
Records keeper, librarian.  Late 40s-early 50s.  Unkept, dishevled book-worm but has the same youthful  genes as her cousin.    Married to the town Constable.  Both second marriages.  Both widow(ers)

 

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Session 16
Gm's log

The session begins with Tomi heading off to her date with Cyris Haddad.  They meet, as arranged, at Pier 22 for dinner while the rest of the crew mills about back in orbit.  Haddad orders a local delicacy – a bowl of octopus-like sea critter which seems to be still moving around.  It appears to be absolutely disgusting, but when Tomi finally digs in, she finds it to be the most delicious thing she has ever eaten before.  Not only that, but she feels bit more limber (DEX +1 for rest of day).    The two engage in some small talk over dinner.  He asking her about her travels.  She, asking him about what he knows of history and this region of space.  A few nuggets of information come out:

  • The world has been in an economic slump for over a well century.  Just now starting to recover.
  • They had at one time sent regular shipments of foodstuffs (seafood) spinward to the 3rd Empire – until it fell.
  • A large viral outbreak happened in the 3rd Empire which caused massive destruction, luckily they were far out of the way and were able conceal themselves.
  • Rumors have begun reaching them recently of a 4th Empire rising from the ashes of the old
  • Rumors of large battles occurring many sectors coreward.
  • Gniivi Collective, to the Rimward, prefer to keep to themselves.  Occasionally trades delegations occur.  The collective is made of a group of mutually hostile planet-states.  They maintain a common navy to protect their region of space but treat each other with suspicion.  Trade occurs openly within their borders but they have been isolationist.
  • Another state rimward and spinward is Outcasts of the Whispering Sky.  They are non-human and highly xenophobic.  No idea what they are up to or if they survived the turmoil of the last century.
  • The race known as Hivers were frequent traders, but they haven't been thru the system in over a century.  Their region of space is trailing and rimward.

Eventually Tomi and Cyris go back to his apartment for some extracurricular activities.  While she told the crew it was fantastic, she had to make a quick trip to the autodoc to see about a chipped tooth.

The crew then sets out to come on-world and see about earning enough cash to fuel up.  Heading to the the bazaar, hoping to find an broker, they meet a few patrons:

Victor von Dull, the Flesh Peddler
Cohen Drouhns, the Mechanic
Comedian:  Daueroon Gyra
Casino Patron:  Lukas Badicus
Importer/Exporter:  Roz al Poole

Victor offered some cash money for the crew to go do some recruiting for him so that he could increase the size of his stable.  He runs a classy organization in the city and caters to a more distinguished crowd.  Ashley was quite disgusted by the entire concept and tried to assault Victor.  Unfortunately she only ended up injuring herself.  A comedian in the background, Daueroon Grya cracked a joke at Ashley's expense, diffusing the situation.

Daueroon is a new comedian, just trying to start his career here on the Island.  He offers the crew money to come to his show and hype of the crowd to get things going.

Fenton decides to try and sell the body of Lucas Baddicus to Victor.  Victor is thoroughly unimpressed and doesn't bite.  Fenton then embarks on a scheme to try and bring Victor to the comedy show.  Since Victor runs a hotel, he does offer entertainment and libations to his customers to loosen them up.  He brings in his off-duty 'staff' to the show.  The crew successfully carouses the crowd and a good time is had by all.  Victor's people end up getting some business that night.  He also offers Daueroon a regular gig at his hotel.  Being pleased with the outcome, he offers to make an introduction to Roz – the big boss in this area.

The crew meets Roz, and learns that he is 'a simple business man' but that he only does 'business' with his friends.  In order to prove their friendship, he wants a piece of his property back.  The crew agrees to retrieve his stolen property and leaves with a datachip containing the details.  The soon learn that the objects is a wooden chair and that it resides behind the desk of the head of the planets security forces.

Tomi stalls when asked about calling in a favor with her friend Cyris.  The crew decides to go their own route.  They follow a janitorial van from the security building to a pub.  Following the driver inside they tell him that they have hit is vehicle and needs to come take a look.  Once he comes out, they assault and kidnapp him.  These actions do not go unnoticed by the bartender, but a generious tip seems to buy his silence.

Daphne uses her stealth suit to gain entry to the building.  She successfully sneaks in and finds the chair.  Heading back the the lobby opts to just make a break for it.  The two guards, while distracted by an entertainment broadcast, do eventually notice.  They notice a wooden chair rolling itself out the front door.  Looking at each other, they go back to their programing without saying a word.

The crew delivers the chair to Roz.  Being quite pleased, accomodates the crew  by brokering sales and trades for them.  They sell of some manufactured goods and use the proceeds to purchase fuel, and a ton of cryo-stored seafood.

Being that they had been in space for nearly 6 weeks solid at this point, the decision is made to use the remaining funds on a nice vacation.  The crew spends a week yachting around the planet.  Slug orders a surfboard.  Not paying attention to what he was buying, he notices deboxing that it depicts a Hiver wearing a brightly colored shirt and some kind of fancy beverage.  He spends the first day of his vacation in a soft room.

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Session 15
GM's log

The Greenbeard, made a quick dip back into Network space to report findings at the Ancient site and to grab a few supplies before heading deeper into the Wilds.  Most of the crew picked up light armor and weapons.  Both personal and ship based software was also installed.  A TL13 Autodoc, to supplement the TL 14 Autodoc was added the ship.  Slug also picked up some trade goods.

On the journey to Ghana, the crew decided to integrate Ein with the ships computer.  Ein the dog is now an avatar of Ein the ship's computer.  

The ship arrives in Ghana some weeks later and finds it devoid of habitable worlds.  Two gas giants and many asteroid belts seem to be all that is present in the system.  Tomi picks up a distress signal coming from somewhere in the vicinity of one of the belts.  The signal is faint, and only broadcasts for a few moments every so often, but she is able to trace it back to the source.  The Greenbeard approaches and finds an old lab ship with an obviously destroyed Jump Drive, oddly, from The Network.  The ship is called the SS Korea.  A quick search in the ships database reveals that it was a medical ship destined for a new colony some 70 years prior.  It never emerged from jump space with the rest of the colony's convoy and has been thought destroyed all this time.

After a few sensor sweeps, the find the ship is almost completely dead.  A series of mining drones are found floating dead at random intervals between the ship and the icy rock nearby.  A power source is found in on small section of the ship along with a the feignt reading from a lifeform.  The crew leaves Ein in charge of The Greenbeard and uses the GTFO to dock with the Korea.  There is no power on board, Cobb manually opens the hatch and everyone creeps aboard carefully.  They slowly pass several rooms that are setup as examination rooms before coming across two rooms full of Cryoberths.  Most of those berths are empty, but one of the cryoberths is operational and still operating.   Another appears to have shorted out at some point.  They find the desicated remains of a human inside.  Everyone agrees that they should continue exploring the ship before attempting to revive the frozen human.  After making their way to the bridge, Cobb is able to restore power to the ship.  While the fuel tank is only at 15%, all systems do seem to be operational.  Captains log indicates that the ship was crewed by 3 individuals.  A pilot/engineer, and 2 doctors.  The log indicates that one of the doctors went mad and decided to 'check himself out of the game' after a few years of waiting on rescue.  The other two, Captain Phillip Adams and the Pilot Lev Johnson decided to freeze themselves after setting the ships drones to keep the fuel tanks topped off.  Turning off all systems save a rescue beacon and the cryopods, they figured that could last decades – as long as the drones could keep the reactor fueled up.

The rest of the ship is explored.  They find it fully stocked with medical supplies.  It was clearly prepped and ready to start it's mission at a new colony world as an orbital hospital while the new colony was established – only it never arrived.  The ship is liberated of these medical supplies – as much as would fit in the hold and then it came time to revive the human in the functional berth.  They decide to liberate a change of clothing from both Lev and Phillips quarters, not knowing which of them was in the functional bearth.  

Ashley is able to successfully run the revival sequence on the bearth.  Captain Phillip Adams awakens to find himself temporarily blinded and disoriented by the long duration in cryostatis but grateful to be finally rescued.  He agree's to accompany the crew on their mission, although they get the impression that he would have agreed to damn near anything to get out of that system.  Setting a course for the Treber, Phillip spends his time in Jump Space both learning about history as well as doing a bit of teaching the crew about the age gone by.  Most of the records from the time period leading up to his being marooned were at best chaotic, if not lost entirely.  Modern day primary education calls this period The Redistribution.  There was little in the way of interstellar travel, most of the population of the sectors were centered around a few systems with billions upon billions of people.  Cain showed up from nowhere and setup a joint government between these systems.  One of the first orders of business was the Redistribution – it became the catalyst that saw a huge explosion in science and productivity.  Not much is really remembered from the time itself or prior – things were quite chaotic as the culture shifted and great migrations of people set off for the stars.

Arriving in Treber, the crew finds a single habital world and a few asteroid belts.  They are not alone.  There are alien ships of unknown designs operating in the system, mostly in the belts.  The world, almost entirely water, has an orbital space station – it hails the Greenbeard.  The Greenbeard makes arrangements to dock, instructs Ein to let them off, then detach from the station until they request pickup.  A sharply dressed officer by the name of Cyris Haddad greets them as the enter the Highport.  He is cheeful and professional in collecting the requisit information and presents them with identification passes.  He advises that the next shuttle to the surface will be departing in a few hours.  Tomi, queries him about dinner – quickly sparking his interest, the two set a date to meet at Pier 22 after his shift is complete.

The crew heads down to the lowport and takes the train thru an active volcano (ooooh, ahhhh) and arrive at a mass transit station.  On arriving at the mass transit station, the happen across a small business called Snazzy Starshine.  The proprietor is here selling little nicknacks – one of which is a crazy looking space alien which she calls a Hiver.  Upon seeing this Hiver, Captain Slug enters a fugue state and starts acting erratically before passing out.  Many heads were turned at the comotion in the busy transit station.  Given that several members of the team, adhering to the letter of the law instead of the spirit, came to the surface carrying military grade rifles, and heavily armored – they were immediately detained.  Ashley was able to negotiate with the authorities and learned that while it wasn't expressly forbidden to walk around looking like a terrorist cell, it was illegal to incite terror.  

Ashley suggests that everyone but Tomi should return to the ship.  Slug will get some medical treatment; Tomi can make her date with Cyris at Pier 22.  Is Ashley really doing Tomi a solid?  Are they finally bonding?  Or is this just another chance for Ashley to play nurse with Slug?  Will Tomi let the crew listen in on her date via comms or is she going dark?  Only time will tell! 

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