The Network

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 to 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 sounding 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 tossing terms around like 'computer' and 'data dump' – they 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 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 fabricated 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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Session 14
GM's log

The crew began the session on the surface of the planet inside of The GTFO.  With Capt Slug being gravely injured, they decided to run him back up to the ship where the Autodoc could get him patched up.  Unfortunately, the irregular orbit that Daphne parked their ship in earlier proved to be quite a challenge to achieve a second time.  After several aborted passes, she was able to match the orbit and land, albeit after taking some hull damage while landing in the shuttle bay.

After Slug is patched back up, the crew debates the method on which they can descend the shaft that was discovered on the planets surface.  They decide to bring a few G/Bikes, a G/Floater, and a lot of rope.  Since most of the crew is not proficient in the use of Grav vehicles, Slug and Tomi head down and do some scouting.  Finding 'the coast clear' down at the bottom – some 100m down, a rope is lowered and the others start making their way down.   Fenton led the way down the rope, sliding down with ease in his battle armor.  The others followed him down the line – unforuntately, Ashley didn't hook up her safety harness properly and started to fall.  In a flash of inspiration, Fenton was able to drop Vera and catch Ashley as she plummetted to her death.  While he was able to catch her, the bone jarring impact of her limp helpless body on an armored exoskeleton cause her some vary serious injuries.  The crew is able to stablize her, and leaves her to rest in the G/Floater while they explore the bottom of the shaft.

The shaft opens to a cavernous room with a door on the far side.  Fenton uses his suits optics to zoom and and scan the vicinity.  He makes note of a weapon emplacement – with no weapon.  It looks like it was removed by someone who didn't know what they were doing.  He also notes that the door was forced open and is sitting ajar.  The crew stages around the door, just as Fenton is about to walk into the room, the cavern becomes illuminated by hidden lighting for a few moments, then returns to darkness.  When the lights come on, a message waiting indicator lights up from Ein to Ashley.  Only part of the communication is able to make it thru:  "Flares"  

Fenton turns back to enter the room after the lights go out and notices bodies scattered in one portion of the room.  Making note of a weapon on the far end of the room, he stealthily slips between banks of equipment and works his way to a point behind the weapon.  The others slowly try to make there way into the room as Fenton tries to clip some wiring at the base of the weapons platform.  He receives a tremendous shock, and the unit immediately spins about opening fire on the party.  A second foray into the wiring leaves some of the gearing on the weapon disabled and unable to access it's full range of motion.  Several other members of the crew exchange fire with the sentry gun before Fenton is able to finish disabling the thing.  Tomi, clearly aggravated by the sentry, grabs the lower body of one of the BCP scientists whos remains are scattered about the room.  She yanks a mummified leg free of the pants, breaks off the foot and pelvis from femur over her knee, and then proceeds to start beating the sentry with it.  She looses a primal scream as the femur snaps in two over the barrel of the sentry gun.

Now free to open examine the area, they start with a more thorough examination of the bodies.  They are indeed BVP uniforms.  The mummified remains are consistant with those crewing the lab ship in found in orbit.  Among the remains the are able to locate 4 credit sticks, which are quickly pocketed by Fenton as well as the following:

  • software wafers: 

    • 1 x slug thrower 2,
    • 2 x energy weapon 2,
    • 1 x blade melee 2,
    • 2 x science computer 2,
    • 1 x science cybernetics 2,
    • 1 x science archeology 2.
    • Universal Translator/3
    • Security/3
  • 4 x cred sticks, each with 1d6 thousand on them.
  • Computer /4:  

    • Intelligent Interface (1)
    • Universal Translator (3)
    • Security (3)
    • Archeology (3)
  • Weapons

    • Arc Field Knife – 5d6+2, AP30 (requires blade 1)
    • 1 gauss pistol (requires slug 1)
    • 2 personal defense laser, 25 charge cartridge (requires energy 1)

The crew locates a lift that drops them deep below the planets surface - Many many kilometers.  The shaft gives way and reveals a monstrous docking bay and a factory floor below.  They are able to establish that this facility is tens of thousands of years old, maybe even more so.  It is a factory, that was churning out ships used to dissect and rebuild the planet – presumably from this large planet into the two smaller planets in orbit around the remaining fragment.  The civilization that decided just to build a few new planets was clearly far in advance of anything but the most fanciful holostories.  What became of this civilization?  Where did they go?  Why?  Perhaps Humans from Terra will have answers to these questions.

The crew resolves to return to Barnett and provide a full report to the Scout service.  They will secure additional provisions and then head out following the course followed by the Terran vessel.

 

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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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Slug's Log
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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