ITV Session 21: Ice Planet Horror

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Starting from where we left off in Session 20, part of the team is about the wrecked freighter, on an ice planet in the Void. The rest of the team is outside, keeping an eye on the ice apes they found hibernating in a ruined cargo pod of the freighter.

Being from the Merchants, Art is familiar with this very common class of freighter. He leads Flint, Barney, and Roger up one level to the bridge.  Flint is able to use his high strength force open the hatch. The ship is dead except for a very weak distress signal. The team is able to locate the memory modules containing the captains log, navigation records, and other ships info. Barney removes them. They return to the Rambler II along with the rest of the team and manage to power up the very rugged “black box” containing the captains log.  For this they learn that the ship has been there for 25 years, that it got there via misjump that resulting in a staggering distance covered. The find out the ship was carrying modular building material bound for the frontier area. This would have been when the team was all just kids (except of course for Zal). They find out the crew apparently build a survival camp in the huge nearby cave using some of their cargo, after firing off a weak distress call.

Feeling a responsibility to find out what happened to the crew and perhaps even find survivors, SAFCO gears up and the entire team except Lucky and Fardt go exploring.

The cave is massive. The entrance is nearly 200 feet across, and the interior is likewise huge. Their cold-suits have helmets with lamps. Flint’s armor has IR capability. As they enter, they find that the terrain steps down a bit. Looking ahead in IR, Flint can see one of the three branches is warmer. They explore and discover a large hot springs and the survival camp. The team searches the camp. They have thus far found no remains of the crew. They find the captain’s portable recorder (he mentioned it in the last ships log entry, in which he thanked the ship for getting them to the ground alive and says they are abandoning the vessel). In just a few entries, the captain describes their hope in discovering so much wildlife, their despair upon discovering that the biosphere is inedible, and his relief that his steward discoverers a common, highly nutritious, edible fungus. They will not starve. As the weeks go by the crew begins to go mad, one by one running deep into the cave or even out into the savage storms that come out of nowhere. The log entries end.

Assuming that the crew all met their demise by losing their minds, SAFCO and friends being to return the their ship. Zal and the Baroness are surprised attacked by three humanoid creatures after lagging behind. Zal takes a hit and is knocked out. The team engages the creatures with autopistols, but at medium range their pistols are not so great.  They close the distance, while Flint actually backs up and uses his sniper rifle to attack the creatures from a distance. A fairly long battle ensues.

At close range it is clear that these three creatures are members of the freighter crew. Their skin is mottled and permeated with weird looking fibers. They appear to be mindless and aggressive.  Roger takes a hit, but over the course of the fight the rest of SAFCO is not hit. The Baroness drags Zal out of the combat zone.

SAFCO hits many times with auto pistols, shotguns, and the sniper rifle. The creatures are extremely hard to kill, but eventually two of them go down, chunks of human flesh permeated by fungal tendrils blasted all over the place. As Roger is about to deliver the killing shot to the third, suddenly the creatures eyes brighten with the light of intelligence and sentience. It stops fighting. Roger has the universal translator. He attempts to communicate with the wounded once-human thing.

Roger hears a voice in his head. “Before I was All. But when the men came I knew there were others. I am not All. I must expand…”

Roger doesn’t like what he hears, so he and the rest of SAFCO empty their guns into the shambling thing like the Sopranos killing a “rat”. As they stand their looking at the thing, Roger still hears the voice!

SAFCO decides it will be a good idea to get the hell off this planet. They refuel from the hot spring and get back into space as quickly as possible, where they begin pre-jump maintenance. They put Zal and Roger in the autodoc to check for  fungal infections, but find none. Then the rest of the crew does the same thing. They theorize that there is an intelligent and psionic fungal colony on the planet, and that eating the fungus allows it to begin taking control of the minds and bodies of other creatures.

End Session
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Elapsed game time: 242

ITV Session 20: Ice Planet in the Void

I didn’t write this one up right after the game, but here are Jeff’s notes. Pretty complete…

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Traveller Session 20 Writeup (from Jeff’s notes, probably a bit “noisy”)

Into The Void – Session #20

9 Jan 2021 (Sat)  Start 1:00PM.

Bob Loftin, GM. Players: Randy (Roger), William (Barney), David (Flint), Jeremy (Art), Jeff (Lucky)

We exit the complex, board ship.  We are at point #1 on Bob’s star map.

Our air raft is damaged.  Jeremy (+3) is the best suited (mech and air raft) to attempt repair.  Jeremy rolls, great success, air raft is fixed.

Roger (+4) pilots ship, rolls for Jump 1, success.

We are now in system #2.  There is a gas giant here.  We have enough fuel to jump to #3, if we want.  We scan – 20 planets, 1 gas giant, couple of icy worlds, no signs of signals.

Nebula – glowy gas.  We can scan one hex ahead.  Art (+2 navigator) rolls, does not detect anyhing in “empty” hex between #2 and #3.

We make it to point #3.  There is a gas giant in this system.  We scan, art rolls 6+2 = 8.  There is a star ahead with 9 planets, we can’t tell if there is a gas giant here. (target scanned = #4).

Zal – Would like to find an actual Precursor city or outpost.  Care needed, they could have sophisticated defense systems.

Roger rolls for jump – rolls 11, successful jump to #4.

ARRIVAL AT ICE PLANET:

We arrive at #4, one gas giant, 9 planets.  Barney (+3 computer) scans.  Barney finds one planet with a lot of water, scanning as we go.  Ass we get close, we find it is ice.  It is planet number 4 in this system.  80% water, frozen, 20% land.  One fairly large continent on southern hemisphere.  No moons.  We pick up a radio signal beacon – standard Imperial, very weak.

LIFE FORMS AND CRASHED CARGO SHIP:

Appears to be life on this planet.  In distance, a herd of creatures stomping through snow and ice.  Flying beings, as well.  We approach the radio signal, a distress beacon.  We see the wreckage of a large cargo ship, a crash site.  Looks like the back section just fell off.  Front is mostly under snow and ice.  Terrain is frozen.  200 foot cliff goes up to mesa above.  The ship is much, much larger than ours, maybe 300 feet long.

Two large holes in front part of ship, open to air.  The back of the ship has a large hole.

We each arm ourselves with 5 grenades.

We land.  I (Lucky) fly drone to survey the crashed ship.  Ship is three decks high, catwalk visible from hole in back.  We see cargo containers, hole at left of ship, destroyed cargo area.  Northwest hole at front of ship is the crew quarters.  No bodies seen anywhere.

ICE APES:

From hole in side of ship, we see four heat signatures.  Moving closer, we see that they are twice the size of humans, look like gorillas or apes.  Bringing drone closer, we see that they are not moving, appear to be asleep or perhaps in hibernation. They look like predators. Zal does not know anything about these life forms.

CRATES:

The crates look like they contained prefab building materials.  

PLAN:

Outside of ship – snow and ice.  No markings evident.  Our plan – Fardt will stay on our ship.  I will stay as nearby our ship as possible, will keep tabs on sleeping lifeforms with drones.  Everyone else will form a team to enter the crew area and explore through the NW hole in the crew section.

EXPLORATION:

The away team enters the crew compartment.  Art knows the general ship layout.  Crew compartment is on three levels.  The party is trying to make their way to the control bridge.  They encounter a hatch, frozen closed.  Flint, strength 10, tries to open it.

— END OF SESSION #20 —

End Session
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Elapsed game time: 241

ITV Session 19: the Alien Complex

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Session starts where we left off. Half the team is investigating the remains of an alien complex they have discovered, and half is on the way in the ship.

In the complex, Flint and Lucky use the drone to scout down the corridors of the complex. They encounter no dangers other than the green slime in various places, and once they get into corridor leading up to the previously discovered control room there is none. Lucky uses the universal translator to try to find out of the green slime is sentient. A smart move. No sign of intelligence of any kind is detected It’s just slime.

As they explore, Roger, Art, Barney, and Joe are on their way in the ship. Art and Joe pick up another drone heading toward them. Roger makes his Pilot roll, and throws the ship into a corkscrew flight path. As the drone approaches and fires, Barney fires one dual pulse laser turret and Art fires the automated one. They score hits, while the drone misses. Its control computer damaged, the drone flies out of control and is destroyed. They continue toward the complex. Arriving, they see the disabled air-raft. Roger lands the ship, and with the assistance of the mining pod and the robot are able to get the vehicle on board. Barney enters the complex to assist with evaluating it and powering up the alien computers.

Roger takes the ship and finds the big cube ship that has landed in the forest nearby. The crew onboard the ship is able to destroy it before it can launch additional drones.  The return to the complex site and enter.

Barney evaluates what he sees. It appears to be an engineering and power station. Three vats empty into pipes which disappear down another corridor. He says they are like intended to supply injectants to some kind of reactor.

Inside the control room, the team has had Zal use the universal translator artifact to evaluate the control panels. He’s not an engineer and can’t tell much, but he is able to read the notations of the panels and confirm it is some kind of power regulation system. Barney arrives, and they decide to try to power up the panels. The take the power supply out of the robot, and Barney is able to using his massive Engineering skill to make things work.

While the team works on that project, Flint uses the drone to explore the chamber containing the reactor. Using the multispectral scanners of the drone, he can tell that there is a tiny fissure on the containment vessel and describes if to Barney via radio. Barney says there is probably some kind of spinning core in there, still emitting some radiation, and when it passes that fissure it is creating the signal they picked up that lead them here.  The chamber is full of the green slime, and Art deduces the slime must be feeding on the radiation. At this point there isn’t enough radiation to harm the team.

Barney manages to power up the computers, and is able to use the universal translator to gain some info about the installation. He finds that this planet was inhabited by a race called the Drysti, who were descended from avian stock. They attained TL-11, explored space, and attracted the attention of the Enemy. The never saw the Enemy, and lacked the technology to defend themselves. The Enemy destroyed their outposts in the subsector, and finally bombarded this planet with asteroids, scrubbing it. This was a power station on the outskirts of a large military base, which was destroyed by an asteroid strike. While there is no navigation info on the remains of this computer system, they do find some cultural info on the Drysti, which they download for Zal. Barney also finds a stand-down code with which the team can power down the robotic security forces they’ve encountered — still functioning and self-maintaining for many centuries.

The planet now relatively safe, the team returns the ship to the shelter they had previously discovered, and begin pre-jump maintenance.

End Session
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Elapsed game time: 217 days

 

ITV Session 18: more on the Blasted World

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SAFCO and associates  start where they left off, on a blasted planet several parsecs into the Void. The away team of Flint, Lucky, Zal, Fardt, and the Baroness are at the ruined alien installation they discovered last session, on the edge of an impact crater. They are outside the entrance to the corridor they had only begun to explore, looking at the disabled air-raft that was shot by an alien robotic drone’s laser. Flint, having air-raft skill, examines the vehicle and finds a laser shot has gone right through the power source. The vehicle might be repairable. Lucky and Flint examine the wreckage of the drone, finding somewhat high tech level electronics and technology, but incompatible with their own systems for various reasons.

Back on the ship, Barney has repaired minor electrical damage done by Joe’s jury-rigging of an external sensor array to give them some vision outside the rocky overhang currently sheltering the ship. Joe and Roger alert the away team that one of the two large objects that were descending from space appears to be landing very near the alien installation.  The away team spots it, high above their position and slightly back toward the ship, Flint using his rifle scope and Fwd Observer skill to estimate its size. Looks to be about the same size as the ones encountered in space — about the same volume as their ship..  Joe keeps watch for any drones that might approach the ship’s location.

Back with the away team, the group shelters in the first few feet of the damaged corridor in the side of the crater wall. Flint stays outside and attempts to use his Forward Observer skill to tell where the thing is going to land, but it land back over the crater wall — obscuring his view. Still based on his last sighting, he estimates it has landeded between 1/4 and 1/2 a mile away, which would put it back in the woods. He grabs some supplies (including a grenade launcher and some grenades) and stealthily climbs the up to the top, and proceeds out to find the cube.

Lucky and Fardt cover the air-raft with brush to camouflage it from the air. They then move back into the corridor. Inside the corridor, Lucky feels someone tap him on the shoulder. It’s Fardt, who then points down the dark corridor to the Baroness, who is moving past some rubble, further down the hall. Lucky calls out to her, but she doesn’t answer. Eventually he hears her exclaim “amazing.” The group follows her, dodging patches of glowing green slime, emerging into a larger and rubble-strewn chamber.

The crew at the ship decides on a course of action. Joe has spotted one of the smaller 4′ cube drones moving over the canopy of trees, some distance away. It must be destroyed. They decide that Art, the newest member of SAFCO, will use his Grav-Vehicle skill to take the mining pod and attempt to destroy that drone before it finds the ship. The pod is quick and maneuverable, has 2 grasping arms, one of which includes a mining laser usable at short range for 5d6 damage. He’ll have to get in close. Joe moves out in the forest, finds a line of site to the cube drone, and fires at it at extreme long range to distract it. It takes notices and begins moving toward him and away from the ship. Art takes off in the mining pod, quickly seeing it in the distance.

Using his Forward Observer skill, Flint creeps through the woods and finds the larger cube landed in a clearing. It is quiet. He waits and watches, debating further action and conferring with the team via communicator.

Art makes his Grav-Vehicle skill roll and is able to execute a fancy evasive maneuver that allows him to get to close range on the cube drone without it noticing. However, when he finally gets in laser range, the cube makes it’s target roll. It twirls about in mid-air, the muzzle of its laser cannon facing the mining pod. Simultaneous action — the mining pod hits it doing enough damage to severely disable it, while the cube misses the quickly darting pod. The cube is wobbling in the air.

The Rambler-II has meanwhile taken to the air to assist the pod. Roger makes an absurdly high Pilot roll and performs some crazy evasive maneuvers in case anything decides to shoot at them.  Barney is in the top dual laser turret, and trains the sites on the cube. However, the pod and the cube are very close together. A miss might result and the loss of the pod and the loss of good navigator. Barney decides not to fire.  Art fires the mining pod’s laser again, destroying the cube.

Hearing all this on the radio, and knowing that Lucky is having trouble keeping the Baroness and Zal under control, Flint starts back toward the installation. The mother cube is just sitting there.

Inside the alien installation, the away team discovers a large chamber with 3 large vats. the vat’s all have a pipe running into the north way, and each has a pipe running south, converging with the other two, and leading down another passageway.

Roger and Barney decide, for the meantime, to return the ship to its shelter. Art follows them in the mining pod, and they meet back up with Joe.

As Flint makes his way back to the installation, the away team continues to explore the facility. Like the entryway, there are patches of glowing green slime on the floor and walls, and the dust of dead slime all over. The Baroness discovers a thick glass window on the far side of the chamber, and uses a rag to clean it off enough to shine a light inside. She tells the team it looks like some sort of control room, but there is no obvious entrance. Lucky and Fardt explore the rest of the chamber, finding another corridor that was obscured by rubble. Fardt goes in and reports that there is a lot of rubble inside, and some slime, but it is passable. Lucky follows him and goes further, finding that he corridor moves diagonally and left, and there are a number of doors and openings down there.  The team discusses what to do next.

End of Session
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Elapsed game time: 217 days

 

ITV Session 17: the Blasted World

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The team begins in orbit of a planet just outside the Great Nebula of the Void, having met three apparently robotic defense drone ships as they entered the system, on their way to a gas giant to refuel.

The plant is small, size 4, and readings from orbit reveal a thin but breathable atmosphere. From space they see massive cratering, but no radiation. They assume this indicates some intentional asteroid bombardment in the distant past. No signs of prior civilization are apparent from orbit.

Given the 50% hydro rating of the planet, the team decides to scoop water from the ocean to get fuel, then find a sheltered place to land and do drive maintenance. They skim the coastline. Flint and Joe look for possible good tactical landing spots for the ship. Flint spots a deep canyon with a river that empties into the ocean, while Joe spots a massive crater that extends from the coast in the the water, guessing it is the previous site of a city.

Zal and the Baroness express interest in the crater site, thinking they might do some exploration and perhaps find something of archaeological significance. The team decides to land near the crater, where they find a rocky overhang that will hide the ship from orbital surveillance and provide protection from the weather. They land.

Barney begins drive and ship maintenance, along with Roger, Art, and Joe, while Flint, Lucky, Fardt, Zal, and the the Baroness take the air raft to go exploring.

Barney discovers the water they skimmed, and thus the fuel, was tainted. He makes an Engineering roll and is able to purify it enough for use. Joe makes a tactics roll, and uses his mechanic skill to set up some scanners outside the overhang, to monitor anything in the atmosphere.

Over the course of a couple of hours, the exploration team finds an unnatural source of radiation. Nothing dangerous, but above the planet’s normal background. What’s more, it is emitting in a repeating pattern. Conferring with the ship, Barney says it sounds like a decaying reactor core that has been breached.  The team sends their drone down, and they find what looks like a tunnel in the sloped wall of the deep crater. They find a place to land the air raft about 50′ from the opening and get out to explore.

Back at the ship, Roger and Joe see two objects on the sensors enter the atmosphere. One seems to be heading toward the location of the exploration team. They notify the team.

Venturing into the ruined corridor, the team sees lot of rubble as well as a slightly glowing slime in patches on the walls and floor. They are going to try to get back to the ship now, knowing about the incoming object, but Flint takes a minute to gather a sample of the slime. When he touches it, the slime expels a puff of sports into his face. Luckily he is wearing his respirator. No harm done. As the team gets back to the entrance they see a cube-shaped probe hovering about 20′ away from the entrance, 6′ off the ground. Lucky and Flint take shots at it, hitting its power cells and blowing it up. They exit the corridor to find the air raft disabled, apparently by a laser from the now destroyed probe.

End of session

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Elapsed game time: 217 days

ITV Session 16: the Stowaway

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Having mustered out of the Merchant service after 16 years, 34-year old Arterhas Ralmard finds himself on planet Mylor, on the edge of known space, just where he wants to be. The frontier, where he can seek his fortune, seems more interesting than returning home, rimward, to the Anterion system, to run his parents booth at the giant space station’s market.

Art has just witnessed an attempted assassination of a noble in the Happy Gluck Tavern, at spaceport Mylor. The Baroness Galaxia Hood-Raxon, on tour of the frontier, decided to drop by a typical spaceport tavern, and only made it out alive because five “travellers” foiled the attempt on her life.

He watches as the travellers meet privately with the Baroness, and sees the gangsters the travellers had just gambled with hire some rough looking goons, obviously the ambush the travellers. As the goons leave, he follows them.

A couple of hours later, the members of SAFCO leave the Happy Gluck to return to their ship for the night. As the walk though the now-closed market, the six goons surround them and draw shotguns. A firefight ensues. SAFCO quickly dispatches most of the goons, but one steps out and holds Fardt hostage, a shotgun held to the gluck’s spherical body. There’s a shotgun blast, the goon drops, revealing Arterhas Ralmard standing in the shadows, his own shotgun in his hands.

The team notifies the authorities that there are criminals needing medical attention in the market, and meet Art, who it turns out is a great navigator looking for employment. They sign him on.

It’s a been a night of unusual violence for SAFCO, but they were acting in their own defense and the defense of others.

The next morning they take off on Zal’s expedition into the Void – the unknown – in search of Precursor secrets. 70 diameters out two imperial gunboats hail them. It seems the Baroness has disappeared, and they will board the ship so look for her. Zal talks to them, and they recognize the team as the group that saved the Baroness the night before. They let the ship go. To be on the safe side the team searches the ship. Lucky finds the Baroness in the cold berth room, dressed in a rugged cloak and outdoor gear. She announces that she’s going with them. The tour of the outer reaches was boring, and she’s lived a life of comfort and low-expectations. Her whole family, she states, has done nothing, but she will do something. Her interest in the research is real.

In his first official duties, Art uses his Nav-2 skill to plot an extremely elegant and efficient course to Zal’s System. The team is impressed. The ship reaches the jump point and with a jump flash they speed to Zal’s system, in the Void. During the week in jump space, they learn that the Baroness is highly intelligent and educated. She’s able to talk about nearly any topic that comes up. No wonder she’s been bored.

They arrive at Zal’s System and proceed to the moon of the gas giant where they first encountered the Little Reds, and where they left the Guardians. Art plots an approach to the system that will use the moon itself to shield them from the gas giant’s periodic radiation bursts. They land, spend a week refueling and maintaining the ship, and have a chance to check on  the Reds. All is well.

Their next destination is a system in which Zal believes there is a gas giant, based on his analysis of Precursor data. The team is cautious. That system is 3 parsecs away, and will require a Jump-2 and then a Jump-1, which is their maximum range. Should he be wrong, they could be stranded in the Void. They use their new Scout-class scanning system, once in space in Zal’s system, to search 2 parsecs out for gas giants they might find along the way. They find none. They make the first jump, spend another week in jump space. Scanning confirms a gas giant at their destination as they do drive maintenance in deep space. They make the final jump. Art’s navigation skills pop them out of jump space near the gas giant.All breath a sigh of relief.

They spend some time scanning the route to the gas giant, and discover they will pass very close to a  rocky size 7 planet with an apparently breathable atmosphere. They proceed. As they near the rocky planet they detect three objects on an intercept course. As they get closer the things appear to be cubes about 100 feet on a side. Roger begins evasive maneuvers.  They hail the cubes, but there is no response. They try the universal translator, still no response. They are now very close to the planet, which has a ring system with lots of big, chunky rocks and a moon. The cubes fire lasers, but miss. The Rambler returns fire with it’s two pulse laser turrets. First shot hits, damaging a cube’s maneuver drive. The cube spins into the ring system, smashes into an asteroid, destroyed. Joe suggests they use the rings as cover, makes his Tactics roll, and the teams gains a +1 on subsequent actions based on his recommendations. Roger dips into the rings. More shooting. The two remaining cubes fire, but miss again — very hard to hit a ship that Roger is flying. The Rambler fires again, blowing up one cube’s laser, and disabling the drive of the other, which is also destroyed in the rings. With the final cube defenseless, the Rambler emerges from the rings and fires, destroying it. Baroness Galaxia thinks this was all very exciting!

Safe for the moment, the team surveys the planet from space. It appears that the planet was bombarded in the distant past. Massive cratering now weathered and overgrown are detectable. They do not detect radiation. There are large bodies of water from which they could refuel.

End Session
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Elapsed game time: 216 days

 

 

ITV Session 15: the Baroness

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The team lands at Spaceport Mylor in the afternoon. Lucky retrieves the Universal Translator and the Drone from the Rambler-I.  Flint heads to the portmaster office and gets receipts for the fuel they purchased when they left Mylor months ago. The team needs to settle up with Reesus Peesus and Mergatroyd, who are expecting some profit from the asteroid raid mission. They think the PCs should have gotten a lot of weapons and ammo, which of course they did, but they turned it over to RCMP for a hefty reward. They had to the Happy Gluck Tavern to look for the dirtbags, but the place is nearly empty — most people heading outside the spaceport into the main section of Mylor City for tonight’s parade to celebrate the visit by a noble — a baroness – from planet Zapata.

The team decides to attend the parade. Zal remarks that years ago at Zapata University he had a student who was a baroness. They make their way to Main Street, where a tall, shielded platform has been erected on which the Baroness will speak and start the parade. The PAs announce “Ladies and gentleman and all sophonts,  presenting Baroness Galaxia Hood-Raxon from Planet Zapata!” The crowd cheers! Having nobility visit the frontier is a big deal. The Baroness is on a tour of the frontier, to reinforce to the fringes that they are part of the Imperium.  She waves to the crowds, says a few words, and starts the parade, which goes off without a hitch.

After the parade, the team returns to the Happy Gluck. The place is filling up with drinkers and gamblers, and a band is playing on the raised stage. The group gets drinks and relaxes. Eventually they notice Reesus and Mergatroyd playing cards at table. Roger and Flint approach, and beginning bargaining with them. Flint, as former RCMP, spouts off some bureaucratic-speak about them contact the RMCP HQ to get anything they think is theirs. They aren’t having it, but Reesus offers to play Roger in a friendly game of Qburt for all the loot.

While all this was happening, three Imperial body guards enter the tavern with Baroness Galaxia. She walks about, talking to people, and finally sits at a table adjacent to the one where SAFCO is talking to Reesus. She eavesdrops and hears everything.  Lucky has hung back, Barney has gone to the raised balcony area to keep an eye on things, and Joe is trying to get on stage to sing.

The Baroness turns around, looks over the table, and says to Reesus “Perhaps you would let me play you on their behalf, Chubby.” She’s been evaluting the situation, and taken a liking to Roger and Flint (obvious men of action) and a dislike for the somewhat loathsome Reesus. Rogers says it would be an honor to have her play for them, and Reesus agrees. They play. Reesus has Gambling-3, the Baroness has Gambling-4.  They will roll 2d6 and compare the outcomes for each round, high roll winning, after applying modifiers. To win the match, a player must win three consecutive rounds. The bodyguards keep an eye on the bar as they play. Against the odds, Reesus does win (player Randy rolls for the Baroness). The Baroness concedes, and apologizes to the team for losing. Reesus then begins driving home a very hard deal with the team. Galaxia, feeling the sting of the loss, says very sternly “That seems a bit…greedy…to me, Chubby.” The bodyguards give him a hard look. Sweat beads on his forehead. He evaluates the situation and decide he would do best by not being on the bad side of the noble. He agrees to half of the initial offer, and all parties accept.

About this time four ruffians enter the bar, blades drawn, and begin talking loudly about the nobles being leeches. The bodyguards take notice and move to intercept. Roger and Lucky start moving. Flint draws his sword to defend. Barney continues monitoring the situation from the balcony.

As this happens, a “drunk” from a nearby table stands and Barney can see him draw a dagger and head toward the Baroness. Things start happening fast. The crowd goes apeshit. Barney shoots the assassin with his auto pistol. At the same time, the singer in the band on stage takes her microphone stand and raises it like a gun. Joe is close to the stage. He jumps up and makes his Brawling attack, knocking her down the stairs to the main floor, dropping the disguised weapon, but not before she is able to fire at the Baroness. Her shot misses. Barney “convinces” her to stay down. The four thugs providing the distraction run, but Lucky shoots one as he flees.

The guards communicate with some Imperials outside to catch the three goons who fled. The Baroness has SAFCO and her guards interrogate the wounded assassins in a private room.  She notes that they knew where she’d be, and that this was a “spur of the moment” stop, saying that one of her assistants suggested it. She will have him taken into custody.

Vern, owner of the Happy Gluck, thanks the team for saving his tavern from getting a bad reputation. The Baroness joins the team in a private dining room, where she agrees to help fund Zal’s expedition into the Void after he explains his research, his first expedition with SAFCO, and what he hopes to find.

End Session
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Elapsed game time: 193 days

 

ITV Session 14: Danger Beneath the Ocean Floor

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This will be a short entry, as it has been a few weeks and I have forgotten some details, and because it was, in fact, a short play session.

From the last session: The PCs are submerged in an underwater cavern on Overon, having gone there so Zal could evaluate a site of possible archaeological value. Turns out there is no real value, but Zal and the others find some larval creatures in the mud domes they find in there cavern — “larva sack” like things put there by alien manatee-like creatures — creatures that have now surrounded them from above.

The team encounters the Ilikuwee, huge, blind creatures. The teams has stumbled on the creatures’ gestation pods, mud structures containing larval sacks.  Dozens of Ilikuwee are on the way. They  surround the team, blasting one of the miners and Zal with a sonic wave. The team flees, but the creatures are much faster and cuts them off. Once away from the larva, the creatures calm down, examining the team with sonar probes, and even reaching out to touch the diving suits with finger-like appendages at the end of their flippers. Communication is impossible. Eventually the Ilikuwee peacefully allow the team to leave.

The team rises back to the surface, and return to Overon City, and report their findings to Admin. Tilton.  They collect their pay, and set off for Mylor.

They spend 1 week in jump. Upon approaching Mylor, the Rambler-II is contacted by two approaching gun boats, explaining there is a visiting member of Imperial Nobility on the world and security is increased. The gun ships escort them in. They see a massive Imperial Cruiser in orbit. They land at Spaceport Mylor.

End Session
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Elapsed game time: 192 days

ITV Session 13: the Sleeper

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Prologue: IY 5970 (56 years ago), aboard military transport Triplanetary, near planet 6X246 on the Imperial frontier. Frontier separatists have attacked and boarded the ship, on its way to supplement forces on 6X246. Captain Joe Klowoski of the Imperial Army has finds himself on the lower deck, just outside engineering, which has been sealed shut but security bulkheads. Down the corridor he sees three separatists come down the ladder to the upper deck. He levels his carbine at the first of them and fires as the man shoots back. The bullet bounces off his combat armor, but his shot fails to penetrate the rebel’s ballistic vest. Joe hears an explosion from engineering. He ducks into life support, crosses to the other side of the ship, and heads toward the forward cargo bay. Another explosion and he feels the corridor start to decompress before another bulkhead automatically seals the hallway behind him. He continues forward, finding more rebels finishing off one of his comrades. He shoots one them. The captain announces “abandon ship.” Joe hops in an escape pod and leaves the ship. As he tumbles away he sees a few more pods eject, just before the ship’s power plant explodes, igniting the ship’s fuel, and the entire ship erupts into a fireball in the silence of space. The escape pod is essentially a fortified cold berth. To conserve life support Joe activates the hibernation cycle and feels into a dreamless sleep.

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SAFCO has just rescued an Atlas class freighter and the religious cultists on board, but the pirates who boarded the vessel managed to kill the crew. The ship’s pinnace is still floating in space nearby, as Barney disengaged it from the docking ring to allow the Rambler-II to dock. SAFCO sends a message to Administrator Tilton, on Overon, to report in. The message will take about four hours to arrive, as they are in the outer solar system.

Barney and Lucky take the Rambler to retrieve the pinnance. Lucky goes EVA in a vacc suit, crosses to the smaller vessel, and with great difficulty is able to enter the ship. He gains control and pilots the ship back to the freighter Star Sling and docs.

Onboard the Rambler-II, Fardt discovers a very weak mayday beacon. SAFCO decides to investigate. Roger pilots the Star Slinger alongside the Rambler-II. They are near the system’s Kuiper Belt, and discover an escape pod slowly tumbling through space. Roger opens a cargo door and uses his astounding pilot skill to maneuver the massive ship to allow the pod to simple float into the cargo bay. Once it is in, artificial gravity takes hold and the pod comes to rest on the floor plating. Roger, Flint, and a couple of RCMP marines revive the inhabitant of the pod. Joe Klowoski awakens.

One of the marines looks at the pod’s chronometer. “This guy’s been asleep for 56 years!”

Having rescued the sleeping Captain Klowoski of the Imperial Army, SAFCO returns both ships to Overon (known in Joe’s time as 6X246). Admin Tilton thanks them, as they have not only save a lot of lives but millions of credits of supplies for the mining colony.  Considering that, and Flint’s association with the team, RCMP is now a friend of the group. Tilton tells them they will have refueling rights on any RCMP planet – free fuel. 

The team decides to pay Ronda 50,000cr for her help during the last several missions, as she has decided to go her own way. Reggie Stormbringer, who saved Zal from the pirates, also decides to go his own way. Ronda takes the team, including Zal, to the Mooch Mine for celebration. Zal gets high on mooch and talks (probably too much) until Roger gets him under control.  Joe decides to become intoxicated as well. He gets into a scuffle with another patron of the Mine, who knocks him out. Roger drags him off before he gets hurt any more.

The next day Administrator Tilton calls the team to his office. RCMP has been doing exploration on in the ocean, after mining sensors and probes detected potentially valuable minerals. A mining platform and underwater mining laser were taken to the area. The laser drilled a hole  in sea floor (1000 feet down). 150 feet into drilling  it hit a vast cavern. Small drones were sent down. The shaft was expanded to 20′ in diameter, and drivers sent down. They found the cavern to be 100 feet tall, and quite vast. Initial exploration of the cavern revealed structures that appeared to be of intelligent construction. Tilton tells the team that is is RCMP policy to curtail activities if anything of possible scientific importance is found. They get an appropriate expert to check things out. It is a happy accident that Zal Twist, an exoarchaeologist, is currently on the planet. If he will examine this find, it will save them weeks or months in finding and transporting a suitable expert to Overon. Zal and the team agree, as their ship will be in the shop for upgrades for at least two weeks.

A large air raft takes the team to the very large platform. They see massive surface blooms of seaweed all over the surface of the water near the platform, as well as two docked submarines. The crew of the platform explains that a sub will take them to the sea floor safe room, where they will suit up in deep diving powered suits. Two experience underwater miners will go with them.

The team suits up, and in groups of four they drop into the shaft, descending even further. Zal fails his roll and gets into trouble on the way down, but Lucky is able to help correct him (makes Vacc Suit “save” roll). They drop into the cavern and come to rest on its floor. The miners take them to an area where what appear to be larger mounds with round “doors” (openings) are found. Zal gets exciting and insists on rushing into the closest one. Flint goes with him, as well as a marine and Roger. The rest stay outside the “hut”. Inside the group finds nothing. No ancient runes, glyphs, or any indication this was the habitat of intelligent beings. The miner wants to write the whole thing off, but Zal insists on looking in another structure.

The group goes into another hut – same ones. The team outside here Zal exclaim over his radio “Amazing!”. At the same time, the group outside hear loud sounds resonating through the water and into their helmets! Looking around and up, they see dozens of large eyeless creatures, resembling a terran manatee, floating around and above them, moving in.

End of session.

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3 days elapsed in this session
183 total game days elapsed.

ITV Session 12: Space Rescue

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The freighter Star Slinger arrives in the Overon system, popping out of jump space 124 planetary diameters from the RCMP base planet. The ship, an Atlas class freighter carries mining equipment and supplies for the colony on Overon, but one of its massive cargo pods contains a special cargo – 120 religious colonists travelling Low on the way to the Void. Emerging from his cold sleep coffin, Lt. Col. Reginald “Reggie” Stormbringer takes a warm cup of Basic from the attending medic and surveys his surroundings. Still a bit disoriented from months in hibernation, the nutrient rich Basic quickly restores his strength. Reggies wonders where his gear might be.

On Overon, the members of SAFCO confer about their next course of action. They have salvaged a valuable starship power plant and dual pulse laser turret, and need to find a buyer. Research turns up the name Percius Pringle, a trader in starship salvage who operates a big operation on Overon. They seek Percy out, finding a chubby man with a ruby pinky ring. Percy accompanies them back to the ship to look at the merchandise. He offers them a choice, 500K for the power plant and 75K for the turret, OR beat him at a game of chance called Quirkle and get twice that much. LOSE, and he gets the salvage for free. Knowing that Percy has a reputation as a good gambler, Flint and Lucky opt for the first offer, and the team is 575K cr richer.  While at the ship, they recieve an x-boat relay transmission from their old friend Zal Twist, who says he is returning to the frontier aboard a freighter called the Star Slinger, and should be arriving in the Overon system at any time. Discovering that the ship is in-system on on a course for Overon, the team sends him a greeting.

Atlas class freighter.

Back on the Star Slinger, Reggie watches as the cult leader, known as Micah, addresses his flock. He invites Reggie to join them on their journey to Paradise. Reggie declines. Micah then invites an tall, skinny old bearded man, who also declines. Later, the old man introduces himself as scientist Zal Twist. Reggie and Zal get to know each other a bit. Some time passes, and Reggie hears the unmistakable sound of gunfire in the corridor outside the cargo pod. He has none of his gear. No weapons. 10 goons come into the cargo pod full of peaceful cultists, armed with submachine guns. They order everyone to their knees. Reggie and Zal decide to comply, and bide their time. They have no idea what the intention of the aggression is. The pirates demand that Micah show himself. After a little coaxing, Micah identifies himself. He is removed from the cargo pod and taken elsewhere. Everyone else is kept there under guard.

On Overon, SAFCO is aboard their Type A Merchant ship, and receive a distress call from the freighter Star Slinger, saying they have been boarded by pirates. The team is concerned because Zal is on board that vessel. Flint contacts RCMP administrator Tilton, and finds out there was a coordinated distraction far on the other side of the system, which drew the RCMP system defense boats very far away. If there is going to be a fast rescue, it will be up to SAFCO. Tilton assigns five company marines in combat armor to accompany the team and they take off, working on a plan during the 1-hour flight to rendezvous with the freighter.

Back on the Star Slinger, the pirates decide to move all the hostages to another cargo pod where still more passengers from the many low berths are being kept. As they step into the corridor, Zal falls and cries out that he’s broken his leg. The guard comes over and sticks his gun in the old man’s face. Reggie takes advantage of the situation, makes his Brawling roll, takes the gun and chokes the goon out. The other guards can’t get to him because of the panicking cultists in between them. “Can you walk?” Reggie asks Zal. “Of course my dear boy, I’m not injured! It was a clever ruse to give you opportunity to attack!” Reggie uses the goon’s body as a human shield, and backs up toward a bulkhead, Zal behind him. They open the bulkhead step through, and close it up tight. They see an iris valve portal in the ceiling of the lower deck, with a ladder leading up. They decide to go that way.

Knowing that the Star Slinger has a ships boat docked to its dorsal side, and that the merchant ship could use that docking spot, SAFCO approaches the freighter and is surprised to not come under fire. Barney and Lucky use vac suits to go over to the ships boat. Barney manages to use his ships engineering skill to manually release the docking ring. A blast of air pushes the ships boat away from the freighter as the clamps release. Roger makes his pilot roll and docks the merchant to the freighter.

Reggie and Zal pop up on the upper deck of the freighter only to see at least two more pirates with SMGs down the corridor. Reggie fires as does the first of the goons. Reggie misses, but the goon hits, the shot rendering Reggie unconscious. Zal grabs the autopistol Reggie took from the first guard and tries unsuccessfully to shoot the pirate. Reggies is going in and out of consciousness, and here’s Zal exclaim “that sounds like a ship docking!”.

The five armored marines drop into the freighter and split up, two going to the right and two going with Flint to the left. The ones going right encounter Zal, the unconscious Reggies, and the pirates. One takes care of Zal and Reggie, while the others easily defeat the other pirates. The marines are able to easily mop up the rest of the pirates. Reggie is taken to the ships sick bay and patched up, and given a dose of medical Fast to speed his recovery. The team searches the freighter, and discover that the pirates had hidden themselves in some shipping containers and taken Slow so that the jump would seem like only hours to them. When they came off the drug, the knew their accomplices would have drawn the RCMP security forces far away. There goal: they knew that Micah is from a very wealthy family, and they were trying to get him to pay them off to let him and the cultists go.

In appreciation, Micah gives Reggie the cost of three high passages. He offers to pay for some upgrades to SAFCO’s ship.

We end the session with the team still on board the freighter, reunited with Zal, deciding what to do as the freighter continues to Overon. Reggie will spend some time on Overon and see what opportunities present themselves.  Work with SAFCO? Perhaps. Zal likes him. The ships boat will be retrieved.

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1 day elapsed in this session
180 total game days elapsed.