Having defeated pursuing forces from Samson Mining as well as a giant tree snake, SAFCO and Rhonda speed down the Pachyderm trails in the jungle of planet Uetonah on grav bikes. Roger’s bike begins to have problems. It was hit by a bullet in the previous battle, and is now losing power. Readouts indicate it has plenty of fuel. The team comes to an area of the trail where the Pachys have created a “cave” to the side of the path, probably a place to rest. They stop to repair Roger’s grav bike.
Barney quickly assesses the situation, but will need a couple of hours to fix the bike. He guesses a simple problem like a power cable damaged by the bullet. Simple, but time consuming to get to the component to repair it. The rest of the team sits down to rest. As they sit there a wailing, groaning is heard coming from the nearby jungle. They scan the area with IR binoculars, spotting a tree about 40′ off the trail with the lower trunk split open. It appears to be full of gelatinous eggs – hundreds off them in a big glob. That’s where the groaning is coming from. Roger, Lucky, and Flint venture out into the jungle to check out the situation.
When they get about 10′ from the tree the bioluminescence of the jungle is sufficient for them to see there is a human encased in the eggs. They shine a light on him. The scouts have seen things like this before – creatures used as food for egg clutches by creatures of many worlds. The man is still conscious, but being slowly fed upon by the eggs. “Hellllp me…” he groans. As they consider a course of action, two massive shapes appear in the canopy above them. Huge insects – 3x the size of a human. They move above the team, about 10′ above them, making angry clicking noises. The teams draws their weapons. From this distance it is clear that the creatures are some kind of giant beetle. The beast turn around facing away from the team and each sprays a cone of noxious gas at the men. The gas is non-lethal, but causes 3d non-lethal damage to Lucky and Roger. Flint’s combat armor saves him from inhaling the stuff. The gas reduces Lucky and Roger’s STR to zero, and rolling 1d6 each is incapacitated for 2 minutes due to nausea.
The last 15 minutes have been rough.
As this is happening, a third beetle bursts from the jungle, races across the “cave” past Barney and Rhonda, on its way to defend the eggs. Barney tries to ram it with a grav bike, but it evades him. Rhonda rolls a 12, managing a great auto pistol shot to its head, and rolls very high damage. The creature is still alive, but badly wounded as it proceeds to the eggs.
Flint takes on 2 of the beatles. The massive creatures’ mandibles prove unable to penetrate his combat armor. Rhonda and Barney join the fight from range. Most of the team’s shots bounce off the great insects hard exoskeleton, which has combat armor-like effectiveness. After a full 2 minutes of fighting the team manages to kill the bugs just as Roger and Lucky stop wretching, rise, and each take a shot at the beatles.
The team approaches the tree again and looks through the egg blobs to the man’s face. He groans “kill me.” Roger does as he asks. He appears to be a hunter, like the ones who previously rented the grav bikes.
The jungle is indeed dangerous. Lesson learned. Don’t mess with eggs or other things you find out there.
Barney completes repairs on Roger’s bike and the team resumes the trip to the meeting place indicated on the map.
When they arrive at the indicated clearing on the other side of a river there is no one there. They wait. Flint conceals himself. Rebels second-in-command Alyx Aaryn appears with 3 other rebels, riding Jungle Crawlers – vehicles about the same size as the grav bikes, but moving via 4 robotic legs. After a brief discussion he tells them to follow him. The group set off to the north on the Pachyderm trail.
Flint watches the group disappear down the trail. Before he can set off after them, he see a softball sized drone fly down the trail after them. He sets the visor of his combat armor to track the thing, and sets off behind it at maximum range. He’s able to trail it.
After a ride north, Alyx leads the team through a slightly less dense patch of jungle. They are barely able to get their grav bikes through, but the Jungle Crawlers easily traverse 100 yards, emerging onto an massive clearing revealing a blue sky. In the middle of the clearing is the decades old wreck of a Lee class 400-ton freighter, serving as a base for the rebels. The ship is covered with plant life that has overgrown it over the decades, as well as intentional camouflage. The hull has several holes that appear to be battle damage, the maneuver drive section is destroyed. One of the laser turrets on top is blown up, the other appears intact. Alyx leads them into the craft to meet with rebel leader Rockyt Raboon.
Flint follows the drone, which was following the team. He decides to hang back at the edge of the clearing, in the jungle, in case the team needs help from the outside. He loses track of the drone.
In the wreck, the team meets with Rockyt, Alyx, and a couple of other rebels. Rockyt is a woman in her mid-60s, short gray hair, wearing beat up combat armor. She welcomes the team. They explain they are looking for Jason Slimjack, who they were told was kidnapped by rebels. Alyx says it was a mistake to bring them here – that they are probably being tracked by Samson Mining. Rockyt explains that Jason is a biologist, crazy as hell, and came here of his own volition to study the Pachys. They believe the creatures are sentient, and as part of the Sophont Liberation Front want the creatures recognized as rightful owners of this world, but they have not been able to communicate with the Pachyderms at all. Still, the creatures are weirdly, proactively, and voluntarily helpful, assisting the rebels with manual labor unprompted and uncoerced. Jason thinks there is more to the story, and has headed north where he thinks the answer to some mystery awaits. The team realizes that Nora, Jason’s mother, has lied to them.
Still, Alyx doesn’t think they should help the team. SAFCO offers to use their technical skills, in particular Barney’s engineering skills, to repair that laser turret on top of the ship. The vessel still has fuel in it’s tanks, and the generator is supplying a minimal amount of power – enough for water purification and other necessities. It’s a decades old crash, predating the arrival of Samson Mining on the planet. Probably the victim of pirate activity. “You can fix a dual pulse laser turret?” exclaims Alyx. He and Rockyt agree that it would be good to have the turret working. Eventually Samson will find them, even if not now. And if SAFCO has indeed lead the company to the rebels, they’ll need it immediately. They agree to help the team in exchange for the repair work. Barney gets to work. It’s a simple job for a master ships engineer. As he works, the rest of the team explores the ship. They see “grain” shipping containers full of weapons, ammo, and supplies, as they suspected.
As the sun sets, Flint notices a Grav Carrier about 300 feet above the ship. He radios in to the team to let them know they have company. About that time there’s a flash of light up on the G-Carrier, and a plasma bolt disintegrates a section of the ship’s hull.
Rebels spill from the ship, ready to run into the jungle, as Samson troops emerge from the jungle. One of them tries to surprise Flint, but fails. Flint shoots him, and the trooper drops.
Barney having repaired the turret, Lucky race to the turret access to use his gunnery skill. The rest of the team moves into position to fight. Lucky fires the dual pulse laser turret at the Grav Carrier, just as something is dropped from it’s door.
The Grav Carrier explodes.
At the entrance to the wrecked ship, Rockyt and other members of the team see the explosion, and see a body fall to the ground, bouncing in the area in front of them, landing face up in the soft turf. “Looks like they found our mole” says Rockyt, as the teams realizes the body is that of G. Gottfried.
The explosion of the Carrier and realization that the rebels have a ship’s laser at their disposal demoralizes the Samson security troopers, and they attempt to flee into the jungle, the rebels shooting after them.
Flint drags an unconscious trooper out of the jungle, introduces himself as a member of SAFCO, and turns the man over to the rebels as a prisoner.
The team, realizing that Jason has not been kidnapped and that they’ve been lied to by Nora, gather to consider their options. Rockyt says the rebels will have to move to another location. The team considers having Fardt and the Robot bring their ship here and salvaging the valuable laser turret. Nothing is decided yet.
1 days elapsed in this session
Game time elapsed 172 days.