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.

 

 

 

ITV Session 11: Escape from Uetonah

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SAFCO is still on Ueotonah, started where we left off last game. The rebels have, with the help of SAFCO, defeated Samson Mining’s defence forces, but now find their location compromised. They will have to move to one of the other base locations they have scouted out. The rebels quickly begin evacuating the wrecked ship. SAFCO evaluates the ship for salvageable components. The rebels will be taking one large piece of equipment — and autoDoc with its own power source. SAFCO looks over the ship, and Barney determines that not only could they use some of the grav-pallets and tools to salvage the working dual pulse laser turret from the wreck, but also the ship’s power plant, worth several million credits even after decades on the ground. The Jump drive is likewise salvageable, but too big for the limited cargo space in the team’s modified Freetrader. Since they have discovered their original mission on the planet was based on a lie, salvaging these ship components will make the trip and the danger worthwhile.

Barney radios Fardt, back on the ship, gives him the coordinates, and tells him to prepare the ship to come get the crew and the gear upon notification.

The team spends the rest of the day removing the turret and power plant components and prepares them for travel. They go over options for their next destination.They have fuel for one Jump-2, which can get them back to Overon, coreward to the unnamed system they passed through weeks ago for gas giant refueling, or rimward to AT201, an orbital shipyard orbiting a rocky moon of a gas giant. They decide they’ll return to Overon where Flint can report to his contacts in RCMP of the status of the mining on Uetonah, tell Nora Slimjack the status of her son, and get them back toward the frontier and the Void. They can also try to sell their salvage there.

Barney radios Fardt to bring the ship. The novice pilot makes roll the get the ship off the ground. At in-astmosphere starship speeds it will not take Fardt long to get there.

As they wait Fardt calls on the radio. He sounds panicked. “Guys, we’ve got trouble. They tried to close the bay doors so I blasted through them, and now there are three security speeders chasing me and shooting!”. The team can hear the chaos. The security speeders are faster than the ship and very maneuverable, but Fardt had a head start. The team knows the direction they’ll be coming from. They decide to have Fardt slow down enough when he reaches they for the team to ride their grav bikes right into the cargo bay and join the fight.

Flint uses his binoculars and can see the ship approaching as well as the pursuers firing lasers. Fardt’s flying is so erratic they have not managed, from long range, to hit the ship. But they are closing. The team gets on the bikes and they leave the ground. Flint calmly uses the electronic site on his rifle to take aim on one of the speeders. He fires and hits it, blasting a hole in the cockpit windshield.

Fardt gets to the team slows down, and they fly into the cargo bay. Flint stops and takes one more shot before flying into the bay. Again he sights-in on the cockfit, fires, hits the pilot, and the speeder goes down!

Roger takes the controls and activates the automatic turret, Barney heads to the engine room, and Lucky goes to man one of the turrets. Ronda, Fardt, and the robot strap in. Flint stays by the cargo door, hoping to score another sniper shot with his rifle if one of the speeders comes into view.

The ship enters the dogfight with the two speeders (We use Cepheus Light dogfight rules). The speeders have little armor and will likely blow up with one laser strike, but they are fast and very hard to hit. Roger activates the Manuver/Evade-2 program to enhance his pilot skills and Predict-2 to assist Lucky with the laser turret.

After two rounds of combat the team has missed the speeders with each shot. The speeders, meanwhile, have scored hits on the ships power plant and computer, reducing the performance of each. Finally they score a hit, blowing up one of the speeders, showering the jungle below with debris. Having lost his two partners, speeder pilot 3 decides to break off pursuit and get out of there. The team pursues, blowing him from the sky as well.

With no pursuers, SAFCO finds a place to hide on the planetary surface and attempt repairs to the ship. Barney is able to effect repairs to the power plant, using parts from the salvaged power plant, to return it to its Power Plant-B status long enough to get them to Overon. Lucky, with Barney consulting, is able to repair the computer.

Now the question — how to leave the planet? There are likely some system defense boats in the system. Best not to meet up with them. The planet has one moon. They consider their options, and decide to try using a carefully plotted trajectory out of the system, using that moon to hide their exit from the planet. The GM makes a secret Nav roll for Roger to determine how good the course is. Barney makes an engineering roll, and manages to boost the maneuver drive up one level for the time it takes the ship to get to the Jump point. The man is a miracle worker! Turns out their plan and course is good! They are able to exit the system to the minimum Jump distance without detection.

The ship reaches the jump point, and a course for Overon is layed-in. No mis-jump. The team spends a week in Jump Space. They arrive in the Overon system.

Flint reports on Samson Mining to his RCMP contact R. Tilton. Roger finds Nora Slimjack at the Mooch Mine and tells her that Jason is fine, and apparently on Uetonah of his own free will. Flint gets the name of a trader on Overon with whom to try to sell the salvaged turret and power plant. The team gathers for relaxation at the Mooch Mine. All is well…for now.

End of Session.

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7 days elapsed in this session
179 total game days elapsed.

ITV Session 10: Jungle Battle on Uetonah

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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.

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1 days elapsed in this session
Game time elapsed 172 days.

 

 

ITV Session 9: the Snakes of Uetonah

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Picking up from the last session, the entire team leaves the Inn having learned nothing from the innkeeper. During his time at the starport, Barney had noticed a former colleague from the Scouts, Clem Daxon, working on the subsidized merchant ship nearby. Barney is still curious about the Pachyderms and what’s going on  with the rebels. He returns to the starport to make contact with Clem.

Lucky and Fardt look around the city, Fardt using his streetwise skill to try to pick up some leads or info on the rebels.

Roger, Flint, and Ronda decide to go to a local watering hold, Irma’s Imported Mooch Bar, to likewise try to get information on the rebels, Jason Slimjack (the man they are seeking), or any other information of use. They walk in and mingle, and begin chatting people up.

Back at the spaceport, Barney talks to Clem who was on the Scout Vessel Brave Explorer when Barney, as a junior engineer, saved the ship from being stranded in deep space by improvising a miraculous fix to the ship’s jump drive. Clem was also an engineer, but not a miracle worker like Barney. It seems Clem’s current ship is having jump drive problems, and Barney’s offer to help is accepted. Barney checks the drive and finds no problems. He suggests that the problem may be in the control programs. Clem give him access to the computer then goes back to double check the drives. Barney quickly finds a glitch in the control software and fixes it. He then examines the cargo manifest of the vessel, seeing that they have several containers of grain from Mylor they were delivering here to Uetonah. Problem is Mylor is not a grain exporter. Barney chats up Clem a bit more, after explaining he has fixed the Jump Drive. Clem says they’ve been bringing grain from Mylor to Uetonah for a few months, and the money has been surprisingly good! Captain Seahorn, of the subsidized merchant, is a secretive person but all the crew’s shares have been excellent.

Back at the bar, Lucky and Fardt walk  in, having gleaned no useful information on the street. They walk in to see an old man with cloudy eyes, dark brown skin, and a rough brown cloak begging. Their shipmates all give the old man generous amounts of credit. He pats them all on the shoulder, thanks, and blesses them. He walks past Lucky and Fardt, speaks to them, then Lucky gives him 20 credits. He blesses them too.

The team at the bar receives a  message via their communicators from Barney, who explains that he thinks he’s found the source of rebel weapons, and he’s keeping watch on what happens to the gear, thinking it might lead the team to the rebels and Jason.

As Lucky and Fardt begin to drink the mildly hallucinogenic mooch, a woman approaches Roger and thanks him and the team for their kindness to the beggar. Was she shakes hands with Roger she passes him a tiny map.

Roger and the team examine the map. It shows a series of trails through the jungle, the route crossing a river, and ending in a spot labeled “meeting.” Clearly they are on the trail. The meeting spot is a good 40 kilometers away and they don’t know anything about the trails.

Lucky and Fardt remember seeing some hunters returning five grav bikes to a rental shop. The team goes there and inquires about the bikes and where could they possibly be of use in the dense jungle. The shopkeeper explains that the jungle is riddled with trails used by the Pachyderms to travel long distances. The team rents the five bikes, one for each human member of the group. They are not suitable for Fardt, and they have little cargo space. He’ll stay with the ship. The grav bikes are of the Imperial Scout Service variety, so the Scouts are all very familiar with them, and Flint has a general skill with grav vehicles.

The team, 4 ex-Scouts and an army colonel, are all well-versed in wilderness survival. They collect the supplies they need, choose weapons (including 2 or 3 grenade each from the stash from the asteroid), and set off.

They ride the two kilometers to the mine, and find the entrance to the Pachy trail described by the shop keeper. As they riding into the trails, they find themselves in a different world.  The trail is about 10′ wide and 15′ tall – big enough for Pachys to travel single-file, or to ride grav bikes two side by side. The ceiling of the trails is nearly solid canopy, but they are lit by a weird bioluminescence. The bikes of course have lights. The team proceeds along the route at a moderate speed.

As they approach the first fork in the Pachy trail route, Roger (in the rear position) notices that they’re being followed by men on rapidly closing grav bikes. Roger’s bike is hit by a bullet, but continues functioning, as another bullet whizzes past his head. He puts his bike on autopilot and pitches a grenade back at his pursuers. The rest of the team hears an explosion to the rear, as the two of the enemy bikes blow up pitching their riders, unconscious, into the trees.

The team continues flying down the trail. Barney decides that since the grenade worked so well for Roger he’ll try it too. As the goons shoot, the second grenade explodes, taking out two more. In front, Flint and Ronda see a hole ahead in the roof of the trail, leading into another tunnel. Ronda continues forward, as Flint flies up into this exit, slides the bike around 180 degrees, and waits for the next bad guys to fly down below him, his auto rifle ready to take them out.

However, the team nails the last two goons with another grenade, leaving Flint nothing to shoot.

Just as Flint realized there are no enemies left, he hears something big behind him. He turns to see a gigantic snake-like creature about to strike. He manages to accelerate his grav bike back into the down-tube just as the snake attacks with a loud snap of its massive jaws. It’s fast  – as fast as a grav bike – and follows him down to the Pachy trail.

Lucky throws his bike onto autopilot, swings around facing backward on his bike, takes aim, and hits it twice with his autorifle, but the beast continues pursuit.

The team looks back to see Flint racing back toward them, followed by a 5′ diameter 90′ long snake-like creature. The beast snaps again – barely missing. Flint tosses a grenade into it’s mouth.  The explosion hurts the monster, but fails to stop it. Lucky throws his bike onto autopilot, swings around facing backward on his bike, takes aim, and hits it twice with his autorifle, but the beast continues pursuit.

It attacks again, again its massive jaws barely missing Flint and the bike. Flint clicks the bike on to autopilot, takes his two remaining grenades one in each hand, pulls the pins with his teach, and lobs them into the beast, finally stopping it! The team regroups farther up the trail. Ronda reports from up ahead that more access holes to what are apparently snake tubes are ahead. The team decides that the initial blasts from the grenades used on the pursuing grav bikes must have drawn the creature’s attention. They set off again, this time quietly skimming the bikes down through these biological caves, continuing toward the meeting places on the map.

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2 days elapsed in this session
Game time elapsed 171 days.

ITV Session 8: Mission to Uetonah

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SAFCO, along with Flint Sideron and Ronda the Pilot begin the game on the freetrader, floating outside the asteroid complex they raided in game 7. They have already done ship maintenance, but have not yet skimmed the local gas giant for fuel. The set off to do just that, while discussing their next course of action. They have a hold full of military weapons that Sammy Oberon had stolen from the RCMP, but of course Sammy is dead so Flint can’t get his bounty. Mergatroyd and Reesus Peesus are waiting on Mylor for the team to return with the loot. The members of SAFCO confer amongst themselves regarding the best course of action. Should they return the loot to the dirtbags on Mylor as agreed, or return it to the RCMP, two jumps away on Planet Overon, just across the board of the Prometheus subsector. They decide it would be smarter to be friends with the RCMP, and simply give the scum on Mylor a cut of the reward to keep them happy. Ronda agrees to the new terms which will net her 30,000cr. They will eventually pay Mergatroyd and Reesus back for the fuel they spotted them, and whatever else will keep them relatively happy. After all, they didn’t risk their lives.

They make a Jump-1 to the unnamed system just one parsec rimward. That system, charted but unexplored, proves to have 6 planets, including a gas giant. One planet teeming with life but no signs of intelligent inhabitants. They do drive maintenance in that system and continue working on the drone (failing all their rolls, again).

They then make the Jump-2 to Overon, a rocky world of size 5, and home to a large RCMP mining operation. As they land, they see massive transport ships being loaded with refined and raw ore. A big operation. Flint was stationed on this planet for five years, and knows people. He suggests they visit Administrator Robert Tilton, in charge of security and law matters. The local Law Level is 6, so they leave their weapons on the ship. Barney stays on the ship to begin drive maintenance. He and Fardt keep an eye on Ronda, while Flint, Roger, and Lucky head out to see Tilton.

Legal administrator Tilton remembers Flint well. After some small talk, the team explains there can be no bounty on Sammy Oberon because he’s dead, but they have recovered a lot of RCMP military gear. Tilton agrees to pay them what it’s worth, a hefty sum of 470,000cr. (they keep a few things too – a set of combat armor, some gauss rifles, combat environmental suits). After paying Ronda her 30k and deducting 40K to repay the cost of their fuel of the job, they have 400K left, plus 10 good vacc suits worth 10,000cr each. They give Fardt a 22,000cr bonus, for which he is quite grateful. To celebrate they head to the local casino, where everyone places bets, no one has gambling skill, and everyone loses to the house. Fardt thinks gambling sucks now. They head to the a tavern recommended by Flint, the Mooch Mine. The tavern specializes in an alcoholic drink called Mooch, with mild hallucinogenic properties. Flint sees a number of familiar faces.

A women comes in who looks familiar to Flint. She’s missing a leg, and has a cheap prosthetic. She’s being treated shabbily by the other patrons. He recognizes her as Sergeant Nora Slimjack, who served with him on a few campaigns. Flint buys her a drink and invites her to sit with them. Eventually, Nora confides that she’s like to hire the team with the balance of her retirement account from the army. It seems her son, a biologist, was on the nearby world of Uetonah doing research, and was kidnapped rebels on the world fighting against the Samson Mining Company, who operate a mining colony on the planet. She has 200K. The planet is an amber zone world – serious caution required of anyone landing there as their is military conflict happening. The team considers it. Ronda says “You guys are really going to walk into a war zone to help this hag?” She seems to not want a piece of this action. However, she reconsiders. The team is glad to have her on the job – she is one more person an enemy might aim at during a firefight other than them. Looking at the star map, it is clear that going to Uetonah before heading back to Mylor will cost them only an extra week in jump space, and will of course net them some good money. They take the job. They complete preparations on the ship and take off of Uetonah. Successful jump roll made by Roger.

During their time in Jump Space, Barney assists in the drone construction, and they finally finish it.

They arrive in the Uetonah system, and as per their usual habit decide to skim the gas giant, but first they contact the local authorities, thinking this might be a good idea given the situation on the main world. The response “You are directed to land on Uetonah, at the spaceport, and submit your ship for inspection before you may refuel.” They learn that the locals insist on checking all incoming ships for weapons shipments to the rebels. While they don’t like this, they agree.

As they enter the atmosphere of Uetonah, they see a nearly global jungle. Heavy foliage, very tall trees. You can’t see the ground. As they approach the spaceport, they see a vast area where the jungle has been completely clear-cut. Decimated. Strip mining is occurring. They see lots of activity. Machines and large beasts of burden moving things around, hauling ore, etc. The spaceport and colony are 2km from the mine, also in a clear-cut area, with a 30′ tall stone wall surround the entire city.

They land. Immediately the local inspectors great them and insist on checking the ship. Barney stays onboard with Fardt and Ronda. The others are asked to speak to the head of security, Sergeant G. Gottfried.  As they leave the ship, the crew sees raw ore being loaded by massive green elephant-like creatures  ridden or directed by human and alien workers. The beasts are 12′ tall, have 4 tusks, and use their great strength and tusks to slowly and carefully pick up massive ore containers and carry them into cargo holds.

A small man with a grating voice, Gottfried asks Roger, Lucky, and Flint what they are doing on Uetonah. They explain they are looking for one Jason Slimjack.  Gottfried has a record of his arrival, but nothing beyond that. He suggests that he might have checked into the local in. They explain that he was apparently kidnapped by rebels for a ransom. Gottfried explains that this is not uncommon, as the rebel scum do anything they can to raise money and pay for smuggled weapons. Barney asks what the rebels are upset about. Gottfried shows the crew a flyer, one of many that are distributed around the city, that say “Free the Pachyderms!”. He explains that Uetonah mines valuable minerals useful in high-efficiency fuel purification systems. Criminal elements in the subsector want Samson Mining to pay “protection” but the company refuses. So the criminals have convinced a small faction that the big animals seen working in the docks – the Pachyderms – are sentient, intelligent beings. These true-believers, though few in number, are causing a lot of grief to Samson Mining.

He tells them that if Jason has been kidnapped, it will be hard to find him (if he’s still alive). The rebels are constantly on the move. The jungle is dense and difficult to travel through. Barney asks of the Pachyderm ARE intelligent. Gottfried laughs. Look at them (pointing out the window). They was some of the creatures doing their work, occasionally defecating like a cow might as it lumbers around. “No, they certainly are not sentient. Watch them. They are just big, strong, dumb beasts, though useful.” He goes on to demonstrate his lack of respect for the biosphere in general. Clearly to Gottfried this is simply a world with resources to be exploited.

He writes the team permits to carry their weapons outside the walled city, as they clearly want to look for Jason. He tells them the jungle is very dangerous, but certainly they are free to explore.

The team regroups and goes to the Inn, where they ask about Jason. The innkeeper has not seen him, but offers the team lodgings. They politely decline.

5 weeks, 2 days have passed. 37 days.
Game time elapsed 169 days. 5.63 months.
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ITV Session 7: Asteroid Raid

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2 weeks have passed since the SAFCO team returned to Mylor after their Scout-Reactivation mission to Planet Trillos and the encounter with the Void Bug. They have been debriefed by Admin Billy Zoom of the Scout Service.  The Type-A Free Trader has been maintained by Barney and is ready for action. Barney and Lucky have been working on a reconnaissance drone. To build it they need to make three electronics rolls and three mechanics rolls over the course of the two weeks. They fail all the electronics roll, and make two mechanics rolls. The project is giving them some trouble. Will take another two weeks, three electronics rolls, and one mechanics roll to succeed. They can roll a couple times during the next two jumps.

Onboard the jumpliner Nebula View, bound for Mylor,  bounty hunter Flint Sideron is getting impatient. After a week in jump about the liner, he has not been able to locate what should be an easy quarry, a rotund and flamboyant trader in illegal arms. He has a description but no name, but believes this man to be the next step in the trail to gangster Sammy Oberon. the Ridley Consortium of Mining Planets, in the nearby Prometheus subsector, has a bounty on Oberon’s head. He stole a massive shipment of military grade weapons from them by colluding with a now-dead crooked corporate accountant. Flint wants the 100,000 credit from his former employer, and has been tracking Oberon for two months. Finally, as the ship is less than a day out from the Mylor system, the portly scumbag shows up in the vessel’s casino, making lots of noise, winning lots of money, women hanging all over him. Flint, dressed in a subdued suit, steps up to the table and places a bet that the big man will win again. He does. Flint let’s it ride. He wins again. The man bellows with victorious laughter, dabs the sweat from his brow with a fancy handkerchief, and declares that he’s now hungry (he’s been munching on candy the whole time). Clearly, this is the man Flint is looking for, who should lead him to Oberon.

On Mylor, SAFCO is once again contacted by Ronda the Pilot and the fixer Mergatroyd.  They agree to meet that afternoon at the Happy Gluck the next day.

The Nebula View pops out of jump space in the Mylor system, a couple of hours from Planet Mylor. Flint is keeping an eye on the fat man. The massive ship lands at the spaceport and the passengers disembark. Flint has his gear stored in a locker and follows the man. Leaving the premises of the space port, they move into the busy market/bazaar outside. Flint keeps the man in view as he weaves through the crowd on the wide walk. He stops and speaks to a beggar sitting against a wall, his chubby bejeweled fingers drops a few credits into the beggars cup, then he smacks him across the cheek for no apparent reason and walks a bit farther, stopping to look at some intoxicants. Flint walks by the beggar. “You look like a man on a mission”, say the man. He’s old. Gray hair, scruffy gray beard, tattered brown cloak. Flint recognizes the man as a monk of the Galactic Brotherhood. He drops a few credits in the man’s cup. “Thank you, brother. May the galaxy’s blessing be yours!” “Why did he hit you? ” asks Flint. “I’ve no idea, I’ve never seen him before. He will have no blessings.” Flint sees that the man’s eyes are cloudy, like every brother he’s ever encountered. Another passerby drops some money in the cup. The monk looks toward him and the man’s face visibly calms, as if filled with peace. The monk directs Flint to the Happy Gluck, at which he might find information about good lodgings, as he see’s the fat man step into an expensive inn a few doors down.

Several hours later, SAFCO, including Fardt, assemble at the Happy Gluck. They are met by the 7′ tall, four-eyed, purple-skinned Mergatroyd, who leads them to a table to find Ronda the Pilot and a rotund man in a fancy jacket. They sit down. Ronda introduces the man as Resus Peesus. She explains the deal. Mergatroyd recently gained information that the criminal Sammy Oberon has been killed by a rival gangster. Months earlier, Oberon managed to illegally have a shipment of military grade arms stolen from the Ridley Consortium of Mining Planets, and diverted to a secret stash. He’d been waiting for the heat to die down before fencing the gear. The weapons are thought to be sitting unguarded somewhere. Hundreds of thousands of credits of gear, waiting to be found. Through his contacts, Mergatroyd found Peesus, who believes he knows the coordinates of the trove of goods. For a percentage of the take, Peesus will give them the location. After bargaining, the assembled group agrees to give SAFCO 35% of the take, since they are doing the legwork. As they bargain, Flint enters the tavern and manages to eavesdrop from an adjacent table. He gets enough info to tell him that he is on the right trail.

As SAFCO returns to their new HQ , Flint follows them. He uses the stealth inherent in his Forward Observer skill and they don’t notice him. Finally, he knocks on the door of their office and hands them his business card. He tells them that Ronda and Mergatroyd are planning to double cross them (a lie) and offers to split the loot with the 50/50 if he can join in on the trip, as he wants to capture Sammy Oberon. Fardt laughs. “Oberon is dead!” The others say it’s a rumor, but they believe Flint, and agree to take him on the trip.

They spend the next day preparing for the trip. The next morning they go to the spaceport, where they meet Ronda and Mergatroyd at the ship. Merg gives them a chip with the coordinates of a large asteroid in the Zerix system, the supposed location of the weapons stash, and wishes them well. They board with Ronda and set off.

One week in jump space takes the group to the Zerix system. The scouts are familiar with the system, having helped in the initial survey many years before. Roger pilots the ship to the asteroid belt, and successfully gets to the target asteroid without incident. The asteroid is about 1.5 miles long, 1 mile wide and thick. There is an opening on one end large enough for a very large ship to enter easily. The opening has some working lights around its edge. Barney runs a sensor sweep, detecting some power and heat generation from inside, but no radio emissions. Roger takes the ship into the opening.

Inside they find a huge cavern. The walls are scattered with abandoned mining equipment. The interior is still lit, though dimly. There are openings to very large tunnels that appear to be natural formations. They take the ship deeper, slowly exploring the interior of the asteroid. To be on the safe side, the crew dons their vacc suits.

The find another large chamber 1/2 mile per side and just as tall. At the “bottom” is a complex of modular structures that appear to be quarters from the old mining operation. Some lights are on.  As they survey the area, the robot detects the electronic chatter of other robots – up to 20 – on the ships radio. Simultaneously, two mining pods fly into the chamber behind the ship. The pods are spherical, with powerful thrusters, 2 manipulator arms, and close range mining lasers. The pods are fast. Faster than the ship.

Roger takes the ship into an evasive course, skimming the walls of the cavern, as Lucky and Flint each take a gun turret. They destroy two of the robot-piloted pods and two more appear. In engineering, Barney uses his Engineering-3 skill to boost power to the maneuver drive temporarily, making the ship only slightly slower than the pods. They are still faster, but at least now SAFCO is 2/3 their speed, rather than 1/3.  Barney bounces against the cavern wall, but the hull remains intact.The crew destroys the two pods and one other while Roger evades. Finally the pods stop coming.

The team lands the ship some distance from the buildings, with both turrets still manned and ready for action. As Barney, Fardt, and Ronda get out in the vacuum and microgravity to repair the hull damage, more robots exit one of the buildings, armed with military gear – guns, a grenade launcher, a laser cannon, and a plasma gun. Flint and Lucky blast them with the ships lasers before they can fire, exploding the plasma gun, grenades, and laser cannon and destroying the robots.  SAFCO’s robot reports that there is no more robot chatter on the radio. Apparently they’ve destroyed all of them.

The team explores the buildings, eventually finding a number of large crates full of military gear intended for the corporate military of the Ridley Consortium of Mining Planets. Besides personal weapons, there is a very valuable Gauss gun turret meant to be mounted on some military vehicle.

They load the stuff into the ship’s cargo hold and take off. They intend, at this point, to return the stuff to RCMP, after perhaps taking a few items for themselves, and hopefully collect a nice bounty on the stuff (since Oberon is, apparently, dead). They will decide how to deal with Ronda, Resus Peesus, and Mergatroyd next session, and finalize plans on where to go and what to do with the goods.

Elapsed game time: 132 days (4.4 months)
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