ITV Session 28: Goodbye, Old Frenemy

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SAFCO, Sally Rasputin, and Reesus Peesus have boarded the Rambler-II and are in space, heading for the first of two jumps needed to return to Mylor. The cargo hold contains 6 transport coffins full of radioactive ore intended for delivery to crime boss Lynn Lomax Jr. The micro-bomb Lomax has implanted into the neck of Reesus has been removed while on the moon Desolis, using a microscopic amount of the energy-leeching crystalline organism discovered on that moon of Trask-6. Reesus need not fear Lomax anymore.

The crew spends two weeks in transit back to Mylor. During the trip Reesus teaches the crew a few gambling tricks for card games, and they learn that he wants to kill Lomax, which is fine with the crew, but it would leave a power vacuum. Reesus tells them that Lomax’s 2nd in command, Alro Rupalian, has expressed his concerns over the move into the spaceport, and might be a good person to assume control of the Lomax interests.

As the team approaches Mylor Reesus reveals the coordinates of a private landing site/hideout used by Lomax to receive contraband materials. He is able to give them a general idea of the layout. The landing site is in an inlet in the canyon walls, on a river about 100 km east of Mylor city. They ask him if Lomax will be there and he says yes, Lomax doesn’t trust anyone, so he’ll be there to receive the goods.

To avoid being stopped by authorities SAFCO enters the atmosphere well away from the city. They have devised a plan, as they have no intention of handing radioactives over to a criminal.

Reesus uses a private radio channel to contact Mergatroyd, my Mylor City, to request assistance.

Barney and Flint take the air raft out, far from the landing site, and quietly take up a position on the other side of the river, on the edge of the canyon, across from the landing site, reporting in to those remaining on the ship.

Roger lands the Rambler-II after notifying Lomax via radio that they’ll be there.  As they land, on either side of the landing pad, they see a tower (camouflaged from the air) in which a guard stands watch with a laser rifle. There are several entrances to what must be a base in the face of the canyon walls.

Roger and Reesus descend the loading ramp to great Lomax and his entourage. Both are armed. Lomax comes out smiling, “Welcome SAFCO. I trust you have the shipment? It’s going to make us a lot of money!”. “Yes,” replies Roger, “we’ve got it.”

“I see you’ve brought my favorite lap dog back as well – hello Reesus!”

Reesus seethes. Memory of the weeks and weeks of servitude and fear overwhelm him. He draws his autopistol and points it at Lomax.

“Reesus! What’s wrong with you? Don’t you remember this?” Lomax shows him the detonator he carries with him, which weeks ago would have triggered the micro-explosive Lomax had implanted next to his carotid artery. Reesus is swearing profusely and shaking slightly. Reesus keeps the gun pointed at him. Lomax grows visibly concerned. Reesus smiles slightly. Lomax uses the trigger. Nothing happens. His eyes go wide in disbelief. He triggers it again and again to no effect. Reesus smiles and pulls the trigger – MISSING Lomax completely!

The shit hits the fan as the shot is fired.

From across the river Flint fires his rifle, hitting the closest laser wielding guard in the head, killing him. The guard goes tumbling from his deer stand style post, falling 30 feet to the floor of the landing site.

Simultaneously…

Roger tosses a hand grenade next to Lomax, who fails to dive for cover. He’s blown to bits and two of his henchmen are knocked out.

and…

The other laser guard, having seen Reesus fire at Lomax, fires at Reesus, the bright red laser beam burning a hole through his skull, killing him instantly.

and…

Aboard the Rambler, Fardt directs the automated pulse laser turret to fire on the surviving laser guard. The ships laser hits, vaporizing the goon and burning a hole in the canyon wall.

and…

Lucky points the bottom pulse laser turret at the remaining goons. The GM rolls a morale check, and they fail, dropping their weapons and surrendering.

Roger directs the SAFCO robot to take Reesus to the autodoc, but it is hopeless. A large tunnel has been burned through his brain.

A white flag comes out the door, followed by a tall androgynous man and a few more thugs, all with their hands up. The tall man introduces himself as Alro Rupalian, and asks where Reesus is? SAFCO explains the situation. With regard to Lomax, Rupalian states “Lomax as a fool. Moving into the spaceport and bring the attention of imperial authorities was a dumb risk.”  He goes on the say “We won’t be taking those radioactives. It’s one thing running guns and contrand, but I don’t want to start selling WMD components. That’s bad business.”

Finally Mergatroyd and some associates arrive via air raft and take Reesus’s body. He and Rupalian disappear into the hideout to talk business.

SAFCO, having regrouped, with Sally, board the ship to discuss their next moves…

Loose ends: They still have the radioactives. What to do about Falke, back on Desolis, who has the energy leeching organism and wishes to profit from it. They have not left the hideout yet.

End of session.

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Elapsed time: 393 game days

 

 

ITV Session 27: the Energy Leech

Spoiler Alert: this post pertains to a session run using the adventure Energy Transfer, by Michael Brown. Do not read further if you may be a player in this scenario.

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SAFCO, associate Sally Rasputin, and sometimes-associate/sometimes-enemy Reesus Peesus are on Desolis, an airless moon of Trask 6, at Sierra Praxis mining base, owned by Novastel Mining Corporation. During there initial time on the base (see last sessions) there was a tremor and power dip. Miners told them a meteor may have hit nearby. Inspection team 2 is called to work. SAFCO takes care of some business and goes back to their ship to sleep.

In the middle of the night they are summoned to meet with Dr. Jonton Fawke, the administrator of the facility. It seems that Inspection Team 2 has disappeared while investigating the meteor strike, which created a small hole in an ore shaft dome that feeds into the processing plant. Fawke does not trust his miners to investigate. It is apparent from his comments and those of the miners that SAFCO met in the base tavern that Fawke and the miners doe not have a good relationship. Fawke offers the team $5000 credits to investigate and find out what happened to the crew.

Roger uses SAFCO’s mining pod to examine the exterior of the dome while the rest of the team and Fawke use SAFCO’s robot, with their drone on top of it (it can’t operate in vacuum), to explore the sealed-off corridor leading to the dome.

The strike happened during workers time-off day, so no lives were lost in the initial depressurization of the dome. The actual ore shaft in the middle of the dome was therefore sealed at the time by a secure and radiation proof hatch. There is a large air lock used before entering the corridor, which was also closed and sealed.

From the window in the outer airlock hatch the team can see that lights are dimmed about halfway down, and further it is totally dark. Power down there is totally out.

They send the robot and drone through the airlock and down the corridor, initially using infrared and ultraviolet sensors. As the robot approaches the area where the light is dimmed, they see (in IR and UV patterns) what appear to be paint splotches covering all the surfaces of the corridor and the central conveyor belt.  They bring the robot closer and turn on the spotlight. They see a shiny, black, scaly substance covering all the surfaces. As they watch, the drone’s power levels decrease suddenly and drastically. They pull the robot back, to find that it too has lost a lot of battery power.

Outside in the mining pod, Roger sees that there is a basketball-sized hole punched in the dome. He sees some black scaly goo on the edges of the hole.

The team together with Falke determine the power loss rates for the drone battery vs the robot battery, based on the time they were down there and the percentage of power left, and surmise that smaller power sources will be depleted much faster. The robot, with a 24 hour charge, can now operate near the black stuff for about an hour before being depleted. They also determine that the energy drain began when the robot and drone were about five meters from the scaly substance.  They send the robot back down and use one of its claws to collect a tiny sample. Bringing it back, Lucky quickly removes the claw and they store it in a lead-lined case for transporting radioactives. Barney and Falke take it to a lab for examination. Outside, Roger tests the energy drain by brining the mining pod within five meters of the hole. He sees the drain starting and pulls back.

While Barney and Falke work in the lab, Lucky and Flint decide to try to determine what happened to Inspection Team 2. They would be out of air in their vac suites by now, and are likely dead. Lucky, in his vac suit, enters the corridor. He used a light to look far down into the corridor and dome, and sees a human-shaped lump on the floor, covered with the black scales.  Clearly Inspection Team 2 is dead. After he has been within 5 meters of the black scales for 1 minute he begins to feel bad! He takes 1d6 to his Endurance (for 5 damage) as the stuff starts to drain his body’s energy. He backs off quickly, having learned that the stuff can drain energy from living creatures very quickly!

In the lab, Falke and Barney carefully take a few particles of the black scales from the robot’s claw and examine it under an electron microscope. Just a few initial particles. They see the scales are composed of even smaller scales. As they watch, the scales pulse and multiply on the slide, feeding on the energy in the room and the energy of the electron microscope. Falke destroys the sample with acid before it can grow any more and present a danger to the facility or its power.

Sally contacts the team, telling them that in the taveren Reesus Peesus is causing problems. He is winning all the miners’ money at cards and they are getting pissed. He tells her that with the tiny explosive in his neck his days are numbered and he doesn’t care.  Barney goes to the bar and forces Reesus to leave, and to leaven his chips with the miners — a goodwill gift.

Flint suggests that it might be possible to use a tiny amount of the energy leeching scales to drain the microscopic battery powering the bomb in Reesus’ neck. After discussing numerous ways to approach it, they decide that a tiny amount of the material brought close to the tiny battery should drain it, based on their measurements of the earlier battery drains, before harming Reesus or anything else.  Falke is in favor of this experiment.  The tell Reesus they need to take more data on the bomb. They take the lead-lined container to the med lab, quickly take an extremely tiny sample of the scales on the end of a probe, and hold it near Reesus’ carotid artery.  After a couple of minutes they scan the bomb and find that the battery is indeed now dead, and the bomb is easily removed.  The sample is destroyed with acid.

Reesus expresses his infinite thanks to SAFCO, apologizes for trying to have them killed, and expresses his desire to get revenge on Lomax.

Dr. Falke talks with SAFCO. He says the black substance is potentially extremely valuable. He wants to develop it and market it himself, as it has potential weapons, medical, and scientific applications. He seems quite greedy. He plans to seal off the contaminated dome and corridor from all energy input and make it off limits, but wants to continue running the radioactives mining operation, using it and Novatel money to his own ends.

He wants SAFCO to help him — to be his partners.

SAFCO agrees. The radioactives they came for are loaded into their ship and they head back into space. Once away, they begin to discuss what they really need to do, based on the clear evidence that the black energy leeching scales are too dangerous for someone like Falke to control. They also don’t trust him.

End of Session.
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Elapsed time: 395 game days

 

 

 

ITV Sessions 25 and 26: A New Boss in Town

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Sally Rasputin leads SAFCO to a bar called The Alien Outpost. It’s a place that caters to non-human sophonts, and it is here they hope to find Slick (a Crab with a bad shell condition that keeps him coated with slime), Sally’s contact from Lomax. They find him there, tell him they want to meet with Lomax, and wait until the place closes (watching all the entrances) to see where he goes.  They follow him into Scumtown where he enters a warehouse. The team surveils the warehouse and finally are invited in by Lomax. He has quite a few goons in there.

The team meets with Lomax, avoiding a fight. They tell him that Reesus is missing and he had been a source of good jobs. They’d like to do work for him. They see no sign of Reesus.

Lomax recognized them from the news as the people who saved the Baroness from assassination. He knows they are freelancers and very capable, and might be good associates. He offers them a preliminary “get to know him” deal. If they will make the 3 parsec trip to the Trask system and retrieve a load of radioactive minerals from the mining station there, he’ll of course pay them well, pay for their fuel, and it will set the stage for future dealings. The team accepts, mostly as way to get in good with Lomax and eventually find Reesus. They are told that in the morning Lomax will send his representative to their ship, to accompany them on the trip and do the deal.

The next day SAFCO, as they will be going to a place where radioactives are mined, buy some radiation suits (5), four radiation blankets, and a couple ofd emergency vacc suit survival kits. They will be traveling to the moon Desolis, in orbit around Trask-4, a gas giant. The system is amber zone due to civil unrest on the main world. They learn that Novasteel is a mining concern of relatively small size, but is profitable due to the nature of their specialties (radioactives). Desolis is a large vaccuum moon.

Also that morning a grav transport arrives delivering Lomax’s representative who is in cold sleep in a pod. They put it in the cargo bay, look in the small window, and see it is Reesus! Lomax has given him to them! The instructions are to thaw him out as soon as they are in space.

SAFCO sends Fardt to town to inform Mergatroyd and request that he come to the ship to smooth things over when they wake Reesus up. Barney makes a big show of ordering some ship parts, to explain their delay in lift-off to anyone watching them.

Fardt uses streetwise skill and finds out that administrator on Desolis sometimes does illegal deals…he is corrupt.

Mergatroyd arrives. They thaw Reesus out. Mergatroyd talks him down. The team thinks “problem solved” and they can now just deal with Lomax on their own terms. Reesus explains that no, they have to continue as Lomax has implanted a tiny explosive device in his neck. It will explode and kill him if removal is attempted or if Lomax detonates it remotely. Only Lomax has the code and means to disarm it. They decide to do the deal on Desolis, while Mergatroyd tries to raise a group to attack Lomax if necessary.

They jump to the Trask System, and are immediately located by a system defense boat. They are told they can skim from the gas giant and visit Desolis, but the are not to approach the main world of the system or they will be destroyed. SAFCO agrees.

After fuel skimming, they land at Sierra Praxis base, the mining operation. It consists of a number of large domed habitats and buildings, all sealed and enclosed on the surface of the small vacuum world.

Reesus gets a meeting with Dr. Jonton Fawke, the manager of the facility. Lucky and Flint go with him. Roger stays on the ship. Fardt, Barney, and Sally visit the tavern.

In the tavern, Barney, Fardt, and Sally make friends with the miners.

Reesus negotiates a deal with Fawke for two containers of radioactives. Lucky and Flint ask him some questions. Afterward they go to the base’s top-notch medical facility, where they ask the doc to examine Reesus. He confirms that there is something implanted and that it has a very tiny power source. He says it is consistent with that Reesus was told about it, and he would not try to remove or disable it. They join the others at the tavern.

A small tremor is felt throughout the facility and the power flutters briefly. One of the miners explains to Barney that a small meteorite probably struck nearby, which is not uncommon. Nothing to worry about.  A bit later a loudspeaker tells Inspection Team 2 to report for duty. Again, the miner says this is nothing to worry about. They simply check for any damage to the facility from the impact. Members of the team go to the viewing room on the top floor of the habitat, and see no signs of trouble.

End of Session.
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Elapsed time: 394 game days

 

ITV Session 24: One Night at the Happy Gluck

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Recap:

Last session the team made it back to Mylor. The Baroness smoothed things over with the authorities. Zal went to the hospital. The Baroness makes arrangements for the Precursor pod and the android body to be sent to the University of Zapata.

The team has met with the head administrator of the Scout base, Billy Zoom, to pass on information they collected on the expedition. Zoom informs them that Roger’s scout ship, the Rambler I, was pressed back into service. He gives them 5 grav bikes to compensate Roger for the loss of the ship. He also informs them that over the last couple of months (their absence), there seems to be some turf wars going on in the Mylor underworld.

The groups goes to the Happy Gluck to celebrate survival and a successful expedition.

Today’s session:

Entering the Happy Gluck, the group finds it busy. They order drinks, and find out from their friend Vern, the owner, that business has been tough. His “taxes” have increased. He isn’t sure who is responsible, but clearly the normal protection money he pays suddenly wasn’t enough. Making his streetwise roll, Fardt notices that the 7-foot tall, 4-eyed, purple Rax fixer known as Mergatroyd is currently playing Collider at one of the gaming tables, and losing. There’s a lucky person playing. Fardt does not see Reesus Peesus, which is unusual on a busy night. The group decides to make contact with Mergatroyd to find out what’s up and hopefully make peace with him and Reesus (Reesus tried to have them killed a couple of months ago).  The group casually approaches the table. Barney takes up a vantage point up some stairs. He can see that one pair of Mergatroyd’s eyes is focused on the game, while the other has tracked some of the team. He is aware of their presence.

Lucky observes the Collider game. No one is as lucky as the guy who is winning, but Lucky can’t see that he’s cheating. Knowing how the machine works, he makes his Gambling roll (with a positive modifier for this Electronics skill) and surmises that someone near the table has a magnetic device that is affecting the trajectory of the subatomic particles in the game table. He whispers this to Fardt. The gluck tells Vern. Mergatroyd is playing it cool. A bouncer comes up to the table and starts using a detection device, finally pointing it at bystander and yelling “CHEATER!”. The place erupts. The one guy runs toward the door to the bar. The guy who was actually playing the game gets up and tries to run, but Roger tackles him. From his perch, Barney fires a warning shot at the running guy. He makes a morale check, succeeding, and rather than dropping to the floor he continues out the door. A rough looking guy whispers to Flint during the commotion that “Mergatroyd want to see you in the room behind the bar.”  Before everything settles down, the team uses the commotion as a distraction to go unnoticed to the back room. Mergatroyd follows them.  Barney remains at his lookout perch.

Mergatroyd is relieved to see the group. He harbors them no ill will. He tells them that Reesus has been missing for a number of weeks, and that it is affecting his business. Though Reesus is gone, the illegal arms are still apparently flowing through the sector and through Mylor, so he things Reesus is still alive. He says a local crime boss called Lomax has died, and apparently his son, Lomax Jr., is trying to take over his turf, and expand into the space port. This is the cause of Vern’s problems, and is generally destabilizing things. He suggests that they will all prosper if SAFCO can find and rescue Reesus, and most likely kill Lomax Jr or at least drive him out of the space port. Reesus being a “pillar of the community”.

SAFCO agrees that while they’ve had disagreements, association with Reesus has been profitable for them and of course this is their home and they don’t want things going badly. They agree to help.

As this has been going on, a green orion dancing girl has been chatting up Barney. Barney, ever suspicious, has gotten her drunk. She doesn’t seem to know much, but suddenly decides to leave. Barney gets up and follows her out.

Inside the tavern, Fardt makes his streetwise skill. He tells the team that a nondescript woman took notice when the green woman and  Barney leave the bar. As they start toward her, she gets up and leave the bar, starting to walk down the sidewalk. Lucky and Flint apprehend her. She is causing a stir on the sidewalk. A Law Level roll is made, and no police are attracted. They take an autopistol from her, and take her back into the Happy Gluck, and into the back room where they start to question her.

She is uncooperative until Mergatroyd threatens to cut one of her eyes out with his dagger. She caves. She is working for Lomax, and sent the green dancer to chat up Barney and see what she could learn. Then the “good cops” (SAFCO) offer to pay her more to switch sides. Realizing she has blown it – that Lomax will kill her if he finds out she has given up his name — she agrees. They will pay her 3000 credits a week, and she will tell them where Lomax Jr. is. Hopefully they’ll find Reesus. She wants them to kill Lomax Jr., so she can carry on without fear of reprisal.

End of session.

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Elapsed time: 379 game days

 

 

ITV Session 23: The God Killers

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SAFCO begins where they left off, on the Precursor world in the Great Nebula of the Void. Having defeated the alien android possessed by the being inhabiting the Universal Translator, the team decides what to do.

Professor Zal Twist is stabilized in the ship’s autodoc. The Baroness insists that before leaving they attempt to at least take a sample of the withered Precursor bodies in the pods. Barney examines the alien technology, consults with Lucky, and makes a very difficult roll, successfully figuring out how to power-down a pod. He examines the power cable, and after very careful description of what he is doing, confirms there is no power in the cable. He cuts it.

Meanwhile, Flint has brought a lift from the cargo hold of the ship. They manage to lift one of the pods and take it to the ship. Flint brings the body of the alien android. Lucky discovers that while the brain and the Universal Translator are destroyed, the body does still have some charge left it its battery. They remove the destroyed UT and secure it.

Their business here complete, they take off. Once back in space they jump to one of the systems they had previously scanned containing a gas giant. In an effort to cut some time off their return trip to Mylor they do some additional scanning but discover no systems with refueling points. They proceed back to system 2, home of the planet-wide sentient psionic fungal network. They avoid the planet and refuel at a gas giant. They then jump back to Zal’s System, refuel, and return to Mylor. Five weeks travel time.

The Baroness talks to authorities once in orbit smoothing things over for SAFCO, who were wanted for her abduction in the subsector. She explains she stowed away.  All is well.

The team decides, after getting the fairly recovered Zal Twist to the hospital, to go inform the Scouts of the very serious threats to the Imperium lurking just a few parsecs away in the Void. In particular, the Fungal Network. Administrator Billy Zoom is glad to get the information. The Scouts have been preparing to survey that area, and this will keep them out of danger. The fungal planet will be interdicted immediately until the Imperial Quarantine Bureau decides how to handle that threat. Zoom tells that that a freighter full of religious cultist had recently left Mylor in the direction of the Nebula. Should they go to that world it would be an immediate danger, so their ship will be found and stopped. Or destroyed if necessary.

Zoom tells Roger that, sadly, the base recently lost a Scout crew and ship, so the ship that Roger mustered out with — the Rambler — has been pressed back into service. To compensate Roger, Zoom offers the team five IISS grav bikes that are about to be decommissioned as newer models have arrived. Rogers takes the deal.

Roger asks Zoom what else has happened during the months they’ve been gone. Zoom tells him that the local underworld on Mylor is rumored to be in somewhat a state of chaos. Turf wars are breaking out, confusion in leadership…

The team has earned the 100K credits from Zal and the University of Zapata for their help in the expedition. The Baroness arranges for the Precursor pod and the android body to be taken to the University of Zapata. One of the greatest archaeological finds in centuries — funded by her family. Her status should increase in the circles of nobility.  Zal will go down in history.

The team heads toward the Happy Gluck to relax and celebrate survival of yet another expedition into the unknown of the Void.

Ending date: IY6026.253
Elapsed game time: 379 days

ITV Session 22: To Kill a God part 2

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In orbit of the intelligent fungal planet, SAFCO completes a week of maintenance on the ship. During that time Lucky conducts an EVA to inspect the ship for signs of fungus clinging to the hull, and finds none. Barney conducts an analysis of the fuel processed from the water on that planet and finds that the onboard refining process has removed any fungus, which was likely destroyed in the process. The fuel is fine. The rest of the ship is likewise inspected and found to be clean. It has been parked on ice and snow, so likely it did not come into contact with any fungus. The scouts with the help of Joe scan ahead to the destination system using their scout-class sensor array. They are able to detect eight planets, including two gas giants. No additional info at this distance. Art plots a course and Roger engages the jump drive and they spend a week in Jump Space.

They pop out of jump space on the edge of that system, not too far from one of the gas giants, well outside the orbital plane. More scanning is done, and they detect one inner planet in the habitable zone with water. They stop at the first gas giant to refuel. Roger is able to pilot the ship to avoid electrical storms. During the refueling run they witness gigantic gas-bag creatures floating in the upper atmosphere. A kilometer across, sensors zoom and and reveal kilometers-long tendrils hanging from the creatures, occasionaly catching a faster-moving creature of some sort. Though curious about the possible sentience of these creatures, the crew decides to press on with the main mission. Art uses his Nav-2 skill to plot a fast and efficient course to the target planet, slingshotting around the other gas giant and landing them in a perfect orbit of that world.

SAFCO confers with Zal Twist, who suggests that they scan the surface for likely unnatural formations resembling the ziggurat they found months ago on their first expedition. They eventually locate one on a small island off the coast of one of the two large continents. They survey the site from the air. It consists of a ziggurat 250 feet across, a large landing pad, and two tall black pylons, all inside a 50′ wall that surrounds the complex. Further aerial recon reveals an apparent breach in the wall of the second level and a main entrance on the ground level of the structure. Lucky uses the drone to take a look at the breach, but while it appears that a human could crawl through, he can’t risk sending the drone in.

On the ground level, the team finds an unpowered control panel next to the huge entrance, similar to the one they found on the other planet. Lucky is able to hotwire it using power from the robot, while Barney tends to the robot. As the door begins to open it draws too much power from the robot, but Barney makes his Engineering roll and prevents it from fully draining him.  They get it open about five feet – enough for everyone to pass.

They send in the drone to survey the inside. The first level appears to be a large ceremonial space. 35 feet to the ceiling, a large pit, columns, and an alter in front of a massive black square stone column the rises to the ceiling. Zal discovers alien writing on the face of that structure. Standing on the alter, he uses the universal translator to read the words…

Here, as the enemy approaches
We create our new body
The New Body
Immortal
Perfect
Powerful and Good
We dedicate ourselves to the New Body
And preservation of our Culture

As Zal speaks those words, a door slides open in that structure, revealing what appears to be an elevator.  Rather than jump in, they decide to send the drone up a stairwell they discovered to explore the next level.

As Lucky pilots the drone on the second level, it is hit by something. He backs it up and turns on the flood lights, to see a group of spider-like creatures the size of large dogs approaching the drone. They are shooting hard darts from their mouths, which trail a fibrous rope. The darts clang off the drone, but they follow it anyway. The team prepares as Lucky informs them of the threat and uses the drone to lure the creatures down the stairs. They manage to pick off the creatures before anyone is hit.  Several team members then go upstairs to explore. They find nothing but empty rooms and a spider lair.

The team decides to use the elevator, as Zal is sure they are about to make a huge discovery! They go up to the only stop – the third floor.

As the door opens, lights come on. Around this level they see two rows of 8 large organic-looking pods full of blue gel. Inside they can see the floating remains of what must have been the Precursors. Each pod has a control panel behind it, and here are huge machines along one side of the room. Across the room is what appears to be an “android” of the Precursor species, still in working order. Black metal surface that resembles that of the universal translator, the being comes to life. Zal uses the translator to communicate the team’s peaceful intentions. The android is confused. It moves about the chamber, looking at each pod, asking “Where are the Makers? How long has it been?” The team explains the situation. The android explains that the Precursors were at war, and losing, and this place was a facility to transform the consciousness of these 16 beings into pure energy, to live forever and evolve their species beyond the threat of warfare. The android asks Zal to give it the UT, as it will allow it to communicate with the whole team.

Zal hands the device to the android. The creature’s head splits open, it places the UT globe in its skull, and the head closes up. Moments later the creature suddenly grabs Zal by the throat, lifing him and squeezing. The team sees the old man’s body go limp and the android drops it to the floor, and speaks. “Thank you for this new body. I have waited months for this. Now I will take your ship. ” The team and the android begin to fight as it tries to move to the elevator. The first round of bullets bounce off the creature as they might off of battledress.  At close range, Flint strikes with his sword doing heavy damage. The creature strikes back, but his combat armor saves him. The team continues firing, and eventually puts the thing down, as Flint cleaves the head in two, destroying the UT, which apparently had housed the mind of the Dead God from session 5, who was apparently a criminal from the Precursor society.

The Baroness runs weeping to the body of Zal Twist, then exclaims that he is still alive. The team discovers that the old scientist is clinging to life, but barely. They rush him back to the ship’s autodoc, where they stabilize him..

We end the session with SAFCO considering their next actions.

End Session
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Elapsed game time: 343

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 there 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