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 Zapata 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.

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 their looking at the thing, Roger still hears the voice!

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

End Session
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Elapsed game time: 242

ITV Session 20: Ice Planet in the Void

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

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

Into The Void – Session #20

9 Jan 2021 (Sat)  Start 1:00PM.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARRIVAL AT ICE PLANET:

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

LIFE FORMS AND CRASHED CARGO SHIP:

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

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

We each arm ourselves with 5 grenades.

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

ICE APES:

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

CRATES:

The crates look like they contained prefab building materials.  

PLAN:

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

EXPLORATION:

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

— END OF SESSION #20 —

End Session
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Elapsed game time: 241

ITV Session 19: the Alien Complex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End Session
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Elapsed game time: 217 days

 

ITV Session 18: more on the Blasted World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of Session
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Elapsed game time: 217 days

 

ITV Session 17: the Blasted World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of session

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Elapsed game time: 217 days

ITV Session 16: the Stowaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End Session
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Elapsed game time: 216 days

 

 

ITV Session 15: the Baroness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End Session
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Elapsed game time: 193 days

 

ITV Session 14: Danger Beneath the Ocean Floor

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

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

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

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

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

End Session
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Elapsed game time: 192 days

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