SH10: Entangled! Surplus heroes jump to moral dilemma!

Welcome back! Before the game, I speculated that there could be a zombie attack, a driving schedule test, or a sneak-past-Indians. As it turns out all three are on offer.

The Bad’n’Ruin ground team:

  • Pip: driver and pilot
  • BJ: wounded mechanic and engineer
  • Iceman: marksman and cook
  • Widow: tactician

The Bad’n’Ruin support team of NPCs:

  • Bex: merchant and banker (and power-point presenter)
  • Choi: computers
  • Rhonda: steward

The rescuees:

  • Tangle (Tarngal): troubled boy
  • Q4K (Que Vork): Tangle’s aunt, who brought him to hide on Rowsion II
  • Heath: Q4K’s uncle
  • Eskip: girl cousin of Q4K

The ground team and rescuees are travelling in a full-cab luxury air raft. When we re-join them, they are sheltering in an abandoned school grounds, in a barn.

Spelling: For Q4K, read Que Vork; for Tangle, read Tarngal; for Roysion, read Rowsion; for Bayvan, read Beyavin; for Nazmin read Nasemin.

 

 

News from above

Choi has good news and bad news. The shuttle will wait on the window I estimate – around 8-12 hours from dawn – but there’s a force of EMA troops getting closer. Our problem is getting past them. He signs out sounding meccha happy.

Iceman: there’s someone that’s getting some

Everyone’s been jammed in by me to hear this so don’t need no briefing. We work out watches – Heath, me, then Iceman – Pip is already back to sleep and BJ is still pretty sore.

 

 

 

The Juni-Jats

We get jumped by pack predators towards dawn, while Iceman’s working on grub and the kids, Pip, and Q4K are sleeping in the raft.

[A series of Alertness rolls are failed or borderline, owing to the heavy rain on the barn. Finally Widow makes a fair roll while leaning against the raft’s offside, nursing a coffee, towards dawn.]

 

Battle layout: Picture a no-window one-level barn big enough to hold three big vehicles, that’s about the size. doublewidebarnIt has no loft or skylight and no lights, so BJ’s IR goggles are passed from sentry to sentry. Looking in from the doors, our raft is sitting off to the left a little though with plenty of room for campers to sack out between it and the wall. It faces the doors for a fast getaway.

Edge: since she made the Alertness check the edge is with Widow.

Surprise round: A chugging, gurgling animal noise can be just picked out on the driver’s side of the air raft. Widow sets down the coffee, draws her pistol, and signals to Iceman. Iceman abandons his coffee/breakfast prep, and picks up his rifle.

Round 1: Widow lies down right (kicking Heath awake) so she faces around the raft’s corner, and lets fly with three rounds, then calls her position. All sleepers wake. A menacing roar comes from the general area Widow fired at. (Fort checks all round. Pip fails.)

Pip, who is lying across the front seats, starts up, bangs her head on the wheel and stuns herself. BJ wakes fully alert, grabs his SMG, and gets up: he can fire next round. Heath shifts to the raft’s front end, near where he was dozing. Iceman slides down the IR. He sees three creatures beyond the raft in the wider unoccupied half. Two of them are ‘sounding’ while the third is advancing. He calls its general bearing.

Round 2: Widow crabs back to her bedroll, and locates her torch. BJ empties the SMG’s mag with a D burst, in that direction, giving the advancing critter a fright. Iceman (making a great Alert check) works out these are jackal-like creatures, Juni-Jats. He opens up with a triple burst at one in a corner, scaring it.

Widow catches a movement from the opposite direction, turns her torch on, and lets fly at the critter. As it jinks past his position, Heath blasts it with his needler pistol: it staggers back out the doors.

Round 3: BJ opens the raft offside door, leans across to flip the lights on, and bangs heads with Pip. He still manages to get the lights on! The lights shine past gaps in the doors, picking out multiple eyes – there’s a whole mob of Juni-Jats out there!

An unwounded Juni-Jat leaps atop the raft, bellowing. (More Fort checks, but everyone with a weapon is still OK.)

Widow swings back around and pumps rounds into the critter, and it falls back. (A fine roll given the lay-off penalty and the first time in about seven sessions Widow actually did damage to something in combat.) Pip switches on and lofts the raft.

Round 4: BJ clambers in back, trying to reassure the kids. Iceman scans around: the critters seem to have retreated. Leaving his breakfast makings where they lie, he slides in the back as well, while Heath jumps into shotgun position. Widow grabs her shotgun, and rolls in as the raft shatters the doors and flies away.

[So much for the zombie attack! We are pretty conservative with ammo, and see no point in shooting at critters that are backing off. No XP for kills in this game!]

 

Driver fatigue

For a navy geezer Heath can sure shoot. He says it ain’t nothing. We take shifts in shotgun position, being so towards the eight-hour mark I’m ready to try a comms check. Up til then, Pip keeps driving with mighty few rest-stops. We kick around what course is going to be smoothest for a whiles over the map. I say to Pip, head south alongside the woodlands to Miiri, swing west round it, head south another hundred klicks, then due west.

Umar and Disclin Mining

The weather is just as shit as ever, only when we get down towards Miiri it starts hailing on top of everything else. [Pip makes three good Air Raft checks, confusing pilot skill with air raft, but they are still OK when AL spots the mistake.] It’s looking more like eight hours than 12, only early days since we ain’t hit no mountains yet.

Wide of Miiri, we see refugees heading out in columns and smoke off of burning vehicles. Miiri is pretty bad – I guess it got took out by another meteorite. Pip ain’t fully buying my plan for driving south then west, and swings south-west. We can’t see nothing past about 15 metres, sometimes 5 metres what with fog now. She allows as how she’s picked the right valley to head up, and how she got to get some shut-eye.

Widow: how ‘bout you BJ, you allows as how you can back Pip up on any shit

BJ (groans): uh, don’t reckon I said that ezackly, I ain’t feeling too good nohow

Widow: well I’m a great driver, I can take over

Iceman: optimism of the deluded

Widow: hey, that ravine I dropped the car into back there was a oncer, it ain’t gonna happen again

I drive as near west as I can, alongside slopes and over fence-lines. BJ’s kinda quiet and clutching the dash. Iceman’s muttering something in back. Only one not bothered is Pip, she’s sawing logs back there. I spin out once but get her back on track. I figure to make a pit-stop and set down.

I don’t hate my luck. I see people-shapes moving in the fog, haul out my slicker and hide my pistol under it. They hail us. I explain we are offworlders heading for high ground so’s we can wait for help to arrive, up off of the plains. They allow as how they are farm folk looking for help themselves, so I tell them about refugees down on the plains. I don’t know that they buy my story of why we are all heading away, but they don’t come no closer and drift on.

 

Sneak? Or Catapult?

I drive on, getting pretty nigh a real crash, and Pip wakes up on the last scrape. I hand over and take over shotgun, and get on the comms to Choi and Rhonda. They are down on the shuttle deck right now. Bad news, the EMA troops have the base fully surrounded. Rhonda gives me the co-ordinates and I take a proper bearing.

Widow: roger leave that with us… snugglebunny

Rhonda: seriously?!? (turns comms off)

I call a Chinese parliament and we kick around options for penetrating to the base. I favour infiltrating by getting close, grabbing a vehicle and just driving through pretending to be the EMA. Heath and Q4K will sound like locals if we need to talk. Pip favours boosting the raft high, like a catapult shot, and dropping down on the base. She allows as if she does it right, ain’t gonna be time for missiles to lock on. I figure if she turns off the drive, and freefalls down, IR targeting won’t work. She don’t say she can do that, but overall most want to try that based on not having to drag kids around so I go that way.

[AL has second thoughts after a poor roll and tries to jawbone the GM into believing that Pip wanted to fly much lower. Luckily the GM ignores this.]

Pip’s well up through the fog and rain when tracer zips up past us. Something slams into the raft’s belly and the thrust module cuts out.

Omnes: aiiaargh!!!

Pip: I planned this! I planned this! Brace!

[Pip’s raft skill (1 box) offsets the button of the AA cannon dice roll. This averts a fatal strike. Pip has a vehicle skill of 13. She rolls a terrible 5 to control the drop using the support module, and rolls a 12 to not disastrously crash: GM decides not to TPK]

I claw down into crash position, Pip slams the thing down any old how and I’m too shook up to move. [Athletics checks at -2: only Pip makes it!] Pip rolls out her side and I hear guards calling her to get her hands up. But they ain’t locals and then I hear Choi yelling, so we made it through to the base.Disclin

I check around on everyone [+9 check] and the kids are fine. We packed plenty of blankets and whatnot around them earlier on. Everyone else is mobile, so we check in with passport control and get our documents stamped. The outstation guards have kinda set up as default government here, cooperating with Disclin. They don’t seem bothered by whether we are toting weapons or not, so I carry both the shotguns aboard. The other guns are all local cartridge and ain’t much use elsewhere so we dump them.

 

It takes around 20 minutes to make the outstation. Bex is there to greet us and I give her a big hug. She done well by us.

 

Who saves a life, owes the life

Pip’s on bridge, BJ in med-bay, Iceman out giving his guns a strokin’, I’m squared off so check back around my passengers, and I find Q4K crying.Q4K_Tangle

Widow (uncomfortably): there, there…

Heath takes her, me and Bex aside and Iceman serves her a hot sweet tea. Heath allows as how Q4K reckons to have failed, seeing as how she’s headed back to Nazmin. Seems as how Tangle’s right mother was killed by her husband and he was a Jackal name of Talban. Q4K dragged the kid out of the gang and planned to get him a new life on Roysian.

Well, here we are and by picking her up it’s on me to do something. I take some responsibility. I got some clues about how to deal with a gang boss.

 

[I’m not sure how much the GM built this situation from my background for Widow. She has a street gang background herself, with cultural influences from crime syndicates such as Yakuza.]

 

Fellan

By the time we’re dropping out of jump to Fellan, BJ is fit and working on his drone again. Bex briefs us and allows as how spot prices for hull ore could be high, ‘less the Taran government set a cap on them. We all agree as how a low profile on Fellan will be best, and not to blab out about Q4K and her kin.

 

I give the all-clear [great sensors check] and Pip drops onto Dome City’s flamed-out pad yakking to her cousin Scopie the whiles. She briefs him pretty fully on Q4K and he allows as how he can lose any paper on the passengers. Looking around the Dome City port, I spot two Tukera ships, Reunion and Scalding Sun by name; an independent like us name of Buthnall; and a small Bayvan ship name of Tikmas. It gives me an idea.

 

While I percolate the idea round in my skull, I head back to engineering and ask the Choi-boy what he might be able to do in the way of talking to Jackals. Turns out it’s easier: he used to be a sho Jackal til his tias pulled him out and got him into straight studies. This means I don’t have to try making two sets of approaches.

My idea still sounds workable in my head, so I find Bex and run it by her, seeing as how she’s got to be the face man. She likes it. I allow as how these other crews, according to Scopie, are setting back waiting for news from Roysian. So if we give a presentation, with slides and whatnot, we can charge some sang’ cred for it. We work on the presentation a little, then I leave it with her and hit the town.

 

Fox around the henhouse

Pip and Scopie hit the Pillar about the same time, and their meal is interrupted by one of the local Jackals, kind of fox-face himself. Near as I can hear he asks about passengers, but Pip plays dumb like a good girl [the Jackal is indeed angling for information on what specifically happened to the Rowsion II passengers and whether we brought any back. Persuasion to bluff, makes 2 above] and he leaves.FellanJackals

I see him again at Bex’ presentation when he asks the same shit, and a few hours later when it so happens I got my needler rifle and am patrolling round the Bad’n’Ruin. Don’t get me wrong, the presentation went great! Only, with fox-face showing up, we allow to be ready for trouble. We brief the whole crew and Choi sings out what he told me. Then we stand duty. Foxy shows up with a posse of Jackal bros, tries to bluff his way on board and I stand him down. [Widow is lousy at bluffing about not having space but she is not bluffing about a face full of needle if he steps closer.]

 

To Nazmin

By this time the other four craft have taken off to Roysion. We’re serviced mighty prompt thanks to Scopie, and get aloft within a 24 hour turnaround. I call all clear, BJ buttons the engines down and Pip takes us up to jump. Nazmin and a month’s pay is next!

 

With a few minutes of time left in the session, players roll for stat or skill gains, to represent training during the jump-space downtime, but without success. I get within 1 of topping Widow’s Intrusion skill.

Ten episodes! No PC actually killed! Whoda thunk?

We got much further than the GM expected, thanks to choosing not-fighting options wherever possible. A good session though I didn’t enjoy the extensive section where our fate rested on the chance of dice. I lost track of how many air-raft rolls Pip made, but at least three for the swan-dive into Disclin’s port.

I like how everyone seems OK with taking moral responsibility for stray NPCs we saved. Even though there is no intrinsic motivation. It’s not like Q4K and Tangle are played as lovable or useful. In fact, they are ciphers. We know more about Heath than we do about Q4K.

An estimated two to three sessions left for this season. We next need to muster resources and wits for dealing with the Jackals of Altara City, come up with a plan and see it through. Stay tuned!

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SH9: Loyal for a night! Surplus heroes rescue bid!

Mission: the hunt for Q4K

A reminder of what the heck:

Undertaking what appears to be their first profitable trade run, the crew of the independent trader Bad’nRuin docks at the outstation above Rowsion II. The ‘ground’ team of BJ the engineer, Iceman the gunner, Pip the pilot, and Widow the sensors/comms escort their illegal cargo through customs, down via shuttle to Rogan City’s shuttle-port on Ranui Island, and out to the commune the cargo is bound for.

Then, much of the hemisphere is hammered by meteorites, leaving Ranui a devastated wilderness where only those on high ground survive.

The Bad’n’Ruin’s ‘home’ team of Bex the merchant, Rhonda the steward and Choi the tech are able to negotiate passage off the island from Disclin Mining. Disclin’s shuttle-port lies far south of where the ground team has taken shelter. Luckily, the ground team has found a luxury air-raft by which they can easily travel there.

But then a complication arises. Q4K, a passenger off the Bad’n’Ruin, begs for rescue. She, her nephew Tarngal and two others are trapped in Oomar. Widow compassionately agrees to help: and we rejoin the team as they prepare for rapid departure.

Spelling: For Umar, read Oomar; for Q4K, read Que Vork; and for Tangle, read Tarngal.

Ready, go

It ain’t no surprise that the others throw their selves to the job of getting the air-raft fitted out with all manner of food, warm blankets, spare clothes and such. We pack a few bottles of fancy water as well as grabbing gallon containers and refilling our canteens with clean. Iceman allows as how we have 12 person-days of ready food and 24 person-days of stored food. BJ rustles up a passable mech tool kit from the workshop downstairs.

There’s a few jokes about finishing the booze and making molotovs but by the time the air-raft is packed out, we figure we ain’t got time to do more than swing back to the truck, pick up the stuff left there, and head south. Iceman calls shotgun, me and BJ sit at ease in the back.

Pip launches the air raft low and fast – go figure – and it’s hard to believe we spent most of a morning getting to the estate as the truck comes into view through the driving rain in a few minutes. Leastways the rain ain’t so muddy no more. We pack the camp stove, the water purifier, and the tent that some fool left hanging. I throw in a few sets of webbing straps for good measure, then Pip points the nose south. We got us a fair step to go to Umar. After that, we have to get to the hidden Disclin base up in the mountains.

Umar and Disclin Mining

Q4K’s plight

Seeing as how the wind is hammering the air raft Pip keeps her low, but visibility ain’t good so the pace is a mite slower than could be. Navigation is easy, the GPS is still working fine. It’s time to link in to Q4K again.

Q4K: Bad’n’Ruin, Bad’n’Ruin!

Widow: Bad’n’Ruin check. We’re on our way. Give me details about your location

Q4K: we’re not right inside Umar, we’re in a commune west of it [describes general layout]

Widow: good, we plan to stop maybe 2 hours walk outside. We’ll need a, uh, place to hide the vehicle

Q4K’s Uncle: I can give you a good place [describes wooded park]

Widow: we’ll hide the transport and walk in over the bridge, pretending to be survivors. Don’t say nothing to no-one

Q4K: we won’t! Good luck!

Park’n’hide

We find the road into the park like the guy said, and sure enough there’s a nice turnout down and under some trees. It’s so sheltered I figure no need to camouflage the air raft.

Pip: I don’t like to just leave it, what if someone comes by

BJ (pops service panel, removes distributor): no problem

Pip: great! Hand me that…

BJ (after GM plants seed of suspicion): hmmmm, maybe I’ll just hang onto it

Widow: then, everyone remember we can’t afford to leave BJ on the battlefield

BJ: is that a thing she does?

Iceman: best not go there

Pip: you’re not married to her, so you’re pretty safe

Widow: stop jawing! First up, throw your slickers down and get them good and muddy. We look too clean for folk that been slogging for days.

Pip, BJ: mud fight!

Iceman (darkly): enjoying it way too much

Widow: let’s get up to the main road and walk. Four-man until we get to the bridge. Me and Iceman’ll be back say, 20 metres. Try to look like tired, hungry survivors

Equipment carried:

  • BJ (point): slicker, under which a SMG is concealed, one spare mag
  • Pip (to BJ’s left): slicker and concealed SMG, also has a sidearm hidden under the slicker
  • Iceman (support): slicker and automatic rifle, plenty of rounds for a short firefight
  • Widow (to Iceman’s right): slicker and shotgun, has police-issue armoured vest and a sidearm hidden under the slicker, and the camping 1st-aid kit

Peaceable like

By the time we see the bridge – which ain’t big and has the river pushing high against it – we can hear small-arms popping and cracking. A mix of rifles and shotguns, and maybe a few sidearms, I figure. I wave BJ and Pip forward, and signal them to get their SMGs out seeing as how we’re headed into fire. Pip crosses and tucks in behind BJ and they work along one side of the bridge while me and Iceman cover. They move off to cover – in the wrong sides – by a couple buildings, and we hustle along across the bridge too.

Near as I can tell, the commune is split by a stream that’s swolled up between two rises, each of which got a big structure on it. The stream joins the river maybe fifty or sixty metres upriver from our bridge, and in between the nearer rise and the river is a ramshackle vill that reminds me of my home favela, only a million percent wetter. Small roads or tracks that are now like streams run into the village off a kind of common ground in front of us, directly past the buildings Pip and BJ are at. I’m about to signal a search when Pip waves a signal for four oncoming. She moves to get a better position, they see her and hail her.

[In these situations, BJ normally pops his blade and we find ourselves in combat, but as it happened BJ and Pip crossed formation and Pip is closest. BJ stays reserve while Widow and Iceman close up on Pip. That leaves the option to talk, so that’s the way it plays out.]

 Shamlin: ho! Who goes there? Loyal, or rebel? Offworlders! What do ye here?

Widow: stand down, stand down! We’re survivors out of Umar, been trying to find food and shelter!

[A test is required after a brief conversation. Widow is trying to act girly and helpless and it doesn’t come naturally, but she makes +4 over Interaction and Shamlin buys it.]

Shamlin: you can find food and shelter up at the hall, but you’ll be expected to pitch in and help. Especially if you can shoot. I’ll take you up there.

The thin wet line

The nearest rise falls streamward to an earthworks or some such, that’s where the firing is coming from. Shamlin allows as how the New Dawners are forted up in the big store building on the other rise, and both sides are trading shots across the stream. Puzzle is what to do about shutting them down, seeing as how the footbridges over the stream are under a torrent, and the boats are way off over the river. He shows us into the hall and leaves.

We meet Lenin, the commander of this Loyalist posse of survivors.  He seems to swallow down my yarn, but he allows as how we need to show our worth first before we are given hot food and a bunk. Pip and Iceman grab a cold sandwich as I am pointed to a section of earthwork where we are to set up under command of a man named Lather.rainstorm_shack

The wind is blowing rain under my slicker so I keep my head down and hurry over – but Vixe! I forget those on the other side are really only fifty metres or so yonder and a bullet hurries me on the last few metres. Rookie mistake.

[We are moving by reference to a map. The map is laid out in 12m hexes, and the stream makes the opposite side look further away, rather as it does in real life. I was thinking of ‘effective range’ but of course a rifle has a very long maximum range. The GM rolls to hit and misses me.]

Down behind the earthworks I see the way they have it all rigged up, right smart work. They’ve pulled a bunch of vehicles into line and piled earth bags in them or just heaped earth up. It’s pretty solid cover and keeps folk from being drowned in a trench. There seems maybe four small squads hunkered down along the line, none spoiling for a fight.

No real arm done

I reckon Lather to be ex-civilian, though I can see a few uniforms of this or that police force along the line. Ammo seems tight, and Lather hands me the same line Lenin did: work for your keep. I act worried about civilians that might be flooded out in the vill, and he tells me yeah there are a few hiding out there.

BJ nearly collects a bullet as he joins me, and after a while Pip and Iceman scuttle in, sensible-like. Pip chats to the next squad down and learns nothing new. Since we agree we need to show earnest, Pip loopholes a section of earthworks for Iceman. He gives and returns fire. There’s a pause.

Iceman: everyone is waiting for the other side to fire

BJ: we need to wave something around

Pip: who’s wearing a helmet? Put one on a stick

BJ: aw, I’ll just wave my right hand up, they ain’t gonna hit it and anyhow it’s metal…

[Waves, GM rolls to hit, shot is excellent. Cover rolls is lousy, so the button takes effect. It is a 2: Floored: the bullet drills through the vehicle and earth and into BJ’s right ribs]

BJ (falling): Ungghh!

[BJ is Floored. DL was pissed at the GM for this. But he had made it clear – to those listening – that the earthwork was not hard cover. Moreover if you put yourself in a position to shoot, there is always a chance of being hit. I’ve left the hit as rolled, but a ricochet off BJ’s arm and down through his trap and ribs is just as plausible.]

Medevac

BJ flops over into the mud. I turn him so’s he won’t smother and compress the bleeding, then me and Iceman drag the big man up slope and into the hall. Iceman really totes that bale – I keep up OK.

[Widow is right by BJ and rolls on Corpsman/Doctor to check him. The GM rolls on Wounds and scores a 10, Serious. BJ is in danger of dying without proper medical attention, but can help people move him. Matching Frame to Frame, the GM determines that since both Iceman and Widow are just as solid as BJ we are not facing a penalty on Athletics. We combine Athletics rolls, getting a score of +12 above BJ’s Frame. Most of that came from Iceman with an 18.]

I help out the local doc, we swab out the wound, stitch him up and set him up on O-pos. I’ve swiped the gizmo for the air-raft off him by this time. He’s looking peaky but fit to move in an emergency. [BJ improves to ‘beat up’ which allows him to move, slowly.] Iceman’s back with Pip by this time, I don’t hear no fire-fight so figure they taken it easy.

Lather comes off shift and tells me we done good, which I know, and that they want an old geezer in the vill, ex-Impy Navy, name of Heath. Since I been acting concerned for those poor strays left hiding in the vill I turn that round and say we’ll search for him.

Contact

I take some time away from local ears and eyes and check in with Q4K on the time agreed. They are right fearful wondering where we are. I explain, and get their 20, which is midway along the vill near the river. She got Tangle, plus her Uncle, plus another kid. I agree a signal to let them know it’s us, borrow a torch from Lenin’s crowd and we head out. BJ will head slow and steady to the bridge end and wait.

We set up a simple triangle down the streaming roadway, Iceman point. Pip and me cross-cover each other as Iceman hustles from cover to cover ahead. We get outside the collection of huts and houses where the refugees are supposed to be, I whistle the signal, they whistle back. We meet them over river-side.survivors_rain

Q4K: are we glad to see you!

Widow: who we got here?

Q4K: this is my uncle…

Widow: ola, jiji, you wouldn’t be Heath now would you?

Heath: I am

Widow: Impy Navy huh, no use to anyone

Heath: I’m sorry?

Widow: just kidding, we’re Marines. Let’s head out

It was bound to happen

I get the same formation set, with Q4K tucked behind Iceman and the geezer and kids between me and Pip and we head for the bridge. Then we see a group headed our way.

[BJ waits in position and spots a fair-size group of loyalists through the rain and wind. He would like to alert the others by comm but we have been paranoid about that so he decides to move slowly after the group while trying various lines.]

Sledge: hi! You found Heath then!

Widow: you know it! Said we would! (whispers) Just play along!

Heath don’t hardly trust me, he raises a needler pistol and luckily, points it at the big moyss with the sledgehammer heading our way.

Loyalists_bunch

The loyalists

Battle layout: a fairly narrow and very wet street, with plenty of buildings and alleys on BJ’s right (the other characters’ left) and a few on the right – enough for some cover.

Edge: Pip is about to open up unexpectedly, at people that think we are on their side, so edge is with her.

Round 1: Pip opens up, initially stating she is ‘giving it everything’ which eventually reconciles to suppressive fire. Most of the loyalists take cover though the lead loyalist armed with a sledgehammer barrels on. None fall. Widow and Q4K grab a kid each (Widow scores well on Athletics but not well enough to keep the shotgun ready) and head right to cover. Heath misses Sledge and joins them. Iceman heads left but the wet street (and a lousy Athletics roll) cause him to slip and stagger ending a metre short.

Round 2: BJ, who has now limped close enough for SMG work, opens up with a D burst on one of the two he can see. The loyalist drops back into the shacks. Iceman is tempted to shoot laterally at Sledge but the GM successfully persuades him not to, because right by Sledge is Q4K and Tangle, cowering in a doorway. Widow ushers Q4K, Tangle and Heath past her and away off the street, snap-shoots the shotgun and misses. Sledge charges her, but she has kept in enough cover (scores 14 on Cover) to prevent the hammer making contact. Pip calls for the loyalists to withdraw as she empties the other half-mag; a couple do but two remain. Iceman and the nearest loyalist exchange shots at very close range, the loyalist backing off and Iceman getting to cover.

Round 3: BJ changes to his last mag and clips one with another D burst – though the man gets up and staggers off – while Widow backs off enough to allow the others and Heath to shoot Sledge. Heath manages to drop him, allowing the group to rally and flee.

Rest stop

Once we’re over the bridge and moving, I pass Pip the gizmo and she shucks her slicker and gun, and lights a shuck for the air-raft. We keep BJ stepping along, and make introductions again. The kid I pulled out the way is a girl, name of Eskip.

Pip picks us up in short time and we get everyone set and warm, and head south. But not due south. Pip allows as how the screaming wind is going to flip the air-raft if she gets out over open water, so as next best I make a call that we’ll head down the main road for a time, pick a gas station or such like and sack out there.

Sure enough, passing up the chance to get a down-home welcome from some other communes, we come by a school or such. abandoned_schoolThere’s a barn, a large one-level building, and some small shack in back. We get the air-raft stowed in the barn, and while the others wait and rest, Iceman and me scout the school. We find jack. The shack turns out to be an out-door shitter, so we call it safe, and fort up in the barn.

Another good session, though trying to visualise the conditions was hard. The mission is pleasantly sandboxy. We’re working to a restricted time and may need BJ to take shifts at the controls so that we can keep going. In theory we are well through a 12-hour drive but the conditions are so poor there could still be another eight hours of tricky navigation up through mountains.

Best roll of the night was from Pip, scoring a double-ought to spot the oncoming loyalist patrol when we entered the vill. There were quite a number of Alertness checks, most of which were made. And of course the fine Athletics tests for dragging BJ were a highlight. Though personally I enjoyed the ‘Widow tries to act girly’ thing the most.

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SH8: Luxurious Clue! Surplus heroes find a way out!

The NPC crew of the Bad’n’Ruin, currently up on the shuttle station above Rowsion II:

  • Bex – merchant and banker
  • Rhonda – steward
  • Choi – computers

The PC crew of the Bad’n’Ruin, currently trapped on Ranui Island:

  • BJ (DL) – point man and engineer
  • Pip (AL) – driver and pilot
  • Iceman (DB) – marksman and cook
  • Widow (AM) – tactician and burglar

The GM spreads out the maps he sent round so we can compare the before and after and get some thoughts going. In terms of the characters, the maps are sent through towards the end of BJ’s watch, which wakes us all up.

We move to roleplaying.

Spelling: for Jundi read Junidi

In a truck, barely

Widow: so, yeah, I like the idea of a raft if BJ thinks this [slapping truck canopy] can be fixed for it. You’ll need to come up with a list of materials so we can decide if it’s viable. But it’s the end of your watch so get some shuteye. Pip, I think you’re up ain’t you?

Pip: yeah, I won rock paper scissors and picked second watch remember?

Iceman: tell me again how I got dawn shift?

Pip: you can prep MREs so they don’t taste like MREs.

Come dawn or near enough we’re woken by Iceman rushing back to the truck from outside somewhere, at the same time the truck is hailed. Sticking my piece over the gate and sighting along it I see four or five moyss straggling in all anyhow.

[From his vantage point some distance uphill, Iceman makes a decision to scramble to the truck once he saw them, but not yell or fire. An excellent Athletics roll, and a good Alertness roll to overhear their wary discussion of the truck, and a second good Alertness roll to deduce a lack of armour, follow.]

They come in peaceable like. They’re all off a Councilwoman’s estate and are trekking upriver back to family. Mixie their leader allows as how they are all servants, and the estate is now empty. Reason they left is, fear of some faction or other hitting the place. We watch them go.

[OOC I point out that this proves we are not the murderhoboes last session may have implied, otherwise we would have shot them and stolen their supplies. If ‘not a sociopath’ is commendable, then I commend myself.]

From a height

Widow: belay breakfast Iceman, if we are on rations then it’s a meal a day. Just a sip of water each too. I’d like a look at the lay of the land, see what materials we’ve got to work with. BJ, work up that list of what we need. Iceman, wanna come with?

Iceman: ah-yuh

Iceman leads me back up past his picket point and onto high ground. We’re in light woodland with some hunting potential, plenty of timber for crappy raft-building. I can see a lot of the road has been washed out in the river flood, river_overflowand beyond, the river is still swollen high and whole trees are milling in it. A raft would be barely viable. Looking further east, we can see a turnoff roughly heading south off the road, that will be where the five servants came off. It will lead to the estate they allowed they came from. We head back.

Widow: how’d you do on the list BJ?

BJ [scratches, looks blank]: grmmph? I was mostly thinking about tools.

Widow: well get on it, we need to make a decision. So we need to forage, and we need water. I shoulda gotten onto that last night but I was pretty tired. BJ, rig a cape, and clothing to filter the mud, and get the canteens filling. And work on that list!

Into the woods

Pip: I wouldn’t mind hunting, we’ll need to supplement rations

Widow: do you know your way around this kind of country? I thought I’d guide Iceman, he’s best shot

Pip [slightly hurt]: how hard can it be? Scouts train for all sorts of terrain. And I’m a better shot than you

Iceman: well… OK I don’t mind guarding

BJ: I can rustle up some tools off this truck too

We each check a shotgun for loads and head up into the woods. We mark a herd of a local goat-like critter named Nunarope, but something niggles me and I index the thing, finding that it’s well known for toxic flesh syndrome.

[With +2 on the skill, Widow proves a lot better than Pip in Survival based hunting, as expected, and makes a 19 on Survival again to check the prey before shooting.]

We track on, closing on a big panther-like critter as I figure it has to be hunting something, and as it moves off we spot the game herd it was following. These are big horned beasts, too big to carry but we can carve some cuts off one. I close in – someplace back I lose Pip – and line one up, but the buckshot doesn’t do the job and they all run away.

[More fine Survival checks from Widow and inadequate checks from Pip. We are not permitted to average them, so Widow ends up alone. Her shot’s button dice is a 9, which does little more than scare.]

Up to the estate

Back at the truck we report failure. BJ’s got some tools, some belonging to the truck and some makeshift. But he declares they ain’t near enough to convert a truck top to a raft, and anyhow, it ain’t gonna be sturdy enough to stand off floating trees, nor to reach Rogan before sinking. The idea of the Councilwoman’s estate has been on my mind, and on Pip’s, and she pushes for it. We heat and eat, and march.

[The GM checks encumbrance and gear fairly carefully at this point. Keeping weapons in preference to things like the camp stove means no-one is super-encumbered but Widow is at -3 Athletics with backpack, med-kit and shotgun. Others are at -2 I believe.]

We walk downriver the short step to where Iceman and me saw the turnoff, and head up south into higher country. It’s a good sealed road so we make good time, keeping in formation [same as last episode] up to the estate wall and main gate.

Pip [Alertness]: look! The estate runs left, down the side of the slope

Widow [Alertness]: facing east… good feng shui. OK look sharp for a generator, antenna, landing pad. Let’s have a look at this lock… mmm pretty high tech…

[Some time and two Intrusion rolls later…]

Widow: say BJ, hand me that ballpeen you found in the truck…

[Finally a great Intrusion roll]

kano yarrrro!!!! [destroys lock-pad with numerous frenzied blows]

…OK all good, let’s climb over the wall now.

There’s an equipment shed up top near where we climb over into a fine white-pebble courtyard. Over yonder is a tilted statue. Iceman covers while we check the shed.

BJ: quad bikes!

Pip: I’ll check the tanks [taps fuel tanks] mmm… not much though we could pool what’s here into one

BJ: funny those five didn’t take them

Widow: couldn’t ride maybe

BJ: not much else here, I spotted an antenna on the house so that’s next

Iceman [calls]: I think I can see a landing pad or something like it down the bottom, too

In the lap of luxury

I guess the outer gate lock told me enough that I don’t find the house door lock no trouble. [+4 over Intrusion] It’s a big, smooth-floored chamber with a couple doors off the sides and big double doors up ahead. We drip our way in. Lights come on and warm air pumps down. I shed packs, slicker and clothes as I head to the double doors, push them open and find a huge entertaining space with maybe a view in good weather – leastways there’s a balcony – and plenty of exits.

luxury_loungeII

Widow: I call first shower

[Iceman’s paranoia is rising and infects BJ and Pip. They remain in the lobby, debating how to secure such a big place, or even forting up there.]

Widow [wanders back near-naked]: you found comms or kitchen yet?

Iceman: haven’t checked. We were thinking of pulling out and finding an LUP nearby

Widow: this is a senator or some such’s place right? You don’t get to sack out in this kind of place too often. Take the chance

I find an office off a side waiting room and sure enough, a good comms unit. I begin scanning for the Bad’n’Ruin call-sign. Meantime the others pretty much get the idea and Pip finds a kitchen and pantry off left-ish of the main room, and BJ hunts right-ish downstairs and finds showers, rooms and an air-raft hangar. Air_Raft_Variants Iceman just stands cold and wet under his slicker. I bring up the Bad’n’Ruin and Choi happens to be on duty. He rustles up the other two and I update them. They update me, and it’s hard news though not unexpected. I set up frequencies that we’ll get in touch by at set times.

BJ reports on the air raft, it’s top of the line Jundi work, practically unlimited range as it’s fully charged. It’s even full-body so if we had vacc suits – big if – we could take it up to orbit range. fullcabairraftI hear most of this in passing as I’m heading for where he says the showers are. Man that hot water feels great! Warmed by hidden air jets I search maybe half a dozen rooms for clothing. I pass up the chance to wear hippo-size silk in favour of things that fit me, so meet up with the others wearing boy-pants.

Smoke’m if ya got’m

While I’m servicing my autopistol, I see Iceman’s finally shed some gear and searched. He brings in three data slates. I ask him where’s the food, he gives me a look but heads out to the pantry. I stroll back to the waiting room, open a humidor and select a stogie, light up, head back to the entertainment room, flick on the sound system and wallow in luxury.

[There is a lot of cross-checking, each of the other three seeming not to trust the others’ judgement on security, air raft, food etc etc. I’m going to break out of sequence here. I’m also naming the huge entertainment area the ‘lounge’ from here on.]

BJ: after providing the general lay of the right- and downward wings and the fact of the air raft, BJ stands guard for a while, then fiddles with a slate that Widow hasn’t been able to unlock, without success. He showers and changes, and rejoins the group late for the meal.

Pip: after passing on what she found, Pip checks back over what BJ about the air raft. She finds a little more detail about its capabilities. Then she walks back up, showers, and joins in the meal.

Iceman: checking the desk, Iceman finds a handle or grip under it. He pulls on it while comically menacing the desk with his autopistol, but fails to notice any effect (3 on Alertness). More importantly he locates the desktop computer and three data slates that Widow later uses. He leaves the slates in the lounge and heads off to cook, scoring an excellent Steward roll.

Widow: mighty fine meal Iceman, you been holding out on us.

Pip: yeah if we knew you was this awesome we might not of hired Rhonda

Widow: maybe she can cover guns while you just steward

Iceman: over my dead body… check that, over your dead bodies

Checking the details

After sinking some nice booze to top off the meal, I get to work on the two slates I opened. The first is mostly media feed stores about the Councilwoman, but the second one looks more useful as it’s a diary. Doing some searches for ‘shuttle’ and such, I find a mention of Disclin Mining, and a couple names. Even so there ain’t none of what we need, an alternative shuttle port. Bex’ main point was that there ain’t no shuttle service out of Rogan now.

I set down at the desk, boot up the desktop, and look around for passwords. It is pretty routine, and I get in real quick. But it takes me a power of searching and cross-checking [Admin, only makes it] before I find those same names on a donation to the Councilwoman – with an address. I head back out and ask the three, who are pretty much sacked out in the lounge, to cross-check the address on the slates. Then I head down the hall and hit the best bed.

Meanwhile:

BJ: After the meal he rechecks Iceman’s search and locates the trap – the grip triggered a needle-spray from the front of the desk, peppering the wall. He checks the security of the whole estate and gets the basic idea of it. He heads back to the lounge, ignores Widow’s suggestion to search the slates, and sacks out on a sofa.

Pip: After the meal, she searches further downstairs and finds servants’ quarters, a generator room, and a security set-up. (Inadequate Tech roll to decide how it works) She decides not to push buttons to see what happens. She heads back to the lounge, ignores Widow’s suggestion to search the slates, and sacks out on a sofa.

Iceman: After the meal, he returns to the kitchen and loads portable preserves. It’s quite late by the time he finishes. He’s about to go to sleep in the lounge, when he decides to double-check Pip’s security report. He walks down to the security station, and like Pip, makes very little of the set-up. He’s about to push a button at random when BJ interrupts him.

BJ: iyo!

Iceman [guiltily]: nothing! uhh, hi, your watch is it?

BJ: you should get some shuteye, the ladies will want a good meal

Iceman: the who now?

BJ: har har!

Call to action

It’s a quiet time on my watch after my rostered call to the Bad’n’Ruin. I walk the corridors and rooms, feeling real good. I see the security set-up Pip mentioned downstairs by the generator room. After I rouse Iceman for his watch I let him know where I’ll be, set to and map out the security settings. I write them up idiot-proof, making a mental note to watch while an idiot actually tries to read it. Then I head up, loot the pantry for a few edibles, and set to an early meal.

After, I find out none of the others actually did look for the site of Disclin Mining. I set to the slates again and the media one gives me a base in the south of Ranui.

It’s right after that Bex comms in again. She’s been able to speak to some of the Disclin types upstairs, and has coordinates for me. She’s bought passage on their shuttle for us, and it will be expecting us in 2-3 days.

Widow: hope you ain’t peddled our asses for the next few years to get those seats Bex

Bex: do you want me to ask for a refund?

Widow: no, no, don’t take me wrong, I’m surely grateful

Q4K: breaker breaker, is this the Bad’n’Ruin?

Widow: breaker this is the Bad’n’Ruin, what’s your handle over?

Q4K: this is Q4K… can you help? We need to get out!

I get the details off of Q4K, it sounds pretty rough where she, her kid Tangle and two others are, a place called Umar south of here and on our way to the shuttle site. I head out to the lounge.

Widow: hooraw! Pack ‘em up and load the air raft! We move asap!

A session which seemed to race by. Sometimes a no-combat evening can be great fun. This was a ‘puzzle’ session, the principal one of course being the elements needed to locate the secret mountain shuttle base, or Hidden Fortress to use an indirect reference. (Bags me being the heroic daimyo!hidden_fortress_cast) I could see the GM’s face twitching in annoyance when the other three failed to search for the Disclin cross-reference and I deliberately signed out as being too tired to continue, but sometimes that’s roleplay. To his credit he didn’t just phone it in from Bex. I enjoyed luxuriating in character, the other three acted more like a visit to the Caves of Chaos by sacking out together on sofas. Plus the bizarre cross-checking of each other’s searching. I should also note that in a second roster check-in with the Bad’n’Ruin I learned that Rhonda is banging Choi.

Next session we are all packed and ready to air-raft to rescue the Princess (or at least, a young mother, a disturbed child and a couple mooks) so stay tuned!

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SH7: System in flux! Surplus heroes’ survival trek!

The ‘away’ crew of the Bad’n’Ruin, in Rogan City, Ranui Island, RowsionII:

  • Pip (AL): driver and negotiator

  • Widow (AM): tactician and support

  • Iceman (DB): gunman and contact

  • BJ (DL): mechanic and knifeman

Full service shopping

Now we have a truck, and the crates are loaded up, it’s time to shop for supplies. Back on the Bad’n’Ruin we gave some thought to this. I do have a bunch of my own supplies on board. But this is a delivery run that might drag on for an extra day, so I figure the local suppliers will have the right weight of gear and be able to fit us all for local conditions.

Pip grinds the truck out through the entertainment district, the three of us passengers sitting along the bench next to her. Looking out, I see two styles of os homi, local street cop and armed gendarmes. Iceman allows as how they been told the gendarmes are the competent, dangerous ones.

We use the local net finda service and park out by Offworld Fishing and Camping or some such, and I’m in luck, the clerk is ex-Marine. Still Taran but bulked up like he done his drills. While he’s pulling down bedrolls, tents, water purifiers and such, I wonder quietly if he can supply us with hunting gear like a rifle. He can.

[Supplies: 4xbedrolls, 2xtents, 4xrain slickers, 4xlight packs, 4xcanteens, 1xcamp stove, 1x 1st-aid kit, purifier tabs, and 12 days MREs. Off-book: Assault Rifle with a 20-round clip and 60 rounds; and Pump Shotgun loading 10 rounds with 30 rounds.]

Pip asks about the local system and Marine Mike briefs us about the Golden Dawn owning the Council and running things v the New Golden Dawn out in the hills planning revolution. Guess I can figure where Seddon’s guns are bound.

 

Diiz River

While Pip and the guys are in a Sylvanian Fried Fowl joint getting food that tastes like food, I use some wire and tape from BJ’s bag and hide the guns in the chassis. [Widow asks for Intrusion and PrsnlWpnArmourer to be considered for this task and makes a fine roll, they are not going to be found without a detailed search and will not just fall off.] Pip tops the tank up and we roll out of Rogan City to the Diiz River Valley.

Not for long! Iceman and me spot os homi rolling with light flashing behind. Po! Pip’s been driving too fast! She pulls over. The fuzz in question is local law, so Pip slips a stack of creds in with her papers, and is off with a warning. [Alertness – excellent from Iceman and Widow. Persuasion – 16+2 on Pip’s 13. AL still has to guess the amount, I remind him that 50creds was a low-level bribe on Pavanne. Pip hands over 75.]

A few hours and we are out of lowland farming and up among heights, and come to a gendarme checkpoint at the Diiz River Bridge. These guys take their job serious, they are tossing a car ahead of us. We pass inspection OK and our delivery story holds up. The gendarme gives us the how-to for contacting them in case of problems. He don’t know that problems are coming in crate-loads these days.

After that the road forks, one leading back cityward, while we follow a lighter road up higher.

 

Conrad Harry-who?

Pushing nightfall we are bumping over rough woodland terrain. Picking a deserted spot, we stop and break out the weapons. Iceman has the rifle, and will sit window. I have the shotgun and will sit next. His job is to hit cover fast, mine is to scuttle and give him time to acquire targets. I run through scenarios with BJ and Pip so they have an idea what to do in a shooting fight.

After nightfall the rough road has petered out to a single-width trail. We are waved down by a moyss that looks like the kind of kasu we are here to do business with.

Mook: who you planning to see?

Iceman: Conrad Harry-Sue

Mook: drive on, slow like

We roll to the next check where the next mook calls out some other moyss name of Karyoi. He’s a noncom maybe. He asks the name again, Iceman gives it again, orders us to surrender our pieces, so we do. Now he’s less edgy. We get out and sip hot toddy. A cara joins our circle – a patroa by her look – and sure enough this is the one we’re delivering to. She calls herself ‘Comrade Eresoo’. That explains the funny name Iceman had.

The weapons check out, she invites us to stay over. We sack out on bunks in a cabin, but on our own bedrolls – not wanting to make new friends among the local bugs.

 

System in flux

The next day we’re pulled over for a breather when we see shooting stars – in the daytime.

shooting_starsBex comms up. Trouble! Then she’s cut off. Within seconds we hear an almighty impact strike, like heavy artillery. Media feeds go into a holding pattern. The hillside is shaking as a mushroom-shape cloud grows above the horizon, towards Rogan. Suddenly I know what’s breaking – the Prof’s words come back to me!

[Widow rolls double-ought on Science and reels off Dr Schmidt’s theory of destabilised structure. This is a meteorite strike. Among other effects on this water-dominant world, a vast mass of fine dust is being sucked up, and tsunamis are being generated.]Rogan_strike

We dodge boulders [Athletics] shaking loose and jumping down slope, but one real big one catches the truck just as Pip jumps in it – the silly bitch thinks she can drive out of anything – and it rolls right over. Pip clambers out unharmed.

We retrieve supplies and take on a route march order, heading east towards Rogan City. The first major decision will be made at the crossroad, beyond which the Diiz River will have probably flooded or the bridge may have weakened.

 

Vagrants and Varmints

The first hour, we make good time, though the wind picks up as a sign of what’s to come and I order slickers on. There’s a lot of silt been sucked into the sky that will be coming down as muddy rain. We keep an ear on media feeds, and get a shortwave transmission heralding a Golden Dawn of the God Age.

Around 40 minutes after that, we spot a half dozen or so locals around an off-road vehicle. They’re from a local farm commune, not hostile, and BJ notes down the name of the commune in case we can pass on their needs. They guide us further east and we push further on.

I set up in four-man formation. Iceman counts as heavy weapon since he has the autorifle, I’m on his 3 as support with the shotgun. BJ is point on Iceman’s 1, and Pip is on BJ’s 9. With only her slicker as armour and her knife as a weapon.

The next feed-push we get is from an ‘Emergency Military Authority’ claiming that martial law is in place. We kick this around a little without coming to any conclusion while we slog through rain and mud builds up. It’s a little slick under foot.

Now, BJ signals. Iceman and me, we close up a few metres. It’s a detachment of gendarme van and patrol car, with a truck that could be local farm. A mob of people seem to be under guard nearby, and a gendarme is waving us on.

He checks us over, SMG at port. I can spot another with sidearm, another with shotgun further back and what looks like a guard near the mob. Hard to say what he’s carrying.

G1: off-worlders? Where have you come from?

Pip: up the valley in the hills, just trying to make it back to Rogan.

G2: what’s in the packs?

BJ: camping supplies

G2: hand them over

BJ: here you go

G2: bedroll, food packs, uh-huh, these belong to the Authority now

Widow (calls): we’ll keep our canteen and an MRE apiece

BJ: we’ll need those packs back

G1: didn’t you hear us? They are not yours anymore

BJ: hand them BACK!

G2: arrest them!

 

The gendarmes

Round 1: BJ pops his blade and stabs at G1, the gendarme with the sidearm. Widow, who was completely expecting this, scuttles sideways right, to cover at the truck. Pip also scuttles sideways left, to cover at the van. Iceman brings up his rifle, shoots at G2 who has the SMG, crabs to the road verge and drops into prone cover. So far Widow’s formation has worked perfectly.

G1 attempts to draw and fire but can’t effectively disengage from BJ’s reach, and misses. G2 opens up on Iceman’s zone, the bullets spatter round him, but with a Fort save he is fine. G3 and 4 are surprised and take no effective action.

Round 2: Widow levels the shotgun at G4, guarding the mob with an SMG, and though the buckshot does no harm (button of 10) he scurries into cover away from her – and into Iceman’s sights. The mob surges back nervously! G3 advances to the other end of the truck and pumps three rounds fast at widow with his shotgun, missing. Iceman lines up G2: one of his rounds at least hits the target, causing G2 to crab to cover by the van. On the other side of it, Pip finds the van is unattended and clambers into the cab. BJ and G1 melee, BJ getting the better of it by cutting past the gendarme’s armour.

BJ: iyo! Brung gun to knife fight – mistake no?

Round 3: BJ follows up his success by ramming his blade through G1’s face, dropping him screaming and writhing, and runs full at G2, who has not been able to open up. Iceman curses BJ for crossing his LOS, but switches to G4, and blows his spine out. G2 and BJ are chest-to-chest when Pip guns the van, and fish-tails it, flattening G2 and bouncing BJ clear. Widow seizes the psychological advantage and demands G3 surrender. After some hesitation he realises that he is out of options and does so.

 

Crossing them off

I get the last guy sitting down so he can’t jackrabbit, then check the ground. We have a mob of civilians and a few dead ones off to one side, two dead gendarmes, an immobilised gendarme and a prisoner. For vehicles we have a mid-tare truck, a patrol van with mid-range comms set, and a patrol car. The gendarmes weren’t packing an arsenal and had already shot off quite a bit of ammo killing civilians. We tally two SMGs with 2.5 clips of ammo; 2 revolvers with 18 rounds all up; 2 autopistols with two full clips and one near-full; and a pump shotgun with 15 rounds all up.

Around that time, we get a media push from the Council – same as runs Rogan we think – saying that there ain’t no such martial law and everyone needs to heed the Council. But we’re turning our attention to what happens if someone reports this ruckus.

BJ: we can’t leave witnesses

Iceman: iyo! Civilians… you guys f**k off before my friend here gets crazy

[Civilians leave en masse]

Widow: you are right about the gendarmes though… well, I’ll do it since it has to be done

I pick up one of the wheelguns and put a round through the back of my prisoner’s head. Then I walk over to the guy that got busted up by Pip’s stunt, and kneel on his throat.

I don’t feel good about killing helpless men but in terms of justice, they were the bad guys. I will try not to let this incident colour Widow’s character too much. It’s not the sort of campaign where you can have a satisfying emotional crisis and catharsis.

Wheels again

Pip: what do we do about this comms gear? I put the van in a hole and broke its drive train

Widow (inspects it): too much to hope it’s portable… I guess we leave it

Pip: not destroy it?

BJ: that cuts both ways, it’s not worth the risk

Pip (smashes comms unit): ah well, it’s broken now. So, transport? What else can I drive?

We kick around options and decide to take both vehicles, me driving point in the car and Pip driving the truck. Weapons are shared round and I strap gendarme armour under my slicker. That last shotgun blast came mighty close.

 

Wildlife

It’s my right as a native-born citizen of Noi Jana, or Nova Janeiro if you want the proper name, to drive anything with wheels and pack a gun at the same time. I land the car in a crevice, and me and Iceman dig our gear out and get aboard the truck once Pip crawls it over.

The vis is terrible and the wind is pushing the truck around. Pip’s worrying about what the river and rain will have done up ahead. Now, we get another broadcast, this from ‘Loyal Military Authority’ that calls all soldiers and police back to barracks.

Pip: quite a competition

Widow: just what you’d expect… the side with the most tanks wins

We run into a herd of big shaggy horned critters, and stop and wait it out. They mooch on, but while we wait, we get a call through from the Bad’n’Ruin!

Bex: authorities are jumpy… we don’t have options yet since there’s no spare helm… we’re investigating…

Widow: we’ll keep pushing towards Rogan. Our likely layup point is the fork in the main road, just west of the bridge. We’ll fall back there if we have to.

Bex: understood, good luck

 

The LUP

Pip drives through the rest of the day, wrestling the wheel over mud and holes. We run into one checkpoint – paras maybe – but our slickers make us anonymous and they buy our story of seeing nothing but dead on our way. The truck is sounding less and less happy. Finally, we roll through the fork and down to the bridge, or where it was.

I climb down [survival check excellent] and find a solid line of deep mud and sand above where the river is now. Looks like a flood knocked the bridge loose and left the tide mark.

This leaves us only the option of the east fork, which still leads around back to Rogan, along the farming lowlands. It’s not going to be easy. Pip hauls the limping, knocking truck round and back to the fork, and parks. She declares the truck can go no farther.

We rest up, stripping down to get our gear dry over the camp stove. Imagine my surprise when BJ jumps out of the truck to set up a tent to keep modest. We surely don’t feature that in the Marines! Anyway we rig a tent up along the truck body so it’s divided but we can all share the stove warmth, and set watches.

Not long in, Bex comms through again. She’s managed to find a new satmap of the island. Ranui’s got a new coastline! From here on we walk into a world in ruins.

Rogan_Area_Original

Rogan_Area_PostApoc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That seemed a good point to call a wrap so we leave our surplus heroes resting up ready for the next challenge. The GM did wonder aloud about our non-use of the RT set in the van. As BJ (DL) said at the time, it cuts both ways. If we destroy it, the gendarmerie has a fair chance to know something bad happened to their patrol. (Thanks AL!) If we leave it, they only know there’s no answer. Likewise if we used it to try to speak to the Bad’n’Ruin, it would give anyone else listening in certainty about our movements. So, on the whole another good session where we didn’t fight the things we didn’t need to fight, but still managed to get into a satisfying fight.

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SH6: Dome City showdown! Surplus heroes Pip v Bex!

Session six kicks off with shopping. You may recall that the GM asked us to think about supplies. Girlie swot that I am, I was the only player to do this. I had already paid for training and tip. I bought a number of survival-type items, ammo for my handgun and carbine, a needler and plenty of practice ammo. I also tucked a few k away as savings.

Having heard what I bought, Pip also purchases a few survival items, while Iceman buys ammo and sets most aside towards heavy combat armour. BJ follows me down the needler route. We will both need time and space to practice.

Spelling: for ‘Roysian’ read ‘Rowsion’ throughout. Widow hears the word as a nasal tone.

Conversations

In the hop to Fellan, the semi-feral planet that marks the waystation to Roysian, the following conversations occur:

Widow, checking on how Dr. Schmidt is enjoying high passage, finds herself [partial fail on Interaction] deep in conversation about Roysian’s seven moons and the research he hopes to do. “Still a system in flux” is something to think about.

Pip finds plenty of common ground with Charo when she talks about kids. It seems that though her body is built for speed she would like nothing better than to settle down with more than 0.5 of a child. CharoUnluckily Dr. Schmidt has already blown his child ration on his previous wife, so the research may be needed to raise their joint allowance… then presumably Charo will lock him down to wedded bliss.

BJ splits his beer stash with father-of-six Bill Guntham. The Gunthams are going to visit the wife’s folks on Roysian 2.

Iceman has more chances to speak to passengers than most, since he is backup steward. He doesn’t use the option. He does ask old Mitch what he’s going to Fellan for, and learns a bit of useful background about the lethal plantlife there.

Cousins

When Pip calls her handle she is called in by her cousin, name of Scopie. They seem real good friends. My sensor array tells me all’s clear so I pass on word to the passengers we’ll be docking on the main Fellan dome soon. Bex works back over sales pitches for the ATV – it’s something she’s hoping to make a good price on here. The ‘luxury goods’ (which are pretty much all whisky) are certain to sell here. As far as I can learn – Bex being busy – she has no plan to buy up any of the local product, which is ground out of the sponge weed plant as a base for cosmetics.

Scopie seems a happy go lucky type, who has somehow goofed his way from wherever he was last employed to head ganger in this expanding spaceport. Some guys just get by on looks I guess. But I’m saying this from what I later heard and saw. Meanwhile I’m back on bridge and watching the landing, on a landing pad that’s kept flamed clear of sponge weed. A trac u pulls the Bad’n’Ruin into a decontam tunnel and she’s scrubbed clean, then we are through to the new starport dome and I send the dc. [Disembark Clearance]

Formalities

We mostly disembark too, though Rhonda stays aboard. Choi heads into the main dome quick. It’s a small port. There’s two other ships in and an empty bay for one more after us. One is a Tukera-flagged ship name of Radius Squared, or r2. The other is a Varag trader – maybe a corsair judging by the array of weapons. [Alertness: Iceman makes natural 20, Widow and BJ roll well above their score.]

Iceman: those guns on the Vargr ship…

Widow: usu?

Iceman: those are the same guns we sold back in Altara

Widow: ksss. Check right, merc guards machi familiar

BJ (wanders over): Natty Chipper uniforms… Tukera ship… are we going to have to hide?

[The rules of the game include the ‘in space no-one can hear you google’ rule which means in this instance it will be a major coincidence of fast travel if someone from either Tukera lines or the Natty Chipper mercenaries has travelled by ship from Pavanne to this point quicker than we have. In any case, we did not quarrel directly with Tukera and not at all with Natty Chipper. So, all good.]

It’s around this time that Pip is chatting to her cousin Scopie (and getting herself and Bex invited to free meal and drinks), and BJ is settling the engines and consarning Pip for the way she yanks the stick, that me and Iceman see three townies heading over from the admin dome the mercs are guarding.

Widow (offers paperwork): Bad’n’Ruin, requesting life support and fuel for the Roysian leg

Hick #1: Ah-hyuk, sure

Hick #2: Yuh see hyar, we got rules, ah-huh

Hick #3: That we does, sure do

Seems like the rules allow as how we’ll be in a mess of trouble if we use anything that could breach a dome, so pulling a face I track back into the Bad’n’Ruin and stow my pistol. Iceman stashes his carbine, pistol and you name it. BJ stashes something in engineering and waves after us.

BJ: say, Choi was back already

Widow (suspiciously): that was quick

BJ: he told me that he spotted some street gangers, Tarans, further over towards the process dome they call Little Altara

Widow: colours?

BJ: just had the look, he said

Central

The whole port holds maybe 250 folk, not including mercs and miners, or farmers as they like to be called hereabouts. Me, if I see a moyss wandering chopping wild plants up for process, he’s a miner. Farmers dig and plant and water and such. But Dome City is built over deep mine workings so maybe that’s why they say different here.

The largest dome is old central, where the best dining post is. That’s where I head, and BJ and Iceman allow as how they’ll tag along. Bex and Pip have already headed in with Scopie since they didn’t have to push papers.

Central is the oldest and biggest dome, plenty of space, and Central Pillar Hotel is machi swanky. Pip Bex and Scopie are already chowing down and yakking it up. I pick a less central table. After we are settled, three Varags introduce themselves. The pack leader is Morgan, the others Israel and Nigel.

Widow: Nigel. Where I come from that is a name of much dignity and fame

Nigel: ? [I can’t tell if the female is lying!]

Morgan: ! [It’s not your real name anyway!]

They are working for an Aslan [lion-like race] who is looking to stake his territory somewhere out by Jesedipere where I saw action against Corsairs, maybe these same. We swap yarns, we agree we might have fought each other a few years back, I pass on our call-sign since we need satisfied repeat business. Nothing much is happening here, and I get the idea there’s maybe gambling later on, but BJ and me need to put in some hours of needler practice so we sign out. Pip and Bex are going well at their table, looks like Bex will have made a profit as expected.

[Bex is an NPC handled by the GM so this is all off-screen. She isn’t able to move the ATV as she hoped but all else goes well.]

Practice and peeking

We find out that as you might expect, the great out-dome is where you go to shoot, so we rent still-suits and go through a familiarity course, then hike back to the Bad’n’Ruin, get the gear and head out. Iceman loads up with laser and pack, since he wants to make sure it’s fully functional. We all three put down a lot of rounds.

Back in the dome, and back at the Bad’n’Ruin, I get to thinking about the Choi boy. Pip comes in while I’m stowing gear, tells me Q4k was pulling aggro from the street kids, seems like they might have known her at that. She’s travelling on to Roysian so I shrug.

It’s a fine thing when your crew-mates don’t like you spying on a rookie. Fills me with something or other. Anyhow once I get Choi safe in town with Rhonda I break into his quarters and toss his bunk and stowage, leaving it all shipshape. Apart from the kind of skin mag I would worry if he didn’t have hidden, he has a whole ID-maker kit and blanks.

Where’s Bex?

The following day while we’re out wasting the local weeds again, I pass on what I found. BJ and Iceman don’t see any reason to take action yet, so we leave it there. When we are finishing up and in decontam, Pip calls me.

Pip: anyone seen Bex?

Widow: not out this way

Pip: I looked all over when I got back to the ship, she’s not here

Widow: why where you been?

Pip: I tried to follow some Aslans then got talking to a Tukera… point is no sign of Bex and no-ones seen her for about four hours

Widow: sensors ain’t gonna pick her up neither

BJ: here’s a wild thought, did you call her?

Pip: she’s off line

Widow: OK grab my armour and Iceman’s armour, meet us at central, work around counter-clockwise to that point

BJ came out wearing his armour on so no need for Pip to fetch it. Maybe ‘cause it gives him more of a chest.

Well, we get to Central Pillar Hotel without seeing hide nor hair, and find she’s playing cards below. I don’t waste no time on cussin’. We stow equipment up at the hat-check desk and me and Pip head down.

High stakes

Bex is sitting pretty with a huge winning pile of creds in front of her. The crowd is pretty thick but I ease through, Pip trailing on my six, and get an idea of the risk. It’s Aramis Holdem, and a hick miner, a Tukera and a merc are sitting in. They all have sidearms.

Widow (sotto voce): it’s real tense. Too many losses, they going to call Bex. If you get the chance, take a hand and start moving the creds around.

Pip gets in Bex’ eyeline so she knows we are here, I stand off the merc so I can stick him before he draws. The Tukera folds after another hand, and Pip asks to sit in. It’s a 3k floor but they are willing to wait, sink a round and get a new deck.

Iceman is told off to fetch the creds, and he calls me to let me know that Taran gangers and admin hicks are both headed to our 20. The hick is the long tall yokel, Narrow is his handle. But he’s not got no reason to fuss, once Pip takes a hand.

Pip: here’s the cash, let’s play

Bex: you think you can take me?

Pip: you pays your money you finds out lady

[The GM runs a simple 2d10 variant of holdem based on gambling skill. Roll secret dice, show one, bet whether you will win, show the other plus skill. Pip rolls, gets double 9s, shows one and bets she will win. But Bex wins on a 6 then 9 – her Interaction must be 9 or lower.

Pip can easily read the yokel (a separate gambling check) and she wins a little, enough so that Bex winning the overall next two hours still leaves her with a small profit. The presence of a new player eases the tension enough. The yokel is cleaned out and the game wraps.]

With our Bex and Pip heading back to the Bad’n’Ruin loaded down with creds it’s right psychic of me to have our gear all ready. BJ Iceman and me armour up load for bear and sit on them in a 3-man, back off the gangers and see them nice and safe aboard. Then I tear a strip off Bex, who is shaking. Then after I’m done Pip and BJ and Iceman say their say. She gets the message.

Fun is had

I don’t see no reason not to enjoy my ownself after a hard day of range work, search and bodyguarding. I head back to the Hotel with the change out of the 500creds I started yesterday with. I get myself into a nice little low-stakes game with a few guys including a good-looking, clean-shave young Tukera name of Andy. A few drinks and a little gambling to put an edge on. Then after the game I take Andy up to one of the Hotel’s suites and whittle him down. Hooraw!

Let’s just wait…

Next day I make my way back to the Bad’n’Ruin with a dirty grin on my face, to find the doggies have gone already and the r2 is being towed out.

BJ: We’re fuelled

Rhonda: I’ve checked the passengers, they’re all aboard

Widow: no new passengers?

Rhonda: no, seems no-one wants to get to Rowsion II from here

Bex: manifest check done, we are good to go

Pip: thought you still rolling round in your cabin on top of that pile of creds

Bex: you can only do that for so long before throwing them up in the air and letting them hit you on the head gets painful

Iceman: I could take away the pain

Pip: and there is Iceman’s best pick up line. Ever.

Widow: so we’re good to go but let’s just wait a while. The doggies with their guns are upstairs. Let’s just make sure they really are gone

To say goodbye is to die a little

We drop out near Roysian and my sensors pick up a wall of shit. [Widow makes a truly awful roll, fails by 6] Schmidt and his system in flux be damned, there’s a whole other universe of drifting junk, asteroids and satellites. It takes me a good long while to get a good read on the system, by which time Miss Heavyfoot is squinching around like she ain’t had a man in months, which come to that is probably true.

[Widow makes a poor sensors roll – luckily this is not a system where pirates hang out – and a repeat roll is barely a partial success. The penalty is time. Pip also needs two rolls to make up for the difference, one for eyeballing the path.]

Finally I get a good beacon and Pip is talked in. We vector through to an outstation in the seven moons. It’s from this depot here we can shuttle down with the cargo. The traffic control tone is firm! No cheesy cousin here.

We get more of the same theme as we handle the protocols on the outstation. It’s rule-heavy, plenty of men in suits or uniforms to watch us. The good news is that our ‘agricultural parts’ move through customs as promised, no problems. We ain’t allowed anything that looks like a real weapon, cept for our knives.

I say goodbye to all our passengers while Iceman watchdogs Bex who handles the selling. Schmidt and Charo roll out quick, the Gunthams slower since they got plenty of kids. Rugman heads out with his rug skewed, finally Q4K and her kid Tangle. I got to chat to her on the last jump one time when the kid had a bad dream about his old man.

Widow: remember – martial arts – ain’t never gonna regret it

Q4K: uh yes, thanks

Widow: and remember sometimes the best way to see your man off is with a gun

Q4K: right, well, goodbye

[Meanwhile there’s lots more happening. The ATV is not a winner but Bex still offloads it, the ground vehicles fetch a good margin, and she makes deals for the alloy that we need to haul back to Altara. Pip sees to life support and fuel: it’s going to be quick, and we could be away in three days (our delivery allowing). Iceman arranges a truck hire down below, and the ‘correctness’ of the guards is reinforced. BJ acts as supercargo.

One challenge the GM throws at us is  to think of a way of getting weapons past the strict Rowsion II security. Aside from smuggling one hideout gun through, I suggest we can open the crates and assemble weapons.]

Trucking

By the time we are ready to take the shuttle down to Roysian, we have a fair handle on who’s doing what and where we and the crates are heading. Bex Rhonda and Choi are safe to be left aboard.

Down at the starport, BJ and me stay with the crates, while Pip and Iceman catch a local ground-cab out to the truck hire. They report plenty of os homi, both paras and town beat. Just about everyone is grounded, only the rich have air rafts.

They arrive back with a truck. Pip jumps down grinning.

Pip: could have cut ten minutes off that time really

Iceman: you said you weren’t going to push the law

Pip: I said I was going to avoid trouble, meaning, I went through quiet streets

Iceman: really fast

Pip: you have met me right

We load up and start listing camping gear we’ll need. It’s a long way out.

So ends our Labour Weekend session. Iceman picked up best roll with double-ought Alertness to spot that the doggy ship is fitted out with the guns he sold. I made my worst ever roll, a 3+2 on sensors. Overall I thought we handled every challenge well, the exception being BJ claiming he would ‘naturally’ armour up after being told Dome Town was not that kind of place. But we didn’t get penalised for it. The need for weapons on Rowsion is yet to be tested.

Next session should see us on the road for a 600k journey to deliver Seddon’s illegal small arms to something illegal, and not one of us with anything larger than a hideout gun. Stay tuned!

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SH5.5: Double down! Surplus heroes bargain for more adventure!

The Bad’n’Ruin has just jumped, or dropped, into jump space, having survived a brush with pirates.

Crew:

  • Pip, helm (AL)
  • Widow, scanners and comms (AM)
  • BJ or Big Jim, engines (DL)
  • Iceman, guns (DB)
  • Choi, computers (GM)
  • Bex, partner and banker (GM)
  • Rhonda, steward (wounded) (GM)

 

New crew no screw

During the hop back to Nazmin I patch my armour and see to Rhonda. Pretty soon she’s fit enough to take on cooking duties. Choi, who turns out is just 22, gets quite a thing on her. BJ keeps working on his pet drone. Iceman works on his spanking laser-carbine and tries to make time with Bex (not so much she notices, mind) and Pip plays cards with anyone with money to lose. We drop into Nazmin’s space and soon have clearance. Pip bangs us down and Bex contacts Obelinda for offload and outstanding payments.

Rhonda allows as how she will take her leave but what I’ve seen of her cooking she’s handier than Iceman so I get the rest around and ask if she can be signed on.

Choi: I vote yes!!!! hehh

Widow: shuddup kid

Bex: well her background is a bit…

Widow: she was one of those Black Daggers and…

Bex: piratic…

Widow: fits right in with us

Pip: I don’t mind, she cooks, she can work computers when Choi’s helping BJ. And I can call her BD for Black Dagger, so I vote yes

Iceman: I don’t mind, gives me a fall-back… ya know

Widow: you ain’t hittin’ that yet right?

Bex: hitting what?

Widow: OK we have agreement, I’ll tell Rhonda

Bex: ah, just for one month, we don’t want to be stuck with someone completely wrong for us

So, Rhonda signs on for the flat month. The rest of us take our 5k bonus and a month’s pay. We stand to take 91k profit before wages, so with a reminder from her that we need more business we wave Bex goodbye and head into Altara.

 

Advancement

This seemed a good point to ask the GM about advancement: we had obviously ended a mission and were in a starport city.

Caseless appears to offer advancement based on real life learning curve. IRL, it’s relatively easy to move from ‘ignorant’ to ‘know something’ and relatively difficult to move from ‘expert’ to ‘more expert.’

Attributes don’t appear to have an advancement mechanism as such, though behind the scenes there may be a percentile chance. Bear in mind that all characters are mature. Let’s not mention the Choi boy.

As for skill, most advancement requires (a) time training and (b) money invested. Other advancement may be at GM fiat. Iceman picks up an advance for Criminal Contact, because he had dealings with Seddon. Widow picks up an advance for Persuasion, based on the amount of talking she ended up doing.

In crew order:

Pip would like to enhance her Interaction skill. As this is a skill area, not a specialty, the GM agrees but it will take a good deal of time. She is required to invest in some expensive interactive training manuals (possibly including How to Smize, by legendary ambassador TyTyBaby) and will need to study while we have down-time.

Widow would like to finish her Intrusion abilities. This is a Tech specialty, i.e. it is measured in boxes that modify the Tech skill. The GM explains that she will need to contact a trainer. Widow asks Iceman for a contact via Seddon, who acted as middleman when we needed armaments. This works, and Widow is put in touch with a specialist who takes 3k fee for the training. (The 10cred lockpick tools are thrown in free!)

BJ would like to finish his drone. This requires him keep working on Tech and purchase a few technical manuals. I believe at the end of the process, Tech will advance.

Iceman would like to be even more deadly with his shooting. The GM explains that he is already right at the top in practical terms. The only people better are snipers that spend hours each day practicing. So as a second option he too purchases some manuals and works on Tech. These manuals may or may not include: How to Sabotage your Buddy’s Drone, and: How Do I Know My Kid is Building C3PO?

 

The GM invites us to work through equipment and put together shopping lists, away from table. Later, I decide to purchase a needler, which requires a specialty within Combat Marksman to use safely. As long as I train with plenty of ammo well before use, this ought to work. The investment is represented by the cost of ammo and time training.

 

 Agents Marty and Cole… IPA!

We ain’t hardly touched down in Altara when a couple os homi in suits are waiting with badges out. Agent Marty is around 40, Cole is tall and thin – for a doggy. I reckon them to be from Fociline by their accent.

Seems like they heard we were out at Pavanne, and run a slew of mug-shots by us, asking about if those guys are alive and what doing. I click to Moes the bar-keep at the Grand Trading, Boss the Tukera, a Lifer, and Wells, which last I call them on  – I claim they must know he’s a secret agent man, they kind of speak loud with silence.

 

Seddon needs a favour

Altara is full of talk about a new recovery: a defence fleet for Jundi system, plenty of star craft to be built, and expertise needed, and ore. Pretty soon Bex is in talks about a double-leg trip, first out to some shithole of a feral planet called Fellan, then out further to the Tarans on Roysian.

One thing leads to another.

It’s after Iceman has paid his respects to his oyabun. He listens to me, says he can put me in touch with someone. Then he allows as how he needs some cargo moved. He must have heard as how Bex is closing a deal. I know we need cargo so I say OK aniki, and we close with 5k per crate agreed. Seems like his cargo is body-pistols and ammo but will go through customs as parts.

 

Passengers!

Bex has surely been busy. She runs the manifest by us and we can all see we need to be on best supercargo to fit it all in. We got ATVs, and three tons of luxury cargo. We even fill up the boat bay with a passenger launch since we ain’t  got one.

More important, we got passengers! Some just bound to Fellan, some for all the way to Roysian.

High passage (which we ain’t fitted out for but we unbolt beds): we got a University of Jundi tenure holder name of Jim Schmidt, and his hot young “research assistant” name of Charo Brown. The launch is theirs, and they are Roysian-bound.

Mitch, an old guy; Ben Rugman a travelling salesman; and a family name of Q4K finish our Middle passage space. By this time we can see we got to change our ownselves round: I bunk  up with Rhonda, Pip with Bex, and the guys share on some rooms I don’t pay much mind to.

Low passage is for eight, including six kids. It’s going to be fun!

 

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SH5: Laws of Inertia! Surplus heroes’ brush with pirates!

Prologue: a new handle for Giant (in 3rd-person voice)

[We got this via email over the week. It’s a good, logical and reasonably tactful way of handling a name mixup that kept happening. And it worked pretty well. I called Iceman by his old handle ‘Giant’ once this session and no-one misnamed BJ at all. Kudos to DB for this change.]

Giant hawked disdainfully and spat something truly nasty across the deck plating. This was the fourth time in half an hour that someone had called him “Big Jim” or called BJ “Giant” and even his unflappability had its limits.

“From now on,” he said, looking down at his icy skin tone and thinking about all those long, cold years in cryosleep, “you bastards can call me Iceman.”

“Him” – he jerked a thumb at BJ – “You can call any damn thing you please.”

“Oh” – here, he swung his laser charge pack up over his back – “and if anyone even looks like they’re thinking of saying ‘Ice Ice Baby’ just remember, I got a beam weapon now!”

 

[We begin the session with a backtrack. The GM wants to show us a bit more of how we left. Probably for when we go back to Pavanne again]

 

Get aboard!

We move fast as we can out the elevator and into the tunnel leading to our bay. Vixe! Cluster of Tukeras t-shirts with couple of tunnel guards. I start running formations through my head, then I see that the guards have the Tukeras bailed up. They ain’t disarmed them – I see a monofilament flicker – but they keeping them covered all right.

Guard: Guvnor don’t want no firefight, you g’wan through

We hustle on through to the Bad’n’Ruin and Choi waves. He’s clamping the feed back onto its bowser.

Choi: Hi! Just done… where you get the juice anyhow?

Widow: Git aboard!

Bex: Oh, there you are… I have some questions about transactions…

Widow: More boarding, less talking! Bridge in two for sitrep!

 

Bluffing the guvnor

[This mostly happens off-screen, as it only indirectly involves us. As a recap the plan is for Tils to present the guvnor with a choice of allowing Obelinda to resume normal trade, or engaging in station-to-ship combat and thereby face the navy, the IPA, or both.]

Pip makes her usual crazy-ass liftoff then flips the old crate over to nestle in by the old Fassault a couple klicks out. They get their hatch open right sudden and I get a bad feeling. Even so I OK them to come ahead, and they drop airsleds in to our cargo bay. I know Iceman is in a gun turret and BJ and Choi are in engineering.

Widow: BJ, you there?

BJ: Yeah go ahead

Widow: How about you get in that fancy suit of yours and just keep an eye on kon’yarr’

BJ: Uhh, meaning I need a weapon?

Widow: Hmmm I guess your blade is as good as we got right now

Then Choi gets antsy and I haul ass down to engines to keep him calm, leaving Pip playing with my comms. By the time I get back she’s got a channel open and I hear Tils making a deal with the guvnor, and Pip gives me the high sign. I keep watch on the unshipping, all goes well and I call BJ back in.

 

Payload

Pip flips us back down, and scratches off some more of our new paint. Wells appears with a bag. Bex goes out to talk to him. I ain’t cool with this even though he checks out a sangue bom but she’s the negotiator. But she comes back with 30k in the bag and a grin on her face and a plan to ‘invest’ our money.

Just to be on the safe side and keep our business out of everyone else’s business, I send BJ down – since he’s the EVA expert – over the decks to talk to Tils. He comes back and reports that our cargo is ‘in train’ and we should just stay aboard and not look for trouble.

So we sit. A few hours tick by. Wells appears and the sang’ oversees loading pods. We help, since we are bored. The whole of Bad’n’Ruin’s payload space is filled, including the boat bay!

Ja na, Pavanne!

 

Ship to ship

As we ready the Bad’n’Ruin for the first jump out of system, I pick up a mark on the edge of range. Same time, they hail us.

Pirates: Stand by to be boarded, we will take the pick of your cargo!

[There follows an awkward few minutes of attempted railroad and protests. Once we bring the situation back to where we as crew get a decision, it all goes smoothly.]

We have a six-way vote. It ain’t the Marine way to just grab ankles, so me and Iceman vote fight. Pip ain’t sure. Bex wants to keep her profit and BJ says fight.

Widow: Nuts.

Tako! Pip plots our moves as the yarro boosts closer, I counter their lame try at a lock, and BJ feeds power to the guns. Iceman blasts them! As they slide by they hammer our shields, then we hit theirs again, then they are so far off our vector we just pour sauce and leave range, and jump.

 

And so with our heroes in jump space, we leave them for now. We may have to miss next week and if so I will write up the second half then.

Ship to ship combat is similar to vehicular combat in d20 or Savage Worlds (minus bennies) with the important exception that inertia does not go away – there’s no such thing as “braking” and no friction to help with “cornering” or moving from one vector to another. Each move is a drift plus direction based move. For example, if your velocity would move you 2k per second, you move 2k per second that same way, even if you are applying thrust in a different vector.

The battle turn sequence is something like:

  • Edge is decided
  • Ship with edge decides where to put power, and makes any engineering check that means
  • A pilot check guides the craft to modify its direction and velocity
  • A sensors and comms check is made to lock in on the opponent and/or break an enemy sensor lock
  • A gunnery roll is made for guns or missiles, with various disadvantage or advantage allowed by power and sensor lock.
  • The opposing side takes its bound.

Armour checks are very much the same as personal combat – a high roll means your shields have absorbed the hit and have downgraded. More engineering power to shields helps, and an engineer can make running repairs to shields instead of putting power anywhere.

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