The Bad’n’Ruin: a double-hop Kitty (Keiten) class starship. Sports a good mix of cargo space and cabins, and generally no need to use iceboxes (Low Passage).
Bex (NPC): Pip’s ex-banker cousin, and merchant brain of the Bad’n’Ruin. Also hot, and good at gambling.
Big Jim/BJ the starship engineer, ex-scout with a cyborg arm. Mid-30s, greasy tan skin, hefty and overweight.
Choi (NPC) the engineer’s mate and system tech. Early 20s, Taran urban scum background, has some useful criminal skills.
Iceman the ship’s gunner, ex-marine with weird blue-tinged hairless skin from being iceboxed for 15 years. Looks mid-30s. Hefty, likes guns a lot.
Pip the ship’s pilot and ex-scout with a need for speed. Mid-30s but looking good, very dark hair and pale olive skin.
Widow the ship’s sensors/comms, ex-marine lieutenant and still a reservist. Early 30s, urban scum of Japanese-Brazilian ancestry, hair shade varies.
The plot so far
Last season Widow stashed a captain’s log from the lost expedition to Klackon-haunted Lewis. Once back in the civilized world of Junidi, she compared the physical journal with the digital version she had downloaded before the expedition. Puzzling discrepancies led to a quest to find the grungy little forger, Sid; and the quest has taken the Bad’n’Ruin crew from Altara, where they dealt with Al Wrightman and a hostile cartel, to Pavanne, a dead world where an outstation orbits.
Spelling: for Bayvan read Beyavin; for Jundy read Junidi.
Just a reminder about the dice rolling in Surplus Heroes. Outside of combat it is 2d10, high is good, try to roll on or above skill, sometimes with a bonus for proficiency. A typical trained skill is 11, a true expert might have 7 because low is good.
The Bad’n’Ruin drops out over Pavanne. We’re toting supplies for Carsten as well as for the outstation here. And we got around a dozen miners, looking to contract for this or that big company. Al Wrightman – the shyster we sprung out of Altara – has been no trouble at all, mostly keeping to himself in the crew quarters. Pip’s dropped us right over the outstation. I flick an eye over my arrays.
Widow [complete fail on sensors]: all looks same as ever
Pip [2 over on pilot] Hey! Is that an asteroid???
I’m wandering back down to get myself a café-blast (It ain’t coffee but it sure feels good!) when a media channel opens and someone live is asking our vector and landing needs. I scramble back up, give them our call-sign and this time open the sensors out full and have a real look-see.
There’s a giant pod-trucker, and around six double-hoppers like ours. I’m giving the station the Bad’n’Ruin’s needs and we drop in close, by which time I see the big old Fassault junker is still looking live. I woulda thought they burned that out after we cleared last time.
Pip lands (heavy on the thrusters as usual) and we hook.
Bex: I’ll see if I can reach out and get some contacts
Widow: Why don’t you head in with us in person? There’s always a game going and you’d go over big here.
Bex: Well that does sound interesting… and I would feel safe if all of you are around
Widow: The personal touch is always best setting up a trade anyway
Bex: You sold me, let me get my gear
Widow [via comms]: Briefing on Bridge, all crew assemble
[A note on responsibilities: Bex has the say on cargo and deals struck. Widow, who gained rank in the Marines, takes the boss role when it comes to ground action. Pip tends to act as captain for the grey area between, because pilot=captain in her mind. It can be confusing. This all goes back to us players disliking any set ‘leader’ role.]
Choi is to stay aboard. I lay down a rule that seeing as how things seems law-abiding on Pavanne, we go in with no heavy weapons. And only one SMG for BJ. The big guy takes it a little too serious, carrying his gun in his duffle where it’ll be useless in a set-to. My ownself, I gear with just light combat armor including my helmet but no visor, power knucks, compact SMG on one hip and lupara in its custom holster, and blade in its scabbard. Iceman picks out a reliable old carbine from the gun locker and armors much same as me but with full HUD. Pip wears her usual concealable under a decent outfit, and I guess Bex does the same. They both shape up as man-bait, so I’m a mile behind. I check in on Wrightman and he’s happy to keep stowed here.
Outside in the dock the Lifers are still here, but seems how they smartened up, wearing imported clothes and not seedy hand-me-downs. The guards are still Natty Chipper mercs and let us by peaceful-like. In the entry corridor I can see the miners, who I farewelled a while ago, are still making their way through hawkers or some such.
Closer up I find these are shills for mining companies, all eager to get a piece of some bounty for contracts, no doubt of it. We press on through telling them we’re crew, with no further delay than it takes one of them to shill for the Transit Lounge on Level 4; and make the elevator shaft bay.
It’s guarded, same as before, and the guard is a big manly piece, so I nod Pip forward and she chats while we wait for the elevator.
[Pip hits the guard with general sexiness (‘when do you get off duty?’) and a 50 cred bribe as well. This might not always work in tandem, but in this case the guard is both horny and happy to be bribed. He makes a date to meet Pip after he gets off and also gives her a general run-down on Pavanne outstation as it now stands, including some faction intel.]
From what I caught and Pip lets us in on, we’ll find Tukera and Obelindas now happily sharing the mining trade creds up on Transit Lounge. So we exit on Level 4 and sure enough, it’s clean, bright and there’s a distant buzz from happy drinking and gambling miners.
Most of the level is roomed off – I guess it used to be crew quarters and med facilities – but there’s two opposite entertainment bays. The one I pick at random is Obelindas and I ask the barkeep where at’s a merchant for doing a deal for luxuries like whiskey. Pretty soon Bex is negotiating with Sera from Obelindas. It’s all fine, and as I hoped, we’re not needed. Though BJ decides to stick on and watch.
[The crew now splits up to individual pursuits. Pip heads off because her date gets off his shift almost immediately; Iceman picks up a clean and legal hooker on this floor and goes to her room; Widow wanders around randomly looking over the floor and saying hi to the Tukeras on the other bar; and BJ gets himself into trouble.]
Saying to myself those Tukeras ain’t so bad, I swing on back to where Bex ought to be closing her deal by now. I ain’t got no call so I figure Iceman and Pip are working on about my timetable. Only, when I get near the tables, what do I see but BJ leaning on two shills, about to be walked away to some happy land where he works off some unknown debt. Iceman’s there but sitting down, so I figure they been slipped a mickey.
Widow: Teme! That MY crew! Get your thieving hands off!
[Widow slips in behind the doper as she yells and lets go with a power knuck at a kidney, but misses the key spot. The doper leaps sideways away from the arcing knucks, letting BJ stagger clumsily sideways. Iceman gets up, and this allows him to spot a guard slipping an SMG into position, behind Widow. He yells the warning.
Widow stays on her target, more to avoid being hosed with autofire than any idea of winning in a face to face fight. BJ puts his mech-arm into a reverse clothesline on the other doper, slamming him to the deck. Iceman lines his carbine up on the guard, and moves forward to block the man’s field of fire.]
Iceman: [initimidating look, as in: anything you can think of doing, I am better]
Guard: Let’s call this a wash. No harm, no foul
We back out easy, collecting Bex on our way, and meet up with Pip back on the Bad’n’Ruin. Gata got plenty to tell us, but first Bex wants to know what the hell about the Transit bar.
BJ: aw, just some fellers giving us a drink or three, then they wanted me to go somewhere
Iceman: never seen nobody going for a BJ so hard
Well after we stop laughing, Pip allows as how the guvnor is still in charge through his Natty Chipper mercs. They are Bayvan, pretty much to a man. Seems they have a caste system too. For instance Lenny is a Strongarm caste. It could be if someone else makes a high offer they’ll switch sides away from the guvnor. Moes is still boss down on Level 5, and he got a lot of power over the dark areas. For example there’s a forger in hydroponics. But everyone grovels to the Commish, who’s got plans. This Commish is (I think) a Jundy name of Watts, who reps their Jundy Trade Department, or JTD. There’s an Impie standard somewhere around too – I figure repping for the navy though Pip don’t say. Then there’s drugs, where the real money is. I figure Moes and the Commish split that deal between them, though that just might be me getting cynical now I’m on the wrong side of 30.
[Widow makes a doctor roll to check on BJ, a lousy roll so she shrugs and figures whatever hypnotic got into his system will work its way out.]
Looking over a schema of the outstation I see hydroponics is up, so I make the call to make nice to the guvnor first, instead of Moes. Bex breaks 1k out of the bank, and I tote it back into the outstation and over to a guard, explaining I want to pay my respects to the guvnor. BJ comes with, seeing as how he needs to keep walking and he like to do what I tell him, just about now.
[Long story short: it may have been worth smoothing things over given last visit’s problems, but the guvnor does not control hydroponics, Moes does, as Lenny the guard had implied. Widow and BJ return.]
Widow: The good news is the guvnor will be happier with us. The bad news is we just lost 1k with nothing to show for it. The so-so news is, Moes is the man we need to see after all
Geared up a mite [Iceman is packing his laser rifle, BJ has 2 SMGs, and Widow has her visor on now] we take the main shaft down to Level 5, and step through a crowd, a lot of junkies laying around. I scooch down to ask a miner what he’s looking for there, but don’t get no straight answer.
I get to see Moes at the Grand Trading Roadhouse. Moes tells me Sid has slipped out. It costs me a half-k from my own savings.
Moes: I helped Sid find a berth on a ship doing the roll-around back to Heguz, the Bad Moon
Widow: what’s on the rise on Heguz?
Moes: is a Bayvan place, a double-hop for you from here
Back aboard the Bad’n’Ruin we are jawing over Heguz and Bayvans when we get s comms flash from Watts, who wants to board. I check Wrightman again then meet the JTD rep Watts. He’s youngish, maybe not Jundy by birth – he don’t look like no half-baby investment been weighing on his mind – and if he loosened up a mite he’d be just the ride for me. But he stays buttoned down, angles to find if we are mercs for hire, which same we ain’t, and we tell him so. Mr Watts leaves.
Kicking things around – after BJ and Iceman check that he ain’t left any devices aboard – we decide we may as well get some Heguz contacts names. And seeing how it’s Bayvan, and the Natty Chippers are Bayvan, and Lenny is a Natty Chipper, it’s up to Pip to take one for the team.
It’s not long after, when Pip is setting up another round with Lenny, that I bump into agents Cole and Marty of the IPA. They are deep under cover, posing as junkie beggars. They come on to me with some IPA-thug level threats. So I don’t update them on Sid: after all, I want to talk to him before the IPA gets their mitts on him. They warn me not to go blabbing that I am looking for Sid, and likewise don’t get on the wrong side of Watts.
Bex is getting a Heguz shipment lined up, so we’ll be hopping real soon. Only I wonder why Sid is so all-fire popular. And how far the lame ‘he’s a family friend’ line will take me on Bayvan.