Mission: extricate Q4K and Tangle from their life-debt to the Jackals, a Taran gang.
Last session, the crew of the Bad’n’Ruin opted to follow Widow’s sense of obligation, and protect Q4K and Tangle. The attention now turns to planning and preparing for the full sense of the obligation. We pick up during the final week in jump-space prior to dropping into Taran space.
A session consisting almost entirely of conversations and planning is hard to encapsulate. We kick off with the main planning conference on the Bad’n’Ruin. The kids are in bed, and all adults are present. The GM is now minding more NPCs than there are characters.
Spelling: as usual for Q4K read Que Vork, for Tangle read Tarngal, for Jundy read Junidi, and for Nazmin read Nasemin.
Culture: I don’t normally gloss Widow’s terms but in honour of the yakuza-themed scenario she has dropped a few extra references in. Oyabun is equivalent to family boss, wakagashira the first lieutenant, shateigashira the second lieutenant, and saiko-komon and shingiin fill advisory positions. Kyodai or big brothers are somewhat equivalent to made men while shatei are street-level operators.
Seated around the mess table
Widow aka BW: sensors/comms. Widow left the Marines as a Lieutenant and generally pushes decisions.
Pip: pilot. Pip is often used as the pleasant face of the crew.
BJ: engineer. BJ is also the best close-combat specialist.
Iceman aka BB: gunner. Iceman is also the best cook and also acts as armourer.
Bex: purser. She carries a lot of weight, as she owns half shares in the entire venture.
Choi: computers. An ex-Jackal youth himself, Choi has been found to have skills in forging fake IDs.
Rhonda: steward. An ex-pirate, Rhonda is involved with Choi.
Q4K: passenger, aunt of Tangle, the boy the Jackals want back. She has no particular skill set.
Heath: Q4K’s uncle, an ex-Imperial Navy officer. From what the crew have seen, he is tough and a good shot.
The briefing: our problem
Talban is oyabun of the Jackals and they move Tunbiddy, a drug with enough street value to make the Jackals strong. They work out of a broke-down counting house in a Taran neighbourhood. It’s a shikeru area with neon lights, lousy weather and poor roads. Talban has a legit face underground, as a perfumier. Q4K don’t know much more other than that Foxy back on Fellan is probably Curso, one of Talban’s chief men, maybe wakagashira.
Widow: I held off talking to Jackals til we get to Nazmin, I want to negotiate, see what this Talban will take to buy Tangle out
Choi (squirms, looks uncomfortable)
Widow: kid, you’re crew, if you got something, lay it out for us to see
Choi: you know I was with the Jackals for a while, well, I can tell you ‘negotiate’ would only begin with handing the kid over
Pip: so this a problem? If we looking at whole picture, we get Q4K and Tangle back to Altara as agreed, then their problem
Widow: we all agree otherwise. So if we break Tangle free, take down the Jackals
Choi: Jackals like any other gang, work good so long as money roll in and bosses in place
Widow: BJ and BB, you work up feasibility of putting remote detonation onto one of the missile warheads using something like a phone
Bex *sputter* *gack* IPA! Official investigation! *gaah* nowhere to run!
Widow: calm down parceira, you got smoke coming out your ears. This is options
Pip: ship to ship missile? Options be city-size crater
[At this juncture the GM unwisely demands an Interaction test for those around the table. Instead of GMPC Bex winning hands-down as expected, Widow comes up +7 over and everyone else scores low.]
BJ: better option than an ICBM maybe fertiliser based explosive in back of truck
Widow: I want the entire structure down not windows broke, but that’s fine, whatever gets the job done
Choi: I reckon be four or five top dogs, they the issue
Widow: Heath, how committed you be? You die for your niece?
Heath: I would kill you to save them, yes
Widow: would you strap on a suicide vest for them?
Heath: ….yes I suppose I would
Widow: so that’s another option. Come on people, I need to hear ideas. Q4K, we need something a little more solid. How about you ask Tangle about the big guys? Don’t tell him what we’re thinking natch
Iceman: can a drone be used to deliver a payload? How you doing on your drone BJ?
BJ: coming from you that’s just weird. Not very far, but I’m workin’ on it. If it flies, yes it can send a feed back to us or shoot
Widow: when we in port, we need to keep Q4K and the kids to home. We need false papers since so far we just made them disappear
Iceman: I’ll be talking to Mr. Seddon about explosives, weapons and whatever, I’ll need a list. He can connect to a forger
Widow (catching a glance between Rhonda and Choi): come to think of it, Choi: I just lay this on the table too. I toss your quarters and found your ID blanks.
Choi: you tossed my stuff!?!
Widow: so we need some work up for our passengers
Rhonda: Choi’s been sweet, he done a really nice set for me. I been getting them marked each chance I get, makes them look legit for reals
Widow: so you just using the kid? Respect!
Choi (still aggrieved): did you toss BJ’s quarters?
Widow (deadpan): sure
BJ: how’d you like the plans I keep stashed under my mattress?
Widow: it took me a whiles to scrub clean
Iceman: so BJ, I (chokes slightly) don’t mind helping on the drone weapon system
Choi: I can check the processors
Widow: I can help with the sensors, and quality check for Iceman
Iceman: then I’ll just need a list of stuff we want, and I’ll talk with BJ about blast shape and size
Widow: now about the counting house, Pip, you been quiet, how about you build me a scale model of the area in one of the bays
Pip: huh? I do pilot this heap you know
Widow: you already done pushed that autopilot button gata. But I’ll help and Q4K will help lay out plans. And we need something to blame… I’m thinking there’s a new Anglic gang, the Coat Colours. We can’t none of us pass as Tarans ‘cept maybe Choi, and we don’t want no blame thrown at existing families, so we get us some long coats, and some kind of colour
Choi: like a gang patch?
Widow: that’s it, only not one that’s in use. Rhonda and you can scratch around the port surplus stores for coats
Rhonda: that should be fine
Pip: and buy burners, we don’t want our signals to lead back to us
Widow: OK, Q4K will get back on anything Tangle adds, meeting adjourned
Dropping out, working sensors, I pick up a slew of Navy hulls, and it gives me an idea. I say to Heath, maybe Impy Navy gonna be some use, if you can pick up intel. He allows as how he can walk into the port officers mess and see what he can pick up. I specially want to find how come this Curso is out on Fellan but anything could be useful. Tangle’s told Q4K that Talban always has a kyodai bodyguard in the perfume shop, there’s another chief name of Eyeball that mostly stays up in the counting house and has plenty of shatei. He could be anything from shingiin or saiko-komon counting beans to shateigashira. This is sounding like we only need put down three targets, and avoid getting ourselves known for it.
Meantime, media feeds are full of the Roysion mess, and assurance from Usher Stoll, chairman of Jundy Construction, that production will still go on. Bex is lining up deals and meet-ups fulltime.
The drone flies, but Iceman messed up on the weapon system for it. I ain’t saying he done it deliberate. We kick around a few options for feed off it, but for Iceman’s shopping list nothing ain’t been added.
Iceman’s going over the list with us in a final standup. He’s specced Semtex or suchlike, about 1k worth. The rest of the list is mostly munitions, and a few other items like lights, NVGs, and burners.
Iceman: I’ll head out to Mr. Seddon straight away. You wanna come with? You met him before ain’tcha?
Widow: I met Rooso and a big goon, but I hear your Seddon was taken with Pip. Hey B-Cup, you wanna go with BB?
Pip: hey! I get to give you B- names, not the other way round
Widow: don’t forget gata, cleavage, cleavage, work it
Mr. Seddon’s hand
The meet with Seddon and Rooso goes smoothly. The GM asks Iceman, in particular, how much of ‘the plan’ he’s going to reveal, and Iceman sticks to his normal procedure and blabs everything, while seeming to be discreet. The real sticking point is explaining the motivation. This is where Iceman’s good Persuasion (+2 on Interaction of 12) is tested, and he makes it.
Conditional on being kept out of it, they agree to help. Rooso volunteers what he knows of the setup, based on one visit to the perfumery. He was brought in in a way the cameras did not pick him up; and there was an implication that there is a tunnel link between the counting house and the perfumery. Curso, if in port, will most likely be found in the coffee shop across the boulevard from the perfume shop; while Eyeball pretty much lives and works in the counting house.
Walking the ground
Later, Iceman and BJ con the mean streets of the Taran-heavy neighbourhood around the counting house. They are narrow and potholed. Pedestrians use them, making them more like slum alleys than streets. It appears that for the counting house, the GM has decided to use something along the lines of a fortified manor-house. Its stone tower provides the strongest structure, and any explosive will need to factor that in. However, road access will be from the point farthest away from the tower. Widow’s original idea of simply rolling a van in beside the counting house and blowing it up won’t work for Semtex: they decide they would need to ram a vehicle in through the broken-down ground floor and as close to the tower as possible. This and the turning area available rules out an unmanned vehicle.
In quest of something cheap from someone that won’t look hard at ID, the dauntless pair head off to the sleazy car yards of Tara Rollers. There, they find a wide variety of vehicles that could conceivably carry a payload of Semtex. Of all, a Taran Transit van and a cruiser sedan seem the most promising. They can both fit down a lane and both turn in roughly the same circle.
Widow wants to assess the Perfume Shop of Talban herself, but needs to look like a woman that would visit a perfumery (!) so Rhonda and Pip take her around a few underground outfitters near the port. Much spending on hair extensions, makeup, clothes and shoes later, Widow’s tats and scars are hidden. Pip and Widow head out beyond the main shopping area to where the perfumery lies nearly opposite a Junidi Coffee joint, across a pleasant pedestrianized boulevard. They sit in the coffee shop for a while. Widow assesses security cameras and ways of escape; then they cross and browse the perfumery. Talban himself shows his fine perfumes, and while he is engaged, a well-dressed thug staffs the main counter.
The general plan of action
Topside: Pip, BJ, Iceman
Acquire explosives and any body armour needed.
Equip a cruiser with explosives rigged to a remote detonator. Iceman will hold said detonator. Pip will drive while BJ and Iceman are passengers. All are dressed in Coat Colours gear with body armour under it.
Signal Widow when ready to go using ‘burner’ comms.
Ram the counting house building, kill goons trying to stop said manoeuvre, escape, detonate device.
Dump evidence in an industrial incinerator after fleeing area in second vehicle, head back to Bad’n’Ruin.
Underground: Widow, Heath
Acquire mini-needlers (or pocket pistols) that can be brought through security.
Enter underground carrying disguise clothing, weapons, and scanner.
Wait around coffee shop until receiving signal.
Enter perfumery, pretend to shop, shoot Talban and goon when distracted.
Use scanner to check for hidden people and areas.
Escape along lines less watched by cameras, dump disguise.
Leave underground, head back to Bad’n’Ruin.
In terms of dice rolling, this was probably my best session, nothing under an average roll and a couple very high, including the one that sank the GM’s plan of making Widow shut up about blowing shit up. Or as he would put it, ‘rebalancing the options.’ I will need the same luck next session trying to execute the Underground part of the plan. I would much rather be the driver of the bomb car and send Pip below ground, but if some intrusion and comms tasks are involved then Widow is best.
With a few minutes to spare we kicked around ideas for the next campaign. Our GM tells us this season can be extended with an ‘after story’ that will link to the second season, but we will probably need something after the Christmas break.