SH2.24: Blam! Surplus heroes collect the bounties!

Back out

Iceman and me, we got Dashman out in the bubble, and Pip and BJ stop back to sift Dashman’s place for useful trash such as two broke drones.

[Pip and BJ are both keen looters but with poor to awful rolls they have only located the obvious: the two wrecked drones, a recharge spot for them, a laser carbine and its backpack. Even Dashman’s mini-needler is missed, presumably knocked away under something in the struggle.]

Widow: I thought to ask those two to look around out here… but I allow as how a Scout could just about find his ass if he bent double and looked up, so I guess I’ll do it

[Widow has Survival – Desert but the GM rules an essentially airless surface is not closely related to this proficiency. Widow makes a check on Science, doing pretty well.]

I get my eyes down and sight along the dust. Iceman just lays up and stands watch with Lucille, his gauss rifle.Gauss By the time Pip and BJ shuffle out the airlock I make out three trails, one ours, the other two leading away into the black. Time to get a few answers off Dashman.

[Here the GM, based on the previous interrogation, just needs a simple 2d10 roll with Persuasion as bonus, to see how believable Widow is. She makes her Interaction check, and this, combined with the advantageous situation, gets a good result. Dashman cracks.]

 

Where the trail ends

Dashman allows as how it ain’t his idea and how he been forced into it. I really don’t care which makes my reassurance about IPA justice and cold-sleep to a court trial the more believable. Any hows, he gives up a big bro name of Suede and allows as how he and his little bros are forted up in an old Scout survey pit. It’s around 1.5 klicks up that track, he allows.

[At this point Widow calls a parliament. The options are head back to the Bad’n’Ruin, put Dashman on ice and plan the next move; or move on the pit right now, the second option having a variation on exactly what’s to be done with Dashman and gear.]

We jaw a mite, and the vote is 3:1 in favor of stowing Dashman here, and marching on the pit. Iceman digs enough of a pit and stacks a few rocks around, so Dashman ain’t about to roll away anywhere. BJ stashes his needler and after a single test-fire of the las-carbine, packs it along. Meanwhile I disable the bubble’s comms, so Dashman can’t yell for help.

 

The pit

We set to the 1.5 klick and in 0.3 G it’s the easiest march I been on. I set up the usual order for open ground, and remind the Scouts that cover is the first imperative in a firefight.

[It’s the ‘star sideways’ pattern, like a left-leaning parallelogram, with BJ left, Pip center, Iceman back and left of Pip, Widow right of Iceman.]

Iceman spots the pit airlock, and I check it. They’s a warning beacon on it. I wave Pip forward to take a look, but she shakes her head. I wave BJ forward, he thinks he can do something with it, so I slip out my tools and he slips out his.

[This is a vanilla Engineering roll, with Intrusion help. BJ on his own scores +7 and Widow adds the +2 from help. Even in clumsy vac suits it’s more than adequate.]

airlock

The big guy diverts the beacon so it won’t yell when the lock opens, and we cycle in since we’re first up through doors anyhow. BJ takes a look at the inner lock and signals the same deal. We deal the same deal and he diverts that as well. I signal the outer pair, then we cycle through.

 

The firefight

Round 0: Widow rolls left, BJ right, out of the stub entry to the lock, finding themselves in a low-lit 16 pace broad by 8 pace deep chamber, exits to passages ahead and both sides. BJ and Widow cover diagonally across, so as to take maximum advantage of cover. Widow has her Locator going and now they are inside it shows a fair proportion of three chambers, including the entry chamber. So an entry chamber, and a flanking chamber on either side, probably with further passages off each.

Round 1: The locator shows a hostile, right. That is Widow’s open flank, BJ is in full cover from that passage. Alertness checks are made, as BJ pops his suit helm in order to hear the better. He makes 3 over. He dons his IR goggles. Widow sets the locator down and readies her needler.

lookaround

Round 2: Pip and Iceman cycle through and as they squeeze out of the stub entry Iceman takes fire from the hostile on BJ’s flank, using a gauss weapon. There is enough light and a direct LOS from the corner of the right-flank chamber. Iceman’s vac suit absorbs the glancing damage, its protection is degraded by 1 point. Widow blasts the general area with needler burst as she rolls forward out of the gauss pistol’s LOS. BJ announces that he can hear a second hostile, presumably covering the spot Widow has just moved to!

Iceman rolls forward while BJ lays down fire, which works in the sense that BJ is shot at, not Iceman! BJ’s shot with las-carbine is excellent but he can’t tell if it was fatal. His own cover holds. Iceman is now ready to shoot at hostile 2.

Pitfirefight
Round 3: Hostile 2 breaks for the far passage and Iceman makes a classic layoff shot, the heavy gauss round leaving no doubt of the kill. Widow makes the call to press that flank, and advances to be on BJ’s flank facing that way. The locator is still sitting where she put it down.

Rounds 4-5: BJ and Widow advance, finding the two hostiles are dead, quite messily in the case of hostile 2. Widow decides to switch her long needler for the gauss pistol Hostile 1 had.

As Pip moves through (her order is third) she glances back and calls a warning – behind you Iceman! A shotgun goes off from the original left-flank chamber, but hits nothing. Iceman offers return fire but the round merely gouges a chunk out of the masonry.

Round 6: All are in as much cover as they can be, and Widow readies the gauss pistol. She will take a -2 on any shot as she has no proficiency. But the locator is going to be invaluable if hostiles keep switching passages.

Round 7-8: Widow rushes the entry chamber and checks the locator. It is clear the other way – the shotgun has cleared. Widow decides to fake the enemy out by switching to that flank. BJ hustles right through to take the lead on that flank.

Round 9-10: Not wasting time the other two hustle through the entry chamber but a burst of SMG fire catches Pip before Widow can do anything about it. With a poor roll on armor, Pip is clipped! Widow shoots and misses – the needler would probably have been the more useful for that kind of shot. She swiftly checks Pip, who has fallen very close: a serious injury. Widow makes +8 on medic check.

pipclipped

Round 11-21: Pip is dragged to the left-flank chamber away from central fire, where Widow works on her while BJ and Iceman guard both ways. Swift application of insta-seal elevates Pip to ‘beat-up’ meaning she is mobile, with serious penalties for activity or persuasion.

Iceman and BJ attempt to use the locator to help their guarding but it seems to have arcane secrets, they fail miserably.

Round 22-23: Quick conference and a decision is made to press on, leaving Pip in this chamber. Lacking cover, Widow decides to fetch the bodies to stack them like sandbags.

corpseshield

Round 24: She and Iceman set out at a cautious leap-frog pattern. The third hostile has cycled right round and as Widow hustles along the final passage to the right flank, lets her have it, midsection. Widow’s duck backwards turns into a flat-out back dive and she falls, out. Iceman returns fire and the gauss round drills right through the edge of the wall and kills Hostile 3.

Round 25-26: Iceman’s Athletics check is OK, it takes him two rounds to drag Widow back to Pip, the other medic.

Round 27: Pip makes her Medic check (there is no penalty) and stabilizes Widow, who is -5 on everything except sassing the GM. The GM rules she cannot talk, just groan.

Round 28-37: It seems clear we will need to retreat. Suit repairs begin, in the hands of BJ. He does a good job, first sealing Widow’s suit then Pip’s.

A gauss round tears a strip of masonry off the wall! Iceman returns fire, not a good shot. He is down to 4 rounds. Iceman fiddles with the locator, managing to find Widow and BJ.

Round 38: BJ catches a whisper of noise from where he is crouched and whips his blade out and around the corner as a woman, armed with an SMG, steps up to her mark. I mentally name her Lady Luck as BJ’s Expertise proficiency counts, she is taken off-guard, and her lower leg is taken off! The SMG sprays its burst into the walls. As Lady Luck falls bleeding out:

Iceman: I think I didn’t pick that up

BJ: Must have stealth capabilities

Round 39: BJ picks up the bleeding-out Lady Luck. Widow is muttering something about wanting her needler rifle back, and anyway BJ doesn’t want to leave good weapons intact for the enemy.

BJ: Now I got me some cover

He sets off, at speed, to the entry chamber, planning to rush through to the right flank chamber.

Pip: Hey, a gauss round will drill straight through that and you

BJ: Uh-oh come to think of it…

Round 40: The gauss pistol, fired from the right-flank chamber and therefore directly ahead of BJ, does drill through Lady Luck and glances off BJ’s vac suit as he throws himself sideways into cover.

Round 41: BJ makes a superb roll of 18 on Athletics to get into the chamber and past the hostile, and thanks to the lay-off the gauss pistoleer, a Varag, misses. BJ’s own swing as he passes is good, and he is in melee!

Round 42: BJ has Edge and stabs the Varag through the chest, the melee is over.

Round 49: Iceman has moved Widow into the entry chamber and Pip has moved spare gear. BJ has taken pictures of the four kills in the chamber, retrieved Widow’s needler and the gauss pistol and fallen back.

Iceman (takes picture of Lady Luck, checks the locator): No danger, it’s clear to go

Round 50-54: The surplus heroes leave, Iceman doing most of the heavy lifting on Widow, BJ carrying most of the gear.

1.5k later:

BJ (shoots Dashman): Good intel but could have been better

Widow: Uh…

[GM warns that any attempt to talk will entail a fort check, thus preventing a witty but gratuitous remark]

The party enter the fissure via Dashman’s airlock

Iceman: How do we get everyone safe back?

Widow (makes Fort check): Whatever you do, don’t send Pip for the air-raft

BJ: Let’s spread some love, I’ll go look round for someone in need a few creds to tote stuff

Pip and BJ look for a porter and stretcher-bearers in the fissure, and for a small fee get help with the gear and carrying Widow. The crew move directly through the dome and to the docks.

 

 

Patch-up

By this time I’m living on painkiller, and time gets foggy. I hear Pip and BJ got me back, anyhow I wake up on the Bad’n’Ruin being zipped back up by a pox-doc BJ rousted out from Tussi’s place. He tells me Pip is doing well too.

[Good doctor checks by the GM moves Widow back up to ‘dragging’ which is still pretty bad, and Pip to ‘battered’ which is what it sounds like.]

So now I’m back to laying up, feeling sore and ornery, waiting for updates. I take a hand where I can, vetting the full short-list we had a-running before we nailed Dashman. No need to keep it just for the fissure folks. We ain’t gonna fill all the iceboxes, so I make sure Choi gets those two women rostered in.

 

Mercenaries for hire

Wanting to get on with it – after all Suede might be moving, or hiring half the hitmen in the dome – Pip BJ and Iceman decide to do what they can. After Widow tells them ‘hire mercs’ Pip asks Wells about the issue, and he sends through two suitable men, one named Deans who has medic skill and one named Eliot who doesn’t. Both use a las-carbine. Wells pays off the 7x3K bounty, of which Choi take a K for helping and the mercs demand a K each flat fee. That leaves 18/4=4.5K each, not enough for a new vac suit, as Widow points out.

But more than enough to re-up with ammo! Shopping at Collin’s store Iceman finds another 48 rounds costing 400.

 

End of the bounty-killing

This time, Pip arms with needler rifle – long as it is, it is smaller than the enormous laser-rifle she borrowed for the first foray. BJ has the locator and las-carbine.

The air-lock has not been re-alarmed, which is good news. BJ cycles in and checks the locator.

BJ: They’re all around us! They’re in the walls, man!

Iceman and Pip cycle in as Deans and Eliot throw random suppressive fire around the passages.

Pip (checks locator): That’s Widow’s screensaver… here, I got it…

Iceman: Cease firing! It’s all clear!

The pit is indeed just home to the five corpses. The mercs roam searching and pocket a number of readily portable, saleable items, and collect the 1K each.

On the bright side the mission is over and the three surplus heroes retrieve spare power packs for laser and gauss weaponry.

Back at the Bad’n’Ruin the report is handed in. Wells fulfils his part by handing over a JTD clearance, or waiver, of any historical entanglement in the three planets agreed.

 

Arramanx and Altara

A week in Carsten, during which time Widow is restored to full mobility and all passengers are safely iceboxed. Greg still occupies icebox#1, he will become space flotsam prior to jumping to Arramanx.

Widow spends on gauss rounds for her pistol, allowing plenty for target practice. It costs 1.8K. Pip follows suit, and Iceman buys another 96 rounds.

gausspistol

Another week gets the jump to Arramanx done. Training aboard the Bad’n’Ruin resumes for Pip (admin) and Widow (close combat), and BJ spends a lot of time reconstructing two drones (tech).

At Arramanx the passengers are disembarked. From here on they are on their own, but the future is brighter than it was on Carsten. The meagre few Ks they brought in will help defray the dead-jump to come. The Bad’n’Ruin fuels, replenishes life support, and jumps to Nasemin.

Widow: Checking those feeds… just interested in how the Impies are jockeying around this Jundy buildup. Sure are a lot of new Jundy hulls! Kssso! If the reserves need me they know where to find me!

Comms: Bad’n’Ruin, customs here. Come aboard?

Widow: Come ahead customs

Pip: Say, that’s one sad-sounding customs officer

[The customs officers, an Anglic and a Varag, enter]

Agent Marty: Anything to declare (sighs deeply)?

Pip: Well come on in and take a drink, agents! We got a payday and it may not help, but it’ll take the edge off!

 

[Training: between the various legs since the crew left Altara seeking Sid, enough time has passed training for it to be tested. Those eligible – BJ Pip and Widow – make 2d10 rolls. Widow is successful with a 16 and her Close Combat advances one box to a full 3 ranks, which is to say +6 skill with 3 Aim. Lacking massive size or cyberization she’ll never be as good as BJ but this is competent, and with electroknucks adjusting aim by a further 1 she has a 50-50 chance of dealing major damage in a melee. The other two will just have to keep working at it; the next roll will be one easier.]

 

 

The Zykoca mission: signing up part

A day after we give Marty and Cole a free hangover I’m buzzed by a Fociline name of Usher Stoll, one of the big cheeses from Jundy. He’s looking to speak to Bex. Captain Bex. Nohow or nevermind, I put him through.

Pretty soon, Bex calls a bridge meeting, right starry-eyed. We got us a new charter maybe. Now seeing how Stoll’s in a place that can square the Lewis supply rights for us, no wonder she so juiced. She allows as how Stoll’s gonna pitch us the charter.

An hour later, along with a couple coat-holders, Usher Stoll comes aboard.

Bex (excited): Will you take coffee?

Widow: Gotta warn ya, we ain’t got that good Jundy brew. This’s café-blast.

Bex: I think we can do better… Iceman?

Iceman (grudgingly): See what I can do…

[shortly]

Stoll: I’m interested in hiring a charter, on a mission of some delicacy! The way I hear it, this crew has technical skills?

Widow: We got technical skills comin out our asses

Stoll: Fine, excellent. Now, the Junidi Trade Department needs something achieved, but needs to keep it at arm’s length. This will be a diplomatic triumph…!

[Bad’n’Ruin crew look blank, except for Bex, who looks starry-eyed]

Stoll: Well, suffice to say it involves Zykoca. Do you know the planet?

Widow: Oh sure, we got our asses chased outta that shithole. Saved some Marines though so wasn’t a complete loss [See SH0]

Stoll: In future there will be only welcomes for brave traders of the JTD affiliated! I plan to open trade there up to the rest of the Tower Cluster [Junidi-hegemony]

BJ: Hmmm. What’s to stop the locals from shooting us through the brain-pan and sayin, next please?

Stoll: No need to worry! Zykoca’s globalized industries and outwardly adopts a local-only policy, but the realities of inter-stellar economics are sinking in and they know they need Us

 

We slap hands on the deal and Bex gets to the nitty-gritty with Stoll. It’s gonna be a quick turn-around!

 

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