Welcome back! The Surplus Heroes have just completed a successful charter with Stoll, the Fociline-born Junidi official. He has extended the charter to bring him to Lewis and fattened the offer with the prospect of getting back onto the lucrative Aramis-Lewis run. They have left Zykoca having lost no equipment worth mentioning and with a 1k bonus each.
It’s one hop to Arramanx and a double-hop to Lewis. Stoll has promised to smooth things over with the Junidi hierarchy. He is well pleased with his time on Zykoca though Widow wonders why he doesn’t need to head back to JTD central to file reports. Instead the Bad’n’Ruin is headed the other way. She assumes he files on the Arramanx station, since that’s run, in effect, by Junidi forces. By that stop, Stoll’s robo-secretary has become more of a robo-butler, bringing Stoll the various fine meals our steward Iceman prepares.
BJ is well through his work on the new drone, which he’s assembled out of the scrap two salvaged on Carsten.
[BJ aces his tech roll and it drops to an impressive 9, making him competent at any general tech task.]
The others continue training but in Pip’s case at least Bex is at the end of her tether. “Some people were never meant to handle admin tasks Pip!” she is heard to exclaim as she finds Pip needs everything explained for the umpteenth time.
[Pip is working on admin but has now failed four times.]
Widow is working on sculpting her already-strong body into even more output. Iceman, who is even stronger, feels left out so joins her in the makeshift gym.
[Athletics is very hard to move, being a prime attribute, and both miss the roll.]
We drop out over Lewis and I pick up a mighty fine signal. They ain’t giving me no friendly hail but I hand comms over to Stoll and as the Fociline charm fair oozes over, they hand us good directions. Pip slams us down on a new hot pad they built a short ways out from the main compound. Fine new air rafts with the Jundy U logo zip out to meet Stoll as he walks off with his coat-holders Walker and Faber and his robo-butler.
You might recollect as how Jundy U fronted the expedition to set up on Lewis, notionally to study the local Klackons or Krabbies as we call them. In company with an old-timer Scout that’s now old bones* we four – myself, Pip, Iceman and BJ – and a doggie name of Ralph found an old ruin and a downed scout ship that pointed to some real potent alien tech in the Krabbies’ hands, or pincers.
More than that, I left with a log that didn’t match any official record. Checking it out took us all over the sector but we finally got the inside dirt from Sid the forger, who rewrote everything to cover up an even bigger pile of evidence about alien tech.
I just shrug at that point, since I don’t fancy myself up against a whole bunch of Krabbies with melta-beams. But I told off Pip to release the truth through her Rogers family contacts, on the black net. Only trouble is, we banged into about zero Rogers since that time so Pip ain’t got any traction on the task.
*Tone Wik – Widow doesn’t use his name directly. Not sure if it’s superstition or memory lapse. She also doesn’t recall the other dead man, Andy the researcher.
A familiar snout
We’re all standing on the apron, breathing in the great Lewis air. I’m picking out some familiar bird-calls – still a-plenty of them. I can see Pip’s eye caught by a fast, big-drive ex-Scout service ship nearby the Bad’n’Ruin. Yeah, gata’s getting wet thinking about that drive. Then she’s hailed by a cousin of hers, name of Phillie, pretty nigh same age as her. Phillie seems to work in Control. They allow to catch up later.
And about that time an air raft with more ks on the clock shoves up. Ralph, the doggie as survived the last Lewis scrape with us, is there driving. I’m glad to see him but kinda spooked, seeing’s how he was in at least as much trouble as us.
Pip drives (a kindness Ralph regrets right away) and he catches me up. Seems as how Jonny Hook pleaded his case and got him a job back here. Ralph’s being building creds on outside-the-wire guard shifts. What they call, field guard.
By this time Pip’s whipped us over the main gate in the compound and set us down, more or less. She heads over to a media board and starts scanning for this and that.
[Pip is actually looking for short training courses to give her a chance to get that Admin proficiency, but she notices there has been an incident on a beach recently where a couple of researchers were killed by Klackons. An investigation seems to be going on.]
One way or another we most all end up in the main mess, a kind of bar and lounge-bar combined. Choi ain’t with us at this time though they ain’t no need to stay by the ship. Iceman and BJ they look scrubbed up a mite, though not so much as they got on Heguz. Bex, who wears nice clothes most days, is looking her usual self. I brung my ‘war bag’ – my spare clothes wig makeup and perfume – but Pip already changed for the evening. I suspicion she got her armor under her shirt.
[This came up later on. Is it fair to allow one character to be the ‘babe’ and get some leeway on Interaction rolls, if she’s always wearing a concealable vest? On the one hand, an FBI concealable is definitely not showing cleavage. On the other hand, Black Canary.
I enounced both these arguments, and said I thought Pip is trading more on the Black Canary look than Clarice Starling’s, though physically she’s not even as fit as Agent Starling.]
The bar’s filling with the same post-grad types we shipped over. There ain’t much for entertainment, only a game of throwing little metal darts at a board, and a pool table standing unused. I’m with Ralph at first as he stands a couple rounds, then I drift over to where Phillie is playing host to her cousins Bex and Pip. I lay out my needs and we take a trip to powder our noses and get my war kit on. As they chat and laugh about my prospects I gather as how Pip has primed Phillie about the secret log. They talking about this or that cousin. Seems as how that cousin Scopie over to Phelan is busier, the port expanded some.
[Pip does successfully prime Phillie with a good Interaction check but that is not to say the plan is in motion. She gets some specifics on where other family members are: Aramis Prime, Psyadi, Fociline, and even Corfu.]
Then we head out, me looking over the beef on show. BJ has started playing with those dart things, Iceman is hanging around the pool table looking at his drink. Well that ain’t getting no-one play, says I.
Cards, luck and love
Ralph been talking up a card game, so me and Pip and Bex allow to join. He introduces us to Pico, ex-Navy, and Dorsey, same tech as I shut in the icebox for a time on the leg in. She seems to have a chip on her shoulder about it but I don’t pay no never mind to that.
About here I should say as how I was wrong, BJ does get play. He picks up a drunk chick and heads off to her dorm.
Iceman though, gets to lose some money over pool.
Me, I get lucky twice. First I ain’t lost anything on cards, which same will tell you Bex has a bad night, and as the evening gets late some workers come in and I strike up with a well set-up gato and head off.
I hear about the game later. Dorsey cleans up good, and Pip persuades Bex she had enough schooling.
[Card games are geared to open rolls using Gambling proficiency as bonuses. Growing pots don’t force poorer players to fold. One round of chance rolls marks an hour’s play.]
Hour 1: Bex does best, then Dorsey. Widow gains. Pip loses her initial stake, Pico and Ralph lose a little.
Hour 2: Bex loses ground, Dorsey holds ground, Pip regains some money, Widow loses her initial gain, cashes out (and heads over to the construction crew that just arrived), Pico and Ralph lose a little more.
Hours 3-4: Pico gets cleaned out, Ralph folds having lost heavily.
Hour 5: Pip is up substantially, Bex is down but not out, Dorsey is up very substantially.
Hour 6: Pip loses almost all her gains, Bex is up again mainly at Pip’s expense, Dorsey has at least held ground. Pip convinces (+5 on Persuade-Interaction) Bex to fold and leave.
Iceman’s money has also come to an end, he is back at the Bad’n’Ruin about the time Bex and Pip get back.
Amidst the orange blossoms, a covert offer
Jonny Hook never looked better, Sauce, the tech he just got hitched to, looks hot as a sun in a dress mostly sprayed on.
While everyone’s drinking their health and what now, we four slide quietly aside and listen to what Mr. Walker got to say.
The way it happens, Ralph clues me in to Jonny getting hitched, so I strike him off my bang-list and ask Ralph to invite me as his plus-one. The others make shift to come along and gets seats in back.
I pick the wedding, seeing as how most all of the base going to be here and Walker wants a quiet talk. Ain’t nothing more private than a few people chatting quietly near a crowd.
Walker allows as how he bringing an offer of an offer. We got to meet up outside the fence over to some outside place, and there’s 2k apiece to go fetch and listen.
Well, by this time we bored and shot our training rounds out. So 2k seems mighty fine and we all glance around kinda skeery and nod OK.
It’s tomorrow at dawn so we don’t linger to dance with the groom or kiss the bride.
First light we all fetching heavy loadout, save maybe for Pip who ain’t built for it though she packing the Gauss pistol. Ralph is our pilot it turns out, and again I’m right pleased he’s with us but it’s a mite ghostly. Seems as though I could look back and see a dead man riding with us. Though you’ll be saying that’s hindsight when you hear what come next.
We head out at sun-up towards the sea. Birdsong fills the air and bright wings liven up the canopy we crossing. We all know they’s big mother sloths and terror birds such as Ralph bragged up, underneath, but it’s a pretty sight. Flying over that is.
At the beach they’s a strange-looking ruin at one end. We step down out the raft, leaving most canteens and the med kit aboard. Stoll’s secretary drone drops down out the canopy, and beams up Stoll in 3-D.
Stoll points up towards the ruin, then allows as how he crossed us up and means to leave us out here to be chopped up by Krabbies. Seems as how he can’t afford us to be drifting about knowing what we know. Oh, and he aims to take all the Krabby land, as if we care less. But seems as how we handy as scapegoats for the war that’s a-coming.
Well, Iceman and Pip both put a Gauss round through the drone, and we shuffling back towards the raft by the time Stoll finished. Only thing, the raft blows up too. Loud enough for Krabbies to note, even if they ain’t been told to expect us.
And a bug-out
By the time we done cursing, stripping surplus weight, and picking up the med kit and enough canteens – by luck they intact – Krabbies are drumming in the tree-line. I set Iceman to point and we other four flank him. We pretty much stripped off by this time, sure as hell ain’t gonna make no run back to base in full armor.
Then we head for the trees!
Round 1: The surplus heroes refuse to react to drumming and head at reasonable pace over soft sand to trees. Iceman and BJ are detailed to scan forward, the other three back.
Round 2: A single large Klackon demonstrates from the surf. The three so detailed shoot, ablating the Klackon armor a little and forcing it to scuttle back.
Round 3: The heroes head onward, Ralph detailed for walking backward covering back. Iceman and BJ both catch sight of a reasonably concealed Klackon and let fly! Both target well, and Iceman’s Gauss burst drills through, dropping the Klackon! Behind the group the Klackon charges and Ralph’s burst kills it outright!
I get my bearings, tell the others to take a long drink each, remind them we crew and crew sticks together and we set out at best pace.
[Widow spent at least two tours on a water world and has +2 proficiency in Aquatic survival. It came in handy on Roysion II and in this setting a fairly good check allows her to set a course and estimate travel time of around 10 hours.]
Next week is an off week as our GM has a family commitment so expect the Surplus Heroes season 2 to be either concluded unpleasantly or continued, the week after next. Stay tuned!