This entry falls into two parts, both about escaping: the first part is told mostly in combat and march-stages.
Recap: on the Klackon-world of Lewis, Usher Stoll has set up the core crew, along with Ralph the Vargr, to be killed by Klackons, huge intelligent crab-beings. They must flee for their lives: around ten hours through trackless jungle.
They have stripped right down to ‘essentials’:
- BJ the engineer: laser rifle and power pack; IR goggles; canteen and retractable blade
- Iceman the gunner: Gauss rifle and power pack and plenty of ammo, canteen, helm and HUD
- Pip the helm: Gauss pistol and power pack and some ammo, canteen, helm and HUD
- Ralph the Vargr: Gauss pistol and power pack and some ammo, canteen; and
- Widow the sensors & comms: Gauss pistol and power pack and plenty of ammo, canteen, med kit, inertial locator and lupara
March stage one: Ralph has a mono-filament machete and leads the way, clearing the trail. BJ and Pip are in trouble with fatigue [poor Survival checks], but following Widow’s decision earlier to stick together as crew, the whole team help them. Both are still probably carrying too much gear. Widow refrains from ordering any further strip-down, fearing the moral impact will be too negative.
March stage two: As the party pauses to swig more water, Widow picks up blips on the Locator. She switches Iceman to point and the team switches line of march, but a Klackon intercepts Iceman [fails Alertness] and charges through his burst and puts him down! The others fire, but all shots carome off its powerful exoskeleton! The Klackon seizes Iceman and makes off, but the others pursue, Widow and Ralph getting shots through. As the team pursue the now-staggering Klackon, other sounds are heard in pursuit! As most of the team bring the weakened Klackon down, Iceman somersaults clear, warns the team of the incoming Klackons, catches his Gauss rifle by the grip and nails one of the rushing Klackons! Ralph swings around and a burst from his Gauss pistol puts the other one down.
Widow checks Iceman: just a flesh wound! She retrieves her dropped Locator and everyone hydrates as she checks for more hostiles.
The party order resumes with Ralph point once more, Iceman taking drag, allowing BJ and Pip to help one another.
March stage three: With BJ and Pip slowing the team it is inevitable that the Klackon pursuit catches up. A Klackon bursts out behind! Not distracted, Widow scans and picks up another to front-flank. [Some bickering now breaks out between the hind three, about blocking lines of fire, but the GM kindly does not take advantage of this.] After some second-thoughting BJ swings to fore and he and Ralph force the newcomer to scuttle sideways. Pip and Iceman drive the pursuit Klackon back a little and into cover. Iceman falls ‘back’ towards the team’s center, and also turns his fire on the newcomer. In fact everyone but Ralph shoot it, Widow’s burst penetrating and killing it. As the Locator is retrieved and the scan begins, the original Klackon charges from cover, straight at Iceman! A number of rounds hit it, forcing it to veer off towards BJ – then Iceman steps clear and drops it.
The team rehydrates and reforms, and sets out again.
March stage four: Morning is slipping away and Pip is now dangling her helm. The team reaches a ravine, a water-course at its base. Widow orders BJ to select a moderate hardwood and sear through its trunk in a notch cut on the ravine side. But the search for a reasonable sized tree takes a 1/4-hour [-3 on Survival]. The team cross uneventfully [no check needed, since the tree selected is the right size and strength.]
March stage five: BJ is flagging and Ralph counsels a full stop to properly re-hydrate. Widow orders the team into a thicket of bamboo and they rest for a time. She picks up a vehicle on the Locator! But no-one believes it’s help, and sure enough, it is an alien vessel of around large air-raft size, slowly easing at sub-canopy level through the jungle. It leaves in the direction of the Junidi base, or maybe to the star-pad.
March stage six: It’s a huge struggle with all but Pip – who has her second wind – lagging. The Locator picks up three possible Klackons! Widow arrays the team in an open pentangluar formation, allowing all of them to swing round or step in or out, without shooting one another. Surplus kit is piled in the middle.
The three Klackons show at about the same time. Iceman stops one for a moment, as BJ and Widow are rushed by the others. BJ drops his laser rifle and counter-charges with his blade! Widow steps back and coolly stops her Klackon; Pip finishes it. Iceman runs out of formation and pugs BJ’s Klackon, dropping it; then Ralph, who has been waiting his chance, drops the third.
March stage seven: It is about midday and all who began with a helm has it dangling by webbing. The team hits a bluff, rising above at about 70 degrees. Widow orders the march line shifted left (based on the direction of the stream’s flow, earlier) and within 10 minutes a game trail is found. They scramble up (some carrying extra gear to help the less able) and from here, Ralph can give Widow a rough bearing to an observation hut. It takes an extra 1/4 hour [poor Locator check] but at the end of it, they find a still-intact cabin, well-stocked and equipped with sensors and comms!
Widow gets in touch with Bex and Choi, and runs through a number of warnings. Bex offers to fly the raft over and pick them up gladly accepted! There’s a landing-pad not far away according to Ralph.
Meanwhile, Iceman has scavenged a Gauss Pistol, rounds for his rifle, and plenty of pistol rounds. The others have fresh water. And candy bars!
The sensors unit is good: Widow has the creepy experience of seeing the Klackons massing at the ravine, then spreading out to search: but some are already across.
Bex makes it to the landing-spot before the lead Klackons have made the bluff however, and the raft races back to the Bad n’ Ruin. Where there is an armed reception committee waiting!
There’s a tense standoff, none of the team in any mood to debate whether the Klackon threat is ‘real’ or not. Then Dorsey who is there with the security crew produces an Imperial warrant and orders Right of Imminent Danger passage for as many as the ship will carry!
Security Chief Barrett has to switch from suspicion to cooperation, and assists getting upwards of 60 refugees aboard. As the Bad n’ Ruin loads, a Klackon ship buzzes the main camp, taking out three gun towers, then on its return path takes three towers off the adjunct base where the Bad n’ Ruin is ready to go. Iceman launches one of the three missiles at it, but cannot see what happens.
Using her stern authority and shooting an oncoming Klackon at long range, Widow keeps some order among the desperate refugees. Then it’s time to go!
Kicking the last screaming wretch off the hatch Widow quotes the time-hallowed Marine phrase:
…and the Bad n’ Ruin departs.
Part Two: Flight to Psyadi
These are run using the space battle rules. The strength of these rules are that there are decisions to be made each round; and everyone has at least one roll to make each round.
Engineering: do you push power to the drive, or the shields? Power restores depleted shields.
Helm: faster! faster!
Sensors: do you try for sensor lock (allowing shots) or jam them?
1. Pip gets off to a reasonable start with BJ feeding everything to engines. Widow finds a disc-shaped craft chasing, and gets a good lock. She advises firing both missiles, since we may never get this close or lucky! Iceman does so. Meanwhile Bex has the other turret and hammers away, getting the enemy shields. The Klackon ship responds with its own two turrets, and the Bad n’ Ruins shields ablate two steps.
2. BJ deploys power to shields, restoring them a step, and Pip gains more relative acceleration. Widow keeps lock and at this stage both missiles hit the Klackon ship, giving it some problems. Iceman and Bex blaze away, adding to the problems. But their helm and engineering are up to the task, and their guns are accurate. Our shields ablate another step.
3. More power to shields, restoring them to near full, Pip plants foot and gets huge accel, but Widow loses sensor lock. The Klackons are still accelerating but slower.
4. Shields recover to full, but Pip goes ‘off the boil’ and we simply drift at the same accel we gained. It’s one more round to a Jump solution. Widow gets a great sensor lock at max range, and deflects the Klackon lock. Iceman and Bex send some parting shots over… as the Klackons boost their own accel up to ours!
5. We hit a Jump solution and drop towards Psyadi vector.
A last word from Widow
We drop out over Psyadi and before I turn comms over to Barrett, which same’s been appointed Security Chief now, I get the Penal Colony coordinates.
I walk round the funky-smelling bunkrooms, letting folks now as how we be landing soon. They been good-tempered on the whole, and I had a easy ride with Barrett Hook and Ralph all standing Security. All I do is help out stewarding, got a married quarters rigged in the rec room for them as too desperate to keep asunder.
Pip allows as how her cousin Tri gonna be on Psyadi, maybe now we can get the Lewis story told. We ain’t had a chance to move on my word to publish, as I gave Pip when we lift off. We see how Stoll gonna take it.
I was mistaken in my belief this was it for the surplus heroes, apparently there is one more potential season. The season skill gains:
BJ – gains that last notch of Combat Marksman, making him as good as Pip and Widow.
Iceman – picks up Sniperism.
Pip – gains Vehicle, to the relief of her frequent raft passengers.
Widow – advances Tech as a whole, which helps in a number of skills, especially Sensors & Comms.