SH 3.32: New Baby! Surplus heroes salvage!

Welcome back to Surplus Heroes, the tale of down-at-heels space traders trying to make a cred in the Third Imperium!

Current mission: Supplying the allied fleet forces, under Imperial Charter 

The Surplus Heroes for this session

The Bad’n’Ruin, a double-jump Kitty-class trader with a good balance of passenger cabins, hold space, and cold sleep

BJ/Big Jim Kowalski, veteran Scout, ship’s engineer, good with tech of most types and would like to stretch that into computing

Iceman, ex-Colonial Marines, ship’s gunner, good with guns and cooking, would like to get so ripped he can handle two Gauss rifles at once

Pip Rogers, veteran Scout, ship’s pilot, good with tech and would like to learn admin

Widow, Colonial Marines reservist, ship’s doctor and signals, is messing with Iceman by working on getting buff

Bex, ship’s purser and half-share partner, and Pip’s cousin

Choi, ship’s computing technician and engineer’s mate

Ralph, Vargr and ship’s steward

 

Recap:

The Bad’n’Ruin’s crew have survived a Klackon attack on Psyadi, the penal colony they evacuated refugees from Lewis to when the Klackons of Lewis erupted into aggression. Dorsey the Imperial agent evacuated, sped off from Psyadi to Aramis, in sufficient time to warn the system of the wider Klackon invasions. Usher Stoll, the instigator of said aggression, is instigating the next phase of his plan, a combined Junidi-Aramis punitive expedition to Lewis guaranteed to drop the planet’s wealth into his lap.

stoll_reveal

 

Spelling/slang: For Jundy read Junidi, for Impy read Imperial, for Bayvan read Beyavin, for Krabby read Klackon, and for doggy read Vargr.

And some specifics about the post-defense events:

Bex is happy. When Widow asks about the issue of payment for refugee-toting, she learns that Bex has secured a fat supply contract and the stipend alone will ensure the recent dry humps (to quote Widow) are balanced. Being on Impy charter also means shorter turnarounds each port, so less chance for people that are not Bex to get into trouble. But still plenty of time for Bex to hit gaming tables, should she decide so.

BJ is sad. He mutters, “I oughta get me at least a Krabby claw as a souvenir, and I’d love to tinker with that disruptor gadget” but unluckily for him he says it in hearing range of some officer and is quickly stood down. Iceman offers the cold comfort that the Bad’n’Ruin would fall foul of all manner of regs next customs inspection, if BJ had gotten some alien bio. [The DM disallows post-game, next-day tap-backs]

Iceman is happy. Decker decides to write the six missiles off from Psyadi arsenal so they stay aboard the Bad’n’Ruin. But, the Marine QM makes sure all M41s are counted back into stores, so Widow’s plotting to hang onto as many as possible comes to nothing. The launch goes back, as well. No surprise there – those things are worth upwards of 9M, new.

Widow is happy, on the whole. The Bad’n’Ruin, and presumably the Deacon Jones a little later, muster out of Psyadi bound for Zila, then Carsten, then Aramanx. Before they part ways, Widow and Hamish conclude an engagement agreement, based on her mustering out of the present company with a good settling-up.

Hamishgrin

[This has no impact on the others in terms of looking for replacements and training. In-character they should be worrying about finding a qualified doctor, at the least. But in-character, they may not have heard the news.]

Just before the Bad’n’Ruin sets sail Ralph asks if the offer to muster in is still open. He’s got some weird Vargr proverb, but it translates to ‘better to hang together than be hanged separately’. Usher Stoll’s work in getting into Aramis’ good graces has upped the ante. Ralph has a range of starship skills and is sociable, so fits in easily. There’s even a spare crew cabin for him, the one that “Mr. A” occupied out of Altara as far as Carsten.

Ralphouttawork

Widow’s yarn continues:

Zila ain’t got much going for it, though the official feed there allows as how it grows some chow of some kind. We stop there two days and like to leave asap. By this time, I got the rec room refitted back to the weights and sparring setup we had it shaped up for, back when Walker and Faber were aboard. I was sure Iceman would join me and I was right.

[Iceman and Widow are still looking to boost Athletics, see 2.11. Once Widow announces her training Iceman follows, and Pip elects to keep plugging away at admin, while BJ, who succeeded last, elects to study computing.]

Black_Dog

A two-hop to Carsten gives us plenty of time on the weights and mat. Like I thought, Ralph fits right in alongside us. Since doggy age ain’t easy to tell, he gets on fine with Choi. He’s kind of a steward, kind of a dogsbody.

Carsten got an Impy port and they running two patrol boats. We get priority so don’t get to look about us, but I do see from the feeds and such that mining’s less a thing, all to sudden.

A final jump gets us to Aramanx Orbital Station above what I always hear tell is a war world. Real busy! Ships stack to overflow on each arm, traders galore of course, but Impy boats, system boats that I guess are Impy, but Impy hulls are outnumbered by Jundy.

My arrays pick up ruptured hulls, plenty of them Krabby disks, so it don’t need no feeds to tell me they got themselves a battle here too. Could be as big as the one hit Aramis, there’s plenty of hulks out there. Right about then an idea starts worming in my brain pan.

Switching feeds through, we catch up with the battle. Sure enough big. Aramanx like to been overrun if Jundy fleet ain’t happened to be in the system. They allows as three waves of Krabbies hit here. Iceman and BJ, they get real ironic about Jundy happen to be here.

multicharo

Other feeds allow as how Zykoca, GodsEye and Towers got hit too. Towers is right into Jundy turf and GodsEye way over to Aramis or beyond so shows how far the Krabbies flunked the chunk. But another feed has us all on saline drip – it’s Usher Stoll giving a speech to a Taran zaibats’. That puts him in Altara, or Nazmin anyhow.

About then, Orbital picks us up and I give Pip the vector for arm 3. She shoots hoops maji fast as usual and we get a grillin from Naval Commander Chalk, a cute 5’3 in her reg flats. I do my best to smooth things.

[Before Chalk arrives at the Bad’n’Ruin, Widow changes into smart Reserve dress to help neutralize Chalk’s rage, and snaps a salute off as she welcomes her aboard. As usual all the other player characters teleport into the scene and mess things up with deliberately sloppy attitudes. It’s very KODT. The GM likes KODT and lets this semi-nonsense go.]

Once she done reaming us out Chalk allows as how stacking traders has slowed turnaround down and it’ll be 48 hours before we shuttle to Altara, bound back here with a load. There’s a big Marine base below now, so like enough the load’ll be for them.

Widow: Say Commander, I guess not havin’ us a launch is a problem supplyin’ your base

Chalk: Are you telling me the Bad’n’Ruin has no ship’s launch?!?

Widow: You got it. That bein’ the case, I suppose, if was to find one out amongst all those free hulls, not much attention be paid…

Chalk [splutters]: Let’s just put it like this. If something happens away from the station that we don’t need to know about, and some other thing provides your ship with its full complement of launch, we don’t need to know that either

Pip: Taichou, when the BnR’s ready we be outta here quicker’n you c’n say wheretheygo

Chalk: [groans]

Then she disembarks.

 

Widow: That went like usual

Pip: No harm no foul

Widow: Well, don’t go noplace too far, I got me some work

I sit me down at my sensors. There’s a lot of hulks out there and takes a good four hours before I can report anything. [Widow is just on her Sensors ability, no raises] Best option is a good whiles away. I call bridge meeting.

[Ideas flow well: a launch worth between 9 and 20 megacreds gets people motivated; and it only takes a few minutes to get the basic plan shaped.]

BJ, who has the Merchant skill, will hire a skiff or launch, while Pip, who has the Cleavage non-skill, will go with him.

BJ scores 1 under his skill and decides on the Cool Heels trader over on arm 2. Hi! Capn Grant, solidly built and about 50 and fond of a tipple, invites BJ for a whisky and Pip for a good-quality coffee. They jaw over what happened on Psyadi.

This begins what becomes a meme for the session: Can You Handle the Truth? There are reasons for and against telling various parties exactly what happened before Lewis, on Lewis, and on Psyadi.

Another minor meme also arises again: Barehand Hero. BJ’s heroics against the Krabby in the bar were talked up before we left Psyadi and scout ships are faster than we are, so Capn Grant has heard things. But again, there are reasons for not advertising widely.

BJ blurts the truth but scores a +3 on Interaction. It’s not clear what effect this has. In any case Grant offers his launch – under strict conditions of no-shit-downwind – for 10k. BJ signs a chitty (after a minor mental lapse imagining we have a hyperspace internet) for the Cool Heels to draw 10k on the Bad’n’Ruin. Bex will pay it.

BJ then explains he has a tweak to the basic plan. He’s a capable pilot. And Choi is a capable engineer’s mate. To avoid Chalk’s shitlist BJ plans to stay on the salvaged launch while Pip delivers the Cool Heels its launch again; then Choi will handle the Bad’n’Ruin’s departure and he will rendezvous with us.

By this time Widow has her head around the overall salvage plan needs and she and Iceman gather vac-suits for all four, plus weaponry for all four, and tote them along to the Cool Heels on arm 2. Everyone suits up and the GM checks what I would describe as Medium Loadout (Space).

 

Just before I get to the next section I’ll remind readers about space-walking. This requires a proficiency known as Advance EVA, under the Starship Tech skill. Colonial Marines do not get EVA proficiency as of right and neither Widow nor Iceman have it. And their Starship Tech is mediocre. 

spaceskiff

The outward leg

BJ has the Cool Heels launch warmed up by the time we there, and Pip helps stow gear. We suit up and Pip slides her out nice and easy. Then we’re hailed.

Orbital control: This is orbital, come in light vessel out of arm 2.

Widow:…

Pip:…

BJ:…

Iceman:…

Orbital control: This is Orbital Control, come in light vessel out of arm 2!

Widow:…

Pip:…

BJ:…

Iceman:…

Orbital control: Come in light vessel, this ain’t no shitkicker backwoods hoedown you at, gives you right handle!

Pip: This is Baby Ruin out of arm 2, just heading out for a look-see

Orbital control: A look-see huh, well stay on the vector I’m about to give you and well away from lanes

 

[‘Baby Ruin’ is a stroke of genius and is promptly the name we assign to a launch of our own, should we find one.]

 

We get us a good vector and loop out. I decide to check sensors again and give Pip the say-so when it’s time to get to the group of hulks I picked. [Widow makes +1 sensors, Pip makes +10 pilot.] Iceman fumbles around with Lucille and warns Pip to take care. It’s not real comfortable. [Again GM allows this psycho-killer stuff which is strictly against his ‘no psychos’ rule.]

spacesalvage

The hulk

Around point-two klicks we pop the top and BJ rustles him up a fat cable the launch uses for tows and the like. He coasts across to the hulk, and now we are clipped one to one. [BJ makes an effortless +9 on EVA]

BJ_gear

BJ: Safe and sound, go ahead Marines (heh he) let’s see your EVA

Widow: Yuk it up, this is as good as we get

Using tethers on the cable, we can’t stray too far, but BJ gets himself some yuks as I ship his gear over. I can’t stop spinning around nohow with my hands full and I’m real glad to get feet on hull.

Pip: I’m reading a beacon aboard

Widow: Roger that, BJ an me will work on best way to open the hatch then decide

I brung my tools over and BJ and me we get down to the launch hatch and check for what may be. There ain’t no booby-traps and there is a launch still aboard. BJ allows he can get the hatch open.

[Widow and BJ score +6 and +5 on intrusion and engineering. BJ then scores +5 on starship tech, which tells him he can activate a frozen cylinder to force the hatch open, taking about 2 hours.]

Widow: Pip sounds like you are staying there, Iceman you with me, bug-hunt

Iceman: Roger that, Lucille and me’s ready

Pip: Once you done you swappin over don’t forget

Widow: Roger that, I just want to know what’s calling who

[The plan involves Pip bringing a little more gear over once the counter-rotation issues don’t matter. Widow is to swap to keep sensors and basic controls covered.]

Pip chimes up the Bad’n’Ruin and jaws to Bex, warning her about keeping an eye out.

With the locator, it don’t take hardly a minute to find the beacon topside of the hull. Pip tells me it’s just a dumb signal, and up close that looks right. I can see an off switch, but it ain’t no model I know so I decide to leave well alone. So long as BJ has the launch well away by the time salvagers come callin there ain’t gonna be no problem.

 

BJ alone in black, we others head back

Some time later with Pip and Widow swapped, after a god-awful maneuver return by Widow…

BJ: Right prepare to be amazed, I’ll stay here hidden once I get her warmed up

[BJ has rocked his EVA skill again and handles the controls and power well]

Widow: Uh check that BJ, the beacon is still active, you need to fuck off far away and in black awaitin us

BJ: Oh, is that the plan

Widow: Yes that is the plan

Pip: Yes

Iceman: Yes

BJ: OK then, I guess it is

Pip: We’ll head back now

Iceman: Oh good

[Pip makes another easy EVA, Iceman fares even worse than Widow if that is possible. He boards the launch and gets his head down between his knees.]

BJ, he drifts out real quiet using maneuver jets and last we see he’s running without lights. Pip she makes a crack about leaving him to paint the Baby Ruin then heads us back to the station. Control don’t say nothing so I guess she hits the return vector just right.

 

In the bar, matters are arranged

Back aboard the Bad’n’Ruin Pip sets herself up to my sensors, looking for BJ. I invite Iceman and Ralph to go see what the bar’s like. I bring maybe 200cred.

The bar’s busy right enough but I find a mite of elbow room.

Widow [brightly]: My round boys, I’m engaged!

Iceman: Oh, thought something serious was going on. So you ain’t getting laid no more, haw

Widow [brightly]: Yes, I’m engaged!

Ralph [slams poke down]: Well hooraw! After your round, I’m buyin’ one

Iceman: And after that I’m getting laid. Which same you won’t

Widow: But say, ain’t just health to Hamish here. Reason I got you two usu by is, we got to agree on killin’ Usher Stoll soon’s we see him. No chat, no lettin’ him get his word in first, just up and shoot him

Iceman: No argument here

Ralph: I’m OK with that, it’s him or us I guess

Iceman: I reckon as how the others’ll be in agreeance

Widow: Remember – Usher got all kinds of ways of makin’ us look the bad guys. We kill him, then we get to explain how he the bad guy, and he don’t get to explain nothin

 

I get me dealt in on a card game, figure as how I’ll lose the odd 150 left. There’s a Impy name of Sparky, a trader captain name of Grant, and a couple of other moyss. Grant’s been Altara way lately so I get the round-up on happenings there. Grant allows as how big keels are being laid and it’s roll-in roll-out trade for charter vessels. There’s talk some about the JDF marines on Aramanx below, only not much about what their mission is. Turns out Sparky jockeys a 5-hop Impy ship, as was out beyond Jundy and come in this way to assemble with the fleet.

I guess Iceman got laid, he comes back aboard and reminds me again how I ain’t gonna get some.

 

Ignoring the suspicious character the heroes complete the salvage

About a half-hour before we get official off engines are warmed and Pip’s settling at the controls. There’s an intercom chime from our landing. It’s a Beyvan moyss calls himself Tarka, and wants to know if we taking passengers.

Now rightly we can, even on an Impy charter, but this has a Dub City smell about it. I ask Bex if we are taking passengers and she ain’t ruling it out, but the rest of us vote nay and I tell this Tarka so. He heads off, then I spend the last few minutes on-station checking for a beacon or the like. Then we slide out for rendezvous with the new Baby Ruin.

 

The pick-up with BJ works about right. Pip’s time on the sensors pays off and she meets up with the launch no problem. [BJ makes a -1 and Pip a +4] We bring the new launch Baby Ruin aboard and BJ detaches its inboard beacon so it don’t yell Navy. Now we got it aboard, we take stock. It came with two good vac-suits, two M41A personal weapons, and a locator. It’s like a birthday gift all round! And Bex tells us we can draw the month’s pay!

 

Training

Pip gains the rank in Admin she has tried for four times before.

Widow and Iceman miss Athletics, BJ misses Computing.

A few days after the game I happened to be chatting to our GM about it. He said:

The salvage idea was not something he was angling for us, he just went along with it as a worthwhile exercise. He agreed that the value of the launch probably had a lot to do with everyone buying into the idea and taking agency. BJ’s tweak to stay out and be picked up later was the key to success.

He was secretly amused by how the Marines obsessed about bringing weapons. But agreed that it was feasible that guard drones had been left aboard.

We had more – quite a lot more – covered in the session, probably because there was no combat. I’ll leave the next, Altara leg, for the next post. Stay tuned!

One comment

  1. What was more KOTD?

    Pip: “Taichou, when the B&R’s ready we’ll be outta here faster than you can say ‘Where’d they go?'”
    Chalk: *groan*

    or (I keep forgetting their names)

    Customs: “Anything to declare”
    Pip: “Yeah, we got great coffee. Want some?”

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