SH3.34: Bex snatched! Surplus heroes to the rescue! (Threat phase)

Welcome back! In a slight departure from the usual Surplus Heroes updates, I’ve remained in third person throughout, since the action jumps around frequently.

Current mission: at Altara Starport under Imperial Charter awaiting re-supply

The surplus heroes for this session:

Pip Rogers, pilot, cousin of the victim, fair Interaction skill, ends up swapping a pistol for an M41

BJ/Big Jim Kowalski, engineer, not socially gifted, ends up with an M41

Iceman, gunner, even less socially gifted, ends up bleeding and swapping M41 for a pistol

Widow, sensors & comms, has a range of social skills, ends up with a lupara

Ably assisted by:

Choi, computers, ends up on the Bad’n’Ruin

Ralph, steward, ends up with a SMG


Coffee and Choi

It is dawn on Altara, the second day of the Bad’n’Ruin’s sojourn. The previous day has been spent in this manner:

  • Pip activated the plan to get the Rogers family to spread the truth about the original Lewis expedition while claiming it as family lore;
  • BJ located a replacement beacon for the Baby Ruin;
  • Widow pitched in at her old med clinic;
  • Iceman ordered an M42A sniper rifle and ammo.


Now, BJ awakes and notices Choi is absent: and goes back to sleep.

Iceman wakes, heads out to make coffee, and finds Choi spread out on the rec room floor with computer and papers.

Choi [brightly]: I made coffee

Iceman: …

Iceman tastes the coffee and gives it a pass-mark, but silently. He is not a morning person, or an anything person really.

Widow wakes, heads out for coffee, and asks Choi what he’s doing.

Choi: Thought it was time I got my ticket

Widow: Pilot?

Choi: No, master engineer. Guy’s gotta get ahead right?

Widow: That so. Remind me aits’ screw is what?

Choi: I ain’t shareholder but I get 4k per same as you I guess

Widow [Looking around for sentient life-forms, failing to see any]: Huh. Reckon as how we oughta have us a bridge meeting ‘bout that, soon’s I c’n find Bex

Pip wakes, discovers the beacon is on her mind, and heads directly to BJ’s cabin.

Pip [bangs on door]: Is it ready? I’m comin’ in

From his dormant position, BJ hurls something very solid at her and she manages to catch it without hurting herself [just under Athletics] as she stumbles back into the passage. It is about 10kg of internal-looking gadget. Eventually it becomes clear that this is the old beacon and the ‘new’ one is installed. By that time BJ is awake to the point where he may as well get up.


Coffee and news, but no Bex 

So before too long, everyone except Bex is somewhere around the galley and the lounge/rec room.

Early breakfast progresses for those with an appetite and low on funds, and media feeds are switched on.

War news: A Pioneer Corps is being formed via ballot, raised out of the core Junidi systems. All manner of relevant skills will form part of the Pioneers, including agricultural. Balloted servicemen and women will gain an automatic half-birth right.


Aramis news: Evacuees are being interviewed, though because part of their story involves a penal colony the vox clips are minimal. The surprise/horror of the Klackon attack is played up and shots of the Klackon attack on Aramis are shown. The survival of the evacuees is used as a good-news story, not as a ‘Junidi alliance’ story.


Breakfast and Bex is missed

Ralph wolfs down breakfast and asks Widow about armor. He did not flee Psyadi with standard light combat armor, as Widow and Iceman at least did. Widow nods at Iceman, knowing he has the contacts for quick buys.

[Apparently the GM intended the Navy or Corrections to confiscate those light armor suits before we left Psyadi but it didn’t arise, maybe because he was so focused on preventing Widow from ‘inheritering’ a rack of M41s.]

Ralph: So, Iceman, you got the contacts? I need a suit as fits me

BJ: You think Seddon would be able to supply heavy combat armor?

Iceman: You thinkin bout armor?

Ralph: Do they sell by the meter?

BJ: Well better by the meter than wantin armor lets you lick you balls

Iceman: How come ya didn’t ast me before we docked??? Well, I can getcha inta the right people if ya got the cash

BJ: Well excuse me all to hell, guess I was busy working on the FUCKING BEACON

[I think the GM forgot Ralph last session, otherwise this armor stuff may have arisen before we docked and Iceman would have ordered it last session; but in any case the interval has allowed BJ to get thinking about how much savings he has. And it’s a lot, nearly enough to buy book-price assault armor]


Port and perusal

While this earnest discussion is carried on Pip updates Widow on her success of the previous day. Widow thanks Pip and leaves her beginning to study something [could be psyker, could be light craft], but in a different room than Choi. Shortly, outside in the port, Widow clicks through infotainment boards looking for the kind of ritzy casino Bex likes. Finding what she is looking for, Widow heads back to the Bad’n’Ruin and dresses up in her ‘Social Loadout’ which involves a wig, a nice dress, heels, makeup to hide the tats and scars, and not much else.


Iceman too heads out to the port, and phones through to the bistro to give advance warning and ask for a meet, then heads back to update the other pair.

Ralph: This area you taken us to… is it safe?

Iceman: Meh… it’s surface. But you with me

BJ: Get going us, I’m pretty sure I met Seddon, lessee what he can sell me

Iceman: One, that’s ‘Mr. Seddon’ to you; two, he a middleman and he don’t ‘sell you’ stuff; three, if ya act like a chuffhead I plan ta leave ya an not lose sleep over where they plant ya body


As they finish the threats and bickering a very different-looking Widow passes through on her way out. She looks expectantly at them for ‘tenting’ or at least wolf-whistles but is disappointed.


[The GM now achieves asshat status, pointedly making remarks about Widow then using his own NPC to reinforce them.]

The trio catch a cab to the bistro. There, they are admitted but told that it will be hours before any meet so why not eat? They agree.

BJ and Ralph continue bickering over the meal. There is no love lost between the engineer and the newbie. Not too far into this, Iceman and his bickering cohorts are told Rooso is upstairs and will see them.


Bex left with who? 

Widow walks down to the casino, easily descending from the port at its up-market exit, into the Under. Automated walkways carry her smoothly to the casino. There are two doormen. They explain the basic layout. Her first stop is the bar where she buys an entertaining multilayer drink, and takes it up to the gaming deck. A slow circuit or two convinces her Bex is not present. Asking around, she learns there is ‘another floor’ for high rollers but when she describes Bex, is told she left eight hours since.


Back downstairs the doormen claim to have seen her leave as they came on shift, and that she was with three trader types.

[Widow scores some mixed results but a +9 persuasion on the doormen decided the information]

Widow tries chiming the entire crew, but only raises Pip and Choi. Being in conference with Rooso means the trio hear Widow’s chime but switch their devices off.

Pip checks Bex’ effects, finding that Bex has taken all her credits away to play with (which is normal). Pip tries chiming Bex but gets no reply. She flicks on feeds and starts looking for Beyavin related troubles. She has recalled the two separate recent approaches by Beyavins.

By this time Widow has asked Choi to keep an eye on the shipyard and Pip to watch the ‘surface’ exit of the port where they would normally run the air raft out. She herself is heading back up to the genteel port entry.

There, Widow uses her Admin and Leadership proficiencies as the case fits, to get through the bureaucracy and get answers. The watch captain runs vid back for her but Bex can’t be picked out, so Widow takes a copy of the feed away, agreeing to delete it when finished.

[Some good rolls on Admin and Leadership power Widow through, though the scenario runs on without this information.]


Rooso, Ramelac, Bex in bondage

BJ wants assault armor and Ralph wants light combat armor for his body shape. Rooso assures them these can be arranged and since he has had some notice of their needs has a price ready. It is 25k all up which can be thought of as roughly 3k for the light armor and 22k for the heavy. They agree, expecting that they can draw an advance for the balance.

But having given them this good news, Rooso slides them over a note from Ramelac, the Beyavin that wanted to speak to them; and a still. The note is to call Ramelac and the still is of Bex bound and gagged.

Ramelac says he sent the still to get their attention and wants a meet in Central Plaza in an hour.


Meanwhile Pip has made it out to the surface exit where having a photo of Bex [and a +7 Interaction] helps. The guards’ information reveals that the three traders were all Beyavin. Pip voxes Widow and Choi and this turns into a full conference call. It is agreed that BJ and Iceman will head for the plaza for the meet while Ralph returns to the ship with Pip, they gear up and follow the trail Pip has found. Widow will stay in good clothes and get to the plaza early. Choi will fall back to the ship, just in case.


On the trail 

Pip uses her basic pleasant personality and her knowledge of air raft companies to track down the minicab that drove Bex and the kidnappers out and around nearer to the shipyards. [Some adequate Interaction rolls plus Pip’s Altara background]

BJ and Iceman meet a Beyavin and two goons. Widow is already in place, watching this.

Iceman: Where is Bex?

Beyavin Spokesman: She’s safe. Well it took us a while to track you down, kudos on the decoy out of Heguz. Overbluff Dubgee wants his chief counterfeiter back. And that all, so it’s your lucky day. That’s got a lot to do with you not killing the guards you ambushed. So the deal is, tell us where Sid is, then we let Captain Bex go

Iceman: BWAHAHAHA+++…. ahh, laughter is a blessing… yeah she does like sayin she cap’n but she ain’t. But tell ya what, ya let th’ bitch go an we won’t do nuthin

BS: You got the deal, we’re leaving now. Don’t try nothing

The Beyavins leave and Widow follows them, using her background knowledge of urban crime to stay out of sight. She tails them to a down-market exit out to the surface, then returns to tool up. [A great Athletics roll plus checks on Survival for the background cover this, but it produces nothing useful. Pip’s lead is better and Widow focuses on that]

At the minicab office Pip talks to Terence the cab-driver. She uses the ‘distressed relative’ approach to good effect with a +5 interaction. Terence takes them out to a rough neighbourhood, below the port, and leaves them there.


Aboard the Bad’n’Ruin Iceman and BJ have been tooling up and Widow joins them. She finds there has been quite a debate about gun size. She dons her medium loadout, and points out that they could conceivably have to ditch weapons. Iceman is convinced by this and agrees to use one of the M41s BJ will be carrying in his duffel.


At the greasy spoon 

Out by the yards, Pip finds a greasy spoon diner nearby and she and Ralph enter, and signal the others where they are.


Pip: We’ll wait til they’re close, then act

Ralph: You think they’d turn up with a whole lotta guns… yes they would

Pip gets nowhere with her picture of Bex but asks about Beyavins and is promptly invited to bribe. A small bribe gets her an upstairs-window view of a seriously strong looking building not far away.


The other three arrive and a war-council ensues

BJ: I don’t know but I think I could jack the lock

Widow: Yes you should jack a truck

BJ: Uh I was talking about my intrusion skill

Widow: Yes you should jack a truck

Pip: She’s tella you, go jack a truck

Widow: Big enough to smash through same as last time

Pip: Ya need someone as can drive, BJ

Iceman: Ahh, yeah, you can do that this time

Ralph [nervous]: We are going to need a getaway car right

Widow: Yeah I guess I got that end

The team splits to BJ Pip and Iceman looking for a hefty truck and Ralph and Widow for a getaway vehicle.


The half-arsed plan triumphs

BJ’s engineering tells him the hefty trucks are on the other side of the shipyard wire, guarded by a simple barrier and sentry. Overall, it doesn’t seem worth the risk penetrating.


Widow and Ralph walk away until they find a baker’s van parked at a residence, probably for the night. It’s time to finalize plans. Or at least, begin one. The conference call begins.


Widow: OK we have found a getaway van

Pip: And we decided not to get a truck, they are guarded

Widow: So this is what I got so far. I drive to you, pick you up, stop at the place’s front door, we get through the door somehow, we go in, kill everyone – except Bex – load Bex up, drive away

BJ: I could maybe bust open the door, I got a M41

Widow: Nice, I use the lupara to open it so you follow up. So here’s the plan I hear, yell out with any tweaks. I drive to you, pick you up, stop at the place’s front door, I blow the lock with the lupara, we go in, kill everyone – except Bex – load Bex up, drive away

[At this point no-one has anything to add. Not a thing. And it’s a bad plan. It’s about as bad as that plan where Widow suggests they could lay a ship-to-ship missile down on the neighborhood. I’m so gob-smacked by the lack of response I suggest an entire counter-riff for Pip to offer, but she opts not to. Having the start of a plan and acting is better than nothing, I guess.]


The assault

Lacking her tools, Widow simply breaks a small side window on the van. [Intrusion +3] She hotwires the ignition fairly easily [Intrusion +2] and they swing out and drive back towards the shipyards. As Pip has predicted they soon meet and the trio afoot swing inside.

Pip: You need someone to drive this baby now

Widow: I’m already driving

Pip: No you need someone that can drive

Widow: I’m already here bitch

And with that the van pulls up alongside the front door. Widow leaps out [Athletics+1] but already the others are head of her! [Athletics + plenty, everyone save Ralph rolls a 0 plus something] They line the portico-style entry and she steps up to the door and places the lupara nose on the lock.


Combat begins

Round 1: Blam! Widow blasts the lock and pulls back so the others can move in. Iceman and BJ roll in right and left. The portico gives onto a similar-sized vestibule and a wide internal courtyard beyond it. An internal wall around the courtyard seems to let onto small chambers against the external wall. They take SMG fire from around the corners of the vestibule. BJ’s opponent misses but Iceman’s hits him square on and [poor armor check] he goes down hard. BJ’s D burst forces his opponent back, and BJ jumps left to a doorway in the internal wall. Ralph follows up firing his borrowed SMG and puts Iceman’s guy down.

Round 2: BJ follows up his success, blasting pieces of the corridor wall away, and his opponent backs off hurriedly, lost to sight in the internal chambers. Pip slides forward to check Iceman while Ralph runs across the open court, and Widow strides forward reloading.

Iceman: Serious condition. Limping and dragging. He swaps weapons with Pip.

We left it there, knowing that Iceman is not dead but will need surgery.

The BJ-Ralph animosity continued the whole session, I have not conveyed how hostile BJ came over generally, but especially to the NPC Vargr. I don’t know if BJ’s player has discussed this with the GM as being in his character’s makeup.

Speaking of which there is a secret between the GM and Pip about Pip’s study and at one point Pip was heard to be ‘concentrating on thoughts of Bex’ so possibly the GM has relaxed his Psionics rules.

There were some good laughs over possible plans, from Bex swooping in on the Bad’n’Ruin once we were out, to dropping one of the ship-to-ship missiles on the house to demonstrate to Overbluff Dubgee we really meant what Iceman said about Bex not being that important.

In terms of highlights, although there were some great rolls they showed the weakness of a non-clue-based system trying to do a clue-based game. The real highlight was Iceman roleplaying the meet with the kidnappers. I think his time in the Cleveland Darkens campaign has really helped his roleplay style, he nailed his part, way better than I could have.

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