Welcome back! To prepare us for this session, our GM warns us straightforwardly that he expects a plan to emerge.
A plan? Yes, a plan! It is one thing to agree that Usher Stoll should die before he kills us, or to agree that we shoot him as soon as we see him, it is another to commit murder, get away, and enjoy prosperity thereafter.
Sections of the narrative that relate only to the conspirators are in this color.
Current mission: on Aramanx on Imperial contract, awaiting re-supply
Covert mission: get Usher Stoll before he gets us!
The surplus heroes for this session:
BJ, a man of parts – some artificial – on engines
Choi (NPC) a man of many possibilities – all forged – on engines
Pip, a woman of family, on helm
Widow, a woman of low tastes, on sensors & comms
Iceman, a colorful character – mostly blue – on guns
Assisted by the NPCs Bex, purser and Pip’s cousin, and Ralph the Vargr, steward
One path must be taken
Widow calls a bridge meeting to clarify where we go from here. All but Pip Bex and BJ are aware of another agenda, namely to kill Usher Stoll before he kills us.
The two main options are to sell up now on Aramanx and work on how to collect the money from whichever trader company we sell to; or keep moving through the Lewis bonus contract on to the Aramis core worlds where we can sell up and cash up directly.
The advantages to the first are that we would not be heading to Lewis; and could more easily evade Heguz trackers. The disadvantages are that we would still need to arrange collection of money and stay in the sector the Beyavins [and Stoll] know us to be in.
The advantages to the second are that we would collect a nice bonus for Lewis [and be able to attempt Stoll’s life]; would move to a great place to sell up and cash up; and be on a trade lane where we could move off to a completely new sector well away from hunters. The disadvantages are firstly Lewis itself and secondly that the longer we stay together in the Bad’n’Ruin the greater the chances are of being tracked down.
Bex explains the first option; BJ explains the second option, and (to his surprise) finds himself well supported. In fact once these become clear as the options and Widow calls the vote, only Pip and Bex vote for the first option.
With the vote decided, Bex volunteers to arrange a good cargo for Lewis, but will need another day;
BJ and Choi will continue ship prep and Choi will keep studying for his engineer’s ticket;
Pip will study the dark arts;
Widow will advertise a major drinking session as her bridal shower
Iceman will be organizing the ‘kill squad’ and to do this pulls the conspirators aside in the bar Widow chooses, an NCO bar.
At the bar
The conspirators gather the first round of drinks and lean in closer. We agree that we’ll need to get information on Stoll once we are on Lewis, and the media he brought with him will be filing stories or at least be a way of tracking him. Pessimistic about the chances of sniping and escaping, Choi thinks about using drones to make the hit. Since anything with the drones will need BJ, we’ll need to bring him in. And in general terms, blowing Stoll up by using drones as IEDs will work better than sniping. Iceman is deputized to bring BJ on board.
Leaving Widow setting up a 1k tab with the house, Iceman heads back to the Bad’n’Ruin and finds BJ working by himself.
Iceman works through the drones to why we need to get rid of Stoll before he gets us. BJ is on board with that, though using the drones is a wrench. But if we use the drones for guns or explosives, why not install a microfusion power plant in each that will completely evaporate a wide area and not leave ‘signature’ traces? However they agree that the uncertainty of the timing, and the collateral damage, make this a lesser choice than just installing a fair amount of explosive.
[The GM explains that for bombs, the Personal Weapon Armorer and the Technician skills will be needed]
Pip’s meditations are interrupted by a chime from Widow. After some wheedling Pip agrees to join the shindig.
About four hours into the drinking Widow gets a chime from Bex. The Deacon Jones is in port! With a scream, Widow blunders out, weaving badly. Pip hurries after her to lend a steadying hand or lift hair out of the face at appropriate moments.
Hamish is already aboard the Bad’n’Ruin. Bex and Pip discreetly withdraw. Hamish fends off Widow, and guides her to her bunk.
In the NCO bar the party continues through the day.
The following dawn, Bex tells us she has found cargo and she stipulates another 24 hours in port before we can ship out.
The conspirators plan what will be needed. The probability of needing the launch for getting the drones near Stoll forces their hand, and Widow invites Pip to join.
As expected she is cool towards the idea. She leans on the thought that this will be a one-shot and the company will move through to Aramis.
Tasks for the day
BJ and Pip go looking for a bent QM in the WO bar, and after playing cards
(and losing) meet the unscrupulous Andy. BJ and Pip take care to frame the need in terms of fighting Klackons. Andy supplies them with 2kg of C4 for 2k.
[A good many rolls are rolled, mostly for gambling but also direct interaction. Pip scores well – that’s why she was added to this task]
As a bonus, the pair learn there are eight Marine bases on Lewis, and that the second wave will be landing after supremacy in the air is guaranteed.
Widow goes looking for comms gear that will extend the guide/control range of the drones on a planet that has no comms grid. She finds her way over to the media bar and from there to ‘wire central’ in the hotel set up in the base. She approaches the first tech she sees for the gear and he asks for 700. A few hours later Widow carries the gear back.
Choi scrounges control and trigger circuits so that, with the comms gear, the drones will behave like remote-control shooter game pieces.
Iceman does the preliminary work needed to assess the drones. [Good prsnl wpn amr check]
Agent Wells chimes Pip and asks for a lift. Pip puts him off, saying she will need to ask the full crew. Pip broaches the request as soon as everyone is back.
Pip: Wells chimed, he wants a lift on to Lewis
Widow: We’ll all be working out in plain sight
Iceman: Tell him every time we take someone to Lewis we land in shit
Pip: Say BW you got comms gear there
Widow: Uh huh
Pip [giggles]: I was just looking through my effects and found a long-range comms unit
Choi: See – you’d know that if ya strip-searched her room
Widow [formally]: I am corrected
[Since Widow mentioned bringing Choi on as partner (Ep 3.5) she has treated him differently, in her own mind. The actual partnership is moot since the company is about to break up.]
Ready for Lewis!
The Bad’n’Ruin is loaded and ready, about 48 hours longer than optimal. Prior to launch, Iceman makes a patrol, finding nothing out of place.
On the ship’s bridge, Pip checks the media feeds for Lewis news just in case something new has come through or is off, or both. It’s all boilerplate good news.
With planetary control railing at her ill-timing Pip jockeys the Bad’n’Ruin towards the allotted zone. Widow notices that comms are down – probably jammed! Running sensors she finds another vessel on a potential intercept. Pip calls battle stations!
[Pip’s pilot check is a little under. Both Widow’s checks, Alertness and sensors, are +2]
Iceman makes to gun turret 1, and in a surprise move BJ instructs Choi to stand in as engineer while he makes to turret 2.
The objective for the BnR is to gain a ‘finish line’ which represents a jump solution. The enemy objective is to board or terminate.
Round 1: Choi feeds power to Engines, Pip carries the Helm for extra velocity, Sensors get no lock, so there is no point shooting. The pursuit ship, the Quiet Hand, pour efforts into velocity as well, no shot exchanged.
Round 2: Engines power to shields, Helm to velocity, Sensor lock is fine, Iceman launches all three ready missiles, BJ’s gunnery misses. The Quiet Hand boosts power and helm for velocity and maneuver, and whips around in such a tight arc they would miss us if not corrected. They get sensor lock and hit once, damaging the BnR’s missile launch capability.
Round 3: BnR’s missiles arrive near the QH, but only one does any damage, very minor. Engines continue powering shields, Helm gains more velocity towards the jump solution, but there is no sensor lock so no shooting. The QH boosts velocity again and get relatively close. They get sensor lock and degrade BnR’s shields by 2 (out of 10) and damage the maneuver drive.
Round 4: Keeping their momentum [edge] the QH feeds engine power to guns, gains sensor lock, and degrades armor and disables turret 1. On the BnR the engineers have both gone to fix the maneuver drive [great repair roll] and with Helm helping velocity the maneuver drive comes back onstream and powers the BnR to the jump solution.
[The GM rolls a number of extremely good rolls on the Quiet Hand’s behalf. It isn’t all just poor rolling by the BnR crew]
The maneuver drive is given full repairs, and the missile launch array is repaired, which takes a little while. Pip then helps BJ on repairing turret 1, while Iceman Widow and Choi work on pieces of the IEDs.
Bex is curious! And Iceman fails to ease her bump of curiosity! And Widow’s repartee falls flat: she falls back on the empty threat of physical harm to get privacy.
By the end of the fortnight everything is as ready as it can be.
Lucky over Lewis
The Bad’n’Ruin drops out over Lewis and Widow expertly scans, picking up even more wreckage than earlier times. It’s time to start looking for media feeds that might lead to Stoll. [double-ought on comms!] She filters through large amounts of infotainment-level media, through in-clear military commands, down to commendation bulletins, and there finds an itinerary for Stoll to wreath-lay at ‘ground zero’ or Lewis Base 1, the old University site. Stoll will have three well-known Junidi media personalities with him:
This ceremony is to take place in 3 days’ time.
Base 4 and fries
[The GM rolls a d8 to determine at which base our supplies are needed]
Pip gets strict instructions on a vector down and course to Base 4. [She makes a decent landing roll] The base seems quiet: it’s a highlands clearance of about a square kilometer. Properly-sited and defended guns guard all approaches, including aerial.
Pip: For the launch, Base 1’s not gonna be too bad a step
Widow: Parceira! That why we bring you in
A Marine QM boards and supercargoes see to unloading almost immediately. The QM is armed, but assures us things have been quiet for a few days, and air superiority is certain. But it sounds as though they were told the Klackons have only stone-age tech, to begin with. Since the landing they have learned. They also discovered that Klackons can sustain an attack for as long as 48 hours.
Finally, he notes that the Bad’n’Ruin may well be on-posted before fueling and any fresh cargo.
Most of the conspirators hit the bar. We get good fry-cook prepared leftovers and some bourbon, both a good change of pace after jump-space.
Separated from the hard-working cooks by a chunk of tent interior, we conspire about how close we need to get to ground zero. The launch will need to get within 2k.
As we talk, the lead fry cook starts wiping down ready for a new table.
Widow: Looks like you got more coming
Cook: Yeah, mystery guest
Widow: Let’s stay on, it could be someone sexy
Cook: Yeah whatever…
Duncan Fats enters the tent.
Widow feels down her hip for a holstered weapon…