DM5.02: Salvage the Hyperlance, part one – Pel Saros

The nerfherders for this session

The Hacker: Dantas
The Face: Aethelair
The Muscle: Kincade

The mission

Directly after their last caper the scruffy ones, or specifically Aethelair, are contacted by Vesio Savhel (Ves-ee-o Sav-hel), enhanced human and famed spacecraft designer. He would like his Hyperlance recovered from the Keshite Rift, and claims to be able to direct them as to where to salvage it.

Aethelair takes this back to the others. It sounds OK but is it something the Infinity Order (which commands their loyalty) approves? Well, it’s not something it bans them from doing: but they’ll be doing it out of their own pockets.

That means they’ll need to rely on someone else for a salvage craft and a pilot that knows the salvaging business. After a little chest-thumping from Aethelair and Kincade on their own piloting abilities (irrelevant since they don’t own a ship), the trio decide to simply flick the problem back to Vesio.

At the same time Kincade reaches out to their two matokai contacts in Flamen’s Fists, callsigns Triples and Kofi. He instructs them to take some leave. They owe the nerfherders from that time escaping the Long Winter!

Vesio’s Briefing

“Yes, I’ve arranged for you to meet the middleman that has the details,” Vesio explains at the briefing. “He’ll put you in touch with a reputable – well, a pilot, who isn’t afraid to take risks. This middleman is the one that sold me on the idea of the salvage, and he will provide you with the coordinates in the rift. You’ll take the shuttle to Pel Saros, to meet up with this smuggler, Medisi.

“I understand he hangs out in the type of bar that you” – here he looks at Kincade – “are more familiar with than I. He will brief you on the pilot. You will pay him” – he slides a cred stick over to Aethelair – with the lesser of the two amounts on this. The greater amount is for the pilot.

“On completion you’ll return the Hyperlance to Pel Saros and I will transfer your reward, 50K, to you. It would be more but good… eh, reckless, pilots don’t come cheap.”

“I hear ya,” Aethelair drawls.

“Partic’ly if you need to pay them up front,” Dantas suggests.

“Yes. I heard some young pup whining he could have done it for only 3K, but apparently this pilot, Rufus Drake, has done the rift in three parsecs, or some such. It’s all spaceboy talk to me. I ran it through my enhancements but it came out gobbledigook.”

Preparing for Pel Saros

Pel Saros is the space hub with good dock facilities nearest to the Keshite Rift, a dread space hazard that offers the brave or desperate a fast and unpoliced route to Pel Tavaria and the wild frontier. It enjoys a shuttle service from the Silrayne System, and most visitors are there to enjoy the dubious pleasures of non-system trade, gambling and other vices. It also hosts a number of Conventions for groups that want to let their metaphorical hair down more than would be permissible on the Bastion.

Naturally, the hub police expect suckers, ahem, welcome visitors, to come in peace, not dressed for war. The nerfherders therefore must decide how they are going to look innocent.

Dantas’ first idea is for he and Aethelair to be lovers on their honeymoon, and Kincade their bodyguard. But the space elf isn’t into that cover.

Kincade will need some full-cover disguise that doesn’t look like matokai or any other fully armored trooper. After flicking through articles on conventions held at Pel Saros they find that some jelly-people, aqualoids that need fully sealed suits, are to arrive for one. Ideal! Kincade has a bubble-suit run up and Dantas installs scan defenses.

While the preparations are under way, Kincade also researches likely dives. He shows this to Dantas, who makes congratulatory noises, takes the list, and re-does the research. He comes up with a different and shorter list. He decides to pretend that the whole lot are Kincade’s, but begin with his list.

Aethelair does some research on Medisi. All they know about him, from Vesio, is that he is of a feline race known for not having body fur, but with skin markings. Then Aethelair cross-references that with Pel Saros records (not very complete) to see if Medisi will be unique or common.

Bringing their baggage to Pel Saros

Aethelair: bright Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses, an on-vacation vibe. CHA check between 08 and 14.*

Dantas: Elvis style Viva Las Vegas, also an on-vacation vibe. CHA check between 08 and 14.*

Kincade: the customs official makes an active attempt against Dantas’ earlier defense and his machine only shows a fuzzy mass where the suit is. Kincade is through.

*The not-entirely-convincing acting of the first pair has alerted a Zephyr Corp battle demon. He moves to the baggage carousel ahead of the trio and begins looking for their stowage.

At baggage reclaim, they find a cloaked figure kicking their heavy cases off the carousel. Dantas (who can read body language and picks up a signal) warns the others that he is not alone.

There are three tasks: find a fast exit; distract the ally; and reclaim the baggage as combat against the cloaked demon. Dantas opts for the fist of those and Aethelair the second.

This is combat-as-puzzle, both the combat demon and ally are far too tough to be taken out instantly.

Escape with baggage

Dantas heads along the concourse. He notices a non-standard hoarding stream. Unrisen Angel appears in it and tells him that she will create an escape path; that the demon at the baggage is Zephyr Corp; and that she has been tracking him. By the time Dantas races back to the baggage (making an excellent STR check to bundle as much away with him as he can) a huge loader-bot is tearing up the concourse, making a great escape route and distraction.

Aethelair heads towards a custodian who is smiling and saying “come here! I can help” but as the space elf’s body language tells the gent that he is not buying it, he draws a swarm pistol and fires, missing completely. Aethelair maneuvers to get in to punch range and uses the enhanced STR granted by his bracer implant to sock the mook twice. Slightly rattled, the custodian (or Zephyr Corp agent as we now know) shoots the floor. It gives Aethelair a chance to break away and grab baggage, then follow Dantas. He has spent two Risk die avoiding getting shot.

Kincade (still in his unwieldy bubble suit) sees the cloaked figure beginning to fade into shadow, so crash-tackles him. This smart choice stops the combat demon from wielding its katana or drawing a pistol. A bear-hug begins cramping the air out of the demon’s lungs. But seeing that Dantas has begun fleeing, Kincade releases his hold to transition into a spear-tackle. Unluckily for him the demon makes a nat20 to deal with that, and slices Kincade’s bubble suit open as the big guy grabs the remaining luggage and runs.

STR checks from Aethelair and Kincade; the nerfherders have spent two Inspirations by this time as well!

They all jump aboard the loader bot and are away!

Medisi

A day later the nerfherders are in the lower levels of Pel Saros in quest of filthy cantinas. Out of sheer bravado Dantas is still wearing his Hawaiian shirt, the others are wearing more suitable gear.

The first cantina is a bust. Off to the next one!

WIS check for Kincade, to see if he remembers enough of his own list to figure out that Dantas didn’t use it. He fails miserably so is none the wiser.

“…So the last place was scum and villainy you see, but this place is villainy and scum… Oh! That looks like our man…cat” – Dantas, noticing a hairless cat seated in a saloon bay.

The setup seems to be a split bar, the smaller half serving a gambling (pachinko style) parlor and the larger half serving a saloon area. Presumed Medisi is in the latter. Aethelair heads that way. Dantas stations himself at the end of the saloon bar nearest the parlor; Kincade surges to the saloon bar near Aethelair. Some four patrons decide to leave as Kincade is wearing full shiny plate armor.

Medisi speaks with a purring style, and for some reason calls Aethelair ‘baroni.’ Negotiations are relatively easy. Up to the point where Medisi attempts to up the price of his information. Aethelair uses his enhanced STR to partly break the bay tabletop, and this Intimidation succeeds.

Medisi hands the coordinates across in a data stick, which Aethelair unwisely examines before asking Dantas to clear it. Luckily Medisi is not trying to spike Aethelair, and the data is clean. Medisi adds the necessary word of mouth, describing a strange ship graveyard, the Hyperlance laying among other wrecks.

He warns them that other smugglers may also be seeking to scavenge the ship. Then he explains where Rufus Drake’s ship, the Rafaela, is laying at berth, and a meeting time and place to meet Rufus.

Payment complete, they leave.

Downtime

The nerfherders have the rest of the day off to suit themselves. Dantas decides to speak with Arisa, Kincade has some shopping to do, and Aethelair heads to the docks to look over the Rafaela.

Arisa (Unrisen Angel) claims that she has been monitoring the three since their mission together, but was watching Zephyr Corp’s team here at the time. She does not know why the combat demon is here, but will let Dantas know if she does find out. Baludan is not yet out of Zephyr Corp, and they will need to join forces to avoid his revenge. She sees them as a strong future investment and indeed gives Dantas the hook to the next adventure.

Kincade browses some weapon shops, drooling over the BFGs, but his actual purchase is an expensive med kit.

Dantas shoehorns in some shopping too – a hypo delivery system that will make healing a lot simpler and safer.

Dantas looks over Rafaela, a light freighter with one cargo elevator, four small cargo holds, and a simple in-line engine array.

Aethelair makes a double-proficiency WIS check

It has the appearance of having some mods to enable it to outrun the law, and probably has some hidden storage spaces as well. It could even be run solo, with a friendly AI aboard.

“Just so long as there’s none of them pesky R2 units aboard, I got no time for their nonsense…” – Aethelair

This has been a pleasant day, though Kincade has exhausted all of his savings and Dantas most of his.

Kofi and Triples

The matokai pair’s flight is in, and the scene is the shuttle terminal. The nerfherders need to decide how heavily they are armed. Dantas decides to just wear regular street-wear, Kincade is in full gear, and Aethelair is only carrying one pistol, but does have his armor. What all that means is that Dantas can get right up to security without raising any alarms, while Kincade con’t get anywhere near security.

Two brightly-striped stuffed teddy creatures are trying to get through the security scans. And not succeeding in convincing the security there that they don’t need to be scanned. Dantas sighs and shadow-jumps to a point near the scene, and hacks the gate. Kincade lets the pair know that they can walk through now.

Complication: Owing to the fuss two days’ prior, search patterns are being run, a slightly higher level than before. As the nerfherders intervene, a number of local security people are closing in on the teddies. The nerfherders play blocker to the teddies’ escape, Aethelair using his background to Deceive security and Kincade using raw STR.

Dantas relies on Unrisen Angel again, and once again Arisa uses a luggage loader to create a distraction and escape path.

Complication: the combat demon shows up again!

This time though, Kincade is armed. He lays into the demon, who, after losing half health in a round, shadow-fades out.

They escape again!

Rufus Drake

A dockside cantina, frequented by ship captains and senior crew looking to make deals (and keep them) is the venue for the briefing and payment to Rufus Drake. He is no youngster: lined face and silver hair are framed by a stetson, and set off by a cigar. His clothing is a callback to old-time ranchers or ‘cowboys.’

“Hey boys… howdy. Guess ya got good news fer me?”

“So your Rufus?”

“Th’ slickest pilot this side of Pel Tavaria!”

“Heard about ya! Three parsecs, huh?”

“Th’ Keshite Rift holds no terrors fer me! Don’t ya go lissenin’ to no tales a’ space-spooks…”

Aethelair explains what he knows, and hands over payment. And as the session ends, Rufus regales the nerfherders with tales of space spooks and super-giant space creatures.

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