The Currents of Space GM 1

Before the Game starts, I did a little more work on backgrounds and relationships. I like to keep things tidy and it was obvious that three of the characters shared something in common – the incident on LX504. But where did Achernar fit in? He was related to Capella; he knew this but Capella didn’t.

 

  • I created Bellatrix’s and Achernar’s family trees. I designed a system years ago to do this; it uses a deck of cards to create relationships and families. It seems like a lot of work; in reality it is quite quick and simple and throws up a lot of unexpected connections. It’s surprising how useful the information can be.

 

Bellatrix’s uncle is an executive VP of Makita Genetics, overseeing Resources.

 

Achernar is the illegitimate son of Capella’s aunt; born in violation of the Chinese Birth Control Laws, he was smuggled off-planet to LX504. He left the planet in 2208 to become a Drifter; returned briefly in 2216 where he met Capella.

  • I set up a matrix of character ages vs. terms served to determine when significant events happened. Tables don’t post very well on here (at least; I haven’t found how to do it). The blow-out incident on LX504 happened in 2222 (current year is 2225).

Achernar (as a Drifter) returned to LX504 in 2216 which is where he met Capella. He left in 2218 to join the Survey Scouts. He never told Capella that they were related (he knew this through his mother).

  • With the other PC’s (and a slight bit of tweaking!), the blow-out incident on LX504 happened in 2222. I created a matrix of PC age and date and looked to see where they coincided. Again; usually it falls into place easily.

 

Three years have passed and it is 2225.

Mutant: Year Zero

 

Part 1

                After several years of trying, I’ve finally persuaded the HOG to try MY0; in preparation I ran through character generation and tried out a solo Game to get used to the system.

For solo rules, I used a mish-mash of various published sets, plus some of my own stuff (especially a variant of the Travelling Alone flowchart that I wrote many years ago for Freelance Traveller.)

The system is the Year Zero Engine, which I’ve used in the Alien Game; however MY0 uses the three different coloured dice. I’ve got a set of dice and I’ve also got the app. I put together an Excel spreadsheet to roll various combinations of d6, 2d6, d66, d666 etc. and some decision dice.

My character

KARA                     Gearhead

Strength  4  Endure 1  Force 0  Fight 2

Agility      3  Sneak   1  Move 1  Shoot 0

Wits         4  Scout    1  Comprehend 2  Know the Zone 1  Jury-Rig 3

Empathy 3  Sense Emotion 0  Manipulate 0  Heal 2

Talent: Gadgeteer (+2 Comprehend an artefact from the Old Age)

That’s interesting. I got this from the Starter booklet, which I was going to give out to the HOG. However, according to the CR, Gadgeteer is not one of the starting Talents open to a Gadgeteer.

Mutation: Insect wings (1 MP, fly 100’)

Gear: Bike chain (Near, +1 Gear, Damage 1), 3 grub, 2 water, 3 bullets.

A suggestion off the Net was to start a solo character with 25xp, I upped some skills and gained the Talent : Light Eater (consume 1 grub every two days)

Ok so far. I decided to create my own zone map using Inkscape and a zone map overlay; it looks pretty good and has come out in colour.

I started with ‘A Mouthful of Water’ out of the CR, as it is a suggested starting scenario. Well, actually, I didn’t start because immediately I had a few concerns.

The first concern I had was that it starts in media res, 5-6 sectors away from the Ark. Am I supposed to play out those sectors or just say – “this is what you passed through to get here”. In that case, what about the return journey?

Another concern – 5-6 Sectors is potentially 2-3 days travel – so what about grub, water and rot?

There is nothing wrong with the Special Zone Sector itself; it’s quite good. I just don’t think it’s a good starting scenario the way it’s written.

So, Kara will start in the Ark

ALIEN RPG: Hidden Agendas

 

I’m currently writing an adventure for Alien; the players have asked if they can create their own characters. They then asked about the hidden agendas that they had in Chariot of the Gods, because they really liked the concept.

 

So, what I’ve come up with (inspired by MY0) is that they write their own; possibly involving other PC’s without their knowledge.

 

Eh?

 

  1. Give the PC’s the background – ‘You are on Jamison’s World, a colony outpost sponsored by Tharsis Metals. Jamison’s World is 99% fluid-covered with a breathable atmosphere that stinks of hydrogen sulphide.’

 

  1. Ask them to create and name their characters and give a reason why they are here. The names and professions should be secret (ideally via email.)

 

  1. Now provide a list of all the people in the colony, names and professions. Include the NPC’s and PC’s and mix them up; even have duplicate names and professions (caution: don’t duplicate both for the same person unless you REALLY want to confuse things.) Let the PC’s have this information (again, by email.)

 

  1. Now, have the PC’s write their secret agenda based off this information. These are some suggested prompts; but be creative. They then email these back.

(BTW: My group loved the potential for PvP in the Game and we did fight out those combats to the full.)

 

I hate xxx

I hate xxx because …

I love xxx

I want to protect xxx

I want to die here

I want to sabotage the Company

I want to kill xxx

I want to get off this shithole

I want to strike it rich

Xxx knows I’m an addict

I must study all alien lifeforms

I must kill xxx before they kill me as a traitor

I just want to keep my head down and serve out my tour

A rival company wants to make sure the outpost fails

 

  1. Finally – Gamestart.

Introduce all of the PC’s at the start (well, have them introduce themselves), then bring in the NPC’s as they are encountered (or investigated by PC’s)

Hopefully, the PC’s will relate to their Agendas and see what’s going on.

 

  1. Changing Agendas

It would be nice to break down the Game to discrete Acts, but even with Chariot of the Gods I found that hard. Instead; I looked at each character’s Agenda and then asked them –

“How has this changed in light of what has happened?”

 

If necessary, have them construct a new Agenda (but only if it really fits)

 

Scientist

Agenda: I must study all alien lifeforms

 

Situation: ‘The plant-thing has sucked his head off into that tentacle.’

 

Is our scientist going to cut and run? Of course not!

 

‘Interesting. Does it only react to living bodies? We need to conduct further tests.’

‘Should we screen off the area? To stop other people wandering in?’

‘What? Oh yes, I suppose so. They could influence the test results.’

 

I haven’t tried this out in full yet, but two members of the HOG thought it was an interesting idea to try out.

The Currents of Space – Episode 2.13

‘Is that it? Wantanabe wants to kill me?’ 

“USSC Alabama, Captain Deladrier. We welcome your presence; but have no need of your assistance.’’

Lydia smiled. ‘You can’t kill me.’ ‘No, but she can

‘Wantanabe is your daughter.’

2226 – 04.02. Lagos

‘Ach, stop being in self-denial and face it. She is coming for you.’ Achernar didn’t answer, so Paula hit him on the head with a stack of rolled-up papers.

‘Why? Why does she want to kill me, if I’m her father?’

‘Why? Who knows why? Maybe she doesn’t know who you are; when you meet she’ll cry “Daddy” and run into your arms. More likely; the Lebkuchen are and were psycho killers; they turned on their liberators in 2009; she’ll run into your arms and slit your belly open and then cry “Daddy.”’

‘Not her style; she seems to go for the crush the throat approach.’

Paula frowned. ‘I’m trained in various forms of martial arts; I think this is the Scissor Python; where the victim is crushed between the thighs of the attacker. I can’t do it.’ She suddenly glared at Achernar. ‘Don’t say a fucking word, okay?’

They were still in the hotel room in Lagos; they were all maintaining a constant guard; covering the door and windows. Everyone carried M8 EBR’s; even Bellatrix. Etamin wasn’t there.

LL grinned at Achernar. “Hi, buddy. Thought I’d come along for the ride.’ He glanced at Bella.

‘Where’s Etamin?’

‘He’s working some contacts, trying to get us off-planet and back to Gateway. We need to get on the “Oberon”; it’s our ship and at least we’ll have a fighting chance.’

‘Against a warship? Someone nuked that installation on Crown; remember?’

Rachel turned from the window, cradling an M8. ‘The “Oberon” isn’t toothless. It’s got two pop-up turrets; a triple missile rack and a dual pulse laser. We can fight if we have to.’

‘Great,’ said LL. ‘I was a gunny in the USMC.’

‘We can’t leave by normal means. The TAPP is too slow and is vulnerable; the shuttle terminals are going to be watched and it’s illegal to land private ships without a permit from Traffic Control.’

Paula took the floor again. ‘After the 2009 liberation and massacre; it became known that the Snakeheads were helping and hiding the surviving Lebkuchen. Looking at Wantanabe has been doing and the pattern of killings; it’s obvious that she’s being helped by the Snakes. That’s why we need to find another way off Earth. Etamin’s looking into it now.’

2226 – 04.04. Lagos

‘Boss?’ It was Etamin, on Achernar’s comm. ‘I’ve got us a deal; but they want some money up front. Nineteen hundred creds now gets us on to a Kinako freighter leaving from Singapore Terminal in five days. One block* now, nine hundred on delivery to Gateway.’

‘Etamin,’ asked Achernar. ‘How much quin did we have on board?’ ‘Twenty tons,’ was the reply, ‘and you wouldn’t let me sell it. We could have saved a lot on this charter if we still had it.’ Achernar paused for a moment. ‘Okay; go for it and I’ll get the money transferred to you asap.’

‘What’s up?’ asked Bellatrix. ‘I’m not sure,’ replied Achernar. ‘That sounded like Etamin and he knew the answer to the question, but … when has Etamin ever called me boss?’

2226 – 04.06. Lagos

Etamin came through on the details; they were to leave on a Kinako-registered transport leaving Singapore Terminal for Gateway Station on 04.09.

‘Right, heads up,’ said Paula. ‘We’re booked on different flights to Singapore by SST and we also have reserve shuttle tickets to get us up to Gateway Station.

She opened up her terminal on the table and displayed the details.

  1. TransEarth 125 -4: SST London – Singapore: four tickets booked. This is a blind: they will not be on this flight.
  2. Local Charter – Lagos to Singapore. Achernar and Paula, direct to Singapore Terminal
  3. Global 7856: SST Lagos to Singapore. Bellatrix, LL and Rachel.

Achernar and Paula will board the ship; the others will join them four hours later and the ship will lift for Gateway Station.

2226 – 04.09. Singapore Spaceport

The SST was on final approach when Bellatrix leaned over and pulled Rachel close and kissed her.

‘You know I love you. I’ve got a bad feeling about this whole set-up. Here, take this.’ She handed Rachel a Fone card. ‘It’s got an encoded number; call it if everything goes tits-up. You don’t need to say anything; they’ll know why you’re calling.’

‘Bella, you’re scaring me.’ ‘Sorry. Just be prepared to run if you have to.’

‘Achernar, we’ve just landed.’ There was no response; Bellatrix tried again; still no response. She looked around her; the terminal building was almost empty.

‘It’s a trap; we’ve been ambushed!’ she just had time to yell as a hail of automatic weapon fire opened up on them.

She pulled her M8 from her pack (“it’s ironic; if Earth wasn’t so lawless then we wouldn’t be under attack and we wouldn’t be able to carry weapons”); LL was unlimbering an STG 340 LMG from bits out of his golf bag.

‘Rachel!’ Get out and get to the ship. You’re not a gunner and I’m not going to lose you.’ Bella rolled into cover and opened fire; there were two groups of attackers with automatic weapons.

Again, the area exploded with weapons fire; Rachel ran for the exit and dived through. ‘Shite,’ realised Bella, ‘there’s more than I thought’, as a hail of weapons fire erupted around them. Bella and LL took several hits; but LL was able to take out a bunch of mooks running down a set of stairs.

‘Run; I’ll cover you!’ Bellatrix half-crouched and started to run; a bullet took her and she went over like a rabbit. ‘Grenade!’ yelled LL and lobbed a frag overarm; the blast took out a wall that collapsed on him; his gun still firing on full auto.

Rachel crawled into the cover of a cargo bay; gasping for breath. Her right breast under her arm hurt and was sticky with blood; it was a stinging flesh wound. In the distance, the sound of gunfire continued. Suddenly, she heard a noise; a faint sound nearby.

‘Etamin!’ Her pocket flashlight showed Etamin; his face screwed up in pain; lying against a cargo container. A slim dagger was in his stomach; with a faint trickle of blood from it.

‘WTF! Who did this?’

Etamin tried his grin, but it was weak. ‘Street gang punishment; I screwed up over the TAPP raid; they were waiting for me when I got here. Warn the others, it’s a trap; but there’s bigger things going on.’ He coughed and spat blood.

Rachel tried first aid to stabilise Etamin; then used her comms to call in an emergency team; who rushed him to hospital.

2226 – 04.10. Singapore Spaceport, Stargaze Hotel

Rachel felt very much alone. There was no news of Achernar or Paula; Bellatrix and LL had died in the shootout and Etamin was in a coma on life support. Then she remembered the Fone card that Bella had given her; the room had a videophone and she slotted the card in. The screen lit up with two numbers and legends.

[Money – 040 75821]

[Help – 189 05095]

She dialled the [Money] number. A robot voice informed her that she had, on presenting her IDENT to the Bank of Singapore, access to 250,000 credits.

‘Great! I can have a fucking massive wake for my friends.’

The videophone chimed; an incoming call on a secure channel, voice only. A clipped female voice with a German accent – ‘You have used FC G64O0-M. This card was given to you by a friend called Bellatrix. We will be with you within twenty-four hours.’

2226 – 04.11. Stargaze Hotel

Rachel sat in the hotel room, keeping an eye on the door. She cradled a VP90 pistol that she’d purchased on her way back from the bank; “not that I know how to shoot it.”

The videophone chimed – it was the woman with the German accent. – ‘Ms Formistolg; I am outside your door. Please put down the weapon; I don’t want any accidents. I assure you, my team and I are on your side; we were engaged by Emilohi Olawe, who you know as Bellatrix. However, there has been a development and we do not have much time. Please open the door on my mark – now!’

“Seems like I don’t have much choice”, thought Rachel and she put the gun down; and then opened the door. A woman in paramilitary uniform quickly pushed past her and into the room, followed by five others in similar uniforms, carrying automatic weapons.

‘Hicks, Bai, cover the windows. Hadley, cover the door.’ She raised a handset; ‘Howell? Stand down, but stay on Overwatch.’ She turned to Rachel and gestured for her to sit.

Rachel did so. She saw a burly, competent-looking woman with cropped green hair and several facial piercings. In her left ear she wore an earring; a black skull with a tiny cluster of gold bones beneath it. “A vet, with many real combat drops!”

‘Correct, Ms Formistolg.’ The woman must have noticed her glance. ‘I was USMC; now I work for Last Resort, a PMC. My name is Gerda Molders; Sergeant. My team has been contracted by Emilohi Olawe; who you know as Bellatrix; to protect you and also to effect a rescue of affected associates by any means necessary. This morning, a private ship landed in a sealed bay; there was heavy security but we managed to establish that the ship is owned by the Makita Corporation. All access to the ship has been restricted.’

‘Makita. Olawe. You said that Bella’s real name was Emilohi Olawe. Is she connected to the Makita Corporation?’ Suddenly, Rachel jumped up and grabbed the gun; throwing it across the room. ‘So what? They’re all fucking dead; I don’t even know why you’re here; unless you want to claim your blood money. How much do you want?’

Sgt Molders didn’t move, but her voice grew steely. ‘Scheisse, Formistolg; do you really think I would waste my time on a lost cause? The ship is in a secure bay: in the bay next to it are six hypersleep pods; wired up and running. The question is, do we raid the bay now; on Earth, where there may be lots of backup; or do we find out where the ship is going and follow it?’

‘You can’t follow something that’s using hyperdrive.’

‘You are really pissing me off!’ Molders pulled her sidearm and put a round into the bed next to Rachel. ‘THINK! You have access to a ship; the Makita ship is a standard transport; probably rates two parsecs a week. If we can get ahead of it; we have a better chance of taking it. Now; get your ship down here and my team can find out where the Makita ship is going.’

2226 – 04.12. Singapore Spaceport

‘They are loading the cryo pods into the transport’, reported Howell, the sniper. ‘Acknowledged’’ Molders replied; looking out over the landing pad to where the Miranda sat; steam venting from its cooling vents. ‘Okay, we make a break for the Miranda; Rachel, whatever happens, you keep going and get on board. My team will cover you. Once we are aboard, we seal up and await a destination.’

The Makita ship, a 5,000 ton carrier, lifted that evening; Rachel took the Miranda up after it. The freighter didn’t pause in orbit; but burned for the translation point. Rachel docked the Miranda into the ‘Oberon’ and readied the flight systems. She found that Molder’s squad were quite experienced in ship operations.

‘Most of us are ex-Marine Corp or USCC’

‘I have the destination, ma’am’, reported Bennett, the Comtech. ‘ATC report a logged flight plan of translation to Gliese 260, in the CAP; system name is Paradise, listed as a poor desert world. Distance 9 parsecs’.

‘We can beat them!

To be continued in Season 3

==================================

GM Notes

* Block – slang for 1000 credits

Wow! The Season 2 finale ends on a massive cliff-hanger. It’s been quite a ride this Season, Episode 2.1 was 26/5/19 and Episode 2.13 has ended the Season on 31/7/20.

The battles were fought (in this Episode and the last one), using a derivative of 3:16; modified for Cepheus/ Hostile weapons. It seems to work quite well; but I didn’t expect Bella and LL to go down (OMG! – another plot twist.) In keeping with the Solo Game though, there was a very real danger that they MIGHT have died – I really don’t know until Season 3 starts.

The Currents of Space – Episode 2.12

Previously …

‘Senor Achernar and Senora Vertise.’ The speaker wore the red and black uniform of Security. ‘I am Lieutenant Pedros and you are under arrest.’

Ms. Narita shrugged. ‘I don’t really know. From what she has said, maybe twelve years or so?’

‘The people I deal with are not terrorists. They people they deal with are probably not terrorists. After that, the trail goes cold. But rest assured, the only thing that matters is loyalty to your friends.’

‘I’m telling you Ach, there is no way she has survived twelve years in a cryo pod.’

2226 – 03.15, Macapa, Earth

‘How many more times do we have to go through this?’ asked Paula to the camera. ‘We were asked by the steward on the TAPP; his name is Alain; to look into why a passenger had locked herself away. We didn’t find anything.’

‘You spoke to Narita Nuboku on several occasions? You were seated at the same table in the TAPP.’

‘Incorrect. I was on Table 2; Narita was on Table 1.’ ‘Achernar was on Table 1 as well?’ ‘No, he was on Table 3.’

‘Interesting. Ms. Wantanabe was also on Table 3. I understand that you and Mr Achernar shared a cabin?’

Paula flared; ‘That’s none of …’; just then the door opened and a business-suited woman entered and faced the camera.

‘I am a lawyer representing the Kinako Corporation; Ident KN7456-CW. Ms Vertise and Achernar are to be released immediately, Lt. Pedros.’

2226 – 03.15. Macapa, a hotel

As Paula and Achernar entered the room; Etamin gave them the ‘thumbs-up’. Bellatrix and Rachel came from the bedroom.

‘My name is Callis Westile; I’m a legal rep for Kinako.’ The woman took a seat and opened a briefcase/ terminal. ‘You were riding the TAPP down to Macapa; you were asked to investigate why a passenger, Ms. Wantanabe, wouldn’t leave their cabin. You spoke to Ms. Narita Nobuko, who shared the cabin with Ms. Wantanabe. Did you see or speak to Ms. Narita after that?’

Both shook their head. Callis made a note on her terminal. ‘Ms. Narita was found dead in the cabin on the TAPP; her throat had been crushed; squeezed laterally as if in the jaws of a vice.’

2226 – 03.16, Macapa, a hotel

‘Some info on that cryo pod has come through’. Paula looked up from her terminal. ‘It’s been buried; but it looks like the pod was linked into Gateway Station for power and supplies; paid for from an anonymous account since 2224. I said there was no way she’s been there for 12 years.’

‘Any updates on who Narita is … was?’ Paula shook her head. ‘Still working on that; I’ve still got one or two contacts to try.’

Later that day they boarded an SST, a W-K Aerospace Skyliner, for the 20 hour flight to New London. About 12 hours into the flight a fault developed in the heating systems and it grew intensely cold in the cabin (the SST was cruising at 60,000 feet.) Achernar was able to fix the problem; but what he found made him really angry and he demanded to speak to the captain.

‘Your ground maintenance is appalling and shoddy. I had to tighten three leaking glands and your people have put ordinary grease on an oxygen feed! Do you know what could happen?’

2226 – 03.18. New London, UK.

“This is the news from NBC, broadcasting to Earth-Net and to Planet-Net; I’m Tara Chang. The headlines tonight:-

* Violence flares outside the ICO offices in Singapore following an announcement to step up the ECP (Enforced Colonisation Program) of the Outer Rim

* Kinako announced the development of a new colour – Kinako Grey. A spokesman for the company said that the new colour will be cheap and come in a variety of flavours tailored to the client base.

* New York Island Police are investigating the death of a businessman; found crushed to death in his apartment on Central Island.

Later on in the programme I will be joined by …”

‘I don’t know a lot about Earth, and England in particular; but wasn’t London a port on the coast?’ asked Bellatrix. She and Rachel were sat together; looking at a guide book.

‘London was always low-lying and when the sea levels rose; it got swamped. A lot of it is still there; but the decision was made long ago to move the administration centre fifty miles north-west to here.’

‘So how come New York…?’

‘The Americans thought differently. The upper levels of most of the skyscrapers would remain above water; so they fortified the base levels; then connected the upper levels by bridges and built helipads on the tallest buildings.’

2226 – 03.18. New London, UK, Virtual Zoo

The Zoo was a sobering testimony to Man’s uncaring stupidity. It was a series of linked domes in which were projected images and recorded footage of animal species that would never be seen again. There was no preaching or reproaching commentary; only the images, accompanied by music. All visitors were left to make up their own minds.

Later that night; Rachel and Bellatrix sat out on the balcony of the hotel. They still wore breather masks, however the smog had lowered and the stars were visible. They fetched a pair of binoculars from inside.

‘That’s Wolf 359, Crown, my home. There, we don’t kill the environment. The environment kills us.’

‘So why the push to go to Nigeria? Crown is your home.’

Bella turned towards Rachel. ‘I can’t explain it; really, I can’t. For my great, great grandparents, I need a handful of that soil.’

‘I never knew my parents; I grew up on a Kinako algae farm.’

2226 – 03.20.      Lagos, Nigeria

Arriving at the airport, they were detained by security police. They were on the lookout for weapons smuggling and were suspicious of the intentions of the group to travel up-river into insurgent territory; however a donation of 200 credits into a suitable expense account smoothed the way. Achernar led the way down to the river.

‘WTF! What is that?’ Bellatrix stopped mid-stride, her mouth open. Achernar grinned. ‘That’s our transport up to Osogbo’

Standing on the riverbank was a machine, looking like a slab-sided beetle standing on six hydraulic legs. A control cabin sat at the front, behind this was a turret mounting a weapon. Two crab-like claws on hydraulic arms sat either side of the control cabin. A ladder led up to an open hatch. A large black man wearing crew overalls and a crew cap stood at the bottom of the ladder.

‘Hi folks.’ He had an American accent. ‘Call me LL. How do you like our Sturmkafer? We’re going to be taking a trip upriver. Come on aboard and meet the crew.’ He swung up the ladder and into the hatch.

Paula rounded on Achernar furiously. ‘I thought you said we were going by armoured hovercraft, not this heap of junk! What the hell is it, anyway?’

Etamin pointed at the side of the machine; the washed-out letters spelling USMC – JC1 could just be made out. Inside the cabin was painted a grey-green; with army style- bucket seats with a few cushions. A ladder led up to the control cabin. There were side windows with what looked like gun ports underneath. LL was there, with two other men. LL introduced them; Frank was American, he was the driver/ pilot and Stevens, an Australian, was the engineer.

‘Welcome aboard the Sturmkafer, the assault beetle. Actually, it was called the Jungle Cat; but not many six-legged cats around. Take a seat; Frank, get us moving. It’ll take about two days; the beetle isn’t fast, but not much can stop it.’ *

The Beetle lurched into moving and settled down to a rolling gait, similar to being on a ship at sea.

‘This was a USMC project to clear out landing sites in jungle terrain; you dropped one of these in and it could clear the terrain for landers to get in. The project was cancelled; Stevens here was one of the main engineers. When me and Frank mustered-out of the Marines, we all clubbed together and bought this at a knock-down price; Stevens came with it. Now we run groups of scientists or private charters like you up into the interior; in between we do a little bounty hunting.’

‘So how do they clear landing sites now?’ asked Etamin.

‘Oh now, they just drop the right-sized daisycutter where they want it’

2226 – 03.21-22 Aboard the Sturmkafer, heading towards Osogbo and the sacred grove of Osun-Osogbo.

‘Frank and me were in the 26th MEU, Charlie Company.’ LL cracked a Red Dragon open. ‘We had to do a bug hunt once, back in 2222, on Vernier, in the CAP. A frozen planet, needed respirators and cold as fuck. Scientific research team reported survey kit was being destroyed. Turned out, it was a plant-thing; active from the heat of the floodlights – it crawled/ grew up them until the weight caused them to collapse.’ **

The beetle didn’t travel at night (‘we bought the basic thing only, second-hand, there’s no IR or radar’) They had several Wildlands tents that were set up round the access ladder to the beetle.

‘Sleep with your guns’, advised LL. ‘This is not a safe area.’

‘What’s not safe?’ LL shrugged and started to strip his M8 EBR. ‘Pirates, outlaws, bad men who want to steal your kit, or even steal you. A science team got scalped out here a couple of years ago. Also, there are creatures. Maybe they are mutations, maybe they were created by a biolab and they escaped. We call then Draggots; they look like a large dog with crocodile jaws; they just kill for no reason and they are tough bastards to kill. Oh, and they hunt in packs.’

2226 – 03.24, aboard the Sturmkafer, returning to Lagos.

‘This is a handful of soil from my ancestral home.’ Bellatrix held the jar aloft. Achernar looked at Etamin; but Etamin just looked down and said nothing.’

Suddenly, the cabin exploded into flame and the beetle lurched sideways to the right. Achernar was thrown against the bulkhead; the rear of the cabin was on fire.

‘Pirates!’ yelled down Frank. ‘Three boats, one has a RPG that they just put into us. They might have damaged one of the legs. Hang on.’

The fire was quickly put out, but a hail of automatic weapon fire hit the beetle; several punching holes through and inside.

‘I thought this thing was armoured!’

LL pulled himself up, bleeding from a stomach wound. ‘This was the prototype; the Corp didn’t waste money on a failed project.’

‘Do we have any weapons?’

‘There is a M5A5 coilgun in the turret hardpoint. Stevens is the gunner.’ Achernar pointed; Stevens was on the deck; bleeding from multiple wounds.

‘Frank, full speed ahead.’

‘You’ve got it already; we’re limping; Leg L2 is out. This is why the MC abandoned walkers; too vulnerable to leg hits.’

Another burst of automatic fire hit the beetle; Achernar and LL grabbed the M8’s and returned fire through the gunports. Suddenly, with a sound like tearing cloth, the 12mm coilgun in the turret opened up. The boat with the RPG gunner disintegrated in a hail of fire; then exploded. ‘Got the bastard’, yelled Paula. The other two boats loosed off a few more shots and then retreated, there was another burst of fire from Paula in the turret and now only one boat was retreating.

‘Ach.’ It was Etamin. ‘Bella’s been hit.’ She had taken a head wound and was unconscious, clutched tightly in her hand was the unbroken jar of soil. Paula managed to stabilise her. Stevens had taken several glancing hits; probably from ricochets and after a couple or Red Dragons, declared that he was okay.

2226 – 04.01. Lagos

Bellatrix was recovering in hospital and was due to be discharged. LL had visited her a few times to see how she was (‘I feel guilty man, I should have protected the group better.’)

Paula, however, had some more disturbing news; her contacts had come back with some more information and a pattern was emerging. She called everyone together in the hotel room. She laid out some sheets of paper with notes on them and began to summarize points.

  1. Ms. Wantanabe refuses to come out of her room after the first night on the TAPP and it turns out she has been on Gateway in a cryo pod for two years (not twelve, as she apparently claimed.)
  2. Ms. Narita raises a concern about her and is found dead in the cabin, her throat crushed like in a vice.
  3. A businessman is found dead in New York; he died from crush damage to the throat. His name was Barry Whyte.

 

‘Hang on,’ said Etamin. ‘He was on the TAPP; he shared a cabin with me.’ Paula nodded; ‘that’s not all he shared.’

 

  1. In Paris, a woman was found dead in a hotel room; her throat had been crushed. Clothing and other evidence indicated that she was a high-class prostitute. Her name was Stella Etoile; presumably a working name. She was also on the TAPP and shared a cabin with Barry Whyte.
  2. Yesterday, a steward for EarthStar TO was found dead. Her throat had been crushed; her name was Vikki and she was the steward that greeted us aboard the TAPP at Liberty.

Achernar had been quietly listening; now, with effort, he spoke. ‘Barry Whyte, Stella and Wantanabe were all seated at my table for the departure meal in the TAPP. Vikki was our steward.’ He stood and looked out of the window. ‘So, Wantanabe is killing us off and I’m next on the list? Is that it?’ Paula didn’t answer and Achernar turned to face her. ‘Is that it? Wantanabe wants to kill me?’

Paula stood with tears streaming down her face. ‘I’m sorry Ach. Yes, I think that Wantanabe is a replicant; a killer Haruna clone, a … a Lebkuchen. But there’s more …’

‘What? What more?’

Paula took a deep breath. ‘Remember on Crown, when I found out who and what Lydia was; a GF 3 collector of genetic material? I’m sorry, really sorry Ach, but the DNA tests prove it.’

She took a deep breath and her voice broke.

‘Wantanabe is your daughter.’

To be continued …

================================================================

GM Notes

* Can you spot the reference? It would be FAB if you could.

** Another Easter egg reference; maybe it should be named New Europa.

The longest episode write-up to date; but so much happened and the whole Wantanabe story suddenly began to come together (most of it wasn’t planned – honest!) However, when Gaming, I always look to see if any previous events can be tied in first before generating new ones.

I’m not yet sure whether LL will become another PC; he was based on LL Cool J from NCIS: Los Angeles.

The growing bond between Rachel and Bellatrix also came as a surprise, again, looking back on events; it’s not unexpected.

Episode 2.13 is projected to be the Season finale; however, the way things have been going; it could be a two-parter!

(Can I just say; I have NO IDEA what the end is going to be. That’s the fun of playing solo.)

Naval ships in the Hostile universe

A lot is made in ship design for Traveller/ Cepheus/ most other systems about cabin/ stateroom size and how much space is needed per person. It’s usually a maximum of two people in a 3m x 3m cabin.

I’ve been watching a programme about the Royal Navy (the RN always interests me because when I was at school I considered joining up; it didn’t happen though.)

HMS ‘Duncan’, one of the Navy’s newest Type 45 frigates; has several mess rooms 3m x 2m that hold 6 (six) ratings. The bunks (‘pits’) are literally narrow slots in the walls with curtains that can be drawn for a little privacy. The central aisle is barely wide enough for one person.

Food for though for ship architects out there.

The Currents of Space – Episode 2.11

‘I spent twenty-four years on the force fighting scum like you.’ Paula went to draw her gun and Achernar stepped in.

‘No guns on a spaceship! Paula, back off a little and let’s hear him out. Etamin doesn’t strike me as being a terrorist’

‘Bella, we are all pioneers in a way; space is the High Frontier and we all know the dangers. Even with the modern tech at our disposal; things happen. Capella understood the risks of being out here; else he would have stayed on Earth.’

‘Hell; I was bragging a bit. I didn’t know the Queen Bitch would react like this!’

Etamin went to hug Rachel, but she pulled away and left the room. Etamin caught up with her on the upper observation deck. ‘What’s the matter? I thought you liked me?’

‘Which part of “you did anything to survive” are you struggling with, Ach?’

2226 – 03.04, Earth orbit, Gateway Station.

‘I’ve never been to Earth, nor has any of my family.’ Bellatrix was looking out of the viewport of Ring Three of the huge Gateway Station.

‘Don’t blame you’, replied Etamin. ‘It’s a total shithole. Why do you think I spent every last cred I had to come to your planet; which wasn’t much better?’

Achernar glanced at Etamin; then looked at Bellatrix. “We have some free time; while Komatsu sorts out his affairs. We were all born on Earth; why don’t we take you for a tour of the sights?’

‘What sights?’ muttered Etamin, then suddenly brightened up. ‘Hey Ach, have we still got that twenty tons of quin on board? I could get us some real money for that.’

‘No, Etamin, we don’t have it anymore. A good job Paula didn’t hear you say that. And, we are employees of the Kinako Corporation; we have an expense account.’

‘Paula. Frack, she’s just a goody-goody, acts like she was still a Marshal; and a little extra creds never went amiss.’

Bellatrix was still looking down at Earth. ‘It used to be called the Blue Planet. Now look at it.’

The Earth was a mixture of swirling brown and grey clouds over oceans of dark blue-green. There were three huge storm systems; two over the Atlantic Ocean and one over the Pacific Ocean.

‘The Bad Years, the Dark Years, the decades where no-one gave a fuck about what was happening to the planet. This is the result. Yet, ten billion people still live here, too frightened to go off-world to the colonies.’

‘I want to visit Nigeria.’

‘Eh? A lot of it is now everglades and wetlands. Also, it is dangerous and lawless.’

‘My family originally came from there. I would like a handful of soil from our homeland; to take back to Crown.’

2226 – 03.09, Earth orbit, Gateway Station.

‘Right, everything is organised.’ Achernar and Paula stood at the head of the room. ‘We are taking an OTV to Liberty Station and then riding the TAPP down to Macapa. We do a one-day overnight in Macapa; then take a SST to New London. Three days in New London, during which we visit the Virtual Zoo; then we take a charter down to Lagos in Nigeria. From there, it is a hovercraft up-river to Ajulo; which is the closest place we can find that your ancestors came from.’

‘Any questions so far?’

‘Okay, we all need a basic visitors pack for Earth. A filter/rebreather mask is an essential; a visor may help as well. Kinako has provided these.’

Paula stepped forward.

‘Weapons. Many areas of Earth are lawless outside of the cities; we will all carry sidearms. Inside the cities; it is best to use a local guide.’

Etamin raised his hand and grinned. ‘Who’s going to hire the guide? If you are going to use a government-backed one; then it would be better if I did the hiring, you know?’ Suddenly, his grin dropped and he leaned forward. ‘I’m deadly serious now. You are talking about going to some bad places. Don’t start trouble unless you know you can finish it. Earth is not a nice place to visit.’

2226 – 03.10, Liberty Station, TAPP.

‘Hi, welcome aboard EarthStar TransOrbital TAPP Shuttle. My name s Vikki; my companion is Alain. We are your stewards; here to make sure you have a fantastic journey down to Earth along the TAPP. Can I see your tickets please; then I can assign you to your rooms. Each room is a starship-standard double occupancy with basic fresher facilities; the doors are coded to your PADD.

Thank you.

The layout of the shuttle is as follows; if you are confused then please consult the schematic on each wall.

The bottom deck is a large observation dome; where you get an uninterrupted view of the Earth approaching.

The next deck is Crew Only; after that is the lounge. There are tables and chairs where meals are served; your PADD will tell you which table you are assigned to. We encourage you to talk to and interact with your fellow passengers on your table. There are four large observation blisters around the lounge.

The next two decks are your staterooms; four per deck. Your PADD is coded to your stateroom door.

The decks above this are Crew Only.

Liberty Station is 30,000 km above the Earth. The shuttles travel at 420km/h; it will take 3 days for the shuttle to reach Earth. We will keep Standard Ship Time; serving three meals per day. There are entertainment facilities in the lounge areas.

If you will please settle in your assigned rooms, we will depart Liberty in thirty minutes.’

Paula and Achernar were sharing cabin 01, Etamin was in cabin 04, sharing with an American. He was dressed in a smart suit and carried an expensive-looking attache case.

‘Pleased to meet you. Whyte’s the name, Barry Whyte, corporate agent for Yapeutic Systems’ Etamin smiled and introduced himself.  “Corporate agent my arse; you’re a crook of some kind,” he thought. “Wonder what’s in that case?

Rachel and Bellatrix were in cabin 07, on the next deck. It was the first time the two really had time to talk. The subject of Rachel’s drug addiction came up; being a pilot herself, Bella was familiar with the use of Betaton.

‘I don’t care if you have to shoot up, but do it in private, ok? And, will you get help to get off the stuff? Smart Drug is expensive. I’ve got some contacts that could help.’

Rachel nodded her agreement; ‘I’ve got my job back. I don’t want to risk losing it again.’

2226-03.11, riding the TAPP

Everyone met in the lounge for the departure meal; there were four tables that seated four people each. The two stewards served the food; it was Kinako Green, but tasted good. Part-way through the meal, an argument started at one of the tables; Etamin (of course), was at the centre of it. He was arguing about food supplies to US Marine Corp troops stationed in Buenos Aries with a woman; a merchant of some kind.

‘They get Kinako Red, the streets get Kinako Brown.’

‘I swear he provokes these arguments just for fun’, thought Paula wearily as she went over to break it up. ‘Maybe he can’t help it?’ Fortunately, she was able to defuse the situation and calmed the woman down.

Paula considered leaving the group once they reached Earth; but after talking it over with Achernar, she decided to stay. Rachel had told them all that she would get help with kicking the drugs.

2226-03.12, riding the TAPP

Day two and already boredom was setting in. Earth didn’t seem to be getting any bigger or closer. At least, as a ship’s crew, there were always some duties to be taken care of. Achernar and Paula were in their cabin when a knock came at the door. It was Alain, the steward.

‘Pardon for the interruption, but I would ask a favour. We are concerned that a passenger has not been seen since the departure meal; Ms Wantanabe. She is allocated to cabin 05, along with Ms Narita. Vikki has tried to speak to Ms Narita but she will not say anything. Could you discretely find out anything else? We are concerned that Ms Wantanabe may be sick and we only carry a basic medikit.’

Paula took the lead on this and they decided not to include the other members of the group (‘especially Etamin!’) Ms Narita was willing to open up to Paula; her cabin mate was sick with agoraphobia. After that first meal; with all of space around her; she couldn’t take it and shut herself away.

‘So what was she doing out here?’ Apparently, she had signed on for a colony transport out to Moser’s Landing ; due to a mix-up she had missed the departure and had been parked on Liberty for some time.

‘Some time? Like, how long. Aren’t colonists shipped out in cryo from day one?’

Ms. Narita  shrugged. ‘I don’t really know. From what she has said, maybe twelve years or so?’

‘So, she’s been in cryo for twelve years, believing she was on her way to Gliese 233; then woke up on Gateway Station. No wonder she’s fracked.’ Paula leaned forward. ‘Can I speak to her?’

Paula pulled Achernar to one side as Narita left the lounge.

‘There is really something not right here. A colonist cryo pod gets left forgotten for twelve years? Really? They have to be linked into the ships LS and monitoring systems once they are loaded; the ship maintains them.’

Achernar was doubtful. ‘Hypersleep pods can support their occupants for years. There is real evidence of one pod supporting a single occupant all the way from the Outer Rim.’

‘Colonist pods are not exactly top-of-the-range.  I’ve heard that story; the pod was found by a salvage crew and it was only by a miracle that the occupant pulled through. Even so, that pod was linked in to an ship’s boat running at minimal power. I’m telling you Ach, there is no way she has survived twelve years in a cryo pod.

2226-03.13, riding the TAPP

Suddenly, Earth was looming larger in the observation windows.

‘Hi everyone; we are due to arrive at Macapa in eight hours. Can you please ensure that all of your personal belongings are packed and ready for you to disembark.  Additional cargo and luggage will be unloaded into the passenger arrival area. On behalf of EarthStar TransOrbital, we hope you have had an enjoyable trip and that you enjoy your stay on Earth.’

‘Did you get to speak to her?’ asked Achernar. Paula shook her head. ‘There’s something going on there; but I really don’t know how to proceed with it.’

The descent to Macapa was made through a violent thunderstorm and heavy rain.

‘The TAPP is made of a Fullerine CNT and is easily able to handle these conditions. Macapa was chosen because of its site on the Equator; the heavy, almost-constant rain was factored in to the construction.’

2226-03.13, Macapa TAPP Ground Station

The arrival hall was a long building north of the TAPP anchor. Achernar and Paula were waiting at the carousel for their luggage.

‘Senor Achernar and Senora Vertise.’ The speaker wore the red and black uniform of Security. ‘I am Lieutenant  Pedros and you are under arrest. My sergeant will advise you of your rights under USC law. Please do not try anything stupid; you are under surveillance from armed officers and drones.’

To be continued …

===============================================================================================

GM Notes:

Again, the Currents of Space have blown me in an unexpected direction!

It started as a background-building session; especially as Bellatrix hadn’t visited Earth. A few ‘Tell Me’ rolls put some locations on Earth on the bucket list; including riding the TAPP. I didn’t realise (until I did some research) how long it would take to travel down the TAPP, three days is long enough to have a Travel Encounter.

I used the Mookmaker to generate the other passengers on the shuttle; checked if Etamin would piss someone off (predictably, yes) and then generated the event of a passenger in isolation. This suggested a Storyline linked to past events; a few ‘Tell Me’ rolls confirmed this and have laid the seeds for the Season Finale.

Plug: Zozer Games have released Synthetics, a sourcebook for Androids, Replicants and Clones, and Roughnecks, a sourcebook for playing miners and prospectors. Recommended.

The Currents of Space – Episode 2.10

The Aurora plague Storyline was established in February 2019 at the Game-Start; the dreadful COVID-19 pandemic has not been an influence.

‘His name was Jacob Vertise. He was my father.’ 

‘Oh, they dealt with it alright. They loaded all of the patients on to the “Marie Hope”, then despatched it to Earth.’

‘I think it’s time we started to make a difference in this total shit universe. We’ve saved Mitsuro Komatsu; we have his ship and we have the skills. We work for him and we have access to the resources of the Kinako Corporation.’

‘I have listened to your proposals; and I accept them. From now on, you are the crew of the “Oberon” and you work for me. In return, you have this ship as a base and what resources and contacts I have.’

+++ Message 1901202226 -1 +++

[USS Alabama [to Aurora Downport – Captain Jane Deladrier]

‘This is Captain Deladrier of the USSC “Alabama” to the officer in charge of Aurora Downport. We are inbound, ETA five hours.

Deladrier out.

+++ Message ends +++

2226-01.24, in orbit around Aurora

Bellatrix strode on to the bridge of the “Oberon” and looked at the screens, as well as out of the viewport. The USSC “Alabama” hung in matched orbit, about 1000 klicks away. It was the first chance they had really seen the Colonial cruiser up close (as it were.) It was sleek and deadly, bristling with sensor and weapon pods.

‘What’s the reply from Aurora?’

‘A general, neutral reply. ‘USSC Alabama, Captain Deladrier. We welcome your presence; but have no need of your assistance.’’

‘Deladrier responding. I recognise your assurance, however, under USS Mandate laws; I am required to land a squad of Marines for twenty-four hours to work with your local enforcers. Please transmit co-ordinates for a lander to put down. Deladrier out.’

‘That’s interesting. They must think there is something suspicious going on; else she wouldn’t have landed the Marines. Ten gets you five that they go down armed for bear’

‘Aurora Control to USSC Alabama. Please be advised that some areas are restricted access; open to Parkfield employees only.’

‘Are they deliberately trying to provoke her?’

‘Into doing what? Deladrier’s hands are tied; she can only act within Mandate law.’

‘Black Ops.’ Paula joined them on the bridge; watching as a lander exited the launch bay of the warship and headed down to the planet. ‘Deladrier, or probably her XO, will get a Special Operative down there to do some real snooping. If they find something, that’s when the fireworks will kick off.’

Later

Achernar, Paula and Etamin examined the bodies of the hijackers and the recording equipment in the hold to see if there were any more clues. From the overall bone structure and pale skin; they had all spent prolonged time in space.

‘Belters?’ said Achernar; ‘they look the right type. Ah, what’s this?’ All of the bodies had a tattoo on their left shoulder; a circle with an eye above it. Both Paula and Etamin nodded.

‘That’s the Overwatch Union; their goal is to expose exploitation of workers and their families in the Outer Colonies. They are pretty radical’

‘They took out the Director of Boston Harbour when he was visiting Earth; they blew his car up’, said Etamin, in an off-hand way. Paula and Achernar stared at him; Etamin grinned his disarming smile. ‘Okay, I supplied the route the car would take; but really, I didn’t know what they were going to do.’

Paula had a violent reaction to this. ‘You bastard’, she hissed, ‘you’re a fucking terrorist.’ She grabbed the nearest item and threw it at Etamin; he ducked and it missed him.*

‘I spent twenty-four years on the force fighting scum like you.’ Paula went to draw her gun and Achernar stepped in.

‘No guns on a spaceship! Paula, back off a little and let’s hear him out. Etamin doesn’t strike me as being a terrorist and he doesn’t have a tattoo.’ A thought struck him, ‘Etamin; let’s see your left shoulder – okay. Now what happened?’

Etamin slipped a wicked-looking knife back into a sheath in his left boot and leaned back against a bench.

‘I was born a street rat in Buenos Aries; I never knew my parents. You did anything to survive; I was in a street gang and we did what we had to do. We were promised 3 blocks** to get the information on the route the Director’s car would take; I got it for them but they tried to rat us out. We took them down and they had this tattoo. I did some fishing and found out about the Overwatch Union. Next thing; the Directors car gets blown up by an RPG.’

‘So you didn’t actually supply the route – you took them down? So why the frack did you say that you did?’

‘Hell; I was bragging a bit. I didn’t know the Queen Bitch would react like this!’

Paula glared and pointed a finger. ‘Just stay away from me.’ She stormed out of the hold.

Achernar eyed Etamin coldly. ‘You don’t seem too concerned anyway about what happened?’

‘Which part of “you did anything to survive” are you struggling with, Ach?’

2226-01.26, in orbit around Aurora

+++ AURORA CONTROL +++

Brought to you via landline from Parkfield Corporation

– There is a developing region in the southern equatorial belt, a Class Three sunspot. This is being kept under observation.

– Polar magnetometers show fluctuations higher than normal; hourly monitoring is available on the Control channel.

++ ADVISORY: If the warning sounds; or the aurora deepens in intensity, then seek shelter immediately. Get into your assigned shelter or as deep underground as you can. ++

++ ADVISORY: The recent prolonged solar storm severely depleted stockpiles in the shelters. All citizens are advised to bring two weeks supply with them. ++

++ ADVISORY: There are Colonial Marines present; working with our own security forces to ensure our safety. Report any inappropriate questions to your Parkfield Rep. ++

2226-01.26, Lounge of the ‘Oberon’

‘There is no reason to stay here. Rachel, you are not going to get to those ruins; there’s a flare building and a fucking Colonial cruiser in orbit.’ Achernar looked out of the viewport at the “Alabama.” ‘I suggest we head out and come back later; much later.’

‘I concur.’ The voice was weak, from Mitsuro. ‘I must return to Kinako HQ at Earth, to alleviate what damage my abduction has done. Once we return, I will formally transfer ownership of the ‘Oberon’ to you; you will act as my trouble shooters, operating as and when I see fit. In all regards, you will answer to me only.’

‘This is a great honour, Mitsuro-san.’ Rachel fell to her knees and bowed.

Etamin gave his charming smile. ‘I never thought I’d end up working for the big boys. Do you know how much your stuff costs on the streets; the real streets?’

‘Ok, we’d better move before the “Alabama” starts taking an interest in us.’ Achernar turned to face the group. ‘Komatsu, where to?’

‘Mitsuro-san, please, I am your employer. Earth, of course.’

To be continued…

================================================================

GM Notes

* Reaction roll of Snake Eyes

** Block – slang for 1000 credits

Ok, back after a long break (many reasons, none really relevant.)

I did think I’d painted myself into a corner, but then I realised I was getting too hung up on what I wanted to happen. Sure; I’m interested in the alien ruins, but, really as things stand they are not accessible and it would be stupid to keep pushing that plotline.

Suddenly, a whole (potential) plotline revealed itself and I’m really excited to be going with it for Season 3.

I do still want to set up a separate, parallel Game involving the “Alabamba”; SOLO has the rules for doing this.

 

A Pirate’s Poem

A Game played over the Internet with Lisa, Jon, Evie, Isla, Imi and Ben last Saturday. We used The Code of Steam and Steel as the rules and let everyone create their own characters.

Eliza Dolots (played by Isla): – Pilot/Helmswoman

Olivia the pirate (played by Evie): -Brawler, likes kicking in the chest

Ronald ‘Shark Bait’ Shelley (played by Jon): -Carpenter

Gwendolyn ‘Black Eyes’ Vance (Lisa): -Curator of the museum and pirate enthusiast.

Swashbuckler Skull (Imi)

Judson Deathdancer (Ben)

Introduction

Some time ago, a first edition copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ came to the Museum. It was signed by the author.

Sealed inside the back cover was a map; signed J.H. Written on the map was a poem.

RLS was known to have incorporated real elements into his stories: – the treasure of Treasure Island may exist. The poem is obviously a clue to the location of the treasure.

The PC’s are to use the (top secret) Time Tunnel to travel back to Pirate Town in 1700 to locate the lost treasure.

A Pirate’s Poem

From the standing stones that guard the bay

This isle means death in another way

 

A stone-built house, its fires are cold

Yet a hidden way through is for the bold

 

The Star of Five; nay do not stay

The Demon’s eye will show the way

 

The shore at last, now fix the boat

For its final voyage, it needs to float

 

Now raise the sail and steer true west

Veer not north or south, it will not be best

 

With the finger girded round

Prevent the shades that make no sound

 

My rede is done, if you have done your best

Then you are welcome to my chest

                                                J.H

 

The Game went well and all the players enjoyed it (even Evie; who only dropped in now and again as she was making a sluggery in the garden (probably best not to ask.))

They managed to follow the clues in the poem without too much difficulty; although they hired the boat to row across to the island. They encountered Black Dog and the pirates on the island, as they had crossed the causeway at low tide.

Imi showed great inventiveness in the combats.

“I’ll grab the demon with my hook and pull him forwards; then trip him up”

“While (Uncle Jon) is fixing the boat; I’ll try and make the pirates come over to me by waving my sword”

It all went wrong right at the end; the cannon fire from the ‘Black Pig’ damaged the Time Spike, causing them to be lost in time; they all arrived one hundred million years in the past, at Camp Cretaceous (the next Game, requested by Evie as she wants to fight dinosaurs again.)

X20 and the Puzzle-Monkey

Following the attempt of the Rhanarrn to steal the moon, Imi and X20 finally arrived at Arkadia Space City, in Galaxy 4. X20 needed to refuel with hyperatomic fuel charges; it turned out there was a 1 week delay due to them all being bought up by the Kaladarian Federation. With some time to kill, Imi and X20R set out to explore the space city.

On leaving Docking Bay 17, Imi was jostled by a Vargr, who was arguing with a Kalonian about something that had been sold by accident.

Vargr: “But they paid good money for it!”

Kalonian: “But it was promised to DelArco and she’s not the forgiving type. We need to get it back.”

In front of them they say four Ogrins; hulking mercenaries carrying laser rifles. One played a recorded holo-message from Nicola DelArco.

“You have been avoiding my calls. I want my Jester Monkey. Hand it over now! Ogrins! Kill them and search their ship.”

The Ogrins opened fire on the two aliens, Imi and X20 (they do tend to follow instructions literally!) Finally they were driven off, especially when it turned out that Imi had telepathic abilities*

They went to a street café in the Zocalo and Yaylor Vin, the Kalonian, explained the problem.

DelArco paid them 1000Cr up front for a Jester Monkey; a creature that is illegal in most systems. They got hold of one, but lost most of the money in a gambling game on Ringworld 2.

A Rakashan offered 900Cr for the monkey and Growllf (the Vargr) made the sale (because they needed the money.)

Jester Monkeys are great mimics; if they see an action then they will mimic it; however they don’t understand what they are doing or why. A Jester Monkey could start and steer a car, but wouldn’t necessarily use the brakes unless it had seen it being done. This is why they are illegal in most systems.

Rakashan settle many disputes by duelling, using special duelling lasers that inflict minimal damage. However, if a Jester Monkey witnessed this and got hold of a real laser pistol, then it could shoot a Rakashan and kill them.

Vin and Growllf need to lie low as DelArco’s goons are looking for them (Nicola DelArco is one of the Seven.) Imi agreed to go and try and get the monkey back.

“Why can’t we just buy another?” “They are illegal! There is a 5000 Cr fine for even thinking about owning one!”

Exploring the space city and trying to find out more about Rakashans. ** Rakashans are cat-people, with a strict code of honour but a marked xenophobia towards other races. To offer to buy the monkey back would be seen as an insult; the only way to do it is to offer a gift of greater value. Finally, after an encounter with purple-uniformed city security who were asking questions about X20R (it turns out that unbraked quantum intelligences are also illegal) ***

Finally, they found a weapons shop – ‘Heydock’s Weapons – Finest Energy Weapons in the Known Universe’, and purchased a matched pair of Rakashan duelling lasers in an ornamental case. They headed towards the Rakashan enclave but found that there was some trouble; the Jester Monkey had got hold of a fusion rifle and was firing off shots at random. X20R managed to stun it with his electro-beams; although he, Imi and Cynbe (the Rakashan) were injured. They took the monkey in exchange for the pistols and headed back to Docking Bay 16, where Vin and Growllf were hiding in their ship. They handed over the monkey, left the aliens to deal with DelArco and headed back to the Zocalo.

=================================================

GM Notes

A great fun Game, played over the Internet. It was a nice day so Ben and I were out in the garden, with the laptop set up under a cover so we could see Imi on the screen.

I had great fun with the names of the places and the aliens; most of which meant nothing to Ben or Imi.

* We’ve upgraded and changed the characters a bit; one of the great benefits of the Code of … system is that characters can be tinkered with quite easily. The Green crystal now gives Imi psionic powers.

** I had provided a schematic of the space city to explore; of course they ignored many of the interesting locations!

*** I’m currently reading The Belt by Gerald M Kilby and enjoying it a lot.

 

X20 and the Moonstealers

Imi had got her bags packed as X20 was taking her on a holiday to Arkadia, the massive space-city at the centre of Galaxy 4. It was a bright night of the full moon; as they watched a shadow began to slide across the moon.

‘This is an unscheduled eclipse of the moon.’

‘Look,’ said Imi. ‘The shadow is wrong, it’s moving upwards across the moon.’

Out in space they saw the reason; a huge cylindrical spaceship with a pointed horn at the end was encasing the moon in a net of energy.

‘They’re stealing our moon!’ The ship moved off, heading for the Portal to Galaxy 2, pulling the moon behind it.

X20 gave chase and they attempted to contact the ship; the communicator screen lit up. It was a rhinoman.

‘I am Captain Jarrl of the Rhanarrn. We are taking your moon to add to our collection’*

Imi and X20R boarded the Rhanarrn ship; while Imi distracted the Rhanarrn crew, X20R started pulling out wires and stuff until something happened.* The ship stopped and dropped out of the Portal; Imi and X20R stormed the bridge and finally subdued the Captain and the crew (Imi made good use of her green crystal.) They found out that the Rhanarrn were stealing moons to use to make a new planet. **

X20R figured out the controls and they dropped back into the Portal to return to Galaxy 1. Suddenly they were attacked by a leaf-ship of the Ded-Li! They managed to drive it off; but the Ded-Li affirmed that they were the enemies off all of the Nine Galaxies.

They managed to get the moon back into orbit without (hopefully), no-one noticing (barring the odd earthquake, weather disruptions and massive tidal waves.) They released the Rhanarrn crew in an escape pod and sent it back through the Portal; then exploded the ship on the darkside of the moon as a warning to any other moonstealers. ***

X20 and Imi then set off for Arkadia.

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GM notes

Again, a great Game played using Facebook with Imi at her end (with her mom Chloe chipping in every now and again) and Ben and me at our end.

The Game helps with Imi’s maths as we let her work out the dice totals.

 

The Nine Galaxies is our Game-setting, nine Galaxies linked by Portals (wormholes.)

 

* Using the d6 table, with Imi and Ben coming up with suggestions for the entries. This is a great mechanism to use in any Game system and setting. Simon first mentioned these in Squadron UK; I use them in all my Games.

Any time you have a situation where the result is unclear or you just want some fun, make a d6 table.

1 = Nothing, 6 = Something More (which leads to another d6 table, with even wilder results); entries 2-5 are suggested by the players along the theme of the situation.

** This was Imi’s idea – it’s so good I’m going to run with it and somewhere there is going to be an artificial planet made of moons strung together like a necklace.

*** Hmm. Imi has been studying the history of the Tudors at school (she is 7; going on 8.) Her suggestion was to execute the Rhanarrn and put their heads on sticks as a warning! X20 managed to talk her out of that one.