Begin Session 4: A Tangled Web
Last time on CMU Traveler: We found a derelict ship of the ancients. After fighting off Space Worms, Space Panthers and Space Boobs, AND meeting an extremely friendly instruction manual, we are now heading the hell out of this god-forsaken system, and heading… somewhere.
That somewhere is 0207, otherwise known as Clint. We’re going to offload our technical specs on the Ancient Stardrive (to Mjolnir).
We get there. We head into Clint Prime; it’s about earth-size (assuming earth is the usual case), 30% surface water, an atmosphere like Hong Kong. No-one lives on the surface.
Starport is in a big pit. We’re out into the happiness that is Clint Prime; it’s really warm. (surface temp 315K)
Nothing fancy here; C-class. We’re in the world. What do we do?
We have a lot of drugs… They’re made for the Ancients. Let’s not take anything with us except guns for now… It’s law-level 3; even I’m allowed.
It’s like a toasty kind of Hoth; rooms are drilled out of the rock.
Crick’s contact is somewhere in the industrial district… or we could try the interweb.
Coded comm channel?
Bones tries to sneak around to find them; they have an office.
Alan tries to find hidden comm-lines; he knows exactly what everyone’s doing for dinner, but nothing much; it’s a feudal technocracy; they don’t need to talk to each other.
Crick gets an appointment. What do with the spam? We tell people to pick them up.
They’ll call us… Either that or Alan’s hitting on the secretary.
Gambling Halls!!!!! For asteroid miners and idiots. We are wanted men, though…
Crick puts a tracking device on the ship, unbeknownst to us… Bom Bom BOM! Bah Da Dah! Ba Da Dah! Or not; this world’s tech ain’t that great.
Alan gets grenades, Bones buys them for him without attracting too much attention.
I wonder where we could get a grenade launcher?
I set up Professor Tsilri’s Magic Show: I make 75 credits. Mazel Tov.
I open my mind to the psychic ether, and something speaks to me!
It tells me to meet it at 133rd and Epsilon in the upper Bosborian Hive at Evening Meal.
Meanwhile, the other three are meeting the Mjolnir dude over the Ancient artifacts.
We (well, Crick) get 5% royalties on the next gen of stardrive. Mazel Tov.
We’re going about our business when one of the porters offloading the ancient spam blows himself up.
Bones finds someone who needs 5 tons of cargo moved discretely. Where to? Anywhere but here.
Really, 0607. Bones gets 50k. Holy hells! AND half now, half later.
Back to the bomb; there exists a terrorist organization that opposes the ruling government and occasionally blows themselves up.
We bring this up with Mjolnir. It turns out that the surface dwellers are pissed off that things got industrialized; Mjolnir sort of caused the environment problems.
Upshot; They have a leader. They’d like to talk to him.
The Surfacers (Wastelanders, in my notes): They have villages, but they move and satellite intel isn’t great. They do know they have some kind of rogue telepath.
The psychic: He’s definitely a telepath, and possibly capable of teleportation. Depending on if he’s my contact, we could be in business.
We meet back at the ship; I’ve had the message, but I haven’t gone to drink the koolaid yet. Alan’s dealing with the exploded spam, Bones has 5 tones of something, and Crick has a mission.
I’m going to need to try and get myself into the organization, assuming it’s the right organization.
Somewhat worrisome: these people have detect magic.
I go to the meeting; it’s the local psionics institute: they know I’m a master at teleporation, and they have a job, but the location is insufficiently secure.
I go back with them. It’s in an outlying part of the town toward the surface; it’s a safe-house in a slum.
Basically, the issue is that Mjolnir has been buying the local government and been shipping psions off to the imperium.
THEY’VE BEEN SHIPPING OFF TELEPATHS!!! They did blow up our ship, but MJOLNIR’S BETRAYING TELEPATHS!!!
They want me to use a nuke on their (Mjolnir’s) headquarters.
Better to ask forgiveness than permission… That’s never been used in relation to a nuke before.
I could at least use that completely useless life-sciences skill I have to see if Mjolnir’s hiding something; I’d like a better option, but I don’t have one.
I fail to convince them (rest of the group) that I’m not under duress; they follow me out to the wastes.
I land at a wastelander camp; how do we know this, there’s water.
The others are sneaking up to rifle-not-penalty range. They roll stealth.
The car sets down in the middle of what looks like a Jawa camp.
Alan hears our conversation. I go into the chief’s sand crawler. I don’t come out.
Pocket nuke’s not a problem to port, but city is WELL outside my port range.
Mjolnir is sending Rods from God. Oh Shit.
I starburst out of there, Bones picks up the other two.
Things fall. Other things are unhappy. I had the forethought to put my helmet back on.
Let’s reconvene, and discuss what just happened. I can’t help but feel that we were used.
Om mani pad mé I need a lift now.
I’ve got a bomb; please try to stop me.
Let’s do the smart thing and investigate… and if everyone is evil, THEN we can use the bomb. We won’t use the bomb.
Let’s find a nice rock to hide this under, and only let Loknar know where it is.
I recommend that after we expunge any use for this thing, we have a REAL nice fireworks display in the outer system.
Crick’s seen this before; some Mjolnir execs go rogue and seek out this telepath bounty for fame and fortune. This is where Crick’s job as a corporate “troubleshooter” comes in.
All the telepaths I knew of just got squished; let’s go disable their psi-detectors… with C4.
OR, if we could find evidence that it’s a sideline, we don’t need to wait for the head office.
1) Find and destroy the psi detectors. Keep at least 1 is evidence.
2) Find evidence as to who’s doing it.
2 ways to get in; go in under cover of darkness, or go in as people expecting a meeting. Problem with #2 is that people will expect us.
We still have to have the meeting; going to accounting would give us the best idea of what’s what.
We still have to get IN. There’s a motor pool above and a diamond plant (factory producing synthetic industrial diamonds) below.
Lets see if the plans are on file. Nope.
Wait… They’re trafficking people, and we just got a lot of cargo… I’m putting 2 and 2 together here.
Life detection: sleeping people!
But they have tamper-evident seals… Let’s break them open…Later.
We found a drunk guard. Bones slips him the micky from hell, and he’s out (as in, out to the hospital). Damn.
We found ANOTHER drunk guard. We know the layout, special projects harms small animals, and he’s seen the backpack psi-detectors. (Crick uses authority to convince hospitalized guard to feed him data.)
Bones slips him a micky for good measure.
Getting into the building: Yeah…
We get tranq rounds. (Mechanically, probably broken. These might need to be reexamined for balance.)
Life detection: Not a whole lot of people in the building.
Telempathy: Hit them with the 60s, which is +2 to their stealth.
They make it to the elevator, and hack the the key pad; the elevator opens.
Proceed to security. Nothing can go wrong…
We head to accounting; we’ve pretty much zonked all security at this point.
We hack into the accounting system. We have recorded information that Mjolnir was taking kickbacks for delivering psychics to the empire. I warned you! I warned you!
Special Ops: No one’s there, but it’s kind of locked. Hack fest.
Good; we find the psi detectors, they hack for more info.
Info: They had info on the villagers, traitors in the camp. All of them got rocks dropped on them; they’ve pretty much exhausted the population. The project was going to move off-world to continue the project on the other industrial planet; the one with the space station.
No research on their own; empire must be paying them oodles.
We find an anti-psi armory with detectors, flak vests, and anti-psi drugs. They also have very strange gauss rounds made of purple goo.
We disable the NAS detectors and gauss pistols. We’re done here.
Back to the elevator and BACK OUT!!!
Check for security logs of us; there are. We nuke them.
Everyone is happy, except Alan; he didn’t get to shoot anything.
LET’S GET THE HELL OFF OF THIS PLANET!!!
We kept 3 psi-detectors; one to use, one to sell, one to study.
Hold on a second; we got bugged. We sweep the ship. They bugged us.
We got to jump, and now we have some slightly interesting boxes to open.
Let’s head to 0607 (Vega) by way of 0406 (XV-17).
Gel is a pretty-standard anti-psi drug.
We crack the seal (on the crates o’ people); They’re pretty out of it. A box has also been opened recently.
The missing life-sign is in engineering.
Telempathy: We’re dealing with psychics: I get blocked.
we use the NAS: this is a frigging smart person and powerful telepath.
We get them fairly calm. They’re not coming out, but they’re calm.
Story: Female, Attractive, Naked, Blind. Does not know why on the last one.
Bones fails as a doctor; she contracted for low-berth to get off Clint. She contacted a disreputable transport agency. It turns out she was given lower-than-low berth.
We open all the crates; only one is a psychic, the others are just attractive, female, and naked.
Life Sciences: I speculate that she’s psionically aware (subconscious application of Awareness skill to control metabolism), which protected her from the drugs.
They’re asleep for three weeks; we’ve got life support for eight people; they’re not coming out.
Just so we’re clear, we’re not making the drop.
-We could make the drop, with Alan reenacting Thor’s Wedding.
BTW: her name’s Brook.
0607: Also Known as Vega: High population Industrial world. Also parties, thanks to the duke, and pirates, thanks to the pirates.
RANDOM ENCOUNTER!!! It doesn’t make sense, so it doesn’t happen (Seriously, how many alien derelicts can you reasonably expect to find in one system during the course of a single month?).
Within the day, Brook gets her eyesight back. She was just trying to get out, so she’s not really sure what to make of all this. She’s not real sure what she wants to do.
About the drop we DO NOT intend to make. The bad guys in Vega are just looking for a drop; they’re not looking for OUR ship.
The correct sequence of events
-Land the ship
-Go to the local leos (law enforcement officers), or better yet, the duke.
-We’re willing to help with some kind of sting operation.
Find the duke; go to a party.
The nobles laugh, but I’m a baron. They stop laughing. I have an appointment in the near future. #define near future; we need this to be tomorrow; we’re invited to his party in three days.
WE ONLY HAD THREE DAYS. We had jump-drive problems. And pirates… lots of pirates… And terrorists… LOTS of terrorists.
We go to the party. I can party… barely, Bones gets a bit too drunk, Alan punches out a noble (and gets very, very drunk), and Crick stays in the ship polishing his rifle.
The first rule of parties is that there must be ninjas. (No, really. First Law of Parties in RPGs: if you have to leave your weapons at the door, expect ninjas to attack.)
Where do they come from? The skylight.
The “ruling party” of the planet can’t maintain a defensive perimeter.
The ninjas are there; they’re the guards. They’re there to keep the pirates out.
And now for something completely different…
I am sober enough to talk to the duke. Bones might not do too well, and Alan is out cold.
The Duke… Is partying.
Hey! Duke! Mind talking about the sex trade?
Possibilities: The duke likes parties a lot, enough to pay for them now they’re here, or not enough to not help.
End result: We get knighted for the bust (patents of minor nobility on Vega; relatively exempt from weapons-carry laws, for example), and allies (ninjas!) when we go do it.
Preferred MO; they’re ninjas; they’re all for sneaking. So are we.
Plan: Ninjas form a perimeter, we get info on the drop, and then ninjas.
=> Allow them to take the crates back to the lair, and then out comes Alan.
=> We could use Brook as a lure, but so could I. The point is, we need girls in crates.
OR: the duke probably has female guards.
Okay. We make the drop. Empty crates.
Let’s deal with the jagoffs first.
We go to the drop site; it’s in the mountains in the middle of nowhere. We have ninjas.
Alan plays thor. There’s another ship, and some dudes. They’re waiting. There are 7 of them, and – including the ninjas – 7 of us.
We rig the crates with stun grenades. We reenact Caddyshack. (Nine crates with stun grenades, and one full of Angry Marine with Gauss Rifle.)
We’re there, we deploy the ninjas out the airlock using their Freaky Deeky Ninja Magic.
Let’s Draw! We land the ship such that one of the airlocks isn’t apparent.
The ninjas and Crick deploy out the side.
There’s a pilot in the ship, because it makes things more interesting.
Two possibilities; they take the crates without asking, and Tim wreaks havoc. OR, they open a crate, and we’re committed to the channel.
Crick’s on the roof, Bones and I are walking to meet them, and Tim’s in the crate.
There exist seven dudes, one in the ship.
-Captain, first officer, 3 cargo guys, noble-looking personage who was not at the party.
They Picked ALAN! That guy didn’t stand a chance. Combat ensues.
The first officer is now on fire and takes 1d6 fire damage, but it’s negated by the combat armor. That said, he’s not happy.
Tim nails the guy in the combat armor, everyone else goes in short order. Let’s get on the ship before they go. There’s a pilot on the ship.
His response; They don’t pay me to get shot at.
Let’s do the math.
Captain’s out, Mooks are out (except for crate boy… Sorry) First Office is conscious and on fire. He’s not conscious any more; we get a can-opener.
We have prisoners, and… A BIGGER SHIP!!!
The ship: We have a 200-ton far-trader! WOO HOO!!!
I succeed at the brain probe:
Are you a decision-making manager, or just a lacky for the higher ups?
-They are the actual guys. They’re actually part of the local pirates.
Let’s go get the pocket nuke.
Where’s the pirate base
-On board a space-station; it’s either mobile, or the local leos are corrupt.