Last time on CMU Traveler: After a near-stint at nuclear terrorism and uncovering a body-snatching operation by Crick’s semi-former employers, our intrepid heroes are now paying a visit to the Ruling Party of the planet Vega – namely the one held by our friend the duke. After breaking up another, semi-unrelated body-snatching operation, our heroes are now considering using the previously-nearly-used nuke on the second body-snatching operation.
The question; do our heroes know where the pirate base is? It’s not monolithic. The system has an asteroid belt, and the pirates have hollowed out a few of them that the duke allows them to keep as long as they don’t disrupt his ruling party.
So, it can’t be taken out by our nuke. That doesn’t mean it can’t be taken out by US…
We should offer to take them out and replace them with other pirates that don’t suck.
Problem: We don’t have another group of pirates.
We give the ninjas, and we theoretically get paid. Er… patents of minor nobility valid only on Vega. Open carry on your weapons, at least.
Now… Do we keep someone else’s ship, or do we take the mindcraft version of the millenium falcon?
Warning; the Millenium Falcon may have quirks
It has smuggling compartments: it IS the Serenity! But with a pulse laser
Brooke decides to stick around; she wants me to teach her more skillz.
Sooo… The Far Trader is damn expensive. Let’s go smuggling… The duke likes stimulants…
How much is left on life support? 4 more weeks. Let’s get a job.
Let’s return the scout ship to the scouts; we has our own ship!!!
We remove the labels!! Ship is ours! It has a randomize transponder code button on the dashboard
We return the ship to the Scouts, and tell them about the Relics of the Ancients, and Loknar. We don’t tell them about the map; the map is ours, or the abandoned space station; we don’t really know anything about it.
About the pirates… We’re not exactly an assault force… Oh wait! Yes we are! The pirates have multiple operations, so it’s not necessary to take out the whole base; just the body-snatchers.
We head out to the pirate bases of the Torrent Belt; they’re advertising. This isn’t a terribly lawful system, is it?
It’s law level 0… Aww… I forgot my bomb back on Clint.
Crick wants Intrusion Software
Bones canvases the area/internet. We hear a lot of people talking about how the Not-For-Hire was late… Oh, wait! That’s the ship we stole. Oh crap!
Bones wants to eavesdrop; let the noodle of glory do the work for you.
Alan gets 3500, and is ?… he finally made money gambling, but not sure where this sentence was going
Read surface thoughts: I gather they (scruffy looking crew Bones found in a bar)‘re business rivals of the Not-for-Hire, and don’t exactly have beneficent intent toward said crew. Oh boy.
I can pretend to be a missionary!!!
This involves read surface thoughts, telempathy, and persuade. Oh my dear and fluffy lord. Intent; to find out just what kind of pirates these guys are.
Actually, Bones just gets them drunk. C’mon guys, they’re pirates. You don’t even have to try to get them drunk
Interrogating the pirates
What do you do?
-They smuggle things.
What kind of things?
-We don’t ask
How’s it going?
-Yick. Imperium’s being annoying. Missed a contract
They’re not the body-snatchers.
About the contract…
-So, they didn’t get a contract with Trevor.
Who the hell is Trevor?
-He was paying nicely to move some cargo from clint, and they didn’t get it.
Wait; didn’t we get some nice paying cargo..? Oh boy.
Who got the contract? You seem pretty competent
-Captain Arnesen of the Not for Hire (wait, I thought Arneson was the captain you were talking to… memory fades, though)!! Oh boy.
We know that there’s someone called Trevor. He’s the one we need to pay a visit to.
-He’s got an office 3 asteroids over…
That was easy.
We all meet back, except Alan runs into someone… Bom Bom BOOOOM!!!! Bah da DAH! Bah da DAH!
He bumps into this due. This dude is Valdo, the guy I brain-punched back on the lava world.
Red tried to go kill Makkan.
GREAT! How’ve you been?
-He’s signed on with an underground cybernetics clinic. When Red didn’t come back after two months, Red is probably dead…
Soooo… How’s the clinic going for you?
-We do combat implants, mostly; they’re usually illegal.
Do you guys need any shipping done? We’ve got a cargo ship…
-I might know a guy. I’ll give you a call.
NOW back at the ship… We share info. There’s a guy three asteroids over who’s the next step in the body-snatcher organization.
Should we get the nuke now? Alan’s getting antsy. Let’s get the nuke.
Wait… We delivered 5 tons of cargo. The NFH has 64 tons… 64 > 5… What else is in there?
20 tons of basic consumables (foooood. Or maybe just standard nitrogen-oxygen mix). We find a buyer. We sell it for 48K! HOLY SOKAR!
It took us a day to find a buyer. It would take us a month to find the bomb, so let’s not…
We head to Chez Clive… Er… Trevor. (the offices of Trevor & Clive, LLC)
We find the office… in a strip mall. It’s actually more of a warehouse with an office upstairs. The warehouse isn’t full.
There’s a couple ways we could handle this.
-Pose as buyers/sellers
-Lean on Trevor with our massive arsenal and hope he doesn’t have a bigger one.
We also hope we have both of them in front of us.
Let’s ask the local barflies if they know anything.
Bones finds Trevor (curse you, 12s!). OKAY! I try to brain-probe him. with effect -1. You get a read, but he realizes something’s up.
“Don’t worry; it’s just the absinthe.” We convince him it’s a conspiracy. He dons his tin-foil hat. DAMMIT!!! It actually works!
So… That failed. Let’s follow him/tap his comms. Crick cracks his comms.
He’s called the office; something’s up. The office has found our ship. They are now suspicious.
Let’s hack his computers: we get into his facebook page. We’ve found body-snatchers inc.
Do they appear to have higher-ups? Nope.
We could try to letter-bomb his contact list, but that would be bad…
It looks like it’s a family business; there’s no-one else in the business.
Is there a local bounty-hunter board? We’d like to if Trevor/Clive have any death bounties. Let’s also see if anyone has a bounty on us.
Do they have security on payroll; a couple of dudes.
-Enough to deter thieves, not a frontal assault.
We also hack the security cameras. At some point, they are both in there with a buyer. We storm the place.
In the warehouse; there are crates and palettes of crates, and a creepy little suspended office.
Let’s just apply 60s (telempathy: chill) and bullets to the guards, and a RAM grenade to the office.
I Project the 60s: They immediately whip out the weed.
Bones stun grenades a lot of them, but strangely, they don’t go down (Armor, b*tches).
Crick shoots one.
Brain Punch: he’s out.
The inhabitants of the office have been randomized with a uniform distribution.
Bones does his medic thing, (failing miserably and) killing both of them (the guards who had been shot), and Alan gets a phone call.
Safe: Alan sends the safe into the next county (Gotta love worlds where explosives are readily available). Recon check to find the safe?
Money and Secret documents.
50K and something interesting. Buyer’s lists, acquisitions agents, and bribed people.
The local leos would like the lists.
It’s bad for business to have neighbors explode. Let’s boogie.
Wait… We have a majority of naked women in a warehouse on a pirate planet.
We rent a Uhaul. It’s the guys we met in the bar. They’re kind of happy we blew up their not-so-employers.
We have the girls on the ship, and now take the message from Valdo.
“Oh god! He’s HERE!!! <bang> Hello, Alan”
Oh, crap. It’s Makkan.
This is a situation where we want to check the ship for explosives and then get the hell out of there.
Bones and I go looking for more cargo, Crick is talking to Brooke, and Alan’s supervising the movers/freaking.
Cargo Land: We’re in some of the seedier parts of seedyville.
We’re looking for in-system cargo. We buy 40 tons of cargo at 8000K to go to the Duke’s planet (erm, are contracted to move 40 tons of cargo to Vega Prime. This distinction is important later.).
In the future, let’s ask the women if they’d like to go home.
Let’s get the HELL OUT OF HERE!!!
We head back to Vega, carefully randomizing our transponder code
We use sensors to see if we’re tailed. We’re being tailed by a corsair.
HEY ALAN!!! PEDAL FASTER!!!
Let’s man the guns, but have we sent the “don’t shoot us, we’re pathetic message?”
“This is the Bane of Heathens. Prepare to be boarded” Oh shit. (Ship names for the ages…)
We’re not going to out-ship them. (The corsair pulls 3g, the trader pulls only 1g. Also much better armed) We’re going to have to out-think them.
Time: 2 minutes!
They get 1 round of shooting. 3 beam-lasers. This isn’t good.
Our turret is hit, but our jump-drive is okay!!!
Jump: 8! We STARBURST!!! TO 0805!!!
What the hells is at 0807???
Actually, It’s an imperial system. CRAP.
It’s a planet of Utah, with a lot of disagreeing religious sects.
We don’t want to spend ANY more time here than we need to.
We beat them to the system, but they’re probably not far behind.
We have numerous problems.
1: Makkan; do things quickly
2: The women: We’ve landed in Utah; there’s got to be some charity that could help them. Let’s talk to them first.
-Mix: A few were trying to get to Vega, but most were just on the run.
18 want to get dropped off, and we find some nice place for them. The other 6 are actually trying to get AWAY from Utah, or some place similar.
We thank the hyper-nuns at the St. Anslem’s Roadside Convent before proceeding out of orbit to refuel. (This has to be a recurring place. Strictly obligatory)
We’re heading back to Vega as soon as is frigging possible.
6 hours to skim, 1.5 to drop off the ladies.
The Bane of Heathens jumps in-system before we finish refueling. It’s 3 hours of distance, but we changed the transceiver codes.
They don’t make a b-line, but they are doing active scans. They’re a million miles away; we are fine. Hold it: How do WE know where they are?
1) Vega to drop of Porn (the cargo was determined by Law of Reasonable to be porn and porn accessories) / rest of women.
2) Follow the ancient map to fortune and glory!
-We have locations for the Ancient’s Homeworld (extra-galactic), two mystery points from the map, and an Ancient outpost.
Locnar: Can you make anything of this?
-Not really; he’s hot off the presses, and he’s an engineer, not a navigator.
There are points east, south, and west.
How are the ladies? (Actually, we have 3 guys and 3 girls.) They’re just along for the ride.
We’re going to wind up with a flying harem, aren’t we?
We head south-east to 1008. We don’t care about the physical characteristics.
1008: Civil Service Bureaucracy: We’re at the communist post-office planet.
Distrust travelers; we’re hitting a class-c starport/space station.
They pay taxes to the Imperium, but it’s not a big problem.
Let’s try to sell the Porn. Oh boy.
Let’s refine fuel BEFORE we try to sell this stuff to the commies, okay?
We fail to sell the porn. ALL 40 tons of it????
We take a LOT of time to fail to sell the porn!! (like… a week. And then Crick goes "Not willing to wait a week; we failed because we left after two days.)
Jump to 1109.
Representative democracy, law level 7:
AT WAR with the Imperium; they’re kind of under siege.
They’re losing, but they’ve got representatives of just about every organization.
The scouts: They give us gas, we get refugees. NOT MORE REFUGEES!!
Jump to 1111:
Representative Democracy, population 50K.
Refugees and former sex slaves, you can get off here.
Brooke decides to stay; she’s been studying to be a steward (Among other things. Low skill totals are awesome).
WE FINALLY SELL THE PORN!!! HOW MUCH EFFORT DOES IT TAKE TO SELL?? (About a week’s time.)
ONE MILLION CREDITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHHAAAAAAAAAAATTT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
SHOPPING SPREE!!!!!!!! WE’RE ON A TECH LEVEL 11 WORLD!!!!
10 people, Representative democracy, Class B starport?!?!
They have weird eating customs. WHAT…?
We avoid the cannibals with can-openers, and the red line keeps moving.
We buy maps from the map-vending… robot?
We buy a sickbay. Bones can actually help people.
This world does indeed have a population of 10 people and a more or less representative democracy. Cultural quirk is not odd eating habits (though they might have those as well), but Shaper. It’s a shaper outpost devoted to cybernetic and robotics research. Planet name is Western Garden; small moon about a gas giant terraformed by shaper terraformers about three generations ago, since used as a research base as well as a kind of enclave for shapers who leave shaper space.
Also: Contact: Speaker-With-Foreigners, Shaper Anthropologist._
Jump to 1115: I HAS GUN COMBAT!!!!!!!!!
Hilarity ensues and gets lit on fire.
Not a lot here, but it’s where the map said to go…
There’s a gas giant and some icy rock-balls.
Let’s skim for gas and look for Ancient ships/things. We’ve had good luck before…
That’s no moon… That’s an Ancient Outpost.
Good thing; it’s not operational… Or so the Bothan spies tell us.
Let’s check it out… after we’re done skimming. We approach the moon; the equator isn’t attached; it’s hollow.
We go inside. We find Engineer Scott. (wut?)
Really. Inside the sphere, there’s a ziggurat built into the interior surface of the sphere.
Loknar: is this common for them?
-Nope; this is probably some kind of secret-base-thing.
It’s made of the same stuff as the telescope. Crick gets a brainwave; the metal of the telescope magnified energy… What ELSE does amplified energy do? Oh boy.
We land near the Ziggurat… It’s REALLY big. You may think it’s a long way to the chemist, but listen!
Energy signatures: There’s a giant-ass power source in the ziggurat.
Giant doors; can has control panel? Can has. There’s a big open button on it.
The doors still work… after a very long time…?
Into the Ziggurat!!!
A REALLY long, cathedral-esque chamber. This is odd, since the Ancients weren’t really religious; guess anyone can appreciate good archetecture.
At the end of a (REALLY) long walk, there’s a raised altar, with what looks like a 1/3 ring (stargate) floating above it. It has inscriptions.
Inscriptions: They are in Ancient, but it’s made in some kind of white material.
-It’s fractured at the edges, but it’s big enough that it takes a while to read. It’s something about “weapon of the saviors and unite the successors” Oh hell. OH HELL!
It’s big, but we can fit it in our ship. Loknar has no clue.
We get our first good look at an Ancient; they’re a bit odd looking. (Still looking for the image I have in my head. If I find it, I’ll upload it)
Hold it; there’s 1/3 of a ring here, and we’re at stop 1 of 3. Oh boy.
Ah, well…? Let’s try to move this. I can probably levitate it, barring the freaky deeky shit that’s going to go down when I do.
Zooming out: any other interesting locations (in the cathedral)? Nope; it’s pretty flat.
Let’s try it. Actually, let’s get the ship in here. We start picking up human-type energy signatures approaching. Crap… CRAP…
We have this laser… There are about to not be too many human-type energy signatures.
Comms: It’s Makkan and the Imperials, one night only at the Ancient Ziggurat.
Alan crashes the ship, but yay, It’s a ship. (cosmetic damage; scratched the paint)
Crick mans the turret, and we keep backing up.
P.S: Our ship is now the Troublesome Venture; we JUST decided to name it that.
We’re concerned that they’re here, and concerned that they followed us. We’re concerned on many fronts.
Consolation: No heavy weapons or armor.
They hail us: “We require that you cede the artifact to the Emperor’s Holy Inquisition!”
Crick tells them to go to Mjolnir. He’s going to try and persuade them that it’s beneficial that Mjolnir gets the artifact… Or we will blow another crater in this tiny little moon.
IT’S AN INQUISITION!!! They don’t buy it. (“You know not what powers you meddle with!”)
We apply deeps vigorously (Did you name the laser cannon Deeps?). They start taking cover in the divots we blow in the floor, others get vaporized.I grab it with my mind, but things get REALLY funky. I start tripping; my mind falls into it.
-Maybe psionics is not totally unknown to the Illyrians.
I get visions: I see warp beasts, I see them destroying the Ancients, and I see the Ancients seeding Earth with life, among other places. I sense other psionics in a large vicinity; the Imperials have some, Brook’s mind is unprotected, and everyone else is just completely open (I believe “chimps” was the word I used to describe the nonpsions in the vicinity).
It seems like an amplifier of psychic power, but it will take a lot of study.
Small problem; with my enhanced power, will I drive it through the ship?
I manage to get it onto the ship, but I’m REALLY drained.
The imperials see us coming, and start closing the doors.
PILOT CHECKS!! Alan and Bones get spectacular rolls.
I’m guessing there are more ships out here… No ships inside, probably because they wouldn’t fit. Oh, CRAP!
We can’t jump out because too close to the gas giant’s gravity well. But that leads to an interesting notion; if you actually build a Dyson sphere in the middle of nowhere, the gravity at the center could be 0, so you could safely jump out. Hmmm…
2+1+8 -2 = 9: It looks like just the corsair.
Our psychic may or may not have ascended; let’s just go.
Brooke comes to look at the artifact. It does something strange; it’s largely the same reaction, but also networks us. We are now unbeatable.
Makkan is on the ground, and is very irritable.
Pyrokinesis: Ignite the fuel tanks!!!
17: Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Fire!!!!!
To shreds, you say!
The back half of the ship (corsair) is gone, and the front crashes into the ship (… moon, you mean. I think).
Brooke and I are both out cold. We have int and probably endurance damage.
Brooke goes into the cryoberth, and I’m hibernating.
We jump towards parts unknown… once our fuel refines.
We get 5 weeks of training. (See Interludes for some stuff which has happened in the interim. Coming soon to an Adventure Log near you)
We need to pick a destination
-Shaper-space: interesting people
-Back to the Imperium: Why?
-More ancients: One at a time!
We want to go shopping. Next TL13 planet.