Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.30 of the “Vortex” telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 7 April 2013. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures /Mindjammer, Bulldogs, and an online dice roller.
In one future, humanity has begun to colonize the Sol system, but environmental degradation, population pressures, and internecine conflict persist. The rediscovery of mystical abilities and open and official First Contact with galactic societies, themselves at war, threaten Terra’s very survival. Can heroes rise to the challenges ?
Crew of the refitted yacht Pina Colada:
- “Capt. Jasmine” [Sara F., primary ]-female Martian Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” tiger), former pit fighter and crewmember of the Appomattox, now captain of the Pina Colada searching for a homeworld for her people
- “Hector Chavez” [Beruk A., primary ]-male Terran human, former spy and crewmember on the Appomattox, cautious engineer and communications expert
- “Chris McKee /Agent Prometheus” [Josh C., primary/absent ]-male Terran human, former assassin for the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., sniper and seeker aboard the Blackbird and Pina Colada
- “Orion Starchaser” [Geoff C., primary/absent ]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker
- “Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron V.O., primary ]-male Terran “near-human” (genetically modified) xenobiologist, curious and confident planetary patriot; with robots MEGAN and PEPE
- “Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese” [Bruce K., primary ]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg), former Interplanetary Patrol officer and member of the Blackbird and Dauntless crews; defender of the homeworld
- “Chiron” [Dexter V.H., primary/absent ]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity
Crew of the experimental scout ship Blackbird:
- “Lt. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce K., secondary ]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted Blackbird
- “Tela” [Sara F., secondary ]-female Tharian (gargoyle-like alien), escapee from the Encegulans (slug-like slavers), fond of humans; engineer with boyfriend Kedar and robot Dr. Bucket
- “Tariq Asrad Saladin” [Beruk A., secondary ]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
- “Lord Wallace Tubbington III” [Josh C., secondary/absent ]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance
- “Lt. Brun Bearhammer” [Geoff C., secondary/absent ]-male Martian Ursoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” bear), former wrestler, pilot
- “Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup” [Byron V.O., secondary ]-male Terran human, gung-ho member of the North American Aerospace Marine Corps
- “Enkidu Aristheon” [Dexter V.H., secondary/absent ]-male Seranen (pale empathic humanoid alien) exile, wilderness survival expert curious about Terrans and the Zarkonian threat; with sphinx-like companion Glaucon
“25 to 28 July 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After luring an energy-based life form away from the Dauntless, the Pina Colada and the Blackbird worked to revive the remaining crew members. Only a dozen people out of 80 survived the zombification.
Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese orders the Pina Colada to dock with the Dauntless, once the flagship of his homeworld security task force. He leads a third away team, which includes Dr. Srinu Pahul, Tariq Asrad Saladin, and Capt. Jasmine, with Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup in reserve.
Hector Chavez and Chris McKee wait on the yacht Pina Colada and coordinate with the Blackbird, while Orion Starchaser keeps a lookout for the hive-mind entity.
Lt.Cmdr. Reese returns to the brig and finds sometime lover Capt. Helena Cain still alive. Medics Tariq and Dr. Pahul set up the sickbay, which had been overrun by reanimated Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.) space navy crew.
Jasmine and Sgt. Jessup move bodies with help from robot nurse MEGAN. Mournful Kevin orders quick military funerals and asks Tela’s boyfriend Kedar and robot Dr. Bucket to come from the Blackbird to help restore the corvette’s systems.
Capt. Jasmine and Lt.Cmdr. Reese agree to send the Blackbird to respond to a distress call from the Sovereign , a U.S.N. frigate that encountered a similar strange cloud. Lt. Sebastian Growlick takes command, accompanied by Tela, Lt. Brun Bearhammer, Tariq, Orion, Lord Wallace Tubbington III, and Enkidu Aristheon.
Srinu, Kedar, MEGAN, and Dr. Bucket continue working on the Dauntless, while Kevin, Jasmine, Chris, Nate, and Chiron ready the Pina Colada to rendezvous with its sister ships near an outpost orbiting red dwarf Wolf 359.
On the way to the Sovereign, the Blackbird passes a rogue planet, a body without a star. Pilot Lt. Bearhammer brings the scout ship out of Transit (faster-than-light travel), and Tariq scans. The explorer finds a sphere about three meters in diameter similar to those previously encountered in the Sol system and at Oasis Station.
Telepaths Orion and Enkidu sense no consciousness, and engineer Tela reviews database entries about the Zurmiz Krott, also known as the “Harbingers of the Righteous Order of Submission.” The Tharian informs Lt. Growlick that the biomechanical probes of the Zarkonian Armada can emit nanites (microscopic robots), which could be spread if they use missiles.
Enkidu also notes that the Zurmiz Krott can induce mass cannibalistic insanity and absorb energy. Tela devises a modified electromagnetic pulse (EMP), and Brun blasts it. Sebastian is pleased to confirm a bull’s-eye and notes it in the ship’s log.
Capt. Aveeshi Stormsea of the Sovereign is relieved to hail the Blackbird. Brun maneuvers, and Orion and Enkidu draw the energy entity away with help from a psionic amplification crystal. The Blackbird returns, and Sebastian sends Tariq and Enkidu to help the Aquarian (amphibious humanoid alien) with his crew.
Another U.S.N. frigate arrives, and Lt. Growlick is wary of the Crazy Horse’s offer of assistance. Capt. Dirk Hatch explains that the task force separated to patrol a larger volume of space after stopping at Wolf 359 several days ago. He sends over more personnel to help get the Sovereign under way.
As per Lt.Cmdr. Reese’s recommendation, the five ships meet on the far side of Wolf 359 from the Terran outpost in orbit. The Crazy Horse also contributes to the skeleton crew aboard the Dauntless, as the Sovereign recovers. Kevin visits Helena in sickbay and tells her about the casualties.
Lt.Cmdr. Reese and Capt. Jasmine invite the other captains over to the Pina Colada while their companions aboard the Blackbird teleconference in. “Nylca of Clan Firehoff” [Brian W./Non-Player Character], a Gustrall (antlered, orange-furred, flightless avian alien) weapons officer, sits in for Capt. Cain.
Capt. Stormsea brings Sgt. George Watkins, chief security officer of the Sovereign, and Capt. Hatch brings Dr. Hugh Goldman, chief medical officer of the Crazy Horse. Dr. Pahul, Lt. Growlick, Sgt. Jessup, Orion, and Lt. Bearhammer are also present.
Kevin explains that, while he’d like to bring the task force back to Earth, it must first deal with Ms. Helen Gastmeyer, who may be working with Zarkonian zealots. Hector notes that the mysterious woman is affiliated with megacorporations, and she may be influencing or have control over the U.S.N. base commanders at Wolf 359.
Orion recalls that Brother Nelvin was revealed to be a Zarkonian agent on Mars’ moon Phobos. Sebastian’s brother Castillian had mentioned that Ms. Gastmeyer recommended that their clan develop ties with the government and the United Ecumenical Movement.
Capt. Jasmine is reluctant to risk anybody with the Dauntless understaffed, but Lt.Cmdr. Reese notes that time is of the essence with the Zarkonian Armada approaching Earth. He proposes asking her about ancient artifacts such as the Vatican relics they recently redirected.
Nylca prefers to go in aggressively, but Jasmine wants to limit casualties among bystanders on the base. Hector recommends sending Lt. Growlick because of his brother’s connections. Capt. Hatch is unsure of the plan, but Dr. Pahul reassures him that reconnaissance is more likely to be productive than arriving in force.
The commanders eventually approve a covert mission: Sebastian will bring the Dauntless to the Wolf 359 outpost and say that its captain was killed. The apparently disgraced officer and his small crew will look for a better deal than returning to Earth.
Lt. Growlick will be accompanied by Srinu as “Lt. Sridan Baatava,” Hector as “Lt. Mike Weston,” and Jasmine as security officer “Jessie.” Orion will pose as fellow Pomuyan “Dr. Phil Philips,” and “Agent Prometheus” and Chiron will also be aboard the crippled ship.
The rest of “Terra’s Pride” will wait on the Pina Colada, with the Blackbird, Sovereign, and Crazy Horse in reserve. Hector and Dr. Pahul prepare false records for the crew as they prepare to investigate Ms. Gastmeyer….
Dexter, Josh, and Geoff, I hope that you’ll be able to rejoin us for this coming Sunday’s “Vortex” session, and good luck preparing for your latest op!
Also, note that the “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy campaign will continue at Brian W.‘s place next Monday, but there won’t be any games the following week because Jason E.R. won’t be available to run his “Barsoomian Adventures” game, and I’ll be hosting David I.S. Be seeing you, -Gene