Vortex

"Star Trek: Restoration" Episode 5
Gift of the Ferengi

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for our fifth “Star Trek” session, which we played at Drew S.’s place in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 9 March 2015:

“Space, the final frontier. Our starship’s mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

About four decades after the Enterprise E fought the Borg and Remans [ Nemesis ], among others, the United Federation of Planets (U.F.P.) and other interstellar states are slowly recovering from wars and ecological disasters. A refitted vessel takes a new crew on its first missions of defense, diplomacy, and exploration….

Player Characters for Gene D.’s " Star Trek: Restoration" space opera scenario, using D20 Prime Directive, FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures, Bulldogs, and Mindjammer 2e, plus house rules, Obsidian Portal, Skype, and the Rolz.org online dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • “Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Kyerak” [Bruce K.]-male half-Vulcan with a temper, in the U.S.S. Rotha ’s command division
  • Chief Ravi Chandler" [Brian W.]-male Altairian human, non-commissioned officer and transporter expert assigned to aid Lt. Kyerak’s mission
  • “Froot” [Rich C.G.]-male Ferengi (short, large-eared extraterrestrial) merchant and negotiator, DaiMon and owner of the trade vessel Love’s Latinum Lost
  • “Kimbal Tegan” [Beruk A.]-male Trill (long-lived symbiont), operations specialist aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost
  • “Tau” [Drew S.]-male Ferengi, medic aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost

Absent:

  • “Lt. Jarric Jameson” [Dexter V.H.]-male genetically modified human colonist (former Maquis) communications and wilderness survival expert
  • “Lt. Orzzek Kalifa” [Byron V.O.]-male Andorian (blue-skinned humanoid with white hair and antennae), assertive science officer
  • “Lt. Mari Killu” [Sara F.]-female Caitian (felinoid) security/tactical officer
  • “Lt. Boran’ Gorir” [Josh C.]-male Jem’Hadar (Dominion soldier), aggressive envoy/engineer

Previously, in “Star Trek: Restoration,” the U.S.S. Rotha uncovered an Undine infiltrator during a diplomatic mission and faced off against Romulan and Klingon ships in the Neutral Zone. Some junior officers then accepted a covert mission to investigate offworld interference in a former member of the United Federation of Planets.

“Stardate 95248.047 (15 April 2418):” At Alpha Tauri III in the Aldebaran system, the away team joined Ferengi traders and defeated a Romulan spy in the science station of Nar Instel. The crew also found a rogue Federation scientist in the militaristic state of Irdrant.

A landing party beams down to the sprawling agricultural community of Folkhar. Most of the Starfleet lieutenants stay behind in orbit on the Love’s Latinum Lost to watch prisoners Dr. Sarlic Pramantha and Illiana Drah’el.

Tau offers Ravi a tip, but the human transporter chief declines the Ferengi medic’s gold-pressed latinum. DaiMon Froot leads the way into a dusty town, while Kimbal covertly scans for anomalous subspace transmissions. Lt. Kyerak notices that most of the inhabitants are human.

A blue-skinned Andorian rancher riding a horse draws the newcomers’ attention. Lissan th’Zerath isn’t interested in Kyerak, Froot, or Tau’s overtures, but she directs them to a general store.

Populous Folkhar has regressed technologically even more than other Aldebaranian nations, with draft animals, labor-intensive farming, and relatively few power tools. The explorers walk by a wainwright’s shop, where a Klingon and his son warily watch them while repairing carts.

The infiltrators follow Lissan’s directions to Tellarite Bol Kerv Shaloo. Froot happily negotiates with the porcine provisioner, who collects items from the colony’s past as an interstellar crossroads. The Ferengi captain trades an inoperative comm badge for a Klingon sash, which he adds to his crown and fancy cane.

Kimbal and Tau conceal tricorders as they look for transmissions that would violate Starfleet’s noninterference Prime Directive. Shaloo mentions that he recently traded fine tools to the Klingons, even though they don’t need them.

Back at the wainwright, Tau learns that young Kolad is eager to please customers and his father, Kurgh, son of Kulam. Kyerak and Kimball talk to the gruff widower, who years to be in contact with other Klingons.

Their conversation is cut short when Froot pulls a Tribble from under his robes, getting the outlanders thrown out. The group then walks to the mayor’s office. Maria Conchitez says that her people are tired of fighting with Irdrant and seems disgusted when Froot drops some jewelry with circuitry.

As the Starfleet personnel and their Ferengi companions leave Conchitez, Ravi notices a man hanging around her office. Darius Littlefeather says little and returns to his farm. The away team heads to the ranch of Lissan th’Zerath, whom Froot found to be suspicious.

The Andorian catches the interlopers snooping around her barn, and Froot knocks her out and ties her up. Tau makes sure that Lissan is OK, but Ravi and Trill Kimbal find no subspace radio. The party rushes back into town.

They run into Littlefeather, whom Kyerak puts to sleep after conducting a mind meld to see if the mayor is responsible for the unauthorized radio. The half-Vulcan learns that Darius is in love with Maria, but little else.

Froot wants to return to Bol Kerv Shaloo’s shop, but the others determine that the Klingons are their most likely suspects. Kimball and Tau corner Kolad, while Kyerak and Ravi question tense Kurgh.

The lonely mechanic eventually admits that he has cobbled together a subspace transmitter. The Starfleet officers are relieved when Kurgh says that he hasn’t heard back from the Klingon Empire, but he adds that he has received a mysterious response, which Kimbal records.

Kimbal and Ravi tell Kurgh that his radio could draw attention from Irdrant. He shuts it down, and they take key components. Kyerak and Froot talk with Mayor Conchitez, who asks them to help open trade between Folkhar and Irdrant.

Froot notes that they are wanted by the authorities in industrial Irdrant. Kyerak later contacts Huang Peipei, director of the Nar Instel science station, to mediate and help reunite the colonists of Alpha Tauri III.

The team beams back up to the Love’s Latinum Lost and makes a rendezvous with the U.S.S. Rotha at Deep Space K-7. Lt. Kyerak reports to Capt. Andelina Nobatu, who is pleased that his team was able to defeat Tal Shi’ar agent Stuvek, arrest Dr. Pramantha, and convince Kurgh to cease subspace transmissions with limited bloodshed or violation of the Prime Directive.

Loyal Kyerak tries to defend Cmdr. Nasami Wahid’s harsh orders to “eliminate” any offworld interference, but Capt. Nobatu reprimands her Trill first officer. Froot is skeptical that Starfleet can live up to its lofty ideals and recommends covertly reaching out to its former colonists in the Aldebaran system.

Chief Chandler requests reassignment from away missions because he doesn’t like having primitive slugthrowers drawn on him. Kimbal supervises the remaining refits to the Ferengi vessel promised for its assistance.

Tau says farewell to the Federation citizens as they return to their ship, but Capt. Nobatu invites the Love’s Latinum Lost to come along into deep space as the Rotha explores the source of the unidentified signals detected by Kurgh….

I hope that everyone enjoyed the conclusion of this story arc! Remember that your characters have attained Level 4, and we can upload them to Obsidian Portal.

In the meantime, I look forward to our next sessions for Dexter’s D&D5e “Land of Lost Souls,” Jason’s “Channel 37,” and my “Vanished Lands!” Remember to check the Google and Yahoo message boards for our discussions of upcoming games. Live long and prosper, -Gene

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"Star Trek: Restoration" Episode 4
Tracking transmissions

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for our fourth “Star Trek” session, which we played at Brian W.’s home in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 23 February 2015:

“Space, the final frontier. Our starship’s mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Almost four decades after the Enterprise E fought the Borg and Remans [ Nemesis ], among others, the United Federation of Planets (U.F.P.) and other interstellar states are slowly recovering from wars and ecological disasters. A refitted vessel takes a new crew on its first missions of defense, diplomacy, and exploration….

Player Characters for Gene D.’s " Star Trek: Restoration" space opera scenario, using D20 Prime Directive, FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures, Bulldogs, and Mindjammer 2e, plus house rules, Obsidian Portal, Skype, and the Rolz.org online dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • “Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Kyerak” [Bruce K.]-male half-Vulcan with a temper, in the U.S.S. Rotha ’s command division
  • Chief Ravi Chandler" [Brian W.]-male Altairian human, non-commissioned officer and transporter expert assigned to aid Lt. Kyerak’s mission
  • “Froot” [Rich C.G.]-male Ferengi (short, large-eared extraterrestrial) merchant and negotiator, DaiMon and owner of the trade vessel Love’s Latinum Lost
  • “Kimbal Tegan” [Beruk A.]-male Trill (long-lived symbiont), operations specialist aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost

Absent:

  • “Lt. Jarric Jameson” [Dexter V.H.]-male genetically modified human colonist (former Maquis) communications and wilderness survival expert
  • “Lt. Orzzek Kalifa” [Byron V.O.]-male Andorian (blue-skinned humanoid with white hair and antennae), assertive science officer
  • “Lt. Mari Killu” [Sara F.]-female Caitian (felinoid) security/tactical officer
  • “Lt. Boran’ Gorir” [Josh C.]-male Jem’Hadar (Dominion soldier), aggressive envoy/engineer
  • “Tau” [Drew S.]-male Ferengi, medic aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost

Previously, in “Star Trek: Restoration,” the U.S.S. Rotha uncovered an Undine infiltrator during a diplomatic mission and faced off against Romulan and Klingon ships in the Neutral Zone. Some junior officers then accepted a covert mission to investigate offworld interference in a former member of the United Federation of Planets.

“Stardate 95248.042 (11 April 2418):” At Alpha Tauri III in the Aldebaran system, the away team visited the science station of Nar Instel under the pretense of being Ferengi traders. It found a Romulan spy who planned to train unwitting students in the ruthless methods and beliefs of the Tal Shiar.

The explorers still have to find the remaining two sources of subspace transmissions in the former U.F.P. colony, which has regressed to a pre-warp level of technology. They had tracked the signals to the industrial city of Irdrant and the agricultural community of Folkhar.

Lt. Kyerak decides that the landing party should visit Irdrant next. Chief Ravi Chandler notes that his upbringing in the militaristic Altair system should be helpful in dealing with this nation-state of Aldebaran.

DaiMon Froot notes that the team will have to teleport from the Love’s Latinum Lost because defense forces would spot a landing starship. Kimbal Tegan scans the city and narrows the transmission site to a single neighborhood.

Kyerak wants to negotiate with local authorities to find whoever is sending the subspace signals in violation of Starfleet’s non-interference Prime Directive, as he did in Nar Instel. Froot argues in favor of backup false identities as police officers.

Ravi changes out of his uniform, and Kimbal tunes into local radio stations. The other crew members from the U.S.S. Rotha stay with the Love’s Latinum Lost as the foursome beams down to an alley on the surface.

Vulcan Kyerak and human Ravi head toward “Nel’s Diner,” while Ferengi Froot and Trill Kimbal walk around the block and spot a military security post before entering the eatery.

Kyerak observes that most of the diner’s patrons are human, except for Illiana Drah’el, a Cardassian administrative assistant. Muscular Ravi impresses Bajoran waitress Kala Voshen and other women.

Froot watches as a well-dressed human executive arrives from the radio station across the street. Both Illiana and Kala defer to Sarlic Pramantha. Ravi listens to Sarlic confidently predict Irdrant’s inevitable victory over Folkhar.

Entrepreneur Froot offers some jewelry to Illiana, who asks for a gold and platinum earring. Half-human Kyerak doesn’t trust the Cardassian either, and he and wary Kimbal pose as potential advertisers to Pramantha, who agrees to meet the next day.

The four offworlders get rooms at the Sentinel Hotel. Kimbal examines local radio waves and finds that Irdrant’s armed forces are secretly sending messages encoded within commercial and propaganda broadcasts.

Kyerak uses a tricorder to search for Cardassian signals but finds that the subspace emissions match U.F.P. frequencies instead. Froot gives Ravi an item that Illiana touched, but her DNA isn’t in Starfleet’s records.

Froot beams up to the Love’s Latinum Lost to replicate the jewelry that the secretary requested and to plant a bug in it. Ravi confirms that the subspace transmitter must be hidden in Irdrant Tower, the same skyscraper that hosts the radio station.

Kyerak visits a library to research recent history and people who might be offworlders interfering with the former colony. Kimbal and Froot are skeptical that the Starfleet personnel will be able to uphold the Prime Directive between their mission and native Aldebaranian politics.

The next morning, the team visits Nel’s Diner for breakfast. Froot gives Illiana the earring she requested. Kyerak pretends to be clumsy and bumps into the secretary to briefly scan her telepathically.

The lieutenant learns that she plans to dismantle the jewelry for parts, presumably for the subspace transmitter. Kala avoids the Cardassian, even as the Bajoran waitress tries to flirt with Ravi.

The four explorers leave their weapons and ultra-tech tools at their hotel rooms before going to Irdrant Tower. They are patted down by strict Betazed officer Sgt. Anker Theophilus before taking an elevator to the radio station.

Illiana gives the visitors a brief tour, and Ravi sees no sign of the secret transmitter. Kimbal and Froot make a sponsorship pitch to Pramantha, who seems receptive. He invites them to dinner to close the deal. On the way out of the office, Kyerak asks Illiana to join them.

Pramantha sends a car to pick up the party. Kimbal finds that cabbie Maurice Thibaud is happy to share his opinions on numerous topics. He says that Sarlic is connected to many powerful people in Irdrant.

Lt. Kyerak, Mr. Chandler, Capt. Froot, and Mr. Tegan meet Mr. Pramantha and Ms. Drah’el at an old-fashioned steakhouse. Sarlic introduces them to Maj. Juanita Madeira, a human officer who is curious about the supposed investors.

Froot engages the major in conversation, while Kimbal finds that Illiana is fiercely loyal to Pramantha. Ravi notices that the wait staff is hovering suspiciously around their table, and Kyerak realizes that the Irdrantians mean to capture or kill them.

The impetuous Vulcan draws his phaser and stuns Pramanatha. Kimbal tries to warn Maj. Madeira, who admits that she gave the order for security forces to move in. Froot stealthily grabs Illiana’s purse to prevent her from finding the advanced bug in her jewelry.

Strong Ravi flips over a heavy table as the waiters open fire with slug throwers. Kyerak stuns Illiana, and Kimbal grabs unconscious Sarlic. The Trill tries to explain to Maj. Madeira that the radio executive is the threat to Irdrant, not him.

Froot scrambles over to Kimbal. As more troops arrive, Ravi initiates an emergency beam out to the Love’s Latinum Lost. Sarlic and Illiana are put in separate cabins as a makeshift brig, and Ravi takes blood samples.

When the prisoners come to, Lt. Kyerak and DaiMon Froot lead the interrogation. Kimbal moves the ship to a higher orbit to avoid detection by Irdrant, and Ravi and Tau find that Sarlic has antibodies consistent with interstellar travel.

Illiana says that Sarlic “is a great man who will lead Irdrant to dominance” of Alpha Tauri III. The media manipulator admits that he was a Federation sociologist assigned to covertly observe the colonists.

Sarlic also confesses that he was helping the military and sending out subspace signals in the hope of finding like-minded people willing to break the Prime Directive. He claims to be unaware of the Romulan spy in Nar Instel.

Froot is sympathetic to the need to reclaim systems before the Klingons, Romulans, or Cardassians, who are also recovering from disasters, can do so. Kyerak is unmoved and intends to turn over the rogue scientist to Starfleet Command.

Kimbal and Ravi beam down to Sarlic’s office to destroy his transmitter and any trace of advanced technology. They manage to avoid local security forces, and Kyerak begins planning to visit Folkhar, the origin point of the third and final set of subspace signals. To be continued….

This episode is dedicated to the memory of Leonard Nimoy, the actor best known for playing Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek TV series and movies. He lived long and prospered, and he will be missed.

I look forward to continuing our adventures, but in the meantime, we have Dexter’s D&D5e “Land of Lost Souls,” Jason E.R.’s FAEChannel 37,” and my own “Vanished Lands” campaigns to play! -Gene

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"Star Trek: Restoration" Episode 3
Offworld intruders

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for our third “Star Trek” session, which we played online on Monday, 16 February 2015:

“Space, the final frontier. Our starship’s mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Almost four decades after the Enterprise “E” fought the Borg and Remans Nemesis ], among others, the United Federation of Planets (U.F.P.) and other interstellar states are slowly recovering from wars and ecological disasters. A refitted vessel takes a new crew on its first missions of defense, diplomacy, and exploration….

Player Characters for Gene D.’s " Star Trek: Restoration" space opera scenario, using D20 Prime Directive, FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures, Bulldogs, and Mindjammer 2e, plus house rules, Obsidian Portal, Skype, and the Rolz.org online dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • “Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Kyerak” [Bruce K.]-male half-Vulcan with a temper, in the U.S.S. Rotha ’s command division
  • “Kimbal Tegan” [Beruk A.]-male Trill (long-lived symbiont), operations specialist aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost
  • “Tau” [Drew S.]-male Ferengi, medic aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost

Absent:

  • “Lt. Jarric Jameson” [Dexter V.H.]-male genetically modified human colonist (former Maquis) communications and wilderness survival expert
  • “Lt. Orzzek Kalifa” [Byron V.O.]-male Andorian (blue-skinned humanoid with white hair and antennae), assertive science officer
  • “Lt. Mari Killu” [Sara F.]-female Caitian (felinoid) security/tactical officer
  • “Lt. Boran’ Gorir” [Josh C.]-male Jem’Hadar (Dominion soldier), aggressive envoy/engineer
  • “Froot” [Rich C.G.]-male Ferengi (short, large-eared extraterrestrial) merchant and negotiator, DaiMon and owner of the trade vessel Love’s Latinum Lost

Previously, in “Star Trek: Restoration,” the U.S.S. Rotha uncovered an Undine infiltrator during a diplomatic mission and faced off against Romulan and Klingon ships in the Neutral Zone.

“Stardate 95248.04 (9 April 2418):” After stopping at Starbase 24, some junior officers accepted a mission to investigate a onetime Federation colony. They joined the crew of the Love’s Latinum Lost, a Ferengi trade vessel.

Lt. Kyerak and Kimbal Tegan conduct research on the Aldebaran colony. Alpha Tauri III is the third out of four planets orbiting an orange giant and a red dwarf and is the only Class M (inhabitable) one in that solar system.

Alpha Tauri III is slightly larger than Earth, with a 1.2 Gs of gravity, a 27-hour day, and six small moons. Its 1 million sentient natives joined the United Federation of Planets in 2216, and thanks in part to the New Aberdeen Shipyards, its mostly human population grew to 7 billion over the next century.

However, in 2372 (about 50 Terran years ago), Starfleet was forced to abandon the colony as part of the settlement ending the Cardassian War. It has apparently regressed to a pre-warp level of technology, and interstellar trade has been sporadic and indirect.

DaiMon Froot sets a course for Aldebaran, bypassing Deep Space K-7 because of the covert nature of Lt. Kyerak’s mission. Tau, a Ferengi medic, introduces himself to the passengers.

Lt. Jarrick Jameson and Lt. Orzzek Kalifa express misgivings about the fact that Lt. Kyerak had accepted the mission to “terminate any offworld interference” in Aldebaran from Cmdr. Nasami Wahid, the Trill first officer of the Rotha.

Although Starfleet’s Prime Directive prohibits direct contact with pre-warp societies, Lt. Mari Killu and Lt. Boran’ Gorir are more concerned about threats to Aldebaran’s civilian population and potential U.F.P. membership.

Kimbal puts the Love’s Latinum Lost in a standard orbit around Alpha Tauri III and sees the remnants of orbital platforms. The Trill pilot also scans for subspace signals and finds three transmission sites: a science station at Nar Instel, the industrial city of Irdrant, and the agricultural community of Folkhar.

Kyerak checks radio telecommunications and verifies that the colony has fragmented into rival nation-states. The half-Vulcan officer recommends visiting Nar Instel first.

Tau’s biological scans find nearly 6 billion inhabitants, most of whom are human. The decline in global population may be the result of emigration offworld, the decline in technology, epidemics, or wars, theorizes the Ferengi doctor.

Froot says that Aldebaran was once known for its ores (used in starship construction), native life forms, and whiskey. It was also once a venue for medical conferences. He suggests that the away team offer goods and non-critical scientific data in return for local products and information.

The Love’s Latinum Lost lands near Nar Instel. Kimbal hacks into local computer networks and identifies staffers to talk to. Kyerak changes into civilian garb, and Tao offers to handle trade negotiations as their cover story.

Kimbal wanders around the science station until he finds a canteen. He meets “Two-Three” and “Three-Two,” two Binar engineers. They are not interested in carousing, but Kimbal uses their literal-mindedness to obtain a network schematic.

Meanwhile, Kyerak goes to the headquarters of the academy and introduces himself as a researcher to a pretty receptionist. He hears an argument and watches Yusuf Darwhish, a human climatologist, storm out of the director’s office.

Tau gets directions to the bursar and offers to trade exotic foodstuffs with a Vulcan scientist who initially dismisses him. However, Stuvek expresses interest in advanced tools, so he accepts Tau’s offer and arranges to meet again later.

Kyerak meets Huang Peipei, director of Nar Instel. He mentions Johann Strom, onetime head of the New Aberdeen Shipyards, and the physicist says that she would like her people to eventually reunite with other Aldebaranians and the Federation. Flirtatious Kyerak says that he can help.

Sly Kimbal eventually excuses himself from conversation with the Binars and sends Kyerak a signal to meet. Curious Tau follows Stuvek into a biology laboratory. He is horrified to see cruel animal testing and notices a decapod acting suspiciously.

The Ferengi ducks into the room and talks with the native Tauran. Gopal Thivar admits that he is trying to sabotage the tests and that he can telepathically tell that Stuvek is hiding something bad.

A three-headed, floating Aldebaranian serpent attacks Tau and Gopal, and they run down the hall. However, Stuvek corners them and says that it’s too bad that they will be the “victims of a lab accident.”

When the duo tries to run around Stuvek, he pulls out a Romulan disruptor and slowly disintegrates the unlucky decapod! Tau slides past Stuvek and makes a desperate dash for the door.

Kyerak and Kimball, who had been trying to reach Tau, burst into the hallway. Kyerak stuns the Romulan, and Kimbal misses the serpent. Tau keeps running until he finds local security forces outside.

The police take Stuvek into custody, and Kyerak privately tells Huang that he hopes to remove external disruptions so that she can help her world advance politically. Kimball takes the disruptor’s power cell, and Tau explains how he and Gopal had uncovered inhumane research.

Kyerak interrogates the supposed Vulcan, as Huang and guards watch. Stuvek admits that his true name is Vorlag. The spy boldly admits that he planned to train colonial doctors in the mind-set and methods of the Tal Shiar, the Romulan intelligence service.

Vorlag’s initial mission was to evaluate the system for conquest, but he says he felt free to pursue his own experiments. The Romulan then bites down on a poisoned capsule, and Tau is unable to save him without a modern medical bay.

Kimbal checks Vorlag’s quarters and finds a subspace transmitter. The landing party returns to the ship, ready to search for whoever is sending subspace signals from Irdrant and Folkhar. To be continued….

While we missed much of the group, I hope that those of you who were able to participate enjoyed our latest episode! I look forward to continuing our adventures, but we’ll also have to see when we’ll have time between Dexter’s D&D5e “Lands of Lost Souls,” Jason’s FAEChannel 37,” and my own D20/FATEVanished Lands” scenarios. Live long and prosper, -Gene

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"Star Trek: Restoration" Episode 2
Driving the wedge

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for our second Star Trek session, which I hosted in Waltham, Mass., during Byron V.O.’s visit on Saturday, 28 June 2014:

“Space, the final frontier. Our starship’s mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Almost four decades after the Enterprise-E fought the Borg and Remans [ Nemesis ], among others, the United Federation of Planets (U.F.P.) and other interstellar states in the Alpha Quadrant are slowly recovering from wars and ecological disasters. A refitted vessel takes a new crew on its first missions of defense, diplomacy, and exploration….

Player Characters for Gene D.’s “Star Trek: Restoration” space opera scenario, using D20 Prime Directive, FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures, Mindjammer 2e, Bulldogs, and house rules, summer 2014:

  • “Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Kyerak” [Bruce K.]-half-Vulcan with a temper, in the U.S.S. Rotha ’s command division
  • “Lt. Orzzek Kalifa” [Byron V.O.]-male Andorian (blue-skinned humanoid with white hair and antennae), assertive science officer
  • “Froot” [Rich C.G.]-male Ferengi (short, large-eared extraterrestrial) merchant and negotiator, DaiMon and owner of the trade vessel Love’s Latinum Lost
  • “Kimbal Tegan” [Beruk A.]-male Trill (long-lived symbiont), operations specialist aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost
  • “Lt. Jarric Jameson” [Dexter V.H./absent ]-male genetically modified human colonist (former Maquis) communications and wilderness survival expert aboard the Rotha
  • “Lt. Mari Killu” [Sara F./absent ]-female Caitian (felinoid) security/tactical officer
  • “Lt. Boran’ Gorir” [Josh C./absent ]-male Jem’Hadar (bio-engineered Dominion soldier), aggressive envoy/engineer

Previously, in “Star Trek: Restoration,” the U.S.S. Rotha was assigned to bring representatives of the Klingon Empire home through the Neutral Zone. However, several crew members were murdered, and junior officers were forced to subdue a Gorn and an Orion. In addition, the junior officers uncovered an Undine disguised with a holo-emitter.

“Stardate 95248.01 (2 April 2418):” Two Valdore -class Romulan warbirds decloak, and Capt. Andelina Nobatu brings the U.S.S. Rotha to yellow alert. Lt. Kyerak and Lt. Orzzek Kalifa race to the bridge. The Vulcan takes the helm from En. Brandon Marks, and the Andorian sits at an auxiliary science station to process scan results for Edosian Lt. K’dex.

The rest of the Rotha ‘s 900 Starfleet personnel ready for battle. Lt. Jarrick Jameson and Lt. Mari Killu prepare to repel potential boarders, and Lt. Boran’ Gorir diverts energy to shields. Tensions are high as Subcommander Vurik of the Varguille demands that Capt. Nobatu hand over the Klingon emissaries, the Orion D’naar and the Gorn “Hands of Giblets.”

The Terran human captain successfully asks for some time and has a quick conference with her bridge crew. Kyerak recommends patience, impressing first officer Cmdr. Nasami Wahid.

Kalifa notes that Romulan cloaking technology has continued to advance in reaction to Federation sensors, but he believes he can compensate when acquiring targets for photon torpedoes.

The meeting is interrupted when another vessel drops out of warp. A small Ferengi trader hails the assembled ships. DaiMon Froot quickly assesses the standoff and offers the Love’s Latinum Lost as a neutral meeting place for negotiations.

Despite the Ferengi’s insulting tone, Capt. Nobatu and Subcommander Vurik agree to send representatives. On the way to a transporter room, Lt. Kyerak stops by the “Starlight Lounge” to pick up some Andorian ale from Bolian bartender Mr. Vallcin. Lt. Kalifa asks holographic chief medical officer “Dr. Jones” for autopsy results on the Undine.

DaiMon Froot offers beetle snuff to Kyerak upon his arrival and introduces his colleague, Kimbal Tegan, a laid-back Trill. Kalifa is skeptical of the newcomers’ claim that they just happened to be passing through the Neutral Zone.

Subcommander Miral Gaius and Lt. Koval Solius beam over from the Romulan warbirds. They claim that the U.F.P. has been working with Klingon spies to further undermine the Rihannsu Empire.

Froot notes that according to the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, “Peace is good for business, but war is even better.” Still, he manages to keep the Starfleet and Romulan delegates from coming to blows.

Mr. Kyerak manages to shrug off Lt. Solius’ insults about his half-Vulcan heritage and explains that the Rotha was indeed bringing passengers to Q’onos, but an incident with a would-be assassin led to the Orion and Gorn being wounded and placed in protective custody.

Subcommander Gaius offers to escort the Federation starship through the Neutral Zone. Confident Lt. Kalifa begins devising a plan to distract and outmaneuver the grim Romulans. Tegan notes that traveling together presents opportunities for all.

Capt. Nobatu and Subcommander Vurik cautiously concur, and the four ships head toward Klingon space. Froot gives Kyerak and Kalifa a Tribble, and Tegan celebrates and irritates by hacking into subspace channels and broadcasting old Earth music.

Back on the Rotha, Lt. Kalifa gives the Tribble to Lt. K’dex to put into stasis. Lt. Kyerak asks Cmdr. Wahid and chief of security Pierre McDonnough for permission to interrogate the prisoners, but they warn him to avoid unnecessary force.

Kyerak brings Lt. Artemis Borellis, a Betazed counselor, to the brig. He and Orzzek question green-skinned D’naar and reptilian Hands of Giblets separately. The Orion pirate claims ignorance and is not intimidated by the Starfleet officers.

The Gorn, however, admits that the Klingons and Romulans have been working together on a stealth weapon, possibly the Undine itself. Lt. Borellis observes that it’s possible the delegation included the Undine as a spy without the full awareness of even the Klingons.

The officers report to the captain, who agrees that driving a wedge between the two Federation foes is better than allowing them to collaborate with the Undine. Lt. Kalifa asks Froot if it would be possible for the Love’s Latinum Lost to broadcast an Undine bio signal to the Klingons and say that the Romulans have somehow lost control of their mission.

There is an awkward moment when Cmdr. Wahid recognizes fellow Trill Tegan from a past life. After some discussion, the Ferengi trader and Starfleet crew devise another plan. As they and the Romulans approach Camp Khitomer, Vor’cha-class battle cruisers decloak.

Capt. Nobatu tells Cmdr. Korral that a routine scan detected the Undine, who was then killed. She tells the Klingon commander that D’naar and Hands of Giblets had sent a message to unknown recipients before they were incarcerated.

DaiMon Froot jumps in to say that the Love’s Latinum Lost intercepted a message between the Romulans and the Cardassian Union. Already incensed over the failure of the diplomatic mission, Korral berates Subcommander Vurik for the perceived betrayal.

The Klingon cruisers begin firing on the Romulan ships, and the Rotha takes advantage of the skirmish to make evasive maneuvers and head back toward Federation space. It takes only light damage. Engineer Lt.Cmdr. Akira Gorou extends the refitted Ambassador-class Rotha ’s warp bubble and shields to bring the Love ’s Latinum Lost along.

At Starbase 24, Capt. Nobatu recommends the Love’s Latinum Lost for upgrades. Froot thanks the captain, who he says “is not bad for a hooman female.” Kimbal avoids Nasami, and Orzzek makes sure that the Orion and Gorn prisoners are safely transferred.

Cmdr. Wahid meets privately with Lt. Kyerak. She offers him a covert mission to a lost Federation colony. The planet has devolved technologically, and according to the Prime Directive, its inhabitants must be left alone until proper First Contact is made.

However, Nasami says, other interstellar states have no such reluctance about exploiting more primitive worlds. She asks Kyerak to take a small squad undercover to find and “eliminate” any outside interference. The executive officer gives him a day to consider.

In the Rotha’s Starlight Lounge, Kyerak asks Kalifa, Froot, and Kimbal to join him. Kalifa agrees with the necessity of the mission but is uncomfortable with the idea of terminating any opposition and not talking with the captain.

Froot readily agrees to help bring the team to the nonaligned system as an itinerant merchant. Kimbal, who recalls a past life as a Starfleet officer, is surprised at the covert and potentially lethal nature of the mission. He agrees to come along to keep an eye on rogue Federation factions.

Kyerak tells Cmdr. Wahid that he accepts and that he hopes for a promotion. The U.F.P. agents and neutral traders begin preparing aliases and gear….

I hope that those of you who role-played in this scenario enjoyed it as much as I did hosting and running it! Thanks again to all who participated in this and the “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expeditionsession, as well as dinner at Fiorella’s for Byron’s visit.

This year’s Creation Star Trek convention in Boston was indeed inspirational. I look forward to continuing the voyages of the crew of the U.S.S. Rotha sometime, and live long and prosper…. -Gene

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"Star Trek: Restoration" Episode 1
Old foes

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for our Star Trek telecom scenario of this past weekend:

“Space, the final frontier. Our starship’s mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Almost four decades after the Enterprise-E fought the Borg and Remans [ Nemesis ], among others, the United Federation of Planets and other interstellar states in the Alpha Quadrant are slowly recovering from wars and ecological disasters. A refitted vessel takes a new crew on its first missions of defense, diplomacy, and exploration….

Player Characters for Gene D.’s “Star Trek: Restoration” space opera one-shot, using D20/FATE house rules, Friday, 21 March 2014:

  • “Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Kyerak” [Bruce K.]-half-Vulcan with a temper, in the U.S.S. Rotha ’s command division
  • “Lt. Jarric Jameson” [Dexter V.H.]-male genetically modified human colonist (former Maquis) communications and wilderness survival expert
  • “Lt. Orzzek Kalifa” [Byron V.O.]-male Andorian (blue-skinned humanoid with white hair and antennae), assertive science officer
  • “Lt. Mari Killu” [Sara F.]-female Caitian (felinoid) security/tactical officer
  • “Lt. Boran’ Gorir” [Josh C.]-male Jem’Hadar (Dominion soldier), aggressive envoy/engineer

“Stardate 95248 (1 April 2418):” The U.S.S. Rotha, NCC 1993-C, a refitted Ambassador-class ship, picks up three passengers from the U.S.S. Tempest. Capt. Andelina Nobatu is ordered to take them into the Neutral Zone to be relayed to Qo’nos, the Klingon homeworld.

Capt. Nobatu later convenes a meeting of her command crew, as well as supporting junior officers [the P.C.s]. The Terran human asks the science division to check for star systems and planets in case the ship needs to hide or resupply en route.

Engineers are tasked with improving efficiency, while tactical officers prepare for the inevitable engagement with ships that ignore diplomatic protocols. After reporting to their superiors, the junior officers meet in the “Starlight Lounge.”

They compare notes as Bolian bartender Mr. Vallcin brings drinks. Lt. Jarric Jameson asked Betazed communications head Lt. Artemis Borellis for permission to work with the engineers on a cloak or other countermeasures to Klingon and Romulan technology. Lt. Kyerak and security chief Pierre McDonough assigned guards to watch the guest quarters.

Lt. Orzzek Kalifa and Lt. Boran’ Gorir checked Starfleet records for solar systems between Earth and Qo’nos. The scientist and engineer identify Acamar (Theta Eridani), which had been affected during a Borg incursion, and Khitomer, site of past negotiations between the U.F.P. and the Klingon Empire.

Lt. Gorir and genetically enhanced Lt. Jameson also worked with chief engineer Lt.Cmdr. Akira Gorou to optimize the Rotha’s systems. Dr. Jones, the holographic chief medical officer, prepared sickbay, and Trill first officer Cmdr. Nasami Wahid oversaw crew readiness.

Chief McDonough assigned Lt. Mari Killu to work with other crew members to ensure that the passenger handoff goes smoothly. Lt. K’dex, the three-armed, three-legged Edosian science officer, scanned for possibly cloaked enemy craft.

The junior officers’ discussion is cut short when Chief McDonnough contacts Lt. Killu to tell her to investigate the guest cabins. Apparently, the guards aren’t responding. Cmdr. Wahid orders Lt. Kyerak to accompany her.

The Caitian and half-Vulcan find En. Thompson regaining consciousness. He tells them that the Orion, Gorn, and a hooded guest emerged from their quarters and refused to wait. En. Jonas ran after them.

Lt. Kyerak and Lt. Killu draw their Type 2 phasers and ask the ship’s computer where the aliens have gone. It responds that they are on Holodeck 3. Instead of an Orion harem or a Gorn environment, the Starfleet personnel find a room full of humming machinery.

D’naar, a green-skinned Orion trader, claims that he just wanted to demonstrate water-purification equipment he had learned about in his travels to “Hand of Giblets,” the reptilian Gorn representative of the Klingon Empire.

En. Jones appears with a rumpled uniform. Kyerak subtly uses telepathy to communicate with Mari, who also senses that something is wrong. From the bridge, Lt. Kalifa and Lt. Gorir can tell that the gear in the holodeck has overridden security controls and is drawing extra power.

The Andorian and Jem’Hadar try to tell Kyerak, but their signals are jammed. Orzzek informs Capt. Nobatu of the situation, and Boran’ grabs his short sword and heads to the holodeck.

Chief McDonnough and Lt. Jameson try to shut down the unauthorized energy drain, and they find that the ship’s shields are fluctuating in a pattern, presumably to broadcast a signal. The captain orders a full stop.

In Holodeck 3, Hands of Giblets [Byron/Non-Player Character] leaps toward Lt. Killu. D’naar [Josh/N.P.C.] disintegrates En. Thompson. En. Jonas hides among the machinery. Kyerak stuns the Orion pirate, and Mari shoots at the Gorn emissary.

Lt. Gorir arrives, and he runs after En. Jones. Lt. Kalifa asks Lt. Borellis for help restoring communications. Lt. Kyerak eventually stuns Hands of Giblets, and Lt. Killu restrains the Orion and Gorn before going to aid Lt. Gorir. Other tactical and medical teams arrive and secure the perimeter.

Boran’ recognizes some of the machinery and implements the LaForge Protocol. He and Orzzek manage to shut it down, but the signal has been sent as the Rotha entered the Neutral Zone.

Mari shoots at En. Jonas, destroying a personal holo-emitter and revealing that he is in fact an Undine (formerly known as Species 8472; the medical team later finds the actual ensign, who has been killed).

The Undine hits Lt. Gorir again, and Lt. Kyerak and Lt. Killu shoot at it. Mari stuns the gray-skinned alien, and Boran’ beheads it. Kyerak berates the Jem’Hadar for giving in to his bloodlust, but Lt. Jameson notes that D’naar and Hands of Giblets are in custody and can still be questioned.

From the bridge, helmsman En. Brandon Marks reports to Capt. Nobatu that a Valdore-class Romulan warbird has just de-cloaked off the U.S.S. Rotha ’s port bow….

Beruk and Geoff, we missed you this past weekend, but I hope that everyone else enjoyed this “episode!” I’m sure we’ll return to this at some point, so please post your characters to the “Vortex” site on Obsidian Portal, where I’ll also post my background notes. Let me know if you have any questions. Live long and prosper, -Gene (“Capt. Tzu Tien Lung”)

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"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.48
Rescue at the rendezvous

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.48 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 6 October 2013. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures /Mindjammer, Bulldogs, and an online dice roller.

In one future, humanity has started to overcome ecological challenges at the time of open and official First Contact with galactic societies. However, internecine war and the Zarkonian Armada devastate Earth and its colonies. A few million refugees, aided by some aliens, flee into deep space. Will heroes arise among them?

FATE 3e “Vortex: Terra’s Pride” (Team 3/5c) telecom Player Characters, as of autumn 2013:

Acting crew of the experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Capt. Kevin Reese” [Bruce K.]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg), former Interplanetary Patrol officer and commander of a Terran Ranger Corps task force, including the corvette Dauntless
  • Cmdr. Tela” [Sara F.]-female Tharian (gargoyle-like alien), escapee from the Encegulans (slug-like slavers), fond of humans; engineer with boyfriend Kedar and robot Dr. Bucket
  • Chris McKee /Agent Prometheus” [Josh C.]-male Terran human, former assassin for the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., sniper and seeker
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin” [Beruk A.]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
  • Enkidu Aristheon” [Dexter V.H.]-male Seranen (pale empathic humanoid alien) exile, wilderness survival expert curious about Terrans and the Zarkonian threat; with sphinx-like companion Glaucon

Crew of the refitted space yacht Pina Colada and other ships:

  • Capt. Jasmine” [Sara F.]-female Martian Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” tiger), former pit fighter and crewmember of the Appomattox, searching for a homeworld for her people; with boyfriend Darcy
  • Hector Chavez” [Beruk A.]-male Terran human, former spy and crewmember on the Appomattox, cautious engineer and communications expert
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington III” [Josh C.]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance
  • Chiron” [Dexter V.H.]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity
  • Orion Starchaser” [Geoff C.]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker; departed for deep space
  • Lt.Cmdr. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce K.]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier, killed attacking the Zarkonian Armada with the frigate Crazy Horse
  • Cmdr. (Dr.) Srinu Pahul” [Byron V.O.]-male Terran “near-human” (genetically modified) xenobiologist, curious and planetary patriot; with robot PEPE and nurse Kala Sunitha Ciela on the frigate Sovereign
  • Lt.Cmdr. (Dr.) Billy ‘Hawkeye’ James [Bruce K.]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg technopsi) frontier medic and gambler; traveling with Sovereign as part of the Ilokar battle group escorting a fleet of Terran refugees

See other records for the previous crews of the Blackbird, Appomattox, and Gryphon.

“21 September to 5 October 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” The acting crew members of the Pina Colada had met representatives of Aquarian colonists and moved Ruhema, a Precursor satellite, closer to Van Maanen’s Star to recharge. They also debated whether to stay to study the Precursor device or continue exploring.

The rest of the “Terra’s Pride” task force arrives, and the command crews of the ships meet to discuss their plans. Capt. Jasmine, Hector Chavez, and Lord Wallace Tubbington III agree to stay with the refitted yacht Pina Colada to study the ancient device and aid resistance to the Zarkonian Imperium.

Dr. Srinu Pahul and Billy “Hawkeye” James say their medical expertise is most needed among the refugees fleeing the Sol system. They prepare to go with the frigate Sovereign and patrol ship Tigress.

Capt. Kevin Reese expresses his desire to continue exploring the galaxy with the Blackbird and corvette Dauntless. Lt.Cmdr. Tela and Lt.Cmdr. Brun Bearhammer want to stay with their scout ship, and Lt. Nathan A. “Jellybean” Jessup hopes to retain his Raptor II-class aerospace fighter.

Kevin orders that the drop ship Dragonfly and ground-effect vehicle Tiger Hawk Sandstorm be kept in the Blackbird ‘s landing bay, if room can be found for Nate’s craft. Chris McKee and Tariq Asrad Saladin note that the Blackbird also offers opportunities for diplomacy and trade.

Orion Starchaser announces his intention to continue wandering, away from the Zarkonian Armada and the Terran fleets. The Aquarians (amphibious humanoids) or other aliens should be able to help the Pomuyan, responds Capt. Reese.

The Blackbird, Dauntless, Sovereign, and Tigress head to Delta Pavonis to rendezvous with the Ilokar battle group. As they emerge from Transit (faster-than-light travel), the ships receive a distress call. Apparently, pursuers have caught up with the human and “Synths” fleeing the Sol system.

Capt. Reese calls battle stations and has the Blackbird lead a counterattack. Lt.Cmdr. Tela activates the experimental Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) vessel’s cloaking device. The Tharian engineer isn’t happy to see an Encegulan (slug-like slaver) destroyer.

Lt.Cmdr. Bearhammer deftly pilots the Blackbird into the fray, as a Zarkonian carrier disgorges numerous fighters and Zurmiz Krott (biomechanical probes). Mr. McKee aims beam weapons from his gunner’s nest. “Jellybean” climbs into his “Raptor” to join the Ilokar ’s squadrons defending about 1,000 civilian vehicles.

Mr. Saladin raises telepathic defenses, as enemy swarms attack the heavy destroyer Ilokar and other military escorts. Kevin boldly orders that a zero-point device be loaded on a torpedo. Chris swiftly destroys one of the gun emplacements guarding a Zarkonian launch bay.

Despite ursine Brun’s maneuvering, Tela’s EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapon fails to affect the carrier, which inflicts heavy damage on the Ilokar. The Encegulans fire on the Babieca, and Nate is luckier than one Raptor pilot, who meets a fiery end thanks to Zarkonian lasers.

Former Interplanetary Patrol officer Kevin radios Lt. Clark Faddil aboard the Pinkerton to warn the Terran fleet to move away. Tela resets controls on the Dauntless to enable Blackbird gunner Chris to guide the modified missile.

Space marine Nate leads a Raptor squadron to clear a path for the missile, destroying several fighters. Brun spins the “Blackbird” around to retreat, as Chris sends the zero-point torpedo at the Zarkonian carrier, annihilating it and most of the enemy ships in a massive blast.

After the remaining foes are mopped up, the Ilokar command crew welcomes members of “Terra’s Pride” aboard. Adm. Jacques Pons and his first officer Capt. Jamie Jeppsen thank Capt. Reese and company for coming to their rescue.

Tela recognizes Lt. Hedy, a “Synth” (gynoid) engineer whom she helped in making Ceres Station Transit-capable. Dr. Pahul compares scientific notes with Dr. Brett Carson, who took custody of stolen Vatican relics.
Chris catches up with Sgt. Jane Walthrop, a fellow sniper with whom “Agent Prometheus” once served at Fort Olympus Mons in the Mars Confederacy. Brun shares astrogation data with Delphine (“Uplifted” dolphin) Lt.Cmdr. Kanuha.

Capt. Evander Scofield, commander of the Korelev, explains to Kevin that Capt. Karzan Laseme was the leader of the Zarkonians attacking the Ilokar. En. Chewitel Elba, a Felinoid (“Uplifted” panther), tells Tariq that the colony ships Firebrand, Nova Aquarius, and Faithful Starlight should join the refugee fleet soon.

Capt. Reese briefs Adm. Pons on the findings of the expedition to Van Maanen’s Star. The admiral approves use of the factory moon to create Transit drives for Aquarian and Terran refugees, as well as to emit an energy-draining field to block the Zarkonian Armada. The Union of Solar Nations officers agree to send the Blackbird back to the Pina Colada with personnel and supplies.

Adm. Pons also promotes members of Kevin’s crew, including Jasmine to captain, Tela and Brun to commander, and Nate and Billy to lieutenant commander. Kevin, Srinu, and Wallace retain their existing commissions, and Chris, Orion, Hector, and Tariq remain as civilians.

Capt. Reese requests that the Dauntless join the Blackbird in forward scouting, but Cmdr. Bearhammer and Mr. McKee argue in favor of fewer ships. Adm. Pons initially denies Kevin’s request but asks him to stay in charge of the Ranger Corps task force.

Cmdr. Tela helps Cmdr. Samantha Astin with repairs to the Ilokar and other ships. She also requests that boyfriend Kedar be transferred to join her and robot Dr. Bucket on the Blackbird. Cautious Tariq checks security records of the refugee fleet to see if he recognizes anyone.

Chris notes that it has been just over a year since he first met extraterrestrials under attack from Terra Prime terrorists at the Rio de Janeiro “beanstalk” (space elevator). He warns Cmdr. Alfonso Balaz of the Steel Sanguinis to beware of Ru’ulok (heavy gravity reptilian pirates) such as those at Beta Canum Venaticorum.

Dr. Pahul sends robot PEPE to get supplies and takes nurse Kala Sunitha Ciela for a romantic walk in an arboretum on one of the colony vessels. Lt.Cmdr. Jessup informs signal officer Sgt. Amarna Morales that her former assignment, the Manitou, is among the surviving ships.

Nate later joins Brun, Kevin, Chris, and Hawkeye in search of a bar and a card game among the humans fleeing the Zarkonian devastation of Earth….

I hope that everyone enjoyed the “Vortex” space opera, which we’ve been playing since 2010 (and I’ve been running on and off for 30 years)! I look forward to someday continuing our adventures, but in the meantime, we’ll be working on characters for the “Vanished Lands: A New DawnAsian-style fantasy telecom game next Sunday.

Geoff now plans to run his street-level superhero scenario (using FATE Accelerated Edition ) on Oct. 20. I also look forward to seeing some of you at upcoming “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” and Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Timesface-to-face sessions. Stay in touch, -Gene

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"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.47
Moving a moon

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.47 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 29 September 2013. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures /Mindjammer, Bulldogs, and an online dice roller.

In one future, humanity has started to overcome ecological challenges at the time of open and official First Contact with galactic societies. However, internecine war and the Zarkonian Armada devastate Earth and its colonies. A few million refugees, aided by some aliens, flee into deep space. Will heroes arise among them?

FATE 3e “Vortex: Terra’s Pride” (Team 3/5c) telecom Player Characters, as of autumn 2013:

Acting crew of the refitted yacht Pina Colada:

  • Cmdr. Jasmine” [Sara F., primary ]-female Martian Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” tiger), former pit fighter and crewmember of the Appomattox, 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
  • Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron V.O., primary ]-male Terran “near-human” (genetically modified) xenobiologist, curious and planetary patriot; with robot PEPE
  • Orion Starchaser” [Geoff C., primary ]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker
  • Billy ‘Hawkeye’ James [Bruce K., secondary ]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg technopsi) frontier medic and gambler, recently re-enlisted with the Union of Solar Nations
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington III” [Josh C., secondary ]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance
  • Chiron” [Dexter V.H., primary/absent ]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

See other records for the previous crews of the Blackbird, Appomattox, and Gryphon.

“16 to 20 September 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” Following up on a visit by the Blackbird to Van Maanen’s Star, the crew of the Pina Colada visited Ruhema, the innermost satellite of gas giant Absolom. It encountered abandoned mining operations and a strange energy drain.

An away team determined that the moon was in fact a Precursor device capable of synthesizing Transit (faster-than-light) drives and energy-draining force fields. Cmdr. Jasmine orders the landing party back to the Pina Colada for rest and recharge before trying to move Ruhema closer to its star for reactivation.

The feline captain asks her crew for ideas regarding restarting the ancient satellite. Hector Chavez worries that security systems may be reactivated. The onetime spy recommends using the orbital factory to assist resistance against the Zarkonian invaders.

Dr. Srinu Pahul says that Ruhema’s ability to extend its energy-draining field could help defend the refugees fleeing the Sol system. Lord Wallace Tubbington III suggests bringing Terrans back behind enemy lines to seek shelter around Van Maanen’s Star.

Orion Starchaser agrees to help pilot the machine moon, and Billy “Hawkeye” James points out that it could be used to relay interstellar messages. Chiron notes that Ruhema is not capable of faster-than-light travel itself, but it could produce advanced Transit drives.

Jasmine approves changing the massive satellite’s orbit, with its potential uses still to be determined. Hector devises small remote drones to map Ruhema’s innards, and Orion and Hawkeye coordinate on technopsi controls.

The Pina Colada is hailed by the Slippery Shlarp , an Aquarian vessel. After some discussion, Jasmine allows three of the amphibious humanoids come aboard the refitted space yacht. Lord Tubbington and company go to greet them.

Selora is a Salvorain, a descendant of miners stranded on Dorian Gray, the innermost moon of gas giant Methuselah, so named by the crew of the scout ship Blackbird. She is an adviser to Queen Shulis of the religious Corvell Unity.

Col. Bijar is a Salvorain aide to Gen. Qualish of the technocratic city-state of Albahaven. Delegate Porl is an Aquarian envoy sent to restore contact between the long-lost colonists and the rest of their people.

Wallace takes a gift of foodstuffs and takes the visitors to the swimming pool, which is festooned with plant life. Col. Bijar scans the pool, while Dr. Pahul examines the gift. Selora explains that the Aquarians have also lost their homeworld to the Zarkonian Imperium, and Orion offers his sympathy.

Col. Bijar and Cmdr. Jasmine chat about chains of command, and Hector covertly jams the Ministry of Observation’s continued scans from the bridge with Chiron. Wallace stands at the edge of the pool and learns from Porl that, like Ambassador Plorb at Oasis Station, he is looking for refugee aid.

Orion determines that none of the Salvorain is telepathic, although Selora does mention a Polarian water shaper named Gursh. Wallace asks Porl for assistance in moving and operating Ruhema, and Col. Bijar recommends himself and scientist Palangir.

The Salvorain also trade some information about the crustacean Zarkonians with the humans and their Olvar and Pomuyan allies. Lord Wallace invokes the Kharvamid Alliance, and while his homeworld is far, he invites the Aquarians to join the Terrans who have escaped the Zarkonian tyranny.

Hawkeye and Srinu are initially wary of the Aquarians, who they fear might contest a claim to Ruhema, but they soon realize that the aliens’ plight is similar to their own. Hector remains alert.

The Slippery Shlorp returns to Dorian Gray to pick up technicians. Jasmine later pilots the drop ship Dragonfly back to Ruhema’s surface. It carries ground vehicles such as hovercycles. Chiron stays with the Pina Colada in orbit.

Hector scans the Precursor device’s functionality, while Dr. Pahul checks for life-support capacity. Lord Tubbington explains the findings so far to Col. Bijar, Palangir, and other Salvorain. The away team takes a turbolift to a command center.

Hawkeye and Orion psionically link to gradually move the moon, which leaves Absolom to get closer to Van Maanen’s Star. Both the Terrans and Aquarians are pleased that the device, which is millions of years old, moves as gracefully as it does.

As Ruhema settles into a new orbit and begins to recharge, Chiron reports that the Pina Colada has detected incoming ships at the edge of the solar system. Hector, Hawkeye, and Srinu begin preparing for a fight, but Jasmine tells them to wait for the ships to be identified.

Capt. Phlegg, a plesiosaur-like Cetaran, greets the Pina Colada and Slippery Shlarp. He says that Delegate Plorb had asked for help relocating the Salvorain colonists — even before the Terrans arrived — so he has brought a pod of ships.

Wallace checks the Blackbird ’s logs and confirms that the Cetarans are yet another amphibious species that poses little threat to humanity. The Pina Colada ’s command crew resumes its debate over what to do next.

Hector recommends using the factory moon to create Transit drives to help the Salvorain relocate. The engineer would also prefer to spend more time studying the device and possible manufacturing plans.

While Srinu agrees that Ruhema should be restarted as soon as possible, the doctor says he’d prefer to travel with the bulk of the Terran refugees to help “improve humanity.” By contrast, Wallace believes that Van Maanen’s Star could be a good base from which to build resistance on Earth against the Zarkonians.

Orion likes the idea of studying the Precursor moon more, while Hawkeye would rather explore behind enemy lines to learn about the Zarkonian Armada. The medic also expresses interest in scouting ahead of the Terran fleet to find new worlds and allies.

Cmdr. Jasmine misses her boyfriend Darcy and also wants to continue traveling. In the short term, she agrees with the idea of building FTL drives for the Salvorain, as well as then extending Ruhema’s energy-draining field. In the longer term, the crew agrees that more research and a stronger resistance are needed.

Jasmine a message to the rest of the “Terra’s Pride” Ranger Corps task force to rendezvous at Van Maanen’s Star rather than with the Ilokar battle group, which is headed to Oasis Station by way of Delta Pavonis.

Meanwhile, the Blackbird, Dauntless, Sovereign, and Tigress intercept a signal from the Pirate’s Paean, a small freighter and one of the last ships to escape the Zarkonian invasion of the Sol system.

Capt. Burnett confirms that billions of humans have perished in nuclear exchanges on Earth and the destruction of orbital colonies. Slug-like Encegulans have enslaved many of the survivors, and the Zarkonian Imperium has begun xenoforming (alien terraforming) of Earth and Mars.

“Chris McKee” [Josh] is disappointed that there doesn’t seem to be a way to quickly defeat the enemy, but “Capt. Kevin Reese” [Bruce] and “Lt. Nathan A. Jessup” [Byron] vow to help the rag-tag fleets in their struggle to survive and, someday, to retake their homeworlds….

It’s always cool to see what teamwork can accomplish, and I look forward to wrapping up our current “Vortex” adventures! Let me know if any of you have questions as the “Vanished Lands: A New DawnAsian-style fantasy campaign approaches.

In the meantime, it was good to see some of you at this week’s “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” game, and I’ll see some of you at Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Timessession next week. Geoff’s street-level superhero scenario, using FATE Accelerated Edition, is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, 13 October 2013. Stay in touch, -Gene

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"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.46
Return to Ruhema

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.46 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 22 September 2013. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures /Mindjammer, Bulldogs, and an online dice roller.

In one future, humanity has started to overcome ecological challenges at the time of open and official First Contact with galactic societies. However, internecine war and the Zarkonian Armada devastate Earth and its colonies. A few million refugees, aided by some aliens, flee into deep space. Will heroes arise among them?

FATE 3e “Vortex: Terra’s Pride” (Team 3/5c) telecom Player Characters, as of autumn 2013:

Acting crew of the refitted yacht Pina Colada:

  • Cmdr. Jasmine” [Sara F., primary ]-female Martian Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” tiger), former pit fighter and crewmember of the Appomattox, 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
  • Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron V.O., primary ]-male Terran “near-human” (genetically modified) xenobiologist, curious and planetary patriot; with robot PEPE
  • Orion Starchaser” [Geoff C., primary ]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker
  • Billy ‘Hawkeye’ James [Bruce K., secondary ]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg technopsi) frontier medic and gambler, recently re-enlisted with the Union of Solar Nations
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington III” [Josh C., secondary ]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance
  • Chiron” [Dexter V.H., primary/absent ]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

See other records for the previous crews of the Blackbird, Appomattox, and Gryphon.

“10 to 12 September 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” While the Blackbird, Dauntless, and other ships in the Ranger Corps task force caught up with three slower-than-light colony ships, the Pina Colada traveled to Van Maanen’s Star.

The explorers visited Ruhema, the innermost satellite of Absolom, one of two gas giants in that solar system. Following up on the Blackbird ’s previous visit, they confirmed that it was no moon, but a huge Precursor machine! However, persistent power drains forced the away team back into orbit.

Cmdr. Jasmine recommends that any away team spend only an hour at a time on Ruhema. The “Uplifted” tiger also orders more specific scans of the device’s interior to find a control center.

Hector Chavez determines that the sphere is mostly composed of common elements, such as silicon and iron, with traces of rarer or synthetic substances. The engineer concludes that the Precursors most likely used local materials.

Orion Starchaser is eager to re-enter Ruhema through a proper entrance, rather than a mining shaft created by later interolopers such as Aquarian colonists. Lord Wallace Tubbington III suggests somehow moving the moon closer to Van Maanen’s Star so that it can recharge.

Billy “Hawkeye” James checks to see whether the Pina Colada could tow the object, but the refitted yacht doesn’t have the capability. Dr. Srinu Pahul scans for life signs.

Pilot Chiron stays with the Pina Colada in orbit as Jasmine takes the Dragonfly back to the artificial moon’s surface. The drop ship lands near a protrusion that hasn’t been disturbed in millennia. The landing party leaves the Tiger Hawk Sandstorm ground-effect vehicle in its bay and walks out in vacc suits.

Hector scans the archway and finds a manual override not designed for human hands. Mischievous Orion brandishes a crowbar but then joins Billy in trying to open the locked door with technopsi.

After amateur archaeologist Dr. Pahul realizes that the arch is just the top half of a portal, mighty Jasmine leads Lord Tubbington and Hawkeye in clearing rubble from the entrance. The junior medic also spots potential security countermeasures and warns his companions to stand clear of them.

Jasmine and Hector check the vacc suits’ power levels, which are dropping because of an as-yet-unexplained drain. Srinu points out the similarity between the portal and the jump gate that the Blackbird ’s former crew activated near Oasis Station.

Orion finds a key of sorts — a rhythm encoded on the arch. He taps on the ground with his crowbar, and the ancient aperture opens. The group soon finds itself speeding into the machinery on an elevator with force-field windows.

The psions direct the turbolift to go to a control node, which they find near the hollow core of Ruhema. Orion identifies control panels in the alien room and establishes a telepathic link with Hawkeye.

Dr. Pahul and Lord Tubbington look at the blinking holographic displays and recognize some of the functions they describe. Scientist Srinu sees environmental controls, and Wallace believes the satellite has industrial rather than military intent.

Cautious Hector takes detailed recordings, and Jasmine reminds her companions to look for a way to stop the energy drain. Orion calls up a manual and is nearly overwhelmed by images. Rookie Hawkeye submits a query for power control.

Srinu concludes that although the interface is sophisticated, Ruhema does not host a true A.I. (artificial intelligence). Wallace narrows down the satellite’s potential purposes to a mobile factory, a facility to collect solar energy for passing ships, a signal-boosting interstellar relay station, and a force-field generator.

As Orion checks the moon’s batteries, he is inadvertently drained of some psychic energy himself. Hawkeye finds propulsion and personnel logs, and blacks out. While the human is unable to translate them, he explains that he saw the walking stick builders maneuver Ruhema to safety when Van Maanen’s Star went nova.

The pre-ascension Precursors apparently intended to return but never did, Hawkeye says. Dr. Pahul searches for any inventory of manufactured goods but finds none. Wallace, however, discovers schematics for efficient Transit (faster-than-light) drives.

The energy drain could also provide protection against the nanites (microscopic robots) emitted by Zarkonian probes, Hector says. He and Wallace continuing examining controls to find a way to stop the seepage — or extend it. The Terrans hope that Ruhema could prove useful to defending the refugee fleet from the Zarkonian Armada.

Orion and Hawkeye switch Ruhema to a standby mode, with their suits at 55%. Wallace studies records to verify that the nova was natural and not a side-effect of the device’s use. Jasmine asks her crewmates if they can find a way to change the artifact’s orbit around Van Maanen’s Star.

Orion finds possible plans for force-field generators, and Srinu isn’t sure if life support can be reactivated. Hector finds attitude controls and suggests recharging the team’s vacc suits. Cmdr. Jasmine orders the away team to head back to the surface.

Now that they have figured out Ruhema’s inner workings, the explorers can rest and recharge their gear before returning to move the mechanical moon….

I’m impressed by the progress the Pina Colada’s crew made in solving the riddle of Ruhema! I look forward to wrapping up your missions in the next few weeks, as well as to Geoff’s FATE Accelerated Edition superhero one-shot and the upcoming “Vanished Lands: A New DawnAsian-style fantasy campaign.

In the meantime, I’ll see some of you at upcoming “Star Wars: Dark Timesand “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” sessions, -Gene

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"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.45
The "Faithful Starlight"

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.45 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 15 September 2013. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures /Mindjammer, Bulldogs, and an online dice roller.

In one future, humanity has started to overcome ecological challenges at the time of open and official First Contact with galactic societies. However, internecine war and the Zarkonian Armada devastate Earth and its colonies. A few million refugees, aided by some aliens, flee into deep space. Will heroes arise among them?

FATE 3e “Vortex: Terra’s Pride” (Team 3/5c) telecom Player Characters, as of summer 2013:

Acting crew of the scout ship Blackbird and corvette Dauntless:

  • Capt. Kevin Reese” [Bruce K., primary ]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg), former Interplanetary Patrol officer and leader of the “Terra’s Pride” homeworld security task force
  • Lt.Cmdr. Tela” [Sara F., secondary ]-female Tharian (gargoyle-like alien), escapee from the Encegulans (slug-like slavers), fond of humans; engineer with boyfriend Kedar
  • Lt.Cmdr. Brun Bearhammer” [Geoff C., secondary ]-male Martian Ursoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” bear), former wrestler, pilot
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin” [Beruk A., secondary ]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
  • Chris McKee /Agent Prometheus” [Josh C., primary ]-male Terran human, former assassin for the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., sniper and seeker

“11 to 15 September 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After defeating a squadron of Zarkonian fighters near Altair, part of the Terran Ranger Corps task force escorts the slower-than-light colony ship Faithful Starlight to shelter in an asteroid belt.

The Blackbird and Dauntless send an away team to the generation vessel, as the Sovereign and Tigress make repairs and keep watch for more enemy ships. Lt.Cmdr. Brun Bearhammer stays aboard the Blackbird to coordinate.

Capt. Kevin Reese pilots a Morgan-class shuttle, and Tariq Asrad Saladin scans for crew members infected by nanites (microscopic robots). Lt.Cmdr. Tela brings Dr. Bucket to present data to the colonists, as Lt. Nathan A. Jessup and Chris McKee check their sidearms.

Lama Vishal Pratik, commander of the Faithful Starlight, and Rabbi Irene Gimbel, communications officer, greet their visitors. Capt. Reese makes introductions, and the humans are pleased to meet Tharian Tela, their first extraterrestrial.

The group goes to the main bridge, a round gardenlike chamber with tastefully distributed seats and display panels. Lt. Jessup and Mr. McKee observe that some of the robed crew members are likely armed and armored.

Mr. Saladin is surprised to learn that there are 30,000 inhabitants, more than on either of the previous colony ships visited. Kevin informs the Faithful Starlight ’s commanders of the Zarkonian invasion of the Sol system. He also recommends that the ship heads to rendezvous with the refugee fleet.

Lama Pratik calmly but promptly asks Imam Yasmine Nawaz to install a Transit (faster-than-light) drive with help from Tela and Dr. Bucket. Tariq senses Rabbi Gimbel communicating with personnel telepathically.

Brother Dwight Van readily agrees to review security measures with Nate and Chris. Pundit Elliott Hsiao, a planetologist and musician, requests astrogational data from Brun, who is scanning for Zurmiz Krott (biomechanical probes).

Prelate Lucy Ying, the Faithful Starlight ’s first officer, quickly tells Kevin how her ancestors fled religious wars on Earth and struggled to overcome their differences during their first few decades in deep space.

Houngan Sunil Foreman, the laid-back chief medical officer, shares epidemiological data with Tariq. Sister Dao Desc Wei and Alejandra Darjaniv explain how their life-support systems are strained by population pressures. Kevin reassures them that other colony ships should be able to help.

Tela’s reputation as a miracle worker continues to spread as she adds containment mechanisms to the Faithful Starlight ’s fusion generators and deploys the Transit drive with cyborg Imam Nawaz, Dr. Bucket, and Nate.

As they walk through crowded corridors, Nate and Chris see that the religious communities are well-mixed, perhaps providing a model for other Terran refugees. Bro. Van worries about submitting to military command, but Chris says that a fair amount of autonomy is likely.

Nate offers to take his battered Raptor II-class aerospace fighter for an external examination of the Faithful Starlight, but Brun helps by using the Blackbird ’s more advanced scanners. The ursine officer also watches for the Zarkonian carrier that recently passed through the Altair system.

A Zurmiz Krott probe (also known as a “Harbinger of the Rightous Order of Submission”) approaches, and Rabbi Irene coordinates a psionic defense. Unfortunately, Brun is caught in the middle and suffers a headache because he is linked to the Blackbird as pilot.

The rabbi apologizes and explains her techniques to Kevin, Tariq, and Nate, who say that they could be useful to the Terran fleet. Meanwhile, Chris takes Bro. Dwight via shuttle to his quarters to share some modern firearms.

Capt. Reese tells Lama Pratik and Prelate Ying that they have more harmonious passengers and crew than the scientist castes on the Firebrand or the megacorp factions on the Nova Aquarius. He then sends a message to Col. Shan Gray informing his superior that free humanity has grown by several thousand more.

As the Faithful Starlight goes to join the Firebrand, the Nova Aquarius, and the Ilokar battle group headed toward Oasis Station, the “Terra’s Pride” task force sets a course for Van Maanen’s Star, where the Pina Colada went to examine Precursor relics.

Acting crew of the refitted yacht Pina Colada:

  • Cmdr. Jasmine” [Sara F., primary ]-female Martian Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” tiger), former pit fighter and crewmember of the Appomattox, 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
  • Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron V.O., primary ]-male Terran “near-human” (genetically modified) xenobiologist, curious and planetary patriot; with robot PEPE
  • Orion Starchaser” [Geoff C., primary ]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker
  • Billy ‘Hawkeye’ James [Bruce K., secondary ]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg technopsi) frontier medic and gambler, recently re-enlisted with the Union of Solar Nations
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington III” [Josh C., secondary ]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance
  • Chiron” [Dexter V.H., primary ]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

See other records for the previous crews of the Blackbird, Appomattox, and Gryphon.

Meanwhile, the Pina Colada had entered that solar system around the same time that the rest of the task force had encountered the Nova Aquarius. Cmdr. Jasmine orders scans.

Pilot Chiron reports that the white dwarf has two gas-giant planets, Absolom and Methuselah. The outer planet, Methuselah, has two moons, Whistler’s Mother, an iceball, and Dorian Gray, home to descendants of stranded Aquarian miners.

Lord Wallace Tubbington III explains that nearly a Terran year ago, the Morifaiwet/Blackbird had negotiated a settlement between the city-state of Albahaven and the more pious Corvell Unity.

Wallace and Orion Starchaser express interest in contacting the Salvorain settlers. Dr. Srinu Pahul and Billy “Hawkeye” James recommend against any hails. Jasmine decides to do so only after checking abandoned mining operations.

The Pina Colada passes rocky Ezekiel and frigid Elric, Absolom’s outer moons. Hector Chavez notes the presence of a buoy claiming Ruhema, the innermost satellite, for Aughest-vor’s [Jason E.R.] holding company OPM-Pharsmor. Chris McKee had expressed interest in searching for “sun killers” for the fight against the Zarkonian Armada.

Cmdr. Jasmine boards the Dragonfly drop ship to Ruhema with Dr. Pahul, Orion, Lord Tubbington, and Billy. Hector and Chiron stay with the Pina Colada. The apparently lifeless moon is covered with dust and piles of slag.

Hawkeye drives the Tiger Hawk Sandstorm ground-effect vehicle to the previous site. The explorers find a tunnel entrance and a half-sunken piece of drilling equipment. Srinu monitors for power fluctuations based on warnings of previous energy drains.

As the away team debates what to do, impatient Orion walks into the tunnel. The Pomuyan wanderer sees the slag give way to machinery all around and realizes that Ruhema is no moon — it’s some sort of giant device! Jasmine and the others follow.

Srinu and Hawkeye try to apply their archaeological expertise, but there are no obvious labels or controls. Telepaths Orion and Hawkeye sense a hum. Orion shouts, “Wake up!” and throws a rock but receives no response.

The spelunkers suspect that Ruhema’s controls are psionic when Orion points and their magnetic boots shift in a few centimeters one direction. However, the power levels of the team’s space suits drop to 75%, then 40%. Jasmine orders a retreat after venturing 200 meters beneath the surface.

Hawkeye struggles to restart the Tiger Hawk Sandstorm, and Jasmine must also contend with power drains to get the Dragonfly to lift off. Back in orbit, Srinu suggests scanning for a main bridge rather than a site of later scavenger operations.

Wallace and Chriron point out that given Ruhema’s hunger for energy, it’s possible that it was sated and fully operational back before Van Maanen’s Star became a white dwarf. That would put the Precursor device’s age in the millions, if not billions, of Earth years.

The Pina Colada resumes scanning Ruhema from orbit, as Cmdr. Jasmine sets time limits for future away missions….

I look forward to wrapping up the current chapter of our space opera, as well as Geoff’s upcoming FATE Accelerated Edition superhero one-shot and the “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” telecom campaign (using the AD&D1 Oriental Adventures and the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game).

In the meantime, remember to make sure that your Player Character records reflect the current total of 40 skill points. I’ll see most of you online this coming Sunday, Sept. 22, or at Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Timessession (using Savage Worlds) at Rich C.G.’s place on Monday.

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"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.44
Dogfight at Altair

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.44 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 8 September 2013. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures /Mindjammer, Bulldogs, and an online dice roller.

In one future, humanity has started to overcome ecological challenges at the time of open and official First Contact with galactic societies. However, internecine war and the Zarkonian Armada devastate Earth and its colonies. A few million refugees, aided by some aliens, flee into deep space. Will heroes arise among them?

FATE 3e “Vortex: Terra’s Pride” (Team 3/5c) telecom Player Characters, as of summer 2013:

Acting crew of the scout ship Blackbird and corvette Dauntless:

  • Capt. Kevin Reese” [Bruce K., primary ]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg), former Interplanetary Patrol officer and leader of the “Terra’s Pride” homeworld security task force
  • Lt.Cmdr. Tela” [Sara F., secondary ]-female Tharian (gargoyle-like alien), escapee from the Encegulans (slug-like slavers), fond of humans; engineer with boyfriend Kedar
  • Lt.Cmdr. Brun Bearhammer” [Geoff C., secondary ]-male Martian Ursoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” bear), former wrestler, pilot
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin” [Beruk A., secondary ]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
  • Chris McKee /Agent Prometheus” [Josh C., primary ]-male Terran human, former assassin for the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., sniper and seeker

See other records for the previous crews of the Pina Colada, Blackbird, Appomattox, and Gryphon.

“9 to 10 September 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After visiting the Firebrand and Nova Aquarius, part of the “Terra’s Pride” Ranger Corps task force caught up with the Faithful Starlight , a third slower-than-light vessel. However, a Zarkonian squadron had also spotted the generation colony ship.

From the Dauntless , Capt. Kevin Reese orders sometime lover Capt. Elektra Contos and the Terran patrol ship Tigress to fall back to guard the Faithful Starlight. Lt. Harry “Monty Hall” Takahari Jr. takes the frigate Sovereign to pose as a “wounded bird.”

Lt.Cmdr. Brun Bearhammer sets the Blackbird on a course toward the 12 approaching fighters. Lt.Cmdr. Tela activates the scout ship’s cloaking device. Lt. Nathan A. Jessup is among the pilots launching Raptor II-class interceptors from the Dauntless. “Jellybean” also recommends using Altair’s wide asteroid belt for cover.

Chris McKee sits in the Blackbird ‘s gunner’s nest, as Tariq Asrad Saladin reviews tactical maneuvers and watches for telepathic contact. Chris and Tariq recommend that the stealthy Olvar vessel go ahead instead of the less-maneuverable Sovereign.

Tariq successfully jams enemy signals, and Lt. Jessup [see map, NJr] flies straight for the Zarkonian fighter craft. Lt.Cmdr. Tela readies the scout ship Blackbird ’s engines for a Transit (faster-than-light) microjump. Chris begins “painting” targets as they come into range.

Capt. Reese climbs into another Raptor, leaving Capt. Helena Cain in command of the corvette Dauntless [Dnt]. Lt.Cmdr. Bearhammer directs the Sovereign [Svr] and Dauntless to head toward Altair’s asteroid belt. The ursine officer also sends four fighters to escort the Tigress [Tgr] and Faithful Starlight [FSt], keeping six others [Rpt] close by.

Brun then takes the Blackbird [Blk] toward the Zarkonians and lays down covering fire for Chris. Tela drops the cloak and diverts power. Tariq scans for telepathic wavelengths to jam, and Chris destroys one fighter [Zf3] with a particle beam.

Kevin engages the lead craft [Zf1], flying defensively before destroying it. Nate also exchanges fire, but his guns are damaged. Another enemy [Zf4] singes Kevin’s bird. The rest of the Raptor squadron fires [Josh/Non-Player Characters], damaging some Zarkonian craft [Zf4 and Zf7] as they fire on the Blackbird.

The Blackbird turns to retrieve space marine Nate’s fighter, and pilot Brun damages another foe [Zf5]. Engineer Tela and droid Dr. Bucket activate spider drones for damage control. Tariq detects nanites (microscopic robots) being emitted by the Zarkonians. The wanderer warns his crewmates.

Sniper Chris takes out one fighter [Zf11], and former cop Kevin pursues and eliminates another [Zf5]. “Jellybean” brings his Raptor into the Blackbird ’s launch bay for an ungraceful landing. The other Terran fighters narrowly evade gamma-ray lasers and fire on the Zarkonian [Zf4] attacking Kevin.

Lt. Takahari [Geoff/N.P.C.], commanding the Sovereign, destroys one fighter [Zf2] and wings another [Zf6]. Capt. Cain [Beruk/N.P.C.] finishes it off, but the sensors of the Dauntless are damaged [Zf10]. Fortunately, the corvette evades another foe [Zf8].

Brun dodges one pursuer [Zf9], and Tela and Tariq hastily repair Nate’s Raptor. Chris shoots down one craft [Zf12] before it can leave the area, as Kevin exchanges blasts with another [Zf7]. The rest of the Terran squadron maneuvers at high speed.

The Sovereign destroys one fighter [Zf8] and moves to assist the Raptors. Its missiles go wide, possibly foiled by nanites [Zf4]. The Dauntless obliterates another of the crustacean Zarkonians [Zf10], whose armada has conquered the Sol system.

The aliens [Zf9] swing back to the Blackbird , and some [Zf4, Zf7] continue to engage the Raptors. Tariq detects a larger Zarkonian ship entering the Altair system and recommends that all Terrans head for the asteroid belt.

Brun and Tela successfully execute the microjump, as Chris provides cover for the Tigress and Faithful Starlight. Tharian Tela warns that a second jump won’t be immediately possible.

Kevin blasts another enemy [Zf4], and Nate relaunches and shoots at two others [Zf9, Zf7]. The human pilots manage to outfly their opponents and destroy the last of the fighters, even as they take more damage themselves. The Raptors rejoin the Dauntless and Sovereign and head for cover.

The Terran task force waits for several tense hours as the Zarkonian carrier passes through the system. It sends Zurmiz Krott (biomechanical probes) to examine the destroyed fighters, but they don’t enter Altair’s asteroid belt.

After regrouping, the Blackbird hails the Faithful Starlight. Rabbi Irene Gimbel, communications officer of the colony ship, relays Capt. Vishal Pratik’s gratitude and invites an away team to visit….

I hope that everyone enjoyed our space battle — which used Google Docs for real-time shared editing — and I look forward to wrapping up the current chapter of our “Vortex” adventures! In the meantime, remember that your P.C.s now have 40 skill points each.

I’ve begun compiling notes for our upcoming “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” telecom fantasy game, which will likely use AD&D1 Oriental Adventures and the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game. I also look forward to Geoff’s street-level superhero one-shot, which will use FATE Accelerated Edition.

We’ve had a busy summer, and I look forward to settling back into a regular gaming schedule. In the meantime, I’ll see some of you at my upcoming “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” and Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Timesface-to-face sessions. Josh, I hope your own games go well! Later, -Gene

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