"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.13

Black Box bites back

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.13 of the " Vortex: the Gryphon " telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 21 October 2012. 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?

FATE 3e “Vortex” Team 3 (5c) telecom space opera Player Characters, crew of the Gryphon, as of autumn 2012:

  • “Jasmine” [Sara F.]-female Martian Felinoid (Synth, “Uplifted” tiger), former professional pit fighter and onetime crewmember of the Appomattox, now apart from the grifters in “MarSoupAiL” with boyfriend Darcy
  • “Chris McKee/Agent Prometheus” [Josh C.]-male Terran human cyborg, former sniper for the North American Aerospace Marine Corps. and eugenicists at Black Box Security Co.; onetime crewmember of the scout ship Blackbird
  • “Jax” [Robin H.]-male human from the Asteroid Belt, vain space pirate and pilot of the Slipstream and Gryphon
  • “Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron V.O.]-male Indian Terran “near-human” (bioengineered) xenobiologist, shadowed by scandal and confident in survival skills
  • “Orion Starchaser” [Geoff C./absent-male [blue humanoid alien] outcast, irrepressible mystic and adrenaline junkie

“5 to 7 April 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” The Gryphon has traveled from habitats orbiting Earth and the dangerous outback of Mars to Jupiter. After fighting pirates in Europa’s chilly oceans, the yacht’s intrepid crew prepares to meet other contacts.

Hector Chavez arranges a rendezvous with onetime rival Annamaria Balzana at Club Hedonism, a touristy nightclub in Elysium Station, capital of the Jovian Commonwealth.

Jasmine thanks pilot Jax for helping to rescue their crewmates from the Encegulan (slug-like alien) submarine. The tiger woman and Darcy plan to meet Shortwave and Quickfin, two Delphines (“Uplifted” cetaceans) in the Synth Liberation Front, at a clock tower at midnight.

Dr. Srinu Pahul asks engineer Hector to work on a gun that can emit both an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and stun. The scientist agrees to go with Hector to Club Hedonism and makes plans for a farewell party as the Gryphon leaves the Sol system.

Chris McKee asks Jasmine to accompany him to “Tazer’s Tavern” in Port Edillon. The sniper is wary of his reunion with Lt. Brock Ellis, a colleague among the secretive eugenicists at Black Box Security Co. Meanwhile, Orion Starchaser wanders off for more sightseeing.

At Elysium, Hector parties with other high-society types while Hector chats with the attractive Annamaria. She agrees to discreetly inquire into the whereabouts of Hector and Jasmine’s former cohorts aboard the “Appomattox,” which hid its cargo of smuggled Vatican artifacts in deep space.

“Agent Prometheus,” Jasmine, and Jax find armored Lt. Ellis at the soldier bar. As they exchange pleasantries, Jasmine notices people moving away from them. Chris realizes that he has been poisoned and draws his pistol on Brock, wounding him.

More of “Tazer’s Tavern’s” patrons draw guns, and furred Jasmine knocks over a table as a shield. One Black Box agent [Byron/Non-Player Character] circles around and shoots, but Jasmine dodges a few bullets.

Another “near-human” [Josh/N.P.C.] fires a needler but misses at first. A third [Beruk/N.P.C.] also misses with a net gun. Chris slumps to the floor, as Jasmine picks up the table and slams into Brock. The burly wrestler grabs Chris and heads for the door.

Jax emerges from the toilets and shoots at a chandelier, briefly pinning one of the goons. Jasmine gets hit by hollow needles containing an anesthetic and is slowed. One of the gunmen [Byron/N.P.C.] runs after her.

Another would-be kidnapper [Josh/N.P.C.] ignores Jax, who radios Hector and Chris for backup. They commandeer a ground-effect vehicle and race to “Tazer’s Tavern.” The Black Box agents close in on Jasmine and Chris, with Jax close behind.

Srinu weaves through the colony’s traffic and slides the speeder between the snipers and his companions. Hector shoots one gunman, and Chris regains consciousness in time to finish off the man with the needler.

Jasmine recommends avoiding the tavern, but Chris runs back to confront Brock. Unfortunately, he is gone. Hector uses his microcomputer to block local surveillance. He also finds that the Black Box agents carried police IDs.

Jax takes the wheel, and the crew of the Gryphon makes a swift retreat to the space dock, losing one of the gunmen [Beruk /N.P.C.] who had tried to cut them off on foot.

Back at the ship, Dr. Pahul and robot nurse MEGAN attend to Chris and Jasmine’s injuries. Jax recommends heading to the Asteroid Belt as soon as possible, noting that the group should be able to find other contacts there.

Hector puts the speeder in the cargo hold near Jasmine’s hoverbike for future tinkering. The former spy also tells Annamaria that he hopes to reconnect with her another time. Jax doesn’t mind leaving lady friend Bonnie Kawagura behind.

Disappointed Jasmine cancels her meeting with the Delphines but still hopes to find friendly fellow “Synths” (bioengineered humanoids) before leaving the Sol system. Mystic Orion returns from his rambles in time to head out.

No longer just a cold-blooded killer, Chris is angry with himself for allowing Black Box Security forces to get the drop on him, months after he fought Terra Prime on the Blackbird. Orion points out that he has probably also gotten the attention of higher-ranking people who might be more interested in talking.

The Gryphon leaves the Jovian system. Jasmine, Chris, and Jax rest, while Srinu cancels his party and finishes his report for the Union of Solar Nations on the Zarkonian threat. Hector checks his aliases and monitors scanners.

Darcy and PEPE, Srinu’s valet robot, continue to make repairs as the “Gryphon” heads to Ceres, the largest colony in the Asteroid Belt….

Please note that the “Vortex” telecom game won’t be meeting on Oct. 28 because I’ll be meeting former co-worker Ken G. for a Raiders of the Lost Ark screening in Cambridge, Mass. I expect to resume on Nov. 4 after attending the Rhode Island Comic Con.

In the meantime, I hope that Monday’s " Vanished Lands : Vistel’s Circus " fantasy session won’t be affected by Hurricane Sandy. Take it easy, -Gene