Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.34 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Monday, 27 May 2013. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures /Mindjammer, Bulldogs, and an online dice roller.

In one future, humanity has begun to colonize the Sol system, but environmental degradation, population pressures, and internecine conflict persist. The rediscovery of mystical abilities and open and official First Contact with galactic societies, themselves at war, threaten Terra’s very survival. Can heroes rise to the challenges ?

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

Acting crew of the Terran frigate Sovereign:

  • Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese [Bruce K., primary ]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg), former Interplanetary Patrol officer and member of the Blackbird and Dauntless crews; defender of the homeworld
  • Tela [Sara F., secondary ]-female Tharian (gargoyle-like alien), escapee from the Encegulans (slug-like slavers), fond of humans; engineer with boyfriend Kedar and robot Dr. Bucket
  • Chris McKee /Agent Prometheus” [Josh C., primary ]-male Terran human, former assassin for the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., sniper and seeker aboard the Blackbird and Pina Colada
  • Orion Starchaser [Geoff C., primary ]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker
  • Hector Chavez [Beruk A., primary/absent ]-male Terran human, former spy and crewmember on the Appomattox, cautious engineer and communications expert
  • Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup [Byron V.O., secondary/absent ]-male Terran human, gung-ho member of the North American Aerospace Marine Corps
  • 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.

“8 to 12 August 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After foiling would-be assassins at the Wolf 359 outpost, the acting crew of the corvette Dauntless interrogated Ms. Helen Gastmeyer, an agent for the approaching Zarkonian Armada.

The “Terra’s Pride” homeworld security task force then regrouped at Lalande 21185. The commanders of the Pina Colada, Blackbird, Dauntless, Sovereign, and Crazy Horse meet to discuss their next moves.

Capt. Jasmine” [Sara] of the refitted yacht Pina Colada recommends eliminating the threat posed by Cmdr. Hadsrubal Guitterez, the traitor in charge of the Wolf 359 base. “Lt. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce], commander of the experimental scout ship Blackbird , notes that most of the troops stationed there may still be loyal to the Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.).

Capt. Aveeshi Stormsea, the Aquarian (amphibious humanoid alien) captain of the frigate Sovereign , says that the damaged ships need to return to the Sol system for crew and repairs. Capt. Dirk Hatch of the Crazy Horse switches places with Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese aboard the Dauntless.

Tela joins Kevin and inspects the engines of the Sovereign. Chris McKee is more interested in the Terran frigate’s guns and missiles. Orion Starchaser is exhausted after his telepathic battles with Ms. Gastmeyer and rests in a cabin.

Sgt. Nate Jessup is pleased to be aboard yet another military vessel, and Hector Chavez coordinates task force communications and watches for pursuit from Wolf 359. “Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron] watches over Ms. Gastmeyer and Capt. Helena Cain of the Dauntless, and Chiron stays with the Pina Colada.

After piloting the Sovereign to Lalande 21185, Ursoid (“Synth,” “Uplifted” bear) “Lt. Brun Bearhammer” [Geoff] requests to be transferred back to the Blackbird. Lt.Cmdr. Reese approves and has Hector send a request to the U.S.N. fleet for reinforcements, as well as the news about Zarkonian spies.

Col. Shan Gray eventually replies that he’s sending the patrol ship Tigress, relieving some of Kevin’s stress. Col. Gray says that securing Wolf 359 is important because 30 refugee ships are already on their way from Earth.

Lt.Cmdr. Reese’s superior also approves of using a reassignment order to lure Cmdr. Guitterez away from Wolf 359 so he can be arrested with a minimum of conflict. Kevin finds that he is a bit rusty with astrogation, but he takes the Sovereign back to the outpost and congratulates Hadsrubal on his new commission.

Raptor-class fighters piloted by Lt. Kamar “Buster” Olekunde and Lt. Mireille “Skeets” Rubio escort the Sovereign, Pina Colada, Blackbird, and Crazy Horse to the orbital station, while the Dauntless again hides on the far side of the star.

Kevin orders helmeted Chris and Nate to accompany him, leaving Orion and Hector aboard the Sovereign because they might be recognized. The away team takes a Morgan -class shuttle to the Wolf 359 outpost.

The three uniformed humans are greeted by Cmdr. Guitterez and his Canid (“Synth,” “Upflited” wolf) chief of security, Lt. Fenris Ironclaw. Hadsrubal asks for a few hours to prepare for his reassignment and invites the visitors to dinner.

Meanwhile, Orion and Chris walk around the Sovereign and are surprised when crew members congratulate them for defeating the Zarkonian agents. Tela and Hector look for ways to disable the base’s systems if needed.

Kevin and Nate meet Lugh Astrophel, an Olvar (mammal-like, arboreal alien) trader. He asks if they know anything of the whereabouts of Velanna Loquieth, captain of the courier ship Unquith. She has been missing for a few (Terran) days — but Lugh seems not to know that she was a plasma sword-wielding attackers working with Ms. Gastmeyer.

Nate notices that they are being followed, none too subtly, by a combat robot whom Hector identifies as Kurang. Kevin sticks to public areas but pretends not to notice the droid. Orion scans for other telepaths and is pleased to report that Helen and the late Velanna were the only other psions at Wolf 359.

Kevin, Tela, and Nate dine with Cmdr. Guitterez, Lt. Ironclaw, and Capt. Hatch, as well as engineer Lt. Han Lao Bing, chief medical officer Dr. Roberto Torkas, and swashbuckling cyborg Capt. Dino Neustadt.

Tela covertly scans the meal and finds that all of the food has a toxin, but only the guests’ drinks lack a counteragent. Kevin and Tela “accidentally” grab the wrong glasses, but Nate relies on his space marine conditioning. Cmdr. Guitterez seems pleased that he’ll be aboard the Sovereign soon.

Lt.Cmdr. Reese shows Cmdr. Guitterez and Lt. Ironclaw to guest cabins on the Sovereign . Capt. Hatch takes command of the Wolf 359 outpost. Dr. Pahul checks on those exposed to food toxins.

Once the flotilla is away from the base, Hector pumps anesthetic gas into Hadsrubal and Fenris’ cabins. Sgt. Jessup and Mr. McKee take them to sickbay, where Dr. Pahul examines them. He finds cyanide tooth capsules, as well as cortical bomb implants.

Kevin orders them removed, and Srinu gets help from robotic nurse MEGAN. When they awaken, Hadsrubal mocks Lt.Cmdr. Reese until he learns that Helen has also been arrested and that an explosive was removed from his brain. Fenris alternates between rage and fatalism, and Kevin assigns more crew to watch the prisoners.

Lt. Bearhammer and the other astrogators set a course for Earth. Capt. Jasmine agrees with Lt.Cmdr. Reese that they should take the fight to the Zarkonians. The Felinoid also studies tactics with Lt. Growlick, who says she’ll probably be offered a position in the U.S.N. space navy upon mission completion.

Tela misses her boyfriend Kedar, robot aide Dr. Bucket, and the drone hive back on the Blackbird. The Tharian channels her energies into enhancing the Sovereign and creating more EMP (electromagnetic pulse) guns.

The cortical implants remind Chris of his own recent ties to Black Box Security Co., and the sniper meditates. Olvar diplomat “Lord Wallace Tubbington III” [Josh] starts an intership poker tournament, drawing in Brun, Srinu, and others.

Orion goes to the Pina Colada to swim in its pool, and Kevin is pleased when sometime lover Capt. Elektra Contos and the Tigress join his task force en route to Earth.

After just a few days’ travel, “Terra’s Pride” reaches the edge of the Sol system. The Shaka Zulu battle group hails the incoming vessels. Adm. Joseph Ochieng tells Lt.Cmdr. Reese that all incoming traffic is being screened, and his battle group is trying to facilitate evacuation.

Adm. Ochieng directs the Sovereign and its sister ships to the Asteroid Belt, where Col. Gray and the U.S.N. high command await their prisoners and reports before they head out into deep space….

Beruk, Byron, and Dexter, I hope that you had a good Memorial Day; we missed you! I expect the “Vortex” game to return to its normal time this coming Sunday, 2 June 2013.

I enjoyed the final session (for now) of Jason E.R.’s “Barsoomian Adventures: the Tenth Ray of Mars,” and I look forward to our face-to-face group’s one-shots this coming summer. In the meantime, I’ll see some of you at next Monday’s “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy game…. -Gene