Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.35 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 2 June 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:

Crew of the refitted yacht Pina Colada:

  • 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
  • Cmdr. Jasmine” [Sara F., primary]-female Martian Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” tiger), former pit fighter and crewmember of the “Appomattox,” hoping to find a homeworld for her people
  • Hector Chavez” [Beruk A., primary]-male Terran human, former spy and crewmember on the “Appomattox,” cautious engineer and communications expert
  • Chris McKee /Agent Prometheus” [Josh C., primary]-male Terran human, former assassin for the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., sniper and seeker
  • Orion Starchaser” [Geoff C., primary]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker
  • Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron V.O., primary]-male Terran “near-human” (genetically modified) xenobiologist, curious and confident planetary patriot; with robots MEGAN and PEPE
  • Chiron” [Dexter V.H., primary/absent ]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

Crew of the experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Lt.Cmdr. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce K., secondary]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted “Blackbird”
  • 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
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin” [Beruk A., secondary]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington” [Josh C., secondary]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance and Union of Solar Nations
  • Lt.Cmdr. Brun Bearhammer” [Geoff C., secondary]-male Martian Ursoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” bear), former wrestler, pilot
  • Lt. Nathan A. Jessup” [Byron V.O., secondary]-male Terran human, gung-ho space marine and fighter pilot
  • Enkidu Aristheon” [Dexter V.H., secondary/absent ]-male Seranen (pale empathic humanoid alien) exile, wilderness survival expert curious about Terrans and the Zarkonian threat; with sphinx-like companion Glaucon

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

“13 to 17 August 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After rescuing Terran ships and arresting traitors near Wolf 359, the “Terra’s Pride” homeworld security task force returned to the Asteroid Belt to report.

Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese turns over Zarkonian sympathizers Ms. Helen Gastmeyer, Cmdr. Hadsrubal Guitterez, and Lt. Fenris Ironclaw to Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.) custody at Ceres Station. Adm. Jacques Pons offers Kevin and his crew commissions in the U.S.N. space navy in gratitude.

Even though the political situation is deteriorating on Earth, the U.S.N. has redirected its forces to strengthen perimeter defenses against the approaching Zarkonian Armada. The admiral also notes that potential missions include joining the fleets deployed around the Sol system, scouting possible evacuation routes, and infiltrating enemy-held space.

Adm. Pons tells Kevin that he and his friends have 24 hours to decide because the armada is estimated to be only weeks away. Newly promoted, Capt. Reese calls a meeting in the Pina Colada’s lounge.

From the yacht, Jasmine and Dr. Srinu Pahul accept ranks within the Terran military, but Hector Chavez and Chris McKee decline the offer to return to formal service. Galactic wanderer Orion Starchaser laughs at the offer, preferring to stay unattached. Chiron asks for time to think.

From the scout ship Blackbird, Sebastian Growlick, Tela, Lord Wallace Tubbington III, Brun Bearhammer, and Nathan A. Jessup accept U.S.N. promotions or commissions. Survival experts Tariq Asrad Saladin and Enkidu Aristheon decline.

Capt. Reese relays Adm. Pons’ mission descriptions and asks for recommendations. Cmdr. Pahul recommends placing paralyzed prisoners aboard the Crazy Horse and seeing how the Zarkonians respond to an attack.

Wallace, now special envoy between the Olvar Star League and the U.S.N., doesn’t like Srinu’s plan to throw away human lives, even if they are criminals. Orion and Enkidu agree. Lord Tubbington adds, however, that he is up for diplomacy and adventure, including going behind enemy lines.

Tariq says that he has been experimenting with using bioelectronics to block psionics. Engineers Tela and Hector assist, as do telepaths Orion and Enkidu.

Chris is also unsure about Dr. Pahul’s “Trojan horse” plan. The sniper recommends using the Blackbird ’s cloaking device for infiltration. Hector makes a counterproposal of using a remotely piloted drone.

Hector also says that he has studied plasma sword crystals to create a prototype tunable force-field emitter. Unfortunately, three slower-than-light generation colony ships may be too far to help. In addition, the former spy points out that he is the only person familiar with the zero-point munitions intercepted on their way to Earth.

Capt. Reese then turns to the naval personnel. Lt. Jessup is eager to get training for a new aerospace superiority fighter craft. Lt.Cmdr. Bearhammer suggests luring the cloud-based energy entities recently encountered as an obstacle for the approaching armada.

Lt.Cmdr. Tela says that she has been working on scaling up an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) gun for the Blackbird. Despite his attachment to Jasmine, Lt.Cmdr. Growlick volunteers to take the Crazy Horse for a kamikaze mission.

Cmdr. Jasmine also objects to Cmdr. Pahul’s idea of using humans as bait, and the doctor responds that foes must be defeated by any means necessary. “Each hour we slow the Zarkonians means that many more Terrans can escape,” Srinu says.

Capt. Reese says that he’ll take everyone’s recommendations under advisement. The group then discusses deployment of the ships currently in “Terra’s Pride.” The Blackbird will pursue the primary mission of covertly entering Zarkonian-held space.

The experimental Olvar (mammal-like arboreal alien) vessel will include Capt. Reese as commander, Lt.Cmdr. Tela as engineer, and Lt.Cmdr. Bearhammer as helmsman. Mr. McKee and Lt. Jessup will serve as gunners and marines, and Mr. Saladin and Mr. Aristheon will provide psionic protection.

The Pina Colada will lead the Sovereign and Tigress in an attempt to find the cloud-based entities that had zombified starship crews. Capt. Reese orders the three ships to lure or capture the “psi eaters” so that they can attack the Zarkonians.

Cmdr. Jasmine takes the Pina Colada, with Chiron as pilot and Tela’s boyfriend Kedar as engineer. Telepath Orion agrees to try to contact the creatures, and Lord Tubbington is ready to assist with any alien contacts. Hector arranges for his onetime handler, Max(ine), to be posted to the Pina Colada.

Lt. Harry “Monty Hall” Takahari Jr. takes charge of repairing and restaffing the Sovereign, while Kevin’s sometime lover Capt. Elektra Contos readies the Tigress.

The third portion of the task force is assigned to run errands within the Sol system. Cmdr. Growlick takes the Dauntless, and Capt. Aveeshi Stormsea, an Aquarian (amphibious alien), takes the Crazy Horse.

Kevin asks Sebastian and Aveeshi to help evacuate past associates, such as scientist “Syzygy” [Brian W.], aspiring politician “Aughest-vor…” [Jason E.R.], and journalist “Scoop Chang” [Rich C.G.].

Capt. Reese also privately asks Hector to prepare zero-point bombs and other weapons. He approves Cmdr. Pahul’s idea to find people for a kamikaze run against the Zarkonians.

After a swift orientation in the growing Colonial Defense Force, new officers Jasmine, Srinu, and Wallace are sworn in aboard the battleship “Ilokar.” Hector and Tela supervise refits to their vessels, including adding an EMP gun and improving the Blackbird’s stealth capability.

The Pina Colada gets Hector’s experimental force field, and the Dauntless gains a rail gun. Dr. Pahul requisitions additional medical supplies and torpedoes for the Crazy Horse.

Orion, Tela and Kedar, and Enkidu and Glaucon take advantage of a few days in dock to stretch their legs (and wings). They observe how the Kharvamid Alliance and U.S.N. have added Transit (faster-than-light) drives to numerous vessels and habitats.

Adm. Pons summons Capt. Reese and Cmdr. Pahul to the Ilokar for a high-level briefing. They are joined by Capt. Evander Scofield, the Gustrall (antlered, orange-furred, flightless raptor-like alien) in charge of the Korelev, as well as Lt. Clark Faddil of the Pinkerton, Cmdr. Alfonso Balaz of the Steel Sanguinis, and the captains of the Ogbe Babba Akinyelure and the Dumas.

Based on reports from survivors from Laransu and Aquarius Prime, says Jacques, the high command estimates casualties of more than 90% of the Sol system’s 20 billion inhabitants.

Even with aid from the Trinoids, Olvar, Nethians, and Ma’ari, the fleets defending Earth and its colonies are going to be vastly outnumbered and outgunned by the invaders from the Milky Way’s Sagittarius Arm, he says. None of those extraterrestrial species have fought anything on that scale for thousands of (Terran) years.

The grim admiral asks for volunteers to join the last-ditch defense of the Sol system and says that some special forces have been left behind to prepare a possible resistance. Adm. Pons explains that most U.S.N. battle groups will be escorting refugee fleets spinward, deeper into unexplored and nonaligned space in the Orion Arm.

Kevin and Srinu return to the Blackbird, with the fate of humanity on their minds….

Now that we’ve dealt with logistics, I look forward to role-playing the crew of the Blackbird getting back out into space! Let me know what new aspects, skills, and stunts you’re adding to each character. I’ve also updated the ship specs on the Obsidian Portal wiki.

I also look forward to tonight’s “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy game and to Rich’s Star Wars: Edge of the Empire one-shot next Monday! Be seeing you, -Gene