"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.37

Nethians and near-Earth errands

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.37 of the “Vortextelecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 16 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 summer 2013:

Acting crew of the refitted yacht Pina Colada and frigate Sovereign:

  • Cmdr. Jasmine” [Sara F., primary ]-female Martian Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” tiger), former pit fighter and crewmember of the Appomattox, now captain of the Pina Colada searching for a homeworld for her people
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington III” [Josh C., secondary ]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance and the Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.)
  • Orion Starchaser” [Geoff C., primary ]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker
  • Chiron” [Dexter V.H., primary/absent ]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

Acting crew of the corvette Dauntless:

  • Lt.Cmdr. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce K., secondary ]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted Blackbird
  • Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron V.O., primary ]-male Terran “near-human” (genetically modified) xenobiologist, curious and confident planetary patriot; with robots MEGAN and PEPE
  • Hector Chavez” [Beruk A., primary/absent ]-male Terran human, former spy and crewmember on the Appomattox, cautious engineer and communications expert

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

“19 to 21 August 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” The acting crew of the Blackbird hid sensor buoys near 61 Ursa Majoris and Sirius, where it got its first glimpse of the Zarkonian Armada.

Meanwhile, the Pina Colada and Sovereign return to the Terran outpost at Wolf 359. Cmdr. Jasmine hails the station, where Capt. Dirk Hatch had been left in command after the “Terra’s Pride” homeworld security task force arrested traitors including Cmdr. Hasdrubal Guitterez. Capt. Hatch asks for any news from Earth.

He also says that his personnel have remained loyal to the Union of Solar Nations, even as they have been busy processing 40 outbound vessels. Orion Starchaser and Lord Wallace Tubbington III ask if anything unsual has happened since their last visit.

Capt. Hatch says that a Nethian (insectoid alien) supply ship is late, and it may have been intercepted by energy-based creatures known as Psi Eaters, since only human ships have been warned of the hazard.

Chiron pilots the Pina Colada, while Lt. Harry “Monty Hall” Takahari Jr. [Bruce/Non-Player Character] keeps the Sovereign close by. Dephine (“Uplifted” cetacean) astrogator Lt. Wynona Smoketrail [Sara/N.P.C.] is at the helm of the frigate, with Chris McKee on guns and Pomuyan physician Dr. Phil Philips [Byron/N.P.C.] in sickbay.

Cmdr. Jasmine and Lt. Takahari thank Capt. Hatch and head for the last known position of the interstellar cloud-based entities. The Pina Colada and Sovereign find the Nethian cruiser Fourth Wing adrift.

Initial scans find that 40% of the 800 people on the ship are affected by a Psi Eater. Lt. Takahari tries to contact the unaffected Nethians, but they are interrupted by zombified crewmates. The portion of “Terra’s Pride” decides to pursue a risky grappling maneuver.

Capt. Jasmine overrules Harry’s recommendation and suits up for extravehicular activity (EVA) with Orion and Wallace. They leap from the Pina Colada’s airlock to the Fourth Wing. Lord Tubbington is off course, but feline Jasmine grabs him. Orion is the first to activate magnetic boots.

Kedar, a Tharian (gargoyle-like alien) engineer, reports that the Fourth Wing‘s systems are merely suppressed. Dr. Philips detects anomalous life signs converging on the EVA team from within the ship. Lt. Takahari asks Lt. Smoketrail to aim the Sovereign’s weapons at the Nethian vessel in case of attack.

Orion uses technopsi to interface with the Fourth Wing, but its central computer doesn’t want to give the Pomuyan mystic access. Mighty Jasmine manually opens the hatch to the grapple system, and Wallace draws his sword when two zombified Nethians join them on the outside of the ship.

Harry readies an experimental force shield created by Hector Chavez to protect the Pina Colada from the Psi Eater. Orion jumps back from the Fourth Wing with a tow cable. Jasmine and Wallace follow, as do the two Nethians.

Back in the airlock, Orion hands Jasmine the ship-to-ship grapple and raises a telekinetic shield at their pursuers. It fails to block them. Dr. Philips recommends focusing on the Psi Eater’s hive mind (unlike that of the Nethians). Jasmine and Wallace prepare to repel boarders.

As the two Nethians enter the airlock, Harry raises the shield, cutting them off from the energy devourer. Krst’tks and Kyt’svd come to their senses and are initially confused. Diplomat Lord Tubbington takes over from the friendly but direct Orion in talking with the insectoid aliens.

Dr. Philips scans them for nanites (microscopic robots) or other infections, and Lt. Takahari explains what has happened to their ship. As with the Dauntless and the Sovereign, Orion believes that he can lure the Psi Eater away from the Nethian cruiser. Jasmine releases the grapple.

Krst’tks and Kyt’svd borrow the Dragonfly drop ship to return to the Fourth Wing, while Kedar drops shields and Orion draws the Psi Eater after the Pina Colada. Chiron and Wynona pilot in the direction of Sirius.

Orion telepathically broadcasts images of “tasty” Zarkonians (crustacean aliens) and Lt. Takahari successfully raises shields and outmaneuvers the energy entity. Cmdr. Jasmine then orders the Pina Colada and Sovereign to head for the last known position of the second Psi Eater.

Orion and Harry repeat the maneuver, bringing the interstellar hazard to a position where it can feed on the Zarkonian Armada rather than Terran ships. Dr. Philips checks the psionic emanations, and Orion checks both his Hitchhiker’s Guide and sensors for more about the Psi Eaters but finds nothing.

On their way back to Earth, the Pina Colada and Sovereign encounter the Bloody Flag , a Gustrall (antlered, orange-furred, flightless raptor-like alien) battle cruiser. Capt. Kolsed of Clan Render warns the Earthlings to stay out of the way of his hunt for Zarkonian fighters.

The Gustrall also says that he looks forward to a “glorious battle” against the armada on humanity’s behalf. Back in the Sol system, the Dauntless, Crazy Horse, and Tigress observe the mounting chaos on Earth and escalating efforts to evacuate as many people as possible.

In the Asteroid Belt, the cruiser and two frigates pick up personnel from the Ilokar battle group. “Sgt. Nate A. Jessup” [Byron] had asked “Capt. Kevin Reese” [Bruce] to reassign Sgt. Amarna Morales from her current post as a signal officer on the Manitou.

On the way to the Mars Confederacy, Hector prepares detonators and propulsion for the zero-point munitions intercepted on their way to Earth. The Pina Colada has three, the Blackbird has one, and the Dauntless has two of the devices for use against the Zarkonians.

At New Shanghai on Mars, Lt.Cmdr. Growlick asks Jennifer, the sister of Kevin’s late wife Heather, if she’ll evacuate. Jennifer says that she’ll leave only if Nick Cheney can come with her. “Terra’s Pride” is reluctant to include the former Interplanetary Patrol chief, whom it suspects! of Heather’s murder in the Namor-Asperagen colony, but Sebastian eventually arranges passage for both Jennifer and Nick.

Sebastian also warns his clan to leave the Sol system. Capt. Elektra Contos of the Tigress checks in with fleet command and learns that Encegulan (slug-like alien slaver) ships have broken off trade with Earth, no doubt anticipating a Zarkonian invasion.

On the way to the L-5 orbital cities near Earth, Dr. Srinu Pahul readies the sickbay of the Crazy Horse, with permission from Capt. Reese and Capt. Aveeshi Stormsea, an Aquarian (amphibious humanoid alien) refugee. Srinu plans to use prisoners for their life signs as the ship makes a suicide run at the armada to test its defenses.

Lt.Cmdr. Growlick pulls rank to acquire three “backpack nukes” and two ICBMs with high-yield warheads. Dr. Pahul orders robot butler PEPE to dismantle one bomb to plant on enemy tranports. Hector and Gustrall gunner Nylca of Clan Firehoof stay aboard the Dauntless, while Sebastian joins Srinu on the Crazy Horse.

The Dauntless and Tigress retrieve mining magnate and aspiring politician “Aughest-vor…” [Jason E.R.] and journalist “Scoop Chang” [Rich C.G.] from Lemuria Station. Dr. Pahul finds that obtaining prisoners for his “Trojan horse” scheme will be too difficult, so he contacts hospitals to see if any terminally ill patients can be transferred to the Crazy Horse.

Srinu enlists nurse Keila Sunitha Ciela to help him, since robot MEGAN will be destroyed with the Crazy Horse. The zealous doctor also acquires a standard medical droid. The rest of “Terra’s Pride” waits for the Blackbird to return from its Zarkonian encounter….

Beruk and Josh, I’m glad that you were able to join me and some of my former co-workers for Man of Steel last Friday, and Josh and Rich, I’m glad that we were able to go to the Compleat Strategist in Boston together for Free RPG Day. Beruk and Dexter, we missed you at the latest “Vortex” session!

I’ll try to post my update for this week’s “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy game Note that I’ll be unavailable this coming weekend, but I expect “Terra’s Pride” to resume on Sunday, June 30. Josh, good luck with your Dungeon World one-shot! Take it easy, -Gene