Vortex

"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.34
Chains of command

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

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"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.33
Zarkonian questions

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.33 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 12 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 corvette Dauntless:

  • Capt. 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
  • 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 aboard the Blackbird and Pina Colada
  • Orion Starchaser [Geoff C., primary ]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker
  • 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
  • Lt. 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/absent ]-male Terran “near-human” (genetically modified) xenobiologist, curious and confident planetary patriot; with robots MEGAN and PEPE
  • 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 Pina Colada, Blackbird, Appomattox, and Gryphon.

“4 to 7 August 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After rescuing ships from a cloud-based energy entity, a homeworld security task force found that the Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.) outpost orbiting Wolf 359 had been compromised by agents for the approaching Zarkonian Armada.

Members of “Terra’s Pride” defeated one would-be assassin and captured another. They took the “Dauntless” to the far side of Wolf 359 and prepared to interrogate their prisoner.

Hector Chavez scans Ms. Helen Gastmeyer’s plasma sword but finds no hidden transmitters. The onetime spy also searches possessions taken from her quarters, including trade documents, cred sticks, some tools, robes, and alien scriptures.

Dr. Srinu Pahul sedates Ms. Gastmeyer and scans for nanites (microscopic robots). At Hector’s recommendation, the doctor removes the businesswoman’s implanted phone.

Orion Starchaser dismantles the weapon of Velanna Loquieth, the Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) captain of the “Unquith” who killed herself rather than surrender to him. The Pomuyan mystic combines weapons to create an orange-bladed weapon.

Capt. Jasmine finds her former boyfriend Darcy, who had been on one of the ships that passed by Wolf 359. The Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” tiger) admits that while he needed space after their misadventures aboard the Gryphon, he didn’t realize that the frontier would be so dangerous.

Jasmine warns Darcy to stay away from Lt. Sebastian Growlick, her current leonine lover. Meanwhile, Chris McKee reminds his companions that the Zarkonians are mere weeks away from the Sol system. The sniper spends a few hours meditating.

Lt. Growlick later finds Jasmine, who requests that Darcy be reassigned to another ship in the Terran fleet. Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese asks pilot Lt. Brun Bearhammer and the acting commanders of the Pina Colada, Blackbird, Sovereign, and Crazy Horse to set course for Lalande 21185 in case the Wolf 359 base sends fighters in pursuit of the supposedly disgraced Dauntless.

Lt.Cmdr. Reese also orders that Gastmeyer be interrogated as soon as possible. Capt. Jasmine suggests that Orion be present to help protect against any psionic attacks.

Hector asks Orion if he knows what organizations or species would send assassins armed with plasma swords like his. The blue alien replies that the Pomuyans are a peaceful people, but like humans, Olvar, and others, there are always individuals and factions that are less benevolent.

Kevin dons the Chain Coif of Egg Shen and asks Orion to mentally dominate Helen, but he refuses. Dr. Pahul and robotic nurse MEGAN monitor the prisoner as Orion begins questioning her. Jasmine waits outside the brig, while Hector, Chris, Brun, and Sebastian listen in from the bridge.

Orion offers Helen some tea, and she asks what he wants most. Orion replies “freedom,” and the smiling woman says that she wants humanity to survive to pursue its destiny in the stars, even if that means choosing subjugation by the Zarkonians over resistance and annihilation.

Chris is reminded of the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., his and Srinu’s former employer. The former cyborg goes to the brig, even as Kevin loses patience with Helen and Orion’s philosophical discussion.

Hector remotely tells Orion to ask about the “Takers,” a rising faction among the Ru’ulok (heavy-gravity reptilian pirates) led by one Kraythor. Gastmeyer answers that the Zarkonians have found like-minded people in several systems.

Lt.Cmdr. Reese angrily orders everyone to leave so that he can question Ms. Gastmeyer alone, but Orion stubbornly refuses. Chris pulls the officer out of the room for a moment to cool off, and Hector goes in to reason with Orion. Burly Jasmine stands ready to prevent a brawl, which would be particularly bad in front of the prisoner.

Gastmeyer takes advantage of the group’s confusion to Mind Blast Hector, drawing Orion’s ire. Jasmine helps steady Hector, while Orion reluctantly forces a mental link with Helen.

The Pomuyan asks the human what she has lost. Helen says that all her loved ones were killed back on Earth, which she claims is “beyond saving.” Orion asks what she has gained, to which she says, “a connection,” implying that her ability to grant people’s desires comes from the Zarkonian Imperium.

Having broken her resistance, exhausted Orion leaves Helen to Kevin and company. Dr. Pahul tries to inject her with truth serum, but he finds that her biochemistry has been altered so that her blood would react and become toxic.

Even though Gastmeyer seems unconcerned about her own death, she mocks Lt.Cmdr. Reese’s determination to defend humanity and to try to turn back the armada. Kevin asks Helen about her family, which she says was killed in wars in Europe.

She also confesses that the artifacts stolen from the Vatican Museums were intended to be smuggled to the arachnid Nolath for safekeeping away from Earth and for use in appealing to other humans.

The zero-point munitions that the Gryphon had intercepted could have been used to obliterate entire megalopoli, adding to chaos and “thinning the herd” in advance of the alien invasion, Gastmeyer explains.

Wary Hector returns with anti-psi enhancements to his sunglasses. Kevin asks about the robes found in Helen’s quarters, and she says that she learned from the Olvar, even though Orion observes that she seemed more advanced than Capt. Loquieth.

Chris and Kevin asks about the Zarkonians’ plans for Earth and its colonies. Helen states that millennia ago, the armada was turned back by the first Kharvamid Alliance. A century or so ago (in Terran time), another foray into the Milky Way’s Orion Arm was cut short by internal disputes.

The Zarkonian Armada now intends to conquer rather than merely consume, Gastmeyer says, and it has forces such as the biomechanical Zurmiz Krott and allies such as the slug-like Encegulans. The Aquarian and Laransan systems have already fallen, Helen says, but she has not directly met a Zarkonian yet.

Chris points out to the others that Gastmeyer has admitted her involvement in various plots in the outer Sol system and that she should be turned over to U.S.N. authorities for further questioning. He warns that Cmdr. Hasdrubal Guitterez and Lt. Fenris Ironclaw are still threats, since Gastmeyer’s allies command the Wolf 359 outpost.

Lt.Cmdr. Reese and Capt. Jasmine confer with the other ships in the task force and consider requesting that the “Tigress” replace the understaffed Dauntless. First, “Terra’s Pride” must deal with Cmdr. Guitterez and return to the Sol system….

You’re close to closing this chapter of our adventures! Let me know if any of you are available for Star Trek: Into Darkness and a possible “Vortex” session on Saturday, May 18, since Byron will be visiting the Boston area this coming weekend.

While we didn’t play in the “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy campaign at Rich’s place last night, I’m glad that we got to chat with Josh about upcoming summer games. I also look forward to continuing in Jason E.R.’s “Barsoomian Adventures: the Tenth Ray of Mars” next Monday night. Be seeing you, -Gene

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"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.32
Assassination attempts

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.32 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 28 April 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. 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
  • 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 aboard the Blackbird and Pina Colada
  • 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
  • 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
  • Chiron [Dexter V.H., primary/absent ]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

Crew of the experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Lt. Sebastian Growlick [Bruce K., secondary ]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted Blackbird
  • 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
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin [Beruk A., secondary ]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington III [Josh C., secondary ]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance
  • Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup [Byron V.O., secondary ]-male Terran human, gung-ho member of the North American Aerospace Marine Corps
  • 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.

“1 to 3 August 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After rescuing two ships from a cloud-like energy entity that zombified their crews, the “Terra’s Pride” task force went to the Wolf 359 outpost to uncover a Zarkonian spy.

Posing as the disgraced acting commander of the Dauntless, Lt. Sebastian Growlick had gotten assurances from Cmdr. Hasdrubal Guitterez and the mysterious Ms. Helen Gastmeyer that mutinous officers would be taken care of. Sebastian and Capt. Jasmine, a.k.a. “Lt. Jessie,” stay in Gastmeyer’s luxury suite “for their own safety.”

Meanwhile, Lt. Brun Bearhammer and Jasmine’s former boyfriend Darcy slip from the Blackbird to the base’s mess hall. The Synths (“Uplifted” animals) drink and gamble with Lt. Mireille “Skeets” Rubio, a space marine, and Morgel Toph, the Cestolar (badger-like alien) engineer of courier ship Unquith. Pilot Chiron waits in his quarters back on the Pina Colada.

On the Dauntless, Hector Chavez is disguised as “Lt. Mike Weston” and checks on the repairs conducted by engineers Lt. Han Lao Bing and Spc. Guntur Adi Raharjo. Dr. Srinu Pahul and Orion Starchaser go to sickbay as bait “Lt. Sridan Baatava” and “Dr. Phil Philips,” respectively.

Chris McKee, also known as “Agent Prometheus” and “Sgt. Frederick Morrison,” stays in the empty barracks to keep watch on Sridan and Phil, who had told Cmdr. Guitterez of their intention to testify at Lt. Growlick’s court martial.

Lt. Han broadcasts a warning that functions such as artificial gravity may be temporarily affected by ongoing repairs. As the lights flicker, Hector detects an intruder using a forward airlock. A red plasma sword ignites.

Orion draws his yellow plasma blade, and Srinu fires an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) gun. The would-be assassin taunts Orion for “picking the wrong side” and slashes his arm with her weapon.

Chris runs from the barracks to sickbay, while Hector makes his way to an auxiliary control station for the “Dauntless.” Pretending to be lovers, Sebastian and Jasmine find and cover surveillance devices in their room.

Pomuyan wanderer Orion manages to put up a psionic shield in time to block another blow from his Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) assailant. Dr. Pahul runs back to his robots MEGAN and PEPE and orders them to shoot.

Sniper Chris arrives and fires his blaster pistol, but Orion’s attacker twists out of the way. Orion telekinetically shoves the Olvar into a wall. Hector identifies her via cameras as Velanna Loquieth, captain of the Unquith.

Cautious Hector overrides compartment controls to lock Lt. Han and Spc. Raharjo in engineering. The “burned” operative also reduces their oxygen level and jams transmissions.

Over in the Terran outpost, Sebastian and Jasmine break down the door to Ms. Gastmeyer room and are confronted with another red plasma sword. Lt. Growlick is shaken by a mental blast, but Capt. Jasmine picks up a chair and steps forward.

Velanna uses cyrokinesis to hurl shards of ice at Orion, who levitates her. Chris destroys her stealth suit with a well-aimed shot, and Srinu fires a submachine gun into the hallway. The injured infiltrator still manages to dodge flechettes from MEGAN and PEPE.

Sebastian shoots at Ms. Gastmeyer with a blaster rifle, but she moves with inhuman agility. Jasmine has more luck with her chair, knocking the saber-wielder back. Helen cuts the furniture in two.

Velanna struggles to get free, but Orion telekinetically pins her legs. The alien blocks shots from the robots, but not bursts from Chris and Srinu. Orion tries to talk to the enemy mystic, but she impales herself rather than be captured.

Ms. Gastmeyer wounds Lt. Growlick and narrowly misses Jasmine. Hector calls his friends to tell them to try to keep her alive for questioning. Sebastian shoots, both to incapacitate and to distract, and Jasmine comes around and uses a wrestling move to knock out Helen.

Hector recommends an immediate and covert extraction as Jasmine ties up Ms. Gastmeyer. Dr. Pahul gives Sebastian advice on binding his wounds, even as he treats Orion. Chris goes to engineering to restrain the personnel sent by Cmdr. Guitterez.

With assistance from nurse MEGAN, Dr. Pahul sets up containment in the sickbay and scans Velanna’s body for nanites (microscopic robots). He is relieved to find no trace of the Zurmiz Krott, the biomechanical probes of the approaching Zarkonian Armada. Orion helps with a telepathic scan and takes his fallen foe’s weapon.

“Lt. Weston” goes out to help Jasmine and Sebastian. Hector pages Brun and Darcy, who end their card game with Skeets and Morgel even as alarms are raised.

Brun notes that something is wrong with the station’s commanders, and he manages to persuade Skeets and her partner, Lt. Kamar “Buster” Olekunde, to take their time responding. They then run through the station.

Jasmine wraps Helen in a blanket, and Hector wonders if she’s another Olvar in disguise. Sebastian searches the suite and finds some tools, business documents, robes, alien writings, and cred sticks. He also takes her plasma blade.

Jasmine, Sebastian, Hector, and Helen head to the Dauntless . Combat droid Kurang shoves into Jasmine, but the Felinoid manages to rein in her temper. Hector uses sleight of hand to slip a stun device onto the robot, which experiences difficulty as they walk away.

Cmdr. Guitterez and security chief Lt. Fenris Ironclaw hail the Dauntless and ask it to stand down in light of alarms. Sebastian replies that some of his medical team has been attacked.

Once everybody is aboard, Lt. Bearhammer prepares the corvette for departure. Lt. Growlick joins him on the bridge and orders the ship to brace for breaking free of its moorings.

Hector restores ship systems and reviews surveillance recordings. Dr. Pahul sedates Ms. Gastmeyer and scans her financial documents. Jasmine has an awkward reunion with ex Darcy, especially in light of her recent activities with Sebastian.

Chris explains to Lt. Han and Spc. Raharjo that Cmdr. Guitterez has betrayed the Union of Solar Nations by working with Zarkonian agents Gastmeyer and Loquieth. Orion goes to his quarters to begin combining plasma weapons.

Lt. Olekunde and Lt. Rubio launch their Raptor-class fighters, but the Dauntless makes a Transit (faster-than-light) microjump to the far side of the star, where the Pina Colada, Blackbird, Sovereign, and Crazy Horse wait in orbit.

Lt. Growlick and company report to Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese and the rest of their homeworld security task force. They debate how to interrogate Ms. Gastmeyer, whether to return immediately to Earth, and what to do about Cmdr. Guitterez….

Good luck to “Terra’s Pride” as you figure out how to deal with the mounting threats! Remember that we won’t be playing this coming weekend because I’ll be busy with “Iron Man 3” and a Cinco de Mayo party. We’ll probably continue our adventures on Sunday, 12 May 2013, but note that it’s Mother’s Day. I’ve posted separately regarding our calendar.

In the meantime, I also look forward to Jason E.R.’s “Barsoomian Adventures: the Tenth Ray of Mars” planetary romance and my “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy campaign. Josh, I hope that your “Steam Wars” group is doing well. Be seeing you, -Gene

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"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.31
Wolves in the fold

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.31 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 14 April 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. 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
  • Hector Chavez [Beruk A., primary/absent ]-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 aboard the Blackbird and Pina Colada
  • 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
  • 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
  • Chiron [Dexter V.H., primary/absent ]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

Crew of the experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Lt. Sebastian Growlick [Bruce K., secondary ]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted Blackbird
  • 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
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin [Beruk A., secondary/absent ]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington III [Josh C., secondary ]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance
  • Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup [Byron V.O., secondary ]-male Terran human, gung-ho member of the North American Aerospace Marine Corps
  • 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.

“29 to 31 July 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” While on a routine patrol of space near Earth, the Dauntless and Sovereign had encountered a cloud-based entity that turned Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.) personnel into zombielike drones. “Terra’s Pride” found a way to lure the hive mind away and attended to the survivors, aided by the Crazy Horse.

Crew members from the Pina Colada and the Blackbird then helped devise a covert mission to the Terran outpost at Wolf 359 in the hope of flushing out a possible agent for the approaching Zarkonian Armada.

Lt. Sebastian Growlick plans to bring the Dauntless to the Wolf 359 station and say that Capt. Helena Cain died in action. The disgraced survivors will look for a deal that’s better than facing a court martial.

The leonine “Synth” is accompanied by Capt. Jasmine as security officer “Lt. Jessie,” Hector Chavez as “Lt. Mike Weston,” and Dr. Srinu Pahul as nurse “Lt. Sridan Baatava.” Orion poses as fellow Pomuyan “Dr. Phil Philips,” and “Agent Prometheus” and Chiron are also be aboard the crippled corvette.

While the rest of the homeworld security task force waits on the far side of Wolf 359, Chiron pilots the “Dauntless” to the U.S.N. base. The corvette is hailed by rookie communications officer Spc. Harvey Littwak, who dispatches two Raptor-class fighters to escort it.

Hotshot space marines Lt. Kamar “Buster” Olekunde and Lt. Mireille “Skeets” Rubio bring the Dauntless to dock and board it for an initial inspection. Most of the bridge crew disembarks, except for “Lt. Weston” and Chiron.

Lt. Growlick reports to the spit-and-polish Cmdr. Hasdrubal Guitterez, saying that Capt. Cain and most of the crew perished in their encounter with the cloud-based creature. “Lt. Jessie” compares notes with security chief Lt. Fenris Ironclaw, a fatalistic Canid “Synth” (“Uplifted” wolf). As “Sgt. Frederick Morrison,” Chris checks out the base’s weaponry.

“Dr. Philips” eagerly accepts Dr. Roberto Torkas’ offer to meet over drinks at the mess hall, but the alien wanderer is disappointed to find that it is small. “Lt. Baatava” goes along, both to assess the cheerful chief medical officer and to keep Orion from getting into trouble.

Cmdr. Guitterez orders overworked engineers Lt. Han Lao Bing, Spc. Guntur Adi Raharjo, and robot Cubbie to assist the Dauntless. Hector covertly monitors them and notes any problems with communications.

The base commander also invites Sebastian to dinner with some colleagues, including a few civilians. Srinu scares his companions by asking for a private meeting with Cmdr. Guitterez. Meanwhile, Jasmine bumps into a belligerent droid, Kurang, while walking around the station.

Dr. Torkas asks “Dr. Philips” for the bodies of those slain by the energy entity, but Orion explains that they’ve been disposed of because of fears of contamination. The alien mystic senses someone trying to conduct a telepathic sweep but is able to resist any mental probes.

Roberto introduces the newcomers to Lugh Astrophel, curious co-pilot of the Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) trade ship Unquith. Lugh and Srinu become fast friends. The Olvar says that “Jessie” shouldn’t worry about Kurang, who is part of the crew of the Bloody Prince , a Jovian transport owned by Capt. Dino Neustadt.

Sebastian asks Jasmine to join him for dinner with the commander. Cmdr. Guitterez and Lt. Ironclaw introduce Lt. Growlick and “Lt. Jessie” to Capt. Velanna Loquieth of the Unqhith, Capt. Neustadt, and Ms. Helen Gastmeyer, a traveling businesswoman. Hasdrubal excuses himself to meet with “Lt. Baatava.”

Srinu and Orion tell Cmdr. Guitterez that they believe Lt. Growlick is no longer fit for command, ordering the destruction of still-living crew members affected by the energy entity. “Sridan” and “Phil” say that they plan to testify against Sebastian at his court martial. The commander recommends that they keep their grievances quiet for now.

Sebastian tells Helen that he knows of her from his brother Castillian and Brother Nelvin, whom he met at the United Ecumencial Movement temples on Mars’ moon Phobos. He doesn’t say that “Terra’s Pride” uncovered Brother Nelvin as a Zarkonian cultist. Helen asks each person what they want most.

Hasdrubal rejoins his dinner companions and tells Sebastian of the potential mutiny. Helen offers Sebastian and “Jessie” power and the freedom to escape any dishonor, in return for unspecified allegiance. Cmdr. Guitterez warns Lt. Growlick to bring to the station any crew members he wants to avoid “any unfortunate accidents.”

Orion and Srinu eventually rejoin Hector and Chiron on the Dauntless. “Dr. Baatava” sets himself up as bait by making an appointment with Spc. Littwak for time on the long-range transmitter, giving the corrupt commander and Ms. Gastmeyer a deadline.

After dinner, Sebastian and Jasmine warn their companions to expect an attack. They bring “Freddie” and “Mike” back to the Wolf 359 base “for their own protection” and accept Helen’s offer of hospitality in her luxury module.

Chris sneaks back to the Dauntless to help protect Orion, Chiron, and Srinu, who orders robots MEGAN and PEPE to be alert. Later that night, Lt. Han Lao Bing announces that systems such as life support and artificial gravity will fluctuate as repairs continue.

Lights flicker on the Dauntless , and a would-be assassin floats in, igniting a red plasma sword….

It’s interesting to note that both theVortexand “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” groups have taken a turn toward intrigue lately — good luck to both adventuring parties! Note that my campaigns won’t be meeting this coming weekend, because “Vortex” alumnus David I.S. will be visiting for the Boston Comic Con.

Josh, I hope that your “Steam Wars” telecom game goes well, and I look forward to Jason’s “Barsoomian Adventures: the Tenth Ray of Mars” resuming in two weeks. Take care, -Gene

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"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.30
Rebuilding the fleet

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.30 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 7 April 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. 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
  • 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/absent ]-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/absent ]-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
  • 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
  • Chiron [Dexter V.H., primary/absent ]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

Crew of the experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Lt. Sebastian Growlick [Bruce K., secondary ]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted Blackbird
  • 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
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin [Beruk A., secondary ]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington III [Josh C., secondary/absent ]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance
  • Lt. Brun Bearhammer [Geoff C., secondary/absent ]-male Martian Ursoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” bear), former wrestler, pilot
  • Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup [Byron V.O., secondary ]-male Terran human, gung-ho member of the North American Aerospace Marine Corps
  • 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.

“25 to 28 July 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After luring an energy-based life form away from the Dauntless, the Pina Colada and the Blackbird worked to revive the remaining crew members. Only a dozen people out of 80 survived the zombification.

Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese orders the Pina Colada to dock with the Dauntless, once the flagship of his homeworld security task force. He leads a third away team, which includes Dr. Srinu Pahul, Tariq Asrad Saladin, and Capt. Jasmine, with Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup in reserve.

Hector Chavez and Chris McKee wait on the yacht Pina Colada and coordinate with the Blackbird, while Orion Starchaser keeps a lookout for the hive-mind entity.

Lt.Cmdr. Reese returns to the brig and finds sometime lover Capt. Helena Cain still alive. Medics Tariq and Dr. Pahul set up the sickbay, which had been overrun by reanimated Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.) space navy crew.

Jasmine and Sgt. Jessup move bodies with help from robot nurse MEGAN. Mournful Kevin orders quick military funerals and asks Tela’s boyfriend Kedar and robot Dr. Bucket to come from the Blackbird to help restore the corvette’s systems.

Capt. Jasmine and Lt.Cmdr. Reese agree to send the Blackbird to respond to a distress call from the Sovereign , a U.S.N. frigate that encountered a similar strange cloud. Lt. Sebastian Growlick takes command, accompanied by Tela, Lt. Brun Bearhammer, Tariq, Orion, Lord Wallace Tubbington III, and Enkidu Aristheon.

Srinu, Kedar, MEGAN, and Dr. Bucket continue working on the Dauntless, while Kevin, Jasmine, Chris, Nate, and Chiron ready the Pina Colada to rendezvous with its sister ships near an outpost orbiting red dwarf Wolf 359.

On the way to the Sovereign, the Blackbird passes a rogue planet, a body without a star. Pilot Lt. Bearhammer brings the scout ship out of Transit (faster-than-light travel), and Tariq scans. The explorer finds a sphere about three meters in diameter similar to those previously encountered in the Sol system and at Oasis Station.

Telepaths Orion and Enkidu sense no consciousness, and engineer Tela reviews database entries about the Zurmiz Krott, also known as the “Harbingers of the Righteous Order of Submission.” The Tharian informs Lt. Growlick that the biomechanical probes of the Zarkonian Armada can emit nanites (microscopic robots), which could be spread if they use missiles.

Enkidu also notes that the Zurmiz Krott can induce mass cannibalistic insanity and absorb energy. Tela devises a modified electromagnetic pulse (EMP), and Brun blasts it. Sebastian is pleased to confirm a bull’s-eye and notes it in the ship’s log.

Capt. Aveeshi Stormsea of the Sovereign is relieved to hail the Blackbird. Brun maneuvers, and Orion and Enkidu draw the energy entity away with help from a psionic amplification crystal. The Blackbird returns, and Sebastian sends Tariq and Enkidu to help the Aquarian (amphibious humanoid alien) with his crew.

Another U.S.N. frigate arrives, and Lt. Growlick is wary of the Crazy Horse’s offer of assistance. Capt. Dirk Hatch explains that the task force separated to patrol a larger volume of space after stopping at Wolf 359 several days ago. He sends over more personnel to help get the Sovereign under way.

As per Lt.Cmdr. Reese’s recommendation, the five ships meet on the far side of Wolf 359 from the Terran outpost in orbit. The Crazy Horse also contributes to the skeleton crew aboard the Dauntless, as the Sovereign recovers. Kevin visits Helena in sickbay and tells her about the casualties.

Lt.Cmdr. Reese and Capt. Jasmine invite the other captains over to the Pina Colada while their companions aboard the Blackbird teleconference in. “Nylca of Clan Firehoff” [Brian W./Non-Player Character], a Gustrall (antlered, orange-furred, flightless avian alien) weapons officer, sits in for Capt. Cain.

Capt. Stormsea brings Sgt. George Watkins, chief security officer of the Sovereign, and Capt. Hatch brings Dr. Hugh Goldman, chief medical officer of the Crazy Horse. Dr. Pahul, Lt. Growlick, Sgt. Jessup, Orion, and Lt. Bearhammer are also present.

Kevin explains that, while he’d like to bring the task force back to Earth, it must first deal with Ms. Helen Gastmeyer, who may be working with Zarkonian zealots. Hector notes that the mysterious woman is affiliated with megacorporations, and she may be influencing or have control over the U.S.N. base commanders at Wolf 359.

Orion recalls that Brother Nelvin was revealed to be a Zarkonian agent on Mars’ moon Phobos. Sebastian’s brother Castillian had mentioned that Ms. Gastmeyer recommended that their clan develop ties with the government and the United Ecumenical Movement.

Capt. Jasmine is reluctant to risk anybody with the Dauntless understaffed, but Lt.Cmdr. Reese notes that time is of the essence with the Zarkonian Armada approaching Earth. He proposes asking her about ancient artifacts such as the Vatican relics they recently redirected.

Nylca prefers to go in aggressively, but Jasmine wants to limit casualties among bystanders on the base. Hector recommends sending Lt. Growlick because of his brother’s connections. Capt. Hatch is unsure of the plan, but Dr. Pahul reassures him that reconnaissance is more likely to be productive than arriving in force.

The commanders eventually approve a covert mission: Sebastian will bring the Dauntless to the Wolf 359 outpost and say that its captain was killed. The apparently disgraced officer and his small crew will look for a better deal than returning to Earth.

Lt. Growlick will be accompanied by Srinu as “Lt. Sridan Baatava,” Hector as “Lt. Mike Weston,” and Jasmine as security officer “Jessie.” Orion will pose as fellow Pomuyan “Dr. Phil Philips,” and “Agent Prometheus” and Chiron will also be aboard the crippled ship.

The rest of “Terra’s Pride” will wait on the Pina Colada, with the Blackbird, Sovereign, and Crazy Horse in reserve. Hector and Dr. Pahul prepare false records for the crew as they prepare to investigate Ms. Gastmeyer….

Dexter, Josh, and Geoff, I hope that you’ll be able to rejoin us for this coming Sunday’s “Vortex” session, and good luck preparing for your latest op!

Also, note that the “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy campaign will continue at Brian W.‘s place next Monday, but there won’t be any games the following week because Jason E.R. won’t be available to run his “Barsoomian Adventures” game, and I’ll be hosting David I.S. Be seeing you, -Gene

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"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.29
Medical mission and the cloud

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.29 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 24 March 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. 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
  • Hector Chavez [Beruk A., primary/absent ]-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 aboard the Blackbird and Pina Colada
  • 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
  • Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese [Bruce K., primary/absent ]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg), former Interplanetary Patrol officer and member of the Blackbird and Dauntless crews; defender of the homeworld
  • Chiron [Dexter V.H., primary/absent ]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

Crew of the experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Lt. Sebastian Growlick [Bruce K., secondary/absent ]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted Blackbird
  • 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
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin [Beruk A., secondary/absent ]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington III [Josh C., secondary ]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance
  • Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup [Byron V.O., secondary ]-male Terran human, gung-ho member of the North American Aerospace Marine Corps
  • 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.

“22 to 24 July 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” The soldiers aboard the Blackbird had tracked the Dauntless from Wolf 359 and found its crew incapacitated but mysteriously reanimated.

Tela and Kedar are reminded of experiments conducted by the Encegulans (slug-like slavers), and Chris McKee keeps the scout ship’s guns at the ready, even though others have explained that the corvette is too valuable to Earth’s defense to scuttle.

Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup prepares explosives and watches the body of Spc. Donar Kievich, whose body had retrieved by robot Dr. Bucket. Fellow space marine Lt. Brun Bearhammer waits at the helm for reinforcements.

Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese sends a message to the Pina Colada urgently requesting backup, as well as a warning to the Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.) fleet command.

Tariq Asrad Saladin studies medical and personal logs from the Dauntless, part of Kevin’s homeworld security task force. Empath Enkidu Aristheon senses a presence but no intelligence from the drifting ship.

Over on the Pina Colada, Capt. Jasmine orders an away team to prepare to board the Dauntless, even though Lt.Cmdr. Reese recommends against it. Orion Starchaser asserts that only a close inspection can determine the nature and cause of the zombie-like crew.

Lord Wallace Tubbington III grabs a shotgun and his newly forged katana (in the Scabbard of Musashi). Dr. Srinu Pahul also wants to examine Donar’s body and review the records that Tariq has culled.

Hector Chavez makes sure that everyone is wearing space suits and programs more scans, and pilot Chiron is curious about the energy readings from a strange cloud the Dauntless encountered before its crew was affected.

Lt. Sebastian Growlick looks forward to eventually returning to the Blackbird with Lord Tubbington, since they had swapped places with Chris and Kevin. On the other hand, the duo from the Pina Colada is comfortable surrounded by fellow soldiers.

The refitted yacht comes out of Transit (faster-than-light travel) and receives reports from the Blackbird. Capt. Jasmine, Orion, and Lord Tubbington head over to the Dauntless, leaving Hector, Chiron, and Lt. Growlick behind on the Pina Colada.

Dr. Pahul goes to the Blackbird ‘s laboratory, where he confers with Tariq. Lt.Cmdr. Reese sends Sgt. Jessup and Mr. McKee over to the Dauntless to escort the away team. Nate and Chris wager some of Srinu’s whiskey on what trouble the civilians will get into.

The sergeant and sniper use grenades to clear a path to the forward turbolifts for the explorers. Jasmine leads the way to the bridge of the Dauntless, and Wallace draws his katana against Undead.

Orion, however, asks that no crew be destroyed unless necessary for self-defense, since he senses something when any are blown up. From the Pina Colada, Hector reactivates internal surveillance and basic systems.

Brave Jasmine, Orion, and Wallace climb down two decks, leaving armored Nate and Chris at amidships. The trio heads aft to the fighter hangar and is briefly startled when a decaying crewmember slams up against a porthole.

Blue-furred Orion closes his eyes and telepathically contacts the reanimated astronauts on the other side of the hatch. The Pomuyan mystic likens the experience to being in a house with the lights on but nobody home. There is mental activity but no sentience. Orion reaches out and finds the body linked to others in a hive mind.

Meanwhile, Jasmine maintains radio contact with the marines on the upper deck, as well as with the Pina Colada and Blackbird floating near the Dauntless. Wallace again draws his katana as six rotting marines break through a hatch and approach from the rear.

Wary Tariq had looked for a “Patient Zero” or a central, directing intellect. Dr. Pahul finds elevated neurochemicals in the Kievich’s corpse, confirming how the bodies were reanimated and thus not prone to many conventional attacks. The sparks that Chris saw when he blasted a hole through an officer’s chest were a biochemical side effect rather than cybernetics.

More space zombies press in on the away team, and tiger woman Jasmine calls for a retreat. Swashbuckling Wallace easily cleaves his opponents, and Orion reluctantly pushes some back with telekinesis. He tells Srinu that he senses an inhuman hunger and tries to convey a “non-prey” feeling.

Chris and Nate begin climbing the port turbolift shaft ahead of the others, but they find more grasping hands at the elevator door. Chris tosses up a grenade, blasting four more foes. Mighty Jasmine shoves the hungry horde out of her way, and Wallace continues hacking away at the rear.

Jasmine successfully leads the group back to the Pina Colada. Hector passes along an incoming transmission from the Sovereign, another ship from Lt.Cmdr. Reese’s task force that recently went missing.

Capt. Aveeshi Stormsea, an Aquarian (amphibious humanoid alien) reports that the Sovereign has found a cloud emitting strange energy similar to the one that Capt. Helena Cain encountered. Kevin sends a warning not to engage and begins planning a rendezvous.

However, Chiron notes that “Terra’s Pride” must first deal with the zombies on the Dauntless. Dr. Pahul hypothesizes that the reanimated crew members are acting in a decentralized manner similar to the nervous system of a Terran jellyfish.

Srinu and Tariq test reactions to the entire electromagnetic spectrum, but Orion and Enkidu observe that a psychic projection could help free the 50 remaining U.S.N. personnel. Capt. Jasmine and Lt.Cmdr. Reese approve their plan.

With help from amplification crystals, Orion and Enkidu project psionic energy in front of the Blackbird as it moves away from the Dauntless. On the way, Brun expertly scoops up the Dragonfly drop ship and lures the energy entity into deep space.

The Pina Colada nudges the Dauntless in the opposite direction, and Hector observes the crew falling to the floor. Robots MEGAN and PEPE assist Dr. Pahul and Tariq with medical supplies as they prepare to head back to look for revivable crew.

Lt. Bearhammer outmaneuvers the cloud and marks its position for future reference. “Terra’s Pride” regroups, and Kevin recommends that one ship be sent to rescue the Sovereign….

Dexter, Beruk, and Bruce, we missed you this past weekend! Please note that we won’t be meeting virtually this coming Sunday because of Easter.

I expect “Vortex” to resume the following weekend. In the meantime, I enjoyed the latest “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy session (I’ll write an update for it soon), and I look forward to rejoining Jason E.R.’s “Barsoomian Adventures: the Tenth Ray of Mars” planetary romance game next Monday.

In the meantime, I hope that everyone’s spring holidays are fun, and stay in touch, -Gene

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"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.28
The Dauntless adrift

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.28 of the “Vortextelecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 17 March 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?

“Vortex” Team 5c (3) Player Character rosters: Crew of the refitted experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Lt. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce K., secondary ]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted Blackbird
  • 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
  • Lt. Brun Bearhammer” [Geoff C., secondary ]-male Martian Ursoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” bear), former wrestler, pilot
  • Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup” [Byron V.O., secondary ]-male Terran human, gung-ho member of the North American Aerospace Marine Corps
  • 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

Crew of the yacht Pina Colada:*

  • Capt. 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
  • 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 aboard the Blackbird and Pina Colada
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

“19 to 21 July 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After the Pina Colada delivered items stolen from the Vatican Museums to the United Ecumenical Movement near Mars, the Blackbird turned over some of the smuggled cargo to the Ilokar, flagship of a Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.) battle group in the Asteroid Belt.

Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese learned that the Dauntless, Crazy Horse, and Sovereign, three ships in his homeworld security task force, had gone missing in the vicinity of Wolf 359. “Terra’s Pride” sets out to investigate.

Lt.Cmdr. Reese, who has swapped ships with Lt. Sebastian Growlick, explains the search and retrieval mission to the crew of the Blackbird. Also in the cockpit, pilot Lt. Brun Bearhammer becomes more accustomed to his symbiotic link to the experimental scout ship.

Tela keeps busy with robotic assistant Dr. Bucket and boyfriend Kedar in engineering. Tariq Asrad Saladin and Enkidu Aristheon check medical and survival supplies. They also review Dr. Srinu Pahul’s notes on the Zurmiz Krott, biomechanical probes of the approaching Zarkonian Armada.

Chris McKee, who has temporarily changed places with Lord Wallace Tubbington III on the refitted yacht Pina Colada, joins Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup in readying armored space suits and weapons.

The Blackbird approaches Wolf 359, a red dwarf star with no inhabitable planets. Capt. Evander Scofield of the Korelev had told Kevin that the Dauntless was last seen near that system. Lt.Cmdr. Reese acknowledges Cmdr. Guillermo Ortiz at the U.S.N. orbital outpost but decides against visiting it.

Tela uses the Blackbird ’s scanners to detect traces of the Dauntless leading away from Wolf 359. Lt. Bearhammer and Dr. Bucket lay in a course to intercept. Mr. McKee asks about trying to hail the missing corvette, but Kevin decides against long-distance attempts at communication.

Worlds-weary Tariq begins research into the Blackbird ’s level of sentience, and Brun expertly drops the ship out of Transit (faster-than-light travel) and maneuvers behind the Dauntless. Enkidu attends to his animal companion Glaucon.

Bold Kevin hails the sister ship, but there is only an automated reply. Tela’s optimism is dashed when she detects no life signs and minimal life support. Cautious Chris borrows an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) gun from Tela, and Tariq grabs the Bow of Indra. Nate and Kevin ready concussion grenades and the chain Coif of Egg Shen.

Brun docks the Blackbird to the Dauntless at an amidship airlock. Lt.Cmdr. Reese leads the away team of Sgt. Jessup, Mr. McKee, and Mr. Saladin, leaving Lt. Bearhammer, Tela, Enkidu, Kedar, and Dr. Bucket to monitor their progress.

The squad passes through an airlock and finds empty barracks. Tariq detects cold air but recommends against opening helmets and risking exposure to unknown pathogens. Chris and Nate look for signs of battle or Zurmiz Krott but find none.

The explorers pass through a long corridor leading toward the bridge. Brun scans for hostile nanites (microscopic robots) and for any approaching vessels. Tela and Enkidu tap into the corvette’s systems and reactivate its lights and artificial gravity.

Space marines Nate and Chris use manual overrides to open the hatch to the bridge, which is similarly empty. They do notice that some of the control panels appear to have been smashed by human fists. Kevin views the logs of Capt. Helena Cain, a former colleague who appears increasingly disheveled.

Capt. Cain says that some of her crew has begun acting strangely and that she had tried confining people to their quarters. A later entry shows communications officer Lt. Harry Takahari Jr., who says that the captain had gone down to engineering to try to maintain control.

The last log entry is by Delphine (“Uplifted” cetacean) astrogator Lt. Wynona Smoketrail, who had once raced Aughest-vor. She says that most of the crew is incapacitated or worse and that the ship should be quarantined. Kevin swears.

The away team’s investigations are interrupted when Brun notices a person in a space suit drifting alongside the Dauntless. Tariq volunteers to retrieve him, but Kevin and Nate are reluctant to let their only medic go.

Tela asks cheerful Dr. Bucket to bring the astronaut to the Marauder-class ship rather than the Blackbird for further study. In the meantime, Tariq goes to another compartment to manually remove the flight recorder (a.k.a. “black box”).

With remote help from Brun, Nate and Chris check gunnery records. They find that beam weapons were fired into a gas cloud, to no apparent effect. Lt.Cmdr. Reese takes Sgt. Jessup and Mr. McKee to check out the lower decks while Tariq examines the flight recorder and waits for Dr. Bucket.

Tela detects movement, despite the absence of heat signatures. Kevin asks her to reactivate internal cameras, and he recognizes Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) science officer Dr. Mulan Neverland, Lt. Jamie Segars, and four other crew members sitting in the brig.

After a moment’s hesitation, Kevin opens the door to the brig, flanked by Chris and Nate, who have drawn weapons. The Dauntless officers wear blank expressions and step forward in unison.

Kevin tries to close the door, but the zombiefied crew is upon him. Chris fires the EMP gun, causing one person to move spasmodically. Nate fires his laser pistol, as Kevin backs away.

The insensate mob claws at Chris’ space suit, and the sniper switches to a Ru’ulok (heavy-gravity reptilian alien) disruptor. He burns a hole in an undead astronaut with a laser, but that barely slows it down, as sparks course through its chest.

Nate pulls out titanium rods and applies his martial arts training for close combat, knocking down a crewman. Kevin unleashes a devastating barrage with his gyroc pistol, blasting the leg off another, which continues crawling forward.

The Terran trio falls back toward the turbolift. Dr. Bucket is attacked by the person in the space suit, so Tela orders him back to the Blackbird. Brun sees the launch bay of the Dauntless opening and warns the away team. Tela manages to reverse bay doors. Tariq grabs the black box and heads to the forward airlock near the bridge.

After Chris and Kevin are pummeled by more zombies, Nate covers their retreat, dislocating the limbs of his opponents. Kevin asks Tela to open all airlocks to evacuate the ship, but the cold and vacuum don’t slow down the reanimated crew.

Mystic Tariq happens to be at the right place, at the right time and manages to saunter past two spacemen and one crippled cyborg unnoticed.

Tharian Tela detects more motion from sickbay and the lower decks, as sailors, pilots, and marines try to get to the away team. Dr. Philips, a Pomuyan or blue alien telepath of the same species as Orion Starchaser, is among them.

Brun sees crew crowded by the Dauntless ’ portholes and sends a message to the Pina Colada asking Capt. Jasmine to hurry and catch up. Tela checks in with Lt.Cmdr. Reese via intercom, as the sounds of bodies slamming into hatches echo through the ship.

Humans Kevin, Nate, and Chris get into a turbolift, but it gets stuck halfway to the bridge. Tela diagnoses the problem and says it’s mechanical rather than electrical. As a shambling horde approaches from below, Lt.Cmdr. Reese and Sgt. Jessup throw concussion grenades. They and Mr. Reese then begin climbing.

Ursoid Brun would rather wade into battle, but he undocks and brings the Blackbird around to the Dauntless ’ forward airlock. Tariq agrees that evacuation is a higher priority than getting organic samples.

Tela manages to get the turbolift unstuck, and Kevin, Nate, and Chris evade grasping hands and rejoin Tariq. With a mighty shout, Nate breaks a zombie’s neck before reboarding the Blackbird, which immediately disengages.

Tariq asks Brun to come around so that they can retrieve Dr. Bucket’s space-suited former foe. Kevin asks Tela to reseal all airlocks on the Dauntless to prevent any spread of infection. Brun also deactivates the ship’s flight controls, in case any of the crew are somehow still able to pilot it.

Kedar [+2 Computers] double-checks the Blackbird ‘s systems, while Dr. Bucket analyzes the flight recorder that Tariq retrieved. The crewman in the space suit is Specialist Donar Kievich. Tariq examines him in a sealed-off chamber and concludes that he isn’t infected by Zurmiz Krott nanites. Unfortunately, Kievich can’t be revived.

The so-called black box reveals that the outbreak happened shortly after the Dauntless parted ways with the Crazy Horse and Sovereign, so they may not be affected. The corvette did encounter a cloud with strange energy readings, and Lt.Cmdr. Reese sends a warning back to Earth.

Tariq and Tela analyze Dr. Philips’ journal in the hope of finding a clue or countermeasure. Chris suggests that the ship be scuttled, but Kevin notes that it’s too important to the defense of the Sol system and that they should wait for the scientists aboard the Pina Colada….

I’m sorry that I missed Jason E.R.’s “Barsoomian Adventures: the Tenth Ray of Mars” planetary romance game again last night — how did it go? Weather permitting, I look forward to resuming the “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy campaign next Monday. Later, -Gene

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"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.27
Fleet reports

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.27 of the “Vortextelecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 10 March 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?

“Vortex” Team 5c (3) Player Character rosters: Crew of the refitted experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Lt. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce K., secondary ]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted Blackbird
  • 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/absent ]-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
  • Brun” [Geoff C., secondary ]-male Martian Ursoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” bear), former wrestler, pilot
  • Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup” [Byron V.O., secondary ]-male Terran human, gung-ho member of the North American Aerospace Marine Corps
  • Enkidu Aristheon” [Dexter V.H., secondary ]-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 yacht Pina Colada:

  • Capt. 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
  • Hector Chavez” [Beruk A., primary/absent ]-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 aboard the Blackbird and Pina Colada
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

“15 to 18 July 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” The Pina Colada delivered part of a smuggled cargo of artifacts from the Vatican Museums to the United Ecumenical Movement’s temples on Phobos. Its crew also uncovered a cultist for the approaching Zarkonian Armada.

Meanwhile, the Blackbird returns to the Asteroid Belt to report to the Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.). Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese is happy to settle back into the captain’s seat, and Chris McKee resumes his post as gunner, having swapped ships with Lt. Sebastian Growlick and Lord Wallace Tubbington III, respectively.

Lt. Brun Bearhammer pilots the Blackbird from a disused Black Box Security Co. safe house to Ceres Station. Tela and astromech assistant Dr. Bucket notice that passing tugs have been outfitted with weaponry.

Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup wants to ensure a safe transfer of the Vatican relics, and Enkidu Aristheon is curious about the human colonies. Tariq Asrad Saladin keeps busy cataloging the artifacts. Hector Chavez sends a message from the Pina Colada warning to watch out for compromised recipients.

Col. Shan Gray, Lt.Cmdr. Reese’s superior officer in the Interplanetary Patrol, personally greets members of “Terra’s Pride” in a landing bay. He assigns eight space marines to escort the cargo and crew to a secure level. Tariq, Dr. Bucket, and Enkidu’s gryphon-like companion Glaucon initially stay with the Blackbird.

Kevin pilots the Tiger Hawk Sandstorm, a modular ground-effect vehicle, and Tela, Chris, and Brun ride along with the cargo. Nate and Enkidu walk with the marines, warily watching the station’s inhabitants because several other parties are still hunting for the treasure.

Seranen empath Enkidu senses surprise at extraterrestrials such as himself and Tharian Tela being escorted by so many soldiers in urban battle dress, but no hostility.

In a research facility deep in the honeycombed asteroid, Lt.Cmdr. Reese turns over the last containers to Dr. Brett Carson. The explorer explains that the ancient items could be helpful in defending the Sol system against the Zarkonians.

While Kevin and Nate brief fellow U.S.N. personnel, Tela goes to look for Ceres Station’s main engineering section. Brun, Chris, and Enkidu accompany her. They find a massive amount of activity, as microfusion generators are installed, structural reinforcements are made, and khaki-clad workers scurry about. Some components bear megacorporate logos.

Tela talks with Lt. Hedy, a “Synth” (artificial intelligence/gynoid) engineer. Lt. Hedy cheerfully confirms Tela’s theory that the asteroid is being turned into a vessel capable of Transit (faster-than-light travel). Brun is bored, and Chris doesn’t like robots, so they leave as the engineers continue their discussion.

Enkidu returns to the Blackbird and rides Glaucon into the station, turning heads on their way to get exercise in a hydroponic garden tier. Brun goes to the “Sloppy Seconds” bar and finds a brawl in progress.

Chris inquires about former buddies and finds fellow sniper Sgt. Jane Walthrop at a firing range. They try out new guns and reminisce about service at Fort Olympus Mons on Mars.

At Col. Gray’s office, Lt.Cmdr. Reese and Sgt. Jessup get a friendlier private reception. As usual, the colonel asks the formerly burned-out space cop how he’s feeling, and Kevin says that he is happy to have found a purpose.

Shan explains that the Korelev, part of Kevin’s homeworld security task force, has recently docked with the U.S.N. battleship Ilokar [named after the Zarendo god of war]. Gustrall (orange-furred, antlered, flightless avian alien) Capt. “Evander Scofield” has reported to Adm. Jaques Pons that the Dauntless, flagship of the task force, is missing.

Back at the “Sloppy Seconds,” Brun bellows for the fighting to stop. Most of the drunken patrons cease their fisticuffs, but a few in the back keep going. The Ursoid shoves his way through the crowd and slams a Felinoid (“Uplifted” tiger) into a table. Brun then asks Darcy, Jasmine’s ex-boyfriend, to play cards. The furry duo exchange more grunts than words thereafter.

Tela helps Lt. Hedy improve the efficiency of Ceres Station’s new systems, which are Terran models based on Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) and Ru’ulok (heavy-gravity, reptilian alien) designs. The android states that the asteroid is a test bed for the new technologies.

Chris and Jane go to Murphy’s Pub, while Kevin and Nate eventually join Brun on Deck 3, Room 32C. Chris then gives Jane a private tour of the experimental scout ship Blackbird. While Lt.Cmdr. Reese would also like female companionship, he and Sgt. Jessup have to report to the Ilokar. They grab a few bottles of whiskey as consolation.

Lt. Bearhammer and Darcy go bar-hopping, and Enkidu stays in radio contact with Tariq. Kevin and Nate take the Dragonfly drop ship over to the Ilokar battle group. Capt. Scofield [Josh/Non-Player Character] explains that the task force was spread thin over a large area of interstellar space when the Dauntless, Crazy Horse, and Sovereign failed to check in.

Evander provides the ships’ last known position and volunteers to help find them and “destroy the perpetrators,” but Kevin decides not to ask Adm. Pons to have the Korolev join the Blackbird. Nate suspects the Zurmiz Krott, biomechanical advance probes of the armada.

The admiral does say that support is available from Terran bases in the nearby systems of Alpha Centauri, Epsilon Eridani, and Wolf 359. He also gives the officers alarming top-secret information: The Zarkonian Armada, once believed to be far from Earth, is now less than two months away.

The U.S.N. and Kharvamid Alliance are rushing to outfit as many vessels and habitats as possible with Transit capability, but escalating conflicts in the Inner Solar System have forced them to refocus their efforts. Ma’ari Talari (alien ark ships) are also on their way, and the Trinoids (trilateral amphibians) and Nethians (insectoid engineers) have provided advisers.

Kevin asks for his sister in law Jennifer and her boyfriend Capt. Nick Cheney (whom he suspects of murdering his wife Heather) to be evacuated from New Shanghai on Mars. Nate requests that his clan of miners also be moved if possible.

Adm. Pons asks Lt.Cmdr. Reese to report back to high command upon successful completion of his mission to find the Dauntless, Crazy Horse, and Sovereign because his task force will be needed to help scout out evacuation routes and destinations.

However, as Kevin calls “Terra’s Pride” to regroup, he tells his companions that they should try to find a way to slow or injure the approaching armada. Lt.Cmdr. Reese asks Capt. Jasmine and the Pina Colada to catch up to the Blackbird as it searches for the Dauntless in deep space….

Next time, on “Vortex: Terra’s Pride:” A space-suited away team waves rifles and flashlights through an apparently vacant ship. “There are no life signs, sir, but we’re getting movement….”

Dexter, I hope that you had a Happy Birthday, and Beruk, we missed “Tariq.” Geoff, please direct your friend who’s interested in our campaign to the Obsidian Portal site and have him contact me directly.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing some of you at tonight’s “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy game, and remember that I’ll probably be missing Jason E.R.’s next “Barsoomian Adventures: the Tenth Ray of Mars” planetary romance session. Take it easy, -Gene

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"Vortex" Telecom Updates 5c.25, 26
Cache and cultist

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Sessions 5c.25 and 26 of the “Vortextelecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on 24 February and 3 March 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?

“Vortex” Team 5c (3) Player Character rosters: Crew of the yacht Pina Colada:

  • Capt. 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
  • 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 aboard the Blackbird and Pina Colada
  • 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
  • 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
  • Chiron” [Dexter V.H., primary/absent ]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

Crew of the refitted experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Lt. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce K., secondary ]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted Blackbird
  • 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
  • Brun” [Geoff C., secondary ]-male Martian Ursoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” bear), former wrestler, pilot
  • Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup” [Byron V.O., secondary ]-male Terran human, gung-ho member of the North American Aerospace Marine Corps
  • 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.

“10 to 17 July 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” While the explorers aboard the Blackbird first ventured into interstellar space, the grifters aboard the Appomattox had obtained a cargo of items taken from the Vatican Museums. Rather than deliver the artifacts near Epsilon Eridani, the smugglers had hid them in deep space.

Months later, the “Terra’s Pride” task force, including crew members from the Appomattox and Blackbird, returned to find the Plutonium Hammer retrieving containers on behalf of Intersystems Salvage. The Pina Colada encountered a Nolath-Kutalrin vessel also seeking the Vatican relics.

“Terra’s Pride” escorted the Plutonium Hammer and its contents back to Ganymede in the Jovian Commonwealth, where it learned that Kolidari, a dangerous Octopoid (bioengineered cephalopod), was involved.

The Pina Colada and Blackbird boldly seized the contested cargo from an Intersystems Salvage warehouse in New Havana and retreated to a former Black Box Security Co. base in the Asteroid Belt. The group examined the items, hoping to find mystical meaning, historical or trade significance, and defenses against the approaching Zarkonian Armada.

Hector Chavez suggests a “reverse heist,” returning the relics to a proper authority to divert those hunting them and the treasure. The former spy also recommends that his companions work out a private set of signals and passphrases.

Dr. Srinu Pahul prepares versions of the cargo manifest for various museums. Capt. Jasmine suggests sending one to the arachnid Nolath and avoiding gangster Kolidari, as well as onetime colleagues in “MarSoupAiL” (shell company Mars Soup Aid Lenders Ltd.).

Lt.Cmrd. Kevin Reese and Chris McKee say they’d prefer to turn over everything to the Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.) in the name of homeworld security. While some of their crewmates want to claim a few items for themselves, explorers Chiron and Enkidu Aristheon assert that everything belongs in a museum.

After some debate, the members of “Terra’s Pride” agree to deliver most of the artifacts to the authorities rather than to other smugglers or mysterious alien traders. The task force decides against going to Fort Olympus Mons on Mars.

Hector tells Jasmine and company to warn people such as her ex-boyfriend Darcy to be careful, since his handler Max told him that several other parties were hunting for the cargo.

On the Pina Colada, Capt. Jasmine studies the Televalutor, an ancient astrogation device. Hector takes a few Spanish doubloons as potential bargaining chips, and scientist Srinu claims the Ring of Andeleb, which can protect against Zurmiz Krott nanites. Sniper Chris grabs the Gem of Focus.

Kevin tries on the chain Coif of Egg Shen against mental attacks. Pomuyan mystic warrior Orion waits for Hector to repair a plasma sword hilt and reads a fragment of the Second Imperial Encyclopedia Galactica.

Chiron declines his share of the booty [getting a Fate point instead] and makes a redacted copy of the cargo manifest for Dr. Martha Liao, a xenobiologist at the Terran science academies.

From the Blackbird, Lt. Sebastian Growlick dons the Sash of Giganta, which enhances strength, but engineer Tela also declines a share [and gets another Fate point]. Tariq Asrad Saladin determines that the Bow of Indra fires charged arrows.

Lord Wallace Tubbington III waits for Tela to forge him a katana to put into the Scabbard of Musashi. Lt. Nathan A. Jessup takes a replica of an ancient Chinese dagger as a souvenir, and Enkidu Aristheon is given a crystal that amplifies his psionic abilities. Brun claims…?

In addition, Hector recommends keeping some of the Trojan gold in party stores. Before getting under way, Kevin and Chris switch ships with Sebastian and Wallace. Lt.Cmdr. Reese rejoins his military crew on the Blackbird, as Lt. Growlick hangs out with fellow Felinoid, Capt. Jasmine, on the Pina Colada.

The former “Agent Prometheus” compares tactical notes with pilot Brun, while Lord Tubbington talks about galactic tourism with Orion and Chiron. Hector and Tela coordinate microjumps into Transit (faster than light) and mask ion trails to confuse potential pursuers.

The Pina Colada takes the bulk of the artistic and mythic objects from the Vatican horde to the United Ecumenical Movement (U.E.M.) temples on Phobos, a moon of Mars. Sebastian, Hector, and Wallace disembark, while Capt. Jasmine, Srinu, Chiron, and Orion stay on the ship and on the radio.

The new arrivals are greeted in the docking bay by Sister Philippa, a Buddhist chaplain who doesn’t recognize Dr. Pahul. Disguised as “Dr. Prabhakar Swapan Mullur,” he and the crew of the Gryphon previously broke out three Synth Liberation Front detainees from the temples.

Mighty Jasmine helps unload the precious cargo, while Sebastian recognizes his brother Castillian, a notorious pirate just happening to visit Phobos on family business. The leonine “Synth” explains that Ms. Helen Gastmeyer had recommended asking U.E.M. contacts for help getting a seat on the colonial parliament.

Wary Hector recognizes Ms. Gastmeyer as someone “MarSoupAiL” had dealt with back on Earth. Meanwhile, Wallace (wearing Musashi’s scabbard) wanders into the temple precincts, where the Olvar meets several interesting humans. Brother Abel notices Lord Tubbington’s long coat and challenges him to a duel, but the swashbuckler is called away by Hector.

Sebastian and Wallace rush back to Jasmine to help escort the cargo to a secure archive. Srinu and Hector have Sebastian recommend that Sister Philippa try on the Diadem of Theodora. She uses it to perceive the auras of those around her.

Brother Nelvin nervously asks to be excused. Lt. Growlick and Lord Tubbington follow the friar, who takes an unexpected turn in the hallway. They confront Nelvin, who refuses to cooperate. Sebastian reaches for a gun and knocks him out. The lieutenant carries the robed cleric.

Aboard the Pina Colada, Hector notices an energy spike from a personal force screen, as Srinu watches for reinforcements for Nelvin. Impatient Jasmine dons space armor and runs to help Sebastian and Wallace.

Lt. Growlick takes Nelvin’s belt and contacts Sister Philippa to get clearance to bring the prisoner to the yacht. Capt. Jasmine gives the order to leave, but Wallace and Hector aren’t aboard.

Wallace has gone to a gift shop to look for a katana, while Hector searches Nelvin’s quarters. He finds spare power cells for the personal force field and a holdout needler loaded with sedatives, odd items for a monk.

Back on the Pina Colada, Dr. Pahul restrains the supposedly ill Brother Nelvin for interrogation and conducts a medical scan. The doctor finds a cranial implant more advanced than Black Box models, and Hector jams its transmissions. Jasmine recommends that Orion conduct a mind wipe if needed.

Wallace asks Nelvin about his allegiances in return for an offer of clemency. Nelvin surprises everyone by saying that the U.E.M. and “Terra’s Pride” are deluded if they think they can save Terrans from the Zarkonian Armada. He says they “should ally with the coming darkness.”

Sebastian sends Jasmine and Srinu’s robot nurse MEGAN out of sickbay. Srinu and Wallace go get a drink. The remote observers fear that Sebastian will harm Nelvin, but the cunning lieutenant feigns sympathy. The brother reveals that Ms. Gastmeyer can be found at Wolf 359, a nearby solar system.

Hector and Sebastian realize that Castillian’s presence at the behest of Ms. Gastmeyer, Brother Nelvin’s participation in a Zarkonian cult, and their own delivery of the Vatican cargo is no coincidence. Even though they’d prefer to space the enemy spy, Srinu and Sebastian agree that he might yet prove useful.

Dr. Pahul and Lt. Growlick warn Sister Philippa that Brother Nelvin has been compromised. Hector successfully hacks into his cranial implant and transmits the codes to the U.E.M. Sister Philippa reluctantly agrees to tighten security and covertly monitor Nelvin in the hope of learning more.

Sebastian gives Nelvin’s belt to Hector, and Wallace takes the needler. Srinu and Chiron record documentation. The Pina Colada sets out from Phobos to rendezvous with the Blackbird in the Asteroid Belt.

Lt.Cmdr. Reese has contacted his superior, Col. Shan Gray of the Interplanetary Patrol. The Blackbird brings part of the Vatican treasure to “Ilokar” battle group, commanded by Adm. Jacques Pons….

Dexter and Geoff, I’m sorry that you missed our latest session. Dex, I hope that you had a Happy Birthday! I’ve updated your P.C. records to reflect the distribution of items/stunts and Fate points, but let me know if you have any additional changes.

I hope to eventually rejoin Jason E.R.’s “Barsoomian Adventures: the Tenth Ray of Mars,” and I look forward to next Monday’s “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy game. I’ll see you at tomorrow night’s “Vortex” telecom session — don’t forget Daylight Saving Time! -Gene

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"Vortex" Telecom Update 5c.24
New Havana heist

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.24 of the “Vortextelecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 10 February 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?

“Vortex” Team 5c (3) Player Character rosters: Crew of the yacht Pina Colada:

  • Capt. 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
  • 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 aboard the Blackbird and Pina Colada
  • 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
  • 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
  • Chiron” [Dexter V.H., primary ]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

Crew of the experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Lt. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce K., secondary ]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted Blackbird
  • 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
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin” [Beruk A., secondary ]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington III” [Josh C., secondary ]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance
  • Brun” [Geoff C., secondary ]-male Martian Ursoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” bear), former wrestler, pilot
  • Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup” [Byron V.O., secondary ]-male Terran human, gung-ho member of the North American Aerospace Marine Corps
  • Enkidu Aristheon” [Dexter V.H., secondary ]-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.

“7 to 9 July 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After separate voyages, the Pina Colada and Blackbird joined to form the “Terra’s Pride” task force. The starships found that they were not alone in the hunt for stolen Vatican treasures, following them to Jupiter’s moon Ganymede.

On the yacht Pina Colada, Capt. Jasmine says that she wants to limit collateral damage if the ancient relics are to be seized by force. The Plutonium Hammer had retrieved two shipping containers near Epsilon Eridani and delivered them to an Intersystems Salvage warehouse in New Havana.

Hector Chavez hacks into local security systems. The onetime spy tracks Kolidari back to a rented apartment and a private shuttle. Hector and Jasmine suspect the Octopoid (bioengineered cephalopod) casino owner of masterminding a plot involving smuggling, blackmail, religious factions, and murder on Saturn’s moon Titan.

Chris McKee reminds his companions that they don’t have the cargo-handling equipment to simply remove the containers from the Jovian warehouse. Orion Starchaser is restless as the crew discusses a potential heist. He and Chiron want to examine the artifacts as soon as possible.

Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese prefers a clear plan, and he and Dr. Srinu Pahul recommend notifying the Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.) and the United Ecumenical Movement (U.E.M.) about the items. They also coordinate with colleagues aboard the scout ship Blackbird.

Lt. Sebastian Growlick, Brun, and Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup would like to simply attack the warehouse, but Capt. Jasmine and Lt.Cmdr. Reese overrule the eager space marines. Tela assembles makeshift magnetic grapples with supplies acquired by Dr. Pahul.

Lord Wallace Tubbington III notes that the space where the containers were retrieved falls between Terran and Ru’ulok (reptilian alien pirate) control. Tariq Asrad Saladin and Enkidu Aristheon express concern that the historical items be preserved. They also warn both crews to be on the lookout for the Nolath-Kutalrin ship also hunting for the cargo.

Brun pilots the agile Blackbird to New Havana and drops off Tela, Orion, and Srinu. Chiron maneuvers the larger Pina Colada to grab the containers, with Nathan in a space suit on Hector’s hover truck to assist with loading. Hector loans Srinu a variable electromagnetic pulse (EMP) gun, and he, Jasmine, and Sebastian monitor communications and nearby traffic.

Tela picks a lock on a side door, and the infiltration team heads to a lavatory. Hector remotely hacks into the warehouse surveillance systems and warns the trio about numerous robots. Orion telepathically senses several human personnel, and Srinu readies a needler pistol.

Two Intersystems Salvage workers enter the washroom, and quick-thinking Srinu strips off his clothing and jumps into the showers. Tela and Orion hide in stalls. Srinu emerges and introduces himself as “Rajesh Abishek,” a recently-arrived transport agent from New Shanghai in the Mars Confederacy.

Tom Kelden and Gregor Andreivtich tell Rajesh to report to the manager’s office, and Srinu grabs some overalls from a laundry hamper. They complain about tightened security and agree to swing by the employee lounge with Rajesh.

While Srinu continues his diversion, Tela squeezes into an air duct. The stealthy Tharian climbs to a position above the units containing the Vatican artifacts, leaving Orion alone. The Pomuyan mystic exits the building and sweeps the perimeter.

Hector recognizes an arriving shuttle, and he tells the team to hurry up. Orion senses visitors to the management office, and he radios Srinu to intercept. Tela plants explosives on the outer wall of the warehouse.

As Rajesh, Srinu finds himself face to face with tentacled Kolidari! The charming cephalopod has a vocal device programmed to resemble an archaic Terran actor [Sean Connery]. Tela is nearly captured by a security droid, but Hector overrides its controls so she can join Orion.

Kolidari graciously offers to meet with Rajesh to discuss potential business, and Srinu manages to disengage and retreat. Hector triggers the explosives, but Gregor is caught in the explosive decompression.

Chris accurate fires the magnetic grapples and reels the containers into the Pina Colada’s cargo hold. Nathan grabs Gregor and brings him to safety, while Tela, Orion, and Srinu evade station security to rendezvous with the Blackbird.

Dr. Pahul’s robot nurse MEGAN attends to unconscious Gregor, and both ships head to the Asteroid Belt. Agent Prometheus recommends an abandoned Black Box Security Co. safehouse over returning to Mars or Saturn.

The Pina Colada and Blackbird dock at a decrepit asteroid base. Engineers Hector and Tela work on stabilizing systems such as life support and attitude control. Dr. Pahul insists on proper containment procedures before examining the cargo, citing the dangerous nanites (microscopic robots) emitted by Zarkonian probes.

After impatiently waiting, Orion and Chiron begin examining the artifacts, with Jasmine, Chris, Srinu, and Enkidu watching closely. The items fall into three categories:

  • Artistic and historical: Such as the lost scrolls of Babylon (indicating trade with the “Vanished Lands”) gold from Troy, and notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci
  • Ancient technology: the Televalutor (a Greek astrolabe), South Pacific star maps
  • Mythic objects: Including the Sash of Giganta, Musashi’s Scabbard, the Horn of Roland (believed be merely legends)

Orion detects some psionic resonance, similar to what he had found on Earth, supporting Srinu’s theories of pre-First Contact relations between humans and aliens. Chris recalls Precursor technology found by the Blackbird and hopes to find weapons that can be used against the approaching Zarkonian Armada.

Hector and Kevin wonder why the arachnid Nolath and cyborg Kutalrin would be interested in the cargo, since they’re known more for engineering than cultural interests. Wallace confirms that the Olvar (arboreal mammal-like mystics and pranksters) and Ru’ulok have more in common with Terrans.

Jasmine and Sebastian remind their crews that they have limited time to study the relics and to decide what to do with them, since several other groups are now hunting for them….

Dexter and Bruce, we missed you at this past weekend’s game! While we had a slow start — everyone was no doubt tired from shoveling snow — I’m glad that your heist was successful. I hope to engage each character more equitably, and good luck to your crews as they analyze the retrieved relics! Make the most of our time between sessions.

Note that we won’t be meeting virtually again until Sunday, Feb. 24, because I have travel planned for this coming weekend. The face-to-face sessions for Jason’s “Barsoomian Adventures” pulp SF and my “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy campaign have also been pushed back because of the weather. In the meantime, take it easy, and stay in touch, -Gene

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