Vortex

"Vortex" Update 5c.6 and 7
Canyon chase and special deliveries

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Sessions 5c.6 and 7 of my “Vortex” space opera campaign, which we played via Skype and an online dice roller on Sunday, 12 and 19 August 2012. We’re using_ Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment (FATE) 3rd Ed.: Starblazer Adventures / Mindjammer and Bulldogs.

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

>>FATE 3e " Vortex " Team 3 (5c) telecom Player Characters , crew of the Gryphon (as of summer 2012)

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

http://www.blackaceproduction.com/media/blogs/photo/Valles%20Marineris.jpg

>>"4 to 10 March to 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:" After a shootout at the Red Butterfly Casino in Hellas Park, capital of the Mars Confederacy, the crew of the Gryphon regroups.

Hector Chavez examines a helmet taken from one of the Canids (“Uplifted” canines) and confirms that their gear was better than their tactics. The burned op gives the helmet to Jasmine and Darcy and wonders about who backed the failed robbery .

Jasmine is still annoyed with Jax for his comments about the low status of “Synths” (synthetic humanoids). Fortunately for the hotshot pilot, he is away preparing for an informal canyon race without his companions’ knowledge.

Tiger folk Jasmine and Darcy remind their companions of Garth (" Uplifted " gorilla) Olun Gor’s request for help finding fellow members of the Synth Liberation Front at the United Ecumenical Movement’s temples on the moon Phobos .

Since " nothing good can happen on Mars ," Chris McKee is eager to leave the red planet. The sniper spends time with Asdann Fre’vel, a Gustrall (antlered, orange-furred, raptor-like flightless avian alien) guard at the Hadriaca Paterna terraforming station. They talk about hunting, weapons, and the U.E.M.

Orion Starchaser brings Jim Delaney back to the ship, then goes to watch scientist Taka Shimuza release hardy animals from the terraforming facility into the wild. Dr. Srinu Pahul returns from picking up servant robots and looks into the medical supply needs of the U.E.M. temples as a possible way in.

A day at the races

At Valles Marineris, a network of ravines larger than Earth’s Grand Canyon, Jax meets fellow racers, including the following:

  • “Lenore” [Sara/Non-Player Character]-female Delphine (“Uplifted” dolphin) pilot with a custom hover sled decorated with a wave and tailfins
  • “Lt. Bruce Weyland” [Josh/N.P.C.]-male Terran human, naval officer with the Union of Solar Nations (formerly the United Earth Authority), driving a dune buggy with jet-assist jumping
  • “Kajor” [Geoff/N.P.C.]-male Ru’ulok (heavy gravity reptilian alien) pirate with a fake beard, riding a robotic pterodactyl
  • “Lt. Kobe Han” [Byron V.O./N.P.C.]-male human Terran sniper with an ultralight ornithopter resembling a bird of prey

A Gustrall [Beruk/N.P.C.] monitors cameras and obstacles and radios reports to spectators. Jax and Kajor take an early lead into the canyons, followed by Lenore, Lt. Han, and Lt. Weyland. Kobe flies to the rim of the rocky walls in an effort to catch an updraft or tailwind.

At “Shredder’s Corner,” Jax expertly squeezes his borrowed hoverbike around a narrow turn, while Lenore calmly traverses the course . Bruce, Kobe, and Kajor are forced to slow down in their larger vehicles.

The trail then forks, with the longer path leading across a dry river bed and a shortcut going onto a rocky plateau . Lenore picks the wadi but falls behind, allowing Lt. Weyland to catch up a little. Kajor pulls ahead on the riverbed, closely followed by Jax, as Lt. Han hits a crosswind.

Flashy Kobe and ruthless Kajor covertly shoot at boulders to hinder their competition, but the Gustrall excitedly observes that “Jax to the max is taking it all the way!”

The racers encounter an area obscured by a dust cloud, forcing them to rely on instinct. Lenore and Kajor maintain their lead, as Bruce slows down. Jax pulls behind Kobe.

At a network of caverns, Jax easily avoids stalactites and stalagmites to pull ahead. Lt. Weyland follows close behind. Kajor scrapes a wing but manages to right himself. Lt. Han makes a corkscrew maneuver and damages his thopter . Lenore doesn’t get lost, but her wide hover sled also gets battered.

A “land whale” belching lava lumbers between the racers and the cave’s exit. Jax guns his motor and rides over the alien transplant. The monster snaps one of Kobe’s wings, and his craft goes down and explodes.

Merciless Kajor shoots at the behemoth and squeaks by, as Bruce’s all-terrain vehicle gets trashed. Lenore almost makes it out unscathed, but the land whale clips her sled, which crashes just outside the cave. The soldiers hope to rescue their mates from the dragon-like creature.

Kajor manages to cross the finish line first, and Jax is the only other racer whose vehicle is mostly intact. The Gustrall, Lt. Max Tevis, and other spectators congratulate the Ru’ulok. Jax accompanies them to a bar near Fort Olympus Mons and later gives Jasmine a bottle of champagne that he got at the party as a peace offering.

Special deliveries

The next morning, Hector says that the team needs to have shared objectives beyond delivering its current cargo and getting off of Mars . He recommends getting a “letter of marque” to be able to both protect Terran interests and seek profit.

Orion hands out feathers from the Martian fauna and says he doesn’t know of any potential patrons. However, the blue alien was asked to contribute to a galactic encyclopedia .

Chris doesn’t think that a charter is needed, and Agent Prometheus says he knows a potential backer from dealings with the mining operation on Tyche . Srinu is most interested in the threat that the Zarkonian Armada poses to the Sol system.

Jasmine and Darcy say their top priority is to find three missing Synths on Phobos. Hector reminds his crewmates that they must soon deliver the terraforming machinery in their hold. The engineer also wants to make sure that enhancements to the Gryphon are done properly and quietly.

Jim, who is still shaken from the casino firefight, declines Hector’s offer to be the “face,” or front man. The gambler explains that he has learned that the recipient of their cargo is William Durstan, a local pit stop magnate. Jim then goes back to Hellas Park, avoiding associates in New Shanghai.

Jax prefers paying gigs over helping the Synths on Phobos, and is curious about Maria Chan, a potential mark building a space yacht in orbit. Orion says he would be content to continue sightseeing on Mars .

At Hector’s request, Dr. Pahul examines the feasibility of using the terraforming gear to accelerate the creation of Earthlike conditions in a Martian cave. The doctor states that the expensive equipment could be used in that way.

Rather than take the Gryphon to the drop site, Srinu and Hector rent an aerodyne from Uruk Services. Jasmine and Darcy go with them as muscle — laborers and guards. They all take along extra guns and grenades.

Chris goes ahead of the others and sets up a sniper’s nest, even though “wheelman” Jax doesn’t think it’s necessary. Jax lands the “Slipstream” a discreet distance away and keeps communications channels open. Orion wanders the Martian outback .

Two aerodynes eventually arrive, and several four-armed robots emerge. Space-suited Durstan asks to inspect the cargo of terraforming equipment. He then instructs the droids to bring forward cases of cred sticks and ship parts in return.

Hector warily eyes one robot holding a remote control, but it’s to a cargo lifter rather than explosives. Srinu talks with Durstan, asking what his commercial interest would be in terraforming, a process that should take generations. The businessman tacitly confirms that he plans to make a smaller area habitable.

Chris watches the transaction through his rifle scope, and Jax claims that his companions are being needlessly paranoid. Jasmine and Darcy transfer the cargo without incident. Durstan says that Green Gongen wants to avoid sabotage by the Rust Coalition, and Srinu is impressed by the depth of his technical knowledge.

Hector asks Durstan to contact him if he ever needs similar discreet deliveries in the future. The Martian signals to the human pilots of his aerodynes to prepare for takeoff, and the smugglers breathe sighs of relief.

Temple precincts

Back at the “Gryphon,” furred Jasmine explains that Olun Gor believes that three of his fellow revolutionaries are being held against their will in the U.E.M.‘s temples on Phobos (Mars’ other moon, Deimos, is at the top of a space elevator ):

  • Andrei Dyashenko, a male reptilian “Synth” and brother of Jasmine’s onetime crewmate Averki “Deep Dish” Dyashenko
  • Zara, a female Garth and girlfriend of Olun Gor
  • Meson, a male Tauroid (bioengineered bull)

Jax opens a bottle of alcohol, while Hector and Dr. Pahul talk about forging credentials. Jasmine and Darcy reluctantly agree to stay on the ship during the initial round of scouting. Jax then takes the “Slipstream” to Mars orbit, where the infiltrators see the landing and docking areas of the hollowed-out moon.

Orion, whose species is mostly unknown to humans, doesn’t bother with a disguise. Chris is not surprised to see that many of the locals are armed, but he is less sure about the varied tourists and robed clergy visiting the complex.

Srinu poses as “Dr. Prabhakar Swapan Mullur,” an Indian doctor from Oxford, and Hector is disguised as lab director “Nino Tancredo Bolivar.” They are greeted by Brother Valerius, a Christian monk.

Brother Valerius explains that the United Ecumenical Movement was formed in reaction to massacres in the Middle East back on Earth. U.E.M. chaplains serve alongside U.S.N. troops , and it is also involved in disaster relief, medical care, and archaeological research. “Dr. Mullur” is curious about that last item and requests library access.

Meanwhile, seekers Orion and Chris chat with a Zhang Hu, a Buddhist monk, and Itzik Yevel, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi. Orion talks about the nature of existence and gets a yarmulke, and Chris engages in theological debate with Cliff Conyers, a Mormon. They also admire holographic stained glass and shrines of multiple religions peacefully coexisting in close proximity.

Brother Valerius takes “Prabhakar” and “Nino” to a room with database terminals as well as rare hardcopy books and other historical relics. Srinu looks for evidence of contact between Earthlings and extraterrestrials centuries before recent official First Contact and finds references to the " Vanished Lands ."

Hector manages to hack into U.E.M. systems and obtains passcodes as well as the floor plan of a research level where the Synths are likely being held. Brother Valerius comes back to tell the researchers that they have an appointment with Sister Philippa to visit the biomedical laboratories tomorrow.

The crew of the Gryphon reconvenes to compare notes and get ready to find the missing Synths without fighting U.E.M. security or interplanetary pilgrims….

Please note that each of your Player Characters should now have a total of 27 skill ranks , and your ship has gained one skill slot and one stunt slot to reflect new equipment earned. Update your P.C. records on Obsidian Portal, and let me know about any changes.

Also, let me know if any of you won’t be available for games in the coming weekends. The face-to-face groups have been having difficulty getting quorum to launch the latest " Vanished Lands " fantasy party and Josh’s FATE 3e Dresden Files game . In the meantime, take it easy, -Gene

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"Vortex" Update 5c.5
Casino chaos

Fellow role-players , here are my notes for Session 5c.5 of my “Vortex” space opera campaign, which we played via Skype and an online dice roller on Sunday, 5 August 2012. We’re using Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment (FATE) 3rd Ed.: Starblazer Adventures / Mindjammer and Bulldogs .

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

>>FATE 3e " Vortex " Team 3 (5c) telecom Player Characters , crew of the Gryphon (as of summer 2012)

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

>> Casino chaos

>>" 1 to 3 March 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era :" After meeting at the New Gdansk orbital habitat and traveling to Mars, the crew of the Gryphon scatters across the red planet.

Jasmine and Darcy wait at the Hadriaca Paterna terraforming station before going to meet a contact in the Synth Liberation Front at a nearby domestead. Jim Delaney and Orion go to the Red Butterfly Casino in the capital of Hellas Park. Hector Chavez discreetly follows.

Jax visits a bar in New Shanghai, the largest colony in the Mars Confederacy . He talks with smuggler Harry Chu and regales fellow pilots with tales of his exploits. However, when United Solar Nations troops arrive, Jax shifts his focus to more legal jobs.

Still hoping to avoid his former employers at Black Box Security Co., Chris keeps watch aboard the Gryphon , despite radio interference. Dr. Srinu Pahul goes to pick up the non-sentient servant robots that he and Jim had ordered.

After Jax buys a round of drinks for the soldiers, Lt. Max Tevis invites the pirate to an informal race. Jax accepts and later takes the Slipstream to the canyon site to check out the winding course in advance.

At the Red Butterfly, Orion gets into a staring contest with Shocho, the omnipresent holographic avatar of the ruling Tenryu Party. The alien wanderer then goes to take in a live performance at a nearby theater. Jim joins a poker game with the following people:

  • “Eddie Padjem” [Beruk/Non-Player Character]-male Terran (Indian) human with military experience
  • “Thuvia” [Sara/N.P.C.]-female Martian Felinoid (lynx-like humanoid) scout, wary of humans
  • “Purkdak” [Josh/N.P.C.]-male Martian human businessman with investments from Earth
  • “Brun” [Geoff/N.P.C.]-male Ursoid (“Uplifted” bear) gambler; not smart, but friendly
  • “Erlik” [Robin/N.P.C.]-male Martian cyborg with bionic hand; doesn’t like small stakes or Terrans

Jim chats up his competitors. Thuvia and Purkdak are reticent, but Eddie draws them out by talking about Earth’s megacorps and crowded arcologies . Brun surprises Erlik with a strong hand during Texas Hold’em . Former spy Hector expects trouble but is unable to contact Chris.

Meanwhile, at Valles Marineris , Jax meets Lt. Tevis and other racers and spectators. They check out various vehicles, including tricked-out hoversleds, ornithopters, and dune buggies. Jax chooses a maneuverable hovercycle.

A band of five Canids (" Uplifted " canines) bursts into the Red Butterfly Casino, draws machine guns, and orders everyone to hand over their valuables. Hector slips behind the bar and scopes out the scene. Eddie tries to use misdirection and sleight of hand to draw a weapon but is spotted.

Jim drops to the floor and uses his technopsi to take control of a dealer robot. It leaps toward one unluckly Wolfen, distracting him. Cyborg Erlik smacks another bandit with a chair but is shot in return. Two other raiders blast more of the dealer droids, and one wings Eddie.

Mighty Brun hurls a table at the bandits. Upon his return from the theater, Orion merely watches the brawl , telekinetically shielding Jim. Thuvia sneaks up on a Canid and pounces, as Purkdak bravely grabs a gun.

Hector aims at and hits one of the remaining bandits. Eddie’s attempt to kick over a table fails, but he manages to take out one Wolfen. Erlik trades blows with a “Synth” ( synthetic humanoid ) and is slain.

Other gamblers in the hall panic and try to flee. Brun picks up a Canid and rams his head into the ceiling. The Ursoid then smashes his opponent down into a table. Lynx-woman Thuvia knocks out the Wolfen closest to her, and Purkdak hits another.

Brun jumps onto the bar and charges at the last two bandits. Unfortunately, none of them — or Erlik — survive to be questioned by local authorities . Brun gives his contact information to Orion and asks for help getting offworld.

Hector hacks into the security network . He observes that the Canids had state-of-the-art weapons, but poor tactics. Hector takes a helmet and a gun for later analysis. As the police arrive, Orion and Hector escort Jim back to the Gryphon .

Jasmine and her boyfriend Darcy go to the Lucky Badger Saloon, where they meet Olun Gor, a Garth (" Uplifted " gorilla). Olun says that the United Ecumenical Movement has been rumored to be kidnapping “Synths.”

Those missing include the brother of Jasmine’s reptilian former crewmate Averki “Deep Dish” Dyashenko, a Tauroid named Meson, and Olun’s girlfriend. Jasmine agrees to ask her companions for aid in rescuing them from the U.E.M.’s temples on the moon Phobos.

Back at the Gryphon , Hector and Chris are wary of getting involved, but Orion and Srinu are eager to help. Jax and Jim prefer to take on paying missions, and the pilot wants advanced technology such as a cloaking device.

But first, Hector notes, they must deliver their cargo of terraforming equipment to a recipient in the Martian outback. In addition, Jax is set to participate in a canyon race….

I hope that all of you have had a good week. Byron, I hope your family vacation went well, and Rob, we’ll miss you at tonight’s (Aug. 12) " Vortex " game!

Beruk, Josh, and Sara, I’m glad that you were able to make to Jason’s cookout and final " Glassworks " superhero session (for now). I also hope that you’ll be able to make it to Brian’s second Dungeon Crawl Classics demonstration and our upcoming return to the " Vanished Lands " fantasy campaign!

Don’t forget to review the Gryphon’s specs to see what you might want to modify. Good luck, Josh, with getting your Dresden Files : " Dallas " game ready. See y’all soon, -Gene

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"Vortex" Update 5c.4
The malls of Mars

Fellow role-players , here are my notes for Session 5c.4 of my “Vortex” space opera campaign, which we played via Skype and an online dice roller on Sunday, 22 July 2012. We’re using Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment (FATE) 3rd Ed.: Starblazer Adventures / Mindjammer and Bulldogs .

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

>>FATE 3e " Vortex " Team 3 (5c) telecom Player Characters , crew of the Gryphon (as of summer 2012)

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

>> “16 to 28 February to 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After its arrival at the Mars Confederacy , the crew of the Gryphon explored the area around the Hadriaca Paterna terraforming station while waiting to deliver machine parts.

Jax, still nursing a hangover, brings coffee to Hector Chavez in the Gryphon’s cockpit. Security scanners detect someone at the airlock. Jim Delaney asks to come aboard and offers his services as a professional gambler.

Swashbuckler Jax is more interested in piracy than in grifting, and “burned op” Hector is unhappy that news of the yacht’s arrival has spread through nearby settlements. They let the well-dressed young man talk to the rest of the crew.

Jasmine is wary of con artists because of her experiences on the Appomattox , but Orion Starchaser senses no ill intent. The friendly blue alien carries a feather from a bioengineered Martian species. Chris McKee asks Jim who or what he’s running from, and Dr. Srinu Pahul asks to examine the newcomer.

Hector relents and says that Jim can join the crew if he successfully acts as “face man” for the cargo drop. Orion happily accompanies Jim as he returns to subterranean cities, and Hector and Srinu tail them.

Jax and Chris initially stay behind on the Gryphon , and Jasmine and Darcy prepare to meet with Olun Gor, a Garth (" Uplifted " gorilla) in the Synth Liberation Front. Irdana, an Olvar (mammal-like arboreal alien) passenger, heads to the capital of Hellas Park.

Jim and Orion go to a town of dusty domesteads deep in the Martian outback. At the Lucky Badger Saloon, they look for fellow gamblers and hitchhikers. Hector and Srinu watch their backs, and the doctor learns that both he and Jim are looking for servant robots .

Impatient pilot Jax takes the Slipstream to New Shanghai, where he sees holograms of Shocho, the omnipresent mascot of the ruling Tenryu Party. Jax goes to a disreputable neighborhood, where he meets smuggler Harry Chu.

Back at the Lucky Badger, Hector tries to find out if anybody on Mars besides the Tarsis Terraforming Directorate would value the machine parts. The supporters of Green Gongen are opposed by the preservationists of the Rust Coalition.

Chu tells Jax about politician Han Wubing, but the “best pirate in the Sol system” is more interested in potential mark Maria Chan, who is having a luxury vessel built in the Utopia Planitia shipyards .

Orion chats with Slazim, a Trinoid (three-armed amphibian) xenologist. The extraterrestrials have difficulty understanding why humans would voluntarily poison themselves with alcohol. Slazim offers to put in a recommendation with the science bureaus on Orion’s behalf as an independent contributor if he’ll continue traveling with Terrans.

The rest of the Gryphon ’s crew eventually makes its way to New Shanghai, one of the largest colonies on Mars. Hector remotely monitors locations and communications, and Jasmine and Darcy watch out for bounty hunters.

Chris is more worried about his former employers at Black Box Security Co., but Dr. Pahul makes inquiries about unusual biotech research possibly related to the Zarkonian threat. Srinu also orders supplies for the science lab/sickbay — and robots Medical Emergency and Group Assistance Synthetic Nurse (M.E.G.A.N.), as well as Personal Executive Prototype-Version E (“Pepe”).

Jax asks Chu if any advanced equipment is being installed on Chan’s ship. Jim schmoozes and learns of remote landing sites used by smugglers, as Orion observes to Slazim that Terrans’ diversity and factionalism is part of their charm….

I hope that all of you had a good weekend while I was out of town visiting family. Josh and Sara, I hope that your latest move and unpacking have gone smoothly. Beruk, Rob, and Byron, let us know your availability in the coming weeks.

Geoff, can you resend me the document where you wrote up Orion’s species and background? Robin and company, remember to look over the “Gryphon’s” specs for future modification. Note that I’ve updated the calendar and contact database in the “Vanished Lands” Yahoo/eGroups site . I look forward to resuming “Vortex” this coming Sunday, 5 August 2012. Take it easy, -Gene

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"Vortex" Update 5c.3
The best worst thing to happen on Mars

Fellow role-players , here are my notes for Session 5c.3 of my " Vortex " space opera campaign, which we played via Skype and an online dice roller on Sunday, 15 July 2012. We’re using Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment ( FATE ) 3rd Ed.: Starblazer Adventures / Mindjammer and Bulldogs .

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

>>FATE 3e " Vortex " Team 3 (5c) telecom Player Characters , crew of the Gryphon (as of summer 2012)

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

1 planet mars map

>>" 15 to 21 February 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era: " After meeting in Earth orbit, the crew of the Gryphon makes its shakedown cruise to the Mars Confederacy . The yacht also takes on a cargo of machine parts and a passenger fleeing from arms smugglers.

Hector Chavez scans for any illicit communications and sets up a jamming frequency for the cargo containers’ transponders. Jax “flies casual” to evade notice from the Interplanetary Patrol. The pirate pilot notes that his smaller vessel, the Slipstream , doesn’t have crew accommodations and thus can’t be used as a drop ship .

Orion Starchaser is fascinated by views of Mars and its moons Phobos and Deimos. Chris McKee tries to remember the location of a domestead he raided with the crew of the Blackbird as a place to avoid.

Darcy reminds Jasmine that they have friends in the Synth Liberation Front. They have heard rumors that the United Ecumenical Movement is holding S.L.F. members in its temples on Phobos. The bioengineered tigers make plans to meet Olun Gor, a Garth (" Uplifted " gorilla) on the surface.

Dr. Srinu Pahul talks with Irdana, an Olvar (mammal-like arboreal alien) tourist. The doctor also reviews supplies needed for the medical bay and galley. In one the Gryphon ’s lounges, the crew debates where to go next on Mars.

Hector recommends New Shanghai as one of the larger settlements, but Jax is wary of cities. Orion wants to see everything, and Chris and Srinu just want to avoid former employer Black Box Security Co. in the capital of Hellas Park.

Chris recommends that Jasmine meet Olun at the terraforming station at Hadriaca Paterna, which should be far enough from other colonies and the Union of Solar Nations base at Fort Olympus Mons . Instead of docking at the Deimos-Pavonis orbital elevator as originally planned, Jax takes the Gryphon down to the red world.

The landing party is greeted by scientist Taka Shimuza, megacorp delegate Herb Cort, and Asdann Frevel, a Gustrall (antlered, orange-furred, raptor-like alien) guard. Shimuza gives a tour of the massive plant of the Tharsis Terraforming Directorate, and Cort represents Uruk Services.

Even interstellar wanderer Orion is impressed by the scale of the machinery, some of which Hector recognizes as being similar to their cargo. Shimuza explains to Jax that efforts to make Mars more earthlike are expected to take many years, even with extraterrestrial assistance.

Cort mentions that the station has had little to worry about from local insurgents, especially after hiring a fierce Gustrall. Chris is happy to be reunited with Asdann, who invites him and Jasmine on a hunting expedition. Dr. Pahul and Darcy stay aboard the Gryphon to monitor communications and protect Irdana.

After their tour, the travelers return to their ship on the windswept landing pad for the night. Jasmine sends Olun a note, and he replies that he’ll come to Hadriaca Paterna the next day.

Orion is eager to explore, and Chris takes up a pool betting on how long it will take the blue alien to get into trouble. Jasmine says 15 minutes, Hector says 29, and Jax wagers 45. Chris predicts that it will take an hour, and Srinu bets on two hours.

The next morning, Asdann and Chris prepare a hoversled, and Jasmine and Darcy take her hoverbike from the hold. Orion is in his space suit and out the airlock before the others are even aware.

Even though Orion has no experience with ornithopters , Asdann trains him on the fundamentals. Jax reluctantly agrees to accompany him, but when he takes the controls, she jumps off. Orion sets off north as the hunters go south.

Asdann, Chris, Jasmine, and Darcy eventually land near a gulch in the cold, arid Martian outback. Asdann spots tracks of a six-legged Martian alligator (modified from Terran stock). Chris unslings his rifle and peers at various caves, while Jasmine is frustrated that the air is too thin for her to use her sense of smell.

Meanwhile, Orion sets down and hikes west. He sees a local domestead but decides instead to head north, toward snow-capped mountains. Back at the Gryphon , Jax and Hector split a bottle of brandy that Srinu brought along and discuss looking for more paying gigs.

In a gully with a little ice and algae, the hunters corner two gators gnawing on the remains of a dune strider . Jasmine draws her blaster and shoots, and Chris maneuvers to a higher position. Asdann misses, and the first gator bites at Jasmine’s gun, but she wrests it away.

The second beast leaps toward Asdann, who nimbly steps away. Jasmine strikes her foe with the butt of her gun, and Chris wings the second gator. One Martian menace tries to bite the tiger-woman’s foot, but she dodges, and Agent Prometheus finishes off both gators.

Asdann helps them haul the carcasses back to the “Gryphon.” Chris declares the hunting expedition a success, or “the best worst thing to happen on Mars .” They butcher the beasts for their hides and meat.

Accustomed to 1G, Orion makes great leaps across the rugged Martian landscape. The interstellar hitchhiker follows a flock of birds south. Curious Orion uses empathy to sense their mood as he climbs a cliff face to get closer to their perch.

The bioengineered birds have bright plumage, broad wingspans, and relatively small beaks. Orion takes a few photographs and hikes back to the terraforming station, where he gets lectured for leaving his ornithopter .

The next morning, Jax wakes up in the Gryphon ’s cockpit. The hung-over pilot nudges Hector and stumbles to the galley for some coffee. Chris and Dr. Pahul are chipper, and Jax is not thrilled to find an alligator head in the refrigerator.

Orion didn’t get into any serious trouble, so nobody wins the bet. Jasmine and Darcy mount one Martian gator skeleton in their cabin and the other at the swimming pool. They then get ready to meet fellow “Synth” Olun Gor….

I hope that you enjoyed this session and have had a good week. Byron, I hope you had a Happy Birthday! Rob, I look forward to your character eventually joining this crew, and Beruk, I’ll see you at The Dark Knight Rises on Sunday morning.

Good luck to Josh & Sara with your latest move — we’ll miss you this weekend and at Jason’s penultimate " Glassworks " superhero game on Monday. I’ll be out of town for the latter part of next week, and I’ll let everyone know if it will affect “Vortex.” Take it easy, -Gene

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"Vortex" Update 5c.2
Shakedown to Mars

Fellow role-players , here are my notes for Session 5c.2 of my “Vortex” space opera campaign, which we played via Skype and an online dice roller on Sunday, 8 July 2012. We’re using Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment (FATE) 3rd Ed.: Starblazer Adventures / Mindjammer and Bulldogs .

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. Who will rise to the challenges?

>>FATE 3e " Vortex " Team 3 (5c) telecom Player Characters , crew of the Gryphon (as of summer 2012)

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

Appomattox

>>" 8 to 14 February 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era :" After meeting at the shipyards of New Gdansk in Earth orbit, the new crew of the Gryphon prepares for its shakedown cruise. Hector Chavez secures the cargo of machine parts obtained from smuggler Desmond Hogarth.

The engineer also collects a wish list of enhancements to install on the yacht once the delivery to the Mars Confederation is completed. Mighty Jasmine and her boyfriend, fellow “Synth” (" Uplifted " tiger) Darcy, assist with the loading and cabin redecorations.

Orion Starchaser returns to the ship, excited as usual. The interstellar hitchhiker says that he has met a gunner, whom he managed to steer away from a confrontation with Dr. Srinu Pahul . Orion then leaves to get Chris McKee, leaving confused people in his wake.

Burned op Hector shows Jax some of his security precautions in the “Gryphon’s” cockpit and keeps tabs on the crew’s comm links. Jax wants to depart without Orion and the sketchy sniper, but Jasmine talks the hotshot pilot into waiting.

Cautious Hector asks Srinu what he knows about Chris. The doctor reassures him that despite their shared pasts with the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., they should be able to work together without killing each other.

At the “Drowning Swan” bar, Orion happily tells Chris that he’s welcome aboard the Gryphon . They are joined by Irdana, a tourist whom Orion had met earlier. The nervous Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien ) asks the blue wanderer if she can buy passage with them.

Sensing that Irdana is in trouble, Orion and Chris readily agree. Hector and Jax aren’t thrilled, however, when Irdana explains that she witnessed a deal for heavy ordinance — Orion’s arm span plus her tail in size — and was then noticed by the illicit arms dealers.

Jax and Chris ask Irdana how she plans to pay, and she opens a rucksack of antique Terran toys. Jasmine and Orion happily play with the plastic figurines, but Srinu and Jax aren’t impressed. Chris is won over when he finds some old military action figures.

Rather than risk being probed by more remote-control robots, captured by smugglers, or waylaid by fans, the crew of the Gryphon" casts off. Jax easily maneuvers the ship, which is much larger than his personal vessel, the Slipstream , past traffic between Earth, the L-5 orbital stations , and the Lunar Free State.

Hector goes to engineering to check on the maneuver (sublight) and Transit (faster-than-light) drives. He notes that since the Gryphon is swifter than Hogarth knows, the group will have time to check out the drop zone rather than be ambushed.

Jasmine and Darcy show new crewmate Chris and passenger Irdana around, taking them through lounges and to their cabins. Originally from a world with large oceans and many islands, Orion takes advantage of the new saltwater swimming pool.

In his spare time, Srinu translates the Mahabharata , which describes possible ancient contact between humans and extraterrestrials. The doctor also asks each of his shipmates to come to the medical bay for a complete checkup.

Jax pointedly ignores most visitors to the bridge, executing several barrel rolls and other maneuvers that test the ship’s advanced inertial dampeners and artificial-gravity deck plates. The “best damn space pirate in the solar system” sets a course for a quick jump through Transit.

Jasmine goes to check on the foods that Srinu brought, while Darcy chats with Irdana. Srinu tells ruminant Orion that he’d like to introduce fish and a variety of Terran and alien plants to the pool to supplement their diet. Hector and Jax are reluctant to submit to medical examination.

At dinner one night, Chris asks his new companions about their plans beyond bringing the mechanical cargo to Mars. “Agent Prometheus” describes the Blackbird ’s fight on Oasis Station against the Zurmiz Krott, a biomechanical probe of the dreaded Zarkonian Armada. The inhuman invaders are approaching Earth, he says.

Hector and Jasmine observe that Chris’ description strongly resembles that of the " Harbinger of the Righteous Order of Submission! " they encountered with the rest of Mars Soup Aid Lenders Ltd. (“MarSoupAiL”) back in Ghanki Station under the Indian Ocean. Both the Zurmiz Krott and the Harbinger induced cannibalistic madness and were difficult to contain or defeat.

Chris proposes scouting the space threatened by the Zarkonians, but calm Orion notes that according to his sensei, the crustaceans have attacked numerous worlds over many centuries of Terran time. Chris promises to share “archaeological data”: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/DnD3VanishedLands/message/9442 with Dr. Pahul about possible Precursor artifacts at Van Maanen’s Star .

Jax isn’t convinced of the urgency of the Zarkonian threat, but Jasmine vows to help protect humanity, despite its often poor treatment of her and other “Synths” (bioengineered humanoids). In the meantime, Chris warns, Mars is bad news, because of his experiences with various factions.

Jax takes the “Gryphon” out of the plane of the ecliptic, and Hector spins up the Transit drive. In a matter of hours rather than weeks, the yacht travels from Earth orbit to Mars ….

Thanks again for your patience as I dealt with audio problems; I’ll try to log onto Skype earlier this coming weekend to deal with them. Since we have a good-sized group , we should also remember Google+ and Tabletop Forge as backups. I look forward to the new crew of the “Gryphon” settling in, visiting the Mars colonies, and looking ahead to future missions!

We should eventually upload character records and images to the Obsidian Portal site for Vortex . See also the discussion on the Yahoo/eGroups message board regarding Jason’s " Glassworks " superhero scenario and upcoming games for the Boston-area, face-to-face groups. -Gene

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"Vortex" Update 5c.1: New Gdansk
Coming aboard

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Session 5c.1 of my " Vortex " space opera campaign, which we played via Skype and an online dice roller on Sunday, 1 July 2012. We’re using Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment (FATE) 3rd Ed.: Starblazer Adventures / Mindjammer and Bulldogs.

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

>>FATE 3e " Vortex " Team 3 (5c) telecom team Player Characters , crew of the Gryphon (as of summer 2012)

-" Hector Chavez " [Beruk A.]-male Latin American Terran human, former spy and communications expert/engineer of the Appomattox

-" Jasmine " [Sara F.]-female Martian Felinoid (Synth, “Uplifted” tiger), former professional pit fighter and onetime crewmember of the Appomattox, now apart from the grifters in “MarSoupAiL”

-" Chris McKee / Agent Prometheus " [Josh C.]-male Terran human cyborg, former sniper for the North American Aerospace Marine Corps. and eugenicists at Black Box Security Co.; onetime crewmember of the scout ship Blackbird

-" Jax " [Robin H.]-male human from the Asteroid Belt, vain space pirate and pilot of the Slipstream and Gryphon

-" Orion Starchaser " [Geoff C.]-male [humanoid alien] outcast, irrepressible mystic and adrenaline junkie

-" Dr. Srinu Pahul " [Byron V.O.]-male Indian Terran “near-human” (bioengineered) xenobiologist, shadowed by scandal and confident in survival skills

[Robert A.S.]-?
[Jim J.D’B.]-?

Orbital city by static vg

>>" 1 to 7 February 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era :" Sometime after the Appomattox repelled boarders near Atlanta and the explorers aboard the Blackbird returned to Earth from distant Oasis Station, a new band of travelers gathers at the orbital station of New Gdansk.

Hector Chavez and Jasmine arrive at the Lagrange-point torus habitat aboard another Starwind-class pleasure yacht in need of refitting and more crew. Hector calls his onetime “fixer” Max (short for Maxine) to find out about discreet shipyards and potential gigs. She sends the former spy the contact information for Desmond Hogarth.

Jasmine and her boyfriend, fellow “Synth” Darcy, hope to find a safe homeworld for their people. But first, they want to stretch their legs (and tails) and get something to eat at the orbital city.

Meanwhile, Orion Starchaser continues hitchhiking across the galaxy. The blue extraterrestrial catches a lift with a Ru’ulok (heavy-gravity reptilian alien) trade vessel and is curious about Terrans. Orion disembarks at New Gdansk and is distracted by a shiny vessel in space dock.

The yacht has also attracted the attention of Jax, a dashing space pirate whose single-person transport, the “Slipstream,” is berthed nearby. Jax’s interest is only heightened when Orion notices that the ship has Transit-capable (fasterthanlight ) engines. Humanity has only recently obtained this technology.

Hector and Jasmine emerge from the airlock and are surprised to meet self-important Jax and chatty Orion rather than a security squad. Hector is wary of their questions, but Jasmine is interested in talking with fellow nonhuman Orion.

Disgraced for some of his genetic research, Dr. Srinu Pahul takes a family shuttle into Earth orbit. He notices furry Jasmine and Orion talking and respectfully accosts the " Rakshasa ." The tiger-woman is flattered by the attention, and the group agrees to go with Dr. Pahul to a fancy restaurant.

Hector pointedly asks each of his new companions about their pasts and potential roles aboard the Gryphon . Srinu orders real steaks for everyone (and double for the " Uplifted " tigers). Jax and Orion ask for a tour of the ship, but Jasmine warns that Darcy is keeping watch, so they’ll have to wait.

Cautious Hector recounts some of his misadventures aboard the Appomattox, while Jasmine is happy to make new friends. Srinu says that he’d like to get away from Earth politics, and Jax is confident that he can pilot anything. Orion just wants new challenges.

After dinner, Hector and Jasmine introduce Srinu, Jax, and Orion to Darcy and take them aboard the Gryphon. Paranoid Hector doesn’t show them sensitive areas such as the armory, main engineering, or his quarters.

Jasmine and Darcy redecorate a large cabin with a jungle theme, while Jax demands the captain’s room. Dr. Pahul inspects the medical bay, and seeker Orion puts a disco ball in his cabin. They also discuss adding a swimming pool.

The refitting of the Gryphon is interrupted when proximity alarms go off. Hector scans and finds a robotic drone near the ship. Jax runs back to the Slipstream , and Srinu goes to his family’s shuttle.

Orion looks out a porthole and sees the unmanned probe. Jasmine offers to don a space suit and go outside, but Hector and Darcy recommend that she stay aboard. Possible enemies include law enforcement authorities, other smugglers, past marks, or racial supremacist or religious groups.

Hector wishes he had a proper electronics warfare suite, and Srinu begins maneuvering out of port. Jax is quicker, however, expertly maneuvering the “Slipstream” between the probe and the Gryphon. He bumps the drone, destroying it. Hector reminds his crew mates to be careful aboard the station.

The would-be adventurers go to meet Desmond Hogarth in a seedy section of New Gdansk. Hogarth is accompanied by an Ursoid Synth named “War Paw.” The man is somewhat surprised to encounter a full crew, but he agrees to acquire Hector’s requested parts, in return for one of two missions.

The first is a so-called milk run to the Mars Confederation. The second is to spring a “friend of the family” out of a Union of Solar Nations prison. In response to pressure from Hector, Hogarth says that the convict is Orion Stefanov, former chairman of the Venusian Finance Collective.

Orion Starchaser doesn’t detect any dishonesty with his telepathy, even though Hogarth is no doubt holding back information. Hector and Jasmine, shuddering at their memories of the disaster at Hephaestus Stadium , decline the prison break in favor of going to Mars.

Hogarth notes that he doesn’t want any Interplanetary Patrol scrutiny of the cargo, and Jax assures him that it shouldn’t be difficult to avoid the attention of Fort Olympus Mons.

Since Hogarth doesn’t know about the Gryphon ‘s T-drive, Hector doesn’t tell him that the journey from Earth to Mars would take about four days rather than the weeks or months it would take with conventional (pre-First Contact) Terran rockets.

The new crew returns to the ship to spend some of its advance. Hector and Darcy receive deliveries from War Paw, and Dr. Pahul brings some of his laboratory equipment aboard. Hector scans Hogarth’s cargo and finds only machine parts.

Jax requests a quick-launch enhancement to the Gryphon ‘s landing bay for the Slipstream , which he parks next to Jasmine’s hovercycle. Orion hopes to expand the holo-library.

Jax goes to the Drowning Swan bar and soon entertains a bevy of attractive women with his tales of derring-do in deep space. However, a wealthy woman who has been pursuing the pilot learns of his presence in New Gdansk through C-space (cyberspace).

Cassandra shamelessly flirts with Jax, who resists her advances because he doesn’t want to be tied down or go legit just yet. Amused, Srinu sends the couple drinks, and Jax gives his contact information to Cassandra in return.

Orion wanders through the corridors of the orbital city, cheerfully talking with strangers, most of whom don’t seem disturbed to see a blue alien. Orion finds some fellow hitchhikers, including human student Chan McKenzie, Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) otaku Irdana, and a former soldier who is disturbed.

Chris McKee mutters that he has “seen things no one should,” including something called the so-called Harbingers of the Righteous Order of Submission . Orion invites him to join the crew and is about to consult his paper guidebook when Dr. Pahul walks by. He recognizes “Agent Prometheus” from past super-soldier experiments.

Detached from his Black Box Security handlers, Chris warns Dr. Pahul to stay away or risk violence. Orion diverts the sniper’s attention by introducing him to Ms. McKenzie, allowing Srinu to return to the ship. Orion later tells Hector and company that he has found a gunner for the Gryphon.

Jax talks with a bartender at the “Drowning Swan,” about Chris. Jose says has been serving the man for a few weeks and that he has a good reputation among the aliens, despite any apparent mental instability. Orion also warns Dr. Pahul that he and Chris will have to work out their differences on their way to Mars….

We’re off to a good start! I look forward to the Gryphon getting under way this coming Sunday, July 8. Let me know if any of you have questions about your characters, the ship, or the setting of " Vortex ." Note that Robert A.S. and Jim J.D’B. have also expressed interest in joining us.

In the meantime, I hope that all of you had a good Independence Day, and I’ll see some of you at The Amazing Spider-Man earlier on Sunday or Jason E.R. ’s Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Glassworks game next Monday. I’ll also try to post some notes for Rich C.G.’s School Daze one-shot soon. Take it easy, -Gene

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FATE 3e "Vortex" Update 5a.31
Nobody touches Aughest-vor!

Fellow role-players, here are Josh’s and my notes for Session 5a.31 of the " Vortex " space opera campaign. Team 1 met on Monday, 23 April 2012, and has used FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures /Mindjammer, Bulldogs , and Limitless Horizons .

In one future, humanity has begun to colonize the Sol system, but ecological degradation and internecine conflicts persist. Open and official First Contact with Galactic societies, themselves at war, threaten Terra’s very survival. Will heroes rise to the challenges?

Two aliens and their human allies encountered xenophobes and megacorporate intrigues on and around Earth. After visiting factionalized Mars and acquiring a starship, they continued their mission of diplomacy and exploration on their way to the interstellar crossroads of Oasis Station….

>>FATE 3e " Vortex " Team 1 (5a), crew of the Blackbird :

-" Syzygy " [Brian W.]-Trinoid (trilateral amphibious alien) xenologist with an organic laboratory and a pet cat named “Mr. Sniffles”

-" Tela " [Sara F.]-female Tharian (winged gargoyle-like alien) escapee from the Encegulans; engineer with boyfriend Kedar

-" Chris McKee/Agent Prometheus " [Josh C.]-male Terran cyborg human sniper working for eugenicists at Black Box Security Co.

-" Aughest-vor …" [Jason E.R.]-male human from the Lemuria orbital city, onetime dilettante, solar-sail racer, pilot

-" Lt. Kevin Reese " [Bruce K.]-male Terran cyborg human, burned-out officer and explorer in the Interplanetary Patrol

-" Scoop Chang " [Rich C.G.]-male Jovian “near-human,” interstellar reporter kidnapped by the Olvar; psi interested in First Contacts

-" Tariq Asrad Saladin " [Beruk A./absent]-male Terran “near-human,” seeker of enlightenment and investigator met aboard the Ma’ari ship Cyan Horizon

-" Gombo Shisel " [Rich L./absent]-male Mongolian/Martian human, former horse rancher and wilderness survival expert; left at Camp Alpha

-" Dr. Bucket " [Non-Player Character]-United Earth Authority astromech robot assigned to the Blackbird

Odir2

>>" From the journal of Agent Prometheus, 1 to 8 December 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 Terran Galactic Era :" After scouting deep space, we and our alien passengers successfully used a Precursor jump gate to travel from Oasis Station to Epsilon Eridani, cutting several weeks off of normal Transit (faster-than-light) travel time.

Syzygy told Hannah Nydari [Sara/N.P.C.] that he would take her to fellow representatives of the Kharvamid Alliance in the Sol system. The robed Olvar (mammal-like arboreal alien) planned to report on the murder of her fellow agents.

Dr. Bucket asked Tela for astronomy and other technical data to share with the United Earth Authority (U.E.A.). The Tharian engineer complied and told her boyfriend Kedar about the wonders of Earth’s biosphere.

I didn’t expect Black Box Security Co. to approve of the removal of my cyberware , so I prepared recordings in case I’m killed. Tariq Asrad Saladin tuned into a news burst from Terra and its colonies, finding increasing conflict along regional, racial, ideological, and megacorp lines. Ru’ulok (heavy-gravity, reptilian alien) plans for FTL drives had also been distributed.

Aughest-vor… communicated with the Shaka Zulu battle group in solar polar orbit and set a course for his home, Lemuria, in Earth orbit. The hotshot pilot traversed the Sol system in record time, surprising local authorities aboard the U.E.V. Ilokar . Aughest also found that the Jovian/Cestolar mining operation at Tyche , of which we own shares, has been very profitable.

Lt. Kevin Reese sent an initial report to Col. Shan Gray at Port Lowell in the Mars Confederacy!. Meshi Chabo, a Laransan (telepathic humanoid) pilgrim, was unable to cheer up the Interplanetary Patrol officer after he discreetly inquired about his sister-in-law Jennifer, who was living with Nick Cheney. Kevin believed that Cheney murdered his wife Heather at Namor-Asperagen.

Scoop Chang edited recordings of Aughest-vor’s exploits , carefully removing his own participation in skirmishes on the Cyan Horizon and in Oasis Station. The journalist was excited to share news of numerous First Contacts between humans and extraterrestrials.

The welcoming party at Lemuria’s space dock included camera robots, armored guards, and Aughest’s hated cousin Raine Ushu , an executive at Vimeco with a claim on Tyche. Syzygy and Tela looked for the first available shuttle to the planet’s surface, while Tariq and I hung back in the shadows. Scoop had Eyebot EVE play his “highlight reel” and record Aughest-vor’s triumphant return and verbal sparring with his kinsman.

Kevin then escorted Hannah, Meshi, and Plorb [Beruk/N.P.C.] to a lounge, where they eventually met representatives from the U.E.A. and the Kharvamid Alliance. Aquarian (amphibious humanoid) emissary Plorb again asked for aid relocating refugees from the Zarkonian Armada.

Capt. Wu Hanbei [Brian/N.P.C.], the tough commander of the U.E.V. Babieca , listened to Lt. Reese’s praise of our civilian shipmates and warning about the Zurmiz Krott /Harbinger of the Order of Submission (madness-inducing Zarkonian probe). Trinoid xenologist Sudoku compared notes with Syzygy, who was cautiously optimistic about humanity’s potential.

Tela gave Lt. Deepfisher, a Saturnian Delphine (" Uplifted " dolphin) astrogator, a quick tour of the Blackbird . Sgt. Ling Bao, an I.P. mecha driver , said that U.E.A. high command would likely want to follow up on our group’s reports, but 24 hours of shore leave was acceptable. Plorb, Hannah, and Meshi disembarked for further debriefing and to dine with their new human allies in the U.E.A. capital of Rio de Janeiro.

Even though Guanabara Bay was polluted, Syzygy enjoyed swimming under an open sky with Plorb and Sizzlezorm [David I.S./N.P.C.]. Three-armed Sizzlezorm again reassigned the poor biologist, this time to stay with us, his Terran companions, even as we continue scouting. Syzygy was just getting ready to say goodbye to Earth’s oceans and adopt out his pet cat Mr. Sniffles.

Tela enjoyed climbing and gliding with Kedar in the remnants of the Amazon jungle. Scoop insisted on coming with me as I prepared to report to Black Box, even though Kevin recommended that I wait for the organization to look for Agent Prometheus. I later got a call to meet in Rio, not far from where we had first met at the " beanstalk ."

Lt. Reese and Tariq went to Armstrong City in the Lunar Free State, where they met with Adm. Hunter. The U.E.A. officer (in a new uniform partly inspired by Aughest’s designs) offered Kevin command of a task force of 12 ships. The admiral also offered Tariq an intelligence position with Homeworld Security.

Now that humanity was just beginning to expand to the stars, the threat of the approaching Zarkonian Armada was of prime concern to Adm. Hunter. Lt. Reese and Tariq asked whether the Blackbird and its crew could be part of their task force and for time to consider their offers.

Meanwhile, Aughest-vor inquired about another solar-sail regatta , this time near Mercury. The onetime dilettante also pulled a “cousin Oliver,” outmaneuvering Raine and using some of our profits from Tyche to set up a new company of his own. Aughest then went with Tariq to meet reporter Monica Harper at a bar in Rio.

As it turned out, Tela and Kedar were also going to Restaurant Martello, a Carnivale-themed establishment in a former cathedral. Afraid of another public relations disaster, Kevin called Scoop and me for backup.

Aughest-vor was pleasantly surprised to find Ms. Harper in a slinky gown, but Tariq was wary as usual. The interviewer “accidentally” scratched Aughest with her long fingernails, and he soon succumbed to an apparent poison attack.

Feisty Tela protectively yelled, “Nobody touches Aughest-vor!” and slammed cyborg Monica with an ice bucket. Syzygy monitored communications, and Tariq tried to divert local security. I realized with horror that Harper was an assassin from Black Box or Terra Prime !

Scoop kept recording the fracas, and Kevin and I shot some waiters who were in cahoots with Harper. Tariq disarmed another with his collapsible staff. Tela fired her electromagnetic pulse gun. We took the Tiger Hawk Sandstorm to rush Aughest back to Syzygy for treatment while Lt. Reese filed police reports.

We eventually regrouped at the Blackbird in Earth orbit. Syzygy, Kevin, and Aughest told us about potential assignments for exploration, security, and trade, respectively. Tela, Kedar, and Scoop expressed interest in staying together as a crew , while Tariq was worried about fragmenting Terran politics, and I still had to deal with my obviously former handlers at Black Box. We’re not sure of our next moves, but the sky’s the limit ….

Thanks again, Josh, for your notes! I hope that everyone enjoyed our final " Vortex " session for now. Thanks also to Brian for hosting! With both space opera teams now on hiatus, I look forward to participating in various other games for the summer.

On Sunday nights, we’re in the middle Josh’s " Spelljammer : the Show Must Go On " space fantasy miniseries (using FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre and Google+/ Tabletop Forge ). The telecom group will eventually return to my long-running " Vanished Lands " fantasy campaign (which has used Pathfinder , Skype , and an online dice roller ).

On Mondays, Jason’s homebrew " Glassworks " superheroes (using Marvel Heroic Roleplaying ) are off to a strong start in Team 1’s time slot. Rich has offered to run the " Way of the Wicked " adventure path for Pathfinder , and Bruce is planning a " Conan " sword-and-sorcery scenario, also using Pathfinder. I look forward to trying them all out! -Gene

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Race to the gate
Vortex Update 5a30

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Session 5a.30 of the “Vortex” space opera campaign. Team 1 met on Monday, 2 April 2012, and is using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures/Mindjammer, Bulldogs, Diaspora , and Limitless Horizons .

In one future, humanity has begun to colonize the Sol system, but ecological degradation and internecine conflicts persist. Open and official First Contact with Galactic societies, themselves at war, threaten Terra’s very survival. Will heroes rise to the challenges?

Two aliens and their human allies encountered xenophobes and megacorporate intrigues on and around Earth. After visiting factionalized Mars and acquiring a starship, they continued their mission of diplomacy and exploration on their way to the interstellar crossroads of Oasis Station ….
Jumpgate evo c

>>FATE 3e “VortexTeam 1 (5a), crew of the Blackbird :

  • Syzygy [Brian W.]-Trinoid (trilateral amphibious alien) xenologist with an organic laboratory and a pet cat named Mr. Sniffles
  • Tela [Sara F.]-female Tharian (winged gargoyle-like alien) escapee with boyfriend Kedar from the Encegulans, engineer
  • Aughest vor [Jason E.R.]-male human from the Lemuria orbital city, onetime dilettante, solar-sail racer, pilot
  • Lieutenant Kevin Reese [Bruce K.]-male Terran cyborg human, burned-out officer and explorer in the Interplanetary Patrol
  • Scoop Chang [Rich C.G.]-male Jovian “near-human,” interstellar reporter kidnapped by the Olvar; psi interested in First Contacts
  • Chris McKee AKA Agent Prometheus [Josh C./absent]-male Terran cyborg human sniper working for eugenicists at Black Box Security Co.
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin [Beruk A./absent]-male Terran “near-human,” seeker of enlightenment and investigator met aboard the Ma’ari ship “Cyan Horizon”
  • Gombo Shisel [Rich L./absent]-male Mongolian/Martian human, former horse rancher and wilderness survival expert; left at Camp Alpha
  • Dr. Bucket [Non-Player Character]-United Earth Authority astromech robot assigned to the Blackbird

>>"_26 to 30 November 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 Terran Galactic Era_ :" After a long journey, the crew of the Blackbird encountered Encegulan slavers and a hostile Zurmiz Krott probe. The explorers also found a missing Kharvamid Alliance agent and participated in a dangerous solar-sail regatta .

Syzygy contacts Marvog, a Cetaran (plesiosaur-like ) miner and aide to Plorb [Beruk/N.P.C.]. Marvog says that the Aquarian (amphibious humanoid ) emissary canceled a meeting in Sector 8 , also known as “the Lagoon,” after his and deceased racer T’chlk T’cha’s [Rich/N.P.C.] hotel suite was destroyed by an explosion.

Marvog says that Plorb may instead have gone to Meshi Chabo, a Laransan (long-lived telepathic humanoid) pilgrim and fellow refugee from the Zarkonian Armada. Lt. Kevin Reese tracks her down to Zone 5, or “the Dueling Suns.”

Meanwhile, engineer Tela and her boyfriend Kedar go around. The winged, tailed Tharians draw some attention because they’re unusual, but they manage to avoid the slug-like Encegulans. Civilians Aughest-vor… and Scoop Chang practice their marksmanship in the Blackbird ’s holographic computer room, much to the exasperation of sniper Chris McKee.

Tariq Asrad Saladin chats with new passenger Hannah Nydari [Sara/N.P.C.], an Olvar (mammal-like, arboreal alien) agent for the Kharvamid Alliance. The crew eventually regroups to go to the Dueling Suns.

Aughest-vor pilots the Olvar scout vessel from Sector 11, “the Swift Course.” Syzygy notes that Sector 5 is home to the Monastery of Infinite Forms and the Cyclist Cathedral but is ruled by an oligarchy composed of Ru’ulok (heavy-gravity reptiles), Ma’ari (diminutive pale wanderers ), and Encegulans.

Kevin asks Tariq and Chris to stay aboard the Blackbird to keep the ship — and Mr. Sniffles, Dr. Bucket, Kedar, and Hannah — safe. The Interplanetary Patrol officer has difficulty getting local authorities to recognize his badge, and he warns the investigator and sniper to be ready for a hasty retreat (using the Yoyodyne Oscillation Overthruster ) if needed.

With some help, Scoop uses his robot EVE to hack into Ru’ulok surveillance. The journalist finds a concentration of Laransans and Aquarians at the Cyclist Cathedral. He, Syzygy, Tela, Aughest, and Lt. Reese find their way to the soaring crystal spires of the alien religious conclave.

Once there, they hear Klushar Grovyk preaching that Cyclist adherents are entitled access to the “gift of their forefathers,” no doubt a reference to a Precursor jump gate recently discovered in a nearby star system. Selfrana Lenk, a Ma’ari sage, explains that Cyclists want to hasten the eternal cycle of death and rebirth.

Xenologist Syzygy says Grovyk is a Dwivarn, a member of a lizard-like species that denies it was once an ""Uplift":http://www.sjgames.com/uplift/ " client of the Ru’ulok. Curious Tela uses her tail to flirt with some of the congregation, while Aughest-vor (“friend to all”) tries to get a sense of the crowd’s mood.

Kevin, who has smuggled weapons into the orbital habitat , watches Ru’ulok guards. He manages to befriend one named Rogik by mentioning Kerenar’s victory in the recent regatta. Scoop senses telepathic probes and psionically shields the away team.
The Terrans spot Plorb and walk toward him. However, so do some of the Ru’ulok, raising fears of a would-be assassin. Meshi Chabo momentarily blocks their way until Lt. Reese explains that he’s there to help secure the ambassador.

Scoop uses his Eyebot to interfere with the Ru’ulok cameras and communications to cover their retreat. Kevin offers to bring Meshi and Plorb back to the Sol system, where they can petition the United Earth Authority for aid. They reluctantly accept.

Syzygy meets with fellow Trinoid scientist Selenium [Josh/N.P.C.] to share data. While they are biologically linked, Syzygy learns that Oasis Station security forces have had difficulty containing nanites from the defeated Zurmiz Krott. Syzygy is also alarmed to realize that Selenium has been cast out of the research institutes for his advocacy of aggressive " Uplift ," and he quickly excuses himself.

Tela assigns quarters to the newcomers, who must share cabins with the " Blackbird ‘s" regular crew. Plorb doesn’t mind the damp chamber of fellow amphibian Syzygy and his living lab. Tela and Kedar stay in engineering, and Dr. Bucket remains with the robotic spiders in a supply closet.

Chris and Tariq warily share quarters, and Aughest-vor takes care of Syzygy’s cat Mr. Sniffles. Kevin happily hosts the attractive Meshi. Scoop talks with guest Hannah about geology. Aughest sets a course for the jump gate, whose location Lt. Reese had obtained from Gustrall (orange-furred, flightless raptor) mercenary Nylca of clan Firehoof [Brian/N.P.C.].

The biomechanical ship emerges from faster-than-light Transit at the edge of Penumbra, a barely inhabitable star system. Three capital ships patrol local space amid disputing claims . Syzygy and Hannah easily identify the sweeping curves of an Olvar starship.

Tariq and Chris recognize the boxy design of a Ru’ulok cruiser. Syzygy and Scoop check the “Morifaiwet/Blackbird ’s” database to identify the third battleship, which resembles a conch, as that of the neutral Sulishi (furry snails).

Kevin transmits a code he got from Nylca and claims that he’s with “Team Icarus” to study the Precursor artifact. Wadishi San, the Sulishi in charge of the archaeologists studying the jump gate, accepts their request to come to his base on a rockball planet’s surface.

The landing party disembarks on a windswept landing pad and is escorted into the science station by Vungo, a Daragi (silicon-based giant) guard. Syzygy and Tela are fascinated by the tree-like alien, who takes them to a mess hall.

Vungo introduces the team to fellow sentry Slarp, an Encegulan. Tela tries to hide behind her companions, but she is impressed by the equipment that Nolath (arachnid) engineer Lek’to is using to study the device.

P’nz’kr (“Penzikor”) shows Syzygy unidentified carved objects. With the insectoid Nethian ’s help, the Trinoid finds that they may have been shaped by biological processes but are not organic themselves.

Troshar Jund, a Cestolar (literal-minded, badger-like) treasure hunter, talks with Aughest-vor and Chris, who is interested in ancient alien history and religions. Scoop tries to scan telepathically, but his mysterious fedora doesn’t help him for once. They relay their findings to Tariq, who knows about early contacts between humans and extraterrestrials.

In the course of their conversations, Kevin deduces that Vungo and Slarp are sympathetic to the Ru’ulok trade guilds. Fortunately, Aughest finds that P’nz’kr is more likely to side with the Kharvamid Alliance. Troshar, pilot of the Digger , tells Scoop that he is happy to be involved in the find of a lifetime. Lek’to tells Tela that she wants to get the gate operational as soon as possible.

The Terrans, Trinoid, and Tharian ask to see the jump gate itself. Vungo and Troshar lead them out to a dusty dig, where they see an archway covered in circular carvings. P’nz’kr demonstrates how to activate the relic by touching two points. A stable wormhole opens above them in geosynchronous orbit.

Lt. Reese understands the strategic importance of such a device, which could reduce travel times from months to days (of Terran time). Aughest-vor observes that the gate could enable a fleet of warships to project force across many parsecs.

However, the scientists warn that they haven’t yet determined how to set the destination coordinates. Syzygy recalls maps once created by humans in the South Pacific , which used curved branches to show currents, islands, and stars . “Team Icarus” returns to the “Blackbird” to plan its next moves and examine star charts.

Syzygy creates a blobby gadget to help P’nz’kr activate the jump gate and erase Earth’s address. Aughest-vor plots likely courses, as Dr. Bucket tries to correlate stars glimpsed through the wormhole with known constellations. Tela reroutes computational power to aid astrogation droid Dr. Bucket (and the isoquantum fracture compensator).

Kevin scans all of the artifacts and carvings . Scoop realizes that the Precursors used four points for their calculations: Penumbra, the gate itself, potential destinations, and some unknown factor. Chris and Tariq remind the crew that they must hurry before Wadishi San, Slarp, or the warships decide to restrict their access .

Dr. Bucket and the crew of the Blackbird have a breakthrough — the fourth point is the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, a reference that wouldn’t change with the passage of time. Aughest finds the coordinates for the Sol system , and Syzygy relays them to P’nz’kr and his device by the ancient arch.

Aughest-vor…. takes the cloaked vessel into the warp tunnel, where it encounters gravitic and space-time instabilities. Lt. Reese checks on passengers Hannah, Plorb, and Meshi, while Kedar helps monitor the Transit fields. Scoop and Tariq meditate, and Chris stays in the gunner’s turret.

Syzygy and Tela see strange extradimensional entity extruding into the ship. The Pangavi asks why they are passing through its domain. The Trinoid and Tharian say they are going to warn humanity about the Zarkonian threat. The “Ward of Despair” says that he is not a Precursor and permits the ship to continue without interference.

The “Blackbird” emerges into normal space between Epsilon Eridani and Wolf 359, only three parsecs from Sol! Scoop notes that this is only three days [of “game time”] away at cruising speed, a month less than it would normally take to get from Oasis Station. Aughest-vor… sets a course for home….

Josh and Beruk, we missed you at the latest “Vortex” game! Note that Team 1’s next session will be on Monday, 23 April 2012, at Brian’s place in Newton, Mass. Please remember to send him your food orders in advance.

In the meantime, I look forward to continuing Josh ’s FATE 3e Spelljammer scenario and eventually returning to my " Pathfinder: the Vanished Lands " telecom fantasy campaign . In addition, I hope that everyone will reply to Jason’s superhero miniseries proposal . Take it easy, -Gene

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Off to the Races
  • Session: 5a.29
  • Real time: Monday, 19 March 2011
  • Game dates: “22 to 25 November 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 T.G.E.”
  • Locations
    • Oasis Station:
      • observation lounge
      • The Regatta Hotel in “the Swift Course,” the “Privateer’s Perch” at the “Rusted Link”

After performing more research on the Zerconians using the stations computers. Here are my findings The Zerconians. Up until about 100 years ago they bulldozed over rival civilizations then they began expansion again. However this time they are moving slower making alliances and taking more subtle tactics. I’m convinced something happened since the last time they expanded, I’m still looking into it.

END LOG

Begin Station Log
Hello All and welcome to the Swift Course Regatta. I’m Kgut and this is Mtos we’ll be your announcers for this race and here are out racers.

Aughest-vor is the most interesting racer a new race in the galaxy only recently making contact a hooman I believe it’s pronounced. He’ll be flying the Island of the Moon a craft from his home system. It looks a bit like some sort of winged beast it’s mostly sails and rigging.

By the Maker what is that? Well Mtos according to the record that’s Blurb. He’s flying an Olvar craft called the Eron. For those listing to the broadcast it’s a grey spiky vehicle with a red star. Hey Kgut wasn’t blurb the Olvar pilot? Think that thing inside the craft ate him? Well Mtos if that’s the case lets hope he likes spectators more than announcers. Once more for those listing at home the cockpit is filled by a many eye’d monster made of slime.

Look it’s Lok-t’sha he’s driving the Eron a spherical web covered vehicle. Mtos did you know Lok-t’sha built that ship himself? Yes I did Kgut, he actually has a dedicated following among the gear heads on the crowd.

Next up we have Prada Deville driving the Crusher. A pink model with tail fins.

T’chlk T’cha, an Aquarian he’s driving the heart of the ocean a fish shaped design, with sails shaped like wings.

We saved the best for last folks Kerenar the driver of the Punisher. Seven time winner of the Regatta.

The audio cuts to people cheering for a moment

It’s familiar stencil work on white. Mtos I heard Kerner will be selling VR goggle of his run after the race. That’s right Kgut with exclusive views from his cockpit get them after the race.

And they’re off.

Aughest-vor flips his craft over and waves at Kerenar. There goes Kerenar rolling his craft over and showing Aughest his tail pipe. Prada fires off her glitter guns, giving her a little boost. The crowd loves that you can hear them cheering. T’chlk’s ship waves it’s talk and lok-t’sha extends his arms to get more sun. Blurb get’s off to a jerking start.

They’re rounding the bend to the first obstacle it’s a piece of metal, it blocks the sun so the constants will have to coast. Aughest does well sliding into the outside, but he’s joined by Kerenar also taking the outside hoping to catch some scant rays where the shade is least. What’s this T’chlk has grappled to Kerenar hoping to go forward. It’s looks like Blurb has pulled ahead.

Coming into the net bit of the course it Blurb. Whats this obstacle Mtos? Well Kgut it’s a mine field with corrosive non intelligent life forms. Whoa sorry to whoever bet on Blurb he just crashed full force into one of the mines. That’s right Mort next time try betting on a horrible monster from beyond space and time that can drive. It looks like everyone else got out ok

Whats up next Mtox. I believe it’s the robot sharks Kgut? With the lazers no those have been banned since the incident. Ok here we go. it looks like Kerenar is out first still tethered to T’chlk. Oh there T’chlk goes straight into the shark, and the crowd goes wild,

It’s the final obstacle folks force fields and here comes Lok-t’sha and ooooo right into the force field and here comes Prada same thing. By the Makers it’s Blurb crashing right into Lok-t’sha. I hope both of them have insurance. I hope Blurb’s not hungry. Aughest and Kerenar are neck and neck, and it’s Kerenar by a nose.

End station log

Begin Christopher Mckee Log
After we all reassembled at the hotel room we resolved to make contact with Nylca so kenLt. Kevin Reese and I went to meet her. We briefly discussed the gate. She gave us a pass code and told us she could arrange a opening for us to se the gate. We made plans and parted company. When we were radioed by the rest of the team. There was an explosion in Plorb’s room. We meet the rest of the crew there

Initial forensics indicate that the explosion was not an accident. Someone was sending Plorb a message. At the time of this log his whereabouts are unknown, were going to begin a search shortly.

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A Trinoid, a Playboy and a Psycho Walk into a Bar
Session: 5a.27 — Oasis Station

After visiting the site of the Battle of Capricornus X2, the explorers aboard the “Blackbird” arrived at Oasis Station, a huge collection of orbital habitats. They searched the local information network for clues on where to start looking for more about the missing agent of the Kharvamid Alliance and a Precursor jump gate.

Aughest-vor, Syzygy, Chris McKee/Agent Prometheus, Tariq Asrad Saladin, Dr. Bucket, and Mr. Sniffles stayed aboard the “Blackbird/Morifaiwet” to draw public attention, as well as that of the Kharvamid agent or potential foes.

Syzygy expressed interest in Sector 1, also known as “the Shining Sisters,” to see the Nebula Opera. Chris recommended Sector 7, the “Righteous Stinger,” because of its relatively lawless reputation and the Flux Farm weapons emporium.

Lt. Kevin Reese, Tela, Scoop Chang, and Kedar took the drop ship “Dragonfly” to more quietly find out about the jump gate. Engineers Tela and Kedar were also curious about the Shining Sisters because of its population of Ma’ari, Nethians, and Daragi. Kevin wanted to go to Sector 12, “the Merging,” because of the Ruby Lantern Resort.

However, Syzygy wanted to check in with overall Oasis Station command in the Merging, so the “Dragonfly” went to Sector 10, “the Rusted Link,” because the Tharians wanted to see a technocracy ruled by and for artificial intelligences.

The “Morifaiwet” first went to Sector 11, “the Swift Course,” where Aughest-vor transferred funds from the Tyche mining operation into galactic credits for the entire party. The megacorporate scion reverted to his old ways, reserving a luxurious suite at the Regatta Hotel and inquiring with concierge Mr. Blix about solar sail races and the elite Lancer’s Club.

Tariq and Dr. Bucket kept watch while the rOlvar scout ship was cleaned and serviced, and Syzygy and Chris checked in with the Port Authority at the Merging, where they saw misshapen Metaderpods and heard/talked [?] about the Trinoid ship the “Nautiloid.”

Meanwhile, the squad aboard the “Dragonfly” met Xenoid guide VX-7, as well as a wide variety of synthetic beings. At the “Privateer’s Perch,” they encountered fierce Gustrall Nycla of Clan Firehoof [Brian W./N.P.C.], inquisitive Nethian mechanic Kzp’trn [Jason E.R./N.P.C.] looking for an “isoquantum fracture compensator,” and party animals — actually three Meorr and a Felinoid Terran Synth.

Lt. Reese told Nycla (who asked if the Tharians were “bait”) about his search, while Scoop traced a Terran mental signature to the Felinoid Yoshi Tanaka. Tela and Kedar got drunk with Meorr Gworr [Jason], Keferr [Josh], and Mundarr, who backed off a bit from Nycla, who was well-known in certain parts of Oasis Station.

While the Meorr were distracted Lt. Reese spoke with Yoshie, much to the confusion of her Meorr companions. She said she was a modified Terran. However alcohol dulled her senses. Arrangement’s were made for them to meet later.

Nycla agreed to help Lt. Reese and company, for a “Fair” price. She then volunteered a Cestolar to house the party during their stay on the station and make some inquiries on their behalf.

The upper level of the “Privateer’s Perch” features numerous A.I.s, Synths, and Xenoids watching a fight between “organics” Rugar, the “Claw of Might,” and Cestolar Rundel Tosk [ship, the “Lodge”?]. The crew of the “Dragonfly” quickly leaves.

Syzygy, Aughest and Chris go to the Merging, where Zyzge askes after a Tronoid ship at the port authority. They were overheard by Cestolar trader Ibor vos Talshun [Rich C.G./N.P.C.], whose ship is the “Metal Vessel.” who approached them and offered his services to locate the ship. Following their instinct for trouble, they fall in with Boobulons at the Ruby Lantern.

However, they soon find themselves compromised and trapped by Encegulan slavers. Syzygy talks with the Cetaran madam and calls Lt. Reese for backup. After which he threatened the madam, when she failed to comply Syzygy asked himself what Chris would do, then shot the madam. Sadly the madam collapsed leaving Syzygy somewhat confused as to what to do next.

During the confusion Aughest- ran into save Chris. Heroically blasting his way into the back room avoiding the genetic abomination. Where he was promptly captured. At about that time Lt. Kevin Reese arrived with the calvary.

The rest of the crew of theBlackbird arrived with the Meorr, driving through the wall of the house of ill repute. During the firefight, Kevin throws a grenade and asks Aughest-vor if this is how he planned to get attention. Scoop psionically armors up and blasts hostiles, while Tela glides up to the level where the humans are being held. The Meorr from the “Privateer’s Perch” happily wade into battle. Still naked, Agent Prometheus ruthlessly shoots one of the patrons in the chaos, and the “Tiger Hawk Sandstorm” makes a hasty retreat…

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