Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.21 of the “Vortextelecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 13 January 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
  • 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 ]-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 30 June 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After delivering cargo and data to Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.) officers near Saturn’s moon Titan, the Pina Colada and Blackbird return to the Asteroid Belt for refits and crew reassignments. The Dauntless task force accompanies the yacht and scout ship and reports to the Ilokar battle group near Ceres Station.

Aboard the Pina Colada, Capt. Jasmine studies up on the responsibilities of her new rank as a privateer. Hector Chavez oversees work on the yacht and inquires about sharing research on zero-point devices. The engineer and former spy also trades in technologies for combination weapons and defenses against certain aliens.

Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese talks with Col. Shan Gray, his Interplanetary Patrol superior, as well as Adm. Jacques Pons aboard the Ilokar. Chris McKee considers an offer to re-enlist in the U.S.N. space navy. “Agent Prometheus” also wishes former colleague Timothy Dugan good luck in creating a new life after being an assassin for the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co.

Dr. Srinu Pahul checks on his family, which is booking interstellar passage, and on the reactions of Dr. Martha Liao and other members of Terra’s science academies to his reports on the Zurmiz Krott, the dangerous biomechanical probes of the approaching Zarkonian Armada.

Orion Starchaser is relieved that his painfully logical mentor, Vovestomosanehe, has left. The Pomuyan mystic hitchhikes to Earth, where he finds that regional tensions and armed conflict have escalated. When Srinu and Chiron learn that Orion was pursuing an archaeological question, they hasten to join him.

Jasmine hangs out with Lieut. Sebastian Growlick, the acting commander of the refitted Blackbird. They agree on the name “Terra’s Pride” for their small fleet because of the following feline crew members:

  • Jasmine, tiger-woman
  • Sebastian, leonine “Synth”
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington III, an Olvar
  • Glaucon, Enkidu Aristheon’s sphinx-like companion

The captains agree that Glaucon would make a good mascot and to use a sphinx for the new team’s logo. They don’t agree, however, on the Synth Liberation Front, which Jasmine is sympathetic to but Sebastian considers a terrorist group.

Capt. Growlick also closely supervises work on the scout ship Blackbird with engineers Tela and Kedar. The Tharians visit Hector on the Pina Colada to compare notes. Tariq Asrad Saladin plays his Chrysalis guitar, while Wallace meets with fellow Olvar advisors to the U.S.N.

Brun and Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup turn out to be fans of Jasmine’s former career as a professional wrestler on Mars. Ursoid (“Uplifted” bear) Brun suggests going to a firing range, and Kevin and Nathan don civvies and eagerly and join him for target practice.

Enkidu follows Tela’s suggestion and goes to a nature preserve on Earth to allow Glaucon to stretch his wings and hunt. Meanwhile, on the Pina Colada, Hector recommends coordinating ship security, and Chris researches Zarkonian incursions using the Blackbird’s database.

Restless Orion, curious Srinu, and methodical Chiron go to Cheyenne territory in North America. Much of humanity is crowded into megalopli and arcologies, leaving farmland and wasteland relatively empty. They meet guide Mantotohpa (“Four Bears”) who relates legends of his ancestors meeting “sky people.”

Flamboyant Wallace and burly Brun play craps at Ceres Station, while military veterans Chris, Nathan, and Kevin go to a bar to trade war stories, followed by massages. Hector’s onetime handler Max(ine) tells him that she has learned that his former colleagues in “MarSoupAiL” — shell company Mars Soup Aid Lenders Ltd. — have acquired a faster-than-light (FTL) ship.

Friendly Orion tries to verify why the Cheyenne language closely resembles that of his species, the Pomuyans. Dr. Pahul gets confirmation of numerous contacts between extraterrestrials and humans before open and official First Contact just a year ago. Chiron records Mantotohpa’s tales, as well as images of nearby standing stones.

After Orion participates in ceremonial dances and a lacrosse game at the local high school, Mantotohpa takes the visitors in a hovertruck to the stone formation. The tribe’s elders explain how their people once dealt with the sky people as equals.

Dr. Pahul asks the elders for genetic samples because he believes that aliens enhanced the Terran metagene. More diplomatically, Orion and Chiron translate an ancient tablet as a treaty for a forgotten cultural exchange.

Orion notes that humans aren’t the only ones whose history must be rewritten; the Pomuyans had rejected emotion and contact with “lesser species” some time ago. He finds that some of the rocks act as a telepathic amplifier, enabling two-way signals. Orion then contacts Vovestomosanehe.

Out in the Asteroid Belt, Hector tells Capt. Jasmine and Capt. Growlick about the artifacts from the Vatican Museums that the grifters on the Appomattox had hidden in interstellar space rather than deliver to the arachnid Nolath as originally planned. Not only are the relics priceless to Terran culture, but they might also be useful in dealing with the Zarkonian menace.

The furred captains recall their crews to their ships. On the Pina Colada, Chiron takes the helm, with Capt. Jasmine and Lt.Cmdr. Reese also on the bridge. Chris goes to the gunner’s turret, and Dr. Pahul readies the medical bay. Orion reluctantly returns but is excited to race to the Vatican treasures. Hector monitors communications and the ship’s Transit FTL drive.

On the Blackbird, Brun is pilot, joined by Lt. Growlick and Enkidu on the bridge. Tela, Kedar, and robot Dr. Bucket deal with the biomechanical Olvar vessel’s engines. Sgt. Jessup takes the weapons station, in contrast to Tariq and Wallace’s hope for a diplomatic solution.

The “Terra’s Pride” task force sets out for Epsilon Eridani. The Starwind-class yacht is able to keep up with the Daemon-class scout ship, thanks to its recent overhaul. Brun is disoriented by the first jump into FTL Transit because of his symbiotic link with the Blackbird, which takes the lead.

Long-range scans detect two other ships in Transit space, but Capt. Growlick hopes to stake a claim on the Vatican relics. Tela squeezes more speed out of the engines, and Tariq verifies that possession is indeed nine-tenths of the law in deep space.

Lord Tubbington puts on a ceremonial robe and sword, while Nathan readies various guns. Enkidu secures Glaucon, and Sebastian designates him, Wallace, and Tariq as the initial negotiating team.

Over on the Pina Colada, Jasmine approves Kevin’s request to ready armored space suits for himself and Chris. Chiron reviews tactical maneuvers, as Orion raises a telepathic shield.

Hector prepares electronic countermeasures. Srinu reviews containment units and finds that the marines have consumed some of his stash of alcohol and cigars.

The Blackbird emerges from Transit about halfway between the Sol system and Epsilon Eridani. A Rimrunner-class Terran ship is already loading containers into its cargo bay!

The Pina Colada detects that a larger alien vessel will likely get to the site ahead of it, as Capt. Growlick and his crew hail the smuggler craft….

I hope that all of you enjoyed the “Vortex” session, as we shake down the crews of “Terra’s Pride!” Remember to let me know if you have any revisions to your Player Characters and ships, and good luck as you prepare to face off against the two other starships….

I hope to be home to begin our next session at our regular time, 7:00 p.m. Eastern. In the meantime, I also look forward to the next “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” face-to-face fantasy game and Jason E.R.’s “Barsoomian Adventures: the Tenth Ray of Mars” miniseries! -Gene