"Vortex" Update 5b.11 — Venusian virus

Erin Gray autograph

Buck Rogers

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Session 5b.11 of the "Vortex" space opera campaign. Team 2 met on Monday, 7 March 2011, and is using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures/Mindjammer, 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. Can heroes rise to the challenges?

After encountering various hazards around Karachi and Ghanki Station beneath the Arabian Sea, the adventurers had escaped to the Shepard 2 orbital city, but their new ship was missing key components. After a successful heist from a Lunar warehouse, the crew of the "Gen. Lee" went to Venus on an urgent medical mission….

>>"Vortex" Team 2 Player Characters, crew of the Appomattox, as of spring 2011:

-"Gabriel Adams" [Paul J.]-male North American Terran near-human with telepathy, underworld courier

-"Hector Chavez" [Beruk A.]-male Latin American Terran human, "burned" operative and communications expert

-"Jasmine" [Sara F.] female Martian Felinoid (Synth, "Uplifted" tiger), former professional pit fighter

-"ARTHERR (Advanced Resonance Theoretical Heuristic Exploration and Research Robot)" [Greg D.C./absent]-Explorer created by megacorporation Vimeco

-"Dr. Richmond Garrett" [Dave S.C./absent]-male Southern American Terran human, space snake-oil salesman and social climber

"22 to 24 August 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 Galactic Era:" While investigating the collapse of Hephaestus Stadium at Kardikea Station, the travelers had fought assassin robots. Both the Venusian Finance Union and the United Earth Authority (U.E.A.) expect results in the disaster probe.

Gabriel confines cook (and former owner of the Fortune's Fool) Nero Bartholomew to his quarters after he starts showing symptoms of the arthritis-like plague afflicting the Venusian colonists. Capt. Adams orders that Nero receive injections. He also orders reptilian "Synth" (genetically engineered humanoid) Averki "Deep Dish" Dyashenko to disinfect the galley and repaint the Appamattox.

Hector and ARTHERR analyze the robotic remains from the Hephaestus wreckage. Some are from maintenance droids, which appear to have deliberately weakened support beams with sulphuric acid (found in Venus' atmosphere) and industrial chemicals. Other parts belong to combat models that were reprogrammed to attack the salvage crew. Both types were made by megacorp Vimeco, ARTHERR's creator.

Jasmine practices gunnery, and Dr. Garrett stays in his low-gravity sauna. Gabriel contacts smuggler Kirun in Lucifer's Hole. The underworld courier learns that although there are no nonmilitary faster-than-light ships in Venus orbit, a Ru'ulok (reptilian alien) trader named Gorvek Beezo has access to such technology in Earth orbit. However, the U.E.V. Sphinx is maintaining its quarantine of Venus.

"Capt. Doug McDonnell" [Erik B.L./Non-Player Character] of the aid ship Parsifal radios to say that one of his crew has died from the mysterious ailment, which may have mutated to act more quickly. He also notes that an infection vector has been found — food preparation.

ARTHERR and surgeon general Dr. Garrett coordinate with Vimeco, Xi Labs, and Morningstar Consortium hospitals across the Venusian colonies to ramp up synthesis and distribution of medicine. Capt. Adams and Mr. Chavez report to Capt. Amelia Saviola of the "Sphinx," and she encourages them to pursue their lead on the robots.

Gabriel, Hector, and Jasmine don space suits and leap from the Appomattox to an adjacent airlock rather than deal with local security forces. Now that the means of transmission has been identified, they remove their suits to more covertly cross Kardikea Station.

Hector finds that one Kiril Shatalin authorized the work order for the maintenance robots. The man in black and his companions go to Shatalin's apartment in Gold Sector. After Jasmine almost trips over a surveillance unit, Hector hacks it to show recent visitors and run a loop during their entry.

Agile Gabriel vaults to a second-story window and easily breaks in. Burly Jasmine searches the dingy unit, finding no sign of recent visitors and some old uniforms. Wily Hector finds that the bureaucrat had limited copies of requisition forms on his local computers.

After Gabriel distracts a nosy babushka with a telepathic suggestion, the trio goes next to the Ministry of Infrastructure. Furred Jasmine waits in the long lines and talks with Pavel, a fellow Synth who agrees that the Finance Union doesn't care about the workers, despite its omnipresent rhetoric.

Gabriel and Hector don Kiril's coveralls, flirt with the office staff, and get an audience with Shatalin's superior. Sofia Siderova reluctantly admits that she had been ordered to reassign the Vimeco robots to the Oromax-built stadium by the Central Committee shortly before the disaster, which killed many thousands. The two offworlders promise not to mention her in their report.

The idea of breaking into the Central Committee's headquarters to get hard evidence linking chairman Orion Stefanov and the 12 houses to the stadium disaster appeals to Gabriel. He, Hector, and Jasmine return to the Appomattox to plan their next moves….

Greg and Dave, we missed you at this session, but I hope that everyone can make Team 2's next game on March 21. In the meantime, take it easy, -Gene

Note: As I continue consolidating blogs, some posts will be mirrored across my Web sites.

>>"Vortex" Team 1 Player Characters, crew of the Blackbird, as of spring 2011:

-"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 reptilian humanoid alien) refugee and mechanic, fond of humans

-"Chris McKee/Agent Prometheus" [Josh C.]-male Terran human sniper working for Black Box Security Co., a shadowy eugenics organization

-"Aughest-vor…" [Jason E.R.]-male human from the Lemuria orbital city, disgraced scion of a wealthy family and solar-sail regatta racer

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

-"Gombo Shisel" [Rich L.]-male Martian human, former horse rancher, survival expert, and assistant medic

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