"Vortex" Update 5b.14 — Swindles for a stardrive

MarSoupAiL's ship

Space gambling venue

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Session 5b.14 of the "Vortex" space opera campaign. Team 2 met on Monday, 11 April 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 regional warlords, extraterrestrial probes, and other hazards around Karachi and Ghanki Station beneath the Arabian Sea, a band of grifters and near-humans escaped to the Shepard 2 orbital city. They conducted a successful heist in the Lunar Free State, then undertook an urgent medical mission to the Venus colonies….

>>"Vortex" Team 2 (5b), crew of the Appomattox, as of spring 2011:

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

-"ARTHERR" [Greg D.C.]-Advanced Resonance Theoretical Heuristic Exploration and Research Robot created by megacorp Vimeco

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

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

-"Dr. Dieter Klein" [Rich L.]-male European Terran human, semi-retired physician, altruist and thrill seeker

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

-"Nero Bartholomew" [Non-Player Character]-male Terran human, former owner of the "Fortune's Fool," ship's cook

-"Averki 'Deep Dish' Dyashenko" [N.P.C.]-male reptilian Synth (genetically engineered humanoid), onetime Venusian miner

"22 to 23 September 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 Galactic Era:" After returning to Earth, the crew of the Appomattox prepares to host a party and follow up on leads to faster-than-light (FTL) engines. Capt. Gabriel Adams handles docking with an orbital city and visiting ships.

ARTHERR reviews ship specifications and repaints himself again, this time as a Doric column in keeping with Nero Bartholomew's ancient Roman-themed d├ęcor. Jasmine puts on a toga and greets arriving guests. The tiger woman asks for their weapons.

Dr. Richmond Garrett supervises Nero and Averki "Deep Dish" Dyashenko's cooking and redressing of the yacht's lounge for gambling, as in a Mississippi River boat. Retiree Dr. Dieter Klein invites former interns and looks forward to making new acquaintances.

Hector Chavez monitors communications and learns that the group's involvement in treating the Venusian virus and investigating the subsequent stadium disaster has been in the Terran news. The party decides against inviting any officers from the United Earth Authority.

Among the guests is "Ramon Sanchez" [Josh H./Greg], the Lisbon-based "fixer" who had given the party its first mission, to an old battlefield north of Karachi. Ramon wears a long coat and sunglasses and brings two beefy aides, Hugo and Hernando.

Lillian Morrisey, an underworld contact of Gabriel, escorts Capt. Brandon Morgan, who claims to know of "easy pickings" near Earth. Hector's onetime handler Max mentions a derelict ship at the edge of the Sol system. ARTHERR unobtrusively serves drinks.

Last but not least are two Ru'ulok (heavy-gravity reptilian aliens) offering humans work with the galactic Trade Guilds. Gorvek Beezo and "Rabak Porset" [Rich/N.P.C.] say there is another ship with extraterrestrial technology ripe for the picking. They and the other gamblers try various games, including roulette and baccarat, before settling on Texas Hold-'em poker. Jasmine deals the cards.

Capt. Morgan chats up Dr. Garrett, who determines that his fellow confidence artist is neither wealthy nor reputable. Dr. Klein is briefly intimidated by Hugo and Hernando, so he teams up with the Ru'ulok against Ramon. Capt. Adams telepathically contacts Richmond, and Dieter suspects that something is amiss.

Gorvek clumsily tries to make small talk with "Synth" Jasmine, whom has been instructed to take a 5% rake for the house. Hector helps keep watch for cheating. Brandon changes tack, flirting with Jasmine, confusing the former wrestler. Richmond successfully bluffs Brandon, causing him to be short-stacked.

Mr. Sanchez turns his attention to Dr. Garrett, who agrees to take a load of mysterious cargo to Epsilon Eridani. Gabriel asks the Ru'ulok about who invited them. Rabak replies that they had heard of the soiree from Lillian, and Gorvek finds that Gabriel is as altruistic as he is mercenary. Richmond tries to get the reptilian visitors drunk ("poker-faced") by offering several toasts.

Ramon continues his winnings against Dieter, who bets against Gorvek. Gabriel pushes Brandon to the brink of being broke but is intimidated in turn by the Ru'ulok. Capt. Morgan briefly recovers at Dr. Klein's expense, and Richmond presses his advantage over Gorvek.

Dieter and Brandon reluctantly take loans from Ramon, and Gorvek suggests that a Kharvamid Alliance ship would be easy prey, despite potential Gustrall (orange-furred, raptor-like alien) guards. He surprises the other card players with strong hands against Richmond and Dieter.

Gabriel offers to pay Brandon's debt to Ramon in return for a favor, and the suave captain agrees. Dieter also has second thoughts about becoming indebted to the fastidious fixer. Ramon, satisfied with his winnings, departs with Hugo and Hernando. Gorvek and Rabak say that the alien ship can still be salvaged, if another crew doesn't get there first.

Max says he'll keep the group in mind for the derelict at the Sol system's edge. Brandon and Lillian describe the Enlightened Flower, a vessel being refitted with an Olvar FTL drive in the private shipyard of one Feng Ruying. Brandon says he wants that ship's central computer as a finder's fee. Richmond says that the Appomattox's crew will begin planning a heist….

Session 5b.15 for the crew of the Appomattox is scheduled for 2 May 2011. Neither "Vortex" team nor the Pathfinder/Skype: "the Vanished Lands" telecom fantasy game will be meeting during the next two weekends because of family travel. The crew of the Blackbird will meet again on April 25, and the "Vanished Lands" should resume on May 1.

We also have some nongaming events coming up, including Waltham's steampunk festival on May 7, The Mighty Thor, and the mid-May potluck! I look forward to seeing all of you after Passover and Easter, -Gene

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