Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.23 of the “Vortex” telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 27 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: Terra's Pride” (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 theAppomattox, cautious engineer and communications expert
- “Chris McKee /Agent Prometheus” [Josh C., primary]-male Terran human, former assassin for the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., sniper and seeker aboard the Blackbird and Pina Colada
- “Orion Starchaser” [Geoff C., primary]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker
- “Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron V.O., primary]-male Terran “near-human” (genetically modified) xenobiologist, curious and confident planetary patriot; with robots MEGAN and PEPE
- “Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese” [Bruce K., primary, absent]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg), former Interplanetary Patrol officer and member of the Blackbird and Dauntless crews; defender of the homeworld
- “Chiron” [Dexter V.H., primary]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity
Crew of the experimental scout ship Blackbird:
- “Lt. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce K., secondary, absent]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted Blackbird
- “Tela” [Sara F., secondary]-female Tharian (gargoyle-like alien), escapee from the Encegulans (slug-like slavers), fond of humans; engineer with boyfriend Kedar and robot Dr. Bucket
- “Tariq Asrad Saladin” [Beruk A., secondary]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
- “Lord Wallace Tubbington III” [Josh C., secondary]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance
- “Brun” [Geoff C., secondary]-male Martian Ursoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” bear), former wrestler, pilot
- “Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup” [Byron V.O., secondary]-male Terran human, gung-ho member of the North American Aerospace Marine Corps
- “Enkidu Aristheon” [Dexter V.H., secondary]-male Seranen (pale empathic humanoid alien) exile, wilderness survival expert curious about Terrans and the Zarkonian threat; with sphinx-like companion Glaucon
“4 to 6 July 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” The “Terra’s Pride” task force traveled to a stash in interstellar space, but it encountered two rival vessels. The Pina Colada managed to dismiss alien hunters, while the Blackbird found humans and robots from the Plutonium Hammer conducting a salvage operation.
Aboard the yacht Pina Colada, Capt. Jasmine convenes a meeting to discuss options as “Terra’s Pride” heads back toward Earth. Hector Chavez reminds his companions of the history of the Vatican treasure, including how it was collected and initially hidden or thought lost, its resurfacing and theft, and the Appomattox ’s abortive delivery to the arachnid Nolath.
Amateur archaeologist Dr. Srinu Pahul asks about the mystical or extraterrestrial nature of the relics. Hector explains that they’re mainly significant to human culture and history, but smugglers may have hoped to trade them to aliens. Psions Orion Starchaser and Chiron hope to study the artifacts directly.
No stranger to secretive organizations, Chris McKee asks Jasmine which recipients would be acceptable for the cargo— corporations such as Black Box Security Co., Vimeco, or MarSoupAiL, or authorities such as the Union of Solar Nations or the United Ecumenical Movement. She prefers the latter.
Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese agrees with the captain and notes that it’s important for the crews to have a plan for when they leave faster-than-light Transit. Hector wonders if there is a legal basis for a counterclaim, but Kevin states that the Nolath and Kutalrin hunters and approaching Zarkonian Armada are bigger concerns than an apparently legitimate retrieval crew.
Meanwhile, the scout ship Blackbird escorts the Plutonium Hammer to the Sol system. Lt. Sebastian Growlick notes that real-time communications are impossible while in Transit, and engineer Tela asks robot Dr. Bucket to double-check the salvage contract upon their return.
Tariq Asrad Saladin looks in the ship’s Olvar database for connections between conspiracies such as the Illuminati and extraterrestrial interest in humanity. The wanderer shares Srinu’s interests and hopes to find a reason why the Vatican Museum items were being shipped away from Earth, but he finds nothing conclusive beyond the manifest.
Brun continues acclimating himself to the Blackbird’s biomechanical interface. The Ursoid pilot and Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup recommend taking the containers from the Plutonium Hammer by force and begin work on targeting solutions.
By contrast, Lord Wallace Tubbington III and Enkidu Aristheon hope for a peaceful solution. The Olvar and Seranen are also interested in learning more about the relics, but they urge against any interstellar incidents. Jasmine agrees with them.
The Plutonium Hammer drops out of Transit, followed by the Blackbird and, a discreet distance away, the Pina Colada. Scans indicate that they are approaching Jupiter rather than Earth. Electromagnetic and gravitic fields interfere with long-range sensors and communications.
On the Blackbird , Tariq tells his crewmates to beware of pirates in the outer system, and Tela observes that the Capt. Olaf Kurgos is broadcasting the Plutonium Hammer’s arrival. Capt. Growlick tells Brun and Sgt. Jessup to be ready on the guns, while Wallace and Enkidu ask about past shady dealings.
The Pina Colada watches as the other two ships head to New Yokohama on the moon Callisto. Former spy Hector explains to Capt. Jasmine that while he doesn’t want to remind local foes of the Gryphon, he would like to notify the Interplanetary Patrol of smuggling.
Chris, however, recommends watching and waiting to see who meets with Capt. Kurgos for the cargo. Orion and Chiron also want to avoid an armed confrontation, so the Pina Colada heads to a spaceport to dock.
Although they are too far to hack into the Plutonium Hammer‘s computers, Chiron mentions to engineer Hector that he’d like to explore ways to use the ship’s electronic warfare suite to boost his technopsi abilities. Srinu asks for medical scans.
At New Yokohama, Tela, Brun, Enkidu, Sebastian, Kedar, and Dr. Bucket stay aboard the Blackbird, while Tariq, Wallace, and Nathan don civvies and go ashore with Capt. Kurgos, his statuesque first mate Nerine Lellikssen, and Vimeco droid MuBot.
They catch a shuttle from Callisto to Ganymede. At the “Floating Cove” bar and grill, the crew members from the Blackbird and Plutonium Hammer meet Melita Veturia, a Canid (Doberman “Synth”) working with Intersystem Salvage. She is expecting Capt. Kurgos, but not the others.
Tariq inquires about how much Veturia knows about the Vatican treasure, and the fixer shrugs and says that she’s aware of its value. Veturia and Kurgos offer to let others in on the artifacts only after they’ve been successfully delivered. Tariq is very curious about a potential secret auction.
Space marine Nathan scans the other patrons at the Floating Cove and relays to Hector the presence of another Canid (“Uplifted” bull terrier) and a rare Octopoid (bioengineered cephalopod). He and Jasmine confirm that the latter is Kolidari, owner of the Lucky Garden Casino on Eclipse Station near Saturn’s moon Titan.
Hector warns that the grifters aboard the Appomattox suspected the Octopoid of murdering preacher Hugh Doyle in a plot involving religious factions, blackmail, and smuggling. Nathan considers notifying local authorities, but Jasmine points out that they’re probably already under Kolidari’s influence.
Wallace hangs back and chats with Melita, who says that she just wants to conclude the transaction with Capt. Kurgos and Nerine and get paid. The Olvar swashbuckler cites customs bureaucracy to stall for time.
Veturia makes a counteroffer: She will bring the cargo to a secure Intersystem Salvage facility on Ganymede but leave it on “neutral turf” until the ownership documentation is reviewed.
After a quick teleconference with captains Jasmine and Growlick, Tariq and Wallace agree to Veturia’s terms. Orion and Chiron still want to examine the relics themselves, but Nathan warns them that Kolidari is likely pulling the strings. Tela worries that the Nolath and their cyborg partners, the Kutalrin, are also still hunting around Jupiter for the cargo.
As robots offload containers from the Plutonium Hammer, the crews of the Pina Colada and the Blackbird regroup and debate whom they should contact and whether to conduct a reverse heist….
Beruk, I hope that you had a Happy Birthday! Bruce, we missed you at our latest virtual session, and please note that we won’t be meeting on Super Bowl Sunday. Dexter, Byron, and Geoff, I’m sorry that you missed parts of the game, but we can touch base in the next week or so.
While I’m sorry that the Boston-area, face-to-face group wasn’t able to meet this week because of quorum and the weather, I look forward to continuing the “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy campaign and Jason’s “Barsoomian Adventures: the Tenth Ray of Mars” planetary romance miniseries. “Vortex” is scheduled to resume on Feb. 10 and 24. May the Force be with all of you — and live long and prosper! -Gene