“Vortex” Update 5b.12 — Sickness and sneaking

Starwind-class pleasure space yacht
The "Appomattox"

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Session 5b.12 of the “Vortexspace opera campaign. Team 2 met on Monday, 21 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 regional warlords, extraterrestrial probes, and other hazards around Karachi and Ghanki Station beneath the Arabian Sea, the adventurers had escaped to the Shepard 2 orbital city, but the ship that awaited them was missing key components. After a successful heist from a Lunar warehouse, the crew of the Fortune’s Fool/Gen. Lee set out for Venus on an urgent medical mission….

>>”VortexTeam 2 Player Characters, 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. Dieter Klein” [Rich L.]-male European Terran human, semi-retired physician, altruist and thrillseeker

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

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

25 to 26 August 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 Galactic Era:” A virus whose symptoms resemble arthritis continues to spread among the Venusian colonies. The investigators have found that sabotage was the cause of an explosive decompression that killed thousands of workers who had gathered for treatment at Hephaestus Stadium in the Kardikea orbital city.

Gabriel and Jasmine explain to ARTHERR, who has been coordinating the distribution of medicine, that the evidence of sabotage has led them to the Central Committee of the Venusian Finance Union. Meanwhile, the virus has mutated, accelerating the rate of infection and mortality.

Hector returns to the cockpit of the Appomattox (formerly the “General Lee“) to monitor communications of the Finance Union, news media, and the United Earth Authority (U.E.A.) quarantine of Venus. “Capt. Doug McDonnell” [Erik B.L./Non-Player Character] confirms that a member of the Parsifal‘s crew has died from the virus.

Dr. Richmond Garrett, appointed surgeon general by Chairman Orion Stefanov, stays in his low-gravity sauna. Nero Bartholomew, onetime owner of the Fortune’s Fool and more recently the ship’s cook, is confined to his cabin after becoming ill. Reptilian Synth (genetically engineered humanoid) and former miner Averki “Deep Dish” Dyashenko takes over his duties.

Now that food has been identified as the epidemic’s attack vector, ARTHERR requests samples from Kardikea authorities. His friend’s space yacht stranded because of the blockade, Dr. Dieter Klein soon finds himself helping to bring rats and small livestock to the Appomattox.

Gabriel welcomes Herr Klein aboard, and ARTHERR helpfully leads him to the galley/kitchen, where he has created a makeshift laboratory. The doctor recommends that they eventually acquire a medical bay. Jasmine is relieved to have a real physician around, and the robot and retiree get to work devising a way to detect the virus in food.

Several hours later, Dr. Klein and ARTHERR create a blood test to find whether livestock or people are infected. They proudly share their results via teleconference with medical colleagues at Morningstar Consortium, Xi Labs, and Vimeco, plus Capt. Amelia Saviola of the U.E.V. Sphinx.

Not pausing between challenges, Gabriel, ARTHERR, Jasmine, and Dieter then decide to sneak into the Central Committee to see how far up the chain of command they can trace the orders to sabotage the stadium. Hector obtains schematics and loans a handheld scanner to Dr. Klein.

The former government operative creates a diversion to distract guards in the docking bay, allowing the foursome to slip into the orbital city. Gabriel and Dieter are disguised in maintenance-worker coveralls retrieved from the late Kiril Shatalin’s quarters. Felinoid Jasmine hides her identity in a customized space suit, and ARTHERR adds some panels to appear as a rolling trash can.

Hector remotely guides the infiltrators to a back entrance of the station’s command center. They pass through a labyrinth of pipe-filled tunnels and bluff their way past guards and low-ranking drones. Gabriel and Dieter duck into a locker room to upgrade their uniforms but are soon surrounded by burly men named Yegor, Igar, and Ugir.

ARTHERR tampers with a thermostat, creating steam to cover the interlopers as they grab clothing and leave. The group ascends to a level filled with colonial bureaucrats and soldiers. Wary of surveillance devices, the team ducks into a latrine. Dr. Klein suggests using dumping a cauterizing agent from his medic kit into water to drive people out and obscure cameras.

Jasmine goes into a stall, Gabriel stands near a urinal trough, and ARTHERR continues to pose as a trash can. Dr. Klein’s plan works, and several officers leave quickly to avoid the noxious fumes. Gabriel stands by a sink, then leads the way into an air vent that happens to be large enough for even Jasmine to crawl in.

After disabling a dangerous fan, the fearless four climb a vertical shaft to a nicer restroom directly above the previous one. ARTHERR uses his Taser against the sole stall occupant, and Gabriel again trades up in uniform. The telepath then uses his suggestion ability on some guards and an ID card to gain access to Chairman Stefanov’s office. Jasmine and Dieter wait at the air shaft.

ARTHERR finds and removes a local data-storage unit, and Gabriel warns him that Orion and aides are coming. When the stunned officer is found in the restroom next door, an alarm is raised. Gabriel bars the door with a desk, and ARTHERR cuts a hole in the third-story window and wheels out. He then hides in plain sight in a courtyard.

Acrobatic Gabriel manages to reach the ground unscathed, but pursuing guards shoot him in the leg. Dr. Klein and Jasmine get caught in a duct between a fan leading to a rooftop exit and a security robot. Mighty Jasmine shoots the droid, kicks out the fan and grill, and finds a fire escape for herself and the good doctor as more sentries and aerodynes arrive.

After running through deserted streets, Gabriel requisitions a garbage truck near the stadium ruins and covertly picks up ARTHERR. Jasmine leads police on a chase with her hoverbike before losing them and regrouping with Gabriel, thanks in part to Hector’s hacking of traffic lights and communications.

Back at the Appomattox, Jasmine is first in line for a long shower, and Dr. Klein attends to his and Gabriel’s injuries. ARTHERR begins analyzing the hard drive to find proof that the ruling council of Kardikea Station and the 12 families that control Venus’ colonies are behind the carnage at Hephaestus Stadium….

Beruk and Dave, we missed you, and I hope you’ll be able to meet Rich at the next Team 2 game on April 4! Rich also plans to sit in on the next Team 1 session on March 28. In the meantime, I’ll see Paul and Beruk at this Sunday’s Pathfinder/Skype: “the Vanished Landsvirtual fantasy campaign, and take it easy, -Gene