“Vortex” Update 5a.14 — Tyche trading

The T.K.V./U.E.V. "Blackbird"
The "Blackbird"

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Session 5a.14 of the “Vortexspace opera campaign. Team 1 met on Monday, 28 March 2010, 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 enduring xenophobic attacks on Earth, two alien explorers and their human allies were embroiled in megacorp intrigues in the Lemuria orbital city and the Lunar Free State. The group then visited the Mars Confederation and obtained a faster-than-light ship in the Asteroid Belt from the Olvar Star League….

>>”VortexTeam 1 (5a) 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) escapee from the Encegulans, engineer

-“Chris McKee” [Josh C.]-male North American Terran cyborg human sniper working for eugenics conspirators at Black Box Security Co.

-“Aughest-vor” [Jason E.R.]-male human from the Lemuria orbital city, onetime dilettante, solar-sail regatta pilot

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

-“Gombo Shisel” [Rich L.]-male Mongolian/Martian human, former horse rancher and wilderness survival expert

Scene 1: Leaving the Asteroid Belt

5 to 7 September 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 Galactic Era:” Syzygy sets up his organic laboratory aboard the Blackbird, and Tela reports that the REM faster-than-light drive isn’t ready because the Olvar-installed (mammal-like alien) biomechanical systems need fine-tuning after the refitting for a human crew. “Dr. Bucket” helps familiarize the crew with its new vessel, although Chris McKee and Lt. Kevin Reese suspect that the robot is a spy for the United Earth Authority (U.E.A.).

Agent Prometheus acquaints himself with the particle cannon, while Lt. Reese watches Aughest-vor pilot the scout ship. The Interplanetary Patrol officer had requisitioned armored space suits for the mission to explore Tyche, a mysterious body near the Sol system.

Former horse rancher Gombo Shisel tries to use his animal-handling abilities on the spider-like drones in “the Hive,” but he finds that the ship as a whole responds more like a subsentient creature than individual robots. The Blackbird takes only a few hours to reach Tyche but stands off by a few Astronomical Units (the distance from Sol to Terra) because of radiation.

Preliminary scans indicate that Tyche is either a Precursorsunkiller” or a rogue brown dwarf star diverted by Sol’s gravity well. The humans are alarmed at the Kharvamid Alliance databank mention of a sunkiller but have more pressing concerns, such as the body’s pull and radiation, as well as two arriving ships!

Scene 2: Tensions at Tyche

The first vessel is identified as the Shameless Strumpet, a mining ship from the Jovian colonies. Familiar with frontier customs, Gombo manages to intimidate Capt. Shane Borkai, Tetzuki Scarlotti, and Malia Karveh, who claim Tyche for themselves and have a contract with megacorporation Oromax. They recognize Aughest-vor from his solar-sail regattas.

The second ship is crewed by Cestolar, whom the Blackbird‘s computers identify as a former client species of the Olvar. They are badger-like, impatient, and literal. Capt. Dvar, Uduk, and Khoz recognize the Blackbird as the former Morifaiwet, which once outmaneuvered three Cestolar ships for similar mining rights. They also later recognize Tela as a Tharian.

Lt. Reese and Aughest-vor offer to negotiate a settlement and invite two members from each crew to the Blackbird. Tela and Dr. Bucket prepare the cargo bay for reception and then watch from the engine room. Gombo offers his expertise in claims settlement, and Syzygy notes that Tyche doesn’t pose an immediate threat to Terrans but represents a strategic resource.

Xenologist Syzygy talks with the stocky Capt. Dvar and Uduk, who are suspicious of the factionalized, erratic humans. Armored Capt. Borkai and Scarlotti are wary of Aughest’s association with Vimeco, which is a rival to Oromax. Neither side trusts the other or the negotiators. The Cestolar state that their mining technology is more advanced and much safer than that of the Jovians.

On behalf of the U.E.A., Kevin and company eventually manage to broker a deal to share the valuable plasma and heavy elements that the Cestolar will mine from Tyche. However, the Shameless Strumpet will have to spend the next year (of Earth time) in orbit to monitor their progress. The crew of the Blackbird agrees to contact the U.E.A. for supplies and protection from Ru’ulok raiders.

Scene 3: Swinging by Saturn

Although it wasn’t able to directly obtain samples from Tyche, the crew of the “Blackbird” reports its fuel-sharing arrangement to the U.E.A. and turns sunward. At an orbital habitat near Saturn’s moon Titan, the crew looks for a used military drop ship….

Josh C. will be writing his own update for this game, and I expect the Pathfinder/Skype: “the Vanished Landstelecom fantasy game to continue this coming Sunday. Note that I’ve also posted to the Yahoo/eGroups message board about potential schedule changes in the next two months, books and miniatures for sale or trade, and a potential cross-group cookout in mid-May! Happy gaming, -Gene

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