“Vortex” Update 5b.18 — Miracles on Titan

Interior of Starwind-class pleasure yacht
The "Appomattox"

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Session 5b.18 of the “Vortexspace opera campaign. Team 2 met on Monday, 15 August 2011, and is using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures/Mindjammer, Bulldogs, 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. Will heroes rise to the challenges?

After encountering robotic probes, regional warlords, and other horrors in an old battlefield and the Ghanki undersea station, a band of grifters and near-humans escaped to the Shepard 2 orbital city. It conducted a successful heist in the Lunar Free State and was involved in medical disasters in the Venusian colonies before returning to Earth to steal a faster-than-light drive…..

>>FATE 3e “Vortex” Team 2 (5b), crew of the “Appomattox:”

-“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

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

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

-“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

>>”4 to 7 October 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 Terran Galactic Era:” After delivering the Dawn’s Retreat, a vessel believed to be from an alternate universe, to the United Earth Authority, the crew of the Appomattox discusses its next moves while in Earth orbit.

Capt. Gabriel Adams says he wants to learn more about why “fixer” Ramon Sanchez [Josh H./Greg/N.P.C.] arranged for art from the Vatican Museum to be smuggled to Epsilon Eridani. ARTHERR estimates that it will take a few weeks for other Terrans to use the plans for faster-than-light drives stolen from the Ru’ulok (reptilian heavy-gravity aliens), about the same amount of time it would take for the Appomattox to go to Epsilon Eridani.

The robot adds that a proper home should be found for the artifacts, “for the good of all mankind!” Hector Chavez is also suspicious of Sanchez and notes that SRE (Systemes de Recuperation Executif) repossession agents are still looking for the ship in near-Earth space.

Jasmine tells Averki “Deep Dish” Dyashenko that she’s tired of sneaking around and stealing things, but Dr. Richmond Garrett is determined to fulfill his mission for Sanchez, or at least find a higher bid for the relics. ARTHERR notes that Gordon Wong, a rogue artificial intelligence with the Xox Memes, had observed that the United Ecumenical Movement recently reassigned numerous chaplains to the outer Sol system. Perhaps one of them could help, he suggests.

Gabriel has heard that the U.E.M. is looking for humans with psychic abilities. The underworld courier sets a course for Titan, a colonized moon of Saturn. ARTHERR and Hector examine grenades and install missiles stolen from the Star Shark. Jasmine looks forward to finding fellow “Synths” (genetically engineered beings) in the outer colonies.

With ARTHERR’s help, Richmond orders a ministry to become “the revered Dr. Garrett,” despite his complete ignorance of religion. He orders chef Nero Bartholomew to burn an image of the Virgin Mary on some bread, so that he can “find Cheebus” on “miracle toast.” The grifters vacuum-seal the sandwich and put it on a silver platter.

Capt. Adams passes Europa near Jupiter and docks the Appomattox at Eclipse Station in orbit around Titan, which is itself in orbit around Saturn. (The Blackbird visited the orbital habitat just a few weeks earlier.) ARTHERR contacts the U.E.M., which sends two people to inspect the supposed miracle.

At the Ringtown Diner, Jasmine and Dr. Garrett are happy to order real meat with their meals. ARTHERR flirts with the robotic waitress, and Gabriel leaves for the Lucky Garden Casino. Yellow-robed Shifu Nurdin Subaja and space armored Sister Indrani Bhai soon join them.

Shifu Nurdin interrogates Richmond and yarmulke-wearing ARTHERR. Sister Indrani takes an interest in Jasmine, who resembles a Rakshasa. When Nurdin makes an offhandedly disparaging remark about Synths to Richmond, Jasmine angrily douses the cleric with her milkshake and storms out. Indrani follows her into the crowded corridors and invites her and all sentient beings to join her faith.

Meanwhile, at the Lucky Garden Casino, Gabriel is accosted by the attractive Tanya and Galia. He wins a few hands at poker and inquires about local high rollers such as Rev. Winston Jones. Once the telepath realizes that the women are in fact free-willed androids, Gabriel is initially put off but invites them to join the Appomattox‘s crew.

Humbled, Shifu Nurdin listens to Dr. Garrett confess how the toast helped him turn from his sinful ways. In return for the platter, he reluctantly agrees to help the onetime snake-oil salesman obtain an audience with Archbishop Javier Fuentes in New Quebec on Titan‘s surface.

To build his reputation as a holy man, Richmond goes with ARTHERR to the infirmary, where they talk to the beings waiting for appointments. They conduct triage, identifying elderly patients with more money than hope of successful treatment. However, Dr. Martha Curtis soon asks for Dr. Garrett’s help with an urgent head injury!

Jasmine goes to the casino, where she chats with “Uplifted” Chim Faisal and Delphine astrogator Erta Garza. The bioengineered bonobo flirts unsuccessfully with the Tiger Woman wrestler, and Gabriel tells Jasmine to invite Erta to join the crew as backup to Richmond and Deep Dish.

At the infirmary, Dr. Garrett scrubs in and enters the operating theater, with ARTHERR posing as his remote-controlled medical assistant. The droid downloads medical data and conducts surgery, relaying instructions for Richmond to “order” him and Dr. Curtis to execute. After several tense moments, the physicians and fakes manage to save the patient, even as the real Dr. Garrett arrives!

Richmond pretends to faint and later explains that he was “moved by the divine” to assist Dr. Curtis, even without any true expertise. ARTHERR broadcasts the successful surgery through local news media, turning the colonists in the waiting room and student observers into witnesses to Richmond’s “miracle.” The actual Dr. Garrett, who is aware of the former Venusian surgeon general, begrudgingly escorts Richmond from the infirmary to the disused station chapel.

At an impromptu faith-healing rally, Sr. Indrani tells ARTHERR that the performance in the infirmary has moved Richmond up in the queue of appointments with the archbishop. He will receive them at the U.E.M.’s offices in New Quebec. The crew of the Appomattox resolves not to reveal that it has the Vatican art but to inquire discreetly about the church’s shift in personnel to the outer colonies, security breaches, and possible destinations for the precious cargo (such as Epsilon Eridani).

Gabriel begins planning a casino heist, hoping to use Jasmine and her fellow Synths, while Hector monitors communications surrounding Richmond’s revived reputation. The team prepares for its audience with the archbishop…

After our July hiatus because of travel, it was good to see everyone in Team 2! We’ll have a few more scheduling interruptions in the next few months, but I’m also looking forward to continuing the adventures in the Pathfinder/Skype: “the Vanished Landstelecom game and “Vortex” Team 1! Be seeing you, -Gene