“Vortex” Update 5a.21 — Escape from Boobulon!

Drop ship delivery
Landing cargo

Fellow role-players, here are Josh’s and my notes for Session 5a.21 of the “Vortexspace opera campaign. Team X met on Monday, 12 September 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?

Two aliens and their human allies encountered xenophobes and megacorporate intrigues on and around Earth. After visiting factionalized Mars and acquiring a starship in the Asteroid Belt from the Olvar Star League, they continued their mission of diplomacy and exploration to Titan, Tyche, and beyond….

>>FATE 3e “Vortex” Team 1 (5a), crew of the Blackbird:

-“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/Agent Prometheus” [Josh C.]-male Terran cyborg human sniper working for eugenicists at Black Box Security Co.

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

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

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

-“Dr. Bucket” [Non-Player Character]-United Earth Authority astromech robot assigned to the Blackbird

>>”The Blackbird Chronicles, 8 to 14 October 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 Terran Galactic Era:” After successful first contacts at Alpha Centauri and Van Maanen’s Star, the Blackbird evaded a trap at Cetus Eridani. From there, the Olvar scout ship went to Beta Canum Venaticorum on its way to Oasis Station, about 40 parsecs from Earth….

>>Scene 1: The caves of squeal/Thanks for the mammaries [From the notes of “Agent Prometheus:”]

On “planet Henson,” nicknamed for its exotic life forms, we left the drop ship Dragonfly under the watchful eye of the natives. Some of them approached us, but communications initially proved to be difficult. Lt. Kevin Reese tried to talk with the green-skinned humanoids until our ship’s translation program began to work.

Eventually, one three-breasted woman stepped forward as their leader and identified herself as Magabelka. She spoke English and somehow recognized the Morifaiwet — the Olvar scout ship we renamed the Blackbird — even though it was still in orbit, and we had seen no signs of high technology.

All of us were invited into a temple, carved into the side of high cliffs. The scantily-clad priestesses recognized Syzygy as a Trinoid. Magabelka, who wore a feathered headdress, explained that travelers from her home planet and beyond often offered goods in trade for enlightenment [insert Heavy Metal soundtrack here].

Three-armed Syzygy partook of alien food and offered a gift of a bioluminescent spore in return. Tela touched geometric patterns on the gold-encrusted pillars of the temple to the elemental mother. The local culture apparently had specialized roles for each gender.

I [Chris McKee] accepted acolyte Lirmapia’s offer of bliss, and Aughest-vor… had a similar, if less exciting, experience of “enlightenment” with “Boobulon” priestess Magabelka. He renamed the planet “Hefner.” I was unsure of how to process my experiences, which didn’t involve guns. Frustrated, Lt. Reese tried to communicate with Dr. Bucket in orbit.

That night, Tela sneaked off to explore, but she encountered spear-toting guards. Dr. Bucket eventually told Aughest and Kevin that the translator had parsed Old Norse [insert Stargate SG1 soundtrack here] and that our ship’s sensors had detected cloaked energy readings. The Interplanetary Patrol officer warily talked with sentry Lankpor.

>>Scene 2: Bugging out

The humans in our crew interrupted Syzygy’s sleep, and the scientist agreed to return to the Blackbird to analyze his biological samples. On behalf of Black Box Security Co., I went to talk with Magabelka about future relations (even though I would have liked something to shoot at). Pilot Aughest took Syzygy back to orbit on the Dragonfly.

Meanwhile, as we later learned, engineer Tela found a concealed door, behind which she saw gleaming technology and Ru’ulok (heavy-gravity reptilian aliens) in silver spacesuits! The Tharian tried to glide away, but she was spotted by the Boobulon guards and “treed” on a pillar.

Kevin and I were eventually reunited with Tela. He talked her down, and we apologized to the acolytes as we hastily departed with the Tiger Hawk Sandstorm modular ground-effect vehicle. Tela reported that she had found a Ru’ulok mining operation hidden beneath the Boobulon temple.

After Aughest-vor picked us up with the Blackbird, we debated whether to contact the interolopers via radio. We eventually talked with Ru’ulok miner Reveek, who claimed that he had negotiated for rights to the planet’s heavy metals, including gold and beryllium, a component in faster-than-light drives. We didn’t trust the Ru’ulok, so we sent warnings to the Kharvamid Alliance and United Earth Authority.

From the genetic and linguistic samples, as well as gaps in the Olvar records, Syzygy concluded that planet “Henson/Hefner” was seeded with genetically engineered organisms derived from Terran stock about 1,000 (Earth) years ago. However, the xenologist was uncertain of whether the Ru’ulok were responsible.

>>Scene 3: Back in deep space

Aughest-vor… scanned and set a course for BD+04-123, the next inhabitable system on the way to Oasis Station. Syzygy examined me and found no sign of drugs. Tela was still scared of the Ru’ulok, allies of her onetime captors, the Encegulans. Lt. Reese ordered an immediate departure from Beta Canum Venaticorum, although I would have preferred to investigate further.

Once Tela verified that our REM drive was working, the Blackbird reentered Transit space. This time in FTL, our crew experienced a shared dream of being in archaic garb in a dungeon setting!

>Out-of-character notes: Chris became addicted to “enlightenment,” and he and Kevin exchanged some harsh words. The issue was tabled for now, but we may return. Also, when Tela went off by herself, she did find Ru’ulok in containment suits in a lab hidden underneath the temple where the party was staying. This was not explored further.

It was good to see everyone in Team 1, and I look forward to the latest schemes of the Appomattox crew tonight (Monday, 19 September 2011). The Pathfinder/Skype: “the Vanished Lands” fantasy telecom team is still going through some scheduling hiccups. Please note that the next “Vortex” Team 1 game will be on Monday, Oct. 3. Be seeing you, -Gene