“Vortex” Update 5b.23: Bob’s brain

EVA suit for Uplifted dolphin
Delphine ready for space

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Session 5b.23 of the “Vortexspace opera campaign. Team 2 met on Monday, 7 November 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?

A band of grifters and near-humans retrieved dangerous samples from a battlefield north of Karachi and the Ghanki undersea station. It stole starship engines from a lunar base and an orbital city and was involved in medical disasters in the Venusian colonies. After finding a dimensionally displaced derelict, the team made inquiries into its cargo amid religious turmoil on Titan….

>>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

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

-“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

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

-“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

>>”22 to 31 October 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 Terran Galactic Era:” The adventuring party presented its findings in the investigation of the death of preacher Hugh Doyle to the United Ecumenical Movement (U.E.M.). The group transferred custody of wealthy widow Louise Reinhagen, and Archbishop Javier Fuentes alerted law-enforcement authorities around Saturn’s moon Titan to look for Adrian Valentin and Esteban Bakafret, suspected of smuggling, blackmail, and murder.

Hector Chavez asks for surplus military gear from the U.E.M., but the former spy’s companions remind him that it’s more likely to be available from provisioners Amir and Hassan Mukhtadi on Eclipse Station. Hector later acquires a laser rifle with a tripod and multispectrum scope, an old-fashioned revolver, a tactical vest, and a camouflage Ghillie suit.

ARTHERR studies astrogation records for Epsilon Eridani, where the Appomattox is supposed to deliver its cargo of items from the Vatican Museums to unknown recipients. Among other things, the robot learns that slower-than-light generation ships set out from the Sol system in that direction about a century ago and that Luyten’s Star, which may also have human-inhabitable planets, is a likely base for whoever will be getting the relics.

Jasmine decides against having Delphine (“Uplifteddolphin) astrogator Erta Garza join the crew because of her association with Octopoid (“Uplifted” octopus) Kolidari. The charismatic co-owner of the Lucky Garden Casino was involved in Doyle’s murder and had invited the tiger-woman to work for him. Jasmine also buys a sonic shotgun from the Mukhtadi brothers.

By contrast, Capt. Gabriel Adams asks gynoids Tanya and Galia if they’ll leave Kolidari’s employment to serve on the Appomattox. The “Synths” (artificial sentiences) hesistate, but ARTHERR reassures them that they’ll have no trouble finding work on estrasolar colonies that Terrans are just beginning to establish.

Mr. Richmond Garrett observes the warning of local constable Capt. Garzan Cisneros to avoid further civil disturbances and stays in his cabin. Nero Bartholmew and Averki “Deep Dish” Dyashenko attend to the snake-oil salesman. Richmond joins the vote against Gabriel’s plan to conduct a heist of the Lucky Garden Casino.

The disappointed pilot sets a course for Epsilon Eridani, about 10.5 light-years from Sol or 10 subjective days’ travel in Transit space. Engineer Hector sets up a false registry and transponder code for the luxury yacht as the “Heaven’s Gate” out of New Delhi. He also helps ARTHERR analyze and record each artifact in the cargo.

Unused to long periods of faster-than-light (FTL) travel, Jasmine is restless and practices her marksmanship by checking out the ship’s missiles and firing paintballs at crewmates! The onetime pit fighter and Gabriel disapprove when Hector and Richmond avail themselves of the gynoids’ services.

The “Heaven’s Gate” drops out of Transit as it approaches another vessel on the way to Epsilon Eridani. It is the Chengdu, one of the outbound generation ships that ARTHERR had researched. The grifters hail the would-be colonists, and after some debate, they enter the larger vehicle’s landing bay. Richmond stays behind.

Capt. Adams, Hector, ARTHERR, and Jasmine are welcomed aboard by representatives wearing yellow sashes. Executive officer Chuan Bao and bursar Ghia Shan, grandchildren of the Chengdu‘s original crew, ask for recent news from Earth. They also note that they should have caught up to or heard from earlier waves of interstellar settlers, but they haven’t yet.

The away team takes a tour of the massive space ark. Gabriel goes to the central command-and-control (C&C) deck, where he sees personnel wearing blue sashes (possibly signs of a caste system) carefully watching antique equipment. Hector helps Sigurd Anders, an engineer wearing a red sash, improve efficiency in the heavily shielded ship’s ion drive.

ARTHERR accompanies fellow old-model robot Franz to the hydroponics and medical bays. They also trade information, even though the Ru’ulok (heavy-gravity reptilian alien) FTL drive plans won’t be useful until the Chengdu can trade genetic samples or Terran art for rare elements.

Jasmine learns that only about 5% of the crew are Synths, and she finds some chims (“Uplifted” chimpanzees), as well as Delphines and genetically modified orcas in a large pool. They and the nearly 10,000 human passengers are descended from people who fled overcrowding and religious infighting on Terra. Gabriel and Richmond look for gambling opportunities.

After spending time in C&C, Gabriel has a more intimate dinner with Ghia. The courier explains that now that humanity has FTL capability, newer waves of emigrants may skip Epsilon Eridani and Luyten’s Star for more hospitable and more distant worlds, causing the bursar to question her ancestors’ wisdom.

Hector hacks into the ship’s logs and learns of a Delphine nicknamed “Bob” who was wounded during a collision. ARTHERR searches for him and finds that the unfortunate astrogator’s brain has been hardwired into the ship’s systems! The artificial intelligences interface, and Bob tells ARTHERR that he is very tired, but he can’t be disconnected to sleep without endangering the crew.

Confident that more modern medicine can restore Bob to a whole body and safely disengage him from the Chengdu, ARTHERR seeks help from Sigurd, Franz, and Dr. Rufus Han, an “Uplifted” orangutan and acting captain.

Hector and Jasmine enjoy fresh fruit from the ship’s gardens before working to improve its communications arrays and the Delphines’ walkers. ARTHERR offers to clone himself to substitute for unstable Bob, but Dr. Han denies permission, noting at the Vimeco droid is also still in beta.

Sigurd, Hector, and ARTHERR ultimately manage to begin decoupling Bob’s brain from the Chengdu‘s systems. Dr. Han assures them that he’ll use more recent data from Earth to aid the crippled crewmember.

ARTHERR and Jasmine recommend that Dr. Han contact the Olvar (mammal-like arboreal aliens) rather than the piratical Ru’ulok for FTL components. They also say they’ll look out for other colony ships. Gabriel and Hector prepare the Appomattox to resume on its course to Epsilon Eridani and Luyten’s Star….

Please note that “Vortex” Team 1 (the crew of the Blackbird) is scheduled to meet next Monday, 14 November 2011. Dave, I hope that your presentation at work went well! Paul and Beruk, let me know if either of you will be available for the Pathfinder/Skype: “the Vanished Landsfantasy telecom game on Sunday, Nov. 13.

Also, remember that we won’t be gaming on Nov. 20 or 21 because Byron V.O. will be visiting from St. Louis the weekend before that! Vote in the poll at the Yahoo/eGroups site, and I hope to see some of you at Super MegaFest or the one-shot on Saturday, Nov. 19. Be seeing you, -Gene

>>P.S.: Here are several types of “Synths” in the “Vortexuniverse:

Artificial intelligences (AIs)/robots: sometimes disembodied; android/gynoid/nonhumanoid, cargo/construction, engineering/mechanic, general purpose, maintenance, military/police, mining, science/exploration (see “ARTHERR”), social/recreational (see Tanya and Galia)

-“Uplifted” (genetically modified) animals (see the works of David Brin):

–Avidians: birds, usually parrots

–Canids: dogs/wolves

–Chims: chimpanzee

–Crocoloids: alligators and crocodiles (see “Deep Dish”)

–Delphines: dolphins and orcas

–Felinoids: great cats (see “Jasmine”)

–Gorths: gorillas, orangutans, and other great apes

–Minotaurs: bovines

Octopoids: octopi and squids

–Ursoids: bears

-Xenoids: extraterrestrial equivalents