“Vortex” Update 5a.28 — Garden riot

Alien tripod

Fellow role-players, here are my belated notes for Session 5a.28 of the “Vortexspace opera campaign. Team 1 met on Monday, 6 February 2012, 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, they continued their mission of diplomacy and exploration while journeying to Oasis Station….

>>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.

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

-“Scoop Chang” [Rich C.G.]-male Jovian “near-human,” interstellar reporter kidnapped by the Olvar; psi interested in First Contacts

-“Tariq Asrad Saladin” [Beruk A.]-male Terran “near-human,” seeker of enlightenment and investigator met aboard the Ma’ari ship “Cyan Horizon

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

-“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

>>19 to 21 November 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 Terran Galactic Era:” About 40 light-years from Earth, the human explorers and their alien allies evaded slug-like Encegulans at the Ruby Lantern Resort. The crews of the Blackbird and Dragonfly regrouped at the Regatta Hotel, where Aughest-vor… had reserved a luxurious suite.

No stranger to scandal, Aughest checks the local news for Sector 12 (also known as “the Merging”). The information networks mention an incident at the Ruby Lantern, but they don’t identify any participants. Syzygy observes that it would be bad for business if the brothel’s proprietors publicly admitted a breach of their security.

Chris McKee believes that the slavers would more likely hire bounty hunters for revenge than notify Oasis Station’s overall authorities. With Tela’s help, Scoop Chang uses his Eyebot EVE to hack into the Ruby Lantern’s internal systems. They alter surveillance recordings and spread diversionary rumors about Meorr (lion-like berserkers; created by David F.R-B.).

Tela is afraid of being recaptured by the Encegulans and watches over boyfriend Kedar, who is hung over from the previous night’s carousing at the “Privateer’s Perch” in Sector 10, “the Rusted Link.” Tariq Asrad Saladin recommends that his new companions stick more closely to standard operating procedures for discretion.

Lt. Kevin Reese reminds the group of its missions — to find a missing Kharvamid agent and use a Precursor jump gate to warn the United Earth Authority (U.E.A.) of the approaching Zarkonian Armada. He calls Nycla of Clan Firehoof [Brian/N.P.C.] to ask for help. The fierce Gustrall (raptor-like extraterrestrial) agrees to meet at moonset in the Merging.

Syzygy, Kevin, and Scoop resume the search for the Kharvamid Alliance spy. They ask concierge Mr. Blix about the best places to see and be seen in Sector 11, “the Swift Course.” They are directed to a grand observation deck, where they can watch yachts, interstellar skiffs, and solar-sail racers.

The Trinoid and Terrans see a few Olvar (mammal-like arboreal aliens) wearing archaic human fashions, no doubt inspired by old radio and television transmissions. One has the scarf and goggles of an early aviator. Cyril is interested in seeing the “Morifaiwet” — the original name of the scout ship Blackbird.

Meanwhile, Tariq, Tela, and Chris try to discreetly find out more about the jump gate. Aughest-vor, Kedar, Mr. Sniffles, and Dr. Bucket wait back on the Blackbird. Cestolar (badger-like) trader Ibor vos Talshun [Rich/N.P.C.] takes the squad in his “Metal Vessel” back to the Merging.

Agent Prometheus wants to check with the Port Authority on clues to the gate’s location, ostensibly by asking again about the Trinoid ship the “Nautiloid.” Tela is curious when she sees an Aerdary, a member of a client species of the Gustrall that resembles a chocobo.

At the Regatta Hotel, Syzygy, Lt. Reese, and Scoop meet with an Aquarian (amphibious) diplomat. Plorb [Beruk/N.P.C.] asks for Terran help protecting refugees from Zarkonian attacks on his homeworld. Interplanetary Patrol officer Kevin says that he’ll pass along Plorb’s request to the U.E.A.

Xenologist Syzygy reassures the Aquarian emissary that human inquisitiveness and aggressiveness should help his cause. Journalist Scoop records the conversation but promises to edit it as needed so as not to reveal too much about Earth or Aquaria.

At moonset, Tela, Chris, and Tariq meet with mercenary Nycla and two smugglers. Kerenar [Bruce/N.P.C.] is a Ru’ulok (heavy-gravity reptilian alien) selling virtual reality headsets, and Turvel Dosk [Rich/N.P.C.] is another Cestolar. The Tharian and Terrans don’t trust the traders, but each offers potentially valuable information.

Kerenar says that a relative of his named Serenar is one of the scientists studying the jump gate. The Ru’ulok says that the faster-than-light mode of transport has been reactivated, but no life forms have used it yet.

Agent Prometheus doesn’t trust the burly Ru’ulok, who the Black Box Security Co. agent believes is motivated purely by profit. Investigator Tariq wisely monitors communications and tries to sense the motivations of the aliens.

Short Turvel tells wary Tela that he can provide a ship to get close to the as-yet-undisclosed location of the Precursor device. Nycla apologizes for making the group wait while she privately conferred with her contacts, and she says she knows some of the guards protecting the jump gate from disputing claimants.

Impatient with the shady smugglers, Tariq, Chris, and Tela walk out of the negotiations. They note that they need to confer with the rest of their crew before devising a plan for the jump gate.

Back at the Swift Course, Plorb’s attaché Marvog interrupts the diplomatic conversation. The Cetaran (plesiosaur-like alien; created by Byron V.O.) aide mentions that something called a Zurmiz Krott has attacked Sector 6, “the Grower.”

Plorb surprises Syzygy, Kevin, and Scoop by asking to join them as they head to the scene. He explains that the Zurmiz Krott are believed to be bioengineered scouts for the Zarkonians, but there are few reliable reports on their true nature.

The explorers are horrified to find a cannibalistic riot at the Smiling Goddess Food Court. Syzygy meets fellow Trinoid scientist Selenium [Josh/N.P.C.] and synthesizes anesthetic spores.

Lt. Reese shoulders his way through the mob of assorted species to rescue an Olvar tourist trapped in a tree in the garden level. She is wearing robes from an old Terran adventure serial and carries a plasma blade. Scoop uses Genurgy to armor up and fly in search of the riot’s cause.

Syzygy contacts his crewmates in the Merging, and they hasten to the Grower. Tela notices security forces massing in one docking bay, so she picks another to land in. Chris readies his sniper rifle, and Tariq helps them bluff their way past panicked guards and a Sulishi (furry snail) officer.

Even though they’re able to fend off hungry hordes in the orbital habitat, the newcomers struggle to stay together. Inventive Syzygy and Selenium overcome their differences to incapacitate much of the crowd, as stalwart Agent Prometheus, Tariq, and Plorb protect them with rifle and fists.

Brave Kevin gets tourist Hannah [Sara/N.P.C.] to safety, as winged Tela glides toward curious Scoop. They identify the source of the disturbance as a dark, bulbous mass sitting in the middle of rows of hydroponic crops. It telepathically tempts them toward homicidal madness.

Oasis Station police try to contain the crowd, and Syzygy is distressed at the loss of life. Selenium is more interested in getting a sample from the Zurmiz Krott, which is successful in turning Tela against Kevin! Plorb and Hannah fall back, while Scoop unleashes mental blasts, and Chris looks for targets.

Tariq runs around alien trees as the Zarkonian probe raises itself on three spindly legs. The martial artist radios his companions to aim for the tripod legs rather than the armored body. Scoop is briefly overcome by the Trinoid spores, and Kevin knocks Tela’s EMP gun from her hand and rescues the reporter.

Tariq resists the insanity, while Syzygy treats the wounded. Tela eventually verifies the Zurmiz Krott’s weak points. Chris fires armor-piercing rounds, and Lt. Reese lobs grenades. Scoop psionically reshapes his arms into bladelike weapons, and he joins the others in toppling the hostile device.

As Oasis Station forces finally secure the area, Selenium asks Syzygy for help getting access to the fallen Zurmiz Krott. Tela wants to check on Kedar and the Blackbird, and Agent Prometheus is pleased that his specialized ammunition worked.

Lt. Reese calls Aughest-vor, Dr. Bucket, and Nycla for backup and extraction, while Scoop meticulously records the scene for further analysis. Tariq talks with Plorb and Hannah to see if they’re OK and to ask more about the probe or jump gate….

Back in the Sol system, the grifters on the Appomattox [Team 2] regroup after encountering S.R.E. repossession agents at a house party near Atlanta….

I hope that all of you are doing well during our break from my regular games while Janice and I — and Josh & Sara — settle in after our recent moves!

I hope that the one-shots and miniseries of Josh, Rich, James, and Paul are successful, and I hope to resume my campaigns soon! For example, Josh has offered to run a “Spelljammerswashbuckling space fantasy scenario using FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre while we wait to get back to my Pathfinder/Skype: “the Uncommon Companionstelecom fantasy game.

Brian and Rich have offered to host “VortexTeam 1, which could meet in the next few Mondays. Let us know your availability, and take it easy, -Gene