Fellow role-players, here are Josh’s and my notes for Session 5a.31 of the “Vortex” space opera campaign. Team 1 met on Monday, 23 April 2012, and has used FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures/Mindjammer, Bulldogs, 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 on their way to the interstellar crossroads of Oasis Station….
-“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 gargoyle-like alien) escapee from the Encegulans; engineer with boyfriend Kedar
-“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 cyborg 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./absent]-male Terran “near-human,” seeker of enlightenment and investigator met aboard the Ma’ari ship Cyan Horizon
-“Gombo Shisel” [Rich L./absent]-male Mongolian/Martian human, former horse rancher and wilderness survival expert; left at Camp Alpha
-“Dr. Bucket” [Non-Player Character]-United Earth Authority astromech robot assigned to the Blackbird
>>”From the journal of Agent Prometheus, 1 to 8 December 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 Terran Galactic Era:” After scouting deep space, we and our alien passengers successfully used a Precursor jump gate to travel from Oasis Station to Epsilon Eridani, cutting several weeks off of normal Transit (faster-than-light) travel time.
Syzygy told Hannah Nydari [Sara/N.P.C.] that he would take her to fellow representatives of the Kharvamid Alliance in the Sol system. The robed Olvar (mammal-like arboreal alien) planned to report on the murder of her fellow agents.
Dr. Bucket asked Tela for astronomy and other technical data to share with the United Earth Authority (U.E.A.). The Tharian engineer complied and told her boyfriend Kedar about the wonders of Earth’s biosphere.
I didn’t expect Black Box Security Co. to approve of the removal of my cyberware, so I prepared recordings in case I’m killed. Tariq Asrad Saladin tuned into a news burst from Terra and its colonies, finding increasing conflict along regional, racial, ideological, and megacorp lines. Ru’ulok (heavy-gravity, reptilian alien) plans for FTL drives had also been distributed.
Aughest-vor… communicated with the Shaka Zulu battle group in solar polar orbit and set a course for his home, Lemuria, in Earth orbit. The hotshot pilot traversed the Sol system in record time, surprising local authorities aboard the U.E.V. Ilokar. Aughest also found that the Jovian/Cestolar mining operation at Tyche, of which we own shares, has been very profitable.
Lt. Kevin Reese sent an initial report to Col. Shan Gray at Port Lowell in the Mars Confederacy. Meshi Chabo, a Laransan (telepathic humanoid) pilgrim, was unable to cheer up the Interplanetary Patrol officer after he discreetly inquired about his sister-in-law Jennifer, who was living with Nick Cheney. Kevin believed that Cheney murdered his wife Heather at Namor-Asperagen.
Scoop Chang edited recordings of Aughest-vor‘s exploits, carefully removing his own participation in skirmishes on the Cyan Horizon and in Oasis Station. The journalist was excited to share news of numerous First Contacts between humans and extraterrestrials.
The welcoming party at Lemuria’s space dock included camera robots, armored guards, and Aughest’s hated cousin Raine Ushu, an executive at Vimeco with a claim on Tyche. Syzygy and Tela looked for the first available shuttle to the planet’s surface, while Tariq and I hung back in the shadows. Scoop had Eyebot EVE play his “highlight reel” and record Aughest-vor’s triumphant return and verbal sparring with his kinsman.
Kevin then escorted Hannah, Meshi, and Plorb [Beruk/N.P.C.] to a lounge, where they eventually met representatives from the U.E.A. and the Kharvamid Alliance. Aquarian (amphibious humanoid) emissary Plorb again asked for aid relocating refugees from the Zarkonian Armada.
Capt. Wu Hanbei [Brian/N.P.C.], the tough commander of the U.E.V. Babieca, listened to Lt. Reese’s praise of our civilian shipmates and warning about the Zurmiz Krott/Harbinger of the Order of Submission (madness-inducing Zarkonian probe). Trinoid xenologist Sudoku compared notes with Syzygy, who was cautiously optimistic about humanity’s potential.
Tela gave Lt. Deepfisher, a Saturnian Delphine (“Uplifted” dolphin) astrogator, a quick tour of the Blackbird. Sgt. Ling Bao, an I.P. mecha driver, said that U.E.A. high command would likely want to follow up on our group’s reports, but 24 hours of shore leave was acceptable. Plorb, Hannah, and Meshi disembarked for further debriefing and to dine with their new human allies in the U.E.A. capital of Rio de Janeiro.
Even though Guanabara Bay was polluted, Syzygy enjoyed swimming under an open sky with Plorb and Sizzlezorm [David I.S./N.P.C.]. Three-armed Sizzlezorm again reassigned the poor biologist, this time to stay with us, his Terran companions, even as we continue scouting. Syzygy was just getting ready to say goodbye to Earth’s oceans and adopt out his pet cat Mr. Sniffles.
Tela enjoyed climbing and gliding with Kedar in the remnants of the Amazon jungle. Scoop insisted on coming with me as I prepared to report to Black Box, even though Kevin recommended that I wait for the organization to look for Agent Prometheus. I later got a call to meet in Rio, not far from where we had first met at the “beanstalk.”
Lt. Reese and Tariq went to Armstrong City in the Lunar Free State, where they met with Adm. Hunter. The U.E.A. officer (in a new uniform partly inspired by Aughest’s designs) offered Kevin command of a task force of 12 ships. The admiral also offered Tariq an intelligence position with Homeworld Security.
Now that humanity was just beginning to expand to the stars, the threat of the approaching Zarkonian Armada was of prime concern to Adm. Hunter. Lt. Reese and Tariq asked whether the Blackbird and its crew could be part of their task force and for time to consider their offers.
Meanwhile, Aughest-vor inquired about another solar-sail regatta, this time near Mercury. The onetime dilettante also pulled a “cousin Oliver,” outmaneuvering Raine and using some of our profits from Tyche to set up a new company of his own. Aughest then went with Tariq to meet reporter Monica Harper at a bar in Rio.
As it turned out, Tela and Kedar were also going to Restaurant Martello, a Carnivale-themed establishment in a former cathedral. Afraid of another public relations disaster, Kevin called Scoop and me for backup.
Aughest-vor was pleasantly surprised to find Ms. Harper in a slinky gown, but Tariq was wary as usual. The interviewer “accidentally” scratched Aughest with her long fingernails, and he soon succumbed to an apparent poison attack.
Feisty Tela protectively yelled, “Nobody touches Aughest-vor!” and slammed cyborg Monica with an ice bucket. Syzygy monitored communications, and Tariq tried to divert local security. I realized with horror that Harper was an assassin from Black Box or Terra Prime!
Scoop kept recording the fracas, and Kevin and I shot some waiters who were in cahoots with Harper. Tariq disarmed another with his collapsible staff. Tela fired her electromagnetic pulse gun. We took the Tiger Hawk Sandstorm to rush Aughest back to Syzygy for treatment while Lt. Reese filed police reports.
We eventually regrouped at the Blackbird in Earth orbit. Syzygy, Kevin, and Aughest told us about potential assignments for exploration, security, and trade, respectively. Tela, Kedar, and Scoop expressed interest in staying together as a crew, while Tariq was worried about fragmenting Terran politics, and I still had to deal with my obviously former handlers at Black Box. We’re not sure of our next moves, but the sky’s the limit…
Thanks again, Josh, for your notes! I hope that everyone enjoyed our final “Vortex” session for now. Thanks also to Brian for hosting! With both space opera teams now on hiatus, I look forward to participating in various other games for the summer.
On Sunday nights, we’re in the middle Josh’s “Spelljammer: the Show Must Go On” space fantasy miniseries (using FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre and Google+/Tabletop Forge). The telecom group will eventually return to my long-running “Vanished Lands” campaign (which has used Pathfinder, Skype, and an online dice roller).
On Mondays, Jason‘s homebrew “Glassworks” superheroes (using Marvel Heroic Roleplaying) are off to a strong start in Team 1’s time slot. Rich has offered to run the “Way of the Wicked” adventure path for Pathfinder, and Bruce is planning a “Conan” sword-and-sorcery scenario, also using Pathfinder. I look forward to trying them all out! -Gene