“Vortex” Update 5c.18 — Bombs, bionics, and booty

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.18 of the “Vortextelecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 9 December 2012. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures/Mindjammer, Bulldogs, and an online dice roller.

In one future, humanity has begun to colonize the Sol system, but environmental degradation, population pressures, and internecine conflict persist. The rediscovery of mystical abilities and open and official First Contact with galactic societies, themselves at war, threaten Terra’s very survival. Can heroes rise to the challenges?

>>FATE 3e “Vortex” Team 3 (5c) telecom Player Characters, crew of the Gryphon, as of autumn 2012:

  • Hector Chavez [Beruk A.]-male Latin American Terran human, former spy and communications expert/engineer of the Appomattox and Gryphon/Pina Colada
  • Capt. Jasmine [Sara F.]-female Martian Felinoid (Synth, “Uplifted” tiger), former professional pit fighter and onetime crewmember of the Appomattox, now apart from the grifters in “MarSoupAiL” with boyfriend Darcy
  • Chris McKee/Agent Prometheus” [Josh C.]-male Terran human cyborg, former sniper for the North American Aerospace Marine Corps. and eugenicists at Black Box Security Co.; onetime crewmember of the scout ship Blackbird
  • Orion Starchaser [Geoff C.]-male Pomuyan [blue humanoid alien] outcast, irrepressible mystic and adrenaline junkie; with mentor Vovestomosanehe
  • Dr. Srinu Pahul [Byron V.O.]-male Indian Terran “near-human” (bioengineered) xenobiologist, shadowed by scandal and confident in survival skills; with robots MEGAN and PEPE
  • Jax [Robin H./absent]-male human from the Asteroid Belt, vain space pirate and pilot of the Slipstream
  • Jim Delaney” [Robert A.S./absent]-male Terran “near-human” gambler and psi, encountered on Mars

9 to 11 May 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After a confrontation with pirates and the Interplanetary Patrol (I.P.) over a smuggled cargo of zero-point munitions, the crew of the Gryphon retreats to the outer Sol system to consider its next moves.

The Pina Colada
The Pina Colada, a Starwind-class space yacht

Capt. Jasmine parks the ship in the Oort Cloud. The feline “Synth” also recommends changing the vessel’s name in the hope of evading former pilot Jax on the Slipstream, pirates from the Satan’s Strumpet, and the I.P. ship Steel Sanguinis.

Hector Chavez empties an account used by Jax and other traders and donates money to the “Belter Gentrification League.” Chris McKee wants to continue interrogating Timothy Dugan, a former colleague at Black Box Security Co. caught trying to stow away.

Orion Starchaser tells his mentor, fellow Pomuyan Vovestomosanehe, about his plans to visit Earth to find out why the Cheyenne tribe of Native Americans uses their language, Namid. Orion’s teacher announces his intention to leave to find out more about humanity.

Dr. Srinu Pahul reminds his companions of stolen treasure from the Vatican Museums, but Hector notes that they have a more immediate concern — the alien explosives. The former spy scans the three containers obtained from the Satan’s Strumpet and finds 60 spheres with zero-point devices.

The wanderers try to discreetly find trustworthy recipients for the weapons of mass destruction that they were smuggling to Earth. They agree to hide a few for themselves. Hector contacts onetime handler Max(ine) and asks her to meet him at a neutral location in space.

Chris sends a message to “Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese” [Bruce K.], a former crewmate on the Blackbird and commander of a Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.) task force responsible for long-range homeworld security.

Jasmine rechristens the Gryphon as the “Pina Colada,” and Hector changes the yacht’s transponder codes and registry. They hope to eventually install an Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) database into the ship’s computer.

At Chris’ request, Dr. Pahul instructs robot nurse MEGAN to awaken Dugan. Chris and Orion repeat their offer to free the would-be assassin from his Black Box cyberware and mental conditioning. Dugan asks “Agent Prometheus” and Srinu why they have turned from the belief in humanity’s destiny to perfect itself and spread out among the stars.

The sniper and doctor reply that they still hope for Terrans to reach their potential, but not at the cost of billions of supposedly “unworthy” lives. Orion notes that there are many wonders yet to behold and that inner peace is at least as important as striving for a more highly evolved state.

Dugan reluctantly consents to go under the knife, and Srinu and MEGAN begin preparing an escape pod to serve as a surgical theater. Orion agrees to go along to psychically operate, while Capt. Jasmine and engineer Hector monitor from the “Pina Colada‘s” bridge.

Dr. Pahul and MEGAN remove Dugan’s cranial implants, including a transmitter and a small explosive that Agent Prometheus warns them about. Shortly thereafter, Orion uses telepathy to enter Timothy’s mind. Hector and Srinu monitor this instance of psionic contact.

Orion finds himself in a shadowy landscape, blocked by a dark figure [Josh/Non-Player Character] representing Dugan’s Black Box training. The blue-furred alien is then surrounded by numerous Men In Black [Byron/N.P.C.], avatars of Chris and Dugan’s brothers in arms.

Dueling explosions in the dreamscape give way to a kindly woman whom Orion believes might be Timothy’s mother [Sara/N.P.C.]. He and the dark figure sit on either side of the woman, who grants access to what looks like a control room.

Orion uses the virtual monitors to piece together fragmented memories. The mystic isn’t able to completely heal Timothy’s scarred psyche in the time alotted in the capsule, but Orion reassures Chris and Srinu that he should be on the road to independence from Black Box.

Jasmine retrieves the medical pod, and MEGAN escorts Dugan to a secure cabin. Chris recommends going to Epsilon Eridani to retrieve the Vatican relics as soon as possible. Hector reviews the ship’s engines and internal security, while Orion rests and trains with Vovestomosanehe in the swimming pool.

Srinu learns of Dr. Martha Liao, a xenobiologist on Earth who would likely be interested in the data on the Zurmiz Krott (Zarkonian biomechanical probes). The closet ship of the Union of Solar Nations is the Kestrel, commanded by Lt. Hardin.

Capt. Jasmine puts on a new uniform, sends her boyfriend Darcy a warning to look out for Jax and slavers in the Asteroid Belt, and sets a course back to the inner system….

Please remember that we’ll be skipping the next two Sundays because of the holidays, but I expect the “Vortex” virtual sessions to resume on Dec. 30. Also, note that Bruce may make a cameo, Dexter has expressed interest in rejoining the telecom group, and Byron hopes to visit the Boston area in January!

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing some of you for The Hobbit and upcoming “Vanished Lands” and “Mystic Adventures in the ‘Big D‘” games. May all your holidays be happy, -Gene

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