Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.19 of the “Vortex” telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 30 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?
- “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
- “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
- “Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese” [Bruce K.]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg), former Interplanetary Patrol officer and member of the Blackbird crew; commander of a Union of Solar Nations task force aboard the Dauntless
- “Orion Starchaser“ [Geoff C./absent]-male Pomuyan [blue humanoid alien] outcast, irrepressible mystic and adrenaline junkie; with mentor Vovestomosanehe
- “Chiron” [Dexter V.H./to join]-male android pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity
- “Jax“ [Robin H./departed]-male human from the Asteroid Belt, vain space pirate and pilot of the Slipstream
- “Jim Delaney” [Robert A.S./departed]-male Terran “near-human” gambler and psi encountered on Mars
“12 to 15 May 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” As the Stella Sagitta encountered interstellar traders and the Venture visited Olvar space, former crew members from the Blackbird and Appomattox prepared to leave the Sol system.
Those aboard the Gryphon had retreated to the Oort Cloud, renamed the yacht the “Pina Colada,” and examined its cargo of smuggled zero-point explosives. Prisoner Timothy Dugan had submitted to physical and psychic surgery to undo his conditioning by the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co.
Chris McKee sends a message to Kevin Reese, a colleague from the Blackbird, and they agree to meet near Saturn’s moon Titan. Chris and Dr. Srinu Pahul have been waiting to report to the Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.) about the approaching Zarkonian Armada.
Hector Chavez lets onetime handler Max know where to find him. Hector hopes that she can give a second opinion on the alien munitions obtained in the Asteroid Belt from Capt. Vijay Bhaghwandra of the Satan’s Strumpet.
After contemplating the recent departure of pilot Jax, Orion Starchaser meditates. The blue-furred extraterrestrial continues his martial arts and mystical training with mentor Vovestomosanehe.
Three U.S.N. ships arrive at ringed Saturn and hail the Pina Colada. Lt.Cmdr. Reese, acting captain of the light cruiser Dauntless, greets “Agent Prometheus” and asks to meet face to face. Jasmine agrees, and the ships dock in low orbit, with the frigate Tigress and the scout ship Blackbird keeping watch.
Chris introduces Jasmine to Kevin, who in turn introduces the following fellow officers in his task force for homeworld security:
- Capt. Sebastian Growlick, a male Terran Felinoid (“Uplifted” lion) and acting captain of the Blackbird
- Capt. Elektra Contos, the female Terran human commander of the Tigress
- Cmdr. Helena Cain, the female Martian human XO (executive officer/first mate) of the Dauntless
- “Nylca of Clan Firehoof” [Brian W./Non-Player Character], the female Gustrall (orange-furred, flightless raptor) weapons officer of the Dauntless and friend of Chris
Hector stays on the bridge of the Pina Colada while the officers exchange pleasantries. The burned operative monitors communications and scans the military vessels. Capt. Jasmine and Mr. McKee go aboard the Dauntless and talk with Lt.Cmdr. Reese and company in Kevin’s ready room. Jasmine is pleased to see fellow “Synths” (bioengineered humanoids) among the cruiser’s personnel.
Chris explains that the Pina Colada has studied samples of Zarkonian probes, fought Encegulan (slug-like alien) slavers in Europa’s frozen seas, and recently obtained weapons of mass destruction intended for Earth.
Kevin thanks Chris and Jasmine for the intelligence. He orders captains Growlick and Contos back to their ships to watch out for pirates. Dr. Pahul asks to meet with U.S.N. scientists, and Kevin agrees to send some to the Pina Colada.
Hector reminds his companions not to mention hidden Vatican treasures and the particulars of some of their past misadventures. A small ship approaches and is stopped by the Tigress. Hector exchanges coded messages with Max(ine) and gets permission for the Catspaw to enter the Pina Colada‘s launch bay.
Chris and Kevin reminisce about their far-ranging travels with the Blackbird, and Kevin notes that most of that crew has dispersed. He had offered “Tela” [Sara] the chief engineer post on the Dauntless, but she and boyfriend Kedar stayed aboard the experimental ship.
Lt.Cmdr. Reese brings Nylca, Sebastian, Dr. “Phil Phillips,” and Lt. “Mulan Neverland” to the Pina Colada. Capt. Jasmine takes Kevin to the cockpit and shows him the piloting controls.
Sniper Chris catches up with fierce Nycla, who looks forward to new hunting expeditions. He also warns the security officer to watch out for Kraythor, a member of the “Takers” faction among the Ru’ulok (heavy-gravity reptilian aliens) who once traveled on the Anaconda.
Over high tea, Dr. Pahul shares his findings on the Zurmiz Krott/Harbingers of the Righteous Order of Submission, the biomechanical probes of the Zarkonians, with Lt. Neverland. Srinu tells the enthusiastic Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) about the deadly nanites (microscopic robots) they emit, as well as countermeasures such as psionics and electromagnetic pulses.
In the Pina Colada‘s medical bay, Dr. Pahul reluctantly shows Dr. Phillips the sedated Dugan. The logical Pomuyan is different in temperament from cheerful wanderer Orion but no less dedicated to protecting life. Robots MEGAN and PEPE attend to the patient.
Jasmine and Chris show the U.S.N. officers the zero-point devices, and Hector gets a second opinion from Max. Mulan confirms that the spherical ordinance is more powerful than Terran thermonuclear weapons and that their controls have been modified for human use.
Max notes that the smuggled cargo could have been very lucrative, but Lt.Cmdr. Reese has communications officer Lt. Harry “Monty Hall” Takahari Jr. send an urgent warning to fleet headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. He also expresses interest in catching up with slower-than-light generation colony ships headed in the direction of Zarkonian-controlled space.
After some discussion over drinks, Capt. Jasmine and her crew agree to transfer the three shipping containers of zero-point devices to the Dauntless. Kevin offers a letter of marque, ship upgrades in the Asteroid Belt, and to personally accompany them.
Bold Kevin and Jasmine carefully maneuver the Pina Colada, while Lt. Wynona Smoketrail, a Delphine (“Uplifted” dolphin) pilot who once raced “Aughest-vor…” [Jason E.R.] near Mars, brings the Dauntless about. They then transfer the containers.
Hector meets privately with Max and later coordinates communications to Earth with Lt. Takahari. Lt.Cmdr. Reese reports to Col. Shan Gray, his superior at Interplanetary Patrol. Kevin also promotes Cmdr. Cain to acting captain of the “Dauntless” and takes leave so that he can travel on the “Pina Colada.”
Welcome, Bruce, to the teleconferencing version of “Vortex!” Our group’s move from the Gryphon to the Pina Colada and Blackbird feels like a new chapter (or TV season) in our continuing adventures! Good luck as your sort out crews and missions.
I’ll post on the Google Groups board the specifics on advancing your characters and refitting your ships. Note that while certain roles are essential to both starships — such as pilot/astrogation and engineering — you can have some specialties and overlap.
Dexter, I hope that you’ll be able to join us soon. In the meantime, I also look forward to upcoming sessions of our other games in 2013:
- my “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus,” using the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game
- Josh’s “A New Beginning: Mystic Adventures in the ‘Big D,'” using FATE 3e Dresden Files
- Jason’s “Barsoomian Adventures: the Tenth Ray of Mars,” using Savage Worlds
- Bruce’s “Hyborian Age,” D20 Conan using Pathfinder
Happy gaming! -Gene