Year 2521 Jan11 (game day) session 1PCs sent by Captain Stokes to Marrakesh Market Station to pick up supplies, medicine, and deliver a silver case presumably of collected ore samples to HIVE partner Jin Lu, and to have a secure videoconference with HIVE partner Milton Wycliff.
Three thugs, Molly Mongoose, Skinner Malloy, and Eddie Blunt attempt to steal the case with a bolt cutter and flash-grenades, throwing case down garbage chute, donning space suits, and blowing hole in bottom of trash bin to vent out to space. Thwarted by Jack Diamond killing Molly and Skinner. Jack recovers case in space before it is snagged by Big Dog’s small fast ship Traveller 171.
Eddie Blunt is wounded, taken into custody.
Session 2 Jan 11
Milton Wycliff has video meeting to hire group to investigate Turtle. Interrupted by Rebecca Brandsford who shows him video. Noon captures images off reflection on glass cabinet behind Wycliff showing large asteroid with domed buildings. Colton figures it is from a deep space military-grade probe though they don’t usually have video cameras.
Turtle drifting in space is investigated. Rowan O’Rourke is rescued alive. Dr. Gong takes air samples of asteroidium dust. Corpses found having coughed up lungs from dust exposure. Turtle’s air filtration is shot with lethal level of CO2.
Recover stuff: mule, 2 personal zero-G pods, large but outdated asteroid drills, several pistols and shotguns, explosive charges.
Noon builds tracking device, Dr. Gong inserts into Eddie Blunt who is thoroughly intimidated and tells of Big Dog and his psychotic side kick Trish Trash who wears a necklace of human teeth; they hired the three of them to steal the case, but Eddie didn’t think it likely they would pay him or let him live after delivering it. He explained Molly and Skinner used to own a Firefly the Skinny Mongoose which was seized by customs on Ezra.
Session 3 Jan 12
Making a second salvage trip to Turtle, found a Blue Sun chemical spectrometer with laser rock-zapper, a whiskey still, and a mysterious heavy hexagonal bluish-green ingot of unknown origin and function.
Dr. Gong gains release of Rowan O’Rourke from quarantine as the station crew didn’t know what to do with him, since he wasn’t sick and had committed no crimes, but wasn’t registered on an arriving ship. He somehow had got his shotgun and gear in a storage locker before going into quarantine which were easily retrieved.
Two combat veteran browncoats Ambrose Mitchell and Amos Rucker bump into Jack Diamond and fondly reminisce about how their unit was caught drinking by an MP and Jack got everyone off by winning a bet with the MP with a card trick. They recruit him, being a ladies’ man, to help change the mind of a stubborn women who refuses a high-paying business deal from their obstinant business partners. She is of course Katie Whipple one of Will Donovan’s friends in low places.
Ambrose and Amos come to blows with Will who draws a gun; tables are shoved, kicks and punches thrown, no one gets hurt, Jack makes half-hearted attempts to disarm Will as he believes the two browncoats are on the up-and-up.
Katie explains how a group of meaner, unhinged browncoats on Angel are trying to force her to smuggle something bulky in her security-scan exempt cargos, which she refuses (although she is smuggling marijuanna in her cargo). Katie turns down a ride on the Hotspur since it is non-atmospheric and isn’t going anywhere. Ambrose and Amos are arrested for illegal gun possession.
Will Donovan gets his old buddy Tom Crabbe hired as a drill specialist on the Hotspur so that Dr. Gong can use the ship’s lung treatment to stabilize his dust inhalation. Tom wants to go into business with Will mining Asteroidium illegally, as he knows of a buyer for the ore.
Will Donovan befriends Peter White, an unscrupulous security guard who wants to make busts and arrests to get promoted, even if the victims are staged or framed. Will gives him the whiskey still so Peter owes him some big favors.
The party knows Big Dog hired nearly all the shooters, pilots, and techies on the station, but did not want miners or unskilled labor. They did not leave with him, but most boarded a bordello ship which did not disembark any prostitutes onto the station.
Dr. Gong investigated Wycliff and found he testified like a canary post-Miranda and saved himself by making enemies and sending them to jail (or suicide following exposure).
Colton investigating detention of school chum Tristram Briggs, arrested for break-in shenanigans at a secure military facility.
Session4-Jan 30 Angel
Capt. Stokes is invited to a browncoat reunion on Angel despite lack of war action there, but wants to go because all other reunions are out of his reach currently. Stokes invites Diamond and brings the others along to ensure safety of himself and the shuttle. Reunion is at the Double Day Inn owned by Jin Lu, in small town of Emmitsburg. Jin Lu extends offer to Horace to find out what is going on at the hotel (security alarms constantly tripped) so he can get a cut of the action.
Hotel and entire town taken over by 120+ hardened combat veteran browncoats, mostly officers and special forces who did not necessarily serve together. Have intimidated or bribed away all the cops. Sheriff is holed up on his ranch defiant. Took over the quarry and it is now closed, ostensiby because debris blocked the river causing the pit to flood.
Party cleverly discovers and steals a 70+ year old hydrogen bomb stored in the hotel which was tripping the security alarms with minute radiation. Donovan is recognized and assumed to be spying on them. Diamond kills Ambrose Mitchell, a browncoat encountered on Marakesh Market who somehow got released from incarceration there when the feds showed up to take possession of the derelict Turtle.
The bomb emits a short-range signal and has an industrial dataport which does not sync with the party’s small portable computers. Attempts to open its protective case fail.
With the bomb in the shuttle, Colton flies without lights out over the scrubland and tries to land near a small cliff, unfortunately clunking down on some rocks and smashing the landing gear. The bomb is hidden under rocks at the base of the cliff.
Session5- Feb 1 Peace Gardens
Colton believes the top priority is getting the shuttle repaired and Dr. Gong feels the need to find a decent spa, so the group departs the Emmitsburg hotbed of conspiracy for the buccolic dullness of Angel’s capital city Peace Gardens 640km away. The shuttle is repaird on the HIVE account which costs the group nothing, but alerts HIVE that it was damaged. Stokes advises Colton to record in the ship log that the damage occured at Peace Garden and to not mention the landing at Emmitsburg.
While shopping, Dr. Gong learns that Angel is overrun by poisonous snakes imported to control the rat problem that blossomed during the planet’s rapid agricultural expansion. There are no predators to control the snakes as the planet’s terraforming has not yet included proper ecosystem management. She buys several vials of anti-venom and a pair of thick black rubber gloves that are recommended for use when gardening. Locals say the snakes like to congretate in rock piles or anywhere it is warm (such as where rocks are piled on top of something warm).
AFter a late night poker game with a crew of one of the four Alliance Corvettes (the extent of the fleet based on Angel) Jack notices he is being watched and followed by a spaceport maintenance worker. He is unable to catch the man, who can use his badge to duck into any number of secure doors or hatches. Upon investigation, group discovers that two newly hired maintenance workers (Cyrus Boggess and Al Hook) with excellent technical skills are likely members of the browncoats at the “reunion” in Emmitsburg, placed here to watch spaceport traffic. Cross-referencing the names on the Cortex reveals they are both among the 187 Independent POWs recently released after ten years of federal incarceration for war crimes. Dr. Gong downloads all of the names of these ex-browncoats.
The spaceport repair crew fixing the shuttle detect minute trace radiation, and the shuttle’s corporate insurance policy mandates that the engine housing must be stripped for a full safety inspection which is estimated to take three days. However, the two mysterious new workers help out and the work is completed in six hours. Dr. Gong discovers a tracer signal emitating from the engine coinciding with the transponder signal. Although the group knows the bug was planted by the two browncoats, they can’t remove it without again stripping off the engine housing which they can’t do quickly by themselves (especially with Horace being inactive).
Dr. Gong accesses the spaceport employee database and finds both browncoats have the same address, a laborer’s flophouse 9 blocks from the spaceport. In approaching the room Dr. Gong removes a high-tech wide angle optical bug watching the hallway. However, having already been seen, the group is sprayed by machine gun bullets fired through the wall from the apartment. Dr. Gong is knocked unconscious but saved by her mesh vest. Jack and Colton grab her and retreat, but when Cyrus and Al arrive they are caught in a crossfire of heavier weaponry. Jack is shot up and left unconscious just as he reaches the browncoat’s vehicle and wounding the driver. The second browncoat is blocked from the fight by a gas grenade lobbed by Colton from Dr. Gong’s purse. Colton steals and hotwires a car parked on the street and extricates his wounded companions under fire from the browncoat’s persistent and heavily armed girlfriends, who by their skill and training are probably also Independent special forces veterans.
Stokes, Will, and Horace are with the shuttle at the spaceport ready for an evacuation when needed. Dr. Gong and Jack are at the Peace Garden Hospital getting stabilized and bandaged up.
Session 6- Feb 3 Escape from HospitalIn the Peace Garden Hospital, Jack rapidly heals up, seduces Nurse Alice who assumes he’s a movie star, and scares the living daylights out of her. Colton botches two healing checks and believes comatose Dr. Gong is dead. Colton overhears head nurse and hospital director discussing that someone is coming from Osiris to pick up two “John Does” in the morgue who came in on a day when their patient registry was mysteriously wiped off their computer system.
Will arrives by taxi to pick them up, with the shuttle waiting at the spaceport so as not to give away plan to the browncoats watching the bug signal from the shuttle. Will spots two unusual persons in the lobby, a tall, muscular, neatly trimmed man and a tall well-dressed woman asking if anyone had come for the John Does, and collecting names & addresses of the morgue staff. Nurse Alice tells them that movie star Jack Diamond had inquired about the stiffs. After a harrowing dodge of a cop and hospital security, the three escape through the front door, after the supposed Parliamentary Operatives cleared everyone out of the lobby.
In a motel parking lot just outside town, Dr. Gong installs a jaberwocky device to block the signal from the bug in the engine. Before the engine housing can be replaced, four vehicles speeding towards town from Emmitsburg are spotted, mounting anti-ship rockets. While zooming away and evading 3 of 4 rockets, Jack and Captain Stokes fall out the open door and save each other by hanging onto the sleeves of each other’s brown coats (camera zoom). Will and Dr. Gong save them with the hose from the shuttle’s jacuzzi. A rocket impacts the back of the shuttle and blows off a section of thermal tiles, making any atmospheric reentry very hazardous.
Returning towards Emmitsburg, the shuttle lands at the ranch of Sheriff Drucker who is the sole remaining law enforcement officer not scared off, or bribed by the Browncoat conspiracy.
He is told of the nuclear bomb but does not want to take it; he fears that any Feds he turns it over to might be the ones who let the Browncoats find it in the first place. He needs solid evidence of serious crimes that Federal police can’t downplay. The browncoats have likely killed people in the quarry and/or discovered something there; the party agrees to help him investigate.
Episode 7: Feb 4 The Sheriff, The Quarry, and The Itch
At Sheriff Clyde Drucker’s ranch, where the people of Emmitsburg who still dare to stand up to the bad browncoats are camping out. Deputy Sheriff Jerusha Rutledge complains to Dr. Gong of an uncomfortable itch down below that could well be cured by the highly sought after but unavailable Dr. Gong’s Incurable Elixr, and also hopefully inquires if she might be introduced to the irresistable Jack Diamond. Dr. Gong feigns treating her STD and eagerly makes the introduction. Jack and Jerusha hit it off by shooting stuff in the back yard and contemplating the merits of apple pie and gooseberry pie.
Sheriff Drucker and the owner of the quarry explain the strange goings-on and suspected kidnapping of three staff members by the browncoats. The mine owner formally asks the party for assistance thus allowing them to enter the site without trespassing. Drucker declines the party’s request for deputy badges. Dr. Gong makes polite approaches to the enigmatic Deputy Sheriff Hong Huang, who seems core-educated and a fish-out-of-water among the locals.
The group overwhelms two guard dogs and five browncoats, but Huang is badly shot up sitting in the reserve vehicle guarding Dr. Gong. Jack shoots one of two stirring bodies in the dark, which was a wounded and armed browncoat; the other was a tied-up hostage.
The group discovers two more fusion bombs among six total pallets where bombs might have been stored. One of the two has bullet holes and leaks radiation.
In the vehicle garage the bulldozers acquired from the city road construction department are peppered with high powered bullet holes that do not appear well-aimed.
In the quarry pit a dead browncoat is found with tournequets on both arms from heavy machine gun fire. Dr. Gong finds his body interesting enough to take spinal fluid and brain tissue samples (and is well-skilled in securing the samples). A fearsome robot guardian approaches and opens fire… but is out of ammunition. Jack lassos it with a cable and tows it out of the quarry on the bulldozer. An underground facility off the side of the quarry seems to be a long-term nuclear weapon storage room built about 100 years ago, long before the war when no one lived on the planet.
Sheriff Drucker does not want to take responsibility for the nukes because he does not trust the government since someone in the govt probably told the browncoats about this facility. He agrees they should be dumped into the sun and Stokes concurs, feeling the time to hold a bargaining chip has passed. Drucker obtains sufficient evidence of kidnapping, grand theft, etc. and can call in outside reinforcements to clear out the browncoats and take back the town. The town’s leading citizens and merchants are estatic and indicate a hope to do future business with such brave, trustworthy heroes.
Jack feels a strange itchy sensation.
Episode 8 Feb 5 Escape From Angel
With a nuclear bomb in each airlock and another wedged in the central hallway, the shuttle takes off from Sheriff Drucker’s ranch and heads towards the sun. Approaching the coronosphere, two small fast vessels approach and engage with laser fire; the “blackcoats” out-of-date but functional fighter craft. The shuttle’s left maneuvering thruster is fried by a laser. The nukes are set adrift into the sun’s mighty gravitation pull one by one. As Colton wildly pitches and rolls to avoid the laser fire, Dr. Gong falls towards the open airlock and is gallantly pulled to safety into the arms of Jack Diamond. Jack manually releases the third bomb, once again precariously held back from oblivion by Captain Stokes’ firm grip. More ships appear on the same intercept course; however they open fire on the “blackcoats” and destroy them; they are Angel’s air defense crew whom Jack befriended at the late-night poker game at the Peace Gardens spaceport. Saved by puplebellies!
Captain Stokes receives a distress call from an asteroid mining base, the most productive mine set up by the Hotspur thus far. The mining base appears to have been ravaged by several explosions but shows no signs of asteroid impact. Colton accidentally grinds the shuttle into the semi-porous surface of the asteroid, which provides an excuse for why the maneuvering thruster is destroyed.
The miners are found dead, curiously, in states of semi-undress and likely having had sex (but not with each other) before being executed point-blank. Two survivors are found; a woman who does not match the crew roster and a miner pinned under a fallen buttress. The woman attempts to storm the shuttle with heavy weaponry and seems to be one of the attackers left behind. The rescued miner, Thomas, is a skilled mechanic with a flair for floral pastels and multi-tools and fits in well with the group.
At least one storage container of Asteroidium Ore was removed by the attackers. The incendiary explosives intended to destroy the entire base did not go off.
Episode 9 Missed Connections Feb 7
A couple of days R&R are spent on the Marakesh Market space station. Will learns that a famous low-life, Jayne Cobb, was on the station looking for work, and precipitated a bar fight, being taken down by the entire station’s security force. However, his bond was quickly paid and he was set free… minus his carbon polymer combat knife which station guard Peter White confiscated and traded to Will for a whiskey still. Jayne Cobb was hired by an attractive and mysterious Core woman. A drunk hooker who Jayne had exhausted previously overheard their conversation; the woman’s name was something like Alice; she hired him to help her break into a secure facility; she also needed to hire a hot-shot pilot who could pass in upper-crust social circles and seemed to think there was one for hire on the station, but she couldn’t find him.
Back on the Hotspur, Captain Stokes’ plan to put a vomiting-inducing medicine into the crew’s ilicit still to teach them a lesson about drinking when he’s off the ship backfires, when Thomas refuses to spike the still and instead rebuilds the still so that it produces pure drinking water. Colton feels sorry for the crew and instead spikes the Captain’s secret whiskey stash with the debilitating medicine.
Episode 10 Attack of the Amazon Space Ninja Pirates Feb 22
After a couple of weeks of boring asteroid-mining duty, one night a bordello ship, the San Francisco Bay, docks on the Hotspur during the third shift when all of the senior officers are off-duty. Captain Stokes, being incapacitated by his poisoned whiskey, is unresponsive when the third mate calls for advice; so he authorizes the ship to dock. The hookers initially charm the crew until they draw machine guns and seize the bridge and scanner/communications room. Most of the crew are sealed into their bunk pods. Jack, who was playing poker in the break room, and Colton, who had fallen asleep inside the flight simulator video game, engage and disable tough goons attempting to wire up incendiary explosives of the same type found on the raided asteroid base. Jack reluctantly shoots down several gorgeous but heavily armed prostitutes. Will stubbornly retakes control of the engine room after a bloody firefight with a male and female goon who seem to repeatedly recover from life-threatening wounds; afterwards it is revealed they wear very high-tech medicinal auto-injector packs. Thomas monitors security cameras, turns lights on and off, and manipulates the ventilation to thwart the attackers from the safety of the machine repair room. Dr. Gong escapes her locked room and disables a few attackers with a gas grenade, arms the Captain, and locates the pirate leaders Big Dog and Trish Trash, the same n’er-do-wells who had hired Skinner, Molly, and Joe to try to steal the silver case of astroid ore at the space station in episode one. They are forcing the mute communications officer Noon Mau to download the ship’s scanner records (useful in identifying the spectrographic properties of the mysterious Asteroidium, and pinpointing its locations in the asteroid field).
Dr. Gong attempts, with some success, to pretend she is one of the hookers to get close to Big Dog but is thwarted when an engineer calls her Doc and gives away that he recognizes her. Big Dog executes Noon Mau when the file download is complete. As she dies, the psychic silently imparts to Dr. Gong some hazy secrets she’d gleaned from Big Dog’s mind. As Big Dog drags Dr. Gong back towards their ship, she angrily zaps him with her laser glove; the brute is severely wounded but not killed, and levels her with a punch; Gong pretends to be out cold and is unceremoniously dragged into the San Francisco Bay brothel ship. Captain Stokes seizes control of an escape pod and tries to hold off the goons long enough for Dr. Gong to join him, but he collapses from his many wounds and is jetisoned off into space inside the pod.
Meanwhile the primary combatant of Big Dog’s pirate crew, Miao Ding, slices and dices Jack and Colton with her twin high-tech combat knives, while dodging most of the bullets sent her way. She bends Colton’s rapier and disables one of Jack’s pistols with deft parries. Previously disabled goons are seen re-setting more bombs, having been re-invigorated by their medical packs. Thomas quickly locks the storage compartments before the goons can set the detonator timers.
The ship’s computer calmly announces that a large asteroid impact is due in 30 seconds and the ship’s gravity deflector beam has been turned off; immediate evacuation is advised. All of the crew pods are unlocked for evacuation. Despite Will’s heroic recapturing of the engine room, too much damage has been inflicted on the computers for the deflector beam to be reactivated in time to stop the incoming asteroid. Everyone evacuates the Hotspur in escape pods just as the asteroid smacks into the bridge and crushes the top levels of the ship.