Last session, the PCs managed to take possession of the ship they had come for – The Perfect Stranger – and had managed to find out a bit more about what had happened to its previous crew. They’d also discovered that the main thing that they actually wanted – the data storage banks full of two years worth of intelligence information – were missing.
172-1105 : Checking the Ship
Between sessions, I had provided the group with a list of the equipment that was left on board. It’s quite an extensive list, containing a mix of survival and medical gear, weapons, and armour. Not enough to outfit a small army, but a decent stash for a small ship crew interested in self defence. There was some argument over who would get the grenade launcher – but that was more because nobody wanted anybody else to have it, given the complete lack of Heavy Weapons skill in the group.
There next step was dealing with their sense of paranoia about whether the ship was safe to fly. The adventure provided a quick mention that systems on the ship had been disabled and needed fixing, I decided to expand that to a series of Engineering and Electronics checks that needed to be made. Three checks for each of M-Drive, J-Drive, Power, Life Support, Computers, Sensors and Comms were needed – a single check would provide a cursory check and spot the obvious problems, but if they’d needed to take off in a hurry they could have made done with just one or two.
With hindsight, it probably would have made sense to have major problems found on the first check, and minor problems (which wouldn’t cause failure, but might cause niggling issues during flight) found on later checks. But they decided to spend a few days going over the ship and ensuring that it was all safe. There were a couple of parts they needed to buy, but by the end of things it was good.
Since Zanobia was the only one with Engineering, she was the only one capable of checking the ship’s engineering systems. Tucked away in the air conditioning units was a metal box duct taped to a pipe. A lot of careful removal and opening of it later found Cr100,000 in cash – which went a good way to paying off the ship debts and refuelling it enough for a 2 parsec trip.
The cost of fuel was considerable, so the group realised that they would probably either need to find some source of funding, or fall back to skimming gas giants for hydrogen. They also didn’t want to completely fill up and let everybody know they were capable of 5 parsec trips.
The checking of the electronics could be done by both Shinzaro and Khadashi, so went a lot quicker. I also had those checks easier and quicker anyway, since they mostly involved software rather than crawling around in pipes. The most serious thing they found was a couple of back doors left in the computer systems. Khadashi removed one and tried to honey trap the other, though didn’t get a great roll.
She doesn’t need a duster, she has a tail.Zanobia makes a comment about Shinzaro’s anatomy
They also did some general cleaning up of the ship, and went through personnel diaries and discovered that there had been a break down in shipboard relations during the missions – probably due to the stress of spending so much time aboard the ship. No-one should be surprised when I bring up the shipboard stress rules that the adventure has.
One evening Shinzaro noticed a green laser being flashed toward the ship from the top of a nearby building. Though they went out to have a look around the ship, they didn’t take the bait to go and investigate, though did spot that something had been left up on the roof.
With a bit of prompting though, they did remember that one of the shipping containers had blood stains on the outside doors, so decided to go and investigate in the morning.
Earlier they had found notes that one of the previous crew members had been tracked through use of a personal locator implant, and something had been niggling at the back of Zanobia’s mind for a while (i.e. she kept failing INT checks). Waking in the morning, she suddenly remembered that an incision on Iikush’s corpse could have been due to removal of such an implant. Which probably meant that it had been deliberately removed and used to lay a trap. A hint that the opponents may be smart.
Switching on the locator they find two pings in the temperate rainforests to 30km to the west, where a gun battle had been known to have happened, and about 70m to the south – roughly where the bloody shipping container was.
Eventually they checked it out, and found the body of Nashu Shuma the fourth crew member. Wearing only underwear and covered in wounds, she seemed to have come through the forest on foot, tried to get into the ship and hidden in a container where she had died of blood loss and exposure.
Though they’d found the bloody clues to the body much earlier than expected, they’d waited to follow up on it until about when I was expecting her to be found. If they hadn’t found her, it just would have been left as an unknown as to what had happened to her.
What I really wasn’t expecting was for them to report it to the authorities, which they did. With a sensible cover story though they didn’t raise too much suspicion on themselves. Yet.
There was some discussion of some of the other leads they had and where to go after Acadie, especially of drop point Hotel Zebra on Herzenslust which was mentioned in the ship logs, which is sort of on the way to Zuflucht.
175-1105: The Forest
Not wanting to leave the ship unattended, Sinzaro stayed behind and the other two hired a grav car and flew out to the forest to track down the other two tracking devices. They’ve kept their weapon load out to what is currently legal on Acadie (shotguns) so as not to draw attention to themselves.
Arriving at Trovia Falls, they find an area of slightly less dense forest at the base of three water falls. There’s signs of a larger vehicle (possibly a 20t launch) having landed here somewhat heavily some time ago, which made for a nice clearing.
Through the trees they could see some sort of construction and a cave in the cliff face. Given the time, it seemed like a good point to call an end to things for the evening. The fact that I had a map prepared may be indicative of future events.
I was expecting to try out the combat rules this session. Though it’s probably sensible for them to be combat adverse, I’d like to exercise the rules before we get too far into the game, so we’re not having to figure them out during a climatic life or death fight.