Soldier’s Heart Chained

Last modified date

I knew that we were going to be skipping the Traveller game next week, so wanted to wrap this plot line up this session so when we pick things up again we can move ahead to the Deepnight adventures proper. One thing I’ve particularly liked about this particular plotline, at least from my point of view, has been that I’ve barely needed to prep anything over the last couple of weeks. Other than a burst of activity to flesh out the NPCs three weeks ago, along with their motivations and a timeline of what had happened, I haven’t really had to do much work, which has been great.

So the previous session had finished with the Travellers finding the body of Giimla, who had apparently jumped or had been pushed from the top of a building. Alfred gave the body a quick check over his body, it did look like it had died from a sudden impact with the ground, though a bad investigation roll meant he didn’t get too much information other than the death had probably been a few hours ago. Deciding to give the players a second chance, I gave a bit more description about the body including that he was wearing a light jacket, which prompted the players to ask about checking the pockets. They found a communications device and a data card.

On the ‘phone’ were a couple of message notifications from his wife, but the phone was locked so they weren’t able to see the content. They put both the phone and card back into his pockets. Khadashi wanted to get up to the roof to see if there was anything evidence up there. There was a fire escape down the side of the building, but also the front doors were open which led into a reception, so he took the easy route. There was nobody behind the reception desk, but there was a door there, which was unlocked (not a high security building). He popped his head in, and saw that there was some control stations for the building’s heating systems, and also some terminals showing the CCTV footage – including a live feed of the back of his head.

He decided against doing anything he didn’t have permission to do, and headed up the stairs to the roof, accidentally letting the door shut and lock behind him. There was some signs that someone had been up here, and a clean spot on the ledge above where the body was as if someone had been sitting there, and also standing. There was a broken glass with signs of alcohol having been in it. No signs of anyone else having been up here, so he headed down the fire escape.

They called in to the Starport Director to let her know that they’d found her sensor operator, and that he was dead. The PCs were really trying to avoid doing anything they didn’t have direct permission to do, which seems to be a theme in this campaign. They waited for the local police to arrive, and as they did there were some notification ‘jingles’ on the phone – they did opt to check those and saw a message that said “Timed message sent to Yarli“. Yarli they knew was his wife.

The police arrived, including Detective Inspector Zalu Susiishush who I’d expected them to meet when they went to talk to the local police last week, but they never went to talk to the local police.

Meanwhile, back at the starport, Zanobia has been talking to the Starport Director and trying to investigate more of what has been going on from that angle. The Director contacts the local Navy ship, a Fer-de-lance destroyer the Star of Imagalu, to see if they have any sensor records of the safari ship having been moving around whilst the planet’s own sensors were down.

The Director also manages to get permission to help the planetary investigation, and deputises the group. This allows them to go along with the DI to interview the wife, and also allows Zanobia to head to the morgue to perform an autopsy of the body.

On the data card was a date in a couple of days and some account details, which seemed to be a login to the planet’s sensor network. There were also some planetary coordinates down near the south pole. Talking to his wife, who was already expecting something bad to have happened since she’d recently received an email:

I’m sorry. I tried, but I wasn’t a good husband, and I did things that I shouldn’t. There is hopefully enough money on our account now so that you can move on, and maybe be able to forgive me for what I’ve done to hurt you and so many others.
I was a fool for getting into a state where she could control me, and a fool to trust her. They don’t care about us, they are just psychopaths. I won’t help them take what belongs to our world though.Please give this info to Samantha. She’ll know what to do.

Email from Giimla to his wife

Checking the account details, it seemed to be a newly setup admin account, which had some scripts setup to take down the sensor network in a couple of days time. There was also a login using the account some time after Giimla had died, which was traced back to the hotel where some of the Soldier’s Heart crew were staying. The autopsy results confirmed that Giimla seemed to have committed suicide, with no evidence of foul play.

Next, they took the Sex Thing to the south pole, where they found the three ATVs dumped in a deep bay just off the coast. Inside the ATVs were the bodies of the missing hunters. Several had been shot with laser weapons, others had bullet wounds – though having been fish food for the last few weeks there wasn’t too much to investigate.

By now they had most of the information they needed, though no direct evidence that the crew of the Soldier’s Heart were responsible for the killings – just a lot of supposition and circumstantial evidence.

The plan was to try and let the suspects incriminate themselves further and catch they red handed. The Fer-de-lance moved it to a suitable location behind the planet, and they removed it’s presence from the sensor network. The sensor grid was allowed to go offline, and the Soldier’s Heart took off and headed up towards the exclusion zone where the ‘singing stones’ were located. By now, all the crew were aboard apart from Aji, who was up with the scientists. A strike team arrested her, and then the Soldier’s Heart was ordered back to the starport as the sensors were switched back on.

It ignored the orders, until the Fer-de-lance came up over the horizon and also demanded that it cut its drive and prepare to be bordered. The crew decided that a 200t safari ship against a 1,000t destroyer escort wasn’t a fight they had much chance of winning, so they surrendered. Having the NPCs fight to the death seemed a bit unrealistic, and they had no idea why they were being ordered to surrender at this point – probably just guessing that their unscheduled take off from the starport had been noted.

What was left to do was to gather the evidence needed to convict, such as matching bullets to guns and records to prove they had hacked the sensor grid. None of that though was the responsibility of the Travellers, so they received their reward and left the rest to the planetary authorities.

I never really expected that the PCs would get into a fight with the crew of the Soldier’s Heart. Several of them were quite highly skilled military veterans, and really were psychopaths who had enjoyed murdering the hunters just for the sake of it. The last part of the session came down to me narrating what happened, since the players were happy to take a back seat and let the authorities do the work. Once we move onto Deepnight, the PCs will become the only available authorities, so hopefully there will be less of that. I think I will put them in charge of the expedition into the Anundarluu, so that they aren’t deferring to others, plus it gives the Deepnight expedition a chance to see how well they do, so they can decide what roles these characters will have on the main expedition.

There’s nothing left for the Travellers to do here, so they just have a couple of jumps to reach Egurgadi, where they will be briefed on the next mission. After that, there will be some character generation to make up the bridge crew of the Deepnight Revelation, and then the start of the next phase of the campaign proper.

Samuel Penn

1 Response