At the end of the previous session, the Deepnight Revelation was sitting in the Oort Cloud around Zaharoff (Theta Borealis / 2539) for refuelling. They spent an extra week here, doing a far scan of the route ahead to try and get an idea of what routes they could take.
One option was to continue through Theta Borealis and then into Mavuzog sector, the other was to try and cut through Khaeaw and Harea, hoping for some suitable rogue gas giants that weren’t on the official maps. They had success in detecting some, so the mission team decided to head towards Khaeaw.
Whilst in the safe emptiness of the Oort Cloud, they wanted to try some training for their sensor operators, practising detecting their own scout ships, with the scouts trying to sneak up on them. There wasn’t many places to hide, with AU between the various cometary bodies, but it gave people an exercise.
Sublieutenant Sir Alixe Vanaadi suggested running some full ship combat simulations, to ensure everyone knew what they would need to do in the situation. It would also be a chance for me to refresh on the starship combat rules, and get an idea of what sort of threats the Deepnight could handle, and also let the players know this without actually risking the ship. Since I’d need to do some prep for this, we decided it’s something that could be done possibly next session, but it was decided it would be a good idea.
From Zaharoff, they jumped to another Oort Cloud at Easton 2237, then to Moliska 1836. There was a gas giant at Moliska, and a garden world which they could use for gathering of supplies since they were getting low. It might also be a good place to drop off their Hitchhikers from the previous session. The hitchhikers were getting on well with the crew though. The two children were helping out with keeping things clean, and the adults were willing to help in mechanical and engineering jobs. If nothing else, they were new people to talk to, even though they were having to come up to speed in speaking Galanglic.
After refuelling, they headed in system to Moliska II at a leisurely 4g. It was a small garden world with a large moon, and an E class starport. There were a number of ships in orbit – mostly around 1,000dt in size, with no more than 1g drives. Nobody detected the Deepnight as it came in, so they decided to politely announce themselves.
It was a while before anyone answered, since they hadn’t been expecting anyone. It was only an E class starport after all. They were surprised and unsure, but welcomed the new visitors and invited them down. At this point the Deepnight started picking up radio traffic between some of the barge ships and the downport. It was all heavily encrypted, but it was also primitively low levels of technology, so breaking the encryption wasn’t hard. Indeed, one of the bridge officers suggested trying to hack the systems of some of the ships, to get more information on them.
From what they could gather, this world was ‘owned’ by the government of the neighbouring Gurgan 1737. Both were low tech worlds (TL 5 and 6 respectively), so any advanced technology they had (such as ships) must have been purchased from elsewhere. Gurgan was a desert world, and was using Moliska as a source of food. Most of the population here worked on the farms. They technically weren’t slaves, but with Gurgan having full control of the economy, there weren’t many other jobs available.
One of the grain ships in orbit insisted that starport control put restrictions on where the Deepnight could go. The Starport seemed more happy to have them come down. Eventually there was a bit of a ‘incident’ at the starport, and the official government took over, ordering the Deepnight into a parking orbit whilst they decided what they were going to do.
Moliska only had some unarmed grain barges, a few winged crop dusters and cargo planes, and a police force equipped to handle small amounts of civil unrest. If the Deepnight decided they wanted to land elsewhere on the planet and grab what they could, nobody would be able to stop them.
But it didn’t come to that. They made a deal to swap their cargo of electronics for a (much larger) cargo of food. TL 12 basic electronics were difficult to obtain out here, so the Deepnight brokers had no problems bartering them at a good price.
The family of hitchhikers were willing to get off here. With their knowledge of advanced engineering and electronics, they would be able to obtain decent jobs on Gurgan, especially with the influx of new technology. Somewhat less planned, was that two of the ship’s engineers also had that plan, and sneaked off during the unloading process.
When their absence was noticed, there were words had with the local government, but it was finally decided that they would stay. They’d changed their minds about being stuck in a ship for twenty years, and would rather settle down on a low tech world where they could probably wrangle a pretty decent life style for themselves.
It was then decided to try and convince the hitchhikers to stay. After some discussion, they were convinced to stay aboard the Deepnight and explore the galaxy.
From Moliska they headed to Hartman 1538, which was another Oort Cloud stop-over, and then out to a rogue gas giant that had been discovered at 1340.
From 1340 it was a 2 parsec jump to the unnamed and uninhabited system at 1101 in Khaeaw sector, and then onwards to another nameless system at 0702.
0702 at least had a gas giant, from which they could perform some refuelling. They also picked up some electromagnetic signals from the asteroid belt in the inner system – signals which matched those they’d detected from the dead ‘leviathan’ space whale creature they’d found some months before.
This time, the source was moving, and was a lot stronger. Probably a living creature.
They sent one of the scout ships in to the system, and detected a 100m long organic creature moving in the asteroid belt. The belt was deep within the sun’s jump mask, and mostly consisted of hot M-type asteroids with high metal content. The creature came to a stop when the scout got within a million kilometres, and began slowly moving towards them.
They let it approach, and it seemed to feel them out, then darted off at 15g, heading towards a clump of asteroids. They followed it as best they could. When it reached there, it nudged at some of the rocks, then came tearing back towards them, before heading back again.
As they approached, they detected what appeared to be the wreckage of another ship amongst the rocks.
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How did you decide that two of the engineers would defect? Morale score, dice rolls, or just for dramatic effect?
Just dramatic effect. It wasn’t planned before hand, but I decided it might be a more interesting way to show that this sort of thing would be a risk over the course of the voyage, rather than explain the mechanics of morale checks. Again also unplanned, they got to keep the new people so they didn’t lose anything.