Milk and Honey

Last session, the Deepnight Revelation had arrived at the system of Esara (Incognita Citeria/0718). Long range scanning had indicated that there was a world with an oxygen atmosphere and liquid water oceans, which would make a suitable place to resupply.

On arrival at the 4th world of the system, more detailed scans picked up signs of a civilisation, probably around TL 1 (bronze age). There were cities along a river valley on the southern continent, with evidence of large scale agriculture. There were more limited signs of civilisation elsewhere, probably limited to stone age cultures.

Esara IV

On the northern hemisphere were the ruins of a large city, though no signs of current habitation. My random world generator had this to say about the civilisation here:

There is an intelligent civilisation on Esara IV, made up of small city states which mostly subsist through basic agriculture. War between the nations is uncommon, but it is often short. The people of Esara IV are small feathered humanoids. They have beaks and large eyes on either side of their heads. Their wings are vestigial, and they have long since lost the ability to fly.

— Esara Bronze Age civilisation

The Deepnight decided that it would do most of its resource collection on the southern hemisphere, a couple of thousand kilometres to the east of the river valley. That should minimise unexpected contact with the locals.

Meanwhile, a small team headed to the northern continent, to investigate the ruins. Zanobia, Shinzara, Trennance , Lord Sivas, Dr Carter, and Khadashi led the expedition in the It’s a Sex Thing, along with a couple of the ship boats. The ruins were quite extensive, but had been abandoned for some time. Even the river that it had been built on had long since changed its course and was now a couple of kilometres away. Though there were some local “Beakies” in the area (mostly hunter gatherers), they were keeping well away from the city itself. I had officially named the locals Esarans, but the players decided that they were to be called Beakies.

A Beakie

On approach to the city, it was obvious that the central portion consisted of a large palace, surrounded by heavy walls. There were various other clusters of walled enclosures as well. Most of the buildings seemed built for the locals, who rarely reached 1.5m in height. The fortified areas seemed to sport larger buildings and portals, more suited to 2m humanoids. It appeared as if there had been two different species living here.

Approaching the main palace gates, it become obvious who the other species had been. The gates were flanked by two 15m tall statues. One had collapsed, leaving only legs, whilst the other was still standing. It was a muscular fur covered alien, with armour and holding a heavy sword. It’s head was surrounded by a mane, and the protruding snout and teeth obviously belonged to an Aslan. Somehow, in the past, the Aslan had came here.

Dr Carter (archaeologist) and Lord Sivas headed off with a small team to explore the city, whilst the others investigated the central palace.

The main courtyard was rich in bones – that of Beakies. Mostly buried now, but it was evidence of a large scale massacre. Some of the bones were heavily charred, and there were plenty of samples of spear and arrow heads. Amongst the burned rubble of the palace interior were found some Aslan bones, as well as heavily decayed remains of plasma weapons. The estimate was that this had happened about 500 years ago, with the city having lasted no more than 200 years before that. Going by the size of the living quarters, there were probably two to three thousand Aslan living here.

Some artwork have survived on the walls, which depicted the Aslan lording it over subservient Beakies. It must have been a good life for the Aslan – until the locals rebelled.

Written evidence provided some actual Hierate dates, which dated their arrival to 673 years ago. They had arrived in some colony ships and conquered the world for themselves.

Though there was some sign of higher technology, such as some solar panels and computer consoles, all of these were long past being functional. There were some steam engines as well, where the Aslan had been losing their high tech but were trying to build up technology from scratch.

During the exploration, there were the sounds of gun shots from the outside. The second team had encountered some flying birds (not the local sophonts) that had been tracking them. They had swooped down to attack, but been driven off by a few gun shots. Apart from a few scratches, nobody had been seriously hurt.

After a couple of days of exploration, they went to find some locals to initiate first contact. It went well, especially when Zanobia told the locals that they were not friends with the golden haired Star Dwellers who had come before. I pretty much assume that Traveller technology can do automated translations of most languages. It can take a while for the software to ‘learn’ a language, and there can be some confusions, but communication is rarely an issue unless it needs to be done “right now” with a previously unknown language. The Language skill is often used in my games to determine how easily translation software can be used.

The Travellers are invited to go speak with the Word Smiths, who share stories and also provide much food and drink. Khadashi is convinced not to go in Battledress. They feast on the meat of large armadillo like creatures, and drink their fermented milk. There are also some honeyed sweats which are delicious.

According to the stories, the Aslan came and enslaved the people here, forcing them to build the large cities, and ruling over them for many generations. Then the people rose up and slew them all. They burned the crops they’d been forced to grow, and hunted down and killed all the animals that the Aslan had brought with them.

At the end of the meeting, the Beakies are presented with a cutlas, and the Travellers are given an egg. It symbolises the Beakies one day going to the stars on their own terms, finding the golden Star Dwellers and killing them. It seems to be an actual Beakie egg.

Milk and Honey

On the way up to the Deepnight, the Sex Thing picks up a distress call from one of the survey parties. Apparently they are in trouble – their vehicle has been knocked into a ravine and they are surrounded by angry armadillos.

For those running the Deepnight Revelation campaign, this is where I inserted the Milk and Honey scenario. For those playing Deepnight Revelation, now might be a good time to stop reading to avoid spoilers.

Since the Sex Thing was on a suitable flight path, it was easy to drop back down into the atmosphere and head directly to the point of trouble. A couple of scientists were on top of a hill, whilst below them a herd of armadillos were running around the wreck of a ship’s boat. Someone seemed to be down by the boat, sometimes firing into the heard. There was a ravine nearby, where one of the wheeled scout vehicles had been knocked. It was laying on its side by the stream, and a couple of crew were trapped inside it. Most of the herd had been drawn to the crashed boat though.

There was a quick discussion about what to do, and it was decided to lower a harness to rescue the lone crewman. Firing into the herd was possible, but it may have caused more problems than it solved. However, he refused to be rescued, and shouted and pointed down to the ravine for those trapped there to be rescued first.

Some deft piloting by Shinzaro resulted in all five of them being rescued, though two vehicles had been lost. Another team turned out to be having issues with a flock of the flying predators. They had been abandoned when the pilot of the boat had flown off suddenly to rescue the other party. Another team came to the rescue of them though.

Afterwards, things turned out to be more complicated. The pilot was Miyek Estaavi. The Travellers had worked with him before, and he’d been reasonably competent. One of those in the crashed wheeler was Shandra Vledden, who had also turned up before, when she’d rather publicly dumped one of the other crew members just before he’d committed suicide. She had been with Miyek, broken up with him, and was no back in a relationship with him. However, her medical exam showed that she was 15 weeks pregnant.

Apparently she’d removed her contraceptive implant and deliberately gotten pregnant with Miyek to try and draw him back to her. Given how protective he was currently being of her – at the expense of the rest of the crew – it had worked. At least for now.

She’d broken the contract she’d signed when she had joined the crew, messed with the heads of several crew members, and inadvertently put others in danger because of it. Khadashi was all for spacing her, Zanobia was more tactful. It was of course reported up the chain of command, where it was decided that forcing an abortion on her wouldn’t be suitable. However, it was unlikely she would be given any positions that allowed the authority to make decisions. She’d already demonstrated that she wasn’t very good at making good ones.

The completely shitty behaviour of Shandra didn’t sit well with one of the players. Given the sort of Delta Green adventures they tend to GM, I was a bit surprised. It’s not an issue that comes up too often – many of us have been gaming together for over 20 years, so we’re sort of used to the sort of games that we play. On the few times that new players have joined the group, we’ve made a conscious decision to keep things inoffensive until we all know each better. But it is something to note for the future, and for how things play out.

Speaking of which, this is something that could have a big effect on the morale of the crew. They did pick up some teenagers recently, so it’s not as if the crew is entirely child free. But someone actually giving birth to a child aboard the ship could change the dynamics, especially if others decide they want to do the same. The news isn’t public yet, but sooner or later it will come out.

The session went well though. There was the opportunity for some fighting against the herd, but the players decided to avoid that and simply rescue everyone. Things could have gone wrong with the Beakies, but again they acted sensibly and the encounter was peaceful. When the stories of your people tell of Star Dwellers being able to burn the flesh from your bones with a glance, then when you meet some Star Dwellers there is generally little incentive to upset them. At least not immediately.

Next session the Deepnight will probably be heading into Vilaakasii sector.

Samuel Penn

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