During our previous session, the crew of the Sex Thing had discovered a stowaway Tenipal in the cargo hold. Her name was Ooma Vale, and she wanted to see other places and meet other people. There was a concern that she was actually a spy, but she did appear to be the genuine article.
They used her to get some more background on the Tenipal culture. Tenipal itself was a small world with a population of about 3½ billion. Most of it was a mix of plains and cities, with forests in the higher latitudes. Though it was a warm, wet and humid world, not much of it was covered by open water. Most of the water was in the atmosphere or tied up in plants and in aquifers.
The Tenipal had been a plains people, and had hunted most of their wildlife to extinction by the time they started building technological cities. Their cities were low density, stretching across the world in a clustered web with agricultural farmland inbetween. Society is a bureaucracy, and quite static. However, there is some unrest, and even some terrorist factions that are wanting change.
The big question was where Ooma was going to sleep. In the end, it was decided that she would bunk with Trennance. The following morning, she complained that there had been a lot of noise from the pipes, spurring double checking of the ship’s plumbing. Further checks of the ship show that one of the external ‘small’ guns isn’t reporting anything, so they’ll need to check that when they come out of jump.
Myself and the players have a discussion about general ship maintenance and the state of the Sex Thing and Deepnight. My assumption is that everyone is doing what they can to keep things running, but it has been quite a few years and things will be suffering from entropy. The campaign does have rules for rolling to see what what working, but I stopped using that a long time ago – mostly because I couldn’t be bothered. Now I just wing it based on what seems reasonable. I definitely don’t have any plans to screw the players over if they fail to mention they did some repairs.
During one of the following nights during Jump, the crew have a film night, and an ancient 2D film from early Earth history. It’s possibly a documentary about first contact with a alien species. Yip watches it as well, and ends up having nightmares about eggs and things bursting out of her stomach. Eventually though she decides she is Ripley (though everyone else thinks she is more likely to be Newt), and that she wants a power loader for a toy.
The Sex Thing comes out of jump around Tenipal on 1115-064. There is no high port here, so they head down to the planet based C port as directed by traffic control. They are escorted by a couple of small fighters, and met with fireworks as they come in to land. There are large crowds of people, including journalists and red uniformed Judiciary Guards. Three black grav vehicles arrive, and the crew are invited to visit the Presidential Palace, where there is a traditional exchange of gifts on meeting with the world’s President.
Several of the crew remain behind on the ship, ‘just in case’, whilst the rest head off to meet the president. It is once again a heavily ritualised affair, which eventually leads to dinner. They get to taste the fresh fruits of the world, which really are delicious. Khadashi mentions an entropy removal device, which gets everyone really interested until he explains it was a joke. Sub Lt Myrmlag tries some jokes of his own and upsets several people.
The plan for the following day is a visit to a medical university in the morning, followed by the grand market at lunchtime, shipyards in the afternoon and ending at an art museum in the evening.
Things go smoothly until they reach the Market. The Grand Market is a huge sprawling open air affair, filled with food, artwork, clothing and trinkets for Yip to be overjoyed with. They are surrounded by a crowd of journalists trying to get photo opportunities or sound bites, traders trying to sell their wares and red uniformed guards trying to keep the first two away from the off-world guests.
It was then that somebody realises that Yip isn’t with them. A series of Recon checks had gone incredibly badly for the party, so they hadn’t noticed that she’d been distracted by some shiny toys. They also hadn’t noticed when someone had put a bag over her and bundled her into a car. The guards still weren’t quite sure whether she was an actual ‘person’ or just a pet, so hadn’t been keeping a careful eye on her.
A brief EMP burst took out electronic equipment in the area, and things were shortly followed by explosions elsewhere in the market as the kidnapper’s grav car sped off.
Exactly what could have happened here was going to depend on how well the Travellers did on their Recon checks. Anything from spotting the attempt before it happened and having a chance to stop it, through to not noticing until it was pointed out to them was possible.
Some of the journalists turned out to be useful, and their drones had managed to capture some of the action before the EMP took them out, so the Travellers knew what to look for. The guards’ first reaction was to try and bundle the Travellers to safety, but Zanobia took control of the situation (a good Leadership roll), and ordered several guards off in pursuit.
A call back to Shinzaro on the Sex Thing at the star port resulted in that ship suddenly lifting off, requesting forgiveness from the local traffic patrol as it did so, rather than bothering with permission. Within a few minutes it was at the Grand Market, and everyone was onboard, along with a couple of Judiciary Guards.
The kidnappers were heading towards an old industrial complex, which turned out to be equipped with surface to air missiles. These took out one of the following Guard cars, and the other veered off. The Sex Thing was in hot pursuit though, and its crew was tooling up ready for a rescue.
For this session I wanted a bit of action again. I had already decided that the Tenipal weren’t going to be a completely homogeneous society. They are static and steeped in tradition, but not everyone thinks this is a good idea. Especially since contact with the Sovreigndoms, there has been a growing faction that think the Tenipal need to completely change if they have any chance of survival. The government cracks down on these factions, seeing them as a threat to the stability of their culture, but that has lead to the more extreme terrorist groups mentioned by Ooma.
Now one of them sees this as a chance to force change. Unfortunately some Tenipal have seen the Sovreigndoms and taken their view of “might is right” as the best approach, so a heavy handed approach to force others into cooperating is seen as a good idea. Kidnapping one of the aliens, to force the others to share their technology and knowledge seemed like a good idea at the time. They didn’t know that the humans had already handed over blueprints for new jump drives and other tech advancements during the gift giving ceremony, but they’ve probably committed themselves to this course of action.
We ended with the Travellers donning their Battledress and selecting weapon load outs. How much it will actually be needed next session remains to be seen. I also need to figure out the government’s reaction – they will be sending in help, since they don’t want to upset their guests, but their reactions previously have tended to be quite heavy handed.
For next session, I might need a map though. Something I haven’t done in quite a while.