The Out of Options has gained a lot of information from the Erline by this point, so the upcoming plan is to meet up with the Deepnight Revelation and report back. Which meant that I had to figure out where all the other ships in the mission were. About a month had passed since the Out of Options left the Deepnight, and since the Deepnight had been planning on spending about a month giving its engines an overhaul, it was probably in the process of leaving Zahline and heading towards Tenipal.
The Sex Thing was just ahead in terms of the timeline, so was still at Sanpa. As in the previous session, we had a flashback to decide on where all the ships were going to meet up. The ultimate destination was the B class starport in the Sovreigndoms, but the decision was to meet one parsec away at Isihuf (1916), refuel and head in from there. That way if anything went wrong, everyone had plenty of fuel for getting away.
For the Out of Options, the plan was to leave Erline and head to Cujo, then to Elhy and investigate a second Citadel that the Erline knew was approaching that Sovreigndom system.
Both the Deepnight and the Sex Thing would be arriving at the Hope system around the same time. There is a large set piece event that happens in that system according to the campaign, though I hadn’t been planning on running it. I’d given some rumours that a territory dispute was going on there, but wasn’t expecting the players to actually get to that location. I also wasn’t wanting to force them there either. Given that both ships would be there, I had about half a session to decide what I wanted to do about this.
The Out of Options meanwhile was investigating a second Citadel. The meeting with the Citadel is set up in the campaign book as a huge, and quite complicated, fight. That’s not really what my players are interested in, so for their initial Citadel encounter that wasn’t how I played it. Since they were heading to a second one though, I decided it might make sense to bring in this aspect of it. This way they can choose whether to encounter it or not, without the threat of not gaining information or respect from the Erline.
The second Citadel was about 15 AU out from the Elhy system when the Out of Options arrives. It’s about 18 months from arriving at the system. 15 AU isn’t much, but this is a M9 type dwarf star, so the entire system, including outer Kuiper belt, fits within 1 AU.
They spend some time doing passive scans, then accelerate in towards it. This Citadel is considerably larger than the previous one, and has more guns. It also seems to resist their hacking attempts – though more to do with it having broken and disjointed systems than it being more advanced.
It detects them, and launches a small swarm of bots that are seemingly being used defensively. The Out Of Options readies its jump drive as they approach within gun range. The Citadel opens up with a barrage of mass driver rounds. The ship dodges, and vanishes into Jump. The crew record the incident as being very lucky that they arrived just as the Citadel was waking up from its long sleep.
At Aciwem, they refuel at a local gas giant, where they encounter some typically unfriendly Sovreigndom ships. They also spot a couple of warships heading towards the Hope system. The Sovreigndoms are merely unfriendly, and don’t attack, allowing the Out of Options to carry on its way to Isihuf, arriving there at 1115-103.
We now jump back in time to 1115-100, as the It’s A Sex Thing comes out of jump near the Jovian world of Hope VII. It was also a chance for a bit of roleplaying as we returned to the Sex Thing crew where Yip was starting to exhibit nesting desires.
Outside the ship, there was a Tenipal and Sovreigndom ship at the gas giant, both of which tried to communicate with the Sex Thing. The Tenipal were asking for help, the Sovreigndoms were demanding they helped. The reply to the Sovreigndoms was basically fuck off, and after threats on both sides the Sovreigndoms stood down. For the Tenipal, they declined to help, stating that there were only a science and research vessel.
Eventually the Sex Thing refueled, and decided to hang around to wait for the Deepnight Revelation to turn up. Over the next few days, they picked up on sensors three Sovreigndom warships in orbit around the second world, along with two Tenipal warships. It also looked like the Sovreigndoms had ‘landed’ (in a, can’t fake off again sort of way) a large colony ship which had dumped about 20,000 people onto the planet.
The Tenipal have settled the world of Claimed in Hope, and the Sovreigndoms are claiming that the world is part of their territory. They are landing citizens there to start their own colony. Though both sides are threatening a fight over the world, neither side has fired any shots yet. Whether the Deepnight wants to get involved in this is up to them. It’s a messy situation which could cause problems if things go wrong, but it might also be an easy way to get aid from one of the sides for their trip across the Rift if they think that they need it.
There is also the question of what to do with the other Citadel. If they ignore it, then nobody (other than the Erline) will know anything about it until the Deepnight is long gone. Helping is again a chance to gain help from one side, but it comes with a potential risk.