District 268 Back Roads Jaunt

Roll Credits

… and with that, the travellers prepped themselves to counter-attack the pirates. Should they win, they’ve got themselves a ship and are clear of the hot goods Hotep. Should they lose, well that’s just how the story goes…

(So long everyone. It was a great game, and thanks for playing.)

Interview With A Pirate

During the flight to Elixabeth, the crew passed the time gambling. One member did particularly well as the stakes went up (decide the stakes; make Endurance + Gambling checks all around; lowest pays the highest the stakes, next lowest pays next highest the stakes, odd out breaks even, split contributions for ties). Durion passed the time practicing his shooting in the cargo bay but accidentally hit one of the caged animals with a ricochet (simple skill test). The one in particular was Draculin.

Shane, curious about these strange mammalian creatures, proceeded to examine them. He noticed that each cage has a drug name under it and an identifier string of numbers under that. Using his sketchy knowledge of first aid and familiarity with some standard medical equipment, he gave the dead one a cursory examination with a common medical analysis device aboard.

The examination revealed sections of DNA encoded with what appeared to be computer files. Capturing the string and bringing it up on a computer revealed the equivalent of a Word document or text file containing medical jargon explaining how to manufacture Draculin (a pharmaceutical) using humanoid “biofactory protocols”. The particular creature under examination also showed obvious signs of cancer and of mutation.

The Hotep emerged from jumpspace at Elixabeth, very close to the 100 diameter limit of the world and luckily a day out. Suddenly the sensor operator discovered a 300-400 dton mass spacecraft quickly heating up and vectoring toward them. Additionally, the Hotep had unluckily popped out inside a standard combat engagement envelope (Close Range).

The craft’s optical profile did not match any freighter, tramp, cop, or liner configurations, but that’s the best that could be resolved with the skill, equipment quality, and pressure (“fine” quality sensor gear: -2 DM, sensor skill, time requirement to identify).

Shane hailed the craft and got in contact with a Captain Abraham of the Razor. They hit it off well, with Captain Abraham politely ‘asking’ that a ‘donation’ of some kind be tossed out the airlock his direction or else he was going to cut the ship open with a laser. During this exchange, it was revealed that a few weeks ago Del had asked around at Noctocol What Luck Casino about any hazards or nefarious types at Elixabeth, the direction they were heading. Voicing the info to Shane helped him to resolve who this Captain Abraham might be (+1 to Reaction check).

The crew debated what to do. Durion proposed seeing them off with a threat that their ship was biocontaminated (which was very probably true given past events) while Del argued that they should turn the tables on these guys after they attack and capture their ship! At this point, nothing was completely settled on.

After a time allotment, Captain Abraham called in repeating his ‘donation request’. Shane, opting to try stalling a little longer, thought it might be a great time to try giving him a proper journalist’s interview (character background is Journalist).

“If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?”

This held him off a bit longer, flattering him, and the crew learned something important about the other ship’s crew: they were well prepared to handle bio-contamination, learning that they douse their returning suited men in cleansing low-intensity bursts of plasma from the engine as a matter of course, having seen a lot of weird, creepy shit in this back end of space.

“If you were to die and come back as a thing, what would you want it to be?”

The team ultimately refused to give in to the pirate’s demands and so two outboard passenger staterooms promptly vanished in a flash of light, swirling trash, wires, and mattress chunks. Alarms sounded and emergency doors slammed. Shane on the flight deck spied a molten gash through which naked stars shined beyond. Shadows began appearing and moving in the camera’s gloom. Suddenly three space suited figures appeared in the gash. They crossed the vacuum of the room to the now sealed passenger room door.

“If you were writing your epitaph, what would you say?”

At this time, Del, Durion, and Rus T., already suited up and prepped with shotguns and gear from the ship’s locker, sited themselves in the ship’s salon across from the soon-to-be entry point and began taking a bead on where the intruders where about to enter (+6 aim bonuses all around).

“Thank you for a most entertaining interview.”

Falling to a plasma torch, the door instantly disappeared, sucked out of the ship by the gale force wind. When pressure equalized, the intruders emerged, but the massed fire of shotguns and Durion’s scarfed snub pistol with HEAP rounds dropped one almost instantly. The remaining two intruders fell back rapidly with surprise, fleeing their now fanged but still deliciously juicy yacht target. In the exchange, Shane notified the others that a signal was received from the other ship directing the men to get out of there.

(55 minutes to naval intercept, 69 days remaining on deadline)

Always Low Low Prices
(Noctocol to Elixabeth)

The crew deliberated if there was anything they needed to do before departing. During deliberations they received emails over the data feed to the What Luck Casino from a Mac Grierson, the guy who kept trying to reach them earlier, owner-operator of the What Luck Casino. He stated that he very much would like to meet with the captain of their fine yacht to discuss the subject of improving the TAS starport rating of Noctocol on the star charts.

Rus T., while presumably checking the TAS News Service, incidentally noticed an item about a prized sample of Darrian miconera gel disappearing from a well protected museum on Flammarion. This was their successful heist at the beginning of all of this and news of it has finally reached the other end of the sector at Noctocol. (News travels at jump 3 or jump 4 in District 268). (2.5 million Imperial credits per person was the payout for the Goo Job and the team arranged for it to be held at Iterati in a corner of a certain anonymous warehouse there.)

After lengthy discussions, the crew decided to meet with him as he sounded desperate enough. Wandering through the freeport, they passed Dominika’s Tweak Hut (SAT! Skill Augment Tuesdays! SAT! Half Off!) but took a pass on that. In the What Luck Casino, they met up with Mac, a rock-like, broken-nosed individual in well cut clothing. Meeting with him, they agreed to just accept his simple offer of some luxury cruise tickets up front if they were to use their influence upon the Traveller’s Aid Society (found at the nearest class A or B starport) to upgrade Noctocol’s starport letter designation from E to D on the star charts. Much commerce is involved with this and he’s prepared to offer substantial favors for further efforts.

The crew noted that the flight path of the luxury cruise would take them from Elixabeth to Datrillian to 567-908 to Flammarion at a rate of jump 3. Digging further into the background of this cruise line, they discover that the line is owned and operated by two brothers Slater, of Slater Horizons, formerly merchants now knights of the Imperium. The brothers Slater invested in a purposed-starliner to take sight seers through the wild and untravelled regions of District 268 to see its sights.

Durion chit-chatted with Mac later, asking round-aboutwise if he knew any good dealers of starships at Elixabeth. Mac was very pleased to pass on the name of a friend of his who owned a used starship yard at the destination (+1 to a reaction test with the used starship establishment owner).

Some of the crew hung out at the casino, using their complementary coupons to dice a bit and made a little money for the night. While playing a round of Meteor Chicken, one of them overheard chatter about a game of Damage that was to take place at Squallia in a few weeks.

After this the crew departed, dodging a careless space freighter with the logo “Low Low Prices” emblazoned on it. Setting course for the first leg of the flight, they aimed for deep space to widely avoid Fiorine, one of the known chief ports of call for the Hotep. They entered jump space quickly, not having to worry about any 100 diameter limits from nearby gravitational bodies.

In flight, the crew debated the possibilities of somehow fencing or trading the hot potato Hotep for a ship at the destination. Everyone took the opportunity to train and practice skills. Some of the crew assisted Caffran as he electronically rehabilitated his sick probe drone. It appears to be recovered for now, declaring it was “ready to serve”.

Popping out in the middle of deep space the crew detects a ball of ice and rock tumbling nearby with a heat source emitting from it. Upon it is built a small living shack and some other decrepit buildings. Establishing contact yielded an old man’s voice and a warning shot. Sounds of an old lady’s voice and a scuffle came from the microphone and an old lady came on the air inviting them to visit and trade any entertainments and money for some palladium metals. The crew agreed and attempted to trade one of the alien mammals in the cargo bay, particularly the one labelled ‘hyperviagra’. After some convincing they were able to buy a ton of precious metals for 40,000 credits and were on their way. The crew spent more time practicing skills over the long flight, preparing to pop out at Elixabeth, with 74 days remaining on deadline.

"Welcome Hotep. Would you like the usual?"

After making an uneventful refuelling dive into Tarkine’s gas giant, the team headed to the 100 diameter limit and safely made it into jump space. Over the intervening 6 day breather, they checked over the ship. Durion dealt with a nagging screen prompt of some kind appearing on a console on the flight deck, discovering that it was a program of some kind connected to the ship’s transponder equipment after much swearing and effort. He figured it was some kind of dead-man’s-switch and Rus T Knives disconnected the computer from the transponder, crossing fingers that it was shut out.

Del found the ship’s very nicely stocked bar. Rusty found the crumbled remains of two zombies in the engine room. One of the team discovered a person in an unopened low berth pod and Durion decided to pop it open and revive the occupant. The occupant turned out to be a journalist escaping from the unpleasantness back on Klinger’s Mine (Tarkine). Due to a flub in the revival process, he experienced freezer shock and spent the entire remainder of the trip on his back recovering slowly.

Some of the activity in the cargo bay elicited animal noises from the far end. Cages containing cute, healthy, big-eyed and three-eyed alien mammals were found. Under the cages were label placards with odd names like “Somnicaine”, “Hyperviagra”, “Psicose”, “Sarcophagene”, “Draculin”, “Flogaine”, and “Fucitol”. This was assumed to be part of more nefarious activity by the previous owners.

After popping back in to normal space at Noctocol, the previously disconnected console began trying to squawk a mayday-hijacking signal through the transponder and couldn’t now.

Upon arrival in normal space, a distress signal was immediately received by a spacecraft configured as a free trader. Rusty had the ship bracketed at a comfortable distance with his sensor skills. Durion determined through his career experience and comms skills that it was identifying itself with a badly-forged signal. The ship continued pleading for air and fuel as the team veered the Hotep away from the craft.

Further scanning of space revealed a powerful radio station-like signal being broadcast from the exact coordinates that Durion had received from the dying old man back on Klinger’s Mine (Tarkine). It was a signal informing all visitors in the system about the “What Luck Casino And Freeport” and to come and visit. Very little radio noise was detected coming from Noctocol’s inhabited main world, consistent with its status as a known insular settlement.

Deciding to not waste precious time and spend 20 days stealthily jetting across the system to a gas giant to refuel, the team decided to fire up the engines for 1 day to head to the What Luck Casino signal and investigate.

Identifying themselves as the Hotep and contacting the “What Luck Casino” yielded the reply, “Welcome Hotep. Would you like the usual?”

They came upon a smallish, glitzy-but-tacky, disk-shaped space-city having buildings rising off of it on one side. The other side being less glamorous and more utilitarian, contained a Class D-level starport on that side. A large chunk of comet ice floated nearby with attachments running to the space city.

A check of the ship’s logs by Durion for any clues on what the destination was expecting by “the usual” revealed some facts: the ship has passed through here and stopped here routinely. Also the ship was involved in a battle a number of weeks ago and insurance was payed out by a group called “Executive Outcomes, Inc.”

Docking, they were met by monks of the Universal Brotherhood requesting donations for stranded travellers on Noctocol’s dead-end main-world slums. Later, they were then met back at the ship’s airlock by a VIP asking for Direktor Zil. The team sent Shane Holliston, the journalist, to fast talk and delay him a couple of days. Del released one of the strange creatures in the cargo bay to cause distraction and urgency at the encounter. Succeeding exceptionally with this, Shane also got the VIP to reveal he wanted to talk to “whoever is the captain of the ship this time around”, making things a little easier for the rest of the team when or if they wanted to deal with this individual.

Playing things very cautiously, the team got the ship refuelled, resupplied, and got some basic maintenance handled, only to have the VIP return again. On the bright side, they managed to charge the refurbishing to the Hotep’s account with the starport, a pretty stiff sum.

88 days remain on deadline.

"Hair! Lots and lots of hair!"

The team fired up the Hotep, took off, and began planning a refuel operation at the local gas giant. Del said that they had better get control of the escaped stewardess because she was in the owner’s suite, a place to possibly control the entire ship. He was right. No sooner than he said that than did the video feed from there go dark. He went to check it out.

Del knocked on the owner’s suite door, pouring in the sweet talk. He heard the intercom open and a woman sigh as if she changed her mind that she didn’t want to speak. The intercom went quiet.

An alarm sounded from the low-berth bay. Low berths thawing and opening, revealing strange hairy beings rising from the creches. Caffran ran to check it out.

Suddenly the lights all go out on the ship, replaced by dimmer, red emergency lights.

Del sees the owner’s suite door open to reveal a person in a serious-looking space suit, with some kind of fancy rifle. The figure, a she – she apologizes to him, raises it to attack him with the butt of the thing and misses. The figure runs into the dark corridors of the ship.

Caffran spies strange bizarre hairy things rising from the low berths in the cargo bay area. They are bipedal humanoids with much hair, the hair points and sees around sensing its environment. Backing away he locks the door to the cargo bay only to see four hairy things go up and down the access tube to other parts of the ship.

A tense standoff ensues between Durion, Del, the stewardess, and Caffran. The person in the suit with the fancy rifle makes her demand to escape with Direktor Zil, claiming she is his bodyguard. Further maneuvering occurs and an agreement is reached to allow her, Zil, and the assistant (her choice) to leave aboard the ship’s launch. She slays the hairy space-zombies and tells how to deal with the remaining ones.

They leave, the crew makes to begin jump to Noctocol.

On The Road (Tarkine)

The Payoff

- Players plotted a way out of the predicament of being a long way from a way out
- Del seems to have deceived Direktor Zil to cooperate by playing polite and offering fresh meat for his experiments
- Rusty reconnoitered the corporate offices for suits (vacsuits)
- They donned some nice courtesy suits to sneak across the station/town posing as corpdrones
- The space yacht Hotep was discovered to be only half refueled due to the urgency of the request received to refuel it (workmen apparently off trying to find more fuel)
- Crew boarded yacht through a maintenance airlock in the engine room that they left open earlier
- Caroline the stewardess was encountered on board the ship, successfully fled and locked herself in the owner’s suite
- team dealt with an approaching mining laser on tracks making ready to cut the ship open or disable it
- Del tried playing recorded video of the nefarious deeds of the corporation over the town’s common video feeds but only got a brief image through
- Direktor Zil and assistant locked in a state room; Del smashed and fried the computer access with his stun baton

- Take off, space scan, dodged ice asteroids nearby, setting course

Throwing Down The Cards (Tarkine)

- Durion revived his bug from the static incident. He noticed it had passed through some kind of shielded zone.
- Caffran was gone so his probe drone contracted some kind of religion because of the damage it sustained. It doesn’t believe in technology.
- team recalls that a star-going craft like the Hotep sometimes has an escort hanging around
- Del met up with a member of Hotep’s crew, Caroline the steward. While doing so, he briefly met the crew of the Hotep.
- During the date, Del learned a few things about the Hotep’s operations
- During the date, the free belters of the town tried forcibly shaving the team’s heads in the middle of The Dive because the team openly flaunted the custom of Klinger’s Mine which is that everyone shaves their heads on Haircut Day, due to all the lice
- Direktor Zil, through Granzh the vargr, interrupted the confrontation, invited the team to his office only to try kidnapping them. He monologued that he was going to exchange them for the old prisoners for his fresh new biofactories. The team fought back.
- The team killed at least one thug, and dropped or subdued the others who expected passive, docile former passengers.
- The team made the Direktor their bitch and have the Hotep refueled in order to bug out towards Flexos by way of Noctocol. The team plans to bring the Direktor with them as a hostage and are going to try causing a riot as a diversion.

Re-orienting at Klinger's Mine (Tarkine)

- Ghost of the dead captain Warner haunts the wreckage of the Duchess Selene
- Duron talks to Chester, a indentured-prisoner who, on a lame-ass death bed confession, gives the location of a treasure stashed away in a beat up freighter orbiting around Noctocol star at such-and-such coordinates
- Duron noted via the bug he placed that Direktor Zil asks vargr sleezebag (name of “Granzh”) for a favor in return for a spot on his space yacht
- Del & Rusty reckoned the yacht to be in “refurbish mode”
- Del jammed the aft hatch open from the flight deck
- Del has a date in 2 hours with Caroline the steward(ess!)
- the engine room HATCH-IS-OPEN event has been logged in the ship’s computer with no corresponding HATCH-IS-CLOSED event following
- Director & Rusty Knives have frosty conversation as Rusty yuks it up
- “Haircut Day” coming up, got lice?

Picked Up (Tarkine)

Klinger’s Mine offers the use of the posh corporate cell-baracks for the newly arrived refugee passengers of the Duchess Selene, instead of the noisy hangars and hammocks in the ore areas. PCs said we go to common area, the rest of the passengers can go to the nice cells.

Durion sneaks a bug onto Granzh the comatose vargr, their rival, during the ride away from the wreckage.

Listening in on Granzh:  He’s schmoozing folks.  Talking about the indentured folks.  
Durien find that company Zoloft Biotech is shipping out medicine from this location.  Earned 1250 credits doing some interesting administrative side work while waiting for pick up.

Caffran finds himself in The Dive confronting a drunk.  He attempts to use Luthar as his threat. It works.  While working he finds some folks in a quarantine area that aren’t looking so good and have hair growing from their mouths…

Grace helps Del get to feeling better.  She also realizes that what we’re seeing is some folks getting used as drug factories.

Del rests up then gets in good with a guard-employee of the Red Shirt Sectorwide Security Sevices agency.  He has seen “people sized boxes” getting stored for transport.  

5 days until Hotep arrival

Curly Oz the vagrant

- Belters coming in quit salvage operations of the wreckage because of a ghost sighting

next ride out is on a resupply freighter due in 4 months, find another way off this rock?

Scrambling At The Wreckage (Tarkine)

Players hijacked the ship’s shuttle, scrambled out of the way of the crash landing star liner as it crashed into a moon of the pesky ringed gas-giant.

Belters begin showing up and claim the wreckage. Players have twenty minutes to find any of their old stuff from the ship before trouble.

Debris scattered everywhere. Luthar found packages of scalliprawns… with sauce. Del found his underwear. Some of the team cracked open the ship’s locker.

Del is trapped under some wreckage in the danger zone. He spots someone: it’s the captain, waving at him. The captain turns around and disappears into the shadows. While further searching, the captain is later spotted, a burned skeleton in a space suit, strapped to a pilot console.


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