Dealing with… Vecna?
Bay Venchar is at the bottom of the cave, shouting up to the Travellers and threating to blow up the cliff, if Dr Volsang doesn’t come down.
Jack, posing as Dr Jinni Volsang, offers to come down peacefully and hand over the (delicate) detector, in exchange for her life. Jack then belays down. Followed by Kaal and Shora.
Jack gets flipped up by some anti-gravity force, then smacked down, but armor protects him. Shora manages to cling to the wall and be safe; Kaal as well.
500m descent, sense of being watched. Panic starts to rise, but Jack fights it off. Jack keeps descending. With his enhanced eyes he can see well, but no sign of BV. The rest of the descending party are affected also by growing anxiety (Shora, -2 check penalty; Kaal is ok).
Jack keeps getting BV’s name wrong (VarChar, Vergar, Vecna, …?), which is irritating him greatly. Jack still can’t see him and stays 15m above the floor. Finally, he spots him on the floor, hiding behind strange objects that litter the space. He’s holding an energy rifle.
Jack arrives at the bottom. BV encourages ‘her’ to approach him, waving a light. He doesn’t want to get closer and dissembles, while Shora starts to take aim. They discuss their obsessions with The Ancients, which is far stronger in BV, who wants to ‘reveal their secrets and obtain their power’. BV finally starts to walk towards her.
Shora, who has been taking aim with her pistol, fires, she manages to hit, but also falls from the rope. The shot bounces off BV’s armor. Jack switches off his light and runs forward, drawing his stunner. BV shoots at Shora, but misses in the dark. Shora gets lowered to the ground by Kaal.
Jack aims and shoots his stunner, hitting him and shocking him, despite his vacc suit. BV throws away the rifle and takes out an energy pistol and threatens Jack, calling out still for Dr Volsgang to surrender.
Shora takes aim carefully at BV as Kaal drops to the ground. BV advances on Jack. Jack activates the shrieker box to distract him, causing him to shoot wildly. Jack shoots again with the stunner, but misses. Shora continues to aim, fires, and hits, but it bounces off his armor. Kaal draws his axe and closes the distance. BV shoots his pistol at Jack again, hitting, causing 23 damage (-8 armor, 15 effective) seriously injuring her.
Jack closes and grapples BV, seizing his weapon. Kaal swings with his axe, hits for 13 damage, cutting through the vacc suit, slicing BV in two, leaving him ruined on the floor.
The party recovers the laser rifle, the laser pistol, a detonator, a high tech gravity belt; the vacc suit is ruined. Jack throws up from the gruesome remains.
Shora searches and finds the bodies of those thrown off the cliff (2 vargr, 1 human female — the woman from the bar on Feri). Their equipment is mostly smashed, but she finds a rucksack which has a rod, with a handle, controls and a conical end; plus the power pack for the laser rifle.
Sam now arrives at the bottom and starts to look for Dr Jinni, shouting to her. Jack uses the shrieker box to shout much louder. Jinni Volsang replies on the radio. Dr Volsang is found and Breia brings her up to date with events; she’s deeply shaken to hear of the damage and deaths.
Sam applies first aid to Jack, but ineffectively.
Leaving the Outpost
There are many buildings and structures in this cavern, with many tunnels leaving the main cavern. Sam examines things, but finds nothing of interest.
Dr Volsang realises that with the tunnels collapsed, the only way out is by the Big Stair. There is a mechanical hoist, with which the travellers can re-ascend. Dr V tells them that the anti-gravity areas are an Ancient defence against anti-gravity use. They were on the point of having useful readings from the anomaly detector, but says they cannot continue without a research team. She wants to return to Regina and speak to Prof Ujinka to inform her and discuss with her.
Prof Ujinka was in the previous campaign, known to that party (specifically Jack), but was killed in an attack while the party was with her; they never found out why.
An awkward conversation between Jack and Jinni ensues. Jack doesn’t tell her Ujinka is dead. Jinni mentions an ‘incident’, that damaged her reputation, but does not elaborate at first.
It takes 40 hours for everyone to get to the surface. Jinni says that Prof Ujinka was faculty at Uni Regina (Archaeology and History). 12 years ago there was an ancient site on Inthe (6 parsecs anti-spinward from Regina), which was formally a secret, but widely known. Ujinka fought a legal battle with Scouts to get the site opened up. The legal challenge ultimately failed, losing her reputation.
Return to Beck’s Town
The subsurface travellers emerge 10km away, Allia flies the launch to pickup them up. Novae looks for the White City (BV’s ship) using the sensors, but the conditions are difficult and nothing is found.
The ship returns to Beck’s Town.
Skott tries to identify the strange spade. It’s a static shovel, which can be used for tunnelling and excavations.
Customs make contact and want to know where we have been. Officer comes to the ship and boards. Asks where we have been. Marie explains that we have been rescuing people at the excavation site. Officer asks what people, then spits in the airlock and questions who gave authority for this. Marie says she didn’t understand that permission was needed. The officer demands we hand over the rescued people. Marie offers Cr. 1 000 instead, which the officer accepts, but says the party should leave the planet. Marie offers another Cr. 1 000, looking for a broker. He gives the Travellers 24 hours to load up and leave, and recommends The Syndicate for trade.
Allia offers Ginny and Breia a drink and a quiet time to reflect. “I lost people too,” she says. Ginny and Briea start to process and grieve their loss.
Novae presses Ginny for information about sensing equipment, but Jinni didn’t take any equipment from the site.
Jinni asks for middle passage to Regina, which she can pay on arrival.
A route to Regina is planned via Feri, but Allia says she will not get off the ship if they do that. Jack doesn’t want to go to Regina, as Ujinka is dead, but she still doesn’t want to tell Jinni. Finally, she does tell her that she heard that Ujinka was assassinated. Jinni is even more devastated now. Allie takes Jinni aside and, alone, says she knows what she’s going through, but that the research is the most important thing — she should go back to the university. This is the worst day for her, but Allia says she needs to carry on. Allia insists with Marie that we take Jinni to Regina for free. He points out this is KCr. 100 passage. Allia says that what Jinni is researching could be worth infinitely more. She agrees to give her passage for free.
Marie, Shora and Kaal go to see The Syndicate, looking to buy illegal cybernetics. They have 3 tonnes, which the travellers buy (will be labelled “Agricultural Machine Parts”). Look for illegal drugs, but there are none. They ask for illegal luxuries, of which they have 2 tonnes. These are bought as well.
Shora tries to join a gambling game with the vargar, but they refuse to let her in.
The ship also picks up 4 high passengers and 1 mail cannister, 6 pieces of incidental cargo x2 tonnes.
The Battle of White City
The ship takes off and finds the White City starship in orbit. The travellers think there is probably one Vargr still on board. Jack has a plan to pretend to be BV, held as hostage, to board the ship and capture it. Allia says we don’t need to make them believe BV is a hostage — just pretend to be him and say he needs to board his own ship.
Jack calls the ship, pretending to be BV. The vargr answers. Jack says the professor is dead and his team injured and asks them to come alongside. Jack is extremely convincing and the White City draws alongside. The travellers prepare with vacc suits and weapons.
A docking tube will connect the ships, but it is not pressurised. The travellers plan to send over a team as they are expected, then take the ship by force. Team is Kaal, Novae, Shora, Marie, Skott. The team make it to the other ship, which pressurises its airlock, the vargr crew member is looking in on them through the inner airlock door.
The vargr becomes suspicious and asks who the people in the airlock are. Jack, still impersonating BV, berates the vargr over comms to open the airlock, which he does. There are two vargr in the White City ship.
Shora shoots with the laser rifle, seriously injuring one vargr. Marie tries leadership, but only confuses Novae who misses with his gauss pistol, shooting Shora by accident; fortunately it bounces off her armor. Kaal swings his axe, but, in the cumbersome vacc suit, misses. Skott fumbles his shot, also hitting Shora a glancing blow. The vargr attack with their corsair swords, the injured one misses, the other hits inflicting 8 damage on Novae.
Shora fires again, hitting the other vargr, and badly injuring him. Marie again adds to the chaos, confusing the party with unclear instructions… Novae, hurt, runs into the ship’s corridor. Kaal again swings wild with the static axe, hitting Shora and wounding her. Skott also shoots, hitting one vargr and taking him down. The remaining vargr hits Shora a vicious sword blow, ripping through her vacc suit and fatally wounding her. She falls. Enraged, Marie slices at the vargr with her axe, killing him instantly.
Novae rushes to the fallen Shora, unwrapping the trauma pack in an attempt to save her. He presses the pack into the wound. Shora’s eyes flicker open again, she gasps, revived. Novae knows he must treat her further to really stabilise her. Sam comes over to the White City to assist with his computer. There are no slow drugs anywhere, but there is a medical kit (TL10). With Novae’s care, Shora is stabilised. The travellers breathe a collective sigh of relief to have saved Shora.
Two Ships, One Pilot
The travellers debate how to deal with the White City, trying to work out how to get it to Feri to sell. Searching the ship it’s clear there were 4 vargr and 2 human crew; the ship is luxuriously equipped. Anagathic drugs are found (6 months supply), as well as art works, platinum bars and imperial credits. Roughly MCr. 0.5 in transportable items. The ship has twin turrets with pulse lasers and civilian standard sensors.
Sam tries to hack the ship’s computer, but it’s going to take a long time. (Without access to the computer, the ship’s standard manoeuvring programs are unavailable, penalty to fly the ship.) The travellers think to hire a pilot to take the ship to Feri.
The injured Shora gets taken back to the Traveller’s ship and the battle mess is cleared up.
The Travellers decide to take the time to hack the White City’s computer. They make excuses to the passengers and drop them back onto the planet, along with the mail, claiming a technical issue with the ship.
Jack tries to hack the White City computer, which takes 4 days, but he fails. Meantime the wounded party members rest and heal. Eventually the computer is hacked by Jack, after several attempts.
The Travellers hire a pilot and an engineer from Beck’s World and pay them to fly White City back to Feri. The Travellers stay in their ship, with the White City piloted by the hires.
The jump to hyperspace is made…