Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fragments – Session 4: Bhuddas and Bubbas – Part 2: Krakatoa

Session 4 happened Friday, October 21, 2011. This is the second part of the adventure log for this session.

This campaign uses the Hero System, 5th Edition, with much Traveller material grafted on.  I am making use of the Hero Traveller books published by ComStar Games.  Sadly, these books went out of print when Mongoose Publishing purchased the rights to produce all things Traveller.  Mongoose is doing good things, so no hate mail.

The Company:
Maxwell Sloan (male human, communications and sensors specialist)
Cyrano Steel (male Lante, computer systems specialist)
Braddock Grar, Lector (male Low Waldi, archivist)
Nomen Fire-eyes (male human hybrid, negotiator)

The Crew:
Echo Salazar, Ship’s Captain (female human)
Ted Yahn, Ship’s Navigator (male human)
Albertha Trufin, Ship’s Engineer (female human)
Dr. Quinton Picknell, Ship’s Doctor (male human)

Maresfield Trade Representative:
Deadra Pagenkopf, Maresfield Trade Liaison (female human)

The Passangers:
Brother Kurts of the Order of the Sacre Illuminae
Sister Gunita of the Order of the Sacre Illuminae

Week 7, Day 4:
The Just Lucky arrived in Krakatoa system and started scanning the system, first using passive systems.  They immediately picked up a beacon in Krakatoa orbit, an Acojah beacon, not a human one like they expected.  This made everyone a bit nervous.  The PCs decided to play it safe and headed to the system’s other gas giant (the one Krakatoa is not in orbit around) and start refueling operations.

While there, the passive systems picked up evidence of debris fields in orbit around Krakatoa.  Once the Just Lucky was refueled, the PCs chanced active scanners.  The active scanners confirmed Krakatoa is ringed with debris fields – there is no sign of the class B port that should be there.  Additionally, the scanners detected an inert ship in orbit around the gas giant Krakatoa orbits.  Suspecting the VIRUS hit this system hard, the PCs decided to investigate the derelict ship first.

A couple hours later, when they got within visual range of the derelict ship, they realized that it was an Acojah ship.  There was obvious damage on the side, near the cargo area, and the high rad count told them this was the result of a nuclear weapon.  The PCs took the Iron Pig over to the Acojah ship, looking for answers and maybe some salvage.  Oscar started removing the jump engine nacelle from the ship, something that would take him and Ro and Albertha several hours to accomplish [conveniently keeping Oscar and Ro in NPC-mode as their players could not make the game].  The rest of the group made their way up to the front of the ship, keeping the body of the ship between them and the radioactive parts of the ship, and entered the bridge through an emergency access hatch.

The away team found most of the command crew, all Acojah women, dead at their posts.  The only crew member with an obvious wound was the captain and she appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the palate of her mouth.  Max’s limited medical training told him that, except for the captain, the crew died of slow asphyxiation, suggesting the ship’s hull is breached and it was unable to maintain atmosphere.  They located the ship’s black box and removed it, returning to the Iron Pig.

Back at the Iron Pig, the PCs accessed the black box and started going through the Captain’s Log.  The ship was the Sargtlinen Cahallin and was a cargo vessel.  It ran supplies to Acojah forces apparently operating on worlds that were human worlds pre-Crash.  The Acojah captain (Maynolu Claddath) had received the ship new at a date the PCs knew was after the Crash started and the captain complained about some of the systems being difficult to work with due to the “anti-VIRUS modifications”.

There were months of standard log entries.  At the end of the log, the ship was sent to Krakatoa with all other cargo ships, but with no explanation why.  There were a few entries showing the captain’s frustration about being kept in orbit and not told what was going on.  The penultimate entry is hurried and terse, explaining “the rivvil have broken their bonds and are driving the Acojah from the planet”.  The final entry is a day later and shows the damage to the command deck the away team observed.  The captain is obviously having trouble getting enough breathe to speak.  She barely gets out “I’m sorry,” before the sound of a pistol being cocked is heard and the screen it shut off.

The PCs speculated on what they had learned.  They decided that the Acojah had attacked neighboring worlds during the Crash, taking advantage of the chaos caused.  Krakatoa was one of the worlds they appeared to have conquered and enslaved, but the enslaved humans had revolted and pushed the Acojah off the planet.  This could mean that the Acojah still had space travel and may control the next several worlds along the main route through the sub-sector.  This was very troublesome, especially as one of the systems past the known Acojah world was a major shipyard prior to the Crash, and had the capability to produce warships, something Maresfield never had the capacity to do.

Once the Sargtlinen Cahallin jump drive nacelle was removed and secured inside the Just Lucky, the ship headed over to Krakatoa to see what more could be learned.  In orbit, Max and Grar used mind scans to see if there was anyone alive on the planet.  They discovered there were 100’s of thousands of sentients on the planet, but the ship’s scanners picked up no electronic communications of any sort.  Broadcasting to the surface produced nothing but static in response, so the PCs decided to attempt a landing.  The planet’s surface is broken up into arable areas isolated from each other by stretches of volcanic terrain, areas where the planet was being flexed by the gas giant’s gravity.  Many of the arable patches seemed to be inhabited based on the mind scans.  Uncertain of what sort of response they would receive, the away team decided to land the Iron Pig on the fringes of a settled area and make contact where the population was not as dense.

As they descended, they could see evidence of agriculture and some roads near the settlement they had selected.  As they landed the Iron Pig in the middle of a crossroads (of two dirt roads), they caught glimpses of wooden and stone buildings making up the settlement.  They could also see locals running around, having noticed the Iron Pig’s descent.

Cyrano, Nomen, Grar, and Max (the only non-blue entity in the party) descended from the Iron Pig and waited for the locals to show up.  A relatively small group did show, carrying what looked like muskets and hoping from cover to cover.  Eventually the locals got close enough and the PCs called out greetings to them.  One of the locals then approached and a conversation was had.  Two things became immediately obvious during the conversation: the locals were under-educated hicks and noticeably xenophobic, talking directly only to Max, the only obvious human in the group.  [This led to Cyrano’s player quipping “space travel turns you blue”.]

After a few minutes of extremely tense conversation, the PCs left, returning to the Just Lucky in orbit to report what little they had learned and decide what to do next.

*End of Session 4, Part 2*

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