Current mission: Called up from Reserve status to defend Psyadi’s penal colony from Klackons
The Surplus Heroes for this session:
Pip: The Bad’n’Ruin’s helm. Pip’s idea of speed is, more is always better.
Widow: The Bad’n’Ruin’s sensors&comms, and ship’s doctor. Having been called up from reserve she holds the brevet rank of Lieutenant, Colonial Marines.
Iceman: Gunner and has a thing goin’ on with his Gauss rifle, Lucille.
Big Jim/BJ: Engineer on the Bad’n’Ruin. He favors melee combat and has a monofilament blade fitting in his cybernetic arm.
Also appearing as supporting cast:
Bex, merchant and investor for the Bad’n’Ruin, and thinks of herself as a budding Gunner.
Choi, engineer’s mate on the Bad’n’Ruin.
Ralph (minded by BJ’s player for a while), Vargr security/scout.
Thea (minded by Pip’s player for a while), hefty corrections officer qualified on the Gauss rifle.
Hart, Deputy Warden.
Tony, Corrections Officer qualified on the M51 support weapon.
Jess, Corrections Officer and g-carrier driver
Decker: Imperial Navy Captain and ranking military.
Hamish, crew on the Deacon Jones, has a range of skills and is qualified to handle Widow.
The surplus heroes, ably supported by six Corrections Officers from the Psyadi Penal Colony, have just ‘seen off’ a squad of Klackon invaders, and now flee from the remaining half-squad as casualties mount. With Pip, BJ and Officer Sears stabilized their g-carrier races the 100k distance to the colony.
A quick turnaround
Tony’s yelling something about how come we left Mags behind but Hart talks him down. I got my hands full keeping the three wounded from trauma shock. By the time I get to sit a mite, Thea and Iceman got theyselves stripped down and seeing to the Gauss rifles. Then Jess is calling in the final approach and we set down.
[Widow makes a series of three medic checks for the transition, all succeed though below her usual excellent standard.]
Right away I see we got heard but good, and medics rush Pip BJ and Sears into surgery. Seems like they ain’t needing me so I report to Cap Decker. He got a line of Marines standing by and they start filing into the G-carrier. Decker allows as how they gonna intercept the Krabbies, so those among us as is fit will be going back there too.
Looking back I see Hart standing the officers down and some sad faces there. Resting and blubbering ain’t no cure for losing a buddy so I volunteer Thea as well.
We fail to see any Krabbies, cepting dead ones. The Marines leave mines around the downed craft. We stand down.
End of 24 hours after wounding: BJ and Pip are ‘dragging’ and are still under medical care.
Any better ideas?
Next dawn its bugging me how we ain’t got a bearing on where the Krabbies went and if they got another raft. Seems like they ought to be one, seeing’s how they ship got two raft bays. So I ask Decker for permission to scout the area again and he’s agreeable. Ralph Thea Tony and Jess join Iceman and me.
I got the notion to look around underwater but ain’t no way I want to be caught in a vac-suit so I tell Iceman we going to dunk ourselves.
Thea Tony and Jess got a bodybag for Mags’ remains. Once we out there they bag what they can find, and check some of the Krabby shells. Seems as how Krabbies feed off they own dead. Could be some kind of group-memory thing or could be just plain cannibalism. Not like we got ourselves a shedload of Junidi scientists sittin on they asses waitin to be asked about it!
Iceman, he recalibrates the Gausses [Personal wpn armorer roll; Widow adds 2] so we can sh0ot ‘em underwater. We strip down and wade out. Trouble is I can’t swim with the pistol and pack nohow, and like to drown before I figure out a way of doing it. Iceman fares no better.
Widow: Urrggh! Kss! Time for Plan B!
Iceman [dragging Widow up out of drowning depth]: Plan B?
Widow: We fly high as we can and see what shows up
Iceman and me, we pull back to the g-carrier and Ralph and Thea, who’s been shore guard, head over to the downed raft on the spit. They report it could only fit two Krabbies, one fore one aft, but got a main weapon.
Widow: A Krabby beam weapon for defending base sound maji sexy. Let’s take a look
Iceman: Oooh yeah
Turns out the weapon geared into the raft drive, so we can’t take it. I rig up one of the Krabby cartridges into what looks like a breach to me, then get some cover and shoot it. It kind of sears off rocket like, so I figure it ain’t done no good, and call time to head up aloft.
[Boredom from a lack of investigative information leads to foolhardiness! Widow has just enough skills in personal wpn armorer to not kill herself, but it is close. No cover roll needed.]
Cloud cover ain’t too bad and pretty nigh right away I see a gravel track on the north side of the spit, and two on the south. Iceman and Thea and Ralph have an argument about if Krabbies would leave the tracks with their squad formation but that’s just a-woofin’. One of the south tracks is from the wrecked raft, the other is from the raft we ain’t caught up to. We fish a ways north, seeing less each time on account of the sea’s so murked up. And back to base.
[A boring series of Alertness checks for the three permitted to be lookouts. In any series of rolls some will be crap. The GM safely rules the team have no better clue as to which direction the raft may have gone.]
End of 48 hours after wounding: Pip and BJ are ‘beat up’ and can in theory move about, with penalties.
Next day Mags remains is packed away in a casket ready for shipping. It ain’t much of a ceremony. Walking away from the starpad I can see the Marines got them a perimeter well set up now. Their CO is a Lieutenant, Wide by name, and he has my standing offer of deployment. I allow as how the Junidi mission got some trained security and such. It ain’t just Ralph!
[Possibly to avoid a mess of NPCs the GM has kept Jonny Hook and his new bride out of the game, not to mention Dorsey the Impy agent. And those are just two of the possible other trained personnel available.]
I see to getting me some maps and rousting out some sonar. Trouble is nothing much is set up that way. By afternoon I’ve got BJ interested in the idea of building sonar, and Pip from the next bed over is talking beefing up the shark net across the bay with alarms. BJ gets himself out of bed and gets to be a bad patient.
BJ: OK you had me at ‘talk to Lenny’ so let’s get a wheelchair
Widow: [disgusted] Wheelchair?!? Teme!
Pip: Let me know if things work out… I’ll be right here…
We get as far as the shale and the wheelchair ain’t wheelin no more
BJ: Aw, cripes, get me some crutches
Widow: [even more disgusted] Crutches?! Korrra…. Get ya arm over my shoulder… uhnnn
So we get into Lenny’s stores and the geezer and BJ get jawing about parts. Ain’t sounding so promising. But maybe it will shape up after a drink. We get to the Pisser and they set to. Iceman’s already there.
Iceman: Widow… [raises glass] you brought BJ over why?
Widow: I was askin bout sonar, he had an idea about making some that would maybe crack a Krabby
Iceman: Weaponised sonar? Best idea he ever had!
Widow: Doesn’t sound like they got any parts though
Iceman: Maybe the fat boy was bringing something they could use
Widow: There’s a thought… I’ll be driftin…
I head over to the Bad’n’Ruin and catch Bex and Choi up with progress.
[In fact Widow’s pretty negligent about that. Bex asks how her cousin’s doing and Widow just replies ‘they’d tell me if there was a problem’.]
Hamish ain’t around no more so I walk over to the Deacon Jones. Crew there allows as how Hamish is aboard so I head on in.
[Hamish has no better resources, as the DJ was a supply ship for the colony. Widow drags him into the shower again and remains in the DJ overnight. Overall it comes over as a thinly-disguised booty call but Widow’s intentions were good.]
Some time during the next several hours:
Hamish: You know this seems to be getting to be a thing…
Widow [promptly]: Yeah, we oughta be getting married
Hamish: Urk, married, well uh yeah
Widow [seizing the moment while he’s still numb from shock]: I guess Decker got authority to marry us, I’ll raise it with him
Hamish [strangled sounding]: That soon…
End of 72 hours after wounding: Pip is ‘battered’ and discharged. BJ remains on ‘beat up’. He stayed at the Portside Tap drinking until the med-bay staff dragged him back to bed.
[At around this juncture, it seems as though the other players are hanging back, which is disastrous for any investigative or defence-prep scenario. I say ‘guys, I have pushed two ideas so far and heard nothing from others. I’m going to sit back and let you come up with some thoughts.’ Pip advances the shark net upgrade that I’ve mentioned above. BJ has sensible suggestions about patrols and defences. Iceman thinks about Krabbies digging in below, and seismic detectors. The key weakness is the distance between the real defence around the starpads, and the residential pods.]
Next morning I say my piece to Lt. Wide and see how things are shaking out. The perimeter is too broad, and he allows it is. Air-rafts including our own are deployed with drivers. Security and trained staff from the Junidi mission are being used for that and for defence.
Quick glossary of transport in use
From smallest to largest:
Air raft: Passenger-vehicle-sized, often open top and sometimes fully enclosed. The general day-to-day transport of the Imperium. Air rafts can fly, not just hover.
G-carrier: An armored personnel carrier that flies.
Launch/ship’s boat/lighter: Atmosphere and space capable craft, fully sealed, with some maneuverability in atmosphere.
Jervis: Naval planetary patrol spaceship, with limited atmospheric capability.
Bad’n’Ruin: A double-jump capable space freighter of the Keiten (Kitty) class. Can fly at various speeds in atmosphere.
Deacon Jones: A double-jump capable large space freighter of the Far Trader (fat boy) class. Can take off and land in atmosphere.
The rest of the day proceeds on patrol, ideas of sound and motion detection are necessarily put to bed since able hands are needed for patrol.
Four air rafts are in use for close patrols, outfitted with complements of M41s. The ship’s boat does take a sweep over the wider area with Pip helming, but fails to see anything.
Choi has the Bad’n’Ruin warmed for emergency evac.
Near the end of 96 hours after wounding: BJ is ‘battered’. The remaining crew, including Widow, are aboard the Bad’n’Ruin.
Part through what should be his last night under medical care BJ wakes to hear:
PA system: Warning. Habitat Rupture. Respirators to be worn at all times. Warning. Habitat Rupture. Respirators…
These warnings are also heard aboard, and Pip, Bex and Choi make for flight/gun stations, while Widow and Iceman issue themselves armor and guns and head out after a quiet word with Pip:
Widow: Couple of things
Widow: One. Make sure the Bad’n’Ruin is prepped for evac. Two. Get plenty of M41s and ammo into the air raft. They better than our carbines
Pip: Choi you got the know-how to get the Bad’n’Ruin ready for hot off, right?
Choi: Awesome! Yeah I totally got this
Pip [remembers Choi has never been allowed to do that solo]: Hmmm, Ok then… call me if and when…
Choi: No problem seeya got engines to prep…
Pip takes the Bad’n’Ruin aloft while Widow seeks to coordinate with Lt. Wide. She is allowed to take the air raft forward.
BJ leaps into his pants [Athletics+5!] and pulls his respirator on. All he can hear [Alertness-1] is screams from further away, so he makes his way out into the tunnel, as the main connecting corridor is known. Between himself and the exit lie a few shops, warehouse, and the Portside Tap, and some refugees hustling through the tunnel pushing each other.
A mother and children catches BJ’s notice, and he uses his heft to give her some space and help keep her children up to speed. Chivalry is not dead!
[The typical sequence of rolls progresses, at least one is sure to be bad, leaving BJ with a Krabby close behind. Alertness-2 leaves him uncertain as to how close or how many. Time to call the cavalry.]
BJ: Where are you Bad’n’Ruin!!!
Widow: This is Widow go ahead
BJ: Got Krabbies up my ass, tryin to get outa this hab block, could use some help
Widow: Roger we’ll be off west with the air raft in five, will pick you up from the door
BJ: Ya couldn’t get a bit closer sooner?
BJ stumbles along, looking hopefully out for something that he could lift or push but that would be enough to stop Krabbies. Then his own progress slows, refugees push past, and he hears the ominous sound of Krabby clacking behind him!
BJ: Mom, ya gotta take ya kid
And he lets the kids go so as to make better time. Chivalry is dead!
He starts really hustling when the scream of a slow refugee behind tells him the lead Krabby has caught up! Looking ahead to the flashing lights around the exit he realizes he’s not going to make it, and yells for the two men just ahead of him to help bust into the Pisser! [No skills whatsoever on Interaction but he rolls adequately enough to sound like he has a plan.]
BJ: Help me with the pool table – over the door!
[They muscle it over]
BJ: OK now hide!
[Using Engineering he hides around the heavier room fittings while the redshirts hide behind the bar. BJ opens comms again]
BJ: This is BJ, I’m in the bar
Widow: Roger that we ready just north of entrance
BJ: Of the bar???
Widow: Of the exit
BJ switches comms silent as first one then another Krabby rattles past the blocked doorway. Then a third… then he hears it slowly returning. There’s a glimpse of its eye extensions… the pool table disintegrates with a pop-sigh sort of sound. A couple of table legs bounce to the floor. The Krabby sidles in.
BJ fishes around [Alertness-1] and finds an ashtray under his hand. He flicks it towards the bar and the Krabby leaps into action, finding the two redshirts! But before you can say ‘I flee while it is killing and eating them’ BJ pops his blade and charges, impaling the monofilament blade though the exoskeleton and into a vital! [BJ has both good ability and Expertise (the ambush proficiency) and with the monofilament has a -5 on the button. He rolls a 6. Krabbies have great armor but the GM rolls a 5, miles under, and it is Out.]
A couple more rounds of stabbing and BJ is sure it will not rise again.
BJ: Right let’s get going!
Redshirts [overawed]: Sure thing! We’ll follow you!
BJ: And look, table legs! Get those and you’ll be armed
Redshirts: Table legs… great
BJ: Much better than fisting them
Redshirts: …you Navy then? Or is that a thing in the Scouts as well?
Pip has taken the Bad’n’Ruin aloft. She runs it north, where the real Krabby attack is coming in.
Pip: Yeah, in the pipe, taking her down
Bex: I think I’m supposed to say ‘get some!’ [fires]
Widow [driving very smoothly, with no air raft proficiency] has the air raft into position angled off the hab entrance. Iceman has his Gauss rifle Lucille, Widow has an M41 she thinks she can stand up, fire and drop back driving with.
The first refugees are already running north-east, Widow uses her ex-sergeant voice to keep them moving towards the starpad where the Marines are set up. Then a couple more refugees spill out running towards the air raft, a woman and three children lagging behind. A Krabby emerges hard on their heels! Widow uses her command presence (and M41) to make the lead man help the woman and children up into the raft [Leadership+2].
Iceman shoots the Krabby and it stumbles slightly, armor degraded. Realizing she won’t be able to shoot-n-scoot Widow drives the air raft away as the last man leaps aboard, then Iceman shoots [-4 owing to deflection shooting, still makes 21 and button drops to 1] The Krabby stops, probably out.
BJ: On our way out
Widow: Roger we comin back around, got one dropped real good
BJ: One? Then there’s another, I got me one too
Iceman and Widow both spot the third Krabby and Widow switches to neutral, then has to leave the M41 unfired as the Krabby charges from 40m! Iceman scores a good shot, perhaps stunning it, as Widow drives off again. The Krabby swings north-east after easier prey and Widow eases the air raft after it allowing Iceman another easy shot. This time he drops it permanently. Widow swings the air raft back around and picks up BJ and his redshirts as promised.
The north defense holds and dawn finds only Klackon shells littered along the line.
Fresh news and new directions
At the end of the week, the Scout craft Stabbed Rat arrives, followed by a Naval patrol ship with jump capability. The new officer commanding may rank Captain Decker, but either way the two agree on the next course of action.
News feed are updated:
The Aramis sector has suffered a raid by Klackon craft. What is described as a ‘large alien fleet’ attacked Aramis itself, especially naval facilities. The raiders jumped away after being badly handled, vectored on Lewis.
Usher Stoll, visiting dignitary of the JTD, pledges Junidi support for punitive actions that Aramis may undertake. [Clip of wreath-laying ceremony, Stoll looking somber.]
Other attacks [possibly meaning, Psyadi] have occurred. A combined fleet is to muster over Aramanx. Supply contracts will be arranged.
I reminded Pip about spreading the truth about Lewis via her cousin Tri, but it didn’t arise during the session.
I turned up to the game still feeling the after-effects of illness and I think it showed, in the choices of what could be tried. Also possibly in stupidly risking blowing up the Krabby weaponry. On the other hand, deciding not to push into the hab tunnel with Iceman alone still seems perfectly sane to me.
One of the things that came up in pre-game emails was lethality and grittiness. The GM may tweak battle FX for wounds so they are related to sites on the body, but is more interested in getting melee combat more specific while still simple.
There are some next-day ‘tap backs’ on what happens post-attack, pre-reinforcement. I’ll leave the account there. Next session will be the last of the year, and we may or may not get through Aramanx and a step closer to revenge on Usher Stoll. We may be arrested for attempting to steal alien tech, which will be exciting. We’re already on a penal colony…