arrive at Dimmul/Foreven (2936 C587A7A-C Ri Hi Amber)
The moment we hit normal space the comms panel lit up like the Holiday night fireworks display over Hizkóno bay. There was chatter on all frequencies about a new war heating up, between two maybe three nations. it was a bit confusing with the names being so similar. And there were increased troop movements in other nations as well, gearing up to settle old scores or something. I mean I'd read the TAS warnings and noted the Amber classification, but I'd always heard that all the warnings were a bit overcautious. Hells, I had a weeks shore leave here back in 1103, I thought it was a nice place. Barely left the beach the whole time... except to go back to that lifeguard's flat. What was his name...?
Anyway, seems like the warnings finally came true. Things are bad enough that the Imperium is stepping in. Or got pulled in. One of those little nations went and made the mistake of attacking Imperial troops. There's a 50,000 tonne battle cruiser, the Maud, in orbit that's making everyone really nervous. The highport's backed up with extra customs inspectors, and a detachment of Imperial marines stationed at the downport. I think there's a kinuniir-class ship at the highport, too, but it may just be a rumour.
Got a direct hail from a merchant vessel, wondering where we'd come from and if we had any business tips to pass on. Heldamin said to tell them we came from Yk directly. Don't know what's eating her. [ship encounter: merchant courier, asks for info on world just left]
Heldamin said she'd called ahead to see if her friends were here yet, and it looks like we beat them all. She gave me some landing coordinates, and said we should land straight away, and avoid the starport completely. I wasn't sure that was such a good idea but then Orneev piped up and said we could probably slip in unnoticed in all the chaos. After Mingiz, he's had more than enough of Imperial marines for a while. I forget he's from an unaligned world sometimes.
So we went in real quiet. Orneev was right, no one even hailed us from the air or ground. We put down on a landing pad halfway up a mountain. There was a pretty steep drop down ones side, and some kind of compound hidden amongst the trees. "What is this?" I asked Heldamin, "some sort of mercenary base?" "No," she said, laughing, "It's a ski resort. Sorry there's no snow. Just my luck to come here in the off-season."
[I need to find a good random sci-fi location generator. I did go to look for one when I got to this part, but my crappy internet connection dropped out again. So I used the alternate method of closing my eyes, opening random file in my C:/Documents/Traveller folder, and using first planet-based location mentioned.]
. . .
Later: Things are a bit fraught here at the moment. Heldamin transmitted the charter fee payment codes when we hit normal space, before she knew what was up. But I can't get a line through to the bank to pay the mortgage, and I daren't risk trying from the ground. I hope we aren't here too long. But at least the bank has a world-emergency clause, so I will try not to sweat it.
The place is deserted and locked up. Not even a caretaker to guard the place. The landing pad turned out to be the parking lot. There's a single two-lane road leading down the mountain. Diula had a wander down it for a couple kilometres, but said it's all just forest as far as she can see.
The mercenaries spent the morning unloading their cargo and setting some stuff up. There was a big cannon-looking thing attached to an even bigger fusion generator, and some sort of communications dish which they put up on the roof of one of the chalets. They had some cables running down from it all the way to a battle computer by the rest of their kit.
Nakko said they had time for a quick test. Two of the mercs suited up in grav belts and headed off, low above the trees. After about half an hour, the two with the grav belts radioed back, and the other 6 did something with the cannon. It started humming real loud, and some light flashed, and then it went back down to the level of background noise. And that was it.
[The Hekabe's crew are all from civilian backgrounds, so they have no idea what the mercs are doing or what any of the kit is. The cannon is a TL15 meson accelerator. The two girls with grav belts are the forward observers. The dish is a receiver for their laser communications units, not radio. This will all become important much later.]
"Uh-oh," I says to Heldamin. "Looks like their thing is broken. Do they have the tools to fix it?"
Heldamin just laughs. "No," she says, "it's working alright. Just fine. Anyways, if I know what those guys are like, they'll be wanting to celebrate a successful field test. Luckily, I planned ahead. Come on, help me get some glasses out. It's a nice evening, maybe we can picnic."
[Q: Do the PCs get suspicious? 04, Exceptional yes.
Inty quizzes Heldamin: Reaction=7. Heldamin tries to play it all off. Her carousing roll needs 10+, 11+2=succeeds again!]
Damn that Heldamin. I don't think I've been this hungover since that one time on Stipps. and I'm pretty sure that was partly due to oxygen starvation.
Nothing to watch on the vid either. Local stations are all just war war war. Talking heads saying how the Imperium should leave/annex the world/take sides/broker a treaty... This is not helping my headache. I'm almost tempted to ask Diula if I can borrow some of those musicals she bought on Oothoom.
Heldamin was up early this morning, and she had her business face on again. She took the mercs outside for a talk. Then they were all waiting around, and we were sneaking looks out the portholes but they just seemed edgy. Then the two took off on their grav belts, and the rest of them powered up the device again. They messed about with it for a while. Then they gave up and came inside. The grav belts never came back.
[Q: How is the mood aboard ship? Travel / Fears]
All the comm channels went silent too. Like there was a blackout or something. The mercs were all hiding, and Heldamin with them. Talked to Orneev and Diula, they thought maybe we shouldn't be staying here.
[Q: Does anyone cause trouble? 50/50: 50, Yes.
1d6: 1 Inty, 2 Diula, 3 Orneev 4 merc, 5 Caidro, 6 Heldamin]
Q: What is the end result? Carry / Exterior factors]
Heldamin and a couple of the mercs eventually came looking for some food. I tried to ask Heldamin if maybe we shouldn't try to go to the highport after all. She didn't even have a chance to open her mouth before one of the mercs had a right go at me, screaming about how we were being paid to transport them where they liked, and since they were paying for it we were going to damn well stay put until they say it's time to go, and it's none of our actual business what they are doing or what we do or don't hear over the bloody comms!
His buddies ushered him out and Heldamin said she'd talk to them about manners aboard my ship. But that we couldn't leave yet.
. . .
Later: Heard a long, loud boom like thunder, everyone ran to look outside. The sky to the north east was all angry and red. Caidro immediately started drinking himself sick. Heldamin ran outside to sit by the communications relay. she won't let anyone talk to her, and she isn't coming inside.
The communication blackout finally ended this evening, and I almost wish it hadn't. It's all a horrible mess. The wars are spilling out all over the place, with several nations invading their rivals. Three of the conflicts went nuclear.
The Imperial navy is interdicting the planet. All ships are grounded, anyone trying to leave the world will be shot down without question. Ships at the port are volunteering to ferry relief supplies, but no one else is allowed to fly.
Later: Heldamin came back inside, finally. She immediately got into a screaming row with Caidro and Nakko both.
Nakko explained to me later that things hadn't gone to plan and we were on our own for a while until it cooled off. The mercs are setting up armed patrols around the perimeter of the resort.
Caidro finally got his head screwed on straight, but Heldamin's been blind drunk in her stateroom ever since she came back into the ship. The mercs are restless, but Nakko is putting them through the paces to keep some sort of order.
Shit. There's commotion outside. Orneev and Diula just burst onto the bridge with an armload of guns from the ship's locker. He handed me a shotgun and Diula said to look out the porthole. There was six soldiers coming up the road, most of them in heavy armour. Caidro and two other mercs were walking up to greet them, everybody had guns in hand and it looked like they were about to start blazing away at each other. "Do something!" pleaded Orneev.
I guess it's up to me. I'll record what happens for posterity when I get back. If this is my last log entry, well, you can guess how it went.