Monday, 23 December 2013

Solo Traveller - Episode 5: One Night on New Dlemmis

New Dlemmis/Foreven (3134 B641400-B) / Date: 198-1106

The arrival insystem is uneventful. On the way to the mainworld, the Galatea passes a 600t Donosev-class survey ship launching a navigational beacon. Eshtam feels a twinge of regret passing the scout service vessel.

New Dlemmis is a poor, arid world without any law or government. The inhabitants live on a mixture of independent farms and homesteads, or else in corporate outposts and mines exploiting the planet's mineral wealth. The local tech level is high, all things considered, though most of the technology was originally brought from off world.

After landing at the downport, the Captain and Gelray head out to deal with the port authority and get the cargo unloaded. The captain gives the rest of the crew shore leave, but warns them not to leave the startown. There is some sort of local festival (Harvest Days? What grows on this dirtball?) going on, so the startown is going to be rammed with people; everything's going to take longer and cost more.

Zet and Daffid both really want to go into startown, but neither of them wants to go alone, so they agree to be nice to each other. Eshtam is wary of their promise, but goes along with them any way. This evening the dusty streets of the startown are full of people, most in high spirits, and many in states of inebriation. Sporadic gunfire is heard as the jubilant ranchers discharge their guns into the air, but overall it's weirdly quiet, thanks to the thin atmosphere and the need for breath masks. Inside the bars and clubs, it's a different story. Our intrepid travellers decide to look for somewhere a little less popular in hopes of avoiding any brawls.

[Rolling on the tables in Startown Liberty indicates an encounter: a Con Man. Should it come up, his stats will be Rogue #1 from Citizens of the Imperium with a skill level of (1d6) Deception-3. I roll to see if Eshtam will notice the con; she will.]

An excitable man in robes with too-obvious designer labels approaches the party. "Offworlders!" he says, cheerfully, "and spacers, by the look of it! Boy have I got a need to talk to you!" He proceeds to chatter on about some sort of vague 'business opportunity', which will make everyone involved rich, rich, rich! But it just so happens he's a little short right now, since he just bought one a' those sweet ZTX-8s! Sure it cost him a mint, but boy! does that thing go!

Ignoring him doesn't seem to work, and telling him to shove off repeatedly does no better. [3x reaction rolls: 6, 6, 8. Eshtam doesn't solve things with her fists, but...
Q: does one of the NPCs get aggressive? Yes, and...]  Zet finally has enough of listening to this guy, and punches him square in the face.

[Combat ensues. Zet has surprise & hits for 5 damage, bringing the con man down to 2 END. The next round Zet punches him again whilst the conman draws his (1-4 body pistol, 5-6 auto pistol:5) gun. Eshtam draws her own and shouts 'put it down', hoping a standoff will cause him to back off. Zet hits for 2 points of DEX, reducing the con man's physical UPP to 612. Rolling a reaction for the con man turns up a 3 (Hostile attack on 5+: 7. Oh, well, she tried...). He fires but misses due to his extremely low DEX. Eshtam returns fire instinctually, hitting by 3 even after the penalty for firing into melee. He takes 11 points of damage and crumples to the ground, bleeding from a hole in his chest.

My inner GM then realised that the con man's shot had two possible targets, the guy attacking him and his friend with the gun, and that I should have rolled to decide between them, but didn't. So I ruled that my ignorance is the characters' as well. Maybe he wasn't trying to hit anyone to begin with, just fire a warning shot. That gives me some direction for the internal aftermath, but what the external?
Q: Will there be any immediate repercussions? No, and... there probably won't be any in the long term either.]

The three stare for a moment in stunned silence at the man lying motionless at their feet, then bolt away in a blind panic. They duck into a nearby alleyway to catch their breath.

"I don't think anyone saw us," says Zet.

"This is just brilliant," replies Daffid, "less than 20 minutes out of the extrality zone and already we've murdered someone."

"He had a gun!" snaps Eshtam.

"But did you have to shoot him?" says Zet.

"He shot first!"

"Which he wouldn't have done if Zet wasn't punching him," Daffid interjected.

"Fuck, this is unreal!"

"I can't believe I agreed to go into town with Zet the Fist and the trigger-happy new girl!"

"Boys, do we really need to be doing this now?"


The three walk briskly back to the ship, trying their best not to look suspicious. None of the passing bands of revellers pay them any mind. They unanimously decide to stay on the ship until departure, and quietly monitor what passes for news channels on New Dlemmis for any report of the evening's events. The next morning, Captain Aalir and Gelray are mildly surprised to see their shipmates sullen, uncommunicative, and uninterested in being off the ship, but they both put it down to Zet and Daffid spoiling the trip with their usual arguments.

When Gelray and the Captain leave to finalise a quick cargo deal, Zet pulls Eshtam aside. "I hope Daffid doesn't end up ratting us out to the Captain. You know they have kind of a thing going, don't you?"

"It's sorta obvious. Do you think he'll blab?"

"Dunno. Depends if he thinks the Captain will hold him responsible for being there and not speaking up sooner. He's not the best engineer I ever met, y'know? So his position here would be pretty tenuous if..."

"So no real loss, then?"

"Well, no. I'm mean I can barely stand the guy, but... I mean, what'll you do if he talks?"

"I don't know. Nothing, really. I'm not here that long anyway. Why?"

"I just want to know there won't be violence on the ship, is all."

"Hey, fuck you."

"I'm just sayin'... look, you're kind of an unknown quantity. I've barely known you a tenday, and in that time I've seen you shoot two guys."

"I swear to you, it makes me sick just thinking about it. Say Daffid does talk... worst case scenario is the Captain boots me off the ship in the next port. Would suit me just fine, anyways. All I want is to get off of Veegint. Either I earn enough so when we get back I can buy passage offworld without even leaving the spaceport, or I get kicked off at the next stop and we call it 'working passage'."

"You want to be on Uloryy?"

"Anywhere but Veegint."

"Or New Dlemmis, I guess," says Zet as he walks away.

"I did not sign on for this shit," thinks Eshtam.

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