Monday, 30 December 2013

Solo Traveller - Episode 7: Complications

Uloryy/Foreven (3033 A877758-7) / Date: 208-1106

[A ship encounter is indicated at destination. Star Trader comes up with a Military encounter: Battlecruiser 1250t. I'll use a 1200t Kinunir.
Nature of encounter: Warn you of an unidentified ship in this system

Q: Is this unidentified ship related to the contraband in the hold? Y
Q: Are we supposed to deliver the cargo to the mainworld? Y
Q: Do we need to contact the unidentified ship to let them know first? No, and... they will make contact with the captain.
Q: What is the nature of the contraband? ( Get Thing results in Flamethrower) Heavy weapons
Q: Does the captain know what the cargo really is? Yes, and... what it is intended for.
Q: What is it intended for? Assist / Outside. The weapons are intended for use on another world; Uloryy is just the drop-point.
Q: Will the Captain be forthcoming about the cargo? No.

Q: Will there be a problem relating to the fugitive? Yes.
Q: What's she running from? Combatively / Damaged. She's a deserter from the (roll on draft table) Imperial Marines. stats - Veterans #133]

Within a minute of returning to normal space, an officious female voice is heard over the comm. "This is kinunir-class battle cruiser Dikiishgammurga to unidentified 200-ton vessel, please respond."

Eshtam flips a switch to transmit transponder data, then looks to the Captain. "Kinunir-class," she says, "pretty big for a system patrol boat."

"I'll do the talking," says Captain Aalir. "We hear you, Dikiishgammurga. This is Captain Kaduushili Aalir of the free trader Galatea. My pilot is transmitting our ID codes now."

"Acknowledged, Galatea. What is the purpose of your trip to Ulorry?"

"We've got freight and passengers to unload offworld, and hope to fill the hold for a trip out."

"Of course... wait a moment. It says here you jumped in and out of New Dlemmis in less than 72 hours. What's the rush?"

"Our consignment. There's a substantial bonus, but it's time-sensitive. Still, it's enough to make up for running light."

"I see. Captain, would you mind please transmitting your cargo and passenger manifest? Normally, we'd let the port authority handle customs, but there's an unidentified ship in the system, and it's been running from our patrols. We need to check all traffic to and from the planet."

"We've nothing to hide. Transmitting now. Eshtam, maintain present course and speed."

After a few tense minutes, the comm light blinks again. This time a man's voice is heard. "Captain I regret to inform you that one of your passengers is a fugitive. Sgt. Malna Borstelden, alias Ginier Jhent, is deserter from the Imperial Marines 8923rd Infantry Battalion, stationed on Oothoom. We consider her to be armed and dangerous. We're going to need to board your ship and take Sgt. Borstelden into custody. Your cooperation will be appreciated."

"Ah... of course," stammers Captain Aalir. "Whatever we can do to help..."

"Just maintain your present heading, let my troops on your ship, and stay out of the way. We don't want anyone getting hurt."

[Q: Does the fugitive catch on? Yes.
Q: Does she attempt to take over the ship? No, but...]

The Galatea drifts along on its course, waiting for the large navy vessel to rendez-vous with it. It's 10,000km distant, so less than 20 minutes away. The battle cruiser matches vectors with the Galatea, then dispatches a 40-ton pinnace with the boarding party.

As the pinnace approaches, the Galatea's turret swings suddenly to bear, and 2 streaks of light blaze across the blackness of space, tearing into the pinnace and causing significant damage.

"Shit!" shouts Eshtam, as the laser blasts startle her from her dreamy contemplation of the instruments.

"What the hell was that?!" echoes Gelray.

Captain Aalir jumps into action, jabbing the engine room comm button. "Daffid, cut all power to weapons, NOW! The rest of you, get that madwoman out of the turret. I'll try to keep our navy friends from vaporising the ship!"

[The fugitive sergeant has snuck into the dual beam-laser turret, and fired on the pinnace. She rolled 10+2, 10+2; she hit twice! Even with the pinnace pilot dodging as a reaction, the -2 reduction won't be enough for the shots to miss (10+ needed at Adjacent range).

Damage rolls are:
Single hit - hull - pinnace hull reduced to 0
Double hit - power plant (PP damaged, 1 crew member (medic) suffers radiation damage - 60rads, 2pts damage, nausea.

Q: Does the fugitive have a gun? Yes, and... a melee weapon.
Q: Was Zet at his station in the turret? Yes, but... he wasn't paying attention so was ambushed by the sergeant.
She attacked him from behind with her blade. Roll 9+1 +2(for ambush), hit with effect 4. damage 11+4=15 Zet's physical UPP now 005.
Q: Is Eshtam armed? No, but... the Captain was, and gives her his pistol.
Q: Is Gelray armed? No, and... doesn't even have a medpac on him.

Captain Aalir succeeds (just!) in an Average Persuasion roll, so the navy won't fire back.

Reaction for fugitive: roll of 3 - hostile, attack on 5+. I roll a 6.]

Captain Aalir is already shouting over the comm at the battlecruiser, trying to explain what happened. Eshtam and Gelray bolt from their stations in the cockpit. As they run out the door, the Captain tosses Eshtam a pistol.

They run through the cargo bay, and climb the ladder to the upper deck. They find Zet on the ground underneath the turret hatch, bleeding from a nasty wound in his back.

Gelray kneels beside his injured compatriot, trying desperately to stop the bleeding. Eshtam calls up the ladder into the turret. "Come out of there! The engineer's cutting the power so you can't fire again. Come down now and you won't get hurt."

The fugitive responds with a burst of gunfire. [shooting at targets down the corridor through the iris valve in the floor gives a -1DM for cover. She's got an auto-carbine, +2 to hit from skill & DEX. Auto fire dice come up as 6,6,6,5! Gelray and Eshtam are each hit, for 12 and 7 damage respectively. Eshtam has 2 points of armour. Their physical UPPs are reduced to: Gelray 710, Eshtam 6B5.]

Gelray falls unconscious from the trauma. Eshtam retreats hastily into her stateroom, but leaves the door open. She yells back through the door without exposing herself to another shot. "This is madness! There's a battlecruiser outside with enough troops on board to come in here and drag you out of there, willingly or not. That's if they don't just decide to open up on our ship with particle beams. Surrender now and there's a chance!"

[Difficult (and untrained!) Persuasion check: 8, failure.]

A short burst of gunfire is the only reply. Eshtam switches on the comm in her room, tries to hail the bridge. After a minute or so, the Captain answers. "They're mad," he says, "but they want her taken prisoner, so we won't be treading vacuum. What's going on up there?"

"Zet and Gelray are down," she whispers, "and she's holed up in the turret still, with an automatic weapon. I don't think she's intending to come down without a fight."

"We're about to be boarded anyway. Let the marines flush her out -- she's one of theirs, after all. Maybe you had better get to the hatch to open it up for our guests so they don't have to cut their way in."

Just then a slight tremor shakes the ship as the pinnace links up with the Galatea's outer hatch. Eshtam runs as quickly and as quietly as she can down the corridor into the common room.

[Stealth roll 9+3, enough to get to the common room without the sergeant hearing her.]

Eshtam checks to make sure the airlock pressure has equalised, then opens the hatch. A unit of Imperial Marines in combat armour burst through the hatch into the Galatea [reaction roll for their disposition: 3, hostile, attack on 5+ (roll a 6) Oh crap] all shouting at once for Eshtam to get down on the floor. She does, but in spite of this two of the marines overpower her and hold her down whilst a third puts an ACR to the base of her skull. She doesn't struggle.

[Individual reaction for the party leader (1st Lieutenant, human female) comes up as hostile, may attack.]

"Talk," she says pressing down with her ACR for emphasis.

"Your fugitive is still holed up in the turret. She's got gun, maybe like yours. She's taken out two of our crew already."

"Private Toski" says the lieutenant, "take charge of the prisoner. Sergeant Vayr, end this."


One of the marines advances down the corridor. Moments later comes the sound of gunfire, followed by the Whump! of concussion grenades. "Target neutralised!"

The unconscious fugitive is brought back to the pinnace. The squad medic gives first aid to Zet and Gelray [healing 2 pts. and 1 pt. of damage, respectively]. Zet is seriously wounded [phys. UPP 115] and can barely walk. Gelray is badly injured [phys. UPP 711] but can at least move about unaided. Eshtam's ribs hurt like hell where the slug hit her armour, but she's still running on adrenaline from facing a squad of peevish marines.

Eight marines remain aboard the Galatea. Half interrogate the remaining passengers in their staterooms. The other half march Eshtam, Gelray and Zet down into the cargo bay at gunpoint. Captain Aalir and Daffid are there waiting. The marines roughly pat them down for weapons.

"You don't seem to have very good control over your ship, Captain," says the lieutenant. "If you hadn't had innocent passengers aboard, we'd not be standing here right now having this conversation. But since we are, I think it best to have my unit look over your ship and compare your cargo with the manifest, just to make sure there's nothing else in here you don't know about. Consider it a public service."

[Q: Does anyone do anything stupid? Yes, but...]

Daffid blurts out, "This is ridiculous, we're not--"

"The next one who speaks out of turn," says the lieutenant, "gets shot. Private, watch these imbeciles. The rest of you get these containers open."

[Q: Can the marines possibly fail to find the contraband? No.]

"Ma'am, I think you'd better come have a look as this," calls one of the marines.

The lieutenant walks over to the container. She reaches in to a plasteel crate, lifts up the barrel of a heavy machinegun. "Well, let me see, what does the cargo manifest have to say about this little item? Decorative hardwood panelling! Tell me, Private, does this look like decorative wood panelling to you?"

"No, ma'am!"

[Q: Should I be breaking out a copy of Prison Planet about now? No. (phew!)
Q: Will the Captain mostly be held accountable? Yes.
Q: How will this all go down? Bravely / Mysterious.]

The passengers and crew of the Galatea are confined to quarters. The marines stay aboard to make sure no one tries anything funny. Officers from the battlecruiser are ferried over on the pinnace to conduct a more thorough investigation. After six hours alone in her room wondering what will happen, Eshtam looks up to see the 2nd in command of the Dikiishgammurga [navy Commander, solomani male] arrive with his bodyguard to conduct her interview.

[reaction roll 10, Responsive

Q: Did the Captain try to implicate anyone else? Yes, but... they didn't believe him.
Q: Will Eshtam be let go? Yes, but... the navy wants her to try delivering the contraband in order to flush out the buyers.]

"Ms. Dreejeh," says the Commander, "you're not a part of this crew -- not really -- so I'm going to be straight with you. We know you only came aboard on Veegint to replace the usual pilot. The weapons also came aboard then. Captain Aalir tried to make out that there was a connection between these two events, but it doesn't add up, and none of the others could corroborate his story. I'm willing to believe you're not involved, but I'm going to need your cooperation in order to sell your innocence to my superiors. The good Captain doesn't seem to know the identity of his buyers, just that they will contact him once the ship has landed on Uloryy, and that they intend to take the weapons offworld from here. The Imperial Navy is very keen to ascertain the identities and the motives of these persons."

"What do you need from me?" asks Eshtam.

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