Friday, 28 August 2015

Solo Traveller - Episode 18: Behind enemy lines (9Qs #8)

Where does the final showdown between the heroes and the enemy take place in
relation to the results of Q7?
Be the GM first:
• Use the random idea generator to inspire a dramatic finish that brings the heroes,
their enemy, and any other relevant participants into an ultimate confrontation.
• Choose one or two of the following or roll a d6 twice for an encounter in which
(3-4) the enemy takes aggressive action
against unsuspecting victims
all within the context of the encounters in Questions 1-7.
• Choose or use the random idea generator to inspire the place where and when the
encounter will occur. The place and time do not have to be the same as in Q7.


Dimmul/Foreven (2936 C587A7A-C) / Date: 279-1106

A major scurries up to the Brigadier General Uztri and salutes smartly. "Ma'am, the Generalissima has requested an immediate audience with prisoners. Ma'am!" Eshtam is sure she sees the man wink at Dame Giikagin.

The prisoners are remanded into the major's custody, guarded by a pair of armoured soldiers. They leave the command centre and march to the lift. When they emerge onto a higher floor, the major orders the soldiers to remove the Ilparan to a comfortable holding area, and states that he will look after the VIPs. They march Corporal Lugalaa down the corridor as he ushers the remaining three into a nearby office.

"Thank the Star of Day," says Dame Giikagin once the door has closed, "I was beginning to worry that you'd been caught, or... or worse. Lieutenant, Eshtam, meet my agent, Major Vetne."

"Please," says the Major, "take a seat. I'll make a call and see about getting you that meeting."

As she is getting comfortable, Eshtam notices too late that Major Vetne went from his gun rather than his communicator. He shoots Dame Giikagin in the head then trains his pistol on her and Lt. Gytovo. "Don't move, please. My employer may wish you to live through this, and I should hate to disappoint him."

He produces a non-regulation (and TL15) commo from his desk drawer, and speaks into it. "Your majesty, it's Major Vetne."

"Yeeeees?" comes the reply after a few moments, a man's voice with a slightly lazy drawl.

"I've cleaned up after myself as you requested, Your Majesty. I have the Imperials here now. What do you want me to do with them?"

"Oh, I don't mind. You're all probably doomed anyway. I just wanted to make extra sure Dame G didn't escape. Bye!"

Just then explosions begin to rock the base, seemingly from within [the effects of the meson gun operated by Heldamin's mercenaries outside the Hekabe in Star Trader part 13. The meson beam can pass through solid rock into the base's interior, so it may as well be outside in plain sight].

A look of terror crosses the Major Vetne's face as he realises death is staring over his shoulder. Lt. Gytovo takes advantage of the Major's momentary consternation and springs out of his chair at him. Eshtam is right behind him.

Lt. Gytovo grabs his arm and smashes his hand into the wall, sending his pistol clattering to the floor [opposed grappling checks: 10 vs. 7 = disarmed]. Eshtam scoops up the gun and turns it on the surprised Major, who stands stock still [failed Morale roll].

Lt. Gytovo twists Major Vetne's arm behind his back and shoves him up roughly against a wall. Eshtam puts the gun in his face.

"No, wait! I have information. Let me live; I'll help you get to Ladver."

"We need a decent communicator," says Eshtam as another explosion booms through the base.

"Take mine!"

"I was thinking of something not provided by the psychopath who's trying to kill everyone."

"I see your point. I can get you something." More explosions.

"Let's move out."

[Q: Is Major Vetne lying? 50/50: 35, Yes.
Q: Does anyone confront them in the chaos? 50/50: 73, No.]

They rush through the base after the Major, avoiding the lifts in favour of service stairwells. Many soldiers lie dead and injured in the tunnels, many more have dropped everything in their flight to safety. Lt. Gytovo grabs some ACRs from the floor as they run through an area that had been hit particularly hard. Eshtam pockets a comm. The Major keeps his hands where the others can see them.

When they get to the back hangar...

[Q: Are the vehicles all taken? Very Likely: 66, Yes +event: NPC action - Kill / Masses (see Q9 wrap-up)]

...they find that all vehicles still capable of movement have long since departed. They flee outside into the forest as another explosion seems to shake the whole mountain.

"What now?" asks Lt. Gytovo.

"I'll see if I can contact our friends in the scout ship," says Eshtam, "then fly us up to the cruiser. I'd say our mission here is well and truly finished."

"No arguments from me. But we'd better keep moving until nightfall. And I suggest we maintain radio silence until then. I don't want us to get caught in any mop up operations."

They make their way through the forest. Eshtam leads, followed by Major Vetne, with Lt. Gytovo behind. The major has been informed that his value as a prisoner is merely a matter of conjecture, and that any attempt to flee will result in a back full of lead. He has no reason to doubt the truth of these statements. Sporadic sounds of gunfire are heard during their march, but they see no one.

Towards evening, there is a great rumbling in the distance. All three turn at once to see an angry red sky, and the top of a mushroom cloud over a distant mountain. Major Vetne makes a religious hand gesture in spite of himself. When he finally can tear his eyes away from the terrible sight, he sees Lt. Gytovo aiming a rifle at his head.

"I... I didn't know..." he stammers. "My job was just to get Ilpara and the Republic fighting, and implicate the CherGaSen government. Then the Tetrarchy could sweep in and reclaim the territory that was rightfully theirs, and put an end to the Generalissima and her renegade government once and for all! This wasn't the plan. I've been had. We all have."

"Good to know," says the Lieutenant through gritted teeth. "Now that we have a clearer picture of what's going on, we won't be needing to keep you around any more."

"Hey," says Eshtam, "not like this. Put the gun down. This fuck will get what he deserves, but not like this."

"He's a murderer," says Lieutenant Gytovo.

"But you aren't. Put the gun down and let's keep moving until it gets dark. We're still on a mission, and we don't want to come back empty handed. You're better than this. That's why you signed up, isn't it? C'mon, Tendhas, you're better than this."

Maybe her words were sinking in, or maybe he's just shocked to hear Eshtam call him by his first name. Either way, the rifle dips half-heartedly, and then he lowers it entirely. Major Vetne still stands wide-eyed, afraid to lower his hands, or move at all.

"You're right," mutters the Lieutenant, "you're right. Just don't call me by my first name again, 'kay? Only me mum does that."

They spend a miserable, chilly night without a fire. Eshtam and the Lieutenant huddle uncomfortably together for warmth, sleeping in shifts to stand watch. Major Vetne sleeps across from them, as best as he is able, with his arms tied behind his back around a tree.

Eshtam finds some edible bark for their joyless and meagre breakfast. There were some inviting-looking berries, but the Major, as a local, confirmed her suspicion that they were poisonous [she made a Survival roll, Lt. Gytovo missed his despite actually having a higher skill level]. Before they move out, Eshtam tries the commo she picked up, but it seems to have died -- probably due to the EMP from the nukes, she thinks. She tosses it aside and they set off.

[There will be 1d3 encounters each day on the CT chart. 61-66 will be an animal encounter, any nonsensical result will indicate no encounter.

1d3=2 checks today. The first encounter check was Rowdies, so no encounter

The second was 2d=6 soldiers on patrol
side: 1-2 Republic of Erhai, 3-4 Tetrarchy, 5-6 Nlursin Polis
even = government troops, odd = mercenaries

1d6=3: tetrarchy mercs
TL: 10+1d3=13

Q: What is their status? Failure / Adversities; their mission was a failure and they're cut off too. 1d6= 6 (all) of them are wounded.

I rolled for each one on the Striker damage table: 4 have light wounds, 2 are seriously wounded (L:mfmm, S:mf)

encounter range: Long, no surprise
reaction=9, intrigued]

Moving out at dawn, they soon spot movement in the distance. A unit or four soldiers in combat armour are about 50m ahead in a clearing. Lt. Gytovo prods the Major in the back with his ACR. "Well?"

"No idea," says the Major. "Offworlders, I'd guess. They appear to have Tetrarchy markings on their pauldrons."

"Eshtam, you cover this piece of shit. I'm going to try to parley with our friends over there."

The lieutenant gives Eshtam his rifle, and walks towards the soldiers with open hands. One of them walks slowly out to meet him, also unarmed. They confer for a few minutes, then Lt. Gytovo waves to Eshtam to come forward.

There are six mercenaries in all, four walking wounded and two with injuries so severe they cannot stand on their own. The acting unit commander, Lance Sergeant Dellt, explains their situation. "We were part of the Knights of Cabiria, a mechanised company out of Olos, hired to support the Tetrarchy offencive with some joint striker missions -- us and native troops -- against Republic targets. Then yesterday all the Tetrarchy forces cut and ran. My platoon decided to flee to neutral territory and activate our repatriation bonds. We got caught out by fleeing republic armour, and there was a firefight. I think we're all that's left of our platoon. Salvaged what we could out of our wrecked tank, and went on foot. That's when we saw the nukes..."

[Q: Are communications even possible? 50/50: 93, Exceptional No.]

"Comms?" asks Eshtam.

"Nothing," replies Dellt. "The tank's onboard systems were hardened, but got totally fried by laser fire. Our personal commos got fried when the nukes went off, along with the handcomps and the cheap, crappy map box. Luckily we got a hardcopy map of the area in the emergency kit. And a pair of optical field glasses. Not much else. Who's that, then?"

[How do they react when they see the prisoner? 8, interested]

"This is our prisoner," says the Lieutenant. "He was working for the guy that started this whole mess. We're taking him to hand over to Naval Intelligence. Unless he gets uncooperative or tries to run. Then we're just shooting him."

"Huh," says Dellt. "Wait -- Naval intelligence. You two are Imperials? Oh, shit..."

"Don't worry, Sargent," says Eshtam, "no one's going to waste time bringing charges against six wounded soldiers who got caught up in this mess. If we all get back to a neutral state, you guys can activate your bonds and go home. We might even give you a ride if we can give our friends upstairs a call. I do think it would be safer if we all stick together."

"No arguments from me, ma'am."

"I'm not a soldier. You can call me Eshtam. Now, lets see that map."

[Q: How far to the border? 1d6x10=40 hours on foot.]

They travel as far as they are able until dusk. It's slow progress, as the wounded need to be carried on makeshift stretchers. Other than Major Vetne (who is tied to a tree), they all sleep better that night, as they can take shorter shifts on watch.

The next day (281-1106) is another long slog through the woody foothills. At one point they come upon a large (200kg) predator, which they scare off with small arms fire.

In the early afternoon, a glint of metal is spotted high up on a mountain above the treeline. Eshtam, Lt. Gytovo, and Dellt break off ahead to investigate. A starship has landed, seemingly in the empty parking lot before some sort of recreational facility. They take turns peering through the field glasses.

[Opposed Recon checks, using the best skill level on each side: 6+2(Eshtam) vs. 4+1 (best of those in the ship); Eshtam detects 1d6=3 soldiers outside ship]

"Well? What do you think?" the Lieutenant asks Eshtam as she stares at it through the binoculars.

"Standard A2 far trader. Imperial registration markings. No signs of external damage. Cargo ramp is down. And there's two -- no, make that three guards milling about between the ship and that artillery piece."

"Most of us came in civilian transport," says Dellt. "We shipped all our vehicles on ahead as freight."

"Those guys with you?" asks the Lieutenant.

"Can't see much detail at this range," mumbles Eshtam, "but looks like they're mostly wearing street clothes, maybe armour jackets."

"Wouldn't be ours, then. We're all cavalry units: that's how come 'Knights'. And we all got combat armour; 's how we survived the wreck of our tank. And we don't got nothin' no where near as sophisticated as they got there."

"What is it?" asks Eshtam.

"What is it?" replies Dellt incredulously.

Lt. Gytovo laughs. "That, my dear scout, is a battlefield meson accelerator."

"Oh... oh! What's the range on one of those things?"

"Far enough."

"So what do we do? One way or the other we need on that ship."


  1. More complications, eh? Well I cannot wait for the next post . . . but I will have to wait, won't I? . . . (just not too long a wait, I hope).

    -- Jeff

    1. At the moment I've been trying to hastily get my notes polished up, so i can get up to the point of posting the bits where I started using the Mythic modifications I've been playing around with. Almost there....