Episode 17 – War on Lippincott, part 1
The new starship battlecruiser, UNS Halsey departs for Lalande 21185 under UN authority with a secret mandate from Nathan Forrest, the Head of UNIS, to bring the colonies under control. (379 day trip at FTL-3) They have a small military force with a few mechs.
Thursday, March 20, 2087:
The Excelsior arrives in Sol System for Alpha Centauri. Natty brings the ship to go see Charlie and Star Runners on the asteroid 21 Luteia where the space nomad’s HQ is. Charlie is able to convince Natty, Nip and Stepka that he wasn’t involved in Nathan Forrest’s plot to kill them. Charlie (along with Ricco Torres) are the trustees of Natty’s fortune derived from the sale of the Bast Corporation many years ago. Charlie needs her fortune as the UN has put the financial squeeze on the Star Runners and is trying to force them into bankruptcy to halt their expansion of the group’s space vessel construction program. Natty signs over her fortune in a trade that gets them the latest vessel that the Star Runner shipyards have produced. The nomads have rebuilt the popular jump 2 “Greyhound class” transport starship as a jump 3 armed frigate. Charlie grants Natty one of the Star Runner “captaincies” and ownership of the second (and next) of this class of warship. It will be known as the SRS Iris. It is named after the Greek goddess of messengers. The first of the class (now Charlie’s flagship) is the SRS Hermes. Commence a year of training and learning new ship. Adrian Lucescu, the Romanian pop star who owns the Excelsior, pays the Team 10 million Solars to buy back the Team’s lease on his ship. They part as good friends. The Team helps with the preparation for the SRS Iris’s launch. Others also get new cyberware, training and try to look up their past lives.
The UNS Halsey leaves Lalande for Earth leaving the expedition commander, now Commodore Watanabe, in command in system. He has concocted false reports on the instability of the political situation on Lippincott and used these reports of chaos on this world to justify his military takeover which included the nuking of a Russian “pirate” ship.
The UNS Halsey arrives back at Sol from Lalande 21185 and reports the “pacification” of Lippincott in the Lalande 21185 system. When the UN announces the nuking of a Russian “pirate ship”, the Russians go ballistic and pay the Star Runners to help send a force to Lippincott. The UN’s excuse is that the Russian ships were armed and therefore pirates. The Russians produce documentation that their transport vessels in Lalande are registered auxiliary naval vessels of the Russian space fleet. The now Commodore Watanabe didn’t do enough research it seems. Russia and the Star Runners get the UN Space Security Council to authorize the SRS Iris to travel to Lalande and order Commodore Watanabe to return to Earth and restore the status quo. The UN Fleet (and Nathan Forrest) don’t oppose the resolution.
Tuesday, April 20, 2088:
The SRS Iris and the Team leaves Earth for Lalande 21185 with supplies, a couple of hundred Spetznaz troops and a new UN High Commissioner. The UN High Commissioner has orders to relieve Commodore Watanabe. The UN also sends a naval captain as an “advisor”.
Monday, May 31, 2088
Shocked that the Star Runners and Russians were able to respond so quickly, the UN fleet dispatches the UNS Halsey again to Lalande with peacekeeper force, mechs and orders to destroy the Team’s ship, the SRS Iris. The ship is timed to arrive Tuesday, June 14, 2089. Unfortunately for them, the UN command is unaware that the SRS Iris can do Jump 4 with Gidget running the jump drive.
Friday, June 4, 2088:
The SRS Iris arrives in Lalande 21185 close to Lalande 21185 c. The UNS Guardian, the UN flagship (a converted sub-light transport that brought the original UN colony here), is on approach to engage the Russian colonial ship, RSS Alex Andropov. Despite the order to stand down by the UN Commissioner and a UN Naval Captain the UN commander chooses to fight. Nip is called on to infiltrate the UN ship. She enters the UN vessel’s systems and discovers their intention to fight and fire a nuclear armed skipper missile at the Iris. Nip’s consciousness gets aboard the nuclear armed skipper missile before it’s launched and renders it inoperable just after firing. SRS Iris makes a short warp jump and fires on the UNS Guardian. Mason’s highly accurate laser fire destroys UN ship. The Team picks up the inoperable nuke as evidence and links up with the Russian vessel, RSS Alex Andropov to deliver vitally needed supplies.
Monday, June 7, 2088:
Commodore Watanabe has dug in his heels and refuses to surrender his command. For now his forces remain loyal. The French spaceship now becomes flagship of the UN fleet. The German and Mysore vessels also remain in the UN fleet. Natty prepares to take the SRS Iris in and engage the rest of the UN fleet.
Tuesday, June 8, 2088:
SRS Iris jumps in close to Lippincott and fires its skipper missile towards the French warship on the other side of the planet. The drive section of the French vessel is destroyed and that ship crashes within a 1000 kilometers of the Scar. The German and Mysore vessel surrender. Spetznaz troops are put aboard both vessels.
Thursday, June 10, 2088:
SRS Iris lands at Novgorod Colony to drop off supplies, Spetznaz and arms. At this point a major UN force consisting of a company of mechs, a company of tanks and two mechanized infantry companies, along with a company of French Foreign Legion troops and a battalion of Mysore infantry along with support units are closing in on the main Russian colony of Novgorod. The Team helps move troops to the front and then takes up positions in low orbit.
Saturday, June 12, 2088:
Battle in South Novgorod: After an hour or two of maneuver, the UN launches a massive assault on the Russian lines. The SRS Iris rains down orbital artillery on the advancing troops. Unbeknownst to the UN commander, the SRS Iris is equipped with a Thor II javelin launcher. The Iris then enters the atmosphere and tears open the UN’s front lines with their heavy laser batteries. The UN forces are shattered and routed.
Sunday, June 13, 2088:
Assisted by the Team’s shuttle, Stepka brings Dr. Lais and a strike team down to the planet’s surface near the UN capital and military base at New Geneva. Natty lays down orbital artillery and heavy laser fire on all UN military bases in the area. Civilian casualties are minimal as Dr. Lais lays the barrages on only clear military targets. The UN’s support facilities are destroyed ending their ability to fight a global war.
After the strike team teleports back to the ship, the SRS Iris lands at Scar and drops off supplies.
Monday, June 14, 2088:
The SRS Iris lifts off from the Scar that evening and makes orbit.
Tuesday, June 15, 2088:
Russians request an immediate attempt to re-take the former Russian colony of Knyazha due to the reports of atrocities. The Team is able to confirm that evening something is amiss. The group examines their situation and begins planning an offensive.
Episode 18 – War on Lippincott, part 2
Thursday, June 17, 2088:
Fuel constraints delay an attempt to retake the former Russian colony of Knyazha. The SRS Iris must move out to the gas giant to refuel soon. Spetznaz troops dispossess the Colony of Mysore of its space vessel. The first of the retreating UN forces reach Knyazha which is preparing to defend itself. The first ½ day is twilight as the daylight begins at about noon.
Friday, June 18, 2088:
Attacks by a gravitic fighter piloted by Natty and drones controlled by Nip destroy or cripple both remaining functioning UN mechs as they retreat towards Knyazha from Novgorod. Later that day the SRS Iris goes out to gas giant to refuel. The Team’s shuttle and the gravitic fighter remain behind on planet.
Saturday, June, 19, 2088:
The remaining retreating UN Forces reach Knyazha. The Russian commander, Col. Sidor Tarasov, insists on a move against the other captive Russian satellite colony of Luskaa. Natty agrees. Planning begins immediately.
Sunday, June 20, 2088:
Stepka has Team bunker in Novgorod teleport “marked” as a teleport location. At about noon the sun begins to go down and it is full night by midnight.
Monday, June 21, 2088:
Stepka starts mediating with Natty, Khan and Owen while in the shuttle.
Thursday, June 24, 2088:
Stepka has shuttle “marked” as a teleport homing location.
Friday, June 25, 2088:
The Team flies the shuttle within 30 kl of Luskaa and starts to set up a base camp for the assault on Luskaa. Natty begins to shuttle the allied Russian Spetznaz troops to the camp.
Saturday, June 26, 2088:
At the start of this day, twilight and dawn begins. The sun will be up by noon. The Team reaches hidden forward camp near target. The next day Stepka begins to “mark” a third point at forward camp.
Sunday, June 27, 2088:
A Star Runner satellite notices a major UN redeployment in Knyazha.
Wednesday, June 30, 2088:
Stepka has third teleport spot marked at the hidden forward camp with help of Khan of others. The Team is ready to strike at the Target. The Russians have supplied 70 Spetznaz troops.
Thursday, July 1, 2088:
At noon, the twilight begins as the sun goes down. It will be full night at midnight.
Friday, July 2, 2088:
The attack commences on Command Center in Luskaa. Forty Spetznaz move in to infiltrate the colony proper. Twenty more ready themselves to rush the Command Center on signal from the Team. The attack opens with Stepka teleporting in Kuma in his battle armor and Mason dressed in a Pit Viper carrying a 7.62mm mini-gun with a 500 round ammo hopper on his back. The crack of the displaced air from the teleport wakes the men in the barracks. Only two are awake and see the transport. The mini-gun and armored grizzly bear attack as Stepka teleports out to quickly bring in the rest of the Team. The rest arrive just in time as the officer’s quarter’s door open and an Alpha Combat Borg with a sword enters the fray with a few recently awakened Legion officers. Khan cuts off the leg of the Borg and those who don’t surrender are killed. Kuma heads to the next barracks, but as he enters he is fired on ineffectively as most of the troops run out another door at the sight of the bear. Duke leads the assault on the Command Center’s control room, and all resistance ends when the Team enters in their power armor.
The Foreign Legion troops on the upper level of the bunker flee and retreat to the other bunkers in the French redoubt. The Spetznaz reach the command bunker and reinforce the Team. Two laser guided bombs from Natty’s fighter are guided in by Mason and destroy two more Legion bunkers. The French Foreign Legion surrenders.
The liberated Russian colonists report the French troops were, for the most part, even-handed occupiers. The rape of a female colonist brought about the immediate hanging of the guilty soldier. The French commander also shot two local saboteurs.
Saturday, July 3, 2088:
The Team returns to Novgorod and moves their Russian allied troops around.
Monday, July 5, 2088:
Satellite imaging reveals minor fighting in Knyazha.
Monday, July 12, 2088:
Satellite imaging reveals major fighting in Knyazha.
Tuesday, July 13, 2088:
Satellite imaging shows continued fighting in Knyazha. The Team readies for a recon of the area.
Wednesday, July 14, 2088:
After flying in on a shuttle the Team did a brief survey of the area. They discovered three military camps. One was held by the French Foreign Legion and was being shelled by the camp of the colonial troops from Mysore, who had their own camp. The UN headquarters was deserted and filled with corpses. The local UN Peacekeeper commander was found hung from a tower. The Team made contact with the French Legion camp and learned that all discipline had collapsed among the UN Peacekeepers and Mysore colonial troops. Many Russian settlers had fled to the protection of the French as the remaining other forces went on a murder and rapine spree. French Foreign Legion there asks for a truce with Russo/Star Runner forces. It is granted.
Thursday, July 15, 2088:
SRS Iris returns from the gas giant to Lippincott. RSS Alex Andropov, the remaining active Russian ship, has also been refueled and resupplied. The Russian Ship begins the trip to Lippincott.
Its starts to get dark around noon and is full night by midnight.
A truce is called with French and the Legion presents proof of Mysore’s atrocities. There was a break down in the UN command that really led to this. The UN ground commander was murdered as some of his troops and many of Mysore’s troops go rogue. The new UN commissioner and the Russians broadcast this planet wide. The Team’s allied diplomats begin negotiations with the other colonies. Only the UN colony at New Geneva refuses their overtures.
Friday, July 16, 2088:
The Absaroka Colony recognizes new UN commissioner by mid-day and the German colony of New Pomerania does the same by day’s end.
Sunday, July 18, 2088:
The French colony of Gaul recognizes the new UN commissioner. The Russians agree that if the French Foreign Legion becomes active participants on the new UN Commissioner’s side they may remain on the planet after the conflict.
Tuesday, July 20, 2088:
RSS Alex Andropov arrives in Lippincott orbit. Twilight begins at the beginning of the day and is full light by noon. Russian/Star Runner build up at an oasis 120 klm from New Geneva base. At this point, the UN High Commissioner wants volunteers to talk to the UN commander of the Defense Battalion to get him to arrest the UN naval commander.
Blue Book from Episode 18 to 19
Wednesday, July 21, 2088:
The UN High Commissioner heads to New Geneva to talk to the UN commander of the Defense Battalion in secret.
Thursday, July 22, 2088:
The Colony of Mysore agrees to ceasefire and recognizes the new UN High Commissioner as mediator. They cede claim to their spaceship to the Russians and one shuttle to The Scar (North Wales). On hearing about Mysore, UN Commodore Watanabe agrees to turn over command at 6am the 23rd.
Friday, July 23, 2088:
At 6 am, the UN Commodore surrenders his sword and turns over command to the new UN Navy Captain. The then asks for a moment along and then commits suicide. At noon the sun begins to set and it will be dark by midnight.
The Team spends the next 20 days moving troops and resources around before jumping back to Sol on …..
Saturday, August 28, 2088:
SRS Iris jumps back to Sol, but arrives in secret. When the SRS Iris arrives in Sol System in secret, she offloads her UN cryo-tubes and loads up with more gear. The ship returns with a classified cargo to Lippincott in secret. Over the next over a half a year The Star Runner vessel shuttles much needed supplies to Lalande system and Lippincott.
Wednesday, April 13, 2089:
By the time The Team is ready for the last trip to Lippincott, Gidget’s ‘Gyvering’ student (and Nip’s boyfriend), Felix Stanescu, is ready to act as chief engineer on a ship and move the Factor 3 engine to a Factor 4 performance. A battlegroup consisting of SRS Hermes and SRS Iris jumps to Lippincott. Charlie also accompanies the fleet to work his political magic with the colonies.
Friday, June 10, 2089:
Star Runner Battle Group arrives off Lippincott and waits for the UN vessel, the UNS Halsey, which they believe (correctly) has secret orders to destroy the SRS Iris. Tuesday, June 14, 2089, the date the UN ship is supposed to arrive comes and goes with no ship appearing.
Friday, July 29, 2089:
SOS is heard from the UNS Halsey which has lost its FTL engine in a breakdown. They are truly in distress. Natty sends the UN captain a coded order given to her by her sister, Admiral Caitlin Garibaldi. The much relieved UN captain acknowledges the order and a possible battle becomes a rescue mission by “one big, happy fleet”. By Saturday, August 13, 2089 the UNS Halsey arrives at Lippincott under its own power. The UN troops in cryo-sleep are transferred to the SRS Iris and the local UN commander takes command of the Halsey.
Wednesday, August 31, 2089:
SRS Iris jumps out with Charlie aboard, the Halsey’s old captain and a hold full of cryo-sleeping UN troops.
Tuesday, October, 18, 2089:
SRS Iris finally arrives in Sol system. UNISS (the United Nations Intelligence and Security Service), which is run by Nathan Forrest, former head of David Windham’s CIA, and person who had Natty, Nip and Stepka killed, has begun a high level smear campaign against the Team. Nip’s formally extensive career as the NET “terrorist”, The Raccoon, is exposed. Fortunately for her the Statute of Limitations protects her from prosecution. Owen’s family history (his father’s reputation as a criminal overlord) and the young man’s youthful flirtation with street gangs is the basis for much media speculation about his current actions and relationship with the late criminal godfather on Copernicus, Prince Stephan Zeklos. Most of UNISS and Forrest’s effort is put into painting Natty as a dangerous and unstable biogenetic assassin. Her being on the CIA’s most wanted Top 20 thirty years ago adds fuel to the fire. While this plays well with the Earth and Humanity First crowd, the campaign has the effect of making the whole Team into ‘Punk idols. Still, after testifying before several UN committees, Charlie feels it best to find a mission for the Team …… out of the Sol System.
Tuesday, November 29, 2089: The Star Runner Dominion has a hidden mining colony in the outer asteroid belt of the Epsilon Eridani system. The colony reports that unknown exploratory vessels have been sighted in their area. Charlie feels that the colony needs some reinforcement. The miners are almost ready to announce their presence since the colonial infrastructure is almost completed.
SRS Iris lifts off with supplies, colonists for deep colony in Epsilon Erindani.
Episode 19 – Massacre in Epsilon Eridani
Tuesday, November 29, 2089:
The Star Runner Dominion has a hidden mining colony in the outer asteroid belt of the Epsilon Eridani system. The colony reports that unknown exploratory vessels have been sighted in their area. Charlie feels that the colony needs some reinforcement. The miners are almost ready to announce their presence since the colonial infrastructure is almost completed. SRS Iris lifts off with supplies, colonists for deep colony in Epsilon Erindani.
Wednesday, November 30, 2089:
SRS Iris uses gate from Earth to Epsilon Erindani. The UNS Ted Kennedy, a UN corvette, is waiting to “escort” them. Rear Admiral Joachim Hedaya, the local UN Fleet commander “insists” that the SRS Iris report to him at the Epsilon Eridani O’Neill cylinder immediately. The Iris makes a few short jumps and leaves the UN vessel in the dust.
Thursday, December 1, 2089:
The SRS Iris arrives at new mining colony, which is in the outer asteroid belt. There is no response to the Team’s hails. One of Nip’s drones head down to the asteroid base to discover that while power is still being generated by Reactor #1, the base has a large hole in the administration area and the base is rapidly cooling. They assume (correctly) that life support is off-line. The base’s long range shuttle and three short range mining shuttles are gone and the tram to the landing area is at the shuttle empty hangers.
Natty orders an away team to investigate. Priest, Stepka, Khan, Duke and Nip fly down to the base in a shuttle. They land near the vehicle bay and discover the security grid is off-line too. The Team enters the base through the hole in the administration dome and finds evidence of a firefight, but no bodies. The classified labs have been ransacked, but the security room is still sealed. The main computer is off-line so Nip starts the re-boot process, but this will take a while. They try to fire up the atmosphere processors but there is no power to them, so all (except Nip who is working on the computer) head to the Reactor #1 building. Just outside the reactor building they find a net holding down the dead bodies of the colonists. Some have been shot, but most have no marks on them.
After checking if the radiation levels were safe, the Team enters the Reactor Building. They find a sealed device the size of a large trunk up against the core itself. Priest recognizes the device. It is a nuclear demolition charge. It has 70 seconds left on the countdown clock. After a bit of panic, Stepka grabs the device with 10 seconds left, looks up into space and teleports it and her off the base and into space. She then drops the device and teleports back to the shuttle. The nuke goes off harmlessly.
The Team finds the main power junction box and restores power to the base before heading back there. By now Nip has the computer up and the Team restores atmospheric controls before the greenhouse dies. Only the administration building is without atmosphere. Duke opens the security room and is blown back by the pressurized air escaping. A subsequent search of the room finds a ten year old boy, now dead, who was hiding in a cabinet. The loss of atmosphere in the security room killed him. Oh, well, so much from hearing from the only surviving witness to the attack. The Team puts his body with the others in the net outside and doesn’t mention this incident in their report. The Team commences a full search of the base.
Towards the end of the search, the SRS Iris detects a small shuttle approaching them with no IFF transponder. Natty hails the small vessel, which immediately opens fire with two laser weapons before turning to flee. Mason is on the weapons systems and blows the small craft up.
Friday, December 2, 2089:
Repairs commence on the mining colony to allow it to be operational again. Nip pulls up a damaged video file in the security room that shows a UN Gallipoli Class Assault shuttle attacking the administration dome. Cyborgs and (perhaps) ACPA suits jump out and assault the base.
Saturday, December 3, 2089:
UNS Ted Kennedy comes into range of the colony and Natty insists the captain come see himself. On arrival, Natty arrests the UN captain and his small escort and accuse them of complicity in the attack. She sets Owen on them who sorts through the UN captain’s memories, but finds he has no knowledge of the attack (and he is also personally horrified by the massacre). Owen them alters the UN personnel’s minds so they have no memories of the psionic interrogation.
The UN vessel off-loads emergency repair materials and goes to the O’Neill cylinder for more supplies. Natty allows them to take none of the evidence the Team has collected.
Sunday, December 4 to Thursday, December 22, 2089:
The new colonists are woken up and Dr. Lais Diaz, the ship’s (Caitlin) doctor finishes her autopsies on the dead colonists. A few were shot but most dies of sudden asphyxiation. The colonists suffered a gruesome and painful death. Also, four colonists are missing: a technician for Reactor #1, a computer tech, the back-up pilot and the engineer for the missing long range shuttle. In the control room of Reactor #1 the Team finds a sandwich wrapper, an empty water bottle, an apple core, an empty pack of cigarettes and an empty book of matches from “The Happy Place, Platform 1, Sector 12, 127 Avenue D”. The SRS Iris also collected as much wreckage as it could of the destroyed shuttle that fired on them and sent it to Charlie’s labs for analysis. On the 22nd an armed Star Runner patrol craft arrived to relieve the SRS Iris. They have back up files on the colonists. It seems the missing nuclear engineer was a fraud and looks nothing like the picture on file at the asteroid base. With at least one of the anti-ship lasers operational the SRS Iris prepares to head for Epsilon Eridani cylinder.
Friday, December 23, 2089:
SRS Iris jumps to Eridani Station for repairs and to begin the investigation there. As the UN had been requested earlier to send a patrol by the asteroid base and had failed to do so, they are scrambling to be cooperative. The naval repair facilities are made available to the SRS Iris immediately to fix the damage caused by the phantom shuttle’s weapons fire.
At the station Admiral Hedaya informs Natty that UNISS will be taking over the investigation and she is to turn over all the evidence she has collected to which she responds with, “Go fuck yourself.”
“What did you say?” the admiral screams.
With a smile on his face, Mason replies, “She said: Go fuck yourself.”
Natty then informs the admiral that for his failure to send a patrol vessel to respond to mining base’s request for assistance with the mysterious vessel seen in the area before the attack, the Star Runner Dominion has opened an official investigation on the Admiral. The charge is the Mass Murder of the colonists. Admiral Hedaya backpedals and asks for joint investigation which is initially refused. Special Agent Frank Michaels is there and will be the leader of the UNISS team. Frank Micheals was a former NCIS agent and had befriended Natty when she was a teenager in Blackwater, Florida. The biogen’s whole attitude changes and she acquiesces. Mason is also pleased to see Agent Michaels, as they knew each other from the Blackwater incident.
Later on that day, Mason, Stepka, Khan, Duke and Nip head over to The Happy Place is Sector 12. It is a combination dance, strip club with “champagne rooms”. In other words, it is a brothel. Khan spots the missing nuclear engineer leaving the club and starts to follow him with his Earth Sense. The others follow and formulate a capture plan. Before they can take him, their target steps onto an elevator to the station’s central hub. Khan loses his “lock” and the man escapes. The group returns to the ship.
As they look into the gigantic ship bay of the station, Mason sees four shuttles that match the missing Star Runner craft. A check of those vessels’ registrations shows one of them was just purchased a few days ago. With Special Agent Frank Michaels in the lead, they board the shuttle and inspect it. While the ship’s identity number seems genuine, Nip checks the secret location where the vessel’s true number is etched. This is the missing Star Runner Shuttle. The agent who handled the transaction is found dead and UNISS investigates. Owen questions the new owners, but they appear to have no knowledge that this ship was stolen.
Here the session ended, but the people behind the massacre at the asteroid base are still a mystery.
Evidence Gathered at Mining Colony
The Team’s mission now is to investigate the massacre at the Star Runner mining colony in the outer asteroid belt of the Epsilon Eridani system. The local UN authorities have reluctantly allowed the Team to take the lead on a joint investigation with UNISS (United Nations Intelligence and Security Service). The UN has pulled out of semi-retirement, Frank Michaels, a former American NCIS agent who kept a young, teenage Natty from being arrested (and probably killed) by corrupt police officials. He is probably the only government agent the biogen (and Mason and Owen) trust.
The following is the information that the Team has collected:
1 – A damaged and grainy video file in the mining colony’s security room shows what appears to be a UN Gallipoli Class Assault shuttle attacking the administration dome. Cyborgs and (perhaps) ACPA suits jump out and assault the base.
2 – Sensor logs from the SRS Iris (the Team’s ship) indicate another (or the same) UN Gallipoli Class Assault shuttle attacked the Iris when challenged as it attempted to stealthily approach the Star Runner ship. This shuttle was destroyed by laser fire from the SRS Iris (by Mason) and wreckage from this vessel has been collected and sent to the main Star Runner colony in the Sol system for study. Results are not expected back until the first or second week of January. The UN naval authorities say all of their shuttles are accounted for.
3 – UNS Ted Kennedy came to the Star Runner colony when they detected the detonation of the nuclear demolition charge that was intended to destroy the base. The UN captain of the corvette, UNS Ted Kennedy, was mind scanned by Owen and that officer had no knowledge of the attack.
4 – Autopsies by Dr. Lais Diaz, the Team’s doctor, found that will some of the colonists had been shot, most died of asphyxiation due to being exposed to the vacuum of space.
5 – Four colonists remain unaccounted for. They are: Henry Heath, the back-up pilot for the colony’s long range shuttle; Kwami Gallani, a shuttle engineer; Anna Grieg, a computer tech; and Walter Gage, a nuclear engineer. All of these were recent arrivals to the colony. Gage and Grieg came from Los Angeles, SoCal (Aldecado Nation) and Heath and Gallani came from Miami, FL, on Earth (Thelas Nation).
6 – Four items found in the trash of the nuclear reactor’s control room caught the Team’s eye as these items aren’t allowed in there: A – an empty sandwich wrapper, B – an apple core; C – an empty pack of cigarettes; D – An empty matchbook from “The Happy Place, Platform 1, Sector 12, 127 Avenue D” on the Eridani O’Neill cylinder.
7 – A comparison of the mining colony’s personnel files with the two files forwarded from the main Star Runner colony in the Sol system showed a discrepancy on the appearance of Walter Gage. The DNA profile found on the items from the reactor control room match Walter Gage’s base records, but NOT the records forwarded to the Team from Charlie’s main colony in the asteroid belt of Sol. Anna Grieg’s picture matches both records.
8 – The Team’s stake out of the Happy Place on the Epsilon Eridani station caught a glimpse of Walter Gage, but they lost him during their surveillance.
9 – A check of the long range shuttles of the same class that was stolen from the mining colony in the station’s dock revealed one of them was one of the stolen base shuttle. Investigation quickly discovered that the owners, who had just bought it, were innocent of any involvement. The agent (fixer) who handled the sale was found murdered. Frank Micheals and his UNISS team took over the investigation of the fixer’s murder from the station authorities.
I am posting this so everyone can refresh themselves on what the Team knows. Please post any questions you might have regarding these. We will take up this story on the following game day which is Christmas Eve, 2089. It will be up to you all to figure out what you want to do next. Natty is busy with ship repairs and dealing with UN Admiral Joaquim Hedaya, the local commander, who hates her (and all of you too). It is important to remember that you all have NO power to arrest or detain anyone on the station. Yes, there is a citizen’s arrest type provision in the law, but if you’re wrong then you could be charged with kidnapping or false imprisonment at the discretion of Admiral Hedaya. You know how he feels about you all so be warned. You can talk to anyone on the station, but they don’t have to talk to you. Also, Special Agent Frank Michaels has a team of four more agents working with him. Natty, Mason and Owen know one of them from Florida. (Imagine the NCIS team from the Ziva David period of that TV show.)
Episode 20 – Rock & Roll in Miami!
Saturday, December 24, 2089:
SRS Iris is at Eridani Station for repairs and the investigation continues. The team has a meeting with only themselves before calling in the UNISS agents. Dr. Lais Diaz will tell them that the agent who handled the transfer of the long range shuttle, Fernando Gonzales, was killed a half hour after the Team boarded the long range shuttle that was eventually seized. He was killed with a 10mm round with barrel striations that she doesn’t recognize. She will continue her research on the round. The Team discusses continuing to stake out the Happy Place and having Mason use his Thelas Nomad Nation contacts. The solo claims his contacts are very old and he wouldn’t know how to contact them.
They finally bring in Agent Frank Michaels and his team. They are Jethro Gibson (Gibbs), the leader, Tony Nodozo, an ex-cop, Leah Alexander, an ex- Russian Special Forces operative and Timothy McGoo, a Canadian NET investigator. (Any similarity between these NPCs and a certain popular TV show is completely intentional.) They turn over all the evidence they have on the case for the UNISS team’s inspection. Frank Michaels turns the picture of Walter Gage to Agent Timmy McGoo to feed into the Eridani Station security and surveillance system. In fifteen minutes an ID comes back. This man is actually Jacob (Jake) Simms, who is a Waste Reclamation Engineer. They check his work records and find that he was at the station here during the time that Walter Gage was at the Star Runner mining colony. Duke Strider questions (with Interview) for about 6 hours but his story about being at work here on the station never wavers. Still, they don’t tell him why he is being questioned because they hope he will slip up, but he never does. As soon as Duke switches to a more intimidating line of questioning he stops talking and demands a lawyer. They have to release him. Duke inquiries about the man’s family but his file have little information on that. Agent Michaels puts Agent McGoo on researching the life of Jake Simms.
It is decided to send a team to Miami to find out more information on Henry Heath and Kwame Gallani, the shuttle pilot and engineer. Owen and Nail will remain on the station to attempt to heal the breach between Natty and Admiral Hedaya. Others on the crew continue to assist with repairs and security for the SRS Iris. Nip will pilot the long range mining shuttle and Duke will handle the navigation as they take the craft through the gate to Earth. Mason, Stepka, Khan, Dr. Diaz along with UNISS agents Jethro Gibson, Leah Alexander and Tony Nodozo make up the rest of the group heading to Earth. Frank Michaels quickly gets the clearance for the shuttle to use the jump gate to get to Earth and Miami Florida. They will leave early the next morning.
Sunday, December 25, 2089:
The Team with their UNISS agents in tow board the shuttle and head quickly to the jump gate to Sol. They are delayed for about twenty-five minutes at the gate but are eventually cleared and make the jump to Earth. Agent Nodozo sits next to Dr. Diaz for the trip and the two shamelessly flirt much to the displeasure of Senior Agent Gibson. On arrival the shuttle is directed to a military spaceport outside Miami where a large group of LEDiv agents under the command of Senior Special Agent Karl Jenkins. Agent Jenkins makes it clear that he detests the group and is here to make sure they don’t make a mess in Miami. The LEDiv man also knows Agent Gibson; the two are polite but obviously don’t get along. Nip and Dr. Lais Diaz remain on the ship, while the others are taken to a moderately nice hotel paid for by UNISS.
It is clear that Agent Jenkins intends to follow them where ever they go, and the Team won’t be able to do their job with LEDiv in tow. Agents Gibson and Alexander go to talk (keep busy) Jenkins while the rest slip out of the hotel and go to find the Thelas family that sent Henry Heath and Kwame Gallani. Mason makes a few calls and finds that his contacts are still good. The people they are seeking are in Southeast Miami which is a floating neighborhood with little official law enforcement except for the Thelas Dog Soldiers. They all head to a boat rental place that Mason’s contacts recommended. The Team notices they are being followed by what is obviously LEDiv. Fortunately for them, Agent Nodozo is a former Miami cop. He promptly loses the tail and the group heads to the boat rental place. Well, it’s not only Sunday, but is also Christmas so no one is there. The sign on the door says they will be open tomorrow. The Team heads back to the hotel and a very angry LEDiv agent. There is not much Jenkins can do about it.
Monday, December 26, 2089:
The Team along with Agent Nodozo slips out of the hotel in the morning, but the LEDiv tail quickly catches up with them. Ex-cop Tony loses them again and they arrive at the boat rental place. Mason uses his contact’s information to get the owner to give his the location of the Askari Family’s flagship, but they soon have a problem. No one knows how to drive the watercraft. A radio call to the spaceship brings Dr. Diaz who does have that skill and soon they are at the Askari vessel. These Thelas nomads are wary. They recognize Tony Nodozo as a former Miami cop and refuse to let him on board. Dr. Diaz agrees to stay with him on their craft while the others talk to the family leader, Marlon Askari.
Mason Verge has big rep with the Thelas for his part in the Battle of Blackwater in 2047, but his current youthful appearance has some of the nomads suspicious. It just so happens a veteran of the battle is on the ship and recognizes Mason. The situation warms right up. The team tells them they are looking for information on a Henry Heath and Kwame Gallani who when to the mining colony in Epsilon Eridani. This confuses the nomads who say that Henry Heath put out to sea four weeks ago and has never left Earth. Also, the man is a ship’s pilot, not a space shuttle pilot. As to Kwame, the clan leader, Marlon, calls below deck and Kwame Gallani comes up from the hold. He is the chief engineer on this vessel. The man knows nothing about space ships. Kwame does tell the group that a local nomad fixer, Manny Ortega, did recruit both he and Henry a few months back, but later told them the job fell through. The Team convinces the nomads to arrange a meeting with this fixer, who lives in the combat zone on the western edge of the city in Blood Nation territory. The Team thanks the Askari Clan and as they go aboard their rental boat they see Dr. Lais Diaz and Agent Nodozo snuggled up with each other having an intimate chat.
On return to their vehicle, there are now two LEDiv tail cars. The Team returns to hotel and an angry Agent Jenkins, but at this point no one cares how pissed he is. The group heads out to Manny Ortega’s club and again (apparently) ditches their tail. (Not really, as this time LEDiv is employing a remote and has their vehicle’s low jack frequency.) The Blood guards outside the club are openly carrying assault weapons, but brighten up when they see Agent Nodozo. A lot of them have history with the ex-cop and while most of it isn’t good, Nodozo is known locally as an honest guy and good to his word. He has the Blood’s respect.
Manny meets with the Team. The fixer tells them that he was acting as a middle-man for a trusted Snake Nation fixer, who told him that the deal fell through. In response to a request for this person’s name, Manny brings up that he is a little distracted, because a “dear friend” has been “extracted” by a high level Edgerunner team, who is turning his man over tomorrow to their employers. If someone were to spring this “friend” he might remember the other fixer’s name. The Team agrees to do the job that night. The Blood fixer suggests that Agent Nodozo spend this time as his “guest” so they can catch up on old times. This is fine with Tony and Dr. Diaz also volunteers to stay and enjoy Manny’s hospitality. Manny provides the Team with a floorplan (sans furniture) of the third floor safe house. He also warns them that this is a world class team. His own people won’t touch the job for that reason.
Upon returning to the hotel, they find about an additional dozen LEDiv agents there to keep track of them. Mason notices they are now employing a flying remote. With Mason, Khan and Duke in tow, Stepka looks at a rooftop a mile away and teleports there. It takes her another three jumps to get to an alley across the street from the safehouse. Unfortunately they spotted two security cameras looking at their arrival point. Pray no one was looking at them at the time. Khan uses his Earth sense and locates six people in the third (top) floor. There is only a single stairway up to third floor and all the windows are covered with metal plates. More ominously Duke smelled the presence of a biogenetic weasel. They are fast, silent and deadly.
Here is where the Team made its first of two tactical mistakes. They identified the hostage as the one life sign that wasn’t moving. The others were spread across the whole floor. Mason directed Stepka to teleport the Team three rooms away from their target. Their arrival was announced by the crack of the displaced air. Mason entered the next room that was a small bathroom and there committed the second tactical error. Instead of rushing to the hostage, he decided to sweep the tiny room. This left Duke in the lead and he was surprised by the weasel who bit him with sleep poison, which dropped the biogenic dog. Khan entered next and was sprayed by fire, which slightly wounded him. The Team martial artist then advanced and wounded his attacker. The opposition operator that was originally in the room was gone by now. He had rushed to secure his prisoner. The other members of the opposition were now rushing to the fight. Stepka teleported through the wall of the first room and ended up in the kitchen to cut off the advancing enemy. She was seen and shot by a man with a FAMAS. Her armor and Iron Man turned most of the damage. Stepka’s move saved the Team from being overrun and slaughtered.
Mason came up to the door that led out of the bathroom, but didn’t enter the room. Stepka emptied her clip into her assailant and splattered him all over the wall. Khan chopped his attackers arm off and the accumulated damage killed him. With Mason hesitating at the door, the weasel jumped on Khan’s back and took him down with his sleep poison bite. When Mason finally enters the room on the next round, the weasel is holding up the unconscious Khan hiding behind his prisoner’s body with a gun on the man. He tells Mason to back off as the biogen drags Khan to the small room where the prisoner is. Mason doesn’t have a shot. The weasel gets through the door and Mason hears a large clang of a metal object on the pavement below. The last of the opposition team gets the drop on a reloading Stepka, but doesn’t use his time to fire. He runs back the other way. Mason and Stepka force the door to the small room, but the metal plate over the window is gone along with their target and the two opposition operatives. The two rush to the main staircase down and as Mason opens it he sees a wire. The man dives to the side of the door taking Stepka down to safety with him as a claymore mine blows the door to splinters.
The two dust themselves off and head down the stairs. Mason has Stepka teleport the two through the front door to avoid any (non-existent) booby-traps. Unfortunately, the door is covered by the opposition team’s sniper, who sees the teleport. The man then puts a .50 caliber round into Mason’s leg which would have blown any non-orbital steel leg off. The two team members jump back through the door. Four of the six opposition team gets away with their payday. The owner of the “safe house” shouts up the stairs that the police are on their way (no). Both Duke and Khan wake up. They grab a couple of weapons and Mason has Stepka teleport jump the Team back. Unfortunately, the last jump uses up the last of her power points and does four points of damage as her psionic power expenditure draws hit points to fuel part of the last jump. The Czech solo goes into a coma. It has not been a successful evening.
Tuesday, December 27, 2089:
Early in the morning Agent Nodozo and Dr. Diaz return to the hotel. The doctor seems quite pleased, but the UNISS agent eyes the Caitlin biogen with more than a little trepidation. When Manny Ortega found out that the Team had failed to re-extract his associate, he was about to take his displeasure out on the two. His people’s mistake was to underestimate Dr. Diaz. She may be a doctor, but she is still a Caitlin biogen who knows how to fight. Senior LEDiv Agent Karl Jenkins is apoplectic about the (extraction) team getting by him and his men yesterday. There are no official reports of yesterday’s action, but the rumor mill is alive with stories of a shoot-out in the Combat Zone. UNISS Agent Gibson suggests it might be best to return to the Eridani Station and let the dust settle in Miami. All agree. The Team is given a large police and LEDiv escort. The Star Runner shuttle is given a drone escort out of the atmosphere and is immediately cleared to use the jump gate back to Epsilon Eridani. When the group arrives back at the Eridani Station, Stepka wakes from her coma, but still needs rest.
Wednesday, December 28, 2089:
The Team spends most of the day recuperating from their expedition to Miami. A brief meeting is held where Agent Frank Michaels reveals that Tim McGoo has finished his research into Jacob Simms’ family. Jake is from Los Angeles, but his parents are dead. He does however have a twin brother, Jarrod, who is a part-time actor and is known to do some Edgerunner work on the side. (Both Stepka and Duke had suggested this might be the case just after the first interrogation of Jake Simms.) The two brothers also have a sister, Janice Simms, who is unmarried and works as a vet tech in Los Angeles. The Team ponders its next move, but it seems a trip to LA might be inevitable.
Introduction for Episode 21
The Team’s mission is to investigate the massacre at the Star Runner mining colony in the outer asteroid belt of the Epsilon Eridani system. The local UN authorities have reluctantly allowed the Team to take the lead on a joint investigation with UNISS (United Nations Intelligence and Security Service). The UN has pulled out of semi-retirement, Frank Michaels, a former American NCIS agent who kept a young, teenage Natty from being arrested (and probably killed) by corrupt police officials. He is probably the only government agent the biogen, Mason and Owen trust.
The following is the information that the Team collected during Episode 20:
1 – The fate of two colonists remain unaccounted for. They are: Anna Grieg, a computer tech and Walter Gage, a nuclear engineer. Gage and Grieg came from Los Angeles, SoCal (Aldecado Nation).
2 – You have learned that the man you thought was Walter Gage, the nuclear engineer, is really Jerrod Simms, an actor and possibly part-time Edgerunner from Los Angeles. Jerrod has a twin brother, Jacob who works on the Eridani station. Jake has a rock solid alibi and no training in nuclear engineering, but then again neither does his twin brother, Jerrod. There is still the question of Anna Grieg whose picture and DNA matches both the records from the mining colony and those sent by the Aldecado Nation people in L.A.
3 – While you learned that Henry Heath and Kwame Gallani (from the Thelas Nation, Miami) were replaced by imposters, you still don’t have the name of the Snake Nation fixer that was supposedly arranging the transport of these individuals to the Epsilon Eridani mining colony.
I am posting this so everyone can refresh themselves on what the Team knows. Please post any questions you might have regarding these. Natty is still busy with ship repairs. UN Admiral Joaquim Hedaya, the local commander, still hates her (and all of you too), but is now co-operating in the investigation. Remember you all have NO power to arrest or detain anyone on the station (or anywhere NOT under Star Runner authority. Yes, there is a citizen’s arrest type provision in the law, but if you’re wrong then you could be charged with kidnapping or false imprisonment at the discretion of Admiral Hedaya. You know how he feels about you all so be warned. Special Agent Frank Michaels still has a team of four agents working with him although Agent Nodozo seems to have incurred the displeasure of Senior Special Agent Jethro Gibson, whom Natty, Mason and Owen know from Florida. We will take up this story on the following game day which is Thursday, December 29, 2089. There is still the question of the two people from Los Angeles and how they were recruited. It will be up to you all to figure out what you want to do next.
Episode 21 – New Year’s Eve!
Thursday, December 29, 2089: Team begins session. Stepka has only 37 psionic power points (out of 241) after her enormous expenditure. She has had a full day of meditation yesterday.
The Team has a meeting and both Owen and Nail report on their interviews with Admiral Hedaya. Nail has brought him around to the belief that cooperating with the Team’s investigation is the right thing to do (and also the best thing for his career). Although Owen was unable to touch him, but he and Nail are sure that he wasn’t involved in the plot to destroy the Star Runner Mining Colony. He would never involve himself in the mass murder of civilians. The Admiral also denies that he received a request from the Star Runner base or the nomad’s main base in the Sol system for a protection patrol due to the unknown space ship that was detected by the colony. Dr. Lais Diaz reports that she has had no word back on her ballistics inquiry.
The discussion turns to who is working against them and how did LEDiv (FBI successor now under CIA) know to be waiting at Miami to intercept their confidential investigation. They decide to ask in chief UNISS Agent Frank Michaels and ask him his opinion. Agent Michaels tells them his team had been discussing exactly that. Both sides agree that the two Aldacado nomads from LA need investigating immediately, but the question remains, can they get to LA without alerting their LEDiv Task Force? Owen decides on a test to find any possible leak. They file a flight plan to San Francisco but at the last minute do an emergency change of flight under UNISS security authorization. There are people waiting for them at the spaceport in LA, but they are more of Frank Michaels’ friends from the days he ran the San Diego office of NCIS. The Team is whisked to an “off the books” safe house, and briefs Agent Frank’s old friends who have come to his aid on this case. They go to the address of Jerrod Simms, but no one answers. Duke’s psionically enhanced olfactory sense detects the scent of decaying flesh. That’s good enough for Michaels and his LAPD friend. The two forced the door and found Simms, dead hastily wrapped in the shower curtain with gaffers tape. LAPD arrives and takes over the crime scene. The Team’s Dr. Lais Diaz accompanies the body back to the morgue and does the autopsy under UNISS authorization.
Friday, December 30, 2089:
Dr. Diaz reports that Jerrod Simms was killed by the same gun and odd 10mm slug that silenced the agent who brokered the long range shuttle’s sale. More importantly the local coroner had no trouble getting a quick answer from the same data bases that she had queried a number of days ago. The bullet was a failed experiment by the now defunct Angstrom Arms and was specifically made for a military prototype special ops weapon. That company was bought out ten years ago by a sub-division of the interstellar mega-giant, Alpha Corp. The corporation promises an answer as to where the inventory of Angstrom Arms went in 72 hours. The DNA they have for Anna Grieg pops on the LAPD date base as Sarah Williams, a local sex worker. Stepka, Khan and Duke got with their LAPD detective immediately go and pick her up. She is incoherent and her angry pimp comes up. Khan calmly holds up a few thousand solars. The man’s demeanor immediately changes and he takes the proffered cash. Sarah is paid for her evening and the Team leaves with her, thinking she was a paid for mole. They eventually discover she is in fact Anna Grieg who has had some slight cosmetic surgery and had behavior and memory suppression chips inserted and locked into her processor. They head immediately to pick up the pimp, but he is now dead in an alley with a 10mm hole in his head; more work for Dr. Diaz.
Meanwhile, Owen, Mason and Frank Michaels try to see Saul Feinstein, Jerrod Simms’s agent. Saul has a few floors in a high rise. His minions claim he isn’t there and they don’t know where he is (both true). Besides, Jerrod Simms dealt with a (very) junior associate. They get to see that associate immediately and he genuinely shocked that Jerrod is dead. No, he hadn’t gotten him any work in three or four months. They walk away with an audition reel; Jerrod wasn’t very good. Agent Michaels friends start to call in with their findings. Their DNA evidence also scores a hit on a John Doe who was found murdered months ago, the real Walter Gage. The photos of the “false” Henry Heath and Walter Gage are identified as Carlos Estrada and Jerrod Simms, reputed members of an Edgerunner team that calls themselves, the Dying Earth. The whole Team, except Dr. Diaz and Agent Leah Alexander her now bodyguard, drive over to Estrada’s last known address. The LAPD are already on the scene. 10mm man had been here, but Carlos had gotten off a few shots, but there was no conclusive evidence of the assassin’s identity.
By that evening, the Team gets a communication from the surviving members of the Dying Earth. They claim, they had nothing to do with any nuclear terrorism and would never participate in something like that. They did perhaps do a job recently in the Epsilon Eridani system, and that was brokered by the New York Snake Nation fixer, Jerry Wilkins. They are going away for a while and that’s all they know. The Dying Earth melts away.
The UNISS team in Epsilon Eridani did find a transmission buried in the carrier wave of station’s communication center just after they filed their false flight plan to San Francisco. Gibson and his team are closing in on its source. Tim McGoo also reports that LEDiv agent Jenkins was waiting at the San Francisco space port. Jenkins and his LEDiv team are now in LA looking for the Team.
New Year’s Eve, Saturday, December 31, 2089:
On New Year’s Eve the Team quietly flies on an unscheduled classified domestic flight to Atlantic City, NJ. The Team is immediately airlifted to the Big (frozen) Apple. All but Khan disguise themselves to head to Jerry Wilkin’s club where the fixer is throwing his New Year’s Eve party. They spot Jerry Wilkins sitting on his elevated balcony overlooking his bacchanal. Owen, Nip and Mason move towards the stairs to that guarded balcony. They are unnoticed, but Khan’s fame gets him recognized right as “Jerry” gets a phone call that tells him that assassins and cops are coming to kill or pick him up. Khan’s presence (and reputation) sends the man fleeing for his life. Good thing too, “Mr. 10mm” was also in attendance. He also noticed Khan, but not the others until …
Owen walks up and tries incapacitating one of the alert bodyguards at the bottom of the stairs. Unfazed that bodyguard and his partner go full defensive as the two and the top of the stairs pull out very large handguns, but the hold their fire and call behind themselves. Nip leaps on Owen’s back and accuses him of being drunk. The Owen, Nip and Mason back off. The Team leaves immediately before Wilkins can muster his security force. Khan loses his glowing nunchakus.
The Team, Agent Michaels and his NYPD liaison all agree there is enough for a massive raid on all Jerry Wilkins’ known hideouts. At one of the five known ones Duke again detects an odor of death. They find a walled over closet and a body wrapped up inside, it is a desiccated husk but fits the height and approximate weight of Jerry Wilkins. Only the last bit of viable DNA they find will tell.
Sunday, January 1, 2090:
Both the Team and Michaels UNISS people fly to Mobile, but it is only the Team that gets read in on the secret project that was stolen at the station. It was a study to be done for a project called ADAPT. It was working on biogenetic retro-viruses that would allow miners to exit on the asteroids with little to no extra life-support. The experiment at the station had barely started. Stealing it was hardly worth this great effort. All now head back to LA where they continue to remain unfound by Agent Jenkins and his people. Stepka gets in a little meditation.
Monday, January 2, 2090:
Back at the safe house in LA, Dr. Diaz has Anna Grieg on medication for her behavior trip withdrawal. The girl is able to talk and says she was kidnapped along with her sister. Her kidnappers blackmailed her to help them infiltrate the mining colony, but she heard nothing about any nuclear involvement. Instead of letting her go, someone sold her to her pimp all chipped up. They do get the location of the rest of Anna’s Family. The Team (but not the UNISS agents) goes talk to them. They are overjoyed their oldest daughter is still alive. As to the youngest they know nothing. Duke asks if anything odd has happened, no matter how small. The parents say, yes, they got an old fashioned postal card addressed to them showing a picture of a colorful hotel on the beach outside Manila. The handwriting isn’t their youngest daughter. The Team asks and is given the card. Dr. Diaz tests the stamp for DNA and dusts for fingerprints. The parents give the Team something they know has the fingerprints of the youngest.
Alpha Arms, the sub-company of Alpha Corp provides all the documentation that the weapons and all ammunition they had was destroyed by a company that legitimately closed three years ago.
Tuesday, January 3, 2090:
The card’s fingerprints were too smudged, but the stamp was licked the missing daughter. It was time to confront Agent Jenkins who was closing in anyway. The Team agreed to meet him on UNISS’s terms where Frank Michaels immediately accused him (with enormous circumstantial evidence. Owen reads the LEDiv man. This agent apparently thought he was on a legitimate classified mission for a senior boss. Jenkins may be an ass, but he’s a cop not a cold-blooded killer. They get Jenkins full cooperation against his superior.
Wednesday, January 4, 2090:
The Team realizes that there is something huge going on here and their opposition is powerful and can corrupt even high ranking UN naval officers and senior law enforcement in the USA. The Team along with the UNISS people returns to the Epsilon Eridani station. They rest and Stepka gets a full round of meditation. Stepka is now at 110 power points (out of 241).
Thursday, January 5, 2090:
The metallurgical study results of the destroyed assault shuttle come in and reveal that it is consistent with a Gallipoli Class Assault Shuttle manufactured exclusively for the UN space navy by the Toliman Shipyards on the planet Toliman, orbiting Alpha Centauri b. The UN fleet headquarters still maintains they are missing none of these vessels. Nip looks into the ownership of Tolima Shipyards and low and behold it is another sub-division of Alpha Corp!
Bits of cyborg parts are examined and a two different serial numbers are found. These two bodies (an Alpha and a Burroughs) were shipped to Jaworski Cybernetic Suppliers in Warsaw, Poland. The Jaworski Company has claimed client confidentiality and will not supply any further information.
Further investigation on the hotel outside Manila uncovers that a prostitution ring operates out of there using foreign sex workers. The whole UNISS team under Frank Michaels prepares for a surveillance and rescue operation to grab Anna Grieg’s sister if she is still at the brothel operating in the hotel. Natty orders a covert break in at the Jaworski Cybernetic Suppliers to find the identities of the cyborgs from the Gallipoli class shuttle in disintegrating Warsaw.
Episode 22 – Justice for the Dead Colonists
Friday, January 6, 2090:
The Team and the UNISS Team head out to the gate on the long range mining shuttle. The Team switches secretly to a Star Runner armed diplomatic cutter along with a lot of new “tech” and heads to Earth also. The mining shuttle will bring the UNISS team to Manila to rescue Anna Grieg’s sister if she is still at the brothel operating in the hotel. The diplomatic shuttle (Charlie’s personal) will land in Warsaw, Poland to drop off a trade delegation.
Saturday, January 7, 2090: The Star Runner mining shuttle takes the UNISS team to Manila where they begin their operation in conjunction with the local authorities.
As the Star Runner diplomatic shuttle comes in for a landing in Warsaw, they fly over a tall building that Stepka can see. She teleports the Team and their gear (drones and assault gear) on to that building’s roof, thus avoiding Polish customs. Nail has arranged for a local fixer to supply the Team with transport and a safe house in Poland. The group soon is at their safe house near their target. They will investigate the Jaworski Cybernetics Suppliers by sending a Bell Mini-bee with a Grid Bug inside to access the company’s mainframe and find who got the two cyborg bodies.
Nip easily guides the drones to their target and accesses the Jaworski Cybernetics computer. She gets two names: Sandomir Bujak and Renard Kulpa. The NET runner immediately begins researching these two.
Sunday, January 8, 2090:
By morning Nip has assembled a dossier for the Team and it is not good news. The two men she is investigating are members of an all-cyborg hit squad, Stal Śmierć (Steel Death), a brutal all cyborg mercenary group of about 18 to 20 members that base in a combat zone of Warsaw. With the advance of the glaciers the Polish government has been steadily losing control of areas of the country. Every member of this group has a death sentence warrant out on them from the remains of the government, which can be collected by registered bounty hunters (which the Team is not). More disturbing is the rumor that this group contains one or two combat AIs. This group occupies an old warehouse. Nail starts to work his contacts to get more information and Nip gets some aerial reconnaissance with her drones. The rest of the Team prepares for an assault. Mason finds a Heavy EMF launcher in the gear Natty packed for the group. He feels it might prove useful.
By evening good news arrives for the Team. The Frank Michaels and his UNISS team have rescued Anna Grieg’s sister and helped the Philippine authorities close down a slaver ring. UNISS transports them out of Manila so the Team’s mining shuttle can lift off for orbit. In Warsaw, Nail has arranged for an extraction from the combat zone that will cost the Team nothing. He has contacted a local group of bounty hunters that will take any of the cyborgs or AIs they capture or kill in exchange for an aerial lift out of the zone. The Team is in position outside the Stal Śmierć HQ just after midnight.
Monday, January 9, 2090:
Khan uses his Life Sense to scan the target warehouse. He senses five life signs. His sense is good enough to tell they are all cyborgs. Nip sends her Scorpion remote into the complex with a Grid Bug in the cargo compartment and then taps into the external camera system. The cyborgs don’t have any cameras looking into the inside. Guided by Khan’s ability to locate the minds of the cyborgs and Nip’s NET wizardry, the Team gets into the warehouse building. The security is less than the Team expects, but the Stal Śmierć’s reputation keeps most people at bay and the police don’t even try to enter the area.
Once in postion the Team stays out of sight except for Owen who keeps his eye on the large central factory floor. Stepka throws a piece of debris into the factory area and the sound draws six cyborgs, not five. The Team realizes that one, the Dragoon, is actually a combat AI. Owen touches the minds of the five and launches his Memory Assault I on the group. The five cyborgs drop immediately. The Dragoon notices Owen and opens fire. The bullets dance around Owen as he ducks for cover. Before the AI can fire again, Mason shuts him down with a hit from his Heavy EMF launcher. With Khan sensing their enemies’ conciousness, the rest of the Team rushes forward and those with tech skills shut down their helpless opponents. A quick search finds lots of gear a a small computer which Nip cracks quickly. It contains mostly mission dossiers but nothing on their employers. There is a notation about Epsilon Eridani with a date three days from now and a string of numbers. Most of the Team can’t make sense of those digets, but Duke does. It is a set of space coordinates near the Star Runner Mining Colony in Epsilon Eridani. It is about the distance that the stolen mining shuttles coud get. The bounty hunters are quickly summoned and the Team’s extraction arrives. These Poles are amazed that the most vicious cyborg gang in the city was taken out so quickly and the Team earns their respect.
The Team is then dropped off at their safe house and contacts the Star Runner diplomatic shuttle which is now in orbit over Warsaw. Stepka transports the Team back to that craft. Both that armed ship along with the mining shuttle head to the gate and jump back to Epsilon Eridani. Once out of the gate’s sensor range the two craft hook up and the Team transfers to the mining shuttle. By the end of the day the Team is back at Eridani Station and the armed diplomatic shuttle heads back to the gate and Sol.
Tuesday, January 10, 2090:
SRS Iris is finished with repairs at Eridani Station. The Iris and the long range shuttle leave together, but Natty orders the two vessels switch transponder signals before they separate. The “phantom” Iris heads off to a different part of the Epsilon Eridani system to “hunt for pirates”, while the true Iris heads to the mining colony with the shuttle transponder.
Monday, January 11, 2090:
When the SRS Iris reaches the mining colony Natty turns off the transponder as if the mining shuttle has landed. The Team’s craft goes silent and moves off to the rendezvous point. Natty informs the crew she has learned an Alpha Corp Greyhound Class starship was in system two days ago and supposedly jumped out beyond the edges of the Epsilon Eridani system on an “exploratory” mission. She also informs the crew it is intention to seize that vessel if it comes to pick up the stolen shuttles. To that end she informs the crew that Charlie has issued her an experimental EMP warhead for the ship’s Skipper missile. This is a surprise to everyone except Gidget who, as executive officer, was briefed on the weapon’s existence. This warhead probably wouldn’t take out a warship, but should cripple the electronics of a commercial vessel; at least for a little while. The SRS Iris deploys a series of passive sensors and takes up an ambush position to wait.
With hopes that it is the Alpha Corp Greyhound Class starship coming, Natty has the Assault Teams ready a plan to seize the ship. Since the SRS Iris is basically a rebuilt Greyhound class ship itself, Stepka studies the vessel and prepares herself to teleport the main assault group consisting of her, Khan, Owen, Nip, Mason and Duke to just outside the main cargo bay to secure the mining shuttles. Natty prepares to teleport herself, Priest and another Marine to close to the bridge. The Team studies the schematics of the target vessel and prepares for the attack.
Thursday, January 12, 2090:
Right on schedule the passive sensors pick up a large vessel running dark moving towards the rendezvous point. Nip enters the control program of the skipper missile while Fred and Timmy launch controlling their six stealth drones. Soon three mining shuttles rise up from a small asteroid and head for the Alpha Corp starship. Natty launches the Skipper missile from behind a larger asteroid. The target vessels stops and opens its cargo bay and takes in the three mining shuttles. Nip takes her final run at that ship as Fred and Timmy’s drones cripple the Greyhound’s point defense system. Nip “bails” out of the skipper just before it hits. The target ship is shut down. Immediately, Natty brings the Iris out from behind the asteroid and gets into visual range and stops the forward motion of her vessel. Stepka teleports her group in and Natty follows immediately after.
Stepka’s Team enters the darkened cargo bay. Khan senses five cyborgs, but the Team also sees a Daioni. It is being controlled by an AI. Owen reaches out with his Memory Assault I and drops four of the cyborgs. One has saved. He is slowed but still in the fight. Khan moves on the ship’s other crew members who resist and uses his Bo staff to subdue them. The Daioni sees Mason and Nip and fires on both. Mason takes a few hits from the 12.7mm and Nip takes a blast from the auto-shot gun. Mason’s Pit Viper stands up to the hits. Nip puts up her hand and calls on her newly developed “Force Field”. The shotgun’s rounds stop in midair right in front of the NET runner. The Daioni turns all its weapons on the girl and fires. Nip’s shield is battered but holds. Meanwhile, the others engage the remaining cyborg in his Alpha. Enraged at Nip the Daioni charges and starts pounding on the Force Shield screaming, “Why won’t you die!” in Polish. Owen drops the last cyborg with another Memory Assault along with a few other resisting crew members. The Team now concentrates fire on the Daioni and brings it down. With the cargo bay secured Stepka’s Team heads to engineering. Natty, Mason and their marine reach the bridge but it is locked against them. Natty teleports her group through the bulkhead and the captain and bridge crew surrender. A prize crew comes over from the SRS Iris and the enemy ship is secured.
The Team wastes no time. A coded message is sent to Sol announcing the capture. Nip sets to work busting open the computer files. Owen and Nail tear into the ship’s captain’s mind and drag his secrets out. They get their prize under way and return to their mining colony. They find more than enough evidence to prove that Alpha Corp arranged and paid for the massacre of the colonists. Not only that but another Gallipoli Class assault shuttle is found in the Greyhound’s shuttle bay. It seems Alpha Corp had its Toliman Shipyard manufacture three extra assault shuttles for their covert use. Nail uses his Empathic Projection to “convince” the Alpha Corp captain to fully “cooperate” with their investigation. All memories of the assault team teleporting onto the bridge are erased.
Friday, January 13, 2090:
The seizure of the Alpha Corp starship can’t be kept a secret and towards the end of the day, Admiral Hedaya arrives on his flagship, the Commonwealth Class frigate, UNS Northumberland. He demands Natty turn the captured vessel over to him. His “request” is greeted by the SRS Iris locking all of its weapons on his ship and the new Star Runner gravitic fighter squadron based at the mining colony taking up attack positions. Natty informs the Admiral that he has not been cleared of any wrong doing in this affair and she is quite willing to add the UNS Northumberland to the list of the SRS Iris’s victories. Hedaya sends for the UNS Ted Kennedy. Before that vessel arrives, the SRS Juan Aldacado, also a Commonwealth Class frigate, with Vice Admiral Mfaume Gulamali, hero of the Third World War and chief of staff of the Star Runner fleet aboard. Admiral Gulamali’s third star outranks Rear Admiral Hedaya, who backs down. The prize ship will remain in Star Runner custody. This allows the Team the time in needs to put together their case. Alpha Corp is caught red-handed!
Epilogue: The case of Alpha Corp’s involvement in the Mining Colony Massacre goes on for a few years. The Team’s actions haven’t endeared them to this powerful Interstellar Mega-Corp, but this corporation has a lot more problems now. The UN Fleet and UNISS are outraged. The other five remaining Interstellar Mega-Corps smell blood in the water and pounce. Inside Alpha Corp jealous executives turn on the authors of this debacle. For the Team they get the armed Gallipoli Class shuttle that was aboard their prize immediately. UNISS gets the third shuttle. Alpha Corp is stripped of its remaining three starships and banned from owning any for 25 years. The Toliman shipyards are seized and given to the transportation giant and Interstellar Mega-Corp, Alexander Aero. This suits Charlie as the owner and CEO of Alexander Aero is one of his oldest and dearest friends. A number of top Alpha Corp executives jump (or are thrown) out of the upper floors of corporate headquarters. Eventually, the prize starship is awarded to the Team, which sells it to Charlie. It will eventually be rebuilt with a Jump 3 engine (and a psionic chief engineer) to be a regular scheduled transport to Lalande 21185.
Questions remain unanswered on just how the Team pulled this off. Charlie realizes it would be best for them to “be elsewhere” for a while. The SRS Iris is sent to Lippincott in the Lalande 21185 system to relieve the SRS Hermes as flagship of the system defense squadron. Fresh adventures await the Team there.
Blue Book from Ep. 22 to 23
Wednesday, January 25, 2090:
The SRS Iris uses the gate to jump back to Sol from Epsilon Eridani to finish repairs along with a jump engine tune-up.
Saturday, February 4, 2090:
The SRS Hermes jumps into the Sol system from Lalande 21285. The Hermes’s jump engine is worn out and needs an overhaul. This is fortunate as many questions about how the Team was able to take the Alpha Corp jump ship so easily are beginning to be a problem. Charlie feels that sending them to replace his flagship in that distant system would be a good idea. The Team agrees as they learn that the basic excavations for their new HQ/dojo/temple are completed. There is another issue. The remains of the rebel UN and Mysore troops have disintegrated into five bandit groups that are harassing the Sultanate of Mysore and the American colony of Absaroka. Absaroka is being hit especially hard. While the colonies are forming a planetary assembly, none trust each other enough to cooperate against the raiders. All have agreed that they will work with the Team to solve this issue as the group did hold absolute military power over the planet and laid it down once the former troubles had ended. The Team will have three years to solve the bandit problem.
Monday, February 20, 2090:
The SRS Iris jumps out of the Sol system heading to Lalande 21185 one step ahead of a subpoena issued by Alpha Corp in the case of their seized starship. There the ship will serve as flagship of the defense squadron of that system which is commanded by a Star Runner Rear Admiral and ally of the Team. Once there they will remain in that system, except for the occasional supply run to Sol until 2093, when the Russians will dispatch a warship to replace them. This will give the Team the opportunity to build up their new HQ on the planet Lippincott in the Lalande system, while dealing with the bandit problem.
Sunday, April 9, 2090:
The SRS Iris arrives in the Lalande 21185 system out at the main gas giant and begins refueling operations.
Wednesday, April 12, 2090:
The SRS Iris finishes refueling and heads into the inner solar system and the planet Lippincott.
Episode 23 – Return to Lippincott
Thursday, April 13, 2090:
SRS Iris arrives off Lippincott after refueling at the H3 gas giant. The Team is informed that they will land at Novgorod tomorrow to unload cargo and attend a reception being held in their honor before heading to the Scar.
Friday, April 14, 2090:
SRS Iris lands at Novgorod Spaceport to a huge governmental and public welcome. At least a third of the population of Novgorod is there. The welcoming delegation is primarily military and is led by Rear Admiral Terrance Johnson is the Star Runner fleet commander in Lalande and commander of the system defense forces. With him is General Nikita Stapkovich, the commander of the Russian forces on the planet and second in command of the united planetary defense forces, and Colonel Radoslav Petrachkov is the current commander of the Spetznaz forces on planet. They both came with the Team on their first trip to Lippincott.
Saturday, April 15, 2090:
A formal reception takes place at the new planetary government house in Novgorod as the SRS Iris officially becomes flagship of the local defense fleet. Medals are handed out to the people who partook in the battles including every Team member plus Duke, Kuma and Priest. At the official reception they meet VIPs who make up the Constitutional Commission which serves as a planetary authority. All are polite to the Team, but they are pretty much all politicians/diplomats. Both Owen and Nail speak and scan the diplomats assembled and will report their findings to the Team. It is clear to everyone that the Ambassador from Mysore and the Governor of Absaroka just hate each other as each blames the other for their bandit problem. During the banquet the fact it is Gidget’s birthday is acknowledged and celebrated. There is much dancing and socializing which the Team involves themselves in except for Natty, who talks mostly to Admiral Johnson and General Stapkovich
At the banquet all goes well except one course of the dinner isn’t served. The first two waiters are stopped at the door. Pretty much all the Team notices this, but does nothing for now, since, whatever it is, security has the situation well in hand. After the banquet the Team is informed that some of the course was poisoned. It was heading for the head table where many of the Team’s command officers and top diplomats were seated. The cook in charge of that portion of the meal sampled the dish as she made it and fell over dead. Talking to the cook’s neighbors will reveal that she had a new young friend that no one knew. He will not be able to be found. Description varies, but all agree he had longish black hair. The Team returns to the ship after the banquet.
Sunday, April 16, 2090:
The Team has the day off officially but supervises the unloading of the Russian’s cargo and personnel. After this both Owen and Nail give their impressions of the politicians they met yesterday:
UN High Commissioner Eduardo Madeira (from Brazil) is accepting but distrustful of the Team. After all, he did come to the system with the Team originally and helped quash the Commodore’s coup attempt.
Rear Admiral Terrance Johnson is the Star Runner fleet commander in Lalande and commander of the system defense forces. He has come around to like the Team and trusts their unconventional approach to warfare. He is curious about how they accomplish their goals, and hopes to gain the Team’s trust to find out.
Prime Minister Stuart McClellan of North Wales (Aussie/Star Runner colony) is ambivalent towards the Team. He recognizes and appreciates all they have done, but is concerned what kind of price this will cost his colony. He is suspicious of their cult reputation.
Major Giselle Bentley is the aide to Prime Minister McClellan from the colony’s Dog Soldiers. She is a tough, no nonsense officer that supports a combined planetary military force made up of the colonies’ various militias. She respects the Team but worries about their ultimate goals.
Governor General Leonid Morozov is the leader of the Russian Colony with ambitions of dominating the new government of this world. He is at present very pleased with the Team.
General Nikita Stapkovich is commander of the Russian forces on the planet and second in command of the united planetary defense forces. He was the Spetznaz colonel that came with the Team and helped defeat the UN Commandore.
Colonel Radoslav Petrachkov is the current commander of the Spetznaz forces on planet. He came with General Stapkovich and the Team.
Governor Clark Reynolds of the Absaroka Colony is desperately seeking aid for his beleaguered colony, but hates Natty and all biogens. In fact he is quite the racist fucker when it comes to biogens and Indians. He does have a point that his colony doesn’t deserve what it’s getting.
Captain Michael Rogers of the Absaroka Rangers is Governor Clark’s aide. He realizes that the colony will collapse if the raids continue. The captain also despises biogens but will accept anyone who can help his colony.
Ambassador Vasantha Kodali is from the Sultanate of Mysore and is the brother in law of the Dowager Queen (married to her highness’s sister). He feels the bandit problem isn’t his government’s fault and that Absaroka is blowing this out of proportion to get the contested green sea area between them. He doesn’t like the Team, but believes that they will be honest brokers in the dispute. This man also detests the UN representative. He represents the young Sultan Samprati II (aged 28).
Lieutenant Colonel Bater Sujan is the deputy commander of the Royal Mysore military. He is embarrassed by his forces inability to root out the bandits plaguing his colony. The man isn’t a fan of the UN, who he blames for his colony’s defeat. However, he loathes the Team, especially the biogens. He would kill them all if he could find a way to do it and maintain his honor.
Deputy Governor Manuel Zapata is the representative of the UN colony of New Geneva. Zapata doesn’t trust or like the Team, but does respect them, except Natty, who he thinks is a dangerous unstable assassin. He believes that she was the Prince Stefan Zeklos’s willing hit woman on Copernicus, and led the Team down that path. Also, Nip is just an insane, criminal NET terrorist. He feels Owen and Nail are the only two that have influence on Natty.
Ambassador Julienne Mercier is from the French colony of Gaul. She is loyal to her colony and to France. The woman doesn’t trust the Russians, Absaroka or Mysore and blames the UN for the previous trouble on this world. As to the Team, she is ambivalent since her lover was killed by them in their attack on Luskaa three years ago. The Team’s later work in bridging peace between her colony and the Russians along with their hand over of military power gives her a better opinion of the group now.
Colonel Rémy Sorel is now the commander of the French forces in Gaul. He was commander of the French Foreign Legion’s demi-battalion on the planet. He respects the Team’s military prowess, but is still smarting from the loss of life among his troops. He despises the UN and Mysore. Secretly, he is strongly attracted to Stepka Hasek.
Ambassador Horst Ruchendorf is the New Pomeranian representative. He is just trying to cut the best deal for his colony. He feels the Team is the best people for the job and is eager to woo them to his colony’s point of view.
Major Uwe Nadelhoffer is the Pomeranian Defense force representative (chief aide to the force commander). He doesn’t wish to use his colony’s forces to solve the current bandit problems. He also supports the Team as the solution to the planet’s problems.
Monday, April 17, 2090:
The Team gets a situational briefing: The bandits have divided into five different bands. There have been brutal raids on both Mysore and Absaroka. Absaroka has been especially had hit. They have accepted training and advisory force of about 50 Dog Soldiers from North Wales but that is it. Absaroka doesn’t believe that Mysore is actually under attack. They believe they are behind the bandit raids which the Sultanate denies. Reading the Mysore delegation will confirm that this isn’t true. However, a report on the poison comes back and it traces to a type used on the Indian sub-continent of Earth.
Natty and the Team are given an extraordinary commission to deal with the bandit problem in whatever fashion she chooses.
Tuesday, April 18, 2090:
The SRS Iris lifts off and flies to the new spaceport outside of Maitland in North Wales. There they begin unloading the rest of their cargo and passengers. There they get the first glimpse of the new construction. The Dojo/Temple is built into the south wall of the Scar about 20 kilometers east of Maitland. There is a curtain wall defending the small buildings outside the excavations. The Team has some basic quarters hollowed out along with dojos and public areas on the face of the cliff. A large tunnel is bored deep in the cliff face to the more “secret” parts of the complex.
Wednesday, April 19, 2090:
Today Khan, Gidget and Nip head into Maitland to inspect the “Garden”, which is to serve as the public face of the Dojo. It will contain four dojos, some shops around the edge, a hospital in the center and meditational garden throughout. As the three walk through the gardens they are attacked by 10 “gardeners” with poisoned blades. Gidget is taken with only a chance to defend herself thanks to a shout from Nip. All are hit, but take mostly impact damage. It is the poisoned blades that take their toll on all three. Khan and Nip strike back with Ham Bo and fist. The Team’s damage is turned by their opponents. The two realize that these assassins are first class. Khan draws his mono katana and Nip pulls her two Nikitas. Gidget pulls her hand gun also. It is now three assassins on each PC and the last hauling out a 13 mm S&W Cyborg Assault. Nip drops the rifleman and two of her attackers. Gidget is in trouble but fighting valiantly. Khan drops two attackers with a pair of strikes. Gidget finally goes down, but Nip has taken down all hers, one of Gidget’s and the rifleman. A single assassin faces Khan and one stands over the freshly fallen Gidget both with an action. They have failed, but learned a lot. The one over Gidget flees and the other stands in Khan’s way as he slits his own throat to avoid capture. The three Team members call for aid.
The nine dead men turn out to be ghosts, but all are of Dravidian stock similar to the people of Mysore. Two have a symbol tattooed on their bodies. That same symbol also appears on a single dagger. They put it through the planetary database but get nothing. Two of the dagger designs are from the Indian sub-continent. They contact the Mysore Ambassador, but he doesn’t recognize the symbol either.
Saturday, April 22, 2090:
The SRS Iris lifts off and begins orbital search for bandits. They begin a detailed search starting from the northern end of the contested sea between Absaroka and Mysore. This might take up to three months. Construction continues at the Temple/Dojo and the Garden in Maitland.
Monday, June 26, 2090:
SRS Iris detects a small camp of unknown origin on the eastern side of the southern escarpment of the middle contested sea between Absaroka and Mysore. Signs of this camp disappear quickly. They continue to search the area with stealth drones.
Tuesday, June 27, 2090:
The Team sends a quick survey Team down of Natty, Duke, Khan and Nip. This group lands 25 kilometers from the target area and moves towards the suspected real estate.
Wednesday, June 28, 2090:
The Team arrives to within a kilometer of the camp. It is night (for days). Duke, with Natty backing her up, moves forward to scout the camp. Duke detects 80 adults and 12 children with her enhanced senses. The dog biogen scopes out the camp and finds the group well-dug in and prepared. However, no one in the camp seems to be under duress. The Dravidians, the Russians and other UN types all seem to be getting along. There are only three vehicles in the camp. The Team decides to watch for four days. These don’t seem like bandits to them.
Monday, July 3, 2090:
By the last day of the Team’s surveillance they have noticed that a major person of respect is a Japanese man carrying a katana. They follow the vehicle tracks (only one vehicle seems to be working) and it heads of a ways. They follow it and it leads to hidden fields of crops. Nip considers leaving them alone, but Natty points out that no settlements are allowed in this area. Duke suggests caution, but Khan wants to contact these people. Khan’s point of view carries the day. Natty will be on sniper over watch with Duke watching her back. Khan and Nip decide to go forward under a white flag to talk. Unfortunately, they don’t have a white flag. Natty donates her underwear.
A Russian man with a Dravidian woman comes forward to meet them. As they approach the two hear the (Russian) man say quietly in Kannadi, “Is that white flag a pair of woman’s underwear?”
The woman replies dubiously, “Ah, huh.”
The four can barely communicate, but soon Japanese comes up and the two from the camp send for a third. A Japanese man wearing a katana comes forward. Khan gives him a traditional Japanese greeting to which he responds with, “I am Tanuma Shiro Roku (the fourth son of a branch of the old Tanuma Samurai clan) formerly a Lt. of the UN Peacekeeper Garrison.”
With this, the two sides begin talking. They meet with this groups (elected) ruling body and meet the following people:
Former Lt. Tanuma Shiro Roku (Siro Roku Tanuma) of the UN Garrison. (4th son)
Colonial Police Sergeant Sergei Chernov, he is now married to a Dravidian woman, Corporal Damini Kumbar and they have two children along with his surviving Russian child. His first Russian wife was murdered. (These are the first two that came to talk with Khan and Nip)
Master Sergeant Raadak Javali was a senior NCO from the Royal Mysore Infantry. He is married to a Russian woman Lara Plushenko and they have a young child.
Lt. Saahat Vastrad was a junior officer in the Mysore Royal Infantry. He is a man of honor and was in the infirmary when the revolt broke out. He would like to return to Mysore.
Sasha Timkowski, a surgical nurse is now married to former UN corporal Borys Peczak, a Pole. They also have a child and wish to stay together.
Sergeant Fanish Gudi was a NCO from the Royal Mysore Infantry. He is a priest of Shiva and ministers to the Hindu members of the “Settlers”.
Father Alexander Novosi was the junior Orthodox priest from Kayazha. He survived the slaughter and it has turned him pacifist.
This group calls themselves: ‘The Settlers”. They aren’t bandits. In fact they are hiding from the “so-called” bandits. Their leader is the former Japanese UN Lt. whose term of service ended before the UN Commodore’s Coup. He was (illegally) kept in service. They broke off from the main group two years ago as they started going mad (in this group’s mind). Some of the original group began taking a local mind altering drug, which would drive them into insane homicidal rages. Then someone (they don’t know who) came from Mysore a great “disagreement” broke out. This group fled in the confusion. They have built a community and many wish to stay together. Fourteen Russians and two from Mysore do wish to return home. Former Sergeant Fanish Gudi of the Royal Mysore Infantry, now a priest of Shiva, is able to give the Team a piece of important personal information. The symbol they found tattooed on two of the assassins and on one of their weapons is from a Thugee Cult dedicated to the blood aspect of Kali, the Great Mother. It is very illegal in Mysore.
This creates a bit of a problem which Natty quickly solves. The Team offers the “Settlers” some of the land they have bought in the Scar and Natty issues all the deserters a blanket pardon for desertion and all crimes related to those incidents. The Settlers are transported to the Scar with all their gear (and their one working vehicle). The fourteen who wished to return to their respective colonies are sent home with one busted vehicle for Russia and another for Mysore. The Russians are fine with this, but Mysore and the UN aren’t. They attempt to get Natty and the Team’s Extraordinary Command revoked.
Thursday, July 13, 2090:
The vote to strip the Team of its Extraordinary Command fails by a vote of 2 to 7. The Team has a community attached to them now and Khan has made a friend of Siro Roku Tanuma, the samurai. One of the five “bandit” groups is now dealt with.
Blue Book from Ep. 23 to Ep. 24
Friday, July 14, 2090:
The Planetary Constitutional Commission votes 2 – 5 to revoke Natty and the Team’s extraordinary command for granting the “Settler Bandit Group” pardons and land in the scar. The Team keeps its mandate and continues to search for the bandits and build its Dojo/Temple HQ.
Monday, September 11, 2090:
The colonies are clamoring for supplies and some new satellites are needed. There have been no major raids or evidence of the bandits. SRS Iris jumps out to Sol.
Saturday, November 11, 2090:
SRS Iris arrives in Sol to begin picking up supplies for colony.
Friday, January 5, 2091:
SRS Iris jumps back to Lalande 21285 and Lippincott with the supplies.
Friday, February 23, 2091:
SRS Iris arrives back in Lalande system and refuels at the gas giant.
Thursday, March 1, 2091:
SRS Iris reaches orbit around Lippincott. The ship isn’t really due in system for two weeks. It is the first day of dark in Absaroka and the Reavers have just struck. Electrical Storms have grounded the fighter group on the other side of the planet. The Reavers have shot down Absaroka’s only aircraft (an aging scout plane). The Iris is carrying a gravitic shuttle for Absaroka in one of their bays and will use it to launch attack.
Episode 24 – Bandit Hunts
The Team returns to Lippincott aboard their starship early and catches the Bandit group‘s uptick in activity. They take action and learn that, as usual, all isn’t what it seems.
Thursday, March 1, 2091: SRS Iris reaches orbit around Lippincott. The ship isn’t really due in system for two weeks so only the system defense fleet knows the Iris is back in system. It is the first day of dark in Absaroka and the Reavers have just struck. The long Lippincott Night has begun. Electrical Storms have grounded the fighter group on the other side of the planet. The Reavers have shot down Absaroka’s only aircraft (an aging scout plane). However, the SRS Iris is carrying a gravitic shuttle for Absaroka in one of their bays and will use it to launch attack. The Team launches their new satellites and starts to track the Reavers.
Friday, March 2, 2091:
Team must launch attack on Reavers as a lightning storm is coming in by late tomorrow, so Natty formulates a plan of attack. The Reavers are the bandit group that has become addicted/enamored of a local plant that they have learned to process and smoke. The plant gives you an incredible high, while increasing strength and stamina. Unfortunately it also brings on homicidal rages against those not on the drug. Nip will lead a HALO jump consisting of her, Owen, Khan and Duke. Nip will jump with some of her drones to get a better view of the enemy camp. She also carries one of Stepka’s empowered teleport crystals. This will allow the Czech solo to transport a heavily armed attack group to the bandit’s location. Natty sends Absaroka their new shuttle, along with the Team’s Gallipoli Assault Shuttle, to load up a force of Dog Soldiers and Absaroka Rangers from the capital of New Sheridan.
The Team’s attack goes wrong right from the beginning. Owen rolls a “1” on his HALO drop roll (only a failure). He is heading right into the Reaver’s barbeque pit where they are cooking up their victims. Nip, who has jumped without a chute, uses her flight ability to move Owen away from his potentially fiery landing. On his landing roll, Owen again rolls a “1”, but again the botch isn’t confirmed. Nip’s guidance saves him from too much damage. However, the celebrating bandits watch the entire show and the chase is on. Owen and Nip succeed in evading the hue and cry. Many of the bandits are too high (and hungry) to care so their search is short-lived.
The Reavers are making a barbeque out of some of the prisoners while torturing and murdering others. Most of the bandits are celebrating, but a small group of Reavers is guarding the prisoners who aren’t on the menu for today in a camp a short distance from the main festivities. Stepka teleports an assault team of Viper clad Marines (Priest and Mason among them) led by Kuma, the armored bear. This assault group moves into position to attack the main bandit group while Nip, Owen, Khan and Duke move quietly to free the prisoners in the camp.
The stealth group moves to take the prisoner’s guards down first. Between Khan’s Earth Sense and Duke’s olfactory powers, they locate and dispatch half the guards before the alarm goes off. The main group of celebrating bandits is attacked by Kuma leading the dozen Viper clad marines armed with 14.5 assault rifles. Fred leads his three drones in low and takes out the anti-aircraft missile truck. This allows the two shuttles to bring in reinforcements. It is over quickly. Some bandits try to escape, but between Khan’s and Duke’s senses none succeed. A few prisoners are taken and it seems a couple of the Russians had gone over to the Reavers. Owen and Nail separate the innocents and the guilty, who are rigorously interrogated before being turned over to Absaroka justice. A few of the Reavers are sporting Kali Cultist insignias, but they aren’t members, just wanna-bes. Still, there is apparently some sort of connection between the two groups.
Twenty-five Russians and thirty Absaroka colonists are freed. Publically, the Colony of Absaroka takes credit for crushing the Reavers with the assistance of “other Planetary Defense Forces”. Privately, the government of Absaroka thanks the Team.
Tuesday, March 6, 2091:
Nip loses two drones checking out the underwater in the Water Room of the Dojo. The Team decides it is time for an underwater expedition to explore this Water Tunnel. Nip, Owen and Duke put on their nu-scuba gear to retrieve the lost aqua-drones. Khan can breathe underwater, so he needs no gear. The water is cold, but not freezing. They find the hole in the wall of the pool in the water room where Nip had sent the drones. The two devices are found and activate briefly when touched before ceasing operation again. The Team finds themselves in a water tunnel with some bio-luminescent fungi growing on the wall. Both Khan and Owen sense a vague life reading and psionic signature ahead. They follow the tunnel for a few hundred meters where it splits in two.
The group takes the right fork which goes on for a half a mile till it ends in a cave that rises above the water. They exit the pool to find a tunnel leading off down a gentle slope to another stream coming out of the rocks. This water course snakes along the tunnel floor. There is light in these tunnels given off by what appears to be small glowing jelly fish-like creatures floating near the ceiling. Between Duke, Khan and Owen they can tell that these are living creatures with an unfathomable intelligence. Moreover, they are psionic. All attempts to communicate fail. Owen suggests caution, but the Team still advances down the underground stream. Occasionally, one of the glowing entities will come down and touch one of the Team members without effect. They seem particularly attracted to Khan and Nip.
The stream ends in a cave with a tall ceiling with a large glowing white crystal imbedded in the roof. There is another tunnel heading off of this chamber. That tunnel heads through an area full of glowing sharp ridges set in the ceiling. Beyond that there is a gigantic cave with a larger glowing white crystal set high up in that roof providing light for the whole cavern. In the center of this place is a large, ancient, conical structure. It’s old and worn, but it looks like it could have been made by intelligent hands. This whole place radiates psionic power. The Team quickly discovers that mediating on the apex of the cone in the center allows one to gain triple your psionic points (but not above your maximum). Meditating anywhere else in the cave allows you to get back double points.
The existence of these caves is kept secret to all but the psionic core of the larger group. Further investigation shows that the other fork in the water tunnel leads to a pool, just one meter from the Grotto. Limestone dripping has sealed the old entrance. It seems the psionic “jelly fish” also like Natty, so Nip deduces that they are attracted to psionic energy. Nip starts to take a sample of the moss growing on the conical structure in the farthest cave, but has a moment of dread that stops her. Nothing in these caverns is to be disturbed. After about a month both white glowing crystals in the two back caverns start to glow bright and dim on a 24 hour cycle. Things are getting curiouser and curiouser.
Tuesday, April 17, 2091:
SS Far Rider (a large civilian class starship on the size of the UNS Nelson keel) arrives from earth with supplies and more colonists (2000 Americans including 400 armed troops, 1000 Germans, 1000 French, 1000 UN personnel, 1000 Dravidians (very conservative Hindu), 500 Russians and 500 Australians. It has power generators for Absaroka and the Scar. Unbeknownst to the Team this ship is Alexander Aero’s latest acquisition and Nikki is using it to strengthen Charlie’s hand.
The Team is very suspicious of the Incoming Dravidians and considers banning their landing using their “Extraordinary Command” powers. They think better of it and let everyone land. This is a good decision.
Tuesday, May 29, 2091:
A detector on one of the Team’s satellites goes off again and indicates a spot where there is suspected human activity in the north of Mysore near the escarpment. Natty orders a recon mission to check out the area. This day is the first 24 hour period of the night cycle.
Wednesday, May 30, 2091:
Khan, Duke, Nip and Owen deploy on planet near the target zone to begin to search. During this day’s rest cycle Duke is on guard and fails to note a large centipede-like creature enter the camp and head for Nip. Duke finally notices another centipede moving towards him. The dog biogen puts his hand out in friendship and the carnivorous and poisonous insect bites him. Also, Nip is bitten and poisoned which wakes him up. The alarm is up and ten more of these dangerous creatures move in for the attack. Nip levitates two harmlessly in the air. The Team wakes and quickly dispatches these creatures with silenced shots. The two that Nip levitated are kept for study.
Thursday, May 31, 2091:
The Team finds a well-hidden camp in the foothills where the old continental plate rises. This camp is still here since the Team wisely used silenced weapons during yesterday’s battle with the centipedes. They settle down to do surveillance. This camp has state of the art anti-satellite camouflage netting, an extensive outer electronic frontier and a well-disciplined guard force. Between Khan and Duke they discover about 600 people are in this camp and the few caves inside the perimeter. The soldiers are wearing uniforms similar to the official government of Mysore, but with a different shoulder patch. Discipline is strong but there are families and children in evidence. There are not only Dravidians here, but also armed Russians and other nationalities. This doesn’t appear to be the camp of a rampaging bandit group.
Saturday, June 2, 2091:
As the day cycle begins with the rising of the sun, it is decided to make contact with this newly discovered camp. There is no need to fear being second guessed by upper commanders outside the group since Natty hasn’t informed the Planetary Defense Forces about their discovery. Khan goes in to negotiate. He carries Stepka’s teleport crystal in his pocket just to be safe. He is greeted with caution and brought before this camp’s leader. It turns out to be Prince Asoka, the supposedly dead eldest son of the late Sultan Samprati I. Prince Asoka had been reported killed in a plane crash during the attempted take-over of the planet by late UN Commodore Watanabe three years ago. Six months after the end of that war, Sultan Samprati I passed away and his second son, Samprati II (half-brother to Asoka) ascended the throne.
Khan is brought before the “supposed” rightful heir, who isn’t a great fan of the Team. After all Natty did use orbital bombardment on Mysore’s troops during the war and slaughtered them in job lots. However, the Prince is also aware of the Team’s ruthless reputation on dealing with their enemies. His highness doesn’t need any more enemies; in fact he is desperate for allies. Still, the Team can’t be sure that this man is indeed really the true heir to the throne of Mysore until they find Lt. Saahat Vastrad, the junior officer in the Mysore Royal Infantry, who the met when they discovered that the bandit group, The Settlers, weren’t really bandits. Lt. Vastrad had returned to Mysore to resume his career in the military. He reports that someone in the government tried to assassinate him and did succeed in murdering the other Mysore NCO that wanted to return home. The lieutenant confirms the Prince’s identity and the Team knows (through their extensive scanning of this man) that he would never lie about such a thing.
As much as the Prince doesn’t want to let Khan go, he knows that the Team already knows his location and trying to hold him would end in disaster for him. Negotiations commence with Natty being kept in the loop. In the end it is decided that this is a civil war and this band aren’t bandits. Their existence and location will be kept secret for now. Prince Asoka believes that the Kali Cult thugees are operating in Mysore and his hated step-mother, the dowager Queen, may have used them to put her son, Samprati II, on the throne. The Prince’s spies have discovered the general location of the Kali Cultist’s headquarters. They believe it is in the foothills of the continental shelf near the Truman River (that feeds into Lake Lincoln) in Absaroka. Khan and Owen arrange a way to contact the Prince before they leave. Their official report to the Planetary Defense Force says they didn’t find any bandits in the area (which is true, from a certain point of view).
Sunday, June 17, 2091: Satellites first locate possible Kali Cultists Camp. Drones investigate.
Tuesday, June 19, 2091: (Beginning Night) Launch Recon group in foothills near the source of the Truman River which leads to Lake Lincoln.
Episode 25 – Conspiracies Unmasked
As the Team locates the bandits that have gravitated to the Kali Cult, the rot behind the whole government of Mysore becomes apparent.
Sunday, June 17, 2091:
Satellites locate some possible Kali Cultists Camps. Nip sends her drones to investigate.
Tuesday, June 19, 2091:
(Beginning Night) Now that the Team is well aware of the camouflage techniques used by these bandits (Mysore technology), they locate a small two kilometer area of interest. The Team drops a Pathfinder group by HALO insertion. Stepka teleports the rest of the recon team and into the foothills near the Truman River which leads to Lake Lincoln.
Wednesday, June 20, 2091:
Owen, Duke, Khan and Nip discover a large camp with much of it underground and two air defense bunkers. They also discover an operational orbital link. Nip sends a drone to tap in. It is the official Planetary Defense Force tactical feed! The actions of those under Natty’s command don’t appear on this feed or are mirages. They continue their surveillance.
Thursday, June 21, 2091:
The Team discovers a fortified gate leading to the underground areas where most of the life signs detected by Khan and Duke as prisoners (Russian or Absarokan). The formulate a plan of attack based on taking the gate with a small force, then launching cruise missile strikes on the air defense systems.
Friday, June 22, 2091:
(It is twilight at beginning of day) The Team’s assault easily takes the gate, which they close. The defenders rally but are blown back by the heavily armed and armored PCs. With the gate secure behind them and the relative location and identity of everyone known along with a good idea of the layout, the Team sweeps through the caverns and discovers a couple of religious sanctuaries and lots of document, hard drives and other files to go over.
Outside, as soon as the gate is breached, the NPC strike team of Kuma, Mason, Priest and a few hand-picked marines guide the cruise missiles as the opening salvo of the battle against the outside camp. The PDF defense feed that the Kali followers are watching is now an “all clear” fiction concocted by the Team. So when the PDF attack starts at 4 am with 60+ dog soldiers and rangers linking up with the outside strike team. A major fire fight erupts, but the PDF forces have complete air superiority. By 10 am shuttles bring in 110+ new Absaroka troops. 4 pm they bring in 100+ new Absaroka troops. These “bandits” are crushed as the Absaroka/Dog Soldiers force reaches the gate to the cavern system. Between Nip’s drones, Duke’s and Khan’s “senses” not many escape.
A two week study of the captured documents were required to find fairly conclusive evidence linking some in the Mysore Palace household and the Mysore military with supplying the tactical feed and other valuable intelligence to the Cultist forces. There is strong circumstantial evidence that the Mysore diplomatic mission in Novgorod was involved.
Thursday, July 12, 2091:
SRS Iris notices troops moving south towards the capital of Mysore from the north about 500 kilometers out. They don’t report it up the chain of command.
Monday, July 16, 2091: (beginning of night) The Mysore shuttle calls in an emergency landing in Absaroka. It lands safely and takes off 15 minutes later with its problems solved. Party tasks a satellite to watch Mysore space/airport. A full complement of passengers leaves the shuttle in Mysore. There were only 2 listed passengers on the flight manifest.
Thursday, July 19, 2091: (twilight)
Nip, Owen, Stepka & Duke HALO drop into Absaroka near Mysore shuttle landing area and begin to search area as light increases. They find evidence that the shuttle picked up 30+ people when it landed.
Friday, July 20, 2091: (day)
The Sultanate of Mysore announces that bandits are moving towards the capital and are just less than 200 kilometers away. They have dispatched forces to intercept. They request PDF stand by. Natty says she’ll stand by.
Sunday, July 22, 2091:
Battle in Mysore: Mysore government calls for aid but Natty orders the SRS Iris to stand down. With tactical advice from the Team, Prince Asoka crushes the troops sent against him and captures 25 cultists. Several hundred surrendered troops go over to him. After the battle Nip, Owen, Stepka & Duke teleport back to the SRS Iris.
Monday, July 23, 2091:
Nip, Owen, Stepka & Duke take the shuttle down to the capital of Novgorod and join Nail for an emergency Planetary Constitutional Commission meeting. Owen denies that Prince Asoka is a fraud and calls the conflict a civil war to which they may not take sides. The Team then delivers the evidence that the Planetary Defense Force tactical feed that the Cultists were using was broadcast from the Palace at Mysore. The meeting breaks for dinner and private discussions. After dinner there is a news broadcast that the Dowager Queen’s head has appeared on a flagpole at the palace with a Kali insignia on her forehead. Mysore’s ambassador and party are outraged!
Tuesday, July 24, 2091:
As all parties are arriving for the morning Commission meeting, the Mysore Ambassador shoots Nip twice in the back. She dies, but is transported to the ship where Dr. Lais saves her. A representative of Prince Asoka appears with the small beginning of a delegation in Novgorod. The Ambassador accuses the Team of assassinating his sister in law. A vote is taken to strip Natty and Team of their “Extraordinary Command”. Mysore is denied a vote. The final vote is 3-3 with the UN High Commissioner getting the deciding vote. The man surprises everyone and votes for the Team to keep the “extraordinary command”.
Wednesday, July 25, 2091:
Lieutenant Colonel Bater Sujan, the deputy commander of the Royal Mysore military and representative to the Planetary Commission declares for Prince Asoka.
Saturday, August 4, 2091:
Prince Asoka has been marching on the capital city for ten days. Thirty percent of Samprati II’s forces have deserted. Outside the capital the two sides meet to discuss terms. Owen, Khan, and Duke are there with a large Commission delegation who is there only to witness. To everyone’s surprise the two brothers talk quietly among themselves and politely commence a duel. Prince Asoka kills his brother, Samprati II in single combat and the war is decided.
Tuesday, August 21, 2091:
With the Dowager Queen dead and the Planetary Surveillance Network no longer compromised, the last bandit group is seen heading out from their now discovered lair at the bottom of the escarpment 400 kilometers north of Absaroka. Mobile Absaroka Rangers and militia forces move to intercept raiders, while the Team prepares to drop a recon team in area where raiders departed from.
Friday, August 24, 2091:
The Raiders mobile force is intercepted and destroyed by Absaroka. Team leads assault on newly discovered raider lair and easily overruns it. Hundreds of Russian and Absaroka prisoners released. With this the last major bandit force is eliminated.
Monday, August 27, 2091:
Captain Natalie (Lanikova) Masaryk resigns her “Extraordinary Command”. All major efforts are now turned to the Dojo.
Time Skip to Thursday, December 31, 2093 –
With all major issues solved on Lippincott a planetary government falls into place. There is a 21 seat Senate (3 from each colony) and a Planetary Assembly with limited powers elected by proportional representation. The one third of the Assembly is elected every four years. One third of the Senate is selected every 8 years. The President is elected by the Senate every twelve years. Nail gets himself elected President and publically distances himself from the Team.
In the summer of 2093 the Iris returns to the Sol System after being relieved by the Russian Starship. It arrives with its jump engines effectively burned out. Gidget works on installing brand new engines in the now dry docked SRS Iris. Gidget also works with Charlie to develop a Jump 4 engine. The ship may be off-line for well over a year or more. Natty gets offered a job on Sol and suggests everyone learn Chinese. If you have no Mandarin then you will be able to learn it to +4. One of the major covers of Wyn’s de Kamp Campaign Arc will be everyone having an identity taking “Khan’s” language class and joining his meditation center/dojo. I will talk to everyone before we start to play (or call me) about where people want their character’s skip IPs to go. I believe it might be 136 for your psionic talents (your learning Mandarin). Everyone (who can use it) will receive a Hindi +4 chip (Its +2 for Khan on the teacher). Read Wyn’s posts here and request gear and at least one back-up identity. I suggest two alternates and a temporary “Knows When to Run” ID.
Next: Episode 26 – New Year’s Eve in Naiasa