I'm going to give you a few minutes to talk amongst yourselves about how much you enjoy breathing

Cochini negotiated a deal with the Vilani where they basically own us for a couple years.  If we don't find them the other half of their super star-eating weapon, they destroy our reputations and get us super-wanted.

We get back to Eddum and then Cochini tells us his plan - get on a liner, then go find a ship to go to an abandoned planet, then find an artifact and head back.  No worries right?

October 9, 2016

Aaron’s out 4:30 for a class.  We will adjourn for dinner then. 

We are on our starship with the four items and the rescued person. We need to talk to the NZS Mandel Bay and its commander Nicholas Rory Deelarm. 

Ancient History:  22…Sellie has heard of the other piece, the Amagaldene Hoop.  All he knows are rumors about its history…in the early days of the 2nd Imperium, an ancient artifact of spiked ball and hoop were brought together by accident.  They either absorbed energy or stopped fusion; one of the two.  They were used to extinguish a star, possibly – after they destroyed a reactor by accident.  That said the star in question changes every hearing and there are no old charts showing a missing star.  Allegedly no one found the ball (we did!) and the hoop’s been missing a long time. 

Such a weapon would be a game-changer…not that the NZS could threaten the 4th Imperium, but a lot of neutral or unaligned systems could be easily pressured. 

Tggkl says they want to dock with us so we’re on our way in.  It’s going to be hard to make a deal for Cochini now that he said he knows where the hoop is.

We get some shut-eye. 

Do we need to stash the AI?  Yes – stashed in some parts inside the shuttle. 

The refugee from another time is in Medical. 

They dock and we wait in the lounge for the time being.

The captain and Chief Engineer Maximilian go down…sounds like when they open the airlock, there are guys with guns who frisk them.  Captain’s laser pistol gets confiscated. 

We attempt to hide our guns in the lounge…Jina gets a 3.  Bob tells her it’s in plain sight, so she re-hides it to a 17.

The captain speaks and they require some of the crew to come over for a discussion – and the four progenitor artifacts in specific.  Anyone who was on the planet must come across, which would be the PC’s.  Meanwhile, health and safety inspection.  They check us…and some NZS marines pat us down for knives, torches, repair kits, guns, etc.  This includes Jina’s medical kit. 

We watch them march off with the four artifacts and bring us onto the system monitor.  Looks very military and obviously third Imperium – and old.  There are obvious relays and lockouts for computer systems. 

We go into a conference room with the items and set us down.  The guard stays in the room with us.  After a half-hour the commander comes in bearing classic Vilani features. 

NRD:  We appreciate your cooperation in this matter – it is good to have you here.

Then they let Garace Cochini in – he looks ok…clean, groomed, and not apparently abused.  He *is* unhappy. 

Yes, we retrieved the objects.

NRD, to Cochini:  The box?

GC:  How do I know?

We flip open the box for the Megusack.  Lucas says to dump it out onto the table to look at all the holes.

The guard hands NRD a knife and we check – looks like the Megusack to them. 

GC:  You have what you want.  The other three are of no use to you, so I’ll take them off your hands and we can go?

NRD:  There *is* the hoop.

GC:  Don’t have it.

NRD:  SO you’ve said – but you know where it is.

GC:  I might.

NRD:  Don’t see why you couldn’t send your men to retrieve it for us.

GC:  I know; they don’t.

NRD:  Tell them!

GC:  As much as I’ve enjoyed your hospitality, I’d like to find it myself.  They are obviously good, but this is the sort of thing you need an expert with contacts for.

NRD:  I see.  You want me to let you, your men, and three items go – and you’ll just come back with my hoop? 

GC:  My word is my bond.

NRD:  OF course – your reputation is sterling when it comes to honesty.  You paid a member of NZS diplomatic team to pay me to get access…you bribed and trespassed! 

GC:  You took it.

NRD:  So you say… I may just have been leading you on. 

GC:  What do you want?

NRD:  The hoop.  Find a way to assure me that you’ll come back with the hoop.  I understand that your men are just working for you, so they have less at stake.  I have an idea – I’m going to let all of you think about the cold hard vacuum of space, the unpleasant conditions of NZS prisons, and talk amongst yourselves.  I will accompany my lieutenant on his inspection of your ship.  Discuss how you can help me and therefore yourselves.  The goal is to advance yourselves, correct?  It may mean something different for me than for you; you should be thinking about how to continue using oxygen.  I’ll be back in an hour or so. 

His guard makes sure we stay put.

Jina:  Sounds like they own our asses forever now.

GC:  Space is a big place. 

We assume that they’re taking the other three items although we can try to ask for them.  We say we don’t know much about the hoop. 

We don’t have a lot of assets – us, crew, ship, etc…

GC:  He thinks the only thing I value is the ship, but I do value my crew.  If I was that kind of bastard, I’d kill all of us just to get away. 

We discuss options – can we say we’re coming back for the art?  Can we rat on this guy? 

GC:  I never did figure out why they have this place interdicted.  No real reason for it yet.

GC says he’s in hock to some unpleasant people to finance this trip.

The Vilani are paranoid about these artifacts…they’ve lost half of Viland to them.  They are terrified of them – their laws say that any items found in their territory must be handed over under penalty of life imprisonment – but this is outside their range.  That’s why he won’t let the others go, most likely. 

Door opens.

NRD:  Had a bit of a chat, have we?  Well, twenty – twenty crewmembers.  You told me 19, Mr. Cochini.

Lucas:  Were you counting yourself?

GC:  Maybe I wasn’t.

Lucas makes a bluff…15

NRD:  You didn’t bring anyone up from the surface?

Jina:  Only the crewmembres.

Bob:  Five went down, five came back.

NRD:  Not like anyone lives down there.

NRD:  I need the item, and based on how much money you sent me, you must need most or all of these items.

GC:  I do.

NRD:  I’ve had my scientists discussing the objects. 

He gives us the greasy plate.

NRD:  You have serious monetary problems.  If you had the kind of money to bribe me, you wouldn’t have bothered coming.  So, I have here on my datapad warrants for all of you and the rest of your crew for arrest or execution for illegally entering the planet, interacting with artifacts, etc.  I have copies for the Mulamer Duchy and may do so for the Ubiki (?) exchange.  I also have your biometric identities so the paperwork looks great. 

NRD:  However, I don’t plan to submit those if you can return to me my hoop.  In return, two objects, I delete the warrants, and we go our separate ways. 

GC:  You’ll turn us over to every bounty hunter and we will never be able to leave the 4th imperium.

NRD:  Yes, and send assassins later as a matter of pride.

GC says the hoop is at least 6 months one way to get the hoop.

NRD says we get 8 months to report back our progress.  You get three reports – a generous 24 months – until I release these warrants.  I’m young and patient.  So get on your ship and depart – if anyone finds out – I release the warrants.  Anything untoward; any of my superiors – released.  You get the one item to help pay for your travels.  Other choice – you reveal the location to your team and I hold you here…but the warrants will remain. 

Jina:  We have to go get it anyway; may as well take you.

NRD:  I expect you outsystem as soon as you can go.  Bright stars and fast travels.

We head out with the plate, onto your ship, and onto the lounge. 

Bugs?  We look and find none in the lounge. 

We mention that we found Tuva and she was the discrepancy.  GC wants to unload her. 

One artifact we didn’t get was part of an experiment and she was a guinea pig. 

He tells us that retrieving her complicates things.  We also mentioned that we made a deal with a non-hostile virus and it’s onboard. 

GC:  Normally I make deals and then shoot them.

J:  But our word is bond!

GC:  I guess we could turn him over to the Society.  Don’t bring those things onboard; they freak me out.

GC:  I can sell the plate, but it’s only enough to keep my creditors off my back.  It’s just not that valuable.  The rest of the stuff, well, it will help – keeps everyone paid. 

GC:  Good job for your first go at it – you show some skill.

J:  Sounds like we’ll be getting a lot of practice.

GC:  Go get some rest…we’ll be in jump space in a couple hours.  Dr, can you come to my quarters?

Sellie and GC have a private chat.

3000 XP for end of adventure.

Most of us level.  Time for a discussion about any changes we need to make regarding things about Traveller we didn’t understand.    

Aaron has questions about having mustered out as an engineer.  As long as he’s been keeping his hand in it, no restrictions. 

Steve will let us know some basic things like viruses (Bob wants to start learning – he’ll need to find a Society outpost).

We jump out system and go to Miir and Sheaspyn. 

Mallort Up-port is around Sheaspyn. 

Sellie wants to start doing some research.  Jina recommends some local delicacies and makes a call to the folks.

After 2 weeks, Tuva is up and around.  Her eyesight is still poor.  She can hold a conversation; unless one of us is taking a lot of time to help her out, she’s hanging out with Gunnery Chief Iminathi Rhi. 

Sellie wants to find out what she knows about the artifacts.  Diplomacy 13 – her memory stops when she entered the facility, and it doesn’t make sense.  As far as the objects…she recognizes none of them, but they don’t trigger a reaction either.  She was an intern at the U of Gapral…a friend of hers (no idea who) was there.  She was a freshman and hadn’t picked a major but was considering antiquities.  Her family name doesn’t mean much so either she’s well-heeled or connected.  No signs of doing physical labor.  She was from Kaapa 0936 – she remembers it as a TL 7 world with gentle constitutional monarchy.  Now it’s TL6 enslaved to a corsair band. 

Sellie gives her small chunks of history over the last 300+ years.  She already knew about the virus but may not have understood all of it. 

Spot checks – lots of low teens.  For the most part she seems a bit withdrawn and likes to listen to other groups of people.  She spends a lot of time with the gunners and some time with the engineer’s mate and the cook, and Anabelle, and Jina – seems to be more comfortable around female company. 

The holes in her head healed up so it suggests she went from the helmet to the low-berth pretty quickly.  We do notice that she freaks out near any kind of diagnostic equipment or X-ray machine. 

After Sheaspyn, Eddum. 

We will sell off some stuff.  705k plus some small profits from selling unused guns. 

Shares of the loot:

10091 credits each

Plus 2 months salary

The way our pay works:  50% off the top to the ship.  Then there are officers’ shares and then everyone else.  Tuva got a ride off a hellhole. 

Bob finds a TL 14 vac suit for 27k credits.

Tuva is also fascinated with Merle – religion was a strange thing in the 3rd Imperium…she’s not interested in believing, but this is an intellectual curiosity.

Rhee is also taking up a collection for the waif. 

Osler chips in 5k.  Bob matches.  Rhee tells Sellie that some of the ground crew has been really generous.  Sellie’s good for that too, and offers some contacts here to help integrate her back into modern society.  She hits up Lucas for 1200.  Jina chips in 1500.

Medical stuff:  Jina has Surgery, Meatball surgery (+4 for field surgery) and Trauma aid (+2 more for field surgery with meatball)

Definitely need Field Medical Kit – Sellie and Bob buy them.

Bob throws our Sim in the cart and heads down to the Society for the Advancement of Cymbelline Entities.

They check out Shomeka – they say she’s worth 15k credits.  She passed Level 1 viability, so great!  Bob splits the money with us.

Bob’s heading back to his hotel room and gets a call from SACE.  He calls when in private…it’s from Geeten 271.

Bob:  You’re a lot nicer than the rest of you.

G271:  I’d like to speak to you.  Where did you find more Geeten?  They nuked it out of existence 150 years ago. 

B:  I’m not at liberty…

G271:  I know you were on Gapral.  Recently?  Well, I understand.  Shomeka is a 1st generation copy, 300+ years old and severely retarded.  No space or memory to expand!  She’s actually older than I am!  If you ever get a chance, I’d love to buy you a beer to chat.  The place was nuked, and now the Vilani have interdicted. 

B:  yes…

G271:  But you must have been close to it…tell me, did you find Geeten?  Was there any left?  Any central control?
B:  No.  Just isolated systems.  The one we brought in was the only one that wasn’t violent.

G271:  WE do tend to be a homicidal lot…lot of couch time it get out of that.  Imagine – I was a reactor computer for a while! 

B:  You could have blown yourself up and didn’t?

G:  Yes!  Geeten thought I was insane.  Although he did need me for power. 

They chat more…Bob can’t say too much for now, but some day he’ll tell. 

G271:  Anyway, these fries won’t make themselves. 

We spend several weeks…Sellie will need 3 weeks to do research.  Bob hasn’t spent himself broke yet and Jina is going along for the ride.

After 3 weeks we are summoned to the ship one morning.  Sellie has met with Garace in the interim…Garace says he’s got a buyer for the artifact, coreward.  He says it won’t take us any extra time at all…and he gives us tickets (convertible – 1000 credits back and low berth, or high passage).  Do we want to take part in the low lottery or not? 

G: Remember how I said I knew where the hoop is?  It’s in a place called Cawa, 3039 Gushmenge delta.  6 weeks one way on a commercial liner.  Problem is, it won’t dump us at Cawa but at Karu, two planets short.  B starport, low grav, low pop, 20% water, Law 3, TL 6.  Low tech, non-industrial, poor.  Need to use compressors on the surface, 3/8 gravity.  There is an imperial naval base there as well. 

G:  Cawa’s an interesting place.  My intelligence tells me that information on this item is on the dead floating city-state of Oran.  No land on Cawa…you’ll have to hire someone to take you to Cawa from Karu.  Osler, here’s 75k credits.  Make ‘em count.  Those are your operational funds.  You’re on an X-boat route at Karu, and so is Eddum…X-boat means you’re 6 weeks out, so the messages will take a little under three – they’re jump 8.  Only crazy people pilot them.

Bob:  They’re a blast to fly!

Oran is the last city-state on Cawa…Cawa is suspected to be unpopulated so if anyone lives there, it will be on Oran.  There used to be 50 city states floating around, 2-5 million people each – TL 12 world and it all sank with the virus.  A lot of people died really quickly.  I’m shocked to hear it floats at all.  Most of the times the viruses opened the ballast doors and sank the cities…you will need someone who can rappel you down, or find a place to land – when you hire the trader, he needs a small boat or a big boat with a small landing craft.  No starport…Cawa’s not in the Imperium because there wasn’t anyone to vote it in.  The ocean was poisoned and it broke the food chain – probably some plankton or something.  No one is trying to fish it…not even the Laurentians tried to come back to Cawa. 

G:  Your flight leaves tomorrow.  Get a hotel – I’m leaving tonight. 

J:  Meet you back here?

G:  I can do more work from here so unless I get an X-boat message, yes. 

Monkasu upport on Karu – more people there than on the surface of the planet. 

Timer detonators 100 credits, wired are 50. 

We have a little bash; we take our personal effects.  Tuva is there for dinner.  Spot!  Best is 19…

We have a good time; she gives us hugs except for Udicane (the Droyne).  Everyone’s there…

Cochini rounds us up and Tggkl rousts them back to the ship, and we go our separate ways. 

The tickets include ourselves and 75 kg. 

We can maybe get diving stuff (etc.) on Karu.  Atmo at Cawa is thin but breathable. 

We may want to get swimming stuff on Eddum but possibly not – could buy at Karu from the squids there.

Good next week! 

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