The boss has a plan and it sounds *great*...but can it work?

We found more information about our questions on Tuva, Jola, etc...and so did Detective Lotal.  He's not happy with us but not arresting us yet.  Cochini eventually showed up, and we swap stories.  We also talk about our plan - we're going to meet with Nicholas DeLarm, give him the hoop on the end of a missile, and get our other artifacts back...or not, but at least we won't be wanted we hope.  And the odds seem low that the artifacts do what they say *and* that he'd use them.  We just really hope that's right...because Cochini's plan goes sideways if that's the case.

There is also the question of what Tuva and her new crewmates are it to go to Gapral, and if so, then what?

December 18, 2016

Davis Wend is dead in Tuva’s bathtub.  Sim Shimeka is isolated in Wend’s apartment.  Tuva’s gone.  We are dealing with Detective Argo Lotal. 

We will be bringing Shimeka back to the Jewel of Oran. 

The infection on all the Sims is Vial Walnut.  There are two doctors missing who worked on biomechanical stuff…company owned 49% by Galactic Grocery (essentially control). 

We plug Shimeka into our ship’s power (no risk of infecting our stuff).  We’ve already talked to her.

BTW, Shimeka is probably underpowered to break into the NZS handcomps.  We could give her more modules.  

Austin Wile and Dmitri Milova are missing.  Jola is gone with her ship. 

We go to Delaconte’s quarters.  Nameplate has a Vargr name.  We push the button and a Vargr shows his face.  She doesn’t live there anymore…he says the place was clean. 

Sellie:  She was holding something for me…didn’t leave anything?

The cleaners came through. 

He says we weren’t the first people to come by looking for Jola.  We give him our information. 

He’s been here for a week.  Some Vilani guy was coming by looking for her but he doesn’t recognize the name. 

We head for station administration.  Osler says that a friend of ours left something here…did she have a storage unit?  Yes! 

Did she leave anything behind?  Well, they’re not *supposed* to.  But, the unit is paid up for another month. 

Could we check?  Well, if we had permission from the owners…

He slips Osler a note and we thank him.  Osler slides some credits back. 

Note reads Level 26, Alpha K-21.  We head down there and it’s a crappy part of the station…lights suck, gravity is weak, etc.  It’s a perfect place for a storage unit.  Standard door with a keycard.

Any cameras?  None that Sellie sees.

We may be able to T electronics to trick the lock open, or the door could be “mechanically bypassed”. 

Lucas attempts to break in and it doesn’t work.  No luck.  He attempts to get in with Minor Mechanical Mayhem – 18.  No luck.  He tries again with no success. 

Lucas breaks out his plasma cutter (T Mech 22) – it’s open, and quite obvious. 

Inside we find one big steel box.  It says, “Kelvinator” and it’s hooked into a circuit someone brought in here illegally. 

Bob puts his gloves on and looks…inside he finds ice cream and something semicircular in a clear plastic bag and gaffing tape…looks body-sized. 

Jina checks the bag…Sellie checks the ice cream and it indeed is mint chocolate chip.  It’s 4 months after its expiration date.  Jina cuts her way into the bag and recognizes Jola.  She’s a bit freezer burned. 

Is she wearing clothing?  Jina cuts down farther…station suit, which is weird and usually she wouldn’t do so.  Since she lives here, she’d have normal clothing.  Top pockets are empty. 

All pockets are empty.  No shoes.  No obvious injuries; her eyes are shut.  No obvious wounds on her head (like poky bits were plugged in).  No death fluids either…hard to say what happened.  Either her bowels let go and she was put into the suit later, or something else. 

We take off…Lucas tack welds the door back into place and we take off.  Sellie heads back to talk to Sim Dolce. 

S:  Hello?  I am Dr. Sellie, looking for Sim Dolce.  I have information on your factor and missing sim.

SD:  You mean Sim Shimeka?

S:  Yes.  The factor caring for Shimeka is deceased, and per a police review we were requested to care for Sim Shimeka.

SD:  That is wise.  Do not hook Shimeka up to any networks.

S:  Do you have any advice?

SD:  In terms of her development, she is about 7 or 8 standard human years old.  She lacks processing power to expand beyond that.  She seems to be a stable branch of Geeten.  There is a preliminary data scanner for Vial Walnut.  We are using this to scan all incoming data packets to prevent reinfection.

S:  Do you have any access to (the data we’re looking for)?

SD:  I do. 

S:  Could you share this?  Or could you analyze it for us, if you have extra cycles? 

SD:  I do not have additional cycles – no one does.  The nature of the Vial Walnut is such that if you catch it in time, it is just troublesome.  Anyone who will succumb already has.  It replicates at a rate I cannot scale down for you so it takes most of our time to contain it. 

Dolce gives us the information on a data card along with the passive scanner – and it tells us to use it.  Then, data packet for Shimeka that includes all of the techniques we have to defend against Vial Walnut.  She may be unable to stop it, but it may not be able to infect her badly because of her size.  Lastly, her is your data dump in compressed format. 

SD:  We appreciate your work on behalf of SASE.  Bring Shimeka back when it is safe.

The rest of us do not chase after our doctors because if they’re at home, the detectives would have found them already. 

Bob checks and the data is clean.  Then he hooks up to Shimeka.

Bob:  Have you heard about Vial Walnut?

SS:  What?

We explain.  She thinks that the information from Dolce suggests that VW will kill her, and asks us not to hook her up to a network.  Then she’s excited to have something to do, like crunch data…we ask her to crunch through it. 

We have lunch…she’s still working.  The origin point is here…she can’t find any good instances (90-95% confidence) that this infection started at Mida Sky upport.  There are a few reports 1-2 jumps away that may predate it, but they don’t seem to be credible.  Primary spread was along the X-boat route, but every ship bringing a data packet carried it. 

The start was 3 weeks after we left.  She expects it to infect most of the Imperium, Mulamer Duchy, etc.  It will outpace the cure by a factor of 2.  There is a way to use it to eradicate itself, but it will take time to figure it out.  The best way to de-infect an infected sim would be to make an alternate worm on another uninfected sim, then plug that into the network.

Lucas:  Like you?

SS:  No!  I don’t have a cure and I’m not big enough to do that.  Dolce could do it if they weren’t infected..but we’re on the wrong end of the problem here.  And this is going to spread along the X-boat route. 

Osler:  Does the source help?

SS:  Not sure.  I don’t know what could have brought it in. 

Is there any sign of Geeten in Vial Walnut?  Not sure…no one can unpack it.  There are only a couple Geetens on station; most of them are on ships with the exception of Geeten 271.  Dolce is a Lucan. 

Was there any data on the Orange Crate?  Yes; impounded for something, purchased by Jola and the list of who was on it (including Jola, which we know is wrong). 

Bob thinks Tuva killed Jola and took her identity, and she’s the source of the Vial Walnut.  Is she in league with the doctors and how? 

Lucas:  Did we save Tuva or Geeten in a flesh body?

Good question.  Is that even possible? 

There was a machine with an Artifact that had worked on her, we’re pretty sure.  Sir Nicholas has the Wand of Cyprion on Gapral.  She’d know where he and it are. 

Find security footage of the Orange Crate’s departure?  How was the bar sold? 

Osler looks into the auction house that handled the bar with Lucas.  Mida Sky Auctions. 

Osler asks if it was really Jola who sold the bar…Darren handled it a month or two ago. 

Dude:  My condolences at her death – hard on her niece.  Yes, we did handle the liquidation.

Osler shows a data pad – and he recognizes Jola and Donna Delaconte (Tuva).    Her niece came in with a death certificate, and included some personal details.  We handled the decedents’ personal effects, which is a bit unusual.  Kind of a hard luck case really.  I know the young lady departed – she said she was going on a liner – Star of Dashudadsheg, maybe Star of Eddum – one of the ones that follows the X-boat route spinward. 

He said that Jola died of a stroke.

Lucas starts questioning and is a bit surprised.  Darren apologizes for breaking it to us like this.

Darren:  May she rest in Merle’s tax-free havens.

They rejoin us.

L:  The more I heard she did, the less I think she’s human.

Reviewing the timeline, the doctors went missing within days of Jola selling the bar and stuff.  Shimeka and the factor disappeared around the same time…and the Orange Crate left at the same time.  Depends when you think Jola died. 

No record of Donna Delaconte anywhere.  There was a crew of five or six on the Orange Crate including Jola.  A cursory look through the crew’s history suggests that most of them have been banned from operating as starship crew or they have a long Imperial record.  They look trapped and desperate.  None of them are from Eddum. 

The Orange Crate is listed as Jump 2.  To get to Gapral, they’d have to take the long way around…minimum of 8 weeks.  At Jump 3, we could get there in 4 weeks.  The Orange Crate left about 6 weeks ago…so if we departed today and they never had any problems, they could beat us by 2 weeks. 

The OC claimed to be going to Radoff, in the wrong direction to go to Gapral. 

Following the Orange Crate would be really difficult if they wanted to hide.  She’d go to Gapral to get the Wand, maybe – but why?  We really have no facts to go on. 

Our options / issues:

  • Cochini’s coming back soon.
  • Nicholas has a price on our heads
  • Tuva went somewhere and it may be our problem.
  • Vial Walnut is spreading.

    1. We can’t outrun it, and the cure can outrun us on X-boats.

One other thing that Scott missed – all records of Tuva, like the ones we generated, disappeared.  Someone changed that.  And now that the sims are busy, no one can put all the clues together. 

Vial Walnut doesn’t own computers, just kills them.  Was it just a smokescreen? 

If we think she’s going to Gapral, that also brings us and our artifacts in proximity of Sir Nicholas.

We vote and decide to wait for Cochini.  We could try to sell some of our expensive loots.  We don’t have any chance to hack the NZS handcomps. 

Security footage – Osler has no official standing to get the footage.  Charm, bribe, or intimidate…or get the cop to help. 

Tuva is a person of interest…and Jola left on the Orange Crush.  Maybe we could both look at the footage together to see if they both left? 

Bob and Osler go to see Detective Lotal.  They want to find out if Tuva was on the ship and are offering up the fact that Tuva and Jola were connected.

They spend a half hour waiting for the computer to get the launch records for the Orange Crate.  Timestamp 15 minutes before launch, a couple of large crates (would hold 3 people each, easy) go onto the ship.  Then an hour of footage disappears along with the ship.  He’s confused and will have to talk to his techs.  He’s unhappy about this but not at us – and he says that he’ll have to watch for Jola because she must be involved. 

Ok, let’s go to the lobby of Merriland Biomedical Galactic…Sellie, Osler, and Jina.  Drs. Wile and Milova are unavailable. 

Sellie chimes in as Dr. Jackson and says that we found something on an adventure that may be related to their interests…and he shows a picture.  The receptionist will talk to the manager, but first she asks us to sign an NDA.  Dr. Poor will be able to see us in a bit. 

We all sign the NDA. 

A man in a dark gray suit enters and greets us. 

Sellie explains that we found some interesting equipment on a survey expedition and would be interested in speaking with some experts. 

Would this be a reasonable human machine interface?  Not hardly…no one wants that kind of connection, nor holes drilled in their heads.  There are better ways to do this anyway.  I have no idea why anyone would have tried to do that.  Drilling into one’s skull would never be a commercial procedure unless there is a curable disease, which do exist. 

Dr. P:  High TL, and interesting – but it seems to be pre-4th Imperium.  I don’t know why you’d do that at that level.  There’s no commercial aspect and if there is, it’s hidden. 

Osler:  If you wanted to build something like that, what would it take? 

Dr. P:  I don’t see anything tremendously expensive although cost is always relative.  I don’t know what’s under the covers.  Perhaps there was something secret – were some of those injectors? 

Dr. P:  I’m curious – how do you know Drs. Wile and Milova?

Sellie:  I was looking for experts. 

Osler:  Are they likely to be available soon?

Dr. P:  They are very busy right now, and I don’t see any reason to pass this information on.

We mention that the facility melted down.

We  end our meeting and are escorted out. 

We discuss and feel like we’re being brushed off – is he covering for someone?  Or does it matter? 

On our way out, Sellie flips through his handcomp and finds a picture of Tuva.  Has the receptionist seen her?  No.  Receptionist doesn’t recognize the name or picture.  We say she had an interest in the field.

Osler says he can spend time selling loot now. 

Does anyone at the starport remember when the Orange Crate took off?  GI 38…cargo, customs, impound people…

  • Everyone was surprised when the ship was bought out of hock – poor shape
  • Very little time done in drydock; primary system repair and jump drive repair (at least 50k, paid in cash)
  • Dockworkers remember that the crew were true scumbags. Stuff was stolen, sketchy stuff happened nearby, etc. 
  • A young, blonde girl in a ship’s suit named “Jola” on the lapel was around. Maybe kind of looks like Tuva…was blonde, then dark-haired and looked a little older. 
  • They never saw the blonde girl a lot – she went in and stayed.
  • No markings on the cargo, no bills of lading.
  • Customs guy never really looked at it – he got paid.

Detective Lotal calls Osler – he says he’s had better days.  He got a call from Dr. Poor about us asking about Drs. Wile and Milova. 

Lotal:  What’s your interest?

Lotal says we’ve been helpful so this is our once chance not to get detained for weeks.  We are supposed to stop poking around the case. 

We don’t mention the storage unit…

Time to sell loots and practice martial arts.  Misc jewelry – sell for 112500.  More jewelry – 16500.  Computer parts – 150k.  Molecular print-tor 375k.  Denebian jewelry – 50k. 

Can we find a missile rack?  There is a used one available that will fit our ship.  Can we look it over?  Well, it doesn’t have the sort of provenance we’d want – yes, it’s hot.  250k…we will have not be able to officially have it (and it has to come out every year for the ship’s annual).  We pass.  New ones are still 750k.

Osler negotiates – 740k, and they’ll throw in a replacement missile. 

We put a bunch of money into the bank.

Next day we are watching them put the missile rack into our ship when Argo Lotal summons us.  He brings us into a lounge and invites us to sit. 

AL:  There’s been a development.  Do any of you know where Jola Delaconte is? 

Osler:  Supposedly she left on the ship.

Bluff = 23. 

Bob bluff 19

Sellie Bluff 21

Lucas:  You said she was missing.

AL:  DO you know where she went? 

Lucas:  No.  Bluff = 16

Jina:  Like they said, heard she left the station.  Bluff 16.

AL:  We found her – in a freezer – in storage.  In a Storage area that had been conveniently broken into. 

Osler:  Then who bought the ship? 

AL:  Biometrics for the ownership of the Orange Crate have been falsified.  System biometrics for Jola Delaconte have been falsified.  Eyewitnesses, including some of her longtime employees, have identified the body. 

AL:  None of the other storage lockers in that area were attacked.  Someone opened up her storage locker, went in, found her body, and left.  Now, people break into storage lockers all the time.  That’s a low-rent area and no one keeps anything of real value down there.  Pretty high-quality cut on that…high TL torch or someone pulled a nice it down there.  So, normally if thieves hit an area they open a bunch of ‘em up.  Like ice cream.  You like ice cream, Osler?

AL:  None of the other ones were opened up, but someone opened the covering enough on Delaconte to find who she was.  None of you would have done me wrong to go down and not tell me?  I can’t prove you did anything, and I don’t think you killed her- mostly because you weren’t on station.  You’re in this deeper than I want.  I can’t prove you were there, but you’re all lying sacks of crap.  This association is at an end.  You’re not under arrest.  But if I find you near one of my investigations again, if I think you crossed the line, if I get the wild supposition you’re doing something you shouldn’t be, I’m going to find reasons to talk to you in an official capacity.  You’re not telling me everything and I don’t appreciate it.  You aren’t telling me you’re not involved…so stay out of my business.

Sellie – I’m not sure Tuva brought Vial Walnut…there was a Vilani asking about Jola.

Jina:  We don’t need anyone blaming us for it. 

Sellie – we won’t know until we find Tuva and her new slimy crew.

3 days pass and we get word from the yard – our ship is finished and is in a docking bay.  And the SS Cochini is docking.  Osler’s phone rings.

C:  Osler, it’s Cochini.

O:  I hope your trip was better than ours.

C:  Weren’t you successful?  Assemble the team and bring the items to the Cochini.  We need to talk.  We’re in Bay 7. 

We decide to bring all the sellable stuff and Morson’s Ball, but not the hoop.  We get there and see No-Stall Stanley on the front step…he says the captain’s no more pissed than usual, and Cochini’s nervous.  Barenpack comes to greet us…Udicane watches as we head onboard.  Engineer’s Mate Hiboto and Easy Greasy pass us as we enter.  Gunnery Chief Umanthi Rhi and her three Vargr gunners are gathered…the only one we don’t see is Gustavo, medic and priest of Merle.  In the cargo bay are Annabel Johnson and (the other old guy on the crew). 

Captain brings us into the dining lounge where Cochini waits for us.

Sellie:  Any strange people on board?

GC:  No, I don’t let anyone on ship who’s not crew.  Too much bullshit can happen when that happens.

Sellie:  Speaking of, we were followed and attempted to be killed.

He mentions the Sharurshad and gives them names. 

GC:  Oh, they’re trying to deny him.

S:  So they know.

GC:  Assholes all of them. 

Jina:  Assholes they are, but we need a way out of this jam…

GC:  Listen – they didn’t try to negotiate, did they?

Later on they did try, at gunpoint.

GC:  That guy’s a real asshole.  If I’d have known better…I should have known better.  The Vilani don’t send people out like him to dumps like that unless there’s a reason? 

Jina:  Care to fill us in?

GC:  I don’t know why.  Why would you put those kind of resources on a dump like Gapral?

GC:  They bombed Gapral – and there’s nothing left.  Radiation and death, and recoverable metals.  Why keep a ship there?  Why?  So assholes like Nicholas Delarm who can’t be legally executed have a place to be.  He’s going to use the Megusack and the Amagaldene Hoop to buy his way back into the NZS.

Sellie:  I don’t think they work like that, though. 

Jina:  Maybe they blew up the planet because of the research, and now they’re watching.

GC:  They bombed it to kill Geeten.  The whole combining humans and machinery is long gone. 

We discuss Vial Walnut and our troubles.

We thought we’d check in on Tuva – her bar was closed and sold.  Jola sold everything, bought a rattletrap ship, and left.

GC:  JOla?

US:  We found Tuva and all the info was gone.  Her apartment had a dead body belonging to the caretaker for the AI.  Both were missing.  We just found out that Jola’s dead.  Tuva is impersonating Jola now but sold off the bar before. 

GC:  I need a minute.

He walks out. 

Barenpack:  Garace had a relationship with Jola a long time ago…they’re the same age and they knew each other for a long time.  GC’s a lot of things, not all of ‘em good, but he’s loyal at least. 

Where did Barenpack go?  He tells us the tale of GC talking to people trying to sell artifacts.

We also mention “our new starship” and said that we got it from the NZS – salvaged, not stolen.

Cochini comes back in and we resume.

Tuva got a ship and left…and GC doesn’t believe she went to Ruffen or wherever. 

We think she may have gone to get the wand or something, and there are missing scientists.

Then we tell GC that we have a ship, and we cut to the good parts about that. 

GC:  What can those other assholes do?  I don’t like other artifacts getting stolen from me…if Delarme gets off planet, that’s bad for everyone. 

We give Cochini Morson’s Ball and one of the cargo handlers puts it in safe keeping. 

We don’t have the Hoop…we want to make sure he doesn’t have anyone on his ship that’s going to take it.  And he’s willing to give the Hoop up, which we don’t want to do.  He says the rumors about it eating stars are a lie. 

J:  What is to keep him from screwing us anyway? 

GC:  I can’t stop him from that.  But he wants the items.  I planned to leave him the items in a nice box near the jump point.  I don’t care if it’s the ball or the hoop.  I want that throne gem and the Wand of Cyprion, although I don’t care about those two…they’re money, though.  The Gem’s properties are nothing but it’s valuable…the Wand is mostly creepy and that sells too.  I intend to put those out at the end of the system, we communicate by radio.  Then we meet and make the deal, get our other artifacts, go to the jump point, and leave.  I don’t see this guy killing any suns even if it does.  He wants back in, and unexiled and into the Navy.  They have these bureaus…he’s in the Makhudkrin – their interstellar government, and he can’t do that out on Gapral.  The Sharushid probably doesn’t want it back because this guy pushes for war and is an expansionist…but he’s a minor noble…one of many who are pushing for war.  The Sharushid thinks that economic subversion is a better way to go.  I don’t know what they can offer us – what are they going to say?  They aren’t going to spend the money to get rid of the bounty because we’re not important…unless we have leverage on ‘em. 

Jina:  Economic subversion?

GC:  The NZS is expansionist…and they think it’s time for the 1st Imperium to come back.  Lots of unaffiliated systems, and the Solomani (peaceful or not), and the Aslan, and the Kukhree. 

Jina:  Vial Walnut is slowing everything down.

GC:  That would inconvenience the Navy but not stop it.  I don’t think this is from the Sharurshid anyway. 

Why would we talk to the Sharushid – we need a way to get out of this jam without giving him DeLarm.  Besides, it’s another artifact we can sell.

GC doesn’t think DeLarm will give us the items back anyway. 

He says we didn’t do badly on the plate, and the Ball is valuable.  And we did get a ship. 

GC:  I don’t think we’re coming out of this in debt – I can pay the creditors off.  By rights, I should get a share of that ship, but maybe I’d let it go for the Ball…but we can talk about this later.  Let’s deal with our current predicament.

Again, Cochini’s not worried about the Hoop being used because there’s no profit and it’s an artifact – seems hard to believe a Vilani would use an artifact as a weapon. 

He says that DeLarm won’t kill him.  If DeLarm tries to screw Cochini, we should either launch the missile or sell it ourselves.

The crew may be hinky about giving the artifacts back, but his word about getting us un-wanted he won’t turn back.  Worst-case, we don’t get our artifacts back. 

Throne gem is totally useless, just pretty.

He wants us to go there, make the deal, and keep the hoop on our ship for now.  Then, we talk about our future. 

We chat about this…we decide to tell Cochini yes, we’ll make the deal.

We get 12 hours on station to do whatever, and we jump out of system with the Cochini.  We’re travelling together.  And we end the game there.

1000 XP for completing a chapter. 

Ok, things to improve:  Dan wants more information to do exact timekeeping. 

Dan starts on the 8th.  Joe is not planning to play on the 1st either.

Poker chips:

Jina:  2 black, 2 white

Lucas:  1 black

Sellie:  2 black, 2 white

Bob:  2 black

Osler:  2 black, 4 white

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