Traveller SD2018 Session7Plot
Session 7: In which the party shrug off grenade blasts
Present: Kyra, Artesia, Davon
Having arrived at Mirage b, the party use the local computer network to call their contact, Felicity Yonder. She advises them that, although it is illegal, it is easy to find a shuttle from the starport down to Smithsville, rent a vehicle, and drive 200km out to her dome. She further warned that Mirage b was fairly lawless. First, the party went to buy a pair of TL8 vacc suits, since that's the best available in the system, and then they followed Felicity's advice. In Smithsville, they rent a sealed ground car from Dorian McLaren's rental shop. Because of the vacuum on Mirage b, the party all wore vacc suits.
As their car passed under a bridge and made a sharp turn into a sunken road, Kyra realised that they were driving into an ideal spot for an ambush and spotted two bandits with a RAM grenade launcher and an assault rifle respectively. Davon used his military training to organise the party's response. Artesia quickly pulled off the road, unsuccessfully attempting to ram the bandit with the rocket launcher. Kyra drew her stunner and opened the passenger door. Davon drew his stunner. The bandits sprayed bullets and grenades in the general direction of the car. Although the assault rifle was ineffective, a grenade did serious damage to the car's wheels. (The heavy and low-TL vacc suits meant that Kyra, Davon, and the bandits took heavy encumbrance and vacc suit penalties, even if not totally untrained. Fortunately, the low gravity reduced the encumbrance penalties.) Artesia unsuccessfully tried to pull the car behind some rocks for cover, Kyra stunned the bandit with the assault rifle, and Davon used his leadership to improve his initiative. The remaining bandit fired another barrage of grenades, destroying the car's wheels and punching major holes in the body. The party barreled out of the car, with Artesia and Davon running toward the remaining bandit, and Kyra heading for the assault rifle. The bandit put another clip of grenades in his RAM. Artesia and Davon sprinted towards the bandit. Kyra grabbed the assault rifle and sprayed bullets at the bandit, clipping him once. The bandit fired a volley of grenades at Davon, but, fatigued, encumbered, and not fully proficient in his vacc suit, he missed wildly and mildly injured Artesia with the blast of a stray grenade. Artesia sprinted towards him again to get within the short range of her stunner, Davon ran perpendicularly to try to draw the bandit's fire, and Kyra managed to bring the bandit down with a final burst form the rifle. The party took the bandits' weapons, tied the surviving bandit to the roof of the bandits' car, tied their car behind the bandits', and then drove to the dome. Since the party had a Mad-Max aesthetic, with their burned-out car and prisoner strapped to the roof, and since they noticed the dome had a pulse laser in a turret on the roof, the party used the comm to announce their approach.
Felicity Yonder and her colleagues, Bliss Large and Hailey Sempiternity, welcomed the party to the dome. Inside the dome was a lush farm with waterfalls and large, two-story house. They discussed the missing Mare Vitae. Yonder gave the party a list of the crew on the Mare Vitae, a list of systems with mega jump scars and noted which were particularly large or intense, and a list of the known arrival dates for the Mare Vitae in various systems. The list started at around the start of the previous year and ended just before the middle of that year, when the ship arrived in 0604 (the Spirit system), which is a gateway to the lagging half of the sector. Yonder said that she thought the Mare Vitae was stuck in 0606, since 0606 is the only uninhabited system in the sector, and they'd have heard reports if it had been in any other system by now. She said Sempiternity thought the ship had suffered a misjump or got stuck in a void sector; Yonder thought this was unlikely, since the jump drive engineer was particularly good. There was a discussion of the dangers of jumping from in or near a mega jump scar. Large said she thought that the ship had been captured by aliens. Yonder said the Mare Vitae was a standard laboratory ship. Large said that it was an experimental research ship built by the military, that it had been provided through a series of front companies, that she had tried to scan it but found that it had special shielding making this impossible, although she had determined that it was 800-1000 tons in size. While arguing about this, Large referred to pictures that Louis (Morgonz) had sent to Sempiternity, in which one could see a swimming pool, which is not standard on a laboratory vessel. An examination of the Mare Vitae's route showed that it never went further than jump 1, while it is common knowledge that a standard laboratory ship has a jump 2 drive. Yonder said wealthy donours had paid for the ship. Yonder said the three scientists were astronomers and physicists. Large said one, Hia, was a biologist. The locals said it was quite unusual to see such heavily armed bandits in the area.
The party stayed in guest rooms overnight. They interrogated their prisoner. He revealed that he -Hunter Barick- and his partner -Graham Phillips- had been told of the party's wealth and route by someone selling them weapons. A rather vague description of the alleged informant/seller was given. He had supposedly said this in Damson's bar, a rough bar in Smithsville. Upon being told this, Large claimed it proved that "they" were trying to stop the party from investigating the Mare Vitae and had probably been tracking the party since Rekar or even earlier.
Artesia pondered whether someone could have hacked Yonder's communication system. She realised that the waterfall was really a cooling system for a large computer system, that the large crystals that their hosts wore were really high TL computer interfaces, and that the hosts were involved in complicated stellar scanning requiring advanced computers. Artesia concluded that anyone wanting to hack communication systems would probably have found it easier to hack the Logan Carpenter.
The party took a detour to return to Smithsville. They returned the burnt-out shell of the car they'd rented. They left the bandit's car, with the surviving bandit tied to its roof, down a nearby alleyway, and then called the police to report that Barick was a bandit. Kyra found Damson's bar was a real place and went in. With some prompting the bartender did remember seeing Kyra on the news for smuggling Hans Guo from Zhi Ren. Kyra told the bartender that if anyone asked about the party they should be told to back off. The party returned to the Logan Carpenter.