Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Social Butterfly: random social networking for new characters

This post is a small chunk of a random generation set of tables that I made up for GURPS traveller. The whole minigame was pretty fun, but I'm mostly interested only on the social networking bit here. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Bretwalda - The Abbey of Brixworth pt. 1

Location: Brixworth, Danelaw's territory, former Middle-Angle kingdom.
Time: Harvest time (around September)
Character Cast:

  • Wyne of Brixworth, convalescing one-armed thegn. (Dan)
  • Edlyn, Abbot of Brixworth. (Martin)
  • Holt, coerl and caretake of the estate. (NPC)
  • Ingram of Brixworth: Danish adoptive son of the Earldorman (Jason).


Story

It had been a terrible harvest in the kingdom of the Middle-Angles. People were starving, although the whether was more to blame than the Danes.  The ground in Brixworth was bone dry, the crops had failed, the cattles had to be sacrificed, and so was about half of the sheep's herd. A Dane raid to the south had caused much damage. The Earldorman, answering to the call of  neighbor, had left to the south a few days ago with his fyrd made of most of his able-bodied men. Wyne of Brixworth, a thegn, had to stay behind to recover from the amputation of his left arm.

Abbey of Brixworth, 9th century.
Wyne was drinking watered down wine when a horse walked out of the forest up from the southern road. He reached for his spear and headed to meet the animal. The horse belonged to the Earldorman. The saddle had signs of damage made by a blade. Some dried blood was caked in the weave. He lead the horse to the Earldorman's homestead. Lady Ora confirmed that is was one of the Earldorman's horse, but not his personal mount. They headed to the Abbey with the kids and met with Abbot Edlyn for a conference.

Later into the morning, Wyne was walking to the southern edge of the estate when a number of Danes arrived into view. Hey mocked the one-armed Saxon in their own language. Wyne was livid. The Danes demanded a cart full of food, 70 silver coins, and all of the cattles and sheeps. Wyne lost his cool and tried to engage the leader. He only received mockery for it. They promised to come back on the following morning.

The trio, soon joined by Holt, a ceorl (freeman), discussed the possibility of a Dane raid. They settled on moving the valuable assets and the people to the Abbey. Ingram, the Danish adopted son of the Earldorman, came back from a long horse ride to the North. He probed the southern approach. Ingram intended to ride south to make contact with the Danish camp. However, he ran into a pair of sentries camping at the edge of the woods and decided to head back to the Abbey. A watch to the North confirmed that the Northern road was also covered by a pair of Danes.  The Saxon decided to mount an ambush on the sentries under the cover of night. They relaxed in the cool of the Abbey while the sweltering heat cursed the world outside.

The ambush went just ducky, giving everyone a
false sense of invincibility.
The Saxons waited for the night to mount an ambush against the sentries to the South.  Coerl Holt and Friar Hrothgar slipped through the dry underbrush and, taking advantage of a deep knowledge of the surrounding, made it meticulouslty to about 15 yards of the campfire without being detected. Wyne, Edlyn and Ingram made their way under the cover of darkness down the road. Since the Danes were huddled around a campfire, they too made it to the 15 yard line. The startled sound of an alarmed Dane triggered the assault. Edlyn' arrow hit one of the from a respectable 50 yards, followed by the spears from Wyne and Ingram. The second Dane was grievously wounded by Wyne's spear. Holt hacked the other Dane with his great axe. By the time that the last Dane was standing, he had received another injury from Hrothgar's spear and fell to the ground.

Edlyn attempted to perform an interrogation on the last one standing, but the Dane spat blood back at his face. Wyne, trying to rough him up, went into a blind rage and killed the Dane before he could spit more blood in his direction. So much for getting information from that one. That lest the other Dane with an arrow in his leg and a great axe gash in his back. Hrothgar stabilized the main wound and contained the bleeding. The Dane was, however, unconscious and on the cusp of death.

They recovered two Danish horses. Edlyn then propted the dead Dane to a tree and wrote on his shield using the Dane's own blood the word: "Cattl". He fell to a grand mal seizure before writing down the last letter. The Saxon contained him while he writhed, then took everyone back to the Abbey.

The new moon left Brixworth in a false semblance of peace. In the Abbey, Abbot Edlyn was recovering from his fit. People were talking: was it the Devil's work, divine retribution, or just the mark of a soul worned down by past atrocities? Edlyn and Ingram decided to scout to the south to locate the Dane's main camp. Holt, Hrothgar and Wyne headed North to scout the position of the sentries over there.

Ingram and Edlyn walked past the grim scarecrow and proceeded down the road until an advantageous bent. Edlyn plotted an ambush site while Ingram moved to contact further down the road. Ingram eventually ran into a group of three Danes having a meal by a bonfire. He couldn't see signs of others and concluded that the camp was much smaller than he expected. They both ended back at the Abbey for a meal and much needed sleep. Wyne and the others were already back and confirmed that two Danes were blocking the way Northward. The sentries detected them and they decided to recoil and regroup.

They were tired, hungry and stressed. However, the prospect of taking the fight to the surprised Dane was still on the table.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

IW 7 - Big in Japan

Context

The crew of the CAMEROON extracted two bait hunters and three baits from the clasp of engineered raptors. Anika spent a while on the operating table to rescue her left lung and arm. The crew is in jumpspace, heading back to Terra, and pondering how to capitalize on the knowledge of a raptor farm on Prometheus.

The farm was located deep into the hinterland, and allegedly ran by the local kingpin of Brethrow. There, wealthy hunter purchased convicts to act as bait to a roving pack of raptors. The goal of such hunt: save the baits (which is apparently very likely to fail).

Location

Terra is the old familiar world for the reader, except that the year is 2170 and the planet is recovering from a massive orbital bombing where 12 cities were damaged with nuclear warheads. True to themselves, terrans are survivors and the planet is back on the economic rebound: a haven for free traders and mega-freighters alike.



Location: 100D Orbital space, Terra, Terra system
Terran timestamp: April 9-10th, 2170 AD

The staff room was alive with debate over the raptor questions. While Anika was recovering from her near-death encounter with the raptors, Aeryn busied herself with the research of all things dinosaurs. She advocated taking over production and exploit the raptors to the fullest. Most of the crew objected as it didn't jive with the license held over the CAMEROON for the next 16 months. Many also refused to engage in criminal activities are they were recently out of prison, or proudly never sent there in the first place.

Marion, recently a bait hunter turned bait, was interrogated from the recovery table in the infirmary. He did not know how his brother-in-law had made contact with the game master. All that he knew was that they had purchased a very expensive water purification system and donated it to an NGO called "Rising Sun Mission".

The CAMEROON was now close enough to synchronize with the live terran internet. Aeryn bypassed the usual MMA news and instead researched the NGO. She discovered that it was based in Tuskuba: a suburb of Tokyo. Probably not coincidentally, located in the same city as the Inagaki group from which there was a track record of raptor engineering publications.

Given that raptor products such as meat, skins and bones were legal but controlled, germ lines restricted and live animals banned, the crew decided to keep it straight and investigate the ability to import legal products into bigger markets such as Terra and Nusku. A list of five star restaurants along the Pacific Rim was brought up as a starting point.


Organic, dubiously fed, Promethean raptor coming to a supermarket near you.

Location: Highport GAIA, Terran low-orbit, Terra system
Terran timestamp: April 13th, 2170 AD

While the CAMEROON waited in queue for a berth, then contracted the freight handlers to empty its hold, Jane busied at building a 4-week forecast for raptor products.  She discovered a high demand, and virtually no supply as there is no commercial production anywhere near Terra and Nusku. The only live raptors are in small research facilities and unable to provide a commercial output. Potential buyers are lined up, all that is needed is a supplier.  The good news is that THEY have an inside lane to an illegal one a single jump away.

Further research into the NGO returned an interesting picture. It turns out that the "Rising Sun Mission" has provided an inordinate number of water purification systems to the community of Brethrow, Prometheus. Aeryn counted about 5 such donations in the last 12 months.  Jane, Anika and Aeryn decided to find more out about the NGO just by showing up to its headquarter in Tsukuba.

While the CAMEROON was performing an inclination correction, Diane spotted a highly valuable freight job for the 25th. She checked the terms: it was a highly restricted cargo shipped from a weapon manufacturer's facility and to be delivered to a construction site orbiting Prometheus IV, a frontier gas giant. As deputy for the UWO, they automatically qualified for the background check. The other terms was the presence of a security detail, no passengers, a ship sweep and secrecy. The competition for the job was fierce, but the crew got the gig for 626KCr. They planned for a full hold for the 25th.

Location: Tokyo Regional downport,  Terra system
Terran timestamp: April 14th, 2170 AD

According to Japanese laws, foreign starships are forbidden to enter atmospheric airspace unless on an authorized vector to the Tokyo Regional Downport (TRD). The crew landed and got hit by the predictable culture shock. Diane decided to go shopping for the next awesome thing while Jane, Aeryn and Anika bought bullet train tickets to Tsukuba.

The Rising Sun Mission HQ was no more than a hole in a wall in downtown Tsukuba. Its neighbours were importers and rental space for transient business. The receptionist was named Miho. She promptly instructed the three women to go away when they asked to talk to the NGO's director. She specified that there was no charitable donation heading for Prometheus, and that the NGO itself wasn't contracting freight directly in the first place: it relied on the logistics of benefactors. Jane dropped a 100Cr, and Miho revealed that the director's name was Mr. Toyo, and that he operated from a restaurant a few block away from this location. Aeryn found out that this restaurant was on her list of place where raptor meat had been eaten in the past.

They set out to talk to Toyo, in hope that this would lead to the administrative head of the raptor farm on Prometheus, and thus define the other end of the sale's pipeline.

Toyo and Miho, as well as the gun dealer contact are added to the Character Cast page.


Character Cast

  • Tom Anders: Retired Marine, gruff, good hearted. Now get off his cargo hold.
  • Diane Ayetou: born rich and far less qualified than given credit for. Gets an A for A-fort.
  • Jane Calhoun: Business-like business end of things. Reluctant pilot, appreciate spirits and solitude.
  • Anika Kaprescu: Recluse. Did some time, killjoy. The ship’s cat.
  • Aeryn Lorien: Stumbling steward, athlete and nurse. Gets the ribbon for caring the most.
  • Molly Pepper: Engineer and ship’s puppy. Her giggles are wasted on the crew.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Researching Raptors

Aeryn wants to learn more about raptors and their commercial applications.  The best time to search will be once that the CAMEROON comes out of jumpspace and synchronizes its data packet with Terra (Expert resolution@18). The cached version is only high resolution @14.

Generality


She is not versed in academic research (Research-9), but her Biology(garden worlds)-11 certainly can support. Furthermore, the ship's onboard AI can provide a +1 as well. This gives her a Research-11. She rolls a 5, a margin of success of +6: an unusual level of detail is revealed.


  • The raptors encountered are NOT real raptors, but hybrids of Terran ancient genes and Prometheus reptiles. Their size altered using gene editing to make them more prized game. Aeryn has a Bioengineering book on the topic, actually.
  • Raptor products are LC4 such as meat, skin and bones. Regulated usage on Terra and Prometheus.
  • Raptor germ material (eggs, clone cultures, genomes) is LC3. Restricted to research under strict ethical guidelines.
  • Live raptors are LC2. Banned under most jurisdictions. (Terra and Prometheus are CR4, but Brethrow seems to be a more relaxed CR3).
  • Aeryn has the contact information of 4 leading research groups in Terran universities on raptor engineering. 
    • Breton-Lewis group at the Museum of Natural History, London, Terra. 
    • Qi group at Xerces University, Mars.
    • Inagaki group, University of Tsukuba.
    • Shurmed group, Nusku Institute of Natural History.
  • Aeryn knows that there is a market for raptor products on Terra in Asian markets. She has a list of restaurants that allegedly serve such products. 
    • Mainly institution in mainland China, Japan and Vancouver, Canada.
  • Aeryn knows that Promethean authority would shutdown a raptor farm if they knew about it, and would prosecute if said farm was located on the main continent. 
    • One such farm was dismantled in the lowland near the north pole a few years ago.
  • Aeryn knows that raptor hunt and bait rescue hunts are very lucrative. Raptor hunting may be legal in Brethrow, but certainly not bait rescue hunts. A week probably bring in ~200K to the operators. 
  • Aeryn knows about another eminent scientist in Saurien behavioural sciences, and has a list of recent graduates from her group.
    • Prof. Dean Harrow-Smith, MNH (London), currently on sabbatical with the Qi group on Mars.

Friday, June 17, 2016

IW 6 - Human trafficking

Context

The CAMEROON has rescued one of its client, and three "targets". They are now trying to find a way to maximize profit amid a legally and ethically dark grey area while remaining on the high ground.


The air is thick enough to make soup with it.

Location

Prometheus is the oldest Terran colony. Brethrow is a distant developing nation where little laws are in effect. The air is thick, the temperature an uncomfortable 35C(95F). The topography is made of mountains covered by a dense jungles. The hunting ground is located 700km North of Brethrow. The environment is best described as somewhere between a mangrove and a jungle.

The insertion spot (purple), the creek (orange), the cave entrance and exit (blue).
   

Location: Hovering over the jungle canopy, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

Marion's mangled body is hoisted on the sickbay's table as Aeryn, Molly and Flo are planning the surgery. While Tom jumps in the shower, Diane and Jane are most interested in the three "targets". One of the target, Porfirio, seems to be a man of higher stature. He explains that the hunters purchased 11 prisoners to act as raptor bait for a life-sized capture the "flags" adventure. He shares the location of the base camp, where the game master probably is.
The two other targets, who look more like tough cookies, reveal gladly that after Philip's death, they decided to use Marion as a bait to give a few of them a chance to escape. The plan went badly and only one of them had seemingly escaped.
Porfirio then reveals that the mayor/dictator in Brethrow, Hijo Stamellas,  had sold their lives against a large-scale water purification system. Porfirio offered a good sum to take his revenge on Stamellas.
The crew members were more interested in recovering Philip's body from the cave so that a claim on his life insurance be made. Anika and Tom decided to head back down shortly after Tom managed to put the 10mm Gauss railgun (dinosaur gun) together.


Location: Jungle floor, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

Diane used the sensor array to identify movement under the canopy. She guessed that these were 2-3 raptors circling around the cave entrance. As Tom and Anika geared to descend in the air raft, she engaged with a sustained fire downward to burn the foliage to the ground. Amid the wood cracking in the steam and smouldering foliage, Tom struggled with the raft. They landed on the floor more or less blinded by steam, smoke and the impenetrable green of the jungle. With them, Rey, a psychopathic-looking target whom they equipped with the ship's shotgun.

Hey, Anika, you smell like lunch.
The advance in the foliage was slow and noisy. It got interrupted when they reached the pile of bodies and a raptor ambushed them out of the blue. Tom snapped a few 10mm shot and tore the raptor's left leg with the overpowered gun. The beast struggled, but soon the bodies of the three dead targets were on board. Anika, shaken from the ambush, trader her Gauss pistol for Tom's rifle. She had no intention to head down into the tunnel. Tom jumped in, shortly followed by Rey. 

Anika never saw the second ambusher until its fangs had penetrated her nanoweave suit and punctured her lung. In the struggle, the raptor nearly cleaned the flesh from her left arm's bone, severing the main artery and vein.

As her eyesight blurred by the fountain of blood, she could see Flo rapelling from above and the shots of Rey's shotgun felling the beast.



Location: Brethrow, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

The medbot "Flo" saved the lungs but admitted defeat with the arm. Anika, an exceptionally strong woman, had survived the shock and the hemorrhage, but her arm was still more or less detached from her body. The CAMEROON flew to Brethrow after contacting a surgeon there. They rushed Anika to his practice. There, Aeryn, Flo and Molly spent the next three hours assisting the surgeon on a very difficult procedure to save Anika's arm.

In the ship, the guest became reckless. Porfirio demanded to be released so that he could get his men to bring him to a safe place. The two other targets showed no interest in returning to Brethrow where they were convicted criminals. After some tough negotiations,  Porfirio transferred 5KCr and waited for the night to exit the ship.

Anika returned late in the evening, stable but still in a critical conditions (-20HP). The CAMEROON left Prometheus and dropped the last two targets in a low-orbit transit station. As the ship sped to the 100D line for a return jump to Terra. They agreed with Marion that he would pay 25KCr for his safe return home. The crew wanted more, but the threat to turn him over for human trafficking rang hollow as they would have gotten no money out of following this option.


Location: Jumpspace, Terra-bound
Terran timestamp: May 2, 2170 AD

The crew decided to look into the business opportunity granted by the presence of farmed raptors on Prometheus. No one really knew how to capitalize this, but it smelled like a high-profit venture.  The all settled for the quiet drone of the jumpdrive for the next 7 days.

Character Cast

  • Tom Anders: Retired Marine, gruff, good hearted. Now get off his cargo hold.
  • Diane Ayetou: born rich and far less qualified than given credit for. Gets an A for A-fort.
  • Jane Calhoun: Business-like business end of things. Reluctant pilot, appreciate spirits and solitude.
  • Anika Kaprescu: Recluse. Did some time, killjoy. The ship’s cat.
  • Aeryn Lorien: Stumbling steward, athlete and nurse. Gets the ribbon for caring the most.
  • Molly Pepper: Engineer and ship’s puppy. Her giggles are wasted on the crew.

Friday, May 20, 2016

IW 5 - Blue Jungle

Context

The crew of the CAMEROON has received a distress call of their clients. The call, extremely weak, is taking them deep in the hinterland of Brethrow, a backwater on Prometheus. The clients are shady hunters from Terra. They are short of weapons, and are suspecting that the extraction will be complicated by the presence of raptors.


The air is thick enough to make soup with it.

Location

Prometheus is the oldest Terran colony. Brethrow is a distant developing nation where little laws are in effect. The air is thick, the temperature an uncomfortable 35C(95F). The topography is made of mountains covered by a dense jungles.

The insertion spot (purple), the creek (orange), the cave entrance and exit (blue).
   

Location: 400m of approximate extraction site, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

The CAMEROON descends to 20m and release the air raft. On board of the raft, Tom and Anika. The only weapon on board is a 4mm gaussian pistol that Tom puts between his legs as he drives the craft over a creek heading up the slopes. On the CAMEROON, Diane pinpoints the signal from the transmission to a nook at the foot of the mountains. She passes the data to the raft and the CAMEROON begin sweeping the area. The free trader grates against the tree canopy to mask the approach of the raft. Jane has the dual 100MJ laser at the ready.


Location: some godless creek bed, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

Anika clings to her dazzler laser flashlight. Tom is speeding over the creek bed in a scary display of driving prowess. Debris and leaves are rubbing against the craft and the visibility is down to nothing from her point of view. When the raft begins banking, Tom swerves to avoid crashing into trees. A 5m long raptor is now perched at the rear of the raft, and came out of nowhere. Anika has to throw herself off the raft to avoid a deadly bite to her torso. She lands heavily in the creek bed, but the nanoweave suit turns a deadly fall into a bad one. Her hands clings to her dazzler. As she wipes the wet hair from her face, she sees the raptor lose its footing and falls into the creek, some 20m upstream. 


Hey, Anika, you smell like lunch.

Tom has abandoned the wheel and takes a few shots at the raptor. One 4mm tungsten rod hits the beast hard enough to make it jerk out of sight. Anika is struggling in the heavy foliage on the bank. The scene calms down: only the cackle of the creek and the drone of the CAMEROON overhead remains. Anika climbs back on the raft, sore from the fall.

On the CAMEROON, Diane detect a heat signature as well as a weak electromagnetic signal. The location is piped on the raft’s computer with a precision of 1m. Tom hits the throttle until the creek becomes too narrow. The raft then starts to slalom in slow motion at 15m off the ground, sandwiched between the undergrowth and the canopy.


Location: Cave entrance, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

The raft descends through the undergrowth and get a visual on the entrance of a man-made cave. A trail of smoke is coming out, and the smell of thermite lingers. Tom lands the rafts and head to the tiny hole, both weapons trained on the unknown. Anika trips, hangs upside down and panics. She thrashes and tries to climb back on the raft as Tom slips down into the cave.

Tom finds a tablet, but it is locked. He switches his flashlight to the LED. The tunnel is about 1.5m high by 0.6m. The air was sucked out by the burning of a thermite grenade. He finds the mangled body of Phillip, one of his client. He was somehow dragged by a small toothed creature that held him by the throat. The dirt nearby has turned to glass by the heat.

Anika takes a hold of herself and slips down into the tunnel. The smell of thermite is intense. She can see the glimmer of Tom’s light ahead, but keeps the dazzler mode on, just in case. The two meet a little past Phillip’s body, into a small antechamber. The room is filled with trash, some of the wrappers are Terran household brands "Mr. Noodles". The place was used recently. They head out by the other access tunnel.


Location: Cave exit, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

The cave exits to another sealable trapdoor. The light is blinding as Tom peers outside. Nothing snatches his head, but a raptor could be a few meters away and he wouldn’t be able to tell. Three horribly mutilated bodies are lying on the ground next to him. The scene makes him woozy and he needs to catch his breath. Anika looses her cookies loudly back into the cave entrance. Amongst their anxious whimpering, the weak voice of a man hanging overhead. Tom recognizes Marion, the other hunter and client. He is swinging at the end of a rope, attached by his waist. His head is badly beaten.

Marion cues Tom of the impending charge of a raptor. Tom blinds the monster with his dazzler laser. The raptor runs into a tree and finds a way to get out of sight in the thick undergrowth. They can hear it scurry away. Maybe 150m to the North the CAMEROON has opened fire with the dual laser. In the thick and moist atmosphere, the laser makes noise analogous to thunder. Tree trunks explode in the intense heat of the beam. A number of raptors seems to be scattering away from the scene.

Anika locates a rope and climbs to meet Marion. He points at three terrorized men clinging to a tree 20m above. He refers to them as targets/flags. Tom makes the connections. He thinks back at the 3dT of unknown cargo that was in his hold before and figure out that the targets had been smuggled in a cryo state.

“Have you smuggled these men to hunt, asshole?”, Tom and Anika seem to be on the brink to execute Marion on the spot. Marion begs for mercy, but his voicebox has been smashed and nothing but gargles come out.


Location: Brethrow airspace, 1000m alt., mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

It turns out that the targets are Prometheans natives. They speak a hard to parse cajun. Tom finds on the damage dinosaur gun and make it his. Marion is hauled onboard and given to the care of Aeryn and Flo. If Marion survives, which he should, they’ll make him pay and then turn him over to law enforcement for his sins.


Character Cast

  • Tom Anders: Retired Marine, gruff, good hearted. Now get off his cargo hold.
  • Diane Ayetou: born rich and far less qualified than given credit for. Gets an A for A-fort.
  • Jane Calhoun: Business-like business end of things. Reluctant pilot, appreciate spirits and solitude.
  • Anika Kaprescu: Recluse. Did some time, killjoy. The ship’s cat.
  • Aeryn Lorien: Stumbling steward, athlete and nurse. Gets the ribbon for caring the most.
  • Molly Pepper: Engineer and ship’s puppy. Her giggles are wasted on the crew.

Friday, May 6, 2016

IW 4 - Hunters

Context

While crossing the asteroid belt at 2000 miles per second, the TCIV CAMEROON was recruited by the UWO Interplanetary Police to engage a corsair. The engagement was brief, and left the ship with a hull breach through the habitat. Lucky for them, the UWO covered the repairs and medical bills of their passengers. The crew is now in Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) while Molly tests the new Jump-2 drive and the UWO shipyard patch the old trader.

Location

TSS Obama is a Class A space station largely employing UWO personnel. It is a hub of interplanetary travel, which leaves the drydocks for jump-capable ships slightly underutilised.


Location: TSS Obama, LEO, Terra system
Terran timestamp: April 15, 2170 AD

The CAMEROON entered a pressurized enclave for large scale repairs. The crew was offered to attempt to obtain a deputy license. The crew was enthusiastic as the insurance coming with the deal was rather attractive. Diane, officially dead to avoid prosecution by the Wheat Board and a messy divorce with her wife, made herself invisible as the UWO inspected the ship. Jane, Molly and Tom got certified while Aeryn failed her attempt at the medical officer placement. Anika and Diane took a pass on the events.

A holomail came in on the 27th from the belters that were saved by their intervention. It turned out that their 100MJ laser fused the corsair’s maneuver drive, breaching the hull. Most of the crew perished before rescue could arrive on the scene. The corsair ship was sold for scrap and the proceeds used to pay the insurance premium of the belter community. As a thank you, the belter recorded a folk song and had it sent to the CAMEROON as a thank-you gift. The crew was the hero of a community of about 20 souls. As if this day had not been good enough, the Sisters of Mercy transferred the passage of the two nuns. One of them suffered a stroke, but the other called from the hospital to thank the crew.

Brethrow: come for the client, stay for the drinks.

Location: TSS Obama, LEO, Terra system
Terran timestamp: April 18, 2170 AD

The CAMEROON loaded up nearly to capacity the holds with packaged good bound to Prometheus. They settled the hunters into the high passage cabins and went on their way. The pre-jump thrust was uneventful. For the first time of their contract, the CAMEROON jumped.

Location

Prometheus is the oldest terran colony. With a jungle-like environment, some 850M terrans are living a colonial life mostly in high tech installations. The population is mostly of the Mormon faith in the centers. Gravity is 0.93G, temperature is around 30C-25C. Control rating is 3 and TL 10.


Location: Prometheus, 100D line, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: April 25, 2170 AD

Philip was a dentist and Marion owned a 3D printing manufacturing business. They paid good money for the crew to insert them into a corrupt backwater on Prometheus named Brethrow. The terms: no paperwork filed to the highport and 3 dT of mystery cargo. Tom figured out that they were on some poaching kind of trip while Aeryn found them easy to keep happy as passenger. Tom noticed that they were preparing very high-caliber rifles for their trip. 

When the CAMEROON arrived, they made a beeline for Brethrow. The place was more or less an unregulated space. They landed on a Class E strip barely big enough for the Hero-class to land in the jungle. 

The hunters debarked, the crew stopped for a drink and soaked up the 35C, dense and moist atmosphere for an hour. They then departed for the UWO lowport to deliver their cargo and wait for the hunters for their call back home.


Location: Prometheus, Low-port, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

Six days went by at the lowport. Aeryn disappeared into the gym/MMA scene while Tom rounded up a few passages back to Terra. An ex-scout agreed to a medium passage and so did two needy and irritating pompous aristocrats. Diane managed to get the hulls full of jobs while Jane tried in vain to locate speculative cargo. 

The timing was rather good because a message came in, weak, from Marion. The message was garbled, video and audio failed. It fell back to text:

Help!
Philip is dead.
I’m trapped, we’re surrounded.

A set of coordinates then got uploaded. Diane rallied the crew into the bridge to await more details. Twenty-five minutes later, the CAMEROON came in LOS and scanned the coordinates. It was dense jungle, mist and 700km North from Brethrow. Diane found a pond some 400m to the east where the airraft could be inserted as the tree canopy around appeared to be some 60m high. By then, there was only 5 minutes to the entry window.

The crew decided to gear up for an extraction to recover Marion, the sherpas and the corpse of Philip the dentist. Someone pointed out that they never got around to purchase personal weapons other than the dazzlers lasers that Diane got in Douala. The exception was the carbine in the ship’s locker. In the interest of time, they voted against dropping by Brethrow to purchase better weapons.

The CAMEROON approached the coordinates. The 100m low precision became obvious when they realized how difficult the terrain turned out to be. More text streamed in:

()*(*ASDSDHLKSJDHSHAGU kslkjfs raptors sjkldkshlkjhflskjhd wd w9809udsjnl high-powered rifles kjsdjkhlakjdhfd9809adfpahdflandf asfkdj;f ;;;;

Tom and Anika suited up and boarded the air raft as the ship sliced through the jungle mist just before dawn...


Character Cast

  • Tom Anders: Retired Marine, gruff, good hearted. Now get off his cargo hold.
  • Diane Ayetou: born rich and far less qualified than given credit for. Gets an A for A-fort.
  • Jane Calhoun: Business-like business end of things. Reluctant pilot, appreciate spirits and solitude.
  • Anika Kaprescu: Recluse. Did some time, killjoy. The ship’s cat.
  • Aeryn Lorien: Stumbling steward, athlete and nurse. Gets the ribbon for caring the most.
  • Molly Pepper: Engineer and ship’s puppy. Her giggles are wasted on the crew.