The Spinward Blues

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The Basics

This is the revamped wiki page for The Spinward Blues, a PbP Traveller game run here on the RPGnet forums since, believe it or not, February 2007. I'm Shadowjack, our humble Travel Director, maker of behind-the-scenes die rolls and dispenser of plot cookies.

System-wise, I have accepted characters from all versions of Traveller, but I have transitioned to using mostly Mongoose's Traveller as the behind-the-curtain ruleset. Combat I handle as a series of interrelated skill contests, rather than round-by-round, as I find it works better that way in this format.

I enjoy the Imperium canon, but I'm not a real grognard, so when there's a difference between the books and the game, go with what happens in game. I accept and encourage player inventions, and we've thrown in lots of little references and nods to other science fiction (or just plain fiction). Our travellers use their pocket comms for everything, but we still have the shotguns and sabers.

Links

If you'd like to observe, or join the waiting list, why not check us out:

And here are some handy links for reference:

The Story So Far

202-1110: The Emperor's Birthday

Our story opened on the 202nd Day of the Imperial Year 1110. Or as some Solomani call it, the middle of the 57th century A.D. The Fifth Frontier War had just ended, and so the Imperial Auxiliary Naval Vessel "Dunk & Egg", a positively ancient freighter, was on its way home, carrying decommissioned troops, wounded, freed POWs, and repatriates from the Sword Worlds. The ultimate destination was a processing center on Lunion; the ship was currently in Jump, en route to Biter from Sting.

It being the Emperor's Birthday, there was a party on board. Several parties, actually; the lower ranks were enjoying a good old-fashioned brawl, and the upper ranks were enjoying a meal at the Captain's table. PCs Sunrise Dawson, Jeffrey Harkness, and Col. Highway were down in the brawl; Vargas Delaney and Count Sir Doctor Ishugi Gevin Lightfoot were at the Captain's table; and Magellan was taking the day off in his quarters.

The party was ruined when a former POW, Eneri Perkins, flipped out and pulled a laser pistol, starting a conflagration. While the rest of the PCs performed crowd and damage control, Colonel Highway cornered and disabled the insane young spacer. Searching his quarters for clues, Sunrise discovered Perkins's diary, kept on his comm. In the Zhodani POW camp where he had been kept, Perkins had witnessed the Earl of Lunion, an Imperial noble, making frequent secret visits—and once, caught him "negotiating", doggy-style, with a Zhodani woman. They did something to his mind, preventing him from telling anyone; Perkins finally broke under the strain.

The party agreed that, true or not, this is info that should be kicked up to the next level of command. Let the authorities handle it, right?

Notable NPCs

  • Captain Kepler (Hum/M), the plain but youthful-looking Merchant CO.
  • First Officer Radzhir (Hum/F), the striking Vilani XO and Kepler's wife.
  • Third Officer Pucelle (Hum/M), ship's navigator.
  • Glavd (Var/M), ship's engineer and brawler.
  • "Lieutenant Colonel" Mari Seldokova (Hum/F), nominally of Army Communications, actually a Special Agent for the Ministry of Justice.
  • PO3 Jzeri Dishum (Hum/F), Naval Hull Technican, recently freed POW, giggling menace.
  • AS2 Eneri Perkins (Hum/M), Naval Comm Technician, recently freed POW.

203-1110: The Great Tie-Dyed T-Shirt Caper

The Captain, fearing any other potential ticking time-bombs, had switched the ship back to war-time practices, which meant everyone who wasn't doing damage control or maintenance was confined to quarters. Most of the party volunteered for any kind of task, so they wouldn't go stir-crazy… and also so they could compare notes, and wonder what might happen next. Everyone else played a lot of card games.

In their spare time, Sunrise and Jeffrey concocted a scheme to make t-shirts, "tie-dying" them with a clever combination of cleaning agents and the biosynthetic fabrics. They got caught halfway through by the XO, who—liking the look—requested only that they make her one, too.

Meanwhile, Seldokova recruited Magellan into working for her—offering both useful payment (a full privateering license) and blackmailing him with his prior record. Seldokova was taking the Perkins file very seriously, and wanted to have some "hands" in her pocket, just in case. Magellan began to get very worried.

Over cards, Sunrise finds herself involved in a bet, over whether she and Jeffrey Harkness will date or not, and Jeffrey finds some of his preparations for blackmarketeering on Biter misconstrued as romantic overtures. Both she and Jeffrey are ambiguous over the matter, though admittedly slightly interested.

Notable NPCs

  • Kepler was fretting about as only a Captain can.
  • Perkins was under sedation.
  • Corporal Cardash (Var/F).
  • Sergeant Mary Veneti (Hum/F).

208-1110: Eating Out, and the Biter Downs Riots

Dunk and Egg made landfall at Biter. During the war, Biter's central computer banks had been destroyed, and everything since then had been run through a mess of jury-rigged systems under Naval control—part of the Navy's massive presence here as an advance area. The natives had been getting restless; there had been food riots, and a local separatist group had been running around beating people up, and so on. But during the day things seemed quiet enough.

Jeffrey managed to get into the first liberty party, and scored two off-base passes. He offered one to Sunrise. They made arrangements for dinner later. Jeffrey's black-marketeering went off without a hitch, and he gave technical assistance to his local contacts.

Magellan was given a pass, too, so he could make his black market contacts (including stuff for Seldokova). But first he had lunch with Sunrise (who was just heading his way), and they encountered her friend Scout Bill Janesson. Bill enlisted her to transport a package for him.

Captain Kepler and Scout Delaney went to the base Commodore to report on the Perkins incident. Soon afterward, word got back to the ship that Perkins—who had been perfectly stable—had suddenly died. Ishugi got suspicious and went to the hospital to ask questions. There, he and a doctor friend discover conclusive evidence that Perkins had been murdered. There's a conspiracy afoot!

Colonel Highway had a special invitation to dine with an old friend of his, General Jago. Jago made a pitch to Highway. The story was: the Duke of Rhylanor had been appointed command of the fighting, but the Earl of Lunion had the bulk of the troops and holdings on the border, so their chain-of-command bitching had become legendary. Lunion is preparing—to call it bluntly—a coup, timed to coincide with the impending Victory Ball on Lunion, in order to force the Duke to make Lunion an autonomous region. Jago offered Highway an important slot in the new military. Highway saw all sorts of flaws in the plan, and finally said "No," but they still had a friendly dinner.

Sunrise and Jeffrey went on their date. Upon closer examination, they discovered that they very much approved of each other, and make a blushing agreement to try out shared living arrangements over the ensuing voyage. Then they went off to paint the town red.

Then everything went to hell.

While everyone was out, agents of the Lunion Conspiracy raided Dunk and Egg and arrested everyone there, then waited for the others to return. (But XO Radzhir got a warning out to Ishugi when he phoned in.) At the same time, in an unrelated event (probably?), coordinated mobs started a massive riot in the downport. Highway daringly disarmed a bomb planted in his restaurant; Sunrise and Jeffrey found themselves in the middle of a downtown brawl, but escaped when Jeffrey located some local Wharf Rats—friends of stowaways and rogue travellers everywhere! As emergency signals blared across the downport, and they discovered arrest orders on their comms, the party started to wonder just what the hell is going on?

They finally arranged a rendezvous at a chemical plant outside of town, and there met Seldokova—who unmasked her cover identity, and explained her desire to bring the evidence of the conspiracy home to the High Command on Lunion. A coup and civil war now, on the already war-torn frontier, would be terrible for the people of the sector. The party declared their support. Or it might be better to say that Seldokova threw in with them—many of them were already pissed about the treason, and they had sheer drive and inventiveness.

General Jago was also brought into their counter-conspiracy. He's pro-Lunion, yes, but the evidence of Zhodani collaboration casts everything into a new light; he provides support, in the hopes that things will still shake out without a shot fired.

A daring escape across the riot-torn town ensued. The plan: place some careful hacks into the jury-rigged computer system, to make it seem like they'd already been arrested and/or killed, and use Bill Janesson's Scout (Sunrise made a phonecall and called in a favor) to get out of Dodge, and Jago would provide launch authorization. On the way, they encountered what seemed to be a young girl—Olivia, whom Magellan immediately recognized. Seldokova was wounded by a gunman during the chase.

They made it to the Scout (and discovered Jzeri already there—such an annoying NPC deserved to be kept around). Jeffrey and Sunrise immediately claimed a room. The others took advantage of confusion on the base to "requisition" some weaponry from the Naval Base, in a stunning display of hacking arranged for their luggage to be delivered to the Scout, and also gathered minimal intel on a few of the local conspirators. When Cap'n Bill realized that they weren't just after a jaunt to the highport, he demanded answers; Jeffrey unveiled the PowerPoint presentation he'd compiled of the data so far. Bill threw in with them.

Presumably, Jeffrey has continued to update this presentation ever since.

After some last cryptic warnings from General Jago, who appeared to be under attack by the Conspiracy, the Scout Nifty Mongoose made it to Jump. The party knew, at this point, that they'd have to Jump fast from now on—because the bad guys knew of them, and was only a few days behind the Jump curve.

Notable NPCs

  • General Jago (Hum/M), an old friend of Highway's.
  • Abner Belice (Hum/M), just a walk-on bit: an old homeworlder of Jzeri.
  • Jormma Miesko (Hum/M), black marketeer, old friend of Magellan's gone sort-of native and sort-of straight.
  • Steward's Mate Beniamus (Hum/M), medic on IAV Dunk and Egg.
  • Fiver (Hiv), a Hiver who runs the excellent FIVER restaurant on Biter.
  • Ohforf (Hum/M), Jeffrey's Biter black market contact.
  • Scout Bill Janesson (Hum/M), an experienced Detached Duty Scout with a frightening mustache and a dapper dress sense. He soon becomes involved in the Plot.
  • Commander Makori Wozniak (Hum/M), Naval Base doctor on Biter.
  • Mister, Missus, and Missus Mecroste, of Mecroste Trans-Stellar Import-Export. Odd folks, but friendly.
  • Gail (Hum/F), a matron of the Biter Wharf Rats.
  • The stoney-faced armorer of Biter Naval Base (Hum/M), who has an accent Kipling would've loved.
  • Lomas (Hum/M), a thug and Lunion Conspirator, apparently a Naval trooper.
  • Scouts Vargas Delaney (Hum/M) and Bram Olili (Hum/M), went from PCs to NPCs, and left the party—trying to dodge and distract the Biter conspiracy. Did they make it? We don't know.

209-1110: Days on Nifty Mongoose

Olivia took a positive delight in freaking the mundanes with her "creepy little child" act. Cap'n Bill displayed a streak of paranoia, and insisted that everyone go through basic first aid and marksmanship training. Jeffrey found work to do. Seldokova went through the list of conspirators, providing by General Jago. Everyone else sat around and recuperated.

On 212-1110, Jeffrey discovered an electronic bug on the ship. Further inspection, and Olivia's few encounters with "that nice man mister Porter, turned up one clever psionic stowaway. Porter—his real name was Pletsiepr—had a familiar sounding story. He had found evidence of Zhodani illegally collaborating with Imperials from Lunion, and given the circumstances, despite not being an intelligence agent, undertook an assignment to locate the conspirators and arrest them. Most of his team had been captured or scattered, and he'd concealed himself on this ship—using telepathy to cloak his presence—in order to make it to Lunion, and a Zhodani cell supposedly there.

So he was sort of an ally.

He also mentioned that Olivia had some psi talent, which is why he couldn't hide himself from her.

So they locked up "Porter", and made plans for the future. Next stop: Wardn, where Bill's navigator, a Vegan named Ygrgrl, was helping an archaeological dig. Once they pick him up, they can Jump much farther than usual.

Notable NPCs

  • Captain Bill Janesson, who wondered why he let all these people on his boat.
  • Holby (Hum/F), Bill's pilot, who practically lives in the cockpit.
  • MacDougall (AI), a mad Scots engineer robot, who lives undercover on the Scout disguised as a beer fridge.
  • Mister Porter (Hum/M), a nice little guy in a bowler cap, a Zhodani agent undercover.

216-1110: A Little Crime and Justice on Wardn

Wardn's a planet being terraformed by the Scout Service—slowly, so as not to mess up the Ancients archaeological site here.

The party immediately falls into another plot. Bill's friend Ygrgrl was supposed to be here, or leave word, but he hadn't, which meant something'd gone wrong with the archaeological dig. The dig was sponsored by the Barons Kishurga and Janice Berlión, scholar-bureaucrats, who were on the List of Conspirators—and departed for the digsite days before contact was lost with it. A coincidence? Probably not.

Meanwhile, more news had come in from Lunion itself: It seemed that the Earl had got himself a new paramour (perhaps the aforementioned Zhodani agent?), and had been attempting some pro-Lunion, pro-detente propaganda (including comparisons to Romeo and Juliet); it also seemed that the Duke was confirmed to be scheduled to be holding talks with the Earl during the Victory Ball, when it finally came around.

Olivia went shopping in Wardn Center, and Seldokova tailed her, and finally approached her openly. Seldokova had guessed at Olivia's background, and Olivia at hers; they agreed to a truce, and after shopping together for a while, went to break into the Berlións' house to gather evidence. Just a regular girl's day out, sort of; it turned out they both wanted friends.

In the Berlións' condo, they discovered an advanced communications suite, signs of a hidden arms cache (now mostly empty), incriminating documents (including love letters from the Earl of Lunion to his foreign ladyfriend, held for safe-keeping—the Berlións had been the Earl's tutors, and remained friends of the family), and a crown with mixed Lunion and Zhodani symbols. The two women arranged to make it look like a robbery, so they got the evidence without arousing suspicion (and Olivia made some profit).

Meanwhile, everyone else went off in an air-raft over the horizon, out of communications contact (no regular satellites, because of the terraforming), to inspect this mysterious digsite. The first thing they noticed was a weird jamming signal emanated from the site (which turned out to be a local feature of the ruins); the second thing they noticed was the general lack of activity; the third thing was the military g-carrier parked below, and the small weapons-nests dug in around the site. Someone armed and dangerous had moved in. And fourth, there was a crashed starship, an Imperial frigate, in the lake.

They sneaked up to scout, and encountered Thpoitz, Droyne swashbuckler extraordinaire, and lately advisor to the camp. His story: armed mercenaries had swooped in and taken everyone hostage. Why? Dunno. He was sneaking out to get help.

Help had arrived.

In the ensuing quick strike, Highway flanked and took out one of the nests single-handedly, Sunrise and Bill captured the g-carrier (surprising one merc and his date), and everyone else got into a firefight around the earthmound that was the dig site, finally killing or capturing all the mercs above ground. The mercenary captain tried some fast-talking, failed, and shot Sunrise before he got shot; meanwhile, Thpoitz and a Vargr mercenary fought a duel.

Meanwhile, back in Wardn Center, Special Agent Jonathan Sklar of the Ministry of Justice had been cooling his heels for weeks, because for some reason the Comptroller was openly "secretly" delaying his exit visa. Why? When he spotted and recognized Seldokova on a security monitor, he got curious, and arranged to meet her—they compared notes. Perhaps the Comptroller was involved? They split to carry on separate investigations.

When Olivia returned to the ship, she discovered that Magellan—feeling he was in deep, over his head, surrounded by dangerous people, trying to pull him back to a kind of life he'd hoped to abandon—had departed. He'd left a note, to say good-bye. Olivia was surprised to find herself heartbroken.

Later, she and Seldokova had a quiet bonding moment while catching the new Romeo and Juliet movie on the TV.

The hostages freed, the party pieced together that the mercs (who were basically player-character-types, rather than an organized free company) had been hired to work with the Berlións, and bivouacked here to take advantage of the sensor-jamming architecture prior to playing their part in the scheduled coup. More worrying, one of the Professors had a letter implying that there was an impending assassination attempt upon the Duke. Uh-oh. And finally, there was the downed ship—INS Allemande 6992—inspection of which revealed that they'd had a mutiny on board, led by Lunion loyalists, in an attempt to capture the vessel. The Imperial loyalists had won, however, and would have started to repair the ship had not armed and nasty mercenaries been lurking outside! They and the party started putting their heads together, and Jeffrey took command of the repair efforts. Subsequent interrogations get more evidence, and Ishugi vows personally to Mr. Berlión that he will see him nailed to the wall for this ill-conceived criminal conspiracy.

Back in Wardn, the Berlións's gardener, who'd surprised and been hurt by Seldokova, got found and arrested, and thereby blew the case to the local police. Jon Sklar managed to spin things so that he "discovered" the evidence in the Berlións' apartment (while looking for what this escaped criminal had "stolen from them"). Finding out that Dame Berlión had escaped, and was returning to Wardn, he arranged with Seldokova and Olivia to get her arrested. (Olivia pretended to have been "hit and run" by Berlión's vehicle—and wham, in come the cops.)

When the Wardn Comptroller finally got involved in this strange case, he was relieved! Apparently, he'd been trying to figure out a way to get information of parts of this out to higher authority, but couldn't figure out who to trust—so he interfered with other cases until someone (i.e. Sklar) got nosy. A dishonest, cowardly, and corrupt way to go about it, but it worked! And he ignored everyone else's grumbling, the way only a snake with an escape route planned can do so.

Allemande limped on contragrav into Wardn Center, and Ishugi made a stirring speech.

Notable NPCs

  • Sharusk aka Fred Gustava, gardener and security guard at the Berlións' condo. Excellent martial artist, AWOL soldier (for years).
  • The mercenaries include Martha, Hiro, "Sergeant Skidmarks", the Vargr Gavlarn, Dashu, and the unnamed bossman.
  • Professor Dame Shino Berlión (Hum/F), conspirator and scholar.
  • Professor Baron Keil Berlión (Hum/M), conspirator and scholar.
  • Professor Hertz (Hum/M), PhDs in Architecture and Psionics, a friend of Periss Sator.
  • Ygrgrl (Veg/M), dig advisor, navigator.
  • Doctor Davis (Hum/M), Life Sciences, and grad student Shumi.
  • Sergeant Mikhail (Hum/M), Wardn Patrol officer, and Jon Sklar's main liaison.
  • Kam (Hum/M), another Wardn Patrol officer.
  • The Comptroller of Lunion (Hum/M), who is basically Louie from Casablanca, only more honest.
  • Commander Sang (Hum/N), Second Officer and Acting CO of Allemande.
  • Lieutenant Ewigi (Hum/M) of Allemande.
  • Gunnery Sergeant Ahn No Muldoon (Hum/M) of Allemande.
  • Tejan and SFC Eneri Tomkins-Muo, Navy crewmen.
  • Odrep (Dro), of Allemande, a fellow exile, who makes a bond of friendship with Thpoitz.


217-1110: The Battle of Wardn

The Comptroller put Wardn under Scout Quarantine, which means no info gets in or out without his say, thus giving Our Heroes some time to plan, and the Wardn Patrol some time to corral suspected conspirators on the planet. What little info had hit the public eye was causing a shitstorm of rumor and speculation.

A Navy ship arrived in system, and an xboat message arrived for Sunrise—sent to catch up wherever she happened to be. It was from the Conspiracy; they threatened her son. Sunrise immediately sent a message back telling them to go to hell and figure out a better lie. Almost immediately, the Navy ship—INS Implacable GSZ41668—starts sending contradictory messages, first demanding a halt to all Scout communications, then rescinding the order… a chain-of-command argument, no doubt. Apparently, someone on the ship was after the party, and someone else wasn't.

Implacable sends parties down to look for "terrorists." The party comes up with a counter-move: Ishugi and some volunteers surrender themselves, to tell the truth to the ship's captain directly; "Porter" and Thpoitz come along, psionically cloaked, to assist; everyone else waits on Nifty Mongoose, preparatory to making a daring rescue if necessary.

Seldokova was increasingly dropping hints that she was beginning to have feelings for Ishugi. Ishugi was not unfeeling towards her (albeit distracted by current events).

Olivia and Highway have a pleasant breakfast conversation.

Sunrise also arranged a little time-bomb for the conspirators, by putting copies of their evidence so far into the datanet in such a way that it would get flagged as contraband material—and thus, would eventually get discovered by law enforcement or intelligence. You can't stop the signal.

Onboard Implacable, it turned out that Captain Bao-Como was blithely oblivious to the desire of the "special observer from Intelligence, Mister Fiske" to make the prisoners disappear. Bao-Como insisted they receive proper courtesy, and of course they started telling him their story… Fiske dragged them out of the room and confronted them. He outright bribed them to stay out of the way—a maneuver which had the sign of being a spur-of-the-moment decision of a confused Conspiracy, but demonstrated that they did have good financial backing. They turned him down.

Because Implacable couldn't leave without its shore parties, there was a hastily-improvised plan to keep the shore parties distracted by faking up some riots. This mutated into a hastily-improvised plan to capture one of their APCs, pose as part of Implacable's crew, and thereby get onboard the orbiting ship. It was so crazy it had to work, and so Highway, Odrep, and others arrived at Implacable just at the time that Fiske gave up and started his mutiny.

Seldokova, on the ground, had allowed herself to be arrested, in order to meet with the local powers, but Olivia and Sklar decided she needed to be sprung from the local Army brig. They arrived just as an infiltration-suited assassin was taking apart the tiny garrison; Sklar was taken out, WIA, but Olivia and Seldokova got out, and chased the killer across town. They radioed ahead a warning—if the assassin was tying up loose ends…

The power went out all over the ship, and there was much shooting and fighting in the corridors, but Fiske's forces hadn't expected the sudden reinforcements, and were finally forced back into the engine room. This required a nasty bit of tactics to storm the place, especially as—by this point—the ship was broadcasting a distress signal. And it had been heard by the crew of a Merchant Liner, Orion's Girdle.

On that ship was the formidable Boris "Rasputin" Ludermenkoff, a retired Imperial admiral. When the liner crew asked him if he'd like to advise—and when he found out about the treason onboard Implacable—oh, dear. Boris immediately took command, ordered passengers and crews into life-boats, and directed the liner straight for the disabled frigate, demanding victory or death. With him threatening from the outside (threatening, hell, he was shooting to kill!), and the others fighting from the inside, Implacable was finally secured.

Sunrise had been shot again. This after not fully recovering from the previous injury. Some people don't know when to quit.

Porter had been killed—most definitely killed, not faked—and Thpoitz severely wounded. They exit our story.

There was a lot of mess in orbit, during all this, as ships variously declared for the Imperial loyalists, or declared neutrality, or just tried to stay the hell out of the way. At Olivia's suggestion, Seldokova fakes a transmission suspending the Barons' authority, which helps.

Meanwhile, Police Sergeant Jhon Minuur of the Wardn Patrol met the wounded Sklar, and was able to intercept the assassin before she could finish her work. The Berlións sign confessions (turns out the assassin had come from Fiske), the Wardn Comptroller-General disappears but opens his files to inspection, and everyone sits down and works out strategy. The Wardn media have a field day.

Bill Janesson declared his intention to cut out, now that the party had access to big ships; Ishugi, in gratitude for services rendered, offered them retirement land grants in his home subsector, and signed the appropriate papers.

Notable NPCs

  • Rick Larni, Supervisor of the Wardn Scout Way Station.
  • Captain Nedry Bao-Como (Hum/M) of Implacable, immediately dubbed "Bertie Wooster" by the players.
  • Commander Pierce Amsted (Hum/M) of Implacable, who'd been forced into helping the Conspiracy.
  • More Allemande crew: Lieutenant Wallace (Hum/M), bland officer; Corporal Annan (Hum/F), cheery marine; the unnamed but tough Marine Sergeant (Hum/M); the corrupt engineer (Hum/M).
  • "Mister Tellus Fiske" (Hum/M), a nasty little man from the Conspiracy.
  • The harried Steward of Orion's Girdle, and the unnamed officers.
  • Blet High-Star, an ancient Vargr technician with distant military experience, who volunteered to help out on Girdle during the fight.
  • Jeffrey and Jon Sklar both passed into NPCdom.

221-1110: Criss Cross Jump Jump

Deciding to seize the initiative, the party decided on a staggeringly stupid/daring plan—combine the Jump grids of the two warships they had access to, Implacable and Allemande, and use them together to fling both ships to Lunion in but a single Jump, thus stealing a march upon their opponents. Insane! Untested! But theoretically doable, and they did have a self-admitted mad engineer on staff.

Jhon Minuur came along as Wardn's official liaison to Lunion, to help prove that they'd had nothing to do with the conspiracy. Periss had also volunteered her services. Boris assumed joint command with Ishugi. Sunrise lay in a bunk and bled noisily, throwing things and cursing.

As the final countdown commenced, Ishugi and Seldokova held hands and made a few private confessions to each other.

Mis-Jump. ARGH!

263-1110: Crash Landing

The ships separated just before hitting atmosphere, and spiraled crazily down to—thank goodness—safe landings. But where the hell were they? Astronomical analysis showed that they were on Penkwar—a red zone world off the beaten track. The ships' Jump grids were ruined, but the ships were reparable within a few days.

They would later figure out that they were also a few weeks ahead of their original timeframe; the misJump had carried in time as well as space.

While exploring, Sunrise, Jhon, and Olivia made contact with some native rangers. It appeared that a low tech colony here had been forced to become a Company town some decades ago, and now eked out a living for some semi-legal interstellar mining corporation. However—as the natives explained—a week ago the entire mine had shut down without explanation, a few days ago the power cut out, and now Company supplies were running out. Were they free? Were they abandoned? What was going on?

(The other ship, with Sunrise's Jeffrey aboard, had come down in some far off mountains, and was having trouble with native snipers, according to their last radio message.)

Lieutenant Rickard, of the naval ships, decided that liaison would be profitable with these people, and proposed to help them out. Extra urgency was added by the sighting of smoke rising from the direction of the settlement. A day-plus-long journey on foot was easily made into a short grav flight, and soon Our Heroes, the natives, and a couple of armsmen were on the scene.

The settlement around the big mining crater had seen rioting and confusion, and apparent malfunctions on the part of some of the tractor-sized mining robots. People were scared and worried. Closer inspection of the mine itself discovered the unfortunately named Hari Reham, a middle manager at the site, who'd been trapped in the inert control room ever since everyone disappeared down below.

Down the tunnels they went, to the supposedly-useless and off-limits Ancients site down below. After a brief encounter with some rogue mining bots, they forced the door and discovered a half-flooded chamber filled with equipment and corpses. Apparently, a Lunionite strike force had been gathered here, and got themselves killed fooling around with some sort of Ancient transportation device…

Notable NPCs

  • Arrol (Hum/M), an experienced Penkwar ranger, and his two joeboys, Sluice (Hum/M) and Terry (Hum/F).
  • Hari Reham (Hum/M), corporate middle manager, who was not intentionally named after an infamous 1970s pornstar, but now that it's been pointed out the GM must admit he bears a striking resemblance. Poor fellow.
  • Seldokova was seen puttering about the ship quite relaxed and happy, after staying a while in Ishugi's cabin. Good for them.
  • Jzeri also got some. Sunrise, however, has been quite irritated that Jeffrey had to be on the other damn ship.
  • Boris has passed into NPCdom, and Highway has had to go on hiatus.

Active Player Characters

Listed in order of social precedence. The first stat line is "in character"—it appears on your ID cards—and gives:

  • All the character's official titles, in order of precedence, followed by their full name.
  • Their registered homeworld.
  • Their species.
  • Their sex.
  • Their biological age.
  • Their Universal Personality Profile, in hexadecimal code: Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education, and Social Standing. (And, possibly Psionic Strength.) In character, we may think of this as a three-digit "physique" rating, a two-digit result of various intelligence and education tests, and the last digit being either security clearance or credit rating.
  • Various skill qualifications and decorations.

The actual IDs are electronic, and include full medical history, skills tests and curriculum vitae, clearances and memberships, etc., etc.

Doctor Ishugi (Tom McCambley)

Count Sir Doctor Grand Admiral (retired) Traveller Ishugi Gevin Lightfoot / Tobia / Humani / M / 38 / 685AAE / Combat Command, Extra-Vehicular Operations, Fleet Operations, Master of Biochemistry, Medical Doctor, Ship Master

Skills: Admin-2, Biochemistry-2, Computer-1, Electronics-1, Fleet Tactics-1, Ground Tactics-1, Laser Pistol-1, Leadership-1, Mechanic-1, Medical-4, Persuasion-1, Pilot-1, Robot Ops-1, Ship Tactics-2, Vacc Suit-1

Notable Possessions: Cr40,000 in cash, and various noble holdings and investments. Laser pistol, medical kit.

Background: A dedicated doctor, officer, and gentleman. A famed hero in the War, thanks to being in the right place at the right time, and now a wanted man, due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He's worried that he's not up to the task, but he's tried his best—and so far succeeded. He becomes furious at those who would sacrifice innocent lives for self-serving conceits. There are suggestions that his absence from his fief at Tobia is due to local scandal, but these are clearly no more than rumors. His full list of titles is too long to print here, but includes Count of Tobia, Knight Commander of the Grand Navy, Knight of the Iridium Throne, etc. etc.

Old link is old: Ishugi_Gevin_Lightfoot

Periss Sator (Stormraven)

Dame Professor Periss Sator / Lunion / Humani / F / 42 / 7679CC / Administrator, Combat Command, Heavy Weapons, Master of Military History, Philosopher of Archaeology

Skills: Aircraft-1, Archaeology-2, Brawling-1, Bureaucracy-2, Computer-2, Exploration-1, First Aid-1, Forensics-1, Gambling-1, Grav Craft-1, Ground Craft-2, Heavy Weapons-2, Language-3, Research-3, Rifle-1, SMG-1, Tactics-1, Writing-2

Notable Possessions: Cr80,000 in savings. Snub rifle, personal computer, multiscanner, camping equipment.

Background: A brilliant but wild child who was straightened out by the Army, then entered academia. Now a research fellow in Archaeology at the University of Lunion, with a serious mind and a sharp tongue. She was on the Wardn dig when the mercenaries attacked, and after being rescued, pledged her support to the counter-conspiracy.

Lieutenant Rickard (Drifter)

Sublieutenant Traveller Rickard Rand-Vilaal / Karin / Humani / M / 34 / 8798B6 / Astrogator, Boarding Combat, Liaison / MCUF (Bar), MCG (Bar), TAS

Skills: Liaison-3, Recruiting-1, Carousing-1, Gambling-1, Bribery-1, Navigation-3, Computer-1, Vacc Suit-1, Zero-G-1, Admin-1, Blade Combat-1 (Light Blades), Gun Combat-2 (Lasers-1, Handguns-1)

Notable Possessions: Cr5,000 in savings, one low passage ticket. Spiffy dress uniform and a few phone numbers.

Background: Rickard was born on Karin, in Five Sisters, a world divided and under Imperial Law. Formerly a balkanized world with a weak central union—the result of different colonizing groups landing on each of the five continents—politics and ideology meant a lot on Karin. When the two largest nations began a war that threatened to go global, the faltering Union requested Imperial intervention. Since then, forty-two years ago, the Imperium has been "peacekeeping" for the Union. Today's politics swings between pro-Imperial Unionists and anti-Imperial Nationalists.

Rickard grew up in and around the starport, his father a retired Marine officer, his mother a politician for the Vilani-settled nation of Likuurgin. His early life made him a pro-Union political activist, and he became a capable speaker and organizer. His vision of the Imperium as a grand unifying force made him determined to serve and make a difference and so (to his father's pride and disappointment) he enlisted in the Navy.

The Navy became his life. For his first tour, he was locally based, and kept up ties with family and friends, but the next twelve years would take him away from the subsector, into long range patrols.

Early on, he had been a popular petty officer, with a knack of sorting out problems so that everyone got some of what they wanted. This was noted; promotions followed.

It came as a terrible shock when he received news of his parents' deaths in a bombing incident. To block his grief with distance, he signed up for a double stretch, and has never returned to his homeworld.

He became a solid Navy Man, his natural ease with different people and situations translating into a lot of liaison work—including a tour with the Marines, trained as a Navy specialist for deep space boarding actions. The Navy tagged him for officer school after a strike mission on Vargr raiders, and he emerged into the teeth of the Fifth Frontier War.

After the battles of the Sword Worlds, Rick was worn out. To his mind, he'd seen enough, done enough to pay back the Imperium. The toll showed on him—he'd burned muscle over the years, and only a solid regimen of exercises had kept his health from deteriorating. He bummed around for his last year, avoiding doing anything as much as possible, and resigned his active commission on his 34th birthday. He stayed on for a final hitch extension because they couldn't replace him, and he didn't argue—he wanted time to think.

Those he'd served with before have noticed how withdrawn and contemplative he's become in these past months. Truth be told, the thought of leaving the Navy scares the hell out of him, even though he knows it's time… he's always belonged to something, and going out alone freaks him out a little.

So when his ship got brought into these events, he knew he had to do something. Especially when it was his astrogation calculations which caused the misJump. (Intellectually, he understands that the Jump was an unpredictable gamble, but personally he feels guilty.) And so he's found himself outside the ship, among mad women and nobleman…

Old link is old: Rickard_Rand-Vilaal

Sunrise Dawson (RobertEdwards)

Scout Sunrise Dawson / Glisten / Humani / F / 28 / 6A6A83 / Medical Technician, Pilot

Skills: Electronics-1, Medical-1, Pilot-1, Sensor Ops-1, Ship's Boat-1, Snub Pistol-1, Vacc Suit-1

Notable Possessions: Cr30,000 or so, some in cash, most in the Scout Bank. Snub pistol, assault rifle. Picture of son. Nice and not-so-nice clothes.

Appearance: A cross between Jewel Strait's Kaylee, and Gretchen 'Redneck Woman' Wilson. Impractical long brown hair, a sharp chin, and gawky arms and legs; pretty when she makes the effort, but no sense of fashion.

Background: Sunrise had been born in the Glisten Belt, and raised indifferently. When she was sixteen, she had made the mistake of conceiving and carrying an unlicensed child; her son, Joshua, was taken from her by the state, and she was branded a delinquent.

She tried to volunteer for the Scouts, but the black mark on her record stopped that… until a sympathetic recruiter had a word with the Draft board.

She spent ten years in the service, saving what money she could between mandatory child support drafts. Her psych profile made her a perfect field scout, and she easily handled the alternation of x-boat duty and tender duty.

A year ago, she'd been doing "traffic surveys" near the Sword Worlds border, and got captured. She was not a model POW, being a loud and opinionated pain in the ass, and earned a few bruises and some time "in the hole." Once free, scrubbed, and fed, she kept an eye out for likeable men, and sympathetic ear for women with similar experiences.

During the course of this trip, she's been consistently in the front line, whether or not she knows what she's doing, to the point where the doctors have been considering strapping her down and sedating her to let her injuries heal… but only if she stops being so goddamn helpful.

Old link is old: Scout_Sunrise_Dawson

Olivia (ncc2010)

Hawthorne, Olivia / Lunion / Humani / F / 10 / 27A997-5 / Minor

Skills: Acting-1, Brawling-1, Disguise-1, Energy Weapons-1, Handgun-2, Intrusion-4, Laser Weapons-1, Linguistics-1, Pickpocket-1, Recon-1, Research-2, Ship's Boat-1, Small Blade-2, Streetwise-1, Tracking-1

Notable Possessions: Cr40,000 and various forged IDs, hidden in the galaxy's creepiest teddy bear. Custom blade; holdout pistol; PDA; lockpicking kit; flashlight.

Appearance: 140cm, 32kg, appears to be a 10-year-old child. However, close inspection will reveal many scars, now healing, across her body.

Background: Olivia is living proof and evidence as to why you should never give anagathics to children.

Born Olivia deHavilland, her parents—drug smugglers—had been using her as a drug mule for black-market anagathic drugs. Four of the eight containers hidden in her stomach ruptured, causing a near-lethal overdose. She was in treatment for a year. It came to pass that the massive overdose greatly retarded her physical growth; the incident was over twenty years ago, yet physically she has only aged two.

She left the Imperial Orphanage on her own recognizance at 12 and headed out on her own, destined to make the Universe her own little oyster, or grab a pearl or two to call her own. (Her parents, to the best of her knowledge, are still in prison. )

Since then she's made quite a few cons—how many marks wouldn't trust a child?—and one big score when she was sixteen. On the downside, she's on her fifth ID, and thanking the gods for the war, because it wiped out enough records for her to make a clean break with the past. During the war, she'd done courier work and some cons, and spent some time in a Sword World internment center which she doesn't like to talk about. She was released, and now has a legitimate Imperial ID as a liberated orphan, given to her before she walked out of the Naval orphanage.

She threw in with the party just to get the hell off of Biter, but has found herself staying for the camaraderie. They think she's a little nuts—she's done the child act for so long, that it often takes conscious effort to act her real age (except when she's making dirty jokes)—but they're crazy, too.

Old link is old: Olivia_deHavilland

Inactive Player Characters

Listed in order of social precedence. [This section still under revision; it's not a pressing concern, since the characters are inactive.)

Dr. Boris Ludermenkoff MD

NAME: Boris 'Rasputin' Ludermenkoff

UNIVERSAL PERSONALITY PROFILE Strength: 4 Dexterity: 7 Endurance: 6 Intelligence: 9 Education: F Social: B

RANK: Admiral, ret.

AGE: 46

SERVICE HISTORY

SERVICE: Navy

TERMS SERVED: 7

RETIREMENT PAY: ?

SKILLS

BASIC SKILLS: Administration-1 Computer-1 Electronic-1 Gun Combat-1 Gunnery-2 Mechanical-2 Medical-3 Vacc Suit-1

OTHER DETAILS

Cash: 20000 credits Navy retirement blade. Honor Blade from the naval enlisted association.

High Passage Travellers.

Said to have more Purple Hearts than any other retired officer in the sector. Also suspected of being a crazy Russian hard case.

Old link is old: Dr._Boris_Ludermenkoff_MD

Colonel Highway (Big-Claw)

Lieutenant Colonel Highway, Thomas / Humani / M / 37 / 99C9B6 / Battle Dress Operator, Combat Command, EOD Qualification, Expert Marksman, Survival Training

Skills: Auto Pistol-1, Battle Dress-1, Brawling-1, Combat Rifleman-2, Demolitions-1, Grav Vehicle-1, Grenade Launcher-1, Instruction-1, Intrusion-2, Leadership-2, Linguistics-1, Mechanic-1, Reconnaissance-2, Survival-2, Tactics-1.

Notable Possessions: Cr7,000 in savings. Battle rifle; auto pistol; snub pistol; grenades and combat armor.

Appearance: Bears a passing resemblance to Clint Eastwood in looks and mannerisms.

Background: A much-decorated officer in the Imperial Marine Commandos. The quietly competent type — no social flower, but quick-thinking and hard-hitting in battle.

He consistently supported the party's combat operations, and was always willing to turn a hand with necessary repairs… but has faded into the background lately as things have become more technical and political. That may change.

Old link is old: Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Highway

Vargas and Bram

The able crew of Dunk and Egg, including Scout Vargas Delany and Scout Bram Olili (other former PCs, who dropped out), were last seen trying to escape the conspiracy on Biter, and may not have succeeded. We don't know. Highway's friend (and Lunionite conspirator) General Jago was in similar circumstances.

Jeffrey Harkness

Jeffrey Harkness, a Naval Technician with tremendous talent, enthusiasm, and dedication – and problems dealing with authority. He's demonstrated a knack for improving equipment under strange conditions, and for seeking creative solutions to problems. He's been dating Sunrise Dawson, keeping the others awake at night. (Jeffrey was a PC, but the player has had to take some time off. He may become a PC again.) (Able Spacer Jeffrey Harkness)

Sklar, Jonathan – Special Agent

Played by Skydigger.

Human/M UPP 7B679F(7) Age 36

Skills: Admin-1, Chemistry-1, Commo-1, Computer-3, Diplomacy-1, Forensics-2, Grav Craft-1, Ground Craft-2, Instruction-1, Language-1, Medical-1, Pistol-2, Recon-1, Research-2, Short Blade-1, Streetwise-1, Survival-1, Vacc Suit-1, Writing-2

Qualifications: Coroner; Forensic Detective; Combat Pistol; Computer; Driver's License; EVA.

Major Possessions: Cr14,000. Auto pistol; dagger; soft suit. Backpack; camera; cold weather clothing; encrypted comm; inertial locator; magnetic compass, medikit; personal computer; pocket lamp; rope.

Sklar began his career in the police of his backwater planet, and rose to the rank of Captain on his forensics and leadership ability. A few years ago, he was head-hunted by the Imperial Ministry of Justice, and is currently on assignment in the Spinward Marches. The party found him cooling his heels on Wardn, unable to reach his posting due to local interference; he's quickly lent his legal powers to their investigation.

Thpoitz – Sport

Played by Chalkline.

Droyne/Male-A UPP 474B35(7) Age 39

Skills: Commo-1, Computer-0, Demolitions-1, Energy Blade-2, Flying-1, Handgun-2, Hovercraft-1, Interrogation-1, Laser Weapons-0, Mechanical-1, Pilot-3, Propeller Aircraft-0, Rifleman-1, Stealth-1, Streetwise-2, Vacc Suit-1, Zero G Combat-2 Awareness-7, Clairvoyance-7, Telekinesis-7, Telepathy-7

Qualifications: EVA; Hover Pilot; Smallarms Badge; Space Pilot; Zero-Gravity Combat.

Major Possessions: Cr3,000. Vacc suit; wings. Auto carbine.

A valiant drop trooper and space pilot of the respected Drylminkon Kroyloss, who had been assisting the archaeological dig when it was attacked. He eluded capture, and helped the humans to overthrow the guards and save the day. Now he once again finds himself battling boredom and the threats to his strange human cohorts. Elan, zeal, and inexplicable Droyne mental concepts are central to the inimitable Thpoitz!

Detective Jhon Minuur ()

First Sergeant Jhon Minuur / Lysen / Humani / M / 39 / 874895 / Administrator, Expert Handgunner, Interrogator, Police Detective / Citation, 2x Wound Medals

Skills: Streetwise-5, Interrogation-4, Handgun-3, Admin-3, Liaison-2, Computer-2, Medical-1, Legal-1, Wheeled-0, Vacc Suit-0

Notable Possessions: Cr10,000 in the bank, and a Cr5,000 pension. Low passage. Sidearm.

Background: Jhon had always struggled with poor health, but he never let that stop him. As a police officer, he was wounded in the line of duty twice, thus giving him a healthy caution about violence. His citation came from resolving a hostage situation that sprang from a drug bust gone bad. Later in his career, he worked behind a desk a lot, growing practiced in dealing with redtape and "political bullshit." He also served as a lead interrogator—which brought him into contact with political dissidents on his world. He came to realize that the law was crushing the people of his homeworld, he was a part of it, and he couldn't change the system. Finally, he took early retirement, and took a low passage as far as it would go. He ended up on Wardn, a quiet and relaxed world which paid experienced peace officers well.

And then all this shit happened. Being somewhat experienced in offworld matters, he was tapped to represent Wardn to the Imperium.

Old link is old: Detective_Sergeant_Jhon_Minuur

Magellan Sabo

Another former PC, Magellan Sabo, was a smuggler/privateer trying to go straight, or at least avoid legal attention; he was a friend of Olivia, and was briefly employed by Seldokova. Friendly and tough. He got embroiled in the quest, and decided it didn't involve him, and was too dangerous anyway; he sneaked out once the ship hit Wardn. (Magellan Sabo)

Other Aids

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