25th October 2020.
Sunday lunchtime had arrived, we're on Skype and I was in my living room.
Time for the next part of Ares' Edge of the Empire campaign.
Location: Kijimi City.
The crew had been talking to 'the old man' when an 'old woman' came into the room. The old man had referred to her as Val?
The crew was aware that Kerna, who was in possession of a Jedi medal, had told them that it had belonged to her brother, whom she had said was called Val?
The woman Val, asked the crew about baby Wilfred's mother and they explained that she had died in childbirth. She also asked the crew where they were talking Wilfred. They were trying to find the boy's father.
Val was visibly affected when she heard of the mother's death.
Pell was still confused about the name Val and asked her to explain it.
Val explained that Kerna had no family except for her nonna. She took pity on Kerna and helped mentor her. She gave the medal to Kerna as a gift and convinced her that it had belonged to her brother. Because the medal had belonged to a Jedi, Val deliberately gave her wrong information in order to protect her.
"Hmm," said Pell to Val. "If the medal belonged to a Jedi called Val and you're called Val. That must mean that you're a Jedi?".
The old man turned to Pell and asked, "Do you always say exactly what you think?".
"Hmm," Said Pell to the old man. "What does he mean when he says do I say everything I think?".
Val looked intently at Pell and a moment later, waved her fingers subtly and said. "You don't think I am a Jedi.".
"Hmm," said Pell to Val. "I don't think you're a Jedi!".
Pell found the argument quite compelling and gave it no further thought.
Val continued and said that she might know some information about Wilfred's father.
His name was Daro Janren.
Val believed that he might have gone to the planet TBC.
She told the crew that there were extensive cave networks on TBC that contained crystals with the special qualities used to power lightsabres and in the past the Jedi mined these caves for the crystals. The Empire was aware of these caves, but other than those, were also smaller caves that the Empire did not know about. It was possible that Daro Janren was in these caves.
The crew now had some information that they could act upon, they thanked Val and the old man then made their exit.
The crew returned to the cold, busy streets of Kijimi City, pulled their coats tight and headed towards they city gates.
As they got close, they spotted someone watching them; it was Pell's double - Coron.
At the same time Chrisy was growling and scratching his head when he saw at small group of people on a street corner staring at the crew. One of them turned and shouted at Coron - who then spotted us.
Chrisy roared at them while the rest of us fled back into the city.
Utri dived into cover and M/8 sprinted off with Wilfred.
Robin ran into a side street, Pell was a little confused on where everyone was going and decided to follow Robin. Coron chased Robin and Pell.
As Robin and Pell dashed down a street, sporadic blaster fire flashed past Pell, barely missing him, he was forced to throw himself through the closest door.
Meanwhile M/8's self-preservation partition instructed him to increase the distance between himself and the pursuers. He was forced to reduce his velocity to zero though. M/8 had encountered the Mandalorian bounty hunter!
"Give me the child," Commanded a muffled voice from behind the Mandalorian helmet. "Don't force me to take him from you. You're only putting him at risk.".
M/8's danger-assessment subroutine was generating a number of errors and was conflicting with his child-rearing subroutine. It instructed M/8 to open fire on the Mandalorian. The Mandalorian, in turn returned fire.
Pell rushed through the building, it turned out to be some sort of laundry. He stumbled into large, damp, flapping sheets and was forced to shove them aside.
"Coming through! Being chased by a madman with a blaster!" Pell yelled as he ran.
Looking behind, he was saw he still being pursued by Coron.
Fighting his way through more laundry, Pell saw the back door and made for it. Before he could reach it though, he was abruptly yanked to one side by an unknown person?
Chrisy stopped roaring, he had realised that M/8 was gone with Wilfred. He looked around, growling and scratching his head questioningly. He then caught sound of blaster fire and bounded off towards it with long strides.
M/8's reasoning subroutine was running through numerous response scenarios to the Mandalorian who was closing in, it was generating errors and conflicting with other subroutines. The danger-assessment subroutine instructed him to call the others on his commlink.
Robin and Chrisy both heard M/8's message and made for his location.
There was no time for help to arrive though, as the bounty hunter moved in, M/8's behaviour subroutine instructed him to pull out his knife and strike at the Mandalorian.
It was an error; the Mandalorian easily deflected the attack, M/8 had now overextended his reach and was left open, the bounty hunter smoothly stepped in and snatched Wilfred out of M/8's arm.
The bounty hunter turned and fled, M/8's child-rearing subroutine immediately flagged a critical warning and M/8's entire processor unit reprioritized all of his subroutines. As the Mandalorian fled, M/8 fired a blaster shot at his leg, he staggered for a moment but shrugged it off and ran on, dodging round a corner.
Pell had been dragged behind a large sheet, he looked around at his assailant, it was Garan's father Madak. The Zabrakian held an index finger to his lips. From behind the sheet, Pell watched silently as Coron ran past and out of the back door.
Madak demanded demanded to be taken to his daughter. Pell explained that this was nothing to do with him.
Now that all the shouting had faded away and the blaster fire was no longer filling the street, Utri popped up from behind cover. He looked along the street, everyone had gone and he needed to find them? He moved towards a hoverbike and tried to hotwire it but failed, instead he tried to contact the others on his commlink. Pell's reply told him to go to a nearby laundry
M/8's manhunter subroutine launched and the droid gave chase. He ran round the corner and the Mandalorian was no where to be seen? M/8 initiated a situational scan and his manhunter subroutine analysed the data: The highest probability indicated that the Mandalorian had gone through the closest door.
As M/8 was calculating this, Robin and Arrived on the scene. M/8 quickly explained the situation and the three of them went through door.
Meanwhile, Madak was not happy with Pell's excuse and also wanted to know what had happened to his son. Pell was forced to explain that Garan was safely at The Vengeful Runner, a day's walk from here.
At this time, Utri found them in the laundry.
After passing through the door, M/8, Robin and Chrisy found themselves in a smoky, badly lit room. It appeared to be an illegal gambling den, all the staff and clientele had stopped whatever they were doing and stared at the three of them:
There were three exits from this room. M/8's reasoning subroutine deduced that were too many variables for a situational scan to process in the limited timeframe they were working in. Instead, his behaviour subroutine instructed him to appeal to the occupants' better natures.
"We're looking for a baby that's been stolen, can any of you help?" Came the audio dialogue from M/8's behaviour subroutine.
No one answered.
Robin had been watching when M/8 spoke, she noticed several sets of eyes glancing towards the leftmost exit.
She told the others and they immediately went through.
This time, they found themselves in a seedy, dimly lit strip joint. complex patterns of colourful light swam across ceiling and walls as distorted music pumped out of a sound system that was never designed to play it. Chrisy growled, scratched his head and stared at the stripper who was suggestively gyrating beneath the kaleidoscopic light.
M/8 triggered his situational scan again; it detected an inconsistency in a rug's positioning.
The rug was whipped away, a trapdoor was beneath and descended down into a sewer. M/8's situational scan detected splashing footsteps from below.
The three of them climbed down and into the flowing sewage, the air was thick with the rank stench of waste. Robin winced and Chrisy growled quietly, scratching his head and holding his nose.
M/8's self-preservation subroutine instructed him to deactivate his olfactory sensor.
The three gave chase, the tunnel ended in a ladder that rose up, it was brightly lit in the darkness by a pale stream of daylight that blazed down the vertical shaft. The manhole cover above had been moved.
They climbed up and found themselves on the other side of the city's dome, surrounded by Kijimi's icy climate.
Back at the laundry, Pell was trying to convince Madak that the crew had nothing to do with the disappearance of his daughter. Pell said that Madak must have confused us with someone else, we were charged with caring for a newly born baby boy and were looking for his family.
Madak wanted to know about Wilfred but was hesitant to tell anything to someone who was essentially a stranger.
Madak admitted that he knew the name Daro and knew that it was his son. Now Madak wanted to see Wilfred.
Utri and Pell were taken aback, clearly Madak knew more than he was telling. They discussed whether to take Madak to the others.
"Hmm," said Pell to Utri. "There's two of us and one of him. We can handle him.".
Madak scoffed at this.
Utri and Pell decided to take Madak to the others. They contact them on the commlink and were told to come outside the city. The trio set off.
Back in the wintery exterior, Robin, M/8 and Chrisy saw the Mandalorian running, he was headed towards a spaceship.
M/8's tactical-assessment subroutine calculated that the risk was within a acceptable parameter and he fired at the fleeing bounty hunter who was carrying Wilfred; the blaster shot missed, M/8's targeting processor had failed to correctly vector the movement.
Robin, M/8 and Chrisy sprinted through the ice and snow. Further ahead, beyond the Mandalorian, the spaceship's entry ramp began to lower.
As M/8 sprinted, his behaviour subroutine diverted power to his lower extremities and he caught upwith Mandalorian and tackled him to the ground, they sprawled across the ice. Robin and Chrisy were also closing in.
At the ship, the ramp had lowered and a man descended: In his 40's, of average height but lean, he was dressed in a plain grey robe.
He gestured with a raised hand and M/8 and the Mandalorian were violently flung apart like a pair of rag dolls. They crashed to the ground ten metres apart, Wilfred lying halfway between them.
Chrisy stopped, growled, scratched his head and took a shot at the man; it missed.
The man gestured with his other hand and Wilfred levitated into the air and began floating towards him.
Robin lunged forward and managed grab Wilfred out of the air! they were now at a standoff.
24th October 2020
Saturday has arrived once more and I'm sitting in my living room, logged on to Skype.
It's time for Matakishi's new campaign, using the 'Lasers & Feelings' rules.
Lasers & Feelings
As far as light RPGs go, this is a pretty light one at only 1 page in length.
The rules are simple, all characters have only 1 stat.
All actions are divided into 2 types of actions.
If a player rolls exactly on the stat value, they get a special result called Laser Feelings.
So if a character has a high stat, they are more logical. A lower stat means they are more emotional.
Lasers & Feelings is a scifi RPG designed to loosely emulate the theme and style of Star Trek and this is reflected in traits. Characters are defined by 2 traits which have a sci-fi feel to them.
Finally, characters gain a motivation, includes traits such as solve mysteries, shoot bad guys and so on.
The players also get a spaceship that has 2 traits and 1 weakness.
And that's it, the players are ready to go.
The GM is encouraged to only loosely define an adventure (Or mission.) and let the players define some elements of the plot and run with it.
Lasers & Feelings uses an elegant concept to define characters. hopefully this will lead to interesting encounters and narratives.
Space, the ultimate boundary.
The crew Of The Infinite Badger.
Chuck Comet (Of the spaceways): Played by Kevin.
A loudmouth, cocksure, hotshot pilot.
Bridge position: Helm.
Dr Summ Thin: Played by Mark.
A savvy doctor with an insatiable urge to solve the unknown.
Bridge position: Sensors & shields.
LISA (Laser Incision Safety Apparatus): Played by Michaela.
The Consortium's first android doctor, LISA is trial program to evaluate the effectiveness of robotic doctors.
Bridge position: Medical bay & damage control.
Zaber Fluke: Played by Giro.
An intrepid explorer who seeks out knowledge of the quadrant. Latest in the long distinguished line of Fluke explorers and businessmen.
Bridge position: Weapons & diplomacy.
Ensign Felix the space cat: Played by Felix.
Seems to spend all of this time curled up asleep on the captain's chair.
Bridge position: See above.
CS Infinite Badger: The Consortium's newest, most advanced Raptor class scoutship. Outfitted with bleeding edge engines and sensors, has a crew compliment of six.
Zaber Fluke: Mission specialist - Explorer first class.
Explorer's Log 01: Astrodate 21.2010.24.
A day ago, the CS Infinite Badger, having passed it's final inspection had it's maiden flight.
The sleek white dart-shaped scoutship smoothly slid out of the star dock and hung in Earth's orbit for a few moments, her pristine hull gleaming in the sunlight.
Captain Darcy was keen to see what the Infinite Badger could do and once clear of the star dock ordered Chuck to accelerate to maximum warp. Over the next few seconds the build up in energy was almost palpable as the engine's quiet hum intensified. Then we were away, the Earth seemed to shrink away as the stars streaked past.
The Infinite Badger continued at warp speed for a while until a cascade of readouts on Chuck's console changed from green to red and the ship had to drop out of warp. Ship diagnostics were showing a discrepancy in the engine output efficiently.
The Doc said the ship's scanners revealed that we had stopped in Sector seventeen had also logged the Infinite Badger passing through a barely detectable strange energy field whilst at warp?
We turned to Captain Darcy and were shocked to see that his was stiffly sat in his chair, unmoving and blankly staring into nothingness.
LISA immediately went over to him and scanned him with her eptacorder. She turned to us and said he was not presenting any signs of consciousness. Without delay we moved Captain Darcy into a medical pod.
LISA ran a more extensive scan on the captain from the pod, it revealed that in Captain Darcy's brain the synaptic neurons were firing electrons in an irregular pattern. There seemed to be no cause for this, LISA believed that this was some sort of psychic event?
Was it possible the strange energy field had damaged both the engine and Captain Darcy's brain?
Before we could investigate, a warning tone pinged out of the Doc's console. The proximity warning had been triggered. The Doc quickly went over the readouts, it seemed to him that the sensors had picked up a number of unusual energy outputs, possibly from some sort of battle?
The Doc ran a sensor sweep, it confirmed that there was indeed a battle under way close by. The results indicated that a single larger ship was engaging numerous smaller ships.
Then the Doc warned us that several of the smaller vessels had broken off their attack and were now bearing down on us! He quickly put the shields up.
I turned to my own console and broadcast a multi-frequency message, "We mean no harm and come in peace,". It appeared to work, the ships changed heading and moved back towards the large ship.
At a distance Chuck followed the same vector as the small ships until we closed in on the battle. He recognised the large ship, it belonged to The Crab-men of ΓΡ Six, a hostile, xenophobic and isolationist race who were incredibly protective of their own territory.
The smaller ships were attacking its weak points for massive damage!
It was so damaged, that it was moving under normal propulsion instead of it's usual unique sideways drive.
Chuck took the Infinite Badger in closer and positioned the ship on the other side of the crab ship, safely away from the fighting.
Once again the Doc's console pinged a warning tone. An additional number of the smaller vessels had dropped out of warp at the edge of the system and were fast approaching the battle.
They were travelling in two squadrons, each squadron consisted of six ships that were moving in a hexagonal formation.
By now we had recognised the smaller ships, the were part of the mysterious Hive Armada, they had only ever been encountered at the very furthest reach of Consortium space.
The Hive Armada were a race of insectoids. They were of an indeterminate origin, whose home planet was unknown. It was said that they travelled the galaxy aboard Queenships.
Supposedly a Queenship was the size of a small moon and capable of stripping a planet of all its resources.
No one in the Consortium had ever seen a Queenship.
We briefly discussed a strategy amongst us and decided we should present ourselves as a neutral faction and try and broker a ceasefire between them.
I opened a channel to the Crab-men ship and the image a large crab-man filled the bridge's main viewscreen. Behind him, his bridge looked wrecked, there were injured crewmen sprawled on the floor, sparks and flames licked the console, instrumentation was burnt out and cabling hung from the ceiling.
He introduced himself as Shell-Lord Xxbzitzxx, he seemed quite belligerent until a small explosion on his bridge changed his mind and he asked for our help.
We replied and said that we would try and organise a meeting with the Hive Armada aboard the Infinite Badger.
Next I opened a channel to the Hive Armada. One of the ships responded. This time the view screen was filled with the visage of a single insect-like creature. Unlike the bridge of the crab-man ship, there was instead only a cockpit and it was tiny, even though there was a sole occupant, it still looked cramped.
The insectoid introduced himself as Expenditure 718694. After a brief conversation, he agreed to come aboard the Infinite Badger for mediation.
A meeting had been set up.
Shell-Lord Xxbzitzxx was transported aboard. The viewscreen had not done his size justice. He was huge, large enough to fill a small room. It took some effort, but we managed to get him to the conference room.
Expenditure 718694 had refused to transport our to the ship. Instead we allowed him to dock his ship at our shuttle bay.
The Hive Armada ship looked curiously like some sort of maggot! We had come into the shuttle bay to welcome Expenditure 718694 aboard.
Rather disgustingly, the maggot ship split open and a strange fluid spilled out, oozing all over the floor. Expenditure 718694 emerged from the ship, standing up and covered in fluid.
He clicked a greeting to us and waved his antennae about.
He was fascinated with the ship and used the antennae to prod and probe the floor and bulkheads as we escorted him to the conference room. He even prodded LISA, no doubt also leaving a chemical trail behind him.
Once we were all in the conference room, 'pleasantries' were exchanged and the meeting began.
We asked Expenditure 718694 why the Hive Armada had come into the Crab-men's system.
He explained that they had been looking for a lost Queenship for the last six thousand, five hundred years. Their most recent long distance scans indicated that the Crab-men were living on the Queenship; ΓΡ Six was the dormant Queenship.
Expenditure 718694 explained that they were here to remove the Crab-men from the Queenship.
We turned to Shell-Lord Xxbzitzxx for a reply, but there was no answer, he was not responsive?
Shell-Lord Xxbzitzxx was dead! LISA scanned him with her Eptacorder; the analysis revealed that he had been killed by a virulent nerve agent. She examined his body and found a tiny puncture wound in the soft flesh between his shell plates.
It had to be Expenditure 718694, we went to confront him but he had disappeared from the conference room?
There was a small hole in the bulkhead, somehow the insectoid had managed to create and squeeze through it. Now he was at large somewhere on the ship.
LISA ran to the shuttle bay in case he was trying to escape.
The rest of us rushed to the bridge, Doc ran an internal sensor sweep. Expenditure 718694 was in the engine room.
Meanwhile, at the shuttle bay, the maggot ship had some produced some kind of tendrils, they were slowly snaking out and attempting to infest the Infinite Badger's internal systems.
LISA put her surgical programming to good use and with her phasepistol, cut the tendrils off, separating to the two ships.
Back at the bridge, now that Expenditure 718694 had been located, the Doc, Chuck and I hastily made our way to engineering. As we headed there, I set my phasepistol to the VFD setting, which was its maximum setting.
When we reached the engine room we saw that Expenditure 718694 had been interfering with the ship's engines and damaging the systems.
Panels had been open, a mishmash of disconnected circuitry and wiring had been scattered across the floor. Warning lights were blinking furiously and we could see readouts flashing error. He was actually holding a control module as we entered.
I fired at him, it was a lucky shot that struck him perfectly. He was instantly vaporised, not even dust remained! The control module dropped to the floor undamaged.
Expenditure 718694 had been expended!
This was no time to gloat though, the situation was critical. both representatives who had been sent to the Infinite Badger to negotiate peace were now dead!
All of us returned to the bridge.
I opened a channel to the Crab-man ship and explained that their Shell-Lord had been killed by the insectoid, they did not take it well.
They immediately opened fire on us. In response the Hive Armada ships also opened fire on us. We were at risk of being caught in a crossfire!
Hesitation was a luxury we could not afford. Chuck powered up the engines and headed for the Hive Armada ships. The Doc and LISA headed down to engineering to see if they could affect repairs on the sabotaged systems.
At the same time the Crab-man ship split into two. The shell was left behind whilst the crab-creature that was inside it fled in a sideway vector, clearly it's sideways drive was functional.
Chuck weaved and corkscrewed the Infinite Badger through the flotilla of Hive Armada ships and myriad array phaser blasts, whooping as he did so and hoping that some of the Crab-men phaser blasts might hit the flotilla.
One hexagonal squadron of ships chased the Crab-men, another chased us. The final squadron only had five ships and was hanging motionlessly in space. Expenditure 718694 had been part of that squadron. This was curious.
From my console I performed a tactical scan of our pursuers and identified the lead ship. I had a hunch I was about to try.
The Hive Armada ships fired at us, but with just six of them, their damage was negligible. I concentrated all of my firepower on to the lead ship, it was easily destroyed. The other five ships powered down and appeared to become dormant.
My hunch was correct, the squadron acted as some sort of linked entity, when the lead ship was destroyed, the others would become leaderless.
Victory too, was a luxury we could not afford though. Chuck warned us that the engine's power levels were critically depleted.
The engines were powered by Plotithium and the Doc scanned the system to see if there were any nearby sources we could mine.
ΓΡ Six was the only source of Plotithium in the system.
This meant in order to refuel, we had to head towards the home planet of the hostile and xenophobic Crab-men that was also on the cusp of being invaded by another hostile force.
Chuck brought the Infinite Badger around and poured it on, we began following the Hive Armada ships that were following the Crab-men ship!
We noticed that the five dormant ships that been left behind were now part of the pursuit. They had reconfigured their formation into a pentagon, they must have assigned one of the ships as a new lead ship. It seemed that the squadrons had a redundancy system to manage the loss of the lead ship.
A quick scan of the ships behind us had confirmed that they too had reconfigured into a pentagonal same.
Destroying a lead ship only disabled them for a short time, still it was useful information to know.
As we gave chase and attacked the pursuing Hive Armada ships, managing to destroy one of the squadrons.
We were nearing ΓΡ Six now and could see that they had launched planetary defences which made short work of the remaining squadron.
Whilst this was happening Chuck decreased speed and we held back. Chuck then put the Infinite Badger on a indirect approach vector for ΓΡ Six which took us around to the planet, away from the battle and out of direct scan range.
As the planet began to fill our viewscreen, Chuck commented on how it did not look spherical or even ovoid. Chuck said that to him its shape looked like that of a curled up insect of some kind?
The approach vector had brought us to the planet's nightside, just before we began entry into the atmosphere, Doc ran a scan on the surface.
We were looking for a remote or unpopulated region of ΓΡ Six that also contained a supply of Plotithium.
We were in luck, there was a definite source of Plotithium, but it was located close to an outlying Crab-man settlement.
We landed the Infinite Badger about five kilometres away from the source in small secluded valley filled with weird vegetation and foliage.
The ship's energy reserves were now almost entirely depleted and certainly not enough to escape ΓΡ Six's gravity well.
Doc also explained to us that there might not be enough power to use the transporters twice, we might be walking back!
The instrumentation had reported that the atmosphere was breathable, so we prepared for a hike back to the Infinite badger.
The transporter beam put us a half a kilometre outside the settlement. It was dark and the shell like buildings were lit, it had an active population.
Our eptacorders pointed in the direction of the Plotithium source. Cautiously we crept over the night shrouded strange landscape until we reached it without mishap.
Extracting the plotithium was simple and before long we had enough to fill the Infinite Badger's energy banks.
We contacted the ship and luckily, there was enough power to transport us back.
Repowering the ship's energy banks would take some time, in the meantime Doc scanned the space above us. Because we were on the surface, the scan had limited range. Even so, Doc could tell that there was some ongoing prolonged battle in progress. ΓΡ Six was under attack from Hive Armada ships.
The situation had left us several unanswered questions. Could it be possible that this planet really was Queenship, or a giant insect? Expenditure 718694 had told us that their Queenship had gone missing six millennia ago, it was impossible for an entire planetary evolution to occur in such a short timeframe!
We needed more information.
LISA and the Doc went to the captured maggot ship. They ran a full diagnostic and thoroughly examined it. They learnt a lot, including how the Hive Armada communicated, issued commands and their operating frequencies.
Up above, the battle still raged, more and more Hive Armada ships were warping into the system. As each wave was destroyed, more were appearing.
By now the Infinite Badger was ready. Chuck ran a ship wide check on his console and a row of green lights winked into existence; all critical systems were nominal.
Powering up the engines, Chuck took us out of the atmosphere and into orbit and managed to avoid their planetary scans in the process.
As we left ΓΡ Six, Doc scanned it again, performing a deep scan beneath the planet's layers of topsoil and sediment, looking for biomaterial, looking for evidence.
The result was shocking. He had detected a massive hollow structure comprised cocoon-like material; within some sort of massive bio-tissue was metamorphizing!
It was true, this was or had been the Queenship that the Hive Amada was looking for. Now it was becoming... something else?
We sat in orbit, trying to decide our next step and see if there was anyway of settling this peacefully when a warning alarm pinged on the Doc's console.
The gravimetric sensors had detected a change to the star system's gravity map, there was a small but sharp spike in mass? A large mass had inexplicably appeared at the edge of the star system, large enough to subtly distort the local gravity field.
It could only be a Queenship.
There was a risk that events would overtake us, we had to do something and soon!
Now that Doc had an understanding of the Hive Armada's communications hierarchy, he cloned it and issued orders the attacking Hive Armada squadron's to fall back. This gave us some breathing space.
Next we opened a channel to the Queenship and tried to reason with them. We were not meeting with any success, they could not be dissuaded from their task of removing all life from the surface of ΓΡ Six.
The Doc did learn something though, something important. He believed that they had a different perception of time to us.
The Doc believed that when Expenditure 718694 had told us they had been searching for the Queenship for over six thousand years, he meant something different. The Hive Armada did not calculate time as we did. Expenditure 718694 had not been referring to solar years, instead he had been referring to cosmic years!
A cosmic year was over two hundred million solar Earth years, the Hive Armada had been searching for billions of years.
We came up with a plan, it was desperate, but we had no other choice. It had to work.
Once again we communicated with the Hive Armada. Instead of trying to get them to halt their attack, we instead asked them to delay it!
If they delayed their attack by a single day according to how they calculated the passage of time, it would be hundreds of years as we calculated it.
We waited for their reply, they agreed to our terms; they would wait a single day at the edge of the system before resuming their advance.
We communicated with The Consortium headquarters and they agreed to help the Crab-men relocate to a suitably isolated new uninhabited world where they could continue their isolationist existence: Matters were now in the hands of The Consortium central command. The Crab-men might lose their homeworld, but they were saved.
End of Explorer's Log 01.
Explorer's Log 01: Addendum.
Before we left the system and began our exploration mission, we managed to contact Hive Armada again.
Now that hostilities had ceased they were willing to communicate with us.
They told us that the Queenships had been separated and for all this time they had searching the galaxy, seeking out this Queenship to celebrate her rebirth as a giant beautiful space butterfly!
When the celebrations were complete, she would be reborn and use her massive antennae to open a wormhole to lead the Hive Armada to their new home in a distant uninhabited galaxy.
Medical Log 1
Pilot’s log entry
Science Officer’s Log
11th October 2020
Sunday lunchtime at Vicky's.
Time for the next part of Ares' Star Wars campaign.
Location: The Vengeful Runner.
The crew's journey to Kijimi was uneventful. As The Vengeful Runner decelerated and Pell made the required flight adjustments for orbital entry, he ran a scan on the planet's surface and took a look at the topographical data.
Most of Kijimi was uninhabitable, having an average temperature of minus seventy Celsius. The scan revealed that all of Kijimi's cities and settlements were located within the 'tropics', where the temperature was merely a balmy fifteen below!
"Hmm," said Pell to no one. "It's freezing, so it must be cold.".
Pell set course for the capital - 'Kijimi City' and began atmospheric entry.
The crew watched as Kijimi grew to fill the view ports, the planet seemed entirely lifeless. The apparently endless frozen plains, empty and white were punctuated by rocky featureless mountains and valleys. The Vengeful Runner descended out of a bleakly dim grey sky and arrived at Kijimi City.
The city was entirely covered in an immense dome. After some chatter with the port authorities, The Vengeful Runner was granted landing rights. The massive doors on the dome roof slid open slowly, eventually giving the ship access.
Ship scanners indicated that the temperature beneath the dome was a barely tolerable five Celsius.
Despite being under a dome, Kijimi City was well developed. There were numerous tall buildings that Pell had to navigate before landing the ship at the star port and powering off.
Now that they had arrived, the crew knew what they needed - money!
The ship's entry ramp opened with a distinct hiss as the pressure equalised with the dome, a peculiar, strong smell flooded the ship. The smell of life under a dome!
Robin was the first to leave the ship. The city was a busy place, it buzzed with noise and activity, Robin anonymously slipped into the passing crowds.
She went looking for work, going round and trying all the typical looking places in a unfamiliar city.
She found nothing and eventually in exasperation, went into a smoky bar and out of the cold, bought a drink and found a quiet out of the way corner.
Sitting in her corner and nursing her drink, Robin watched people come and go. Her eyes following the miserable and the happy, the drunk and the sober, slinking or striding their way in and out of the bar.
During this time, she watched several of these people exchange money with the barkeeper - and not for drinks? Robin realised that some sort of other business was going on here.
Maybe Robin was in luck, she went up to the barkeep and let him know that she was looking for work, any work, quick earners, no questions asked.
The barkeep looked Robin over for a moment and then explained he had a job no one local wanted.
Even though Robin knew it was going to be questionable, she did not hesitate in agreeing to it.
Leaning into Robin and trying to gauge her reaction, the barkeep said he had a client who wanted the contents of a particular box that belonged to someone who was like the mayor of a small town called 'Tanim' that was a day's travel out of Kijimi City. The job paid two thousand credits.
Back at The Vengeful Runner, Utri was next to leave. He went and found a 'subspace comm' station. After paying the requisite credits, Utri used the comms to contact a friend he knew on Coruscant and asked for help getting there.
His friend said he would look into it for him and told Utri to check into a hotel called 'The Muse' and wait to be contacted.
M/8 was still aboard the ship, sitting motionless in a chair, he had just completed a self-diagnosis of his memory partition, causing the child-rearing subroutine in his behaviour partition to trigger an alarm. the child-rearing subroutine was calling errors whenever tried to access his memory partition.
His reasoning subroutine deduced that critical child-rearing data was missing from his memory partition, it then instructed M/8 to access the ship's databases on human physiology and child rearing and then to assimilate that data.
Chrisy in the meantime, being something of an engineer was familiarising himself with the ship's systems when his commlink pinged.
Giving a quiet questioning growl and scratching his head, he answered it. Utri was calling him.
Utri instructed him to find a hotel called The muse and book himself into a room. Chrisy growled, scratched his head and gave a shrug; well, Utri was paying the bills.
Being a politician, Utri wasn't as trusting as some. So he had concocted a plan; which involved Chrisy posing as him in the hotel.
Chrisy's long strides quickly took him through the chilly city to the hotel, a tall grey building. He growled and scratched his head at the receptionist until he managed to communicate to that he wanted a room on the fourth floor.
It was a comfortable if plain room, well insulated from the cold and well stocked with a mini bar.
Unbeknown to Chrisy, Utri had positioned himself in another hotel just across the street from The Muse and was watching its entrance in case any visitors came for him - in which case they'd find Chrisy instead.
Shortly after Chrisy had left, Robin returned. She spoke with M/8 and Pell, explaining that she had a job that needed doing. It was too far to walk to Tanim in these freezing conditions. The Vengeful Runner could get there in a tiny fraction of the time.
"Hmm," said Pell to Robin and M/8. "Chrisy and Utri aren't here, I'm sure we'll be back before they even know!".
Despite the harsh, unrelenting temperatures and perennially grey skies, Kijimi's climate was quite stable and the flight to Tanim was short and simple.
Tanim was a small town, too small to warrant a dome of its own. The snow covered uniformly grey buildings looked plain, square and utilitarian. A cluster of seemingly almost identical slabs of concrete.
Pell landed The Vengeful Runner as close to Tanim as he could.
Robin told Pell to stay with the ship. She didn't say it aloud, but she didn't want Pell and his big mouth with her when she retrieved the object - whatever it was?
"Hmm," said Pell to himself. "I'm so useful, they need to leave me at the ship!".
Before leaving. M/8's situational scan registered the exterior temperature and his child-rearing subroutine warned that it was too low for Wilfred. Instructed by the child-rearing subroutine, M/8 wrapped Wilfred up tightly in thick blankets.
Robin and M/8, along with Wilfred trudged through the uneven snow and ice towards the Tanim.
It was clear that the townsfolk here rarely saw travellers and they asked Robin what business had bought her to Tanim.
Robin explained that they were just passing through and looking for a rest. The townsfolk pointed them in the direction of one of the anonymous grey slabs.
Inside it was large, but a unremarkable windowless room, weakly lit by inadequate fluorescents and filled with numerous sets of tables and chairs. Along one wall stretched a serving counter.
They overcharged for the drinks and baby food. M/8's child-rearing subroutine was warning him that Wilfred needed nourishment, Robin and M/8 sat at a table while M/8 fed Wilfred.
Robin was slumped in her chair as nondescriptly as possible and watching the people. The room was mostly empty, a few people sat at tables chatting or eating and occasionally giving Robin and M/8 glances. No one here looked like the sort of person who would be a mayor.
Eventually Robin gathered up the courage to talk to the townsfolk. Pleasantries and small talk were exchanged, Robin managed to ask one of the townsfolk who the mayor was? Tanim had no mayor came the reply, but Robin did learn that the town had a leader of sorts, a young woman called 'Kerna'. Subtly, Robin managed to press the locals for some more information about Kerna.
Robin also learnt that this building served as a town communal living area, the townsfolk had their personal quarters somewhere in this building.
Robin needed a distraction, so M/8's triggered his child-rearing subroutine and began changing Wilfred's nappy! At the same time, Robin asked where the facilities were as she needed a bathroom break.
While M/8 and Wilfred were distracting people, Robin headed off to the bathroom but discreetly slipped away instead.
Robin quietly and quickly found the residential area and then found Kerna's rooms. She managed to gain entry without a problem and began searching.
Soon enough she found a box matching the description given to her. As she was reaching for it, she heard a voice behind her and froze, slowly she turned!
At the door into Kerna's quarters was a man. He looked at Robin for a moment.
"If you take the box, then the owner will miss it. Better to take what's inside," he remarked.
"What do you know about this?" replied Robin.
"I know that you came here to steal it,".
Robin was naturally suspicious and the man was acting particularly strange. Even so, he did not seem concerned at her theft. Robin opened the box, inside was what she recognised as a Jedi medal.
"It's better that you take it," He remarked.
This was the second Jedi medal the crew had encountered. The first medal had been given to M/8 by Wilfred's mother in her dying moments. However, this had slipped Robin's mind. She pocketed the medal without a second thought and left. The man did not follow.
Robin returned to the communal area, collected M/8 without any fuss and returned to The Vengeful Runner. The return journey to Kijimi City was as uneventful as the outbound one.
As Pell was setting down at the star port, he glanced out of a view port and saw The Mandalorian! The bounty hunter was busy talking to the dock-master, who appeared to be drawing a map for him?
Luckily, The Mandalorian had not been paying any attention to ships landing at the port and failed to notice The Vengeful Runner, or perhaps he wasn't aware that this was the crew's new ship.
Once the ship had landed, Pell kept the entry ramp closed, Robin and M/8 stayed inside and watched. They waited a few minutes and there was no sign of Utri or Chrisy and no sign of where they had gone.
During these minutes, they also saw an Imperial shuttle coming in to land at the port. It's ramp opened and ranks of Imperial stormtroopers came spilling out.
Technically The Empire had no jurisdiction on Kijimi, but when squads of heavily armed shock troops make an appearance, they tended to get what they wanted.
At The Muse hotel, Chrisy had relaxed somewhat, hours had passed and everything seemed calm. Chrisy was completely unaware of any danger when he heard the click of the room's door being opened by the hotel owner, behind the owner were stormtroopers!
Chrisy lurched for his blaster and fired off a few wild shots as he ran for the window. Growling and scratching his head in disbelief, he dived through, unfortunately he was on the fourth floor!
Meanwhile, Utri was still in the hotel across from The Muse. He had been watching as out of the blue Imperial soldiers charged into the building. He tried to warn Chrisy on the commlink, but there was no response?
Utri was considering his next move - going into The Muse was too dangerous; when he heard blaster fire and flashing light coming from a fourth floor window. A moment later he saw Chrisy bursting through the glass!
Chrisy desperately grabbed the ledge and swung there for a moment, his furry legs dangling over a four storey drop. There were mere seconds before the stormtroopers reached the window, Chrisy had no choice, he let go.
Half falling and half sliding, Chrisy tumbled downwards, the ground rushing up to meet him. He hit the ground in a heap with an audible thud, luckily he had only suffered a superficial injury. Swaying a little, he got to his feet, growling and scratching his head.
Utri had watched all of this unfold as he had been communicating with Pell at the ship. He told Pell that the two of them needed to be picked up and quickly, Pell told him that he would soon be there. Utri ran out to join Chrisy, the two of them ran off, just as the stormtroopers were exiting the hotel.
As they were leaving, Utri and Chrisy saw The Mandalorian - he was chasing Pell down the other end of the road! They were confused, this seemed to be impossible, Utri had just been talking to Pell at the ship just moments ago.
In the heat of the moment, Utri and Chrisy had forgotten that Pell told them he might have a double!
They weren't the only ones who were confused. The stormtroopers stopped running for a moment. They then split into two groups, half chased Utri and Chrisy and half chased The Mandalorian, who was chasing Pell's double - Coron.
Meanwhile, at The Vengeful Runner, Pell was powering the ship up, activating all the systems and warming the engines. Within a minute or so, the dashboard was flashing all green, an increase in thrust and the ship took off.
The city's smaller buildings fell away, giving Pell a better view, he peered throughout the city streets.
"Hmm," he said to the crew. "Something is always hard to see until it isn't!".
After searching hard, The Vengeful Runner's crew spotted activity on the streets close to The Muse, they could see Utri and Chrisy being chased by a band of Imperial stormtroopers.
Pell nudged the ship towards the closest open space to his fleeing companions and gingerly decreased altitude until it the ship was almost grazing the ground. Then he opened the entry ramp.
As they were fleeing the stormtroopers, Utri and Chrisy could see The Vengeful Runner hovering above, it effortlessly moved ahead of them and dropped low, the ramp also lowering. This was their escape route.
The Imperials behind them realised what was going on and opened fire with their blasters.
Blaster shots flew past the fleeing pair, harmlessly bouncing off The Vengeful Runner's hull, leaving it barely marked.
Growling through gritted teeth and scratching his head, Chrisy sprinted for The Vengeful Runner with all his effort and jumped aboard.
Utri was just behind Chrisy, unable to keep pace with the wookiee's long strides. As he leapt aboard the ship he took a glancing blaster shot from the Imperials. Whilst it was just a flesh would, Utri's posterior would never be quite the same again..!
When both were aboard, Pell closed the entry ramp. The pursuing stormtroopers continued to pepper The Vengeful Runner with ineffective blaster shots.
Pell then bought the ship around and angled it for the massive doors in the dome. He could see them slowly closing, no doubt under under duress from the Imperials.
Pell increased thrust and The Vengeful Runner streaked out of the dome before they closed.
Pell continued accelerating away on an escape trajectory, increasing altitude all the time as the rest of the crew gripped their seats in the rattling cockpit.
He knew the next part would be tricky: He had seen the Imperials landing in a shuttle; they never went anywhere in just a shuttle, this meant that there had to be a Star Destroyer out there somewhere, up above in orbit.
Pell maintained the same vector until Kijimi City had disappeared over the horizon in the aft viewscreen. Hopefully the Imperials in the city would report to the Star Destroyer that The Vengeful Runner was leaving the planet and that's where they would search.
Instead Pell sharply banked the ship, changed heading and began descending, meanwhile the crew ran a topographical scan of the surface until they found what they were looking for.
There it was; a deep. uninhabited rocky valley in the cold zone, ice covered and deep enough to be impenetrable to Imperial scans. The Vengeful Runner dipped into the valley and a suitable landing spot was found.
After Pell set down, he powered off all non essential systems and relaxed. The temperature outside was minus seventy, but it was nothing that the ship couldn't cope with.
The crew hoped it would be enough to avoid the scans and the Imperials would think they had somehow escaped Kijimi. They decided that they would have to wait here for a couple of planetary rotations in case the Imperials persisted in their searching.
The time did not pass quickly. With the engines turned off, other than the gentle hum of life support, the ship was eerily silent sitting in the desolate ice wastes. Every step and movement in this stillness seemed as loud as shattering glass.
Robin was quietly impatient to return to Kijimi City, eventually she explained that she was expecting to be paid for delivering the medal to someone in the city.
When the medal was shown to the rest of the crew, they recognised it as similar to the medal that M/8 had in his possession.
The owner of the second medal might know about the owner of the first one and it might lead to him, the crew had a chance to find Wilfred's father.
There seemed no choice but to return to Tanim.
When the time was up, the ship's full systems were activated and the engine's familiar background rumble returned.
It seemed that the plan had worked, the return to Tanim was uneventful, lacking any sign of Imperial instrusion.
Pell landed the ship as close to Tanim's cluster of buildings as possible. The crew disembarked and headed to the communal area and were met by a young woman - Kerna.
"Have you come to apologise?" Kerna said to Robin.
Reluctantly, Robin handed the medal back to Kerna.
"So the old man is now paying people to steal the medal," Kerna continued.
The crew explained that they knew nothing about any old man. Kerna then told them that this old man had come to Tanim from Kijimi City to acquire the medal, she had refused to give it away or sell it, the medal had sentimental value to her. Instead he resorted to stealing it, but got caught and was given a beating and sent on his way.
The crew spoke with Kerna at length, they discovered that her medal actually belonged to someone called 'Val'. After pushing Kerna for more information, she admitted that Val was her brother.
Kerna had been evasive about the medal and what it might represent. The crew thought that it might be worthwhile talking to this mysterious old man. If he wanted the medal, he must've known something about it.
Utri spoke with Kerna, he managed to convince her to accompany the crew to the Kijimi City and speak with the old man.
The crew were hesitant to return to the capital, there might be people waiting for them. In the end they decided to return to Kijimi City, but not by the air - The Vengeful Runner would be easily recognised. Instead they would travel overland.
This was not as simple as it sounded. There were no land vehicles in Tanim and only some local beasts of burden. Otherwise it was a day's walk through the ice and snow at a constant temperature of fifteen below!
In the end, the crew were more or less forced to buy overpriced winter clothing pay over the odds for some animals to ride into Kijimi City.
The journey was both quiet and strange. Whilst riding the beasts, the crew huddled down in their bulky clothing, concentrating on steeling themselves against the biting cold and shielded their eyes from the painful reflective gleam of the white landscape.
Very little activity happened outside of the protective confines of settlements, they arrived at Kijimi City without mishap.
The crew did not have any problems finding the old man, Kerna knew where he could be found.
When they first met the old man, he pointedly stared at Wilfred.
The crew had a conversation with the old man, they wanted to know why he had an interest interest in Kerna's medal, but he was evasive and revealed very little.
The crew did learn that there were about twelve medals awarded to Jedi at the same time at a ceremony and each medal represents a different quality. The old man gave a list of these names to the crew.
The list only had eleven names and none of them seemed anything like Val.
The conversation went on until it eventually bored Pell, who then put all the cards on the table!
"Hmm," said Pell to the old man. "If you don't want to tell about that medal, maybe you'll tell us about this one?"!
Up until Pell's outburst, nothing had been said about M/8's medal. Not to Kerna ans not to the old man.
When he saw the second medal, the old man said that he could track the owner down, but the crew would have to trust him with the medal for about a month.
As the crew were considering their next auction; during one of his regular situational scans, M/8 registered an anomalous behaviour in Kerna. His reasoning subroutine confirmed it: Kerna did not blink.
There was no data in his memory partition that confirmed the this was a type of human behaviour? M/8's reasoning subroutine calculated that there was a probability that this indicated that Kerna might not be human.
M/8 had insufficient data to proceed. His behaviour subroutine instructed him to turn to the rest of the crew and ask. "Do humans blink often?".
The crew didn't know what to make of it?
The crew were unsure on how to proceed and wanted a discussion about the proposal. Kerna outright refused, stating that she did not trust him. Then she left.
Utri in particular also did not trust the old man. Before the crew could come to any consensus, an old woman came in the room just after Kerna had left.
"I told you to leave her alone," she said to the old man.
He turned to her and replied. "I didn't do anything Val!".
27th September 2020
It's Sunday lunchtime and I'm logged into Meetings whilst sitting in my living room.
It's time for a short session in Ares' Edge of the Empire campaign.
Location: The Windbreaker.
Utri and Robin were returning from their successful deal with Haduck. The port was a busy place, they kept their eyes open as they threaded their way through bustling streets. Anywhere amongst these smugglers and criminals might be someone searching for them.
Robin had a bad feeling; as they walked along, she furtively looked about at the constant churn of moving people. Her fears were realised, someone was following them, a Zabrak.
Back at The Windbreaker, Pell was sitting in the cockpit staring through the viewports, watching people pass. He too had a bad feeling.
"Hmm," said Pell to no one in particular. "There's no one there, but there's definitely someone watching the ship!".
As Pell was contemplating his predicament, he saw a pair of Imperial officers appear in view, one of them turned and approached The Windbreaker.
Quickly, Pell ran down the open entry ramp and intercepted the officer before he could board.
The officer was a stern looking man in a well kept grey uniform. He spoke to Pell and addressed him as 'Coron'? He told Coron/Pell to continue his 'undercover mission' to retrieve the cargo from The Windbreaker. Once that was completed, Coron/Pell should eliminate all the crew!
Pell was not at all sure what was going on?
"Hmm," Said Pell to the Imperial Officer. "I'd like to help you, but I think you have the wrong person,".
The officer complimented Pell on his commitment to remaining 'in character', he said that he would return in one hour with data files on all of The Windbreaker's new crew, whom they had now identified.
Pell was relived when the officer left, he didn't seem to understand that Pell was not Coron.
Just as the Imperial officer rejoined his companion and they disappeared into the crowds, as Utri and Robin returned, they gave him a wide birth.
Robin explained to everyone that we should leave Nar Shaddaa as quickly as possible, her agreement with Haduck did not last very long.
"Hmm," Said Pell to the crew. "That Imperial officer who thinks I'm someone else will be returning with files on killing all of you in an hour. Shouldn't we wait?".
After this, the crew quickly agreed that they needed to leave in less than an hour. Everybody grabbed their few worldly possessions and vacated The Windbreaker and headed over to Sev's shipyard.
Sev was happy with the outcome of the deal and was pleased to see the crew. He explained that adding M/8's upgrade would take two to three hours.
The crew were not happy with this, they felt it was too much time, they imagined their pursuers breathing down their necks!
Instead of getting M/8 upgraded, they settled on getting his head changed! This would only take half an hour.
During this time, the rest of the crew boarded their new ship, 'The Vengeful Runner' and as they began checking her cabins and systems, they noticed that it was filled with that new ship smell.
As Chrisy was checking a viewscreen, he noticed a Zabrak suspiciously approach the ship. Chrisy watched as the Zabrak clamped something to the ship's hull, then very quickly leave.
Chrisy rushed outside, he looked around scratching his head, the Zabrak had already gone. Chrisy checked the hull and found a tracker magnetically clamped to the hull. He removed it and attached it to a passing droid.
By the time this was done, M/8's head had been changed, it was time to leave.
Without delay the crew strapped themselves into seats and Pell took the ship out of the yard and upwards.
Pell accelerated to escape velocity and the ship began to gently shudder. Soon Nar Shaddaa seemed to shrink away like a falling marble. Pell put the ship into an orbit and cut the engines.
The crew got together, they needed to talk about their next step. They needed to find a planet that was out of the way, not under Imperial influence but busy enough to find work.
After some discussion, the settled on the planet 'Kijimi', the crew vaguely knew it was some sort of ice-planet.
Pell programmed the the destination into the navcom, set off and activated the auto-pilot.
A very short way into the journey and Utri had a bad feeling.
At the same time, M/8's awareness subroutine logged an uncategorised anomaly, it triggered a situational scan.
The inconclusive situational scan automatically triggered the danger-assessment subroutine in M/8's self-preservation partition.
M/8 used the ship's internal scanners to check all primary ship systems.
The internal scan reported that there was a higher than expected concentration of carbon dioxide in the air: No other anomalies detected.
M/8 ran a diagnosis program on the life-support systems, the carbon dioxide scrubbers were all working with normal parameters; no fault detected.
The reasoning subroutine in M/8's intelligence partition launched: The ship's systems had been calibrated to manage life-support for five biological lifeforms on this trip. The carbon dioxide scrubbers were all functioning correctly, but there was a higher than calculated concentration of carbon dioxide in the air.
Conclusion: There was an additional source of carbon dioxide production on board.
Conclusion: There was at least one additional biological lifeform on board.
M/8 informed the crew that he had reasoned that someone else was aboard the ship. The crew was alarmed, they split into two groups to search the ship.
Pell locked the ship's controls as they would be leaving the cockpit unattended during the search.
The search was not a particularly fast one, this was the crew's maiden voyage in her, they had left in a hurry and had not had the time to familiarise themselves with the ship yet. Every corridor and cabin was a new space for the crew.
As he was looking round, Chrisy spotted a vent grille that looked slightly out of alignment. He gave a growl, scratched his head and opened the grille.
Behind the grille was a shaft that ran into some part of the ship's bowels, at the shaft entrance he found a folded up cape and a bag.
Chrisy unfolded the cape and found some food and drink within. He scratched his head as he realised there definitely was a stowaway on board somewhere?
He then opened the bag, Chrisy growled alarmingly was he found in the bag was another tracking device.
Chrisy knew this was not good, he took the scanner to an airlock and jettisoned it. Scratching his head, Chrisy wondered if it was too little, too late.
The other search party had failed to discover anything, when Pell heard the distinct ping noise coming from the cockpit. It was the kind of noise that was generated when a computer error was triggered. It dawned on Pell that someone was trying to access the flight controls!
"Hmm," said Pell to anyone in earshot. "It's good that we've discovered the stowaway, but it's bad that they're trying to bypass the computer lock,".
The alarm had been raised, everyone ran back to the cockpit. Bursting in, they were surprised to find a Zabrak youth in there, different to the Zabrak they had previously seen.
The Zabrak had heard the crew dashing towards the cockpit and was ready for them, he had turned to face the way in and was brandishing a spear.
With a growl, Chrisy easily plucked the spear from the boy's grasp. Chrisy looked at the primitive weapon curiously and scratched his head.
The boy stood his ground and shouted at the crew, "My father knows about your plans with The Empire!".
The crew were taken aback and a little confused. They knew that an Imperial officer had approached Pell.
They explained to the boy that they had no dealing with The Empire. The boy seemed unsure about this.
The boy told the crew his name was 'Garan' and he was searching for his baby sister. She had gone missing from their home planet of 'Dathomir' four or five months ago.
13th September 2020
It's Sunday lunchtime and we're picnicking in Vicky's garden, enjoying the unexpected warmth of a late summer day.
It's also time for Ares' Star Wars campaign.
Location: The Windbreaker.
From the cockpit, Pell uselessly watched as this mysterious smaller ship attached itself to the primary hull of The Windbreaker with a thud.
A few moments later, everyone heard the harsh sounds of drilling and cutting reverberate throughout the ship. It was obvious that they were cutting into the passenger cabin.
Everybody was moved out of the cabin and into the relative safety of the hold.
Quickly they tried to question the two Rodians, but they didn't appear to speak 'Galactic Basic', at best they were useless and provided no help. Utri spoke a little of their language, but when he spoke to them, they became evasive.
There was nothing to do except to wait until the ship was breached and boarded.
Chrisy and Pell took position by the two doors into the cabin with blasters pointed into the cabin and watched.
"Hmm," said Pell. "Getting into a fight with these boarders might be dangerous. But letting them on board might be worse?".
Robin was hidden in the shadows and M/8 was busy with baby Wilfred.
Utri returned into the cabin, ever the politico he had decided to try and negotiate with whoever boarded the ship.
He had also put himself directly into the line of fire for both Chrisy and Pell.
The cutting tool had now penetrated the secondary hull and was beginning on it's circular cutting path in the cabin's ceiling, throwing out shining white sparks along the way.
At the moment the circle was complete, the circular chunk of the ship's hull crashed to the cabin's floor and rattled like some colossal coin that had lost its spin.
From his vantage point, Utri could see into the end part of a smooth tube coming into the cabin from above at a forty-five degree angle.
Although Utri could not see the other end of the tube, he did hear a strangely whispering voice. It was explaining that they needed the cargo from this ship.
Without warning someone in 'Mandalorian' armour dropped into the cabin. He landed in a crouch, a pair of blaster pistols drawn and levelled at Chrisy and Pell.
Utri tried speaking to the Mandalorian, but was ignored. Utri looked around and the realisation dawned on him that he was in the centre of a stand off.
The situation was tense, everyone was quiet. Keeping his aim on Chrisy and Pell, the Mandalorian slowly shuffled towards the hold, no doubt looking for the 'cargo'.
The Mandalorian's face may have been hidden behind his visor, but his body language revealed his surprise at seeing M/8 cradling a baby in his arms.
Everyone watched unmoving, as the Mandalorian assessed the situation and then finally, put his blasters up. Chrisy and Pell reciprocated, with that they relaxed their muscles and breathed out, it also seemed that some of the tension had also been breathed out.
The Mandalorian bent low, examined the dead woman and straightened. It was quiet enough that everyone could hear the metallic chatter on his comms.
"Target is dead," the Mandalorian uttered into his comms.
"Did you kill her?" the reply squawked .
"Negative, she was already dead,".
"Was she pregnant?".
"Looks like it,".
"He'll be with the body, bring it to the ship. What about the crew, are you going to kill them?".
"Not part of my contract," the Mandalorian ended, a touch of contempt in his voice.
The Mandalorian picked up the remains of the woman and slung it unceremoniously over one shoulder. As he turned to leave, he paused for a moment, toggled his comms off, silencing the chatter at the other end and turned to face everyone.
"In twelve hours, this body will be with my employers, half-an-hour after that, they'll have realised the boy isn't with the body. You have twelve and a half hours before they send me after you,".
With that he turned on his heel and headed for the tube. Everyone realised that when the ship departed, it would expose the passenger cabin to a vacuum. Pell stayed in the cockpit and sealed the door, everyone else rushed to do likewise in the hold.
It was easy to tell when the smaller ship left, the contents of the cabin could be heard smashing and banging around as it was blown out into space.
The other ship had departed, leaving the damaged Windbreaker alone in the black void.
In the cockpit Pell slumped into the pilot's seat, he could see some of the cabin's jetsam calmly spinning away into the inky distance.
Fortunately, the ship's internal comm system still functioned and Pell could speak with the others. With the passenger cabin compromised, everyone was trapped in either the hold or cockpit.
Staying in the pilot's seat, Pell checked the dashboard.
Fuel was low and thus the choice of destination limited. The Rodians had never intended to go to Coruscant.
Looking further at the dashboard, Pell realised that the Rodians had already programmed a flight plan into the ship's 'navcom'. the destination was a meteor near the industrial planet 'Rorak', deep in to 'Hutt territory'.
From there, there would just enough fuel to get to one other place.
There was a discussion over the comms and it was decided to head towards these coordinates. The theory was that Rodians had to be going there for a reason, it might be a station or an orbital fuel dump.
During the flight, Utri and Chrisy decided to question the Rodian prisoners a bit more thoroughly.
The Rodians refused to admit to having anything to do with the capture of the now-dead woman, but Utri was not convinced and managed to wrangle something out of them.
They were taking their cargo - the woman - to rendezvous with their client who was to pay ten million credit for her. The Rodians became depressed, they said that they would be 'dead' once their client discovered that the Mandalorian had taken the cargo.
When Utri explained this to everybody, they became quite concerned.
"Hmm," said Pell. "Anyone with that kind of money would be a dangerous enemy or more likely, they were planning on double crossing the Rodians,".
The decision was made that it was to dangerous to make this rendezvous, instead a new destination was needed.
Pell scoured the 'starmap', the closest destination that met their needs was called 'Nar Shaddaa', also deep in Hutt territory. It's reputation as a lawless place and a haven for criminals and pirates well known.
Everyone agreed on this new heading and Pell changed course.
During the flight, Utri was approached by one of the old ladies, she introduced herself to him and explained that she also came from the same planet as him and had recognised him.
The flight was straightforward. Nar Shaddaa was a 'city-moon', her surface entirely blanketed in the steel, concrete and asphalt of a massive uncontrolled urban sprawl, with towers that soared upwards and roads that ran on forever.
Pell landed The Windbreaker docked at a space port without incident.
Utri exited the ship and was immediately intercepted by a member of the ground crew who explained there was a 'landing fee', Utri was lacking in funds and referred him to Chrisy.
Chrisy handed over the fifty credits from the money he had taken from the Rodians, and that was that.
Except that less than a minute later, someone calling himself the 'dock-master' approached the ship and spoke with Chrisy and M/8, he explained that there was here to collect a 'docking fee' of 20 credits. Chrisy realised that someone had scammed them., he scratched and shook his head whilst looking at the dock-master.
M/8 handed little Wilfred over to Chrisy. He then activated the manhunter subroutine in his behaviour partition, a subroutine designed to unerringly track a target. M/8 gave chase.
M/8's situational scan report a large number of individuals roaming the vicinity of the dock, the manhunter subroutine plotted and predicted the course of M/8's prey as he dodged through the crowds.
unfortunately, several navigational vectors contradicted each other, corrupting the manhunter subroutine. M/8 was forced to shut it down from his task manager.
By the time the subroutine rebooted, M/8's prey had gone, he had escaped. M/8 turned back to the ship.
By the time he had returned, the two old ladies and middle aged man had all disembarked, once they had learnt that there was no way The Windbreaker was going to Coruscant, they had wanted to go their own ways.
Next, everyone remaining agreed to let the Rodian prisoners go. There was little chance they would try to retaliate any time soon. They had problems of their own coming their way
"Be free," said Utri quietly as they were released.
Only Robin, Utri, M/8, Chrisy and Pell remained, joined by fate it seemed. The five of them - along with baby Wilfred - now on the run. Pursued by nefarious, nebulous forces, with only each other to rely on and trust.
The team had a discussion about their next move. It was agreed that The Windbreaker was a liability, they needed to get rid of it and acquire a new one.
But this required money. The team searched the ship for anything they could sell. The passenger cabin had lost its contents, but the hold was filled with cages and more importantly, droid parts.
Chrisy was useful with machines, with a scratch of his head and growl he agreed to try and build a functioning droid out of the parts.
He threw himself into his work which, after couple of hours had borne fruit. Chrisy had managed to build a security droid.
Chrisy activated the droid, it took a few seconds to power up. It then turned to face him and immediately fired its blaster at him! Growling, Chrisy was forced to dive for cover!
Before the droid could track him for a second shot, he lunged forward and managed to deactivate it.
Chrisy scratched his head and looked at droid; at least it worked! He estimated it would be worth up to six thousand credits.
Meanwhile Utri and Pell went out to see if they could find a reputable starship dealership. The team needed to sell the ship and buy a new one. This was not so easily done on Nar Shaddaa, no one could be taken at face value.
Pell had been living the past year skirting on the edge of poverty and in a small way could discern who might be considered trustworthy.
"Hmm," said Pell to Utri. "If we find a bad dealer, it could be... bad?".
The port was a busy place and there many people who could be spoken to, traders, hawkers, workers etc. Pell ingratiated himself with some of the locals and asked around. Pell was given the name of a dealer who had a 'good reputation', the name was 'Sev'.
Utri and Pell paid a visit to Sev at his office at a massive starship yard. Pell left the talking to Utri, negotiation was a politician's game.
Utri politely explained to Sev that he was looking to sell his starship and purchase a new one.
Sev looked at Utri for a moment before asking what was wrong with the ship? Any ship being sold in this star port was damaged or stolen, or worse. What was wrong with the ship, he pressed?
Utri smoothly admitted that it was damaged and needed not-insignificant repairs. He also told Sev that they were not the 'original' owners. Utri neglected telling him that a Mandalorian bounty hunter and a shadowy faction might both be seeking it out.
The negotiation went on for a while, with more details following. Finally Sev made Utri an offer, The Windbreaker could be exchanged for another ship with a payment of ten thousand credits.
Utri knew that the team did not have that kind of money, even if they sold the security droid. Utri explained this to Sev.
Sev made a new offer, a payment of six thousand credit and a favour for Sev.
"Hmm," Said Pell. "Cheaper is better, but an unknown favour could end badly, and I should know!".
Utri asked Sev what the favour would be.
Sev Explained that there was a certain 'individual' that he wanted Utri to 'convince' to leave Nar Shaddaa.
Utri was not certain about this, violence was never the answer. He asked Sev to elaborate on what he meant by 'convince'.
Sev did not particularly want the man killed, just off of Nar Shaddaa. If killing him was Utri's plan however, then Sev would not object.
Utri agreed to these terms and Sev told him the man was 'Haduck' a mechanic who worked for his family business.
After leaving Sev; Utri and Pell did some investigating and chatting to locals about Haduck.
They discovered an interesting fact. Haduck was set to marry Sev's daughter?
After this they returned to The Windbreaker.
Utri announced to everyone that they needed to do a favour for someone or raise at least four thousand more credits.
They were some remaining droid parts, perhaps they could be sold for a few hundred credits.
Robin piped up at this and said the parts were worth a lot and she was sure she could get a good price.
Robin went out and searched through the busy markets for a buyer and came back with someone. She negotiated a deal with him.
Five thousand for the security droid.
Three thousand for the remaining parts.
A 'free' upgrade for M/8.
Unfortunately, it was still not enough to get the ship.
The team then had to discuss how deal with the Haduck situation.
Robin and Utri wanted to use a 'soft' approach and try and convince Haduck to leave Nar Shaddaa. The team agreed on this strategy.
Robin sought out Haduck at the mechanics and had a chat with him. Robin explained that he should come with the team. Robin explained that she had been sent by Sev, it was clear that Sev did not approve of the marriage. Robin also explained that was being 'nice' to Haduck If Sev decided to send 'someone else', then this 'someone else' might not be so 'understanding'.
It seemed that Robin had impressed Haduck in some way and he presented Robin with a counter-proposal.
He confessed that to Robin that once he married Sev's daughter, he would 'deal' with Sev and then he would own Sev's lucrative dealership.
Haduck said to Robin, that if she waited until he completed his plan, he would give her a ship for free. All Robin had to do was wait for a while.
Robin was always cautious and suspicious, so she wasn't too surprised when Haduck made his real intentions clear. Robin was, however too honest to go along with such a shady plan.
Instead she offered a counter-counter-proposal. She asked Haduck if he would be willing to go into hiding for a time after stating he was leaving Nar Shaddaa.
Haduck agreed to do this for one day.
6th September 2020
Sunday afternoon round Vicky's.
It's time for a new campaign. This is a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire campaign run by Ares and we begin with character creation and introduction.
This version of the Star Wars RPG happens to be the 4th iteration of the license.
It was published as 3 different product lines. Each product line concentrating on a different facet of the Star Wars setting.
Edge of the Empire focuses on outlaws, criminals, smugglers and their ilk. It is set just after Chapter IV: A New Hope and on the rim of the galaxy, where The Empire has less influence.
It's a thick, heavy book running to 448 pages.
For such a big book, character creation is pretty straightforward. Although the pertinent information is unhelpfully spread out over many pages.
You pick a race, which gives you attribute scores and XP.
Next pick a career, this gives you some 'career skills' and points to put in them.
From career, you pick a specialisation, this gives more skills and access to that specialisation's 'talent tree'. Talents can be extra abilities, permanent bonuses or special moves etc.
Then XP is spent to increase any of these.
Finally, players pick or roll for an 'obligation', 'motivation', 'cause' and 'ambition'. These are all role play driven choices.
Edge of the Empire uses a version of 'Genesys' system. Most well known for its divisive use of custom dice that replaced the usual numbers with symbols. These symbols represent success, failure, advantage, despair and so on.
Different dice represent different 'sources' of potential success or failure such as natural talent, skill, advantage, difficulty.
When a player needs to make a roll, they take dice dependant on their skill and natural ability, then they take dice dependant on the situation etc and rolls them all at once. Then the number of successes is counted and the number failures is deducted, if there is at least 1 success then the roll is a success.
Additionally, other results such as 'triumph' or 'threat' can influence the final outcome. Furthermore, these can be used to interpret the result of a roll. For example if a player succeeds with triumph, if the triumph symbol was on a skill die, then their triumph was a skilful triumph and so on.
That's basically how it works, but is it any good?
The answer seems to be; it really, really depends.
Some people swear by it, saying it gives the rolls extra depth and gives them role playing ideas and inspiration.
Others say it's a cynical ploy to get people to buy an expensive set of dice useless for any other RPG and that it's unnecessarily complex by adding unrecognisable symbols to rolling.
Me? I'm not sold on it; I've previously played a couple of sessions with it before and felt that what the dice system does, could be achieved with other simpler systems. The system also felt quite 'whiffy', there can be a lot of 'modifiers' to the result of a roll, consequently it seemed very hard to just get a success!
Still, I'll keep an open mind and see how it goes, we've got a campaign to play!
The campaign begins on the planet of 'Pasaana' with our heroes all trying to find a way to 'Coruscant' - the Imperial seat of power. They are unconnected to and unaware of each other.
Robin - played by Vicky.
An escaped human slave on the run, who has found herself on Pasaana and looking for a way to escape to Coruscant.
Utri Lya'an - played by Mark.
For over 20 years, he was the governor of an outer rim colony, who refused to submit to Imperial rule. Now marked as a rebel sympathiser by The Empire and on the run, Utri is currently in hiding on Pasaana. Utri needs to get to Coruscant as soon as possible.
M/8 - played by Josh.
Formerly an assassin; this droid's memory partition have been deleted and he was deactivated. Current location: Unknown.
Chrisyglysuum A.K.A. Chrisy - played by Matt.
Chrisy is a SJW - social justice wookiee, he fights to protect his 'furry brothers and sisters' from Imperial enslavement and oppression. Chrisy is also a bodyguard in the employ of Utri.
Pellippo Phruy - played by yours truly.
After an industrial accident, Pell was frozen in carbon for a 1000 years, now reanimated and reacclimatised, he resumed his former occupation of 'nutrition delivery technician'. Work dried up and left Pell stranded on Pasaana, he has been trying to reach the Galactic Banking Authority head office on Coruscant to have the debt that was accumulated over the last 1000 years written off.
Pasaana was a dusty almost desert-like planet located on the rim of the galaxy. A harsh and remote place to live.
'The Festival of Ancestors' was in full swing, a big event that occurs only once every forty two years and large enough to draw visitors from across the galaxy.
The festival is actually so large that the planet's population increases sixfold during the celebrations.
With being on the rim and with so many people travelling to and fro, the event is difficult for Imperial forces to regulate and a good opportunity to move around unnoticed.
Additionally, the population of Pasaana tend to favour loose, baggy and free fitting clothes, making it easy to hide a face and move around.
The festival was in full swing, crowds were large, they were also loud, bustling and raucous. Amongst this buzz of activity, a Rodian planted a sign outside the starship 'Windbreaker' which was parked at the edge of the starport.
Flights to Coruscant, very cheap! Leaving in an hour.
Pell approached the Rodian and was told the price was three hundred credits.
"Hmm," said Pell. "I only have a hundred credits, maybe there's another way I could get passage?".
The Rodian said if Pell agreed to help with a 'task', then he could have free passage.
"Hmm," said Pell. "Free passage is good, but not knowing what this task is, is bad. On the other hand, how bad could it be?".
So Pell agreed and was allowed access to the ship.
Utri and Chrisy had also spotted the sign and approached the Rodian. When they discovered the price, Utri's attempts to negotiate a discount fell on deaf ears, however, Chrisy's more 'personal' strategy of haggling was effective in getting the discount needed.
Meanwhile, Robin was close by and unbeknown to all three, during the more heated moments of their negotiation, she took the opportunity to slip past unseen and enter the starship. Robin saw a handful of other passengers in the main cabin, avoiding them she quietly went into the hold.
As well as Utri, Chrisy and Pell, there was a pair of old women and a middle aged male passenger.
The crew consisted of several Rodians.
Once everyone was safely strapped in, Windbreak took off, anyone looking out of an aft facing viewscreen could see Pasaana shrink away as we left her behind.
Once the Windbreaker was free of Pasaana's gravity well, everyone could unstrap themselves and move about freely.
One of the Rodians came in and took Pell aside into another room and spoke with him.
He said it was time for Pell to fulfil his promise. The Rodian told Pell his task was to go back in the cabin and murder all the other passengers and then take all their money.
"Hmm," said Pell. "Murdering people is bad! But money is good!".
Pell went back into the passenger cabin.
In the hold, the first data that M/8's awareness subroutine logged was the completion his OS boot-up self-diagnosis. His power core had been activated and connected, all his subroutines and systems were coming on line. M/8 noted that several subroutines were installing themselves into his behaviour and self-preservation partitions.
M/8's memory partition was almost entirely empty.
M/8 performed a situational scan: He was in some sort of room, he was in some sort of cage along with a number of deactivated droid components.
In the next cage was a adult human female - woman. She was covered in blood, his bioscan revealed her fluctuating vital signs were very weak; expiry was imminent.
Meanwhile Pell and the Rodian had entered the cabin.
"Hey everybody," Said Pell. "The Rodian wants me to murder you all for your money. Would any of you have a problem with this?".
An uproar came from the passengers, but before they could react, the Rodian dragged Pell back out of the room and shouted at him.
Pell responded by saying that they didn't seem to want to be murdered, he found it all a bit confusing?
The Rodian pulled his blaster on Pell.
Back in the hold, the woman looked at M/8 and through the cages she held something small up to him. The bioscan revealed it was a infant human male - baby boy, vital signs were relatively weak but stable. It was emitting some sort of loud audio communication - crying.
One of M/8's behaviour subroutines instructed him to take the baby from the woman. Another subroutine instructed him to assign the baby to priority one in his self-preservation partition.
Finally, a subroutine assigned the baby the designation 'Wilfred'.
Without a seat to strap into, the take off had been rough on Robin but she had now recovered her wits.
Whilst in the hold, she heard some crying? Robin moved around to get a better view, she saw the blood covered woman handing a baby over to a droid?
The woman was gasping as she told the droid that she had reactivated and reprogrammed him to look after the baby, his new programming would not allow him to refuse to do so.
She went on to say that he must take the baby very far away, away from The Empire. No one must know why he is important, his father was important.
Outside the cabin; brandishing his blaster, the Rodin ordered Pell to drop his own blaster.
"Hmm," said Pell. "If he shoots me, it would be bad. But if I drop my blaster-." Pell pulled out his blaster as he finished the sentence, "- it would be even worse!".
Pell and the Rodian exchanged blaster fire!
The gunfire drew attention, Utri and Chrisy came running in, as did two Rodian crew members.
In the hold, the woman's final action was to hand M/8 a small object wrapped in cloth. Her vital signs signs ceased and his memory partition logged that she had expired.
M/8 unwrapped the object; a subroutine in M/8's knowledge partition identified it as a 'Jedi medal'.
Robin chose this time to reveal herself to M/8, concerned for the baby. She told M/8 that the child needed feeding and a nappy!
Then the sounds of blaster fire echoed through the hold and Robin retreated into the shadows.
M/8 observed the infant, his situational scan revealed that it appeared that some sort of biomass was leaking from it?
A fight ensued. Utri, Chrisy and Pell against the three Rodians.
One of the Rodians was killed by Pell, Chrisy grabbed the other two and slammed their head together, the result was somewhat predictable and they were both knocked out. Chrisy stooped down and searched them, they had some creds, pistols and a note.
He picked them up and carried them into the hold. In there he saw a droid in a cage holding a baby, an uneasy looking woman in the shadows and another dead woman in another cage.
At the cabin, Utri had returned to calm down the other three passengers.
Meanwhile Pell did not see any other Rodians.
"Hmm," Said Pell. "No more Rodians attacking us is good. But no one flying the ship is bad!".
Pell entered the cockpit just in time to see another smaller starship, it appeared to be attaching itself to Windbreaker.
Reading, writing, playing and painting are the things that I do.