Untangling the Knot

Session One - Cluster and Characters

Session One, Cluster and Character Creation

Systems:

A: 1/1/-2 Ford
B: -1/1/2 Shodan
C: 0/-2/1 Cin
D: 3/1/1 Tannhauser
E: 0/-3/1 Eyesore
F: -3/-1/-2 Mir

After much discussion, the following picture emerged:

Tannhauser, as the only T2+ system, holds a virtual monopoly on power in the cluster. With plenty of R1+ systems to exploit, the ’housers are a military, economic and cultural juggernaut. They are also nearing a potential t4 advance, a move that has supporters and detractors within ’houser society. That conflict, and the internal angst over what may or may not have been a Tannhauser act of genocide against Mir, have sparked a cultural and political crisis that has rendered Tannhauser unable to unilaterally exercise its might, at least for the moment.

The current miserable situation on Mir is a direct result of Tannhauser’s intolerance for anyone who might rival them. When Mir managed to bring their own local tech up to slipstream usage, elements in the Tannhauser government manipulated events to provide what looked like clear cause for military action, and essentially drove Mir back to the stone age. Or so the story goes on Mir; the official Tannhauser story is that Mir provoked the war through their own expansionist aims, and the radioactive wasteland that is the surface of Mir itself is a result of their own use of nuclear weapons in a last-ditch defense.

Eyesore is almost entirely a Tannhauser corporate client, a vast mining colony worked by what is essentially an underclass of laborers perpetually indebted to the company store. Such an environment foments considerable resentment and is ripe for collective action and/or outright rebellion, if only someone could provide the miners with the means.

The inhabitants of Cin have recently taken the first steps into their local system, only to discover they lived on the edge of the local cluster, and that space beyond their immediate biosphere is already occupied. Not long after, the existence of the t4 graveyard that is Shodan was uncovered. Cin found itself the crossroads of a suddenly larger cluster, though one still dominated by its neighbor Tannhauser. Today Cin is a black marketeer’s paradise, a system connected to the most interesting other systems in the cluster, and a stopping place for anyone who can buy, rent or steal transport.

Shodan, in contrast, has recently suffered a t4 collapse. The Shodani had their own reasons for being isolationists, and it was not until after the collapse that any system aside from Ford was even aware of them. Left behind were a well-skilled technological labor class, which has managed to maintain a precarious hold on the stations and colonies they maintained for their previous masters. Without an advanced local manufacturing ability, however, the future of the ‘New Shodani’ looks grim.

Ford is the closest thing to a rival Tannhauser has in the cluster, primarily thanks to their existing base of t3 ships and other gear inherited from their days as a Shodan client. Ford’s native technological base, however, is not able to produce even a basic slipship, and Tannhauser has recently realized that what they once viewed as a society to rival their own is actually a paper tiger. Ford security and intelligence services are well funded and well trained, if somewhat outclassed technologically, and so far that in combination with diplomacy has prevented direct conflict with Tannhauser.

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Intro

Note: Matt was out.

Story lead in:
The Pride of Shodan has just returned from a routine salvage mission in Shodan and landed in a space dock in the atmosphere of Ford (the eponymous capitol of the Ford system). Upon arriving Dirk receives a message that has been waiting for him for approximately two weeks. It was left based on Dirk’s last known location hoping that it may find him. The message was left by the Memory Lapse’s Quartermaster, Jost Collory asking Dirk to contact him and meet somewhere on Ford. Hal and Ronk recall Collory from their time on the Memory Lapse, but don’t know him well.

Tracking down Collory was not a difficult task and the team meets him at a bar (The Three-Legged Pony) in the heart of the bustling megalopolis. Upon arriving in town, Watson heads out to do some shopping for additional supplies while they catch up with our old ship-mate.

The bar is no different than any other; busy enough for good tips to the barman, but calm enough to get a seat. Ronk’s suspicious nature has him standing on the side observing the scene, just in case things get rowdy. Pleasantries go back and forth, but don’t last long and Collory gets down to business. He’s called Dirk here because there have been a few events recently involving former members of the Memory Lapse, that seem odd . As he gets into it, we learn that Lt. Commander Harlock was killed in a bar fight in Cin and Captain Chandrasekhar has apparently committed suicide following his court-martial for conduct unbecoming. Though one can not account for the twists and turns life presents, neither of these men seemed the type to die in this fashion. In addition to the deaths, it is revealed that these men were crew members during the infamous incident involving the Rain Delay. Though the events with the Rain Delay were not news, it still stings some of the members of the crew as they recall the blood bath.

Collory goes on to explain that he was ordered to prepare additional living quarters on Memory Lapse during the incident. A boarding party of eighteen went to the Rain Delay, but twenty returned, and as Ronk can attest, no one on the Rain Delay was left alive.

Collory is concerned about his safety and ours. Though he makes no specific requests, he’s curious if we know anything.

About this time, Ronk notices a man standing on the side with a communication device in his ear. The man has taken notice of our table and appears to be watching us. When Ronk calls him out on his activities, the man bolts out the back of the bar.

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Meyhem in the Megalopolis

- Mystery man dashes out through the door of the bar and everyone gives chase through a small alley, leading out to oncoming heavy traffic

- Ronk runs his ass off with his “bastard bravery” and bolts one zone close to the mystery man, busting through the building and one very confused secretary. Slim catches up to the sidewalk and slams into a courier with a bike. Down on the ground, Slim crawls up to the bike and starts wheeling off, yelling behind himself “This will only take a second!”

- The rest of the crew catches up behind everyone, with Watson exiting out a pawn shop after hearing the sudden honking of cars. He calls up Halabaster to ask about what’s going on, cutting through an alley off the corner.

- The chase continues through office hallways and cubicle farms, with Ronk busting out and harassing the first office drone that bumps into him.

- Slim bolts through the building, cuts a corner straight into the office drone and in the next moment finds himself prostrate, head parallel to the carpet, mumbling with his hand to his head, “This is why he can’t have nice things.”

- Halabaster busts through the hallway, yelling out “Not today!” and noticed that the door-handle at the end of the hall leading out was locked up – it feels like the door was zip-tied. The mystery man’s messenger bag snags up. He keeps yanking at it, not willing to part with the bag.

- Ronk takes a quick peek through the office floors and finds an office chair. From outside, bystandards watch a chair shattering on the pavement below and shield themselves from falling glass. Watson continues to talk out what’s around them via his “Quadcorder.”

- Slim stands up and dashes toward the zip-tied door. Cracking the door open and finding the zip-tie binding the outside, he whips out a scalpel from his Surgical kit and slice straight through the line.

- Dirk loads on the schmooze and the red tape on the office drone with the best bullshit “Form 738C” and a five in Bureaucracy can buy.

- Halabaster walks out the door and whips out his sonic screwdriver to disable the now knocked-down mystery man’s ear phone. Mystery man keeps shouting out “Goddamnit get me the fuck out of here, there’s a dozen or somethin’, do whatever you have to do -”. He tries to scramble on all fours down an alley.

- Ronk grabs a marble penholder and, aiming it at the Mystery Man, wings it out. Ronk hears an “AH FUCK” echoing from the alley entrance, while Slim catches up to the end of the Man’s bag.

- Halabaster takes a moment to “engineer” the door AKA jam the shit out of it to stall any incoming security.

- Mystery Man lightens his load by throwing his bag on the ground and slips away from the group. The party snatches up the satchel and heads to the safest zone they can think of: the spaceport. Walking back to “The Deuce” and searching through the bag, a T3 concealable “targeting pistol” straight out of Tannhauser. Dirk thinks this pistol is very familiar among intelligence circles. Also in the bag are some Tannhauser credits and a recording device.

- Playing the recording device, the team hears a series of case logs with some recordings under the Mystery Man’s voice, others with different voices. The Mystery Man’s voice mentions the team’s arrival on Ford under his name, Agent Riveree. Riveree arrived Ford-side and would meet with his contact and conduct surveillance against “the target” and see if this target’s contacted “Tamber Kord’s pilot.” One entry has mentioned that the target’s communications’ streams have been targeted.

- Another entry from a few days ago has the Agent frustrated, though he has discovered that the target is attempting to find members of his former crew and that he would step up his surveillance. The last entry finds him going to investigate the target at the bar: “The target apparently does not know if the men taken off the ‘Rain Delay’ were intelligence, but I don’t know if he knew if Lela-Jan was on board.”

- Lela-Jan was a pop-culture icon with a charitable streak. “Was” being the operative word, since she has been dead for two years, last known to be participating in a good-will tour in Eyesore until her ship disappeared in the area. Her disappearance coincides with the Rain Delay incident.

- Trying to find references on Tamber Kord, a quick search points to a general feminine name – no real leads. Searching more specific terms, a couple dozen Tamber Kords at Ford are registered as ship pilots. Narrowing the search to the last three years, no names appear. In the last five years, about six appear.

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Jost's Apartment / Slipstream Shootout

- The team heads over to Jost’s apartment to talk with him about Tamber Kord, as well as to sweep for bugs in his apartment, possibly tracing any clues to who is tracking him

- As Jost opens his door, Dirk motions that there may be bugs in his apartment. Halabaster sweeps the place, relying on his computer skills and his omni-tool. Inside his living area, he finds a rather sophisticated device tacked on with T3 nanite ticky-tacky. Slim checks out the device: it definitely looks like a Tannhauser device with a short range, but linked to what, no one is sure.

- Watson notices a comm lead over to a small cigarette packet, a “dead drop” to be snatched up later. To which Jost replies “Now what is going on?” Halabaster destroys the bug and questions Jost on why he even asked for help. Jost levels with the team and says that he got a message from a former enlistee Andre “3K” Benjamin, who wanted to talk about the Rain Delay. He feared for his life due to some bit of news he heard about the Rain Delay, obviously frightened. Jost never heard any other mention of himself after his last message, and the delay In interstellar communication has given him no other news.

- The crew suspects it’s Tannhauser security after Jost, describing the man with the messenger bag, flashing the gun towards Jost, and that they’ve been tracing him for a long time. Jost seems incredulous what with the distance between Tannhauser and Ford.

- Watson scopes out the apartment and can’t find any device transmitting on the same frequency, the team picks up the dead drop and heads out to a nearby park. Jost mentions that, as far as he knows, he’s the only one who knew about Andre’s family on Cin. If there’s any place to start finding his last known location, it’s there.

- Ronk intimidates Jost to find a safe place to stay, and Jost decides to take the dead drop over to Ford security and use it as a means of persuading some security.

- The team circles out in the Deuce back into the POS, flush their engines and slip out to Cin. On their way out, they receive news that Ford is now in the process of building a refueling station on the edge of the slipknot sector, highly trafficked despite the construction. The trip takes about a week up to the slipknot without any non-bureaucratic difficulty. Petey chats about Cin’s ship infrastructure, largely composed of ferry ships and transports for the various cartels, notably the “Papa Doc” Presidents Fat Georgie and Skinny Jorge.

- A ship seemed to be tailing us, however: an interceptor-class Tannhauser vessel that’s “behind a wall of torpedoes,” seemingly “fragile,” and “hard to control.” First Ensign Sly Slap Nuts Jackass AKA “Slappy” the Navigator throws out the longest points between the POS and the interceptor.

- The interceptor closes in, hailing as Shodani authorities, advising the team to prepare for boarding. Slim flips off the comms and starts to scramble up their communications to stall a bit, while Ronk holds as patiently as he can not to “shit hot laser death” on them. Watson thinks on his feet and activates an old satellite to use as decoy chaff. Unfortunately, the interceptor launches a volley of torpedoes, closing in fast on the ship. and Ronk finds “everything is a target,” clearing out all of the torpedoes.

- Ronk sights out on the missile bay and pulls the trigger on the beam cannons, knowing where to hit them where it hurts. Their vector randomizer dilutes the beam shots but it manages to rake across the hull. The decoy picks up the ships communication and confuses the interceptor, making it think “the call’s coming from inside the house.” Dak Mantaur, torpedo man, launches weapons at the craft, a few connecting with torpedoes, a few connecting with the ship.

- Facing down a few straggling torpedoes, Ronk locks on with beams and wipes out their offense volley. The interceptor’s ship, fragile and busy with repairs, and Dirk kicks in V-Tec and jets the POS out of their range.

- Slim and Watson captured and decoded quite a bit of information leading to a Tannhauser frequency that mimics the same frequency as the dead drop. Halabaster mentions a salvage yard specializing in Shodani hulks. Zipping towards a Cin asteroid, the POS huddles down into the salvage yard, planning on taking the Deuce to find Andre’s place.

- Petey Crass sells out his no-more-than-forty-five-percent-ill-gotten gains for parts and maintenance, plus scrapes out a profit

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The Love Below: A Meeting with A3K

Note: We were terribly drunk

- The core of the asteroid is vacuum-engulfed, the many buildings and transport zones pressurized in protection from space. Stepping through the pressurized corridors and hallways, the team listens into a local news broadcast: Tannhauser authorities are on the look-out for a passing-through vessel that looks pretty close to the POS, which fired upon a Tannhauser “diplomatic vessel.” Halabaster tries to faze out the signal before the reward info pops up, but manages only to flicker the LCD a bit.

- The team moves out to find Andre’s home. When they do reach his home and declining to bust through the drywall and shout “OH YEAH,” the team rings the doorbell and finds a boy opening the door. Dirk says “Hey, we’re old service friends of your father’s, is he still around?” To which the boy says, “Daaad! There’s some guys here to see you.” His dad, Andre, walks to the door and notices the team hanging around and immediately dives his hand into his pocket. Luckily, Dirk explains the situation and the team walks in. Publicity photos of Leela Jan stack the walls. Speaking about Jost, Andre confirms that he did send the communications to him, but he’s concerned about the recon done against Jost – more for his own safety than Jost’s. According to Andre, Tannhauser authority wanted to avoid any bureaucratic fallout by citing that all hands on the wildcat ship was lost – despite being a strong point for intelligence. Leela was found on the ship and was interrogated, but at some point escaped until she was seen by the mining operators. Word about her being worked over by Tannhauser intelligence would probably not bode well, so it’s likely she never left that ship. Unfortunately, that also included the remainder of the crew who saw her.

- Andre mentions, with some caution, that the location of the Rain Delay was not just a safehouse, but also a point of diplomatic negotiation, for when no discussion needs further mention.

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The Fancy Party

- RECAP: Andre 3K was essentially the captain’s admin, who overheard that the captain and the commander said that Leela Jan was on board the Rain Delay – the purge coming direct from Tannhauser intelligence. Hence why he got in touch with Jost, afraid that someone would attempt to tie up loose ends. Two men came off the Rain Delay before its destruction, to head towards a new ship, the Memory Lapse. Yet to figure out: how did Leela’s philanthropy get connected to the Tannhauser intel?

- The crew explains how the crew picked up recording equipment and the gun from the Tannhauser spy in Ford, speaking about Tamber Kord. Andre recalls that Kord and Leela had a “thing” together – Kord being a scoundrel and, of all professions, a gravedigger (though beautiful enough to hang off her arm).

- Watson says, "You know, I’ve skulked around and fenced goods on a VR plane for Shodan. It’s called ‘The Fancy Party’ (18 to fancy, 21 to party) – a virtual space for high-class schmoozing and illegal bartering. The system for the party actually translocates from machine to machine to prevent tracking – the lag of which has made it suitable as both a message board and a place for real-time communication. Very few know about it and even fewer can get access due to Shodan’s infamous meritocracy system.

- The team departs from Andre’s station and move through to the artificial station that holds a possible lead to the knife murder. At a rather large bar named “Movin’ On,” the team stops in to gather information. Unfortunately, the sign out on front of it reads ‘By order of Station Manager, the management has deemed this managed establishment closed. – xoxo, The Management.’ Asking around, the team finds a former employee who tells them “Ya know, his licenses were up for renewal and for some reason the owner got an obscure regulation in his face and had to close up.” When asking about where the owner is, the man gives up a number, but the number’s disconnected.

- According to the former employer, the bar had closed down several weeks before the supposed knife murder that occurred there.

- At this point, the team slips into Shodan unmolested and assembles their screen names and try to fancy their way into The Fancy Party. Docked in station, Watson assembles the VR gear and plants in. Slim sits back to monitor communications, while the rest act as entourage for Watson (aka PapaDiablos, avatar a brontosaurus on a pennyfarthing bicycle). Special guest stars include an amorphous blob with a bandana and a pair of six shooters, an empty suit of armor, and a lizard wearing a duster and armed with a shotgun and riding a motorcycle. Not included are XxDarkDragonxX and B@mB@mB1g@l0.

[The Fancy Party is assembled into a series of zones that resemble the Kaballah for some reason, and the team must navigate through the zones via social skills and knowledge. Aspects include: “Virtual reality fancy party”, “autonomous infosec,” and “archaeological marketplace.”]

- The team stands within a drawing room inside a very chic Victorian Mansion, complete with small ziggurats composed of ‘books’ (message boards), floating tea and crumpets, and a baby grand piano playing by itself.

- Dirk hits the ‘books’ and sorts through the message boards, organizing by latency to check where members are located. Slim points out a skittish user trying to chat up a girl, and tells Ronk to play moderator and intimidate him to phish his information.

- Halabaster follows Ronk through gracious host “good cop” to the skittish user, calming the guests and charming his way through to the next room.

- The next room with Ronk is beach-lined and encased in a giant glass dome, swarming with butterflies and stuffed with dusty books and “messages in bottles” that can’t have been accessed recently, though certainly within a span of hours…

- …while the others are stuck in a Victorian Gentleman’s Club, men lounging with books next to a roaring fireplace, or standing at a bar and chatting each other. One approaches Watson with a quizzical look and says “Well I’d be damned, but your avatar, chap – I think I remember you. Ah, yes, the father of all devils! I haven’t seen you at the fancy party in some months.”

- Watson, entangled in sycophantic gossip, tries to fool him into thinking that there’s a crypt on Shodan that may be worth his time, but Watson gets jammed up in the yammer, and so does Dirk. Dirk tries to distract him via his tactics. Slim moves into the room where Leela Jan might be and starts scanning over old boards she’s posted into. Apparently Tamber likes talking excitedly of references to “big things I’m on to” – though extremely vague, tied to a screen name ‘LEELAluvr’. One post says “it calls itself Shekhina” and then ends with those posts. Impersonating the skittish user’s avatar, Slim drops that name in the room next door and Tamber follows.

- In the next room, a big garden filled with chatters playing croquet and badminton with extremely low latency, Halabaster tries to run a trace on Tamber Kord’s position in real life. Apparently she’s docked in the same station as the team is. Halabaster and Slim will attempt to pinpoint the physical location of ‘LEELAluvr’.

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Clever Pun

- Recap: at the “Fancy Party,” Halabaster and Sandman busy themselves with tracking the data feed to Tamber Kord’s last known communications. The team pinpoints a closer location and flies out in a two-week trip into Shodani orbit (greeted by crewmen Sly Slapnuts, Dak Mantauk, and Hork Jazztap)

- While floating between the systems, for a few hours, Sandman picks up some off-beat computer scans on the ship’s computer systems. It only takes a few minutes before Slapnuts picks up three ships closing in: a Tannhauser interceptor, a T3 patrol cruiser “Futurebird”, and a T2 “Wild Weasel”/“Manmission” One ship hails the POS with a strict ultimatum: “This is Tannhauser Military Vessel (fucking, whatever) Mir’s Regret. Prepare to be boarded.” The POS brings those blue sparks and shifts out from the range of the patrol cruiser. The Wild Weasel seizes the communication network of the shift for a bit, frying some of the electronics on board. Ronk flips on the beam weapons and points them up in the grill of the interceptor, which takes a hull breach. The interceptor sinks in behind a wall of torpedoes, with Ronk fries as many as he can and Dirk spins and yaws the ship around. Dirk tosses up some “hard neutrino power base” over to Hal and Hal throws it into the engine core. Ronk walks back the beam shots into and out of the breach, the torpedo tubes going off, and the ships explodes – he says, “What could possibly be a consequence of that?”

- The ship makes it into inner-system Shodan at the station they suspected was close to where Tamber was at, surrounded by ships. The crew suspects that the signal is coming from one of them, possibly the closest one: the “Lickety Split.” (hailing code: if the ship’s rockin, don’t come a dockin’). The ship is a fairly old T3 “scout hunter,” a small slip-capable vessel, not packing a lot of weaponry. Sandman and Watson hail the ship and access a communications login prompt. They only get so far into a rather advanced security system, but learn that the ship is humming with minimal power and no life-support systems on for at least two years. Cross-checking it with the Port Authority data system, most of the traffic is local Shodani ships coming and going, with outsiders mostly Ford and Tannhauser ships. The “Lickety Split,” for example, is a ship logged with past docking fees unpaid, but it seems as if there’s still activity between the ship and the station.

- The team tries to float EVA-style up to the ship and find a way in. Watson’s stick in a dark and cold interior, stuck in vacuum, but the inside of the hull is lined with what seems like the most “old-advanced” ship he’s ever seen. Investigating the ship’s engine, the reaction mass of the ship is extremely small, and the ship is made for habitable living on a skeleton crew. On the bridge, lights glow and dim out, and Hal makes his way into the engine area. The engines are so advanced that the slip-drive is the most compact, and the reaction engines are the most efficient. Watson tries to interface with whatever equipment he can. All he knows is that it’s armed with high v-shift and great electronic warfare, but its cargo is tiny and its weapons are only beam-based.

- Proceeding deeper into the bridge, display screens begin to light up. A graphic pops up in the center with the shape of a man’s head, scanning the room with its “eyes.” On-screen, a couple of ships appear in what looks like a braking maneuver, extremely close to the hull of the ship, slowly rotating. The screen sharpens: it’s two Tannhauser interceptors.

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Critical Beatdown on the Lickety Split

- The two interceptor ships slow to a crawl, a group of men in power armor ejecting towards the POS. A hail on all frequencies pinpoints the men in between the POS and the Lickety Split. The message asks the men to stand down and prevent the use of authorized force.

The voice in the cabin reads “You are not Tamber Kord: leave or I shall be forced to take appropriate measures.”

- Halabaster tries to whip out his good ‘ol Southern charm and instead stammers out an "Hey look we’re just trying to help out," which the machine replies “If you were truly friends, you would’ve helped her out three years ago.” The voice does acknowledge that it is the pilot of the ship, but not before a pause, and the plain acknowledgement that Tannhauser forces have begun breaching the ship.
(Characteristics include: vacuum, dimly lit)

- Another group approaches the POS.

- Zork Gradius wishes his brother Grue well, and Zork and Sandman head out to get ready to drop the deuce.

- Meanwhile, the voice on the ship plainly states “Two Interceptor ships have departed. The approaching men appear to be Tannhauser military, yes? There are weapons in the ship’s engineering plant. There is a coil gun and civilian pistols designed for micro-G combat.”

- Halabaster doggie-paddles in zero-G to the engineering plant, while Dirk covers the door.

- Sandman points out the narrowest gap between the Deuce and the station, next to the troops, and Zork looks at him like he’s a fucking idiot, but steers it ever-so-close to the station, with Ronk bitching out over encrypted comms that they’re both fucking it up MORE LEFT, and he watches on the screen the Deuce slip over and speed through a group of soldiers, disrupting them.

- Ronk pulls up to the top turret in the cabin, whips it around, and vaporizes the first incoming space armor that pops in his vision. Dirk floats over to the door, covering against incoming slugs. The armors spend their time shoving themselves into the small opening they’ve created in the hull. Halabaster snatches a gun out of the lockers in the plant while Watson runs himself into the hull and tumbles back.

- Zork and Sandman twist the ship around and busy slamming the Deuce toward the marines coming in, while on board the ship, Ronk aims his gun and tries to stencil on their armor “Don’t fuck with me” – with bullets.

- The suits return his arts and crafts attempt with full-auto fire, and the team falls back from the bullet storm, now suffering from acute cases of spontaneous blood loss. Returning fire, the suits find themselves rattled, their ears ringing. Watson slips back with bad ships while Dirk steps up towards one suit and points his weapons at his head, the suit now finding his hands that were once covering his ears are no longer there.

- Zork drives back towards the troops floating in space, spins the ship around with the exhaust pointing right at them, and lights up the engines.

- Ronk plants his bastard-brave ass in front of a ship doorway, braces his gun-holding arm on the wall, and shouts “ONLY FOR KILLING.” Halabaster, being too old for this shit, whips his spanner out and fires, then doubles back while Watson fans his gun in covering fire.

- The radio in the Deuce lights up and Jazz Taphands shouts out “Man I think we can keep them at range but that’s the best we can hope for.”

- The Deuce bends for one more move between the last two suits floating around, the one behind bubbling in his suit from the gas ejection, while the other’s micro-G makes a satisfying klonk on the hull of the craft.

- Back on the Lickety Split, Ronk fires bursts at the floor for ricochet fire, listening to the puncture of armor and pleas of surrender. The remaining suits lie down and exchange their mission in exchange for information about their mission. The military wanted the suits to find the pilot of ‘some bitch named Tamber Kord.’ Tannhauser intelligence should’ve been working at the helm of this mission, but one of the suits mentioned that a Millerite was working alongside them. (Millerites are a sect of technocrats who fear that Tannhauser technology is at the point of crash, and that the unfettered growth of tech will lead to T4 collapse). There’s also mention of the Shekanah – the ‘dwelling of God,’ an ark of the Covenant, that the intel members were discussing with the Millerite.

- The ship’s computer lights back on, and both the team and the pilot compare notes: the pilot knows that Tannhauser intelligence is looking for him, though they don’t know what “he” is. Tamber Kord seemed to have found in a gas giant system the Shekanah, and wanted to sell this location, but decided to hide it and secure it for safe keeping. The pilot notes that inside a small Shodani locket is what she had, and was sealed with a code, which he knows, but not the location of it. Tamber’s last location was somewhere in Cin to find a buyer. And Leela Jan, being one of her last contacts, and one of the victims of Tannhauser intel, may be the holder of the locket.

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Return to the Scene

- On board the Lickety Split (complete with beam weapons, vector randomizer, fast speed, but a frail frame), the “pilot” of the ship announces “I’ve decided to re-pressurize the ship. Tamber left 3.02×10^5 seconds ago, attempting to find a buyer for the Shekkanah, and it is increasingly likely that she will not be returning. As armed agents have taken an interest in ‘me’ perhaps you should explain about the Shekkanah.”

- The team drops an info dump on him, and the ship replies: “My instructions from Tamber were to wait, to avoid contact and discovery, until her return. I tried to keep tabs on the archaeological contacts within the ‘Fancy Party,’ perhaps a mistake as you have found me here. However, since you are willing to find the Shekkanah, I will assist you.”

- The ship moves through Cin and stops to resupply. With some negotiation, the ship bounces on to Eyesore in a matter of weeks. As the ship is making its way back, ship comms pick up encrypted Tannhauser chatter similar to the hack job done by interceptor ships earlier. The ship appears to be heading from the slipknot into the Cin system, approaching the same course to the resupply station. Piloting slowly towards the slipknot slowly parallel to the Tannhauser ship, the Lickety Split zooms into Eyesore to find the Rain Delay.

- Since the ship hasn’t been underpowered and was on a very specific trajectory that the crew remembers, the comms puts out a ping on chatter near the solar space that the ship could’ve been in. Two refinery stations are picked up in the vicinity, and the crew gets an idea about what kind of power plant that ship may have had. Interference, however, can’t distinguish between them and the millions of km of space between them. Because of this, the crew decides to find settlements in the area that may have people who’ve seen clues to the location.

- The ship moves into a wildcat mining operation, no love lost in this sector for Tannhauser. The ship docks in, receiving a few weird looks on the way to a local bar. Posing as salvage guys who’ve heard about a Tannhauser refinery that used to be in the area, Halabaster and Ronk chat up the bartender to grab some info. The bartender groans back, “Yeah, there is a crew that prospects out here, sometimes coming with salvaged tech.” He calls them ‘K-9 Prospecting’ and points out their location.

- Keeping in mind that the system’s spread across kilometers of floating stations attached to asteroids, the crew wanders toward K-9’s spot out in Eyesore. The crew chats them up: “We’ve got a score out here and we need some help to carry it all.” K-9 replies back, “Why the fuck would I come out with you all out of the blue, on a score that you don’t know its location?” Halabaster ingratiates and K-9 warily agrees to follow out to some possible locations, in spite of the orbit having not a lot in it – just a waystation below the radar, off the grid, with people who may have already found it. Halabaster offers his coil gun and Halabaster offers to show him how to use it. K-9 immediately dismantles the gun for parts.

- The crew head out to the waystation, code-named “Seventh Inning Stetch.” As the crew blows a week traveling to the station, they’re ‘aw hail’d’ by a navigating ship. The ship offers a tether to guide them through, for a price. The Rain Delay appears in view, next to a giant asteroid, which is the exact place the ship indicates to go.

- Making their way into a cavity inside the asteroid, the ship docks in, pressurizing the ship with their docking collar, greeted by a man who says, “Hey, welcome to the ‘Seventh Inning Stretch,’ ya’ll know why you’re here,” and walks off.

- The chamber reeks of seamy deals and fenced goods. Watson pulls up a local terminal and plays around with it (read: hack it) and finds some history about the station. The ship was discovered two years back who saw a flash of light resulting from a ship impacting with the asteroid. over the last two years, prospectors have tunneled out the ship and established it as a settlement for more unsavory elements. The first founder, “Benny,” still calls the shots at the station. Watson also finds some maintenance records and a map of the area.

- The crew finds Benny, perfectly happy to meet the crew, though threatening them to not make him regret it. Halabaster gives out the same schtick he did to K-9, and Benny replies, “Hey, all systems and equipment have been moved into the asteroid for over a year now. Ship’s obviously fell under attack – don’t know, don’t care – place is a
mausoleum.” Halabaster tries to negotiate his way over to the Rain Delay, but Benny keeps mentioning that most of the ship’s either floating in zero-G and had remains ‘buried’ in various quarters.

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