Fall of The House of Higgins


With the captain's cargo for Silverhold loaded, the ship departs Ariel with Naomi at the helm. Flight begins uneventfully, but Junior decides to bring up events on Ariel to Windsor and Ruan tries to cut Junior off, but is too late. With the cat out of the bag, Windsor questions Ruan about the events and some of Naomi's background. Since it is possible that the organleggers pose a threat to Naomi and the crew, Windsor agrees they should return to Ariel and deal with them after this job. Windsor wants Ruan to gather some information. Which leads into a subject Ruan wants to bring up, he wants to go back to work. Windsor asks if he means as an assassin and Ruan says, no, more of a psychic investigator, getting information people need that only he can get. Maybe working for Admiral Sharpe for example. But, he would take contracts also, as long as he is not working for bad people. He will continue to work as crew on the Britannia and cut the crew in for a share if his job requires the ship going someplace or the crew's active participation. The captain is interested and willing to discuss it further.

On Silverhold, they discharge cargo and start looking for work. Most of the crew leave the ship, Lothel is working on decorating her room, Naomi is aboard also. The ship receives a call from a Chiu Gan, who is looking for Silas. Naomi takes the message, and calls Silas. Silas returns the call to Chiu, who explains he is an associate of Irwin Murphy who hired them to steal mud from Magistrate Higgins. He has a job offer for Silas. They agree to meet and Chiu explains that they plan to assassinate Magistrate Higgins and want Silas to do the job. In return, they will smuggle Silas' family of mudders off of Higgins' Moon and set them up on another world. Silas agrees and Chiu explains the plan. Silas will be smuggled onto Higgins' Moon, just outside the town of Canton. He will be given a comlink, a dart rifle with a poison that simulates a heart attack and information on Higgins' upcoming tour of his facilities. Silas needs to sneak in and alert his family, then lead them to the spot where a freighter will land and pick them all up. Chiu says the crew of the Britannia cannot take him because after their raid, Higgins has ordered that all Firefly class ships be stopped when they visit. But, to keep the crew busy, he offers a job, a short cargo run to the Corone Skyplex. Silas agrees and takes the information, Chiu tells him the gun will be delivered tonight, and for Silas to come to the port in the morning to be taken offworld.
On the ship, Windsor is contacted and given a job to pick up cargo at the skyplex and return to Silverhold. Silas returns and explains the job and asks Ruan to accompany him. They gather their gear and Junior makes them a batch of knockout gas that he loads into a tear gas grenade. They meet Chiu's ship, which will drop them in an escape pod as the ship comes in for a landing at night near Canton. The Britannia lifts off also.

Silas and Ruan are dropped on Higgins Moon. They find their way to the edge of Canton near the mudders' hovels and Silas sneaks in to meet with his family. They are overjoyed at his news, but there is a problem. Silas' younger brother Franco is engaged. Silas' dad says he will go talk to her family, maybe they can all leave together. He returns with Augustus Davies and they all agree, both families will sneak out of town after nightfall tomorrow to meet Silas for the extraction. Silas returns to meet Ruan and they move to the ambush site and camp for the night. As a seasoned soldier, Silas sleeps well, but Ruan does not, unused to being alone in the wilderness.
The Britannia arrives at the skyplex and Naomi docks poorly, earning them a reprimand from the portmaster. They go aboard and have leave and shopping. Lothel buys fabric for craft projects, Naomi gets electronic components to upgrade her railgun. Tai and Junior shop the black market for railgun rounds or other ship weapons. Junior gets a line on a small cannon, but it's too expensive. Instead he gets a pair of medium anti-ship missiles, planning to mount them on Naomi's shuttle. But when Naomi returns, they are too big so they stash them in one the smuggling nooks. Windsor and Tai go out to drink and find female companionship of the trustworthy sort…
In the morning, Windsor calls the shipping office, but they have no record of the deal or anyone named Chiu Gan. It must be a setup. However, since Windsor has a good reputation, they do offer a cargo bound for New Melbourne. Windsor accepts and orders Naomi to move the ship to the cargo loading bays. She docks even worse, damaging the ship and earning them a fine from the portmaster. The cargo is loaded and they depart, planning to stop at Silverhold and pick up Silas and Ruan.

Silas and Ruan camp in the woods, waiting for Higgins. He arrives in the late afternoon in an aircar with two guards, followed by a jeep with four more. Ruan picked an excellent spot, they are within range and the sun is behind them. Silas aims and takes the shot. Higgins gasps and grabs his side, then collapses with a moan as the poison goes to work. The guards gather around him and Silas and Ruan fade back into the woods and head for the rendezvous point. Along the way they bury the rifle in a swamp. They meet the families after dark, Mr. Walker says the town is in an uproar over Higgins' death. They travel through the evening to the pickup point, but there's no ship. Silas pulls out the com he was given by Chiu, but there's no answer. Fortunately, Ruan has the Cortex communicator Niska gave him, he calls the ship. They confer with Windsor who tells them the cargo job was a set up, they have been double crossed twice over. Windsor orders Naomi to go to hardburn and tells Silas they will send a shuttle down. With no help coming, Silas confers with the families and Mr. Davies says there's an abandoned mine not far that will shelter them. They head off into the night.
Approaching the outskirts of Red Sun, the ship's proximity sensor beeps. Windsor checks and sees a small ship has lit its pulse drive and is closing on them. He focuses sensors on it and sees it is an Arrowhead class courier, no transponder or signal, but the reactor is leaking radiation… Reavers!! The ship is smaller and much faster so they have to fight. Windsor orders Naomi and Junior to arm the missiles and drop them out the airlock, maybe they will hit. The first one misses and the reaver fires an EMP beam at the ship. Windsor evades and they drop another missile. This one hits, but the reaver is still after them, it accelerates. Naomi goes to Shuttle 2 and prepares to dogfight the reaver, everyone is in suits except for Windsor, stuck on the bridge. He orders Tai to bring him a suit. The port engine goes out and Lothel works to restart it, the reaver fires again. The engine restarts and Naomi launches in the shuttle, but she zigs when Windsor zags and the shuttle scrapes across the Britannia. She fires an EMP missile and damages the reaver, but it's still after them. Naomi fires a penetrator missile, thinking it has nerve gas, but it misses. Windsor maneuvers to bring the reaver across Naomi's line of fire. She fires another and it hits the enemy bridge and the flight crew is killed. The ship goes into a straight line flight and she fires an explosive missile, hitting the reaver in the crew quarters killing the survivors. The reaver sails off into the Black, a ghost ship. Naomi suggests recovering the missiles that missed, the anti-ship missile was 500 credits after all. They recover the two misses and Naomi realizes the first penetrator had sleep gas, not nerve gas…

The Britannia arrives at the Heinlein gas giant and they contact Silas again. Shuttle 1 is sent down to pick up Silas, Ruan and the mudders, back aboard they set course for New Melbourne. Windsor and Silas discuss what to do with the families, do they want to resettle on New Melbourne or someplace else? Silas contacts his friend Fei Yen Ruiz on Hera, she says she can help them get started there. Silas has 1,000 credits he gives them to help get started. But what happened with the setup? They try to trace Chiu Gan and Naomi finds a death notice, he was found murdered in an alley the day after Silas left Silverhold. They drop cargo on New Melbourne and decide to head to Hera in Georgia. Tai picks up a cargo bound for Persephone, they will stop there and look for another cargo headed to Georgia.

(GM Notes: The title is a play on Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher, the section titles are from Alan Parsons Project album, Tales of Mystery and Imagination.
This adventure has been in the slush pile for a long time, since Kevin made Silas a mudder with a goal to kill Higgins and rescue his family. But I couldn't kill Higgins while the timeline overlapped with the TV show. Also, in the Yellow Submarine campaign, the adventure Revenge brings the crew to Higgins' Moon looking for information, they believe Magistrate Higgins is aiding the slavers. But Higgins is dead and his son Fess is now magistrate. When Lennon reveals that the slavers use poison as an assassination tool, Fess says his father was murdered, killed with a poison that simulated a heart attack. Well, guess what? Silas was a tool of the slavers to kill Higgins to cover his involvement in their plots. Last time I tried to set Silas up, he brought in Ruan to Read the patrons and discover it was a double cross. So this time, the bad guys used Chiu as a middle man. He truly thought it was on the up and up, but he was a disposable link to maintain their distance from the job. Also, When Shuttle 1 landed to pick everyone up, there was a patrol ship nearby, but their rolls were very poor so they didn't bother checking out the shuttle and they didn't detect the Britannia.)

Silly Quotes and Smart Remarks
Emily "Does anyone have dip for chips?"
Jim "Snackfoods of Catan"

Discussing the size of the organleggers' crime group
Raleigh "It's a boutique crime syndicate"

Emily "I killed a man in an alley"
Kevin "Just to watch him die"

Lee "Weekly space news about reavers and bat boy"
Matt "Reaver crop circles"

Planning to return to deal with the organleggers
Matt "Shall we start a leaflet campaign against the clinic?"

Lee rolls very well for a landing
Lee "Best non-fence landing ever"

Lee rolls a good cargo, but Jim takes it back because he realized it would interfere with the storyline
Allison "It's the Emperor's New Cargo"

They get a job to pick up cargo from the Wilson Starfreight shipping company
Lee "Is that his name? Wilson Starfreight?"
Emily "That's an excellent Star Wars name"

The players are really playing up that Jim laid out part of the plot for the game ahead of time, so they could choose which adventure to play
Jim "Next time I am just going to railroad you traditionally"

Raleigh "You never go full Serenity"
Matt "That's how you get just one season and a movie"

Raleigh rolls a 5 to dock
Raleigh "That's a stupid place to put a port"

Silas approaches his family
Raleigh "Word to your mudder"
Lee "Better than mudder inlaw"
Lee "Just a mudder brick in the wall"

Discussing if they can bring the future inlaws along too and do they count as family
Matt "All mudders are brudders"

The missiles they bought won't fit in the shuttle's launch tubes
Emily "Can we sell them to someone who likes big missiles and cannot lie?"

Where to hide the missiles
Lee "We're smugglers; we've got big slots" <facepalm>
Matt "Even we get boarded sometimes. You tell Jabba…"
Emily "Are you quoting Star Wars?"
Matt "Yes, I finally watched it"
Emily "'You're taking your first steps into a larger world'"

Silas shoots Higgins, he grabs his side where the dart hit, then groans and falls down with an 'aaarrggghhh'
Emily "Hopefully he wasn't dictating a letter"

Raleigh wants to fire missiles at the reaver, but Naomi doesn't have gunnery skill, so she calculates a flight path to launch the missile along
Raleigh "Math always wins"