Moving Day/Forced Entry

(GM's note: Moving Day is my own adventure, Forced Entry was originally written for the Aliens RPG by Roman J. Andron and appeared in Challenge Magazine #62)

Repairs
1/6/2518
The Britannia lands on New Melbourne in need of repairs and work. Naomi works on repairing the body damage to Shuttle 2, and accidentally cuts a structural member and makes her job twice as big. Silas drafts Junior to help with permanent repairs to the hull where the ship was hit by grenades on Whittier. Captain Windsor and Cid go to town looking for work and Ruan takes advantage of the down time to play tourist. The captain and Cid return in the afternoon, Cid is protesting the cargo and the captain says it is a better choice than the job Cid found, it's Cid fault that there's a problem and he'll have to deal with it.
The captain asks if repairs are complete, Silas says yes and so does Naomi, but she's lying. The captain says that's good, tomorrow they take on cargo for Bernadette and will depart once its loaded. Everyone starts planning for departure, Naomi rushes to finish repairs. The next day they take on two cargoes of lumber and fish and leave for Bernadette. The captain decides Naomi needs more practice and after she plots the course, he has her lift off. She does an adequate but not great job and Cid hovers nearby, practically biting his fingernails. A couple days into the journey, Junior hears a whistling in the forward stairwell to the cargo bay. He calls the captain and Silas up, turns out one of the hull patches wasn't quite tight. Silas takes care of it. When they drop out of pulse drive, Cid takes Shuttle 2 and flies off to Santo to look up Silas' gunsmith contact to get some more ammunition for his Auto Lock. With Cid away, Windsor has Naomi land and again she does a barely adequate job (Raleigh rolled a seven both times).

Moving Day
The crew gets some time off on Bernadette, Ruan goes to a hoverbike race and the ark museum. He buys a new souvenir, a "snow globe" with an ark inside, but instead of snow, it fills with little asteroids when you shake it. Naomi and Junior go shopping for spare parts, Naomi needs to replace one of the missiles for the secret shuttle upgrades. On the second day, the captain returns with two strangers, a young, cheerful asian woman in mechanic's coveralls and an older white man in a suit. The captain calls the crew together and explains that they have a new job, but something a little odd. He introduces the man, Dr. Chun. He is the leader of a group of settlers heading out to Newhall in Blue Sun. They have a converted Jo Lynn freighter to carry the settlers and some of their cargo. They are hiring the Britannia to carry the heavy equipment. The problem is they do not have a full crew for the Jo Lynn. The young woman is their mechanic, Lothel. They need a pilot and another mechanic and Dr. Chun could use a medical assistant. So, Cid will fly the settler's ship, Naomi will go along to help Lothel, Ruan will assist Dr. Chun in administering vaccinations to the settlers and Junior will go along as general assistant. Captain Windsor and Silas will fly the Britannia. (GM's note: Lee and Kevin were out of town and originally Michael couldn't make it, so splitting the crew into two ships was just a plot device. Then Michael called right as we started that he was free and was on his way over) The following morning cargo is loaded onto the Britannia and everyone packs up gear for the trip. Everyone is extra concerned and load up on extra weapons from the locker and lots of extra gear, armor and explosives. Cid returns in the shuttle and leads his crew to the other ship, the Paquin Nomad. As feared, it is old, smaller than a Firefly and not impressive. She is a little faster than a Firefly though. The crossing will take 12 days, the Britannia will take 15. It's one last trip for the ship, on Newhall the settlers will dismantle her for parts. With the settler families aboard, Naomi plots them a course and Cid lifts off, heading for Blue Sun.

Problems, Problems, Problems
Its a lot of people stuffed in an old ship and problems crop up promptly for both ships. Three days out of port, the Nomad's primary buffer panel breaks off and in a stunning display of bad luck, hits the nav-sat antenna array. The ship loses navigation and communications as the nav-sat antenna shorts out the comm system. Cid is almost deafened by feedback in the comm system. Naomi, Lothel and Ruan go outside to make repairs and get the ship back on course. On the next day, the Britannia has a pulse drive failure, the gravity rotor lost power, dropping them out of pulse drive. Repairs put them a day behind schedule. With not much to do, Junior is bored and strikes up a conversation with one of the settler's wives and ends up spending some "quality time" in one of the lifeboats…
A few days later Cid notices that the ship is using fuel faster than expected. The engine readings look good so it must be a leak. They find some of the settler kids "finger painting" on a frosty wall panel; the leak was behind it.
Finally they make orbit at Newhall, but instead of being able to land directly on the settlers' claim, all ships are directed to land at the port. Adding insult to injury, the local port authority is charging 50% extra, even though the ship is not getting fueled or serviced. When the port officers come by to inspect the settler's deed, they are notified that it will be a few days to process and verify, in the meantime they are stuck in port. Its obviously a transparent attempt to force the settlers to spend extra money in the port. Since Cid, Junior and Lothel all despise the Alliance, it takes very little prompting for them to go find a Purple Belly bar to let out some frustrations. Ruan comes also and Naomi goes along to drink, since she never turns down a chance to drink. They pile into the bar and Junior picks his mark and uses his political science knowledge to goad one of the Purple Bellys into throwing the first punch. Which he does, clocking Junior upside the head with a beer mug. Cid and Lothel pile on, with Ruan watching and helping out once in a while. They drop their foes and try to convince the bar tender not to call the cops. Junior robs his opponent, takes half his cash and gives the rest as a tip. Cid pays the tab and tips heavily also and the bar tender tells them to come back anytime.
Once the papers are processed, the ship lifts and flies to the claim. The Britannia arrives shortly thereafter and the crew is reunited. Cargo and settlers are offloaded and they wish them well. The crew returns to the Britannia with Lothel as a passenger, part of the deal included a paid trip back for her. They hop across system to New Canaan and after a day or two of rest they depart for Beaumonde in Kalidasa with a cargo of grain.

Forced Entry
Four days out of New Canaan, Captain Windsor detects what looks like a derelict. He calls Cid to the bridge and they work the contact and Cid maneuvers them alongside. Its a fairly new ship, a Type J medium transport. Her reactor is running, but she's drifting, no signal. As they come alongside, they see the outer airlock has been blown and there is grappler damage to the hull. It looks like she was attacked and boarded. Ruan attempts to Read for life signs and says there's no one alive. The captain decides to explore and sends Cid, Naomi, Ruan, Junior and Lothel to investigate. Cid flies Shuttle 2 over to the derelict while Windsor moves the Britannia a safe distance away. Suited up, Cid makes a free flight dive across the gap, somersaults midway and lands feet first on the other ship. Ruan jets across with his EVA flight pack and secures a line so Junior and Lothel can come across. Naomi remains at the shuttle's controls. Looking at the airlock, the inner hatch has a hole cut in it, probably by scrappers' gel. There is blood on the deck inside, but the power and gravity are still on. Weapons ready, they ease through into the ship, entering her lounge. The see blood everywhere and bullet holes in the walls. Someone put up a fight, but there are no bodies. Equipment lockers stand open revealing the crew's armory and space suit lockers, but it doesn't appear that the ship was looted. Junior snags an assault rifle and ammunition pouch from the armory and they investigate the bridge. More blood, more damage, no bodies.
The team tries to figure it out. If it was reavers, they wouldn't have looted the ship, but where are the bodies? If it was just pirates who might have kidnapped the crew, why didn't they loot? The weapons in the locker are brand new and high quality, so are the space suits and other emergency gear. Lothel tries to get the ship's logs up, but some of the ship systems, especially the communication system, are offline. The ship is listed as the Osiris Clipper, it left Meridian almost a month ago.
Ruan leads the way aft, checking the empty and unused passenger quarters, then into the crew quarters. In the sickbay, they finally find a body of an injured crewman. It looks like he was injured, then got into a suit and headed for sickbay before dying of his wounds. Where is everyone else? They head down to the cargo bay, which is still pressurized (GM's note: I forgot to emphasize to the players they passed through an airlock heading down). The cargo bay is full of shipping containers with aisles running between the rows. As Ruan heads forward, he sees something dark moving. But he still can't Read anyone. Naomi begins picking up a complex transmission from inside the ship, maybe telemetry? She records it to send to Citizen Wraith, her hacker friend. Ruan climbs on top of the cargo canisters to see what is going on and the team is attacked by a robot!! It is a dark, man sized machine with arms and legs. It does not carry any weapons or seem to have any loaded internal guns, but it does have retractable blades in its arms and it attacks Cid, slicing his suit open and wounding him. Cid and Lothel shoot it and Ruan fires from above. The machine attacks Cid again then turns towards Ruan. Their combined gunfire finally stops it and Cid shoots it a few more times with his Auto Lock to be sure. Ruan comes down to take care of Cid's wounds and Junior goes back upstairs to get Cid a new suit from the ship's supplies. While they are taking care of Cid, a cargo container opens and three more robots emerge. Naomi reports lots more telemetry signals. Cid hastily dons the replacement suit as the robots surround them. Junior arms a mag-charge and lobs it into the center of the robots, shutting them down, but also killing everyone else's suits and most of their guns. The team falls back and evacuates to the shuttle. Naomi backs away from the ship while they reconsider. Suddenly, there is an explosion in the cargo bay, ripping it in half and shredding the forward section. The damage causes the reactor to spike and it blows up, reducing the stern half to molten confetti. Deciding that there's probably nothing left, they return to the ship and get underway to Kalidasa again.

(GM's notes: "Forced Entry" was originally written for the Aliens RPG and the players are sent to recover a damaged ship which has a cargo of escaped xenomorphs in it, which are hiding out after killing the crew. Its a large ship, so lots of investigation, then running to try to get out. Obviously I couldn't use it as is. After a lot of thinking, I came up with the idea that it was a Blue Sun corporation ship transporting a unit of illegal war robots. The ship was attacked by reavers, but one of the crew escaped and activated a robot and sent it to kill the reavers. After the reavers were dead, he detached the reaver ship and ordered the robot to space the bodies. But he died of his wounds and after not receiving any more orders, the robot returned to its storage unit to go into sleep mode. When the crew boarded, it woke up and attacked. The team destroyed the robot, but it sent out a distress signal and three more robots woke up. The robots were being shipped in a testing and repair unit. When the robots started up, they sent telemetry to the repair unit which forwarded it to headquarters. When the corporation that owned it realized that their illegal war machines had been activated after missing for a month and then destroyed, they sent a self destruct command…)

Quotes and Smart Remarks
Before the game, discussing the ARK: Survival Evolved video game
Matt "Our biggest problem is the Spinosaurus; they live down the street"

The new kitten is running around getting into things
Allison "If he's in my purse when I leave, its not my fault"

Discussing how Emily's assassin character looks at problems as something to be solved with his gun
Raleigh "When you're a hammer, all the world looks like a nail. That needs to be double-tapped"
Emily "In the head"

Raleigh "Panic is my muse"

Matt "I could shave Silas' moustache <in his sleep>"
Jim "And your next character will be?"

Discussing the settler families aboard ship and concerns of food supplies
Emily "Its not the Donner party"

Cid is deafened temporarily and Emily rolls a 22 on First Aid
Michael "I can hear other people's thoughts!"

Discussing the low stats of the settlers' ship, a Jo Lynn class, Michael asks how the autopilot is
Jim "It has a d4 Intelligence, so it sucks"
Matt "Its the Jayne of autopilots"

Ruan was crying in his space suit and the tears were drifting in zero G
Jim "Your helmet is a tear snow globe"

Emily rolls a 7 for First Aid
Emily "I didn't kill anyone, but I didn't not kill anyone. Schrodinger's Patient"

Talking about working on new ships
Allison "I miss that new ship smell"
Jim "Old ships smell too"

Cid is thinking about looking for some action with the settler women
Michael "Are any of them trustworthy?"
Emily "Touch worthy?"

Discussing educating a client about rabbit sex and that they will mate with siblings
Emily "They're like the Lannisters, haven't you seen Game of Thrones?"

Naomi is defending the high port fees at Newhall
Raleigh "Don't you know where your tax dollars go?"
Michael "Secret assassin schools"
Matt, pointing at Emily "That steal children"

Originally Allison's character was really impressed by Naomi and Allison was thinking about taking the Hero Worship complication and following Naomi around.
Allison "I wanted to rip her skin off and wear it"
Jim "You don't say that in Blue Sun…"

Cid inspected the ship's two small life boats, gave one a 7 and the other a 9 out of 10. Then Junior used one for his affair.
Allison "That's why that lifeboat got a 7"

Looking for cargo on New Canaan, which is known for its bourbon
Matt "Could the cargo be bourbon and the ship be my belly?"

Rolling initiative
Matt "Chmiel" He rolled a nine, Mike rolled a lot of nines and yelled "Nine!" in a bad German accent when he did.
Michael "Chmiel plus one" He got a ten
Emily "Eleven"
Jim "So Chmiel plus two"
Allison "Eighteen"
Raleigh "Chmiel times two"

Allison has been playing her mechanic as young and relatively inexperienced, someone who is constantly excited by new experiences and taking selfies.
Allison "I've never done this before!" repeatedly.
When the war robot attacks
Allison "My first assassin robot!"
Cid is stabbed twice and Lothel tries to repair his suit
Jim "My first suit patch!"
Raleigh "My first casualty!"