Motes in the Serpent's Eye

Shakedown Cruise (Part Three)
Closed Ecosystems

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Sabotage!! Having survived a Starcaster mis-jump and their ship’s resultant random emergence into a stellar corona, our heroes deal with the consequences of the vandalism that has been done to the Speaks Softly and come to terms with being nearly a thousand light years off course.

Excerpted from the personal logs of Samai “Sam” Victore Wolff, Sensors Calibration & Flight Command Systems Technician, RES Speaks Softly:
“…was able to spend the extra week of leave free-climbing on the southern continent of Aleding with Rahvi – Glorious! Breathtaking vistas! I was lucky to get cleared for travel there. I’ll leave a bit of my heart behind in those mountains with him. Such a sweet man, but we put the extra time to good use. It was a bittersweet goodbye for a lot of reasons. Then to come home to find the Speaks turned upside down! Half the crew is GONE, reassigned! At least my besties, Elly and the Kitty are still here. Scrappy as well. And the Cap’s still in charge, which makes things seen a little more normal, although he’s in a mood, all sour-faced like he’s found a dead mouse at the bottom of his coffee. Can’t say I blame him, what with all the scaleys and ‘mechs filling out the compliment now – it’s like a impy ship! What the Void is going on? They even pulled the Exploration Team and replaced them with a bunch of, well, to be frank, a bunch of uptight research types who treat us like taxi drivers. Yevon is still here and still Flight Officer – wtf is up with that? Yeah, stick is still firmly up her arse (still say she needs a good shag), but they passed her over for XO? And with a Noros mutt who pretty obviously has no command experience? Yeah, he’s nice and not as uptight as most scaleys, but Come On!…”


Characters Attending:
Bishop-1, Dr. Eon Rose, Ditak Kirrin, Dr. Nodagil Maaran, Ereyie Wel, Lord AcRei Burü C’Ge “Pei’Fa”, Lord Rwvyan Nenoic, Lord Serpentce Z’Entropyse Augenmanthias, Lady Kotonaru, and RC-880 “Durendal”.


Session Summary:
TBA

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Captain's Log II
Adventure Recap

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Captain’s Log; RES Speaks Softly, 5041.107.3 I.E; Captain Ni Shen Xau recording.
The Speaks Softly has been the target of a murderous sabotage attempt. One of her repair bots was modified to insert a computer virus into the Starcaster AstroNav, designed to scramble coordinate calculations and thereby forcing a teleport mishap. It seems likely that this was done sometime during the refit at Andrin Station, but we can only conjecture at this time. A second virus was placed in the life support system, its purpose to cause a CO2 scrubber failure within hours after a mis-jump. This makes it pretty clear that the intent was to destroy the ship and crew. Only chance, the quick reactions of my crew and a little blessing from the Twelve prevented the saboteur’s complete success. We emerged from our teleport in an unknown system, at the fringe of a stellar corona, sustaining heavy damage from the solar radiation. The Speaks Softly is currently safe and relatively intact, but lost and temporarily stranded until repairs can be affected. We have multiple minor casualties, but no fatalities, thank The Mother. Second Engineer Scrapnik Fritzwhindle suffered serious injuries, however, and is not currently fit for duty. Special commendations to Chief Engineer Bishop-1, First Helmsman Ereyie Wel, Dr. Nodagil Maaran of the Science Team, Quarter Master Lady Kotonaru and Lord Serpentce Z’Entropyse Augenmanthias for their actions during the critical minutes after the mishap. Without their quick thinking the Speaks Softly could easily have been lost with all hands or at the very least casualties would have been more serious. The crew have worked through the night shift to assess the full extent of our damage. A full damage report has been filed. Navigator Telliar Killaen has reported that after searching all night she has finally located a recognized navigational marker star and should have our exact location shortly. The marker is a pulsar designated Manticore N-273, which likely puts us in the outer portion of Domain Osorus, possibly as far out as the Coreward Reach. With our sensors impaired, we are currently only able to get incomplete information on the system, but we have identified a tundra class habitable world. There are no signs of a technically advanced civilization present. We have also picked up an unidentified radio beacon originating from a gas giant in far solar obit, Flight Officer Yevon Si and Sensors Tech Samai Wolff both concur that the origin is likely a station in orbit around the gas giant. We are running silent until we have more information regarding to who or what the station may belong. For all we know, it may be an illegal gas mining operation, or a pirate or smuggler base of operations. I’ll not put the ship and crew in further peril until we are in better shape for a possible fight. I’ve ordered mandatory sack time for the majority of the crew so we all have clear heads to focus on getting the Speaks Softly back on her feet. End entry.

Personal Log; 5041.107.3 I.E
Someone tried to kill my ship and crew. And they came damned close. This wasn’t a fight, it was an out and out assassination attempt. I. Am. Seriously. Pissed. Off. The potential fallout from Dr. Rose’s little expedition far exceeds what I originally supposed – someone out there is determined that her research does not reach completion. And you can be damn well certain that their next shot at us will be even nastier. We’ve got some breathing room though – whoever they are, they have no way of knowing that we survived – for now. It was sheer dumb luck we didn’t wind up inside a star or a million light years in the void instead of just on the other side of the Empire, gasping out our last on carbon dioxide. Still, there are enough indications that this entire mission was put together by a coalition of factions, which means they might not all be entirely on board with the mission. Baronet Gemshadow is Rose’s sponsor, so its likely that anything from him is on our side – he could have just had her research suppressed long ago if he were set against it. But the other Qesemet Houses that are involved might just be playing a long game. And with all the other potential players entangled in this I think it safe to consider any data security out the airlock, so we might have Asamet or an aristocorp involved as well. The ship’s company was already looking at each other sideways before the mis-jump, now I can see them beginning to eye one another with a glint of suspicion. The old crew is solid, I’d bet my life on it – Hell, I have a few times already. But what about the new crew? Durendal is straight from Gemshadow, so I think I can trust him. My gut tells me Nenoic is trustworthy even if my head says not, so that means Kotonaru is probably clean as well. Bishop, Zanogg, Greensleeves and Telliar are the potential weak spots, if I was going to insert someone on the crew, it’d be one of them. The drow is way too obvious – I think he’s here to distract from the real spy, if there is one, or to be the potential fall guy if it all hits the fan. The clown car of a science team is way too screwed up for me to tell yet. The only one I can be sure of there is Dr. Rose herself, which I find immensely irritating. Maybe her bodyguard, but he’s another whole bundle of badly packed explosives. I’m going to have to keep my eyes open and my cards close – like I’m playing Doc Keystone for stakes.

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Shakedown Cruise (Part Two)
Limiting Factors

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Wherein our intrepid adventurers begin to realize just how many crocodiles there are in the tub…

Ship’s Log; RES Speaks Softly, 5041.106.3 I.E. Flight Officer Yevon Si recording.
We are currently still in the Casenore system, outbound from Andrin Station, 1.2 AUs out from Aelding. Our current heading is 182.3 mark 340 @ 1/4 impulse. Captain Ni Shen has us in a low use outbound traffic lane while final system checks and calibrations are completed. Nearest sensor contact is four light minutes aft, an OX30 freighter. Engineering reports that they have successfully compensated for the new environmental …challenges of the Biology Lab and have installed filters and an ‘air wall’ to deal with airborne contaminants. First shift should be coming on duty in a few minutes. End entry.


Characters Attending:
Bishop-1, Dr. Eon Rose, Ditak Kirrin, Dr. Nodagil Maaran, Ereyie Wel, Lord AcRei Burü C’Ge “Pei’Fa”, Lord Rwvyan Nenoic, Lord Serpentce Z’Entropyse Augenmanthias, Lady Kotonaru, and RC-880 “Durendal”.


Session Summary:
After spending two days taking a leisurely heading away from Andrin Station and Aelding, the crew of the RES Speaks Softly is now confident in the upgrades and alterations made to the ship. Before they can starcast out of the Casenore system however, they are overtaken by a high speed personnel shuttle under hard acceleration. This proves to be the enigmatic and up until now noticeably absent ‘Political Officer’. The crew picks up Ditak Kirrin, Commander, ISPD, a drow with a chip on his shoulder and grudgingly settles the new officer on board. The integration of the science team and new crew members continues with a few bumps, while the Captain and Dr. Rose work on ironing out the cooperative kinks between the two teams. With starcaster and sensor calibration completed, the Speaks Softly makes the first jump of its new mission, beginning a series of three relatively short teleports heading towards their first destination, Aranal in the Gulinar system, ancient home of the pre-imperial Forongorn Confederation, 138 light years from Casenore. However, the starcaster teleport experiences a catastrophic mishap and the Speaks Softly emerges from jump within a star’s corona! Only the skill of the crew and a certain amount of luck manage to save the ship from being reduced to a smoldering ember of molten debris. Second Engineer Scrapnik Fritzwhindle was severely injured when Chief Bishop-1 was forced to flood the starboard engineering compartment with reactor coolant in an effort to prevent an explosion of the hydrogen fuel cell, but Lady Kotonaru was able to rescue him in time for clerical resuscitation to be effective. Once the ship is a relatively safe distance from the stellar primary and is no longer in immediate peril, the crew begins to assess the damage and attempt to determine their location. Working with the engineering staff, Lord Serpentce discovers a software virus planted within the Starcaster AstroNav, meant to scramble any teleport coordinates. Navigator Telliar Killaen, visibly shaken by the teleport mishap, frantically struggles to identify the region of space they now find themselves in while the rest of the crew begins to compile a damage report and take stock of their surroundings.

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Shakedown Cruise (Part One)
Unnatural Selection

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Wherein our rather unusual group of heroes congregate for the first time.

…Casenore Star System
…Aelding, the Throneworld of House Sarava
…Mount Rimidil Skyhook Station
…5041.104 (local equivalent of Friday)

Excerpt from Andrin Station Shipyard records:
“… Refit of R.E.S. Speaks Softy complete. Shipyard personnel are finishing final checks and disembarking. Captain Ni Shen Xau assumed command at 06:30 hrs. Crew loading expected to be completed by 13:00 hrs with Speaks Softly clearing dock by 18:30 hrs. Moorings clean-up and maintenance scheduled to follow…<rem> Glad this one’s off the docket, Jim, now let’s get it the hell out of here and grab some ale! <rem>"


You arrive on the throneworld of House Sarava via the Long Road, most of you traveling on public transports from other throneworlds. The skyscape of changes abruptly, giving way to the brilliant night sky of Aelding as the vehicle passes through one of the Road’s portals, and the dark silhouettes of tall mountains, brightly lit eyries at their peaks, replace your view out the window. You leave the transport at the next stop and catch a public rail to Mount Rimidil Skyhook Station, on the equator. Mt. Rimidil is the highest peak at that latitude, reaching upwards to the bright moving lights in the dark field above. From its summit, a thin thread of gleaming black shoots straight into the sky, hundreds of tiny lights crawling up and down its length until it pierces the shining oval of the cloud city of Vespar, miles above. As the train climbs up the mountain the far off aircraft and gleaming silver hides that surround the city like a cloud of sparkling midges flash pink and red as they catch the first rays of a sunrise that is still hours away for the ground-bound in the valleys below. The dark thread continues on, rising from the top of the suspended metropolis, still crawling with tiny lights, up and up into the lightening blackness above, where it finally disappears into a tiny bright point from which a glittering filigree extends in all directions, as if to mark your destination – Andrin Station. As the train nears the summit of the mountain, the sprawling ground station of the Skyhook grows, as does the black ‘thread’ rising to infinity, finally revealing itself as a huge, one-hundred foot thick cable of bundled nano-carbon fiber, every single inch covered with gleaming, faintly luminescent runic etchings. The tiny crawling lights now resolve into massive, thirty-ton elevators, screaming up and down the length of the impossibly massive column, rocketing upwards at perhaps four or five gees. Following one up with your eyes as it launches, it seems to slow and shrink as it’s bulk and speed is diminished, made inconsequential by the sheer size of the towering, insane black rope to the sky that it dares to climb. Every citizen of the empire knows that the silver dragons of House Sarava possess immense wealth and power, but this entire construct – the mountain, the skyhook, the floating capital city, the sprawling, gigantic shipyards in geosynchronous orbit above – all of it is just one poignant, and very pointed statement as to the phenomenal scale of that wealth and power. It says, with magnificent eloquence, “Don’t fuck with us.”


Characters Attending:
Lord Rwvyan Nenoic, Lord Serpentce Z’Entropyse Augenmanthias, Bishop-1, Dr. Eon Rose, Dr. Nodagil Maaran, Lord AcRei Burü C’Ge “Pei’Fa”, and Lady Kotonaru.


Session Summary:
Pressed by a brisk and seemingly overly eager Port Authority, the crew, both new and old, of the RES Speaks Softly board and take possession of the vessel. Working together, they are able to meet the ambitious loading and departure schedule imposed upon them with only a few issues. The captain tests his new executive officer and puts the screws to his team, and the ship detaches from dock on time. Because of the extensive upgrades and changes to the Speaks Softly, he chooses to set a leisurely course to the edge of the Casenore system so that the crew has time to settle in, calibrate systems and shake out any bugs. The crew and some of the science team meet and mix that evening in the lounge to mingle and bond over the latest regional X-Crawl competition. Quarters are assigned and after a bout of poison ivy passes through some of the personnel, adjustments to the biology lab are made. The ship is performing well and system checks are nearly complete – but still no sign of the mysterious ‘Political Officer’ The command staff appear less than heart broken by this.

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Independence Day Weekend
Finishing Character Creation

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Wherein we gather to eat, drink, complete character creation and generally be merry! (Did I mention eating & drinking?). If we make some progress on characters, I’d like to do some RP as well!

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Captain's Log I
Campaign Prologue

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Captain’s Log; RES Speaks Softly, 5041.97.8 I.E.; Captain Ni Shen Xau recording.
The Speaks Softly is now in her third week of a scheduled month long maintenance and refit layover at the Aelding Shipyards, her crew on extended leave for the time. While still swarming with engineers and technomancers, today I was finally able to take a brief tour and walk her decks for the first time in nearly two weeks. To my eye, there appears to be some deviation from the planned upgrades, but as my Chief Engineer isn’t due back until the day after tomorrow, I have put in a formal request to the yard management for updated specs. The new Starcaster and its linked astronav computer are in place and technicians are completing the final installation tomorrow. My inspection has been cut short, however, as I have finally received word from RESHQ in response to my queries regarding my crew disposition. I am to report to Headquarters on Meneer directly and in person. My maglev train on the Long Road departs within the hour, so I must exit with haste and leave the Speaks Softly in the capable hands of the shipyard once more. End entry.

Personal Log; 5041.98.1 I.E.
I should have known something was up when they quartered me in the cloud city of Vespar for the duration of the refit rather than in Andrin Station. Rear Admiral Telzron Kimmuren met me himself at train station once I was on Meneer, escorting me to an RES flyer. The old bastard didn’t give up a hint the entire flight out to RESHQ, just chatted me up with small talk. At least he fed me before dropping the ball. Having been on four different throneworlds, experiencing as many different time zones, gravities and weather systems in less than three hours, my internal clock was completely baffled, communicating that confusion angrily to my stomach. Been a while since I’ve experienced Road Lag. After a surprisingly pleasant but uninformative meal he sequestered me in his office along with a very well dressed copper half-dragon, who, of course, got my name wrong. I like to think there was the ghost of a smile on the Rear Admiral’s face as I gently corrected the noble. Only after very politely inquiring after my health and the agree-ability of my abrupt trip from Aelding did Lord Angkar Quirin proceed to explain that the Speaks Softly has been ‘requisitioned’ for a special mission on behalf of his patron, a Lord verus sanguis of House Golion. My vessel and crew were to be at House Golion’s disposal rather than returning to normal RES service. Lord Quirin politely expressed his remorse over the inconvenience and assured me that the cooperation of the Royal Exploratory Service and myself would be noted and favorably weighed for future consideration. He then, again politely, excused himself and left the Rear Admiral to relate details and my orders. Telzron may be an old bastard with a reputation for unyielding propriety – but I have to admit his command of invectives is impressive. After he fumed a bit, not-so-candidly echoing my own feelings, he then laid it all out for me in as much detail as to which he’d been made privy. Basically, we’ve recruited to be a taxi. My Explorer Team – along with a sizable portion of my crew! – had been reassigned. They have been replaced with a purely civilian Science Team from the University of Meneer and ‘specially selected’ officers and crew. At least the Rear Admiral had put up enough of a fight that I have been permitted to retain a few officers and crew. I am grateful to him for that. I departed Meneer only a few hours after arriving with my encrypted orders on a datachip and only my pique for company on the long trip back to Aelding. I think that I’m going to crack open the minibar once I’m back at my aggravatingly opulent suite on Vespar. If I’m going to have to play errand boy for the scaly bastards, I’m going to run up their damned tab. They sure as Hell can afford it.

Personal Log; Supplemental.
I have a Gods-Damned Political Officer.

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First Playtest
Character Creation & Rules Test

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Okay, Amy, Joe & I sat down for a little play testing today and discovered a few things. Some questions arose regarding racial Hindrances & Edges, but they should be able to be resolved by some re-writing of the How to Build a Character page. A larger, more glaring issue was revealed when it came time to gear up the created characters. Character funds, available gear, and character wealth issues came out of the discussion that followed. We’ve decided that the I’d buy that for a dollar rule supplement handles all the funding and purchasing power questions that came up. I’ve added that supplement to the campaign dropbox. Joe & I are going to work on a more comprehensive equipment listing while Amy focuses on website legibility, clarity and layout.

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