Sunday, December 10, 2023

CHV Natani: Getting Into Trouble

The CHV Natani is my White Star campaign where my players are the ragtag crew of a small starship trying to eke out a living in deep space. In Session 1, my PCs formed a crew and planned a journey to haul 72 tons of alien crustaceans to Cascadia where the crew's aspiring rock star Iria Ocano has a chance to compete in Deathmatch of the Stars.

Along the wya, Leedo, the ship's medic is hunting a bounty on a tiny lizard-like alien named Dr. K'twik, an "archaeologist" who has defrauded institutions, stolen artifacts, and sabotaged historical sites across the galaxy.

Session 2: Nov. 13th: Refuelling the Yszwa

 Once the Natani was finally out of Veles Station with supplies to refuel the Yszwa (a stranded frigate) and a contract to scan an asteroid belt, Captian Kuna finds himself puzzling over how exactly to assign duties, giving the PCs to compare skills and inclinations.

The ship's crew roster ended up as thus:

  • Kuna - the bewildered captain
  • Roth - an extremely handsome shirtless Stevedore
  • Iria - an equally bewildered steward
  • Ciara - Comms and Ops (she might actually be competent)
  • Pavo - Ship's engineer
  • Tazik - Gunner
  • Leedo - the shadiest ship's medic out there.

Once duties are (kind of) assigned, the Natani set forth to the edge of the Veles System to render aid to the Yszwa, a ship that just happened to have Dr. K'twik, a valuable bounty that could pay for Leedo to get his laser rifle out of Hoc.

During transit, Ciara picked up a strong signal from the Scramble Net, a secret quantum communications net used by pirates, smugglers, and roughnecks who want to get off the main grid.

Ciara managed with the help of her Hot Box supercomputer she managed to get a connection to the local Scramble Net system board, where she learned about a missing tramp asteroid miner and short-hauler. Several of the rogue colonies in the second asteroid ring are desperately seeking them as they were carrying vital supplies. They were presumed lost while mining unclaimed sections of the 'belt. This ship, the Arnold Rimmer, was badly missed, and the community was offering rewards for its discovery.

After several hours of travel they reached the the Yzwa and connected them by umbilical. The crew were polite, but odd. Aside from the Tauian crew, the ship had two passengers, Dr. K'twik and a wandering Yabnab shaman. As Roth moved hover pallets of reaction matter and sealed antimatter, the crew invited Ciara and Tazik to a game of cards,

Leedo, meanwhile offered to do complimentary checkups on the stranded crew, starting with Dr. K'twik, whom he said "Didn't look so nice."

Leading him across the umbilical, Leedo tried jumping K'twik the moment he was through the Natani's airlock, only to suddenly be lifted into the air and bashed aganst the airlock by a potent telekinetic force as K'twik's eyes began to glow, and the tiny alien started screaming commands to disable the crew.

The entire complement of the Yzswa suddenly snapped ioot a trance and attacked Ciara, Tazik, and Roth. 

Combat Round 1

Leedo is used to taking hits and manages to brace for the blow, as K'twik slammed him aginst the roof of the airlock and then dropped him onto the floor. He lunged at the small alien, and bashed him across the head with the blunt edge of his snap-out talons, but failed to break K'twik's concentration.

Tazik managed  to grapple one of the crew as she came at him with an ion stick, holding them off. Roth used his own psionic powers on one of the crew, causing them to change which 'Master' they were murmuring "Yes Master" to, and tackled their captain.

The little yabnab, however slipped under the Chaos and sank its teeth into Ciara's leg, even as she rushed to a nearby terminal and started trying to hack into the Yszwa's defence systems.

Hearing the Chaos over the comms, Iria rushed to the command station to help Kuna figure out what is going on only to both take not of a small squad of labor drones fire up cutting torch and swarm towards the Natani.

Combat Round 2

wise to the incoming psychic attack, leedo braced himself against a bulkhead and avoided being hurled again, allowing him a chance to kick Dr. k'twik in the head,

Roth's hypnotized crewmate obviously had some repressed rage against the crew as she knocks out a second crewmate as Tazik subdues the crewmate that attacked him. Kicking the Yabnab off before it can sink its teeth into a more sensitive part, Ciara managed to hack into the Yzwa's controls.

Kuna sends the Natani's two much larger mining drones out to intercept the incoming labor drones, blocking two of them. Mercifully one of the Yszwa's other drones loses guidance and starts flying off into space.

Iria, not knowing what else to do gets her guitar and turns on the commlink...

Combat Round 3

Iria begins shredding into the comm system a series of notes designed to shock almost anyone awake; it works! the crew of the Yszwa suddenly fall out of their trance grabbing their ears in surprise.

Before he can reassert power, Leedo knocks Dr. K'twik unconscious and stuffs him into a cryotube posthaste.

The crew of the Yszwa showers apologies onto the Natani's personnel, and turns over K'twik's possessions (as well as a strange apology totem from the Yabnab,) as they depart, Ciara runs a powerful scan of the Asteroid belt and catches a ping of a fading distress signal fot a split second from the Belt...

Intuiting that a moving asteroid probably blocked the signal, Ciara used the ship's computer to calculate an area where they would have had a line of sight for only a spit second in the right area, and labelled it as an approximate location for the Arnold Rimmer.  It wasn't exactly on the way to the asteroid sectors they intended to scan, but it was close enough to be "on the way."

Session 3: November 20th: Attack of the Giant Space Squid

Directing the ship towards the suspected last location of the Arnold Rimmer, the Natani dicovers a strange woder: iridescent amber naodules - organic, and radioactive, forming inside the crevices of many of the asteroids, or floating in small masses across the asteroid belt.

A mining drone belonging to the Arnold Rimmer was found drifting in space, it's systems gummed up with the same resin. They had Pavo build a jetpack system for himself and fly out to fetch the drone (realizing that there were practically no space suits aboard.) They checked its navigational computer to figure out the last known "Return to Home" course transmitted to the drone by the Arnold Rimmer before it vanished.

Following this virtual trail, they found a massive globule of the crystal the size of a whale. Scanning it up close with the ship's mining drones they note a shape within. Back-lighting it, they can see the profile in the crystal of a ship.

Working a hunch, the crew colleted a small fragment to analyze, and discovers that it is highly volatile, making it a potential fuel, and not wise to laser unless you carefully set the frequency.

After taking the time to adjust the lasers on the mining drones, they cut a tunnel to the vessel's airlock, and verified by markings that it was indeed the Arnold Rimmer, The PCs connected the umbilical to the ship, as they tasked Roth with bringing the 7-ton plug of amber into the cargo hold.

On board the Arnold Rimmer, the crew moved carefully through the ship's airlock into teh main hull of the Arnold Rimmer: eerily silent, and with encrustations of amber everywhere.

As they spread out over the central hub room, a writhing squid-like alien dropped on Ciara's heac and began dribbling a caustic substance. With difficulty they pulled it off her head, threw it across the room, and shot it.

Turning on the portable sensor tools to look for life signs, they detect a massive, moving swarm of life in the lower decks of the ship, far too massive and confusing to be the crew. They make darned sure those doors are sealed shut before heading to the bridge to discover the partially-dissolved corpse of the captain of the Arnold Rimmer and his incomplete final ship's log.

From the log they learn that the crew tried testing the combustibility of the amber and found that it was full of ova that hatched when exposed to the intense heat and radiation of exploding resin. The players practically rushed over each other to radio Roth and tell him to throw out that cylinder of resin.

Hoping to make the Arnold Rimmer safe, the PCs decided to remotely vent the atmosphere, causing hundreds of young alien squid-creatures to be blasted into space. Roth suddenly doubling over from the resulting psychic impulses immediately let the PCs know their mistake; the creatures were evolved to survive the vacuum of space, feeding on radiation, and used limited psionics for both sensoty and communication. Now they were outside of their prison... and calling for mama.

Beating a hasty retreat, the PCs opened up with heavy laser fire to discourage the young ones from following them, only to find themselves on an intercept course with a 60m-long adult member of the species. 

Kuna and Pavo both used their respective skills to push the engine of the Natani as hard and fast as they could as Tazik attempted to scare the monster off - the ships Medium laser really only seemed to make it angrier, as it hurled shards of radioactive resin at them with incredible telekinetic force.

As they wove through the asteroid bet, Ciara created a virtual map of predicted courses of the asteroid belt, helping Kuna avoid potentially fatal collisions as the creature pelted their force fields with its globules.

Desperate to help, Iria and Leedo rushed to the bay and rigged a bomb out of the salvaged drone, aiming its own deregulated laser at the most resin-coated parts of it, then hurled it out of an airlock.

The blast of the self-destructing drone blew the squid to massive fleshy chunks just as they breched the upper plane of the belt into open space.

From there the Natani carried on to do its routine scans as Ciara composed a message with the last logs of the Arnold Rimmer, documentation on the threat of the Space Squid, and maps to the wreck. Logging back onto the Scramble Net, she shared it with some of the most worried parties searching for the lost ship.

Once the scans were complete, they set course for the Ice Pirate colony of Veles VIII for resupply.


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