You are John Holmes, engineer and navigator, recently arrived on planet Zenith to seek refuge from a troubled past. The previous day saw you enlist on a caravan delivering supplies to the town of Dorado Valley. Having survived an attack from indignous carnivorous fauna, you're surveying the dusty, red landscape that slowly passes by the grime-covered windows of the crawler cockpit in which you're currently perched. On your left, driver Erik Hanneke is in the middle of another meandering narrative concerning various ways in which the planet's creatures, air or water could kill you. From the flying leeches you've already encountered, to acidic spitkites, screechworms whose subsonic calls render humans comatose or insane, to the air itself, filled as it is with ferrosilicate algae that provoke anaphylactic shock if ingested and to the poisonous sludge that makes up the planet's water supply. You sigh. Another shithole of a world, another bunch of tall tales about how badass you have to be to live here. Triglava was just like this.Night is falling, and the convoy is still moving at half speed, checking for sinkholes like the one Kowalski's lead crawler nearly fell into 8 hours ago. You're growing tired, your joints feel stiff from spending most of these hours in the (admittedly fairly spaceous, as ground vehicles go, so probably customized) seat. Hanneke seems to share your discomfort, grunting in arthritic pain as the crawler negotiates another pile of debris in the road."We're stopping soon," he turns to you to say, "take a breather, heh, just not without the filters on, eh?" And smiles. It's unsusual for caravans to make camps while in the Rust Belt, he tells you, but since travel speed has been reduced, foreman Lee decided to let the drivers have some rest. Some have set up a campfire alongside the road, with mechs patrolling the perimeter. Others are resting inside the crawlers.>Join the others at the campfire>Bunk up in the cockpit>Other [write in]:
Setting information and various info available on http://pastebin.com/Pq1GBwNEPrevious thread: http://archive.foolz.us/tg/thread/28547302/
>>28959638>Join the others at the campfire
>>28959638>>Join the others at the campfire
>>28959638>>Join the others at the campfirereading last thread, monitoring
>CampfireYou leave the cockpit and stretch your limbs. As you climb down the side ladder, you look towards the campsite. It's being covered with a semi-transparent plastic dome with a hole in the centre. A yurt, used to set up breathable conditions in toxic atmospheres.You join the others just as the air filters in the yurt come online. In a few minutes, the air has been processed enough for you to take off the rebreather. You take a slow breath, straining the air between your teeth. Dust crunches in your mouth. It smells faintly of rust.To your left, the four convoy engineers are sitting in a group of their own, sharing a flask of something. On your right, grim-looking people in fur-trimmed coats show off various guns to each other. You suppose those are the Trackers, experts in wilderness survival and hunting. The one closest to you stows his Chemrail rifle, red-brown camouflage paint covering the casing, into a large holster, and rolls up the sleeves on his jacket. He points at his forearms."See? Two chronos. One on each arm. I have a theory. First years of the settlement, the leeches always came from the left. Everyone got used to that, then Rijkmeyer's expedition went out, and he got hit from the right. Now here's the thing, Rijkmeyer was left handed. He wore his chrono on the right hand." Another Tracker looks at him and nods. "So you think, what, the leeches go for chronometers? Why?" The two-watch wearing Tracker looks up into the translucent ceiling and sighs. "I don't know, man. They're drawn to shiny things? Maybe the ticking attracts them? I have no idea. I'm just testing it out."[1/2]
>>28959933"So what have you found, then, Walt?" A female Tracker in a green parka joins the discussion, "got them all confused?" Walt shrugs. "So far, I've been hit sixteen times. Five from the right, the rest from the left. I dunno what to make of it." The Trackers laugh.Across from you, past the fire, the security staff and drivers are singing quietly. You recognize the tune as "The Valley Burned All Night", a famous war anthem dating back to the infamous last stand of the 363d Armored Assault Division of the Union. A few people draw back, visibly uncomfortable. Some are indifferent. Others join in.>Sing along>Fiddle with the PDA>Talk to someone[2/2]
>>28959937>>Fiddle with the PDA
Rolled 2Rolling for tiebreaker.
>PDAYou briefly consider joining in. The Union may be a bunch of oppressive bastards, but they do know how to make music. None of the League's battle songs ever struck a chord the way "The Valley" did. Too overproduced, too pop, you guess.As one of the engineers produces a guitar the song moves on to the third verse, about the second day of napalm bombing of the valley where the 363d was encamped. You take out your PDA and frown at it, attempting your best busy and serious expression.>You may use the PDA to request in-setting information on any one topic.
>>28960198>Transportation between worlds.
OFF-WORLD TRANSPORTATIONSee also: STARSHIPS, FTLWithin the Central colony worlds of the League and Union, multiple passenger lines run between the busiest ports. The Colonial Travel Advisory Agency strongly recommends booking passage on a reputable shuttle or cruise line rather than signing up for work on private freighters or corporate ships, as many would-be tourists have been known to do. While working the deck, engineering or navigation on a vessel seems an attractive way to move around, tales of travelers being exploited, harassed or robbed of their possessions and stranded on Peripheral worlds abound. Similarly ill-advised is to attempt to travel from League systems into Union systems and vice versa. While passenger travel isn't directly forbidden, both powers have been known to subject travelers to indefinite detention and interrogation. Most solve this problem by taking a detour through neutral systems and staying there for a time before proceeding to the final destination.You close the PDA as the song ends, the last chords muffled against murmuring whispers. Some kind of commotion? You look up to see foreman Lee approaching the fire, flanked by senior drivers and the black-painted "sheriff" mech you saw in action against the leeches. The crowd's attention is drawn to Lee. The engineers quickly stash the flask.[1/2]
>>28960849Lee clears his throat. "Listen up! We got a situation. Got an automated distress call on the company line. Satcom relay station four-bee just broke down, and since we're the nearest convoy we'll be sending a team to perform emergency repairs." He looks down as the crowd makes noises of discontent. "Reliable satcomm is vital to the corporation, so it takes priority. Yeah, I know this will add to our delay, but there's no point in grumbling. It needs doing, we'll get it done." He points to the group of engineers. "I need one engineer to volunteer."The group shrinks from Lee's pointing finger. The oldest engineer harrumphs. "You know I can't go in the dark, foreman," he says in a low tone, "my cybereye goes on the frizz whenever I do." The woman next to him shrugs. "I've already taken all my hazard pay this cycle, foreman. Company won't let me do more walkabouts." The other two excuse themselves similarly, and gradually it dawns on you that they're afraid of going out into the desert drunk, or telling the foreman that they've been drinking on duty. Lee frowns. Then his gaze turns towards you."Holmes!" You have no excuse, and no time to make one up. "You just volunteered. Take one Tracker and two mechs for security and move out ASAP. The tower is in gridpoint 2-5-9 alpha. 'Bout two clicks east.">Actions?
>>28960865Check our inventory.
>InventoryYou are currently in possession of:1x OmniCP PDA with a recently updated Galactapedia database, uplink to local satcom (now unavailable), insufficient credit to make long-distance calls.1x Praxis Precision Instruments multitool. Capable of basic diagnostics and repair of most commonly available electronic devices.1x Krasnikov K-45 directed energy pistol. A close-range weapon, more of a lucky charm than an effective stopping instrument.As you fiddle with your utility belt, the old engineer with the bad cybereye approaches you, dragging his feet. He introduces himself as Ping Wu, and mutters apologetically. "Sorry 'bout that, young man. We'll make it up to you when you get back. You can have the whole bottle, all that's left."While the engineers seem tired and weary of the assignment, the three Trackers around the campfire have stirred into action. Small wonder - hazard assignments like this one is what they get paid for, after all. Two of the Trackers, the man with two watches and the woman you heard talking with him earlier, approach you."So, you'll need a guide to keep the wildlife off your back while you fix the dish, man," Walt muses. "I reckon you'll pick someone with a steady hand and experience in leech hunting. Not some greenhorn that picked jungle camo for a trip to the Rust Belt." He glances over his shoulder towards the woman, who laughs. "Walt, you're overselling yourself just a bit, wouldn't you say? You've hardly been in the Belt, just the mudflats and swamps around the brown zone. The leeches here are different. I've been on this caravan every week for a year, I know my way around. Name's Sam - Samantha Wesdon." She extends a gloved hand towards you.>Pick Walt>Pick Sam
>>28962288>Pick SamAlways trust the one with hands on experience.
>>28962288>Pick SamWelp, I knew something like this would happen if we picked the crawlers. This should be interesting
>SamYou return the handshake. "You've got hands on experience of this route, right? Sounds like just the thing I need." Walt settles down, while you and Sam go over equipment and check rebreathers. As the rest of the caravan staff climb inside crawler cockpits or sleeping bags, you slave two patrol mechs to your PDA and set out into the wilderness, darkness glowing faintly red in your nightvision visor.It's not far to the relay station. Your HUD overlay displays a brightly glowing path to the objective, counting down steps. Still, you can't quite shake the feeling that you're being watched...>roll 1d20
Rolled 17>>28963287That you OP?
>>28963372That I am. Sorry, switched to an ipad and forgot the name.
Rolled 12>>28963287This should be goodLittle late to the party I am but I made it!
Rolled 2>>28963287Rollin thunder!
>>28963372>PASS vs DC = 17The darkness is dense, algae filaments blocking your sensors and interfering with nightvision. Still, even in the thick soup of the Zenith night, you can somehow make out movements, shapes of crawling slug-like things stalking along your path. You mark them as targets for your mechs, who keep the creatures at bay with pinpoint shots, lighting up the dark in brief flashes. Sam picks off two of the critters as well, offering a quick "nicely spotted" comment as you walk.>ask Sam about something>walk on silfently
>>28963776"You're a pretty good shot huh. You said you've been doing this a year? Pardon me for saying what would possess you to want to do it for a year." Joking tone and all that good stuff. Keep the mood light. Maybe learn some more about her while we're at it.
>>28963776>ask Sam about somethingSpecifically her opinion on her weapon, or ones that would be better for us to acquire given our lack of something with ompf. Side note do we have weapons training? If not somehow we should probably figure that out.
>>28963806Sounds good to me.>>28963841Well we have a weapon and i'm sure we know how to shoot it, but at the moment its not that effective.
>>28963939Can weapons be upgraded in this setting?
>>28963806You compliment Sam on her shooting skills, and she thanks you quetly. "It's a living." "So," you start, "if you don't mind me asking, what possesses a person to wander the desert killing leeches for a living? For a whole year?"For a while, you hear only the crunching of filaments underfoot as you walk. Then she replies. "Well, there's not much else to do for fun around here. I suppose you're new, so you haven't seen much of Zenith. It's a big planet with just a couple thousand people spread out over the surface, like butter over too much toast. And with the corps taking over the place, first TRIUNE and now Myrad, it's starting to get downright nasty. I guess taking these caravan jobs are a good way to get away from the bullshit." A sigh. "What possessed you to come here of all places, by way?"You file away that question, to answer for later. To change the subject, you ask about her weapon. It's a TCIR coilgun, fairly reliable but the ammo can get expensive. You ask Sam her opinion on your weapon. She looks at your pistol and laughs. "It's good in a bar brawl, I guess, but here in the wild you need a slug thrower to get through the hides of leeches and the like. You could amp up the power output on it, I guess, for a bit more burn, but you'll lose battery power and range unless you get a collimator."You're getting close to the relay. The dish rises out of the sand, half buried. You set out to inspect the damage.>roll 1d20
Rolled 2>>28964497"Really really shitty toast. That someone dropped in the sand. And burnt in the toaster."Good to know about the gun though. We came here because we needed work as I understand it.
Rolled 16>>28964497Rollin thunder
>PASS vs DC = 15The damage is easy to locate. Part of the exterior casing has been cracked open, sand and dust blown inside by winds, shorting out the electronics inside."This may take a while," you tell Sam. "Got it," she replied. "I'll set up a perimeter.">attempt repairs (DC: Hard)>attempt to investigate source of damage before repairing (DC: Medium, adds time, facilitates subsequent repair attempts)
Rolled 17>>28965065>2Always better to fix the cause rather then just the effect.
Rolled 20>>28965065It's always better to know exactly what damaged it so we can make sure it isn't damaged again
>pausing the quest for 2 hours as I get some dinner.
>>28965384Nice!>>28965389Aw. Well at least we got a 20
>>28965467Clearly whatever it is we find the cause and learn how to fix it in a jiffy!
>>28965600I wonder if it's those slug bastards again.
>Investigate cause of damage: CRITICAL SUCCESSYou quickly sweep away the dust and sediment from the site of the damage. Now you have a clear look at the circuitry and cabling. You lean in to investigate more closely. And that is when you spot something interesting.The panel was sabotaged. The crack in the exterior casing was natural, probably the result of gravel blown about by wind. But inside, two of the main power cables had been cut with a knife, and subsequently worked over to look as if they'd been severed by natural means. This is very good work, professional and extremely hard to spot. You're confident that none of the other engineers in the convoy would have seen through this deception. But you've seen this kind of sabotage before, on Neu-Ruhr, in your semi-official line of work.Repairing the damage proves fairly easy, and you reattach the cables simple enough. Affixing the bent panel, to make sure no more dust seeps in, will take more time and effort.>roll 1d20
Rolled 17>>28966384Sabotage you say...interesting. I wonder who, and why.I'd say we should warn our friend about this when we get a chance.
Rolled 5>>28966384>SabotagedWell this is very interesting indeed
Rolled 16>>28966384Fixin time!
>PASS vs DC: 16You quickly bend the panel into shape and seal it with a bit of spot welding. Though you haven't worked as an engineer for a while, it seems you're settling back into it with speed. It helps that TRIUNE never uses any proprietary hardware for publicly available units. Their circuits are the cheapest and most common on the market.As you finish up, the mechs take out another critter that must have slithered up too close. You pay it little mind, the flash of the weapon discharge quickly dissipating in the corner of your eye.You stand up and motion to Sam. "Looks like I'm done here. Just need to boot it up again and we'll be good to go." She waves back in acknowledgement, and turns to scan the perimeter again. You connect your multitool to the generator. Diagnostics show all clear.But then you pause as an errant thought crosses your mind. Whoever sabotaged the relay might have left some surprises besides just the cut wires. A virus, riding the test signal of the startup sequence, maybe. Or the whole unit could be rigged to blow. It's hard to tell, since you don't know the saboteurs' purpose, their reasons for doing this. Corporate espionage? Eco-terrorism? Some kind of backwater family feud spiraling out of control? You're overthinking this, another thought interjects. It's probably nothing. If you start picking the relay apart, you'll just waste time.>Perform a thorough investigation of the relay (DC: Hard)>Just run the startup sequence
Rolled 6>>28966776>>Perform a thorough investigation of the relay (DC: Hard)Better to be safe than sorry
Rolled 9>>28966776With how it cut sabotaged I think a investigation would be best.You know...so it doesn't explode
Rolled 8>>28966776We got this
Rolled 10>>28966776>>Perform a thorough investigation of the relay (DC: Hard)May or may not be paranoid.
>>28966944>>28966964>>28967010Welp, apparently everything is just fine!
>FAIL vs DC:17You quickly glance over the exposed parts of the relay dish and support struts. No obvious signs of tampering. You set the multitool to detailed diagnostics mode. It still shows all OK. You shrug and flick the main switch to ON. The readout on the multitool springs to life.+++++++++INIT MAIN BOOTPOWER................... OKMOTORS.................. OKCPU......................... OKCHECKING UPLINKTEST SIGNAL SENDING....TEST SIGNAL SENTTEST SIGNAL RECEIVEDALL OKWell, that's that then. You disconnect the multitool and turn your back on the relay. Your work is done, and you haven't exploded. All in all, good work.You head back to the caravan, following in your own footsteps. It doesn't take too long before you spot the glow of the campfire illuminating the yurt where most of the caravaneers have gone to sleep. Foreman Lee is still awake, though, and he looks up at you with bloodshot eyes as you enter the dome.>Tell Lee about the sabotage>Don't tell Lee about the sabotage
>>28967184>>28967184>Tell Lee about the sabotageMight as well
>>28967184>Tell Lee about the sabotage
>Tell Lee"Did you complete the repairs?" He asks, in a low tone. You nod, and reply with a brief description of the problem and the steps you took to fix it. At the end of the sentence, you pause. "There is another thing. While investigating the source of the damage, I found evidence of sabotage."Lee's expression doesn't change. "What kind of evidence?" He asks. You describe your observations, but leave out the reason why you managed to spot the cuts in the first place. Lee listens without interrupting. When you're done, he asks, in the same low tone, "and you're sure of this?" "Completely, sir."He gets up. "Thank you for your assistance to the company. I'll make sure this matter is looked into." You watch Lee leave, and sit down next to the fire, suddenly struck by a longing for sleep. Sam joins the other Trackers in keeping watch. You release the mechs, that return to their patrol route around the dome, and drift into sleep.Morning comes quickly. The convoy reaches Dorado Springs at mid-noon, reddish sky filled with the light of Zenith's sun. The small town stretches out before you, in the shade of an immense atmospheric processor engine that towers, mushroom-like, over the one-story prefab dwellings and storefronts of Dorado Springs.As you disembark, you watch the caravaneers disperse to various locations on the main street of the town. A bar, a general store, other places. You also have free time to spend as you wish.>Actions?
>>28968537Lets get acquainted with the town I suppose. Check out the bar. I think we came here for something but I sorta forgot...
>BarThe local watering hole is called Matilda's, as a large sign outside it proclaims in bold letters. You follow a group of caravaneers inside. A few of them are familiar to you - Sam the Tracker as well as one of the engineers that refused to volunteer for the repair mission.The bar itself is mostly bare, save for some plastic furniture and a large counter, behind which a multi-armed bartender mech stirs as you enter. "Ladies and gentlemen! Can I take your order?" The synthesized voice booms enthusiastically from a large pair of speakers.The caravan crew line up to get their drinks and settle down in groups. A few are starting up a card game. Sam is conversing with some off-duty corpsec people around one of the tables. The engineer is challenging nearby listeners to arm wrestling.>Join one of the groups (specify)>Drink alone
>>28969124Play a round of cards
>>28969124I say we speak with Sam. Let's see if we can't get to know her better.
>Sorry guys, got to pause here because I'm falling asleep on the keyboard. I'll be back in 8 hours, but before I doze off completely, I can take a few questions and comments.
>>28969546Well, I'd say that your time zone is hell for me man. I only saw this after waking up at like 11 am.But other then that...well, I was wondering if you had a plan for what we're to do here on the planet/town. Because it feels sorta directionless, or a little vaguely directed.Not that that's a problem, just asking.
>>28969546Will we be able to sign on as crew to a ship, or will we be stuck planetside?
>>28969687It's not so much my timezone (I'm in GMT+1) as the fact that my work commitments make it practically impossible to stay up late and run. I'll try and find some way to run it at a better time, though.As for the directionlessness, well, I intend this as a sandbox game. It's up to the players to explore the setting. On the other hand, I see your point about pacing and direction. I'd rather the motivation and goals of the character came from the playerbase, but if that doesn't work, I've got some ideas.
>>28969799Nah it's not that, I'm cool with a sandbox, but we need hooks to chase stuff down. Right now we're a really unimpressive fighter, so that makes combat difficult. We'll need some cool folks to talk to, or neat ship stuff we can buff (like Rogue Trader, I suppose).Upgrades make us feel all cozy.
>>28969883Spaceship might be a ways away, but a planet based one ship or maybe even a ground based vehicle would be interesting.We may not be that good in a straight up fight but that is where be have engineering come in.It's also quite good that we use to be a navigator.
>>28969992Idea.Speeder Bikes. I assume you know what that is?Maybe we could fix one of those up. Or something like that, fit it with lasers. Maybe win an old one in a bet? Something neat like that.Even the possibly love interest is laughing at our puny pistol!I'm kidding obviously, but still.
>>28970088Speeder bike would be interesting. Hell, we could learn to pilot one of those mechs.Also we have that ranger person that was interested in getting some help if we get back that way (I can't remember when they are heading out)If we help them we might just win us our first companion aka future crew for our ship.
>>28970323I'm cool with Mass Effecting this shit.
>>28970395Now to just hope there isn't a big evil things that wants to consume all of civilization...you know...besides the corporations.
Thanks for keeping the thread alive, people.>>28969883The Engineering and Navigation skills that players opted for at character creation can potentially be very useful. As >>28969992 said, the character would be good at piloting ground vehicles and shuttles as well as FTL ships. Upgrading weapons is an option as well.I can resume the quest if any players are around.
>>28979988keep on trucking
>>28980313>>28980214Excellent.We paused on the choice of whether to join some drivers and engineers for a game of cards or to join Sam and some security people at their table.
>>28980339Talk with Sam
Rolled 1Rolling for tiebreaker.
>CardsAt the table to your right, a game of Melas Hold'em is underway. Two of the drivers, an engineer and a corpsec are playing."Hey!" The engineer looks at you as cards are being shuffled. "You're the guy that went out to fix the relay last night, aren't you? Why don't ya join in? Lose some of that hazard pay the company just tossed your way." The others around the table laugh in approval. You nod, and take your seat.Cards are dealt. Your hand is an average one, not particularly good or bad. One of the drivers drops out with a sigh and an "I got nothin'". You keep your hand, though.>roll 1d20
Rolled 19>>28980647Yolo Swag
>PASS vs DC = 17You put down your cards as soon as you've seen them. The others joke and remark casually on the trip's events. Pretty soon you've identified a "tell": one of the drivers scratches her nose and frowns while looking at her cards. Bad hand. Sure enough, she folds.Three cards are dealt. Your position seems somewhat improved, but not too much. You match the bet of the engineer on your left confidently.The corpsec folds. Another card is dealt. You toss more chips in the pile. The engineer matches you, his expression serene and unreadable. The second driver hesitates, then adds more chips with a sigh.The last card comes up. Nothing you need. The driver folds. It's you against the engineer."Show'em."The cards are down. You win the pot, by a small margin. The engineer clicks his tongue as you collect the chips. The corpsec looks over the cards. "You went in with a bad hand like that? Hmph."The drivers and the corpsec seem uninterested in continuing. The engineer, though, looks to you with a glint in the eye. "I'd like a rematch. But seeing as I don't really have any money to bet, I'm betting this." He pulls out a paper map. "Coordinates to a crashed Myrad cargo shuttle. I was gonna get a team together for a salvage run. If you win, you can have it.">Accept challenge>Decline challenge
>>28980888>>Decline challengeWe need money more.
>>28980888How much did we win? How much cash do we have right now?
You glance at your PDA to check your account.BALANCE HISTORY:=600 CR at landing+300 CR TRIUNE hazard pay+400 CR caravan route completion pay (reduced due to delays)+370 CR winnings=1670 CR Total
>Decline"Thanks for the offer," you reply, "but I'll have to turn it down. Better to quit while one's ahead." The engineer nods. "Fair enough." He folds up the map neatly and puts it back in his pocket. You stand up. "If you do get that salvage run together," you say, "I'd be happy to tag along." The engineer considers your offer. "So long as you can pull your own weight and don't slow us down in the wild, you're welcome to it. I'm Seppo. Seppo Mäkinen." You give him your name.>Contact gained: Seppo Mäkinen, salvage engineer>Stay in the bar>Move on to [location]
>>28981595>>Stay in the barChat up Sam.
>Unfortunately, going to have to stop the quest there. Will continue with the Sam conversation next time I run, which should be Sunday. Thanks for playing!