Colonial Marines

When we last caught up with our heroes..

We were pursuing leads on a renegade ship that killed the crew of a vessel we had been sent to deliver supplies too.
We have had our ship modded to carry 100 mm guns in the dorsal and ventral turrets.
We earns a lot of dough from salvage.
We were expecting some mail…..

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Dega System

The group decided to keep the 2nd vessel hidden in the urgency of the mission, despite Sergei’s protests, and re-hid the ship after ensuring they were not being tracked. Returning to the only habitable planet in the system, the landed at the main city and began enquiries regarding the stolen ship they were chasing.

Whilst their enquiries found nothing but more weapons, armour and explosive (who ever would have guessed they would find that?), they did find some nuns who were being molested by local children. Agreeing to escort them back to their monastry in order to find the pirate base reputedly nearby, fighting off some of the local curiosities on the way, the groups set up to stay for the night. With the pilot badly injured and hence pumped full of stimulants, a rest would have been welcome. However, bad experiences are not easily forgotten, and this group does not trust easily, not even nuns!

Apperently, with good reason. Whilst half the party paranoicly set up a secure perimeter, possibly against a possible impending pirate attack, possibly fearing something else as yet unknown, the other half of the party joined the nuns for the evening meal of stew and wine. Apparently military food is so bad for a reason…it builds up the bodies consitution so that toxins have less effect, and only one mamber of the party was rendered asleep, with two of the party wide awake and rather concerned at the effect of the food on their comrades and the third so full of stimulants that even the toxins did not put him to sleep. So when three nuns returned to butcher the party and fill their larder, Sergei, never far from his guns, instructed them on the poor wisdom of bringing knives to a gunfight. He probably should have used his supressors, though, as the rest of the nuns quickly dissapeared…somewhere inside the monastry. So the party begins to spend the night after securing the perimeter…

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Dinner with Nuns

The party, having fended off Mother Superior and her knife-weilding assistants, then moved to secure the building. One nun, apparently new, was found near the kitchen unarmed and not attacking, except to ask for protection. The rest, however, tried to draw her pursuers into a trap, but the Naval Officers proved to much for them, with the marines arriving just in time to accept their surrender!

Under questioning, the nuns revealed the presence of a pirate base in the canyons nearby, and a 3 day reconnaisance mission located just one such cave. The party then agreed to split up, with the Naval Officers heading back to the Captain Flak to wait for any escaping ship in orbit, while the marines assault the cave.

It remains to be seen if the marines can survive without the Naval Officers to protect them…

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The Pirates Cave...

The group finally decided how they were going to approach the cave mouth – by driving their anti-grav truck straight in! Surprisingly, this did not end badly as there appeared to be no security systems or guards posted. “Maybe it’s just a cave?” Quipped Guns, but he was generally ignored. (Guns also came in seperately, using the grav-bike).

Sergi was first out of the truck. Failing to appreciate just how deep and soft the sand was in the cave, he landed flat on his face. This was to become a recurring thing, as not too long later Doc stumbled in the soft sand and accidentally let off two rounds from his P90 – shattering any stealthy approach the group were hoping to make. The group continued on, using their IR night vision goggles in the darkness…

Guns found tracks in the sand all over the cavern floor. It appeared to be made by some sort of centipede. There were hundreds of tracks of all sizes, from small (cat-sized) to large (large dog-sized).

The cave soon developed into a mine tunnel, with a fork in the road. The group decided to go left… An old abandoned grav-sled (presumably for hauling ore) gave no clues and the group moved on, until the group’s driver felt a wire go taut across he shin bone. He froze and Sergi approached to check it out. Unfortunately, Sergi managed to stumble (again) and fell headlond into a large and extremely sticky spider web. Drive, grateful the wire was not a tripwire, stepped back and began to examine the web. Sergi was begining to panic, getting himself more entangled in the process! And then the spider attacked. Drive failed his dodge and the spider was upon him in an instant. Chief Engineer Ash managed to hit home with a burst from his P90, but it seemed to have no effect. The spider bit deep into Drive’s armour but failed to get through. Doc fired but missed, things were not looking good! And then the cavalry arrived. The Combat Engineer had been left guarding the truck (IRL: the player turned up late), but he jumped on the grav-bike and raced towards the action. In a maneuver that could almost be called dashing, he crashed the grav-bike, extricated himself whilst unlimbering his (home-made!) flame-thrower, and gave the spider a burst. The spider screamed in pain and dashed back up the web and into the darkness.

Drive inspected his armour and discovered the spider’s venom must have some acidic compound, as the bite marks had left a corrosive, burnt effect in the armour.

After burning away the web and rescuing Sergi, the group move on, even more cautiously than before…

(To be continued)…

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The Pirate's Cave... (Part Two)

The group continue down the mine tunnel until they get to the mine face. Tools and pieces of rock litter the area. Drive stumbles over a skeleton and the Combat Engineer quickly finds a second. Sergi turns to Doc to ask him to inspect the remains, but Doc is nowhere to be found! Calling his name, the group begin to look around, but nobody can find him, until Sergi calls up from the hole he’s in. Luckily the two-metre fall didn’t hurt Sergi as he landed on the unconcious form of Doc. Seems Doc found the hole first…

The hole is super-dark and Sergi switches on his head-light so that his IR goggles can work. He finds himself in an oval passageway stretching off in either direction. It appears the miners inadvertantly broke through the roof of this passageway as they mined. It’s a two metre drop from the mine to the passageway floor. Sergi suggests the Combat Engineer should build a ramp in case they need to leave in a hurry. This is generally ridiculed by the group and prompts a comment from the GM that Sergi failed his OH&S roll (which in turn raises requests to having an assessment made and safety hand rails installed, leading onto a brief discussion on OH&S standards of the Empire vs. the Rebellion, and the concensus that the Death Star was a health and safety disaster waiting to happen!).

Pilot seems to take charge at this point and, once Doc is revived and the group have all lowered themselves into the passageway, has them heading off to where he thinks he can see a door. The door leads into a spherical room, with the group on a catwalk halfway up. Descending to the lower level, they find large pieces of machinery with strange symbols on them. Ash quickly identifies the machinery as alien tech and declares it as Sathar.

The group leave the spherical room and continue up the pitch-black passageway. The sound of dripping water is ever-present, and rusted pipework and discarded conduit litter sections. Another doorway on the opposite side of the passageway leads to a second sperical room. The group descend to the lower level and find the sleeping pits they know the Sathar use sunk into the floor. They count six of these pits. Searching the room, Pilot finds an alien pistol-type weapon (which he hands to Guns to inspect). Ash finds a Sathar folder of laminated pages of (presumably) instructions.

Leaving this area, the group continue down the passageway. Drive is on point when, suddenly, something large and haevy lands on him, knocking him flat. He finds himself underneath some type of creature (which the group names as Blanket), unable to move. The Combat Engineer immediately fires his flamer at it but (fortunately?) misses. The rest of the group open up on the Creature with their weapons. Guns and Pilot are at the back and both hear a high-pitched chittering sound coming from behind them. They decide to keep overwatch here so that nothing tries to sneak up on them. It quickly becomes evident to those trying to rescue Drive that their shots have a high probability of hitting him, with several rounds impacting his armour (but thankfully failing to penetrate). Whilst having an effect on the creature, bullets were proving to be largely ineffective. Sergi tried slashing it with a knife (with no real effect) and Ash tazered it. This really hurt the creature, but it also harmed Drive and Sergi (who was standing on it whilst slashing with his knife). Drive was rendered unconcsious by the tazer. A couple more shots from Doc and the Combat Engineer finally kill off the blanket, and they are able to recover Drive’s comatose body from underneath. Fortunately, the blanket hadn’t had an opportunity to start digesting Drive whilst under attack.

At the back, Pilot sees a pair of eyes looking at him and fires off a shot from his shotgun. The chittering noises and eyes do not return.

(Session ended here).

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The Sathar Complex

Due to a few players unable to attend, Pilot and the Combat Engineer were left on guard duty at the junction whilst Sergi, Doc, Ash, Drive and Guns continued to explore the complex…

The junction goes left, right and straight on. Sergi leads the group left and they find themselves heading down a passageway that gets increasingly cobwebbier [official word]. Drive finds a piece of skin which he identifies as being shed by a spider; it’s a fore-leg and the skin fits over his arm (including armour) up to almost his shoulder! the area is littered with dessicated carcasses of rodents and their feet crunch on bones of the same as they walk. The group become a bit more cautious after this.

The passageway ends abruptly at a dead end, with just a small ventilation hatch high up on the wall. It’s too small for the spider to be hiding in, and the group back-track to a door they passed a few meters back. The room is full of large metal drums and smaller metal boxes. A large tank is set into one wall. There is an overpowering odour in the air which Doc quickly identifies as kerosene. Sergi immediately goes about trying to extract some kerosene out of the tank, but without power the pump doesn’t work. So he breaks out his little tool kit and starts hammering away, trying to puncture the tank.

The others are concerned that it’s only a matter of time before Sergi creates a spark and blows them all up, so they beat a hasty retreat back to the junction and leave him alone, hammering away. Back at the junction, Drive (who has almost recovered his wits from his escapades earlier with Blanket), takes point and leads them down the right-hand tunnel.

There’s no abundance of spiderwebs and the group soon find themselves at another dead end. This one, however, has two huge tanks set into the wall. Drive finds Sathar writing on the tanks (in purple), whilst Doc determines that these are water tanks holding roughly 38,000 litres of water! Ash and Doc study the mechanical controls and belive they figure out how to open the valves to these tanks.

Meanwhile, Sergi has been hammering away but without success. All he has managed to do is blunt his tools. The wall of this tank is obviously too hard and too thick for him to get through. Annoyed, he declares that he lights a candle (which he leaves in the doorway), and runs off to join the others. (The GM rolled a d100 with a 10% chance of the flame igniting the fumes, but Sergi gets away with it).

The group decide to press on, sploshing through ankle-deep water for a while. They find two passageways opposite each other, but in either one they can only advance five or six metres before finding the tunnel has collapsed in.

Continuing on, the passageway widens out and they find a large dune of sand in the centre of the tunnel. Sunlight streams down an open hatchway. They can’t tell how deep they are and whilst they can reach the hatch, there’s no way for them to get a purchase and climb up the hole. Doc and Drive search the dune of sand but find nothing. Moving on, they soon find a two metre deep hole in the floor. Doc sees human bones at the bottom and cautiously scrambles down to inspect them. The blue denim overalls have a name-tag: McCartney. The overalls also have a dark brown stain all down one side, from armpit to waist. Doc quickly confirms the stain as dried blood. It’s the puncture marks in the rib-cage area that rather give it away. Made by teeth, most likely…

Guns and Sergi look about and both find tracks. Guns identifies them as made by a very large (8ft at a guess) biped who doesn’t wear shoes. Ash’s player asks the GM if these could have been made by the same up-lifted Lizardmen defending the Sathar at the research facility they investigated a couple of months back. “No,” says the GM, “these are bigger.”

Moving on the group find a spherical room full of water and a doorway opposite. The only way to reach the doorway is by swimming. They decide to leave it. Back in the main passageway they find another short corridoor which leads to another spherical room with a ceiling way up in the darkness. This room gets dubbed as the ‘silo’. They come out onto a catwalk. several metres below them is inky-black murky water. Above them they can just see another catwalk. Sergi decides to climb the ladder to the upper catwalk. He is several metres up when Doc sees what he thinks are glowing eyes under the surface of the water. Before he can raise the alarm a meaty tentacled appendage shoots out and wraps itself around Sergi!

The arm is too strong and pulls Sergi off the ladder, throwing him down into the water. The other immediately open up with their weapons; Doc and Ash with their P90’s, and Drive and Guns with their shotguns. It’s not difficult to hit the creature, and Doc and Ash unload long bursts causing great damage, but the creature seems unaffected. Drive and Guns switch their shotguns to full auto as well, but again, the creature seems to ignore the damage they inflict. (The GM tells the party to think of the Watcher from the first LoTR film).

Sergi’s not having a great time of it. He can’t swim very well and he’s encumbered with his heavy backpack and a P90 in one hand. He fails swim roll after swim roll, ingesting water and taking a point of fatigue each time. The ladder is six metres away and he’s unable to keep his head above water, never mind swim towards the ladder. Meanwhile, the creature tries for another target, but Doc dodges the flailing tantacled arm. More long automatic fire and shotgun blasts hurt the creature and it soon sinks into the depths out of sight. The party don’t know if they killed it. Sergi is losing his battle with the water. He’s weak from losing too much fatigue, and he will soon lose conciousness.

Ash dives in and soon (after a bit of a grapple) manages to get Sergi to the ladder. He’s halfway up when Ash sees the glowing eyes in the water beneath him! A cry of alarm has Guns firing at the water with his sniper rifle, guided by Ash’s frantic pointing (whilst also scrambling up the ladder). The creature disappears back into the depths and the party regroup on the catwalk.

Whilst Doc sees to Sergi, a massive explosion rocks the complex and sizeable pieces of masonry rain down onto the group, hitting several of them. Most of the party glares at Sergi, realising that it was his kerosene ticking timebomb finally igniting. (The GM had been regularly rolling a d100, hoping for a 90-100 result. He rolled a 99).

The group decide to retreat the the passageway and Guns field-strips and cleans Sergi’s P90. Drive decides that he will now attempt to climb the ladder in the silo, so, once rested, the group enter the silo again. Drive shimmies up the ladder with no problems and finds it terminates at an over-large ventilation hole set into the wall. There’s no cobwebs or dead rodents, so he clambers in. Due to the reduced head-height he has to crouch whilst advancing, but he finds that after ten metres or so the ventilation shaft ends, near the top of what appears to be another silo. There’s a catwalk just below, so he climbs out and begins to work his way around until he finds a ladder attached to the wall and leading down.

Descending the ladder, he finds himself in a room full of Sathar machinery or large computers. After calling over his radio, the others soon arrive (via a different route) and inspect the equipment. Drive, however, has grown bored with the non-functioning equipment and has found a stairwell leading further down…

Splashing about in knee-deep water Drive finds eight very large strange glass-fronted sarcophogai spaced against the wall of this spherical room. Seven of them are broken, but the eigth is intact and open…

(Session ended here).

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The Sathar Complex & A Bit of R 'n R...

Due to Real Life getting in the way (car was broken into – very annoyed) I’ve slipped a little with updating the Adventure Log, so this update is an abbreviated catch up on the last two sessions.

The Sathar Complex:

The boys back-track and check out the other end of the long passageway. They find it ends in a slightly submerged T-junction. They hear some noises down the left-hand corridor, so elect to go left. They don’t get too far before Drive is set upon by a huge humanoid creature that takes up almost all of the passageway. It had pressed itself against the wall and wasn’t spotted until it swung a massive arm at Drive, knocking him almost unconcious. The others open up with their weapons and quickly kill it.

They surmise this must be the creature that used to occupy the large pod from at the other end of the complex. They continue sploshing on in the ankle-deep water and find themselves in a small circular room. This place has cabling hanging down from out of the darkness above. Even with their night-vision goggles, they can’t see the top. Guns starts feeling about the bottom of the wall and realises there’s a gap. He declares that he thinks they’re standing in an elevator. A control interface with a joystick is soon found, but with no power, does nothing.

Going back to the T-junction, they carry on ahead down the right-hand passageway. This, too, ends in a circular elevator room. However, the Combat Engineer spots what he thinks is a doorway a few meters up, so they each climb the cables hanging down out of the darkness to reach the doorway. Except Sergi, who falls several times before giving up.

The open doorway has a corridor beyond, which leads to the first elevator room. It also has a doorway that leads into a large open-plan office-type environment. The group look about but find nothing of interest. Beyond this room is a small passageway that leads to what they believe is a hanger. A cave-in sometime in the past has blocked it up.

Finding nothing more of interest, the group back-track until they reach the truck. A few search for the entrance to the hanger and find it, but this side of the cave-in gives nothing away either. They head back to the city and their ship, the Captain Flack. Whilst relaxing in The Dancing Cameltoe, they decide that they must get their discoveries back to the ICC as quickly as possible. Although Sergi elects a ‘quick’ detour to grab the prize ship and take that back with them as well. (The plan is to spend a fair portion of their wealth on having it refitted and up-gunned for their own private enterprises. They have named it The Queen Anne’s Revenge).

A Bit of R ’n R

A couple of jumps sees the two ships at the orbital ICC ship yards at New Eden, where the group undergo several hours of debrifing. The Queen Anne’s Revenge is booked in for its refit (costing some $1.6 million, plus weaponry and incidentals). Their Intelligence handler tells them they have 24 hours leave whilst he loads up some cargo and creates a cover story for their hop into ICC space.

The group head down to the planet. Sergi goes off to buy two Harley Davidson grav bikes, whilst the others do a bit of sight-seeing and find a bar to kick back in. After a couple of hours at the bar, the group are approached by a well-dressed man in his forties. He mistakes Pilot for somebody called Vorkrewal, and hands him an envelope of cash “as agreed”, says the man, telling Pilot that the chips are being loaded into their ship. The man gives them details on who will take delivery and where, and reminds them that these need to be dropped off quickly, and that they would get the $100,000 upon delivery. Guns asks what the chips are, and the man explains they are the latest generation of weapons targeting hardware; very cutting edge and very illegal. Pilot goes along with it and the man leaves.

The group decide they’d better head off back to the ship and get ready for a quick departure. However, back at the orbital ship yards, a group of customs officials are waiting at the airlock of their ship. They immediately try to arrest the party, telling them their ship is being impounded. The group try to settle things amicably without resorting to violence (as several of them are not armed), but the Customs men are not taking no for an answer. One pulls a weapon on Doc and things quickly spiral downhill from there. A brief fight ensues, with fists being used as much as pistols, and the Customs men are subdued. The group pile aboard the Captain Flak and inform flight control they are leaving immediately!

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Back in the Cluster

Fleeing the New Eden system for Polar Star in the Captain Flak, the group find they all have personal correspondence in their inboxes. Upon reading it, the Colonial Marines all discover they have been promoted to Corporal. Doc has had his medical degree confirmed, granting him an automatic promotion to Captain, making him the defacto OIC. The Navy boys have both been promoted to Lieutenant and been awarded medals, as has Chief Engineer Ash.

The jump from Polar Star to Dega is uneventful, as is the jump from Dega to Toril. Exiting jumpspace into the Toril system, however, the Captain Flak is confronted by two customs corvettes belonging to the Church of the Chosen Ones. A fast-talk roll by Pilot means they don’t have to undergo an inspection – a good thing considering the highly illegal chips they have on board! Sergei has been thinking about the chips, and the consequences of them falling into the wrong hands. He plans to have lookalike chips produced with an older targeting system program and pass these off as the cutting-edge chips they were paid to transport. Sergei also installs one of the chips into the Captain Flak’s tageting system.

Toril’s main planet, Derilyn, is an ocean world with two orbital spaceports. The Captain Flak docks at one and Sergei goes about getting chips made up as planned. The others have a look about, but generally stay out of trouble. 14 hours later, the fake chips are ready and the Captain Flak is heading out of system and jumping to the planet Paradise in the Yorbin System.

Paradise is a lawless world. Within minutes of landing at the makeshift spaceport outside the planet’s capital, Pleasant City, they are being shanken down for protection money by bikers. Ash crews the dorsal 100mm turret and trains it on the bikers, which encourages them to be on their way. Drive is left to guard the ship whilst the others go to the bar where they are supposed to meet their contact.

Not long after entering the bar a spotty youth tells them to be at warehouse 13 at midnight. It’s currently mid-afternoon so the boys have several hours to do what they want. They decide to ‘casually’ check out warehouse 13. Guns breaks out Betsy, his sniper rifle, and sneaks into a position covering the rear of the warehouse. Sergei rides past the front several times, but the place currently appears to be lockeed up tight. Midnight is not far away…

[Session Ends]

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The Exchange

About an hour before the meet is supposed to take place, Guns (who is hidden in a copse of trees behind the warehouse) observes a black van pull up and five males pile out. He can see that they are dressed in combat armour and carrying military-grade assault rifles. He starts to radio this to the others when suddenly he loses the link. He’s being jammed! So he decides he will move positon to the roof of the warehouse, as he really can’t see much from the back. He quickly climbs an access ladder is is stealthily making his way across, when his foot goes throught the thin ferrocrete roof panel. He cuts his ankle whilst pulling his foot out, but the occupants inside don’t seem to be aware of him.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team are preparing for the meeting and travelling by van to Warehouse 13. The Corporal takes his grav-bike and skirts out and around to the back of the warehouse, meeting up with Guns on the roof. Sergei has manned the dorsal 100mm gun turret of the Captain Flak.

Using the hole he has inadvertantly made, Guns tried to scout out where the five occupants of the warehouse are, but he can only see two. Comms are still down, with white noise jamming all frequencies.

The hanger-type doors are only open wide enough to allow one person in at a time. Pilot risks entering first, followed by Drive, Ash and Doc. Ahead of them they see one man with a sportsbag on the floor besides him. He asks Pilot if he is Vorkrewal, to which Pilot confirms. They agree on a simultaneous exchange, the box of chips being slid across the floor as the guy tosses the bag at Pilot’s feet. The guy inspects the chips and seems happy, so Pilot opens the bag to check the money… and a flash-bang explodes in his face, immediately stunning him (but, somehow, not rendering him unconscious)! Then all hell breaks loose…

The Corporal, hearing the stun grenade go off, kills the power to his bike, sending it down through the ferrocrete roof. An excellent roll ensures he re-starts the anti-grav plates before hitting the ground, whilst also letting off a burst from his IMI TAR assault weapon.

At the same time, the guy with the chips, pulls a pistol and shouts out for everybody to drop their weapons as they are under arre- he never finishes as the Corporal’s burst kills him dead. His colleagues, stationed at various places around the building fire at Drive, Ash and Doc. All three get shot in the chest, taking all of them into negative health. Drive is barely clinging onto life. Guns fires at the other bad guy, dropping him.

Pilot is staggering about, blinded, shouting (or at least trying too, as he can’t hear himself) for his guys to drop their weapons. The Corporal has shot straight up on the bike, through the hole in the roof.

(At this point the GM is wondering what has happened to his adventure and wondering if it’s salvageable. This is, after all, just the opening act).

Sergei, watching the roof of the warehouse through a pair of binoculars, sees a flash and the Corporal drop through the roof, and decides it’s a good idea to send in an artillery strike on their position, so he fires off five rounds of 100mm HE. Three shells land behind the warehouse, but two hit the rear of the building. The shock wave blows Guns off the roof. A critical fail has him dead before he hits the ground. The corporal is also knocked sideways by the concussive force, but manages to regain control of his bike and does not suffer grevious injuries. Pilot is hurt, but not badly, whilst Drive, Ash and Doc. are all steadily losing their fights to stay alive.

The Corporal rides into what’s left of the warehouse and immediately goes to Doc, pumping him full of stimulants and trying his best to staunch the bullet hole in his chest. Somehow, Doc regains consciousness and is able to get to his feet. The corporal tells him to find and revive Guns then moves onto Ash, whilst Doc stumbles off outside. He quickly finds Gun’s body, pumps some stimulants into him, dumps him in the back of the van and speeds off to the Captain Flak, where he puts him into the autodoc.

In the meantime, the Corporal has revived Ash and Drive, helped Pilot and also the last surviving member of the ‘bad’ guys, who identifies himself as a Colonial Marine.

Segei soon pulls up in the van and before long everyone is loaded and heading back to the Captain Flak. Of course, the citizens of Paradise are not a very lawful lot, and the artillery strike has kicked off a mass evacuation of starships, whilst rival gangs and ship crews fire at each other or just at random. Sergei takes the last surviving Colonial Marine back to his ship, and both ships leave together…

(As an aside, the GM had a whole adventure planned out which would have lasted several sessions, with the possibility of a side-quest as well. He was mightly annoyed at the gung-ho nature of a couple of players for killing the adventure before it even got started).

[end of session]

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A New Mission

The ships jump back to the Polar Star system, where the ICC’s 2nd Fleet is stationed. There, they dock with the Cruiser Saratoga and undergo medical attention and individual debriefing. However, after less than a week, the group are all summoned to a meeting room. When they enter, they find BDU’s and combat armour (for the Marines) and flight uniforms (for the Navy) waiting for them, along with standard issue equipment and weapons (Pulse rifles, standard side-arms, etc). Any requests for personal equipment located aboard the Captain Flak are refused. Two Majors from CMIC (Colonial Marine Intelligence Corps) inform them that a situation has arise and that they are to be deployed to investigate, as they have previous experience in this type of mission. The debriefings will be suspended until after they return.

They are assigned the CSV Harrier, a Courier-class ship and given the basic background on the situation: Some months ago, an ICC scout found a new Earth-type planet. This is only the third such planet so far discovered, so its discovery has been kept secret whilst ICC scientists investigate its potential. An ICC supply ship has not returned from the planet, and is now two days overdue. The mission is to travel to the planet (the co-ordinates are already loaded in the jump computer) investigate as to the fate of the supply ship, check on the science camp and then report back. Nothing more.

The jump to the planet is uneventful, and nothing appears to be in range of the ship or, as they approach, around the planet. Going into high orbit, the ship’s sensors soon pick up a metallic object on the surface which could be the supply vessel. It’s in a heavily wooded area, so the Harrier lands several kilometres away and the party treck to the crash site. The Corporal takes (the only) grav-bike (a Honda Tornado). Guns scouts ahead and soon finds the furrow the ship carved in the landscape as it crash-landed. He’s not too far from the rear of the vessel and immediately recognises it as a Toyota StarAce light freighter. It looks like it was damaged by an impact to the rear. The Corporal goes into overwatch above the site whilst the others tactically approach the ship.

Once deciding the area is secure, the Corporal and Sergei announce they will search the ship. Pilot and Ash say they will inspect the damage and check the engines. Sergei and the Corporal discover lots of cartridge cases on the ground as they approach the open ramp of the ship. Stooping to pick a few up, Sergei declares they are not of a calibre he recognises and reckons they’re alien – most likely Sathar. The Corporal finds lots dried blood on the ship’s ramp. Venturing further inside, they find the ship deserted and no bodies or obvious signs of fighting (though the place is in a bit of a state due to the crash-landing). They enter the cockpit and try to power up, but the ship seems to be dead, so they locate and remove the black box. They also find the ship’s cargo is still aboard and seemingly untouched. The contects of which all seem to food, medical supplies and scientific supplies and equipment. Sergei checks the manifest, but is disappointed to find there are no explosives listed amongst the cargo.

Outside, the Combat Engineer finds trace of another vehicle; four burn marks on the ground, presumably left by rocket nacelles.

Pilot and Ash inspect the damage and conclude the ship was probably hit by a missile. They can’t tell for sure, but they think the hull may be ruptured. One of the sublight drives is definately beyond repair. Ash advises that standard protocol in situations like this is to dump the nuclear core; hence why there’s no power. They even hypothesise that the ship was shot at as it was entering the planet’s atmosphere.

In the meantime, Guns has been taking a perimeter walk and discovered tracks leading away from the crash site. It was difficult to tell due to the deep carpet of woodland foilage, but he reckons three bipeds (he wouldn’t identify them conclusively as Human). He continues to follow the tracks whilst the others are checking the ship, until he gets to the 3km range of his communicator. The others soon start to catch up to him, so he continues forward. He starts to see a plateau sloping upwards above the trees and tracks the trail up the incline. It’s not too steep and he makes good progress. At the top he soon comes across a single strand of electrified fencing at about waist height. It looks to be of Human manufacture. He waits for the others to catch up (and resists the urge to pee on it).

Guns and the Corporal crawl under the wire and carefully continue ahead. They soon see silver-skinned tents through the trees. Going around, they hear voices in English, a woman’s and a man’s. They make themselves known to the voices; the woman being Professor Parkinson, and the man Dr. Williams. The rest of the party approach once Guns advises it’s safe. Doc converses with the two scientists and basically confirms what they’ve already figured out; that the ship was hit by a missile as it was entering the atmosphere, and that the Sathar shot the crew. The scientists do not know where the Sathar are, but do not think there are many of them. They assume they do not know about the science base on top of the plateau. Prof. Parkinson believes the Sathar are based somewhere near the river to their south-west. Prof. Parkinson also tells Doc that it was her team that retrieved the three dead crew members from the crashed vessel, and that they are in cold storage. Doc inspects the bodies and confirms they all died from bullet wounds.

Doc tells the group that they need to find the Sathar and eliminate the danger, so they head back to the Harrier. The trip is uneventful, with any small woodland creatures in their path moving away from them. Pilot, Sergei and Ash power up the Harrier and start scanning the river area for anything metallic. They soon find something and quickly identify is as a ship. However, what they find is that the ship is hidden several meters underwater, in the river itself!

The Corporal and a couple of the others are all for taking off, locking a pair of missiles on it and destroying it. But Doc points out that this is a Sathar ship, and no Sathar ship has yet been captured intact. “Think of the intelligence it will provide. They will wipe the slate clean and forget about the incident on Paradise if we can give them a Sathar ship” says Doc. It takes a while, but the others are eventually talked around. It is decided to use space suits to enter the water and try to gain entry to the ship. The Harrier only has two space suits, so a quick trip to the crashed freighter soon doubles that number. Doc, the Combat Engineer, Ash and Sergei either volunteer or are chosen to break into the ship.

The party cautiously approach the area of the Sathar ship and prepare to break in. Although the current is moving at a lazy pace, Ash and Sergei are dragged along with the current for a few meters. (Bad Swim rolls). Doc is the first to reach what he believes (correctly) to be an external hatch, some six meters under the surface. There are a group of indentations, so Doc just randomly puts fingers against a few of them and the hatch opens! (Critical success roll). the rush of water into the chamber beyond carries both him and the Combat Engineer inside…

[Session ends here]

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