The Arianwyn/Hyperspace Date: 542-121
Our cast this week included one new player, but two new characters: A Kearnayan pirate named Chidi, and Capt Neo, MD, a retired doctor who'd spent time in the navy and the army, then as a pirate before becoming a doctor. Returning were D'Arcy, Tiernan, Lairgnen, Zaccheus, Gildas, Dionysus, and Cinnia (via Skype). Blaine, Lykaios, Maddoc, Gwayne and Alec (in cold sleep) were also on board the ship but not represented by players.
The Arianwyn remained in hyperspace a total of twelve days, finally dropping out into normal space on 542-125. Immediately, the crew pulled up the ship's maps to determine their location. They assumed remaining in hyperspace almost two weeks would have moved them the equivalent of a jump-2, so began calling up planetary profiles of the worlds in Kapu subsector that might have been targets. Luckily, they had emerged in the vicinity of a star system. A quick scan showed it had six gas giants and 4 asteroid belts, and they used that information to rule out all of the systems they thought they might have arrived in.
Looking over the ship, they noticed three of their low berths were in use. Tiernan cycled the first, and a short while later, Gildas, whom they'd thought left behind on Arden, emerged unscathed. A second berth held Blaine, who they also woke up, and the third, Alec, who remained in cold sleep. Gildas explained that Ardeni medics had wanted to test out some drugs they believed would make cold sleep safer, so the three of them had volunteered as test subjects. That they were on board was supposed to have been announced as the party left Arden, but the message was misplaced and never passed on.
As they gave up on identifying the star system from their ship's data, they noticed a small craft just a hundred meters from the Arianwyn. Zaccheus immediately turned on ship's radio to hail them, only to hear cussing and a thickly accented voice tell them he'd been trying to reach them for an hour! As they explained they were from another star system, he introduced himself as Kojo, and offered to be their agent to The Hub, "the center of all trade in the universe!" After some discussion, they agreed, and talked him down from 25% to an 18% commission. They asked about getting an updated star map, and Kojo explained that the Trade Accords required astrographic data to be shared freely, so he sent them data files to update their ship's library. He then had them follow his ship to the Starbrite, a moving station built into a rocky asteroid that serves as an R&R destination for weary belters, a refueling and resupply station, and a low-cost way to travel around the entire system.
Kojo took them to a nightclub on the Starbrite, where he bought them drinks while they listened to the jazz stylings of Ga'a'atak, a Khorred musician.
When Ga'a'atak's first performance was over, he back-flipped off the stage, and jaunted away through the crowd to get a drink. A friend of Kojo's, Capt "Doc" Neo, joined them for drinks. As the party continued to converse with Kojo, they noticed the room contained not only humans and Khorred, but seated in a dark corner was a tall figure in silvery-grey robes, listening to a loud, overly drunk belter telling stories. Doc told the party the figure was a Mel, a solitary race that claimed to have been here literally forever. Thinking he might be like The Watcher from Arden, they approached, and both Tiernan and Gildas noticed they were being studied psionically. Suddenly the being stood to his full three meter height, bowed to them and said, "My apologies... I did not mean to read your thoughts... that is considered very rude among my people!" He waved them over, and the old belter suddenly found himself leaving to make room. He introduced himself as Filistofisarasticallius, "but you may call me 'Fil,'" and he told them he wanted to hear their story. He bought several rounds of drinks, as the party told him about Arden and Abequa, and their mission to establish both trade and diplomatic relations. He pointed out, apologetically, that between their story and their appearance, they didn't seem to come from a world that could have produced a starship. They explained a little about Plan Alpha, and, when asked, explained their form of government. He told them if they desired, he could show them the location of an abandoned starship from the time humans first arrived in this galaxy. They were eager to learn more, but decided they needed to continue to The Hub, to sell off some trade goods, and have the Arianwyn looked over at the shipyard. They told him they'd return. Before they left, Chidi arrived to talk to Doc, who seemed a little nervous about him. Chidi and Doc both joined the party.
The next day, Kojo led them as they flew to The Hub, the combination Shipyard and Free Trade zone orbiting the main planet, Kearnay. He introduced them to Azabop, the Bwap (Newt) currently serving as portmaster. Azabop scheduled The Arianwyn in the earliest slot avaialable, 6 weeks hence, for two weeks of maintenance. After the overhaul, they were told several issues with the jump controls were discovered and corrected but the jump drives themselves were left alone since they seemed to be in working condition.
Travelling back to the Starbrite, the party picked up Fil. Ga'a'atak asked if he could join them, and the party enthusiastically agreed. After Cinnia gave Ga'a'atak, Chidi and Doc a quick tour, the Khorred went to the forward lounge and began playing his music. Fil went with Zaccheus to the bridge, and explained they had to jump one parsec to a place without a star system. He assured them that even without a gas giant, fuel would be available, so they made the jump.
A week later, they came out in deep space. Sensors detected the ship Fil had promised and three of the party used the launch from The Arianwyn to fly over to her. The E-Deck Cargo Bay was open to space, and all systems powered down.
Gildas was able to locate a terminal, power up the ship, and repressurize the Cargo Bay. He determined there was enough fuel to get The Arianwyn back to Kearnay, but not enough for the Amuar to go anywhere, so they transferred fuel and headed back. At The Hub, Azabop approached them to ask whether they had the authority to sign the Trade Accords on behalf of their homeworlds. After discussing their mission amongst themselves, they agreed they did. D'Arcy signed for Abequa, and Tiernan signed for Arden and the Ardeni Kingdoms as an interstellar organization. This had the immediate affect of linking their currencies, so that 1 KearnayanCr = 1 AbequanCr = 1 ArdeniCr = 1 (AK)Cr. Next, they purchased L-Hyd tanks, filling their excess cargo capacity so they could be reused. They made three trips back to the Amuar in order to give her enough fuel to jump back to Kearnay, and then Gildas managed to jump her back. The main power plant went off-line as they arrived at the Kearnay system, and Gildas powered down all but the maneuver drives in order to get back to The Hub. It turned out all of the Amuar's boats: a shuttle, a pinnace, two lifeboats and an air/raft were all missing... presumably taken when the crew abandoned the ship. The party scheduled a maintenance check, again with a six week delay, and had the ship repaired. They had to sell more of their trade goods in order to be able to afford the shipyard fees, but managed to pull it off.
Meanwhile, back on Tralnor, Lairgnen was transported to the mines for his 15 years hard labor. During his first month in the mines, he learned that escape would not be easy... the prisoners stayed below, the guards above, and the only way to be fed was to load the daily quota of ore onto a tiny elevator that hauled ore up and food down. No ore, no food. He quietly began gathering a group of prisoners to figure out an escape, and found two almost immediately who wanted to know his plan so they could help. During his second month, he added a third prisoner to his "crew," and they began trying to mine more than their quote each day so they could use the extra in their escape attempt. Poor nutrition, lots of dust and physical exhaustion led Lairgnen to come down with something during his third month; only a kind guard's lowering medicine for him kept him alive. In his fourth and fifth months in the mines, he continued to keep extra ore, as did the rest of his crew. In the sixth month of Lairgnen's imprisonment, about the time the rest of the party was bringing the Amuar back to the Kearnay system, he approached another prisoner about joining the escape plan. This prisoner, however, took an immediate dislike to him, and punched him in the face. Lairgnen fought back, but six months in the mines had taken their toll, and Lairgnen lost the fight, and his life.
(Game Calendar: 542-121 to 542-328)