Sunday, 27 September 2015

Solo Traveller - Episode 26: A little information

somewhere in jumpspace...

[jump event: What the problem is will probably revolve one of the PC's skills, status or situation.
Which PC? (1d6): 1-2 Inty, 3-4 Eshtam, 5-6 both
1-2 skills, 3-4 status, 5-6 situation


1 bribery, 2 JoT, 3 pilot, 4 recon, 5 streetwise, 6 vacc


Problem: Stop / Exterior factors -- atmosphere in engineering is venting into fuel tank, someone needs to fix it. Fleshing this out a bit: E has vacc & engineering (via JoT) so has best chance; actually, Inty has the same skills, so...]

Date: 335-1106

More problems in engineering! Diula staggered out of there half unconscious and then collapsed in the corridor. Orneev ran to get the Doc and then went and found me. There was lots of commotion and somehow we all ended up in the corridor outside Diula's stateroom waiting for the Doc's pronouncement. Even Heldamin was lurking at the back, looking all concerned and stuff. Diula mumbled something about leakage, and the doc said she seemed starved for air. I told Orneev to fetch me a vacc suit, as back-up engineer I would go and see if I couldn't fix the problem. Herself says I should take care of my crew, she'll go fix it.

[Just needing a vacc suit skill check seemed a bit silly, so I decided she needs to make an engineering roll (8+) to fix the problem.
vacc roll: 7+4, success
engineering (JoT-1 = eng-0) + 1 for Edu: 10+1=11]

She was at it a couple hours. Seems that there was a loose connection in the life-support system and the air recyclers were pulling all the oxygen OUT of engineering and venting it into the jump drive fuel tank, which was nice and empty at the moment. I was still sitting with Diula when she come and told me this, the doc had long since left and Orneev was in the galley attempting to make his mum's special soup for the patient. Diula laughed when she heard, said it figures and that we ought to sue those idiots that did our annual maintenance -- the ship ain't been the same since they fixed it!

Date: 339-1106

arrive at Tolirion/Foreven (2137 B788736-9 Ag Ri)

Date: 340-1106

Wouldn't let us unload when we put into port. Something about new security screening procedures for all inbound ships. So we all had to sit aboard and just wait, and all the time the clock is ticking and we got to make our deliveries.

[World Event: Security check. Roll the Law Level or less to avoid a complete check of papers and a search of belongings and vehicle.

I think that should read "or higher"; DM +legal (Inty has legal-1)

Later: The security screening was kind of a joke in the end. A couple port authority officers come aboard, look over our manifest, ask a couple questions about our cargo, skim read our registration, and that was it. "Everything seems in order. Welcome to Tolirion." Then they left and said we're cleared to unload.

Date: 342-1106

Me and the doc took Diula into the countryside for some fresh air, the doc says it'll do her good after the incident in engineering. There's a monorail that leaves right from the port and out away from the city. There's this big nature reserve with trees and grasses and lakes that is a popular tourist destination. So it's also got nice restaurants and clean toilets -- all the best of town & country. So us three bought us a nice, prepackaged picnic and headed out for the day to enjoy the scenic splendour of Tolirion. I kinda wish Orneev could of come too, but he needed to take care of business, and he always complains about being outside without at least a filter mask on. Course when I said that to Diula she goes, "I totally understand. If the air ain't filtered I don't trust it either." Well just they grew up on toxic hellhole planets they don't gotta ruin it for the rest of us!

It was a good day out. Saw some local wildlife, argued a little about if they were indigenous or not (in a friendly way), took a little boat ride. Me and the doc bought a couple bags full of fresh food for the galley. Diula bought a souvenir which is in frankly poor taste.

But when we got back Orneev was looking decidedly grave.

[selling cybernetics: 6+3+1(Ag world)=10, 130% ; that's what they paid for them, so no sale

cargo search: mechanical parts (-3 Rich, 3-3=40%) 20t @ cr28,000/tonne is an excellent deal... but ship's fund is a measly Kcr72]

Fist he tells me he couldn't find a buyer for the cyber parts. Well, he could have, but they wouldn't offer more than we paid for them, so taking into account the space they took up that wasn't filled with freight it would of been like paying 1000 credits to ship them here. So he didn't sell.

Then he found a great deal on 20t of mechanical parts, but we only have enough on hand to buy 2 tonnes. And we don't know where we're going, so maybe that's a bad idea to buy them, and we won't really make much money on only 2 tonnes anyway.

He says it could be a week before he finds another buyer for the cybernetics, and he doesn't have much hope of a better deal; the market for them here isn't what he expected. Then he said it would be real helpful if we had a firm destination, so maybe could I talk to the Boss?

I told him I'd try. But if he ever referred to her as the Boss again he could move back into his own stateroom.

So by this point I was in a mood for a fight, so talking to Herself seemed like a fine way to get one. Only I didn't. I made my case and got ready for her foul temper to jump all over me, but she just thought for a second and said we needed to confer with Heldamin. So went and got her, and made the doc give her something to sober her up a little, as she's been pretty much in a chemical stupor since we hit Obox.

The the three of us went to the bridge and Eshtam pulled up a star chart. "Where are we now?" asked Heldamin.

"We're on Tolirion," says Estham. "That's right here."

Heldamin sorta sneered back at her. "I know where Tolirion is. I own like three houses here. And a nightclub."

Whatever Eshtam thought about Heldamin's outburst, she didn't show it. I kinda wanted to slap her though. She only asked Heldamin, "So, we've got one jump to make, and from there it's one more jump to the final destination. What I need to know is how we're doing for time."

"What day is it?"


[Q: Does Heldamin say it's OK to tarry? 50/50 (4+): O1 C5, No.] (4jumps, averaging 10 days with refuelling=40: may be on Ikaktu already 3 weeks)

Heldamin screwed up her face for a minute like she was having a big think. Then she finally says, "His ship'll make jump-3. So figure, 4 jumps, averaging about 10 days a piece with refuelling and all that... he may have been on Ikaktu for three weeks by now. He's not going to stay put forever, you know."

Then everyone was quiet and thinky. Heldamin broke first, and asked, "Can I be excused now?" Herself just waved her off.

"Look," she says to me, "your mortgage is coming due again soon and you're just scraping by. Get a consignment for Zalba and let's get out of here."

When I told Orneev he was ecstatic. "Zalba's a way better market for cybernetics than this dump," he says. "I guess she was in a good mood or something."

I guess she was. And I told him we're headed to Ikaktu after that. But not to say anything as I don't think I was supposed to hear that part. And I wanted to tell him we're maybe getting rid of our Overseers on Ikaktu, but I didn't. I don't want to jinx it!

[Orneev posts their destination and cargo capacity on the starport board that night. The next day he and Inty go out at the opening of business to finalise some freight deals.

cargo lots -4DM for population of destination, +1DM for difference in TL
major: 30t
minor: 10,10,20,25,30

Orneev gets a 20t and a 25t cargo to fill the hold.

Diula & Veev had a random encounter when they went into port to kill time: 4 vigilantes, reaction roll= 9,intrigued. An uninteresting set-up, so I decided to see if Mythic had any ideas.
Q: Does Diula blab about things she oughtn't? unlikely (5+): O2 C9, No. ZZZzzzzz......

Again, there's no port event. And...

Q: Problem with Heldamin? 50/50 (4+): O3 C5, No.

Inty & Orneev had an interesting patron encounter at least (scout pilot - Pursue / Business; 1d6 hexes in a random direction=Dellia). But don't take my word for it...]

Date: 343-1106

Things run pretty smooth at the port for such a laid-back world. We were done with all our business by mid-morning, so me and Orneev decided we'd just wander into the city for a while. It was a bit touristy and overpriced, but whatever.

On our way to find the monorail station though, this girl runs up behind us and yells, "Hey, Captain!"

Didn't recognise the voice. I turned and didn't recognise the face, either. It was some girl wearing what looked like an old IISS uniform
 and carrying a duffel bag that came up to her shoulder. "You're captain of Hekabe," she continues, "You're free traders, right?"

"Yeah..." I said slowly. She was kinda freaking me out.

"Sorry, I overheard you guys talking with the export clerk. I didn't want to bother you when you were busy, so I waited out here until you were done. The name's Schienu."

"I'm Inty, this here's Orneev, my first mate."

"Pleased to meet ya. Here's the thing: I got some business on Dellia, and I really want to get there soon. I'm tracing a scout ship that went missing over 5 months ago, and I just got wind of some information placing its last voyage there. Once I find it, I need to remove certain articles from the hold, so it would be nice to have a decent size ship to put them in. There's probably some decent stuff for salvage too, if you're interested. I can pay above standard charter rates, and help out around the ship -- I was a scout 8 years 'fore I headed out on my own. Interested?"

"Sorry," I says, "but we're hoping for a return trip back here from Zalba. Got a hot tip on some cargo there, and we can't afford to pass it up. Life of a free trader and all that! Maybe some other time."

I don't know if she believed me, but she took the hint and went away. There was something really wrong about her. Don't know what, but it made my skin crawl. I don't know if I should mention this to Herself or not. Maybe someone's after us now. So I'm glad I lied and said we were coming back here from Zalba. Best not to mention Ikaktu.

[It was a patron encounter, so with my GM hat on I know it wasn't the Enemy, but just for fun:
Q: Was the job on the level? 50/50 (4+): O5 C1, Yes, and... it was a completely legal salvage operation. So technically, it wasn't a significant encounter. But it seemed interesting.]

Date: 344-1106

Loaded & underway. I wish all freight handlers were this efficient. Almost at the jump point, and the breakfast dishes ain't even washed yet.

cr72,684 ship's fund

    -100 berthing
 -14,000 life support
 -25,000 refined fuel

 +45,000 freight
cr78,584 new ship fund

next mortgage due 355-1106

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Solo Traveller - Episode 25: Keeping the ship afloat

Date: 329-1106

Arrived back at the  highport over the mainworld (Obox/ Foreven (2337 C7A2777-9 Fl)). We got clearance to dock at a subordinate facility. When I disembarked, Dr. Veev was there waiting for us all to show up. He had a couple Imperial marines with him and other than that the place was empty. Only one guy came off the lab ship at all, and he only seemed interested in talking with Eshtam and the Lieutenant. He gave her something, looked like a cheap handcomp, and then they was done. The marines took the pinnace away, and we unceremoniously went back to the downport. They two of them were their usual sullen selves, but the doc sat with me in the cockpit to let me know how things had been going whilst we were away. Which was a bit crap. Orneev was having a hell of a bad time locating cargo, and not knowing our next destination makes taking on freight a bit of a challenge, now don't it? I'm gonna hafta have a word with Herself about this.

Bad luck or no, I want to see Orneev when we put down. Business can wait. The cargo hold will still be there tomorrow.

But the doc says it would be best if I didn't say too much about the little adventure we was just on. He says I can tell Orneev and Diula what went down, but that I shouldn't mention the name of the lab ship. Or that it was Imperial. Or even a lab ship. God of the Void! I thought he was on our side.

[Diula has mostly been keeping an eye on Heldamin, who has learnt to sit quietly in the engine room whilst Diula is puttering about.

Orneev's cargo search for days 325 & 326 failed. On 328 he found a consignment of meat - 95t @ cr1350/tonne. There are several Ag worlds (-2 sale DM) within Jump-2, so this seemed like a bad deal. I asked Mythic--

Q: Will the meat still be on offer when the other PCs get back? 50/50 (4+): O3 C9, No -- there are other interested buyers. He'd have to gamble on their next destination not being an Ag world.
Q: Does he cross his fingers and buy the meat? Unlikely (5+): O3 C8, no - too risky

And whilst I'm interrogating the Oracle--

Q: Any problems with Heldamin? Unlikely (5+): O1 C7, No.]

Date: 330-1106

I was in a much chirpier mood when I got up this morning. But the accounts were looming over my head, so I cornered Herself over breakfast. "Y'know," I says, "it would really help if we knew where we were headed next."

She just looked at me for a minute, then she says, "We've been here way too long already."

So I jumped in before she had a chance to continue [Inty needed to roll under INT (10-) to make a good case. She rolled a 5]. "We're just free traders!" I blurted out. "With bills to pay. And a bank to keep off our collective arse. It would look real suspicious if we travel empty."

She musta looked at her shoes for a good minute! "Fine," she says slowly. "Post our destination as Tolirion or Phllyg, I don't care. Fill the hold with the first thing that shows up and we're out of here."

I always wanted to see Tolirion.

. . .

Later: I could tell Diula was getting stir crazy so I sent her with Orneev into port to post our destination and make one last stab at finding something on spec too. Herself and her marine were babysitting Heldamin, so I just went back to bed. I must needed the sleep cause next thing I know it was dinner time and Orneev and Diula was waking me up and talking over each other about how they'd got real lucky and found a nice juicy bit of merchandise -- one tonne of cybernetic parts, expensive but probably going to return a good profit on a world like Tolirion [+1 resale DM for Ag]. And they also filled the rest of the hold to capacity with freight. This is gonna make everybody happy. Including me, cause something bad is going on here and I don't want to get dragged into it again.

[cybernetic parts -- 20t @ cr325,000/tonne
can only afford 1t for 328,250(incl. fees)

Rolling for freight: 5 major cargos: 60t,60t,20t,10t,10t
8 minor cargos: 35t... Here I stopped rolling, as they can take on 1 major (10t) and 1 minor (35t) to fill out hold.]

cr632,263 ship's fund

    -600 extra berthing
-275,729 mortgage (paid 325-1106, on time!)
-328,250 buy cybernetic parts

 +45,000 freight
cr72,684 new ship fund

next mortgage due 355-1106

We already refuelled and refreshed the life support, so as soon as we're loaded we can ship out.

Date: 332-1106

[no outbound ship encounters.

I rolled for drive failure & misjump as usual (even though I don't usually record it, I always make the rolls); drive failure was 11+1(unrefined fuel): just barely a success.]

We had a real quiet trip out to the jump point. Didn't pass no other ships. Herself was on the bridge as usual, looking at the sensors, and didn't bother calling out the 100-diameter mark this time. I guess she finally trusts me to fly.

I dimmed the lights, and hit the jump button. The drives made a noise I never heard before in all my 20 years as a spacer, kind of a grinding mixed with a squeal. I was sure they were blown again, but just as I seen the engineering intercom light flashing, we suddenly went into jump space. I talked to Diula for a few minutes, she said everything seemed OK but she was going to monitor it for a while.

Then Herself got up to go aft. "Your ship's a real gourmet," she says. "She complains when you feed her the cheap stuff."

I hate to say it but she's right. The Hekabe really does not like unrefined fuel!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Solo Traveller - Episode 24: In space, no one can hear you die...

[Forgive the James Bond-esque post title, but this turned into the most extraordinary action sequence of any Traveller game I've ever played.]

Obox/ Foreven (2337 C7A2777-9 Fl) / Date: 327-1106

Eshtam and Inty take their positions in the cockpit of the ship's boat. "Lemme see if I can hear anything," says Eshtam. [To intercept a communiqué between the other ships, she needs to make a Commo roll of 10+ : 11+1=success.]

She adjusts the controls for a few seconds, then a man's voice comes over the speakers. "...pare to be boarded."

"Not on your life," comes the reply from the lab ship Djehuti.

[Q: Will the terrorists attempt to ram? 50/50 (4+): O2 C4, No, but...]

"We can outrun you. And we'll cut through the hull if we have to."

The enemy pinnace is invisible against the field of stars, but the sensors indicate that it is less than 20km distant, and the lab ship will soon rocket past.

"They must intend to get behind us," says Inty, "and try to dock that way. Or cut through the docking ring..."

"Fly up to the ring, then," says Eshtam. "Get in their way. Hopefully our friends on the Djehuti will see what we're doing and not try anything stupid."

[Inty needs to make an average ship's boat roll (8+) to perform the manoeuvre: 8+1= success.]

Inty pilots the ship's boat towards the centre of the ring-shaped lab ship, and matches its speed and vector. They are now following less than 50m behind. The lab ship's pilot seems to divine their intent, and ceases accelerating.

"They're co-operating," says Eshtam. "Turn the ship round 180 degrees. I want to see our pursuers when they get within visual range."

"You sure this is a good idea?" asks Lt. Gytovo. "What if the pinnace is armed?"

"It isn't," says Eshtam confidently. "This is a research vessel in more-or-less friendly territory. Besides, they'd have fired a warning shot already if they could've."

"They're behind us now!" shouts Inty as she watches the sensor readout.

"It's showtime, kids," says the Lieutenant. "Helmets on, lock & load. Captain, as soon as we get inside the airlock, I want you to depressurise the whole ship. They probably aren't packing anything that will breach the hull without some effort, but better safe than sorry."

"Yes, sir!"

"And, Inty, you'd better rotate us off the ecliptic about 180 degrees, too," adds Eshtam. "I want our hatches on the same side."

The three put on their helmets, and give their vacc suits the once-over to ascertain that everything is secure. They they wait, nervously peering out the front portholes to catch sight of the enemy pinnace. Inty calls out the distance on the sensors as the ship closes the gap.

"Three kilometres... two-point-five... two... one-point-sev--"

"I see it!" says Eshtam.

"I don't make anything..." says Inty, looking up.

"Follow where I'm pointing."

"It's hard to tell in this suit. Oh, wait, now I see it... just catching the sunlight."

"When they hit two hundred metres, we should get moving, Lieutenant."

"I'm right behind ya."

Thirty interminable-seeming seconds later, Eshtam and Lt. Gytovo are moving into the airlock. They give a last cursory glance over their weapons to make sure their straps are fastened firmly to the utility rings, and attach long tethers to the belts round the vacc suits themselves. A blinking light signals the interior of the ship depressurising.

"We're good to go, Captain," says Lt. Gytovo over the commo in his helmet. "As soon as it's safe, shut off the grav plates and we'll open the hatch."

"And if you can, get a line through to the Djehuti," adds Eshtam, "let them know we'll keep them from being boarded. But they may need to come get us when it's done..."

There is a sudden feeling of levity as the grav plates power down. Lt. Gytovo opens the hatch on the port side of the ship, then he and Eshtam step out into space.

[Set-up notes:

Q: Any guards on the lab ship? Unlikely (5+): O3 C9, No.
number of people on the lab ship (1d6+4)x10=50% occupied = 10 scientists + crew

# of assailants: 1d6+1=6; I rolled a d6 for each to pick a source for stats (1-2 1001 Characters, 3-4 thug from the list in the Traveller book, 5 Citizens of the Imperium, 6 Veterans)

dice= 1,1,2,2,4,4

Everyone is armed with the weapons they have listed skill in. The PCs' stats are included for reference. NPCs are designated by service and nothing else, as they are anonymous assailants in vacc suits.

N/PC   UPP    Skills
----   ---    ------
merch  8698B6 blade-1, carbine-0, ship's boat-1
navy   5734C7 laser carbine-0, vacc-1
army   8476A8 SMG-1, blade-1, vacc-1
marine 177587 revolver-1, tactics-3, leader-3
thug a 95C498 autopistol-1, vacc-1
thug b 87636B revolver-1

Gytovo AB8888 ACR-1, Vacc-2
Eshtam 6AAE94 Rifle-3, Vacc-1, Zero-g-1

Q: Who gets out first? 1-2 PCs, 3-4 NPCs, 5-6 simultaneous: 1=PCs
The enemy pinnace stops 1d6x10 = 60m away.

I used the Zero-g combat rules out of mercenary. For reference, a roll of 10+ is required to remain in control when performing actions in zero-g. DMs: -4 if shooting firearms (no DM for lasers), +5 if handhold used (but effective DEX lowered by 4 for purposes of computing weapon DM), Dex 9 or 10 +2 Dex 11+ +4,  zero-g skill +4/level, vacc skill +2/lvl. A roll of 10+ is required to regain control once lost, with the same DMs as above.

Damage rules will be from German Traveller / Striker / Azhanti High Lightning; the rest is CT, though the PCs will have initiative as a strict sequencing of actions makes more sense. Each hit also has a 1-in-6 chance to crack the faceplate of the target's vacc suit, causing near-instant death.]

Eshtam and the Lieutenant drift slowly away from their ship in a V pattern at the end of their long tethers. Both have had plenty of EVA experience, and so are able to slow to a stop 30m out from their ship [they both have +8DM from skill & DEX]. Despite moving at terrific speed through interplanetary space, they seem to hang motionless in the ether, the terrific bulk of the ring-shaped Djehuti hangs still behind them, and the enemy pinnace creeps slowly to a stop in front. Eshtam looks up to see the Lieutenant suspended about 10m above her head, his ACR trained on the hostile ship. Her world is silent, save for her measured breathing, which is amplified by her vacc suit's helmet.

They are suspended for what seems an eternity before a crescent-shaped sliver of light begins to glow on the side of the pinnace as the hatch is opened.

"First one's mine," says Eshtam into her comm, as she takes aim with her rifle.

After a few moments, she sees the first vacc-suited form emerge from the side of the pinnace, upside-down from her perspective. They step heavily out the hatch, having not deactivated the interior grav plates. "Amateurs," whispers Lt. Gytovo over the comm in spite of himself. Inty's voice shouts in both their ears: "They're coming!"  Two others jump out in measured succession, each radiating from the hatch on their own tether at a different angle. But Eshtam is not listening to her friends' chatter, as she follows the first figure's trajectory with her rifle.

[Round 1]

Eshtam fires at the first figure out [navy]. She leans into the shot as she had been trained to do all those years ago at Antesh, and manages to remain steady -- though feels out of practise. She feels the shot more than hears it. She can tell she hit her mark as the figure jerks with the impact, and nearly lets go its laser. The wound isn't serious, but the hole in their vacc suit might be. Without making too sudden a movement, the figure takes an emergency patch and stops the hole with practised hands.

[Eshtam needed 8+ for an aimed shot: she rolled 6+3(skill)+2dex=hit. Her zero-g roll: 6 +4(zero-g-1) +2 (Dex 10) +2 (Vacc-1) -4(shooting)=10, just succeeded.
The damage roll is 8 +3 (rifle) -6 (vacc suit counts as cloth armour) = light wound. A light wound has a 1-in-6 chance to cause unconsciousness; this one doesn't. It also gives -1DM to hit.
Navy needs to roll 7+ to apply an emergency patch (counts as standard use of vacc skill, so DM+2/level): 7+2(for vacc-1)=success. Zero-g roll of 9+2(Vacc skill)=retain control.]

Lt. Gytovo aims at the second one out [thug a] and fires a single shot from his ACR. He remains steady with military precision. His target convulses once, then loses their grip on the auto pistol they had been holding, which drifts away into space. No move is made to retrieve it.

[Lt. Gytovo's attack roll was 5+2+1=hit; Zero-g 10 +4(Dex 11) +4(vacc-2) -4(shot)=ok.
Damage roll was 11+4(ACR)-6(armour)=serious wound; target automatically unconscious.]

The third enemy out [army] fires a burst from a submachinegun which acts like a little rocket engine, sending them into a head-over-heels spin.

[army's attack roll is 8+1(skill)-2(dex)=miss; Zero-g 5+2(skill)-4(shooting)=lost control]

[Round 2]

As the next one [marine] steps out of the pinnace's hatch, Eshtam fires. She hits them in the shoulder, and they scramble to get an emergency patch applied. The first one doesn't take, so in a panic they scramble for a second, as frozen droplets of blood are sucked from the wound into the vacuum of space.

[Eshtam's attack roll was 9+3+2: hit. Her Zero-g roll: 8+4+2+2-4=easily ok.
Damage was a light wound again.
Marine has only vacc-0 skill. A roll of 6 applies a patch, but ineffectually.]

Lt. Gytovo takes aim at the next one out [thug b]. But his overconfidence with weightless manoeuvres, or perhaps his underestimation of his foes leads him to slip up, and the recoil from his ACR sends him reeling. He doesn't know that he has hit his target, who hurriedly slaps an emergency patch over the tear in their suit's torso.

[Lt. Gytovo hit easily, but only rolled a 4 on his Zero-g check: 4+4+4-4=8, failure.
Thug B took a light wound (1d6=3, no KO), and despite a skill of vacc-0, rolled a 10 to patch the hole.]

Suddenly a beam of yellow light blazes through the emptiness. The first of the assailants [navy], having stopped their leaking suit, has returned fire with a laser carbine. The flash of the bolt illuminates the interior of Eshtam's helmet as it vapourises a few millimetres of the carbon-fibre exterior. The scratch is more cosmetic than anything, but she curses in surprise and fear before realising she's unharmed.

[Navy's attack roll was 9+0, hit. Laser fire does not penalise the zero-g roll: 8+2(vacc-1)=success.
The damage roll was only 4 +5(laser carbine) -6 (armour) = -1, No Effect.]

The one with the submachinegun [army] is twisting and turning and only succeeds in getting more tangled in their tether. [zero-g roll 5+2=failure].

No more attackers emerge from the pinnace.

[Round 3]

Eshtam switches back to her first target, the one with the laser [navy]. Her shot rips into the shoulder of the spacesuit, opening a large tear. The jet of oxygen venting out spins them round, and the laser carbine drifts away from motionless fingers, trailing on its power cord.

[the damage was only a light wound, but 1d6=6, so Navy is rendered unconscious]

Eshtam sees Lt. Gytovo above her manage to steady himself.

[zero-g roll 7+4+4, regains control]

Their assailants are not so fortunate. Two are either unconscious or dead [navy, thug a], one is helplessly spinning [army] and a another is still desperately trying to stop the atmosphere from leaking out of their vacc suit [marine]. That leaves but one with a magnum revolver [thug b]; taking careful aim at Eshtam, they fire, but due to the distance and her gentle motion outward, the shot misses. The shooter begins tumbling head-over-heels.

[The terrorists needed a Morale check (ML9) to stand and fight, which they passed.
Army failed another zero-g check to regain control, and Marine failed another vacc suit roll to apply an emergency patch. Thug b needed 10+ to hit due to range; a roll of 5+5+1 missed by less than a metre, not that anyone could tell. Zero-g roll failed miserably.]

[Round 4]

Eshtam wishes they would give up, but they seem committed to fighting to the bitter end. She fires at the one patching their suit. She curses under her breath, "Dammit! I missed." Her target finishes the patch job, and readies their heavy revolver [in fact she did actually hit, but the armour value of the vacc suit reduced the damage to No Effect. Marine finally rolled over a 6 on two dice and managed to properly apply an emergency patch.]

Both of the two who were spinning about [Army and Thug B] manage to right themselves. Lt. Gytovo shoots the one with the revolver in the arm, but the wound is not serious [light wound on thug b].

[Round 5]

Eshtam fires again. This time she is positive she scored a hit, but the slug just buries itself in the heavy nylon shoulder of the suit [hits Marine, No Effect]. Her target has drifted back towards the side of the pinnace, and grabs ahold of the lip of the open hatch in order to steady themself. [-2DM to hit for lowered effective DEX, but the +5DM on the zero-g roll keeps them in control]. The return shot from the heavy revolver ricochets off the nose of the ship's boat, fantastically short of its intended target.

The one with the submachinegun [Army] squeezes off a long burst, but none of the bullets hit anything, and they once agan go into a spin.

Lt. Gytovo sees the one with the magnum revolver unhook their tether and start to move forward with jets from a small propulsion unit. He fires on them, but loses control and starts to fly backwards himself. He notes with brief satisfaction that they seem to be rocketing away from the fight, but chastises himself for a second foolish mistake.

[Lt. Gytovo's shot hit, inflicting a Serious wound. Thug B is rendered unconscious and flies away into the blackness, never to be seen again].

[Round 6]

Eshtam's target is nearly motionless, hanging on to the hatch. She takes careful aim and fires. The faceplate of their helmet shatters, and death is mercifully swift.

Lt. Gytovo once again manages to right himself. Their sole remaining combatant does not.

[Round 7]

Eshtam shoots the spinning one, and hits despite the wild motion [I decided that being out of control was equivalent to Evading, for a -2DM to hit]. Her bullet is deflected by the solid back of the helmet [No Effect]. The Lieutenant fares somewhat better his shot takes the spinner out of the fight completely [serious wound], but the recoil sends Lt. Gytovo reeling once again.

[Rounds 8-10]

The Lieutenant regains control as Eshtam watches over the drifting forms of their assailants. None move of their own accord. She begins pulling herself back along her tether to the side of the ship, and Lt. Gytovo follows her. "We'd better check the pinnace," she says. He grunts in terse agreement.

They unhook the tethers and crawl along the outside of their ship toward the nose. Inty's voice sounds in their ears as they reach the nose of the ship: "What the hell?"

Eshtam kicks off and launches herself at the pinnace. The lieutenant follows without a word.

[This counts as a 'non-ordinary' manoeuvre according to the description of the CT Vacc Suit skill, so they will each need to roll 10+, with +4DM/level for skill.
E 8+4, G 3+8, both succeed]

They fly through empty space, 60m to the enemy ship. Eshtam sees the pilot of the pinnace in the cockpit, hurriedly putting on the helmet of his suit and taking up a carbine.

They each catch ahold of projections on the outer hull with a thud -- one only they can hear -- and begin to scramble across the surface to the still-open hatch. The gravity catches them as they crawl into the open airlock. The Lieutenant pulls the hatch closed behind them as Eshtam begins opening the inner hatch. She gives the wheel a final turn and feels the hatch start to open. "Ready?" she asks.

"Do it."

As she pulls the hatch open, the lieutenant sees a vacc-suited man beyond raising a carbine to fire. He opens up with a burst from his ACR, dropping the man in his tracks [Serious wound].

Eshtam cuts power to the grav plates and helps the Lieutenant pull the dead and wounded into the cargo area of the pinnace. They are disarmed and bound securely. Eshtam radios Inty and the Djehuti to let them know the situation is under control, and they have soon resumed their journey.

It's going to be another 40 hours to get back.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Solo Traveller - Episode 23: A necessary side-trip

Lasperth/Foreven (2537 B469443-A Ni) / Date: 325-1106

"Don't look now," says Eshtam to Lt. Gytovo as they are walking into the commerce centre of the spaceport, "but we're being followed."

"Are you sure?" he asks.

"Positive. I noticed when we got to the terminal."

"Great. How many of them are there?"

"Just one, but he's big."

"What do we do? See any good ambush spots?"

Just then their pursuer starts shouting, "Sergeant? Sgt. Gytovo! It is you! Wait up!"

[Every week in port I have been rolling for a patron encounter (5+ on 1d6) per the CT encounter charts. The PCs head into port in pairs (and always leave at least 2 on board to watch Heldamin), so a second d6 determines who gets the encounter : 1-2 E&G, 3-4 I&O, 5-6 D&V.

The patron rolled is: marine officer.]

The man approaches, a warm smile upon his face. "Sgt. Gytovo, it's been a while. Where you been keeping yourself? Word is you got tapped by Darus for special duty."

"Yeah, something like that. And it's Lieutenant, now."

"I always said you were due to get your commission, 'specially after that raid over Woon. Congratulations, Lieutenant."

"Thanks, Captain. Eshtam, allow me to introduce an old shipmate of mine. Captain Betalar is CO of the ship's troops aboard the Dikiishgaamurga. What're you doing on Lasperth, Captain?"

"Same as you, I suppose: transporting mercs off Dimmul. I only hope your lot weren't such a handful. Ours nearly tried to take over the ship, and the Lasperthian government is all saying the Imperium is just trying to fob off criminals on 'em. I'm up to my eyeballs in red tape, and the authorities aren't making it any easier... and..."


"Well, these mercenaries aren't the only problem."

"What's up?"

[Q: What is the patron's goal: stop / death.
Q: Is the mission related to the events on Dimmul? Likely (3+): O3 C2, Yes, and... PCs cannot decline.

Q: Who is the perpetrator (1d6)? 1 disgruntled mercs, 2 hired mercs, 3 criminals, 4 spy, 5 terrorist, 6 person or persons unknown


Q: Who is the target? 1 returning mercs, 2 civilian population, 3 goverment, 4 starport, 5 imperial ship, 6 patron himself

5=imperial ship

Q: The Hekabe? 50/50 (4+): O1 C5, No. Rolling a random ship encounter = Lab ship]

"I been in and out of the port authority and the repatriation centre ever since we set down on Lasperrth," says Captain Betalar. "Then, [1d6=2] a couple days ago, I finally had an evening off duty. I picked some random bar that wasn't too crowded or two loud. The guy in the booth behind me musta not seen me come in, or thought that the music was a better screen than what it was, because he was blabbing away to someone on his commo, and I could eavesdrop without even trying. I could only hear his half of the conversaton, but it sounded dirty. So I listened in further, and fuck me if he wasn't planning to raid a ship, the Djehuti -- an IISS lab ship no less! The plan is for him and his associates to wait for the ship's pinnace to come into port for supplies, steal it to get aboard the ship, kill the crew and then release some sort of statement."

"The Djehuti?" asks Eshtam. "Are you sure?"

"Believe me, I got a definite confirmation."


[Q: How does he know? violate / a representative]

"I followed him into the gents and beat it out of him."

"Did you tell the authorities?" asks the Lieutenant.

"They said they'll look into it, just as soon as he regains consciousness..."

"And you think we should deal with this in-house," says the Lieutenant.

"If you could. I don't know who else to ask. All my people have their hands full with the undesirable mercs, and I'm sort of not allowed to leave port. You know, until the assault charges are cleared..."

"what a coincidence," says Eshtam. "There just so happens to be a scout on the Djehuti that I gotta see."

[Quick mission setup:
Using the tables in Book 6, Lasperth is found to orbit a G V star (like Sol) and is in orbit 2. The lab ship is (1-2 closer, 3-6 farther; 5) farther out in(1d6+2=) orbit 5, around Ifchep, a minor planet in the system (Y402000-0 Ba Ic)

Q: Is a ship's boat available for charter on short notice? 50/50 (4+): 06 C2, Yes, and... ready & fuelled right now. Cost is cr30/hr (per CT rulebook)]

Eshtam goes to charter a ship's boat from the port and sends Lt. Gytovo to fetch Inty to pilot it. Not only is she a rated small craft pilot (Eshtam has read her dossier [ship's boat-1]), but having her along is good insurance that the Hekabe will still be in port when they return. Eshtam is pleased to find a ship's boat for hire sitting fully fuelled on launch pad 94.

Inty is less than pleased about being dragged away wihtout notice, but holds her tongue. Orneev goes with them to the launch pad to see her off, and help carry the vacc suits and weapons. He promises her that he'll fill the cargo with cheap, high-resale cargo whilst she's away. He watches from the platform as the external hatch closes, and blows a kiss through it just as Inty is about to disappear from sight. Inty does her best to smile and not ruin the moment.

And then they're underway.

It's a long trip out to Ifchep's orbit. Even at maximum (6G) acceleration, it will take about 36 hours. Inty doesn't know why they're going out to an uninhabited planet, and she's afraid to ask. All the guns they brought along are giving her a distinct case of indigestion.

Most of the trip is spent on auto pilot. They sleep in shifts so someone is always awake to monitor the instruments. Orneev sends occasional vid-messages to cheer up Inty, but she is too embarrassed to watch them when the others are awake. Mostly she tries to watch some of the musical films that Diula lent her, and wonders if perhaps she should see if the new doctor has better taste in entertainment when she gets back. Lt. Gytovo cleans the guns thoroughly, and does calisthenics in the cargo section. Eshtam is content to keep an eye on the instruments, or just gaze out the portholes at the stars.

[The party arrives (1d6): 1-2 early, 3-4 on time, 5-6 late

When they are about 3 hours from their destination, Eshtam suggests that they eat something, in case things go poorly at the other end. "Right," she says afterwards, "let's get suited up so we don't have to rush." They don their vacc suits in a leisurely fashion, leaving the helmets off for the time being, but kept close to hand in case there is trouble. Before putting the gloves on, Lt. Gytovo starts fiddling with the weapons.

"What'cha doing?" asks Inty.

"Flipping back the trigger guards, so we can use them in our vacc suits," says the Lieutenant.

"Oh," she replies, a bit flustered. "I didn't know that was a thing."

"Pretty standard for spacers' weapons, just like oxygenated powder. I assumed you guys stocked your ship's locker on purpose."

"I, uh... no, we just got lucky."

"Want me to show you how to set your shotgun?"

"Please. You don't expect we'll need these, do you?"

"Hope not. But I'm not promising, mind. We're not exactly sure what's waiting for us around Ifchep."

"Yoru're not sure," thinks Inty. "What sort of mission is this, anyway?"

They travel for the better part of an hour, Eshtam watching over the sensors, Inty waiting to do some actual flying. "We've got to be on their scanners by now. Inty, cut the engines, turn this thing around so we can see in the direction we're going, and shut off everything but emergency power. Then start sending a signal GK."

Inty complies wordlessly, and hopes that no one can see her hands shaking over the controls.

The distress signal is repeated for more than five minutes. There is no response from the lab ship.

"I don't like this," says the Lieutenant.

"I'll try something a little more forward," says Eshtam as she switches on the communicator. "This is civilian transport 679-G-8 to vessel in orbit around Ifchep, we have an emergency. Please respond. This is civilian trans--"

A voice crackles over the comm, interrupting her in mid-sentence. "Civilian transport, please state the nature of the emergency."

"I think the power plant is shot. We just had a major systems failure, and we're running on backup.  Please, can we dock and get some assistance."

[reaction=6, unreceptive]

"Uh, negative, civilian transport. I'm afraid we can't take you aboard."

"Maybe you can send someone over to help us out then?"

[Q: Will they send an engineer to help? 50/50 (4+), O2 C0, No.]

"Sorry, civilian transport. We can't do that."

"Are you serious? Do you want us to die out here?"

[Q: Do they want them to die out here? I was uncertain what the odds should be, so I rolled 1d6=4, 50/50, making the odds 50/50 (4+): 06 C1, Yes, and...]

"You'll have to find help elsewhere. We're not letting anyone inside."

Inty looks a bit shocked at what she's just heard. Eshtam mutes the commo, then looks over at Lt. Gytovo. "You think they're in trouble, or just being pricks?"

"Dunno. They don't sound scared."

"Fine. I'm tipping our hand." She activates the commo again. "Right. Listen up, you arseholes. Your relief ship is a trap. It's being hijacked by terrorists and the port authority doesn't give a shit because they're sick of Imperials mucking about in their system. We came all the way out here to warn you."

"You have proof of this?"

"No, but can you afford to doubt us?"

There's a long silence over the communicator [new reaction roll=8, interested] "Well, what do you suggest we do? We sent the pinnace out on a supply run."

"Then I suggest you refuel & refresh in port. We can escort you back."

Another long pause, as they presumably talk it over [reaction=9, intrigued]. "Agreed. But no funny stuff. Keep at least 5km separation."

"Fine. But once we're in port I need to talk to one of you. We can discuss that on the ground."

"We'll see."

Eshtam shuts off the commo as Inty fires up the power plant. The lab ship breaks orbit around the icy planet, and Inty swings the ship's boat around to follow it.

"Lovely friends you've got there," says Inty. "You must go way back."

"Something must have spooked them," opines the Lieutenant. "Keep an eye on the sensors. And I suggest we stay suited until we're sure we're in the clear."

Whilst they are following the Djehuti back, Eshtam attempts to contact the Hekabe on a secure channel. She informs Sir Veev that they are on their way back, with an ETA of ~50 hours. He agrees to find Captain Betalar and meet the Imperial crew when they out in at the highport, and deliver the code phrase to find their contact.

[Both Eshtam and the terrorists need to make commo rolls; if she wins, they do not intercept her transmission. E: 10+1 vs. bad guy: 7+1, the transmission is secure.

With the way interplanetary flight works in Traveller (constant acceleration to mid-point, then constant deceleration to destination), determining whether or not the enemy pinnace heading out from the mainworld can catch the lab ship heading back towards it could require some rather hard maths. SO instead I'll just ask the Oracle--

Q: Do the bad guys catch up with the lab ship? 50/50 (4+): O6 C9, Yes.]

About 10 hours in, on Lt. Gytovo's watch, another small craft appears on the sensors: a 40t pinnace, of the standard design for a lab ship. The lieutenant wakes his two comrades, who were napping in the aft section. "We got company," he says. "Ship on the scopes, and I think it's trying to match trajectories."

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Solo Traveller - Episode 22: Far Trader Blues

Date: 305-1106

Arrived at Lasperth/Foreven (2537 B469443-A Ni)

Immediately out of jump there was a ping on the sensors, and a hail seconds later. There was 100t seeker, and the pilot wanted to know which way we came from. Herself was in the cockpit with me, naturally, so I looked at her for my orders. "Just tell them," she says, "it's no great secret." So I says we just came from Hope, and the guy asks if we have any news about Dimmul. So I gave him the run down, including how we were volunteers transporting soldiers offworld. He said he'd wanted to go help, but that he was contracted to explore this system for another three months still, and how the relief effort probably didn't have any use for asteroid miners, but good on us for helping and "may the gods of the hidden suns speed our vessel with their warm breath". So that was nice, but now I'm worried that no one in port is going to want to talk about anything BUT Dimmul.

[Q: Are the Mercs unloaded without problem? Likely (3+): O6 C1, Yes, and... port waives the berthing fee]

Date: 306-1106

We weren't the only ship in port ferrying troops to Lasperth. I guess there was a pretty big outfit that works out of here. The port authority even set up a repatriation centre, and is waiving berthing fees for the volunteer ships. Landed at the downport, and the doctor rounded up all our "passengers" and saw them off. I guess the other two stuck him with the admin work.

Me and Orneev slipped out of the ship when the others weren't looking to try and drum up some business. We were informed by the navy that we shouldn't take on any passengers, but cargo is ok. Can't run the ship if we don't make any money, now can we?

Best we could find was a load of tin [100t @ 11,700cr/tonne] but it was so overpriced [130% base price] that Orneev said we'd never sell at a profit.

Not worth it.

Date: 308-1106

Still no good cargos, but it's a nice port to walk round, as ports go. Orneev says I say that about every port where you don't need a breath mask or vacc suit to go outside. I almost said I didn't feel that way about Dimmul, but then it seemed so unfunny I bit my tongue. And it's not like no one here is talking about anything else. Lot of people round the port have some connection, even if it's only they met a guy from there once, so they're all real hungry for news. And everyone is real nice when they find out we were transport volunteers. It got so we had to start turning down free drinks so we could walk back to the ship under our own power!

Diula and the Doc went into town together, and they come back with the same story. The only ones what didn't, as if I couldn't of guessed, were Herself and her pet marine. Apparently some local religious cult takes a dim view of professional soldiering, and when they spotted our Imperial masters they went up and gave them a real hard time, saying stuff like "begone, ye Cosmic Oppressors, unloading your garbage on the good people of peaceable Lasperth" or some such (I should of wrote it down when they were telling the story. Note to self: next time pretend to be doing the accounting so I don't miss out).

Also, they came back in armour jackets and been wearing them round the ship ever since. They say they're just trying to break them in so they'll be comfortable, but I'm sure it's some subtle attempt at intimidation.

Date: 309-1106

Persistence paid off. Found 10t computer parts on offer @ cr105,000/tonne.

Bought 4 tonnes for cr424,800 (incl 1% fee). All we could afford.

Had some words with Herself about running MY ship. She told me that as soon as we're loaded we ship out. I told her we had a mostly empty hold, and we can't afford to run light right now, maybe she should tell us where we're going so we can at least post a destination to pick up some freight. She said we're going wherever she damn well says we're going and not to question it, and that we already wasted enough time looking for whatever spec cargo we find, and that she always thought freight didn't pay that well anyways. Then my beautiful Orneev steps in and says she has a point, and that we really can't afford to sit here any longer and we're already 2 weeks overdue for the mortgage payment even with the grace period. I could of killed him right then. I mean, he's right, but did he have to say it in front of her?

Date: 312-1106

We were all loaded up the next day. (Loaded! the cargo hold still echoes it's so empty!) Slow trip out to the gas giant for fuel, slow trip out to the jump point. Entered jump just fine. Time for some accounting. Even taking into account that Heldamin's last payment evaporated into space, we started out on a decent footing.

cr490,992 ship's fund

 -14,000 life support refresh
 -25,000 fuel (refined)
-424,800 buy computer parts (4t)
cr27,192 new ship's fund

If anyone asks, I may put a zero on that so they don't panic...

[Some die rolls and notes on things that didn't make Inty's log:

Every group got the standard CT encounter checks for each day they were off the ship, but most of them were quite dull, so not worth expanding upon:
- 11 rowdies, reaction = non-committal
- 6 beggars, reaction = enthusiastic
- 1 cop, reaction = hostile, may attack, Q: Why? inform / travel - a warning for crossing the street when there was traffic, but no fine.

Hardly the stuff of Space Adventure!

There was no port event, the world event (offered and investment opportunity) was not pursued, and there were no patron or legal encounters. No ship encounter heading out, either.

Eshtam & Lt. Gytovo's run-in with 13 pilgrims (reaction = hostile, attack on 8+ (6=no attack)) was the only one that provided any narrative colour. Q: Why are they hostile? punish / allies: angry that Imperium unloading mercs here

Inty really doesn't trust them, but they are in fact just trying to break in their new cloth armour so it is more comfortable. Eshtam's own armour jacket is (she hopes) still secured aboard the Dikiishgaamurga; when this mission is completed her first goal will be to get it back.

Also, at every system, I will be asking Mythic the following question, making the Odds 1 step more likely with each stop until something happens:

Q: Any problems with Heldamin? Doubtful (6): O5 C5, No + Event: PC Positive - Eshtam - Dominate / Military: Naval Intelligence is pleased with her performance and it has been noted in her record; in game terms, a +2 reaction DM when dealing with those INI personnel who are in the know.]

Date: 317-1106

Diula's not been doing so well. She forgot to turn the alarms back on after her diagnostic checks, and left the cooling system in test mode so it was about 20 degrees by 'morning' shift. She forgot to check the plasma coil housings and they nearly broke again. And she managed to depressurise the cargo bay, but at least Orneev wasn't in there when it happened. I tried to say something but she just wandered off and locked herself in her stateroom again and I think she isn't eating. Next stop I'm doubling her shore leave. Can't have her cracking up on us.

Date: 318-1106

The new doc wandered onto the bridge when I was trying to have a private conversation with Orneev about Diula's problems. I was hoping to keep this in-house, but he said he'd have a talk with her and see if he couldn't help. Well, he's the doctor, I guess.

. . .

Later: Well, whatever he said seems to of worked. Diula came out for mealtime and was in much better spirits. Spy or not, he's got a good beside manner.

[jump event: Crewman becomes sullen, uncommunicative and makes mistakes, but will not discuss.
1-2 Orneev, 3-4 Diula, 5 Veev, 6 Gytovo

Q: Are any of the mistakes serious? Unlikely (5+): O4 C0, No.
I made a reaction roll for Diula to see how she felt about Dr. Veev's visit: 9, intrigued.]

Date: 319-1106

arrive at Obox/ Foreven (2337 C7A2777-9 Fl)

Date: 320-1106

It was a quiet trip in to port. I made up an excuse about needing to have a talk with our overseers so I could send Diula to accompany Orneev to sell our cargo. Luckily there was no complaint -- from either of them. They came back with a tidy sum for the computer parts, Kcr900 [8+3=150%].

 cr27,092 ship's fund

     -100 berthing
  -14,000 life support refresh
   -5,000 fuel (unrefined)
 +900,000 sell computer parts
 -275,729 mortgage (late again: was due 295-1106)

next mortgage due 325-1106

Date: 324-1106

Labour problems at the downport are really messing thing up here. There's a work slow-down, and there may be a full-on strike. I'd be a bit more worried, but we haven't exactly found any decent cargo yet, either. I got a feeling we're going to be told to leave with an empty hold. Again, I mean. At least we got the next mortgage payment covered even if we do get shafted here. But it ain't right them making us fly empty, when I know we could get a decent consignment.

[world event: Transport delays
cargo search (2 days): gems Mcr1/tonne - couldn't afford
2nd cargo search (2 more days): fail]

Gotta keep reminding myself it could be worse. Heldamin has been really subdued and helpful when she could be, and not complaining about the house arrest, as 'twere. Orneev and Diula are starting to come round towards her. Orneev even laughed at one of her stories! The Overseers have been mostly not riding my arse since we hit Obox. We got to talking about them one morning, me and Diula and the Doctor, when were sitting round the table in the common area.

Diula says she's a real Albert Ross. I said Sorry, I don't know much Solomani history. Who's he? Her and Veev just laughed, and said something about getting me ears checked.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Solo Traveller - Episode 21: Scenes from a far trader

[A few notes before the adventure starts:

Since the original MGT campaign merged with the CT Star Trader one, I needed to make a choice which rules to use from here on in. I settled on Classic Traveller, since I have approximately 10 times as many supplements for it. Eshtam and Lt. Gytovo needed to be re-statted for CT. His stats were easy enough to find. For her I ran through normal generation using book 6 and made sure she ended up with roughly the same skills. The entire party's stats are at the bottom of this post, mostly so I can have them all in one place.

Eshtam and the Lieutenant have each been given cr10,000 for expenses, communicators, and their preferred weapons. The rest of the party's weapons are locked in the ship's locker; Eshtam has the only key. Medkits and vacc suits have been moved into an empty stateroom.

For the GM Emulator, I will be using my new Morning Coffee Solo Variations with Mythic. The trip to Ikaktu will be played out without scenes, and use a static Chaos Factor (Average) in order to see how it works at the baseline.

The POV will be alternating between Inty's log entries and normal 3rd person narration. I'll try to mark transitions in some consistent fashion.]

Dimmul/Foreven (2936 C587A7A-C Ri Hi) / Date: 289-1106

Private Log:

I can't believe I still have a ship and crew after all this. I was so certain we were all going to be sent off to i'Pa'trix for hard labour for the rest of our natural lives. And after the third day of interrogation it was starting to seem like the more appealing option!

Diula's said she's sorry about the combat drug about a million times since we shipped out. I suppose I shouldn't tell her that they only found out about it because I mentioned it in the ship's log -- even though I hid it on the books. Going to keep things like that hidden from now on. Not that I expect to have much to hide. Too much trouble. I think we're all feeling a bit chastened.

Afraid to look at the books, but I'll have to soon. The Imperium's repatriation scheme to get all the foreign mercs offworld is a big help. We've been paid for a two-week charter, and got free life support refreshes from the port authority. Headed out to the gas giant now. We "volunteered" too late, so missed our shot at the refined fuel. The Bank has activated the world-emergency clause, so our mortgage payment is deferred for a month, but that's a month we've already lost a week of. Plus Heldamin's last charter payment didn't go through. I guess she got betrayed too.

Got ourselves 12 "passengers". 8 double-bunked in our empty staterooms, 4 unlucky souls travelling low passage. They all seem a little shell-shocked, so I don't think there'll be trouble from them. The other 4, I'm not so sure about. The official scheme is one thing. This penance the navy is making us do is another.

We "agreed" to take on a new ship's doctor, Lieutenant Sir Thuston Veev, M.D. Ex-navy, or so he says, but I think he's a spy. Seems nice enough though. Then we got those two soldiers what showed up out of nowhere and commandeered my ship in the first place. The guy's alright, I guess. Big dumb marine, obviously the muscle. But her I don't like, all acting like we can't be trusted to run the ship and demanding to check over every little thing. And they stop talking every time you come into the room. That really pisses me off. Says she ain't a soldier but won't say more. Orneev thinks she's part of some ultra-secret Black Ops group in naval intelligence. Diula swears she's MoJ. I think they watch too many trashy vids. Then of course we got Heldamin. I'm more worried about what Orneev or especially Diula might do to her, she'll prolly just spend her time pickled in her stateroom. I don't know why they are transporting her to some undisclosed destination in the next subsector, but I am sure it can't be for anything good.

That Commander Dorus sure did give us a pretty speech about the importance of keeping schtumm and not jeopardising the Imperium's attempts to put right several wrongs which resulted in the tragic events on Dimmul. I thought he was a nice guy until he made us sign the Official Secrets Act, and intimated that Bad Things Would Happen if we stepped out of line.


Later: Passed a type-S scout ship en route to the gas giant when we were headed away from it. Eshtam told me not to hail, they're almost certainly bound for Mingiz on official business. Shit, lady! whose ship is this anyway?

Date: 290-1106

Jump. Surprised Herself trusted me to press the button myself.

~ ~ Interlude : Eshtam & Lt. Gytovo ~ ~

"Hey Estam," says the Lieutenant as he stands in the door of her stateroom, "mind if I come in?"


"I never got a chance to ask, with all the mission prep and getting settled in to our new ship and all. But what did Thurmond want with you for so long after the meeting? Did he finally re-instate your commission... or however it works in the scouts?"

"What? Oh, no... nothing like that. He can't right now, not with all that's going on. He just wanted to make sure I was OK going back to Ikaktu."

"You've been before?"

"Yeah. 's where I got this." Eshtam holds her left eye open and taps it with her finger. The nail clicks sharply against plastic.

"Oh... sorry. I didn't realise you had a... I mean, you can't tell."

"No worries. I recovered. Look, though, since you're here: I... I just want to say I'm sorry you got dragged back into this. I thought they'd let you go back to your ship, I really did."

"I volunteered."

"You what?"

"I volunteered. I want to see this through."

"Oh, that's, ummm... shit, I don't know what to say."

"I think the word you're looking for is 'idealistic'. That's the whole reason I joined the Imperial Marines in the first place -- I wanted to protect the weak and the innocent, hunt down the bad guys and bring some justice to the world. When that vargr gave us the dossier on this Ladver guy, I couldn't read it after the first few sections. Suddenly the anti-piracy details I'd been on seemed a lot less significant. And I seen some seriously bad shit on those missions, believe me. So... so here I am. Still not 100% comfortable with all this cloak-and-dagger stuff, but... but I'll follow your lead."

"Good. I promise not to steer you wrong. But I can't promise it'll all be very nice, but it will all be necessary. On some assignments, I've done questionable things."

"Yeah. I guessed..."



"No, you were going to say something else. I'm a big girl, I can handle it. Spit it out."

"Alright. The Baron had a pretty serious go at you in the briefing, just like he did the time before. It got me to thinking... to worrying, I guess... like, what does he know? Or suspect? I mean: have you worked with this Ladver guy before?"

"No. I'd been only vaguely aware of him, heard the name once or twice, but I've never been anywhere near him. Thurmond runs political missions, and tends to stay away from criminals -- not that it's any less dirty, and not that I don't think Thurmond hasn't done work with Ladver in the past -- but he never had me involved. My last mission in the Scouts was a real mess, and had to be buried. I don't really know what his problem is about it, but nothing that happened then has any relation to the current mission. And for the sake of our nascent friendship, don't ask me any more about it."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[jump event: Passenger is extremely reclusive; will not come out of his cabin
1-3 Heldamin, 4-5 a Merc, 6 a PC
1d6=6; 1d7=Diula
Q: Cause for alarm? 50/50 (4+): O1 C3, No, but... Inty worries. (Oracle die = 1, so No; Chaos die = 3, so But... ; Chaos die ≠ Oracle die, so no random event.)]

Date: 293-1106

Haven't seen Diula much since we shipped out. She's spent a bare minimum of time in engineering to keep things running, and has spent the rest of the time locked in her stateroom. She's even taking meals there. She finally let me in to talk to her, and she seemed way more ok that I expected. Said she's just exhausted from stress and is going to sleep it off. I guess I'm kind of relieved. At least she isn't crying herself to sleep every night like Orneev.

I am never transporting mercenaries anywhere ever again. It just isn't worth it.

~ ~ Interlude : Sir Thuston Veev & Orneev ~ ~

"I've been looking all over for you," says Sir Thuston. "What are you doing down here?"

"I'm mopping." replies Orneev without looking up. "I should think that was obvious."

"I see that, but, why the cargo hold?"

"Can't sleep. Captain kicked me out of bed for tossing and turning too much. Your boss is on the bridge, and the common area is full of cranky mercenaries. So I came down here to be alone. And when I'm stressed I like to clean."

"It's a good habit for a spacer. I wish there'd been more like you aboard the Dauntless on my last tour."

"Did you want something?"

"Only to see how you're doing, and if there's anything you need. I'd be a poor ship's doctor if I didn't look after the crew's well-being: mental as well as physical."

"Checking up on me to see if there's anything you need to report to your superiors?"

"Now, that's unfair. I was enjoying my early retirement in a beachfront music hall when the nukes went off. I marched straight into the Imperial embassy when I heard the news to volunteer for aid work, and I was on a cargo shuttle to a triage centre three hours later -- still in my evening wear. I spent a week treating radiation burns and then got a message that I was being officially reactivated and I needed to report to the Maud at the earliest opportunity. I wanted to stay where I was most needed, but I'm a nobleman of the Imperium, and duty is duty. I have an old commander -- a friend -- who's pretty high up in Naval Intelligence. This nightmare on Dimmul has some pretty far-reaching consequences. Now, my friend couldn't let me know any details about this mission; it's highly classified. But she is the one who had me reactivated, and had me assigned here to be your new ship's medic. And, in a sense, you're right: I am here to watch over things. But neither Ms. Dreejeh nor Lt. Gytovo is my superior. I'm not here to keep an eye on you; I'm here to keep an eye on them."

~ ~ ~ ~

Date: 296-1106

Arrived at Hope/Foreven (2736 X202989-4 Hi Ic Na Va )

Quiet trip to the gas giant. Not a sound from the mainworld, but that's nothing new. Last time I was on a ship through here everyone crowded into the bridge to watch the instruments and try to figure out how there could be so many people living here and no one's ever seen or heard from them. Me, I always figured the library data was wrong and there never was no one here to hear from! But it was always fun as traditions go. But now when I announced our arrival, no one seemed even remotely interested. Even our erstwhile commander said not to bother her unless there's a ship in the scopes.

I kinda thought there'd be a lot more traffic through the subsector's favourite refuelling station, especially with all the traders volunteering to get the mercs off Dimmul. Guess I was wrong.

This is boring all by myself.

[no encounter going to the gas giant, and no problems with refuelling, but an outbound encounter is rolled: 400t fat trader - radio silence they fear pirates]

Date: 298-1106

Detected a single, solitary fat trader on the trip out to the jump point. They weren't answering any hails. I called Our Fearless Leader in to see, and she showed up with her marine in tow. Took one look at the sensors, then sent him out to fetch Heldamin. She was completely fucked, dumb grin on her face, couldn't hold her head upright, and her eyes were swimming around in different directions. He literally had to carry her onto  the bridge and put her down in the navigator's chair, and then grab her head to point her face at the screen.

"Well?" says Eshtam.

Heldamin slurred something like "It's a ship."

"But is it his ship? Lieutenant, read her out the transponder details."

"How many times I hafta tell you," says Heldamin, "he only flies a 200 tonne ship. Tha's 400 tonnes. Did you fail maths or summat?"

Eshtam didn't say a thing, just walked out. The marine grabbed Heldamin and dragged her back to her stateroom. I heard him mumble something about getting the doctor to lower her doses. I've seen her in a right state before, but this is getting creepy.

. . .

Later: Orneev was on watch when we hit the jump point, and called me in to be the captain and do the honours. Didn't even get dressed. I just trudged into the cockpit in my bathrobe and hit the jump button without dimming the lights or making any announcements, and went back to bed. I just don't even care any more.

Date: 303-1106

So no one got mad that we jumped without warning. Small mercies, I guess. Heldamin's been up and about more since we hit jump space. I heard Eshtam say she'd told the doctor to put her on 'half rations'. So she's coming out more and sitting in the common room. Orneev and Diula are pretending she doesn't exist, and the mercs don't really want to talk to her either. I think someone told them not to. I tried for a while, but after 10 minutes she just tried to convince me to get her some sedatives out of one of the medkits, so I have been finding things to do so I don't have to listen to her whingeing about boredom and how things are unfair. That's left the doctor as the only one who has any time for her, and they seem to have nothing in common but fancy restaurants and swish resorts on every planet from here to Capital.

. . .

[jump event: engineering problem requires all crew to help replace a huge component

Q: Does anyone try to profit from the chaos? 50/50 (4+): O4 C7, Yes. (Oracle die = 4, so Yes; Chaos die = 7, so no Qualifier ; Chaos die ≠ Oracle die, so no random event.)

Q: Who? 1-2 Heldamin, 3-4 one or two mercs, 5-6 1d6+2 mercs

Q: How? Work Hard / Travel]

Later: And then things got exciting! Diula came running out of engineering shrieking that there was a problem. And there was nasty-smelling smoke rolling up the corridor behind her. Some of the plasma coils for the M-drive had slipped their housings and were falling out of the bulkhead. There was coolant leaking everywhere and gods know what other chemicals were starting to burn. The marine unlocked the ships locker and started distributing breathers to everyone who could help. First that was just the doctor [engineering-1], me [JoT-1], and Eshtam [JoT-1], but four of us working together could barely shift the damn things, let alone replace the housings. Then Heldamin, of all people, started ordering the mercs about, getting every able-bodied soldier into the compartment to heft the machinery whilst the four of us who knew what we were doing made the repairs. Heldamin was even barking orders at Eshtam's pet marine by the end of it, and those tiny little hands of hers came in handy to reach in between the pipes and fish out the fragments of busted metal.

It took damn near five hours but we got it fixed. I'm more than a little peeved that the structural weakness in the housings didn't get flagged up during the annual maintenance, but that's a problem for another day. Mostly I'm just happy that in a crisis we finally found a bit of, as Diula put it with one of her funny old Solomani expressions, a spree décor. We were all really shattered when it was finished, but in good spirits and all even friendly for a change. So I made one of my executive decisions and we repaired to the common room and I had Orneev open up the last bottles of the blue valonaise. I hope it sticks. I'm tired of being captain of the Good Ship Misery.

. . . . . . .

Captain Inty Liljingiv - Captain / Owner aboard / Navigator
939A84   Age 38   ex-Merchant   5 terms
Homeworld: Mingiz/Foreven (A668887-C Ri Cp)
Human female
Admin-1, Gambling-3, Gunnery-1, JOT-1, Leader-2, Legal-1, Liaison-1, Navigation-1, Pilot-1, Ship's Boat-1, Steward-2, Vacc-1, Zero-G Combat-1

Orneev Herremmenen - Steward
86B798   Age 34   ex- Merchant O1   4 terms
Homeworld: Haarui/Foreven (2540 C6B5555-8 Fl Ni)
Human Male
Brawling-1, Bribery-1, Broker-3, Dagger-1, Gambling-1, Legal-2, Steward-2

Diula Korfize - Engineer
85C798   Age 34   ex-Skyport Authority   4 terms
Homeworld: Veegint/Foreven (3234 B743784-A)
Solomani female
Admin-3, Body Pistol-1, Bribery-1, Engineering-1, Gambling-1, Gravitics-1, Interrogation-2, Streetwise-1

Lieutenant Sir Thuston Veev, M.D. - Medic
996BBB  Age 38  ex-Navy  5 terms
Engineering-1, Computer-1, Medical-3, Admin-1, Gunnery-1, Dagger-1
Cr4600, Dagger, Travellers', medkit, revolver

Dame Heldamin Ngiff
46894B  Age 26  Noble  2 terms
Homeworld: Zoe/Foreven (2534 BAAA257-E Fl Lo Ni Wa)
Human female
carousing-2, gauss pistol-1, vacc-1

2nd Lt. Tendhas Gytovo
AB8888   Age 26   Marines  2 terms
Homeworld: Imllgh/Foreven (3139 A7B3534-D Fl Ni)
Human Male
Battle dress-1, Combat Rifleman-1, Cutlass-1 Zero-G Weapons-1, Gunnery-2, Interrogation-1, Survival-1, Tactics-1, Vacc-2
4x combat service ribbons, 2xMCUF

Eshtam Dreejeh
6AAE94   Age 34  ex-Scout  4 terms
Homeworld: Izbelia/Foreven (3136 B-774989-B Hi In)
Human female
Auto pistol-1, Bribery-2, Commo-1, Equestrian-1, Gunnery-2, Jack-O-T-1, Pilot-1, Recon-2, Rifle-3, Streetwise-2, Survival-1, Vacc-1, Zero-g Combat-1

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Solo Traveller - Episode 20: Prologue as epilogue (9Qs #9)

Where does the world stand after the results of Q7 and Q8?
Be the GM first:
Use the random idea generator to inspire the way the world responds to the final
resolution of the conflict between the heroes and the threats. Clearly or cryptically
articulate any change in the status quo of the lives of the heroes or the world itself
from the way things had been before the adventure had begun.
Be the PCs next:
Advance the surviving heroes as per the RPG's rules. Acknowledge any gains or losses
in their lives.
[Q9 sort of spilt over into the next post as well...]

Dimmul/Foreven (2936 C587A7A-C) / Date: 288-1106

The briefing room is little more than a double-sized stateroom with a short, oval table in the centre. The table's holo display and data terminals are inactive. A white noise generator hums quietly over the door. The attendees are a smaller group than were present at the mission briefing aboard the Bettina von Arnim [at the end of Episode 12] in orbit over Uloryy. Eshtam and Lt. Gytovo recognise all but one of them from that meeting.

Commander Darus sits at one head of the table. To either side of him sit a pair of Imperial Navy flag officers, Commodore Lousinda Menneru and Rear Admiral Augustus Kiriikaar. Both, like Darus, are INI (Imperial Naval Intelligence). All three are in service uniforms.

On one side of the table sits Special Executive Thurmond, Eshtam's old SpecOps handler in the IISS. Beside him is his subordinate, Section Leader Fefesetes, the man who had put together the rest of the team for Eshtam's fateful mission to T'nan.

At the other head of the table sits Baron Trevist hault Ornanceu of the Ministry of Justice, resplendent and imposing in his robes of state. To his right sits Dr. Uikstra, looking composed as ever in her crisp business suit and hair in her signature tight bun, though she does have dark circles round her eyes. To the Baron's left sits the unknown quantity: a man in unremarkable civilian clothes, suit jacket over the back of his chair and shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbow.

Eshtam and Lt. Gytovo are seated across from the IISS contingent. When the door closes and locks, Commander Darus rises to address the room. ""Ladies, gentlemen, my lord, I hope you'll forgive the height--"

"Mike," interrupts Dr. Uikstra, "we've been in Vunsetgie for two weeks and are out-of-sync with the Maud's ship time. You promised us coffee."

"That I did," replies Commander Darus, "That I did."

Admiral Kiriikaar stands. "You keep going, I'll serve. I already know what you're going to say for the first part.

"Ta, Gus," says Dr. Uikstra. "Mine's white with two sugars."

"Dr. Uikstra," says the Admiral as he pours the first cup, "INI may not quite have the resources  of the Ministry, but give us some credit. We have dossiers on all of you, and -- I assure you -- we know how you all take your coffee."

Even the Baron smiles for a moment at the pleasantry. Commander Darus continues. "As I was saying, you'll have to forgive all the precautions, but we can't let word of this mission get anywhere outside this room, for a number of reasons of which I know most of you are aware. There had been leaks in the past -- on the INI side, so I'll own up to it -- but there's no way to be sure that there won't be any more."

"The Controller assures me that we haven't plugged all the leaks," says the Baron. "that, according to her analysis, there's no way Ladver doesn't have more people on his payroll. When last we met, if you will recall, there were some unanswered questions about Ms. Dreejeh's service history, particularly the latter half of it. If this operation is to go forward, I'll need some hard information to run by the Controller for analysis. Or some assurances..."

"Come on, Trev," says Thurmond. "I'm vouching for her, then and now. Has one of mine ever let you down before?"

The Baron merely snorts in reply.

"The Controller?" asks Commodore Menneru. "I thought no one outside this room was to know of the operation. And anyway, why isn't she here in the first place?"

"She isn't here because she only attends briefings when she's running the show. I have not discussed the particulars of this operation with her, merely sought her advice on a few related matters. I make no secret that I think this plan of Mike's is a great risk, and I am merely doing my due diligence to see that it doesn't blow up in our faces the way it did back in '83. Since Thurmond assures me that Ms. Dreejeh is a good asset, I'll accept him him at his word. But if this mission officially existed, I would have to go on record with my reservations."

"But it doesn't," sighs the Commodore.

"If it makes you feel better, Trev," says Thurmond, smiling, "Ms. Dreejeh was only 11 years old back in '83. So I know she wasn't involved."

"I just hope you're right, is all. I've said my piece; we all know where we stand. So, Mike, let's hear the rest."

Commander Darus surveys the room for a few moments, then, when he is satisfied he will have no more interruptions, begins again in earnest. "Whilst our esteemed operatives made great strides in exposing Ladver's machinations on Uloryy and some of his doings on Dimmul itself, we have to admit that he's been several steps ahead of us, and it's only now that we're starting to see the whole picture. Ladver had agents working within several governments on Dimmul, and used them to manipulate these rival nations into open warfare. Each side believed it had his backing, when in fact they were all pawns in his game. Three of these governments no longer exist. The Republic of Erhai got off lightly, with a meson gun used against an essentially military target to remove the dictator. The other two had their capitals nuked, as did a third nation wholly uninvolved in the fighting. As some of you know, a nuclear detonation was planned over the downport in Vusetgie, too, but was foiled by the Controller's people.

"The nuclear detonations stopped the fighting cold. Even conflicts between uninvolved nations saw cease fires. On the very day, the MoJ HQ on Mingiz received documents naming many of Ladver's agents, both on Dimmul and inside Imperial space -- a special courrier just brought summaries and wanted lists yesterday. We understand that other governments were similarly contacted; the CherGaSen government passed us copies of what they had been given. At first we thought it was all a smokescreen, or a ploy to get us to distrust our own people, but the evidence we were given was pretty damning. Arrests are being made, but we're keeping it as quiet as possible.

"The source of this information -- incredible as it first seemed -- was Ladver himself. These were loyal agents of his, either well-paid or well-blackmailed, and almost none had aroused any suspicions.

"Fortunately, our two operatives here, whilst not tracking down Ladver himself, brought us back the next best thing. Dame Heldamin Ngiff, black sheep of one of the Zoan technocratic families, was Ladver's favourite. It had been thought he was grooming her as his "heir to the throne". She played her part in this affair, believing, as she has stated under interrogation, that this was to be a localised strike to take down both of the Erhai nations, and that their former colonies were footing the bill. The nukes caught her by surprise -- not that she would have cared, had she known -- and her last contact with Ladver before he left the system was him telling her he'd given the MoJ and the families on Zoe a full account of her career.

"Dame Heldamin has furnished us with the key to this entire sorry affair. Simply put, she believes Ladver is bored, and intending to move on. To this end, he is dismantling the criminal empire he built, lest any other should reap the rewards of all his hard work. She's seen him do this when he left Pa'trix, and he intimated that he'd done it when he moved his base of operations off Cuuwri as well. She says that Ladver had often been unguarded with her, something she'd never seen him do around anyone else, and she assumed that she was indeed being set up to take over when he retired. He even called her his daughter, once.

"We could eventually extract the information we need from her, but it wouldn't be easy. And it might no longer be current by the time we did. She knows this, and so has offered us a deal: a pardon and safe passage to Gushemege sector in exchange for her full cooperation. We've no choice but to deal."

"Sorry, Mike," interrupts the Baron, "but I have to interject again. Dame Ngiff had been under surveillance for some time before she gave us the slip on Tierdan. Just how can we be putting our faith in such a person?"

"Simple," says Dr. Uikstra. "Revenge. That, plus the fact that we have her on so many capital crimes right now it's a wonder she hasn't already been shoved out the airlock."

"Like that mercenary?"

"He was no one," says Darus bluntly. "A hired gun, but one she had a history with. She didn't know the other, that Vetne character. And besides, we're going to turn him over to the people of Erhai for trial, once they from a new government. But point needed to be made to her. I'd say she got the message."

"I understand the necessity," says the Baron, "but it just strikes me as a bad idea to send her along. Almost as bad as using civilians... but I don't want to spoil the surprise for our operatives."

"Right," says Darus, "the mission, then. Heldamin has indicated that after an escapade of this scale, Ladver tends to go to ground for a while. Partly to watch the news reports of his handiwork ripple across the sector, and partly for an extended course of treatments by his personal physician, to combat the side effects of long-term anagathics usage. You know how he has always kept his movements a secret, even from his subordinates, but this time he let slip certain hints in Heldamin's presence. She believes he is going to hole up on Ikaktu. So that's where you'll be going, with the good Dame in tow as an adviser.

"He will certainly be controlling some of the syndicates there, and may very well have agents in one or more of the governments. We need to get the team in as unobtrusively as possible to avoid setting off his alarm bells. There are, of course, secret channels we could use to smuggle you in, but it's a safe bet he's monitoring them. So instead, I've arranged for you to travel aboard a civilian far trader, the one you found and brought up here. Her crew need to work off a little of the debt to society they incurred for their role in this nasty business.

"They'll be told you have a mission, but no details. They won't even know your ultimate destination, only that you decide the route. They have officially "volunteered" for the navy's scheme to get all the stranded foreign mercenaries off Dimmul. Your first stop is Lasperth, after refuelling at Hope, naturally. After that you have two further destinations near the extra-Imperial Xboat network, Obox and Zalba. Thurmond's arranged to send people on ahead via fast courrier. Obox is only a preliminary, in case we get any intel we can pass on to you. Zalba is more important. We'll be smuggling an MoJ operative to Rafan who will liaise with the IISS Section Leader there. Any final information will be communicated to you at Zalba. This will all be strictly one-way; don't try to pass anything back.

"If you don't meet your contacts within a two-week window, or if you fail to give them a certain code phrase when you do meet, they will have instructions to release information about a two million credit dead-or-alive bounty on Dame Heldamin; she knows this, as it is our insurance policy to keep her on side.

"After your final briefing at Zalba, proceed to Ikaktu. You can cut the traders loose then, or have us hang on to them for you. The Commodore's sending along a new ship's doctor to back you up. He'll stay with the ship to keep them quiet. He knows no details of your mission, only that he needs to babysit the merchants and keep them from talking out of school.

"We don't know the situation on Ikaktu, but by the time you arrive there will be a clearer picture waiting for you. Once you're on the ground, find Ladver. Find his organisation, find his physician, do what it takes, just uncover his lair, track him there, and terminate his operations."

The unnamed civilian speaks up for the very first, and only, time in the briefing. "Terminate, with extreme prejudice."

"Right, those are the broad strokes. Now to go over the finer points. I believe it's customary to start with the Ministy. Dr. Uikstra, over to you..."