Hendra Carpentar (Kathy) - Belt miner
Malina Arkestro (Angela) - Bodyguard
Zera Chirinos (Ellie) - Technician
Grigor Morgant (David) - Archaeologist
Sandar Kelemon (Mark) - Explorer
March 16th, 2701 AD
The second day of the latest trip of the Blue Daphne begins, as the crew (minus Sandar Kelemon and Jenna Hayden-Smith) are relaxing in the ship's lounge. Everyone is comfortable, since the ship is accelerating at 1g, and the crewmates are getting to know their new shipmate, Zera Chirinos, a bit better. Hendra Carpentar explains to the others that to the best of her knowledge, they're heading for Melesson, one of the asteroid habitats in the Tenali Belt, with a cargo of foodstuffs and several components for their climate systems. It doesn't pay great, but Sandar told her that they've got a few other things to offer the explorer as a reward for delivering the cargo. The various characters discuss a slew of topics, and question Zera, although she dodges several of their inquiries.
In the cargo bay, Sandar Kelemon and cargo master Jenna Hayden-Smith are checking the condition of the cargo, consulting the ship's AI, Fritz, about matters. The AI says that according to the cargo manifest, several of the foodstuffs may have been contaminated during an "incident" reported at Gardenhome Station. Jenna says they'll need the assistance of technician Chirinos to check things out, and while Fritz informs her of the need to report to the cargo bay, Sandar and Jenna learn from Ryome Senturis, the chief technician on the Blue Daphne, that he's pleased with Zera's performance to this point. She's capable, she's young enough to learn, and she handles herself well - except for her moments of insecurity. And the pranks.
After Zera leaves the lounge to head to the cargo area, the other characters continue to chat. Malina Arkestro excuses herself, and a concerned Grigor Morgant goes after her. Grigor asks her how she's doing, and Malina tells him it's been rough; she's not touched the addictive Caroso for two days, and while he's pleased to hear this, Grigor asks if it will make her less effective as his bodyguard. She angrily states that it won't, saying that she's not seriously addicted to the plant. Grigor begs to differ with her, and she storms off towards the front of the ship.
Arriving in the cargo bay, Zera is informed by Sandar and Jenna about the potential problem they may have, and with the aid of a cargo bot and Fritz's directions, they manage to access the foodstuff containers in question, but are relieved to see there is no contamination evident. Sandar breathes a sigh of relief, as he wondered if his old nemesis, Hedrin Sandhurst, might have played one of his tricks. Zera wants to know who Sandhurst is, but Jenna tells her that's a story for another time. The cargobot repacks the foodstuffs in question, ensuring their integrity, and the characters decide it's time for a break. Ryome Senturis says that Zera has no time for "another" break, as there's more of the ship's inventory that she needs to become familiar with. The taciturn technician leads his new charge away, while Sandar and Jenna chuckle about how Senturis has someone else that he can boss around.
In the lounge, Fritz informs Hendra that she needs to get to the bridge. The automatic sensors are reading some sort of distress signal. She heads for the bridge, while asking Fritz to inform Sandar so that he can also meet her there. Fritz acknowledges the order, but Hendra detects some sort of emotional response from the AI, though she figures that she must have imagined it. On the bridge, Hendra discovers that it is indeed a distress call, from the Mackenzie Heron, and with Fritz's assistance and that of the instruments at her disposal, she manages to locate the source of the distress signal. It's coming from 27 degrees above the plane of Gardenhome's ecliptic, but she is surprised to see that it's some 8 AUs out!
On the bridge, Sandar arrives and questions Hendra about what has occurred. With Fritz's aid, he confirms that there is indeed a distress call and its location. He decides that he needs to get Grigor's input into matters, and summons the archaeologist to the bridge. While they wait, Sandar rechecks the readings and the source of the signal, and tells Hendra that if it is genuine, and Fritz insists that it is, then by the space laws, they have no choice but to answer the signal and go to the wrecked ship's assistance.
Grigor goes back to his quarters, still worried about Malina and what's going on with her. He feels obligated to tell Sandar, as the explorer has a right to know. Before Be can do anything else, Malina appears at his door, and tells him she's come to apologise. The two talk, but before things can become deep and meaningful, they are interrupted as Sandar requests Grigor's presence of the bridge, as a "situation" has come up. Grigor leaves, and Malina heads back for her quarters.
On the bridge, Sandar explains to Grigor what's happening, and while the archaeologist is grudging about the matter, he agrees they have to go and answer the distress call. Sandar informs the rest of the Blue Daphne's complement, and has Hendra set a course for the distress signal's source. Over the course of the trip out of the plane of the ecliptic, the crew learn what they can of the distressed ship. The Mackenzie Heron is a transport vessel of the Temio-Fargate corporation that disappeared some eight months ago on a routine transport job to one of the Fargone Belt colonies. The player characters learn more about the ship, its cargo, and its itinerary. However, as Hendra comments, all that is moot.
As the Blue Daphne comes within range of the Mackenzie Heron, the sensors and the view of the ship confirms the worst - the vessel is floating dead in space, large gaping holes in her hull, and with a cloud of what appears to be debris in her area...
Last night's game session of River of Heaven marked the start of a brand new adventure for the players and their characters. I thought things went well, the characters interacting quite nicely together and some personality aspects of the characters coming to the fore, and then set up the start of the adventure proper. The Blue Daphne's AI, Fritz, seems to be a hit with the players, something I'm pleased about, though I'm still feeling out the game system in terms of how shipboard AIs work and interact with the characters aboard ship. The players had a good time of things, though Kathy and Angela worried several times about whether my voice was going to hold out for the evening. Fortunately it did, but I'm still a bit hoarse this morning.
Overall, I thought the game session went well, and I'm looking forward to running the game next week, health and weather problems hopefully not hindering things. What I've got in store for the player characters-- Oh, not telling! <g>