spross is currently running the Thousand Suns RPG of Imperial science fiction. You can read the report on the events of the last session here by following the link.
SteveR and Tammy showed up at my place on time, so there was no delay in the game session. We chatted for several minutes about life the past week, and exchanged Christmas cards. Then SteveR got down to the game session.
Marko Rojas (JohnK) - Xenoarchaeologist
Maja Ma (Tammy) - Scout
Day 5, Month 1, 500 NK
The police arrived at the Encyclopaedia Galactica offices before we can talk to Ifigenia Mkombe any more, and they went off and talked to her in another room [for about an hour]. Maja Ma and I talked about the job being offered by Mkombe, and discussed some of the problems we would face with the job in question: dealing with the Chabuli, both in terms of their religion and language; the fact that Unzaam isn't fully integrated into the Empire, and could be the site of unrest; possible rival archaeologists; the possible involvement of the Amalgamated Medical Industries in matters; the death of Professor Penderson; and other aspects of it. We discussed some of the potential threats, and how we'd deal with a 5-month survey and archaeological dig (in the case of the latter, not really being adequate time). We also discussed aspects of protecting ourselves while out there, and the ramifications of that.
While Maja went over to look behind Ifigenia Mkombe's desk, I talked to Ariela (Ti Yang) about the job on Unzaam, and discussed some of the extra equipment I want her to go and purchase (and gave her a list from my unicom to hers), as well as some research I wanted her to do: about the planet Unzaam; the Chabuli religion and Otro Shavul Patejak; about the Empire and its authority over Unzaam (and who has that authority); and a couple of other matters. When we finished talking, Ariela went over to talk with Maja, and I learned that she found an article that Mkombe was looking at on her computer about an epidemic of Chabuli artefact smuggling, being conducted by both Terrans and Chabuli, selling the artefacts and relics to collectors. This puts a whole new slant on things, as I pondered whether Penderson was involved in the smuggling one way or another, but after Maja walks back around the desk, but before Maja and I can talk, Mkombe comes back into the office with two detectives and another fellow who has a Naval look to him.
The two detectives were the ones I encountered at the scene of Penderson's murder, and we acknowledged each other. The detective informed us that they had identified Penderson's mugger/murderer as a Chabuli petty thief (who was seen fleeing the alley by another policeman several streets over; there's also the question of his connection to terrorists, or even the smuggling ring, but I don't mention the latter). The detective said that Penderson's belongings, including his carto, will be returned to his family, rather than the Encyclopaedia Galactica, as it was his personal carto. Meanwhile, the Naval officer, Captain Pedrik, casually greeted Maja Ma and seemed to know a good deal about her. The Empire's Navy has been keeping an eye on her since she and her ship arrived in the sector, and he acted somewhat stalker-like with her as he discussed matters. Claiming he wanted to talk to both of us about sensitive matters, he took Maja and myself to another room (and I insisted that Ariela join us as well).
Once we were alone with Pedrik, the Naval captain told us that he's investigating a Chabuli artefact smuggling ring. While he didn't accuse Maja of anything, he tried to recruit her to be an informant about any requests she gets for smuggling artefacts (and at first came across as if he wanted her to go undercover). She wasn't buying into his request, and neither was I (though he didn't ask me to do this, even if I'm the more logical candidate for the job), and he made several veiled threats to Maja, but she still refused. He did say that Penderson had some interesting images of what appear to be Traveller artefacts, and produced a holographic image from his carto (that he'd obviously copied over from Penderson's device): a crystal and bronze metal bowl, some 2 feet wide and 1 foot deep, with pink crystal inlaid writing on it. The writing on the bottom appeared to be ancient Chabuli (though I can't read it) but the writing above was indecipherable. It looked like some of the Traveller scribblings I've seen in my time, though. We discussed the ramifications of it, and I reluctantly confirmed that it was definitely Traveller in origin. I asked Captain Pedrik if he would permit me a copy of the hologram, and when he transferred it to my carto, I encrypted it with an Arecza [spoken Czarnik] password. (Only Maja and Ariela would know what it is, other than myself.) When we questioned Captain Pedrik's motives for involving us, he admitted that his true purpose was to make sure we'd been seen together.
Twenty minutes later, we emerged from the small office/room with Pedrik. The two detectives were just leaving. We talked to Ifigenia Mkombe, and learned what the detectives and she had spoken about. Maja and I asked about the Chabuli religion, and learned from her that the religious Chabuli wear icons of their faith at all times. One way to tell a religious Chabuli from a non-religious one, but nothing to distinguish them from the fanatics. Talk turned to the contracts with Encyclopaedia Galactica for this job, and I looked at my contract - it was a standard contract as I've had before with EncGal, but this one had a hazard pay clause that I was pleased to see.
The game session of Thousand Suns on Sunday afternoon went pretty well, I thought, though SteveR still struggled with a few elements of running the game, and I really didn't think the plot had actually progressed all that much by the session's end. Truth be told, I'm not actually sure what the plot of the scenario is any longer, as the (archaeological) job on Unzaam seems to be somewhat...secondary now, at least that's the way it feels.
That said, I'm still having a good time playing in the game, though I do cringe here here and there at some of the stuff SteveR is (or isn't) doing as GameMaster of the play. In any event, I'm looking forward to seeing how this adventure plays out when all is said and done.