Naima Saab (KathyB) - Trailblazer (Scout)
Hafisa darRouash (Angela) - Pilot (Freighter Pilot)
Zouma Abid-Arif (Ellie) - Stowaway/Ship Worker (Engineer)
Moustafa Harouz (DavidM) - Negotiator (Peddler)
Tafik Sharoun (Mark) - Scientist (Archaeologist)
First Triad, Dancer Segment, Day 2, CC 61
[First a quick note: The name of the star system has been changed, by popular demand, from Mumtaz to Alhabra. Therefore, this is reflected in this game session write-up, but has not been changed retroactively in previously posted LJ entries for this scenario.]
Tafik Sharoun regarded Naima Saab, and smiled, then he told her that he did indeed have a plan, but there was some risk to it. They needed to attempt to steal one of the Rostami team's vehicles, preferably something fast that could accommodate all three of them, and then high-tail it back to their shuttle. Both Naima and Zouma Abid-Arif said that that was insane; Tafik said that was the whole point, as Rostami and his people would never expect it. Peeking around her cover, Zouma told the other two that there were three men out there, armed with appeared to be [carbine] rifles, but that the characters had the advantage of the light of the sun shining into the eyes. They decided to risk manoeuvering around and seeing if they could get away from their foes, doubling back to the ruins.
Back on the Ruby Flower, Hafisa darRouash and Moustafa Harouz were debating their situation, and what they should do. Moustafa says he's all for getting the heck out of there, but Hafisa says she's not about to abandon the others. She asks Scherza, the ship's AI, if she can tell them what's going on on Schadi, but the AI says that she's still receiving the transponder of the shuttle, and Hafisa tells Moustafa that she's not giving up on the others, not even if the Gambler were to come along and insist upon it. "What's the point being the Captain," says Moustafa, "if no one takes any orders?", but Hafisa shuts him up, saying that they both know who's really in charge of the Ruby Flower. The two bicker a bit more, in a comradely fashion, but Moustafa eventually says that he's going to mope in his quarters, she can do what she likes, and then he departs the bridge. When he's gone, Hafisa looks around the module, and asks Scherza what they can *really* do...
On Schadi, Naima, Zouma, and Tafik are cautiously making their way back towards the ruins, having had several close calls with a couple of Rostami's men [and they used a few Darkness Points to do so]. Nearing the three vehicles that Rostami and his men have left, they see that Tafik's rival is talking to a couple of the men, telling them that Tafik and his people must not leave the area alive, and that he wants the artefact. When his men disperse, Rostami heads back into the ruined structure [almost spotting the player characters in the process]. The three player characters cautiously head for the vehicles, and Naima gestures them to a Tiledes Corporation small grav craft. "Just what we're looking for," she breathes, and thanks the Traveller. They make their way to the small craft, and Zouma gets them in, making short work of the lock on the ship. They take their seats, and as Zouma brings the engines to life, both Naima and Tafik see Rostami and his men running towards them, and then veering off towards one of the other craft.
On the Ruby Flower, Scherza informs Hafisa that there's another ship in orbit of the planet, and it seems to be a modified Kamruk class ship. Hafisa says that it may be the ship belonging to that ingrate Rostami Haroun. They could be in trouble due to its armaments. Hafisa tells Moustafa to get back to the bridge on the double, and then starts to plot a concealing vector with the help of Scherza and the ship's astronics computer. Moustafa arrives on the bridge, and Hafisa gives him the sitrep and tells him what's she's up to. Scherza warns them that the other ship is gettin closer, but Hafisa tells him that she's got the course plotted [she gets 4 successes on her Pilot roll!]. With deft manoeuverings, Hafisa gets their ship to the other side of the planet, behind sensor cover, and breathes a sigh of relief. She checks the sensors, and finds that she's got them under magnetosphere cover, but barely. When she tells Moustafa, he replies that it's all well and good, but how do they get their people from the surface back again?
With what sounds like a war cry, Zouma fires up the grav craft and it races away from the ruins, heading for where they left the shuttle in the middle of the Schadi wastelands. She tells Naima and Tafik that the sensors show that Rostami and his men are in pursuit, but they have a bit of time before they catch them up; they really did take the fastest vehicle that was there. The grav craft races in the direction of the shuttle, pursued by three slower vehicles. The fire of several Vulcan carbines causes explosions around them, but Zouma is able to maintain her course [with the expenditure of a Darkness Point once], and eventually the shuttle comes into view. Racing into the shuttle craft after stopping nearby, they reach the bridge area with only a few minutes to spare before Rostami and his men show up. The ship rocks momentarily from the impact of some Vulcan carbine fire, but Zouma is exultantly able to get the craft into the air and headed for space with little problem. Naima says that she's constantly amazed at what Zouma is capable of, but Tafik merely nods with a grimace to acknowledge her comment.
Moustafa says the sensors are showing a shuttle coming up out of the planet's atmosphere. Hafisa utters a whoop, and then direct the ship towards the shuttle coordinates so as to bring it aboard. Naima's voice comes over the comm, and informs them that they've got what they came for, but that there's likely to be pursuit shortly. Even as Moustafa talks to Naima, Hafisa starts prepping the trip out to the system portal. Once Scherza tells them that the shuttle is aboard, Hafisa sets the ship in motion, even as Naima confirms docking. Moustafa heads for the docking area, while Hafisa remains on the bridge, in contact through her comm link. Moustafa greets Naima, Zouma, and the smirking Tafik. He tells them what's happened while they were down on Schadi, and Naima is worried, as is Tafik, though he doesn't say anything. Hafisa says that it will take them just over 24 hours to get to the portal, but if they decide to go through the portal without waiting for a convoy or a bulk hauler (not likely in the Alhabra system), it's going to cost them. Tafik says that with the likelihood of Rostami coming after them, they need to make all haste. Hafisa says she can do that, and pushes the engines to the maximum. She tells Zouma that she'd better keep an eye on the engines, and the young woman heads down to the engineering section. Unbeknownst to the others, Hafisa has a worried look on her face.
After several hours, Naima (handling sensor ops duty) says there's a signature coming through from behind them. Moustafa is able to identify it as being Rostami's ship, the Black Charybdis. Naima says that if she's reading the signal right, the other vessel is gaining on them. Hafisa says they can't possibly make it to the portal before the other ship catches up with them. Tafik tells them that Rostami's ship's armament is better than theirs. Hafisa asks him what he wants them to do, and he replies, "Trust to the Icons." Several more hours go by, and the crew are getting more and more nervous. Rostami has made no effort to contact them, and yet his vessel could have just as easily opened fire by this time. And then Naima says there's another ship approaching, and the voice of Captain Davara of Hakim's Revenge comes over the comm. He orders their ship to stand down, as he believes they've taken something illegally off Schadi in violation of the Horizon laws of archaeological claims. Moustafa tells Hafisa to stand down, and the others look relieved at not having to make the decision. Naima and Tafik tell Zouma to hide the artefact that she's still got somewhere...secure. As the Hakim's Revenge comes alongside them, the two ships initiate docking procedures.
While Naima, Tafik, Zouma, and Moustafa wait for the Captain of the Hakim's Revenge at the airlock, Hafisa informs them that Rostami's ship, the Black Charybdis, is approaching and maintaining its distance from them. Captain Davara comes aboard the Ruby Flower, accompanied by some six soldiers, and what appears to be a female technician. Davara informs Moustafa that they are there to investigate the charge of smuggling illegal technology, and that any resistance and they will be arrested. Moustafa sweeps his hands wide, and says they are welcome to search. Zouma decides to accompany the female technician, Zaria, on her rounds, accompanied by one of the soldiers. Zouma tries to bond with or buddy with Zaria, seeing that they're both "technicians", but the Alhabran technician isn't buying it, much to Zouma's (pretend?) chagrin. Several hours later, Captain Davara has the crew assemble in the common room of the ship. He tells them that it appears Professor Haroun is mistaken about his claims, and that he is sorry for inconveniencing them and for any delays they have suffered. Moustafa brushes this off as being part of Rostami Haroun's rivalry with his own Tafik Sharoun. Once the Alhabra Defense Force ship departs, and the Black Charybdis moves off, the crew of the Ruby Flower breathes a sigh of relief.
With the Ruby Flower en route for the portal station once more, the crew gathers in their lounge to congratulate each other on a job well done. Moustafa announces to the group that the stowaway, Zouma, has proven her worth to the crew and to the ship, and will be taken on as the engineer. The others congratulate her, notably Naima, who seems very happy to have Zouma as part of the crew. When the saluting her with drink ends, Moustafa says that he has one question for the girl: where did she store the artefact, so that Captain Davara and his technician didn't find it? Zouma laughs and says that she placed it where the Alhabran forces would least expect to find it - a compartment near the ship's reactor, where any sensors wouldn't detect it. The others laughed about this, and said that she really had the "smarts". Zouma just grinned happily at them, accepting another round of praise.
Friday night's session of the Coriolis - The Third Horizon campaign was one that had a lot of stuff going on in it, but that was pretty enjoyable. The players had a good time in the session, Ellie being particularly active with her stowaway-cum-engineer, Zouma, but there was something for all the player characters to do in this scenario. The players commented that they had a great time in this scenario, and that they learned a good deal about the game and how truly simple the game mechanics are.
Anyway, next week (weather and health permitting) I'll be starting a brand new adventure with the players. Looking forward to that! :)