Wednesday, July 27, 2016

HoloEarth and Unmasking Spies


Venturing out into the dark emptiness of space, the crew reduces to skeleton shifts - everyone into cryo, apart from a scant few officers and only enough crew to keep the ship running.

Halfway to their destination, NOA picks up a solar system; diverting only takes a little time, enough to wake a few more from cryosleep. It's a blue-green planet, third from the sun, with a single moon. Confused and cautious, the crew hailed the planet; they had to try a few frequencies first, but they finally reached a compatible video frequency. A nervous-looking lieutenant (human!) answered the call; after a bit of back and forth, he realized that their call was from space; this seemed to come as a great shock, even more so when Julian claimed that they had traveled from a far-off system. Eventually, the party was invited down to the planet. Initially suspicious, the party decided to bring several Du'ul Tlak guards with them, as well as two fighters to escort the personnel shuttle. Julian was surprised and pleased to learn that there are a quite a few more ships than before.

The party (Julian, Kiri, Gus, and the guards) landed at a military base, and were greeted by a Gen. Jon Johann; after some initial shock - as it turns out, the humans of this earth had never met an alien before, or even left the solar system - the two groups put their heads together to figure out what was going on. It seems the "real" earth and this earth shared a similar history, right up to the arrival of two astronauts. The two had left earth in 1982 in a primitive form of cryosleep; they arrived back on earth (or so they thought) in 2077. Gus wondered if perhaps the whole world was fake, controlled by an AI. Julian had a history of the earth loaded onto a tablet, and a scientist looked through, verifying details; he noted that their histories diverged in 2077, at the arrival of the astronauts.

Meanwhile, the ship had been scanning the planet carefully, and had discovered some strange anomalies. They asked Gus to hit something, and measure the results; he did, and his results matched the finding of the ship: the planet was, indeed, controlled by a computer! Vast parts of it was made up of some sort of hologram. Julian asked if there was somewhere to do some testing - namely, firing some big weapons. The general agreed to the test, and fired a few large rounds. The results seemed to be completely normal... and then Julian ordered an orbital strike. Boom! The results from that was certainly conclusive! The party returned to the ship, with the copy-earth scientist on board. One well-aimed shot later, and the computer system was fried - no more holograms. In fact, no more a lot of things! The scientist, as it turns out, was real, but only a few thousand more humans actually were. Julian, in a rare moment of clarity, wondered if perhaps shooting things wasn't the best idea. He quickly came to his senses, however.

A careful dig through the fake planet resulted in only a little more information - AlSec had created the planet, and had been stocking it with people; however, they had tried to move the planet through jumpspace, and has lost it. The planet somehow found its way out through the crack, drifting through space for hundreds of years. However, it seems a creature or organization known as the Entity has been directing AlSec...

Unmasking the Spies

Back aboard the Oncoming Storm, the party had barely made it into jumpspace before more trouble started. Jenny Ovensen, the ex-Norsup engineer, got into a fistfight with Zayd Nejem, a security guard. Though the other guards were originally on Nejem's side, the tables quickly turned when he blurted out his true allegiance - the Jihadist Crusaders! He quickly regretted his decision when the security chief, Lr. Alexy Bogomolov. He interrogated the prisoner, happy to be allowed to use any means at his disposal. Zayd didn't know of any other JiC on board (they aren't known for communicating with each other well), but he did know there must be other groups.

Kiri attempted to calm the growing crowd, and only made things worse; it wasn't long before the whole ship knew there was a spy on board, and others that hadn't been discovered. And what do you do when there are spies on board? A witch hunt! And a lynching! Or lots of lynchings!

One spy stepped forward - Lucia Belo, who had been with the ship from the beginning as a civilian, outed herself as a corporate spy for L20, and offered her assistance. She was allowed to go free - L20 was unlikely to hurt anyone, and she was actually a fairly useful part of the crew.

Julian, realizing that Zayd would say anything, and knowing that a lynching would be bad for morale, decided to throw a party - dancing, food, and above all, drinks. The party then wandered through the various cliques that formed, and ratted out a few other gang members. Two privates, Fred and Georgia Zellen, ratted on each other; it turns out they were low level AlSec plants, picked up before the freeing of Earth. Chad Tocher, a fighter pilot, was discovered by Julian - also AlSec. Dr. Sanjit Joshi, meanwhile, was hunted down by Kiri her her invisibility suit; she heard him muttering about working for Empire. He was given a slap on the wrist and a stern talking to, but otherwise he seems to have been left in peace. Well, after Kiri stopped tormenting him, anyway.

Another Empire spy was found, as well: Nikita Mercik, a shuttle pilot. She, too, was released.

Finally, Kiri kidnapped one final spy: Judas Pinkley, who had been getting into some fights recently. Kiri tied him down, and dunked him in freezing cold water... though neglected to actually ask him any questions. For her part, Kiri was given a slap on the wrist, and told to stop harassing people; Pinkley, however, was sent to cryo as the JiC spy he was.

That done, the last of the spies had been outed; however, that is not the end of this writeup. Oh no...

Before rounding up the last of the spies, Gus decided to give dancing a whirl. And whirl he did, with 4 raises on a skill he had no points invested in! His amazing display captivated the audience, and earned him a free d4 in dancing. Fancy!

These missions may not have had much fighting in them, but trust me... next session should make up for that. Oh yes it shall... you can't see it, but I'm gleefully rubbing my hands together, while laughing malevolently!

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