Friday, April 16, 2021

Causing Trouble

I've been playing with HeroForge lately, and made some reference images of some of the major characters; it's an awesome tool, and you should totally use it!

The first order of business was to take a look around the station. The station itself seemed to be built out of a number of ships, bolted together; rather than spinning, the station seemed to be using the gravity generators of the various ships. Upon entering the station (through a manual, insecure door), they encountered the station master, a gruff guy with a New Jersey accent. After they traded some of their (considerable!) goods for access to the ship, they started looking around. Air is actually fairly cheap to produce, but every penny counts... or in this case, every trade, because it seems the station simply doesn't use money. They convinced the station master that they were out-of-system miners, of some sort. He didn't really care.

Sil Jallah
Sil Jallah (made with HeroForge)
As they started to explore, a young woman latched on to the group, insisting that they would need a guide. She introduced herself as Sil Jallah; unlike most of the station folk, she seemed to prefer bright colors, including bright blue hair. Being a guide must make good money, as her clothes were a lot closer to "casual" than "rags". She walked them through the station, blithely ignoring the stares from everyone. It seems not a lot of people had seen power armor like that before...

As she lead them through the twisting corridors, welded scrap and loose junk blocking the way and filling the corridors, she explained the various groups. There were the humans, who made up most of the people on the station, keeping things running as engineers, doctors, and a lot of scrappers and miners, who collected asteroids or investigated wrecked ships for useful stuff. Then, there were the Modders - technically human, but often more machine than flesh, the Modders experimented with cyberware, piling mod after mod onto their bodies. Next were the Deaders - dead humans, animated by some new consciousness. Humans mostly avoided them, though the group ran into a few handing out holo-cards that invited anyone who wanted to come and live in the simple paradise of New Life Point. Sil seemed quite disturbed by the beings, who wore full body-covering suits. Last but not least, there were the Sylvan; quiet people that rarely interacted with the rest of the station, but as Sil put it, not the kind of people you want to hang around with much!

Eventually, she was called away, and Rodney ran into one of the Sylvan - literally. Her groceries went flying, and Rodney helped her clean up. She was quite different from Sil - quiet, shy, and preferring to keep her head covered with a simple hood. Her skin was so white, it was nearly transparent, and her gray eyes gave her an almost ghostly look. She wore simple clothes that matched the rest of the station a lot more closely. She introduced herself - at Rodney's prompting - as Linns. Rodney, bored of just looking around, and offered to escort her to her home. On the way, the group met a handful of Modders, who started harassing the woman. Rodney knocked one of them out as a warning, and when that didn't calm them down, started bashing heads for real; after killing the entire group, he woke the unconscious man up, broke his leg, then told him to report back to his leaders to leave people alone.

Finally, they reached the far side of the station; while the other two stayed outside the Sylvan area to investigate some of the equipment they tore off the dead Modders, Rodney headed inside. He experienced a rather painful headache, which turned out to be an attempt to read his mind. One of the Sylvan, a tall, painfully thin man, spoke with Rodney for a bit, finally asking if he would open his mind to them. Turns out, mind-reading makes you really, really distrustful of other people. Rodney allowed it, and the Sylvans got a front-row seat to Rodney's hammer-time extravaganza.

Outside, Elise managed to clean up the headgear she found at least well enough to determine the overarching purpose of it - some sort of frequency-damping that interacted directly with the brain. What it actually did was entirely unknown to her; it seemed to be part communication gear and part hardwired VR, though not the useful pieces of either.

Finally, the group headed back to the docks, and managed to hire a room at the only hotel in the station - a tiny, spartan room with 6 ounces of free water. Not exactly a lot to go on, but at least it has enough space to comfortably sleep, and store their armor.

The next day, Rodney left to visit Linns again, though sadly she was busy. She offered to meet him that evening for a meal, though.

As they were heading back, Sil caught up with them, looking worried. It seems the Modders were not exactly happy about the deaths, and since the Modders were essentially the station's military, that could cause some serious problems. She suggested maybe spending a little time off the station.

Gesh Darksider
Gesh Darksider (made with HeroForge)
Down at the docks, they met a miner named Gesh Darksider, captain of Darksider's Folly, a mining and cargo ship. It seems that he'd made a scrapping run, and come back with another ship, one that he was having trouble paying for - the station master needed paid up front, not on a promise of later funds from the sale of said ship. The only part of the ship Gesh wanted was the jumpdrive; he was willing to sell the rest off for a good price, and would even let someone test drive it for 24 hours if they would just pay the berthing costs.

After some considerable haggling, the group paid the fee, and took a look at the ship. It was in fairly good repair, and apart from a damaged energy converter, seemed space-worthy. They haggled some more, and eventually ended up with a new-to-them corvette-class ship, stripped of weapons and devoid of power, but otherwise in excellent shape. The suit, meanwhile, went into storage at the hotel, with an agreement that the group would have three days before the suit went anywhere.

Small, powerful, and bald as Rodney!
(made with HeroForge)
Rodney, meanwhile, went on his date with Linns (sans power armor, as the Modders were looking for someone in power armor); the food was good, and she really seemed to enjoy his company. After they ate, he was walking her back to her place, when they heard another group of Modders! The two quickly ran back the way they came, only to come face to face with yet another Modder, this one wearing some sort of weird metal mohawk. After the first round of combat, Rodney laid down some serious hurt, but the Modder juiced up with whatever weird fluids were in his mohawk, and came back stronger than ever! Rodney managed to batter him into oblivion, sending him to the Scrubbing Bubbles of Hades, just as the rest of the Modders caught up to them. He had called his own friends, however, and they were nearly there. However, before Rodney could react, Linns conjured some sort of lightning between her hands! She stalked towards the Modders, and as she reached each one, they died, screaming. Finally, she cut the lighting off, and pointed a single quivering finger at the last surviving Modder, a fellow with a metal cap similar to the one Elise dissected. As the Modder started to take a step forward, she growled out a single word: "No!"

The Modder turned and fled, just as Nix and Elise arrived. Linns turned, took Rodney's hand, and said, "Let's go."

She made it another two steps before her legs gave out, and she fell. Rodney tried to carry her back to her place, but she (feebly) refused, asking that he take her back to his place, instead (oy, get your mind out of the gutter, she has a good reason!). Rodney considered asking for assistance from any mercenaries in the market, but realized he had nothing to pay them with but his hammers, which were a sight too dear to part with. He returned to his hotel room, and donned his power armor, staying vigilant while Linns slept.

Meanwhile, Nix and Elise got to work, removing and replacing parts from their new ship. Their old ship was barely more than cryo pods, an energy converter, and a jump drive, bolted to a frame; the jumpdrive was installed in the new ship to replace the one they took out as part of the deal; the energy converter slotted into the space that the damaged one had occupied. The cryo pods actually fit in one of the spare crew rooms, so if they needed to make a long jump, they had the means. They jumped the ship with almost all of their power reserves - spare batteries and suit power - and got it close enough to the tiny red sun to begin refueling. It took a full 24 hours to refuel, during which time they made a few scans of the system and rested up. They returned to pick up Rodney, and ended up taking Linns as well - she was still woozy, but agreed that it would be a lot safer for her and the other Sylvans if she would come with them. It seems she had some business on some other stations, as well.

12 hours of repair work (one long day instead of the three it would take most people!) and 24 hours of refueling put the group 36 hours into the 72 agreed-upon hours before the suit was the full property of Gesh; hopefully, the team will be able to salvage some other equipment worth enough to buy it back - and soon!

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