S3M 1×05: “Shot in the Dark”

Dramatis Personæ

It is about 22:00 local, 26 Feb. As the session begins, the PCs are still discussing best options for determining how to break line-of-sight and have reached what amounts to a plan: once within the Far Belt during the decel phase, engine trouble will be faked and they will “set down” on a rotating rock, then launch from the dark side of this rock before going silent. It will take multiple days to reach the target rock, so AJ spends about 15 hours (total) working out the new route. By his calculations, they should reach the final target on or around 6 March.

The Crew has a lot of time to kill before everything starts blowing up in their faces. JoJo mostly spends time with V.R. tutoring and practicing his Muay Thai, which definitely leads to AJ sparring with him to determine how Krav Maga stacks against it. They find themselves fairly evenly matched with about equivalent skill levels. Tulk digs into the names he obtained from his television friend and is able to determine they’re all IBM employees. Calista generally hangs out with the crew in order to get to know them better, but also checks discreetly to see if there are any future jobs for her to handle on the side. Zennith, being a workaholic, focuses much of his time handling shipboard maintenance, although AJ is also present for some of this time to learn new engineering skills required for certain certifications; in his spare time, Zennith also works on a robot hamster for his wife. In addition to the above-mentioned items, AJ also ends up watching a recording of Bella’s play where he finds her not as terrible as he feared; he also interacts with their passengers in an attempt to get to know them better, especially once Tulk discreetly reveals that he’s eavesdropped a little bit and suspects the Unit are Confederacy personnel, not USA.

On the third day out from home, Tamborro Station, the USS Bunker Hill is detected to have launched, evidently on a hard burn in the direction of the Omen. Tulk is on watch when this happens and alerts AJ who knows the Hill is twice as fast as they are. Based on the current math, the Crew is about five days from their false destination, FN-2187, and the Hill would arrive within a few hours of them, not counting the impending distraction.

Day Seven approaches and the Omen reaches the designated time to execute their deception. The dual effort between AJ and Zennith turns out to be awesome; Zennith forces a fuel overfeed in engine two that results in a very visible backfire, and with a hard and sudden decel that is actually concerning to all parties but the pilot and engineer, but instead of landing, use the asteroid as cover and slingshot hard on the new vector before going dark. From passive sensors, they’re able to deduce that the Hill was completely spoofed and have given themselves an extra 12 hours before she will be able to intercept them.

Once they reach the mission site, it takes about 30 minutes for the Cew to eventually locate the blacked out Tohre-Chi ship … and it’s a big one, looking to displace around 500-600 tons or so. Everyone dons vac-suits and Zennith evacuates oxygen from the Omen … just in case. AJ orbits the Tohre-Chi ship for a bit so they can identify an entry point; during this, they determine that the two smallcraft normally attached to this ship are missing and there appears to be a really cheap worklight in one of the open bays, strongly indicating that some rockhoppers found this and have staked out a claim. This will be their entry point and AJ, knowing that Tulk positively sucks in zero-gee, has him stay behind to man the sensors while the rest of the crew spacewalk over.

Neither Moss particularly appreciate the zero-gee ops, but AJ is clearly an expert in doing so. The Crew and the Unit board the Tohre-Chi ship and begin moving slowing toward the ‘front’ with Zennith identifying stuff along the way. They find enough evidence to nearly confirm the presence of some rockhoppers living here and, upon entering the CIC, AJ is able to note that the blackbox is gone. The Unit begins cutting out the computer core.

Back in the Omen, Tulk is startled when a ship appears mostly out of nowhere – it is one of the missing Tohre-Chi smallcraft! It buzzes him but foolishly drifts into the Omen’s field of fire so Tulk remote fires the laser cannon which pretty much cripples the smaller ship. However, the second smallcraft appears and dives toward the Tohre-Chi ship, docking hurriedly before Tulk can puzzle out how to reorient the Omen and shoot it too. He warns the boarders … they’re about to have company!

At the same time, a bored JoJo has wandered away from the others and discovers what appears to be a suit of Tohre-Chi armor plugged into the ship. Just as everyone feels the vibrations of the smallcraft docking through the deck, the Tohre-Chi’s eyes suddenly light up…

Player Notes:

  • Ended the session early because GM doubted the impending fight would be over quickly. Like more than half of the gaming group, he’d also had a very difficult work week and had not prepped as much as he would like.
  • As a player, I’d like to figure out how to streamline some of the maths more, particularly with regards to in-system navigation stuffs. They aren’t terrible but I hate math of all sorts so honestly, I’d prefer a spreadsheet I could just plop my die results in and it figure the crap out for me. We’ve got something like that for Mass Combat so I may be bothering the GM to do that for the astrography and navigation stuff.
  • Am wondering how we could have sped up the trip time. Once we establish a SOP for what a character does, a Time Use thing is probably the way to go, then we can skip past the “You’ve got 6 long and boring days to the target. What do you do in that time?” kind of questions since the normal answer would probably be “I do what I normally do during this time.”

Leave a Reply