GM Tarondor's Path of Tears Campaign - Traveller: The New Era

Game Master Tarondor

The Area of Operations

OPLAN Open Hand


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The man behind the counter has handsome features and a thick mop of sandy blond hair. "I'm glad you asked," he says, looking over the newcomer. "Not new exactly, just returned after a long voyage. I'm selling new starships, friend. Brand new, never-used far traders. Perfect for short hops and long hauls. I've even got some excellent financing for you. Are you in the market for a ship?"


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

"Not really in the market. Not right now, at least. My friends and I have a perfectly serviceable ship. But, you never know - we might need a ship," replies Flatfoot with a smile.

"I am James Nicholls. Are you Captain Novohig? Where are these ships made?"


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"Why, the Guild of Traders builds them. Can't say where, of course. The galaxy's become too dangerous, I'm sad to say. And yes, I'm Arturo Novohig."

"And you're one of the Coalition crew. Come to disrupt my operation?"


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

"Why would we do that?," asks Flatfoot.

"I am on the Coalition ship. We're not here to sell ships, but to start relations with the planet."

"Have you seen or heard of any Virus activity in the region? I am personally interested in that, too."


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"Everyone knows the Coalition sends teams to planets like this looking for tech to raid and plunder. Today, the hand of friendship, tomorrow, the iron boot of piracy."


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

"I can only speak to what we've been asked to do," replies Flatfoot. "And it includes nothing about piracy. Matter of fact, if the people here have their own ships it might make trade easier for everyone, including the Coalition."

"Do you think that we can agree to disagree about this?," asks Flatfoot.

"Is there anyone else from off-planet around here?"


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Captain Novohig regards Flatfoot somewhat sourly, but mollified. "I believe there's a crew from Spinward staying at the hotel. Don't know much about them."

"If the Coalition wants trade here, then it -should- talk up my deal. That's all the Guild wants - free trade between worlds means stronger economies and stronger defenses against the Vampires."


UPP: 7B64C6; Armor 1: Injury 0

Drifter decides to just wander around the town greeting people in passing and looking to learn his way around the town and the best ways in and out if the need should arise.


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Spider accepts Ravi's offer to show them around town. When the impromptu tour reaches Majuba's, he offers to buy the man a drink to celebrate. "To new acquaintances and profitable trade. What's your poison?"


UPP: A47A38; Armor 1

Mascot finds himself in the town's market, looking at various foodstuffs that he has a hard time recognizing. "Hey, what do you all eat around here?"


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James "Drifter" Monroe wrote:
Drifter decides to just wander around the town greeting people in passing and looking to learn his way around the town and the best ways in and out if the need should arise.

Berensburg is quite small and Drifter gets its layout in about twelve minutes of walking. Most of the buildings are homes, and many double as shops catering to offworld crews. There is a barbershop, a day spa, three restaurants, a general store, the downport and machine shop, a printing press, a well, a power plant and a dump. There's Hong's Spinward Grill, the Keneally Inn, The Lutkehaus (a bed-and-breakfast), Pituri's Berensburg Inn, Sounderajan's Bakery and Restaurant and Majuba's Rod and Gun Club. Surprisingly, the place is too small for a brothel. As near as you can tell, everyone shares one of five last names and are a mixture of most Terran ethnicities.

On his way, Drifter passes several people, all of whom offer him a friendly hello. The Berensi, as the inhabitants call themselves, area fairly relaxed but busy people. Lots of things need doing in order to keep even a small technological community running, and with fewer than 40 adult permanent residents, everybody does several jobs. Although people don't exactly dash about, Drifter doesn't see many leisurely strollers either.

The streets of Berensburg are very wide concrete slabs, with weeds growing up through the cracks. No more than a handful of vehicles are on Berens, and most of those are cargo haulers used to move goods from ships to warehouses, or to move the crops in from outlying farms.

The buildings are mostly poured concrete or steel frame, and they are painted a variety of light earth tones and tans which causes them to blend in well with the sandy soil around the starport. A fair proportion of the pedestrian traffic looks to be off-world starship crews. Despite the small number af people and the wide open spaces, Berensburg can almost be called bustling.

CDR Jasper "Spider" Webb wrote:
Spider accepts Ravi's offer to show them around town. When the impromptu tour reaches Majuba's, he offers to buy the man a drink to celebrate. "To new acquaintances and profitable trade. What's your poison?"

Majuba's Rod and Gun Club is a small place, but quite busy. As the most famous watering hole in Diaspora sector, it attracts nearly all the starship crews that stop over on Berens. As one of only three restaurants in town, most residents eat there at least once in a while. Upbeat synth-pop music is playing as you enter the dimly-lit main room from the blazing light of the street. The sounds of laughter and conversation die down as you walk in. As your eyes adjust, you take in a dozen or more people, not all of them human, gathered around the bar and handful of small tables. Two hulking beings resemble lion-headed humanoids sit with a third that looks for all the world like a bipedal wolf. You've heard of Aslan and Vargr, but have never seen them before. It's apparent that the Aslan aren't really lion-like, but damned if the Vargr doesn't look like a wolf.

Some of the looks you receive are glares, while most are merely neutral appraisals. You see posters for Majuba's Private Reserve beer and something called the "Meteor Club".

Ravi points to an empty end of the bar and signals the aging but still burly black man behind the bar. "Whiskey, neat. And some of those callie nuts, if you have them. Majuba, meet Captain Webb. He's from The Old Expanses."

Majuba grins and offers Spider a meaty hand. "A new captain is always welcome at Majuba's. What can I get you?"

CPL Calvin "Mascot" Sherman wrote:
Mascot finds himself in the town's market, looking at various foodstuffs that he has a hard time recognizing. "Hey, what do you all eat around here?"

The grocer smiles. "Well, nothing too exotic. They grow wheat and barley here, and there's a beef ranch. But the vegetables are little strange. That one's called barcal. It's kind of tart. These are khalla root. Eat 'em raw and it'll kill you, but boil 'em and mash 'em and they make a fantastic pie. Let's see, try this urtan. It's kind of like a buttery peach."


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Spider tilts his head towards the posters. "You can get me a mug of the Private Reserve. And, since I'm the curious type, what is a Meteor Club?"


UPP: A47A38; Armor 1

Mascot takes the fruit tentatively at first, looking at the blotched skin. "Do I peel it?" He draws a small knife and cuts into the urtan to pull a slice out and pops it into his mouth.

"Oh, that's not what I expected." Buttery peach was a good description, but it also had a caramel after taste to it. "Not bad."

"You said there's a beef ranch here. They can raise real cattle? I haven't had real meat in months. Does it taste right?"


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

Flatfoot responds to the Captain's comment, "I don't make trade policy. That's far too far beyond my pay grade."

Flatfoot pauses for a moment before continuing, "You mentioned Vampires. What is the news about them? Any sign of activity?"


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CDR Jasper "Spider" Webb wrote:
Spider tilts his head towards the posters. "You can get me a mug of the Private Reserve. And, since I'm the curious type, what is a Meteor Club?"

Majuba cracks a huge grin as he opens a bottle of his private ale and pours it for Spider. "I was hoping you'd ask. Half the spacefarers in this subsector are members and we have members from across Diaspora and Solomani Rim sectors, even a few from Old Expanses, like you. Everyone wants to be on that board." He nods to a list of ten names behind the bar.

"We're an organization of drop capsule enthusiasts, you might say. The more difficult the drop, the more points. The more points you get, the higher you move up the board. Standings are based on a point system. Each jump is worth one point, but the member's first jump on each separate planet is worth between 10 and 30 points, depending on the difficulty level. Dense atmosphere worlds are rated as 30 points, thin atmosphere worlds as 20 points, and standard atmosphere worlds as 10. This system puts a premium on jumping on as many different worlds as possible, and most of the members of the club are either Free Traders or Guild merchants, who travel as part of their job."

"In order for a jump to score points, it must be confirmed by both an in-capsule video of the descent and either orbital or ground-based telemetry data. I check the two sources carefully to make sure that they match in all respects. Only jumps using parachutes or parawings are scored; jumps using grav klk or grav wings are not."

"If you're interested in joining, it's worth noting that Berens itself is a 20-point drop."

____________________________________________________________________

CPL Calvin "Mascot" Sherman wrote:

Mascot takes the fruit tentatively at first, looking at the blotched skin. "Do I peel it?" He draws a small knife and cuts into the urtan to pull a slice out and pops it into his mouth.

"Oh, that's not what I expected." Buttery peach was a good description, but it also had a caramel after taste to it. "Not bad."

"You said there's a beef ranch here. They can raise real cattle? I haven't had real meat in months. Does it taste right?"

"Yeah, if you cook it right. Majuba makes his a bit spicy for my tastes. I like a good butter steak from Keneally's. Hong's does a nice rib eye with vedrek root - kinda like mushrooms."

____________________________________________________________________

James "Flatfoot" Nicholls wrote:

Flatfoot responds to the Captain's comment, "I don't make trade policy. That's far too far beyond my pay grade."

Flatfoot pauses for a moment before continuing, "You mentioned Vampires. What is the news about them? Any sign of activity?"

"Not as much as before. I think that's mostly in the past now. Some activity out your way, they say, on the border between Diaspora and Old Expanses. But trade has been picking up here in Diaspora and I have no doubt that we'll be back to large-scale trading in a decade or so."


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Spider looks over the Meteor top 10 list as he takes a healthy gulp of his ale. He gives a contented grunt, and gulps again. "Interesting,
I'll let you know."
Waving his mug towards the list, he says, "Any of those men here now?"


Pirates of Drinax Links

With a thrust of his chin, Majuba indicates a spacer sitting at a nearby table with several shipmates. "Kennyo Nagano. Number 8. Nearly killed himself on Biremeruun four months ago when his pod broke apart. Broke his arm when the reserve chute caught high winds and introduced him to a mountainside."


UPP: A47A38; Armor 1

"Spicy beef sounds wonderful. Thanks for the tip. I might treat myself to a nice meal." He smiles. "Hey, thanks for the chat. You never know what kind of food you find on various worlds. My name's Calvin. My friends and I are new in town. Always good to meet someone who knows the town and the people. Hey, if I see you at the bar, I'll buy you a drink. Maybe you can tell me more about the people in town."


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

Flatfoot stares off into space for a moment before replying. "Yes, you heard right about the Vampires. That's why I was glad to be heading this way, instead."

"Well, I am not in the market for a ship right now. But, you never know."

Flatfoot turns to go before stopping and then turning back.

"Say, does your guild have a message system? I mean, any ships heading off-planet shortly? I am hoping to send a message to someone I know, someone shipping on a guild vessel. Any chance of getting a message out?"


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CPL Calvin "Mascot" Sherman wrote:
"Spicy beef sounds wonderful. Thanks for the tip. I might treat myself to a nice meal." He smiles. "Hey, thanks for the chat. You never know what kind of food you find on various worlds. My name's Calvin. My friends and I are new in town. Always good to meet someone who knows the town and the people. Hey, if I see you at the bar, I'll buy you a drink. Maybe you can tell me more about the people in town."

"I'll take you up on it," he says. "Name's Everett. Everett Corkill. I'm in construction. Construction and vegetables, I guess."

_________________________________________________

James "Flatfoot" Nicholls wrote:

Flatfoot stares off into space for a moment before replying. "Yes, you heard right about the Vampires. That's why I was glad to be heading this way, instead."

"Well, I am not in the market for a ship right now. But, you never know."

Flatfoot turns to go before stopping and then turning back.

"Say, does your guild have a message system? I mean, any ships heading off-planet shortly? I am hoping to send a message to someone I know, someone shipping on a guild vessel. Any chance of getting a message out?"

Novohig appears to consider this. "It's not regular, like the mail. But we do exchange messages whenever we meet. You know someone in the Guild?"


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Spider looks over his shoulder at Nagano, then back to the bartender. "Well, number 8 ought to be worth something. His next round's on me."

After taking another pull of his ale, he turns to Ravi. "What I've seen of Berens, I like. And it seems like the economy is healthy. So why aren't there more people living here?"


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

"Yes," replies Flatfoot. "Yes, I do know someone."

Flatfoot trails off, uncertain how to continue. After a moment, he does.

"Her name is Paka ... Paka Vishnu. We met under what were bad conditions and were together until shortly before my companions and I shipped out. She was a free trader before, and got a berth on a Guild ship."

"Would you try to get a message to her?


UPP: A47A38; Armor 1

Mascot nods and shakes his hand. "I'll see you for drinks, then Everett."

The former marine makes his way to Majuba's and spots Spider at the bar chatting. He makes his way over and waves down the barman. "Ale, I guess. And I heard you got some good spicy beef. I'll take some of that, however it comes."

He looks over to his CO. "Spider, they got real beef here. Want some?"


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CDR Jasper "Spider" Webb wrote:
Spider looks over his shoulder at Nagano, then back to the bartender. "Well, number 8 ought to be worth something. His next round's on me."

Majuba sends a beer to Nagano's table and there's a cheer. The injured spacer hoists his beer in friendly salute to Spider.

CDR Jasper "Spider" Webb wrote:
After taking another pull of his ale, he turns to Ravi. "What I've seen of Berens, I like. And it seems like the economy is healthy. So why aren't there more people living here?"

"It was a corporate reserve before the Collapse. Hortalez et Cie. owned the world outright and kept it for exclusive corporate retreats. We're the descendant of the people who ran the resort for them. Since the Collapse, well, there hasn't been much movement of populations, I guess."

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James "Flatfoot" Nicholls wrote:

"Yes," replies Flatfoot. "Yes, I do know someone."

Flatfoot trails off, uncertain how to continue. After a moment, he does.

"Her name is Paka ... Paka Vishnu. We met under what were bad conditions and were together until shortly before my companions and I shipped out. She was a free trader before, and got a berth on a Guild ship."

"Would you try to get a message to her?

"No guarantees, but I can try," says Novohig.

_________________________________________________________________

CPL Calvin "Mascot" Sherman wrote:

Mascot nods and shakes his hand. "I'll see you for drinks, then Everett."

The former marine makes his way to Majuba's and spots Spider at the bar chatting. He makes his way over and waves down the barman. "Ale, I guess. And I heard you got some good spicy beef. I'll take some of that, however it comes."

He looks over to his CO. "Spider, they got real beef here. Want some?"


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Shall we move forward to the Town meeting? Or do you have anything else you want to accomplish first?


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

Flatfoot thinks for a moment. "I want to take time for this message. How do you send it? Should I write it out? Give it to you on a storage chip?"

Flatfoot thanks the Captain and moves off, preparing to go to the Town Meeting.


UPP: 7B64C6; Armor 1: Injury 0

Drifter is ready to move forward. He has nothing else all that pressing to do.


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Ready to move to the town meeting.


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THE TOWN MEETING

Our Heroes spend a pleasant night in Berensburg and by the following afternoon have pretty much seen the whole town. That second night a meeting is held at the Keneally Inn. Ravi Keneally has put out a small spread including snacks and beer. By nightfall, most of the adult residents of town are mixing informally and chatting with the crew and each other.

Spider and Drifter find themselves talking to two of the town's business leaders, Vern Harridan and Nguyen Soundarajan. Harridan is the owner of a beef ranch and Soundarajan is the local baker.

"There are several local worlds where beef is in demand," Harridan says. "But the space lanes still aren't safe and there aren't enough ships to carry the goods. So I'm forced to keep my herd small enough to just service the locals and the small population of spacers that come through."

_________________________________________________

Mascot is talking to two women, Mavity Frances and Rishanda Forshee. Mavity is Majuba Schwartz's much younger wife, while Rishanda is Majuba's fifty-ish sister. Rishanda is the owner of the largest ranch on Berens, while Mavity is an electrician, a cook at Majuba's and occasional hand at the garage.

"And what is your business here, Mister Sherman?" asks Mavity. "Your 'Coalition' is a long way off, I hear. We can barely keep in contact with our own subsector."

_________________________________________________

Flatfoot is speaking to two men, Siscoe Nickrent and Shrier Magemeneas. Both men are mechanics who work in Jo Donskoi's garage.

"Yeah, but I've heard people saying that the Coalition just takes whatever it wants from its neighbors," says Siscoe. "I mean, don' they call you the Star Vikings?"


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

"Star Vikings?," responds Flatfoot with a questioning tone. "I suppose that I have heard that. Just like those mythical warriors from long ago, we want to trade and treat fairly with our neighbours. But we also don't sit back idly when someone treats us wrong. Or, worse, thinks about collaborating with the Vampires."


UPP: A47A38; Armor 1
Traveller Referee Tarondor wrote:

Mascot is talking to two women, Mavity Frances and Rishanda Forshee. Mavity is Majuba Schwartz's much younger wife, while Rishanda is Majuba's fifty-ish sister. Rishanda is the owner of the largest ranch on Berens, while Mavity is an electrician, a cook at Majuba's and occasional hand at the garage.

"And what is your business here, Mister Sherman?" asks Mavity. "Your 'Coalition' is a long way off, I hear. We can barely keep in contact with our own subsector."

Mascot smiles. "Well, see, we came all this way just to taste this beef Rishanda raises and that you cook. Word of something like that spreads way faster than starships can fly!" He chuckles.

"But truthfully, the RC sent us here to learn about this world and meet the inhabitants. Which means...I'm drinking on the company dime!" Mascot raises his glass. "Your world is growing into a good trading port. We need good friends out here."


Pirates of Drinax Links

Holding for Spider and/or Drifter.


UPP: 7B64C6; Armor 1: Injury 0

"We are of course interested in improving the lines of trade. How fast could you expand your herds if it became safe to trade? Is it vampires causing trouble or pirates?" Drifter asks as he tries to learn more about the surrounding system.


Pirates of Drinax Links
James "Flatfoot" Nicholls wrote:
"Star Vikings?," responds Flatfoot with a questioning tone. "I suppose that I have heard that. Just like those mythical warriors from long ago, we want to trade and treat fairly with our neighbours.

Points to Flatfoot for making the Referee smile!

James "Flatfoot" Nicholls wrote:
"But we also don't sit back idly when someone treats us wrong. Or, worse, thinks about collaborating with the Vampires."

Flatfoot Streetwise+INT: 2d6 + 3 ⇒ (3, 6) + 3 = 12

Siscoe looks surprised at this, while Shrier looks thoughtful. Flatfoot thinks he catches a hint of respect from Shrier.

"Well, we've heard a lot of people say that the Coalition -does- smash the governments of those who don't agree with it," says Siscoe, recovering. "The rape of Vezina gets around."

Siscoe seems to be repeating standard Guild rhetoric about the Coalition. Vezina (Old Expanses/Aubaine 0530) was the first world annexed to the Reformation Coalition by force in 1201. When the twelve Dawn League ships didn't return, the League sent six heavily armed ships out to discover their whereabouts. Infiltrations were followed by Search and Rescue Ops. In an early echo of your service at Isis and Promise, one rescue mission was so successful that it managed to topple the Technologically-Elevated Dictator (TED) of Vezina. The Coalition annexed Vezina and sent technical assistance to the peasants, forcibly adding the world to the Dawn League. However, the League also removed all the TED's heavy weapons and advanced technology, taking them back to Aubaine for auction to pay for the budgets of the new Navy.

"People sayin' it don't mean it happened that way," says Shrier. "You have to consider the source. What their interests are." He turns back to Flatfoot. "But working with the Guild isn't a crime. Lots of Guild ships stop in here. They've always been law-abiding, so far as I know."

_______________________________________________________________

CPL Calvin "Mascot" Sherman wrote:
Mascot smiles. "Well, see, we came all this way just to taste this beef Rishanda raises and that you cook. Word of something like that spreads way faster than starships can fly!" He chuckles.

Both women smile at this. "Oh boy. Another sweet-talking fly-boy. Watch out, Mavity, he'll be asking you to cook up something else before the evening is over!"

Mavity blushes but says, "Hey, he wasn't sweet-talking me. You're the richest woman on the planet, you know."

CPL Calvin "Mascot" Sherman wrote:
"But truthfully, the RC sent us here to learn about this world and meet the inhabitants. Which means...I'm drinking on the company dime!" Mascot raises his glass. "Your world is growing into a good trading port. We need good friends out here."

"Why is that, exactly?" asks Rishanda. "As I said, the Coalition is almost sixty light years away. What plans do you have this far Spinward? You understand that it makes folks a bit nervous?"

_______________________________________________________________

James "Drifter" Monroe wrote:
"We are of course interested in improving the lines of trade. How fast could you expand your herds if it became safe to trade? Is it vampires causing trouble or pirates?" Drifter asks as he tries to learn more about the surrounding system.

Who knew that GMing a sci-fi game would require me to research beef herd expansion rates?

"On its own, a herd of cattle can double in size in about eight years," says Vern Harridan. "It's also possible we could acquire some cattle from Pekhuura or Suleiman, though not many. Certainly enough to satisfy the demands of more space travelers, but it will be years before we could think of exporting, even if the space lanes were clear."

"And I can't believe that it would ever be economical to transport herd animals as far as your Coalition, Mr. Monroe," adds Nguyen Sounderajan.


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

"We could debate this all night. Let me get the next round, because I am getting thirsty," replies Flatfoot.

With this decided, Flatfoot gestures for another round. Once it arrives, he pays and then continues to speak.

"I am not saying that the Guild are criminals. But there are all kinds - good people like my friend that is in the Guild. And also some who don't mind looking the other way or not noticing how people are treated on some of the worlds."

"You have been lucky here. We have been on a worlds ruled by local tyrants, and I would not want anyone close to me to live in that state. "


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

"We could debate this all night. Let me get the next round, because I am getting thirsty," replies Flatfoot.

With this decided, Flatfoot gestures for another round. Once it arrives, he pays and then continues to speak.

"I am not saying that the Guild are criminals. But there are all kinds - good people like my friend that is in the Guild. And also some who don't mind looking the other way or not noticing how people are treated on some of the worlds."

"You have been lucky here. We have been on a worlds ruled by local tyrants, and I would not want anyone close to me to live in that state. "


Pirates of Drinax Links

"So you -don't- take tech from those conquests?" Siscoe persists.

"Give it a rest, Siscoe," interjects Shrier. "The man's just here to make nice. It's twenty parsecs to to the Coalition. It's not like they're going to drop out of the sky."

"I'm sure that's a consolation to the people of Vezina. And Montezuma, and..."

"You've been thinking about this a lot. Seems to me we've all had to do some ugly things to survive. We know what they did to the dictators. The question is, how do they treat their friends?"

"Everyone's a friend with a gun to their head," retorts Siscoe.

"And the Guild is perfect? They supply guns to the TEDs and reap profits from both sides of the wars they start!"

"The Guild doesn't try to control planets, just the spacelanes between them. And that's for defense against aggressors!"


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

"As I said, we are not going to agree about this," replies Flatfoot.

Flatfoot holds up one of the snacks that he has been enjoying . "What is this? It's really good. Matter of fact, everything here is good, but that might just be the change from the food aboard ship."

Flatfoot waits for a response, trying to direct the conversation to something more harmless for this meeting between the local and his companions.


UPP: A47A38; Armor 1

Mascot nods. "I know the RC can have a fearsome reputation. I won't lie that I've been part of it sometimes. But it's in part because we value and protect our friends. We see lots of people out in the galaxy with lots of different motives. Those who are good to us and share our views for preserving humanity and the technology of the past, we become fierce friends with. Those who seek to take advantage of the RC and our friends, we deal with in force."

"Space can be unforgiving, and humanity's darker instincts appear more often than you might care to think about. I've seen dictators enslave their whole world just to profit off them. I've seen Imperium technology used to murder millions. And that's just what we do to each other, not to mention the Vampires. The RC represents the best and strongest answer to that kind of anarchy. Sometimes fire burns, but without it we're all lost in the darkness."

He clears his throat and takes a drink. "Sorry, on those long jumps, I get to reading philosophy. But you asked what we're doing here, and I think you two are a bit of the heart of this place. We're here to find friends we can rely on. We want to show that we're not monsters. If you allow us, we can show you our strength. If you need it one day, you'll know how to reach us."


Pirates of Drinax Links
James "Flatfoot" Nicholls wrote:

"As I said, we are not going to agree about this," replies Flatfoot.

Flatfoot holds up one of the snacks that he has been enjoying . "What is this? It's really good. Matter of fact, everything here is good, but that might just be the change from the food aboard ship."

Flatfoot waits for a response, trying to direct the conversation to something more harmless for this meeting between the local and his companions.

Shrier says "Those are some of Rishanda's satays. Try the peanut sauce. I don't think it's actually made with peanuts - wrong kind of soil here, but it's still pretty good."

Siscoe walks away, mingling with others at the party.

"The Guild is powerful in this part of space," Shrier says, pouring himself some punch. "It's a force for stability, but some fear that it is too cozy with various dictators. One thing's for sure - they carry the news, and what news has reached us about you isn't so good. Not that we know much at all. Mostly we know about the planets within a few parsecs. But we hear some things from the Free Traders, and it's not always like the Guild tells it. Still, there's fewer and fewer Free Traders. And they'll likely disappear now that the Guild is offering brand new starships for easy payments."

"How do you suppose they're making new starships? And where? They say they're willing to eat the cost just to encourage interstellar trade, and I suppose that makes a certain amount of sense. It's just that... well, no one around here trusts Arturo Novohig. He's got a poor reputation. No one but Siscoe and his friends, anyway."

"Did you know we've got one of those new Guild ships over at the garage? I'm surprised you guys haven't wanted to take a look."

_____________________________________________________________________

CPL Calvin "Mascot" Sherman wrote:

Mascot nods. "I know the RC can have a fearsome reputation. I won't lie that I've been part of it sometimes. But it's in part because we value and protect our friends. We see lots of people out in the galaxy with lots of different motives. Those who are good to us and share our views for preserving humanity and the technology of the past, we become fierce friends with. Those who seek to take advantage of the RC and our friends, we deal with in force."

"Space can be unforgiving, and humanity's darker instincts appear more often than you might care to think about. I've seen dictators enslave their whole world just to profit off them. I've seen Imperium technology used to murder millions. And that's just what we do to each other, not to mention the Vampires. The RC represents the best and strongest answer to that kind of anarchy. Sometimes fire burns, but without it we're all lost in the darkness."

He clears his throat and takes a drink. "Sorry, on those long jumps, I get to reading philosophy. But you asked what we're doing here, and I think you two are a bit of the heart of this place. We're here to find friends we can rely on. We want to show that we're not monsters. If you allow us, we can show you our strength. If you need it one day, you'll know how to reach us."

The two women regard Mascot with more serious expressions than a few moments before.

After a moment of consideration, Rishanda continues. "That's well said, Mr. Sherman. A person should be able to articulate his purpose in the world, and I believe you've just done that clearly. It's nice to meet a patriot. You don't speak like a diplomat, or at least like I'd imagine a diplomat speaks. I can't help but notice that your crew is both younger and, if you don't mind an old woman's observations, more fit than most politicians. What is it that do you do for the Coalition?"


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Cattle herding is rather outside his area of interest, but Spider works hard to be attentive and engaged in the conversation. He gives a nod of agreement to Mr. Sounderajan as he addresses Vern Harridan. "Well, I certainly agree that your beef is unlikely to be gracing dinner tables as far away as Aubaine anytime soon, but hasn't the Guild broached the idea of exporting cattle to systems closer to Berens?"


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"You know," says Ver, "The Guild seems to take little interest in what we do here. They appear to just want to control the mechanisms of trade. I imagine they'll get their hands into the merchandise itself, but not yet. At least not here on Berens. I understand from Majuba that the Guild is stronger Coreward."

"There is that starship business of Arturo's," says Sounderajan. "So they're also directly selling starships."


UPP: A47A38; Armor 1

Mascot taps his glass of beer. "I do my diplomacy this way. Speaking of which, you two need a drink as well. My treat. Or the RC's, of course." He motions for drinks for the two ladies.

"What is it that I do? That's not always an easy answer, Rishanda. What do you do at the ranch? Oversee things, but likely much more. The livelihood of the place depends on you and you do whatever you need to. No one who truly believes in their work is limited to a single thing."

He shrugs. "I do what the RC needs. Sometimes that's with a weapon. I was a marine, but I'm also a mechanic and a decent surfer. Sometimes what is needed is rescue, and sometimes it's sitting here talking to two ladies. And a lot of times things change along the way too. Last little jaunt we did, we were looking to make contact with someone. We ended up rescuing some old friends."


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

Flatfoot dips the satay into the peanut sauce before taking a bite. He savours the taste, much better than the food aboard ship.

"It really is quite good. Different, but that's part of the reason for travel," he says.

After listening to the two men, Flatfoot nods. "I did stop in and speak to Captain Novohig. How come he has a bad reputation? For that matter, why would be set up business with the Guild?"


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CPL Calvin "Mascot" Sherman wrote:

Mascot taps his glass of beer. "I do my diplomacy this way. Speaking of which, you two need a drink as well. My treat. Or the RC's, of course." He motions for drinks for the two ladies.

"What is it that I do? That's not always an easy answer, Rishanda. What do you do at the ranch? Oversee things, but likely much more. The livelihood of the place depends on you and you do whatever you need to. No one who truly believes in their work is limited to a single thing."

He shrugs. "I do what the RC needs. Sometimes that's with a weapon. I was a marine, but I'm also a mechanic and a decent surfer. Sometimes what is needed is rescue, and sometimes it's sitting here talking to two ladies. And a lot of times things change along the way too. Last little jaunt we did, we were looking to make contact with someone. We ended up rescuing some old friends."

Mavity smiles. "You're saying that you surf for interests of the Coalition?"

"Well, Mister Sherman, I hope you find what you're looking for on Berens," says Rishanda. "I don't know that any of us have much time left. In my opinion, the Vampires will storm out of wherever they've gone to and overtake us all. But that doesn't mean I plan to give up before that happens. If the Reformation Coalition wants to set up diplomatic relations or a trading post here, I say you're welcome to it."

_____________________________________________________

James "Flatfoot" Nicholls wrote:

Flatfoot dips the satay into the peanut sauce before taking a bite. He savours the taste, much better than the food aboard ship.

"It really is quite good. Different, but that's part of the reason for travel," he says.

After listening to the two men, Flatfoot nods. "I did stop in and speak to Captain Novohig. How come he has a bad reputation? For that matter, why would be set up business with the Guild?"

Shrier lowers his voice. "He ran off with Jerry Hong's wife Sprague. He had two kids with her and then abandoned her offworld. She came back and now she works for Jerry - the only person who'll give her a job. The kids hate him, and the rest of us don't think much of him. I guess he returned here because we're the hub. Same reason I have a job at Jo's garage - this is where the spacers come. I'd guess he took up with the Guild because they made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Those new ships are a damned big deal."


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LATER THE NEXT DAY...

The town meeting wrapped up with a lot of hand shaking and smiles. It seems that of your two missions, the easier one was establishing some goodwill on Berens. Whether because these people are used to a rougher crowd or because they've simply never really been under Vampire threat, they seem to make friends easily.

Your second, more specific goal is to buy or lease a building suitable for use as a Consulate. To that end, you are walking down one of Berensburg's small streets to look at a structure that is both residence and warehouse owned by Ravi Keneally, when you hear the muffled but obvious sounds of a scuffle coming from down a side alley.


UPP: 7B64C6; Armor 1: Injury 0

Drifter moves quickly to go see what the scuffle is about.


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

Flatfoot follows behind, hoping that this is just a local squabble.


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Spider follows at a walk behind the others. When Drifter enters the alley, Spider calls out, "Is everyone ok in there?"


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You round the corner to find several men holding Shrier Magemeneas while another - Siscoe Nickrent, beats him. Already Shrier's face is bloody and swollen. The yelling is his. No one seems to notice your arrival or Spider's question.

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