Thanks to help from the team, Zulu manages to hack the comm unit’s tier-2 computer. Once he has access to the system, he can read Tahomen’s recent communications. The correspondence relays many of the same conclusions you learned in the inner library, but with more sinister certainty: Tahomen posits that the 12-star constellation—the Gate of Twelve Suns—opens to a demiplane that hides an unspeakably powerful superweapon. The cult leader believes that the Drift Rock is a tiny fragment of this “Stellar Degenerator,” broken off when a portion of the demiplane was torn away and added to the Drift as a result of Drift travel. One particular section of the message stood out. ”I recommend that the our brethren apply as many resources as possible to find the Gate of Twelve Suns—and the Stellar Degenerator— before anyone else does. This find will truly be a symbol of the Devourer’s blessing.” In addition, you find the approximate coordinates of the location Tahomen transmitted his messages to: a stretch of several hundred asteroids in the Diaspora.
The computer also contains access to Tahomen’s financial account, protected behind a firewall. Third times the charm! Slap on a computers check to get some extra $$$.
While the most of the group is busy at work on the computer, Ralkawi casually walks over to Tahomen and starts unlacing his leather boots. Dr. Solstarni coughs, trying to get your attention. When that fails, she coughs again, a little louder. As the first shoe comes off the kasatha, exasperated, yells, ”EXCUSE ME!” Ralkawi looks up, startled. ”Uh.. what? Half the reason I joined this gang was for their sick fashion sense. No need leaving these bad boys to waste!”
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I mean, he's dead now. The society may as well seize his assets before the rest of his cult uses them to strengthen.
Computers, git that c4$#: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
Thankfully, +14 to computers is a massive bonus!
Pippimi nods at the earlier suggestions. "Mmm Mmm! Pippimi thinking Drifters sound good. But also... who not want to be called 'Stellar Degenerates?' Maybe that strike fear into enemies?" She grins broadly at everyone, letting to joke land.
"The Stellar Drifters give Pippimi good feeling too!"
Once the group pierces the security on the Comm device, Pippimi looks very impressed, and also rather concerned. "Team too late then... Tahomen already send memo on what he find here. What now?"
The Stellar Drifters...
Lenny lets it roll around in their ears for a moment.
Yeah, great! When we get back to Absalom Station, tattoos all around!
Zulu ignores the comments about the groups eventual name, as well as some argument about a pair of boots as he attempts to delve deeper into the system and make it give up all it's secrets, and cash.
Computers: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (17) + 14 = 31
Davrin looks piqued, but at the same time slightly doubtful. "It better be a good tattoo artist. A terrible one could tank my career completely."
"Oh, Zulu, need any help there? Uh, oh, looks like you got it this time."
"Huuu, tattoo not match well with Pippimi. She try to get commemorative polo shirts made once team get back to Absalom Station. She know place." She nods reassuringly to the team.
When she sees Ralkawi stealing the dead Tahomen's boots, she rolls over to the rather audacious ex-cultist and pats her leg to get her attention. "Pippimi notice Ralkawi still doing bad things and not being positive contribution to team. Not good. Not good at all. Pippimi really regret if she have to let Ralkawi go for poor behavior." Her patting becomes rather... pointed.
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Zulu hacks into the final firewall with ease, finding a bank account labelled, Hall of the Living Trip containing 3000 credits! The more cultured among you recognize the Halls of the Living from certain pay-per-view channels back on Absalom Station. Broadcast 24 hours a day, the Halls of the Living, a subterranean city on eox designed specifically for living inhabitants, displays cruel reality shows and competitions that are arranged as entertainment and broadcast through the Pact Worlds.
Meanwhile, Ralkawi squints up at Pippimi as a bruise begins to develop on her leg. "Excuse me! What, Blastwerks doesn't perform any salvage jobs?" She drops the one boot she managed to remove with a huff. "Just write me up, or whatever. I really do need a job..." She stares at the boots longingly, but stalks off a few feet.
You all stand around for a moment, looking down from the mountain to the miles and miles of jungle below. It's all very beautiful, serene. For a moment you are able to appreciate the reasons why the lashuntas and formians kept this continent sacred and pure. Then you remember the bodies at your feet and that you need to walk another ten days through the hot jungle in the dark to get back to civilization. With that, you shrug your shoulders, document the site, grab up all the valuables you can carry, repeatedly tell Dr. Solstarni that she can only take as many books as she can carry, and head out. The eight of you walk down the temple steps, sun setting in front of you, silhouetted against the harsh castrovelian rays.
THUS CONCLUDES, "STELLAR DRIFTERS 2: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE"!
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Eight tired and sweaty humanoids stumble out of the jungle and onto the grassy plains. In the distance, you can see the old military base, Turhalu Point. Though you made quick time through the jungle, no longer needing to navigate, it has been a long though uneventful eight days. The local fauna seems to have gained a respect for your group, and those that didn't soon did. The main adversary during the trip? Putting up with Ralkawi's constant whining and heckling. But, you all made it through, only slightly worse for wear.
After a good night's sleep in a proper bed, you head back to Qabarat. Dr. Solstarni gasps as she goes through the portal. "Wow! I'm glad I wasn't conscious the first time, that really does something to your stomach! Ah, it's good to be home!" The group grabs a taxi and heads to the University. Professor Muhali is there to greet you. She gives Dr. Solstarni a large hug, much warmer than her normal self. She then turns to you with a smile. "I can't thank you enough, Drifters. I was so worried when the second week passed without hearing from you! I had almost given up hope! Thank you, so much, for saving my friend. Please, tell me everything! What happened? Are the stories true, did you find the civilization?"
After your long story is complete, she smiles. "Well, it is a small token, but the university wants to give you our heartfelt thanks. We would like to offer each of you a full scholarship, redeemable anytime." She hands each of you a small certificate signed by the dean. You later learn that these scholarships go for a small fortune on the castrovelian black market. 1000 credits! Alright, whether you sell it or not, you each get the 1000 credits. lol
Alright! Those two sums are counted in the 3110 credits everybody gets from this adventure! Feel free to make purchases here in Qabarat, recount your adventure and heroics to Dr. Muhali, and plan next steps.
Im not going to have much of a chance to do Pippimi's shopping over the next few days. Hope you don't mind if I hold off until I'm back at home (about 8 days from now)
Pippimi arrives back to civilization with plenty of pep in her step. The jungle wasn't that bad all things considered, and the group had been able to help the good Doctor and punish some crazy cultists and misbehaving jungle animals. Plus, there was a big discovery at the Temple... though Pippimi didn't totally understand all the ancient elf stuff. The weapon or weapon portal or whatever the Gate was, no matter what it sounded like trouble! And the best way to help would be to make sure it was in the right hands. Not the cultists' hands.
So after a lengthy email status report back to HQ, Pippimi rejoins the group full of energy for the next steps ahead. She gladly accepts the scholarship to Qabarat University too, wondering out loud if they have a good distance learning course she could try.
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Pippimi's email report is answered by a quick vid message from her boss! The vesk roars in approval. "PIPPIMI! Your role in the management of this team of starfinders has gone so well! Finding a new site, from a long lost civilization? That sounds like new customers to me!" He laughs and slaps the monitor, cracking it slightly. "Keep up the EXCELLENT work, Pip-Pip! In honor of your great works, we would like to promote you to Middle Manager, K-Level, in our Customer Acquisition department! Keep up the great work!" He moves his hand to shut down the call then pauses. "Also, if this whole superweapon theory pans out, be sure to claim it for Blastwerks. Who knows? A drift-rock branded grenade would sell bonkers in the Pact Worlds!" He cuts the coms. Soon after, Pippimi receives a message detailing her new compensation package. The main perk seems to be an inside parking pass, but it also includes a performance-based bonus.
Zulu stays even more than normally quiet on the voyage back to civilization, ignoring new input due to focusing on his own internal databases. He managed to colleate and organize all of the amazing amount of data he collected on this particular mission into a useful database.
Observing the various interactions both with his own group and their opponents he noticed some intreguing formulas in the cosmic code, so to speak, particularly in the actions of their erstwhile greenskin Clank.
Analysing the data, and spending the return journey diving into the code, Zulu managed some small extra ordinary phenomenon, managing to mend some small damages with nothing more than his will and this cosmic code, plus the eminently useful trick of transferring energy between his myriad batteries and a theoretical way to supercharge his rifle.
Arriving at a decent city at last, Zulu takes the time to upgrade his laser to a more powerful version, as well as stock up on consumable explosives.
I assume when we hit our ship I'll be able to recharge batteries?
Yepp, everything recharges!
The group leaves the university a little richer and a lot happier. Here you are, in a city with air conditioning, other people, and relatively few cultists. Deciding that the possibly world-ending weapon could wait, you head out and do some shopping. During the day, you all receive the same message.
HELLO TEAM! THIS IS CHISKISK! I HAVE HEARD OF YOUR RETURN WITH MUCH REJOICING! PLEASE MEET ME BACK ON ABSALOM STATION SO WE CAN DEBRIEF. I HAVE AN IDEA FOR YOUR NEXT MISSION. ONE OF MUCH IMPORTANCE AND REWARD.
I seem to remember that everyone joined the Starfinder Society except Pippimi, who was place as a consultant there on special assignment. Does that sound right?
Davrin scans through all the appointment requests that has come in while he was away and out of reception. "At this rate, I'll never catch up with all my clients' request. Sigh."
But then he perks up. "Reward you say? Hmm..."
I think so, but I can barely remember what I ate for lunch yesterday so...
Clank would have joined the Society, though a tad surprised that they would take him.
Unlike every trip so far, Clank seems oddly quiet on the return voyage, almost... peaceful. For over a day he seemed content to just bask in the artificial lighting, breathe in the recycled air, and touch the surrounding confines. This was how civilized beings were meant to live. I don't know -how- you do it, Blue Eyes the goblin ponders to himself, running a finger over his holy symbol before tucking it back into his space suit.
At the shirren's message, Clank perks up. "Yeah! Rewards are good..."
Zulu perks up at the message as all the "missions" on this assignment had been intensely fascinating, if extremely dangerous.
Sounds interesting. Let's investigate.
Lenny perks up at the Shirren's message. His business just isn't quite so interesting these days as it once was, and he's been waiting for the call.
Surely this has to be another mission related to the drift rock...
He rushes directly over to their office.
Pippimi fluffs happily to herself as she looks over all her new corporate perks and her pay increase. This was what customer outreach was all about. Helping people. Going on fun trips. Winning and dining yourself and potential customers. And then getting all the credit when you got back home.
Before leaving Qabarat, she 3d prints off a physical copy of her new deluxe parking pass. When she returns to the group she's holding her new scholarship in one hand and her parking pass in another. "Hu fu. Pippimi thinking that becoming consultant for Starfinder Society best carreer move ever. Pippimi now very successful and important." She fluffs smugly.
Also before leaving Qabarat, she organizes a cautious referral for Ralkawi to join Blastwerks' testing department. Though she makes sure to mention that the ex-cultist may need some extended training to fully absorb the company discipline.
When Chiskisk's message arrives, she hops up excitedly. "Pippimi ready! Hoping team get to chase down Sun Gate lead, but ready for anything, hmhm."
Zoran was lost in thought as more news of the superweapon comes into their pool of knowledge and the realization that the cultists were in part funded by more of the hells wrought on Eox.
When the name of the group is discussed he gives a small nod and continues his thoughts on what the whole point of this journey is or how he got there.
"You all got the same message too, team?" he says with a half-hearted laugh.
I wonder how the pilgrims are faring these days...the dangers of space would have claimed at least some of them. Could be helping them but then again these new friends need me too. The lives of the pilgrims aren't anymore important than theirs...or the rest of the universe if this weapon is real.
He finally shakes out of the haze and converses with the others.
"So, Stellar Drifters. We need to get a logo for the ship...and business holo-cards. That way I can represent our interests with sponsors like Blastwerks and speak officially to press..." he says going into business mode with the new team logo but realizing he may be being a bit overzealous after his bout of being quiet.
"...sorry. I don't mean to presume but if we are sticking together and taking a new name, we should be official." he adds.
With matters settled on Castrovel, you all head back to your ship. Once there, Ralkawi - who had been tagging along behind Pippimi like a lost, and slightly evil, puppy - stops. "Well, this is where I leave you lot. My hiring manager said they would meet me here tomorrow for my employee training." She looks at Pippimi nervously. "Said it would take an extra day for some... vesk cultural enlightenment on the virtues of hard work and discipline? Uh... Should be fun!" She smiles nervously and quickly turns away. With one less
pest follower, you head back to your ship. The flight back to Absalom Station is short and uneventful, just the way you like it.
Getting back is a lot more arduous than last time, waiting in the long line through customs. Apparently rescuing a kidnapped professor is not quite as glamorous as exploring a mysterious drift rock. Your fame has gone, which is a relief to some of you. Your appointment with Chiskisk is a few hours out, giving Davrin time for several appointments and Lenny time to check back in at the gym. When you all meet at the Lorespire Complex, both are slightly...sweaty.
Heading to the gnome woman (pink hair and smile gleaming) at the counter, you are greeted with an exuberant welcome. "HELLO! Welcome back! Pippimi, of course, here is your visitor's badge." Her voice drops down to an uncharacteristically low whisper, "Watch out for Radazam, I hear he wants to hassle you about a corporate sponsorship." She then turns to the rest of you. "And, don't worry! I was able to obtain your field waiver to exempt you from going through the usual Commencement process. No need for experienced adventurers like you!" After handing each of you her signature Poshkettle Tea, (even to Zulu, despite his probable protests) she waves you in to Chiskisk's office.
The host shirren sits at the desk, a Strawberry Machine Cake shirt popping on their chest. "Hello! Please, sit. Tell me all about your adventures! Did you manage to get those runes interpreted?" They smile, knowingly. "Alright, I confess, Dr. Muhali called me before you had even left the doors of the university! She said you did excellent work! Rescuing a professor, such excellent work! You will certainly be featured in this month's Starfinder Special, yes you will!" Suddenly, their normally excited demeanor takes a drastic turn towards anxiety. "But, this Stellar Degenerator that the writings speak of. I must confess, I am nearly panicked at the thought of it! If the weapon is real, the Cult obtaining it would be catastrophic! And, even if it is nothing more than an old story, imagine the recruits they could bring to their cause along the way! So much death, so many artifacts destroyed." The shirren takes in a deep breath. "No, the Society must handle this. We cannot afford to have another powerful enemy, in this trying time. So, I must ask you to take another mission. Those coordinates you found, to the area of the Diaspora called the Field of the Lost. There is likely a cultist base on the other end of those coordinates. A base full of psychos who have the next step towards finding this super-weapon. Please." They take a moment to emphasize the gravity of the request.
"Please go to those coordinates, find the cultist's base, find how much information the cult has on the Gate of the Twelve Suns or this... Stellar Degenerator, and how they plan to act next." Seeing that some of you may need a little more convincing, they go on. "Besides, if we can beat them to the find, imagine what a major discovery would do! The find, and the discoverers, would be of historical proportions! But, I understand that fame may not be enough for all of you. With respect to the danger of this mission, I can promise EACH of you a payment of 2000 credits if you manage to track down the Cult of the Devourer. AND, the Society has offered to retrofit your starship, the Sunrise Maiden, to better fit your new capabilities and this mission."
Time to upgrade the Sunrise Maiden to a Tier 5 ship! You get 40 build points to spend as you please! Please discuss it in Discussion. (No way you'll need them anytime soon. Nope. No way.)
I'll have you know that Davrin would always freshen up properly after each appointment. He has standards!!! :)
Davrin smiles warmly, different from the usual flippant manner. "All these started with Kreel, and I do plan to honor it all the way to the end." Then the impish grin appears. "But I'm not saying no to the credits, of course. Hmm, treat it as recompense for my missed appointments. Would juuuuust bare cover it, I would say!"
As usual, Zulu stands quietly, awkwardly holding a cup of tea he had no intention of drinking but not wanting to be rude to their bosses and just dropping it on the floor like he wanted to.
After the description and the mission he simply nods, though he does seem to perk up a bit at the mention of upgrading the starship
I'll have you know that Davrin would always freshen up properly after each appointment. He has standards!!! :)
I figured that would be true, classy guy like Davrin. But the joke was just too good to pass up.
Chiskisk nods to Davrin happily. "You are a good friend. Kreel is lucky to have you honoring his memory. You will be happy to know that his star is being prepared for the Wall of the Lost. By the time you return from the Diaspora, perhaps it will be ready." The shirren bows their head in honor.
Lenny nods at the mission parameters, with a smile creeping in as they plan to head out to the Diaspora. He's already ready for more action. Still, caution always creeps in.
Do you expect that our trip to these coordinates will be uneventful, or are there specific dangers in that region of the Diaspora that we should prepare for? Further, due to some transmissions we came across while pursuing the cult, we believe that others may be aware of the society's involvement. Do you have intelligence of any enemy activity in that region that would suggest we might get intercepted or otherwise impeded?
Chiskisk nods to Lenny's question. "A wise thought. This area of asteroids is impossible to patrol and is nearly out of Pact Worlds control." The shirren pulls up his datapad and looks at some notes on previous missions. "This allows the Society to perform some... unique missions, but smugglers and pirates abound. They love to hide out in the asteroids and prey on passing trade ships. Also, the native Sarcesians are isolationist. While we have recently been gaining some traction with their race, they don't often appreciate visitors." Chiskisk puts the pad down. "So, no enemies of the Society per say. But many dangerous folk. And... of course you'll likely be exploring some asteroids so prep for the vacuum."
Apologies for the delays on my end here, I'm now back at home and back to normal posting capabilities.
Pippimi rolls up into Chiskisk's office looking flushed with excitement. She hops to her feet and waves at Chiskisk. "Hullo hi Chiskisk! Pippimi sorry she late! She in contact with Blastwerks Starship division as soon as hear that extra resources available. Hm hm! Blastwerks working on full overhaul of team Starship!" She raises two paws up to her teammates "Pippimi sure it going to be great!"
Once her enthusiasm dies down a little, she listens in to Chiskisk's latest briefing. "Chiskisk saying to find cultist base and do bit of spying. But Pippimi thinking cultists very bad people. Society not mind if team teach lesson to group? Maybe even bring back to Pact Worlds security?" She hums to herself "What Sarcesians like? Pippimi always know good to bring gift when introducing to new aliens. That way you get chance to help instead of fight!"
Pippimi doesn't have Culture to learn anything more about Sarcesians, but maybe one of you guys want to roll.
culture, Sarcesians: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9 Well, I *wanted* to roll, but...
Culture (DC -5): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
"I think I may be able to recall some information. Encountered a few during the pilgrimages." Zoran begins thinking back.
culture: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18
"Can't say I know much about them. Haven't had one as a client before."
What equipment, other than our armor, could help with vacuum?
Zoran had met several small group of Sarcesians during his voyages. Native to the Diaspora, and supposedly the two planets that creates the ring of asteroids, the Sarcesians are an isolated people. Sarcesians have adapted to low-gravity and thin air environments and live quite successfully on asteroids. Standing between 10 and 15 feet tall with bulbous eyes and spindly, elongated limbs, a sarcesian is able to adapt her physiology to survive in space by suspending her respiration and growing a pair of butterfly-like wings made of pure light. The wings act as solar sails, catching currents of radiation to propel her between the handful of inhabited asteroids and space platforms within the Diaspora. Those found other places in the Pact Worlds are often on pilgrimages of their own, or work as mercenaries. Thanks to their perceptive senses and ability to survive, they make excellent snipers - despite their large size.
Thinking on vacuum, your suits should be plenty to handle it - assuming they are of quality make. (If any of you are still hanging on to a Level 1 or 2 armor, it might not be a bad idea to grab a back up suit or a higher level one. Your ship can refill environmental protections but you never know...) Of more import will be the low, or no, gravity of the asteroids you will visit. Jetpacks, jump jets, climbing hooks, and other alternative methods of transportation are often useful in the outer fringes of the Pact where technological gravity is more rare.
That ship looks great! I linked it in the header. Let me know if y'all have anymore questions or purchases to make! Otherwise... it will be time to head towards the Diaspora!
You all meet at the starship in the morning, affairs on Absalom Station in order and ready to head out to the Diaspora. The message was sent, from Castrovel, to the cultist location in the Field of the Lost about a week ago so you have no time to lose!
With a roar, your engines go off and you pop into the drift! After a few days of uneventful flying, you pop back out at the closest waypoint - just outside the Field of the Lost. A bleak sight greets the you through the starship’s viewscreen: irregular chunks of rock and ice and occasional
ominous fields of green and blue floating through an empty void, with a vast field of stars for a backdrop.
Zulu, always competent, runs the scanners. Please give me a scan check!
Everyone else, give me a Culture check. No reason at all, just for fun. ;)
OK, after much delay, I've finally sorted out purchases for Pippimi: Four tier 1 antitoxins, a grappler device, 100ft of titanium cable line, and magical Falcon Boots! Total cost is 4350 credits.
After some energetic goodbyes to Chiskisk, Pippimi shows everyone around the new ship with the same enthusiasm every 21st century dad has for showing off the new tech he bought. She ends by patting the front console. "Pippimi guarantee we not wreck in first space combat. Super super sure. Blastwerks product always work first time, every time." She beams.
Once en-route she hangs out on the bridge, running a chamois cloth over the faux wood paneling on the console and occasionally testing out the turret controls for responsiveness. When she catches her first glimpse of the Diaspora, she coos in excitement. "Ooh, look fancy!"
Culture (untrained): 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (2) - 1 = 1
She turns to Lenny. "This modern art? Pippimi not expect to find here."
Zulu's eyes flash as they enter the drift, fingers flying across his console as he scans their surroundings rapidly, muttering to himself and clucking at the computers.
Computers: 1d20 + 17 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 17 + 2 = 39
"I see everything ..."
"Upgraded scanners working at peak efficiency."
Culture, no reason: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
Lenny shakes his head and takes on a bit of a grim look as hey surveys the unexpected situation.
Modern art? No, something has been broken apart or blown up here. I fear the blue is lost oxygen... I'm guessing somebody needed it.
Culture: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9 Maybe -5 if it has something to do with another culture or its people....not that it matters with that roll.
As the group embarks Zoran looks over the new ship and spots the captains chair. He quickly...glides...over to it and has a seat.
"This should have no problems keeping us alive...and putting down our enemies." he says after bringing up the different systems.
He tests out the on-board communication system so that everyone can hear him and waits to test the out-bound channels when there is something worth taunting.
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"I see everything ..."
Awe, bummer, it was a DC 40! (Ha! Kidding.)
To the untrained eye, there is nothing on the scanners. To the trained eye, there is nothing on the scanners but the dull gray of asteroids, floating through the Field of the Lost. But Zulu, his mind is abuzz, calculating probabilities. After .278 seconds, (.2043 slower than average) he decides. One of those asteroids, showing 0-0-0-50 gray on his scanner, has a slight dot. A 0-0-0-49 dot. An IMPOSSIBLE dot!
Performing follow-up scans on that dot reveal it to be a starship! Core and engines powered down, it is nearly the same temperature as the asteroid it rests on. A NEBULOR OUTFITTERS STARHOPPER, it is clearly crewed and was recently flown. He quickly pulls up the product description and forwards it to the rest of the crew.
The classic and widely manufactured Nebulor Outfitters Starhopper is a light and scrappy middle-of-the-road spaceship model with all of the fight and many of the luxuries of a larger ship. In service since practically the dawn of Drift travel, the Starhopper is a tried-and-true starship that is still widely flown throughout the Pact Worlds, where it serves as a commuter vessel, hauling rig, long-distance transport, packet smuggler, and even pirate raider. The Starhopper is especially reliable in close-space systems such as the Diaspora and smaller asteroid belts; it is as capable in dodging space debris as it is in fending off unwanted pursuers.
The Starhopper’s durable explorer frame features sturdy armor, cutting-edge defensive countermeasures, light shields, and a supremely customizable interior. The factory-standard model comes fully equipped with a Pulse Green power core and Signal Basic Drift engine, and it offers four weapon mounts for customized armaments. Spacious and comfortable crew quarters easily accommodate up to six crew members, though the ship is easily navigable by a single pilot. Four roomy and customizable expansion bays round out Starhopper’s suite of options.
As you finish reading the report, the other ship's engine fires up and the scanner dot glows a hot yellow. Zulu gives a succinct status update. "Good news: Their coms are online. Bad news: Their guns are online." The ship comes into view as it comes around the asteroid. The ship has a symbol painted on each wing, of two pink swords crossed behind an alien skull. Recognizing it from several loyal gym members, he sighs. "Free Captains. Pirates."
Thanks to your EXCELLENT scanning, you have a chance to hail them before they get in weapon range. Because this is out of combat, you are allowed to aid your captain in whatever skill he chooses.
Culture: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12
"Free Captains? Oh, not good. I've heard of them." There's a brief pause. "And spent a night with one. She was... something."
captain aid: 1d20 ⇒ 8
For diplo: +6, bluff or inti:+13
"Oooh!" Pippimi peers up at the screen with excitement. "Pirates good customers for Blastwerks! Pippimi cautiously optimistic that she make sale today!"
"Zora-zora, can ask if Pirates want to buy? Pippimi help with sales pitch!"
(Since we don't know how Zoran wants to handle things, I'll hold off on aiding until I can add some RP to it)
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"Sales pitch? Even pirates need weapons so it is worth a shot before we have to get into a battle so early on the trip. Plus it looks like we already have a clientale base with a few of them." Zoran says with a smile as he opens up the comm channel.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 13 + 1d6 ⇒ (9) + 13 + (2) = 24
"This is the captain of the Stellar Drifter paging the Free Captains ship. We are passing through this section headed to the Field of the Lost to hunt down some cultists for target practice! Seen any unfortunate souls that meet that description lately? Oh and our Blastwerks representative would like to sell your organization some weapons, right Pip?" he sends his initial message with a big smile and pulls up Pips holo-recorder as well.
Outside of comms he sends a message to the crew.
Check the scan to see their most dangerous firing arc. If we pass I still want to be out of as much danger as possible. Show them that fancy new business card, Pip.
Zulu nods to himself, muttering "Scanning."
Scan, Computers: 1d20 + 17 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 17 + 2 = 32
Alright... I'm posting a little, to wait and see if there are any aids coming from Lenny or Pippimi. (These pirates are tough cookies to crack but they are on the fence!)
Zulu learns a few things about the enemy ship while the talky-folks are doing their thing. While learning that the ship has pretty average defenses, Zulu specifically notes that their turret is by far the largest gun on the ship, outclassing practically every other system they have. Obviously these pirates wanted to be good at one thing: blasting other ships out of the sky.
Speed 10; Maneuverability good (turn 1); Drift 1
AC 15; TL 15
HP 65; DT —; CT 13
Shields light 60 (forward 15, port 15, starboard 15, aft 15)
Attack (Turret) chain cannon (6d4)
Meanwhile, the other ship slows down slightly and opens coms. A woman appears on your holo. Picture on Slide 2! Fierce and proud, her technologically enhanced left eye flickers and scans faster than biologically possible, seemingly taking in data from an augmented reality screen. "Hello! I am Captain Alera Okwana, captain of the Rusty Rivet, member of the Free Captain of the Diaspora!" She pauses, obviously sizing up your ship and judging your words for merit. "Just passing through, huh?" She looks to her left, to where another crew member is likely sitting. After a moment, she turns back to you. "And you're looking for those crazy buggers? Yeah, we've seen some cultists around. So, what you here for?" She then looks off screen again, obviously communicating with her crew.
The result of your diplomacy check is still undecided... Feel free to RP, give Aid rolls, and ask her some questions now. (Questions a neutral opponent might answer.)
The furry top of Pippimi's head appears on the view being sent over to the Rusty Rivet. "Hullo hi! Pippimi here!" The top of her head bobs up and down, but can't be seen fully. "Pippimi see from scans that Captain Alera appreciate good weapon. Pippimi happy to say: Blastwerks have many top quality easy-to-install starship weapon option! Captain Alera interested? Pippimi guarantee prices competitive. And Blastwerks accept valuable salvage in payment at super good rates too, asking legal minimum question."
She rummages about in her pack for a moment, and then comes back into partial view with a GLOSSY BROCHURE. She holds the brochure up over her head so the pirates can get a good look. "If on fence, Pippimi encourage to scan Stellar Drifter and check specs of heavy laser cannon."
Diplomacy (making a sale... uh, I mean aiding Zoran): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
diplomacy, sidereal influence: 1d20 + 4 + 1d6 ⇒ (18) + 4 + (1) = 23
Oh? Where have you seen them around? We only have "hunches" about their location but maybe you could help us out. Think of it as low cost "pest control" we'd be providing you.
"Our exercise physiologist is right...they are indeed "pests" as I am sure you know but we have had some very intimate encounters with members of the Cult of The Devourer, I consider it payback but they are also attempting to wipe out all life in the universe. You can see how that is bad for business." he clarifies not worried about giving too much away and only avoiding his Starfinder affiliation.
He thinks a moment.
"Any information you have on their ships, general direction, or general information on the Field of Lost we are about to venture into would help us more quickly leave your territory and remove them for good. Or if you want to work together we are not opposed to that discussion either. It looks like you would enjoy blasting some cultists as well with an impressive weapon mount like that!"
Diplomacy: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (18) - 1 = 17
Clank had been trying to be quiet, fiddling with the guns and wondering if he's still occupying a gunner position if he starts tweaking the guns. Making a judge of how things were going with the conversation, he decides that it wouldn't -hurt- to chime in, so he flicks the comms. "Plus, I'm sure we'll inevitably have to destroy a few, which could be easy salvage for you!"
Captain Okwana begins to nod as she hears the rest of you chime in. "Alright... I can see you're a right lot." Her head turns once again. "Power down the guns. We shouldn't be needing 'em." She turns back to you, and you can see in her eyes that she wanted you to hear that. "Like I said, we're members of the Free Captains. And Sorry about the misunderstanding there. I'm still green, but I’m not too big to admit that, now, am I? The senior captains say the best way to prove myself is to float around this dump for a bit, fight off any pirate hunters, and capture loot for the home rock. But you’re not here looking to muscle in on the Free Captains, are ya? So let’s be done here, and we can each go on our merry way, yeah?” She smiles, obviously wanting to avoid a fight. “Yeah, there are cultists out here. Crazy buggers—I suggest giving ’em a wide berth if you come across any. But if you want to clean them out of this system, I'd appreciate it. We used to spar with them, but it was never worth it. They've got big guns on their ships, sure, but never any loot. And they always destroyed the ship before we could board and salvage it. Nasty buggers." She pulls up a map of the area and sends it to your ship. "They got a hole on a nearby rock where they get together and do whatever it is cultists do. They call it the Star-Eater’s Spine, or something equally stupid. Come to think of it, those bone ships were headed in that direction.” She turns to her crew member and confirms. "Yepp, the bone ships headed that way as well. Freaky looking things, they were."
She shrugs. "It's pretty empty out here. You won't see much. No Steward-backed antipirate armadas, no fat merchant freighters; just a few sarcesians here and there. And a couple of nasty-looking bone ships. Big bruisers, and frankly above my pay grade, ya know? But they didn’t care about us little old pirates, so we just shadowed ’em for a bit. They did whatever business they had here and went on their way.”
During this conversation, a direct message appears in Pippimi's inbox from a Zekanoya Spikesmasher (a traditional vesk surname). "Yeah, we've dealt with Blastwerks a lot with our cargo. Love that their questionnaire doesn't involve a lie detector test, "for budget concerns". Any way you can help us get VIP status? The intake line is always horrible."
Zoran's question brings up a small snort from the opposing captain. "Ha! We won't risk our hide in another head-on battle with the cultists. Not enough profit in it. But we will keep guarding the area and keep any third parties out of it."
Culture, DC20: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12 nerp
Lenny leans forward into the comm at reveal of the nearby cultist gathering.
Interesting, so there's a lot of traffic to that hole then? Do you mind shooting us the coordinates.
Lenny cross-checks it with where they were already heading.
Zulu quietly holds off feeding the various firing solutions and suggestions he had queued up for the combat computer and listens to the rest of the crew talk to the pirates, having nothing useful to add, as usual.
Pippimi sends back a quick message to Spikesmasher.
<Dear Spikesmasher, Pippimi very sorry but not able to give out VIP status. Sending digital punchcard to you with mail! First spot prepunched because Pippimi like! If group want to buy more Blastwerks product, get punches each time. 10 punches get VIP status. Very easy!>
She pops back partially in-frame for Captain Okwana to see her. "Thank you for good info Captain! Pippimi stay on lookout for easy to salvage and easy to sell goodie out at destination and give you call if you interested!"
Sounds like we've got the old bone + cult combo coming up :>