When you come back to Mama Fats, the little halfling woman nods at you and opens a door to the back.
For the most part, the local people stonewall Ruhk, but aren't actually hostile. But with persistence, he is directed to a little bodega known as Momma Fats.
Max spends several hours getting more and more frustrated.
"I am a little at a loss of what we should no next."
You know you need to learn more about the gangs, but that might be dangerous to approach directly. Perhaps, asking around the area where the gangs operate you can feel people out and find out more of the situation, people and places that might help you focus your lines of inquiry?
At least, its always worked for your favorite private detective shows.
Max research over the day:
He excitedly searches for any pictures and news of the Acreon or its crew as he walks using his laptop to search the infosphere.
Max discovers that the Acreon was constructed 85 years ago in the Castrovel United shipyards, then run as a light cargo/mining ship for the Czerka Megacorp until thirty years later a bad accident left it derelict in the diaspora. It was salvaged by the Hardscrabble Collective, fixed up and operated by them ever since.
Max can find no data on current crew or Captain. The Collective aren't big on bureaucratic record keeping; at least not on this data hub.
Trying to contact the Collective directly is impossible, as they don't live on the station proper, but out on the Absalom Station parking orbits assigned to their fleet.
The Collective does have a business office on the station, but whenever you try to call them, all you get is the "Due to the ongoing business dispute with Astral Extractions, the Hardscrabble Collective is not accepting new clients at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience."
Questioning the hooded figure, you discover that her name is Novvi. She is a travelling Darklands merchant that comes by here every couple months to trade with the trogs that live here.
When Max (and anyone else) uses their computer skills to search the Station Infosphere...
Searching for the Downside Kings (Computers DC10):
The information is thin in the general access areas, as they have less of a public presence due to their extralegal activities.
You find a solitary GNN news article about them:
"The Downside Kings are a brutal street gang that controls several decks of Absalom Station’s lower levels, or “Downside,” through a combination of intimidation and violence. They are known to engage in a wide variety of illegal activities, from extortion, fraud, robbery, smuggling, and theft, to drug and arms trafficking, kidnapping, murder-for-hire, and trafficking in sentient species."
Searching for the The Level 21 Crew (Computers DC10):
Like those of the Downside Kings, the Level 21 Crew’s illicit undertakings limit the gang’s public presence.
One Station Public Relations judicial response to a subpoena (unpublished) had an overview of them:
"The Level 21 Crew are a street gang that claims (unsurprisingly) Level 21 of Absalom Station’s seedy lower decks as its territory. Their known criminal endeavors include theft, fencing stolen goods, gambling, sex work, racketeering, and smuggling.
"They are most famous for their widespread and daring graffiti."
The Hardscrabble Collective (Computers DC10):
The Hardscrabble Collective is a clan of stubborn asteroid miners that operates primarily among the scattered planetoids of the Diaspora. It has no offices or base of operations, but the clan members usually view the Armada—the ever-changing fleet of ships that orbit Absalom Station—as a central gathering place. Collective crews hire their ships out to a wide variety of business concerns, including Astral Extractions, which recently employed the Collective ship Acreon to scout for new mining prospects in the Vast.
The Hardscrabble Collective (Computers DC15):
While the Hardscrabble Collective calls itself a clan, it is more of a cooperative business enterprise, a coalition of dozens of ships’ crews who have banded together for mutual benefit and safety. While some of the Collective’s members are related, most of them are individuals from a dozen different races: humans, dwarves, androids, ysoki, and more. Nevertheless, the Hardscrabble Collective is as tightly knit as many families, and members fiercely look after one another’s welfare.
The Hardscrabble Collective (Computers DC20):
Following the arrival of the Acreon and Astral Extractions’ claim on the ship and the Drift Rock, the Hardscrabble Collective contracted with an Absalom Station street gang called the Level 21 Crew to protect its members and its interests on the station until the dispute can be resolved.
Astral Extractions (Computers DC10):
Astral Extractions is a powerful mining conglomerate with business ties throughout the Pact Worlds. Most of the company’s operations are centered in the Diaspora and the rocky moons of the outer planets, but it has also begun sending scout vessels into the Vast in search of new claims. The company recently hired one of the Hardscrabble Collective’s ships, the Acreon, for one of these exploratory missions.
Astral Extractions (Computers DC15):
The public face of Astral Extractions is that of an ethical and respectable corporation, but outside of the public eye, some say the company uses hired muscle—corporate mercenaries, strikebreakers, and even criminal elements—as proxies to intimidate and threaten those who stand in its way.
Astral Extractions (Computers DC20):
Following the arrival of the Acreon, Astral Extractions secretly hired a violent Absalom Station street gang called the Downside Kings to coerce the Hardscrabble Collective into abandoning its claims on the Acreon and the Drift Rock.
Flipping through the tridee looking at news, entertainment and sports, you come across an effusive talking head, showing the laser shootout at the shuttlebay. An overhead security camera focused in on Valtri as she throws the lever that foamed the area as the talking head proclaimed this "Unknown woman" a hero for stopping the killing. There is also a vigorous commentary scrolling to its right speculating, sometimes very rudely, wondering who she was and where is she now?
But that was just a side story compared to the biggest news story currently by far, discussed endlessly on newsfeeds and in public conversation, is the arrival of the derelict ship Acreon a few days ago, the whereabouts and fate of its missing crew, and the nature of the mysterious "Drift Rock" the ship brought with it.
Less sensational, but more important to the business of Absalom Station is the disagreement between Astral Extractions and the Hardscrabble Collective, both of whom claim ownership of hte Drift Rock and the right to examine the Acreon and determine the fate of its crew.
Now that you have time to think, there are several approaches you can make to attack the mystery of the gangs at the shuttlebay.
Gurlak is waiting for you out front, and is able to convey you to the Moons of Sleep along with your luggage.
He does a web search on both gangs to see how active they were on social platforms.
Quick search results for "Downside Kings" is pretty thin. Other than that they seem to be referenced as being somewhere Downside (Absalom Station lower decks), there is no result.Quick search results for "Level 21 Crew" is barely more than that. Other than they claim Level 21 and are infamous for graffiti, there is no result.
The lift takes you very high in the spire.
The name on the doorway says "Councillor Chiskisk"
The office space is cluttered with cases and cabinets with datablocks, paper documents, mysterious devices and artefacts, but is well ordered and clean.
Behind a polished and unadorned plastic desk, a Shirren wearing understated business clothing rose and gestured to you to take various seats of appropriate sizes.
In a deceptively short amount of time, you enter the Ring sector of Absalom Station, and then after that you arrive at the Lorespire Complex.
Gurlak smoothly piloted the limousine down the concourse and into an access way into an exclusive vehicular tubeway.
Gurlak helps you with your luggage into the trunk as the rest board the vehicle.
Max Tweek wrote:
"...We will pay for a proper send off, but we are going to need his personal property."
The on-scene Inspector glares coldly at Max."This is a mass homicide incident. That will have to wait until the investigation is complete." He said. "As an officer of the Starfinder Society, he is covered by Death Benefits anyway."
He paused, his interest in you sharpening.
"What is your interest in his property anyway?"
The security troopers approach and detain everyone in the area. They take your weapons and question everyone as the emergency medics attend to any wounded.
It takes hours, but Security matches your statements, the bystander statements and camera feeds, and conclude you all acted in self defense.
Both My'riad and Prototype 12 find the going tough, as the foam is a little slippery. Small things you didn't think were there in the clear areas trip you up, and the blinding of the foam and the loud blaring of the klaxon disorient you.
My'riad and Prototype 12:
Finally My'riad and Prototype 12 bump into each other in the foam, barely recognizing each other in time.
You also notice, sprawled at your feet, the dead body of the dwarf you were to meet, Duravor Kreel. You know he's dead because theres a big laser wound right through his throat, and most of his blood is pooling around your boots.
Round 3 completed______________________
Ruhk turns to look at Celebryn, and shrugs a little, unsure of what to do next.
Max moves to the left to get a clear shot at the gangster that shot him and he gets a nasty laser burn. He popped up and fired, hitting gangster 4 with a red laser beam for serious damage to his face.
Prototype 12 shifts over to the outer edge of the crates. "I'll throw some covering fire "
Amidst the confusion, Valtri slipped over to the console and set about activating the fire suppression system. How hard could it possibly be?
Max yells to Valtri ”Change this mall Muzak to Metallica first!”
Myriad flinches as an errant laser sizzles overhead. They immediately rush towards a larger pile of cover nearby, ducking low so as to come up from a different position before firing their azimuth pistol towards the nearest thug! Gangster 8 is caught flat footed, burned right through the chest and falls dead.
Valtri managed to unlock the manual override and throw the lever on the fire suppression system.
Engineering or Survival:
Pulling your shirt up to breathe through it will stave off suffocation.
Players take their turn in order of posting, enemies will go last.
Round 2 completed__________________________
Turning to Max, as the closest person, Valtri told him, "I have a plan, but I need a few moments uninterrupted at that console." Trusting the ysoki to back her up, she broke cover, advancing towards said console.
Max advances to another set of pallets and sees a hostile ahead. He tries to surprise him with a shot from his needler pistol. Max’s red laser beam caught the guy flat footed straight to the chest for moderate damage.
Ruhk pulls out his gun, so he is at least ready to defend himself if he gets a chance.
12 double moves up to the next instance of good cover, crouching behind the crates.
Myriad nods to the other android and quickly rushes up to the next set of crates. They kneel behind cover next to the other android.
Celebryn II The elf casts Mystic Cure and touches Rukh, healing the 5 points of damage
Gangster 1 Azimuth laser pistol shot: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17 hit gangster 8 for a possible 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2 fire damage.
Gangster 3 Azimuth laser pistol shot: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23 gangster 7 for a possible 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5 fire damage.
Gangster 4 spun and snap shot at Max
Gangster 5 Azimuth laser pistol shot: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15 but missed.
Gangster 6 Azimuth laser pistol shot: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8 but missed.
Gangster 7 Azimuth laser pistol shot: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19 at My'riad for a possible 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3 fire damage.
Gangster 8 Azimuth laser pistol shot: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24 at Prototype 12 for a possible 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5 fire damage.
Gangster 9 Azimuth laser pistol shot: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7 but missed.
The bystanders are starting to clear away, so there's fewer to obscure the combatants. The threads of red and orange laser fire give the approximate locations of the gangsters (noted on the map).
Probably Azimuth make laser weapons, probably pistols. Basic Smoke or aerosol devices can be a decent defense against them.
Gangster 1 Azimuth laser pistol shot: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20 1d6 ⇒ 3 Critical Hit Bystander! for a possible 10 = 10 fire damage to the chest. Fatality.
Celebryn, to rig your token so you can move them yourself, please go the the Roll20 map link...
Those who succeeded on the second Perception check may take either a Move action OR a Standard action this round.
(Rukh and M'yriad can't take actions this round and are -2 to AC)
The gangsters all have Cover from you where your starting square is.
You all see the dwarf with the "Starfinder Society" hologram blinking over him. He looks up and waives.
Suddenly, red pulse laster shots lance through the crowd. *FZAAP* *FZAAP* *FZAPAPAP* The crowd screams and starts running every which way; chaos abounds.
Across the bay you see a dwarf. Tall and lanky, with a bristly, iron-gray beard and deep-set eyes beneath bushy eyebrows. With his patched and stained coveralls, he looks like just another dockworker. He is reading a datapad while a holographic sign reading "Starfinder Society" blinks above him.
You suspect he is your contact.
You notice two groups of people that arent moving like passengers or dockworkers. They are kind of furtive, using crates, shipping containers, rolling carts and such to hide their movements from each other.
Disembarking, you finally set foot on legendary Absalom Station and take your first lungful of it's artificial air.
The brightly lit docks are abuzz with activity as travelers bustle by, preparing to board or disembark from starships bound to or from any of dozens of worlds.
The station gets larger and larger, until your eye cannot resolve it as anything other than a city sized wall, jutting with metallic structures sparking with the light of plasma welders.