So, we did a second session last night and I thought I should share it here just in case people are interested in reading this kind of thing. As always, feedback and suggestions are very much appreciated.
Space Trucker mini-campaign (aka. WAR IN HEAVEN) - Scenario 1: Safe Haven
So, this scenario occurs in the same overall campaign but with different PC POVs; this time, trucker crewmembers of the Bison-class freighter, Viola (the same ship that was attacked by terrorists en route to Arkhangelsk Station in the prologue of the previous scenario).
The Viola, having survived its encounter with the terrorists with the help from the USCM frigate the Fidanza, limped its way towards Arkhangelsk, its FTL engines ruined, and two fuel tanks ruptured (+a lot of “minor” issues). The station (a Sevastopol-type facility) orbits the “dirty snowball planet” of Atlas, a terrestrial rock slightly larger than Earth, with a methane rich atmosphere, 95+% ice sheet cover, but several mining ventures going on along the mountain ranges peeking up through the ice. Approaching Arkhangelsk, they grow weary of how little and how weak radio communication there is with the supposed major colony station, and then they see it: an entire spire of the 3-spire space station is burnt out and destroyed (the Sys/Tech Spire with most of the comms arrays and such).
The Viola, which carries foodstuffs, medicines, and textiles for Arkhangelsk – as well as a sealed cargo contained addressed to the space station's Wayland-Yutani representative – is allowed to dock, but their requests for aid and emergency repairs at Arkhangelsk goes unanswered. Cpt. Holton (NPC) sends his Main Pilot & Medical & Science Officer (PCs) to liaison with the Arkhangelsk Marshal to figure out what’s going on. More importantly, Cpt. Holton wants the PCs to offer any medical & technical aid they can to Arkhangelsk for free, hoping the Viola will get some love back in return.
The Viola lands and is greeted by the Arkhangelsk Station’s Wayland-Yutani Rep, a middle-aged white dude named Abe – I show the players a picture, and it is Ash from Alien (same model, different unit). The PCs haven’t a clue who Ash was, of course, and have no reason to suspect Abe of any funky business, but my players? …yeah, they’re pooping themselves. Fun times!
Abe checks and accepts the sealed container, before taking the PCs to see the Marshal. The Marshal reveals that Arkhangelsk used to employ a certain mercenary unit for system security, a group of impeccable reputation and moral standing, not to mention conducting themselves according to supposed “strict Christian values”, calling themselves Seraphim Security. Everything was going swell, until 11 weeks ago, after returning from a classified patrol mission, the Seraphim mercs attacked Arkhangelsk and attempted to destroy it; they ignited several drums of spacecraft fuel inside the Sys/Tech Spire, completely burning that out, and smashed every comms equipment they could find on Arkhangelsk. Furthermore, they stole all the food, water, and booze* they could get their hands on, and left the station in a rain of bullets. The mercs also stole the station’s two system defense patrol crafts, one of which (the players realize) was the Piranha ship that attacked the Viola in the prelude thingy.
*To manage their growing stress levels, of course.
The Marshal asks the PCs to help out, the Pilot PC to operate a remote-controlled drone in space to check out the damage and assist a repair crew, and the Medic to take over the make-shift field hospital where 16 critical patients still linger on (with only 4 nurses to treat them, the entire hospital wing having been destroyed in the Sys/Tech Spire inferno).
(I’m skipping lots of details here, obviously).
The Pilot operates the drone and spies on Abe can't-believe-it's-not-Ash through a space-window, witnessing the station Company Rep. packing out all sorts of high-tech medical gear, some motion detectors & cattle prods, a child-sized stasis pod, several 20-liter steel containment “buckets”, and lots-and-lots of horse-strength tranquilizers and broad-spectrum antibiotics. The PCs are intrigued but not too suspicious at this point, but the players… well, they poop themselves again, realizing that someone has just been outfitted to capture some bugs or something. Oh dear...
Meanwhile, the Medic PC gets to reorganize the station field hospital efforts, and goes on a 3-days-straight work shift with the help of a few handfuls of Neversleep pills. (Here we have a couple of human interest stories coming to bare, basically to give the players some context to the story and put some vulnerable NPC children and the like in their care, but we’ll skip that for brevity). One of the critical patients is Father Greyul (Catholic), who was the victim of a hate crime after the (supposedly Christian) mercs attacked everyone. They learn from Father Greyul that the Seraphim commander, a Col. Banks, approached him seeking confession and absolution prior to the mercenary attack; in short, the Seraphim commander wanted pre-emptive absolution for a heinous crime he was about to commit, which, of course, the father could not do as it is impossible to repent a sin before it is committed. A few hours after that confession session, the mercs attacked.
The plot thickens, just as the drone-operating Pilot PC spots a system defense patrol craft approaching Arkhangelsk Station from out of the shadow of the Atlas three (captured asteroid) moons and the Viola’s navigator picks up a radio transmission beamed from the approaching piranha to someone on the Arkhangelsk, spelling out a letter codeword in Morse Code: “W-R-A-T-H”. A (smallish) explosion occurs somewhere on the station and alarms blare; panic rise and the terrorist gunship approaches fast; Cpt. Holton orders his crew back on the Viola, but desperate civilians are queuing up in the hangar outside their ship; reports of fires… Working Joes going rogue… panic-driven violence… In short, all hell breaks lose on Arkhangelsk Station, and we break for a cliffhanger end to the session.
From here, the Viola will probably try to escape Arkhangelsk, especially once they realize the terrorists are after them specifically (or rather, any outsider ship who could spread the secrets that Seraphim Security desperately wants to keep a lid on, by any means possible). The Viola will likely take more damage and, with at least some civilians onboard (patients put in the onboard AutoDoc), be forced to make an emergency landing on the frozen surface of Atlas.
"And the rain sets in,
it's the Angelman.
--David Bowie, I'm Deranged