Mustered Out on Mertactor

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The Extraction

Once again, Jie does an excellent job of driving the ATV. As dawn starts to rise, they have travelled 350km and are due east of P239. As agreed, Arvor makes a call to Karolina to give her their coordinates.

“OK,” Karolina says. “Stay where you are and try and stay out of trouble. I’ll go to Sternmetal Horizons and tell them that you were part of a training exercise. I should be with you in a few hours.”

Grim tries to camouflage the ATV as well as he can. The ATVs are all painted brightly though to make it as easy as possible for them to be spotted from the air. He tries to cover it with sand, but it blows off just as soon as he covers it.

It takes just 90 minutes before Arvor, who is on watch shouts, “Incoming!” as he sees one of the Sternmetal Horizons fighters on an approach run. No sooner has he said it than the fighter unleashes its laser which burns up the ground a few metres from the ATV.

Everyone immediately evacuates the ATV as the fighter wheels around to make a second attack. Jie gets it moving while the others scatter. Once she has it aimed in a straight direction, she puts a rock on the gas pedal and then bails out just in time as the ATV erupts in a mighty fireball as the fighter hits.

Arvor calls Karolina again to tell her to get them to call off the attack. She tells him to hold tight and says she will get on it straight away. As it happens, she needn’t have bothered as the fighter disengages, heading back towards Circle City, it’s job now done as the party members aren’t going to be going too far without transport.

There is nothing more that the party members can do but to try and keep out of the scorching hot sun and wait for Karolina to arrive.

It’s 10.45 when Arvor spots a shuttle heading towards them, coming in to land next to the wreckage of the ATV. As the shuttle lands, everyone takes cover and cover the entrance in case it’s a trap. However, it is Karolina who comes down the gangway, beckoning them to come and join her. Cautiously the party members do as they are bid.

Upon entering the shuttle, they see that apart from Karolina and the pilot, there is just one other man, a smartly dressed middle-aged executive. He doesn’t look too happy, but he is not armed or armored.

“Take a seat,” Karolina says to the party members.

“Circle City starport, please, pilot.”

Karolina doesn’t say a word during the short thirty minute flight back to the starport and nor does the executive. He is quietly seething with anger.

“Not the Sternmetal Horizons terminal please, pilot,” Karolina says sweetly. “Please drop us at the regular starport.”

“Yes, ma’am,” the pilot replies. The executive seethes some more.

The shuttle lands not far from Unguin’s Princess and everyone heads off.

“Thank you for your kind assistance in this matter, Malcolm,” Karolina says as she shakes hands with the executive. “I will make a complete debriefing of my team and we will then send you a full report together with recommendations as to how you can improve security in future to ensure that there can never be a repeat of such an escape attempt.”

“They still wouldn’t have succeeded,” the executive says venomously. “They’d never have made it to Circle City alive.”

He then turns on his heels and marches stiffly away.

Everyone quickly heads back to the Princess.

They find Max and Autumn with their feet up in the Passenger Common Room playing cards.

“Nice to see you back, gang,” Max says, genuinely pleased to see them. “It was a really shit New Year’s Eve wiv just the three of us here.”

“Are we all ready to depart immediately?” Will asks.

“Yes,” Autumn replies. “Staterooms are all recharged, we’re fully fuelled with unleaded and landing fees are paid up for a few more days.”

“Hold is full,” says Max. “I sold the silicates and the workable alloys and made Cr.100k altogether. I’ve kept the whisky and biodiesel as I couldn’t get enough for them. I also bought 30 tons of venison as well in refrigerated containers as they were a third off wholesale. Can’t find a buyer for the fighter parts still although I was trying like hell. We need to go somewhere with a big starport and a lower law level to move them. Weiss should be better.”

“I owe you 200k for your colleagues’ success in locating the mystery operation,” Karolina says. “I would also like to buy a high ticket to your next destination. I presume you’re heading for Weiss next?”

Grim nurses his wounded shoulder:

“I’m for leaving this place as fast as possible, let’s get somewhere civilized where there’s more than Cons, Screws, and Suits.”

“Weiss – Aki – Glisten seems like the best route to me.”

The others agree, with everyone wanting to get away from the planet as soon as possible.

Without even stopping to shower away the filth from the desert, Will, Arvor and Jie head for the bridge and Will asks the Port Authority for the next available departure slot. Unfortunately, Will is told that the next available slot is in a couple of hours. This strikes him as being a little odd, as there are just a handful of ships in port. There is nothing that they can do, however, not wanting to be in breach of making an unregulated departure.

At least it gives everyone chance to freshen up a little and to get out of their prison uniforms. It also gives Grim the opportunity of mending the sensors which Karolina completely fried while trying to get a reading on the location of the base. After changing few of the fuses, however, the sensors are working fine again.

Eventually, at 13.30, the Port Authority gives approval to depart and beams over the coordinates for the flight path, which Jie punches into her navigation computer. Once again, it takes them out over the rusty seas so as not to pass over any of the bases.

Will blasts off and follows the path that Jie gave him. To everyone’s great relief, after another half hour, they are free of Mithras’s atmosphere and into the darkness of space. Once they are free, Jie sets a course for jump distance, which Will follows as fast as he can (which unfortunately is not very fast in the case of Unguin’s Princess).

All is going fine for the first three hours of the journey towards jump distance and everyone is starting to relax a little, until Will hears the message that he has been dreading come over the radio:

“Type-A2 Unguin’s Princess, this is Gazelle Mithras Protector II, maintain your course and prepare for boarding.”

“I was worried about something like this,” Will says. “We’re still over three hours away from jump distance. Is there anything you want me to do now, or shall we just let them board us and hope for the best?”

“I don’t much care for the boarding option,” says Arvor. “I suspect that executive wants to take revenge, and needs to prevent word of our discoveries getting out.”

“In a best case, they will probably detain us all on charges of attempted murder, assault, conspiracy and send us to the second camp. He certainly needs to prevent Karolina from making a report to higher ups. We would probably end up at that second camp ourselves.”

“The Gazelle has four hardpoints, and may even carry particle accelerators. I think our best odds are to permit boarding, hide out in various spots and ambush their boarding party. On our own ship, as defenders, with access to the controls incluing grav and life support, we have a decent chance even against far superior numbers.”

“My plan would be something like: Will (if he approves), Autumn and Karolina are on passenger concourse when the boarding party arrives. She can try whatever diplomatic stuff she has at that point. The rest of us are holed up at various strategic points, ready to jump in at the first sign of aggression.”

“Their ship only has staterooms for a crew of four with eight additional. If most of them come aboard, that gives us a decent tactical chance.”

The others agree to the plan. Will stays on the bridge and radios back to the Gazelle telling them that they will stay on course and will happily agree to the boarding party.

The Gazelle stands off at minimum missile range and launches its 20-ton Gig. While the Gig approaches, the rest of the party discuss the optimum positions for them to take in order to defend the ship, in case Karolina’s diplomatic efforts fail.

Half an hour later and the Gig is now very close and slowing down in order to match trajectory with Unguin’s Princess. But then the voice of the Gazelle’s captain come on over the radio again. There is a hint of irritation in his voice.

“Type-A2 Unguin’s Princess, this is Gazelle Mithras Protector II, errm … there’s been a change of plan. You are now free to go on your way. Please carry on.”

A minute or two later and Will can see that the Gig has reversed thrust and is now heading back to the Gazelle. He patches the information through to the rest of the crew members over the tannoy and they all emerge from their hiding places.

Max asks Karolina if she can think why they might have changed their minds:

“Hmmmmmmm,” she ponders. “That is very strange. Even if they had no other agenda, they should have stopped us to search for escaped convicts.”

She shakes her head.

“I don’t know what this is all about.”

The party members are also unsure as to why Sternmetal may have called off the check, but realize that there is little that they can do other than to stay alert.

“Can I suggest we alter course to a different jump exit on a more no predictable route in case there is a surprise waiting for us?” suggests Taeva.

Jie gets on the case and inputs some new coordinates for the jump, plotting so that the Princess will emerge a little further out than being right on the limit and in a less obvious location.

The remainder of the journey to jump radius goes without incident. On radar they see the Gig has now docked with the Gazelle and is heading back for the highport.

Eventually, a little after 20.00, Jie confirms that the A2 has finally reached jump distance and Will hits the big red button, sending the Princess safely into hyperspace.

There are sighs of relief all round once the ship has departed from the Mithras system. Although there are no guarantees that the Mithras situation has been resolved, for the next week at least, there should be no danger.

“You guys must be gagging for a pint after spending New Year’s Eve in the chokey,” Max says. “I reckon that’s a good excuse for us to all get rat-arsed and make up for a lot of lost drinking time.”

There are no complaints at this and finally everyone is able to relax a little as Autumn serves up a good dinner for everyone, and Max serves up the drink. The evening is a long, but highly pleasant one, until the lure of a private stateroom as opposed to the grubby bunks of P239 gets too much and everyone heads off to get a good night’s sleep.

Comments

Any intentions before you take off or do you just want to be on your way as soon as possible?

I presume you’re heading for Weiss next?

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Get outta Dodge ASAP I say.

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(what he said, lol)

{Grim nurses his wounded shoulder} “I’m for leaving this place as fast as possible, let’s get somewhere civilized where there’s more than Cons, Screws, and Suits.”

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OOC Weiss – Aki – Glisten sound good guys? OOC

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My apologies to all for my so-called witticism at the end of the Night. My only feeble excuse is a full bottle of Merlot and a Litre bottle of Tsingtao: if I didn’t play on Sundays Eve that would exceed my normal monthly intake…

With me alcohol essentially makes me more sarcastic, and I tend to presume (while under the influence)that my remarks are witty when often they are rude, opaque, stupid or incomprehensible, and only occasionally witty (or some combination of the above)

Anyway I apologise.

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Don’t sweat it, Steve, at least not on my account, as I ocassionally do the same thing under the same influences. As Nick has mentioned, this is a very opaque form of interaction, where you can’t see the myriad tiny muscle movements that go into more complex human interactions like sarcasm. Take our two Canadian friends, for example, they have no idea whether I was serious or not when I simply commented on the fact that their military is very well acquainted with out of date machinery…

;-)

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No worries – I assume that everyone is joking all of the time and so take very little seriously.

Rather than smilies for “I’m joking” there should be some for “I’m really not joking, I want to fight.”

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Indeed, our military has much such expertise. In fact our equipment is often so old, I have heard reports that some of our soldiers resort to using their brains on missions.

Frequently Canadian red teams defeat superior US blue teams in exercises. A Canadian general in an exercise to test the US approaches to the straights of Hormuz, “sank” a US carrier using an inflatable Iranian gunboat some years ago. Of course the US protested that the exercise was to test the effectiveness of Iran’s submarine(s), so using a gunboat was unfair! To which we rightly responded – the gunboat was submarine launched. ;).

Steve – I even agree that our plan was half baked. However, between a half-baked plan of action, vs. slinking away with our tail between our legs, Arvor favours action.

I would (still) have changed a few details – such as protecting the prisoners better to have more escapees, using a distraction to concentrate the guards topside – and ultimately using stunsticks more than firearms overall.

The biggest problem was that I had no idea the garage could not be accessed from below. I somehow assumed we would go up an elevator and be in the garage.

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I don’t much care for the boarding option. I suspect that executive wants to take revenge, and needs to prevent word of our discoveries getting out.

In a best case, they will probably detain us all on charges of attempted murder, assault, conspiracy and send us to the second camp. He certainly needs to prevent Karolina from making a report to higher ups. We would probably end up at that second camp ourselves.

The Gazelle has 4 hardpoints, and may even carry particle accelerators. I think our best odds are to permit boarding, hide out in various spots and ambush their boarding party. On our own ship, as defenders, with access to the controls incluing grav and life support, we have a decent chance even against far superior numbers.

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LOL @Dom…touche’
But we can still kick your A**. :-P

Again, as I mentioned yesterday in chat, we’ve got to give Nick something to work with ahead of time. Last week we had a whole week to plan and we left it til the last minute and ended up with a half assed plan. Under normal circumstances this would be understandable, as we might get the details of our objective five or six days ahead and everybody might be busy until Sunday, but this last week was a continuation of the same mission, at the same in game location, as the week before. I therefore vow to be more active on the boards, so as to stop anyone from coming up with a plan as lame as Jie’s was…

:-)

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Just read the update and I concur with my brain using, equipment challenged Canadian friend. We’re at a bigger disadvantage trying to take them on ship to ship.

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Whatever you’re apologizing for Steve went right past me so no worries there! I just assumed you were (quite correctly of course) concerned the rest of us morons were going to get ourselves killed and take Taeva along for the ride. Naturally that nearly happened and we caused a whole lot of somewhat random mayhem that will undoubtedly catch up with us (like, maybe, in the next hour of game time?). You were quite right that a little planning would have gone a long way, but, as Dom might say: “planning, schmamming. Let’s kill something!” I certainly enjoyed the gunfight but your wise words of caution may have an impact on our next mission.

More importantly, (1) can Ian loan the Canadian military a couple of his personal automatic weapons and rocket launchers—I’m sure his collection could withstand losing a few items for a worthy ally; and (2) what on earth is a stout British chap doing drinking Tsingtao—I like a nice German-style lager as much as the next guy, but….

:)

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On the pressing matter of Sternmetal’s SDB, can Karolina pull any Imperial diplomatic immunity out of her butt and avoid the whole encounter?

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“It depends on what they try and do once they board,” Karolina replies. “I can’t tell them not to check us as it is normal procedure that Sternmetal checks departing vessels for escaped convicts. Seeing how pissed Malcolm was after our ‘training mission’, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gives us a hard time checking everything just to get a little revenge and to prove a point that he is doing his job properly.”

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My plan would be something like: Will (if he approves), Autumn and Karolina are on passenger concourse when the boarding party arrives. She can try whatever diplomatic stuff she has at that point. The rest of us are holed up at various strategic points, ready to jump in at the first sign of aggression.

Their ship only has staterooms for a crew of 4 with 8 additional. If most of them come aboard, that gives us a decent tactical chance.

More importantly – when Ian loans our military some left overs from his personal arsenal, could he send it in a used amphib, so we have some way of getting our troops to battle without bugging our most gracious (and butt kicking) allies every time?

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Cool! Did you hear that, Russ? We Yanks are gracious! Now you’re just being insulting, lol.

Oh well, I guess you can have my .308 sniper rifle and my spare 12 gauge. I’m buying a friends .308 Saiga assault rifle next month anyway :-) If you want sidearms, I’ve got a poor collection but my boss has 6 or 7 to choose from, my personal favrites being the Glocks in 9mm and .45 cal.

;-)

(p.s. funny thing is I’m a bit of a peacenik liberal by US standards…)

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We Canadians have nothing against firearm ownership per-se. Our government just nixed some legislation requiring people to register their long-guns. As a single measure, it would not have passed a referrendum (the act to nix the registry), but it had a lot of rural support.

Personally I would have had no problem registering my guns – I have to register my dogs anyway!

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You have to register your dogs? Do they at least get socialized veterinary care in return?

Actually, to be completely honest, my several forays into western Canada have left me with very warm feelings towards both the country and its denizens. We even had occasion once to use your health care system for a minor emergency. It took less than half the time an emergency visit would here and cost less than a tenth the cost of a US emergency room visit, and the fee was only because we were “furiners”. I came away impressed. Hell, I hear your government even allows itself to negotiate for better drug prices with Big Pharma! Anyway, short of saying that I’d move to BC if I could; I’d move to BC if I could ;-)

As to my supposed support for Mr Santorum, I can’t remember who started that scurrilous chat room rumor but I say “take it back, them’s fightin’ words”!!

So, we have access to the A2 maps Nick’s been using on Gametable, where do we want to set up our crossfires?

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(testing, c’mon, make Russ proud…)

Manuela a

Manuela b

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(hmmm, interesting result, though as an American I’m never unhappy when the result is larger than expected)

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Dagnabbit! Here I was spoiling for a fight during which Grim could get knocked unconscious (the GMs “dice” hate me, ya know?)…Well, all power to the engines Mr. Scott, lets run for it!! Wait, that’s me!

{Grim diverts all extra power to the manuever engines!}

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Don’t worry – you’ll get your chance for a fight next week. It’s going to be an Easter gunfest special!

Talking of Easter, is everyone still OK for next Sunday or does anyone have some other commitments?

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Godda##it! I completely forgot about Easter! As you might expect, I’ll miss next week’s game due to slinging Ice Teas at Grandmas when the restaurant I work at does “Easter Brunch”!

I hate having to miss sessions due to work! Ah well, it’ll at least make me feel better knowing that someone is babysitting our gung-ho Canadian players…someone is going to keep an eye on them aren’t they?

;-)

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(Easter Egg Colors Added To Above Post In The Spirit Of The Holiday !)

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That sucks if you’re not going to be able to make it.

Are you working all the four days of Easter? (it’s a holiday here on the Friday and the Monday – don’t know what it’s like on the other side of the pond).

I can do any day if there’s one where we can all get together.

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I have to work Fri and Sat as usual, plus Sunday for the Brunch! I am off Monday and can do any times (PDT 8 AM to PDT 12 PM) if any of those hours work for everybody else?

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How is everyone else fixed for Monday? I guess it is a holiday everywhere.

It’s good for me if it works for everyone else.

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I can do monday-but at work next day whereas if Sunday could have a nice lie in on the monday Bank Holiday).

Can I suggest we alter course to a different Jump Exit on a more no predictable route in case there is a surprise waiting for us?

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Sorry folks – I am away camping for the weekend – and we don’t get Monday off, only Friday. We shall be on Lake Erie enjoying 10-13 degree (celcius) warmth. Global warming is good for something after all.

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My comment was laziness only not diktat

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I could play play Sunday or Monday. We don’t have much truck with chocolate wabbits wound hewe. Less’en it’s duck season. Where’s my unregistered long gun?

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I am a 2nd Ed Ranger – thus I am never supri.. what the….!

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Tsingtao, that’s the Chinese beer, right? If so I understand your state of typing, Steve. Had a couple bottles of that while I was overseas (If it’s what I’m thinking of) and knocked me on my ass! As for any comments being taken the wrong way I agree with Will, I didn’t catch any overtones, I guess I’m a Pollyanna that way. (I love to drive my bitter, gossip-ie neighbors nuts with my perpetually sunny attitude and glass is always full philosophy.)

Which is in odd contrast to my very dark views of American politics, world diplomacy and the state of the environment. I often don’t comment on such things because after I’m done ranting I feel like I just craped on the computer screen. (Is craped with 2 P’s ? My spellchecker didn’t catch it.) I would rather spend my time gaming with intelligent like-minded individuals such as your selves. Which brings me to the Mysterious Prison of Death

I’m telling you guys we could have taken it out!! All I needed was 4 bamboo rods, a roll of duct tape and a Neutrino Splicer and BAM we could have blown them up !! The plan is all up here in my head!!! It’s foolproof I tell ya!! Ah well.

Sunday is looking grim for me too as the in-laws were planning an Easter Sunday feast during last Sundays birthday party. I could try to get out of it, but then they would call me ‘Heretic’ and try to purge the demons from my body, or at the least my wife wouldn’t bring home any left overs. On Monday I work nights so I could show up at the start, but three and a half hours into the game I’ll be doing a lot of BRB’s and eventually have to leave. Either way I’ll try to make a cameo appearance and shoot Grim so he feels that things are progressing normally.

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Well, if it works for everybody else, we could start an hour or two earlier on Monday for Russ? It sounds like Dom is out the whole weekend camping and some version of Monday works for Steve, Jay, and I?

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Of course they might have found the transponder. In which case they will now do a cleaning operation and are happy to let Karolina go to file her report, which will show nothing as they will have removed all the evidence.

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Will regrets not learning the details of Jie’s fool-proof plan earlier. He also completely agrees with Taeva on the cleaning of the mystery prison. At least Karolina knows Sternmetal’s up to something on the planet and can hire or send some competent people to dig deeper.

Regardless, we should probably keep a sharp eye out for the next while in case Sternmetal has a long memory and holds a grudge.

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I think it’s better if we take a break next week if neither Dom nor Russ can really make it.

It’s a shame as there’s not much more stuff we can do on the boards in the meantime. But it would be too much of a shame if 40% of the players really can’t make it.

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{pouts} Fine!

A break is cool too, though I was sure this coming week was gonna be the session where Grim didn’t get knocked out!

Agree @Steve re:“housecleaning” by the corrupt prison types, also agree @Jay re:“institutionsl memory” equaling “Danger Will Robinson! Danger!”, lol!

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OOC @Jay, do you Duck Hunt? Also @Dom, that’s cool, I’m a Special Ed Wizard (the missus tells me what level every morning ;-) OOC

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Hey, I realize that Weiss is going to have an Imperial Anniversary on 117, just about the time we’re going to show up! Luckily Jie still has some of the badges (pins) from the gangs’ first job! She will wear it proudly as she walks through the Schwarzstadt hab, maybe the kind folk of Weiss will buy her some drinks.

Too bad about next Sunday, I’m all cool with you guys continuing on if you would like, again I could be there for the first couple of hours on Monday. If not that’s OK too because I plan on sprucing up the site with some more stuff. (I’m not kidding about the theme song)

Just read Steve’s Forum post about ships uniform and collective Vacc suits and I concur wholeheartedly.

As for us not getting to the bottom of Sternmetals nefariousness, perhaps this is a good thing. If you take a look at our past adventures you’ll see that we super kick ass! We always won and looked good doing it. Now, things are getting a little more realistic, more gritty. Maybe being a hero is less important than surviving the wrath of a Mega Corporation. I think it adds a depth to our characters.

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My wife and dog will be happy if we give it a miss this weekend. @Ian: no, no duck hunting. Never fired a gun in my life. The duck hunting thing (combined with wabbits) was a Bugs Bunny reference.

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How about if we just did a quick two hour session on Monday until Russ has to leave – or maybe we could start an hour earlier?

At least this will allow us to move things to the boards afterwards so that we don’t have to pretty much put the whole game on hold for the next 10 days?

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I’m good with whatever we decide, though I was thinking (stop snickering, Russ ;-) that we might try to run out the next combat on the boards? It might be cool to see how it goes?

@Jay, too bad re:firing a gun. Just holding one increases penis size by 50%. Shooting a gently flapping defenseless bird with beutiful plummage gives you a two day woody…lol!

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I’m wondering how it might be possible to run a combat on the boards. I did run combats for my old AD&D campaign, but they were a lot easier to run because it was just a case of spellcasters naming their spell and fighters just hacking one bad guy after another. It’s more difficult in Traveller where LOS and cover are the most important factors. It would definitely need maps to do them properly.

Does anyone know of any sites that could handle something like this?

It would still be horribly slow and we would need to forget initiative and so in posting order or else it would take days to go through just one round as we would always be waiting for the slowest poster each time.

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I’m ok with anything-including 2 hour session. I will probably put off my annual Good Friday hike up Pendle Hill till early on Easter Monday (parents visiting Good Friday), and after a soak and late afternoon chill I’ll be ok either for a game or otherwise non stressful evening.

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So let’s start at the usual time on Monday and run it for a couple of hours which is time for one combat at least. After that we can go back to the boards.

So that will be:

1900 UK
1400 East
1100 West

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Sounds good to me.

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I’m in!

As far as running a game on the boards, I might have a better idea…what if Nick were to leave gametable up and running with the map locked so that people could join in at their most opportune time of the day and move their pog a bit Be kinda like a persistent world with everybody moving “round 1” on Monday, “round 2” on Tuesday, etc.?

Anyway, I’m on for 1100 hours West Coast time Monday for a quick couple of hours!

Grim/Ian

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NickPendrell

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