Mustered Out on Mertactor

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Saving the Cargo

The party members, several of whom are nursing some evil hangovers from the excesses of cheap booze they were drinking the previous night start heading down to breakfast at 09.00.

A bleary eyed Max joins them at 10.00.

“Well at least I managed to get the uvver 30 tons of Nobble Leather off the ship wivvout the bastards comin’ up wiv some reason to grab ’em.”

“But the Noble Leather is the cheap stuff. The bastards are still sat on Cr.280,000 worth of our gear at ’olesale.”

He sighs. “I’m trying to see ‘ow much it would cost to bung ’em to get the goods released, but the bastards want 100 grand for it – they know ’ow much they’d get for it on the market so they ain’t up for any deals.”

“Hmm, so we need to know where it is stored,” Arvor comments. “This could complicate the “escape” from the downport. However, I assume it is in some sort of standard container.”

“I know exactly where the cargo is,” Max replies. “It’s in the warehouse on the northern side of the starport – completely the opposite side from the Falcon in the shipyards, unfortunately. Quite a few guards around there as well because there’s a lot of stuff in those warehouses worth nickin’.”

“How about this,” Arvor suggests. “Not only do we spring the Grisst Falcon, but we also steal the Black Panther! That should go a long way towards evening the odds with the Gazelle.”

“We can still go with the distraction / stalling of the SDB and two teams re-uniting at the downport, and play it by ear as to whether we can seize both vessels. At the very least, we might disable the pirate and do shipping in these lanes a favour. We will have two decent pilots (Capt. O’Neil and William) – and if anything goes wrong with O’Neil, I can fly in a pinch (although I am better at manning the guns).”

“Bloody ’ell,” exclaims Max. “Sounds bloody ambitious to me. The 60 tons of cargo we got in that warehouse will pretty much fill the entire ‘old of the Falcon. Capacity on them is only 61 tons, so it’ll take time to squeeze the load inside.”

“You’d need a fair few stevedores and their kit to load that and you’d be lucky to get it done in under an hour. And by that time the ‘ole planet will be comin’ after us, not just the Gazelle.”

“Anyone on this planet will have more fear/ loyalty to the people they have to deal with day to day rather than with us,” Taeva says. “Spilling the beans to any of them in advance will likely to get us an early bullet in the head.”

Max nods in agreement. “Yes, that’s true – especially if they are pretty high up in the organization and so have a lot to lose.”

“However, we all know what a shithole this place is an’ ‘ow most people ’ere ain’t got two credits to rub together. What about if someone offered them the chance to say goodbye to this shithole once and for all?”

“There are ten staterooms on an A2 and four fridges. If we all doubled up, it means that we could take up to 18 people with us back to Collace on the ship. Promise them each 10 grand or so to get themselves started an’ it looks like a pretty attractive offer. Shit, if it was me in their shoes, then I’d jump at an offer like that if the risks didn’t make it a suicide job.”

The party members continue to discuss options for getting around the SDB. Max comes up with a suggestion:

“What about this,” he says. “Nearly all of you are good with comms. ’Ow about if you knock up a crybaby? Stick a transmitter in a sandcaster barrel together with a battery, a timer and a recording giving a distress signal”

“Then we could bung a merchant ship to fire the barrel just before they jump out – two days from Avastan. The SDB then has to leave orbit for the long trip out there and that will give us plenty of time to do the job an’ get out of here, travellin’ in the opposite direction.”

“Whatcha reckon?”

The others like the sound of the plan and quickly decide that they should go ahead with it. However, it’s just one small element of the plan – there’s a lot more preparation and planning involved for them to have any chance of taking over the ship. They spend a couple more hours planning until, Grim comes up with the first stab at a plan, which Arvor goes on to upgrade.

“It’s a long shot, but it might just work,” Max comments.

“Before we can do too much though, we need cash,” Max adds. “Grisst might be reimbursing our expenses, but we need to bankroll this job first of all. And the problem is that most of our cash is tied up in the aluminum and nobble leather what the thievin’ bastards are keepin’ ‘old of. I need to turn that other 30 tons of nobble leather into cash fast before we can do much else. I’ll see to it now.”

The others continue planning while Max is away. And they are still planning when he returns three hours later, carrying a plastic bag. He is looking philosophical.

“Well I managed to get our money back on it, plus enough to pay for the freight and maybe enough on top to buy a few drinks, but that’s about it,” he says. “Still, on this bloody planet that’s probably as good a deal as we’re likely to get.”

He empties the contents of the bag on the table.

“Including what’s left in the kitty, we’ve got 85 grand to spend while we’re on this planet, so we can’t go too mental, even if Grisst is going to pay us back. So what’s first on the shopping list?”

The consensus is that the materials for the crybaby are most important, followed by locating a warehouse to use as a base for what will hopefully become their mini-army of stevedores.

“Alright then,” Max says. “No rest for the wicked, I suppose. I’m on the case.”

He then stops.

“Errm … but I don’t really know what I need to make a crybaby. One of you electrical, communications geniuses better come with me.”

Arvor and Grim agree to come along with Max on his shopping expedition – Grim to make sure that it has enough power and Arvor to make sure that it works in the first place.

Three hours later, the party members have everything they need in order to make the crybaby. Radios capable of broadcasting from that far away don’t come cheap though and the tools they need for the job comes to Cr.27,000. Already a big chunk of the party’s cash has gone already. While they are at the starship supplies store, they pick up a spare fusion plug in case Grim’s gambit of tricking the maintenance yard into using theirs doesn’t work. That’s another Cr.10,000 gone. Not wanting to take all of this gear back to the hotel, they tell the store to keep it until they need it.

It’s too late today for Max to start looking for premises now and so he decides he will take care of it the next day.

Instead all of the party members get together in order to start looking for some employees. Rather than heading out to the bars opposite API’s barracks and admin building, they head for the area north of the starport, opposite the freight terminal checking out the bars there. After an hour, they manage to find what they were looking for – a grimy bar which seems to be full of dirty looking stevedores.

The party use their usual tactics – a little flirting from Jie followed by a few bottles of Tequila bought by Grim and the stevedores are the party’s new best friends. After half an hour’s general chatting, Grim realizes that Miguel is the foreman who the rest of the stevedores admire and respect. If Grim can get him on the party’s side, then he should have no problem in signing up as many of the stevedores as they want.

“We can’t afford to offer them much upfront,” whispers Max to Grim, “Not if you’re planning on getting 17 of them. We can afford to give them a grand each as a signing on bonus. Maybe a little more just before we start the mission, but we’re spending money like water right now so we need to keep some in reserve.”

Grim nods.

He waits until Miguel goes to the rest room and then, before the foreman gets back to the table, Grim has a quiet word with him in private. It turns out to be quite a long conversation – obviously moving to Collace is quite a major change in lifestyle. Miguel is a little hesitant at first – particularly because Grim can give him little information about the mission and also tells him that there is some danger involved. Grim points out to him though that he has little to lose other than continuing with his miserable life on this miserable planet.

It looks like Grim has won him around. Miguel says that he thinks he can get 16 of the stevedores to agree to the mission. Grim tells him that they all have 24 hours to make up their mind. He takes Miguel’s phone number from him and says that he will give him a call. They the return to the others at the bar and continue to drink with the stevedores until the Tequila is starting to make them feel ill.

They head back to the hotel to sleep it off.

Comments

Hmm, so we need to know where it is stored. This could complicate the “escape” from the downport. However, I assume it is in some sort of standard container.

How about this: not only do we spring the Grisst Falcon, but we also steal the Black Panther! That should go a long way towards evening the odds with the Gazelle.

We can still go with the distraction / stalling of the SDB and two teams re-uniting at the downport, and play it by ear as to whether we can seize both vessels. At the very least, we might disable the pirate and do shipping in these lanes a favour. We will have to decent pilots (Capt. O’Neil and William) – and if anything goes wrong with O’Neil, Arvor can fly in a pinch (although he is better at manning the guns).

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I love it! If we get away with some super pirate ship the loss of the cargo would be a trivial matter. Of course, we’ll end up with a list of enemies as long as your arm, and Grisst might not be too happy with us (unless we are assumed to be pirates ourselves!).

What about bribing an SDB crew member to sabotage the ship? Didn’t Nick say a crew change was due in the next few days? Or was that after our auction deadline?

What about recruiting some additional help here in Avastan? Someone must hate Riminez and API. We could take them with us if necessary (might be, especially if we go after both vessels). Maybe we can start a gang war between API and its rivals? Nick, William will use his Streetwise skill to find out more about the politics in town, especially who API’s rivals might be.

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I think William is the only Pilot.

Anyone on this planet will have more fear/ loyalty to the people they have to deal with day to day rather than with us. Spilling the beans to any of them in advance will likely to get us an early bullet in the head.

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The problem with pirate ships is that they look like pirate ships (and you will have probably found out by now that Captain M’tanga and his ship are pretty well-known in the sub-sector). So it can only put into port at a few low law level worlds. Take it to Collace and the Navy might shoot first and ask questions later.

The SDB is not due to land until after the auction.

API pretty much owns Avastan. They have a lot of enemies off world, but there no major organizations locally that would be able to take them on in a fair fight. Finding some hired help though should be easy enough if their reward is likely to be commensurate with risks you are asking them to take.

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“Anyone on this planet will have more fear/ loyalty to the people they have to deal with day to day rather than with us,” Taeva says. “Spilling the beans to any of them in advance will likely to get us an early bullet in the head.”

Max nods in agreement. “Yes, that’s true – especially if they are pretty high up in the organization and so have a lot to lose.”

“However, we all know what a shithole this place is an’ ‘ow most people ’ere ain’t got two credits to rub together. What about if someone offered them the chance to say goodbye to this shithole once and for all?”

“There are ten staterooms on an A2 and four fridges. If we all doubled up, it means that we could take up to 18 people with us back to Collace on the ship. Promise them each 10 grand or so to get themselves started an’ it looks like a pretty attractive offer. Shit, if it was me in their shoes, then I’d jump at an offer like that if the risks didn’t make it a suicide job.”

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I was thinking of ditching the pirate ship after disabling the SDB – if it didn’t get disabled in the process somewhere.

BTW steve – how is O’Neil not a pilot?

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And as far as Collace is concerned – if the Grisst Falcon comes in first, warns the authorities about the incoming “salvage” of a pirate vessel, then we could probably bring her in and sell her at least for scrap value.

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O’Neill is definitely a pilot. I will put his resume up soon.

The Pirate Interceptor is on page 98 of Scoundrel for anyone who has it. It’s still no match for a Gazelle – especially as much of the pirate ship’s offensive capability is through a fighter it carries.

But yes, you could probably salvage it if you forewarned the authorities on Collace beforehand.

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forgot him

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The party members continue to discuss options for getting around the SDB. Max comes up with a suggestion:

“What about this,” he says. “Nearly all of you are good with comms. ’Ow about if you knock up a crybaby? Stick a transmitter in a sandcaster barrel together with a battery, a timer and a recording giving a distress signal”

“Then we could bung a merchant ship to fire the barrel just before they jump out – two days from Avastan. The SDB then has to leave orbit for the long trip out there and that will give us plenty of time to do the job an’ get out of here, travellin’ in the opposite direction.”

“Whatcha reckon?”

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working this weekend so possibility of being late))

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Actually, Grim doubles as a Pilot too…Spaceship/0 and shuttles/1!

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hmm, so we can’t really pit the Interceptor against the SDB directly. Can we give the Pirates a reason to be on the opposite side of the system from the Gas Giant though? The SDB could then be called with a tip that the Pirates are up to something a bit before we’re scheduled to leave, putting them into a confrontation with the Pirates? Even if they don’t fire at each other it’ll take a bit to sort out, buying us time?

Grim/Ian

(apologies if someone came up with this already, am speedreading at work on bosses time ;)

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I have got to remember to refresh the page! Max’s suggestion re:SDB and crybaby is very simple. Grim votes for it!

Are the Pirates staying through the auction? If so, are they gong to be a problem? Is it more of a problem if they take off and we don’t know where they are (in or out of system, location, etc) when we nab the ship?

Grim/Ian

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If you chatted with the pirates, you’d learn that they will be in port for another 6 days. You would probably be better to wait until they’ve gone before getting up to your mischief.

Normally the pirates don’t cause problems in one of the few systems where they can get service. But if API gave them their blessing to retrieve the ship then they would think it’s Christmas come early.

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Strangely, Arvor was thinking of bluffing the pirates by telling them he had heard from someone that a fancy yacht from Collace was sending a distress signal and he could sell the coordinates for the right price (just to make it really convincing). I did not think of bribing a ship to launch a decoy.

So Arvor will rig up the “cry baby”. He can use his gunner skills, sensors and comms to make it reliable and convincing. On a world like this it shouldn’t be too hard to pick up some surplus parts to build the device. It will play a “Mayday, Mayday. This is the Yacht Imperial Princess. We have lost power and are drifting, coordinates …, Mayday Mayday” message.

Max or someone else will have to pay an outbound merchant to chuck the thing on the far side to the gas giant.

Arvor will still try to make the deal with M’Tanga wotsisname when the time is right. That was we don’t need to wait until the priates leave.

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Damn! I had that crybaby idea a few days ago and forgot about it! Thank gawd for Max. William has Comms 2 and Computer 1 if you need help.

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“It’d take a better bullshitter than me to convince the pirates we know exactly when and where a yacht will be coming out of jump,” Max says.

“Stupid pirates don’t tend to last very long and it would be some pretty dumb pirates who allowed some total strangers to send them off on a wild goose chase.”

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I’m running off to work for the day, by the time I get back you guys will be in bed, so, to recap (as I understand it ?).

1. Wait til Pirates leave on day 6.

2. Crybaby on day 8 or 9, target far side of system from Gas Giant.

3. Give the SDB time to get as far away as possible, then rescue Capt.

4. Bring Capt. to ship, retrieve ship?

To aid number 2, we need the construction team (Arvor, Will) to construct the dummy bouy, while the bribery team (Grim, Max) find a suitable ship to take the bouy out. At the same time, the surveillance team (Jie, Taeva) continue to monitor movements at the hotel and the shipyard with an eye towards making numbers 3 and 4 easier? Also with an eye towards making numbers 3 and 4 easier, we bribe guards at one or both locations, bolstered by promise we’ll take them with us, to allow one or all of the following:

A. access to Capt, either without resistance or alarm, or with lessened resistance,

B. access to ship, either without resistance or alarm, or with lessened resistance,

C. planting of Fusion plug in ship’s engine room for Grim and Will to use

D. planting of weapons in ship’s engine room for aforementioned parties to use.

If the guards at the hotel can’t be bribed do we want to go in hard with everybody, then move on as a group to the ship, or do we go in stealthy with Arvor and Taeva while Max and Jie play backup?

Similarly, if the guards at the ship can’t be bribed, should we have Grim and William go on their “second look” tour, or should we just attack in force, using a commo or power outage as a diversion? In either case, we have to purchase a fusion plug, and try to bribe some guards?

We might want to be careful with the bribery though, as has been pointed out, if word that someone is trying to brbe guards leaks out, they’ll come looking for us. So, we need to identify a few key guards and work on them, rather than trying a shotgun approach. Jie and Grim have already established a relationship with a few of the offduty guards (not neccessarily ones stationed where they can help us), so maybe Jie should try to get a job with Security (day 2 or 3) and use the week to help identify the potential bribeable members of the herd?

Depending on the plan(s) we go for, Grim will do the following:

A. assist Jie in further checking guards for likely bribery targets.

B. assist Max as needed (persuade).

C. assist Arvor and Will with crybaby construction (engineering).

D. assist with surveillance (recon).

E. work for either AvastanComms or AvastanPower to further plan to knock out comms and or power. To this end, I think Grim should get a job with the comms outfit and try to sabotage (timer, fuses cutout, satchel charge) the main comms relay for the spaceport. We can have Taeva sneak in and plant a bomb at the shipyard generator if we want, but I think disrupting their comms on a broad scale is more important. This will also slow down any call to the SDB to retrieve it, giving us more lead time to escape..

Grim/Ian

(I have no bloody idea what to do about the cargo)

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I love the ‘cry baby’ idea. Jie can easily pick out the bribable API guards, but when it comes to doing the bribe we may need someone with a bit more finesse. Too bad Mr. Jimeneze is not on planet, useing him as a hostage would make things much easier.

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I wouldn’t go with bribing the actual guards because the risk of backfire is too great. As it is, we can take the hotel guards with just two of us. However, I see it working out as follows:

Starting now,
A) We rent a cheap warehouse in a quiet area – it should not be “climate controlled”.
B) We “employ” up to 18 security/longshoreman types with the promise of good pay, and passage off planet (to Collace) – their primary role will be loading cargo, we can arm them with auto pistols and flak jackets.
C) We rent a couple of robust ground cars, with arrangements to make that 4 (or 5) on “D” day. Grim (and others with expertise) will build “ram” reinforcements on one (or two), sufficient to take down front gate at starport.
D) We start training the employees to operate in squads under direction (Grim and Jie’s primary expertise)

On “D” Day
E) Grim and William (the A team) will gain access to Grisst Falcon, using Jie’s body pistol, install Fusion Plug, secure ship.
F) Jie will start from warehouse leading our minions in ground cars towards starport.
G) Max will head for hotel lobby, to cover guards.
H Arvor, Taeva (B team) will head up to Capitano, spring him using stun carbines. Head down elevator to lobby.
I) Max will stun frontdesk, Arvor and Taeva will take lobby guards as we emerge from elevator.
J) B team will join up with Jie and loaders as we head for starport.
At starport
K) At predetermined location close to starport, Taeva, Max, Arvor, Jie each join a goon-squad in a ground car (4 or 5 each)
L) Grisst Falcon powers up, hovers to fire on generator, comm. towers, destroys.
M) On that signal, lead car (reinforced) crashes barrier, others follow.
N) B Team (all cars) dash for holding cargo area.
O) Falcon flies to same area.
P) Falcon and B team provide covering fire as squads load up Falcon with our cargo, anything else that will fit.
Q) Everyone boards, we leave.

What am I forgetting?

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Oh, of course if Grim, Jie can determine that some guards are safe to bribe to do as Grim suggest (cache weapons, fusion plug), we should do so. We can shorten the goon-squad list to include any guards who want to “jump ship”.

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But I would still want to hit the generator, to leave the message that withholding peoples’ starships is dangerous business, not to mention trucking with known pirates.

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“I like it,” Max says. “The more damage we do to the fackers for tryin’ to nick our cargo the ’appier I am.”

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_ have lost connection here._

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Internet seems ok, hamachi joined, but cannot join network in gametable.

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me neither

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Message from Nick – connection breakage is at his end. He will msg me if he gets back on.

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like Jie said, “Crud, I look forward to these Sunday games!”

Grim

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Sorry about that, everybody.

My friendly neighbourhood ISP contacted me on Friday to say that I had 10 days to pay my bill, but then obviously had a change of heart, deciding that they were being overly generous and so cut me off a week early.

I don’t know whether it was more frustrating to be cut off right at the start, or cut off right in the middle. Either way though, I was not terribly happy yesterday evening.

Anyway, I’m paid up now and so we should be OK for next week’s game (as long as they don’t cut the electricity off as I’m nearly a month behind on my rent now!)

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That’s not nearly as exciting as some of the scenarios we concocted, but I’m glad it was something simple. See you next week.

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Oh yeah, we forgot to tell you, in your abscence we rolled pretty damn well. Grim and Will convinced the guys holding the ship to just give us the ship. They even topped off the fuel tanks, so we needn’t stop at the Gas Giant. And Arvor took out all the hotel guards with a single shot. Turns out they were being abusive to the room service staff and hotel management was so grateful we were given a gift certificate for any stay of less than two nights. Holidays and weekends excluded. Only problem is the Captain turns out to have the body order of an unwashed Yak thats exclusively been fed onion greens, so we’re currently arguing over who gets the cabin nearest his…

Grim/Ian

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Ouch – it really sucks when the ordinaries of life are so precarious. I lived that way for far too long myself. Things are way better now for me. I always used to wander why other people who seemed only a fraction as smart as I am could get their lives in order, when I clearly couldn’t!

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@ Ian – LOL! But Grisst didn’t give you the ship as a thank you present for all your hard work? I guess you must have flunked the most important roll!

@ Dominic – Thanks for the kind words. It always seems like it’s either rags or riches (literally rags at the moment – you should see the state of my jeans!). Well at least I have some mew irons in the fire at the moment so hopefully it will be heading for riches time again soon.

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NickPendrell

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