Mustered Out on Mertactor

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Arrival at Pavabid Down

The final five-day journey to Pavabid Down proves to be no different from the previous journey. There are no signs of any cops or gendarmes, but the wahroos prove to be a constant problem every time it gets dark. The party members nurse their ammo as best they can, but no one wants to take the wahroos on in melee combat as they can’t afford for anyone to get injured this far from civilization.

It’s cold down here at such southerly latitudes, freezing at night and thawing again when the sun comes back up, turning the remaining snow into slush. Three days into the journey, one of the horses slips and breaks a leg, bringing the number of horses remaining down to three, meaning that each of the horses has to carry two riders.

And so it is with great relief when they finally finish the long journey and can glimpse the starport ahead of them. The party members have just a handful of bullets left between them now, although they still have the seven grenades left.

The party members wait until nightfall before getting closer to the starport to look for a way in. As they sneak to the edge of the forest, they see that getting into the starport is going to be no walkover.

The starport is at the edge of a bluff, with the forest clearcut around it to a distance of 100m. The perimeter is well lit, with search lights sweeping the area from the watch towers located every 250m. The fence surrounding the starport is 4m high, with razor wire at the top. Several sentries with wahroos walk around the perimeter. As the perimeter is perhaps 8km in circumference though, sneaking past the sentries shouldn’t be the biggest problem. There are signs around the fences that the area is mined and Taeva notices that none of the sentries walk within 10m of the fence.

The only way into the starport (apart from by air) is by the single-track railway running up the bluff. Grim can tell from the gradient that the train is going to have to approach the starport very slowly. Max remember that there is just one train per week going in and out of the starport.

The train enters a small holding area once getting through the main gates, fenced off from the rest of the starport compound. Only once the train has been checked thoroughly, both coming in and going out, is the train allowed to continue into the starport to unload its cargo.

With there being no rush, the party members walk around the perimeter of the cleared area, keeping to the wooded area in order to view the starport from all angles. To their relief, they can see that the Tide is Turning, the ship that they arrived on is still in port and there are some lights on, showing that the ship is still occupied.

Once they have completely walked around the circumference, they move back further into the forest and discuss their options. All agree that the only weak point to the starport’s defenses is with the train going in, and so they make plans for jumping the train and making their entrance that way.

With the plan having been decided upon, there is little that they can do except to wait until the train arrives. They set up a new camp a little further down the lines, well hidden from the starport by a curve in the tracks. They set up a watch rota, with one party member sat between the rails at all time, listening for the vibrations of the arrival of a train, a second keeping an eye on the starport from a tree in case they send out any patrols, and a third keeping an eye over their sleeping companions.

And then they wait…

Comments

One possibility: stampede the remaining three horses towards the fence, clearing a path through the minefield.

But I guess we want to sneak in undetected as the ship can’t depart until it’s “fixed”, which requires the next train presumably (or are the replacement parts coming by starship?). In either case, I would assume that the ship will have to remain in port for some reasonable “repair period” to maintain the ruse. And furthermore, the KGB will be searching departing vessels even more thoroughly than usual, so we’ll need time to get good and properly hidden.

On the other hand, if the ship is to fire up it’s drives when they see us running hell bent across the field and throw ’er into Drive the moment we dive through the open cargo hatch, maybe we could ambush the train and take over as its crew, bluff our way into the port and run like hell for the ship.

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Not that anyone can tell, but I have been dying to try a train all along ;). We can jump the train out of sight as it slows on the incline, Taeva can open a container / closed wagon, and we can get in. We time a distraction to occur shortly after the train would stop in the compound. For example, if the incline is over 1 km, and we assume the train would slow to say 10 km/hr, then the final approach would take 6 minutes. The distraction could be timed for 6 minutes exactly. It shouldn’t matter if they go off a little before the train enters, or a little after. We need to stay hidden on the train until the bangs start. Hopefully, they explosions and the horses running into the minefield will distract the guards, and we can use stealth to get into the starport proper.

For the distraction:

Can Taeva use our local timepieces to create timed explosions? Arvor has the necessary electrical and mechanical tools and gear in his toolkit. If we setup our horses in a “think they are tied” situation, and setup a small explosion to their rear (that is designed not to hurt them), they would be startled and run from the explosion. We would organize it so they would run towards the starport – perhaps up a run or ravine so they would not veer off. A couple more timed explosions to the sides a few seconds later should stampede them all the way into the minefield.

What do you think?

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Sounds good to me. We’ll have to strip the horses of all gear. I would hate for a guard to stumble upon a severed horse head with a bit and bridle that was reported stolen by the Orobid Assassins. This may tip our hand. Chances are that they may use trained waroos to sniff the cargo cars. By now could Will or Taeva have come up with a sap or leaf that masks our (by now) rip scent?

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Nope, couldn’t tell you wanted to hop a train ;-) I agree we need a distraction but won’t explosions near the compound cause them to lock down departures and arrivals pretty tight, maybe even start a search?

Also, the authorities know what ranches we stole the horses from…are they branded? There must be someway to ID livestock here? It would probably piss off NavInt if the trail of Orobid’s killers ended at stolen horses blown up in a minefield outside the spaceport. It wouldn’t be proof that we were offworlders but it would be indicative of offworld involvement at the very least and might give some pretty good ammunition to those in the government who want to keep the Imperium (or even all offworlders) off of Pavabid.

We need to kill and bury the horses (they’re evidence if they can be identified), hop the train, then sneak onto the ship (just Taeva to reduce risk of detection), let the crew know we’re back (hiding in the freight yard) and then have them come get us (by sending their “paid off” official with a couple of shipping crates to be loaded on our ship, presumably loaded with the “spare parts” (us) they’ve been waiting for)? The tricky parts here are finding someplace in the freight yard to hide (empty crates waiting to be loaded with outgoing goods) and Taeva’s crossing of the starport to get to the ship (she is a master of stealth though, even without that skin tight holosuit, yum)…

(Not in love with this plan ,hate the idea of killing the poor horses, either by minefield or straight equicide.)

Grim/Ian

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I have an idea how we can hide our scent…it involves a canteen or two of horse blood and some “traumatized” horse flesh with the hair still attached to throw at the train as it passes by while we’re getting ready to hop it. The Wahroos will be oblivious to our scent near the rear as long as they smell fresh blood closer to the nose of the train and a little flesh, hair, and blood near the engine will make it seem like the train clipped a stray horse the night before. The train operator needn’t have noticed if it wasn’t a head on collision and this’ll distract the Wahroos olfactory sensors for a bit. If we combine this with a scent blocker as per Russ above we should be ok…

Grim/Ian

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Maybe we could sabotage or cut the brake lines on the train before it gets to the holding yard, having it crash through the gate(s) and continue into the port cargo area proper? This wouldn’t raise any immediate alarm other than the usual accident response and, in the confusion ensuing, we could make it to the ship. The train wouldn’t even need to be going that fast, as we’d do this at the last minute when it was already slowing to enter the search area. Alternately we could uncouple the engine itself as the train enters the holding area. The unexpected boost of speed to the now unburdened engine might cause it to crash the second gate before the Engineer can bring it under control, while we coast in behind it on the (still slowing down) unhitched rail cars behind…

Grim/Ian

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If they are really old (western style), then the brakes could be mechanical with a brakeman. However I have a hard time believing that technology would co-exist with choppers.

If they have vaccuum brakes, they are failsafe. If they are positive pressure (more modern), then we would have to disable enough failsafes and then release the pressure, and that would be on each carriage – way too hard.

Unfortunately, unhitching the engine would do nothing at all when slowing down. Brakes are on all axles (incluing loco). Plus we don’t know in advance where the loco is – back or front. Either way is certainly common in north american practice. Or whether there is a loco at both ends – common on steep grades to reduce the coupling strain.

It might work to kill the driver (with blunt force trauma) and cause the train to crash into the starport. We should be able to escape in the ensuing ruckus.

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I like the idea of the scent distractor around the train. We don’t actually need to kill the horses to do it – some horse piss would do just fine, and be pretty non-obvious to humans.

If we can get into the train, and actually inside a container (and secure the container cleanly afterwards) – and leave no traces around either of our entry to the train or the container, we should be fine. Especially if we can get into and reseal a customs sealed container. Perhaps Taeva could use her skill to achieve that (from the outside) – we have the tools, and then rely on her own superior stealth to hide herself elsewhere on the train.

The scent distraction (above) could cause the guards to concentrate their search where the Warhoos go ape, leaving them little time to focus on the rest of the train.

So – we clean up as best we can. Use a stream to wash some of the stench off us.
We collect a litre or two of horse piss. Dispose of the horses however we are agreed to do so.
We hide near the tracks out of sight of the compound.
When the train approaches, we douse the undercarriage of one or two of the lead carriages.
We jump aboard towards the rear third of the train.
Taeva gains entry, we file in.
Taeva opens a sealed container, we hide.
Taeva reseals the container.
Taeva hides herself.
We wait.

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Cool! Thanks for the data on how train brakes work. I told the missus I wasn’t just wasting my time RPGing, lol! So thats out then…hmmm, not against knocking the driver out or killing him, but unless we can make it look like he passed out, fell, and hit his head (can we do that..?) then they’ll suspect foul play (not that they would’ve bought my brake line job as accidental either, lol).

How do trains stop unexpectedly then? Sabotage to the tracks? Derail the train just outside the security area with a “PDF” grenade boobytrap, then sneak in while the emergency crews are busy, maybe at another part of the fence (after Taeva has reconned the mine field- tag girl! you’re it! that’ll teach you to have a character with Stealth AND Explosives)?

Realistically, if we were patient enough, or had worried about our return to the ship before the mission, Taeva would sneak in (on the train or through the field) alone, contact the ship, which would then contact the corrupt port authority official, who would then call his brother in law at a nearby freight loading stop who would then arrange for us to stow away in crates that are left conveniently unsearched (by the corrupt port official) and which would then be loaded onto the ship…of course this would take another week, Taeva getting a message out to us as to where to meet the train to be loaded into the crates, and a lot of “grease” to pay the corrupt port official…

So, all things considered, I vote we tunnel in under the fence with drills and dynamite stolen from the nearby mines (go with me on this, I think I’m on a roll ;-)

Grim/Ian :-)

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Wait, message incoming from God (or the GM, I get confused)…What? There aren’t any mines around here?…Ok, lets go with the Grim/Jie/Arvor group plan outlined by Dom just above…unfortunately, unless the horses are “unidentifiable” (hard to believe there’s an agrarian society with no way to identify livestock ownership, lol), we still have to kill the horses and bury them. Just make sure they piss first :-)

Grim/Ian

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Sorry just catching up.

One key question: is our ship still there-we have been away for some weeks now and its excuse might have worn pretty thin. Nick indicated before it might go and come back again if we took too long.

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Anything we do should not create anything obviously unusual (eg an explosion): that might just result in suspicion and lockdown.

On a completely separate note my character sheet says I have 37, 500 invested in our current venture. Is that right or have I just forgotten to update it (I don’t usually)-I’ve lost track.

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Hmm apparantly we got 81 k after Avistan and I bought some expensive upgrade say 30k so that amount invested seems to make sense.

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It wasn’t parts for the starship that was the cover story, it was some radiators for Ladas that they said they were waiting for. So there’s no need for them to wait any longer as soon as you are onboard.

Jumping on the ship to escape a firefight would not be a good idea as the stealthy exit you have made to date would be blown and your ship is unarmed, whereas Pavabid does have some kind of defenses against ships.

Taeva should be able to rig up the grenades to go up at a specific time.

Because there is so little crime on Pavabid, horses aren’t branded. They just have tags stapled to their ears which are easy to remove.

From your recon (walking around the perimeter while staying within the treeline) you can see that your ship is still there.

As for Taeva’s money, the proceeds from the last trading deal (plus the downpayment on your current mission) comes in at just over 500,000. The money is on the ship at the moment.

With the 150k success bonus, you will all be getting over 100k back to personal funds once you are back on Collace.

Please let me know if you want to make any changes to Arvor’s plan based on any of the above information, otherwise I will start going through it in a few hours.

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That would be funny if they’re not there. How will we know?

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AS I say, are the explosions not counter-productive?

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Max listens to the suggestions before commenting:

“We know ‘ow paranoid they all are about goods comin’ in and out of the starport. I’m not sure Arvor’s plan of just ‘idin’ in a container is gonna mean that they won’t search it.”

“I like a version of Grim’s plan better. If we can’t tamper with the breaks, then ‘ow about someone bonks the driver on the ’ead so it looks like he just went unconscious or somefink? Then we can crash through the gates an’ get out when all hell lets loose.”

“Even if they are panicky when this happens, once we’re back on the ship, we should be able to use that blackmailed guard to save us if they search the ship before letting us take off.”

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Yes, under a version of Arvor’s plan, the grenades would probably just make the guards suspicious.

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Arvor/Grim’s latest plan doesn’t use grenades, just stealth, Horse piss, and patience…

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hmmm. I’ll go with Arvors variation on Grim’s ideea as modified by Max then.

Sneak aboard, hit driver, train crashes, make it to ship, hide. Still use Horse piss to anger Wahroos.

Good to go, Chief.

Grim out for the day, gotta go wait on loving, happy couples at dinner, lol.

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I won’t have much chance to comment tomorrow either one of those stupidly long days not home till late.

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I guess I need someones socks to make a sap then.

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Hmm I should buy a proper one sometime: 1d6 + 1d6 stun + chance to Ko.

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Sorry – didn’t get to post once plan to crash through was decided. We could have ensured that Grim and Taeva were wearing their paramedic costumes.

Once the train has crashed, Grim should release the fuel valves (if necessary) and they should set fire to the loco. That should increase the panic, provide smoke for cover, and probably erase the problem of the driver returning to consciousness and remembering Taeva.

Then if the smoke is helpful, we can either

a) slip away directly to the ship, or if it is not,

b) make our way forwards surreptitiously to the passenger compartments, and start playing the heroes. We can help people out of the train, provide first aid, start yelling at any guards to bring stretchers, let us carry the wounded to a first aid facility etc. Will and Jie can use their medic creds and escort the worst wounded. Perhaps we can even pick-pocket some alternate IDs (just in case).

Obviously with a loco on fire, everyone will have to get as far from the train as possible. We end up mingling with the crowd of passengers moving into the starport area.

Once away from the train itself, we can then attempt to slip away to “The Tide is Turning”. Once on “The Tide” we should immediately hide very well, in case the authorities produce a search warrant before we can legtimately lift off.

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If we do get away, of course Pavabid authorities will remain suspicious. They will be hard pressed to view the chain of sightings + the “accident” at the starport as anything other than the trail of the assassins. However, without any actual prisoners or other hard evidence, it will simply be a pissing match between Pavabid and whoever they might accuse.

It also leaves the door open to producing evidence of some third party with means and motive to have carried out the assassination. For example, word could be sent to the P.D.F. to search a particular Dacha on the outskirts of Twalarsk for a rifle. Once they have the rifle, they can claim responsibility with more evidence than the state possesses.

Perhaps a statement along the lines of “The Imperial Citizenship and Rights Department neither confirms nor denies the existence of or any request for refugee status for any alleged Pavabidian Freedom Fighters” would keep things nice and ambiguous – at the same time as leading towards a desirable conclusion.

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And I bet Pavabid has no extradition treaty with the Imperium.

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NickPendrell

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