Sunday, October 23, 2016

IW 11 - Four raptors in the cargo bay


The CAMEROON has picked up 22 medical refugees from a beleagued Vilani space station near Prometheus IV. They are to set out to the edge of the UWO territory, at the gates of the Vilani Empire.

Friday, August 12, 2016

IW 10 - Orbital decay


The CAMEROON made it through rocky fields and radiation belts to the low orbit of Prometheus IV. They are to deliver 60dT of crated components to build a large Gauss accelerator. However, the Vilani-owned Khurram TOLSOI station is in an unstable orbit and is periodically going over periods of atmospheric friction.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

IW 9 - Diffuse danger


The operators of the TCIV CAMEROON are licensing the use of a Hero-class free trader from a Terran cooperative based in Douala, Cameroon. They scored a rare freight job in a very out-of-the-way location: Khurman Tolstoi station in low-orbit of Prometheus IV. For a reason or another, the UWO has licensed a Vilani company to build a mining station. They have purchased a Gauss accelerator to ferry material between mining locations. However, this type of hardware is highly restricted as it can be rigged into a very large caliber ballistic electromagnetic gun. There is a reason why no Terran corporation has applied for a prospecting license...


Prometheus IV is a distant gaz giant, some 47 AU from the main world. The area is considered "high density planetary belt", with a unusually high radiation belt, and unpatrolled.

Location: Westchester Regional downport, Terra, Terra
Terran timestamp: May 25, 2170 AD

Aeryn arrived in Westchester about 20 minutes before the planned departure. She sneered at the crew and threw her kitbag into her room. She had intended to stay on Terra, but got impressed in no unequivocal terms that she was under contract, and owing a cash advance and thus is in no position to walk away.

Molly confirmed the last of the diagnostic tests on the jump drive. Tom checked the seals on the crates containing the accelerator's parts. Diane ran blu, the pet roboraptor, around the guest accomodation. Anika and Jane were having breakfast in the common room. Everyone went to station. The CAMEROON took off into orbital space for what could be a very long journey as they meant to head into Vilani territory this time. However, the next jump would be the far reaches of Prometheus.

Location: 100D orbital boundary, Prometheus IV, Prometheus
Terran timestamp: June 2, 2170 AD

The jump was tricky and Jane had to redo the calculation twice. Still, the exit turned out to be in a fairly high velocity vector relative to the planet. An ancient planetary event left Prometheus IV's ring into a diffuse shamble. As a result, the approach to the planet would be delicate. She planned a course that would have a net forward vector of 53 mps. At this velocity, any rocks under 3lb would bounce off the hull's armour. Anything larger would either have to be vaporized with the 10MJ laser, or avoided. The reaction time from detection to collision in the worst case scenario would be about 60s. Jane plotted an approach through a lower density route, Anika sat at the gun's station with a large smoothy, and Molly put her finger on the engineer console to manage the power between the thrusters and the laser. The CAMEROON began its 30h journey into what looked on screen like a fireball of radiations. Diane reported no contact with the Khuram Tolstoi station at that time.

Radiation belts are real downers.

Location: 40 light-second from Prometheus IV, Prometheus IV, Prometheus
Terran timestamp: June 2, 2170 AD

Diane picked up a suspicious item on the fringe of its detection envelope, some 25,000 miles away. Its vector not too far off the CAMEROON's, and currently accelerating to match. The radiations were too much to establish connection, so everyone slipped into battle station. Tom, promoted to tactical commander on the bridge ordered a steady course. The contact, probably smaller than the CAMEROON, attempted a maneuver. However, a dense field of rocks forced it into an opposite vector. Diane kept the array's focus, but the contact kept on blinking in and out of sight due to a mixture of radiation, ice crystals and space rocks.

The CAMEROON still couldn't make connection with the Tolstoi. Although no one on board could notice, Jane kept on pushing forward while dodging rocks as the ship's inbound vector component reached 53.2 mps.

Time passed, the radiation grew into a raging fury ionizing the edges of things on the ship's outer shell. Aeryn started to vomit and had to lie down. The crew otherwise was feeling as if they could get ill, but trusted the protection of the nanodrug that they popped when they arrived.

A hero-class free trader entered the situational display. It was clearly on an interception vector. Communications at 10,000 miles in this radioactive mess wasn't possible. Molly readied the power boost routine, but Tom didn't made the call. Jane plotted an escape deeper into the rings and worked a vector against the contact's efforts. The free trader kept a parallel course but slowly faded into the torrent of noise on the array. Diane then reported extreme fatigue, skin-level blisters and nausea.

Location: low-orbit, Prometheus IV, Prometheus
Terran timestamp: June 3, 2170 AD

The Khurram Tolstoi entered the sensor range when the CAMREOON made it out of the inner radiation belt. Radiation levels went below the danger threshold for medium-term exposure. A solution to the station required about 6h to interception. It became clear that KT station was in the early stage of orbital decay. Diane reported a high temperature surface on the station as its perigee brushed against the troposphere.

Dr. Aarlen Smi-Tolstoi, the station's commander, finally established contact and reported that the station was in difficulty. They needed orbital correction, and some 20 Vilanis were seeking evacuation. They ultimately wanted to go back to Nusku, but would be amenable to simply catch a ride to Prometheus' mainworld to buy commercial passages. Without orbital correction, which the station was no longer able to perform with their weak RCS thusters, they would not accept the delivery.

The crew started to brainstorm on ways to monetize the trip. They could use the CAMEROON's powerful thrusters to perform the correction, but this would require a multi-body EVA to somehow fasten the ship and the station together in some kind of way to align the center of mass to the thrust vector. That rescue ought to be worth good money. They also looked at the 20 evacuees as premium passages, possibly going as far as Nusku (6 pcs, 3 jump-2). All of the payoff was, however, contingent to the rescue of the station from turning into a fireball.

Character Cast

  • Tom Anders: Retired Marine, gruff, good hearted. Now get off his cargo hold.
  • Diane Ayetou: born rich and far less qualified than given credit for. Gets an A for A-fort.
  • Jane Calhoun: Business-like business end of things. Reluctant pilot, appreciate spirits and solitude.
  • Anika Kaprescu: Recluse. Did some time, killjoy. The ship’s cat.
  • Aeryn Lorien: Stumbling steward, athlete and nurse. Gets the ribbon for caring the most.
  • Molly Pepper: Engineer and ship’s puppy. Her giggles are wasted on the crew.

Friday, July 15, 2016

IW 8 - Sake at Gonpachi


The crew is chilling in Japan, if at all possible. While three of them are investigating a sham NGO in the city of Tsukuba, Diane Ayatou is shopping in the strangest of places.


Tsukuba is a city to the North of Tokyo. It is of interest in this story because a research group in the University of Tsukuba has a track record of publication in the reviving of saurien genomes. It is the home of the Rising Sun Mission as well.

Campus of the University of Tsukuba

Location: Tsukuba, Terra, Sol system
Terran timestamp: May 14th, 2170 AD

While Jane and Anika are heading to the restaurant to meet the director of the NGO, Aeryn decides to split. She withdraws an advance of 2KCr from the ship's funds and disappears into the subway station underneath.

Jane and Anika arrive at the restaurant, clearly underdressed. They turn around and Jane bankrolls some clothes shopping. Jane returns as a business woman while Anika insists in sporting her dreadlocks with a schoolgirl combo. The doorman let them through this time. The hostess is polite, and offer them delicacies. Jane inquires about Mr. Toyo and passes along her business card. A young man, calling himself Yuji, tests the water until it becomes clear that the two women appear to know about the water purifier scam.

Some 15 minutes later, they are led into a private room and catch the eye of an important looking man on the way. Jane gets the chill at his sight. In the private room, Mr. Toyo informs the crewladies that there is not enough raptor meat produced to sustain the market on Terra. Jane tried real hard to convince him that she has the team to supply, but comes out sounding naive and baffled.

The two walk out of the restaurant and head for a lower-class joint for many beers, a burger and a lot of karaoke. When the night is as good as done, the two jump on the bullet train to return to Tokyo.

Location: Tokyo's Regional downport, Terra, Sol system
Terran timestamp: May 14th, 2170 AD

Tom and Molly busy themselves in the CAMEROON. Tom cleaning the cargo hold and Molly with the jump-drive. Molly is cheerful and her laughter makes the play stay alive. Tom convinces her to lear the basics of self-defence and passes along some of the basics. Clearly, Molly sees the whole thing as a novelty.

As they are lying on the floor of the main hold, Diane enters the room and get a droid to drop a large box. She pops the box open, and from it comes out a 3' tall robotic raptor. She laugh hysterically.

"It is the new ship's pet.", they look at her, perplexed.
"It's got a fire-extinguisher that's builtin."

Molly and Tom stare at the mini raptors, then back at Diane.

"Its name is Blue."

Location: Tokyo's Regional downport, Terra, Sol system
Terran timestamp: May 15th, 2170 AD

On the following day, Aeryn confirms that she will catch up with the CAMEROON by the 25th at the latest. The crew gets cleared to leave Japan and fly at the edge of space to New-York city to meet with a arms dealer called Atlantis. There, they binge in the purchase of all things weapons without the constraints of regulations. Anika gets herself an automatic shotgun, a loadout gauss pistol and a carbine. Jane and the others buy a number of 3mm needlers.

They still don't know what is going on with Aeryn in Japan, but the crew intends to up the ante and travel far from Earth. Over the next 10 days, Molly heads to Vancouver Island to see the family, Anika spends it at the rifle range, Tom relaxes in New York while Jane drinks on her own in her cabin. The next score will be a big one. Time to unwind.

Location: New York, Terra, Sol system
Terran timestamp: May 25th, 2170 AD

The crew of the CAMEROON are taking possession of its cargo today. The main cargo is rated as highly restricted: it is made of 60dT of packages parts to make a large gauss accelerator. It is restricted because it could be used to make a supergun. However, it is destined to Prometheus IV, a gas giant on the frontier.  The terms of the shipment forbid the recruitment of passengers.

The station on Prometheus IV is a private venture. It is a station in construction and what appears to be an unstable orbit. The entire orbital zone is cluttered with the rocks from a diffuse ring system. The radiation levels are such that the crew has to sink 10KCr in anti-radiation nanodrug. They shall earn their 626KCr for what this is worth.

Meanwhile, Aeryn has yet to report to the ship.

Character Cast

  • Tom Anders: Retired Marine, gruff, good hearted. Now get off his cargo hold.
  • Diane Ayetou: born rich and far less qualified than given credit for. Gets an A for A-fort.
  • Jane Calhoun: Business-like business end of things. Reluctant pilot, appreciate spirits and solitude.
  • Anika Kaprescu: Recluse. Did some time, killjoy. The ship’s cat.
  • Aeryn Lorien: Stumbling steward, athlete and nurse. Gets the ribbon for caring the most.
  • Molly Pepper: Engineer and ship’s puppy. Her giggles are wasted on the crew.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

IW 7 - Big in Japan


The crew of the CAMEROON extracted two bait hunters and three baits from the clasp of engineered raptors. Anika spent a while on the operating table to rescue her left lung and arm. The crew is in jumpspace, heading back to Terra, and pondering how to capitalize on the knowledge of a raptor farm on Prometheus.

The farm was located deep into the hinterland, and allegedly ran by the local kingpin of Brethrow. There, wealthy hunter purchased convicts to act as bait to a roving pack of raptors. The goal of such hunt: save the baits (which is apparently very likely to fail).


Terra is the old familiar world for the reader, except that the year is 2170 and the planet is recovering from a massive orbital bombing where 12 cities were damaged with nuclear warheads. True to themselves, terrans are survivors and the planet is back on the economic rebound: a haven for free traders and mega-freighters alike.

Location: 100D Orbital space, Terra, Terra system
Terran timestamp: May 9-10th, 2170 AD

The staff room was alive with debate over the raptor questions. While Anika was recovering from her near-death encounter with the raptors, Aeryn busied herself with the research of all things dinosaurs. She advocated taking over production and exploit the raptors to the fullest. Most of the crew objected as it didn't jive with the license held over the CAMEROON for the next 16 months. Many also refused to engage in criminal activities are they were recently out of prison, or proudly never sent there in the first place.

Marion, recently a bait hunter turned bait, was interrogated from the recovery table in the infirmary. He did not know how his brother-in-law had made contact with the game master. All that he knew was that they had purchased a very expensive water purification system and donated it to an NGO called "Rising Sun Mission".

The CAMEROON was now close enough to synchronize with the live terran internet. Aeryn bypassed the usual MMA news and instead researched the NGO. She discovered that it was based in Tuskuba: a suburb of Tokyo. Probably not coincidentally, located in the same city as the Inagaki group from which there was a track record of raptor engineering publications.

Given that raptor products such as meat, skins and bones were legal but controlled, germ lines restricted and live animals banned, the crew decided to keep it straight and investigate the ability to import legal products into bigger markets such as Terra and Nusku. A list of five star restaurants along the Pacific Rim was brought up as a starting point.

Organic, dubiously fed, Promethean raptor coming to a supermarket near you.

Location: Highport GAIA, Terran low-orbit, Terra system
Terran timestamp: May 13th, 2170 AD

While the CAMEROON waited in queue for a berth, then contracted the freight handlers to empty its hold, Jane busied at building a 4-week forecast for raptor products.  She discovered a high demand, and virtually no supply as there is no commercial production anywhere near Terra and Nusku. The only live raptors are in small research facilities and unable to provide a commercial output. Potential buyers are lined up, all that is needed is a supplier.  The good news is that THEY have an inside lane to an illegal one a single jump away.

Further research into the NGO returned an interesting picture. It turns out that the "Rising Sun Mission" has provided an inordinate number of water purification systems to the community of Brethrow, Prometheus. Aeryn counted about 5 such donations in the last 12 months.  Jane, Anika and Aeryn decided to find more out about the NGO just by showing up to its headquarter in Tsukuba.

While the CAMEROON was performing an inclination correction, Diane spotted a highly valuable freight job for the 25th. She checked the terms: it was a highly restricted cargo shipped from a weapon manufacturer's facility and to be delivered to a construction site orbiting Prometheus IV, a frontier gas giant. As deputy for the UWO, they automatically qualified for the background check. The other terms was the presence of a security detail, no passengers, a ship sweep and secrecy. The competition for the job was fierce, but the crew got the gig for 626KCr. They planned for a full hold for the 25th.

Location: Tokyo Regional downport,  Terra system
Terran timestamp: May 14th, 2170 AD

According to Japanese laws, foreign starships are forbidden to enter atmospheric airspace unless on an authorized vector to the Tokyo Regional Downport (TRD). The crew landed and got hit by the predictable culture shock. Diane decided to go shopping for the next awesome thing while Jane, Aeryn and Anika bought bullet train tickets to Tsukuba.

The Rising Sun Mission HQ was no more than a hole in a wall in downtown Tsukuba. Its neighbours were importers and rental space for transient business. The receptionist was named Miho. She promptly instructed the three women to go away when they asked to talk to the NGO's director. She specified that there was no charitable donation heading for Prometheus, and that the NGO itself wasn't contracting freight directly in the first place: it relied on the logistics of benefactors. Jane dropped a 100Cr, and Miho revealed that the director's name was Mr. Toyo, and that he operated from a restaurant a few block away from this location. Aeryn found out that this restaurant was on her list of place where raptor meat had been eaten in the past.

They set out to talk to Toyo, in hope that this would lead to the administrative head of the raptor farm on Prometheus, and thus define the other end of the sale's pipeline.

Toyo and Miho, as well as the gun dealer contact are added to the Character Cast page.

Character Cast

  • Tom Anders: Retired Marine, gruff, good hearted. Now get off his cargo hold.
  • Diane Ayetou: born rich and far less qualified than given credit for. Gets an A for A-fort.
  • Jane Calhoun: Business-like business end of things. Reluctant pilot, appreciate spirits and solitude.
  • Anika Kaprescu: Recluse. Did some time, killjoy. The ship’s cat.
  • Aeryn Lorien: Stumbling steward, athlete and nurse. Gets the ribbon for caring the most.
  • Molly Pepper: Engineer and ship’s puppy. Her giggles are wasted on the crew.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Researching Raptors

Aeryn wants to learn more about raptors and their commercial applications.  The best time to search will be once that the CAMEROON comes out of jumpspace and synchronizes its data packet with Terra (Expert resolution@18). The cached version is only high resolution @14.


She is not versed in academic research (Research-9), but her Biology(garden worlds)-11 certainly can support. Furthermore, the ship's onboard AI can provide a +1 as well. This gives her a Research-11. She rolls a 5, a margin of success of +6: an unusual level of detail is revealed.

  • The raptors encountered are NOT real raptors, but hybrids of Terran ancient genes and Prometheus reptiles. Their size altered using gene editing to make them more prized game. Aeryn has a Bioengineering book on the topic, actually.
  • Raptor products are LC4 such as meat, skin and bones. Regulated usage on Terra and Prometheus.
  • Raptor germ material (eggs, clone cultures, genomes) is LC3. Restricted to research under strict ethical guidelines.
  • Live raptors are LC2. Banned under most jurisdictions. (Terra and Prometheus are CR4, but Brethrow seems to be a more relaxed CR3).
  • Aeryn has the contact information of 4 leading research groups in Terran universities on raptor engineering. 
    • Breton-Lewis group at the Museum of Natural History, London, Terra. 
    • Qi group at Xerces University, Mars.
    • Inagaki group, University of Tsukuba.
    • Shurmed group, Nusku Institute of Natural History.
  • Aeryn knows that there is a market for raptor products on Terra in Asian markets. She has a list of restaurants that allegedly serve such products. 
    • Mainly institution in mainland China, Japan and Vancouver, Canada.
  • Aeryn knows that Promethean authority would shutdown a raptor farm if they knew about it, and would prosecute if said farm was located on the main continent. 
    • One such farm was dismantled in the lowland near the north pole a few years ago.
  • Aeryn knows that raptor hunt and bait rescue hunts are very lucrative. Raptor hunting may be legal in Brethrow, but certainly not bait rescue hunts. A week probably bring in ~200K to the operators. 
  • Aeryn knows about another eminent scientist in Saurien behavioural sciences, and has a list of recent graduates from her group.
    • Prof. Dean Harrow-Smith, MNH (London), currently on sabbatical with the Qi group on Mars.

Friday, June 17, 2016

IW 6 - Human trafficking


The CAMEROON has rescued one of its client, and three "targets". They are now trying to find a way to maximize profit amid a legally and ethically dark grey area while remaining on the high ground.

The air is thick enough to make soup with it.


Prometheus is the oldest Terran colony. Brethrow is a distant developing nation where little laws are in effect. The air is thick, the temperature an uncomfortable 35C(95F). The topography is made of mountains covered by a dense jungles. The hunting ground is located 700km North of Brethrow. The environment is best described as somewhere between a mangrove and a jungle.

The insertion spot (purple), the creek (orange), the cave entrance and exit (blue).

Location: Hovering over the jungle canopy, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

Marion's mangled body is hoisted on the sickbay's table as Aeryn, Molly and Flo are planning the surgery. While Tom jumps in the shower, Diane and Jane are most interested in the three "targets". One of the target, Porfirio, seems to be a man of higher stature. He explains that the hunters purchased 11 prisoners to act as raptor bait for a life-sized capture the "flags" adventure. He shares the location of the base camp, where the game master probably is.
The two other targets, who look more like tough cookies, reveal gladly that after Philip's death, they decided to use Marion as a bait to give a few of them a chance to escape. The plan went badly and only one of them had seemingly escaped.
Porfirio then reveals that the mayor/dictator in Brethrow, Hijo Stamellas,  had sold their lives against a large-scale water purification system. Porfirio offered a good sum to take his revenge on Stamellas.
The crew members were more interested in recovering Philip's body from the cave so that a claim on his life insurance be made. Anika and Tom decided to head back down shortly after Tom managed to put the 10mm Gauss railgun (dinosaur gun) together.

Location: Jungle floor, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

Diane used the sensor array to identify movement under the canopy. She guessed that these were 2-3 raptors circling around the cave entrance. As Tom and Anika geared to descend in the air raft, she engaged with a sustained fire downward to burn the foliage to the ground. Amid the wood cracking in the steam and smouldering foliage, Tom struggled with the raft. They landed on the floor more or less blinded by steam, smoke and the impenetrable green of the jungle. With them, Rey, a psychopathic-looking target whom they equipped with the ship's shotgun.

Hey, Anika, you smell like lunch.
The advance in the foliage was slow and noisy. It got interrupted when they reached the pile of bodies and a raptor ambushed them out of the blue. Tom snapped a few 10mm shot and tore the raptor's left leg with the overpowered gun. The beast struggled, but soon the bodies of the three dead targets were on board. Anika, shaken from the ambush, trader her Gauss pistol for Tom's rifle. She had no intention to head down into the tunnel. Tom jumped in, shortly followed by Rey. 

Anika never saw the second ambusher until its fangs had penetrated her nanoweave suit and punctured her lung. In the struggle, the raptor nearly cleaned the flesh from her left arm's bone, severing the main artery and vein.

As her eyesight blurred by the fountain of blood, she could see Flo rapelling from above and the shots of Rey's shotgun felling the beast.

Location: Brethrow, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

The medbot "Flo" saved the lungs but admitted defeat with the arm. Anika, an exceptionally strong woman, had survived the shock and the hemorrhage, but her arm was still more or less detached from her body. The CAMEROON flew to Brethrow after contacting a surgeon there. They rushed Anika to his practice. There, Aeryn, Flo and Molly spent the next three hours assisting the surgeon on a very difficult procedure to save Anika's arm.

In the ship, the guest became reckless. Porfirio demanded to be released so that he could get his men to bring him to a safe place. The two other targets showed no interest in returning to Brethrow where they were convicted criminals. After some tough negotiations,  Porfirio transferred 5KCr and waited for the night to exit the ship.

Anika returned late in the evening, stable but still in a critical conditions (-20HP). The CAMEROON left Prometheus and dropped the last two targets in a low-orbit transit station. As the ship sped to the 100D line for a return jump to Terra. They agreed with Marion that he would pay 25KCr for his safe return home. The crew wanted more, but the threat to turn him over for human trafficking rang hollow as they would have gotten no money out of following this option.

Location: Jumpspace, Terra-bound
Terran timestamp: May 2, 2170 AD

The crew decided to look into the business opportunity granted by the presence of farmed raptors on Prometheus. No one really knew how to capitalize this, but it smelled like a high-profit venture.  The all settled for the quiet drone of the jumpdrive for the next 7 days.

Character Cast

  • Tom Anders: Retired Marine, gruff, good hearted. Now get off his cargo hold.
  • Diane Ayetou: born rich and far less qualified than given credit for. Gets an A for A-fort.
  • Jane Calhoun: Business-like business end of things. Reluctant pilot, appreciate spirits and solitude.
  • Anika Kaprescu: Recluse. Did some time, killjoy. The ship’s cat.
  • Aeryn Lorien: Stumbling steward, athlete and nurse. Gets the ribbon for caring the most.
  • Molly Pepper: Engineer and ship’s puppy. Her giggles are wasted on the crew.