Third Expanse

Well, if you're buying

Session Six – November, 12
As written by Future associate of Xander Rhysland

So, you want to hear what happened next to the crew of the Jewel? And from me? Well, sure if you’re buying another round. But I gotta tell ya, the one I heard the account from may not be all that reliable, if those scars on the sides of his head were any indication. Seems like he’d been through a lot, poor kid.

Anyway, if you insist… There they were, in an alien ruin on the far side of a barely-settled jungle world, with weird tech lighting up all around them in response to the psychics’ and the hacker’s meddling. The records they found suggested the research team, or what was left of them, had barricaded themselves in what seemed like a medbay.

With one of the doors giving off the impression of something like a medbay, the crew decided to explore that way, though not before preparing to make a quick profit, even if they had to make a quick getaway. You know, priorities. They unhooked the researchers’ hard-drive array and piled them up, ready to be scooped up in a hurry if necessary. Then, with Aniah operating the console using one of those translating devices mounted to the alien machines, the doors opened to what looked like an elevator.

They got in and pressed a button, but didn’t feel any movement after the doors closed. This didn’t fool that Xander kid, though. He could tell they were moving somewhere, and fast. Soon enough, (though not soon enough for the Captain John, whose hand was now in excruciating pain), the doors opened into a new, even weirder area. Another console sat in front of them in the middle of an open room, with three hallways behind. One led down and to the right, one to the center, and one up and to the left. From what I understand, the one in the center was covered in some kind of black, ugly looking growth, and the whole area was lit in a low glow.

The crew went about exploring around the room. Aniah and Archer checked out the console, which didn’t seem to have the same jury-rigged interface as the others. Chittery got a closer look at the black stuff, being careful not to touch it himself, while Xander paced between the doorways sensing something, and John did what all good bosses do and watched while his crew endangered themselves, keeping an ever-watchful eye out for potential sources of profit. He tried feeling out for a clue on where to go from his hand, but there was nothing.

The crew noticed that the black stuff had been smeared or dragged into the room and down the center hallway, but whatever it was didn’t seem to be responding to them, so they just decided to avoid it.

Xander pulled Archer away from his watching Aniah’s tinkering with the alien console and got the Vuri to confirm what he was sensing – psychic impressions from the hallways suggested a purpose for where each one led – some kind of mental focusing on the right, medical in the center, and exercise on the left. Following the right-hand rule (what, it’s the left-hand rule? Ok, well they’re even dumber than I thought then), the intrepid explorers descended the right hallway until it split off into two directions. Sticking right, the hallway started curving around to a door and another split, but the door caught the crew’s attention.

It opened as they approached, showing a bare, circular room with a reclined seat in the center. They looked around the room, not finding anything, while Xander climbed up into the chair in the first of what would be “a series of selfless experiments for the good of science and discovery, in the spirit of humanity’s finest pioneers.” That’s how he said it, anyway. I told ya, those scars didn’t look good. Anyway, having a hunch of what this room was for, he set about trying to meditate and call upon his powers. Blaming his lack of success on the distracting influence of his crewmates, he asked them all to leave the room. When the last foot walked past the door, it slammed shut behind them, trapping Xander inside. He was somewhat unnerved to find himself also trapped in the seat, unable to move a muscle, as though he was held down by some invisible force. He had wanted peace and quiet, though, so it wasn’t all bad. He went back to trying to meditate again.

Meanwhile, the crew didn’t take too kindly to being shut out. Aniah, especially, was incensed that the alien technology had so far resisted her hacking. She set about trying to rectify that, prying loose a panel to find a gel-covered network that looked more like a living nervous system than a circuit-board. Not sure how to apply the usual hacking techniques to such a device, Aniah did the next best thing and straight-up shocked it with electricity, watching as the gel reacted to absorb the arcing discharge. Noticing the technology’s biological nature, Chittery took a closer look, recognizing it as somewhat similar to neural structure. He suggested that perhaps this was the ruin’s brain, with the small rooms serving as some kind of conduit or control chamber for it. Aniah, meanwhile, got to thinking that if the thing was similar to a brain, maybe a drug would work on it, and pulled out some tranquilizer (because of course the Squeelah would be walking around everywhere with drugs in her pockets). Injecting that into the gel seemed to do the trick, or something, anyway, since the door popped back open and Xander popped back up, clearly annoyed at having had his meditation broken. Turns out he had sensed some things while he was sitting there – something like being told he was not ready, and a warning of a violation of some sort, right before the door reopened.

Some sort of alarm-like noise had started sounding off sometime after the lockout, echoing from down the hallway they had veered away from. The crew ignored it some more, first checking the rest of the way in the other direction, finding nothing but other rooms like the one Xander had been trapped in, and a door seeming to lead off elsewhere. Finally, they decided to check out the noise, finding a large room with a number of devices and consoles. Archer went over to the console with the alarm, and tried to make sense of what it was saying, while the rest explored around. Aniah and Chittery discovered a small pile of blue powder in the corner, which Chittery first determined was most likely the drug, Crystal Blue, before confirming it with just a small, harmless taste.

Not to be outdone in the title-fight for Most Questionable Judgment, Xander meanwhile let himself get overly curious about some strange circles on the ground that lit up whenever someone walked by. He studied one for a moment before deciding to step on, only to duck away at the last second as a contraption began descending towards him. He studied that, too, watching tendril-like wires tipped with pads of some sort reeling back up into the ceiling. Then, in what he assured me was an act of extreme bravery and faith, but what I can only assume was the result of some blow to the head he’d suffered in the locked room earlier, he stepped back on and let those tendrils go to work.

I think he was expecting something less…what’d he say…“invasive” than what happened, like some kinda scan or psychic interface like he’d been encountering, I guess. But nope, kid got a right good alien head-probing. Old-school style. Seems kinda appropriate, considering how into the classics he was – and I mean the old classics. Anyway, those pad things stuck right to his head and cut him open so the little wire things could go to work. The console Archer was monitoring lit up, showing the kid’s brain and something happening to it. Xander says he could feel something trying to “get in”, and sounded almost like he was tempted to let it, but I guess the whole drilling through his skull thing put him off enough to fight the thing’s control. It stopped after a while of him resisting, the machine pulling back out of his brain and leaving him in what he described as the most spectacular pain, and with some holes in his head, but otherwise fine.

While all that was going on, Chittery had been having a good time. Or a bad time. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never touched the stuff. But either way, Aniah must have gotten concerned for her Draziri friend, and started using whatever she could think of on the poor doctor to reverse the effects of the Blue Crystal. She got something that worked to snap Chittery back to reality, but it had the unfortunate effect of inducing projectile vomit right back onto Aniah. Disgusted to the point of near-insanity, the Squeelah fled in a panicked search for the nearest source of water to wash off with, right around the time Xander came to the end of his ordeal (what kinda crew goes planetside to a strange location without taking water along, anyway? Am I right? Hey, how ’bout another round!)

Not much longer after the doc set about patching up the result of Xander’s stupidity, I mean intrepid discovery, a shot of gunfire echoed in the metal corridors from down the hall. Poor Aniah, frustrated to the point of rage by the lack of any obvious source of water, and unable to replicate her earlier success with hacking the alien doors, had resorted to pulling out her gun and just shooting the fuckin’ panel (girl after my own heart, that one). This, unfortunately, did not have the effect she desired, though it did briskly summon her crew and captain to her location. Xander, at least, had come prepared with water and, even better, cleaning gel, so Aniah was finally given some relief from her misery, and the crew could survey where the Squeelah had led them. Straight to the center room, with that creepy black stuff spread along one wall, and four doors on the wall opposite the entrance. With these doors responding to the (what’d you call them?) Psychic Dynamic Duo like the others, the crew decided to venture forth, starting with the door farthest from the black stuff.

Entering what seemed like an airlock or decontamination chamber, the doors they came through closed, and soon they were bathed in a colored light display. It seemed harmless enough to everyone except for John, whose hand, or whatever was in it, once again seemed like it was trying to kill him. Just when it seemed like it would be too much for the cap to handle, the lightshow stopped and the inner doors opened to what could be a lab. A large table with a wraparound console was in the center of the room, seemingly of an older style than the other tech they’d seen, and a pair of doors appearing to lead to one of the other rooms adjoining an airlock. That must have been a relief for Cap’n John, knowing they could explore without going through that again.

So the crew messed around with that room, and the next (another lab of some sort, I’d guess from the sound of it), and then the one after that, until finally the last room revealed itself – pitch dark, and covered in that black growth. This room proved much more interesting, with someone spotting a set of transparent chambers containing the black stuff, one of which had been busted out of, and then a set of what looked like bodies, covered in the stuff. Soon a voice pierced the silence, a female, Draziri voice. It told them they were in danger, and they had to go. The crew tried responding – this was who they were here for, after all – but there was no answer. The woman repeated the warning, and it dawned on the crew what they were hearing: A radio, from one of the corpses.

Now, I’m with Archer and whoever else thought going for that radio would be too risky, but don’t try telling that to Xander. I get the sense if you tell that guy something’s impossible he’s going to do it just to prove you wrong or die trying. And well, sounds like he very nearly did last time.

But hey, if you’re staying for the next part, how’s about another round?

Deliveries and other ruined things

Session Five – October
As wriiten by Archer

They had been divided into two groups. There were those that had decided to stay upon the Astraea’s Jewel, in order to look after the remaining cargo crates, and there were those that had traveled down to the surface in order to deliver the first of said cargo crates!

(Though said latter group’s first reaction, upon learning that the esteemed representative of the Yang Si restauranteur franchise would not be arriving for quite a few hours from the time that they made landfall on Rivendell, was not to unload their cargo at the platform and return to the ship in order to gather more crates so that when the representative did arrive, there would be more crates to haul away than just two, presuming that they did not manage to transfer the other crates down to their landing platform. Oh no, a practical action on the behalf of a ship crew! Perish the thought! No, their response was to go rent a buggy and leave behind their totally defenseless shuttle!)

Those that had remained aboard ship, however, had had to valiantly (and by valiantly I mean Leslie shot dudes in the leg or the dick when they tried to get on his ship, isn’t anyone getting action on his ride if he’s not!) defend the Astraea from takeover by pirates. Said defense had succeeded, though it seemed that after the first few, they had…chosen? The discretion being better than valor option of getting the fuck away from this dick-shooting maniac with a hand cannon, and retreated. Well, perhaps that was not quite right; they flew away from the Astraea, and they then blew themselves up. Not exactly par for the course when boarders get repelled. Usually that involves more “We’ll be back!” and vows of eternal vengeance against the defenders.

“Well, that was…different,” Archer stated as they watched the pirate vessel’s ruins drift around, the ship having destroyed itself. “Can you move us closer to the wreckage?” Leslie asked him. “The ship’s blown to shit, but there might be some stuff in there that is salvageable.”

“Yeah, no problem. I’m not a pilot, but I think I can program a course and fire the engines just enough to get us over there. We’ll need someone manning the cargo arms if there’s anything substantial to bring inside.” Archer headed over to the pilot’s chair to start the programming. He might not be a pilot, but tech was definitely in his house.

“What if we ran passes through the wreckage?” Leslie asked him. “Like a scoop through sand. Couldn’t we get things that way?”

“Definitely. But…and I think you’ll agree with me when you see this, I’ve spotted at least one thing there that we’ll need the cargo arms for. Have a look.” He pressed a button on the control chair and blew up part of the screen, enlarging it for everyone else.

Sadhva tilted her head as the screen’s resolution increased. “Is that what I think it is?”

“If by ‘what,’ you mean ‘a heavily damaged but quite possibly still operating spacefighter,’ you’d be right.” Archer answered.

“Does it still work?” Leslie asked, already counting the millions if not tens of millions of credits that it would be worth. “That, I can’t say. It looks pretty torn up, though. But the fact that it’s not totally disintegrated means that at least the hull held together. I’ll have a look at it when we get it into the cargo bay. It’s a tight fit, but when Xander and the rest come back with the shuttle, it should fit along with the rest of Yang Si’s crates.” Pressing another button, they proceeded towards the debris field, first to pick up the damaged fighter, and then to run their collection sweeps over the area. Sadhva, in the meantime, contacted both the merchant ships that she had easily persuaded to come to their aide, as well as the ground crew to inform them that everything was fine; boarders repelled.

Of course, those that had chosen to leave behind the shuttle, when they returned, had discovered that surprise surprise, someone had taken a key piece of the shuttle! It could still fly, but there was absolutely no chance of it getting off the planet! That was when, naturally, a shady character by the moniker of Sprite told them that there might be a replacement piece for them at her junkyard, just as long as one favor deserved another, right?

After all, what’s just a little corruption to make sure you get what you want?

After agreeing to help, and the repair of the shuttle, the ground crew flew to the alien ruins on Rivendell, dropping off Sprite, who promptly disappeared. Speaking of promptly disappearing, Aniah. It had occurred to our others on the ground that she had not been seen for some time…at least, not after she had borrowed the buggy and rode away from the spaceport with it. Then again, Aniah was a big (?) girl, she could probably handle herself.

At the alien ruins, Xander and Chitterie had the opportunity to run into one of the researchers there, who informed them that they were fine here in the public space, since the research team had already been over this entire structure with every last instrument that they had, and it had just raised more questions than answers.

Like the question of that weird mattress. Chitterie had first raised the question, which was then echoed by the research representative; they had both cut the mattress, but the material dissolved into dust in their hands…but then re-formed on the mattress when it was deposited there. Quite strange.

As for work, the errant ruin-hunting duo did manage to get a little more side-work; another outpost belonging to the researchers had gone quiet and not been heard from in the last few weeks. This was odd – they normally sent a weekly dispatch to the main post – but it was theorized that something might have simply gone wrong with their comms on the other end, but since they were asking, could they go over there and check it out pretty please? (Of course, came the answer of the man who would literally not turn down business, even if it was from his drug-dealing lout of a brother.)

It was around this time that they decided to get back to the landing platform, as the time was nearly up. Arriving there, the representatives of the Yang Si franchise were there, waiting for them. Xander attempted to introduce cordially, but Chitterie managed to beat him out with a traditional Xin Xia greeting, which caused one of those more hilarious cultural misunderstandings! (Well, it was hilarious in the fact that at least nobody got killed over it. Though Xander probably deserved it for acting like an idiot instead of an entrepreneur. You could have just transferred the cargo, Xander, but oh no…)

The crates were shipped down to the surface, the price of fifteen hundred units per crate paid by Yang Si’s representatives, and the Astraea’s first legitimate business transaction was closed! (Albeit errantly, as someone had forgotten that the price originally stated was a thousand units per crate, but hey, what’s an extra five thousand credits for knowing space Chinese, right?)

Back aboard ship, with full complement this time (Aniah had managed to show up sometime before the Early Riser took off from Rivendell for the final time), they started to pilot around the planet to engage in their side businesses: the research outpost, and that thing that was in Leslie’s hand. (That was absolutely totally not a dick.) Engaging the engines, they began to orbit, as it would take a few hours to reach the location.

“Rhysland. I need to speak to you.” That was Archer. The pilot nodded and followed him to the shuttle bay, where the captured fighter stood. “That was some impressive work, getting something like this.”

“Thank you. Now, I’ve had a look over the craft, and I can tell you that, while heavily damaged, it is still operable, and we can almost certainly get it repaired to its full working state. Whether or not we wish to keep it, sell it as it is now, or sell it when it is finally repaired in totality, that it another matter…”

The Vuri let his speech drift off, as if there was sentence that he was leaving unfinished. Xander decided to take him up on it.

“What do you think?”

“I believe…I believe that it is best we do not sell the ship. And I will show you why. Look here.” Archer indicated a place on the craft, where he had in his diagnostic discovered something. “What you see there is a CRuSh drive.”

“I thought you couldn’t make CRuSh drives for craft this size.”

“So did I. And yet, here there is one, aboard this captured ex-pirate fighter. Now, I will say this. I am not sure how the drive works with the fighter’s systems, but I can tell you that it is not integral, it will not prevent me from returning the fighter to full active status. As if it had just rolled off the assembly line, if you will.”

“A fighter with a CRuSh drive…scary thought.” Xander commented.

“Indeed. There are not many, if any at all, in Sagittarius that I would trust with this technology, with this knowledge. I have even chosen not to trust some aboard ship with the knowledge, so please, do not tell Captain Leslie.”

“You didn’t tell him, but you told me?”

“The money, women, song, it is all with him. I do not trust that he would keep the secret of this fighter quiet; he would probably play it up, try and use it as a selling point to gank more money out of the purchaser. You are not so much…enamored, for lack of a better word. You yourself just said it now – the idea of someone having a jump-capable fighter, or being able to produce one, there is something wrong with this picture. I can trust that you will keep survival and the best interest of the wider world in mind, even if it means compromising the best interest of the crew.”

“Of course. Anything else?”

“There is one other matter. A CRuSh drive jump takes eleven days, no matter what the distance. And yet, there are no life-support measures aboard this craft for that length of time. Food might be easily handled, as the typical person does not starve to death after a mere eleven days, but water…that is of concern. We have a ship that is not only thought impossible, but is highly impractical.”

“So what’s it used for?”

Around the other side of the planet, the Astraea finally locked itself into geosynchronous orbit with the landing site of the research outpost. With everyone aboard the shuttle this time, they headed down to the surface, finding the research camp not far away…and in that research camp? Bodies. Corpses.

Well, this job was off to a thrilling start! Or finish, rather, since they had technically determined what had happened to…at least some of the research team? (Normally, at this point Archer would start insisting that they decide tomorrow is another day and just get the hell out of here, but the thing in Leslie’s hand – no, the other thing you perverts – still required that they be here.) Proceeding inside the complex, the question of a…fog? Mist? Something definitely strange, though, was asked and…maybe kind of answered? At least enough to say ‘we’re going in, screw that spooky fog thing.’

Inside, it was discovered that…you know what? I’m just going to call it Leslie’s Job GPS from now on, so people stop making jokes! Leslie’s Job GPS lead them in the direction of where they needed to go. Mostly by pain inside his hand. (Must come from…no. I’m not going there, I’m the narrator!)

With the help of the Psychic Dynamic Duo, Archer and Xander, they managed to at least divine that this was a research outpost from an alien civilization, and the general construction of the post. What was more, it was clear that only psi-capable individuals were able to interact with the technology here.

Aniah managed to hack into a computer left behind by the research team, and unlocked a bunch of personal data logs detailing the work here. Apparently, something had gone…quite wrong. That was the bad news. The good news was that one of the research team had barricaded themselves in the complex and was hiding out in hopes of rescue – this was the initial person that the crew had been asked to find, the sister of a Draziri tech at the main ruins.

With the Psychic Dynamic Duo using their powers to operate the doors and elevators, it was clear that the team would need to proceed further inside…

Dark Shadows
And the Doors

Session Four – September 17th

Xander returned from the hospital, happy that his sister was safe, but sad his family was very angry with him.

Once he returned to the ship, the Astrea’s Jewel entered CRS headed for Rivendell.

The Guest Cabins once again started opening and closing without anyone seeing them do so, or see anyone or thing that might have done so. The crew decided to setup a watch on the doors to see if they could catch anyone in the act. Captain John used his time with Sadhva during their watch to hit on her. He wasn’t totally successful, but she did agree to join him in his cabin for drinks… nothing else happened.

During Xander and Archer’s shift, however, Archer heard a voice say “Let me in” while Xander saw a shadow figure down the corridor.

This happened the second night as well… also, John hit on Sadhva a second night.

The crew then decided to try watching the door with cameras. That didn’t totally work. The doors switched from open to closed, but the video feed cut out for three minutes. Aniah Silvershade suggested someone watch the feeds somewhere out of site from the doors. The crew agreed.

Xander was training in the pilots dome on the bridge when a window of information opened just at the edge of his vision. Within the information, he thought he saw a figure, but as he turned to get a better look, the figure seemed to vanish, leaving only the information window. Checking both his consoles history, as well as request history in engineering, he found that all logs show his console did, in fact, request the information. He, however, did not.

It was just as that time when Aniah saw the video feed cut to black. Archer turned to look and saw that the closed guest cabin door was now slightly ajar, and the video feed had returned. They immediately contacted Xander, Sadhva, and John.

Investigating the room, they, once again, found it empty. Xander then decided he would attempt psionics. It was something he’d experimented with in the past, and felt it worth a shot now. After a minute or two of meditation, he was able to walk outside his body and explore the areas around him, even through walls, but he also felt he didn’t have long. He looked around as thorough as he could and almost found nothing, except, at the last minute, he noticed a black mist IN the control panel of the door.

Xander and Aniha both convinced Archer to dismantle the doors and see if they could get to that mist. As reluctant as he was to do so outside of a ship drydock, Archer agreed and, with Aniha’s help, proceeded to take the door apart.

One evening, after spending another nice evening with the John, talking over some liquer, Sadhva went to sleep in her quarters. She dreamt of her and the captain having a romantic picnic in a lovely park, under a bright, blue sky. Then the sky turned ashen. The grass turned brown. The ground between her and the captain split apart, flames bursting up, engulfing the captain and keeping her from him. As his flesh burned away, he called to her… “Let me in!”

Having dismantled the door, Aniah, Archer, and Xander were greeted by… nothing. There was no mist in the mechanism.

Archer then hit on an idea that, maybe if he and Xander used their powers together, the could see and hear this being. Archer would even be able to use his abilities to read Xander’s surface thoughts and be able to see the being along with him. Unfortunately, beyond confirming between themselves that they were, indeed, seeing and hearing something, they could not communicate with the being.

Then, finally, the ship arrived at Rivendell.

Gathering the Crew
Family issues

Session Three – September 10th

A note from the author of this log…
It should be evident, though I would like to make it clear as this is a dialog heavy log. These words spoken are not direct dictation from my recording devices. Instead these are paraphrases and… artistic embellishments… designed to better convey the events as they went down.

Seriously, if you knew the true nature of the actors in this play… well, I will let my audience judge them

Aniah Silvershade slowly, and quietly crept out of the station ventilation duct she spent the night in, after having cleaned off any prints, bother physical and digital, left on the PDA she had nabbed the day before.

That was an interesting PDA. Aniah came across an email on the device that made mention of some device. She was sure then email mentioned the person who sent it had discovered a device. They didn’t have any idea what the device does, but, in truth, she stopped paying attention to those details when she learned this device was made out of the two rarest crystals currently known… and some unknown third one (that’s worth money, right?). Trouble is, this device is on Rivendell. She wondered if she should just sell the information. What’re the odds she’d make it to Rivendell to do anything. On the other hand… why should some other individual steal those crystals instead of her?

Nope, the email says hers. She needed to hurry, though. The delivery of her… perfectly legal product… was going to happen in less than an hour near her new employer’s ship docking bay. Trouble was, the delivery was to be made to the station’s only Squeelah service technician, and she wanted to make sure that technician existed, by helping herself to a station service technician uniform.

Xander rushes into the little meeting room Fe Dewolff had listed as their contact room. Xander had been in these rooms a number of times, but was not very fond of them… or, more accurately, not very fond of the janitorial staff’s ability to clean them. These rooms, located so close to the docking ports, were very commonly used by the passing merchant ships who needed to engage in meeting off ship. Most often with other merchant ships or local businesses with cargo in need to transfer, but, equally as often, they were used for… “short term conjugation relations”… Whatever… if you’re ever in one, DON’T use a black light. When Xander’s older sister first told him about this, he vowed never to use one. Damnit.

As he entered the room, Aurora by his side, he was greeted by a small, beige colored room containing a short, rectangular table and two chairs on either side. Sitting in one of those chairs, on the opposite side of the table facing the door, sat Fe Dewolff; a grin mischievously sitting on her face.

“Is it a good idea to be late to your very first meeting, Xander? And who do you have with you? Is that Aurora?” Fe said.

Aurora smiled and waved “Hi Fe!”

“Hello little lady,” Fe started, “and what brings you here?”

“Xander is showing me our ship!” Aurora answered happily.

“My ship.” Xander interjected.

“Sorry, my ship.” Aurora corrected, as Xander nodded for several moments, before it clicked in his head what his little sister just did…

“Wai…” Xander started before getting interrupted.

“Isn’t the wonderful! Such a nice bother you have. You’ll make a great captain.” Fe cooed.

“It’s my…” Xander tried again, but was, again, interrupted.

“Now, Captain, I do not wish to bore you, but I must speak with your brother for a moment, if that is alright.” Fe asked Aurora.

Aurora nodded authoritatively. “You have my permission.” she said taking a seat and looking to Xander as if he was wasting everyone’s time.

Xander looked accusingly at Aurora, but then took the other seat. “Sorry for being late, Mrs. Dewolff. There was a… distraction.” he said the last bit while shooting his tricky sister another glance.

“Please, Xander, I’ve worked with your family for many times over the years. Fe will be fine.” Fe began. “I’ll be quick. I know you want to go watch for your ship, and you have other family needs to attend to. Mr. Mancuso, the gentleman that sold you your ship, would like to meet with you. He’s currently on the Nutris Platform in Gagnon’s Star, but, as I understand it, he’s due to head out in roughly three and a half weeks.”

“Any idea’s what he wants to meet about?” Xander asked.

“Probably just wants to meet his new asset. He may even have a job for you that will bring you closer to paying off the debt on the ship.”

Ok, ok… I won’t bore you with the rest of the meeting. Nobody likes meetings. Besides, the meeting was pretty much over anyway, which suited Xander just fine. He wanted to see his ship. Aurora wanted a donut, or… something… but the closest shop selling anything like that was… away… from the docks and his ship was going to arrive any time now. She could wait. His ship was coming… Aurora became board… A board 10 year old… in a public place.

Standing at one of Bay Seven’s observation windows, Xander watched, transfixed, as his ship want finalizing it’s docking maneuvers… well, “docking” is a misnomer. For a ship the size of… I shit you not… an Aurora class (I promise, this had nothing to do with Xander’s sister at all!) it was more of a parking maneuver. Ships beyond large shuttles could not actually dock with the station. Xander didn’t care. It was here and he was perfectly willing to overlook the less-than-exciting paint job, and the little dents and dings in it’s hull. This was his ship!

He would have exclaimed so to Aurora, but… ummm… she wasn’t by his side. Xander started to panic and look through the small crowd of people. No Aurora. Where could she be?! Why couldn’t she just stand still?! He shouted her name down the corridor in both directions. Moments later, a jovial, male voice responded. “I got her, Little Bro!”

Xander whipped around to see his brother… his addict brother, Nicolas Rhysland, casually strolling his way, arm around Aurora’s shoulders. Oh god what was in Aurora’s mouth?! She appeared to have something long, translucent, and blue sticking out of her mouth. Remain calm. remain calm. This is Nick. Aurora’s brother too. He wouldn’t give her any of that shit he… would he?

“She caught me trying to sneak up on ya! Wanted to surprise you! Guess that didn’t quite work as I’d hoped.” Nick said.

“Oh, you surprised me.” Xander said. “Hello Nick.”

“Hello Nick.” Nick mockingly repeated. “Is that all? We haven’t seen each other in… oh, how long now?”

“Five years. What’re you doing here?” Xander asked.

Nick let the accusation slide. “Wanted to check out your new ship.” Xander was about to ask how he knew, but was stopped as Nick lifted his hand to silence him. “Blame mom. She posted about it on the social nets. Have to say, I’m sort of hurt you never told me, Xander. You’re big dream eh? So… do I get to see this ship of yours?”

This is my brother. It’s alright. He looks sober. Maybe… maybe… Xander sighed. “Yeah, yeah I can give you a tour.”

YAY!” Aurora cheered, the blue substance still hanging out of her mouth.

_So… Xander has a brother and sister. _ Aniah shuffled that information away as she spied on them from just a little down the corridor. She couldn’t exactly hear what they were saying… she didn’t dare get that close, but the tech jumper she wore gave her a bit of anonymity has she played around with a wall panel, feigning repairs.

She watched as Xander and his siblings walked away, down the corridor towards to shuttles, when a nasally voice almost whispered right behind her. “Annabelle Halo?”

Aniah turned around to see a young man holding a wooden box about a foot long, ten inches wide, and half as much deep. “Yes?” she replied reflexively. She’d used the Annabelle alias enough to respond to it when she heard it, but she was thinking it might be time to let Annabelle disappear.

“Your package.”

“Of course! Thank you.” Aniah replied, taking out her PDA and swiping something to the young man holding the box. He checked something on his PDA, nodded, then took off. She’d barely completed her little transaction when she heard her actual name…


She was getting whiplash, as she spun around once more to see her new Captain, grinning stupidly right behind her, his hands clasped behind his back.

“Captain!” Aniah squeeked, then cleared her throat. “Good morning.”

“Good morning.” Captain John Robert Leslie said pleasantly, but became confused as he looked over her attire. “So, what’re you up to?”

“Oh, ah… I picked up a couple hours of work. Can’t have too much money.” she grinned.

“Ahh,” John started, seeming unconvinced, but he didn’t push her for details. “Have you seen Xander yet? He said he was going to meet me here.”

Aniah thought about lying but decided she didn’t want to risk her Captain staying near her while she tried to “return” her outfit. “I just saw him heading for the shuttles. I think he was headed for the ship. If you hurry, you might catch him.”

John looked to the door that lead to the shuttle bays and nodded. “How about you?”

“Shift’s almost over. I’ll meet you guys shortly.” Aniah answered quickly. John simply smiled, nodded, and headed off to the shuttles. Damn that was close. I need to get out of this jumper.

Only minutes after Aniah scurried down the corridor, three other individuals arrived and started milling about the Bay Seven corridor. One was a sweaty Draziri, clothing stained and hair matted to his body. Another was a young human woman with sunken, shadowed eyes, carrying a small duffle. The last was a Vuri gentleman who walked with purpose. All three wondering where their boss was!

“You never said why you’re here.” Xander said to his brother as they approached his shuttle.

“Business.” Nick answered evasively.

“What kind of business?” Xander pressed.

“Nothing you need to worry about, Little Bro.” Nick answered with a smile. “Right now, I just want to see your little venture.”

“I don’t have any money to lend you.” Xander accused as they reached the door to the shuttle.

Nick stopped short of the shuttle entrance. “That’s fine. I don’t need any. Little presumptuous of you… and a bit rude, maybe.”

“Xander!” Captain John Robert Leslie shouted from further down the shuttle bay, his hand up to catch Xander’s eye.

Xander looked past his brother to his approaching business partner. Nick followed suit and took a few steps to stand next to his brother. This move did not go unnoticed by Xander, who, turning back to John, was about to respond to his partner (in the financial sense… at the moment), when Nick thrust out his hand at the Captain.

“Pleasure to meet you, Sir. My name’s Nicolas Rhysland.” Nick said.

John took the man’s hand and shook it, looking confusedly over at Xander. His confusion doubled when he noticed the little girl hanging in the doorway of the shuttle. “Hello there.”

“John, this is Nick.” Xander said, pausing a moment before finishing, “my brother.”

John’s smile broadened. “A pleasure, Nick. Please, call me John.”

“Thank you, John. Very kind of you.” Nick smiled back. “So you’re a merchant ship, yes?”

“That’s right.” John answered.

“Have room for a contract?” Nick ventured.

John noticed Xander’s growing discomfort, “What’s the cargo?”

“Mostly culinary supplies.” Nick answered.

Xander let out a brief scoff. “Some sort of cook now?”

“Hey!” Nick exclaimed, then let his expression soften and lowered his voice, “I happen to be a damn good cook, thank you very much.”

“For who?” Xander pressed.

“A very reputable company.” Nick grinned.

“I’m sure.” Xander dismissed.

“Who’s the contract with?” John asked, deciding he should verbally get between these two siblings.

“Yang Si.” Nick answered.

“They’re still around?” John asked in surprise.

“Yeah. They mostly operate in the more populated colonies these days, but they’ve branched out to our neck of the woods not too long ago.”

“How much’ll the job pay, and where to?” John asked. Glancing at his partner, he was also amusingly wondering and who’s going to try and kill us for this cargo?

“Where to is easy, " Nick said. “Rivendell. Only a jump away. As for the cost; I can’t give you an official number, mind you, but I suspect it’ll be close to ten thousand credits. Should I have a contract drafted?”

Right then, a thought struck John (yes, it hurt, but he likes it that way). “Wait a second, you said you’re a cook?”

Nick raised an eyebrow and nodded. “I did.”

“Interested in joining our crew?” John

“No!” Xander blurted. John and Nick both looked over at him and he suddenly felt a little self conscious, but then took his brother by the arm, “Excuse us a moment”, and lead him to a small utility corridor not far off.

John was mildly amused by the encounter. This was shaping up to be a very interesting venture… then he realized he had been left alone with the 10 year old girl who he did not know. Aurora eyed him suspiciously. Suddenly he felt very, very uncomfortable.

Aniah Silvershade, having changed out of the technician jumpsuit and into her own clothing, quickly picked up the rest of her belongings, of which she hid in a nearby cubby, and entered the shuttle bay, carefully. She prefered to know where everyone was before making an entrance, and this time especially given she did not know who the rest of the crew were.

As she stealthily entered the bay she saw her captain standing by the shuttle with a little human girl. Her ears twitched, surely humans don’t… no… where’s Xander?

Instead of heading strait to her Captain, she opted to duck into a side corridor. Turns out she was far more distracted by John and his immediate company than she had thought because as she rounded a corner, she nearby bumped into Xander and his brother. They seemed to be arguing about some sort of trust issues (don’t we all, Xander. Don’t we all), but both of them noticed her approach.

“Oh! Hello there Aniah.” Xander said, trying to calm himself a little.

“Hello, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there. Where is everyone?” Aniah attempted to feign as much innocence as she could. To be honest, she didn’t have to try hard. The Rhysland boys seemed more preoccupied with their discussions, and, Aniah hadn’t actually done anything.

“Umm, the Captain is by the shuttle” Xander replied pointing back out the corridor.

“Oh, ok, thank you,” Aniah said, turning to head towards the creepy captain all by herself. She heard not one, but three message chimes come in on Xander’s PDA and saw him quickly responding before making one final remark to his brother…

“You better not be lying to me.”

Moments later, a Vuri, Human, and Draziri all walk into the shuttle bay. This is not a setup to some grand joke… well… maybe it is, but in either case, these three individuals did, in fact, walk into the shuttle bay.

Archer, Sadhva, and Chitterie respectively, entered the bay, as they quickly figured out they were all going to the same place and made their respective introductions.

“Ok good, everyone’s here” Xander said as he approached them from nearby. “We’ll be leaving for the ship momentarily.”

As the four of them arrived at the shuttle, they each heard the tail end of a conversation between their captain and another individual they had not yet met.

“I will have the contract drawn and sent to you shortly, Captain,” Nick said. “As for your offer of contracted employment, I will speak with my employers and see if something could be arranged. I, personally, would be very interested.”

“Wonderful. Look forward to seeing the contract.” Captain John jovially replied.

“And I see the rest of your crew have arrived. I will take my leave of you,” the last part Nick directed to Xander as he finished approaching. “It was good to see you again, Little Bro.” with a grin he turned to Aurora, “and it’s always wonderful to see my littlest sister! You keep these rabble in line of your ship. Can’t let them get out of control!”

“I will totally keep them in line, Nickie! I promise!” Aurora giggled.

“Here.” Nick said, handing his sister more of the blue substance. “You can never have too much.” and with that, he turned and left.

No more than a footstep or two later Chitterie exclaimed, “I’m not serving on a ship that has children!” … I may be chased by the Mob, but, damnit, I’d rather face the Mob than a snot little child.

“I’ll be bringing her home at the end of the day.” Xander quickly answered.

“But you said it’s MY ship!” Aurora

“The hell it is!” Chitterie bellowed.

“I didn’t say that,” Xander said to both his sister and his employees. “Look, let’s all just take a look at our new home and we’ll sort everything out in short order.”

Less than 20 minutes later Xander landed his shuttle, The Morning Riser (I shit you not) in the small hanger bay of the Astrea’s Jewel. As the crew disembarked onto the ship, Xander looked to Aurora, “Stay by the shuttle.” … Xander is a smart lad at the age of 19… he managed to acquire a ship, start a business, and hire a crew (on paper) after all. A parent, he was not, as Aurora nodded up at him, then took off towards the doorway at the far end of the hanger bay. “Aurora!” Xander exclaimed.

“If it gets in my way, I will take it apart,” Chitterie grumbled at Xander, “and if I put it back together, it may not be in the same way as I took it apart.”

“I’d just space her.” Archer said nonchalantly, passing by Xander and Chitterie.

“Don’t worry, I’ll watch her!” Aniah said excitedly, then ran off.

“Thank…” Xander started saying to Aniah, but she was already gone, “… you”

“My cabin better have a large bed.” John said, clasping young Xander on the shoulder. “Lady Sadhva and I may be using it quite often… once I’ve wooed her sufficiently.”

“Captain,” Sadhva said walking up from behind him, “I think I would rather have Chitterie take me apart while I was awake than get anywhere near your bed, no matter what size it was.”

“That’s a maybe then?” John asked. Sadhva snarled at him and walked away.

For the next several hours the crew made themselves familiar with the layout of their ship. The supplies Xander had purchased the day before were being loaded, and both Aurora and Aniah learned they could move around the air vents of the ship. This later bit of news did not bode well in Xanders mind.

For Sadhva, her first priority was to find which cabin was hers and get some rest. When she had nightmares, it tended to make her even more exhausted than when she went to sleep, and the night before was particularly bad.

Things did not start off well for Sadhva when she discovered the first cabin on the crew deck she tried had torn two mattresses. Not just torn, but as she looked closer, it looked like they were torn from the inside out. How strange.

Thankfully, the second cabin she tried was totally intact. True, the room was made for two people, but screw anyone else. She slept alone. She quickly rigged a lock on the door, fell into one of the two mattresses, even with no other linens or blankets, and fell asleep.

Chitterie spent most of the afternoon overseeing the stocking and setup of the ships small med bay. Cramped was an understatement. With a nearly full drug pantry, and two beds for any patients, there remained almost no more room. That was fine. Like Sadhva, Chitterie was operating on virtually no sleep. He, too, was looking to just crash in a nice cosy…

“What in the hell happened to these?!” Chitterie exclaimed while looking at the torn up mattresses on the crew deck.

“Where these torn from the inside?” Archer asked having come up right behind the agitated Draziri.

“All I know is I have no bed to sleep on.” Chitterie said in a low voice, speaking every word one at a time.

“What about the guest cabins?” Archer suggested.

Chitterie stomped a little ways down the hall to the first of the ships two guest cabins. He almost punched the button to open the door and… nothing happened. He stalks the new feet to the other guest cabin door, smashes the button, and, again, is greeted to a stubbornly unmoving door.

“They don’t open.” Chitterie growls to Archer.

Archer examines the controls for the first guest cabin. “Huh… that’s funny. There’s power and the mechanicals all seem in order, at least as far as I can see.”

“You know what? It’s fine.” Chitterie huffs. “I brought my hammock, and there should be just enough room in med bay. I’m going to sleep there.”

“And where am I suppose to…” Archer starts.

Chitterie shoots his hand up to silence the Vuri, on the verge of telling him exactly where he could sleep, but then calmed himself down. His exhaustion was not the Vuri’s fault. Chitterie sighed. “Let me try something. I need to get some stuff from down med bay.”

As Chitterie walks away, Archer decided perhaps his employer would want to know about the fact his ship was not quite as ship-shape as one would think.

Minutes later, as Archer laid out the mystery of the guest cabin door to Xander, Chitterie came back to the crew dack, and entered the cabin with the torn mattresses. He laid them together on their torn sides and began suturing them together. After all, one large mattress should be better than two torn ones, right? Damned if he knew.

Aniah was finding she really liked Aurora. Sure, she was human… a fact she chose not to hold against her for the moment… but even still, she was sneaky and enjoyed crawling around vents!

Ok, to be fair, Aniah was crawling around the vents to scope out some potential cubby spaces in which she’d be able to stash items of importance, and Aurora was doing so to keep out of reach of her brother Xander who kept threatening to take her home. The desire not to return home was just another reason Aniah liked the little human girl so much. Who wants to be confined to… home.

Captain John Robert Leslie reviewed the controls of the work stations on his bridge. At the fore was the pilots dome. A enclosed area, except at it’s rear, that consisted of a single, full structure display screen, a single chair, and a wrap around console. This area allowed the pilot to view nearly all the information they needed, in any way they needed, in order to navigate and pilot. John knew very little about piloting himself, and knew quite well he would never be able to do so in any serious capacity. That said, he envied Xander’s talent, if for no other reason than he got the best seat on the ship… next to his own.

The captain’s chair was situated in such a manner as to have view of all other stations on the ship. It also sported a number of small information consoles that gave him a birds eye view of the ships situation. It was in this seat, as he was “breaking it in” for himself, that John noticed one of the consoles light up with a notification that he has received a message.

John called for Xander to join him on the bridge, which he did in short order. It appeared that the Yang Si contract, promised by Xander’s brother, had just arrived and they were faced with a little bit of a dilemma…

On one hand, there was the Yang Si contract which was to deliver food stuffs to the colony world of Rivendell (must have been a Lord of the Rings lover… great, someone into the classics) within a span of 15 days, which was the maximum length of time the cargo crates containing the food could keep it’s contents preserved. The contract also happened to pay 10k credits… no small sum of scratch.

On the other hand, there was Fe Dewolff’s suggestion regarding visiting Mr. Mancuso, who, Xander was told during the boring part of the meeting, was only going to remain in Gagnons Star for approximately three and a half weeks. Nothing could bite you in the ass if you skipped out on your debtee right?

Finally, on the third hand (which no known race in the galaxy has, to anyones knowledge) there’s the cargo pickup on Rivendell. Very scant details. A destination (far from the colony’s only settlement), and a payment of 20k… and a deadline of 22 days… well, 20 days now as Captain John Robert Leslie was given the details two days earlier at this point.

After much deliberation the two men decided to try for both of the Rivendell jobs first, and hope they don’t miss this Mr. Mancuso… 11 days to Rivendell, then 11 days to Gagnons Star. A total of 22 days… maybe add a day to do both jobs (I mean… they’re just a simple delivery and pickup, right?!) and bing, bang, boom, in Mancusos office… maybe… time to go.

“You bring your sister home?” John asked Xander as the meeting came to an end.

“Aurora!” Xander called as he made his way to the crew deck. He almost missed it, but, one of the guest cabin doors was open. He looked around to see if anyone was there, but the place was deserted.

He sent a message to Archer. “You managed to get the guest cabins open?”

Moments later Archer’s response came back, “Nooo… Why?”

“One is open now.”

“On my way.”

Xander eyed the door leading to the opened guest cabin while calling once more for his sister “Aurora!”

Sadhva stood near the airlock of her old ship watching as her old crew bantered back and forth with one another while making their way onto another ship. They continued walking down the connecting corridor as the darkness seemed to consume them more and more the further in they strode, until, finally, they disappeared into the blackness.

All was quiet as Sadhva stared into the abyss. So dark. So cold. Cold? No… no, it’s very warm. Her eyes focused and the airlock doors were shut. Past the window was the corridor. It was looking back at her, fire encircling the inkiness beyond. No… not inky. Not empty. My crew… Sadhva’s crew were frantically beating on the airlock door. Begging… pleading for her to open it. I can’t. The fire… it’ll come into THIS ship! The crew’s flesh began to redden and bubble. Blood boiled between the forming cracks and the skin turned to ash.

Sadhva’s heart beat wildly in her chest. Her crew were burning, but I… I can’t let them in.

As the burned flesh began to sluff off, the faces of her new crew started to appear underneath. They, too, looked dead.

Sadhva sat bolt upright in her bed, he skin pale and her mattress soaked in sweat. Without thinking she rose from bed and mumbled how she needed to see a doctor.

“Auror…” Xander’s calls were cut short as one of the cabin doors hissed open and a naked Sadhva walked out, past him without even a glance, and down the steps. He tried to ask her if she was alright, but she only mumbled “I’ll be fine” as she passed.

Glorious sleep! How it alluded him for soooo long!

Chitterie has “sutured” the torn mattresses together and, according to Archer they felt decent. Well, good for him, they were his. Chitterie made peace with his hammock.

It took him longer than he would have wanted to set the damn thing up. First of all, nobody told him they were going to move his stuff. It wasn’t where he remembered it. He was going to have words with someone about that. When he did finally find his belongings he brought them to the medical bay, took out his comfortably worn hammock and started to look for something to hang it on… damn smooth metal walls.

“No respect for Draziri.” he mumbled under his breath as he made his way down to the lower decks… accessible only by a ladder… a ladder! Seriously, humans have no respect for the other races! He made his way to some mechanics bay, or manufacturing room… whatever. He was a doctor, not an engineer! He could care less what the room did. What he did care about, and was quite happy to find, were about half a dozen scaffolding supports, each with grooves and extrusions he decided he could work with.

After Draziri-handling them up the ladder… A LADDER for abyss’s sake … he set them up in a small alcove in the med bay intended for a desk and chair. Screw it, this was his bedroom, and if he had any patients that had a problem with it… he could space them.

Hammock prepared, he hopped into it, made himself comfortable, and closed his eyes… dream land right behind them.

“Chitterie?” Sadhva called into the darkened medical bay.

Chitterie’s eyes shot open. They were so bloodshot he could swear they were burning out of his sockets.

NOTE: More to come

Prepping for Launch
Hand Cramps, Ice Cream, and Nightmares

Session Two – August 6th

There’s nothing better than a one night stand! No expectations. No commitment. Just a night of raw lust shared between two consenting adults. Oh… and massive hand cramps! This would definitely be something Captain John Robert Leslie would have been all too happy to share, if he were the “bed and brag” sort, but, not only was he not the kind of person to tell everyone every detail of his previous nights (or afternoons, mornings, mid-evenings, etc) coitous, this was also not the sort of pain one would suffer after feverously massaging… ones companion. No… the hand pain he was feeling was a bit sharper. Almost like being stabbed, and the blade carving slowly down to his wrist. Not the way John likes waking up.

“Good morning, Captain. Did you sleep well?” The question came with a very heavy, suggestive tone from John’s one-night-stand… the lovely (or, so we assume as we’re human and Vuria are a bit different than we are), Mrs. Judith West, Air’s resident “dirty dock manager”.

“How could I? You kept me awake all evening.” John said with a wink as the pain in his hand subsided.

“Of course I did.” Judith said, a smile in her voice. “Now please get your things and leave.”

John found himself momentarily stunned. “Ok… let me just freshen…”

“Sorry, John. No time. Your cloths are at the door and you know your way out.”

Only mildly put off by the abruptness… and the fact he slept in the nude, John rose from the bed, collected his things and walked out of Judith Smith’s cabin into the corridors of Air Station… the busy corridors of Air Station, with scores of eyes looking upon John’s mostly exposed body. Truthfully, this only made him grin. The Captain was not ashamed of his body… and there are hundreds of women who would attest to that.

In fact, John was so comfortable with himself that he hadn’t even covered his little captain up. He wasn’t intentionally flashing, it was simply he had no modesty (well, that’s what most of those who saw him in the hallway told me later, anyway).

One particularly lovely young lady (human this time, so I can promise you the “lovely” and “young” adjectives are accurate) caught John’s attention as his captain’s staff had… strongly… caught hers. With a little word play, John had convinced the girl to allow him to show her all of his talents in her quarters. Perhaps I could have given you the dialog spoken, but that would be giving away the secrets of a truth master tongue. If you want those secrets, you’ll just have to find the Captain yourself.

In any case, John’s morning romp was cut short before making more than a few feet down the hallway by none other than the girls boyfriend! Yup… she has a boyfriend, and he was a big one… muscle wise. Unlike John, the boyfriend had a little more modesty and so we couldn’t have a literal dick measuring contest. The next best thing happened, though, as the boyfriend came up from behind John, spun him around, and…

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing with my girl?!” The man shouted.

Someone may of heard John mumble a “that’s about right” just before a chuckle… but then again, people love to embellish, so, choose to believe that as you will.

As the man growled down at him, John said “I wasn’t aware she had a boyfriend.” Though, I don’t think the words stuck with the large man, as he swung at John.

One thing sleeping with so many does for a person is given them good reflexes. The skills to know just how to move and adjust ones self to… rise… to any situation… or so John liked to think, and this situation only enforced that belief, as he easily dodged the mans clumsy swing.

With a very precise and solid swing (critical success on the dice), John sent the jealous boyfriend sailing a foot or two down the corridor where the oaf landed like a sack of potatoes on the ground. To put an exclamation on his strike, John said firmly to the boyfriend “I didn’t know she had a boyfriend.”

“You’re an asshole!” The girl shouted at him as she ran over and cradled her boyfriend, who still lay groaning on the corridor floor.

John lifted one eye brow to the statement. Was she serious? Oh well, dodged crazy then. Without another word, he simple turned and walked away, presumably to find some maintenance closet or public bathroom in which to actually dress himself.

Only a day to go before the ship arrives!

sadhva, known as the “Mysterious Woman” by most on the station, found that after she managed to secure a job from that… young man (far too young for her tastes to be honest), Xander… she felt restless. Damn, but Air was a boring place. Sure, Fresher wasn’t exactly the happeningest place in the galaxy, but surely there was something! A back alley brawl? Surely a Fight Club!?

Sadly, as much as she tried talking to people about fight club… she could find nobody who spoke about fight club.

Xander Rhysland rose from his childhood bed and looked upon his room. Only one more day to go. But this was going to be a busy day! He needed to buy supplies for the ship! Equipment batteries, medical supplies, food… beds, for all he knew! He was going to be bouncing around the suppliers on Air like a mad man.

Barely eating any breakfast, Xander rushed out the door to his shuttle… yes, it was his. Look, just because YOU didn’t have your own orbital shuttle when you were a kid doesn’t make Xanders a spoiled brat. He’s a highly educated, responsible young man, and this family gave him the shuttle as he was the best pilot among them. No, that excuse didn’t work for me either. I don’t know… maybe he’s just spoiled!

Before he could settle even his foot in the door, he heard his little sister Aurora call out to him, “Xander! Can I come?”

Xander turned to his sister, who, at ten years of age, stood only half a head shorter than he was. “I’m going to be running around the station doing nothing exciting.”

“It’s boring here! Please?” she pestered him.

So… we learn Xander is a bit of a pushover. Sure, sure… this is his little sister. I suppose we’ll see if only she has the power to turn him into a puppet.

Needless to say, Xander took little Aurora along with him, promising his mother to return her safe and sound by evening… as if he was going to pack her and take her with him. Sheesh.

For the remainder of the day, Xander did exactly as he said to Aurora, he went about from vendor to vendor, haggling first for the cost of a days worth of storage space, followed by the supplies he decided he needed for his new ship… He may have accidentally bought a months worth of nothing but chicken nuggets and ice cream for the ship… or maybe that was just Aurora’s imagination… hmmm…

Finally, after dragging his little sis around to all of the larger merchants on the station… Xander found himself suckered into taking Aurora to one of Air’s better cinemas for a movie… and popcorn… and candy… and a large orange soda… and a slushie because he’s leaving and he’ll never see her again and never again get a chance to buy her any slushies and does he really want to leave without buying her a slushie and… well… Xander bought her all of it. He told himself because he was a good brother. Frankly, I think he was just gullible, but what do I know?

No sooner had the movie begun when an urgent beep came from his PDA. With a quick glance, he saw it was an active voice call from Fe Dewolff, and, seeing as she was the one that brokered his purchase of his ship, he decided to take it.

“Good news, Xander!” Came Fe’s voice when he answered the call the moment he stepped out of the theater. “The ship will be arriving at Air by 8am tomorrow morning.”

“That’s great!”

“Indeed!” Fe agreed with a smile. Plenty of time for our meeting at 7am. No, no… you didn’t forget anything, Xander. It’s just a job was brought to my attention that you should be aware of. Your Captain friend may join, but, really, it’s a small matter. 7am, at Docking Access Seven. Sound good? Wonderful! See you then." And the call ended.

Truth be told, Fe didn’t actually talk over anything Xander. It’s just… I didn’t want to write all of the “yup” and “ok” and “ah ha” that were his typical responses during this particular conversation.

Needless to say (but I will anyway), Xander returned to his sister and, after the movie, sent a message to his employees, telling them to meet him at the ship for it’s arrival, then returned to his family farm for one last night before his big day.

With one day remaining before this employer’s ship was due to arrive, Archer took the opportunity to spy**cough** I mean, check up on his employers’ records. This, of course, is something most normal people do BEFORE getting hired. Meh, I’m sure it’s all good.

Captain John Robert Leslie, lived in the Fresher system for the past 10 years. Had made a decent fortune with a small claim (now sold) in Gagnon’s Star. Spent most of his wealth in the down payment of the company’s first and only light freighter, as yet unnamed… not surprising as the ship hadn’t even arrived.

The good Captain has also been in jail a couple times, but due to small skirmishes or public drunkenness charges… for which he’s on record as stating the party at fault are the drinking establishments, as he’d’ve preferred to be drunk in the bar. They choose to put him in public. No serious criminal record was found.

Xander Rhysland, third child of four in the Rhysland family. Parents are the owners and operators of the Rhysland Farms, one of the bigger production farms on Fresher. Older brother Nicolas Rhysland arrested multiple times for possession, and possession with intent to sell. beyond the one bad egg, however, no red flags on Xander himself.

You would think after almost getting caught by the authorities that Aniah Silvershade would lay low until she left Air… but, no. Well, yeah, she kinda does, but no.

With one day left on Air, she felt determined to nab… something. Information is what she really wanted. Information about what, she couldn’t tell you, but information none-the-less. Information sold for good money, and she knew the best place on Air to sell information was to Judith West.

Of course, to sell information you needed information, and you’d be surprised at one of the most common sources of that information… people just leave their PDAs out all over the place. Humans particularly. They were such easy marks. All she had to do was strike the Nibble Tail pose and they would all just coo… this made Aniah chuckle as the act of gripping ones tail in both hands with face down facing was actually a very seductive pose to Squeelah. Well, maybe that wasn’t all she had to do, and, to be honest, it made her uncomfortable making the pose, but, if it helped her get what she wanted…

This need brought her to The Meat Pocket. Perhaps not the best named sandwich shop, but it was popular enough on Air that there was almost always a small crowd, and from all levels on the station, from passer by, to station operations personnel.

At a glance there were two marks just screaming her name. Both had their PDAs just sitting there on their tables’ edge, and both were looking in a completely different location. She shrugged… both were human… go figure. She nonchalantly scurried up to the first mark and deftly swiped the PDA, dropping it from her palm into one of her many pockets… thankfully for her, being a technician gave her an excuse to wear overalls with lots and lots of pockets.

The second mark didn’t go quite as smoothly. As he fingers started brushing the PDA off the table, the mark… a dark haired, pale eyed business man… chose just that moment to look toward Aniah. She was busted. She knew it. With a quick thought, she continued the swipe, but, instead of aiming for her pocket, she let it fall to the ground with a loud clatter.

“Excuse me!” called the man, “what do you think you’re doing?”

“I’m so, so sorry sir!” Aniah stammered convincingly as she rung her hands together. “You were about to knock it down. I was only trying to catch it… I missed.” she said the last part with a small frown and the most subtle widening of her eyes. Human’s called it “puppy dog eyes”. As if! She was far cuter.

The man’s expression softened to Aniah’s ruse and he smiled. “No, I’m sorry. Thank you for trying though.”

“Of course sir!” Aniah said brightly… the dumb ass immediately looked away. She hadn’t even moved, standing right next to the PDA placed, once again, right at the edge of the table, and the dumb ass immediately looked away! She was amazing! She brushed the PDA right into her pocket and, not wanting to tempt fate, walked right out of the Meat Pocket. Humans were so… gullible.

She had not rented any cabins since her little hacking scare the day before. Instead, Aniah Silvershade found a lovely little, out-of-the-way vent that was just big enough for her to be comfortable and far enough from normal traffic she felt safe enough playing with her ill-gotten gains.

She started by examining the second marks PDA. Such a simpleton, that one. In fact, he was so simple that he had absolutely nothing of interest on his PDA. He was an accountant. That’s it. Nothing special. Nothing exciting. Nothing… worth selling. He had a sizable bank account though. Good. She needed a nice little weapon. Her new employer was going to be taking her to new places and you could never be too careful, being a small, helpless Squeelah and all. She bought a small black market electrolaser that had a little more juice than average and arranged for it to be located in supplied ear marked for her employers ship… how fortuitous was that?!

As for the first mark’s PDA, at first she thought it was going to be another boring affair, until she started thumbing through some barely encrypted personal files. Oh this was interesting! She began to wonder if her new employer could be… hmmm…

For his part Chitterie was anxious to leave. He wasn’t a fan of staying in one place for very long, and, I suspect, nor were many of the inhabitants he dealt with. None-the-less, Chitterie was a charitable fellow and decided to spend the last couple of evenings volunteering in one of Air’s smaller clinics located near the maintenance hangers. He was a doctor, after all, and there was this nonsense others kept annoying him with revolving around “practise”. As if he’d ever loose his edge, but still, it was better than sitting around doing nothing… except for that damn prick.

“That damn prick” was a tall, blond doctor that worked in the clinic Chitterie volunteered at. The man had a tendency to condescendingly calling Chitterie a monkey… as if he could ever be confused with such a low brow creature… no wonder humans evolved from such beasts. Seriously, Chitterie would have bit the man’s nose off if he had to work with the retch longer than the two evenings.

Chitterie was only a mere several minutes from the end of his volunteer shift on the final night before he was due to finally leave with his new employers when the door to the clinic opened to a rush of frantic men and women dressed in coveralls of varying oil stains and burn marks, carrying in three severely wounded and screaming men.

“You have to help us! There was an accident. These men need help now!”

The two other doctors in the clinic rushed in and each had some of the mechanics bring a man to a nearby bed… for which the clinic only had two. Chitterie found himself with the last of the wounded, with deep lacerations and second and third degree burns, no bed, and medical supplies across the room.

Chitterie was a professional, damnit, and he deftly calmed the wounded man’s friends and made them his aides. For the next eight hours, Chitterie pulled off a miracle by not only saving the man, but stabilizing him enough that he could be easily transported to more appropriate medical facilities.

Exhausted, dirty, and needing a shower, Chitterie looked about the clinic at the state of the other wounded. Only one other man was saved. That damn prick oversaw the care of the only one of the two men to die. With dignity and humility as he walked out of the clinic… Chitterie gloated at that damn prick.

As Chitterie walked down the hall to his rented cabin, he glanced at his PDA. It was 6:40 am and there was a message from his employer… “Ship will be arriving at 8am. Please meet promptly at Docking Access Seven”. He stopped walking down the corridor and stared at the message…

Laying in his bed nearby, little three year old Timmy was startled awake by a monster’s roar so terrifying he would not sleep soundly through the night for the next six years.

Sadhva’s second day wasn’t any more exciting than the first. She tried entertaining herself by attempting to find a weapon. A pistol, to be specific. They were easier to hide and they still dropped most enemies… especially in places like this… but she didn’t just want any pistol. No… she wanted a pistol that would make grown men piss themselves upon seeing it. She wanted a pistol that made even heavily armored soldiers sweat in fear.

She had absolutely no expectation of finding such a pistol, but it kept her entertained, and it worried many of the weapon shop owners of which she enquired about such a pistol.

All said and done, however, Sadhva’s day was uneventful (no, she did not find a pistol). She decided to turn in early… sheesh, what else was there to do with no fight club?

She read the message that was sent about meeting her employer by the ship that was to arrive in the morning, then fell asleep easily enough, but, her dreams darkened as the night progressed. Battle fields filled with corpses. Starship crews suffocating from hull breaches. Empty, bombed out hovels filled with a void that crept up behind her as she frantically searched for her loved ones… searched for a way out…

Sadhva’s screams were heard through many bulkheads. Station security took little time coming upon Sadhva’s cabin and gaining access. What they found upon entry was a woman, sitting bolt upright in her bed, eyes closed, screaming a horrifying scream. Try as they might, they could not wake the screaming Sadhva.

It took medical longer to arrive. By the time they had, Sadhva’s voice was long past strained and sounded more as if it had been gutted. The medical nurse injected Sadhva with a cocktail that brought her out of her dreams, and slowly woke her up.

Sadhva opened her eyes to soaked sheets and clothing, a horridly painful throat, and a room of strangers. She tried to speak by stopped, immediately as the pain in her throat was too much. Seeing her try, the nurse handed her a pad to write on.

“Who are you, and what happened?” Sadhva wrote.

“Security received reports of screaming coming from your cabin. They found you asleep, but in distress and contacted medical. Are you alright?” Answered the nurse.


“Of course.” The nurse handed Sadhva a cup of water.

“Thank you.” Sadhva said softly as the water soothed her throat a little.

“We would like you to stay in medical, for at least 24 hours to make sure you’re alright.” the nurse said.

“Really, there’s no need. This has happened before. I’ll be fine.” Sadhva slowly replied.

“This has happened before?”

Sadhva looked around at the strangers in her room; most of which were clearing out. When it was just her and the nurse, she answered, “Night Terrors.”

Xander Rhysland was waylaid by his mother as he attempted to sneak out the door in the predawn hours of the morning.

“No breakfast? Not even a goodbye?” Xander’s mother accused.

“Early appointment. I really need to get up to the station early.”

“That’s fine.” his mother said. “Not like I’m not going to see you tonight or anything.”

Xander sighed. “You win, but I really can’t stay long. I need to be at Air before seven.” and sat down at the kitchen table.

Caught for breakfast by his mother, he’s saddened to hear his father was out in the fields for harvest and would not be able to say goodbye, but he wasn’t too surprised. His father wasn’t exactly happy with his son’s plans.

The breakfast was nice and Xander was able to give his mother a proper goodbye with promise to return for a visit as soon as he could. Finishing his plate of food, he picked up the last of his things, entered his shuttle, and began the hour long flight to Air.

Smooth ride, right? Yeah. He ran a little later than he wanted. By his estimates he was going to arrive on Air just before seven am. He was probably going to be a few minutes late to his meeting with Fe.

That’s when he got the impression that he wasn’t alone… “Aurora?”

“Hi Xander.” Came the voice of his sister as she tried hiding in the back of one of the shuttles cargo containers.

Damnit! He was late as it was. He had no time to return Aurora home. Maybe after his meeting. He’ll have plenty of time then!

Welcome to Fresher
Or... how NOT to leave the farming industry

Session One – July 23rd

As most good stories go, we begin with a boy not even in his twenties, and an old…er, lecherous man. Nothing uncouth with a start such as that. Let’s call them Xander Rhysland and John Robert Leslie … because those are their names. Seriously. Look them up. I hear they like receiving strange calls in the middle of the night.

We find them on Air… the orbital space station… around the colony world of Fresher. Yes… Fresher Air… I’m sure the founders of the colony were failed comedians.

It seems the two gentlemen had just recently struck a deal with one of Air’s most well known individuals, Fe Dewolff in the purchase of a shiny, new, slightly used, maybe in need of repair, starship. As the scuttlebut goes… every spaceport has scuttlebut… Fe and Xander had gotten to know each other rather well. This is only obvious given Xander is the middle child of one of Fresher’s more productive farming families, and Miss Dewolff knows how to sell food to anyone… regardless of it’s quality. All of those rumors about Miss Dewolff cradle robbing the Rhysland family are hogwash… seriously… don’t let any of her people hear you spreading those rumors. In any case, it’s said it was this close relation that allowed such a wet eared boy (someone really should sell him a towel for that) to close such a very expensive purchase. Well, that… and his surgar daddy’s money.

No sooner is the ink dry on this deal of a ship than the two men begin the process of registering their business and hiring crew! Ummm… did I mention the ship they purchased is not due to arrive in the Fresher system for another three days? Well, now you know, and no, neither of the two owners have seen it yet.

Thankfully the two new business men find a plethora of available crewmen thanks to the abundance of players cough I mean, traffic to this backwater star system. Almost immediately the two men begin interviewing candidates… in a bar. The venue for totally above board space business!

The first to voluntarily be molested is Archer. A Vuri with some rather impressive ship engineer skills looking for some work. Totally NOT a narc!

Now… finding the right crew for your starship, especially for a fledgling start-up, is paramount to success! And to that end, they hired the secret agent Vuri named after an animated drunk. Mission accomplished, or so thinks Captain Long John Robert Leslie, when over saunters two highly attractive ladies just begging for his… captains staff? Does that work here? Regardless, one failed roll later, and John leaves the bar to spread some seed, leaving the remaining crew hiring decisions to his 19 year old partner…

… when in walks Aniah Silvershade. If you were a three foot something semi-rodent, lady Silvershade would be a knockout! Either by looks or by draining your bank account… neither of which is known by Xander who is simply introduced to the rather cute… in a pet sort of way… Squeelah that chews his ear off, figuratively, about her skills with computers and gizmos… and how her last crew ditched her. Another hire in the bag!

Happy with his hiring choices thus far, Xander figures the next thing he needs is a medic. This makes perfect sense! Space is full of illnesses after all! As such, he goes up to the most qualified person he knows for medical employee recommendations… the bar keep. And in true bar keep fashion, he knows just such a perfect candidate hiding in a dark corner at the back of the bar!

As Xander makes his way to the cheerfully dark, medically soothing bar hole hiding some, as yet unknown “medical professional”, Aniah Silvershade, in a happy, giddy mood, decides that a little five finger discount is just the thing! Lucky for her, there are totally naive patrons nearby from whom Aniah helps her self to a credit chip… which she learns is not food… ok… she knew that, but still, I’m picturing a mouse eating a potato chip and am finding it funny.

Chitterie watches Xander approach his little corner. As Xander gets closer, he’s imagining all of the ways he could “heal” the boy if the boy goes and pisses him off. The boy’s just so… pleasant! He needs to go. To Chitterie’s combined dismay and delight, the annoying boy is offering him a job doing what he loves doing… poking flesh with sharp objects cough as he sutures wounds! At this point, Xander is all but sure he has a full crew… but not quite…

Before Xander could make it to the door, and begin his trek home to tell his family he’s ditching them during the harvest, a rather lovely young lady catches his attention and waves him over. “I hear you’re hiring a crew,” she intones. Xander nods. “Space is dangerous… I hope you have… protection” (ok… maybe those weren’t EXACTLY the words spoken, but I’m paraphrasing here… for effect). “And what are you offering?” Xander asks innocently. The mysterious woman then, discreetly shows Xander a rather scary looking weapon. “I’m offering security.” she tell him. Well… long story short, Xander find he has added a security officer to the ship. Yes. Totally a security officer. He could now head home and break the news to his folks. Fun times!

It was for John! He got laid… five times! Huh? STDs? He’s beyond that I think.

While Xander headed home, and Captain John is managing his staff, the seriously regular guy, stop asking, Mr. Archer goes back to his cabin and begins preparing his equipment, which would make a normal man curl up and cry in fear (Mr. Archer was very nice helping the piss soaked cleaning man to the corridor from his room). Before retiring for the night, he then quickly wrote a sit-rep… for his “parents”… and sent it along on the next outbound starship.

The first to greet Xander as he returns home in his family shuttle, the Early Riser, is his little sister, who’s excitable, innocent, 10 year old eyes plead with her bigger brother to take her for a ride [sic]. Knowing he’ll be leaving is home world of Fresher for quite some time, he obliges the little girl.

Having come of his trist (or was it an orgy?), John decides the, still unseen ship, and totally unacquainted crew, need a job! Not just any old job, of course, but one that can only be found by asking those “on the street” who’s a good contact. The lady in ship maintenance! Of course! After a little confusion in the halls, John find his way to the large ship maintenance area, and is directed to a small office, in which sits Judith West, a fine looking Vuri woman (by Vuri standards, anyway. Human’s really can’t tell). After asking the subtle questions, like, “I’m told you have work for me”, Mrs West looks upon the lovely Captain meat and admits she does have something of a job for him… two jobs, actually. John’s informed the first job will cost him $750, and a date.

John wastes no time informing the still showboating Xander of his excellent use of company funds, and, with Xander’s sharp business acumen, and blessing, John agrees to Mrs. West’s terms and makes the date for that evening.

Aniah Silvershade, as it so happens, is a bit anxious about getting to the contents of her ill gotten gains, and pleads with the GM to allow her to get filthy rich. The GM agrees to let the little rodent try, and, for her troubles, finds that accessing the funds isn’t just a matter of pinata-ing the credit chip and watching the money fall out. Instead, learns the process is a hacking attempt into the local banking system. The attempt… doesn’t go over very well. Instead of money, Aniah Silvershade finds she may have to avoid authorities for a little while. How long until her new employer’s ship arrives? Two days?

John arrives at the agreed upon resturant. It seems Mrs. West had arrived just ahead of the Captain and is sitting in a nice, secluded, circular booth near the back of the establishment. Slipping into a position next to the lovely Vuri maintenance worker, John isn’t quite surprised to find her hand almost immediately going for his inner thigh. To be honest, Captain John all but expects such behavior from “the ladies”. What he didn’t expect, however, was to find a large, mute man taking a seat next to him, effectively pinning John between West and the mutes imposing frame. The Mute takes out what looks to be a hypodermic injector and attempts to grab at John’s hand. Unsurprisingly John pulls away and attempts to take out his gun (no… the one used to hurt people). Judith West squeezes on John’s inner thigh and says in his ear, “Don’t worry John. This is my associate. He’s just going to implant you with a small micro dot that contains the coordinates and all of the information you need to know.”

“Why can’t you just tell me?” Captain John has the where-with-all to ask.

“The cargo is valuable, Captain. Very valuable. This is a security measure to assure no one but those hired get the information required. Nothing to be worried about.” Judith says with a little more hand action.

John almost reluctantly agrees, for which he is given a very quick injection in his hand and The Mute departs from the booth.

“Now,” Judith says, “shall we continue our date?”

John smiles at the Vuri and the two have a wonderful evening… and smashing good sex (yes, humans and vuri can have sex… hell, Shepard could have sex with a Turian in ME3. This was a cake walk by comparison!)

And thus ended the first session! Unknown ship. Unknown crew. Unknown job suspiciously implanted into the Captain’s hand. This is going to be one board slog through space!

Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.