March Harrier Session 1: Vacation on Aramis Rudely Interrupted

Player Characters:

Everett de Clisson (Adam), Medic and Engineer

Ganidiirsi Ashran (Ben), Steward and Cargomaster

John Matrix (Nick), Broker and Navigator

PCs Temporarily Run by the GM:

Gvoudzon, Vargr Temporary Shuttle Pilot and former Liaison

Dale Conan Wilder, Captain

Randall Dorsainvil, First Officer and Pilot

Significant NPCs:

Leonard Bolden-Tukera, Marquis of Aramis

Roet Bannerji, Captain of the Wolblutn

Jelika Chan, Chief Engineer of the Mammoth


001-1105 to 014-1105


Aramis/Aramis (Spinward Marches 3110)

The Subsidized Merchant March Harrier landed on Aramis for its annual maintenance and the crew's two-week vacation.  The captain and first officer stayed with the ship to supervise the work, while the rest of the crew went off to spend two weeks exploring and having fun.  Or as much fun as they could have on a desert hellworld with a corrosive atmosphere.

Aramis only had one real city, Leedor, which had been built in the remains of some played-out mines, as the active mining extended out to the south and east.  Leedor had grown to 600000 people, almost the entire population of the planet.  Everett, Gani, and John set out to explore Leedor.  The paid the air tax for their two-week visit, then took a slidewalk toward the Marquis' Palace to hear his Holiday speech.  One the way, they spotted a wallet on the ground.  Inside were some credits, a vacation itinerary, and a Traveller's Aid Society card belonging to a Captain Roet Bannerji of the Wolblutn.  They decided to head over to the local TAS building to return the wallet.  The TAS clerk looked up Captain Bannerji and confirmed that the Wolblutn was at the starport, but the Fourth Officer who answered the call said that the captain was currently unavailable.  The crew made an appointment to meet Bannerji later to return the wallet.

They then checked into a hotel, and resumed their trip to see the Marquis' speech.  Sadly, the speech was boring, with the Marquis just spouting political platitudes.  Afterward, they tried visiting Escanil Park, but it was swarmed with families. They moved on to a bar, and tried drinking and interacting with the locals.  While Gani was getting shot down by a woman, all the video screens changed from music channels to breaking news.  A freighter in orbit around Aramis was out of control and expected to crash into the planet.  The news developed: the freighter wasn't going to hit Leedor, the crew had escaped in their pinnace, and there was no way to intercept the ship before it crashed.  It later turned out that the freighter was the Mammoth, run by Akerut Lines, and the blame was pinned on its chief engineer, Jelika Chan.

After the excitement died down, the crew headed to the Wolblutn to return Captain Bannerji's wallet.  He thanked them for returning it, returned the cash as a reward, and invited them to dinner later at the TAS.  When they later arrived for dinner, the manager informed them that Captain Bannerji had been called away by an emergency, but that he had paid for their meal.  They cheerfully ate and drank on his tab.

Their next tourist excursion was a visit to watch large-scale ore mining.  Unfortunately the mines available for tours were mostly played out, and the truly active mines were off limits to the public for safety reasons.  Another day, the crew visited Cavern Park, the other large park in Leedor.  Someone bought a portable disco flasher, designed for viewing the reflections off the minerals in the walls, and a fashionable sequined shirt.  They also managed to get into Escanil Park, and saw that it had lots of life not native to Aramis, like grass and trees and animals.  It was not entirely certain which animals were real and which were simulated.

They tried to visit the Museum of Aramis, but it was completely swarmed by school tour groups, and they weren't able to get a reservation until the day before their scheduled departure.  Out of interesting options in the tourist guidebook, they hit upon the idea of touring the Navy or Scout base.  The Navy base was a no-go for security, but a call to their ex-Scout First Officer was enough to pull some strings and arrange a tour of the Scout base.  This far from the border, it was mostly dedicated to Express Boat mail service rather than exploration.  They did get a tour of a well used Scout/Courier and got to experience its rudimentary air circulation systems firsthand.  No Xboats were available to tour, since they were not suitable for atmospheric landing, and so were kept in space aboard their tender ships.

Two days before their departure, the crew finally got into the Museum of Aramis, which had some excellent exhibits on scientific subjects, paired with some rather crude propaganda on social topics.  There was also a 500-year-old Scout ship that had originally surveyed the planet, but they unfortunately weren't allowed inside the historical relic.  On their way out, they heard an altercation between a Vargr and the museum's manager.  The Vargr claimed that the museum had stolen a brooch that belonged to him, while the manager insisted that it had been procured legally, and had a couple of security guards subdue the Vargr with stun batons and shove him out the door.  A tall man who had been hanging out in the gift shop followed the Vargr.  Everett decided to follow the Vargr as well, in case he needed first aid.   However, the Vargr, recovering from stun, noticed the crowd following him and broke into a sprint, easily outpacing the Humans on his tail.

Later that day, while heading back to the hotel, the crew heard the sounds of a fight in an alleyway.  They stepped off the slidewalk to investigate and saw the same Vargr, menaced by two knife-wielding thugs.  The thugs appeared to not like the odds and fled.  The Vargr passed out.  Everett provided first aid for a knife wound, and then the group decided to take the Vargr back to their hotel room where Everett had his larger medical bag.

The Vargr woke up, thanked the group for their assistance, and introduced himself as Gvoudzon.  He said that he had run out of money and pawned his brooch, and had seven days to reclaim it.  He got his first paycheck from his job flying a shuttle from the downport to the highport for Naasirka, returned to the pawnshop to reclaim the brooch, and was told it was gone.  The pawnbroker claimed that he had held the brooch long enough to sell it, which Gvoudzon disputed.  Gvoudzon got the pawnbroker to identify the buyer as the Museum of Aramis, then went to the museum to confront the manager.  The thugs had later caught up with Gvoudzon, looking for the brooch, which he did not have.  Gvoudzon admitted that he had taken the brooch from the Kforuzeng, a Vargr corsair group for whom he used to work, as an unofficial severance bonus.  He knew the brooches were used to carry messages, but had no idea that the Kforuzeng had the ability to follow him a full subsector into Imperial space, or cared enough about the brooch to do so.

Gvoudzon asked the crew about their ship and whether their captain was hiring, since he wasn't keen to stay on Aramis if knife-wielding thugs were after him.  They forwarded the request to their captain, who said that he'd be willing to hire Gvoudzon provisionally on a working passage.

Gvoudzon also mentioned that he still really wanted his brooch back, and asked the group if any of them would be willing to help him get it.  His plan was to break into the museum during local "night" (as an underground city, there were no real day or night cycles, but there was a six-hour period each day when most people slept and most businesses were closed), find the brooch, and then leave.  Not much of a plan.  The crew did some computer research and found a floor plan and some information on exhibit intake, which gave them a few ideas where the brooch might be.

The night before their departure, Gvoudzon and the crew went to the museum and found the loading dock.  None of them knew much about alarm systems or picking locks, but Everett was mechanically inclined enough to try taking the lock apart, and managed to do so without setting off any obvious alarms.  The workshop was right next to the loading dock, and the crew managed to find the brooch before their intrusion was detected.  They fled out the door as they heard the night watchman approaching.

Gvoudzon mentioned the need to avoid being followed to the ship, and suggested maybe getting a co-worker at Naasirka to leave him in orbit.  The crew suggested instead buying a spacer's chest with a false bottom and then smuggling Gvoudzon into the cargo hold.  Gvoudzon handed over the credits he had accumulated to buy the brooch back, and the others used them to buy a chest, some hardware to construct the false bottom, and a lot of cheap booze.  They dumped out enough of the booze to roughly match Gvoudzon's weight, and then had Gvoudzon's remaining credits ready to bribe any customs officials suspicious about the booze.  Fortunately for them, security was lax that day, and they managed to smuggle Gvoudzon in without any bribery.  (They didn't bother to tell him that, and split the bribe money evenly.)

The Captain had managed to find a 200-displacement-ton cargo of starship parts bound for Natoko, but no passengers.  He decided that was good enough, so they jumped for Natoko.

GM Commentary:

The first session was mostly a tourist trip, with only a few moments of excitement: the crash of the Mammoth on the news, Gvoudzon's two altercations, and helping Gvoudzon steal his brooch back from the museum.  The crew really didn't have any appropriate criminal skills, but were quite lucky and managed to avoid setting off a burglar alarm.  They were also lucky that the brooch was in the workshop rather than the vault.

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