The Hadrian Wall

Session 5 - Using beer as a weapon

A feud by any other name is still nasty.

Context

The UNNC Hadrian is a medical ship on a pandemic relief mission within the Vilani empire. The changeover from the first to the second tour got complicated by the murder of the Vilani liaison a few weeks ago. As a result, the ship had to flee deeper into the Empire to connect with the UWO embassy in the Apishlun system. The crew is tired and stressed. The infighting between the Navy commander and the Chief Mission Officer has taken its toll on the skeleton crew. On the previous day, the UWO personnel also traded a Terran tablet for a sample of sprouts from the interdicted Gaiasphere world down below.

Pre-session aspects

  • Crew morale is very low due to infighting
  • Hadrian is severely shortstaffed
  • The Gaian samples are illegal and a hot potato
  • The Gaian samples may not survive
  • The crew is untested
  • The Hospital isn’t ready for operation
  • Regular funding has ceased

Story

Location: Giuwei, Low-Orbit Moon (LOM), Apishlun system
Terran timestamp: May 20, 2170 AD (Day)
The Hadrian was a hive of activity as there was a sense of emergency to leave Apishlun. It was unclear whether they could hide the secret of the Gaian’s samples for much longer. Dr. Theosolfus Inuuq tried his best to transfer the sprouts to an hydroponic medium, but noticed oxidative damage to the samples. He flashed-froze the samples and headed to the director’s meeting.

Dr. K’me Ktic Mgii was busy down in the hospital area organizing the few staffers available. It was clear that the Hadrian wouldn’t be able to respond adequately if an emergency would prompt the deployment of the field hospital. She tasked head nurse Ratchett and RN Pond to order missing material, and then signed off on a 10 KCr purchase order.

Chief Mission Officer (CMO) Tatiana Vladic worked with the Terran contractor Clavain Malek to figure out how to best fill the huge cargo space of the Hadrian with freight jobs. The UWO office didn’t have funds to support operations, but interstellar travellers are somewhat robust to this kind of issues. On the side, they also scored 4 dT of Gaussian semi-automatic rifles authorized for law enforcement. Vladic, looking for a license to carry such cargo, triggered the nomination of a new Sharurshid Liaison: a vilani civil servant named Harman Evoll. Clavain busied to coordinate the loading of the ship with contract while Tatiana gripped about the director’s meeting for which she was already late.

Lt. Cmdr. Vulnicura was most concerned that her feud with CMO Vladic was about to endanger the mission. She convened a meeting with the leadership elements: Dr. Inuuq from Science, Dr. Mgii, Director of the Hospital, and CMO Tatiana Vladic from the UWO civilian command. Tatiana was, as usual being an a*hole until Vulnicura snapped and made clear that she was willing to enact rarely used clauses to remove the CMO from command. Tatiana, assessed the situation as sufficiently messy and backed down. They settled for a departure in 36-48h toward URIMA where there was evidence of public health concerns.

Location: Giuwei, Low-Orbit Moon (LOM), Apishlun system
Terran timestamp: May 20, 2170 AD (evening)
Ensign Ameen Shurgar rushed through his technical checklist to organize a shindig in the mess hall, nick-named TenForward (although it is at the rear of the ship). He spent the afternoon spamming the ship’s internal comms with announcements of special drinks and live entertainment. He even managed to get the ship’s steward Borhman to issue a small volume of alcoholic beverages. Lt. Cmdr. Vulnicura, fundamentally opposed to alcohol, turned a blind eye in the name of crew morale.

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By the time that Vilani liaison Harman Evoll boarded the Hadrian, most of the crew was in TenForward having a good time. Ensign Shurgar was in fact shirtless, playing dance james on his toy trumpet while the room roared in laughter when marine Sgt. Bergmann lead the Vilani in. Mr. Evoll was a straight-laced civil servant whose lineage seems to have selected out all facial muscles required for smiling. With a sneer, he reported on board to Lt. Cmdr. Vulnicura and requested to be taken to his quarters. Vulnicura and Tatiana took him aside in a breakout room to get a sense of the man: He meant business and was obviously not on the Hadrian to make friends. Tatiana loved that he was standoffish as it would make it easier to keep the secret work in the science lab from him if he wasn’t socializing too much. Vulnicura disliked him on the ground that Tatiana liked him, mainly.

From down below on Giuwei, chief agent Xiao Chen reported success in finding possible contractors to supplement the Hadrian’s crew. Dr. Inuuq had a video call with Markhovo, the Apishlun’s native (known as Munqi on Giuwei) clerk who handed over the samples. A meeting with a Munqi scientist was arranged for the following day.

Location: Giuwei, downport, Apishlun system
Terran timestamp: May 21, 2170 AD
At the pink punch bowl, Dr. Inuuq met with PhD candidate Stavra Shilku to discuss Gaian biochemistry. Stavra was most flattered by the offer of an opportunity to use Terran biotech to study the “Gaian addiction”, as it is classified by the Sharurshid. She agreed to join the Hadrian’s science team if she could be smuggled onboard without alerting the Sharurshid. Xiao Chen organized the details and by the end of the day, Stavra was in TenForward with the other to celebrate new regulation DS122-A, also known as the “booze executive order”, or BOE.

Simultaneously, Dr. Mgii poached from a Vilani NGO one physician and two registered nurses to fill the open positions in her department. Three vilani contractors were also hired to fill backup positions as pilot, navigator and Jump-drive engineer. They, too, packed their stuff and reported for duty later in the day, adding to the euphoria caused by DS122-A.

Location: Giuwei, Low-Moon-Orbit (LMO), Apishlun system
Terran timestamp: May 21, 2170 AD
While Clavain was coordinating the freight handling ops, the techs were finalizing the repairs on the locks that were blown open by marines on Dingir, Tatiana broadcasted to all crew the wild idea of authorizing daily rations of alcoholic beverages in TenForward. The idea was twofold: crew morale and undermining Lt. Cmdr. Vulnicura’s prohibitive incline.
Vulnicura, fearing that a flat refusal would burn a lot of influence on the ship, took the devious strategy of bringing DS122-A to a vote. She impressed that this was against Navy regulations and that she would be most displeased if the Navy personnel would vote in favour of the regulation. Most naval personnel toed the line as the vote came down to a margin of one. However, the great time on the previous day did more than just distract: it had brought the polarized crew together as one. In a way, Ensign Shurgar had done what the leadership didn’t do because of infighting. And thus was enacted, DS122-A, aka BOE, aka “BOE-time”.

Lt. Cmdr. Vulnicura hid her disapproval very well. Old crew and new recruits mingled as if they didn’t nuked each others and shredded each other’s warships some 12 years ago. The Hadrian wasn’t on the brink of breakdown and it felt like a celebration of new friendship.

One may call it ironic that, after a strongish Vilani beer, CMO Tatiana started to brainstorm with INTEL analyst Thane Bapke on how to hack personal communications to monitor Vulnicura’s activities. Bapke thought that he may be able to log metadata and started to design the software on his tablet. Tatiana had a vision of Vulnicura left behind on a desert planet with nothing but a toothbrush and a case of beer.

Post-session aspects

  • Crew morale is very low due to infighting
  • Hadrian is severely shortstaffed
  • The Gaian samples are illegal and a hot potato
  • The Gaian samples may not survive
  • The crew is untested
  • The Hospital isn’t ready for operation
  • Regular funding has ceased (but freight ops are in effect)

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