The Hadrian Wall

Session 10 - Running on fumes

Season finale.

Context

The Nightingale-class orbital interface UNNC Ibiscus had to be left behind when the UNNC Hadrian escaped Ensulur’s highport. The ambulance, crewed by two contractor pilots, were on order to land in the city state of Upshal and wait for the Imperial Navy to pull them out of hostile space. Running low on delta-V, the Ibiscus had to abort and, on a near-miss collision course with the barren rock, sent itself nearly into a highly elliptical orbit. The science array showed the Hadrian blink out of view as it jumped about an hour later.

Location

Ensulur is a troubled system on the super highway from Apishlun to Urima. As a nest for piracy, most of the traffic never passes through the orbital space of the mainworld where the adventure is located. The Kamerians are officially controlling the space, but the friendlier State of Upshal is contending for political control of the barren planet.

Story

Location: Medium Orbit, Ensulur’s mainworld, Ensulur system
Terran timestamp: April 8, 2170 AD
Clavain and Imimuk looked at each other, perplexed. There was only a bit of delta-V in the attitude thusters. The Ibiscus was on a 72h period elliptical orbit, on a plane 60 degree off the ecliptic. Imimuk showed the error on the trajectory to Clavain: it seemed wise to redirect the RCS reaction mass to the main reactor for a short burn at the apogee so as to ensure that the ship doesn’t do another 700m planetary skim at 2 mps. Without the RCS thrusters, the ship would be a tumbling mess, but at least it wouldn’t smash into the planet in 3 days.

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Clavain made a quick sensor sweep and identified the highport, a Kamerian destroyer in low-orbit, the Imperial dropship and a number of interface vehicles. He zeroes on the dropship for 30 minutes and gets good reading. Them Kamarian missile didn’t destroy the ship and there appears to be some EVA/drone crews in repair details. The Ibiscus is, however, incapable to make contact with the Vilanis. meanwhile, a broadcast from the highport states the the Kamerian authority has claimed the Ibiscus as salvage.

“They think we’re dead”, say Imimuk. Both know full well that there is no reason for anyone to believe that they’d be yet. While Clavain strugggles with the man page for the comm system, they accidentally broadcast their encrypted connection to the Upshal orbital control. It takes barely a minute for the ship’s sensor to detect the flares of the highport’s lead laser. Clavain pleads with the Upshal controller to intervene. Shortly, the highport laser disengagess and no damage is done.

There is no food on board, but there are enough water, fluid and blood products to last three days. Surviving until the next perigee is checked. They decided that they’d try to science the hell out of this situation, so Clavain went for a water-saving nap while Imimuk started to brainstorm.

Location: Low Orbit, Ensulur’s mainworld, Ensulur system
Terran timestamp: April 11, 2170 AD
Clavain and Imimuk spent the last 12 hours in the cabin after Imimuk rigged the atmospheric stores to the reaction mass. That got them a full miles-per-second (mps) of delta-V to work with. Imimuk was affected by starvation more than Clavain. The plan had settled to use the 1 mps to correct the inclination and catch the dropship at an uncomfortably high docking velocity. The backup plan was to hope that an Upshal refuelling drone would be able to intercept at the ascending node.

During the long spin around Ensulur, they made contact with the Imperials some 3 light-hours away. A squadron of two destroyers and one tender would be jumping out in 4 days. The plan was then to dock with the Marines and wait to a lift out of the system. Imimuk ran the plan many times and passed it to Clavain for execution. Clavain nearly corrected the inclination but overburned in the process, leaving too much residual velocity for docking. The Ibiscus had to abort and whoosh by the dropship some 2000m away.

The drone rendez-vous as planned and pumps 30 mps into the Ibiscus. Clavain takes the ambulance to Upshal and meet with the government officials. With the Imperials incoming to exact revenge on the dropship’s attack, Upshal told the operators that they had sortied a squadron to oppose the Kamerian.

The dogs of war were out sniffing, and Clavain felt that he had something to do with it somehow.

Location: Tunshaon Tyo’s Highport, Vegan territory
Terran timestamp: June 1, 2170 AD
The UNNC Hadrian had to do some serious catch-up to deliver freight into two systems and lost 50% payoff (~200KCr) in Shasharmak. However, bypassing mainworld stops in the last system allowed them to catch up with a lead time when they entered the Vegan world of Tunshaon Tyo. Dr. Mgii, chief medical officer, was excited to enter his home interstellar space. The crew decided to take a leave in this system as many had business to conduct.

First order of business: the repair of the 1GJ US decimer laser turret. Tatiana signed on the 600KCr repair job reluctantly, but at the same time tasked Chief Agent Xiao Chen to locate weapons’ peddlers in the underworld. Chen failed to find anyone to buy the Gauss rifles, and certainly didn’t find anyone to sell the Hadrian a 2.5Kton nuclear warhead for its 40cm missile.

On the Pharaoh (the other ambulance), Dr. Mgii and Cheif Science officer Dr. Inuuq was present. While Mgii found a guide to help Xiao Chen, Inuuq headed for the University to make contact with the Vegan elite in the bioengineering field.

Inuuq was carrying a secret with him that painted a target on his pack for the Empire’s agents. During the last few weeks, he had smuggled the Apishlan “curse” out of Apishlun, enlisted an Apishlan PhD student, cloned a hand for Sgt Bergmann containing Apishlan stem cells, and performed with the help of Mgii a bone marrow replacement on the ship’s pug. He had discovered that a rhinovirus infection on Bergman induced genetic editing in the genomes of the pug, the Apishlan bean plants in the lab, and Stavra (the PhD student). What he needed was some great brain to pick and more gears to elucidate the mystery of the Apishlan “infection”. As he entered the gates of the Lowport’s university, Tatiana was securing the sales of the Gauss rifles to the local law enforcement.

But this, friends, is material for the second season of the Hadrian wall.

Aspects that are carried over to the next session

  • Clavain, Imimuk and the Ibuscus are in Upshal, Ensulur system.
  • Bergman, Stavra, the pug and the bean plants are genetically connected.
  • The Hadrian is on leave in Tunshao Tyo for a few days.

Characters Cast

  • Chief Agent Xiao Chen: A survivor from the Tibetan plateaux. Tech level 10 is too much for him, but that is not his business.
  • Dr. Theosolfus Inuuq (Cmdr): Terran Head of Science and grandmaster of contingency plans. Keeper of the “Apishlan infection”, as the Vilanis call it.
  • Ambulance Pilot Clavain Malek: Terran contractor, former free-trader and amateur gunslinger. Prefers ambulance outfitted with 10MJ lasers.
  • Dr. Kmee K’tee Mgii (Cmdr): Vegan Chief Medical Officer living in the unnecessarily high strung world of Homo Sapiens.
  • 1Lt. Ameen Sharshud: Fun loving sensor officer, Nusku Vilani, promoted too fast and in debt to his commander’s nemesis.
  • Chief Mission Officer Tatiana Vladic: Diplomat and humanitarian now consumed by the fires of spite. Possibly a good person, but a terrible colleague.
  • Lt. Cmdr. Vulnicura: The iron lady on the Hadrian. Promoted too fast and the target of a ship-wide conspiracy.

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