The Hadrian Wall

Session 6 - Trading photons

Two conflicts for the price of one.

Context

The UNNC Hadrian is a Terran hospital ship providing epidemic relief to Vilani worlds of the Empire’s fringe. The year is 2170AD, in between the 3rd and 4th interstellar wars. The UWO ship has smuggled samples from the interdicted Gaiasphere Apishlun with the help of an Apishlan PhD candidate. The tension between the civilian and navy commanders has nearly reached a tipping point.

Location

The bulk of the session takes place in a Vilani system called Ensulur. The main world has long descended into a near state of anarchy. The Empire firmly controls the refuelling facilities near a distant gas giant, while the Kamerian are the flavour of the month ruler of the starport. About 4.2 million souls are scattered over a dozen domes and subsurface enclosures. The main world is a frozen rock, without air, water nor food. Gravity: 0.37G

Story

Location: Pocket universe, 2nd recursion, Heading to Ensulur
Terran timestamp: March 21-28, 2170 AD
Dr. Inuuq decided to use the jump time to run a series of tests to identify how information travels between Apishlan life forms. His secret weapon was Ms. Stavra Shilku, an Apishlan doctoral student who herself was integrated into the Gaiasphere. After a few days, they discovered that the sprouts and Stavra passed information via chained pheromones. By the end of week, they had identified a very large number of chain links and established the potential to transmit rich information between life forms. Stavra started to show signs of depression, but Mgii seems to have the under control with pharmaceuticals. A false personnel file was crafted to hide her true identify from Harman Evoll, the Imperial Liaison.

Meanwhile, Clavain swiped three semi-automatic Gaussian rifle from the cargo and asked Sgt. Bergmann to train him and chief agent Xiao Chen with it. They set up a range in the forward cargo, down a long alley in between produces bound for Ensulur.

On a more sinister tone, Chief Mission Officer Tatiana Vladic rounded up the INTEL officer and her Navy double agent in an attempt to tap into the Lt. Cmdr personal files. With limited expertises, they didn’t go too far but did manage to gain access to metadata that turned out to be low-hanging fruits. Tatiana leveraged the new rules on social drinking to befriend the Naval personnel, find the fault lines between the Lt. Cmdr. Vulnicura and the crew and use her motherly smile as a wedge into the command structure. When the chips will come down, Vulnicura may fall unassisted.

Location: 100D line, Ensulur’s main world, Ensulur system
Terran timestamp: March 28, 2170 AD
As the Hadrian emerged from the pocket universe, the sensor screen saturated with bling. 1Lt. Sharshud couldn’t make sense of the on-screen glitter, made worst by the fact that the system didn’t post navigational aids on the standards channels. Lt. Drumpf reported three channels requesting privileged NAV connections. Behind the door 1 was the Kamarian highport control that essentially offered a protection racket. Behind door 2, the Upshal confederacy request immediate medical assistance with a possible outbreak of a respiratory virus. Under door 3, a weak signal from the 507th Imperian Marine Bn requesting emergency MEDEVAC following the destruction of their own assets on the planet’s surface. Lt. Cmdr. Vulnicura knew well that the 507th had been charged with war crime on Terra 12 years ago. She overstepped her authority as the decision was a civilian one, denied the Kamarian and Imperial connection and ordered a low orbit to insert medical personnel into Upshal.

Ameen send a quick text to Tatiana urging her to come to the bridge as Vulnicura had crossed that line again.

Location: 100D zone, Ensulur’s main world, Ensulur system
Terran timestamp: March 28, 2170 AD
While Clavain and the medical personnel was prepping the UNNC Ibiscus (The Orbital interface ambulance). Tatiana barged on the bridge and confronted Vulnicura. Vulnicura omitted the distress call from the Imperial Marines and simply stated that Upshal was the most mission-oriented choice. Tatiana protested but knew full well that, given that information, it was the right course of action.

Ameen announced that a small ship was entering long range in an intercept course and a 6G acceleration. Further analyses revealed a Nightgaunt fighter drone coming in with a weapon lock on the Hadrian. Vulnicura assumed that the drone was likely to be a Kamarian vessel and ordered to shoot down the ship. She hoped to discard the threat without having to call a red alert. When the lock was confirmed and the drone was on an attack vector and the Lt Drumpf was unable to establish a connection to its mothership, Vulnicura called the red alert. Chief agent Xiao Chen rushed in to relieve Drumpf at the COMM console. Ameen babbled stuff from the sensor station while Xiao tried to hack into the drone’s systems.

While both ships were harmlessly painting each other with guidance lasers, Imperial Liaison Evoll barged in and demanded explanations. Vulnicura convinced him to assume red alert station and return later. By then, Tatiana was trying to get Xiao to contact the mothership, but the connection had been firewalled previously by Vulnicura.

“HIT!”, exclaimed Ameen from the sensor station. A cloud of molten metal droplets flared the sensor display some 2000 miles away. However, the track kept on course as the Hadrian reported a temperature spike to 500K on a spot of the side hull armor. Xiao reported breaking into the system console of the nightgaunt, could read the weapon’s system status but failed to acquire root access to the power supply.
The Hadrian scored another hit on the drone, blinding the sensors for a moment. The drone changed course as the guidance laser fell silent.

By then, the Ibiscus had launched from the forward bay without authorization. Clavain trained his guidance laser on a system boats on an interception course. When the Kamarian navy detected that the ambulance was armed, an overriding broadcast came from a distant Kamerian mothership. The ultimatum was clear: stand your weapons down or face a missile barrage.

Vulnicura shook her head in disbelief and ordered the laser offline. The Kamerian gave the ambulance a hard time for a few minutes and cleared them for entry to Upshal. They sternly advised against powering on their laser again. Vulnicura waved Tatiana out of the bridge, without success. Bigger fish to fry: the Kamerian Navy announced their imminent boarding of the Hadrian.

Location: Low-orbit, Ensulur’s main world, Ensulur system
Terran timestamp: March 28, 2170 AD
The Kamerian system boat was still on an interception course. The news of a boarding by an armed militia was unpalatable to everyone, but none more than Dr. Inuuq. He had nearly lost all of his experiments and live samples that last time that this happened. Llt Cmdr. Vulnicura was pondering collaborating to avoid the disaster in the Dingir system, but the pushback was too much. She threatened the Kamerian with reprisals from the Imperial Navy, but her threat fell on deaf ears.

Ameen, still at the sensor station, detected a large Imperial Navy planetary assault ship coming over the planet’s horizon. He passed on the information to Tatiana instead of the bridge commander, explaining that Vulnicura had earlier silenced a distress call from the 507th Marine Bn. Tatiana was almost gleeful as she reported on this and prompted the Imperial Liaison to contact the Assault craft. After a brief request, the assault ship recognized the Hadrian predicament. Their offer for protection was accepted. Rapidly, the Kamerian ship’s electronics was jammed. A few minutes after, the system boat had initiated a burn away from the Hadrian, never getting any closer than 500 Km.

The Imperial liaison, Mr. Evoll, confronted Vulnicura about the dismissal of the distress call. He was most displeased and urged the Hadrian to react to the call. However, Tatiania had already prompted the UNNC Ibiscus to look into the matter.

Location: Upshal dome, Ensulur’s main world, Ensulur system
Terran timestamp: March 28, 2170 AD
The UNNC Ibiscus landed in Upshal and was received with gratitude by the Upshalat council representative. They lead Dr. Mgii and Nurse Ratchett to the hospital centre where the terran quickly diagnosed Influenza A(V) and assessed the epidemic at the onset phase. Dr. Mgii initiated the standard protocol to contain the sick and begin the accelerated immunization schedule.

Meanwhile, Clavain was prompted by the civilian office to open a connection to the 507th Imperial Marines, some 5000 Km away. Their ambulance had been destroyed and they were in need of emergency evacuation as the entire dome had depressurised. Clavain and Sgt. Bergmann cleared the ambulance of medical supplies and recalled Dr. Mgii. While nurse Ratchett, stayed in Upshal to deal with influenza, the others left for the marines’ location.

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The marines were hard at work fixing the breach in the dome and busy providing emergency life support to a small colony of miners. Clavain and others suited up and loaded 5 wounded marines on board the Ibiscus. When the takeoff window came, the Ibiscus bounced up to rendez-vous with the assault ship. They were received with warmth by the otherwise cold vilani marines. The marines refueled the Ibiscus and offered the terrans a bowl of hot chow. Their services was still needed, although the Hadrian’s resources were at the moment spread rather thin.

Aspects that are carried over to the next session

  • The Apishlun samples are still a secret from the Vilanis
  • Stavra Shilku suffers from a mild form of withdrawal/depression.
  • The naval crew is upset about their commander (Vladic’s propaganda).
  • The Imperial Navy has the Hadrian under protection.
  • There is an onset of influenza in Upshal.
  • Imperial Liaison Evoll is upset at Vulnicura, and cosy with Vladic (Vladic’s effort).
  • The Kamerians are upset about the Nightgaunt incident.
  • The cargo still needs to be delivered to the Kamerian-controlled highport.

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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