01-02 Dinner with the Governor

Image Credit: Page 28 The Frozen Reaches
PF: 50
DATE: 297.815 M41
LOCATION: Tanstar 88
OBJECTIVE: Deal with Governor Tolvos
REASON: He’s exporting heretical Xenos artefacts
PC’s: Anna, Hob, Janus, Lazarus, Thurman
SYNOPSIS: The explorers strike a deal with a corrupt Planetary Governor to shut down his Cold Trade operation. The governor remains in power while the dynasty picks up the legit trade route.

Previous Session’s Recap:

The explorers investigate a murder of several lowerdeck crewmen. They trace the evidence and Janus mind probes his way straight to the punchline of my carefully planned out murder mystery session. They uncover a Xenos artifact exporting operation and trace the conspiracy up to Governor Dunkirk himself. Charles Peskin was arrested but escaped custody and is at large.

During the last session, Janus learned of the location of the xenos site by plucking it from the mind of the Chieftain without his knowledge. The stolen memory showed a well worn path leading to a cave in the side of a nearby mountain. Viewed through the eyes of the native, Janus walks through the cave which eventually connects with a dimly lit hallway. The dirt path turns into what appears to be deck plating while the walls are obviously not natural. He continues down the hallway until he reaches a device that the native seems to revere as divine. The device activates, bathes him in holy light, and then goes silent, apparently deeming him worthy to pass deeper into the sacred site.

With this information, the explorers decide to visit the location with plans to collapse the entrance tunnel. The Emperor’s Hymn’s tech priests are called in and with a few auspex readings and sacrificing a servo skull to the cause, the explorers learn that the divine device at the end of the hall is actual a heavy plasma weapon and the “holy light” is actually some sort of Xenos auspex array.

The enginseer Ethan Libram very much wishes to explore the site, and the group discusses how to bypass the automated sentry. From talks with the natives, Anna recalls that the dark blue members of the tribe were judged worthy while the lighter blue members wouldn’t always return from this rite of passage. The tech-priests review some dataslates and suggest that many lifeforms here have a concentration of cobalt in their systems which gives them the blue color.

The NPC tech-priests are pretty convinced they could concoct a cobalt serum with Anna’s help to inject into Hob. It could be potentially lethal but might have a good chance of fooling the sensors. Hob is surprisingly okay with this, but ultimately the group decides to send Thurman Devalt in his camo sneak-suit to attempt to stealth past it.

Unfortunately, the heavy plasma turret rolls very well and [[;thurman|Thurman]] rolls very poorly (even with spending a Fate point). Heavy plasma weapons are designed to take out vehicles, so it burns through all of his wounds and scores a critical hit on his arm. The plasma vaporizes the flesh and flash boils the marrow in his bones causing them to explode, leaving only a cauterized stump.

Luckily the seneschal sensed something was wrong just in time and began running back toward the entrance when the shot fired. His momentum carried him forward out of the turret’s sensor range, where he landed on the ground a few feet away from the mouth of the entrance.

So off to the Medicae ward for the seneschal, taking him out of the action for the rest of the session (the player still got to participate cause we’re here to have fun damnit!). The tech priests light some incense, say the proper haikus of explosives activation, and BOOM the cave entrance collapses.

The explorers invite Govenor Tolvos Dunkirk to dinner aboard the Emperor’s Hymn but he politely refuses with an invitation of his own:

Captain Shilwulf,

I am most honoured by your personal invitation to dine with you aboard the Emperor’s Hymn. It is not often that a distinguished merchant such as yourself stops at our modest planet. Regrettably, I am forced to decline your most gracious offer, as certain matters have arisen which demand my immediate attention. However, it would be a pleasure if you would join me at my home for our Founders Day celebration. I very much look forward to the opportunity to meet you and hear the stories of someone as well-traveled as yourself.

May the Emperor protect always,
Tolvos Dunkirk
Third Sun of the House of Shin
Planetary Governor, Tanstar 88

So, they cram Hob into formal wear and hop a shuttle down to Tanstar Prime. The explorers leave their weapons behind except for the ex-Navy Captain since his officer’s cutlass (a best quality power sword) is a required symbol of his station. The governor’s mansion is very large and richly decorated, a little TOO richly decorated for the governor of a budding agri-world in fact. For the most part, the evening is uneventful and the Governor is cordial, welcoming, and polite. Janus refrains from using too much mind meddling, but does use Delude to make people really like Octavius early on in the evening.

Later on, the Navigators arrive. Lazarus Leere and two additional NPC Navigators stroll into the party. While Amiere Rey’a’Nor is an unassuming man in dress robes, Ivan Warluskew steals the show by being a mountain of flesh so large that he can’t feed himself or move under his own power. A complex, technical marvel of a wheelchair supports his 8’ tall frame. In spite of his appearance, Ivan is boisterous, obnoxious, and happy-go-lucky. A beautiful female attendant climbs a ladder to feed him throughout the night between his rude comments.

After the party begins dying down, Charles Peskin makes an appearance. The explorers glare at him from across the room while he struts his stuff, obviously convinced that he is going to be getting away free and clear. He smirks and snickers at the explorers from across the room, making certain to stay well out of Janus’s range.

Eventually, late in the evening, the only party goers left are the explorers, Peskin, Governor Tolvos Dunkirk, his loyal bodyguard, and about twenty house troops. The Governor offers to include the Shilwulf Dynasty in the profit, there’s more than enough to share. All they have to do is pretend nothing ever happened. The explorers, however, want nothing to do with the Cold Trade. They make the counter-offer of providing bodies to act as stand-ins for all the conspirators, save for the Governor who will remain free and clear. This plan causes Peskin to begin sweating a bit, and Janus senses he is about to pull his gun. He mentally informs the Captain and the Rogue Trader manages to talk him down, aided by some gentle mind-nudges from Janus.

The explorers wind up recruiting Charles Peskin, the bodyguard, and the squad of troopers that drove the truck transporting the xenos artifacts. Peskin was actually a tech priest flunk-out who had been shunted off to the Administratum and served on this backwater world. The Governor recruited him for his nefarious plot and, having figured out some of these devices, proved most useful.

A few days pass, and the merchant ship responsible for transporting the xenos artifacts arrives and goes about the normal business of unloading its cargo. Lazarus lures the ship’s Navigator away so he won’t get caught up in the coming firefight. Octavius hails the captain, engaging in idle chit-chat to make certain he’s on the bridge while the exploers teleport over to initiate a very one-sided fight.

Thurman ran the body guard since his character was out of commission and wound up scoring 6 hits from a machine pistol on the captain during the surprise round – poor dead bastard. Janus didn’t want to send his astropath over for the carnage so chose to control a battle servitor. He hit the second in command in the head with a chain axe just shy of killing him – the poor still-living bastard. Janus finished the job next round, severing the officer’s leg and killing him from blood loss. Everyone in the nearby squares had to make agility tests or slip in the gore.

Hob intimidates the remaining crew into surrendering but, unfortunately, the servitors are not given the command to stand down. They continue pouring automatic fire into the rest of the crew, killing 60% more before the explorers realize their mistake. When the servitors cease fire, the remaining crew surrender for a second time.

The explorers confiscate the ship, taking most of the crew for themselves to replace losses from 00-00 Disaster Strikes the Hymn, and secure the legit part of this trade route for the Dynasty, giving them a +1 to their Profit Factor.

Post Mortem:

There was a lot of cool roleplay this session. I especially liked the diplomatic fencing between Octavius Shilwulf and Governor Tolvos Dunkirk complete with implied threats, promises of favors, and compromises.

It was also a very nice touch when Lazarus Leere looked out for the Navigator on the Cold Trader’s ship. Inviting him down to the Navigator Guild House was good thinking. If he had been caught in the cross fire, that could have put a black mark on the Shilwulf Dynasty’s record.

Also of note, Hob managed to intimidate the governor’s body guard despite penalties for being out numbered, having no weapons, and at a tactical disadvantage in general. But he rolled very well and the body guard botched his roll, causing the body guard to look away.

Sorry about the arm Thurman. We can rebuild your arm… Make it stronger… Faster… ch ch ch ch ch ch

Next Session: 01-03 Picking up the Pieces

01-02 Dinner with the Governor

The Shilwulf Dynasty Eck Snowmoon