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Last Updated    27 February 2019
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An Interrupted Party

Leaving Regina     Through all the Court business and parties on Regina, Mikah, Brian and Zimzod got a confirmation from Duke Sir Norris Aella Aledon.  He was the Duke of Regina and a rising star in the Spinward Marches, after his role in ending the Fifth Frontier War.  Leaving for their next meeting, they planned to keep the party going and booked luxury passage to Rhylanor, and Duke Leonard Stephanos Kirgashii.  Their passage would run through the lightly populated Yori system, where they'd have a week-long layover.  During that layover, they even "shared the party" while the ship prepared for its next jump and managed cargo.  From Yori, they jumped to the Inthe system of the Regina subsector, which shared its name with another "Inthe" system in the Glisten subsector.

In the Inthe system, they brought the party to the highport during their second layover along the way to the Rhylanor system.  But, soon enough, Dame Mikah and Sirs Zimzod and Brian were outward bound from the Inthe highport.  The parties had moved back aboard ship and they were outward bound!  And then...

Neither of the three could remember exactly what happened, or even when or how?  They woke without remembering the last party ending, or even going to bed!  They also woke to find themselves sitting upright in straight back chairs, with their hands and feet restrained.  A belt ran firmly around their abdomens.  They could see they were in a sort of spartan metal compartment, and each shared a vague sense they'd been out for some time.

And they'd all traveled the starts enough to realize they were on a ship in flight.  The camera mounted on a bulkhead visible to them all made it obvious someone had been watching them too.  Soon after the three of them woke, a hatch opened and a man and woman came into the compartment.  She gave them a measuring look while he secured the hatch again.  The two were wearing generic dark-colored business clothes, of a fabric which could easily be woven from tech level five to ten.  Something societies from higher tech levels would not wear or even have.  The meeting that followed was short and blunt.

They were told they were aboard a ship bound for "a system" where insurgents were fighting a losing war against the government.  Despite that, the desperate insurgents had scored a double coup.  Somehow, they'd gotten hold of one of the government's key agent identification(NOK) files.  Then, using their knowledge of the agents, they'd managed to kidnap a weapons researcher and his daughter from government protection.  Since they could now identify all the government's agents, none of the government's agencies could try to rescue them without their people being identified coming in.  Even worse, the government learned, the hard way, that a number of their had agents somehow been tracked by the partisans.  So, organizing a covert rescue was also a problem.  When the Travellerís Aid Society News Service (TAS) said the Knights would travel close enough to be of use, it was decided to 'requisition their help'...

The briefing continued as they were told they'd be landed planetside, as close as authorities dared to the insurgent location, according to government intelligence.  They would be given what weapons the government could provide, the suspected location of the insurgent base and coordinates to a point where they would find a comms device.  After they had the scientist, the comms would be used to call for extraction.  It was made clear the man's daughter was a "preferable" recovery, but not mandatory for success of the mission.  Done with the briefing, the two agents raised hand-secured filters to their faces and the male agent threw some pellet-like items at the deck.  When those hit, they broke and small flames flared to create a gas that filled the compartment.  Obviously, a knock out gas, because the Knights remembered no more until they woke later.

when they did, they were on grass-covered ground, in a small field of high grasses under a twilight sky.  They'd been undressed and changed into what were likely local "light work clothes", which were likely of tech level five to ten manufacture.  Checking their immediate surroundings, they found some fairly basic rifles and web gear, each with an ammo pouch.  There was also a map in a leather courier bag.  Checking the map, Zimzod quickly saw they were some distance from the suspected insurgent base.  With that, They all agreed they needed a vehicle and started searching.

Soon, they found a small road to follow and Zimzod checked the compass which had been included with the map.  After choosing their direction, they moved off.  Sometime later, they spotted a boxy-looking wheeled ground vehicle that seemed to have been pulled well off the road.  It had even been partly driven behind some brush.  Carefully moving closer as they watched, the vehicle seemed large enough to fit more than five adults.  And, though the engine wasn't running, it seemed to be "rocking" slightly due to some motion inside.

Creeping up, the three Knights peeked in and saw a young couple in the throes of passion in the first passenger bench seat inside the ground car.  The driver had obviously pulled behind the brush hoping to be completely hidden.  The Knights could see the couple were in their late teens, and likely "sneaking out" from their families homes for stolen intimacy.  While the two were partly undressed, things hadn't gotten to the point that interruption would be "harsh".  Nodding to the others, Zimzod decided to 'do a favor' for their parents and stepped forward to pull the driverís door open while raising his rifle.

The couple were completely surprised, and the young girl started screaming as Zimzod commenced a good old fashioned car-jacking.  The boy was stupid enough to struggle at first, while Zimzod half-ordered-half-pulled him out of the car.  Without his pants, and, more to Zimzodís mind, without any thought of protecting his topless girlfriend, the kid saw the weapons, realized he couldn't win and took off!  Zimzod considered their options.  If the kid got to the authorities too soon, he could start a hunt for the "car jackers".  If he did that too soon, local law enforcement could get in the Knights way.  That thought took all of the microseconds required to raise and aim the rifle he had.  The young girlís hysterical screaming increased in volume as a crack rang out and her fleeing paramour fell, shot through the chest.  Zimzod regretted the death, because he'd only wanted to wing the kid.  But the weapons they had were just not that good.

Angry at Zimzod for acting unilaterally, Mikah and Brian did their best to control the situation and get the girl out of the SUV.  Then, after securing themselves in the vehicle, they drove away from the sobbing girl, who held her blouse to cover her chest and knelt over her dead loverís body.  From there, it took nearly hour to reach a place where they could hide the vehicle and move on by foot.  The "hideout" was more of a filled in quarry where openings between rocks in the fill had been widened into tunnels after being dumped there.  Scouting, they saw one armed man guarding the entrance, and had to wonder how soon someone would notice if they shot him?  Some checking showed there were no other entrances they could see.  So, their only other question was from what angle to make their attack?

Considering the pros and cons of creeping up close and not raising an alarm by firing a rifle, against possibly being seen and discovered, they decided a "sudden kill and hard rush forward" was their best bet.  That way, they could dive for cover while moving, and engage anyone who came out to investigate the gunfire.  So again, Zimzod steadied his weapon and drew down on the guard from the treeline.  The crack of a single shot was followed by their mad dash, as the three Knights rushed the cave-like entrance.  Lucky for them, Zimzod's shooting the kid had let him gauge how it pulled.  It also appeared the insurgents were very sloppy and didn't have a second guard.  So, the Knights reached the entrance without anyone inside seeming to have heard or reacting to the shot.

Zimzod quickly looted the body for anything he thought could help them.  What he'd found was limited to a loaded revolver and more ammo.  Oddly, the ammo could be used in their rifles.  There was no sign of where the man's rifle had been put, but the ammo suggested he had one.  Zimzod then propped the dead man as if he was "leaning against the entrance".  Next, they slowly made their way into the entrance, which fed into a space where multiple unidentified corridors seemed to meet.  With their actions in the Hrunting system as a guide, and because Sir Brian wasn't interested in 'risking his life for no reward', the engineer was left to "hold the entry", in case they had to make a fighting retreat.  The first passage from the entrance turned out to be a descending opening leading into dividing caverns.

After nearly 45 minutes, Mikah and Zimzod were still working on an armed exploration of many of the hideout's passages.  That ended when they ran into an insurgent carrying a tray of food!  The man was of a ragged sort, and was obviously less "well fed" himself.  Still, he wasn't starved either.  His "uniform" was threadbare and had stains, but was serviceable enough as forest camouflage.  After turning the encounter into a quick assault, and very brief "interview", the two found their way to where a laboratory cell had been fitted.  Along the way, they passed through other passages lined with ammo cases and some containers of grenades.  The lab door wasn't guarded, so they guessed the insurgents trusted their locks and security enough to not worry about posting a guard.

Struggling with the lock and door, they soon had the inventor out and free.  But Mikah and Zimzod were annoyed, if not at all surprised, when he refused to cooperate unless they rescued his daughter too.  The only luck Zimzod and Mikah had was that he knew the way to her cell.  While that had happened, Brian had been fortifying his position.  He'd even done some scavenging and was surprised to find a flamethrower in one of the near side-tunnels.  After an examination, Brian decided he liked it very much!  Working quietly, Brian set it up to defend his fortified position, should events come to that.  Mikah and Zimzod were pleased to find the girlís room because the access there was even more lightly secured.  A simple dead-bolt there made them wonder seriously about the abilities of this group?

Putting a plan in place after freeing her, they caused more than a few alarms while tossing some stolen grenades to collapse tunnels as they moved.  That would prevent pursuit more than anything else.  The most dramatic part of the rescue, after the "opening shot", turned out to be a brief shootout between Brian and two insurgents who'd been out on "top-side patrol".  They'd seen the sentry's body at the cave entrance and readied weapons before moving in to explore.  When Mikah and Zimzod joined the party, they learned Brian was "having a bit of excitement" holding the two off.  That changed with their additional firepower, while Brian was finally able to duck for cover and "help" by keeping the scientist's head down.

After the fight was done, Brian offered up two satchel charges he'd found as he strapped the flame thrower to his back.  Mikah and Zimzod set the charges off to collapse more tunnels and keep other rebels from following them to the truck.  In the end, they got clear with both the weapons developer and his daughter, leaving many insurgent bodies behind.  That was followed by a drive of less than an hour to the dust-off coordinates they'd been given.  It took a little searching there, but they found the promised comms and sent out their recovery call.  Soon after that, the ground in the clearing erupted with gas from an obviously pre-placed set of smoke-filled gas emitters.  Again, the Knights dropped and remembered nothing until waking aboard what was presumably the same ship they'd been aboard before.

Again, they were secured by the belly, wrists and ankles.  The same agents thanked the Knights for their work and said they'd be returned to their journey with all their original possessions.  Despite the treatment, Mikah was willing to forget everything if the world simply paid them for the work.  the agents ignored that reasonable request, and Brian's demand they return to him the flamethrower.  The three were shutdown.  The Knights were told that the government the agents represented regretted doing what had to be done, but the Knights shouldn't ever try to return to the unidentified system.  If they did, testimony from the girl from the SUV would assure a swift and very blunt trial for intentional murder.  That would be followed by a very swift "execution" of the verdict.

Again, the couple raised hand-held filters and gas spelled oblivion.  When the Knights woke, each was alone in their own high passage stateroom.  Exploration showed they were aboard the Tukera Long Liner "Equus", which was bound for the Rhylanor system via their next stop in the Porozlo system.  So, no expense had been spared there.  And, they could each find the others stateroom locations on their stateroom's entertainment computer.  All they had to do was accept the abuse they'd been subjected to, sit back and relax.  They would arrive at the Rhylanor highport in three weeks, including a scheduled stop in the Porozlo system.  But, the three were pissed, so things didn't work out that easily.

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Next: Arrival in Porozlo