Thursday, September 09, 2021

Deepnight Revelation #6

Captain's Log - T081

We arrived at the source of the radio signals we detected yesterday, and were able to ascertain that they originated from a space station in orbit of a habitable planet in the system. We were able to establish visual and audio contact with the operators of the station by reverse engineering of the electronic devices we recovered from the ship. The operators were of the same species as those in the wrecked ship we came across, and while surprised by our presence, were thankfully non-hostile. We were escorted to the station, which was not able to accommodate a ship of our size, but we were able to transfer to the station via shuttle, thanks to the attachments to our airlocks fabricated by Engineering based on the specifications of the wrecked ship.

While we are still unable to communicate verbally with these people, we were able to make them understand that we had come across one of the ships. On their part they expressed that they will provide us with food and water, in return for those wares which we have recovered from the wreck, as well as the location of the wreck. They also asked for a database of our language, which I have asked Commander Zruke to furnish them with. Hopefully this can be the beginning of a mutually-beneficial partnership.

Captain's Log - T084

It took only two days after receiving our database for our hosts the Haix to create a translator app for our language, and we were finally able to enter into negotiations for the repair of Deepnight Revelation. While their jump drive and weapons technology do not seem to be comparable to ours, their translation matrix certainly are superior.

It appears that the Haix are the only spacefaring civilisation in the sector, and they are engaged in trading with a dozen non-spacefaring civilisations. They have not encountered the Grens, nor do they know who or what might have attacked and destroyed the ship we encountered.

Engineering had provided a list of the items required for our repairs, and unfortunately the required rare earth minerals that the Haix were expecting from their mining colony had been delayed, and a delegation sent to investigate had likewise not returned as anticipated. Syndic Feisler had offered us a deal: if our crew will travel to Grit (the name of the planet - the Haix are rather literal in the way they name their colonies, we have learned) and learn and resolve the cause of the delay, they will provide the minerals to us at no costs. I have asked Mr Johnson to form a team and take the Scout 'Amelia Earhart' to perform this mission.

Separately, we tried to but were unsuccessful in asking the Haix for permission for our crew to go on shore leave on the planet below the station. So far we have learned that the indigenous people of the planet are called the Dwedalla, and that they supply the Haix with food and water, in return for electronic appliances for their city, as well as the electricity to run them. I will revisit this issue with Syndic Feisler again, as I believe our crew need the morale boost.

Captain's Log - T102

Mr Johnson and his team had debriefed me on his mission to the colony on Grit.

The mining colony, which is based on a mobile extraction platform the size of a small town (and given the imaginative name of Extraction One), is owned by the Haix Syndicate, but operated by staff gathered from the planets who the Haix trade with. The colony operates as a form of a co-operative, where the minerals mined are sold to the Haix, who pay the colonists in food, water, spare parts, as well as electronic credits.

Three months prior to our arrival, the antiquated ventilation system in one of the residential sections broke down during the night, the result of which was the toxic gases from the atmosphere outside the platform leaked into the residential section and killed more than a hundred colonists and their families in their sleep.

The colonists petitioned for the Haix to provide new ventilation systems, but were instead given new excavation equipment, on the basis that the increased rate of extraction of ores provided by these equipment will allow them to make more money, which could then be used to purchase the new ventilation system.

This mercenary response provoked an uprising in the colony, based chiefly among the miners, who went on strike and demanded better terms, or even outright independence from the Haix. This in turn resulted in the formation of a pro-status quo faction, comprised mainly of the administrative staff, who argued that the colony could not afford to antagonise the Haix.

The two factions came to blows, but Manager Corvalis was able to prevent escalation of violence by detaining the Haix representatives, as well as the leaders of both factions.

Mr Johnson was able to convince the leader of the miner faction that a strike was not in the best interest of the colonists, as they relied on the Haix more than the Haix did on them. At the same time, crewman Jet Black was able to convince the Haix on Grit to give up the back-up ventilation systems at their base to the colonists as a sign of good will.

The leader of the miners was prepared to ask his men to stand down, but an extremist faction led by an engineer who had lost his family in the ventilation system failure took control of the power system of the platform, and stranded the platform in soft ground.

While Manager Corvalis kept the extremists distracted with negotiation, Sergeant Ahab led the team on an assault of the drive section which the extremists were holed up. The team was able to neutralise the extremists with no fatalities, and restart the engine before the platform became permanently stuck.

Our crew was able to return with the required minerals, and fabrication of the replacement parts can finally begin. I am, however, disturbed by the practices of the Haix. Still, dealing with them is the only viable option we have at the current moment, and perhaps I can take comfort in the fact that the situation may have ended in a worse way had it not been our crew.

Prepping and Running the Game

This session was almost entirely role-playing, with a very short, rather easy combat encounter at the end. I think some of the players were bored, and I cannot blame them.

The first part of the session was a lot of miming - we became quite aware of how difficult it must be to communicate with a totally different species - small things like a nod or the raise of an eyebrow may not convey the same meaning in an alien culture, but it was still difficult to not do them even when I am supposedly playing an alien.

Things became easier once I introduced a translator, but what followed for most of the rest of the evening were a series of role-playing with NPCs who represented different factions. The players were able to take control of the situation, and resolve the conflict presented in this scenario with minimal violence. It felt like an episode of Star Trek: Voyager to me, which of course is more fun to watch than to play it.

This session was a more classic 'fetch quest' than the previous one; in the last session I gave the players a choice to whether they will engage with the hook I presented - they refused both hooks, and we ended up with a short session.

The next scenario will be a similar 'fetch quest', but hopefully there will be more combat for those players who prefer action to talk.

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