Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Aliens, and Resolution

After safely exiting the space station, leaving it to burn, the Tempus Frigate settled in for some repairs. And, during those repairs, Daisy found something that... shouldn't be there. In fact, a bug. It seemed to be super complex, and upon cracking it open, started to degrade almost immediately. After showing it to the captain, the crew realized that Daneel Kaspar had been tracking them the whole time! Just like Caelie had planned for the crew to disrupt Kaspar, Kaspar had been using Caelie!

With that in mind, the captain proposed one more trip: back to the day she stole the ship.

The space station looked just like it did before - with the addition of a very strange ship. Strangely organic, it's odd shape prompted a memory. Julius had seen this kind of ship before! It held the strange, teleporting aliens the Shifting Horizon had run into - the servants of the Entity.

Caelie's codes were, oddly, not valid; it took some hacking to get in. And indeed, just inside the small space station, the group met four of the self-same aliens! Their technology was a little older, but it was obviously the same species.

After a quick battle, in which the leader was absolutely shredded in the first volley of gunfire, the party mopped up and continued on. Only a single alien escaped. Daisy reached for the strange staff the leader had been carrying, and was zapped with a burst of lightning! After some poking and prodding, Julius recovered the leader's gloves, and handed them off to Samuel, who was able to pick up the staff without any trouble. A little experimenting found that with certain gestures, he was able to use it to see through walls!

Quickly, they made their way to the ship - the earlier version of the ship, that is - and removed the bug. Slipping out, they took out some guards, passed the earlier version of Caelie Kay, and finally reached the exit. And right behind them was a huge, organic, mech. It tossed the crew around a bit, but the heavy gunfire from them began taking its toll. Finally, the mech collapsed, fluids leaking out as it sagged into mush. Daisy, realizing there may still be a driver inside, pulled out her brand new last sword and poked a lovely hole in both the mech, and its driver. Julius and the other pumped a few extra rounds into the mass.

Struggling free, the pilot burst out with a snarl - none other than Daneel Kaspar! And, a burst of gunfire later, little of him remained... and he fell into dust, and vanished.

Back at the Tempus Frigate, the crew reached battle stations as the strange organic ship turned towards them. A salvo of missiles slammed into the ship; a direct hit nearly knocked out one of their lasers, but luckily, no one was injured. After two rounds of firing, the enemy ship suddenly stopped returning fire - or, indeed, moving at all. One of Julius' shots had blasted through the cabin, and neatly decapitated the pilot!

From out of range, the crew watched the younger Tempus Frigate jump out of the system; they returned and grabbed the alien ship, towing it to somewhere a little more private to work on it.

The Captain thanked each one - she knew that AlSec would no longer be able to time travel, and if they were, the Tempus Frigate would be able to stop them. She offered each of them a place - or, if they wanted to go back, then enough information to be able to handle their careers from that point forward.

Daisy, excited as she was with technology, decided to stay, and help the Captain. Julius, along with Samuel Green, asked that they be taken to near the time of the Shifting Horizon, to hopefully recover the crew that went missing. He took the alien ship with him, now in working order.

Henry decided to return home; the captain, with a knowing smile, handed him a small business card. On it was written a name and an address: "Peregrine Cycle, 1313 Warehouse Rd., Boston, MA." When he found the address, he recognized the man inside, as well - a tall, thin man, bald, and with a strange accent. "Ah. Henry. So good to finally meet you. It seems the years ahead will be... fraught with peril, I believe the phrase is. And I hear you have information about a certain upcoming alien crash?"

Amy Wilson returned home as well; after a terrible disaster, she moved to Texas, to assist with the Agency there.

Finally, Charles Greene returned home - to more familiar territory. He kept his laser gun, but under lock and key. He'd only been home for a few days when a tall, thin man with a dark beard and a black stetson knocked on his door. He introduced himself as Andrew Lane, and said the Agency was looking for a few good men to head out west... he had a job in Arizona.

-------

This may be the end of this adventure, but I can assure you that the world isn't through. There are yet more adventures to have here, folks! Keep watching this space!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Tempus Frigate: Mech Tech Mash Test Makes Mass Mess

Floating outside in the serene emptiness of space, Daisy decided to do a little recon. The observation window was set into a shallow on the side of the enormous space station's hull; flying to the outside of the area revealed a number of super-heavy quad laser turrets, and shielded anti-missile minigun placements. After some exploratory shots, Daisy realized the miniguns were too tough to blast away, and with them in place, she was a prime target. Chagrined, she headed back to the observation window. A second observation window proved much tougher to enter - the glass was hardened against outside entrance - and so she returned to the smashed window.

Julius managed to get himself upright, and was checking himself for bruises. Seeing her return, he unleashed a stream of what was intended to be verbal lashing, but mostly was just waving his arms around - his coms were temporarily damaged. Oblivious, Daisy explained the gun placements, and squeezed past him into the hallway. She sized up the door for any possibility of shooting through it...

Meanwhile, in the medbay, Caelie, Samuel, Henry, and Charles tried to figure out why the door suddenly slammed shut. Caelie contacted Daisy on coms, who filled her in on her actions. After the collective facepalm from the occupants of the medbay, Daisy added, "And I'm going to try to shoot through these doors!"

Before Caelie could stop her, she fired, cracking open the decompression doors! Confused by the hiss of air, Daisy fired into the opening blindly - "There are snakes on the other side!"

Thankfully, once Julius moved out of the observation deck and moved the broken door, the decompression shields were able to slam shut, and the air quickly equalized. Pressure restored, the med bay door opened, and the only-slightly-woozy Samuel stumbled out, supported by the others.

With two of the gunners gone, Julius was able to successfully sneak down the hallway, and knifed the other two gunners. Around the next corner were a number of well-armed AlSec agents; co-opting the heavy guns, the party began firing at the agents. The flying mech proved to be quite resilient, and soon, the squad was dealt with - including a fellow in heavy power armor.

Julius, lusting after the well-armored suit, used his black chip o keep it at least somewhat functioning... it'll need repair, of course, but here are its stats:

Heavy power armor: $2,221,000
Armor :16
Jump Pack: jump up to 2x pace horizontal, 1x pace vertical
Self Sealing: holes caused by taking 1 or 2 wounds are automatically sealed
Strength Enhancement: +3 die types
Targeting System: remove -2 of any ranged attack penalty
3x Strength Enhancement (raise player's strength die type 3 times)
Weapons:
Grenade launcher: 24/48/96, RoF 1, 20 shots, any grenade
Auto cannon, medium: AP 6, HW, 50/100/200, 3d8, RoF 3, 100 rounds, $400 to reload
2x Light MG: AP 2, 30/60/120, 2d8, RoF 4, 200 rounds; $150 to reload (each)

The light machine guns and the auto cannon cannot fire on the same round, due to manual weapon switching (either the cannon, or the dual MGs). Granted, if you need that much firepower, you probably should have chosen a vehicle...

After finishing off the squad of goons, Caelie lead the party to the main medical facility, and got everyone healed up (though Samuel's genitalia are still only in the possession of his younger self, much to his chagrin). Not far from there was a control room, where she settled in for some good ol' hacking, as goons poured in from all over the station.

After five rounds of fighting off the growing hordes of enemies, Samuel's flying mech was shut down by a combined EMP effort; Daisy, with the heavy power armor, managed to hold her own, and Henry and Julius blasted through the last of the resistance. The station alarm began to sound, a new sound this time - one that Caelie acknowledged with grim satisfaction. She had set the main gun turrets to fire on all available targets, including friendlies... and additionally set the station to self destruct.

Just as the began to leave... the flamethrower mech arrived. The combined firepower of the party proved too much for it, however, and it was reduced to cinders and scrap.

The group fled to the nearest airlock; they were small enough targets that the main guns didn't fire on them, though they got to watch several of the AlSec ships get blasted. They floated out of the range of the station, pulled by Daisy, and rendezvoused with the Tempus Frigate.

Comm chatter revealed there was at least one ship that got away: the ship carrying Captain Daneel Kaspar.

There are some repairs to make, but it looks like the party has but one final target... but where? And more importantly... when?

Tempus Frigate: Hot and Breathless

Arriving at the outer airlock door, Daisy immediately began searching for an access panel, and hacked in with ease. After a short wander down a hallway, the group found themselves staring at the back of a rather large mech - a walker, actually!

Julius crept by, his suit making him nearly invisible. Past the mech was a human-sized door; sneaking inside, he found two techs, working at the controls. Drawing his mono-filament knife, he stabbed one, and grabbed the other around the neck! After a short struggle, he killed the second tech. One by one, the crew sneak past the walker, who manages to not spot a single one of them. Even Daisy's cartoonish sneaking managed to get past the apparently sleeping driver.

Until Samuel Green, that is. Only he and Henry were left; as he tried to creep past, he must have made some sort of noise, because the huge machine finally spotted him. As it turned to fire, it caught sight of the others, hiding in the control room! It fired its cannon at Samuel, then hosed down both he and the others with its flamethrowers! Luckily for Samuel, the cannon missed... but unluckily, the flamethrower did not. His suit burned beyond recognition, he collapsed; Caelie dragged him into the control room. As Henry booked it past, everyone ducked out the other door, just out of range of the next gout of flames.

A few minutes of first aid later, and everyone was at least stabilized; Samuel was still down for the count, but at least he wasn't bleeding out. Though... the direct blast of flames had removed his lower anatomy. Specifically, his reproductive anatomy.

As the somewhat singed crew made their way down the hallway, they came across a door with an interesting symbol: a line with a starburst at the end, and a second symbol with a lightning bolt. Opening the door revealed a bank of electrical equipment; every few minutes, an arc of electricity accompanied a building light-source. They shut the door before the light was entirely blinding...

Next they found two very useful entrances: first, a hangar bay, and second, a medical facility. The medical bay's occupants were quickly dispatched, and Samuel was set up on a healing table, as the other wounded were tended to.

Daisy, Henry, and Julius went across the hall to the hangar bay. Daisy, no good in a firefight, decided to take a closer look at one of the large mechs - a flying design with sharp talons and mounted lasers. She managed to figure out the controls, and took off. As Julius and Henry took out the techs, Daisy decided to get into a fist fight with the ship's defensive turrets. Ha! Who brings a laser turret to a fist fight? She tore the two turrets off the wall.

Samuel, meanwhile, managed to recover. His first thought as he woke up was that he needed to devise a heist to steal back his family jewels from his younger self... "He didn't use them anyway, and I need them!"

The fight over, Daisy went exploring, kicking in doors with her hallway-filling mech. Julius peeked inside each one. Just as he was checking out the observation deck, Daisy turned a corner and was met with a hail of heavy gunfire! She doubled back and rushed past Julius, yelling, "They're shooting at me!"

Now... in her defense, Daisy is from the 1930s. She really didn't know there wasn't air in space. As she rushed past Julius, she opened fire on the observation window, and slammed into it at full force. Julius only just managed to turn on his mag-boots before the air in the room was sucked out into space!

Right behind him were two of the four heavy gunners, but unfortunately, they didn't exactly have mag boots. As the decompression doors slammed shut, the two gunners were flung into space. Julius flapped in the wind like a flag, slamming against the deck, but luckily managed to hang on long enough for the outrushing of air to stop.

And on that cliffhanger, we will rejoin you next week!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Tempus Frigate: Roswell That Ends Well

Finally having a moment to think, Julian decided to rename himself Julius, to bring himself out from under the shadow of his original.

He, Henry, and Samuel carefully scanned the area, using the remote and any sensors they could cobble together, but the nanites that escaped were well and truly gone. Whatever will come from that is anyone's guess.

Leaving the others to repair the ship, Julius headed in a spiral, keeping an eye out for any activity. As Amy warned, in a few days, interest would begin to pick up, and soon they would be overrun with government and military officials; he didn't want to get spotted early.

Up the road, he found a farmhouse and some outbuildings; there was a car in the drive, and he could hear music playing on a radio. Sneaking up to the building, he peeked in - a housewife was preparing dinner, it looked like. He crept around, then through the open back door and into the study. Finding a map, he began to leave, then paused. Pulling out his knife, he carved a "crop circle" into the wall of the house, then waited for the woman to notice. When she did, he revealed himself - a tall man in a power suit, standing in her kitchen! She screamed; he introduced himself. She dove for a gun, and he decided to head outside. After a bit of dialog, where he suggested she remain inside and stay away from the crash landing - the first she heard of it, by the way - she firmly requested he leave, mentioning she had a shotgun pointed at the door, so no funny business.

Julius circled the house, not finding any dish or communication equipment; over comms, he asked Henry, sho said to look for a box with a wire that ran into the ground. Julius found such a wire, pulled out his knife... and cut the wire to a blast of sparks. As it happens, he cut the power line, not the phone line; lucky for him, his knife survived. The front door... not so much. Startled, the woman of the house left a gaping shotgun hole in it. Julius continued around the house and found the phone line, and cut that with much less drama.

Unbeknownst to him, the woman had already called her husband, who returned from the far pasture with his head farmhand. Julius waited until sunset, when a car drove up, and the woman's husband stepped out, rifle in hand, and called out to her. After a bit of watching, he finally told the men to stay away from the field to the south, and left.

Meanwhile, Daisy continued to fix components. She fell asleep at 5, gently snoring into an access panel... and at 6 AM, a sharp knock sounded on the ship's door. Charles answered, finding a thin, bald man, wearing a black suit and tie. A Man in Black! The man suggested that, perhaps, could they finish repairs to their ship in the next 2 hours? Additionally, he asked Henry how Daisy was doing, and showed him his badge - a member of The Agency, with an identification number of AA-56.

Henry, groggy from missed sleep, found and woke up Daisy, and together they continued working on the ship, with Samuel assisting. The Man in Black - a member of the Agency, actually - bid them good day, and returned to his (spotless) black car.

Just in time, the ship lifted off, heading for a beacon that showed up on their screen.

Meanwhile, the Agent and several members of his team returned to the site, playing the rubber and metal to be found there later; he also paid a visit to the house just up the dirt road...

The beacon was, in fact, the warehouse. Oddly, it looked much the same inside in 1947 as it did in 2882; the door was blasted off its hinges, and the roof was slightly warped from where they had run into it, fleeing from AlSec.

There was one difference... Caelie Kay was waiting for them. She produced a part for Daisy to repair the time drive, and explained just why she had to be gone...

Captain Daneel Kaspar erased his past. He is, at the moment, a non-entity; while he can no longer return to his own time, there is no way to remove him from the time stream except by finding him and taking him out. Whatever his true mission is, it likely has to do with the Entity - AlSec has always planned on breaking the Entity out of its jail, and this is a last-ditch method to do just that. She also found their base of operations - they jumped around in time, setting up bases, all funnelling to this one location: 2268, in low orbit around Jupiter.

Julius wasn't quite ready to give up command, but Calie opened the ship's door, and gestured behind her. "Would you rather stay?"

Behind her, the walls of the warehouse were beginning to go gray; objects fell into nothingness. Grumbling, Julian agreed, and the ship lifted off. Behind them, the open roof of the warehouse fell inward, fading out like a hologram, leaving the warehouse untouched. No trace of the time-traveling interior remained; only a blocky street address: "Warehouse 13".

The ship finally in working order, all the guns and shielding intact and functioning, the party made their way to the base. They fired themselves out of the airlock, and using their space suits' controls, managed to make a perfect landing on the far door of the base. They were ready for battle... or at least as ready as they would ever be.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Tempus Frigate: Oops, Did I Be That?

While Julian and Samuel explored the pirate base, the others cautiously filed out of their rooms. Daisy got upset at Julian, seeing as how he left the ship with only 8% working systems. It would take a drydock to get everything back online.

She, Henry, Charles, and Amy put on their suits (Charles luckily remembered to put his guns on the outside of his suit) and space-walked into the pirates' base. Whoever was there originally seemed to have either fled or died; there was no more noise from them, at any rate.

Julian and Henry picked a different door, and continued through it. This one lead to a large, heavy door - the entrance to the mining operation. Inside, they found a lot of broken and abandoned equipment, and a very well-secured door, with a strange image on it:
NANOHAZARD
Of course, it wasn't labeled or anything, so they had no idea what it was... but if it needed a strong door like that to keep it from getting out, then chances are, it should be left alone. They headed back to the main entrance.

Meanwhile, Daisy and Charles were sorting through the parts, prioritizing what they needed. This being Daisy, she also took a lot of stuff she didn't need, but just in case, right?

Julian and Henry next found a row of offices, and then the security building. Meanwhile, Amy, Charles, and Samuel headed for the last door, and found some interesting treasure - artwork, books, and other tangible, but non-liquid items (as the accountant would put it). At the end of the hallway, they found several barrels, similar to the ones Julian had found earlier. These were marked Repair #37 (4), Repair #12 (1), Replication #7 (2), and Experimental #119 (1). Each had the same symbol as the door marked on it. The barrel they opened seemed to contain a fine gray dust. After some debate and experimentation, Julian tested out his remote - the barrels were full of nanites! Daisy immediately began using the nanites to repair the ship; Cleo suggested that maybe, they might want to make haste, as the pirates were due back any moment.

It was that moment Echo showed up. Just a kid, he had stowed away when they were last in their base, having arrived from the year 2107.

With some money, they take the ship to 2882, where Daisy continues repairs. Henry, meanwhile, gained some new eyes, and lost his fancy helmet; he was a little weirded out by the fact that the doctor that saw him was... not there. Remote, or android? You decide!

Daisy, tired of poking the nanites along, hooked the remote up to Cleo, and suddenly repairs were taking place in the blink of an eye! Once Henry returned, Julian called a ship meeting, suggesting that perhaps he should be made captain, with Henry as first mate. Daisy is not entirely for it; Henry seemed ok with it, and managed to convince Daisy that they will still be fighting the bad guys. Amy suggests that the next time they see Capt. Kay, they try again; Julian agrees, though likely with his fingers crossed...

In the warehouse, Julian and Henry poke around, eventually finding a small room at the back, with a cot and part of a timeline. Interestingly, even their recent escapades were noted on the timeline, as if someone had forecast their actions. They took the timeline, and were poking around some more when suddenly, someone tried to break open the door! Henry raced back to the ship, and Julian (in his fancy suit) zipped past him, grabbing the kid on the way past. The Tempus Frigate closed her door just as the warehouse door crashed open, revealing AlSec agents, who began pouring in! With the shields up, small arms fire did little to harm them; Cleo opened the roof of the warehouse, and gunned it the moment some agents began setting up a shield-busting weapon. Wrenching the doors slightly, the ship jumped for the past, narrowly missing a rather large battleship cruising in.

With the engines barely functioning, and the time drive on the fritz, they had no idea where they were heading... or when. The ship blinked back into the timestream about a desert; only Daisy's expert piloting managed to land the ship in one piece, though it temporarily shut down the shields and jostled everyone around a bit. However, the damage was enough to wreck some of the more delicate patches in place, and Cleo suddenly went offline. Worse, one of the barrels of Replicate #7 broke open, and the nanites escaped through the ship, heading into the wild!

Careful tracking found only that the nanites had been given some gibberish signals; they were well and truly gone. There was nothing left but to figure out where they were, and all they had was a set of coordinates, and no way to check them. At least they knew when they were: June 13th, 1947.

Amy racked her brain... why did that date seem familiar? Suddenly, she realized - they were in New Mexico. Specifically, Roswell, New Mexico. They were the Roswell Crash!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Tempus Frigate

I have to admit... this is going to be a little bit long, because I took way too long to actually write all of this down. Nonetheless, onward!

Our adventure begins in... well, a lot of places, actually. Each hero received a message of some sort; Daisy, Henry, Charles Greene, and Amy Wilson each received a note from a mysterious figure in a duster. I'll get back to them.

Meanwhile, Clone-Julian, of Shifting Horizon fame, awoke in the year 2882 to the sound of gunfire. Trapped in some kind of cryo-pod, he could only watch through the viewing window as two figures floated into the room. They seemed to make some adjustments, then gave him a thumbs-up, and floated out. Not long afterwards... the ship cracked apart, sending him floating into deep space. He slept, and when he awoke... the pod was open, and a message played, beamed directly into his eyeballs by laser. A zoomed-in face appeared, sideways, then adjusted, revealing a young woman wearing a long coat. She nodded smartly and said, "Greetings! I am Captain Kay. I am putting together an elite team of heroes for a special mission. This message supersedes any prior orders; by responding, you will help protect the very foundations of our civilization! The meeting location is just across the walk-junction, at 1900 hours. Entry password is Umbra. Kay out!"

Somewhat confused, Julian stepped out of the pod, and into a busy city. He found the warehouse and used the password, then stepped down a set of stairs to find a ship, waiting within.

A few years prior, in 2152, a man named Samuel Green found himself in a bit of a predicament. He and his crew were to be the first successful pilots of a jumpship... but unfortunately, jumping was not entirely safe. After the first jump, he found himself staring out at a blanket of stars, far from Earth - in fact, far from his solar system. There was a celebration, but then... not so much. The second jump did not return them home. nor did the third, nor the fourth. The pilot snapped, and strangled the captain with his own seatbelt, leaving Samuel to scramble for the lifeboat. As oxygen ran low, his eyelids drooped... then he saw a ship suddenly loom in his viewport. When he awoke, he was in a large, white room, laying on a soft cot, next to a ship sitting in dock.

Back again, to 1982. Amy Wilson, an accountant with an eye for solving mysteries, met the mysterious stranger. Having nothing better to do with her time, she followed the instructions on the note - and found herself in that same hanger.

In 1937, two strangers - Daisy, a naive we-can-do-it mechanic, and Henry, a blind army vet, met the same stranger, followed the same instructions, and found themselves in the very same hanger.

Finally, way back in 1882, a gentleman gunslinger named Charles Greene (no relation to Samuel Green, by the way) followed the stranger's note, and found himself in a strange, white warehouse.

Julian, Henry, and Daisy met; Henry scoffed at the very idea of a "space ship," but Daisy was quite interested. Suddenly, the door swung open, and Captain Caelie Kay stepped out. "Greetings!"

It took a while to convince the first three; Captain Kay explained that she had brought them together to stop a threat, and she needed each of their particular skills. She gave the standard time-traveling hero spiel: while you won't amount to much in your own timeline, if you come with me, you can be awesome!

Clone-Julian, of course, was having none of it - he was sure he was the real Julian, and had been kidnapped. Henry didn't believe they traveled through time at all, even after encountering some space-pirates. Only Daisy seemed to trust the captain - and, frankly, Henry and Julian are both irritated with her bubbly personality.

While leaving the space-pirates, Julian caught sight of a logo on an approaching ship... AlSec. Swearing, he realized that somehow, some of them had escaped his wrath. Grudgingly, Julian accepted Caelie's offer, if only to destroy AlSec entirely. Henry only accepted after getting a set of digital eyes - not as fancy as the real thing, but they seemed to do the trick (though it was fairly painful getting them in the first place). Daisy accepted almost before Captain Kay was done speaking, and was soon tinkering with the railguns and lasers, managing to fix one of the guns.

In a slightly alternate future (past? I'm not actually sure), the other three met up together: Charles Greene, sure he was getting hired for something interesting; Amy Wilson, confused; and Samuel Green, saved from space. Once again, they attacked the ship, retrieving the same fluid link the good Captain had saved before. Interesting how that worked out...

Of course, this time, it wasn't a far-future spaceman with lasers and skills in shooting just about everything, but a cowboy, an accountant, and a astronaut with an AK-47. The enemies (this time on a different side of the station) were about the same number, but the fight took quite a bit longer. Finally, Amy managed to fire her dad's handgun through a pirate, and the two Green(e)s managed to finally spray everything with enough lead that it stopped moving. Everyone took a few hits, but even without armor, they managed to hold themselves together.

These three accepted right away.

Finally together, the six found themselves back on Earth. Well... Earth-ish. This was Earth during the cleansing of Earth - the great battle with AlSec forces. While the space battle raged overhead, the security forces on the planet were besieged by (the real) Julian's forces, backing up freedom fighters. Unnoticed in the fray, the group moved to a nondescript building. On the second floor, they encountered some guards, and made short work of them; continuing up, they met a few pockets of resistance, and eventually made it to the building core, where they found a safe, and Captain Kay began hacking some information out of the terminal. In the safe were the following items, some of which were used in the ensuing firefight:

2 EMP Grenade, 2 Frag Grenade, 2 Smoke Grenade, 1 Thermal Grenade, 2 Sonic Grenade
1 Sonic Shotgun, 1 Shotgun, full-auto
1 JumpVodka
1 Smartshield: +4 armor, negates AP; if it sustains 20+ points of damage in a round, it flickers off and needs a repair roll to fix.

Outside the security room, forces gathered. Those inside took up defensive positions, covering Caelie as she worked on the computer. After a rough battle, the Captain had finally gathered the information she needed. The party was forced to allow the commander of the forces to flee.

As it turns out, that man was none other than Captain Daneel Kaspar of AlSec; it seems he was in charge of a secret time travel device... built according to the specifications of a certain "mad sage," Dr. Vincentius Becly. The same man who was murdered on the Shifting Horizon. Kaspar worked his way up through the ranks with ruthless efficiency, and took over the time travel program. He set up bases in three time periods: 1992, 2082, and 2222.

The group finished looking over the documents, and suddenly... the papers began going gray. In a moment, they had fallen into gray powder, then even that vanished. Caelie sighed, dusting off her hands. That was the dangerous part of time traveling... paradoxes are not allowed to resist, and the universe will attempt to right any wrongs.

Every decision ever made existed at one time, but as time progresses, the "unused" decisions are lopped off. Even with time travel, it is very difficult to change the future, simply because the universe has built-in rules for holding itself together. Breaking those rules may result in you being lopped off. The papers were affected by something Kaspar had done - in that reality, at least, he never existed.

Of course, time travel is hard, and there is rather a lot of science that can't explain how it works, so suffice to say that while those papers ceased to be, the memories did not. Usually, no one would notice when things vanish, simply because they really had always been that way, at least for anyone who hadn't traveled through time. There is a great many papers written about the subject, but I'll leave it at this: changing time can be very bad for anyone after that point. Little changes are fine, and get reabsorbed without much fuss, but big changes can result in you never having existed in the first place.

Which lead to the next problem: Kaspar. The party knew he was in one of three locations, in one of three time periods. A little research later, they found the locations. Daisy, meanwhile, pulled up some tool manuals, and started working on the laser again.

The first time period, 2222, resulted in nothing but an empty ship. But 1992 turned up just what they were looking for. The Captain left them to fight on their own, staying back to pilot the ship. Inside, the team fought through several waves of goons... and after the first wave, found themselves fighting a very strange man indeed. He appeared out of nowhere, shouted, "In the past!", and opened fire. He took quite a lot of damage, and managed to nearly injure several of the crew, before popping back out.

Further inside, they found Captain Kaspar himself. After a rousing battle which included Kaspar mocking them all, Kaspar left them with a parting remark: "Check your histories!"

Daisy, realizing she wasn't going to be much good in a firefight, left to pilfer parts.

After the mission, Julian and the others used the Tempus Frigate's computers to search their pasts... and found just how ignoble their lives really were. Daisy was killed a day later in a gang war; Henry stepped out into traffic and died. Julian discovered he was a clone. Samuel found he died in space. Amy tripped headlong off a building. And Charles shot himself while cleaning his gun.

Julian, of course, decided the best course of action was to get drunk out of his head, then go fight pirates. Sans Captain Kay, who said she had another mission to work on...

After using the ship's guns to great success, Julian gained access to a pirate stronghold. Inside, he and the others found little to no resistance; apart from two voices on the radio, he met no one. Granted, his firefight with the station resulted in the ship gaining 3 wounds - it was in bad shape before, but at this point, it is barely hanging together.

Exploring the quarters, Julian and Samuel found a secret passage. Deeper in, Julian came face to face with a strange, fast-moving rock-creature, who left him alone. Finally, the two found the treasure trove, containing a bit of cash, some basic guns... and a set of light power armor: 8 Armor, Pace 10 with a Running Die of d10, and Stealth Systems, giving a -4 to hit or scan. It is also Self Sealing, so able to be used in space or underwater.

***

Whew. Join us next time, for more time-travel shenanigans!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Musgrave Adventure: The Missing Musgrave

One fine day - August the 4th, 1937, to be precise - Lady Evangeline Musgrave received a letter from her husband, Lord Geoffrey Musgrave.

Lady Evangeline Musgrave is a “reformed” tomboy who secretly yearns for the life of adventure she used to have with her husband, before their families put their foot down and forced her to stop adventuring and stay home to care for her daughter, Veronica. She still has some of her old skills, especially that of linguistics.

Her daughter, Veronica, never knew her mother to adventure, and grew up as a True Believer in aristocracy, the Upper Class, and Being British In General. She takes her role as the daughter of a lord seriously, though she looks down on "common people," much to her parents' disapproval. She is studying to become a nurse. While she inherited her mother’s good looks (and improved on them, to most accounts), she doesn’t believe a word of the stories her parents tell of mystical, magical artifacts.

The two were summoned by Geoffrey to visit the latest dig he was heading; he, his best friend (and idle rich) Desmond St Price, an investor named Hardy Fenton, and the German construction expert, Gerhard Stein, had uncovered what Geoffrey believed was a lost treasure, of the goddess Wurt! Hardy's two daughters were arriving by way of an airship, the Graf Zeppelin, to arrive in Frankfurt on the 10th of August, and he hoped his daughter and wife could meet them.

Josephine Fenton - Jo to all but the “stuffy grownups” - is Hardy Fenton's youngest daughter. She has the soul of an outdoorsman, and tends to trust her luck over skill. Her curiosity and stubborn nature frequently cause trouble for the siblings, but Jo sticks by her sister no matter what.

Francis Fenton, the elder sister of Josephine, is the more level-headed of the two Fenton siblings. Charismatic and smart, Francis has a very inquisitive nature. Though he has a habit of retelling war stories he’s heard… which may be a problem in Germany. Even so, he is always willing to help those in need.

Desmond St Price's daughter, and friend of Veronica, is Penelope St Price. Where Veronica is ladylike and polite, Penelope is strong, agile, and skilled with sword and gun alike. Her combination of a big mouth and insatiable curiosity frequently get the two girls in trouble.

...Though not as much trouble as Cuthbert Trillicker. Known as “Bertie” to his friends, and “that troublemaker” to nearly everyone else, young Bertie is the charge of his cousin Penelope and Uncle "Dizzy". Even though he is but the tender age of 8, he is still a formidable fighter.

And last but not least, Piper Ubend, son of Gregory Ubend, has worked for the Musgraves his entire life. Fast on his feet, and faster with a wrench, Piper can repair almost anything that moves, and quite a few things that don’t. Not only that, but Piper can drive and pilot with some of the best, though his overconfidence and big mouth can sometimes lead him astray.

The women, plus Bertie and Piper, traveled from London by plane, landing in Frankfurt. The next day, the Fenton sisters arrived, introducing themselves to the Musgraves and St Prices. Bertie, of course, plied them with many questions about their amazing trip on a floating airship.

Together, they traveled by train to the south, but when they arrived in Kößlarn [Kosslarn], Lady Musgrave found a telegram waiting for her. It warned that her husband had gone missing! Furthermore, it suggested that she return home, and let the authorities deal with it. Of course. Lady Musgrave would have none of that. She immediately checked into her hotel, where poor Penelope and Francis were put to bed - neither agreed with travel by air or train. The next morning, Lady Musgrave, Veronica, Jo, and Bertie headed to the police station (Piper remained at the hotel, to keep an ear out for any information).

Inside, Lady Musgrave insisted on meeting a Walter Böhm, the signer of the telegram. In a moment, a laconic figured strolled out, leaning on the counter. In broken English, he explained to Lady Musgrave that he was in charge of the investigation into the disappearances. He had been alerted to the vanishing of the men when a worker, employed by Herr Stein, had come to the camp and found it empty. Again, he suggested the womenfolk leave the investigation work to the authorities.

Meanwhile, Bertie discovered some pre-chewed bubble-gum and a 5-Reichsmark banknote under a bench. Jo's investigation was a little more fruitful - she found a poster that seemed important. Showing it to Lady Musgrave, they learned that it was a warning from Hitler himself; any treasures, artifacts, or historical findings were property of the Third Reich.

Back at the hotel, Bertie taunted the poor elevator operator to tears, and managed to get to push the buttons. After a quick meeting, they decided to first go shopping (for supplies, food, and a new machete for Jo, among other things), then found a taxi and went to the base camp, with Bertie spitting out the window, naturally.

At the dig, Bertie found the supply tent, and lifted two shovels; the ladies found a calendar, with the dates crossed off until the 9th, and a strange set of runes written on it, then circled: ᚹᚢᚱᛞ. A note to Lady Evangeline clinched it - Geoffrey thought he was double-crossed by a certain captain, and was setting out with his friends and workers to finish the dig at night. Jo found tracks leading from the camp - one group of leather work shoes, and a second group of jack-booted soldiers. They followed the footprints until they found the old ruins, pictured in the original letter; the soldier's footprints split off, as if searching, while the other footprints lead to a hidden cave.

Trying to hide their own footprints, Lady Veronica carefully scratched each out with a stick... until Jo sent her into the cave, and brushed the trail with a branch, doing a much better job. Veronica shuddered at the damp cave, but followed. Inside, they discovered a natural exit at the back of the cave, and continued deeper in - though the passage turned to worked stone, with a well-made archway overhead before long. On one side of the passage, a set of runes were all but illegible, worn down by age.

They followed the passage, taking the turns indicated by the runes in the letter. Behind them, the German soldiers found the cave, and began filing inside. As the reached the end, they could hear the soldiers being ordered into the various side passages, followed by sharp screams... it seems the wrong passages were very wrong indeed.

At the end of the passage was a room, filled with natural light from above; a single plinth stood at the end of the room, with a rather plain rock perched on it. While the others looked around, Jo found a footprint, and scrape marks; it seems there may be a hidden door somewhere! Searching for a key, she looked closely at the rock on the plinth. Acting on a hunch, she tried to turn it to the right... nothing. Switching hands, she cranked it to the left, and it suddenly shifted with a clunk! A grinding sound echoed through the room, then suddenly the entire floor tilted! As Bertie and Lady Musgrave slid down, Jo quickly tossed a hook around the plinth. Veronica tried to grab her hand, but slipped past. The two women and Bertie slipped down a clay-covered slide; at the bottom, they called up that it was safe. Giving the plinth a twist, Jo leaped into the hole as the floor slammed shut.

Bertie, ignoring the clay and mud on his clothing, began digging happily in the mud, and uncovered a pocket watch - Geoffrey's pocket watch, in fact! Moving on, they found four bowls - ceremonial alters, in fact. Lady Musgrave recognized the names: Wuotan, Donar, Nerthus, and Wurt.

Nerthus is also known as Mother Earth; Bertie heaped a shovelful of mud into the bowl, and it spun downward; the offering was a success! Wuotan, otherwise known as Odin, was offered a limerick (complete with dirty words), again by Bertie, and again it was accepted. Third was Donar, aka Thor; Bertie, hearing that he was the god of oak (among other things), tossed a burning torch onto the bowl. It seemed to be accepted, and the bowl once again sunk down and was covered. Finally, for Wurt, or Wyrd, the goddess of Fate, Bertie offered a single flip of a coin - change, from when he purchased some brass knuckles. As the coin spun in the bowl, it too slowly sank down. And then, the whole bank of bowls sank down into the ground!

Behind the bowls, a diffuse glow hid what was behind... as the four stepped through... they found themselves in a walled garden, outside! Behind them, there was nothing but a blank wall. Bertie immediately stepped forward, squirming out from Veronica's grasp, and darted aroudn the tree in the center of the garden. A woman with long, dark hair and a simple robe greeted him. "Hey! Who are you?" Bertie demanded.

The woman merely smiled. Bertie, seeing the cards in her hands, asked what they were for. "Oh... I can do a few tricks, I suppose."

Bertie, of course, was eager to see. The first trick - the woman tossed a card into the air, and it turned into a butterfly! Bertie... was unimpressed. He asked for a different trick. With a laugh, the woman asked for Bertie to pick a card. He pulled one - the Ace of Spades, she guessed, correctly. Scoffing, he pulled another. "Ace of Spades." Correct, again; confused, Bertie checked the card already in his hand. Huh. Tossing the other aces over his shoulder, he pulled a third card. Also an ace of spades! Finally impressed, Bertie asked about other games. "Oh... you will see, my child."

Meanwhile, the ladies looked a little further. On the other side of the garden, a cage held... the menfolk! Geoffrey, Desmond, Hardy, and Stein! However, the bars on their cages were too strong to bend, and there didn't seem to be any locks to pick. They turned to the woman, as three men came through the wall...

One was a man in a black leather outfit, complete with flowing cape and snazzy cap, and SS label on his sleeves. Beside him was the man on the poster - Captain Böhm! The third man was a very confused looking soldier. The woman clapped her hands, and between them, a chessboard grew - well, technically a Draughts board. On one side, the three Nazis. On the other, the four adventurers. Lady Musgrave stepped forward, tossing a knife at the SS officer - a hit! Jo followed up with an ax, another hit! The SS officer was looking pretty bad from the start. Bertie, too, tried firing a stone from his slingshot, but fired wide.

The SS agent fired and missed; the captain stepped forward, firing and missing; the soldier charged forward as well, firing at Evangeline, but the bullet glanced off her corset. He charged, his bayonet forward, but Evangeline dodged to the side, and coolly pulled her derringer. One shot later, and the soldier fell to the ground, a smoking hole in his chest. Jo slashed at the captain with her machete, but missed.

Jo, meanwhile, was joined by Bertie, charging the captain; he fired at Jo, but the bullet only grazed her arm. Bertie struck out with his knife, leaving a gash in his leg; Jo stepped back, took aim with her throwing ax, and sank the blade right between his eyes.

The SS officer fired wildly, missing Evangeline. Striding forward, she held out her derringer and fired. With a gasp, the SS officer fell to his knees...

The sound of applause sounded behind them; as they turned, the Draughts board vanished, as did the bodies of the Nazis. Behind her, the iron cages bent and twisted, becoming no more than simple bushes. Lady Fate (for, obviously, that was who she was) thanked the four for their help, and accepted the abashed apologies from the men. "The artifacts I protect are not meant for mortal men. But, what I have, I will share. For one, if ever you need assistance... call on me."

With a gesture, a door opened in the wall. Bertie, remembering the coin he offered, asked if, perhaps, he could have it back? With a wink, Lady Fate tossed him a coin. Not the single reichsmark coin he had tossed in, but a much larger coin... made of gold!

Heading out the door, the eight stepped into early morning light. Behind them, the four workers Stein brought stepped out, confused - they had stepped into the light behind the altar, and stepped out having lost four days!

Spotting a lone German officer guarding a car, Bertie dashed over, and immediately began making fun of him. Shaken by the sight of a British child waving a bloody knife and shouting, the guard nearly swallowed his cigarette. When eleven more figures stepped out, holding throwing axes, knives, guns, and other weapons... he quickly agreed to give them a ride to town.

On the flight back to London (with the Fentons, who cordially accepted the offer to stay for a while), the families caught up; Geoffrey, finding himself in the garden, first attempted to gather the items Lady Fate was guarding, and in trade found himself captured. However, it was the captain and the SS officer who posed the greatest threat. While Geoffrey merely wanted to collect the items for a museum, the Nazis, it seems, were under the impression the items were, in fact, weapons.

What further adventures await our adventuresome companions? Only time will tell!