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!