Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fused Tech

Barbarians on spaceships! Remember them? My beloved barbarians storming the decks with swords and crossbows! They're getting an upgrade.

As any barbarian will tell you arrows and bolts suck next to bullets. They just do. Being barbarians you can't always make the jump to full on assault rifles without a few tech level hiccups along the way. After all if it were that simple every planet would have a TL 15 store.

The planet Peraspera in my Icy Shores setting had just this problem. While not up to even 21 century tech standards the locals were able to maintain and even expand an industry producing air crystals, a commodity that was prized in life support systems. This and low offworld funds for importing firearms made it a tempting target for raiders.

The charges against several corporations for hiring raiders to encourage the Perasperans to sell their facilities cheap remain unproven.

Without a lot of guns the Perasperans decided that they did not have to be impregnable to offworld attacks, just a big enough hassle to make raiders turn elsewhere.

A local armorer made an exhausting study of a snub pistol and soon determined that it's muzzle velocity was about 100 meters per second. By happy coincidence local crossbows fired bolts around this speed. he quickly refitted a few HEAP rounds to some bolts. Some quick testing showed the bolts would indeed impact with enough force to trigger the explosive charges in the rounds.

Consider: bullets are fairly cheap compared to firearms. They are also smaller and much easier to ship. A snub round weighs about 7 grams. Not much compared to a 65 gram bolt. Balancing the new bolts was not trivial but doable. Once enough bolts were churned out the locals proceeded to raise merry Hell among the first raiding party to hit the dirt.

Of course this isn't Avatar so the frustrated raiders rained a couple of missiles on the defenders from a safe altitude.

Snub Bolts- Use the range characteristics of the bow. Use the armor modifiers for the snub pistol round. Snub bolts can fired from crossbows and long bows reliably. Fired from smaller bows they malfunction and do not go off on a 1 in 6 chance. The Perasperans have produced HE and HEAP bolts/arrows. Gas or tranquilizer arrows are possible as well. The drawbacks of the snub bolts become apparent when used in 0-gee combat. The modifiers to retain or regain control are -3 for crossbows or -4 for other bows.

Which is why one Perasperan troop decided to lay carpet on her ship and attach hook and loop pads to the soles of her boots.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Katz and Robot Dogs

Riasi: Walking in high heels is hard for humans. Why do their women do it?

Mukh (dogcomm1): <Skrrrrt> At least you’re outside buying magazines and comics and not stuck in a shuttle with Tivk and Nok operating a robot dog. <Skrrrt>

Cadet (dogcomm2): <Skrrrt> What about me? <Skrrrt>

Mukh (d1): What about you?

Cadet (d2): I’m running all the engineering on this robot canine and it isn’t easy. Keeps overheating. I dunno why they decided to use a pile instead of a fuel cell … 

Tivk (dogcomm3): My fault. I thought we’d a pile in stock designed by my people. A good one.

Cadet (d2): … when’s it my turn to drive?

Mukh (d1): You lost your turns. You kept trying to look at Riasi’s legs and … attributes.

Riasi: I don’t mind! My attributes are my best feature … oooh chillax boys, local coming across that field.

Mukh (d1): Woof! Woof! <Skrrrt> <Skrrrt>

Cadet (d2): There’s a button to make it woof dumb ass!

Robot Dog: Woof! Wo <Skrrrt> -oof!

Riasi: What are you doing?! Why is making that noise? Get away from me!

Runrunrunrun!

Shuttle
Mukh: Hey what’s that light for? Oh shi …

Cadet: Initiating emergency panting cool down! Venting coolant! Tail radiators overheating, commencing wagging!

Field
Riasi: Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Robot Dog: Puff puff puff <Skrrrt> <Skrrrt> Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …

Boom! Boom! Sproing!

Riasi: O.O

Farmer: Are you okay ma’am?

Riasi: You shot the robot dog!

Farmer: Dang right he was rabid! He was foaming and chasing you. Did you want me to take a picture?

Riasi: Thank you. It was scary.

Farmer: … Would you like me to help you out of that tree?

Sproing!

Riasi: Not necessary. Thank you. You live around here?

Farmer: … Just over that hill. Just call me Stretch. I didn’t get your name …

Riasi: Ri … Ri … Rita! Rita … Katz!

Shuttle
Mukh: I don’t believe this!!

Nok: You crashed a dog.

Mukh: Only after that guy blasted us and the screen went all splodey!

Cadet: Okay the pile is intact. Visual is out. Audio marginal. Servos out. Initiating emergency shut down. Captain’s is going to go apeshit. Then he’s going to kill us.

Tivk: Nonsense. He is good at delegating. The Exec will go apeshit and the Chief will kill you.

Nok: Indeed. 

Field
Farmer: So what are you doing out here so far from town?

Riasi: I’m looking for good locations for a movie holo movie!

Farmer: A movie? What's it called? 

Riasi: How To Be Outstanding In Your Field!

Farmer: … I see. You got a lotta magazines. Here’s some more you dropped.

Riasi: Thank you. You are very sweet. Hang on, I want to take my shoes off. Wow, you are tall.

Farmer: Awwwww …. heheheheheh!

Shuttle
Tivk: Go get the dog.

Nok: Like hell. You pass for a human the best. Besides, anything happens to me and you’re stuck with Shavetail here or Mukh for a pilot.

Tivk: I will get the dog. My cloak!

Cadet: Is your arm broken? Get it your own self! I’m keeping the dog from sparking or going all killer robot on the hayseed’s ass. Captain’s going to kill me.

Mukh: Ms. Riasi is doing a good job distracting him,  from what I can hear. She don’t even have her fur or tail!

Cadet: Dude, Ms. Riasi could be distracting in a suit of power armor.

Field
Farmer: Me? An actor? Really?

Riasi: Sure! You got a great face for radio!

Farmer: Achoo! Choo! Oh. ‘Scuse me.

Riasi: There is a lot of pollen. Do you have allergies? 

Farmer: Not hay fever … cats …

Riasi: … you gotta be kidding me.

Farmer: Uhhhhhhhh …

Thud

Riasi: . o 0 (I was too charming and I killed him! I always knew I could do that.) Hello shuttle, we have a medical emergency here. This farmer fell over and passed out … or passed out first.

Shuttle
Cadet: We’re relaying the situation to the ship. Thank you for giving the Captain a more pressing problem than our crashing the dog!

Mukh: We got shot first!







Friday, June 12, 2015

A Nok in the Dark

Chief: I dunno why the Cat ... Capin ... CAPTAIN! Why the captain order you to foller me around?

Nok: Because you wouldn’t see me if I did it.

Chief: Nonononoooooo. Though yer right. I mean why does he think you need to follow me aroun’?
Nok: I quote, “I’m tired of bailing that ordnance monkey's ass out on every shore leave.”

Chief: Ahhhhh there wasn’t anything to worry about this time. That was a perfeckly ... perfectly friendly little night spot.

Nok: I’m not the linguist Mukh is but the place was called ‘The Murder Hole.” I believe that is a bad thing. 

Chief: Why did ya come alone? The beanpole is no help but Mukh ...

Nok: ... That was no place for a lady.

Chief: Again? I wisht he’d stop doing that. ‘Screepy.

Nok: Heh.

Chief: Hey ... you vole people are pretty much built alon ... along similar lines to us ... dolphin people. You got a lady? Some scary little white haired beauty waiting for you at home? Inna ... inna dark?

Nok: No.

Chief: ... you want to talk? We got time waiting onna shuttle. Shavetail pilots like my gammaw.

Nok: I don’t want.

Chief: What a s’prise. You’re usually the gabby one. Suit yerself.

Nok: ... you heard of the Shadow Fleet.

Chief: ... Yeah!

Nok: What do you know of it?

Chief: Not a damn thing!

Nok: That’s the one. Tivk’s people built a fleet of research ships. Mukh’s people handle the shipping and logistics of our polity. My people built a fleet for espionage. We didn’t trust anyone to spy for us. ... Did you ever hear of Morghus?

Chief: Not as such.

Nok: One of the things my people do not condone is psionics. The idea of someone reading your mind is abhorrent to us. I mean we’ll do an anal probe and stick an audio recorder up there if we want the goods on you but ... your mind is your mind. So we try to catch people with psionic potential and eliminate it through drugs, surgery whatever is the least invasive. We’ve tried to breed it out of ourselves. 

Chief: Tivk is a reader ...

Nok: Like the beanpoles would waste time with our minds? Anyway I learned to set aside my bigotry.

Chief: Yeah?

Nok: Yes. I don’t know why I’m telling you this. You aren’t even my species.

Chief: That’s exactly why you’re telling me. I ain’t judging you.

Nok: You should keep getting drunk. It suits you Anyway of course being psionic these people are difficult to catch. They had at one time a whole network of sympathizers sending them somewhere. The Shadow Fleet was going mad trying to find them. At one point they entered the Korsa Holding, and the Enemy’s space. Finally the trail led to Morghus. the Shadow ships were going to warp in close and begin landing troops to take the psionics captive. 

Chief: ...

Nok: The Shadow Fleet broke out of hyperspace. For once all these spooks, operatives and snitches in one place and as soon as they did ...

Chief: The fecal episode commenced.

Nok: Some said that the Shadow Fleet’s commanders all felt the effects of a psionic attack. They couldn’t take a chance on being taken over or losing the command of their ships. It was an attack that much was sure.

Chief: I’d be interested in the otha opinions ...

Nok: The Shadow Fleet, the largest collection of military and civilian intelligence in the Local Bubble had just popped in over a planet of mind readers. Do you think they would take a chance of that information being read and leaked. Hell maybe the psionics said that was what they were going to do. It’s a credible threat.

Chief: I’ll say.

Nok: The Fleet fired a spread of torpedoes targeting the population centers. Thousands died. The diplomatic fall out ... well it’s still being resolved. But there was evidence, visual recording medical scans of psionic effects on the Shadow Fleet’s commanders. The final decision was that the psionics provoked an attack. Of course the Shadow Fleet also had a lot of blackmail evidence on ... nearly everyone to insure that was the verdict.  My wife and children ...

Chief: Good God man. I had no idea. You were on Morghus.

Nok: I was on the bridge of the Shadow Fleet’s flagship firing the torpedoes. M'fe ... my wife did not believe my rationale about following orders. She left me soon after that. She took my daughter, L're, and I did not contest it. I ...

Chief: You followed orders. I hope to God I never have to make that sort of decision.

Nok: Yes. 

Chief: Do Tivk and Mukh know ... ‘a course not! Sorry. Hey, shuttle’s here!

Nok: Yes. You go on without me. I hate Shavetail’s piloting. I will 'port up later. The Captain gave me a 48 hour pass. 

Chief: Okay Mr. Nok. Want to leave word where you’re heading?


Nok: To quote Tivk: no.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Scout Variant

My Scout proceeds slowly. End of the year work blitz is leaving me beat. I did some more streamlining. Added a bump that will become a turret on top and am seeing how the proportions and lines sit with me.

It needs a lot of detailing, lights and signage. That will be coming shortly.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Tasks made Dramatic

A central theme of RPGs is that characters will often fail at tasks. For some situations failure is not too terrible. If you can't pick a lock just consider your PGMP-12 a very noisy lock pick. If you have to climb that cliff face and you miss a roll you try again. You were using ropes and pitons and all that survivalist stuff, right?

An important consideration is whether a referee allows a character to attempt a task again after failure. Obviously it's a good idea if that failure is going to result in a total party kill or a campaign going off the rails. It's equally obvious that characters need some kind of penalty for failure. Otherwise they'll keep retrying tasks till crack of doom or the pizza runs out.

Ct already has a system you can apply to retrying tasks. Swinging a blade in combat is pretty straight forward but it is a task. Each swing however costs you a point of Endurance. When your tank is empty you take a -2. Why not apply the same principle to tasks? So repairing that bearing on the main engine before your Scout ship falls into a gas giant takes an endurance point per attempt. Retries or too many tasks at once will tire out the technician. Bear in mind that if you're fixing stuff in the middle of space combat a character will regain a point of endurance every 2 or 3 turns depending on the system and scale you use. The length of time for a task can usually be inferred from rules or real  life (if you don't own an air/raft use the rules.)

For truly epic jobs a task could be broken up into two or more die rolls (each taking a point of Endurance). An EVA repair job immediately springs to mind. Going by the experiences of the ISS crew those things take a while (and are hard on the fingernails). You might even penalize a character for wearing a low tech space suit for example or other uncomfortable work conditions.

What happens when your Endurance runs out would depend on the task. At the very least the character would be subject to a large minus for anymore attempts (-2 to -4). The referee might disallow any further attempts until the character has rested and regained some Endurance. He could also rule that a failure at tasks you attempt with a minus results in some mishap.

This is not the sort of rule you use for every roll a character makes. But by the same token using Endurance to fuel rolls could simulate some difficult non-combat missions; EVA repairs, asteroid mining, working out jump coordinates with that enemy cruiser bearing down on you, forced marches or difficult climbs. Now characters working against a clock will also have to deal with their own fatigue. Do they press on or do they take a rest? Do they wait or take  a chance on blowing the job?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Coffee!

I

C.M.O.: Riasi, are you all right in there?

Riasi: No. I am not coming out.

C.M.O.: ... why?

Riasi: This is ... I don’t ... I feel ... exposed!

C.M.O.: What? you’re wearing Terran fashions circa 1957. That’s more than you usually have covering you!

Riasi: But ... my fur. I’m naked under my clothes! How do you stand it?

C.M.O.: Oh for ... it’ll grow back. I have a pill for it.

Riasi: Dolphin, you exploded my fur. I am  a little tense. No … I am going to live in the fresher. Leave me alone, Dolphin!

C.M.O.: Your fur did not explode. It just fell out … real fast in all directions. Okay fine. Live in there. I’m going to leave you alone. Bye Riasi.

Riasis: ... Wait. Dolphin! I’m coming out!

C.M.O.: . o 0 (No feline traits my gluteus maximus!)

Riasi: Dolphin please bear with me. This is very odd for me. I like humans. I just never thought I’d be one. Or mostly one.

C.M.O.: ...

Riasi: What is that look?

C.M.O.: My gosh, I thought I did a good job but ... seeing you in the clothes and makeup … and without the burnt fur sloughing off you …

Riasi: I turned out bad. I knew it! But that is the ‘pork chop look’ Korsa had for me. I am confused.

C.M.O.: Riasi, I hate to break this to you but you’re beautiful.  Here, you need sunglasses for your heads up display and commlink. 

Riasi: Thank you. These are nice.

C.M.O.: Ah I had Tivk fabb some gloves for you. They looked classy. 

Riasi: Oh. Hurrhurrhurr. Also nice. I will try not to destroy them. Wait I forgot, no claws. Not even the dewclaws. So I look good as a human? 

C.M.O.: You are dazzling!

Riasi: What the hell was wrong with me before! Racist!

<Slap>

II

Mukh: Take it easy.  Let go there! Hey here we are ... can you open the door maybe ... reeeeeeee! Hey remember we’re taxonomically incompatible! Reeeeeeeeeee!!

Swoosh

C.M.O.: What the hell? Oh ...

Mukh: Hey Dolphin! Did you misplace something? About 50 kilos?

Riasi: Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! And it’s 45 kilos you sexy toad!

Doc: Oh for ... bring her in, please. Where are your partners in crime?

Mukh: Changing a tire. How should I know? Ya think I keep tabs on all aliens at all 
times?

Riasi: Dolphin!!

Doc: What happened to her?

Mukh: Throgg’s neck! How do I know?

Riasi: Guess what I been drinking doll, doll, doll, DOL-phin?

Doc: Oh dear Lord ... Wait! Where do you think you’re going!

Mukh: I’d tell you but frankly this way will lessen the chances of you finding me. Reepreepreepreep!

Riasi: Coffee! I been done drinking coffee doll doll doll DOL-phin! 

Doc: … You’re dead, frog!


Riasi: Cooooooooffeeeeeeeeee!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Riasi and the Mad Scientist

I

Chief: Just you remember sawbones, this ship may belong to the Captain but the hangar is mine!

Doc: Please what could go wrong?

Chief: You tell me … Knockers.

Doc: Hey I got everything put back to normal. Man you swap a few people's genders and they never let you forget, We have a newly designed interface to the Anomalous Xenotech Artifact. Preliminary tests are promising and we restored all the human subjects without a hitch.

Chief: … did you try it for size on the aliens yet?

Doc: … Not as such. The only one who’d go near the damned thing is Mukh and the AXA didn’t read him right. It thought he was a rottweiler or something and spat him right out.

Chief: Sounds about right.

Tivk: Doctor, the Cadet has informed me we have reached perihelion. I have run the power leads out the hatch and we are ready to absorb solar plasma … why I couldn’t tell you.

Doc: Mukh said that was what the manual for the damned AXA said. Something about it facilitating a biometric field entanglement. This was what we missed when we had that ahh disturbing experience.

Chief: Hehehehehehe.

Doc: Quiet … Laverne.

Chief: … Aye sir.

Tivk: … ?

Chief: He has … holos.

Doc: To your positions everyone.

Chief: I can’t believe you got Ms. Riasi to go through with this.

Tivk: It required several pairs of open toed designer shoes as well as copious jewelry to be fabricated. 

Doc: It’s your own fault. Letting her watch Frankenstein right before the procedure!

Tivk: She got the movie card with her meal. I insisted she discard it and …

Chief: She did the opposite of what you wanted. Imagine that. This is why you’re single.

Tivk: That would be my choice. I’ve been married when I was at that phase of life. Now this is the right time of life for being single.

Chief: I doubt there’s a wrong time for some.

Doc: You don’t have to sell me on her stubborn streak. She’d make the Big Glowing Head eat its own ears.

Risai: I can hear you in here you know!!

Doc: Do you deny it?

Riasi: I’ll be denying you a whole bunch of things if you don’t change your tone, Dolphin. Remember that thing I’d do that you like and I do not like? Hurr …

Chief: …

Tivk: Oh my.

Doc: What? … She was going golfing with me! Knock it off you two.

Riasi: That too!!!

Doc: Okay in five … four … three … two … one … mark!

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Riasi: Rrrrrowwwwwwwwwrrrrrr ooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!

Doc: Readings normal!

Chief: That … didn’t sound normal, Doc! Poor kitty.

Tivk: ‘Life, give my creation life’ is what you are supposed to say. 

Doc: Shut her down!

Tivk: Shutting down. That smoke can’t be good.

Doc: Riasi!

Chief: Paramedics and Damage control to the hangar! 

II

We need to set up two kitchens. Hers doesn’t need a stove. Just a fridge. I’ll need her to begin transfusions to set up a blood bank for herself here though she can take the universal plasma. We can make do with one bathroom though … she’s pretty much taken over mine.

We can’t agree on the settings for the view screens or the sound mastery protocols. If the screen is set for me she finds it dull and colorless. Increasing the color temperature to what she likes almost washes it out for me. I think I know a little of how Nok feels. Ditto the sound mastery. She lowers the volume almost to nothing and I understand why she jumps like I’m shouting at her sometimes. She just giggles in her voice soft as distant thunder.

Don’t get me started on hair-care products or clothing. I’m amazed that she accumulated so much clothing so quickly after being kidnapped. She had a ball with Jenn getting her nails done. She’s practicing keeping them half extended and I’m sporting three new bandaids. 

The tail … her tail is prehensile, much more than I was led to believe. I’ve seen her pick up a padlet and a stylus and yank my leg out from under me to throw me in a pool. Which didn’t work as well as she thought it would when I took her with me. Fact, get her wet and she looks like a scrawny tween girl … only with wet fur.

She will never smile at me. Her facial muscles don’t work the same as mine and baring teeth has a different context to her. I’ve learned the signs to mark her amusement, the head tilt, the half closed eyes the body language, the tail motions. She learned that when I bare my teeth it’s a good thing and not to dive out of arm’s reach.

Kissing is nearly impossible. We gave up. I kiss. She nuzzles. It works. She’s learned to be gentle. We don’t all have a fur coat to protect our hides. At least I don’t.

But I’m the only one she’d ever let her defenses down for, even for a minute. In this whole galaxy I’m the one she trusts completely to handle her like a fragile glass rose; though I know she is far from fragile, or defenseless. That means everything to me. I wouldn’t lose her for a minute.


But I must it seems.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Piracy Is a Means, Not an End

Nowub: I don’t understand this … you’ve said I have wronged you and you are treating me to dinner. We are eating … Terrans?

Korsa: Throgg’s Neck no man! We are eating Terran cuisine. Have you never had Terran food?

Nowub: Like the cheese and the macaroni?

Korsa: Throgg no! This is bulgogi. 

Nowub: I don’t give a chinch pelt what it is. Are you killing me or letting me go?

Korsa: I’m letting you go … with all your body parts and a warning. The mining operation on Testos you robbed is under my protection. I would like you to leave operations under my protection alone. The easiest way to achieve that is for you to leave the sector.

Nowub: Leave the … I don’t take orders from you.

Korsa: You never know what you can do until your life is on the line. Ah, Thalne-rassa, escort the captain to his ship under adequate guard of course. On the way scan his mind and ascertain whether he will leave the sector or not. Let the gunnery section know his decision. 

Thalne-rassa: Come along Captain Nowub. Let me say I can read your thoughts. I will know you intend to attack before you do. The beanpole race has a reputation for being useless in combat which is surely deserved in my case. But I will use this neural whip to reduce you to a ball of screaming neurons to avoid any possible injury to myself. Ah … I can feel your acquiescence. Let’s go.

Korsa: S-s-s-s-s-s-s-s. Come in Domo, bring Bizgit with you.

Bizgit: Hurrruh. Hurrr.

Nowub: Biz … meep! I am ready to depart salle-Korsa. Please take me away Ms. Thalne-rassa!

Korsa: Bizgit … that meal was superb. The bulgogi was perfect as was the choice of potables.

Bizgit: Harrakh! Pardon salle-Captain. I left my breather mask in the galley and have a tickle in my throat. I am honored and fortunate to be appreciated. But you barely touched all that I made.

Korsa: That’s because I’m not three meters of muscle, bones, and claws like you.

Bizgit: No one can be all things salle-Captain. If you will excuse me I have Throggsday supper to get together for tomorrow.

Korsa: Dismissed. Domo stay. Have some dinner with me for a bit.

Domo: Salle-Captain? Am I in trouble? That ruckus with the cat-girl?

Korsa: No. That witch could drive an elder god to drink. We were fortunate to hand her off to that merchant trader. Let Tesla-Captain deal with her.

Domo: Yes salle-Captain. What can I do for you?

Korsa: Domo, do you think I have any purpose?

Domo: … 

Korsa: Speak freely … as a friend.

Domo: You pulled me off a transport to a Fleet prison planet and gave me a bunk and a share on this ship as your exec. That is enough purpose for me.

Korsa: You’re welcome. But my question stands. Other than you do think I have any purpose in the galaxy?

Domo: Just the galaxy, salle-Captain?

Korsa: Galaxy, local group, frigging Universe! Stop stalling.

Domo: You … make use of no fewer than sixteen mercantile and starflight facilities in this sector to keep us in repair, entertain our crew, supply us and launder our stolen goods and credits. You are a stronger economic force here than a Fleet base would be. You keep out slavers, black tar dealers and other pirates allowing these worlds to attract far more colonists than would normally be the case. That’s a lot sir.

Korsa: Maybe I should stop pirating and start fencing swag?

Domo: I could not see you doing that sir, with all due respect.

Korsa: I guess not.

Domo: I’m sorry salle-Captain but … what more exactly do you want?

Korsa: Nothing I’m going to get anytime soon. eat your bulgogi.


You say you’re going to steer clear of pirates? Hah! That’s assuming piracy is practiced in your game setting of course. here are some hooks to get you noticed by the flyers of the black flag.

(2d6)
2- Your ship needs a part to fly and make a deadline but a local pirate ship is the same model and in the same fix. Who gets the part? Who leaves the system with it?
Complication: the pirates don't need the part. It is earmarked for one of their targets and the pirates outfitted it with a locator beacon.

Complication: the Navy outfitted the part with a locator beacon expecting the pirates to take it.

3- The local factor selling you cargo is an informant for a pirate cartel and takes an interest in an item you are hauling or looking to trade.
Complication: the factor chafes under the blackmail of the pirates and has placed a bomb in the shipment he acquired for you.

Complication: the Navy has the factor under surveillance and wants you to wear a wire to entrap him.

4- A starport worker performing routine maintenance and refueling sabotages your ship to make it easier to track or intercept by the pirates who bribe him.
Complication: the starport worker is a reprogrammed 'bot or android that is very hard to single out. 

5- A cargo shipment on the group’s ship is hot, part of a looted ship’s cargo.
Complication: the cargo contains an AI (like a robot) that really wants to find its true owner despite reprogramming.

6- A passenger is a spy or saboteur working for a pirate ship.
Complication: the spy is a double agent for the Navy.

Complication: the spy is a servant of a noble and under his protection.

7- A passenger is an undercover Navy spy tailing a pirate onboard.
Complication: the Navy agent couldn't get a ticket and is a stowaway.

8- A passenger is a target for abduction by pirates.
Complication: The passenger is a stowaway fleeing the pirates.

9- A mining operation or refueling station is a front for pirate activity that the group stumbles onto.
Complication: the administrator in charge of the legal end of the operation has no idea they are crooked.

10- A planet the group is exploring is being used as a safe haven by pirates.
Complication: there's a small colony of people who make a living trading with the pirates but who seem legitimate.

11- A passenger is a pirate leader traveling incognito.
Complication: the pirate leader is trying to go legitimate and turn information over to the Navy.


12- Your ship is mistaken for a pirate ship. Hilarity ensues.
Complication: You are mistaken for the pirate ship by actual pirates who are very put out to learn their mistake.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Procurement

Captain: Did you find out what's going on?

X.O.: I have preliminary results, sir. Yes, sir. The Marines are outside.

Captain: Get them the hell in here then! This is a priority one communique!

X.O.: Aye-aye sir! Chief, Jenn, get in here.

Captain: Aten-hut!

Chief: Sir!

Jenn: Sir!

Captain: ... Marines. We have a problem. It may make the Slugs and the Big Glowing Head look like kittens play fighting over yarn. It definitely will make us forget about the Warriors and the Enemy fleets. I have one question for you: who in the Hell is Hippolyta and what is she doing aboard this ship?!

Chief: ...

Jenn: ...

Captain: Spill! You first, Marine.

Jenn: Sir, Hippolyta is an nick name for High Power Light Tactical Assault Rifle. ... the 'r' is silent.

X.O.: High power ... that's a shitty acronym.

Chief: Permission to speak sir!

Captain: In a minute. So Hippolyta is a rifle? Okay. Now as to this communique ... why is the Procurement Branch sending me a 240 page interrogation form on an assault rifle? Any ideas, Marine?

Jenn: No sir. With Mr. Tivk's help I tweaked the existing design for the beam rifles into something more useful for plain old killing bad guys. We made six and are testing them on the shooting range with really good feedback so far. So I sent my design specs to Procurement ...

Captain/X.O.: You WHAT?

Jenn: Sir ... meep?

Captain: Did you know about this Chief Sergeant?

Chief: Sir. I knew nothing of the message she sent. I have tested the weapons on the shooting range.

Captain: I don't give a phrog's water tight crack about your fiddling around with modified tech! Didn't you explain to her about Procurement?

Chief: Sir, she has cut her teeth fighting pirates and Slugs, held her ground against cyborgs, beasts and more pirates. I figured I could spare her this at least.

Captain: ... ... Marine, do you have any idea how much this ship depends on logistical support: repair parts, sundries, tools, weaponry, equipment?

Jenn: A lot sir?

Captain: Not at all. We can operate on dark matter fuel indefinitely, fab up darned near anything we need, use the hydro and organic fabs for food production. We can operate away from base for years at a time aside from needing some fresh foods and pharmaceuticals. The problem is Procurement doesn't want that to become common knowledge. Procurement is one of the oldest branches in the Fleet. It's entrenched like an impacted wisdom tooth. It has created lightyears of paperwork to deal with building your own gear so people won't because then ... they all need new jobs ... the bandy-legged pencil necked bean counters!

X.O. You don't care for Procurement, sir?

Captain: ... After last year's uniforms with the shoes sewn into the damn speed suits? I had a whole crew in footie pajamas! Firing squad is too good for them, the number crunching, mealy-mouthed crap weasels. But, this here's the important part, I'm not taking them on with a mere cruiser!!