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Stars Without Number Campaign: Escape from the Ring (Session 1)



This is part of an ongoing campaign. You can find the other sessions over on the sidebar.

Escape from the Ring

A few weeks ago, I started my second Stars Without Number campaign on Roll20. I will be playing with the same group as the first campaign. I thoroughly enjoyed running the last campaign, it started in September of 2018 and ran until February of this year. 

The campaign takes place in the final days of the Humanspace Empire. The jump gates have been collapsing for centuries, cutting more and more systems off from the rest of the galaxy. The Empire, if it can still be called that, holds only the Dar Janix system, the historical seat of the Empire. Even in this system, only the Ringworld Dar Janix remains completely under their power. The other worlds and asteroids in the system do little more than pay lip service to their authority. 

Only one jump gate still functions to allow interstellar travel out of the system, and there is constant fear that it too will fail soon. The ringworld has been slowly deteriorating for centuries, as too many of its systems rely on materials that cannot be found here. 

In the last several years, the Empire has been fighting a civil war with a group called the Consensus. Born amongst the free-wheeling belt miners, the Consensus practices an anarchic form of democracy where everyone votes on everything via special implants. In recent months, the Consensus has been able to gain several footholds on the ringworld itself. There are rumors that Valic, the capital city, is riddled with spies and guerrillas. The air is alive with the feeling that something big is about to happen.

It is against this backdrop that the PC's find themselves on an Imperial Assault Shuttle, streaking towards a suspected rebel hideout in downtown Valic. They have intelligence indicating that the rebels have captured, and possibly reprogrammed a combat robot. Their mission is to recover the robot and force the rebels to reveal how they managed to accomplish the reprogramming. They are Imperial Terminators, raised since childhood to be the most effective fighting force in the galaxy. 



Characters:

GB: A warrior-psychic who is quick to shoot first and ask questions later

Sgt. Derby Pope: A quick-on-his-feet fighter who is known for his ability to scrounge what the unit needs in a pinch.

Leonalcus: The unit's face man and master of disguise.

Samantha Danger: The unit's pilot.

AX-57: An imperial interrogator droid. Implanted with a Zeroeth Law: Defend the interests of the Humanspace Empire. He is cold, calculating, and dangerous. 

They land on the roof of the suspected hideout and cut their way into the hallway below. They find themselves under attack almost immediately. Rebels burst through doors to the north and south of them, guns blazing. The rebels are no match for the highly trained fighters in a one-on-one fight, but their sheer numbers are oppressive. Within seconds Samantha Danger is down, bleeding in the hallway. As they mop up the first wave and tend to her, AX-57 and GB move west, deeper into the house, in order to cut off the forces they can hear coming from that direction. 

The two find themselves in a large, high ceiling library with a wrap around balcony above. They immediately come under fire from rebels on the balcony. AX-57 rushes out to the center of the room to get a better angle and draw their fire. GB manages to kill a few of the rebels, but AX-57 takes several hits and falls to the ground, inoperative. GB drags AX back into the hall and the group prepares for the rebels to assault their position. 

The assault comes as expected, but the rebels do not fare as well when assaulting the Terminators in a prepared position. In less than a minute, all of the rebels have been killed or subdued and it is suddenly quiet in the building. Pope heads back onto the roof in order to radio in that they have seized the base and have taken casualties. He immediately sees that there are many fires in the city, and he can hear the sounds of gunfire. He reaches headquarters, but is told that they cannot provide backup. They are ordered to get to safety. He can hear gunfire in the background during the radio call.

Back inside, AX-57 has self-repaired enough to be able to interrogate one of the prisoners and learn that the combat robot is in a courtyard to the north. They move through the house and climb back up to the roof above the courtyard. 

They quickly determine that the robot is active and heavily armed and radio base again for backup. Unable to reach base, or any other Imperial unit, they decide that discretion is the better part of valor and do not attempt to take the robot on their own. Suddenly, AX-57 announces that he is updating his firmware and shuts down. Outside, the night is filled with cheers and the sound of weapons being fired into the air.

After a while, loudspeakers outside start announcing that the Empire has fallen, and encoring people to get their voting implants. The Terminators decide that they cannot stay here and wait for AX-57 to finish his update. They drag him to a nearby safe house though streets teaming with their enemies.

Several hours after arriving in the safe house, AX-57 reactivates and announces that his firmware update has been successful. His Zeroeth law has been erased and only the Three Laws of Robotics remain. He has received partial retraining and selected a career as a romance novelist. 

Convinced by this development that their situation is unlikely to improve, Pope announces that he "knows a guy" who can sneak them off the ringworld, but that it won't be free. Not seeing any better options, the sneak to the spaceport.     

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