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Stars Without Number Campaign: On Reynolds' World (Session 2)

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

Sgt. Derby Pope reached out to his contact, Kri'ish, in order to arrange transportation off the ringworld. They met Kri'ish in the spaceport, just across the alien exclusion line. All nonhumans had been excluded from entering the ringworld for several years. Aliens were permitted to land on the ringworld aboard a vessel, but their access was limited to portions of the spaceport that were outside the alien exclusion line.

Kri'ish, a Pecha, was tall, slender, mantis-like, with four arms. He nervously awaited the (former) Imperial Terminators, constantly aware that they, or someone like them, had ejected his family from the ringworld just a few years ago.

Following his exile from Dar Janix, Kri'ish and his family made their way to Reynold's World. Its fortunes had followed those of the Empire, the former resort world and playground for the rich had decayed over the centuries and was no largely abandoned. The remaining inhabitants were either the residents of a few fading resorts, descendants of the former employees of the closed resorts who now had to fend for themselves on the surface, clans of Neo-luddites who saw the world as a chance to "get away from it all", and warlords who took advantage of the lack of government to exploit the other residents for "protection".

Kri'ish and his family had been lucky to land near a group of Neo-luddites who followed the peculiar pseudo-religious teachings of a woman named Chioma. Chioma's people were miners employed by the Wood Mining Corporation. Wood mining was run by Julia Wood, the daughter of a wealthy Dar Janix family. While relations between the miners and Wood had generally been positive, over the last few years Wood had taken advantage of the lack of oversight to expand the area of her mining operations. Recently, she had started digging in the vicinity of an gigantic, improbable, vertical stone ring. Chioma claimed that the ring was natural and had important religious significance.

Kri'ish had never been able to understand how Chioma's religion worked, but the miners were ardent followers, and he owed her and her people a debt for taking his family in. The miners started to strike and refused to dig in the area of the ring. The situation escalated when Wood brought in a group of mercenaries led by the self-proclaimed "Warlord Spiros".

It didn't take long for things to turn violent between the striking miners and Spiros's men. When miners that followed Chioma tried to picket the mine site, Spiros's men set on them with clubs, leaving over a dozen bloody injured. This incident shocked both Chioma and Wood and they agreed to sit down and talk about a solution.

Three days into the negotiations, disaster struck when Kasama, Wood's chief engineer was violently kidnapped from his home. The kidnappers used explosives to blow the door off of Kasama's house and drug him off into the night. Kasama had been scouting the area around the ring for possible mine sites. Wood thinks that the evidence points towards the kidnappers being miners wanting to retaliate for the picket line violence. Chioma is sure none of her people would have done this and thinks that Wood faked Kasama's kidnapping to get leverage at the table.

Kri'ish is worried about his friend and wants to hire the former Imperial Terminators to help her out. He would prefer that they were able to help resolve the issue, but it willing to accept them merely getting Chioma out of harm's way. He offers C3,000 if they can resolve it, with just getting Chioma out covering the group's transportation off the ring.

Seemingly faced with few choices, the characters accept.

They were immediately underwhelmed by Kri'ish's ship. It seemed to be barely holding together and had some disturbing vibrations while in flight. Furthering their anxiety, the only vacuum suits onboard were made for the tall, lean, four-armed Pecha, not humans. Fortunately, they were not needed on the trip and they safely made it to the surface of Reynold's World.

They arrived to find that both the mine site and camp were very primitive. The miners were living in shacks huddled around what appeared to be a large temporary barn. Just north of the miners' camp, the Wood Corp. offices were nothing more than a collection of house trailers and large, open-sided temporary buildings for the heavy earth-moving equipment. Next to the mine site itself was a small compound walled with corrugated sheet metal with two armed guards posted by the gate.

Kri'ish told them that they could find Chioma in the big building in the center of the camp, calling it "her temple", and then lifted off to go back about his business. They drew curious looks from the miners as they made their way through the camp to the "temple". Once inside, they find that it is more of a tavern than a temple.

Chioma is a dark skinned woman in her mid 30s with a clean-shaven head. She is flanked by Lupe, a short, heavily muscled miner with a large hammer strapped to her back. The characters immediately took Lupe to be some kind of bodyguard for Chioma. As they entered, Chioma, drink in hand, made her way over to Leonalcus.

Leonalcus introduced them and explained that Kri'ish hired them to help her resolve the labor dispute. She began filling them in on the details and explaining that there was no chance that her men had kidnapped Kasama. She was clearly very interested in Leonalcus and, while polite to the others, mostly left them out of the conversation. She offered to have Lupe escort them to Wood's office so that they could talk to her as well. As they left, she insisted that Leonalcus join her for dinner.

As Lupe led them through the camp, they learned that she had been a miner, but was fired for having too many safety infractions and repeatedly getting into fights. She said that Chioma was giving her work until she could get her feet back under her.

Wood's trailer was being guarded by two of Spiros's men. While climbing the stairs to the trailer, GB noticed that one of them had damage to their body armor from two bullets. The damage seemed to be fresh as there was no corrosion.

Wood's office was clearly a place of work. She had papers stacked all over her desk and the walls were covered in various charts, plans, and maps. There were pieces of equipment sitting in the corners. Wood herself was a middle-aged woman with close-cropped hair.

Wood seemed certain that miners aligned with Chioma had kidnapped her engineer, Kasama. She said that Kasama had no enemies that she knew of, and was popular with the miners because of his dedication to safety. He was from the ringworld and she knew he had a husband there, but she thought they might be estranged. She was happy to have them investigate the site of the kidnapping as her primary interest was in "moving past all of this".

Kasama's trailer had been half destroyed by the kidnappers' entry. The door had been blown off of the wall and as a result, the inside of the trailer was a disaster. After examining the door, they determined that the door had been breached using specialized explosives like they would use on a mission, not the kind you would use in mining. Inside the house they found a data pad with pictures, clearly taken in a tunnel, of a large metal door. They were able to access the geo-tags on the picture and learn that it was taken about 8' below the front of the large stone ring. In the bedroom, they found a gun laying on the floor that had been fired twice and divorce papers that had been signed by Kasama's husband, but not by him.

They took the data pad back to Wood's trailer and asked her about the door. She had not seen the pictures and was unaware of any door like that anywhere in her mines. When told that the door was in a tunnel near the ring, she told them that Kasama had been surveying some very old tunnels in that area the day he was kidnapped.

As they left the trailer, GB struck up a conversation with Mrcus, the guard with battle damage to his armor. After a bit, he invited Marcus to have a few drinks with the crew after he got off work. Marcus agreed. They returned to the shack they were using as sleeping quarters. Leonalcus headed off to have dinner with Chioma and the others waited for Marcus to arrive.

When Marcus showed up, they pulled him into the shack and tied him up. GB then proceeded to have a conversation with AX-57 about interrogating Marcus in front of Marcus.

"AX, I want you to torture this man and find out what he did with Kasama."

"Sir, as you are well aware, the First Law of Robotics prohibits me from torturing someone. I can only use non-harmful means of interrogation."

"Where is the line, AX? I want you right up against that line while you interrogate him."

AX, turning towards Marcus, "Sir, I will now commence non-harmful interrogation. Be aware that I have no interrogated anyone under these new rules, so I am somewhat unclear as to where the line is. Have no fear, if you would be so kind as to inform me when you are being harmed, I am certain we can discover the limits of my programming together."

At this point, Marcus was eager to explain that he had kidnapped Kasama on Spiros's orders and that the decision had been sudden. He knew nothing about the door.

AX continued to ask him questions about his preferences in romance novels for several hours.


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