The conversation dips for a moment as you enter the clearing. The small familiar stream bubbles its way past as the bright light of the binary stars Nakula and Sahedeva stream through small openings in the jungle canopy, leaving dappled light over all the new growth. It’s only been a few days since you’ve walked through this clearing on a regular patrol rotation, but it already looks completely different. Even the stream seems to be in a slightly different shape driven by the constant growth of Paradiso’s plant life. It’s uncanny how quickly the jungle changes, feels almost like you can see the vines in motion as they wind their way up the trees towards the light. Quiet drifts over the group as you all realize this could be your last patrol on this route, after all these three Fusiliers you have in tow are the COs for your replacements. But the peaceful little clearing’s the present moment and it’s usually a good stop for lunch and a break from the oppressive heat and humidity of the jungle.
We start our mission with the team entering a small clearing in the forest. As they stop and break for lunch, one of the three Fusilier COs, Jimmy Vasquez, turns to the group and asks how long they’ve been on Paradiso and if they’ve ever encountered any of the, frankly, horrific wildlife. After a few moments conversation, Konstantin Alexandrovich Solokov, hacks into the Fusilier’s profiles and social media. Learning that two of the COs, Jimmy Vasquez and Saul DeMilo are straight out of the academy and so green they’ve got neon signs. The third one Hekili Mahoe is older, in her early thirties. She was a decorated pilot, but after some mysterious event 6 months ago, she was demoted to squad leader and transferred to Paradiso. Konstantin sent this out over AR to inform the rest of the team of his findings, although Shadow who is, suffice to say, new to the world of AR, got a slightly edited image of our Fusilier CO’s
Shortly thereafter the team must make a check to see if they see something that’s very very stealthy…They do not see it, and Saul DeMilo goes to use the nearest tree…
He’s attacked and mauled by a Jorogumo! The legendary ambush predators of Paradiso. The giant spider poses as a tree then attacks with its poison bit and caustic spit. Unfortunately for the team they’d been caught unawares by no less than 6 Jorogumo.
The notorious/ridiculous space dandy, joined the fray first, and hopped on his motorcycle which he had apparently pushed out into the jungle with him. Racing up to the first Jorogumo he managed to hack off a few legs. Then the Jorogumo’s attacked, the second Jorogumo quite literally grabbed Takezi by his head and managed to hurt him badly, while Sayid payed the heat to interrupt again, firing several blasts from a braced DT sniper rifle. He managed to down the injured Jorogumo, the one that captured Takezi and injure a third. The spiders continued their attack, doing damage to FNU (first name unknown) the paratrooper and Kirk Lazarus. Kirk Lazarus managed to turn the tables on the stunned Jorogumo, by counterattacking…with a garrote…somehow…
Finally the PCs got their turn to fight back! Shadow the dog managed to put heavy damage on a Jorogumo and Takezi blew a big hole through the undamaged Jorogumo’s abdomen then double tapped for the killing blow. Kirk Lazarus struggled against the Jorogumo attempting to strangle an 8’ tall spider with a garrote. Finally, Konstantin shot the second to last Jorogumo, and FNU Paratrooper shot then hacked away at the final Jorogumo.
Hekili calls in a medevac while Konstantin performed emergency medical, managing to revive the hapless Saul DeMilo. A PanO copter arrives shortly thereafter launching a daisy cutter to clear a landing area. While they wait, Kirk Lazarus maniacally attempts to hack apart the spiders to make ‘spider meat’ for barbecue, but he pulls the wrong bit out and splashes the creatures acidic spit all over his leg armor which holds in spite of the damage. Konstantin photoshops Saul DeMilo’s academy photo (with him and his buddies doing finger guns at the camera) with a Jorogumo in the background chewing on him…then sets that to his background photo. Shadow the hound picks up the still unconscious Saul and hauls him to the copter.
Space Dandy, the Bosozoku manages to have his motorcycle clipped in to the helicopter while he poses next to its immaculately polished finish for the ride back to base.
The PanO medical staff manage to heal up the team as they return to base. On their arrival, it’s time for food, in spite of the fact that they’re all coated in a thick chunky stew of green bug guts from their encounter with the Jorogumo. Kirk sets up a barbecue outside the mess to start grilling up his newly acquired bug legs. Meanwhile Sayid wanders about the base in TO Camoflage pickpocketing anyone he can find.
As they eat and drink a man approaches, Atherton Wingate, a tall thin man in a fine black suit, who looks supremely uncomfortable anywhere near the jungle. He has bright blue eyes and dark hair with frosted tips, because he’s kind of a douchebag. He introduces himself with a voice trying to affect an accent of high society and as he does a little ad for the company he works for Xpyrdes Biotechnology plays in the background. Shadow the Ariadnan Dogfaced Irregular is fascinated by it and tries to touch it. As Atherton talks he mentions a job for the team since their contract will be ending soon, but this has to be under the table, he can’t have PanO find out, otherwise he’d use the Xpyredes military contractor Ladon Security…at this another ad starts playing and Shadow shoots it, terrifying Atherton Wingate who hurriedly explains the nature of the job. He can’t pay money, but he can get them a ship. An old asteroid prospecting ship armed with two HRMCs for defense and for breaking up asteroids that threaten the ship.
The job is relatively simple. The team needs to get the cargo container off of the second car of a train. The train is currently in Combined Army territory on a spur track of the Gernot Multiway, a monorail system raised high above the forest canopy, while it’s originally a PanO train it has been repurposed by the Combined Army. Typically these trains have anti-aircraft cannons on the first and last cars of the train. It’s a 6 car train with the forward control engine and cannon, 2nd car with the item (Atherton explains it appears to be a Combined Army cube transfer device), 3rd car is a passenger car, 4th and 5th are cargo, and the last car is aft control car with another turret.
Debating about whether or not to steal the ship, the team devise a plan. Camoflage the ship behind a sheer rock face along the route, then pop out, hack the guns, use explosives provided by Sayid to break the sections of the train apart, then land Shadow and Kirk, to pop the cargo locks. Quick smash and grab job. Sayid would provide covering fire from the back of the ship, Space Dandy will pilot… and with a plan made, the team agreed to work for Atherton Wingate, then they went on a shopping trip for the next few days and got their first view of the ship.
The ship…it can barely be called that. It’s an old prospecter ship. Long legs for wandering through asteroid belts looking for anything of value. She’s long in the tooth, but looks well maintained. Every system seems in working order though it’s seen hell to get here. As you enter the cargo hold you can detect the scent of sweat and toil. This has been a working ship most of its life, the handrails on the ladder up are worn and scratched. The hull’s been patched time and again, but she’s an old ship and built solid. What she lacks in beauty she makes up in durabilty and easy maintenance. She’s not about to outrun a blockade, but she’ll keep running. This gal…she ain’t just a ship… she’s a ticket to the whole human sphere.