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Stillwell Chronicles PBEM


Introduction

Campaign Introduction

This section of the Foxx Industries website provides support to the PBEM campaign that I am running. As such, it does digress from the main theme found in the rest of the website. Within this section will be posted information that is available to all of the characters in the current campaign. This information will be available on-line and in downloadable format when appropriate.

General Background

The year is 2300 AD-a future that is at the same time vastly different from the 20th century and very much the same.

There is no world government, for example. Individual nations still rule their own territories, and they still fight among themselves. On the other hand, there have been no nuclear wars since World War III, and all nations agree fairly well that their homeworld cannot again be contaminated with radioactivity. The last 300 years have seen humanity's collective wisdom grow, at least in certain areas, allowing the world to survive, flourish, and embrace a new age in which humans travel among the stars and live on other worlds. An interstellar human culture is just in the first stages of blooming.

But new crises threaten. The savage Kafers, an alien race from beyond Arcturus, have launched a vicious assault on one branch of human colony worlds. An underground society of anarchists wage a war of terrorism on a second branch. And on a third, human colonial expansion has stagnated in a dead end that scientists labor to breach in order to open the way to strange and exotic new systems where untold dangers may lurk. Meanwhile, throughout human space, police forces battle incessantly with smugglers, thieves, and pirates.

2300 AD is a science-fiction role-playing game set in the early years of the 24th century. Players become characters who live in this futuristic world, travelling to star systems that the Earth has colonized, warring with implacable aliens, battling high-tech criminals, exploring new systems, hunting bizarre and dangerous alien animals, or any of a multitude of other possibilities.

-Excerpted from Adventurer's Guide, page 4, copyright 1988 by FFE (GDW)

GDW introduced the game universe of 2300AD in their Adventurer's Guide in the preceding paragraphs and I consider this and all history leading up to 2300 to be canon. The setting for this PBEM game, however, does break from canon in several areas.

The year is 2304. The first years of the 24th century have been focused primarily on the Kafer conflict in the French Arm. Every nation and colony of humanity has been affected in one way or another by this war.

French Arm

The last thrust up the Arm by Triumphant Destiny was countered at the Battle of Beowulf in July 2302. Sporadic fighting continued as the combined human forces slowly pushed the remnants of the Kafer fleets back beyond Arcturus by mid 2303. In the last few months, the unified human command has disintegrated, squabbling over the next stage in the resolution of the conflict. Skirmishes and deep reconnaissance probes / raids by both humanity and Kafers continue affecting the border regions of the end of the Arm. In the aftermath of the major Kafer incursions into the Arm, the slow process of rebuilding has begun. Many worlds will take years if not decades to rebuild; others, such as the German colonies on Hochbaden may never be rebuilt.

The major combatants-France, Britain, and Germany-have found themselves straining under the burden of supporting the thousands of military personnel that took part in the bitter ground fighting to reclaim the colonies from entrenched Kafer troops. Sizeable portions of these troops are being discharged from military service on the worlds where they are currently stationed. While some have returned to the Core or their homeworlds, many instead have stayed to begin a new life in the colonies. In support of the latter, the Core governments have offered various support and incentives including subsidized passage for members of the service person's immediate family, reduced immigration processing, and job training. These personnel will remain in colony militia or reserve formations until their terms are completed. Others have formed mercenary units and contracted themselves out to smaller municipalities or business interests. Several privateers have also gone mercenary and attached themselves to planetary defense forces or taken jobs as merchant escorts.

Deep space exploration has begun a resurgence as both national agencies and private concerns begin to send missions past the borders of known space in search of habitable worlds and primary resources. Though the systems past Arcturus remain closed to non-military activities due to the Kafer presence, primary interest is centered on the cluster of systems beyond DM+17 2611, homeworld of the Klaxun. Forays into Pentapod space have also resumed, though most are of the exploratory trade nature. An enigmatic race, the Pentapods have thus far not reacted with hostilility to these incursions into their space. Several foundations, nations, and corporations have begun contact missions with both the Klaxun and Pentapods in an effort to learn more about these races. Pure research organizations such as the AR-I have also begun to launch deep space missions beyond the realm of the accessible systems. The Bayern, launched in 2301 is the most widely known mission, but other, shorter duration missions have since been sent and returned with valuable astronomic data. Planetary surveys are being performed by numerous interests for purposes of colonization, exploitation, and cataloguing both new and old systems and planets. The french-based IEX alone has dozens of survey missions throughout the Arm, cataloging indigenous fauna and flora.

Mercantile operations have also expanded, as trade between colony worlds is re-established. Additionally, traffic from the Core has increased as more and more goods are required in the Arm. Trade between the Arms is still slight, as freight charges increase the cost of goods beyond that which more local sources are worth. To the detriment of increased mercantile operations, piracy, previous almost unknown on this Arm, has increased. Some originates locally as worlds resort to stealing supplies bound for other worlds or from privateers who have gone beyond their 'Lettres des Marques' issued during the Kafer wars. Others are transplanted from the American or Chinese Arms where the crackdown on piracy has made the risk / profit ratio too poor for some. Regardless of the source, it has made travel and commerce that much more dangerous in the Arm. Local shipyards are full of activity as both naval and merchant hulls are produced. The demand for ship-building materials and subsystems has caused a mini industrial boom in some systems where primary and secondary manufacturing plants are located. Aberdeen Mineral Exploitation Company (AMEC) has commissioned two additional Orbital Mining Stations (OMS) in the Arm in an effort to cash in on this economic boom.

Chinese Arm

The colonies of the Chinese Arm were only slightly impacted by the Kafer conflict. Primarily, this was felt in the lack of supplies and support from the home countries of the Core. Many saw this as just one more nail in the lid of the coffin that contained home rule.

The nations that have colonized this Arm have always been viewed as second tier star powers behind the ESA members, America, and Australia. Forced out of the other Arms by the established presence of the first tier nations, many of the colonies in the Chinese Arm are young and less politically stable. Manchuria is currently the major power in the Arm with a total of 14 colonies and outposts, and is constantly dabbling in the interests of other colonial power both openly and covertly. Much of this is under the guise of maintaining the peace, but many feel that other, more sinister, reasons exist. This causes relations with Manchuria to range the gamut from friendly to antagonistic.

The Arm itself splits into two major branches-one leads to the Latin Finger and the other to the Canadian Finger. The routes to the fingers are very long, resulting in a great deal of autonomy for the colonial governments. On the Canadian Finger, this has been a minor problem to the populace, as there is constant support from Canada and no one else to compete with over resources. On the Latin Finger, things are different and internal dissention has been building on many worlds. These colonies often do not get the level of support from the home countries that they expect or need. Coupled with a reactionary movement founded on malcontents that were forcibly emigrated from the Core, all the ingredients are in the pot for open rebellion. All that is missing is the spoon, and Manchuria often provides that and the stirring. Several minor insurrections have had to be put down by the militaries of the home countries, including one recently by Brazil in which a militia unit rebelled and had to be overcome by the remaining loyalist units.

The size of naval forces in the Arm are much less than that of both the French and American Arms. In part this is due to units being posted to the Core or French Arm during the Kafer conflict, but mostly to the fact that the nations that have colonized the Arm do not have large fleets in the first place. Whereas it is common to see a capital ship of cruiser class or higher in the other areas of human space, most power projection in this Arm is in the form of destroyers and frigates. This lower level of military presence has made illegal operations such as smuggling and piracy rampant. Groups such as Americo have large semi-legal networks throughout the Arm that many believe are nothing more than fronts for smuggling. SAM-N, a multi-national organization whose charter is to protect the space lanes from criminal activity, has a substantial presence and employs teams to sow sensor probes in areas of major activity. The American Space Force, ASF, routinely conducts anti-piracy sweeps through the Arm and some corporations, notably Foxx Industries, employ Q-ships to protect the merchant vessels of their Interstellar Trade Division.

Exploration continues within the many systems of the Arm and those that are accessible from it. Home to three alien races-Ebers, Sung, and Xiang-there are numerous contact and scout missions in progress. Several involve the search for the true Eber homeworld, which is rumored to beyond the 7.7 LY limit of human star craft. Access to the system containing the Sung and Xiang is restricted by Manchuria at the request of Canada, who has an enclave established there for the purposes of studying the races and their interactions. Deep space exploration continues off of the Arm, fueled by rumors that several initial surveys were falsified by Manchuria and others in an effort to preserve systems for future exploitation. Private ventures are numerous and instances of disputes and conflicts between rival teams have become more numerous; many vessels are now carrying military armament and looking for security personnel with military backgrounds.

Mercantile traffic has steadily grown over the past decades on the Arm, despite the increased dangers from piracy. The proportion of independent vessels has increased, as subsidies become available to those who can prove a viable market plan and meet the mortgage payments. An additional source of cheap vessels is in the annual auctions run by SAM-N. Captured pirate vessels are sanitized of military gear and sold off in auctions open to both the public and business. Proceeds from these auctions are used to support SAM-N's activities.

American Arm

The American Arm is still focussed on the exploration of systems beyond the 7.7 LY limit via stutterwarp tugs and brown dwarfs. The Kafer conflict, as most conflicts the Americans have been involved in, never affected the masses to a great degree. The most noticeable impacts were a small reduction in naval vessels and the slight rise in defense related industries. Being the smallest of the three Arms, expansion has remained the primary goal of both Australia and America. Both government sponsored (AAEC) and private (Pioneer Society, Trilon Industries) initiatives have begun to yield results and the Beta Aquilae cluster has been in the news as the newest frontier to be opened by a brown dwarf. Seeking potential colony sites away from the Kafer menace, ESA member countries have also begun to send scout and survey vessels into the Arm and beyond. Though allowable by the Melbourne Accords, it has greatly irritated America and Australia, both of whom consider the entire Arm their private stomping grounds. Recently, it has been rumored that several private expeditions have actually been sponsored by ESA members through several layers of front companies.

The Arm has a relatively small economy and mercantile operations are smaller than those in the Chinese Arm. The free enterprise spirit is strong and many small merchant lines are present in the Arm. Most traffic is between the colonies and the Core although there is a small amount of trade with the Chinese Arm. Piracy levels are very low as both the ASF and RASN practice a 'shoot first, question later' policy towards suspected pirate vessels. Smuggling is present and companies such as Americo are forever under the microscope of law enforcement agencies that are looking for proof of wrongdoing.

Core

The location of humanity's homeworld and oldest colony, the region known as the Core is filled with diversity. Many in the Core consider their fellow humans in the colonies to be of lower class and attitudes of technical and cultural superiority are widespread. Others yearn for the supposed simplicity of the frontiers and the romantic notion of starting life anew. Hundreds leave the Core daily as new colonists bound for the Arms-most of their own choosing, others due to job transfers or other forms of servitude.

The economic heart of the Core is controlled by the megacorporations. Colossal companies with far ranging and diversified interests, many are more powerful than the countries in which they are based. Trade is influenced heavily be the goals and marketing of the megacorps along with the more powerful nations. Also at the center of humanity's apple is the worm. Every imaginable crime can and does occur in the Core, from simple theft and murder to industrial espionage to sponsored overthrows of national governments. The Core can truly be a dangerous place for the naïve and uninitiated.

Surprisingly though, smuggling is not nearly as widespread as one would think. Organizations such as Earth's Orbital Quarantine Command, OQC, and general paranoia about wiping out the motherworld have done much to curb this practice. Most smuggling that does occur takes place entirely on Earth or outbound from Earth. Piracy is also minimal with the most sizeable problem being the determination of whether cargoes are legitimate or pirated goods from the Arms.

E-Mail Posting Rules

A mailing list has been set up on http://www.onelist.com for communications between the players and GM, this list is called the StillwellChronicles. This list membership is restricted to players and the GM with an unrestricted message archive. This list is not moderated. . See the end of this section for how to subscribe to StillwellChronicles. In order to make the game as enjoyable as possible for both the players and the GM, a few rules will have to be followed.

The Rules of E-Mail

Only messages intended for the entire group should be posted to the StillwellChronicles.

Any messages not intended for the entire group should be sent via private e-mail. The subject line should start with TK PBEM to identify the e-mail as being related to the PBEM game.

Any private messages between characters should be copied (cc) to the GM. Again, the subject line should start with TK PBEM to identify the e-mail as being related to the PBEM game. We are all on the honor system here, so please include the GM. If the GM doesn't know what's going on with all characters, the game will suffer.

Only messages relevant to the PBEM game should be posted to the StillwellChronicles. The GM is more than happy to discuss other items via private e-mail or on one of the public 2300AD mailing lists.

When responding to a post, please snip out all non-relevant text. Both the GM and those receiving posting in digest form appreciate this courtesy.

When including signatures and tag lines to your post, please limit these to under 10 lines; preferably 5 or less. The GM has clipped his signature lines as a sign of agreement with this.

The GM is fairly tolerant of foul and abusive language, but others are not. Please refrain from using outright profanity on any game postings.

When discussing your character's background and abilities, whether privately or on the StillwellChronicles, please do so in character, just as if two people in real life were talking. Do not take sections of your character description and paste them into e-mails--this reveals too much and destroys the enjoyment of the game. It also removes the playability in bringing the characters together. For example, if two characters served in the US Marines and got to talking, they might find out that they served together on planet X in '98 and get to talking about old times. They know nothing else about each other since or before, but they now share a common bond, service in the Corps--the game has just gotten richer due to that exchange!

Unless otherwise noted by the GM or character posting, conversations involving the entire group are in the most common language. For the current group, this is French.

The GM will maintain a reasonable pace for the game. If you are unable to post your character's actions within a reasonable time period, the GM will do it for you. You will be sent a reminder e-mail prior to this point.

If you are unable to participate in the PBEM for a period of time, inform the GM and an appropriate course of action will be determined for your character until your return.

Remember, have fun and enjoy the game!

Identifying Who or What is Speaking

The character that is communicating must be identified at the start of conversation and every time that conversation switches between two or more characters. For example:

Konrad: "I was talking to you."

Smythe: "Oh… I did not hear you."

Konrad: "That's okay. I was asking you…"

Distinguishing Forms of Communication

There will be several possible forms of communication between players. Please adhere to the rules and syntax indicated below.

"Double quotes indicate words said out loud."

*Asterisks for talking over the radio or communications system.*

_Underscore for computer speech._

+Plus signs to indicate typed text such as on a monitor or placard.+

{Curly braces when thinking for characterization.}

If the language is not in a language understood by everyone in the group, also use square braces. For example:

Konrad: "[German] Hello Helmut, how are you today?"

These syntax may and will be adjusted as the game goes along so that game play does not suffer.

Subscribing to the StillwellChronicles

Only those players currently in the game will be allowed to subscribe to the StillwellChronicles mailing list. Note: This mailing list has been discontinued.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Jim Lawrie who reminded me of about the need to distinguishing communications forms. Thanks to Jim Lawrie and the TML PBEM homepage for syntax ideas.

Character Generation

Character generation has been abstracted from the standard 2300AD rules presented in the Adventurer's Guide. Each player will supply a qualitative description of their character which the game master, GM, will convert into quantitative player stats using the character generation sequence. The character descriptions will then be amended with the additional descriptive elements derived from the stats and presented back to the characters. When creating initial character descriptions, a three step process is used by players-determination of nationality and homeworld, basic attributes, and career and skills. Once that is done, just write up the description.

Step 1-Nationality and Homeworld

A Character's nationality and homeworld are dependent on each other, but for purposes of character generation, the character's nationality will be determined first. Almost every current nation of Earth (circa 1999) still exists in 2300. Rather than list all countries, two short lists will be provided to assist players in their selection. Where necessary for understanding, comments and references to 20th century geographical positions will be included.

Colonial Powers and Independent Colonies

These consist of countries with non-terran colonies or former non-terran colonies that have gained independence.

Other Notable Powers

These consist of countries that either have the capability to colonize or are otherwise notable.

Having chosen a nationality, you must also choose a homeworld. For those that have access to published resources such as the Colonial Atlas or other GDW books, you can pick a specific system and planet. Otherwise, pick whether the homeworld will be in the Core or the Frontiers. The Frontiers consists of the three Arms-French, Chinese, and American.

Step 2-Basic Attributes

As per the original rules, characters are described in terms of two broad types of attributes-physical and psychological. The GM will derive these from the total description provided by the players and fill in the missing parts as necessary. Descriptions such as

Konrad was raised on a farm in Hanover and spent his early life helping his collective with the tending of the crops and repairs to the communal machinery. A stout, blue eyed, brown haired youth, he was a member of his high school wrestling team and excelled at strength events such as weightlifting. In later years, Konrad pursued a career in the Bundeswehr where he became a driver and mechanic of a LkPz-VIII hover tank and participated in the WoGR. Mustering out, he worked for a local machine shop near his home for several years before deciding to emigrate to the agricultural world of Neubayern in the French Arm. Assisted by a government grant, he started a machine shop repairing agricultural equipment. After several years and much effort, the business has grown to that of a regional distributorship for several major product lines of farm machinery and Konrad's brother has taken over the day-to-day operations. This has left Konrad with the time and means to travel throughout the Arm and he has thus set out on a long deserved holiday.

…are much better than

Konrad was raised on a farm in Hanover. He was big, strong, and athletic. He served in the ground military and was a mechanic after mustering out. He moved to Neubayern and ran a machine shop for a while before deciding to tour the rest of the French Arm.

Though both say the same thing, which one do you find more interesting? The GM is presented with many small details about Konrad in the first example that will help in determining the quantitative stats and resultant additional description that is presented back to the players. Note that the above descriptions have gone beyond the basic attributes, and have included both skills and careers, which will be presented in the last step.

Step 3-Careers and Skills

The critical part in character generation is determination of the character's vocation prior to game play. It's fine to have great stats, but the career makes the character-it will influence everything that the character does during the gaming sessions. A number of careers are summarized below to aid in the creation of a character. Do not worry if the character forming in your mind does not fit into one specific career or you are having trouble deciding; just go with what you want and write it down… the GM will do the rest!

From the Adventurer's Guide, Skills are received from one of two sources-background and career. Background skills are those that a character would have acquired prior to entering into a career. These are influenced by the character's upbringing and homeworld selection. Career skills include those skills related to and received during a character's career. For example, any military career gives a character certain military skills, such as use of weapons, tactician and leadership skills, etc. A third source of skills not presented in the canon universe but included here are skilled received from hobby' or secondary activities. Almost every career allows a certain amount of 'off-duty' time for hobbies and other leisure activities. During this time, a character can acquire a few skills that may or may not be related to the career. For example,

Konrad has always been a bit of an amateur historian, stemming from his days in the WoGR, when he wanted to know why Germany had fragmented into many smaller states. Following his emigration to Neybayern, he has expanded that to include the early colonization efforts of the Arm, in particular, the Bavarian settlements and the difficulties of establishing a viable colony on an alien world.

Skills are divided into several groupings:

Careers are also divided into main groups-Academic, Civilian/Government, Core, Exploratory, Extralegal, Frontier, Military and Space. Each character must choose one career, but can switch at any time to a second. In the above example, Konrad started in a military career, but then switched to a frontier career. A list of typical player character, PC, careers are given below for each group.

Academic Careers

Academic careers involve all forms of higher learning and concentrate heavy on the academic skill grouping. Generally, a character will focus on one particular area (major), with one related area (minor) of study. The typical scientist is an academic.

Civilian/Government Careers

Civilian/Government careers are those that serve society in general. They range from dangerous to sedate. PC careers include Field Agents, Independent Traders, and Journalists.

Field Agent-a career treading the line between legal and extralegal, people in this career are spies and other such experts used to better their employer's standing and the expense of their competitors. Field Agents are also called in when the local troubleshooter can not handle the situation. Underworld skills are well known, as are intellectual and some combat skills.

Independent Trader-a merchant who owns a ship or rents space in one for mercantile activities.

Journalist-this encompasses all aspect of the media, from free-lance writer to broadcasting firm news anchor.

Exploratory Careers

This consists of two main types, contact and scout, which are engaged in the exploration of the star systems and the wealth they contain.

Contact-these personnel are well trained in various scientific areas and survival skills and are deployed to worlds once the initial surveying is complete.

Scout-those that are responsible for the initial survey of new worlds are scouts. Primarily space based, they do participate in some planetary actions. Though rare, it is every scout's dream to be the first to meet a new sentient alien race. Space crew skills are very important with combat, general, and vehicle skills also used often.

Frontier World Careers

These are the careers found mostly on colony worlds, and include the following PC careers: Belt Miner, Bounty Hunter, Fisherman, Homesteader, Prospector, and Troubleshooter

Belt Miner-those individuals who mine the asteroid belts. They are rugged self-reliant individuals pursuing a danger line of work.

Bounty Hunter-these are the people who chase down those who have skipped out on their obligations. Often semi-legal in their approach to getting the job done, they are shadowy individuals in an unsavory profession.

Fisherman-anyone who makes a living from the bodies of water found on planets.

Homesteader-a colonist who owns land and earns a living from it. This can be from farming, mining or something else.

Prospector-individuals who live away from civilized areas searching for mineral wealth. They may be independents or under contract to a corporation.

Troubleshooter-these are people who represent the interests of a corporation on the frontier. They are the bridges between administrators in the Core and business ventures in the colonies who take of problems for the company. When they encounter something they can't handle, the corporation sends a field agent. A favourite PC career, the troubleshooter has a wide range of skills drawn from the combat, vehicle, underworld, and general skills groups.

Military Careers

Every nation has a military and it is a time honoured career choice for many people. Military careers are broken into four general areas-ground, interface, sea, and space.

Ground-those organizations restricted to operations on the surfaces of worlds.

Interface-those organizations that operate between a world's surface and its orbit. These include fighter pilots and close orbit defense units.

Sea-those organizations restricted to operations on oceans of water.

Space-those organizations that operate beyond the orbit of a world. This includes all positions on military space and star craft as well as assault troops.

Space careers are summed up in one career-Ship Crew. This includes all positions on civilian space and star craft.

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Putting It All Together

Once a player has worked through steps 1, 2 and 3, it is time to write up a description of the character. This should encompass everything you've decided on and thought up thus far about the character. Don't forget to give the character a name, too! Once that is complete, e-mail it to the GM and sit back and wait. The GM will fill in the details, generate the resultant descriptive elements and e-mail the character back to you. At that point, you're ready to start.

Game Opening - Looking For Employment

Waking up after another restless sleep period in the transient personnel hostel at the local starport, you began your morning ritual. After a trip to the fresher, you continued dressing, taking a second to note your appearance on the mirrored reflection of the communicator flat screen. Consuming the complimentary breakfast beverage provided with the room, you wonder why food manufacturers still could not produce a nutrient drink that doesn't taste like engine coolant. Gulping the last of it down, you finally feel ready to take on the world… or at least face it.

The last month of your life had been a blur, filled with hard choices and unmemorable moments. You remember back to that fateful day when you decided that a change was necessary. "What do you mean by a change?" asked your previous employer. You labored to describe to him the feelings within you, to put into words what you felt in your heart and soul. He said he understood though you knew better of him-he only knew that you weren't up to the job at hand and he had better replace you before you made a fatal error that cost someone their life-maybe yours. Without saying goodbye to your colleagues, you left, headed for the interface terminal, determined to get off-planet as quickly as possible, knowing that the chapter of your life here was finished. You didn't know where you were going, just that there was no longer anything here for you.

You paid for the interface flight and disembarked at the orbital station. "Port something or other", the name escapes you now as you sit on the edge of the bunk, the communicator screen reflecting the glassy eyed look of your face. You booked working passage on the first ship heading out, working as a cargo hand and technician. You changed ships at the next port of call, booking another working passage in order to conserve your resources. The captain of the vessel informed you that the Granagan would remain in port for five days while the cargo was off-loaded and another lot was sourced. After spending most of the previous day unloading cargo, you wandered to the hostel, desiring some gravity beneath your feet after two weeks of weightlessness. The room was charged to the Granagan's account, paid for from your meager share of the profits from the cargo. The captain had told you that there was work to be found here, good work. You hoped he was right, and you had even spent Lv10 last night to set up a search routine on the planetary communications / data grid. The program had yet to return anything of interest after 10 standard hours and you were wondering if the captain had been deceiving you when the communicator screen flared to life and lines of multi-language text began to spew across the panel. Pressing the touch screen at the icon for your native tongue, the lines began to convert into something you could decipher. "Now this looks interesting…"

The Advertisement

Your search had turned up only one possibility of any interest. The advertisement read:

Beradoon Metals Engineering is currently seeking qualified personnel for contract employment with the Metals Exploitation Group. Personnel with previous experience in any of the following areas are encouraged to apply.

Initial contract length is three standard months with potential for renewal in three-month segments. Salary is commensurate with experience and a Lv1000 bonus will be paid upon acceptance of terms.

Beradoon Metals Engineering is a primary resource company engaged in the manufacture of metal and composite structural members for use in construction of space based craft. With operations throughout known space, BME is well positioned for both immediate and long-term growth.

Interested individuals should reply to the grid responder at the bottom of this message to set up an interview time.

"Hmmm…." You re-read the advertisement as you thought it over in your mind. It was the only reasonable employment opportunity that you had come across since you had left your former home; all the others had involved either menial labor or long term commitment. Still interested, you pressed the grid responder icon at the bottom of the message. After a few moments, a new message began to scroll across the screen, listing the time and place of an interview. Glancing at the chronometer on the flat screen, you calculated that you had about three hours to update your employment card and then find the location where the interview was to be held. "Oh well, " you thought as you called up a map of the orbital complex, "even if the interview flops, there is still the Granagan."

The Interview

The interview address was listed as being in R section of the complex, at a spacers' bar identified as the Stuttering Pig. The holo sign on the wall outside showed a silver pig stutterwarping through space, inbound to a nondescript barren world. Having arrived a bit early, you settled onto a barstool that allowed you a view of both the door and the empty booth where you were to meet the representative of your potential employer. Ordering your usual drink, you glanced around at the other clientele. As was typical at a starport bar, you saw the usual types-the merchant crewmen enjoying their time off of their ship; the joygirls trying to make the crewers enjoy them instead; the local port hands, always a gruff looking bunch; and a few military types engaged in a boisterous game of cards. Taking another drink from your glass, you glanced at the time and noted that it was one minute until the interview and you hadn't seen the rep come it yet. Looking back at the booth, you almost choked on your drink-sitting there in the shadows was a man-where did he come from? Maybe he was hiding in the rest rooms for the last fifteen minutes-he sure hadn't walked through the front door. Grabbing your drink, you headed over to the booth.

Sliding into the other side of the booth, you looked over at the rep. Wearing a clean yet well-worn spacers flightsuit, you noted two patches, one had the logo of Beradoon Metals Engineering, similar to that of the advertisement and the other, a name and title-Flight Leader Hendrix. Sitting in front of him on the table were two items-a simple datalogger and a glass of bluish liquid that fizzled. "Afternoon," he said picking up his drink as he evaluated you in much the same way you had just done. "Afternoon," you replied, wanting to quickly get the formalities over with and get down to the heart of the interview. Studying Hendrix as he spoke, you noted a slight accent, something Australian though you couldn't place it exactly. His face was that of an ex-service person or career spacer. His head was shaved and his eyes dark; age was beginning to catch up with him around the corners of his mouth and his skin was leathery to the look. Focussing back to his words, you listened intently.

… So, Beradoon has just picked up a short-term contract to supply a major consumer with structural members for an orbital habitat. Our Mineral Exploitation Group has had to expand operations three-fold to keep up with demand for raw materials and this has involved setting up new operations in systems down the Arm. We're looking for additional personnel to staff those operations. You read the advertisement and know what we're looking for… now, do you have your employment card with you?

Hendrix took the credstik sized computer card from you and placed it into a slot on the datalogger. Within milliseconds your entire employment history began to display across the screen. You finished your drink and signaled the waitress to bring you another. She had just left when Hendrix looked up from the datalogger.

Ummhmm. Any currently outstanding criminal charges?

"No," you replied.

Good. I believe that Beradoon can offer you employment based on the qualifications you have presented. At this point I can offer the following terms: The contract is for 3 months initially and starts once you arrive at your designated work location. Beradoon will provide transportation to the work location at no expense and travel vouchers good for 25 LY upon completion of the contract. Accommodations and upkeep at work locations will also be provided free of charge for the duration of the contract. The base monthly salary will be Lv1000 with an additional Lv500 danger/spacer pay. The amount of any qualifications bonuses will be determined once I have had more time to review your employment history and run you through some aptitude tests on the way. And, of course, there is the Lv1000 sign-on bonus if you accept this offer. Personal effects are limited to 25 kilograms; anything you have in excess of that amount or do not want to take with you can be stored at our offices here for a nominal charge. Firearms or other contraband should also be left behind; Beradoon will provide any such items necessary for your work. Any questions?

You had been listening intently and really had no questions-it was the best offer since you had left home. A bit mysterious about what you would actually be doing, but that was nothing new. "Sounds acceptable. Where is the job at?" you asked Hendrix.

I can't tell you at this point. Once we are outbound, there will be a briefing for all new-hires to answer any specific questions. If you are in agreement about the terms, indicate here please.

Hendrix pushed the datalogger across to you and you saw that it had a small retinal scanner on it. Pressing your palm onto the screen you stared into the scanner, allowing both your palm print and retinal image to be recorded, locking you into the contract.

Welcome aboard. We leave from dock 16 in section N in 12 hours. Bring your gear and anything you need to have stored at our offices.

With that, Hendrix stood up, removed your employment card from the datalogger and left the bar with it under his arm. Picking up your employment card, you downed your drink and got up as well. Your first stop would be the Granagan, to pick up your gear and sign off of the crew roster; after that, a bit of shopping in the bazaar. Heading for the door, you wondered what lay ahead.

The Characters

This is a short description of the characters based on information supplied by the characters.

Sali d'Alpha

Played by Naka.

First impression: A tall, slim woman with a medium mahogany complexion and clearly Saharan African features glides lithely in. Dressed in a stylish white caftan and white headwrap, she seems to belong in an old movie.

Karl Deitz

Originally played by Phil Schaumburg, now an NPC.

Karl Deitz is 6' tall with a muscular, athletic, build. He wears his blonde hair cropped short in a military style. He has blue eyes and a well-trimmed goatee. He has a gregarious, easygoing manner though his size does tend to intimidate those that do not know him very well. He reveals white, horse-like teeth when he grins.

Vladomir Druganov

Played by Aaron Kavli.

Vladomir's life in the Auroran wilderness has left him with tanned, leathery skin. Though of average size and build, he maintains a well muscled, trim physique. Dark featured with black hair and brown eyes, he keeps a trim beard and mustache. Two large scars are barely visible through the collar of his clothing. A light crescent shaped scare is barely visible above his right eye. His somber, serious eyes often appear to be staring off in the distance or continually scanning for unseen threats. He often wears a wide brimmed hat and leather coat.

Jack Van Lanigenn

Played by Jim Lawrie.

Jack is almost seven foot tall with stubby cut hair. His face has knobby cheekbones, hollow cheeks, and crows-feet at the corners of his eyes. He often wears an old ship's cap from the SV Botany Bay.

Gunter Schultz

Played by Peter Grining.

Gunter is of average height with piercing blue eyes. He appears to have a very trim physique.

Anton Schneider

Played by Joakim Bergqwist.

Anton is stocky and short with small, deep-set blue eyes. He has started to lose some of his reddish-brown hair.

Hunter Langely

Played by Scott Saylors.

Hunter is just under six feet in height and has an olive complexion from a touch of the Hispanic in his bloodline..

The Crystal Marble

You enter from the port (left) side of the craft. Passing through the airlock, you immediately turn to the left and walk into a large, open area about 5 m across and 4 m deep--the passenger lounge. Standing in the middle of the lounge and looking towards the front of the craft, you can see the passenger galley, an area 1 m deep and 5 m across, To each side of the lounge is a double stateroom. To the left, the nameplate says Jack Lannigen and Karl Deitz; the stateroom on the right side says Anton Schneider and Gunter Schultz. Turning around to face the back of the craft, you see a large section, 3m across by 4 m deep with no access of any kind. Turning to the right, you see the port airlock where you boarded and a single stateroom with the name Sali d'Alpha on it. A corridor continues past the stateroom before turning to the right. After the right hand turn, the corridor continues almost to the hull before ending in a locked door. Back in the lounge, facing aft again and then turning to the left you see the starboard airlock and a double stateroom with the name Vladomir Druganov on it. The corridor continues past the stateroom ending at a wall. At the wall there is a door to the right that is also locked. This is the door that Hendrix used to exit the passenger area with a code key, and you assume that it leads to the bridge or other crew area. The passenger lounge is on the lower level and is forward of the cargo area.

The passenger lounge serves as both a recreation area and dining commons for the passengers. All of the furniture in the room can be folded or collapsed for storage to allow for other furniture or activities. At present there are six chairs set up, facing towards the bow of the craft. The chairs appear more rugged than the other furniture and are securely anchored to tracks in the floor. These chairs also have seat belts and are intended for passenger use during take-off and landings.

All of the passenger accessible areas have carpeted floors. The walls and ceiling are covered with a substance similar to those of a hotel, but upon touching, one finds that the surface gives a little under pressure, like thin padding. This is to prevent injuries among those that are not experienced in zero-G conditions. Handholds are installed at frequent intervals on both the walls and ceilings to aid the less skilled. Underneath the carpets is a magnetic system, which also allows magnetic footwear to be used.

The staterooms posses very plain accommodations-A fold down sleeping berth with velcro straps to prevent drifting around during sleep, a folddown desk and foldaway chair, a number of cabinets for storage of personal belongings and a fresher. In a double stateroom, there is two sets of these items, except the fresher, which is shared.

The passenger galley contains an oven, refrigerator, water dispenser, dish washer, garbage disposal, food autovender (free of course), and storage space for food and additional cooking utensils. Sliding wall panels can close this area off to the rest of the lounge.

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The Crew of the Crystal Marble

This is a listing of the crew members of the Crystal Marble.

Bridge Crew - Watch A

Bridge Crew - Watch B

Engineering Crew

Character Crew Assignments

The characters have been paired up with crew members to learn the procedures and skills related to their mission.

The Chapters

These are a collection of the mailing list postings organized into chronological order. Thanks go to Joakim Bergqwist for taking it upon himself to organize our ramblings into chapters. The chapters are available for download in rich text format (rtf).

Chapter 1 - The Players Assemble in the Hanger Waiting Room (26 KB)

Chapter 2 - Inside the Crystal Marble (35 KB)

Chapter 3 - The Briefing (48 KB)

Chapter 4 - Meeting the Crew (12 KB)

Chapter 5 - On Our Own (23 KB)

Transit System Alpha One - Debris Field Time Line Summary (61 KB)

Chapter 6 - Search and Rescue (85 KB)

Chapter 7 - Opening the Pod (33 KB)

Mining System Omega Three

Mining System Omega Three is the system in which Beradoon Metals Engineering is conducting mining operations for ore that is needed to fulfill a major contract. Mining is being conducted on the surface of the sixth satellite of the first world (W1S6). Mined ore is lifted to orbit by Alloy-class modular landers and processed aboard Tango-7, a Bessel-class mining vessel. The processed ore is then shipped out of system on bulk freighters to another BME facility.

The following downloadable files comprise the various data files issued by Hendrix to the characters for their briefing. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read these files.

System Profile (8 KB)

System Tactical Display (10 KB)

World Data (7 KB)

World 1 Tactical Display (9 KB)

World 1 Satellite Data (11 KB)

Worlds 2 and 3 Satellite Data (9 KB)

Tango-7, Bessel-class Mining Vessel

Tango-7 is a Bessel-class mining vessel owned and operated by Beradoon Metals Engineering in Mining System Omega Three. The ship stats can be found at in the Ships of the Arms section, civilian ship section, or by following this link: Bessel. Key prints of Tango-7 are available for downloading from the following links. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read these files.

Rough print of Tango-7 (54 KB)

Side profile of key decks in the habitat ring of Tango-7 (6 KB)

Accommodation Decks (20 KB)

Recreation Decks (9 KB)

Operations Decks (12 KB)

Lounge 1 (24 KB)

Alloy-class Modular Lander

The Alloy-class modular lander is used to transport ore from the mining areas up to the Bessel-class vessel for processing. The ship stats can be found at in the Ships of the Arms section, civilian ship section, or by following this link: Alloy. The deck plan of the lander can be downloaded from the following link.

Deck plan of the Alloy-class Modular Lander (6 KB)

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Personalities of Tango-7

This section details the various NPCs aboard Tango-7 that the characters have encountered or heard about. The information will change based on interactions between the characters and the NPCs and new NPCs will be added as necessary.

Project Leader Rastan - Captain and BME Manager of MS-O3 assets

Though the characters have not met Project Leader Rastan yet, as head of the Beradoon Metals Engineering operation in Mining System Omega Three and Captain of Tango-7, his presence is certainly felt. Called the 'Old Man' behind his back, most just call him Sir when addressing him directly. An ex-military spacer, he apparently runs a tight ship and seems to have the full respect of the station crew that you've talked with so far.

Having had an initial briefing with Rastan, the characters have taken a cold view of the Old Man. He is definately a no-nonsense individual, but his conversations with the characters have left some of them questioning whether he is a sage commander or not -- only time will tell. For now, he has agreed to Sali's search of the computer records and provided the access codes necessary to perform the data analysis.

Flight Leader Gail Hempel - First Officer

Flight Leader Hempel greeted the characters when they first set foot onboard Tango-7. An old friend of Flight Leader Hendrix, Hempel is an attractive, tall, slender woman who speaks with a distinctive British accent.

Jack Pickard - Security Chief

Chief Pickard was also present when the characters arrived onboard Tango-7. Short and muscular with a short, military-style crew cut, Pickard escorted the characters to the Ops Deck where they met Steward Lai. The Chief seems to eye the characters with suspicion, and spent as little time as necessary with them.

Vincent Lai - Steward

Steward Lai is the station's one and only steward. As such he is also the defacto welcoming committee for new arrivals. He seems to be fairly knowledgeable of the goings on aboard the station, as one would expect of a steward. He is very talkative and gravitates to any females present, to the extent of almost ignoring anyone else. He has so far chatted up Sali extensively during the station tour. Lai is always trying to get women to join him in the holovid room to enjoy his garden sims.

Eric LaFleur - Senior Interface Pilot

The characters have not met Eric LaFleur, having only heard of him from a conversation between Anton and Saad. A Canadian who has worked for BME for a decade, Saad ranks him as one of the company's top lander pilots.

Edgar Forsythe - Security Officer

According to Steward Lai, Edgar is the station bookie, covering the various under-the-table bets and wagers that are placed on the various sports leagues, etc. Edgar can most often be found during his off-duty hours in Lounge 1 where he acts a the resident bartender. Edgar's real job on the station is as an ore processing technician where he and his coworkers oversee the ore processing onboard Tango-7.

Jaclyn Picollo - TAC Commander

Robert Hilliard - Chief Engineer

Mikael Zuvich - Doctor

Addisyn - Electrical Engineer

Addisyn is an electrical engineer on the station Crew B. She is currently studying for the Kranz-Deitmau exam, which she hopes will be her ticket off of Tango-7 and onto the stars.

Station Duty Schedules

This section explains the various station duty schedules and cycles.

Telling Time

Tango-7 follows Universal Station (or Ship) Time, UST. This is based on the Terran day of 24 hours and goes from 0000 to 2359.

Who's On Shift?

Tango-7 operates on an 8 hour shift schedule during routine operation and the shifts run as follows.

First Watch

0000 - 0800

Second Watch

0800 - 1600

Third Watch

1600 - 0000

The crews follow the Watches as follows.

The pattern repeats itself: Day One, Day Two, Day One, Day Two, Day One...

The ore processing operators tend to work 12 hour shifts instead of the standard 8 hours. Flight personnel (interface pilots and maintenance) tend to work odd hours (necessary to maintain a steady stream of material from the mining operation to the station) and have also adopted a 12 hour shift schedule. Note that the pilots are not necessarily flying, but they are on duty for the 12 hour period. These 12 hour shifts generally run from 08000 to 2000 and 2000 to 0800.

When's Supper?

Meals are served for two hours, starting one hour before Watch change and ending one hour after. Because of the rotating shift schedule, breaklast, lunch, and supper/dinner type foods are available at each meal.

Breakfast

0700 - 0900

Dinner

1500 - 1700

Midnight Meal

2300 - 0100

 

These web pages developed and maintained by Terry A. Kuchta
This page created 26 December 1999 and last revised on 12 December 2004.
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