Campaign of the Month: June 2014

Battletech : The Farscape Campaign

Episode 54 - Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

"That's No Moon..."

Roll Call————————————-Mechs

Dale (Paladin)—————————Battlemaster
Bruce (Glamour)————————Stinger LAM
Greg (Fixer)——————————-Ostroc
Ralph (Wraith)—————————Wolverine
Jay (Advocate)—————————Thug
Chris (Caboose) -————————Phoenix Hawk
Ken (Chewie) -—————————-Ostsol

While the Line units of * “The Iron Dingoes” were busy hunting pirates and trying to get some hard currency for future operations and to make payroll, the rest of the Dingoes were busy tryng t get their future landhold active. So…. “Meanwhile, back at the Ranch…”

March 13th, 3020 : The main Line units of the Iron Dingoes jumped out-system aboard “The Den Mother”, with “Pandora’s Box”, “Star Talon” and “Brush Wolf” and their units, on its collars.

The temporary command council, consisting of Lieutenant SG Jessa Dajus-Marik in command, with Station Master Haro Lothrain and Dame Modesty Scrope “Viper”, organized a supply run back to Rockport, intending to finalize their contract with local banking concerns to acquire the capital they needed for parts and supplies to get the work on The Factory going. Taking “Stone Dog” and “Crimson Sands”, the group travelled to Rockport, and engaged in direct talks, while allowing the asteroid station’s techs to evaluate the Stone Dog for the lean on their loan. Negotiations went well, supplies and currency were acquired, and the group returned back to The Factory. Both Crimson Sands and _Lothrain’s Master of Enterprise began shuttling trips for supplies (and some R&R for troops, techs and dependents).

March 23rd, 3020 : Repair work begins on The Factory Life Support equipment. Several star marines are struck down with an ailment for several days. Also, during repairs on a ventilation duct, two techs are slain, and Lord Henry Fitzroy is implicated, and eventually exonerated for negligence. Lastly, a shipment of air circulators and filtration equipment is nearly mis-handled, but Lothrain’s people are able to correct the lost shipment with only a few days delay to repairs.

April 9th, 3020 : Repairs to the Power Plant go without incident, and time passes uneventfully.

April 23rd, 3020 : Repair work on the Grav Decks starts. A couple of incidents involving broken tether-lines on the grav decks results in a pair of close calls. Lord Fitzroy shows some new innovations, and Tech Isabella Farron introduces a couple new medical protocols that help speed work and reduce injuries among the technical crews, speeding repair times.

May 13th, 3020 : A period of three days passes, during which all repaired systems are activated. Life Support, Power and the Grav Decks all go active, and people spend a couple days moving from the shuttles in the bays into The Factory – Staterooms, with families and dependents also starting to clear the central living facilities over the next few weeks.

May 14th, 3020 : The station sensors, electronics suites and main CPU of The Factory – Main Mission begin upgrades. Tech Farron and AsTech Abigail Breslin “Winter” come down with flu-like symptoms, along with several others. It passes after a few days.

During this period, Trooper Cooper Hawkes, while helping on a repair during some station leave, comes upon a pair of Lothrain’s civilian techs, talking together wiht some sort of portable communications array between them. Confronting them, they get into a scuffle, and one flees with the radio, while Hawks fumbles and fails to stop the other from escaping, as well. He reports the incident, but cannot identify them, nor what exactly they were using.

May 29th, 3020 : Main Mission is activated fully, and various techs begin to access the Main CPU, down-loading information and cleaning up the system for new Dingoes security protocols. Also, The Factory – The Zócalo was opened “for business”, and quickly became the center of social life aboard the station. A week of “downtime” is declared for all Dingoes staff, their dependents and Lothrain’s civilian techs. The party runs 24/7.

June 2nd, 3020 : During the downtime leave for the unit, several members of the unit are contacted and summoned to Main Mission. This diverse group and their important skills includes:

LtJG Frank Castle – Lead Military Officer
Trooper Cassandra Anderson – Assistant Military Officer
AsTech Abigail Breslin “Winter” – Scout
Senior Tech Katherine Bolivar – Lead Tech
Lord Henry Fitzroy – Communications
Tech Isabella Farron – Medic
Trooper Cooper Hawkes – Insertion Specialist

The group met with the three leaders of the unit council, Dajus-Marik, Viper, and Lothrain. The group is taken aside, and informed they have been called together for a specific mission that needs to be immediately resolved…

Dajus-Marik : “We’ve been through the surviving records of the station while it was under use by Excalibur Corp. Most were mundane matters covering day-to-day technical matters and manitenance logs. Much was wiped from the data core, and even more will be, but there were a couple things that just didn’t make sense. During the final few weeks that the station was under operation, in the final months of the system war, there were no less than three separate fireteams listed as entering the main dig site on The Rock, and descending into the main shaft on some sort of missions.”

“We need to send someone down into The Rock at the main dig site, and take a look, There’s likely nothing down there, but we need to make certain…”

The group was chosen based on the unit’s personnel files as fulfilling certain qualifications. They were also expendable. They were each issued one of the unit’s few remaining C80 Combat Environment Suits, and appropriate L2 “Maser” Laser Assault Rifles, just in case they run into something. They were also granted roughly 1000Cs worth of extra equipment from the Quartermaster. They had three hour to get ready.

Lord Fitzroy managed to acquire a MPC-1700 Scanalyzer, while Winter managed to get an Electronics Lock-pick Kit. Bolivar equipped herself with a deluxe toolkit and a tether to haul the tools behind her. Castle acquired a handheld motion-sensor. Everyone else stocked-up on medical kits, suit patches and a couple spare military-grade batteries. They gathered inside The Factory – Boom Controls, and under-went an equipment check before descending down the connected boom, to land on the surface of The Rock. They were all reminded they had 18 hours of life support before they had to return to the station.

Sending Winter off ahead to scout, the unit slowly made their way roughly towards the main dig site, about 200m off. Castle led the way, with Anderson following along, and the entire group tethered themselves together in a line with their 10m cables. Winter noted a cluster of three large craters “beneath” the dig site, and quickly reached the site. Strewn with the remnants of heavy mining strewn around the abandoned site. The main tunnel was a broad, smoothly drilled shaft running perpendicular to the surface. On one side of the shaft were a trio of 50m cables coiled and secured to the side, possibly left behind by the last fireteams to come here.

Hawkes began instructing everyone how to safely rappel down into the shaft with their tethers, and they sent Winter down first. She dropped around 40m and entered a large open mining site, perhaps 200m across and 20m high in places. Numerous shafts led from the cave, all marked in bright, neon colored paint in an obscure “Miner’s dialect”. Only the large “radioactive” symbols were obvious. Winter pulled a kid’s gag (failing miserably) with a cry of OMG! What’s that… the Bees! Not the Bees!”. _Castle used his Jump Pack to reach the end of the shaft quickly and proceeded to chew her out about taking this whole situation seriously.

The group gathered at the cave entrance, and posited what they should do next. They were limited in time, so couldn’t explore each mine shaft around them, and being unable to read the lingo, couldn’t really determine where they should go. Eventually, Farron realized that whoever had been here last, probably didn’t want people investigating whatever they were looking for, and so identified the passage with the largest quantity of warning markers would be the one they would have used to hide whatever. Communications wiht the station were becoming spotty, though Fitzy’s powerful communications array was able to keep contact.

The group made their way across the cavern and into the smooth 5m-wide mining tunnel, which continued for over 100m in a straight line. Eventually, it ended in a ferrocrete wall, obviously hand-made to seal the corridor. Sensors, including their motion-sensor were blocked by the wall, and nothing could be detected beyond. Local radiation was building, but tolerable. Using Bolivar’s tools, although not the best option, they began to break the wall apart, and after a few hours, they managed to get a hole leading beyond drilled through to the other side. Radiation levels were building, but passable.

Winter passed beyond into more of the original mining tunnel, passing another 30m before it suddenly opened into a vast space beyond. Careful use of her helmet lamp couldn’t illuminate much beyond the vastness of the site. The group gathered in the entrance and their combined lamps lit a massive chamber, running 300m+ up and down, and almost 300m across. Smoothly carved, along the right was a factory-like series of levels and machinery poking from the wall, and opposite was painted The Cameron Star in large, broad strokes.

Sensors were disrupted by something in the walls, and the angle of the drilling seemed to hint that the diggers were trying to reach the factory area. The group contacted The Factory, telling them about the situation, and requested techs be placed on stand-by. Tying themselves back together, with Anderson and Castle on either side, the group used their Jump Packs to carefully move across the chasm, and reached the mass of machinery. It resolved itself into a series of four levels, progressively moving into the walls like steps.

The lowest level had four massive assembly cranes, each barely recognizable with a control station, and equipped with massive grapplers laser cutters, welding torches, drills and other equipment along its length. Each was a massive series of connected extenders that seemed capable of reaching any portion of the main chasm. A series of power cables ran from their bases, up through the second level and into the third. Hydrogen fuel access was present here, though analog readings gave them as being empty and having neither pressure nor power. A large flat area behind them was dominated by a large railed hole, similar to a light socket, with countless power and communications cables ending in the location. Almost like someone had unscrewed the contents and taken it away. The entire area was strewn with loose girders, pieces of cable and other debris.

The next level was a series of open flat sections strewn with more debris, and three separate areas. On the left side was a collection of empty cargo containers, hinting at having contained various naval parts for drives, armor plate and jump engines. Off to the right was a series of three large airlocks, looking very similar to DropShip collars. It seemed loading operations could be conducted here, provided there was power. The area seemed to be around where the three odd craters on teh surface were located. In the middle, was an open area leading to a heavy armored barricade door, leading to a vault of some sort. Stairs ran up either side of this door leading to the third level. The whole area looked looted.

Grasped in two of the “claws” were a small JumpShip, “The Freedom of the Stars”.

The third level was obviously an engineering area, and although locked-down, did not appear to be vacuum-sealed. Above this, the fourth level was definitely an air-lock sealed area, with wide, bright windows over-looking the chasm.

After exploring the first two levels and being unable to access the third, due to the power needs of moving the large access doors, they contemplated a “Jefferies tube” being in the open “Socket” hole. There was. Bolivar managed to rig a military-rated power cell to the servos, and using Winter’s skill with electronic lock-picking, they bypassed the security and opened the door, revealing a long, thin tube meant to be accessed by vacc-suited techs. It was obvious whoever had looted the outer areas, had not been able to figure this way into the engineering deck.

Worming their way along and then up into the Engineering Deck, the group encountered another sealed, non-pressurized door, and rigged access, again draining more charge off Bolivar’s battery on her rifle, and opened this inner door. It opened into the floor of what was obviously the fusion plant. Bolivar quickly identified it as a completely dead laser fusion plant, suggesting high power requirements of the facility, but that the plant was not likely to be powered back up anytime soon. Analog systems, however, gave proof to there being a battery reserve system, enough to supply emergency power to the facility for a few days.

Using a trickle-charger that Cstle had acquired, they bled the batteries active and succeeded in getting emergency power on-line. All doors should be accessible and basic lighting active. WOrking quickly through the level, they found the engineering deck consisted of something called Gravity Control, turning the living quarters above into a large gravity wheel, and a pair of control rooms labelled “Perpendicular Thruster Control”, and “Lateral Thruster Control”, though both looked like they were burned-out with only a handful of components salvageble.

Leaving the Engineering Deck, they moved on up to the final level, and opening the lock-down airlock, managed to access the substantial airlock facility. Capable of bringing more than a dozen people through at a time, it contained facilities for almost a hundred vacc-suits (all missing). Beyond lay a long, wide corridor that entered a “transition” chamber, allowing people to access the gravity wheel above. Although the chambers were all on their sides, and the slight rotation of the asteroid had tossed most contents into corners and along the “walls”.

The living areas consisted of a “Main Mission”, a “Canteen” with simple auto-mated food synthesizers and plastic furnishings, a substantial hydroponics facility that was once highly-automated, though now strewn with dead vegetation. A large “Library” was uncovered, containing thousands of data disks and actual books and plastic magazines from the Reunification Era and beyond. A substantial “Food Storage” facility holding hundreds of tons of Star League emergency rations, and another facility holding tons of frozen, putrid water stores. A pair of “Medical Bays” were found, well-stocked with powdered medicines and vacuum-packed supplies. In addition to substantial barracks-style quarters for over 300 (none with long-term provisions for habitation), a substantial chemical “Life-Support Facility”, and a “Zero-G Swimming Pool”.

Running low on time, the group called back into The Factory, explaining the situation, and then decided to close-down everything to preserve the power levels for later salvage work. Working backwards, they closed-down the Upper Deck, then entered the Engineering Deck, shutting down power to a bare trickle. Leaving the internal door open, they sealed the door in the socket once more and then headed to the large vault on level two. Accessing a secure vault door, they opened it to reveal a massive arms vault for naval weapons. It consisted of several separate vaults with arming racks holding 400 rounds of NAC/20 ammo, and a large number of both White Shark (24) and Barracuda (48) Torpedoes. Although most of the Torpedoes were upright in racks, one lay on its side… with its warhead unscrewed…

Bolivar assisted by Castle began trying to ensure they didn’t go off, and found someone had rigged a remote detonator to the warhead at some point in the past, but its battery had wound down over time. They took their time (and tons of Edge) to disarm the torpedoe successfully. Locking the facility down as well, they began the long trip back across the chasm and up to the surface, leaving exploration of the JumpShip for later. They returned to The Factory with just under an hour to spare, and then reported in, drawing maps and giving detailed descriptions of the interior, before they were released to enjoy a couple days of R&R…

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