The Tale of Braydon Caldwell (Cepheus solo playthrough)

~1200 words, ~6 min reading time

Oh, you want to know how I, Baron Commander Braydon Caldwell, ended up here? Well, it’s not too long a story.

I was born on Schildes, and dreamed of being a physician. But, sometimes life has other plans. Schildes Medical Academy rejected my application, so I joined the Space Navy. Served 4 terms, and attained the rank of Commander. Learned some technical skills and some leadership skills along the way. Anyway, I had just retired – didn’t quite serve long enough for a pension, but my service was distinguished enough to be granted the title of Baron. Doesn’t mean much, really, though people do treat you a bit different.

Anyway, the day I got out I was eating outside my favorite restaurant on Schildes when I was approached by a man – Marcos Huff, he said his name was. Anyway, Marcos made a living as a mercenary of sorts – though pretty small-time – really, much closer to being private security. He had stumbled upon a plan by some thieves who were planning heists at one of the bigger cathedrals on Schildes. But, the Priests had no interest in hiring Marcos. After all, Schildes is a pretty orderly place – might take a while for the bureaucracy to do its thing, but you generally didn’t have to worry about crime much here. Anyway, Marcos thought I could help – you know, throw my newly acquired title around some – and convince the Priests to hire him to keep an eye on their relics. I told him I was a soldier – not an ambassador. He wouldn’t hear anything of that, so I decided to help him. That was a mistake.

Next day, I go to the cathedral – planning to talk to High Priest Ferrell. As I approach the cathedral, I hear there’s an argument happening inside. Marcos was already there. Man, why’d you hire me when you were just going to make my job harder like that?

Anyway, I went in and managed to calm Ferrell down. He still wasn’t interested in our help – he knew Schildes about as well as I do. It’s a law-abiding place. If anyone tried anything, they’d be thoroughly punished. Didn’t see a reason to hire security, but admitted he couldn’t really stop us if we decided to keep an eye on the cathedral on our own. So, we do.

Later that night, I’m on stakeout outside the cathedral. Turns out that, somehow, those thieves knew I would be there. To be fair, we weren’t really that quiet that morning when we were chatting with Ferrell, and it wouldn’t be that hard to figure out where we’d want to locate to watch the place. Anyway, one of them grabs me from behind. We fought a bit, and I knocked him out. I called Marcos to come get us, because that kind of violence isn’t really… acceptable… on Schildes, so we definitely need to relocate so we can interrogate the guy – and hope that no one saw us too well.

Apparently, the guy wasn’t alone, though. We’re on the way back to our HQ – well, Marcos’s motel room – when a car comes out of nowhere – filled with thieves, and they’re tailing us. I figure Marcos and I should probably get the police involved. I mean, the thieves are *right there*. The police do show up – but decide that we’re the bad guys – I guess makes sense since we were the ones with an unconscious guy in the back seat. Anyway, they didn’t believe me. Next morning, we were pretty quickly processed – found guilty of assault. 4 years in prison or exile from Schildes – our choice. We chose exile.

So, there we were, Marcos and me, booking high passage to Tigrissani nearby. Definitely a nice room, and pretty uneventful journey. Nice to be a Baron I guess, even if my severance pay couldn’t provide too many more trips like that.

Tigrissani’s a nasty place – covered in water, toxic atmosphere. But, people are amazing creatures, and we do what we have to – building domes over the waves, and sealing them to provide a nice cozy home. Well, we got of the ship and immediately sought out some weapons – got a sword and a snub piston. See, Schildes doesn’t allow weapon sales like that. Here on Tigrissani things are a bit looser. I guess the terrorists that control the government don’t mind a little competition.

Anyway, didn’t take long for us to find a job – an Agent of the government – no, I’m not telling you the name – hired us to get these terrorists of the government’s backs. We didn’t know much about the situation, but figured the pay would probably be good if we could pull it off.

This started off badly. Just asking around about who this group was turned up a guy – Cedric Shelton, I think. Apparently, some kind of religious guru that the locals love. He says if we don’t lay off, he’s going to have to denounce us. Apparently, he’s worried about what would happen if people started rocking the boat. A real concern when you’re floating over that much water, I guess. Anyway, Marcos and I thanked him and took our leave. Some more chats, and we found out that these terrorists apparently wanted to cut off Tigrissani from other systems. No clue why, but definitely not a good thing. Did some datanet searching about what these terrorists wanted, and I think we much have attracted some attention. I ran out to get some more supplies and came back to find that Marcos was kidnapped – well, that’s what I thought, anyway. Well, the news was calling it “arrested” instead. His face and mine plastered all over the net. On the other hand, at least I knew where he was.

Went to the jail that night. Even though the capital is reasonably sized – about a million people – the police station is pretty small. Makes me wonder if the station is small and the laws are light because they don’t have to be any more than that. Propaganda can work wonders. Anyway, the station is so small that I just waltz in gun blazing. That was a mistake – I get burned bad by the return fire. Only one guard in the building I’d guess, but well-armed. Still, a couple good shots and he’s down and out. That was probably a mistake, too.

I get Marcos out and we try to lay low. Turns out it’s hard to hide in a dome on a water world with a toxic atmo. 24 hours later, they’re on us. No way we were getting away from that one.

And that’s how I end up here. Life imprisonment for murder, serving it out under glass, with the waves and toxic air above.

(Thoughts: this was a fun playthrough, even if the end wasn’t great. This furthers my belief that Cepheus is just a HARD system. Now, to be fair, this playthrough had some pretty significant mistakes. But, the One-Page GM Emulator wasn’t exactly kind to me either. It just kept giving me “eliminate a threat” plotlines, and pointed toward people as adversaries. Not great for if you want to be a law-abiding citizen and avoid prison sentences. I need to read a bit more to get some inspiration for how to play Cepheus while not breaking the law and not owning a ship…)

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