~ 1400 words, ~ 7 min read time
Allyson Carey had been thrown into Noble life as soon as she became an adult. She had spent twenty years in the Assembly of Nocho, just to see her world continue to be basically lawless. She finally, after squandering most of her life in this pointless politics, decided it was time to opt out. She left the Assembly for the last time
Ian Fischer pulled up on his hovercraft, and ordered Allyson to get in. The two of them had been friends for a while, and this was definitely unlike him. He was clearly worried about something. As they drove through the city, Ian described how he was working on a significant idea that could change jump drive technology – but one of the tech giants on Nocho wanted the tech, and he was unhappy with the price he was being offered. But, Durham Tech wasn’t known for taking no for an answer. So, Ian was fleeing the planet, and wanted Allyson to accompany him and help him find a fair buyer. He’s willing to pay her for her trouble.
The two of them arrived in the starport dome, and found a ship that promised to take them to nearby Bestian. The starport is crowded, as always, and Ian and Allyson got bumped into by someone – a rather scruffy looking man. He apologized, seeming to recognize Allyson – which isn’t that unusual, given her long time serving in the Assembly. She shrugged it off, but checked her pockets as he walked away. He hadn’t stolen anything – in fact, he had left a note. It warned Allyson that the ship they were headed toward was a trap laid by Dunlap Tech. So Allyson and Ian changed their reservations, and boarded a ship for Bestian.
Not much happened here, just flying to Bestian without incident.
After arriving at Bestian, Allyson and Ian arranged to meet with an interested buyer at one of the city’s restaurants. They go, but are met by Chanel Pham, an employee of Dunlap Tech who followed them. Suddenly, the sound of rioting breaks out outside as protestors march by, condemning the ruling Church of Bestian, and the police state that it had set up. The police arrive and begin firing at the mob. Ian and Allison use this opportunity to dash out into the confusion, in hopes of losing Pham. While they manage to get away from Pham, Ian is also shot in the crossfire and seriously wounded.
Rumor has it that the protests have been sparked because the High Priest’s health is failing, so dissidents are taking advantage.
Ian and Allyson go to the hospital, and he has surgery to ensure that he doesn’t decline further. While the doctors recommend staying in the hospital longer, Ian and Allyson decide they need to leave the planet, so they seek passage to Hastrumi. Hastrumi is 3 parsecs away, which would be an expensive jump. So, they travel low passage – being placed into cold sleep for the trip. This is much less expensive than remaining conscious for the trip – though there is always the danger that you might not wake up. Despite Ian’s weakened state, they decide to risk it, just so they can get off the planet.
They awake on Hastrumi, and spend a couple of weeks resting so that Ian can heal. They hear about a tech company that is expected to be interested in Ian’s tech. They make an offer, and Ian happily accepts. He and Allyson part ways.
Recent events have convinced Allyson that politics is no match for wealth – both her home of Nocho and her current planet of Hastrumi have ineffective governments. Instead, businesses run the world. Also, her experiences on Bestian – where the government is generally much more successful at influencing people’s lives – showed that even a strong government can be resisted simply by a mob. Given these experiences, Allyson has decided that she wants to be a merchant. But, to do that, she’s going to need credits – a down payment is about 7 million credits – far more than she has on hand. She also could benefit from Broker training so that she can start making deals. She considers trying to Gamble her way to her wealth, but this path isn’t viable – she needs a job.
She hears of a debate brewing – Valentina Irwin, renowned scholar on Hastrumi, is planning an expedition to look for historical artifacts. When human settlers arrived on this planet, there was no civilization to speak of, but there were definitely signs of previous civilizations. However, others oppose her efforts – believing that these artifacts may disrupt the air supply in the domes – which protects the people from the unbreathable atmosphere outside. Allyson seeks out Irwin, and convinces them to take her on. They’ll cover her expenses, and she’ll get a cut if they find anything valuable.
They travel out of the domes toward some islands to the northeast. While exploring one of the islands, they find an animal – an enormous amphibious omnivore gathering food on the island. The expedition watches from a distance, when the group of 8 creatures sees them and chases after them, stingers glistening with venom, so the crew returns to their ships and continue their path.
Continuing northeast, they find more islands which they explore, and they found something. They find the ruins of what seems to be a temple. Allyson touches the entrance door, and everyone on the expedition passes out as they are hit by some kind of shock wave. They awake with a significant headache. Exploring the site a bit further, Irwin discovers that this area was a Psion training ground, and was likely brimming with latent psionic energy. While this wasn’t quite what Irwin had in mind, it’s certainly a valuable find! So, the expedition heads back home to sell the map to this location to whoever is interested in such a site – for example, a Psion School… they find a buyer, and Allyson gets quite a bit of money toward her ship.
Scene 8 – 16:
Allyson decided that now was a good time to get Broker training, and then to use her newfound abilities along with her high social standing to act as a broker for any merchants looking to sell here. Over the time of about 6 months, Allyson managed to learn some significant brokerage skills and put them to good use, earning over 4 million credits. These times were totally without incident, but very little happened. Some protests, news about the asteroid miners braching into providing protection for the system to protect their mining operations. Allyson was mostly excited about the fact that she had over half the credits she needed to acquire a merchant’s vessel.
Allyson is approached in a bar by a pair of angry looking men. These men were upset about Irwin’s expedition and the fact that the land was recently sold to a group that plans to tear down the old temple and build a much more modern building there. These men have decided to hold Irwin’s team responsible for the destruction of this site.
One of the men grabs Allyson, and her energy rifle drops to the floor. The second man picks up the rifle. Despite her struggles, Allyson couldn’t break free of the grapple – two shots and less than 20 seconds later, Allyson dies – killed by a weapon that she had for her own protection.
My wife said she’s not sure if this is the game for me – after all, my characters all reach terrible ends. I suspect it’s far more to do with two things: (1) Cepheus combat is designed to be deadly, anyway. and (2) I’m playing solo, which means the character has no backup. Interestingly, the final scene would have ended very differently if Allyson was unarmed. While the attackers were armed, Allyson had very good armor – which would have been very difficult for their weapons to pierce. Even though Allyson was at a significant disadvantage in the grapple that got her disarmed, she eventually would have broken free and could have fled. But, her weapon was powerful enough to get through her armor, and that was the end of her.
I’m debating if I want to do more Cepheus, switch back to Scarlet Heroes, or try something else for the next game. We’ll see!