Hard Burn for a Bullet

Beginnings

The Ransom is a small ship with a small crew, nevertheless she and her Captain, Jeb Krieg have earned a reputation for getting things where they need to go. Whether it’s a precious artifact from Earth that was or a mysterious operative hoping to make an unnoticed arrival. She’s scouted pirate bases and tracked down her fair share of bounties; even pulled a large quantity of illegal goods right through Alliance core security.

Today, The Ransom has come to a Dwarf planet on the far Rim by the name of Oxbow. The small world is owned by Octal Technologies who mines rare earth minerals there and has established a research station in orbit where they can pursue their science far from prying eyes and Alliance interference.

Octal’s president, the eccentric billionaire Isosceles Jones, has taken over direct oversight of the entire Oxbow opperation. Facing a hostile board of directors, Iso has turned to an outsider, Captain Krieg, to act as transportation, security and support as she investigates suspicious events which have undermined her operations on Oxbow.

As the adventure begins, The crew are escorting Iso to the mining town of Shiverton for a labor negotiation. Vicious rumors and suspicious accidents have created severe unrest among the miners.

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Prologue: Hua Tou
"When you meet a swordsman, meet him with a sword." - Chán Buddhist Kōan

As the garbled broadcast echoed through the nearly-vacant household, fading to an incomprehensible hiss, time seemed to slow. Two tears, born from eyes wide with disbelief, trailed honey-toned cheeks before beading on the edge of a smooth jaw. Once sturdy fingers hung listlessly, and the ebony blade they had clutched fell to the polished marble floor— first the edge, then the hilt, then the edge again, each bounce ringing like a distant gunshot— a clattering calando finding rest in a puddle of freshly-spilt blood.

He twitched, eyes opening imperceptibly, yanked from his meditation as the world around came flooding into his senses— the cooling winds of evening Oxbow, chasing the fleeting sun; the distant, echoing clink! of mining machinery from lonely Shiverton, barely visible on the violet horizon, flickering lights piercing its smokey haze; his rough, wool clothing scratching against his sun-cured skin; the otherwise overwhelming solitude of Oxbow, for which he had chosen as his home. Slowly and deliberately, he unfolded from half-lotus position, dusting the dry earth out of his robes as he returned to his makeshift lodging carved into the rocky hillside.

He pulled tight the twine cords wrapping his clothed arms and legs— protection against the oncoming desert cold— and slew onto one shoulder a pre-packed burlap duffle-bag containing his meager belongings. Supplies were once again wearing thin and coin was nonexistent, so with the harsh Oxbow sun fading, the time to hike to Shiverton for transport had arrived. Though he might’ve survived with only the supplies available in the small mining town, he preferred to earn his meager keep as an occasional deck-hand aboard one of the many rotating transport ships— a brief respite from the constant solitude, and a rare opportunity to broaden his perspective.

Upon exiting, he plucked with his free hand a string of large prayer beads off of a rusted nail in the entryway. Though he disliked the show, with little else for identification, they were often his only means of acquiring passage dockside. As he began his hike toward the growing glow of Shiverton, his fingers teased the symbols recessed into each wooden sphere, and he used the opportunity to contemplate their meanings.

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Shadows over Oxbow
First meetings, massive beatings and victory through nonviolence.

Something was strange about this job from the beginning and from the moment the Ransom’s crew set foot on The Wheel things started to go wrong. Beginning with the suspicious absence of their employer and escalating from there as the crew found themselves pushed into the middle of a heated labor dispute.

The crew met some major players including the mayor, the sheriff and Jenk, the self-proclaimed leader of the miners. They also brought on some new talent in a dusty monk and down-on-his-luck soldier. They’ve also found themselves in the company of a registered companion whose mission briefly aligned with theirs.

After a messy bar fight and an unsuccessful trip to investigate the town’s “hotel,” the crew was nearly ambushed by a team of mercenaries who had infiltrated the town to go after Octal’s president. The men turned out to have been hired by Octal rival, Blue Sun Inc. It appears that Blue Sun is somehow linked to the Labor problems.

Unfortunately, the crew didn’t have time to investigate that link; upon returning to the Ship, they met Commander Fong, an alliance officer with a love for law and order. He appears to be investigating Octal but has also set his sights on Captain Krieg and his unusual crew.

As if things weren’t bad enough, after returning to Shiverton the crew found themselves in the middle of a massive Reaver raid. They made it back to their ship but they’ve been joined by 4 reavers who plan to make their escape from Oxbow a little bumpy.

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Session 1 Awards

Lolz:
*Doc Tarragon found himself on the receiving end of a massive beatdown but somehow, continued to get up… so that the miners wouldn’t run out of things to punch.

*Quick thinking by the companion allowed her to supercharge the bar’s soda gun. Apparently what this fight really needed was a wet t-shirt contest.

*Points to our man of peace, Hua-Toa for attempting to stop a bar fight by speaking calmly into a karaoke mic.

*In an RPG most people feel obligated to participate in the fights that occasionally happen. Points to our man drake for walking in, seeing a bar fight and turning right back around.

*Jack tried his best to defuse that bomb and that’s what really counts right? No, no it’s not, if that had been a real bomb everyone would be dead.

*Jack O’brian is a clearly a man with something to hide but that didn’t stop him from talking shit to an alliance investigator, to his face. That’s okay, I’m sure we won’t see him again.

Shinies!
*Our Tech Savvy Companion had quite a night, opening up a can of critical thinking to refine Hua’s “please stop fighting” microphone approach into a “make their ears bleed with feedback” approach. (props to John for the idea)

*An amazing hacking effort allowed the companion to not only detect the ambush on the Ransom but space them, keep them from escaping and, subsequently backtrack their fake identities all the way back to who hired them.

*Points to the doc for whipping up a truth serum on the spot in his medbay, turning hardened, mercenaries into chatty Cathies and preventing the need for Captain Krieg to employ his “Hera Hoedown” we’ll save that Vaseline for next time.

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