The Dorothy is hired to bring dangerous people with psionic abilities into Coality space to perform a bold rescue mission.
Through an avatar of Datagen known as Charlie, the Crew are introduced to the Glass Wizards, a cadre of psionics looking to hire a fast ship for a rescue mission to Independence, a Cloudworlds system on the Imperial border. It is essentially a private charter for six, possibly seven jumps there and six jumps back, and promises to pay a very hefty sum. There can be no Coality or official entanglements. The ship cannot be boarded or detained. Fuel and go, all the way.
The Glass Wizards are an interstellar secret Psionics school, founded in the early Third Age in the Imperial core. As per the Imperial edict against psionics, the school was outlawed and any adherents caught using psi are declared treasonous. Like most organized schools, it was driven to the frontier by Templars and other Coality and Imperial agents.
In Bey-Partial, Glass Wizards are among the three top Psionics schools known. Its specialties include clairvoyance, telepathy and telempathy, divination, intuition, and precognition. In Mishatan, although there is no official law against Psionics, the Glass Wizards' psionics training remains secret through a layered security model. The Glass Wizards stands up several universities of new age mental training (cognitive awareness and persuasion) for young adults, while its true psionic adherents remain elusive.
Rank Ten Clairvoyant
Psionic ability is ranked according to the latent mental power of the psionic, as a rough power of ten indicating best in that number of people. Therefore, each rank represents 10x the power of the next lower rank. Rank 5, best in 10,000 represents the minimum talent that schools typically consider for extraordinary outcomes (with the exception of Awareness schools and talents, which can manifest at any talent level). Rank 10 indicates a talent on the order of the best in ten generations.
The Glass Wizards have a Rank 10 Clairvoyant with Presight, calls himself Galva. This 300-year-old human has a progressive cancer that causes his body to continue to grow tissue that consumes more and more nutrients, so that he is physically confined to an 8-ton metal tank. He breathes medically enhanced oxygen, that includes vaporized and refined Sand, an illegal recreational drug with known psychoactive properties.
Passengers and Cargo
Under the auspices of upgrading to Mid Passage, the Dorothy will be modified to accommodate the hulking Rank Ten's strenuous medical needs. The Rank Ten will live aboard a 30-ton shuttle, hooked up to ship's systems but capable of living on the shuttle without ship support for a limited time.
- 30-ton Shuttle with the livery of an Independence-based travel agency.
- Support and backup equipment.
- Refined Sand and other medical supplies.
- Miscellaneous high-tech personal gear.
- TL15 Fusion Power
- Molecular UV Storage
Passengers total of five
- Galva— M (sexless), Rank Ten clairvoyant, confined in a tank aboard the shuttle, which in turn is connected to the ship's HVAC and communications.
- Ace— M, Rank Five apprentice telepath reader, Galva's personal attendant
- Siam— F, Rank Six empath and medical specialist, Galva's personal attendant
- Choram— M, Rank Seven telepath and sender, the Glass Wizards' most highly trained telepath
- Charlie, a dereferenced clone avatar of DeP Datagen with cybernetically-enhanced senses and recording ability. Charlie decides to pull out at the last minute.
- Three Security Robots: Calla, Bashar, and Scipio
Security Robot (d10), Mishatan Brain (d12), add a d8 scale die vs. normal human scale.
- Calla, add Icebreaker (d10)
- Advanced passive and active communications and sensors.
- Can exploit computer and network systems.
- Bashar, add Barometric Weapons (d10)
- Low frequency roar can penetrate walls to cause dizziness and nosebleeds in a wide area.
- Sonic blast can push and incapacitate an opponent.
- Wailing cacophony will overwhelm any auditory system (ears) in a small area.
- Atmosphere required.
- Scipio, add Lightning Speed (d10)
- Tactical edge: Move, attack, move.
- Double maximum speeds: 2400 km/h, 1200 km/h NOE.
Each robot is a four ton armored grav tank with EM and pressure sensors, beam laser, stun gun, grenade launcher (HE, Flashsmoke, and Concussion). Manipulator arms and hands are capable of holding and using any device designed for human hands, and can lift up to 1000 kg and tow up to 5000 kg. The robots can reach 1200 km/h at altitude, 600 km/h Nap of Earth. They are immune to hazardous environments except Corrosive or Infernal, and can operate and navigate in microgravity, hi-g, vacuum, and high pressure (e.g. underwater or cloud giant atmosphere). Each is governed by an integrated TL15 Mishatan brain with a distinct persistent personality that can communicate by audio, radio, or digitally via microwave. The robots do not sleep, but require 1d4 days per month in maintenance mode.
- All three robots have the following additional abilities:
- Indestructible: When spending a plot point to stay in the fight after being Taken Out, step down the resulting complication.
- Crush: High stakes nonlethal attack roll, if you raise the stakes the opponent is trapped.
- Wired: When sharing a scene with another robot, each may add a d6 Wired Asset.
- Self Destruct: Can set the fusion cells to overload, unleashing a small scale thermonuclear explosion. Add another d8 Scale die and set the stakes for everyone in a perimeter. Can be used to attack ships and buildings (removing the scale dice). This destroys the robot.
- Indestructible: When spending a plot point to stay in the fight after being Taken Out, step down the resulting complication.
Fuel and go. Minimal wake. Dorothy has to stretch her long legs and hit Independence in seven jumps. For fuel, the crew and its newly commissioned Lieutenant will have to prospect for ice, arrange a trade, purchase on the sly, or just plain scoop and pray, dodging and outrunning authorities. Some systems it will be easy. The hardest will be Independence, the destination, a heavily patrolled border planet inside the Third Imperium.
- Barnhard — Scoop and go, it's unlikely anyone would intervene even if seen.
- Hueng (possibly SKIRL) — Hurdle. The Skirl will almost certainly patrol Hueng's single gas giant, and the Skirl often demand inspections. Skirling's home system is of course a highly patrolled and regulated commercial center. Decided on SKIRL.
- Frije — Same problem as Hueng, but the system's four gas giants help the odds.
- Fifth Finger or Arami — Hurdle. One is patrolled by the Imperial Navy, the other by the Prokoetaal. Decided on Fifth Finger.
- Right Angle — Hurdle, but a necessary stop for the Dorothy and crew to get the latest news and 40% tithe to their merchant partners.
- Independence — The hardest nut. Well trafficked and patrolled by the IN, with border world protocol in effect: visual and shipboard inspections required for arriving starships. The FSS Scout Base provides more daylight in system and in orbit. Planetside, Independence is a rich, industrial high tech police state ruled by a hereditary priest class.
Encounter at Skirl
The jump into Skirl's outer gas giant led to an encounter with an orbital sensor, which was tied into Skirl's system-wide response net. The Skirling Navy dispatched a System Defense Boat (400dt SDB). While the Dorothy refueled, it ignored multiple orders to prepare for boarding. After being approached for visual range, the Dorothy vaulted past it full speed. A warning shot was followed by laser attack for effect. Dorothy jumped to Hueng.
The Agreement with Galva
Galva gave the three officers of the Dorothy keycards that would override his tank and kill him instantly. "I cannot fall into Imperial hands."
Choram worked with Biscuit to create protection from telepathy. A necklace that emits alpha waves combined with compacted training and psi drug (sand derivative). Choram sat with each of the three officers to prepare the blank mind ritual. Taking the psi drug and activating the necklace gives about 6 hours of protection from telepathic attack.
Arrival at Right Angle to pay the piper and secure information about the Border Run.
Found a smuggler contact, sold DyVrii location of ice planetoid in the Oort cloud around Independence. Dorothy jumps in system and finds the ice rock, lands and gets refueled. They are actively scanned by an unseen agency from medium range. Ominous music as they Dorothy heads in-system, running dark. Unseen by the ship and crew, they are followed all the way in.
Abbey of the Towers
South of a fertile delta of the river Tranquility, there is a complex of mountainous jungle and escarpment known as the Towers of Tranquility. According to Independence religious legend, it is from these towers that the God-Persona of Tranquility guides the endless cycle of birth, wellness, serenity, and death. "Tranquility" can also be translated equally as samsara and conformity. In the Independence pantheon, Tranquility was invoked whenever anything unusual, for good or ill, was upsetting the balance, so that peace and harmony could return. Standing out in any way was discord; heroics and achievement were mistrusted alongside villainy. Pilgrimages to the Towers, with their monastic retreats, waystations, and shrines, served to return wayward supplicants to normalcy.
The ancient Abbey of the Towers was the primary pilgrimage into Tranquility. Located in the clay valleys of the Towers and smothered by dense jungle canopy, the worshipers and penitents at the Abbey would cover naked bodies in white clay, layer after layer, until it caked and stained their skin. When it began to dry and crumble, they would go to the estuary of Tranquility and sit in the shallows, letting the clay molt away with the gentle current, providing rebirth. It is for this reason the Abbey's symbol is that of a molting snake, one of the totemic symbols of Tranquility.
In the old days before Independence shed its strict theocracy and became a Coality world, the Abbey of the Towers was a three week journey from the Tranquility river delta through the Towers on foot and raft. It is now a relic of a bygone era, sparsely visited by local believers or the rare outworld historian. Starting from the delta town of Harlachdown, some adventurous or traditional pilgrims may prefer the ancient trails and waterways. But most modern visitors take a short hop shuttle to the crest of Panchod Ridge and hike a full day down to the Snake Estuary, where the Abbey of the Towers lies in accumulating disrepair.
Leaving the CPO in charge of Dorothy, Quinn, DyVrii, and Biscuit take the shuttle with Galva and all the psionics planetside. The three robots dive into the estuary and approach the Abbey of the Towers under water, while the shuttle lands on an unimproved shuttle pad on Panchod Ridge. No sign of any current tours or pilgrims, the crew head down accompanied with Choram, the telepath. Galva and his two attendants remain in the shuttle, wired to the team and using his psionic talent to report on the Abbey, which is unoccupied and in disuse, but apparently recently abandoned. Evidence of habitation and hasty upheaval, but no life signs.
It's A Trap
The crew and robots arrived at the Abbey, finding it in its expected state of neglect. Outside the main gate, a wayfarer's building housed a working power generator, which Biscuit took down. The crew were watched from a distance and eventually attacked by two blond haired, violet eyed female ninjas armed with high-tech plasma carbines. One was killed and another was mind-assaulted by Choram, as the robots were brought up to explore the Abbey and effect a rescue.
However, as the robots explored the Abbey, the scene they were reporting was not matching Galva's psionic vision. There was something wrong. The Abbey was not in use, there was no girl to be rescued. Somehow, it was all being faked. A trap made specifically for the diviner Galva, by a psionic powerful enough to fool a Rank Ten. At the moment Galva realized this, communication to the shuttle was lost and both parties were under attack. More than a dozen of the genetically modified ninjas, riding Grav Cycles and armed with plasma carbines, attacked the party, and a vicious aerial fight ensued. After taking out one of the robots, Scipio, the ninjas were killed or driven off, just as Independence authorities started to close in on the remote area. The shore party escaped via shuttle to rendezvous with Dorothy.
A far better resting place
This act was so rad. Shame I didn't write a synopsis.
Crew rendezvous with Dorothy, take off to jump diameter, hoping to find their opponents' shuttlecraft. Quinn sends a cryptic message to the Magistrate's office. Biscuit hacks into the Scout satellite network and locates the shuttle. The Dorothy pursues, getting heroically close to the Amp spy ship without being seen. System defense is too far away to stop them. The three security droids board the spy ship and attack, precipitating a vicious firefight. Ultimately, Amp marines in Battle Dress beat the robots back and they have to leave the ship or be destroyed. The damaged robot, Scipio, decides to make the ultimate sacrifice -- the threat of a Rank 11 Telepath working with Amp clones and technology is too great to risk. The Amp ship enters jumpspace, arrogantly convinced of its safety, if not success. But a nuclear explosion on its hull in jumpspace is fatal.