Babylon 5: Outrageous Fortune




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    Babylon 5: Outrageous Fortune

    Babylon Five: Outrageous Fortune.

    Episode One: All the Dark Places.

    OOC Thread
    Rogues Gallery

    General Background
    It is 2267, five years after the historic founding of the Interstellar Alliance, seven years after the end of the Shadow War. By bringing together many disparate races to end millions of years of Vorlon and Shadow interference, and by driving the despotic Earth president Clarke from office, John Sheridan and his wife Delenn have helped to bring about a new era of interstellar cooperation, enforced, if need be, by the Anla’shok Rangers.

    But although the First Ones have gone from the galaxy, they have left behind their toys, their schemes and their loyal minions. It was left-over Shadow technology that allowed the insane Centauri Regent to conduct his provocative war with the young Interstellar Alliance, resulting in punitive strikes by the Drazi and Narn, and the withdrawal by the newly ascending Emperor Mollari (after the Regent’s suicide) of the Centauri Republic from the ISA. It was the discovery that telepaths were created by Vorlons as a weapon against the Shadows that ultimately precipitated the Telepath Crisis by driving the telepath demagogue Byron down his self-destructive path and splitting telepath society down the middle.

    As insidious as these events were, none showed how the legacy of the First Ones still cast its shadow across the galaxy as much as the Drakh assault on Earth. The Drakh were loyal servants of the Shadows. Bereft of purpose once their masters had gone they became driven by revenge for those that they held responsible. On the fifth anniversary of the foundation of the ISA they launched their attack on President Sheridan’s homeworld – Earth. The Drakh attempted to employ a devastating planet-killer weapon left behind by their masters but were thwarted by the sacrifice of one of the ISA’s new line of cruisers (itself built using retro-fitted Vorlon technology). As they retreated, the Drakh resorted to Plan B. They seeded the atmosphere of Earth with a bio-engineered virus, designed to wipe out all life on the planet. Fortunately for the people of Earth, the Drakh had neither the time nor the knowledge to correctly configure the virus, making it marginally less deadly.

    Tests on the Drakh Plague (as it became known) suggested that it would mutate and adapt to human biology, with a projected timescale of five years before it killed every last human on the planet. Earth was quarantined. The ISA sent out its last surviving flagship cruiser, the Excalibur, on a high profile mission to seek a cure amidst ancient alien technology. But it was not the only such mission.

    Character Background
    The call went out from the ISA for experts in every field to join the hunt for a cure. You have all been selected by your immediate superiors, in whatever field or race you come from, to answer the call. Perhaps you are ideally suited, perhaps you annoyed someone and they want you out of the way, perhaps you volunteered out of altruism or perhaps this is a way of piggy-backing onto a different goal that you or your superiors may have. Whatever the true reason, you ended up in a Ranger training camp in the Minbari capital Tuzanor for a quick two week briefing session before being assigned to your team and given your mission.

    The Cover Mission
    You are to travel to Lison, a fringe world on the edge of the Drazi Freehold, posing as Quantium-40 traders. You are to meet with a man named Duane Kessler, a representative of the local ‘government’, to arrange for the sale and transfer of a small amount of Q-40. As far as Kessler is concerned, you are free traders running small-time Q-40 shipments to the highest bidder, aboard your vessel Outrageous Fortune.

    The Real Mission
    Lison is close to Tal-Kon’Sha space. The ‘Tal’ are a highly advanced race that could have achieved the status of the other First Ones, but instead chose to divest their consciousnesses into a computer-generated virtual paradise. Their worlds are mostly protected by automated defences but tech-runners occasionally break through to bring back highly advanced levels of cyber-technology. Lison is renowned and notorious for its high levels of individuals who merge technology with their own bodies, often in ways highly illegal in the rest of the galaxy. It may be that one of these tech-runners has found something that may be of use against the Drakh Plague. The Anla’shok have arranged a contact in Tribon City, Lison. You are to proceed to the Black Nebula bar and find the owner, an Abbai male going by the name of ‘Gills’. He will give you further information.

    Lison
    Lison is a tidally-locked world with a burning day side and a freezing night side. Habitation is underground, along the twilight zone between the two faces. It is a lawless world, once under control of the Drazi Freehold (and rumours state that they would like to re-take it but fear reprisals from the ISA). The government, such as it is, is run by a human called Michael Kevik and is known as the Consortium. It is a loose alliance of Q-40 mining companies, security firms, criminal cartels, megacorporate shell companies and alien interests. By playing all off against each other, Kevik maintains a sort of peace since no one party wishes to see any of the others gain a greater portion of control of the Q-40 mines. There are rumours that Kevik has been courting the ISA for membership, something opposed by many parties of the Consortium since to do so would almost certainly bring in more regulations and controls on what is currently a free-wheeling enterprise.

    Tribon City is the largest of Lison’s underground complexes, home to roughly 4 million inhabitants crammed together in caves and tunnels. Oxygen is a valuable commodity in the cave cities. It is gathered at great danger in liquid form by ‘oxygen runners’ on the planet’s night side and maintained by scrubber systems. Imports are strictly controlled by the Consortium as the Air Tax is a lucrative way of keeping the citizens in line.

    Transport within the city is mostly by shuttle-tube, with a few slow buggies and moving walkways. Communication is conducted through Lison-Web, which also carries the local news channel United Lison News and Q-40 market data.

    Humans are common on Lison, but expect to see predominantly League races, particularly Drazi, pak’ma’ra, Llort, Balosians, Grome, Hurr, Vree, Brakiri and many of the minor races not recorded elsewhere.
    Last edited by Dr Simon; Wednesday, 12th January, 2011 at 01:34 PM.
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    It has been a long and uncomfortable journey from Tuzanor. Over a week ago you left the all-too-short briefing on Minbar and travelled to Babylon 5 aboard a Minbari transport. There you transferred to your new vessel, the run-down old Earth freighter going by the name of Outrageous Fortune. From B5 it was a case of following the short-hop jumps of commercial routes to the far side of the Drazi Freehold. Out here, on the fringes of mysterious Tal-Kon’Sha space, you are far from interstellar affairs amid worlds and minor races long ignored by the likes of the Centauri Republic and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. Perhaps the new Interstellar Alliance will give these remote worlds a voice, but perhaps many of them prefer to be ignored by the universe at large.

    From the jumpgate into Lison space you are soon contacted by Lison Far Orbit Control, who take over navigational control of the Outrageous Fortune and send you a tourist-level data packet concerning local rules and customs. As the world of Lison gets closer you see the contrasts between the harsh glare of the day side and the utter dark of the nightside. A few lights in the twilight zone between are the only signs of habitation, but you already know that the population of Lison lives underground.

    Close Orbit Control bring your ship through the landing corridor. It is a rough landing, the ship rocked by high intensity winds generated by the temperature difference across the twilight zone. At one point you see strange silvery clouds scudding along the planet surface, before touching down on a landing platform that soon whisks your ship deep underground through a series of heavy pressure doors to the spaceport of Tribon, Lison’s main settlement.

    Finally you emerge in a vast hangar area, blasted from the rock of Lison and decorated in the “decaying industrial” style. Identicard checks, UV decon and weapon scans later you emerge in the arrivals zone of Tribon Downport. Here the grimy industrial feel is continued, low ceilings with utility ducting exposed everywhere, much of it dripping grime or residue. Dirty air recycled through poor quality scrubbers. Harsh blue lighting and neon signs. Thousands of sentients jostle together as they head for the shuttle tubes, offer services as guide, taxi and Q-40 broker to the arrivals or shop at the myriad stalls selling dubious food, cheap liquor and expensive oxygen.
    Many races are here, mostly those for whom the desire for profit or excitement often outweigh the desire for clean air, open spaces and pleasant company. Humans, drazi, brakiri, llort, grome, hurr, pak’ma’ra, balosians and a host of other races that you have never seen before all crushed together in tunnels deep beneath the planet surface. (Sarhat is the only Minbari present).

    You see a thin man in a dark business suit watching the arrivals. He spots you, then looks at his datapad, perhaps verifying something. As he approaches he gives you the friendly smile of someone with something to sell.

    “Welcome to Tribon,” he says. “I’m Duane Kessler, licenced Quantium-40 dealer. I believe we have some business to conduct. Let me take you somewhere a bit quieter.”
    Last edited by Dr Simon; Friday, 8th May, 2009 at 01:45 PM.
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    Ashley had known it was trouble from the start. Right from when she'd first seen him sitting at her favorite table at the little Narn-owned coffee shop she liked to start a day at. Him being Quinn Fitz, one of the regulatory agents of the Bureau of Telepath Integration. He wasn't a bad guy, really, but Ash kept as many bulkheads as she legally could between herself and the BTI.

    Even so, she hadn't wanted him to think she was intimidated, so she'd sat down across from him.

    "It's on me," he'd said. "Whatever you want. And good morning, by the way."

    Her reply had been, "A bit early for my scan, isn't it?"

    Quinn had grinned at that. "I'm not here for a scan. I'm here to offer you a job."

    She'd felt a sour feeling in her gut at that. "How many times do I have to tell you now? Scan me. I'm being totally honest here. No. Really. No. Want more?"

    He'd raised his hand, forestalling her. "This isn't spook work. You wouldn't even technically be a member of BTI. You'd be an external civilian contractor. All the pay, none of the strings. You could even keep trying to dodge me on scanday....though frankly, I think you'd miss your next few of those, and since you'd be on BTI business, it'd be sanctioned and everything."

    Tempting. But... Ashley had looked at him, glaring from under her dyed bangs. "You've got teeps stronger than me. Why the recruiting pitch?"

    "Uh...huh," Quinn had replied thoughtfully. "Well, first, not MANY stronger, and they're all on tasks they can't be taken away from, even for something this important." He'd let that sink in. Playing to her vanity. Goddamnit. "But more to the point, you're the perfect person. For this assignment, you'd be posing as a commercial telepath."

    Ash had frowned. "I -am- a commercial telepath."

    "Exactly! But you're also one of only three commercial telepaths on record with the strength to be useful on this project. Most people with your gifts look for more challenging callings."

    She hated that little question in his eyes. Hated it before. Hated it then. She'd still hate it when they met again.

    "So get one of the other two."

    "One's retired, and the other one can't travel."

    She'd looked away. Just because she hadn't wanted it didn't mean she liked being second or third choice.

    "Don't you even want to hear what it's about?" he'd asked in that gentle, oh-so-reasonable voice.

    She'd sighed...and nodded. God knew she could use the money. And if it was a contract thing...well...she had some friends who could read it. Make sure it was on the up and up. No different than doing a corporate teep, right?

    -----

    Now here she was, the ass end of nowhere, walking into smelly, crowded corridors filled with minds she could barely comprehend, and somehow she'd managed to be first down the gangplank. Or maybe just first to the contact, since she was smaller than the others.

    Oh well. Time to find out where our Mr. Kessler stood on the subject of telepaths.

    Ashley gave him a neutrally friendly smile and plucked her BTI registration card from her breast pocket.

    "Ashley Logan, licensed commercial telepath. I'll be assisting in the negotiations. A pleasure to meet you."

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    Sarhat looked around in disgust. He wasn't happy about being here but Satai Shakat himself had given this mission to him and he wasn't going to dissappoint a Satai. Even with all the disgust he felt for a pak'ma'ra and the humans. But this whole place was almost too much. He was a minbari warrior for Valen's sake. One destined to become Shai Alyt of Valen'tha itself.

    He gave a resigning sigh hearing the female human start introductions. With a forced humility he gave a slight bow and spoke after her. "And I am here to ensure the business goes without interruptions."
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  • #5
    "Name's Kevin. I'm with him." Kevin grins as he points to the next guy.

    ooc
    Would hiding the fact that I'm a ranger be part of our 'cover'? I don't know if it'd make any sense for a Ranger to be here for a business deal, so I assume so at the moment. Trying to think of a way for Kevin to get out of the 'negotiations' long enough to go meet their contact
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  • #6
    "My name is Vurk. I will test the contract goods for impurities and their like."

    The pak'mar'a speaks into it's translator, his state of being further concealed by the mechanical voice. But at least he has the aura of someone who has seen and learned his things. The behaviour of a true scientist.

    ooc: I know, the pak'mar'a are very special in regard of gender, but can I use male terms? I think they will function best with other races by adopt a more convential way of speaking, choosing their 'gender' for speaking.

    Edit: Thanks for the anwer!
    Last edited by Walking Dad; Monday, 18th August, 2008 at 01:51 PM.
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    OOC: I'm back! Finally dried out from canoeing the wilds of rainy, rainy Sweden, and the mosquito bites are finally starting to die down....
    So:

    "Pleased to meet you, Ms. Logan. Gentlemen," Kessler says with a smile. He doesn't offer a hand to shake but whether that is from fear or dislike of touching a telepath, a Minbari, a pak'ma'ra or some combination of the three is unclear. He does not, however, seem fazed by the strange mix of races. Evidently he knew who you were to recognize you. "There's a place not far from here called The Grotto that serves multi-species food, I thought it more convivial for business than the concourse. If you'd like to follow me?"

    Kessler makes small talk as he guides you through the crowds to a (surprisingly pleasant) eatery not far from Downport Arrivals. Cave-like in decor, the Lison bedrock from which it has been carved has not been covered with metal plating like the other places you have seen. Out of the main concourse it is much quieter than the streets, and looking at the other clientele it seems to be a place popular for business lunches. Most of the Q-40 deal has been finalised prior to your arrival (it is, after all, only a cover story although perhaps a chance for somebody in the ISA to test Lison's Q-40 sources). Kessler places datapad and business card on the table and offers to play for whatever you are having.

    "The Rax-Minstrom Q-40 Distribution Agency are one of the finest of Lison," he tells you. "We like to treat our clients well. I have booked rooms for you in a nice hotel called Varenwha Enclave, in Middle City. As I believe you have already been told, here on Lison we process Q-40 to order, so it will take between five to eight days to finalise your order. We are, of course, happy for you to perform your own analyses on our merchandise," with a nod towards Vurk, "but I'm sure you will find it of the highest standard."

    At the conclusion of business, Kessler hands over a datacrystal containing map data for Tribon, to enable you to find your hotel. He also gives you contact details that you can use at any LisonWeb terminal to reach him.
    "We don't have day or night in Tribon, so I'm always at work," he says with the air of a well-used quip.

    OOC:

    To Jemal - Yeah, I'd think for the cover mission Kevin would be working under another guise. I would assume that, as covert operatives, Rangers aren't expected to go around in full regalia all the time.

    To WD - Makes sense to me. It's probably one of those things that pak'ma'ra who interact with other races will do so to make the interaction go more smoothly. Like when Chinese people adopt Western names.
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    During the talk Ashley is just a quiet presence, the accepted demeanor of a commercial telepath. She sits at the table, eyes downcast, drawing as little attention to herself as possible. Just in case there are other telepaths 'watching,' she even conducts the normal telepathic 'survey' to determine truthfulness. A small thing that required only a fraction of the resources available to her.

    Her real concentration though is on casting a wider net...to see if she can feel anyone watching them in particular. A scan similar to the commercial, but instead of seeking lies, she seeks unusual interest; the sign of someone observing them in particular, for reasons beyond mere casual curiosity.

    (Not sure if that is possible...if not let me know what the nearest analogue would be and we can go from there. )

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    OOC: Well, there's the Danger Sense ability which is continually on, but that would only alert you to somebody about to attack you.

    I would suggest that Surface Scan is probably the most appopriate abillity, maintained and directed around the room. There aren't many others present so she could probably scan all of them over the course of the conversation. It's a DC 16 Telepathy check and in this case I'll abstract the whole room as one subject.

    Ooh, we ought to decide on rolling. In River Kingdoms it is mainly me rolling dice, expcet for the occasional Invis. Castle roll when somebody gets excited. I'm happy to continue with this kind of thing. I may even use IC for all dice rolls (with RRK I use Pen,Paper and Pixels dice simulator. It's easier than IC but you don't get the verifying link).
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