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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Can't Spell 'Villain' without...AI?

Previous Session: Stand or Hit

The team of new superheroes are still recovering from their encounter with BlackJack at Hank's Arcade, but their morale is high even though they only drove him off.


A way across town, Javi (El Serpiente, the Nova) has just finished tidying up the green grocers and his boss (and landlord) gives him a tired smile
-You're a good kid, Javi.
He's still boiling over from the fight with Blackjack and Ignacio's kind words settle him a little

Anita,
Redoubtable girlfriend
A minute after Javi arrives back at the apartment, Anita gets a call from work. She has a short conversation but it looks like she has to go in. He walks her downstairs to the Uber-shelter to wait for the car the office just called for her.

An awkward conversation ensues. She's not particularly happy with hanging around for ages, albeit with his lovely friends, waiting for him to come home from work [irony alert!]. Lucia (Bruja, the Doomed) uses her mind powers to give Javi advice, but it just seems to distract him.

He promises that he'll be better at this, and is going to pick her up from work later - she doesn't know how long that'll be, she might be scouring the server rooms for issues all night; but it's appreciated.

Upstairs, Gus (Tag, the Innocent) and Shadow (the Beacon, who's real name is Simon) continue talking to Julie, while Lucia is zoned out.
They probe the backstory a little, Lucia never really told them what happened. They don't asks outright, so she just fast-forwards to her moving to Halcyon City for a job. But Shadow is sure there's more to it - there's definitely unfinished business between her and Lucia. Julie intend to resolve this traumatic incident with her childhood friend soon. That's the real reason she came here.

***

The need to get to the bottom of the Red Queen's plans, so they head out to scout out another arcade to see if there is any other activity going on. They head to Diego's Diving Bell, reputedly the best place in the city.

Tag and Bruja head inside, and while the place is crowded (and impressive) the first thing they spot is a woman talking to Diego (or at least, the manager) outside the back office. It's not a comfortable conversation and they move to intervene. Diego starts to clear the whole place at the woman's behest and she turns around, looking satisfied with herself.

Bruja angles for a good opportunity and steps back away from her opponent, around the back of a VR machine. A moment passes, and she hears an electronic whirring noise; she's curious and then pokes her head around for a look.

K-0S
A new Supervillain
The woman has transformed into full 'tron' mode and is now identifiable as K-0S. She is waiting for Bruja, and her outstretched hand zaps Bruja with a nice-sized taser-shock.

Bruja is thrown back, and loses control of her powers, they lash out, and draw life-force out of those nearby, including Diego and a couple of players he was helping get out of VR.

Near the doorway, Tag was trying to figure out what was most amazing about this place, when he noticed K-0S change. He winds up and charges around the room evacuating people as the fight between Bruja and K-0S heats up.

Bruja flings a VR machine into K-0S with her telekinetic powers; smashing them into the back office. K-0S responds in kind, kicking the VR machine back into Bruja, and while she's looking very proud of her form and style. Tag yo-yos into her. He's back where he started, but K-OS is out for the count against the far wall.

Bruja is in a nasty mood, and standing above her defeated enemy she hears her whisper
-You're not going to stop me. I'll avenge them
before she smashes the credit-card reader into her face, breaking her nose.

**
They search K-0S and find a slim laptop and a sophisticated looking outsize USB key (probably for an info-dump). The laptop looks super encrypted, and he reckons that the best bet for getting inside is to convince K-0S to give them the password.

They also find a key in her back pocket and the Impala it belongs to outside across the street. Rather than wait for AEGIS they decide to bring her to Bruja's Sanctuary. It's an abandoned datacentre which was forgotten by Halcyon Analytica when the town it was based in 'Los Lobos' died on the vine. It's well outside the city limits and was by-passed by the freeway so it's very quiet.

Bruja brings her and Shadow inside a virtual construct. Tag stays outside to keep an eye (El Serpiente has signed off to go collect Anita). Bruja explains that it's built using modelling from K-0S' mind, to help put her at ease.

They're on a terrace, on top of a gigantic skyscraper. Wearing party outfits (black-tie, not rager) and drinking champagne. They look for an introduction from K0-S and she wheedles their real names out of them before she gives her own
-It's Betty
She wonders if they've ever been to Houston before. They try to get some more information what she was doing, and she finds it preposterous that they think she was working with BlackJack or for the Red Queen. She didn't want to insert some kind of Trojan Horse inside Halcyon Analytica. She wanted to get information out of them and AEGIS
-People like you killed my family
Not supervillains, superheroes. And AEGIS know exactly what happened and covered it up to protect one of the 'good guys'.
-Stay out of my way, don't interfere with my plans, and I won't burn this place down (either literally or metaphorically
Shadow exchanges a questioning glance with Bruja.
-You didn't think you could trap the pre-eminent hacker of her generation in a virtual construct and not have me break it in a nano?
She smiles, and places her empty champagne flute on a passing waiter's tray.
-Enjoy this champagne for a while, you'll get out in a while, and I'll be out of your hair
She walks over to the elevator doors, and gives them a wave as it closes

*
Betty is on her way out of the facility (after retrieving her stuff) when she passes Gus, making tea in the kitchenette. He looks up and their eyes meet. He establishes that his friends are still ok, and she placates him - they'll be out in no time and they'll be fine (maybe a slight champagne headache).

For some reason, she tells him what she's trying to do and they come to a deal. He'll help her infiltrate AEGIS, and she'll share whatever information she can dig up on Catcher afterwards. He wants her to give him a way to mess up Catcher's cyborg arm.

She tells him that years ago, Catcher tried and failed to save her family. She really should have recognised him.

He watches her drive off in her Impala with anticipation.

Sydney
Simon's scary sister
When Simon and Lucia come to they can't believe that Gus left her go. But he feigns ignorance. They argue whether she's a villain or a misguided hero and he just shrugs. Lucia and Shadow berate each other, there's a certain hopelessness in the argument.

Simon starts walking home - it's a long walk and he calls Sydney, his sister. She's worried about him, being out in the wastes without anyone and she tells him exactly where to stand to wait for her. She's going to collect him. He knows that she has better things to do with her time. When he hops into her car to head back home she tells him that the psych from AEGIS, a Dr. Burke called again for his evaluation tomorrow morning.

Gus speeds home.

Lucia stays and sulks; wondering how she can track where K0-S is gone and what she's up to. It'll require help from Anita, and will open her to danger from AEGIS (as well as stirring up trouble associated with her Doom).

Friday, 25 May 2018

Striking Out

The crew of the Firedrake are casting around for somewhere to make their mark. There's a lot of general disagreement or uncertainty about how they can strike at the Hegemony. Snaps (Brell Veers, a Muscle) has heard a rumour that Vorex's sister recently went missing - apparently abducted by some group from the Hegemony. Giving them a bloody nose will be a bonus if they can get into the good graces of the most powerful information broker in the sector. (Also, Snaps doesn't really care for people abducting innocents to lean on their relatives)


Legend (Greeg Ursis, a Speaker) checks in with Arryn his noble friend for some help on getting an introduction with Vorex, maybe to set up a contract. Lucky (Yola Zer, a Scoundrel) gives Ora, an information broker a shout - she in fact works with Vorex so she'll definitely have some insight on his methods.

They contemplate whether to go to Vorex and ask to get the job to rescue her, but they agree that they might just get shut out (as well as wasting valuable time). They cast around for some information on Samara and her abduction.
There are a few theories floating around; that they kidnapped her to keep him in check, or that a secretive cult did it to keep him away from something. People are pretty much agreed on one thing though, she's a bit of an unknown, and while she helps him out she's not a front, or the power behind the throne, and she doesn't have any enemies.

There's some back-and-forth as they track Samara's last known location. Battro & Chonzek (Snaps' & Lucky's bounty hunter friends are useful here). Data searches, trackers and facial recognition are all coming up blank. She's completely off-line now so either she's on a closed off system or has been shut out.

She was last seen heading to the Cove, a pirate and smuggling sprawl of old ships, stations and containers in the middle of nowhere. But it'd be rare for a criminal element to abuse the safety of Cove for this kind of thing - they have a pretty strict rule on not shitting where they eat where the Cove is concerned.

They get a lead, a connection with the Janus Syndicate, who deal in strange and specialised weaponry. Apparently, Samara and Viktor Bax (the head of the Syndicate) met in Cove and then his ship went back to his base on Aketi in the Brekk system. 

*

Aketi is a flesh-eating hell-hole of a planet though. Neither Battro nor Chonzek will help them out there. Too many horror stories. Shod, Snaps' weapons dealer will help them out. He can get them a meet with the Syndicate - they need armaments right?

They leave the Firedrake in orbit, and take the shuttle down planetside. On the narrow trail to the base, they're met by almost a dozen of the Syndicate's soldiers. It's not an ambush, but they're strong-arming the crew to the meeting. Not ideal, but they can work with it.

Snaps starts to eye them up, assess their professionalism, and she starts bantering with them, and complaining to Lucky about his parking. Legend sees what they're up to, and by the end of the journey the weapons have lowered and they're on casual terms with the escorting soldiers.

The base is more like a military compound. High 20m walls with nothing outside them. The gateway has deep clawmarks in it; that's worrying to say the least. They're brought through and into a building where they meet an older big barrel-chested guy (who must be Viktor).

He dismisses the guards (very confident of himself) and yet is incredulous when they tell him that they're looking for a targeting computer for their ship's particle cannons. He insists that they tell him who sent them.

Snaps turns on him, not threatening per se, but definitely throwing her weight around. She demands that he tell them where Samara is, cause they know he's hiding her. He's shocked and caves in, though he wonders if Vorex sent them.

She's curious why he's concerned, and he just doesn't want Vorex to hold him responsible for her fate. She insisted that he set her up on an expedition into the wilderness beyond the compound, despite all his advice.

She's missing (though definitely still alive, from the signals he's getting) and her escorts are dead. The signals on her tracker aren't strong enough (or there's interference from the jungle canopy) to give them a good reading of where she is; but some cross-country driving and triangulation would sort that out.

He'll provide them with transport and a tracking device, but on the condition that Vorex doesn't learn of his involvement in this...

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Stand or Hit

Previous Session: Halcyon City

The group assemble to visit Hank's arcade to get a spot on the latest/greatest VR experience.
Gus (Tag, the Innocent), Lucia (Bruja, the Doomed), Javi (El Serpiente, the Nova) & Simon (Shadow, the Beacon) are hanging around outside. Lucia really doesn't want them to go in because it's a Halcyon Analytica module, and she doesn't trust anything to do with Brad Armstrong.



She's explaining her theories on how they've triggered psychic absorption loops and sucked the life-force (and possibly souls) or participants and onlookers into the mainframe when the doors of the arcade bust open, and Hank is propelled past them and onto the sidewalk, he slumps back down after trying to get up, dizzy and concussed. Inside there are screams and panicking players and the assembled young heroes see a figure in black with red accents shape up for a confrontation.

Hank
arcade owner
BlackJack exits and instantly grabs Bruja to start to strangle her. Tag leaps into action to take her out of the danger, while El Serpiente lashes out with a (too-powerful) reality storm. Across the street the fruit outside the green grocers (where he works) pop with the overpressure.

BlackJack climbs to his feet inside the Arcade, his powerful raygun supercharges with the extra energy.

Tag fast-forwards loose masonry into him, and in his anger, BlackJack misfires the raygun, discharging it inside the arcade instead of directly at them. The VR modules overload as well though, and many who are still hooked up are disoriented with sensory overload.

BlackJack
Bronze-Age Villain
Shadow uncloaks, breaking through the internal wall connecting the arcade with next door to surprise BlackJack, grabbing the raygun. That breaks the psychic link between BlackJack and his gun, making him fear for his life and he flees out the back door. 

El Serpiente tries to grab him, but BlackJack escapes, blocking the route to follow him. Tag intercepts though, running too quickly around the block to meet the villain in the alleyway behind. the arcade. 

BlackJack smirks at the young hero. They've met before and he is curious
-Want this to go the same way as before?
Tag is shocked. Did his future self have something to do with BlackJack? Did they conspire together to betray friends!

When Tag doesn't respond, Blackjack grabs him and throws him through the back door, making good his escape! When the others get onto the scene, the villain is in the wind.

**

In the aftermath, Bruja suspects that some of the more lethargic players have leaked an aspect of their souls into the Halcyon Analytics mainframe. Shadow figures out that BlackJack installed a virus on some of the machines in order to wreak some havoc in pursuit of the Red Queen's grandiose schemes.They want to wreck the functioning models, but Hank pleads with them not to; anyway, if there's a fault they'll be swapped by the company and he'll get new ones.

Jones
Agent of AEGIS
They are considering telekinesis to get one machine out, but then AEGIS arrives.

El Serpiente is rather worse for wear. His powers have taken a toll on him, and he wanders across the road to help Ignacio clean up the shop, now just Javi.

AEGIS are confiscating all the Halcyon Analytica modules and Shadow needs to warn them about the Trojan inside. He calls the anonymous hotline, but sticks around to keep an eye on proceedings. There's a crowd gathering around the perimeter.

Anaconda
Superhero of AEGIS
The Agent-Super pairing arrives as part of the investigation. Agent Jones and Anaconda seem like an incongruous pairing. Javi eyes up Anaconda, the powerful superhero has definitely got something that he aspires to (and it's not just the name).

Bruja (now Lucia again) gets a call from her best friend Anita, to tell her there's a surprise visitor outside her apartment. Someone from back home.

Shadow (now Simon) overlooks Agent Jones at the cleanup. He eavesdrops on her conversation with a Director Burke about a group of "Juniors" (apparently that's what AEGIS call the new generation of supers). He jots down a note, with more details on their theories of the Red Queen's plot, and slips it into her pocket as she goes through the crowd to interview a witness. Anaconda is just sitting on the ruined wall where the group sat earlier. He's too calm and collected to be real. If he were anymore laid back, he'd be horizontal.

*

Julie Perkins
ex-girl next door
They arrive at Lucia's apartment to find Julie Perkins chatting with Anita. They seem to be getting on, and Anita tells Lucia that Julie has a surprising number of embarrassing stories of a much younger Lucia!

They seem to all get all remarkably well, especially when an almost-full bottle of Tequila gets pulled out. Julie was the only friend of Lucia's who survived her super powers awakening, but she doesn't remember much of it. She's just gotten a job working PR at an agency.

She has an improbably story of finding Lucia's ID at the bus station (where Lucia works) and getting the address out of a co-worker there.

Lucia's going to revisit Hank's to try to gather some of those remaining soul shards. Simone is applying for work in an agency that does janitorial work at Halcyon Analytica.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Halcyon City

Halcyon City is on the shore of the great Mojave Lake along the Colorado River. The city became a centre of gravity for Supers during the Corazón War, way back when the small town was at the frontline in the struggle against the Red Queen and her minions.


Laws elsewhere have kept Supers largely confined to a few Haven Cities and during the second Pence presidency the surveillance and controls Supers face in the country has only ratcheted up.

The Silver Age Supers have enough power and influence to remain pillars of society and authority to withstand this relentless assault on their rights, and have formed AEGIS (the governmental agency that controls and oversees Supers). AEGIS uses co-option and propaganda at first, then an IRS approach (backed by Excelsior) before resorting to the big-guns; paired teams of an Agent and a Super.


Tag, the Innocent 
Gus / Tag
Gus Gaynor is a scrawny kid from the 1940s. He grew up in an age before Supers, and AEGIS files classify him as one of the first. His super-speed ability showed itself when he raced to save his younger brother from a collapsing building. He failed when he was pushed into the future by the Super-Villain Catcher (his future self). He phased onto Lake Mojave to join the others in a face-off against Catcher.

He loves the food in this new future (a far cry from the dull food and rationing of the 1940s). He's really not so keen on the fixation with celebrity and new media. He loves hanging out with his hero friends and finding out about all the heroes who've been active in the city in the last 80 years. He hates his future self, Catcher, cause he blames him for the death of his brother.

Catcher has a cyber right-arm which has a lot of imbued power, but his super-speed is even more powerful than Tag's.
Tag's costume is a plain off-white running outfit, but when he speeds up, it shifts into Blue-Red.

Lucia / Bruja helps him to understand this weirdo future and he follows her lead.


El Serpiente, the Nova
Javi / El Serpiente
Javi ran away from home after his powers manifested. A bully was tormenting him and he lashed out with his biokenesis. His hands extended into snakes to almost kill the bully, and when he returned home he lost his temper and hurt his family as well.

He's settled in a (very) small apartment over a green grocers shop where he also works for Ignacio. His new girlfriend, Anita helps him deal with it and talks through his issues. Because of this he's inspired to try to use his powers responsibly and for good. He cares about the team because they have a similar outlook.

He usually wears dark clothes or long sleeves to try to hide the faint scale pattern on his skin.

He hangs out all the time with Lucia / Bruja to blow off steam.
He once hurt Simon / Shadow when he lost control of his powers.


Bruja, the Doomed
Lucia / Bruja
Lucia Delgado moved to Halcyon City from her hometown in Oklahoma. She was out in the barn with a few of her school friends smoking something fairly innocuous when they all lost consciousness. Three of them died and her best friend Julie Perkins was the only other one to life, although she had no memory of what actually happened.
They moved around a lot in between and she's estranged from her family now, working in the ticket booth at the bus station.
Her powers manifest as telekinesis, psychic constructs and vitality absorption, and she can bring her doom ever closer by accessing a portal which is linked to her sanctuary.

Her sanctuary is a black/off-site owned by Halcyon Analytica. That corporation, specialising in VR, is owned by Brad Armstrong, a silver-age Super who she knows will bring about the end of the world; even though no one else believes her visions.

Anita, Javi's girlfriend, can help - she's her friend as well and works at Halcyon Analytica as a technician.

She told Javi / El Serpiente all about her doom and the danger she's in.
She'd love to kiss Gus / Tag before her doom comes.


Shadow, the Beacon
Simon / Shadow
Simon Simolea broke into an abandoned mansion to escape some bullies (the cool kids). There he discovered the lair of a Golden-Age hero where Simon's self-induced psychosis created his alter-ego of Shadow.

The Golden-Age gizmos allow him perfect camouflage and stealth, along with awesome phasing.

His sister, the earnest, beautiful and successful Sidney doesn't think he should be a Super but he loves it because it's the opposite of being Simon. He cares about the team because they don't know or care who Simon is.  He still lives at home with their parents.

Javi / El Serpiente is awesome, and he takes every chance he gets to hang out with him.
He's got to prove himself to Gus / Tag before he feels like a real hero.


*****

The first time they all worked together was against Catcher, the Super-Villain who pushed Tag into the future.

Catcher
Tag appeared on the surface of the lake, losing speed and being attacked by his future self. He was hopelessly outmatched and was helped by the others. El Serpiente forced them apart with Shadow jamming Catcher's cyberarm. Bruja summoned a horde of shambling horrors directly into Catcher's mind and he fled.

El Serpiente laid waste to Halcyon Port during the fight, grabbing onto Catcher and flinging him directly into a giant cargo ship (operated by a subsidiary of Halcyon Analytica).

Innocent bystanders were killed during the carnage; both aboard the ship and on the portside. Including the young Super called PestilenZ (the next generation of a Legacy) who Bruja was having lunch with at the time. PestilenZ was killed when he boarded the ship to find out the true nature of the device Catcher was trying to access.

Tag was the price of Catcher's deal with the devil - he was meant to be encased in the super secret and elaborate Containment Facility aboard the ship. But Shadow's phasing ability knocked Catcher's cyberarm out of action and thus he was unable to contain his younger self.

Next Session: Stand or Hit

Friday, 13 April 2018

The Behemoth

The crew are on a huge transport ship, flying through space at faster-than-light. There are gates, created through lanes, that are used to jump between systems. But there are a number of behemoths that are sent on a regular basis, vast ships that do not fit through the lanes, and carry personnel, raw materials and equipment (it’s also cheaper, if time is not of an essence). The various cargo holds have ships, giant machinery that requires production methods that aren’t available in the outer systems, and innumerable other cargo. Gates cannot be transported through gates, so each transport usually carries a couple of them for newly discovered lanes (a super super carrier, loaded with thousands of containers and cargo holds, and live cargo, i.e. humans, mostly humans that is.)

And people. Staff, crew, workers, refugees, emigrants, prisoners, outcasts, and exiles. They belong to the last group. They were convicted of a crime that carried the punishment of permanent exile. They are not allowed to come back to the central systems of the Hegemony. They are expected to live, serve, and die in the outer rim. Because cheap, servient labour is needed. To pay taxes and serve the empire. And for them to stay out of its way. As they are not from the central home worlds, they are not as sophisticated or advanced a species as the Hegemony. They are all humans, but some are more human than others.


There are several prisons on this ship, and a super-max isolation ward. And there is the low-security jail, where they are housed. 6-12 inmates per room. Proper prisoners will become indentured or imprisoned at work factories. Inmates like yourselves, will be let loose in the system, with a small amount of cash to get you started. The jail has about 3000 inmates. All of them staff the jail, cleaning, kitchen duties, etc. In addition, the inmates are pulled into various jobs running the ship. Maintenance of cargo, engine rooms, life support, kitchens, etc. If one wishes, they can sign up for available jobs at your destination while on the “Megalith” and get to learn your future trade on the way to the colonies. The huge training facility will help you learn anything you want, for a cost or a bribe. And prices are expensive, so you can always take a loan if you can’t afford it! There are factory workshops, libraries, simulators. Almost anything you need, if you can get access.

The jail is a small town in its own right, and everyone has free rein of its interior. Sometimes people get to go into the actual ship for jobs and errands, but they spend most of your time there. And obviously, constellations, crews and gangs form and vie for supremacy.  All of them are preparing for the Arrival. If they are not in training for a specific job, they have plenty of leisure time, reading, playing games, sports, tournaments, fights, etc. There is a small black market on the ship, mostly convenience stuff, and lighter drugs. Most of the houses, guilds and cults have a presence on these floating city behemoths. Some cults are against gate jumping, so they are usually passengers on one of these transports.

Bevan Taar 
A Mystic - A Galactic Wanderer

Look: Tall, soft skinned. Well groomed luscious beard. Looks trustworthy & smells nice. Wears a hat, spectacles, and suit
Heritage: Wanderer - Travelling the void searching for the truth (the secret!)
Has been hitching rides whatever way he can
Background: Academic - Adheres to a minority sect that has been outlawed.
Vice: Luxury!

Bevan is an expert in The Way & Psy-Dancing

He was jailed for some reason he's never shared, even in 18 months aboard the Behemoth.

Greeg "Legend" Ursis
A Speaker - A Well-Spoken Respectable Person

Look:
Heritage: Imperial Administrator
Background: Guilder, with interests in several drone corporations
Vice: Visiting connections and party with them

Legend has an Air of Respectability

His most respected contact is Arryn, a noble
His erstwhile friend, now rival is Je-Zee, a diplomat, who Legend suspects made a deal to have in arrested in the first place for his benefit.

He was supposed to be executed for high crimes against the Hegemony, but used all of his considerable influence to have the sentence commuted to mere exile.


Yola "Lucky" Zer
A Scoundrel - A Scrappy Survivor with more Luck than Brains

Look: Scruffy and carelessly cool
Heritage: Wanderer / trade ships
Background: Syndicate / fixer (but like, a casual sort of fixer for a local Syndicate, not a big-time mover or shaker)
Vice: Gambling - Extreme Sports and Fun

Lucky has a knack for Serendipity but Never Tell Him the Odds

His bestest buddy is Ora, an information broker
His frenemy is Rin, a smuggler

He is in the slammer because he got caught during a sting operation on a magistrate who needed to be leant on. Some crazy marine shot them up and Rin (who was also on that job) blamed Lucky for everything going wrong.


Brell "Snaps" Veers
A Muscle - A Badass with any Weapon

Look: Tall woman (like Amazonian), wears bomber jacket of local space racing team 'Titans'
Heritage: Imperial  / Mother is an out-of-favour Justiciar from core systems
Background: Military / Security (ie Military Police)
Vice: - Pleasure / Nightfall Theatre Troupe (so he'll have to cast around for something like this in their new surroundings, but on prison ship, this'll be catching old holovids, relating past experience to the more cultured on board, or just daydreaming)

Snaps is Unstoppable & Ready for Anything

Her closest friend outside the crew is Aya, an assassin
Her erstwhile friend/rival is Yazu, a crooked cop

She was jailed because she didn't take bribes and look the other way when a local crime syndicate were hitting an Imperial magistrate who wasn't staying bribed. She single-handedly spoiled their whole attack, killing several of them, but the powers-that-be trumped up charges re. destruction of public property.

***

The Firedrake

'The Firedrake' is what the crew call their heavy Khanjigar-class Corvette (official Hegemony designation CCH-1201 Karambit).

They've maxed out the Comms ratings aboard, relying on their friends in Vigilance to get the proper upgrades installed.

The Wreckers were a little upset at them for them getting their hands on a few Fake Transponders, they smoothed things over a bit, but things are awkward.

The Ghosts helped them set up their Secret Base - it's a long-abandoned and picked clean Hegemony Super Carrier.

Their favourite contact is Garin, a Guild Weapons Engineers; the Echo Wave Riders are particularly friendly with him but the Mendicants despise him.

They are Forged in Fire, toughened by the cruel experience of months together in jail.