Another strange session that was largely downtime, although we did get to some pretty cool roleplaying eventually…
Having perfected a limited form of cold fusion and having worked out how to get machines to replicate Trodding (with the Trod Train and Trod Drive for ships) the players have decided that they are going to form the Free Neptune Colonies, free from the Covenant and the Black-law, beyond the reach of the Crown.
To this end, and to make things nice and legal they decided that they needed one of the Luna Independent Colonies to sponsor their expedition. The Independent Luna Colonies are little more than some cave farmers who are behind on their taxes, but by a quirk in the Colonial laws are able to claim independence from the Crown in their Mining and Mineral rights.
It also represents an easy test run for the untested Trod drive. Annie arranges her case load so that she can take a week to go to the moon. And with Jack at the controls they set off. Jack used his Seer abilities to look along the flight path, and apart from a single Tesla ship (“The Aquilla”) and the wireless beacon at the end of the shipping lane it all looked clear. So he engaged the Trod drive.
They were expecting instantaneous travel, and sort of got it, but the time spent Trodding was actually felt on board the ship, with Jack having to negotiate the ship along the wormhole the drive created.
Mercurio took this opportunity to try and throw a wireless beacon overboard but it caught on the enhanced shields that they use to capture and hold the atmosphere around the ship.
Then Jack noticed the oncoming ship and had to throw the ship into a tight spiral to try and avoid a direct collision with the ghost of the ship on the lane.
The ships’ shields touched, ripping a hole in their shields for a moment and causing them to vent some atmosphere and that wireless beacon.
The lost mass causes Jack to have to attempt a retuning of the drive in flight, which he just managed, but it also threw the ship forward through Trodspace beyond the end of that particular Trod. Jack had to use his own Trodding ability to bring the ship through the moon as the drive tried to kick them out about the hundred yards from the surface on the dark side. They had passed completely through the moon.
Once they clear the moon’s radio shadow they here the news from the stricken Aquilla, the Captain believes that they have been struck by space lightning as their shields seemed to unzip around the ship almost instantly.
Darby Interplanetary ships mounted a rescue mission from Earth while the Trod ship slunk into Luna dock a little sheepishly, and Jack vowed to leave the Trod and sail around any other ships in future. SMS Technologies on Earth (in the form of Saint-Clare) took advantage to buy a load of Tesla Stock (and managed to stabilise the price of the same at the same time). Starting rumours that they had already developed a new shield design that was proof against Space lightning.
Now on the moon they held a meeting for the Independent farmers, explaining that they were willing to give the farmers quite a lot of money and legal help to get them fully recognised as an independent trading colony, in exchange for a few signatures on some paperwork. However, Annie used her Doom-weaving to try and find the future “King of the moon”, but it wasn’t one of the farmers. Jack takes her to one of Luna city’s many bars where she meets the hostess Tallulah.
Tallulah knows every customer by name, as well as their business, and always asks them how things are. Annie realises that this is the person she needs.
She notes the lone star flag behind the bar. Tallulah is a Texan, they’ve tried to claim independence on no less than six times. So Annie had a long chat with Tallulah.
Tallulah is amenable, but points out that if some of the farmers form a truly independent colony, then the rest of the Loonies would sign up to it immediately, and the Crown would have to intervene. She suggests that numbers be limited for the time being, sooner or later the Free Neptune Colonies (that they’re talking about creating) will have to be relied on to provide ships and weapons to help defend the Luna Independents from the Crown and the Royal Navy.
Which the party agreed to.
Tallulah also requested that SMS Technologies gave them access to whatever technology they were planning on using to dig tunnels out on the moons of Neptune as the biggest problem the Indie farmers have always had was that the only transport between farms was in the form of ships, and they couldn’t spare the people to dig hundreds of miles of tunnels across the moon. Mercurio had to admit that he didn’t actually have a plan for that yet, but giant Mechanimal moles ought to do the trick.
Annie decided then that Tallulah, (an untrained Mercari) required some training to make her more effective as a leader, and set about teaching her what ever magic/Mercari Doom-trading she could learn. Tallulah was a very adept pupil, but they both realised that she was going to need a Doom-weaver to help run the show.
So Annie worked with Jack to weave a Web over the whole of Luna city to try and lure anyone with a Doom-weaving talent. No sooner had she completed the web she began to perceive everything that was taking place in the multilayered tunneled city.
The save was carried by her weaving to every part of the city. That attracted the attention of a few people.
The Loonies are tough folks and have a high number of Mercari. Who just felt a huge save across the city. Some of them started copying the effect and one or two began to play Wyrd-Tarot. The Governor, a Solo, also felt the save and immediately contacted the Crown asking whether it was her that had saved. She replied through functionaries that, no, it wasn’t her.
This brought the Governor to a paranoid state. Knowing that no registerred Doom-weaver was on the moon, apart from himself, and unable to locate another Solo he came to the conclusion that it must be an Infernalist who was deliberately stirring up the Loonies into being Mercari.
Then he felt the card play. He thought the Infernalist had created a Mage on the moon and Doom-wove that a party of his guards would go out into the city and retrieve the new born mage. Since no such Infernalist or mage-child existed by weaving so, he created them (at least in part).
Annie felt a strange presence on her web, who sought her out to communicate. Asking her who she was and why she spun there. Whoever this thing was he was able to use the web as well as Annie could.
He introduced himself by saying that he hasn’t existed before the miners gave him the name “Knocker Tom” and he was very eager to do anything that might encourage belief in him and his friends in the tunnels. When he saw that the Governor had given the order for all the babies in Luna city to be brought to him he asked Annie if he should kill the Governor.
After some consideration Annie decided that it would probably be best, and Knocker Tom twisted one of the threads of a guard carrying a baby so that when he was given the order to shoot the babies by the Governor he instead turned and shot the Governor.
Annie introduced Tallulah to Knocker Tom and then they filled the papers for the Independent Farmer’s Colony (and paid the arrears on the taxes.).
When they arrived back on Earth Mercurio, Steven Smith and Joffrey Oberwulf began work redesigning the ship so that it could drop mass in Trodspace and retune automatically. As we finished, they were ready to send the first team out to Triton, which would consist of a number of cold – adapted “Mechani-‘me’s” as Mercurio had taken to calling his Mechanimal bodies. Along with some giant Mechanimal moles. They would use the moment when the Moon and the Earth were exactly aligned to travel out to Neptune, having carefully calculated how much mass would need to be dropped in Trodspace.
Great fun was had by all… Although I do now have to include Tallulah and the Luna Independent Farming Combine in the novel somewhere, but after all that is the point of having a game to develop the world background after all.
Update: Actually whilst the Loonies are mentioned, I left the Texan bar-owner out of this book, maybe she’ll appear in the sequel (and yes, I’m already starting to plan a sequel – after a few other books first).