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Last time, you will recall, the growing rebellion of the oppressed people of the Slipstream universe gathered pace as the seditious play penned by ruler in exile Basilike was smuggled out of his prison and put on the stage across a dozen planets. Guided by the mysterious Stygians, it appeared that the movement may have a chance of success. In response, Anathraxa’s space navy moved into close orbit around Mechanos due to false information concerning their role in the rebellion.

Now, read on…

For this write up I will try to show some of the decision points that occurred in play in order to demonstrate how the tools assisted in building the story. These comments will appear in square brackets [like this].

The mood in the galaxy was grim. Anathraxa had mobilised her police state system to crack down on all the worlds, disarming and imprisoning anyone suspected of harbouring anti-state feelings [What is the mood of the galaxy? From Mythic: Control Weapons].

We were in orbit around Xaq. Officially we were delivering, via parachute drop, crates of food and simple weapons. However, some of the crates contained high tech weapons. We had been sent by the rebellion commanders to make contact with a certain tribal leader who had indicated that he could be manipulated in to helping us if he could be helped to defeat his rival tribes. [Where are we? From our location deck: The Ice Cloud. Are we waiting in the ice cloud (as opposed to passing through)? From our Sargasso chart: Yes, we were waiting. Why? From Mythic: Important invitation.]

We were mercenaries, Vulture a street punk from Gyptos who fought his way all the top of the murderer and thief path and Buck, a dandy of indeterminate planetary origins who was as cultured as he was venal. [Who were we? From Brewer’s, and a draw from the location deck.]

Xaq was one of Anathraxa’s recruiting planets. Kept in a state of stone age barbarity, the inhabitants fought tooth and claw in order to survive and to glorify their goddess. On regular occasions she harvested those suitable for training into her armies. At all times it was heavily patrolled in space by a fleet of battleships and war-rockets. Since the planet was almost completely barren, food and equipment drops were indiscriminately made, forcing the locals (or Primals) to fight each other for the contents. As a matter of practical logistics, external mercenaries were needed to make these drops, but they were never allowed to approach too close or land.

As our ship came over the drop zone and the six crates were pushed on their rollers down the gaping cargo bay ramp, Buck and I followed them out. We pulled our parachutes at the same time as the crates’ auto-opened, and floated down, hoping that the two extra chutes had not been noticed by the patrolling ships. Unfortunately, an observant deck hand was on duty and did note the extra parachutes, starting a chain of events that rippled through the navy’s command structure, but we [the protagonists] did not know that at the time. [Are we noticed? Sargasso table: yes. We discussed what this chain of command might look like, and how long a response might take. We then figured out what the response would be. A team would be sent down to sterilise the drop zone. This could take up to an hour to start happening.]

Since the crates were dumb-dropped they were dispersed over a wide area. We landed close to one of them and scouted around. Luck was with us, and the cave structures close to us were in fact those occupied by our double-dealing Primal chief, Rantipole. [Since this was a planet based adventure, we searched through my maps till we found something suitable. It was an old Battletech tactical map. The centre water was an oasis. The hexes were marked 01 to 15 horizontally, and 01 to 17 vertically. We rolled a d20 twice to find a drop location for each crate and ourselves (discarding anything bigger than 15 and 17). Crates can be seen in white on the attached image.  We used counters to represent the protagonists, red and yellow, and other colours to represent tribes who come to claim the crates.]

We were surrounded by tribesmen. We called out for Rantipole, but he was hiding. Instead his chief wife came out to negotiate. She was very polite and circumspect, but reluctant to agree to anything. We could see that his tribe was poor and weak. They needed help in order to get the upper hand against their enemies, but it was naive to expect that they had any intention of betraying Anathraxa. It was a mystery. [Tell us about the chief. From Brewer’s: Rantipole, an idiot. This explained why he was attempting to negotiate with us, a potential enemy to his goddess. Does Rantipole negotiate? From Sargasso: no, but. He sends his wife. What is she like? From our NPC deck: meek.]

Meanwhile, another tribe was closing in on this create, intend on seizing it. On the other side of the oasis a complement of ship’s troops landed and were systematically scorching the area. [Greg described the troops as wearing blue jump suits and simple flak jackets. They were not crack marines or anything like that. They were more like prison guards: not necessarily combat experts, but thorough and merciless.] Other tribes in the area observed this destruction and suffered the consequences as well. They fled from the soldiers towards us. [What do the locals do? From Mythic: Open observe.]

At Rantipole’s area, the closer rival tribe arrived and attacked. This galvanised the locals as we calmly returned fire with our rayguns. As everyone knows rayguns are intuitive and easy to use, even for cavemen, and our newly armed friends were delighted to be so easily able to destroy their enemies. We invited the survivors to join us and, just like that, Rantipole began to consolidate his power as King of kings.

The second tribe appeared and were similarly invited to join the ‘tribal confederation’. Rantipole’s imagination started to work and he imagined himself as the leader of all the tribes. Wouldn’t the goddess be pleased with him? We agreed she would. But there was a fly in the ointment, we told him. See these blue uniformed people? They are not the goddess’ people: they are evil invaders that despoil her work. See how they burn her gifts?

Armed with this evangelising vision, Rantipole led his force against the blue-jackets, but they gave as good as they got and where pinned down but not killed. Things looked grim until the leader of the second tribe that had joined the confederation advised that his people too had a cache of hidden weapons. It had been started by a downed pilot years ago. Extra equipment was brought in, but used ineffectively. The blue-jackets called for help on the radio.

We were informed via our own communications team in orbit that the signal was sent. In terror that they would send something devastating, we pulled everyone back to the caves. [Do they call a Valkyrie (Handmaiden), a particular fear of mine? From Sargasso: no.] Minutes later an extraction gunship collected the survivors of a the landing party, and shortly after that the valley floor was napalmed.

Satisfied that Rantipole was now buoyed up by his messiah complex and could unite the tribes and fight Anathraxa’s troops, while convinced that he was actually doing her will, we (Vulture and Buck) called for extraction.

What did all this mean for the rebellion? Well it meant that Xaq would not remain a recruiting ground for much longer, or at least the recruitment would be disrupted for a significant period of time until this local insurrection could be squashed. And given that the locals thought that they were actually fighting for Anathraxa while they killed her soldiers, this could take a while. What was happening elsewhere to put this into perspective? Rebellion had broken out on several other planets. [From Sargasso.] The psychic, mystical Stygians were our allies. Levitos had received its shipment of dark matter and was well on the way to restarting its engines. Unfortunately, Mechanos copped it. Anathraxa’s fleet acted on the false information provided in Part 2, and devastated the planet of the Robotmen. [All questions to Sargasso, most of which can back with blunt yeses and nos.]

And as the credits roll on part 3, we are transported to the veiled boudoir of the devastatingly beautiful and cruel queen Anathraxa as she read the reports from Xaq. She smiled as she reads of the rebellion. What does it matter that that a few ship loads of soldiers are being killed? For too long the pathetic Primals had worshipped her like dogs. These were real men with some fight in them. She wanted them. She gave the orders: the queen was coming to Xaq to feed. [What is the final mood of the episode? From Answer Deck: Victory, Sexual Attraction.]

Stirring music. Tune it next time.

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