Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ghostwalkers on Xelhiem

I am First Division Commander Meh'an Hab, of the First Zemex Space Fleet. I am reporting on our mission to Xelhiem to discover the fate of the two archeological teams sent to investigate a possible intact Anshani artifact.

Fleet Commander Shulea Fen had just arrested a group of Dirters that had set fire to the new hotel complex under construction near the Zemex Spaceport and illegally mind controlled a citizen, upon whom they committed fraud. They wouldn't have seen the light of day for a long time, if we didn't have a better use for them.

They were given the choice of prison or performing a mission for us. We explained the political situation on Xelhiem and its three colonial settlements. We suspected the Ghostwalkers, a rogue political group that was trying to force the colonists off that world, were responsible for the missing archeological teams. The Ghostwalkers were thought to have perpetrated various haunting incidents, where the colonists at night would see movement out of the corner of their eyes, but when you looked in the direction of the movement, nothing was to be seen. After the two team had vanished, the number of "hauntings" went up. We wanted to use their ship, primarily because that model of Space Tug had camouflage and stealth capabilities. They would be able to arrive on the planet with no one the wiser. As the ship was chipped to them, only they could pilot it.

The captain of the Ardanna Nuu, a scruffy, smelly Dirter named "The Mighty Quinn" made jokes about meddling children and that another Dirter, his First Officer, Stan Mann, said that they would have to paint the Ardanna Nuu various colors. It was suspicious to me that the color scheme that they chose would have worked well with Xelhiem plant life.

It was discovered that the crew of the Ardanna Nuu was thoroughly incapable of flying their ship, and had done so only by luck and guessing. Gods! What imbeciles... Sorry. We ran them through the fast track course on how to fly an Anshani ship, the one we give to new recruits so that they had at least a basic understanding, not the complete course, of course.

They recolored their ship and christened it the "Magical Mystery Bus". The Ardanna Nuu didn't seem to care for it and the ship's registry retained the original name. During the training period, the crew gained access to the Captain's cabin, the lock on the door finally released. The new captain checked it out and exited with a entertainment android in the shape of a Wumcal. We were told that its name was "Sally" and it would entertain the crew with songs and stories. Odd, very odd.

Along with my self and my second in command, Shoulo Tran, we were assigned to accompany the crew of the "Magical Mystery Bus" nee Ardanna Nuu, The trip to Xelhiem was quick and uneventful. I suspected that the XO and the one named Claire were planning some sort of conspiracy, but if they were hatching one, it didn't come to fruition. We arrived at Xelhiem and Captain Quinn ordered the Ardanna Nuu to turn on the "cloak" and to land at the spaceport. I had wanted to land between two of the settlements, so that we could investigate the Ghostwalkers. In retrospect, the decision to land at the spaceport was the better of the two, even though it was fraught with danger.

From overhead, you could see the landing pads for spacecraft and that was my first worry. Instead of the typical perfect circles of a Anshani landing pad, these were oblong, oval in shape. We landed on the closest pad to the hangar. We had seen from overhead that there were burns where the archeology team flyers had landed. Then they assembled what the XO called, "the away team". Away to what?

In any case, Quinn, Mann, Claire, and Lister, along with Tran and myself, left the Ardanna Nuu. Two of the Dirters, Yuri and Sergei were put in charge of cutting fodder for the ship's hoppers. Quinn is a remarkable commander. Outwardly he appears to be a drell-sho addict, but in many ways he wise in the ways of subterfuge and guile. One wonders where he learned these skills?

It was late afternoon, so we were armed with light sources, what the Dirters called "flashlights" though they never flashed once. We entered the hangar, after Claire investigated the foliage. It was purple, pink and white in color. Then she examined the landing areas and determined that the flyers were flown away. Along the way to the hangar, I felt that we were not alone. I kept seeing things from the corner of my eye, but my superior training kept me from acknowledging my fears.

Inside the hangar was a large ship, beetle in shape, approximately 30 to 40 standard units long. It didn't look to be in the best of shape. There were large mushrooms growing inside the hangar, in the dark and moist air. We spread out and soon we all were seeing things at the edge of vision. That's when Quinn ordered us to retreat. Tran and I faced the door, while the Dirters covered our back. Claire used a pocket mirror and said "It's a giant bug with a bow and arrows!"

While I didn't worry about any arrows while I wore my body armor, the Dirters were in ship's uniforms, no armor whatsoever. We moved at a quick march and noticed that Yuri and Sergei were not outside the ship and their cutting tools were lying on the ground. At that we were worried that the crew on the ship could have been overwhelmed by the insects. Tran and I had a different worry. If the giant insects were native to this world... Well the agreements we signed with our neighbors and the Costopnor Code would force us to remove our colonies. This was bad. We already had invested hundreds of millions of credits into this venture.

Claire brought up the viewscreen and switched to infrared view. The field outside lit up with warm bodies. Quinn turned on the speakers and said "Peace bug dudes! We are not here to harsh your mellow man. What do you want?"

I am perplexed by how one could harsh a mellow, or if that is even possible. Predictable there was no response. He then said, "Like, c'mon bug dudes! If you don't talk to us, we'll obliterate you!" That got a response and the heat signatures moved away from the ship. Quinn kept at it, "Bug dudes, send us someone to talk to!"

After waiting for a while, a different heat signature appeared and Claire brought the ship close to it. It was chief archeologist Garma Hu! After using the med kit on him, he told us that there were thousands of the Nye, the name of the natives on this world, descendants of those who had built this starport.

But more importantly, Cade was leading them!

Callarado Cade was the once the governor of the colony. Some say he went crazy, others say he went native. It look as though both were correct. The Dirters were talking about some sort of entertainment, a vid play called "Apocalypse Now!", a play that nearly mirrored what was happening here on Xelhiem. A human colonel went native and crowned himself god of some natives. It seems that Cade had done the same thing.

Quinn decided to capture a native and question it. Like a geero herding yu-yu, they separated one, used the stun field and then scooped him up into a cargo bay. The creature had a body coloration that matched the foliage outside perfectly. That explained how they could disappear so readily, they simply blended in.

Then Mann and Lister interrogated the prisoner. I watched their technique and took some notes. They were good at playing good law enforcement officer/bad law enforcement officer, and soon had the Nye eating out of their hands. His name was "Ree-ha-ya!" and Quinn introduced him to the odd herbal mixture that he smoked. Quinn even made a decent lager from the foodaracacycle on the Ardanna Nuu. I copied his programming, he must have been a biological chemist on Dirt.

The Nye told us that when the moons were right, they would bathe in the blood of their enemies and become invulnerable to all weapons fire and then they would attack. Cade proved that it would work by bathing a cadre of his most loyal followers in the blood of two archeologists and had arrows shot at them. The arrows couldn't hit them, no matter what they tried. The crew then attacked him world view, which ended when Claire used a disintegrating pistol on an object, then put a field around the Nye and shot at him. The beam dissipated before it touched the Nye.

We decided on a plan, the Nye on the back of a grav cycle driven by Lister, would lead the Ardanna Nuu to the Nye village, where we would confront Cade and his followers. I imagine that if the Nye wasn't smoking that herbal mixture made by Quinn, I think he would have been screaming in terror on the back of that grave cycle.

We soon came up on the village and I thought that Lister would return to the ship, but instead he gunned it and headed for where Cade was standing with his cadre of blood red warriors. They were on a stone dais and were armed with modern weaponry.

Mann fired the ship's cutting laser and melted the dais to a puddle.

But, with a Ahz as my witness, Cade and his guardian Nye were unaffected. Claire couldn't tell if there was a field around them, but instead encapsulated Lister and the stoned Nye in a protective field. Lister drove at them, they all fired, their shots deflected. Then Lister, the Nye and the field bubble hit Cade at 50 units a standard hour. He should have been turned to pate, but instead he was embedded into the field bubble. That told me that he had a similar field protecting him.

When we stopped, he asked who dared attack the Mighty Cade. That's when Quinn had Cade tractored and bounced on the ground a couple of times. "I am the Mighty Quinn! You got that dude?" said Captain Quinn with the volume turned up to 11.

Cade removed his weapons and a field generator he had under his cape. I then put him into restraints and arrested him. We went back to the village, rescued the surviving archeological team members and then Quinn talked to the Nye.

"Listen up bug dudes, I am the Mighty Quinn. I have defeated Cade, He was harshing your mellow. Well, now listen to me. One, don't hurt each other. Two, don't hurt others or harsh their mellow. Four, did I say not hurt other folks? Yeah, OK, then live and love together man. Also, I want to you learn a new song, a song to sing in praise of me!"

He then taught him a nonsensical song, but chorus I'll remember to my end of days, "You'll not see nothin' like the Mighty Quinn!" Truth be told, I can honestly agree with that statement. He also convinced me that we can subjugate the native by making more of his herbal mixture or something close to it. The tame Nye was sent out with a couple of bales of "Maui Gold" as Quinn called it. He gave me the programming for it. To be honest, it has a kick, from the small amount I tried.

We returned to Zemex and turned over Cade and the information. We gave the crew a reward, though Quinn requested that the Wumcal android be given a free-will package as his reward. More power to him, like the universe needs more autonomous androids. We also gave them the starcharts for our region of the galaxy. One of the Dirters on board, was named Walter Walters, a native of New Roanoake. It was only thirty stellar units away from Zemex. Perhaps they will go there next, who knows.

This is the end of my report, now I must go program the Barana Nuuk's Foodaracacycle with some new recipes...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Fast Times at Zemex Port

Greetings soft fleshy Dirters! It is I, !gzzbzzzt^zzt!, known to you as "Bug". Oh, what travails I must endure with this crew of insane Dirters. Dakkel Shurnel proved his worth by finding the cube face that went to Zemex port. It was the face opposite the ice ball of the world we had landed on. The small female Dirter proved to be a good pilot and flew the Ardanna Nuu off this hellish world into blessed space.

The larger male Dirter left the bridge and decanted three more humans: One that used to be a law enforcement officer, one that was a researcher, and another, smelly, ill kept, Dirter like the male that woke him. By that time, the Ardanna Nuu gained sufficient altitude to engage her hyper FTL drive and we were off to Zemex port. The trip took 100 standard hours, though the researcher Dirter said it took 95 of their hours.

During the trip, the newly decanted were cleaned up, their skin tones returned and their fur head cover restored. The smelly one promptly began turning his head fur into these sausage looking things, something he called "draad-lohcks". I'm not familiar with Galactic fur stylings to further comment on this.

They all rooted through the ship's cargo retrieving their old clothing and gear. The researcher recovered a formidable looking weapon he called a "Baa-zookuh". I'm learning to differentiate between them, but I really haven't learned their names.

The first smelly Dirter male is named "Quinn", the other smelly Dirter is "David". The female is "Claire", the researcher is "Riff", the law enforcer I think was called "The Man" by Quinn and David. The Dirter who was very good with the med lab is named "Steve" and the two former warriors were named "Yuori" and "Sergei". I think.

When we arrived, the Zemex port authority immediately ordered the Ardanna Nuu into a secure parking orbit, their massive Anshani warship, the Barana Nuuk, holding guard over us. After some confusion, a boarding party, a ship's inspection, and a large bribe, we were able to prove that the ship no longer contained pirates, but the survivors of the mutiny, though those that mutinied, I and the Greevals, never bloodied our manipulative digits.

The Dirters were able to register the ship as theirs with Zemex port authorities, and it was now theirs, legally. And as such, they were racking up orbital fees and after we landed, port fees. However Shurnel had thought ahead and had the Greevals dismantle one of the nuclear warheads in the Blue Field room. They were able to extract a ball of fissionable plutonium about the size of a grut'pha fruit, from within the warhead. It was worth trillions of Anshani credits, but we only needed a little bit of it. The Greevals set to work on it and cut out a small cube of the material and placed it into a shielded container.

I took the box and with an honor guard of most of the Dirters, Youri and Sergei stayed behind to guard the ship. Shurnel packed up his bag and bid us farewell as he went looking for another ship to serve on. A small tent city was forming in front of the ship, merchants hawking wares and goods as we passed. Psssht! Amateurs!

The Dirters are not very curious about the different shops along the way. I, on the other digit, spy out potential customers for the goods we have on board. Along the way a Gwerma, by the name of Grenniachick, intercepted us and asked us if we wanted to buy "companionship". The Dirters weren't interested, but a Grenniachick was persistent, and they changed their minds when he said "Slaves", Dirter slaves. I knew that he wasn't selling slaves, but no one asked me. Zemetites do not allow slavery, so it must have been some form of legal slavery, such as indentured servitude.

The Man took a business card from Grenniachick. He planned to turn the Gwerma in to the authorities. Good luck. We went to the local bank and converted our plutonium into nine million Anshani credits. That's when The Man approached a law enforcement officer and tried to convince him that Grenniachick was a slaver. His card proudly stated that he ran an escort service. After some wrangling between the two, the officer bent the card, activating it's homing properties. We followed the card to Grenniachick's Escort and Servant Salon. It was in the seedier portions of Zemex port.

Inside was a bar that served various types of refreshment and snacks, I snagged a bowl of rancid Huttu eggs and slurped them down. The Dirters, meanwhile, gawked at the various displays of flesh and genitalia. I spied a young Greezebe female and went to talk to her. Her name was Zzztzztzzt!Bzzt!, though the Dirters later called her "Bugette". She had been sold into servitude when she was young and traded between different owners who used her as a servant and nursemaid. She end up here at Grenniachick's after her contract was lost in a gambling game of Fizzbin. I was very tempted to buy her contract and free her, no sentient should be subject to such treatment, especially one of my own kind!

The officer and Grenniachick had a conversation, and that scum of a Gwerma slipped him a bribe. The officer left and the Dirters came up with another plan.

The Dirters talked to the three Dirter servants, and then the two smelly ones, Quinn and David, approached Grenniachick and began what turned out to be an ill advised attempt to force Grenniachick to give up the indentured Dirters. As soon as Quinn threatened him, Grenniachick waved his hand and called out for his "protection", a slab of living muscle known as a Manaki. Normally, this brutish race is not dangerous, but this one, he looked like he liked hurting people.

To his credit, Quinn didn't flinch and stared down Grenniachick, who bade the Manaki to wait. Then David stepped up and with some skill, began to dicker with Grenniachick. What none of us realized that while the two bargained over the price of the Dirters, Riff was making something.

During the bargaining, Grenniachick had the indentured Dirters perform on stage. Normally, I view sex acts of alien races akin to watching animals mating, but this trio was very good. Claire's skin color shifted from pink to a nice shade of red while she watched the performance. The male Dirters watched appreciatively.

Just when David was about to get Grenniachick to name a decent price, Riff stepped forward with a device and said "You are now my slave!" and poor Grenniachick was under his mind control! I did not now that Dirters were so smart and at the same time, dumb as a load of masonry blocks. Even if Grenniachick was scum, you did not violate his civil rights and you did not impede or cheat a merchant of a fair price for his goods!

Riff forced him to sell the Dirters for only twenty thousand credits total! Their individual contracts were at least worth twenty five to thirty thousand apiece! Taking a chance, I had him sell Zzztzztzzt!Bzzt! for twenty thousand, a fair price. With their contracts in hand, we left. As soon as Riff's device was out of sight of Grenniachick, the spell was broken and he sent his Manaki after us. We ran down the streets, with the newly purchased Dirters tying tablecloths around themselves, though Dave put his jacket around the nearly naked female Dirter.

We turned the corner and there was a frozen dessert truck parked by restaurant. Pulling the driver from the front seat, Claire hopped in and tried to start the drive. The rest of us piled into the back, tossing frozen desserts out the back of the truck. She figured out the drive and the truck bounced up on its antigrav and we pulled away, just as the Manaki piled into a gaggle of children that had magically appeared behind us, tearing into the boxes full of sweet treats.

As soon as we cleared the alleyway, a law enforcement vehicle spotted us and took up the chase. Claire proved to be a very good driver and eventually she found an alley way with a trash collection truck parked, with its rear open wide enough for the delivery truck to drive right in.

We all piled out and closed the back, just before the law vehicles went zooming on by looking for us. With frozen treats in hand, we stepped out onto the Street of Weapons. One of the indentured Dirters recognized it and was able to lead us back to the starport.

As we approached, we found our way blocked by a parade. It was the local Zumcal union, the Benevolent Brotherhood of Zumcal Architects and Foremen, Local 726544. They were celebrating 700 days of no accidents occurring on their construction project near the port.

For a reason that made sense only to the Dirters, we snuck into the parade and got inside a float. It was a typical Zumcall design, crepe paper Zumcals lifting a girder in place, while a crepe paper Muzz leaned on a shovel, beverage in hand, watching them work. Inside, we found that the float was built on top of a finely made framework that held a power plant and two lift balls. Working our way through the struts, we saw that a Muzz was driving the float, chomping on a cigar. He identified himself as Munuzzel, of Teamster Local 106696221. David likewise identified himself as a member of another union. The Muzz nodded and drove on, heading towards the port.

Quinn almost flicked a butt end of his herbal cigarette onto the float, but he didn't. However, Riff, in some sort of rage, fired his Baa-zookuh at the float in front of ours. It belched a gout of flame that stet fire to the other float as well as to ours!

The Muzz saw the flames and pulled a pin that dropped him to the ground as the float careened out of control. We all followed suit and bailed out of the towering inferno. The lead float crashed into the work site and then exploded, toppling a set of scaffolding into the crowd. Our float followed suit, setting fire to the construction site. With people running about and screaming, we made our way into the port.

Youri and Sergei were busy trading Dirter handheld communication devices to the food hawkers, and had piled up a big pile of various kinds of roast meats and vegetables. A Port Official blocked out way, demanding payment for use of their facilities. We paid them a one hundred thousand credits and made it to the ship just as a car floated up and Grenniachick with his Manaki, piling out, yelling for our blood.

We sealed up, and got immediate clearance to lift off from the Port Authority. Claire deftly flew us up into space, where we... but that's another story.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Prelude to the next adventure

Greetings, I am Sergei Mykhailev Kolpakov. My comrade in arms is Youri Vakhnev Nikon. Together, we served in the Ukraine Air Defense Forces, manning a nuclear ballistic missile silo. Yes, I know, officially the Ukraine has returned all Russian nuclear missiles back to the Russians in the 1990's. However, not all Russian missiles were on the books, so to speak, so the Ukraine was, until our abduction by the aliens, a covert nuclear power.

Yes, until the aliens appeared one night and took me, Youri, and all the warheads in our silos. I counted them in that room with the blue glow, they are all there. The Bug told me that the blue glow means that nuclear reactions are now suppressed. I hope so, as I saw the Greys go into the room and dissemble one of the warheads and extracted the plutonium trigger from within its confines.

They were told to do that by the strange man the Americans found on that frozen world. It now sits in a lead box in the blue room. I wonder what he has in mind for it. Still, there are six more warheads in the room, ready to be disassembled.

Oh, sorry, yes, there are aliens and people... though some of the people are aliens. So confusing. The Greys are the workers of the ship, they serve the ship and take care of it. The Bug worked for the aliens that are humans as a merchant. He is very... odd. Then there are the three Americans: Stephen Rand, Claire Fleming and the Mighty Quinn. He is a real American Hippie. Miss Fleming is a park ranger, and Mr. Rand is a student. They part of the 100 victims of the slavers that took us and the warheads.

The other human-who-is-an-alien is Mr Shumeh. His skin is an orange color, but he has this very white-white hair. He calls himself a "Galactic", and that some ancient race spread humans across the galaxy. Well, not humans, he claims that the "Costopnor" have the oldest remains on their world, so they are the home of humanity.

I do not believe that, I know that we evolved on our own world and we are not progeny of some ancient race.

Yes, back to the nuclear warheads. Youri and I are in deep trouble if we ever return to Earth. Our seven nuclear warheads are gone and so are we. What would you think if you were in the Politburo? We are dead men. Would you believe us if we told you that we were abducted by aliens? Neither would I.

So, we may stay on this ship, the Ardanna Nuu, if we ever find a way home back to Earth. According to Mr. Shumeh and the Bug, there are many people from Earth, Dirt as they call it, in the galaxy. The pirates that took us were not the only ones raiding our world for slaves.

So now we wait while the Ardanna Nuu refuels itself and Mr Shumeh figures out which side of the navigation cube goes to this world with the big starport. Meanwhile, Youri is trying to make Vodka from the food machine.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Savage Incursion: I Hate Space...

The following are the logs of my Savage Incursion campaign: I Hate Space

This log is the first session, where the players find that they are screwed and that the aliens are, well, not on the bright side. So of course, this first log is from the point of view of a NPC, who might stay with them a while...

Greetings soft skinned mammalians of the planet Dirt! I am !gzzbzzzt^zzt!, a merchant, though most people call me "Bug". Do not be afraid, I am not carnivorous, I prefer my protein denatured. My race, the Greezebe are pacifists, so do not worry that I may attack. We prefer to trade and impoverish our enemies.

My story is a sad one. I was hired by Captain Jat Cragyl to help him sell primitive technology that he had collected. What I didn't know was that he was also selling primitives as well!

Recently your world lost its Anshani Sentinel, opening your world up to full scale plundering. The crew of the Ardanna Nuu have been chief among the plunderers. At first they only stole items of value from your world, but such speciality goods can either fetch one a handsome price or a miserly sum depending on your skills in bargaining.

Captain Cragyl was not the best bargainer. So he decided to partake in the more lucrative trade of slavery. For the past forty standard years, he and his crew have been abducting you Dirters and selling you into slavery.

I must be honest, such activity is not unique to Cragyl and his crew. I've met other Galactics who claim to be descended from Dirters. Some have names like Lucius, others have names like Hanse or Ito. They claim that their ancestors were abducted from ocean going vessels, island colonies, or from other locations on your world. There are many Galactics in known space with Dirter ancestry.

But the current story begins when Cragyl began to mistreat the Ardanna Nuu's Greevals. Every Anshani ship has a crew of these small gray humanoids that help maintain the black boxes that run the ship. There is no need to maintain a white box, these wonders of Anshani technology maintain themselves.

I digress. Not only was Cragyl was engaging in slavery, he was mistreating the Greevals! That is just asking for a mutiny!

And we did mutiny. The Greevals, myself and the ship's doctor, Ysdrl Urlla. She was a wonder with the autodoc and could repair any wound, or even regrow an entire body from a severed head! (Dirt was only one of the worlds we plundered, other worlds, the locals knew about the Ardanna Nuu and her crew would be caught in ambushes by the natives with devastating results for the natives.)

Urlla decided that when we visited Dirt again, she would drop the bio- filters. Luckily the pirate crew was entirely made up of Galactics, so any contagion would only spread amongst them. She hid the bio- filter white box in her secret locker down in Engineering.

We spent several months abducting Dirters as well as other goods. One of the Dirters showed signs of infection: His nose was red, he had watery eyes, his lungs expelled much mucus when he coughed. I heard him say "Wow, aliens and I've got the flew!" Fly he did into the ship, past the non-existent bio-filters and into the ship. He coughed and wheezed his contagion throughout the ship.

Within days of of him coming aboard, the weaker crew began to show signs of this disease. Massive quantities of mucus and phlegm formed in their nasal cavities and lungs. They drowned in their own bodily fluids. Other Galactics were more resilient, but in the end, of the forty crew aboard the Ardanna Nuu, only six survived. And they were getting better. Angered, Cragyl strangled Urlla with his own bare hands. He would have killed me as well, but I hid.

Together with the Greevals, we hatched a plan: We would revive some of the Dirters, arm them and let them kill off the crew. We were able to bypass the locks on five of the stasis tubes and decanted a ragged bunch of Dirters, their skin bright neon orange with a UV glow, all body hair removed and a Ng^gatz slave barcode on their foreheads.

We clothed them in some coveralls I made in the tailor and armed them with weapons I had been able to secrete in my cabin.

While they were discussing their fate, two of the crew saw us in the cargo area. One ran back updeck to the rest of the crew and the other tried to confront us.

The Dirters proved very capable and incinerated him with a hand flamer. I then told them to go after the rest of the crew. While this happened, I and the Greevals took cover. Let the Dirters do what Dirters do best: Kill.

After the all clear was given, I went updeck and found more dead crew and... Sorrow! The captain's log book incinerated! I had felt a tremor earlier, so I ran to the navigation cube room and... Aiyeeee! All the cubes were scattered about the room! We are lost!

And even more trouble plagued us! The five Dirters were not chipped as crew! Our only hope was this world the captain had been heading for to retrieve some missing navigation cubes. From the way he talked, finding them would not be a problem, which made me think that he may have marooned a former crew member on this world.

I took the Dirters for a tour of the ship, I showed them the Tailor, the autodoc and then Food Service and dinning rooms. The large male Dirter was constantly invoking his deity and saying that he hated space. I do not know why.

The next morning we arrived at our destination, a cold iceball of a world the Dirters promptly named "Hoth".

We landed and the Dirters made some clothing using thermal cloth, as it was very cold outside. I had made a cold weather survival suit for myself.

We left the ship, leaving two Dirters behind to guard her. On the ground we found foot prints of one Galactic and five massive beasts! I fouled my survival suit at that sight! But the Dirters bade me to stay with them while they followed the tracks.

We stopped when the ground erupted in gout of snow, ice, and ferrocrete. We had found the marooned crew member, one Dakkel Shurnel, armed with a homemade railgun. His story was that he was a lift ball and FTL drive tech that had a falling out with Cragyl over the slavery issue. He felt that opening up trade with Dirt would be more profitable than abducting the locals. Cragyl was a bigot, "Primitives are only good for one thing: Slaves!"

The Dirters were able to convince Shurnel to join them, and he was able to bypass the security lockout on the crew chipping system. After some fiddling, one of the Dirters (they all look alike) figured out how to use the chipping system and soon the Dirters were all crew. They also worked out how to remove the orange coloration from their skin as well as restore their pelts to their heads using the autodoc.

Now Dakkel is trying to convince them to travel to the trade world Zemex, it is one of the destinations on the nav cube currently residing on the bridge...