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TOPIC: The Expanse

The Expanse 1 year 1 month ago #3902

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"You ready, dad?"

Peter looked at his father. Strange, he thought, to call a man who he hated for most of his life, "dad". A man who over the last few weeks hed'd come to respect and grow to trust and - dare he think it - love...

"I'm good - son."

Angelus looked at his son. He really has my eyes, he thought. Still feels odd to call this handsome, dignified man my son. Lucky.

They stood near the airlock, alone. Between them was a table, and upon the table was a bottle of Belter rum and two shot glasses and alongside the items, a small, ornate, wooden case.

Angelus, poured the rum into both glasses. Peter opened the case, and looked at his father.

"It was good of Johnson to allow us to do this here, undisturbed"

"Well son, Johnson is no fool. He gets it. Right or wrong, Pablo and a great number of Ascension fundamentally wanted the best for the OPA. Misguided though many might think, he fought for a cause - and gave his life not just for the OPA but for all of us. He at least deserves recognition for that"

"How do you think your next meeting will go?"

"I'm hopefully. Thatch, Reuben, Joe, Xiang, Doc and our actions, ultimately averted disaster. We stopped a passenger liner from exploding which could have caused a political trade war on a ridiculous scale. We stopped the spread of a unknown but deadly... thing, which could have killed billions. And, we been able to refocus a group of OPA extremists in the direction of doing things in a better way, by bring them back into the fold. We've done well. And Johnson knows it. And he knows - he owes us. Big. Time."

"True that."

"But, more importantly - I'm proud of you son. To have weathered the storms you've faced. To have looked at your past to better your - and now all - our futures. Getting Ascension to join the OPA more formally is a brilliant idea. And with you at the helm, they'll be able to do some serious good - and serious damage! But with more honourable intentions."

Peter frowned,

"Wasn't the road to Hell paved with good intentions?"

Angelus' eyes twinkled.

"That, son, is why I said honourable."

Peter smiled, and took from the case an foot-square paper sleeve. From the sleeve, he pulled out a flat, circular, black piece of plastic. He leant over the case, and from within it, raised a long strip of plastic slightly and placed the black plastic, flat down, back in the case. Slowly, he placed the plastic strip onto the furthest side of the black plastic and pressed a button on the side. The black plastic started to spin. And from the case, the sound of music came.

Angelus closed his eyes and raised his head. In his mind, memories of better times washed back. The haunting sound of trumpets gave way to a soulful baritone singing with expression and beauty.

"Otis Redding. Try A Little Tenderness. I introduced Pablo to this. I met your mother to this."

"I know dad. He told me. It was his favourite song. He said it reminded him of better times. Family. You - his brother. Mom - his sister. And, that, even when things are bad, if we at least try to be tender, things might turn out okay."

"Never a truer word spoken, son. Never a truer word spoken"

Peter took a glass from the table and raised it. "To Pablo Alonzo. The man who raised me."

"To Pablo", said Angelus. "The man I knew". Both necked the rum back.

Angelus pushed a button near the interior door of the airlock. On the other side of it, the exterior airlock door silently open and from the inside, out floated a silver urn, from which within seconds dispersed the ashes of some of Pablo's personal effects, retrieved form when they hastily left the Ascension base. As his body was lost in the explosion, these were the closest they has to representing his body.

With that, both men looked out at the ashes. Both men had taken different paths, but were now connected. And as the music played, they drank and laughed and cried and laughed. Into the night of space.
Last Edit: 1 year 1 month ago by Mr. B.
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The Expanse 1 year 1 month ago #3903

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Sorry better late than never...

Episode 6 - A Satisfying Climax

Thatch Panics and insist they leave straight away. Threatening to abandon the others until they manage to calm them down and appeal to his sense of duty. He insists if they are going in no one opens their suits for any reason and, if they do, they get left. He then says they should go through the cargo door to avoid going anywhere near the corpse. The doctor heads back to the ship for his sampling kit. Xiang accompanying him back out before Thatch gives the doctor a murderous glare as he even looks like taking a sample back onboard.

The cargo hold door was cracked. Inside were lots of crates of luxory items Ascension, like all terrorist groups before them, believing the black market was the best source of income. The other side of the hold, including several torpedo boxes like those found on Ceres, are covered in blue floating spores. Thatch pales once more and is grateful his suit self cleans...

They decide to leave Joe with the powerloader located in the hold to grab as much as the contraband as he can (ships are expensive to run) while the rest go back through the Airlock before the Q ship arrives. Thatch steeling himself to slide around the puddle and hack the lock. Once in they find the bases reactor to the right. An Ominous Blue glow coming from it and weird almost organic growths surround the containment vessel. Thatch refuses to go in and they continue further into the base.

They come across a medbay with a corpse that looks even more overgrown than the others. The doctor tries to find a way to access the logs but they are stored centrally. There is a dataport but to hook his terminal up Thatch would have to squeeze very close to the corpse. He tries but is unable to do so. His will not strong enough in front of such an alien threat.

Venturing further into the base, passing the living quarters they come to a long corridor with a few stategically placed boxes. Reuben on point instantly identifies this as an ambush but doesn't really care. He walks straight down the corridor rifle up then, when two of the crates spawn vacsuited gunmen, promptly blows the head off the first one.

After a short battle, where the doctor almost shoots Xiang, the group take out the three fugitives. Peter recognises one but the other two are unknown. To the right a short dark corridor leads to a crack in the ground several feet wide with a blue glow coming from beneath. Peter tells that down the corridor is Pablos private warehouse. The group turn back and carry on to what Peter tells them is the stations command centre.

They search the room and find that the power from the reactor is cut off. Using a powercell Thatch go's from terminal to terminal powering them up one by one and copying the data to their tablets for the rest to sift through. They discover the story of the base:

⦁ The Torpedoes and Stealth plate were delivered to their base on Ceres 8 months ago by the Scopuli with instructions not to be moved or used. All bore the Protogen logo
⦁ Terrorists being terrorists they ignore that and take them off base to the asteroid for their own uses (including the Black Lotus job).
⦁ 8 days ago one of the last Torpedo crates was opened but, instead of a nice shiny plasma torpedo it contained something else.
⦁ as the lid was lifted some sort of dispersal system sprayed everywhere, also firing out sharp needles to pierce any hazmat suits. this clearly was the source of the protomolecule.
⦁ It seems the plan was for the crate to be opened on Ceres and for the asteroid to become infected.
⦁ It was delivered before the Eros incident so this evidently was another part of the plan meaning Ascension unknowingly saved millions.
⦁ As time went on more and more of the base personnel became sick. The Gabriel (the Q-ship that we had spotted on an intercept course) was called back to base.
⦁ 6 days ago the PDC grid was set to shoot ANY incoming ships (friendly or not) and the message we received before the message saying to stay away was sent.
⦁ The last log is a video file of Pablo with a cargo trolley hugging two vacsuited brethren before entering the last room off the control centre with its large cargo. which Peter informs is Pablo's quarters.

Steeling themselves Thatch breaches the final door. Inside is the epitomy of opulence. Real wood panelling, warm lighting, expensive furniture and artwork... and a sealed medical pod, eminating an eirie Blue glow, hooked up to the device we saw Pablo wheeling in which Reuben quickly notes is a portable nuke.

Thatch stays in the doorway unable go go closer while Angelus, Xiang and Victor inspect the pod. Inside is Pablo, but a pablo looking younger than even the 6 day old video shows. The pod is FULL of blue firelights fromt he protomolecule. Xiang at go's to open it but Thatch tells him to stop. Angelus calls out Pablo's name and, despite it being a completely sealed pod, Pablo's eyes open.
He looks at the three and they are all suddenly flung backwards. HARD. The doctor ending up in the toilet as Xiang and Angelus bounce off the opposite walls. Angelus continues to try and get through to Pablo, getting nowhere until he mentions Peter (who is still hiding by the doorway by the big "brave" ex marines").
Angelus gets a string of images of Peter growing up, of hope, of love. Then an image of the nuke. He asks Reuben to get forward and look at it. Against every fibre of his being he does and, even though he enters Pablos eyeline, for once he is not flung back. Reuben works on the Nuke (a new experience for him) and finds it was linked to he life support of the pod. He manages to set a timer on it for 30 minutes, Pablo never stopping them, his wishes clear.

The group hustle off the station just as Joe finishes loading the rest of the booty then fly away at high speed. 10 minute out there is a flash and hehind them LV423 -beta ceases to exist. However the Gabriel is still out there and turns to intercept them. Velocity and the laws of momentum meaning we'll not be able to escape without coming into range.

They ignore all attempts to hail them so the crew fire their sole torpedo. Thatch doing some magic to get it through their ECM as the torpedo strikes deep amidships and explodes. Angelus brings them around coming into PDC range where Reuben comes into his own, shredding their ship before htey finally surrender.

The group is hailed. Peter knows them and we explain what has happened. They ask who is in charge and, after looking at his nodding father, Peter replies "I am".

Key facts
⦁ Ascension is done. Peter is now in charge of the remnants
⦁ Fucking blue shit!
⦁ Ziang still didn't get to stab anyone with his sword.
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The Expanse 1 year 1 month ago #3904

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Great game Sant! Definitely would like to be involved again. An early Rotation next year perhaps...?! ;)
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The Expanse 1 year 1 month ago #3905

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Apologies all. love the genre and was enjoying the game... regrettably work and personal stuff interfered with play!

be great to have another go next year.
Red Wine should always be opened and allowed to breathe....

if it doesn't apply mouth to bottle resuscitation.
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The Expanse 1 year 1 month ago #4008

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Episode 7 - The Lesser of Two evils (I was going to to with Chinese Takeaway but thought that might be a bit on the nose).

After the effective destruction of Ascension there is a pause. The Party splits with Angelus and his Son heading parting ways temporarily while the rest of the crew, with a very unhappy Thatch, head to Ceres for repairs.

Thatch is unhappy because the Good doctor,without telling anyone, decided to take himself a sample of the blue glowy stuff that they just nuked an Asteroid to get rid of onboard their ship in a thermos. After being talked down from throwing both Said thermos AND The doctor out the airlock he moves quarters to as far away from the medlab as possible.

As repairs are underway at Ceres they are visited by none other than Anderson Dawes both congratulating them on their "service to the belt" and digging for more information. The crew give him short shrift. They do a few jobs to pass the time and to keep the ship running but the doctor soon realises he is out of his depth when every containment vessel he puts around the protomolecule is breached leading to more and more layers being added in a weird anti- russian doll kind of way. He eventually admits to the group he's out of his deptha nd if they don't get it off they'll lose the ship.

Unbeknownst to the others, feeling some of his old loyalty, Thatch sent an anonymous report of what happened on L423 Beta, that there was more protomolecule, that Protogen was involved and the disperal system found to the UN Navy. He encrypts it with a UN cypher that was at least current when he last served that might help it stand out amongst the many prank messages they must receive. He pointedly does NOT mention that a sample was kept.

While this is going on Angelus has travelled to Tycho station and met with the fabled Fred Johnson. Fred casually lets slip in conversation that he has a sample of the protomolecule and Angelus does likewise. Fred offers to take the protomolecule and store it.

A long and detailed conversation followed but the outcome was:
⦁ Victor and Angelus wanted to give the sample to Fred in exchange for services and payment
⦁ Reuben wanted to give it to Mars
⦁ Thatch originally wanted to burn it in the Sun until, upon hearing Johnson already had a sample and that Jim Holden had given it him, changed to give it to Fred on the basis he already has some.
⦁ Ziang Didn't give a fuck.
⦁ Joe was probably off fucking up another torpedo or something

In the end the sample was given to Fred in exchange for a full refit of the Promethion, new ID's for everyone, several transpoder codes to use, a full set of PDC rounds and free repairs, a shed load of torpedoes and a promise of future work. Drummer, acting on Fred's behalf, agreed to everything with Angelus having responsibility for the groups future conduct.

Several weeks later (and several months after L423 Beta was nuked) The Refit is complete and the first of the promised work comes up. Drummer asks the group to head to Tranquility 5, a well known Asteroid resort for the Wealthy to meet with one of their agents (Miguel) that has sent a distress signal saying there has been an incident, he has 20 survivors on board his small pinnace (Freebird) with air being rationed and batteries fading fast. His drive is shot.

The crew quickly get the ship ready, taking on board emergency supplies and netting to help stow anyone they can't find a crash couch for. On the way they get a briefing on the place. Officially it's a posh resort for business deals to be completed, unofficially it's gambling, slave trade and people trafficking.

The crew do a heavy burn to get there as fast as possible and quickly dock with the Pinnance as soon as they arrive. AS teh survivors are bought over for the Doc to check on Ziang recognises a large Asian man called Tito accompanied by a very pale Asian Female called Sensi from his previous dealings in the old countries shadier elements. Ziang takes them aside when they board the ship. They tell him they were there to sell information to a Hugo Lazlo, our good doctors missing brother! (Overly Dramatic Prairiedog!)

Hugo was buying the schematics to the Martian half of the Callisto Shipyards. Once the transaction was complete Hugo left the base advising Tito he should do the same, Tito ignored him and went to the casino instead. Two hours later something hit the Asteroid so hard it shattered it, only being in the Casino near the docks saved Tito's life.

While Ziang is learning this Angelus,who is watching the scanners from the pilots chair, spots three Martian Pattern Pinnaces coming towards the docked ships. He sends out the alert and Thatch rushes up while the doctor and Joe get everyone fastened in. The Pinnaces ignore any attempts to Hail them so as soon as the last person is off they cut the Pinnace loose and Angelus burns away trying to outrun the Pinnaces but hampered by Gravity and the survivors not yet being fully strapped in. Thatch then says "Wait. We're in a Fucking Frigate. Why are we running away from three barely armed Pinnaces again?" At That Angelus flips the ship to face them....

To be continued in Rotation 6!
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The Expanse 11 months 3 days ago #4285

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A life on Basic never felt right. Basic was for losers and low life, for those who couldn’t be bothered to better themselves. The fact that he was born into a middle class family and notwithstanding some social catastrophe would never see the bottom of a bowl of rice cooked on a street corner among the filth and detritus was lost to him, as was a drive to make the most of his class and privileges it afforded him.

A few years ago he lounged around the apartment, skulking away from the farewells, and well wishing that was going on in the lounge area, as his brother prepared to take his first trip up the well to a scientific posting on Luna. Ignoring the calls from his mother to come wish his brother god’s speed, he cycled the door closed and settled in to more of his VR world, where he beat on the homeless and partied with digital girls. In his mind he was better than them, and what the fuck did his brother do anyway to deserve all that attention?

The news of his father’s posting halfway across the globe took a few days to sink in. A few days after that his mother questioned him on where he was going to live when his father and her moved out. He stared in panic as the realization hit him of what they were saying in unspoken terms. Get your lazy good for nothing bones a purpose and find somewhere to live, because we are going, you will be on your own.

For days he lounged around the community, browsed work assignments, balking at the hours. He was too good for these kind of jobs.

A week before his parents left, a family meeting was convened. Serious faces looked across the table at him as he picked at his nails, and chewed on his favorite flavored gum. He looked down as his scruffy shorts, and then over the table at the stranger that was his father, impeccably dressed in a lounge suit even at this early hour. His father pushed a data pad across the Plexiglas towards him before leaving with his mother, who wiped away her tears as they exited the habitation into the clear, crisp autumn air of Idaho, his father’s arm comforting her as they went.

He stared at the pad for a few minutes, then went to the larder, his mother always bought fresh, and disliked the manufactured texture of synthetic food. Opening the door his shoulder sank as he picked out the last remaining tin of chicken in an otherwise bare cupboard. Rolling it over he checked the date on the base, 3 months out of date. Turning he threw it across the room without a thought to its trajectory, clattering into a framed picture of him and his brother in their younger years, he watched in slow motion as the frame impacted the decorative stone floor, shattering into tiny slivers if sparkling ice.

The deeds to the small apartment downtown, encrypted on the data-pad blinked up at him when he pressed his thumb to the sensor. The apartment would probably raise just enough money, if he could talk to the right broker.

His eye wasn’t as swollen today, and his cracked rib was almost healed. He looked in the mirror and checked his days of growth, before reaching for a razor. Missy called from the bed for him to return to their lovemaking, and to bring some more dust, she felt it was wearing off and couldn't see a way to get through the day dealing with her shitty bossmang without it. He looked down at the opened transit case, the hundred or so vials of pink dust nestled into their own slots in the foam. Just another skim off the top, Alfonse would never know, then he would go to the Medina and complete the deal. A small doubt crossed his mind as he wondered if the vial he sold to the tall man in the alley on his way home to pay for some food was a good idea. He looked down again at the number of vials, smiled, assuring himself, as he always did, that it would be no sweat. He grabbed a vial and headed into the bedroom, patting the lather from his freshly shaved face.

He’d never experienced deafness before. Or tinnitus, but an exploding doorway will do that to you every time. An invisible sledgehammer thumped him in the chest and as he moved backwards and down supported on nothing but expanded hot air laced with slivers of door he saw the figures brandishing pistols rush into the room at just about the same time as his back crunched against the wall and his head lost the battle with the shelf above it, and with it, blackness came.

The Loca Griega, on every corner, in every brothel, and now, in a way, standing over him shouting spittle flecked rage into his dysfunctional lobes, picking him up, dragging him, muffled sounds, was his head bleeding? Can I have some chicken?

The floor of the room was cold, and he couldn't move his head. After a moment he opened his eyes and tried to lift his angle of vision The floor tugged at his cheek, welded in place by drying blood. At the far end of the room two figures gesticulated and spoke beneath a flickering light. His ears still didn't feel right but he was able to make out words like confiscated, lost, script, debt and arrangement. One of the figures left. The other casually walked towards him with a pistol in one hand. This was it. A young boy with curly black shoulder length hair not a day over 14, lent down. He spoke and he listened, watching the movements of his tattooed throat as the words tumbled into his brain, ‘So Wellwalla, you lost the dust sa sa, you got debt bigger than you know. That ok now you ke? Bossmang pay your Loca debt, now mista Lazlo, you owned by us sa sa? Now get the fuck up si?’
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Vic - Tue 4 Aug - 16:32

How is everyone

Candi - Tue 4 Aug - 14:42

Hell Yeah, floor 22 here i come! I eldritch blast repeatedly til i get there "Hello Misfire!... i mean Mad Mage!"

Sarge - Tue 4 Aug - 10:54

Yes, mad mage on this Thursday

Candi - Sat 1 Aug - 23:25

Sooo, Mad mage still on this Thursday? Garuda delayed Odyessey start til 20th

mikeawmids - Sat 25 Jul - 12:57

Reminder to all that R5 begins 13/08/2020.

mikeawmids - Thu 23 Jul - 13:50

Is anyone coming tonight who was not there last week?

Sarge - Thu 9 Jul - 14:47

As a reminder, the coronation club opens at 7.30pm

TheRanger - Thu 9 Jul - 12:52

I wont be attending tonight. Wont be till August now. Due to me still shielding

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