Bloodeye and his nascent group steal a Fralthi-II class Cruiser from the T'Kon H'hra Facility.
Ordinarily, each mission in the campaign begins with a chunk of prologue text. As this prologue is designed to advance the plot of the campaign, it should either be read to the players or read by the players themselves (if they can do so without looking ahead to the events of the mission itself). For this initial mission, the GM is welcome to have the group do a little bit of roleplaying first if they so choose. If they choose not to do so at this time, they can go ahead and skip ahead to the Prologue.
Several of the player characters were asked by Arrah Sutaghi to come to a meeting at his quarters at a certain time. The invited group includes Thrakyaga/Quartermaster, Knav'qith/Ship's Pilot, Ku'a K'le/Negotiator, K'chodyapaki/Navigator, B'de/Engineer, and Nagkilin/Pirate. Le'a'he/Warrior Bard has come along with his friend K'chodyapaki/Navigator, having managed to sneak through the security checkpoint while K'chodyapaki/Navigator distracted him. Any other characters that were created by the players themselves may also have been "invited". It's important to note that the characters of Irgu/Machinist, Najekh/Scout, Dya'a'ji/Infiltrator, Mo/Doctor, Qith'rakoth/Scholar, Naj'bakdor/Pilot and Qith'raklerx/Priest were not invited to this initial meeting, and won't be in attendance. Gux'a P'nt/XO will be in attendance, of course; he has welcomed Le'a'he/Warrior Bard into the group though he is concerned because A) Gux'a P'nt/XO hasn't met him before this meeting and B) he knows that sneaking through a security checkpoint can get a kil into serious trouble; in this case it could blow the whole mission before it even begins. Bloodeye arrived earlier and is waiting in an adjacent room to be introduced later.
Gux'a P'nt/XO promised food for the invited group and he has delivered - primarily rux'fra, a type of jerky made predominantly from traditional Kilrathi prey animals (though unconventional meats - such as Terran meat - are not uncommon). The assembled group is liable to be appreciative of the gesture, though some of them were hoping that the fare would be slightly more than that (and include fresh meat). After the meal, the members of the assembled group will be encouraged to introduce themselves to one another. To help facilitate the discussion, the GM may choose to share the following pieces of information ahead of the initial game session with the players controlling the given characters:
- Gux'a P'nt/XO: You are understandably anxious right now; you've got a lot riding on this meeting, more so than almost anyone else in the room. You know that if any of the Kilrathi gathered in this room decide to not go along with the plan, you'll have to arrange for their disappearance - lest they report you to the authorities in a misguided hope for some kind of reward and you'll get to move in with the rest of the station's Kilrathi residents. You invited your friend Uzik Qarg (Thrakyaga/Quartermaster) because he is a fierce fighter, though you think he might be trying to hide a recent injury at the moment. Kal Knav'qith dai Knavska (Knav'qith/Ship's Pilot) is an experienced capital ship pilot with a lot of combat experience, Kal Dakut'he Ki'ra (K'chodyapaki/Navigator) is also an experienced capital ship pilot, and you know used to pilot ships as large as the ship you're planning to propose that the group steal. You weren't really interested in having Kal Kor laq Stra'a (Ku'a K'le/Negotiator) on the team as much as you wanted his lair-mate Sa'ki, a noted healer, on the team; unfortunately her involvement won't be possible without his owing to their circumstances. Kal Kor will at least be of some use as a fighter - only one Kilrathi has ever taken on four fully-grown nagga and lived to tell the tale, and he's sitting pompously in one corner of the room. Oth nar Qith'rakar (B'de/Engineer) is a very talented mechanic - having served on ships of the Hakaga-class during his career - and will be essential to the operation's success. Rounding out the invited group is Eldorin Kur'u'tak (Nagkilin/Pirate), who is unique among the group in that he has been a pirate for most of his life, and whom you wanted on the team as a resident expert, though considering how inebriated he is at the moment you are second-guessing yourself as to whether or not adding him to the mix was a good idea. Hakiratakav Dairasakdu (Le'a'he/Warrior Bard) was not invited to come but is here anyway, and you're hoping you'll be able to convince him to join up just to keep him quiet about the meeting.
- Thrakyaga/Quartermaster: You aren't quite sure why you're here at this meeting - You were contacted by your friend Arrah Sutaghi just a few hours ago after your last gladiatorial match (in which you were mildly injured (62 HP/40 NHP/1 wound)), who had a cryptic message saying something about a possible job. You aren't too terribly concerned about your injury though you suspect it may be worse than it looks; you are worried that the female doctor among the Kilrathi populace will cost more than you have to take a look at it. Sutaghi's been attempting to find steady work for you for some time now but it has almost never panned out, so you're trying not to be overly optimistic; you have noticed that your host seems anxious about something. You don't recognize that many of the other Kilrathi in the room except for the cyborg, who you've seen at the matches and don't really know personally - and who seems to be friends with another Kilrathi whose fur is missing from his right hand - and for the doctor's lair-mate, who has been sitting in stoic silence for most of the evening. Another pair of Kilrathi also seem to be friends, though nothing about them seems particularly distinct; one has the appearance of a nobleman but the mannerisms of a commoner, while the other has a strong voice. The remaining Kilrathi in the room appears to be somewhat inebriated, and when he talks his voice is loud and annoying. Prior to this evening, the last solid meal you ate was two days ago, so Arrah Sutaghi's rux'fra was welcome if somewhat inadequate to your needs. Your only possessions other than the clothes you are wearing are a blade (Fifth Class) and its sheath, both kept in a bedroll - all of which you had to fight for and always keep on your person. You currently have one credit to your name, which is still more than most Kilrathi living among the populace; you're saving it to purchase your next solid meal.
- Knav'qith/Ship's Pilot: You aren't quite sure why you're at this meeting - you were contacted by Arrah Sutaghi a few days ago, who said that your friend Oth nar Qith'rakar had mentioned the fact that the two of you were friends and that he was looking for an experienced pilot. You've flown everything ever manufactured by the Empire of Kilrah up to the size of a destroyer, though it has been years since you've flown anything and when you were flying you didn't have the same set of prosthetic limbs that you are forced to use now. You agreed to come to the meeting because the fact that he was looking for a pilot indicated to you that there was an opportunity to leave the hellhole you've been living in for the past four years - possibly a chance to finally go and seek revenge on Jith nar Qarg, the warlord that invaded your homeworld, killed your family and crippled you. You first met your host when he made his offer to you; looking at him now, you get the impression that he's nervous about something and have noticed him paying an inordinate amount of attention towards a strong-voiced Kilrathi, who seems to be here with that jerk who butted in and told Sutaghi that he was also a capital ship pilot at one time; looking at that commoner now, you wonder if there was really any truth about his claim that he had piloted large transport ships before. You haven't been able to discern what the two are talking about; your focus has been on your own conversation with your good friend Oth nar Qith'rakar - the Red Hand - who has been explaining to you some of the possible causes of recent problems you've been having with your prosthetics and possible solutions. Two Kilrathi are sitting in corners of the room. One appears to be a thrak'hra lord like yourself; he has been silent most of the evening and has a bored expression on his fact. The other is Uzik Qarg, whom you've seen fight in the station's underground gladiatorial matches before. You admire him and occasionally win money on his bouts, though since he is Qarg and you currently harbor ill-will towards his clan, you'd like to see him defeated someday. You were not able to attend his last fight. The remaining Kilrathi in the room is clearly intoxicated and starting to look like he might vomit all over the place at any moment. His voice got on your nerves almost immediately. You were grateful for the rux'fra - it had been three days since you'd last eaten and while it wasn't really enough to fully satiate you, you learned a long time ago that a pompous attitude will only cause you pain in this place (something the other thrak'hra hasn't learned, obviously, so you're forced to wonder how short his time on the station has been). Aside from the clothes you're wearing, you've got just short of hundred credits saved up; you've been pinching pennies to save enough for a ticket off the station, though you're still nowhere close to having what you need. You also have a cleaning kit for your prosthetic limbs (GM may use a Weapon Cleaning/Repair Kit for this purpose), which has been very well used and is nearly worn out. Your most precious possession is a Data Crystal, which contains a full chronicle of what the Qarg did on your world, and which you one day hope to present to the KAC Council on Pasqual in order to garner their support for a retaliatory strike.
- Ku'a K'le/Negotiator: You're here because your lair-mate told you to be here, and she told you in tones that made it clear she would brook no argument on the subject. She at least deigned to inform you why you had to be here - she had been asked by her old patient Gux'a P'nt, who has been supplying her with medicines for the station's populace, to have you come to this meeting to discuss work of some permanence. She said he hinted it was a chance to get off the station, something that you are very much interested in and the only reason why you haven't left already. You have genuine reason to leave the station - you would like to find out what has happened to your only remaining daughter, of whom you haven't heard anything in almost four years, and to reclaim your rightful place as the leader of a community on the planet the Terrans call "Chloe" in the system they call "Corsair". It's been five days since you were able to procure any work for yourself and your funds are, once again, starting to concern you greatly. You seem to be the only thrak'hra here; if there are others, they aren't behaving as such, and as a result you've made yourself reclusive - it's hard to shake the habits of a lifetime even after four years in a place where the lines between kilrah'hra and thrak'hra have been so badly blurred. At the moment, you're bored. Your host appears to be nervous about something, though you can't really discern what. Two of the Kilrathi present have significant physical defects - one is missing all the fur on his right hand, while the Kilrathi he is speaking to has a prosthetic arm and a prosthetic leg. You think he might have sought treatment from your wife at one point but you don't really remember. The two of them are speaking about something so technical that you cannot make heads or tails of it, though some of it sounds like medical terminology and you imagine your lair-mate might at least be familiar with some of the jargon being used. A large Kilrathi is sitting in one corner of the room; as a master hunter, it's obvious to you that this Kilrathi has been hurt recently and may still be trying to tend to his wounds, though he's not being very inconspicuous about it. You don't really give a good damn about what the other three kilrah'hra in the room are doing, though one is being a drunken boor and the thought has occurred to you more than once to end his pathetic life. Rux'fra has become the only food you have been eating for the past few years and you're thoroughly sick of it; you recognize the gesture involved but still wish the promised food had been something else - anything else. At the moment, you have fifteen credits to your name and the clothes on your back, and you and your lair-mate were able to procure working communicators, allowing you to remain in ready contact with one another (GM: use a Short-Range Communicator).
- K'chodyapaki/Navigator: You are pretty lucky to be here, to be honest; you were in among the general population of the station a few days ago when you heard your host speaking to another Kilrathi - the cyborg now talking to the kil with no fur on his right hand and occasionally glaring at you - about possible work piloting a large ship. Prior to that, you've never met either Kilrathi before then. In fact, you don't know anybody here besides your friend Hakiratakav "Le'a'he" Dairasakdu and he's only here because you asked him to be; you know what he wasn't invited to this meeting and are grateful that he is risking so much for your benefit. It's nice to have a true friend like him. You and he have been talking about a play that he is writing. Deep down, you know that it's about you, or rather about the life you've had - a thrak'hra third in line for leadership of clan Ki'ra, stolen at birth and raised as a kilrah'hra, rediscovered by your birth family and then unable to cope when forced to play the part of nobleman, and forced into a loveless marriage with a deceitful and manipulative kilav who has stolen your children. It's the kind of plotline playwrights could only dream about, and you wonder where Le'a'he will find an actor to portray you that, like you, is missing a fang (something nobody else present seems to have noticed). All you've wanted to do your entire life is to fly starships - you were briefly in the military prior to your rediscovery. Your host appears to be nervous and you hope he it isn't because you brought Le'a'he along. There are two impressive looking Kilrathi in each corner of the room, one another thrak'hra like yourself, the other a fierce looking kilra'hra. There's a cyborg in the room - you've always been fascinated and a little scared of Kilrathi with artificial limbs like his. He's talking to a kil with an old radiation scar on his right hand; the language is so technical that you have no idea what it is they're discussing. The last Kilrathi present is obviously drunk; you think he may have found a bottle while he's been dining with the rest of you. At least, you don't remember him coming to the meeting with that same bottle in hand. Your last meal was five days ago; you were particularly grateful for the rux'fra and would have preferred to have had more, but you understood that there were probably Kilrathi present who needed it as badly as you did, if not worse. Aside from the clothes on your back, you've got half-a-credit to your name. Your most prized possession is a hardcopy of the Fourth Codex - an actual book (GM: Use the stats for a Textbook) - which was the property of your lost love Balanorkthrak and the only thing of hers that is still in your possession.
- B'de/Engineer: You aren't entirely certain why you're at this meeting, but from the way you were approached about it you suspect that you're about to be offered a job that will take you off-station. Arrah Sutaghi, the supply officer that occasionally sends "misplaced" commodities your way, said that he was in need of an experienced capital ship engineer and asked you to be here after he delivered his last batch of supplies, and at the same time he asked whether or not you knew and trusted any Kilrathi with experience in capital ship piloting. You directed him to your friend Knav'qith dai Knavska; since he's here at this gathering and you're talking with him now, you assume that Sutaghi successfully contacted him. You are indeed an experienced engineer, having previously served as chief engineer aboard several ships - including a carrier of the Hakaga-class. You don't have much desire to leave the station necessarily owing to the fact that you failed in your duty to your liege-lord two years ago, though if the job involves food other than rux'fra, it might be worth it. You have been discussing with Knav'qith some issues that he's been having of late with his prosthetic limbs; you suspect that the limbs are simply worn out and need to be replaced, but given the unlikeihood of located a replacement for them in this place, you've been thinking about how you might go about extending their service life. You've largely missed the conversation going on between two kilra'hra also attending the meeting, though you have noticed that Sutaghi is paying a fair amount of attention to the one of them with the strong voice; Sutaghi for his own part appears nervous about something and he is making you a little uneasy. You've noticed that the large Kilrathi in one corner of the room seems to be wounded, and the other is the quintessential essence of a thrak'hra Lord. You haven't been paying attention to the drunk Kilrathi in the room, though you have noted the bottle of good-vintage Suk'har Maya that has magically appeared in his hands since his arrival. You've been living off of rux'fra for some time now and currently have ten pieces in your possession, the last two of which you earned in payment for building a bedframe for one of the station's residents several days ago. You've been living on one slice per day for a while now; Sutaghi's rux'fra is little more than a gesture of hospitality to you, but since it allows you to stretch out your rations a bit, you're happy for it. Aside from the clothes on your back and your rux'fra supply, you possess an Engineering Toolkit that Arrah Sutaghi was able to provide you with some time ago; you're out of mechanical lubricant but otherwise the toolkit is intact.
- Nagkilin/Pirate: You, my friend, came to the meeting half-drunk already, having consumed a fair amount of arakh earlier in the day. The bottle of Sukhar May'ya that you were delighted to find in your host's quarters and have been surreptitiously quaffing while the others weren't looking hasn't helped you sober up any, and the rux'fra you've just eaten is not sitting too well with you (GM: use third level Intoxication effects; Nagkilin has had seven drinks equivalent). You don't really know when the last time you ate was - you mainly thrive on smuggled ak'rah that you don't get caught pilfering off of others, and it largely sustains you these days. You were invited by Arrah Sutaghi - Gux'a P'nt his own self - to come to the meeting with the understanding that there'd be food and an opportunity for "something you've been dreaming of for a long time". You were disappointed that the food turned out to be rux'fra but a good number of the other Kilrathi around you appear to have needed it, so you've kept quiet on the topic. As to something you've wanted for a long time, the only thing you were able to come up with was that Gux'a P'nt was going to give you a ship, and you knew that wasn't within his power - and given the crowd around you, that seems increasingly unlikely. Your host looks nervous, probably about that one chap whose here and wasn't invited, the one talking about some dumbass story he's writing with some weak-looking fool in another portion of the room. There are a couple of freaks in the room - a cyborg and a guy with no hair on his right hand (obviously an old radiation wound); you haven't been able to discern heads nor tails of what the crap they're talking about - it's technical and you're drunk after all. The group is rounded out by two Kilrathi sitting by themselves in a couple of the room's corners, one trying not to bleed all over the place, the other behaving as if he were Sivar incarnate (typical pompous-ass thrak'hra fool). Aside from the clothes you are wearing and the pilfered bottle you are hiding, you have a case full of ak'rah leaves (about two dozen or so) as well as a small blade (Second Class) and its sheath hidden in your trousers, something that was given to you by your friends when you were young and your most prized possession (now that you've lost the ship that they gave you anyway...).
- Le'a'he/Warrior Bard: You are here at the behest of your friend Dakut'he Ki'ra, a fascinating fellow - who is technically a thrak'hra but was raised as kilrah'hra and has had the kind of tragic history that most playwrights like yourself can only dream of writing about. He's a shy fellow as a rule and wanted someone he knew to come with him. You yourself have had a tragic past - and chief among your secrets is the fact that you are utak, an untouchable person, something you've managed to hide from everyone for decades. You agreed to go with Ki'ra to the meeting even though it might cause both of you trouble down the road; Ki'ra had the authorizations needed to access the station's other decks but you did not, and you had to sneak past the guards at the checkpoint. You have never met your host before today and its obvious from his demeanor that he is anxious about your presence; you have been taking up much of his attention. You know that whatever is about to be discussed here must be of some importance, and if you didn't know that the kil in question was a supply officer aboard the station you might think he was about to propose something dangerous or illegal (or both). The others definitely look like an eclectic bunch; you've seen the large Kilrathi, Uzik Qarg, in the gladiator's ring before - you know he is a fierce fighter, and yet he seems to be nursing a wound at the moment. Two of the other Kilrathi in the room seem to have disabilities - one has most of the fur missing from his right hand, and the Kilrathi he's talking to seems to be a cyborg, with a prosthetic arm and limb. You would love to hear their stories if you get the opportunity. There's another Kilrathi sitting silently in the corner with a neutral expression who is clearly a thrak'hra lord, and one other Kilrathi in the room is the sloppiest drunk you've seen in quite some time. You noticed he's drinking a bottle of something that he definitely did not have when he came to the meeting. You and Dakut'he have been discussing the plot for a play you're writing, and you certainly hope that he hasn't figured out that its about his own tragic story. You learned a long time ago not to be ungrateful any time a meal is placed before you by another; the rux'fra you were served is pretty much a staple of your own diet at this point, and you ate your last slice only about three hours ago. You're not desperately seeking to leave the station, but you have given it some thought. Aside from the clothing you're wearing, you have on your person a PDA with about half-a-dozen unfinished plays on it and three slices of rux'fra, the latter of which was given by members of the audience in appreciation of your last performance.
After the group has had ample time to introduce themselves to one another, the GM should announce that Gux'a P'nt needs to leave the room for a moment, as there is one more Kilrathi who will be joining them that evening. After doing this, the GM can proceed into the text of the Prologue. The GM may either read the Prologue out loud to the group or have the players read the Prologue individually.
- Arrah Sutaghi's Quarters
- T'kon H'hra Military Salvage Yard, Level 12 Section C
- T'kon H'hra System, Sa'Khan Quadrant, Epsilon Sector
- 2680.115, 1303 Hours EST
|Bloodeye stood at Arrah Sutaghi's approach. He had been awaiting the latter's arrival in the Level 12 common room for roughly half an hour, during a period of the day when most of the station's Kilrathi employees were taking their lunch breaks. The original plan had been to hold their meeting later that evening, but when Sutaghi had found him this morning and told him what he'd found during his search of the station's records, he had agreed to the need to move up the timetable. The winds of fate had blown a particularly sweet blossom of the birha tree in their direction - but they would need to move quickly if they wished to catch it.||Gar'orq, Kayi, ja'lesh gar'danisduk, Arrah Sutaghi. Gar'dyakha'kdrish tajaq'jha dusovlan dubr'hutalan z'kar, ta esh idar erg, du'eshesh'esh'ga ja'lesh ko'a'igathrakKilrathi'dargbhu ha'kbhagarga'ulini ta uk. Ajniss'dyakha'k dyagarga'bhaktakhlan masoch dujha, qu gar'dyakbhakik durathrg daniseshaj, Kayi, ja'lesh gar'dyakiskgar ma'aich maks lebakgar ja'lhu gar'dyakisk du'esh gar'amstra ergda'iki'dargbhu, Sutaghi. Niskarhi'nakh'dyakdanisdaqiraknav'irgabirha ergdyapas dugarga'masdi, qu garga'h'ask hadanis eks desh garga'rashk badyagar.|
|He addressed Sutaghi calmly, suppressing the urge to flex his claws in nervousness. "So, what do you think?"||Gar'lekSutaghi k'les, panothrasharg korgar'naj favins adus. "Ja'lhu ri'adalpa?"|
|Sutaghi's tail flicked. "I will admit to being uncertain. The group has been gathered and I have fed them as you suggested, though my fare is no better than that of any other Kilrathi aboard the station. All whom I invited came, though one is present who was not invited. I do not know him, I don't know what his skills are, and I don't know how he will feel about what we're about to discuss, nor do I have any way of knowing how he will react to the discussion. I fear that he may have to be eliminated if he doesn't want to go along with our plan, and the thought of killing a fellow Kilrathi is giving me a sour stomach."||Gar'pakga'danisekink, Sutaghi. "Ni'h'aslehe mas ni'ha k'gri. Ahn'dyaha'kdyatahklank maks ni'dyagathuqgarga takhri'gathwinhalk, ja'lg'esh ni'uk'hav garamas erg g'Kilrathitakav dudargbhu. Ga'jaq ja'lhra ni'snatak, ja'lg'esh mang'hra'ha lanma mas hakavsnatak. Ni'avikgar, ni'avik ja'lhu gar'ikbhakili'ha, maks ni'avik ja'l gar'h'asdichodyapa ergja'lhu ek'h'aslerg, quv ni'adyah'di ergik ja'l gar'h'asgathle dulerg. Ni'hak'fa mas gai hhaguk desh gar'avrash dyatahklan ra ek'aj, maks si erguKilrathitakhkil gathnaidalharakhmer."|
|Bloodeye clenched his fist in understanding. "We take risk with all of these kili, but I think we should ask him to join the party as well. Nine pairs of eyes and hands offer slightly better odds of success than eight."||Gar'badyak gar'devanok dubhakil, Kayi. "Ek'bhamorawi ra ga'maikili, qu ni'dalpa mas kai harathgar dyatahklanahn. Hude'i nove erg yi'imaksde'i rashgathmo'i ergk'toth gara ok ins."|
|"I am forced to agree - especially since a proper skeleton crew would be four eights, and we will still have far less than that. Come then, Krahtagh N'Ryllis - it is time to introduce you to my acquaintances."||Ni'harathrgk bhaki - ta ergdyapas ko'a'i inthrakhe h'askha kesok, maks ek'h'asdya eshma inramas ma'gathrak. Jaq eshma, Krahtagh N'ryllis - gar'hesh jaqhranikrai du ni'hraniki."|
|Sutaghi turned to head back down the short corridor to his quarters and Bloodeye followed him, doing his best to calm his mind. He had considered how he was going to broach the topic of his social status. As a sa'guk, he would automatically rank lower than any other Kilrathi in the room, even those of the utak caste should there happen to be any - a very unlikely scenario but one Bloodeye could not automatically discount in this place. He had considered not telling the assembled group of his stigma at all, given that in all likelihood they would try to kill him as soon as they found out - especially if the topic was brought up too soon. And yet to not tell these Kilrathi, with whom he hoped he would be able to work, would be both dishonest and dishonorable to them. The topic would have to be broached carefully; Bloodeye had already determined that he shouldn't do so until after the assembled group had heard his proposal, which was where he focused his thoughts as the pair of Kilrathi reached the threshold to Sutaghi's quarters.||Gar'kork jaqdu talan didya'inma'in dugar'ulan, Sutaghi, maks gar'ahravkgar, Kayi, agar'kithrak k'legar'pa. Gar'dyaksak ja'l gar'ha'knis nislergsi erg gar'balanrakha - takh(dead meat), gar'h'askmang ko'l k'hrass inra g'Kilrathitakav dudai hukutav, takh g'masi'hra lanma ergthirakha(untouchable) - balandrishtak'kimohega qu uni mas gar'h'inavnistalan ko'l k'hrass dumalan, Kayi. Gar'dyaksak lebahndyatahklank va erggar'ork'skaxi duga, gathk mas dugakimohe garga'h'askh'in gugar ja'lesh garga'iskgar - ergdyapas desh si'ha'kl'eq jheshavga. Qu gar'h'askha ermaksk'rakh lebamaiKilrathi va, raja'lhra gar'rashthraq mas gar'h'askhah'in ko. Si hhanislergk radyapa; gar'dyakstrak duchur mas gai havama eshdugu jha ahndyatahklank'dyakelk gar'sih'in, Kayi, mas'ha'k ja'lan gar'dyapakakrokik gar'si'i takhKilrathi de jaqdijaqdu du ulan'Sutaghi.|
|Sutaghi entered with Bloodeye following close behind. "My fellow kili, I wish to introduce you to..."||Gar'jaqduk ra Kayi'ahrav ma'inthraks, Sutaghi. "Ni'kilitakhkil, ni'rash jaqhranikraiga du..."|
|"Krahtagh N'Ryllis," a kil with a strong voice interrupted, stopping Sutaghi dead in his tracks. "Also known as Krahtagh Sa'guk, depending on who you ask."||"Krahtagh N'Ryllis," kil rayelarg drishk, drishSutaghi k'rathrgs. "Iq maks takhgar, Krahtagh (dead meat), rathargin ja'lhra raiga'rath."|
|The tension in the room immediately became palpable. Sutaghi's face instantly curled up in a snarl, his fangs bared, and Bloodeye had to restrain himself from doing the same as his body froze in place just past the doorway's threshold. Kharang!, Bloodeye thought. So much for not broaching the topic first thing! How in nargrast was I recognized?||Hafinalk'jaq aiyvarg eshmathraks dudai hukutav. Gar'yin'kork eshmathraks dulelk maks gar'k'haf gar'naggai, Sutaghi, maks gar'ha'krathrgk drishgar'hra atakh takh gar'chokut'drishk lanma niskdijaqdu'br'shi anruni, Kayi. (Pus-blood!), gar'dalpak, Kayi. Thrak ta nislergsi va eshmathraks! Ja'l du(hell) ni'ha'ksak?|
|And yet as he looked upon the face of the one who had spoken, Bloodeye realized that he did know who this kil was - and his heart sank. Of all the scenarios he had envisioned of this moment, running into someone from the B'Shriss reservation hadn't been among them. The traggil has surely escaped the trap - best to get this over with, then.||Qu takh gar'diyai duyin erghra ja'lhra dyaklek, gar'sak mas gar'a'kik ja'lhra makil'ha'k, Kayi, maks gar'kahr'nistalank. Erg gabalandrishtai mas gar'dyakaiydudapak ergmeshinthrak, ismang'hra aqthalanB'Shriss dyakavha'k erggarga. Traggil'dyamgaqag hes - gar'hakithrak guma.|
|Bloodeye spoke evenly, his voice conveying annoyance but not hostility. "I recognize you as well. You were known as Le'a'he, the homeless warrior of Kilrah. I often enjoyed your performances during my time at B'shriss. To be honest, I had wondered what happened to you when you left the reservation three years ago. If I remember correctly, you are supposed to be dead..."||Gar'lek takhs, Kayi, gar'yel'bha alkinmaksk'sha. "Ni'sarai maks. Ri'ha'kiq takh (Speaker of Truth), siva'Kilrah k'rah. Ni'gathkik ri'lek'kori balanga du'eshni'esh duB'Shriss. Ha he, Ni'dyakdalpak ja'lhu'dyakbalank durai ja'lesh ri'nistalankthalan kesthaiduchur tre. Ri'habaktahek ha gu, desh ni'dalpadu hes...|
|The kil flicked an ear. "As are you, N'Ryllis."||Kil'danisekinkelal. "Takh ri'ha maks, N'Ryllis."|
|Another kil, who Bloodeye could tell from both his bearing and by the smoothness of his reddish-gold pelt was a thrak'hra Lord, stood up dangerously. His ears were flat against his skull and his claws were extended. His voice ground out of his throat with pure malice. "Sutaghi, explain yourself - why have you brought this thing into our presence?"||Kiluniga, ja'lhra gar'h'instra, Kayi, ha'k kalthrak'hra aq gar'diyin maks varg'gar'ya b'asj'a, orq ags. Gar'elali'ha'k varg duxgar'yuyothrak maks gar'naji'ha'q'hafk. Gar'yel'panothk aqgar'yai ragathkivgakut. "D'aiyri'hra, Sutaghi - ja'lra ri'dyadyamahu du ek'lanma?"|
|Bloodeye could see the pupils of Sutaghi's eyes momentarily widen in fear at the thrak'hra's tone, the fur on his tail stiffening. "I would allow our guest to explain that himself, if you will allow it, Lord Kor laq Stra'a. If all of you would allow it. I will say that he has my support as well as that of Lord Ra'Khaj nar Ghoran."||Gar'h'inaiy, Kayi, kn'hukori'gar'yi'i'da hudyaga eshinthraks duk'fa ergdikiquxi'(nobleman) maks ya'gar'pakga'da othk'kor, Sutaghi. "Ni'h'askgath ek'nisdu'a d'aiymas gar'hra, desh ri'h'asgathgar, Kal Kor laq Stra'a. Desh raiga'h'askgathgar. Ni'h'asle mas gar'dya ahagai'naimaksgai, Lord Ra'Khaj nar Ghoran."|
|The thrak'hra sneered, his voice dripping with derision. "Oh, so he has the support of that Kiranka fool, does he? Who among us here do you consider 'complicit in the destruction of Kilrathi honor', that we should have to suffer the company of a sa'guk, Sutaghi?"||(Nobleman)'diyai'suk, gar'yel'narukin rada'leki. "Sa, gar'adya ahagi'massu'hraKiranka? Ja'lhra ri'asa ergkai lanma 'dakonis dun'hakh ri'kahri ergrakhKilrathi', mas kai hadyachodyapakalk lanma'(dead meat), Sutaghi?"|
|Another kil stood and extended his claws, his bearing attempting to match the furor of the thrak'hra though coming well short. "If he's supported by the Kiranka, I want nothing to do with him."||Kiluniga'orq maks k'hafkgar'naji, gar'diyinh'in takhma'insalkgaga'(nobleman) ja'lg'esh jaqma'inthrakga va. "Desh gar'hahagaik rasKiranka, ni'rashk'g'hu a ragar."|
|The situation was rapidly deteriorating; several of the others now had their ears flattened, claws flexing in and out. The two that had stood up were starting to make their way towards the door. If I don't do something about this now, this will end before it even begins, Bloodeye thought. I need to reclaim everybody's attention on better terms...||Balan'ha'kdinra eks; takavigin'dyakdavargk garga'elali eshma, garga'naji k'hafmakshaf adus. De mas dyakorq ha'knis nis dubr'shi. Desh ni'avahumang eshma ergma, ma'h'asgu eshchur gar'nis duga, gar'dalpak, Kayi. Nai ha k'hardyapa'gahra dubalani kiga...|
|With a flash, Bloodeye drew his koractu from its sheath and held it at the ready, effectively blocking anyone from exiting the room. The two that had stood to leave already stopped in their tracks, surprised looks on their faces, their tails thrashing back and forth.||Rad'aiyek, gar'k'hafk gar'(curved blade) aqgar'vihaf maks dyakfar duj'k, drakg'hra dajaqguss aq nistalalndai hukutav, Kayi. De mas dyakorq nistalan duchur drisk hes radiyai'i ergk'rathrg dugarga'yini, garga'pakgai'dymgakalk nischurmaksnisjha.|
|Bloodeye addressed the assembled Kilrathi with conviction. "You were all gathered together to hear a proposal I have for you, a plan that, if it is successful, will allow all of us to leave this hellhole behind forever. I have not come all this way just to be denied an audience because of a fluke encounter with a random kil who just happens to know my social status. If I must, I will stand here until I collapse from exhaustion. But all of you will hear me out."||Gar'lek duKilrathidyatahklank radyalarg. "Riga'ha'kdyatahklank lanma elsih'in mas ni'dya taraiga, aj mas, desh gar'hak'toth, h'asgathga'kai nistalanmalanshi'nargrast nischur ragaeshga. Ni'dyavjaq mathrakma'ga anruni hagathavkbhatakhlan ta ergtubalanmo rakilajav ja'lhra'balan anruni ikni'balanrakha. Desh nai ha, ni'h'asork lanma eshdugu ni'dakekrgav aqdulsthrak. Qu riga'h'aselni'le'i."|
|Yet it did not look as though he would be afforded the chance. Several other Kilrathi rose to their feet, claws extended, tails thrashing in anger at having been spoken to by a known sa'guk. From their body language, Bloodeye could tell that they were getting ready to rush his position. Taking on two unarmed Kilrathi would've been simple enough, but six would definitely give him trouble - and that was assuming he wanted to harm these kil, which he most certainly did not. I may have overplayed my hand here, Bloodeye thought.||Qu gar'avdiyai takh desh gar'h'askhagathkmo. Kilrathitakavgin'orq dugarga'paki ra najik'hafk maks pakgai'dymgakalk du alk du dyaha'klek du ras(dead meat)iq. Aqtrathkh'garga'chokuti, gar'h'inleba mas garga'ha'kaj kr'gar'lan, Kayi. TuKilrathik'ajranik de h'askdyaha'kvarg dyahu, qu h'ks h'askgathgark'varg gris - maks mas'ha'kbaktahe mas gar'rashk gathkalkmaikili, mas gar'avk gathrakgris. Ni'h'indyada'kivaldyapa, gar'dalpak, Kayi.|
|The kili were prepared to pounce. Bloodeye tensed, mentally preparing to defend himself. And then - most unexpectedly - there was a chuckle.||Kili'ha'kaj'k jak. Gar'jaqvanorgk, Kayi, aj pass br'agar'hra. Jha - gathrakdrishtaks va - hu'ha'kleki'hin.|
|The sound had come from a large Kilrathi with jet black fur, who had not joined in the collective display of anger but rather had been sitting languidly in one corner of the room with his arms crossed. This kil now stood up and spoke, his voice deep and dangerous even in mirth. "It is a foolish thing for a known sa'guk to try and force his will upon other Kilrathi. Foolish, and yet undeniably very brave. I say we should honor this act of unmitigated gall by allowing this fool eight minutes to talk, and perhaps even listen to his words. And then kill him where he stands - and then perhaps kill you as well, Arrah Sutaghi."||El'jaq aqKilrathiga rakn'yagathrak, ja'lhrea dyakavdyatahklank vi'd'aiydyatakh ergalk qu dyakha'kvork k'kos duyintakhlan'dai hukutav uni ragar'alde'i'datakhma'gavk. Makil orqmakslek eshma, gar'yel inramaksag duleki anruni. "Gar'hahusu'hras ta(dead meat)iq h'inrathrg gar'parg duKilrathitakav. Su'hras, qu faga k'gathavs. Ni'le mas kai harakhma'a ergdik'alekik'dinrak ras gathmasu'hra le'a taesh'ini ok, maks el k'gris dugar'le'i. Maks jha gugar ja'lan gar'ork - maks jha gurai maks k'gris, Arrah Sutaghi."|
|Bloodeye didn't know whether to silently thank the large kil or not; whoever he was, his words obviously carried some weight among those gathered, and while his words didn't qualify as an endorsement by any definition of the word, he could see some hesitation in the reactions of those who only moments before had been ready to pounce on him. He had been given some time, which was exactly what he needed the most at that moment.||Gar'a'kik va desh gai hashrakilga k'les qu va; ja'lhrag'esh gar'hus'ha'k, gar'le'i'dyakgramang aiyvargs ergmasihradyatahklank, maks deshas gar'le'i'a'kaiydi va takhahagai rasg'si'le, gar'h'inaiyva'amang dugathle'i ergmasi ja'lhra dyakha'kaj'k jak dugar du eshinthraki eshchur anruni. Gar'dyakha'kgathkesh'mang, mas ha'k rothraks ja'lhu gar'rathrgk gathrak dumaseshinthrak.|
|"I agree with Uzik Qarg", Le'a'he agreed in a neutral tone. "I bear no ill-will towards this kil. Indeed, I have wanted to hear the tale of Krahtagh N'Ryllis for quite some time, since my days at B'Shriss. If this is to be my final opportunity to do so, I would hear his tale."||"Ni'bhaki ragar, Uzik Qarg", gar'bhakik dudikiquxiakva, Le'a'he. "Ni'dyagathkiva va dumakil. He, Ni'dyarashk elgar'lek'kor ta esh'mangga, Krahtagh N'Ryllis, aqesh ni'esh'gai duB'Shriss. Desh ma'ha ha ni'mothrak ama, ni'h'askel gar'lek'kor.|
|Bloodeye looked at Lord Kor, from whom the others were taking their behavioral cues as the most obvious authority figure present. "Must I speak with blade drawn, or may I sheathe it?"||Gar'diyaik, Kayi, dugar, Kal Kor, ras ja'lhra takav'hra'ha'kbha lerodyapai'ai takh ahagai'hra aiyvarggathrak lanma. "Nai hale raqith'raq'haf, qu ni'h'inhafgar?"|
|The nobleman paused, growled and then crossed his arms as he spoke, his tone no longer overtly hostile but still conveying irritation. "Speak. We will not leave. You may have your eight minutes, but no more."||Thrak'hra ulinkmakslelq, jha datakhma'gavkgar'alde'i deshas gar'le, gar'dikiquxi sha aiyvargs eshma va qu bhalkinga eshma. "Le. Ek'h'asavnistalan. Ri'h'indya ri'esh'ini ok, qu gara va."|
|Bloodeye wasted no time even as the assembled kili sat down grumpily, lowering his koractu from the guard position and putting it back in its sheath. "Thank you, Lord Kor laq Stra'a. I had intended to reveal my status as sa'guk to all of you in a much different manner and in my own time - and most certainly not before properly being introduced to each of you. But because all of you now know my shame, you should know the full story behind it before you try to kill me. It's a long tale, but I will try to complete it within eight minutes if I am able."||Gar'r'esh va takh kikidyatahklank'vorq alkss, Kayi, inragar'(curved blade) aq landrak maks jaqdugar duvihaf. "Shrarai, Kal Kor laq Stra'a. Ni'dyaaj'k k'hafni'balan takh(dead meat) duraiga du dik'takhga maks du esh'nai - maks gathrakgris va eshchur hajaqhraniq hes duraiga. Qu tariga'ik ni'harashav eshma, raiga ha'iklek'korgata eshchur riga'h'ingunai. Gar'halek'korma'ga, qu ni'h'ash'ingugar duda esh'ini ok desh ni'hah'in.|
|"You have seven minutes and forty-five seconds, sa'guk.", the nobleman growled.||"Ri'dya esh'ini h'p maks esh'inini p'ntp'ntok, (dead meat)," thrak'hra'lelq.|
|And so for the third time in a week, Bloodeye found himself once again telling his story: who he used to be before the end of the War, his master's intention to petition the Emperor to make him a recognized master of blades, his vow of eshchurgu, the unknown quest and his master's death, and the grudge that Lord Thavidaqut held against him that had cemented his shame and dishonor. He also told them of his relationship to Lord Ra'Khaj and how it had been his suggestion to come to T'kon H'hra for his purpose.||Takhjaqgu ta esh tar du esh'gai ok, gar'isk gar'hra lebagar'lek'kor unidu'du, Kayi: ja'lhra gar'ha'k eshchurgu'Siv, aj'gar'laq rathrginRag'nith dagar laq qith'rak sak, gar'kir'kha erg(before death), konisk'iq maks gu'gar'laq, maks alk mas gar'dyak, Kal Thavidaqut, duxgar, Kayi, mas dagrik gai harashavmaksk'rakh. Gar'lebakgarga, Kayi, maks erggar'dyatahklan dugar maks ja'l gar'dyakha'k gar'gathwinhal jaq duT'Kon H'hra tagar'aj, Kal Ra'Khaj.|
|Bloodeye ended his tale in the time allotted him with but a few seconds to spare. "...and so now you all know my story. Whether you choose to believe it or not is your concern. If not, kill me and be done with it; my sword is of some value, and one of you may gain from its trade enough rux'fra to feed yourself for a few days. If you do believe me, however, I would ask all of you to hear the rest of my proposal."||Gar'gukgar'lek'kor du eshgathk dugar ra esh'ininimangin'lanesh anruni, Kayi. "...maks takhjaqgu tiga'ikni'lek'kor eshma. Deshquva riga'winhal baktahegar hariga'dyapa. Desh va, gunai maks hagatak ragar; ni'qith'rak'dyarashromang, maks uni ergraiga h'inbha(jerky) dyahu aqgar'gathvi gathukri'hra ta esh'gaimangin. Desh riga'abaktahenai, ja'lg'esh, ni'h'askrathraiga ellanesh ergni'sih'in."|
|The room was silent. Bloodeye glanced at the faces of the kili who just minutes before had been ready to take his life without any questions asked. Most of their expressions were far less hostile than they had been when he began to tell his tale; it was clear that they understood that the reasons behind his stigma were unfounded and that he had been deeply wronged by the leaders of his clan. Uzik Qarg's face had remained stoically fixed the entire time Bloodeye had been telling his tale, and even now the large kil was not betraying his emotions.||Dai hukutav'ha'q'le. Gar'diyaik eks duyini'kili ja'lhra dyakha'kaj'k esh'ini eshchur anruni bhagar'vu r'av g'rathi'rathk. Gathrak erggarga'diyini ha'kshaga inra garga'dyakha'k ja'lesh gar'nis lebagar'lek'kor; gar'ha'k aiyvarg mas garga'bhakilk mas konis tagar'ork'skaxi ha'q'dabhaki maks mas gar'dyakha'kivk inras rasahri'gar'nar. Gar'yin'dyaklaneshk landu dichodyapavs ta eshgata, Uzik Qarg, mas gar'dyakha'kleba gar'lek'kor, Kayi, maks kilga'hakavk'la gar'dichodyapai eshmatakh.|
|Lord Kor laq Stra'a's face was the only one that still bore a look of contempt, which was reflected in his tone when he shattered the room's silence. "So you say that your master was petitioning the Emperor to make you a master. As a master myself, I find that very notion offensive. How do we even know you are worthy of the title? Do you expect us to take you at your so-called word? What proof do you bring us of your skill?||Gar'yin'ha'k uni anruni mas'dyakdiyai eshma ergsu, mas ha'ktakhma'insk dugar'dikiquxi ja'lesh gar'r'inrgq'le'dai hukutav. "Konis ri'le mas ri'laq'ha'k rathrginRag'nith darai laq. Takhlaq ni'hra, ni'ismassi gathxiga. Ja'l ek'a iktakh mas ri'harashs erghus? Ri'adrishtakai baktaherai duri'letakhkle? Ja'lhu ikheri ri'adyakai erg ri'ikbhakil?|
|Uzik Qarg's ears flicked; he turned to face Bloodeye. "It's a fair question that Lord Kor asks. What proof do you bring of your skill?"||Gar'elali'danisekink, Uzik Qarg; gar'kork maks diyaik duKayi. "Gar'harathkuthe'ha maks gar'rath, Kal Kor. Ja'lhu ikheri ri'adyakai erg ri'ikbhakil?"|
|Bloodeye frowned. "What proof can I bring that would be satisfactory to all of you?"||Gar'yinbrajk, Kayi. "Ja'lhu ikheri ni'h'indya mas'h'inruraiga?"|
|"Indeed. Draw your blade."||"He. K'hafri'qith'rak."|
|Bloodeye looked Uzik Qarg in the eye, calmly drawing his koractu and holding it in the ready position. The Qarg returned Bloodeye's gaze, reaching for something on his back with his right hand; Bloodeye thought he saw the large kil wince momentarily at the movement. From a hidden scabbard, Qarg produced a large knife and moved it into an approximation of a ready position. The other kili in the room got up from where they were sitting and backed up to the room's walls.||Gar'diyaik duyi'Uzik Qarg, Kayi, k'hafgar'(curved blade) k'les maks dyagar dulanaj'k. Gar'jaqdukdiyairg'Kayi, Qarg, aliba tahumang dugar'hudyachur ragar'dud; gar'dalpak mas gar'aiyqilga diyaikalk eshinthraks dudanis, Kayi. Aqvihafhaf, gar'd'aiyqith'rakga maks daniskgar dubaktahe erglanaj'k, Qarg. Kilitakav dudai hukutav orqmaksdanisk aq ja'lan garga'havork du br'hu'i'dai hukutav.|
|Bloodeye glanced at the blade in front of him. It was a common durasteel defense blade, no more than a zo'armak in length with a birha handle. It had obviously seen a great deal of action; the handle had been stained red from frequent use and it was worn down to the tang in a few places. The tip of the blade had been broken off at some point and there were various nicks and grooves along the cutting edges. The fact that Qarg still used it as a weapon showed either how often he needed one or how strong he was: certainly it wouldn't be the blade itself that did any measure of cutting.||Gar'diyaik eks duqith'rak nisjha erggar, Kayi. Gar'ha'kqith'rakbrawiqithargro, gara(fifteen centimeters) va duma'ga ralandyabirha. Gar'dyakaiykmangthrak aiyvargs ergdal - landya'dyakha'korks'aiyxik b'a aqdalbalanga maks gar'ha'kr'ink dunisqith'rak dulanimangin. Guthrak'qith'rak'dyakha'kr'ink du eshmang maks hu'ha'k shu'inik'takhmaksinrai'i ma'inthrakyinishu. He mas gar'dalkgar eshma takhrani d'aiyk qu ja'lgabalanga gar'rathrgkrani qu ja'lgarg gar'ha'k: Gar'h'askavhaqith'rak gar'hra gris mas a'kg'mang ergshu.|
|Compared to his own sword - which he always kept in immaculate condition - Bloodeye realized that he would have an overwhelming advantage in the challenge that Qarg was clearly offering. "Defeating you while you wield that blade would be no challenge, Uzik Qarg."||Matakhk dugar'qith'rak - mas gar'drak eshga dubalankutga - gar'jaqdyapak mas gar'h'askdyak'tothsa'kigathk'fa, Kayi, duk'tothmo mas gar'ha'krashgath aiyvargs, Qarg. "Tothrai deshas ri'dyamasqith'rak h'askavhak'tothmo, Uzik Qarg."|
|The large kil smiled slowly. "You are correct. Show us then whether you are indeed a master or a mere sa'guk. Fight me with my blade, while I fight you with yours."||Kilga'yinahkik v'eks. "Ri'hahe. D'yaikai eshma desh ri'halaq hes qu (dead meat) anruni. Tunai rani'qith'rak, deshas ni'turai rarai."|
|Now that might just prove something to somebody, Bloodeye thought glumly. He clenched his right fist to signal his understanding of the conditions of the challenge to his opponent, then offered the blade to Qarg in the traditional manner - holding the sword by the base of its hilt with the sharp edge above his arm - hoping that Qarg could be trusted enough not to slice his arm off and cursing - as he had many times before - certain aspects of Kilrathi tradition. Qarg accepted the sword with a firm grasp and respectfully handed over his blade in a similar manner, not availing himself of the opportunity to breach etiquette.||Eshma mas'h'inikherihu anruni dumang'hra, gar'dalpak mers, Kayi. Gar'badyakgar'devanokud d'aiygar'bhakil ergbalani'k'tothmo dugar'sha'in, jha rashgathkQarg qith'rak dudirads - dyaqith'rak ma'inthrakgulandya'gar'landya rayinkuvarg garagar'alde - rashthrak mas Qard'h'inhadyalak dyahu shu'ekgar'alde talan va maks kir'xhasai ergdyapa ergradsKilrathi, takh gar'dyaka'k balaniga eshchureshma.|
|Qarg growled, raising the sword to a ready position. Bloodeye tested the feel of the ersatz knife in his hand. Not very well-balanced, he thought. As if keeping up a good defense with this blade isn't going to be hard enough...||Gar'lelq maks nisdukqith'rak dulanaj'k, Qarg. Gar'k'tothmokchodyapa ergletakhkqith'rak dugar'de, Kayi. Gar'havtakhgraqiga, gar'dalpak. Takhdesh drabrawiki ramaqith'rak hakavhak'varg dyahu...|
|Bloodeye widened his stance, held the blade at the ready, and roared, fangs bared. Qarg roared back and lunged, launching a ferocious series of swings. Bloodeye kept his eye on his opponent, evading blow after blow, realizing quickly that Qarg meant to kill him if he could.||Gar'd'akhudyaga gar'di'ork, dyakqith'rak duaj'k maks lekarhgak ra gar'naggai'k'hafk, Kayi. Gar'jaqduklekarhga maks jaq, haganaskakotakhlanso ergdaki, Qarg. Gar'dyapaiyk gar'sha'in, Kayi, amgaqdakiga, jaqdyapa eks mas gar'ajk gugar, Qarg, desh gar'h'inama.|
|Though he was a fierce fighter, it quickly became apparent to Bloodeye that Qarg wasn't experienced with a koractu; he fought close-in, not using the blade's longer reach to his advantage as a more experienced fighter would have. It would've been a fatal mistake for Qarg had Bloodeye wanted to kill him; it would be the other Kilrathi's inexperience with the longer blade that would allow Bloodeye to spare his life.||Ja'lg'esh gar'hatu'aso, gar'jaq sa eks duKayi mas gar'hakavikgak ra(curved blade), Qarg; gar'tuk ma'inthraks, dalma'gama'gaga'qith'rak va dugar'k'tothsa'ki takhtu'a'h'aska raikgaga, Qarg. Gar'h'askdyaha'kivalgus tagar desh Kayi'rashk gugar, Qarg; gar'h'askhak'ikga'Kilrathitakav raqith'rakma'gaga mas h'askgathKayi gathhargar'vu.|
|Qarg lunged forward with the blade. Bloodeye brought the dull point of the knife on the inside of the koractu, stepped in and managed to wrap up the larger blade, then jerked; the koractu flew out of Qarg's hand. Moving quickly while the large warrior was still reacting to what had just happened, Bloodeye punched Qarg in the gut, causing the larger warrior to double over in pain. Wasting no time, Bloodeye pinned down Qarg's blade arm behind his back and brought the dull blade up to the large warrior's neck. The entire fight had lasted no longer than thirty seconds.||Gar'jaq nisjha raqith'rak, Qarg. Gar'dyakguthraquvargav'qithrak duma'hara erg(curved blade), aminkma'hara maks h'inhukoyqith'rakma'gaga, jha daniseq, Kayi; (curved blade)'dok aqde'Qarg. Danis eks deshas siv'aga'ha'kgathle eshma du ja'lhu dyakbalank anruni, gar'chaqQarg dudalhar, Kayi, dasiv'agaga kor dukalk. daxesh va, gar'dyothkaldeqith'rak'Qarg nischurgar'hudyachur maks dyakqith'rakkuvargav duyai'siv'agaga, Kayi. Tugata'dyakavask garaesh'inini h'kstreok.|
|Bloodeye addressed his defeated opponent with firmness in his voice. "Yield. I wish no harm to you, nor to any Kilrathi brave enough to wield such a dull blade."||Gar'lekgar'shu'intothk ra oth dugar'yel, Kayi. "Drishtu. Ni'rashgathkalk va durai, quv dug'Kilrathi ja'lhra hafa dyahu dyaqith'raquvargavga."|
|Qarg growled and flattened his ears, but then lowered his muzzle and curled his tail downward, showing his willingness to acquiesce. Bloodeye released the defeated warrior from his grasp. Qarg got up and rubbed the area of his gut where Bloodeye had landed his blow, and turned to address Lord Kor. "I am satisfied that he is a master of blades, my Lord", he grunted.||Gar'lelq maks da'kvarggar'elali, qu inrakgar'lanagkh jha maks korkgar'pakga dutalan, d'aiygar'rasha dristhu, Qarg. Gar'badyavksiv'atothk aqgar'badya, Kayi. Gar'orq, Qarg, maks nisjhamakschurklan erggar'dalhar ja'lan gar'dyakchaqgar, Kayi, kork jha legar, Kal Kor. "Ni'haruk mas gar'halaq qith'rak, ni'Kal", gar'lema'ink.|
|Qarg then turned to Bloodeye, his posture submissive and his voice still pained. "I yield gladly. In three-eights campaigns during the war and a eight-eights of fights in the gladiator ring, I never before been bested in hand-to-hand combat. I would hear what you have come to say, Krahtagh N'Ryllis."||Gar'kok jha duKayi, ra gar'di k'yukal maks gar'yel dukalk eshma, Qarg. "Ni'drishtu ahkis. Du anaji treok du'eshSiv maks tu'i okko dulanbalan'tu'a, ni'dyaha'ktothk vesh dutuma'inthrak eshchureshma. Ni'h'askel ja'lhu ri'dyajaq le, Krahtagh N'Ryllis."|
|Bloodeye had noticed a kil in the room with a mechanical arm and leg as he had told his tale to the extended group. This cyborg now rose to speak, his lip twitching with amusement. "I have watched Uzik Qarg in the gladiator ring for some time, and I have never seen him bested before today. For this feat alone, I, Lord Knavqith dai Knavska, would also hear you out, though you are both kilra'hra and sa'guk".||Gar'dyakjaqdyapaqil dudai hukutav ra aldemaksalpakikantis takh gar'dyaklebak gar'lek'kor du ahndyatahklank, Kayi. Makilkoduwal'orq eshma le, gar'lanagkh'danisek raleki. "Ni'dyaiydukgar dulanbalan'tu'a ta eshmang, Uzik Qarg, maks ni'dyaiykgar vesh tothk eschuraiy'hra. Tamatarkhans anruni, h'askelrai maks, Kal Knavqith dai Knavska, ja'lg'esh ri'ha (commoner)maks(dead meat) de."|
|Bloodeye's ears - as did those of most of the other kili present, Lord Kor in particular - flicked in surprise at the revelation that the cyborg was also thrak'hra. Lord Knavqith turned to face Lord Kor, lowering his muzzle and closing his eyes, a gesture of respect for the other noble. Though he had revealed himself as thrak'hra, it was unclear which of them was the superior going off of their war names alone. Since only Lord Kor could know who was superior, it was wise of Lord Knavqith to show due deference. It was also necessary for the kilra'hra present to know from whom to take their social cues; all eyes in the room were quickly fixed on Lord Kor to see his response.||Gar'elali - takh a'kmaselali erggathrak ergkilitakavlanma, gar dergdyapa, Kal Kor - danisekink duk'rathrg duk'haf mas kilkoduwal'ha'k(nobleman) maks, Kayi. Gar'kork, Kal Knavqith, diyai dugar, Kal Kor, inragar'lanagkh maks vanogar'yi'i, de'ik ergrakh tathrak'hratakav. Ja'lg'esh gar'dyaq'hafk gar'hra takh(nobelman), gar'hakavsa ja'lhra erggarga ha'kgara aqgargahusivi anruni. Ta gar'hinik anruni ja'lhra ha'kgara, Kal Kor, gar'ha'k tosh tagar d'aiydrishhe, Kal Knavqith. Gar'ha'k rathrg'k' maks ta(commoners)lanma ik aqja'lhra bhagarga'lerodyapairakha; gayi'i'ha'klanduk dudai hukutav dugar aiygar'gathle, Kal Kor.|
|Lord Kor looked directly at Bloodeye and snarled, his lip curled. "Since Young Knavqith wishes to hear your words, you may speak, sa'guk. You should discuss your business quickly, before I change my mind."||Gar'diyaik rothraks duKayi maks lelq, gar'lanagkh'kork, Kal Kor. "Ta gar'rash elri'le'i, Kir Knavqith, ri'h'inle, (dead meat). Rai halergri'gathvi eks, eschur ni'datakavni'pa.|
|Bloodeye clenched his fist, lowering his muzzle and flattening his ears in respect. "As you wish, Lord Kor. I agree: we should discuss the business at hand." He straightened his posture and addressed the group in a matter-of-fact tone. "Would you all fight for the honor of our people with me? For that is what I'm proposing. But, before we can serve each other as well as the Kilrathi people - before any other consideration - we must leave this space station."||Gar'badyakgar'devanok, inrakgar'lanagkh maks davargkgar'elali durakh, Kayi. "Takh ri'rash, Kal Kor. Ni'bhaki: kai halerggathvi eshma." Gar'da'q'korgar'di maks lekahn dudikiquxirodyapas. "Riga'h'asktu tarakh ergek'hra ranai? Ta mas'ha ja'lhu ni'harashgath. Qu, eshchur ek'h'inuz ek'hramakshraKilrathi maks, eschur g'satakav - kai hanistalanmadargbhu."|
|"How are we supposed to do that?," said the other Kilrathi who had prepared to leave with Lord Kor earlier. "None of us here can afford transport off the station. If we could, we wouldn't be here as it is."||"Ja'l ek'habaktahek amas?", Kilrathitakav'lek ja'lhra dyakaj'k nistalak raKal Kor jheshavga. "Va'hra ergkai lanma h'ingathdo talan aqdargbhu. Desh ek'h'ingathgar, ek'h'askavha lanma takhgar'ha."|
|"I know this, and my shuttle is not capable of doing what must be done."||Ni'ikma, maks ni'dont'h'inava ja'lhu hha a'k."|
|"So what exactly is your proposal, N'Ryllis?"||"Takhjaqgu ja'lhu ri'sih'in'ha rothraks, N'Ryllis?"|
|Here it was: the moment of truth. Bloodeye's tone was solemn as he continued. "To serve the Kilrathi people, my brothers, we must take what they need from the Terrans. We must take a ship from the yard and use it to raid Terran commerce."||Gar'ha'k eshma: eshinthrak'he. Gar'dikiquxi'ha'kdyapaga takh gar'ask, Kayi. "UzhraKilrthi, ni'takhari, kai habha ja'lhu garga'rathrg aqTerran'hra. Kai habhashint aqr'lan maks dalgar ke ikrashro'Terran'hra."|
|There were several sharp intakes of breath, a few snarls and one outright roar. The drunken kil smiled viciously at these words; Bloodeye could tell from his other body language, though, that the kil's fighting smile was not an expression of anger or annoyance, but rather one of absolute approval. This kil - as inebriated as he might have been at that moment - was already ready to get up and go. One down and eight to go, thought Bloodeye.||Hu'ha'kdakduirg gin ergdak, lelkmangin maks lekarhgano uni. Kilakrah'yinahkik sos dumaile'i; gar'h'inaiy aqtrathkh'gar'chokut, ja'lg'esh mas yinahkitu'kil hakavdiyin erg alkqualkin, qu uni ergahagaigata. Makil - takh arakh talh gar'h'indyaha'k dumeshinthrak - ha'kaj'k duchur nis rachodyapargthrak, Gata uni maks a ok, gar'dalpak, Kayi.|
|Lord Kor was - as Bloodeye was coming to expect - not so amused at the notion. "You propose piracy," he growled.||Gar'hakav - take gar'ha'knis drishta, Kayi - lekikga dusi, Kal Kor. "Ri'gathwinhalke, " gar'lelq.|
|"I do, Lord Kor, but not to serve ourselves," said Bloodeye, continuing to address the entire group. "The Terrans have food and medicine in surplus, which our people need desperately; I should not need to tell any of you this. They have the things that our people need in excess, and they withhold them from our people for no reason other than their own spitefulness. If they will not show our people honor by at least allowing us to live with dignity, then it is our duty as Kilrathi to take it from them. We get a ship, we take what our people need, and we give it to our people. What I propose is as simple as that."||"Ni'a, Kal Kor, qu uzek'hra va," gar'lek deshas as lehngata, Kayi. "Terran'hra'dya ukmakslerk dumaksga, mas ek'hra'rathrg rashavthraks; Nai hav halebama dug'raiga. Garga'dyawi dumaksga mas ek'hra'rathrg, maks garga'yingugarga aqek'hra takonistakav va ragarga'dik'aleki. Desh garga'h'asavd'aiyrakkh du ek'hra ras gathkai vu radyarashro du inthrak, jha gat'ha ek'korakh takhKilrathi bhagar aqgarga. Ek'bhashint, ek'bha ja'lhu ek'hra'rathrg maks ek'gathgar du ek'hra. Ja'lhu ni'gathwinhal ha masvarg.|
|Bloodeye's statement was met with silence. As he watched, Bloodeye could see that several members of the group were trying to counter his reasoning, weighing the benefits of what he proposed against the risks. And the likely cost of their personal honor, Bloodeye thought. "This is a difficult thing I ask you all to consider," he said in an even tone. "Piracy is not an endeavor to be undertaken lightly. It will cost you what personal honor you may still have in the eyes of our people. But consider this: what is the greater dishonor, to commit crime, or to allow the Race to suffer while knowing there was something you could do about it? For myself, whose honor has been unjustly stripped away from me, the answer is obvious. For the rest of you, I ask you to take the time to think about it, if you haven't done so before today."||Le'Kayi'ha'kisk rak'le. Takh gar'aiyduk, gar'h'inaiy mas ankiligin'ahn'ha'kh'in gathkivgar'si'i, grahuleki'i erggar'gathwinhal duxmorawi'i, Kayi. Maks rashrokimohe erggarga'rakhhras, gar'dalpak, Kayi. "Ma'hahuk'varg mas ni'rathraiga sa," ga'lek dudikiquxitakh. "Ke'havhumang hah'in dyapavs. Gar'harashroraiga ja'lhu rakhhras raiga'h'indya eshma duyi'i'ek'hra. Qu, sama: ja'lhu k'rakh'ha gara, aduxal qu gathHra chodyapakalk deshas ik mas hu'ha'khumang mas ri'h'ina erggar? Gathle'ha aiyvarg tani'hra, ja'lra'i rakh'dyaha'kbharasok talan k'kuthes aqnai. Talanesh'raiga, ni'rathraiga bhesh dalpa erggar desh riga'dyava'kma eshchuraiy'hra.|
|The silence continued for several seconds, before Lord Kor spoke hesitantly. "As much as I may wish to counter your reasoning, I cannot. Let us hear of your plan."||K'le'ask ta esh'inigin, eschurgar'lek va'as, Kal Kor. "Takhga takhni'h'inrash gathkivri'si'i, ni'h'inav. Gathkai el ergri'aj."|
|As he'd thought, the members of the group had suffered from their own needs long enough to go along with the idea willingly. It was not a thought that Bloodeye relished - indeed, he pitied these kili for the suffering they'd endured, and hated the Terrans all the more for inflicting it upon them. Bloodeye simply gestured towards Sutaghi to proceed. The two of them had decided previously that if and when the time to begin discussing the specifics of the plan came - which it now had - it would be better if they took turns, and since Sutaghi knew these kili, it would be better for him to start.||Takhgar'dyakdalpalk, ankili'ahn'dyakchodyapakalq aqgarga'rathrgi ta eshma'ga dyahu ahagai rashas rasi. Gar'hakavsi mas gar'gathkik, Kayi - he, gar'rashakvmaikili tachodyapakalk garga'dyakask, maks gathkivgakTerran'hra gare tar'ingar dugarga. Gar'de'iq nis duSutaghi , Kayi. Garga de dyakjaqwinhalk eshchurs mas deshmaksja'lan eshjaq nis lergsai'ergdyapa'aj - mas gar'dyak eshma - gar'h'askha kiga desk garga'bhakmodali, maks tagar'iqmasikili, Sutaghi, gar'h'askha kiga tagar nis.|
|"Brothers," Sutaghi began, "I have quietly searched through the station's records for the past few days in order to find a ship suitable for our purpose. I have located one, but if we wish to capture him, we will need to move quickly." He pressed a button and a holographic projector sprang to life, filling the room's center with an image of a mighty warship.||"Takhari," gar'nisk, Sutaghi, "Ni'dyamstrak k'les duda'iki'dargbhu ta churesh'gaimangin isshinthe taek'aj. Ni'dyaiskshint uni, qu desh ek'rashdymga'qithgar, kai hadanis eks." Gar'bargdukhudal maks vi'd'aiyknav'aiychur'jaq duvu, dakutma'haraga'dai hukutav rahu'aiychur ergsivshintarg.|
|"This is Shal'Kuz Mang, a cruiser of the Fralthi-II class. He's been selected by Paulsen as a target ship for a test of a new type of Confederation anti-ship torpedo, a test that is scheduled to take place three days from now at the T'Kon Testing Range. Paulsen is using the test as an opportunity to rid itself of surplus obsolete military equipment, including several non-functional early War-era weapons and fighter craft. To ensure the accuracy of the test, Paulsen engineers temporarily assigned to this base have been retrofitting the ship for the past several months to bring his defensive systems to full combat readiness. The plan for their test is to move him out to the proving range at T'Kon under his own power, which means that several more of the ship's critical systems have been restored to full operational status. Specifically, his sub-light maneuvering drives have been restored to a state of partial operation, and his jump drive system has been certified as fully operational as well. Some work is continuing on the antimatter containment system but it will be ready to go before the test is scheduled to occur. Of all of the ships in the Yard, he is at this moment far and away in better shape than any of the rest of them; three days from now he's expected to become part of the debris fields in T'Kon."||"Ma'hashint, Shal'Kuz Mang, fral ergthi Fralthi de. Gar'dyaha'kwinhalk ragarga, Ni'lin'In, takhshintmasdirani tak'tothmo ergkirthi ergchathduxshintBhakil, k'tothmo mas ha eshaj'k balan esh'gai tre aqeshma dulan'k'tothmo T'kon. Garga'hadalk'tothmo takhmo r'garga'hra ergvi'irasivchurgamaksga, Ni'lin'In, maks rani'imakskranti k'ko gin aqeshSiv jheshav. Dagrirothrak'k'tothmo, garga'lannisi gathkok k'guvas dumadargbhu dyaha'kdaldushint tachureshthaigin dyagar'kotakhlanibrawi duaj'ktudakut, Ni'lin'In. Aj tagarga'k'tothmo hadanisgar dulan'k'totmo duT'kon inragar'arg, mas d'aiy mas garagin ergkotakhlanidyapagaga'shint dyaha'kjaqduk dubalankodakut. Ergdyapas, gar'nisinisikbhakilv'ekraknav dyaha'kjaqduk dubalan ergkogatav maks gar'kotakhlannisjak dyaha'kgrihek takhko dakuts maks. Komang'his dukotakhlanhukorduxhu qu gar'h'ashaj'k nis eshchur k'tothmo'heshaj'k balan. Ergga'shinti dur'lan, gar'ha dumeshinthrak ma'gathrakmakstalan dubalan gara g'erglanesh erggarga; gar'hadrishtak jaqhukutav ergthano'i'husu du'Tkon aqeshma esh'gai tre.|
|Bloodeye picked up the briefing from that point, continuing Sutaghi's businesslike tones. "Here is our plan - a shipment of antimatter fuel is scheduled to be delivered to Shal'kuz Mang tomorrow afternoon at 1630 hours, which will give him enough fuel to maneuver out to the testing range and power his shields to maximum strength. The crew delivering the antimatter will be diverted, requiring a backup crew to be sent in its place; naturally, the backup crew will consist of our little group. We will go ahead with the delivery as planned since it works in our favor. The ship's external antimatter loading pumps are not one of the systems that have been repaired, so it will be necessary to deliver the fuel pod directly to the ship's engineering compartment to transfer it into the engine system, which again works in our favor. Arrah Sutaghi has access to the ship's command override codes, so our job once Shal'kuz Mang has been refueled and his engines brought on-line will be to make our way to his bridge, input the codes and then change them before anyone else can contact him remotely to prevent our takeover. Once we have control, we make for the jump point at best possible speed and leave this horrible place behind us."||Gar'askbhatakhlan aqmaseshinthrak, Kayi, asgar'dikiquxi'igathvi, Sutaghi. "Ek'aj'hama - gathvihu erghudargduxhu heshajk hadyak dugar ich'aiy'hrajhak du eshi idar chur dezo'ar, mas h'asgathgar hudarg dyahu nisikbhakil dulan'k'tothmo maks arggar'br'ali durggathrak. Ko'a'i'dyaduxhu h'ashadatakavk, rathrgko'a'idar hasnak datakav; hes, ko'a'i'dar'h'ashukor ergek'ahnin. Ek'h'asnis radya takhaj'k ta gar'ko de'ksa'ki. Dakdanisidadyaduxhududav'shint havkotakhlan uni mas dyaha'kdakoduk, takhjaqgu gar'h'asharathrgk dyahukoralhudarg rothraks dudai hukutav'nis'shint, mas ko du dek'sa'ki. Gar'dyah'innis du lehafibatalanar'shint, Arrah Sutaghi, takhjaqgu ek'ko'h'asha nis dugar'lanarg jha gar'dyaha'kbhahudargk maks gar'nisi'dyakaj'k, di'aj'vikhaklehafi maks jha datakavlehafi eschurg'hratakav'h'insnadyalegar ma'gas drishek'rathsha, Shal'kuz Mang. Ja'lesh gar'dyadya, ek'nis dulanjak du eshh'in'halkithrak maks nistalanmalanxiga nischurkai.|
|There was some murmuring, then the inebriated kil spoke up. "That's a lovely little plan, love, but I've rarely seen a plan to capture a ship go off without a hitch. There's been more than one poor bastard that's tried a half-assed plan to take a ship from the yard and wound up a floating corpse..."||Hu'hale'inmang, jha kilakrah'lek. "Mas'hajins'aiyki, hak, qu ni'dyaiykaj balanins dymga'qithshint k'toth r'avk'vargi. Hu'dyaha'kjaq'hrarashav gara uni mas dya'h'inkajh'inava bhashint aqr'lan maks jaqchokut'k'vunisvarg..."|
|Lord Kor growled in annoyance. "As much as I hate to agree, this drunken bastard has a point."||Gar'lelq du alkin, Kal Kor. "Takhga takh ni'gathkivga ahagi, majaq'hrarakh'dyasihe."|
|Sutaghi grasped his fist in understanding, acknowledging Lord Kor, while turning to address the drunken kil. "That's one of the reasons why you were invited here today, Shintahr Nagkilin. We need a..."resident expert", shall we say...who can point out holes in our plans." He then changed his focus back to the larger group. "In fact, those of you who were invited here this afternoon were invited with a specific purpose in mind. Lord Knav'qith and Dakut'he Ki'ra, your jobs will be to navigate and pilot the ship - since he is a big ship, having a separate pilot and navigator makes sense. The two of you may work out which specific job you wish to do between yourselves, should we get that far. My friend B'de, as an experienced engineer it is probably no surprise to you that your job will be to man the ship's engineering spaces and finish getting him in working order."||Gar'badyakgar'devanok dubhakil, Sutaghi, lehegar, Kal Kor, deshas kor lekilarakh. "Mas'hakonis uni ja'lra ri'ha'ksnatak lanma aiy'hra, Shintahr Nagkilin. Ek'rathrg..."ikga'hravudulan", ek'h'asle...ja'lhra h'inisivali du ek'aji." Gar'jaqdukgar'dyapakakroki du ahngaga du. "He, masi ergraiga ja'lhra ha'ksnatak lanma ma'ich ha'ksnatak rajergdyapa dupa. Riga'ko'i'h'asha islanmaksdo shint, Kal Knav'qith maks Dakut'he Ku'ra - ta gar'hashintga, dya dorntamaksislana unidu dakonis. Raiga de h'instra mas kergdyapa mas riga'rasha ergriga'hra, desh kai hanis masma'gathrak. Takhlannisikgak, ni'hraki B'de, gar'havk'rathrg kimohes durai mas ri'ko'h'asha kolaninis'shint maks gu dagar ko."|
|The kil that Sutaghi had called B'de - whom Bloodeye could readily see got this epithet from an old wound that had left his right hand completely hairless - spoke guardedly. "That will be a tall order for me to do all on my own, Arrah. Do any of these others have experience with antimatter reactors?"||Kil mas gar'dyakdalyai'elk(Red Hand), Sutaghi - ja'lhra gar'h'inaiy aj'ks, Kayi, mas gar'bhakmahus aqchurshu mas dyaknistalankgar'de'ud k'yan gatas - lek draks. "Mas'h'ashakok'varg tanai a rasni'hra, Arrah. G'maitakavi'adyaikga ragathleliduxhu?"|
|"Not to my knowledge, but several are hard workers who take instruction well. You will have as many personnel as can be spared as soon as we're underway. Finally, Lord Kor and Thrakyaga, since you are both strong, experienced fighters, it will be your job to neutralize any opposition we come up against."||"Duni'ik va, qu gin'hako'a'iki ja'lhra bharathrgi ki. Ri'h'asdyako'a'i takhga takh h'inhamaksgak ja'lesh ek'hanistalan. Thraks, ta riga'hatu'ai argmaksikgak, Kal Kor maks Thrakyaga, gar'h'ashariga'ko panothg'gathkiv ek'is.|
|Lord Kor scoffed. "How? I do not wish to be a nay-sayer, Arrah Sutaghi, but I doubt very much that the Terrans would have left a ship in state of near combat-readiness sitting like a sleeping rugalga on the station's doorstep without leaving at least a few guards aboard. No matter who wields them, a few blades are no match for a squad of Terran guards with laser pistols at their side."||Gar'da'lekik, Kal Kor. "Ja'l? Ni'avrash haleva'a, Arrah Sutaghi, qu ni'k'grigaga maks Terran'hra'h'askdyanistalankshint dubalan ergaj'k tu ma'ins takhrugalgul ma'inthrakdargbhu r'av dyadrakimangin du du'inthrak. K'gathdyapa erg ja'lhra'dyagarga, qith'rakimangin'havk'tothmo tahninin ergdrakiTerran'hra raderaniknavrga dugarga'chutraga.|
|Sutaghi acknowledged Lord Kor's statement with a nod, turning to face B'de. "B'de, you once told me that you could fashion a weapon in a pinch. Can you do this, or were you speaking nonsense?"||Gar'lehekle'Kal Kor rayudanisin, jha kork aiyduB'de, Sutaghi. "B'de, ri'lebaknai unidu mas ri'h'indarani desh rathrg'k. Ri'h'inama, qu ri'ha'klehusu?"|
|"I have done so - in fact, I have three such weapons built already and can have a fourth one built in the time allotted if you can bring me a few parts. The problem is that I don't have a power supply strong enough to make them work."||"Ni'dya a'kma - he, ni'dyarani'itakh'da'k tre duchr maks h'indyarani k'ar du'eshgathwik desh ri'h'indyanai hukutavimangin. K'varg'ha mas Ni'avdyakof'arg arg dyahu dagarga ko."|
|"Which means you've never tested them - you don't know if they will work or not," Lord Kor rumbled.||"Mas d'aiy mas ri'dyak'tothmokgarga vesh - ri'avik desh garga'h'asko qu va," gar'lekarhgathraq , Kal Kor.|
|B'de's ears flushed at the tips with embarassment. "I admit that you are correct, Lord Kor. I do not know if the weapons would work, and if they did, I do not know how much power they would draw each time the trigger was pulled. It's possible they'd only fire a few shots, but they could give us the edge we need."||Gar'elali'jaqb'alk duguthraki ragathkalkpa, B'de. "Ni'lehe mas ri'hahe, Kal Kor. Ni'avik desh rani'i'h'asqo, maks desh garga'a'k, ni'avik ja'lgarg garga'h'askrathrg ga'eshi mas garga'haja'k. Gar'hah'inhal mas garga'h'injahujaimangin anruni, qu garga'h'ingathkai k'tothsa'ki mas ek'rathrg.|
|"Accessing power supplies will not be difficult - I know where they are kept," Sutaghi said reassuringly.||"H'inniskofiarg h'asavha k'varg - Ni'ik ja'lan garga'hadra'k, "gar'lek dagris, Sutaghi.|
|"You would know that," said Uzik Qarg. "I suppose you would also know where the Terrans keep their weapons?"||"Ri'h'askikmas," gar'lek, Uzik Qarg. "Ni'baktahe mas ri'h'asik maks ja'lan Terran'hra'dragarga'rani'i?"|
|Sutaghi responded hesitantly. "The same place, Thrakyaga - but I also know why it is that you ask this question. You well know that Paulsen has made it illegal for Kilrathi to carry weapons aboard the station. Any one of us who have seen you fight in the arena might've turned you in long ago for the dull blade you carry; I might've done so myself - which I should do according to station regulations - if I did not also find the Broken Claw contemptible. Were I to ask the wrong Terran clerk, I could wind up in the station's brig just for asking."||Gar'gathlek va'as, Sutaghi. "Lantakh, Thrakyaga, qu ni'ik maks ja'lra gar'ha mas ri'rathmarath. Ri'iqi mas garga'dyada'kgar duxlerag'nith taKilrathi dyarani'i dudargbhu, Ni'lin'In. G'kai j'alhra dyaikrai tu dulanbalan h'inkdyak'lakrai duchurma'ga taqith'rakkuvargav mas ri'dya; Ni'h'inkdyama ni'hra - mas nai ha'a dubhaki dulerag'nithi'dargbhu - desh ni'a'kavisgarga h'insu maks, Yanshi. Desh ni'rathkdrada'iki'aTerran'hra'iv, ni'h'injaq dudaiduxal'hra'dargbhu tarath anruni."|
|"Then I suppose that the plan will have to proceed as it is. I would still feel better knowing that we had something better than a koractu and our claws with which to fight, but I have achieved victory many times with less than that."||"Ni'baktahe jha mas aj hanis takhgar'ha. Ni'h'askdichodyapa kiga eshga ik mas ek'duyakhumang gara (curved blade)maksek'naji ramas tu, qu ni'dyabhagataq'toth eshiga ra inramas."|
|"I too am an experienced fighter," said Le'a'he. "During the War, I served as a personal guard for Shintahr Gar hrai Talmak laq Qith'rak".||"Ni'ha tu'a'ikgak maks," gar'lek, Le'a'he. "Du'eshSiv, ni'uzk takhdrak'hrahras tagar, Shintahr Gar hrai Talmak laq Qith'rak".|
|"We would welcome you, master Le'a'he," Bloodeye said with an inward chuckle at the coincidence. "We have much to discuss when we get a chance. In the meantime, do any of you have any questions for either of us?"||Ek'h'askhirai, laq Le'a'he," gar'lek raleki'hinma'hara dubalanmo, Kayi. "Ek'dya ga lerg ja'lesh ek'bhamo. Du esherg, g'riga'adyag'rathi taqu ergrai?"|
|"What of our families?," snarled Lord Kor. "Do you expect us to leave them behind?"||"Ja'lhu ergek'hrai'i, " gar'lelk, Kal Kor. "Ri'adrishtakai nistalangarga nischur?"|
|Bloodeye gestured negatively, palm up. "Not at all. I had assumed that some of you here tonight would have family aboard the station or friends that you would be unwilling to leave behind. They may join us; once we have left this place we may very well need their skills for the task at hand as well, especially anyone with the mechanical or technical skills needed to help run the ship's engineering spaces. Those of you with friends or family should have them gather near the door to Docking Port 4-5 tomorrow at 1500 hours. My shuttle will be fueled and waiting for them there and will depart this station at 1530. If none aboard are capable of piloting the craft themselves, I will program the craft to head for the jump point and then wait for us at T'Kon. If we do not show ourselves within four hours, the shuttle will be programmed to leave us behind - I'll program the craft to head towards Jotunheim; it should make it there as long as it does not have any hostile encounters, and you will at least know that your loved ones made it away from this place. Impress this upon them: any who are late will be left behind. Are there any other questions?"||Gar'lek avs ragar'de du, Kayi. "Vaga. Ni'dyakbaktahek mas rigamang'h'asdyahrai dudargbhu qu hraki'i mas ri'h'asavha rasha nistalan eshchur. Garga'h'indyatahklankai; jha ek'dyanistalankmalan, ek'h'inrathrg garga'ikbhakili kiga maks tako, g'hra krokis ra ikbhakili ikantisquikvis rathrg'k uz ko lannis'shint. Masi'raiga ra hraki'iquhrai hadyagarga dyatahklan ma'inthrakbr'shi dubrajlandyatahklan kes-p'nt aiy'hrajhak du eshi okh'p. Ni'dont'h'asha hudargkmaksdrish tagara lanma maks h'asnistalanmadargbhu du eshi idar chur okh'p. Desh va'hra'h'indo'ant garga'hra, ni'h'asdi'aj'vikhakant nis dulanjak maks jha drish takai duT'kon. Desh ek'avd'aiyek'hra du eshi kes, dont'h'ashadi'aj'vikhaq nistalankai eshchur - ni'h'asdi'aj'vikhakant nis duK'nag Urel; gai hajaq lanma desh gar'avdyatu'isha, maks riga'h'asik du inthrak mas riga'haq'hra'k'tothk dunis aqmalan. Dargama dugarga: g'hra j'alhra hajhesh h'ashanistalank nischur. Hu'hag'rahitakav?"|
|None of the kili responded or indicated that they had any questions, and after a few seconds Arrah Sutaghi spoke again to sum up the discussion. "We ourselves will gather at the passage to Corridor Seven tomorrow at 1600. From there, we will head into the station's service passageways and go to Service Port Three where the shuttle will be prepared for launch. I will have a few sets of work uniforms available so that it will look like we belong there, and I will try to procure some batteries for B'de's weapons in the interim. Again, any who are late will be left behind."||Va'hra gathlekqud'aiyk mas garga'dyakg'rathi, maks gar'lek du jha esh'ininimangin d'aiyeshinbhaktakhlan, Arrah Sutaghi. "Ek'h'asdyatahklan ek'hra dubr'shi dudidya'in h'p aiy'hrajhak du eshi deok. Aqlanma, ek'h'asnis dudadidya'ini'uz'dargbhu maks nis duBrajlanUz Tre, ja'lan dont'h'ashaj'k tahaganaska. Ni'h'asdyanimangin erghargiko h'indal konis mas gat'h'asdiyai takhek'erg lanma, maks ni'h'ash'in bhavidadyargimang tarani'i'B'de du esherg. Du, g'hra ja'lhra hajhesh h'ashanistalank nischur."|
|"In the meantime, the less you say to others about what it is we're doing, the better," Bloodeye continued. "This includes your loved ones. We do not wish for the Broken Claw to learn of our plans and ruin us all before we are able to begin. I have no wish to see us all languishing at T'rel H'hra for the rest of our lives."||Du esherg, gar'ha kiga mas ri'le dutakavi inra erg ja'lhu gar'ha mas ek'ha'a," gar'ask, Kayi. "Ma'maksriga'haq'hra. Ek'avrash taYanshi ig ergek'aji maks r'ga'kai eschur ek'hah'in nis. Ni'dyavrash aiyga'kai chodyapakalk lanma talanesh ergek'vu'i, T'rel H'hra."|
|"And trust me, you lot," Shintahr Nagkilin communicated drunkenly. "The T'rel H'hra prison is not nearly as cozy as it was in the days before the Terrans took over."||"Maks riga'dyalanai, "gar'lek arakhs, Shintahr Nagkilin. "Gar'hav takh'inru takhgar'h'ak du esh'gai eshchur Terran'hra'bhakgar."|
|"You know this firsthand, no doubt," Lord Kor intejected with lip curled.||"Ri'ikma hrass, r'avk'gri, "gar'h'indrishk ra gar'lanagkh'kork, Kal Kor."|
|Sutaghi continued before Shintahr Nagkilin said something in rebuttal that would have likely made the agitated thrak'hra rise up and strike him down. "If that's all we have to discuss, we should bring this meeting to a close; I must return to my duties shortly. Master Le'a'he, if you will wait for a moment, I'll arrange for you to have clearance so you don't have to sneak back through the checkpoint. I also would like to discuss the plans further with you, Shintahr Nagkilin, perhaps when you've sobered up a bit, or at least are more sober than you are at this moment. I will see you all again tomorrow. May Sivar's blessing be upon us."||Gar'ask, Sutaghi, eshchurgar'lekhu dule'atalan mas h'askdyada'k kimohe thrak'hragathkalkpak jaqulmakschakgar, Shintahr Nagkilin. "Desh mas'haga ek'dya lerg, kai hadyamabhaktakhlan dugu; nai hajaqdu eshma'in duni'korakhi. Laq Le'a'he, desh ri'h'asdrish ta eshinthrak, ni'h'asajgath tarai konis mas rai havjaqdu dulank'tothmo hafiks. Ni'rash maks lergaji rarai, Shintahr Nagkilin, k'gris ja'lesh ri'dyajaqakrahv gara ri'ha dumaeshinthrak du inthrak. Ni'h'asaiyraiga aiy'hrajhak. Gar'h'inha rakai, Sa'ki'Sivar.|
|With their dismissal, the kili present filed out the room. Several of them had somber expressions on their faces, while several others had expressions of something Bloodeye hadn't encountered in this place up to this point - looks of hope. Lord Kor stopped briefly and glared at Bloodeye before leaving, a look of contempt on his face. But something else as well, Bloodeye thought. What is going through your mind right now, Lord Kor?||Ragarga'nistalan, kililanma'nistalank aqdai hukutav. Gin'hra erggarga dyakdiyinidyapagaga dugarga'yini, deshas takav'hra'dyakdiyini erghumang mas gar'dyakavaiyk dumalan eshdugumaseshinthrak, Kayi - diyini ergrashthrak. Gar'drishk eks maks yinbrajk duKayi eshchurnistalan, Kal Kor, diyin ergsu dugar'yin. Qu humangtakav maks, gar'dalpak, Kayi. Ja'lhu nis duri'pa dumaeshinthrak, Kal Kor?|
|In due course the room emptied out. Arrah Sutaghi masterfully arranged for Le'a'he's belated clearance to be there, accomplishing the task within two minutes. The storyteller thanked his ersatz host and left, leaving Bloodeye and Sutaghi by themselves.||Dai hukutav'shik du eshmangin. Gar'aj'k rikbhakils, Arrah Sutaghi, tagar'gathjhesh halanma, Le'a'he, bhagataqo du esh'ini de inra. Lebalek'kora'shrakgar'ajahriv maks nistalank, ra garga'lanesh rasgarga'hra, KayimaksSutaghi.|
|"Well, that could've gone a lot better," said Sutaghi.||"Hes, mas'h'indyabalank kigaga," gar'lek, Arrah Sutaghi.|
|Bloodeye smiled. "Yes, but it could also have gone far worse. We are both still alive, and I strongly believe we will see each of these kili there tomorrow. Except perhaps Lord Kor - he didn't seem..."||Gar'yinahkik, Kayi. "Hagai, qu gar'h'indyanisk xigaga. De'ha vu ergkai eshma, maks ni'baktahe args mas ek'h'asaiy ga'maikili lanma aiy'hrajhak. Qu tagar k'gris, Kal Kor - gar'avsa..."|
|"Lord Kor will be the first one to arrive tomorrow," Sutaghi interrupted, "and he'll follow your instructions without question."||Gar'h'ashakil ar jaq aiy'hrajhak, gar'drishk, Sutaghi, "maks gar'h'asahrav ri'rathrgi r'avrath, Kal Kor."|
|"How do you know this?"||"Ja'l ri'a ikma?"|
|Sutaghi sighed. "May Sivar bless Lord Kor laq Stra'a, the Silent Ripper - he still remembers his place before the Empire collapsed, and continues to keep up appearances. Today you offered him the one thing that he has wanted for the past three years: a better-than-average chance to get off this station. He has better reasons than most to leave. Someday - if you ever manage to earn his respect - he may even tell you about them."||Gar'daktalank, Sutaghi. "Gar'h'ingathsa'ki duKal Kor laq Stra'a, Ku'a K'le, Sivar - gar'dalpadugar'lan eshchurdakekrgav'Rag'nith, maks as asdiyai'i. Ri'rashgathkgar aiy'hra hu uni mas gar'dyarashk takesthai eschur tre: mo nistalanmadargbhu gara ro. Gar'dyakonisi nistalan gara hragathrak. Gar'h'inlebarai erggarga - desh ri'h'in g'esh bhagatakgar'rakh."|
|Perhaps what I saw in his face was silent optimism. Still, would it be worth having him with us, a thrak'hra that would question my every motive and challenge me at every opportunity?, Bloodeye thought. Given what was at stake, it was in his estimation worth voicing the concern. "I have only known a few thrak'hra during my time that could fight well," he said dubiously. "Is Lord Kor truly among them?"||Jal'hu ni'aiyk dugar'yin ha'kdyalagak'le k'gris. Qu, gar'h'askha dyarashro dyagar rakai, (nobleman) mas h'askrathga'ni'konisi maks k'tothmonai dumo'iga?, gar'dalpak, Kayi. Gathk ja'lhu'ha'k dumorawi, gar'ha'kdyarashro legar'dyapa dugar'baktahe. "Ni'dyaiq(noblemen)mangin anruni du'eshni'esh mas h'intu ki," gar'lek k'gris. "Gar'ha erggarga hes, Kal Kor?"|
|Sutaghi flicked an ear. "He's the only Kilrathi in history to ever successfully hunt four Nalga in their native environment on Draga and survive."||Gar'danisekinkelal. "Gar'haKilrathi anruni du ikga bakNalga kes k'toths g'esh dugarga'rahkoniss'nak dunak'Draga maks vu."|
|"Four?," Bloodeye said in disbelief.||"Kes?," gar'lek duk'dyala, Kayi.|
|"Four," Sutaghi confirmed.||"Kes," gar'grihek, Sutaghi.|
|"Then perhaps Sivar has already granted us his blessing. I pray that you are correct."||"Jha gar'dyagathqai duchur k'gris gar'sa'ki, Kal Sivar. Ni'rathk'rakh mas ri'hahe."|
|"I will stake my honor upon it," said Sutaghi gravely. He then glanced at a wall chronometer and spoke quickly. "I wasn't lying when I said I needed to go back on duty - after all, I have a task to complete for us."||"Ni'h'asmorawi ni'rakh dugar, gar'lek dyapas, Sutaghi. Gar'diyais eks jha duvi'eshbr'hu maks lek eks. "Ni'hakaver ja'lesh ni'lek mas nai hajaqdu dukorakh - hes, ni'dyako gata takai."|
|Bloodeye clenched his fist. "That you do. I will see you tomorrow, Arrah Sutaghi."||Gar'badyak gar'devanok, Kayi. "Mas ri'a. Ni'h'asaiyrai aiy'hrajhak, Arrah Sutaghi."|
|"Until tomorrow, Bloodeye N'Ryllis, and to whatever our fate may be."||"Eshdugu aiy'hrajhak maks ja'lhu ek'nakh'h'inha, Kayi N'Ryllis."|
If you're going to a gun fight, it helps to have some bullets. Plus, a gun would be useful...
Setup: Bloodeye has his crew and now it's time to get his ship. Before he can do that, though, his team is going to need a few weapons that are a little more capable than his sword and the blades belonging to Thrakyaga/Quartermaster and Nagkilin/Pirate (everyone in the group has claws as well, of course). B'de/Engineer has done his level best to fashion a few crude energy weapons, but he doesn't have power supplies for them. Since he's one of the station's supply officers, Gux'a P'nt/XO knows where the batteries are kept and has access to them. He also knows that the group will need work clothes as disguises - fortunately, they're kept in the same supply room as the batteries, and gaining access to both should just be a simple matter of asking. At the beginning of the mission, Gux'a P'nt/XO has gone to talk to the duty supply officer shortly before the group is supposed to gather.
The GM should read the following text aloud: You've entered the station's main supply and equipment cage. The walls are drab and the air is somewhat musty from neglect. A Terran Clerk is sitting behind a counter that divides the room in two; the glow of a force field emenates from the counter and connects it to the ceiling, separating you from the other half of the room, which has the door leading into the equipment racks proper. From his appearance, it's pretty apparent that the Terran is playing video games while on duty - again.
Problems: Gux'a P'nt/XO is pretty much on his own for this one, since the supply room is a restricted area and he's the only one of Bloodeye's team that is authorized to be there. He also needs to provide an explanation for needing the supplies. Thrakyaga/Quartermaster had the notion of trying to pick up a few weapons from the station's supply room; these will be a lot more reliable, of course, but much harder for Gux'a P'nt/XO to procure. Whoever is portraying Gux'a P'nt/XO can either just go ahead and request a few batteries and sets of Kilrathi work clothing, or they can also attempt to get their hands on a few weapons as well.
The Terran Clerk in charge of the supply cage (GM: Use "Disillusioned Terran Clerk" for this character's stats; the GM may choose to use the character's default name or select a new one at their discretion) has worked with Gux'a P'nt/XO for a number of years and the two are well-acquainted with one another; the Clerk refers to him by his given name ("Arrah") when he's in a good mood and by his handle ("Gux'a P'nt") when he is not. Gux'a P'nt/XO will refer to the Terran clerk by his surname. Nobody has cheesed the Clerk off today and he has no reason to suspect when Gux'a P'nt/XO enters the room that he is about to try to make off with one of the ships in the yard (GM: For the initial portion of the encounter, Gux'a P'nt/XO has favorable circumstances).
Asking for the batteries and work clothes are as straightforward as it gets - Gux'a P'nt/XO simply needs to ask for them, using whatever flavorful language the player wishes to describe the batteries. The GM may go ahead and simply have the Clerk grant Gux'a P'nt/XO's request, or if they wish to have some kind of Check involved, perform a Computers check (the Clerk has a Computers specialization of Technology, with a DC of 77) to see if the items are in stock. Success means that the Clerk has found the batteries/clothing in inventory and will go and get the box that they are in. On a critical success, the Clerk finds the items shortly before realizing he needs to go to the head right now; he'll ask Gux'a P'nt/XO to "mind the store" for him for a few minutes, giving him unrestricted access to the supply room and asking him not to mention it to his supervisor (and opportunity for him to procure weapons, even if that was not the original intent). On a failure, the Clerk will fail to find any items available in the computer. A critical failure means the Clerk sees the item in the inventory, but will then go and grab the wrong box of items off the shelf - the GM may select any mundane item they wish to actually be in the box - which could be bad for Gux'a P'nt/XO if he doesn't bother to open the box to check and see what's in it! In this event, the GM may subtly suggest that Gux'a P'nt/XO check the box before he leaves the room. Or not...
Asking for weapons is going to be trickier. Gux'a P'nt/XO can't just ask for weapons outright - he'll be instantly reminded of the restrictions on Kilrathi having weaponry on the station and trigger the Clerk's suspicions if he does. He has looked ahead and knows the manifest number of the specific box he needs, and can rattle off that number - if he can remember it (for Gux'a P'nt specifically, this will require a Check of his T'Kon H'hra Manifests specialization of Knowledge, DC 49). On any success, he remembers the number and can give it to the Clerk. On a failure, he won't recall it at all. On a critical failure, he'll remember the manifest number of a box that contains weapons alright - one full of Grenades, which will certainly get the Clerk's attention in a big hurry!
The next hurdle is that the box would ordinarily be clearly listed as a box of weapons in the station's manifests; to circumvent this, Gux'a P'nt/XO has pulled off some more chicanery with the station's computers to put a false record in its place identifying it as a box of Universal Meat Product. A Check of Gux'a P'nt/XO's Computers specialization of his Technology Skill (DC 44 specifically for the Gux'a P'nt character) will measure his success. On any success, the plan works as intended; Gux'a P'nt/XO gains the box of weapons with no problems whatsoever from the Clerk. On a failure, the ruse doesn't work and the Clerk will mention the box is restricted, triggering his suspicions. On a critical failure, he'll also discover evidence of tampering...
Depending on what happens, Gux'a P'nt/XO might find himself in a position where he'll have to explain himself to a suspicious Clerk wondering why he's asked for a box of weaponry. If this unfortunate set of circumstances comes about, he's going to have a tough time of things - the Clerk is extremely adept at sensing any attempt at deception (DC 82); while he could try to BS his way out of the situation, chances are that route won't work for Gux'a P'nt/XO. He could attempt to persuade the Clerk to allow him to have the guns anyway (with a Cunning/Persuasion Check at unfavorable circumstances, DC 29 for the default character), or he might attempt to bribe the Clerk (use an opposed set of Negotiate Checks - the default character at DC 30 and the Clerk at DC 59). On a success, the Clerk will give him the box, but will remain suspicious and will alert his supervisor of the incident. With a critical success, the Clerk drops the whole matter, allowing Gux'a P'nt/XO access to the box with no further ramifications. On a failure, the Clerk keeps the box and not so subtly suggests that Gux'a P'nt/XO leaves. On a critical failure, in addition to being asked to leave, the Clerk will activate a silent alarm...
Results: Hopefully Gux'a P'nt/XO was at least able to procure a few batteries and sets of clothes for the group without making the Clerk suspicious. If he aroused the Clerk's suspicions at any point, the next two encounters will be harder for the group as a whole (as will be mentioned shortly).
Station's Flight DeckEdit
Time to sneak past a Terran or two.
Setup: At this point the group has gathered together and is preparing to make its way down to Service Port Three, where there is a shuttle waiting to deliver an antimatter load to Shal'kuz Mang. This shuttle - or more specifically - its highly volatile cargo - is both the means by which the group plans to leave T'Kon H'hra and their cover. All they have to do is steal it...
The problems could begin early for the group if the Clerk tripped the silent alarm on Gux'a P'nt/XO in the previous encounter - he'll show up just prior to the group's scheduled departure time having just escaped from the station's brig. His absence has not yet been noticed, but he hasn't had time to go to his quarters to pick up the group's equipment - he has arrived without the batteries or the work uniforms. The notion of gutting him where he stands may be brought up by some of the players - the GM should point out that he's the only one with the command codes for Shal'kuz Mang, so killing him now would be a really bad idea. The group would be justified in calling it off at this point if they wish, consigning themselves to spending the rest of their days at T'Kon H'hra (and ending the campaign awfully damn early), or they could do the stupid thing and go ahead with the mission as planned, which could make things interesting in a real hurry!
True to his word, B'de/Engineer has manufactured a fourth improvised weapon. Whether any of his weapons actually work or not remains to be seen - to make this determination, the GM should secretly label the guns as they see fit (1-4, A-D, etc.; whatever works) and then secretly roll for B'de/Engineer's Crafting specialization of his Resourcefulness skill. On a critical success, the weapon will work exactly as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser. For any other result, the GM should look at the "ones-place" die of the roll and reference the table below in order to determine the weapon's effects, which will be located at the intersection of the one's place die result and the type of result that occurred (either a success, a failure or a botch).
|Success (07-68)||Failure (69-95)||Botch (96-99)|
|0||The weapon behaves as a Phased Shot Laser; to determine the Class, roll 1d5. Regardless of the result, the weapon's normal power consumption is doubled.||The weapon behaves as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser, but requires substantially more power than normal to operate. Roll 1d% and add ten to the result; the final total is the number of charges expended every time the trigger is pulled.||Not Applicable|
|1||The weapon behaves as an unsually heavy Fifth Class Phased Shot laser; it requires two appendages to operate.||The weapon behaves as an extremely heavy Fifth Class Phased Shot laser; it requires two appendages to operate and imparts a +10 HD/THD penalty to its wielder.||Not Applicable|
|2||The weapon behaves as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser, but it may only be set for Basic or Non-Lethal Damage (it may have a selector for Lethal Damage, but that selection does not work properly).||The weapon behaves as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser, but it may only be set for Non-Lethal Damage (it may have a selector for Basic or Lethal Damage, but that selection does not work properly).||Not Applicable|
|3||The weapon behaves as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser, but requires two rounds to recharge after every shot.||The weapon behaves as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser, but has inadequate power capacitors installed. Roll 1d10 and add 2 to the result; the result indicates the number of rounds required for the weapon to recharge after every shot.||Not Applicable|
|4||The weapon behaves as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser, but its damage falls off by ten points per range increment (minimum 5)||The weapon behaves as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser, but it is badly columnated and loses damage potential more rapidly than normal. Roll 1d10 and add ten to the result; the final result is the amount of damage falloff per range increment (minimum 1).||Not Applicable|
|5||The weapon behaves as a Phased Shot Laser; to determine the Class, roll 1d5 and subtract one from the result; treat a result of 0 as 1. Regardless of the result, the weapon may only be set for Basic or Non-Lethal Damage (it may have a selector for Lethal Damage, but that selection does not work properly).||The weapon behaves as a Dazzler; to determine the Class, roll 1d5. Regardless of the result, the weapon's normal power consumption is doubled.||Not Applicable|
|6||The weapon behaves as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser, but its damage falls off by ten points per range increment (minimum 5), and it may only be set for Basic or Non-Lethal Damage (it may have a selector for Lethal Damage, but that selection does not work properly).||The weapon behaves as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser, but it is badly columnated and loses damage potential more rapidly than normal. Roll 1d10 and add ten to the result; the final result is the amount of damage falloff per range increment (minimum 1). Additionally, it may only be set for Non-Lethal Damage (it may have a selector for Basic or Lethal Damage, but that selection does not work properly).||In addition to the effects of a normal failure for a roll of 96, the beam emitter is mis-aligned and pulls to the left when the weapon is fired, inducing a +25 Security penalty to its wielder.|
|7||The weapon behaves as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser, but its normal power consumption is doubled and it may only be set for Basic or Non-Lethal Damage (it may have a selector for Lethal Damage, but that selection does not work properly).||The weapon behaves as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser, but requires substantially more power than normal to operate. Roll 1d% and add ten to the result; the final total is the number of charges expended every time the trigger is pulled. Additionally, it may only be set for Non-Lethal Damage (it may have a selector for Basic or Lethal Damage, but that selection does not work properly).||In addition to the effects of a normal failure for a roll of 97, the weapons emitter head is faulty. It will burn out after three shots, after which point the weapon will become completely useless.|
|8||The weapon behaves as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser, but it requires two rounds to recharge after every shot and its damage falls off by ten points per range increment (minimum 5).||The weapon behaves as a Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser, but has inadequate power capacitors installed. Roll 1d10 and add 2 to the result; the result indicates the number of rounds required for the weapon to recharge after every shot. Additionally, the weapon is badly columnated and loses damage potential more rapidly than normal. Roll 1d10 and add ten to the result; the final result is the amount of damage falloff per range increment (minimum 1).||In addition to the effects of a normal failure for a roll of 98, the weapon may only be fired 1d10 times normally. On the next shot, the weapon will have the effect of a Tenth Class Plasma Gun, while 15d5 points of Lethal Damage and 1d10 burns (with zero counting as ten in this case) is inflicted on the user, after which point the weapon becomes completely useless.|
|9||The weapon behaves as an unsually heavy Fifth Class Phased Shot laser; it requires two appendages to operate. Additionally, its damage falls off by ten points per range increment (minimum 5).||The weapon behaves as an extremely heavy Fifth Class Phased Shot laser; it requires two appendages to operate and imparts a +10 HD/THD penalty to its wielder. Additionally, is badly columnated and loses damage potential more rapidly than normal. Roll 1d10 and add ten to the result; the final result is the amount of damage falloff per range increment (minimum 1).||On a roll of 99, the weapon will detonate the first time its trigger is pulled, acting as a Fifth Class Satchel Charge in that instant.|
The GM will need to keep track of which specific gun was given which specific effect when the weapons are distributed out to the characters (hence the need to label them). Once the effect of the weapon is established, that weapons effects will not change. As with any other type of weapon, players are free to have their characters do as they wish with them. Should the characters wish to sell them at any point during the campaign, they will have a standard trade value of ¤15. In the event that the specific character of B'de is being replaced with a different Engineer character for the campaign, either utilize the table as is or come up with additional botch effects for the values of 90-95 if necessary.
Assuming he didn't spend the night in the brig, Gux'a P'nt/XO will have pulled one last piece of technical chicanery and re-routed the crew that was supposed to fly the shuttle and load the antimatter aboard Shal'kuz Mang to a different flight, replacing that crew with one consisting of nine Kilrathi laborers. If Gux'a P'nt/XO was able to get a hold of work uniforms in the previous encounter, he'll distribute them to the group; it is assumed the members of the group will have had time to change into these work uniforms before heading off to the shuttle. If he was able to procure them, Gux'a P'nt/XO will have a total of eight Medium Batteries in his possession; the player group can decide among themselves which characters will be given B'de/Engineer's improvised weapons, with each of these same players receiving two batteries apiece. If he was able to get a hold of weapons in the previous encounter, Gux'a P'nt/XO will distribute them to each member of the group along with a single battery - the members of the group will have to be more careful to pick their shots, but on the other hand the weapons will be much more reliable. GM: For gameplay purposes, any procured weapons are Fifth Class Phased Shot Laser Guns. These will be of Terran design; if players mention a preference for Kilrathi weaponry, Gux'a P'nt/XO may mention A) limited choices in available weaponry, and B) versatility of the design (this type of thinking would be worth a Plot Point if you're utilizing them in your campaign). Players may still elect to choose B'de/Engineer's improvised weapons over the Lasers if they so choose - there's nothing wrong with that.
Once uniforms, batteries and/or any weapons have been distributed, the group will make its way to the Station's Flight Deck.
The GM should read the following text aloud: You've entered the station's primary flight deck. The area is brightly lit and well maintained. A set of clamshell doors leading into the hangar area proper to your left are currently open, through which you can see a fair amount of activity. A pair of Vaktoth fighters have been brought up from the hangar via the service elevator and you can see technical crews prepping the ships for launch. While most of the staff are Terrans, you do see a few Kilrathi work crews milling around here and there throughout the cavernous interior. The shuttle you're looking for is just short of a hundred meters ahead from where you've entered, slightly to your right and already in a position to launch at the far end of the bay; a technical crew has just finished pre-flighting the craft and loading its volatile cargo. From where you're standing, an equipment cart is located about fifty meters ahead on your left-hand side; the cart is loaded with enough equipment and situated such that it could easily conceal your approach towards the shuttle from anybody in the hangar proper. Most of the rest of your view of the bay is obscured by a large, round support pillar about fifteen meters directly ahead of you.
Problems: The first hurdle that the group needs to clear is just getting to the shuttle. If they have their work uniforms, the group looks like it belongs there, and they can proceed directly to the shuttle without the need for any kind of Check. Mentioning the equipment cart and the pillar is meant to act as a red herring for the players if this is the case - they can go straight to the shuttle without any problem since it looks like they belong there...but if they start trying to sneak around, they're going to look like they don't belong, which may be bad if someone stands up and takes notice. On the other hand, if the player group doesn't have their work uniforms, then sneaking around the bay is going to be necessary. In either case, the characters begin roughly around coordinate set b16 in the map above; the egress door to the shuttle is at r7. The real distance is just over ninety meters between those two points along a straight line.
Sneaking across the bay works the same way regardless of whether it is done with or without work uniforms - it requires each of the PCs to perform a Hiding and Seeking Check opposed by a Perception Check of the Terran Deckhands (use the skill set for the Generic Terran Deckhand for the DC of the opposed Check - they have a Spot Specialization for Perception, DC 44); the players need not worry about being spotted by other Kilrathi in the area, as they won't call them out even if they are spotted. If the PCs have a higher degree of success than the Deckhand, they go undetected during the course of that round. Kilrathi move at 16 meters per round (three range increments); it takes six rounds for a Kilrathi to cover a distance of ninety meters if they walk, three rounds if they hustle and two if they run. The faster they choose to move, the more noise they'll make and the greater the risk that they'll be noticed (add five to the degree of success of the Deckhand if the character hustles (DC 49) and ten if they run (DC 54). If the Deckhand botches their Check, the PCs automatically make it to the shuttle completely undetected. Should a PC botch their Check or should the Deckhand have the higher degree of success, their approach to the shuttle is detected.
Gux'a P'nt/XO's activities during the first encounter may cause additional complications - In the event that Gux'a P'nt/XO spent the night in jail, a botch of his Hiding and Seeking Check will cause an automatic alarm. If the Clerk was suspicious of him at the time of his departure, his activities are being tracked; after three rounds of sneaking towards the shuttle, a group of four armed Terran guards will enter the flight bay looking for him (they know that he's down here somewhere when he shouldn't be). These guards are looking for suspicious activity, and will each make their own Perception Check at favorable circumstances (use the skill set for the Generic Terran Guard for the DC of the opposed Check at favorable circumstances, DC 46). The PCs will also have to beat the Perception Checks of these guards in addition to that of the Deckhand (DC 44) during the course of the round if they wish to remain undetected, using the same set of mechanics as above if the group hustles or runs.
If the group is detected, the Deckhand will summon guards (or contact any guards already in the bay) via communicator - if the guards have to be summoned to the bay, they will enter at coordinate set b16 three rounds later and make a bee-line for whichever character is furthest from the shuttle at that point, challenging that character for their authorization. The Deckhand, meanwhile, will then begin calling out to stop the group, hustling towards the shuttle door (he begins at coordinate set n8, about thirty meters from the shuttle in this case). If he makes it to the shuttle, he will challenge any Kilrathi there for authorization. What happens next is solely dependent upon the reaction of the players - any weapons fire at all will set off an alarm. If they attempt to strike with their claws or blades, the Deckhand will try to get away and raise an alarm if they are successful in doing so. Should the Deckhand be killed, an alarm will be raised anyway when the guards come in and see blood on the deck / his mangled corpse (or witness his death). Guards will start shooting immediately upon any attack made, with one of them raising the alarm. Should the PCs be challenged by the Deckhand and wish to try to avoid a fight, they might be able to attempt bluffing their way out of the situation. This will only be possible if the character is wearing a work uniform; if this isn't the case, the character will have no choice but to either be hauled off for questioning or to start something. If the character is wearing a work uniform, Gux'a P'nt/XO will be summoned by the PC being challenged and then it will be his job to show them their authorization, (which will require a Computers specialization Check of his Technology Skill versus a Perception Check by whoever has challenged the character; this will be at unfavorable circumstances for Gux'a P'nt/XO if a guard is doing the challenging, and the generic guards have an applicable Sense Deception specialization to Perception, DC 76). Should Gux'a P'nt/XO have a greater degree of success, the Deckhand/Guard will buy the falsified authorization and let the characters go on their way with no further problems. Otherwise, the guards will attempt to haul off the group (once they arrive if they haven't already), and a fight will be the only way out of the situation.
If the characters didn't have to try to sneak across the bay, a Terran Deckhand will enter the shuttle two rounds after the last of the group is aboard; this Deckhand was one of the shuttle's original intended flight crew, who didn't get the message that his group had been diverted, and when he sees the character group, he'll challenge them for authorization. The characters have a little more privacy in this scenario; killing him on the spot won't cause immediate complications (but may in the next encounter), though any weapons fire will still set off the alarm at this point. Taking him prisoner is also an option, though the characters will have to be sure and confiscate his communicator at a minimum. Gux'a P'nt/XO may also try showing this Deckhand their falsified authorization (which will require a Computers specialization Check of his Technology Skill versus the Deckhand's Perception Check; the Deckhand has an applicable Sense Deception specialization, DC 49); the Deckhand will depart the shuttle without further complications if this is successful, and will attempt to summon help otherwise.
Any alarm at this point will trigger an automatic lockdown of the station - the exterior clam-shell doors will be closed and then locked down, and a group of eight armed guards will enter the flight bay ten rounds later, make their way to where the PCs are and attempt to arrest them, meeting any resistance with deadly force. Additional guards will arrive in groups of eight at intervals of five rounds. The lock on the clam-shell doors will have to be overridden, which will require an uplink to the station's computer and a request for an override (via two successive Technology Checks in a row, both of which must be successful). If Gux'a P'nt/XO's command codes are still valid (i.e. if he didn't spend the night in jail), these Checks may be made without any issues, otherwise both of them are at unfavorable circumstances. Each of these actions takes time to complete - to simulate the passage of time, the GM should roll 2d10 for each action (establishing the uplink, and then requesting the override); the result of the roll is the number of rounds that has passed for the action. Any uplink will remain valid for twenty rounds and will have to be re-established if time is allowed to elapse. While the uplink is established, any number of attempts to override the door lock may be made.
If an alarm is triggered, the players will proceed to the Flight to Shal'kuz Mang encounter from here. Otherwise, they'll go straight to the Shal'Kuz Mang's Flight Deck encounter next.
Results: With any luck at all, the group is now out in space and they have yet to trip any alarms. Next stop - Shal'kuz Mang.
Flight to Shal'kuz MangEdit
Hang on, y'all - it's going to be a bumpy ride...
Setup: This encounter is intended to happen if and only if the players met with rotten luck in the previous encounter and managed to set off an alarm. If this is not the case, the GM should assume the flight over to Shal'kuz Mang is completely uneventful and skip ahead to the next encounter. There will be plenty of flying adventures coming up soon enough.
Bloodeye and his group have made it off of the T'Kon H'hra station and are on their way to Shal'Kuz Mang, but things have certainly not gone according to plan - the base knows that their refueling shuttle has been stolen by a group of Kilrathi, and you better believe they want the damn thing back.
The GM should read the following text aloud: Amidst a swirl of flashing lights and what you're sure would be a cacophony of alarm klaxons (if you could actually hear them), the shuttle has blasted its way free of the T'Kon H'hra station. Almost immediately, the craft's comm system comes alive with orders to heave to, while its sensors have picked up a pair of Tigersharks already on an intercept course!
Problems: In case it isn't terribly obvious, that pair of Tigersharks is there to stop the shuttle at all costs (GM: You still might want to let the players know that - have the characters overhear the station's command authorizing the use of deadly force to stop the shuttle). The fighters are fully armed and fueled, and are piloted by Standard Confederation Pilots. They begin approximately 20 range increments aft of the shuttle and will have to turn 120 degrees (either way, your choice) to bring their weapons to bear; this is hardly an advantage to the shuttle's occupants, as a Tigershark can easily outrun a Kofar shuttle. The shuttle does have a laser turret installed and the players are allowed to shoot back at their pursuers - though it should also be noted that the Tigersharks are better armed as well...
This encounter is intended as a stern chase, with the crew attempting to outmaneuver the Terran fighters and reach the relative safety of Shal'kuz Mang's flight deck. The ship is located approximately 30,000 kilometers from the station proper - running flat out directly at it, it will take 15 rounds to cover the distance. Of course, running flat out may prove problematic - there is a fair amount of debris floating about from all the dead hulks in the yard, so the potential is definitely there for the players to pull some hot maneuvers over any of those hulks, skimming mere meters over them to aggravate their pursuers. You are welcome to set up the "route" between the station and the cruiser as you wish; for purposes of gameplay, use the Combat in Asteroid Fields rules for Vehicle-scale combat. There is definitely a fair amount of Plot Point potential for overall coolness here, so be sure to pay particular attention to what the players are doing. Destroying the two interceptors is NOT the point of this encounter; just getting away is.
Since Shal'kuz Mang will not willingly receive the shuttle at the end of the flight, it will be necessary for the PC piloting the craft to either slow down prior to attempting to land (using a Vehicle Piloting Check at unfavorable circumstances) or to pull a crash stop (which will require a successful Reflexes Check followed by the same Vehicle Piloting Check). On a failure of the Vehicle Piloting Check, the craft will bolter and another attempt will have to be made during the next round. On a critical failure of the Vehicle Piloting Check or a failure of the Reflexes Check, the PC involved will have to make a Check for a Ramming action. On a critical failure of the Reflexes Check, ramming is automatically successful - the PC may attempt a Reflex Save in order to halve the resultant damage to the shuttle.
Results: With luck, the crew has made it to Shal'kuz Mang alive, but they aren't out of the woods yet - the entire base is on alert at this point, and that includes those four armed guards making sure nobody tries to steal a near-fully operational Kilrathi cruiser. In the next encounter, the guards will automatically be on alert from the moment the encounter begins, and a shuttle with more troops will be dispatched to Shal'kuz Mang the moment the group arrives.
Shal'Kuz Mang's Flight DeckEdit
Hoepfully nobody thought that the Confederation would leave a ripe target like this one just open for capture...Setup: After a brief (and possibly harrowing) shuttle flight, the hard part begins for Bloodeye and his crew - the crew has to get to the engineering section and finish firing up the reactor, then input the command codes to gain control over the ship's computer. And once that's done, they have to pilot the ship out of the system without getting blown up in the process.
First things first, though - the shuttle has to successfully land aboard Shal'kuz Mang. The ship itself is in final preparations to leave on its final journey out to the testing range, so there is still some maintenance work going on. A precursory scan made by the characters while they are on final approach could reveal the existence of the maintenance groups aboard, using a standard Technology Check; the crew is made aware of the presence of maintenance personnel on a successful Check. On a critical success, the crew will discover that two of the life-signs are Kilrathi, while the rest are Terran. An indeterminate scan will result on a failure, while no life signs will be read in the event of a botch.
Assuming the players did not have to go through the Flight to Shal'kuz Mang encounter, landing aboard Shal'kuz Mang will require a Vehicle Piloting Check; it will land without any issues on any level of success. On a failure of the Vehicle Piloting Check, the craft will bolter and another attempt will have to be made. On a critical failure of the Vehicle Piloting Check, the PC involved will have to make a Check for a Ramming action. In the event of a ram, the PC may attempt a Reflex Save in order to halve the resultant damage to the shuttle. If the players did go through the Flight to Shal'kuz Mang encounter, they have already landed aboard the ship.
The GM should read the following text aloud once the shuttle has landed: The shuttle has successfully touched down aboard the cruiser Shal'kuz Mang towards the rear of the ship's narrow flight deck. Through the shuttle's forward viewport, you can see a number of Kilrathi fighters - a few Darkets and Dralthi-IVs but also a few antique mid-war era Dralthis and Salthis - in various states of disrepair tucked into shelters off the landing zone. As the clam-shell doors shut overhead, you can see four Terran guards are standing at the far end of the bay near the starboard entrance to the ship's main service corridor, watching the shuttle's approach. They've seen you as well and they don't appear particularly pleased...
Problems: As Ku'a K'le/Negotiator feared, there are four armed Terrans in the Launch Bay and they look a little bit grumpy (GM: use the Generic Terran Guard template, and assume they're standing around grid coordinates P24 and P25 at the onset of the encounter). Gux'a P'nt/XO's computer fu didn't extend into the computers for the security details, so as far as these guys know, the maintenance crew due to arrive was supposed to be an all-Terran crew. Their orders are to guard the ship while the final preparations are made for its departure, and to use deadly force to prevent its theft - with further instructions to shoot first and ask questions later. Their orders say nothing about taking prisoners, they're all more than a bit trigger-happy and they're in dire need of seeing some action...
The guards may already be in a shooting mood when the PCs arrive - if they went through the Flight to Shal'kuz Mang encounter, the guards already know the group has stolen the shuttle and was headed their way; they will open fire on the PCs the moment they open the shuttle's door. Assuming the guards don't begin shooting on sight, the characters can try to avoid an armed confrontation with the guards. The attempt may only be made if all of the characters are wearing work uniforms. If any characters aren't wearing a work uniform at this point, the guards will start shooting. Otherwise, the guards will take aim at the players and demand to see their authorization paperwork. Gux'a P'nt/XO will then present the group's "credentials" (the same falsified authorization he may have had to show either the guards or deckhands aboard the station), after which one of the guards will then take the time to review it - this will entail a Computers specialization Check of Gux'a P'nt/XO's Technology Skill versus a Sense Deception specialization Check of the guard's Perception skill (DC 76). If the guard detects the forgery, he'll yell "It's fake!" and he and the other guards will start shooting. Otherwise, he'll acknowledge the authorization with a curt "Get to work"; the guards will relax a bit but will still remain alert. The characters are then free to offload the antimatter pod - but while they're doing this, the GM can have one of the guards perform a Perception Check (DC 36) on any of the characters to see a concealed weapon (Pick any character armed with any weapon, and feel free to make this Check more than once if you wish.). If the guard detects the group is armed, he'll alert his fellow guards and they'll begin shooting. Otherwise, the group will be allowed to proceed to the next encounter without incident. If they do manage to sneak past the guards, the players are going to have to decide what to do with the guards once they've finished taking over the ship; see the "How to Deal with Terran Prisoners" sub-section in the Notes section below.
Of course, the players may decide that they are tired of sneaking around and fight the guards. This will happen automatically if any character draws a weapon or unsheathes their claws at any point during the encounter while the guards are still in sight. In any event where any character decides the time has come to fight, three guards will begin shooting and back into the Squadron Ready Room about sixteen meters up the left-hand side of the corridor in order to gain partial cover; they may proceed into the Pilot's Locker Room from there to try and get a greater number of walls between them and the group (even though there is an entrance to this room thirty meters up the main corridor from the Flight Deck). Once they have cover, one of them will get out their communicator and raise an alarm, requesting backup from the station. The guards will stand their ground down to the last man, and won't stop shooting until they either run out of ammo or until all of the PCs have been neutralized. They should not move back out into the corridor if possible, and certainly past the Lifts towards the Main Engineering Chamber (unless absolutely necessary; if this occurs, the circumstances under which the character of Irgu/Machinist is introduced in the Engine Room encounter will need to be adjusted). A player might suggest using the shuttle's on-board weaponry to neutralize the guards before setting foot on the deck; they may do so without fear of penalty, though any guards that do survive will retreat down the corridor as already described.
The antimatter pod may represent a special complication in the event that shots are fired after the characters have unloaded it from the shuttle. In the event of a botch of any Security Check by any character present (either a PC or one of the guard) used for the purpose of firing a weapon, the shot goes wildly wrong and hits the antimatter tank instead. The tank can sustain 100 total points of Basic Damage before it is either ruptured or its magnetic containment field shorts out; either event ruptures the tank, causing a catastrophic explosion that will kill everybody (and end the campaign a bit early).
From this point in the adventure onward, the station will dispatch a shuttle with twelve armed Generic Terran Guards in response to any alarm raised. It will take five minutes for the guards to assemble after the first alert, another fifteen seconds for them to board, just over a minute and a half for them to make the journey over to Shalkuz Mang and then another thirty seconds for them to dock and disembark. From that point, they'll head directly to where the characters are located, which will take two minutes regardless of where they are in the craft. The guards will then enter the encounter location with the characters and must be neutralized before the adventure continues. Should the characters reduce the guards in number to four, a second call for backup will be made at that time, with the time to assemble ignored (it can be assumed the entire base is on alert after the first alarm is raised). Should the characters neutralize all of the guards without them raising a second alarm, a second group of guards will be dispatched from the station two minutes later (it can be assumed the base attempted to get a situation report and got no answer from their troops, and decided to send backup anyway).
GM: If the encounter seems too easy for your players, a way to mix it up would be to have a second Naktarg show up immediately after the last guard is dispatched. This shuttle would contain six armed Kilrathi (use the B'Harg character template), who have also come to steal the ship and come out guns blazing (each is equipped with a Third Class Laser Gun; to ramp up the difficulty, they can also be equipped with Second Class Half-Shields). The players may deal with these new arrivals however they choose, and this may be a good way to get additional characters to join up with Bloodeye's group. A way to further complicate things would be to make it where this second Kilrathi group tripped an alarm on their departure, guaranteeing the arrival of additional Terran troops...
Results: Whether they've been tricked, stunned, shot or impaled upon their claws, the Terran guards have been successfully neutralized and the antimatter pod is still intact enough to deliver to the engineering section, which is where the group is headed next in all cases (the Engine Room encounter). Hopefully they didn't raise too much of a ruckus in the process...
Main Engineering is approximately 68 meters down the service corridor from the Flight Deck. It will take about 55 seconds for the characters to get the antimatter pod from the Flight Deck to the Main Engineering Chamber.
So, Bloodeye did bring someone along that knows how to run a matter-antimatter reactor, right?
Setup: After getting past the Terran guards, it's time to get down to the business of actually stealing the ship. Two main things need to happen at this point - the ship's main drive systems need to be brought on-line and the group needs to gain control over the ship's computer. The engine needs to be dealt with first - if the engine doesn't start, the group is going nowhere fast, even if they do manage to gain control over the computer. B'de/Engineer is an experienced capital ship engineer, but even he can't run the ship's kettle all by himself. He'll need as much help as he can get at this point.
To that end, the character of Irgu/Machinist is introduced in this encounter. When Bloodeye's group first enters the engineering chamber, he's on the lower engineering level making some final adjustments to the last of the replacement parts. The work he's doing has required him to shut off power to the magnetic containment fields within the core itself; the fields are still off when the encounter begins.
The GM should read the following text aloud: You have entered the mid-deck of the ship's main engineering compartment, a hexagonal chamber roughly thirty meters to a side. Directly ahead of you is the matter-antimatter reactor chamber, which dwarfs everything else in the room; you can see the top of the antigraviton flux capacitor aft of the reactor. Various equipment lockers and monitors line the exterior walls. Two access grills leading to the upper and lower levels of the chamber are located on either side of the reactor about forty meters away from where you're standing; the one leading on the portside lower level seems to have been left open. The main reactor control panel is approximately fifteen meters directly ahead of you.Problems: This particular encounter is somewhat convoluted, with events somewhat dependent upon what may or may not have already happened during the course of the encounter. To assist in charting the possible routes the encounter may take, the flowchart to the right is provided.
B'de/Engineer is the star of this particular encounter; though it has been a number of years since he last served as a starship engineer, he remembers the engine startup procedure extremely well; no Check is required. If the GM would prefer to conduct a Check anyway, have him conduct a Knowledge Check, using his Electronics specialization (assuming the specific character of B'de is being utilized by the player group. Should the Check fail, it may be repeated as necessary. Upon remembering the procedure, B'de will first want to run a diagnostic to check the system's status, then transfer the antimatter into the ship's storage tank, and then bring the reactor online.
Running the DiagnosticEdit
Running the diagnostic requires a Technology Check performed at the main reactor control panel. Any character may perform this Check (though the check will be at favorable circumstances if the character performing it has an engineering background (as determined by the GM); a Computers Specialization may be utilized here as well. A successful Check will reveal that the magnetic constrictors within the reactor are currently disengaged, and that they'll need to be re-engaged before a safe transfer of the antimatter fuel into the reaction chamber can take place. On a critical success, the character will note an active diagnostic of the magnetic constrictors in progress - a sign that someone else is aboard and is actively working on the engine system at the moment, most likely located somewhere else in the engineering compartment (and will be discovered with a any successful Perception Check; additional attempts may be made on any degree of failure). On a failure, no abnormalities with the engine system are detected. A botch causes the engineering terminal to lock up - it will have to be re-booted before another attempt to conduct the diagnostic may be made; it will take two minutes before the system is ready to use again.
If the characters decide to look around the compartment before proceeding or if the diagnostic resulted in a critical success, they'll discover another Kilrathi in the engineering compartment (proceed to the "Encounter Irgu" part of this encounter). Otherwise, they'll want to attempt to transfer the antimatter into the engine as soon as possible. If they discovered that the magnetic constrictors were disengaged, B'de/Engineer will want to re-engage them immediately (proceed to the "Engaging The Constrictors" portion of this encounter). Finally, if the characters didn't detect problems with the engine system, B'de/Engineer will begin the refueling process by fitting a hose to the tank's feed and then commanding the computer to begin the transfer (proceed to the "Attaching The Hose" portion of this encounter).
Engaging The ConstrictorsEdit
The characters arrive this portion of the encounter if they discovered that the magnetic constrictors weren't engaged in the "Running the Diagnostic" portion of the encounter and didn't bother to look around the engineering compartment before proceeding. B'de/Engineer knows that the magnetic constrictors are needed to contain the antimatter reaction, and so will want to re-engage the constrictors before proceeding with the fuel transfer. B'de/Engineer can re-engage the constrictors with a Technology Check; a Computers specialization can be utilized here. On a botch, the terminal will lock up and will need to be rebooted before another attempt can be made, which takes two minutes to accomplish. On a standard failure, the constrictors won't re-engage; another attempt will need to be made but can be made right away. On a successful Check of any degree, the computer will attempt to re-engage the constrictors but detect that not all of them are installed properly (owing to Irgu/Machinist's ongoing repair work) and sound an alarm within the chamber (In all cases, the characters will proceed to the "Encounter Irgu" part of this encounter from here).
Attaching The HoseEdit
The characters may arrive this portion of the encounter if they didn't discover that the magnetic constrictors weren't engaged in the "Running the Diagnostic" portion of the encounter and didn't bother to look around the engineering compartment before proceeding. In this case, B'de/Engineer believes that there is nothing wrong with the engine system (when in fact a vital component is currently non-operational) and will begin taking steps to initiate the fuel transfer. The characters may also arrive in this portion of the encounter after aiding Irgu/Machinist in refitting the constrictors, in which case there isn't any problems with the reactor and preparing to transfer fuel is the next logical step. Finally, the characters may arrive here after having been here once, in the event the computer detects that they failed to properly attach the hose in a previous attempt. In any of these cases, a specialized "hose" that will contain the antimatter as it is being transferred into the engine system will need to be properly attached to the antimatter tank before the transfer can begin; the other end of the hose leads into a holding tank, which is already part of the reactor system.
If the characters attached the hose to the tank prior to meeting Irgu/Machinist, he will take a moment to look at the job they did - this serves as a "last chance" in the event that the group botched things and the hose isn't actually connected properly. This requires a Perception Check; on any level of success, Irgu/Machinist will ascertain the true status of the hose - and will point it out to the group if necessary. If the hose is properly attached, the group may begin the fuel transfer (proceed to the "Transfer Fuel" portion of this encounter). Irgu/Machinist will only perform this Perception Check once, and it is entirely possible for him to catch the botch, attempt to re-fit the hose and miss it when he botches it again...
Fitting the hose to the tank requires an Internal Systems Check, which takes thirty seconds to complete. On any level of success, the hose will be fitted properly to the tank. On a failure, the hose won't fit properly, while on a botch the hose will look like it's been fitted properly when it fact it isn't (which could spell disaster when the time comes to make the actual fuel transfer!). When the hose is properly attached (or at least seems that way), the next step is to tell the computer to begin the fuel transfer (proceed to the "Transfer Fuel" portion of this encounter).
The characters arrive at this portion of the encounter once they've connected the antimatter fuel tank to the reactor's holding tank with the hose. The group has either encountered Irgu/Machinist and knows the reactor system is ready to use, or they are under the mistaken impression that it is. In either case, the actual fuel transfer requires a Technology Check performed at the main engineering console; a Computers specialization can be utilized here. On any success, the ship's computer will run a check to see if the reactor system is ready to use. If there is a potential fault with the system (either the fact that the magnetic constrictors are disengaged or the fact that the hose hasn't been fitted properly), an alarm will sound within the chamber and the transfer will not take place. What happens next depends on the specific fault. If the constrictors aren't in place, a rather disgruntled Irgu/Machinist will curse loudly and make his presence known (proceed to the "Encounter Irgu" part of this encounter). If the hose is not properly attached, a rather disgruntled Irgu/Machinist will curse loudly, shut off the alarm and start working to fix the problem (proceed to the "Attaching The Hose" portion of this encounter). If there is no fault in the system, the fuel transfer begins - it will take approximately two minutes for the fuel transfer to complete itself (proceed to the "Bringing the Engine Online" portion of this encounter). Should the Technology Check fail, the fuel transfer will fail to commence; another attempt to begin the transfer may be made immediately. A botched result here of the Check only has a special effect if the hose hasn't been fitted properly - in that event, antimatter escapes containment, the ship explodes and the campaign comes to an early end. If the hose was properly fitted, a botch of the Check may be treated as a normal failure.
The characters arrive at this portion of the encounter by checking around the engineering compartment before doing anything there, or by the computer detecting a fault with the magnetic constrictors and sounding an alarm (whether this was done as an attempt to engage the magnetic constrictors directly or as part of a systems check prior to transferring fuel.
The character of Irgu/Machinist is introduced at this point. An employee of the Salvage Yard, he's been working for some time to get the ship's reactor working well enough to make its single jump to the T'kon system, and has been granted a fair amount of autonomy to do his work - while there is a Terran work detail currently aboard the ship, they trust him enough to let him work on his own. He's actually interested in getting off the station despite being one of the few Kilrathi with a relatively good-paying job at T'Kon H'hra; he's a marked kil, wanted dead on two different worlds for various indiscretions in his youth, and has been successfully hiding at the yard for the past five years. This morning, however, he saw someone at T'kon H'hra from his hometown, so there's someone there that knows who he is and what he's done - and all it would take is one word from them to send the entire Kilrathi populace of the station down on his head (literally). The arrival of Bloodeye's group thus provides him with a convenient means of making a quick getaway. He's also none too keen on the notion of Paulsen blowing up all the work he's done over the past few months getting Shal'kuz Mang back to a flyable state. He's been working on the chamber for the last few hours replacing several "magnetic constrictors", parts that keep the matter/antimatter reaction contained, itself a necessity if the ship is going to be jump-worthy at all.
When informed of the intention of the group, he'll want to join up, volunteering information on what he's been doing and what still needs to be done to get the ship back up and running again. If any of the players object to the notion to his inclusion into the group, B'de/Engineer will indicate a preference to have another pair of hands available, particularly ones that know their way around the inside of a ship's engines. Any disagreement among the players should be handled through role-playing - with the decision of whether or not to allow Irgu/Machinist into the group falling to Bloodeye. Ultimately, Irgu/Machinist will be allowed to join.
Irgu/Machinist has a few other pieces of information to volunteer to the group:
- He knows that another repair crew - a Terran repair crew - is aboard the ship reprogramming the ship's computer to run on automated controls for the test. The long-and-the-short of this information is that the ship could be tracked no matter where it goes. This will become a new complication for the mission; if it isn't disabled, finding the ship after its stolen would be easy for the authorities to accomplish.
- He knows that shutting off the tracking device requires a set of access codes, which he doesn't have.
- He knows that the maintenance crew foreman is an overly cautious individual and that he and the maintenance crew are all armed.
- He knows that there is a shuttle docked at the ship's ventral docking port, located in the ventral pylon on the fifteenth level.
- He knows that the maintenance crew has finished their work and are in preparations to head back to the shuttle. He had just gotten off the comm lines with that crew when the group first entered the engineering chamber, so that information is relatively fresh.
- He knows that the plan was for him to head to the Bridge once his repair work was done so that the foreman could set the ship's systems to automatic immediately before their mutual departure.
- He knows that he and the foreman were supposed to depart along with the group of guards on the Flight Deck (the same ones the characters encountered earlier) on a shuttle that would be dispatched upon their signal.
- He knows that the ship's bridge is slightly forward of the engineering chamber on the ninth level.
- He knows that there was an accident aboard just last week wherein Paulsen crews pulled off an escape pod from the ship's starboard side on the ninth level; a pressure hatch that was supposed to descend when that happened jammed and part of the level was vented to space, killing two Terran workers in the process.
- He knows that fixing the stuck pressure hatch was a job assigned to him and that he hasn't gotten around to it yet, so pressure doors are still closed on the ninth level.
The player portraying Irgu/Machinist may volunteer any of these pieces of information as they so choose, but absolutely must give the group the information about the maintenance crew (i.e. the first of the talking points listed above).
After the conclusion of any conversation that takes place, Irgu/Machinist will ask for assistance with the final check the magnetic constrictors, work that needs to be done correctly if there is to be any chance of bringing the reactor online. Specialized testing equipment is needed to perform the work, which Irgu/Machinist has in his possession already; he will readily point out the nearby equipment locker with identical equipment sets if he gets any volunteers to assist him. Checking a constrictor requires an Internal Systems Check (a character's Engine specialization may be used if applicable). A successful Check means that the constrictor has been successfully installed and can be certified as ready; a total of six such successful Checks are required before the characters may move on. On a critical success, all of the constrictors automatically pass their final test. On a failure, a constrictor hasn't passed its final check and must be adjusted. On a botch, the constrictor is completely faulty - and testing it blows the other constrictors out of position, requiring all of them to be re-adjusted into their operating positions, effectively requiring the entire testing process to start over from scratch. In all cases, each Internal Systems Check takes 2d10 rounds to complete. Irgu/Machinist has spare constrictors that may be installed in the event that one of them proves faulty; it will take a full two minutes for him to uninstall the faulty module and install a replacement, which will then still need to be checked.
Once all the constrictors are in place, the reactor chamber will be ready to use. If the characters have attached the antimatter pod to the reactor, they are ready to begin transferring fuel into the holding tank (proceed to the "Transfer Fuel" portion of this encounter). Otherwise, they'll need to connect the pod first (proceed to the "Attaching The Hose" portion of this encounter).
Bringing the Engine OnlineEdit
The characters arrive at this portion of the encounter after having successfully transferred the fuel from the antimatter tank into the reactor's holding tank. Irgu/Machinist, B'de/Engineer or any other character may now disconnect the hose from the antimatter tank; this action is considered free in all cases and requires no Check. At this point, the engine itself needs to be brought on-line so that it can begin generating the massive pile of anti-gravitons it requires to make the jump drive work. If anybody of the players ask, Irgu/Machinist can explain that fuel for the impulse engines - the same fuel that acts as the "matter" for the matter/antimatter reactor - was delivered several days ago, so the engine's ready to use at this point.
Bringing the engine on-line is a simple process; it requires an Internal Systems Check performed at the main engineering console; an Akwende Engines / Jump Engines specialization may be utilized here. On any success, the ship's computer will begin the controlled reaction; the engine will be fully operational one minute later, and the characters need not stick around for the system to fully ignite (proceed to the Results section of this encounter). On any failure, the operator at the console make a typo and the computer rejects the command; another attempt to bring the engine on-line may be made immediately, with only one round passing between attempts. No special consequences of a botch occur here, though you're welcome to have one of the other characters make fun of the character operating the computer console in this case for their exceptionally poor skill at keying commands in...
Results: Unless the group had extraordinarily bad luck, the ship's engine is now up and running. The next stop for the characters will be the ship's bridge, where they will not only have to attempt to gain computer access, but to also disable the tracking device that the other maintenance crew installed. The group may want to try and avoid the maintenance crew, especially if they've already tripped an alarm during the day's events and they're pressed for time before more Terran troops arrive.
Irgu/Machinist will suggest that they go via the aft service corridors to an auxiliary stairwell up one level and then on to the bridge from there, rather than taking the lift or the upper engineering level access ladders to the ninth level. The lift is more direct; the characters can be at the bridge in about forty seconds if they go that way. It will take about a minute and a half if the group chooses to use the access ladder. The service corridor route is definitely far more circuitous - it will take at least three minutes to get to the bridge that way. The players can select which route to take: if they choose the lift or the upper engineering level access ladder, they will go to the Elevator encounter next (which is a Red Herring encounter). Otherwise, they'll head straight to the Bridge encounter.
Sometimes the fastest way really isn't the best way...Setup: If the players are here, it means they ignored Irgu's advice about using a service corridor to head to the ship's bridge. Regardless of their reasons for doing so, the decision is going to cost them - the Terran maintenance crew has just finished up their work and they're heading for the lift in order to reach their own craft (docked at the ship's ventral docking port) at the same time that Bloodeye and his group are headed up to the bridge. Naturally, the two groups are about to encounter one another. The foreman of the maintenance crew, a somewhat paranoid person, has made certain that all the members of his crew are carrying weaponry...
If the players took the upper engineering access ladder to get here, the GM should read the following text aloud: You have made your way up to the ship's main corridor on the ninth level. As you proceed down the corridor leading towards the ship's bridge, you encounter a closed hatchway, which opens automatically at your approach. As soon as the hexagonal double doors of the hatchway open, you see four Terrans waiting in the corridor standing about twenty meters away near the doors to the main lift - Irgu's maintenance crew, no doubt. One of them turns to face the hatchway at the sound of the hatch opening - there is the briefest hesitation from them before he shouts a Terran curse word and draws a weapon!
Otherwise, the GM should read the following text aloud: You have entered one of the ship's central lift cars, a rhomboid approximately two-and-a-half meters to a side; it's quite cramped with the entire group in there all at once. You can hear the faint whir of motors silently lifting you up one level. As the motors stop and the doors open, you see four Terrans waiting in the corridor near the lift's doors - Irgu's maintenance crew, no doubt. There is the briefest hesitation before one of them shouts a Terran curse word and draws a weapon!
Problems: This is a standard combat encounter; there is nothing the characters can do in this situation other than to fight it out. The Terrans begin the encounter near grid coordinates t17-t18 on the map above (roughly where it says "Lifts" on the map). If the group began this encounter by taking the Lift up to the ninth-level, they begin in the lift near grid coordinates s19-s20; they're practically right on top of the Terrans, and pretty easy targets when the bullets begin to fly. If the group began this encounter by taking the engineering access ladder up to the ninth-level, they begin by the open hatchway into the Main Engineering Chamber around coordinates i17-i18, roughly four range increments from the Terrans; it will be slightly easier for them to scramble for cover in that case. The Terrans in this encounter are members of an average maintenance crew that just happen to be armed (use the Generic Terran Deckhand template, but add Second Class Plasma Guns to their equipment set.)
The Terran that draws his weapon already has the drop on Bloodeye's group; he'll be awarded a surprise round no matter what. All remaining characters will need to make Perception Checks; any character that fails will have a surprise round scored against them in the upcoming combat action. The Terrans will scramble to find better cover as soon as possible. They will venture into any open room in the area except for the Bridge itself (where their boss awaits), but will not head out to the pylons or to the aft service corridors (i.e. they will not venture off the map). Once under cover, they will get out their communicator and raise an alarm, requesting backup from the station. Once there is only one Terran left, they will attempt to get to the lifts. In the meantime, they won't stop shooting unless they run out of ammo. The players may not proceed to the next encounter until all the Terrans have been neutralized or have left the area.
The character of Dya'a'ji/Infiltrator will be introduced in this encounter. He's a hafik'hra, a ninja-like figure who came to the T'kon H'hra station five years ago as part of a mission to eliminate another hafik'hra that had gone rogue after the destruction of Kilrah. He saved every soul on the station due to the success of his mission, though he's the only one that knows it and he's been trying to get off the station ever since. Having had no success with securing legitimate transport, he's kept a keen watch on the ships in the yard for a number of years, knowing that it would only be a matter of time before a group competent enough to steal one worth stealing would have a fair chance of success. Shal'kuz Mang has been on his radar for a number of months. As part of his plan, he's been surreptitiously transferring small boxes of rux'fra out to the ship by slipping them in with legitimate cargo deliveries; at this point, a good size stockpile has been built up. He noted the congregation of Bloodeye's group and actually eavesdropped on the group's conversation, and decided the time had come to make his move. He stowed away on the shuttle with the maintenance crew and has been on board for several hours securing his rux'fra stash and setting up tripwires all around the ninth level (Any time a character moves in an area of the ninth level other than the Y-shaped main corridor during this encounter, perform a Perception Check; on any failure, there's a 50% chance the character will encounter a trip wire, which will have the same effects as successful Trip action against that character as per the guidelines in Chapter 9.2 of the Core Rules). At the beginning of the encounter, he's hiding out in the crew cabin near grid coordinates z15. If any of the Terrans enter the cabin, he'll "accidentally" claw them as they enter the room. If any of the characters come across him, he'll pretend to be hungover - he "fell asleep in a maintenance shuttle and woke up here" - and grateful that somebody found him. If he's not encountered during the course of the combat action itself, he should be encountered prior to the group's entry to the Bridge. He'll ask what the group is doing, and then ask for passage off the station (he doesn't care where, just not T'kon H'hra). If the group refuses, he'll offer to pay them with the rux'fra accumulated. (If the group continue to refuse, subtly suggest they reconsider - you might mention that none of them brought provisions, and since the ship was slated to be a target ship, they aren't likely to find any aboard...).
Irgu/Machinist may have mentioned to the other characters that an escape pod on the starboard side of the deck was removed by Paulsen not too long ago and the isolation hatch didn't shut properly, resulting in a tragic decompression and requiring several internal emergency pressure bulkheads to be sealed. The sealed hatchways in question are the ones by the Conference Arena and the one just aft of the Lifts on the starboard side. Players may open these hatches, though doing so will bring its own brand of trouble - for the first thirty seconds, there will be a wind strong enough to blow away any character on the deck towards the hatch (use the appropriate environmental effects, with the associated damage potential, as indicated in Chapter 12.3 of the Core Rules). Characters may attempt Reflex Saves once per round to mitigate the effect down to merely being knocked prone. The hatchway may be shut at any time to end the wind effect. After five rounds have passed, the atmosphere will have vented entirely; the wind will stop but Suffocation effects begin at that point. Should the hatchway be shut after the atmosphere is vented, it will take another thirty seconds (five rounds) before a sufficient volume of breathable oxygen has been pumped into the level to end Suffocation effects. Any character blown past the hatchway is effectively dead (and may be treated as such). Opening the pressure hatchways is a free action; closing them requires a successful Dextrous Maneuvers Check.
Results: Once the Terran maintenance crew has been neutralized, it's time for Bloodeye's crew to head for the ship's Bridge, which is just down either side of the main corridor a short ways. They've gained another ally in their quest to restore honor to the Kilrathi people, but on the other hand the encounter that awaits them has just gotten a little bit harder...
Time to set sail.Setup: After getting the engine up and running, the group is finally preparing to enter the ship's bridge. They have a single task to perform with the ship's computer here - they'll have to enter the correct command codes correctly so that they can take de facto ownership of the ship.
Of course, things are not going to be quite as easy as it sounds. This is the climatic encounter of the mission, and what would any climax be without a boss fight, eh? The boss in this case is the foreman of the maintenance crew that installed the tracking device on the ship's bridge, a Terran that is far better equipped than any guard the characters may have come across during the course of the mission up to this point. Depending on their actions up to this point, the boss fight may be relatively easy or it could be quite difficult.
The GM should read the following text aloud: You have reached the threshold to Shalkuz Mang's main bridge. As the hatchway opens and you stare into the hexagonal room, you spot a Terran...
If the characters tripped an alarm at any point after the Flight Deck encounter, continue with this text: ...standing in front of the commanding officer's seat. The shimmery distortion of a personal energy shield surrounds him.
Otherwise, continue with this text: ...sitting down in the commanding officer's seat.
In all cases, finish here: The Terran turns his head to face you at the sound of the hatchway opening, spots you and curses loudly.
Problems: The characters will begin the encounter on the Bridge battle grid above at grid coordinates o1 (from the portside entrance), o18 (from the starboard entrance) or both, depending on how the players have chosen to enter the encounter (be certain to check their positioning before proceeding). The first problem the characters are going to face when they've entered the bridge is the foreman. Ordinarily the odds would be overwhelmingly in favor of the characters, but (as already mentioned) this Terran's gear is slightly better than that of any guard the characters have encountered to date (use the Generic Terran Guard template, but replace the guard's weapon with a Sixth Class Repeater Laser and add a Seventh Class Energy Shield, Laser Resistant x4, as well as two spare Medium Batteries) and can easily match the combined firepower of Bloodeye and his group.
If the characters have avoided setting off any alarms at all up to this point, he'll be sitting in the command chair in the vicinity of g10 on the map above. His reaction to the sight of armed Kilrathi entering the bridge will be to stand up and then activate his shield - next he will draw his weapon and begin shooting. The characters might be able to dispatch the Terran with a lucky shot during the first round of combat; once he has his shield up, they're in for a slug-fest. If the characters tripped an alarm at any point, the foreman is already alert, his defenses are up and his weapon is drawn as the characters enter the room - he will begin shooting right away. He'll keep himself facing the characters at all times and begin moving aft - his back will remain towards the machinery room door at the aft end of the bridge.
The character of Dya'a'ji/Infiltrator may be introduced in this encounter, but only if the players chose to follow Irgu/Machinist's advice at the end of the Engine Room encounter and take the slower, longer route to the bridge (i.e. if they didn't go through the Elevator encounter). If they did go through that encounter, Dya'a'ji/Infiltrator will already be a member of the group, and he won't be available to help surreptitiously neutralize the Terran. Otherwise, he's been hiding out in the machinery room around grid coordinates D18 on the ninth-level battle map (see the Elevator encounter above). After he reaches the adjacent door, Dya'a'ji/Infiltrator will silently open it (entering the encounter at a9 on the Bridge battle map) and attempt to "accidentally" shred the Terran with his claws (his energy shield might be very effective against hand Lasers, but it's useless against melee weapons and claws count for that purpose). Dya'a'ji/Infiltrator's introduction will happen after the Terran is neutralized, following the same guidelines as indicated in the Elevator encounter (i.e. he'll pretend to be hungover, will ask for passage off the station and will offer to pay in rux'fra if refused).
While Dya'a'ji/Infiltrator is being introduced, one of the players may have their character search for the tracking device; if this doesn't occur while he is being introduced, it will happen immediately afterwards. The device is located directly in front of the main viewscreen around coordinates p10 on the Bridge battle map; finding it should be automatic (but you may conduct a Perception Check at favorable circumstances if you wish, with retries allowed on any degree of failure). Once it has been located, one of the players may bring up the issue of shutting it off - this wouldn't be a smart move just yet, since both the station and the maintenance crew that installed it (assuming they're still alive, of course) would notice the device being shut off, which would likely result in the maintenance crew being dispatched to go see what the matter is. One of the characters should realize this (select one at random) and point it out to the rest of the group - and suggest that the matter be postponed until after the ship is underway. If the group's decision is to proceed with dismantling the device before entering their access codes anyway, and if they did not go through the Elevator encounter, use the shutdown sequences indicated in the Heading to the Jump Point encounter. The maintenance crew will re-enter the Bridge after about two minutes or so have passed once the device has been shut off; the Elevator encounter may be used as a guide for the subsequent combat sequence. If the characters did go through the Elevator encounter, the station will hail the maintenance crew upon the tracking system shutdown, and upon receiving no response (since they're all dead), dispatch guards to investigate.
Once the foreman has been neutralized, the time has come for the group to access the ship's computer and gain control. Assuming he survived, Gux'a P'nt/XO has the command codes and will begin entering them. Unlocking the computer requires a Technology Check (with a Computers specialization applicable). On any degree of success, the command codes are accepted and the controls are unlocked. On a failure, the command codes are not accepted, but another attempt may be made. On a botch, the computer will lock down the controls and a time delay will occur before another attempt may be made to enter the codes. On the first botch, a ten minute delay will occur. On a second botch, a one hour delay will occur. In the event of a third botch, the ship's auto-destruct sequence will kick in on a sixty second countdown, which will probably end the campaign awful fast. Any standard failure after a botched result will cause a repeat of the previous delay period (i.e. a failure after an initial botch will result in a ten minute delay before another attempt may be made). It may be assumed that Gux'a Pnt/XO made a typo on any degree of failure; his codes are good, he just failed to key them in correctly. Once the group has control, Gux'a Pnt/XO will enter a new set of command codes so that the station cannot remotely re-gain control of the ship; this happens automatically. If you wish to play this out, a Technology Check may be made (with a Computers specialziation applicable); the new codes are accepted on any level of success, while they are not accepted on any degree of failure. The computer will simply prompt the user for a new set of codes in this event, and any number of retries may be made).
Results: Bloodeye and his crew now have full control over Shal'kuz Mang. Now there's only one thing left to do, and that's to head to the jump point out of the system as quickly as possible...
If the characters manage to seize control of the ship without killing off all the Terrans aboard, one of them might bring up the issue of what is to be done with them; this could happen either now or at any time during the mission's final encounter. Situations like these may arise at many different points during the course of the campaign; for ideas on what to do in these situations, see the "How to Deal with Prisoners" sub-section in Chapter 1.
Heading for the Jump PointEdit
The characters have got themselves a ship. Now they just have to get it out of the system...
Setup: The group has successfully seized control of Shal'kuz Mang, its engines are fired up and its command codes have been overridden. If the group managed to make it this far without setting off any alarms, they do so as soon as the station's space traffic controller has finished spilling coffee all over himself - something he's bound to do as soon as he sees a Kilrathi cruiser bound for the jump point a full day ahead of schedule. Of course, at this point an alarm has very little effect...
At top speed, a Fralthi-II-class Cruiser travels at 150 kps. The jump point is 640,312 kilometers from the station, so it will take a total of 1 hour, 11 minutes and nine seconds - an awfully long time - for the ship to reach the safety of the jump point. The good news there is that there are no active torpedo-wielding craft in the immediate vicinity of the space station and with the computer firmly under their control, the crew can open the doors or cycle the docking ports for whomever they choose; Bloodeye and company will be able to make a relatively clean getaway.
For purposes of this encounter, assume Result 0 for Nav 2 T'kon H'hra system - there are two Paulsen Orions and a Paulsen-controlled Clarkson-class Transport nearby, neither of which poses a serious threat. The Orions could be sent to tail Shal'kuz Mang and report its position back to base, in which case the players may take the need for their destruction a little more seriously, but otherwise these craft are no threat. The Starship Piloting DC will be at -1 for the transit due to the length of time involved.
The GM should read the following text aloud: There is a distant rumble as the engines flare to life, the ship's full 23,000 metric tonnes lurching slowly forward while turning itself to face the distant jump point. The ship is in motion for a full minute before the station's communications channels are filled with panicked messages. As you leave the vicinity of the station, a pair of nearby Orions begin to track your course, keeping themselves just out of weapons range.
Problems: The group should turn their attention to disabling the tracking device while they're en route to the jump point. Shutting it off is simply a matter of entering the correct command code. The device is operating completely independent of the ship's computer and has its own self-contained power supply; the new codes Gux'a P'nt/XO entered for the ship itself will not grant access to the device. Disabling it requires a Technology Check (with a Computers specialization applicable). Success unlocks the controls and shuts down the device. On a critical success, the device will ask if the user wants to input a new set of codes, making it possible to re-use or sell the device in the future. Failure will not unlock the controls; additional attempts may be made to unlock the device. On a botch, the controls freeze up and will never unlock again; the device will have to be dismantled in this case.
In the event that the tracking device needs to be dismantled (or if any of the players wants to dismantle it instead of just trying to shut it off), any character may make the attempt utilizing a Resourcefulness Check (any Demolitions specializations may be applied here), with the device going off-line with any degree of success. On a botch, the device's independent power supply will overload and explode (use the effect of a Second Class Satchel Charge on everybody in the room; all characters may attempt a Reflex Save for half damage in this case.). Characters may also attempt to destroy the device with their weapons; the device's standard metal casing is two meters think (DR 15, 200 HP). After the device has been reduced to 100 HP or less, it will begin to arc electrical bolts (treat the device as a Lightning source as per Chapter 12.3 of the Core Rules, with checks for Lightning strikes once every three rounds). It will be rendered inoperative upon reaching ten HP, and will detonate as previously indicated upon reaching zero HP.
Once the tracking device is disabled, the group is free and clear until they reach the jump point. Read the following text aloud: With the tracking device disabled, the Orions begin to fall back, and eventually turn to head back towards the station. There are no further signs of pursuit. An hour later as the ship's computer signals proximity to the jump point, your sensors pick up four craft in the vicinity of the jump point, one of which the computer has identified as a Terran transport. The other three unidentified craft break formation with the transport and begin heading in your direction; it takes a visual check to determine that they are Terran Claymore fighter/bombers, carrying a pair of torpedoes each.
The characters will then be hailed by the approaching fighters, which are flying in an echelon formation (one behind and to the right of the lead craft, the second behind and to the right of it). These craft have been contacted by the station and have been given orders to shoot to kill if the characters refuse to surrender (The scheduled torpedo test has been scrubbed at this point - Paulsen administration considers stopping the theft of a potentially potent naval threat like Shal'kuz Mang and preventing the political grief they'd catch from such an occurrence more important; this might be important in the event that one of the players brings it up). What the players decide won't matter - the fighters will launch their torpedoes regardless of whether they surrender or not. Gux'a P'nt/XO has seen it hundreds of times, and will mention as much to the other characters.
But the characters are in luck - the rear ship of the fighter formation is piloted by Naj'bakdor/Pilot, who is introduced and joins the group in this encounter. He too has seen what the Terrans do to those trying to escape from the yard, including his countrymen, and today is the day he decides he's fed up with it all. Upon hearing whatever the characters' reply is to their hail, Naj'bakdor/Pilot will heroically spring into action and fire a quad of missiles at the middle ship of the formation, destroying it. This is designed as part of the encounter's plot; Naj'bakdor/Pilot will automatically destroy the craft without the need for a Check. He will then declare his intention to provide cover for Shal'kuz Mang as the ship attempts to escape - and request a pickup afterwards if at all possible.
The odds are now slightly better than they were - instead of three enemy fighter/bombers, there's now only one and the characters have picked up an escort - but the remaining enemy is still carrying a pair of torpedoes, either of which is enough to significantly damage Shal'kuz Mang and both of which would be enough to destroy the ship outright.
Shal'kuz Mang enters the encounter at a distance of 12,000 kilometers from the jump point; at 150 kps, it will take fourteen rounds to cover the distance (alternatively, the jump point is twelve range units away and at a rate of one range unit per round it will take twelve rounds to cover the distance). The transport and her fighter escort are roughly 3,000 kilometers from the jump point, standing directly in Shal'kuz Mang′s way. The two remaining fighters are approximately one thousand kilometers ahead of the transport (eight range increments from Shak'kuz Mang; Najbakdor's fighter is currently veering to the left relative to Shal'kuz Mang, while his former wingman is veering right. The opposing fighter is piloted by an NPC of average skill (Use the Paulsen Pilot character template for this character's skill set). Naj'bakdor/Pilot fired off four missiles when he downed his other wingman; in addition to his two torpedoes, he has two Heat Seekers and two Image Recognition missiles remaining; his opponent still has his full compliment of ordnance.
Naj'bakdor/Pilot needs only to destroy the other Claymore in order to bring the encounter to a successful conclusion; should he do this, it is assumed that his subsequent landing aboard Shal'kuz Mang is successful (or not, you may still have him perform a Vehicle Piloting Check for landing, with a bolter on a failed Check and a potential Ram action on a botch.). The other players may assist Naj'bakdor/Pilot as they see fit, including using the ship's guns should his opponent come into range. Some of the ship's weaponry has been offloaded during its time in the yard - namely, Shal'kuz Mang has no capship missiles loaded and the guns have been pulled off of her turrets/limited turrets; all other guns are still functional, however. Should Shal'kuz Mang reach the jump point first, the other players may decide whether to jump (using the standard Akwende Drive jump procedure as outlined in Chapter 8.4 of the Core Rules) or to leave Naj'bakdor/Pilot behind. His Claymore is equipped with an Akwende drive, so he is capable of making the jump on his own. Should Naj'bakdor/Pilot be shot down, the crew will have to make the decision whether to pick him up or leave him to his fate; this decision will have to be made before the jump, as the crew cannot return for him. The remainder of the campaign assumes that the crew will pick up Naj'bakdor/Pilot; should this not happen here, the campaign will need to be adjusted for his absence. The opposing Claymore has one thing on its mind - to get a torpedo lock on Shal'kuz Mang and launch its ordnance. It will veer away should Naj'bakdor/Pilot get on his tail, but only long enough to evade. As soon as it is convenient to do so, he will return his attention to the stolen Kilrathi cruiser. He will also fire his guns at Naj'bakdor/Pilot as the opportunity arises.
The Paulsen transport is not going to try to get involved in the fight; it will do its best to evade Shal'kuz Mang and stay out of the firing arcs of his guns - the destruction of the transport is not required in order for the players to successfully complete the encounter. That said, the characters may choose to engage the transport in an attempt to loot its cargo. Should they do so, and should they successfully destroy it such that a loot drop is indicated, assume that the transport was only carrying Soylents - useful as a commodity for later trade but otherwise totally worthless to the group; Kilrathi won't eat Soylents...
Results: If Shal'kuz Mang can reach the jump point intact and the group can perform a successful jump, the mission is complete. The mission epilogue can be read to the players, read by the players, or paraphrased as the GM sees fit. Afterwards, proceed to the next mission, entitled "Dekh aq T'Kon H'hra".
|Like most beings that had traveled through the void of space, Bloodeye wasn't particularly fond of the sensation of jumpshock - a sudden shudder rippling throughout a craft and a gut-twisting wave of nausea, by-products of a process that was completely unnatural. As the familiar sensation gripped him this time, however, he welcomed it whole-heartedly. It meant that their plan had worked - they had escaped the hell of T'Kon H'hra. Jumpshock had never felt better to him in his entire life.||Gar'hakavagathki ergdyapas, Kayi, takhorigaththrak mas'dyaknistalank dukn'ga, ergdichodyapa ergk'kijak - korak'fak'rathrg'nisk'oths du ant maks dutalanniskordalhar'haqdalhar, jaqgu ergdi'ajj mas'ha'q'koniss gatas. Ja'lg'esh gar'hikgar chodyapargs takhdichodyaparo'badyakgar mesh. Gar'sik mas garga'aj'dyaqok - garga'dyakamgaq gar'nargrast, T'kon H'hra. Gar'dyakchodyapakkiga va dugar dugar'vugata.|
|"Jump completed," Dakut'he Ki'ra reported from the navigator's console. "I'm getting a fix on our position now...computer confirms we've arrived successfully at the T'kon star system".||"Jak bhagataq", gar'wurk aqvidra'islana, Dakut'he Kira. "Ni'habhastralan eshma dugarga'lan... vikhakga'grihe mas garga'dyajaq rak'toths dubhumaksnaki T'kon.|
|Arrah Sutaghi, who had been given the role as acting Officer of the Watch by default as the only kil with bridge experience that wasn't involved with piloting the massive ship, acknowledged the report with a nod. "Report all contacts," Sutaghi ordered.||Gar'lehekwur rayudanisin, Arrah Sutaghi, ja'lhra dyakhakgathqo erg kal eshar k'guva k'av takhkil anruni ra ikga ergargilanarg mas hakavha ergk radoshintgraga. "Wuraiyiga'vi'aiy," gar'ark, Sutaghi.|
|Bloodeye watched Sutaghi's movements from the commanding officer's chair as the other kil turned to face sensor console in the portside aft corner of the hexagonal room. Lord Kor laq Stra'a had chosen to sit at that particular station when the ship had gotten underway despite having no experience as anything remotely approaching a bridge officer, which had promptly led to an incident that had made the thrak'hra look foolish - and it was never a good idea to make a thrak'hra look foolish. Fortunately, he had agreed to a crash course in how to operate the console while en route to the jump point, and proved himself to be a fast learner; he had spotted the inbound bombers prior to the jump before they had entered weapons range.||Gar'aiyduk danis'Sutaghi aqhuvork'shintahr takh kiltakav'kork diyai vidravi'aiy duyintakhlan uchmaksnischur ergdai hukutavhuh'kss, Kayi. Gar'dyakwinhalk vork dumaskovirgnisergdyapa ja'lesh shint'dyaknistalank ja'lg'esh dyavikga takhg'hu danisdukorakha'lanarg ma'inthraks, Kal Kor laq Stra'a, mas dyakjaqguk eshmathraks dubalan mas dyakda'k thrak'hra'sasu'hras - maks ga'ha'ksiki vesh dathrak'hra diyaisu'hras. Gar'dyakbhakik mos ig kovidra eks deshas garaga'ha'knis dulanjak, maks d'aiyhekgar'hra haig'a ek; gar'dyachodyapak chathantijaq eshchur garga'dyakjaqdukma'ga'rani'i.|
|Now the thrak'hra Lord was operating the console again. He worked the controls slowly, obviously not wanting to risk making a mistake. After a few seconds, he reported his findings. "I have detected a small, stationary craft directly ahead of us at 2,516.5 kilometers. The ship's computer identifies it as a shuttle, Naktarg-type".||Kalthrak'haqovidra du eshma. Gar'kokhudali v'eks, rashav aiyvargs morawi da ival. Gar'wurk gar'isi jha esh'ininimangin. "Ni'dyachodyapak antink'danis nisjha rothraks ergkai du okgagamak uni. Vikhakga'shint'ishusgar takhdont thiNaktarg."|
|Sutaghi acknowledged the report with a nod. "Those should be our friends. Plot a course to rendezvous."||Gar'lehekwur rayudanisin, Sutaghi. "Masi hha ek'hraki'i. Khak'dinis'is."|
|Dakut'he Ki'ra signaled that he understood the order with a grasped fist gesture and busied himself with inputting the course. A few seconds later, Lord Knav'qith spoke from the pilot's station. "Should be an easy enough flight, Arrah Sutaghi - straight ahead at one-quarter speed. We should reach them in just over five minutes."||Gar'd'aiyk rade'ik'devanokbadyak mas gar'bhakillerag'nith maks dukokgar'hra radi'aj'vikhakdinis, Dakut'he Kira. Gar'lekesh'ininmangin k'eshma aqkovirgnis'dornta, Kal Knav'qith. "Gai hhadovarg dyahu, Arrah Sutaghi - nisjha rothraks du ek ikar. Kai hajaqlanma du garaesh'ini anruni p'nt."|
|"Very well. Monitor for signs of pursuit and be ready to increase speed if needed, whether our engineers think the reactor has cooled off sufficiently or not."||"Bhakil. Dyapaiy ta d'aiyi'go maks haj'k garek desh rathrg'k, desh ek'lannisi'dalpa mas gathlel'dyashink dyahuquva."|
|A repeating tone sounded from the communications console. Le'a'he, who was sitting at the console as the ship's acting Speaker of Tongues, acknowledged the tone with the press of a few buttons. "The shuttle is hailing us," he reported. "They request permission to land."||Eladu'elk aqvidratrathkhi. Gar, vork duvidra takh trathkhark'guva'shint, lehekle rabargdu erg hudalimangin, Le'a'he. "Dont'halekai," gar'wurk. "Garga'rathgath nistalan."|
|"Granted. Bring them in."||"Gathk. Dyagarga duda."|
|"Shuttle, this is Shal'Kuz Mang..."||"Dont, ma'hashint, Shal'kuz Mang..."|
|"Wait a moment," Bloodeye said hurriedly.||"Drisheshinthrak,", gar'lek eks, Kayi.|
|The ship's name was a matter to which he had given a good deal of thought, more than he honestly felt he should have given everything else that had to take place in order to ensure a successful takeover. He had known for some time what he would name his ship if he ever got the chance to do so, and that time had finally arrived. As he mulled over his choice, Bloodeye chuckled inwardly with a sense of irony; it was perhaps fate that Bloodeye had selected this ship in particular to steal...||Hus'shint'ha'khu dumas gar'dyakgathk mangga ergsi, gara gar'baktahek hes mas gai hadya a'k rahe erggahu'i mas habalan dagrirathshak'toth. Gar'dyakiq ta eshmang ja'lhu gar'h'askhus gar'shint desh gar'bhagataqmo g'esh ama, maks masesh'dyakjaq thraks. Gar'leki'hink ma'haras radichodyapa ergletakav takh gar'sak gar'winhal, Kayi; gar'ha'knakh k'gris mas gar'dyakwihalk mashintergdyapa xha, Kayi...|
|Shal'kuz Mang was a phrase whose origin could be traced back to the legendary Emperor Xag himself, a style from the ancient Ki'ra dialect that most closely translated as "Render of Foes" in the modern tongue, one that every Emperor from Xag to Joor'rad had borne. It reflected and reminded all Kilrathi of the Emperor's place as the supreme leader over all of the warriors of Kilrah, and served as a reminder not only of the might of the Emperor himself, but of the Empire as well. There was no phrase in the Kilrathi tongue that better represented the might of the Kilrathi Empire. And there was no phrase in the Kilrathi tongue that could better represent the very antithesis of their mission - something that, in Bloodeye's mind, needed to be corrected immediately.||Gar'ha'ktoshle, Shal'kuz Mang, ja'lra'i nis'h'inhadinisk du eschur dugar'hra, Xag Ragn'ith lek'korchurga, hus aqtrathkhchurga'nar Ki'ra mas bakitakavlek ma'inthraksgathrak takh "Kusha'a" dutrathkh dai'B'nal, mas rag'nithiga'dyakdyak aqXag duJoor'rad Yansh. Gai gathkikherimaksdalpaduk Kilrathiga erg lan'Rag'nith takh thrakahr'sivai'Kilrah, maks kok takhdalpadu erg argga erg Rag'nith. Hu'hakavtoshle dutrathkh dai'B'nal mas hyilghdorq arg'Rag'nith'Kilrah kiga. Maks hu'hakavtoshle dutrathkh dai'B'nal mas h'inhyilghdork avthrak kiga erg garga'konis, hu mas hhadakoduk eshmathraks, dugar'pa, Kayi.|
|He stood from the command chair, walked in front of the ship's helm and navigational consoles, and turned to address the kili manning the bridge stations, speaking respectfully. "Shal'Kuz Mang is a fitting name for a mighty warship of the Empire of Kilrah, a name that this craft bore well for that Empire, and we are fortunate to find ourselves on a craft so named, my brothers. But consider this: Kilrah is gone and the Empire is no more - both are gone forever, facts that will not change even if a new Emperor emerges someday from the chaos that has engulfed our people. There will never again be an Emperor of Kilrah, and so the name can only serve to remind us of a lost past. The mission of our ship now must be the same as ours: to restore the honor of the Kilrathi people, and for that he needs a new name.||Gar'orq aqhuvork'shintahr, amk nisjha erg vidra'shint dorntamaksislana, kork lekili mas aj'qoqovirgnis'lanarg, lek rarakhs. Gar'hahushe ta sivshintarg'Rag'nith'Kilrah, Shal'kuz Mang, hus mas mant'dyaqi ta masRag'nith, maks ek'hamo isek'hra du ant ramashus, ni'takhari. Qu sama: Gar'hagu, Kilrah, maks gar'h'indal va, Rag'ith - de'hagu rageshga, he'i mas h'asavdatakav takhdeshas kirrag'nith'jaqaiy eshmang aqkorpa mas'dyahukork ek'hra. Hu'h'asavha du Rag'nith'Kilrah, maks takhjaqgu hus'h'inko anruni dalpadukai erg eshchurh'inavisdi. Konis'ek'shint hhatakh eshma takhek'konis: jaqdurakh'hraKilrathi, maks gar'rathrgkirhus tamas.|
|"As we embark on that mission today, I find myself reminded of the words of the Fourth Codex, the Thirteenth Chapter of the Sixth Section. No doubt you know the words to which I refer: "restore my honor to me again this day, Great Lord Sivar." What we do today, we do for honor - for the honor of all. Our ship's name should serve to remind us of these words, to remind us always why we are doing what we've set out to do. With this in mind, I say our ship's name should be "Ni'rakh" - because that is what each of us, as individuals, hopes to regain: 'my honor'. Do all of you agree to this?"||Ni'isni'hra dalpaduk ergmasile'i takhek'nistalan aiy'hra tamaskonis, Thraklerag'nith K'Ar, Hukutav Sar erg Hukutavin Z'par. Riga'ikle'i dumas ni'ikaiy: "Jaqduni'rakh dunai du ma'esh'ga, Thraqal Sivar." Jal'hu ek'a aiy'hra, ek'a tarakh - tarakh'ga. Hus'ek'shint hako dalpadukai ergmasile'i, dalpadukai eshga ja'lra ek'ha'a ja'lhu ek'dyanisk. Ramadalpadu, ni'le mas hus'ek'shint hhagar, "(My Honor)" - ta mas'ha ja'lhu kaiga'rashthrak takhunidu'i bhadu: 'ni'rakh'. Riga'abhaki duma?"|
|Bloodeye glanced around the room. One by one, each kili began issuing a low, guttural sound, the monotone chant of approbation, which slowly grew in volume and lasted for several seconds. They agreed - and at that moment Bloodeye felt elated. after waiting in disgrace for more than a decade, the great work could finally begin in earnest.||Gar'diyaik eks hukordai hukutav, Kayi. Kiliga'nisk kotakhlanss da elma'inarg, gathleshki eltakh ergahagai, mas jaqgagak v'eks dulega maks ask ta esh'ininigin. Garga'bhakik - maks gar'dichodyapakahkithrak dumaseshinthrak, Kayi. Thraqo'h'innis thraks dudyapa jha drish duk'rakh tagarakesthai du.|
|Bloodeye allowed himself the victor's smile. "It's decided then - his name is Ni'Rakh. We'll worry about the necessary changes to his paint job later. For now, let us bring our friends aboard. And then it will be time to get to work..."||Gar'gathkgar'hra yinahki'k'toth, Kayi. "Jha gar'hajaqwinhalk - gar'hus'ha (My Honor). Ek'h'asdyapa erg datakavirathrg'k du gar'kokjhale k'eshma. Ta eshma, gathkai dyadu ek'hraki'i. Maks gar'h'asha jha esh nisko..."|