7 – The Birthday And The Brawl
The crew spend a week in jump space, and focus on developing some of their skills. The crew query the ship’s computer for information on the system, and the habitable planetary body, named Penelope.
They find out that the planet, with a very minimal hydrosphere, has small clusters of cities situated around the planet, predominately at the planet’s sole spaceport in the city of Downport, the terraforming head quarters on the northern polar zone, and smaller mining settlements. Researching recent news stories, it’s discussed that a planetary nobleman, Telmund Omar, is planning to celebrate his 75th birthday on his vast estate in three days time. The crew investigate what narcotics they have in the boot of the groundcar, and find an assortment of party drugs, stims, accelerators and anagathics, the latter of which they decide to try to sell to the nobleman.
Arriving on-planet in the city of Downport with its connected starport, they pass through customs, and have their ground car inspected. With a low planetary law level, they are passed through with cursory glances and quick scans, and welcomed into the city proper. Using his knowledge of similar planetary setups, Mul believes that with a lower tech level on the planet, many cities here would still be reliant on wire-based communications, most likely in government or postal buildings. Philip queries a customs official, who directs the crew to a municipal building in the city for information. Phillip also takes a handful of pamphlets, describing tour events and attractions, including “Meet the Natives”, “Timeshares at Khasma, Buy Now, Waterfront Views 200 Years Later!” and “The Haunted Mines of the Arids”.
Arriving at the municipal building a short time later, a clerk directs them to a large electronic terminal, which allows them to call the noble estate. A steward, Tolus Tamen, answers the line. They manage to convince the steward that the crew are a retinue of riders and entertainers, and promise to bring a live sand worm, called Sekkors, but the local populace, for a display. The steward agrees to the performance, and requests they arrive at the estate shortly before the party begins. They discuss at a local bar called The Spike, on how next to proceed and how to get the live sand worm. The bartender directs them to a small settlement, west of the city, where a small population has gone entirely off-grid and is rumored to nature and breed Sekkors. Jexa and Phillip take turns driving, and spend hours navigating the low-gravity terrain filled with sand dunes and rocky outcrops.
After a long drive, they arrive at the small settlement, called Eletan. The locals are not friendly to the crew at first, and a leader of the settlement, Telron, speaks with the travellers. They persist, and offer their experience and services to the town, and eventually convince Telron to request assistance regarding a small communications tower and station they have, that has been broken for many years and has been used in the past to keep tabs on the development of the terraforming project. Working together, Phoenix, Asang and Wade bring the tower online, to Telron’s approval. He has his niece, a young woman named Melva, take them to a small collective of Sekkors, and agree to let them have one, if they can successfully contain and mount it. Mul and Asang work together to distract and surround the creature, and Phoenix manages to determine through examining the Sekkor’s biology that it has pressure points on opposing sides of its wide neck, which could be used to apply pressure and dominate the creature. After a few failed attempts, Mul manages to mount the Sekkor, to the applause of a few of the settlement’s population. He quickly grasps an understanding of how these creatures can be directed, and guided, and the crew pack up, heading in their groundcar to the noble estate, excluding Mul who travels on the back of the Sekkor.
Another long drive later, they arrive at the Noble estate, which has already become a hive of activity and excitement. At the main security gate, the steward Tolus Tamen is amused they successfully arrived with a Sekkor, and prompts them to enter the estate grounds. The nobleman, Telmund Omar, is fascinated by the live animal display, and asks Mul to ride the creature. Phillip manages to slap the creature as Omar jumps on, and the nobleman is flung off, flying backwards onto the fake grass. Seeing he is clearly in distress, the crew offer to administer an anagathic from their supply and other medical aid, which Phoenix applies, to help relieve some of the pain. In moments, the nobleman recovers, feeling invigorated and refreshed.
The nobleman, clearly somewhat intoxicated, offers to sort the due payment for the administered drugs after the party, and asks them to enjoy themselves. Wade enters himself into a fighting arena, built for the event’s occasion, while Asang speaks with the nobleman in an attempt to offload the remainder of their anagathics supply. The nobleman agrees to buy the small dose supply for 30,000 credits. Shortly afterwards, nobleman Omar walks over to watch the fight. Wade and the combatant are on equally matched terms, with few punches being landed on either side. The nobleman quickly calls a halt to the fight, calling it boring and demands to see some action. Bradley advocates for a 2-on-2 brawl, and to make matters more interesting, gestures that combat stims could be used which they have a few of in their remaining supply. The nobleman’s fighters Colin and Atrem agree to fight Bradley and Wade. Randomly, all combatants draw some combat stims from a mixed selection and begin.
With everyone’s attention drawn to the fight, Asang takes the opportunity to sneak into the noble estate. He finds various golden trinkets and artifacts on display and pockets them, before managing to sneak back into the party. Meanwhile, Jexa and Phoenix work on sneaking the Sekkor out of the noble estate. They convince a guard that the creature needs to walk out into the sand, and the main gate is opened. The Sekkor is released into the sandy dunes just outside the estate, and the creature burrows away.