Session 4: Gang War and Murder [Jul 2, 2021]
The prospective Starfinders, Drozen, Shiiga, Vashon, and Zaeo take the slow-moving shuttle from the Armada freighter to Absalom Station. They watch a news broadcast by the famous Absalom Reporter, Bruthadar, a gold-dragonkin from Triaxus.
Out top story tonight, Is there a shifting of power in the Diaspora?
The latest news report comes directly from the Stewards. It is reported that the familial leader of the Danavin pirate clan is rumored to have been killed. The young Canloo Danavin took over the family’s smuggling operations a couple years ago after the mysterious death of his father, the infamous Draxar Danavin, known as Draxar the Unyielding among the pirate clans. Rumors abound that the Danavin clan is scrambling to maintain power and control over its illicit industries, which often included smuggling, extortion, and the trafficking of android slave labor. Such business has often put the nefarious pirate clan at odds with local android abolitionist groups. More recently, however, the clan had been accused of sex trafficking in organic species as well. The Stewards have been trying to weaken the clan for quite some time.
Do you have any information on Canloo’s murder? If you do, local rumors insist that the clan is willing to pay for any information that leads to the death of the one responsible for Canloo’s murder. Although, one should be cautious before taken the word of a criminal organization.The Stewards advise residents of the Pact Worlds to avoid any contact with the nefarious gang and advise travelers to be extra cautious when travelling within the Diaspora, as the imbalance of power in the region will likely lead to warfare between the pirate clans.
In local news,
Clashes between the Hardscrabble Collective and the mining corporation Astral Extractions continue as the two groups vie for control of the mysterious Drift Rock, that floated in from the Drift into the orbit of Absalom Station three days ago. The Hardscrabble Collective continues to assert there claim and mineral rights to the asteroid as the owners of the Acreon, the ship that brought in the mysterious rock. However, the powerful company, Astral Extractions, counters with numerous lawyers. Astral Extractions is well-known for their many mining contracts throughout the Pact Worlds and in the newly explored worlds of the Vast. The company asserts that by hiring the Hardscrabble Collective to explore potential mining sites on their behalf that such mining rights extend to the mysterious Drift Rock.
While both groups currently await arbitration in the matter, many suspect that this dispute will filter down to local street gangs on the station. Station security asks everyone aboard to be on the lookout for suspicious activity and be on extra guard for the possibility of violence in the coming week.
Regardless of who actually owns the mysterious Drift Rock, the Acreon is still tethered to it and no word has been received from the ship’s crew since its arrival. The Stewards have left the ship in far orbit of the station and have designated the zone near the ship and its mysterious asteroid a quarantine zone. All traffic to and from the asteroid and the ship are strictly forbidden. On the station, rumors abound as many fear another deadly plague, like the Stardust Plague, that killed millions of individuals in 67 AR, over 200 years ago, in the early days of galactic exploration. Time will tell what this mysterious rock holds for the Pact Worlds.
In the world of sports,
Famed race-runner, Grogbar Thickfingers, is setting up another prime race next month and he encourages any racing-fans to get their thrusters warmed up. Grogbar asserts that the Star-runner Grand Prix will include some of the fastest ships and most cunning pilots the Pact Worlds have every seen. Some recent allegations have suggested that some of the races are fixed to ensure increased winnings for those betting on the race’s outcomes, creating coordinated plans with the pilots. However, Gorgbar flatly denied such allegations and the dwarf insisted that it would be perilous for anyone to try and fix one of his matches.
On the red planet of Akiton…
The news broadcast is cut off as the shuttle reaches the station. The many families and other travelers exit before the Starfinders, and they find themselves the last to exit the shuttle. When they reach the buzzing platform of Docking Bay 94, they see Duravor Kreel waiting for them. Duravor was the Starfinder who was sponsoring their membership and helping them get situated in the society.
Before the four prospective Starfinders can respond, blasts of laser fire streak across the docking bay. People are screaming and diving for cover as two groups of thugs appear on either side of the docking bay. Chaos ensues as the four heroes are caught in the crossfire. Duravor goes down as a laser blast seems to hit him. Zaeo and Vashon get cover behind some barrels as Shiiga and Drozen hide behind some crates. The two gangs continue to fire at each other, but also fire at the heroes, not knowing which side they they are on.
Drozen leaps over the crates and charges at one of the gang members as Shiiga charges across the docking bay to help Zaeo with the fallen Duravor. Vashon continues to find cover and fire at the gang members on the east side. The battle goes on for awhile and the heroes manage to take down a couple gang members from the eastern team. The other team begins to flee and Drozen bashes one of them with his baton, then steals his gun, and fires at him as he flees. Soon the gang members are long gone and the heroes are confronted by station security.
After many minutes of questioning, the heroes learn that Duravor had their names on his datapad, along with another person named Chiskisk. They also learn that the two gangs were the Level 21 Crew and the Downside Kings. Two groups that frequently fight over territory in the Downsides neighborhoods of the Spike beneath Absalom Station. The heroes are questioned the are free to go after others confirm their willingness to help during the conflict.
The heroes are a bit perplexed at first as they decide to head to the Lorespire Complex. They wait in the waiting room at the entrance of the main building before being escorted up to a clean office hidden in the large building. They are greeted telepathically by a Shirren named Chiskisk.
The friendly Shirren greets the heroes and is saddened to learn about the death of his friend, Duravor Kreel. He talks at length about wanting to get to the bottom of Kreel’s death. He tasks the prospective Starfinders with investigating on whether the dwarf’s death was intentional by one of the gangs or an accident from the gang warfare. He gives them each a signing bonus and sends them to find rest at the Moons of Sleep, a comfortable inn in the Eye of Absalom Station near Jtembe Park.
The heroes check into their rooms and regroup at the inn’s bar. They overhear an argument between two people, one is a man named Frank who is a member of the Hardscrabble Collective, the other is an lashunta woman who is an accountant for Astral Extractions, a large mining corporation. Zaeo heads over and tries to talk to each group in tandem, but learns little other than things have gotten especially heated since the Acreon appeared at Absalom Station a few days ago.
The heroes then chat with the bartender at the Moons of Sleep, who says he knew Duravor Kreel. He mentions that Kreel had a lot of ties to mineral prospecting and mining in the Diaspora, where both the Hardscrabble Collective and Astral Extractions operate. But he doesn’t understand what the gangs have to do with any of it. He tells them to head to a bodega in Downsides, on Level 21, called Mama Fats if they are interested in getting anything from the Level 21 Crew.
The heroes rest for the night and head to Mama Fats first thing the next day. They find a ramshackle bodega that is run by an obese halfling who goes by Mama. Vashon realizes he has been here many times before for their famous sandwiches. The heroes order some sandwiches before questioning Mama about the Level 21 Crew. She says she can arrange a meeting and asks for them to return the next morning.
The heroes head back to the inn and have a relaxing day. They then return to Mama Fat’s the next day. She confiscates their weapons and locks them up before escorting them to a back room. The heroes find a few of the gang members back there that they encountered on the docking bay, including the one Drozen nearly beat to death. They meet the leader of the Level 21 Crew, a ysoki named Jabaxa.
He has the heroes sit down as he makes mention of their previous altercation in the docking bay. He draws his laser pistol and the other crew members do likewise. The heroes sit there with numerous guns aimed at them, the room a tense silence…
Session 5: The Fusion Queen [July 15th, 2021]
Jabaxa then grins slyly as he lowers his gun. He jokes about how his buddy Leroy, the guy Drozen nearly beat to death, wants some revenge. However, he has no issue with them. He offers them shots of homemade moonshine to get the meeting started. Zaeo is then eventually able to get him to talk about what happened at Dock 94. He admits that he was hired by the Hardscrabble Collective as they wanted protection from the Downside Kings. They believe that Astral Extractions hired the Downside Kings to intimidate them and get them to release their claim on the Acreon and the Drift Rock. Jabaxa says he and the Level 21 Crew did not attack Duravor Kreel, they didn’t even know the guy. He blames the Downside Kings, but doesn’t seem to know why they’d target him. Jabaxa also gives the Starfinders a key peice of information, he tells them that the Downside Kings operate out of the nightclub called the Fusion Queen down on level 23. They are led by a barbaric woman named Farani Nadaz, who brutally murdered the previous leader a few months ago and took his command over the gang.
The Starfinders thank Jabaxa for the information and grab a sandwich from Mama Fat on their way out. They decide to head to the fashion shops in the eye and each pick out various fancy attire for their recon mission at the Fusion Queen. After a fashion montage, they are all dressed and ready for their midnight trip to the exclusive nightclub.
They find the club tucked away in the tight corridors of Level 23. Vashon notices that the Fusion Queen’s logo features the Downside King’s symbol. They get in line and watch someone trying to sneak a weapon in the club, the person is immediately beaten and he and his friends chased away. Thankfully, only Drozen snuck his tactical baton. As they reach the doors, they are searched and frisked and Drozen is able to slide in with his baton hidden away.
When they enter the club, there are people everywhere and smoke fills the air as the loud music throbs and beats in their ears. There are dancers gyrating and a band playing on the stage. Numerous beautiful people dance in glass tubes throughout the room.
The heroes separate, with Drozen checking for another way in or out, and Shiiga and Vashon dancing while they scan the surroundings. Zaeo gets side-tracked as he runs into his former lover and rival pilot, Bohnlosha “Bunny” Okondler, a beautiful elf with short purple hair. She is out with her friends, many of whom Zaeo recognizes from his life as a race pilot.
Zaeo tries to apologize and win Bunny back, but she seems totally disinterested in him. Eventually he has two drinks thrown on him and her friends and entourage of fans keep him away.
The Starfinders then regroup and decide they want to try to get into the “Employees Only” side door. They devise a clever plan. First, Zaeo convinces a group of over-zealous men to follow him near the door to find a woman. Shiiga then uses her psychic powers to send a bottle crashing into the biggest of the three. Zaeo then helps instigate a fight between the three men and a nearby vesk. A great fight breaks out and this brings the bouncer away from the door.
Taking advantage of the moment, Drozen and Zaeo sneak into the back room. However, they immediately find three more bouncers playing cards in the storage chamber. They are casually watching a camera feed. Zaeo tells them about the fight and the bouncers rush out, bringing Zaeo and Drozen with them. Soon the fight is resolved, the people thrown out, and the Starfinders are no closer to getting in the room.
Meanwhile, Shiiga has some luck talking with the bartender, a handsome man who goes by Finicky. She convinces Finicky that Drozen may be interested in him. Drozen gets Finicky to show him the “special whiskeys” in the storage room, which gives Drozen plenty of time to scope out the room. He overhears the bouncers inside talk about Ferani having money from a new score and she is back there counting it. However, it sounds like most of it is going to someone named Hatchbuster, who is also back there.
Drozen returns, rebuffing Finicky, and the Starfinders decide to call it a night. They head back to the Moons of Sleep and rest until morning. They then head to Mama Fats and are able to speak with Jabaxa again. However, Jabaxa is clear that he doesn’t want to get into their businesses and wants to keep distance from them. He does, however, tell them that Hatchbuster is Ferani Nadaz’s bodyguard, a powerful vesk who is known for carrying around an artillery laser.
The heroes struggle with their next move. They talk to Chiskisk over the comm, but he tells them they need real evidence before he will count Duravor’s death as a murder rather than an accident of gang warfare. The Starfinders then head back to the hotel’s bar, trying to find someone from the Hardscrabble Collective. They check the infosphere and learn that both the Hardscrabble Collective and Astral Extractions are not taking contracts while their dispute is under arbitration. They separate, with Zaeo and Shiiga having an unproductive walk around Blue Rise Tower, where Astral Extractions corporate headquarters are located. Vashon spends the afternoon hacking into the infosphere and he learns that Duravor Kreel had a cousin die from safety violations in a mining contract with Astral Extractions. A few years ago he was very vocal about miner’s rights and wrote articles highlighting Astral Extractions role in his cousins death. Drozen spends the afternoon watching the Fusion Queen and only learns that the club is less busy during the day, but he saw no sign of Farani or Hatchbuster.
The heroes regroup outside Bluerise Tower and try to enter, but are rebuffed by the lobby secretary. They then inquire with Ms. Joss, head of Corporate Relations at Astral Extractions. She is a slick-haired lashunta business woman who at first seems disinterested. Then Zaeo mentions that they have information about the Hardscrabble Collective claim. This gets her attention, and while she officially says they cannot interfere with the arbitration over the comm, she does agree to meet with them at Bluerise Tower in 30 min.
Session 6: Assault of the Fusion Queen [July 29th, 2021]
Vashon continues to search the infosphere back at the hotel while Shiiga, Zaeo, and Drozen head back into Bluerise Tower to meet with Ms. Joss. After speaking with the lobby secretaries, they are eventually greeted by a business-attired female lashunta with slicked back hair. She takes the heroes into a back chamber in the security section of the first floor. It seems to be used for interrogations, as one wall contains a single-sided mirror. Ms. Joss asks what the heroes know about the Hardscrabble Collective and what information they wish to share. Zaeo stalls for time, but eventually crafts a story that they have information concerning a secret location of Absalom Station where members of the Hardscrabble Collective are testing minerals taken from the Drift Rock, and that the crew is not absent at all on the Acreon, they’re just stalling for time to avoid giving the minerals to Astral Extractions.
At first, Ms. Joss belives their story, pressing for more information. However, as Zaeo pretends to be withholding with the exact location of the meeting, Ms. Joss is forced to bargain with them. She seems to know quite a bit about their backgrounds and tempts them with treasures (Shiiga), a new life (Drozen), and the return of a certain race-ship (Zaeo). She eventually seems to see through their bluff as she finds out that the heroes are really prospective Starfinders. She quickly escorts them out and concludes the meeting.
The heroes regroup with Vashon and they discuss the best way to prove if the Downside Kings truly targeted and murdered Duravor Kreel. They collectively decide their best bet is to assault the Fusion Queen directly and get information directly from Farani Nadaz. They prepare their weapons and head down the the club later that night. The Fusion Queen seems quite busy, and Zaeo and Shiiga get in line, while Vashon and Drozen hold back at the nearest corner in the station corridor. Drozen readies his sniper rifle and aims at the bouncers at the door. Zaeo and Shiiga eventually get to the front of the line and try to distract the bouncer. Drozen takes his shot, but misses as he has to avoid another club patron in the line.
The shot ricochets down the hall and panic ensues in the line. Zaeo and Shiiga use the cover of the panic to rush into the club with two other patrons. The other patrons in line take off down the corridor. One of the bouncers charges towards Drozen, to see where the shot came from as the other tries to wrangle the patrons who scrambled inside. The bouncer demands they stand near the door, and Shiiga and Zaeo comply as he begins to check them for weapons inside the entranceway.
Meanwhile, Drozen and Vashon fire at the bouncer chasing them. Drozen gets slammed hard by a club, but the bouncer is taken out. Zaeo and Shiiga head outside to help and find that three more bouncers come outside, ready to fight. A great battle takes place in the corridor and Shiiga explodes one gang member’s head with her psychic power and knocks out another by bashing him with a telekinetically thrown skull. Zaeo is nearly killed by one gang member who beats him with his club. Vashon burns two of the gang members with a magical blast of fire. Eventually, the gang members lay dead. The heroes loot their bodies for weapons, cred-sticks, and spare batteries. Shiiga finds some prized pointed teeth in one of dead bodies. They then shoot out the camera and rest for a few minutes to catch their breath.
The heroes then step into the club, where people continue to act like nothing is happening, completely distracted by the alcohol, drugs, and music. The young lady at the coat-check is convinced to leave as the heroes step into the storage room, weapons at the ready. They then cautiously open the door to the back office, where they hear Ferani Nadaz challenge them to fight.
She fires at them through the doorway, but then Drozen throws a Molotov cocktail into the doorway. As the flames burn, a large vesk, Vrokilayo Hatchbuster appears and throws an explosive shock grenade at Drozen. The blast throws them back. Hatchbuster then charges into the room firing a massive artillery laser.
Shiiga blasts Hatchbuster’s mind, but the thick vesk skull seems to limit the impact of her psychic thrust. Vashon then supercharges Drozen’s pistol, who blast Hatchbuster into a pile of ash. Another gang member comes from the office room and knocks out Zaeo. He then retreats back into the office, where he and Ferani fire at the heroes. Shiiga is hit hard and is nearly killed. However, she eventually recovers. The gang member is soon taken out. Drozen and Vashon then charge in to fight with Ferani. Drozen and Vashon blast her into the wall with a couple well-placed shots.
Session 7: On a Diplomatic Mission to the Acreon [Aug 12th, 2021]
The heroes look at the ruined back room of the Fusion Queen. Shiiga stabilizes Farani Nadaz as they begin to question her. Shiiga tries to intimidate her at first, but eventually Zaeo has more success reasoning with her. She agrees to share what she knows in exchange for a promise to be handed directly over safely to station security. They agree and she tells them everything about how Astral Extractions hired the Downside Kings to specifically murder Duravor Kreel. The mining corporation wanted to send a message to the Starfinders to keep them away from the issue of the Acreon and the Drift Rock. She shows them a datapad with the incriminating evidence.
The heroes steal what goods they can from the gang leader, including numerous credsticks and various handy items. Drozen uses his new holoskin to disguise Ferani as they usher her out of the club. They head to the Lorespire Complex and the people their eventually get Chiskisk to come to the office in the middle of the night. He thanks the heroes for their work and has Ferani taken by station security. He congratulates the heroes on a job well done and thanks them for finding proof about Duravor’s murder. He then asks them to let station security to handle the matter from there, as he does not want Astral Extractions to retaliate against the Starfinder Society. He then formally acknowledges each of them as full-fledged members of the Starfinder Society, and hands each of them their insignia pin.
Chiskisk then tells the heroes to take a few days off and he’ll find them another mission after they had some time to rest. The heroes spend the next couple of days shopping and hanging out at the hotel. After two days, the heroes each find a strange black invitation under their door. It is from the Eoxian Ambassader, Gevalarsk Nor. The heroes have some breakfast and head over to the Eoxian Embassy, finding the building crypt-like with black marble and bone-colored limestone, sculpted into organic shapes. Upon showing their invitations, they are escorted by two skeletons to an office with the ambassador.
The elebrian greets them with his bony smile and cool glowing eyes. He explains that he has become a mediator between Astral Extractions and the Hardscrabble Collective and wishes to send an exploratory team to find out what really happened on the Acreon. He asks the heroes to be that exploratory team, as he was impressed by their handling of the gangs of Absalom Station. The heroes eventually agree for 600 credits each, but Shiiga forgoes her payment for knowledge about a strange shadowy crystal. The ambassador agrees, but he also asks the heroes to find a package that belongs to him on the Acreon. He ensures there is no illegalities involved, but he is eager to have the package returned discretely. The heroes agree to recover the package for an additional 500 credits each.
Additionally, the undead ambassador, notes that he has a ship they can use to head to the Acreon and that he will be sending a camera drone to follow them to ensure a neutral recording of their findings for the arbitration. He asks that they check the Acreon and the ship’s crew first, before exploring the mysterious Drift Rock. The heroes agree to the terms and they set out.
No sooner than 20 minutes after leaving Gevalarsk Nor’s office, all the heroes receive a message from Astral Extractions asking for a meeting, to “share their side of the disagreement”. The heroes accept and a fine stretch-limo picks them up and it is loaded with luxury foods and drinks. They are taken back to Bluerise Tower where they are escorted to a fancy conference room on an upper floor. They are treated with a chocolate fountain, sushi, and various fine beverages. Ms. Joss gives a marketing presentation trying to present Astral Extractions good side. During the movie presentation, Vashon as a sense of fear and dread, and he runs off to the bathroom to catch himself as strange memories begin to resurface.
Ms. Joss explains the contract they had with the Hardscrabble Collective and asks the heroes to keep an open mind about their side of the disagreement, seemingly offering potential future contracts. The heroes take their fill of the luxury foods then head out. They then receive a message from the Hardscrabble Collective, a Akitonian man named Otal Serissi. The heroes head out to the Armada and meet Otal on his ship, the Dust Runner. He gives them a tour of the modest freighter, then sits them down in the galley for some hot black coffee. He explains the Hardscrabble Collective’s position in the disagreement. They believe that the Acreon’s crew believed they had the right to take the Drift Rock and laid claim to it. However, their primary concern is to find out what happened to the Acreon’s crew, so they can give word to their loved ones. If there is anything of value on the Drift Rock, they hope to help compensate the families for their loss. The heroes seem quite agreeable with the Hardscrabble’s position, but seem to want to at least appear neutral in the arbitration.
The heroes head back to Absalom Station and prepare for their journey to the Acreon. They buy some more supplies and head to Docking Bay 123 to meet their ship. They find the Hippocampus is a fine Ringworks Wanderer, a small shuttle that has been outfitted with increased defenses and firepower. They board the vessel and head out to the secret location in the quarantine zone with Nor’s camera drone flying over them
After passing through the Armada, Vashon notices a ship following them. It has no active transponder. It then begins to fire at them. They find it is an Eoxian vessel, a Death’s Head Necroglider. The heroes work together to steer around the much faster vessel, managing to get quite a few shots on it. Eventually, the vessel tries to flee towards something in the distance, but Drozen blasts it to pieces.
With the mysterious ship destroyed, the heroes pull closer to the mysterious object in the distance. It is a small freighter with a long tow-cable pulling a massive asteroid: it is the Acreon.
Session 8: The Acreon [Aug 26th, 2021]
The heroes pull the Hippocampus closer to the Acreon, scanning it with their sensors. They detect no clear life signs and the power core seems to be fading to limited power. It seems the aft airlock is open wide, opening the entire ship to the vacuum of space. Zaeo brings the shuttle to the side of the derelict freighter and locks to their starboard air locks. The heroes put on their space helmets and prepare to board the Acreon.
The air lock opens and they see a dark abandoned hallway, silent in the vacuum of space. They check the nearest door and find a dark cargo room. Eager to find the Ambassador’s cargo, they check inside. As they step into the chamber, they are immediately attacked by two blueish somewhat translucent beasts with long tendrils writhing off their heads.
The monster manages to bite into Zaeo and injects him with some sort of internal fluid. The heroes pull back, blasting and firing at the beasts. They manage to fell them after taking some serious injuries. Zaeo suddenly feels quite sick. As the heroes take a quick rest to catch their breath, Shiiga examines the bite wounds on Zaeo. She learns that he has been infected with void death, a deadly disease resulting from the numerous larvae injected into him by the creatures, known as akata. The heroes do not find Ambassador Nor’s cargo, but they find a fire pistol and numerous resinous shards, which they identify as noqual, a rare starmetal. Shiiga determines that these noqual shards are the result of the akatas’ cocoons.
The heroes continue exploring the ship, coming to an intersection. Zaeo steps up to examine a small, child-sized body on the floor. Before he can examine it, another akata leaps out at him. Thankfully, Zaeo reacted faster and pulls back as he and his friends blast it away before it can do too much harm. Zaeo and Shiiga then identify the body on the ground as a dead space goblin. It is wearing a patchwork space suit. They are uncertain how it got here or if it has anything to do with the missing crew.
The heroes continue down the corridor towards the aft of the ship, following the power core signatures. They eventually find the entrance to an engineering bay, but two more akatas leap out to strike at them. They pull back into the hallway, blasting them with all they got. Drozen fires his sniper rifle, supercharged with Vashon’s magic. It blasts away one of the akatas, the other however, proves more determined. The heroes pull back further as it bites and tears into them. Vashon throws his knife, and Shiiga uses her magic to send the knife deep into the beast. Vashon then grabs Shiiga’s pistol and blasts it with a few well-placed shots.
The heroes find their injuries are great, and now Shiiga is infected with void death as well. They decide to return to the Hippocampus. They take a long rest, spending an entire 24 hours on the tiny shuttle as Vashon and Drozen do their best to treat Shiiga and Zaeo. Thankfully, they both recover from void death and the larvae are purged from their system. The heroes reflect on their progress so far, feeling they are ready to face whatever else hides upon the Acreon and the Drift Rock.