RSU Roleplaying Game v2

Season 1 Episode 13
Defense of the Vetakai mass driver

The players lick their wounds and fix their equipment. Despite obtaining a sizeable loot from the last battle, a large majority of the high-value equipment was unfixable and the faster battlemech engaging eurich was completely destroyed. The repair bill from the Marauders also ends up being millions of credits, as one of the engines is lost. As per custom, BHI pays the players a bonus for their victory, which ensures that they do not end up deeply in the red, but the fight is nonetheless a setback. As a notable message concerning their notoriety, the Sirak brotherhood accepts the anonymous contract for their destruction in MERCnet.

As before, Meek-Ria questions the prisoners and Heem-Lyeh listens in. As the conversation is held entirely in Suvak language(s?), the players have absolutely no idea of the content of the exchange. The russians are again tasked to take the prisoners to the main BHI compound, and again Heem-Lyeh joins in. The drop-off itself is uneventful, but on the way Heem-Lyeh gets the idea to fetch a proficient technican to help them with the dropship. A quick call to Fuub provides the players with a list of names and indeed they find a person who fits the criteria in every possible way (knows suvak, has coded interfaces for vehicles like this, uses vim instead of emacs). The kind of person who does not take his work too seriously, not out of laziness but because he seems overqualified for everything. The kind that does not tell anyone if he takes a vacation, but nobody says anything because he's too valuable. Best of all, this middle-aged weleka male simply introduces himself with his online handle, CheekyChic69.

Regardless, it is easy to persuade this kind of a character to do a new and interesting task, so they ferry him back to the dropship. Upon toying with the dropship's computers, Cheeky informs them that translating most of the interface "is a bit tough", but takes "a couple of weeks, tops". Alexander asks about the costs, and after juding the navigator carefully, CheekyChic69 states that he'll do the job and work for them for a measly 50000 credits per year (which is an outrageous amount). Disappointment about the "careful" offer is evident in his when Alexander immediately agrees, but the programmer clearly isn't the kind of person to rehaggle his own jokes and he simply gets to work, determined to cash in as soon as possible.

As for the problem with the interrogation translations, Heem-Lyeh's previous contacts are extremely unlikely to be of help. The russians suggest the local university and seek a student with the necessary Suvak skills. This isn't a particularly difficult task and through a bulleting board, the players soon find ten reasonable candidates and true to their form, select the youngest female among the group, Hune-Boo. They drive to meet her on the campus, and while the student is rightfully terrified of the hovertank, they manage to catch her and explain the situation. After being promised a hefty sum for translation services, she agrees to help them.

Unlike the whores, Hune-Boo is incredibly fast and professional and equipped with software specifically designed for the task. She writes almost as fast as she listens and the translitteration is soon done. While the student is further frightened by the content of the tapes, the players simply promise her more money and set her on her way with the promise for more work in the future.

The content of the discussions themselves is more brief than previously. Unlike the young Sybaris recruits, the Suvak mechwarriors seem completely aware of the situation, their rights and their probable fate. They are steadfast and reluctant to reveal anything about their organization, only repeating that their ransom will be paid and then they will simply be on their way. The other, however, is more chatty and has a brief conversation about Sybaris with Meek-Ria. An important detail in this is that it considers the humans unprofessional and driven by desires irrelevant to the battle itself. It also claims that Sybaris probably won't take losing well, and warns Meek-Ria to be aware of this. It also states that "everyone knows what BHI is building in the orbital docks", but doesn't elaborate further on the matter. As Meek-Ria refuses to comment on this quip, the players are left wondering what it means.

While this is happening, Cracked Mask and Karamat-Via push the remaining enemy forces northward until they come in range of the defense towers in the spaceport. One of the towers is fixed to the extent that it can be aimed manually, so that it manages to deter the attacking troops momentarily. Veer-Niva prepares to shell the tower to the ground, but Sybaris sends them a requests for a very brief ceasefire so that it can release the civilians. Both Weston Devine and Veer-Niva consider this stalling and a weak bluff, and are confident that they could take the spaceport with minimal losses, but BHI's representatives regardless agree to the terms because they do not want to lose civilian lives or cause further damage the spaceport. The suvak's warning seems to have been well-informed, however, as the Sybaris dropships immediately retreat and a warning to the spaceport defenders is broadcast openly before the orbital assets drop a sizeable rock on the premises.

As the first serious act of escalation in the current war, this causes a serious uproar. Willingness to destroy infrastructure is worrying for the general population and a change can be observed in the general atmosphere. However, there is little time to ponder this, as all forces are ordered to march west to reinforce other battles. As the players are preparing to do this, they get a transmission from Fuub-Ark to get to Vetakai immediately. The general consensus is that Fuub is their "bro", so they load their ship and boost away from the planet. Both CheekyChic69 and Hune-Boo are recruited as semi-permanent assets at this point, because the players suspect that they need both in the future.

While en-route, Veer-Niva calls them to heavily protest and accuse them of mutiny, but the players simply close the connection. Before Karamat-Via can take further actions, a new development changes the playing field. Sybaris forces in orbit activate and accelerate toward the orbital factories, with a small detachment heading for Vetakai.

While the players are deliberating what they see, Fuub contacts them and suspects that the detachment will try to take control of the Vetakai mass driver in order to further escalate the situation and threaten the orbital factories. The players are a bit late, but their vessel is much faster and the Sybaris landing force has to navigate around Vetakai space defense systems, buying them time and still losing them a couple of vessels. The players arrive just in time to reinforce the installation and prepare for attack as a barrage of heavy smoke shells reduce the visibility to near-zero.

This time, Sybaris is trying to push through a large amount of troops and supports them with mechs. However, the players secure an early advantage as Eurich one-shots the enemy command Atlas and ensures a local superiority. The remaining mechs are outclassed against Black Nebula forces and the fight soon evolves into a defensive battle where the players search for approaching troops amidst the smoke and try to thin their numbers before they reach the facility. Josef's mech is crippled by Sybaris's Griffins, but the only real loss is Heem-Lyeh's hovertank, which is badly hit and immobilized by an SRM platoon. Heroically Heem-Lyeh climbs into the turret to suppress the approaching troops, but eventually the tank's armor is breached and the other mercenaries see its gun go silent. The last word they hear from it are "It's allright Eurich, I know what you did on the border".

Even though most of the player units are really badly equipped to deal with infantry and the loss of the hovertank is a heavy blow, the outcome of the battle still favors the players due to the overwhelming amount of tonnage they field. Eventually Juho's dual plasma cannons are too deadly and the sheer volume of Eurich's missile barrage is too much for the infantry to handle. Without friendly mechs to cover their advance, the morale of the infantry is broken and the rest either flee or surrender. Almost two hundred wounded or dead are gathered from the battlefield.

Heem-Lyeh is dragged out of his tank, and fortunately for him, the engine has died quietly and there hasn't been an ammunition explosion. Despite being gravely wounded, his life can be saved. The session ends when Black Nebula is left defending the mass driver and Fuub informs them that he will be arriving shortly. The atmosphere is that of bad news.

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Season 1 Episode 12
A great offensive through the swamps

Practically immediately after Veer-Niva gets word of the destruction of the air defense system in the spaceport, she orders a preparation for a large-scale attack over the bridge and toward the city.

During the briefing held among the high-ranking members of the mercenary organizations, Huug and Alexander once again represent Black Nebula. A choice is made to perform a multi-pronged attack to the opposing bridgehead and use the (temporary?) air superiority to establish a presence on the north shore. Cracked Mask is tasked to circle the marsh to the west and flank the enemy, while Karamat-Via will attack through the marsh and over the bridge to draw in the majority of enemy defenders. A smaller detachment will flank from the east. The responsibility that falls to the players is to take their force behind enemy lines and stay hidden, only revealing themselves to destroy artillery encampments.

While nobody has exact information on the locations of the artillery, several sites seem much more probable than others. As before, Alexander aims to be unpredictable and hide his movements from friendlies if necessary, and ends up giving Karamat-Via an attack route that the players will not in fact use. Whether this misinformation helps or not, they do manage to reach the artillery positions west of the city undetected and charge across the plains to assault them. The change of plans makes their route longer and delays their participation, though, which makes Veer-Niva even more displeased of Alexander's antics.

Unsurprisingly, the artillery appear to be Sybaris standard issue, but the position is defended by an unit unseen by the players so far and fielding unknown mechs. It appears to belong to the mercenary unit they stole their new dropship from and fields high-quality equipment. Unfortunately the enemy is also aware of Black Nebula's role and the battle proves to be particularly fierce.

The artillery units are stationed on a mall parking lot close to a transport junction that leads to west, south and east. Alexander, Josef and Ivan head toward the artillery pieces with support from Juho, while Heem-Lyeh, Huug-Gun and Eurich take their specifically anti-mech units to face the defenders' assets.

The artillery turns to engage the incoming players and targets the King Crab, seeing that it is likely the largest threat. Multiple direct hits heavily damage the mech and Juho is forced to slow down and take cover from the trees while waiting for the russians to close in on the artillery.

The defenders mechs appear to make a snap decision to try to overwhelm the players' anti-mech units and promptly abandon the vechiles. Their anti-aircraft mech is too slow to retreat and provides cover for the retreating artillery while the four previously unseen heavy mechs charge Huug-Gun, Heem-Lyeh and Eurich. Two slower dual gauss mechs corner the players' Marauders, while the faster units try to eliminate Eurich. The battle does not go particularly well for the two awese pilots, as they are easily overwhelmed and both of the Marauders are crippled. Eurich takes heavy damage, but uses forest cover and his superior close-range firepower to beat both of his attackers, turning the tide of the fight and surviving until Juho comes to help them. The cavalry appears to be too late for some of the players, however. The defenders are extremely determined to cause losses and manage to finish off both Huug-Gun's and Heem-Lyeh's Marauders without taking serious damage.

Unfortunately for them, Juho scores two very lucky shots with his King Crab and disables both of the Gauss-wielding mechs before they manage to concentrate their firepower on him. After it becomes apparent that Ivan and Josef can easily use their superior mobility to eliminate the anti-aircraft mech, the remaining enemy flees the scene after only briefly skirmishing with the russians.

While the battle is technically won, most of the player mechs are in bad shape. Heem-Lyeh's leg is blown off and Huug-Gun's engine is destroyed, so that if the battle in the bridge goes badly, they will be forced to retreat and leave their damaged equipment behind. The situation is tense for a while, but it soon becomes evident that Karamat-Via manages to push through and the enemy forces flee to the north. This gives the players an oppoturnity to fetch their dropship and transport their damaged material back to base.

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Season 1 Episode 11
Unsanctioned missions and even more unsanctioned acquisitions

Surprisingly, despite being ordered to the briefing by Fuub, the players learn that he has been transferred, and that he is no longer in charge of the defense of Mirika. Instead, a ruling-class male called Bivo-Ak and the leader of the local Karamat-Via detatchment, Veer-Niva, share the responsibility.

Knowing that the spaceport is under enemy control, and that this makes it both easy for them to bring reinforcements and that this is already happening, they want to take action. Veer-Niva suggests a southern assault through the hills. By capturing the southern agricultural centers near city, and settling on the southern shore of the marsh, the city could be threatened directly and air defense assets could be brought very close to the airfield, preventing its successful use.

The players, on the other hand, have different plans. Since they recieved images of the Sirak clan resources in the area, capture of such a dropship was an extremely alluring prospect. All of Huug, Eurich and Alexander presented this argument to Veer-Niva and Bivo-Ak, veiled as a surprise attack to the spaceport itself. However, this received a lukewarm response. The awese opposed the fact that the players' forces would not be able to assist the main assault, and that the relevance of their forces on the north would be meager at best. It seemed unlikely that the plan would be accepted.

However, as a compromise, Veer-Niva suggested that the players attack from the north first, forming a diversion for the main force. This seemed like suicide, and protests ensued. Fortunately the leader of Cracked Mask, Weston Devine, senses that the value of human lives is pretty low for the awese, and challenges the strategy altogether, threatening to withdraw from the main attack if the players' sugestion would not be seriously considered. On the back foot and needing the support of Cracked Mask, Veer-Niva eventually agrees on the players' plan to attack from the north after the main force faces the enemy in the south.

At this point, all is technically well, but the players have no actual intention to engage in a real battle with enemy forces. Instead, the light stealth powersuits Heem-Lyeh had obtained earlier, are dug up and everybody prepares for an infiltration and sabotage mission. The other mercenary companies are naturally not informed, which establishes Alexander's habit of misinforming even his allies of his intentions.

As soon as the others set out on the early hours of the morning, Juho takes the Satan dropship and prepares to drop the players in the shallows to the north of Aloss. The drop itself succeeds without any complications, but naturally Juho is detected by enemy radar and two Rusalka fighters are launched to pursue him. While he weawes and evades to get under friendly anti-air territory, the fighters are skilled and relentless. They pursue him as far as possible and try to land as many shots as they can. On the last possible volley, the fuel tank of the Satan takes a critical hit and the dropship loses power. Juho ejects only to see the dropship crash hard and be utterly destroyed.

Seeing as the loss of the dropship translates into a significant portion of Black Nebula's transport capability and a huge sum of money, the success of the plan suddenly becomes much more important. Fortunately for the players, at least the beginning goes well. Evading the recon team investigating what the dropship might have left is easy, as finding man-sized targets in murky water was almost impossible. In about an hour or so, it is possible to set out for the actual spaceport, which is around four hours of walking away.

When nearing the spaceport, the players see how the airfield experiences constant traffic as the Sybaris and Sirak forces fly to assist local forces. Radio transmissions indicate that a full-scale battle is being waged on the southern shore of the marsh, drawing in practically all of the local military assets. This provides good cover as practically all of the enemy military assets are in use. As the spaceport had previously been under BHI control, the entourage had access to all design documents of the launch bunker and the blast gas corridors, which allowes them to close in on the central structures of the spaceport unmolested and avoid seeming particularly suspicious.

When the players near the actual launch pads, the party split into two. On the first team, Huug-Gun, Eurich, Gunther and Alexander head to the spaceport interior, while Ivan, Josef and Heem-Lyeh leave to secure the dropship itself.

At this range, the huge landing pads and the massive, 80-meter tall laser point defense towers guarding the port are clearly visible. In addition to securing the escape itself, destroying these towers would allow BHI forces air superiority in the region, so their neutralization was an important objective. The point defense towers themselves are way too big and well-armored to be seriously harmed by the amount of conventional explosives they could carry, so each team places strategic blocks of C7 (like C4, but SPACE) into any power transformers and cabling they see, hoping it will manage disable the towers and be difficult to repair.

While doing this, the teams meets surprisingly little resistance. Working early in the morning and acting swiftly and professionally certainly helps. All in all, the players are easy to mistake for a Sybaris squad on patrol. Despite this, it would have been impossible to actually infiltrate the spaceport building without Gunther's sublime people skills. Whenever they meet any local engineers, he manages to convince them that they were just doing their duty and that the battle required heightened security procedures. Gunther's genuine demeanor and similarly genuine lack of hesitation is also helped by the fact that he, least of all, knows what he should be doing. This combination is even enough to confuse the guards inside the spaceport launch bunker and allow them access to the air control tower.

At this point, however, things start to turn for the worse. The russians encounter about three dozen suvak awese engineers minding the dropship, and are unable to convince them that their presence on the ship was needed. While the engineers quote an agreement that Sybaris (and humans in particular) will have no control over their activities. Heem-Lyeh retorts that they should refrain from being racist so he'll refraing from being racist in turn. Unfortunately being witty is not enough and one of the maintenance crew informs them that he's checking facts from the command. Ivan's notoriously thin patienc ends the conversation with a shotgun blast. The engineers scatter like flies and several try to seal the bay hatch, but Josef is faster and forcibly dissuades them of this. Heem-Lyeh cuts his way into the cockpit, and starts to hack into the dropship system. Hacking is an artform, and as they say, local access is root access – it is difficult to prevent theft when the thief is well-prepared and has access to the actual hardware. Armed with the roms of the dropship software, Heem-Lyeh simply reflashes the system and makes himself the new superuser upon boot, ensuring that the dropship is firmly in his control.

Josef and Ivan seal the ship and patrol for any local military personnel. Unfortunately for Josef, when he enters the upstairs fighter bay, he also gets to notice that one of the two Striga bombers stationed there is manned. The rear gun sharply turns towards his direction and blasts away, but only manages to damage the powersuit. Josef dives under the fighter and slaps a brick of C7 on the hull before the pilot launches the catapult and takes his leave. Josef calmly watches it turn and try to start an attack run before activating the remote detonator and blowing the fighter to kingdom come.

Naturally this all immediately starts a full red alert. While the civilian personnel on the control room are not a threat, the spaceport goes on lockdown and the elevator begins to climb again. Even though the players prepare an ambush, the doors open to reveal six guards and another two in powersuits much better armed than theirs.

The firefight is extremely brief and bloody. The guards inside the elevator are easily dispatched by incendiary grenades, but the powersuits scoff at this type of attacks and manage to cripple both Gunther and Huug-Gun. Huug is seriously injured, only managing to avoid death due to sheer luck and his exceptional endurance. After the fight, it is relatively easy to convince the civilian operators to shut down the lasers and further to use them as a shield while fleeing the spaceport. Naturally it helps that the remaining unarmored guards are hesitant to put up a fight against opponents in powersuits, no matter how light they happen to be.

As the players run to their newly captured dropship, basking in the light of the multitude of explosions they set off, they also see the approaching columns of Sybaris hovertanks. While many guns blaze and PPCs dig into the armor of the dropship, the defenders' effors are nevertheless in vain. The Sirak dropship is heavy enough not to be seriously harmed, and the players soon reach friendly anti-air cover. It remains to be seen how permanently the air defense will be compromised

Despite disobeying orders and failing to fulfill mission parameters, the presence of friendly air in the southern battlefields greatly aids Karamat-Via, who secures a victory over the smaller towns and settles on the southern shore of Lake Aloss. The players are (at least initially) praised for their efforts. While the new craft is being repaired and refitted, Veer-Niva cautions the local mercenaries to be ready for new orders.

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Season 1 Episode 10
Various interesting events between battles

While Alexander and Huug-Gun are busy consolidating their newfound resources and owerworking the repair teams, Heem-Lyeh takes the night off to set up hidden cameras and microphones to both Meek-Ria's quarters and the container she uses to interrogate the prisoners. No specific reason is given, but as a semi-paranoid person, he has been suspecting her of something new every day.

The next two mornings open with lengthy interrogations as Meek-Ria takes the prisoners and meticuously questions them. Fortunately it does not seem as if she notices Heem-Lyeh's spycams, and they are able to record the conversations unmolested.

Josef's and Ivan's days are mainly spent in creating new content for Black Nebula's webpages and inventing new slogans for T-shirts. "Don't be like Steffan" is a new favorite. This practice is eventually interrupted as Teask-Dumar's forces shoot down the last geocentric communications satellite and internet speed plummets. Additional wires being dug all the time, but it is unknown how long it will take until the customary level of service is restored.

Eventually Meek-Ria finishes her task and surrenders the prisoners to Ivan and Josef with the orders to a) get more high-ranking prisoners next time and b) to ferry the current prisoners into BHI headquarters for a more through questioning, he picks up the data and then accompanies the brothers for a trip to town. Dropping the prisoners themselves is uneventful, but the Girya brothers want to visit the company they found from Doris's supposed employer, or at least the company listed in her business cards.

The brothers' excursion proves to be interesting. The company is in a smaller city about two hours of a drive away, but with a hovertank, this time can be cut down somewhat. The company, "ElectroBeaver" resides in a completely ordinary-looking incubator facility in the outskirts of town and the person opening the door for them identifies with an estonian name and asks for their business. Nobody in the company has heard of Doris whatsoever, and even though the employees are baffled by the authenticity of the business card, nobody recalls anything relevant. Josef tries to dig a bit deeper, but the company does not seem to have any real connections with security services, has not done high-profile jobs and declines to have done installations in any relevant targets. Before his actions get too suspicious, Ivan drags his brother off and suggests a nightly raid to the premises and an outright theft of any relevant information. Josef is merely content with his initiative. Heem-Lyeh wants no part of this and has business of his own, so the russians drop him to downtown train station.

Because direct and simple is always better, the brothers simply wait a bit, knock on the door and tell the nightguard that if he wishes to stay healthy, it would be in his best interests to leave. Then they go to the door, break it and carry a couple of computers and the archive cabinet to their tank and drive off. The simplicity of the whole operation is ridiculous, and the brothers do not waste time thinking about whether they will be caught, as they deem it extremely unlikely that the police would come after them for stealing less than 200 credits worth of equipment.

While this is going on, Eurich has been going around socializing with the other mercenary corporations situated on the camp. He mainly manages to confirm that, as before, the players are on good terms with Weiss&Son, and that they are a bit too small to be of any special interest to Karamat-Via. Cracked Mask Battle Group, on the other hand, is relatively well informed of their exploits and respects the work they have done up to this point. Being the tactival genius he is, Eurich remembers to offer consultation help about tactics and strategy, but apart from Weiss&Son, the other mercenary corporations are not particularly convinced that this is in their best interests. Unbeknowst to them, this worsens their standing in his narcissistic mind, but whether this leads to anything either, remains to be seen.

Heem-Lyeh, on the other hand, is looking for translation services in shadier parts of town, where he thinks he can buy silence cheap. The trek eventually ends up with a trio of working girls who collectively can tell him that one the prisoners is his tapes talks greek, one italian and two seem to be serbian. A painstaking effort by all is required to litterate the conversations, but Heem-Lyeh's generous payment and promises of more work make his new contractors very co-operative. While one of the girls knows a little bit of serbian, the conversation is too advanced for her to make sense of it.

The morning dawns on all of the Black Nebula personnel on their meeting room, reading piles upon piles of conversations and work orders and blueprints from the archival cabinets, and with Heem-Lyeh digging through the captured computers. Several seemingly relevant pieces of information come to light:
1. Meek-Ria is excellent with languages, positively sublime.
2. She is mostly interested in what the enely knows about Fuub-Ark and his colleagues, and the rest of the BHI leadership, not about the enemy itself.
3. The archives and computer systems of ElectroBeaver do not contain anything of interest with regard to espionage or Doris.
4. It seems that the company's security infrastructure is not particularly fastidiou. It is likely that the design files of the company business card and other stuff have been freely available on the net.

Josef finds the last item particularly disappointing, and refuses to believe the conclusion that Doris's facade might have been chosen as random. Both brothers regret that they acted on Meek-Ria's orders and let her off so easy at the time. Regarding the former points, while especially the awese find Meek-Ria's motives interesting, the russians note that the whole thing seems to be way above their pay grade and that being too concerned about it is bad for ones health (also bad for business). Josef reiterates his earlier position that while it is always good to know what is happening, acting on it is a different matter entirely.

For the heck of it, the russians set out to return the filing cabinet and the computers, but they have barely left when Andrew Weiss rushes in to meet Alexander and Huug-Gun, wishing to show them something.

And there it is. On the first page of new anonymous contracts on Merc.net, there is a 35-million credit bounty on Alexander and Huug-Gun's heads, with Black Nebula's de facto destruction being another condition of payment. While Andrew thinks this is the coolest thing ever and his respect for Black Nebula is further reinforced, Alexander mainly thinks about investin more in personal protection. Josef is considerably less worried and instead writes a reply post promising a stupendous hundred credits for whoever finds out who put a contract on their heads.

Regardless of this, Huug-Gun and Gunther have finished their restructuring plan of the company and have put their extra assets on sale, but are convinced that they need better, larger transport equipment. For this, they head down to the BHI headquarters to hire a dedicated drone pilot in order to obtain some more information of their enemies' assets especially transport capacity. The task is not easy or cheap, and countless drones are lost to flashes of defense lasers before the players are able to find out more than what BHI already knew. It seems that Teask-Dumar has hired some other mercenaries besides Sybaris, and two large Suvak-designed dropships are found on the premises. Moreover, it seems that an increasing number of troops are being brought planetside, which definitely seems worrying. Huug-Gun and Gunther are nonplussed by this and focus on thinking about how to capture one of the dropships.

While the drone flights are going on, there is an emergence of a strange sect of female awese missionaries in the mercenary camp. The discovery is especially interesting as religions are no longer prominent in the culture in the first place. The humans aren't particularly interested, but both Huug-Gun and Heem-Lyeh dig a bit into it. As the nuns openly interact with young males present, it is very easy to ask around.

Unsurprisingly, the mission appears to be upheld by the resident Suvak awese, but with a considerable number of local recruits. All its members seem to be women, and while the history of the religion is partially buried in time, it seems to originate from before the space age of the species and has survived in Suvak space to this day. It is focused in mitigating the necessary evils of war by helping the wounded, but also in rewarding any brave and accomplished, but dying warriors with "Continuity", which is also both the de facto name of the sect. The religion seems to believe that rewarding and nourishing bravery has been better for the species throughout the ages.

While a strange combination of temple prostituion, eugenics and battlefield medicine seems creepy, it is by far creepier that after passingly witnessing the speech and demeanor of the cult's local leader, Ibia-Myak, Huug-Gun has a feeling of innate spiritual companionship accompanied with a compulstion to associate with the religion itself. Scared off by this, he vows to keep clear of the nuns and warns Heem-Lyeh to do the same. He, however reports having the same experience passingly and less intensely.

As a last larger event of these days between battles, the encounter trouble in recreational activities. While it is to some extent implicit that the nights of any mercenary are clouded in drunken stupor, sometimes they lead to a more significant event. While taking a leak in the back alley of a bar recently profiled mainly as a mercenary watering hole, Josef hears an unkown voice, which regretfully informs him that the following is nothing personal, then promptly shoots him from point-blank range. Subsequently, the man is baffled when Josef does not die immediately, but instead turns to face his attacker and puts up a serious fight. While the russian's physical condition would probably prevented him from winning said fight, the emergence of everyone else from inside the bar forces the attacker to flee. Gunfire rings in the night, the fleeing figure is hit, but not critically, and manages to escape into the darkness.

Josef is taken into the hospital and treated. The bullet seems to have glanced the skull and caused serious damage, but miraculously is not lethal. Full recovery is expected, but not soon.

The session ends with a call from Fuub-Ark and the declaratiof of another grand briefing.

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Season 1 Episode 09
Audience of Terpsichore fails to impress

The players manage to scrounge the damaged mechs from the battlefield, but are unable to fix what they gathered before, during the early hours of the morning, they are given new orders. Of the four mercenary organizations operating near Mirika, Cracked Mask Battle Group secured an outstanding victory in the west hills, just as the players did in the northwestern riverbank. Weiss&Son narrowly succeeded in stopping an enemy recon unit. Unfortunately, the most prominent player on BHI's disposal, Karamat-Via faced the largest adversity and suffered considerable losses while fighting in the highlands to the southwest.

Forced to field damaged mechs with suboptimal gear, the players immediately set out and convince Weiss&Son to help. The combined force catches fleeing Karamat-Via assets beside a descending hillside flanked by another riverbank. Unfortunately, they also realize that they have met an old enemy, as they are hailed by an eccentrically dressed commander who calls himself Steffn Cyllberg and hails from the Sybaris sub-unit "Audience of Terpsichore". The unit under his command seems to be the same the players originally faced while extracting Meek-Ria.

Evidently a tremendously haughty person, Steffan opens the conversation by casually noting that he has seen videos of the fights and deemed that the players have been generally inept – probably still alive only due to both sheer luck and his absence from the battlefield. However, he agrees to let the Karamat-Via assets go in honor of a decent fight and the long overdue chance to eradicate the players once and for all.

The conversation grows a bit heated when Josef childishly mocks Steffan's sense of style. While he is able to take this with stride by noting that when one is piloting a 75-ton machine of war named after the personification of death, he can dress as he wishes, another particularly biting remark about publishing the whole encounter as a warning to others ends up being too much. Steffan changes course, heading directly for Josef guns blazing and ignoring the rest of the players on the way. Alexander's notions of Black Nebula Articla 17 fall on deaf ears.


At the same time, he activates the backdoor left into Ivan's mech by Vincent Barr, which promptly freezes on its tracks, becoming an easy target. Things look a bit bad, but Weiss&Son manage to draw one of the assault mechs aside, evening the odds for the players. Moreover, Huug-Gun reverses to odds by waiting until Steffan's lietnutant briefly pokes out from cover and promptly annihilating his pristine Battlemaster with a double ERPPC headshot.

Despite losing his by far most powerful ally, Steffan still consideres himself a better pilot than any of the players and declines to retreat, confident in his mechs' mobility and ability to retreat if things get heated. He flanks Josef's position and catches Gunther pants down in the forest, forcing a 1-on-1 encounter with both superior skills and firepower. At the same time, Heem-Lyeh and Eurich face a Centurion and a Victor, but Eurich's superior range and the reactivation of Ivan's mech give the players an edge on that front. When asked about the backdoor bypass afterwards, Ivan simply states that he deactivated the whole targeting system, ripped off a bunch of wires, taped down a few buttons down and pressed start. Simple as that.

After forcing Gunther's crippled mech to retreat, Steffan jets out of the forest, intent on demolishing Josef with his superior mobility and close-range firepower, but once again Huug-Gun proves that it's better to be lucky than good by cleanly blowing off his mech's head with a well-placed Gauss round. After this the fight cools down quickly and the rest of the pilots surrender, intimidated by their friends' fate and Ivan's repeated death-from-above attacks.

With this victory, Karamat-Via is able to regain momentum and Sybaris's advance halts, at least temporarily. The players head back to base with an incredible amount of battlefield loot compared to their earlier efforts.

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Season 1 Episode 08
Organizing the defense and the first large battle

Fuub-Ark and other high BHI military leadership hold a large briefing aboard Akmavala's cruiser Revana. All of the leaders of the participating mercenary organizations and BHI's own forces take part. The briefing is mostly informal, as only the high echelon discusses strategy. For most of the participants, it is used to dispense information on when and where they are needed. Black Nebula, along with Weiss&Son and some Karamat-Via assets, are assigned to defend Mirika, a city near the expected invasion launch points and a garrison outpost for BHI.

The briefing is just in time, as a large invasion fleet is soon spotted heading towards Kersia. The players deploy into their post, with one extra order. Meek-Ria is ordered to accompany the player unit and they are given orders to give any captured officers to her for questioning before being delivered to the main BHI forces.

While on the ground, there is a brief while of preparation and inaction. Black Nebula decides to invest in a King Crab as a durable command mech. Bjornlöf is contacted by his friends in the court and a discreet meeting is suggested. Naturally Bjornlöf agrees.

The russians, however, get wind of his movements and follow Bjornlöf to a shady bar in a more run-down part of town. There they see him discussing with a slightly below middle-aged or a well-preserved middle-aged human woman indentifying herself to Gunther only as "Doris". While the boys hear nothing of the conversation on the spot, it is later revealed that Gunther is asked to provide information about Fuub-Ark and his state of mind to the court. Gunther is reluctant to do so, as Fuub is considered a friend, and succeeds in negotiating an insanely profitable contract for providing this information. However, it might or might not be for naught, as the russians ambush Doris while she is leaving the bar, take her to a back alley, beat her up and try to question her. The woman is though and is not about to succumb, but Josef does the old bluff(?) of simply pulling a gun while casually noting to her brother that "it seems we are not getting anything out of this one".

Faced with this plight, Doris is suddenly motivated to produce a slightly more convincing excuse related to industrial espionage. Regardless of whether this sounds believable, the russians reconsider and decide to bring her back to the ship and give her to Meek-Ria for questioning (eyes tied and all that shit of course). Unfortunately, while the players are not well-versed enough in more obscure awese languages to successfully listen on her discussion with the prisoner, Meek-Ria seems very cautious, but she is also well-connected enough to know something about the situation, and eventually orders the russians to release Doris. She believes that the person might actually be connected to the court, which at least matches the description given to Gunther. After being manhandled again and released at a more remote location, Doris's eyes betray a murderous intent towards the russians.

The next day, however, the invasion fleet lands and its first elements start moving towards the garrison. While Karamat-Via assets scrable to meet the main force, player units are ordered to intercept a splinter detachment. Even the splinter detachments proves to be the most formidable force the players have yet encountered, as the enemy utilizes heavy artillery mechs and Arrow IV cruise missiles backed up by attack helicopters. The players are lucky to kill the spotter units early, however, and a minefield also assists them in dealing with enemy mech assets. The only mech to suffer heavy damage is the newly purchased King Crab, which falls after being flanked by the helicopters.

The session ends with the players salvaging the battlefield, while being ordered on immediate standby for new orders.

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Season 1 Episode 07
Syp brotherhood rescues our troupe, peace talks go awry

The players lose ground against the fighters and also an assault ship diverts itself from the battle to chase them. Things look dire, as even if it is theoretically possible but extremely unlikely for the counterweight to beat the fighters, the assault ship would murder them.

However, early into the chase, Alexander receives a transmission from elsewhere in the asteroid field. Kumat-Syp of the Syp Brotherhood hails the players' vessel and tells them that for a measly 25 million credits, they will chase the fighters away. Naturally the players have both little choice and good faith in that thier cargo is willing to cover the costs, so they agree.

Kumat commands the Syp carrier and turns to face the pursuing assault ship. Simultaneously Kriat, Josek and Voronoi engage the four pursuing Eagle fighters. Even though the fight was somewhat difficult, the Syp eventually emerged victorious, especially after Juho joined the fight in his Aquila. Voronoi's prowess in the fight was legendary and the old strategist scored all of the aerial victories.

After chasing off the assault ship, the Syp carrier collects the salvage and the ejected Josek, before forming up on the players' Counterweight to escort it. The players soon escape too far for the attackers to pursue, especially as Akmavala's fleet reacts to the incident and meets them mid-way to the Outlier. Upon hearing of the conditions, Fuub agrees to pay the mercenaries, who set out on their way unobstructed. The players accompany Fuub to the surface, where the peace talks are about to start.

The stay on the planet surface is uneventful, as there isn't much to actually do. Heem-Lyeh spends his time trying to access the darknet boards more actively and the rest mainly follow the news. Huug also takes note of what kinf of military hardware he sees on Akmavala's guard, but only lighter elements are present near the city.

The talks do not go well, mainly because of the straight-out hostility and responsibility avoidance related to the attack. Teask-Dumar brings forth the general that it holds responsible for the attack and hands him over to Akmavala, who rather quickly orders an execution. The general himself claims that he was framed and protests the decision aggressively. The execution isn't discussed further and its exact date is not yet made public. Heem-Lyeh's darknet incursions find a couple of posts from the general's former associates who argue for his character, but naturally these claims are anonymous. While the players never got to meet Mii-Mi again, there were some consession because of their actions and as a sociable fellow, Gunther got to know one of her concierges, while Josef made friends with one of the bodyguards. Nothing materialized on these contacts yet.

BHI's new leadership, along with Mii-Mi, considers the whole episode a farcical and trivial attemt to wriggle out of a plot to cripple their leadership and win the war early. As many of the old leaders are dead, the lower circles vote from among them and naturally more aggressive minds have an edge at a time like this. With the help of this kind of attitudes, the situation quickly detoriates. On the ninth day of negotiations, open war is mutually declared. As a surprising twist, Akmavala offers BHI's space assets the protection of its fleet due to the dishonorable tactics Teask-Dumar used to cripple BHI's space operations. As soon as these decisions are made, Mii-Mi and whatever of the new BHI leadership is present on the talks set out back to Kersia aboard one of Akmavala's cruisers. During the trip, Fuub asks all the players to visit him aboard and seems more distressed than ever. He has now been promoted to the highest echelon of BHI military command and admits that he no longer feels in control of the situation. In addition to this, he cannot piece together the true image of the events so far, and there are many suspicious facets, which he wants to discuss with the players.

Firstly, Fuub finds it suspicious that according to his spy network, the initial attack on the BHI plant was not considered a Teask-Dumar initiated action and Teask-Dumar itself considers it a BHI inside job. This is also supported by what profiling BHI has available of the Teask-Dumar leaders, who would seem unlikely to act this way and furthermore, very unlikely to as far as to attack the peace convoy.

Seconly, it is difficult to find true justification to the conflict. Teask-Dumar, as well as BHI, would certainly benefit from the control of the system, but it's not like the system itself is truly unique or irreplaceable. The only thing Fuub can think of is that Teask-Dumar might be trying to usher a new age of civil war, but this seems unwise in the present circumstance, considering that Lition is likely to be a potential threat far into the future.

Thirdly, BHI profilers have low confidence on the Syp brotherhood (which apparently is important enough to be profiled), who appeared "just in time" to help. It seems likely that they had advance information of the conflict itself and abused it in this way. This point is furhter emphasized by the convenience of the attack. Unless the route and attack was planned very carefully in advance, the ships would have been seen moving into the position far away.

Furthermore, Fuub says that he feels alone among the new leadership, as most of the faces are new and unknown to him, and he feels that the decision to go to war was too easy. He asks whether the players know anything else relevant? There is a hurried look around the room, but everyone understand Josef's hint when he disagrees with telling anything abotu VGS and the additional information they have of the Syp brotherhood. Fuub is left to his own devices and the stress of his new position can be seen weighing heavily on the man who now seems to have aged beyond his years.

When the players are back on the ship, Josef argues that they shouldn't pick sides too deeply, especially as the victor of the conflict isn't certain. He suspects that the war is a result of the fact that the Awese seem to have a general disregard to the human rights of their lower caste and that the leaders of the corporations are too distanced from reality to make decisions without very alien considerations. The whole war might as well be just an analyst fluke, where the enormous cost is justified by invisible parameters and general disregard for human elements. Ivan still suspects ValriG for practically everything, describing the organization as a big fat spider in the center of a galactic net of lies.

The session ends when the players reach the orbit of Kersia and stand by for furhter orders. Major Teask-Dumar invasion is now considered to be imminent.

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Season 1 Episode 06
Our mercenaries rescue Meek-Ria and save the BHI high command

When repairing the mechs after the last encounter, Fuub-Ark hastily contacts the players. A secret agent he had on the Teask-Dumar war effort noted, that she had made a mistake, and would probably be caught with only a couple of hours to spare.

Fuub had information on the whereabouts of the agent and where she would try to make a getaway. The location was a remote civilian-owned atmospheric processor, which the invaders had converted into a base. The players knew that once the agent would go out of the airlock, the patrolling units would likely be alerted and time would be scarce. Likely the compound would also be monitored by remote sensors, like previously, and the thick atmosphere was still making aerospace usage difficult. BHI offered the players another use of the stealth APC, but eventually a decision was reached to attempt extraction with fast units (hovertanks and the Phoenix Hawk) without risking any additional resources.

The extraction itself went well, but was extremely close. Two of the patrolling mechs were faster Centurions with accurate weaponry and the tank carrying the agent got a bad hit in the motive systems. Fortunately, Ivan's brawling with his Phoenix Hawk gave the tanks enough time to escape, and Ivan himself jetted to safety soon after. In the rocky terrain, his mech had clearly superior mobility to the Centrions.

Upon being interviewed by Gunther, the agent identified herself to the players as Meek-Ria. She was naturally reluctant to share information about her findings, but after finding out that Gunther was a really sociable fellow, revealed that the first fight the players were involved in might not have been instigated by Teask-Dumar.

After delivering Meek-Ria back to base, the players mostly idled around. News came up that also Teask-Dumar had suffered theft of high-value goods, and accusations flew around. Based on this, Heem-Lyeh visited the local darknet conversation board (Lintulauta), but was unable to uncover anything further. At the same time, the most prominent news item was that Akmavala was pressuring the corporations into peace and suggested talks on the main planet of the system. In the coming week, both parties agreed and talks were arranged. Fuub was suspicious and while also he would attend the talks, he decided to hire Ivan, Josef and Huug as his personal bodyguards for imago reasons (two big, imposing aliens). The brothers agree, and the players argue that actually everyone should accompany the cruiser transporting BHI leaders. The players are not allowed to fly very close to the cruiser, but Fuub agrees to take their dropship as an additional escort.

At the midpoint of the trip, while turning to decelerate, the cruiser gets ambushed by an attacking fleet hiding in the asteroid field. A huge fight ensues, as the BHI defenders are swamped by a numerically superior force. Eurich assumes that BHI will lose, so the players decide to run right now.

Just as this is being decided, boarding pods hit the cruiser. Huug snatches Fuub with him to an escape pod, and Ivan and Josef go to fetch Mii-Mi, the current leader of BHI. Josef also ups the ante a bit by taking some buffout immediately to get things running (and his mouth foaming). As everyone can imagine, the situation was extremely suspicious for Mii-Mi, with alien military personnel trying to say that she is better served by running away with them, but perhaps due to a temporary insanity she agrees on the reasoning when a twitching russian bodybuilder convince her that no-one would guess that she'd make this decision. Mii-Mi takes a couple of her own bodyguards and lets Ivan and Josef lead the way. Another boarding pod hit sends the crawf tumbling and turns off the engines, so gravity is lost and making progress is difficult.

Still more unfortunately, the crew runs into a boarding party. After an exchange of fire starts, Josef gets an idea and takes two grenades, flinging himself toward the attackers. Out of fear of death by the grenades, the boarders cannot shoot him, and the situation doesn't improve for them when Josef starts wrestling with them. At this point, Mii-Mi considers the russians dead and makes an escape with her own bodyguards amidst the confusion. Indeed this seems to be the case, when the numerically superior raiders wrestle Josef down and wrest the grenades from his hand, and especially after Ivan decides to shoot the boarder who collected the grenades in the back, but due to some twist of fate, Josef survives with minor scratches and the squad of boarders is grievously wounded.

The brothers then fail to catch up on Mii-Mi, and instead encounter another boarding party they manage to stun with grenades stolen from the previous one. The excnage remains a short one, as the russians have so many stun grenades from their previous fight that they can flood the corridor and make their escape to a life pod.

Meanwhile, BHI forces are engaging the larger ships and the players are using their Counterweight to gather up escape pods, including that of Mii-Mi's. When Ivan and Josef are finally snatched on board and enemy fighters close on the cremaining escape pods, it is time to leave.

While accelerating away, the players see escape pods being shot down and a contingent of fighters changes course towards the Counterweight.

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Season 1 Episode 05
Departure from VGT and BHI agent assistance in Vetakai

Juho recontacts Vincent and tries to inquire more about the equipment Sybaris is using, but the officer is reluctant to share information and does not wish to co-operate. Instead, Juho is forced to contact Fuub-Ark in order to get in touch with BHI's agents, possibly to gain access to the corporations' spy network. While discussing this with the agent, the players are informed that BHI is naturally reluctant to share its information without a binding contract of co-operation. For this reason, the players are forced to again contact Fuub-Ark for a more serious discussion.

The setup is convenient in the sense, that while the players have been fooling around in VGT, Fuub-Ark's judgment and leading performance has been noted and he has been promoted to the higher BHi war council. As he has seen the players' performance first hand, he can offer a more lucrative deal than most of the competition. The players try to renegotiate a bit, because they feel that they should not be bound for too long in the current situation. Fuub-Ark is an experienced negotiator, however, and tries to secure the players for the duration of the conflict. The terms that end up getting accepted are:

* at-minimum 6-month exclusive contract, which continues until termination
* 3-month notice before termination from either party
* BHI offers technical expertise and difficult customization services without
  extra cost

Knowing the volatility of the situation, Alexander and Eurich are not happy about the contract, but the rest of the players feel that the last point is too valuable, as it allows them to have equipment on par with the competition without extremely high investments.

While this is going on, Huug-Gun continues his quest to find an upper class Awese courtesan, and Miziai's Exquisite Escort Service seems like the best bet. Heem-Lyeh joins him in this quest, but with more modest ambitions. Unsurprisingly, in addition to companions for various events on VGT, Miziai semi-openly offers to fullfill fantasies. Upon hearing Huug's request, she first seems a bit offended, but as a woman of considerable experience and age, easily sees that Huug is sincere and not part of any law enforcement agency. Regardless, she demands a considerable sum before agreeing to talk, and upon receiving the money, escorts the young men downstairs, where she discuss the terms. It soon becomes evident that an upper class female is sold as an item, and it is above Huug's pay grade, but the matron manages to finds an arrangement befitting him. Heem-Lyeh selects a more traditional (yet still exquisite) "Warlord Treatment".

After experiencing this bliss and negotiating the payment with Alexander, Heem-Lyeh goes down to the surface of the world and gets an artificial eye installed for an exorbitant sum. The process is fast, but the recovery period is long. However, considering the players' orders and the travel times, there is a sufficient time lag before anything happens, so that this isn't particularly problematic.

The Girya brothers, on the other hand, are visited by the translator awese they encountered earlier. He identifies himself as Kumat-Syp, brother of Kriat-Syp, who lost his sword to Josef. Kumat explains in his broken english, that it would be extremely important if Josef accepted Kriat's challenge and came to fight him on the lower levels. Kumat also promises that he will reward the players if this happens, regardless of the outcome, as he is concerned with Kriat's mental well-being. After being initially reluctant to join, Josef agrees after Ivan goads him into it and both brothers see the oppoturnity.

Josef, however, does not want to lose. This time, as his opponent is likely both more skilled and stronger, it is again a matter of choosing the fight and the tools. As everybody knows that Kriat is extremely proficient with bladed weapons, the brothers decide that hand-to-hand combat would be best. They also agree that facing the awese unenhanced would not be wise. After scouring the lower levels, they find a dealer with combat drugs that Josef ends up taking before the fight. He also bets all his money on himself, confident to win. The rest are not Ivan doesn't want to bet anything, as he alreay lost a lot of money on poker.

Drugged and forcing the awese to a style of combat it is not accustomed to, Joser manages to make the fight relatively even. The match is prolonged, but Josef gets in a couple of early blows that unbalance Kriat and eventually throws him hard on the ground, breaking a limb and forcing the awese to surrender. Kriat is devastated, but as Josef after all has a heart of gold, he hands the awese back his sword, which Kriat vows to repay the brothers with valuable information. The information ends up being a secret location of a weapons dealer and the passcode that entitles the players to negotiate with them. Kumat tells the brothers nothing further and indicates that this will also cover his end of the bargain. Josef is unable to secure all of his winnings from the better, who promises to get the money in two days, but ends up fleeing the first chance he gets. Out of respect, the Syp brothers also promise to keep their eye on him, but cannot promise anything.

Before the week is up, Vincent Barr delivers the Phoenix Hawk, which, however, has been sabotaged upon closer inspection. There are remote-activated charges in the leg joints and Heem-Lyeh discovers a back door in the software of the mech. Vincent ends up in the players' black list.

When the players investigate the address given by the suvak awese, it ends up being a hidden location in Sult, the first gas giant of Diave B. Upon reaching the area and broadcasting the key, the players are escorted to meet a dual mobile factory in a remote location in the rings of the gas giant. The factories are identified only as VGS, short for Valrig-Suvak. The owners of the place (only humans and Suvak awese) are secretive and the players are not allowed to leave the lobby (decorated by the Pioneer 10 probe, which seems genuine) of the first station. They are sold special weapons and equipment, and choose to invest in Snub-nose PPCs and Ultra-AC/10:s. Unsurprisingly, the Suvak connection of the place also allows Ivan to purchase melee weapons, which would otherwise be in rather short supply. No reason for being secretive is given.

By this time, Fuub-Ark is already pressuring the players to appear in Kersia, where a crisis is brewing. There have been several small skirmishes in the asteroid belt, as defenses are being tested, but the only bigger conflict seems to be an attack on a BHI refinement facility, from which a large supply of iridium and platinum has been stolen. Nothing specific indicates Teask-Dumar, but the relations are dense. Fuub knows that Teask-Dumar is already lowering troops into Vetakai, Kersia's moon, where a certain amount of industry takes place and which has large rare earth deposits. The players are tasked with intercepting and/or destroying a suspected enemy scouting outpost. BHI places an ECM information warfare APC under the players control and a long search begins.

Vetekai is an inert, lifeless rock with a thick cloud cover and atmosphere, so everything is relatively dark, even in daytime. However, the BHI engineers constantly fly drones and eventually the players find the outpost. After a couple of epic notice checks, the players see a remote sensor field before they themselves are seen, and manage to assault the base quickly enough that the defenders do not have too much time to prepare.

While the ECM APC blocks communication, Huug and Eurich manage to destroy the fleeing scout units and avoid a bigger conflict, while the BHI commandos assault the tent-bubbles and hack the computers in the outpost. Alexander is almost taken down by a combat hovertank, but together with Juho and Ivan, the enemy forces are eventually supressed. As the theatre of operations is assumed to be under enemy control, the players do not have time for salvage operations, but fortunately, one of the hovertanks can still be piloted. It is taken back to base, along with an APC full of prisoners.

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Season 1 Episode 04
The players visit VGT and make acquisitions

While travelling towards The Outlier, the first world in the Diave B system, Josef gets and idea to set up a fan page for Black Nebula. He also contacts a local printing company and creates a line of fan products such as baseball caps, t-shirts and mugs with the intention to expand the line of products later on.

The players arrive at VGT. First thing they decide to join Mercnet and order a huge pile of black-purple uniforms from an insanely expensive design shop (named Ekspensive as Fyk) onboard the VGT. Alexander gambles a bit in the local joints and Huug-Gun visits a whorehouse, with everybody else amusing themselves in one manner or another (mostly drinking) except for Ivan, who stays behind onboard Lennie Small.

Josef visits the casino and runs into a group of awese, who are smaller than those he is used to seeing. They are also naked and openly carry bladed weapons with them. After facing a number of communication difficulties and translation losses through multiple broken human languages, the leader of the gang commends Josef for his "size", apparently referring to his uncommonly muscular build. He also challenges the russian to a mettle of strength, expecting to win easily. Josef goads the awese into betting his sword and then uses his skills as a physiotherapist to arrange the arm wrestling match in a way that he wins easily. The awese is flabbergasted and gets a bit aggressive, but surrenders his sword begrudgingly. His companions try to pressure Josef to accompany them to the lower leves and partake in a martial arts duel, giving their friend an oppoturnity to win back his sword. Josef refuses and the awese assure him that this will not be all that he hears of them. Josef shrugs and takes a selfie with the sword, which he uploads to the fan page.

Later, when confronted by the others, Huug can tell that the awese in question are from Suvak, an old system from the pre-FTL era of awese development which fought fiercely against the current empress lineage in the unification wars. After the time of separation, the had diverged greatly from the mainline awese and aren't technically of the same species anymore. The inehmo players also understand that this is not particularly uncommon, and that many subspecies of awese exist. Shy Suvak awese are on the system or oboard VGT remains a mystery.

Eurich visits an idyllic cafe bordering a spectacular park composed of plant species from all over the known worlds. While gorging himself on 19th century european confections, he decides to visit a gentlemen's club (the kind Phileas Fogg visits, not the kind with concubines) to network a bit. Others think this is a good idea and join him.

The gentlemen's club (called Ruffled Dandy) is a cigarette smoke -filled fine lounge mainly acting as a quiet place to drink and discuss. It refuses to allow rabble in, so everybody goes back to the stupidly expensive design outlet and buys suits. After this, it refuses to allow non-inehmo in, but Bjornlöf makes a convincing argument, which, with the help of one of the club's locals, allows them entry. The local, an elderly man with grey hair and Sybaris insignia in his military-style suit, invites the players to sit and drink with him.

The man identifies as Vincent Barr, a platoon commander for Sybaris. He recognizes the players from their television appearance and wants to know more about Black Nebula. Everyone is reluctant to share information to a potential adversary, and the conversation almost dies. Vincent becomes a tad frustrated, but the atmosphere loosens a bit after everyone drinks more. Eventually Vincent promises the players genuinely valuable information if they tell where they obtained the Satan-class dropships they employed in the battle. The players tell a (superficially convincing) lie about how they bought out another bankrupt mercenary company, which pleases Vincent, who in turn, tells them that he could fence them some high-end materiel from the source where Sybaris gets them (which, in turn, ends up being Teask-Dumar UHI). The catalogue is limited, but the players agree to buy a Phoenix Hawk from him, for which Vincent asks half a million extra because of the risk associated. The players agree to pay.

The mech, as the uniforms, are agreed to be delivered within a week. The players find a hotel and plan their unit composition. Both awese want to buy Marauders from BHI, and the composition of their force is now almost set.

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