Fastball Express Inc.

Eclipse Phase #15 - No Country for Old Men

This episode, FbEx was hired by Mlle. Mitsuba of the Night Cartel to
assist in evacuating forty-four(43?) members of a Jovian gentleman’s
club known as the POTUS Society, from an aborted meeting on Progress,
Deimos (due to sudden potentially dangerous planetary phenomenon)

Cue cramming of many geriatric bio-cons into a mini-bus that is the
Eagle Transporter.

Cue many accusations upon Bishop by Mssrs. Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley
and Kennedy. Sometime along the line, “You shot me, you bastard!”

Cue refueling stop at Extropia and visit to many stripper joins.

Cue kidnapping of Mssrs. Reagan, Bush and Bush by Jovian freedom
fighters.

Cue FbEx rescue operation (and three-second gunfight, through walls)

Cue shortest interrogation session via Vulcan Mind Meld.

The journey continues…

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Eclipse Phase #14 - Spiraling Shape

Down, down, down you go
No way to stop
As you fall, hear me call
No, no, no
Listen to this warning and
Consider these
Simple words of advice
Stop, stop, stop

Fogging the view, cupping face to the window
In darkness you make out a spiraling shape
Putting all reason aside you exchange
What you’ve got for a thing that’s hypnotic and strange

The spiraling shape will make you go insane
(Everyone wants to see that groovy thing)
But everyone wants to see that groovy thing
(Everyone wants to see that thing)

And nobody knows what it’s really like
But everyone says it’s great
And they heard it from the spiral in their eyes

This could lead to excellence
Or serious injury
Only one way to know
Go, go, go
Go ahead, wreck your life
That might be good
Who can say what’s wrong or right?
Nobody can

Put out your hands and you fall through the window
And clawing at nothing you drop through the void
Your terrified screams are inaudible drowned
In the spiral ahead and consumed in the shape

The spiraling shape will make you go insane
(Everyone wants to see that groovy thing)
But everyone wants to see that groovy thing
(Everyone wants to see that thing)

And now that you’ve tried it, you’re back to report
That the spiraling shape was a fraud and a fake
You didn’t enjoy it, you never believed it
There won’t be a refund, you’ll never go back

The spiraling shape will make you go insane
(Everyone wants to see that groovy thing)
But everyone wants to see that groovy thing
(Everyone wants to see that thing)

And nobody knows what it’s really like
But everyone says it’s great
And they heard it from the spiral in their eyes
(Spiral in their eyes)

Fogging the view, cupping face to the window
In darkness you make out a spiraling shape
Putting all reason aside you exchange
What you got for a thing that’s hypnotic and strange

The spiraling shape will make you go insane
(Everyone wants to see that groovy thing)
But everyone wants to see that groovy thing
(Everyone wants to see that thing)

Don’t spend the rest of your life wondering
(Everyone wants to see that thing)

Don’t spend the rest of your life wondering
(Everyone wants to see that groovy thing)
Don’t spend the rest of your life wondering
(Everyone wants to see that thing)

To summarise, and stealing my own post on the EP fora:

1) the Bracewell probe actually does not exist in our universe pre se,
but it was deployed by a civilisation that inhabits in what
theoretical physicists refer to as a “Dark Matter” universe.

2) My limited understanding of Superstring/Brane theory tells me that
while matter cannot cross between universes, data may be transmitted
via gravity waves.

3) Prior to the fall, the TITANs detected this gravity fluctuation in
the core of Mars. They mounted a secret mining expedition to explore
this anomaly.

4) TITANs constructed a gravitronic interface around the anomaly
(pretty much prototype Pandora gate) to interface with what they
discovered later to be a Bracewell probe from another universe.
Contact was initiated and that’s where a series of unfortunate events
began.

5) Unfortunately, the creators of of the Bracewell probe were on the
brink of annihilation by a race of machines (which I humourously
referred to as the Reapers, but unfortunately no one my in group
played Mass Effect and the joke was lost) and the probe was sent as a
distress beacon to other organic races in their own universe.

6) Probe misinterpreted TITAN contact attempt as an attack by an
synthetic species, initiated violent electronic countermeasures
through the gravitronic interface (which I shall now refer to as the
Proto-Gate).

7) Due to the TITANs’ alien nature (from the Bracewellers’s point of
view) and different protocols of the proto-gate, the attack was
unsuccessful. But the TITANs were corrupted somehow by the botched
hacking attempt and this led to their rampage agaist humanity.

8) Using knowledge gained from the initial contact with the probe,
they constructed the known Pandora gates and (apparently) left through
them to parts unknown, perhaps (correctly or otherwise) taking
humanity to “safety” beyond the influence of the Bracewell probe.

9) Years later, the Argonauts discovered this anomaly in the centre of
Mars and hired the player characters (who make up the Fastball Express
hypercorp, or FbEx for short) to escort them on the trail to discover
this mystery.

10) FbEx eventually found the gate (along with the remains of a
Firewall cell scattered around the structure) and the resident Async
managed to interface with the Bracewell probe with the powers of her
mind >.> From “talking” to it, they pieced together some of the
background above.

11) However due to the attempts of some YGBM-basilisk-hacked members
of the Argonaut NPC team, the Proto-gate became unstable and FbEx had
to flee back to the surface.

12) Energy from the unstable proto-gate reacted with the iron core of
Mars, eventually leading to a magnetic field being spun up around the
planet.

And that was yesterday’s session so I am trying to figure out the
consequences of such a device.

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Eclipse Phase #13 - Weekend at Mitsuba's 2

The thing they used on you guys today, taken from
http://eclipsephase.com/firewall-guide-unconventional-weapons

Rather than just firing off an EMP blast in all directions, a beamer
produces a focused beam of high-intensity microwaves . Less useful
against nanoswarms, it is ideal for wrecking particular robots and
equipment, and can be tuned to attack particular kinds of electronics.
Just have it ramp frequency up and down to find the frequencies that
set up nasty resonances or get in through small holes in the chassis.
Remember that the beam can be reflected back from conductive surfaces.

It can also be used to heat food. Badly.


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Eclipse Phase #12 - "Don't touch my baboons!"

Summary:
Photobucket

Yes.

Notes/commentary/report pending

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Eclipse Phase #11 - PLANET DOES NOT PROVIDE COVER SAVE

Summary:

Photobucket

Yes.

GM’s Notes:
Man, that ship was filled with orcs. By the boatload, literally.

Also, bullet vs missile. WTF.

Also, surprise cameo by BJ & the Bear.

Kai’s Notes:
’Twas a good game!

The missile sniping thing happened in my Gunslinger Girl PBP once -
Cyborg with sniper rifle vs UAV-launched missile. Cyborg won.

Adrian’s new Nerf gun provided pew pew!

What, a full report? Hold on, pls.

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Eclipse Phase #10 - Sons of Ten Thousand Orcs

Kai’s Notes:
We visited the recreational disease club and asked around about Nene’s death. We got imagery of a suspicious man who had been seen with her, so Billy called upon his autonomist friends on @-list to find the man. All he had to offer was a rep prize and “an evening with Marina Sirtis’ last surviving beta fork.” Worked like a charm.

Quill’s former sibling Solo was staying in a bad part of town, in a sort of “walled city” where even a simple hacked janitor robot can’t survive very long. We took the stolen Barsoomian truck to the Walled City, and Adrian’s flexbot options came in handy again as Kay transformed into Rosie The Maidbot.

Quill and Billy went in to talk to Solo, and he managed to keep them off guard and completely clueless all the way until his buddy the sniper started firing from the next building with FREAKING HOMING ROUNDS. Quill got shot and Solo also managed to psychically blast us pretty badly. Outside, “Angela” called for help from the truck and the local SWAT, and Kay went roof jumping in order to battle the sniper. Despite getting gunned to within an inch of his mechanical life, Kay managed to decapitate the sniper, while Billy and Quill managed to keep getting themselves hurt again and again. Fun stuff. We were lucky to make it out of there intact, and with very little to show for it, except for what Solo himself had told us: It all goes back to the Cognite hypercorp…

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Eclipse Phase #9 - Ten Thousand Orcs

Quill’s Notes:

Quill’s Diary, Day 1500 AE [AE – Quill’s personal time-keeping, meaning classified]

Zora called, y’know the one with the snake fetish? I like her! She’s cool in a freakish kinda way and I mean it’s just reptiles! Unlike some of the others. Don’t ask. She’s like “omg Quill!!! I was like so TALKING to Roy (omg phonesexors?!) when he suddenly just went like
‘…’ and when I called again like he won’t pick up and it seems like he just went poof and I’m like worried and stuff and like Priss isn’t picking up my calls either (maybe she’s a jealous b*tch coz of the phone stuff) but like just in case, go check it out, kthxbai!” Or something along those lines. I think.

<folds>

<steals>

<folds>

Oh, what? Oh yeah, she said she’ll pay too. Like, one way. Look, she dances with snakes for a living, she isn’t making that much. Is she?

<folds>

<folds>

<blinks> Oh, is this thing still on? <clears> So we went to Mars, and then Doggy says he can’t go the normal way coz he’s like, the weapon of mass destruction, so we found some people to take us down to Barsoom. Baaaaaaaarsooooooooooooommew? Oh, I’m Parker now. Say ‘Hi PARKER!!!!’ Hehehehehehe… Anyways we tried talking to people and stuff but little boy ends up pissing up his @-friends and I was laughing SOOOO hard. But then I tried talking to my big bad g-friends and they don’t like me either! So mean… :þ I called the police and they told us THREE people were killed and had their brains fried. o_O So scawy!!! I wonder…

Then doggy wants to go swimming, and said he knows someone who lives by the river. We went and there was this big fancy house and a crazy chick who was suntanning (omg, like, RADIATION!?!) and said her name’s Mitsuba. Then she like, omg, said she’s Doggy’s wife… (ex-wife?) and
they have 10 kids! Wow!!! Like, I wanted to ask doggy about it, but he went swimming and all you could see was one eye. So Doggy’s wife says she’ll ask the HEAD OF POLICE (OMG!!! she has him on SPEED DIAL!?!) and like, we gots the info and I got so sad… coz it was really Roy And Priss too. And Nene!!!

<folds>

We got access to 3D crime scenes and I tried to like, do a CSI thing, but other than the fact that they all died at home (except Nene, who died at the club where she worked) and had their brains and cortical stacks fried, there doesn’t seem to be any other clues. Oh, and whoever did it must be known to them, or is like, a ghost who snuck in and zapped them… I feel so sad. All my friends!!! So we decided to go to the club and ask questions, coz like, Nene was working when she died.

Doggy’s wife said she’s send her secretary/assistant/whoever called Angela to take us to this club. So like, we went to the club, and like uhm… I’m sleepy…
ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz………..

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Eclipse Phase #8 - Darkwing Duck and the Case of the Colonel's Secret of Eleven Herbs & Spices

Kai’s Notes:
After the unprofitable fiasco on Qing Long, which the crew barely got out of with their skins intact, it was time to get away from it all…in the Outer System. The Fastball Special docked at Extropia, the free haven where hypercorps could rub shoulders with anarcho-capitalists, where a new body or a microgravity steak dinner could be had…for the right price.

First things first: the team refreshed their backups. Just in case. Then Billy treated his teammates to said steak dinner in a restaurant where the cows came floating in giant tanks like the fishtanks in seafood restaurants back on Qing Long. After dinner, he turned to the business of finding new business for Fastball Express.

Billy’s old autonomist contact Dave hadn’t changed much. Dave had a proposition for the crew: steal a secret recipe from a neo-avian colony called Lexington, located on the asteroid Mr Spock. Said colony was guarded by the infamous mercenaries known only as the Iron Chefs, who were led by the enigmatic Colonel. The prize was a recipe dating back to Pre-Fall Earth: The Secret of Eleven Herbs and Spices for a fried chicken dish.

The team did some research on the matter and dug up an eyewitness report of the Iron Chefs’ attack on some Barsoomian moisture farmers on Mars. The witness excitedly related how “cool” and “awesome” the armor-suited Iron Chefs were as they destroyed his home and killed him and his family (his stack was later recovered, of course).

Asteroid Spock looked like a daunting target, since it would be hard to blend in with the neo-avian locals. However, once the team found out about the colony’s supply schedule, Billy toyed with the idea of sending in a single operative to perform reconnaissance. If they just got a single neo-avian sleeve for the infiltrating team member, the operation would be a “Go.”

Billy tried to get Dave to cover the costs of the neo-avian body by appealing to his most cherished fantasies. Went something like this: “Dave, you’re still wearing that Wesley Crusher sleeve, I see. I happen to have found a long-lost beta fork of Marina Sirtis in a salvaged data core…I’ll have her sleeved in a hot body and give you an evening with her if you can provide us that neo-avian sleeve.”

Then, to Quill: “I’ve got a mission for you…” (explains)

Quill: “Who’s Deanna Troi???”

Billy: “A pre-Fall science fiction character also known as Counselor Cleavage.”

Quill, masquerading as the fork of Marina Sirtis, met Dave at the steakhouse, both of them in Star Trek costumes. Dave wanted to indulge in his snuff fantasy of slowly throttling the life out of -

- then Quill turned on the psychic mojo. She hacked his brain pretty thoroughly leaving only a hypnotic desire to give us what we wanted and to forget the horrific mental trauma she had just inflicted upon him.

Now, the team had a raven-feathered neo-avian sleeve. But who would wear it on this dangerous solo mission? Bishop-Six, with his infiltration specializations, would seem to be the logical candidate. “It’s just a reconnaissance misson,” they told him, as he underwent the mentally strenuous resleeving process…

Some time later, the neo-avian tourist arrived at Lexington, armed with only his wits and a number of entirely legal devices and tools. After a quick tour of the colony, using his new ability to fly in low gravity, Bishop learned that most of the colony was perfectly normal and open to tourists, with the exception of the facility at the very far end of the cylinder, which was guarded by a contingent of Iron Chefs, as one might expect.

After looking into the best possible infiltration route, Bishop recontacted us and asked for further instructions. Cable naturally betrayed all of Bishop’s trust by ordering him to move in for immediate infiltration of the Iron Chef facility. Meanwhile, the Fastball Special approached Mr Spock, launching Kay as an independent flying object designed to distract Iron Chef patrols and draw them away. Kay went to his duties with great relish, ejecting from the ship with a metallic “GERONIMO!”

Bishop stood before the guarded door, feeling more vulnerable than he had in a long time. After all, he was in a new body, without any neurachem or other combat enhancements, and he was supposed to snatch the two guards’ guns and use them to blast his way through all resistance. He had the element of surprise, but not much else. His new feathered body seemed to move in slow motion compared to his regular Ghost form. He launched his ambush with deadly bursts of submachine gun fire…ripping into the Iron Chefs…and somehow, despite the odds, he succeeded!

(interlude: Somewhere, the duckling son of the dead merc asks his mom “where’s Dad? He promised he’d be here for my birthday. He promised…”)

By now the rest of the team had arrived, dispatched from the Fastball Special to help Bishop once he had gained access to the vault. With Kay’s distraction and the customary brilliant hacking skills of Cable, nothing could stop the team, as they prepared to open the vault lock…

…which was, amazingly, non-electronic. In fact, it was made of dumb matter. An old-fashioned combination lock. “But how do we hack it?” wondered Cable, dumbfounded. Quill tapped once more into her psi power, using Pattern Recognition to understand the inner workings of the lock. She just barely managed to open the vault, which swung open to reveal an old-fashioned piece of paper with the Eleven Secret Herbs And Spices recipe! Mission Accomplished, and so we buggered off out of there!

Back safe and sound in his main sleeve, Bishop would not let Cable forget. “Just a recon mission? You call that just a recon mission?!?” We all had a good laugh.

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Eclipse Phase #7 - (How Do You Solve A Problem Like) Maria

Eclipse phase trio vacsuit

Kai’s Notes:
This was a great session even with only 3 players. Fastball Express saved out of the men’s room in Qinglong thanks to Hansel and his partner, deadly killers of the Kinder Kartel.

The Von Trapp family of the Kartel hired us to recover their fabled mentor Maria, in exchange for help getting off Qinglong safely. While Quill, Kay, Verlian and Diz had their own tasks, Bishop, Hokusai and Billy (cosplaying as Super Deformed Char’s Gelgoog) went for a walk on the outside of the colony cylinder and snuck into an Ochre Society cryo facility, where they battled a crew of guards with blazing neurochem-enhanced gunplay, or in the case of Billy, harsh words and a Dazzler.

Billy got shot something nasty and does not remember much of what happened next but they did get out alive. With Maria.

Someone else should do a more datailed report.

GM’s Notes:
She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee
Her dress has got a tear
She waltzes on her way to Mass
And whistles on the stair
And underneath her wimple
She has curlers in her hair
I even heard her singing in the abbey

She’s always late for chapel
But her penitence is real
She’s always late for everything
Except for every meal
I hate to have to say it
But I very firmly feel
Maria’s not an asset to the abbey

I’d like to say a word in her behalf
Maria makes me laugh

How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!

Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

When I’m with her I’m confused
Out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Unpredictable as weather
She’s as flighty as a feather
She’s a darling! She’s a demon! She’s a lamb!

She’d outpester any pest
Drive a hornet from its nest
She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
She is gentle! She is wild!
She’s a riddle! She’s a child!
She’s a headache! She’s an angel!
She’s a girl!

How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!

Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

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Eclipse Phase #6: How Much Is That Sotong In The Window?

How much is that sotong in the window,
The one with the waggely arms?
How much is that sotong in the window,
I do hope we save him from harm!

Qing Long, the O’Neill colony located at the Martian Greek Lagrange Point. This was the site of the Fastball Express’ latest escapades. Bishop Six and Quill were just recovering from some neural modifications when Billy Cable called them to inform them that Hokusai had gone missing. He’d been gone for three hours and had yet to return to the ship. Together with Kay, the teammates began throwing out calls to various criminal and autonomist contacts in the colony, hoping to hear something about octopoid kidnappings. After all, Hokusai had mentioned having some enemies with the Nine Lives.

The investigation hit a dead end, it seemed, until Quill miraculously managed to open doors that nobody else could. Funny how that seems to happen when she gets involved.

She used her ego hunter contacts to get in touch with a soul market trader named Diego, who seemed to be in the market for just the right kind of mollusc.

Billy came up with a horrifically convoluted cover for himself as his own father inside the body of a child prostitute, and went to the trouble to film a video of himself being beaten up and tied up by his teammates. “Obadiah Stane, you did not tell us that you wanted us to capture the famous Tony Stark -” oh wait wrong show. “Gandalf, oh where are you?!? -” oh wait wrong show.

Anyway Quill managed to pique Diego’s interest in buying Billy’s ass. Somehow. They set up a meeting at the Skyride stadium in the center section of the colony cylinder, where Diego had his office. Billy got the blueprints for the stadium from some terrorist contacts he’d met in a fanfic forum at some point, so they had an easy way in. While Kay and Bishop infiltrated via air ducts (which were NOT trapped with lasers) Quill played Mjolnir with Billy on a leash, tossing him ahead of her and following along on his momentum, all the way to the meeting with Diego.

Which Quill promptly aced by hacking Diego’s brain using leet mental powers. Once again, miraculous and quite creepy to her teammates who didn’t know how she did it. He just talked, blabbed everything about Sally Slick, majordomo of the Nine Lives organization, putting a price
out on Hokusai’s head and about to collect him, too. He even conveniently forgot about everything that had just happened, moments later. Odd, that!

Hokusai was being held at Extra Super Tanker, a floating supertanker restaurant located in the Hong Kong Harbour-like body of water located hundreds of meters below the Skyrise, on the main inner surface of the cylinder. Only 15 minutes until Sally arrived to buy Hokusai. No time to waste – the entire team exfiltrated the Skyrise by JUMPING DOWN!

Bishop rode Kay, who could fly. Quill and Billy used their smart clothes to form Combat Pterodactyl Suits. They chewed their Lizard Boom Sticks and glided down silently to the supertanker. Meanwhile, Bishop, who had gotten there first, quizzed the restaurant staff in suspicious detail about any sapient octopi they might have in stock.

Then Quill waltzed in and had a quick word with the management at the restaurant, who suddenly became very cooperative and became willing to sell Hokusai over to us. Billy found the octopus stunned or drugged in a fish tank and got him the frak out of there and over the side of the
ship just minutes before Sally was due to arrive, and the others made themselves scarce too. Sure, they’d been seen on camera, but Billy had a plan to deal with that, if he could just get a little time to plan an intimidating call to Sally.

He didn’t get that chance. After everyone swam clear of the restaurant, they regrouped back on dry land just in time to hear of the latest live AR game fad sweeping the colony: Hunt The Fastball Express Crew, 10,000 creds per head!

Obviously to be continued.

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