Arion, Episode 23: Kamat

Kamat, 161-3401

This is an on-planet week, so we start with a world encounter (p.58-60): 42, a potential crime. Here I need to roll under the local law level (7) to avoid a loss of 2d6 x Cr 200. 2d6 = 9, so the loss is incurred, but since I’m not tracking cash anyway – too much like the day job – I’m only interested in the crime itself, for story purposes. I wonder what that is? Let’s see where the story takes us…

Kamat Highport is a Kemplerer Rosette of six cylindrical space stations, three large and three small, sparkling as the Dolphin approaches because the spaceport traffic constantly disturbs the delicate gravitational balance of their orbits, and every so often the reaction wheels need to dump momentum, which uses thrusters.

“You’d appreciate this, Dmitri,” says Arion from the flight deck. “Six stations orbiting a central point mass that isn’t actually there. Masterful misdirection, I’d say.”

“They’re just showing off,” sniffs the Dolphin. “They must need an AI mesh just for attitude control. And they could do that with grav plates without needing any thrusters.”

“But then no-one would know how clever they are?”


Coriander appears on the flight deck.

“We need to go shopping,” she informs Arion.


“At the moment I have my Institute robes, an outfit for exploring jungles in, and one of your spare sets of coveralls, which are too big. I need something for socialising. You can put it on expenses.”

“As what exactly? Party clothes for psionic on the run?” Dmitri says as he wanders in.

“I have to get close enough to use my powers, and like it or not, that means looking like someone they want to talk to.”

“I’ll enter it as ‘disguises’, shall I?” asks the Dolphin.

“See? The Dolphin gets it.”

Not long afterwards, Arion and Dmitri are in a station bar catering to off-duty naval personnel.

“Why here in particular?” Arion asks.

“Look at the uniforms,” Dmitri says. “Confederation Navy. Coriander gathers information in her way, and I gather it in mine.”

Hmm, offworlders in a bar full of Confed navy? Sounds like our crime might be a bar fight.

“Oh look,” says Arion, pointing at the holo set in the corner. “We’re famous.” They can’t hear the words over the noise of the customers, but the scrolling text is easy to read. TWO KILLED WHEN DINOBASTIS ESCAPES IN GAZZAIN STARPORT. ITHKLUR MARINES PACIFY RAMPAGING BEAST WITH PLASMA WEAPONS. AUTHORITIES WANT TO INTERVIEW CREWS OF VEGAN’S DREAM AND DOLPHIN.

The images change, to blurry stills of the Dolphin lifting off from Ria, and pictures of Arion and Isabella fleeing the palace guards. GREAT ARCHIVE SURVEYOR WANTED BY PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF RIA FOR REGICIDE, KIDNAPPING AND TREASON.

“Oh look,” says Dmitri. “You’re famous.” Arion studies the text and replies, “Wouldn’t I have to be a Rian citizen to commit treason against their government? And which one, anyway? The one before the revolution, or the one after it?”

“Don’t worry, they’ll sort it out at your trial,” Dmitri explains. “Assuming you get that far. I think we’ve been made.” He points at a group of approaching navy men.

Sometime later, Coriander tracks down the bruised and battered pair in a shore patrol holding cell. She is accompanied by a patrol officer in a matt orange gilet and cap.

“I can’t leave you alone for five minutes,” she complains. “And look at the state of you. Yes, officer, they’re the ones. Can you release them into my custody please? It’ll be better for all of us if this isn’t formally recorded, if you know what I mean.”

“Sure; the bail’s paid. Glad to be rid of them,” the officer says. “You sure you can handle both of them on your own?”

“Hmm. Could you spare me one of your men to escort them back to my ship?”

“Of course, ma’am.”

When the shore patrol has departed, Coriander stops smiling and says, “Get us out of here. Now. Before they realise this is my library card instead of whatever they think it is.” She waves the offending document at them.

“Yes, ma’am,” agrees Arion.

“How did you manage to antagonise the Confed Navy? And more importantly, why?”

“Ah. Well, it turns out that drunken Confed naval officers are easily moved to vengeance on behalf of a ten-year old girl they’re never met, whose parents were gunned down in front of her by an agent of a foreign power.”

“We have to do something about that,” Coriander agrees.

“Put it on the list,” Dmitri mutters.

“Done,” says the Dolphin, brightly. “Logically, it should go above ‘Find Schrodinger,’ as achieving that objective would be simplified if we were not wanted by several governments. Ria shouldn’t be much of an obstacle, but Confed will be.”

“Did you find out anything useful?” Coriander asks.

“Yes,” says Arion. “Confed navy fists taste bad. I don’t want to eat them again.”

“More usefully,” Dmitri observes, “There is definitely something strange going on at Bulan and points rimward. Those exploration cruisers aren’t misdirection, you can see them being built at the shipyard; they’ll be ready soon. And there are doctors in the bars talking about difficult burn cases.”

“Any space combat leaves a lot of burn cases,” Arion points out.

“Yeah, but not acid burns. There’s something out there that puts a lot of hydrochloric acid on marines, and I don’t think Confed has suddenly started using wet batteries.”

GM Notes

Just because the giant cat incident at Gazzain starport happened at the beginning of episode 22 doesn’t mean I can’t use it now, or that the characters would necessarily know about it. Also, it’s about time Arion’s unsavoury reputation came back to bite him – think of it as the Outsider Hindrance in action.

Also in this episode, Coriander uses psionics as a trapping on her Persuasion skill. A Wild Card with Persuasion d10+2, boost trait and three bennies is very unlikely to fail at persuading an NPC with no particular stake in the outcome. It’s not quite Psychic Paper, but it’s close. (Actually, come to think of it, that’s not a bad trapping for it.)

One thing I have noticed about Solo is the only world statistics I’m using for anything other than background colour are starport class and law level.

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