Arion, Episode 29: Changa

Changa, 203-3401

World encounter (p.58-60). We learned last time that someone wants to leave Changa quite badly, so let’s use this to build on that outcome. 66: Another off-worlder befriends you, they are in a spot of bother, would you help? That’ll do nicely, and I roll on the patron table to find out who and the mission table to find out what they were doing: Scout pilot, research a target. Asking the dice a few questions reveals who it is…

“Changa isn’t what I expected when they said ‘pirate heaven’,” Arion observes. And indeed, while it looks primitive by Mizah’s standards, it also looks surprisingly free of bodies and bullet holes.

“In a way, it’s more honest,” says Dmitri. “Most places we pay a berthing fee. Here, I gave roughly the same amount to that street gang over there, and in exchange they stop people vandalising the Dolphin.” He waves at the street gang; they wave back, thus establishing in the minds of passersby that the Dolphin‘s crew is connected with them somehow, and not to be trifled with, at least not without consequences.

“Is there anything on sale here that a civilised person would want to buy?” asks Coriander.

“Oh, I’m sure there’s something for everyone,” Dmitri says. “Nothing’s illegal, you see.”

A man in ship crew coveralls, somewhat the worse for wear, emerges from the crowd and takes up a companionable pace next to the trio. The name tag says ‘Tahir’.

“Hi,” he says. “Kith?”

“Yes,” says Arion, “and these two are with me.”

“Allah’a shikush,” he says in relief. “Look, I need to get off this rock in a hurry, you have a spare berth? I’m qualified, I can work my passage. My name is Ihsan Tahir, I’m a Combine trade pioneer.”

Arion, Coriander and Dmitri look at each other, and exchange the slightest of nods.

“Kith are kith,” Arion says decisively. “We need to pick up some supplies, you can wait for us here – we’ll be back in a couple of hours. I’m Arion; this is Coriander, and this is Dmitri.”

Tahir thanks the crew profusely and moves over to the Dolphin to wait.

“I expected you’d be against this, Dmitri,” Arion says. “I thought you’d be all ‘operational security’ and ‘he knows too much already’.”

Dmitri shrugs. “Kith are kith,” he says. “We might need help ourselves someday, and that will be harder to get if we have a reputation for breaking the code, which we would get if we turned him down – and people would start asking awkward questions about why we did that. It could be useful to have an inside man in the Combine. And besides, we can always kill him later.”

The Tell Me, D6 table on p. 37 reveals Ihsan Tahir is untrustworthy, so that may indeed be necessary at some point. If he doesn’t get the crew first.

GM Notes

Changa is B325520-8 and settled by the East African Federation during the Rule of Man. I had originally intended for Osa to be the hidden pirate base, but then Changa rolled up law level 0 and that made it a better candidate. Their attitude is not so much “Arr, matey, we be pirates!” as it is “Whatever, man, just don’t get blood on the carpet.” They simply don’t care what you get up to offworld, or where your cargo came from.

If you think pirate havens can’t happen in a technically advanced society, I invite you to look at the recent history of Somalia or Thailand.

The code of the kith was a throwaway line a couple of episodes ago, but actually it gives me another excuse for NPC interactions, and as long as I don’t document it, it can mean whatever I need at the time. This time, it has set up conflicting obligations for the PCs, and they normally result in a good yarn. I usually have storylines in mind for the characters, but I will run Ihsan strictly by the dice and the rules, and see what he does. Who is after him and why? I’ll leave that until we pass through Changa again on the way back.

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