Episode Two - The Rescue:
Having retrieved its crew The Figulator zipped to the dark side of one of Pictori Prime's larger neighbours, out of range of planetary sensors.
On analysing the data recovered Averne confirmed that The Federation had indeed intended to take the Professor to the base. However, his arrival seems to have been delayed due to caution on the part of his captors.
Once at Pictori Prime he was to be held until taken further into Federation Territory by a small Task Force of two corvettes and a Fast Frigate. However, because of his captors' late arrival, this force arrived first, and is already holding station around one of the planet's smaller moons. Their presence had been missed by The Figulator's initial scans; possibly due to Moon-Shadow.
The data seized logged some shuttle traffic between this Task Force and the planet surface prior to The Figulator's arrival, but the reason behind this activity appeared unclear; actual communications between the base and the Task Force having been brief and routine. Betti assumes this involved the transfer planetside of Travis and additional guards.
Subsequent monitoring by The Figulator of the Federation Communications Net has also revealed little. Betti had expected some reaction to their raid; at the very least some warning broadcast to the Professor's captors, a request for reinforcements or perhaps some action on the part of the Task Force. The lack of reaction appears suspicious; Betti, Averne and Vellani smell a rat...
After some hours (EST) The Figulator intercepts a message from the ship believed to holding the Professor. It reports it is less than three hours (EST) from the rendezvous. As it approaches it is scanned by The Figulator and revealed to be of an unknown type, small enough to be capable of landing on Pictori Prime. Betti cannot afford the risk of attacking such a small vessel; it might break up too easily. They will have to wait for it to land, then make the rescue attempt.
Having looked at the data obtained from the base Betti, Averne and Mensac have analysed the various escape routes from the various buildings on the complex - it not being clear where the Professor is likely to be held, or for how long. Averne wants feet on the ground as soon as possible, she has a bad feeling about the situation, but Betti is more cautious, and is willing to wait for the departure of the captors' ship.
Luckily this vessel does not hang around. It drops off its cargo and is gone.
[Note: Had the vessel still been planetside it's own crew will have been on the Base, possibly adding to the likely opposition.
All of these actions were dice-driven decisions.]
The Figulator approaches the planet on the blind side of the Base and the Federation Task Force - but the rebels cannot afford to hang about; the enemy will be bound to quickly spot The Figulator. As soon as they are within transporter range the Landing Party is dispatched.
Betti elects to divide her team into two, as they have no idea where the Professor is being held.
[Technical Note: To "discover" the Professor - or any other personalities - I remove all character cards and Jokers from a standard pack of playing cards and shuffle the remainder.
I randomly, and without looking at the cards, take five cards from this pack to create a Working Deck.
I add a Jack (representing Travis) and Joker (representing the Professor and his daughter) to this Working Deck.
I then take five more Red cards from the remaining main pack and add a Queen and a King. I shuffle this small set of cards and, without looking, pick three cards, adding the newly drawn cards to the Working Deck (which now consists of ten cards - one for each room and rooftop).
For each room or rooftop zone entered or peeked into for the first time a card is drawn from the Working Deck.
Black number cards are ignored (the room is empty).
Red number cards indicate the number of guards in that room.
The Jack is Travis. Throw 1x6D. He is accompanied by that many guards.
The Joker is the Professor and Daughter. They are guarded by 1x6D guards.
The King represents the Base Commander and 1x6D guards.
The Queen represents Supreme Commander Servalan and 1x6D guards.
The figures indicated are placed on the board as soon as the cards are drawn but may not act until the next Federation move UNLESS there is cover in the room.
In the latter case the figures are placed at the beginning of THEIR move and MAY move/shoot or otherwise act.
Note: peeking into rooms containing cover does not work.
All activity outside of rooms is tested for enemy activity as on the previous mission.]
One group, Janice Stenn and Lyn Su, led by Averne, will push towards the Security Area visited on their earlier jaunt. They will carry two explosive charges to be set to destroy these rooms when they leave.
Betti, Gaunt and Vellari will search the other block of three rooms. They carry three explosive charges.
The priority is getting the Professor and his daughter out in one piece.
And so to the action.......
Averne's group sneak round the side of the Medical Facility they entered on their first mission. Ahead of them a patrol of two troopers appears. The rebels shoot them down easily, then proceed to the ladder accessing the Security Rooms.
Meanwhile Betti's party make their way through the complex, up a stairwell and into one of the Loading Bay rooms without incident.
Things are NOT looking good...
Betti's party are marched out at gunpoint to the balcony, where they can be overlooked by Travis's men.
The Troopers with Travis open fire from above, while Servalan makes a break for it down the stairs; unsuitable footwear or not, she's fast on her pins. Betti tries to grab her as she passes but fails.
Vellani and Gaunt run into the shelter of the Loading Bay, where Betti joins them, while Travis and three Troopers rush into the Service Lift to move down from the Tower....
Luckily for Averne's lot Servalan - with a burst of speed - appears in front of these Troopers and shouts at them to follow her. They do - and rush towards the gantry and Loading Bay stairs leading to where Betti's gang are. Travis leads his party round the side of the building, also heading for the Loading Bay.
Gaunt tries to boost Vellani upwards, but fails. Then, just to make things worse, one of the Troopers downed by Gaunt staggers to his feet. The Trooper and Betti both shoot, but it is the Trooper who falls.
The other Troopers are getting closer, as again Gaunt fails to get Vellani onto the Loading bay roof.
Over on the other part of the base Averne sneaks up the ladder and there, in Security Room One, are the Professor and daughter...
But also six guards - not so good.
Averne briefs hers colleagues and they sneak up, before rushing the gantry, blasters blazing....
Five Troopers go down, caught at close range and unawares. The last guard shoots, but hasn't the firepower of the three rebels; he goes down - without triggering an alarm. So far so good...
The rebels check the next room via the window: empty!
Using the data stolen in the first raid Lyn Su keys in a code and checks the external gantry cameras. All clear. She then taps in the code to open the communicating door. The door opens and she hurries the Prof. and daughter into the next room, then out onto the gantry via the far external door, which, again, Lyn Su overrides with the data gained in the first raid.
A quick patch through to The Figulator and the targets are beamed to safety. Job done.
Meanwhile Averne sets the charges in the Security Rooms. Things have gone very smoothly over this side of the Base.
However, this is not the case with Betti's party.
Servalan directs the fire from one group of Troopers at betti's group while another section storms up the steps to the Loading Bay balcony.
just to add to the fun the remaining Trooper, previously knocked out by Gaunt, now struggles to his feet.
Suddenly one of the troopers on the balcony rushes at Betti, while Travis storms up the Loading bay stairs with his section. Servalan takes two of her Troopers and runs down to be in at the kill....
Velanni sets one of the charges, then moves onto the elevator on the side of the tower. With no enemy in sight, and a clear, simple mission, she is getting on with the job. She rides the elevator down - again, an other empty room... She sets the second charge.
From the top of the container Gaunt leaps at the guard covering Betti, knocking him to the ground, but blaster fire from beyond the door takes the big fellow down. Gallant Gaunt cannot use his Plot Point to save himself, and is out of the fight.
Totally outgunned, herself and a companion wounded, and needing to keep the Federation Troopers and leaders occupied, Betti has no choice but to surrender.
However, she knows full well that her capture will engage the enemy leaders for some time, since they will want to lecture and belittle her; as is their wont....
She is escorted out onto the balcony by the Troopers.
Travis runs up, snarling and ripping off her Transporter Bracelet; cursing her for the trouble she has caused him - he still smarts from being downed in the previous raid..
Vellani asks to be beamed up to the ship, but Averne vetoes this. As far as she is concerned the game isn't over....
There is an immediate reaction from the Supreme Commander as she realises that the Security Block has been breached... "The Professor!!" she cries.
She at once orders Troopers to follow her as she rushes for the Security Block. Betti takes advantage of the confusion and steps back into the Loading Bay, while Travis shoots at Averne's party.
Two Troopers step into the Loading Bay with Betti, both covering her with their blasters - and coincidentally getting out of the line of fire from Averne's group. Maybe they're not so stupid after all...?
Suddenly a stroke of luck; Travis and the Trooper next to him go down from a concentrated volley from Averne's group. Travis is knocked out cold.
But Servalan is still directing a group of five Troopers, who, under the eye of their Supreme Commander, are not going to back down. They rake the balcony with fire and Lyn Su is hit..
Averne orders the injured Lyn Su to transport to safety. Although reluctant to do so, she complies.
Up by the Loading bay one of the Troopers with goes outside to check on Travis, and support his comrades with fire.
The other keeps Betti covered - but when his colleague gets hit in his turn Betti seizes her chance and throws herself at him. There is a struggle, but wounded Betti is beaten back into a corner. This trooper is a tough cookie....
Vellani jumps down to Betti, and radios to inform Averne that all are safe, and that she, Vellani, has single-handedly saved the day....
But on the other side of the Base , using move and fire tactics, the troopers are getting closer to the Security Block.
Averne orders Janice Stenn to beam up to the ship, but herself continues shooting, hitting two more Troopers.
Betti retrieves her Transporter Bracelet from the recumbent Travis. They inform Averne that they are safe and pulling out - and beam out with Gaunt (whose Bracelet the troopers failed to collect).
With one last shot, Averne follows, with Servalan's screeches of frustration echoing round the Base.....
Indeed it is...
Without orders, or, indeed, updates (the folk on the ground have been too busy), the Federation ships stay in hiding (using your initiative and breaching Standing Orders within screaming distance of the Supreme Commander is not always advisable) and our heroes shoot off into the distance.
Cue theme music...
Another successful mission. Another thrilling, and nail-biting game.
I used a stopwatch and turn count to manage the two separate "actions" (the Loading Bay situation and the Rescue) to make sure they didn't get out of sync; "fighting" three to four rounds of each, stopping where an obvious "break" occurred, then switching to the other. Seemed to work well - and fitted with the narrative nature of the game.
All in all great fun (I didn't write down all the "in character" repartee which took place during the game, but playing Servalan was particularly enjoyable...).
As noted in previous posts, I like my games to have a narrative. Small scale actions really lend themselves to this. OK, this kind of thing isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I DO recommend games like this to get away from the madness of "real" life..
In other news: once I get my Play Room sorted (am three quarters of the way there) I will have space for actual campaign set ups, as well as battles, so that a more coherent approach among the differing genres I fight - including Betti's Crew's continuing adventures - will (hopefully) ensue... Watch this space.
As always, comments, critiques and queries always welcome...