The End and the Beginning
We started the session in the penthouse of Agora Towers waiting for Admiral Reese to come and chew us out for recent failures of the Griffon project. When he finally arrives he receives a phone call before he can even sit down and start. We overhear that the call concerns losing communications with some of the other colonies. Once he gets off the phone he lays it out that there's been a lot of problems with the Griffon project recently. Now the Colonial Military has lost patience and is demanding a demonstration tomorrow. The bottom line being that unless the Griffon project team can deliver a stellar presentation tomorrow then even he won't be able to lend them his support any further.
Having set an ominous tone he immediately lights into Sun, demanding to know where the final blame lies. Is it technical? Mechanical? Bad design? An administration issue?
Considering his horoscope for the day*, I decide Nike stays quiet and cheerful, hoping that Reese focuses on Sun and Deke. Maybe some of that positive energy will rub off on the Admiral.
Sun naturally tries to reason with the Admiral, sure she can bring him around to her way of thinking. The Admiral only becomes more animated and louder.
Deke, sensing an opportunity to impress Sun, stands up to the Admiral and accuses the Archimedes Corporation and the Admiral himself of not supporting the project sufficiently. This sends the Admiral into a full blown fit.
Before things can get really ugly the Admiral receives yet another phone call. Though he's furious at all of us now, he soon grows quiet and listens intently. Once he's hung up he turns to us and orders us back to the Archimedes complex to prep the Griffon for flight, hinting that it may be needed soon. With that he and his aides are up and gone before we can even question him.
We discuss the situation a little and decide that something big must be happening for the Admiral to order us to prep the Griffon, so we head out back to the Testing Facility. In the glass elevator we see the bombing start around the city, see huge explosions in the distance that Sun is sure are nuclear blasts. We see the city's power station get hit and the lights go out all over the city (it's just starting to get dark). Then the blast waves hit us and the glass of the elevator cracks. The windows of Agora Towers all shatter and fall into the street below and the elevator grinds to a halt between the 20th and 21st floors.
While we examine the situation for options Deke and Nike both spot fast moving craft in the clouds overhead. When we point them out to Sun she finally spots them. She and Nike both agree these craft are either brand new or of a design that we've never seen before.
Since he's neither a mechanic or a technician Nike is sort of out of his element so I have him take on the role of bodyguard, watching the city and sky while Sun and Deke check out the elevator. Deke points out the escape hatch and says it will be no problem getting out but the ladder out there is still about 20 floors to the ground. Sun thinks for a minute and decides she might be able to override the elevator's safety protocols and get us down that way. We discuss it quickly, not wanting to stay in a malfunctioning elevator longer than necessary. We decide getting down by elevator is the least dangerous option and Sun gets to work.
Sun whips out her multipurpose tool and cracks the cover on the elevator controls. After working on it for a while she's frustrated that she can't make any headway with the elevator programming. While she refocuses and makes another attempt, Deke goes ahead with cracking open the escape hatch in case she fails again. He succeeds easily, which is good because Sun finally admits she isn't able to figure out the elevator's controls. While she could keep trying we decide that just getting out of the broken elevator is the better idea and crawl out onto the roof. Outside on the top of the elevator we almost change our minds when we the wind hits us and the tremors from all the bombing shake the building even more.
Outside the elevator Deke decides he'll go first, followed by Sun in case she slips and he needs to catch her. While we have the option of breaking a window and entering the building or just keep heading on down the ladder, we decide to just use the ladder and get to the Test Facility without any delays. When he follows Deke and Sun out onto the ladder another explosion slaps the building and Nike almost falls off the ladder before making an Agility+Alertness check to hold on.
After that bit of drama we scale down the ladder with no one botching climbs and reach the ground safely.
Once we've reached the ground we can see first hand that the roads are already clogged with people trying to get out of the city and everything is in chaos. Civil Defense sirens are going off and looters are already running down the sidewalks with stolen goods. The nearby elevated train station is backed up with people trying to get on board, even flowing back down the steps and into the street.
Before we can talk about what to do next for more than a moment we see three Vipers zoom by high overhead then suddenly power down, fall and collide with the buildings below. Behind them comes a whole swarm of crescent shaped fighters we can't identify, though they do sort of call to mind old pictures of Cylon raiders. By then we're pretty convinced it's a Cylon attack. Immediately after that we see the local military base go up in a huge explosion, followed by the sight of larger ships breaking cloud cover and descending. Nike can easily see that the larger ships can only be dropships bringing troops and armored vehicles to the surface.
With the roads clogged we decide to head out on foot in the direction of the Test Facility and look for a vehicle or a chance to hitch a ride along the way. We head out down the road but soon decide to take the less crowded side streets. There we find there are plenty of cars here and there that we could steal or drivers we might be able to hitch a ride with. In the end it seems that foot travel is only a little slower and we stay on foot for a while, hoping conditions will improve.
After three hours Sun has been slowing us down a good bit with some bad Endurance rolls. As we discuss whether or not to start looking for a vehicle we spot three Cylon Centurions at the intersection one block ahead. Already a quarter of the way into the block we have a choice of hiding or running back to the street and finding another way around. We decide hiding is the best option as the Centurions are sure to spot us if we run.
We all crouch and scoot forward to a wrecked car nearby. Sun and Deke crawl underneath it and I have Nike hide behind an old computer booth. We all make our checks to avoid being spotted (Nike has to drop three Plot Point tokens to succeed) as the Centurions march slowly down the street, checking the buildings nearby for humans to kill. We hear screaming and a few bursts of autofire from inside the buildings as they do. It takes nearly an hour for the squad of Cylons to work their way out of sight until it's safe for us to move on. We can hear similar sounds from nearby streets indicating much the same is going on all around us. When we're pretty sure the immediate area is clear it's almost 2200 hours, so we move out again as quickly and quietly as we can.
Talking it over while we jog down the sidewalk we decide that Cylon Centurions in the streets probably means they aren't going to nuke the city any time soon. Besides which they probably would have done it a few hours ago if that was their intention. We decide to stay on foot since it allows to be much more covert than driving along the streets. We can see that most traffic has already come under fire and the Cylons seem to prefer targeting the many traffic jams.
By now it's obvious that the Cylons are occupying at least part of Caprica, most certainly Caprica City itself. Sun and Deke aren't sure that taking the Griffon into the air is such a good idea with the air battles still raging overhead. I decide that Nike is firmly committed to getting the cutting edged Griffon prototype up to the fleet and into the fight. However, since his horoscope for the day seems to emphasize expressing a positive attitude he tries to stay upbeat and optimistic that the Griffon will get them all to safety. Sun and Deke aren't buying it but decide to tag along since Nike is the only one of them with a weapon.
By midnight we've been hiking through the back streets for seven hours and are only halfway to the Archimedes Corporation Testing Facility. As we keep hiking we hear a huge explosion overhead and see a Colonial Hawk make a forced landing (more of a crash really) a couple of blocks ahead. Running up to check it out we find the ship is already on fire and the pilot is struggling unsuccessfully to get out of the cockpit.
All three of us run forward to help the pilot. Nike because it's his duty to the Colonial Fleet, Sun in case someone is hurt and needs medical attention and Deke because he can't help but take the opportunity to play hero (especially with Sun around). We reach the downed ship and work together to crack open the cockpit easily. Nike and Deke pull the pilot out, getting burned a good bit in the process (which ticks us off a little, since burn damage heals at half rate).
We find the guy inside is someone Nike recognizes, which is both good and bad. Good because the guy is a Major and a pilot. Bad because he's a Major in the Caprican Civil Defense Air Corps and an old enemy of Nike's. (Nike actually beat the guy out of the job he now has, test pilot for the Griffon project). Sparks fly right off the bat but Sun and Deke don't give them time to really go at it because the Hawk is still on fire. We hustle down the street in time for it to explode in a big fiery mess behind us. Nike is glad that Deke is the PC with the highest Vitality because it turns out that someone needs to carry Major Daymude.
With the wounded Major Daymude slowing us down a little we reach the highway that leads out to the Test Facility around 0300, an hour later than we would have otherwise. On the highway we find several scattered bands of refugees all fleeing the city and they immediately spot Nike and Daymude's uniforms. In moments we're swamped with civilians begging for help. We work together to get the various groups somewhat organized and, most of all, quiet before proceeding down the highway toward the Test Facility. We pick up several small bands of civilians along the way and manage to keep them under control.
Major Daymude tries a couple of times to take charge of the group and, when that fails, take charge of the civilians. Nike shoots him down both times, trumping his Willpower + Discipline checks with his own. Since Daymude already hates Nike this only makes the matter worse.
Around 0500, just before dawn, we finally reach the Test Facility. We find a small crowd of people milling around Topbird, the corporate transport, as well as lots of cars filled with families jammed on the road leading into the place. With a large crowd of civilians already following us and Deke hauling Daymude around on his shoulder we have no hope of avoiding the attentions of the crowd there. Soon enough a small group breaks off and heads our way and we notice there are several staff members of the facility among them. When they reach us they're very happy to see Nike and take it for granted that he'll fly the whole crowd out on the Topbird.
When Nike nips that idea in the bud and informs everyone he'll be piloting the Griffon up to the fleet and certainly won't be attempting to fly a civilian transport through occupied airspace...things start to get ugly. Sun tries to figure out how many people Topbird and Griffon can carry off planet, whether Griffon's counter measures can cover both ships and the odds of Daymude being able to pilot either one of them in his condition. She drops two Plot Points on the brain storm and manages it before the crowd gets out of control. She then spends two more on an effort to calm the crowd with promises that Nike and Daymude can fly all of them to safety with both ships. The pilots are a bit surprise but willing enough to try it.
However, Nike and Daymude immediately start arguing that they are the most qualified to pilot the Griffon since neither of them trusts the other to do it. It quickly becomes clear the Daymude has made the better argument and Sun, having more or less taken charge, is forced to decide between the two. In the end she decides that Nike will pilot Topbird and Daymude the Griffon, as the situation demands that the best pilot of the two take the lead craft. Major Daymude takes great pleasure in rubbing his victory in Nike's face and Nike's pretty bitter as he knows damned well who the better pilot is.
We half-assed organize the civilians and set them to work checking and clearing the runways (more to keep them occupied and out of trouble than anything else) then headed for the Control Center to get the launch keys for both ships. We find that power is out to the whole facility since the power station was bombed and we can't even get the front doors open. Deke finally hitches up his tool belt and ambles up to work on the doors. We're a little surprised when his legendary mechanical skill leads him to simply yank a hammer off his belt and start bashing at the door windows. It takes him a while but he eventually smashes it all out and we slip inside to fetch the keys.
Once Sun opens the secured locker and we get the launch keys we head over to the warehouse, which is our route to the underground hanger and the Griffon. We find a smaller group of refugees have broken down one of the personnel doors and are apparently looting the place. Moving inside we can see at least a dozen people digging through crates, knocking various things over and creating a huge mess. When we're spotted Nike puts his hand on his sidearm and tells them we're just passing through to the elevator and that the looters are free to take whatever they want in the meantime. What do we care? He spends two Plot Points on the effort to convince the looters to let them be and seems to have succeeded.
Two rather large fellows approach independently, though, and demand that Nike and Daymude turn over their weapons so they can use them to defend themselves against the Cylon invaders. When they both refuse it looks like it's going to get violent. Being overly optimistic Sun steps in, sure that she can reason with the two men. She tries also to convince the rest of us to take the time to help the looters find weapons or equipment in the warehouse as well. Unfortunately she blows her attempt at diplomacy and no one's listening to her. The two men are desperate enough to attempt to take the weapons by force and come after Nike and Daymude.
Daymude gets the initiative. Since he can't stand on his own and is leaning on Deke he can't move back. He draws his service weapon and fires at one of the looters, aiming for the leg and trying to disable him. He misses.
Nike is in full military mode now and the two looters are a clear threat to the group and their mission. He draws and fires two shots at the looter coming for him, spending 1 Plot Point on the first shot and 2 on the second. He lands both shots.
Deke is supporting Daymude and he'll fall if Deke lets go. He decides just to backpedal and try to keep him away from the looters long enough for the other two to intervene.
The looter who's coming after Daymude catches up easily since Deke is burdened by the Major. He attempts to grapple Daymude but dodging the prior shot reduces his attempt enough that he fails.
Sun attempts to calm everyone down and reason with the looters but they still aren't paying any attention to her.
The looter after Nike attempts to grapple him. Nike dodges and the looter's bullet wounds impair him enough that he fails to grab him.
Daymude fires again at his attacker, aiming for center mass this time and landing a light hit.
Nike fires at his attacker again and drops him.
Deke levels two powerful unarmed attacks on Daymude's attacker with his free hand and knocks him out flat.
With the two men who attacked us lain out on the floor we take advantage of the situation to run the rest of the looters out of the warehouse at gunpoint. Once we get to the hanger to prep the Griffon we're first confronted with the problem of getting the huge hanger doors open without any power.
Deke takes a look and figures cutting the doors loose should let them just push the doors open, though that will still be difficult due to their huge size. We work together to cut the hydraulic lines leading to the doors then put our backs into trying to slide them open. They prove far too heavy to open by hand. Deke then drops a Plot Point token to find three strong iron rods laying around back in the warehouse and we head outside to gather our gaggle of civilians and put them to work. In short order we have the rods stuck in between the doors and the civilians giving it their all. Once the doors open up a bit it proves much easier and only a few of us can slide them all the way open without much more effort.
With the doors open, Griffon prepped and everyone anxious to get the hell out of there Daymude taxis onto the tarmac while Nike runs to prep Topbird. Sun and Deke, onboard the Griffon, soon find that a Cylon Basestar has actually taken up orbit directly above Caprica City. They are astonished at the number of dropships, raiders and assorted other Cylon ships that Griffon's sensors show swarming around her skies.
Discussing how to get to orbit without being spotted visually (assuming Griffon's state of the art stealth capabilities perform as they should) Sun hits on the idea of using the EM interference and air debris from one of the nearby nuclear strikes to cover our ascent. Giving the thumbs up to that plan Nike and Daymude take off and hug the earth until they approach the nearest mushroom cloud. While Nike does his best to keep Topbird close enough to benefit from the Griffon's stealth technology Sun works the computers onboard to plot the best trajectory for escaping atmosphere undetected. She drops four Plot Point tokens on the attempt and scores an Extraordinary Success. Both ships reach orbit within the half hour and the Cylons are none the wiser.
Breaking orbit, however, we find space near Caprica awash with Cylon activity. We know that we'll be detected any second, probably by sight considering the huge amount of traffic. Checking navigation onboard the Griffon, Sun and Deke are a little horrified to find they don't have a single set of jump coordinates programmed into the ship's computer at all. While Topbird has many they all soon prove to be along common travel routes and therefore very likely to drop them right in the middle of a Cylon fleet mobilized to occupy whatever nearby colony. When sensors suddenly sound, showing a half dozen Cylon raiders on approach Sun quickly whips up a set of coordinates for a random, middle-of-nowhere spot in the system and copies them to Topbird. She scores another Extraordinary Success on the attempt and manages to pick a spot where it's practically impossible anyone or anything will be around to spot us. Nike and Daymude begin jump prep immediately, racing through the procedure to get themselves gone before the Cylons can fire on them. They both succeed and the two ships whisk away before their aggressors can come close enough to present a threat.
Out at the middle-of-nowhere provided by Sun's remarkable calculations the PC's finally stop to consider where the hell they're going to go now that they've eluded the Cylon invaders. It soon threatens to blow into a heated disagreement between the lot of them. Nike wants to use Griffon to find the nearest Colonial unit, get her technology into the hands of someone who can make use of it and then jump into a Viper. Sun and Deke both want to find someplace safe and hold up until the whole thing blows over. Daymude naturally wants to turn around and take the fight to the invaders around Caprica, hoping to find some Civil Defense units still operating there. During the course of the increasingly passionate discussion it occurs to us all that we're hauling over one hundred severely stressed out civilians who very likely have their own very strong opinions on the matter.
The session ends when, during the course of all this, Griffon picks up a message on a Colonial Fleet channel ordering all civilians ships to rendezvous with Battlestar Galactica at Ragnar Anchorage. Most disturbing is that the message identifies Commander Adama as commanding the Fleet. Nike is devastated when he realizes the implications of this and even Sun and Deke are familiar enough with the Colonial Fleet to know that Adama shouldn't be nearly that high up the chain of command.
*Nike's horoscope for the day read:
"Avoid fighting bureaucratic battles that you know you have no chance of winning"
"You're in a great mood, thanks to a burst of positive energy that can turn almost any activity into good fun. You should be increasingly popular as your spirit starts to infect those around you."
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