When the session starts we've been floating for nearly an hour and are still bickering over where to go. The team finally agrees that Ragnar is the logical choice if any part of the remaining Colonial Fleet is rendezvousing there. Before we can move on we find we have to deal with the civilians and Daymude, who's still bucking to return to Caprica. Sun tries to reason with him but fails to change his mind.
Nike finds he's having his own trouble when some of the civilians on Topbird approach him. Surprisingly they're a reasonable group, having organized a bit and even formed a delegation. Nike discovers that the civilian behind it all is Jerr Madison. Madison is a something of a celebrity, a retired Triad champion and host of the award willing "Raise and call", a prize show featuring legendary Triad players as guest hosts. Nike is a big fan but Madison is pushing to get the passengers some say in where Topbird goes and it seems they just want to hide out in the asteroid belt for now.
After discussing the matter with Madison for a while Nike finally has to simply refuse to deal with the passengers completely. As far as he's concerned he's been ordered to rendezvous with the fleet at Ragnar Anchorage and that's that. Madison doesn't have a leg to stand on since Nike is the only pilot onboard and there's not much the civilians can do about it if he's made up his mind.
On the Griffon Daymude is rapidly approaching the point where he makes the same stand when Sun and Deke remind him that they've picked up a bit of piloting skill second hand during their time on the Griffon project. At last he realizes he can't change their minds and agrees to pilot the Griffon to Ragnar, though he's pretty sore about it.
Once Madison realizes he's not making any headway appealing to Nike democratically he suggests an alternate course. He claims to have an off-season "hideaway" on an asteroid in the belt. There, he says, he has a private yacht with a full sensor suite, top of the line FTL and a passenger capacity that will take a significant load off both Topbird and the Griffon. Furthermore he has two antique Vipers there, part of his private collection, and they should both fit in Griffon's vehicle bay. Though they're disarmed and have most of their military hardware removed he supposes they could be made combat ready with just a little work if the proper armaments are available. Most of all, though, there's room in his asteroid hideaway to hold any of the civilians who wish to stay and they'll be able to hold up there safely until the fleet runs the Cylons out of the system.
Nike figures this is probably what Madison had in mind all along and wonders if the ships he's offering even exist and aren't just bait to get him to the asteroid belt. In the end he refuses anyway since, as far as he's concerned, his orders are clear and it's not his place to take that kind of initiative. His best course of action is to rendezvous as ordered and then report the availability of Madison's ships to Commander Adama.
Madison plays his trump card, so to speak, and challenges Nike to a Triad game. He stakes the location of his asteroid mansion and ships (he never told us the coordinates) as well as all the supplies there against Nike confirming his captaincy of Topbird. Nike at first refuses out of hand since he still considers his orders clear. Then he recalls his horoscope and that the two Vipers Madison mentioned are antiques. Figuring he can probably take the old Triad player he agrees, planning to pilot Topbird to Ragnar anyway whether he wins or not. While he feels that orders are orders he's not passing up a chance to secure Madison's ships and supplies for the fleet. If he ticks off Madison and the passengers, so be it. Still, he figures Adama is sure to go after Madison's ships if things are as bad as they seem to be. Surely Adam won't mind having the civilians dropped off at Madison's mansion while he's at it. If Nike loses, then, he can pay his loses in a backhand way by doing his best to be sure the civilians go along for the ride.
As he and Madison sit down for a friendly game of cards Deke breaks communications silence to find out what the hell is the hold up. When Sun and Deke learn what he's up to they're pretty angry. When word of it makes the rounds with the civilians on board the Griffon two of them, both Archimedes employees, approach Sun with some concerns. They freely inform her that they're agents representing the Caprican government who infiltrated the Archimedes Corporation in order to keep an eye on the Griffon project. Sun pushes a bit at that point and they soon confess they were stealing secrets from the company for Caprica. Still, they claim that's neither here nor there now. Their main concern is that Nike will lose the Triad game and they believe the best thing for Caprica, and indeed all the colonies, is for the Colonial Fleet to have all the resources it can get. They push Sun to get their other two agents off Topbird if Nike loses and have Daymude proceed on to Ragnar with the Griffon. Once Sun and Deke talk it over and decide they'll be heading on to Ragnar with or without Nike (now convinced that's the safest place to be) they agree, figuring Nike will be happy to get rid of any of the civilians he can.
[Nike gets 1 Plot Point for following his Superstitious complication]
On Topbird Nike and Madison go at it, playing a ten hand game of Triad for points and tossing in their chronometers once it starts heating up (Nike's Colonial Fleet issue vs. Madison's solid gold one). After the first five hands Nike is by 2 points. On the eighth play the hands are nearly tied with Nike up by only 3. I decide Lady Luck needs to cheer for Nike's team a bit and clinch his victory. His second roll ends up to be the lesser so it's a waste of an asset but he takes the hand anyway. When Madison takes the next hand Nike is still ahead by 11 points and wins.
Since Madison could theoretically pull ahead and win with another favorable hand he produces a nice plot twist and tosses his antique Duncan 7.62mm pistol on the table for one more go. Nike is sorely tempted as it's a damned fine pistol but isn't willing to lose the game over it. He insists that Madison pay up, ready to get ruthless if he tries to back out. Once he has the coordinates I have him take the Duncan pistol off the table, "confiscating" it (he doesn't want armed civilians at his back and intends to give it back later anyway). While Madison and the other civilians who witness this raise objections Nike trots it up to the cockpit, locks the civilians out and lets the Griffon know they're ready to go.
On board the Griffon Daymude points out some software glitches he's noticed in the Signal Cloud system and the Deception Missile. Sun admits she had known about the glitches but hadn't had time to work on them when we were fleeing Caprica. We decide to work the bugs out before heading to Ragnar since it shouldn't take long. Daymude offers to pitch in and the two of them get to work on the problems. Deke perceives that Daymude is trying to get a little too friendly with Sun and fails his Willpower+Discipline check to restrain himself from acting like a jerk. He immediately horns in to help, intending to show up Daymude and impress Sun. Sun doesn't notice the friction between the two and heads off to work on the software.
The two Caprican agents offer that their fellows on Topbird are both computer experts and if they can be brought on board they're sure to work the glitches out quickly. Sun thanks them for the offer but is confident in her abilities. She and her helpers fail to root out the Signal Cloud problem in the first five minutes but Sun nails in on a second try. The Caprican agents try again to convince her to bring the other two agents on board but she refuses. Deke starts to get suspicious of them but Sun is oblivious. Sun then fixes up the targeting problems with the Deception Missile in record time while Deke flounders. Daymude quits before they finish and heads back to the cockpit saying he can probably do more good up there.
Back on Topbird Nike gets a bad feeling and calls the Griffon to see if anything's wrong. He doesn't get an answer at first since Daymude is busy taking control of the ship. When he does answer the little jerk taunts Nike and tells him he's taking the Griffon back to Caprica to join the Civil Defense Air Corps in fighting the Cylons. When Sun and Deke head for the cockpit once the missile is fixed they find the door locked and that Daymude has hijacked the ship. They hear the FTL warming up as well. When Deke turns around to go fetch his tools he finds the two Caprican agents behind him with pistols drawn. They warn the two of them to back off and let Daymude take the Griffon back to Caprica without interference.
Sun spends 2 Plot Points on an effort to get the civilian refugees on their side against the two armed men (a good dozen of them are bunched up in the lounge just beyond), intending to the force them to surrender against overwhelming numbers. The civilians prove not to be especially brave, though, and it looks like they're on their own. She tries to reason with the two agents but they ignore her and order them both to turn around in order to tie them up.
On the Topbird Nike is bit out of his element without any armaments onboard. He decides to manuveur near the Griffon and attempt to simply ram it when it looks like its FTL is ready for a jump. He manuveurs into position easily but he's not much of a sensor operator and botches the roll to detect the Griffon's FTL status. He believes the Griffon is about to jump already and leaps forward to ram.
Nike qualifies to fly Topbird so she uses Nike's Strength.
Daymude fails his check and the Griffon uses Daymude's Strength.
Daymude isn't much of a sensor op either and fails to even detect that Topbird has manuveured into position to ram. Nike slams into the Griffon, damaging both craft but barely scratching the Griffon.
Griffon attempts to disengage and move to capitol range while Nike attempts to maintain skirmish range. Griffon breaks away but the FTL still isn't ready to jump yet.
Since it's obvious that ramming is doing more damage to Topbird than the Griffon, Nike knows he's not likely to disable the Griffon before she can jump. Since I can't think of anything else to do to stop the Griffon from escaping Nike just looks on in fury, hoping Sun and Deke are able to stop Daymude somehow.
On the Griffon Deke decides to go along with the agents until they close enough to tie them up, then let loose and hopefully not get shot. When the first agent approaches him he throws two hard punches at him.
Agent Saren approaches Deke to tie him up. When Deke punches at him he dodges but still takes both hits. He fails his Endurance check and is knocked out. Sun is waiting to get tied up, still trying to reason with everyone.
When Agent Karn aims at Deke Sun abandons her attempts to reason with the two and tries to grab him, hoping to either disarm him or make him an easier target for Deke. Agent Karn dodges out of the way and turns to smack Deke with his pistol and hits him. He's hit hard enough to risk unconsciousness but manages to hold on. Deke still tosses a hit at him but only lands a glancing blow.
Sun throws a punch at Agent Karn but misses. He in turn abandons his attempt to knock Deke out and fires two shots at him. Deke is hit twice but still manages to throw to punches at Karn. Karn stays conscious but he's hurt bad enough to make an Endurance check.
Sun spends 2 Plot Points on her attack this time and almost hits Agent Karn. Karn fires twice more at Deke and hits once. Deke fails his Endurance check and passes out.
Sun is facing the agent alone so she grabs the pistol off the floor and fires a shot at Agent Karn, missing. Though he managed to dodge her shot he fails his Endurance check and passes out.
Sun digs out her first aid kit and stops Deke from dying, then grabs up the other pistol. She stows them in her purse and slaps Deke around to rouse him. He makes his check, comes to. The two then feel the Griffon make an FTL jump.
Sun keeps him sitting while she fetches his tools then helps him up to work on the door to the cockpit. After a moment he stands up carefully and cracks the lock in record time. Sun then shoves the door in and surprises Daymude. She has her pistol trained on him and threatens to shoot him if he doesn't immediately jump back to Topbird's location. Daymude starts to explain but Sun reiterates her threat, seriously intending to shoot him if he does anything else but prep for a jump. Daymude shuts up and gets started.
Looking out the cockpit windows they can see that the Griffon has nearly jumped into a combat zone. Several very large craft, at least one of them a Battlestar, float amidst clouds of debris. Many of the larger ships are still burning. Among the wreckage they can see hundreds of smaller craft still engage in fighting. Fortunately it's only moments before Daymude can get the Griffon ready for another jump since the FTL is still spinning. They pop back to Nike before he can jump off to Ragnar (which he was preparing to do).
[Nike gets 2 Plot Points for winning the Triad game and getting the coordinates for Madison's mansion, Deacon gets 2 Plot Points for his Jealous complication in play, Sun gets 1 Plot Point for her Trusting complication in play with the Caprican agents and another for her Idealistic complication]
As Nike spins up his FTL for the jump to Ragnar, assuming that he's lost the Griffon, he spots two vessels on approach at Long DRADIS range. Unable to deterine what they are at that range with Topbird's sensors I have Nike use his Intuitive asset to find out that they aren't Cylons. Moments later the Griffon pops up nearby and Nike calls them to inform them of the contacts so they can use Griffon's more advanced sensors to monitor.
During the tense minutes that follow Nike has to stop and yell at the civilians banging on his cockpit door to quiet down. When he informs them there are unidentified ships approaching they leave him alone for a bit. On the Griffon Deke, who's been shot three times and is still up and around with Sun, passes out again. Sun checks him then leaves him lying on the cockpit floor. Stepping away from the cockpit quickly she checks the two agents, finding one dead and the other unconscious. She convinces the other civilians finally to pitch in and help her lock him in the airlock for now. When she returns to the cockpit she finds Daymude hasn't taken advantage of her absence and, in fact, seems pretty defeated. She has to force him though to manuveur the Griffon close to Topbird to cover her with the Signal Cloud should it become necessary. They spend a couple of tense minutes monitoring sensors after that.
When the two vessels finally approach close enough for communication the Griffon determines that they are not two but three vessels; Two Mark VII vipers and a Raptor. Once we've said our hellos and expressed how happy we are to see the Fleet (especially Nike, who's quite ready to ditch the civilians) we are informed that the Pegasus is relatively nearby, undergoing repairs for battle damage. We are to be escorted there to join the small fleet accompanying the battlestar.
*Nike's horoscope for the day reads: "This is going to be a nice and easy day -- the work you've been doing has paid off."
"You're feeling a bit acquisitive and your eye may be drawn more to older goods, even antiques. Make sure you know what you're getting into, but make sure that you trust your instincts as well."
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