Back to MechWarrior: The Heirs of Terra
As the session begins, the players are called in for a private briefing with Sergeant Monar.
"All right, Privates. I'm sending you on a special mission," Monar began, "We've heard rumors of the discovery of an ancient Star League base on the mountainous planet of Ninotar. I'm sending you there to check if these rumors are accurate and, if they are, to confiscate the technology. Get your gear ready, you leave in an hour."
Naturally, having nothing better to do, the players decided to do as instructed. In one hour, they were on a dropship heading out to the jumpship that would take them to Ninotar.
It was a long trip.
You see, the planet they were already on was orbiting a star of spectral class B, so it took over 100 days to get out to the jumpship, and then another couple of weeks to get from the jump point to Ninotar. The players had 3 months to brush up on their skills, but, lacking Adventure Points, we not able to improve anything yet.
The dropship touched down in a partially-covered landing field just north of Monakae City. The spaceport was full of the usual hustle and bustle, with the ticket stand as crowded as anything else. The four information desks seemed to do nothing to shorten the lines that formed around them, and the two small racks of pamplets, despite their obvious uselessness, we almost empty. The two double doors were barely enough to accomodate the flow of people entering and leaving the port.
As the dropship lifted up again behind them, they immediately started searching for leads. Grifter (played by Joseph) and Bob (played by Jason) immediately started searching the pamplets for any information regarding the rumored Star League base, as Jack McLaren (played by "Me", as written on Jon's character sheet) got in line at one of the information desks. The pamplets proved useless, but Jack managed to book passage by hovertrain to the city in the south, which left almost immediately, at the price of 5 C-Bills a head.
The hovertrain station was no less crowded than the spaceport, and the players elbowed their way out to find themselves facing a large park in the center of town. A quick scan of the surrounding area revealed a couple of stores placed near the park in the hopes of attracting business, a small military base off to their left, and several small houses of no particular interest. On the far side of town, the players could see the city's only motel, dwarfing the surrounding buildings with it's height.
As they started through the park toward the motel, the players passed a small restroom which appeared, upon close inspection by the players, to be vacant. Drawing his SMG, Jack slowly edged open the door to find that it was, in fact, vacant. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. The players moved on.
Coming out of the park, the players walked down a long street and turned left at a local bar to reach the motel, which they entered. There was nothing particularly notable about it--a standard loby, stairs leading up to the higher floors, and a reception desk renting out rooms. The last of these the players approached.
A smiling receptionist greeted them. "Hello, gentlemen, what are your names?"
"Um," replied Jack McLaren, "Ed Smith."
"Bill" toned in Grifter.
"And you, sir?" the receptionist asked Bob.
"Ah, yes! Bob, someone by the name of Monar called ahead and reserved a room for your group. Here are the keys, it's room number 217 on the second floor."
Silently chiding himself, Jack took the keys and lead the group up to the room, which he entered carefully. Finding nothing out of the ordinary, the players set most of their equipment down and left for the bar they passed on the way to the motel to try to pick up some rumors about the base they came to find.
They entered the bar through the expected screen of thick smoke to find it more crowded than they expected for a small town such as this one. Jack approached the bar and took a seat.
"Hello, may I get you something?" inquired the barkeep.
"Yeah, do you have any Aldrenian Whiskey imported from the Free Worlds League?" replied Jack.
"Sorry, but we only keep local stuff here."
"Too bad," said Jack in a somewhat subdued tone, "I really like that stuff, don't you?" At this, Jack subtly revealed the end of a 50 C-Bill piece.
"Once again, I'm sorry," replied the barkeep, "but there really isn't a thing but the local stuff around."
Jack sighed, resigned to his fate. "All right. I'll take a mug of your special."
"Coming right up. That'll be 1 C-Bill."
Jack took handed over the bill and took a swig from his mug. "Have you heard any news lately?" he inquired as Bob bought himself a drink and Grifter handed over 5 C-Bills for two bottles of ale.
"A small town like this doesn't generate much news," replied the barkeep, "but those two tables in the back usually have a lot of gossip flying around."
"Thanks," said Jack, turning from the bar to investigate these tables. As he approached, he started overhearing the conversation at one of them.
"Oh, come off it," one person said, taking another drink from a mug, "if there was a Star League base here, it would have been discovered and either looted or occupied by the military years ago."
"I'm telling you," replied another patron at the same table, "In the Shanra Caves, just southwest of town. It's chocked full of . . ."
Jack, however, wasn't listening anymore. He was signaling to his companions and rushing out of the bar to get some information on the Shanra Caves.
Back at the motel, he inquired about them.
"Shanra Caves?" said one person, "Yeah, they're in the mountains, due west of the southern exit of town. About a day's hike from here. But why would you want to go there?"
Once again, Jack wasn't listening anymore. He turned to his companions and said in a hushed voice, "All right, we've got two options: We can't hire a hovercar ('Hello, could you take me to an ancient Star League base with technology worth millions inside?'), so we can either try to hijack one or we can go on foot. I say we go on foot."
Hastily agreeing with him, Grifter and Bob accompanied Jack back to their room to get a good night's sleep before starting off to the caves in the morning. They agreed to meet a 0600 in the motel lobby.
Awaking at 0555, Bob realized that his companions were already waiting for him down in the lobby. He hastily prepared and met them down there just as they were about to leave without him.
So the three set off, and after a day of walking, found themselves at the entrance to the caves. They entered.
The cave was dimly lit by periodic light panels embedded in the rock, feeding off an unknown power source. As they peered into the gloom, they saw that the passage forked ahead.
Noting that the they could easily get lost in the cave, the players decided to make all left turns. After a relatively short trip, they met up against a dead end, but Grifter noted a section of the wall nearby that looked strange. Upon closer examination, the wall turned out to be made of a light, foam-like substance which the players accidentally pushed over, revealing a (very) small room behind, with a large brown pouch sitting on the floor in the gloom.
Suspecting traps, the group peered in more closely. Still finding nothing, Grifter threw a rock in. It bounced slightly before settling into the dust.
Still not satisfied, Jack shot near the pouch with his Rorynex SMG. Still setting off no traps, he carefully went in, grabbed the pouch, and ran out. Still having set off no traps, Jack opened the pouch to find a small set of mechanical lockpicks. He pocketed them.
Heading back to the last fork and moving to the right passage this time, the players moved further into the caves and resumed their left-only approach to the tunnels. It wasn't long before they came to a T-junction which they (surprisingly) turned left at, and saw a light at the end of the tunnel (literally!). Hiding around the corner a ways back, they listened to a conversation taking place.
"Oh, come on, there's nothing wrong with it! Everyone else just somehow missed it, that's all!"
"Then YOU take it!"
"I'M the boss! I've got you to do the dirty work for me!"
At this point, the players decided to try to move in closer to try to see how many people there were and whether they were armed. As they steathily moved in, Bob accidentally stubbed his foot on a stone outcropping.
"Hey, what was that!?" came a voice from down in the room. Soon the entire area was alive with activity and noise. The players hastily retreated back behind the T-junction for cover, and drew their weapons as they listened to those that came up and stopped right around the corner.
"Where'd they go?" asked one voice.
"Ah, they just ran away. No trouble. Even if they convinced anyone else we were here, they'd never find their way back anyway," replied another.
"Yeah, you're right. Let's head back." came the first voice again.
The players listened as the footsteps receded back down the corridor.
Deciding to set up an ambush, the players decided to have Grifter throw a stone to get the attention of the mysterious group again. As the sound of the stone's impact echoed through the caves, a multitude of cries arose from the lit room again, and soon an uncountable number of footsteps was rumbling down the corridor toward them. Sensing that they had probably created a little more trouble than they could handle, the players retreated further down the corridor to set up an ambush around the corner at the last fork in the caves.
However, as they were waiting, they heard footfalls coming towards them not only from the corridor they had fled from, but also the corridor they were hiding in. The players hastily retreated further back the way they had come and set up another ambush around the next fork.
The players listened as the footsteps joined up and continued looking for them, and Grifter made an estimate of about 9 people (outnumbering their three by just a *LITTLE* bit), and threw another rock down the other corridor at the fork. Hiding back in the darkness, the players watched as nine armed pursuers hastily went down the other path.
After their pursuers departed, the group went back down to the lit room to find it devoid of it's human patrons. After a careful inspection, the players found that it contained nothing valuable, but rather just some old furniture.
At a loss, the group returned to the site where the inhabitants of the cave had taken the wrong path to look for them and found, to their great glee and delight, a map! They examined the map closely.
"What's 'stash'?" asked Jack, to no response..
"Look, there's where we found the lockpicks!" pointed out Bob.
"All right," said Jack, pointing, "I think we should hide here for half an hour to wait for the thieves to stop looking for us, and then check out the stash."
"How do you know they're thieves?" retorted Grifter.
"Because it has a label 'Thieves' Hideout' on the map!" Jack countered.
Seeing no better plan, the group decided to do as Jack has suggested. Seeing no signs of their pursuers during that time, they proceded to the area marked "stash" on the map, which was concealed in the same manner as the lockpicks. This time, however, there was a large wooden chest instead of a pouch.
"I could burn it with my flamer," offered Grifter.
"Nah, there might be something flamable inside. You could blow us all up," replied Jack, "I'll just open it."
Finding it locked, Jack resorted to the lockpicks he had found earlier. The chest opened to reveal the beautiful sight of countless C-Bills.
Jack took a pen and wrote on one of them, "Jack was here," and replaced it in the center of the chest after all the others had been removed. They decided to postpone counting them until later. They then entered a debate about where to go next.
"What about this other spot on the map?" Jack insisted.
"It's marked the same way as the entrance. It's probably just another exit," countered Bob.
"In that case, it's no great loss if we go out that way instead. Let's go look there, it could be important."
That decided it. They headed south down a winding tunnel and emerged into a room full of silver equipment.
"Watch out!" shouted Grifter at the last minute, "there's a laser-trigger alarm right there! Make sure you step over it!" Carefully avoiding it, the threesome entered the room.
Most of the equipment had already been stolen, and what hadn't had been slashed . . . except for one metallic cupboard, which seemed even to repel dust. It looked almost as if it had been recently polished. As their gaze settled on this, their stomachs knotted and they felt they could sense imminent doom.
"Uh, let's leave and get some backup from the military base!" Jack earnestly suggested.
"No," replied Grifter, "Kurita must want to keep this a secret, or they wouldn't have sent privates from another system to investigate. We can't go for help."
Determinedly, Bob started across the floor to this cupboard, with increasing fear and decreasing speed with each step. Everyone got the intense feeling that something horrible and irrevocable would happen if they didn't get out NOW.
Setting his mind back on the present task, Bob continued toward the cupboard. He kept trying to dismiss the childish fear that a huge black beast was lurking behind the closed door, but it persisted and grew stronger by the second. With an incredible effort, he leaned forward and pulled the cupboard open.
Suddenly, red blood-shot eyes appeared from the gloom within and an indescribably horrible beast leaped out. With a hide darker than night, it lunged at Bob's face and as he felt that his life would end, the creature disappeared into thin air--it's talons centimeters from Bob's face.
"Holograms?" Jack's voice was barely a whisper.
"No," replied Grifter, "Nothing in the Inner Sphere can project anywhere near that quality, and even if it was a hologram, that wouldn't explain the premonitions."
Peering into the cupboard again, Bob found a small metallic elongated sphere. With another act of will, he took it out and placed it in a backpack.
The feeling of doom was still present, but the group mustered enough courage to conduct a quick search of the room. As they were leaving, one of them found something.
"Over here!" Grifter shouted, "There's a button on the back of the laser-emitter for the alarm system!"
After they had gathered, Grifter reached out and pushed the button. A loud sound echoed through the room, and suddenly a large piece of wall to their left disappeared, revealing another tunnel.
Jack sighed, resigned to his fate of exploring this tunnel as well. However, as soon as they entered, the oppressive feeling of doom left them, and they felt they could proceed normally.
At the end of this tunnel, they found anot