Summer Retrospective: Somewhere in the Outworlds in the Future

"Have I mentioned that Rupert's Hole is a terrible place?"

Some time in the future
The Omphalos Dust Nebula

Our story begins with our heroes falling through the swirling mists of space-time, out of control, and in some cases, barely conscious from their previous exertions. Off in the distance, Anya and Sharra make out a faint glow. Maneuvering as they can, with flailing arms, they close a bit to see a pulsating form in the mists. Is it Grimblemaury? It seems to be, but suddenly, wham!

Sharra awakes on the cold hard steel of the deck. Quickly gaining her bearings, she seems to be in a corridor of a ship. Not the Hippocrates, but one of significant technology. She knows this because all of the access panels in her hallway are removed exposing the innards of the ships systems and there are tools everywhere.

Elsewhere, Anya has awakened on the cold hard steel of the deck. However, rather than a nice well-lit corridor, she seems to be in a small utility closet. No, utility closets have handles on their doors, and her door definitely doesn't open. Searching around to find a lightswitch, she manages to illuminate the room. Goodness, there are several shelves covered with, well... treasure. However appealing treasure might be however, she's still stuck in this room.

Meanwhile, Maury wakes up in his nice comfortable bed, surrounded by nice happy cat toys. What a nice room. It must have been decorated by someone really clever. Having taken a nice nap though, it's probably time to get to work. Exploring his room, he discovers a pile of blueprints on the workbench. They seem to have been carefully marked up in an attempt to find something, but nothing was found. They also seem to be the engineering plans for the Inopportune Moment.

Trying his radio, Maury manages to contact Sharra. Of course this sets off the intruder alarms. Maury gets on the com system and tells the captain to cancel the intruder alert. The familiar voice of Janina Megaera responds. "If you say so your highness, but if you could spare a moment to talk to me on the bridge, entirely at your convenience of course."

With the brief intruder alert, it seems that security, (provided by the painted ladies), has discovered that Anya is in their treasure vault. They need Leo and the captain to open the vault, so rather than meeting on the bridge, everyone gathers down on the storage level. There's a tense moment as the vault is opened, and Anya stands at the ready with her plasma halberd, but things are clamed down fairly easily by Sharra and Maury.

Captain Megaera, looking a fair bit older than the last time the crew encountered her, brings our heroes into the conference room. "Ok, what in all the worlds is going on here." She then notices that Maury is looking much younger and more spry than when she saw him this morning. "You mean he's here? I mean him." "Yeah, me. I must be here somewhere."

Explaining, the captain tells our party that the Moment has been lost in the dust nebula for several weeks now, as countless things seem to be going wrong with their navigation systems. They're not even sure where they are. His highness and Doctor Salvador were about to try some more radical fixes when suddenly, our party showed up. "Well, did it work?" "I don't know, let's ask them." Calling down, they get Salvador and Maury to head up to the conference room. Salvador comes in first to make sure it's safe. Yup, that sure is young Maury there. He uses the com panel down to older Maury. "So, your younger self is up here, were you expecting that?" "Oh, is it that time already? Yeah. Is Sharra with me?" Salvador reports that Sharra is indeed here, so thinking everything safe, Grimblemaury walks in.

Unfortunately, the first things out of his mouth are, "Wait a minute? What's Anya doing here? She wasn't here the first time...." Suddenly Old Maury is covered with strange prisimatic energy and vanishes. Salvador responds immediately: "Damn!" and likewise vanishes.

The captain shakes her head. "Damn space-time. Well, that was exciting. As long as you are here, why not fix my ship?" It can't really hurt to try, so Maury and Sharra head down to engineering to give it a go. Anya meanwhile takes this moment to point out that she's only got a few hit points. Goodness. Claw, one of the painted ladies takes her down to sickbay for some patching up and bonding while the engineers go to work.

Going over the notes left behind by his other self, Maury encounters some strange problems. It seems that there's not actually anything wrong with the ship, it's just that wacky things accidentally happen at the precise moment they try to use anything. On the table in the workshop where Salvador and Maury were working, they find a half assembled device and some blueprints. The blueprints are for a "Cerrincraft 300 Fortune Suppressor". Unfortunately, the device on the table doesn't have all of the necessary parts, and it looks like all of the ship has already been scavenged. Luckily, Sharra happens to have some key components in her backpack, so with a little work, Maury manages to finish the device.

Time for testing, he turns the thing on. It shudders and shakes, as if straining to suppress vast ammounts of fortune, which is strange, because how much fortune could anyone on board have. The captain takes this moment to fire the engines and heads towards what appears to be an opening in the dust cloud. The fortune suppressor explodes from overwork, but it seems to have done it's job, as there's a planet ahead! Simultaneously, everyone recognizes the planet; it's Rupert's Hole!

Captain Megaera is heard to mutter, "I had sworn never to return to this planet," as she starts taking the Moment in. Approaching the planet, the Moment starts receiving numerous distress calls. Several from towns complaining about plague, several from ships struggling to maintain orbit or escape, and one from a "Company Starliner" attempting to flee with 1200 passengers. But what are they all fleeing from, one wonders?

The Inopportune Moment isn't a landing vessel, so the party is assigned to drop down to the planet and investigate, while the Moment scoots around and does what it can for the ships in peril. Piloting the drop-pod down to the surface is Anya's job and it's a tough assignment. The weather keeps becoming suddenly erratic, and she's unable to hold a course to either First Town, or the large new city 40 kilometers east of First Town. Piloting carefully, she manages to set down between them.

The party tries to radio in to First Town, but Boss Lady tells them that there's plague there, so they should head into the tent city set up near the spaceport. Arriving they are briefed on the situation: almost half the people in town have fallen to the sickness. There've been no deaths yet, but many people are barely hanging on. It all started a few weeks ago, just after the Company casino-vacation-resort town, New Vegas, was scheduled to open. Guessing, the party asks about the Smeerps. "Smeerps? Oh, the poor things, they got the sickness first." The party is convinced. The company did something to the Smeerps to protect their casino investment, and now the whole world is doomed! Or something.

Well, it seems the party has to head off to New Vegas and try to set things right. Borrowing some horses, they set out in the afternoon. About 2/3 of the way there Sharra's horse steps into a rabbit hole and breaks its leg. They radio back to First Town and find out that there's no quick way to fix a horse's broken leg. The vet says she can make it out there by the morning to take the horse back to town to get it splinted. Well, there'll be no more moving today. So, the party sets up camp for the night.

In the middle of Maury's watch, he notices several skittering creatures approaching. He manages to wake everyone else up before the dozen gith attack. A furious battle rages through the night, but the party manages to defeat the gith. Using her plasma halberd, Anya ignites the remaining gith goo just to be safe, and people head back to sleep.

In the morning, the vet arrives and takes the horse, and the party heads back in to New Vegas. The streets are empty, and there's a strange skittering sound in the background, down every alley, and in every building. Heading quickly to the center of town, the party needs to kill only a few more gith before getting to the main complex in the center. As they approach, they are greeted by the automated door sensors, and presented with several shiny chits... "Welcome to the New Vegas Grand Casino. Please have 15 credits on the house and enjoy your stay." Entering into the casino, they find that it's divided into several concentric rings. If they wish to get to the central tower, they need to buy their way into the high-rollers rings. Unfortunately, as the casino seems deserted, there's no one to change their money into chits, though they could convert their free chits into more chits were they to win at the automated casino games. Well, it's worth a try. People start with roulette, where they lose a couple of times until Sharra attempts to have her Smeerp bet by giving it the chit and letting it drop it on the table. At this point they start winning, but their winning streak is interrupted by a gith attack.

More battle! Unfortunately, the casino's automated defense systems take great offense at the use of weapons inside the casino. So, after a few quick hits, they are forced to drop all of their weapons in order to keep from being zapped by security drones. Gith seem harder to hurt hand to hand, but do eventually go down. Deciding that the casino just isn't up to their usual standards of safety and customer service, they leave with their winnings and head off towards the New Vegas starport. Approaching the starport, they see the great form of the company starliner attempting to take off but experiencing severe engine troubles. Surrounding the craft is a veritable sea of gith. Moving carefully around the outside, the party radios the ship. Contacting the ship, they find that the casino is equipped with the latest in security, including the brand new Cerrincraft 10000 Fortune Suppressor. Oh dear.

Well, that's probably what's causing the problem, since the gith swarmed in and attacked almost as soon as the casino came on-line. They also find that if they want to avoid the security and bypass the payment gates to get into the central high rollers areas, they need accu-passes. Where could they get accu-passes? Well, they have them on the ship, assuming people can get past the gith. Hmm, how about the crew throws the passes out the window, and Maury tries to teleport it to him before it falls into the ocean of gith.

To do that, they need to get into one of the tarmac facing rooms of the Starport hotel. This of course involves fighting more gith. Unfortunately, at some point during this fight Anya accidentally severs the fire system with her plasma brand. This sets off the sprinklers, which doesn't seem to be a problem, except for the fact that gith apparently multiply when wet. Who knew? This makes the battle much closer, until Maury brings out one of Max's anti-personnel bombs and destroys every gith in the hallway.

After getting the accu-passes, they decide they aren't in good enough shape to fight their way back to the casino, so dispatching a couple more gith, they make their way to the kitchen and hole up in the meat locker for the night. The next morning, they move back to the casino, just a few more gith in the way, and use the accu-passes to bypass the high-rollers areas. In the center of the casino, they are faced with the steel reinforced access door to the central core. Luckily, the last piece of equipment Maury had on him was Max's door breaching charge. Go Max!

One bomb later, they are in the central core with Maury instructing Anya in the proper and safe procedures for reducing a Cerrincraft 10000 to slag with a plama weapon.

Returning to the starport, they find that the gith are mostly dispersed and melting back into the nearby wilderness. The company ship seems to have gotten over its engine problems and radios their thanks from orbit, as they're just not coming back. First town reports that no one is suddenly cured, but the party has hopes. They spend a few hours gathering up several thousand credits in loot from the casino. Walking back to their drop pod, the party is contacted by the Inopportune Moment. It seems the Moment finally got the handle on their rescues and are ready to gather up their missing personnel.

People head back up to the Moment, and arrive just in time to see Doctor Salvador teleport back in with the old Maury. Maury points at his older self and scolds him, "You should have known better!" just as the members of the party are snatched back into the swirling mists of space-time.