Last time, our heroes made their first attempt at sabotage to create opportunities to escape BIG-16. It didn't work and they were let off by the guards with a warning, but our heroes' resolve is strong...
Read the first part of this campaign log here.
Oberth, Liam, and Byzi awaken to the sound of their cell block’s morning alarm. The routine is the same as it was the previous day: the guards manhandle them into a line, march them off to breakfast, and then get them on the teletrain for another day of work. In the teletrain, our heroes discuss their findings so far. Even the reluctant Oberth now explains what he knows about the facility and shares the map he recovered earlier.
This time around, the teletrain drops the prisoners off at a location where they are required to man a conveyor belt. The belt transports mining debris, and the prisoners are required to remove any debris from the belt that is marked by a sensor. Once again, Oberth wonders why this process is not automated; are they perhaps being tested in some way?
The day is long, the work is tiring and tedious, and the prisoners get no breaks. It is easy to imagine that inmates will at some point simply collapse if required to do this work for long stretches. The only event of the day is when, during their work, each of our heroes separately spots an anomaly on the conveyor belt: a piece of stone of which one side is cut at a straight angle. As far as Liam is aware (he used to be a miner), none of the tools used in this place allow for that type of straight-angled cutting, so it’s a very strange thing indeed. Unfortunately, the conveyor belt moves too quickly, and none of our heroes manage to grab hold of the stone fragment.
When their shift is over, Byzi, Liam, Oberth, and the other prisoners are brought to the cantina. They notice their entire cell block is about 50 prisoners short, and these do not show up during the rest of the evening or later when the prisoners are brought to their cells. This worries our heroes.
After supper, everyone is returned to their cells. However, before our heroes go to sleep, four guards come to pick up Byzi. They take him away from the cell, leaving behind Oberth, Liam, 332, and the nomad that came in with them. This fires up the others’ desire to escape, and they quickly begin discussing what they can do.
Byzi, in the meanwhile, is led to a teletrain. Once inside the carriage, he feels lightheaded, experiences a strange pressure on his temples, and finally passes out. When he comes to, he is being returned to his cell. Liam offers up his bed so that Byzi can rest. During the night, he dreams about a black globe with a shiny, opaque surface. In his dream, he knows that something is there in the globe, and that more things are coming...
It’s wake-up, breakfast, and off to the teletrain; the routine is beginning to grow on Byzi, Liam, and Oberth. However, last night’s events with Byzi have made it clear that they’re not going to last long in this place. In the carriage, they try to discuss their next move, but they can think of nothing.
Frustrated, they turn on the fifth passenger, the nomad smuggler who has been silent all this time, and whose name is Tarquin. They ask him for help escaping, and he says he’d rather just lie low. Liam and Byzi decide to rough him up, since they don’t trust him. Liam punches Tarquin and sends him reeling, after which Byzi interrogates him.
Tarquin repeats that he is just a smuggler, or rather was a smuggler, and used to have his own ship. He was arrested when he was unable to get off Bellermacher III during the revolt. After sufficient threats, Tarquin consents to help them with whatever they need, so long as they don’t kill him.
Oberth urges Liam and Byzi on to kill Tarquin, or Tarquin shall surely rat them out for beating him up and trying to escape. Byzi calms Oberth down while Liam fixes Tarquin up and tells him to say that--should the guards ask questions about his bruises--he fell and hit the wall when the teletrain made a sudden brake.
Tarquin and 332
Of course, Tarquin and 332--our heroes’ cellmates--both had something to add to the players’ escape plans. The clone 332 was 1) strong and 2) well connected within the prison and could help with acquiring contraband or even weaponry. The nomad Tarquin was 1) a pilot and 2) as a smuggler well connected with the planet-side underworld and could help with ‘going off the radar’ after the escape.
However, since BIG-16 is not a friendly place, I had decided that the players would need to convince 332 and/or Tarquin first, and that winning their trust and friendship would be hard. This was a bit of a design flaw because I underestimated the players’ drive to get out of the prison; getting the NPCs on board would require them to spend multiple days of building trust and friendship, and the players made it very clear from the get-go that it was not their plan to integrate into prison life or play the long game. So in the end, 332 and Tarquin weren't all that useful for the players' plans...
When the train pulls into the station, the prisoners are brought to a workshop where malfunctioning or damaged drones have been brought in for repair or maintenance. The inmates are set to work on them, but most are required to do nothing more than replace defective batteries. Oberth, however, is quick to convince a guard that he is much more skilled than this, and the guards let him work with better tools on some of the drones that require more complex maintenance. At his new station, Oberth succeeds in removing the mining laser from one of the drones.
Liam and Byzi are on to Oberth’s plan and they start to create distractions to make sure Oberth has the time and opportunity to acquire the lasers of multiple drones. However, the guards seem to be on top of the situation and are not easily distracted. Byzi and Liam make eye contact with Tarquin and motion for him to join them in distracting the guards. When Tarquin seems to refuse, Liam runs his finger across his throat, indicating he will kill him.
For poor old Tarquin, this was the final straw: he raises his hand and calls the guards, then tells them that Byzi, Liam, and Oberth are trying to escape and threaten to kill him if he doesn’t assist.
The game is up, and our heroes are immediately rounded up and led out of the maintenance room...