Last week’s game session of Battlestar Galactica continued to see us pull from the RDM show, then twist it to fit our campaign. Events have led the fleet to look for more resources, as they don’t know how far their journey will take them. They’ve found tyllium on a moon in the upper levels of an attenuated gas giant in a highly hostile star system with a planetary nebula around a white dwarf. The radiation and ejecta are enough to be dangerous to the smaller ships, but also has the same Cylon-tech jamming signature of Ragnar. The upper atmosphere of the gas giant and it’s magnetic field cut much of the harmful radiation of the nebula, but has its own dangers.
They had found, in the previous night, a derelict galleon (they think) from Kobol that had the markings of the Libran tribe. They immediately add a mission to the hulk in addition to the mining operations they are going to have to run. The mining will be highly dangerous and the fleet population has been reticent to volunteer for hours of hard labor in a space suit exposed to high levels of radiation from the nebula and the planet’s electromagnetic field. As in the show, the vice president (a PC), decides to try and get some of the prisoners to volunteer for the work in exchange for points to release or expedited release for some of them.
As in Bastille Day, this leads to a hostage situation, with the Vice President, the Tauron delegate to the quorum (a former actress), and a PC police officer guarding them being taken by Tom Zarek and another leader of the mutiny — a new character named Janus Seii. Seii is a former colonel in the special forces that worked specifically for the Office of the President running high-level security checks, doing counterterroism, etc. He had been railroaded by the admiralty four years ago, allegedly for embezzlement of black bag funds, but there were always rumors that there was some political issue or that Seii had pissed off the wrong flag rank officers. He doesn’t even have a personnel file — he was being transferred under a simple convict number. Seii is convinced he was to be killed by some elements in the government and specifically the president, who was Minister of Defense at the time, and was not hot to save the colonel.
The prisoners move Astral Queen close to a few liners to prevent being shot down and issue an ultimatum — elections and release of the prisoners. The commander of Galactica (and son of the president) is a PC: he negotiates a meet with Seii in space, raptor to raptor and explains how the conditions in the fleet aren’t much better than prison, that they are willing to run elections — which were supposed to be in the offing in six months anyway, and agrees to release the 500 or so prisoners that haven’t taken part in the mutiny aboard Astral Queen. He has one condition for this — assassinate Tom Zarek. He’s a malcontent, arrested for terrorism and his first action is to take hostages and a ship. He’s a danger and will be divisive and dangerous force in the fleet. Seii agrees and offers to make sure the most dangerous of the prisoners are defending the ship when Galactica moves to board the vessel.
The sticking point is the president. The commander defends his father, but hears how Seii had been onto some kind of subversive or treasonous element in the contractors to the Fleet’s expeditionary fleet. He suspects he was onto the Cylon infiltrators that helped destroy their defenses, but he was shut down by large political forces — perhaps even President Adar — who were indebted to their contractors. Whether they knew it was Cylons, he doesn’t know. Whether the president is a Cylon “puppet”, he doesn’t know. They agree that the political and military leaders have to be tested for Cylon hardware, or bloodtests for being Cylons.
The evening ended there, but it’s opening the campaign to a new direction. Until this point, the characters were trying to follow the laws and norms of their society…now the commander is cutting corners. If it works, will he be horrified by his actions (or suffer consequences for acting without authorization by the civilian government), or if he’ll be tempted to take the easy route and start a slide toward military rule.
There was also a comedic/frightening bit with the Tauron delegate and the cop trying to escape that led him him getting beaten pretty badly, as well as discovering that the delegate is a drug addict. (They had arranged for first aid, took out the guard and prisoner/nurse, and “escaped” into the ship…where she helped him recover from his injuries with a judicious shot of morpha. She also partook. So, high as kites, outnumbered, and not overly competent, they were preparing to go Die Hard on the terrorists. Or hide. Or something…
The night’s play showed how you can take elements of a licensed property and play with them, keeping enough bits of an episode — in this case — to tease the players into thinking things might go one way, only to let their actions led you away from the path the original material took.