After a session or two of buildup and planning, the characters finally popped the trigger on the mission to find the Tomb of Athena on Kobol they called Operation PARTHENON. They had the benefit of a ton of intelligence from the damaged basestar they had found a few sessions ago — PHOTINT of the area, some idea of disposition of forces, and they know that with the skin jobs and centurions fighting each other, the attention will be off of a possible Colonial incursion. That said, they knew the mission was going to be extremely dangerous. They have a secondary mission after recovery of the “roadmap to Earth” of destroying the Tower with a nuke delivered from Galactica.

The mission entailed four raptors doing a LAAI [Low Altitude Atmospheric Insertion] jump. Parthenon 1 & 2 were carrying the ground mission, Parthenon 3 & 4 were ECM raptorsthat immediately took off through the mountain passes, hoping to draw any Cylon attention away from the ground mission. I put together a series of PHOTINT pieces for the players to work with on my iPad. Example: here’s the basic layout of what’s left of Olympus, overlooing the “City of the Gods” in the valley below, which is dominated by the massive Tower of Dis — the “home” or headquarters of the Blaze on Kobol, and now either the HQ for the centurions or the skin jobs (they don’t know which…)

olympus

And the insertion…

insertion plan

In this case, the Deiopolis (City of the Gods) is in the valley in the upper left. There is another inhabited (or not due to the civil war) city to the north (off the pic to the right.) For these aids, I pulled up Maps on the computer, killed all the notations (set to satellite view), and then captured the window and added the rest with Seahorse. (I’m on a Mac.) I threw together a Keynote/Powerpoint presentation for the mission…because Powerpoint, once invented, is like the herpes of an organization; you can’t get rid of it. Standing in for Olympus/the City of the Gods is Telluride, Colorado. It was the closest I could get to my verbal description of the area.

The insertion is a close thing — they get the coordinates right, so no one winds up in a mountain, but going off of what was on screen and what we’ve established in the game, the jump effect creates a split second of vacuum around the raptors, which are moving at supersonic speeds, but that bubble collapses immediately. I rated the effect as a FORMIDABLE for the pilots. Parthenon 1 and 4 biff their rolls, lose control, but managed to make their recovery rolls at HARD. Had they missed, the raptors would have crashed.

The ground assault cuts through tight canyons and put down out of sight of the Tower of Dis, which can see much of the ridge that Oympus is on. One of the player’s characters did an excellent job with his ECM rolls and they go unobserved for almost 20 minutes while the ground team moves to Olympus and climbs a small rock face. Once in Olympus, however, they get spotted by strange boa snake meets lamprey meets robot sentries and the fight is on!

About this time, Parthenon 4 gets shot down, Parthenon 3 runs out of its decoys and other EW gear and jumps back to Galactica, which is waiting at about 30SU from Kobol (about the orbit of Neptune, if this were our solar system. They are 4 hours from knowing what is going on….

Except. The ground team gets aggressed by not just raiders, but directed energy weapons from the Tower that are destroying the ancient ruins around them. Heavy raiders bring in centurions and in a heavy exchange of fire, a few of the raiders and heavy raiders are destroyed. Unfortunately, Parthenon 2 is disabled and the crew injured; it is unable to make space. Parthenon 1 is damaged, but still in the game, but it is only a matter of minutes before the unarmed craft will be overrun.

In Olympus, the ground team loses four of their eleven members, and they finally move to rappel down to the Tomb of Athena. We cliffhangered (literally), with the group descending just as the Tower obliterates the buildings near them, possibly endangering the team. The raptor crews are either injured and about to be hit by a 12 man squad of centurions, and Parthenon 1 can’t stay on site much longer…

The session ran long — almost until 11pm, instead of the usual 930-1000 time. Only one of the (former) PCs had been killed, a few minor NPCs, and there was the chance of two major NPCs from the show (Starbuck and Helo) buying it.

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