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Story 42

The planet formerly known as Ularos X

A system wide comm comes in and you nod for it to be played on the view screen. Bic ,with blue and white face paint, appears on your screen. 

“The potato of justice looked me in the eye and found me lacking, although not in pyridoxine (which a potato is a good source of), but in the starch necessary for my collar to stand up to the injustice of the Ilex perpetrated on those from the world of Tig. That starchy tuber convicted me of my shortcomings. Today, I had the pleasure of helping those from Tig push back the tyranny of the Ilex and re-establish their own self governance. Today I enjoy a diet rich in potatoes.”

Your screen fades out. Ularos X reverts back to the authority of the Neutral government and is once again known as Tig. The Avenger NPC remains in play and continues to hairy Ilex ships or those that have visited Ilex planets. 

Your ship receives a private text only message from Bic, “I have convinced the Neutral governments to permanently remove your ship from any registry that shows you as having visited an Ilex planet.”

Remove your Ilex token and gain an additional fame point. Also, remove the Ularos X overlay from Tig.

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Story 41

Free Willy

As you enter the shield entry point for Ularos X, your comm system chimes. Always worried about what Bic might say to their Customs and Border Protection, you hurry up and answer the comm yourself.

“This is the Captain of this vessel, how may I be of assistance.”

With no preamble, the clearly bored Customs Officer jumps straight into his questions, “What is the purpose of your trip?”

“We just need to refuel and pick up some more supplies at one of your starports.”

“How long do you intend to stay?”

“We’ll probably be here just a night or two, depending on how long it takes to resupply.”

“Are you involved with, or part of, a terrorist organization?”

“No, but does anyone ever say, ‘Yes’?”

“Occasionally people say, ‘Yes’ as a joke, but since my sense of humor was surgically removed as a pup, I then detain them for several hours while grilling them with additional inane questions. Just transmit me a copy of your ship’s manifest and you’re good to go.”

– – – –

As soon as you’re out of sight of the shield entry point, Bic tosses you $3,000 credits and starts working to enable E.D.I.T.H.. After a few minutes all the holo projectors kick in and transform your hull to look like an XS-42 Ilex ship.

Just as planned, you land near the Ilex prison that Bic had requested. Just before Bic disembarks, your first officer hands him a small insulated bag and Bic looks at her questioningly.

“It’s a packed lunch including peanut butter crackers, a juice box, a snack pack, and a utensil.”, is your first officer’s answer to the unasked question.

Bic looks around as if searching for a camera and then smiles. He then takes off at a jog and in the distance you hear him shout, “Spork!”.

Besides the 3,000 credits that Bic payed, you also earn 1 fame point. Three rounds from now listen to Story 42.

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Story 36

The Film Studio

As you near the coordinates that Bic provided, you find that you still have some unanswered questions.

“Why exactly would this film crew be set-up in space?”

“So, sometimes when you want realistic looking space scenes, it’s just easier to actually film space. As far as doing this out by an asteroid cluster, it has more to do with safety guidelines.”

“Surely there is nothing preventing you from following safety guidelines near a planet.”

“Actually, it’s the opposite problem. Those safety guidelines prevent us from shooting some scenes. It’s the lack of regulations that causes some studios to maintain these kinds of set-ups. Oh, and quit calling me Shirley!

The comm crackles on, “This is Mother Hen at Outpost 338, identify yourself, incoming space vessel.”

Bic reaches over and slaps on the comm, “Hello Mother Hen this is Bic returning to the nest, authorization lambda lambda beta chi and I’m sending the security encryption now.”

“Welcome back to the Nest Bic. Your authorization checks out. Proceed to the landing port that we’re transmitting to you. See you in the bay.”

“That was more formal than I expected”

“Here in space we have to be cautious. There could be pirates, hostile aliens, or worst of all… the paparazzi!”

– – – –

Upon arriving on set, you can’t help but notice that this looks an awful lot like a military outpost.

As if reading your thoughts, Bic states, “This is a set for our upcoming military flick titled, Cold Vengeance.”

“I thought you and Willy were in some swamp movie.”

“It’s a military action movie, but Willy’s character is from the swamps of Tig.”

While conversing, you, your first officer, and Bic have been walking the whole time. You find that Bic has led you to an equipment room full of various items but in the center on a work table is a device with the name E.D.I.T.H. stenciled on it and various switches and dials. Tethered to charging ports on E.D.I.T.H. are numerous drones that appear to have large projector lenses. 

Bic proudly proclaims, “This is what we’re going to use to help us infiltrate an Ilex prison on the planet formerly known as Tig.”

“Wait, you think I’m just going to casually land at an Ilex prison and drop you off like this is your first day of school! Should I pack you a lunch with stale peanut butter crackers and a drink box?”

“Ooh, what flavor will the drink box be?”

Your first officer now decides that this would be a good time to chime in, “How about fruit punch?”

Bic starts to look excited when you throw your hands up in the air, “Nobody is getting a juice box.”

Bic calmly interjects, “Relax mon Capitaine, I’ve got this covered. This device, E.D.I.T.H., that were about abscond with, controls a series of holo projectors that can be used to project images around the outside of your ship’s hull to make it look like a different ship. We use it when filming to limit the number of various ships that we have to buy. In this case, we’ll make your ship look like an Ilex ship.”

“Go on…”

“As E.D.I.T.H. won’t alter your ship’s transponder ID, we’ll have to enter through the shield gate on Ularos X and then activate it before landing at the prison where they have my co-star. Once there you don’t even have to wait around for me. Just drop me off and fly away. I’ll pay you on arrival to Ularos X and I’ll even let you keep the purloined studio tech”

“Purloined?”, you ask.

“Yeah, it means taken, stolen, permanently borrowed without asking”

“I know what it means, but why are we stealing it?”

“You’re not stealing it, I am. Besides, if I asked they might say, ‘No.’.”

You think the situation through for a moment and nod, “OK, but let’s get going before anyone realizes what you’ve liberated from the studio.”

Read/Listen to story 41 when you reach Ularos X to find out how well using your ship as a giant green screen works out for everyone.

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Story 12

The Bic

As you leave your ship you can hardly wait for a meal that consists of anything other than space rations. You’re so tired that you’ve already decided that you’re not going to spend the next hour trying to find a place that serves four star cuisine and has no dress code. You spy a tavern near the spaceport and upon entering you are surprised. You’re not sure that you’ve ever seen a greater hive of villainy and scum despite the jaunty music coming from the band on stage. You’re ready to leave and find someplace else when an argument breaks out at a table near the back of the room. A huge tree trunk of a man, that would stand out at a bodybuilding competition, is seated with three other men that look to be yelling at the big fellow when you notice that they have a fourth man with a blaster drawn trying to sneak up behind the big guy. You look straight at the big fellow intending to warn him when he reaches behind and grabs the guy with the blaster and throws him at the person seated across from him with enough force that you’re pretty sure the crunching sounds you just heard were bones breaking as they both hit the floor. The other two at the table try to jump up. The large man kicked the chair out from under the one causing him to pitch forward and smack his head off the table hard before crumpling to the ground and the last one was stopped when the big guy slammed a utensil through the man’s hand keeping him from moving.

For some reason, of all the details to hyper focus on, you can’t help but wonder, ‘What type of eating establishment uses metal sporks?’

The large man stands up towering over everyone in the room. He bends down to eye level with the one that was just sporked to a table, flicks him in the side of the head and makes a tssking noise while declaring loudly, “These negotiations are done.”

He tosses some hard coin at the barkeep and makes his way towards the door where you’re standing. The large man, with amazing alacrity, suddenly scoops you into a bear hug and cheerily shouts, ‘Hello new found friend’ which seems like quite the juxtaposition to three men lying on the floor and the fourth howling in pain while still pinned to the table.

As you and your new found very large friend leave the tavern he simply states, “You didn’t want to eat there anyway. Any place that serves food and expects you to use a spork to eat, can’t be any good.”

As you make your way out to the street, you speak up, “OK, I’ll bite. Who are you and why are we suddenly friends?”

“To answer the latter question first, I could see you wanted to warn me about the guy trying to sneak up behind me, which makes you the nicest person I’ve met in a while, automatically elevating you to friend status. As for the former, my diminutive friend, I was hoping you would recognize me from such movies as the ‘Eliminator’ and ‘Somewhat Remembered’.”

Suddenly a tumbler falls into place. “You’re Bic the holo video actor!”

Bic suddenly pauses and smiles as if posing for a camera. Then he continues, “You look like a spacer, any chance we can just make our way back to your ship, and dine on some space rations while I pitch a job offer to you?”

– – – –

Back aboard your ship the two of you are peeling the foil from your rations, which seem like a better option than when you originally left your ship. You nod to Bic to continue.

“So apparently my co-star wanted to spend some time in a real swamp to better understand his character’s motivation. He had decided to go visit the swamps of Tig, and unfortunately that’s when the Ilex decided to do some empire building.”

“So you want us to help you find and rescue your co-star, Willy Williams, from an Ilex controlled planet? What if I don’t mind the Ilex and don’t care about their expansionism?”

“Beware of the Ilex, they make terrible bed fellows. They always steal the covers!” 

Your only immediate response to Bic is to blink at him.

Bic flashes you a big grin and continues, “All I need you to do is drop me off, and I’ll free Willy all on my own.”

“I don’t really like the Ilex anyway, but I’m assuming you want me to get near one of the prisons on Ularos X, which has to be difficult.”

“I have an idea to that end, but I’ll need you to swing by the set where we were filming, near Outpost 338, for us to pick up something.” Bic claps his hands together as he finishes his pitch, “So how about it, two quick stops and you’ll have a cool device from one of my upcoming movies and 3,000 credits.”

You have two options:

You could try to help the big man recover his co-star with the reduplicative name, which at least sounds interesting. Plus, a few extra credits for two quick stops doesn’t sound unreasonable. Read and or listen to story 36 when you reach the Mission Point on the Outpost 336 sector.


You can decide that following a mediocre actor into an actual war zone sounds like an awful idea. You choose to have no part in it and decline Bic’s offer.