The hunt for a precious meteorite mineral and a race against the corruption of Magnus Hardstrom
Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, first published in 2007, is an RPG written by British Science Fiction & Dark Fantasy author David J Rodger – it blends the Cthulhu Mythos and cyberpunk genres in a post-apocalyptic setting. It also has three novels set within it: Dog Eat Dog, The Black Lake and The Social Club.
RESUME 23rd APRIL YD+10
Mid-morning, Samir, Bela, Winter and Brendan are with Eliane and a couple of hands from the town of Celeste, looking at murdered body of Bryan and talking to the two Fortier brothers who murdered him.
There is acute tension, Winter draws his katana and tells them to leave the area forever; the Fortier brothers back away but they state it has nothing to do with Winter and this was blood law.
Eliane asks Winter to stop: this is not her way.
They recover the body of Bryan and depart back to the town of Celeste. A wake / leaving party for the characters is held at Eliane’s large, barn like residence in the centre of the small community; everyone, 100 people, mainly farmer survivors, turn up. Samir keeps everyone entertained with his charismatic stories. Bela decides to stay on for a while, to act as temporary lawman until Eliane can find a replacement – this delights the young boy (wannabe adventurer Alexandre). Brendan enjoys the company of the young girl / apprentice road mage who is able to produce flame in her hands, skim read minds – they participate in a night of sex magic. Winter holds court with Eliane and spends the night with her.
Next day Jaques arrives with horse and cart to take them the 40 miles back to Aigues-Mortes.
It is an uneventful journey.
In Aigues-Mortes, Baron Toten Reich informs them that Magnus Hardstrom, CEO of HE, has taken his luxury yacht plus a small lab module, to the coast of North Africa. Things has started to move in the hunt for the source of the rare meteorite mineral. However, Magnus does not have the map, stolen by his top assassin Tengo Gin (and subsequently taken by the characters when they exacted revenge on Tengo Gin for killing several of them).
Team spend several days using the library of Sir Julian Pearlman, an associate, not a friend, of the Baron. Sir Julian is an incredible host to the characters. Winter, Brendan and Samir are attacked on their first night coming back from Sir Julian’s by 4 men wearing rags over their faces. There is a stand-off with Winter, whilst Samir is grabbed and severely beaten: the men want the map showing the rough location of Polarisis (somewhere on the coast of Libya). Brendan has already passed-out drunk at this point. Winter, reluctantly obliges. The 4 men depart – as do another 2 hidden on the roofs, who had been lurking with crossbows (these two were dressed as city militia and actually murdered two guards to get the uniforms). The team believe this was a move by Magnus Hardstrom. The race is on.
It is Brendan who finds all relevant information. Discover Polarisis refers to Northern Queen, a ship from 1600s, and its fate, involving near-destruction, survival on the coast of Libya, using its cargo of rare “metal ore” – bits of the meteorite – as currency to buy supplies whilst they made repairs to their ship – inside of a cavern off an estuary leading into the sea.
The team depart Aigues-Mortes in a ship commissioned by the Baron: it is the Valhalla and is nothing more than a rusting deep-sea trawler that performs various services for people with the money to pay for it. The captain plus 11 crew. Only several hours into the journey there is an explosion that takes out the power, disables the engines and damages hull plates – pumps are required to keep the boat from sinking whilst repairs are made. The team suspect sabotage. They stake out 3 individual locations where they think a saboteur might strike again. Samir is there, hiding in the shadows, when the ship’s engineer creeps into a service area. There is a chase. Samir is unarmed and has to fight for his life when the engineer is cornered, and turns on him with a knife. Shouts for help bring the crew to his rescue. The engineer confesses to being bribed by a man, who when he describes him, the characters realise is Tengo Gin. This makes sense based on their knowledge of the Cerebral Codex they know the assassin had been fitted with (and recovered by mercs from the catamaran).
The engines repaired, they make the rest of their journey to the coast of Libya, moving in cautiously toward shallows so the characters can disembark in a rowboat for the insertion.
A large, powerful engined speed boat comes sweeping round a distant bluff and speeds towards them. Sparkles light up the front of the boat, before a stream of rounds from the twin, 50-cal, tear through the wheel house and kill the captain and another crew member instantly. The ship is boarded by men carrying machine guns; they’re a mix of African / North African; dressed in a crude uniform of scavenged military garb.
The ship is grounded. The crew and characters dragged off and marched through water to the beach. Jeeps with machine guns on pintle mounts, small trucks and pick-ups with cages mounted on flatbeds arrive. About 50 soldiers, well-armed with machine guns, assault rifles, pistols, machetes, grenades and RPGs. Samir is initially able to remain hidden on the Valhalla but his absence is betrayed by the ship’s engineer.
The military leader is a larger than life character calling himself Mohammad Ali. He talks about a war. Not a religious war, but a fight for survival and to claim back the resources that belong to these lands and his people, from the grabbing hands of UTOC. He is talking about a nearby corporate enclave that has private mercs securing mining resources; these mercs are not well-behaved and have used terrible tactics to suppress the local survivor populations.
The characters and ship’s crew are to be sold as slaves at a place where such business is done; they will help fund the fight against UTOC.
Brendan uses magick to put up some resistance. Mohammed declares his awareness of bad ju-ju and witchcraft to his prisoners and warns them against trying such things again. Nobody knows it was Brendan.
Not long after, the convoy pulls over to build camp in desert off the coastal highway. This is because Brendan has caused one of the jeeps to careen off the road; it tumbled over a cliff. In camp, Samir is made to fight the ships cook, a knife fight to the death. This is for Mohammed Ali’s entertainment. Samir refuses, even though the cook seems keen to try and fight to live, he too, throws down his knife. Mohammed Ali shoots the cook in the head and warns the next fight will not be so pathetic.
Later, the events at the camp are interrupted by a distant screaming. Then gunfire. Then more screaming. Which spreads. Infection. A lone Zed has come stumbling along the deserted strip of road and plunged straight into one side of the camp. Biting, spreading the Infection before being killed. Some of Mohammed’s men become Infected. The risk swells and grows. Brendan, Winter and Samir, locked in a cage on the back of a pickup truck, realise they are in a desperate situation. Brendan kicks the lock open and they pile out. Soldiers – some of them now shrieking things – are running everywhere. Bedlam is rapidly taking over. Samir frantically runs to the cab and finds the keys are still in the ignition. Brendan dashes a short distance to grab a dropped assault rifle and is attacked by a fresh Infected – which becomes a desperate tussle to stop it from biting him. Winter rushes over to help. Brendan uses the opportunity to run to the pickup and jump inside. Winter is left with the Infected, going WTF?! Winter runs and is attacked by another Infected. That’s two now. Winter gets past, jumps onto the side of the cage and bangs on the side. Samir guns it and drives them out of camp.
There are a few other events in the nearby desert which leaves the passenger window smashed and infected blood all over the inside of the cabin on the passenger side. The truck then runs out of fuel, not long after getting back onto the coastal highway. They have 20 litres of water and 4 days of food (lucky find inside the cab). It is 5 hours until sunrise and they have no idea where they are. The sea hems them in on one side. Open desert on the other side. They search the pickup and find a car-iron, wrench and a stubby metal bar to carry as crude weapons. (They have lost ALL their gear, but were never robbed of money – the soldiers hadn’t had time for that yet).
They start to walk in one direction. Brendan and Samir notice some tiny red lights flickering in the sand 10 metres from the road. They cautiously investigate. A 6 metre monster military robot erupts from the sand; large calibre weapons snapping out into place as it flexes giant arms: a digital voice BOOMS: “YOU HAVE BREACHED MY BOUNDARY. THIS IS A CORPORATE TERRITORY. PLEASE IDENTIFY YOURSELVES OR YOU WILL BE TERMINATED.”
Samir shouts, “You know what, I am having a REALLY bad day.”
28th April, YD+10
1 a.m. the team are somewhere on Libyan coast. Just encountered a PARC. They’re about to get shredded. Brendan recalls the prophetic words of the girl he practised sex magic with back in the town of Celeste – about talking to a machine but his friends would not be so lucky.
NOTE: Bela is not with them. He is acting lawman at Celeste.
<> NO RANK ROLLS HAVE BEEN DONE FOR THIS.
<> All money is up to date. The team were paid 10 days advance for the Libya trip by the Baron (600 copper).
<> Bela has some raw components and specialised components he scavenged on the way to Prudence.
<> Bela has a special ops gel suit, although armour is wrecked over heart and right thigh.
<> Samir has bruising from being beaten up in Aigues Mortes, and knife wounds from the ship’s engineer.
<> Brendan has an assault rife with 24 rounds remaining.
<> Team have 20 litres water, 4 days food, all their money but no other equipment apart from Samir who does still have his “cutting” tool smuggled in his thigh pocket.
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