(This spanned three game sessions.)
Research and Approach
Our curious-as-cats team of K’t’k’prrk (Kateka Burrke), Kartesh Fartouch, and David “Davey” Anne Smith decided to be brokers in the slowly escalating trade battle for 6 cm pryxzods after seeing the following two ads posted in the bar over the course of a few weeks:
Kateka called the contact numbers on the wanted ads — the first was disconnected, but the second was an automated line that gave date time and space coordinates for a drop off location just outside the Network on a path to Saiphim.
Seeing this as a trade disconnect in need of a middleman, Kateka got the group connected with Giselle Goossens. She begrudgingly told the team that “pryxzods” sounded like the name of a rumored Plollan weapon: a small, mobile, robot that consumes the material around it. Purportedly, one 4-8 cm pryxzod is powerful enough to (given enough relatively uninterrupted time) consume something the size of Mea Culpa. The ads were asking for 25 or 75 of these devices. After some tense negotiations, Giselle gave the group a copy of her map of the Marketplace and a package to drop off at the Itemz n Thingz stall there.
She also gave them plenty of warnings: since the Plollans are incredibly xenophobic, the group would need some sort of invite to get in, which might be a formal invitation or knowing someone with access. Too much misbehaving while there could easily get the team banned from the Marketplace for life.
They opted to take the Shiidoo to the Marketplace; given Mx. Hood‘s considerable amount of access in the universe, it was likely their ship could get them into the Marketplace. The ship was welcoming and willing to assist them in scanning Giselle’s package: it turned out to be a normal Christian Bible with gilded edges. There were no Quirorks in the spine.
The approach to the Marketplace was turbulent and the authorities as unwelcoming as Giselle promised, but the group ended up safely parked and staying at a hotel lining the Marketplace. Davey graciously agreed to give the strange, inhuman bathrooms at the hotel a good scrub during each of the Marketplace’s maintenance shutdowns in exchange for the group’s room. (See the Plollan Marketplace entry for more details on the time bubble, its physical characteristics, and its maintenance timing cycles.)
The group set out with three goals:
- Deliver Giselle’s Bible
- Buy the pryxzods and get them off the planet
- Find a countermeasure against them
The Marketplace map was designed to rearrange itself as stalls and shops moved, and while information on individual shops was limited (a rough categorization of the shop and its name), Davey took the time to check every shop of the “mixed items” category to find Itemz n Thingz.
The group set out into the Marketplace. Getting through was a slow process: while the crowd in the Marketplace is always moving, a normal path also requires zig-zagging the entire 5 km length repeatedly. Faced with the possibility of not making it to Itemz n Thingz before the next maintenance window, Kartesh shortened their journey considerably by finding some not-quite-approved shortcuts. Kateka grumbled pretty steadily as they ducked between and through the closely-packed stalls.
Itemz n Thingz was a small shop with an actual interior that was staffed by two humans — a strange occurrence, since Davey was told she was only the second human to be allowed into the Marketplace (the first was Giselle). John — the awkward proprietor who was definitely from the midwestern United States on the planet Earth — was excited to meet the group and arrange a later rendezvous with Davey. He accepted Giselle’s box with little fanfare and pointed the group towards the shop Intergalactic Armaments.
The group set off into the crush again in search of the arms store, occasionally browsing for and buying food and small trinkets.
Near the end of the current Marketplace cycle, they found and entered Intergalactic Armaments, meeting Mitzra, its proprietor. The shop was decked out in a clockwork theme, including Mitzra themself, whose mask looked like a set of interconnected gears.
Mitzra was not at all interested in selling sorta-secret, high-quality Plollan weaponry to the likes of the members of this group and drove a hard bargain, asking for both a continuous source of bee nectar and a complete data dump of the Mea Culpa university’s weapon-related research to sell 75 pryxzods. (Davey insisted no such research was happening at the university. Kartesh insisted that giving such research away to a society like the Plollans would be horribly unethical.)
With the Marketplace cleaning cycle rapidly approaching, the group agreed to resume the negotiations in the morning. Mitzra gave them a vague pamphlet on the specs of a pryxzod and agreed to move their shop to be closer to the hotel when the Marketplace reopened.
Internal debate led the group to opt for the 25 pryxzod deal in exchange for the bee nectar. With an instruction manual, a pretty box to deflect scanners, and 25 6 cm pryxzods, the group split ways to handle final business: Davey rendezvoused with John and acquired an exotic weapon; Kartesh and Kateka worked to hide the pryxzods on the Shiidoo and negotiate the departure inspection.
The group remains undecided about what to do with the pryxzods, which remain on the ship: several options for weapons research remain open, but problematic due to their ties to various governments.