Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Operation at Station Bernardino 97a

Station Bernardino 97a has steadily grown in the last seventy five years of its existence. Located comfortably at an outer rim jump gate, the station has expanded from another spartan outpost to a large-scale trading hub, home to over fifty thousand permanent residents, with even more in transitory settlers and pioneers. Its governing body remains neutral from the Terran Federation which allows it to deal in commerce with independent states, and theoretically aliens. The latter has yet to occur. The lion's share of trade and information still go to the Terran Federation and in return the federation grants the station additional benefits in times of need.

Station Bernardino 97a is currently in need.

the layout of the station, using new Space Hulk tiles

We set out to play another sci-fi game in 15mm, again using the 5150 engine. Unlike the last game however, we were even shorter on players. It was just Chrispy and I, so we played against one another, but this game could have been just as easily played as cooperative. One of these days I'll get around to the Future War Commander rules, but until then my 15mm troopers will have to 'slum it', haha. The game was a fun one, as you'll see, but darn it if I'm still fumbling around in the quagmire of rules of 5150. I like them, really, and I want the rules to work out as "the rules" we use for sci-fi skirmish, but every time we play them, I feel just as lost as I did the first time I cracked them open a couple of years ago!

The gunboat docked to a maintenance terminal, having to manually bolt onto the outer shell of the station since all automated systems were inoperable. Communication with the station had been down for over two cycles, which met the criteria to send a squad to make contact. No doubt, the station, no, the city was operating fine and the main transmitter was down. You can never be too certain. Concerns were raised as the military frigate translated into real space through the jump gate and the station was still unresponsive. Local buoys alone should have announced the frigate's arrival, but they were as inert as the station itself.

The primary fireteam consisted of six Terran marines armed with variable-effect laser rifles and wearing hard-body armor with full sensor array helms and limited vacuum capabilities. Attached to the team were a pair of Canis scouts, rare for the federation's xenophobic tendencies. This far on the rim necessity wins out over politics however, and the Canis race are tenacious in their duties and demand little in return.

The gunboat's outer airlock hatch would serve as the connection between station and ship as the station's hatch was cut away by laser-torches. The power was on, and the first corridor was lit up in bright lights. This just served to show how empty they were however. The air was only slightly stale, the station's scrubbers still operable, other than the complete lack of contact, nothing seemed too far out of the ordinary. Sensors did show that ambient heat had also been raised by a few degrees as well.

The Canis scouts darted off down the corridor ahead of the fire team. The first door they encountered was at the bend of the long corridor. It was locked down, and they had to bypass its mechanisms before the fire team got there. A panel was removed from the wall and a handfuls of wires were splayed out from the interior. The two worked quickly in unison, without a sound, as if they shared each other's thoughts. In no time the telltale sound of the door's counterweights shifted as the two halves split and slid into the opposite recesses of the bulkhead.

The corridor beyond was large and had four access points, all with sealed doors. Each scout moved to separate doors and began running a bypass on each door. While they worked the fire team moved into the junction, rifles at the ready.

Motion trackers went off the grid upon entering the first junction. The xenos ran along the floor, the walls, and through the ducts. They scraped and clawed at grates in the floors and chewed through conduits and wires, only the thickest of bulkheads seemed to stem their tide.

As the troopers took up positions at the door, the chitinous murderers burst from every angle. Their bodies were sleek with a glossy black sheen, their heads oblong and eyeless, mouths filled with rows of razor sharp, glass teeth. Barbed tails twitched back and forth, yet no sound came from the host other than their hardened claws on the cold steel walls.

Ozone filled the air as the marines fired off short controlled bursts of their laser rifles, the lieutenant fired his carbine one handed from the hip while his other hand operated the comlink, hailing the docked gunboat. One of the Canis scouts drew a curved blade and backhand slashed one of the xenos across the midsection, the wound spewed caustic green acid instead of regular blood or other biological fluids, melting through floor grating and body armor alike.

Administrator Sinclair meets his end
Three personal beacons were located in this zone of the station. One was a staff beacon, indicating one of the station's administrators had managed to hole up and stay alive to await being rescued. One beacon was attached to a bio-lab, where sensitive genetic material was being held, its beacon meant to signal salvage teams should something ill befall the station. The last beacon was that of a service robot, it was unknown why that particular model was transmitting anything at all. The squad's priority for extraction focused primarily on the genetic material in the bio-lab, and then to investigate the service robot's signal. If time allowed, the administrator would be brought in as well. As it turned out, time would not allow for any of these mission parameters to be met.

The marines and scouts held their own in the corridor, discipline and training winning out over sheer panic, but the xenos kept coming. Every time one of their number would go down, it would seem two more would emerge from the shadows. Every time one of the xenos was wounded, the acidic blood posed as much a danger to the troopers in such close quarters as did the xenos themselves.

A tactical retreat was in order, the marines would accomplish nothing in this dogged combat. As they fell back in proper order, with overlapping covering fire, the xenos kept chasing them down the corridor. They reached the hatch with only moments to spare, with the seal shutting behind them, severing two clawed digits of one of the enemy. Three massive figures dominated the tiny airlock as the wounded troopers moved into the main area of the gunboat. Once the maglocks of the inner door sealed shut, the outer hatch was reopened and the three figures strode into the station.

The three battlesuits were each twice the size of a regular trooper with each boasting three times the amount of firepower. Fully enclosed, armored, and powered, the battelsuits are the pinnacle of applied military technologies in the Terran Federation arsenal.

The unit was led by Strike Commander Stieg who hefted a rapid-fire laser rifle with underslung grenade launcher. He was flanked by two veterans each with their own loadouts. The first had shoulder mounted micro-missile launchers and the second wielded a large caliber chaingun fed via an ammunition hopper on the exo-suit's back.

The hordes poured forth as the battlesuits unloaded on them. Explosions and spent-uranium tipped rounds tore the xenos apart, laser bolts sliced through multiple targets at once, but they came on still. Relentless. Mindless.

Sensor readings inside the gunboat showed two items of concern; firstly, the corridor leading to the airlock where the battle was currently taking place was beginning to become structurally unsound due to the large amounts of acidic blood eating through the bulkhead. Secondly, spurred on by the combat, vast numbers of xenos movement were shown to be heading directly toward the battlesuit squad's position. The team had barely made it ten meters into the station before they encountered the unstoppable wall of xenos.

They fell back to the hatch, releasing salvo after salvo of their combined arms into the horde. The only thing slowing the xenos down were the bodies of their own kind. This bit of reprieve however allowed the battelsuit team to successfully get back into their own airlock. Once their boots mag-locked onto the deck the gunboat fired its rear thrusters before disconnecting from the side of the station, purposefully tearing itself away from the already weakened hatch. The safety systems kicked in almost immediately, sealing off the rest of the station from the vacuum of space, the xenos inside the corridor however were swept out into the void.

The gunboat wheeled around and cut in its thrusters as it sped towards the bulk of the military frigate waiting just outside Station Bernardino 97a's gravity well. A new plan was going to have to be devised.


  1. Kick-ass write-up!
    "A new plan..."? I say we nuke 'em from orbit: it's the only way to be sure

  2. Great write-up!
    I found the trick to THW rules was to start small.. No more than 5 models a side and no special rules. You will understand the base game very quickly as it's actually quite simple. The more extra stuff you add early, the harder it is to remember the "flow" ..Because it is unlike games you would be used to.

  3. Thanks guys! I had set out to do a more tradtional turn-based AAR, but once I got carried away with the flavor text I couldn't stop.

    Actually, I just one more paragraph in the middle to help transition to the action a little better.

    @Spacejacker: Thanks for the tip, we're still plodding along so I'm willing to give it my due diligence, you know? I just now signed up to your blog, it looks awesome at first glance! Out of curiosity why do you use CR3.0 instead of 5150?

  4. Ah, good question. I went on the yahoo group and it seemed to indicate that CR3 is in fact a more recent ruleset than 5150 and addressed some of the issues in it. I also felt that I would be buying a lot of pre-gen stuff that was of no interest to me if I got 5150. Personally the less detailed weapons system doesn't bother me either.. So coupled with the price tag (free) I decided to stick with Cr3. Also, I bought Cr2 a long time ago and couldn't work it out.. So I feel like I've paid my dues :)

  5. Solid answer, and has got me thinking. Maybe I can find some kind of happy medium between the two?