“New Starfinders, congratulations on graduating and becoming the new generation of this prestigious Society!”
That is how First Seeker Luwazi Elsebo, the Human leader of the Starfinder Society begins your commencement speech. She goes on to explain how you will restore the Starfinder Society to its former glory by replacing the agents lost in The Expedition.
You know that not long ago the First Seeker and near four fifths of the Starfinders went on an expedition to the Scoured Stars. They were never heard from again. Within a few months of that devastating blow, the Starfinder Society’s far flung facilities and concerns were besieged and conquered. Luwazi Elsebo was elected First Seeker and immediately began to rebuild the Society, with a large cohort of recruits processed through accelerated training - including you.
You are tasked with exploration to restore the Starfinder Society. Your first step is to report to Guidance, the network which contains the uploaded personas of notable past Starfinders. Guidance is in the Lorespire Complex, the headquarters of the Starfinder Society which is in the Ring section of Absalom Station. It is only short walk from where the graduation ceremony took place.
(For a partial list of new graduates, see PCs)
As you make your way towards Lorespire Complex, a woman’s voice comes over your individual com-links.
“Congratulations recruits, and welcome to the Starfinder Society. You are well on your way to becoming full members. You represent the Starfinder Society’s first steps in re-positioning itself at the forefront of galactic exploration. Good luck. We are all counting on you.
I am waiting for you inside the complex.”
The group got to know each other a little better on their short walk to Lorespire Complex.
As the doors to the Lorespire Complex slide open, a green holographic image of a middle-aged human woman shimmers into view at the center of the room. “Greetings,” it says. “I am Guidance. Please use the cheek swabs in the open receptacle to provide a genetic sample for Starfinder Society identification purposes. If desired, you may place your hand on the glowing panel to receive a subdermal implant further marking you as a member of the Society. The subdermal implant is not mandatory.”
Today is the commencement of your new role as a Starfinder field agent. It is our tradition, at the end of the graduation ceremony, for new graduates to present themselves to the heads of our most prominent factions and complete a task at those leaders’ behest. This allows the leaders of these groups to become familiar with all new Starfinder agents, and it provides a constant supply of agents for handling situations in our holdings on Absalom Station. While these tasks were formerly symbolic, the heavy loss of Starfinder agents in the Scoured Stars necessitates that these missions become something more. Please treat any tasks given with the gravity you would grant any other Starfinder assignment.”
Guidance then makes a sweeping hand gesture. Their comm units and computers chime with received information. Looking at it, you see the following faction descriptions:
Leader Radaszam “The Dealmaker”; Location Nyori Palisades The Acquisitives represent the result of Luwazi Elsebo’s efforts to hold the Society together by hiring mercenaries to fill the role of missing Starfinders. Many mercenaries realized that the Society was a far more lucrative venture—both monetarily and in terms of popularity—than their old line of work. The faction’s current leader, Radaszam, is concerned with maintaining the organization’s public-facing reputation, as well as the reputation and fame of those Starfinders directly serving the Acquisitives’ interests.
Leader Historia-7; Location Lorespire Complex The Dataphiles cherish information above all else, seeing themselves as the guardians of any knowledge obtained by the Starfinder Society. Their leader, Historia-7, promotes a belief in superiority through the acquisition and controlled dispersal of information. While cataloguing and data searching are necessities in this faction, the Dataphiles are known to employ less technologically savvy combat experts to procure information.
Leader Zigvigix; Location None (Downlow) The Exo-Guardians are made up of Pact Worlds citizens who are concerned for the safety of their home, and who act to ensure that safety. They believe that the best defense is a strong offense, and they work to build up a stockpile of magic and technology to deter external threats. Most of the faction’s operatives were lost in the Scoured Stars. The Exo-Guardians utilize lower-grade installations within the Pact Worlds, having lost their headquarters and many of their operations in the aftermath of the disaster.
Leader Fitch; Location The Armada (Master of Stars) The Wayfinders are Starfinders who adhere to the Society’s primary mission of exploration. The most transitory of the Society’s membership, the Wayfinders are dedicated to exploring the Vast and maintain few direct ties to the Pact Worlds. Wayfinders specialize in both exploration and first-contact scenarios, thriving on the thrill of the unknown and the monumental task of meeting new species.
They read over the descriptions and then asked Guidance if there was an order to do these or were they to do just one or all? Guidance said that there was no order but they would need to visit each faction leader. Doing so would let the faction and them get to know each other better.
They quickly decided to go see Historia-7 and The Dataphiles since they were located in Lorespire Complex.
The Lorespire Complex, home and heart of the Starfinder Society, is a striking campus dedicated to knowledge. Communal labs and historical departments study the Archives’ massive collection of artifacts and texts, gathered by generations of agents from across the galaxy. A quick search of the directory indicates Historia-7 frequents the Archives’ Cortex, a computerized matrix containing digital records of the Starfinder Society’s most prominent discoveries.
The android reclines on a raised chair and is plugged into the local infosphere when the doors open. The neural cables detach themselves from her neck as she swivels in her seat to address the new arrivals. “Greetings, Starfinders,” she says calmly. “I am Historia-7. If you are seeking a mission from me, please be aware that my request requires both discretion and speed. Do not accept it if you feel incapable of working within these parameters.”
Vree says “We can accomplish whatever you have for us. Bring it on.”
“I discovered someone recently hacked into Bluerise Tower’s computer systems and stole a large amount of sensitive data from the resident corporations. I wish to be privy to this information. I managed to trace the hacker’s location through many proxies and erased the trail so that station and corporate security should be delayed in their pursuit. This deception will not fool them for long, so you must move quickly to retrieve the data before they can recover it. I will leave you to decide what to do with the hacker afterward, but should it be feasible, I believe that person would be an asset to the Society.”
Overload and Vree asked about Bluerise Tower.
Historia-7 said it is a private office structure maintained by multiple corporations and legally protected to the point that even the station’s Stewards have difficulty entering.
(The Stewards are a group of interplanetary law enforcers and peacekeepers serving the Pact Worlds, which governs the Pact Worlds system.)
Vree asked for coordinates or an address for the hacker. Historia-7 sent them to there comm-links/datapads. The place was an apartment located in Drifter’s End.
They agreed to take the mission. Historia-7 thanked them and replugged into the Infosphere as they left her office. They went to one of the many computer terminals located in Lorespire Complex to see if they could find any more information on Bluerise Tower, Drifter’s Enda and maybe the hacked data.
Overload and Jello uncovered the following:
Bluerise Tower - The corporations that own levels in this tower have almost complete sovereignty over their territory, to the point that even the Stewards have difficulty obtaining permission to enter. The reason for this privacy is unknown, but according to official inquiries, the Bluerise Tower’s residents describe it as an anarcho-capitalist utopia. Any complaints from tenants have never made it past the corporations’ private security. In other words, they go missing and are not heard from again. It is easily one of the most if not the most valuable piece of real estate on Absalom Station.
Drifter’s End - Surrounding the Lorespire Complex, Drifter’s End earns its name by catering to alien ambassadors from newly discovered worlds, explorers, long-haul cargo crews, and spacefaring vagabonds of all sorts. Housing is cheap and temporary, bars are noisy and full of stories, and patrons looking to hire experienced scouts and first-contact specialists clog notorious “Drifter” hangouts such as the Hard Burn, Kristoff’s, and the Last Good Run. Along with Lorespire Complex, Drifter’s End is located in the Ring District of Absalom Station.
The hacker’s apartment - resembles a cement cube and may even have been built using cinder block. It has a simple floor plan of 4 rooms: living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Looks to be low-tech in the area compared to other place on Absalom Station.
They estimated it would take 20 minutes by foot to reach the hacker’s apartment. They double checked their gear and headed out.
Jello went around the back of the apartment to make sure there were not back doors. They had seen a window on the backside. Jello would keep an eye out for any escape attempt by their hacker.
The rest of the group approached from the front of the apartments. There was a long line of them in this section of Drifter’s End. Yukito stationed himself so he could have a good eye on several of the balconies in the neighborhood.
The located the exact address. There was a young man, late teens or early 20s, tending several tomato plants in plastic barrels that were sitting on an otherwise barren porch. Vree approached him and talked about his tomato plants. His name was Jubair and he lived here with his grandmother, Cerne, now that his parents were no longer around. He never said what happened to them.
Jello saw an old woman in the kitchen probably baking bread and/or cleaning things up. Jello could see a door to the right which according to the blueprints was probably the bathroom. There was another door on the left that probably led to the bedroom(s).
Vree continued talking to Jubair while Yukito used Sense Motive on Jubair. They only hinted at the real reason why they were there. When mentioned Bluerise Spire, Jubair did get nervous but they determined he was more frightened about the stories he had heard about Bluesrise than anything he may have done connected to it.
After double checking the address, Overload scanned the area for the strongest wifi signal. He determined it was coming from Ceren. He dug a but deeper and realized he has neural implants. Jubair’s grandmother. Vree telepathically asked Jello to see if she had been actively listening to their conversation with Jubair. Jello determined that she most likely knew that Jubair was talking to someone but she did not seem to be paying much attention beyond that. Vree telepathically asked Overload to search for Ceren within the law enforcement databases. He found someone matching her description had been an active operative 20-25 years ago. Overload checked the age of the neural implant and saw that it was maybe 5 years old but no more than 10. It was looking more like she was the hacker but they needed more evidence.
Overload asked Jubair if he could build him a solar lamp to provide extra light for his tomato plants. Jubair agreed. While Overload worked on the lamp, Vree talked to him about plants mostly but slipped into the conversation about if he was working (he was not), had he thought about Starfinder Society as they were looking for recruits and other small conversation. Overload finished and asked if this would work. Jubair said yes it would but did it have a switch to dim the light? Overload said I can add that. While working on the switch, he asked if Jubair had a spare extension cord. Jubair said we might but he would need to look. Jubair entered the house and began to search for an extra cord. His grandmother heard him come into the house and asked him what he was doing. She walked into the living room where he was looking through junk boxes and she saw that Vree and Kaldin were coming into the house. Ceren stopped and said Jubair, why did you not tell me you had friends over. We are being bad hosts. Welcome! Excuse me while I put on tea. Vree followed Ceren into the kitchen and asked if Ceren needed help. Ceren asked her to get the good napkins out of the drawer just to the other side of the window. They left the kitchen with the teapot, cups, bread and butter and the napkins. Vree noticed that something was off about Ceren. She was forgetting little things but would usually realize what she had forgotten and correct herself while moving about the kitchen. It was when Ceren was serving tea that really caught everyone’s attention. She gave Veluk a couple with no tea in it but it did have 2 lumps of sugar. Ceren finally realized and poured tea into his cup.
They made small talk with her. They talked about Jubair and his talent with plants. Had had gotten that from his mother. The conversation turned to the Starfinder Society and about Jubair getting a job with them. Yukito had scouted several of the apartments and saw that many were empty with their inhabitants probably at work. Hearing this info, Overload started looking through more of Ceren’s files sense he could not enter the building. He saw that she had a good sized pension. That was how Jubair did not have to work.
Vree noticed that Ceren’s eyes would get a glimmer in them when talking about the Starfinder Society. She seemed to either be having problems processing her memories or she was not being completely honest about her past. The group determined that Jubair’s parents may have been lost in the Scoured Stars incident. Neither Ceren or Jubair ever really said what happened to them.
Ceren put her teacup down on the table and said “Now, tell me why you are really here.”
Vree said that we know that someone has stolen data from the Bluerise Tower is in this apartment.
Jubair says “What? There is no one that could even attempt such a thing.” He was about to continue when Ceren said “Hold on”. They noticed that she seemed to be searching her memory…no it was her neural implant.
Ceren begins to speak: “Well, I am searching my neural implants and it seems that I have stolen those files. Though, I have no idea how I got them.
Jubair is shocked. His jaw dropped and his eyes grew huge.
Ceren continued calmly: I was a hacker in my earlier years—Some said I was one of the best of the best in my field. However, old age brought on a degenerative brain disease, which forced me into retirement. Augmentations in my brain halted the damage and keep me functional, but I still have large lapses in memory and I am no longer as capable as I once was. I must have slipped into a younger mindset, performed the hack, and well, forgotten about it. Since I cannot recall the circumstances, I am happy to give the files to the you in exchange for their aid. You see, I am guilty of stealing from Bluerise Tower, it is only a matter of time before corporate security hunts her down. And we know what Bluerise does with its problem people. I have no realistic hope of evading their agents in my current state. I have an idea. Help me in faking my death and see if Jubair could be placed under Society protection. He is innocent but to Bluerise, he is a liability.
They agree. They hatched out the following plan. Vree and Yukati would escort Jubair and Ceren around Absalom while the rest of the crew made her disappear. They would meet with the rest of the crew at a certain bridge in Jatembe Park to make the data switch. Before they left Vree and Overload tapped into the station systems to work on creating a death certificate. Vree used her law enforcement background and Kaldin gave his medical expertise to get the language just right. Yukito used his Culture skill to work on Ceren’s new identity. Vree added her law enforcement experience to create new contacts. They again offered her a job with the Starfinder Society. She said she would think about itOverload used his computer and engineering skills to create a new ID card.
Overload took all of the info and in about an hour, Ceren was pronounced dead and her new identity was created. Overload was also able to make Jubair the beneficiary of her pension so they would still get that. They would need to find a new place to live and Vree kept suggesting that they both go to see Historia-7 as they walked the long way to Jatembe Park.
Ceren, Junbair, Vree and Yukito arrived at the park a little before the rest of the crew. Yukito was sure he saw movement in the bushes on the far side of the bridge but never could get a good look at what it might be. He signaled to everyone to stay alert. Kaldin saw the movement as well and gave everyone coordinates to look towards. They saw 4 corporate thugs emerge from the foliage. The one in front of the other three had a datapad he was typing on. He shouted: ‘Excuse me, ma’am? We would like a word with you. If you could be so kind to do so, you can be on your way and be able to meet with your friends.
Vree said “Nope. She is not going anywhere near you.” They were sure that Ceren would never be seen again if she went with those thugs.
The head thug said “She has information we have been instructed to retrieve. If that is not the case, she will have to come with us.
Under whose authority replied Vree
The multicorporations of Bluerise Towers.
Vree said that the data had already been given to the Starfinder Society and she no longer had it. Her bluff worked. The head thug looked at his datapad and typed a few lines. Then he looked up and said, well I guess we have to resort to violence. Pointing at Ceren he said get her. He pulled out his pulscaster pistol and fired at Ceren, missing her.
Yukito, Vree, Veluk and Overload all shook their heads and moved into to attack with TuTulia, Jello and Kaldin close behind.
Yukito pulled Jubair off the bridge and into a bank of shrubberies. He then took a shot at the lead thug wounding him slightly. Vree covered Ceren and then rushed halfway across the bride and opened fire with her tactical semi-auto pistol and her azimuth laser pistol also hitting the lead thug. One of the thugs ran up to attack Vree with his tactical baton but he missed. Another thug fired his pulsecaster and hit her doing non-lethal damage. Veluk did a full attack and fire two shot of his Azimuth Artillery Laser taking out the thug just behind the thug leader. Overload transformed into a hover truck and rolled up beside Ceren. Open the passenger side door, he said “hop in.” Ceren smiled and gave him a nod and climbed inside. Overload backed up and soon Jubair was in the driver’s seat. “Do not attempt to steer. I got this.” Jubair was frightened and about wet himself while Ceren enjoyed every minutes of the nonstop action. She said later she had not felt this alive in 15 years. Jello ran forward and fired off trick shots hitting a thug each time he fired. Kaldin Dazed one of the thugs and they waited until he was the last one. They dropped the thugs one by one while the thugs did not do much damage to them.
They decided to stable each of the thugs and take them back to Lorespire Complex for Historia-7 and the Dataphiles to interrogate them. The group removed all of their gear except their flight suit stationwear and their personal comm-links before handing them over. Ceren agreed to come to Lorespire Complex and see about working for the Dataphiles and the Starfinder Society at large.
Historia-7 thanked them and said we have rooms where you may rest after completing this mission. I know you have more faction leaders to meet but you deserve a rest after what you have done. I will send a service robot with your compensation this afternoon.
About an hour later, rudimentary courier robot arrived at their room and presented them with a gift box. Instead was a standard datajack and 200 credits. A simple electronic message from Historia-7 indicates that the datajack is a token of thanks from the Dataphiles. The box also contained a a frostbite-class zero rifle. The rifle is an old acquisition of Ceren’s that Jubair found while cleaning out the family house. A message from Ceren said that you all could use this more I can now.
Vree sold the extra gear including the a frostbite-class zero rifle. They then split the credits. Over a light meal they discussed which faction they would visit next.