AMBER ZONE: A Shot (and a beer) In the Dark

Players’ Information

There’s any number of drinking establishments on “The Rock” as the planetesimal Alenzar Main is called by the colonists and prospectors who call it home. The asteroidal colony has grown over nearly a century and a half, thru boom and bust times, peace and war, to become a complex society with all the features, foibles, and “texture” of a terrestrial startown… and more.

But only one bar in Alenzar ’s low-gravity section, “The Lucky Star” is “home” to the singular individual known as “Gramps”; a legless old drunkard ex-prospector who is a living legend on The Rock and who makes his daily air tax ( he says) by telling his tall tales to newcomers and tourists, in exchange for a contribution to his bar tab and living expenses. Gramps has a one-room living compartment in the low-gee section of the station, but his waking moments are all spent at the Star.

The players meet Gramps while on a liberty from their docked ship, at said bar, and for the cost of a round of “the good stuff”, he spins them a tale of The Big Score: a haul of pure Zuchai and Cerulean crystals he found out in Alenzar’s belt one day.

Here, the tale diverges, depending on the day of the week , who’s telling the story, and the amount of his intoxication: Gramps either lost the big score in a divorce, hid it “FROM” the divorced wife, lost it in a gambling contest, or it was stolen by a prospector partner, or his ex-wife and the partner conspired to steal it, or it was lost when his prospecting ship blew up with the partner inside of it one day while he was on the hull… that’s where he lost his legs, records show.

Once, during the War, he says he hid his score and some papers proving what side of the conflict he really was on… and then he forgot where he’d hidden it. During the War, invading vacc-suited marines were breaching the inner corridors, and Gramps only had time to float his way down a few corridors to a disused bolt-hole, left over from early mining tunnel days, to hide his score and get away. Then he was arrested, beaten, and woke from a coma a week later with no memory of what had happened. Gramps searched for several years but never found it. He says he drinks to remember, for when he’s intoxicated, his memories seem sharper.

This sparks an idea in the party: get the old man just drunk enough, play old music from his youth, stage a fake emergency to convince him it’s 30 years ago and the soldiers are coming, put a loot bag in his hand, let him go, and see where he leads them. They won’t harm the man, only feed him booze and then try to re-create the illusion of the original scenario. They have agreed with Gramps to share the score with him if they can locate it, but don’t tell him the plan.

To make it work, they’ll have to disable the station power grid in one or more local sections, throwing the corridors into darkness and low gravity, so this will have to happen on the dead-watch when most people are asleep and security is in a lower state of readiness. Security will need to be distracted or delayed by some harmless diversionary tactic elsewhere on the station. There’s a museum on the colony with samples of the invading soldier’s old uniforms and armor. Some cosplay might help sell the illusion the players want to create.

Asteroid Mining

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