In Part II I talked about the PCs of the Side Story.
In Part III I gave you some background, and pre-campaign history of the Paradise Fleet universe.
Now we can address the campaign itself...
Synopsis: Main Story
The Main Story PCs' home, and headquarters - A Corporation Alliance Light Cruiser.
Our campaign opened with the Player Character Mecha Squadron, accompanied by some NPC Mecha Pilots and support craft, flying at high speed through space on approach to an unexplored planet.
Communications went back and forth between the squadron's command ship, a Corporation Alliance Light Cruiser, and the team letting them know what sensors had revealed about the planet they were heading for. The planet was terrestrial, but hot, with large expanses of rocky desert and dusty mesa. There were very few large, standing bodies of water; nothing like an ocean on Earth had been detected. Small seas, and lakes were scattered across the surface. There was a thin atmosphere, lighter than Earth gravity, some flora, and little fauna.
The group banters about how sick they are of encountering useless balls of rock, and dust. "At least this one isn't frozen solid", says someone. "Or on fire", cracks another. The NPC commander tells them to quiet down and keep it together. There could be some much needed resources down there, and it was their job to make sure the survey team can land in a safe place.
There was a mood of mild tension at the unspoken implication that although they haven't yet encountered any intelligent life, there remained the possibility that they were not alone, and the others might not be friendly.
The mecha squadron rocketed towards the atmosphere as the support ships, mainly research, and mining survey craft, fell back and entered planetary orbit. Seconds later re-entry caused heat, and flames to lick across the heat shielding of the robots. They descended toward the planet's surface, 'skating' across a wide expense of desert with their foot mounted vernier thrusters. Up ahead, they could see a series of low, rocky hills. Many of these hills were covered with crystalline speleothem-like formations (such as stalactites, and stalagmites).
Going in for a closer look, and hoping the crystals were similar to the type they needed for their energy weapons and force field generators, the pilots were startled, and their mecha damaged by a sudden, surprise attack! The crystal spines that had formed on the hills launched off, flew through the air at high speed, and pierced through the armor of some of the mechs.
As the team members scrambled to figure out what had happened, one of the hills 'unrolled' itself into a monstrous, Kaiju-sized creature with rock-like, armor plated skins. Then another did the same. Then another...
This was the gist of many of our sessions - the team of Mecha Pilots and their highly advanced humanoid machines would land on a mysterious planet and deal with whatever that world had going on. Maybe giant rock monsters were protecting important crystal deposits. Perhaps vital water, or food supplies were found on a planet about to be wrecked by a geological disaster, and the heroes had to race against time to get what they needed.
In addition to the aforementioned situations, the PCs heroes had to deal with a variety of other obstacles, and enemies. Key among these were dangers from planetary bodies, and other astrophysical issues, as well as renegade elements within the fleet.
The latter became an issue around the third, or fourth session and continued throughout the campaign. Dissident groups within the Combined Operations Space Fleet periodically let their differences of opinion be known by attacking the PC group, the command ships, or disrupting various operations.
At one point it seemed that a particular band of renegades was actually on the trail of the big secret, but their understanding of what was really going on seemed to differ (see the Side Story) from that of the main PC team..On a few occasions the Main Squadron PCs, and the Renegade Squadron PCs crossed paths. At least twice they teamed up. At least once they fought.
Occasionally, the Main Mecha Squadron would encounter a sentient alien species, such as the iron age lizard-frog beings the team met on a dying swamp world, or the mid-20th century, um, things that captured them in an Area 51 type situation. Very Star Trek.
Before long the PCs uncovered a few major, reoccurring plot elements.
First, they met an intelligent alien species with technology slightly more advanced then their own called the Michians (a play on Michi No, Japanese for 'Unknown').
These cold yet curious, almost 'knowledge hungry' humanoids were like a cross between Vulcans, and capricious Fae. They were seeking information, and artifacts belonging to an ancient civilization of beings far more advanced then either Humans, or Michians. The ancient ones, long since gone from our cosmos, may yet remain, albeit in a different form...
The big reveal - discovered only after piecing together numerous clues, hints, and some serious digging - was that the anomaly that transported Paradise Fleet across the galaxy was actually a gestalt consciousness of the ancients! Specifically, the anomaly was formed from all of the psychic energy connected to the species' positive emotions - compassion, hope, altruism, etc.
The gestalt entity had arranged the original cease fire between the three interstellar governments, and set up the formation of Paradise Fleet as a means of getting the peoples of the three nations to work together. When that didn't seem to be working, the entity transported the Combined Operations Space Fleet to the other end of the galaxy so that they would be forced to unite in order to survive.
There appeared to be an additional reason as well...
There existed a second entity, a dark reflection of the first one made of negative emotions, and out to ensure the destruction of the Paradise Fleet, and the positive natured anomaly.
More still on the way...