The Mysterious Artifact of the Draco System

Dr Zahn studied the strange alien machinery beneath the ancient tower rebuilt by the Zenithians, his brilliant mind running through calculations of obscure mathematics faster than any computer less than 9 stories tall. He had to work quickly, the parylyso-gas would only last for a short while and Imperial reinforcements were sure to arrive soon. While the energy flow indicators meant this must be but one of numerous such devices with some distant control centre this one had been focussed on by the Saucermen for a reason. There it was! His keen eyes spotted where the careful application of an interference substance had been applied to some of the stone in order to deactivate part of the originally intended circuitry within the lattice matrix of the stone. The Zenithians had in effect reprogrammed the device. Probably it was a device intended to create some special form of stable wormhole, possibly in order to increase the effective lifespan of the ancient star. The Zenithians had changed it to turn it into something altogether more dangerous, at best a Weapon of Cosmic Destruction and at worst something altogether less imaginable. Just switching the device off would be no good if the singularity was already forming, it might slow the growth of the black hole but it wouldn’t stop it. Instead he calculated the best option would be to allow the ancient devices self-regulating stone circuitry programming into effect. He carefully mixed the chemical ingredients to dissolve the interference and set the chemical grenade on a medium fuse, just long enough to drag the paralysed guards to safety….

Mere minutes after the grenade had gone off spraying the chemical that dissolved the Zenithian sabotage away a great massive structure emerged from underneath a gigantic sand filled crater on the neighbouring sunward planet Parva Draco, a huge stone structure that defied all the known laws of physics as it swiftly flew into space leaving a trail of falling sand in an arc that fell all the way back to the planet. The machinery of the Ancients was now activated!

On Monday Brylan, one of Taphyl’s brothers, was back in town after spending some time overseas so I joined the guys to hang out for the afternoon. There had been talk of playing some Warhammer 40,000 but Brylan asked if we could play War Rocket instead. Luckily Taphyl had asked me to bring my stuff in case of such a possibility. Brylan had played the Space Pirates before but this time decided to try the Galacteers. Taphyl decided to again play the Zenithians and of course I played the Empire. I’d not brought my camera though so one of theirs was used.

We set the battlefield up together. The ice rings of Dormientes Draco have grown thicker, and Taphyl provided the strange ancient artefact. The perfect objective for the game. The goal: The Imperial patrol, having just finished guarding the ship collecting the survivors of the last battle before intending to head to investigate the damage done to the Watch Station by the Space Pirates (see last battle report) have been alerted to the massive strange stone structure now in a stable orbit near the planet Parva Draco and have delayed the mission to the watch-station to give the stone construct a quick flyby when astro-radar detects two incoming fleets both of whom need to be kicked out of Imperial-claimed territory! Meanwhile alerted to the Zenithian cause of the looming galactic disaster the Galacteers are trying to stop a Zenithian task force intent on boarding and destroying the giant artefact!

This time it's me in the background having just deployed the Imperial ships

This time it’s me in the background having just deployed the Imperial ships

The Imperial patrol completes it's flyby of the strange giant stone device

The Imperial patrol completes it’s flyby of the strange giant stone device

The Zenithian fleet bent on destroying the ancient device now interfering with their mysterious plans enter visual range

The Zenithian fleet bent on destroying the ancient device now interfering with their mysterious plans enter visual range

The Imperial fleet moves slowly and cautiously ahead, not wanting to get too close to the ice-rings of Dormientes where the saucers would have the advantage, and the saucers race in… straight away the class 2 saucer enters the dangerous but shielding ice rings of the planet. and what’s this that now enters on the flank near the Imperial Patrol?

A Galacteer class 2 Supernova! (without tailfins because these Galacteers are mine and i haven't got around to gluing them on)

A Galacteer class 2 Supernova! (without tailfins because these Galacteers in this game are mine and I haven’t got around to gluing them on at the time we played)

As i lurk in the background Brylan sends two Galacteer Class1 Comets in to attack the Saucers

As I lurk in the background Brylan sends two Galacteer Class1 Comets in to attack the Saucers

While the third Comet heads right toward the Imperial force

While the third Comet heads right toward the Imperial force

The Galacteers launch their offensive

The Galacteers launch their offensive

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Dice roll…

Taphyl and Brylan use their own dice, Taphyl's one in the background is made from actual jade!

Taphyl and Brylan use their own dice, Taphyl’s one in the background is made from actual jade!

And a saucer is stunned!

And a saucer is stunned!

The Comets near the saucers maintain their position to try and finish off the stranded saucer before it can be repaired. The Class 2 saucer continues it’s traverse of the ice rings of Dormientes. Responding to the intrusion in space claimed by the empire my Scorpions dive in to attack the Supernova and the Comet responds to that threat… but the whole while the other two class 1 Saucers remain inactive…

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My attack and the attacks on the saucer fail, but

Pew-pew-pew... as the Scorpion reaches point blank range it's raked by a devestating slew of raybeams... and the first Rocket out of the fight is one of my Scorpions! Also how nice is it to have a d10 with a 10 for a 10 instead of a zero for a 10! Apparently it's from a recent official dungeons and dragons dice set.

Pew-pew-pew… as the Scorpion reaches point blank range it’s raked by a devastating slew of raybeams… and the first Rocket out of the fight is one of my Scorpions! Also how nice is it to have a d10 with a 10 for a 10 instead of a zero for a 10! Apparently it’s from a recent official dungeons and dragons dice set.

3 rockets get a delayed action from the last turn. An Imperial Scorpion uses it to manoeuvre into a better future position.

The blue counter is where the Scorpion moved from as it tries to intercept the likely flightpath of the Supernova

The blue counter is where the Scorpion moved from as it tries to intercept the likely flightpath of the Supernova

The Saucers use theirs to deal with the swift Comets.

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The slippery saucers slide around the rockets that were shooting them and blast a Comet right out of the starry sky!

The slippery Saucers slide around the rockets that were shooting them and blast a Comet right out of the starry sky!

On one side of the board my Scorpion goes round the asteroids and heads for a Saucer with a Comet right behind both the Scorpion and the Saucer. Meanwhile the Supernova races for the strange artefact and the Beta-Z class 2 saucer reaches the other edge of the ice-ring.

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Brylan hoping for a dramatic and cinematic clash of the four rockets in the middle of their path elects not to shoot either the Alpha-z Saucer or Scorpion. But then Taphyl (who consistently won the initiative roll-off with my Scorpions almost the entire game I should point out) spoilt this by sending his saucer off out of the way after my Raptor. The Beta-z Saucer makes it most of the way to the mysterious artefact, but the Galacteer Supernova has got their first!

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“Sergeant, what’s inside there?”

“No sign of life Commander, though everythings open as if expecting people. Light is low but tolerable, the air is steamy and humid, like a hot jungle. And everythings made of stone or crystal.”

“Find yourselves a good defensive position, we have Saucers and Imperials incoming so you might have to fight-off boarders to claim this for the Free Galaxy. Good luck Sergeant!”

As last game I’d improvised some rules for leaving troops behind after boarding we decided that in this case the hatches weren’t sealed so only docking would be needed and Brylan wisely elected to have some Galacteer soldiers guard the artefact from the inside forcing anyone else to have to board and overpower the guards to achieve their ends!

The forces all start rushing towards the artefact

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note the dice that’s been placed on the artefact to show a boarding party from a class 2 rocket are inside.

The Saucers try and take out the Supernova and the Comets to whittle down the saucers

The Saucers try and take out the Supernova and the Comets to whittle down the saucers

The reamainiong Zenithians attack one of my Scorpions

The remaining Zenithians attack one of my Scorpions

But the attacks are all ineffective!

My Imperial rockets surrounded by swifter more agile rockets make use of the delayed action phase! The Raptor manages to reach it's intended target, but the Scorpion doesn't. As the Comets are right now also a threat to the saucers i elect to leave the comets unshot for now...

My Imperial rockets surrounded by swifter more agile rockets make use of the delayed action phase!

The Raptor manages to reach it's intended target, but the Scorpion doesn't. As the Comets are right now also a threat to the saucers i elect to leave the comets unshot for now...

The Raptor manages to reach it’s intended target, but the Scorpion doesn’t.
As the Comets are right now also a threat to the saucers I elect to leave the comets un-shot for now…

Ka-Boom! The greatest threat to the strange artifact is destroyed! I cheer as my Raptor usually ends up absorbing lots of enemy fire while my Scorpions do the shooting so it was great to get a good solid kill from the Raptor!

Ka-Boom! The greatest threat to the strange artefact is destroyed! I cheer as my Raptor usually ends up absorbing lots of enemy fire while my Scorpions do the shooting so it was great to get a good solid kill from the Raptor!

But the Imperial commander swiftly regrets his act of sparing the Comet as the Galacteers show themselves to be warriors without honour as they turn on the Imperial Rockets!

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While an Alpha-z saucer tries to board the Artefact. We are using the boarding rules now instead of docking because with Galacteers on board there’s opposition and locked hatches to get through.

The saucers again try and kill the Scorpion

The saucers again try and kill the Scorpion

The Galacteers try and take out the Raptor, a Scorpion responds to this dishonorable act!

The Galacteers try and take out the Raptor, a Scorpion responds to this dishonourable act!

The Galacteer Supernova is stunned by the Scorpion

The Galacteer Supernova is stunned by the Scorpion

While the Raptor is wrecked!

While the Raptor is wrecked!

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Down to just two Scorpions! The aim of driving these interlopers out of space declared part of the Empire is going to be difficult!

But none of the attacks destroy their targets

But none of the attacks destroy their targets

The Galacteers try and stop the saucer trying to board the Artifact

The Galacteers try and stop one of the saucers trying to board the Artefact

And another clone from the 7th dimension is blasted out of dimensions 1 to 3 and given a measurement in the 4th!

And another clone from the 7th dimension is blasted out of dimensions 1 to 3 and given a measurement in the 4th!

The scorpions continue to hound the Supernova which also comes under attack from an Alpha-x saucer (we hadn't finished putting the hit counters down)

The scorpions continue to hound the Supernova which also comes under attack from an Alpha-z saucer (we hadn’t finished putting the hit counters down)

Despite the best jinking and weaving the agile class 2 rocket could do the might of the Empire has been brought down upon the Galacteer Supernova! And with it perhaps the troops on the Artifact may have just become trapped!

Despite the best jinking and weaving the agile class 2 rocket could do the might of the Empire has been brought down upon the Galacteer Supernova! And with it perhaps the troops on the Artefact may have just become trapped!

Round and round the artefact the rockets whirl, as the saucers move from hatch to hatch launching attempts to board while the Galacteers for now seem more intent on the Empire than the Zenithians!

Alpha-z's and Comets beam ray after ray at the Scorpion

Alpha-z’s and Comets beam ray after ray at the Scorpion

And even the mighty hull of the Scorpion can take only so much! Perhaps the pilot has blacked out from all the heat of so may raybeams?

And even the mighty Scorpion can take only so much! While the armour is intact for now the massive amount of heat-energy imparted by all the rays have caused the pilot to lose consciousness from heatstroke!

Round and round the artifact the rockets whirl, as the saucers move from hatch to hatch launching attempts to board while the Galacteers for now seem more intent on the Empire than the Zenithians!

The Comets try and finish off the Scorpion but it survives their blasts and the Rocket recovers!

Then one of the few turns I get initiative over the Zenithians they of course run away. Though the Comets take a try on them.

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but the slippery saucers avoid the shots

The Alphas go after my Scorpions

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As do the Comets

Surrounded by faster more agile enemies at nearly point-blank range I opt to hold position in order to get a delayed action token for next turn. Surprisingly the Zenithians do likewise leaving the Galacteers to blast away..

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Everyone is down to two units each, but the Galacteers have troops on the strange stone artefact of the ancients. Brylan’s blue dice clatters across the dining room table…

Oh no! Waiting for the perfect shot this brave Imperial pilot's luck has run out and that perfect shot will never come.

Oh no! Waiting for the perfect shot this brave Imperial pilot’s luck has run out and that perfect shot will never come.

Down to one last rocket! The single lone pilot is left in sole command of himself for the first time since birth. He could just aim for the nearest border to the Empire and flee… but while his family mourned him as if he were already dead the day he became a Scorpion pilot the Empire had given him monthly reports and photos of how his family were doing. Keeping his attachment to them strong even as they went on with life without him. If he fled and it was found out he knew his whole family would suffer, but if he stayed loyal and died a hero they would prosper and be happy. And if by some miracle he lived then one day he could return to them, the rebirth as if from the dead, that which few Scorpion pilots achieved but all strove for. Thus the Empire guarantees the loyalties of those left in charge of such a valuable and powerful asset. The pilot readied a turn around the Artefact to get those Galacteers.. but before he had time to start his manoeuvre the Zenithian Alpha-Z saucers blurred into motion!

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The Alpha-z’s hit the Galacteer Comet from behind in their sudden swift attack! Pouring distinctive green rays into the small rocket! (we had a discussion about how cool it would be to have blast counters colour-coded for fleets and green seemed the most appropriate for the saucers, so perhaps one day…)

And another Galacteer is gone! The Zenithian numbers are now a big big problem! Can the Imperial pilot and Galacteer pilot stave off their desire to control this star system long enough to stop the Saucermen from destroying the strange artifact that may be needed to save the entire galaxy?

And another Galacteer is gone! The Zenithian numbers are now a big big problem! Can the Imperial pilot and Galacteer pilot stave off their desire to control this star system long enough to stop the Saucermen from destroying the strange artefact that may be needed to save the entire galaxy?

Side by side the bitter rivals fly to defeat the inter-dimensional invaders! A brief salute from enemy to enemy through rocket windows as they acknowledge each other is at least more similar to themselves than the clones they go to kill. They fire their rays at the nearest Alpha-Z…

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Because we are each contributing the same number of hit counters Brylan and I roll off to see which of us will roll for the damage, and it’s me. I roll my dice…

Stunned! The combined attack blasts a hole in the saucer and the pilot is vulnerable while they rush to plug leaks of precious atmosphere!

Stunned! The combined attack blasts a hole in the saucer and the pilot is vulnerable while they rush to plug leaks of precious atmosphere!

We try to finish the vile invader off

but the shot fails to finish them off!

but the shot fails to finish them off!

The saucer flies to the nearest hatch and both saucers keep trying to get a successful boarding action underway and for two more turns the combined attacks of Galacteers and the Empire are unsuccessful (and the pics are blurry)

Till finally, with Brylan winning the roll-off to roll for damage the combined attack shreds the saucer scattering bits of exotic alien technology in a great cloud of shrapnel!

Till finally, with Brylan winning the roll-off to roll for damage the combined attack shreds the saucer scattering bits of exotic alien technology in a great cloud of shrapnel!

One of each faction left now! The last Aplpha-Z, bent on cold rational vengeance, uses a delayed action to swing right around the artefact and attack the comet!

And the Comet is stunned!

And the Comet is stunned!

But this means that the Scorpion still gets to move. And it strikes at the Alpha-z!

And the result is a turn of extra vulnerability for the Saucer!

And the result is a turn of extra vulnerability for the Saucer!

But… my luck wasn’t up to the task and it survived. Again the Saucer makes an attempt to board the Artefact. My Scorpion lines up a direct attack with the Comet falling in right behind..

Treachery! The Galacteers throw all sense of camaraderie away and rather than continue to blast away at the saucer the last noble Imperial pilot is blown out of the skies! It is acts like these that show that there can never be Imperial/Galacteer peace until the aggressive and treacherous Earthlings are conquered and held to the Pax Marduk

Treachery! The Galacteers throw all sense of camaraderie away and rather than continue to blast away at the saucer the last noble Imperial pilot is blown out of the skies! It is acts like these that show that there can never be Imperial/Galacteer peace until the aggressive and treacherous Earthlings are conquered and held to the Pax Marduk

It’s now between the Galacteers and Zenithians now, as Taphyl again is thwarted by the difficulty of using such a small rocket in a boarding action while Brylan’s Galacteer strikes again.

The saucer is stunned. Can the Galacteer Comet take it down alone?

The saucer is stunned. Can the Galacteer Comet take it down alone?

Pew-pew-pew KA-BOOM! The Zenithian attempt to destroy the artifact has been thwarted!

Pew-pew-pew KA-BOOM!
The Zenithian attempt to destroy the artifact has been thwarted!

The Imperial craft dealt with and the Zenithian attack prevented the Galacteers are in control of the artefact. Back on Dormientes Dr Zahn covers up any evidence of what he has done to change the function of the device back to it’s original settings to hinder the chances any but the most brilliant Imperial Scientists will figure out how to use it as a weapon and makes ready to try and make his escape.

On the Artifact the Squad take the brief respite from fear of boarding to gather as much intelligence as they can to bring back to Dr Zahn and Ace. But the Comet pilot when he boards starts going about a secret mission of his own, given to him and a few select Galacteers without the knowledge of Dr Zahn and Ace McGuire.. a mission to take this territory from the Empire at any cost….

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10 comments on “The Mysterious Artifact of the Draco System

  1. Ah yes, the old “the enemy of my enemy suits my purposes – for the moment” gig. 😀
    “As the Comets are right now also a threat to the saucers I elect to leave the comets un-shot for now…”

  2. Hey, that is an idea, “(we had a discussion about how cool it would be to have blast counters colour-coded for fleets and green seemed the most appropriate for the saucers, so perhaps one day…)”

    • I’ve got to set some cash aside for another order from Litko, i’ll be focussing on custom activation markers for Retro Raygun, but if i have some spare cash i’ll throw in for some faction-specific blast markers 🙂

  3. Hmm, “But the Comet pilot when he boards starts going about a secret mission of his own, given to him and a few select Galacteers without the knowledge of Dr Zahn and Ace McGuire.. a mission to take this territory from the Empire at any cost”
    Something about that strikes me as being a little bit on the lutefisk side of fishy.

  4. Then again, it also kinda sounds like a Cadet geeking out.
    Hmm … Hmm … and Hmm … once more.
    On a moderately related note;
    Just ordered 4 Valkeeri support gunners and a package of Galacteer Class 1s on Hydra’s current sale prices.

  5. Brings your iceteroids to mind.

    “What they found was puzzling. For most of the giant expanse of Saturn’s rings, the models correctly predicted how the rings cooled as they fell into darkness. But one large section — the outermost of the large, main rings, called the A ring — was much warmer than the models predicted. The temperature spike was especially prominent in the middle of the A ring.”

    At Saturn, one of these rings is not like the others
    Date:
    September 3, 2015
    Source:
    NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150903120738.htm

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