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Free Sky: A Sample Throughline

This is a part of "Free Sky".

Series contents:

  1. Free Sky: Series Intro
  2. Free Sky: Ambition
  3. Free Sky: People
  4. Free Sky: Structure and Story
  5. Free Sky: A Sample Throughline

Perhaps it will help to describe the throughline of Free Sky, as experienced by the player. This is an attempt at a “user story”, describing a specific play-through.

After hiring your crew of four for the good ship Bumblebee, you contact a cargo broker you know who’s willing to deal with you “as a favor” to your rich uncle. He offers you a cargo of prospecting equipment to run out to Lucky Strike, a mining station in the Cold Belt, out beyond the Giant’s orbit. You also take on a pair of passengers to fill your spare berth.

The trip takes a week from Ferris, the population and cultural center among the warm worlds, where you have started from. During the week, you break in the crew to their duties, establish a meal and chore schedule, and break up a fight between Jack the cargo handler and Scotty the engineer. Meanwhile, the passengers are stand-offish, and keep to their cabin.

Arriving at Lucky Strike, the receiving party tries to cheat you with forged documents. Careful diplomacy and some shrewd investigation gives you an opportunity to blackmail the rat, but you risk souring the relationship with your broker. Do you save the relationship by rolling over, and risk of losing money on your first job?

Meanwhile, your passengers, after debarking, cause a ruckus. Something about the station manager’s daughter and a case full of contraband substances. Immediately you are identified as accomplice for transporting the troublemakers to the station. Do you defend yourself? Bribe the manager (with your rapidly depleting seed money)? Cut and run (and guarantee a loss on the cargo being held in escrow until an agreement can be reached?)

Later, you’re on the delta-vee away from the Lucky Strike, with a pile of goods stolen from the cheater’s warehouse, a pile of drug money stolen from your erstwhile passengers, and the station manager’s daughter occupying the extra berth. Sonya, your pilot, thinks she can get you all to Uriah, the fifth moon of Giant, with reaction mass to spare, but it’s going to be tight since you all left in such a hurry. Scotty thinks he can scrape some more efficiency out of the engines if he can… just… tweak the reaction mixture a little. Jack is complaining that “a half-share of nothin’ is still nothin’.” As you settle down in your office to figure a way out of this mess, you begin to wonder if this was such a good idea after all.

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