Old Friends and Old Wounds
After landing on a Rim world and entering a bar, Chen is confronted by an ex-Browncoat aware of her cowardice under fire. A short brawl ensues with the woman challenging the captain to the Annual Desert Wind Race. Wu must ultimately sacrifice chance to win in order to save woman that challenged her in the first place. On completing race, Wu has proven her moral fiber enough that the woman is grateful enough to provide a clue to the Blue Sun as a reward.
Not long after arriving on a rim world, the bulk of, or all, the PCs are relaxing in a bar. A natty woman confronts a PC with a Branded complication. The PC is free to try to avoid this fight, but the woman is relentless. The brawl will ideally be just the PC and the woman, but it can be as large or as small as the GM wants it to be. Regardless if woman wins or loses, she challenges the PC to the Annual Desert Wind Race to really prove her mettle. With no room to wiggle, the character has to accept. A check of the Cortex easily finds that the race is with three-wheeled, open sled, sail powered vehicles over a 500 mile course running before the leading edge of a Khamsim-like sand storm through an unforgiving desert. Race is grueling and dangerous, requiring several skill tests. In a typical year, of the 50 riders that start the race, only 20 or so finish and of those that fail to complete the race, it is not unusual for only half of them to survive.
Since the PCs do not have a wind sled, the ex-Browncoat provides an old one. A mechanic will have to make a Heroic INT + Mechanical Engineering roll to get the sled refurbished by the time of the race. This is a hidden roll as the results will affect all rolls made by the driver during the race. Each level missed by the mechanic adds a level of difficulty to all driving tasks.
The leading edge of the sandstorm winds drives the wind sleds at 50 MPH making the race a ten hour event. Each hour requires an Average AGL + ground vehicle roll to stay on course and ahead of the sandstorm itself. If the driver missed an Average roll, the PC will be caught in the front edge of storm. This requires a Hard AGL + ground vehicle roll to maintain control of the sled. Character also has to make a VIT roll versus D6 stun damage due to the power of the storm. Failing the second driving roll causes the sled to flip over resulting in D10 stun damage from the crashed (reduced by seat belts, roll cage, and helmets). PC will also sustain D8 stun per hour caught in the storm and all driving rolls are one level harder. If PC has crashed and can not escape the storm an Average INT + Survival roll will reduce this damage to D4 stun. If the character hasn’t crashed, the only way to get ahead of the storm and thus avoiding this damage, is to make a Heroic AGL + ground vehicle roll to catch one of the eddies in the storm and get back in front of the storm.
While the race is going on, a PC can make an Average AGL + Stealth to reach a sheltered Cortex node to attempt to access the Blue SUn etwork externally. Normally this is a Heroic level INT + Hacking roll, but using the authentication algorithm, this becomes a Hard task. A second roll will copy Flannery's communication logs. Another Average AGL + Stealth roll is needed to remain unseen while leaving he Cortex node. It will take one more Hard INT + Hacking roll to yield the name of Flannery's boss and the primary Blue Sun employee, one Phillip Keystone on Greenleaf.
In hour seven (plot points if necessary to keep character in race this far), PC must roll Easy ALE + Perception to notice woman that issued the challenge flip. PC has to make an Average AGL + ground vehicle roll to tack over to the crash site. She is conscious, but has a broken leg. It will take a Hard STR + Athletics to lift the woman onto the character’s sled. An Average INT + Mechanical Engineering roll to jury rig the sled’s harness for two. Finally another Hard AGL + ground vehicle roll to get started again before being overtaken by the storm. Use above rules for control, staying ahead of the storm, and affects of being caught for rest of race. The added weight of the second rider makes it impossible for Wu to win the race. Regardless if PC finishes or rides out the storm with the woman, PC will have proved her courage. As woman is being led to Med station, she calls character over to say. “I guess what they're sayin' about you isn't as factual as I've been told. God knows I'da never believed if it I hadn't seen it my own self. This ain't much, but it comes from the heart.” At this point the woman presses a silver and turquoise necklace into the PC's hand. It is patterned on something once known on Earth-That-Was called a squashed blossom and was common to the Native Americans of the Southwestern United States. The necklace is worth €200 and the PC clearly can not give it back without offending the apologizing woman.