Starforged: Valentin Sikorski (Session 3)

Session 3 of my Ironsworn: Starforged actual play journal. We learn a bit more about Valentin’s lost mentor Yelena. Valentin is offered the promised job and given a plan. He is also introduced to a new connection and tested in a battle.

Details about truths, character and the starting sector.

Flashback: Lost

A screen shows a silent video stream, most likely a security cam footage from a corridor. People and droids are passing by, a busy day. Yelena Volkov enters the frame and walks towards a door. She rings, waits and enters. The daily routine of a courier. The stream is fast-forwarded. Nobody leaves the place for around 30 minutes. Finally, a tall guy with wide shoulders, wearing a long coat, with his head covered by a hoodie, exits the door. A utility droid follows him and drags a wheeled container. Suspiciously big for a piece of travel luggage. Big enough to fit a person. As the man watches the bot and makes sure the container gets from the room, a courier droid whizzes into the picture tries to avoid running into the container and partially hits the man. His hoodie falls down from his head. He is facing away from the camera. We can only see his bald head with a circle-shaped tattoo behind his left ear.

The next job

I stare at the screen over Julio’s shoulder. “I don’t understand Julio, why are you showing me this recording. I have seen it 100 times. I had to, it’s the only clue I have about Yelena’s disappearance.”

“I just think it’s gonna be good to refresh your memory.” He spends some time zooming in the frozen frame on the screen, adjusting and enhancing it until we see a relatively clear picture of the tattoo. It’s a thick, black circle broken into shards.

“And now look at this.” He shows a design of an exosuit. Looks high-tech, made for combat. Some kind of military technology. And in the middle of the chest is the same symbol. Shattered circle.

Julio has been searching for the symbol in various pieces of data for months. This is the first time he has found it. In a design file which is part of a secret contract, hidden among hundreds of similar ones in the data cube I have delivered.

“This,” he points to the slightly glowing cube in his reader, “is a data leak from a huge military tech factory in the Selena station. It’s a big settlement in this sector which specializes in such production. But not many know how to get there. Part of their security protocols is that only known and trusted know the way. They run their own supply lines and they pick up their post if you know what I mean.”

I did, data couriers are not delivering to that place.

“The problem is, there’s not that much in this data leak. It’s all redacted, perhaps extracted by an employee with low access. Not enough details about the buyer or when and where is it going to be shipped. We would need to get there and do the job properly if you know what I mean.” He winks.

“So the job you have been talking about yesterday is about infiltrating the station and extracting more data.”

“Exactly. Apart from the details about this contract, you could be so kind to help out uncle Julio and bring some juicy, valuable data. There’ll be plenty.

He knew what my answer going to be. It’s the first clue in years since Yelena disappeared.

I hold my pendant in my hand and nod. And he starts wildly laughing. “Happy to hear that Vincent. Wasn’t sure, if you gonna trust me on this one. It’s a bigger job. Take your time, and prepare well. Also, I believe you’ll need a backup, I might know someone reliable who owes uncle Julio a favour.”

The plan

Julio’s plan is as follows:

  • Hire certain Kayla Nadir as a backup. She is supposed to owe him.
  • Steal identification codes and location of the Selena station from one of their supply ships.
  • Find the way to Selena. It’s still going to be up to me to find the right drifts.
  • Use the identification codes to land there. Gather more information about the facility.
  • Infiltrate the facility and get deep enough to access their internal high-security network.
  • Hack in, download the data.
  • Get back safely.

Kayla Nadir

I am used to doing those jobs on my own, but it’s certainly handy to have a backup. Someone who can help me to get out when things go bad.

When I buzzed on Kayla’s door, she opened it and let me in. She was a surprisingly youthful person.

“So you are Valentin, Julio told me about you. The name is Kayla, but call me Crash. Cute cat, by the way.”

She wore grey mundane clothes and a beaten armour. A handgun tucked in a holster on her leg. She sat down on a couch and put her legs on a table. I couldn’t overlook a big pulse rifle laying on the table.

“Sit down, what’s the job. And what’s the pay. I owe Julio a favour, but I still get paid.”

I told her just the most important details. It’s not necessary to disclose everything at this moment. I watched her face and I didn’t forget to pay attention to Jones. His fur was changing colours quite rapidly.

She nodded. “You forgot something.”

I took a small platinum ingot from my pocket and threw it on the table.

“Another one after the job.”

Suddenly, a loud alarm sounds from outside. Kayla jumps up and grabs her rifle. Several explosions can be heard and everything starts shaking.”Those fucking scrap bandits again! It’s not even a week since they attacked the last time.”

She looks at me. “Well, you want me to cover your back? Show me that you can cover mine.” She opens a locker and throws me another pulse rifle. “Come on with me, they always fire a few barrages and then they board around the main storage area. We are going to help to defend.” and she runs out of the room.

“Well Jones, apparently we are fighting some bandits. But you stay here.”


The station shakes under explosions. People are running in all directions. Some are trying to hide, and others are preparing to defend the station. Kayla knows the way so we arrive at the storage deck in a couple of minutes.

As we take the last turn, a huge room opens in front of us. Shipping containers are stacked around walls. Cranes and other loading machinery are idle and unused. We can clearly see an electric arc of a plasma cutter almost finishing a black rectangular cut in one of the walls.

I nod at Kayla and we hide behind some metal containers. The plan is to take them by surprise as they enter.

The plasma cutter finishes the rectangle. After a few loud bangs, the piece of the wall falls to the ground. Several people in VAC suits step into the room.

And we cover them in fire from two spots. Two of the bandits fall down. The rest hides behind the wall. We should change our positions too. I signal Kayla and try to move and hide behind another obstacle to flank them.

I hope they didn’t notice me moving. I see Kayla also moved behind a different container. From the new position, I can see more of them trying to take cover.

I place a few shots while Kayla supports me with cover fire. I think I scored some hits. Then I see a flash and cloud of smoke obscuring the area before the hole in the wall. I hear loud steps as they enter while spreading their fire over the room.

I grab a metal canister laying next to me and throw it towards the place I was firing from at the begging. It hits with a loud metal clank and suddenly they cover the area with automatic fire. I move swiftly behind one of the big shipping containers and climb up.

Higher ground helps me to spot them in the smoke. I can see a couple of them moving through the room. I am not sure where Kayla is, but I have to use the opportunity.

Few quick shots and another one is down. I move again trying to stay out of sight before they realize from where I shoot.

Safely lying on the top of another container I can observe their movements. I can also see Kayla as she is sneaking around trying to flank them. The smoke is already much thinner. I wait for her to be in the position and then aim, take a deep breath and fire.

My aim is terrible and my shots miss. This time they quickly return the fire. I press my face to the cold metal of the container as the shots are whizzing around me. But one of the bullets scratches my arm.

I have to move. I start crawling backwards to get out of their reach.

Firing stops, I jump from the container down and quietly move around it and hide behind one of the big cranes.

But I miscalculated. My assumptions about their positions were completely wrong. One of the scrap bandits was taking cover at the very same pillar I wanted to hide behind. I didn’t even notice them and he smacked me with the heel of his rifle. Everything went black for a second. I dropped my rifle.

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and opened my eyes again.

I dodge his second attempt to hit me with his rifle and place kick them into the pillar. In the corner of my eye, I see Kayla trying to get closer, perhaps to help me. And I also see how her body jerks in the middle of the movement as she gets hit by a shot. She fells out of my field of vision.

The scrap bandit swings at me again. I try to roll to the side and take out my handgun.

I dodge his attack but the gun gets stuck in the holster. Instead of elegantly landing on my feet and pointing the gun at him, I struggle a bit to get it out.

He springs in my direction. I press the trigger.

He does a nimble step to the side exactly when I press the trigger. I miss. He closes the distance and kicks the weapon out of my hand.

I try to doge and block his attacks, but I am no match for him. I don’t even know how it happens and I am on the ground and he sits on my chest. He swings to strike again.

I am starting to wish Kayla suddenly appeared and saved me. I look behind his back, smile and say with a mouth full of blood: “Finally Kayla, finish him.”

He looks over his shoulder only to see I was bluffing. That gives me enough time to get from under him. For a moment I thought I am dead.

But no, that’s not going to be that easy. As I roll to the side, I finally see Kayla again. There’s some blood on her armour but she is still coming.

As we exchange blows with the bandit, the whole room shakes again under explosion. Quite close. A few pieces of metal fly in my direction.

I dodge them. Flying debris? Really? I am starting to be mildly annoyed.

I see as Kayla is trying to sneak on him. I have to distract him so she doesn’t notice.

“Common big fella, don’t tell me you have enough. Come to Valentin.”

As he takes a step toward me getting ready to hit me in the face, Kayla hits him to kidneys.

I notice my handgun laying just a few steps next to me. I should be able to grab it while Kayla occupies him.

It’s time to end this. I press the trigger.

Two shots. One of them pierces his body and he falls. The other bounces from his shoulder plate and hits Kayla.

“Oh my god. I am sorry.”

“So I got shot twice in one fight. Awesome…” She is a bit pale. She stumbles.

I take out the basic medkit I have on me and try to stop the bleeding.

I have to use all I have left in my medkit but I manage to stop the bleeding. Enough to give me time to find help and medical attention for both of us.

The attack ended and I found a few people who helped me to carry Kayla to the local clinic. Medical personnel was very busy tending to all the wounded. This place has terrible medical care normally. Now it’s going to be only worse.

They did patch my wounds and bruises, but it didn’t really help. While Kayla was getting her wounds treated, I checked on Jones and the ship. Jones was fine. But Orca got some hits during the attack.

[Withstand damage -1]

This wasn’t a good day. My newly acquired backup got shot. I am beaten, have lost a few things and even the ship got damaged. Certainly, nothing to feel happy about. At least Jones is fine.

The next day I go check up on Kayla. She is already at her place drinking whisky with Julio.

“Hey, the one guy who shot me and lived,” she laughs.”I can see why you need someone to cover your back. You suck at fighting.” She pours me a drink. “Sit.”

I sit down and take a drink.

“It should be obvious, that I need some time to heal a bit before I can support you. Either you need to start without me, or you have to wait a bit,” she says. Then she takes another sip and smiles. “But it was fun. Let me tell again, Julio, how I had to save his ass.”

She was right, I also needed a bit of time to recover. I did struggle to get some supplies. With all the attacks recently, there was a shortage of almost everything around here.

On the other hand, I was lucky and found a ship mechanic to help me with the ship. Kayla asked around and didn’t forget to mention that she saved my ass while we were fighting the bandits. But people were more interested in helping when they learned I was fighting along their side.