Spinward Star, LLP

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River of Stone

After an uneventful night, the expedition sets out once more. Kelso theorizes that it will take them about three days to reach the so-called “path of gods.” A discussion is held regarding trying to scan the area for Lorain’s father’s DNA, but the realization that any such samples are many weeks old causes them to mostly abandon the effort here.

The first day away from the native settlement of Adlanayra is fairly uneventful although Kelso realizes some hours into the trip that they’ve deviated off the proper route for a bit. After yelling at Hal, the forward scout, for not using his inertial compass (which was eaten by the metal ants earlier), the expedition gets back on track. Fortunately, that night is just as uneventful, though without their fusion generator, the expedition is now definitely roughing it … or at least as “roughing it” as they can with such advanced technology as their pressure tents.

Day two of the swamp expedition is equally boring but that evening is less so. Shortly after camp is set-up, a pair of panther-like creatures referred to as an aiyankra lunge out of the swamp. One of them pounces upon Harmon, one of Kelso’s men, and begins trying to tear out his throat; fortunately, he is wearing armor which protects him from the worst of the savage beast’s red tooth and claw. As most of the group orient toward this sudden threat, Eddy is unluckily off by himself to attend to the call of nature when the second aiyankra springs out of concealment and charges him. The two beasts are quickly gunned down, but not before both Eddy and Harmon are badly injured, prompting Ibrahim to go into medic mode. The injuries are sufficiently bad to warrant surgery, but Ibrahim is unwilling to open them up and potentially open them up to possibly infection, so he instead injects them both with two doses of a particularly potent regenerative drug to hyper-accelerate the speed with which they naturally heal for the next twelve hours; it also has the side effect of knocking them unconscious for that time.

Following the ‘excitement’ of the previous night, the expedition sets off once more in the morning, hoping to avoid further craziness. Both the day and the evening pass without a surprise ninja attack. Throughout the day, Ibrahim continues to monitor his two patients to ensure that their injuries continue to heal properly. By that evening, the expedition are more than ready to stop and rest, so camp goes up quickly, but any hopes for an uneventful night are quickly dashed when Jim the Drone, Aris’ mechanical helper, alerts those on watch (and those asleep as well) via message that multiple bio-signatures are upon approach. As everyone scrambles out of their tents and readies themselves for a potential attack, the bio-signatures are revealed to be natives, likely the ‘hostile tribe’ that the expedition was warned about. Likely because they immediately hurl great spears at Jim the Drone, which infuriates the artificial intelligence driving the device and causes the A.I. to begin spinning up its mingun.

A quick but brutal skirmish ensues, with the natives finding themselves horribly, brutally outgunned. Despite this, they charge the campsite from two directions only to get mowed down by the relatively heavily armed expedition personnel. Haank, thinking quickly, darts toward the parked vehicles where he discovers that a small group of the natives has snuck aboard the cargo hovercraft and are attempting to loot it. He slings his rifle, quick-draws his pistol and fires it in their direction to scare them off. They flee, taking with them a few boxes of rations, and none of the expedition are willing to risk the danger of the swamp to pursue. They are only crappy MREs, after all, and for all they know, the natives could be setting a trap. When Kelso intends on burning the corpses of these aliens, Eddy protests and seeks out a shovel to bury them; both Hal and Ibrahim assist. It takes some time and leaves the three filthy and exhausted, but Eddy is pleased that they did not burn the bodies.

By late morning the following day, the expedition has located the so-called “river of stone” which does in fact appear to be a road of some sort. This road is most definitely not naturally occurring, looking more like an ancient Roman cobblestone path that runs north-west and south-east. After consulting the subject matter expert Lorain, the expedition opts for the north-west route which will carry them directly to the coast. There are no encounters along the way and, upon reaching the coast, the road abruptly vanishes; to everyone’s surprise, Eddy recalls that tectonic shifts could be responsible for this and that the road itself continues on under the water. Additional research seems to indicate that he is correct. Since night is about to fall, it is decided to camp here before crossing the bay before them upon the morning. Haank breaks out the scanners and detects some trace hints of human DNA, which is just enough to indicate that they might be on the correct path but not quite enough to confirm. Attempts to contact Lorain’s father via communication channels are unsuccessful, though there appears to be nothing failing on the expedition’s side.

The next day finds the expedition making the long transit across the bay. Despite it being a pleasant day, the trip is a long and boring that finally ends with them arriving upon the northern coast shortly before nightfall. Even before they park, they can see indications that something was once here as the road reappears. This “river of stone” gradually ascends to a set of broken stairs that are flanked by equally ancient pillars, now toppled and overgrown with lichen and moss. Beyond these stairs can be seen the tops of ruined buildings. Buck gives Lorain a look and asks what this is, to which she responds: “Tlaynsilak.” Everyone piles out of the vehicles and start to climb, though they hesitate when Buck recommends looking for tracks and Haank begins scanning for human DNA.

But then, a pair of shots ring outs. Jim the Drone squeals abruptly and tumbles from the sky, sparks erupting from where an EMP round has shut it down. At the same time, Harmon falls with a cry of pain, with blood gushing from the unexpected bullet hole. It’s a trap!

Player Notes:

  • Technically, we stopped a little after this, but the GM did a little prose thing that covers the bit at the end in the following post. No Player likes to be captured, so next week will be … interesting. Following the game, the GM coordinated with the group on our personal message boards and we ended up deciding to go ahead and pick up next week’s session after the expedition has been captured, hence the cut-scene.
  • We managed to get through two combats in this session, although to be fair, both were mostly us hosing down some people. Still, knowing how some of our fights go, it’s pretty cool nonetheless.
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.