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Things Get Worse

With a loud crash, the cargo elevator hits the floor of level five and the crew are hurled around by the impact. When they get up, the first they note is that Captain Stanbridge appears to be unconscious – Ibrahim checks her out and is relieved to discover that she is not badly injured. Unfortunately, the medical systems in her combat armor has been damaged and, as a result, she’s received an extra large dose of painkiller that has knocked her unconscious. Shy of exposing her to the unknown contaminants in the station which he strongly opposes, Ibrahim has no way of countering the drugs to wake her up, so the crew hastily rig a stretcher and carry her.

Rather than remaining in the elevator, they exit it and make their way back toward the non-cargo elevator shaft that will take them down to the sixth level which ostensibly houses a secret database. En route, they encounter a handful of protomoss zombies, but easily drop the ambulatory reanimated corpses who are absolutely not space zombies. Buck seals off the habitation section once the crew passes through, ensuring that the not-space-zombies cannot swarm over them but also ensuring that the way back is going to be slightly more difficult. That’s a problem for later, though.

Proceeding down to level six will require some careful manipulation – Ella is unconscious, after all – so while Buck and Haank first pry open the hatch and then rig up something to lower her down, Ibrahim and Lorain poke around into some of the rooms surrounding this lift shaft but do not find anything particularly interesting. Since he’s wearing space armor, Buck is the first to descend so as to ensure that they wouldn’t be swarmed by more glowing blue not-space-zombies. Once satisfied that a horde of ambulatory reanimated corpses are not waiting for them, the crew descend to level six.

A strange bio-organic computer-like device dominates the chamber that the crew enter upon exiting the elevator lift shaft on level six. Immediately, Ibrahim’s constant headache significantly intensifies; Buck looks over his suit, but does not find anything wrong. Looking around, everyone notes the unusual architecture of the room – it appears as if the strange bio-organic device was discovered here and the room around was formed around it. While looking around, Aris discovers another of the strange dial-out devices.

Jim the Drone is sent to further map out this level while Buck continues to poke around the chamber; he eventually theorizes that nanites were likely utilized to properly sculpt this room. He then breaks out a gizmo of his to do a quick scan of the protomoss sample that Ibrahim has in his possession, confirming that it is mostly comprised of nanomachines and is basically a ‘soft solid’ that is one step short of grey goo.

While this is going on, Ibrahim who is lurking near the elevator hears and observes the sounds and signs of a gunfight several levels above them; the elevator itself appears to have been completely destroyed so they’ll need to find a different way out. He advises the rest of the crew of this as well as the fact that someone is still fighting. No one is quite sure who to root for and decide that the Imperials are the least of three evils.

Aris begins examining the bio-organic device and confirms that it is some sort of computer, but he decides that he cannot begin to figure out how it actually works; from what little he can guess, it acts as a connective bridge to the stellar gates. Haank jokingly (mostly) declares that they’re in a really big router. They’re able to locate what appears to be a database of some sort and Buck tracks down the solid-state drives and simply removes them rather than trying to download them on the theory that they can figure the rest of the stuff out on the Aimless Pilgrim where it’s safe. They’re also able to determine that, despite the reactor having been mostly turned off, this level still had power to it.

Jim finds a sealed access hatch and alerts everyone of this. While Haank is talking to Gloval and exchanging a situation report, Lorain suddenly exclaims in surprise: she’s found a simulation that the Sky Raiders were running regarding the protomoss. If this stuff gets off the station, the entire Imperium could be threatened! It targets carbon-based lifeforms and then spreads insanely fast. If she understands what she’s reading correctly, the entire station was built from this stuff. The entire crew agrees: they can’t let this stuff get out.

When Armin opens the door that Jim found sealed, multiple yellow klaxon alerts begin sounding in ancient Vilani, warning of a ‘containment breach.’ Beyond the door, she sees an airlock looking into a tube that almost looks like a vacuum bridge used during spacecraft docking. Aris, Ibrahim and Lorain join her to investigate while Buck and Eddy stay behind to cover the elevator shaft in case of an attack. Haank has started trying to isolate the transmitter source.

Proceeding on through the airlock and traversing through the tunnel that is exposed to vacuum, Aris, Armin, Ibrahim and Lorain reach another hatch. Cracking the seal, they look into a chamber that is heavily overgrown with protomoss … and then the bluish lumps start moving. Abe immediately hits the CLOSE door and an ambulatory corpse stumbles into the hatch, momentarily halting it from closing. Jim the Drone immediately engages with his close-assault weapon and then Armin steps forward to deliver a powerful kick that sends the not-a-space-zombie flying back. This allows the door to close up but something explodes inside the room. Immediately thereafter, the alert klaxons turn red and a recorded voice declares, “Warning: critical contained breach detected. Evacuate the station.” Inside the room, the protomoss begins melting together … and then begins breaking down all of the materials around them. As the four (plus the drone flee), Ibrahim hears a psionic scream that fades into nothing…

At almost the same time, strobe flashbangs drop down from the elevator shaft, momentarily dazzling the defenders, and an instant later, a trio of Imperial space marines drop down into the room, bellowing for the crew to throw down their weapons and surrender now! They are to throw down their weapons and surrender or they will be fired upon. And almost at that very moment, the critical failure alerts begin sounding.

Eddy immediately lowers his rifle and raises his hands to surrender; Buck follows suit as does Haank as the heavily armored jarheads respond. A marine officer joins his team, demanding to know the reason for the alarm, which is about the same moment that Aris, Armin, Ibrahim, and Lorain stumble out of the airlock. Haank begins hurriedly explaining and the marine officer listens, then happens to notice a vidscreen with a camera feed of the room with the blue goop. The marine declares open a wide channel that all marines are to begin retreating at once; since his team have contragrav belts, they can get the crew out of danger.

The crew informs the officer that this stuff cannot get off this station; they need to destroy this station. Buck declares that he can rig the reactor to meltdown but he’ll need to go down a level; Armin volunteers to accompany him as protection and Aris decides to send Jim along as well. To try and earn some goodwill with the marines, Ibrahim volunteers to join the assault team that is engaged with Kalamanaru personnel and Haank declares that he will accompany the medic, while Eddy, Aris, and Lorain get Ella to the shuttle and begin prepping for dust-off.

Reaching the reactor level is no trouble and Buck immediately goes to work, intending on rigging the reactor to blow within an hour. While he’s doing this, Armin briefly wanders away to look around … and she’s almost jumped by a proto-not-a-zombie! Unfortunately for the ambulatory corpse, Armin is intensely strong and very skilled in martial arts, so she quite easily destroys the creature.

With a marine escort, Aris, Eddy and Lorain get Ella to the level where they have docked their shuttle. While there, they immediately get into an argument with the marine sergeant who has orders to escort them to the Imperial ship, not the Aimless Pilgrim. Eddy tries to talk the man down, but the sergeant refuses to bend, so Lorain interjects and offers the dialing device the crew discovered here on the station. This, along with Eddy’s valid points, leads the sergeant to let them go their own way.

Meanwhile, Haank and Ibrahim join the marines engaged in a holding action against Kalamanaru personnel. Abe immediately springs into action to help out a downed marine private, while Haank decides to sneak away in an attempt to flank the hostiles. During his attempts at stealth, he is detected and assaulted by Taren who has been far more successful in trying to stay undetected. The two exchange a flurry of blows, each attempting to get the other into an arm lock … and Haank is successful. In addition to breaking Taren’s arm, Haank then uses this arm lock to wheel his foe around into the line of fire of several Kalamanaru gunmen. As Taren goes limp from the fire, Haank reaches forward to arm the grenades on the man’s armor then shoves him toward the approaching gunmen before diving to cover. There is a satisfying explosion behind him as Haank retreats to the marine line and rejoins Ibrahim to ensure that his medic successfully retreats.

Now with their away team back on the shuttle, Haank takes flight controls and everyone buckles in. As they angle sharply toward the Aimless Pilgrim, the shuttle comes under fire from the Kalamanaru ship and takes damage. Trailing smoke and debris, the shuttle crash-lands in the Pilgrim’s landing bay…

Player Notes:

  • Technically, Armin wasn’t with us throughout the early parts of our space station exploration, but we just handwaved that away. What are you talking about? She was always there!.
  • Ronnke was in a hotel during the session but fortunately their wi-fi was good enough that he didn’t drop as everyone feared.
  • No Mel this session since she was off, lounging on a beach … like most of us would like to do.
  • CommJunkee’s Traveller run is winding down – he’s guessed that next week will be the last session. Gigermann will be taking over afterward with a Dungeon Fantasy game and the current plan is for me (Rigil Kent) to pick up with Traveller again after he’s done (although that likely won’t happen until well after the first of the year.)
  • 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.