The Roleplaying Diaries of Bryan Stephens

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In Search of the Ancients Journals

01 Flatlined

Game Date10/05/2023 & 10/19/2025
Campaign Dates????


Our heroes awaken groggy and disorientated. This is not atypical after a period in a low berth, but the symptoms are worse this time, possibly due to a rapid emergency wakeup. A middle aged human awakens first and does not initially realize what is happening. All he knows is that he is confined somehow, in a small and claustrophobic space with wires and tubes attached to their bodies. A calm and soothing voice says meaningless things he cannot make any sense of them. He is wearing a plain grey jumpsuit with turned-back cuffs at the wrists and ankles for wires and tubes. These are withdrawing, and the tiny cell is opening. Outside, there is a small chamber containing several other pods or capsules or whatever the devices are.

Low berths. The name comes to mind unbidden. Full consciousness arrives with a stabbing shock of adrenaline from the final wake up procedure. The man climbs out into the room. The chamber outside is decorated, if that is the right word, in tones of light grey and beige. It is small but tidy and uncluttered. It is lit only by dim emergency lights, and some of those are flickering. It is ankle-deep in water. The chamber door is slightly ajar and water is trickling in. The deck is canted at a slight angle, with the port-forward area of the vessel lower than the rest. He has no idea who he is, or how he got to be here.

There are other low berths (the man does not know how he knows what they are). He see as Vagr emerging like a dog man he muses. The Vagr is dressed the same as he is. Another pod opens to reveal an attractive human woman. They start to speak, however, a fourth pod sounds an alarm. Its blond human male occupant is in trouble. Our first hero, dashes over and deftly overrides the process to get the blond man out. It is only after that he wonders about that skill. There are other pods in the room, but unfortunately, their occupants have died do to low berth failure of shock of exit.

A brief discussion shows that none of them know who they are or each other. They start to search around. It seems as if they are on a ship. Hearing an alarm from another room, the dark haired man and Vagr race in to find a woman dying in a pod. Somehow, they both know enough not only to stabilize the pod, but stabilize the women. The Vagr stays with her, as she is even less aware than they.

As the blond man and woman search the area, the man staggers under the effects of his ordeal. As she reaches out to stabilize him she calls him “David”. The name seems very right to both of them. At least it is something, though neither can remember her name at the moment. She heads fore to check out the crew quarters while David head aft to the bridge.

David is searching the bridge of this ship as the other man comes in, he notes

”Vincent, this looks like a small hauler,” startling both men. In a rush, they remember that over most of a six month period, they were together, on a tour. They don’t remember the tour ending, but they do remember their friendship, and each other’s names.

The woman comes to report on the condition of the crew quarters to David and Vincent. Flush with more recent memories, Vincent now recognizes the woman as Maria. He excitedly recounts how she helped him manage drugs planted to frame him, including how he helped her use her Vacc suit for get away. This is encouraging to the crew.

The three keep searching while the Vagr comforts and aids the other woman who is slower to recover thanks to her emergency. He goes out to report on progress, and finds he now can recognize David as Captain Swift, the man who flew him and others on his special training with Omicron years ago. The two reminisce about that time, and Davis is able to remind the Vagr of his name. Dr. Lucas vin der Volk. Now at least the group known something about their pasts, even if recent events are still fuzzy. Other memories continue trickly into place, filling the gaps.

Her head clearing, and former missions returning, Maria asks Lucas if he remembers her. He blinks and slowly nods, now suddenly unsure of her intentions. Maria was the woman who snuck into his first site, and while all cameras were disabled, took an Ancient artifact and simply teleported away. He remembers her face, which does not seem a day older, because she looked right at Lucas with a grin and a wink before the vanished. The Doctor feels even more uneasy.

This has to be put on hold as the two professional spacers note this ships is sinking. Lucas goes back to the woman, who now remembers her name, Anson. They gather and decide to strip the ship and escape. They find five total TL8 Vacc suits which they can all use, as well as a shotgun, two revolvers, and a cutlass. In the cargohold, Lucas and Vincent open secure crates to take food and remote ops parts. They float these up in the emergency bubble while they use the vacc suits to surface. There is a beach nearby on this lake.

Journey to Proving Site Nine

They take stock of what they have. There does not seem to be any sort of rescue underway, and the they have limited communications gear. The radios on the suits do little They have limited food and no shelter, and the low TL of their suits means they are not well suited for long term survial. The lake blocks progress to the west and north, and to the south they can see an area of open grassland with scrubby bushes here and there, finally giving way to some kind of forest. There is no sign of habitation in that direction. A few kilometres away to the east, there seems to be a structure atop a hill, though little can be seen of it except a tall antenna tower. In addition, three sets of tracks head that way. It seems likely this was their intended destination. There is nothing else within reach, so it makes as good a destination as anything. They build a sledge to drag their parts and head out. Vincent and Maria take turns pulling the load.

Heading east is fairly easy at first. The lakeshore curves away to the north after a while, and the ground rises. steadily. Bushes and trees dot the landscape, becoming thick in places. After a couple of kilometres, it becomes apparent that reaching the antenna site is going to take a lot longer than expected as the Travellers detour around a few areas of thick, spiny vegetation. The going is especially hard for those used to a climate-controlled environment with flat and nicely carpeted corridors.

Along the way, Lucas spots what looks like a body on the ground ahead. Upon inspection, they can see it is dressed in a typical shipboard-type coverall (but with decent boots), with a bright orange ship-jacket over it.

It appears that this person was injured in the crash; he has a splinted right forearm and bandages on what looks like a bad gash. It is not clear what killed him – he has not been mauled or bitten, nor shot or stabbed, as far as anyone can see. However, Lucas does a quick check and it is clear that he received basic first aid for injuries that are unlikely to have killed him and managed to get this far, but collapsed and died from serious internal injuries presumably received in the crash.

The dead man’s clearly companions abandoned him, as two sets of tracks go on from here. Some of the things he had in his pockets have been taken; pocket-covers are torn away here and there. All that remains is a multitool and a few ration bars that look like they came from an emergency kit.

Somewhere out of side, the group hears rustling. Nothing is easy to see. It could be a harmless creature of a local predator. This makes them feel the urge to get to the tower. All they can see from a distance is that it stands on high ground, atop a flattened-off hilltop. One side of the settlement is bounded by a curved earth berm, presumably made from the soil cleared to flatten the hilltop, and there are log piles along two other sides forming an intermittent barricade.

Within this stands a cluster of prefabricated huts, of a fairly typical type. The packed earth between them is littered with odd bits and pieces of equipment, though there is a clear area that obviously serves as a landing pad. There are a couple of vehicles – four-wheel-drive field buggies – close to the buildings and a tall antenna mast in one corner of the settlement. Beyond the landing pad is a depression in the ground with what appears to be a spoil heap on one side.

There are two large workbots immobile in the depression, and several smaller mining robots plus automated sample-processing equipment. This seems to be a very small open-cast mine, and clearly there is something wrong here; there are people waving urgently to the Travellers as they approach. They seem to think it is very important to reach the buildings quickly….

Two people come out from the settlement to meet the party; a tall scrawny kid and a woman of maybe 35-40 who has a revolver on her belt and a shotgun in her hands. Both are warily looking around, and seem to feel threatened by something out there. The woman briskly tells them all that questions can wait; they need to get inside. She leads the way back to the settlement, looking nervously around the whole time. The party complies with some comments as they head inside the settlement.

Approaching the settlement, it becomes apparent that there are several other people here. One is at the edge of the cleared area, apparently trying to build a barricade between two log piles. Another, peers briefly from the largest of the buildings, then disappears inside. In addition, there is one other person in the compound. He is digging a hole; a curiously grave shaped hole. Once they get close to the settlement’s buildings, the two who came to meet the group introduce themselves as Katriona and Corey and they start asking and answering questions. They want to know who they are and where they came from… and if they’ve seen any ‘creepers’. Our heroes have some questions of their own.

Corey recognizes Captain Swift and gushes while Maria wastes no time in reading the surface thoughts of Katriona. It seems the story the miner is telling is true.

This is Stenmore Minerals Proving Site Nine, a small mining outpost set up to find out if the local deposits of copper and iron are worth exploiting on a large scale. ‘Nine’ as Katriona calls it, had a complement of eight until the early hours of this morning. Now there are three, plus two new arrivals from the smallhauler. Katriona has met them before.

Early this morning, long before sunrise, the regular smallhauler from one of the mining ships in the system’s planetoid belt approached the landing area. A sudden microburst from the remains of last night’s storm caught the ship and it struck the communications antenna. The smallhauler dived away to the west and was lost to sight. The settlement was hit with an electromagnetic pulse which flatlined its power system and killed the electronics as a result of the collision. It also apparently killed the smallhauler; the crew of ‘Nine” lost sight of it in the pre-dawn after all the lights went out.

Clearly, the smallhauler crashlanded in the lake nearby and the crew were able to get out. One, Daveed Maxanni, died en route. The others reached the settlement a few hours ago. These are Captain Hambley and Sayelle.

Not long after the power went off, the outpost’s leader and one of the workers went to have a look around. They did not return. Soon after this, creepers crept into the settlement under cover of darkness and killed another of the crew. Two more went to look for the first party once it got light. One managed to get back the camp, badly wounded and full of venom. He warned that there was a mob of creepers nearby, and they were very agitated, before lapsing into delirium. He died a few minutes ago. The base medic, “Abe” Telford is digging a grave for him right now. The power is off, all electronic devices are fried and it is getting late in the day. Corey thinks he spotted movement down at the base of the hill.

Katronia is in charge, but it is clear she is willing to defer to Hambley as seems to know what to do. She is scared and was not expecting to be in this position at all.

Outside, Hambly approaches the refuges from the smallhauller as soon as they emerge. Slinging his shotgun on his back as he walks confidently towards them. He clearly likes to be in charge and opens with his version of events before they can even speak. Unknown to the Captain, there is a psion before him, and Maria turns her mind to listen to his surface thoughts. Hambly routinely ships personnel to Axilos in low berths. That part is not untrue; people do take passage this way to keep the costs of getting to a new job down, though ‘routinely’ suggests this happens it more commonly than it does.

He claims the group came aboard ‘prepacked’ as he calls it, with the correct paperwork to take them all the way to his next stop after Proving Site 9 – the Axilos starport. He never questioned any of it; shipping orders are shipping orders. As to abandoning the low berths, he adopts an aggrieved attitude. His ship flatlined under him in the dark, over a frontier installation at the far end of nowhere after a microburst. He managed to dead-stick what amounts to a flying brick for a controlled crash in the lake using nothing more than residual inducted energy in the lifters. That was a miracle all by itself. But the ship was holed, and water was coming in and there was a fire in the control room. And his crewman– nice kid, had a lot of promise – was hurt.

Hambley says he thought the low passengers were dead Daveed, the deadcrewmate, checked on them and said they were. This is plausible; two of them were dead and the hurt crewman might not have checked thoroughly, given his injuries. However, it is also a lie.

In short, his position is that he did the best he could under the circumstances and if anyone thinks they can do better, they are welcome to try. Meanwhile, there is something bad out there, no way to call for help, and night is coming. So maybe everyone needs to pitch in.

What goes unsaid are his thoughts about a skilljacking ring the heroes had been kidnapped for, or that his surviving shipmate was in on it. Vincent lances into the man, his normal affable mode gone, and in its place the steel of a leader. He lambasts the captain and says there will be an accounting. David calms them and agrees, but that now they have to concentrate on right now. As Hambly departs, Maria covertly tells the others what she saw in his mind. There is trouble to come.

David takes charge of the situation, asking people how they can best deploy their skills in the time they have remaining. Hambly chafes at this, but the civilian captain of a smallhauler is no match for the leadership of the former Captain of ISS Angar. Soon everyone is working on his or her tasks.

Living Through the Night

Captain Swift wields a force of will that takes command of the camp. Under his direction everyone gets to work:

  • Katronia sets up cameras and lights
  • Hambley, Cory, Sayelle, and Abe set up the barriers
  • Lucas restores power to the main back up generator
  • Vincent repairs the radio
  • Anson repairs one of the diggers
  • Maria, not adept at much besides being a Psi-spy searches the camp

As darkness nears, Vincent manages to contact the Far Trader McGuffy. The ship reports it will respond and is a mere 12 hours away. They are going to have to survive the night! David oversees the barrier construction and the electrification fence attached to the wooden posts. They build a perimeter inside the camp, using the buildings as anchor points. With the aux power system, they can make the fence lethal. Just before nightfall, Maria tells her companions she found the same sort of drug in the medical area. It is clear that Abe is part of the skill jacking ring.

Only Hambly and Katorina have any weapon skills, so they join the heroes as the rest are told to stay in the central hut. As darkness falls, the first creepers begin to appear. They are difficult to make out in the gloom, and avoid strong light. Some have stinger tails, which might trigger some scientific debate among the Travellers. The way the creepers move is disturbing to some, and everyone will feel at least threatened by movement in the gathering darkness. Some of the creepers stop in places like the top of the berm, where they are quite clearly seen and can presumably get a good look at the compound. They then begin to sneak closer, moving from one position of concealment to another. Hambly advocates going out to scare them off, but David forbids it.

As the creepers move forward, David orders the fence electrified. This drives the creepers wild. They charge the fence and clearly are sniffing out the wires. Their mass is going to overwhelm the system. Realization dawning that the creepers must have electrical sense, they shut down the fence and have everyone fall back to the hut with the secondary power. As the creepers top the fence, David is forced to use his saver to protect Sayelle, who is lagging and takes a hard bite from a creeper.

Once everyone is in the hut, Lucas attends to Sayelle’s wounds. The creatures are prowling outside, trying to get in. Suddenly, a window breaks, and a creeper crawls into the room. While they are able to kill it, more are out there. David orders Lucas to make a power pulse with the generator and then everyone will run to the garages. Lucas asks Maria ”Can’t you do something, Miss?”. More creepers slam into the building. These are the large warrior types, with stingers. Anson, Hambly and Cory take hits. Anson’s suit protects her, but Hamble is stung and poisoned. Cory is bitten. Worse of all, Davis is clawed and stung. Both the men poisoned are dazed.

Lucas readies the pulse. More creepers enter the room as the burst goes off. There are screeches outside as the creatures seem startled, but those inside advance. Maria, who has been very still suddenly opens her eyes and the creepers inside and out are suddenly still. The group dashes to the garages. Lucas goes to work with first aid while telling Cory to take control of the repaired digger and use it to block the doors. As it moves into place, more creepers menace the group. Shotguns seem to have little effect on the larger killers, but David’s saber and the revolver penetrate. Under David’s leadership, Cory is able to slam the digger into the last of the killer creepers and block the doors. They are locked in until morning, safe from the monsters outside. This lets them turn to the monsters within.

Vincient turns to interrogate Abe on the drug found. Abe immediately breaks done. he unfortunately, has a serious gambling problem and became involved in the skill-jacking ring to pay his debts. This worked well, and he is rapidly becoming wealthy. His money is held in a covert account, ready for the day when he resigns his position and retires. Abe does not make the compound himself. It is delivered to him when the smallhauler calls, and he originally resolved not to keep any at the settlement. However, there was always some left over and he later decided to have an insurance policy. Telford does not know where the low berth passengers go after Proving Site Nine, but surmises they are taken to the starport since the smallhauler crew usually take liberty there before making the long haul back. After that, they are presumably handed over to the end client or delivered by another ship. Telford does not want to know the details; he just administers the drugs, takes the money, and dreams of retirement.

As he is talking, Sayelle is slowing pulling out her small derringer. Lucas reaches out to stop her, disarming her. Perhaps thinking the are otherwise distracted, Hambly tightens his grip on his shotgun, only to find Maria’s revolver in his face before he can raise it. David relieves him of that as well. Disarmed the other two conspirators talk.

Sayelle is one of the instigators of the skill-jacking ring. She recruited Hambley as a front man and muscle as well as for his spacing skills, and got him assigned to the Neon system supply run. He does not know where the jacked passengers come from; Sayelle does. The usual source is interception of people in low berths (typically new arrivals in the Tobia system but sometimes belters or other spacers) and redirection of the entire low berth unit. Sayelle has contacts at the Neon starport who pay for the contents of her low berths. She does not know nor care who the end recipient of these skilled slaves might be.

Hambley is a willing participant in the skill-jacking operation, able to justify conveying people into what amounts to slavery so long as he is only the transport provider. If forced to confront the reality of what he has been doing, he will displace his feelings as anger towards whomever challenges him. Note that Hambley is unlikely to attack the Travellers unless severely provoked, but will try to engineer situations where they can come to harm and will abandon any who are in trouble if he can get away with it.

At dawn, the creepers fall away from Proving Site Nine. The group stays put until Maria hears the Far Trader’s call on her neural comm. The group emerges to a wrecked site. All the buildings have been breached, and the food supplies ransacked. They quickly get to McGuffy and safety.

Starport Safety

Axilos does not have much in the way of government, and it is outside the Imperium. However, the libertarian locals are unhappy with slavery, and lock the three up in the starport holding facility pending a decision. It is clear they have others operating with them.

Katronia has no problem putting the former captives up at Stenmore’s expense, considering they saved everyone’s lives. This is of great help, as David, Lucas, Maria, and Vincent have no ID and no credits at the moment. With over 36 hours with no sleep, fatigue hits them all. Each is ready to collapse. As they take a moment to breath, they find their memories of how they came together come over them, in the shower, as they have a small, quiet meal, or drift off to sleep.

02 How did we Get Here

Game Date10/19/2023 & 11/2/2023
Campaign Dates: 148-1098 – 220-1098

Endings and Beginnings

An Office

Lucas vin der Volk is packing his personal possessions with the typical sense of bitterness that comes from an involuntary retirement. Lost in thought, he is startled when there is a knock at his open door. Looking up, he sees a face he has not seen in 10 years. She does not appear to have aged in that time, while his own fur is showing a natural silvering of age. Here stands the woman who vanished with an artifact his team had uncovered a decade ago.

Maria launches into here speech, not even introducing herself. She brings for Lucas an Imperial Charter, complete with a half megacredit stipend for a dig in District 268, outside of Imperial borders. While her organization, Mandala, knows it is an Ancient site, the Imperium does not. Lucas is quite wary of this woman but he has no other prospects. Maria further tells him she knows where they can get help. Captain David Swift, hero of the Paula Campo incident, is speaking on campus this afternoon. Maria has worked with Vincent Weiss previously. She helps him with his boxes and tells him she has a car rented.

An Auditorium

This is the final stop on a six month tour for Captain David Swift. He has grown to know Vincent Weiss quite well in that time, and the two make a strong pair. Swift is ready for the next stage, and unsure of what it will be. Vincent has invited him along to go with him on the last voyage of Weiss Mobil Muhammad Mal to Mertactor for it to be sold from the Weiss Mobil holdings. It sounds tempting, but for the moment, there is one more speech, and David stands as Vincent finishes the introduction.

Vincent, too, is ready for this stage to be over. Since the last incident with the Psi drugs planted on his ship, life has had turmoil. He is ready to leave his family’s company and head out on his own. He scans the audience as David speaks. There is the usual crowd of fans, including those obviously wanting to have a crack at David. It has been the same at several stops, and the fallout of that has been good for Vincent’s love life. His musings are stopped cold as he sees the woman who helped him dispose of the drugs, sitting in the audience along with a Vagr professor. She smiles as they make eye contact.


As Davis is signing autographs and unwillingly collecting comm numbers, Vincent moves over to the woman he knows as “Samantha”. They chat and he collects David for them to go someplace private to hear Maria’s pitch. Lucas leads them to a conference room, surprised his ID badge still operates. Here, she tells them she, too, is retired from her “Organization” and wants to make things right for Lucas. She is open she is a psion, and that taking the artifact was for everyone’s safety. Besides, Omicron was going to take it anyway. Better it is in the hands of experts. The four decide that going to the site on Dawnworld is a good next step. The Doctor knows some students who would be good candidates, and quickly finds three, Sorrel Tergaii, Auther Hammond, and the Bwap, Gwith'thin. Vincent notes he already has talked with an old friend, Gerwar Long, who is now Captain of a Far Trader, Kharku. He travels that route and is happy to divert to carry Vincent wherever they wish to go, within reason. Arrangements to leave go very smoothly, even with the acquisition of equipment from the University of Regina. Lucas is suspicious of Maria’s help. Things have never been this easy. Then again, both Vincent and David have social status beyond anything he has ever known.

A ship in the Void

Captain Etko

Weiss Mobil Muhammad Mal has been stripped down to a skeleton crew. In addition to Vincient as the First Officer, it has four other Crew: Captain Etoko Ebo. Alston Hiltas as Astrogater and Maintenance. Engineers Ben Sactin, and Vin Garteri, with Vin doubling as Ship’s Pilot. The trip will be 11 weeks long to get to its final destination. Weiss Mobil brokers have arranged for passengers and cargo at the various stops in order to defray costs, but the passage is just basic. The ship is already stripped of anything the company wants to keep.

The journey gives the group a chance to know one another. Vincent is fascinated with Maria and asks about her powers. In a private demonstration she reads their thoughts. While Vincient is impressed and David seems blasé, Lucas is still not trusting of the dynamic woman.

At Durendal they pick up 20 passengers, far less than what they expected, because a connecting ship did not make it in time. Two nights into the trip, the real reason is understood. The passengers are hijackers. David and Vincent are working out in the pool when four armed men tell them to get out. Maria is surprised by two men who enter her quarters. One leaves to search more, while the other stays, with predatory deeds in mind. Only Lucas is not caught off guard. He is in the galley fixing food like his mother used to make, in a traditional Vagr style not known the autokitchen in his quarters. It is here he knows something is up when he catches someone going by.

Alston, Ben, Vin

Taking back the Ship

David and Vincent

The most surprised, David and Vicent are forced out of the pool. Vincent exits suit less, using nakedness to support his barrage of disarming speech as he goes for his pile of clothes and towel. He easily whips his small pistol from his pile and blows out the back of the head of one of the four as he grabs the body to use as cover. Now the surprise is on the other foot. David slams the one closest to him into the next man, in an attempt to knock them both down, but the second target manages to stay up, his spacer instincts keeping him on his feet.

A firefight erupts, with Vincent dodging the stunners of the two standing. The man David threw stands and fires, stunning David, while Vincent, seeing his small pistol being less effective against their armor grabs the dropped stunner of his corpse and continues to fire. Unfortunately, he falls to well placed stunner shot. The man in back draws his sword and moves forward to kill Vincent for killing his friend.


Lucas was spending time cooking a Luluook Stew, just like his mother use to make. When he sees the armed man enter, he takes his meal and retreats into the galley freezer. When the door opens, Lucas is ready and tosses his dinner into the face of the pirate. The startled man drops his stunner and claws at his face, the spicy, aromatic mix in his mouth, and nostrils and eyes. Lucas grabs the stunner and in two shots takes the blinded man down.

Lucas quickly takes his radio and ear bud to listen in. He binds the man in the freezer and moves out. It is clear there are many more afoot. The radio traffic has the pirate leader order Vicent and David to be unhurt because they are valuable alive and orders them taken to the others.

Lucas kills the lights in the galley and the next room. He sets up a table for cover and then goes to open the door down the hallway to the ship.


The menacing man is clearly intent on forcing himself on Maria. His snarling command for her to undress is met with icy menace and his weapon being ripped from his hand with a sudden telekinetic force. Maria fires into her attacker, causing him to stagger, but not putting him under. He grabs Maria and slams her into the bed, thinking to get an advantage physically, but he is struck from behind by the stunner again and collapses. Maria checks herself for wounds, but her subdermal armor helped. Her face a mask of fury, She pulls the cutlass from the unconscious man and slices open his neck, with blood spraying all over the cabin and her. This does not phase her at all. She grabs the radio and, now, she too is plugged in.

A quick pulse of life detection tells her where everyone is on the ship. Sorrel, as the only other woman aboard, is clearly in the situation Maria was just in. She charges down the hallway and bursts into Sorrel’s room stunning the man ripping her clothes off. Sorrel is speechless as bloody former agent strides into the room and slices open the neck of Sorrel’s assailant. Maria orders Sorrel to stay here, which Sorrel considers, based on the terrifying woman before her. However, she knows how to use a gun and comes with Maria.

Two men just went up the lift. Taking a moment for them to get up, Maria and her follower ride up, on the floor, ready to fire as the doors open. The men ahead are distracted by the radio traffic. Both are headed down the hall, as they have heard shooting ahead!


The three remaining pirates, two staggering from the effects of the stuns (and one from a bullet impact) are dragging their dead friend’s body and the two unconscious prisoners to the auditorium to be held with the rest of the crew. They are just getting secured and waking up in a daze when there is a cry of a pirate dropping, stunned by Lucas, who retreats back to the next room with more cover.

The pirates charge out to support their comrade. Over the radio their leader, Ruce orders his men to sign in, even as two of them go after Lucas and start a stunner fight. Before the two men in the aft hallway can respond, Maria has padded up one in her stockinged feet and dropped one with a stun, falling to the floor with his body as cover. The man in front of him turns and sees Sorrel in the elevator and charges, vaulting his friend, only to be shot in the crotch by Maria. She motions Sorrel up as she gets up and moves forward to the bend in the hallway.

Lucas falls to a well placed stunner shot. With several of the pirates not checking in, Ruce orders the Vin Garten to lock the ship down. Garten is a traitor! All the doors and irises slam shut, security locked. This leaves the crew in the auditorium alone. And while the crew and David and Vincent are strapped down with space zip ties, Auther and Gwith’thin were not yet so restrained. The groggy David and Vincent implore them to look through the items in the room. David notices that some of his things from his cabin have been brought along. This includes his sword.

David’s blade is contained in a ceremonial sheath, a gift from his favorite Admerial. It appears to hold an ordinary blade, but in fact, it is a security measure for a powerful power blade. Keyed to David’s hand, the pirates could not open it to know what it was. A quick placement against David’s palm, and Auther was able to start freeing the crew. David and Vincent dive for the rest of their things.

Meanwhile, Vin is opening doors on command, but Maria is still listening in. As two more of the pirates head towards her and Sorrel the three in the galley were getting ready to bring the unconscious Lucas out. Maria surprises the first pirate around the corner and stuns him, with Sorrel’s shot dropping him. The second uses the same corner as cover, but falls to the combined fire of the two women.

Vincent grabs his comm and uses the door to access the ship’s systems. As the son of the owner, Vincent has access to the factory reset codes. In a stunning feat of computers, he quickly resets every system on the ship except for the jump drives. Everything dies, including gravity as systems go to reset. Every locked down door stays locked down, save the one already opened.

Moments before the reset, Maria used her knowledge from the radios to charge the soon to open iris. As it snapped open for the pirates taking out Lucas, they were faced with the blood covered agent who dropped the already injured one in the front. Then the systems went down. In the darkness, the standing pirates cannot manage to return fire as Maria takes cover. Before they can advance it is over for them. Vincent prioritized the security systems. That included the doors.

The auditorium door slides open, and Captain David Swift sails through the portal, a gauss gun in one hand, and his sword in the other. Wearing his speedo and his naval combat jacket, he looks like a pulp hero from the distant past of Earth. He bounces off the wall and fires his gun twice, dropping one pirate and sending the final one fleeing, spheres of blood floating behind him. Maria drags Lucas free of the common area and calls for Vincet to seal the area.

Maria stays with Lucas as Sorrel joins the other students. While Vincent, still naked, controls the ship, Captain Swift leads Ebo and Hiltas towards Engineering. As the gravity reboots, Vincent sets off jump drive alarms to distract the people inside, and snaps open the iris. David charges in, firing his gun at Vin and slashing at the pirate next to him. The former Imperial officer looks every bit a romantic hero from an historical drama. Thre three men kill everyone in the engine room, but at the cost of Captain Ebo who is sliced almost in two by one of the pirates.

It is a matter of negotiation to take down the remaining pirates. David demurs from killing them all outright, as Maria almost demands. At this point, there are only 10 left alive as the one in the freezer has died and the other in the galley area has bled out. Easy enough to put the rest on ice in the low births. Maria is, however, able to engage in a deep telepathy probe of their leader Ruce and discover their full plans.

Pirates aboard as paying passengers; deliberately bought berths not used to be able to overwhelm the ship, with the fiction of a missed connection. They were in cahoots with Vin, as he had the handover codes. Their plan was to meet with their contact at the next port of call. The high social members would have been ransomed, while the others sold into slavery. Maria again makes a push to kill them. The men again plan to turn the pirates over the Imperial authorities at Mertactor.


Command of Muhammad Mal falls to Vincent as First Officer. After a very fast stop over at Biter, with an encrypted debrief to the local Weiss Mobil broker, they are off on enroute to their final stop. The rest of the trip is far more subdued. The crew plus David had known Vin well, and are all upset by the betrayal of a man who seemed most gregarious and friendly. Even more deeply, they mourn the murder of their old captain.

Upon arrival, they dock and set the ship up for hand over. Lucas finds a message waiting for him that he has been gifted 50% ownership in a Lab ship by his old mentor, while Vincent finds his mother, going behind his father’s back, has done similar with a Far trader. But it is late, and Weiss Mobil has sent a message to put them all up in the hotel, Open Arms, nestled into the spaceport. After a too long wait time to check in, the four new friends climb into their beds. Only Lucas notices the faint odor in the middle of the night. Then darkness takes them all.

03 Sethstation

Game Date11/16/23 & 11/30/2023
Campaign Dates263-1098


After a night or returning memories, the group, including Anson, meet for breakfast at the best eatery at the anemic Class D spaceport, Breakfast at Betty’s Basic Bistro. The fare is passible but bland. However a lack of means the food is welcome.

Anson, who is much warmer to the group than she was, talks about her memories returning. It turns out Anson is a Belter from Robin in Trin’s Veil subsector. She is 29 years old and spent most of her adult life among belters or working for small mining companies. Anson was working in the Caliburn system aboard an independent support vessel, Jhenkins running supplies to remote mining locations. Anson’s last memory (once she is coherent enough to put it all back together) is entering a low berth aboard the supply boat she crewed during transit from her parent vessel to a distant claim site. She does not know how she came to be aboard the smallhauler, only that she and one other crewmember named Olli Hildsen entered their low berths when the transit's systems suffered a critical failure they could not repair. With no rescue ships in range, this offered the best chance of survival. Olli was not aboard the smallhauler, and she has no idea who the other (deceased) passengers were. She is worried about what happened to Olli.

The group discusses how they might move forward and get off the planet. Lucas is anxious to get to his dig, worried at the weeks who have passed. While this is going on, Katorina enters the diner to seek them out. It is clear she has some skittishness around Maria and she goes around at a distance to talk mostly with Vincent.

Katorina tells them she has a possibility. She has contacted a Bwap named Dalglee Hahsh of Lysani Laboratories who is willing to help in exchange for a quick job. She offers the use of her comm for the comm-less, ID-less group to use.

Hahsh is the agent for Lysani Labs on Axilos. This world has many biological componds that show great promise, and he works with locals to procure samples. He cannot get communication from the Lysani Labs ship, Calendula stationed in orbit. While he thinks this may be a communications glitch and nothing significant, he is past his 168 hours of no communication and he has to take action. Hahsh needs a team to go up and check out the station. He will provide a grav raft and TL10 Vacc Suits. Payment will be Cr12,000 overal all, and Cr1500 per person. More importantly, he offers Middle Passage to Avastan ( Strangely, he throws in a meal voucher. He has the grav raft ready for them, with all the information they need, including a pass code to enter the station. Hahsh himself is away from the downport. He is investigating acquisition of potential biological compounds for drugs that effect species from Sphere Terra. It seems Axilos has these in abundance, which is why Lysani Laboratories is here.



When the laboratory ship is approached, the most striking feature observed is the ring’s rotation. The play of light and shadow constantly reveals new facets along the exterior hull. Not rotating, however, is the docked pinnace. The structure at the end of the single spoke is specifically mounted to counteract the ship’s rotation, making docking easier for lesser-skilled pilots.

The solar collectors are extended and navigation lights appear to be working as normal. Most of the windows are dark, although a few show light inside. The station obviously has power but does not respond to radio hails. A close flyby inspection of the comms array finds no obvious damage.

Lucas notices a gruesome sight. A human corpse floats 60 meters from the station. The body is of a male wearing no more than a pair of light trousers. The flesh of his back is lacerated. Lucas pulls the body in and identifies that these wounds are not the result of explosive decompression. As they continue the flyby, Vincent notices a filthy, wildeyed face peers out at them before ducking out of sight. Approaching the window for a better look see no one inside. They bring the body with them.


Lucas suggests they land in the The grav/raft bays normally contain an air/raft each.They are airlocks and can be accessed using one of the ship’s vehicles; the air/rafts have remote controls that can open the bay doors. The grav/raft they have is equipped with one of these remote controls.

David, despite his still injured state from his encounter with the creepers, is just able to pilot into the bay near the bridge. David does damage the grav raft in landing it on top of the one already in the bay. He does note the atmosphere is stable and that they are on a clock with their air supply in the suits.

Maria promptly says ”I’ll take it. You monitor me” and pops her helmet. The other four look at her like she has lost her mind, not fully understanding the psion’s ability to control her own body. Taking stock of the landing area, they find the lighting fixtures have been smashed, leaving the room almost completely unilluminated. The standard grav/ raft is firmly secured in place with bright yellow straps. A sliding cargo door leads to the adjacent cargo bay.

Maria uses here life detection. She easily senses 4 sophont minds, four seeming exhausted and one manically on the move. A male human and vargr, and two women, one of who is the one in motion. She also detects some smaller lifeforms, like rodents at large.

Lucas leads the way, having served on labships before. The team advances to the bridge in order to get details. As they enter, Lucas and David hear what sounds to be the footfalls of small animals within the vents, confirming Maria’s sense of them.

The bridge does have a working computer terminal, but access is locked out to station staff. Vincent comments “Oh, this is a Vernok Mark 4. We don’t use these anymore due to their glitches”. He not only easily gains access, but is able to do a quick data scan with little effort Ed. Note: two amazing rolls and a bit of luck spent. The laboratory information is not on the main computer, which makes sense since it is proprietary in nature. They do find several interesting items:

  • Regular, routine communicator transmissions of laboratory reports have been made daily to Lysani Laboratories, the registered chartering company for this ship. The transmissions, sent to Hahsh on the world surface below for forwarding are coded.
  • A dozen other transmissions were also sent and received over the last five months but any further information about them has been erased.
  • The visitor roster for the last four months lists several mercenary officers.
  • Profiles for each of the ship’s 20 crew members, including biometric data. This data may be used to identify bodies. Maria is able to ID the body they have.
  • Life Support records indicate that at 01:30 one week ago, an explosion occurred in the auxiliary laboratory. A resulting power surge temporarily disabled several functions. Once back online, sensors detected an unknown chemical in the air. Fully scrubbing the chemical took 20 hours. By that time, the chemical had already infiltrated every quadrant of the ship.

Security camera logs show that:

  • One week ago, while the crew was asleep, the cameras to the auxiliary laboratory were intentionally shut off for 10 minutes.
  • An hour later, an explosion rocked the auxiliary laboratory, destroying the cameras inside.
  • Minutes later, several crew members emerged from their staterooms and began savagely attacking one another. Several were killed. The crew began smashing light fixtures and cameras.
  • Over the last four months, the ship received several deliberies of cryoberths from mercenary crews. The berths appear to have been occupied.

They are trying to process this information when Lucas hears footfalls of padded feet. He turns to see a Lycur padding forward through the open hatch behind them. He calls for Vincent to back away from the door and pulls out his shotgun. Normally, Lycurs do not attack human sized creatures, and not normally alone. This one seems crazed and is clearly underfed. It had hoped to catch Vincet unawares and drag him off. Now, however, it receives a full face of a shotgun blast to its face, causing it to stagger back. Anson screams and runs to the corner. Vincent is too startled to shoot well and misses, but David’s shot eliminates the threat. Vincent drags the corpse into the room and closes and locks the bridge door. Lucas performs a quick examination and can see the creature was starving.

Maria, who has been quiet to this point, notes quietly that she did not detect this creature. Something this size should have been easy for her telepathy to pick up. The group spends some time talking about next steps. David wonders is a PA announcement would help. The group feels secure on the bridge, with both doors locked, though Vincent notes that anyone on the station with legitimate access can simply open the doors with a code or palm print. They wonder if this is a hostage situation but are not sure. As they talk, they hear a much louder scramble, and a large group of various lab rodents spill forth into the bridge.

The animals are not a real threat, as they cannot penetrate the group’s suits. They grab their helmets and spend another quarter hour killing the invaders. It is clear that there is no place really secure on this damaged labship.

Maria says the closest tired person was the Vargr in the main lab. They head that way, locking doors behind them to at least slow down crew, and stop any other lycur that might be running about. Along the way, they find the drive pods are untouched, based on having all their lights intact. They pass through the cargobay.

The area is dimly lit but all lighting fixtures are intact. Many large crates and storage containers fill the bay. Some are empty. Their markings indicate they once contained scientific instruments.

A large, air-tight crate appears to have been used for the transport of live animal specimens. The remnants of several small specimen cages lay scattered across the floor behind it. Closer inspection reveals blood and fur smeared on the walls and floor but no sign of the animals themselves.

Five empty cryoberths are shoved against the bulkhead. One stands open. Jhenkins is stenciled along the sides, which is the name of Anson’s ship. She is very distressed because she is concerned this might have belonged to Olli.

The group moves on to the main lab. Almost all of the laboratory is in darkness. A multi-colored glow flickers from a single computer monitor near the center of the laboratory. The end nearest the floor access plate is still lit by ceiling fixtures. The rest of the room is dark and the lighting fixtures are smashed. A sharp chemical stink fills the air.

Much of the laboratory is outfitted with various chemical apparatus. Experimental tables line the walls and run down the center of the room.

Two aisles lead down the length of the laboratory; occasional breaks in the tables allow shifting from each aisle to the other every 10 meters or so. Many of the tables are outfitted with various chemical apparatus. Some are knocked over or broken; the rest stand in various states of use or disuse. None of the laboratory equipment is currently operating and many examples are stained from lack of attention, or dirty from lack of cleaning. In a darkened far section of the laboratory, several tables have been overturned to create a small den. It is padded with bedding and trash, and just outside the tables is a pile of garbage, including small bones and excrement.

Lucas is able to smell the Vargr in the den. He moves in and sings an old Vargr lullaby. This works, and a clearly exhausted Vargr comes out. A lean Vargr with grey fur and pale blue eyes. His fur is matted and greasy. His name is Dr. Jan Vartha, one of the scientists here, and he is clearly scared. His story is of the others in the crew dying or going mad and resorting to cannibalism. He has been living on rodents and supplies. He even makes a lame joke about dogs and eating vermin. Lucas strongly feels he is lying. Maria knows it for sure as she reads his thoughts. Lucas asks him to show them what is on the computer. Jan is torn, but moves forward to the concern of Maria and Vincent, but Lucas quickly strikes him on the back of the head with the butt of his shotgun.

Lucas is not the best at hand to hand combat, having always been a scientist. This may explain that in trying to disable the fellow Vargr, he almost killed him. However, a quick round of first aid stabilizes him, and Vincent and David help Lucas secure him while Maria explores the den. It is cramped and she is hunched over. Suddenly, a table erupts at one end of the den!

A tall and muscular woman emerges from the hole. She has short sandy hair with tattoos on her left cheek, her face and hair slathered in black grease. She has bloodshot eyes, an armored jumpsuit, and is holding a laser cutting torch, which snaps on as she sees her next meal.

Cleaning up

Pent Stavro was raised as a belter, and has a lifetime’s experience working on starship engines. She has served on the Calendula for three years. Known for her singing, her performances at crew karaoke nights were always a hit. Now, when not in her enhanced state, she hums to herself to silence the memory of her crewmates’ dying screams. She moves forward to Maria and brings the cutting torch against her startled foe. Fortunately, the torch does not hit well enough to penetrate Maria’s vacc suit. Maria instinctively pushes the crazed woman back with her telekinesis. Both Lucas and Vincent race to the entrances to the Den and their weapons roar as they fire at the jacked up woman. The sudden combined blasts are enough to knock her out.

Lucas checks her over and makes sure she is stable, and they drag her from the den and secure her alongside their other captive. Maria investigates the hole in the flooring where her attacker emerged. It leads to the fuel tankage below. The flooring and the tank have been cut with a laser or torch and the jagged edges padded with wadded-up bed clothing. The passage is filthy and well-used. Clearly, the passages have been fashioned in the fuel system.

Looking over both people, it is clear to Lucas this is similar to the effects of combat drugs. Vincent easily hacks the laptop computer and is appalled at what he sees. These are the records on the experiments. It seems the team of Calendula were working on combat drug testing. The computer tells the locations of stored samples, and has the data of the experimentation. What is horrifying are the test recordings. Effects and detailed reports about the five combat drugs being tested. Video recordings of clinical trials on animals and then video recordings of illegal sophont testing. In the videos, the subjects are bound to tables and shouting they do not know who they are, where they are, or what is going on. Once injected, most early subjects experience seizures, haemorrhaging veins and a painful death as scientists in laboratory coats calmly watch and record their findings. Subjects that manage to break their bonds once the drugs have taken effect are subdued with stunsticks and sedating hypos.

Maria notes there are still two more people she detected and is worried about their states. Lucas has an idea and rummages through the wreckage. He finds two does of sedative and suggests they head out. David elects to remain behind while Anson elects to remain with David. The other three head along the curve of the labship towards the other locations. At the stateroom she detecting a human male in, Vincent opens the door, and immediately notices a trap in the form of a tripwire across the doorway. If triggered, a metal arm lined with sharpened spikes swings from the neighboring wall. He is able to easily disarm it.

Looking into the stateroom, he can see the ceiling lighting fixtures have been smashed. The bunk is torn from the wall and materials have been piled in one corner into a barricade as another lair. Calling out to offer help, a man emerges from the lair. Bald with a thinly trimmed beard, his crew photo shows him with a friendly, almost mischievous smirk. Before the incident, Haris always wore crisp, clean and fashionable clothes. Now he wears armor piecemealed out of whatever he could scavenge. Dried blood cakes his unkempt beard and he is missing a piece of his left ear. This is the astrogator, Haris Slocombe. Slocombe does not seem interested in talking, as he is holding a crude shield in one hand and a spiked club in the other. The site of intruders is clearly about to set off a rage state.

Thinking quickly, Maria uses her telepathy to try to put him to sleep. His rage state is strong and he resists but is stunned, swaying on his feet. Lucas races in and injects the man in the neck with the sedative, backing away before the dazed man can respond. As Lucas exits the room, Slocombe shakes his head and starts to charge the door. Vincent shuts it and they hear two thuds, as the man inside the room hits first the door, then the floor. Opening the door, weapons ready, they see the sedated man.

Maria searches the room while the men take Slocombe to be restrained. Behind the barricade, a hole cut in the floor leads to the fuel tank. The hole is concealed beneath a mattress and its edges have been padded with bedclothes, much like the other entrance to the fuel tunnels.

When Vincent and Lucas arrive, they are surprised to see a dead galthin monkey in the room. David relates it came out of the tunnels below the lair and attacked them. It did not hurt him through his vaccsuit, but he was forced to put it down with two well placed shotgun attacks. Shaking their heads, the two return to Maria, keeping weapons drawn at all times.

The three pass bloody handprints on the outside of the hardpoint lock. Vincent unlocks the door and they look inside. Bloody handprints smear the door and wall panel. The door is locked and its surface is dented and scarred from dozens of hard blows. Once opened, a terrible stench wafts out. Inside is dark and there are no lighting fixtures installed. This forward portion of the drive pod is intended to be fitted with a turret and weaponry but none have been installed.

A man’s decomposing body lies curled up opposite the door. This The name “Olli” is printed across the name of his grey jumpsuit. This is Anson’s companion who must have been in the cryoberth. Vincent surmises the disruption in ship’s power from the explosion activated the berth’s thawing cycle. He must emerged from the berth hours later, under the influence of the amnesia drug and no knowing who or where he was. A maddened crewmember attacked her, stabbing her with a knife. He managed to escape and lock herself inside before succumbing to her wounds. The group knows they have more sad news for Anson.

The final living person is Hoolo Ezraham, the lead scientist on the project. Short and stocky with long braided hair, Hollo’s highpitched voice is almost comical. Her front teeth are now chipped and a crooked line of self-administered sutures runs up her right forearm. She constantly fidgets and tugs at her filthy clothes. She is holed up in the auxilery lab, sleeping in her lair. This area is dark and all ceiling lighting fixtures have been smashed. An acrid burnt odour fills the room. The auxiliary laboratory is essentially identical in form and purpose to the main laboratory. The primary difference is that it is smaller.

The entire area is completely wrecked and most of the equipment and apparatus have been destroyed by an explosion. The blast shattered various pipes and conduits in the walls and buckled the floor. Although pressurization has not been lost, hull integrity may have been compromised, making this area in need of inspection and possible repair before the ship is used for any purpose. A pile of broken tables and benches is piled against the wall at one end of the room.

Maria sneaks into the room at a crawl and calls out to the occupant. Dr. Ezraham responds and is quite happy to turn herself over to Maria and Vincent with their promise of escape. Like Dr. Vartha, she claims the others are all cannibals but not her. They walk her to Lucas he offers to take a look at her injuries. She agrees and he injects her with the other does of sedative.

Once their four captives are secure, the group decides what to do. Lucas is clear they need to run. He asks Vincent if Calendula can jump. A survey shows the ship is in bad shape. The Hull will fail in a few weeks, the fuel system is compromised and the power plant is damaged. However, there are two tons of spare parts. Vincent and Lucas set to work repairing, while Maria seeks out the remaining rodents to kill them. David uses the research pinnace to collect and process fuel, as well acquire some rations. Anson elects to fly with him, so as not to be in a room alone on the ship.

Slowly they nurse the Calendula away from Axilos while making necessary repairs. After several days of work they are ready to jump! The group bids goodbye to the planet and jump to Avastan.

04 Getting Back to Civilizaiton

Game Date12/14/23 & 12/21/2023
Campaign Dates264 to 275??-1098


It is the longest week any of the crew have ever been in jumpspace. David, Vincent, and Lucas rotate monitoring their broken ship for failures. There is always someone in rotation on the bridge. Anson has dragged a mattress to there sleep, and only showers or uses the fresher is someone else is in the room. No one feels they rest well, and it is a hard trip. Finally, the five gather on the bridge as the Calendula emerges from jump.

They are contacted by the highport’s control and given birthing space. Based on their ship’s ID, Lyasani Labs is billed for the docking. All five are eager to get off this deathstation. David easily flies the ship into the waiting repair ring. It is about this time that Vincent notices the transponder for the Kharku, Gerwar Long’s ship. Hailing it, Vincent is able to contact his old friend. Captain Long is ecstatic to hear from his missing friend and tells him he has all their personal belongings on board. He tells them to meet him at the highport’s main watering hole, and they can her him send someone for their ID’s and comms.

Before they leave, David tells his companions that he is going to get his stuff then take time to investigate what happened to them. He notes that Lucas and Vincent have ships to look into so they don’t have time. More importantly, he does not want to know anymore than needed about Maria’s contacts because he would be compelled to report them. And, they would know what he knows and that seems like a bad idea all around. He says he will talk with the local security of the company who owns the highport. Anson asks to go with David.

At the highport, it is a welcoming reunion. Long welcomes Vincent with a hug and bids them sit with him. They did into decent food and drinks and catch up. Long reports they were gone the day he arrived, with their belongings packed. He took them, but notes their scientific gear is back at Mertractor. The team is startled to see Sorrel Tergaii come in with their things. She catches the party up. It seems she and Aurther both found companionship for the night the other four were kidnapped. Gwith’thin was up all night in a game of “Advocates & Administration” with another of his kind. Thus, none of them ever went to bed in their rooms at the Open Arms. When Lucas and the others turned up missing, the three went to ground. Aurther is working for repair at the highport, while Gwith’thin is helping with traffic management. Sorrel signed on with the Kharku.

Vincent is very distrustful of the whole story but both people seem to be telling the truth to his trained eyes and ears. No one else seems put off so he lets it drop. David and Anson take their leave, and Long promises to send the rest of their things to them when they have a room. Maria finishes her drink and goes in search of a way to contact the Brethren of Sol, her contact.

The Brethren of Sol is a Psionic Institute on it in the guise of a religious sect, The Brethren of Sol. Their story is they left for religious isolation. They act at Sol worship, stellar worship being a common thing, using an odd fusion of Greek iconography and the American Apollo Program. For a historian or anthropologist, it all seems like a typical mish-mash of things that cults do. Which is exactly the point. It even has money from “wealthy benefactors” who believe, which in reality comes form Mandala operations.

The reality is an advanced psionic studies institute. Students play the role of pilgrims and acolytes and learn enough “theology” to be convincing. However, the “priests” are trainers and scientists. As this is outside direct Imperial Control, Maria’s old organization, Mandala, has more of a footprint here than just a single agent in residence.

The Temple is set at some 500 miles from the Avastan Downport, at the foot of some impressive mountains. Because of this distance, it makes sense for the Temple to have its own minor landing facilities. This looks to be mostly a landing pad and a couple of large covered areas.

Maria is so intent on searching on her comm as she walks, she takes three hours before she notices the Brethren have an automated kiosk. Maria uses it to request a live contact and is almost instantly rewarded with a man in a blue jumpsuit. Using the correct coded phrases, she requests to come in with to “friends, not family”. She makes arrangements for a trip from the downport for the next day.

Back at the bar, Lucas is quite upset at the thought of people working for him being in danger because of him. Sorrel gives him a pep talk. Vincent decides he is ready to have some contact with others and proceeds to meet a comely brunette. Maria returns and tells them the departure time and place for a shuttle to the downport the next day. She then heads off to the Travallers Aid Society to obtain a room for herself and Lucas. Vincent makes it clear he will head back to his new friend’s hotel room for the night.

Maria gets herself a room and telepathically makes sure they will comp Lucas a room. She strides into what has often been the closest thing to a home she has had for years, finally able to relax, spending some time at the bar with the other TAS members. Lucas gets the alert on his comm his room is ready and he heads out. He is puzzled when his comm has him stop outside TAS. Walking up, the woman at the desk greets him formally and tells him where his room is. Lucas cannot believe he is here and takes it all in, getting the best night’s sleep he has had in some time.

The next morning, Lucas finds Maria at breakfast, and he cannot believe it is an unlimited buffet. He cannot help but have a little tail wag. After a good meal they head to the shuttle, where they meet Vincent, back from his own fine breakfast with his lady friend. They head down, and once on the shuttle, Maria gives them flyers for the Brethren and explains they are a cover. Entering into the cold, thin air of the planet, all three find no ill effects and find they are quickly adapting. They are met by a nondescript air van and pile in. The trip takes about an hour.

Landing, the temple is in a Greek structure but even bigger. It has large stairs headed up from the landing pad with large burning torches along its sides. High tech heaters also add to the warmth. The whole thing is at the base of an imposing mountain rising into the ever thinning air.

At the top of the steps they are met by the Head Mandala Rep, Jenna Breeland. She meets Maria with a sardonic greeting of being blessed with a true child of Sol from Earth then suggests they head inside. Once in the temple, they see various people, like Maria, dressed in blue jumpsuits with patches on the arms, include what Maria knows is the old American Flag. They are escorted to meet with Breeland and the President of the institute Rewill Whayeson. Whayeson is dressed in what looks like a mid-20th Century buzz cut and dress shirt and vest. His title for the temple is “Mission Director” in keeping with the theme.

Breeland and Whayeson quickly debrief Maria via a group mindlink which they keep up for the meeting. Lucas notes how efficient that debriefing was. Whayeson assure the two men that their mental privacy is important and their minds will not be read, nor will anyone spy upon them here. Then they get down to business.

Breeland notes that Mandala stopped a group of pirates from deploying a ship in the area that would have tipped the balance and brought more Imperial scrutiny. The ship is too flashy for them to use in their normal operations. Knowing that Vincent and Lucas have their own half paid off ships, and the group has a whole ship they want to salvage, she suggests some sales. The temple has as hidden bay under the mountain that can hold a ship. The two are intrigued, but wary. Maria assures them there are no lies going on and suggests they will like this.

After an elevator ride and short walk, they group is lead into a hanger capable of holding upto a 40 ton ship. Inside they are stunned to see an actual Type T Patrol Corvette, complete with all four turrets! Vincent cannot get over it and Breeland notes that, “Yes it is real, and now you see why we did what we did”.

They return to the office and agree to the deal, and use some of the money leftover from sales to upgrade and tweak the ship to their liking. Whayeson also offers to help them shop for anything they may want locally even if it is a bit higher tech than the planet normally has. It is clear that the acquisition of three more mundane ships will suit the needs of Mandala very well, and they are happy to make this deal.

05 Dawnworld Dig

Loose Ends

Game Date01/16/2024
Campaign Dates: 276-1098 – 313-1098

While the others were working on the ship, Captain Swift was investigating what happened to them. A quick visit to Avastan Portways was all it took to kick things off. While the company who runs the Class B Starprot looks the other way for a lot of things, they have no peace with slavery and engages in their own robust investigation with thanks to Sir. Swift. Lysani Labs paid for ship to go to Axilos system, meet with Small Hauler deeper in system before going to Axilos. There, “candidates” were were re-dosed at the mining camp and either sent to the Caudala for testing, or picked up by another ship go on to other sales.

David then heads to trace their trip back to Mertactor, where they were first kidnapped. It is clear there must be some leads there. At Avastan, Lysani personnel are picked up and questioned. Conveniently, the Caudala’s final disposition is unexplored.

When David arrives at Mertactor, he finds out that Weiss Mobil already started and investigation. When Captain Harrus, of the Weiss Mobil Oxford Valley found out what had happened to the son of the owner, he stopped his large freighter and opened an an investigation of his own accord based on this event and the reported piracy. He left crew to investigate and sent messages to other Weiss employees. Using his “Captain’s Purse” he also hired local Private Investigators. The problem was, no one other than the three university students left knew where the others even stayed and they were laying low. All actively avoided anyone. Sorrel fled with Captain Long, Gwith’thin signed on with a local accounting firm, and Auther got a job in the shipyards.

With the return of David the puzzle is unlocked. Not only could he tell the PI’s where he was kidnapped from, he was easily able to involve the Imperial authorities, now he was in Imperial Space. The investigation was quickly able to find out some Open Arms staff were involved. The skill jacking ring would kidnap people from the hotel. They were marked as targets by the ring after they purchased information from a man from Regina, Ahno Jemmian. Jemmian, it seems, was hired to follow Lucas and maybe even join his crew to help subvert to steal his findings. Instead, he simply sold their information to the skill jacking ring.

The ring itself paid the crew of the labship in potential subjects in exchange for their drug supply to keep jacked victims under control. While the skill jacking ring’s leaders were not present, the Imperial authorities made several arrests and rolled up this part of the ring.

Jemmian himself was happy to sing like a bird when captured. He was hired by the rival scientist who helped to torpedo the Professor’s career at Regina University. Loumus Swain. Now, it was clear Dr. Swain was not seeking slavery, but far less. However, he will be getting a visit from Imperial authorities.

It is to this conclusion that the newly christened Wandering Providence arrives at Mertactor. After a day to refuel and load, the ship is packed with equipment. Gwith’thin and Auther join David and Anson in boarding and the adventure on Dawnworld can finally begin.


Campaign Dates: 313-1098 – 350-1098

The trip to Dawnworld take three jumps and the crew is excited to finally be on station at the dig. Davis expertly engages in overflight of the area to map it with the Denitometers from the ship and the hovers perfectly to unload. Whole area is temperate rolling hills with trees region, not unlike what the Marietta area would be like without any development. The site was recently uncovered after significant washout from the river after a “1000 year” flood a year or so ago. It was noticed by ship stopping for fuel (water) going from Caliburn to Elixabeth. It appears to be some sort of unknown alien settlement. Nothing else has ever been discovered on this world, it is not thought to be indigenous. Mandala experts believe it is an Ancients site, based on their analysis of the Imperial report (never mind how they got it).

Dawnworld itself is uninhabited by sophonts. The Class E Downport is little more the poured concreate and self-serve water pumps based on the coast of another continent. It has the basic communication satellites in orbit, including relays powerful enough to communicate with ships the 5 gas giants in the outer system. Ships pass through, especially Jump-1, on their way across this unclaimed area of the Spinward Marches. This means that news updates happen, even in this outer area. The team’s exitance is logged into the local system, and as ships pass, they can exchange niceties. They set up at the site, away from the river, and leave the ship’s boat on the other bank in a raised area. They park Wandering Providence is parked 3.5 km away in a large flat area behind another mountain.

After a day of setting up, Lucas has the 5 achreobots start their own close up scan of the region which will take two weeks. He asks David to reconnoiter the area and map out a pathway they could walk to their ship if needed. Auther notes to David before he leaves that there are strop marks high on several of the trees, indicating a large animal. They easily find several elephant sized creatures the data files on the planet refers to as “Odacos”. They have tough shells, long tusks, and the disposition of a rhino or hippo. While the robots are search, Lucas takes Gwith’thin and they observe the animals for a few days. It is clear to the xenobiologists that something akin to musk from a mating season is coming. They return to the ship’s lab and synthesize a version. Gwith’thin then uses the Air/Raft to distribute it in such a way as to keep the herds, in their mating frenzies, away from the dig site.

After two weeks, the group celebrates the survey’s completion with dinner on board Providence. Vincent offers a wonderful meal using local plants and some game as part food. Lucas and Gwith’thin provide updates on what they have learned. This is like nothing in the existing Ancients literature, but that is common for Ancient sites. The site is still covered in silt and sand from recent wash and it- It will take some time to clear out carefully. The buildings look to be built by something akin to coral but not with calcium carbonate but iron and carbon forming. There is an organic flow to structures. As Lucas reviews the data he is struck by a picture with an clear large stylized carving of the Ancients’ glyph for the #12. This is identical to the image on his ring. Lucas pauses and then says ”This is confirmation”. Maria also recognizes the image as being on the device she stole for Mandala those years ago.

Digging and Distress

Campaign Dates: 313-1098 – 351-1098

Three days later, as the digging has begun, the com system goes off with a Mayday from ship Harus Kak with grav-lift failure on way down. They race to the ship and charge up. It is clear what knocked down the ships was the category 5 hurricane in the area over the Downport. The whole trip, they cannot raise anyone. Lucas and Vincent man the sensors and are easily able to find the crashed scout ship on the edge of a mountain. David almost strikes the side of the mountain as well, but has a lucky skip. He gets the Providence hovering, airlock pointed towards the downed Harus Kak as close as he dares, 60 meters away. It takes all his skill to keep the ship there.

Vincent tries all communications frequencies to engage anyone. He gets a ping back from someone over their neural comm, Alder Holbrook the ship’s engineer. The man sounds very scared, and says he is most worried about the Captain, but he not heard from anyone on the bridge for the last few minutes. Vincent has him open the airlock on his ship.

While this is going on, Maria uses her life detection to scan the ship. There are five souls aboard, but one is dying fast. Already suited up, they make for the airlock. David tells Vincent to take his grav belt. Maria says,

”The Captain is going to die before we can get to him.”. Lucas nods, and hands Maria his trauma pack and goes to fire the EVA cable to the distressed ship. Vincent places a hand on his shoulder and steps up.

”I’ve done this a time or two, let me.” says the space, though not mentioned it has always been in vacuum not winds over 150kmph. Vincent has the grav belt attached and attacks the EVA line to himself. Before he can launch himself through the space he turns to see reality bend behind him. After a use of clairvoyance to scan the bridge, Maria attempts to teleport. At first she is unsuccessful, but then, her modified suit is outlined with blue-white energy as her second attempt works and she is suddenly gone. Shaking his head, Vicent throws himself down towards the Harus Kak. He adroitly uses the grav belt and land inside the airlock. Attaching the EVA line, he tells Lucas to come on down. Lucas slides down the line, but he is not the expert. Just before he piles into the side of the ship, Vincent grabs him, and they both tumble into the airlock.

Maria is already on the bridge. She is perversely relieved to see the crew unconscious due to smoke. The Captain is clearly dying, his left leg crushed, and now he is bleeding out. Maria uses her awareness to psionically increase her strength and tosses aside the debris on the captain, slapping the trauma pad on his leg to save his life. He is nowhere near safe, but not about to die. Maria throws the switches the vent the smoke and works to get the other three crew up and moving. Vicent and Lucas arrive and help to get the crew fully suited for the transition, other than the Captain who will have to be carried as is. They are stunned at how easily Maria moves the crew around.

From engineering, Holbrook calls panicked, saying that he is unhappy with the fusion plants. Vincent tells him to shut them down, but is quite alarmed when the panels show a sea of rea suddenly. Whatever Holbrook did is not working. Lucas tries the bridge controls, but they are severed from engineering. Vincet and Maria get the crew to the airlock, and Maria uses the grav belt to traverse the line back and forth with the occupants. She sends the belt back and then carries the captain to the autodoc.

Meanwhile, Lucas charges into engineering to shut down the fusion plants that are cascading into failure. As Holbrook stands by, the brilliant Vargr jury rigs a power down to the systems. The ship quickly goes dead. Now, everything starts to tilt as the gravity compensators fail. This also causes the ship to shudder as if it will fall off the mountain. David makes a swift adjustment to stop the whole thing from falling apart. They are running out of time!. Vincent yells over the com:

”Lucas, we are Leaving!”. Lucas and Holbrook come up and quickly get to the Providence. Once more, the grav belt is slid down the rope. Donning it, Vicent begins his trip up, only to see in horror, the scout ship start to slid down the cliff, the EVA line now taunt between them. Vincent cuts the line, now swinging free below it. By now Maria is back at the airlock. She helps to haul Lucas back into the ship. The moment he is on board, Vincent yells for David to go and at four gravities of thrust the Wandering Providence launches into the sky. In moments they are free of the storm and on the way back.

Now the emergency is over, they find that Cpt. Daron Steiger is a former Scout with a ship on loan from the scout service. His crew is Hap Gelfi, Keana Kingston, Quill Amano and Alder Holbrook. They were suffering from a powerplant that was always troublesome. This time, as they exited jump, it began to fail. The Captain used his expert pilot skills to try to thread the hurricane to get down to the planet, but an unlucky wind shear knocked them into the mountain.

It takes a week for Steiger to get out of the autodoc. The crew is able to catch a ride on a passing Free Trader and things settle back into normal. For the next three weeks, the dig is just that, a dig clearing the soil. Gwith’thin becomes quite excited when he analyzes the soil. It seems to be from someplace else on the planet. Was this site buried with a purpose? Lucas orders a scan of the surrounding soil and they are all astonished to discover the hills to the south are similar soil, covering the pyramid shapes. But the returns on the shapes make no sense. They are perfect shapes that seem to either have no density or infinite density.

Ancient Pyramids

Game Date01/24/2024 & 01/30/24
Campaign Dates: 362-1098 – 365-1098

The discovery of two disks divert the team from the underground shapes. They are clearly of some unknown design. There is no interface of any sort, yet these clearly are parked at the “Coral Settlement” as the group has taken to calling it. It looks as if there were spaces for 12 of these. When Lucas approaches one, he can sense the Ancient artifact ring around his neck pulse. The ring is sending energy into the disk! He figures he had better explain. He tells the group his ring seems to store and release energy, but only around him. Somehow, when he first found it, it keyed to him. With no interface, they are not sure how the disk might work. The disk is now holding itself in place wherever it is put. Clearly, it has a grav lifter of some sort. Lucas asks Maria if she can communicate with it.

Maria is a skilled and powerful Psion, perhaps one of the strongest in the Imperium. She has skill in all the known psionic disciplines, which her comrades do not yet fully grasp. However, her best skill is typical of a human Psion, telepathy. Maria does the impossible (16+ check) and establishes a perfect connection with the psionic interface with this alien device. She is able to fully unlock the device and “talk” with it.

The disks are transportation devices. They use gravity planeing to operate around the planet, much like an air/raft. They generate a force shield and can support significant speeds with the rider moving in comfort. Like an air/raft, they can travel around the planet, as long as they have enough charge. Maria notes this one is rapidly running out of power and tells it to shut down. By then, she has an image in her mind of the locations this thing was programmed to go to. This includes the buried structure they just discovered, as well as 12 other sites on the planet. Maria pops a Navigation wafer into her waferjack and is able to easily locate these on the existing planetary map.

Lucas decides to uncover the pyramids. The top of the tallest is only covered in soil. It takes a day, but the top is revealed. It is a flat surface, that is perfectly reflective of all types of energy. The group quickly surmises this is a statis field, with perfect reflections. Maria sees if the “Floaty Discs” have a way to open the field, but they do not. David suggest that Lucas approach with his ring out. The doctor agrees.

They move the crew and the ship’s boat back to the Wandering Providence. The four heroes are all suited up. Lucas approaches with caution, hand outstretched. As the ring gets to within around 9 meters, it pulses, and a silver light bursts from it, hitting the stasis field. In an instant, the light is gone, and the hard surface of the pyramid is left. On the top is a large 30 meter diameter hole, with a shaft leading down.

They summon their archobots and send two down, using their gippers, like insects walking on a wall. The strange material of the structure, coupled with the feet of dirt and stone reduce the effectiveness of radio communications. The bots can relay signals. What report back is amazing. There appears to be 12 controls rooms around a central circle and then down a hallway. There is some tectonic damage clearly visible to the main hallway. Each room appears to have been a monitoring room of some sort, with silhouettes of 12 different species:

.Terran Humans
.Humanoid (and sized) whales
.Great Cats
.Muscadine (weasels)
.Canids (Vargrs)

Other spaces appear to be a medical bay, storage and barracks. With nothing apparently dangerous, the group rides down, carried by the bots. In the largest room, one apparently designated for humans, Maria lays down in what appears to be a control couch. She attempt to activate it with her mind, and activate it she does! Maria immediately falls unconscious. Lucas and Vincent race to her. Her medical monitor shows her mind is racing, and her body is undergoing stress. They are unsure of what to do, but stand by. After a few minutes, Maria’s eyes open. Even inside her vacc suit, she is drenched in sweat. The world is a bit darker to her, and she realizes she has spent all of her psionic energy, or more correctly, been drained of it as the chair used her energy to power itself.

Lights go on down the hallway, and down another shaft. The group looks at the tired woman. Maria relates a vision she had, her mind touching another that is in this place. It is a man, Anuan, who when he was young was taken from earth by an ancient in human form, Kraverse. He lived here on Dawnworld until he aged and was near death. Kraverse then made him into the Administrator for the complex. Power is damaged and needs to be restored. Maria is quite drained by her experience and asks to return to her stateroom. David agrees and takes her back to the ship in the air/raft.

Lucas and Vicent look at the different rooms. Vincent says he wants to try a chair. Lucas is not sure but agrees to stand by. Vincent is not struck as Maria was and remains awake. The screens in the room spring to life. They are dark at first, but Vincent is able to direct them with his mind, moving the focal point through what is stone now. This looks at the site of the uplifted kangaroos. All that can be seen are the remains of a bronze age settlement. Lucas makes sure to record the footage. Suddenly, the screens go dim and Vincet goes into cardiac arrest. Lucas rips open the ports on his vacc suit and injects Vincent with a stimulant. The stricken man stabilizes. They get back to the surface just as David returns. The two take Vincent back to the ship, even has he assures them he is fine and wants to continue. His protests die down as they reach the ship and the simulant effect fades. The two men wrestle the now stumbling Vincent into the autodoc, where he can be monitored and restored.

Holiday and Recovery

The next day, Maria emerges well rested and ready to return. She is appalled to hear what Vincent did, and even more concerned when she meets him and she can sense his mind is horribly exposed. It seems the chair forced his mind open, and while this did give Vincent minor psionic capacity, without any training, he has been left vulnerable to telepathic effects.

Anson points out that tomorrow is Holiday, the annual celebration of the Imperium. Lucas decides to take the day. Vincent goes to work to prepare for the day, and Maria joins him, mostly to keep near him and monitor. Gwith’thin excitedly reviews the data, while Lucas and Sorrel prepare comm units to create a comm chain so as not to fix the bots into place and let them be mobile. Anson, David, and Auther monitor the ship and perform maintenance. Holiday goes well, and it is a good rejuvenation for the crew that has been working so hard. Everyone is excited about exploring the structure tomorrow, but this day is a day of celebration, laughter, with good food and fun.

Back to the Pyramid

The next day, exploration begins again. This time, the crew on the ship is monitoring all the feeds closely. The four main members return, this time following the illuminated passageway down. It becomes clear that the power centers on the lower level are blocked by a cave in. They are thermal units, using superconductors of heat driven deep into the earth. The lines are clearly cut by the cave in. Several servitor bots stand dead, unable to finish the work they were clearly engaged in.

As they explore, there are more rooms. Maria enters what looks to be a lavish private quarters, when suddenly a force field grips her and alarms blare. She is unhurt, but the room is blocked off and she cannot move from its grip. She tries to telepathically communicate with the mind she was in contact with before, but it does not seem to be on the otherside of this device. And nothing more happens. Lucas tells the team to watch the feeds around the site, but there is no changes. Having seen a room that looked like a control room, David moves into the room cautiously. He is suddenly struck by a telepathic attack and falls unconscious. Lucas quickly and deftly order a bot to retrieve him and immediately performs first aid to rouse him.

As they are wondering what to do, the alarms stops and the field drops. David surmises this must be an automatic system with its own power. That ran out. No one is coming to answer the alarm because they are long dead. Maria starts a full search of the room, while Lucas has the bot advance into the other obvious control room. It is suddenly depowered by an ion strike, and then something similar to sarin gas is released into the room. While it is evacuated by a fan, that room is still off limits.

Meanwhile, Maria finds 12 droyn coyns, of unique properties, and several crystals which seem psionically active. Maria proposes to the group she take the coyns and declare she is allowed to be in the room, both verbally and telepathically. They agree, but Lucas has a line clipped to her suit’s EVA connector and has a bot on stand by to pull her out. The former agent enters the room, coyns in hand. She is immediately struck with the psionic attack, but her powerful mind holds it off. A voice comes from a speaker and a red hand print appears on the control surface at the end of the room. The voice speaks English and asks for power to be restored. It calls Maria by name and tells her to touch the print. She does so, removing her vacc suit glove. As she does so, psionic attack ends, but she feels her psionic energy being draining to power this computer. She lets is flow. The room comes to life with light.

”I am Administrator. Welcome. You may now enter safely. I have turned off the automatic defenses”

The voice says in perfect Anglic. The other three look at each other and slowly enter into the room. After sensing the ring Lucas carries, Administrator notes that was a control ring for the Ancient Kraverse. He guesses that is how they shut down the stasis field and asks Lucas if he can drain its energy. Lucas agrees and more power goes to support this ancient computer that is more than a computer.

Administrator tells the group that he was once human, or he is copied from a human, he is not sure. He was taken from Earth long ago and brough here by the Ancient Kraverse, the 12th “son” of the original Ancient called “Grandfather”. Here, Kraverse sought to uplift other Terran species, in much the way Vargr had been by Grandfather himself. The man Administrator was, Anuan, was a leader of the project. The humans from Earth ran the project for the enigmatic Ancient, who was most often absent working on other projects. He always looked like a perfect human, but Anuan knew this was not his true form, or original form. When Anuan was old and infirm, he was transferred/copied into this current state: a mind in an inorganic form, housed in an armored shell and hooked into this place, to over see the great project. Then war came.

Administrator heard from Kraverse that the Ancients were fighting among themselves and to hide. Number 7 was coming. The hope was that if this site were hidden, then the enemies would not destroy the world. They were only partially right. Administrator evacuated the Coral Settlement and dumped tons of dirt on it and this site. He then hid in stasis. When he came back out, things appeared to be secure. However, the real effect was all too horrible. Something had been done, and every creature of Sphere Terra had males born sterile. Administrator watched as all the sophonts, so carefully guided, nurtured and developed, died out. This included his own lines, his own family. All died. Administrator when back into stasis with one of the two remaining temporal D-tubes.

Afte this sad story, Administrator asks them to help restore power to the facility. He gives them instructions on how to do this and the group sets to work. It takes four days to clear the debris, and two more to reconnect the leads to generate power. However, once done, the whole facility is restored in all its glory. It is then Administrator drops the bombshell: This place must be destroyed.

Buried Secrets

Administrator tells them he has a directive, that feels much like a growing urge, to destroy this base. With Kraverse gone and the project devastated, this base must be destroyed. However, he does not have to kill himself. He makes an offer to them: Take me with you, and I will order the ship construction modules to upgrade your ship. His plea is impassioned, and he even offers to give Maria a psionic trigger to kill him. The group is moved and agrees. Lucas orders the crew to start taking as much out as they can from both sites. Administrator uses the strange powers of the last temporal D-tube to remove dirt from the long buried hanger, and Wandering Providence starts its upgrade. The crew collects artifacts and some of the technology. Both man sized autodocs go, as well as Maria taking a psionic interface chair. They find 8 working and 4 non functional floaty disks as well. Meanwhile, Administrator starts the upgrades of the ship’s power plant, drives, and hull.

Maria spends much time in contact with Administrator and helps him understand what was done to his own mind. Once free of the system, he will have room to grow as an independent sophont. He comes up with a new name for himself, Ama-gi, meaning “wanderer” in his old language.

The urge to destroy the base unfortunately grows stronger faster than Ama-gi had expected. He urgently tells his new organic friends to evacuate. He asks Maria and David to disconnect him once the others are safely away and fly out on the floaty disks. Lucas tells the crew at the Coral Settlement to get in the ship’s boat and head to orbit.

On the Wandering Providence the ship is not set to fly. Its fusion reactors are powered down, and its M-drive is not ready. The grav systems will work, but they need power. Lucas adroitly uses his ring to power the systems needed, almost casually making the connections. Vincent then flies the ship out of the hanger and towards the starport on the other continent. The ship responds much faster than Vincent is used too, having cut his teeth on capital ships.

Once away, Ama-gi mind links with Maria and walks her through the steps to disconnect. He is unsure what will happen, but is concerned that internal security systems will try to stop his removal when he can no longer suppress them. He will power them all down at the last moment, but once he is out, automatic programs will take over. This includes the destruct sequence. And he is afraid. Maria can feel his fear and tells him to stay in contact. Her eyes will be his eyes. Her ears his ears. He will not be senseless. She makes the final disconnection and she and David the 1 meter across dodecahedron onto a disk and they jump on their own. The disks respond to mental commands, even of non-telepaths and they race towards the first shaft up.

The shut down areas start coming to life from the computer core room forward, like a wave. Two portals open up and guns emerge to fire at them trio. David fires his automatic rifle in two bursts and take the both out. He tells Maria not to slow down, and the three do a hard 90 degree bank to head up. Maria struggles with the turn and almost strikes the wall, but manages to move up at the last moment. She just clears the shaft as a ring of guns deploy behind them. The activation wave passes them, and between them and the exit shaft are four floating spheres. David easily takes out three with his rifle, but Maria’s laser pistol cannot disable the last one. It shoots David, making him stagger. It is at this point Ama-gi, using Maria’s eyes, reveals he can use telekinesis, and slams it into the wall. The three discs fly free of the complex.

Below, magma erupts, exploding from the sides of the hill, starting to fill the chambers of the ancient structure, and spilling over the Coral Settlement. The abandoned living modules are buried under the flows. That is not enough for the pyramids. The final image from a camera inside is of the temporal D-tube flashing with silver light, and then the whole area goes black. After a few minutes, the pyramids are gone, millions of years of time having passed in minutes. Kraverse’s command center is gone forever.

The three parties regroup at the starport. No other ships are present at the moment. Maria goes to connect Ama-gi to the ship, and he starts work completing the upgrades. Maria refuses to leave their inorganic friend and uses stims to stay awake until Lucas forces her to go to bed after she is up for 72 hours. Four days after the evacuation, Wandering Providence is in her new form (as is the ship’s boat).

Keeping Secrets

No one is quite sure how to make a report. Lucas suggests they remain and look at the other dig sites. They decide to reaming for another 4 months or so doing surveys. Sorrel does not want this. Being on digs is not what she thought it would be. After the excitement of a find of a life time, digging up bronze age sites is not what she wants to do. She leaves with a passing ship after a heartfelt good bye. Lucas promises she will still get credit on the paper. He is also insistent that Auther and Gwith’thin will finished their degrees. This also gives him time to write up their findings in a way they can report them to the authorities. Lucas and Daivd work on a report that makes it easy to pull certain items they understand might be at issue. David also makes the report he will want to give to the Navy. They plan to head to Glisten, the sub-sector Capitol closest to Dawnworld. This time also gives Lucas and Gwith’thin time to figure out why Sphere Terra males are sterile. It is a type a virus that piggy backs on more common viruses. It is easily purged by adult immune systems but not infants. It is very stable, as it is artificial, and a vaccine should be achievable. Further, it gives Maria a chance to train Vincent on mental shields and mink link.

After a little over four months, the group bids farewell to Dawnworld and using their new Jump-4 drives, take only two weeks to arrive at Glisten. Lucas immediately puts in a request to meet with the Sub-Sector Duke’s people, while David makes an appointment with Naval Intelligence at the Naval base in system. Lucas is quite concerned about meeting with people of such high status, and asks Vincent to come with him to the meeting. Maria decides to stay on the ship with the others, and deliberately not run around the city.

While Vincent has taken Lucas clothes shopping, David flies to the naval base to meet with Lt. Commander Adams. He is too the point and Commander Adams is amazed at the story. With a call, he expedites Lucas’ meeting and sends Captain Swift to the Duke’s residence. Vincent and Lucas find their clothes shopping interrupted by the Duke’s security, who take them directly to a meeting days sooner than they expected. All three men find themselves in a conference room in the Duke’s private rotating habitat.

They are met by Ms. Sonesta and Mr. Jordan. She does all the talking. It is clear she already has the report from David and takes the information from Lucas. They are as excited by the possible cure for Dawnworld’s curse as they are the information on the ancients. The three are told they will be guests for three days at the residence. Vincent calls Maria, who by this point, is contemplating hacking the starport’s security feed as she has had no contact for hours. As Vincent gives his rather anodyne report, Maria summons her energy and attempts a very distant mindlink with Vincent. Vincent, to his surprise, is able to make the connection briefly, and tells Maria the full story with memory.

After three days, the men are given the sanitized version of the paper to be published and David’s formal report. Ms. Sonesta suggests David familiarize himself with it for his final briefing. She also tells them they will send an agent to interview the three students to reinforce upon them what they can and cannot say. The three agree and head back to the starport.

David has an easy time of his final report. A few brief questions from the head of Naval Intelligence in the sector, and then David is wined and dined as the celebrity his is by the brass. Back at the ship, Lucas is worried. They, of course, don’t have all three students to be debriefed. Maria notes she can solve that problem and when the agent comes, she will stand in for Sorrel. The next morning, Maria emerges looking and sounding much like their departed student. She and the others meet with the agent and told in no uncertain terms what they cannot say to others. They are even provided with drafts of their dissertations and told to learn them

Finally, everyone is back on the Wandering Providence. Lucas has been looking at possible leads on the Ancient Hunters sites. He thinks there may be a place or three to check out. The ships slides into the black and prepares for their next adventure!

End of Season 1

game_systems/traveller/insearchoftheancients/adventure_journal.txt · Last modified: 2024/02/24 12:15 by Bryan Stephens