The Last Parsec

The Enigma Equation Part 1
Tomb

The group was dispatched to the planet Tomb to determine why there had been no communications with the archaeological team working there.

The team discovered that the head scientist had departed with the major find from the planet and that shortly after he left, insectoids had attacked.

View
The Enigma Equation Part 2
The Collector's Ship

The group pursues the missing scientist, finding him in a system with an erratic star and a mysterious, gigantic star ship.

View
The Unraveling Doom I
The Edge of Everything

The party was picked up by the pallace ship Versailles and over the next several weeks subjected to several tests ranging from normal to highly unusual. They’re told that imperial scientists want to learn as much as they can about exposure to the “stellar event” the party and initiated in the last adventure.

Lord Dray learned that two of his older brothers were assassinated in a very unusual circumstances along with a few other nobles. An Imperial Quester had been assigned to investigate, as is procedure under the circumstances, and Joshua was not to pursue the matter. He also learned that a Serran female was missing from her brothers’ ship.

Joshua’s sister, Evelyn, had been traveling on the same ship that his brothers were on, though she disembarked before they were killed. His cousin asked him to locate his “Evie”, to inform her of her brother’s death and what it happened, and to bring are safely back if that is what she wished.

Two ships were available for the party to take as a loner to help them. After much, much deliberation, it was decided to take the brand new, highly luxurious yacht, though it was unarmed. After a quick shakedown cruise and shopping trip for new gear, the group who was off to the Unraveled Periphery part of space where Dray’s sister was last known to be.

On route, Dray engaged the ship’s AI to find out what it would like to be called as the ship still had the builder’s designator of “C”. The AI had several suggestions but it was ultimately decided that it would be called Elric and the ship itself would be called Stormbringer.

On the next to last jump, the group appeared in the middle of a freighter being attacked by a pirate corvette and pair of fighters. This was especially distressing given the choice to take the unarmed, though extremely comfortable, ship. Despite their lack of guns, Lord Dray hailed the pirates and commanded they cease their attack as Oa-La maneuver Stormbringer toward the pirate corvette. Zen began working on the calculations for the next jump and Charlie did his best to keep the ship running.

Oa-La deftly avoided laser fire as the pirates concentrated their attention on the Stormbringer. The corvette fired grapple lines and hooked onto Stormbringer, not realizing how powerful her engines were. Oa-La used this to her advantage, flinging the pirate corvette away and out of control. Zen completed the calculations, but Dray held off on jumping to try to help keep the pressure off the freighter.

The freighter captain said his jump drive was almost repaired as the pirate corvette righted itself and returned with a vengeance. Oa-La kept the Stormbringer between the fighters on the court that, resulting in the destruction of one of the fighters by friendly fire from an overzealous gunner on the pirate corvette.

Taking heavy fire, and with their shields almost buckling, Zen flip the switch to jump away. 2 seconds later the freighter join them in the Tangar system. Support vessels from Tangar Station move to help the freighter as Stormbringer docked with the station.

Station Administrator Weston along with security Captain Sorra met the crew as they disembarked. The administrator assumed Lord Dray was at the station to assist with the rising number of pirate attacks. Though not his original intention, Dray decided he should do we could to help.

Asking around, it was learned learned Evie had departed two weeks prior along with a Serran and redheaded male. Unsure where they had headed, Dray decided to pursue the pirates. Reviewing other reports of pirate attacks, Dray noticed that other had detected the same strange residual radiation in the hull of pirate ships that the Stormbringer had detected. While asking around at the pilots guild, a pilot named Esmeralda, familiar with the unraveled space claimed she knew the star system where this radiation occurred. After hiring her, the crew decided she seem to be shady, so they threw her off the ship before they left the station. Captain Sorra provided a replacement pilot to guide them through be unraveled graft.

After navigating the rift in record time, storm ring are merged on the other side. The crew decided to visit Ebbar’s World in hopes of refueling, as fuel prices on Tangar Station were quite high. Much to their dismay, they discovered that the outpost on Ebbar’s world had been attacked with no signs of any survivors. They landed to refuel and investigate. Searching turned up a single survivor, a young girl of perhaps seven or eight years old who was malnourished and in shock. They also determined that several hundred people were missing, as the number of bodies found did not account for the population of the outpost.

Their only clues to the attackers was a single downed fighter-class starship of the same kind that the pirates had used their attack on the freighter.

The group decided it best not to further endanger the child and planned to head back to Tangar Station to report the news of the outpost’s fate and to leave the girl there. Before they left, they concealed enough fuel to refill storm bringer 2 1/2 more times.

View
The Unraveling Doom II
Speak To A Pirate Day

The group spent a few more days exploring the remains of the colony on Ebbar’s World. They noticed that there were several footprints left in the dirt that seem to come from the same type of boot. They’re beginning to think that it was some kind of organized force which caused the carnage on Ebbar’s World. Failure to find recordings of the attack force was also suspicious, making it seem like the attackers were trying to hide their identity.

Deciding that nothing else could be learned there, the group hid a fuels stash and took off on their way back to Tangar Station. A day out from the star of Ebbar’s World, they noticed a small flotilla of nasty looking ships jumping away. When they arrived at the Rift, they could barely detect that the flotilla had entered it before them.

Skillful flying by Zin got Stormbringer through the Rift ahead of the flotilla. Using a jury rigged device made by Charlie, Joshua was able to contact Tangar Station. He warned them about the flotilla, though that they could do nothing about it but watch. Racing ahead of the pirate flotilla, the group soon realized that the the pirates were not following them towards Tangar Station. Instead they were headed towards a gas giant the system. The pirate flotilla then jumped using a previously unknown Anderson point beneath the gas giant.

Upon arriving at the station, Hugh the hired navigator quickly ran off the ship in a hysteria about what happened on Ebbar’s World. Esmeralda was waiting at hatch but the group ignored her. A medical team took the young girl they had rescued from the colony. Joshua arranged a meeting with the station’s leadership where they discussed the pirate activity and the new escalation of violence. No clear decision was reached as to a course of action for the station to take. Ideas discussed included trying to jump the station, though was not known if that was even possible. During the meeting, someone mentioned an imperial armada was located at Hudson. Others dismissed this as a rumor.

While the meeting was going on, Charlie followed Esmeralda. He witnessed here desperately trying to get on a ship leaving the station, even offering to pay.

The group decided that they needed to return back to the other side of the Rift to get additional information and locate the source the attacks. After Hugh had finished spreading the stories of destruction on Ebbar’s World, there were no pilots willing to back at this time. That left the party with one choice: Esmeralda.

When they return to the ship, they found her waiting by the airlock. After tense negotiations, they agreed to take her on as their navigator through the Rift. Esmeralda agreed to guide them to the system they were looking for. Once their trip was ever, she said she might have a formation about where Joshua sister was headed.

Also before heading out, Charlie was tasked with mounting on Stormbringer the laser cannons recovered from a downed pirate fighter. Commercial garage facilities would not be available for several weeks, but Captain Sorra was able to free up a system patrol garage. Charlie was able to get the guns mounted very quickly and in such a way that they looked like part of the original ship design.

Departing the station once again, they headed into the Rift. Esmeralda seem to know something about charlie’s long life span, though he had no recollection of her or what she’s talking about. She also seem to be in antagonizing Zin. After a quick stop back by Ebbar’s World to refuel, they were off to the system they sought: Magellan Omicron.

Arrival of the system was somewhat of a shock, as before them floated the remains of several ancient star battles. In the wreckage, they could see the remains of a stellar fortress, one of several battle stations used to defend the system’s Anderson Point. Deciding it was a good place to start looking, Zin carefully piloted the ship through the hulking remains to be far side of the fort. There they could see a pirate frigate docked with the fort and under repairs. The decision was made to hold position and observe things for a while.

Unfortunately as they waited, a message was sent them inviting them in and letting them know that they had not been a stealthy as they thought. Joshua identified himself as Lord Dray, immediately someone screamed his name in rage in the background on the other into the communication. After locking Esmerelda in the master suite, the group docked and entered the station where indicated. After a short walk down a hall, they fouind themselves in a hangar from well-armed pirates awaiting them. Pirate Captain Varyag spoke with them but gave no useful information or admission of involvement in the attack on Ebbar’s World. Realizing he was getting nowhere, Joshua made a decision to retreat.

As soon as they started to run, the pirates opened fire. Their way back to the ship was cut off by a human wearing power armor, screaming the name Dray, and frothing at the mouth. As he opened fire, there were attacked from another side by what appeared to be Captain Varyag’s robotic parrot.

Joshua drew his laser sword and started swinging at the robot. With help from Zin, he was able to finally slash it neatly in half. Meanwhile, Oa-La engaged the power armor with her sword after blasting it with a grenade. He still put up a fight while asking her how she could work for such scum. Her response was to cut off his head.

Dragging the power armor behind them, they boarded Stormbringer and close the air lock behind them. As they prepared to flee the battle station, Oa-La discovered a personal data device on the remains of the human. It appeared to be displaying a map of the periphery with a plan for invasion, including the Dray manor world of Hudson.

View
The Unraveling Doom III
"Anywhere they're not shooting at us!"

As Charlie and Zen prepared the ship to depart the pirates’ star fortress, Joshua and Oa-La rifled the body of the power armor equipped soldier they had dragged on board. When Zen arrived on the bridge, he found that Elric had released Esmerelda due to the imminent threat of the fighters fires circling the area. Esmerelda had taken care of most of the preflight checks. She also shared her concern that the ship ventral sensor was blank but Elric could not detect any problems.

Before they could pull away from the fort, several arrester beams locked onto the ship and held it in place. Rather than trying to traverse the exterior the station’s exterior to disable the beams, it was decided to try and locate a terminal or some other access within the station to turn them off.

As the party gathered and the airlock in preparations of the entering the pirate held space station, the airlock video showed them that several pirates waiting to see if the Stormbringer crew would return to the station. When they reopened the airlock, it caught the pirates off guard. Some quick sort work on Zen’s part, and grenade from Oa-La dispatched the majority of the waiting pirates and sent the rest running.

One short hike through the space station turned up a terminal being studied by a feline pirate. Zen quickly sniped the pirate and him finish them off with a knife. Despite or because of the station’s age, Oa-La was able to access star fortress computer in bend it to her will. She disabled the arrester beams, simulated a reactor leak, and created a phantom fleet of Imperium ships which occupied the majority of the pirate ships.

After this, the crew hastily return to the Stormbringer. Finally casting off from the store fortress, they began a desperate race to reach the Anderson Point on the other side of the debris field before being destroyed by the pirate ships. Zen earned his pay as he weaved and dodged the ship through the ancient space battle remains. Several pirate fighters persued them, but were unable to keep up and either damaged or destroyed by debris.

Just before they reached the Anderson Point, a pirate frigate emerged from the debris and launched a guided torpedo at Stormbringer. Zen set the throttle to full to buy Esmerelda as much time as possible to complete her calculations. She didn’t know where they were headed so when asked “Where to?”, the crew responded, in unison, “Anywhere they’re not shooting at us!”. Seizing the initiative, she jumped them to the next system out instead of taking them straight back the way they had come.

Without realizing it, she had taken them see the source of the impending invasion based on the map retrieved from a dead soldier.

A sense of unease settled across the crew. This was made worse by the fact that nothing of the ordinary in this system. Further scans revealed nothing except a faint reading that seem to be coming from around the star beneath them.

View
The Unraveling Doom IV
Edge of Sight

When the ship returned to normal space following the jump, Joshua asked Esmeralda where they were. Rather than take them back the way they came, she had taken them to the next system out, Omicron Eridani Dyrandi, in hopes of eluding any pirate pursuers. Joshua was somewhat dismayed by this as he wanted to return to Tangar station as soon as possible. He was also concerned that the map they had retrieved from the dead soldier indicated that the mysterious invasion was supposed to begin in that system.

A quick scan of their sensors did not reveal the presence of any gathering fleets or anything else that might indicate the presence of an impending invasion. Aside from a faint anomaly coming from the south pole of the star, the system seemed to be devoid of any activity.

Before they had a chance to do any further planning, a torpedo jumped in system and started to lock on to the Stormbringer. Zen began evasive maneuvers crew frantically tried to throw it off. In the end Zen was able to shoot it down before it could destroy the ship.

With that crisis dealt with, crew turned their attention to the mystery of malfunctioning sensors on the bottom of the ship. Content Not Found: null was selected to go out and investigate. She was able to determine that the bottom of the ship had been tampered with, a panel removed, and a bomb attached to the ship.

Lord Dray retreated to his quarters to meditate while the crew dealt with this problem. Ultimately Charlie was able to improvise a bypass to the device and discarded it by tossing it at the star in the system.

Next the crew turned their attention to trying to locate mysterious invasion fleet. Only likely location was the watery moon orbiting a gas giant mid-system. It was decided to head in that direction but keep an eye at the anomaly appearing in their sensors periodically around the south stellar pole.

Esmeralda reveled that the south Anderson point of the star was unusual and best described as a “super Anderson point” capable of allowing ships to jump much further than usual.

After a day in transit, the anomaly resolved itself into an extremely large structure approximately, 1 mile in diameter. Deciding that this was likely related to the invasion, they headed towards it. As they drew closer can see that it appeared to be still under construction as several worker shuttles moving about it. With better energy readings determine that is powered by four generators and at the center of the structure appeared a gate leading to another part of the galaxy. As they observed, a pair of destroyers began moving towards the gate from the other side.

The crew selected a generator which seemed the most remote from the other structures on the gate. The crew was able to dock near the generator and enter station without meeting resistance. They moved quickly cautiously toward the generator, noting more signs of recent construction technology that was unfamiliar to them.

Arriving in the generator room, they found a pair of technicians working on a control panel. Joshua engaged them in conversation and tried to learn more about them. As he introduced himself, elevator doors opened revealing a darkly clad humanoid sporting a laser sword and surrounded by red armored figures. “Dray, did you say? Goratu has given me a gift today!”

View
The Unraveling Doom V
Gift of Goratu

The crew took a closer look at the armed figures confronting them across the generator control room. Like the technicians, the un-armored figure also appeared very similar to humans with a slightly elongated for head. On his forehead, they could see the same symbol as was adorning the paldrons of the red armored figures – – a circle the vertical line extending through it.

Zen realized that he had seen same armor in a travel documentary about the disciples of Goratu. In that vid, the armored figures could be seen guarding temples and other off-limits locations on a world in the disciples space. The vid also showed training of these guards briefly Zen was able to put that knowledge to use over the course of the pending combat.

The darkly clad and caped leader attempted to engage Content Not Found: null_ with conversation to find out why he was there, but Joshua knew the time was short and gave the order to attack. _Content Not Found: null opened by throwing a plasma grenade which enemy leader was able to deflect with a wave of his hand. The enemy leader commanded his troops to engage the crew as he moved to fight Joshua.

The troops employed staff weapons able to fire particle beams and block laser swords. The crew took a few hits and the leader was able to deflect Joshua’s swings with his laser sword. Charlie moved to a control panel and was quickly able to sabotage the generator. Joshua was struck by particle beam and nearly taken out. The enemy leader, called Zyrran by one of the soldiers, moved to a catwalk over the generator seeming to try bait Joshua out of the control room. Instead, Joshua destroyed door controls leading out of the room with hislaser sword after closing the door.

The crew took the two technicians prisoner despite the fanatical resistance employed by the techs during the combat. The crew overheard Zyrran give orders to take Stormbringer. Joshua told Esmeralda to take off; he and the others would have to find another way out before the generator blew up. The conscious technician suggested hangar bay nearby.

Joshua left a grenade clumsily on the door in hopes of blowing up Zyrran. To his surprise an explosion came from that direction as the elevator carried them to the hangar. To his dismay, he heard explosions coming from the hangar that they were headed towards.

The elevator doors opened to a scene of chaos and disarray as several fires minor explosions rocked the large hanger area. Technicians ran about trying to get the fires under control. The source these fires was Stormbringer firing its canons into the hangar. The crew got off the elevator as ship spun around giving the crew access the cargo ramp in the rear of the ship. Esmeralda provided cover fire for the crew and informed them that they needed to put on spacesuits as ship was depressurized. Enemy troops had blown the airlock to board the ship so she had pulled the ship away while the airlock was open which voided Stormbringer’s atmosphere.

Everyone quickly put on suits, and the ship blasted off. Zen took the controls as Charlie and Oa-La repaired the damaged airlock before they could jump. Enemy fighter scrambled and gave chase. Zen was able to outmaneuver the fighters and managed to get one crash into some superstructure extending off the gate station. Evading enemy fire, the crew was satisfied see a large explosion from the generator they had sabotaged.

Repairs completed, Esmeralda was able to jump all the way rift point closest to Tangar Station. Before jumping, they were also treated to the sight of half a destroyer tumbling out of the gate.

Once Stormbringer returned to normal space and sensors back online and noticed another ship. The new ship’s identifier was the Slephnier, the ship Joshua had custom ordered before departing the Versallis. Opening communications, cloaked figure responded asking “This is Lord Josh Dray, who has the pleasure speaking with me today?”

Perplexed and incensed, Joshua had to restrain himself from opening fire on his own ship. In short order it was determined that crew of the Slephnier was a funeral party carrying out ancient Kallian tradition. They were responsible for delivering Zen’s brother’s will and personal spacecraft to Zen. They had “borrowed” the Slephnier and modified it to carry Zen’s new ship.

After the appropriate ceremony, Zen viewed his brother’s vid will. Zen learned that his brother, in service to the Imperial Navy, had died when his carrier group was destroyed near space controlled by the Disciples of Goratu to the Drevini Carstavo.

During this time, Joshua meditated and received a vision of the Serran female who had accompanied his sister of Tangar Station. The Serran seemed to be trying to urgently communicate with him.

With that business attended to, the Kallians’ also mentioned that a small flotilla of Imperial ships had arrived at tank our station from Hudson in response to the pirate activity going on in the area.

A new plan was forged. The crews would exchange ships and Elric would be copied to the new ship. Stormbringer and the Kallians would return to Tangar Station with news about the invasion. Meanwhile Slephnier would journey on the planet that the invasion map had indicated as being the source of the shock troops. Esmeralda agreed to join the crew as a member after she heavily lobbied with Joshua should continue on in search of the survivors from Ebbar’s World.

The crews said their goodbyes and went in their own separate directions. Over the next several days Slephnier made its way from system to system along the rift. Without event, they made their way through the rift and finally jumped into the star system furthermost out.

Their destination system had a single planet, a gas giant with a habitable moon and numerous asteroid belts. Initial scans turned up a extremely faint emergency distress signal coming from one of the asteroid belts. They set course for the source of the signal and along the way heard radio transmissions from an indeterminate source that sounded like whale-song.

Arriving at the origin of the distress signal, they found a most peculiar ship. It appeared entirely organic in nature. The hull had ruptured and a figure in spacesuit could be seen drifting lifelessly in the cabin.

It was decided to investigate the ship. A docking core door was extended between the two ships and a Oh-La crossed with Joshua waited in the airlock of the Slephnier. Oa-la noted that the center front canopy was shattered and it appeared there was a rupture between a cargo space in the main cabin. She set about trying to figure out how to use the ships controls when a blue sphere approximately 10 inches in diameter came into view outside the ship.

She couldn’t help notice that shade of blue exactly matched herself but had little time to ponder that as it shouted a warning to her. Throwing herself through the front windscreen, she narrowly dodged the attack by an invisible opponent. Pulling on her lifeline to bring herself back in, the assailant broke the line ensuring that she could not do that again. After a brief fight she was able to slay the creature. Upon death it became visible as a nightmare metal plates and spikes though thoroughly organic in nature.

Shortly thereafter, several other living ships appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Oa-La returned to the Slephnier. After closing the airlock, a knock was heard from the outside. Opening it, the blue sphere entered the airlock began gushing about how happy it was to meet Oa-La and referred to as “sister”. The sphere referred to itself as Five made mention to others such as “Sister Four”.

As they tried to digest this, the crew found themselves teleported to the habitable moon. Another knock from outside the ship this time on the main cargo door for a small delegation of Serran’s could be seen waiting. Among them is the Serran female that left Tangar Station with Joshua sister.

View
The Unraveling Doom VI
Reunions Part I

Zen marveled at the beautiful, lush plateau onto which the ship had just been teleported. 4 of the 5 vessels involved in the instantaneous travel hung silently in the air around the ship and in the distance he could see a settlement around a large crystal tower. Smoke was rising from home fires withing the settlements as dawn spread across the ships, moving to the down to the lowlands.

Oa-la elected to hide in her cabin with 5 as Joshua lowered the ramp to meet the trio of Serrans awaiting him outside. He recognized one as the Serran who had left Tangar Station with his sister several weeks ago. Beyond them, he saw the damaged (injured?) living ship they had fought the alien beast upon a short while ago. He also noticed the Lazy Hound near by, which was the ship his sister and the Serran had left on.

The Serrans escorted Joshua to the tower, which was much larger than he initially expected, reaching over 200 feet in diameter and open in the center. Larger crystal windows allow natural light to illuminate the interior. The lower level seemed to be a meeting area and audience chamber for the ancient Serran leader. The upper levels contained a market and art gallery or library.

The Serran leader questioned Joshua about his arrival. Others mentioned that it was Evelyn, Joshua’s sister, who had returned had returned Timara home and who was now missing while trying to help with the shrikes. It was also his crew which had found the wounded ship and likely saved it. The leader apologized for her abruptness, relating that the Serrans had cause to be weary.

She related the story of a stranger who had arrived a few months ago, seeming friendly and asking many questions. However, he disappeared one night, and was suspected of kidnapping 2 Serrans. They had been unable to locate him, but suspected he was hiding somewhere within the gas giant. Then, a fleet which Joshua recognized as a Rigelian slaver fleet came through and disappeared into the gas giant’s atmosphere. It was after that the shrikes started attacking. Joshua accepted an invitation to attend the funeral of the pilot found killed in the living ship. He also bartered some spice from the ship for simple crystal “torch”. He gave it to Charlie.

While Joshua was attending the funeral, Zen and Oa-la took the Restored Honor out and scouted the gas giant for signs of where the shrikes might be coming from. They detected abundant life within the atmosphere of the gaseous planet and deduced that this might be what was throwing the Serrans off.

As they returned and Joshua was leaving the funeral, a small vessel was detected moving out of the gas giant’s atmosphere at high speed, heading towards the moon. The Restored Honor attempted to intercept, but the unidentified vessel was too fast. Joshua told Esmeralda to take the Slepneir to the location the vessel was heading, then asked Ravik if he could teleport him to the landing zone. The words has scarcely left his lips and he was standing in a small village without even a chance to fetch his gear from the Slepneir.

The sun was setting on this part of the planet and a thunderstorm was rolling in from the east. He could make out the vessel entering the atmosphere at a high speed, taking on the appearance of a shooting star. A second star followed with Zen at the helm as he angled the Restored Honor for the best shot possible. He had one chance and scored a good hit on it, sending the small, missile like vessel spinning to crash a mile away from the village Joshua was in.

Several Serran warrior approached the crash sight and Joshua could hear their cries and seem them tossed into the air as something escaped the wreckage. Rain started to fall as the Slepneir arrived and Charlie ushered terrified villagers on board. Joshua kept an eye toward the crash site and watched as the tall grass parted in that direction moving toward him, indicating that something was heading his way. Quickly.

As the people fled to the safety of the ship, Joshua watched the shrike pad into the edge of the village. The shrike dropped its cloak as the rain was ruining its effect. Joshua squared off against the beast, putting himself between it and the people escaping. It snarled and charged him, snapping its jaws and striking him with a poisonous pair of tails.

Zen brought the Restored Honor in hot, not slowing, but instead angling so that Oa-la could jump out and join the fight. She and Joshua matched laser sword to claw. As the last villagers ran up the Slepneir’s ramp, Joshua drove his pair of swords into the shrikes head. With Oa-la’s help, he limped up the ramp of the ship.

An explosion from the crash site caught their attention. A milky eyed Serran floated above the warriors and, with a wave of his hand, sent them scattering away from him. He glanced in Joshua’s direction before vanishing in a flash of light.

The Slepneir returned to the main Serran settlement and offloaded their passengers. After healing and much needed rest, Joshua spoke with Ravik. Relaying his intention to head to the source of the shrikes, Ravik offered the aid of 6 Serran warriors to help with their mission. Joshua accepted and they soon departed.

Entering the atmosphere of Trianguli Reticulum Procul VII, Zen and Oa-la took the Restored Honor and led the way to the source of what they believed to be the origin of the shrikes. After a few hours of searching the area, they located a floating station, hidden in the clouds, near a massive atmospheric storm. On approach, they detected the Rigellian slaver fleet on the docking level and opened fire on the stationary ships. Zen noted that the appearance of the station was similar to the Collector’s ship they encountered during the Enigma Machine Incident.

Landing among the smoke and fire of burning ships, a pair of Rigellian insect overlords appeared with matching milky white eyes. The crew quickly dispatched them and located a terminal which Oa-La quickly hacked. Using the surveillance system, she identified 4 distinct levels, including a mist-shrouded city, storage, docking, and engineering.

The next move was to decide where to heard first…

View
The Unraveling Doom Part VII
Reunions, Part 2

Oa-La continued searching through station security sensors for signs of the kidnapped people from Ebbar’s World. Suddenly, the holographic figure of an old, rotund human wearing a strange, brass environmental suit materialized in their midst. He spoke with an odd accent and was very curious about the crew. He introduced himself as Dr. Zeiss and after some initial vagueness from Joshua, suggested and equal exchange of information.

He informed them that he not a follower of Goratu, but merely working with them as it suited his own ends. He confirmed that he had been the one to travel to the Serran’s moon last month, meeting with the Serrans there, and kidnapped two of them. The shrikes were his pets and he had been improving them.
On his turn, he asked questions about why the crew was here. He also had some very pointed questions about the crew, including asking Charlie how old he was. Finally, he activated a control on his gauntlet which sent out a subtle signal which tried to activate a subroutine to render Oa-la subject to orders from him. She did not have that subroutine, but Five did, as the little blue probe replied he was ready for commands. Oa-la blocked the signal and told the others what had happened.

Oa-la discovered what appeared to be a temple to Goratu on the station sensors. At this point, Joshua decided the conversation was becoming non-productive and led the team away. Esmeralda insisted on coming along with the team as she had people she cared about among the missing believed taken from the colony. Elric was instructed to take the Slepneir and recently arrived Lazy Hound and orbit the station from a safe distance. The helpful A.I. was to monitor things from outside while instructing Aston, Evie’s would-be paramour, in the functions of his yacht.

En route, they detected another shrike ahead of them, but it moved out of their detection range.
Oa-la’s sensors detected signs of activity from a pair of doors opposite the temple. The team picked one and opened the door, weapons at the ready. What they found was an make-shift barracks room for the Goratu warriors, with many of them asleep.

Several plasma bolts and laser sword swings later, the team whittled the sleepy warriors down to one who, succumbing to Joshua’s mind powers, revealed the location of the missing. At least, those still alive.
The team next stormed the door beside the barracks and found and equally impromptu mess hall, with crates of rations, tables, and some entertainment devices. Finally turning their attention to the probably temple, they found it empty. Several line-bisecting-circle banners were found, along with a small stage, data pads containing texts dealing with the Followers of Goratu’s religion, and a series of daggers. After collecting samples, the group gathered everything into a pile and Esmerelda incinerated it via plasma grenade.
The used the directions of the coerced follower which led them to the lightly guarded prisoner holding area. While quickly dispatching the guards, a tech sounded an alarm. The team “convinced” him to turn the alarm off, then help them free the remaining surviving colonists of Ebbar’s World. The survivors were being held in suspended animation cells like those seen on board the Collector’s ship. They left the tech in one of the cells as a reward for his assistance and left the surviving 494 colonists in a defensible position with Esmerelda and the Serran warriors to protect them.

The tech’s directions led the crew to Dr. Zeiss’s laboratory. They entered what appeared to be a medical bay with an observation window at the opposite end through which they could see Zeiss. Sneaking in, they observed the doctor discussing matters with a black, armored figure. The doctor made no mention of the teaming being on the station, but the other figure referenced their activities at the space gate and that they timetable had been delayed by “a few weeks”.

The doctor appeared to be having the conversation using a device which was allowing FTL communication with someone either several systems away or possible even half a galaxy away. Such technology was unknown in the Imperium.

Searching for a door to the doctor, they quickly found several tanks holding shrikes at various stages of growth and, finally… Evelyn, the sister Joshua had been search for these last few months. She was also in a tank, alive, unconscious, and missing her left arm from just above the elbow. Joshua briefly paused before her tank, and then stormed into Zeiss’s office. He pinned the doctor against the window to the med bay using telekinesis, then used his laser sword to cut off the doctor’s hand.

Joshua proceeded to interrogate the doctor, who seems almost eager to brag about the procedure done to Evie. He related she had been mangled by a shrike when she was captured, and how he had hopes for her as she had the potential to be the most powerful deader yet. The doctor’s relationship with the Goratuans seemed utilitarian at best, the result of an arrangement of convenience and not due to ideological or theological alignment. Zeiss was affiliated with some deader faction, the Nihil, that did not hesitate to utilize living hosts and they grew their own, genetically sculpted host bodies, as well. At some point after hearing his sister had been implanted with a deader parasite, Joshua stopped listening. Blind with rage, he telekinetically executed Doctor Zeiss.

Charlie took the FTL comm for later examination, and he and Oa-la began rifling through the doctor’s consoles. They found controls to dispose of the shrikes being grown in the next room as well as several hundred future deader host bodies being bathed in the radiation of a central reactor. Lastly, bringing Zeiss’s wrist computer, they turned their attention to the tank in which Evie floated.

She appeared alive, but unconscious. The doctor’s records indicated this was unexpected and he was closely monitoring her. The crew got her out of the tank and discovered she was alive and appeared “unpossessed”. Though weak, she was able to relate how she had used her elemental powers to drowned the Nihil parasite before it took hold and asked them to “please get the damned thing out of my ear” before fading out of consciousness.

Gathering her up, the crew prepared to head back down where they had left the survivors. Checking in with Esmeralda, she told them she had moved the people to a more defensible location near the holding cells.
The doors to the medbay opened as they were leaving, revealing a hideous, armored humanoid, seeming thrown together out of muscle, bone, and rage. It bellowed at how they had just ended his future brothers and now they would die. He launched a grenade into the room while swinging a powered battle axe. Oa-la shielded Evie with her own body, then the group responded, obliterating the fiend in a hail of energetic blasts.

With the immediate threat dealt with, they planned to continue back to the survivors.

View
The Unraveling Doom Part VIII
The 494

Elric, the ship’s AI contacts Joshua while the crew is en route to the freed prisoners. His sensors have detected the fanatics doing something on the landing platform. Also, a large storm is approaching. Drey tells him to take the ship to orbit and wait for the storm the clear; the crew will investigate the landing platform later.

As they near the new refuge of the prisoners, they hear shouts and weapons fire from that location and receive a frantic message from Esmeralda. Leaving the unconscious Evie nearby with Five to watch her, the group closes in. A group of Nihilis controlled insectoids, more of the Slavers, are trying to breach the room with the prisoners. One of the red-armored fanatics is with them. The group suspects they want bodies as hosts for more Nihilis.

The group attacks the Nihils, catching them in the crossfire with those prisoners who secured arms and the Serrans protecting them. A few of the Nihilis breach the room, but the bulk are drawn into the fight with the group. The largest one engages Zen with a flack gun, almost dropping the Kalian as his cohorts split their attention between the fortified former prisoners and the party. A few slavers make it in and one of the Serran warriors loses his life while the rest feebly engage the party.

The large leader realize their tactics aren’t working and signals his fellows to switch to their electric stun sticks. This proves especially effective against , who takes a hit and feels it as the electrical charge plays havoc with some of her subsystems.

One slaver creates an unusual sound with its vocal synth which Charlie suspected was a shrike summons. The battle seems to be running well for the crew when Charle is proven right as a shrike bounds down the wall toward them. Charlie is knocked down by his opponent while the party is taking down slavers, the numbers are against them and victory isn’t assured due the shrikes arrival.

Suddenly, Lord Dray squares his shoulders, raises his hands towards the shrike, and in a voice that is low yet heard by all, says “This. Ends. Now.” Lightning arcs between him and the horror and in a flash of light only wires and ash are left of the shrike.

The Fanatic retreats calmly as the remaining slavers try to withdraw. A yeti from the survivors bounds into the hall and literally rips an opponent in half with its bare hands. Zen finishes off his tormentor and the crew mops up the remaining slavers.

Inside the sanctuary for the freed prisoners, they find a few had lost their lives defending the others. Joshua assists in the treatment the injured. Zen sees to the bolstering of the defenses. While they were gone, Esmerelda had sent small groups to retrieve weapons and supplies from the fanatic barracks the group took earlier and selected the most able from the colonists to aid in the defenses.

Oa-la enlisted Charlies and Five to help her plumb the sophisticated gauntlet worn by Dr. Zeiss for anything useful and it proves to be a treasure trove of information about their enemies.


Dr. Zeiss Notes:

The Station / The City

  • The station is fascinating. Within the mists of the city, they have witnessed several creatures that appear to be frozen humanoids. Whenever they try to take a sample, the station reacts by killing/destroying the offending zealots/probes.
  • The station appears to be capable of broadcasting energy at the Serran’s moon. The signal to the moon is part of an experiment (on the moon). It creates a psionically active crystal within the moon. The signal coincides with the timing of the rift. They had to consume the other planets in the system to power the signal. * The experiment has been running 8,800 years.
  • The people in the city are not the ones who built the station. They apparently contracted a disease, so the station froze them.

Evelyn

  • The driver successfully attached, but she’s unconscious.
  • Her psychic powers will be greatly augmented for the driver.
  • Continue hiding her identity until the Avatar…

Goratu

  • The Avatar appears to not only have supreme power among the zealots, but is a potent power.
  • His teaching, the Anti-Rubric, is fascinating and bears further study.
  • He referenced the control code for the AIs, which he got from the Cipher Oracle. The code appears to work on all “blue-type” AIs, except Oa-La.

Genetic Research

Shrike Enhancement Program
He noted that there were 16 Shrikes (now 12?)
He wanted to make the Shrikes resistant to laser swords.
-——————————————————————————————————————————
After sharing this with everyone, the group decides it prudent to let Oa-la recover before investigating the landing platform activity. The decision is made to make their way through to the control tower rather the main entrance to the hanger. This proves a wise decision as they survey the hanger from the control deck. The fanatics have set up a large mini-gun aimed at the main entry to the rest of the station. Furthermore, the fanatics have brought a large yacht from an enclosed bay out to the main deck and are prepping it to leave. Joshua recognizes it as the one which brought Zeiss to the system.

After devising a hasty strategy, crew attacks. Smoke grenades provide cover as Charlie snipes the fanatics manning the gun while Oa-la charges in. She dodges a hail of lasers and takes out those still standing after Charlie’s attack. Continuing her fluid motion, she turned the laser cannon to the yacht, raking it with energy blasts and gratified to see a large explosion of sparks near the front of the vessel. Between bursts, she hear the old engineer mention something about “…sensors…”

Meanwhile, Joshua and Zen focus on the group defending the gangway to the yacht. Three insectoids carrying a half-meter long metal cylinder were boarding the ship. The Dray slashed his energy sword at the guards as he pursued them up the ramp. A grey clad sniper fired a couple of shots at him and then seemed to vanish.

Zen ended up facing off against a different sort of fanatic, it’s armor seemed unique, as were the dual pistols it fired at him. Shots exchanged, but Zen ended up finishing off his opponent, with a volley of shots to the chest. As his opponent lay dying, Zen heard him gasp “My family… failed you”.

On the ship, Joshua had cut down two of the three possessed insectoids. When he swung at the third, it instinctively raised the cylinder to protect itself. The energy blade easily bisected it, releasing a torrent of Nihiis deader slugs.

Zen finished off the remainder of resistance on the ramp and the crew secured the ship. The crew then had to decide how to proceed.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.