Into the Unknown

Jump to 2433, with a lead, to edge of system.

Rhaynae the Galactic Overload is described as super humanly powerful. A robber baron in the west, pillaging resources rather than investing and sustaining. MO is not sustainable, and is ruthless. Bipolar relationship with minions - love him and he can cast them aside, finds ways of killing them terribly. He is humanoid Sophont, albeit a large one. We have opposed him for millennia

Looks at Book from Kask and the Key. Says it seems like nonsense. He comes back and says it’s not the Sisterhood of Jild - it is Haza Tahta Al-Jild another Galactic Overlord. He is one of the few people Rhaynae allied with. Chewed through systems, assembled biggest fleet ever. Only reason they don’t rule 100 systems is they fell out over the means of destroying a planet. Neither could back down and it turned into a shooting match.

Is this good news?

Don’t know. Maybe they are tracking each other down to finish the job - that would be very bad for any systems around here.

Loudbang, drop out of jump space. Find yourself, sensors come up, haven’t lost power, but something happened to Jump Drive. Seem to be in right system. But didn’t transition out of jump space out of choice. Jump drive seems to have “shat itself” say Ucas. It need a minute. Maneuver drive still working. Marquis wants to go somewhere quiet. Near a large planet w atmo with a Moon no atmo and there looks like a lot, a graveyard of ships. Planet mostly water with 1 significant landmass, not huge, maybe 50 miles by 200 miles long. Very close to us, a ship is drifting, don’t see any life forms or heat signatures. On a low power cycle, maneuver drives offline, picking up power fluctuations in its system. Looks like Imperial ship.

Ucas checks the data. “Not normal power spikes, unless for a Destroyer. Shouldn’t have that much power” .

Moon littered with wreck of smaller craft. Ships in orbit don’t look like they’ve been in battle. Island on planet looks like Giant’s Causeway.

Doesn’t appear to be a wormhole anywhere.

No large population centres on planet.

Ship in front, sensors get “Alexis” an imperial research vessel. Long lost.

Armitage pushes Varun. Not sensing any life forms on the Alexis. Not sensing and Galactic Overlord.

Varun helps George with further decyption, Ucas works on the drive.

George comes running in with Varun “Decoded secondary info. Coming here to recover planet destroying weapon. That’s bad news right”

“only if they get it first”

Come close to Alexis. Odd design, on 2 levels, 1 main airlock and a couple of emergency ones. Big, bulky bulkheads and airlocks.

Morle, Armitage and Dr Ntesh head across, head into acclimatization corridor. Left goes to science lab, right, zig zag, can’t really see.

Airlock to West science labd Life support to North Door to South Lt Kauw

Airlock door dented…indentations and gouges.

Morle opens it, science lab in disarray, things scattered. 3 corpses, one under desk, sprawled against a desk, one splattered against ceiling. Vernt to North smashed outward into room. Bodies don’t stink, seem to be relatively fresh, 24-48 hours.

Armitage sets up trip wire to East direction cargo. Dr Ntesh gets a system booted up, and says “its really strange…the system only has info for the last 30 minutes on it…back to when we saw a power surge”

Only way up is through Life Support…a ladder to the bridge. Vents also lead there. To get down to Habitat deck, we have to go through a service or machine area off the cargo hold or there is a ladder in the wall just back from us. Common access through the vent. Really weird. Maybe the main access way…none of it makes it any sense to me. On habitat deck, man sized shaft w access to vent system, then behind a panel, in theory there is another access way that goes straight. The only explanation is that this 3 ships bolted on top of each other. Big ship, done on the cheap. But even then its just weird.

Lt Kauw is in his quarters, propped up on his bed, gash in his chest, dirty shirt hanging on the wall…covering a mirror.

Send Dr N back, Morle and Armitage head into Life Support. Ladder on the wall that goes up, freely to the next level

Head to cramped area with circulation fan, door to the South to the Bridge. Exposed Computer to the east.

On the floor, 3-4 curly wurly foot wide scorch marks in irregular Sin wave form burnt into the foor. Closer inspection, 2 also burnt into the walls also some kind of calcinated material.

Morle opens door to S, life support, fan, no ladder. Goes to look at computer…weirdly exposed.

Go w to bridge corridor…Android at Bridge console, fingers flying…another one Saying “Panda, this is never going to work, we’re never going to recover all the files” and under the consoler 2 corpses, propped up

Taps Panda on the shoulder and says “Panda, Panda, we have been rescued! It’s a pleasure to see some living humans again. I don’t suppose you know how you got here do you”

“Crano is not much help at this point”.

Multiple over rights…rebooted 45 minutes ago…before that…file fragments before that…appears to be results of multiple overwrites

Would you mind if we retreat?

Androids drop down…corposes eyelids flicker….morle and armitage bug otdown to lower level. As they come through, The Thing comes from the Cargo bay.

It crashes through the trip wire, and staggers under the explosion. As it does so, Morle and Armitage open up full auto. The Thing is dismembered. They jump in the airlock but the door won’t shut, Morle can’t get it to work - they blow the lock and suffer decompression buffeting. They get back to the Salamander

George picked up the energy surge on the Alexis - it came from the cargo bay. At the same time, there was a massive energy surge from the planet, 1.21 gigawatts.

The Marquis stays isolated on the bridge. Dr Ntesh tries to determine if there is an exposure hazard similar to Station Kask - inconclusive

Send a drone across, get to cargo door…row of cargo containers, some loaders, articulated utility vehicle, and then through the haze, see something in front of a loader - something entirely alien. Maybe 10, 11 mins elapsed since first power surge. Some kind of alien artefact. This appears to be some kind of solid object, but from it there are tendrils like hair floating in the vacuum, still undulating despite being in hard vac - giving the impression it is alive. Underneath some kind of solid sculpture? Statue? All black, twisted metal underneath

After a few minutes, tendrils retract into the sculpture, the lights stop flickering and the spectacle is over. It is a dark metal sculpture, all black, monstrous twisted metal, dismembered bodies and limns melded together.

George tells us “That whole episode lasted 13 minutes and ended on the hour”. There was an EMP pulse, but nothing significant enough to effect the Salamander. The power surge was not dangerous to the Salamander, not even basic electronic devices

Varun was unconscious for the 13 minutes it occured. He can’t take it again, but preps himself

George finds evidence of a city, can’t tell if it’s inhabited. The city is lower, energy spike came from highest point on island. There is a second, smaller island, although nothing on it.

Drones go up to bridge again, no doors shut. Talk to androids, they go down to cargo hold to investigate. Not tech from ship. This metal has not been worked in imperial space, clearly an alien artefact. Describe the situation, they decide we have to destroy the Alexis

Find the Book “Watership Down”, and a tea service made out of the hides of some kind of animal. In the captains cabin, journals from the captain. Appears to be mundane - last entry from 2 weeks ago, mentions alien artefact dug up on a moon …then some violent scribbling, horrible nightmare he just can’t shake…floating dead in the void of space, alive to the pain of the cold and vacuum whilst floating before a planet sized foetus regarding him with large abnormal eyes.

Archaeologist quaters, dead, head slammed against wall. Drawings of the artefact… Nightmares, drill descending towards the eye…someone asks how are you feeling? Third description In glass, drying out desiccating beyond glass, a creature taking notes about your condition, blowing you away in a fine dust, creature nodding in approval. Possibly similar to how Yellan was destroyed?

We stream the Androids data to a secure terminal and loop it so they have some info on wakeup. Dr N’tesh runs a bioscreen, all comes back negative. We fly for 10 mins, towards the city, and the Alexis blows. There is some debris, not completely vaporized. Not clear if all destroyed. Ucas doesn’t see anything even half the size of the Artefact. My main concern is that everything should have been vaporized…this device was for such eventualities. Ship was clearly vaporised - there should not be such debris elements. Maybe they are chunks of this artefact.

Head towards the island of kind of geometric blocks. Stairs, 200-350m high on the 10km high cliffs…swampy area….clear area to land on. Some inhabited area, maybe a city. A tower some way outside of it. Starting to pick up a very weak distress beacon coming from the tower.

We handcuff the androids for the next reboot. At 47 minutes, there is a surge…in the first 30 seconds there is a surge, it then oscillates on an increasing pathway. It peaks at about 10% more than last time. Coming from the top of the island. Panda and Crano don’t seem to be affected. Dr N’Tesh is monitoring Varun, there is a cerebral spike and blood pressure increases. Not good for him. Varun says he was a bit better prepared, less of an impact, but could feel that the effort required was higher. He asks us “Do none of you feel anything?” Armitage felt a little bit funny during the surge, but maybe it was just anxiety. Probably a good thing. No one else feels anything. The power surge stops.

We head towards the tower, when scanners pick up on the surface not far from the tower another ship on the ground. Seems to be quite a large ship, maybe a patrol or assault ship. 80m long, atmospheric capable, reasonable wing area. No heat signature. Engines not been run for a while (more than 2 days). About 15km to the tower from here.

Variety of styles in the city. Ziggurat, lattice work building, cupola, very tall thin buildings, octagonal. Sensors pick up very high frequency mechanical vibration from the ziggurat. Very high frequency vibrations, very strong. Prob not sonic, mechanical. We decide to investigate the distress beacon on the tower is. We fly over the smaller island to discover it is actually 2. It is rocky, covered in purple grass. No scans bring anything up, no lifeforms. We check out the energy source on the top of the island. Visibility starts to deteriorate, sludge in the air. The ship had a heavy landing. The tower is more of a shell than a tower, mostly can see through it all. About 30 storeys tall, external staircase stops at 3rd floor where the beacon appears to be coming from. Major entrance, canopy, can see in.

Morle grabs the distress beacon, it’s military grade but not imperial. Should put out a signal for 1-2 years, will eventually get out of system. In addition to normal distress, encrypted message as well. Stencilled in side “Fixed Asset Number 643 IS Defiance”. Beacon was set off 6 days ago. The ship itself was not covered in debris or dust could be that recent

It is hereby noted that Pando and Crano, droids of the imperial research service, at this standard time, have come under the command of the Marquis, and will discharge their duty until discharged into the imperial research service or other higher authority”. Land in city, hide, use Grav Bikes to set up comm relay on top of a building.

Reach 47 mins, surge in power, different pattern, but again 10% higher than last time. Notice again that power spike on hill coincides with drop in frequency in city - energy is generated in the city and sent to the top of the hill. Varun suffer more.

Morle, Armitage, Panda and Crano head off on bikes - Panda will come back with one bike.

Go down main alley

Enter Ziggauraut

Holes in floor, evidence of explosions?

Advance to stairs

Suddenly 3 small creatures scuttle out and attack him. One spikes him, another lets outs a toxic cloud, another spits in his face. It’s acid and Kranot’s face starts melting off

We manage to kill them, but have to swap androids