Carathumpian of Tethys

Introduction Episode 2: Aièn aristeúein
Choices, choices, choices...

Having responded to the odd signals as per the law, and decelerated into the shadow of Saturn, the crew of the Angelica discovered, through a near miss collision, a mysterious vessel. It was massive, and its design nothing of the modern day. It was long, angular and black, it was almost as if design had been prioritised over function – whatever function it was to have, it looked like no other ship they had seen. They could pick up no life forms or any other signals or readings. They could however pick up readings of life support. After locating an airlock, they boarded the vessel.

"Red" stayed on the Angelica to keep the ship ready and to watch the scanners and listen on the communicators for raiders, other's coming to investigate help and more. Considering the mysterious ship's lack of readings and transmissions, they were uncertain of whether or not their own communicators could penetrate the hull, another reason for "Red" to stay behind.

Having explored and met some odd cannibal like crew members that John and Liam dispatched of loudly and proudly, while Jac managed to open a large door, leading away from the large hangar-like corridor they had been traversing.

After a brief encounter with some robot security Jac managed to shut down – security was old and out of date, they discovered a small control room, overlooking a darkened room. The control room contained the first working consoles and computers they had found since boarding the ship, a ship they suspected quickly was called Nova Terra.

Steve, also known as Jac or 'Doc' sat down by the only working console, touched the screen and a flurry of text and images flowed by until the screen settled on the rotating emblem of the Nova Terra, a stylised bird of prey in flight. Jac set to work on getting through the computer security, whereas Liam and John started to rummage through the room, looking for gear and anything useful the crew of this ship may have left behind.

Shortly after having successfully hacked the system, the first activity Jac noticed on the running system showed the following scan of the solar system:


 

John and Liam found a small storage room containing cleaning utensils, two still functioning flashlights, a pair of magnetic boots, one set of goggles (lowlight), a suture pen, and a weapon rack with an old submachine gun and 50 rounds for it. John and Liam considered the machine guns of the security robots, effective weapons (even if they were old), yet heavy to carry around.

On further exploration of the computer system, Jac came across the following excerpt from some old, partly corrupted, document:

Jac found a few other corrupt documents with some discernible writing. The local computer system seemed otherwise purged or corrupted, further inquiries and exploration of the system would require time, power and – it seemed – activation of the section's and/or level's main-frame computer. The location of which appeared to be classified.

Liam pointed at a screen that suddenly came to life. The image was blurry and full of static. It showed a medical bay, several shapes on stretchers and beds could be made out, a loud hissing and crackling sound coming for the speakers. Before any further details could be gleaned, the screen flickered again, a stylised map of the Nova Terra appeared.

Now, to gain access to the computer systems a main-frame had to be located. They knew they were in the stern, the engineering, cargo and defence section. From here, access to systems and the rest of the ship should be possible, if difficult.

Studying the map and trying to raise "Red" on the comms, heard a whirr, a thud and a distant moan …

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Derelict spacecraft
Episode 1: New owners

The crew had gotten close enough that they could start scanning the signal source. After several minutes of scanning and some improvements done on the scanners by Doc, they managed to see that is was spacecraft. Several orders of magnitude larger than the one they flew in now. No signs of life, and no response to hailing over the radio. John had tried for a fast docking with the ship, but was unable to complete det maneuver, resulting in a minor crash. Only Doc and Liam was injured. After correcting the course John was able to dock with the larger craft.

They managed to get into the airlock but the way further in was locked. Never despairing Doc pulled out his tools and circumvented the security, opening the door. The tech in the lock suggested this ship was old. Like way old. Inside the ship they found it was breathable and had some dim lighting. They entered a large corridor going in the direction of the bridge. Following this they found a power conduit that was out of order. Fixing this would take time, and they wanted to scout some more first. Getting farther in they came to a T-intersection. On one side there was a large door and on the other side a small passage. Doc tried the lock on the large door, but it was not functional. He set about fixing it while John and Liam went into the small passage.

Inside the small passage they found a service room, for the engineers of the crew. And it was still populated.. By ghouls… Seeing John and Liam they attacked. Meanwhile Doc continued fixing the door and started to hear gunfire. He asked them over the comms if they needed any help. (Hoping for a no, as his last submachine gun had been stolen from him shortly before coming on this mission, and with the gun he had he could scarcely do any damage). On the 4th call he got a reply for John, "Yeah we're good. At least I am, and Liam will be too if he can kill that thing". Taking this as a good thing Doc finished fixing the door and went after them. Inside the service room there were body parts everywhere. Gagging a little Doc asked if they found anything, getting a negative in response. There were som stairs leading downwards from the room, but they went into total darkness. Spending a little time searching Doc found a weird conical, circular thing that emitted a weak power pulse. Putting it in is his bag the party went back to the now unlocked door. By combining Doc's console and John's scanning tech they tried to scan for anything on the other side of the door. Getting nothing they went through. Inside was a smaller corridor with an opening in the middle of the far wall and a door towards the front of the ship. They decided that they needed to check out the opening for dangers, and lo, they found some. Two small tracked, cubic droids with not so small machine guns mounted on them circled the room. Doc found some network signals he could interfere with and started working on those. In the meantime the droids saw us. Asking us for our identification, they were getting ready to shot. In the same second that John and Liam answered the drones Doc managed to turn them of remotely. Whoa, a close one.

Some higher power made the crew check out the door towards the front before it got to late in the day. Inside they found a large viewing room and the name of the ship: Nova Terra…

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Introduction: how it all began ...
Episode 1

It was their last trip to Eris, the last out of too many, this year. They hadn't been further in-system than Caelestis in more than six months, and the last trip further in had only been to Ceres. Caelestis had been their port of call in this massive transport scheme Apsis had hired them for. Periastron, their handler – an obvious code name – had suggested legit work for once. Running errands for the Syndicate wasn't always a great way to make friends or avoid FedPol.

The work had been mostly fine, if boring. Transporting foodstuffs and equipment to the colony on Eris wasn't a high-octane risky job with high stakes and good pay … Periastron had let them continue to use Angelica for the job, which had, finally, confirmed their suspicion of the Apsis-link. John looked out the view port as he eased Angelica towards the docking tower. He could hear Liam and Mikhail getting ready to move out the cargo. What a place to settle John thought as the lights turned blue to confirm the atmo-seal. They had docked.

Aphelion wasn't much to look at, it probably never would be. It was a large bubble city with extra reinforced ceiling, couldn't be too careful in the Kuiper-belt, this resulted in even less light getting through. John and the crew had quickly unloaded their cargo and had been allowed to enter the colony proper, for the first time. It is after all New Year's eve they had been told, and there was going to be a party. There was going to be fireworks and a ceremonial send-off of three communications and research satellites. People were merry and drinks were free.

Large signs and holograms lit up the various quarters, sound blasted from hidden speakers. All sensory input overloaded with slogans for the genius behind the Cepheus-program.

The preparations had been going on for decades. Soon Eris would be too far away to reliably and efficiently receive visitors. They were now prepared for more than 400 years of relative isolation. By this it was understood that help would be too far away to be meaningful in case of an immediate crisis, but new colonists could arrive, supplies would still be shuttled, and military patrols would still swing by at times. Advances in technology would or could change this of course, but the minds behind this venture did not count on the mega corporations and governments of the conflicted solar system to maintain what counted as peace these days. The relative stability humanity had suffered the last century was not something to strive towards.

The airlock shut, the transport's life-support sucked up all the remaining air in the chamber. Something like a shudder could be felt as the ship was released from the docking clamps. The job was done, the last of the packages delivered. John eased the freighter away from the docking tower and manoeuvred the ship away from Eris; he started calculating a route to the Jovian system it was about time to get paid. From below he could hear their engineer working on the damaged gravitic drive; it had been acting up lately. It was a risky run if he couldn't hold it together. But then everything was risky these days, even with a working gravitic drive. Mikhail and Liam could be heard chatting in the galley – they looked forward to get paid again. Apsis had better pay up this time John thought as he settled on a route to Jupiter.

The journey would take a week, most likely more, perhaps less. It was a long trek. It was their last from Eris.

The engines of Angelica coughed and hummed as the gravitic drive generated all the G's it could muster, the shields flickered ominously as the ship accelerated towards Uranus' orbit, aiming for Saturn's orbit to save time and fuel and shoot from Saturn towards Jupiter about halfway through the journey. Out here not many dangers lurked, beyond meteor showers and the like.

It is a long journey, lots could go wrong and this engine isn't cooperating. Steve the mechanic moved his toolkit closer as he got working on the redundancy power couplings – a risky endeavor at this speed, but the risk of them not working was far more lethal, if something else went wrong.

The Angelica was coming up on Saturn. Almost 7 days into the journey, they were only about a day and a half or so from Jupiter. This area of space was still mostly void of life and human presence, except for the research stations on Titan. It should be silent, except maybe for the odd hail from a researcher of the aforementioned installations. Yet, John could pick up readings on the sensors originating from a source closer to the gas giant than Titan, among the innermost moons of Saturn.

The law was clear, any SOS or out of the ordinary signals and transmissions must be investigated. Not only for the "good of your fellow humans," but also for the profit of your employer. John started the deceleration procedure. Hopefully this wouldn't set them back too much… he could already hear the groans from his companions as they realised that the universe had conspired against them. Again.

The Angelica had slowed down from their top speed, a healthy 0.025c, close to 7500 km/s, to 700 km/s and still decelerating towards the source of the signal, they would be there soon, time to get the crew ready. He called out "Get up here, we're within reasonable range, I'm going to start up the scanners." With the flick of a switch two displays lit up, he aimed towards the source and started the scanners.

At this distance there were limitations with their old sensor suit, but chance were they could identify it and figure out whether they could or should move on, or stop to investigate. His hopes weren't high. It could be desperate pirates, fanatical pseudo-luddites in search of food, Belter rebels or a syndicate raiding party. It could also be an old derelict vessel ripe for scavenging, which could mean extra cash … or it could be someone in need of help, some desperate scientist kid in a stolen shuttle from Titan. Either way it meant losing fuel and time …

Focused on the scanning he could hear the others making their way into the cockpit, Mikhail and Liam had been around for a while, but the new guy … Steve? He was useful, but chatty and … worse, sociable. The smell of canned food followed them. Food. In the cockpit. The sensors pinged …

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Session 0
God damn chaotic

We only used 6 hours to create the characters. And that is without much of the gear.

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