In the previous session, the the Travellers had finished exploring the derelict starship around Goblin’s Planet (The Beyond / 1335) and were ready to head down to the surface of the planet. There was one known settlement, about 20km south of the mountain that has a giant goblin face carved into it. The broadcasts telling them to stay away seemed to have come from the settlement, so it seemed like the sensible place to go.
It was around midnight on the world when they landed just under a kilometre to the east of the settlement. Zanobia, Khadashi and Trennance headed in towards the settlement in full battledress, fortunately able to make use of their zero-g harnesses because it started to drizzle and the ground was soft and muddy.
The settlement was surrounded by a wooden palisade which looked quite recent, and for some reason excluded a few of the southern most buildings.
Most of the buildings were wooden, but they had solar panels on the roof and showed up quite brightly under thermal imaging as if they were well heated (but not very well insulated). There was a pond in the middle, a small pig pen and some water purifiers or something next to the pond.
One of the internal buildings was stone, with a metal door, and had a communications array on the roof.
So the Travellers floated over the wall and landed at the stone building. Trying the door, it was unlocked and inside were some basic computers, one of which seemed to be running the transmission to tell people to stay away. An inspection of the room found evidence of some scuffle in the past, and none of the computers had any password protection so they were able to access some of the logs.
It had kept track of ship transponder signals, but there hadn’t been many visitors. The most recent was the It’s A Sex Thing, and before that a Stormhaven Republic registered vessel the Rainstorm which had arrived about 18 months ago. Prior to that was the Prowling the Outdoors – the abandoned ship in orbit.
There had been other ships earlier, but none of them were important to the plot so I glossed over them – just one every few years or so.
There was also something keeping a connection open to another system, but it had started failing from about 18 months ago, and was now unable to connect. There was no evidence on what type of system it was trying to connect to – just lots of error messages. There were various transmissions recorded on the system, as well as the one that the ship had received. All seemed to be by the same woman, over a period of about forty odd years according to the time stamps, but she didn’t seem to have aged very much in that time.
Outside the stone building was a large display panel, but it was non-functional and looked like it hadn’t worked for some time.
So the Travellers walked up to the largest house on the western side of the settlement and knocked on the door. There was the sound of movement from inside, a muttering of someone speaking in Galanglic but with an Aslan accent, and then an Aslan woman opened the door.
She was obviously pregnant, and very surprised to see a hulking robot-like thing outside the door. She quickly recovers and wakes everyone else in the house up. There were about eight people all sleeping in a single large room, a couple of Aslan and the rest human. Half were women – and three of them were pregnant.
The reaction of the people here was surprise and nervousness, but initially not aggressive. Three outsiders in hulking battledress were not anything they wanted to upset. They didn’t like outsiders particularly, but that didn’t mean they needed to be rude about it.
The eldest woman looked like the woman in the original recording, and she introduced herself as Nasshaa, the high priestess to Mother. The Aslan was Aouweitkh. Nasshaa invited them in for food and drink, but the Travellers turned down her offer.
They were told that it wasn’t safe for them to be here, and that they should leave whilst they still could. Mother wouldn’t like them being here. By this time the rest of the settlement had been woken up, and were starting to gather outside in the rain. Some had crude spears, but most were unarmed. Nobody seemed to be under the age of 30, but many of the women were pregnant. There were maybe 70-80 of them, about half human and half Aslan, and half male and half female.
It was then that there was some shouting from outside, and a woman came running towards them, yelling at them about Mother being dead, people being eaten and that they all needed rescuing. She was quickly subdued by the others and forced back into one of the houses. When Zanobia tried to interfere some of the men pointed spears at her – not that they would be able to do much against battledress.
Not wanting to start a massacre, the Travellers let things play out and left.
A quick examination of the exterior buildings showed signs of violence. Some old blood stains on the floors of the buildings, and it looked like some wild animal had broken down the doors and forced their way inside. There were a few graves outside as well.
The next flew west to the lake, where they had picked up some signs of wrecked spacecraft. They were sunken into the lake, and were in very bad state – it looked like something had grabbed them out of the sky and crushed and torn them into pieces. Trennance mentioned it looked a bit like the effects of gravity beam weapons which his people (the Darrians) had toyed with long ago.
It was approaching dawn by now, and Zanobia wanted to go back and try to ‘rescue’ Teeka, the woman who seemed to be worried about things. Khadashi wasn’t too fond of the idea, but ultimately agreed.
There was a thick mist over the settlement by the time they got back to it. Using the chameleon coating on their battledress allowed them to glide in from above and remain obscured in the midst. There were now a number of guards out (all with makeshift spears), but none of them were looking up.
Teeka was spotted down by the pond, with guards standing either side of them. Zanobia dropped in behind her, grabbed her from behind and flew upwards – not as quickly as she would like, but quick enough that the guards couldn’t stop her. Teeka screamed out loud and went into full panic, which lasted until they got her back to their ship.
Once she had calmed down, she was able to tell them a bit more about things. She had arrived on a ship which has mis-jumped many years ago. She and some of the crew had stayed, the rest had tried to leave but had been destroyed. The others in the settlement had all arrived over the years, she wasn’t sure when the first settlers had came here.
The last ship to arrive had been in battledress like the crew, they had gone to the mountain to try and find Mother, but had never returned. After that though, things had started going wrong. They had previously felt the thoughts of Mother, which had been good thoughts and kept them content. But those thoughts had become erratic over the last year, and now Mother was never heard. They had started getting feelings which they hadn’t had for decades. A desire for more food and for sex. There had been disagreements.
Then the monsters had come – six limbed beasts with sharp claws and big teeth who had taken many of their cattle and several of their people. So they’d put up the palisade and tried to make weapons. The last ship she said had been cursed, and it was now over by the mountain beneath the goblin’s head.
Zanobia ran some medical tests, discovering some oddness in her blood and cells. Something maybe similar to anti-agathics, but also something similar to proteins which allow Aslan to eat human food. There were also other things there which Zanobia couldn’t identify. She was pregnant, like many of the others, but that seemed as normal as it could be.
The players decide that taking off and trying to leave might not be a good idea, at least until they’ve tried to figure out what has happened here. Possibly the Stormhaven crew from the Rainstorm have broken things. Possibly the strange beasts are warrior Droyne in battledress (though the teeth and claws maybe don’t match that). Maybe it is safe to leave because the defence systems have been disabled. But assumption causes a lot of problems, so next session they plan to head to the mountain and try to see what they can find.
In the meantime they might but Teeka into cold sleep to keep her (and them) safe.