Prowling the Outdoors

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In the previous session, the Travellers had performed a preliminary exploration of the derelict ship Prowling the Outdoors, and decided that they didn’t like the vibe. However, they needed more information and now planned a second expedition to try and directly access the computer core to find out what had happened.

This time they went across more heavily armed, with Zanobia taking her Plasma Jet and Khadashi and Trennance armed with laser rifles. They weren’t certain whether the Aslan corpses aboard the ship were truly dead and just drifting around in air currents (on a ship that was open to vacuum), or whether they were animated zombies out to get the Travellers. But in case of the latter, they were willing to use highly destructive force.

Once they reached the docking bay where the first Aslan corpse was, they pushed it out into space and tried out the plasma jet on it. Their first attempt did little damage (with with destructive damage which multiplies the roll by 10, it’s still possible to roll a 1), but in her second shot Zanobia incinerated the corpse, and it exploded as the ice crystals in the torso erupted, tearing it apart.

Entering the ship, this time they made their way towards the engineering section, where they passed a few more corpses. None of the corpses seemed to be mobile, which was good.

Prowler of the Outdoors

They made their way to the power plant, which looked like it had taken deliberate damage from a plasma weapon of some kind, completely disabling it. As Khadashi worked on opening the door to the drive section, Trennance spotted a corpse heading down the passage towards them from direction of the bridge. He opened fire with his laser rifle, putting holes into both it and the interior walls. Khadashi put a shot directly into its face, causing it to spin from the explosive force of super heated flesh and ice, and eventually it stopped. Again they had no hard evidence that it had been under conscious control, but it had been moving quite quickly…

With no more signs of activity, they got the door to the jump drives open and immediately encountered another floating corpse. This was a female, probably a technician, a laser pistol in one hand, and a large hole in the side of her head as if she’d shot herself. There was also a second corpse in the room, and lots of signs of a gun battle. A discharged Aslan PGMP (Plasma Gun Man Portable) was also here.

Pushing her aside (with a long stick, especially brought along for the purpose), they found the main computer core which had been violently disabled. It looked like someone had already tried to get into the back of the computer rack, for covers had been removed and cables and wires moved around to give direct access to the memory banks. Khadashi also spotted a bottle of StormFizz, which seemed to be a human made drink from the Stormhaven Republic, suggesting that maybe another group had been here since whatever had happened to the Aslan.

It took a couple of hours trying to get information out of the computer, and in the end what they obtained was limited.

  • The ship had undergone an emergency shutdown due to a sudden major loss of power.
  • Several security locks had been put in place, shutting down access to the ship. Indeed, from the logs it seemed like there had been multiple attempts by at least two parties, trying to lock each other out of the system.
  • There was still a message sitting in a transmission buffer: “Emergency, Emergency. Any ships in area please help. Planet has attacked us. Our crew has gone insane, trying to kill us.”

After several moderate Electronics (Computers) checks I decided that rather than not giving them information I would give them the information with a consequence. A banging started up someone in the ship, and they tried to respond with the Aslan equivalent of morse code (Zanobia got a good Comms skill check, so happened to know it). The banging stopped, but the entire ship did a sudden lurch to the side.

They decided now was a good time to leave, so headed back for the docking bay. Approaching the junction at the heart of the ship, Khadashi spotted an Aslan moving left across the junction. Coming up to it, the Aslan was suddenly there moving back towards him – it’s eyes wide and mouth open as if in a screen. He was certain that it tried to grapple his laser rifle, but he brought it up and blew the corpse’s head off.

From there they headed back to the Sex Thing, Zanobia taking one of the Aslan heads as a sample. They did consider how to safely store it – originally they wanted to strap it to the outside of the ship so as not to bring it inside. I point out that if they do come across live Aslan, being spotted with the heads of Aslan on the outside of their ship probably wouldn’t set the right diplomatic tone.

Instead they bring it inside and place it inside a sealed box, inside a cold berth to keep it safe and secure.

Whilst they decide what to do next, Shinzaro alerts them that the message from the planet, which has been repeating after 10-15 minutes, has changed – there is a shorter message, a woman who sounds frightened:

Please help us. Mother has abandoned us. They… 

It breaks off quickly and isn’t repeated.

The players have a meta-discussion about what to do next, coming to the conclusion that if they avoid every possibly dangerous planet they come across then they’ll probably get to the end of the campaign and fail. Plus they don’t think I’ll just kill them all without warning – which echoes my thoughts on last sessions write up (which they hadn’t read).

So they scan the planet, finding what looks like a possible cavern in the ‘goblin’ face on the mountain and possibly a ship parked beneath it. There is a settlement about 20km to the south of the mountain, of maybe half a dozen to a dozen buildings, with a palisade around it and some animals outside. There’s not much sign of technology, but there is a collection of high-metal objects (maybe ships) a couple of kilometres away in a lake.

Meanwhile, one of their engineers – Exsa – has been looking at the PGMP that Zanobia brought back and has discovered that it seems to have suffered a very sudden power drain at some point – all the capacitors and batteries are completely drained of power and even show damage.

So their final decision is to head down and explore, whilst trying to be careful. They think the final message may be a trap to lure them in, but Khadashi was wanting to explore anyway. So next session we’ll see what they find down at the settlement and goblin’s head.

Samuel Penn

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