Superconductor Plagues

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Deepnight in orbit around icy moon of Showixat V

The Deepnight Revelation had arrived at the world of Shemipe II, which had a late TL 4 industrial civilisation. The world was populated by a species of furred, blue skinned humanoids. They had basic wireless telegraph, and astronomy. They had primitive motor vehicles and heavier than air flight, and were culturally interested in art and science. There seemed to be little, if any, signs of military forces anywhere on the planet, though many of the towns and cities were surrounded by wooden palisades about a metre high.

World of Shemipe II, a dry world only half covered by oceans.
Shemipe II

There did seem to be octopuses in the oceans, smaller than those on Leryr Ito, and also apparently animals rather than sophonts.

The Deepnight made itself known to the world by parking itself in orbit in front of some of the larger telescopes. Once they’d got their attention that way, they started a ‘morse’ conversation with them. The ‘Smurfs’ as the crew named them were surprised but pleased to meet travellers from other worlds, and invited them down for a meeting, though did enquire about the construction of their ‘sky car’.


Kirk, Khadashi and Lord Sivas led the first contact team. The Smurfs seemed shocked on first sighting the crew, but were friendly and welcomed them ‘back’. The shuttle had been directed to land in a small landing area that the Smurfs had built, which was surrounded by a low palisade, similar to that which surrounded the towns.

Later that evening, Khadashi noticed that some of the locals seemed to be using flamethrowers outside the palisade. When enquiring, it was pointed out that there were creatures – a type of slug – that fed off metal. The Smurfs didn’t want their visitor’s sky car damaged by these things.

Apparently they were all over the world, and there was a large eradication effort going on to wipe them out. They caused problems for machinery and other technology. They seemed very similar to a creature the crew had discovered on a nearby world.

The next day the crew were given a tour of a museum, where they encountered skeletons of humanoids that had been dug up by the Smurfs. Apart from the fact that recreations had given them blue skin, they looked very similar to the humanoids that the octopuses had populated other worlds with. The Smurfs were native to this world though.

According to their archaeologists, the other humanoids had died out 40 to 50 thousand years ago. Whether they’d been wiped out by the Smurfs, or died out due to some other reason, wasn’t clear.

Khadashi was invited to an art gallery, and they gifted him one of their paintings – a large oil painting of one of their city harbours, with sailing ships under a sunset. Khadashi tries to return the favour, and his gift is politely received, though he feels it probably wasn’t quite the style fit they liked.

The Smurfs were invited up to the Deepnight, though the gravity had to be turned down due to them being used to half standard gravity. They did ask to accompany the ship on its voyage, but they were turned down.

After a few days of cultural exchanges, the Deepnight left Smurfworld behind.

The next system was Showixat, which was a barren system. Whilst the Deepnight refueled at one of the gas giants though, it picked up signs of heavy metals on one of the icy moons.

Icy moon of a gas giant

It wasn’t natural – it looks like a whole civilisation had been built here. The distribution looked like a network of towns and cities spread out across the surface, though there was no evidence of activity. A closer inspection showed ruined cities covered in snow that had settled down from jets of water ice that vented from cracks in the surface ice. Though the world was a vacuum, the city buildings had been built so that they weren’t sealed against the environment – they were really just frameworks in which presumably people had lived.

There were signs of electronics, but it had long since decayed away. There were football sized metal balls dotted around the city – in some places there were hundreds, if not thousands of them.

The balls had sensors on one side, and attachment points as well. There were cybernetic-like limbs dotted around the place as well, and some of the spheres had them fitted which gave them an almost humanoid appearance (if you count a metal ball with two legs and two arms a humanoid).

Dr Nekuna was examining one of the spheres, when his vacc suit started complaining of system failures. Something was attacking the electronics in his suit.

After some panicking, they got him into a survival bubble, and several cleansing cycles later they got him back aboard the Deepnight. Something had attacked and destroyed the physical electronics in his suit – and it seemed to be the same thing that had destroyed this civilisation.

The spent nine days investigating and trying to come up with a good way of detecting the nano plague. Whatever it was, it attacked and destroyed electronics, but was only functional at cold temperatures. Above about 260K, it started loosing effectiveness, and much beyond 330K it was destroyed.

The belief of the crew was that it had been spread by the octopus species, and that the machine species that had dwelt here had been their enemies. There was talk of going back and nuking the Octopuses of Leryr Ito, but that was decided against. Whatever the infection was, it was high tech – TL 15 or even 16. Well beyond what the Octopus species had developed elsewhere.

This session gave the players a bit more insight into what had happened here 40-50 thousand years ago, including their first encounter with the robot civilisation that had been involved in the war. The seemed to come out of it with a feeling that the Octopuses had committed genocide against the robots, and were viewing the organic species in a much more negative light.

Sector map

From here, we skipped briefly across a few more star systems and ended in the sector of Kaalin Ulterior, where they encountered an abandoned base on a small moon. Something to investigate next session.

Samuel Penn

3 Responses

  1. Is the policy of the players opposed to having alien groups joining them? I had assumed that the Deepnight mission would accumulate a number of such additions over time. Granted it’s unlikely they’ll ever return to their home planet, but even knowing that, there would be plenty of volunteers. No room?

    • I don’t think there’s a specific policy as such, but they have been generally against the idea. It probably partially stems from their natural paranoia. They did pick up hitchhikers once – Hitchhikers at Stowkau – and they are still with the ship. I should really do something with this family.