The Deepnight Revelation has arrived at the system that has been named Nisakhe. Planet III is an Earth-like world populated by a humanoid bronze age civilisations. The main fauna seem to be a few species of very large spiked herd beasts, though there is a definite lack of predators able to hunt them.

This is a good world to obtain food supplies from, and also a potential place to do some research. There are several lake cities, most of which have a small pyramid structure nearby them. The largest of the cities has a giant pyramid almost 120m tall, built onto an artificial island on the shore of a lake.

The first action is to hunt down one of the large beasts to see how edible it is. Though they are dinosaur sized, it isn’t difficult to stampede a herd by flying one of the smallcraft over it, then taking down one of the separated creatures with a few bullets to the head from a hunting rifle. Samples are taken, and though the meat turns out to be biologically edible, it tastes awful.

Amongst the video footage taken during the hunt, some of the Solomani members of the crew notice some creatures that look suspiciously like rabbits. Probably parallel evolution – but a DNA test shows them to actually be related to rabbits. The dinosaurs are definitely local creatures, but at least some of the life here seems to have been taken from Terra. Which suddenly makes everyone very interested in taking a closer look at the city dwellers.

The city dwellers are not only humanoid, but seem to be an actual branch of humanity, very probably planted here by the Ancients 300,000 years ago. Which means that at least some of the Droyne visited this world. More interestingly, the Great Pyramid turns out to be resistant to scanning by the scouts. Whatever it is constructed from is blocking attempts to look inside. It is also a few degrees warmer than it should be.

What can be detected from it though are some gamma rays and neutrinos, which turn out to be consistent with anti-matter annihilation. Could there be an anti-matter reactor inside? There appear to be carvings along the base of the Pyramid, but they are now hidden since it has partially sunk down into the island it was built on.

A plan is put together to try and get into the Pyramid – there does seem to be an entrance way part way up it. A team is put together that includes Khadashi and Saashbag, as well as Dr Nekuna and a couple of security people.

At nightfall, a ceremony is performed at the Pyramid entrance. A bronze bowl with a burning flame in it is carried up, and some priestesses perform prayers, singing and other rituals. Most of the city turns out to watch, but the interesting bit comes at the end. The high priestess switches from the local language to Oynprith, the language of the Droyne, and speaks:

We wait for the return of the masters who blessed us with this world. We wait for the return of the teachers who took us across the stars. We wait for the return of the shepherds who spread our people to other worlds.

Her pronunciation isn’t great, at least compared to how Droyne speak today. After the ceremony is finished, the Priestesses head back down to their temple near the base of the pyramid and the crowds disperse.

The pyramid is left unguarded, so Khadashi and Saashbag don some HEV suits (mostly for their anti-radiation properties) and float down on grav belts. There are some human statues in the entrance way, which look recently (last few hundred years) built. These stand in front of carvings of Droyne along the walls. Six Droyne carvings, one for each caste. The human statues (three males, three females) seem placed to obscure the carvings.

The material of the pyramid seems to be the stone equivalent of crystaliron. Artificial, requires much higher tech than is apparently present on this world, and lasts a long time. Even though, it is quite heavily worn down so this pyramid has been here for a long time.

What appeared to be an entrance ends at a large stone block that has been placed to seal off the pyramid. It is fixed in place with some form of mortar – this is also high tech, and seems to have magnetic properties. After some investigation, it looks like the block could slide out (if the human statues were moved out of the way), but would require a lot of brute force. Two magnetically sealed coverings can be opened up to reveal hooks which could be fastened to in order to drag out the stone. With the mass of many tens of tonnes though, moving it will not be easy.

After a while, a couple of guards start heading up towards the entrance, so Saashbag and Khadashi fly back up to their ship. Though nobody seems to be specifically guarding the pyramid, it isn’t that hard to see the entrance from the city.

There’s enough evidence to prove that the Droyne have been involved here in some quite direct ways, so a search is performed on the rest of the system. Nisakhe III has a large moon, but there are no signs of any settlement there. The rest of the system also seems to be untouched.

In the meantime, further investigation of the main world discovers a second species of ape like creatures. They have very basic language and tool use, but are at the early end of stone age. They look like hominids (great apes), but testing shows them to actually be specifically hominins (the branch of great apes which became humans). They have a lot of artificial genetic modification though in their past.

So it’s time to grab one of the city dwellers. A young woman is taken from outside one of the smaller villages, sedated and probed in traditional alien abduction fashion. She is a hominin, and evidence is compatible with her having been taken from Terra 300 thousand years ago. She and the more ape-like species probably split about 250,000 years ago. Though why they look so different isn’t entirely clear.

What is odd is that she has XXX chromosomes. Unusual, and in this case definitely not naturally occurring since there seems to be a lot of information packed into the third X that wouldn’t normally be expected.

A few more days are spent watching the city dwellers. They have writing – clay tablets which are mostly used to store tax records. The cities are relatively peaceful, with no major wars going on at the moment. The people are unusually sexually promiscuous, and most of the priestesses are pregnant. The high priestess in each city though seems not to be, and none of the high priestesses are particularly old. The only ones able to speak Oynprith seem to be the high priestesses and a few of the other priestesses.

After discussion about how best to break into the pyramid, it is decided that it may simply be easier to speak to the people and see what they know. A suitable orbit display of large starships appearing with their drive motors blazing would probably be a suitable sign that the crew are messengers from the gods. Or something.

The main religion seems to be about giving service to the star gods, and the Sisterhood of the Flame (as they are locally termed) seem to be the ones in charge.

This session was more involved than I’d been expecting before I started prepping it. I brought in some ideas from the campaign book, and decided to flesh out the world in a lot more detail than I had been planning to last week. I made quite heavy use of MidJourney to get an idea of what the culture looked like, and for use as handouts to the players. It sometimes generates some oddities, but for use as a game aid it’s definitely good enough.

The players seemed to take an interest in the planet as soon as they realised the Droyne influence, so I’ve got enough material for next session as well. Though I currently ‘know’ what’s inside the pyramid, I might change that before next week. If the players haven’t seen it yet, then it’s still something that can be modified right up until it’s observed. It might be worth doing a map for – or possibly not depending on how complicated I want to make it.

The Sisterhood of the Flame was recognised as a Doctor Who reference, though it’s a reference in name only. We had a bit of a discussion about the difference between hominins and hominids, as well as chromosomes, racial memories and the like, but nothing got into too much detail. I’m definitely not a biologist, so some of the stuff I come up with could be utterly implausible – but we’re also talking about Ancient level technology, so who knows what they could achieve.

I did expect there to be a conversation with the locals quite quickly, but that’s been put off until next week when the players can find out what it is the Priestess knows. The session ended with the players deciding to drop down into the Temple and talk to the priestesses, so we’ll see what happens when they do that next week.

Samuel Penn

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