Long ago, we had some great games with the Cthulhu Rising setting, scenarios, and materials written by John Ossoway. We enjoyed The Ganymede Job, Fragmented Sanity, and Escape Velocity. For more than a year now I’ve looked forward to returning to Ossoway’s rich setting. Finally, our moment has arrived. Friday, we returned. We picked up the story, the first in a series, of a small band of Interstellar Colonial Marines. This adventure opened with 2nd Lieutenant Dendich Bint being woken from cryosleep to find he and his platoon were reassigned from police duty related to a popular uprising on Eridani 81, to a report of a missing science team in the Gamma Leporis System. Cenargo corporation lost contact with a mining and science expedition to CS-402, a frozen moon of the 4th planet (a gas giant larger than Jupiter) of this remote frontier system.
Bint woke Gunnery Sergeant Thrace and shared some of the details of the classified mission briefing. Soon, the two woke additional members of the team:
Platoon Commander: 2nd Lt. Dendrich Bint
EXO – Angelica 77 (android)
Gunnery Sergeant: Gunnery Sgt. Morton Thrace
Aerospace Crew: Warrant Officer Alfonso “Rucksack” Aviz
Medic: Cpl. Bronislav (Bronya) Galerkin
PsiCorps: Leroy Williams
Fire Team A
Cpl John (Jack) Quill (marine journalist)
Pte Francis Gunnar
Fire Team B
PFC Dickie Lee Munch (drones and remote ops)
Pte Elliot Garwood
Fire Team C
Lcpl Hadley Snick
Pte Miles Davis
Fire Team D
PFC Oscar Diego Ultimo
Pte Robert “Bo” Peebles
As the team showered off their cryo-sleep fatigue, got some breakfast, and collected their gear, Android EXO Angelica brought the UEAF Corvette Romulus into low polar orbit alongside the Research Vessel Carl Sagan. A faint repeating distress call from the moon’s surface (likely from an EEV from the Carl Sagan) proved the most compelling. Bint dispatched Aviz, Quill, and Thrace to investigate.
The EEV had crash landed on a glacial ice field – too dangerous to land nearby. Aviz piloted the Kara to a safe landing site and Quill and Thrace hiked in. The troopers wiped deep snow from the half buried craft and revealed it had landed door-side down. Quill improvised a method of blowing the emergency escape hatch with a rifle-launched grenade. Inside, all was dark and quiet. Only a few status lights on command consoles lit the darkness. The crash evidently broke loose some of the EEV’s cargo – the interior was jumbled with crates and containers of gear and supplies. Of the ten cryotubes, only two had contained passengers, and one had been badly crushed by a large metal crate. 1st Lt. Jonathan Nash, of the Colonial Security (ColSec) had been killed instantly on impact. The other cryotube contained Prof. Jane Goodbody. Though her medical condition was unstable, she was revived. As she came to, she began ranting, “Get them off me! Get them off me! They’re stinging me!” Quill and Thrace applied their gentle bedside manner and overdosed her on some combat pain suppressants, clothed her in a vacc suit and signaled for pickup. Goodbody, Quill and Thrace, along with some rescued cold weather gear, were flown back to the Romulus by Aviz.
Back aboard, Lt. Bint and the crew considered waiting for further action until Goodbody regained consciousness. In her induced slumber, Goodbody continued to mutter and wail. She clearly said, “it is the apocalypse,” several times. The Carl Sagan beckoned at the crew’s curiosity however, and finally, Bint, put together a boarding party and everyone EVA’d over to the aft lock of the Carl Sagan. Joining the team were: Bint, Gunnar, Aviz, Munch, Thrace, Galerkin, and Quill. Cpl. Gunnar badly fumbled the entry and the team had to make their way to the forward air lock.
Inside, the Carl Sagan was in a sort of standby mode. Temperature had been lowered and oxygen concentrations were minimal. The team made their way through the darkened interior slowly at first. Finding a lift shaft, they journeyed upwards to the middle deck. There, they discovered the Ships Locker and a variety of supplies and equipment. They also discovered the main Cryosleep Chamber. Within which, they discovered the “sleeping” body of Nicola Dietrich, although the capsule showed no brain activity. The capsule is evidently keeping her in a state of suspended animation. Another capsule held the corpse of Wole Soyinka in a black vinyl body bag.
Down the hall, outside the Crew Common Area, the team discovered an interface with the ships mainframe. Cpl. Gunnar spent an hour hacking at the controls but was unsuccessful at gaining substantial access to the system. WO Aviz volunteered to give it a go and concentrated really hard on the problem… (losing 5 SAN in the process) he was able to gain fairly high level access.
Meanwhile, the rest of the team discovered the corpse of David Langstrom outside the door to one of the Emergency Escape Vehicles. Langstrom appeared to have puncture wounds to his chest and the walls and surrounding area were scarred with signs of a fire fight – small arms fire. Langstrom’s corpse also appeared unusually desiccated.
On the upper deck, the Science Lab was a shambles. There were soil, atmospheric, ice, and geological samples. Also, there was a crate labeled: “Alien Artifacts” – electronically locked and marked with biohazard symbols. The Medical Lab contained records related to Oliver Black. Nicola Dietrich’s medical logs state that Black’s brainwaves are strange, and that this might somehow be connected to the nightmares and headaches Black has suffered. The final entry was that Black’s brainwave patterns do not match human brainwaves. Michael Chen’s body was found in the Cold Room wrapped in another black vinyl body bag.
Outside the door of the Mainframe Chamber lay the corpse of Everitt Blake – also strangely desiccated. Blake had on his person a keycard for the mainframe room and a data card. While Cpl. Gunnar spent some quality time with the Mainframe, the rest of the team went ahead to the Bridge.
As our team began examining the various consoles and command systems of the bridge, a strange alien presence began to coalesce. Its whole, slightly shimmering and transparent; it flickered here and there with glimmers of bright light and was shot through with faint pulsating venations of scarlet. As it approached Lt. Bint, all hell broke loose. Soldiers fired their M-29’s, and little if anything happened to the thing. If anything, it grew larger and more aggressive, sprouting long pseudopod like arms and appendages. Hungrily grasping for Bint, the thing tore into his leg, badly piercing the limb and then fiercely sucking at the tissues and fluids within! As Sgt. Thrace fired heavily upon it – it tore into Thrace as well. Finally, Munch cut loose with a full auto salvo at point blank and Bint followed up with a desperate sweep of his combat knife – and the thing dissipated.
Galerkin administered first aid to Bint. The team gathered their shit and retreated to the shuttle bay on the lower deck. All were loaded into the Carl Sagan’s shuttle and Aviz brought everyone back to the Romulus.
What was the “xenomorph” thing? Could there be more? Did you “kill” it?
Lt. Bint – Do you submit SitRep’s to Captain Rhodes @ ICM Forward Operations Base (FOB) Thor on Wolf-359? What do you say? Lots of interests get very excited when xenomorphs are involved. All eyes will be upon you and your team, and soon after your report, others will be showing up. That being said, this is also a great opportunity to get some of the recognition you and your platoon deserve.
Something else to think about: Why was your platoon chosen for the CS-402 assignment?
What about the unexplored portions of the Carl Sagan? What about the material aboard the Carl Sagan? What was taken, what was left? Maybe when we resume play, we should have a brief recap of the team’s departure from the Carl Sagan. Some new healing opportunities have come to light, and things were a big hasty and tired there at the end of the evening.
What about the research base down on CS-402? Who’s going?