The Network

Ashley Madison
Journalism Notes

Physically weary from our travails in the battle against the inhuman CAIN, and soul weary at the tragic but heroic loss of our comrades, our rag-tag bunch of heroes returns home in the almost wreckage of their noble vessel Heinlein.   (too much melodrama?)

After the months of stress among the stars, never knowing who or what might be an enemy, a return to the familiar environs of sweet Barnett was a sweet balm to the crews pain.  Taking the opportunity to reconnect with our roots the crew split up for some R&R.  (I went yachting with Nigel!)

But duty calls and (insert something martyrish here, grab a poem out of somewhere) Scout service calls us up, CAIN held at bay temporarily, Barnett has engineered a widget that stops virus contamination, but for some reason that the boffins understand we need bigger, alien computers.  Off we go back to Maikagun, but Heinlein is being repaired so we get a scout ship (smaller, with less romance, what is the crew of the Heinlein without the Heinlein?)  Two weeks later we are there and scanning the system there's a weird bit.  It looks like someone broke up a planet to make two smaller, identical planets orbiting the whole mess.  (Remember to ask Chomey about boring technical details.  Q. can she read?)

There's an abandoned spaceship, a crashed ship, and some people already there.  Bravely the RTBOH head down to investigate and save humanity (again).

Ashley, this is not your best work. Will need to do more research later to provide the perspective of the vast importance of this mission.  Will also need some personal hooks to provide the opportunity for the reader to become engaged at the human level.  If only there was something to these "people" that was worth paying attention to.

View
Session 12

GM Recap

The crew spent some time unwinding and catching up on recent events after their return to Barnett.  The scout service contacted Capt Bartholomew 'Slug' Slugopolopolous for a debrief since the return from Lagar.  The Major apologized for having to commandeer Slug's scout vessel for a priority mission, but was able to extend an offer:  A new mission specific ship is being rushed into service.  He will be given use of the vessel if he accepts the mission.  The mission itself is somewhat specialized and stands a much greater change of success with the expertise of a few of his known associates.  

The biological computers discovered by Capt Jones and crew are uniquely suited to defend against infection.  The design, however, is only suitable for smaller ships.  It would take years reverse engineer and build out computers suitable for capital ships, space stations, and the like.  Further, these computers are so effective at combating infection, some speculate that they were built for that very purpose.  Perhaps the original builders are familiar with the source of the virus and have techniques which can be utilized to defeat it.

  • Find the source of civilization that built these devices.
  • Enlist the aid of that civilization in the manufacture of newer/larger devices
  • Find the source and origins of the virus, if possible
  • Find a way to purge the virus from infected systems
  • Determine if there is a way to inoculate against the virus

Ashley helped negotiate a 'free fuel for life' deal – Slug ultimately accepted the mission but soon found the ship to be incomplete.  Some finishing touches were needed in order to make the vessel 'expedition ready'.  A ships boat was purchased along with vehicles and drones.  Additional equipment was borrowed from the Heinlein.  While waiting for deliveries, the crew was able to stock up on supplies and spend a few weeks brushing up on their studies.  Interesting tidbits of information learned from Newcasts:

  • Scientists have finished constructing an air gapped research facility on a small asteroid.  No physical, nor transmitter based network connections are available.  All data coming out of the facility is completely analog based reporting.
  • Infection starts as a seed.  Once delivered, it needs to 'unpack' itself.  Depending on the speed of the host system, this could take anywhere from 15 minutes to days.  It may even just lay dormant and wait for an opportunity to retransmit the infection.
  • Scientists have been able to design a rudimentary test to determine if infection is present.  When the virus infiltrates a system it will start by exploring control paths.  A small widget can be integrated into a detection device.  The act of exploring controls on an otherwise unnecessary widget will cause a control arm to extend, lighting up a notification, which in turn physically breaks the control  arm in the process.
  • A new class of ship constructed in partnership between SAIC and Ultra Prime was rushed thru trials and sent to Lagar where they engaged the enemy.  Their heroic sacrifice is believed to caught the Viral invasion off guard and suspended it's march into more densely populated areas of the sector.  Sadly, there were no survivors from the Lagar system.
  • CAIN forces are numerous but are limited to smaller jumps, this allows the Corporate Federation time to potentially meet threats.   Minor battles happen occasionally, but it's more of a stalemate for the time being.
  • Corporate Federation is issuing Letters of Marque to privateers authorizing them to engage in acts of piracy in territory held by CAIN.  Letter of Marque is also an electronic breaker wired into the comm system, should the ships computer show signs of corruption, the reactor will blow. 

    • Most Privateers hope that there are no CAIN forces present and an easy snatch and grab job will net quick profits.
    • A privateer fleet has formed under the banner of an unknown party.  The fleet has been conducting deeper excursions into enemy territory trying for bigger jobs.  They have even returned back to Federated space with refugees

      • Refugees state that largely, CAIN is securing industrial capabilities.  Farming worlds and humans seeking refuge are left alone unless they pose a threat to industry.
      • There are many robots being used for these purposes.  Oddly, no one has seen a Zerubabel Enterprises robot being used.

The ship set course for Maikaguun, but misjumped on their first stop coming into Udibi.  They arrived far into the outer solar system.  Luckily, a nearby comet was located which allowed them to refuel over the course of several days.  Meanwhile, Daphne spent several days with a protein bar in one hand and a servo-spanner in the other as she calibrated the jump systems.  Slug and Tomi were able to lean on Erik Erricson to install the same neural technology that he previously gifted the other crew members.

The next jump into Maikaguun was successful, placing the ship within km of their anticipated arrival point near Maikaguun III.  Tomi immediately jumped on the powerful new high resolution scanners to see what secrets the system would reveal.  An odd phenomena was noted as it appeared as though 2 identical, manufactured? planets were in orbit around each other at Maikaguun IV.  

The crew cautiously approached the planets and found a large thick cloud a the lagrange point of the orbits which their scanners would not penetrate.  The launch entered the cloud and found a partially disassembled planet at the core.  Seeming relatively safe, the crew returned to the ship and proceeded on to the planetary fragment.  Tomi's scanners, no longer blocked by the gaseous cloud, was able to locate a number of points of interest:

  • A large metal plate on the surface.  The plate is many many kilometers across and has a seam running the length of it.  Adjacent to the plate is a small ship's launch, common to lab ships.
  • some distance away, a crashed ship of unknown origin on the surface, it was very will embedded into the rocky terrain and was almost overlooked.
  • A lab ship, possibly identical to the one traded in by Capt Jones, was found in a degrading orbit.  Scans revealed the ship to be dead, and completely without power.  

Deciding to start in orbit, the crew docked with and boarded the lab ship and found it to be abandoned.   A brief search that it was as it appeared: a scientific vessel.  The crew quarters appeared to have been vacated for a mission, and then never returned.  The ship eventually ran out of power and started it's slow decent as it slipped from orbit.  Tomi also noticed that there were empty droid charging stations on board.

 

View
Post Session 11

As the Heinlein spent a day making their way out to the 100 diameter range from the gas giant, they zeroed in sensors to record as much of the battle as possible.  The missile cruiser was no match the viral fleet.  However, the viral fleet was clearly not aware of the new torpedo technology.  The cruiser used this to their advantage as it squared off against a dozen or so frigates; with a C&C vessel, and a fuel tanker behind their line. 

The cruiser was able to distract the frigates with huge barrages of missiles.  Meanwhile, torpedoes mixed in with a few missiles were sent toward the C&C.  A missile only barrage would normally have been relatively easy to intercept and that failing would not have caused significant damage.  In this case, the torpedoes were able to get thru and cause massive damage to the C&C vessel.  This threw the viral fleet temporarily into disarray.  The cruiser capitalized and launched massive volleys on the Tanker causing it to go down in a brilliant explosion.  The C&C vessel, on a nearby flank, was caught up in the explosion and was also destroyed. 

The frigates reordered their line and pressed the cruiser anew.  Several more volleys were exchanged.  The cruiser was able to take down just two of the frigates before damage to the point defense cannons left it unable to defend itself.  The cruiser attempted to retreat but was destroyed before it got far.  The remaining frigates then set course to leave the system.

 

The crew of the Heinlein returns to Barnett.  Damage to Heinlein incurred during the battle at Lagar I, Moon 1 was significant.  The crew wonders how the ship stayed running as well as it did.  They even suspect some sort of divine intervention by a mystical material known as Dragon's Milk Stout caused someone to forget to roll on the critical hits table.  Luckily the patchwork done in the field is enough for them to limp home, however, hull damage and damage to the reactor core will take many months to repair properly.  The scout service, grateful for their service, agrees to repair the Heinlein free of charge in their own maintenance facilities.  Meanwhile, the crew is able to liquidate the Luxury goods they pulled out of the skimming operation in Lagar and convert that into 8.8 million credits.  They also turn over the data retrieved from Lagar to the Scout service for analysis.

 

The next session will begin approximately 3 weeks after the Heinlein jumped out of Lagar.

View
Session 11

GM Recap

The crew has just arranged for the skimming operation to deorbit itself into the gas giant.  As they are shoving off, Tomi makes not of a scout vessel approaching their position from 50k km.  The scout ship hails them with a text only communication.  They indicate that they were attacked by pirates and are seeking assistance.  They took damage in the attack and have not been able to fully repair their comms yet.  The crew waffles for a bit before responding back with a distress signal of their own and a .  The two ships close in on each other rapidly, the Heinlein then decides to set course for the moon.  The scout ship asks if they still require assistance and provide it in the form of a missile salvo.  

The two ships engage in combat, the scout vessel under armored and heavily armed; the Heinlein heavily armored and under armed.  The Heinlein only has one weapon that can fire at range and opts to bide their time dodging missiles and taking pot shots when possible.  The scout vessel closes the gap as rapidly as possible and then hits the Heinlein with a high density data transmission …. no effect.  The biocomputer recovered by the crew from the archeology site and then installed by Sallah was successfully able to prevent intrusion into the ships systems by the powerful AI Virus.  The Heinlein is able to score a lucky hit and damage one of the turrets on the scout ship.  The scout ship, attempts a boarding run at the Heinlein but is unable to maintain a lock.  The Heinlein spins around and surprises the scout vessel with 3 direct hits with mining lasers fired at point blank range.  The Heinlein finishes off the scout vessel but notices that a cutter had separated from the scout ship earlier in the battle and was making it's way toward the moon at high speed.

The Heinlein sets off after the cutter and sees the orbiting lab ship around the moon break orbit and head out of the system.  The Heinlein pursues the cutter and arrives at the moon an hour or so behind.  Following the cutter's movements on sensors the entire way there, they note that it appears to deploy some sort of satellite in orbit before it heads into the moons atmosphere.

The Heinlein cautiously approaches the satellite and are surprised to see that it disappears shortly after being deployed.  Being wary of the possibility of a stealthed orbital weapons platform they decide on the most logical course available to them.  Mining drones and mind altering space drugs.    After the mining drones are destroyed, they consult documentation on the planet and learn that it has a mix of lakes made of ammonia and hydrazine.  Believing they could ignite an ocean by firing on it they attempt to circumvent the satellite by giving it a wide bearth and keeping it beyond the moons horizon.  Finding only ammonia based oceans below.  Another round of space drugs really gets the crew going….directly into firing pattern of the cloaked satellite.  After a couple rounds of taking heavy damage the crew sobers up and takes cover.

Obviously the hydrazine based lake is collocated with the mining installation.  The Heinlein approaches as closely as it dares using mountain ranges for cover.  From their they set out in the ATV.  They find an Anti-Aircraft gun on the roof being manned by a droid and little else outside.  Opening the installation's garage door is a Centurion waiting on their arrival.  Combat ensues, Slug and Fenton are injured.  The centurion is obliterator in a massive explosion at the hands of Daphne's PMP.  The crew sets the reactor to overload and spends a few moments investigating the facility.  They don't find much of value below.  On the roof they find the AA gun being manned by a fairly advanced droid.  Fortunately that droid was only proficient in heavy weapons and related tactics – it was easily overcome started showing up on the roof.  Daphne investigated AA gun and found it was quite simple to lock onto the 'friendly' satellite target above and the satellite was dispatched in this way.  Ashley and Henry remove the data core from the cutter and they had back to the Heinlein.  

The Heinlein is just leaving the atmosphere when the installation blows in a brilliant spectacle.  The ship rides the shockwaves all the way into orbit.

The Heinlein sets course to leave the system by the most direct route possible when they are hailed by another vessel.  A Missile Cruiser has entered the system and explains they are there to assist.  Sallah has installed the extra bio computer they left behind and the vessel has been updated with a new torpedo based weapon system.  On the opposite side of the planet a very large infected fleet is approaching.  The fleet consists of dozens of frigates, a 500k ton fuel hauler, and a command and control vessel.  The Missile cruiser bids that the Heinlein leave, they know they are here on a suicide mission, the Heinlein must carry the word back to the rest of the sector.  Missiles and torpedos start flying furiously as the Heinlein makes it's way to a safe jump distance and leaves the system.

After 11 sessions, +1 Character Gen session, the crew is awarded 12 weeks of training/xp.  The game will be on hiatus for the next 2 months.

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Session 10

GM Recap

As The Heinlein enters the system, the first thing they notice is the line of ships waiting to refuel at Michaels and Michaels  They set course for the skimmer and broadcast a propaganda package prepared in advance by Ashley and Slug.  The journey in from the jump location takes 1.2 days.  During this time, Tomi is able to intercept communications chatter from refugees waiting to fuel up at skimming operation.  The talk is as expected – they can't wait to leave this system after what they witnessed in Glengarry.

Tomi also makes note of an additional vessel docked to the operations space station: a mobile factory owned by Dark Sun Equipment Rentals.  As they approach they can determine that a steady stream of mining drones is bringing in raw materials as the ship appears to be cranking out 1000 ton fuel bladders.  Captain Jonio Jamill indicates that he has been subcontracted by Michaels and Michaels to build these bladders.   He is quite anxious to complete his job and be on his way.

The Heinlein makes contact with the CEO of Michaels and Michaels, Sir Sammel Brownback.  At first, he is completely uninterested in vacating his family's operation.  Several months ago he had taken on a fuel contract with Cain for the Navy and it was almost due.  The operation will be in the black for the first time in years.  The orbit of the gas giant is littered with fuel bladders for this contract.   After some extremely smooth talking and wild promises, he ultimately relents.  The crew docks with the station and signs paperwork guaranteeing the corporation in the event of any financial losses.

The mining drones are set to start puncturing the fuel bladders, allowing them to leak their loads into space.  The crew retrieves some cargo from the space station and arranges for most of the staff on the space station to be frozen and transported back to Barnett by Dark Sun Equipment Rentals.   The CEO and his attorney are given crew accommodations on board the Heinlein.

Once the station is evacuated, Sir Brownback programs the colony ship to gently push the station into the gas giant.  As they are pulling away and turning their attention to the moon, Tomi makes note of a new sensor contact – it's a scout vessel, similar to the one she and Slug had been traveling in…

View
Session 9
Grand Corporation Summit

GM Recap

Both crews are recalled to the Scout Service's offices in orbit.  There they meet with a Lt Col Boone, Sallah, and representatives from the delegations of the major corporations in the region.  The Lt. Col explains that the Scout service has contacted Sallah and requested assistance in extracting information from the data cores recovered by the Naughtia safely.  Sallah, using his newly acquired biocomputer and the scans made available by the Heinlein is able to develop a crude interface capable of pulling some information from the device.  They determine the following:

  • The infected merchant vessel entered the system and bypassed all other vessels, heading directly for the station
  • The station seemed to start having problems when a tight band, high density transmission occurred at a range of 10,000km (medium range).
  • Moments later, the other ships in the system seemed to start loosing control as well.
  • As the ship closed in on the station and settled in to dock, a large explosion then damaged station as well as the merchant vessel.
  • Analysts believe that the standard distance at which an infected ship may infect another is 10,000km.  This, however, may be variable based on the strength and capabilities of the sensors and communications arrays involved.
  • While the infection seems to paralyze a target vessel almost immediately, it seems to take some time before the AI is able to transfer itself fully
  • The infected ship detailed information on the Lagar system, specifically a refining operation there.
  • Analysts believe that the infected fleet is only able to make use of Jump 1 technology for whatever reason.  They believe an attack on Lagar is imminent before moving into the densely populated central core of the sector.

The major corporations are extremely concerned about this information.  Representatives from the delegations go on to remind everyone of their lines of business and the imminent threat:  An AI virus infested fleet of ships is closing in on two of the largest shipyards in the sector, one of the largest robotics manufacturers in the sector, and the single largest weapons manufacturer in the sector.  The crews are 'voluntold' to go to Lagar, evacuate the system, and destroy any an all means of refueling the infested fleet possible.

One of the members of the delegation happens to be [[:tammy1 | Tammy Swanson]] , an ex lover of Slug.  The last time he was with Tammy, he was found floating in deep space with no memory of what had occurred.  He is virtually powerless to resist her demands.  She explains that her delegation is in great need to return to their home system in great haste and will be needing to borrow his vessel.  She milks him for an extravagant dinner and a shopping spree.  Slug returns to the Heinlein the next day completely spent.

As the crew is about to disembark for Lagar, they decide it may be prudent to arm the vessel.  Tomi and Ashley put their heads together, comparing notes and contacts, and are able to able to make contact with a black market arms dealer.  Ditzie Spofulum was thought to be merchant selling reactor processing equipment but this turned out to be a front for his arms business.  

The crew is able to meet Ditzie that same morning at a hotel in the slums.  The level of squalor really takes the high society members of the crew aback.  Walking past the police outline of a severed arm, they enter the hotel room as directed by the instructions and find it has an adjoining door.  The comms ring and they are granted permission to enter.  The room next door is extremely lavish, it doesn't look like it belongs on the same planet as the rest of the hotel, much less in the building.  Ditzie greets them, they conduct some business, and are given vouchers to retrieve weapons from a man named Rocko in customs.  

Rocko delivers the merchandise after extracting his cut and the crew is on their way, deciding to install the weapons themselves while enroute rather than paying and extra 5% for installation.

As The Heinlein arrives in Lagar, they note that there are refugee's from Glengarry lined up at the refueling station.

 

View
Session 8
Back to Barnett

GM Recap

The session opened with the crew of both vessels underway to Barnett.  The crew of the Naughtia arrived a few days earlier.  On their journey, they cataloged the salvage discovered on board the infected merchant vessel.  The contents were 12 (TL12) Neural Comms and 28 tons of illegal drugs.  On arriving in Barnett, Tomi made use of her underworld contacts to find a buyer with deep pockets.  They decided to sell 27 tons of the drugs, keeping one back for themselves.  They also sold 10 of the Neural Comms and had the other 2 installed.  All told, they netted just just shy of 3,000,000 credits after paying for ship maint, and the like.  They delivered data cores recovered from their mission to the Scout service and are told to wait a few days while it is analyzed.

Meanwhile, the crew of the Heinlein reminisced about their brief holiday on Udibi.  Erik E. took a contract position with BVP to get their new computer manufacturing division online and running.  As a parting gift, he used company resources to outfit the crew with some experimental cybernetics that had started human trials:  Terminal Stabilization System will immediate inject a cocktail of drugs into a person who's vitals reflect that their endurance has dropped below 0, giving them an immediate boost of +6.  Cobb, master of dexterity, broke and arm riding a giant sandworm.  The crew also speculates on what 'big story' Ashley Madison had stumbled upon and looks forward to finding out the details when they meet again on Barnett.  Since Erik had left the crew, a new quartermaster was needed.  Fenton Cobb, the crew member with a gambling problem, was wisely elected.

When the crew of the Heinlein arrives in Barnett, they make arrangements to meet Ashley Madison for coffee at a GalaxyBucks in orbit.  Their they are introduced to Tomi and Slug.  Tomi had somewhat recently purchased ship shares in the Heinlein from the Heinlein's former crew member, Frankie – small galaxy indeed!  

Both crews, finding themselves a bit bored, get into a bit of trouble.  Tomi experiments with the illegal drugs and ODs.  They all head back to the Heinlein for medical treatment.  She is revived with some interesting effects.  Additional investigation may reveal what the drug may do in more controlled dosages.

Ashley and Slug head back to the Naughtia to 'collaborate'.  Ashley is seen arriving the next morning back on the Heinlein in her same clothes.  

Everyone heads to the shipyards to see Sallah.  He is very interested in 'saving the universe' but is still a company man and negotiates a very shrewd and lucrative contract between UPC and the Heinlein.  He states that it will take at least several days to install the biocomputer in their ship.  The crew is left with a few days to kill while the install is done.  They are also waiting for word back from the Scout Service as well as the formal meeting between representatives from the major corporations in the sector.

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Session 7
Intro to Slug and Tomi

GM Recap

Tomi and Slug have just arrived in Udibi aboard Slug's scout vessel, The Naughtia.  They had been contracted for a special courier job in which speed was of the utmost importance.  Having completed their mission, they are unwinding a the lounge on board the Alkatraz where they met Ashley Madison.  After some conversations about current events, all three are summoned to the office of Lt. Asha Loo.  Lt. Loo hands Tomi and Slug encrypted orders from the Scout service:

<!—StartFragment—>

Due to the imminent threat to the security of the sector, your vessel is being recalled to active duty.   As you have already retired, you will be granted hazard pay at twice the normal rate:  24,000 / month.

In four weeks time, representatives of the largest systems of The Network will be meeting in Barnett to determine how to deal with the military threat that CAIN now poses to our civilization.  CAIN has, for many months now, been waltzing through territory unopposed.  An eighth of the sector has already been compromised and that figure continues to grow daily.  The crew of the Heinlein has provided BVP with technology which could at least slow the rapid expansion of infested systems.  Unfortunately, manufacturing this technology and installing it in our fleets will require time.  Time which we do not have.  To make matters worse, this technology will provide no aid defeating the infested fleet under CAIN's command.

We desperately need intel.   How, precisely, this virus is spreading?  What is the composition of the infested forces?  How are these forces moving? 

The Kimudkagi System, which neighbors the compromised system of An Ting, is likely to be targeted soon.  Due to that system's limited value, we do not believe CAIN will make much of an investment in it's capture, if any.  Proceed to the Kimudkagi System.  Conduct reconnaissance, deliver the data to Barnett in advance of the summit.  To aid in your mission, your ship is being outfitted with Stealth technology designed to make your detection very difficult. 

<!—EndFragment—>

Lt Loo goes on to say that they have an unregistered listening outpost in the system.  She recommends that they visit this outpost and pull whatever data is available – it should be relatively safe regardless of the disposition of the space station and planet.  She recommends that they bring along the renowned Investigative Journalist, Ashley Madison, to assist in endeavors.

The crew makes the jump to the Lagar System and is able to expertly come into the system immediately adjacent to the listening outpost.  They are able to extract the data from the outpost and learn that an infected freighter had entered the system a week prior.  It docked with the space station and shortly thereafter a massive explosion disabled both the space station as well as the freighter.  Both are currently powered down and exposed to vacuum.

After some debate they decide to quite while they are ahead and set course for Barnett.  Sadly, they lack the fuel for the jump and are forced to head toward the station which is essentially a fuel depot for the mining operations in the system.

The crew docks with the space station, which is built into a large asteroid, on the far side as the infected ship.  Slug and Ashley head into the station to try and work out how to pump some fuel into the ship.  They determine that the best course of action would be to travel several miles down corridors to command and control with the hope of getting the reactor turned on.  Meanwhile, Tomi temporarily removes the pump the captain's latrine and one of the batteries from the life support system and uses this to refuel the ship.  Oblivious, Slug and Ashley try but fail to activate the reactor.  Tomi let's the off the hook and the trio agree to meet at the infected ship.

The crew enters through a gaping hole in the cargo section and salvages a few random crates to help pay the bills.  They proceed through the ship to find the ships computer core with the intention of physically removing it.  They encounter an infected astromech on the bridge but are able to dispatch it with a well placed shot from Slug's laser carbine.  Carefully removing the computer core, they head back to the Naughtia and set course for Barnett.

During the jump back to Barnett, they determine that the salvage from the infested ship included 12 units of TL12 Neural Comms and 29 tons of illegal drugs. 

 

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Session 6
Return to Maikaguun III

GM Recap

The crew decided to head for Barnett for the next phase of the contract with Ultra Prime and to visit their buddy the computer specialist, Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir and possibly get this new computer integrated with the ship.  They elected to bring all their recently found tech from the underground lab and stow it in the hidden shielded compartments on board.  On their way thru Arurshim they noticed most of the ships were gone or leaving the system.  It appeared as though many of the staff of the starport had evacuated the system for reasons unknown.  The crew elected to press on toward Barnett.  

Arriving in Udibi they were headed toward a gas giant to refuel when a hyper accelerated ship swinging thru the gas giant hit them with a tight beam communications laser.  They started loosing control of all ships systems when the experimental holographic bridge crashed.  Both ships lost power.  Jayne was able to quickly bring things back online, they found 2 people had left the other ship and were making their way toward the Heinlein.  The crew secured the 2 people who were in a complete panic.  They reported that an intelligent virus had completely taken over the ship computer systems.  They were effectively prisoners onboard for the last month.

A BVP destroyer and 3 small fighters came on the scene as soon as the 2 people from the other vessel had come on board.  They immediately destroyed the other vessel as soon as it was in range.  They then ordered the Heinlein to follow the escort.  Any attempt to communicate using a high band transmission would result in their immediate destruction.  

They were then led to a very large rickity prison barge.  The Alkatraz.  

Hull class 300,000.  Looks like it's a zillion years old and might have accidentally crashed into a moon or two.  There is a greenish gas which intermittently vents  They are given orders to dock midships.  Cobb, gazing through a viewport mentions – 'what a flaming piece of shit, how is that thing even still space worthy'.  Jin is quite familiar with this prison.  It's reputation is legendary in the underworld.  No one leaves, ever.  Conditions are rumored to be pure hell, but no one knows for sure since no one has ever been released.  Largely political dissidents and military prisoners.

Docking, the crew is disarmed and escorted inside.  The interior was not as expected.  Gleaming, polished and sofisticated looking.  No evidence of anything resembling a prison inside.

The are brought to a door labeled The Obi Wan Room and escorted inside.  The room was cavernous, it had trees growing inside, a garden, rocks and waterfall features.  At the center sat a stone conference table at which were seated two of the crews largest adversaries:  Loe Che, Dr. Else Schneider.  

After threats of torture, a discussion takes place.  They learn that CAIN was infected by an intelligent virus quite some time ago.  It has been quietly building an armada coreward of the sector.  A few months ago that armada launched.  Any ship that comes in contact with the armada is either infected and joins the viral fleet, or is destroyed.  Most of the systems coreward of their location have now fallen.  It's genocide.  They believe the the biological based computer is the secret to resisting infection by the virus, but they had not been able to produce anything usable.  They had found the same source technology as the Humaniti scientists in Maikaguun but hadn't had the years and years of research required to even begin reverse engineering.  The lower tech versions discovered by the crew could be exactly what is needed.

Business is business.  The crew negotiated to sell 87 (all but 20) of the biocomputers computers to BVP along with the plans and scans they obtained from the Humaniti base.  The crew will be compensated with a 5% cut of all future sales.

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Session 5
Maikaguun III - Research Facility

Opening Scene

The crew begins the session in an underground lab. Cobb, tripped over his own feet trying to open the door to a vault, and faceplanted onto the security keypad. By sheer chance his face happened to make contact with the right sections of the pad in the right order. The door opened revealing 3 black globes, 107 bio-computers. 1 similar bio-computer that appears to be far more advanced than the other 107, and a weird looking glove which bonded to Daphne's skin when she equipped it.

GM Recap

The crew continued explore the facility.  They found a room that housed a room that housed a reactor, charging stations for the robots, various other mechanical systems for the facility, and a computer system.  The reactor was damaged, Cobb tried to repair it but only caused further damage (in addition to dosing everyone in the room with 100 rads).  A lift going up a very long tunnel was also located.  

The crew decided to run back to Arurshim for reactor parts so that they could get the facility up and running again.  After two weeks in space and another week making repairs the the reactor, they are able to power up the facility.

When power is restored, the security alarms immediately start going off.  Daphne walks by a very large weapon emplacement.  Luckily it is designed to fire down the main hallway towards the entrance and not down the adjoining hallways.  Henry manages to pull off a minor miracle and hack the computer system gaining access to the facilities, he was unable to gain control of the security systems but was able to lock the weapon emplacement to some degree which reduced it's target anything but what was directly in front of it.  Daphne slipped underneath the emplacement and dodged fire enough to cut the power using her <s>shiney new</s> black really really old bracer.

Jin used his G-bike to take the trek up the long tunnel up into the mountain.  Everyone else took the lift which now has power.  The tunnel ran several km gaining altitude as it twisted and turned.  Eventually it ended up near the top of the mountain and opened up into a cavernous hangar.

Inside they find some fuel tanks, various bits of equipment, small maint droids that have been dead for millenia, and a heavy fighter – approximately 70 tons.  The fighter has much of its guts on the deck as they were trying to integrate new systems – a weapon and bio computer.

The hangar was large enough to accommodate a 1000 hull class vessel.  The roof of the hangar is solid rock but has the equipment in place necessary to open – the top of the mountain can swing open allowing a vessel to enter or leave the hanger.  When closed, even the most determined scan will find nothing but rock.  Apparently whoever built this facility was really into security and privacy.

Ashley Madison Investigation Notes

I think something big is going on here.

Item #1 Sudden appearance of military base under direct Kane control producing high grade military tech.

Item #2 Massive increase of Executive Orders by Kane.

Item #3 Direct intervention in control of planetary systems

Item #4 Weird computer stuff involved with Kane

Provisional conclusion: A serious, high technology military threat has been discovered. Kane is preparing for this confrontation and is seriously alarmed by the technology level of the threat. Also preparing for dramatic increase in citizen unrest to be met with strong authoritarian response.

Questions: What is the threat? How much danger is this? What exactly is Kane's response? Is the release of information helpful or harmful to the people?

Item A Unexplored planet suitable for life.

Item B Evidence of ancient alien culture and it's destruction from major impacts from space. Asteroid? Military attack?

Item C Discovery of high level alien tech in hidden location.

Questions: Is this alien technology from the same source as the new threat? What does it do? Who owns this tech? Ultra Prime? Us? Could it be useful in Kane's defense plans? Is there more of it on this planet? What happened to the civilization that built it?

The Aftermath

With the facility now powered up and the security protocols on the computer systems miraculously compromised, the crew is a able to access to a number of programs and records on the system. First, an inventory of the system shows the following programs present:

- Translator /1
- Universal Translator /4 (TL14)
- Security /2
- Decryptor /3 (TL14)
- Database /1
- Computer /3 (TL13)
- Profession (manufacturing)/3

The system itself is specialized for translating and decoding alien languages in support of the activities there. After Henry bypassed the security protocols, he was able to extract and replicate the core program of the system.  Further, utilizing the facilities computer system, you could start manufacturing additional bio computers or reprogram the robots to do some other type of task.
(everyone can add Translator /1 to the computer running their Neural Link)

Ashley Madison elbows Henry out of the console chair and begins her investigations. A few of the other crew members attempt to access the system as well but find themselves the object of a stream of curses and long lectures before being sent to retrieve a Skinny Soy Chai Mocha Acai Half Whip Latte.

Ashley's investigation is quite fruitful. She is able to determine that the facility was constructed by a government known as 'The Second Imperium' based out of a planet called Terra. While there are no star maps present, there are references that indicate this installation was constructed far spinward of Terra, off the beaten track of an established trade route to another government known as "The Two Thousand Worlds". Based on Ashley's best reckoning, ~3000 years ago they were ordered to scuttle the base and return to the Imperium for reasons unknown. Apparently the scientists conducting the research disobeyed orders and only scuttled the coastal facility.

The facility itself was constructed to try and reverse engineer artifacts recovered from a nearby site, location unspecified. These artifacts were manufactured by a race they refer to as 'The Ancients'. Apparently, this race lived ~300,000 years ago and achieved an extremely advanced level of technology. Terrifyingly advanced. During their time, they were believed to have seeded the galaxy with the primitive natives of Terra which they refer to as Humaniti. At some point, the Ancients disappeared but the decedents of Humanti continued to evolve and ultimately develop technology of their own.

At this point, Ashley Madison faints as she realizes she could be breaking the biggest story since, well, ever. Erik, shaking his head, administers a stim and asks her to skip to the sciencey bits…

Information available on recovered artifacts is as follows:

Assassins Brace: Stats and nature – you already know. They did conduct and store a number of high resolution scans of the object, but seemed to stop research after those scans were completed in order to focus on the other artifacts recovered from the vault. Incidentally, there is a scanner in the computer/reactor room. While it's a completely alien design, the technology isn't radically different than what Erik had access to at BVP. The scanner could be integrated with a medical diagnostics table with a little engineering work (it's not something you can carry around) When utilized, it could give some bonuses to rolls on certain types of activities at the referee's discretion.

Black Globes: They believe it is some kind of shield designed for use in starships. They accidentally activated the one found by the crew in the spherical indention. When they switched it on a spherical energy shield emanated from the globe which vaporized everything in it's path out to a radius of several meters – this included a robot, a table, and part of the floor. They were unable to penetrate the shield in order to turn it off. It was still active with the facility was abandoned.

Ancients Site: Very little is mentioned regarding the Ancient's site. Mention is made, however, that it was secure and not normally approachable. They were only able to recover these few artifacts due to some sort of temporary power loss caused by a solar flare. While the location was not explicitly listed, Ashley believes the site to be in the Maikaguun system.

Bio computer: This was the focus of most of their research while the installation was operational.
While the technology in the recovered source computer was ridiculously far in advance of what they were able to reproduce – or even fully understand, they were able to extract some valuable lessons on construction techniques and materials which they then applied to the a new design of their own. The new computers being developed were thought to be at least one order of magnitude more powerful than anything they had been able to produce thus far with the added benefit of being extremely lightweight as well as secure. That security was desperately needed as they increasing had border disputes with a race called the Vargr, who had technology able to disrupt the systems of Imperial vessels.

<<—   Begin July 2017 updates  —>>
GIG Fighter, 20t – (High Guard p86.)  
Hullpoints:  8
Thrust 7G (gravimetric) (14 power)
Armor 0
Power Plant: 30
Fuel: 1
1 turret (1 ancient weapon (not installed)
Cargo: 6.6 Tons
Crew 2 (pilot/gunner)

Computer and power plant removed and in pieces at the facility. 
Computer (25) is one of the biological based systems being constructed here.
    – Library, Manouevre/0, Fire Control/5 , Evade/3
     * note, unable to run all programs at full capacity at the same time.

<<—   End July 2017 updates  —>>

Energy weapon: An energy weapon was recovered from the Ancient site. They mounted it to the fighter in the hangar bay and tried integrating it into the ships systems but had been unable to get it to work by the time the facility was abandoned. The two pulse lasers have been detached and are in the hangar. Again, while an alien design – they are not that dissimilar from what you are familiar with around The Network. This craft is not terrifically advanced by your standards – just different.

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