The crew of the Crimson Raptor is still recovering from the loss of Chel and the battle of the previous day. The evening was spent recuperating and resting as best they could from the wounds of battle. After a rest period the captain began to rouse the crew and set them about the tasks of the day, albeit a tad more gently than normal. With the help of Thing 2 a small examination room was set up in the Storage room of mid-deck and the bodies of the salvage ship crew members from the battle were laid out for inspection. Sir, due to his expertise as physician was put in charge, though the rest of the crew was present except for those with queasy stomachs.
Two tables stood side by side with the bodies laid out for Sir’s inspection.
Sir puts on an apron to keep any mess from getting on one of his few pairs of clothes he owns. As he does so he addresses everyone present, “This will not be the most pleasant of procedures but I assume that since you are here you are comfortable with what you will see. Unless you have something useful to say about please remain quite for the duration of the exploration. At no time will anyone who is not directly involved will approach the table without my expressed permission.” He puts on long rubber gloves that extend up to his elbows. “Any questions?”
Dilaziepier leans against the wall, out of her armor and into her stiff attire once more. Her heavy pistol still rests on her hip. She looks over the bodies warily, seemingly entirely at easy despite the cadavers. She shakes her head casually at the questions.
The crewmen in the room stare silently and the captain nods Sir’s way. “Proceed. Let’s see what these bastards were made of.”
Sir moves to the first creature grabbing a tray of various medical tools like clamps for holding organs aside and scalpels. Starting just below the left sternum he makes an incision across the chest stopping beneath the right collar bone. He makes a similar incision just beneath the belly button. Next he makes a perpendicular incision connecting the two lines. Setting down the knife he takes two clamps and very carefully peels back the skin to either side and as is his procedure he first takes account of all the organs for anything obviously out of the ordinary.
GM (GM):The bodies are human males, their insides, though injured in several places by weapon blasts, seem more or less right where they should be. Sir doesn’t discover any anomalies in their organ structure. In fact, the insides seem perfectly normal. The bodies themselves are slightly emaciated, as though they had been starved or poorly fed for several weeks. However, a wiry strength remains in their frame as they were obviously capable enough to fight. Each has a scorch mark on their chest as if something was molded to their flesh and burned off.
GM (GM):As Sir is making his incisions and checking the inside of the bodies, Gloxria was scanning the bodies from her viewpoint. She noticed something peculiar about the bodies, both of them had a strange pattern on the sides of their heads, in the same exact place.
Gloxria: After the doctor began I was looking at the bodies and noticed something on both of the heads. Gloxria turned to the captain and asked if he noticed it.
GM (GM):The captain looks over at Gloxria and shakes his head. “See what?”
Gloxria: Gloxria turned to the doctor and asked permission to step forward.
Sir turns to Gloxria holding a flat metal arm that curves like a cane. He stands hovering over the body as though he were just about to the messy part of the procedure, “Speak first and use your words.” He raises a brow inquisitively wondering what she has already spotted so early that he missed.
Gloxria: As Gloxria stood there kind of wondering why she even bothered to speak up this time. She said to the doctor and partially to everyone else to break the eye contact – “I noticed that they have markings on their heads, approximately in the same area.”
Sir takes a closer look at the markings pointed out, “Excellent catch Miss…? I don’t believe we’ve been introduced.”
Gloxria: “Gloxria. And you are?”
Sir:You may call me Sir. But a more formal introduction shall wait until later.
GM (GM):As Sir looked closer at the area pointed out by Gloxria he saw what she was referring too. Both of the heads had a mark slightly behind and above the left ear. They were star-shaped and appeared to have a hole near the center that was now clotted over with dried blood and scabbing skin. They were obviously made some time ago. The holes seem to have come from some sort of tool that dug into the skulls and brains of the two men.
Eveline: Eveline interrupts, “Those holes in their heads appear to bore through the skull into the brain…that has to mean something.”
Sir puts down the tool he was holding, “I believe I have started the search in the wrong area.” He casually flips the skin back onto the cadaver’s torso. Moving to the head he cuts away any hair that my get in the way and begins to cut a small patch of skin around the marking. Using various tools he drills into the skull and cuts away a small square of the skull being very careful to not damage anything unnecessarily.
GM (GM):As Sir begins looking at the brain and examining the area of the marking he sees that the areas of the brain responsible for higher thinking have severed and cauterized in several places and the area responsible for aggression was enlarged. Whatever tool did this to the men, it must have been extremely advanced. This definitely looks like the source of the men’s strange and aggressive behavior.
Sir frowns as he studies the various “alterations” the man’s brain. Speaking to the whole room while gingerly shifting things around to get different views he describes the findings. “There is extensive damage in here and from the size of the markings it had to have been done from extremely advanced technology. That or some sort of mechanical parasite which would still be quite the feat. It does however explain the mad behavior whether that was intentional or simply a byproduct.”
The captain shakes his head at Sir’s findings. “Someone messed with their brain? Well, that would make them mad for sure. I think we’d better get over to that ship and see if we can figure out what did it. Let’s grab our gear and head back over.”
Dilaziepier gathers up her weaponry, this time meeting up with the other spacers, a large, heavy rifle slung over her shoulder and her armor being worn once more, gleaming slightly in the florescent lights on the ceiling. She removes her pistol from the holster on her hip, removing the clip to check the bullets casually as she waits. Pleased with her findings, she removes her rifle from her shoulder.
Attorney Protectorate of Operations: IAP sits upright in the private quarters shared by his master and a platoon of lesser slaves that had rotated in and out of usefulness at one time or another, The stern lines of his unmoving face are illuminated by the terminal screen as his fingers fly across the interface. APO floats in the darkness silently behind him, the recovered data disc loaded and decrypting on a secure private terminal.
GM (GM):The data from the disc opens onto the terminal. It seems to be the crew log from the salvage ship. There are several entries starting from their departure to the last entry reported nearly 2 weeks previous. The files are not encrypted and can be opened at any time.
Attorney Protectorate of Operations: “Start at the beginning?” IAP asks in a cold monotone, eyes fixed on the screen. “Do not waste our time with the meaningless drivel of human concerns.” APO sways slightly, sing song voice contrasting with the shadows laying over them. “Begin with the last entry, where they are itchy zombies.”
GM (GM):As the IAP shrugs and hits the last entry for playback a video log begins playing. The recorder used was obviously in the hands of someone either very unskilled in the camera’s use or was operating under some sort of strange conditions as the picture was jumping erratically. A voice was heard and then a man’s face came into frame. It was disheveled and covered in sweat and grime, apparently one of the salvage ships crew. “Crazy. They’ve gone insane. Ever since we found that thing. I’m glad I wasn’t there. I think I’ve stopped it, but now they’re hunting me.” A sound was heard off screen, someone obviously pounding on a door nearby. “They’ve found me dammit. No place left to run. Hopefully someone will find this. Be careful! Don’t let it…” A shot was fired nearby and the man yelled. The video went dark as the recorder was thrust into a pile of discarded papers and left. More gunfire was heard for several seconds and a scream, then silence and the video ended.
GM (GM):The IAP plays the second to last log which seems to be a written inventory of things found on the ancient ship. Nothing really stands out among the listed items until halfway down the list when the APO sees an item listed as mechanical man. Something about that seems very strange as nothing remotely like it has ever been discovered, to his knowledge, from any ancient ruins.
Aboard the Ancient Ship
GM (GM):As the crew once again gathers in the first room on the Ancient Ship, the mood is a bit more subdued than last time. The captain looks around and hesitantly asks Dila, “Would you mind blazing the trail for us? I believe that you are now ranking security officer.”
Dilaziepier offers a nod to the captain, slinging the rifle over her shoulder again before drawing her sidearm, looking through the opening and looking through the doorway before slowly starting into the room in a ready position, checking the corners and keeping an eye on the entrances.
Eveline:Eveline follows Dila out into the hallway, turning towards the left.
Sir decides this time after the last incident he would follow the captain and not step out on his own.
GM (GM): As the captain steps out into the hall behind Dila he looks to the right where the madmen had attacked them. “Should we go right or left first to investigate these rooms?”
Sir: “Should we split into two search teams or stay together?”
Eveline: “Why not split up? I think the danger is passed.”
Dilaziepier: “Splitting up would ensure that we were at less strength were there to be survivors still within the ship,” Dila notes, her voice coming through her suit, electronically harsh and distorted.
GM (GM):The Captain nods. “There were three crewman on the salvage ship, so at least one is unaccounted for, whether they’re alive or not I don’t know, but I would err on the side of caution and stick together.”
Eveline:“All good points. But why would the final crewman wait to attack, if he wanted to attack? At any rate, we should move forward to check the rooms.”
Dilaziepier: “You are assuming the last, if capable, is not simply waiting in ambush.” Dila comments, before starting toward the doorway the two crew members had charged from previously.
GM (GM):The Captain shrugs and follows Dila to the right towards where the attack occurred.
Dila comes to the first door to the right.
Dilaziepier:“Hardly; to launch an attack on unsuspecting hostiles is the surest way to combat greater numbers.” As she reaches the door, she slowly and carefully opens it, peeking within the room.
Sir rubs the palm of his hand against the pommel of his rapier nervously as he spots the evidence left over from the battle.
GM (GM):The room is revealed to be some sort of sleeping quarters. What appears to be some sort of bed and a table of unknown material is revealed. There is litter and debris on the floor.
Dilaziepier: Assuming she can see no hostiles, she moves into the room carefully, signalling for the others to follow behind. She keeps an eye out for any other doorways, assisting in the search if possible.
Eveline: Eveline enters the room to see if anything of note is contained within.
Gloxria: Gloxria felt compelled to search the room considering this was the whole intent of her boarding in the first place. She doubts there will be anything useful, but she must try.
As the room is searched all that is found are several small personal items; worn clothing of strange fabric, papers degraded and unrecognizable and little trinkets that may once have been toiletries of some strange nature. Gloxria finds nothing of note in the room.
GM (GM):Nothing to be found in the first room the captain suggest they move on.
Dilaziepier:With the search completed, Dila moves back into the hall, before moving to the next doorway before opening and peeking again, cautiously.
GM (GM):Eveline stands before the second door to the right.
Eveline:Eveline enters the next room in the hallway and looks around.
Gloxria: Gloxria again following everyone takes a deep breath and goes into the next room.
The second room also seems to be a sleeping quarter of the same kind as the first. The same type of bed and table are found, along with the various trash and litter accumulation. However, both Gloxria and Eveline notice some items have been disturbed and moved in the room. Most likely by the crew of the salvage ship. Something valuable may have once been here, even if it’s not anymore.
Eveline: “Some of things in that room have been moved around, and recently at that,” Eveline mentions to the others.
Gloxria: Gloxria nods as they move on.
GM (GM): Dila stands before the next door. This one however doesn’t seem to open. Some sort of blast shield seems to be in place, probably due to the room being exposed to vacuum.
Dilaziepier moves to the next door.
GM (GM):As the crew nears the next door they see that some equipment is attached to the opening panel.
GM (GM):The door apparently is locked, which is why the equipment, a standard electronic pad is attached to the door’s opening mechanism. A program seems partially completed on the pad.
GM (GM):Eveline spends a few seconds looking through the program to notice that it is almost completed, needing only the algorithm to find the unlock code. She quickly finishes the program and runs it.
After a few moments the program runs and the door makes a soft click, unlocking.
GM (GM):After opening the locked room Eveline steps in to find that it is some sort of alien bathroom. Sinks are recognizable and toilets, for some alien physiology, in common stalls are obvious.
Gloxria, feeling completely obsessed at this point follows Eveline into the next room.
Dilaziepier glances into the room as Eveline steps into it, before simply starting for the next room in the hallway.
GM (GM):Looking through the room Gloxria finds that this room is much cleaner than the bedrooms and she finds several bottles of what may be some sort of soap.
GM (GM): Dlia stands before the door that the madmen had come from.
Gloxria:Feeling agitated Gloxria reaches into her pocket and pulls out a piece of candy to suck on.
GM (GM):As Dila peeks through the door she sees that this room is much larger than the others and contains much more trash and debris.
Eveline:Eveline enters the room and looks around.
Gloxria: As does Gloxria
GM (GM):As Gloxria and Eveline enter and begin searching the room They see several tables of the same strange material as in the sleeping quarters.
As they continue searching they also see what appears to be a body.
Sir walks over to the body and checks for a pulse or signs of life.
Eveline:Eveline moves to examine the strange material, completely ignoring the body.
Gloxria:Gloxria stands there waiting for something.
Dilaziepier steps into the room, pointing the gun at the body as Sir checks it, paying little attention to the materials.
Gloxria:Gloxria glances towards the body to see if the same head marking is present.
GM (GM):As Sir approaches the body he sees that it is obviously dead and beginning to decompose. The man, in the remnants of the salvage crews uniform, has been shot several times and sports many other injuries that look like they were made with human nails and perhaps even teeth.
Eveline, examining the tables material finds that it is some strange composite beyond her understanding, but is not natural in origin.
Gloxria, looking at the bodies head, doesn’t see the strange markings that were on the others.
Eveline:“This material is unlike anything I’ve seen before. I’m not sure what it is, but it isn’t organic.”
Sir moves back into the group waiting for them to move on.
GM (GM):The Captain holding his nose near the body waves his hands forward. “Well I guess that accounts for the crew, though not what happened to them, let’s check the rest of the room and we’ll take him back to the ship later.”
GM (GM):As they move to the back of the room they see that a table is set up against the back wall like some sort of shrine. On the table are several things, most notable of which is a body of some kind. There also appears to be a tool or weapon and a faintly glowing crystal with electrical leads on it.
Eveline:Eveline approaches the table and looks closely at the crystal.
Dilaziepier approaches the table cautiously, lowering her weapon as she inspects the curious device (or gadget), carefully avoiding disturbing it from its seat.
GM (GM):The crystal is small and round, about 5 cm in diameter. The electical leads seem to be imbedded within it and look like they would fit into some sort of machine. The faint glowing seems to indicate some internal energy.
The device Dila examines seem to attach at one end to some larger machine. At the other end is a drill like bit with a five pointed socket that probably holds what ever is being drilled into in place. Obviously this was the device that created the holes in the madmen’s heads.
Dilaziepier carefully retrieves the device from the table. “We should retrieve these,” her synthesized voice states, “as we may be able to discover something from them.”
Eveline picks up the crystal and looks at it closely, trying to determine what it might be used for.
GM (GM):After looking a bit more closely at the crystal Eveline sees that the crystal itself is a power source and that it must have been removed from whatever it powered.
GM (GM):As they examine the body, it is quite obvious that it is a robot or android of some advanced design. Equally obvious is that it is no longer functioning. It is humanoid in appearance, though not exactly human in appearance. It’s skin is a soft silver material and the limbs are too long. It’s chest however has been torn open and a gaping hole is seen, something having been recently removed. One hand also ends in a stump, something haven been removed there as well.
Eveline: Eveline, realizing the crystal is a power source, examines the android body to see if the power source appears to fit anywhere on it.
Sir flexes his own prosthetic had sub-consciously seeing the missing hand.
GM (GM):The captain sees the machine and asks quietly, “Should we maybe call Thing 1 and 2? Or take this back to the ship?”
Dilaziepier: “It may be unwise to bring an unidentified artificial lifeform back aboard,” Dilaziepr responds, calmly. “However, it may also be of interest; if not to us, then perhaps a robotics engineer. It would appear, however, that it is related to the fates of the crew members.”
GM (GM):Looking in the chest cavity Eveline sees the likely place where the crystal should probably fit, but several leads and brackets have been bent out of place and would need to be repaired before attempting to replace it. In her search she also notices what looks like a data recorder of Ancient design. That could probably be removed and accessed with the proper tools, which she knows are on board their ship.
Sir: “I agree, as benign as it may seem right now it should be contained in a locked vessel until we know more about it.”
Eveline: “Let’s bring Thing 1 and Thing 2 over, to take a look. They may be able to offer more insight.”
GM (GM):The captain nods to Eveline and pulls out his comm. “We need an engineer over here. We may have found an Ancient robot of some kind, but it isn’t in the best shape. Bring some tools and we’ll see if we can do anything over here.”
A response comes back over the comm that Thing 1 and 2 are both on their way, excitement was evident in their voice.
Meanwhile the APO bored with the others investigations decides to check the rooms to the left.
Attorney Protectorate of Operations: Positioning themselves near the doorway, IAP triggers the door and peers inside the exposed room.
GM (GM):A third sleeping room is revealed by the APO’s investigation. It’s similar to the others in most respects… GM (GM):However, within the debris the APO found a electronic tablet or alien origin, most likely Ancient, as it was their ship. Such an artifact would be worth quite a bit to the right buyer.
Attorney Protectorate of Operations: IAP slips the tablet into his suit, the pair moving back and joining the others.
GM (GM):It takes only a few moments for Thing 1 and 2 to get to the ship. Spying the APO hovering into the room on the right, they rush there and towards the crew, hesitating only briefly past the body they came to the robot. “Wow, look at that.” said Thing 2. Thing 1 said, “Move aside, let’s see what we have here.” They both begin to examine the machine.
The APO seeing the body for the first time recognizes the crewman’s face from the video on the data recorder. This was the man that was attacked, most likely by the two men that attacked the crew yesterday.
Thing 1 and 2 take only a minute to report back to the captain and crew. “Well, it looks like that power source will fit in there and most likely reboot the robot, though we have no idea what that will do. Otherwise we could probably remove that data recorder and open it up to see what’s on it. Either way, just let us know.”
Eveline: “Let’s try to reboot the robot.”
Gloxria: Gloxria nodded.
Sir: “I don’t think that is wise…”
Dilaziepier: “It appears to be unarmed,” Dilazierp notes, moving back into the room to draw her rifle casually. “If it is a threat, I doubt we would be unable to overpower it if these crew were capable of such.”
Attorney Protectorate of Operations: In the midst of the debate, the APO and his personal assistant gradually appear to be further and further towards the door, almost without moving, until they are alone in the hallway.
GM (GM):The captain looks dubious at the prospect of restarting, but acceded that the threat was probably minimal. “Ok then, let’s try the reboot, but I want you all ready to attack or run if it should turn hostile.” He pulls his weapon and takes a defensive position as he signals Thing 1 and 2 to reboot it.
Sir inches backwards drawing his rapier and knife and thing 1 and 2 do their work.
Gloxria: Gloxria gets into position.
Attorney Protectorate of Operations: “Precautionary measures.” The Attorney Protectorate of Operations states, hovering for a moment before jamming a tentacle into the door controls and sealing the door to the room.
GM (GM):Thing 1 uses some pliers and bends parts inside so that the crystal can fit inside once more. Replacing it and connecting the leads they jump back and run behind the captain and Sir as diagnostic sounds begin going off within the robot.
A few moments of lights flashing from the chest cavity and limbs twitching, the robot finally lifts it’s head staring at the weapons aimed it’s way.
In a strange language the robot says something.
GM (GM):After seeing that nobody understands it, the robot begins cycling through languages, presumably repeating itself. After several it finally speaks a recognizable, though ancient form of Vilani, which the captain can kind of understand. He hesitantly responds to the robot and then looks at the crew. “He’s asking for instructions.”
Attorney Protectorate of Operations: Bashing its tendrils against the door controls repeatedly, as well as several times against the door itself before IAP slips in silently between the APO and the door, punching in the alien locking sequence with relative ease.
Sir: “Ask him why he killed that man and what he did to the rest of the crew.”
GM (GM): The captain shrugs at Sir. “Those aren’t really instructions, let me see what he says.”
Speaking hesitantly in the ancient dialect the captain translates the questions. After a moment the robot replies to the captain. “He said that the information was not found.” The robot began to speak rapidly and the captain translated “It seems that it’s memory is corrupt and several sections of data is missing. He wants to know if we are taking it to the Secret.”
Gloxria: "What is the “Secret?”
GM (GM): The captain asks the robot and translates the response, “He says it is the place prepared for his master and that it is where they must go to be safe.”
The captain gets a gleam in his eye as the robot continues speaking. “He says that his master has secreted away all of his wealth there. I think that this is a place that we should find.”
Gloxria: “Lead the way.”
GM (GM): “Good idea.” the captain asks the robot if it can give them the coordinates of this ‘Secret’. The robot continues speaking and the captain’s eyes lose some of their gleam. “Damn. He doesn’t know the way. He only knows where to find the ‘key’ as he calls it.”
Sir decides to take a different approach and talks directly to the android, “Do you understand me robot? Do you speak my language?”
GM (GM):The robot looks in Sir’s direction. Sounds begin to emit from inside it’s body. It says something again in ancient Vilani. The captain translates, “It says it cannot understand, but it is learning. I don’t think it really knew what you were asking, but recognized you were speaking to it.”
The captain looks to the rest of the assembled crew. “Well, it looks like we’ve found something valuable here. I don’t know if I fancy flying around looking for keys and what not, but we could make some money by turning this thing in to the Empire. Any ideas?”
Eveline: “You don’t have a thirst for adventure, do you captain? I say we find the key.”
Dilaziepier: “The Empire would unlikely be willing to search for it, given their superstitions in regards to artificial life forms,” Dilaziepr comments, giving a sideways glance to the nearest alive Solani. “The Collective may be interested in such a prize, however.”
Gloxria: Gloxria wanting to get traveling again for her own selfish reasons thinks this robot may be a great asset in finding more possibilities for her search. “Lead the way…” And smiles, kind of.
Sir against his better judgment speaks his thoughts, “I think we need to keep this all to ourselves. Speak of it to no one and learn what we can from him. Money is not going to be worth nearly the knowledge we might gleam from his mechanical workings. That and I do not feel we are anywhere near qualified enough to judge this man’s sentience enough to simply sell him.” He pauses for a moment thinking the last bit through, “Lets find the key.” Sir grins standing up a little straighter feeling a sense of excitement.
GM (GM):Thing 1 and 2 looked at each other briefly, silent communication flashing between them. “I don’t know about selling this stuff off captain. Think about the advances we could make with some of this technology. Plus, if this ‘Secret’ is really the depository of wealth, it might be worth far more than what the Empire or anyone else might give us.”
The captain thinks everything over. The robot sitting quietly at the table listening to everything. “Ok, I think you’re probably right, I think the Empire might do something drastic to keep this sort of find quiet anyways. Plus, we can use what we find to make more than they could ever give us. Alright then, let’s find this key.”
Thing 1 and 2 smile happily to each other before they notice that the door is closed. Moving to and examining it they see that the lock must have been tripped by something. They use the panel inside to try and open it back up.
After fiddling around with their tools inside the panel the door slides open revealing the APO floating quietly. “Oh, hello. The door was locked.”
Attorney Protectorate of Operations: “A precaution to protect the ship, should the room have suffered explosive decompression due to a structural failure in the hull in no way related to me or my associate or the battle that we predicted would be triggered.” The APO says, ear to ear smile almost audible in her voice.
GM (GM):Thing 1 looks uncertainly at the APO before smiling and nodding. Her and her sister both edge past them and begin exploring some of the ships other rooms.
With the captain’s decision final, the crew spends a few days stripping the two ships of valuables and useful components. Mr. Woosillet was very upset at having his questions ignored, at the captain’s orders, and spent his time trying to find out what had been found on the ship. The captain had him and his goons locked in their quarters. The crew was ready to set off on an adventure. Thing 1 and 2 studied the robot in detail, learning from it as it learned from them and it was soon fluent in their common tongue. It had given them the coordinates of the key and they were prepared for the next step of their journey.