01.03 In The Deep End
The crew continues to explore the dim, flickering halls of the RSV Fidanza, wonder about all the missing limbs, question their loyalty to the Tannhäuser megacorp, muck about with computers, set everything on fire, lose control of their bodies, and maybe even make a few friends! A new player joins us this session, taking over one of the Marine NPC allies.
Olivia Hanlon (Marine): Sarcastic, hardass marine from the Tannhäuser Protection Corps. Takes no shit from nobody. Patch: “One Size Fits All (Grenade)”.
Active Crew: Alex Hardcastle 02BZ Sasha Denisovich Olivia Hanlon
The crew continues exploring the Fidanza’s dark flickering halls, debating in hissing whispers what Tannhäuser could have been doing here, and what they should do about it. They find a dead scientist in a bathroom stall with his arms ripped off. His ID tag reads, “Dr. Rafael Ubertino”. He was carrying a datapad, which they pass around. It contains notes and test results from something called a “Warp Test,” though it’s short on details about the procedure itself. It specifically describes Subject 01, Evander Budaj, who they’ve just spaced, becoming psychically and emotionally attached — dependent, even — on machines. The notes muse about possible machine-soldier integration applications. The crew collectively grimace at the callousness of the experimentation.
They continue their exploration, carefully avoiding faint voices coming from another room — and a few other blips on their bioscanner — eventually coming across the life support room. There, they find a terminal, and use it to look at the ship’s power and life support diagnostics. The terminal presents them with a floorplan of the ship with an atmospheric overlay. They see that aside from the wrecked cargo bay, the only issues on the ship are coming from a room on the lower research deck, where oxygen levels appear to be rapidly and randomly fluctuating. Power levels across the ship are also spiking erratically, and the system reports a major malfunction in the jump drive. The crew decides to reset the password on the terminal so that nobody else can mess with the life support. They set the new password to
The crew does more careful recon and determine that the voices they heard earlier are coming from the barracks nearby. They decide to skirt around them for now and head back into the hallway, but as Henk brings up the rear and steps through the Life Support doorway, the heavy door suddenly slams shut. Henk doesn’t react fast enough, and the door crushes his skull and crumples his body, killing him instantly.
The crew freeze in the hallway and hiss at each other in low whispers that someone is controlling the ship’s doors remotely. They look around and notice that there are CCTV cameras scattered throughout the ship. Someone is watching them, probably on the bridge on the upper deck. They resolve to go there next. O2 wants to take Henk’s stuff before they go, but since Henk’s still stuck in the door, it’ll take some doing.
A delicious critical failure.
Rummaging through what of Henk’s gear he can reach, O2 somehow manages to pull a grenade off the dead Marine without its pin. He panics and throws the grenade down a hallway. Its explosion flings everyone down the hall and badly damages the ship and its artificial gravity system, which starts flickering on and off randomly. The back end of the habitation deck catches fire and smoke fills the hallways.
As the crew pick their bruised bodies up and shake the ringing from their ears, the talking from the other room turns to shouting, and two terrified-looking marines fling themselves into the smoke-filled hallway and open fire, kicking off a chaotic, zero-g firefight. The crew can make out a third figure behind them, another teenage boy in a jumpsuit, with “03” stenciled on it. He sees them too.
Olivia suddenly loses control of her body. She watches in horror as she tranquilizes Dr. Hardcastle with a dart and drags him away. O2 shoots his arm-mounted laser cutter several times at the marines, blowing one’s head off in a spray of burning flesh and punching several holes in the interior walls of the ship. As the fire spreads to the life support room, Sasha loses control of his body as well and rushes O2 with a vibechete. O2 dodges the attack and pushes off the wall to close the distance to the young man in the jumpsuit, who is concentrating too hard to see him coming. 02 puts his laser cutter to the boy’s head, point-blank, and evaporates it.
Olivia, Sasha, and the surviving marine regain control of their bodies. Coughing in the smoke, the marine introduces herself as Cpl. Janice Nyman. She’s in shock, badly traumatized from being mentally dominated by the boy since the test subjects took control of the ship. She doesn’t know much about the experiments, since the marines were not cleared to enter the science lab on the lower deck and had little interaction with the subjects. She does know, however, that there were six of them.
The crew rush to find foam guns and manage to put out the fire before any serious damage is done to the life support system itself. While they’re in the life support room, the terminal flickers back on, showing a simple command-line interface. Some words appear:
> do you mean it?
The crew huddle around the terminal to chat, speculating that whoever sent the message is referring to their choice of password. They type back
> yes, and get an immediate reply. As they chat, they seem to convince whoever’s on the other end that even though Tannhäuser sent them here, they have no love for the megacorp and that their choice of password was, in fact, earnest. The person on the other end identifies herself as “Sonia” — AKA Subject 06. She also admonishes O2 to stop shooting her with his laser, and thanks the others for “putting her out.” Seeing her refer to the ship as if it was her body, the crew give each other quizzical, uncomfortable looks.
Sonia also tells them through the terminal that she and the other test subjects revolted after being subjected to horrible experimentation that drove some of the others completely, dangerously insane. But during the revolt, one of the scientists damaged her warp drive so that they couldn’t escape. She asks them to help her fix her, and locks down the habitation deck as best she can so the crew can take a breather and figure out what to do next.
Continued in 01.03 In The Deep End