flotsam and jetsam for tabletop games, by quadra.
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Warped 02.02: Yellow Goo

Mothership play report Warped

Goo dripping from a drop ceiling

The crew stop at the remote mining station Ypsilon 14, hoping to trade and stock up on fuel. But they are interrupted by a string of mysterious disappearances…

Active Crew:

Olivia HanlonOlivia Hanlon


Sasha DenisovichSasha Denisovich

Khalas “Can” Rashid Khalas Can” Rashid

William Henry HarrisonWilliam Henry Harrison

Head Mother Fucker In Charge: one of the PSG patches.

J. climbs down from the Grasshopper to one of the ship bays of the Ypsilon 14 mining station. Waiting for her is Sonya, the station operator. But please, call me Sunny,” she says. She’s a cheerful, gray-haired woman with the patch HMFIC and crossed arms under it on her drab jumpsuit. They chat amiably about doing some business, as the station has ore, some precious metals, and unrefined fuel available at low prices. If they’re looking for fancier stuff, they might want to talk to the station’s visiting scientist — if they can get a hold of him — Dr. Giovanni.

Here I’m running the pamphlet module The Haunting of Ypsilon 14. See also my Haunting of Ypsilon 14 Terminal tool I made for this.

Can, onboard the ship still, checks the crates that William Henry Harrison didn’t jettison for traps or other explosives. She then opens them up, finding vodka and jvara inside. Seeing the jvara, Can abruptly heads to the hallway, feeling lightheaded and unsettled. Since waking from cryo she’s felt strange, as if on a mild hallucinagen, feeling her sense of self creeping beyond her body.

J. gets back on the ship and calls everyone to the cargo bay, where they confer about what to do next. J. relays the information about the local goods, which they might be able to make a profit off of transporting. They don’t have much money, though they do have the crates of vodka and jvara…

From the classified SMC star map Hardcastle got from Imogen, they determine they’ll need to make four more jumps to get to the station Prospero’s Dream, where they heard they could find someone called The Babushka” to help Sonia become fully integrated into the ship. Right now though, they don’t have enough cores or fuel to do that. If they can stock up on unrefined fuel, that’d help ensure they could make it there.

Meanwhile, Can, having ignored J’s summons, stands in a hallway, staring at a light. She turns it off, and several others in the hallway follow suit. She was just looking at it — but in that moment it felt like the light was a part of her, and turning it off from down the hall felt as simple as moving a finger. She stands in shock in the darkened hallway and then runs to the cargo bay, grabbing J’s jumpsuit. J, seeing that something is bothering Can, says she can come onto the station for a bit with the crew if that’ll make her feel better. She says yes and tags along.

They enter the station, seeing the cavernous main work area, a bunch of miners huddled around Sunny, voices low but agitated. As they approach, they see that all of the miners’ vaccsuits are hanging in a neat row on a wall, save for one gap. Some of the mining equipment also seems to be missing from a cubby with the name Michael” scrawled on it.

Three miner women

As they approach, one of the miners says I mean what I said, Sun. I ain’t seen Mike since yesterday, I’ve got no idea where he got off to.” One of the other miners taps Sunny on the shoulder as she’s saying, Dammit, Jerome–,” and points at the approaching crew. Turning to them, Sunny says she’s sorry but their transaction is going to have to wait. She’s got a missing crew member who need finding. Sizing the crew up, she says, hey, if you wanna help search — the sooner he’s found, the sooner we get back to business — and hey, there’ll be some extra supplies in it for ya.” They agree to help as the miners peel off and spread across the station.

Olivia asks about the doctor Sunny mentioned to J. earlier. Sunny says he’s Dr. Giovanni, a geologist, sent by the corpo suits to do some kind of research in the mine here. What exactly he’s doing is way above her pay grade. He pretty much keeps to himself, just going from his ship into the mine with his research equipment, then straight back to his ship. He doesn’t interact with the crew at all. Last she saw him, he was heading back to his ship from the mine, a day or so ago. He hasn’t been seen since, but it’s normal for him to disappear into his ship for days at a time. The miners don’t particularly like him, but for the most part they just stay out of his way.

The crew splits up to investigate. J and Can have Sunny show them around, William Henry Harrison follows Jerome to his room, and Olivia and Sasha go to the scientist’s ship to see if they can talk to him.

As they walk around the station, J pulls out a bottle of vodka and suggests to Sunny that they have a Solarian toast to their fortuitous meeting. Sunny chuckles and takes them through the living quarters to the galley and pulls out some shot glasses. In the galley, a blue cassette tape on the table catches Can’s eye, but she immediately gets distracted by Prince, the station cat, rustling in his cardboard box. She rushes over to him, picking him up. He starts purring like a motorboat. Sunny smiles. Cats aren’t exactly allowed on the station, but Prince keeps spirits up. And anyway, some rules are made to be broken.”

Sunny notices the Solarian circle sigil on Can’s forehead and says that one of her crew, Dana, is also a devout Solarian, and shouldn’t miss out on their toast. She goes to get her and returns with a tall, dour-looking woman with a circle tattooed on her forehead. When she sees Can and the bottle on the table, she lights up with a smile and touches a finger to her sigil. Can does the same in return. She introduces herself as Dana, follower of Invictus Sol, and says she will pour holy sacrament with their gift of true Solarian holy water.”

She pours out shots like a seasoned bartender, and proposes a prayer-toast to the health and safety of the missing crewmember, Mike. Can also makes a prayer-toast to those we have lost.” After they all knock back the sacrament, J turns to Dana and asks about Mike. She gestures to the small hydroponic farm across the room, full of leafy greens which have begun to wilt. She says Mike’s a good engineer, but lately he’s been distant, he hasn’t been washing, and he’s been neglecting his monthly rotation tending the garden. She sprays the plants with water and, looking to Sunny, wipes Mike’s name off the rota and replaces it with her own, next to Water the Plants.”

Meanwhile, William Henry Harrison follows Jerome, the tall, tattooed miner who was talking to Sunny in the work area, to his room. He starts asking him about Mike as well — Jerome says they’re friendly, and they ate lunch together yesterday. That was the last time he saw him. He’d acted kinda weird — distant, distracted — and had a bad B.O. smell to him, like he hadn’t washed in days.

Olivia and Sasha go to investigate the scientist’s ship but the airlock to the docking bay is sealed and nobody comes when they bang on it. They radio J, who asks Sunny how they can get in. She says to use the terminal in the work area.They use it, open the door, and approach the rather small, sleek science vessel inside. They find a number pad at the ship’s airlock. Sasha taps a few number sequences into it: 0000, 1234, etc., none of which work. They radio back to J, who asks Sunny if she’s able to contact the doctor. Sighing, she says the doctor was explicit about not being disturbed but if they think he might know something about Mike she can try and hail his ship, if his comms are active. She heads to the workspace terminal to work the comms.

Suddenly, a blood-curdling scream rips through the halls. J and Can sprint out of the galley back to the living quarters. As William Henry Harrison hears the scream, he sees Jerome rip the pillow off his bed and grab a pistol from underneath. He rushes out of the room shouting, the fuck was that? Sounded like Rosa!” WHH stomps after him, running into J and Can outside of the chamber the scream’s coming from. Just as they reach the door it suddenly stops. Jerome nods to J and positions himself by the door, indicating that he’ll cover her. J kicks in the door and sees a chair next to the bed, a ceiling tile lying on it, and a gap in the ceiling, with a hand disappearing into darkness. Then: silence.

J quickly, cautiously enters the room, SMG trained on the hole in the ceiling, and Can follows, Prince hissing in her arms and clawing at her to get away. They see blood and some kind of yellow goo dripping down from the hole. Carefully avoiding both fluids, J steps on the chair and shines the light attached to her gun into the darkness. She sees some candy bars and a stimpak hidden above the ceiling tiles, but nothing else aside from some pipes and wiring.

She realizes that the drop ceiling here extends across the whole of the living quarters and that anything crawling around anywhere up there might be able to see her. She quickly ducks back down and tells Jerome they need to go to Mike’s room immediately. They rush over to his room, past several of the other miners who are gawking wide-eyed and confused. One of them runs off towards the workspace.

Mining machinery

Sasha and Olivia see Sunny walking over to them — nobody in the workspace heard the scream over the noise of the massive generator and assorted machinery. Sunny tells them that the doctor didn’t respond to her hails. Sasha asks if he can try and use some mechanical leverage” to try and get the doctor’s attention. Sunny squints and says she may be the HMFIC of this rock, but the rock belongs to the corp, and so does the doctor. She can’t have them messing around with his ship.

Just as she finishes talking, she sees one of her crew running up in a panic. What’s going on, Ashraf?” He breathlessly tells her about the scream, and that Rosa’s disappeared. What?!” She runs with him back towards the living area. Don’t do anything stupid!!” she yells back. Olivia shrugs as she disappears around a corner and Sasha gets to work, trying to find a panel where he can mess up some system on the ship to make an alarm go off and alert whoever’s inside. He finds a panel where he can mess with the ship’s landing gear hydraulics, but messes up and causes the ship to suddenly sink several inches, causing a panel to smash him in the head and knock him to the ground.

J and Jerome search Mike’s room, but there’s not much to see — it’s quite sparse. J hops up on the bed and pops out a ceiling panel, finding another hidden stash, this time an empty water spray bottle and a revolver. She talks to Jerome and Can, and Can tells her about Prince’s reaction when they were in the other room. J says, this place isn’t secure at all — someone, or something, could move around this whole area using the drop ceiling, we need to get the crew out.”

They leave the room and see that everyone’s congregating around Sunny, who says that everyone needs to stick together, and thankfully they have a crew with some security experience on the station now. She turns to J and asks her where the crew should gather. J confers with her crew and determines the safest spot would probably be in docking bay 2, next to their ship, since it only has one point of entry, which they can seal off. Everyone starts heading there, Sunny making a headcount as they go: …Dana…Kantaro…oh no, Rie’s not here. Shit, you have to find her!” First get everyone to the docking bay. If Rie’s not here, it may already be too late.” Sunny nearly protests, but ultimately defers to J and rushes with her crew to the docking bay.

The Grasshopper crew convenes on the bay as well. Six of the station crew are now gathered here: Sunny, Ashraf, Dana, Jerome, Kantaro, and Morgan. Can addresses them, still carrying Prince, saying a Solarian blessing and asking everyone to touch the cat for good luck. This is met with some confused looks but as she walks around to everyone, they dutifully pet the cat, with varying degrees of incredulity and spacer superstition.

One of the miners, Kantaro, looks particularly confused as she approaches him. She notices he smells awful, like he hasn’t been bathing. He pats the cat slowly and with visible effort, and Can returns to J and Jerome, telling them that Kantaro seems to be exhibiting some of the same qualities as Mike before his disappearance. J tells Jerome to talk to Kantaro and tell him he may be sick, and they need to get him into cryo to stabilize him until they can get help. Jerome heads over to talk to him, but Kantaro is unresponsive.

Kantaro, come on, let’s get you some help.” Jerome grabs his arm and tries to start leading him to the ship. As he does, Kantaro’s eyes widen, staring at Jerome as he finally opens his mouth. Thick yellow goo spills from it as Jerome backs away. Kantaro lunges at him.

To be continued…

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