Prologue: IY 5970 (56 years ago), aboard military transport Triplanetary, near planet 6X246 on the Imperial frontier. Frontier separatists have attacked and boarded the ship, on its way to supplement forces on 6X246. Captain Joe Klowoski of the Imperial Army has finds himself on the lower deck, just outside engineering, which has been sealed shut but security bulkheads. Down the corridor he sees three separatists come down the ladder to the upper deck. He levels his carbine at the first of them and fires as the man shoots back. The bullet bounces off his combat armor, but his shot fails to penetrate the rebel’s ballistic vest. Joe hears an explosion from engineering. He ducks into life support, crosses to the other side of the ship, and heads toward the forward cargo bay. Another explosion and he feels the corridor start to decompress before another bulkhead automatically seals the hallway behind him. He continues forward, finding more rebels finishing off one of his comrades. He shoots one them. The captain announces “abandon ship.” Joe hops in an escape pod and leaves the ship. As he tumbles away he sees a few more pods eject, just before the ship’s power plant explodes, igniting the ship’s fuel, and the entire ship erupts into a fireball in the silence of space. The escape pod is essentially a fortified cold berth. To conserve life support Joe activates the hibernation cycle and feels into a dreamless sleep.
SAFCO has just rescued an Atlas class freighter and the religious cultists on board, but the pirates who boarded the vessel managed to kill the crew. The ship’s pinnace is still floating in space nearby, as Barney disengaged it from the docking ring to allow the Rambler-II to dock. SAFCO sends a message to Administrator Tilton, on Overon, to report in. The message will take about four hours to arrive, as they are in the outer solar system.
Barney and Lucky take the Rambler to retrieve the pinnance. Lucky goes EVA in a vacc suit, crosses to the smaller vessel, and with great difficulty is able to enter the ship. He gains control and pilots the ship back to the freighter Star Sling and docs.
Onboard the Rambler-II, Fardt discovers a very weak mayday beacon. SAFCO decides to investigate. Roger pilots the Star Slinger alongside the Rambler-II. They are near the system’s Kuiper Belt, and discover an escape pod slowly tumbling through space. Roger opens a cargo door and uses his astounding pilot skill to maneuver the massive ship to allow the pod to simple float into the cargo bay. Once it is in, artificial gravity takes hold and the pod comes to rest on the floor plating. Roger, Flint, and a couple of RCMP marines revive the inhabitant of the pod. Joe Klowoski awakens.
One of the marines looks at the pod’s chronometer. “This guy’s been asleep for 56 years!”
Having rescued the sleeping Captain Klowoski of the Imperial Army, SAFCO returns both ships to Overon (known in Joe’s time as 6X246). Admin Tilton thanks them, as they have not only save a lot of lives but millions of credits of supplies for the mining colony. Considering that, and Flint’s association with the team, RCMP is now a friend of the group. Tilton tells them they will have refueling rights on any RCMP planet – free fuel.
The team decides to pay Ronda 50,000cr for her help during the last several missions, as she has decided to go her own way. Reggie Stormbringer, who saved Zal from the pirates, also decides to go his own way. Ronda takes the team, including Zal, to the Mooch Mine for celebration. Zal gets high on mooch and talks (probably too much) until Roger gets him under control. Joe decides to become intoxicated as well. He gets into a scuffle with another patron of the Mine, who knocks him out. Roger drags him off before he gets hurt any more.
The next day Administrator Tilton calls the team to his office. RCMP has been doing exploration on in the ocean, after mining sensors and probes detected potentially valuable minerals. A mining platform and underwater mining laser were taken to the area. The laser drilled a hole in sea floor (1000 feet down). 150 feet into drilling it hit a vast cavern. Small drones were sent down. The shaft was expanded to 20′ in diameter, and drivers sent down. They found the cavern to be 100 feet tall, and quite vast. Initial exploration of the cavern revealed structures that appeared to be of intelligent construction. Tilton tells the team that is is RCMP policy to curtail activities if anything of possible scientific importance is found. They get an appropriate expert to check things out. It is a happy accident that Zal Twist, an exoarchaeologist, is currently on the planet. If he will examine this find, it will save them weeks or months in finding and transporting a suitable expert to Overon. Zal and the team agree, as their ship will be in the shop for upgrades for at least two weeks.
A large air raft takes the team to the very large platform. They see massive surface blooms of seaweed all over the surface of the water near the platform, as well as two docked submarines. The crew of the platform explains that a sub will take them to the sea floor safe room, where they will suit up in deep diving powered suits. Two experience underwater miners will go with them.
The team suits up, and in groups of four they drop into the shaft, descending even further. Zal fails his roll and gets into trouble on the way down, but Lucky is able to help correct him (makes Vacc Suit “save” roll). They drop into the cavern and come to rest on its floor. The miners take them to an area where what appear to be larger mounds with round “doors” (openings) are found. Zal gets exciting and insists on rushing into the closest one. Flint goes with him, as well as a marine and Roger. The rest stay outside the “hut”. Inside the group finds nothing. No ancient runes, glyphs, or any indication this was the habitat of intelligent beings. The miner wants to write the whole thing off, but Zal insists on looking in another structure.
The group goes into another hut – same ones. The team outside here Zal exclaim over his radio “Amazing!”. At the same time, the group outside hear loud sounds resonating through the water and into their helmets! Looking around and up, they see dozens of large eyeless creatures, resembling a terran manatee, floating around and above them, moving in.
End of session.
3 days elapsed in this session
183 total game days elapsed.