In orbit of the intelligent fungal planet, SAFCO completes a week of maintenance on the ship. During that time Lucky conducts an EVA to inspect the ship for signs of fungus clinging to the hull, and finds none. Barney conducts an analysis of the fuel processed from the water on that planet and finds that the onboard refining process has removed any fungus, which was likely destroyed in the process. The fuel is fine. The rest of the ship is likewise inspected and found to be clean. It has been parked on ice and snow, so likely it did not come into contact with any fungus. The scouts with the help of Joe scan ahead to the destination system using their scout-class sensor array. They are able to detect eight planets, including two gas giants. No additional info at this distance. Art plots a course and Roger engages the jump drive and they spend a week in Jump Space.
They pop out of jump space on the edge of that system, not too far from one of the gas giants, well outside the orbital plane. More scanning is done, and they detect one inner planet in the habitable zone with water. They stop at the first gas giant to refuel. Roger is able to pilot the ship to avoid electrical storms. During the refueling run they witness gigantic gas-bag creatures floating in the upper atmosphere. A kilometer across, sensors zoom and and reveal kilometers-long tendrils hanging from the creatures, occasionaly catching a faster-moving creature of some sort. Though curious about the possible sentience of these creatures, the crew decides to press on with the main mission. Art uses his Nav-2 skill to plot a fast and efficient course to the target planet, slingshotting around the other gas giant and landing them in a perfect orbit of that world.
SAFCO confers with Zal Twist, who suggests that they scan the surface for likely unnatural formations resembling the ziggurat they found months ago on their first expedition. They eventually locate one on a small island off the coast of one of the two large continents. They survey the site from the air. It consists of a ziggurat 250 feet across, a large landing pad, and two tall black pylons, all inside a 50′ wall that surrounds the complex. Further aerial recon reveals an apparent breach in the wall of the second level and a main entrance on the ground level of the structure. Lucky uses the drone to take a look at the breach, but while it appears that a human could crawl through, he can’t risk sending the drone in.
On the ground level, the team finds an unpowered control panel next to the huge entrance, similar to the one they found on the other planet. Lucky is able to hotwire it using power from the robot, while Barney tends to the robot. As the door begins to open it draws too much power from the robot, but Barney makes his Engineering roll and prevents it from fully draining him. They get it open about five feet – enough for everyone to pass.
They send in the drone to survey the inside. The first level appears to be a large ceremonial space. 35 feet to the ceiling, a large pit, columns, and an alter in front of a massive black square stone column the rises to the ceiling. Zal discovers alien writing on the face of that structure. Standing on the alter, he uses the universal translator to read the words…
Here, as the enemy approaches
We create our new body
The New Body
Powerful and Good
We dedicate ourselves to the New Body
And preservation of our Culture
As Zal speaks those words, a door slides open in that structure, revealing what appears to be an elevator. Rather than jump in, they decide to send the drone up a stairwell they discovered to explore the next level.
As Lucky pilots the drone on the second level, it is hit by something. He backs it up and turns on the flood lights, to see a group of spider-like creatures the size of large dogs approaching the drone. They are shooting hard darts from their mouths, which trail a fibrous rope. The darts clang off the drone, but they follow it anyway. The team prepares as Lucky informs them of the threat and uses the drone to lure the creatures down the stairs. They manage to pick off the creatures before anyone is hit. Several team members then go upstairs to explore. They find nothing but empty rooms and a spider lair.
The team decides to use the elevator, as Zal is sure they are about to make a huge discovery! They go up to the only stop – the third floor.
As the door opens, lights come on. Around this level they see two rows of 8 large organic-looking pods full of blue gel. Inside they can see the floating remains of what must have been the Precursors. Each pod has a control panel behind it, and here are huge machines along one side of the room. Across the room is what appears to be an “android” of the Precursor species, still in working order. Black metal surface that resembles that of the universal translator, the being comes to life. Zal uses the translator to communicate the team’s peaceful intentions. The android is confused. It moves about the chamber, looking at each pod, asking “Where are the Makers? How long has it been?” The team explains the situation. The android explains that the Precursors were at war, and losing, and this place was a facility to transform the consciousness of these 16 beings into pure energy, to live forever and evolve their species beyond the threat of warfare. The android asks Zal to give it the UT, as it will allow it to communicate with the whole team.
Zal hands the device to the android. The creature’s head splits open, it places the UT globe in its skull, and the head closes up. Moments later the creature suddenly grabs Zal by the throat, lifing him and squeezing. The team sees the old man’s body go limp and the android drops it to the floor, and speaks. “Thank you for this new body. I have waited months for this. Now I will take your ship. ” The team and the android begin to fight as it tries to move to the elevator. The first round of bullets bounce off the creature as they might off of battledress. At close range, Flint strikes with his sword doing heavy damage. The creature strikes back, but his combat armor saves him. The team continues firing, and eventually puts the thing down, as Flint cleaves the head in two, destroying the UT, which apparently had housed the mind of the Dead God from session 5, who was apparently a criminal from the Precursor society.
The Baroness runs weeping to the body of Zal Twist, then exclaims that he is still alive. The team discovers that the old scientist is clinging to life, but barely. They rush him back to the ship’s autodoc, where they stabilize him..
We end the session with SAFCO considering their next actions.
IY6026.217 (corrected for previous mistakes adding jump/maint periods)
Elapsed game time: 343