DM4: The Long Winter

The level 4 nerfherders for this session

The tank/gunner: Namen Kincade, variant human Matokai space marine, Heavy armor master and Lucky feats, Soldier and Acolyte backgrounds.

The face/pilot: “The Breeze” Aethelair, star elf space cowboy, sharpshooter feat, Criminal and Exile backgrounds.

The techie: Dantas, variant human shadow jumper rogue, Observant ad Alert feats, Criminal and Technologist backgrounds.

The job

Impressed by their stellar bodyguarding, Selexi Starfire recommends the team take on a job for a contact of hers. “It’s an entity named Abraxas,” she explains innocently.

Now it so happens that Dantas knows that “Abraxas” was the one that planted code inside Selexi’s augments. The Infinity Order, that the team serves, is interested in determining Abraxas’ threat level and whether he is, as he claims, a warrior against the Zephyr Corp.

So when the team is contacted by Abraxas and he offers peanuts, Dantas merely satisfies his own pride by bargaining Abraxas up to 5/3 of peanuts.

“Zephyr Corp has a secret research facility tucked away in the ship graveyard. It’s the Hespera. They need to send a recovery and resupply shuttle there, for reasons. I’ll take care of the cover, and in Zephyr Corp’s eyes you will be the re-up team.

“I need two things, first a copy of the data core – or at worst case rip the original out – and second a copy of the experimental research from the Hespera’s biologics team. If something terrible occurs, the Hespera may need to be destroyed, but that will be your decision on site.”

Competition?

“Hi Ever’body! It’s Captain Nick! Hey-all, ya wanna circle round or let’s just go on in?!”

“No point being cautious, let’s just go in,” Dantas says promptly and as the other two are not used to grabbing him and physically clamping his mouth shut, that’s what Captain Nick does.

The shuttle lands – clumsily – in the Hespera’s designated bay. While the station’s failsafes may have enabled that, it is obvious that the station is barely functional. Bodies – perhaps 20 – float along with detritus and fozen globules of blood and matter. A second shuttle, bigger and looking ex-military, is berthed at the next bay. The walls of the landing bay are scarred and open cables and circuitry bleed sparks and gas into the void. Three sets of large blast doors sit opposite the docked shuttles across an area stacked with magnetic cargo crates.

  • Bodies: Dantas discovers most are lab technicians, while some are soldiers. He retrieves a data pad from a labcoat, and a functioning arm-comms device from a soldier, as well as three blasters.
  • Mystery shuttle: Aethelair discovers that it is trashed, bodies littering the inside. Its occupants were of the Flamen’s Teeth. Namen has some further intel on them…
  • Flamen’s Teeth: a wet-work unit of mercs that attempted to recruit Namen for a mystery job recently. They are all matokai warriors.

There’s an intelligence behind this

Dantas keeps working on the devices as the other pair conclude a rudimentary search.

  • The lab tech’s personal data includes some basics about an alien artifact being incorporated in the bio-research
  • The soldier’s comms device seems dead at first but Dantas succeeds at isolating and quarantining a virus masking activity on it. Two matokai soldiers are issuing Mayday calls!
  • They are holding out in Environmental Control, and being attacked by drones that seem to be controlled by something or someone. Dantas gains (inaccurate as it turns out) directions.

Hey hey which way?

All answers seem to lie beyond the shuttle bay doors, each of the three colored marker lines (Engineering, Research, and Helm) leading through it. The power to the doors is down – or else that virus has made it seem so – and Namen and Dantas brute-force their way through after the latter fails to isolate the virus here.

The team enters from left, Helm straight on, Engineering “North’ above, Research ‘South’ below

More bodies float in the wide area. The massive double-blast doors opposite look even harder to force than the pair they just came through. According to the markers, that leads to Helm. Left is Engineering, right is Bio Research.

Based on the directions received and general sounds of gunfire, they head left. The door shows extensive blaster fire but someone has Han Solo’d it from the other side, and it can’t be opened by normal tech. Namen draws his two-hander laser sword but as he is not a Force user, returns it to his belt, and brute forces it again.

Kofi and Triples… and Unrisen Angel

The force needed on the door grabs the attention of ALL of the “repair drones” currently attacking the matokai!

Firefight! Namen tests out his blitz gun, a VERY short-range shotgun-like blaster that fires energy flares, and finds it is hopelessly inaccurate! Luckily the matokai occupy a couple of drones’ attention, while Aethelair uses his magnus heavy handguns, and Dantas hacks one, two three drones, mwa-a-aa. As each drone is freed of the Long Winter virus it can be instructed to help pin another drone down to assist in repairing that one…

“I’m Kofi, this is Triples,” the most-talkative soldier says. Their armor is old and battered and judging by that and their accents they are clone-descended, converted to The Way, which is indeed how matokai gain their numbers.

Although they are mere grunts and not up with any big plan, as their comms are linked, Namen gets a contact from an entity calling herself Unrisen Angel.

Unrisen Angel is Flamen’s Teeth current employer, and she wants to expose Baludan, corrupt boy-wonder of Zephyr Corp, by exposing the dirty truth of the Hespera. And to destroy it. Can they make common cause?

Aethelair returns from the inner bay where the team dropped their long bags, with the med-kit.

Those that have been battered, including Kofi and Triples, now take a med-kit unit and

Short Rest

Engineering is a wash, let’s try the Helm

Meanwhile Dantas, who is slightly winded but not to the point of needing a rest, attempts to restore life support and gravity. He avoids unleashing the Long Winter into his own kit, but is not able to restore power or crack into the data core from here. He slaps Namen on the shoulder:

“Let’s pull back and discuss your offer, and look at the big blast doors now we have two extra hunks of beef.”

Namen shrugs and hands on Unrisen Angel’s metadata so everyone can speak to her.

Tug of War

She catches Dantas mention Abraxas. She knows that name! Accuses him of being a wild card out to burn everything down and careless of who gets hurt in the fire. She on the other hand is working to bring down Zephyr Corp from within. She restates her objective and argues the team can work with her as well.

But Abraxas has been listening in on Namen’s feed!

“Don’t listen to her! Arisa is a liar and a loyal agent of Zephyr Corp. She is trying to use you to bury evidence and the murder of these people.”

“Hello, Garland,” Arisa responds. “Those are some accusatory words for the one responsible for escalating these events. Your little hack into the system is what dropped the computer’s defenses so the technovirus could escape and take control. There is as much blood on your hands as mine. Everyone working in this station is dead because of your impulsiveness and blind need for revenge.

“To bring Zephyr Corp to heel will take patience and planning. You don’t seem particularly capable of either. Yes, I work for Zephyr Corp, but that puts me in a position to fight them.”

The Long Winter’s Helm

Well! Leaving the two to what sounds like a lovers’ tiff, the team bends its back into getting the helm blast doors open. As Dantas hoped, the two added muscle get results. As the doors graunch open, a woman’s pleading voice is heard, calling for help.

Aethelair is immediately suspicious, that is too convenient. He parses the phrasing. Yep, that’s machine-guided branching dialogue. As the virus begins “explaining” itself Dantas segments it off again, and they are safe, at least from having their systems taken down.

Dantas returns to persuading the core, a massive cylindrical object in the helm section, to give up its secrets. The others are attacked by the virus’ nearest minion, a scythe-and-cutter wielding bot!

Kofi and Triples keep watch on everyone’s back as Aethelair and Namen battle the bot. Luckily for them it is incompetent at actually hitting them!

Anyone for a spot of bio-horror?

With one of three objectives under their belt, the team are confident as they retrace their steps to the drop-off bay and turn to the research wing. Ha! Hubris! The scorched door slides open to the main bio lab area to right, and a refectory area visible through where the next blast doors are jammed open.

Both areas are full of bodies. Some, that seem to have been researchers, have been… changed. They appear to have died in terror and pain.

Cold-bloodedly, Dantas forges through them and studies the bio-tubes. These are very similar to healing vats, but with aspects of cryo-chamber to them. As he examines what is in them, Dantas realizes that these are experimental horrors!!!

They’re coming out of the walls!

It’s fortunate that Kofi and Ttriples have their backs. Namen spots a tentacled monstrosity beginning to unwind from among the bodies floating in the refectory, and battle begins. At the same time, the matokai hear scrabbling in surrounding passages, and guard Dantas.

While Namen takes some acid damage from an acid-vomiting tentacled horror, and Aethelair delivers a number of excellent blasts, Dantas spins and delivers a crit with his own blaster to finish the thing off.

“We don’t have time man, it’s game over!” Kofi protests as he turns back to trying to get past the virus.

“Let’s rip the whole things out then – it’s evidence Abraxas wants, right?”

The team stagger back to the main shuttle bay, regathering long bags. As they retreat all five blast away at bio-horrors, once researchers, scrabbling along the walls at them!

“That shuttle is no use to us – let’s blow it and blow this popsicle stand!”

Sure enough the supplies in the shuttle do contain explosives…. and with the traditional “fly faster than an explosion” screen-grab, the session ends.

Loot

The Infinity Order is well pleased and passes down two further pieces of equipment for the team.

Impact Grandblade: Weapon (force), uncommon
You have a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this weapon. It performs like a laser sword but delivers force damage.

Brawn Bracer: Utility, uncommon (requires attunement)
Your Strength score is 19 while wearing this tech-laden bracer. It has no effect on you if your Strength is 19 or higher without it.

Intel gained

Arisa Angel works within Zephyr Corp, and her handle is Unrisen Angel. Her main enemy is Baludan, evil guy at the top of Zephyr Corp. She is willing to work alongside Garland where their objectives do not clash.

Garland is ex-Zephyr, a hacker driven to extremes by idealism. His handle is Abraxas, and (as far as is known) he appears to have passed a unique code on to Selexis Sunfire, from whom Dantas extracted it and passed it to the Infinity Order. He distrusts Arisa.

Baludan’s objective appears to be to use an alien technology to achieve “god-access” to all AI in the galaxy.

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