The Lucanii Drift - Session 4
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Game Session 4

Starring
James as Ens. Theresa White-Linen, Commanding Officer and others
Lord Bodacious as Sp. Smedley Blister, Ens. Dr. Zangor, Counselorand others
quelleGachi as Ens. Chemisa Rojas, Chief Navigator and others
sternum as Sp. Broot Muto, Ens. Jhonny Katzenjammer and others
BlueLightning as Ens. Tintarella di Luna, Chief Communications Officer and others
also featuring
Sp. Deke Diggles, Sp. Constance Beefheart, Sp. Pam of Luna, and Sp. Shiv Gristle (Security)
Sp. A’yuda May (Navigation)
Sp. Xox, Sp. Bjarki Arnanson (Science)
Sp. Bloort Ben Sloot, Sp. Chloe Brown (Engineering)
Sp. Smedley Blister (Intern)

Mission Date 145
Still injured from her encounter yesterday with the stampede of spammoths, Ensign White-Linen nevertheless returns to duty as acting captain of the Endeavor. On the bridge, she receives a hail from her acting Security Chief, Sp. Deke Diggles. “I got a signal on the board, looks like Dr. Zangor is outta his quarters. Could be that alien armadillo statue is makin’ him loco again.” Captain White-Linen calls an intruder alert, and sends four security teams to track down Zangor and bring him back to his quarters.

Meanwhile, Dr. Zangor, naked but for his Gorrian championship wrestling belt, slips into the Endeavor’s environmental control closet. Under one arm, he carries the Zap Rat collected from the derelict mining freighter MX-319. “Don’t worry, little P’kachu, you’ll be free soon. We’ll all be free.” He opens a panel and removes the atmospheric compensator circuit.

In the corridor, Sp. Bjarki Arnanson and Ens. Tintarella di Luna walk carefully, their eyes on the auto-analyzer for any Gorrian life signs. A reading pops up, within twenty meters, perhaps near the environmental control room? The corridor begins to fill with particulates. Di Luna quickly deduces what’s happened: “Zangor’s sabotaged the environmental control.” Sp. Arnanson is already sprinting toward the bridge. “We’ve got to bypass the compensator!” Di Luna hurries after the hot-headed spacer. As they run out of view, Dr. Zangor emerges from the shadows. With one less team searching for him, it will be easier to get to sickbay.

The colonist farmgirl Loiz awakens on her bed in the darkened sickbay. She has reduced in size, and her beehive hairdo is much more reasonable. She thinks she saw something move on the other side of the room. But that couldn’t be. She’s safe from Rogan aboard the Endeavor, of course, and Nurse Lucci is in the next room. “Hello?” she calls. Light from the med-panel glints off a wrestling belt as its wearer emerges from the shadows. “Don’t be afraid, Loiz. I promised I’d free you.” A few seconds later, Nurse Lucci enters the room, having heard a shout. Loiz is not in her bed. Nurse Lucci hits the intercom: “Bridge! The colonist girl, she’s gone!”

Zangor sprints down the corridor, Loiz over his shoulder and the rat under one arm. “Freedom, freedom…” His muscles seem to grow with every step. The statuette has gifted him with extraordinary hearing as well, so he knows where the security teams are; but he also knows that the security teams will use their auto-analyzers to pinpoint him. He’ll need to deny them that ability, if only briefly. He knows there should be a sonic disruption circuit in the auxiliary communications room on the left.

Pam of Luna and Deke Diggles flank the door to the auxiliary communications room. The’ve triangulated Zangor to this room with their analyzers. Pam enters first, followed by Diggles with his lariat. With the ship’s only beam pistols trapped in the cave with Rogan, Pam will have to wrestle the Gorrian champion down while he hogties him. But the room is empty. No, there’s a figure hiding behind the station. It’s Loiz. “Look out…” she says weakly, as Zangor drops from the ceiling on to the security team.

The second security team arrives to find Pam of Luna and Deke Diggles on the floor, each the victim of a psychically-strengthened sleeper hold. Pam of Luna silently swears to make Zangor pay for that ambush. Diggles shakes his auto-analyzer. “Hey, the signal’s gettin’ disrupted on this thing! How’re we gonna find him now?”

The door to storage room C opens for Zangor. As chief scientist aboard the Endeavor, he has access to most of the ship, and clearly the crew hasn’t changed the protocols yet. His final target is in here, in a containment pod: the alien statuette that speaks to him with intoxicating sweetness. Loiz tries to pull away, but Zangor is too strong. “Don’t worry, Loiz. Soon it’ll speak to you too.” “Not again!” she shouts. He rasps back, “From here it’s a short way to the shuttlebay, and then we’ll be free!” Zangor opens the pod, takes the statuette and turns for the door, but Pam of Luna blocks his way. She belts him in the jaw, as the rest of the security teams dogpile on Zangor. “You should have left while you had the chance, sir. We didn’t need our analyzers to figure out where you would head.”

Afterward, Ens. White Linen orders Dr. Zangor sedated, and for Xox and di Luna to research the statuette, and determine a way to release its control over Zangor. Now down her Chief Science Officer as well as her Chief Engineer, she nevertheless decides to survey the system while the four days of research take place. Hopefully they will be able to free Zangor and Rogan of this alien mind control, that is, if Rogan is still alive in his cave.

Mission Dates 146-147

The next two days are spent surveying the first two planets. The crew determines that the second one has some liquid metal blooms on the surface that could be harvested with the right equipment, and might aid in repairs should they need to do so while in system.

The colonist Loiz remains in the ship’s sickbay, withdrawn and uncommunicative. With the ship’s counselor out of commission (and responsible for her second trauma), Sp. Broot Muto, a charming Entirran on the communications staff, volunteers to work with her. “I have ze ability to detect strong emotions,” he says to her. “And I zink you have zem.” He is able to help her talk about her experience with the superpowered miner. When Rogan approached her in the Colony square, he had her put her hand on the statuette. From that point on, a voice in her dreams began speaking to her. When he came to her home one night, the statuette seemed to pull a desire out of her soul, a desire for magnificence. This desire formed a shell around her, a prison that trapped her psyche. She was aware of what she was doing, but could do nothing to stop it. She does not think she could resist it if she came close to a statuette again. “You will never be in danger again, I will see to zat,” says the Entirran.

Mission Date 148

At the end of the survey of the second planet, Ens. Di Luna picks up a priority hail from Gateway colony. It’s the Administrator, and she looks almost as upset as when the Endeavor turned its ship’s beams on the planet to collapse Rogan’s cave. “Your damn beams didn’t work!” she spits angrily. “Rogan got out of his cave. He’s headed toward the colony, leading a stampeding herd of spammoths!”

White-Linen orders the ship’s nuclear drive engaged, and calls her senior staff to the ready room. They have less than an hour to come up with a plan, and they have no beam pistols available. The officers decide that the best way to deal with Rogan is to contain him. But they can’t bring him aboard the Endeavor, and the cave didn’t hold him. The only place where he would probably be harmless is in space. A scheme is hatched: trick Rogan into getting into a spacesuit with a transponder on it, so the ship’s teleporter can lock on him and beam him and the suit into space. After that, they can deal with separating him from the pendant. But how to get him into the suit?

Broot Muto volunteers to lead the mission. “I know Rogan now, from my conversations wiz Loiz. He still desires her to be his queen. She could lure him into ze suit, but I fear she is not strong enough to wizstand ze mind control.”

“I know what to do!” Smedley Blister, the irritating Daelan intern, emerges from behind a space ficus in the corner. “I can fool Rogan! Lemmie help, Captain!” After hearing his idea, but against her better judgment, Captain White-Linen agrees to have Blister to work with Muto on the ploy. Muto glares at the eager intern. If this plan succeeds, Loiz will be safe. But if it fails, Smedley could die. Which outcome is better? “Captain, you are putting me in a state of conflict.”

Minutes later, Muto and Blister are in sickbay with recording instruments. Muto sits by Loiz’s bedside, her hand in his. “If you help us wiz zis plan, we will capture Rogan wizzout harm, and you will never have to fear him again. And after zat, who knows what might happen?” Loiz takes her hand away, “After the terrible things I’ve seen, I don’t know if I’m ready for that. But I’ll do my best to help.”

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On the open plain before Gateway Colony, Rogan, sits astride his largest spammoth. His perfect hair whipping in the wind, he shouts with a force that echoes for miles, “We will destroy this colony for daring to cause harm to the great Khan of the Valley!” The herd speeds to a charge.

The Endeavor’s shuttle descends from the clouds and hovers behind the herd. From an amplifier, Loiz’s voice blares with strength equal to the Khan’s: “Rogan! I’ve taken over the ship! Put on this spacesuit, and come to me!”

Rogan stops his spammoth and turns it around. He peers through the cloud of dust left by the herd, at the shuttle cockpit. There is Ens. Rojas, piloting, and next to him, it looks like a large woman in a dress with an enormous beehive hairdo.

“Loiz? Have you mastered these petty fools? Shall we conquer the galaxy in their ship?”

“That’s brilliant!” Loiz replies through the amplifier. “Put on the spacesuit!”

Broot Muto rappels from the shuttle, holding a space suit, expanded to accommodate an enormous figure like Rogan. Rogan dismounts and strides toward him. “Indeed, perhaps I should crush this one who brings me my suit, as compensation for their wrongs to us.

Inside the shuttle, Smedley Blister, wearing a dress and a beehive wig, presses another button on the comm system. Loiz’s voice plays again: “I don’t know about that!” He presses another button. “Put on the spacesuit!” He presses it again. “Put on the spacesuit! Put-put-p-put on the spacesuit!”

White-Linen grabs Smedley’s wrist. “That’s enough.”

Rogan shouts, “Yes yes, I shall, my love, I shall!” He takes the suit roughly from Muto and begins to put it on.

***

At Rogan’s cave, hot-headed Sp. Bjarki Arnanson has decided to retrieve the beam pistols all by himself. With a jet pack on for quick escape, he keeps a comm channel to the captain so he can describe his progress: “I’m moving into the tunnel that Rogan dug. I can see the beam pistols with my analyzer light, forty feet ahead, thirty, twenty. Wait, there’s some kind of mist forming. I’ve almost got the pistols. I’m right next to them. Oh God!

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“Agh! Running! Glagh! AGGGGGHH!”

***

Rogan places the helmet over his head, and snaps it into place. “Now my love,” he shouts, “Let us go take our place among the stars!”

"One more zing," Broot Muto says with a smile, "You may be strong, but no one is stronger in ze ways of ze heart zan BROOT MUTO."

“What trickery is this?!” Rogan’s question echoes across the plain as he vanishes in the teleport beam.

On board the shuttle, White-Linen listens to the horror on Arnanson’s comm channel. “Ens. Rojas, take us to the cave immediately!” Broot Muto watches the shuttle take off. “So… I just stay here?”

***

At the cave entrance, Ens. White-Linen finds Arnanson’s body wedged between rocks. His jet pack is on, set to flare. Pieces of his limbs lie scattered around the entrance, and the smell of burned hair and flesh hangs in the air. Whatever did this to him, he appears to have scorched it as it was ripping him apart. White-Linen gathers the dearly-bought beam pistols and the rest of the equipment, and brings them to the shuttle. Space Fleet frowns on the death of crew members, but they are more expendable than the equipment. She returns for the body. As she heaves Aranson up, a mist begins to emerge from the cave. She hurries back to the shuttle.

***

With Rogan now orbiting in the planet in a spacesuit, the spammoths have ceased their charge. The only damage done was a minor trampling of some of the legumes. Rojas uses the shuttle to herd them back to the perimeter of the colony. Loiz, now back home, shows one particularly docile one to the administrator, pointing out the organ from which the spammoth secretes the liquid that becomes spammoth mead. The administrator turns to the crew. “Thank you for your help. I can’t say I approve of all your methods, but you did save our colony. And I’m sorry about the loss of your crewmember.”

Nearby, Loiz takes Broot Muto aside. “Please, take this cask of spammoth mead I made. Perhaps someday we will meet again.” “When I drink this mead, I shall zink of you,” he replies.

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Mission Date 149

With the immediate danger to Gateway settled, the crew can now turn its attention to the alien statuettes that have wreaked so much havoc. Di Luna and Xox have completed their research on the statuette. They determined that the artifacts not only psychically bond with their victim, but are also bonded to each other across the psychic plane. Based on the shifting energy polarities of the artifacts, they suspect that there are more out there, and these could present a hazard to Confederation interests. In the meantime, the best way to sever the hold the statuettes have on Zangor and Rogan is to put the each statuette into a teleporter buffer. Since the statuettes are effectively transmitters from the psychic plane to the material, taking the transmitters out of the material plane will cut them off. Each statuette will have to be contained separately, and while in the buffer, that teleporter will be unusable.

The theory is tested first on Zangor’s statuette. When the statuette is beamed into the buffer, Sp. Sato notices immediate changes in Zangor’s metabolism. His excessive muscles begin to vanish. “The most mysterious part of all this is, where the mass is coming from, and where is it going?” Zangor soon awakens, in control of his faculties again, but with the memories of his assault on the crew and the colonist.

With the test a success, the question now is, how to get the pendant off of Rogan? He currently remains in orbit a mile or so behind the Endeavor.

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Eventually his suit will run out of oxygen, and the science department doesn’t think even he can survive that. The best option seems to be beaming the pendant into the buffer, but leaving Rogan in the suit. This will be a blind teleport, so it falls upon the best crewmember for this task, the new Chief Communications Officer. Ens. Tintarella Di Luna carefully calibrates the teleporter. A single error will most likely kill Rogan. However, Di Luna successfully beams the pendant out without touching the flesh of the would-be Khan. Over the comm channel, the crew listens to Rogan as his voice becomes shriller and thinner, screeching about how the space suit he’s wearing is becoming much too big for him. White-Linen dispatches a shuttle to retrieve the miner.

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Brought aboard, the crew can now see Rogan for what he is, a small, confused miner, hardly a threat. In his interrogation, White-Linen informs Rogan that he will be facing a trial on Keppler for kidnapping, assaulting Confederation personnel, and threatening a Confederation colony. However, she will also have the Endeavor logs entered into evidence that Rogan was mentally controlled by an alien artifact. In the meantime, he can tell her where he acquired the artifact, and in exchange she might have information to offer about a rare metal discovery in the system (the crew seems perturbed about offering this information). Rogan seems more than willing to talk: he got the statuette at Scoop City (LN 2-2), but he begs the captain not to tell the miners there. They won’t take kindly to his snitching.

Meanwhile, in a flashback
Smedley Blister makes no effort to contain his shrill laughter. It’s completely inappropriate behavior for an intern, especially while on warp conduit duty in the engine room of the Endeavor. But he can’t help himself. Being stuck for a month at Bifrost colony while repairs are made to the Endeavor has set everyone on edge. Though the terror of the Zangid saboteur is over, everyone is wondering if there are more Zangid spies among the crew. Moreover, the limited facilities at Bifrost mean that everyone has too much time to ruminate on the disastrous way the mission has gone so far, the death of the captain, and the horrible injuries to the Chief Engineer, Katzenjammer.

It’s that horror that Smedley’s now laughing at. Katzenjammer had entered the matrix intermix chamber to effect emergency repairs during the Zangid sabotage, and his body had been left broken and burned. However, the engineer directed Sps. Sato and Lucci to use portions of the Endeavor to construct a cyborg body to replace his own. Smedley had told the crew that he had been injured because he fell asleep on top of the warp core. Now the intern wasn’t making jokes, but pointing and laughing at Kateenjammer, who has stepped into the engine room for the first time, with his cyborg body, the metal box he will be trapped in for the rest of his life. Smedley laughs, and laughs, and laughs…

And inside an alien drone vessel, Katzenjammer sleeps in the control chamber connected through his cyborg implants to a robot, that understands him, that can help him create a universe he belongs in, and can help him destroy…

“Smedley.” Katzenjammer’s eyes open.

Mission Date 150

The crew continues with the survey of the system. The fourth planet is unremarkable, but seems to bother Ens. Rojas and Sp. A’yuda May greatly. At its appearance on the main screen, they both look at each other, and walk off the bridge. Later, the captain learns that its color resembles something so obscene to Rigellians that she grants them leave from surveying this world.

Mission Date 151-152

Arriving at the fifth planet, the survey is interrupted by the enlisted Engineer, Chloe Brown, who is excited to inform the command staff that she has completed construction of Ensign Katzenjammer’s time probe. As soon as the Endeavor resumes that mission in the Xi sector, they’ll be able to use the probe to better locate the twice-missing vessel.

The crew spends an extra day sending an away team to investigate the icy planet, and returns with some red microorganisms that create the large red streaks across its surface.

Mission Date 153-154

Entering the subsystem of a major gas giant, the crew encounters an interplanetary cargo ship shuttling between crystal mining stations on one of the moons. The miners are ill-tempered and respond with hostility when Captain White-Linen suggests they share their survey information with the Endeavor (hoping to save time on their survey). Ens. Rojas gets on the channel, and in her civilized Rigellian way she threatens and berates the miners for withholding the survey. They still refuse. Ens. White-Linen offers an exchange of information about a rare earth discovery in the system (to more crew consternation). The miners aren’t interested. Broot Muto cuts in on the channel, to inform the miners that they should work together in the spirit of cooperation, especially since the Endeavor is out defending them from the hazards of space. At this point, the miners begin shouting that they’re going to file a complaint with Colony Services about the Endeavor. Di Luna cuts in to complain to the captain about the unauthorized personnel speaking on her open channel.

Mission Date 155-156

The crew surveys this gas giant system and its moons perfunctorily, ignoring a moon that harbors strange airborne life forms that resemble a cross between jellyfish and balloons.

Mission Date 157

During the final day of surveying, the courier sled from Starbase Keppler arrives, scorched with beam fire. The sled hails the Endeavor. It’s Sub-Lieutenant Golmak, the repair dock chief. He has a harrowing tale to tell, but the crux of the matter is that Keppler has been taken over by drones. After making sure his sled isn’t carrying robots, White-Linen brings Golmak aboard.

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In the ready room, Golmak explains in more detail: “I’ve been working on your Chief Engineer for the last week. He’s been sitting quietly on board the robot ship, alive but in a sort of coma. Not exactly a coma, there seemed to be an exchange between him, the robot and the ship. A shared consciousness. But no problem! I created a neural interface, so that a person might be able to enter his cortex and see what was happening. I realized if the beings entering his consciousness were those that knew him best, they would best be able to interpret what they saw. So I created five interfaces.

“Well, I was waiting for your return, but… a few days ago, the robot ship powered up, and these drones emerged from its assembly plant. Not just drones, but drones that look like they’re mixed with… Felicians. I tried to deactivate them, but they had defense measures. I’m afraid they took over the repair dock fairly quickly. They were working under Katzenjammer’s direction. I begged him to stop, but he seemed uninterested. He directed the drones to take over the Confederation portions of the station. The rest of the personnel barricaded themselves in the ancient part of the station, the derelict alien craft or fortress that Keppler was built on. I managed to get to the courier sled. I knew you’d set a course for Gatway. And of course, here you are! So already we are having success!”

White-Linen orders electronic countermeasures against drone technology installed immediately. Security will have to be updated, since Katzenjammer knows the protocols. Sp. Muto slams his fists on the table. “Dammit, Katzenjammer wrote the protocols!” Indeed, how can they defend the ship against the being who is literally a part of it?


With the unrest on LN 1-3 now resolved, the crew of the Endeavor must now return to Starbase Keppler to rescue the fifty people there from the invasive cat-drones that have taken over. But how far are they willing to go, when the leader of the cat drones is one of their own? Can they save Ensign Katzenjammer, or will they have to destroy him to save the people on board Keppler? And what of the Zangid threat, and the missing ship that is still missing? Next time, on Starships&Spacemen: The Lucanii Drift!

Prev: Session 3, Mission Date 142-144

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