Objective: Warn and evacuate all Oryx personnel from the solar system before the potentially hostile ship arrives.
Oryx dispatched the “Atronach”, a Drake-class explorer ship over a year ago with a crew of twenty five. The ship was loaded with the latest drone and survey technology as well as some basic defensive measures. A hangar housed three shuttles and three short range fighters. At maximum conventional thrust the ship should have arrived over a month ago. While in transit regular communication kept everyone up to date but just weeks away from the rim of AM-7278 communication was lost. Due to the time required to dispatch another ship the mission was assumed lost until telemetry from the survey drones started trickling into the Terminal.
This provided the basic readings on the solar system and the celestial bodies orbiting the primary.
The Oranos crew calculate their trajectory and initiate the jump. When they return to normal space they are within half a days conventional travel to the outer ring of AM-7278. Comms are apparently not reaching the Terminal or STX’s Vanguard outpost. On reaching the asteroid field at the perimeter of the solar system their forward progress is halted by an unseen force.
The crew determine that a strange field has been created around the Oranos nullifying inertia generated by the thrusters. While they’re assessing the situation a strange signal arrives and begins to cycle through the comm system translator.
“Welcome to the Ara Arcturus Confederation travelers. Your ship is being held for assessment. Do not take any hostile actions. The other vessel, Atronach, successfully met our requirements and is safe.”
At this point, sensors detect active scanning originating from the asteroid field.
Another message arrives, “please explain the presence of the Dominion technology on your ship.”
The crew relays that it is salvaged technology, and they were unaware of its origin.
After a few moments the ship is released, and thrusters begin to operate correctly again.
“Access is granted travelers. You are welcome to meet the Atronoch at Raveg”, coordinates and a flight path are received.
Once the Oranos passes the asteroid field sensors detect a very active solar system with ships moving between planets. The provided coordinates indicate the sixth planet is “Raveg”. While moving through the system the crew are obviously being shadowed by an escort. They are also contacted by the captain of the Atronach.
“Greetings Oranos. We are familiar with your activities in STX. The Confederation has limited our communications with the Teminal. We look forward to updates when you arrive.”
Once the crew reach Raveg they see an expansive shipyard reminiscent of some of the great dwarven shipyards in the Pact Worlds. The Atronach is docked alongside a variety of strange looking vessels.
The crew disembarks onto the star dock and is greeted by a contingent of strange looking dwarves. A representative from the Confederation directs the crew to follow them to the Counsel Chambers. In transit the crew meets the Atronach’s Captain Nimkia and her First Mate Zhess Kiviath. Their journey is mostly filled with catching the captain up on current events. Captain Nimkia briefs the crew on the current situation. The five species in this system are Dromite scholars, Duergar builders, Maenad agriculturists, Ophiduan conservationists and the Samsaran mediators.
- The Samsaran seem to be the source of the advanced technology in the asteroid field and defacto leadership for the Confederation. None but the Samsaran are allowed access to Jolde, their garden home.
- The insectile Dromite populate their inhospitable, archive world of Triro closest to the system primary. Massive thermal towers provide power generation for their vast underground cities.
- The dour Duergar claim the twin volcanic forge planets of Raveg and Hegroth. They manufacture all the heavy goods like weapons and star ships for the confederacy.
- The Maenad harvest significant food resources and manufacture fuel cells from their ocean planet of Nibos. These aquatic natives are also quite adept at navigational algorithms.
- The serpentine Ophiduan busy themselves assuring no planetary degradation occurs due to over industrialization while their own garden planet thrives and provides critical medical and food supplies for the Confederation.
Perhaps the most intriguing discovery, beyond all these species in a newly discovered solar system, is that they’re all telepathically active in disciplines heretofore undocumented outside this region. The Atronach crew have been negotiating for more information on this subject in part due to the recent developments in STX Z3. Understandably, the confederation are protective of their native abilities.
Once they arrive at the Council Chambers the crew are greeted by the Confederation Counsel. Representatives from five species are present in official capacity. The central figure a tall, pale skinned male humanoid addresses the crew.
“Welcome travelers. I am Zier Alo, we are the High Consul of the Confederation. Your activities within our neighboring solar system have been a source of much interest.”
Glack begins to explain the reason for the Oranos’ visit leading with the drifting threat moving toward this solar system.
“We are aware of the impending arrival of the Voidwalker. It is the first of an inevitable attempted invasion. It likely carries war machines and soldiers from the Dominion, intent on establishing a foothold just outside our defenses to transport more via their portal generators,” Zier explains.
“We will make short work of them as they attempt to breach the barrier. Like a hammer to an anvil, they will be broken,” the dark dwarf representative exclaims. “Calm yourself Huld, the Duergar fleet’s ability to defend our solar system is in no doubt,” Zier says calmly obviously trying to cool the Duergar’s hostile nature.
Glack indicates the crew’s instructions were discover the fate of the Atronoch and, if at all possible, facilitate the evacuation of the crew.
“It seems that your ship has also absconded with, and successfully integrated technology developed by our ancient enemies. Perhaps we could parlay a mutually beneficial arrangement.”
Negotiations began for a clear channel of communication to the Terminal so the Administrator can be updated with the amazing discovery. It is further decided that an emissary will be dispatched with the Oranos to open negotiations for an alliance between Oryx and the Confederacy. A slight female humanoid, obviously the same species as Zier meets the crew at their dock. She approaches the crew and introduces herself, Shava, diplomatic envoy. She is to be the assigned emissary for the Confederacy. By all appearances, she seems to be young for such a notable duty. It is quickly apparent, however, that her grasp of matters related to diplomacy and interaction with ‘younger’ species is formidable.
The Oranos returns to the terminal. Shava seems unaffected by the drive technology aftereffects “That was, unpleasant” is her only comment.
Upon docking the crew is met with a light contingent of guards and the Administrator. They welcome Shava and usher her into the conference room to commence discussions of any formal alliances or trade bargains.
While on the station the crew is the subject of all the rumor mills. Contacts reach out to verify details and quiz the crew about anything that might be beneficial. Even the usually aloof Agent Vandren tentatively reaches out requesting an opportunity to discuss what the Oranos discovered in the AM system. The Banshee Mercenaries invite Drax and Bosho to the barracks for a meal. Nelari inquires after Kallie’Dar. Suddenly, everyone is more ‘familiar’ with the crew.
After a few hours the Administrator and Shava emerge from the conference room. Shava is offered an escort to explore the Terminal while they both consider the offers on the table; she accepts and sets out to explore the station.
A full cycle later Shava returns to the conference table and a rough outline is settled upon for relations between the Confederacy and Oryx. Tekram, as the initial claimant for the system resources, are notified that as an inhabited solar system the sovereignty of the inhabitants supersedes their claim. The Terminal and Oryx have negotiated exclusive distribution of any goods leaving the Confederacy in addition there is now a Mutual Aid Agreement in place allowing dispatch of Oryx security forces to assist in the defense of the Confederacy as needed.
The Administrator and Commander begin preparation for dispatching forces to the Confederacy. Transit time will be long but, if all goes smoothly, the smaller flotilla of ships should arrive about the same time as the Voidwalker.
The Commander contacts the crew, “The Confederacy has formally requested a direct reconnaissance of the impending Voidwalker. We would ask that the Oranos transport a team of Banshee Pod Jockeys to the ship, breach the hull and extract any data possible from their systems. The risk is significant but the Oranos is the only tactical asset capable of doing the job.”
The crew agrees, the cargo modules on their exploration ship are exchanged for a powered armor drop bay and crew quarters for the mercenary squad. Two of the soldiers the crew recognizes from their time on Z3
- Captain Rhi – Korasha Lashunta, Female, Soldier
- Sargent Bor – Human, Male, Soldier
Captain Rhi says, “Can’t let you space vagabonds have all the fun. Take us to where we can do the most damage.”
The Oranos returns to Confederate space.
On docking at Raveg the crew are greeted with a team of duergar technicians. They have been tasked with integrating a minor version of the nanite screen used to mask the solar system. This minor version will only operate at extremely close range so the Oranos will have to calculate an extremely close entry point near the Voidwalker for the screen to work.
One technician scurries out of the engineering room paler than normal and hastily reports to his superior who summarily drags him back to the engineering room. Obviously the drive tech makes the duergar uncomfortable. It might have something to do with the fungal growth spreading to adjacent ship systems slowly converting ferrous and plastics into a fungal analog. It seems the more frequently the drive is used and the more power it draws the faster it ‘grows’. At this pace the back end of the ship could be completely converted in a year’s time. The crew begin wondering if it could be possible to harvest spores from this growing organism to seed another ship systems. Glack reaches out to some of his colleagues that specialize in mycenoid studies.
The ship prepared, mercenaries on board and a course carefully plotted the Oranos makes their jump to the Voidwalker.
Moment’s later they appear just off the aft section of the gargantuan ship. It’s even more disturbing up close. Strig maneuvers the small ship into position after discovering what appears to be an external docking hatch. The mercs suit up and prepare to breach the ship. While slipping the Oranos closer to the hull Strig miscalculates a thruster fire and grazes the bigger ship’s hull. No apparent damage to eithre ship and nothing on sensors. They deploy the docking umbilical.
Quick work is made of the iris style docking port. The crew and mercs enter what appears to be a storage or loading bay of some sort. Nothing of interest in the room, they open the large double doors into a very long corridor. The structure of the ship is similar to the tunnels on Z3 with obviously biological materials making up the superstructure of the ship. No terminals in the bay or halls, the crew move toward the front of the ship.
Doors line both sides of this long corridor. Most are solid with no obvious marking other than a slowly pulsing red light above what appears to be a palm reader. Smaller doors line the right side more frequently while fewer large doors line the left side. The mercs cover the crew as they all move down the hall. Finally, about half way down the hall Strig wants a look at what lies behind one of the larger doors. Apprehensive they managed to crack the palm lock and open the door.
Beyond the door is a huge, multilevel bay full of what appear to be stasis pods. The closest, nearly human sized pod presents a sinister looking species no one has ever encountered before. A quick survey of some others reveal Grioth and more unknown species. Looks like they packed all their soldiers for long travel through the nebula. The crew back out of the pod bay and continue down the hall looking for a vulnerable terminal.
Finally at the end of the corridor the crew begin moving up in elevation and eventually find a single door that appears to designate a change in purpose. They enter what appears to be some sort of laboratory or medical bay. Finally, the mercs discover a terminal that they can try and crack. A few moments, with an assist from Strig, they’re pulling alien data. no time to review the contents, this is a data smash and grab.
A few moments pass and suddenly the door on the other side of the room quietly opens and in walks a Mi-Go armed with the standard ice weapon. It doesen’t hesitate and fires into the room at the crew. Still focused on pulling data the mercs form up on their tech and begin firing back. After a few tense moments the Mi-Go crashes to the floor but beyond the now open door everyone can hear tell-tale claxons. “It’s time to move,” says Captain Rhi.
They pull the data pad and begin retreating back down the long corridor toward their exit point. Suddenly everyone notices the door locks stop pulsing read and go solid green.
“This can’t be a good sign,” Drax says.
“Less talk, more moving,” says Sargent Bor.
No disagreement, they pick up the pace. As doors begin opening and figures emerge the mercs take up covering positions, pass the data pad to Strig and tell the crew to run.
By the time the crew reach the exit point a full fire fight is happening in the corridor but the mercs are in their element now. Explosions shake the ship and fire is everywhere. The Banshee are tactically withdrawing but the crew move quickly to get aboard the Oranos and warm everything up. A transmission from the mercs tells Strig to break the ship free and start the exit jump. They’re holding the breached room and burning everything they can down.
Drax and Bosho, manning the Oranos’ torpedo systems, both fire as the Oranos pulls away. Just as the twin torpedoes track toward the ragged hole left from cutting through the docking hatch, four armored figures emerge and jet across the vacuum toward the open pod bays on the Oranos. The mercs reach the Oranos and the breached cargo bay explodes with hell fire. Mi-Go and other figures can be seen silhouetted against the blast drifting away from the larger ship. The hull breach appears like a pin prick on the gargantuan vessel but it’s apparently enough to stop pursuit. Strig makes the jump.
The Oranos arrives, in one piece, back at the Terminal.