Welcome to Absalom Station
The crew exits transit. A massive space station floats amidst one of the busiest solar systems they have visited. Za’Del signals his headquarters, and the crew are cleared for landing. Strig maneuvers through the busy space lanes and reaches the designated docking bay. After touchdown the crew and research team exit the ship into a bustling star dock with sentients, cargo and ships constantly moving.
Za’Del invites the crew to the Lorespire Complex, the largest chapterhouse of the Starfinder Society and clearing house for their exploration and adventures across the wilds of space. He needs to check in and deliver his mission logs to the archives.
The crew agrees to accompany the team. While in the Archive they encounter the First Seeker, leader of the Society. She introduces herself as Luwazi Elsbo.
“We are grateful for your timely rescue of our wayward research team. If ever you are looking for a home, please consider the Starfinder Society.” She continues, “Your contributions in the Ki Nebula have been quite interesting.” She pauses with a look of seriousness and continues, “the danger posed by the Dominion is not solely on the fringes of the galaxy. They also seem to be building influence in long established areas. Even here in the heart of the Pact Worlds.”
“On another matter, there are some members that would appreciate the opportunity to investigate a living Dominion starship if you’re willing to allow such a thing.” she pauses for the crew to consider the request. “We have one of the most renown Mycologist that is particularly interested in your ship.”
The crew confers and agrees with some safety stipulations based on previous tours they provided of their ship. A schedule is set and the First Seeker returns to her busy itinerary.
Za’Del meets the crew once his report are filed and presents an offer. “Myself, Ni’Mas and Wrench are keen to explore the wilds more. Our pilot is laid up for an extended healing cycle so we thought, maybe, we could tag along with you and assist with your travels.” he steps away so the crew can discuss the options. After some debate it is decided that the Starfinders will be allowed to tag along with the crew. They will have to provide their own gear and won’t receive a proper cut of any profits generated by the crew’s endeavors.
The crew takes some time to browse the archive and ponder the Seeker’s words. As the crew exit the archive a chirp indicates Kallie’Dar has a message.
A well dressed, if a bit frantic looking drow appears in the display, “Greetings sister, the family has been tracking your movements, but I never thought you would arrive on Absalom Station. I have vital information for you but it must be delivered in person. Please come to my office in the Bluerise Tower. Time is short, please visit soon,” the message finishes. An address is delivered with an access code.
Concerned that it’s another trap the crew decides to proceed to the designated address and face it head on. On arriving Kallie’Dar uses the access code to enter the main lobby of the tower. Taking a lift to the designated floor it’s clear that these offices are secure with cameras, bulkhead doors masked behind luxury materials and likely much more that isn’t obvious. The crew round a corner to encounter the first two sentients since entering the building. They’re obviously hired muscle and they consider the crew, obviously assessing for any potential threat.
Kallie’Dar approaches and waves her datapad with the invitation. One of the guards announces her arrival and indicates there’s an entourage. The response is apparently satisfying, they usher the crew into a spacious office that appears to have been lived in for some time. A frantic male drow rises from his seat and greets the crew.
“Welcome, dear sister and… friends.” he considers the crew and refocuses on Kallie’Dar. “Apologies for the unexpected invitation and rather clandestine nature of the message.” He stops and considers for a moment, “I suppose there is no simple way to say it so here it goes, House Gallion has been… liquidated.” He collapses into the posh office chair and swigs a drink of some dark liquor.
Taken aback, Kallie’Dar asks what he means by ‘liquidated’ even though it’s fairly apparent.
“You and I are the last of our House. All assets and properties have been destroyed, seized or frozen.” Another deep drink, emptying the glass. He looks a bit shell shocked. “I was here on Absalom for business when it all happened. I quickly retained a quite capable technomancer to secure funds in unrelated accounts. Not knowing your disposition, I took the liberty to assure your assets were also secured.” He slides a data chip across the desk. “It was as if our rivals were suddenly bolstered. They attacked so abruptly and completely.” He takes a steadying breath, “Our whole house vanished in less than 48 standard hours.”
Kallie’Dar inserts the chip into her data pad and watches as the accounts load and the totals are revealed. A significant total indeed. Due to the required security and account buffers to keep it from tracing back to her it will only be good for modest investments.
“That settled I would recommend you and your… hirelings, return to the edge of the universe till our rivals forget you exist.” Once again considering crew mates, “Though, I suppose your new nomadic lifestyle will make it more difficult to track you.”
The crew relates the details of their assault in the Terminal. “Oh, i suppose they managed to decrypt the logs of your travels once you left Apostae. Dear, that means they likely know more about your… abilities.” he seems a bit more concerned now. “Apologies, my shuttle leaves shortly, I have encrypted dead drop locations if ever you should have need to communicate. Good luck sister,” he ushers them toward the door.
Meanwhile, Back at the Bay
The crew return to their docking bay to find a gaggle of scholars all observing their ship from a distance. One in particular appears to be quite excited.
A strange sentient approaches the crew, “Greetings I am called Robigus, it’s a pleasure to meet you… and your ship.” He appears much like a ghoran but with more muted coloration and subtle fungal influences.
As the crew lead the small contingent toward the ship all the usual questions arise, and each crew member takes turns explaining the discoveries they have made about this ship and what little they know about how the Dominion develop organic technology in conjunction with more traditional technology.
After the rest of the visitors left the ship seemingly satisfied with the information learned, Robigus remains. Subtly at first, the ship indicates to Glack and Kallie’Dar that it wants Robigus to visit the rear cargo bay. On stepping into the bay, a field lowers blocking the crew from entering. Soon spores from the ship begin to float down through the now sealed bay and they start to swirl around Robigus. A look of awe on his face indicates he is in no apparent danger. Soon he begins releasing spores and seems to be communing with the ship in some fashion. After a time the spores begin to clear and the field raises. Robigus exits the bay with a profound look of understanding.
After a few moments he says, “The ship now comprehends that it is no longer part of the Dominion. The systems should begin to normalize for your operations.” He appears to be sifting his thoughts. “This ship is very old. Much like an old robot, it has developed what we would consider proper sentience. It is… satisfied with its new mission and crew.” He smiles curiously, “It apparently has no concept of happy.”
Glack and Drax are interested if the ship has a proper name. Robigus considers for a moment and says, “Its name is too long to convey verbally. Essentially, it is named for every significant event it has experienced over its long existence.”
Glack is concerned with the fungal markers found in the crew’s biology. After careful review of medscan data Robigus assures the crew, “The markers allow the ship to recognize the crew. They also release counter agents for the harsh shift during transit for your unconditioned biology. If the crew were to be away from the ship for an extended time, the markers will likely degrade leaving you as you were before. It is also possible the ship uses these markers to track you while you’re away from it.”
Finally, the crew asks about methods of improving the subsystems. Robigus replies, “Much like any biological starship, improvements to systems is a matter of manipulating the growth of the organism. Each subsystem is affected by various stimuli generating growth and complexity. While it is possible to upgrade systems, it will be difficult to find a facility capable of properly inducing these changes.”
After Robigus departs, Za’Del and his companions arrive. The crew begins to prepare for transit to their next destination.
Encounter at the Riven Shroud
Strig navigates to the designated clear zone for transit, calculates the route and initiates the drive. Several days later the crew arrives near one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the galaxy. An artificial structure the size of a small solar system encompasses a low-grade star that serves as its power source. Scaffolded around this sun is a lacy grid of continent-wide modules of strange architecture interspersed with vast solar sails that harness and redirect the star’s enormous energy output. Even from space, though, the structure’s damaged nature is apparent. An enormous rent mars the surface of the sphere, and for thousands of miles, the structure is left open and vulnerable to the surrounding vacuum of space. Welcome to the Riven Shroud.
Nelari’s records indicate that the Central Quarry is the primary source for the unstable stibnite crystals which are then subjected to massive temperatures generated by the contained star to create a more stable, gaseous form for use in explosives. This process is dangerous due to the fine tolerances required to get the stibnite from solid to gas and then keep it gaseous for transport.
The crew search the listed corporate offices present on this massive operation. Oryx comes across the list of contract supply houses. Though a small operation, the Oryx representative provides contact details for Primex Senara-46. If anyone would be in a position to negotiate for refined stibnite, that’s with whom the crew will need to begin negotiations.
The Primex’s office is currently bustling with activity as it’s apparent some sort of emergency is happening when the crew arrives. After explaining why they need to speak with the Primex, a brief time goes by before they are ushered into the executive’s control center.
“Welcome to the Shroud, it’s a drek show most days but today we’ve turned it up a notch.” the Primex is an older android and seems exceedingly irritated. “As the shift began today, reports of workes going missing started coming in before all hells broke loose.” she grimaces and continues. “Turns out we have some sort of ‘void beasts’ prowling our mines. Reports can’t provide definitive numbers or even a dand description but they seem quite irritated with our staff or very hungry.”
Turning to consider the crew, “I don’t suppose you brought your good guns today? You’re the only ones nearby equipped to handle this without an official incident report. Once the Stewards deploy a team there’s so much paperwork we’ll be locked down for a month. What say you to a little safari?”
Kallie’Dar and Glack negotiate with the Primex. In return for a sizable quantity of condensate the crew will clear the mines of ‘void beasts’. All terms agreed to, the crew returns to the ship to gear up. They will have to enter the tunnels via automated mine carts and proceed one level at time. Comm relays were apparently damaged with the evacuation so the crew will be on their own.
Entering the first level the crew progress deeper until they have first contact. Movement ahead indicates several small creatures of some sort congregated around the bloody body of a miner. On first glance these creatures appear like large bats. Glack and Zopa quickly identify them as Skreelings. The creatures leap into the air and begin attacking. After some light combat all the creatures are dispatched. A trembling of the tunnel indicates something larger moving toward the crew. Indeed, a squirming mass of tentacles and fangs emerges from deeper in the tunnel; a Skreesire. It locks eyes on the crew and moves to attack. Between small arms and melee, the crew manage to cut the large creature down.
While not uncommon, Skree are not typically found in active mines. They prefer isolated environs where they can consume prey and avoid being hunted themselves.
The crew moves deeper into the mines. Scanners indicate another contact. Rounding a corner they spot more skreelings feasting on a couple miner corpses. The element of surprise on their side the crew launces their attack. While battling the small vicous creatures Bosho spots another skreesire descending from the tunnel’s ceiling. The smaller creatures are dispatched and battle with the sire begins in earnest. Moments later the skreesire lays twitching on the mine floor and scanners indicate this complex is all clear.
The crew emerge from the mines and alert the Primex of their success. “Skree huh? Well, looks like we might need a hunter drone unit to clear all the other local tunnels. Your payment is waiting at your docking ring.”
On arriving at the docking ring, the crew supervises loading of the transport containers full of condensate. Strig lifts off and sets course for their next destination.