Snort Count: 2
The Realm of Human Space is large and dark. While billions of people settle planets, only a select few live in synthetic environments orbiting them. This is where our story begins.
Audio transmissions communicate many things in this universe. In this case, a series of messages directing four people who would never have met to the SynCrest station orbiting Lakota
- Traveling through Wedge Space in the LunaSea, Captain Adanna Celestine Alvarez listens to a message giving her a transportation job, but with an outdated authentication code…
- On a hired ship, Colonel Fredrick Lawson receives orders to retrieve all citizens aboard for questioning since all communication with the station ceased.
- Walking on the station’s hull Master Sergeant “Ishta” thinks over her mission to capture a Earth political traitor intending to sell political and military secrets.
- Hurtling through space towards the station, Khatija Patel hopes the unknown activity aboard is worth the potential risk.
Arriving first, Captain Alvarez can find no communication with the station on any channels. She docks, finding no one aboard. While she explores and searches for the station’s personnel, her crew unloads their cargo. Finding no one, she worries for the well-being of the people she grew up around.
In the Garbage Management wing, Colonel Lawson and his “Jin Ren” arrive, securing the docks. Various equipment used in trash removal are present but no one is present. Utilizing the station’s systems he can determine that there are video records of up until 4 days ago, but anything more current is either corrupted or removed by the System Administrator. He sends his team to search for survivors, advising non-violent confrontation.
With her Leviathans behind her, Master Sergeant Ishta arrives in one of the many maintenance shops of the station. Though there are no people around, the machines are still switched on but are not running. Checking the room, she kills the power and investigates further. Advising her troops to stay out of sight, the Leviathans use the maintenance tunnels to fan out, looking for signs of life. Ishta searches out the commercial center and finds it as abandoned. It seems to her that the people here didn’t panic. They could have left for lunch, never to return. Advising further caution, she investigates the computers in the area and attempts to find out more.
Alone and right through the front door, Khatija enters the residential quadrant. Searching through the security systems at the gate, the station is running but no one seems to be home. She investigates the area and finds no one, from fueling stations and homes to convenience and food stores; no one. Making her way to a sensor station, she finds that something is limiting the range of the communications of the station to the galactic radius of Lakota. She finds two beacons; one from a hired transport (East) and the other from a professional shipping vessel (North). She makes her way north, going through the core of the station.
Meanwhile, back at the shipping dock, Captain Alvarez attempts to use the communications, only to find that they too are limited to the galactic radius of Lakota. Finding something is amiss, she had her crew reload the cargo back onto the LunaSea. Commanding her Sensors hand to search the station using the LunaSea’s systems. He manages to find motion detectors active in the other three Quadrants; minor movement in the Residential, moderate movement in the Industrial and massive movement in the maintenance Quadrant. Captain Adanna calls over the station speaker system to the Garbage Management bay…
Colonel Lawson has his Iron Avatar search the station for remaining surveillance cameras, finding some active in the West Quadrant. Detecting movement, he moves the camera for a better look…
...and one of Ishta’s Leviathans takes the camera out.
Colonel Lawson commands two of his teams to search that Quadrant for activity as the comm system comes active. Introduces herself as a Merchant League Corsair, Captain Alvarez and Colonel Lawson find each other friendly and decide to meet up near the LunaSea’s docked position, to provide protection.
Getting some information from the station’s computer systems, Ishta determines that the station’s outgoing communication is severed. The internal visual surveillance is limited on the station thanks to something being damaged in the core. One of her teams calls in the camera movement; she knows she’s being watched. With this information in hand, she heads to the core and commands her teams to follow her. However, she runs into one of Colonel Lawson’s teams through ultrasonic sensors.
Hiding behind cover, Ishta is seen and commanded to identify herself. Lying through her teeth, she makes up a story of being ‘Shanghaied’ here after a training mission. The story is believable and keeps her unit’s identity secret. She allies herself with the Colonel’s forces and heads to rendezvous with him, wary of the fact that the CO for this group is a Colonel.
Arriving at the Core bulkhead door, Khatija finds that the door into the Core is stuck, seemingly hard to open. When she opens the door, she finds that there is a translucent goo-like hardened material sealing the door from the inside. Cautious and very worried, Khatija cranks up her Plasma Shell, just in time to have a glob of the material drop onto her hand. The shield chirps that it is being damaged and she shakes it off, where it burns into the floor plating before going inert. She shuts the door and heads to the east. She stumbles upon one of Colonel Lawson’s remaining units. Managing to hide herself, mostly due to her Chameleon device, she watches as the unit rounds a corner and heads north. She follows the group at a healthy distance, watching and listening for whatever is going on here.
The four of them meet up and many observations are made:
- Ishta is shocked at the amount of military force present and equally surprised at the presence of a Merchant League Corsair.
- Colonel Lawson is surprised at the armor design of Ishta’s forces. He asks about their modified Anvil design. Her answer is another believable lie of being prototype armor.
- Khatija remains unseen and gets more concerned at the amount of military hardware here. At the sight of the LunaSea, she sees her way off of the station.
Colonel Lawson stays by his orders and prepares for going into the Core. Khatija speaks out loud from nowhere. Ishta shoots at the sound, hitting only a foot from her target. Colonel Lawson has his men restrain her.
Once the guns are put away, Khatija reveals herself, appearing out of thin air. She lies about coming back from her “lunch hour” and finding everyone gone. When asked about her advanced technology she says that her father is rich and says nothing more. She provides the details on the core.
Before further discussion can occur, a heavily distorted and broken messages comes over the station’s comm system.
Quick discussion leads Colonel Lawson to commandeer the LunaSea. From this the LunaSea crew, except Captain Alvarez prepare the ship for a quick departure. A few of Ishta’s men stay behind to guard the ship while the rest of the group heads into the Core.
The doors open to the Core of the Station, covered in the strange hard substance Khatija discovered earlier. The group moves inward using their light sources since there seems to be no power inside the Core. Once inside, the group hears scratching inside the walls. Not long after, they are under attack. Anvil forces are snatched into doors and ventilation ducts. A few suits of Iron are grabbed and pulled down holes in the decking. Before they know it, Khatija, Adanna, Fredrick, “Ishta” and Carl are all back to back, unable to hit the ‘things’ attacking them.
As they take a breath, they hear a distinct hissing behind them and after being thrown down, crashed into walls and pulled backward they all black out.
All five of them wake up in a dome-shaped room. The walls are adorned with computers and display screens. No one is in the room, save for the body of a man they are unfamiliar with. He has been stabbed through the torso six times with some type of cylindrical, pointed object. The man has bled out in the chair, but in his hands are two small devices.
The one in his left hand is a message, presumably from him:
“Greetings. If you are listening to this message then you have found me deceased. The circumstances of my demise are not important, except in one case. If you have found me aboard the SynCrest station, orbiting Lakota, then my death is no coincidence.
I am Dr. Avendi Zadian, an archeologist and explorer, but that is of little consequence now. You four, though from different paths of life, have a common cause now. If I am correct in what you are seeing in this station, you will be facing incalculable danger in the coming months. There will be people looking for you, things hunting you and organizations seeking to kill you, or worse.
Despite what they say, do not give yourselves up.
Escape this place as soon as possible.
Do not seek what is inside this station, just run.
The truth will find you eventually.
Higher powers at work in all of this.
And most importantly, do not let the things in the walls touch you.
The second device plays an ancient song, a calling card of sorts.
“Don’t Fear The Reaper“
Fearing the worst, they are shocked when the monitors explode with warnings. Not caring and wanting to escape they run. As they are fleeing the Core, Colonel Lawson checks the vitals of his troops. The Anvil troops are located at key points near the station’s structural points and are exhibiting low heart rate, low blood pressure and very high beta brain waves. His Iron troops are conscious and running for the LunaSea. Explosions rock the station from various sides. When they open the doors to the Core, there is fire being exchanged between two opposing sides. One side seems to be men in some form of Iron, though it is different, smaller. The other are men that tower over 8’ tall in what appear to be base chassis of Anvil armor.
Firing as they run, they manage to get to the dock as one of the LunaSea’s crew radios them, saying that he senses extremely high thermal output from the other side of the station. Rushing on board, they are the last to board. Captain Alvarez rushes to the Bridge and pulls the LunaSea out of the SynCrest Station docks. Two more ships withdraw from the West and East Quadrants. The station starts to turn a bright white as Captain Alvarez commands them to Jump. She is pulled aside by her sensors hand as they enter Wedge Space. As they drop out a few minutes later, on the other side of Lakota, they look back at SynCrest Station…
...to see a giant plume where the station was.
“2.5 Gigaton explosion estimated. I don’t know what could have done that Captain.”
Khatija, Adanna, Fredrick, Ishta and Carl meet on the bridge and watch the white plume that used to be the SynCrest Station…