I forgot to write this one up as it happened! All but one player made it to the game, where we tried out another reason to go down to an exoplanet’s surface.
- Majida Kol
- Actual Rocket Scientist
- Under-promise and Over-Deliver
- Last Bastion of Common Sense
- One Step At A Time
- I guess I’m the pilot now?
- Alex Weyland
- Stayed cool(ant) under pressure
- Made first contact
- Craig Daniels
- Mountaineering Expert
- Bullshit Artist
- Stand back, I got this shit
- Can’t Talk, Leaving
- The wrong way but faster
- Lola Chao
- Instinctive Navigator
- One Bad Mother
- I’m the senior flight officer
- You’ll thank me later
- Sleep is the enemy
308 Cygni-c (working name “Baxter”) is a young world, more tectonically active than Earth, wracked by lightning flashing red amidst dust storms. The thicker atmosphere provides a necessary blanket to trap more of its weaker orange sun’s energy. Multicellular life on Baxter never figured out how to divide into separate entities. Its primordial soup kept growing and expanding, absorbing its oceans and then most of its useful mineral content. Sea-size organisms traverse the surface, slowly killing their world.
In a departure from the (now usual) “viability surveys”, which usually meant “go down and see if you get eaten”, NOAH tasked the flight crew with recovery of Flight Crew Bravo and the shuttle Sleepwalker-1. Dr. Cameron (the NPC biologist who had reluctantly helped decontaminate them after their last away mission) along with crewpersons Takahashi and Mueller had failed to check in from their viability survey.
The [prep a shuttle] move worked really well this time. Limiting the payload to two modules turned out to be enough to make some intriguing combinations while still being restrictive enough to make the process a meaningful choice. They opted for the long haul module so fuel wouldn’t be an issue and the cargo bay so they could salvage the other shuttle in case they couldn’t bring it back whole.
Lola expertly piloted Sleepwalker-2 down to 308 Cygni-c [survive, full success] and, with the help of the long haul module’s fuel reserves, kept hovering over the surface. Weyland and Daniels rappelled down to Sleepwalker-1, which was half-buried in a deserted stretch of beach where a sickly blue-green lake lapped lazily at the shore – and sucked roughly at Daniels’ boots when he landed at the “water’s” edge [partial success on survive]. They took spare fuel from the second shuttle to refuel and prep the stranded team’s vehicle while Kol and Chao spiraled out in ever-widening circles trying to pick up any signals from Mueller, Takahashi, and Cameron. They found Mueller and Takahashi sheltering in a cave much farther inland, saying Cameron was “just gone”.
While Daniels worked on Sleepwalker-1, Weyland took samples and surveyed the strange lake. He figured out that the bodies of water on the planet were living organisms but wasn’t sure what threat they posed other than their great size, a threat punctuated by two distant sea-size blobs rising up like tsunamis to… what? Battle over territory? Mate? Devour each other? [discover, partial success] It was clear Baxter held no future for humanity, and the crew turned all their efforts towards getting Sleepwalker-1 out of the sand and Mueller and Takahashi into Sleepwalker-2.
The living “lake” near Daniels and Weyland started creeping closer, an uncanny sense of tides moving in faster than they should. Meanwhile, over at the cave in which Mueller and Takahashi had been hiding, Mueller went off to make one last-ditch effort to find Cameron, despite Lola Chao’s insistence that they leave as soon as possible. [influence someone, setback] An ironically-timed pseudopod chose that moment to stretch out towards Daniels and Weyland. They could see rudimentary attempts at support structures – armatures or bones – made from absorbing the surrounding rocks. Dr. Cameron, her body “unspooled” into its component parts but somehow still alive, stared unseeing at her former shipmates.
Despite being thoroughly horrified at this development, both men managed to keep it together [get traumatized, full successes for both!]. Daniels ran for the shuttle controls while Weyland opened the fuel ports, dumping what fuel they could spare across the beach and the creature as Sleepwalker-1 blasted into the sky. The great beast burned behind them.
Mueller returned to Sleepwalker-2 since Cameron’s fate had been revealed. The remaining four lifted off as well and Lola and Majida helped guide Sleepwalker-1 back to the Somnambulist safely.
You Can’t Go Home Again
Despite being dressed down at how foolish he was to leave the shuttle, Mueller maintained he’d do it again. He wasn’t going to leave someone behind, especially since there were so few people left.
The PCs expressed confusion. The missions so far hadn’t had any casualties as far as they knew. Unless Mueller meant-
“Earth is gone,” Takahashi finally said. With this blunt proclamation, Takahashi suddenly earned his place as a recurring, no-nonsense NPC.
Everyone rolled to resist getting traumatized and we ended the session there.
The exoplanet itself was a fun jaunt this time. There was a definite goal, some menace, some body horror, and a bit of NPC interaction, which understandably has been light thus far. We’ll start the next game learning about Earth – it’s weird that this group has made it this many sessions without broaching the subject yet. Stats-wise, they’re all on the ragged edge psychologically. It’ll hopefully be a good test of the recovery moves and how that affects their available shipboard actions.