Rip Off the Zelbinion

Intro: The Wreck of the Zelbinion

The team is in the process of making a series of hyperspace jumps from Kessel to rendezvous with the Rebellion's Third Fleet above the plane of the galaxy. However, on the last jump toward the fleet, the crew gets about halfway through the jump (about three days in) and encounters an unexpected mass shadow. Failsafes engage, and the Prospect drops out of hyperspace venting drive exhaust to cool the overextended hyperspace motivator.

Kane calls out, "We're dropping out of hyperspace! Brace for impact!"

As the Prospect drops into realspace, Venn jumps onto the sensors and sees what, at first glance, appears to be an ISD right in the crew's flight path. As Venn and Kane quickly spin to start sublight evasive maneuvers, Venn notices that it's not giving chase, and sensors aren't detecting much in the way of power emissions.

Ever the paranoid, Venn calls out again across the ship's PA: "action stations!" The crew attempts to hail the vessel, but they receive no response. The ship appears to be adrift. Also, as the scans begin to resolve, Venn sees on the scopes that the overall SHAPE is right for an ISD, but the size and details are all wrong, as are the markings. The ship is wider and stubbier than a Victory or Imperial Star Destroyer, and there are odd sticky-outy bits on the sides of the main hull. Overall, it's bigger than a Victory but smaller than an Imperial. The signature Star Destroyer conning tower is also missing; instead, the ship appears to have a command section hanging from the ventral surface just aft of the forward point. This is not a ship design anyone recognizes.

With the threat, if any, still unclear, Venn begins a more detailes scan of the vessel. The detailed scans confirm no power to weapons or sublight engines and only minimal reserve power (or a slowly ticking down reactor core). The ship definitely appears to be adrift. As the Prospect noses slowly toward the rolling hulk, the sensors pick up what appear to be identification symbols on the ventral port side of the vessel, but the symbols' meanings are unknown.

Session Flow

Venn, to Kane:  "You ever seen anything like this before?"
Also confused as to why this ship pulled Prospect out of hyperspace.  Slim chance it could have, but really, Prospect should've missed this vessel.

Fly-around of ship - damage to command and forward starboard plasma torches.  Some hatches, but doesn't appear to have a standard clamp.

"Old Republic comms test case" opens bay doors.  Some debris, but not much (maybe enough hull plating to make a single freighter.

Atmosphere in hanger bay, but extremely thin and very cold (like 15,000' and below triple point).  Deck gravitics at .8g normally, but jumped above 60g, then to 0, then back to .8 ("mass event").  (Mass events probably happen ~hourly, but with large std. dev.)

During "mass event" (~55 min after dropping out of hyperspace):

  • Kane, plows ship through rack, damaging vertical and port s-foils
  • Venn, faceplant into sensor panel - rung bell and nosebleed (maybe broken)
  • Tam, OK, but back slightly wrenched
  • Rourke, broken lower leg
  • Orden, bruised but OK
  • Wen fell, hit head, out cold
  • Starfall fell, broken wrist and possibly ribs (broke one of conference table chairs)
  • Sidara OK, also wrenched back and sprained wrist

Probably half an hour or an hour until Rourke and Starfall patched up enough to check up on Wen enough to give a full report on his status.

Tam requests permission to leave to armor up while rest of team discusses issues.

Venn planning to try to tie in to ship's computers - taking Orden, Kane, Tam out into landing bay.  Sends Tam and Kane out into bay while Orden and Venn wait.  Another "mass event" within a few minutes of stepping out (while Venn and Orden still waiting; ~1:06 after previous mass event).  Kane and Tam report back that everything seems clear, but very cold, and atmosphere at the limits of breathable.

Kane begins by heading toward forward access door to see control panel.  Tam sees something off toward starboard; Kane can't see it.  Walk carefully over, then Venn shines spotlight over so they can see that it's a humanoid-shaped corpse covered in brownish/tan cloak.  Takes a minute for Kane to actually recognize it's a humanoid shape because it's fully covered.  Actually a dead Kel Dorian female, badly wounded but slightly dessicated.  Died of massive trauma - looks like cauterized lacerations.  No mask or glasses, but doesn't appear to be any sign of oxygen poisoning.  She was covered with an extra-large armored cloak, badly damaged.

Search rest of bay - Venn provides light while Kane and Tam look around for around 3:30.  Three mass events.  During first, Kane falls and jams left arm badly.  During third, Tam, trying to help Kane, ends up dazing himself against debris.  Head back to ship after search.  Get checked out, then set 50-minute countdowns so they can hunker down around every hour.  Move to computer and have Orden check for 20 min. Venn then asks if she needs a different terminal.  Essentially, "I can't answer that if I can't read the damn screen."

INSERT VENN/KANE ARGUMENT HERE

Inform Sidara they're trying to move toward command.  Head out.  Walking vaguely forward for a couple of hours.  Finally make it to a door that won't open (markings on it, but can't interpret what they say).  That "locked" door has an 11-button keypad; a nearby door has a three-button keypad.  The three buttons are black, blue, and greenish-yellow; the 11-button keypad has those, plus 8 buttons with symbols on them (spiral pattern, 0-7).  On assumption that symbols are numbers, begin scanning them in to try to build a language database.

  3 2
4 5 0 1
  6 7
  • Black opens the door.  Door looks like a bunk of some sort - hammocky metallic sling and something that looks like it's plumbed.
  • Hit the blue, kind of a pressure in your head for just a second when you hit the button.  (Intercom, but pitch is too high for humans to really hear; gives just a sensation of pressure).
  • Yellow-green just lights up very dim.  Hitting black after that does nothing.  Hitting yellow-green again causes light to start blinking; continues to blink.  As team pauses, blinks twice rapidly and then goes back to steady, dim glow.

Hit black button for 11-button door; door "pressure-whistles" at him twice.

Venn asks Orden to try to hack the door panel.  She hits a random combination, and through some ungodly coincidence, her second try works.  (As she's playing with the door panel:  "I just don't *beep* even know *beep* how I can possibly guess this *beep* without even knowing how many digits *beep, door opens* …oh… 6 digits."

Team realizes that Tam can hear the whistle but they can't because of high frequency.  Mods scanner.  Goes into room (which turns about to be feeder for turret complete with scattered shells, each of which is about 75 kg).

Spend a couple more hours backtracking to find lift to lower level.  Eventually, by process of randomly hitting doors as they walk past, find "tube" through ship w/ 3 vertical "ladders" through the ship, apparently the full height of the ship.  Tube is maybe 4, 5 meters in diameter with meter-and-a-half gaps between "ladders".

Venn starts climbing down the "ladder", trying to get down at least 1 level.  20 minutes until next 50-minute "window", but slowly climbing down.  Climbing down a level takes a little less than 5 minutes.

Orden gets bored, pushes button on next door.  Nothing happens for a second, so Orden kind of wanders back.  Hear pressure-ding, then door opens to empty room.  

Kane:  "Sir?"
Venn:  "Yes?"
Kane:  "Not sure how to tell you this… I think we found an elevator."

Venn gets directions to elevator (next door off to right) and calls elevator, confirming it is probably an elevator.  Everyone hunkers down again to wait out next mass pulse.  Meanwhile, look at labels and determine floor they're currently on (though not the NAME of the floor).  Some have "numerals", but all as part of longer labels.

Team marks elevator, then retraces map back to the ship.  Refill air, take hour rest, check up on Wen (in surgery).  Orden running various numbers as they wait.  Comes up to Venn in full-on "excited spaz" mode to explain all the data she's gathered about the mass pulses.  Slowly gaining in power; up about 10g over the course of the day.  Have maybe another day before the Gs are decidedly injurious or deadly despite precautions.  Also traced source, which is below and slightly aft of Prospect.

Team heads out again towards command; Kane rigs up "share-air" system before they go so that people can take a hit.  Head back to elevator and drop to floor 2 decks below where they want to be.

Lots of long, brown slug-like things in corridor forward of elevator.  Accompanied by sharp, bitter smell.  Floor fully lit (first one), but lights flickering.
Tentacle slugs with huge, toothy mouths covering like front half of bodies.
Team starts firing, killing 5 first round.  Probably about 100 coming, however.  Some start gnawing on or fighting to eat the ones that got dropped; others pursuing crew.

Team falls back into lift.  Tam misses being jumped by one; Kane gets jumped.  Tentacle-thing tries to climb him and starts grabbing for blaster rifle.  Thing grabs blaster rifle and starts gnawing on barrel, but can't quite get it away from Kane.  Tam and Venn pull Kane fully into lift and start grabbing for tentacle-monster to try to pull it off Kane.  Kane discharges rifle 4 times into mouth of monster, spattering it but blowing up the rifle in the process, lightly wounding Tam and Kane.  Tam ends up on floor with most of creature; Venn slams head into wall with sloppy critter bits on top of him.  Orden covered in gore except for where she was shielding her face with the scanner.  Venn flops critter bits at her feet.  Orden looks down, dead-faced, and says in a monotone, "Gross."  Then looks at goopy back of her scanner and just starts swearing.  Venn looks at Tam, holding rest of critter, and says, "Make a wish."  Kane polices what's left of his rifle and readies his backup.

Kane's suit is completely damaged on three of four limbs (both arms and one leg).  Team, except for Tam, can now practically taste acid smell of creature, which is just like a Mynock.  Kane mentally screaming "I FUCKING HATE MYNOCKS."

Spend about 4 hours picking way across this floor; find out that access is blocked every which way (atmospheric containment bulkheads are dropped).  Find elevator further forward, and try to go down a level, but elevator pulse-whines and won't go.  Try picking way forward on a couple other decks, but all sealed.  As they're doing this, stumble upon gunnery station for one of the port plasma torches and can see outside; realize that they're in hyperspace!

Keep trying for a bit, but can't find a path to the front third of the ship - everything is sealed.  Finally, after an hour or so, turn around to head back to Prospect.  Everyone except Tam is exhausted, and team is starving.  Kane's burned arm is throbbing, and Rourke won't let him leave until she can pick all the shrapnel out of him and stitch him up.  Tam almost feels guilty for his environmentally-sealed suit.

Everyone spends a few minutes getting cleaned up and rested.  Tam recharges his suit while Kane discards his.  Meanwhile, Kane pulls Venn to the side to show him the crude EMP Kane's been working on.  Venn decides against using it, and they plan to head toward what they think is engineering.  Come to big motherfucking door.

Upon opening door, see engineering.  Dead mynocks, drive generator (HUGE, 20m diameter, very heavily shielded).  Also see mummified corpses of original ship's crew.  Pear-bodied, top-mouthed creature with eyering and 6 4-jointed limbs.  Each limb has 4-fingered "gripper" hands; 4 lower limbs are bigger and less dextrous, but still probably capable of climbing and manipulating objects.  Top limbs much more dextrous.  Team quickly examines mummy, then moves quickly to trying to figure out engine.

Orden grabs translating pad and starts trying to work on engines.  Kane turns away to rob corpse; Orden, without looking, immediately grabs back of his shirt and pulls him back.  Pointing at a number on the console, she says, "What is this number?"

Kane:  "Well, that's a three, and that's a seven…"
Orden: "No, what's that MEAN…?"
Kane:  "3.7*8^21.  That's ~10^17.  But what's that indicate?  I dont' know."
Orden:  "Well, those stupid cylinders in that one room had 110-squiggle on them, and that's the same squiggle as this 3.7*8^21-squiggle."
Kane:  "Okay… well, umm, maybe it's mass?"
Orden:  "Well, that doesn't make any sense.  That thing can't weigh that many squiggles.  That's too many squiggles!"

Venn then jumps in, as a guy who grew up in a hyperdrive-rich culture.  "I think I know what this is.  Some ship designers on my world thought, theoretically, that you could use a contained quantum singularity as a power source that wouldn't need to be refueled.  But they were too concerned about a hull breach taking out a system….  Or it could be a piece of neutronium.  Orden, does that make sense?"

Orden:  "But that's still too many squiggles!  How would this thing move sublight?"

Kane:  "Maybe it's false, like they use a gravity well generator!  Or maybe they're using that power to mask the true mass of the thing with grav plating."

Orden:  "Oh, so that's what those are for!"

Gravitic plates coating walls, powered directly from reactor.  Power cables 4 stories up running to walls, but they're sparking and arcing.

Kane immediately starts panicking:  "We have to get these fixed NOW.  Everyone look around for repair equipment, (etc., etc.)"

Venn:  *spots what looks like a spares closet*  "Kane.  Kane!  How much time do we have?"

Orden:  "As little as two minutes, maybe as much as half an hour."
Venn:  "Evac now!  We'll fix this after the next pulse."
Orden:  "That won't work - unless we're really lucky, we can't get far enough in 2 minutes to get to a minimum safe distance."

Team begins ransacking spares closet for tools and parts.  Meanwhile, Orden's working the computer like mad.

Venn and Kane start working on different power conduits, trying to beat the clock.  Venn gets one side coupled, but Kane takes a shock as he hooks up the first cable.  On the other side, Kane slips the end of the frayed cable loose and quickly hooks up the fresh conduit.  Venn, on the other hand, gets badly shocked twice before hooking up the cable successfully, once hard enough to be thrown to the floor and black out for a minute.

Kane swings his lift over, feeling the seconds drain away as the lift slowly moves.  The next coupler connects home and Kane tick…tick…tick…ticks his lift over to the gravitics to couple the next cable.  Feeling confident he's got this down, he shoves the cable home; however, he's missed some trick, and he's shocked hard as he rams the cable into its connector.

Kane and Venn exhausted, pouring sweat despite freezing cold, hanging on lift trying to catch breath to fix last cable.  Pushing themselves, they force their lifts back over toward the last cable as Orden yells out at the top of her lungs, "Power spike!"

Venn and Kane slump to the floors of their lifts, expecting a 100-G pulse.  Pressure wave in head (high-pitched whine) for what feels like minutes but was probably 10 seconds.  Whump of air as gravity pulse hits.  Venn slams face into side of cage, breaking nose for real this time.  Kane's fingers on right hand caught it cage; as he gets tossed, he feels two snap.  Through the pain, Venn and Kane realize that that wasn't nearly as bad as previous pulses.

Looking up, gravitics that weren't reconnected have imploded (source of whump of air) and cable is completely gone, vaporized.  Containment has crinkles, and weird parallax effect from wrinkled containment wall.

Orden is working furiously at station.  Bleeding profusely from cut on her head and on her nose, but doesn't seem to notice.

Venn starts to try to apply gauze to Orden's head and says, "Orden, wha—"
Orden immediately interrupts:  "Working!" *smacking his hand away*
Venn:  "Look, either you hold it on, or I do!"
Orden:  "BUSY!"
Venn:  "We're going to die horribly when that containment gives out!"
Orden:  "URHH!"
Venn:  Looks down at console and sees this big spiderweb.

Kane:  "Tam, you got any painkillers?"
Tam tosses him one, and he mistakenly catches it with his broken hand.  *DAMMIT*, then takes them (1 dose Synthetic Adrenaline).
Kane starts gasping, but after catching his breath, starts to feel better.

Kane walks up behind Orden:  "25% of the grav plating is fried."
Orden:  "I know, and you're welcome! Now BZZT!"  *after a minute*  "NO!  NOT GREEN!  GREEN IS BAD!"

After about 30 more seconds of the team trying to get answer, she looks right at Venn.  "There, we have 6 hours.  Or four.  But 6.   Probably.  I think."

Venn:  "6 hours to what?"

Orden:  *completely matter of fact* "Oh, then the ship blows up."

Venn:  "So this is a singularity?"
Orden:  *distracted*  "No… no… the other one."
Venn:  "Neutronium?  Okay… so, can you get us a location or exterior view?"
Orden:  "No, but I can make the power go places!"

Kane:  "I'll look out a window!"  *takes off*
Tam follows.  Kane runs a short ways down the corridor, then just randomly decides to head to port.  Random path selection to "stateroom".  Tam starts recording starfield, watching Kane as he bounces around the room.

Kane sees dried blood, orange glowing tetrahedron under desk.  Spots softly glowing orange tetrahedron under desk like a foot from blood pool.  (Kane is muttering all of this out loud).  Kane then grabs it.

Tam, looking at blood, but says "We should get back to the team."

Blood is weird — only maybe a month or two old.  Maybe about the same age as that corpse… odd.  Could tentacle-beasts have made wound?  Tam:  "I don't think so…." but doesn't sound convinced.

Meanwhile, Venn and Orden:
Orden explains redistributed power to various systems (life support, lighting, etc, etc.).  Trying to counter "squiggle that looked like it was a history but it was all spiky but it should've been smooth, you see."  Can we channel power into other things?  "Oh, yeah, but I don't think we wanna be in hyperdrive."

Orden and Venn gather up equipment until Tam and Kane come back; then they help.

Kane gives orange tetrahedron (orange glowing tetrahedron) to Venn; Kane and Tam explain what they learned.

Kane:  "How much time do we have?"
Venn:  "Four hours."
Orden:  "Six, I think!"
Venn:  "Three and half."

Kane takes jewelry from alien corpse.

Grab bunch of equipment and go back to the ship.  Kane crashes when carts are loaded.  Everything hurts, exhausted.

Kane:  "I'm ready to go, just give me another dose."
Tam:  "Take a nap.  We'll get you when we're ready to go."
Kane:  "How long?"  *out*

Team spends hours loading up whatever parts they can scrounge, plan to fly to Third Fleet and fix it later.

Spares collected:

  • Power conduit (3 full spools)
  • Durasteel plating (300% of what's needed)
  • Actuators x12
  • Power couplings x144
  • Power coils x12

Also got:

  • orange glowing tetrahedron
  • full profile of Kel Dorian

Rourke immediately makes Kane go to medbay and stay there for overnight treatement.

Venn replaced cloak on dead Kel Dor and left her there for "viking funeral."  Venn then flies out of ship and starts plotting new Astrogation course.

Orden, after 4 hours 10 minutes:  "See, I told you probably six!"
After about another half hour, one of the shield projectors explodes.  Things rapidly go downhill from there, as the rest of the explode in sequence, then the entire ship just shatters.

Venn and Orden eventually kicked off bridge for snoring.  Tam and Sidara take over.

Entire crew essentially out of commission for the next day.  Venn remembers he had extremely weird and uncomfortable dreams, but the only thing he remembers is that he was dreaming about "Lowthar."  Can't remember what Lowthar is, though, just that you thought it was very important.

Venn wakes up, goes to bridge.  Tam still in pilot's seat.  Rourke in copilot's; as soon as Venn comes in, she just points back out the door.

Where are we?  We haven't moved.
How long have I been asleep?  Tam:  "About sixteen ho—" Rourke:  "MEDBAY"

Kane wakes in medbay in skivvies, healing.  Lying on floor under droid.  Wen still in medbed.  Venn comes in, gets stripped and prodded by Rourke and droid.  Forced to lie next to Kane and get treated as well.  Eventually, Kane and Venn allowed to leave medbay and return to duty stations.

Debriefing

Drop out of hyperspace in exactly same relative position, but now looking at a Victory-I-class Star Destroyer.  There's also a new, bulbousy ship in the Fleet.  Hail the fleet, and greeted in kind:  "Prospect, weren't expecting to see you here!"  Granted docking priviledges on VSD. Prospect repaired fully by Rebel Fleet in exchange for spares.

Kane hands over bangle to Venn - "I barely remember even taking this.  I guess this belongs to the Alliance Intel."

Rourke, Starfall, and Wen get Alliance medical treatment.  Spares handed over in exchange for repair work.

Brief Alliance intel on ship, Kel Dor, Mynocks.  None of that makes any sense to Intel, but they take it.  Also hand over Kessel information, but ask for equipment requisitions in exchange.  Would also like hyperspace droid back.  Intel says they'll "get back to you really soon."

Any intel on Lowthar, cross-point alpha, or ISD-221?

  • Lowthar:  Never heard of it.  We'll be looking into it.
  • Cross-Point Alpha:  Heard of it, but haven't been able to decode the Imperial maps.
  • ISD-221:  No current intel; last known position was, in fact, stationed at Kessel.  That's 6 months old, though.

Venn wants to hand over tetrahedron, but it just keeps slipping his mind.

Meanwhile, Kane, in armory:  "My issued rifle requires maintenance…."
 
After a couple days, debrief:

  • Venn:  6600 credits
  • Kane, Orden:  6000 credits
  • Tam:  5700 credits
  • Sidara:  4800 credits
  • Rourke:  3900 credits
  • Wen and Starfall: 3300 credits (also promoted to G-4)
  • Group equipment requisition:  20,000 credits

 
Orders?

  • Continue w/ cyborg
  • Find out about Lowthar if possible

 
Know anything about that ship?

  • No, but best we can tell, some components probably at least 20,000 years old.

 
Finally, to Venn only:

  • got coded message from Antaras - very rare, they try to keep cover
  • told us your mom taking turn for the worse - may only have a month left
  • Dad understands if you can't make it home
  • (sprinkle touching words as needed)

Side note:  Now, Mon Cal MC-80 Homestead is flagship of fleet.

Bonuses:
21 character points for PCs
18 character points for NPCs

End of Session:  On to Antaras

Heading to Antaras at best possible speed

Key Events

TODO

Funny Moments

TODO


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