The Frozen Star amoung us

An artifact to think about

Session 1

The crew find themselves returning from retrieving an artifact from the dead planet Charuteh. The mysterious Tursk fixer, Mr. Johnson, has promised them several months’ pay should they bring it back intact and unmolested. The pickup went perfectly the artifact was exactly where Mr. Johnson had said it would be. On the return trip the Captain subtly encouraged Sandee to investigate the artifact despite Mr. Johnson’s wishes, it only seemed prudent.

The artifact consisted of two cubes with a cylinder between them. The cubes were in perfect alignment down to the molecular level and the connections were seamless indicating Nano-construction. The surfaces of both cubes and the cylinder are etched with some sort of language or symbols. Initial scans revealed that the artifact was made of some unknown alloy bonding hydrogen with something else. They also revealed that the artifact was completely inert, giving off no energy of its own.

Sandee feeling completely bored and not liking the mystery dedicated the trip from Charuteh to the meeting with Mr. Johnson to decoding the symbols. She was partially successful recovering the following word in order but unable to decipher the words in between; Star, energy, sink, death. The captain reviewed this and decided to deliver the device anyway.

Upon docking at the Tsion station in the Genahi system, the meeting point, G’lorm and Bob proceeded to prep the ship for departure in case they needed to get away in a hurry. The Captain picked Karath and Sandee to accompany her to the drop and sent Luke off on shore leave. Luke had other ideas and followed the three of them to the Cube terminal (think 8 person tram system) where the Captain decided to let him come along rather than dressing him down.

Arriving at what was probably one of the worst maintained hab-spires the crew had ever encountered they proceeded to their meet at the windows peak, a bar of some sort. Passing down hallways that had graffiti, broken light systems, and actual physical damage they chatted about the chances that this was a trap. Coming to the courtyard where the bar and a couple other stores resided they found an ion fountain in perfect repair with pristinely cleaned tiling. While curious and utterly out of place the crew mostly ignored the fountain preferring to complete their business and move on to shore leave.

The Captain urged Karath to investigate the bar before she and the artifact entered. Karath unable to tell one Tursk from another confirmed it wasn’t a trap but didn’t know whether or not Mr. Johnson was waiting. The Captain and Sandee joined Karath inside while Luke rested against the fountain waiting for trouble. Inside Mr. Johnson waved the crew to a booth in the back and after pleasantries were exchanged scanned the device, finding it not powered he began hemming and hawing about how he would not pay for damaged goods. The captain asked Karath to “explain” their refund policy and Mr. Johnson decided more testing was in order. Pulling out a Nano wafer he proceeded to apply it to the upper surface of one cube than another. Sandee, quickly deducing that he was attempting to power the device and that it would more likely activate from the far ends from the cylinder turned the artifact so it was resting solely on one cube and put the wafer on top. The artifact hummed for a second and then all of the etching lit up.

Mr. Johnson flinched back then recovering himself proceeded to transfer the credits to the captain’s account. A quick conversation led to another potential job offer, if the captain would be so kind as to return in two hours. The captain agreed and Mr. Johnson left through the back door. The crew picked up their container and moved to the front door to find Luke missing. An unsuccessful search ensued after discovering his specific com frequency was being blocked.

Meanwhile, Luke sat outside attentive but also bored. A few minutes passed and two Terran children came out of a side corridor and started cleaning the fountain, a very odd thing to come across as most Terrans outside of Terra are Military Artists. Both were wearing standard Nano-clothes, one had ratty hair while the other didn’t. They pointedly ignored Luke and he for the most part stayed focused on the bar. However, when they left he felt the need to follow them. A few turns and an escalator later they entered a little shop that mostly sold fruit. Luke entered and his com went dead. He exited and it came back on, but when he reentered it went off again. Puzzled but not to be deterred he casually browsed the store and then slipped out the back where the two children had gone.

Opening the door he found them waiting for him. The older hostile while the younger was open and even asked if he was their daddy because of his DITE. He managed to get them to tell him that they cleaned the fountain at the behest of a Tursk, before he could get more out of them, the oldest told him to leave them alone and they ran off.

Walking back through the store Luke bought some sort of melon from the Nah-Tem vendor and proceeded back to the fountain. Waiting a few minutes he decided that without coms he should probably check in. With a swishing noise the doors opened to the bar as he approached, unfortunately everyone inside appeared to be dead and there was a very unpleasant smell of cooked flesh. A quick check revealed that the captain and the other crew members were not here. Deeper inspection revealed that the dead had been exposed to high radiation. Additionally, there was a booth table where all color had been bleached from the wood extending several feet in all directions from the center. It’s at this point that Luke 3+ hours have passed according to the stations chronometer. Racing back to the ship, his com returns just as he arrives back at the Cube terminal that they started at.

During his absence the captain and company had searched several of the other corridors and come up empty they then went to a more upper-class drinking establishment and returned to the Widows Peak at the appointed time. Mr. Johnson waited for them at the booth and explained that an even better job had come up, but that to ensure secrecy he needed to talk to brief all of the members of the crew at the same time. He gave an address in a really high class hab-spire, asked them to come early the next day, and left out the back door.

The captain beginning to worry about her missing crew member and wanting to mull this over in her ship proceeded back with Sandee and Karath. After using the Cube to return to the ship they mulled over their search options with G’Lorm and Bob. Several minutes later, while they were still discussing their options, Luke streaked through the door Kei flaring. He explained the situation at the bar, what he had found out about the fountain, and that he had suffered some sort of time dilation in a way that only Luke could, rambly and distracted.

Karath noticed something move outside, but dismissed it. As the Luke’s tale unfolded, she noticed the shoulder pad of an armored suit shifting in one of the shadows, but Luke’s tale was too engrossing to let it distract her. Finally she noticed an object streaking for the airlock and dove out of the way. The other members of the crew stood in shock as the door exploded off its hinges and both projectiles and beams of energy came slicing into the room. As Luke dove out of the way, a solid slug passed through the captain flattening on the wall. Others were hit and sustained minor damage. G’Lorm, Sandee, and Luke all rushed out of the ship and proceeded into hand to hand combat with their assailants (five armored humanoids carrying rifles). Luke glowing green as his Kei flowed out of him zipped around the battlefield dramatically killing two of them. G’Lorm using a Tursk warclub broke both arms on another allowing Bob to skitter out and drag him back to the ship. Sandee waded into the fight trusting her invulnerability and claws to see her through, and boy did they, even as slugs flattened out on her hide, the energy rifles barely tickled her. At one point three of the assailants were firing upon her causing her to laugh at their stupidity. Then they wised up and fired a grenade right into her chest, finally doing some damage. The last one standing attempted to hit her with a second grenade, but missed damaging the hull.

As the air slowly leaked out of the docking area the crew retreated to the ship with the captain taking a grievous wound from a sniper with an energy weapon. Karath returned fire and narrowly missed hitting some crates directly in front of the sniper as he rolled away and missing again as the slimmest sliver of his back presented itself as he fled. Safely aboard the ship they attempted to interrogate their captive, he looked human and bleed red blood like humans, but seemed to be lacking that vital spark of intelligence, then his mouth started foaming, he convulsed and died. G’Lorm picked him up and threw him out the airlock. Luke rushed back out and finished off the last of the assailants who had been knocked unconscious but was beginning to stir.

The captain, now a small ball of energy, encouraged a debate about whether or not to follow through on the meet with Mr. Johnson. Bob pointed out that Mr. Johnson was not likely to be the person behind the attack as he could have just waited for them to come to the meeting and assured a kill. The debate raged on until the Authorities showed up. Thus ends session 1.

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