Monday, September 27, 2021

Deepnight Revelation #7

Captain’s Log – T103

Fabrication of the necessary parts for the repair of the drive have begun. As the Mission Command team have decided against a complete shut-down of the ship, repairs will take a minimum of three weeks.

Syndic Feisler continues to refuse our request for shore leave on the Dwadaella homeworld, on the account that the permission was not the Haix’s to grant. While I agree with Mr Johnson that that also means permission is not theirs to deny, it would not be diplomatic to press the issue.

Syndic Feisler did offer an alternative: a forest moon orbiting the local gas giant called Wildwood, where the Haix maintain a logging camp and a furniture factory. I have asked Mr Stamper to lead a team to investigate the moon to see if it will be suitable.

Captain’s Log – T108

Mr Stamper’s team has returned to Tradeport, but sadly, with one crew fewer. Trooper Velok had died in the line of duty while on Wildwood. His death will no doubt cause a further deterioration in the morale of the crew.

According to Mr Stamper’s report, the team arrived at Entolere, the Haix base on Wildwood, to learn that contact with the logging camp has been lost three weeks prior. The loggers have been reporting sightings of unfamiliar creatures in the woods for several months by then, and then three months before the team’s arrival loggers started disappearing one by one. Most of the loggers then returned to Entolere, but some 20 remained by the time contact was lost.

A team of armed men were sent to investigate, traveling by the railway that led to the camp, but two miles away from the camp they found the tracks blocked by fallen trees, and when the men dismounted to clear the trees they were attacked by “moving trees”. The apprentice engineer was the only survivor of the attack.

The terrain being unsuitable for the landing of the scoutship, Mr Stamper secured the use of the train and the services of the apprentice engineer Stevin. The team traveled as far as the location of the fallen trees, where they discovered that the trees had been deliberately uprooted and used to block the tracks. It being impractical to remove the fallen trees, the team decided to carry on on foot, while Mr Stamper, unable to cross the rough terrain due to his old leg injury, returned to Entolere on the train.

The team arrived at the logging camp to find it in disarray. The hab-blocks had been torn into, and there were blood splatter and blaster marks which suggested that there was a skirmish, but there were no bodies found. A wide trail led from the campsite to the east, while drag marks on the trail suggested that the bodies of the loggers and any survivors had been taken away by the attackers.

The team followed the trail, and after a hour’s travel they lost communications link with Mr Stamper, likely on account of the thick forest canopy. Corpsman Wootue reported a sense of unease from the way the leaves of the plants “looked wrong”. Shortly afterwards the team was attacked by spines ejected from what appeared to be seed pods that grew on certain vines that grew on the trees. Several of the team members were wounded, and Trooper Velok lost his life during this attack, depsite Corpsman Wootue’s efforts to revive him. On Sergeant Ahab’s recommendation, his body was cremated using the

flamethrower the team carried, in accordance to Rakashan customs. Examination of the spines showed that they resembled those found on the bodies of the Haix which we found in the wrecked ship earlier.

Continue on the trail, the team arrived at a large clearing covered by ferns. In the middle of the clearing was a large mount, some 100 yards across and 30 yards high. At the top of the mound was a clump of vegetation, and at its base was what appeared to be a cave opening, and the trail led to that opening.

As the team started to cross the clearing towards the mound, humanoid forms rose from the ground and began to attack them by shooting spines at them from their appendages. At the same time, screams could be heard issuing from the cave opening.

The team fought their way towards the cave, but in the chaos of battle Stevin and Corpsman Wootue became separated from the rest of the team, and fell back into the woods – they would be recovered the next day at the railway.

The team were able to neutralise many of the creatures with blaster fire and flamethrower, but more kept rising from the vegetation. Sergeant Ahab led the team into the cave. Inside, they learned that the “cave” appeared to be organic in nature, with its interior separated into many corridors and chambers by wooden walls. Following the screams, the team came into a larger chamber, where there were confronted by another one of the creatures, this one larger than the rest. The team destroyed this larger creature by surrounding it and attacking it with the flamethrower and grenades. In the chambers beyond, they found some of the loggers from the camp – it seemed that when the team arrived, the creatures began killing the loggers they had held prisoners. Several of the loggers had been killed in the initial attack on their camp, while others had been taken by the creatures and killed in a gruesome fashion, in what the survivors described as “dissection”.

Unable to exit the cave via the opening due to the large number of creatures on the outside, the team began to explore the “cave”. In one end of the complex, they found Jump and manoeuvre Drives of an unknown origin, seemingly integrated into the material of the cave. The team surmised that the “cave” was in fact some form of a ship with both organic and mechanical components.

Exploring further, they came into a large domed chamber which they believed was the middle of the mound. Petty Officer Jet Black had the idea that the vines and creatures that attacked them and the loggers were some form of alien plant life, which were controlled by some form of plant “super-mind” which was represented by the clump of vines which was atop the mound. Based on this theory, the team blew out the top of the dome with grenades, which collapsed and caused the vines to fall to the ground below.

Examining the vines, they found a globular structure, pale-yellow in colour, which was integrated into the root system of the vines. The team severed the globe from the vines, and set the vines alight. The hole in the dome also allowed Mr Goldfone to re-establish communications with Mr Stamper, who was able to evacuated the team via winching. The team then destroyed the mound and the creatures surrounding it with an improvised air-fuel explosive.

The globe is currently being studied by the Science department, but it is clear that Wildwood is not a suitable venue for our shore leave. The globe and the alien plant life have a connection with the wrecked Haix ship which we found; hopefully our analysis of the globe will give us more information on whatever attacked the ship, which will give us some leverage in our further negotiations with the Haix.

Prepping and Running the Game

This scenario was runned pretty much 'as is', except that I moved Wildwood from a planet in another system to a moon in the local system.

The frequent lockdowns had disrupted our gaming schedule, and also dulled my GMing instincts. I tried to compensate by putting more prep time into this session, but I still missed out a couple of things I had planned to incorporate into the session to make it more interesting.

We are in another lockdown again, so there will be no RPG for four weeks. This will give me more time to work on wargaming, so look out for more posts in the future.

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