Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Deepnight Revelation #13

Captain's Log - T283

We have made rendezvous with Commander Khomen and his team. Our mission has been successful, but it came at a cost I am not sure we ever imagined would be exacted.

Mr Khan and crewman Ajax and a small team had traveled to the city on Terminus where, crewman Ajax, following the call from the K'ul, they entered the largest of the pyramids east of the city. Here, descending to the core of the pyramid, they came upon a large chamber whose floor was covered with Gren biomass.

The Gren entity then communicated with the team telepathically, through crewman Ajax. The entity gave an account of itself as a benevolent protector of the planet and its people. When confronted with the fact that members of its species had consumed several systems in this galaxy, and had invaded our own, the entity admitted that once it too was an unthinking, all-consuming being, but had over the millions of years of its existence had learned to control its hunger and create a harmonious ecosystem that benefited all lifeforms on its planet. When told about the infected specimen of the space creatures we encountered, it offered a solution: that it, or rather a part of it, be brought into proximity with a specimen, with the hope that it can then attempt to use its psychic powers to bring it under control. The team was naturally skeptical of its offer, although professor Tsoukalos was enthusiastic about the prospects.

The team returned to Deepnight where the Mission Command Team met to discuss our next move, while we sent Commander Khomen and a team to take a scoutship to the edge of the system and await our instructions, in case Deepnight did not survive our upcoming confrontation with the entity. But our deliberations were cut short by news of a brawl having broken out in the mess area. Professor Tsoukalos had told some of the crew about the entity's offer, and while some agreed with his point of view, the Rakashans among the crew were derisive of the idea, and a fight broke out.

While some members of the command team went to break up the fight, we were informed by Helm of an unauthorised shuttle launch. Dr Cho Sen Wan and Lieutenant Nidesh had taken one of the boats and were headed for the city. Mr Johnson, Dr Balilaika and Trooper Blick took another boat in pursuit. I ordered Helm to take Deepnight out of orbit but found that the ship appeared to be held in place by some gravitic force.

On the planet, Dr Balilaika and Trooper Blick pursued Dr Cho into the pyramid. Mr Johnson attempted to gain control of the boat, but was attacked by Lieutenant Nidesh and unfortunately had to defend himself by killing him.

Inside the pyramid, Dr Balilaika and Trooper Blick were able to stop Dr Cho from reaching the core by shooting him in the leg, but before they could exit the pyramid they were attacked by what appeared to be infected specimens of the local deer. Dr Balilaika was able to carry Dr Cho out while Trooper Blick held off the attack.

Once they were outside the pyramid, the team prepared to return to the ship. With only one pilot among them, they were unable to recover both boats and Mr Johnson made the decision to set the remaining one on self-destruct. As they were taking off the team noticed that the populace were approaching the pyramid en masse.

At the same time, sensors on Deepnight revealed that massive swathes of forests were turning sickly and herds of animals were rushing to these diseased areas, and the populace of all the villages were also heading for the forests.

Surmising that the entity was consuming the lifeforms to generate more psychic power, Mission Command team decided to launch a nuclear strike on the planet. A 1 kt device was detonated over the pyramid and then ten other sites where the feeding was seen to be taking place. Then a 10 Mt device was launched into the crater where the pyramid once stood.

The attack seemed to weaken the entity, as it allowed Deepnight to break orbit and also dodge an asteroid flung at us. The nuclear explosions were insufficient to create a nuclear winter that will ensure the entity's extinction, so we further drove an asteroid into collision with the planet.

During the time we were traveling to meet Commander Khomen we were able to learn that Dr Cho, Professor Tsoukalos, and many of the crew members were in fact under the influence of the entity when they acted in the uncharacteristic manner.

Mr Ajax tells us that he is no longer sensing the entity now, and our sensors likewise do not detect any psychic emanations from the planet. The surface of the planet is still too hot for us to make a landing and determine if any of the entity survived; even if it did, it will have nothing to feed upon and it will not be a threat again for perhaps millions of years. Mission Command is satisfied that our mission is completed, and I agree with the view.

Prepping and Running the Game

After more than six months, our campaign has come to an end. Well, there is still an epilogue session to be played, but the main mission has been completed.

Due to covid restrictions, Ajax's player attended this session via zoom, which was not optimal, but I am glad everyone was able to be in the session.

Again, most of the session was role-playing, with the first hour spent making contingency plans before the crew went to meet the entity, and the second hour spent talking to the entity and then discussing with the mission command team. It was a difficult role-play for me, as I had to make the players think that I am a benevolent entity with the best of intentions - I am not sure I managed to keep a poker face when I asked them to take part of the entity to their ship. 

Much of the discussion was between the players as they tried to figure out the true nature and intentions of the entity. While a couple of players started out thinking it could be a benevolent being that has learned to curb its instincts, eventually they all agreed that it could not be trusted, The discussion then turned to how to destroy it without killing the other inhabitants of the planet. For a long time they were unable to come up with a solution, so I set in motion the events that would simultaneously cause chaos onboard the ship and force their hand.

Over all I am happy with the way the campaign went and ended. It was a difficult decision to make, and I think in the lead-up to the final confrontation I have managed to have the players see and interact enough with the people of Terminus to give a face to the decision.

I think there is still enough leg in this setting for us to play another season/campaign, and the next session will be a sort of a teaser to what it may be about. Stay tuned.


Andrew said...

What an explosive conclusion! This has been a very engaging series.

SteveHolmes11 said...

Thrilling, part way through reading I thought you had a genuine mutiny on your hands.
I'm pleased to hear the mission was a success.

If I remember correctly, they started by traversing a wormhole with no guarantee of return home.
I would be fascinated to learn whether they made it home, and about any adventures encountered on the way back.

captain arjun said...

Thanks, gents.

This whole space opera series has been a delight to plan and run, which is why I am keeping the option for a Season 4 open.