Far Beyond the Reach of Earth

Souler Surfers
Barsoomian Intrigue Aboard Octavia

The Sentinels:
Dulce Lena Moreno
Frank Packard
Frederik Bo Severin Falk
Hong Wong
Iskra / Nataly

Days 39-43

The team, safely returned to Parvarti, investigates the exhuman head that they recovered on Reino Station. Lena determines that it seems like most of the alterations were surgical, and it is unlikely to be an x-risk. Lena tries to use her animal handling skills to interact with the consciousness in an infostate, but fails as it seems to be an human-level intelligience being. Frank jumps in, and they get some info- it seems that the exhumans were what remained of the station’s pre-Fall staff, having altered themselves to become apex predators, and requiring a diet of human flesh to survive. They apparently have been importing and hunting morphs from nearby areas as a food source, as well as helping to run Dorris Lockwood’s experiments. However, Fred also notices that this infomorph is trying to hack its way out of the simulspace they’re running it in, so they quickly shut it down, though not before it is able to get a message off. They turn the head over to Firewall, and Ben Johanssen asks Iskra to quietly investigate Fred’s possible async abilities and report back.

Frank receives a package, which contains a skillfully removed, largely intact, human skin, including the face from his last morph’s missing head. There is a note included that says “Can’t wait to get back together!”, and signed “F.” He also receives a video message with footage of a visibly joyful Fiala O’Donnell torturing and skinning the morph she has attached his head to, while 2 masked doctors keep him alive & conscious. She pops the stack at the end, killing him. Frank gets depressed, and goes on the bender after feeding the skin into a wet disassembler. The team vows to help him track her down, and Fred determines that the signal seems to have originated on Venus, though it was bounced around so many times that it is hard to tell where exactly.

Fred gets in touch with his old Barsoomian friend, Arevig Berkowicz, to find out what mission she has for him. She tells him that a Barsoomian rep, Radomir Fyodorov, arrived on Octavia about a week ago in order to negotiate with sympathetic elements within the Star Council to introduce official recognition of the more centrist factions of the Barsoomian movement as a legit political body. He is suppsed to be laying low and staying off of everyone’s radar insofar as possible while conducting the negotiations, as he is a high-level member of the movement, and is wanted by the Planetary Consortium, specifically Stellar Intelligence, for his activities on Mars. However, his local bodyguards have reported that he has been slipping away from them with some frequency, and partying wildly at a wide variety of popular local establishments. Arevig wants it looked into.

Fred agrees, and the team secures passage to Octavia. Iskra and Lena arrive first, and establish themselves as relevant new members of the social scene, Iskra with the help of an edgy outfit from the Parvarti-based fashion/design house Cosmosis, with whom she has secured a deal to rep their outfits in exchange for early access to new lines. The rest of the team arrives, and does some digging- it seems that Radomir has been going to different places every night, and meeting with different people- no obvious patterns. Some nights, his minders track him down and haul him out, and some nights he goes home with various numbers of individuals of various genders. Iskra secures an invite to the best club on the ‘stat, Souler System, along with a +1 for Lena to hold her bag and a private table, and gets an even more cutting-edge getup, with a matching (but less original) piece for Lena. They put out the word that they’ll be there.

Radomir arrives, lurd by their presence, and they move in. Iskra quickly notices that he seems to also be an async, skilled in social manipulation, but also falls under his spell. They trade brainscans back and forth, with him proving a bit more powerful- he gets some info out of Iskra, such as that she is a member of the Lost Generation, that she generally keeps secret. Sadly, the rest of the team also learns this via the TacNet, causing some distress. However, he seems not to understand his powers, and to have been recently infected: useful info! Outside, the rest of the team watches, and notcies another figure keeping an eye on the club, who seems to be a local low-level gangster. They also intercept Radomir’s bodyguards on approach, to let them know of their involvement and ask some questions, which they brush off, saying they can talk later when their client is secure. However, this gives Iskra time to sneak him out the back of the club while Lena distracts the other patrons with a new science-experiment/drink.

They head to a sex club, where he incapacitates her with some sort of brain tickling power, and proceeds to whip and burn her after they both partially undress and he handcuffs her, all the while giggling maniacally and bleeding from the nose and ears. Iskra passes out while trying to continue manipulating him. The rest of the team, having lost the TacNet feed when Iskra entered the mesh-disabled, soundproofed “safe” room, finally tell the guards where Radomir went, and they rush off. The team decides to confron the other observer on the way, and start a fight with him. However, having left all their weapons in a secure locker to avoid arrest, they are easily outmatched by the ganger, who unsheates some implant wolvers and snorts a combat drug. He flees after inflicting some damage, once he realizes that they are at least well-armored. Frank keeps up for a bit, with spime-based mapping assistance from Fred, but they lost him in the crowd.

They head to the sex club, and find Radomir spooning a topless, unconscous Iskra, who is visibly injured, while alternating between sobbing jags and high-pitched giggling. He is still bleeding from the face, most of which is being soaked up by Iskra’s hair. The minders grab him, and say they’ll talk once he’s secure. Fred hoists Iskra up and they depart. She regains consciousness a while later and is distraught to discover that some photos of her have turned up on the mesh with scathing comments such as “a little TOO bleeding edge.” However, it was the most meaningful human contact she had had, maybe ever, so she was riding pretty high. While leaving, Frank notcies another hoodlum watching this place, and confronts him, but his intimidation attempt is laughed off. Some research indicates that this guy and the other gangster both work for the local Nine Lives. The plot thickens…

Fred makes contact with Arevig, and requests an ego-ID brainscan on Radomir from before his egocast to Octavia, to compare with a current scan, after Lena suggests this as a possible way to detect time of infection. She agrees, and forwards it, and Fred sets up a meet at the safehouse. The minders tell him to only bring one other, and Iskra manipulates her way onto the team. She also tries to convince Fred to make an unconscious alpha fork of Radomir for Firewall (or possibly for herself), and being a thrillseeker, he eventually gives in. They find that the minders have patched up and sedated Radomir, and also that they have a private ego bridge in the safehouse. They do the scan, and Lena confirms that they are different enough to be significant, so it seems like he was infected during the ’cast, as the minders seem legit, and sleeved him here themsleves. Iskra distracts them while Fred makes the fork. They seem sketched out by the risk of infection.

Fred contacts Arevig, but someone else answers the message (with all the appropriate codes etc.), saying that this has moved above her paygrade. He tells Fred to destroy Radomir’s current ego and any copies, as well as the body, the ego bridge and the safehouse. He will revert to his backup on Mars, and hopefully they can undo any damage he has done to their cause. The minders receive the same message, and shoot him in the head. They say they will wipe the safehouse down, not wanting to deal with the body, so the team wipes the stack (but keeps the fork), and then disassembles the body, implants and stack in various machines. Although she wants to keep it for herself, Iskra eventually agrees with the team to forward the alpha fork to Firewall, for which Johanssen is pleased.

Fred receives another message from the Barsoomians, asking them to look further into what happened, how he was infected, etc, as they are worried for the security of their whole darkcasting setup. He agrees. However, they seem to not be the only ones investigating, as they are soon contacted by 2 others looking for info on Radomir’s location and well-being. Qamar Ra’d Ali seems to be a MC operative involved in the negotiations, who is contactin those last seen with Radomir. He is tenacious and suspicious, but seems to lack anything concrete. Zola Wirth proves more complicated.

After some investigation, she seems to be a Stellar Intelligence operative planted on Venus to subvert anti-PC agendas. She is apparently behind the hiring of Nine Lives to intercept Radomir’s darkcast, and infect him (with who knows what…), as well as a smear campaign that she launches once the team gets onto her, trying to raise public outrage against a Barsoomian/MC alliance using footage of Radomir’s activities to paint the Barsoomians as “irresponsible decadent tourists, wasting precious resources aboard a habitat, as surface dwellers could never really understand the Venusian life, etc”, pretending to be a “concerned citizien.” Iskra doesn’t help by paying a popular underground Barsoomian musician to basically record a custom dis-track, which she appears in the video for, delivering a well-sculpted verse, sadly accompanied by an awkward dance which comes off as mocking of the the Barsoomian underclass and their built-in obsolescent morphs. It becomes an instant mesh sensation, and loses Iskra some rep (though she gains some fame!).

The 2 local gangers they’d run into also seem to be Wirth’s hires- one disappears with her once she realizes the team is onto her, while the other mysteriously dies in police custody, after failing to give up much intel of use during the team’s bothed attempt at an interrogation. He reverts to an old backup, which knows nothing, but ends up doing some info-time for possession of illegal weaponry anyway. Fred reports all this to his Barsoomian higher-up, who seems satisfied- they know the rough outline, if not the exact details.

They get a call from Mr. Smith, on Parvarti, asking them to look into an issue for him while they are on Octavia. They agree, in exchange for his covering their eventual travel back as well as some other expenses. Wong makes his excuses, and says he needs to leave to take care of some stuff for an old friend, so he’ll be out of touch for a spell.

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All God's Creatures
Red of Tooth and Claw

The Sentinels:
Dulce Lena Moreno
Frank Packard
Frederik Bo Severin Falk
Hong Wong
Pran Jai Neelam Ajit Avninder
Iskra / Nataly

Days 30-38

The team resleeves after the near disaster aboard the Kepler. Wong and Lena, both feeling the stress of killing their friends, eventually fill Frank and Fred in on the details of their demise(s). Pran links up with them, but Iskra / Nataly is off on a bender. Frank has a message waiting from Maria Santiago, his lost love, which shows her pinned down under fire beneath unfamiliar stars. The message stops mid-sentence, before she completes whatever she was saying. Frank panics and tells everyone he has to figure this out. They agree to help, but are unable to do much other than determine that it’s not their solar system, and that the date/timestamp have been erased.

Luckily, Pran gets a call from Blackvein, who wants him to look into a suspicious murder and disappearance involving an uplift brothel called Tooth and Claw. Frank needs a distraction, and agrees to help, as do the others. Shortly thereafter, Frank receives a still photo of Fiala O’Donnell holding his last morph’s severed head, smiling tauntingly, with the message, “we’re having so much fun!” attached. He is disturbed.

They head to the brothel, and Fred accesses some local spime feeds to review who’s been coming and going, but doesn’t find anything obvious- the brothel has an entrance concealed in a maintenance tunnel, not visible from any cameras he finds. The entrance is only marked in a coded AR setting, which Blackvein has given Pran access to. He inputs the entrance passcode, and enters an airlock-like room with Frank and Lena, while Fred and Wong stand watch in the hall with the weapons. The inside team is forced to check their small arms, and see that the airlock seems to be easily flooded with gas (or other substances) as a security measure.

They enter, and track down the proprietor (or at least manager), a neo-pig named Ai Liao. She tells them that they’re welcome to take a look around the crime scene, as Blackvein vouched for them, but that she wants them out soon so her staff can clean up and get the room back in use. The place is guarded by a half dozen neo-hominids, and seems to be staffed entirely by uplift morphs and smart animals. Pran is disturbed by the conditions, as well as the presence of what seem to be some botched or partial uplifts, and a large and distressingly well-kitted out medbay. He presses on with the mission, putting aside his personal feelings for the time.

They invesitgate, and find 2 corpses, sleeved into sylph morphs, that have been brutally dismembered. They are both Somatek employees, and apparently repeat customers (at least thus far…). The missing third man is a biocon journalist, Sohrab Wallach, who snuck in with a high quality fake ID as another Somatek drone. His ruse was only discovered by Blackvein after this “incident.” They specifically requested a session with 2 new employees, a novacrab and an octomorph (which explains the nature of most of the wounds). The team can’t find any signs that anyone left the room, but do find a suspiciously recent weld leading down into a maintenance shaft below the room.

They cut in, and convince Liao to let Fred and Wong in with the weapons. They enter the shaft, sending the speck ahead, and make their way to a water reprocessing facility, where they find some odd little monkey-like creatures, who try to pull them into a running disassembler, which is making short work of the reamins of the missing biocon. It’s hooked up to a wet fabber which they seem to be using to try to make more of themselves, with little success. They slay most of the little fellows, although Lena manages to convince one to side with her, using treats and smart animal skills. Lena dives into the waste pool (with vacsuit on), to investigate some odd body shapes way down in the murk, but is quickly ko’d by the hiding octomorph. The team dives in to help, while Frank finds a lever to drain the pool. They defeat the octo, but it does some pretty serious damage, and Frank comes under attack from the crab up top before they get back to the surface. He is heavily injured, but they take out the crab. Neither have stacks, or any identifying possessions.

They take some genetic materials to analyze and try to glean info from, and decide they’d rather not leave through the brothel again, unsure what the exact situation is. They call Blackvein and fill him in, and Pran is unable to determine wether or not BV wants him not to fuck with the place (which Pran very much wants to). They call Mr. Smith, and tell him about some additional corpses they found in the recycling pool (apparently a popular dumping spot), and get him to agree to get them out of a different entrance to the maintenance shaft.

Blackvein gets them some lab time, and they analyze the genetic samples, finding them marked with a code as property of Somatek and Dorris Lockwood, who Lena knows was a peer of her parents’. However, Lockwood is recorded as having died during the Fall. They research it a bit, and find out that she was working on a station called Reino, in Venusian orbit, which reported TITAN activity, and then lost contact. However, no-one is recorded to have been up there to check it out yet, so it’s current status is unknown. They also find out that there have been reports of other abnormaly-behaving uplifts appearing suddenly in a variety of places, all bearing the same genetic code.

They decide to pay a visit to Reino station, and see what exactly is going on up there, and if Lockwood survived the Fall after all. BV is especially worried about rumors of violent, sociopathic “feral” uplifts getting out, and turning the general populace against them. Or, worse yet, of some radical Mercurials deciding to free or encourage any ferals or botches that may be up on Reino, which would give the various biocon factions too much ammo. They start stocking up on gear and calling in favors.

They hook back up with Iskra, who agrees to join them, and calls the job in to Firewall. Blackvein gets them a ride up to Reino as stowaways on a hauler, and they use their newly fabbed and assembled thruster packs to jet over to the station. Lena brings along her odd new little friend, who seems to be vacuum sealed. The station looks worn but intact from the outside, with no obvious weapons damage. They gain entry, and see that someone has entered the airlock more recently than someone has left, based on the air left inside.

They travel into the next room and find another pack of the odd monkey critters, working in a tangle of station parts, loose cabling, electronics, and machinery. They once again try to lead the team into a biodisassembler, and Lena almost gets fed in after failing to convince them not to. The rest of them open fire and quickly scatter the pack, along with Lena’s “buddy”, who seems less interested in her when her treats run out. Wong notices a pair of catlike eyes staring at him out of a pile of debris, and is startled when he is charged by a humanoid in a heavily modded morph with long sharpened bone spurs attached to its arms. His armor manages to save him from harm, and they take out the new threat. Iskra saves its head, which has some implants.

They find 3 doors in the room, with different faded images on them: a tree, a wave, and a desert dune. They choose the desert, pass through a floatway, and enter an airlock, dropping down onto a desert plain. They quickly lose sight of the airlock, as a hologram of the night sky drifts overhead, and the cylinder they’re in has spin, to give it around .5g. Pran flies up and re-locates it, just to know how to get out. He stays ariborn to scout ahead, and the rest of the group advances on foot.

They here a cry for help, and Frank, convinced that it is Maria, races ahead. He is quickly ambushed by some sort of camoflagued desert beast, who tackles and begins mauling him. The rest of the team closes in, but gets flanked by the rest of the beastpack. They take some damage, and are disturbed to notice that the things are using some sort of language to communicate. They kill them off, and figure out that they seem to be some sort of bizaare lion/hyena hybrid, with a lot of mods, but again no stacks or mesh insert.

They continue on, and Pran comes under attack from another clawed morph near a small oasis that he spots. He avoids injury, and the morph flees into the water as the rest of the group closes in. They find another airlock in the bottom of the pool, pass through another floatway, and come under assault from 2 more of the clawed morphs. Pran, Lena, and Frank are paralyzed by some sort of poison that they excrete, and Pran is killed as the poison shuts down his heart and brain. The others shake it off, but remain paralyzed. The rest of the team kills the morphs, and enters the final module.

They find what remains of Lockwood, now a pulsing cluster of intertwined brains suspended in fluid in a vat, connected via cables and manipulator arms to the massive amount of devies and machines in the room. She seems to be frantically busy, until Iskra shoots off her manipulators, and begins probing her brains. Lockwood does not seems thrilled about this process, but Iskra is heartily annoyed by her adoption of an obnoxious AI voice.

Lockwood expresses dismay that they killed the lyenas, saying that they had developed their own beautiful language and culture. They have apparently been engaging in a variety of “feral” & non-standard uplift processes, and releasing some of the variants into wider populations around the system to see how they fare in different social environs. It was apparently some of these that the team encountered on Parvarti. Frederik and Wong also gain some data suggesting that they have some other much larger research areas, in addition to the station, but a lot of the data has been wiped after being sent to a mesh address on Mars.

Lockwood eventually reveals to Iskra that she has triggered a self-destruct sequence, after making sure her alpha fork was sent successfully. The team cuts out of the nearest floatway using Pran’s scrapper gel, and jets away just as the station blows. Wong and Fred take some damage, but their suits hold up, and Iskra calls in a pickup from Ben Johanssen. She also outs Fred as an async once again, and Johanssen tells her to keeep an eye on him, while he looks into it.They return to Parvarti, and prepare to resleeve Pran.

Blackvein contacts Pran (in an infostate) to tell him the “good news”- Tooth and Claw has shut down (presumably to reopen elsewhere under another name, dodging scandal). Pran isn’t toatally satisfied. Fred gets a call about from some old Barsoomian contacts, asking him to look into their “secret” delegate on Octavia, who has seemingly been acting strangely lately. Fred tells them he’s on it, and prepares to convince the team to assist him as needed.

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Continuity
Farcasting to the Kepler

The Sentinels:
Dulce Lena Moreno
Frank Packard
Frederik Bo Severin Falk
Hong Wong

Days 15-29

Lena’s old friend Ram Kulkarni from the Kepler sends her a message- it takes about a few days to reach her, and seems to have been about a week old when sent (triggered by a “dead man’s switch” when Kulkarni didn’t enter a code at a certain time). The Kepler has been continuing its outer system comms monitoring, and picked up a weak signal from some debris spiralling out of the solar system, which seems to have been intercepted by a comethauler named the Istari. The Istari then dropped off their scheduled course, and has been exhibiting signs of engine distress. So, the 6 scientific staff from the Kepler backed up and headed out in a shuttle to lend aid. Being worried of pirates, Ram set up the dead man’s switch message.

Lena, fearing the message-emitting space debris after her recent TITAN encounters, nominates this as a Firewall op, which some of the team goes along with, although many of them think it is more likely accident (common on old outer system salvage haulers) or pirates. The message included an override code to farcast in, bypassing the station security provided by the AI Hans. They prepare to head out, calling in a large favor to farcast the Rim.

Awakening in their medbays (except for Lena, who is loaded into a synthmorph), their muse’s tell them it has been a week since they were supposed to have arrived, causing them some distress. Also, an unsteady voice (which Lena ID’s as Hans, the station’s AI) warns them that all wireless enabled devices should be assumed compromised and that they should not access the mesh, and that a crucial server needs to be reconnected to the Ops Center. The voice is emitting from a nearby Dr. Bot. Other than the ominous warning, the medbay looks standard, as does the research lab off the back end- it seems like everything was closed up about 2 weeks back, when the crew left. They begin searching the rest of the station, and find that one of the exterior airlocks has been welded open, causing a fairly rapid loss of interior atmosphere.

They defeat some servitor and mechbots trying to defend the airlock, and close the airlock into the maintenance bay, stopping the leak. Lena ventures back in to retrieve the vac and hardsuits they saw there, and they all suit up. They also find some small arms and a variety of useful tools. They continue checking the dark, eerily silent hab, and eventually find the ops center, where they manage to finally engage with Hans, who seems to have lost his mind, and is slipping in and out of lucidity. He says that he jettisoned the farcaster to prevent the infection spreading (he thinks he has been contaminated by an airborn sickness, hence venting the air). There seem to be a number of components missing in the adjacent computer bay, suggesting that he has removed other bits as well. Lena also spots an incoming craft on the station exterior cams after getting them running. They ID it as the Istari, and Wong says it is about 30 min out. They are hailed, and Frank answers. The message begins with a burst if static, and Frederik begins hallucinating, although he was also attempting to hack into Hans’ systems, so the team doesn’t know which was the issue.

The crew of the Kepler says that they are coming back to the station, and that they are worried about Hans’ instability, and will dock shortly. While the team tries to decide what to do, Wong also starts hallucinating after coming under attack while accessing a quantumn computer he found. Frederik recovers, with Wong soon following suit, just as the Istari docks, 10 min ahead of their expectations. They access exterior cameras again as Hans begins shouting and moaning about “intruders”, and see some distressing looking exsurgents crwaling along the exterior of the connecting airlock tube, seemingly able to survive the vacuum unassisted. They look like they were once human, and are clothed in shredded scraps of skin and vacsuit, while their bodies seem to have erupted with chitinous growths, bony protusions, and unnatural hair-covered spider-like limbs.

The team decides to assume they are hostile. They head back towards the maintenance bay to intercept anyone coming aboard from the Istari, and end up surrounded in the hall by 6 of the monsters. They manage to slay them all without any casualties, but some of the team takes some major injuries and Frank is starting to feel a little… off, first with delusions of power, followed by paranoia. He decides to head back to the greenhouse, following a hunch, while the rest head onto the Istari. Frank finds the missing server mentioned earlier by Hans, and drags it off to the Istari to meet up with the others.

Meanwhile, they begin exploring the other ship, and find that much of it is covered in bizaare, incredibly sharp, spiny protrusions, which Frederik promptly wounds himself on. Him and Lena both hop into hardsuits they find there, although Fred injures himself once more, as some of the bony spines have pierced the ankle seal of his suit. They explore the ship, and find a room filled with ore and salvage processing vats and equipment, many of which are filled with writhing masses of hair, and half-glimpsed scurrying limbs, moving seemingly independent of a body and sticking to cracks, corners and shadows. They find missile pod with 2 missiles, and another exsurgent, who they kill. They shut down a healing vat filled with more writhing hair, hoping to kill it, and reach the ops center, where they kill another exsurgent, and Lena comes under cyberattack, until she fries the computer core there, which is broadcasting more incapacitating inputs, sending Fred into seizure.

They also find and search the Kepler’s shuttle, killing another exsurgent, though the shuttle otherwise seems clean and usable. Frank seems to be getting stanger and stranger, so Lena has Wong force him into the medbay and runs a diagnostic, which quickly reveals that he is growing burn spurs under his skin, distressingly rapidly. They hold him down and kill him. They decide to check Fred, too (who is still seizing), and discover that he was also infected, and kill him as well. They communicate with the Istari’s simple AI, Lila, who seems normal and very helpful, once they shut down the computer system in the ops center. She agrees to turn up the oxygen % in the atmo mix, making an explosive environment, while they take the shuttle out to retrieve the Kepler’s discarded farcaster.

They retrieve it, with Wong skillfully piloting, while Lena finally figures out the in-joke password to bypass the encryption on the server Frank found. It contains mayn comms logs, Hans’ logs entries, and a lot of other data, but is also infected- Lena comes under another hacking attack. However she gets some useful info off of it- it seems that Hans was infected via a message sent back by the Kepler crew, shortly after they were scheduled to intercept the Istari. He recognized the infection, and began pruning pieces of himself off to try to contain it, with some success, although he lost his mind in the process (a decline already evident in his increasingly rambling and paranoid logs), before deciding to jettison the farcaster after the team’s surprise arrival, when he also chose to remove this server to prevent it’s destruction.

They head back to the Istari and Wong manually bypasses the “safe distance” trigger on the missile, and programs them to target the Kepler and then the Istari, and tells Lila to run the program as soon as they finish egocasting away. They jury-rig the farcaster to the shuttle’s comm systems and send all the intel they’ve gained to Firewall, and then hook it back up to the ego bridge system and farcast back to Parvarti. The whole team gains some i-rep, and Lena and Wong try to figure out what to tell Frank and Fred when they get resleeved. Ben Johanssen also informs them that this was an Exsurgent Virus Stain that they are calling Chrynalus, and thanks the team for their useful intel and self-sacrifice.

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Airborne Exegesis
Singularity Seekers and Neo-Synergists

The Sentinels:
Dulce Lena Moreno
Frank Packard
Frederik Bo Severin Falk
Hong Wong
Pran Jai Neelam Ajit Avninder
Iskra / Nataly

Days 2-14

The team meets up with Dwala Chatterjee after Packard gets shave and haircut to try to clean up his slovenly used morph. He is distressed to discover the circumstances of his death, and the news of his missing ego/stack. Pran is back in the field, having been healed enough to travel under his own power again. Chatterjee tells them that she was snooping on some local singularity seekers, using decryption algorithms recovered by Wong on Venus’ surface (which Wong doesn’t recall, having erased his memory). They were discussing the kidnapping of 4 members of Octavia’s Neo-Synergist colony, having used a ruse of wanting to start a new colony on Parvarti. Firewall is obviously concerned about these two groups collaborating, willing or not, and wants the team to investigate immediately.

They use rep and hacking to find the last known location of the Skepsi, a balloon craft that was used as the transport for the Neo-Synergists heading to Parvarti. Analyzing data from weatherwatcher drones and other sensory equipment, they determine that the balloon hasn’t been destroyed yet, although it is not emitting a signal, and is rapidly sinking out of the altitudinal “safe zone,” so they rush off, renting a small corp jetcraft. They find the balloon, which looks to have been sabotaged (though not well enough!). Pran flies over and boards, and manages to retrieve the black box, as well as what looks like a spent knockout dart. Frederik overcomes his depression to hack the black box, and discovers that the instruments aboard the Skepsi were apparently sabotaged before a collision was recorded, with a craft ID’ as the Exegesis.

Researching this craft, they discover that it was reported lost with all hands about a month ago. A group of 16 researchers with known connections to sigularity seekers and techno-creationists were assumed killed when the craft was lost. None had current backup insurance, and haven’t been resleeved. However, by calling in some rep favors, the team finds out that the ship has still been in contact with some of these groups, although it seems to be using falsified (or new) ID codes to hold up the deception. They track the new ID’s flightpath, and discover that it was on a reported path recently, only going of course and silent at about the time they reached the balloon. Wong and Pran plot and pilot the jet over, and Pran manages to spot the dark and silent blimp deep in the clouds and storms of the floor of the “safe zone.” Frederik scans it, and hacks into the blimp’s mesh, but is unable to accomplish much before getting locked and dropping back out.

They hover the jet over the blimp while Wong leaps onto the top of one of the 8 gas envelopes and starts cutting his way in, while Pran spreads scrapper’s gel over the other 7, in case they need to sink the craft (or threaten to). The rest of the team counts on the AI pilot to hold the jet steady while they leap over into the passenger portion of the blimp below, after Frederik hacks open the airlock. Packard and Frederik easily make the leap, but Lena is almost tipped off into the toxic clouds after the jet gets caught in an updraft. Luckily, Frank catches her and pulls her in. They come under fire from 2 neotenic morphs with laser pistols, but drop them both, leaving one conscious for Packard to interrogate. Sadly, they seem to either be or believe themselves to be part of a hivemind of some sort, and says that they “are all fingers of one hand.” They also say that they learned so much from the Neo-Synergists, and that if the team doesn’t join them, they will never leave this vessel alive. Packard is disturbed, and executes the neotenic. Lena exchanges fire with 2 more neotenics while Packard and Frederik search the comparments nearby.

They find 2 rooms with a number of (empty) restraints, all facing a central omnidirectional screen, which springs to life as they enter. Both manage to shake off whatever effect it was supposed to have, but are even more worried. Wong cuts his way into the 3rd compartment, and falls into a pile of rags, clothes, bedding, and writhing flesh- he shakes his way free as Pran also enters from above, and the rest of the team enters to light up the terrifying thing they see within: a fleshy, tube-like, child-sized trunk with far too many arms on one end, and a mass of tentacles on the other. They all suffer some mental stress, and light it up. They then head forward to the cockpit area, where they encounter another terrible creature: a mass of flesh and tech, melded together into a series of mechanical tendrils radiating off of a large central core. It seems to also be bonded with the control apparatus of the blimp itself. It also seems to be breathing heavily, emitting a loud panting sound. It is smelly and close in the room. It lashes out with tentacles, and drops Lena, but the team is able to kill it with sustained fire. Frederik hacks in and gets the GPS location that the craft was headed to, although there is supposedly nothing there.

The blimp begins to rapidly descend, giving out a massive sigh as it seemingly “dies” and vents its gas envelopes. Pran flies to the jet, and tells the AI to hold it steady by the airlock with everyone else jumps back. Wong fashions a tether out of the retraints to assist. Packard makes the jump, and him and Pran try to help catch the rest. Frederik tosses Lena over, successfully, as well as 2 neotenic heads (to interrogate the stack later), and then tries to jump himself, but totally misses it, and falls. Wong hurriedly jumps over, and Packard tries to restrain Pran (who wants to flee!) as Wong puts the craft in a steep dive to try to save Frederik. Sadly, he pilots poorly, and Frederik mistimes his grab at the passing craft and caroms off, down into the sulfuric atmo and crushing pressure below. His screaming shortly ceases as Pran takes control and ascends again.

They return to Parvarti, taking a negative hit to corp rep for damaging the jet and failing to file and stick to flight plans. They plan to resleeve Frederik, heal up, and then head out to check out the GPS. Everyone heals and gets some psychotherapy from their muses. Wong prints up a bunch of guns and ammo for everyone after they call in favors for blueprints, and Iskra convinces Frederik to resleeve into a more appealing exalt morph. They interrogate one of the singularity seekers, resleeved into a flat, and Iskra gets some useful info about their base: apparently a Secret Aerostat composed at least partially of a lost TITAN called Antiphus. The seekers also seem to have some psi ability, and Iskra admits her abilities to the team (although Frederik keeps his secret). They also rent 4 Venus-modded hardsuits and another corp jet, with external grapples to haul the suits. They head out, and Pran easily navigates and pilots to the GPS site.

Wong jumps out of the jet to take out a defense cannon aboard the Antiphus aerostat. Pran lands the jet after Wong succeeds (just barely avoiding getting blasted himself). They enter, and encounter another huge group of the tentacle/tube/arm monstrosities (called “whippers” be Firewall apparently). They defeat them all, taking some damage, and suffering some psychic distress. They check out the various cluster modules attached to the core, and find the remains of the Neo-Synergists, 3 of whom are being transformed into whippers, and 1 of whom was dissected, seemingly to understand and extract the experimental mesh inserts. They also find a lot of sketchy TITAN seeming tech and cobbled together equipment, as well as some more “infection” areas, with screens and restraints (Firewall has id’d these as “incapacitating inputs” or “Basilisk Hacks”). They avoid infection, though Lena is sent into a minute-long seizure.

Wong blows the attachment bolts on all of the modules except for the landing platform and the tether to the surface, and drops them to their destruction. They decide to cobble together some signal boosters and descend the tether- 3 people will reach the floor (although it’s a 1 passenger, 15 min ride), with 1 person halting their descent halfway to act as a comms relay, and Iskra and Pran staying up top (lacking hardsuits, and wanting to protect the ship). Wong and Frederik, being thrillseekers, decide to magnet themselves together, and descend at once, with Lena following, and Frank holding down the halfway point. They do so.

Frederik and Wong end up in a running firefight through a horrifyingly dark cavern system filled with evidence of excavation and TITAN tech, killing three of the huge mechatendril snakes (Firewall calls them “snappers”), composed of surface mining tech and vehicles. The fourth one drops both of them however, and starts chewing through their hardsuits, but luckily Lena arrives just in time to drop it, saving them. She calls Frank down to help load them onto the tether to get loaded into the jet. They send Wong and Frederik up, and decide to explore the rest of the tunnel system. They find what seems to be a hardened system, and ID it as a component of Antiphus based on serial numbers. It is currently running off of some poorly contained power sources, and Lena decides to blast those in an attempt to destroy it, which suceeds but also ko’s Frank and injures her severly. She hauls Frank to the tether, sends him up, and then rigs up the comms to act as missile guidance.

They call in a favor to bomb the site, do so, and drop the last 2 modules off, as Pran rigs up a demo charge to blow one of the stabilizing jets on the core module, venting the air inside, and sending it gradually down. They return to Parvarti, with Wong clamped to the outside in his hardsuit (having jumped over after blowing the bolts on the landing module). Mission accomplished! They report it all to Firewall, and turn over the 1 stack they recovered from the dissected neo-synergist. They also call the Neo-Syn colony to tell them that their missing friends were killed, but offer no details, and don’t really make any progress there. They also heal up and get some more psychotherapy.

Lena receives a call from an old friend, Ram Kulkarni and starts looking into it.

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Bump In The Night
Aboard Parvarti, Seeking Answers

The Sentinels:
Dulce Lena Moreno
Frank Packard
Frederik Bo Severin Falk
Hong Wong
Iskra / Nataly
Pran Jai Neelam Ajit Avninder

Days 1-2

The team meets up aboard Parvarti, picks up Iskra at the resleeving facility (called A New You), waits for her to design and assemble a suitably fashionable smart-vac outfit, and links up with Lena, who has been healing smart animals. This impresses Frederik and Pran, uplifts themselves. Iskra recognizes Lena from her childhood memetic presence, which thrills Lena, and Iskra compulsively tries to bond with everyone. They do some research on their missing contact, and also find out that the aerostat seems to be on lockdown, with no transports leaving and no (legal) outgoing comms traffic allowed. There are rumors of people suddenly developing bumps on their head, losing consciousness in some cases, and then disappearing- all within 3 days of a resleeve. The team gets a bit worried and Pran tracks down some criminal means of escaping the hab or sending out an emergency message.

Due to their research, they are contacted by a Mr. Smith, head of Taurus Security, the official security on Parvarti, and summoned to his office. He tells them that he needs his officers keeping a riot from happening, and would appreciate it if the team investigates what’s going on. In exchange, he’ll give them security access to the station and share his info. They agree, not asking for anything in return. He tells them that Dwala Chatterjee, their contact, is amongst those missing, and that Taurus has quarantined the station, along with a half dozen people showing signs of infection, until they can figure out what’s up. He also provides a list of the missing- they don’t seem to have any commonalities except that they resleeved around 72 before they disappeared, in a variety of different body banks around town, including A New You. Everyone backs away from Iskra except Lena, who misidentifies the signifiers that she might be “infected.”

They head to the quarantine medbay and check out the patients, discovering that it was not fisticuffs as Lena thought, but a sloppy low-grade nano injection that caused the swelling. It is easily curable and non-contagious, which pleases Mr. Smith. However, the nano was used to contruct a hidden second set of mesh inserts which is broadcasting XP to a secure server. Frederik and Wong hack in and blow past the AI. They download all the XP data from the last day, and see that the server is pulsing out info via a farcaster link to an untraceable destination. They decide to go check out ANY. Iskra guilts the sleevetech into revealing that ANY, along with many other body banks, uses a morph broker called Dai Khan Industries.

The team does some research and calls in some favors to find the names of DKI’s 3 employees, Hellen Alvarez, Dario Silvestri, and Landon Markus. They split into 3 teams after deciding to question the employees before breaking in. Pran and Lena catch up to Landon, who seems friendly and willing to help, but has a wrestling match which his opponent has bailed on and demands one of the team step in, in exchange for info. Frederik races down there and tries to compete, but gets too depressed, and Pran has to tag in to finish the bout. Landon wins, but Pran makes a good showing for the uplifts, despite much jeering and flung items. Landon tells them where to find the other two, and gives them some personal info, as well as saying he could be bribed to deactivate security and let them into DKI, as he’s only partime and doesn’t really care.

Frank and Wong reach Alvarez’ apartment and hack through the door to find her waiting with a gun. They talk her down, and find out that she is essentialy indentured to Nine Lives, running ego copies and illicit sleeves for paedophile, snuff, and bestiality rings on Parvarti. They have something on her and she says she can’t stop. Though horrifying, she doesn’t know about the implants and suggests they try Silvestri, due to his gambling debts. Frank can’t let her go, knowing what she does, and executes her, loudly. He and Wong cut off her head to give the stack to Mr. Smith, but decide they should also call in shots fired, and he tells them he’ll send a cleanup crew and not to worry.

Meanwhile, abandoned by Frederik, Iskra proceeds along to Salo 120, the casino where Silvestri resides when not at work. She panics on the way there and has a multiple personality break, believing herslef followed. Her muse talks her back down, and she gets back into it. She enters the casino and spots Silvestri, but he also sees her and flees to a back room. Some guards emerge as Iskra approaches and refuse to let her through. Lena, Frederik, and Pran arrive, and they call in a gunaxi favor to id this place as a Night Cartel op and call off the guards. They all enter the room and interrogate the cowering wretch, who gives up his fixer, a connected neo-avian named Blackvein, who roosts atop the Rajni Towers. He says that he was skimming extra cred on the job by using low-grade nanogel, hence the swellings. They leave, taking Silvestri with them, as he says he’ll likely be killed now.

Sadly, they didn’t leave a lookout, and they find the casino abandoned and come under fire from 4 augmented slitheroids. They quickly drop Iskra and Frederik, while Lena and Pran manage to drop 1 in return. Frank and Wong, hearing of the trouble, race down to the casino, with Wong making a desparate freefall jump down the outside of the aerostat to get there quickly. Frank tries to do the same down an elevator shaft, but lands poorly and hurts himself. One of the slitheroids begins removing heads from the unconscious, presumably to later extract stacks. Luckily, they start with Silvestri. Wong races in as the slitheroids drop Lena and wound Pran. He drops one, and is then dropped himself. Frank reaches the scene as Pran wakes Frederik back up. Frank drops another slitheroid, and is then dropped. Wong shakes awake, and drops the final slitheroid right after it drops Frederik again and kills Pran. They loot the bodies and call in Taurus Security, who cordone off the area and race Pran to a healing vat, after Lena tries to stabilize him as best as possible- with only a few minutes of brain death in total, it looks like he might be savable.

The rest of the team heals up for an hour and applies nano-bandages, before preparing to head to Rajni Towers to meet up with Blackvein. Mr. Smith says that both Alvarez and Silvestri are in for some longterm infodetention, if not erasure, for their crimes. This will be determined by simulspace questioning and analysis, but he thanks the team for shutting down both of their ops, for the time being at least.

The team calls in a g-rep favor to schedule a meeting with Blackvein. They arrive, and ascend an elevator up to the very top of inward-curving housing towers off of one of Parvarti’s largest plazas. BV’s roost overlooks the plaza through a transparent wall and partial floor, and he flits from perch to perch, swooping near to their heads, possibly trying to disquiet them. He has a number of antique old-Earth birdcages hanging about. Pran feels that he has an initial negotiation advantage, as he is also an uplift but is currently teleoperating a case, while his body heals in the a medvat. However, he quickly blows his cover with an ill-timed squawk, and BV catches on to his gambit. They attempt to persuade, cajole, and threaten, but it seems BV is a shrew negotiator, and wants to increases his local influence. They make a deal with an unhappy Mr. Smith to do so.

BV tells them that he hired Silvestri for the local Night Cartel boss Fiala O’Donnell, whose plan it was. BV directs the team to a local NC front called Corvalis Synthetics, where the kidnapped morphs likely are being kept. The egos are probably all sold off or destroyed already, but if they get there quickly, perhaps they can save some? The team heads out, but Pran shortly receives a call from O’Donnell, who arranges a meeting on an exterior platform with a promise of bribes. Pran heads that way, while the rest of the team heads to Corvalis, fearing a trap. They enter the business, only to find some guards telling them it’s closed. Packard bluffs his way past, dropping some names, and quickly ends up in a swordfight with O’Donnell, who was feeding morph pieces into an industrial dissasembler in a back room with 2 more slitheroid bodyguards. Packard is quickly ko’d, while the rest of the team gun battles their way through the front office into the back. Pran rejoins them, as the other meeting seems unlikely to happen now.

Frederik is ko’d in the front, the team drops the 3 facility guards and heads into the back. Pran and Lena are ko’d while taking out one of the slitheroids, as O’Donnell flees out an airlock in back. Wong drops the remaining slitheroid and desperately fires on her shuttlecraft as it ascends, but is unable to bring it down. He calls it in to Taurus Security, who arrive on the scene shortly, having also been alerted by Pran. They secure the area and clean up, but O’Donnell has escaped. Also- Packard’s head is missing, which is distressing. It was likely either disassembled or taken, meaning that a sadistic crime boss might possess a copy of his ego. They make a deal to resleeve Packard into Silvestri’s old splicer (with the head reattached), as well as get some pay. They don’t retrieve any egos, but do recover most of the morphs, including Chatterjee’s.

They also get a call from Blackvein, telling them that they don’t have to worry about official Night Cartel repurcussions, as O’Donnell seems to have been acting on her own on this one, and was already seen as perhaps a bit too unstable for upper management. However, she’s in the wind, so they should watch their backs. BV and Mr. Smith both also express their gratitude to the team for helping solve the whole thing just in time, as the inspection teams arrive shortly thereafter.

Packard resleeves, as does Chatterjee, who calls to set up a meeting: they can finally find out what info she wants to pass on to Firewall.

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Parvarti, Aerostat of Intrigue
Venus (in furs and just about anything else the mind desires)

The Sentinels:
Dulce Lena Moreno
Frank Packard
Frederik Bo Severin Falk
Hong Wong
Iskra / Nataly
Pran Jai Neelam Ajit Avninder

The sentinels, scattered around Venus, all receive Firewall activation codes, most of them for the first time. Those not already aboard proceed via jet, blimp, and/or balloon to the Aerostat Parvarti, one of only 2 remaining independent aeros, with the other 18 belonging to the Morningstar Constellation, minus 2 Planetary Consortium holdouts. Firewall intel has picked up a rumor of a surfacing x-risk, and a local source is going to meet with them on arrival to give them more details.

Frederik and Pran have just arrived from Mars, landing at the aerostat Octavia, having spent the interplanetary journey getting to know one another. They barely have time to deplane from their SLOTV before receiving their activation codes and racing to make their connecting jet flight to Parvarti. They are told they are to meet up with 3-4 other sentinels on arrival.

2 of those sentinels are already aboard Parvarti: Hong and Lena have both settled there after some time on Lucifer, and occasionally nod at each other in passing, sharing that common bond. They receive activation codes, and are both surprised to find out that they share the bond of Firewall as well. They are told to make contact with Dwala Chatterjee, a local contact who apparently has some disturbing intel. Unable to reach her, they alert their Proxie, Ben Johanssen, who tells them that backup is on the way. They receive instructions to acquire needed gear for the rest of the arriving team (lists and payments are forwarded along with the message).

Johanssen also tells them that he is getting a 5th sentinel (Iskra) resleeved to assist, and tells them she will need to be picked up at the facility and brought up to speed, as she has been in cold storage for some time. A 6th sentinel, Packard, is already investigating on-site. He wishes them luck, and reminds them that the survival of transhumanity may depend on their cooperation and success.

SENTINELS ASSEMBLE!

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Home Again, Home Again
...After A Brief Detour

Anna Cornucopia, Micha “Corvus” Ashland, and Silver finish searching the facility. They discover a jury-rigged gate control unit, as well as some useful intel. They head back to the gate, accompanied by the reaper morph.

Upon reaching the gate, they surprise a Gatekeeper Corp tech, Chang, who tells them that he was sent through to take some readings on their end after he noticed an anomaly during their last contact. He is manipulating a GCU, but none of them know who they work so they are unable to tell what he is programming. However, they decide not to trust him based on body language.

Soon, he tells them the gate is up again, and that they can head back early. Corvus accepts, and takes the reaper morph, to keep an eye on Chang. Anna and Silver decide to wait for their scheduled pickup. The gate opens at the planned time, and they step through. Upon emerging, Anna bumps into Iskra, who has been missing since they entered the Pandora gate. Silver is nowhere to be seen, and they are on an unfamiliar world.

Iskra has no since of time having passed, and their muses report an apparent time anomaly. The gate that they emerged through sits out on the end of a thin spit of rock projected over a deep chasm. They head down the spit to the chasm edge, and try to get their bearings. They don’t recognize the local star patterns, and can’t pick up any signals. Seeing a group of people approaching from what looks to be a village nearby, they ready themselves for trouble.

However, the villagers seem merely curious, and even somewhat underenthused. Anna determines that they have all been implanted with emotional dampeners, and the two of them piece together that this is some sort of holding facility for kidnapped/forknapped individuals. They apparently were all kept it some sort of sped-up simulspace in this same setting, and then loaded into cheap morphs and deposited here. Anna and Iskra figure out how to cycle addresses on their GCU, and manage to open a gate back to Pandora after a bit of trying.

Pandora goes through the usual rigorous ‘first contact’ protocols, but they get everyone through fairly quickly. A Firewall Proxy is waiting to debrief them on the other side. Apparently, Chang somehow knocked Corvus out (he is still comatose) and fled the facility, knowing that he was discovered. It seems likely he was working with the exhumans on the planet they went to first. The Proxy tells them that they tracked his egocast to Phelan’s End, and that the team will be following him, and detaining him for questioning.

They call in some favors from the autonomists to get quality morphs on the other side, and ‘cast over. Using local camera feeds, they track Chang to the shuttle port, and Silver chases him down before he can leave. They haul him to a friendly lodging, and Iskra deepscans him while Silver hacks his muse. They discover that he was a deep cover exhuman plant at the Pandora facility. He was going to meet Anna’s other self, who has apparently converted to the exhuman philosophy, and is bringing a tailored x-virus of some sort to Mars, where she will use her university contacts to spread it widely.

They call this in to Firewall, and are told to stop her by any means necesary. They also discover that the exhumans were funding their operation (to repair the TITAN artifact and ‘improve’ themselves) by providing security for and access to the secondary planet, where the kidnapped people were. This was a 9Lives storage site for high value individuals who they didn’t want to store as infomorps for various reasons. The primary planet is also accesible from the Discord gate (the exhumans are a splinter faction of the Ultimates who control that facility), which seems to have been their primary access point. Chang was planted on Pandora to prevent the discovery of the fact that the that gate could also connect there.

The team ‘casts Chang back to Pandora for furhter interrogation. They then forge and cajole their way aboard a small spaceship and head out after ’Evil Anna.’ Silver and Anna’s combined skills find them a good route, and they catch the larger bulk freighter after 3 days travel. They decide to fake a distress call and try to get picked up, rather than storming the vessel, as there are probably anywhere between 50-100 people aboard. They will need to ID ‘Evil Anna’ and any companions, and take them out without unleashing the x-virus. They have 8 days before the ship reaches its next port, which gives them some time at least.

They rendevouz with Evil Anna and Silver and Anna are killed when EA sets off a cortex bomb of some sort when cornered. Iskra survives, and transfers to the bulk freighter to rendevouz with the scum barge Ecstatic Metamorphosis, to track who Anna was going to meet. She meets up with 4 other Firewall sentinels aboard the barge and they successfully track down the virus dealer aboard, and many of them are killed when her ship is destroyed after the virus is unleashed during a firefight with mysterious pursuers. They then egocast to Mars to find the dealer’s supplier, Night Cartel scavengers in the TITAN Quarantine Zone. They take out the scavengers, and close in on the cache, but once again are beset by mysterious pursuers, and accidentally detonate an anti-matter bomb in the cache when they try to destroy it with an explosive charge. Iskra then egocasts off to Venus where her patron, Ben Johanssen has transferred.

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A Whole New World?
X-threats and Insects

The team emerges from the linked gate to find Iskra / Nataly mysteriously vanished from their midst. Finding no apparent time lag, and lacking other explanations, they launch their scout missile and search the nearby area while waiting for results. They find a set of footprints which lead to a picked-over cache of gear, possibly from their previous selves trip to this location? The tracks seem to be sunk into the ground, indicating either extreme weight, or a muddier past for the currently arid and parched area. Anna Cornucopia also finds and grabs samples of a burrowing insect that she doesn’t recognize. The team sees a blue sun during a break in the dust storm, and also a comet that appears to be heading their direction, although it is hard to tell given their limited observing apparatus and the interference from the storm.

The missile sends back a data packet, and alerts them to an energy signature about 20k to the east. Realizing that they can’t get there and back before the first check-in, they send out two recon hoppers and wait. The check-in is pretty lowkey, Anna passes her specimens through and refills her air, and it sounds like Iskra did not reemerge from the other side, so they decide to proceed without her and arrange another checkin in 18 hours. Not having heard from the hoppers (they lost comms at a few K, it seems there is some interference possibly caused by the storm), they head east, towards the signature.

About halfway there, they come under fire from three figures hiding in the scrub. Between Micha “Corvus” Ashland‘s laser pulsar, Silver’s rocket launcher, and the reaper drone’s four assault rifles, they make short work of the 3, leaving one alive to question. Corvus rips off the dead men’s masks and is horrified to realize that he just killed his former morph. He panics and screams. Anna and Silver question the last man, who is using the morph of the original Firewall sentinel who set off the whole investigation. Howeever, it seems to be a different ego, espousing exhuman ideology, wearing the morph, so Corvus kills him before they gain much useful intel, although Anna discovers that her previous morph/self is off on an unspecified ‘mission’.

They head out again, and make their way to the signature without further problems. They come across a clearing, with a low concrete bunker in the center, surrounded by a ring of solar arrays. They see a junk pile off to one side, and decide to use it as cover for their approach. Disturbingly, the pile seems to be composed of sheet metal, struts and ablative coating, etc of the type that might be used on a military satellite. Having just recovered from their run-in with Myrmidon, they decide to approach cautiosuly. Corvus spots two figures in watchtowers, who the team quickly kills after Anna stumbles and gives away their presence.

They race for the bunker door, and Corvus hacks it open. They exchange fire with two more exhumans inside, and the reaper takes heavy damage. They clear the first room, a dining area/lounge, and move into the second, counting 12 bunks and small lockers. They enter the third room, a medical facility with an ego bridge and a serious surgery bot (explaining the exhumans heavy morph modification, perhaps), and continue to the fourth room, which contains a large fabber and some storage crates. Corvus hacks the security door at the far end of the room, and they enter a computer room, most of which is taken up by the core of the satellite they found bits of outside. Two more exhumans are frantically manipulating various devices, and one flips a large switch as they enter. Corvus downs her with his agonizer, and the other exhuman executes her and then kills himself.

The team searches around to figure out what they were doing, and it looks like they had sent a large data packet using a one-time emergency farcaster. They also verify that there are only 11 corpses, whereas there are 12 beds & lockers. Anna’s morph is missing, so they decide to investigate further. The team also recovers a data core containing 12 informorph personalities, which they decide to wait to dive into. They decide not to fuck with the satellite core, and to instead report it to Firewall once they return to the gate.

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Onwards and Outwards
The Gatecrash

The Pariah returns to Titan, sans Zanzibar Tranh and his unfortunate monkey Franklin. The remaining team joins back up with Iskra, recently returned from her pleasure cruise. Micha “Corvus” Ashland talks to Patrona Vazquez, filling her in on the demise of the greater part of the White Khans, and the escape (via emergency farcast) of Dexter Vo. She thanks them for the help, and seems alarmed when Corvus also warns her of the possible x-virus threat. Firewall reduces his rep for this. The team also informs Xiu’s Greenhouse that their dead have been avenged, and receive a message of thanks from Magnus Ming.

The ship docks and the team shops for appropriate gatecrash gear: survival kits, air supply, mapping and scout missiles, etc. Corvus gets in an alleyway brawl with some local 14k Triad who aren’t happy to see a Shui Fong on their turf. They also seem to hold a personal grudge, though Corvus, not having the memories of the previous self that was here, does not know why. Silver helps plot a parkour friendly escape route, and intercepts the triad while Orly fires up the ship for a quick takeoff. Anna Cornucopia waits aboard, providing cover on the door.

The team arrives safely, and they lift off, leaving an angry group of triad in their wake. They head for Pandora, and land at the local station. The gatekeepers make Corvus deactivate the reaper drone before allowing them aboard. They shuttle to the gate facility and chat with other crasher teams while awaiting their turn. Eventually they get called into the disinfectant chamber, get scrubbed with their gear, and head into the clean room. They watch as the linkup is made, and the usual first time procedures are followed. The opposite side appears to be in a wintry season, with low scrubby plant life clinging to rock. There is a small clearing centered on the gate. A storm obscures the stars and prevents astro-location. Sensing no immediate threat to their safety via the drones, the gatekeepers send the team through, telling them to rendevouz at the gate for check-in in three hours.

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Biding Time
Now we just need to find the Wangbot

(This post is primarily composed of the events in the ‘Glory’ module, so beware spoilers!)

While waiting for the grant proposal to go through, Anna Cornucopia, Zanzibar Tranh, & Micha “Corvus” Ashland are contacted by a Firewall router named Magnus Ming, who is the chair of computational archeology at TAU. They meet him and accept the mission he offers: a Firewall sentinel specializing in x-risks, Tara Yu, has been missing for over a month, and Ming is worried something has gone wrong.

They set out aboard the Pariah to investigate a number of habitats in the Jovian Trojans, after discovering intel that Yu was last seen in that area. They make contact with a horticulturist, Morteza Bey, whose small hab, Xiu’s Greenhouse, was recently sacked by unknown assailants. They slaughtered the inhabitants, and made off with Bey’s head. The attackers were using some bizaare morphs, with unsettlingly scaly skin & claws. Zanzibar helps out some with simulspace treatments for the traumatized ‘survivors’, only some of whom have been resleeved. Bey says that he was doing freelance hacking or Yu, but doesn’t give a lot of info. He provides some vid of Yu sneaking aboard a ship, so they at least know what her last morph looked like.

Following other leads, Anna tracks down Mason Wang, a popular (and pompous) programmer and AI specialist who lives on a private hab near Locus. She finds out that Yu hired him to make her a bot and AI to aid her infiltration of a ship she was tracking. Wang believes Yu is dead, and seems to know a surprising amount about her Firewall activities for a non-member. He belongs to a group called Blue Pod, which seems to have some similar areas of interest. Anna recommends that Firewall check him out and consider making contact.

Leaving Xiu’s Greenhouse, Corvus and Zanzibar decide to track down their last lead, a red-marketeer named Nia Zheng. They make contact, bribe her into talking (with an egocast to Mars & a promise to retrieve some sentimental cufflinks), and sign a contract through the mutualist AI Nomic on Extropia. She tells them that she used to be a member of a gang called the White Khans named Sammy Li, and that she has been on the run since the gang fell apart a few months back after Dexter Vo seized power. Zheng believes that the gang has retreated to a ship called the ‘Song Cai Flower’, which they have been using as a roving darkcasting facility. She tells the team about the general state of the ship, number of crew, etc & also provides schematics.

Shortly after this exchange, an Extropian contract law enforcer named Patrona Vazquez contacts them to ask what they know about the White Khans, as she has a vendetta against them. They swap some info, and she tells them the rough course of the Flower, allowing them to estimate it’s current location. She also warns them that she believes the gang is under the influence of some sort of narcoalgorithm or something similar, as they have abandoned rationality and taken up cannibalism. They promise to tell her anything they find out about the gang. Firewall also puts the team in touch with another sentinel newly arrived to the area, Silver, who has been instructed to assist their mission as it seem they could use some muscle. Everyone decides to call in favors and procure a reaper morph as well, which they arm with 4 assault rifles & a combat AI designed by Wang.

Tracking both Yu and the Flower brings the team to Casa Arturo, a small hab in the Jovian Greeks that specializes in rocket design. It seems Yu rented a small craft here and hasn’t returned it. They manage to gain access to sensor data from the station and locate the Flower’s last registered location. Extending that course, and comparing it to Vasquez’ info, Corvus feels confident he has a lock on their position. They head, planning to look for the missing shuttle on the way.

They find shuttle with careful scanning- it is a specially constructed stealth shuttle with coldgas jets and radar/lidar baffles, perched on a small ice asteroid. The corpse of the morph Bey was using on the job is aboard, minus another cortical stack. The team retrieves some video footage and sees that the killers appear to be the same as those from Xiu’s Greenhouse. They report the shuttle’s location to Casa Arturo, and head after the Flower. Corvus tries to approach as dark as possible, but it seems like the Flower doesn’t see them coming, and maybe isn’t seeing much of anything given the poor condition of it’s sensor arrays. The team decides to jump over to the slower moving ship from the Pariah, and everyone makes it except Corvus, who flies off into space, with the Pariah in pursuit. The team continues without him.

They hack their way through a series of airlocks, and gain access. They quickly dispatch the first crewmember they see after he fumbles his gun. He was sleeved in a standard bouncer morph. They find a reactor, but can’t figure out how to shut it off. They check out the greenhouse area, and are ambushed by some of the bizaare morphs from the vids, who attack with their claws while another crew member fires from further away with a plasma rifle. The team defeats them and clears the area, discovering some carniculture vats and multiple unshielded nuclear powered rocket boosters haphazardly attached to the ‘rear’ of the ship. Corvus notices that the water supply for these engines will exhaust the ships water rather quickly when ignited, which seems suicidal for the crew.

They head foreward to the crew torus, and find a machine shop. Silver attempts to activate a small drone on a workbench and unleashes a nanoswarm which envelops Zanzibar befor he can react. She shuts it off again, and Zanzibar says he seems fine, and trusts his nanophages to kick in. He heads back to the life support pod to rest and recover for a moment. They also find a bunch of pieces of what seems to have been a pre-fall military satellite, which is what Ming believed Yu was after. They load these aboard a loading sled and send them back to the Pariah.

The team ascends into the crew quarters and survives another firefight amid the bunks, retrieving the cufflinks afterwards. They get in another shootout in the kitchen, with Silver making chunky salsa out of 4 crew members hiding in a walkin cooler. They find Vo, holding Yu hostage, or so it seems. However, they see through the ruse, and the reaper shoots Vo in the head, killing him, after which they interrogate ‘Yu’, who turns out to be Ji, a White Khan, sleeved in Yu’s morph.

Silver and Corvus team up to hack the local mesh & find video footage of Yu (who Anna id’s through kinesics) sleeved in a different morph, being fed into an industrial noodle maker and eaten by the crew. Ji tells them that they trashed Yu’s cortical stack and that they won’t leave the ship alive, since Mother won’t let them. The team gets a little spooked and ko’s her, locking her in the cooler with Vo’s corpse (who they discover employed an emergency farcaster). They head back down the ladders, and hear an explosion-Orly relays that the Flower just ejected what looks like a life support mod. They are unable to get ahold of Zanzibar and decide to pick him up after clearing the ship.

They enter the ops center and are horrified to discover a fleshy mass growing thickly over most of the equipment. It is tended to by 3 more of the bizaare clawed morphs, and exhibits a number of mouths, visiblly pulsating & gestating wombs, and, most horrifyingly, a human face. Corvus (manning the reaper) and Silver almost lose their cool, buy manage to hold on. They unleash an impressive array of missile and machine gun fire as the fleshy form lashes out at them with tentacles and mental energy, and it’s minions attack. They eventually overpower the minions, and detonate the last of the fleshpile, but in it’s death throes, it sends out an overpowering psychic wave that deals some serious damage.

They take stock of their situation, and, determining that the Flower has been set on a course that will take it straight into the Sun (while avoiding other obstacles), forward the matter to Firewall, who tells them that the ship will be interecepted and cleansed later in its travels. The team boards the Pariah, and goes to pick up Zanzibar, who seems to have returned to normal after his moment of panic. However, they notice him acting strangely the next day and quarantine him, as well as Anna, after they review vid footage revealing that he seems to have infected her while she was unconscious in the medbay. Firewall instructs the team to destroy Z, his stack, and his monkey Franklin completely, while avoiding getting any of his biomatter on them, and then rendevouz with a Firewall cleanteam on its way to meet them from Casa Arturo. The team spaces Z and Franklin, and blasts them with the Pariah’s laser pods. They decide to wait on Anna.

The cleanteam arrives, clears the rest of the team (including Anna), and wipes down the ship. They also collect the satellite fragments and debrief the team on the mission. Iskra / Nataly calls shortly thereafter, telling them to hurry back to Titan as the grant has gone through: soon they will gatecrash!

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