The Adventures of Detachment 2551: Part 2
This document is written to inform newcomers on the adventures of the play-by-email campaign titled "Detachment 2551". It contains a condensed history of the game up to the present. For readers new to the Star Frontiers game setting, it is advised you do some additional reading on the Frontier setting and its rules before proceeding. If you are interested in joining our game as an observer, simply send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word 'subscribe' in the body of the message. Also, you can email the referee, Albin Johnson, at email@example.com.
For more information on the adventure not covered here, consult the documents located at
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V'Sndyk loads the deciphering program he bought on Exib into OTTO and runs it against the anomalous data that has been collecting in OTTO for no reason since the mission began. His work is interrupted briefly when he performs a full diagnostic on OTTO to insure that OTTO's ignorance of the mysteriously re-appearing files is not due to a malfunction.
- Ruby's illness grows worse and id is ordered to bed rest and quarantine. While there, something unexplainable happens. Ruby begins to hear voices, but they're more like ids own thoughts. They keep repeating the words, or perhaps the thoughts, 'on' and 'off' in random, rapid fashion. This continues for hours, with Ruby's body experiencing random tingling sensations all over ids body as if selected areas are being stimulated, tested. Eventually the sound/thoughts evolve into saying/thinking 'us' over and over, then 'we'. Finally the word 'you' manifests and Ruby panicks, calling for help. Before id knows it, there in the quiet, lonely room the image of Breanna walks in, sits down, and warns Ruby not to worry. The image advises id that the 'WE' will be visiting id soon, that the 'WE' needs Ruby's help to be free, and that inner calm will expedite their arrival for the 'WE' is weak for now.
- Cymon's work takes days to complete but reveals the following:
- a virus resembling Epsilon strain to 99% accuracy, except without a protein sheath
Ruby's epidermal tissue:
- 91% match with Delta strain of moon 'G' virus
- virus present in same proportions as the crystalline compounds in the Doghan blood and the intruder chemical
- 0.5% trace silicon suspension fluid
- 0.3% unidentifiable crystalline compounds
- 0.8% diffuse partially-crystallized molecules
- 12% silicates
- 88% potassium mineral
- 0.8% unidentifiable crystalline compounds
- no silicon fluid
- high concentration of potassium compounds
Now only a couple hours remain before the Vercingetorix drops out of Void space and into Belnafaer system. Ty and Groo consult on whether or not to use a secret call-frequency Groo knows can get him in touch with an old colleague who is working with the Crimson Pirates. If they're in Belnafaer holed-up somewhere, they could prove useful if Cymon's possession of the Kohinoor, the golden Zamra, is of any value. It is decided last-minute repairs are in order, before facing the unknowns in the uninhabited system known to host nothing but trouble.
Ruby and Groo go outside the ship in an EVA to fix
a) the subspace antenna to find out the source of the strange error-bit strings and the intermittent static
b) fix the transponder so it reads the 'Fasil' like its supposed to instead of the Vercingetorix which someone probably switched it to at some point
c) investigate the 'obstruction' in the ship's external port-side information access port that is used by ground crew when diagnosing a ship's condition for repairs - seems something is causing a minor current fluctuation
While Groo, Ruby, and the ship's hullbot are accessing the antenna's slaved processor, Ruby finds a strange black box that the hullbot says has no meaningful connections to the central lines, no useful electronic parts, but a live current running through it. Ruby disconnects the box, tripping some hidden device that causes an electrical fire inside the ship's secondary hull to break out.
Ruby somehow manages the supernatural strength to loosen a hull-port enough to extinguish the flames, a feat accompanied by visual and auditory hallucinations. Meanwhile, the crew is inside fighting the fire as it spreads from the portside machinery room (see map) and into the life support berth. V'Sndyk suddenly loses contact with OTTO for no reason, so the only plan of attack he manages to extract from the computer is a series of cryptic numbers. Groo and Cymon correctly guess the numbers refer to the serial numbers of power junction boxes located throughout the ship, including information on how to adjust them and in what order, to stifle the series of electrical short-circuits that were feeding the fire. Within minutes the crew tracks down the boxes, throws the switches, and extinguishes the fire. Due to the quick thinking of Cymon and Marcus, everyone had piled into pressure suits, so when a heating line burst in the main access hallway, spilling hot steam, no one is injured. With minutes left before arrival in Belnafaer, Ruby is still outside, incapacitated with his most recent spell. Fortunately for id, the ship's plucky hullbot manages to drag him in just in time. The drop out of void space finds them on the fringes of the star system as planned, hugging the outer oort belt to make use of the cover of all its asteroids.
But there's no rest for the hunted. Just as the Vercingetorix drops out of voidspace, long-range scanners pick up a lone hull-size 3 craft bearing in on an intercept course! Groo sends of a quick broad-band message to alert any nearby Crimson Pirates of their presence, their mission, and their need for help. Ty rushes to the bridge just as the other assault scout comes screaming in. No hail. No acknowledgement of any kind. OTTO identifies it as a Streel ship: The FCS Baal. The ship plunges forward as Ty attempts to outmaneuver it, but when it is apparent the ship isn't interested in talking Groo dashes for the ship's laser batter located in the belly. Just as he gets there the enemy ship cuts loose, tearing into their engines. Ty responds in kind, sending an assault rocket that guts their engines as well. Groo follows up with blasts that rake its hull.
It is obvious the asteroid field is a double-edged sword, causing as much confusion as it provides cover. But Ty somehow whips the ship through the clusters of rocks, all the while continuing his salvos on the pursuing craft. Another rocket away - another hit! Their hull nearly buckles. But their answering fire is devastating - the next barrage takes out navigational control and the rocket battery - the Vercingetorix hurtles through space out of control and with only half its teeth. Ty yells at the others to rush to the bridge for emergency repairs - deckplates are ripped up, consoles are thrown open - the crew scrambles for their lives.
Meanwhile, V'Sndyk has hit upon a long-shot strategy. Using intelligence reports OTTO has on file regarding Streel craft, there is a potential weakness: take out the subspace antenna and while the onboard computer scrambles to resume the feed from the aux. antenna, substitute your own feed via a blast of broad-band transmissions in hopes of a match. It's worth a try, the Vrusk thinks, and though Groo worries there are better shots to take with only one weapon left, he concedes. Within seconds his efforts pay off: the enemy's antenna explodes and V'Sndyk leaps into action trying to interface with their computer. After what seems like an eternity the longshot scores! V'Sndyk manages to jump through several hoops to lock the enemy ship's computer into his control and immediately begins downloading their memory banks.
On the bridge, hasty repairs are made and soon the ship is barely back to normal. Ty jumps back into his seat just in time to dodge the next attack, whipping the Vercingetorix into a hair-pin turn around a column of asteroids. The maneuver is enough to instigate a cat-and-mouse pursuit through the debris, only to end up with the Baal in Ty's sights. Desperate bolts of energy lash out from the Baal, setting off an electrical fire Cymon, Mrylinax, and Marcus barely contain. But Ty responds with an assault rocket that completely cripples the enemy's directional controls - the Baal is helpless to do anything but kick in its retro-jets as hard as possible, but earlier damage makes even that move difficult and the ship plunges into a thick of rocks before coming to a stop. How it avoids colliding with certain oblivion is beyond explanation.
Ty takes no chances, ripping off their last rocket to make certain the foe is theres. Little does he know the ship is no threat, and the rocket almost completely destroys it. The rest of the crew turns on Ty for wasting their last rocket on a defused threat and almost destroying the only leads they have to go on. Ty and Marcus have strong words for each other, but soon they have other things to worry about: the call Groo put in earlier receives an answer!
A hail from the Crimson Pirate vessel Lolita's Revenge instructs the crew of the Vercingetorix to lay down their weapons and prepare to be boarded. The captain wishes inspect them to see if they truly represent Gardus or merely murdred him and are gaining passage with lies. The crew acknowledges and brings the ship to a halt, but they have a plan. Cymon has Ruby lay in the infirmary as if infectious, places Biohazard containers throughout the ship with small doses of the inert moon 'G' virus in them, and as a finaly disgusting touch has Mrylinax urinate in each one to give off a foul smell. Guns and grenades are hidden in them for a backup, but the presence of the viral samples, it is hoped, will lend scannable evidence to a cooked-up story that the ship is infected so the boarders will have to stay.
Tense moments pass as the ships dock. Half a dozen suited pirates board. Gnarr, captain of the Lolita, talks down to the crew and even turns one of the biohazard bins over suspecting a smuggler's trick - his hunch pays off and the tension mounts. His only recourse is to order the crew onto his ship for questioning back at Charon Tavis, infamous floating asteroid base of the Crimson Pirates.
The ignominy of capture is too much for Marcus. He whips out his sword and starts slashing. A battle breaks out to everyone's surprise. Cymon and Groo think fast, grabbing Gnarr in the confusion and dashing into a cabin for cover. The pirates spread out, forcing Marcus, Ty, and V'sndyk into the computer room. One of the pirates, a mysterious bandaged yazirian named Freya, sneaks onto the bridge and disables the lights and gravity - the pirates are at an advantage. Ty and V'Sndyk pursue the pirate and soon are striking blindly at him as he detonates a smoke grenade. In the computer room Ruby emerges from the infirmary maddened by the virus in his system and opens fire with a supercharged laser rifle - two pirates are burned in half! Marcus takes heart and answers with his own blasts, charging the crowd of reinforcements until he is finally cut down near-fatally and sent spinning helplessly. Aft, Mrylinax flanks the pirates like a one-man army - his mighty tail smashes three of them repeatedly into the hullplates - finally it takes a half-dozen of them with stunsticks to bring the Humma crashing into unconsciousness. An order is sent out over the radio to command the Streel ship FCS Baal to launch into a collision course with the Lolita in hopes it will tip the scales. But with no one maneuvering the ship, she runs smack into the drifting asteroids and is completely destroyed in a brillian flash.
The battle is lost, but Cymon and Groo convince Gnarr that they are truly from Gardus. He relents, calling off his men and ordering an immediate meeting with Chamra, captain of their station Charon Tavis. Cymon tends to the wounded and everyone files onto the Lolita to return to base. En route, Groo meets with Sleevis, an old friend who is in the Crimson organization - he confides to him that there is a covert conspiracy within the pirates that no one can pin down. Only some of the pirates even know about it, but those who do know are either in Gardus' secret circle out to learn the mysteries of moon 'G' and who is against them...and those who have sold out but to whom it isn't clear. There are no easy answers, no clear battle lines drawn, and 'trust no one' has become a credo among their ranks.
Charon Tavis is bigger and more exotic than anyone had expected. Cymon, Groo, V'Sndyk and Ty are shown to their quarters, where they are joined by some special escorts provided by the pirates. They are told they will meet with Chamra the next day. Marcus, Mrylinax, and Ruby sleep in the infirmary as they recover from their wounds. Marcus is awoken some time later to find himself in a small room, confronted by Asaino, an old Yazirian and a fellow Khad-chua member who is now a Crimson Pirate. He begins to tell him of grave conflicts that involve him. After a night of pleasures with the hostesses, Cymon and V'Sndyk strike out separately to explore the base.