The war’s been over for about 5 months now, so here’s a quick update on what we’ve been up to:
Ruis: PCI security brings him in as a high-value consultant on major cases now.
Calthin: Has become a major leader in the Nekta military, especially where Jatam are concerned.
Quell: Demothian business
Since I’m famous now it’s been a lot easier to pull repair jobs during our longer stays on the PCI. Having a famous engineer fix your ship AND not having to pay a drydock fee are a pretty big sales points. Every once in a while the press asks for an interview and I oblige, but it’s kind of hard to break the misconceptions they have about the differences between ours, CIC, and Human forms of digital consciousness and their mistaken claims of isolationism on the part of the Network.
We get together for Ruis’ birthday and have a pretty good time, but Calthin announces that his duties are getting a bit too heavy to stay on the crew, but he’ll do one more run with us.
Turbo Mechanics has posted a request to find out what happened to a salvage team they sent to a starship graveyard, and if possible rescue them. The briefing is that it’s a binary hyper-magnetic pair of planetoids, with one that has been used as a dumping ground for ships for millenia. I first heard of such a thing 8 years ago and was astounded at the massive wasting of recyclable resources, but it’s not really something we could do about. Part of the brief is that every 36 hours there is a magnetic storm that sweeps over the planet and can easily cause lethal injury.
Parking the Wanderer far out from the planet, myself, Ruis, Calthin, Quell, and Jak Nall take a shuttle down and have major systems start failing once we hit atmo. The main drive seemed to blow out, I barely stabilized the secondaries, and my left hand’s response rate started dropping. We managed to located a tower to make a hard, but clean landing on and assessed the damage. Both power converters blew, and no spares. I popped off my left forearm to assess the malfunction and it went dead. So, missing a hand and needing parts, we went down into the tower to see about salvage. Nothing was to be found there, so we exited and were confronting by something that looked like a black mass of shadow wearing a similar material in its hat and coat.
Calthin gave him an extra polyglot, and he told us we need to leave as soon as possible.
Heading out, we find the TM team that was stranded. The lead, a CIC AI, can only speak and move one arm now, but sends one of his employees with us to hunt out parts to escape. We learn that crashes are very common, and food supplies are very rare and the survivors eat each other. All the more hastening our need to fix the shuttle and escape. Another concern is the fungus everywhere that seems to eat metals.
The first site we find had a small fusion-powered shield that was keeping the fungus back so they could grow some bare basics. I checked it out and it seems to be projecting a smaller field than it could, and it’s also radioactive. Not sure what to do with it for now, they ask us for help with another group that has been raiding them.
On our way we find that group’s hunting party and eliminate them, and apparently there’s a little Shadow girl who mixed in with us. We get to the ship that group is using, and Ruis sneaks in, freaking out a guard and having me hold sight on him in case he tries to raise the alarm. He found and swiped the converters we need, which I tucked into my chassis.
We returned to the shielded camp and I figured fixing the shield was worth a shot. Not only did I manage to stabilize and lock down the rad leak, I brought it back to greater size at lower power draw. At this point we got the fuel we needed to run an internal combustion-operated car towards the massive mountain we think is the source of the field shutting down tech.
As it has become late in the magnetic day, we come to another shelter that the little Shadow girl helps us into. There are Shadows everywhere here. One starts up a conversation, and it turns out this world is one big sociological experiment for them. Their tech is immune to the field.