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Stellar Travellers

The Boss Endnotes
How it Ended

Ship’s Librarian Mica reporting. With assistance from the Royal Family, we were able to determine the key signatures of the genetic modification made to those infected with what we’ve come to refer to as simply “The Super Soldier Virus”. The modifications came from House Arrlin, a previous employer of ours whose methods we had already come to disagree with when they attempted to assassinate the head of the Goshen family with hijacked civilian shuttles being hurled at the moon.

Monitoring communications from Arrlin, we found the link we were looking for. Communications with Earth planning the next stage. It did not take long for our scientists to determine that Stalking Shadows are no more than a genetically engineered human slave race, and The Boss an immortal preserved human consciousness.

With the assistance of CIC itself, The Boss and all of his networked droids were disabled, deleted, and scrapped by our team. The Jatam were able to find the cure in time, boosting their estimation in galactic eyes from lawless pirates to interstellar saviors.

Approximately 5% of the population on all worlds has been infected and augmented, safe now with no trigger to place them under the sway of Human Criminal Enterprise. With Humanity’s coup forestalled, ships from many allied species have cordoned off Human Space. The fate of an entire species may be decided soon. Personally, I find I care more for those lives affected by this atrocity than those who are about to meet justice.

The Boss and his plans have been laid to rest. But there can be no rest for those who will always Wander.

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New crew
Ship's status log entry by Echols

Not much of major note to report. Did some interviews for new personnel, listed here: Wanderer Secondary Crew, Redoubt Key Personnel

After that was over helped Bradley Schoffield overhaul his ship to meet general multispecies environmental and safety standards, so now the second team has their own ship for ops.

Luko Brak Nam a’Speaker came by so we could discreetly explain our findings on the Insae activities. Ultimately, he thinks a second Insae/Xai war is inevitable at this point, and they only way to keep things from getting out of hand is if both sides were to sign the wartime practices charter.

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Tangential Investigation
Ship's status log entry by Echols

After the “fun” of the interrogation, we decided to look back into that star that had exploded several months ago in a system CIC had a station in. Double checking the charts, it’s a bit concerning that it happened between Pirlahn, Fayad, CIC HQ, Udina, and Surmak. Not quite perfectly centered, but close enough. CIC was good enough to give us a copy of the data we recovered as long as we signed NDAs on it. Most notable was an unknown drive signature and massive burst of power just before the sensors were fried.

Arriving there, we find that the star is now solid iron. And that someone has set up a mining operation on it. The (probably forked?)AIs running it were surprised to see us at all, but quite happy to find out we were interested in buying a significant volume of ore. After that we visit their site at Polar north to look at the bore hole that was already there. There are two things that stand out: 1: As far as anyone can tell, the former star is impossibly pure iron. This definitely doesn’t happen naturally, the best is usually Hematite, which is 30% oxygen. (and here I thought all of dad’s talk about work was boring…). Not even a sign of exotic matter from the rapid acceleration of the star’s fusion. 2: Whatever did this – based just off of what could bore and maintain a hole this size in this much iron – is beyond the scale of any known weapon by at least two or three orders of magnitude.

We were at least able to backtrace the entry vector and borehole against stellar drift and narrow our point of origin to one of 5 systems spinwise and rimward. The first was occupied by a massive civilian mining operation dismantling the planets, so nothing we were concerned with. The third had clear signs of the exact same weapon being used on an inhabited system a couple thousand years ago. The race that lived on the planet is unknown. And on the fifth is a system inhabited by possibly billions of cloned Insae. And their ships match the drive signature.

And we notice a group of Brinaw departing, and lure them to our ship with a fake distress call to talk discretely. Apparently they had no clue the Insae were testing superweapons like that, and the one mainly talking was pretty hostile to Ruis. He told us he was just doing his job, and to take it up with his boss, Luko Brak Nam a’Speaker, and we let them off again.

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Explosions All Around
Dorius Alek'Thoth's Personal Log

So far, this has been a very strange crew. We were on a mission that required stealth. We were hiden away on the ship belonging to the boss. The crew member Ruis had previously been ejected out of the air lock after revealing himself. Then, during the course of the questioning of Echol’s, Legion came out of hiding and tried to attack the AI that had kidnapped Echol’s. After the three of them had a discussion about what was going to happen, as well as the fact that if the AI had known other’s were on the ship, it would have just flown the ship into a sun.He made both of them leave the ship. After which, he put in a course for the PCI station. Once there, he set the self destruct on the ship and left it. I had just enough time to break out of the ship before it exploded. We were able to warn the PCI, although not as early as we would have liked. There was a little bit of damage to the station from the explosion. After this, the crew decided to release all of the information it had been holding back about the fungus to each different species. Following which, we decided to get in contact with a few people and try to make a larger organization to hunt down the elusive boss of the shadows.

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Intentionally taken
Ship's status log entry by Echols

We’ve started moving our plans for the Seed ship into motion. It’ll be called the Redoubt, and for now it’ll be in a remote CIC system. Quell has been recalled by the Demothians, so he’ll be missed. But, as our luck has it, a new crewmember was presented as a possible hire, and we met him at the PCI. Dorius Alek’Thoth is from a previously unknown race called the “Kumutawah”.

After quite a bit of strategizing, intel gathering, and planning, we’ve figured out the first step on the plan to deal with The Boss. As it turns out, a hotel on Brintar appears to be a prime site for kidnapping of individuals meeting a certain profile of usefulness for his group, so we’re going to be half-disguised as individuals of varying interest to them. Myself and Ruis will be going as ourselves, though with some interesting false documents as bait, and Locust and Dorius in disguise. After Ruis starts an impromptu press conference next to me without me realizing it, there’s some awkward discussion before the crowd got bored.

Then we go to “sleep”, seeing if we get targeted. And in the middle of the night, two thugs use a keycard to get in my room, EMP me (knock out my shields as I pretend to be disabled), and crate me up. After moving me to the spaceport, before I get a chance to do anything I’m slid inside a shield and the box unlocked. And there outside the shield in this cargo bay is an AI frame and a couple Shadows. Ruis, Locust, and Dorius all managed to sneak onboard, but for some odd reason Ruis reveals himself way to early and is shown out the airlock.

And so the interrogation begins. Mostly with my stonewalling him, but he presents some kind of small black box through the field that he thinks I’ll plug myself into, and thinks he has ways of hacking a Valiskan’s mind. It’s not really something we’re familiar with, but he seems pretty confident. I don’t touch the damn thing and shut off my radios to be safe. After a bit more stonewalling of his questions he decides to punish me with an electrical blast from the shield. At this point all I can really do is try to stall for time, but I check if I’m getting anything over the polyglot radio. Locust has been trying to get a hold of me, to tell me he made the box into a dummy unit. Playing along, I plug it in, and he puts away the punishment controls. Still more of the game, I ask Locust when he’s going to feel like doing something, so he walks up and grabs the AI…

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A Fungus Among us
Quell Doran's Report to Outreach

We have decided to try and investigate this boss that is apparently controlling the shadows by kidnapping family to get them to do things for him. We start by looking into the fungus that we had found on the strange cannibal planet. Ever since then we have had a small shadow child on the ship with us. Unlike the other shadows, she does not have one of the chips that kills them when they are scanned. Although the number of deaths the boss must have from routine scanning of ships must be staggering. If the system picks up any kind of an anomaly and investigates further, there goes another agent. Either way, I was able to figure out that even the shadows are being effected by this fungus. Taking a sample we had gathered from the planet, our new A.I. crew member and I began to try and figure out what this might be in the lab. After hours of work, it seems that the fungus was even more deadly then we had assumed. We did further research and performed tests in the hologram chamber. After which, we felt the need to warn other about this fungus since our results were so discouraging.

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The barbarianism cage
Ship's status log entry by Echols

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.

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Cloak and Dagger
Ship's status log entry by Echols

And now our mission to infiltrate the Corr homeworld is complete, so here’s the report:

Finding an underwater structure that seemed suitable, we used the remote-operated bodies to enter and found we were at a bank, and then contacted the military for a pickup. We were then brought into a senior officer’s office where we requested to see our contact, and told that he had been assigned to lead a unit that was operating black. Handing off the intel we’d been given for authenticity, we requested to join the mission, but they had no way to contact the group.

So we had Mitoyan intel stage an attack so they’d request reinforcements.

Having the Wanderer and its new stealth systems shadowing the course of the transport, we get to the fleet and finally make contact with the agent, who has basically been assigned there in order to get him out of high command’s tentacles. And we find out the fleet’s mission: Escort three Herders to Kirov and dismantle the planet.

After a lot of back and forth planning, we settle on the following goals:
1: Kirov is intact
2: Herders destroyed
3: Cover bodies remain intact so the prisoners we duplicated aren’t executed
4: The admiral survives to continue helping Mitoyan Intel stop Herder-based atrocities

So, Ruis set up charges throughout the Herder we were berthed on, and we convinced the admiral to lead from one of the warships instead of a Herder. As we dropped out of warp, the assault boats, one with us on, launched, while the escort fleet took a forward guard stance. And then one of the Herders was rocked by explosions and its black hole shattered the other two, leading to the fleet making a tactical retreat, and our group getting picked up and “reassigned” to another infil mission. Kirov’s system wasn’t unscathed, but the planet survived and the Corr’s forces were devastated by the loss of three Herders.

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Hitting the big time
Ship's status log entry by Echols

A few weeks’ travel and we’re near the estimated source of the signal. Stopping about 60 light hours out, we detect several of the planets are deconstructed and a massive Dyson Sphere around their star. Getting within a few light-hours, we transmit their message back at them. They respond after a bit (not including lag time from distance) with a large chunk of binary code. After isolating it to the secondary nav computer, Mica figures out how to run it and it seems to be a combined text-audio language program. We hunker down, helping the language experts crack it, and eventually have them at a workable point that we can load up a polyglot program in it. Opening comms, they decide to send an ambassador to our ship, and a small sphere, 7 or 8 CM wide, with solar sails is projected from the large one.

It comes on board and projects a hologram of a creature around 1.8m tall, with pinkish-beige skin and some kind of fur isolated to the upper and rear area of its head and parts of its face, framing its chin and mouth and above the eyes. They are called “humans.” And then tells us that the sphere isn’t a communication device, but a ship/city, and invites us in with VR goggles it extrudes from its surface.

So we exchange questions with the inhabitants of the city. They paid a lot of attention to our opinions on uplifting. They had figured out transferable consciousness and moved freely between biological and technological variations. They didn’t seem to use FTL travel at all, instead harnessing solar output to propel their ships at relativistic velocities. As it turned out, they had brought 4 other species in their region within their culture and uplifted four from their own world. After exploring their city a bit (after they built me an emulator so I could experience it properly) we invited them to the PCI to talk to the galaxy as a whole.

The press conference was quite exciting and bewildering to the reporters. The idea of a people who were post-scarcity and didn’t really care for trade was confusing, but it was huge news.

And then Ruis decided to go all out and announce all the (legal) things we did, so I went along with it and Calthin hung back but didn’t hide like most of the rest of the crew.

So after that Ruis is contacted by Mitoyan intelligence for a job. We’re going to infiltrate Fayyad and attempt contact with a senior Corr officer who has been feeding information about attacks like the one on Graggag to them, but is out of contact.

And the plan is concocted: using the biofabricator the humans put in the med lab’s holosystems we’ll make Corr Remote Operated bodies run with Valiskan RO tech and Demothian holographics for the rest of the crew that are unable to directly run a body. Ruis and Calthin go through flash learning to speak Corr as well. So, we’re ready to go.

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Battle and Signal
Ship's status log entry by Echols

We participated in the assault on the Corr facilities at pre-spaceflight vassal planet. Landing in one of the stations, our point defense system cleared the bay of enemy presence and allowed the assault to move more quickly. After making it to the prison level, we were ambushed by their AI troopers. We beat them pretty quickly.

Freeing all the Viern imprisoned there, we started working our way back as Ruis came to join up, slicing up a sniper team on the way. A scout reported Corr forces coming up behind us, so we set ambush using Ruis’ mines. After a bit of fire exchanged, and more of my plating damaged, Ruis trips the mines and blows a fuel line, making us beat a very hasty retreat from the now burning section of the station. We get back to the ship, finish evac, and take off, and the fleet lights up the stations.

Mission complete, we depart for the PCI to put the rescued Viern up in a stadium for now. On the way I replace my damaged plating as well.

And then it’s time to decide our next move.

Jak Nall was pretty quick with his speech that war profiteering was what we seemed to be best at and that engineering wars to profit from would be the way to continue as we had been doing, something the rest of us got quite uncomfortable with. Yar Mina then rescued the mood with an alternate view we were much more familiar, that we had simply seen people being treated badly and did something to help the dispossessed many times. So she brought up that we could follow our first contact skills independently and possibly be the first to crack one of two mysterious signals that have been reported. One a basic binary transmission, the other an extremely complicated encrypted signal. Deciding to work on the simple one, we managed to be able to both triangulate the signal’s origin and figure out what they sent:
200px arecibo message bw.svg

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