Wiki Gaming:Moons of Saturn/Introduction
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|Pallas Station, ground level.
- Date: 21st Feburary, 2023
- Location: Pallas outpost, Kraken Mare
The hydrocarbon lake shimmered under the morning light of the distant sun, a weak white orb in a sky of methane clouds. Along the coast, the marine ATV crunched its way through ice rocks, towards the multi-domed hulk of the Pallas outpost.
"Don't listen to the rumours. Focus on your job." From the passenger seat, Corporal Monowi glowered at the members of fireteam Bravo, her voice distorted by her helmet's slightly faulty comm.
"What job?" Private Ordos moaned. "If there's a job worth doing, it's worth doing well. If it's not worth doing, give it to Bravo!" He retrieved a little tin of white enamel from the overhead compartment and (despite the bumpy ride) painted the 5th wiggly line on his left arm plate. "Seriously what the the point of exterminating these goddamn eels?"
Private Hallstat banged on the ATV's spare tire. "Then why can't they get a response from Earth, Monowi? All I get is The radio's down, the radio's down. How can it be down for a whole month?"
"Knock it off!" Monowi barked. "We've been in this can for three days. Check in again when we get back to Pallas. I don't want to hear any more of this 'Earth overrun' stuff from the jokers in commtech. We did good at the lake, be glad no-one got bit."
The ATV rolled up to the outpost's south gate, "UAC" stencilled large on the roller door. Behind the garage, the immense rising body of Saturn begin to dominate the horizon.
"Pallas, this is fireteam Bravo," Monowi transmitted, "please open the south gate."
Silence. Monowi repeated the request.
Static. A moan. Monowi repeated once more. No response.
DM. Williams and Flynn are in the rear ATV too (there are three seats on each side, facing inwards. Williams is next to Hallstat, and Flynn is next to Ordos). You can see outside the ATV through the front cab, and through narrow windows on both sides. It's freezing cold, and over your security armor you are wearing a vacuum suit and helmet. Also in the ATV are four harpoon guns and a box of harpoons, two oxygen tanks (you had more, but they were expended during the three day eel-hunting mission), and a medikit.
Monowi looks at Flynn. "Well, sarge, we must be cursed, even the ATV comm is down now. Should we send someone to open the gate manually?"
Williams. Williams begins talking to himself, but soon mainly poses his questions to the Bravo team.
|This is really bad. I remember my training to keep calm, and to not put the blame on anyone. Within our small colony, it would be a disaster to start pointing fingers and creating blame scenarios.
Does someone know for how long will our oxygen last for? Sarge, lets try sending someone out to open it manually, if that does not work we will need to take the next step together since we don't have enough oxygen to mess around here.
We have been waiting at the south gate for a while now, but there has not been an answer and we need to get inside our outpost so we can get oxygen, make sure the gate and Bravo's team communication is just a technical failure and not something worse, and also to get back to the UAC.
After trying to manually open the gate, and if there is rope lying around, Terry Williams proposes that we shoot a harpoon, with the rope attached to it, on top of the life support unit. From there, I think that we can break open some of the exhaust vents that bring out the bad chemicals from the Oxygen purification process here, and wiggle our way inside the outpost. Although it will be a small leak from the outpost, we can always repair it afterwards. The small damage is much better than dying out here since we don't have any more oxygen, or communication to the outpost. The UAC will understand that five humans from Earth are much more valuable than a little damage.
Flynn: "We didn't get a response earlier, so something might have gone wrong. Sure, it may just be a glitch, but we should stay on guard. Get that door open. If you find any explanation as to why we didn't get a response, I want to know. Any volunteers?"
- If there is rope lying around, Terry Williams will volunteer himself.
DM. Your vacuum suits each have 30 minutes of oxygen. The ATV has 2 hours of internal air remaining, and the last oxygen tank can provide 1 hour. Furthermore, the ATV's batteries are running low, with only a few hours of power left.
"Good idea Williams, you go. " snorts Hallstat. Williams enters the small airlock at the back of the ATV and steps down onto the ice.
- Note. Low gravity. You can jump twice as high and far, but you have disadvantage on Strength saving throws.
Through the front cab, the squad watch Williams bounce off. Monowi starts checking the radio. A few minutes later Williams says "I'm approaching the gate manual release." He unlatches the panel and turns the release. A red light.
"Gate Manual Warning," a clear soft androgynous voice announces through everyone's helmet comm. It's Athena, the outpost's central computer. "Personnel present in the South Gate airlock. Do you wish to override?"
Monowi stops fiddling with the cab's radio. "Well she's coming through okay. I guess Command is ignoring us? We could override this warning, drive round to the North Gate, or go with William's plan of going through life support."
Williams. Williams responds into his comm interface to Bravo and the outpost's main computer. "Its great to hear that Sarge is listening to us. Bravo, I'm going to try the override command. If this does not work, the North Gate will not either, and I'm going to go in by way of the life support vents."
Williams fuddles with the security override interface, giving it his name, Bravo's location, its member's names, his fingerprints, password, and UAC information. Waiting for a response, he attaches the programming override cable with his comm interface." Meanwhile, Williams keeps his eyes peeled for a rope left outside of the outpost, or any way of getting on top of the life support module.
Flynn. "If there are personnel in the airlock, why didn't we get a response?"
- (Would it be reasonable to assume that human personnel in the airlock would be wearing oxygen suits? If so, I'll give the order to open the airlock and bring the ship down nearby so we can all go in.)
- DM. Note: The atmosphere of Titan is mostly dense nitrogen, with some methane. The airlock of the ATV and the outpost gate work by flushing some of the gas, introduces oxygen, and decreases the air pressure to something more comfortable. There's no "vacuum" but you wear vacuum suits to protect you from the harsh cold (minus 290 degrees Farenheit).
- Note 2. There's no rope, but the ATV has a tow cable.
"Security override accepted." Athena states. The 30-foot wide gate door shudders, then begins to roll upwards. There is a fwoosh of air being sucked inwards through the gap. Amber lights are flashing inside the garage airlock. The door rises to head-level. The interior is a 30-foot by 40-foot airlock with grey panel walls. The interior door is closed. The amber light stops flashing and the floodlights flicker on.
Stood near the interior door is a podgy man wearing mechanic's overalls and no outdoor suit. He starts to walk erratically towards Williams.
"Oh shit..." Monowi manages.
Williams: “Bravo, they're all Zombies!“ Williams manages to transmit into his comm, before the zombie mechanic gets too close. Williams starts rushing back towards the ATV, seeing if the freezing cold or the atmosphere kills the thing. “Get the air lock open for me guys, or I'll have to kill the zombie.“ Jumping into the airlock, the large hatch door comes to a grinding close right as the zombie tries to shove his wrench at the door, managing only to scratch it.
Back inside the ATV, Williams takes off his vacuum suit, hanging it back up outside the airlock. “Bravo, we have just about two hours to get more oxygen, and see if there are survivors. If the zombie leaves us alone, lets unwind the winch, and harpoon the end of it on top of the support bay. If he doesn't we will have to quickly kill him, maybe run him over or get out with the shotgun, and then get onto the support bay. There could be survivors, so lets not forgot to check for them.“
DM. As the mechanic shuffles along, he begins to frost over, becoming slower. The marines watch in astonishment. By the time it reaches the ATV, the poor guy has crystallized solid.
"Did we..." Ordos stutters "...just kill that guy?"
Monowi puts her hand to her head. "That was Simones from engineering. Oh God, the paperwork..."
Hallstat becomes quite agitated. "Williams is right! How was he breathing! A goddamn zombie!"
The team watch Simones for a few minutes, but he remains an inert, glittering statue.
(Okay I just need to know which way you are proceeding now)
Flynn. "We have to get inside there to get our supplies, and to see if there are any survivors, or if they're all just... things now. We have to stay on guard now. Whatever caused Simones to become like that might still be effective, and I doubt it just affected him, and who knows what else could be lurking in those hallways!"
Slowly, Flynn enters the airlock, gesturing for the others to follow, weapon at the ready and constantly looking about to see if there are any other zombies.
- After leaving the ATV, is there enough oxygen for the entire Bravo team, or just for Flynn and Williams? We only need two people to make our way up the life support pod anyway. Williams will also take climbing gear from the ATV to climb up the winch cable on top of the life support pod, and so we can transport oxygen canisters back to Bravo after we feed the cable (and get both of us) through the wiggle space we create on top of the life support pod.
- Everyone has 30 minutes of suit oxygen. I just want to make sure you don't want to go through the south gate... the gate's airlock seems to be clear now, and I thought that the life-support entry was an option for if you couldn't go through the south gate.
- I am worried that by charging in we will then kill everyone, since they are likely all zombies. Williams does not yet know if we can save our old UAC people. I prefer the life support way, since then we already have all the oxygen. Whatever Flynn wants to do is fine for Williams.
DM. Monowi pulls up the ATV's steering column, changing from automated to manual driving, and drives up to the wall of the life support module. It's a big plasteel cuboid, about 120 feet across and 30 feet high, with pipes running horizontally and vertically across the surface. Occasionally, a thick white plume of carbon dioxide vents from the roof.
Before you get out, Ordos snaps "Hey... let me check something." He leans over to the ATV's comm. "Yo, Athena."
"Hello, private Ordos" the outpost's computer replies.
"What's, like, going on?"
"I'm happy to report that all outpost systems are functioning within parameters. Please report to Command to file your mission report. You have new private messages."
Ordos looks around at the team and scoffs. "'Within parameters'... 'the hell does that mean?"
Two-by-two the fireteam exit the ATV, bringing the equipment and the two big harpoon guns. Williams fixes the tow cable to a harpoon, and shoots it up, aiming for the lip of the roof. [Attack roll = 9] The tip just misses the wall and impales itself into a horizontal pipe. Gas starts visibly hissing out, but the harpoon sticks. Monowi bops Williams on the shoulder. "Nice shootin' Tex."
Ordos passes out ascenders from the climbing gear. (What will be the
marching climbing order, please?)
- Lets go from rear to the front of the ATV. So, Williams, Hallstat, Flynn, Ordos, and then Sarge.
- (Okay. BTW, Monowi is a corporal, Flynn is the sergeant.)
DM One by one, firesquad Bravo ascend to the roof of life support, a grid of grilled vents and radiators. From here you can see the rest of the outpost: the belching chimneys and flames of the refinery, the launch rail of the shuttle pad, the dome and radio antennas of the command deck, the enclosed roof garden of the habitat, and the angular hardened slopes of the laboratories. The rings of Saturn now loom from the horizon to 60 degrees high.
Williams and Hallstat kick down the grill of one of the CO2 vents and lower themselves down, followed by Flynn. A blast of the gas clouds their vison for a moment, then they continue, crouched, through the narrow tube, lit by their helmet torches. Ordos and Monowi wait on the roof.