In the area “below” the crew decks are three more levels of storage and the engineering and system control sections of the ship. These certainly haven’t escaped the nightmare that befell the Evening Star during the Fall, as we’ll see today. Levels 7-9 are the crew sector; we’ll pick up with level 10.
Chamber 10A: Thousands of thumb-sized and smaller splinters of ceramic hang in the otherwise empty chamber in a thick cloud of debris. If carefully cleaned up, this chamber is fairly safe, but checking the ship’s mesh for the cargo manfiest and crew logs shows no sign of ceramics being shipped. Testing the pieces with the lab and chemical analysis-related skills suggests the ceramic pieces are similar in composition to bone.
Chamber 10B: Tens of thousands of tiny lights fill this chamber, carefully arranged in a fashion that suggests a pattern to it. An Astrophysics, Astronomy, or related skill check with a MoS of 30 or better will find that it’s a map of local space, with all of the pieces in very slight motion that mimics the motion of the stars. Black holes are mapped as well, but no one is likely to see them until someone runs into one (Fray check at 1/4 to avoid impact with a black hole if the room is explored). Such a collision does 2d10 physical damage that ignores armor and produces a burst of light and high-frequency radiation as some of the victim’s body is swallowed by the event horizon of the microscopic black holes. The sheer strangeness, including how the gravitational field is otherwise suppressed, causes 1d10 Stress to everyone aware of it.
Chamber 10C: The entire outer wall of this chamber has been coated in an extremely high-resolution display projecting what appears to be a field of static; anyone who watches it without some form of visual protection, however, needs to make a Wil+Cog+Int check or contract a slow-acting memetic version of the exsurgent virus, suffering 1 Stress per day as the world begins to flicker and distort around them, briefly revealing an infinite-seeming expanse of circuitry behind the veil of reality.
Chamber 11A: Hundreds of thousands of cortical stacks are jammed into this chamber, so densely that they nearly fill all the available space. If examined, they all seem to contain identical copies of a single ego that, if instantiated, does nothing but scream in abject horror. Psychosurgical analysis suggests that the ego has been tortured in an endless sequence of simulspaces.
Chamber 11B: The chamber seems empty, but anyone who enters it hears whispering at the very edge of audibility; even those with augmented hearing can’t hear it any more clearly, although the reason isn’t obvious. (The whispering is a psi effect that permeates the entire room thanks to a layer of psiactive femtobots lining the walls.) Remaining in the room for more than fifteen minutes causes 1 Stress, but no other ill effects.
Chamber 11C: Half a dozen spheres float around the chamber, course-correcting with vector-thrust jets to avoid bumping into any objects. They evade anyone trying to capture them, exhibiting a high degree of ability to predict the movement of anyone trying to pursue them. Heat signatures and anyone with ego sense will glean clues that suggest that a living mind is trapped inside each sphere, but nothing seems to be able to catch one for closer examination.
Chamber 12A: The chamber is full of dessicated organic material; analysis will reveal that there’s nothing strange about this, as the chamber contained organic food that was damaged during the events of the Fall, permitting spoilage to occur before the rest of the ship went to hell; the organic debris is mold that consumed most of the damaged food before slowly dying off and drying out.
Chamber 12B: A solid black metal sphere with blinking lights sits in the middle of the chamber, with a handful of ports that can be accessed via hardlink to any computer equipment. Doing so reveals that it seems to be running a version of CleverBot that seems perfectly normal at first, but which quickly leads players into strange and disturbing conversational paths that make cannibalism and murder seem perfectly reasonable. (The program running on the system has an effective skill of 120 in Psychology for the purpose of convincing people to consider horrible acts.)
Next time, we’ll delve down into the systems of the ship, and where the Evening Star is bound when the PCs awaken.