So, since it’s coming up on Halloween, I figured I’d take a little bit and produce an adventure across the next few days for fans of the horror/conspiracy sci-fi game Eclipse Phase that people can enjoy. As a synopsis, the players are awakened to find themselves aboard a derelict spacecraft in Earth orbit, with the air on the thin and stale side but breathable and the temperature hovering on the cold side of survivable. None of them know why they’re here; there’s a significant chunk of continuity lost for each of them. They need to get out somehow, of course, and find their way to safety – but can they do it before something goes wrong, or before whoever – or whatever – put them here comes looking for them?
The derelict in question is the Evening Star, a former cargo hauler that went missing during the events of the Fall; it was on record as accepting a sizable number of fully instantiated refugees from the space elevators before going completely silent and vanishing. The ship’s life support system was designed to support a maximum of one hundred people, so it was assumed that the crowding from the refugees overwhelmed the ship’s ability to cope and everyone aboard died of anoxia.
So when the players awaken in the ship’s on-board backup facility with the lights on and the air cold but breathable, those aware of the circumstances of the ship’s disappearance might be justifiably concerned. Also of concern is that the players’ muses will report that, according to the still-functional shipboard mesh, they’re missing about six months of personal time. Oh, and they’re all sleeved in naked morphs they’re unfamiliar with – a mix of splicers and furies, with nothing particularly exotic about them.
Checking the ship’s mesh will show that public access allows for checking the time, sending and receiving messages, and access to video from the hallways and cargo holds. At the time of waking, nothing shows on any of the video feeds, and each player has one or more messages waiting for them with no subject or sender information available. There’s no gravity, leaving the resleeving room full of floating bubbles of nutrient gel as players emerge from the storage tubes.
The primary goal of the adventure is for the players to find a way to escape the ship and make their way back to some hub of civilization; anything they can salvage to bring back as proof of where they were will be of immense value in the old-style economy of cislunar space. Of course, salvaging things from a derelict vessel in cislunar space has risks in and of itself.
The messages for the players depend on the skills of their characters.
Anyone with skills relevant to the TITANs, AI research, or the Singularity has this message waiting for them, apparently an random excerpt from a longer message: “ry has the chips; meet her in forward hold C at the midpoint to make the swap. Be careful, she might be packing an organic-hunting decon swarm and be aiming to scrub you to get the box and keep the chips. Don’t let her know about Mic”
Attached to this message is an XP file; if the player accesses it, they need to make a Will x3 check to avoid taking 1d10/2 Stress as they experience roughly 30 seconds of intensely burning pain and the sound of speaker-distorted screaming.
Those with skills relevant to biotech, genetics, or medical skills past first aid have another message waiting: “Something’s gotten in the nutrient system for the morph storage. Not sure what, but the system’s filtration is barely keeping up with cleaning it up. Next layover, I recommend we do a full purge on the system. Even if it’s harmless, who wants to instantiate in a tub full of blood-colored goo?” Attached is what appears to be an image file, but it’s heavily distorted and filled with pixel noise. Running it through image-processing software will clean it up, and will a MoS of 10 or better wil any relevant skills; either reveals it to be a snap of the medical bay the group is in, with half a dozen ragged corpses floating in null-G and surrounded by floating globules of blood. Failing a Will x3 check causes 1d10/2 Stress and the realization that all the nutrient gel globs look bloody.
Anyone with hardware skills has a message that reads “Can whoever has the next rotation check the after solars? The system’s bugging out pretty bad and keeps insisting they’re oriented at a weird angle to incoming, even after I punch in corrections. They’re either at 65 or 190 to the solar instead of the 90.” Attached is a short video from an external camera, which shows an extension with solar panels along it quiver slowly for nearly a minute before it suddenly and impossibly curls toward the camera and the feed goes dark. Witnessing this is enough to prompt a Will x3 check, with failure causing 1d10/5 Stress.
Those with conspiracy theory or topics related to the Fall as interests have the following “lling you, something;s shadowing the ship. I know the radar and lidar haven’t returned anything, but I keep seeing stars get eclipsed by whatever it is. Probably some milspec stealth thing, but what do they want with us? Look, I’m sending the vid with highlights on when the stars get eclipsed. Whatever it is, it’s huge.” Attached is the described video; it seems to suggest a large object at some distance from the hull camera following the same trajectory as the ship. Viewing it causes no Stress.
Media skills and journalism/investigation skills results in the following message: “ow what the hell Burns thinks she’s doing but there’s no way we can send that footage to the rest of the system, they’ll think we’re insane conspiracy theorists cooking up faked XPs. I don’t care what she and Mort have recorded, if we have to we’ll blow the fuses on the comm mast and tell them their bug must’ve done it. No reason to panic anyone off-ship if it’s something we picked up on the last run. Tell her that sh” Attached is a short XP clip from a person in a somewhat clumsy vacsuit working their way along the hull of the ship, stopping every few meters to take samples of something that resembles a metallic mold on the ship’s hull. The clip cuts out when the person gets to the airlock. Have those who watch it roll Will x3; no Stress results from viewing the XP, but failing the Will check has repercussions elsewhere.
Piloting, astrophysics, and alien technology skills get a message that simply contain a video clip of a panicky-looking splicer with a weird blue mottling across her face. She seems to be hiding in a closet somewhere, and she’s whispering to the camera. “My name is Mari Burns. I don’t know if this will ever get out, but I have to try. The ship is infected with some kind of nanite plague, I’ve got no idea where it came from. The metal’s infested, we’re bleeding air, most of the rest of the crew is either dead, insane, or turned into something not even close to human. I’m pretty sure I’m infected – I keep hallucinating sights and sounds. Please, if you see this, stay off the Evening Star. Burn us with plasma if you can. We’re a plague ship and for the sake of transhumanity we can’t let this land anywhere.” Her eyes unfocus at this point, and those watching get treated to several seconds of her screaming hysterically before the video cuts out. Viewing it calls for a Will x3 check, with 1 point of Stress lost if successful and 1d10/2 lost if unsuccessful, plus later repercussions.
Next time when I come back to this, I’ll see about digging up a map of the ship and explaining some of what’s aboard. (Yes, it involves exsurgents.)