EP: Wakeful, Part Four

The last round of Wakeful examined the crew section of the ship; today, we’ll look at the cargo holds – and what became of those refugees the ship took on board during the Fall before it vanished.

Decks 1-6 are ‘above’ the crew quarters, decks 7-9 are for the crew, 10-12 are ‘below’ decks, and 13-15 are the insulated and isolated mass of the ship’s ion drive and power systems. Each of the cargo decks is divided into three segments, marked A, B, and C, with access into the central shaft of the vessel. Procedure during loading and unloading was to dock nose-first with habitats and stations and pass the cargo along the central shaft, never violating the integrity of the hull along the main body of the ship.

Chamber 1A is completely empty – spotless, in fact, even compared to the untouched parts of the ship. Spending more than an hour in this particular room causes 1 Stress per hour due to the unnatural degree of emptiness. Any attempts to mark up the room disappear when no one is looking at them.

Chamber 1B contains a single dessicated biomorph – an Olympian morph whose cortical stack was apparently removed violently, as an ugly wound is visible at the base of the skull where it was apparently torn out. Other than the corpse being unsettling as it slowly tumbles in the air, the room is relatively safe.

Chamber 1C is infested, with the doors only being able to open enough to allow a single human-size morph to slip through, and even then only after cutting through the tough membrane that covers the gap. The interior is a festering mass of fungal growth, the air is alarmingly warm and heavy with spores, and any biomorphs inside need to make a check against 2x their current DUR to avoid becoming infested with the spores. Infestation is effectiely harmless, simply causing mottled discoloration under the skin for a few days before the immune system fights it off, but at the GM’s discretion it can cause Stress as other events happen.

Chamber 2A opens on a solid mass of ice that appears to fill the entire chamber, with nearly three dozen human-sized bodies frozen inside it. Excavation attempts will reveal these to likely be bodies of Fall refugees, with several flats mixed in among the splicer morphs. All are missing their cortical stacks in a similar fashion to the corpse in 1B. Failure to make a Will x3 save causes 1d10/2 Stress upon extracting the first corpse.

Chamber 2B has a roughly spherical mass of metallic limbs and other synthmorph parts, all of which are twitching and jerking in erratic movements. No stacks are in evidence, but there are plenty of damaged cyberbrains, and vocal units spit out random strings of words at odd interals. Spending more than ten minutes in the room requires a Will x3 check, with failure causing 1d10/2 Stress.

Chamber 2C requires a Will x2 save the moment the doors open; anyone failing this sees a dazzling, tumbling starfield and feels a powerful wind drawing them through the doors, causing 1d10 Stress and leaving them trapped in the hallucination until someone shuts the door or five minutes pass per degree of failure. Those who pass the Will check find the walls lined with softly bubbling nutrient tanks with deformed masses of brain tissue inside – the source of the hallucinatory effect, as these are cultured masses of exsurgent-infected brain tissue that psychically project the effect. Destroying them potentially exposes anyone within melee range to the exsurgent virus, but ends the psi effect for good.

Chamber 3A contains dozens of transhuman skulls, all neatly cleaned of flesh, slowly tumbling around the chamber. None of them show any signs of violence or illness, let alone any sign of what stripped the flesh away. Compared to most of the other chambers, this one is fairly tame, and it inflicts no Stress unless someone has a phobia or other tick related to inexplicable TITAN events, death, or skulls.

Chamber 3B has a cleaning bot suspended in the middle, beeping out a malfunction code endlessly; the code is modified by the digitual strain of the exsurgent virus the bot is infected with, and staying for more than a few minutes requires Int+Cog+Will checks to avoid being affected with a mental strain of the virus.

Chamber 3C is completely empty; opening it causes 1 Stress if opened after any other chamber then 6B, but otherwise it could be used as a safe space for the players to hide out and try to recuperate if the crew segments are too troubling for them.

Chamber 4A has a thick column of dessicated flesh reaching from floor to ceiling; seeing it inflicts 1d10 Stress, as humanoid limbs and faces are visible in the surface of it, most of them locked in expressions of horror. Time and dehydration have rendered the mass brittle enough that any contact with another object fragments it at the impact point. It’s no longer a viable infection vector, and the room is otherwise safe.

Chamber 4B is infested with the mad nanotech mold that coats the hull; entering the chamber puts any synthmorphs at risk of being infected and experiencing a loss of 5 DUR per hour if they fail a check against their current DUR. At 0 DUR they break down into a new patch of the mold.

Chamber 4C is filled with rows of suspension and life support tubes full of nutrient gel. Instead of morphs, however, each tube contains an exsurgent nightmare – whippers being the most common, but almost every well-known exsurgent can be found amid the tubes, slumbering as a payload waiting to be unleashed. Realizing that the exsurgents are all viable and all waiting to be set loose on an unsuspecting station inflicts 1d10 Stress. Trying to smash the tubes to kill them simply wakes the horrors up.

Chamber 5A is packed full of boxes of cuts of freeze-dried human flesh, enough to comprise a few hundred people. The boxes are labelled whimsically, with references to Hannibal Steak and the like. Realizing what the boxes contain inflicts 1d10/2 Stress if a Will x3 check is failed. The meat is, if players decide to eat it, fully edible.

Chamber 5B contains the tortued and vivisected remains of the crew, who all bear a sharp resemblance to the morphs the players are wearing. A Will x3 check needs to made made on first seeing the room (1d10/5 Stress if failed), and a Will x2 if a player looks at a morph that matches their own  (1d10/5 Stress s failed) as they hallucinate being killed in that fashion.

Chamber 5C contains a synthmorph built of femtobots that is continually eating itself, spinning slowly in the middle of the room. No risk of infection, but whatever sapience might once have been house in the swarmanoid is long gone, atrophied into nothing by madness.

Chamber 6A is filled with chokingly thick clouds of dust that, if tested, are entirely organic in composition, seemingly made from a vast amount of dead skin cells and organic molecules. While disgusting, the clouds are harmless, and if emptied the room can serve as a safe space for the group to rest.

Chamber 6B is completely empty; like 3C, opening it inflicts 1 Stress on anyone viewing it if they’ve opened any other chamber, but it’s otherwise completely safe to stay in for the timeframe of the adventure.

Chamber 6C contains a dense web of glistening strands that, if tested, prove to be synthetic neurons that are collectively linked to the ship’s mesh network, appearing as NeuralNetA once the door is opened. If accessed, it produces an XP feed comprised of hundreds of human voices screaming, shrieking, and babbling in pain and fear. Isolated snippets give the impression that here is where the egos of the refugees and crew ended up, psychosurgically stitched together into a single violently unstable mind.

Next time, we’ll look at the lower chambers of the ship and the control systems, and the hidden danger of the ship.

EP: Wakeful, Part Four

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