Star Bright

Redhorn Dome
1st February 2159

Redhorn appeared to be a half buried snow globe that had been cracked open by a tremendous force. The dome was the very apex of a new development portion of Pgaroah, comprising a tunnel link and a number of identical new hab areas. They passed through a tunnel checkpoint staffed by EDM, and their temporary accreditation as consultants seemed to pass muster, at least as long as they were with Mariana.

As they entered Redhorn they cleared another checkpoint: they could see the damage above but also that several buildings were still occupied – presumably the buildings could be sealed. Others were still in a state of semi construction, and now, destruction.

As she had explained, Mariana had started reviewing the scene only a couple of hours earlier, at which point EDM had stepped in and tidied the mystery body away. She had taken the opportunity to get back to her office and review the data, as well as run the profiling search, and it was that point she had fortunately spotted Marcus. Now she wanted another look at that body and her possessions.

As the group moved into the dome security cameras and locals with comms move about.

“We probably haven’t got much time before we’re accosted again” muttered Mariana, moving over towards the med point. The examiner was looking at one of several bodies lying on stretchers, and behind here was a mobile refrigerated unit presumably containing the others – including the Jane Doe.

Taking his cue Spyder screeched as he toppled over and feigned an ankle injury. Jonas feigned the concerned bystander. The medical examiners attention was attracted and she came over, shaking her head.

Behind her Mariana and Doc. Orlov, followed by Marcus and Paul, slipped into the refrigeration unit.

The broken and battered body of the mystery woman had been placed in a coroner’s bag and was lying at the back of the unit.

Upon opening the bag the Players saw that the mystery women truly was beautiful. Her hair was a stark white color, but her features were those of a woman no older than her mid-twenties. Her eyes were pale blue and skin was very pale. Further examination revealed numerous scars on her back and thighs that looked like whip and claw marks. Her clothing, which had been removed, was stuffed at the bottom of the bag. Examination of the clothing revealed nothing except that itwas very well made and of an expensive label.

Looking at the body reveaeds two tattoos; one at the nape of the neck depicting a blue oval on which there was a black circle bisected by two perpendicular black lines, and the other one on her right ankle was that of a mobius strip.

Mariana took some quick pictures while Marcus pocketed the data chip before zipping up the lower half of the bag. Just in time.

“What do you think you’re doing here!” said the ETM Officer at the door. Mariana stood her ground.

“As an officer of the Martian Rangers, who will be conducting that part of the investigation outside of the Exclusion Zone I’m conducting any preliminary investigation which might help me” she snapped. “And your contract obliges that you co-operate with me!”

A Sergeant had approached now and joined in.

“And of course we will inform you at the Appropriate time Officer Rupali” he said levelly. “After we have conducted the investigation within OUR jurisdiction. A report will be submitted promptly.”

He gestured towards the Dome exit. Marcus gathered that this was not a request.

View
Breaking News
1st February 2159

“CaduceusNet News Feed (1st February 2159): Sixteen are dead after a suspected act of terrorism occurred in Cydonia. A small habitat dome near Pharoah was struck by two missiles mid afternoon. Located just inside the exclusion zone, Redhorn was being constructed as part of the Open Housing Initiative championed by Mars’ Homestead Party. Four missiles with high-explosive fragmentation warheads were fired, and two struck the unfinished dome within its residential district causing thirteen of the deaths. A further three deaths occurred when a portion of the uncompleted dome collapsed. As the dome had not yet been sealed and pressurized all buildings were independently sealed, thus preventing complete catastrophe. The Martian Rangers are heading the investigation with help from Eckard Tactical Management and freelance operators. (CaduceusNet Services). More news to follow as it unfolds.”

View
Old Aquaintance
1st February 2159

“Marcus!” shouted a female voice. “Marcus Kaminski!”

“Wha…. uhhh….” said Marcus looking around.

Approaching him was a pretty asian woman, dressed in the uniform of the Martian Rangers. He didn’t recognise her at all: was this one of those times when he was going to have to explain his amnesia? The woman grabbed his hand, and chattered on in singsong English with a typical Hindi accent.

“Marcus! How long has it been? Six years?”

“I……..”

“I saw you were in Pharoah last week: your name was flagged up on the arrivals list- who have you been bothering in Mariner City? Anyway, before I could catch you up you had left. University business I gather? Private Security Company now? My My!”

“Le………..”

“Well you’re back now. And just in the nick of time.” She looked round furtively. Marcus started to speak.

“…”

“Need your help Marcus. Need it bad. I’m Marshal for the Cydonia Territory now… supposed to have a Backup but you know what the Mars Authority admin is like. Been on my own for months. I need someone I can trust.” She grabbed his hand and pressed it quickly.

“Well I……….”

“Listen. “You’ve seen the chaos. One of the settlement domes was hit by a Charlie-in-the-Box we think. Four missiles fired, thankfully only two connected. Even so the damage was pretty bad. Fifteen people were killed. I think. Really, it could have been a lot worse but everyone there had their suits on, because the dome wasn’t fully completed and had yet to get it’s habitation cert.”

“I got called in right away. Even though we’re kind of close to the edge of the Zone, not much happens around here. The Church of the Heavenly Stigmata, the Facers and ETM do a pretty good job of keeping the lid on things. Most of the crime is still down the tunnel here, and its pretty minor stuff. So this incident has everyone all shook up. ETM claims it was the Red Legion. Ranger headquarters isn’t ruling out anything currently. "

“So shortly after the strike I oversaw a drone walk through. Wasn’t sure what had occurred and some reports claimed it was a static bombing. Just to be careful I sent in six Overseers, four Sniffers and four Rescuebots. The Sniffers confirmed by way of chemical analysis that the dome had been hit by missiles. Too much solid propellent mixed into the residue to be a static bomb. Plus they found bits of rocket shroud. Anyway, while the Rescuebots helped in search and rescue, the Overseers circle overhead."

“Fifteen dead. I have the images right on my PDA. Some were pretty messed up, but crime scene analysis software confirmed and reconfirmed that there were only enough body parts for fifteen people. Three of them kids no more than eight.”

“I went in person to Redhorn just four hours after the attack. When I get there they have sixteen body bags out, and the local med-techies had already bagged most of the deceased. I can understand not wanting dead loved ones lying about like upended litter, but it’s a bloody crime scene. The damage already done, I reviewed each DNA record and matched it to those on file with the Redhorn med-bank. After a bit of work and three warrants, I finally got all fifteen bodies tagged by the Overseers identified. But there was an extra."

“Med-techs and locals say they found her lying near an inner airlock. No suit, just wearing some high end active wear. Died of asphyxiation. I guess she didn’t make it to the airlock in time. I went back over the Overseer images. She’s not there. Sure there are a lot of shadows, but my dronies know their stuff. She came out of no where. No DNA on file. Not on Redhorn, not on Mars, not on Earth. Luna hasn’t responded."

“The Med-techs had already cleared out her pockets. Some hard credits…untraceable, a pocket knife, a ring…real Venusian diamond, half of a business card, and an encrypted data chip…two terrabytes of data. But the damn chip has a double super-prime lock."

“But if she weren’t dead she’d be a real beauty. I have her a klick and a half away near the lift. I can’t pay much. Ranger’s don’t pay consultants much, but I have something I can give you to make it worth your while."

“While the investigation technically belongs to ETM, as Area Marshal the missiles came from outside the Hab., which is my jurisdiction – so I am entitled to an interest in this. But ETM are being… not as helpful as they might. I need to get in there gain and a little distraction and sleight of hand would be helpful. What do you say?”

“Well……” said Marcus.

View
Just A Few Hours Later......
1st February 2159

“What a mess!” said Marcus. They had returned to Pharoah, which seemed strangely intact: but the place was in uproar. Even the organic wholefood cafes had shutters down.

“From what I can gather the main damage is in a new construction zone a few kliks away” said Jonas. “Poor bastards”.

“Still” he added, “I think the satellite link is still working so I’ll go and file our report.” He wandered off.

“Let’s find somewhere to stay” suggested Jake. He and Spyder wandered off to look for a hotel, while Marcus, Paul and Doc. Orlov sat outside one of the few open cafes and watched the chaos.

“Marcus!” shouted a female voice. “Marcus Kaminski!”

“Wha…. uhhh….” said Marcus looking around.

Approaching him was a pretty asian woman, dressed in the uniform of the Martian Rangers. He didn’t recognise her at all: was this one of those times when he was going to have to explain his amnesia? The woman grabbed is hand, and chattered on in singsong English with a typical Hindi accent.

“Marcus! How long has it been? Six years?”

“I……..”

“I saw you were in Pharoah last week: your name was flagged up on the arrivals list- who have you been bothering in Mariner City? Anyway, before I could catch you up you had left. University business I gather? Private Security Company now? my my!”

“Le………..”

“Well you’re back now. And just in the nick of time.” She looked round furtively. Mrcus started to speak.

“…”

“Need your help Marcus. Need it bad. I’m Marshal for the Cydonia Territory now… supposed to have a Backup but you know what the Mars Authority Admin is like. Been on my own for months. I need someone I can trust.” She grabbed his hand and pressed it quickly.

“Well I……….”

“Listen. “You’ve seen the chaos. One of the settlement domes was hit by a Charlie-in-the-Box we think. Four missiles fired, thankfully only two connected. Even so the damage was pretty bad. Fifteen people were killed. I think. Really, it could have been a lot worse but everyone there had their suits on, because the dome wasn’t fully completed and had yet to get it’s habitation cert.”

“I got called in right away. Even though we’re kind of close to the edge of the Zone, not much happens around here. The Church of the Heavenly Stigmata, the Facers and ETM do a pretty good job of keeping the lid on things. Most of the crime is still down the tunnel here, and its pretty minor stuff. So this incident has everyone all shook up. ETM claims it was the Red Legion. Ranger headquarters isn’t ruling out anything, but some higher ups fear that the Lunatics might be stirring up trouble to distract the EU from Titan."

“So shortly after the strike I oversaw a drone walk through. Wasn’t sure what had occurred and some reports claimed it was a static bombing. Just to be careful I sent in six Overseers, four Sniffers and four Rescuebots. The Sniffers confirmed by way of chemical analysis that the dome had been hit by missiles. Too much solid propellent mixed into the residue to be a static bomb. Plus they found bits of rocket shroud. Anyway, while the Rescuebots helped in search and rescue, the Overseers circle overhead."

"
“Fifteen dead. I have the images right on my PDA. Some were pretty messed up, but crime scene analysis software confirmed and reconfirmed that there were only enough body parts for fifteen people. Three of them kids no more than eight for Ares sake.
“I went in person to Redhorn just four hours after the attack. When I get there they have sixteen body bags out, and the local med-techies had already bagged most of the deceased. I can understand not wanting dead loved ones lying about like upended litter, but it’s a bloody crime scene. The damage already done, I reviewed each DNA record and matched it to those on file with the Redhorn med-bank. After a bit of work and three warrants, I finally got all fifteen bodies tagged by the Overseers identified. But there was an extra.
“Med-techs and locals say they found her lying near an inner airlock. No tighties, just wearing some high end active wear. Died of asphyxiation. I guess she didn’t make it to the airlock in time. I went back over the Overseer images. She’s not there. Sure there are a lot

View
Return to Pharoah
1st February 2159

FullSizeRender.jpg

The base staff were following in their own WTV’s. They had decided that something significant was going to happen with the Red Legions’s plans for the Project, and they were unsure as to whether or not they had disrupted it sufficiently. Better safe than sorry.

“We should still get paid” argued Jonas. “The Doc. and I have put together a report with all the sabotage evidence showing what was going on. While we think there was some other plan going on at the same time, and we don’t know what that is, we have isolated the problem they asked us about” .

They were about 30 kliks from Pharoah now, and were starting to pick up radio traffic.

“What the hell is that?” yelled Spyder, pointing southwards.

As they gathered forward to watch the view screens they saw four streaks of light, approaching in the direction of Pharoah from the east. Moments later their sensors registered the impact as the light streaked southwards and disappeared downwards, presumably directly into Pharoah.

View
A Too Warm Welcome
29th January 2159

Katrina was dubious about all this. They had no way of knowing whether or not the message they had forced Rotmann to send contained a coded warning or not: they were gambling on the fact that they had intimidated him sufficiently.

What was also worrying was that the next ‘drop’ by Rotmann to his associates had not been scheduled in his diary – in fact no others were. Was that significant?

They had drawn Professor Wilson into their confidence, and circulated the story that Rotmann was very ill: in fact he was sedated. In the meanwhile they had decided to approach the hidden base, realising that it would take far to long to notify the Mars Authorities – a satellite hookup was not due for several days. Even the day they had delayed due to Spyder’s, Jake’s and Paul’s injuries might well prove significant.

They found the base easily enough: the satellite data had even showed vehicle tracks. A metal vehicle door set into the cliff face. Marcus and Spyder had bypassed the security on a pedestrian door, and let their vehicle inside. Inside was a small vehicle park – empty -and there was still power and emergency lighting.

The first room they entered was some sort of dining area, and a click and a sudden explosion sent Marcus flying through the air: his armored coat shredded and his head banging against a wall. With Doc. Orlov’s help, Jonas carried him back to the WTV.

“My bet is they’ve gone” said Jonas. “All that’s left is booby traps.”

Jake had to agree that the device looked home made: shotgun pellets, a tin box, and most likely recycled propellant from cartridges. Nevertheless he pressed o – until he triggered a second device, though this time thankfully less disasterously.

“Just get the Fuck out of there” said Jonas.

Jake had to agree.

View
Stefan Webb: Bad Cop
28th January 2159

“Gethimofmeee!” screamed Rotmann as Spyder whaled his injured shoulder with his flip flop, and then attempted to stuff it down his mouth. The others watched is astonishment as Spyder had straddled the injured man, and then started pummelling him, his scrawny arm moving up and down like a piston.

They were in the Med Bay, and the rest of the base were yet still asleep, without a clue as to what was going on. Rotmann had resisted their efforts to interrogate him, and Spyder, badly injured and bruised, was not int he mood for mind games.

“You almost killed me Goddammit!” he yelled.

“Get off!”

“Oh fucking hurt him Spyder”, said Jonas, “The little weasal won’t play ball so have your fun.”

To Paul’s amazement the others watched with either amusement or disinterest, until Spyder started to stuff his latest copy of ‘Muscles N’ Pecs’ down Rotmann’s mouth. Jonas pulled his twig -like body away and smiled at the coughing technician.

“Spyder is real mad” he said. “This isn’t Good Cop, Bad Cop: we just don’t fucking care. So just spill the beans or I let him back on you.” Spyder surged forward.

“Let me at that Bastard He almost killed me!” Jonas looked at Rotmann and raised his eyebrows.

Rotmann decided to be a little more forthcoming: he admitted that he was a plant by the Red Legion, and that he had been sabotaging the data to throw the scientist’s calculations out – leading to a snowball effect of error and miscalculation.

When pressed he admitted that he had a fortnightly rendezvous near a monitoring station some 50 km north west of Fafnir: a computer check of his maintenance schedule confirmed this -every two weeks on the dot.

He met with an unmarked WTV and passed over any new data, and received any ongoing instructions: this had been going on for about two years. He did not know exactly who they were, or where they came from.

“He sent narrow band message on unusual frequency just before midnight” said Doc. Orlov. “Range would be maybe 40 -50 km maximum”

“Warned them the shit was about to hit the fan most like” commented Jake. “I reckon their base must be close.”

“This project will have regular satellite flyovers” said Doc. Orlov.

“I see where you’re going” said Jonas. “Good thinking Doc.”

“What do you mean?” asked Spyder.

“If we can look at the stored satellite data and apply some constructive filtering, we might be able to spot a signature” replied Jonas.

“Let’s do it then” said Spyder. “And maybe we should get this piece of crap to send another message to reassure his buddies that everything is ok.”

View
A Short Gunfight
28th January 2159

Katrina stepped out of the elevator, and ran quickly towards the main lab working module. A relay message to her PDA had warned her of the Droid problem, and she guessed that someone must be directing their movements.

Pausing outside she looked down at the ridiculous Ug Boots- a tasteful present from Spyder, but quite comfortable – and then opened the door.

Paul Rotmann was at the console; he looked up with a look of mild surprise on his face. The sweep of her vision quickly took in the Bandit 9mm resting on the console next to him.

She pointed her Anvil 12mm .

“Я не думаю, что так мой друг”.

Rotmann grabbed for the pistol. She fired and took him clean through the shoulder, pitching him backwards with a clatter of chairs and various other incidentals.

“My apologies Mr. Rotmann” she said dispassionately. “I forget you not speak Russian.”

View
Destruction Derby
28th January 2159

As they drove along the tunnel Jake mused about his past. It was much like an old salt mine he had visited while a schoolkid on Earth, beneath the plains of ancient Cheshire. Miles of underground tunnels, traversed by trucks and vehicles.

A blip drew his attention.

“Proximity sensors” he said to Paul. “It’s sayin’ ‘ere that there’s maybe a dozen objects ahead of us, moving away from us at…err…. 10 kph.”

“Slow for a vehicle” said Paul.

“Bit fast for a bloke on foot though” added Jake. The reason soon became clear.

Ahead of them in the tunnel about a dozen of the small maintenance robots were trundling away on their monowheels; as they edged closer they could see the limp and bloody form of Spyder being dragged behind three of them.

“Right” said Jake, drawing his Anvil 12mm. “Get us closer mate.”

He waved Marcus and warned him, though he knew that this would not reach Doc. Orlov if she had returned to the surface: one of the wall relays would have to be used to contact her directly.

Jake fired and missed. After a short delay two of the small machines drew alongside and jabbed and poked with arm drills, built in wrenching tools and other sundry handibot accoutements.

“Yarrowwwh” yelled Jake painfully as a power drill skimmed his arm. “Get us out of here!”

Paul too had received a nasty cut. He gunned the Moke, ploughing through two of the small droids and converting them into scrap metal, and then sped ahead down the tunnel. The top speed of the Mokes was only about 100 kph, but this still far outstripped the small robots. Driving ahead, he did a three point turn and faced back down towards the tunnel and gunned the engine. In the headlights ahead the remaining ten droids moved ominously towards them, having now discarded Spyder.

Paul put his foot down, and drove through another two of the droids: as they approached Jake blew another to smithereens. Mechanical arms flailed and jabbed at them as they ploughed through the press, and using their limited aerodyne ability two of them managed to mount the front of the vehicle, attacking Paul and Jake directly and painfully.

Jake blew one of them off, and ignoring the blows Paul tried to steer them through the press before they were clear, this time with two droids still on the hood. Jake blew another off.

It was a close run thing. Both of them were badly battered now and it was unlikely that they could survive another assault. Paul slammed the brakes on and the final droid flew off. He gunned it again and they managed to drive down towards Spyder.

Leaving the engine running, Paul and Jake staggered off, and painfully heaved Spyder into the flatbed.

“Bloody ’urry up!” cried Jake, there’s still a few more and they’re comin’ back"

View
Paul Gets Baffled
28th January 2159

Paul had managed to Wave Doc. Orlov, but was now down in the tunnels alone, moving towards Spyder’s rendezvous. The Warehouse area directly below the base appeared empty, and he had now entered the small area comprising the maintenance machinery which then led on to a small vehicle park, and the kilometeres wide network of underground tunnels. It was in this area that Spyder had gone, towards a small room which served as a monitoring station.

All was quiet except for the background hum of life support machinery. In the corridor outside the monitoring station he spotted severla spots of blood on the panelled floor.

“This sodesn’t look good” he thought. A few meters farther on, leading toward the exit to the vehicle bay, he spotted one of Spyder’s flip flops.

“Is this bamboo?” he thought.

Cautiously he entered the monitoring room. Empty. A chair appeared knocked over though. He went out into the vehicle park, further along the tunnel: it looked as though Spyder had maybe been dragged in this direction.

The vehicle park was simply a small hollowed out cavern and maintenance area for the four small Mars Mokes – little open topped buggies with a flatbed area – which enabled the base staff to more easily traverse the kilometers of underground tunnels, and various maintenance stations within them connected with the massive soil hydrology project. All four were still parked up – they had viewed them on their guided tour a day previously.

Ahead he knew the tunnel ran in a straight line for 5 km before coming to the first of many regular (10km) crossroads, forming a huge subterranean grid of tunnels beneath the plain. The area emergency lit as he entered, but he could otherwise see nothing.

Slightly nervous now he headed back into the maintenance are, and started to check some of the other rooms. So he was that he encountered Doc. Orlov, clad in pale green pyjamas and Ug Boots, wielding a Bandit 12mm. The others were in a similar state of undress, with T shirts, shorts and quickly donned footwear. Quick explanations followed.

“It looks like he may have been dragged along the tunnels”, said Jonas. “You and Jake should take one of the Mokes and have a quick look. Me and Marcus will take a closer check down here and in the warehouse, and then follow on.” He looked at Katrina.

“You should go upstairs and see if anyone is up late suspiciously or working” he said. Katrina nodded, and left.m

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.