STA Mission Report 09 – Orbital Decay Part 1

Adventure Source: GURPS TransHuman Space – Orbital Decay (heavily modified)

Meetup Link: https://www.meetup.com/Star-Trek-Gaming/events/270489788/

Game Date: May 17 2020

Session Post: No Session Post

Teaser: While conducting a stellar and planetary survey mission to a remote part of the Shackleton Expanse near Sigma Librae and the Romulan Star Empire and encrypted signal is picked up emanating from a near by solar system. Sensors sporadically pick up what seems to be a space station orbiting a Class-M planet. The station seems to be blinking in and out of existence and the signal is not repeated.

Active Characters:

  • Cmd. O’Nnyah (Raven) (Away Team)
  • Ensign Wolfgang Ratzel (Terry) (Away Team)
  • Lt. Kirkuurzhaav th’Zoarhi (Trevor)
  • Lt. Cmd. Sivath (Garrett)
  • Lt. Cmd. Reittan Andreas (Jon)
  • Captain T’Kor (Terry)
  • Lt. Oqwadel (Raven)
  • Chief Petty Officer Dallas Brenner (Jon) (Away Team)
  • Cmd. Xedrik (Trevor) (Away Team)
  • Lt Cmd. Taemin Rahn (Garrett) (Away Team)

Important NPCs

  • Cmd. Natalie Sigmund, Star Fleet Intelligence (off screen, message only)

Notable Information: A short burst message from Cmd. Natalie Sigmund was sent, requesting the Kimura make a course alteration to a nearby “system of interest”.

Scans of the system show a class M planet with life forms up to the primate level, but no civilizations. An object briefly appears every fifteen minutes for a few seconds at a time, this is determined to be an old Romulan Space Station that is cloaked except the central core gets exposed when an encoded message is sent every 15 minutes.

A Romulan body in a EVA suit is recovered, a Romulan. It is infected with a virus very similar to the one that caused the plague in the B’el’th paH star system several months previous. That was when the crew of the Kimura first met Natalie Sigmund. An unknown second virus is also detected in the Romulan’s body. The corpse is left in the EVA suit in a stasis field and moved to Med Lab 2.

The crew figures they may have as little as two hours before a Romulan Warbird could show up, so an away team is sent to the Space Station.

The Station seems to be unoccupied except for several diseased rats, and a diseased primate which attacks the crew when caught between two groups of crew members. The Away team finds the Operations Centre and downloads the encrypted Communications logs.

At the same time, about 90 minutes since the Away Team left, Lt. Zhaav, who had been continually scanning for cloaked vessels, picks up a cloaked small craft, about twice the size of a Runabout, about to ram the Kimura.

Some fancy last second maneuvering by Zhaav causes the small ship to miss the Kimura, but it then slams into the space station.

A few minutes later, as the crew of the Kimura is recovering from the drastic maneuvering, the Security Chief receives a call from near the Med Lab. “Send help! It’s alive and …”. The communication cuts out.

Mission Recap: A short burst message from Cmd. Natalie Sigmund is received by Lt. Cmd. Sivath, requesting the Kimura make a course alteration to a nearby “system of interest”. Time is of the essence.

There is nothing in the message to indicate that the mission is classified as Top Secret or that it cannot shared with the crew.

Lt. Cmd. Sivath discusses the request with Captain T’Kor, expressing some reservations about whether Cmd. Sigmund can be trusted, and debating if they should honor the request. The Captain calls a staff meeting, and after some discussion they decide they will investigate the system, but be very careful.

Scans of the system show a class M planet with life forms up to the primate level, but no civilizations. An object briefly appears every fifteen minutes for a few seconds at a time. A focused scan shows that the object is the central core of a space station. The core becomes uncloaked for about 5 seconds when an encoded message is sent. The message repeats every 15 minutes.

They attempt to open a communications channel to the station, but no response is received.

The same scan also picks up a very faint emergency ping coming from near the cloaked station. Further investigation determines that this is coming from an EVA suit floating nearby. No life signs are detected from the suit.

A protective stasis field is set up around the transporter pad and the suit is beamed on board. There is the body of a female Romulan in the suit. Dr. O’Nnyah scans the body with a medical tricorder and finds that it is infected with a variation of the Augment virus similar to the one which caused the plague in the B’el’th paH star system several months previous. That was also where the crew of the Kimura first met Natalie Sigmund. Dr. O’Nnyah also detects an unknown second virus. They decide to move the corpse to Med Lab 2, leaving it in the EVA suit and using an anti grav stretcher with a stasis field to move the body. Dr. O’Nnyah intends to do further investigation in the near future.

At the same time, Lt. Cmd. Sivath and Chief Petty Officer Dallas Brenner work together to break the encryption on the code, determining that it is a Tal Shiar encryption. The message itself is a distress call, stating that there has been an outbreak and assistance is required.

The command crew meets again. They do some rough calculations based on when they received the message from Cmd. Sigmund, the time it took to get to the system, the distance they are from Romulan space and the time they have spent so far. Conservatively, this would give about five hours before a Romulan Warbird might show up, but it could be as little as two if one happens to be closer than expected, or decides to push to maximum warp to get to the station.

They discuss several options, including destroying the station. It is decided that they will send an away team to the station, but if any life signs are detected, they will abort the mission.

The team dons full EVA suits and sets the transporter up to beam them over to the core of the space station during one of the five second gaps in the cloaking field. They arrive safely and discover that they are in zero gee, the station does not have artificial gravity.. A scan for life signs reveals a couple of rat size readings, but nothing larger. The cloaking field and a security field prevents them from getting readings from any further into the station.

With some help from a crowbar found near one of the cargo areas, they are able to get into the Control room for the Fusion Reactor. There is no power to the consoles in the room, or to anything in the core area. A scan shows that the fusion reactor is working fine, the consoles just seem to be locked out from somewhere else. They determine that the station is a very old Romulan design, although one of the control panels looks much newer, they think it is likely for the cloaking device, which would have been installed at a later date.

Because of the time crunch they are under, they decide to break into two groups to investigate the station. Chief Petty Officer Dallas Brenner, Dr. O’Nnyah, and Cmd. Xedrik go down one of the four passageways leading away from the core to the outer ring of the station. Ensign Wolfgang Ratzel and Lt Cmd. Taemin Rahn head down the opposite passageway. The gravity gradually increases as the move down the ladders because of the station’s spin, reaching .5 Gs at the end of the passage.

Ratzel and Rahn find an open door at the bottom in the counterclockwise direction and a locked door in the clockwise direction. They also find a rat carcass, picked clean, on the floor. They decide to investigate the area through the open door. The first area they discover is a gymnasium. All the equipment has been turned over, the lockers are open and the contents are scattered around the floor. The next area seems to be a dining hall of some sort. Again, everything is scattered around and many empty food packages are in this area. They briefly see a pale hand closing a hatch in the floor, but when they rush over and try and open it they are unsuccessful. It feels as if something initially pulls back and then locks or latches the hatch from the inside.

Meanwhile CPO Brenner, Dr. O’Nnyah, and Cmd Xedrik get to the bottom of their passage and find two open doors. Counterclockwise leads to a hallway with several doors, but clockwise opens into what looks like a control room, which is what they were hoping to find.

As they enter the area, Dr. O’Nnyah’s light catches something darting through the doors on the far side of the room and she sees that it dropped something on the floor. Moving to investigate, she sees a half eaten rat like creature laying there. A scan with the medical tricorder reveals that it has the same viruses as the Romulan corpse that was found drifting in space.

The workstations are all damaged, the keyboards are broken and the displays have been smashed. CPO Brenner determines that the large station is for external communications and attempts to rig his tricorder up to the station to pull the logs out. They are encrypted, but he figures they can decode them later. As he is working, a large diseased rat like creature scurries out from under the console into the room. It then freezes as it sees the other occupants. Cmd. Xedrick lets out a squeak and makes an impressive leap onto the console near the right hand side of the door, drawing his phaser on the way.

The rat scurries in the opposite direction towards the banks of computers and disappears from sight.

Dr. O’Nnyah calls Ensign Ratzel and Lt Cmd. Rahn to let them know that the Operations area has been found and asking them to please meet up with them here.

Ratzel and Rahn figure that they are half way through the section they are in, and that it should connect to the section that the rest of the Away Team is in, so they decide to move quickly through their section rather than going back to the passage and all the way through the core and down the other side. They do hear some scurrying and other noises both overhead and below as they move, but don’t encounter any difficulties.

They arrive at the far end of the section that the rest of the Away Team is in and move down the hallway and through the large set of doors at the end into main Operations Centre.

At the other end of the section, CPO Brenner moves towards the console near where Dr. O’Nnyah is finishing up her examination of the rat corpse.
As he approaches the console, the doors open and a medium size primate, about the size of a rhesus monkey leaps out at him. He drops to the floor, hoping the creature will overshoot him, but it lands on him and starts clawing at him.

Dr. O’Nnyah and Cmd. Xedrick (still keeping an eye out for rats from his vantage on top of the other console) fire their phasers at the creature, but they seem to have little effect.

The creature goes in for a vicious bite on Brenner, which he just manages to avoid by stuffing his phaser into it’s mouth.

Ensign Ratzel and Lt Cmd. Rahn, hearing the commotion, rush towards the rest of the time, getting briefly delayed by a dead end room.

The creature bites at Brenner again, this time tearing a hole in his EVA suit, but failing to break the skin. Two more phaser shots again fail to drop the creature.

By this time, Ensign Ratzel has made it to the doorway. Noticing an open equipment locker beside the doorway, he manages to reach over, get the monkey off CPO Brenner’s back, pivot and slam it into the locker and get the door closed. They then weld the locker shut with a phaser. They then move into the main Operations and Security areas, intending to see if they can access the rest of the systems on the station.

Meanwhile, Lt. Zhaav, has been continually scanning for cloaked vessels, picks up a cloaked small craft, about twice the size of a Runabout, about to ram the Kimura. He was looking for much larger vessels so didn’t spot the small craft until it was almost on top of them.

Zhaav pulls the ship equivalent of a standing backflip and manages to dodge the small ship, causing a few moments of extreme stress on the inertial dampers, and the Kimura’s crew. However, the small ship continues on it’s course and slams into the space station.

A few minutes later, as the crew of the Kimura is recovering from the drastic maneuvering, and frantically trying to determine which area of the station got hit, the Security Chief receives a call from near the Med Lab. “Send help! It’s alive and …”. The communication cuts out.

Fade to credits. To be continued…

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