Adventure Source: GURPS TransHuman Space – Orbital Decay (heavily modified)
Game Date: Jun 14 2020
Session Post: No Session Post
Teaser: Ninety minutes into their mission to investigate a malfunctioning Romulan Space Station in the Shackleton Expanse, the Kimura detects a small cloaked vessel about to ram them. Some fancy maneuvering by the helmsman 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 is cut off.
Is the Away Team still alive? What has happened in the Med Lab?
- 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)
Notable Information: The supposedly dead Romulan that had been retrieved from space turns out to be much livelier than expected.
Two additional infected Romulans are retrieved after being blown out into space from the collision of the small ship with the station.
The away team survived the collision, being in an adjacent section of the station. The pressure doors successfully close and seal off the damaged area.
The Away Team discovers that there were three different weaponized viruses being developed on the station and somehow all three got loose and infected the crew.
The collision knocked the station into a decaying orbit which would cause it to plunge into the atmosphere in several hours and likely burn up. There was a chance that some portions might survive reentry and infect the planet so the crew assisted the process by exploding the fusion reactor and using the tractor beam to ensure all large pieces would have a reentry path that would guarantee burn up.
Mission Recap: Picking up from the end of the previous session, Zhaav managed to pull a drastic maneuver to avoid a collision with a small Romulan ship, about double the size of a Runabout. Most of the Bridge crew manage to grab onto something, but the Captain gets tossed from his chair but doesn’t injure himself. Zhaav quickly explains what happened, and they see an explosion on the front viewscreen as the small ship impacts the space station.
A quick scan detects that two bodies have been sucked into space in the area of the collision, and that all the air in that section of the station has been vented. After a few tense seconds, it is determined that both bodies are Romulan and that there are still some life signs coming from them.
They beam them to Sickbay 2 and immediately secure them and put up protective force fields around the beds and the Sickbay.
Meanwhile, down in the Security Office, also on Deck 3, CPO Winston Emmet is almost thrown from his chair due to the drastic maneuvering. As he tidies up his desk and waits for some sort of announcement, he hears a disturbance out in the hallway.
Heading out to investigate, he comes across one of the nurses, clutching her arm which is bleeding profusely. He calls Security Chief Oqwadel and the doctor on call from Sick Bay while providing basic first aid to the nurse.
Lt. Oqwadel flies from the Bridge (possibly literally), forgetting to update the Captain, and heads down to join CPO Emmet. The nurse tells them that the supposedly dead Romulan that had been in Med Lab 1 attacked her in the hallway.
Back on the space station, everyone is tossed around as there is a sudden impact, several small explosions, and the air suddenly starts getting sucked out of the station. Everyone manages to grab onto something, CPO Brenner, being closest to the area with the breach, sees a pair of whitish arms burst through the ceiling in the corridor, frantically flailing for something to grab onto, then suddenly vanish as they get sucked through the air shaft into the breached section of the space station. An infected rat also gets sucked out from under a nearby console and down the corridor and out into the breached area before the pressure doors manage to finish closing.
The Away Team gathers together, a quick check determines that everyone is okay. Ensign Ratzel says he is fairly confident that he can break into the main computer system and figure out what is going on. It’s a difficult task, but he manages to pull it off. He determines that Green Sector, which is the living area that he and Lt. Cmd. Rahn had gone through is now in vacuum. The pressure doors on both ends have successfully sealed and live support is still working enough that the air in the other three sections should be replenished shortly.
He also determines that the cloaking field is no longer working properly in the Green Sector, and they should be able to communicate with the ship from there, but it is still working in the other areas. Power can be restored to the console in the core of the space station that controls the cloak, but it cannot be shut off from here.
There is also a section labeled “Red Sector” that has an independent security field that will prevent scanning, communications, and transport even after the cloaking field is dropped. The computer lists it as being Biotech labs, but all information about that Sector appears to be stored in an independent computer system within the Sector itself. Yellow Sector is listed as being Labs and Lab Equipment Storage. A quick look at that data from that section doesn’t sure anything unusual, just standard biochemistry and medical studies, as well as a Sickbay. Only a couple of small projects are listed, it appears to be mostly unused.
Dr. O’Nnyah decides that she will take Ensign Ratzel and Lt. Cmd. Rahn with her and they will cut through the breached Green Sector to get to Red Sector rather than risk going through the unexplored Yellow sector. As they go through Green Sector they will contact the Kimura and give them an update, requesting some additional time and requesting that a replacement EVA suit been sent to the core for CPO Brenner.
CPO Brenner and Cmd. Xedrix will head to the core and shut down the cloaking field so the team can be beamed out from anywhere, except Red Sector.
The first team makes it through Green Sector without incident and manages to open the first set of pressure doors then get them closed again. The second team makes it to the core, meeting Lt. Cmd. Rowan who has beamed over with the spare EVA suit for CPO Brenner, which he quickly changes into.
Back on the Kimura, Lt. Oqwadel meets CPO Emmet, gets an update from him, and then (finally) contacts the Bridge to let them know what is happening. Intruder Alert protocols are activated, and Lt. Cmd. Andreas does a full scan of Deck 3, looking for Romulan life signs. As he is reporting that none have been detected, another call comes in for Security saying the there is a disturbance in the Mess Hall. Lt. Oqwadel and CPO Winston rush down to Deck 4, meeting Lt. Cmd. Sivath on the way. They encounter several crew members out in the hallways near the Mess Hall. The crew members report that the infected Romulan rushed in, knocking several crew members out of their chairs but otherwise not attacking them. He seemed to be more interested in their food and they were able to evacuate the Mess Hall safely.
Rather than risk entering combat with the Romulan, Sivath orders that he be beamed directly to the Brig. This is accomplished without much difficulty and all the Romulans are safely secured. At this point Dr. O’Nnyah contacts the Kimura with her update and request for an EVA suit.
On the station, Cmd. Xedrik has started work at the computer console to break into the controls for the cloaking device. CPO Brenner is just making the final adjustments to his EVA Suit, and Lt. Cmd Tonelli is walking over to the far side of the Ops Center when an infected rat suddenly leaps out at them from behind the bank of computers. Tonelli, being firmly anchored to the deck with magnetic boots, manages to catch the rat, slamming it onto the deck, in the general direction of Cmd. Xedrik.
Cmd. Xedrik decides he can crack the code just as easily standing on his chair as he can sitting on it and changes position. He’s not entirely correct about it being just as easy, but does eventually succeed.
The rat, lacking magnetic boots, struggles to get turned around in the zero gee of the core, making it a fairly easy target for Tonelli and Brenner to take care of with their phasers. It takes several shots from each, and the rat does manage one more leap at Brenner before it gets put down, but it just misses him.
Back in Red Sector, the rest of the Away Team gets through the second set of pressure doors, then an additional set of security doors. They find themselves in a decontamination room, with several lockers containing decontamination suits, and additional lockers for storage of regular clothing. They decide that their own EVA suits should be sufficient, but they do need a glove from one of the Romulan suits to be able to open the main door into the lab as there is a palm reader that matches up to the suit that controls entry.
They find themselves in a large laboratory, there are several closed-off areas and a large central area that has some Cryotubes, several research computer stations, some computerized gene sequencers, a dedicated computer core, two shield generators and various other pieces of scientific equipment.
Running low on time, they decide to download as much information to their tricorders as they can. Dr O’Nnyah investigates the Cryotubes, discovering a Klingon in one, in the final stages of the modified Augment Virus disease.
Lt. Cmd. Rahn manages to break into one of the research stations, getting quite good at it now that he’s had lots of practice, however, perhaps being a little overconfident, he accidentally opens the door to one of the chambers near where they entered the lab. Apparently that room is connected to the experiments being done from this station.
One of the monkey-like creatures pops out into the hallway, Ensign Ratzel immediately blasts it with his phaser. The monkey, which Ratzel now realizes shows no signs of infection, drops to a sitting position, and, looking somewhat forlorn, butt scoots it’s way back into the chamber it came out of. Just to be safe, they close the door and lock the chamber up again.
At the other end of the lab, they discover one room that contains samples secured away in a containment system. After inspecting it, they discover that a code must be entered on the keypad to retrieve the samples. Checking the data they have recovered so far, they find some codes for the virus’s being worked on at the station Rahn cracked, and some for the Augment virus from data pulled from the Cryotube.
Time is running out, they have just enough time to break into one of the gene sequencers, download the data from it, get a couple more codes for samples, grab those samples and get out of the Red Sector.
On the Kimura, they have realized that the impact of the small ship has knocked the space station out of its normal orbit. Its orbit is rapidly decaying and it will enter the planet’s atmosphere. There is a chance that some parts of the station could survive reentry and infect the life on the planet, particularly the primates, which are the same species that the Romulans were using for testing on the station.
To ensure that the station burns up completely, the Captain orders the Away Team to set the fusion reactor to overload. They do this then beam back to the Kimura. Several minutes later, the station explodes. They use the tractor beam to adjust the trajectory of several pieces, ensuring that they will burn up. They don’t want to use the phasers or torpedoes as these could leave residual signs behind that the Romulans could discover. They want them to believe that some sort of accident caused the station’s destruction.
The Kimura then warps away before any Romulan Warbirds show up.
Between the data and samples they retrieved from the station, and the infected Romulans that they still have secured, they are able to determine that three viruses were infecting the station.
The first was the modified Augment Virus, it was referred to as “Harrower” in the Romulan data.
It slowly rots the flesh of those it infects. It is intended to overtax health-care systems and sap morale among enemies rather than to kill large numbers of people. Design of the nanoplague was essentially complete at the time of the breach. Designed to be extremely contagious, the bioweapon spreads by airborne bacteria as well as close contact with sore-carrying victims
The next virus was referred to as “Shocktrooper” Proteus Virus.
Close to completion at the time of the breach, this experimental nanovirus is intended to produce instant shock troops, enhancing the strength and durability of those it infects.
It is a proteus nanovirus, a bionanomachine that reproduces rapidly through the body, resequences DNA, and stimulates quick growth of newly modified cells.
Increased strength and pain resistance are among its beneficial effects. The virus also causes the body to automatically enter deep hibernation in life-threatening conditions, such as lack of oxygen or severe trauma, often enabling the person to survive otherwise- lethal circumstances. The transformed person is ravenous.
While the physiological effects virus are close to design specifications, gengineers had not yet resolved a glitch allowing hosts to pass the virus to others. Some other unintended side effects remain – the skin bleaches to a pale white, and the victim gains excellent night vision, with a corresponding aversion to bright light. “Shocktrooper” can be transmitted via body fluids, such as saliva from a bite.
The third virus was referred to as “Propaganda” Neurovirus.
This neurovirus, intended to demoralize and disorganize enemy forces by inducing a sudden, severe depression, escaped at an early stage of its gengineering. Rather than delivering a finely tuned neurochemical attack, the flawed virus causes gross brain damage and stimulates aggression in victims.
Neuroviruses are normally optimized to make subtle changes in personality and mental structure by altering the connections between neurons and adjusting the neurochemical balance of the brain.
Fortunately, work on the infectiousness of the virus is incomplete. The finished neurovirus was meant to spread like most communicable diseases, through airborne pathogens from sneezing or coughing. At present, the unfinished neurovirus cannot survive for long in the air, nor does it make victims ill enough to cause sneezing or coughing. It can currently be passed only through direct contact with body fluids, such as saliva from a bite.
Fortunately, there was also enough information to develop treatments for the viruses, although it seems that the brain damage from the “Propaganda” Neurovirus may not be entirely reversible.