STA Mission Report 11 – A Forest Apart pt 1

Adventure Source: A Forest Apart – Published Adventure

Meetup Link:

Game Date: July 12 2020

Session Post: No Session Post

Teaser: On the frontier of Federation space, the Player Characters encounter a vessel of unknown origin: a forested geodesic dome. The damaged craft appears to be well over 1,000 years old and foreign to the Milky Way Galaxy. It does not respond to hails and no intelligent life readings are detected.

Active Characters:

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

Important NPCs:

  • Ckcclwlttc – A member of the insectiod race, the Jahan !Xu

Notable Information: The domed ship is made of organic material. The tress on the ship are dying because they are losing sap from holes made by wood-poring creatures. These creatures small sentient insectiods call the Jahan !Xu which exist in hyper-accelerated time, making them invisible. They suffer from a neurodegenerative disease that has nearly wiped out their species. Only the sap of the ancient trees, to which they are addicted, slows the progress.

Dr. O’Nnyah and the crew of the Kimura, working with one of the Jahan !Xu have developed a treatment for the addiction but need additional test subjects to develop a full on cure. An away team has beamed over to the ship to try and establish communication with the ship and with the other Jahan !Xu.

Mission Recap: The Kimura is continuing it’s scouting mission along the edge of the Shackleton Expanse in the area that is closest to the Romulan Empire. They have been mapping the area and trying to detect any traces of Romulan ships heading into the Shackleton Expanse as Starfleet Intelligence has reported an increased Romulan presence in the Expanse.

They pick up an alien vessel of unknown origin drifting out of the Expanse towards the far arm of Federation space.

The vessel is organic in nature, ten kilometres in diameter with no detectable weapon systems. It consists of a large transparent geodesic dome through which a forest of golden-leafed, silver-barked trees can be seen. The dome is covered in a hexagon of vines. Solar sails attach to the support frame beneath the dome. The frame tapers into a massive root system. There are no docking ports or hatches visible.

Further scans and closer visual inspection reveal that the ship is over 1,000 years old and it’s trajectory indicates that it came through the Expanse. It has damage that is consistent with the storms that are present in the Expanse, similar to the damage the ships in Convoy SE-119 took when hit by the electromagnetic pulses in the storm they went through.

The forest also appears to be sick, although there is a ring of healthy trees at the heart of the forest within an ancient ruin. The vessel is also generating a fluctuating bioenergetic field which is strongest in the center where the ruins are and weaker at the edges of the dome. The area at the center of the field is flooded with negative ions, which scrambles sensors and makes transporting to that area impossible.

The crew decides that the safest approach would be to beam a sample of part of one of the dying trees from the edge of the forest. Because Sickbay is set up for direct transport, they decide to beam a large branch to one of the beds there, with a stasis field and other security precautions in place.

There is some difficulty in getting the sample beamed over, but they do succeed. They then beam it to one of the labs for examination. As the second beam out begins, Dr. O’Nnyah hears a buzz go past her. She looks around but doesn’t see anything.

A thorough examination of the transport logs and the readings from the medical scanners show that there were some very brief readings of a small non-botanical lifeform. They then specifically look for indications that something that was out of phase and do find traces of that there was something. It seems that the interaction of the transporter and the stasis field on the medical bed created negative ions similar to those detected at the center of the mystery ship and these seem to have briefly forced the lifeform back into phase.

A ship wide scan for traces of phased activity reveals that the creature has moved to the Arboretum. A container is rigged up with a force field and negative ion generator to contain the creature. Dr. O’Nnyah, CPO Emmet, Lt. Cmd. Andreas and Ensign Ratzel then head to the Arboretum. The Arboretum is flooded with negative ions and Ratzel and Emmet move in, quickly locating and stunning the creature and putting it into the container. It is an insect like creature, seven centimetres long, four-armed and multi-legged. It has an arched exoskeleton and two antennae that swoop back almost to the very end of it’s body. Pairs of sharp teeth in a circular mouth protracts and retracts below compound, crescent-shaped eyes.

They move into the Botany Lab and set up a protective force field around it. Once the creature wakes up, they find out that it is sentient and belongs to a race called the Jahan !Xu and it’s name is an unpronounceable series of clicks, pops and whirs, closest translation being “Ckcclwlttc”. Further conversation and discussion reveals that the Jahan !Xu suffer from a neurodegenerative disease that has nearly wiped out their species. Only the sap of the ancient trees, to which they are addicted, slows the progress.

The Jahan !Xu originate from an asteroid field on the far side of the Shackleton Expanse. They can exist in both the vacuum of space and most
atmospheres. Generations ago, a neurodegenerative disease brought their race to the edge of extinction. Those who had not yet shown symptoms of the illness fled the colony and wandered the depths of space in search of a new home. But they still carried the disease and soon began to die. As luck would have it, they found the geodesic dome not long after those first few deaths.
The dome was adrift, wounded from its passage into the Expanse. Burrowing through the roots on the underside, the Jahan !Xu boarded the vessel. They soon discovered that the tree sap slowed the progression of their disease. Their new colony aboard the dome flourished, doubling in size. There are now several hundred Jahan !Xu on the dome. The sap saved them from extinction, but not without a price. The Jahan !Xu are now addicted to the sap and its opioid-like effects. They realize that if the forest dies, they likely will too, but don’t know how to resolve this problem.

They also find out that the Jahan !Xu that get too close to the healthy trees at the center of the ship “Get stomped”.

After several hours of work, Dr. O’Nyah and the science team are able to come up with a treatment that can ease the withdrawal symptoms of the sap and wean the Jahan !Xu from their dependency. However, they quickly determine that finding a cure for the neurodegenerative disease will be very difficult with only one patient. Additional patients would make for a more effective study and make it much easier to develop a cure.

It is decided that the best course of action is to send over an Away Team and try to make contact with the rest of the Jahan !Xu as well as any other sentient life that may be onboard the ship.

They arrive safely onto the ship, in a clearing in a forested area near the edge of the dome. They do a short investigation of the area, as they are doing this, several seedpods on large flowering plants with tall purple stalks which grow at the base of the trees split open and human size creatures come out. They are made of a connection of interlocking leaves and thick, gnarled vines. The tops of their heads taper into twisting, flowering branchs. These creatures (Gardeners) ignore the Away Team, several of them go into a nearby shed and take out some basic stone tools and start tending to the trees. Several others head towards the center of the ship.

They seem to be communicating through musical notes of some sort, but strangely when the Away Team tries to record and analyse the music, they tricorder doesn’t pick anything up. They also disagree on what musical instrument the sound resembles. It seems that each race is hearing something slightly different.

They decide to follow the Gardeners that are moving towards the middle of the ship. As they pass through a particularly heavily damaged section of the forest, CPO Emmet accidentally knocks over a half meter tall seedling which is growing out of an unsteady nurse log. He quickly picks it up and replants it in the log and continues on.

Continuing on, the forest thickens up a little, they see more Gardeners tending trees and they come to a grassy clearing with a standing stone marking what they quickly identify as a burial mound 2 meters high and 3 meters in diameter. The burial mound’s door is made of white flowering vines, with no visible opening mechanism. Lt. Cmd. Andreas pulls out his harmonica and tries to duplicate the music that the Gardeners played to open the shed door but nothing happens.

Despite the heavy interference, they do manage to get a scan of what is inside the burial mound. They detect and organically constructed sarcophagus which seems to contain the mummified corpse of a humanoid. The standing stone and the corpse are both older than the ship, almost 10,000 years old. At this point they notice that the Gardeners have stopped tending to the nearby trees and have begun to move towards them. They decide to move on.

As they get close to the center of the ship, nearing the area with the healthy trees, the Gardeners in the area suddenly move towards the Away Team and surround them.

End of part 1.

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