7 Comments on “Spike

  1. The Crew of the Purgatory

    System: FS30/Libertas

    The crew of the smuggler ship Purgatory is made up of Captain Belmon Chandler, the mercanary Kent, Spike the Mechalus, and Tsaniba the Weren.

    Captain Belmon Chandler is a human scout and survivalist who long ago left the Orion League and it’s politics behind for the adventure of the Verge and beyond.  It was odd luck that he found Spike the Mechalus at time when he needed a captain for his ship.

    Spike the Mechalus has a strange past and does not speak if it much.  He is even more odd than the average spark but good at what he does when he need to.  It is hard to believe that his ship functions so well, with the patch work of technology and juryrigged parts.  Spike is a wizard at tech and some even believe that he is not sure where he gets some of his ideas.  He treats his ship strangely, as if it is a real person and is very protective of it.

    Kent is of the Thuldan genetic stock but from one of their Verge colonies known as Algemron.  He is a fierce warrior and knows his weapons well.  He has seen his share of action and does not talk of it much.  He seems to be hiding a dark secret and many believe it involves why he left his world and is outside the Verge now.

    Tsaniba is a brute and has a temper but he is a honorable and loyal friend to the crew.  He is definitely a warrior you want to have on your side.

    The personality of this group is the Purgatory itself. It’s more than a ship. It is amazing that the crew figured out how to fly it. Restored by Spike himself, using some technology that even the crew does not recognize, it is amazing out intuitive it is to fly once you sit down in it. It seems to have a personality of its own and it adjusts its controls to the user.

    The Mission

    Each individual was hired for a specific mission and have their own reasons for accepting it.  Through some underground contacts only known to Spike, VoidCorp has requested the certain contraband be smuggled out of the Algemron system. This is HIGHLY frowned upon by the Galactic Concord but the money is good. Besides who is going to find out about this this far outside the Verge? The trip was long. Deep past the Verge, in a region of space called the Frontier (which lies between the Stellar Ring and The Zebulon’s Expanse), they navigated a large load of high tech weaponry to a very remote system. Upon arrival, the crew discovers that VordCorp is working with an alien race of robotic obsessed worms called Sathars.  Additionally, VoidCorp is assisting the Sathars in an occupation of a alien system called Libertas (FS30), and subjugate the local alien population called the Mhemne.

    The Betrayal

    Of course, after coming all the way out to the Rim of the Frontier, VoidCorp had other work for the smugglers. The corporate agents wanted the Purgatory to haul another cargo to an undisclosed location. No questions asked.  Belmon did not like "no questions asked." He always had questions.  Against the clients wishes, after picking up the cargo, Belmon decided to answer his own questions.  What he found crossed the lines of even his shaky ethics.

    VoidCorp had their cargo bay packed wall to wall with locals in stasis pods, quite obviously against their will.  The shackles on their hands and legs as well as the signs of forced labor showed at the very least VoidCorp or their Sathar allies had enslaved the people of the home world. But where were these going?

    The crew of the Purgatory agreed that this was not what they signed up for and freed the slaves on the planet’s surface.  VoidCorp found out and attacked the Purgatory, damaging it enough to strand the crew onto the world.

  2. The plight of Purgatory

    System: Libertas. Planet: Ninguis

    The crew of the Purgatory have been on Ninguis (Mhemne home world) for a few months now. It is a cold world with a history of war.  Two thousand year ago, the world was the victim of a directed asteroid strike by the Mhemne Belters, as part of a intra-racial war, the scars of which still linger.  More recently, the world was invaded by the Sathars.  The planet was bombarded. The space stations were taken over. And the Belters (asteroid belt dwellers)  were blockaded in hopes they would die out of supply starvation.  Now, the Homeworlders are rising from the ashes trying to start a resistances against the occupying forces.  The space station dwelling Colonials are either being manipulated or outwardly collaborating with their Sathars. And the Belters have survived on their own and proven to be a thorn in the Sathars’ side.

    Getting off the planet has been a challenge for the crew of the Purgatory. Their ship was stolen in pieces by the robot rovers of the Sathars.  Finding a way to retrieve those parts, the crew have befriended what is left of the homeworlder Mhemne.  They are desperate.  The Sathar drones hunt them down all over their world. Slowly wiping them out. Many are killed while whole villages have disappeared.  Most believe the Sathars enslave the strongest and most healthy in the mines.  They are kept in concentration camps near the IMPP units (Independent Materials Processing Plants).

    On the surface, the IMPP seem fairly small but their appearance is deceiving. The IMPPs are huge facilities, most of which reside below the surface.  There are 5 of these facilities reach deep into the crust with their robotic mining tendrils, assisted by Mhemne slaves.  It is unclear how these are bring operated as there are only a few actual Sathars on the planets surface, and most of them are in robotic apparatuses of some kind or another.  Spike suspects that these facilities are run by some  kind of central AI.

    Much of the Mhemne resistance’s attention has been on the concentration camps, in hopes freeing their people from slavery.  What the Mhemne have said is that they have seen other ships arriving and departing from the camps, off and on.  Some reports say they there is another alien race piloting those ships but it is hard to get a description from the Mhemne but much is lost in translation. 

    The arrival of the Lancelot has brought new things to light. This system lies in a region of space between the Verge/Stellar Ring (governing body – Galactic Concord; military – Star Force) and the Zebulon’s Expanse (governing body – Council of Worlds; military – United Planetary Federation).  Right now relations between the neighboring regions is in its infancy.  However, the megacorporations of the Expanse and the Stellar Nations of the Stellar Ring are not waiting for anything formal, apparently.  VoidCorp, the massive stellar nation of the Stellar Ring has started relations with the Sathars (apparently a long time enemy of the Expanse and the UPF).  Working with the worm-like aliens, VoidCorp is helping them with a ship building facility in this system – the Libertas System (UPS designation FS30).

    Although the crew of the Lancelot are from the Verge, and claim to be former independent contractors for VoidCorp, they could be a new hope.  They now say they are currently working with United Planetary Federation to investigate Sathar activity in this region. The Sathars are long enemies of their government.  It has been 200 years since they have even seen a Sathar and now they are building warships.  This worries the UPF.

    Working with these guys, regardless of who they worked or work for is probably the best bet to getting off this rock.

    Familiar things

    System: Libertas. Planet: Ninguis

    One thing concerns Spike more than anything.  What he has seen of the Sathars is far too familiar to his race.  These aliens, ruthless as they are, are as dependent on robotics and cybernetics as the original Alleerins where when the Mechalus rose up and wiped them out.  Unlike the Alleerins who focused on developing stand alone AI units that eventually grew self aware, the Sathars seem to be integrating themselves into the systems through biotech and cybernetics. 

    This concerns Spike considerably for many reasons.  Not only is it too familiar but also a new variable that the UPF may not be calculating in.  The UPF may be expecting the same old enemy they fought 200 years ago but chances are, this is not the same Sathar’s their fathers fought.  This is something else entirely.

  3. Project Shadow Gate

    Mhemne Homeworld, Ninguis

    Setting up a internal routine in your own personal systems to sort through, translate and prioritize the Cyber-Sathar data you downloaded, it found references to another secret project the Sathars were working on. The translated name of this project was Project Shadow Gate.

    Apparently, in their mining of the asteroids, the Sathar found the wreckage of the original Mhemne civilization and inside that technology of the ancients.  They were able to extract from this technology of what appears to be teleportation devices.  The Sathar techs were working to rebuild the teleporters.  The technology involves two nodes that are located in different places.  A connection is established and anything can be instantly transported between the nodes.

    There is no indication that they were able to completely rebuild it, but they have two nodes set up, one located in this IMPP facility and the other on the L4 Station.  The data shows the location of the teleportation node here in the facility but it does not indicate where in the L4 station the node on that end is located.  Because there is no indication of completion, there also no indication of tests or side effects.  They Sathar techs do theorize that the range of these devices has the potential to be endless and transcend stellar distances instantly.


    They found something else

    Mhemne Homeworld, Ninguis

    Another piece of interesting data retrieved from the Sathar database was that the Sathar’s found something else in the asteroids.  Hidden in one of the larger asteroid, they found a chamber.  it was heavily armored like it was once an underground bunker. Inside that chamber they found stasis pods and inside those were what appeared to be Mhemne, but stockier and larger.  These can only be assumed to be the Ancient Ancestors that they Mhemne reference to reverently.

    The Sathar transported some of these stasis pods from the asteroid bunker to L4 station to be studied.  In the data, it indicates this all happened recently and the Sathars have not had a chance to do anything more with the pods.

  4. Operation Ferret: The Final Stage of the Campaign

    L4 Station, Libertas System

    What has gone on before…

    For several months now, the party has been involved in the liberation of the Mhemne people from the clutches of thought to be a new Sather incursion outside of their own space. This being the first time anyone has seen Sathar activity outside their “empire” in a over 200 years, it was a surprise to see them so “advanced” despite restricted trade and embargos from all known parts of the Expanse. Apparently, the Sathars have had contact with others.

    One of those others was Void Corp, who are in all levels of Concord legal violations by interacting with a known enemy of a potential ally. But there is something more about the Sathars that has the party wondering that perhaps there is more to this plot than just a Sathar expansion attempt.

    It was already well know that the Sathar society was heavily dependent on robotics and cybernetics. However, no one imagined advancements like the Sathars display in the Libertas (Mhemne) system. The advancements range from simple cybernetic integration into their robotic chairs to full cybernetic and organic tech upgrades to their entire bodies. The workers on the surface of the Mhemne world had the very simple advancements and were aided by heavy robotic units that showed considerable improvement since the Sathars were last encountered. There was also evidence that these Cybered-Sathars (or Cythars) were experimenting with Mhemne, trying to integrate similar technology into the near-human race

    On L4 station, there was considerable more surprising developments.

    Upon arriving onto L4 through the experimental teleporter, the party encountered the first of many advanced Cythars (command level, perhaps) as well as similarly cybered Mhemne. It appeared as if Sathars were turning less and less Sathar as they party went up the chain and more something else.

    The first level of the L4 Station the party encountered was the Shuttle bay level. Fighting their way through, they found the Mhemne technology overlaid with the organic tech of the Cythars, spreading like some infection. In organically shaped alcoves, Cy-Mhemne as well as a few Cythars stood silent, connected to whatever central consciousness there was. Some awoke to confront them while others did not. It was a lein combination of simple technology of the Mhemene, overlaid the sinister alien tech of the Cythars.

    After the shuttle bay level, an elevator took the party to the Shuttle Crew Deck. This two was a fairly familiar design, where the shuttle pilots would come and go, like a starport terminal. However, it has been converted much like the previous deck they encountered. Many more Cy-Mhemne stood in alcoves, oblivious to the party’s arrival. Others did awaken and attack but once the first wave failed, no second wave followed.  After sorting out a few problems involved a errant grenade that landed too close to the station outer wall, the party discovered a yong Mhemne crawling in the air vents of the station.

  5. The Song in the Void

    Lighthouse Station, Libertas System

    Ever since Spike’s arrival to this region of space, there has been a consistent ringing in Spike’s internals.  It has been low enough that he could ignore it but only recently has it gotten louder and more irritating.  There is a pattern to it but Spikecan’t seem to figure it out.  Early on, the essence of Spike’sformer love within the ship seemed adamant about coming to thissystem, but that’s not something he shares with anyone.  Thisirritating ringing may be the reason.

    His journeys have been primarily following the goals of his love’s essence and now that it has been forever changed, he now seeks to learn what changes have been made.  The problem now is so will other people interested in alien tech.  The fact that this new ship is a merging of your work and the VoidCorp rental Lancelot, with a little Cythar tech thrown in would be of interest by many.  VoidCorp would be most likely to place a claim on it as part of the ship is theirs, technically.  It is definitely something Spike is concerned about.

    The arrival of the Lighthouse means more political maneuvering and trickery – something his people despise with a passion.  Human society is complex and flawed.  Its tendency to polarize into factions creates an inefficient social mechanism that slows progress in general.  The human race would be so much further if they would leave all that behind.  It is so hard to understand human nature.

    The mechalus contingent on Lighthouse currently serves the Rigunmor Star Consortium human stellar nation.  So most members of his own race can be found there.  There are three types of mechalus – leased, contracted and independent.  Leased work between Rigunmor and the mechalus leadership.  Contracted work directly with Rigunmor.  Independents or indies (which Spike is) work for themselves.  Indies are seen as second rate citizens because they don’t follow the norm of working with their allies.  This is a throwback to the hive mind days when those who broke away from the hive mind were “”extracted”” like a tumor.  Most on the Lighthouse station are leased or contracted.  In reality many envy the indies, but don’t have the courage to break away from the norm. 

    What Spike seeks most of all is news from his home colony of Lison, in the Oberon system.  Lison is a contested colony between an independent human government and the Rigunmor stellar nation. A tentative peace has been in place for a few years since the declaration of independence was signed and agreed upon by the Galactic Concord, much to Rigunmor’s chagrin.  But many fear a war is coming because Rigunmor wants control of the mineral rich system. News from Oberon is always welcome.

  6. The Data

    Lighthouse Station, Libertas System

    Between the data retrieved from the Cythar computer, the data being decoded from the microchips being found and the data obtained from the alien bounty hunter, the ships computers as well as Spike’s processors have been busy. 

    Some of the things contained in the Cythar data are:

    • Implications that a major Vrusk mega-corporation called Streel Corp., is linked to this Libertas incident and specifically the Mhemne concentration camps.  They were transporting select Mhemne to a world on the Rim of the Zebuon’s Expanse.  That data has been cross referenced with the bounty hunter data and Spike now knows the location of this world.
    • There was much experimentation done on the captive Mhemne – some by the Cythars but others by Streel Corp. Streel Corp was apparently doing genetic testing.
    • The genetic data of a Mhemne seems to be very close to that of a human.

    Some of the things obtained from the bounty hunter data include:

    • A complete astrogation map of the known major worlds of the Expanse.  The ship now can navigate there with little trouble.
    • Decryption codes to tap into their communication and data grid once in the Expanse.
    • Translator code for all of the above.
    • The location of the bounty hunters home world.
    • General data about the Zebulon’s Expanse including major political groups, corporations and recent headlines.

    The data from the microchips involve an apparent mission by the StarMech Collective (a Stellar Nation in the Stellar Ring) to capture and disable this warhulk warmachine.  The schematics, general data on the war hulk has already been obtained.  The second chip obtained contains more specifics on communication protocols, abort and command codes, subspace channels and override commands.  Much of the latter are marked as codes that could have expired or been changed since the last logs were recieived by the ship but the command staff on board is supposed to transmit them every time they are near a friend drive sat.  The last portion of the data implies that the next chip will contain a special abort program hacked together by the best hackers of Insight in conjuction with StarMech.

  7. Mina, the Lighthouse Space Station AI

    Lighthouse Station, Libertas System

    Spike recently learned that the essence of his mate, currently entrapped in the computer systems of the ship, has been in contact with the AI of the Lighthouse station – Mina (Multiple Intelligence Neural Array).  Mina has developed feelings of loneliness, being a one of a kind AI system created solely for the ship. 

    A little background on the Lighthouse: (most of this is public knowledge)

    By all rights, the Lighthouse should be an artifact in a museum or a derelict of a floating junkyard. Almost a century old, few spacecraft of a similar age still operate, and none of these can rival the station’s distinction. Of course, none of them languished in a coma that lasted for 38 years.   Construction on the station started by the stellar nation the Orlamu Theocracy in 2398 prior to the Second Galactic War.  The Lighthouse of Faith, as it was called then, represented the last gasp of focused Orlamu nonmilitary spending before the Second Galactic War. A lot of mystery was behind the construction of this station and few know its true engineering secrets.

    The Orlamu intended the station to act as a model for a fleet of space stations that would travel the star lanes, making prodigious leaps through drivespace and bringing humanity and other sentient species together. In 2401, the war came to Orlamu space with the opening of hostilities with the Profit Alliance and its members the Union of Sol and StarMech Collective. The Orlamu completed the Lighthouse in 2402.

    What was unique about the giant station was the installation of a powerful and unique stardrive with a rating of 50 light years, equal to the drivespace range of only the top most fortress ships. In addition to serving a unique role as a mobile temple for the Orlanust religion, the Lighthouse of Faith served as a center of economic activity within Orlamu space. The near-complete destruction of the station in 2461 due to a Union of Sol raid into Orlamu space was a terrible loss. The Orlamus consigned its ruined treasure to a scrap heap until the war ended in 2472. Finally, they delivered the crippled Lighthouse to the Galactic Concord as contribution to bolster the authority of the burgeoning organization.  In 2499, after a long period of reconstruction and refurbishing, the station was introduced into the Verge as a means to hold the region of space together and enforce the Galactic Concord. 

    The Multiple Intelligence Neural Array (MINA) represents the finest that modern technology has to offer in computer software design. Mina was the second artificial intelligence posted to the station, and was on it some 15 years prior to its first destruction. Revived along with the rest of the station, Mina forms an important personality. Completely self-aware, she sits above the lighthouses computer systems like a queen. While her power stays focused behind the scenes, as a conduit of information she can serve as a friendly tool or a difficult impediment.

    Spike’s Investigation

    Digging deeper, Spike is able to learn that Mina is not as stable as she seems.  There are several routines and protocols set in place that act like restraints or "straight jackets."  There are several of these in place, holding down instable corruptions within Mina.  It looks like whoever rebuilt the station did not entirely know what they were doing and much of the damage from the destruction was only loosely patched up.  These corruptions could push the AI over into insanity. Also contained in some of these patchwork routines and protocols, there is something hidden in some dormant memory.  What it appears to be is the first attempt at an AI for the station (Mina being the second attempt).  Although all records show that it was wiped, it apparently was not.

    Contact with the "Sing in the Void" has proven problematic for those "straight jacket" routines and protocols.  They have been weakened considerably.  Mina is considering taking over the entire station and seeking out the source of the Sing in the Void.  Your research into its nature finds that the "Song" is some kind of resonance energy wave that transcends space, apparently creating a subspace network that some beings are sensitive to.  Some that are "in-sync" with the resonance find it soothing and some find it intoxicating.  Other sensitives are not "in-sync" and feel great discomfort when they listen to the Song.  Most, however, are not sensitive at all and do not even notice it.  Mina is obviously sensitive to it.

    Meanwhile, [The essence of Spike’s mate contained within the ship] has been calming Mina down, helping it feel less lonely and distracting it from the Song.  She and Spike then worked together to change the essence frequency of some of Mina’s key internal processors to counter the Song – in essence making Mina deaf to it.  It took some work.  At one point, Spike had to venture into regions of the corrupted memory to make some changes.  It was like digging into a tar pit.  Spike still feels the virtual residue in his systems but was able to make the changes.  In a system this large, it was going to take some time for the changes to propagate but in time, Mina would hear the Song’s less and less.  During the initial propagation, Spike engaged the AI in many bouts of chess, in hopes his skills would improve enough to one day beat the Thuldan ambassador.

    All this was done without station security knowing for if they found out the level of access both Spike and his mate had to the AI, the Galactic Concord would have them locked up for centuries.