T'laka enters the conference room early, completely absorbed in a datapad containing a new paper on the application of p-Adic number theory to drift navigation.
They are tall and gangly, dressed in a scruffy labcoat littered with stains, with with a variety of weapons and toolkits stuffed into its many pockets.
They glance up to see no-one around, and take a seat while resuming going over the datapad. Their mandibles rub together excitedly as they consider the implications, and they fail to notice as others start to arrive.
Kal'rin strides into the meeting room but stops short seeing T'laka seated in one of the chairs. "Who are..." he goes to ask a question but realises T'laka is absorbed by their data pad and isn't paying attention. So he moves over and leans against one of the walls and waits.
Kal'rin is is a tall heavily armoured Lashunta with a laser pistol holstered at his side.
Yis was angry, he'd been played and he knew it, but wasn't really able to do much abouut it, at least not there, since he'd been trying to tip the scales himself. In the end it seemed he had to take nod his head to the better player, at least for now.
So that was probably the reason that he wasn't the first to arrive, and when he did he noticed the Shirren and Lashunta.
"You guys waiting for the Venture Captain to huh?"
T'laka looks up dreamily, and speaks telepathically to both newcomers in a deep mellifluous mind-voice.
"I'm sorry I was thoroughly distracted there, this latest paper from the research institute in Qabarat is quite fascinating. My name is T'laka, I'm pleased to meet you. I am indeed waiting for the Venture Captain, but we are early yet, I've known Venture Captain Arvin to be quite punctual in the past"
"Have you worked for him before? I'm eager to know what kind of mission we are being sent on, I hope it's to a distant world!"
Replying in kind to T'laka Kal'rin says. "That's no problem T'laka, I didn't want to interrupt.". Switching to verbal Kal'rin speaks to both the Ysoki and T'laka. "Hello T'laka, good to meet you. I am Kal'rin, I have not met the Venture captain before. I am quite new to the society.".
Yis's ears flatten against his head, and a finger taps against his head.
"Only person I like in my head is me friend."
The Ysoki's eyes glitter as he tilts his head to onne side slightly.
"Name's Yis, and I've never had the pleasure of meeting the captain before."
his tone is brash and harsh, and may well give the impression of brusque unfriendliness, but there is no hostility.
"As long as the mission pays well, I'm up for going wherever the society points."
A pink tongue darts out to lick his nose.
|Sullivan "Sully" Carmine|
A living elebrian enters the room, a rifle slung over his shoulder. His eye twitches almost imperceptible, and he seems mentally absent for a moment. Then he suddenly snaps to attention, and gives a forced smile. "Looks like you'll be my comrades this time around. Well met. Let's hope this mission goes better than my extended vacation in the Scoured Stars, eh?"
An android steps carefully into the room. She stands rigidly straight, as if trying to stretch her height to five and a half feet. Her straight black hair contrasts with her pale complexion, white eyes, and the pale blue tracery of circuits just under her skin. Mildly feminine features are offset by a broad mannish jaw and a compact body composed of wide shoulders, flat chest and narrow hips.
Her armor stretches across her muscles like a black second skin. A pulse caster and a broad knife hang from her belt.
"Is it only the pay that motivates us, ysoki? If so, we hold our lives cheap. I am Tofana. I anticipate being your comrade on this mission."
"Are you a veteran of the Scoured Stars, elebrian? I honor your service."
A Lashunta of average height and build walks into the room as Tofana introduces herself, his steps are measured and his presence is very formal.
Waiting for those speaking to finish, "Greetings, I'm Baròleg Konstantu. An honor to serve with you all." He moves to an open seat as he scans the room and each of the occupants.
"Perhaps as we wait we can share what our training or areas of expertise are? I am a Steward Officer, specializing in tactical support and negotiations."
Tofana's voice is flat, inflectionless, "I provide general utility. I've some skill in lurking, piloting, and with computers."
Yis took in the further new arrivlas, including the Android who addressed him as she entered. Drawing himself up to his impressive three and a half feet height, Yis smiled and replied.
"My life is pretty expensive, no one's ever said Yis was cheap."
Turning to Baroleg, Yis walks to a chair, jumping into it and standing on it a momeber before lowering himself into a cross legged position on it.
"As for what I do, I...find things for folk, often those things that don't want to be found."
Absentmindedly he felt the detailing on his gun as he spoke.
T'laka puts their datapad away as the others arrive. To Yis they chitter an apology.
"I'm sorry, it's easier for me to use the mindspeach. I will try to remember"
They look impressed at the scoured stars veteran and steward officer, but try not to to show their surprise at seeing a living elebrian.
"I'm pleased to see we have such a good community for this mission. I am a mathematician, specialising in geometry and its applications to spacial anomalies and drift transition."
They look pleased with themselves, as if that ought to cover all the possible skills required for a Starfinder Society mission.
"I also dabble in the melding of magic and machine as a hobby. Sometimes it can be useful for defence"
They shoot a tiny bolt of pure cold energy at the table causing some ice to form as if to demonstrate.
Arvin makes his entrance, a little late, and bids you all to have a seat.
Venture-Captain Arvin’s calm demeanor erodes for a brief moment, replaced with the genuine excitement of sharing some piece of obscure lore. “When the bone sages of Eox launched the Magefire Assault in 7 ag, they ended up triggering an ancient doomsday weapon the sarcesians left in orbit over their home world. This dormant ordinance detonated with enough force to send part of a moon crashing into the planet, where it completely obliterated the Eoxian necropolis city of Muthal. The rock remains a geological anomaly, now called Blackmoon, and is one of the most fascinating excavation sites in the Pact Worlds. The potential combination of technological detritus and magical residue residing within and beneath Blackmoon represents a treasure trove of knowledge about Eox and its history. By calling in a few favors, and through some diplomatic back channels, the Society acquired the rights to excavate key sections of this munitions-made mountain with backing from the bone sages about a year ago. The Society has agreed to share any magical discoveries—including any magical items—unearthed within the
ruins of the lost necropolis of Muthal.”
“In exchange,” Arvin says, with an air of professorial summation, “the bone sages continue to allow us access to the region and broadcast any major discoveries in the Starfinder Chronicles. None of this is why you’re here—not exactly. You’re here because a few weeks ago, the Blackmoon excavation called for assistance. The excavation overseer, a kasatha borai named Taylehm, has reported that every time we try to expand the boundaries of the dig, several Society workers and even some of the mindless undead laborers have disappeared or turned up dead or destroyed. The Society needs you to go to Eox, investigate the dig site, find the cause of the disturbance, and restore the excavation to working order—without jeopardizing our partnership with the bone sages!” he ends emphatically. “Now, do you have questions?”
You can also reveal those spoilers with a Gather Info(Diplomacy) check but you will need to wait until you leave to actually go gather the info.
T'laka's mandibles twitch at the mention of the combination of technology and magic.
"Magic is something of a hobby of mine Venture Captain" they broadcast into Arvin's mind.
Culture: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Life Science: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
T'laka leads a brief discussion of everything they know about Eox and Blackmoon Feel free to read the spoilers if you don't already know the info, leading into some questions for the Venture Captain.
"Venture Captain, I've heard that the area surrounding Blackmoon can be particularly bad for feral undead, is there any precautions we should take against them? And are there other dangers we should worry about?"
Kal'rin listens closely to the venture captain and the others, but doesn't remember much and doesn't add to the discussion.
Culture: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
Tofana's head pivots from speaker to speaker. She waits for a break in the conversation before her flat voice says,"Even if we encounter no hostile undead, environment is a concern. Should we supplement our armor's protections against radiation and toxic gases?"
"Agreed, are there ancillary life support systems we could add to our armor to extend battery life?" Taking a moment to consider the briefing, "Also, are there any reports from the dig site so far? Anything might help prepare us for what we'll encounter." Baròleg continues to review any information provided as the other ask questions and Arvin provides answers.
|Sullivan "Sully" Carmine|
The elebrian's face visibly pales. "I...uh...I didn't think I'd ever have to return to...Eox. Will we have any contact with...the bone sages?" His eye visible twitches, along with his fingers and neck.
"I echo the question about feral undead. It's also possible we might come across a sarcesian monitoring party, according to T'laka. Anything we know about their preferred tactics or weapons?"
"A suit of armor's environmental protections will suffice so be sure you all have some. I know no way of extending the battery life, unfortunately. I suggest making sure you are charged up before leaving the safe zones."
Also, are there any reports from the dig site so far? Anything might help prepare us for what we'll encounter."
“Taylehm’s message was brief, and it seems she needs assistance in figuring out what’s happening at the excavation site. It’s likely that she knows more but didn’t want to present it on a communication channel that could be intercepted. You’ll need to find out what’s going on and help her ensure these disappearances don’t jeopardize our ongoing operations.”
It's also possible we might come across a sarcesian monitoring party, according to T'laka. Anything we know about their preferred tactics or weapons?"
"We haven't heard anything in particular about sarcesians being around. But I do know they have a reputation for marksmanship."
Culture: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26
Yis remains silent during the conversation, listening to the discussion and the information provided by the venture captain and by other party members. While he could be somewhat abrasive, he made sure he was preapred before he went into a mission.
"What's a sarcesian?"
"Diaspora natives. I hope to own one of their sniper rifles one day."
It's pretty common knowledge that the Diaspora is the asteroid belt.
"Do we need to secure our own transport to Eox? or has the society arranged transport for us?"
Kal'rin pulls out his comm unit and makes a few notes on the information he has been given and the instructions the venture captain has given them. He looks around the room to see if anyone has any more questions keen to be setting off.
T'laka looks uncomfortable at the mention of marksmanship, but they appear otherwise satisfied with the mission.
"I am ready to depart, this should be a most interesting assignment!"
|Sullivan "Sully" Carmine|
"Diaspora natives. I hope to own one of their sniper rifles one day."
Sully looks to Tofana. "Open, barren land with potential sarcesian operatives? Might not be a bad idea to pick one up early."
Just realized I have an illegal Armory weapon. I might swap those credits out for a sniper weapon of some sort. Updating my sheets now.
As the questions and clarifications finish up, "Seems we've reached the limits of our briefing, any last minute prep and then shall depart?" Baròleg gives his gear a once over before securing his pack and looks to call Space-Uber for transport to the docking bays.
I'm going to move us ahead, if you have more questions we'll catch up.
"We have arranged a ride for you, it should be ready now."
Overall, the journey to Eox is uneventful, with the exception of a flotilla of Aballonian starships. Seven Compent AEV ships are escorting and defending a heavily damaged Compent Group Defense Frigate. The captain of your transport checks on them and the robotic starships, under the direct control of an intelligence identifying itself as Tutor 2–12, respond to the hail indicating that everything is satisfactory and that they’re on a slow burn to Aballon for repairs.
Your shuttle lands in the necropolis settlement of Zinhew, located on a shelf of rock north of Blackmoon. There are still 4 hours before your meeting with a member of the excavation staff in the transport docks.
You can use this time to make any last minute purchases if necessary.
Once the time arrives and you make your way to the transport dock you are met by
an imposing Vesk named Berchta
Deepdelver with an all-terrain transport for the trip to the Blackmoon dig site. Although Berchta’s utilitarian clothing is stained and mud splattered, her beard horns, teeth, and the frilled ridges of her head are the multicolored hues of an oil spill on water, and it’s not clear whether the coloration is natural or by elaborate design. Alongside Berchta, a robust mechanical drone with six arms underslung with sawlike drilling implements stands ready to receive gear for transport. Berchta identifies herself as a Society-contracted “dirt boss” for the excavation site and introduces her drone as “Digger.”
We opened all the spoilers correct? If not, I'll Diplo/Gather here.
"Thank you Berchta, good to meet you." Baròleg introduces himself, and after the others finish introductions, "What can you tell us about the dig site? The Venture-Captain's briefing seemed to have limited information, especially from a first-hand perspective."
T'laka opened all the spoilers for us.
Tofana spends the trip out to Eox quietly working over her gear, especially the long coveted sniper rifle. "It's not a Diasporan, but it's still the finest gun I've owned."
At the landing site, Tofana slings her rifle over a shoulder and keeps toward the back of the group. She knows some other member of the group must be more socially adept.
"I'm just a driver, you'll have to ask Taylehm all that."
Berchta doesn't know anything either. I'm actually not sure why she has such an in depth description, she doesn't really do anything here. I just stopped there to give a chance for shopping. We'll move along now.
Berchta helps load all of the group's equipment and you all head out to the Blackmoon site and get a good look at the surface of Eox.
While it seems from orbit that the monochromatic bleakness of Eox’s surface was a simple trick of the eye, driving through the gates of Zinhew reveals the surface to be every bit as barren and lifeless as it appeared from high atmosphere. Up close, Eox’s ground looks less like gray dirt and more like desiccated skin peeling away from ancient, cadaverous flesh. A haphazard sprawl of berms and rock clusters push themselves up like broken bones and scabs, and shambling forms—humanoid and non-humanoid alike—move across the landscape in eerie half-shuffles and stilted gaits.
Above it all rises Blackmoon. True to its name, the gigantic hemisphere, itself a color between darkened ashen sand and volcano glass, looks less like a mountain and more like a heavenly body that collided with Eox and refused to let time or the elements break its shape.
"This baby's equiped with a recharging station, you'll want to make sure your armor is charged before getting out. The air ain't too good here," Berchta says as you ride. She pulls up to a large camp complex of interconnected research and storage pods, mess areas, and sleeping quarters for researchers, scientists, and the few laborers among the living.
A tall kasatha woman with grey skin comes to meet you as you disembark. "I am Taylehm. I understand you are the help I requested. I don't have much time to explain everything, it's hard work keeping the Eoxians from sticking their noses in our business.
She does give you a brief rundown of the situation however. Taylehm indicates that in the last 2 weeks, the Society’s excavation team has lost days of productivity while trying to expand the borders of the excavation beyond its current boundaries. So far six researchers, four of whom were members of the Society, and over a dozen of their undead workers are missing and presumed destroyed. Of the living researchers, only two bodies were discovered, and they looked as though they had been savaged by some kind of wildlife; the other four bodies remain unrecovered. In addition to the confirmed deaths, workers reported damage on some of the heavier industrial mining equipment near the excavation’s latest expansion site. Taylehm has sent three of her contracted security detail agents to the site to try to see what’s causing the disturbance. These security agents have yet to report in.
"I can suggest a few places to start your investigation. If you want to take a look at the bodies we found you might be able to see something we haven't. I'm sure there are some clues down at the dig site itself and you can talk to my people here. I have told everyone to give full cooperation, who knows what they may have seen. And I just want to thank you for coming. With our security detail missing we don't have much in the way of protection. Now if you'll please excuse me I need to get back to work."
T'laka's mind voice sounds even stranger when they're in their space-suit as it's not attenuated and sounds perfectly clear.
"Taylehm, did anything happen to precipitate the troubles? Disagreements, unusual findings, that sort of thing?"
"The two bodies, are they society members? I would like to inspect them"
Without moving, he continues his telepathy but only to the rest of the Starfinders this time.
"With the security detail not reporting in I suggest we leave the site until we have as much information as possible, it may be dangerous and we should be prepared"
[b]"Yes, I agree, lets start with the bodies."[b]
Kal'rin double checks his armour is fully charged and re-checks all his equipment is in the correct place and secured to the various pouches and holders attached to his armour. He looks to the others to see what they think.
Baròleg agrees with T'laka, "Yes, where are the bodies stored. Has anything at all been found in the expanded dig area? Even a few broken pieces of something could tip us in a good direction. If I may ask, what are you working on that is such a priority?" He watches her closely as she responds.
Just in case...
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 + 1d6 ⇒ (20) + 6 + (6) = 32
Replying to the team telepathically, "I am bothered that Taylehm is so unconcerned."
Taylehm gives you directions to the dig site, the morgue and the living quarters where you can find her people to interview.
"No we haven't found anything. The people we sent to check it out are now missing." Then Taylehm adds in an annoyed tone, "I'm working on keeping the Eoxians from finding out about the disappearances. If you can solve the mystery before they hear about them they'll leave us be, otherwise they'll take over the investigation and we all might as well go home and you wasted your time coming. Not to mention we're now shorthanded and keeping this place habitable for those of you who have to breathe is a lot of work."
I didn't mean for her to come off as unconcerned, just very busy. These problems are keeping her running. Also there is now a picture of her on the slides.
|Sullivan "Sully" Carmine|
Looks like we have a consensus on checking the bodies first.
Taylehm reminds you all where the 'morgue' is and takes her leave.
When the group arrives at the location given it is quite obvious that this building was not originally intended to function as a morgue. It was probably originally a cryogenic storage facility. As you make your way inside you all notice the three people on staff, an agender android, a male human and a female ysoki.
The android looks over at you quizically, "Uh, may we help you?"
Baròleg steps forward and shows the glowing emblem of the Starfinders on his palm, "Baròleg Konstantu, Starfinder representative and Steward's Officer. We've been tasked with determining what is occurring here and preventing further loss of life." He pauses to allow the others to introduce themselves before continuing, "We'd like to examine the bodies from the expanded dig site. What can you tell us about the state they were found in? Have any tests or autopsies been done?"
"Oh thank goodness," the android, whose name tag reads 'Kopos' says. "None of us are medical personnel by trade but I have had a bit of training in that area. It is pretty obvious that they were ravaged by some feral undead though. There are always some roving around the surface and everyone who has disappeared did so after leaving camp boundaries. Here, you can see for yourselves."
Kopos retrieves the bodies from cryogenic storage. Both bodies are humanoid: one appears to be a male human, the other a female korasha lashunta. Further details are almost impossible to obtain due to physical trauma. Both bodies have been savaged, with large lacerations, deep gashes, and compound fractures; digits are missing on the hands of both humanoids, and skin bears signs of tearing and flensing.
T'laka nods at Kopos and goes to inspect the corpses.
Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10
Looking for clues
Mysticism: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Trying to think if there are any feral undead that might cause the wounds they're looking at
After spending a long time looking at the bodies T'laka turns to the other pathfinders and simply shrugs and says "I'm not that kind of doctor". "Perhaps one of you will have better luck"
"It seems to me a murder would be easy to hide here, simply leave the body outside for feral undead to gnaw on and they'll take care of the evidence"
|Sullivan "Sully" Carmine|
Sully is able to tell that despite the damage to the corpses, the actual cause of death for both creatures was a slash across the throat, made with a manufactured weapon capable of cutting through an environmental suit. All of the other wounds, while inflicted close to the time of death, were done so post-mortem.
Baròleg inspects the bodies and gear carefully, looking for anything out of place or that may have belonged to the creature that killed them.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19 +4 if my tool kit for searching can be applied, for 23 Total
He'll also question Kopos and the other scientists present as he looks over the bodies, trying to get any information about how the bodies were found or what was near them at the time.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 + 1d6 ⇒ (5) + 10 + (2) = 17
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 + 1d6 ⇒ (8) + 6 + (5) = 19
Baroleg's search doesn't turn up anything.
Kopos and her companions - the human, Rayburn, and the ysoki, Whipstitch - don't know anything very useful. "They were found on the ground outside the Blackmoon dig site. If there are any clues they're still there. The folks who found them aren't detectives and the last I heard the security team is still missing. They would be the only ones we could trust to check a crime scene."
They are telling the truth.
As the group approach the morgue, Kal falls back. He tries to keep up an impassive expression but it falters slightly when he sees the fellow Lashunta so violently killed.
"This really isn't my area of expertise, did you find anything?
He asks as his fellows finish up their examination of the bodies.
Baròleg looks over the bodies one last time... Any further descriptors of the wounds... Specifically the fingers, cut or torn off? I'm thinking they may have been removed to access fingerprint clearance/security checks.
As Baròleg turns to leave, "Sorry Kal'rin, not much. They were killed before they were mauled... Well done there Sully. Throat cut, likely A manufactured instrument. The remainder of the wounds came after, could've been the killer or feral undead. I doubt we'll learn more here. Where next, dig site or try to find the security detail? I worry that security might be the next victims, I'd prefer to try and locate them first." He walks away slowly while the team decides on a course of action, processing the information provided.
He tries to observe the security measure around the camp, and what is necessary to access any restricted areas or high security zones. Testing the fingerprint access theory.
Sully gets the impression that the only wounds from a weapon are the slit throats, everything else seems to be bites and scratches.
All of the doors you have seen so far are proximity based. Personal quarters might be different but the people here seem to trust each other with the other types of buildings.
Finding the security detail would be part of going to the site. Your other options, besides here, are the site and going to the barracks to ask questions of the other excavation staff. I recommend talking to people before going to the site since it's still in the same basic location but you may do as you wish.
"Let's go to the barracks first, ask around. If these scientists where murdered, perhaps someone has something to hide"
Before they leave, T'laka stops to ask Kopos, Rayburn and Whipstitch some questions about their work.
"I am something of scholar myself, what can you tell me of your excavations here, and of your research. Have you made any discoveries or breakthroughs recently?"