Release the Kraken

Episode 2
Logos

In the aftermath of the Ultimate Merc assassination squad, it comes to light that the victims were actually the members of a special ops team that had come aboard The Geisha for cover. They had canvassed the outer-system for a group whose morphs and skill-profiles matched their own, and had tried to use them to shake off the assassination squad.

It didn’t work out very well, and they ended up dead or captured. Unfortunately, this leaves their employer short one special ops team. Fortuneatly, the members of RTK have already been pre-selected as people who fit the bill perfectly, even though they haven’t spent the last couple years training for the job.

Mr. Magu explains all this as he drops the news that RTK has been secunded to one of SEP’s partner ventures, Weyland. They will be expected to carry out the very operation that the special ops squad didn’t survive to perform (the squad cant simply be restored from backup as some of them are captured and proof-of-life is being provided – the insurance provider wont reinstate backup egos while the originals are verified to be alive).

Thus RTK is de-sleeved, their morphs are put on ice, and they are egocasted to a Weyland server somewhere near Titan. They are briefed in simulspace on the particulars of their mission… wherein the history of “Episode 0” becomes relevant to the main plot. Weyland came into possession of logs from the Leviathan-12, and have learned of the presence of the military outpost at Logos. RTK is shown 3D stills that seem to be taken from a first-person perspective or some sort of Experia:

Caverns in the ice laced with gold superconducting wire, outdated but inscrutable computer banks, fluid splashing as globules in zero-gravity, fragments of grey matter being knocked around a control room, an arm holding a wrench… All frozen in time.

Now (10 years after the incident) that they have a better understanding of how to combat TITAN threats, they are going back for salvage. What they want is in that control room, the operating software from the nanohives that build and the computer system in the caves of ice. Three ships, one from the Planetary Consortium, one from Morningstar, and their own, are on their way to Logos with differing objectives.

Weyland is sending synthmorphs (including an Octobot and an Apeotron) to save on resources and gain speed, though they are still arriving second. They are interested in salvaging the command and control software from the nano-hives on Logos, to study the military technology that originally ran the outpost and built the computers there.

Morningstar is sending a full organic crew, in a bid to avoid computer infection. They will be the first on the scene.

The Planetary Consortium is sending a missile, and it will be a day or two behind Weyland if they are lucky.

Additionally, an exhuman hivemind swarm was mining TNOs in the Kuiper Belt as Logos passed near in its orbit, and they detached some members to investigate. They have not been heard from since.

When RTK arrives on the scene, Karlstad’s ego hasn’t survived the transfer. Some sort of jamming stopped the farcaster signals after the first four made it through, and his upload didn’t finish (he isn’t here for this session). The Morningstar ship is already in orbit and has already been disassembled by a robotic swarm, and similar spherical drones are launched at RTK’s ship as they approach. They are easy enough to evade, and the team makes it to the surface of Logos while leaving their ship in a distant orbit.

On the surface, a small firefight ensues with the spherical drones, which unfold into mechanical spider like contraptions (sp-spiders). They seem to be designed for mining or salvage, and the military grade weapons that Weyland has sent cut them down quite effectively.

The interior of Logos does not look like before (though only the Players remember Episode 0, not the Characters) and instead of the repurposed and gutted interior of a NASC ship, they find a vast cavern. Perhaps 10Km vast, such that their lights cannot illuminate the far walls. Every surface is covered in fine ice crystals, almost like a clear moss or an inverted lung. The contours bulge and arch and branch in complex fractal patterns, all traced though with fine gold wire just under the surface of the ice.

Somewhere in the center is a control chamber, preserved in its original state and where the nanohives perhaps still maintain the entire system. While RTK tries to break their way in to the metal control room, TITAN fractals (bush robots) begin to emerge from the walls to defend the place. They are not impervious to bullets, but due to their decentralized nature they are able to withstand vast amounts of damage before they are immobilized or reduced to shards.

Mabuse and Tasha breach the central chamber, from which a viscous fluid quickly spews out into the vacuum of the central cavern. Upon entering, they find something similar to the Experia that Weyland had shown them. But instead of multiple brain tanks, they find the remnants of all the nervous tissue salvaged from logos reconstructed into a single enormous cerebellum. It’s outer membrane fills most of the room, which is filled with a viscous life supporting fluid. They have to cut through it to get at the nanohive control systems around the chamber, but they do download the operating programs from them onto specialized ectos, and escape unharmed.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team has been battling back growing waves of Fractal bush bots, and RTK beats a hasty escape towards the surface… Only to find their ship being assaulted and by those sp-spider drones.

Zaius takes out several surface based jamming sources with a seeker launcher, and everyone abandons their synthmorphs to egocast back to their ship before the sp-spiders can disassemble the farcaster, and back to Weyland with the goods.

Except Tasha and Mabuse arrive a little late. When they do show up on the Weyland mainframe back in the Saturn System, Mabuse’s memories are slightly edited, and Tasha never tells Karlstad that a copy of his ego did finally get downloaded into a morph when the jamming went offline – just as the ship was being disassembled by sp-spiders. No one knows for sure that an Alpha of Karlstad is floating in space contemplating his misfortune as the nuclear batteries in the military grade synthmorph slowly wind down.

Also left unsaid is the exact cause behind Tasha and Mabuse’s tardiness. Mabuse has taken his EVA rocket harness and launched an ecto towards the inner system with the long term objective of recovering it (and the TITAN operating code he suspects it contains)to use as a weapon to destroy his old enemies at Jupiter.

Several hours in a time-accelerated simulspace has allowed Tasha to alter Mabuse’s memories of the deed so as to (hopefully) be undetectable by Weyland or SEP, and has removed Mabuse’s knowledge of her compliancy — instead framing Karlstad as his co conspirator.

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Episode 1
Slant Eyed Pimp

…In which the party is introduced as members of RTK Security. Employed by the Extropian corporation Saturn Eliptical Products (SEP) to protect The Geisha, a Red-Market scum barge floating with Phellan’s Recourse around the Saturn system. Their direct superior is Magushi san (aka Mr. Magu, the S.E.P. himself).

Release the Kraken is (in descending initiative order):

  • Doctor Zaius – Uplifted Chimp, ex Planetary Consortium scientist in hiding in the outer system after committing humanitarian crimes against the Barsoomian underclass on Mars. He uses his expertise in the field of WMDs to help screen The Geisha from the most disastrous kinds of threats. (not present this adventure)
  • Arthur a.k.a Kulu – Uplifted Pacific Octopus, made by SEP to be a custom-built security specialist to protect their interests on The Geisha.
  • Karlstad Fintorp – Extropian social engineer, wearing a second-hand Ghost morph. Originally of spotty parentage and of questionable background, he seems to be a team player now that he has a bit more to lose.
  • Tasha – an “Uncle-Tom” infomorph, she disturbingly wears a neotenic morph (technically a pod due to it’s cyberbrain) and brokers ego’s into slavery with the 9-lives consortium. As a day job, she runs all aspects of electronic security on The Geisha (not present this adventure)
  • Edgardo Mabuse – A one-time sleeper agent for the Jovians, Mabuse was rescued by RTK somewhere in the off-camera background before he was extracted back to his former employers. Now he uses his applied knowledge of demolitions and security spoofing to aid RTK in dealing with the day-to-day dangers of protecting a Red Market.

Triads, a major participant in the market, have been pushing for the Red Market to go more red, and fall under the control of criminal elements. SEP and their Extropian investors attempt to keep things orderly and demonstrate their value to the ship’s shareholders by keeping the market secure.

Of course their services seem more valuable if there is a clear and pressing danger, so RTK never lets things get too quiet or complacent.

During the course of one ordinary and routine daycycle aboard The Geisha, RTK follows suspicious visitors, profiles merchants and shoppers on the market, harasses VIPs whom have made the mistake of traveling under the wrong stolen identity, and generally help keep chaos to a medium.

During one deal-gone-wrong, shit breaks spectacularly. A petty vendetta sets a nano-plague lose in one of the ships many modular compartments, and Kulu hoses the scene down with bullets. Mabuse and Fintorp seal out the compartment and jettison it, while (narratedly) Tasha remote pilots an Arachnoid Shell to steer it away from the rest of the ship. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief, the offending customer is blacklisted, and insurance is paid out.

Just as things are cooling down and after everyone has gone back to their individual routines, there are several simultaneous alerts of assaults being perpetrated – and the victims match the character’s descriptions! Each of the team assumes the other are being hit, but upon responding to the violence they discover that it was actually a group of uncanny lookalikes that have been variously assassinated or kidnapped.

The trouble hasn’t stopped though, the Ultimate Mercs that performed the hit are gunning for the RTK team just in case they got the wrong target. The titular Kraken ends up in the healing vat after the ensuing firefight. Mabuse sees the fleeing Mercs off by launching a seeker full of nano-deconstructers at one of their fleeing shuttles, and takes advantage of the carnage by assembling a secondhand franken-morph from pieces of fallen Ultimates – and upgrades to a slightly used Remade.

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Episode 0
Leviathan-12

Officer corps of the Leviathan-12

Mendoza aka “Signals” aka “all man baby” – computers, electronic warfare, signal intelligence
“Wrench” – mechanics , engineering
“Beaker” – high energy physics, hard sciences
“Doc” – medicine, surgery, biology, soft sciences
Stoma aka “Ex” – command, combat

New Mumbai, Luna

A bustling city of domes and spires. International center of commerce and trade, the crew of the Leviathan-12 enjoys surface-leave while their Captain leverages his government connections to secure a military contract to deliver a cargo shipment to a secret listening outpost in the Kuiper Belt.

Before clearing outbound customs, North Atlantic Space Command instructs Mendoza to install new military authentication software for safe transit and FoF identification. The system should be standard across all North Atlantic Treaty Space Command enforcement areas by the time the Leviathan reaches the next leg of its journey.

While still transition out of the Earth/Luna system, the ship is hit by automated weapon system left over from an old conflict. The incident is reported, and the journey continues despite the ill omen. Stoma and Beaker work on repairing the damage while Wrench operates a remote drone to assist. The ship is patched up, and it is discovered that one of the three cargo containers is filled with superconducting monomolecular wire which is somewhat (but not terribly) dangerous when unwound.

The computer plots course for a gravity assist at Jupiter. It takes the Leviathan-12 a little over a year to get there, and upon defrosting the crew receives the belated news of a global cyber-war on Earth. The war had spread to the colonies and is in the process of rapidly escalating to a hot-war. In response to the cyber threat, Jovian command refuses to accept automated authentication attempts from the NASC software agent, and Leviathan-12 falls back on manual codes. Troublingly, Signals discovers that the computer system had attempted to authenticate on its own before waking the crew.

Solid fuel cylindars are launched from one of the Jovian shipyards to top-off the Leviathan-12 without slowing it down, and the gravity assist occurs without further incident.

It is a couple of years later that Leviathan-12 arrives near its final destination, the Kuiper Belt object 58534 Logos. The crew is defrosted once again and awakes to grim news. Most of the crew is dead in their cryo-chambers, including the captain. More troublingly, some are missing. Perhaps worse, are the innumerable messages that have come in over the radio during the past two years in space.

They are facing a flood of events, and it takes some time to determine the best way to sort (Priority? They are all the highest. Ascending chronology? Too many threads to follow. Descending? The most recent events are too profound and chaotic to parse.) before the magnitude of what has happened can be parsed.

The war has escalated out of control. Earth has been entirely depopulated. Most of the colonies are either destroyed or isolated from communications. There seems to be an ongoing fall of transhumanity at large, and an uncertainty to wither the conflict is still occurring. Days pass drifting in space parsing the news that has found its way to the Leviathan-12 via radio.

There still seems to be a functioning outpost at Logos, however. The commander there says that they have ridden out the catastrophe in secrecy and intend to preserve their safety through continued radio silence until some sort of order emerges. Stoma mercifully neglects to mention that Mendoza has just rendered this a moot point for him.

The outpost still needs their cargo, and can offer air and fuel to the Leviathan. There is not enough capacity on the outpost to house the crew permanently, but after some frustrating negotiations Stoma manages to convince the outpost commander to meet in person on the surface.

Suspicions turn out to be justified when Stoma arrives at the main colony. The commander can not physically meet him, as he claims that he and the rest of the staff no longer have physical bodies – a result of a secret military program to place long-term staff at a small outpost so far from any supply lines. Where would they get food, or air? The program demanded that their minds be disembodied, and they paid a high price in service to their nation.

Stoma reports back to the surviving members of the crew, and after some discussion they are not entirely sure if they buy the story. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew has been battling a nasty computer virus on the ship. There are strong indicators that they are afflicted with some kind of Information Warfare program or virus, possibly picked up over the radio or possibly something to do with the program that NASC had them install before leaving Luna.

It seems like the program may have killed the rest of the crew, and is attempting to bring the ship down to the surface. Doc and Beaker decide that the best thing to do is make sure that they have a few clean, working and electronically isolated cryo-chambers so they can survive the journey back to one of the outer planets.

The Logos commander agrees to help them sterilize some of their cryo-units and re-wire them to be free of any potential viral infection. But when they bring them down to be worked on, they are ambushed by the very machines doing the work. The entire station turns against them.

Mendoza and Stoma lose their heads to maintenance bots and arc-welders that seem intent on harvesting their brains. Doc fights here way to a command and control center, and finds a computer system supporting a number of small tanks filled with human brains – supposedly the brains of the station crew but who can be sure? Doc smashes it all and escapes to the surface.

Back on the Leviathan-12, Wrench and Beaker repel more machines crawling up the docking tower towards their ship. The docking couplings and cargo rails are cut off the Leviathan in the battle, though it’s noting they’ll miss. Wrench is torn apart by drones.

Doc and Beaker are able to meet back aboard the ship, and the two survivors contact a pocket of anarchists with functioning habitats around Saturn. They set course for there, freeze up with the safest cryo tanks they can rig together, and hope for the best.

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