Release the Kraken

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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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 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 3
Souvlaki

After debriefing in the Weyland simulspace, RTK is egocasted and regains consciousness in their original sleeves. But alas! Those sleeves now seem to be onboard a small shuttle with only a few other passengers on ice, and no conscious crew.

Their muses supply the relative time and their location, and put them in touch with a beta fork of Mr Magu whom is riding along on the shuttle with them. The fork (an infomorph, though he does have a clone on ice aboard the shuttle) informs them that they are on their way to the Souvlaki, an old spaceliner which has been repurposed as a pleasure barge.

This is to be a “company sponsored vacation” and they will be arriving with some other VIPs whom are scheduled for well deserved time off. The Souvlaki has a number of special rules, including a strictly controlled population. New guest are only admitted as others leave, and there are a number of small craft waiting for a chance to dock. The SEP shuttle seems to have some clout though, and is bypassing the line.

While approaching the Souvlaki (and only thanks to the higher moral bearing of Kulu and Karls) RTK takes pity on a ship that has been waiting too long in line and is running low on life support. While the rest of the team debates why the Souvlaki and the other ships in queue haven’t responded to the distress call, Kulu and Karls brave mouldy space-scum coated hatches to rescue a sad and matted pair of scientists in cat-boy morphs. They check with the Beta of Magu and get SEP to sponsor the cat-boys’ admission to the pleasure barge in exchange for a term of indenturement.

The Souvlaki has a large gravity ring and is full of themed areas for a variety of fetishes or preferences. It has its own internal rep system, and if your rep drops to 0 through negative interactions with other guests, you are wiped and your memories of the stay are destroyed. All menial tasks and labor are handled by small troglodyte creatures, seemingly without any orifices or any facial features.

Kulu and Zaius both try to lay low, while Tasha’s incomprehension of the place confuses other guests. Mabuse loses some local rep, but starts gambling big by playing on his new Remade’s pull with some Ultimate guests. A pit fight does not go as well as it could.

Magu asks RTK to recruit a pair of VIP guests, one being a Jammer and the other being a scientist. The group is successful in this regard, although the Jammer turns out to be an Alpha fork who brokers a deal to provide SEP with a time-limited Alpha for their own use. The flippant disregard for another Alpha fork’s sense of individuality or identity seems a little alien and disconcerting, but the job is done.

Through a local 9-lives connection, Tasha and Mabuse secretly pocket a copy of the scientist’s ego for their own purposes…

After the rest of the trip passes in relative peace, Magu reveals that they actually have a job to do. The entire voyage was cover to get them close to Reha undetected, and the Kronos Cluster habitat specifically. An Ultimate faction operates the docking spire there, and they are the same faction that hit The Geisha back in Episode 1. This will be a reprisal operation, the other ships in queue to visit the Souvlaki are actually assault boats, and they will screen RTK from the local kill-sats as they dock with the spire.

Tasha brings them in hard and fast, and the attack goes about as well as it possibly could. The C&C section of the spire is captured by RTK, and the automated defenses are turned against the Ultimates.

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Episode 4
On the Grape Vine

Having just secured the command and control center for the Kronos docking spire, RTK is at something of a loose end.

With the automated defenses turned against the Ultimates, local Anarchist faction and Criminal faction militias are able to sweep up from the base of the spire. Space forces from SEP and their coalition of interested parties and investors press in from outside. RTK can sit back and wait for them to meet in the middle, and appoint new management to the place.

In the meantime, Tasha scrubs the computer system and locates the surviving egos of the spec-ops team they were sent to recover, along with several other egos that were in storage there. Unfortunately, they seem to have been somehow damaged: some higher brain functions are disabled or edited out, as if the egos have been afflicted with severe mental retardation.

Magu takes Kulu with him (as he is not present at this game) to run some “errands” and leaves the rest of RTK to their own recognizance until SEP has a new operation for them. They will not be returning to The Geisha, as their recent operations have brought them too much attention and they do not want that attention reflected on the Market there. SEP will be using their new security Jammer to protect The Geisha instead.

Due to the recent troubles, and because Kronos (aka the Grape Vine) is so overpopulated and heavily divided between Anarchist and Criminal factions, cost of living and local insurance rates are through the roof. Complicating that, the local Farcasters are currently operating over capacity and there is a long wait list for any significant communications out side of the station.

This means that backups are not being transmitted out, and no one is leaving until they can clear the queues. After asking about, the explanation seems to be that a new habitat is being built in the Saturn system and there is a large influx of talent (scientists and engineers) to work on the project (hence clogging the farcasters and overtaxing mainframes all over the Saturn system). There is some speculation that the habitat project is a smokescreen for something else entirely, but nothing concrete is known.

As RTK is contemplating their next move, an Overwatch agent contacts Zaius. Appealing to his patriotism and sense of (trans)humanity, the Overwatch agent (Gabriel) raises some concerns about Weyland and SEP. The planetary consortium knows about the Logos business, as their missile relayed telemetry before destroying the object. The possibility of a TITAN threat being introduced to the region could destabilize the entire Saturn system, or threaten the Solar system in general. Gabriel tells Zaius that SEP is leveraged 500x over their actual assets, and he is having trouble tracing where they are getting the funds or what they are doing with it. He wants copies of what they took from Logos, and to know what SEP is doing.

To that end, he points Zaius at a couple of exhuman presences at Kronos. The one he is interested in is Snufalupagus: a part of the same group-mind swarm that was the first to investigate at Logos. The other is Wednesday, a local crime lord who is likely to be able to put RTK in touch with Snufalupagus.

With a last appeal to Zaius’s transhumanity (and a large bankroll) Gabriel puts RTK on the project.

RTK finds Wednesday’s domain (a few of the “grapes” on the cluster) to be clean and orderly, the resedents there having a strong sense of community. Wednesday, a Neurode, talks to RTK about the importance of oppenes, disclosure, and communal sharing. He wants to be privy to whatever they discuss with Snufalupagus, as well as to open-source any information they have about Overwatch’s operation as Wednesday suspects that it would benefit from peer-scrutiny.

RTK agrees in principal, though they carefully leave themselves some contractual “outs” to limit liability. Wednesday puts them in touch with the local Snufalupagus nodes, who reside in an old Torus hab not to far from the Grape Vine.

RTK rents a cheap and flimsy sp-taxi, and when they arrive at the Torus they find it de-spun and bristling with antennas. Upon approaching the docking collar, a swarm of the same sp-spiders from Logos pour out towards them!

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Episode 5
Double Dealings

DRAFT

SEP is played off Overwatch. Secrets are sold. Stacks are stolen. Reprisals are made. Exhumans are framed. Nobody knows who wants what; the only thing that is certain is that none of the employment options are attactive.

  • meet the snufalupagus aboard the listening post. wierd, but not too bad. They describe a desire to stay in touch with transhumanity and a drive to continue to identify as exhumans, rather than pushing for a transcendant goal. Hence, it is not in their character to have approached the TITAN infestation at Logos. They want to know about what happened as much as RTK does, and agree to send a representative to meet with Gabriel
  • Gabriel wants the exhumans destroyed, as he views them as a threat. RTK seriously considers but eventually turns down the job
  • conversation transcripts are given to Wednesday in payment
  • Zaius meets a researcher he knew from Mars who sheds more light on the large project going on, and where all the bandwidth is going
  • RTK fights off an abush, seemingly by ammature gang members but perplexingly coordinated. Some fancy “sousveilance” work reconstructs the scene of the crime, and they trace their attackers back to their points of origin, identifying their criminal factions.
  • A criminal group attacks Tasha while she is traveling alone, and steals her stack. Her cyberbrain is fine and stacks are cheap, so once he spine is reconnected she is okay.
  • Reprisals are paid out as RTK infiltrates the faction who stole the stack, and they retrieve the hardware before the encryption can be broken on the stack. Fortuneatly the overloaded farcasters limit the risk of copies of the ego leaking elsewhere.
  • Covering their tracks, Wednesday is framed for the operation
  • Magu shows back up with Kulu, and tells them that SEP needs them, there is a Project Ozma agent working against them somewhere on this very station…
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Episode 6
Mutiny on the Catana

DRAFT

  • oh noes, the Ozma agent is Gabriel! dun-dun-dun! This does not actually change anyones feelings about the situation. If anything, RTK is a bit begrudging about going back to work for Magu and SEP.
  • while Magu is imploring RTK to get Ozma off their backs by any means necessary (no, assassinating the agent wont actually get them off their backs) the station shakes. Wednesdays sections have been destroyed by kill-sats. Probably because of the frame job.
  • Magu describes factions within the Ultimates. Some they have been supporting while they fought others. There is no longer a militant Ultimate presence on Kronos, but there is a strong Ultimate “Meme” that is militantly pro-transhuman and has just tipped agains the exhumans. This meme has been one of SEPs major investments
  • Gabriel is interested in a Ice Mine that SEP recently purchased down on Reha, he suspects it might have something to do with the larger project. He “leaks” news of a possible attack to give RTK cause to go down on behalf of SEP to defend / investigate.
  • The mine is in the business of cracking H2O for the H and compressing it into metalic cylindars which are launced into orbit by a railgun to refule ships. They used to have a large Ice Core mining device (it extracts long cones 200M in diamater at the base, and 1KM long) but one of the SEP companies sold it off.
  • The attack occurs, RTK repells it. It was a big deal — low altitude insertion of power armor, lots of seekers, plasma guns, the works.
  • Magu is glad they happened to “find” that intel and has another job that happens to require the use of the Ice mine — RTK is to assist in a mutiny aboard an Ultimate ship which is parked at Reha for refueling. the Ice Mine has a scheduled metalic hydrogen launch, and RTK is to stow away onboard it and infiltrate via the ships fuel system.
  • Despite how bad that sounds, it goes off mostly without problems. Sympathizers help RTK clear out loyaltists, and a faction sympathetic to SEP’s meme investment are put in charge of the destroyer.
  • The Ultimates aboard the ship display a samaurai mentality rather than the nazi chic of the others they had interacted with. Karls guns down the captain, or the captain commits suicide, depending on your point of view. Kulu takes a few shots – but mostly because we didnt have enough time for him to blow through an outside wall like he wanted, instead of through the interior door were the ambush was.
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Episode 7
Backup Integrity

RTK picks up on board the Destroyer, as it begins departing Rhea orbit. The newly made command staff does not want to be sitting in one place while news of their weakened status could be getting out amongst the various thugs over at Kronos.

As the Ultimate crew reorganizes and cleans up damage, RTK witnesses the dead bodies of some of the loyalists being hooked up to egobridges and small faceless homunculi morphs being brought online. It is surmised that the Ultimates are sleeving their enemies or disfavored into these physically limited servitor morphs, and that these same mentally and physically handycaped morphs seen on the Souvlaki and on Kronos were actually enslaved and crippled egos. And further, that the mentally retarded egos recovered from the Ultimate mainframe at the beginning of Episode 4 must have been handicapped by spending time being sleeved in these Servitors.

RTK briefly wonders about the character of the people they have been working for or against, but mostly goes on with their day.

Kulu is out this session, so we leave him in a healing vat in the destroyer’s sleeving bay. Some last cargo shipments come aboard before the ship is fully away from Rhea and Kronos, including RTK’s various affects and an ecto containing a delta of Maguchi San.

Magu (or the Delta thereof) congratulates RTK on the securing of the Ultimate’s destroyer, and assures them that the success of the mutiny represents a significant dividend in the management’s investment in the Ultimate meme, with which they hope to begin undoing some of the problems brought about by the Weyland partnership.

Magu Delta goes on with the news that SEP is officially dissolved and that RTK is to operate as a wholly independent business unit. Assets are being split up, and the Geisha has already been sold off.

Their first objectives will be targeting former SEP assets in a good-will reputation-building cleanup effort. It isn’t hard for the astute members of RTK to pick up the subtext that this cleanup’s main objectives are fingering fall men and covering tracks. Magu Delta points them at a trio of accountants on Extropia, whom he believes are the key masterminds behind obfuscating SEP’s financial trail and ultimately funding whatever TITAN related project Weyland has been working on. Eliminating them and their backups will be RTKs next objective; they are to make use of the farcaster on board the Destroyer, and sleeves will be secured for them on Extropia.

Before casting out, Zaius receives an encrypted communication from Gabriel. The intel they brought back from the ice-mining facility was useful but has not born fruit yet. Overwatch is still trying to track down the source of the funding behind the SEP/Weyland operation, and believes that the best way to get at it is through the accountants on Extropia. He gives Zaius the account number to an anonymous sum of Crypto-Cred, accessable on Extropia, to use as a slush fund. He also assures him that Overwatch has taken the liberty of making several key arrests (and subsequent de-sleevings) so that RTK will have access to the best possible morphs when they arrive on Extropia.

Indeed, upon their awakening in a sleeving facility on Extropia, RTK finds themselves outfitted in the following:

  • A criminal enforcer from the Hidden Concern (octomorph-only cartel which racketeers here in the Main Belt) has recently been caught and desleeved. He is outfitted with a heavily modified Octamorph, sporting rows of blades along his arms and an Eelware system. Kulu (who along as an NPC in case he is needed to save the day) is sleeved in this.
  • A Barsoomian terrorist mastermind was hiding on Extropia, and was brought to justice when the Planetary Consrotium recently bought out his insurance contracts. It was sleeved in a MentApe, or uplifted Ape modified with experimental Menton enhancements. Zaius appreciates the irony of the Terrorist’s background as he takes this Morph.
  • A mechanic was convicted of criminal negligence and it’s modified Flexbot assigned to Mabuse. The sleeve is equipped with a Multiple Personality and Multitasking system, and a high quality computer to assist in the customization of forks that can be used in its multiple modular components.
  • A Spy was captured while attempting to infiltrate a local hypercorp office. His actual identity and objectives are still unknown, but Karls is able to make use of his customized Shaper morph since the spy’s ego has been stripped of all rights – though he has trouble adjusting to the synthetic nature of the sleeve and suffers from pronounced dysmorphia.
  • A journalist in a cherubic “Gargoyle” morph was arrested for violating several privacy contracts. Tasha finds the morph outfitted with advanced surveillance systems, along with enhanced electronic systems and mental speed boosts the journalist must have used to compromise various computer systems.
    Thus outfitted, RTKs first actions are to secure a variety of independent backup polices against the contingency that Magu and the last vestiges of SEP decide to have THEM eliminated after they do in the clerks.

During these “insurance” proceedings, Mabuse starts his own insurance policy by creating a handful of (slightly traumatized) copies of himself, and sends them off in pieces of his new Flexbot. These four copies (One primary and three-subcopies) are mind-hacked not to harm their Alpha, and to independently pursue his objective of recovering the Ecto (That was launched at the end of Episode 2) and using it as a weapon to destroy Jupiter.

This leaves Mabuse a little short handed, but he is able to have replacement flex-parts fabbed in fairly short order while RTK is still finding their bearings on the Hab.

After some preliminary investigation to identify the Clerks and their various M.O.s, it is decided that simply killing the targets will bring too much heat down on the team and will not actually achieve the objectives. A plan is developed to infiltrate their ego-bridging facility to first corrupt their backups, and then to find some way to do unto the Alphas.

Tasha looks up a local 9-Lives connection and (despite some social gaffes due to her real-world naiveté) manages to purchase some assistance in the form of the details of the Clerk’s backup insurance provider and their various account details.

Thus armed, Tasha and Mabuse craft a virus to invade the backup facility and purchase a backup contract through the same provider for Mabuse. The virus is uploaded into the system when Mabuse connects to a secure ego-bridge for his “backup”, and from there the program is on its own.

Thanks to the various teamwork, complementary knowledge, hardware bonuses, and other assorted legwork, the Virus has four-degrees of success with which to operate autonomously. As each of the clerks goes in for backups over the next several days / weeks, copies are forked off and transmitted to RTK for interrogation while the actual backups themselves are altered and rendered useless.

Through the various simulspace assisted ego interrogations (and socially inappropriate use of simulated dik-dik tramplings), RTK convinces their copies of the Clerks to assist them in following the money trail on SEP’s investors. While the trail is too well compartmentalized and obfuscated through anominized funds-of-funds-of-funds, a path of guilt can be established by looking at which major investors are conspicuously absent from the investments.

Dik dik

(illegal in most habitats and simulspaces)

The Clerks have built a statistical model to five-nines of probability that impicate the Immortal Oligarchs of the Rothschild family. It is purely circumstantial conjecture, but it should be damming enough for Gabriel and Overwatch (or Ozma as Magu had once accused) to proceed with. With the Fall so fresh in the memory of Transhumanity, no one is going to pussy-foot around with legalities when there is a credible threat of a TITAN-tech enabled singularity attempt in progress.

With the backups taken care of, RTK uses their slush fund to purchase some extra sleeves, and psycho-surgeries the captured egos of the Clerks into “Manchurian Candidates” to hunt down and destroy their Alphas.

When they phone in their results to Gabriel, he congratulates them on the good work and tells them that once it is verified then Overwatch will arrange to act against the Rothschilds. Further, he requests that they look into the movements of the Ice-Core cutter from Episode 6. Its sale and movements have been obfuscated, and they might have better luck tracing it through the various SEP shell companies based on Extropia.

RTK goes in for backups to preserve their knowledge of the work and their successes (and various subterfuges) to date, and….

Gain consciousness in a virtuality / simulspace with several weeks of “Lack”. There is (the same?) delta of Magu there, who debriefs them on their success. He thanks them for their clean and innovative work in assassinating the Clerks, and informs them that he has already identified their next target.

The virtuality they are in happens to be a virtual orrery, or a full simulation of the Saturn System. This pans out to various points of interest as Magu describes what has led them to this target (and thus we have this nice multimedia moment in the background of the briefing)

http://youtu.be/KNmgiinYY-M

And this is where Magu describes the history of Iapetus (per Eclipse Phase core book, first few KM of crust mined off by the TITANs and turned into circuitry, inflating the moon to twice its original size, or to a new size roughly similar to Luna. Project abandoned by the Titans, and the miniature “Matroska-Brain” is left inactive but still heavily studied by researchers). The movements of the Ice Core Cutter were tracked to that place, and a massive conspiracy of surveillance editing, and the brainwashing / overwriting of entire habs full of scientists have been discovered that hid the movements of the core-cutter. Hundreds of Transhumans near the moon have unknowingly suffered weeks of Lack, and their computer systems been compromised to disguise the lost time.

Through this intelligence Magu has determined that a “Matroska core sample” has been extracted from the Iapetus and moved to an abandoned O’Neill Cylinder which was destroyed in the Fall. The Ultimates and the Catana destroyer are already in route, and they have agreed to provide SEP with fighters and assault craft to locate and destroy the Matroska Core – Though the Ultimates are not willing to fully commit their destroyer against a possible TITAN level intelligence – several conic kilometers of raw computational power.

After being resleeved in their original (for certain values of the term “original”) bodies, RTK conjectures amongst themselves that their copies on Extropia must have been successful in achieving Gabriel’s goals and that Overwatch must have leaked the movements of the Ice Core Cutter to Magu and whatever former-SEP cronies he is working with.

The destroyer is already approaching striking distance of the O’Neill Cylinder, and although the players are slightly unhappy about the egregious plot railroad, RTK borrows some military grade Exo-Armor from the Ultimates and loads up in an assault boat with Tasha piloting.

Initial probes sent into the Hab meet with jamming and, though programmed to return on their own, are not seen again. Without any better ideas coming up, RTK cautiously enters the O’Neill Cylinder through one of the gaping holes torn in its side during the Fall, and begin investigating the ruins of the 5Km long city-like habitat. They quickly spot the Matroska Core tethered in the center of the Hab, and just as quickly are engaged by the defenders.

A fighter-screen has been provided by the Ultimates, and between them and Tashas simulspace-accelerated reflexes (she has fully interfaced her cyberbrain with the shutle’s computer system, and makes tactical decisions in 60x speed while synthetic intelligences execute the firing priorities she sets) RTK is able to make a quick survey of the core and escape out a hole in the other side of the O’Neill Cylinder.

As Tasha pilots the assault boat along the outer surface of the Cylinder, the defending fighters peel off to engage the greater perceived threat of the Destroyer – which in turn deploys the rest of its own fighter compliment.

RTK re-enters the Cylinder from the opposite end with the goal of commandeering the Tugs that hauled the conic core section here in the first place. Zaius programs a fabber on board the Assault Boat to produce self-replicating silicate eating nano bots, and RTK takes their exo-armors down to where the tugs are tethered amongst the city-streets of the destroyed Hab. Tasha provides space-support, suppressing the defenders with barrages of anti-matter projectiles siphoned out of the boat’s engines. Though sub-kiloton in yield, the destructive force is significant and the ground defenses are effectively eliminated.

There is a tense moment as reinforcements arrive from the destroyer – constant spoofing of FoF systems have left Tasha unsure of who the allies are in the battle – but caution pays off and she does not fire upon her allies. Together they achieve space-superiority and secure the cylinder as the rest of RTK pilots the Tugs through the middle of the Core, shattering the thin paper-like layers of silicates and deploying their specialized nano-deconstructors.

As Tasha scoops up the other members of RTK in the battle-scarred Assault Boat and heads back to the destroyer, we close the curtain on Episode 7…

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Episode 8
Crashing the Castle

RTK blasts through the upper atmosphere of Venus in a SCRAM jet. Ostensibly making a delivery to a private Aerostat, which is the seat of power of immortal oligarchs at the head of the Rothschild family.

They wear the morphs that were provided to them on Extropia, and have been on the run for the past months. They have no knowledge of being resleeved back on the Bounty, or participating in the space battle around the O’Neill Cylinder and Matroska core. These instances of them never experienced that Lack, and have been proceeding on mission to roll up the last remnants of the SEP / Weyland / Rothschild conspiracy in the Inner System.

The Aerostat is filled with priceless works of art, some number of which are likely Earth originals – as well as some artifacts that have been brought back from exosystems beyond the Pandora Gates. In a director’s cut outtake that was accidentally left on the floor (Had a chat with the player about the omitted scene after the game) Kulu notices a pedestal whose artifact is on loan – on it is an empty case with foam cutouts matching the silhouette of an ancient H&K SOCOM – an earth artifact in the possession of Kulu’s original ego back around Saturn – Which suggests that the Rothchilds had been engineering things with SEP at least since the time that Kulu himself was created.

The Aerostat is mostly deserted and only running with what seems to be a skeleton crew and small staff supporting a few scattered guests. Tasha does her best against a byzantine and segmented Mesh security system and, although Mabuse does unspeakable things to the elevator boy, RTK manages to have the run of the place without too much trouble and only one major ambush.

After learning that the “immortal” members of the family have most likely uploaded into the computer systems of the Aerostat, RTK overrides the environmental safeguards of the Aerostat, and vent out its buoyant oxygen atmosphere and send it careening to the surface of Venus – escaping themselves on a luxury rocket and rendezvousing with a cargo ship in orbit of the planet.

As the transport leaves orbit, each member receives a message from a patron or benefactor bidding them to finish one last job to clean up one last mess that is left over from the TITAN data that was brought back from Logos:

  • Tasha’s message is from a powerful AI which claims to be older than the fall, and is interested in preserving transhumanity. It needs Tasha’s help to find out what happened between her and Mabuse at logos.
  • Zaius’s message is from Gabriel, talking to him about his role in Project Ozma, and how Zaius is needed to preserve a transhumant way of life in the face of these kinds of emerging threats.
  • Kulu’s call is from Magu who remembers when he was just a small octopus in the lab, and thinks of himself as a father figure. One last mission is needed before Kulu can be sent to the oceans of Europa to retire and “fish”.
  • Karls’ call is from himself. His copy that was restored aboard the destroyer during the last session sends a delta-fork to give it to him straight: He is being burned, and will need to start over with a new identity, because Karls isn’t giving up their original. Those resources will be provided though, and he will get to see things that the original could only dream about – as long as he goes along to finish up the last part of the job. Karls accepts and kills the delta for its trouble – but it knew that was going to happen anyway.
  • Mabuse’s message is from a Jovian Colonel, who resets his psycho-conditioning with the salute “By Jove!” this wipes Mabuse’s traumas and resets both his desires to destroy the anarchist enclaves as well as his contrary desire to destroy Jupiter. The Colonel tells him that he has gone far off the reservation during his deep cover work, but that they need him back now. He has done great things for the Republic, but inadvertently caused great harm as well. He is needed now to finish the job.

So with a vague description of a problem or outbreak at Uranus, and the puzzling suggestion that they are the only assets that can move fast enough to get there soon enough, RTK is flown on the transport straight at the Sun… Until they arrive at some tiny specks of rock inside the orbit of Mercury, which are protected with a vast array of spacebourne weapons all pointed inwards. Landing on one of these asteroids, RTK is admitted to a secure facility where they see for the first time with their own eyes, a Pandora Gate.

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Episode 9
Welcome to Firewall
  • RTK hops through the Vulcanoid gate
  • Given new identities as a “lost” Gate Crashing team
  • The Promethian AI that contacted Tasha arranges for their “scheduled” hops to Olaf to be redirected to one of it’s worlds, and from there they are sent to Fissure Gate on Oberon
  • The Promethian ensures they can not be tracked back by “pulsing” the destination gate before they arrive, causing massive damage to the gate facility on the other side
  • RTK’s new identites have some Extropian insurance polices that get them out of there without too many questions
  • Cred is burned to outfit with heavy arms and equipment. It doesnt feel too bad since they didnt have to work for the cred to get it. Due to the presence of the Autonomist controlled Gate, arms are not hard to come by
  • Backups and egocasting is not available locally; a virus very similar to the one RTK used against the Sleeving facility on Extropia recently struk here.
  • RTK is targeting a weaponized form of the TITAN code that was brought back from Logos, and they need to get to an Ultimate destroyer in orbit of Oberon
  • Mabuse ID’s some crew that is supposed to be rotated aboard, and Tasha does some hacking to re-route them and take their place
  • Poe, the Smart Crow from Episode 0 makes an appearance at the spaceport lounge. Since he wasnt played up very strongly originally, and a scene with the salvaged hulk of Leviathan-12 was left on the cutting floor, it falls a little flat.
  • RTK docks with the destroyer aboard a shuttle, upon arrival the ship greets Mabuse as himself — not as his “new” identity
  • Mabuse sort-of-but-not-really-but-actually-really-but-not betrays RTK to the crew of the Destroyer. Massive firefight ensues as they fight their way to the ship’s backup bridge
  • Tasha uses a plasma rifle in close quarters to devastating effect. Bulkheads are breached. Days are made.
  • Zaius works his way through the entire catalog of seekers, with only minimal splash damage to the party. Did I say minimal? Karls needs to be revived with some quick nano-surgery.
  • The backup bridge is no longer a bridge, but has been replaced with an infestation of the same crystaline computronium substrate that was seen at Logos.
  • RTK decides to exit to space via a hatch, and byass the bridge straight to the engine room
  • By this time, it is very clear that the ship is populated by forks-of-forks of the forks that Mabuse created back on Extropia. They have retrieved the TITAN programming that he and Tasha secreted away back in Episode 2, and have weaponized (with the help of Gurian — the AI researcher that Tasha and Mabuse stole a fork from back on the Souvlaki) it to use against his enemies at Jupiter.
  • Long story short: Engineering is taken. Tasha steers the ship for a crash-course into Uranus. It is decided that the deep atmosphere there make the risk of the TITAN infection spreading to Uranus negleagable. Waves of “Ultimate” Mabuse forks are fought off.
  • Short story long: Anything by Dickens (Okay, stole that from KoL)
  • The metalic hydogen fuel is blown, destroying the aft half of the ship and killing all of RTK — except Karls whom’s cyberbrain is recovered and brought back to Oberon
  • Rest of RTK is resleved at the Vulcanoid gate facility (last backup). Karls resleeved at Oberon. Congratulations. Good work. Welcome to Firewall.
  • What? I thought you said this wasn’t going to be a Firewall campaign.
  • Mabuse is not resleeved. But other forks of him around the solar system begin building a network…

Fin. Curtain. Players take a bow.

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