Posted Nov. 28, 2021, 6:06 p.m. by Jason Wolfe
Hey, guys! Since we’ve had a bit of a shake-up when it comes to the direction of the main sim, I wanted to kick this back up onto the visual board so that you all can see what’s going on in our current story. With Luke stepping away as GM, I’ve been asked to attempt to keep things going and squeak the Viking across the finish line so the story isn’t left hanging. Luke gave us some really good bones on which to build, and I’m hoping to do his idea some form of justice. As I said in this post, it will take all of us working together to make that happen. I will say that I have a solid direction in which the sim could go, simply because I’m an adaptive storyteller in a collaboration effort like this—meaning I’m reacting to what you guys post just as much as you are all reacting to what I set out.
Simply put, you control the course of the story!
“But Jason,” I hear some of you say, “I’m not exactly sure what’s going on! What do I do?” Friend, that’s a very good question and one I’ve been trying to solve myself! With your help, I’m hoping we can put all the facts we’ve learned together into this one space so that we’ll all be on the same page when it comes to information known to the crew (and characters) of the Viking. Moving forward, I will do my best to keep this section up-to-date when you guys nail some big plot points. Let’s dig in!
—The Story So Far…—
As noted above, the Viking discovered a massive alien ship while on a routine patrol of deep space. The ship was transmitting a very friendly greeting, asking for help and welcoming replying aliens to come aboard. When the Viking came in range, it received a sort of “welcome packet” of information about the aliens and their culture—very much like a childhood film showing you the marvels and wonders of a far-off land. The ship also requested two liters of anti-matter, though again in an automated fashion. Some of the crew felt this was suspiciously similar to an event that befell another Federation ship years and years ago, so the crew opted to learn more of the aliens before passing over the good stuff.
An away team was dispatched to investigate the ship, learning rather quickly that the entire crew—what crew there was left—was in stasis. Many were dead in their tubes, but one tube in particular was being handled with great care by the ship’s monitoring systems. This pod contained Lord Hab’rabi, a powerful man of station whose dress and bearing evoked images of old Earth gods. More curious still were the strange ember lights that moved about his head like curious insects, drifting in and out of his skull in a disturbing fashion that seemed to bother him not at all. Not quite convinced of Hab’rabi’s intentions or benevolence, the command staff extended an invitation of sorts for Hab’rabi to come aboard the Viking to discuss the antimatter. Though a bit long-suffering in his acceptance, Hab’rabi agreed upon the condition that he be borne to the Viking via shuttlecraft; he seemed very interested, though wary, of transporter technology that his kind did not yet possess or understand. In the meantime, the Viking took the larger alien ship in-tow and set course for a starbase, offering a limited power transfer to stabilize the foreign systems.
Not long after Hab’rabi was settled in his quarters did the crew begin to realize that the alien was not the only thing to have come aboard. Lieutenant Darz and Commander Sigmundsson manifested some less-than-diligent behavior, and a few other crew members experience bits of lost time or confusion. One engineer decided to abandon his post to go make out with someone he hated working with! Fearing that they had somehow been boarded by a malevolent force or contaminated by an unknown pathogen brought aboard by Hab’rabi, Commander Kohr enacted a containment protocol—force fields sprang up all over the ship, segregating each deck from the others and placing turbolifts on limited-access. The behemoth ship was also cut loose and set adrift on a collision course for a distant star before the Viking engaged shields, changed course, and put distance between them. Security details were dispatched to arrest and contain both Darz and Sigmundsson until their conditions could be medically and scientifically assessed. During this distraction, a security officer in charge of guarding Hab’rabi suddenly turned on him and stunned the alien directly and repeatedly before dropping his phaser and coming to his senses.
—Our Current Dilemma—
The crew of the USS Viking have begun to unravel and something hinky is afoot! The stage is set and there are plenty of mysteries to solve for those writers with the gumption and grit to get to the bottom of what is going on! We’ve got four solid threads moving along and lots of good information just waiting to be discovered, and each department is going to have a role to play in the success—or failure—of this mission. Can the Viking crew figure out what’s really going on, or will chaos and confusion spell disaster? I can’t wait to find out! Oh, and I’ve retitled some of the main sim threads to include a little hint for you all, so keep that in mind!
To help you guys get inspired, here’s some breadcrumbs for your station:
Medical: Ensign Fairweather has reported to Sickbay complaining of some lost time. He’s not happy, either, because he found himself making out with someone he hates working with! His prefrontal cortex has shown a bit of recent stimulation, but so far the medical staff hasn’t figured out what would be causing it. While this was going on, Lieutenant Commander Kohr arrived for a scan in hopes of being cleared to continue his duties when he suddenly collapses! Seconds later, two sparks of light—one a sullen russet, and the other a wan amber—slip free of his skull and loft into the air. The darker mote ripples and vanishes, but the amber mote lingers… and seems to have taken an interest in Lieutenant Fayth. Security teams are on the way with both Lieutenant Darz and Lieutenant Commander Sigmundsson so their behavior can hopefully be explained. Could their scans hold clues as to why the crew have begun acting so strangely? What are the strange spots of light that seem so familiar to those orbiting Hab’rabi, and is there a connection?
Oh, and Lord Hab’rabi’s been shot. Better make sure he’s okay so that there’s not a diplomatic incident!
Security: Ensign Sacco has gone rogue! While on duty guarding Lord Hab’rabi, the ensign drew his phaser and stunned the alien at point-blank range; not appeased by the result, he then fired several more times into Hab’rabi’s head before dropping his phaser and calling for help. A medical officer has arrived to check on the unconscious alien, but that still leaves Sacco unattended… and possibly unhinged. Could the ship’s internal logs have any clues as to what happened, or why Sacco decided to go postal on our visitor? Might Sacco himself remember anything prior to the incident that he’s too shaken to remember? Is there a way of preventing this kind of thing from occurring again?
Science: The science department has a wide open selection of venues they could go in order to help the crew. The first option is to work with the medical staff to learn how these strange lights work, and what they are. Hab’rabi has referred to them as “remnants,” the souls of his people and the echoes of their past. Scans have determined that they work in a way similar to the Viking‘s gelpacks in that they can read, store, and transmit data. They also appear to read much like brain wave patterns. Are they some kind of data storage device the aliens use for their foreign purposes? Are they truly souls, some kind of displaced memory in ethereal form? How do they interact with the world around them?
The second trove of information is contained within the alien ship itself, a behemoth of a vessel several times larger than the Viking. She’s a good fifty years behind current technology, but she’s a marvel of engineering: the ship has traveled to us from the far side of the galaxy with only minor damage, a structural and engineering feat! A ship like that is bound to have records and sensor logs of phenomena never-before-seen on this side of the galaxy; the Federation could potentially learn a great deal about long-term travel on ship design at the very least. She was meant to be a colony ship according to Hab’rabi, but it was sent off-course and they had to make due with their situation. Could understanding what happened to the alien ship offer clues to what is happening aboard the Viking? Would learning more about Hab’rabi and his people shed light on the changes in the crew’s behavior?
Engineering: Your team has both a mystery and a problem. The mystery lies in the alien ship and how to effect repairs to get her back underway. She’s still on minimal power, despite getting a nice charge from the Viking via a direct energy transfer. There’s a bit of radiation leaking from the warp core; while it’s nothing serious or life-threatening, it is obscuring the Viking‘s sensors. It’s a huge colony-type ship with thousands of aliens in deep stasis, though something happened to them and left a good majority of them dead. Still enough for a colony, perhaps, but it’d be iffy. What can be done to repair the damage (once you get it back in-tow)? What else might be going on that the sensors can’t see for the radiation? And what is that secured room in the heart of the behemoth?
Your problem is with the Viking and the mysterious force moving about affecting the crew. The first officer has enacted a containment protocol, and the captain wants a plan to protect the ship from these… energy blobs?… and she wants it yesterday! How are you supposed to shield the ship’s systems from a thing you don’t understand? Can you get a sample to analyze? Have medical or science collected any data you can use? Why is the comm panel lighting up with complaints of malfunctions all across the ship? And why is it so damned hot in here?
Command: This is a fine, sticky mess, innit? The Viking has made first contact with an alien species from all the way across the galaxy, and you’ve rolled out the red carpet in welcome. Sure, you had your hand under the table ready for a cantina gunfight, but you didn’t let that stop you from smiling and welcoming Hab’rabi aboard. Then what happens? Lieutenant Commander Sigmundsson, drinking on the job. Lieutenant Darz, packing away the buffet before taking a skinny dip. Ensigns gone wild with phasers and tongue-spelunking. It’s like high school… in space! Worst of all is that no one seems to have a handle on it, and the first officer has collapsed! What are you to do? Lock the ship down and get down to brass tacks, that’s what!
Kohr is down for the count, but could there be something to that? Hab’rabi was stunned into a coma by a member of the security detail meant to guard him, but maybe if you act quickly you can avoid a first contact snafu. How can you head this thing off at the pass, get the ship back under control? And good gods, will someone please figure out what those lights are and how to stop them?
Whew! That’s a read, innit? But I’m hoping that gives you struggling folks a bit to chew on and possibly some inspiration! Moving forward, I will do my best to keep adding new discoveries to this in case life happens and you fall a bit behind. If there is anything any of you would like to add that I missed or didn’t cover quite right, please feel free to add it anywhere. This is as much a reference for the entire team, as well as an open dialogue of discussion should you want to put your heads together and try to figure out what’s going on. I cannot stress enough that this is a team effort, and I’m very excited at the idea of working with you all to bring this tale of strangeness to an exciting and satisfying conclusion.
Let’s do this, folks!
—Jason, Interim GM (Sorta)—
The suit is itchy, restrictive. She doesn’t understand why, but Mother says that’s the way it’s supposed to be. The sound of her own breathing is loud inside the helmet. There is a faint hum, too; the life-support system works to keep her suit cool and with fresh air. She thinks it smells like algae, but Mother says that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Mother stands silently next to her, holding her hand and staring towards the horizon. She looks, too, but she’s not sure what Mother is looking at. It is hard to see through the green-brown haze thick in the sky, but she thinks she sees a light. Maybe that’s what Mother wanted her to see.
Mother points, and she squints. The light is brighter now, flickering. It glows brighter and brighter until it hurts to look at, and then it’s gone. There’s a streak in her vision she can’t help but try to wipe away. Her glove makes a hollow sound on her visor. Mother does not notice; she is crying, distracted. There is family aboard that colony ship, family they would never see again. She didn’t know them well, but she will still miss them. Footsteps sound behind her and she turns…
…coughing and sputtering, heaving the stasis fluid from her lungs. Anxiety burns all around her, but she manages to pull herself from her tube without help. A hand falls on her shoulder to stead her and she smiles a thank you at the vessel’s concern. She is not sure which one it is, but she is relieved at the gesture nonetheless. She almost envies them, free of fear. She briefly wonders what it would be like to ascend, what a vessel would feel like. A second skin, perhaps? But there is no time for that, not with their ship on alert status.
She stumbles to a console, enters her access code. The screen is blurry from stasis sickness, but her hand knows what it is doing. The ship’s system calmly reports to her in garbled words, and alarm ripples through her. They’ve dropped to sublight, but why? Curiosity pulls her to the nearest portal, and she stares out. Had space always been so black? She stared, trying to make sense of it, when…
…would it end? The stasis fluid seared her lungs. Tears streamed down her face as she screamed inside her skull for her body to move. It was futile. A part of her reminded her that her neuroinhibitor was still in-place, still held her dying body still. She screamed, begged, raged, all inside the prison of her flesh even as her vision began to dim. She could hear muffled shouting just outside her tube, but they may as well have been on the far side of the galaxy. In the quickening dark, she longed for Mother’s gentle touch one last time. How ironic, since their last conversation had not been a pleasant one. What had she done to deserve this hell?
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