Previously, our heroes overpowered a guard and finally came free of their bonds. They found themselves in some distant section of the prison asteroid BIG-16. After entering the only building in sight, Byzi shot and killed a scientist...

Read the first part of this campaign log here.

Our heroes quickly close and lock the door behind them. They need to find out where they are and how to escape, so Oberth gets to work on the terminal, while Byzi and Liam drag the corpse of the scientist that Byzi shot out of sight. The security on the terminal is difficult to bypass, but Oberth finds out that they are now in the location marked on the map as ‘Alpha’ (see this part of the campaign log for a map of BIG-16). It appears location Alpha is a research lab, although what type of research is done there remains obscure. Oberth also manages to uncover 297 fragments of footage marked ‘research’. He plays back reel number 256; it’s a short film of what appears to be a large container of bulletproof glass that contains the black, opaque orb from Byzi’s dreams. Scientists in hazmat suits are busy studying the orb and working machinery in its vicinity.

The image is disturbing, and our heroes can only conclude that they have no idea of what this all means. Regardless, they decide to proceed.

A single corridor leads away from the reception area. However, there is a warning display at its beginning that reads, ‘only authorized personnel in EVA suits beyond this point’. Liam puts on the EVA suit of the scientist that Byzi shot and goes on ahead alone. The corridor ends in a large vault door. There is a smaller door to its right. Liam, having no idea how to open the vault door, enters the smaller door first. It opens into a small room with a few lockers, a desk with a terminal, food dispensers, benches, and another door that leads to a bathroom. A quick search reveals EVA suits in one of the lockers, which Liam distributes to Oberth and Byzi. After Oberth and Byzi are suited up, they return with Liam to the locker room.

Byzi gets to work searching the lockers; he finds a supply of armor and autoblasters--finally some more appropriate gear. Oberth gets to work on the terminal (aided by Liam) and finds out that ‘location Alpha’ is a research laboratory dedicated to the study of flora and fauna local to the asteroid. Scientists keep specimen here of something they call ‘the Symbiont’, which is a small, symbiotic, worm-like creature that enters the bodies of animals through any opening and infests them. It is symbiotic because it increases the capabilities of the host but in return takes control of the host body. It spreads by blasting spores into the air, and can reproduce at a fast rate. It is a very destructive creature and security protocols to contain it are extremely strict. Byzi (and the others) are immediately worried that he might have been infected with the Symbiont when he was taken away last night; Byzi is pretty sure the guards took him here, and for what other reason would they have done that?

As Byzi ponders this, Oberth is alarmed by a signal on his workstation that requests a check-in. Forced to enter a 12-digit security code, Oberth enters his own production number from when he was grown in the vats and hopes for the best. The check-in signal ends. Fearing a silent alarm, Oberth alerts the others: they might be getting company soon.

There is a short debate, and our heroes feel they have only one choice: they must venture into the laboratory and release the Symbiont. They assume breach of the strict security protocols in the laboratory would cause a great enough distraction for them to attempt to escape BIG-16. They agree on this course of action, and Oberth hacks into the vault door that leads to the laboratory and opens it. After they enter, he locks it again.

The lab is a large circular shaft with 47 floors (they entered on floor 22). On every floor, the round walls of the shaft are lined with tanks of reinforced glass containing specimens; a circular walkway skirts the tanks and provides access to them. The center of the shaft is open and several elevator tubes run through it. Drones buzz to and fro, using the central aperture as an access way to the various floors as they carry containers with specimens or go about other business.

When our heroes study the specimens contained in the tanks, it is easy to see that they are human. Yet... something seems off about them. There are small growths and lumps on their bodies, and occasionally something seems to slither or bulge beneath the skin. The specimens are conscious, awake, and watch our heroes as they proceed down the walkway. One places his hand on the glass of his tank and makes eye contact with Oberth, which freaks Oberth out.

When a drone hovers up from the dark depth below and uses its forklift to retrieve a specimen, Oberth quickly accesses the drone’s camera for a live feed. He watches through its camera as it hovers down to the ground level. It appears that the actual laboratory is located there. There are many machines manned by scientists, overseen by a few heavily armed clone guards. At the center of the laboratory is the glass case with the black orb from Byzi’s dream that they all saw on research reel 256.

Our heroes quickly devise a plan: they go to the top floor, where Oberth takes control of one of the lifting drones. He directs it to retrieve a specimen from their floor (one marked as extremely dangerous and capable of reproduction), and makes it hover toward the aperture at the center of the shaft. As Liam and Byzi watch on, holding their breath, Oberth tilts the drone ever so slightly to release the tank. It plummets into the dark below...

Our heroes rush to the railing that lines the walkway to peer down. They see nothing, but hear glass shattering somewhere below, followed by shouting and gunfire.

A minute later, the lab turns silent...

Comments

I think this was a good kick-off for our first session on BIG-16; it was nice and long, giving the new players a thorough introduction to the Stage and role-playing in general. This session was also the christening of my science fantasy setting ‘the Spine’ (albeit a very light version of it), which is a nice personal achievement. We ended on a cliffhanger with everyone eager to plan the next session.

The players received 80 Character Points, bringing them to a total of 580.

As always, there were a few points:

  • There is a Spell and a Power with the name ‘Minor Telekinesis’. That’s confusing; I should do a check-up for double names.
  • It is unclear how a special attack (e.g. disarming) works with Ambush advantages. The Core Rulebook needs some clarification on that part.