Prior to the events of last week’s campaign, a long corridor decorated in shades of black and grey stretches into the distance. In the far room stands Penny, flanked by two halfling guards and a human female, all wearing black uniforms with yellow stripes. They order her out of the room. After a moment, Penny smiles slyly and lets them lead her away. They pass more doors, more humanoids in similar uniforms, until they reach a cell containing ALT Kayl, ALT Reece, ALT Chhakuk, and ALT Simkin. Suddenly the lights flicker, and a voice announces: “We have another incursion. All non essential security personnel report to the temple.”
Flashing forward, both cells are filled. Blue forcefields block the parties from one another. Our party is wearing orange jumpsuits and missing all of their gear, not to mention Ambrosius and Iora‘s wolf. Trapspringer and Kayl immediately examine the cell, finding a tiny ventilation shaft on the roof and gray panels on the wall. By standing on Kayl’s shoulders, Riska looks into the vent. She sees a long vertical shaft crisscrossed by red lights, but when she touches the grate, a jolt goes through her and Kayl. Kayl then tries punching the forcefield and gets a massive shock for his trouble.
As Riska and Kayl start messing with the bench in the cell, a woman walks over, advises them to stop, and asks for a representative. The party nominates Riska, who wants to speak to the captain immediately, but the woman says she’ll have to wait half an hour.
As they wait, Riska paces, more anxious than usual. Iora stares at Penny, then moons her alternate self. The lights flicker periodically, changing the colour of the forcefield to purple. No one likes Trapspringer’s suggestion of a human battering ram, so they wait until the woman returns with two halflings, a dwarf, and an elf, dropping the forcefield and ordering Riska forward. Riska’s attempt to stare her down is thwarted when Kayl bellows and charges past her, toppling a halfling guard in the process.
Trapspringer happily snatches the guard’s weapon as the woman calls for security backup. The guards shoot the crap out of Kayl, who simply will… not…. fall. Meanwhile, Agiz discovers the security controls, but can’t activate them without the codes. Riska talks to their alternates, Penny opening the conversation with “Your Kayl is almost as much of an idiot as ours.”
ALT Reece tells her that he left his Riska and Marlin in Opara, possessed by orbs. He also tells her they’re on a spaceship with nowhere to run. Hearing this, Riska encourages the others to surrender, advice they choose to ignore. Trapspringer continues to fumble with his gun and the guards continue to blast Kayl until reinforcements finally subdue them both, leaving Agiz and Riska to surrender and Iora dizzy, having spent the battle spinning in circles in the cell.
The guards throw Kayl into isolation, return Agiz and Trapspringer to the cell, and take Riska to meet the captain. They also bring in a medical team to tend to their wounded, Kayl having largely decimated the guards. Riska overhears them discussing how in order to treat the wounds with magic, they’ll need to leave the detention area. As they walk, Riska notices that the guards wear the symbol of Ahm Helmok and tries showing them her own mark; they are unimpressed.
Off the ship’s bridge, a female captain drinks coffee behind a desk. Riska frankly tells her what they’re looking for, but the captain replies that they too serve Ahm Helmok and are spreading his word throughout the universe. They are carrying important classified cargo and their power grid was disrupted by the dimensional disturbance. Riska smoothly talks around her, arguing that they both serve Ahm Helmok, and that, as a god, Ahm Helmok is not bound by dimensions — they must both be serving his will, which means there must be a way for both of them to achieve their goals. The captain softens, introducing herself as Eileen Pyrll. Riska introduces herself in turn, once again refusing to give a last name. The captain tells Riska that the orb powers their ship, and replicas power other ships — she will have to speak to Pyrll’s superiors if she wants their most sacred object. Still, Riska is able to convince her to consider her words, and possibly to move them to better quarters if Riska can control her peers.
This is a rather ironic development, but nonetheless.
Riska is returned to the cell, where she relays information to Agiz and Iora, Trapsringer and Kayl remaining unconscious. The power flickers continue as the guards bring food. Once Kayl regains consciousness, the guards allow Riska to speak to him, and Kayl agrees not to engage in further violence for the time being. Riska returns to her cell. Riska also quietly speaks with Agiz, pointing out that there’s only one orb and that both they and the alt group are going to be after it. She suspects the others have figured out the same thing. Riska is willing to work with the other group to an extent, but she says that if only one Marlin can be saved, it’s going to be hers. Agiz asks her if Reece is intelligent, and she says more than he’ll initially appear. She also warns that Reece is a smooth talker and excellent liar — or at least, the Reece she knows.
After some time, they note that the power fluctuations have increased and that they haven’t seen the guards in some time. Riska watches the other group and notes that Alt Chhakuk seems protective of Penny, Alt Kayl seems protective of Alt Reece, Simkin seems disdainful of them all, and that there seems to be a power struggle between Alt Reece and Penny.
From his vantage point, Kayl alone can see that a single guard remains at the desk. Suddenly the power goes out entirely, leaving all the forecefields purple. Agiz attacks the forcefield, taking no damage himself but causing some. Trapspringer and the alt party begin to attack the forcefields as well.
The guard from the desk comes into the hall, but doesn’t seem concerned with the prisoners. Instead, he is staring up. All at once a panel comes loose and a huge black creatures lunges from the ceiling, attacking the guard. The Kayls chorus their surprise while everyone else retreats in silence. Agiz recognizes this hideous creature from a single page in a long since forgotten book, and knows it to be an insanely dangerous hunter with gooey saliva and acidic blood.
The creature attacks the alt group’s forcefield repeatedly. Although it seems as though the forcefield is weakening, the creature gives up in frustration, leaping into the ceiling once more. Everyone quickly smashes through their forcefields. Riska instantly goes to the fallen halfling guard and takes his weapon. Using what she gathered from watching the earlier fight, she asks Kayl to snap off the halfling’s finger, which she uses to unlock the weapon with the fingerprint scanner and set it to full power. Penny approaches, introduces herself to Riska, and asks if she wants to find the orb and get the hell off this ship.
Riska is more than ready to agree.