As our party gathers in the brig, Riska andReece re-examine the console Agiz was messing with earlier, discovering the equivalent of a big glowing HELP button. Unfortunately, without an access code the computer provides limited help at best. Reece is able to ascertain that they need to reach the central engineering chamber, with Kayl-1 (henceforth referred to as Winterbourne) realizing that engineering is probably housed somewhere near the ship’s rear.
Realizing they probably need to find someone who works on the ship, the party breaks through a hatch, emerging into an eerily silent corridor. Fortunately, they don’t go far before they notice a storage room; Riska works the lock open and the party finds their gear. Penny suggests heading to the bridge. With no other good option, the group sets off, Chhakuk banging away on his stump of a leg. They reach a lift and find it inoperational due to the power outage, so they climb through the hatch on its roof. As they ascend the ladder, Riska hears voices and hops into the hall. A trio of guards demands they step forward. When Reece complies, their leader, Commander Cherbetruss, sighs in relief and says “It’s just the prisoners” before demanding to know how they escaped.
Reece easily smoothtalks the guards into believing that his engineering expertise will be invaluable in restoring ship operations, and they agree to lead the party to engineering — with a slight detour to rescue the party’s animal companions. The guards also reveal that they’ve heard there are two creatures on board the ship, and that the problem originated with some sort of infection or parasite that began in medbay and vanished into the tunnels.
As the party proceeds, Penny struggles to overhear Riska’s and Reece’s conversation, but much to her annoyance, she can’t make out much beyond Riska’s occasional curses to the “sky.” Iora trails behind Penny in fascination, much to Penny’s annoyance.
Between decks three and four the party hears a sound.Simkin and Chhakuk clang a bit, but the sound nonetheless seems to move away, much the the party’s relief. They reach deck four, where the
Captain Commander leads them past Cargo Bay 2, some living quarters, and hydroponics before opening Cargo Bay 1. EBK, an acronym which saves Caryn tons of paper, hears rattling from a crate with a red light, and the Commander Captain starts fussing with a nearby crate.
Before anyone can react, three strange, scorpion-like creatures leap out.Trapspringer chops one in half and its blood immediately starts to sizzle, burning through the floor. During the battle, both Riska and Trapspringer take a creature to the face. Iora and Chhakuk free Riska, leaving Trapspringer to rip the one from his face, causing some thoracic damage in the process.
With the creatures and the Commander Captain destroyed (and white fluid oozing from his body), the other two guards realize that their commander was secretly an android, a situation they find baffling as it should violate all known laws. Once again oozing charm, Reece convinces them that they need to demonstrate their own humanity, and both soldiers prick their fingers, bleeding red. The guards then ask the computer where the animals are actually located, learning, much to everyone’s irritation, that they are right down the hall in Cargo Bay Two.
The computer refuses to tell the guards what was in the crates containing the creatures, insisting that it is classified. As they stare in mystification Reece once again exercises his considerable charm to get them moving. The party ventures into Cargo Bay Two and have a joyous reunion with their beloved pets, except for Iora, who has forgotten that she even has a wolf…
640 for all party members