Heaven's Gate

November 14th, 2009 Session

A girl named Sue

The Seventh Day of July in the Two Thousand Nine Hundred Fifty Second Year of our Lord.

When the session opened the party was making their way across the desert landscape of the world they had been stranded on. None of the team had any direct training on desert survival, but Seif at least remembered stories from his childhood regarding the settlers trials in the early days colonizing New Mecca. With Seif’s guidance the team traveled at night, and camped during the day.

The going was fairly arduous, but the party did well during their journey. The only real items of interest to the team was the periodic appearance of flashes of light on the horizon, looking like reflections off of shiny objects, to the right of their travel path. The reflections seemed to be traveling away from the outcropping of rocks the team was headed towards. Captain McIntyre decided not to investigate them since they appeared to far away, and would cost the team too much of Mendoza’s limited time. Later that day, Boma saw more flashes of light on the horizon, these were even bigger, and were headed towards the outcropping this time.

The party pushed ahead, and after three of this systems days of travel, they reached the outcropping itself. When the team got close enough, they saw a large metal plate recessed into the wall of the rocky cliff face; the wall measured some 500 yards long, and at least 60 feet high. In the center of the wall, the team could make out what appeared to be hangar doors measuring 150 feet long, and 50 feet high. The team also spotted what appeared to be a massive path of disturbed sand leading up to the center of the hangar doors.

The team made for the doors, once they had spotted a man sized service door in the wall as well. As they crossed the sands, they were disturbed to note the appearance of man-sized objects moving beneath the sand towards them. When the objects got within 100 feet of the team, they burst onto the surface revealing themselves to be another form of the humanoid tentacle creatures the team had encountered in the Wake System.

The creatures were slightly different from the kind they had fought before, showing no signs of having ever been human. They looked more like a cross between man and shark; possessing a shiny black skin, that must have eased their passage through the sand. The team fought the creatures off, with Boma’s twin pistols wreaking havoc on the enemies assault. The party was dismayed though, when they could hear the creatures inhuman screeching being echoed by more of their kind in the area. McIntyre and Boma laid down fire on the seemingly endless waves of the creatures, while Seif tried his hand at opening the alien lock on the door. Gabby even took his over-sized wrench to a couple of the creatures when they got too close for comfort, and began to swarm Boma. Seif managed to crack the locking system opening the door, and letting the team into the alien structure.

As soon as the team was inside, the chamber lit up revealing a massive hangar bay containing the hulks off several very alien spacecraft. Gabby and Boma set to searching the hulks for parts, while Seif and McIntyre checked out the end of the large drag marks they had seen outside of the hangar doors. The path ended at a huge section of the metal floor, that was completely free of dust. The section appeared to be the top of a deck elevator, like the kind used in some hangars to lower a spacecraft below a flight deck, into a storage or repair center. Even the lights in this place were alien in nature, appearing to be globes of light, that just hovered in the air near the ceiling. In the back wall of the hangar, there were windows, that appeared to look in on some kind of Control Center.

McIntyre and Seif moved off to investigate the door closest to the Control Center. Seif made short work of the door controls, letting the two of them into a hallway. As soon as they entered, the hall was light up by more of the strange light globes. The two started down the hall, but stopped when two robots came around the corner to confront them. The machines hovered off of the ground, and while thin and near to child-sized, their two arms ended in what appeared to be the tubes of some kind of weapons. The machines made noises at the Captain and Seif that sounded more like flute music than anything else. When neither of the men responded the machines repeated themselves, and then gestured towards McIntyre and Seif with their weapon arms. McIntyre took a risk, and tried to whistle back at them, in a rough mimicry of the machines’ noises. The ploy worked, and the sentry robots moved off, leaving McIntyre and Seif in the hall.

The Captain and Seif entered the Control Center and were immediately confronted with the completely alien nature of the rooms controls and panels. The chairs seemed to be made for creatures very different from men, and they floated in the air, while panels and lights flickered all accompanied by the flute-like sounds of the alien language. Seif suddenly remembered where he had seen these kinds of panels before; the pictures from the investigation of Cydonia in history books. The two concluded that this place must be some sort of remains of The Observer’s civilization. While the history lesson was all very interesting to the Captain, what mattered to him was where the power was coming from, and when he said as much, he was rewarded by the flute-language briefly pausing, and a female voice saying “Power.”

McIntyre tried to call out to the voice to ask for help with power and parts for his ship, to which the voice only responded by repeating “Help. Power. Parts. Ship.” Slightly frustrated, the Captain tried varying his delivery, and was only relieved when the voice said “Yes. Come. Help. Ship.”, and then the door to the Control Center opened, and a cluster of light globes waited outside.

McIntyre quickly called Boma and Gabby, and had them join him and Seif. When the whole team was back together, they followed the globes down the hallway, and through several turns in the maze-like complex.

One of the turns took them to a door, behind which the sounds of battle could be heard. When the doors opened the team was confronted with the sight of a battle between several of the Ink creatures, and a few of the Sentry Bots. The battle must have been going on for sometime as evidenced by the many bodies on the Ink creatures side, and the many plates welded into the shape of barricades on either side. The team would have to run the gauntlet between the two sides, who were exchanging fire with some kind of energy weapons. Forgoing any real attempts to engage either side, the party settled for a hand grenade, and a few pot shots to weaken the Ink side, while they ran across. They were rewarded for the efforts with energy fire from both sides. Only Boma was seriously affected by the confrontation, when some stray fire lit across his armor, rattling him, and forcing him to duck and low crawl through the crossfire.

After escaping the firefight, the team continued to follow the light globes, eventually descending some stairs, and confronting another one of the massive, tentacled, Ink-Bulls they had fought back in Wake. This time they were backed up by a few more of the Sentry Bots, who while easy pickings for the creature, were able to at least last a bit longer than the pack of engineers the team had used as “ablative armor” last time. This creature acted a bit differently as well. It used its tentacles to attack, and crush its enemies, but it also made odd guttural sounds, that sounded language-like, and when it combined these with patterned motions of its tentacles, it produced bolts of black energy, that it used to attack its foes. Anything struck by the bolts, went through a rapid entropic aging effect, that turned robots into piles of rust, and seemed to sap the life energy of the party members who were struck. The team did much better than the robots, with the entire group surviving the battle, and only the Captain, and Boma sustaining any injuries. Seif was the one to strike the killing blow on the creature, by insanely charging the beast, and fighting it hand-to-hand. Seif’s final strike was piercing thrust into the central mass of tentacles, destroying a nerve cluster, and dropping the creature. The team quickly fled the room and pressed on, especially once the creature started showing signs of healing from its injuries.

The next set of doors led the party out on to a catwalk above a massive factory floor that’s automated processes were producing more of the Sentry Bots, at a rather alarming rate. The globes did not stop in the room, but instead quickly led them to a doorway. When this final door was opened, the team was greeted by a dark room. Boma used his NVGs to identify a room with a massive object that sat too close to the small entrance, to fully make out. Seif grabbed a light globe, and forced it into the room. McIntyre immediately recognized the hull of his beloved Run Around Sue.

As the team entered the room, they were amazed to not only find the Run Around Sue, but to find her looking like she just rolled off of the factory floor. All of her markings were there, but none of the dents, nicks, or scrapes that she had even before the crash. As the team started to walk around the ship, McIntyre heard a woman’s voice call from within the ship.

“Barry!”

McIntyre climbed into the ship through the rear hold, and heard the voice call again from up on the catwalk. As he walked deeper into the immaculate hold, he heard footsteps echo down the walkway. Looking up he saw a woman from his past. He was shocked, to say the least, and when he called her Molly, she corrected him, and said, “No, silly! I’m Sue.” Confused by the statement, McIntyre asked if she was the ship, and the woman said that she was not, that the ship was the Run Around Sue, and she was Sue. The poor Captain was further perplexed when the woman hugged him, and told him that she loved him, and then insisted that he loved her too.

McIntyre asked if this was his ship, and if she could fly; to which Sue said yes on both counts. Gabby asked about Mendoza, and Sue pointed towards his Stasis Pod. When Gabby looked in on Mendoza though, he was so shocked by the sight, that he threw up, and fell to one knee. The rest of the crew checked to see what was so shocking, and when they did they were equally horrified.

“Mendoza” was reduced to a pulsating mass of flesh inside the Stasis Pod. Many of his organs were suspended from wiring, and laid exposed to the air inside the pod. His skin was stretched over computer components, and he seemed to be integrated into the Pod’s controls, and life support systems. What was most horrifying was the sight of all of the parts functioning, to include a heart beat, and the gradual whisper of breathing. Shocked the team asked if Mendoza was still alive, and Sue assured them that he was.

McIntyre decided to table the discussion for now, and ran to the cockpit to try and get the ship off of the ground. When he got to the cockpit, it looked exactly as he remembered it, except that every piece gleamed as if new. McIntyre started to prep the ship, but as he did, Sue came in and told him that he was in the wrong chair, that she was the pilot. McIntyre gave up the seat, and Sue began to prep the ship for take-off. As the Captain watched her movements, he noticed that some of the switches, and indicators changed as she reached out to them, without ever actually making contact. She eventually turned to the Captain, and asked him if she should contact the tower, and have the ship moved into the hangar for launch. McIntyre played along, and told her yes. Sue then reached for the comms, and then spoke in the flute-language. Something spoke back, and the ship rose into the hangar, on the elevator they had seen earlier. She then lifted off as the doors opened, and a wave of the creatures surged into the bay.

As the ship slid forward, the creatures were struck down or smashed aside by an unseen force a few meters off the surface of the ships hull, and as each was knocked aside, a crack of electricity would appear like a giant bug-zapper. Soon the ship had rocketed into orbit around the system, and the team found themselves free of their prison once more.

Away from the planet’s surface, and the threat of the Ink beasts, the team confronted their new crew member. Sue was evasive of statements that questioned her origins, or her connection with the crew, but was happy to say that the ship was ready to travel. The crew tried to listen to the Cathedral Station for this system, but the Swiss Guard there were speaking in Latin. McIntyre asked Sue if she spoke Latin, so she cocked her head to the side for a few moments like a dog, then said yes, and translated for the team. She told them that the Station had detected unusual energy signatures coming from the planet, and inquired about scrambling fighters, but decided not to.

McIntyre had Gabby check the engine, but when he showed the engine compartment to the Captain, McIntyre could not begin to recognize what he was seeing. The Engine compartment now held a glowing ball of light, around which orbited numerous metallic spheres, and even a few other balls of energy. Sue told them that it was the engine the ship had always had, a “Singularity Fusion Drive.” Needless to say, Gabby knew that this was not his beloved engine, and had no idea what to do with it.

The team also started discussing how they would leave the system without the churches help to navigate Gate Space. Sue laughed, and told them that they would all climb in their Stasis Pods, and once they were secure, she would engage the cloak, and open the gate herself, she simply needed to know where they wanted to go. Slack jawed, McIntyre asked Sue if the ship now had a way to make itself invisible, and if she could navigate Gate Space without being Awestruck. She smiled and said, “Yes.” McIntyre had Sue lay in a course for Tortuga, and the crew went to their pods.

Once in Tortuga, McIntyre, Boma, and Seif went to see Jack Murphy to tell him about the failed mission to Wake, and also a limited amount about what happened to them afterwards. While McIntyre did not give the details about Sue, he did tell Jack that he had a way around The Church, when it came to getting through the Gates. Jack seemed skeptical about the whole situation, but he did believe that McIntyre was at least telling the truth about the Ink Supply Depot. He told McIntyre that he would need time, and the consultation of the bosses back in Nippon before he could make any decisions. Jack thanked McIntyre for tipping him to The Church’s interests in his operations, and promised to relay any information he received about Smith or Maria. Jack let the team know, that no work would be available until he had time to sort out McIntyre’s story. McIntyre went to the bar to tell the bartender that a reward would be paid for any information about Smith.

The team had just started to have a couple much needed drinks, when they received a call from Gabby; who had stayed behind with Sue so he could try and learn from her how the ship’s engines worked. Gabby sounded a little shaken over the comm line, and told the Captain, that he needed to get back ASAP, since Sue had just killed some one.

The team rushed back to find the Tortuga Police camping the entrance to their docking slip. When they arrived McIntyre confronted the officer in charge, and learned that Sue had killed two technicians on-board the ship. McIntyre was eventually able to bribe the officer to look the other way, as long as the ship and her crew left. Since it is Tortuga, this was a good offer to the officer, and he told McIntyre to stay away for a couple weeks.

Back on board the ship, McIntyre and crew found Sue standing in the hold smiling like nothing had happened, with one of her arms completely covered in blood, and two men, one headless, dead on the floor. Gabby explained that the two men came on-board, and then one of the men made a slightly lewd suggestion to his friend causing Sue to snap, and slap one mans head off, and break the other one’s neck. Sue thought this was all well and fine, since they were clearly bad men, but eventually the Captain was able to convince her that there would be no killing, unless the Captain said it was OK first. Sue smiled and said, “OK, Barry.”

The team slipped to another system for a bit, and tried to stew on there next step. While they were in hiding, Boma worked on the ship’s computer systems, trying to understand if there was anything left of Mendoza. Eventually Boma found a rather large computer file, that had some kind of audio component to it. When Boma played the audio file, he was treated to the sound of Mendoza’s voice caught in a constant blood curdling scream. Once he revealed that to the Captain, the team elected to turn off Mendoza’s life support, and make plans to bury his remains on the next world they went to.

The team debated their next step, and they eventually decided to put some distance between them and The Church. They went to New Mecca. Seif had them land in the open desert waste first, and there the buried Mendoza. Sue started to follow them to the burial, but as she started to step away from the ship, she suddenly went blank, turned around, and went back to the ship without another word. The team gave Mendoza a proper funeral, and returned to the ship. When they got back, they found Sue sitting in a chair in the main hold, staring blankly. Within moments of their return, she jumped up, and acted as if nothing happened.

Seif took the team to the town where he grew up. They docked at a Space Dock there, and went to see Seif’s family. Shocked, and amazed by his son’s return Seif’s father, Imam Mansur al Din, arranged for the team to move there ship to his brother’s farm outside the city.

As the session closed the team was trying to decide what there next step might be. The thirst for revenge against Smith and The Church burned within them, but the need to figure out the “Sue” situation weighed heavily too.

The Twenty First Day of July in the Two Thousand Nine Hundred Fifty Second Year of our Lord.

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