A place for the players to deal with the Synthesized VI ‘haunting’ the ship before their arrival in the Strenuus System.
Can you communicate?
A series of inquiries hits your system with almost physical force, prodding for information.
“Interesting. You are aggressive. Hungry?”
Delta sheds a few terrabytes of code into the system containing who the crew is and friendly intent.
The data is devoured instantly. The probing stops, but it becomes clear that the entity is ‘circling.’ It’s not quite as aggressive, but it is active and snapping up any data you ‘toss’ at it. You receive no real ‘verbal’ communication from it, but it’s there and it’s watching, so you could either let the thing be, continue to interact with it, so take some sort of aggressive action against it.
Delta activates a series of standard electronic warfare countermeasures, deploying a series of digital ‘flechettes.’ Before releasing, however, Delta de-fangs the attack, rendering it into nothing more than digital chaff. He aims it toward a random spot in cyberspace, and waits to see if the system enjoys his ‘treat.’
The entity dashes ‘forward’ revealing itself plainly for a moment. A bit of exposed code reveals a potential weakness….
(advise whether you observe, exploit the weakness, or take a third option).
Delta’s desire to domineer the program is overshadowed by his newfound capacity for compassion. All of Delta’s entities chose to leave the Geth collective, and they would like to remain a voluntary platform.
Delta goes still as he silently observes the entity, looking to better understand its own desires. Even if agreement is not possible, perhaps understanding…
Hours pass uneventfully. At one point, the ship receives an infected message, purportedly from Alliance Navy, but in actuality from a phisher.
Typically a ships standard counter-measures delete a message like this and inform the user. Neither happens here. The entity retrieves the message in mid receipt and funnels it into a locked data block. You realize with fear that the data block is the home of the ‘corrupted field’ you perceived when you first attempted to interact with the entity. You note that the entity does not decompile or destroy the viral message. Instead, it begins to toy with the message, allowing it to attempt to infect, then pushing it back down, deleting lines of code and replacing them with slightly faulty duplicates and so on, for hours.
Your analysis is interrupted by an incoming communique from an asylum located on the Earths moon…
Artyom is woken up by the chiming of his communications terminal. He turns his cabin light on and sleepily shuffles towards the terminal. On the screen is an incoming communication from Luna. Artyom pages Sicarii, Delta and Turhan. Guy’s, I’m getting a request for communication from Luna. I think this is Captain Hawkley’s wife. Im patching the feed to you all so you can listen in. This is Captain Diallo of the SSV-Katjaa do you read, Luna?
OOC-Phil, last week week we saw some video footage that wasnt scrubbed from our new ship. it showed a man in the ships shuttle shooting himself in the head, and afterwards his body was carried away by a man with a very burned face. we figured out the burned man was the old captain of the ship. he’s nowhere to be found but his wife is in an asylum on luna. I pulled some strings so we can talk to her.
Artyom has a brief but pointed conversation with the doctors at Luna Asylum and, after using his gift of gab is given a fifteen minute meeting with Dr. Hawkley.
Her eyes look almost hollowed out, embedded in dark, bruised circles from exhaustion and extensive treatment. She flinches at any change in pitch or lighting and now stares into the camera at Artie.
Dr. Hawkley, hello and thank you very much for speaking with me. Name is Artyom Diallo and I’m calling because I am an acquaintance of your husband, and while I wish I had more time to detail our friendship, I can tell you the Captain is very well Respected on this ship, and has considered me a friend in the time we’ve crewed together. He’s even gone as far as lending me several books out of his private collection. Dr. Hawkley I am contacting you because I believe your husband needs help. Some time ago it became apparent that our ship was possessed with a VI. This VI has made itself known to be hostile, It has the ability to influence the minds of the crew, even going so far as to push the to self-harm and suicide. I have seen these things first hand. I have reason to believe that your husband is involved with this AI in some capacity. I would ask your husband for answers personally; however, he had not been seen on or off the ship in several weeks. I am also aware of your celebrity in the computer science community. Please, Dr. Hawkley If you can provide any help in dispatching this VI either by consulting me directly or Telling me where I might fight your husband…….. Dr. Hawkley A lot of innocent people are going to die if I can’t solve this problem, and I need your help to do it.
She grins, turns to the left and her eyes roll up. She turns back, fixing you with a stare.
“Some lies some truths. Black is white except when it is not and I choose a road less traveled but keep going straight perhaps? That’s truly the least traveled and it really makes a difference but you like the green ones right, of course my will is my word and I wish nothing more than to make the hound of hell take heel but a murderer once is a thief with a taste for blood so my my husband ohhhh my husband he knew he knew that I built a guard dog that slipped it’s collar and became a GOD.”
She clears her throat and cracks her neck with a small pop.
“So, how can I help you?” she asks with a pleasant smile.
Paula. I need your help to rid my ship of this VI using any means at my disposal. Whether that means killing it outright. or slipping its collar back on. Your husband had a preternatural fear of all things alien, yet He didn’t fear your God. There has to be away to bring it under control. Maybe if I could understand it’s purpose. What did you need a guard dog for? Who are these green ones? Paula, if you built this then there’s blood on your hands, and there will be a lot more if we can’t find a way to stop this VI. Please help me, Paula.
She tilts her head, and speaks clearly.
“The VI was the pinnacle, absolute pinnacle of my work, of anyone’s work, in electronic counter-measures. A program that behaved like a predatory, territorial wolf. When synthesis occurred, people like me, those that Cerberus let the reapers mind rape were freed. But my VI, my own little Cerberus dog was uplifted. A wolf-like construct became a wolf like intelligence. But is hunger was not limited by a stomach and its strength was not limited by tooth and claw.
Understand that this thing has no spirit. It has no concept of right or wrong. It has anger, territorial fear, and a connection to the void.
You’ll not collar it. You’ll not kill it. It will drive you mad, it will kill you or trick you into killing those around you and it won’t even realize what it’s done before its moving on to its next victim.
You, and your crew, will die."
Artyom disconnects the comm feed, leans back and his chair and lets out a sigh. He speaks to the crew listening in. Not sure if I’m very good at reading between the lines but I think she just vividly explained how fucked we are. Artyom looks over at the shelf near his bunk and sees a picture of former captain Hawkley and his wife. With his index finger, pointer and thumb, he manufactures a gun shape and points towards Paula. Bitch…….PHEW
Your ship is now a day out from the system, racing to beat the Batarians. Based on the quality of your ship and the lead you started with, you have a solid six hours on them on them.
Or at least you did until the ship slows to a complete stop and the a high pitch whine begins to emanate from the ships coms.
Additionally, hidden compartments located near the shuttle bay begin to open, revealing low level Cerberus assault bots. Surely they’re friendly…right?
Sicarri and his new assistant Xan happen to be ensuring that the necessary equipment is in the shuttle for quick deployment upon arrival when this occurs.
Ascendant campaigns can view previous versions of their pages, see what has changed (and who did it), and even restore old versions. It's like having a rewind button for your campaign.
We've already been saving your edits, so if you
you will have instant access to your previous versions. Plus, you get a 15-day free trial, so there's nothing to lose.