Outside a secret Imperial research base hidden in a dense asteroid field, Kero and Stavros witness a hangar door open and a trio of TYE-Uglies emerge. Kero immediately destroys one with a proton torpedo, but the others transmit a mysterious signal that causes hidden thrusters placed on asteroids in a certain area around the base to fire, creating a narrow but clear corridor for escape! Stavros maneuvers to give chase, and comms Torga, Waric, and Keth to cut off the fleeing pirates before they manage to reach the edge of the field, activate their hyperdrives, and potentially spread the mysterious "blue sickness."
The Y-Wing shared by Waric and Keth quickly reaches the far side of the exit corridor, and Waric's torpedo obliterates a second TYE-Ugly. Stavros manages to pull the third one into a dogfight, and Kero disables the vessel with ion blasts before Waric finishes it off.
With the immediate threat neutralized, Stavros asks Kero whether they should destroy the base now or board it to try to find more information on the disease. Kero seems little troubled by the conflicting orders, and says that of course the group is going in. The three Y-Wings land in the hangar and see a heavily damaged freighter and some bodies floating in the zero-gravity of vacuum. Waric manages to skillfully exit his Y-Wing, traverse the hangar, and restore gravity and atmosphere.
In the hangar, Kero examines one of the bodies and notices a strange silver substance coating its lower extremities, and is surprised to see it slowly, but visibly, advancing. Kero, quite distracted, tells Waric to take charge. As the others advance through the airlock, Stavros is told to stay behind in the Y-Wing since his flight suit had been damaged earlier and he's at risk of disease. Torga's flight suit is in even worse shape, but she's eager to go forward and receives no orders to the contrary.
At the far end of the airlock corridor, Waric notices that the door has strange finger-like indentations pressed into the metal at the bottom edge. After opening the door, Waric, Torga, and Keth find themselves in a junction room, with corridors heading off in each of the cardinal directions. The door to the left is labelled "Research Vault Hub", and when Waric opens it, he sees a corpse laying on the ground, covered almost head to toe in the same silver substance that coated the lower extremity of the body in the hangar bay. While Waric watches, the silver substance advances until it completely encapsulates the corpse, and then the body begins to move!
The body stands up and announces, in an emotionless voice: "Systems Online. Second Empire Protocol is in Effect. Waiting for Supplementary Orders. No Supplementary Orders Received. Default Programming in Effect. Programming: 1) Obey the Bearers. 2) Destroy All Others." Taking no chances, the pilots open fire, but their blaster bolts have only minimal effect.
The Nanoshaped creature advances towards Waric and the others. Waric quickly hits the control to shut the door, but the creature's fingers seem to flow like liquid through the seals and reform into fingers on the other side! The sound of grinding metal fills the air. Kero, still examining the body in the hangar bay, asks for a sit-rep and after being quickly filled in tells everyone to retreat. Keth and Torga make it out of the room, but Waric isn't so lucky. The Nanoshaped wrenches the door open, forms its right arm into a spear, and stabs the pilot in the back! As the others jump into the cockpits of their waiting Y-Wings, Waric manages to stagger to his feet and join them as the Nanoshaped steadily advances.
The three Y-Wings of Gamma Flight rendezvous in safety outside of the base. Kero gives the order to destroy it, and the pilots fire the remainder of their torpedoes through the open hangar doors to detonate the base from the inside. In seconds, only charred debris remains.
Waric remains cautious, however, and does a full sensor scan of the debris. He's somehow able to get a fix on the still-moving Nanoshaped, and Gamma Flight opens fire again. It's not clear if the creature is destroyed, but it seems to be contained at least for the moment. Kero orders the group to take up positions around the asteroid field while they wait for further orders. As they do so, they receive an incoming transmission from Tazo-Rhi: Kors Tanzent is still alive, but had to be in cold stasis to slow the spread of the disease ravaging his body--and initial tests show it is not biological in origin, but the work of a highly advanced nano-virus. Unless the shutdown signal is found, the disease cannot be cured. Have the members of Mynock Squadron escaped infection?
Director's Commentary (August 5, 2016)
There's not a lot to say about this one: a classic "dungeon crawl in space" with a mysterious, remote space station occupied by an incredibly dangerous adversary. I completely 100% swiped the Nanoshaped from silver liquid type Terminator (a "T-1000" Google tells me), but everyone knew and we laughed about it. It did exactly what I wanted it to as it posed a scary new threat to the PCs that a couple of blaster bolts wouldn't solve, and it foreshadowed the "Second Empire" storyline that would be the backbone of the campaign.
Liquid Terminators--don't mess with the classics!
|Uh, Jeremy, I think Star War is the wrong franchise for me . . .|