Echoes in Darkness

Back to the Exploration Ship Part III: The Search for More Inconsistentcies

What evil lurks in the heart of the ship-that-is-totally-not-a-deathtrap-in-disguise?

Taking the discoveries of the group last session and running with them, Rav begins his own investigation into the hidden nature of the exploration ship the group is crewing. He examines the blueprints stored in the ship’s computer, and with a little work, discovers a fairly large problem with the dimensions listed. The blueprints list a top-to-bottom ship height that is shorter by a significant amount from the actual ship height. The difference works out to about 18 inches per deck. The team begins searching for the missing ship space, by starting at the top, and measuring the height of each deck….
Kufo is able to cut down on the search time by suggesting that the team simply steps into the null-gee tubes that the elevators ride in, and measure the desk from the tube. The team quickly finds that each deck measures correctly against the blueprint, which means that the missing space is the bottom of the ship.
The team begins investigating the bottom deck of the ship, and finds another inconsistency. On the bottom deck of the ship, there is a large electrical box. The box looks normal, and would not seem out of the extraordinary, except that the box doesn’t appear on the blueprints. The team notices that there are data cables coming out of the top of the “electrical box”. Rav, Kufo and Phineas each try to trace the cables, only to have the other end appear to enter into a standard power conduit as power cables. The team figures that they’ve managed to incorrectly trace the cables, since a data cable has somehow morphed into a power cable. Kufo attempts to trace the electrical boxes activity via the Engineering consoles, only to find that the box is not monitored by Engineering at all. Lacking any other leads, the team decides to open the box, but waits until the ship drops from Jump to do so.

Once the ship drops from Jump, the team approaches the box. Kufo snags a set of keys from engineering, and sure enough, one of them fits the lock for the box. As this occurs, Kufo and Khuil hear the mysterious little girl currently haunting the party speaking to them. She laughingly warns them that they won’t like what will happen if they continue. Despite this, the party continues opening the box.

Inside the box is a CTRC supercomputer of non-standard make. From the sheer size of the machine (5-7 feet across), the computer must be of immense power, capable of running a planetary network by itself. There do not appear to be any standard data ports on the exterior of the computer, but there are conduits leading off below, into what should be the fuel storage area of the ship. The team decides that their next step will be to investigate the fuel section of the ship. To do this, the team lands at the ships next destination (a refueling station), and orders a full drain/decontamination of the fuel tanks. While this action is occurring, the team examines the outer hull aligning with the direction the conduits appears to be going. Amazingly enough, Rav finds a hidden access panel. When triggered, the panel reveals a data port…in a place where no data port should ever logically be. When a handcomp is connected to the port, a console prompt is displayed, requiring an access code. In an intense, extended hacking session, Phineas, aided by Kufo, manages to hack open the security. Upon doing so, a hidden hatchway open, revealing a maintenance crawlspace.

Kufo attempt to explore the crawlspace with a recon drone. Unfortunately, he loses control of the drone, which darts away into the ship’s interior. Rav and Kufo therefore enter the crawlspace to explore themselves. They find that the crawlspace moves with the ships hull for a short period, before turning inwards. At the turn, they find the drone, which without direct control was unable to negotiate the change in direction. Rav pushes the drone ahead of him as the crawlspace continues, eventually exiting out into the fuel storage area.

Upon entering the fuel storage area, Kufo and Rav notices several things. First of all, there are two cameras pointed at the crawlspace. Secondly, the fuel storage area is, as previously surmised, substantially larger than the ships documentation suggests. The ship is therefore capable of carrying substantially more fuel that it is officially reported as being capable of. Rav and Kufo trace the conduits from the electrical box above to one of the fuel tanks. However, Rav notices that the “fuel tank” has no fuel line attached to it, so it’s impossible for fuel to be fed into it. Upon closer inspection, the tank has several seams in it that the other tanks do not have.

Kufo scans the tank with both his EMF scanner and his drone. The fuel tank does not return even the background noise one would expect to see. After scrambling a little on one of the service ladders on the side of the storage area, Rav gets high enough to see that there are access panels on the top of the tank. Rav boosts Kufo up to the top of the tank. Kufo unlocks one of the four panels, which cause one of the four seamed sections to slam down to the deck, revealing the contents of the tank…

Inside the tank is an engineering construct that neither Kufo nor Rav recognize. The device gives off almost no power. The only thing Kufo and Rav are able to tell about the device is that if it anything like standard engineering constructs in design, the device in question is a miniaturized version of a device that would ordinarily be much bigger.

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kingfrog368 Umr_Cocomonk

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