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In Flames – Game Three

Click here to read about In Flames Game Two!

We rejoin the players as they try to get off Opal and get their evidence to Unity authorities before they paranoia and civil unrest tears the flame worlds apart. They know the identity of the tattooed man, Daniel Sapra, a genetic engineer or “Uplifter” who is thought to have died over a century ago. Why is he still alive? Why did he attack the beanstalk? And, more immediately, where is this ships autopilot taking them?

Act 1 – The Spaceport

The ship they “commandeered” was sleek, clean and not of poor design, and seems to be owned by a company named “Probos”. The main control panel was locked, with the route set already, a simple tech roll deduced that it was on cross for Sapphire, another Moon of Steel. The rest of the ship, however, was fairly accessible with most of its functions operating normally. After a thorough inspection they realised it was a medical supply ship carrying a cargo of some kind of antibodies that are specifically for a race of Uplifts called Sapras. Sapras, an Uplift based on an aquatic form of life found on Sapphire, got their name from the Uplifter who created them, the players new friend Daniel Sapra. The antibodies are to fight a new disease that has been targeting Sapras throughout the Flame Worlds. It is not fatal in most cases, although the elderly and infirm are at risk, but it is incredibly contagious. Could it be a coincidence that Sapras are suffering from this new disease around the same time as their created being spotted commiting terrorist acts?

In Flames

After about 12 hours the the ship started its approach on Sapphire, they players knew the authorities will have been alerted to the fact that the ship was stolen so found a place to hide before the ship landed. Sure enough, once they were docked, a group of security officers and a menacing looking puppet came aboard. It wasn’t easy, but cunning and luck got them passed the guards unseen and out into the spaceport they had found themselves.

Sapphire’s surface is almost totally covered in ocean, with its cities built around spires of rock that jut up from the sea floor. These cities continue down under the surface where artificial atmosphere must be pumped in and the powerful structures are need to combat the pressures of the ocean. Sapphire is famous for being the Uplifting capital of the flame worlds, and has strangest and arguably the best technology of any of the Moons of Steel.

They knew they needed to get to some kind of Unity base, but it didn’t look like they could leave the docking area without some kind of pass. The area was full of people loading and unloading goods from their ships, and there was a few stalls set up selling refreshments etc to the workers. One of which was a stall selling noodles from Diamond (another Moon of Steel), where they are cheap and common, but here on Sapphire they are an exotic treat worth five times their normal price! This seemed like just the sort of unscrupulous fellow that could help them out.

Indeed the noodle vendor was keen t help, he didn’t ask many questions but years running his stall has given him a sixth sense about the people he served, who was legit and who had something to hide. They made a deal, the players would cause a distraction for the guards while the vendor unloaded so “merchandise” he didn’t want going through customs and in return he would give them passes that would get them out of the spaceport and into the Moon proper.

The plan was going well, as the officers approached the vendor’s ship, the players, who had soaked themselves in booze to give them that authentic drunkard smell, started their routine. Raised voices quickly turned to pushing and shoving and knocking over chairs. It worked, the guards attention had been drawn and vendor’s merchandise started to get unloaded. However, they were clearly not in the mood for a drawn out conversation and simple told them to calm down or get arrested. As they began to turn away, the vendor furiously signalling to them to keep it up, one of the players in a panic, grabbed a cloth from one of the stalls, spun it tightly into a rope and towel flicked one of the officers on the backside. They now had the guards’ full attention!

The vendor unloaded his merchandise unabated as the players were arrested. They gave their names etc however according to the guards’ computer system the names they gave were two Unity soldiers who had died months ago on Stone, and without and ID confirming who they were, the guards handcuffed them and bundled them off to the holding cells.

Act 2 – Prisoners

The players try to tell their story to the authorities but without any evidence to back it up it all seemed a bit fair fetched (what with 100 year old scientists blowing up beanstalks and potentially start plagues, corrupt officials, undercover agents, damaged datasticks and of course the players coming back from the dead). They were told they would be given a lawyer in the morning but until then would have to remain in the cells.

Just as hope was fading, so did the lights! The background hum of machinery changed to silence and a click came from their cell door as it popped open. There was a small touch screen in all of the sells so that prisoners could be sent messages etc, this appeared to be the only thing still working, it said “Get out now, Harry V” They left their cell to discover the place in total darkness, the sounds of panic cming from either end of the corridor. A light flashed briefly and then another, then a click and a pop signalled the door at that end of the corridor had opened, their friend was guiding them out. They were guided out of the holding area and into an equitment room, where another screen displayed the message “Get earpieces then get into air vents, Harry V”. They did just that, grabbing an earpiece each and putting them in place in their ears. There was no sound from them but they had their next instruction anyway. The place was in panic and the lights were still out which made sneaking to the air vents a lot easier. Once out of sight, they saw the lights coming back on behind them followed soon by a loud alarm. They heard a crackle of static then a familiar voice in their ear. It was Harry Vortex, when he heard about Dr Jobar being killed he feared the worst so decided to come after. Sure enough, when he arrived on Sapphire he found the players being taken into custordy. He used his covert tactics to spring them but now its up to the players to get themselves to the Probos facility and find any evidence of Sapras involvement.

Act 3 – Probos

Once out of the police station, the players locate a shuttle craft leaving for Probos, it was not leaving the atmosphere, they simple clung to the outside as the ship sped over the ocean to its destination.

Throughout their time on Sapphire, news bullitins and overheard conversations helped flesh out the players knowledge of Probos. A couple of months ago, Probos was a respectable but small pharmaceutical company, one of many operating from Sapphire. However, their fortunes have

recently taken a turn for the better as they were the first to respond to the Sapra plague and have secured the exclusive license for the cure. With experts estimating as much as 90% of all the Sapra race being affected, Probos stand to become one of the wealthiest companies in the Flame worlds. Since then however, instead of sharing the wealth with its employees, Probos have begun replacing its organic workforce (human and Uplift) with puppets, in fact, according to what Harry Vortex can make out from the records, there is only a small group of research scientists left working in the main facility. This is a fact confirmed on arrival, serval medical ships, like the one the players stowed away on, were being loaded in front of the huge glass building baring the Probos corporate logo, tended to by mechanical workers only.

They were obviously not expecting any attack or intruders as the security was at a minimum, a couple of security puppets, a handful of drones, nothing they couldn’t handle. The rest of the mechanical workforce simply carried on with their preprogrammed task, oblivious of the intruders, they even found the front door unlocked.

Inside, they located a computer terminal and discovered that indeed, the only living staff remaining were a small team of scientists working in the labs in the lower levels (beneath the ocean surface). It also appeared that teams of puppets had emptied the surrounding labs as though they were moving house. The elevators leading to the labs had all been switched off, apparently trapping the scientist in their work place. Accessing the map let them locate an elevator shaft that leads down to the lower levels and is not patrolled by security drones. Climbing down brought them out into a darken corridor with several doors coming off, all of which seem to have had any signs or labels removed. The investigated the first room and found it stacked full of boxes, boxes full of high explosives! A quick check revealed that all the rooms on this floor were filled in a similar fashion.

As they investigated, a metallic scraping sound came from the corridor outside, followed by a blood curdling shriek. A shadow moved against the window, a large creature with a humanoid body and half a dozen legs covered in boney spikes. It was a Vrix, a deadly uplifted predator. They had seen a security terminal at the end of the corridor which, according to the computer map, would contain weapons in case of emergencies. If they could sneak passed, they might be able to arm themselves and take out the Vrix, if not they would be able to proceed any further. They waited, silently, for their moment act...