Thursday, September 19, 2019

Antarctic Jump: 2132

Deep in the Antarctic, scientists uncovered a thermal vent; however, after equipment started to go missing, they called in a crack team to explore the area:
James Fosse, mission commander, who volunteered for the mission and signed off on the roster
Oliva Borde, a grumpy, stubborn combat medic
Colin Burwell, a loud, brash, and slightly overweight Heavy Weapons expert
Renate Gerver, a big-ego'd soldier
Rory MacWilliams, Scottish Engineer
Nikita Zyma, overconfident Russian hacker, out on loan, because she had previously been in jail...
Indy Yonnes, a small, hyper archaeologist with a gift for languages

After discussing the area with the scientists and getting a rough map, they headed in. Not far inside, they found a strange, multi-legged creature with sharp, stabby claws! Shooting it down caused two more to clamber up from a crack. The larger of the two seemed to be trying to cause a cave-in, but after some quick work by the soldiers, and a bang-up job reinforcing the walls and ceiling by the engineer, they managed to stop them.

As the group continued on, the rough volcanic tunnel turned into a crystal clear icy tunnel; deep inside the ice, Indy could see a flash of light. Hoping to cut off any creatures following them, Colin convinced Rory to set up a tripwire, with a couple grenades on it; Rory pocketed one of the grenades, though, and Colin demanded the second to be returned. Hearing a noise behind them, they team retreated, only to find a large block of ice had been moved into the path! There was no retreat!

Hurry back, Indy kept trying to get into the front, while Colin pushed her back. He hit the tripwire, and tripped; for a heart-stopping moment, he was sure the grenade would get him... and his fear turned to a burst of adrenaline when he realized there was no kaboom. Rory got quite an earful.

Not far up the path, they heard shouting; someone was calling for help! They rounded to corner to find two good-looking scientists, one with her hand trapped in the ice. Olivia tried to examine the man, shining a light in his eyes, and he reacted by spitting acid in her face! A quick shotgun blast later ended that, and the woman hardly had time to pull her clawed hand out and attack before she was put down. The blood from the two was, like the monsters before, green - copper-based. And their bodies seemed to shift and sag, turning into strange, clawed, grey-skinned creatures... shape-shifters!

Moving on, they entered a strange tunnel, made of some leathery substance. Just inside were a number of very, very large creatures, with more claws and thicker armor! Thankfully, they were frozen solid; even so, the group chose to back off and chuck a grenade into the room first.

The next room, finally, had something the hacker could sink her teeth into; hooking into the computer systems and figuring out a communication protocol, she managed to connect to the ancient alien tech, and find a few warnings, along with a map of what apparently was a ship - a hybrid organic/technology ship, in fact. Indy helped Nikita translate, and together they mapped out the ship, and where the technology they were there for would likely be found.

After another brief skirmish, the group broke into what appeared to be some sort of control center; in the middle of the room, standing at a computer, was a large, light-skinned monster, standing on its hind legs, using its clawed hands to manipulate controls, its slender twisting horns sweeping over its head! To get its attention, Colin fired a few rounds through a terminal. Angrily, the creature turned; Indy, using her slight grasp of the language, quickly jumped in front of it, showed it pictures of the dead monsters and the shape-shifters, and demanded to know why it was trying to kill them.

Or at least... that's what she planned. In actuality, she waved pictures of the bloody corpses of the creature's friends and pets in front of it, pointed at the shot out screen, and shouted something like, "Why you? My friends trying to do!"

Understandably, it did not take that well, and picked up Indy, chucking her into one of the others. Renate chucked a grenade, which missed, but the engineer managed to toss his pilfered grenade perfectly, damaging the creature and the computers behind it. After a combined effort, they managed to bring the creature down. Meanwhile, Nikita hacked into a side console, and managed to trigger the self destruct sequence. As the battle raged, she hacked furiously; just as the battle ended, she got around the countdown and cancelled the detonation.

Rory, eager to find the new tech, located the containment for The Device. With Nikita's help, he freed it from its containment, and loaded it up for transport.

Looking for an exit, the group followed the map to another important location, one that Indy translated as being both advanced technology, and some sort of weapon. They found a sealed room, with a strange vat in the center; hacking into the terminal, Nikita opened the vat, releasing a swarm of nanites! The nanites bored a tunnel through to the surface, then dissipated into the atmosphere. Behind them, the ground rumbled; the self-destruct reactivated, and blasted the ship apart. Or mostly apart; there was enough of the ship left to study...

The device itself was incredibly important, however! Further research revealed it to be some kind of advanced interstellar warp technology, one which scientists dubbed a Jump drive. Within five years, the first ships with J0 drives were launched...

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