The Quiet Year: Epsilon Colony

The Quiet Year
The Fate of Epsilon Colony
EnWorld Game Day XXX @ Games Plus in Mt. Prospect.

In the year 3318AD, the Terran Federated Colony Ship Epsilon experienced a thruster malfunction during atmospheric entry to their target, Planet F247, and the ship made an emergency landing in a convenient body of water. All hands survived the landing and the colony proceeded as planned, but their reactor was damaged, leaving them without enough power to set up their quantum matter transmitter, leaving them stranded. Reports came that they had found a suitable energy source, a crystal easily obtainable by class-II mining robots. The smartshelter was set up, the water filtration plant running, and it seemed all would be well. Then, abruptly, communications with Epsilon were lost.

* Smart Shelter – AI functional, but interface aphasic
* Clean Water – Filtration plant power couplings failing
* Labor Robots – Unstable, intermittently hostile
* Fuel Crystals – Abundant and easily accessible

* Anti-Robot Agrarian Veterans Society;
Ludwich Olaff, Kyle Penderson, Samuel Chow
* E.D.F.;
Tory Dexrin, Akbar Thorgrim, Rene Villanueva
* The Phoenix Group;
Dr. Jensen, Governor Pyle, Maxx Action
* Vox Populi;
Bianca Delacroix, Timothy Sandoval, Cadence Tam

1. A New Leader Arrives (Ah)
An ambassador arises from the ranks of the labor robots, dubbing itself Hans Sprocket, and is taken in by the EDF.
Meanwhile, survey drones discover what seem to be abandoned dwellings in the mountains northeast of the colony. Readings suggest a relatively advanced level of technology.
A party is sent to investigate, led by Akbar Thorgrim of the EDF. [1 tick]

2. A Setback (10h)
Communications with the exploration party are lost. [+1 tick]
The smartshelter AI slips further into dementia, and no longer recognizes humans as inhabitants. Pest Expurgation Countermeasures Systems are engaged, and will continue to escalate. [4 ticks to lethal response]
The Phoenix Group decides not to wait to hear from the EDF party and begins packing to emigrate to the mountain settlement. [2 ticks]
The ARAVS launches a preemptive strike against the malfunctioning labor robots, clashing with the EDF. During the skirmish, Ludwich is wounded and it is revealed, to everyone’s surprise, that he is actually a class-IV android. Stunned by this, Ludwich is unable to reconcile his anti-robot sentiments with his own true nature. He stumbles to the smartshelter data core and uploads himself into it, giving up his human form, and rendering the habitat no longer inimical to its residents.
The robots, having discovered how to remove their AI-limiting restraining bolts, retreat to a settlement of their own to the southeast.
The EDF scouting party returns to the Epsilon settlement and reports that the mountain caves are mysteriously abandoned, as if the residents were teleported away without warning.
A colony wide council is called, what to do about fresh water? Some suggest trying to salvage new power couplings from the ship, others recommend searching for a new source of fresh water.

3. A Temporary Reprieve (8h)
Ludwich, now the operating system for the smartshelter, figures out a way to reprogram the oxygen synthesizers to be more efficient, delaying the breakdown of the water filtration plant [+2 ticks]
The Phoenix migration party reaches the mountain cave settlement and begins moving in.
The EDF begin peace negotiations with the rebel robot colony, dubbed Robotopia. [3 ticks]
Strange purple spores float into Epsilon from the south, investigation reveals a field of waving purple stalks with curled fronds sprouting from the ground that seems to grow closer every day.

4. Sabotage (5h)
Ludwich has had to curb Cadence’s power and water consumption repeatedly, she finally becomes fed up and sabotages the mainframe.
ARAVS send out a party to analyze the source of the purple spores.
Negotiations with Robotopia are going well. [-1 tick]

5. Spring is Fleeting (Kh)
Spring gives way to Summer.
ARAVS discover the purple plant is not only edible, but a good source of hydration, alleviating the water purification problem to some degree.
The negotiations with Robotopia end on a good note, a mutual nonaggression pact is formed, and the EDF faction becomes the Human Robot Coalition.
Cadence’s sabotage leaves Ludwich no longer self-aware. The smartshelter’s AI still functions properly, but it no longer has a personality.
A transmission is received from colony ship Omega, recently arrived in orbit around F247, offering assistance. Spirits rise dramatically.
The remaining AIs in Epsilon colony agitate for en-masse robotic defection to Robotopia [6 ticks]

6. Harbinger (9d)
Omega’s orbital scans reveal an approaching and probably hostile alien presence on the southern horizon [6 ticks]
The purple vegetation has taken root in Epsilon, and is growing around the power conduits, threatening stability.
Those of Phoenix still remaining in Epsilon begin construction of an autonomous perimeter defense system. [5 ticks]

7. 20% Power Remaining (3d)
Lack of robotic labor for mining and increasing power demands due to building projects has severely taxed the supply of fuel crystals. Only a little over a month’s worth remain, with careful husbanding. [3 ticks]
The HRC begins planning a human embassy in Robotopia. [4 ticks]
A garbled transmission arrives from the Phoenix enclave at the mountain settlement- mostly screams.

8. Summer is Fleeting! (Kd)
The ARAVS start programming the smartshelter to contain the purple growths.
The HRC launches a rescue mission to the mountain settlement. [5 ticks to rescue the survivors]

9. MIA (4d)
Cadence goes missing during a picnic with a boyfriend- the boy was discovered in the purple field, alive but comatose, and riddled with purple growths.
Maxx Action, at the mountain settlement, has been feeding an odd little creature, which is growing larger at an alarming rate. It’s only a matter of time before it requires more sustenance than Maxx can provide and turns on the colonists. [6 ticks]
A transmission from Omega informs Epsilon that the previously mentioned alien threat seems to be attracted to the colony’s waste gas emissions.

10. Changing Sides (5d)
Cadence resurfaces at the mountain settlement, severing her ties with Vox Populi and joining the Phoenix Group there.
The supply of fuel crystals finally runs dry, leaving only emergency power. The perimeter defense, growth containment, embassy, and rescue mission projects all have to be abandoned in the scramble for basic necessities.
Most of the Vox Populi make plans to retreat to the partially-submerged Epsilon craft, ostensibly to scavenge parts for repairs. [3 ticks]
The remaining members of the Phoenix Group at Epsilon cast their lot with those evacuating to the ship, with their help, the timeline is moved up. [-1 tick]

11. Plague (Qc)
The purple growths found in Cadence’s boyfriend have surreptitiously spread to other members of the colony. Soon nobody will be able to hide the signs of infection. [2 ticks]
The infected find that the purple stalks are the only form of sustenance that satisfies them.
Robotopia sets up a quarantine/sanitation facility outside their borders and irradiates any incoming robots to keep the infection out. The process would be fatal to humans, but the HRC begins trying to retool the process to make it safe for colonists.
The Epsilon evacuation party gets aboard the ship and manages to power up the life support systems.

12. A New Hope? (6c)
The Robotopian nano-sanitization protocol, still experimental, delays the spread of the purple plague by injecting volunteers with nanites that effectively purge the spores, at the cost of rendering those who undergo the procedure technically cyborgs.
Hans and Ackbar defect from HRC to join Robotopia, as their android bodies can survive the irradiation process.
Samuel, the boy who was subject zero for the infection, wakes from his comatose state and exhibits the ability to feed directly off the smartshelter energy conduits. He convinces the surviving AVARS members to join him, they would rather become plants than machines. [2 ticks]
The nanite protocol is perfected by the HRC, who undergo mass nano-infusion.

13. Early Frost (Kc)
The aliens strike at the outskirts of the colony, Samuel and Kyle, communing in the purple field, are incinerated along with all the vegetation.
The Epsilon evacuation party have managed to prep the ship for launch. Governor Pyle goes on a suicide mission to trigger the smartshelter’s self-destruct mechanism.
Despite the loss of Samuel and Kyle, the remaining members of AVARS make their peace with the purple plague and become vegesymbionts. The “disease” is no longer a threat, now it is their salvation.

14. The Frost Shepherds Arrive (Ks)
In the burning fields outside the colony, the vegemorphs and cyborgs prepare for a final showdown, as the strange, angelic indigenes arrive.
As the three factions stare each other down, each waiting for another to make the first move, the self-destruct detonates, turning the entire colony into a huge fireball. Above it all, the Epsilon limps into the sky on sputtering rockets.
Somewhere, off in the mountains, a hulking creature with floppy puppy ears licks blood off its muzzle and wonders at the strange star rising.


~ by oberon the fool on October 26, 2011.

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