The Artifact – a scenario for Omega 99

The Artifact

spb2256A scenario for Omega 99, the Cepheus Engine/Traveller setting based on Space 1999.

Two days ago, an Omega science expedition returned from the system Klein-805, led by the scientist Professor Winfield Goddard.
He and his team spent weeks exploring the ruins of an alien civilization, and returned with an artifact for further analysis. They were working at a facility called the Sample Analysis Station.
One day ago, all communication was lost with the Sample Analysis Station. Main Mission has assigned a team to travel to the station by Peregrine, and provide any assistance needed.
The players can choose one of the pregens I made in an earlier post, or make their own.
Here’s a roster all of the pregens for the GM’s reference: Omega99_CrewRoster (PDF)
You also might want to hand the players the PDF sheets for their weapons and communicators.

Player’s Information

Sample Analysis Station

A small self-contained research facility about a 30 minute Peregrine flight from Omega. It was designed to receive samples from space missions so that they could be evaluated in a controlled environment before being brought back to the Moonbase.
It is a three-level station carved out of a regolith hill, with it’s own atomic power plant. Level one, near the surface is the command center and living quarters. Level two is the Analysis Lab, where samples are studied. Level 3, the lowest level, contains the power plant and life support controls.
There is an elevator and maintenance access tube connecting each level.
It has two landing pads for Peregrines, along with with a specialized cargo landing pad that is used to bring in samples. The cargo landing pad is connected to a small railway and airlock that leads to the analysis chamber on level 2 of the station.
Here’s a PDF with the floor plans for each level: SampleAnalysisStation_Floorplan (PDF)

Professor Goddard and his team

0358089c47ec2673383d3a11f3ccd228Professor Winfield Goddard is a respected physicist and amateur archaeologist. He’s a large boisterous man, with booming laugh, who is liked and respected by everyone in Moonbase Omega.
His survey team consisted of the following:
Oswin, K. – Engineer
Collins, T.  – Engineer
Tanju, E. – Chemistry
Sanderson, M. – Reconnaissance
Biancardi, R. – Geology
Novotny, P. – Physics

GM’s Eyes Only

What’s Happening?

Goddard and his team uncovered a crystalline artifact that they believed to be an alien data repository. They were mostly correct. The crystal they found was a historical archive, that kept a record of a battle of ancient times, when the alien species was still very primitive (their version of the middle ages).
However, it wasn’t just a storage device, it was also a teaching device. It transmitted a neurogenic field  that would let the alien scholars and students experience what the ancient battle felt like. Unfortunately, this device isn’t completely compatible with human biology, and its effects slowly start to take over the subject’s mind, forcing them to act out like characters in an alien historical drama. This is what happened to Goddard and his team.
They weren’t alone, however – a group of Kahgg scouts were also infected and followed the expedition back to the station. Both the Kahgg and the humans are acting out an alien battle that occurred eons ago. The humans control the upper level, while the Kahgg control the reactor level.
The battle has severely damaged every part of the station, including the atomic reactor. If the reactor isn’t repaired soon it will explode –  destroying the entire station.
 

Arriving at the Station

spte0501From the air, the base looks mostly normal. There appears to be wreckage of unknown origin on one of the Peregrine landing pads, rendering it unfit for use. The second Peregrine site and the cargo landing pad both look OK. No radio contact can be made with the base. If the players think to check, the station didn’t have any Peregrines.

The Wreckage

The wreckage on the second Peregrine landing pad is clearly a ruined Kahgg scoutship. The hull is cracked in two and is open to the void. There are several Kahgg bodies strewn about. Every wall on the interior of the ship has been painted with strange alien (non-Kahgg) symbols. These symbols are similar to the images on the walls of level one of the station.

How to get inside

The main airlock is fully functional, and can be opened with a commlock. This will lead to level one of the station.
If they players want, they can land on the cargo pad, and walk (in suits) through the airlocks along the railway directly to the analysis room on level 2 of the station.

Level 1

level1The Vacc Suit locker seems to be empty, though there is one battered helmet on the floor.
There is emergency lighting, though it is flickering.
The walls everywhere are covered in smears of organic material. It appears to be writing or pictographs of some kind. The players will not recognize it or be able to read it, as it is the language of the ancient aliens. Analysis of the smears will determine it is most likely food from the station galley.
The control center is badly damaged, with cracked screens, and broken terminals. If a successful Repair or Computer roll is made the following information can be found in the data banks:
  • Most internal sensors, speakers, and all cameras are non-functional.
  • The station reactor is damaged and is in danger of exploding within 1.5 hours. It will have to be manually shut off in the reactor chamber on level 3. (feel free to change this time limit to make the scenario more or less exciting). Once the characters connect their commlocks to the computer, they will receive regular updates as the reactor gets worse. The GM can use this to put time pressure on the players.
  • All levels have life support, for now, but the radiation on the lowering levels is rising.
  • There was an impact on landing pad 2 about twelve hours ago.

The Attack

When the players go anywhere near the entrance to living quarters (like the elevator) they will be immediately attacked by the infected survey team members Owsin, Collins, and Tanju. They will be dressed in tattered silver strips of radiation suits, fashioned to look like the costumes of the ancient aliens. They will be making disturbing clicking and yelping noises as they attack with metal pipes.
Any of the survey crew that survive can be questioned, but they will be unable to speak. They can only make the strange alien noises they made during the attack. A successful Medical roll will determine they have abnormal, heightened brain activity. It seems like almost every neuron in their brains are firing at once.

Novotny’s Body

The body of Novotny, the team physicist, can be found in the hallway of the Living Quarters area. He has a fully discharged stun gun set to kill in his right hand, and his commlock in the other. A successful medical roll can determine he fired the stun gun directly into his own chest.
His commlock will show the team arriving at the station with the artifact and starting to analyze it. His audio recording will describe how the other members of the team started to lose the ability to speak, lapsing into gibberish. After that, they starting becoming violent, wrecking equipment, and writing on the walls.
Novotny describes how he feels something affecting his mind as well, and his language starts to degrade as the log entries continue. The final entry is barely understandable, but ends with sound of a stun gun being fired. It’s logged as happening 14 hours ago.

Other Commlocks

There are other commlocks strewn about this level. If the players take the time to check them, they can get a few more bits of information.
  • Some of the survey crew sighted a group of Kahgg watching them from a distance on Klein 805. No contact was made.
  • In the last few days, some of the team have been having very vivid dreams – usually involving the extinct alien race
  • When the team started to analyze the artifact, which is apparently on Level 2, they started to get some strange energy readings off of it.
  • The strange behavior started well before the Kahgg arrived on the moon.

Level 2

level2This is the level where samples are analyzed. There is a laboratory section facing the analysis chamber though two plexiglass windows.
There is a battle here between Sanderson and two affected Kahgg. They are all clad in silver garments made of torn up strips of rad suits. They are battling each other with crude clubs made from pipes and lab equipment. If interrupted, they will also attack the players.
The dead bodies of Biancardi, the geologist, and two Kahgg lie on the floor. They appear to have died of injuries from fighting.

spte0527Goddard

Goddard is in the analysis chamber hiding behind the flatbed rail car with the artifact on it. He is clutching his head and screaming. He has not yet been taken over by the artifact, though he will be shortly. If he is not immediately sedated, he will attack as well.

The Artifact

The artifact is a 2m long silver shimmery crystal. It sits on the rail car on the small cargo railway. The railway is broken, but can be fixed with a Repair roll. If the the artifact is sent outside, the infected will stop being violent after about an hour. They will start to recover their memories in a few days.
spte0568

The Records

In the lab, there is a table containing notes and photographs of the expedition to Klein 805. There are some images of paintings that were found on the walls of the alien domes. The crustacean-like aliens in the images seem to wearing silver uniforms, much like the tattered clothing the infected have fashioned. They seem to be battling each other with crude hand weapons.

Level 3

level3Main Control Chamber

The main control chamber is slightly radioactive from the reactor damage
Roll Endurance-3 at DM-0. If the roll fails the player takes 1d6+2 damage. Long term exposure is 1d6x10 rads
There is one dead Kahgg here and one radiation weakened Kahgg, who will attack immediately.
There is a radsuit locker here, but all of the suits have been cut up to make the elaborate costumes both the Kahgg and humans were wearing. They will provide no protection.

Reactor Chamber

The reactor door is jammed – a strength roll 8+ is needed to manually open it.
The reactor room is flooded with high levels of radiation
If the player has a undamaged vacc suit, roll Endurance-6 at DM-1. If they fail, they take 1d6+4 damage. Long term exposure is 2d6x10 rads
If the player has no protection, roll Endurance-10 at -2. If they fail, they take 1d6+6 damage. Long term exposure is 2d6x100 rads

Fixing the reactor

Turning the reactor off is a normal Repair or Engineering roll. It will take about 1 kilosecond (15 minutes). The players can always make the roll harder to finish faster, if they wish.
If they succeed, the base is saved, though it will need a team of engineers to make it fully functional.

The Big Boom

boomIf they fail, or don’t even try to fix the reactor, the entire base will explode in an expanding bubble of radiation and rubble, extending a few kilometers. Moonbase Omega won’t be damaged, but they will feel the tremors. Everyone and everything at the station will be turned to atoms.
If the players are flying away when the station explodes, the pilot will need to make a Pilot-8 roll to avoid being caught in the blast.
 

Artifact Aftermath

If the players can get the infected away from the artifact for a few days, they will gradually come back to their original memories and personalities.
 
The players have a few decisions to make:
Can Goddard and the surviving team be saved?
Can (or should?) the Kahgg be saved?
Can the station be saved?

Optional Twists

The Last Kahgg: As a last surprise, throw in one last Kahgg hiding out in the reactor room.
The Kahgg Navy Arrives: The missing Kahgg scouts didn’t go unnoticed. A Kahgg vessel is approaching the Moon, looking for answers. This could be the start of a new conflict, or if the players save the affected Kahgg – a new alliance.
The Artifact Gets Better: The artifact took a few days to affect the survey team, but now that it’s gotten used to humans, it can work a little quicker. Have the players start making INT rolls every few minutes to avoid being influenced by the the artifact. If they miss three, they turn into crazy alien war reenactors.

Game Stats

The Survey Team
Currently, they don’t have access to their right minds, so I’m just listing the Melee Combat skill.
Winfield Goddard  – A9CCBA  – Melee Combat-2
Oswin, K. – 9A8AB9 – Melee Combat-1
Collins, T.  – A9CC96- Melee Combat-1
Tanju, E. – 989CB8- Melee Combat-1
Sanderson, M. – A9B867- Melee Combat-1
Each human has a pipe or wrench they can use as a cudgel – 3d6 damage
Kahgg Scouts
Each one will have the following stats:
BCA932 or 796876 (Radiation Weakened)
Melee Combat-2
Each Kahgg has a cudgel – 3d6 damage
Here’s a GM combat sheet PDF so the GM can track their stats:

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