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/qst/ - Quests

Hanging still in the velvet night sky is a planet, of awesome size, lit by no sun, looming in the darkness. An invisible titan, covered in thick black forests, tall jagged mountains, and deep turbulent oceans. So desolate. And so impossibly, terrifyingly dark.

You are on the surface of this strange world, standing in a dark, alien jungle. Quaking with fear, a deathly cold wind snaps through the tall vegetation. All around you in the dark, gray, starlit forest are strange, fern-like growths. As tall as a man, but rather than leafy green, they are a sickly grey-white, stiff and almost bony in appearance, like flattened spinal columns, but with glistening, bulbous heads, growing from the ground.

They sway in the wind, rustling against one another with a disquieting murmur.

Something in them moves against the wind, you see the pattern of movement in the undergrowth creeping toward where you stand, frozen in fear.

A wet, black shape inches toward you, second by second, as you watch, transfixed, before it explodes toward you in a sudden burst of movement.

"That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange aeons even death may die."
-HP Lovecraft
Alien: Eternal Lie is a survival horror quest where the players, as Captain Bannon, will have to guide the crew of the USCSS Melita through an unfolding nightmare in space.

I allow between ten and twenty minutes for voting and may break a tie with a dice roll.

I always try to incorporate (and encourage) write-ins if they don't violate the spirit of voted decisions, though I may edit or tweak them to fit better.


>Ship deck plan

>Briefing materials


>Captain's Briefing

>Crew Dossier

>Crew and Equipment Manifest
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You bolt up in panic, heart hammering, drenched in sweat. Above you, you see only the sparse ceiling of your quarters.

You exhale your breath in a long sigh. You're safe aboard the ship, waking up from a nightmare.


These sorts of twisted dreams had been plaguing you ever since you were awoken by the ship's computer two days prior. Right now, you are not in a dark, alien jungle about to be preyed upon, you are still aboard Melita, a long-range colonial survey ship in low orbit of CS-759, as you have been for the past two days. Soaring silently high above the world that was the target of Melita's myriad of sensors. You told yourself it was just hypersleep sickness, or perhaps your mind's way of rebelling against the dull, monotony since you and the crew were awoken, having reached your destination.

The first day was spent on final approach to the planet, and the second spent in an ever shifting orbit as radar mapping, and spectrographic sensors swept the planet below.

It was some small comfort to you that the Stygian world you dreamed of did not match the planet you orbited in the slightest. CS-759 was a bleak, lifeless ball of silica, wrapped in an unending sandstorm and cloaked in carbon dioxide.

A glance at your watch shows you that it's just past 8 am shipboard time, around time the organic crew wakes and takes over for the shipboard systems. The ship is scheduled to change orbital inclination this morning and beginning a new mapping pattern near the poles of CS-759.

The reality of the job at hand soon begins to erode away the strange nightmare that overcame you. You get out of bed, alone in your quarters, a Spartan cot, a handful of personal affects, and elements related to your job. Work schedule, company briefings in hard copy and of course various manifests and logs. Nightmares or not, this world wasn’t going to survey itself, and if no significant deposits of value were found- well, there goes your bonus shares.

Sitting up on the squeaking, flat cot that was your bed, you scoop up a half-crumpled pack of cigarettes, Balaji Imperials, and your lighter. You pull on your crew jacket, emblazoned with your ship's name and of course the Broadmoore logo then tug on your boots, dark with oil stains. As you dress, the day's schedule returns to your memory, pushing out that dank, dark jungle of your dreams.

Currently, Melita should be in an easy, standard equatorial orbit, something simple that automated systems can handle with a minimum of human involvement, but the first order of business is to transfer the ship to a polar orbit, crossing over the "top" of the planet you circle. This process will be begun by the early-shift crew as soon as possible, but right now, you don't feel any telltale vibration of the ship's thrusters firing to realign it.

Something to look into, you suppose.
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Exiting your quarters on B Deck, you draw a cigarette and light it, tobacco smoke mixing with stale, recycled air. The ladderway is right beside your quarters, you take it up to the common room, picking up the warm coffee pot and pouring a mug with one hand as you hold the cigarette with your other.

The common room is a combination lounge and mess hall, a typical feature on most long-haul colonial ships. Melita's common room is centered around a large circular table, to either side are small nooks with additional seating and small view ports, one side shows the inky blackness of space, while the other is entirely filled with the bland redness of CS-759.

Also here is Redding, she is nursing a mug of coffee as well as a bowl of cereal, she spares you a look and continues to eat. As astrogator, her duties are fairly light as long as the ship remains in a constant orbit. Her dour attitude may be because you and the rest of the crew were revived from hypersleep only two days ago. Usually this was enough to "wake up" but even so, some of the lingering effects like fatigue and nausea may not have worn off completely. This was typically chalked up as "hypersleep sickness", but it could just as easily be chronic exhaustion from working so hard out beyond the frontier.

"Morning, Captain," a male voice says. You see Van Leuen, your executive officer enter the Common Room from the ladderway you came from. He holds a clipboard which he is skimming through, "I was just coming to find you, I know it's early, but I wanted to bring you up to speed with last night's survey results." he pauses to look at Redding, and back to you, "If this is a good time."

>Absolutely. What have you got for me?
>Don't have much of a choice. What's up?
>Can't this shit wait five minutes until I've had my coffee?
I need my damn caffeine
First off, let's look into how this planet is supporting life without having a sun. That's gotta be some fierce volcanic activity
Unfortunately for the advancement of science, that planet only exists to your knowledge in your dreams.


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Van Leuen," you hold up a hand, "I am not a functioning member of this crew before I've had some caffeine."

He chuckles, "Right, sorry captain."

You poor a cup from the warm carafe, savoring the smell while you sip slowly. It wasn't much, but it was a start. You motion for Van Leuen to continue while you take another drink. He passes you the clipboard he carries, thick with the printouts and computer results of your actions so far. You'd never shipped out with Van Leuen before, or any of the Melita crew for that matter, but you know of him by reputation as a good spacer, at any rate he seems to know better than to harass you before you've had your coffee.

Your quick skimming of the printouts on the clipboard gives you a perfect picture of exactly what Melita has found so far.


No mineral deposits worth investigating at any rate. Near as you've seen so far, CS-759 is a ball of silica cloaked in carbon monoxide. Deadly, and worthless. Fortunately, since Broadmoore is footing the bill, it is no issue for you to remain on a fool's errand so long as the pay keeps coming. Although it would be infinitely preferable for you to find something worth your time. That profit-share bonus was nice and juicy.

"So, basically a lot more nothing," Van Leuen echoes the report after you set your mug down. "Dr. Wallace wants to move into a polar orbit as quickly as possible. She thinks it's got the highest probability of detecting mineral deposits on the surface, although with all the crap flying around in the air down there it's a miracle we can detect anything." Van Leuen's shrug is that of a professional sailor. He doesn't get paid to make decisions about the value of a mission, but knows how to properly execute an assignment. "In any case, it looks like Wallace will have to wait for the moment. Thanks to Engineering's usual promptness-" The sarcasm in his voice could not be thicker "-we're stuck on our current course for the time being. Last I checked, Duke was telling me it was some kind of mechanical trouble or another."

>You think the delay is bogus?
>I'll go down to engineering, have a word with Duke and see what's up
>Why don't you go down there and get them back on task?

>Have a word with Duke

It wouldn't be good to pick sides in a crew dispute, and there may be legitimate issues that are delaying actions in Engineering.
I need my damn caffeine

You think the delay is fake
By the way OP, A+ prep work here. Hopefully things pick up in a minute, I love the mix of Alien and Lovecraft you're hinting at.
>>I'll go down to engineering, have a word with Duke and see what's up
Thanks, I really appreciate it!

I think they fit perfectly together. And no worried, I am in it for the long haul, slow or fast, as long as I have at least 1 vote I will continue.
By the way, I am preemptively voting to leave the HR guy to die as soon as we have an excuse. In fact, let's start plotting his murder now, half-jokingly, and then feed him to the alien.

Also, let's enter those nightmares in some kind of logbook. Just because.
Inb4 he turns out to be a bro. Really though let's just not do shit like this. Story just started.
>I'll go down to engineering, have a word with Duke and see what's up


I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'. I know that as a character we can't be plotting the company mans death right now unless we're a latent serial killer, it was just a poke at how this usually turns out in the Alien franchise and the wording of the crew briefing. I'm honestly much more suspicious of Mother. Here's hoping he can be our Toby.
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You sigh inwardly, "Alright, I'll go have a word with Duke and see what's up."

"Thank you, captain," Van Leuen says.

"Yeah, why don't you head on to the bridge and make final preparations to alter our inclination, just in case."

"Sure thing," he says, taking the clip board back from you, "and good luck with engineering."

You raise your eyebrows in response as you take another sip of your coffee and leave the common room, descending the ladderway to B deck. You make a mental note to log your dream, just in case. Bad dreams two nights in a row, could be relevant later, or at least could help keep you from being so damn bored.

As you ponder how to enter a dream into the ship's log in a way that doesn't make you sound crazy, you walk the long, main hall back to the reactor access. Passing the machine room, you spot the Chief Engineer, Duke Kershaw inside. He gives you a grin as you enter, otherwise unreadable behind his mirrored sunglasses. You take note of the full sleeve tattoos he has. A 20th century battleship plying the waves of Earth on his right arm, and a Conestoga-class cruiser against a star field on his left.

"Morning Captain," he says, finishing up his work on some component of the ship you don't recognize, a ball of circuits, wire and interlocking metal parts. "What can I do for you?"

"What's this about delays changing our orbit?" you ask, tone neutral.

"Heh," Duke says, putting down his tools, "You'll have to talk to Juno about that. I believe he's running a diagnostic of the main thrusters in the reactor room."

>Alight then (go see Juno)
>Why do I need to see Juno, aren't you Chief?
>Do we need to talk about Juno? Is this going to be a problem?
>>Alight then (go see Juno)
This should be amusing.


Can we do write-ins? If so:

"As long as you're confident of Junos abilities to work on the main thrusters. There have been a few delays recently, so just make sure that the problem is sorted, whatever it is."

If not:

>Why do I need to see Juno?
>>Do we need to talk about Juno? Is this going to be a problem?

The guy better start talking

Absolutely! I'll do what I can to fit them in if possible. I encourage write ins.
Eh, the Chief Engineer is an old salt and a badass. Being a hardass most likely won't work.
>Do we need to talk about Juno?


>Write in

"As long as you're confident in Juno's ability to work on the main thrusters. There have been a few delays recently, so just make sure that the problem is sorted, whatever it is."

Duke snorts, "I'm not confident Juno can find his ass with both hands."

You cross your arms, "So why is he in charge of it, then? Do we need to talk about Juno?"

Duke blinks and takes off his sunglasses, "Talk? What about Juno?"

"I know his record, you know his record. So When I'm told there are delays, and I'm told 'Juno is in charge', you can see how that looks."

"I'm not sayin' you're wrong," Duke says, his smile replaced by a more serious look, "but what do you want me to do about it, exactly?"

>He's your responsibility, sort him out
>How can we get Juno on board with us? What motivates him?
>Nevermind, I'll deal with him myself

>What motivates Juno? How enigmatic are the inner machinations of his mind?
>>What motivates Juno? How enigmatic are the inner machinations of his mind?

>>How can we get Juno on board with us? What motivates him?
But if all else fails.
>Nevermind, I'll deal with him myself
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"What motivates Juno?" You ask "How enigmatic are the inner machinations of his mind?"

Duke shakes his head, "Motivates Juno? Hell, I don’t know. A paycheck? Pretty women? The boy's a mystery to me, but he sure is fun to ship out with. Never a dull moment when he's on board."

"What do you mean?"

Duke puts his glasses back on and casts a glance at the part he was working on. "Look, captain. Broadmoore pays me to fix their ships. If Juno were in the navy, the navy woulda drummed him into shape, or drummed him out, but this ain't the navy." Duke shrugs. "Juno likes to have a little fun from time to time, helps keep dull assignments less dull. I'm not gonna excuse him, but disciplining him isn't my job."

"Maybe you could try to impart a little wisdom on the kid," you suggest blandly.

Duke chuckles, "To put wisdom in that kid I'd need a plasma torch, a crowbar, and half a dozen man hours of hard labor. He's denser than radiation shielding."

>Juno may not be your responsibility, but this ship is. Get it working.
>Get Juno in line before I do
>Go talk with Juno
>>Go talk with Juno

Let's go talk to Juno, see if we can motivate him to do a better job.
>Go talk with Juno

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"Right," you say, patting the bulkhead absently, "Okay, I'll talk with Juno then."

"Good luck," Duke says, "He's on probation. He may hate his job, but he doesn’t want to lose it. If you have to lean on him, I don't think he'll mind. He's used to it."

"I don't doubt it," you say, before you leave the Machine room.

You round the bend to enter the reactor access, all pipes, diagnostic computers, hissing steam and display readouts.

Seated at one of the consoles is Juno, a baseball cap with the Broadmoore logo wedged on his head backward, he is chewing gum and reading a copy of "Ronin", a magazine about Private Military Companies and Mercenaries for hire. On the cover is a woman with decidedly non-standard body armor. You had to doubt, with so much skin showing, this was a realistic depiction of a mercenary.

Juno eyes flick up from the magazine to you as you enter. Dull and lackluster, they widen and snap to life. He tosses the magazine to his workstation and comes to his feet. "Hey, cap!" he smiles broadly, "Just waiting on the last of my diagnostics on the old nuke-cooker." he thumps the console of the reactor affectionately. "What brings you down here?"

>Just hoping to catch the results of that diagnostic
>Trying to find out what the holdup is
>Give me one reason why I shouldn't file this in your report and have you off this ship when we get back to Tannhauser
>write in
>>Just hoping to catch the results of that diagnostic
Let's get a feel of this situation.

>Just hoping to catch the results of that diagnostic

"Just hoping to catch the results on that diagnostics," you say.

"Oh, yeah. Well." Juno sweeps the magazine off the terminal and keys in a command, watching his fingers as he types. "It uh . . . Looks inconclusive."

"So we're stalled on operations to run some inconclusive tests?" you ask, keeping your voice neutral.

"Well, what with all the orbital passes we're doing, Melita's having an awfully hard time staying on her toes, I think that suit and tie from Broadmoore thinks this ship can pull more than she really can. I don't want to over tax the thrusters and the only way to ensure that doesn't happen is to pull em offline for diagnostics everyone in a while, dig?"

>Do whatever you have to, but we are not getting off schedule. Dig?
>I get that you're worried about overtaxing the ship, but off schedule means no bonus, and no one wants that
>You've got fifteen minute to get us back online or so help me god
>Let me know when the results are in, okay?
>write in
>>Do whatever you have to, but we are not getting off schedule. Dig?
I see this as tacit agreement to fuck around a little so long as he doesn't botch the whole operation.

Supporting, but throw in a bit about the bonus too. We like money, he likes money, like one of my friends told me once: You gotta do good work to get good business.
>Do whatever you have to, but we are not getting off schedule. Dig?


>Write ins

>>Absolutely. What have you got for me?
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"Do whatever you have to, Juno," you say, "But we are not getting of schedule. Dig?"

Juno shrugs, "Yeah man, sure. I dig."

"A little something to keep in mind," you add, "If we do find something, we're eligible for profit sharing."

Juno cocks his head, gears clearly turning. "You think we're gonna hit it big on this one? You know I heard the guys who found the deposits on Thetis got double shares from the Company and retired."

"The way I see it," you say, injecting some confidence in your tone, "the more surface area we can cover the quicker, the better chance of us all retiring."

"Makes good sense to me. I'll page the bridge when the engines are back online," he says, turning back to his work.

"Sure, keep it up."

It was probably as good a result as you could get from a guy like Juno. For now, Melita was still stuck in an equatorial orbit, which meant you were already off schedule, but hopefully your luck would change. And soon.

That said, with Melita off schedule for now, it meant you had a bit of time to kill. You hadn't met with Dr. Wallace yet, you imagined she might be able to shed some light on how likely mineral deposits on CS-759 were looking. You could also meet with Batista, the Broadmoore rep on board and get his take about being off time table.

Of course, it was also possible for you to just head to the bridge and wait for Juno to sort out the engines.

>Check in with Dr. Wallace and the science branch
>Check in with Batista and get his thoughts
>Head for the bridge and wait
>Write in
>>Check in with Dr. Wallace and the science branch
>>Check in with Dr. Wallace and the science branch

After we check up on him, ask if a planet like in our dreams is even remotely possible.
Check up on her. Wallace is a woman anon.
Well don't I feel like a doofus.
Read the pastebins, that'll help.
>Check in with Dr. Wallace and the science branch

Btw, running a quick errand. On my cell, may be small delay
No worries.
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Dr. Wallace is a natural next stop on your little tour. You get it right on your first guess, that she's in the science lab.

You enter the darkened compartment, cast in the strange red glow of CS-759, visible through the armored glass "blister" that pokes from the flank of Melita, giving the science lab an exterior view.

For a moment, you are fixated on the world, vivid red, a swirling cloud of iron oxide dust obscuring a dead, lifeless surface.

Pushing the planet from your mind, you see Dr. Wallace and Marco, her assistant, hard at work on consoles within the lab.

Marco looks up first, casting you a bored look, he turns to Sandra, "Dr. Wallace, the captain's here."

Now Dr. Wallace looks up, registering your presence. "Captain Bannon," she stands and adjusts her uniform, "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Just making my rounds," you reply, "Wanted to see how you two were doing. Looks like you're up and at it nice and early."

"We're early risers," Sandra replies, "lazy workers don’t advance very quickly in the science branch. I'm as well as can be expected."

"Yeah. Swell," Marco replies, not looking up from his console.

"Good to hear it. I was also wondering if the Science Division had anything pertinent to add to our situation."

Dr. Wallace sighs, "By all rights, CS-759 should have valuable surface deposits. I'm surprised we haven't found anything yet. Though this weather isn't helping."

"We'll be switching orbits soon," you say "That'll give us more planetary coverage."

"About that, captain," Dr. Wallace says, "I am sure this planet has what we're looking for. So surei nf act, I'm starting to suspect the storm is affecting our sensor coverage more than we think. To that end, I would like you to drop us into a lower orbit. In order to get a better fix on the surface, maybe 'break through' some of this mess."

You ponder the question a moment. A lower orbit was feasible, once the engines were online, though it wasn't in the plan. Though if Dr. Wallace was right, it wouldn't really matter, as long as you got results.

>No problems Doc, I'll get you that orbit
>I'll have to clear it with Batista first
>We'd better stick to plan for the time being
>write in
>>No problems Doc, I'll get you that orbit
That will help with us being behind schedule.
>>I'll have to clear it with Batista first
But we'll definitely push for it. And if not, maybe we could do a closer survey on a shuttle to the surface.
Allowing a few minutes for a tie breaker
eh, fuck it. I'll combine the votes.

"I'll see what I can do, Doc. But I've got to clear it with Batista first."

"I understand, Captain," Dr. Wallace says with the hint of a smile, "You have a chain of command, and it's not easy working with someone looking over your shoulder."

You don't respond directly, unsure how much you can push the envelope with Dr. Wallace on Company oversight. "Heck, if we have to, we could see about taking the shuttle and doing a surface survey."

Dr. Wallace seems slightly disturbed by this idea, "That might be . . . Possible, but I certainly wouldn't advice it. Not with the storms going on down there."

You hoped you wouldn't have to find out how severe those storms were. If you were lucky, Batista wouldn't be a sticker for procedure.

"Oh, by the way Doctor, do you know of any planets that don't have a sun?" you ask.

The doctor blinks a few times, "A planet with no sun?"

You shrug in response.

"A rogue planet maybe," she says. "A planet that got slingshotted out of its solar system, that wouldn't have any sun. A few instances have been detected by scout ships and probes, but they're travelling at pretty steep velocities, no human crews have tried to rendezvous and observe one."

"You think there could be life on a planet like that?"

"I find it unlikely," she says. "Allowing for the infinite complexities of the universe I suppose almost anything is possible. But without a source for energy, a life giver . . . " she shakes her head.

"Right. Thanks doc!"

You leave the science lab and nearly run into Harris, your flight officer coming out of the showers.

"Oh! Captain, jeez, you scared me," she chuckles.

"Sorry Harris, hey have you see the Rep?"

"Batista? I think he was having breakfast in the crew lounge."


"I'll be heading for the bridge in a second," she says quickly, "I'm just still trying to wake up."

"No sweat, I'll see you there."

The lounge occupies the opposite side of the ship as the science lab, having its own observation blister, this one pointed out into the blackness of space. Aside from some neglected arcade machines and furniture covered in pock-marked and mistreated upholstery, the 'lounge' is pretty bare."

Standing near the blister is Batista, his "uniform" would look more at place in a corporate office than on a working star ship. He wears a button-up shirt and slacks, though his sleeves are sensibly rolled up. He's idly eating a bowl of bran cereal when he reacts to the door hissing open and looks back.

"Captain Bannon," A broad grin spreads across his face, "Just admiring the view, what can I do for you?"

>I've got some questions for you, but I also wanted to see how you were holding up. Adjusting to ship life okay?
>Science team is requesting we assume a lower orbit. Is it okay if we go ahead with that?
>I've just gotten a report from Dr. Wallace that it's imperative we deviate from plan and alter our orbit.
>>I've got some questions for you, but I also wanted to see how you were holding up. Adjusting to ship life okay?
>I've got some questions for you, but I also wanted to see how you were holding up. Adjusting to ship life okay?

"I've got some questions for you, but I also wanted to see how you were holding up. Adjusting to ship life okay?

"Oh, it's an adjustment," Batista says, nodding as he talks, "But I think it helps to know what you guys go through out here."

"Any reason you're eating here?" you ask, trying not to let your confusion show.

"No, not at all," Batista looks a bit sheepish, "I just feel like I'm making everyone uncomfortable, 'big bad boss' and all that. I don't want to cramp your style."

"It wouldn't be like that," you lie, knowing full well the crew would never relax with Batista around.

"You think so? Well maybe I'll have dinner with you guys, what do you think?"

"Sure thing."

"And how's the scan going, any luck so far? You wanted to talk about that?"

"Yes actually. I just spoke with Dr. Wallace and she's thinking our 'bad luck' is actually a sensor issue, wants to drop us lower in orbit and keep scanning instead of altering our orbit like we're scheduled to do."

"Hmmm," Batista chews cereal as he thinks, "And if we take Dr. Wallace's approach and it doesn't work, could we change orbits and get back on schedule?"

"No, sir. We'd be behind. There's no way we can orbit and scan faster."

"Hm. Well, what do you think, captain?"

>I think we should trust the doctor
>I think we should stick to schedule
>I'm curious how you feel about it, Mr. Batista.
>>I think we should trust the doctor
>I think we should trust the doctor


First one, then two.
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"Me? Well I think we ought to trust Dr. Wallace's recommendation. She's the expert after all."

"Great! Then that's what we'll do. By all means, go ahead and do what you feel you need to. As you say, she is the expert." He smiles and takes another bite of cereal.

"I'll do that, thanks."

You leave the lounge, emboldened with newfound power. Next stop, the bridge to lower the orbit and continue the scan from lower orbit. You were given confidence by Dr. Wallace's confidence she would find something. Maybe Juno would be right, maybe you could retire a king after this run.


That's all the time I have tonight guys. Thanks for playing!

We will be picking the game up again on Tuesday at 7 EST (11 UTC) so hopefully everyone will be able to make that.

Be sure to follow the twitter to stay up to date.


Whoops, meant to post that link earlier . . .

Cool, thanks for running.
No synth onboard?
None listed on the manifest.
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After your conversation with Batista, you head for Melita's bridge, the nerve center of the ship, a cluttered mess of consoles, screens, flight seats, star charts, and printouts strewn across any free space.

Visit Sunny Antares! a poster on the wall says with a picture of the idyllic, tropical colony, a real success story of terraforming, utterly unlike the world below your ship.

Dead ahead, the very front of the ship, the end of the bridge, the "nose" of the ship, is a hexagonal plexiglass dome, giving you a breathtaking view of the hazy red sphere you orbit, if you watch long enough you can see bands of fiery oranges and deep reds shifting as the wind patterns on the planet change the flow of sand which catches the light of the nearby sun.

Here are Redding, Van Leuen, and Harris. The three of the gathered around the astrogational station. They look up as the doors hiss open when you enter.

"Captain," Van Leuen says with a nod.

"Howdy, cap," Harris says, her features lit with a friendly smile.

"Redding has drawn up a maneuver for us, it's going to take some orbital changes, but it will carry us pretty low on the night side of the planet, give us a good sensor window of the ground, and then back up again to high orbit in time for us to make the inclination change to circle the poles," Van Leuen rattles off the plan with something akin to pride.

"Great," you say, attempting to take a sip from a now-empty coffee mug. "Any other surprises?"

"Not so far, no," Van Leuen says.

"And is there any chance at all we can get back on schedule?" you ask, hoping against hope.

"I don't see how, Captain," Van Leuen says, "We were meant to start the polar sweep by now, we're already a few hours behind on that, and beyond that if we add the sweep that Dr. Wallace is wanting, this one we're planning, it'll hamper our scheduled orbital path even more."

"Although," Harris chimes in, "if we strike it rich on this sweep, it won't matter."

"Lets do it then."

"Redding," Harris says, "Lay in a course." The flight officer sits in her own seat and beings programming the ships thrusters to respond to her new parameters.

"You got it," Redding replies.
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"Looks like whatever you said got Engineering working again, captain," Harris says appreciatively. "maneuvering and main thrusters are all showing online."

"Alright, we're going to earn our shares today, people," Van Leuen replies.

Within seconds, Emelita is moving, you don't feel the motion so much as see them as the starfield outside of the viewport shifts sickeningly while the ship reorients itself. A gentle shudder runs through the deck plate as the main drives ignite. The ship is on the move, cutting a shallow arc low through CS-759's orbit.

By the time Batista enters it to the bridge, a full ten minutes have gone by, and CS-759 now fills virtually the whole forward view, casting the bridge in a strange shade of red.

The company rep steps onto the bridge, looking very much out of place, you see him momentarily marvel at CS-759.

"Wow!" he says. He looks at you, "That's incredible! What a view!"

He focuses on the planet again and maneuvers his way to the front of the bridge to get a better view out of the forward window.

Behind him, Dr. Wallace and her assistant Marco step onto the bridge. Eager, it seems to see the results of their handwork.

Batista looks back at you from the viewport, recovering himself somewhat, but retaining his child-like grin. "Hard to believe this could be a mining colony someday," he says, to no one in particular.

Now, lower to the planet, Melita's many dozens of "eyes" are all focused on CS-759 far below, prying tirelessly for valuable resources and, hopefully, your future retirement.

"Uh, Captain," Harris says, confusion in her voice. "We're getting a signal on the emergency radio band." She types a series of commands into her console, "it's short range, lost against the planetary background noise until now."

"A signal?" you ask. "What kind? What's it transmitting?"

The bridge crew listen silently as Harris queries the computer.
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"It's an automated distress signal from a ship," Harris says. "Colonial." She presses her headset tighter over her ears, "USCSS Tremolino," she says, adding, "It's coming from low orbit of CS-759."

"Get me telemetry on that ship," you say, pacing near Harris, "Do we have anything about Tremolino on record? Registration information, manifest, anything."

"Pulling it up now, sir," Van Leuen says.

Batista has stepped away from the viewport, stepping silently through the bridge to stand behind and beside you, like an advisor.

"USCSS Tremolino, a freelance light cargo vessel, port of origin is Tannhauser, no information about their current contracts or bonds," Van Leuen reads, "Possibly a smuggler ship," he adds with some derision.

"What the hell are they doing all the way out here?" Redding says aloud, voicing a question that had been lingering in the back of your mind. After all, CS-759 was a planet still being surveyed, beyond the frontier, well outside the Network, it was as backwater as could be. So there would be no reason for a light freighter to be out here that you could see.

"With minor adjustments to our orbital profile, we could rendezvous with it in 30 minutes or so," Harris says after running the calculations, "It's in a lower orbit of the planet, really just dumb luck we caught her transmission."

"Plot a rendezvous trajectory, but hold off. Try to get them on the radio first. Let's see if anyone is still around for a meet-and-greet," you say, marching back to your station and plopping into the seat, sweeping some gum wrappers aside.

"Aye sir!" Van Leuen responds, buckling into his seat and relaying orders to Redding and Harris as they ready the ship to execute the maneuver.

"USCSS Tremolino, this is commercial survey vehicle Melita, please respond," Harris says, her voice echoing over the PA system on the bridge.

Seconds lapse by in silence.

"Tremolino, this is survey vessel Melita, responding to your distress signal." Harris looks at Van Leuen, exasperated.

"Try again," Van Leuen tells Harris.

"USCSS Tremolino, this is commercial survey vehicle-" Harris says.

The automated distress signal blurts over the com, just a buzz, chatter, and hum of computer language.

Harris winces and pulls off her headset, "If they are on board," she tells you, "they don't seem to be able to respond."

"Maybe they froze themselves," Tanya suggests.

"Well then why isn't the computer waking them up?" Van Leuen asks.

You knew the only way to find the answer at this point was to physically travel to Tremolino and see what was the matter. You feel the weight of Batista's eyes on you, as company rep he was here to make sure you did your job. In cases like this, your job was clear. Responding to a distress signal was required.

>Alright, let's go see what's up. Execute the maneuver.
>Van Leuen, what do you think?
>Mr Batista, what do you want me to do?
>Questions/orders for the crew (write in)
>Alright, let's go see what's up. Execute the manuever
>Alright, let's go see what's up. Execute the maneuver

Welp. Here we go.
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It only takes a few minutes for thrusters to align, and Melita alters her flight profile, decelerating to drop into a lower orbit and adjusting inclination to intercept Tremolino. True to word, almost half an hour later, the small, boxy frame of Tremolino is visible. Both ships were moving at tremendous velocities, but, at matched speeds, appeared virtually motionless in space, the vast, turbulent, and dusty skies of CS-759 far beneath painting a bloody glow across both vessels.

You are now close enough to clearly make out details of Tremolino though the CCTV cameras that dot the hull of your ship. She's a small ship, even smaller than Melita. Only a single deck, a small forward command and crew area, trailing two bulky cargo bays on either side forming a sort of inverse 'Y' shape. Between these two bays is a shuttle launch, currently empty. You see no obvious signs of damage or distress, the only thing out of place is the open gantry where Tremolino it seems would normally carry a short-range shuttlecraft.

"Try them one more time," Van Leuen says.

Harris sighs and puts on her headset once more, adjusting the earpieces. "Tremolino, this is Commercial Survey Vehicle Melita responding to your distress signal, what is your situation?"

As Harris tries in vain to get someone on the radio, Melita looms closer to Tremolino, sluggishly orbiting the smaller craft. Spotlights wash across Tremolino, your crew, not already involved with ship board activity have their faces practically pressed to the glass trying to see into the other ship.

No such luck, starships by their design are well sealed, their interiors safely hidden. No, now it was clear, someone would have to go inside.

>Dock with it
>Take the shuttle over
>Spacewalk over using an anchor line.
>>Alright, let's go see what's up. Execute the maneuver.
>>Take the shuttle over
>Take the shuttle over
Our way out until the pilot gets ganked or something...
>Take the shuttle over

"We go over there and I want a way to get back," you say. "We're taking the shuttle across."

"The shuttle?" Harris asks.

"We don't know what happened over there, and whatever it is or was, I don't want it happening on my ship," you reply.

"Don't you feel you're being a bit paranoid, captain?" Dr. Wallace asks, "People could need urgent attention over there, why not just dock our ships so we can render aid at once?"

"We can't afford not to be paranoid out here," you say, "Now, anyone else want to second guess me?"

The crew says nothing.

Now it remained to be seen who would take the shuttle over there to search the ship for crew.

>Myself and Van Leuen
>Call for volunteers
>Write in
>>Call for volunteers
>>Call for volunteers

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"Alright, who's coming with me?" you face the crew.

The pause that follows is long and tense.

"Redding?" You hazard.

"You've got to be kidding right?" Redding asks, "I'm the navigator, what the hell good am I gonna be over there? I'm not a first responder."

"Anyone else volunteer then?

Redding settles back, eyes wide with a mix of embarrassment and something akin to fear, she seems a bit unsettled by the possibility of having to go aboard this seemingly abandoned ship.

"You know," Batista says, clearing his throat, "I don't mind volunteering. I'll go."

"Okay, anyone else?"

"I'll go, Captain," Van Leuen says, giving a foul look to the rest of the crew who won't meet his eyes, "Someone has to. And I'd expect someone else to do the same for us if we were stranded out here."

"Right," you nod to yourself, "Okay, let's get rolling.

You sense Wallace wants to say something more, but she is clearly afraid herself, and so says nothing.

You take another look at Tremolino through the forward view port and you sense a great stillness from the other ship, like something that should be alive and vibrant but is dead, merely a fossil. You shake off the sensation and the three of you in the boarding party leave the bridge and make your way to the shuttle where you quickly gear up for your task.

The recommended load-out is flashlights for the three of you, an emergency radio, medical kit, and a pair of pistols. One for yourself, and one for Van Leuen.

Any changes?

>Nope, perfect
>Write in
Get some spacesuits ready in case the ship doesn't have air. other than that, go nuts.
Will we wear an EVA suit or no? And/or a rifle since they did mention smugglers.
>Space suits
>EVA suits

Yes, absolutely.


The most you carry in the way of firepower is two pistols which you and Van Leuen are bringing

The short shuttle jaunt over to the silent Tremolino does little to calm your nerves. You sense your companions are similarly nervous, and for once, you're grateful for the heavy, stifling EVA suit since it gives you an excuse to sweat. You had looked over Tremolino's deckplans on Melita and had a good feel for the ship. It was small, but still expansive enough for a search by a three man team to be time consuming. You just hoped the answers were forthcoming.

>Tremolino's deck plans

"Easy," Van Leuen says, his voice echoing over your helmet radio as he gently brings the shuttle in to nestle beside the light freighter, like a parasite to a great metallic fish.

The three of you pick up your gear and trudge over to the small airlock hatch on the shuttle your breath hissing in your helmet loudly.

"Okay guys," Harris says over the com system, "Van Leuen, you hear me okay?"

"Loud and clear," Van Leuen replies, "Let's get this over with."

"Right," Harris responds, as soon as she does, the airlock pops and the doors roll open, revealing the portside airlock interior of Tremolino. The three of you struggle through the harsh embrace of artificial gravity, your suits weighing dozens of pounds, making every movement an effort. You shuffle close together as the airlock doors cycle, ultimately opening into a small ready room. You see lockers of gear, mostly apparently unused, in a special, man-sized case, a space suit, much like the one you wear, also unused.

"The air tests good," Van Leuen says, waving a science instrument around.

Batista kicks over an empty sports bottle with a booted foot, examining it idly.

"Let's keep the suits anyway," you say.

>Let's split up to cover more ground
>Search the ship as a group

(More choices to follow)
>More choices to follow

After the vote i mean.
Actually just ran out of time to run this. I haven't decided one when I can runt he next session, but if you're interested, follow the twitter and keep your eyes on the QTG.

Thanks for playing!

Thanks for running.
This quest is awesome, mate. It nails the Alien feels perfectly with the music, images and writing.

If you stop running it I'm prone to kill you.
No problem!

Thanks for the kind words! That's exactly what I was aiming for.

I absolutely don't want to stop. Problem is I am running another quest and I grossly underestimated how hard it would be running two quests without detracting time from either.

I am working out how to schedule that so it isn't a problem and I can still do things like breathe.

If you haven't, be sure to follow the twitter!
Neat quest, I'll be keeping an eye on this one.
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Last word.

The Quest will return 8:00 EST (12 UTC) on Wednesday.

I can't lie to you about your chances, but... you have my sympathies.

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