StarBreaker

Episode 1 : F.U.R.I.E.

Fresh out of Marine Training on the Moon, Our Heroes find their first posting will be aboard the pride of the Fleet, the USS StarBreaker. Unfortunately, the ship is far away, and the only way to get there is to be put into 'Cryo-Sleep' pods, and shipped as Freight. This way the ship is able to carry the platoon without needing to worry about tonnes of consumables, water and air.

The last thing they are told before they are put into the Cryo-coma is; "Don't worry, Cold Sleep is the safest form of travel between the stars…

 

Edward Gunhands is the first to wake, and he quickly realises there is something wrong with his Cryo-pod: He is still covered in green goo, and the breathing tube is stuck down his throat. The lid of the pod has failed to open fully, so he has to give it a good shove in order to get out of the goo before he drowns in it.

After freeing himself from the pod, he looks around. The group of six pods which forms his batch are all displaying warning lights, stating there is a power outage. As he takes this in, he sees Cameron Nurse struggling to open his pod, so rushes over to give him a hand.

Cameron Nurse Finds himself in a worse state than Edward: he has trouble breathing, as the tube down his throat has become clogged with green goo. Luckily, Edward is able to help him out and clear the obstruction in his throat. As a trained Medic, Cameron begins to make sense of the readings on the pods, and tells Edward they need to work fast to free the others before they all suffocate.

They are able to free Alfred Jermaine and Frederick Equire before they suffocate, but the other two pods hold only dead bodies of their fellow recruits.  Frederick checks the machinery logs, and finds that the power outage occurred about 15 minutes beforehand. The system was running on reserve but the drain on the system was too high to keep all the pods active, so it began the emergency waking of the occupants.

As they are all naked and covered in green slime, the recruits attempt to get the shower to work. However, hand pumping the cold water is hard work, and they give up trying to get fully clean. Edward finds a rack of lockers, and they all dress themselves in ship-suits, before trying to open the door of the Cryo-sleep unit.

The door opens onto the insides of a freighter's cargo bay. Their cryo-unit is one of several that are locked in place in the bay. All the units seem to be in the same dead state as theirs, and there appears to be major damage done to the electrical systems on the units and the cargo bay itself.

As they begin to explore the area, Frederick checks each of the units in turn, but they all seem lifeless, with dead occupants. Closest to the cargo bay doors are two large crates, and Edward and Frederick move towards the crates as Alfred and Cameron move towards the lift to the other parts of the Freighter.

Alfred finds two bodies of Freighter crewmen, possibly engineers or cargo loaders. They look to have been wounded by some kind of piercing weapon. As Alfred and Cameron check the bodies over, Frederick opens the first of the large crates to find the platoon's weapons inside. As he and Edward arm themselves, they hear a metallic scrape above them. Looking up they see several Robot Spiders, which leap off the far wall towards them.

Alfred and Cameron find themselves in a sticky spot, with robo-spiders approaching and no weapons. Alfred sprints towards Frederick, who passes him a rifle, while Cameron manages to find a pistol on one of the bodies.

A fire fight ensues, with limited success at first, until The recruits find the unarmoured parts of the spiders. The last of the spiders manages to get past Cameron, and flees up the lift shaft, but not before Alfred gets a shot off and wings it.

Cameron goes around checking the wounds of his fellows, but they are all minor cuts. Frederick picks up a spider foreleg, seeing that it is a type of Ionic knife weapon. Realising that all he needs is a power source to use it, he decides to keep it.

Checking the lift shaft, Alfred realises that one way is blocked off by an emergency bulkhead. Behind the bulkhead he can see the Airlock has been ripped open by something big, and all the stowage area is open to vacuum. With the power out, the recruits Have to climb up the lift shaft after the last spider, to the Support Deck.

There they find several more spiders, all seemingly trying to either destroy or tap into the ship systems. They are quickly able to take out all the spiders on this level, including the one that Alfred had winged previously. Again, Cameron goes around binding up wounds, some of which are pretty deep. With no working consoles on this level, they realise that they need to climb the shaft again.

Reaching the main deck, they find two robo-spiders trying to bash their way through a locked door. A few quick shots later, they clear the area, and try to see what the spiders were after. A voice answers them from behind the door, asking; "Who the hell are you, and where did you come from?"

The recruits spend the next few minutes trying to explain to the voice that they were in fact part of the cargo, and that the loss of power to the Cryo-units caused them to be ejected early. They also explain that all the others are dead, as well as two crewmen whose bodies they discovered on the cargo deck.

The door opens, to reveal a Woman dressed in an armoured ship suit. She explains she is the medical officer aboard, and that she locked herself in here when 'those things' came out of the lift shaft. She also mentions that the spiders seemed to be controlled by something else…

While exploring more of the main deck, the recruits open a set of doors that are part of an airlock to the flight deck. After buzzing the intercom, they are allowed to enter, where they find the captain and co-pilot trying to keep the ship running. The captain explains that something is tampering with ships systems, and the only way to regain control is the engineering deck. The recruits decide to go and find this at once.

As the set of door to the engineering deck open up, They find a swarm of spiders that attempt to keep them from entering. At the engineering console is a man-shaped robot which appears to be either uploading or downloading something from the console. It gloats that they can do nothing to stop it, and that as 'organics' they are inferior and inefficient compared to it; a 'Fully Unfettered Robotic Intelligent Entity' (F.U.R.I.E.), and that it will rid the universe of such vermin.

Frederick answers it with a blast from his rifle, but the swarm of spiders close up, and one of them takes the bullet meant for the F.U.R.I.E. (while it cackles that it is in control here).

A fire-fight ensues, with Alfred getting seriously wounded, while Edward, Frederick and Cameron also take a few hits from the spiders. Eventually, they are able to cut through the swarm of spiders and start shooting at the F.U.R.I.E. , but it has a heavily armoured body, and they find it hard to take it out. Eventually, Frederick gets a lucky shot, and takes out the main processor, but not before the console flashes 'Download complete'…

With the F.U.R.I.E. taken out, the rest of the spiders de-animate, and the ship is able to send off an emergency beacon. The captain tells the recruits that the F.U.R.I.E. had downloaded schematics for the engine system, as the freighter had a newer, more efficient version. The question on everyones lips remained unanswered; Was the body of the F.U.R.I.E. the full version of the intelligence, or was it a drone of something larger again….

After a few days drifting, the Freighter is picked up by a Search and Rescue craft which transports it to the StarBreaker. Once aboard the recruits, now referred to as Troopers, are debriefed by Major Sanchez of Fleet Intelligence. He explains that F.U.R.I.E.s were a mistake made over 100 years before, and that they were all destroyed. When they say that isn't true, he replies; "As far as everyone is told, that is the truth, and you would do well to remember that. The existence of a F.U.R.I.E. is classified information, and as such you are not to share that information with anyone."

The Troopers are shown into their new quarters, which are meant to house the entire platoon. Looking around, they realise just how much they have lost. But at least, they are alive…….

 

 

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Episode 2: Prowler

 

It has been a couple of days since the marines were Debriefed after their close shave with the F.U.R.I.E. and Command wishes to send them out on their first mission.


As the C.O.s and N.C.O.s of their platoon all died in the cryo-tanks, and there isn't more than a squad of them left, Lt Louisa DeVries has been assigned their new 'Top'. DeVries has herself only recently been cleared to return to duty from medical, after receiving serious burns after her last drop ship insertion was hit by a incendry missile, which killed the rest of her squad. DeVries still has a series of skin grafts to come, but insisted she was fit for duty without them ("I don't need to be pretty to lead, as long as I can use a suit.").

DeVries also is glad to inform them that not all their fellows were killed in their cryo-pods as they first believed: there were a couple of marines who the trauma team were able to save. Of these, one has recently been declared fit for duty, and joins them on this mission: He is Reginald Bradigoggles, a good man for fixing things.


Lt DeVries begins the briefing:
"Ok squad, listen up. We are currently in the Ross 154 system, approx 9.4 light years from Earth. We're here because of the 4th planet in this system. It's official designation is Zeneca 72c (the 72nd claim put in for rights by the Astra-Zeneca phamacological group way back when the systems were up for grabs. The colonists call it 'Pharmacopia'. That's because the first survey team on planet found so many new drug types they started calling it pharmacopia, and the name stuck.
It is now home to several drug research and manufacturing companies, and numerous black market drug labs. It's estimated that 75% of the drug trade for the united systems comes from here, and 80% of the illegal drugs in the united systems were made here. The vast rainforest and hot climate makes it hard to spy on and track the drug cartels, and it is impossible to blockade the planet with the limited resourses the USF has at it's disposal.
That is why this ship was recently outfitted with 4 brand new S24 'Prowler' Stealth Recon scout ships. They have been constantly on missions to locate, track and log all drug cartel traffic. Unfortunately, a couple of hours ago, Prowler 4 stopped communicating. Command thinks that it may have been system fault, but there is a slight possibility that it was seen and shot down.
 Our mission is to take a Rhino drop ship and set down close to Prowler 4's last recorded position; find the prowler, recover it's two man crew and either guard it until it can be salvaged or destroy it so that it's top secret stealth systems cannot be reverse engineered."

They all proceed to the launch bay, where the Rhino is waiting for them. It seems the mission is weighing heavily on their shoulders, because they do not even bother to get to know their pilot and co-pilot, instead checking their gear. Each marine has been issued a set of combat armour and a SMG, as well as various explosives for Alfred Jermaine to use on the Prowler if required.

The Rhino gets as close to the last position of the Prowler as possible, before dropping off the team. Lt. DeVries stays on board the Rhino as over-watch, telling them to call for air cover if needed. The team take cover as the Rhino launches into the air, before moving out to the last position of the Prowler.

As they make their way through the jungle, the team come across a camouflaged cable, designed to look like a vine. It appears to have been charred by an electrical impulse, and lays across a ridge. Cameron climbs up the ridge, to find some kind of barrage balloon at the end of the tether, again looking charred. From the ridge he can see a gouge running off into the jungle, as if something had crashed. Thinking that this would be the most likely place to look first, the team head down this gouge.

As they are heading out, Alfred ( who is on point) sees something glitter in the sunlight. Holding up his hand to halt the team, he checks it out. He finds several spent shotgun casings. Bemused, he wonders who would try and take out a Prowler with a shotgun. However, there is nobody around, so the team carry on.

After a short while, they come across the damaged Prowler. It has severe electrical damage and its ailerons are wrecked. The ship appears intact, so they enter through the aft airlock, and check out the interior of the machine.

With no power, they have to use the manual opener on the airlock, but it opens easily. Reginald looks for an access port to the main computer, and tries to re-boot the system. Alfred and Cameron head for the cockpit. There they find the unconscious co-pilot, but no pilot. Cameron is able to treat the co-pilot, and he rouses.

The co-pilot reveals that they were flying quite low when they hit something small, which must have grounded out the electrical field on the skin of the prowler, causing it to lose its stealth systems. At that moment, they were shot at from the ground,  which must have damaged the ailerons, because the controls were jammed. The pilot tried to level them out, but they hit the ground and slid quite some way. The co-pilot hit his head upon impact.

Alfred asks the co-pilot where the pilot would be, and he replies that possibly he would have gone to find a high place from which to try and contact control. This is when they realise that the Starboard airlock is already open, with a bloody hand-print on the manual opener.

Reginald manages to get comms up and running, and informs the Rhino that the Prowler is recoverable. Lt. DeVries replied that a lifter is on it's way, and the Rhino will remain with the Prowler until it gets there. Alfred tells her that the team are going out to look for the pilot.

The pilot is easy to track, and the marine team make good progress. This is soon ended, however, when the tracks are crossed by a vehicle, which seems to have picked him up. Following the vehicle tracks leads them to a hidden warehouse, but before they get closer, they come under fire.

Using the jungle as cover, they get closer to the Warehouse. A group of Drug runners belonging to one of the major cartels on the planet are firing indiscriminately in the direction the marines came in by. The team open fire, and a firefight ensues.

After a lengthy firefight, in which Alfred is wounded, The team make it to the warehouse. Inside they find the missing pilot, bound and gagged. He is glad to see the team, because the drug runners were about to torture him for information about Fleet maneuvers, in order to evade the patrols.

The team free the pilot, and return to the Prowler. The Prowler is picked up, and the team return to the StarBreaker in their Rhino…

Fleet intelligence informs the team that the Drug runners belonged to the Escovar Cartel, which is one of the Cartels that the StarBreaker is tasked with breaking up. The information the Prowler gained on the cartel is being evaluated now….

 

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