The Shady Side of Wrenaxis

Dr. Argonine and Leyland grab the identity cards of their downed pursuer and meet up with Xeus and Fokker at the seedy hotel the crew had arranged for near the spaceport. Fokker had managed to spank some sense into his razor monkey, to the relief of everyone.

Xeus ran a search and found that the men who had followed the good doctor were employees of a Wrenaxis private security firm. Hired help, but hired by whom? They turn on the spacetv and see Shah Habi on the news claiming System Y for Aurix. They learn that Aurix attempted to enter Svarogian space and were fired upon by Svarogian vessels. The crew infers that shit is getting real. They also learn that Shah Habi has put a bounty out on information resulting in the return of the SS $mell of $uccess SS. Xeus hacks the spaceport master’s email account and adds a filter that will alert him if that individual says anything about them or the ship.

Dr. Argonine received an spacemail from an anonymous sender in Svarog. It said it had answers to his question and informed him that he had become critical to Svarog’s plans. They were going to be after him soon if they weren’t already. The anonymous sender told Argonine to connect with a contact on Wrenaxis and provide the contact’s info. Xeus ran a search on this individual and came up dry, but a call in to Signal0 led him to learn that the contact was part of a very high end shadowy organization which helped connect legitimate businesses with illegal enterprises. To show his sincerity, the anonymous sender also attached logs from the wormhole gateway in Svarog that showed a deluge of slipstone accelerated particles that science says would require a planet-sized chunk of slipstone.

The crew decided to visit the head of security, Brant, at his lower middle class apartment complex. They hack the elevator and Fokker sends his razor monkey through the airvent with a camera. Using this information, he disassembles his door security system. They find a laser security grid and Fokker builds a re-direction array that allows them to make their way down the hallway to the bedroom where Brant is asleep with a lady companion. At the door to the bedroom Xeus find pressures sensitive floor panels which Fokker disengages as well. Xeus wakes up Brant with a blade to his throat and they demand information about Project Epsilon. Brant refuses to divulge until Leyland strikes him in the Solar Plexus and Fokker gets all up in his grill. Brant tells the crew that he was responsible for ferrying cargo containers holding people to a monk named Thadius in the cloister. Xeus fries all of his communication equipment and they leave him with a warning not to speak to anybody about what happened.

The group head back to the Church of Humanity Ascendant the next day and Dr. Argonine asks the head of research if he can give a talk to the cloister. Chandis looks nervous when she responds that the monks themselves had asked her to ask him to do just that. Sensing her concern, Argonine takes her out of the church grounds for lunch. Chandis reveals that the monks are up to some nefarious shit. She explains that Project Epsilon involved using a genomics treatment from Svarog that her and her team could not understand. She raised concerns and got a statement from Attendant Babalawo Benjamin Wahimbey (the same individual who was peers with Dr. Argonine and attempted to recruited him in System X) that the genomics treatment was safe. She says she has heard rumors that the monks have been kidnapping people whose mother’s were given this treatment and sending them to Svarog.

Xeus gets access to a church computer and finds a picture of the monk, Thadius. The crew sees that he is dressed in the same garb as the slipstone cultists they had encountered in the Moist Hatch.

Schrödinger's dick
I can't remember why we thought that was a good title...

As the crew mill about the Church’s plaza they watch as security guards interrupt a conversation between a couple and two of the shaved head religious converts. The couple are escorted out by security guards and yell out disparaging comments about the church as they are lead out. Xeus hacks their ids and learns that they are Zachary Flume (from Wheelmark) and Petal (from Folly). Both are ex-church members.

Leyland speaks to the head of security about a job, a man named Brant Strontum. Brant is impressed with Leyland and says to swing by his office in Administration to apply.

Dr. Argonine starts chatting up a researcher who becomes star struck when he recognizes him. Soon a gaggle of researchers are surrounding Dr. Argonine. He asks to speak with the head researcher and the scientists readily agree.

The crew goes with the scientists into the research arm of the campus. Dr. Argonine meets with Chandis Ballwather, the head of research. Chandis reveals that they use a technology called a neuro-cranial harness to use the quantum processing power of the human mind to advance their genomics research. The religious converts willingly submit to this as they believe the process will help them reach their full potential. Neuro-cranial harnesses are illegal in most of the cluster due to some evidence that they can be used to manipulate people’s mental states.

Xeus breaks away from the nerd herd and hacks his way into a secure section of the research lab. He hacks into the network and learns that Solar’s genome is one of 10 genomes associated with a project called Project Epsilon. He also learns that the crate Solar was delivered in was delivered to the attention of Brant Strontum and was then listed as being lost by Brant. There are a few such other packages which have been received by Brant and then noted as lost. Xeus also sets off a security alarm in the administrative building just to fuck with people because he’s like that.

Leyland takes a tour of the lab with the scientists and does his best to look smart.

Chandis asks if Dr. Argonine will give a speech to the lab and he agrees. The speech is impressive and filled with science words. He leaves to a standing ovation.

Xeus tracks Brant Strontum when he leaves the campus. Brant makes his way to a seedy bar and then leaves with a woman that he then takes back to his meager apartment in a middle class part of town.

Dr. Argonine and Leyland head back to the ship but Leyland realizes they are being followed. They part ways and Leyland heads down an alley. Dr. Argonine stops at the next alley and stands there very suspiciously. Leyland surprises one of their followers and knocks him out. The two other tails realize they have been made and charge towards Dr. Argonine with guns drawn (Leyland confirmed the guns are loaded with non-lethal ammo). Dr. Argonine fires on one of the men and kills him in cold blood. Leyland steps in front of the final man and just glares at him until he runs away in fear.

Xeus calls Dr. Argonine and Leyland and they explain what happen. Xeus tells them how they should have done everything better because he’s like that.

Always a bridesmaid, never a manbride...

Fokker’s religious fervor somehow creates an emotional link between him and an errant razor monkey. The two are inseparable on the way back to the research station. At some point on the ride, the scientist wakes up and attempts to break free from his bond. Fokker’s jury-rigged shackles prove to be too much for him. The crew get back to the research station and the scientists debrief them. They keep Fokker under observation until his religious fervor wanes. They fix up Xeus and take the mutated scientist in for operation. They also set to work healing Silas and his crew. Leyland keeps a watchful eye on the operations.

When Silas and his crew awaken, Xeus and Fokker attempt to intimidate them into revealing the location where they dropped off Solar. The scientists express displeasure at Xeus’ threats and inappropriate use of medical apparatus. Xeus threatens to get Quandos Vorn involved which clearly scares Silas. Leyland enters the room to help get the information and Silas immediately asks to claim his war-prize either in the form of currency or a (man)bride. After some emotional discussion, Leyland agrees to pay the debt in cash instead of ass. He also swears a blood oath to Silas that they will not reveal to Vorn or anyone else the fact that they revealed the drop off location.

The crews are escorted out of the space station and to their ships. They jump the wormhole and then exchange information and currency. The crew learns that Solar was dropped off at the administration loading area of the main Church of Humanity Ascendant center on Wrenaxis.

Xeus gives his update to Vorn and chooses to omit the fact that they discovered the identify of Solar’s abductors. Fokker gets concerned that Xeus’ lie may be uncovered and chooses to unleash the razor monkey at Xeus during his call with Vorn. This confuses the situation enough that Vorn does not doubt the veracity of Xeus’ report.

The crew learns that the center has a public courtyard featuring a holographic display area where they do propaganda. The center also has an administrative building, a research facility and a religious cloister. They see initiates with shaved heads and wearing all white coming and going from the cloister. They learn that the research facility has a number of commercial projects primarily in the area of nootropics as well as a number of public charity projects, such as the fertility program on Hogan 6.

Xeus attempts to case the join and determine the layout of all the security systems. He is surprised to find a more sophisticated security system than would have seemed warranted for such an institution and aborts his effort before he looks suspicious.

Visit Scenic Zkro!

The crew awake to find that Leyland has had a bad reaction to something in the Zkroian biosphere. The scientists take him under their care while the rest of the crew prepares for their journey. They take off in a hovercraft which is equipped with a forcefield similar to that which protects the research station.

The crew encounters a horde of massive headless quadrupeds which quickly becomes a stampede. Through technical wizardry, clever driving and the use of magnetic fields to create a launch ramp out of razor monkey corpses the crew manages to outrun the herd.

They climb a tall cliff to the nest of the angels. On his way up, Fokker is bit by one of the angels and begins having religious visions. The crew reach the cave and see Silias and his crew tied to the back of the cave, angels feeding on them like leeches. The scientist has mutated almost beyond recognition. He’s enormously muscled and his skin has become translucent and luminescent like the angels. He and Fokker get into a debate about which one of them is the true voice of God while Xeus leaps out like a ninja and kills a bunch of angels. Xeus takes a serious beating but the crew are successful. They lower Silas and his team as well as the scientist down the cliff face and head back to the research station.

The Second Butthole

Our intrepid adventurers manage to save all 2,000+ inhabitants of Hogan 6 and are recognized and lauded as heroes. The Captain of the appropriated freighter returns to Hogan 6 to collect his cargo issues vague threats of reprisal from InterCluster. Xeus made sure that they (and the rescued survivors) knew that Signal Zero had done the deed, attempting to further his hacker crew’s reputation. The plucky street rat who had been their guide / alleged sexual assault victim decides to stick with Xeus.

While performing the rescue mission Fokker stayed behind to salvage parts from the failing station. He also spent some time re-building one of the security drones that Xeus kept. Xeus spent some time mucking with it’s programming, and now has his own personal security drone pet (Anyone remember the name?)

The crew learns that Svarog has laid claim to both systems. They have released no information about the automated system and claim that some sort of interference is preventing navigation to the planet. They have described the techno-barbaric system and released that they are beginning integration and trade relations with the local populace.

The crew fly the SS Smell of Success SS back to Dr. Argonine’s lab where they confront the problem of Shah Habi. They contact his family and arrange for an exchange at a pre-determined point in Folly. The Aurixian government is eager to get their hands on Shah and the claim to the newly discovered system, especially given that Svarog has announced their (later) claim. Aurix agrees to an exchange of favors (which in many ways are more valuable than money) but are unwilling to be held accountable for any future actions by the dread pirate Shah Habi.

The crew decides to pay a visit to the doctor who had been checking up on Solar in Hogan 6. He is in retirement on Wrenaxis Prime. Xeus drops the street rat (who really deserves a name by now…) off with his colleagues in Signal Zero. Dr. Argonine plies some information from the doctor and discovers that a group called the Church of Humanity Ascendant purchased the services of his company to do field work gathering blood samples and doing genomic analysis. The Church is a pretty widespread cult across the cluster with centers in most major non-Svargoian population areas.

The crew head to Espur and Dr. Argonine reaches out to an old university buddy on the research station on Zkro. He gains admittance and the crew park their ship next to what they assume must be Silas’ ship in orbit. A shuttle takes them from their ship onto the planet’s surface and through the incredibly advanced forcefield guarding the station from Zkro. The entire planet of Zkro is covered in aggressively teaming life. Inorganic materials are very quickly converted into the living tissue of the planet which makes any form of civilized life impossible. Dr. Argonine speaks with his colleague and learns that sometimes researchers are overcome with a religious fervor about the planet. This doesn’t jibe well with Svarogian culture which has a dominant religion led by a matriarchy of priestesses known as the Iyanifa. A researcher recently was overcome by such a fervor and left the base with a shielded hovercraft in an attempt to “go native”. The station is eager to keep this quiet and hired Silas and his band of mercenaries to bring him back discreetly. They left in a hovercraft a few days ago and have not been heard from since.

That evening, Xeus decides to explore the station’s network and inadvertently disables the forcefield generator. Fökker springs into action and uses a bunch of salvage he got from Hogan 6 to repair the generator but in the brief time it was down a group of organisms resembling headless monkeys with razor claws entered the station. Xeus hacks into the station security system and alerts Leyland to their locations. Leyland chases them down one by one and dispatches them with his sword. Dr. Argonine’s colleague comes out to investigate the noise and is splatted in green goo as Leyland lacerates the final one just inches from his face. Dr. Argonine cools the situation down by explaining to his colleague that the malfunction had nothing to do with his crew and that they were in fact lucky they were there to help. After the excitement, everybody settles in for a nice rest on the horrible planet that wants only to kill you.

Trouble in Paradise

As the crew complete their investigation of the Axis Security office, the station alert system begins broadcasting a station wide alert. The radiation shielding of Hogan 6 has been compromised. Xeus learns that this was due to the station point defense system running out of ammunition as the station passed through a debris field, causing the radiation arrays to be smashed. The crew grab a backpack full of drugs and Xeus takes a drone.

The youth gang pleads to Fokker to help and gets aggressive when he claims he cannot. Fearing an escalation, he agrees to put on an EVAC suit and go outside (even though he knows they are beyond repair). The crew and the street urchin head to the corporate offices to investigate the corrupted data.

Xeus learns that the “corrupt data” was actually a manual wipe of video footage during the time period Solar was abducted. He finds a backup in the system and uses facial recognition software to find Solar. The crew sees her finish her shift at the kebab shop, head down to Hab A to meet with her friends and party, and then get abducted as she heads through the entertainment district. She is grabbed by a group of 4 people, one who turns out to be Leyland’s man-bride-to-be, Silas. They throw a bag over her head and take her into a bar called the Crusty Crank,

The crew picks up the Axis Security team on their way back to the Entertainment district. There, they bribe the proprietor with their backpack full of drugs. She describes the 4 people and explains she takes money for things like that all the time.

The crew heads to the docking bays where they find a group of rioters have stopped a load of goods from being delivered via tram to a cargo ship. They are demanding that cargo ship take them off the doomed station. Dr. Argonine provides a distraction by offering money to the captain and his crew. The captain has no interest because he fears reprisals from the mafia-run company that he is working for (InterCluster) but the offer sparks a near mutiny in his crew. As the captain is distracted with his crew, Leyland and Xeus sneak through the tram tracks and get behind the cargo ship’s captain and guards.

Leyland jumps up from the tracks and grabs the captain, holding his blade to his neck. The captain issues and order and one of his crew does something to cause the station to begin losing rotation, causing gravity to dissipate. Xeus leaps from his hiding place and slaughters 3 of the captain’s four armed guards. The captain tries to free himself from Leyland’s grasp but Leyland exerts his superior position to convince the captain to comply.

The crew begins managing an evacuation of the people of Hogan 6 on the cargo ship. It will take two round trips to evacuate everyone.

Exploring the Ring
...in more ways than one

The street urchin informs the crew that Solar’s parents lived in Habitat C2. They board the hover-tram and head there only to be stopped at a security checkpoint in the looted and abandoned commercial section. The street urchin makes some vile and baseless accusations about the crew’s intentions but the crew manage to make it clear they are up to nothing so nefarious. It becomes clear that the security crew is looking for a way off Hogan 6 and Fokker agrees to give them a lift in return for their cooperation. They require assurance that the kid will come to no harm but agree to meet the crew on their way back through the commercial section.

The crew makes it to the corporate section and heads down the elevator’s to Solar’s parent’s apartment. They find a group of youths denying entrance to that floor because of scarce oxygen from a failing air recycler. The crew is generous with gifts of Spam and Fokker demands a variety of obtuse implements before heading back up to the corporate section where Fokker to fix the air recyclers. He manages to not just fix the problem for that floor but also manages to fix a more systemic issue with the entire station’s air recycling system.

The crew meets with Solar’s family and learns when Solar went missing (give or take a day). They find the trappings of a mundane hab-ring life with the notable exception that Solar’s mother had been offered inclusion in an experimental fertility program. Doctor’s had come from off-station to give her treatments and to check in on Solar in her early years. The crew also finds photos and names of the kids Solar was getting into trouble with in Hab A1.

The crew breaks into the Axis (Wrenaxis rent-a-cop) office in the corporate section where they trigger an alarm. Lacking the proper access codes Xeus storms head first into the fray and destroys one of the drones with his knife. Fokker and Leyland follow suit making short work of the remaining two. As they search the office three more drones drop down from the ceiling and another battle ensues. Xeus manages to hack the console and disable the seemingly insatiable drone assault. Fokker and Leyland explore the office’s storage area and find a particularly virulent drug seized as evidence from one of Solar’s friends just days before her disappearance. Xeus pulls the rap sheets for Solar’s friends and gets their full contact information and finds out that they were running a small drug dealing operation on Hogan 6. He gets the full docking logs for the days before and after Solar’s disappearance. He pulls Solar’s case file and finds that the investigation abruptly stopped when Renault (the Axis office in charge) got corrupted cam footage data from the Kinetic Konstruction data store.

Return From the Rabbit Hole

Doctor Argonine threatens to destroy himself and the ship to gain safe passage from the foreign system back to Svarog. Xeus negotiates with Attendant Babalawo Benjamin Wahimbey for payment in return for the data the SS SoS SS had collected about both the foreign system and its passage to it through the temporary wormhole Dr. Argonine had somehow created. This results in the team being flush with credits.
Once on on the other side, the crew is bombarded with media requests seeking exclusive interviews about what was on the other side of the newly formed wormhole. Xeus responds with an anonymous network ID and tells them he’ll get back to them later.

The crew learns that while they have been away the entire Cluster’s economy collapsed. The economists theorize that the trigger for this event was the fact that Svarog greatly reduced its purchase of slipstone from Aurix.

Xeus attempts to transfer a healthy payment to Quandos Vorn only to find that the request is rejected. He calls Quandos who tells him to check his dropbox. Xeus finds a “calling card” containing a drop of his friend’s blood, a location and a time three days hence.

Doctor Argonine spends a few days researching the data and learns that a very large number of wormholes exist in a latent state. The Svarogians had found a way to cause latent wormholes to temporarily open. Dr. Argonine had managed to tap into the quantum fields created by this technique due to a strange interaction between the Nobium92 by products created by Fokker’s realspace drive enhancements. This was how the SS SoS SS entered into the new system and also caused the wormhole the Svarogians had been manipulating to stabilize. It also opened the new wormhole in that system.

Meanwhile, Xeus and Fokker head to the location on Quandos’s calling card for preliminary scouting visit. It turns out to be a seedy bar in Folly’s Pucker, a conglomeration of detritus that formed at one of the LaGrange points in Folly. The bar catered to a clientele primarily consisting of violent racist gang members. Xeus created a fake work order allowing Fokker to plant a sleeping gas bomb in the air recycling system. Xeus memorized the layout of the bar in case they needed to make a speedy exit.

Leyland gets a call and explains to the crew that he has to go deal with a troubling person from his past.

The whole crew then heads together back to Folly’s Pucker to meet w/ Quandos Vorn. Quandos shares a photo of a teenage girl with Xeus. He explains that the terms of Xeus’ debt to him have changed. If he brings back the girl and can explain why she is important to Svarog, the debt will be cancelled. He wants daily updates until then.

Xeus uses his connections with Signal One to perform a facial pattern matching search on the photo. The search yields a few selfies the girl took while on a vacation to the de-commissioned pleasure cruiser which serves as a low end resort in Folly. From this he learns that the girl’s name is Solar and the she lives on Hogan 6.

Hogan 6 is a zero gee construction hab-ring located in Folly. It was managed by Kinetic Konstruction (a Wrenaxis company) until that company went bankrupt due to the economic collapse. The crew purchase relief supplies and food and head to Hogan 6 on a supposed humanitarian mission.

The crew dock the SS and are confronted by a pair of locals claiming to be the Port Authority and demanding the supplies. Seeing through the ruse, Fokker manages to scare them off with a small bribe and a threat to vent the atmosphere in the docking bays.

The crew take the shuttle to the entertainment district which is filled with brothels, drug dealers and bars all doing a brisk business. Xeus starts handing out candy to street urchins and sharing the photo of Solar. One of the kids recognizes her and says he’ll take them to her. They head into Habitat A which is essentially a barrio/slum. The kid says he needs to message Solar but Xeus, wise to his scheme, hacks his terminal and intercepts the message. Sharing the text with Fokker (due to the fact that it was in the local patois) the pair learn that the kid was planning on having his friends jump them. Xeus pulls a gun on the kid and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t take them to where Solar lives. The kid reluctantly agrees.

The Uncertainty Principle
or The Dangers of Wormwhores

Fökker takes apart the experimental afterburners to bolster the scanning capacities of the SS Smell Of Success SS which allows Dr. Argnonine to collect the data that could change everything in about 24 hours. During this time the forming wormhole becomes stable and Dr. Argonine’s mad science deducts that it points to a new system.

The crew debates the finer points of a “backdoor” exit through the new wormhole and eventually goes through despite protests from Xeus. They find a system with a once-habitable world now engulfed in radiation. A race of humans live among the asteroid belt in ramshackles Tech level 1(-) ships.

The crew scans the system and awakens Shah Habi from his slumber just long enough for him to officially claim the system for Aurix, then sends him off to sleep again. Meanwhile, hundreds of ships begin to make their way to the SS SoS SS.

Fökker gets on the comms and convinces 3 of the 50 or so clans to join his fictitious organization, the ASA, though shortly after loses their support when he makes what seem like impossible claims about a magical gateway. The crew exits throughout the wormhole leaving more questions than answer for the scavengers they left behind.

The crew heads back to the northern wormhole in the automated system and opens comms channels to the Svarogian ships. After a few attempts to negotiate safe passage it becomes clear that Attendant Babalawo Benjamin Wahimbey wants to know how Dr. Argonine entered the automated system above all else.

We leave the scene with Dr. Argonine clutching a dead man’s switch and threatening to self destruct as Fökker posits exceedingly complicated legal mechanisms to broker the crew’s freedom.

Slipknot Subterfuge
or The Tragic Return of Shah Habi

Dr. Argonine convinces the crew of the SS Smell of Success SS to pass through the asteroid belt in order to get a closer look at the anomaly. The Svarogian science vessels hails them and it is revealed that the captain of that vessel is none other than Benjamin Wahimbey (now Attendant Babalawo in the Svarogian science hierarchy). Argonine and Benjamin were bitter rivals back in school because Benjamin either stole or took credit for a discovery that was rightly Argonine’s.

Shah Habi broke his way out of the hold and unleashed an extremely high end Svarogian AI into the ship systems which Xeus was able to take out. Fökker and Leyland headed down to the engine room to deal with Shah Habi.

Xeus hacked the science vessel’s probes causing false data to enhance Argonine’s deceit that the anomaly was unstable and in danger of destroying everything around it. The Svarogian and cultists vessels fled the area leaving Argonine to launch his own probes and collect the data that could change everything.

Xeus and Argonine headed down to the engine room to help the fight against Shah Habi who had equipped himself with an arrary of highly powerful black market Svarogian armaments. The crew managed to subdue him in the end and Argonine strapped him to a bed in the sick bay with a continuous sedative drip.


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