The Arc Loc

This isn’t a starter adventure like the other’s that have been posted. It would work for I-CA or ASO. It’s best for groups with scientists and engineers but even an all combat team would be justifiable.

Introduction

The characters are brought in and briefed on an unusual occurrence. Nearly every teleporter on the planet has been getting wormhole communications from a unknown source for the last week. The protocol that is being used to initiate the communication is ASO but it’s been altered slightly. There are tiny communication glitches. The message is a “ready to receive” message from a teleporter. However there is no live operator response on the other end. (There’s no engineer there to answer the call.)

The communication is disrupting teleporter’s availability. Command wants to send a team to teleport to the source and find out what is going on. They don’t know if this is a enemy trap or a technical malfunction. It should not be possible for a single teleporter station to store all the wormhole coordinates on the planet. Even teleporters that have moved are still being contacted which should not be possible.

Because this may be a trap, the players are able to request up to three times their normal equipment. E-Suit pilots are permitted to take two optional weapon systems.

The characters have to wait until the rogue signal contacts their teleporter again. Briefly describe the boredom of waiting. They have to be on the teleporter to be ready. Offer the characters one XP worth of a skill that could be learned while on the teleporter pad.

It’s up to the GM if they want to say the PCs are the only ones that are looking to be sent, or if there are hundreds of other teams that are also waiting and the PCs just happen to be the ones sent.

So the signal eventually comes in and the PCs are teleported out.

Scene 1 – The Warehouse

They arrive in a room that appears to be a cargo hold of a Kelrath vessel in architecture. The players must make a Con roll to keep from vomiting (because of the teleport) and a Psy roll or they are disoriented and dizzy. If they pass these two rolls they can take a Int roll. If they fail the Con Psy or Int roll they see a large (3m tall 3m wide) black humanoid figure in front of the teleport pad. It looks like one of Loc’s robots.

If they players attack, they get initiative. The Robot will attempt to dodge but only has a Ref of 20. It has 250 HP an AR of 30 and no shields.

If the players make all their rolls, they notice that the robot does not have the usual claws and spikes that Loc’s Robots usually have. It is also not in a menacing posture.

If a PC make fractional successes or better on their Int roll they will notice there are signs in what appears to be English, Scimrahn and Kelrath on the cargo and on the walls of the cargo hold. The signs are for mundane things like “this side up” on a crate and “head clearance 3.5 meters” by a door, etc.

If the PCs destroy the robot, they can examine it. It appears to be Chezbah nanotech, like a Hound. It does not teleport away when destroyed and does not regenerate. The PCs will have to explore the cargo hold on their own.

If the PC do not attack or do not destroy the robot, it will point in a direction behind itself and wave for the PCs to follow it. It does not speak but will seem to understand speech in nearly any language.

The warehouse is big, about the size of a football field. The players will notice on another Int roll that there are five teleporter pads in the cargo hold. These are not the teleport pads that they are accustomed to seeing. They look like they were made with Kelrath building techniques. It should be pointed out to the players if they do not recognize it, that teleporters are an Earth technology. However it may be that the Chezbah copied the design but the Kelrath generally would not have the ability to copy the teleporters.

Very shortly after being teleported, the power in the warehouse goes off. This includes to the teleporter pads so the PCs cannot just teleport back. The players should be equipped with nightvision or flashlights so they can find their way around. At this point the PCs will notice that their equipment feels lighter, all of it is there, it just feels about 75% as heavy as it would normally.

One of the first things the players will likely want to do is to start opening crates in the cargo hold. The crates will be mostly food. Occasionally there will be medical supplies.

Chart for crates
roll 1d100
1-70 Food
71-85 Medical supplies
86-90 Common mechanical parts and supplies such as pipes, pipe fittings, electrical conduits, heavy gauge sheet metal, sheets of HDCCC etc
91-92 P.E.T. Packages. They are uninitialized and therefore useless.
93-97 Space suits
98 Devices that resemble Scimrahn Comm-Comps but are more advanced.
99 Uniforms that resemble ASO uniforms but have strange markings on them and instead of the ASO insignia, they bear a “ADO” insignia.
100 They find a big crate that has some kind of AG vehicle in it.

There are six doors around the warehouse. Two large doors on the long walls for a total of four and one smaller door on each of the shorter walls. Only the door that was behind the robot will open. All the other doors are locked shut. If the players decide that they will blow a hole in the doors, ceiling, floor or walls, it could be mentioned to them that they are not in any immediate danger. If they insist, the large side doors have an AR of 80 and 500 HP each. However if they do this they will be sucked out of the cargo hold by explosive decompression. If they damage the locked smaller door (AR of 20 and 90 HP), the same thing will happen.

Scene 2 – Space

If the Robot is still functional, it will guide the players to the open small door into a corridor that is lit at the far end. If the Robot isn’t there to guide them, they’ll have to find the door on their own. The corridor is lined with windows and the PCs can see outside. It is at this point the PCs will see that they are in space. There is a large amount of debris around the vessel they are in. They can clearly see The Artifact through the windows but it is quite far away. If there are any E-Suits they can calculate (successful mathematics skill roll) that their life support would likely run out before they could fly back to the planet.

If any of the PCs make a successful INT roll, they will notice human bodies floating around with the debris. If they get 2 fractional successes or better they will also notice Chezbah Hounds floating dead in space also.

Have the PCs make another INT roll as they walk down the corridor. If they are successful, they will be able to make out the words “A.D.O.S. Arch Loc” on the side of the vessel.

Once to the other end of the corridor the next door can be opened and the PCs enter an engineering deck. The overall architecture is Kelrath, but there is equipment that looks Scimrahn and Chezbah. Some equipment is not identifiable at all. Again, in many places there are signs in multiple languages. The Robot will keep beckoning the PCs to follow until it comes to a Chezbah man who is laying down, wrapped in blankets. If the Robot was destroyed then the Chezbah man is by the door in the same condition. There are medical supplies and food strewn around him.

The man will be able to get out that his name is Fentoln and he is an engineer on the ship. He speaks broken English. He is wounded and delirious. A nearby computer terminal will start to speak to the PCs in their native language.

The computer will say, “Please take care of Fentoln. He is my last surviving crew member. I did what I could to take care of him with the cargo robot but that unit wasn’t designed to be able to perform surgery.”

If the PCs have medical skills, they can attempt to help the Chezbah man. The computer terminal will speak again, “You have to get off the ship, most of the hull is smashed and I’ll be impacting the planet in four hours.”

If there is an E-suit in the group, it will not be able to fly back the the planet safely. The ship is traveling too fast for the E-Suit’s thrusters to decelerate it sufficiently. Even if the E-Suit can simply avoid hitting the planet, it would not enter an orbit but would be flung free of the planet and be lost to deep space. The ship is also too large to divert from it’s course. The computer will offer this information if there is any discussion of flying back.

The PCs will be able to talk with the computer and ask questions. Below is a sample of subjects that may come up. If the players attack the robot the computer knows that something is wrong and will ask them to help the crew member and give the “Don’t trust Loc.” message.

“When were you made?” the console will reply “I’m sorry, the visual feed from the cargo robot is degraded. I thought your equipment looked unusual. Your question would indicate the attack was temporal in nature. In that case, I can only tell you this. Give this message to your superiors. ‘Don’t trust Loc.'” If the players say anything to the affect of “We don’t trust him.” The console will reply “You will.” After realizing that it is in the past, the console will not answer any questions related to future events.

“What happened here?” If this is the first question and the computer is unaware of it being in the past, it will reply. “Loc used us as a distraction when they attacked. We thought he was bringing the array on line and would fight with us so we went in for a frontal attack. With the singularity active we couldn’t sense the constant and we were defenseless. What happened on the planet?” If the players do not give an immediate and effective answer the computer will realize that something is wrong. It will ask “What year is it?” nearly any guess the player characters would give would be wrong and the computer will start with the reply under “When were you made?” If the players say anything to the effect of things are fine or that they went well, the computer will ask “How is that possible?” and then “What year is it?” If the players reply that things went badly it will reply “I thought that was why it took so long for you to get here. Whatever you do, don’t trust Loc!” if the players ask anything about this warning the computer will suspect something is wrong.

If the PCs ask what “A.D.O.S.” stands for and the computer will reply (even if it is the first question) “You can probably understand that this vessel is not from your time. ADO is a UN chartered organization. It’s precursor was the ASO. Now that the “Study” phase has been completed, we have moved on to defense. The “S” stands for “Ship”.” Once this question is asked the computer will understand that the players did not recognize a common acronym from it’s time and know that something is wrong.

“Whats the mission?” The computer will suspect something is wrong and ask “What year is it?” with the above stated results.

“What do you mean ‘we will?'” Reply “Just deliver that message.”

“Can you control the ship?” Reply “The propulsion system has been pulverized. The engineering deck and the cargo bay are all thats intact.”

“How long since this happened?” reply “You don’t know? What year is this?”

“How else can we help?” Reply “What did you have in mind? There’s not much time.”

“Can we get access to the log update’s? Sync up.” Reply “That information is restricted to the system’s administrators.”

The computer has 25 Barrier Points if the characters decide to try hacking it. There are drive banks that the players could remove and take with them.

Scene 3 – Power To The Teleporters

The players will have to eventually deal with the fact that the cargo bay does not have electrical power. Without it the teleporter will not work. If asked to restore the power, the computer will reply “I’m sorry, the hull and electrical systems are smashed, I couldn’t communicate with the teleporters directly even before power was lost. I had to use the Cargo Robot. I can display the wiring schematics but most of the engineers take weeks to learn them.” This leaves the players to try and power the transporters. The computer still might be able to help, but most of the work will have to be done by the players. If there are engineers in the group, then they have the skills to rebuild the electrical connections. If the team is all combat they will likely not have the skills to do this. If medical attention is given to the crew member he will be able to help with information in an hour but he will be weak and will not be able to move around. He may also get confused easily.

The players may try to use their issued P.E.T.s. It is up to the GM to say if they will work. The P.E.T. requires the user to stay still in relation to the home teleporter. The ship the players are in is not still and therefore the P.E.T.s should not work. However if it is the last resort and the players have not already tried it, the GM may allow their use.

If one of the players is an engineer, they can test at the wiring and will find that it is intact. As a engineering character they can take a repair machinery roll and realize that they need to turn the breaker back on. The immediate thought that should be given to them is “Why did the breaker trip in the first place?” and tell them that if the breaker trips in the middle of the transport they will all die so the engineer will have to try and find why the breaker tripped in the first place. The PC will have to check the equipment manually. This will take time.

If there is no character with repair machinery they will have to stumble their way to the answer. One of the players may simply guess that the breaker needs to be tripped right away. If they do, the computer will explain to them the same predicament of the breaker tripping mid transport. If it takes the players too long to check the breakers then it’s up to the GM to simply allow them to reset it and return to the planet.

Either an engineer PC or the computer can offer that the proper way to test the teleporter and the breaker is to send non essential cargo first. That way the players will know if they can safely teleport. With power restored, the computer can activate the teleporter but the players will have to respond as the “live operator” and identify themselves. The computer will attempt send the cargo back to the teleporter they originally came from.

The result of this test is that in the middle of the teleport, the breaker will trip and destroy the cargo. This means that either the teleporter or something else is drawing too much power.

The computer or an engineer PC can identify that the teleporter was not drawing too much current and operating it should not have tripped the breaker. The only other high power item on this circuit is a Zero-point gravity generator booster and it is failing. The clue that this is the problem is that every time the cargo bay looses power, everything else feels lighter.

The Computer will be able to tell the characters that the grav-booster is on the underside of the ship. They will have to go outside the ship in vac-suit or E-Suit to get to it. An access panel in the armored hull will have to be removed and then the simplest way to shut it down would be to destroy the module with two grenades. The computer will warn that an E-Suit laser is too powerful and may breach the hull if there is an E-Suit in the group. The computer will also warn that the access panel is small and difficult to find. The needed tools are in the engineering deck.

Moving outside the ship is hazardous because of all the debris around the ship. There are many sharp edges that can snag and rip a Vac-Suit. Players in a Vac-Suit must make a AGI roll to avoid getting snagged. If they do there is a 30% chance of the suit ripping significantly. If this happens, the PC must get back inside the ship in 5 min to survive.

To find the panel an INT roll must be made. If it is failed, it will take 15 min of searching to get another INT roll because the ship is so large.

To remove the panel a repair machinery roll must be made or a Dex roll if the players do not have repair machinery. If the players attempt to open the panel in an E-Suit the task is extremely difficult (80% Impairment). After the panel is open, the PC will have to put two live grenades in the hole to destroy the machine. Again, in an E-Suit this is a difficult task (60% Impairment). The players must also make preparations ahead of time by putting the grenades in the E-Suit’s hand. If the Dex roll is failed the E-Suit drops the grenades and they detonate on the E-Suit, inside the shields.

Once the booster is destroyed, power can be restored and the PCs can teleport home.

Optional Segment:
When the PCs attempt to teleport home they show up in a white void, floating in air. There is no gravity and no clear up or down. The air smells odd, slightly of ozone and cold, although their skin is not cold. They can see their breath but do not feel chilled.

There is a strange creature floating slightly off kilter from the PCs. It has dark grey skin and a large elongated head with insect like mandibles. It has tendrils that hang heavily from it’s body as if pulled by gravity. (This is an Ehell.) It moves toward the players with no apparent means of motion. If the players attempt to attack it the attacks will strike it as a solid surface but will have no effect on it whatsoever. Even large explosions will have no effect not even knocking it back.

A voice like crystal breaking comes from the creature. “Do not deliver the warning. There will be terrible consequences to you if you do.”

Before the PCs can reply, the creature lifts a tendril and they teleport back to their home. If they ask about the time between starting the teleport and arriving back home, there was no delay in the teleport.

End Optional Segment:

The PCs will be asked to report what went on. It is up to them to include or exclude information. Once an first report is delivered describe that the PCs are detained for a month answering questions over and over. They all take 30 Mental stress points from the intense grilling they are given. In the end the PCs are told not to talk about the incident. It is considered top secret. If they are asked about the teleporter calls that were being made, it was simply a malfunctioning teleporter pad that somehow was randomly contacting other teleporters and the last the PCs knew, it was being investigated.

One week later after being put on light duty, the PCs are called in front of several scientists and a four star general. They are given this statement.
“We recognize your efforts in bravery and meritorious service. For this you will all be awarded the Bronze Star Medal.” There is a brief ceremony in which the medals are presented. “We have more information for you about your ordeal. You will be interested to know that we were able to find the location that you teleported to initially and the facility you were in. It all appears to be some elaborate Chezbah scheme to sew confusion in our ranks. More than ever we need to suppress any discussion of these events to keep their plans from having an effect on our service men and women. However real the situation seemed it was all an elaborate hoax. You’ll be glad to know we destroyed that facility so they won’t be able to try that again. You will not discuss this with anyone, including among yourselves. That is all, you are dismissed.”

With that the PCs are returned to active duty.

End.

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