Topic: Eurystheus  (Read 3082 times)

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Offline Andromeda

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Eurystheus
« on: March 30, 2012, 01:19:08 am »
Eurystheus was king of Tyrins.  It is for him that Heracles performed his ten (twelve) labours.

This is the story of a Babylon 5 RPG campaign I've been playing in.  I thought it was interesting enough to post from my character's point of view.  Hope nobody minds me posting it here.
***

Background as delivered by the GM

The war is not going well.  The alien race called the Minbari has swept across the spinward reaches of the Earth Alliance, conquering colony after colony.  Their superior weapons and stealth technology mean they have won every engagement since the start of the war, with  a single exception - the destruction of a Minbari raider in the Sol system by the Lexington.  The Lexington overcame the Minbari range advantage by attacking them at close range in an asteroid belt.

Battle Group Tycho, of which your Nova-class destroyer Eurystheus belongs to, was assigned to ambush the Minbari ships in the Sinzar system.  The attack was perfectly planned and perfectly executed - but it still failed.  The Eurystheus fled into hyperspace, heading for a 'calm pool' in the chaos of the spinward maelstrom that blocked earlier Earth explorers from encountering the Minbari.  Your civilian advisor, the Centauri trader Kirin Turhan, told you there are systems in that pool that do not have jumpgates, but can e travelled to safely even without a hyperspace beacon.  He was true to his word - nine hours ago, the Eurystheus jumped back into realspace to carry out emergency repairs.

The Minbari arrived two hours ago.  One of their big warships had followed you through hyperspace.  From the perspective of the ambush plan, this was a good thing - if the warship followed the Eurystheus, then it was moving away from the still-secret jump route to Earth.

The Eurystheus tried to run again, but its jump engines were still damaged. You did make it close to the system's only inhabitable planet before the Minbari guns came within range.  For the second time in two days, the Eurystheus was blasted with enemy fire.  Life support failed, Captain Hofstater was about to order you all to abandon ship... then something black leapt out at the Minbari ship.  You all lost consciousness.

***

EYES IN THE GULF

Damage Control

Alice awoke lying on cold metal.  The loudest sound was a strong hiss of air and the bridge smelled like ozone and smoke.    She tried to sit up and found she didn't have the strength.  Around her she could hear groaning that meant at least two other people were alive.  She opened her eyes and watched her breath mist before her.  The air rushing through the ventilators began to grow calmer and Alice could breathe more easily.  Despite some dizziness, she sat up and then pushed herself to her feet by pressing her back against the bulkhead behind her. 

The two people she had heard were also standing: the security officer, Dahl she thought his name was; and Serge Grayson, the ship's navigator.  Grayson's expression wore the look of distant detachment that had become normal for him.  The security lieutenant began to move around the bridge, checking for signs of life.  Grayson stood, holding on to his chair and staring blankly.  Alice pushed herself away from the bulkhead to check on the captain.  It was immediately obvious he was dead. 

"Everyone who can hear me," she said, "let us know you're alive and we'll take care of you."  Only three others responded.  Lt. Swale, the very young ops officer, was in no worse shape than Alice, but was sitting on the floor with her knees tight to her chest and was hugging them.  Kirin Turhan, the Centauri advisor to the captain, was sitting against an instrument panel and cursing in his own language.  Chavel, who had been manning the sensors before the incident, jumped to his feet and responded loudly that he was alright.  Other than the six of them, there were no responses.  Dahl's checks confirmed they were the only survivors on the bridge.

Alice surveyed the others, performing a quick assessment of their abilities.  Each of the other Earthforce personnel had assigned stations and jobs.  Alice was the commander of the second wing of starfuries and had been on the bridge because it had been her battle plan that had been used in the attack.  She discounted Turhan; nobody would follow the Centauri.  "Until we find someone senior, I'm assuming command of the ship," she announced.  Only Dahl looked like he might protest.  "We're going to need your expertise with the weapons," she told him, "and you can't run the ship from there."

"Got it," he agreed and nodded, walking back to his station. 

"First things first," she said.  "Each of you check your stations and see what's working." 

"What do you want me to do, O Captain?" asked Turhan. 

"You don't have the expertise for any of the bridge stations.  Assist in repairs as needed."  The Centauri gave her a wry grimace and began straightening his hair.

Most of the news that came back from the others was grim.    The jump engines were offline and the ion engines were heavily damaged.  Both internal and external communications were down.  Only one laser-pulse array was online.  That somebody in engineering had restored life support  was the only good news.

"Our priorities are continued life support, communications, the engines, and finally weapons.  We'll need to see if we have any starfuries or shuttles left, make sure we're still in orbit, and see to the rest of the crew.  Make orbit first priority.  Mr. Turhan, until we get communications back up, somebody needs to carry messages to the rest of the ship.  That'll be your job."

"I'm sure I'll find some fast crewmen to send up as runners," the Centauri  replied and began making his way to the elevator, where he discovered it wasn't working.

"Bad news," Chavel reported, after studying the ship's sensors.  "Our orbit isn't stable.  It's decaying and will be a problem in about... never mind... a few years."  He looked back at the console.  What sensors we still have show that we're the only ship in the system.  The Minbari are gone.  I can't tell if their ship was destroyed or not."

"We had better assume not until we learn otherwise," Grayson said darkly.  "Not that we can do anything about it if they come back."

Turhan, who had been listening to the last information, now opened a hatch and climbed into the crawlspace beyond.  "I think I can get the communications working from here," Swale announced after the hatchway slammed closed.  "Louis, can you give me a hand?" 

"On my way," Chavel replied cheerfully.

"Great.  Lt. Dahl, see what you can do with the weapons.  Lt. Grayson, let's you and I see what we can get out of the engineering console." 

Turhan had not returned by the time Chavel announced that ship wide communications had been restored.  Fixing the long-ranged communications would take longer and might require EVA. Alice stepped up to the captain's chair and flipped the switch.  "All hands, this is the bridge.  We are in orbit around the planet Isail.  Sick bay is likely overwhelmed right now, so use your ELS as much as possible.  Report your status by the numbers and we will start assigning damage control priorities."  She flipped the switch off and waited for the reports.

They came in quickly, sometimes too quickly.  Proper order was ignored and she had to repeat the call for order several times.  There were many requests asking if the captain was alive.  Alice had to eventually inform them that both the captain and executive officer were dead and the highest ranking officer on the bridge was a lieutenant.  The engineering and weapons decks were the most panicked and chaotic.  It appeared that nearly two-thirds of the crew were casualties.  The jump engines were irreparable and there was too much damage to the superstructure for full acceleration.  Fires still raged in several of the combat systems decks.  Only eight starfuries and one atmospheric shuttle had survived.  Every section had lost key personnel.  The five of them on the bridge turned out to be only command line officers still alive.

"We're doomed," Lt. Swale muttered. " We'll never get to safety before the Minbari return."  Dahl and Grayson had similar looks of despair.   Chavel managed to muster up enough of his cheerful personality to give a smile. 

"I am going to save this ship," Alice stated resolutely.  "Life support is stable, so we need to get the elevators working as much as possible.  We'll get the damage under control.  Someone will have to go outside so we can get a message back to Earthforce.  Once everything's under as stable as we can make it, then we can start worrying about the Minbari."

"You might want to start by addressing crew morale," Chavel suggested.  "Look at us and we know more about what's going on than anyone else.  There's a lot of scared people down there."
"Louis, you're a lot better at that stuff than I am.  Maybe you could say something," Alice said hopefully.

"Sorry", he said, turning his palms up and giving her a slight smile,  "but you've already put yourself in command.  They're going to need to hear the same voice, be assured that there's some continuity up here."  He walked over to Swale and put his hands on her shoulders.  "It's our job to be strong for the rest of the crew.  Chin up, and let's get back to work."  She nodded, pulled herself together, and picked up the tools she had been working with.  Together the two of them went about the bridge, shutting off power to damaged consoles and rerouting command functions to those that still worked.

Alice sat down in the captain's chair and considered what to say.  Gentle encouragement wasn't her specialty.   When nothing brilliant came to her mind, she clicked the communications switch open again.  "This is the bridge to all hands.  I want to update you to our situation.  I'm Lieutenant Alice Foster.  The ship has taken heavy damage, but she  is holding together enough to take care of us.  We're in orbit around a planet that can sustain life.  Some of the decks are on fire, but we're sending damage control parties to handle them.  We'll be sending the most serious of the wounded to sick bay and the rest to a better protected area in delta section.  We'll be able to send a message to Earthforce within an hour. "  She paused for a moment, wondering how to continue.  "The Minbari ship is gone.  Something attacked it and either drove it away or destroyed it.  Once we get the ship secured, we're going to find out what that was and how to use it.  We will survive until a repair ship comes along and finds us."

She looked toward Chavel when she finished.  "Not bad, just inject a little more warmth next time and you've got it.  Things are looking up." 

Just then the elevator door opened and Turhan appeared with three crewmen from security.  "Now that communications have been restored, O Captain, I've come back with your runners."



« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 11:27:58 pm by Andromeda »
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Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: Eurystheus
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2012, 02:08:58 am »
Nice, I wonder if it will be the shadows or something else. Maybe a telepath survived?
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Captain Sharp

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Re: Eurystheus
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2012, 05:33:34 pm »
Not a B5 fan, but honestly have only watched the pilot and the Excalibur movie.

Any thing from you is welcome, though, and I'll read it even if it's based on Syfy's Flash Gordon.

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Offline Andromeda

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Re: Eurystheus
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2012, 11:26:58 pm »
***

Investigations

It was nearly three hours later that the new command staff of the Eurystheus felt the ship was in good enough repair to consider their options.  Chavel had discovered the first piece of useful information.  Although the crew had been knocked unconscious, the sensors' cameras had recorded what had happened to the Minbari warship. 

As the Minbari cruiser closed on the Eurystheus, a black cloud nearly a quarter the size of the Eurystheus had formed in space.  A hail of sharp projectiles spat out of the cloud at the Minbari cruiser, which immediately turned away and began forming a jump point.  A single green projectile shot from the cloud toward the jump point.  It reached it and exploded, destroying the jump point, just after the Minbari ship made it through.

They first studied the Minbari ship.  The damage did not look severe.  It seemed that the Minbari had almost fled in panic.  The ship sent a transmission, which they judged to be a distress call, as it fled.  "That means  they'll be back," said Dahl.  "We won't survive another fight, no matter how bad they're hurt."

"How long do you think we have?" Alice asked.

"It usually takes them about twelve hours to recover from any damage," Chavel said.  "That means we have about nine left."

"Let's look at that cloud then," Alice suggested.  "If we have any chance, it probably lies there."

Chavel walked them through the sensor data.  "The cloud accreted in space, apparently forming from the dust particles in the surrounding space.  Most of them seemed to come up from the planet.  It dispersed as the Minbari ship escaped, dissipating away into its constituent particles.  Given the cloud's location, most of the particles will fall back into the planet's gravity well.  You will notice it was losing coherence even before the Minbari ship fled.  It would likely have failed and vanished had they chosen to stay and fight.  Whatever it is, it doesn't match any known race's technology.

"Another interesting thing is that when repairing the long-ranged communications, we noticed some of the stuff stuck to the hull.  We brought some of it aboard.  It's little more than dust now.  Broken nanites of some kind - immobile now and useless.  In the end, I think the planet is our best bet to find out what it is and where it came from."

Alice turned to Turhan.  "You lead us here.  What do you know about this planet and this system?"

"It is good to hear, O Captain," the Centauri replied, "that the situation calls for my area of expertise, is it not?" 

Alice wasn't in the habit of being baited.  She sat, staring at Turhan until the Centauri continued.  "As you remember, this system is called Isail.  It's one of the few stable areas in this part of hyperspace.  The fourth planet, which we have been fortunate to reach, is the only inhabitable planet in the system.  We briefly considered enslaving them about a century ago, but they have no real strength and tend to be rather sickly - an unpleasant combination of traits for slaves.  Their technology seems to be that of your Earth about four centuries ago, but may have been higher earlier than that."  He snorted and frowned.  "They are a people in decline.  We found no use for them.  Others did though.  There was a raider base near the capital city at one time.  It is said they saw strange things were sometimes seen in the system.  I seem to remember something else about the planet, but I can't recall it right now. "

It looks like we're going to have to go down to the planet," Alice said. "Whatever made that cloud, let's hope we can get it to make another one before the Minbari return."

***

Isail

Chavel bent back over the scanners.  "It's about the size of Earth, kind of brownish-green instead of blue from space.  Gravity is 0.9g.  There are two major continents and several islands.  The southern continent appears uninhabited, but there are lights along the coast of the northern one, concentrated in one area, probably a city.  The southern continent is heavily damaged with numerous giant pits on the surface."

"Scan raider frequencies," Turhan suggested.

Chavel changed his focus.  "There's a faint signal from a navigational beacon that's still active.  It's coming from a plateau about twenty miles from the city."

"We'll start there," Alice said.  "Let's get to the shuttle.  Lt. Chavel, one of us needs to stay up here.  I'd like it to be you."  The sensor operator nodded.  Lt. Swale appeared to want to say something but she swallowed it. 

They went armed.  All of them carried standard PPGs and Dahl had a rifle as well.  The trip down to the surface was uneventful and Alice brought them to a smooth landing on a platform at the raider base.  Looking down the mountainside, she estimated it would take several days for anyone from the city to reach them.

There wasn't much to discover.  Of the six prefabricated buildings, none were secure, having been broken into and looted at some point in the past.  A couple of computers were still intact in one of the sheds.  One was without power and the other was sending out the signal they had heard.  Turhan dismissed both as cheap Narn knockoffs of a Centauri design.  He was able to access the machine and find a couple of files.  They were in Narn, but the shuttle's computer was capable of translating them into English.  One was the base logs. 

Surprisingly, the base was only a year old.  It had been established by Narn raiders with the vague intent of smuggling arms to the Earth Alliance for use during the war - in between raiding attacks on Centauri shipping.  They hadn't met with much success.  The final entry stated that the natives were massing at the base of the plateau.  When the base revealed nothing else, they decided to try the city. 

They landed the shuttle in a clear space near the center of the city.  It was, as Turhan described it, "an ugly and dull place."  The major buildings were green-grey stone towers.  Many were falling into ruin.  A damp wind rolled across their faces, carrying with it an odour of decay.   Natives with three eyes looked out at them from doorways or from the streets.  Their limbs were long and delicate and there was an air of languidness about them. 

None made an effort to greet them or to flee as the crewmen from the Eurystheus walked down the ramp from the shuttle.  The natives didn't seem to care about them at all.  Alice chose the largest of the buildings and began walking toward it.  The others followed, with Dahl bringing up the rear, the PPG rifle in his hands.  "Hello," Alice greeted the creature in the doorway.  "We have come from up there," she said, pointing skyward.  "Can you understand me?"

The creature's expression made her think it was smiling at her.  It raised one hand and disappeared into the building.  A few seconds later it returned with another, even more sickly, creature like itself.  "I can speak some of the offworlder tongue," it said in pidgin Centauri. 

Other than Turhan, Alice was the only one of them to speak Centauri, and she let him take the lead.  The conversation that followed struck her as odd beyond just the realm of a second language.

"I am Lord Kirin Turhan of the Great Centauri  Republic.  I greet you in the name of the Emperor."

"You come from a space ship?" the native asked.

Nonplussed, Turhan replied, "Yes, of course.  Did you think we were native to this accursed planet?"

Alice thought the creature looked alarmed and it took a step back.  "Only gods or devils come from the outer darkness," it nearly hissed.  "Which are you?"

Turhan took a step back himself and placed his fingers on his chest.  "We are gods," he said with a flourish-filled bow.  Turning to Alice, he said in English, "I have remembered, O Captain, the last thing about this world.  It is called 'The World of Heretics.'  Clearly we are not devils though, yes?"

"Emperor?" Turhan grinned back at her.  Alice nodded as the native began to babble excitedly in its own tongue.  The others of its kind within hearing appeared to pay interest in the strangers for the first time and began to come forward.  Dahl gripped his rifle tightly.  "It's alright," Alice said.  "They think we're gods."

"I am Fuant, priest-slave of Culthimir," the creature said.  "You must come to the temple.  It is good you are gods, for the devils have been near.  We heard the world scream.  And while I have never seen the true demons, I have seen the lesser ones that came down in the mountains and built a fortress.  They attacked us and were dealt with."

Alice's link chirped as they followed Fuant through the city.  "Foster.  Go."

"This is Lt. Chavel.  We just received a message from the fleet.  A repair ship will arrive in five day to get our jump engines back online.  I hope you're having good luck down there."

"Depends on what you mean by luck," Alice replied.  "We've just been promoted to godhood.  I'll let you know if we find anything."

"Ok.  Eurystheus out."

***

The Temple

The temple was a massive monolith of stone, easily the largest building on the planet.  Its walls were covered in bas-relief sculptures that apparently described the Isaili theology.  Faunt, fortunately, explained the carvings as they passed them by.  "It is forbidden to draw the faces of the gods, so they are the splats you see high up on the walls.   These eggs represent the demons and we do not draw their true form either. 

"This shows worship in the old days, when we were faithful servants of the gods and the Isaili prospered. Then the demons came and cursed us so that the gods have turned away from us.  Since then we have sacrificed many people in the hopes of satisfying the gods of our continued loyalty. "

Dahl pointed down a side passage.  "What's that?"

Fuant went a few steps down the passage to see what Dahl had noticed.  "It is one of the lesser demons," he said of the dead body of a Narn that had been chained to a wall.  "Unfortunately it died before we could offer it to the gods."

Alice put her hand on her PPG.  The others made similar moves and Dahl dropped back to the rear of the group.  They moved on, somewhat more soberly.

At the center of the temple was a deep pit.  Its edges were far too smooth to have been made by the natives.  A decaying gondola hung over the center of the pit.  At one time it might have been lowered into the pit, but now the only way down was through a simple rope hanging from a stake driven into the ground beside the opening. 

"Only beings from the outer darkness may enter the pit," Fuant whispered.  "I will wait here.  If you are truly gods, you will return.  If you are devils, you will die."

Lt. Swale shown a lantern down into the pit, but its light was swallowed by the darkness within.  "Drop it," Alice suggested.

Before Swale could act, an alien scream issued from the pit.  Alice shuddered at the sudden sensation of cold that swept over her.  Fuant was crouching against the nearest wall.  "The demons have returned," he whimpered. 

Alice's link chirped again.  It was Chaval.  "The Minbari are back.  They'll be within weapon's range in three minutes.  If there's anything you can do, do it now."

Alice paused a moment.  The others were all silent.  "On it," she said. 

"Oh my god, that scream," Swale muttered.

Grayson snapped his head up.  "It wasn't a scream.  It was music and it blocked out all the noise."  He bent down and grabbed the rope and lowered himself into the pit. 

Dahl moved to stop him, but Alice grabbed Dahl's arm.  "Let him go," she ordered.  A minute later, they heard him cry out.  Alice thought it sounded like he was in ecstasy. 

***

Echoes of an Ancient War

They made their way out of the temple, past the cowering Fuant.  Once they were outside, Alice contacted the ship.  "The Minbari are gone," Chaval told them.  "Another cloud, this time denser and larger, surrounded their ship.  They managed to make it back out, but they looked a lot more beat up than last time.  Whatever you found down there, it looks like it's something that can beat them."

"We'll give you a report that you can send back to EarthForce when we return," Alice replied.  "Grayson's gone."

Four days later, the repair ship arrived.  A day after that, another ship arrived.  This one full of intelligence officers and weapons boffins.  They commandeered Lt. Dahl.  Alice and the remaining members of the team that had gone down to the planet were ordered to forget they had ever been there.

***

This ends the prologue.
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Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: Eurystheus
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2012, 03:33:52 am »
Mmm, more questions that awnsers this chapter gives. Ow wait, wrong sci fi series. But I do wonder if Grayson was a telepath and whether it was the shadows, etc. All and all I can sum it up with: you wet my appetite, now gimme more!
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Andromeda

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Re: Eurystheus
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2012, 04:13:36 pm »
It was a good intro to the game.  Answers to one of those questions comes later in the story.  As for the other one, Grayson was a telepath about like Ivanova was a telepath.
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Offline Andromeda

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Re: Eurystheus
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2012, 04:45:20 pm »
Okay, we're now far enough along that I can start the next chapter.  Coming this week.
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Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: Eurystheus
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2012, 11:20:16 am »
That was pretty interesting; it sucked me in enough that I want more.
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Offline Andromeda

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Re: Eurystheus
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2012, 02:58:40 pm »
Great.  Sorry the next part is coming so slowly.  It was much easier to play in than write as a narrative.  Coming soon, though.
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Offline Captain Sharp

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Re: Eurystheus
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2012, 09:32:44 pm »
"Ray, when somebody asks if you're a god, you say YES!!"

That jumped into my mind as I was reading early in. There are always consequences to pretending you're a god... People react badly, start revolts...bury your Stargate...

Anyway, am itching for more.

--guv
"Jayne?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna tell me why there's a statue of you here lookin' like I owe him something?"

"Wishin' I could, Captain. "

Offline Andromeda

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Re: Eurystheus
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 04:55:31 pm »
Wow.  forgot all about this.  Still have my notes.  Monday... Monday.
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Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: Eurystheus
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2013, 01:05:39 pm »
Still waiting. :)

And as you can see, I'm working my way through everyone's stories again. Comments are forthcoming; I hope for the same in return.
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