Adventure File: Separate Paths
The story of OP-I and Menaxys
With your unit’s disgrace, you were assigned to crate busting on a Gallofree transport (clamshell). On your first run, you were to rendezvous with a friendly freighter above the remote Joralla system and take on their cargo. You were transferring the crates across the space between the two vessels when yours blew up spectacularly, catching you in the open and throwing you away from the wreckage. The other ship was smashed and started tumbling towards the planet. Escape pods fired from it and dived for the planet.
With Menaxys in a vacsuit (with an hour’s worth of air) and OP-I reliant on the occasional recharge, to stay in space was death. The only option: dive for the tumbling wreck and hope there was another escape pod to help you reenter safely! There was only one try: if you missed, you’d reenter the hard way. OP-I only had so much rocket fuel to burn, as well. You dived for the wreck as the temperature started to rise and barely intercepted the wreck as it was starting to break up. Landing roughly on the burning hull with 3 seconds of rocket fuel remaining, you gained access to a rent in the hull widened by Menaxys’ strength. Menaxys suit was punctured repeatedly as you frantically searched the disintegrating hull. Finding a pod, last second repairs were made as you fired off into the atmosphere just as the hull burned up.
Upon opening the pod on the surface, you found yourself on Joralla, bathed in the light of the red sun. A jungle world, Joralla is generally off limits to the rest of the galaxy. Off limits due to it’s psychopathic native race, the Tikiarri.
In the distance above the jungle canopy you could see a plume of smoke and OP-I received an automatic beacon from the same source. You set off across the jungle in search of the other survivors. Another issue presented itself in that OP-I would have to get a power recharge in about a week. Without it, he would simply shut down, so finding a power source was determined to be a priority. Menaxys on the other hand was in a savage environment filled with hostile organisms and unceasing danger. His jaw muscles hurt from smiling so much.
The beacon terminated before you arrived. When you arrived, you found the pod utterly smashed and just a few scraps of cloth and blood to show the fate of the unlucky survivors. Dozens of the Tikiarri birdmen attacked from the sky raining down spears and rocks on you. A few had blasters. OP-I mowed them out of the sky with his cannon while Menaxys tore apart those that flew too low or dared attack on the ground. Changing tactics, the Tikiarri stampeded six-legged native beasts upon the pair and attacked in the middle of the melee. OP-I took a smashing blow in the middle of the combat, rupturing his power cell. After the Tikiarri were again driven off, a quick diagnostic determined that the cell would expire in about five hours, even less every time the blaster cannon was used. Self-repair was determined to be impossible as a human giving himself open-heart surgery with a multitool. A power source had to be found or OP-I would shut down permanently. It certainly wasn’t likely that the Tikiarri would leave you alone that long.
Scanning for Comm frequencies, OP-I picked up and intermittent beacon. The signal was weak and distance hard to determine, but it was the only game in town. Suffering harassment every step of the way, you raced through the jungle over trees, chasms and mud. You eventually came to a great chasm and quickly felled a tree to give yourself a path over. As you slowly made your way over, hundreds of Tikiarri filled the sky to attack you. OP-I expended a few draining blaster cannon shots on them when another swarm rose from the opposite side and tore into the first swarm. You made it to the other side as the fratricidal war raged in the sky above you.
The timer inside OP-I kept ticking down as the estimated on-line time was repeatedly revised downwards. The signal was getting stronger, offering some hope. No one answered your Comm calls back. The jungles were alive around you as you raced to what was surely salvation or the cruelest of false hopes. It became apparent that an increasingly large force of Tikiarri was stalking you. The jungle was filled with their calls (and their cries whenever one came in range of Menaxys’ throwing arm).
With 20 minutes left to go on OP-I’s internal count, you still hadn’t arrived at the signal source, even although you’d determined that it was close. At that point, the Tikiarri unleashed their armies of beasts in an unstoppable wall of a stampede behind you. Fleeing through the brush, you broke into a clearing that had to be the source of the signal. Technological debris everywhere, human remains, months old. A destroyed camp of some sort. The signal still came from a cavern in a nearby hill. The sky filled with the Tikiarri again from several directions and tribal warfare broke out as others attacked you, running before the stampede. Blood and dead Tikiarri rained upon you as you gained the relative safety of the cavern. After firing another four shots, OP-I had maybe five minutes before power-down. In the jungle environment, his circuits would rapidly corrode… At the end of the corridor was a pre-fab storage module. The source of the signal. Human bones littered the scene. A last stand perhaps? Or the refuge of those trying to flee? The control panel had been shattered. OP-I hot-wired it like his life depended on it (it did), while Menaxys held of the Tikiarri who were pursuing. Gaining access to the module, you found a small orbital shuttle, just big enough for three. OP-I gained access and plugged himself into the power mains within seconds of his own demise. Menaxys reluctantly boarded the shuttle and between the two of you, you made a fumbling lift off and flew out of the cavern, hitting a dozen Tikiarri on the way. As you gained a bit of altitude, an autopilot kicked in and started boosting you for space.
The shuttle homed in on a small orbital space station orbiting Joralla. When you docked, no one came to meet you. You quickly determined that the station was open to space. Trailing a jerry-rigged power cord, OP-I and Menaxys (in an ill-fitting space suit) investigated the space station. You found that it was a small research station of the Genetech Corporation. It seemed they were experimenting with the Tikiarri and one got loose, murdering several of the crew before causing a catastrophic blown airlock through its own ignorance. Everyone on the station paid for its stupidity with their lives. From what you pieced together of the logs, it was the panic caused by the massacre of the research station on the planet that initially caused the opportunity for the Tikiarri in the first place.
OP-I restored the environmental integrity of the station after using the additional equipment of the station and a programmable maintenance bay to replace his power cell. Menaxys went through all of the crew’s possessions and maybe even some of the crew.
The Station’s communications were also thoroughly trashed. Attempting to fix it became OP-I’s task while Menaxys sat around, increasingly restless. OP-I has estimated that he will be able to fix the Comm “in another three standard hours.” twelve times now. Time is beginning to wear on Menaxys. He continually talks about going down to Joralla with the new axe OP-I built him and conquering the Tikiarri.