|"Dots and Boxes"|
|Season 1, Episode 7|
|Air Date: October 22, 2014|
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Three strangers appear at the research station and the party learns a little bit more about the indigenous population of Subhadra
Short Summary Edit
The crew's current mission is to bring Omar Ibn Sa'id to his research station on the planet Subhadra. Previously, the research station had been unpowered. The crew went down to the power station to turn the power on which ended up attracting a deadly swarm of insects, and so the party turned the power back off.
Currently in the power station, the crew makes it so that the power will come back on after 30 minutes. This is done to give them enough time to leave the power station and arrive back at the research station before the power turns on and the insects come back. Once arriving at the research station, the crew goes down to the laboratory and attempts to open a previously locked door to see if they can now bypass it with the power on. The door unlocks and inside they see a lot of sophisticated equipment. The crew downloads all the data that they can from the laboratory and then decides to go find some fuel and get off the planet. With things never being so easy, the crew shortly receives a video feed of three strangers standing outside of the Swan Song that is parked about 1 km away from the research station. The two parties meet and the unknown party of three introduces themselves as Nikeal, Valentine, and Helena. The crew decides to go to their base located just a little ways away in order to get some fuel for the Swan Song. Upon entering the base, the party notices that it is run by the Madari Syndicate. The crew insists on getting fuel that night but it is too dark and they have to wait until morning. When everyone eventually heads off to bed, and after learning about the smuggling of blue fever, the crew decides to go hunt down the three evil-doers. While the rest of the crew discovers a large hole in the center of the compound, Piani stays behind to disable the security systems. While getting back to the party, Nikeal mysteriously appears in front of Piani and they grapple. Piani yells for the rest of the party to come to her aid and right as they arrive, Piani and Nikeal vanish. The crew then proceeds to run down the large hole that they had found and ends up quickly finding Piani who is surrounded by Nikeal and five insectoid creatures (V'ad). Bullets soar, acid sprays, blood spews, and after an intense firefight, the crew is Viktorious with but an unconscious Higgs and only one V'ad escapee. The crew spends the rest of the night in the Madari Syndicate camp. The next morning, Higgins wakes up and the crew heads out to the Swan Song to bring it to the fuel storage. On the way, they are met by Helena who drives up in a car. Ultimately, Mr. Sicarian ends Helena's life, and Higgins ends the show by jumping into the air and clicking his heels together.
Detailed Summary Edit
The date is June 12, 3200. The current mission is to bring Professor Omar Ibn Sa'id and his gear to the research station Al'Farabi on the planet Subhadra. The crew is currently down in a power complex after just having turned on the power and receiving a message from Pi that said, "[Truth] Something is coming".
Viktor Kovacs heads back up to the entrance of the building and holds his ear to the door. He can hear the beats and thrums of the swarm on the other side. It is at this time that Piani Pic gets a vision from her psychic precognition power of little bugs eating her flesh and what's left of Viktor Kovacs' bloody corpse as it falls down the stairs. Immediately after seeing this, Piani yells up at Viktor to not open the door and storms up after him to make sure that her vision does not come to fruition. Piani alerts everyone of her precognition and Mr. Sicarian states that the insects in her vision were significantly smaller than the one that they had just previously encountered. Viktor suggests using the access tunnels below to try and crawl to the main building and Mr. Sicarian decides to join him, not yet trusting Viktor's ability to effectively do anything on his own. As they are struggling to even crawl through the tunnel, Viktor and Mr. Sicarian are met by a strong aroma of cinnamon and uncomfortably hot temperatures emanating from around them. Unable to continue, the two decide to give up their mission and go back to Piani and Wilbur Higgins III.
After Mr. Sicarian and Viktor leave, Piani attempts to communicate with Pi back on the Swan Song but is only greeted back by static. Piani then attempts to find schematics to the access tunnels on a nearby terminal, but ends up blowing a fuse causing the entire power system to shut off. She observes that the entire Operating System is designed by Richardson Scientific Society, the second reference to an independent research company that probably shouldn't have any relation to Al'Farabi. Upset with her failures, Piani decides to lean up against a wall and drink some bourbon with Higgins as the two of them play dots and boxes. Higgins suggests to Piani that they might be the last two people in the world and may have to repopulate. While Piani is arguing with Higgins on the subject, Viktor and Mr. Sicarian arrive. In hopes of getting the power back on, Viktor and Piani decide to head down to the main generator to find the blown fuse and replace it. Piani has a hunch and decides to delay the activation of power for 31 minutes and 12 seconds precisely, with the idea that this will give the team enough time to get out of the generator room and back to the main building before the power turns back on and the swarm of insects return.
Right as the party arrives at the blast doors to the station, an alarm goes off on Piani's watch and the power turns on, opening the blast doors and granting them access inside. Everything that was previously powered off is now powered on and comms come back up. The crew decides to go into the laboratory to a door that was previously locked to see if they can now be granted access with the power turned on. Piani manages to unlock the door and inside, they see an abundance of 10 foot tall glass cylinders, some of which having distorted figures in them. The party also notices a large amount of equipment around the room. The sophistication of the equipment seems unorthodox to a research station such as this one. Piani becomes uncomfortable as she hazily recognizes a lot of the equipment, thinking that it must have something to do with her psychic past. A cloud of thought uplifts the room and the crew realizes that they are acting outside of their mission parameters. They decide to upload as much (decrypted) information that they can find, search for some much needed fuel for the Swan Song, and high-tail it off the planet. After the upload of information has completed, Piani receives video feedback of three people in vac suits surveying the Swan Song from the outside. Viktor opens comms to Dr. Sa'id and inquiries about their new visitors. Dr. Sa'id responds back, "Thank god you are alive, I was afraid you were eaten by the..." Viktor questions Dr. Sa'id about what it is they'd be eaten by but gets no response. Mr. Sicarian takes vanguard as the crew walks over to their ship (with the power of the research station remaining activated). Once they get into visual range of the three strangers in vac suits, one of them raises up their hand and waves. The groups meet each other and the strangers introduce themselves as Nikeal Sato, Valentine Sing, and Helena Chioma. They come off as a little suspicious, intermittently talking in Russian amongst themselves and saying "I guess" a lot. Nikeal tells the Swan Song crew that they aren't part of the research station and that they have a facility nearby. Nikeal asks if the Swan Song is in flying condition and Mr. Sicarian says yes but that they need fuel for it. The group of three responds, saying that they have fuel but it is only an emergency supply and that they are reluctant to part with it. Viktor gets a strange feeling from their presence and suggests that they leave. In response, one of the group members points out that the Swan Song is grounded due to broken scoops and empty fuel tanks and so the crew needs their help. They ask if there is anyone else on the ship and Higgins quickly blurts out nope as Mr. Sicarian gives him an evil glare. The group suggests that the crew come over to their base for a drink.
While heading to their base, Piani questions Dr. Sa'id about the group and Dr. Sa'id says that he wouldn't trust them if he were the crew. Piani retorts to the party that they can't even trust Dr. Sa'id and so they decide to not mention to him where they are going. Viktor says to Helena that there is no one alive at the research station but they did find a dead person with a name-tag that read Dr. Sa'id. Helena doesn't give any sort of indication that she's heard the name before but seems slightly interested in the research station. The crew arrives at the base and sees that it consists of a landed cargo ship retro-fitted to be a facility that is surrounded by small buildings and storage silos. Valentine and Helena lead the crew up to their base as Nikeal follows up in the rear. In front of the main building, the crew sees twelve empty boots situated along the wall. Nikeal says that they were from previous tenants and points out that everyone has to go through a bio-filter prior to entering the building and that it might be a little uncomfortable for Higgins and Viktor who aren't wearing vac suits. After a flashing yellow light, scalding hot water and cleansing foam coats everybody. Viktor jumps around giving feminine shouts while Higgins stands perfectly still. After the hosing is done, Higgins looks Helena directly in the eyes and says, "This happens more than you know." The yellow flashing light turns green and the doors to the facility open.
The crew steps out into a fairly small-sized mess hall. Pinned to the ceiling is a green banner with gold paint that Higgins and Mr. Sicarian recognize to be the logo of the Madari Syndicate. As the group of three take off their drab-green vac suits, the crew observes that Nikeal has prison tattoos all over his body. Mr. Sicarian also takes note of a wall-mounted turret, as well as a security camera, that follows them wherever they go. Nikeal says that he will go get food and leaves the room leaving everybody else who takes seats at one of the mess hall tables and converses with one another. Helena mentions that they are guarding the facility until the rest of the Madari Syndicate get back, but is unsure of when that will be. After some chitchat, Nikeal comes back with dinner...ish consisting of weird looking mashed potatoes, blocks of tofu, and frozen peas. After dinner finishes, Mr. Sicarian says that he is interested in getting the fuel. The group mentions that they'll have to check the tanks manually and that it would be too risky to do this at night time, so they'll do it tomorrow instead. The group shows the crew where they will be sleeping and says that they have free reign over the place, but to only stay out of the places that are locked. Higgins and Viktor stay up and play cards with the group while Mr. Sicarian secludes himself to his room. Piani goes to her room in an attempt to connect to "Spacebook" and gains access to the facilities' main systems. She finds a roster containing twelve deceased people (no names being recognizable) who were the original colonizers of the facility. Piani notices a correlation between these twelve people and the twelve pairs of boots outside. Piani checks the facilities' inventory and finds that there are many unknown chemical compounds stored as well as a large containment of hydrogen (ship) fuel. After making this discovery, Piani heads to Mr. Sicarian's room and informs him on the information she has just collected. Meanwhile, Higgins and Kovacs tell the group of three about the crew's (made-up) crazy plan of using a V'ad mind-control device that activates during the solar eclipse. One of the group mentions that they think the plan is madness and Viktor responds with, "This isn't madness, it's science!" The card game comes to an end and everyone departs. Higgins and Viktor retreat to Mr. Sicarian's chamber and with the knowledge of the large fuel deposit, the crew decides on a plan of action against the shady group of three.
While Piani stays behind to turn off the security systems, the rest of the crew goes to find Nikeal, Valentine, and Helena. They open all the doors of the facility and only end up finding rooms that seem to have been uninhabited for quite a long time. They eventually arrive at a large hole in the ground that graduates downward at a walkable slope and emanates an acrid stench. Once Piani is finished deactivating the security systems, she begins to head back towards the party when all of a sudden, Nikeal materializes in front of her and grabs her. While fighting for her life, Piani screams for help over the comms. The crew heads back to Piani but right as they get to her, her and Nikeal vanish. Without pause, the crew goes to the cargo hold and makes their way downward into the black abyss of the giant hole in the ground. As the crew sprints down the hole, they are met by many branching pathways. They pick a path and very quickly arrive at the same chamber that Piani is in.
Piani opens her eyes, feels that her hands are bound behind her back, and looks around. She is in a chambered room lit by bulbous yellow masses clinging onto the ceiling. She gets a strong smell of citrus mixed with garbage. Surrounding her are Nikeal and five human-like chitinis creatures (V'ad) that stand about 7' tall with insectoid heads, two legs, and four arms, two of which are smaller and protrude out of their chests. She notices that one of them has wings. The V'ad communicate with each other through rapid successive clicks while Piani looks towards the various tunnels leading out of the room. Piani notices the crew and makes a mad dash to them as they quickly open fire on the V'ad behind her. The following firefight ensues.
Mr. Sicarian pulls out his plasma projector and fires at a V'ad, hitting it directly in its chest and blowing it to smithereens. Seeing one of their kind killed, the four remaining V'ad produce a high pitched buzzing sound emanating from their bodies. Higgins throws a grenade causing damage to one of the insectoid creatures as well as Nikeal. He then gets acid spit on him and after yelling "oh god", Higgins falls down onto the ground unconscious. Viktor shoots at Nikeal and after the third shot, manages to hit and kill him. Piani gets slashed in her back with a talon and runs behind Mr. Sicarian to heal herself and bring her tied up hands to the front of her. Mr. Sicarian and Viktor get attacked mentally by psionic waves from the winged V'ad (as if hit in the brain by a 2x4), causing their nose and ears to start bleeding, but not before Viktor uses his pistol to kill one of the four remaining insectoid creatures. One of the V'ad grabs up unconscious Higgins by the feet and drags him off while Mr. Sicarian aims true at another one of the V'ad, killing his second one. With only two remaining, the V'ad look at each other and a sweet scent is discharged from their bodies as they run away, providing the party with one last shot each. Viktor lands his shot and kills one of them. Mr. Sicarian shoots at the last one and misses. Piani takes her shot and hits, but does not kill the V'ad as it scurries away. When the party loses sight of the V'ad, Viktor yells, "Yeah, that's right! Suck it! Tell your friends Viktor Kovacs was here!"
With adrenaline still running through Viktor Kovacs' veins, he fireman-carries the erect, unconscious Higgins all the way back to the to the facility, bringing Higgins to its med-bay. Viktor sets Higgins down on a table and Piani uses her psychic powers to animate Higgins, bringing him conscious again as he sits up with a jolt screaming, "Did we win? Why are you all looking at me funny?" Piani turns the security cameras and auto-turret back on and the crew rests in the med-bay overnight, making sure to lock the door. Dawn is creeping up when Piani notices on the camera feed, 8-10 V'ad (two of which have wings) emerge from the tunnel into the main cargo area. The V'ad spend some time walking through the facility, looking around and opening doors. The party holds their breath as the V'ad approach the med-bay and pull on the locked door. A few moments pass and the V'ad continue on through the facility and after about an hour, they go back into the hole in the cargo area. The party notices that the V'ad left the same odor that they smelt at the research station.
Piani asks Pi how Dr. Sa'id is doing and Pi responds that Dr. Sa'id left around four in the morning with one of his crates. As Piani informs the crew of this, Mr. Sicarian expresses how much he hates the planet of Subhadra. The party decides to bring the Swan Song over to the fuel tanks and then go look for Dr. Sa'id. While walking to their ship, the party sees a vehicle out in the distance. The vehicle comes to a stop in front of them. It is a jeep that is the same drab-green color that the group of three wore on their uniforms. One of the jeep doors open and as Mr. Sicarian spots Helena, he pulls out his plasma projector and shoots at her. The projectile goes through the jeep, blowing out the side door on the other side. This causes Helena to jump out of the now open side door and take cover behind the car. In turn, Viktor pulls out his plasma pistol and takes a shot at the driver, which glances off the window. Unfortunately, the spooked driver must have thought that Helena was still in the jeep as he decides to put the pedal to the metal and floor it out of there, leaving Helena on the ground defenseless. Mr. Sicarian puts his gun to Helena's throat and questions her about what is going on. Helena explains that her and Valentine were told by Nikeal to go to a beacon in order to deliver the bio-scan info that they took of the crew when they first came on board. She says that Nikeal often tell them to go do various things but that it was never questionable because he was the higher ranking officer. Higgins then makes a comment about the group making blue fever and walks away giddily. Mr. Sicarian draws out his monoblade and asks if this is true. On the ground, Helena crawls backwards away from Mr. Sicarian but does not get very far before he upper-cuts her under the jaw, spilling out her brain while Higgins does a jump into the air clicking his heels together.
Status Report Edit
- Casualties: Entire crew - minor injuries
- Passengers: Dr. Omar Ibn Sa'id (missing)
- Hull integrity: 17/20
- Malfunctions: Fuel Scoops - Offline
- Malfunctions: Sand-thrower - Offline
- New Crime: Killing Madari Syndicate members (Helena and Nikeal)
- Credits Acquired: 0 credits
- Credits Spent: 0 credits
- Jobs In Progress: Investigation of research station Al'Farabi
- Jobs Completed: None
- Debt Paid On Swan Song: 0 credits
- Current Debt On Swan Song: 742,120 credits