- You are briefed by your proxy, Ozymandias, on your mission to infiltrate the Karkarov 1 mining station and determine the cause of the catastrophic explosion there.
- You check in for a backup prior to egocasting to Mars. You awaken onboard a heavily damaged Solidarity Station three months after you backed up. The local mesh is down, lights are flickering and klaxons are going off. Something has gone terribly wrong.
- There is an assault rifle on the floor and the ego bridge console is spattered with blood. You find an unconscious man in critical condition from multiple stab wounds in the next room. Flash grabs him, noticing a strange glint in the vent system above the airlock door. Frog successfully stabilizes him and Glowurm probes his mind. She learns that his first name is Tomas and that he is part of an illegal salvage operation in the Earth Interdiction Zone.
- Aura determines that the infirmary’s Dr. Bot contains a beta fork of Zero and is jamming the local mesh. Dr. Bot says that he isn’t feeling himself outside of the infirmary and it isn’t safe.
- Aura hacks the medical fabber to produce knives and patches for Tomas’ vac suit. Pyrelight prepares to head into red sector (the crew quarters and armory of Solidarity station) through the severely breeched hallway when you are attacked. Two recently fabricated droids the size of small dogs lunge from out of the shadows. They rip and tear at your unarmored flesh but you manage to destroy them but not before spending two of the five remaining assault rifle rounds to do it.
- Pyrelight goes through the airlock and secures a tether to the other side. He learns from looking through the giant breach in the hull why the klaxons are going off. Earth looms large and a corona is seen on the extremities of the station. Solidarity’s orbit is rapidly decaying. There is no time to wait for more vac suits. The rest of the sentinels launch themselves across the void into the next airlock and manage to survive.
- You peer through the viewport into the dark halls of Red Sector.
You awaken to soothing music and warm white light. Your vision pulls focus on the medical pod as your muses come online. Welcome aboard Solidarity Station. a pleasant female voice says, seemingly from nowhere. You sit up and begin preparing. All the AR in the world can’t mask the stale station air. This place is old, wherever it is. Your muse keeps reminding you it can’t determine its location. It almost seems nervous.
After suiting up you are led down a long and dimly lit gangway to the briefing room. A middle aged man standing before a large screen shoots you a serious look as you enter. A woman sits beside him with her arms crossed; a smirk of barely concealed disdain on her face as she glances up at you. Four others sit facing them and turn to you offering nods of acknowledgement. They are hardened veterans, their kinesic tells give that away without them saying a word. The man addresses you.
Welcome to Firewall. I am Ozymandias and you are here at my request. This is Solidarity Station. It has a long history with our organization and Solidarity will be your home for the rest of your life, at least one of them anyway. Zero is its keeper. Say hello Zero.
I have brought you here out of necessity. Artemis believes that you are not ready and she may be right but we are out of time.
Approximately five days ago there was a catastrophic accident at a Jovian mining station, Karkarov 1 on Pasiphae, the largest moon and namesake of the Pasiphae group. The full extent of the damage is not known but based on the energy readings there is little hope of finding survivors.
We still do not know the exact nature of the accident but thanks to some excellent aggregation work by Zero and our scanners we have uncovered some alarming peculiarities that warranted this operation which I have code named Long Night.
The event was a gamma ray burst we believe consistent with an antimatter detonation. Antimatter is too expensive for use in mining and even if it was, the explosion was too large. Just prior to the burst there was a neutrino transmission that was intercepted by one of our listening posts. The transmission was encrypted using an algorithm we have never encountered and it is likely we will never be able to decode it. We were able to determine the destination of the transmission to be somewhere on Mars.
The loss of life is bad enough but the Jovian response has been even more alarming. They have mobilized the entire third carrier group to the moon for a “rescue operation” and have refused all offers of outside aid. We have it on good authority that Dr. Lee Min-jun, head of the space warfare research group is leading the efforts there and we have unconfirmed reports that Space Force Commander General Adam Westmoreland appeared personally and is in close contact.
We have more questions than answers right now but the leading theory is that the Jovians have an as yet unknown military base on this moon and have been developing secret weapons there. We have to understand what is taking place and we have a unique opportunity that cannot wait.
The operation is two fold. Artemis and her team will be investigating the destination of the neutrino burst communication on Mars. You, my team, will attempt to infiltrate and uncover what has been going on at Karkarov 1. Here is our opportunity. The Jovian military has put out requests to mining contractors to get the operations at Karkarov 1 back up and running as quickly as possible. We have an asset in the leading mining equipment manufacturing and services company in the republic. Our vectors and routers for this mission are working feverishly to get our identities in line to infiltrate Karkarov 1 as mining contractors.
We will leave immediately. I have arranged for darkcasts out of Olympus with the Triad boss Mohinder Murayama that will get us to Hyoden on Callisto. There we will establish a safehouse and prepare for the Op while your IDs are falsified.
I will give you a few hours to make backups, go over the mission in detail and prepare. Are there any questions? If not I will see you on Hyoden. Good luck.
You make your way back to the infirmary and settle in for your backup. Your eyes close and the sound of the infirmary fades away. And then there is a sound, faint at first but growing quickly louder, something unfamiliar and unpleasant. Through your closed eyes you feel the harsh flashing lights of the emergency strobes. You awaken to the distant sound of klaxons. Your breath turns to frost on the glass window of the ego bridge pod. Your naked bodies are covered with the sticky, fibrous remnants of suspension fluid and discarded protein strands. Your muses flicker online and flash through their diagnostics. The local mesh is down. Something seems to be jamming wireless signals. You last remember checking in for a backup. Your muses tell you that three months have passed since that time.
There is an assault rifle on the floor that looks to have been recently fired. As you stagger to your feet you notice a faint spray of blood quickly coagulating on the ego bridge console. What the hell happened?