Friday, April 26, 2013

The SUE System: The Prologue Begins Simultaneously Elsewhere

How's it going folks? Anonymous Friend #1 here.  Now that the crazy scientist and his abomination of an assistant have been brought into the fold of the MIC by BlackHawk(a.k.a Uber NPC #1), it's my turn to enter the fray.  Now granted, my entry made a little more...sense, than theirs did from a setting perspective (certainly not from a realism perspective, as I actually survived the crazy shit below).  But that doesn't say much in the grand scheme of things.  This will be long and wordy, because I like writing stories with attention to detail that has been missed by others.  On with the show.
So, given the circumstances, we'll call my character Rick for now.  Rick is from the Warhammer 40K universe and a member of the Death Korps of the Krieg Imperial Guard.  A little backstory for those of you who don't know, Krieg is a toxic dump of a planet, classified as a Death World/former Hive World.  Over the course of the planet's history, it was subjected to what amounted to a revolt that ended in nuclear winter.  Being in deep crap, Krieg focused its efforts on providing fully trained regiments to the Imperium, tank growing soldiers and implanting in them all the knowledge required to be functioning and obedient members of the Imperial Guard.  This secured their position as an important supplier to the Imperium, where their soldiers could enter environmentally hazardous combat zones unfit for any of the normal regiments.
In this case, Rick was a relatively new member of the Death Korps (we'll say a couple of months, it was never really established), and being sent on a pretty much guaranteed suicide run.  A group of heretical cultists had established a bunker on the planet, and the last four squads that had been sent never reported back. So yeah, definite clusterfuck on the horizon, but the Imperial Guard isn't known for being tactical on small scales like this.  His squad was in a Chimera APC, rumbling across the wasteland, each man carrying a standard loadout:  one lasgun/angry flashlight with 4 spare power packs, 2 krak grenades, a combat knife, and a standard issue full body NBC suit (with a skin tight lining for better seal).  After cresting the hill, and with the bunker in sight, the driver confirmed weapons free.  That's when things got intense.
The APC started gaining speed, barreling towards impending doom and the sounds of unfamiliar weapons.  When the APC kept going forward with no changes, and the cabin started heating up, Rick went up to ask the driver what was going on, only to find the driver missing and a big hole melted through the front of the APC, with several more red energy bolts heading his way.  We never even got a chance to fire the main gun (although I think we completely forgot that this model APC even HAD a gun).  Whilst screaming "Bail Out!" Rick threw himself against the rear door, spilling out onto the scorched terrain with the rest of the squad, a couple of them botched their landings and ended up with broken necks.  Rolling into a crouch, the front of the bunker could be seen rather clearly, with 4 windows and a fortified main door.  There was a turret in each window, each one emitting red bolts that impacted like grenades.  The APC had no driver and had been traveling at top speed, so it rammed right through the front doors and turned into a twisted heap of scrap that detonated as the fuel tank ripped apart.
What a great start, huh? Ten seconds into the fight, the APC is down and the squad is pinned in open terrain by four emplaced weapons and down a couple men...make that a few men, one just got blasted in the chest.  One hit kills, definitely a bad day.  Well, being a typical Krieger with a will to go down fighting (and because I can be semi-psychotic when playing combat characters, which is often :D ), Rick charged forward past the rest of the squad who were firing their weapons to no effect, and managed to make it up against the front wall without getting hit.  One Krak grenade later, and both turrets on the left side stopped firing.  Standard sweep-and-clear procedure, Rick vaulted through the window to survey the interior:  two dead bodies, two destroyed gun emplacements, two unusual rifles and several strange grenades.  Knowing his 1d6 lasgun was pretty much a piece of shit, and after seeing what the turrets did to the APC, I decided to confirm what we already knew about blaster rifles.  So, rolling a WIS check, the GM says (paraphrasing here), "It is MUCH better than your current weapon."  Being bred and raised to Imperium standards, Rick KNEW just as well as any other Imperial Guardsman that it was forbidden to touch any form of technology not blessed by the tech priests.  However, as with any manufacturing process on a dump of a planet in the backwater region of the galaxy, every once in a while a batch contains a defective product XD.  Rick knew just how screwed he was against these cultists and their weapons, and not wanting to fall like the last four squads and thus continue feeding the meat grinder, he said "Fuck it" and picked up the blaster rifle (4d8 damage, 5d8 when double tapping) and the grenades (thermal detonators, 6d10 AP1 at the time).  
This is when the birth of a long running joke with my friends came about.  Someone in the squad saw this, and screamed aloud for all to hear "Tech Heresy!"  Then, completely forgetting the two gun emplacements on the right side of the bunker, they all started gunning for Rick, who took cover by the window.  With cries of "I'm on your side assholes!" and "Do you want to die like the others?" Rick started getting pissed off at their complete idiocy and the increased chances of them dying, and so lost it. "Fine, if that's the way you want it, no problem!"  Rick primed his last Krak grenade and chucked it out the window, which the squad didn't even bother trying to dodge.  Oops, looks like that actually killed off  the entire squad.  "Well shit.  Fucking idiots."  For many sessions after this, my friends would randomly call out "Tech Heresy" when I did something with any form of technology.
Quick recap:  Stranded in the enemy base, squad down, now labeled a Tech Heretic.  Rick was having a VERY bad day.  But, he/I was a stubborn bastard that refused to lose, so on with the mission:  Kill Everyone (sounds pretty reasonable if I do say so).  With who knows how many enemy personnel left, Rick goes into stealth mode (another inside joke, feel free to laugh along).  Jumping back out the window and crouching low, Rick hugged the wall and proceeded around the left side (facing the front) of the bunker.  There were another two windows with turrets on this side of the building, so Rick quietly tried sneaking by.  One botched stealth roll later, and a cultist noticed Rick and called out to the others.  Given the situation being the same as before, Rick went to chuck a grenade before realizing all he had left were the strange ones he'd picked up, completely unlike anything he or any enemy he'd encountered had used.  Still not knowing how to work it, and in a pinch (rolled INT), Rick remembered that he had heard how it was a VERY bad idea to let the contacts of two power packs touch each other.  He had four left.  "Well, let's try it."  So taking two of them and jamming them together like two 9V batteries, he chucked it through the window and backed off as the explosion blew a portion of the outer and inner walls apart.  "Damn, they should have just issued those as grenades" ("Tech Heresy!" hehe). 
Running over to the next window, Rick popped up and hit the turret operator in the chest with his blaster, sending him flying back (which was embellishment on the GM's part, but funny) with a huge cauterized hole in his chest.  "Fuck Yeah!"  Moving on to the next set of windows, Rick jumped in, taking down two more cultists with the rifle.  With only the clip in the weapon and the unusual grenades left, Rick quickly policed the bodies for ammo, reloading the rifle since he didn't know the capacity yet.  There was a small hole far corner of the room, which when peered through, showed the adjacent outer room for the bunker's first two rear emplaced weapons...and a cultist approaching after hearing him gun down the last guy.  Jamming the barrel through the hole, Rick fired repeatedly, overkilling the poor bastard.  There was another guy in there who returned fire, so Rick primed his last two power packs and threw them through the hole before diving out the window.  Making his way around the corner to the rear as the packs detonated, Rick jumped through the first window to survey the damage.  Most of the wall to the left which housed the door leading into the interior of the base was missing as was a portion of the rear wall to the left, so the interior of the base could be surmised as a ring of outer rooms, an inner hallway ring, and then a big room in the center.  There were also a couple dozen men approaching his position. 
At this point, the sequence of events gets a bit fuzzy.  The novelization of this encounter that the GM put together was done to make the story flow better, but left out/put in several different sequences.  I will say at this point that Rick DID in fact decide to chuck one of the strange grenades he had, a quick overview noting to slide the switch forward then release.  So yeah, looks of horror across their faces as the grenade hit the ground and then erupted in a contained ball of red light that that was then sucked back in to nothingness. No remains but a few body parts and the remain scared cultists.  "Holy Shit! What the hell are these things?"  No time to gawk, they were falling back to cover to engage from.  The closest turret was damaged from the power packs, as was the power supply although to a much lesser extent, but the further turrent was still intact. With a Strength check, Rick dragged the turret as close to the hole in the wall as the power cord would allow and started hosing the bunker interior with blaster fire.  He had no ranks in emplaced weapons, and so was rolling raw DEX, but with that much fire spewing forth in a confined space, it didn't matter.  Several cultists were killed off, but a few survived long enough to hit the power supply, causing the turret to lose power, and for it to start sparking menacingly.  A quick WIS check to know that it was going to blow, and Rick once again dove out a window and ran around the corner to the left side as the thing went off, apparently killing the remaining cultists that tried to follow him.  
Rick retreated back up the left side, approaching the hole that had been blown open from the first set of power packs.  As he climbed through the outer hole to sweep the interior and hopefully flank any remaining cultists, the door to the center room (which was in line with the remains of the APC at the main entrance) was blown off it's hinges and sent flying.  What stepped out was a massive creature that had to duck to fit through the door frame, with armor like scales covering its body, razor sharp claws of which one was holding a spiked/bladed metal chain, evil looking horns, and rows of sharp teeth.  Reaction:  toss a grenade.  One thermal detonator took off scales at several points to reveal raw flesh, and a crater in the concrete floor that allowed the thing to stand better.  "Oh shit."  Taking cover around the hole in the inner wall, Rick got his blaster ready, when a figure lunged from the shadows and slashed at the thing's back with a sword. Blood everywhere, the creature started going for him.  Rick fired off a few blaster bolts at the thing's bleeding back, as it tried to hit the figure but kept missing.  The figure cut an X into the monster's chest, which the monster followed by stabbing him straight through the chest with his chain.  He pulled it free and then came after Rick.  Priming a thermal detonator and dropping it right around the corner, Rick jumped out of the bunker and just cleared the blast radius.  At this point the monster lost most of its scales, and was looking pretty bad.  It never got the chance to attack me, though, because the figure somehow managed to recover and attacked from the rear.  The monster turned its attention towards him instead.  
What follows is what I distinctly remember taking place, both due to its level of badassness and potential stupidity, regardless of what was stated in the novelization.  With the monster distracted, Rick primed a thermal detonator and drew his combat knife, ran up and lunged towards the monster, stabbing deeply into the upper back and dragging it down so as to open a big gash, which he promptly then shoved the thermal detonator into.  Jump off, run away, boom.  No more ugly hellspawn.  Mission Accomplished, fuck off cultist scum.  Here, it is revealed that the figure is BlackHawk, who a quick spot/awareness check reveals he is still bleeding slightly from the chest wound.  He introduces himself, and inquires as to why Rick would commit heresy and pick up an enemy weapon.  Rick replied with something along the lines of "I wanted to live, I wasn't going to die like the others because of some bullshit rules."  The realization at this point is that I'm an enemy of the Imperium now, sure no one survived to report me, but the "all powerful Emperor knows" (*heave*, that bastard makes me sick).  BlackHawk commends Rick for fighting against a cornugon with the little training he's had, and that it's a shame he would not be welcomed back.  Rick replies, "I'll think of something.  I survived this, didn't I?"  BlackHawk then offers Rick a job at the MIC. End Scene.
As you can see, this session went fairly smoothly.  Mostly because it was designed as a pure combat run which I wholly obliged to roll with, albeit much better than the GM had hoped for since I did kill off every cultist without taking much damage (or none at all, I don't remember for sure).  Rick wholeheartedly accepted the job at the MIC, as it was a chance to escape the Imperium's wrath and actually fight for something worthwhile.  While OoC, the idea of a job where you preserve canon is quite silly, in character it is the preservation of the space-time continuum, which seemed as good enough of a step up in the world as any.  But yeah, there you have it, next time we'll get to see the initiation of crazy scientist, crazy abomination, and crazy soldier into the MIC. Stay Tuned! Same URL! Whatever time we get around to it!

ZeRoller again. If you want the GM's story version of those events, here you go:

The APC bounced and jostled as it sped off.  Reichardt clutched his lasgun to his chest as the completely shock-less vehicle topped a crest, crashing back down on the other side.  He swore, the low gothic adding colorful punctuation to his distaste.  He glanced around, watching the grim determination of his fellow soldiers.  This is what they were bred for, what they all were bred for, to fight and die for the Emperor on his far-off throne.  

They were being sent out in this piece of shit to try to retake a bunker.  They were the fifth such team to do try to do so.  …In the same loadout.  Reichardt swore again.  Why the fuck were they being sent into certain doom?  He glanced out the turret opening next to him, watching the terrain rushing by.

The in-vehicle PA crackled to life.  “We’re approaching the base.  Weapons free.”

The APC began to accelerate.  Reichardt swore at the recklessness of the dumbasses around him.  A raucous noise, like that of dozens of lasguns being rapidly turned on and off, arose in front of the vehicle.  Heat wafted from the front, causing the air to visibly ripple.

“What’s going on up there?” Reichardt demanded, calling through the armored wall. 

No response came.  The APC jostled as it continued flying along the ground, the weapons fire nearing.  He stood, bracing himself with his free hand against the ceiling.  As he watched, the wall to the cabin began to glow red.

“BAIL!”  Reichardt threw himself to the rear door, pushing it open and jumping out as the wall began to melt.  He hit the ground, rolling with the fall.  Following his example, his squad mates leapt from the APC. 

He rose to a crouch, ignoring the pain of the bruises covering his body despite his armor.  Taking in his surroundings, Reichardt could see 4 windows along the wall, and a door along the wall.  Gun emplacements, tripod mounted, pointed out of each, spewing forth a torrent of red energy. 

The APC, the half of it that hadn’t melted into slag under the withering barrage of red energy pulses, continued on its haphazard course, no longer being steered by the long-dead drivers, but still travelling forward under its own momentum.  As he watched, the wreckage of the vehicle crashed through the front doors, its momentum smashing the reinforced hinges.  The heat, the impact, and the generally shoddy construction of the APC combined in that instant, igniting the fuel inside with explosive force. 

Reichardt ducked and ran, dodging a dead comrade, who no doubt broke his neck after jumping from the back.  Shrapnel ripped across the field, bouncing off of metallic debris left in the kill-zone, likely from the APC’s that had come before. 

The energy bolts flying hit the dirt and terrain with the force of grenades.  He couldn’t help but swear.  His own lasgun wasn’t nearly that powerful.  Hell, he remembered hearing it called an ‘angry flashlight’ on more than one occasion.  “Fuck.”

He skidded to a halt, slamming against a wall outside of the firing arc.  Several of his squad mates had been gunned down, they others seemed to be aiming their weapons at the turrets, to little effect. 

“Fuck.”  Reaching down, Reichardt grabbed a grenade from his belt, chucking it through the opening from which the rain of energy still came.  He grimaced against the expected shock of the detonation.  Running over, he jumped through the opening.

He glanced over the two bodies, the damaged mounted weapons’ operators.  Unusual weapons, rifle format, and a series of unusual looking grenades lay under their dead owners.  His mind briefly battled with itself.  His upbringing had drilled into him again and again to never use, nor even touch, any technology not blessed by the tech priests.

“Fuck that,” he said to himself.  He had no intention of being outgunned.  “There’s no way I’m dying like the last four squads if there’s something I can do to even the odds…”  He dropped his lasgun, scooping up the odd rifle, and the grenades as well.

“Tech Heresy!”  The shout came from one of his squad mates.  Reichardt ducked as lasgun fire struck out over the top of his head. 

“You idiots!  These weapons’ll even the odds!  Do you wanna die?” Reichardt called out back.

“Tech Heretic!”

He sighed, cursing their idiocy under his breath.  “Fine, if that’s how you want it…”  Reichardt grabbed another grenade from his belt, hurling out toward the squad.  Landing in the middle of them, they barely tried to dodge as it exploded, ripping through their flesh and armor.

Slinking out of the room, he swore at his dead ‘comrades’.  “Fucking morons.”  He moved quietly around the wall.  His squad may have failed, the other squads may have failed, but he was NOT going to fucking fail.  He swore again, seeing more turrets poking out of the next side of the building.  He continued forward, crouching to move under the windows and remain unseen. 

As Reichardt slipped under the window on the far side of that wall, an enemy soldier, cultist by the look of him, noticed him, calling out an alarm.  Reichardt’s hand immediately went to his grenades, finding only the strange weapons so unlike those used by himself or his traditional enemies.  Whoever these guys were, they were equipped with shit he’d never seen or heard of before.

Acting quickly, he grabbed two spare lasgun power packs.  He’d heard that it was very bad to let the contacts of the power cells touch…  “Well, let’s try it,” he muttered, jamming the two leads together, making sure they’d stuck, and throwing them into the room.  He stepped back as part of the wall itself blew out from the force.  “Hell, they should have just made the grenades out of that…”

He ran then, hugging the wall to keep out of range of the heavy guns’ firing arcs.  He popped up at the next window, squeezing the trigger while pointing the rifle at the gunner.  A red pulse of energy, similar, though smaller, to what ripped apart his APC, struck the gunner full in the chest.  The cultist gunner was lifted off his feet by the force, a large section of his chest hollowed out into a large, cauterized crater.

“FUCK YAH!”  Reichardt exalted, turning the weapon on the other occupant of the small room.  The other cultist was already raising his weapon, but too slow.  Reichardt’s shot to his neck nearly decapitated him, a squirt of blood force through blackened flesh heralding the final beat of his heart.

Dashing forward, the sole survivor of His Majesty’s latest suicide squad dove under the next window.  Snatching his last two lasgun powerpacks, he mashed the leads together violently.  Hurling the deadly batteries through the window with his offhand, he slid forward to the next window, raising his rifle. 

He rose to his feet as the room to his right exploded, showering concrete dust and debris for yards.  The gunner, looking to the source of the explosion for only a fraction of a second, was caught unawares by a blast of lethal energy to his head. 

Vaulting the gun emplacement, Reichardt leapt into the room.  He hit the ground in a roll, bringing him to his feet with his gun sight aligned with the gunner’s wingman.  “Fuck you.” He said, and pulled the trigger.

Taking note of his resources, he had no more ammo clips, and no more grenades.  …Except for those new grenades he picked up from the cultists.  He looked them over briefly.  Slide switch to arm, release a button to activate, maybe?  Seemed about the same as pulling a pin and releasing a handle.  And what about ammunition?  He had no idea how much ammo one of these clips held.  Pulling away from the wall he had instinctively pressed his back up against, and patted down the cultists for spare clips.

He changed mags, noting the release mechanism, and discarding the old clip.  He had no clue how many shots each of these things could fire, though with four fresh clips, he should be fine.  Especially should the rest of the fuckers have more. 

He tried the door handle leading farther into the base interior.  Unlocked.  Bringing his rifle up, Reichardt swung the door open, finger on the trigger.  Two full squads of men were coming into position before him.  “FUCK.”  Grabbing one of the spherical grenades from his belt, he pressed the button, slid the switch forward, and hurled it into the center of them.

For a fraction of a second, the expressions of the cultists changed to one of knowing terror.  After that, though, the grenade landed with a metallic click against the concrete floor.  The grenade didn’t so much explode so much as energize, erupting into a perfectly spherical orb of red light, before contracting back down to nothing. 

No trace remained of the cultists or their equipment, except for a dismembered hand of one of the cultists that had almost dodged out of the effect.  The concrete had weathered far better, but still displayed deep craters where the sphere had intersected it on the walls, floor, and ceiling.

“Holy shit!  The hell are these things?” Reichardt asked, to no one in particular.

Getting a better survey of his surroundings, the bunker was apparently designed as a single room or complex within a ring of locking rooms that could defend from without with a complete range of fire from the defensive windows.  Defenders could prepare for any breaches in the large hall between the two main layers.

Reichardt quickly circled the outer rooms, checking them for remaining cultists.  He gunned down two would-be survivors before returning to the single door to the inner sanctum, his peace of mind satisfied against a flank attack.

As he approached the sanctum door, it flew off its hinges.  “FUCK!” Reichardt yelled as he leapt back from the fifty pound iron door slamming into the cement in front of him.  As he saw what kicked it out, he swore again.

A massive creature was ducking through the door frame, its scaled shoulders rubbing against the ceiling with a sound not unlike stone against stone.  Its razor sharp claws held a snaking metal chain boasting even sharper looking hooks and blades.  It’s many horns rustled eerily as it smiled, a terrifying, sadistic grin spreading across its sharp-toothed maw, and all too easily spreading up to its eyes, burning with hellfire.

“Shit!”  He wrenched one of the grenades from his belt.  “Eat this, Jackass!”  He hurled the projectile at the fiend, diving backward out of the grenade’s range.  He could feel the rush of air filling the vacuum left by the grenade as he rolled over.

…the beast still stood there, though bleeding , raw flesh showed where scales used to be in several places.  The fiend roared, an inhuman bellow that caused concrete dust to fall from the ceiling.  He couldn’t help notice that it could stand a little straighter with less concrete under foot.  It began twirling the spiked chain menacingly.

A man lunged from the shadows, his black trench-coat poised dramatically behind him.  The sword he held in one hand flashed across the demon’s back, followed soon after by an eruption of blood.  Pulling back as quickly as he attacked, the man strafed the great beast.

It turned, lashing out with the great chain.  The man ducked, twisting out of the way, while simultaneously using his sword to force the chain to maintain its current path.  The fiend roared with rage, yanking the chain back, and swinging it back up to speed.

Wasting no time, Reichardt primed another grenade, and threw it short to catch only the demon in its effect.  He scrambled out of the way of his own attack as it neatly trimmed the concrete where he had just lain.

The monster made as if to go after him, but stopped as the stranger’s sword, blue in the fluorescent lighting, cut a deep X in the monsters chest.

It returned with a lightning-fast blow with the chain.  Reichardt swore as it punched straight into the stranger’s chest, before being ripped free with a sickening tearing sound.

Reichardt opened fire on it with his blaster.  Its raw and bleeding back no longer the obstacle to punishment than it had been while in possession of scales.

It wheeled on him, pain and bloodloss beginning to be evident on its balance.  It clumsily began to raise its whirling chain.  It never finished the attack.  The stranger’s sword suddenly appeared through its chest, before being yanked down to gut the thing like a fish.  It swayed slightly, clinging to its blasphemous life, before finally collapsing in a pool of its own strangely ordinary blood.

The stranger idly cleaned the beast’s blood from his blade with a multi-colored cloth, before it home in its scabbard.  Hopping neatly over the slowly expanding puddle of gore, the man extended a hand to help Reichardt to his feet.

Nervously, the younger man accepted, holding his rifle firmly with his other hand.  He couldn’t help but notice the constant trickle of blood coming from the hole in the other man’s chest.  “Da fuck was that?  And the hell is going on here?”

“The name’s Blackhawk,” the stranger replied, ignoring the query.  Glancing at the blaster, he added, “So why did you pick up one of the enemy rifles?  Isn’t that heretical?”

“Fuck you!  And fuck the stupid policies!  I wanted to fucking live, and I wasn’t about to use inferior equipment because of some bullshit rule some jackass tech priest told me!”

Blackhawk smiled.  “It takes gall to stare down an angry cornugon and keep shooting.  Especially with as little training as you’ve been given.  It’s a shame that you wouldn’t be welcomed back to the Empire as a tech heretic…”

Reichardt raised his rifle.  “If you’re fucking threatening me, then come out and say it.  I haven’t got all day, and I don’t give a shit if some old fart a million miles from the front tells me to do something stupid.”

Blackhawk gave a single chuckle.  “My friend, I’m not threatening you.  I’m offering you a job.”

Not quite the same from him, is it?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The SUE System: the Prologue Begins

Here we go. This is the start of the campaign before the campaign; think of it as a prequel that came to run simultaneously with it. We weren’t told from the beginning that this was the SUE System, mind you; that came in stages. Initially, this was proposed as a sort of RPG-esque Thing a Week. Let’s run a weekly one-shot in various unusual systems we’ve never gotten to really play in and see what happens. After a few weeks of that, “in order to stop having to make new characters every week”, the GM proposed using his universal system to run Thing a Week in settings rather than systems, and that’s what started this. I maintain to this day that we were shanghaied.
Our slog through the campaign begins with two of us. I’m playing a scientist, and my friend is playing “[my] creation/assistant”, because the GM doesn’t know how science works. We’re also on a “general purpose science vessel” working on “genetic manipulation” in the lightless reaches of interstellar space, because…honestly, I don’t think we had even our usual insulting token of a reason. There’s just the SS Test Tubes ‘n Lasers floating in the middle of this Star Wars ripoff universe that the GM will not shut up about to this day. One day I’ll go into how perfectly he ripped off the Killiks, despite his vociferous objections. For our current purposes, though, think the Joker in a lab coat assisted by a female Alex Mercer, for some reason doing science totally unrelated to space in the middle of space. It was not a good start.
My character wakes up to cries of “Space PETA is attacking!”…what.  Apparently genetics is also cosmetics testing, because we’ve apparently got maniacs with laser guns popping open rabbit cages…in which live dozens of the rabbit from Monty Python. Chaos predictably ensues, and evidently I’m also the commander of the ship but not the captain because somehow this is my responsibility but I don’t have control over the ship’s marines. Now, my first thought was to just open the relevant sections of the ship to vacuum, and I’d like to parse the GM’s response in the form of a list.
Things This Ship Lacks:
                    1.       Airlocks
                    2.       Fire suppression systems
                    3.       Area denial internal defenses
                    4.       Thermal control systems
Because technology’s become so advanced that we don’t even need to worry about vacuum, let alone the laws of thermodynamics! Lacking any other option, Igor and I go toe-to-toe with them with what are basically hand phasers. Armor penetrating lasers? On MY spaceship? It’s more ludicrous than you might think. And yes, they drill through the walls like they’re tissue paper, matching Igor’s foot-long Wolverine claws.
At this point, a guy in a trenchcoat and dark glasses strides through the wall, and the GM’s eyes light up as he describes him. This guy is just so cool. Apparently this is Blackhawk, and he’s the first of the NPCs we meet. He’s all hard-bitten and gritty and only speaks in snarls about how he hasn’t got time for our bullshit and we need to step aside. Igor sneaks off after him and I start trying to coordinate damage control. She’s naturally detected instantly despite a really high Sneak roll, and Blackhawk is too cool to acknowledge her presence except to casually mention there’s a bomb in the reactor core.
Okay, so Space PETA’s now:
                    1.       A nuclear power.
                    2.       Able to enter a poorly defined “reactor core” that would burn any of us to cinders.
                    3.       Abandoning all pretense of rescuing animals.
                    4.       Invisible.
Incidentally, my first thought was to either SCRAM it (if it’s fission) or just power the reactor down under breakeven and let the plasma cool (if it’s fusion) to cool everything down and limit the impact of the blast. This is how I think, you see; I figure we’re in more danger from losing fuel to contaminated slag than we are from an explosion inside a reactor pressure vessel. Apparently this “isn’t that kind of reactor”; unlike every nuclear reactor ever built, it was apparently designed to go prompt critical if someone looked sideways at it. Bear in mind, the GM once opined that “nuclear reactors are just slow nukes”… and apparently we can’t just eject the totally uncontrollable, ludicrously unstable core because of the risk of contamination. Gotta keep that vast, lifeless expanse of interstellar space clean of fallout. (Disperseout?)
More Things This Ship Lacks:
                    5.       Intercoms to engineering
                    6.       Primary coolant loops
                    7.       Boron
                    8.       Escape pods
                    9.       Battery packs
And then Blackhawk nonchalantly walks into the core, grabs the bomb, and crunches it between his hands before chucking it into the ill-defined energetic matter flow, dusting off his hands as he leaves and shuts the hatch behind him.
So cool. This is kind of his schtick, you see; he’s immune to things because he’s powerful. This makes him a phenomenally boring character, really, because immunity is something you are, not something you do; this logic never caught on with the GM. It makes playing superhero games with him fun. Anyway, this paragon of XTREEM AWESOME COOLNESS starts strolling back, and I get to trying to figure out how to detect more maniacs walking through my walls.
Still More Things This Ship Lacks:
                    10.   Security cameras
                    11.   Airflow sensors
                    12.   Thermal imaging
                    13.   Microphones
                    14.   Tripwires
Because whoever heard of sensors on a vessel ostensibly intended to observe the universe? At this point, I think we can dispense with the idea of this being a spaceship. This is a box full of air in the middle of nowhere strapped to a bomb.
I eventually get some laser pointers because lasers are ‘sciencey’. They get duct-taped to the walls, along with photocells -- and so begins a long tradition of me reinventing the wheel with stone knives and bearskins because wheels are banned.

And then some idiot in a uniform comes through the wall, sees the sensors, and gets pissed at me. Apparently his guys need unlimited access to everyone in the ship to do…who knows what, but I’m offered a new job and an infodump.
See, the GM doesn’t like providing information through conversation. No matter how forced, there will be a lengthy period of exposition, because that way we avoid that hated “interactivity” thing and there’s no risk of missing needed information. Accordingly, we know going into any conversation we start that we will learn nothing, and we know that if we can question our infodump sources we won’t learn anything more than was in the expository paragraphs. It certainly speeds up interaction with NPCs…while reducing them to a level of intermittent interactivity that compares unfavorably with plot-unimportant Bioware NPC scripting. Then, too, the low-level NPCs all have the same personality. They’re all supposed to be the goddamn Batman, although they come across like The Coon: “dark” and “brooding” and entirely out of time to deal with us when they have more gritty navel-gazing to do, which is hilarious when “negotiating ” with someone who speaks entirely in snarls. Really powerful types get a whole new personality, which we’ll cover later.
For now, though, the M.I.C. is explained to us, and the real identity of Space PETA with it. Apparently they’re really Multiverse PETA, and these guys go combat them and anyone else that changes “canon”. The glaring implication that we’re all fictional is of course totally unaddressed. We either take the job or we get memory-wiped. More accurately, that’s my choice; Igor “hasn’t yet impressed them enough. At least you were ingenious”. Igor’s player, though, is clever enough to get the GM out of his plot-stopping conundrum, and just hops through the portal anyway, and they go with the fait accompli.
This is another of those things the GM never really grasped: players having fun at your table is more important than all your NPCs staying ideologically self-consistent. He’s pulled it when playing, too: he’s always the first one to say “I have no reason to go on this adventure”, usually in hopes of being bribed with treasure by either the other players or the DM. I’m not saying they have to bend over backwards to accommodate the players, but when you’re holding up a sign saying “you must be at least this cool to be part of the adventure”, it helps to at least tell the players what’s cool and not just trust them to stumble upon it blindly. Alternatively, if you don’t, let them come on the adventure anyway, since otherwise there isn’t an adventure. But then, that requires a modicum of respect for one’s players.
So we’re apparently not canonically needed enough to be forced back to our old jobs and are instead “processed” into the M.I.C’s service together with one other, whose origin needs to be told before we go into the ludicrous bureaucracy that is the Multiverse Integrity Commission.