Mission 29517-2237

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    Nhaima gave Zelreich a sheepish, uncomfortable half-grimace. An angry red stripe lanced from chin to cheek where it had been touching the body of her ruined pulser and gloves were blackened with holes on her right hand where it had burned through while she tossed it away. Her palm and fingers, where exposed, were also a bright red, but nothing had turned the ash white of a critically serious burn./em>

    “I’ll be fine Commander,” she groaned while gingerly propping herself up.
    “Give me a minute, some burn cream, and an analgesic?


    “Alright, I’ll get you fixed up real quick.” Zelreich carefully applied bandages to Nhaima’s burned hands and face. Being careful not to put to much pressure as to cause her further pain than she was already in. Zelreich’s hand move like that of a surgeon’s, precise and delicate, as Zelreich fixed Nhaima’s wounds. In no time at all, Zelreich is finished with his work.

    “Alright, how’s that feel? We’ll change those bandages and apply more burn ointment in a few hours. If you need anything, let me know.”

    Zelreich says all this with a smile, doing his best to reassure his patient that everything is all as it should be.


    Matsiyan raised one eyebrow in a gesture of extreme surprise. Fascinating. he deadpanned.

    Mister Wilcon, this is not a fraternity garden sleepover party. While we may be cooperating, independently responsible members of a team, working to common goals and objectives, and I will not insist that every thought you have, be approved by Lieutenant-Commander Zelreich, there are still certain basics of decorum that I do require. The minimum abbreviation of my name is four letters, not three. I am no mere Matthew. Furthermore, each level of informality beyond “Lieutenant-Commander Matsiyan, Sir!” requires prerequisite attainment of rank, years of cameraderie, mutual rescues from certain doom or units of intoxicating beverages.

    In other words, you will not address me as “Mat” again if you ever wish to be able to trust any piece of technical equipment issued to you before you attain the rank of Lieutenant-Senior. I hope I make myself crystal clear, Cadet! He paused a moment to draw breath before continuing as though nothing had occurred.

    Is it really broken or are you just making an excuse for goofing off? It would be weird for two pieces of standard TSN equipment to fail at the same time. And while you were scampering about after the hatch was opened, I did recheck that all equipment on the inventory had been tallied and certified. Everything had been through standard inspections. He takes the headset and examines it critically through a magnifying viewer.Have you been wearing this thing or sitting on it?

    Is there anything common in the failure of the the headset and pulse carbine? AR – Low (seems unlikely), DR – Average, Roll – 11, Result – Yes.

    Is there any sign of tampering? AR – Above Average (seems the likeliest cause), DR – Average, Roll – 97, Result – Exceptional no.

    Matsiyan finds the faint evidence of a disconnected filament where it connects to the amplifier and notes that the end is not sharply cracked or drawn out. It is smoothly rounded and there is a faint metallic halo around the point where it attached to the amp.

    Odd, he muttered not cracked or stretched, more like vapourized. Acts like a momentary ridiculous power overload. He gave the rapidly cooling carbine a similar going over. It was harder to decipher the larger and more heavily slagged device, but all the heat dissipation seemed to have occurred between the primary beam preamp and the power cell. Again it looked like a monumentally powerful but brief concentration of energy way beyond the capacity of the machine.

    OK. It is weird. Like they were struck by a tightly focused, highly directional tiny emp, or bunch of cosmic rays, maybe a microscopic, rapidly spinning singularity. The planet’s magnetosphere would keep out external sources. Starship shields would too, unless you got really unlucky. I think it would be wise to keep anything non-essential powered down and maybe even disconnected from a power source. I have a very small man-portable shield generator. If I keep it running in my pack, spare power cells should be safer.

    Matthew Vaj

    Not a mere Matthew, eh?

    Vaj snorted and grinned at Matsiyan

    I see how it is, Lieutenant Commander. If it’s not an external source that’s causing issues, there must be a nearby source of radiation that caused the failures.

    Vaj set up his portable sensor equipment in an attempt to isolate the source.

    Does he detect anything that could have caused the failures? AR-Above Average, DR-Average, Roll-57, Result-Yes

    The sensor equipment almost immediately picked up on some very strange readings relatively close to the away team’s location. The data showed focused EM radiation spiking at intervals of approximately twenty seconds. Additional analysis revealed that the radiation appeared to be emanating from a single point, and the radiation beam rotated from the source like the light from a lighthouse.

    Sirs, there’s some anomolous readings about 400 meters west of our location! Should we investigate?

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Matthew Vaj.
    Rodger Wilcon

    Wilcon looks at the ground very embarrassed at his misuse of addressing and horrible timing for an area check, and quickly falls into line.

    Sorry sir, sirs.

    //Wilcon’s self confidence and pride have been reduced by 2


    Matsiyan turned towards Vaj, and incidentally away from Rodger, and flashed him a quick grin.

    Well, that’s straight up the hill and vaguely in the direction of the station. Maybe the pathfinders can work out a route from there. Everyone have their gear? Let’s get clear so the shuttle can depart. It should be okay with its shields up, but the less time it hangs about, the better.

    From your readings, it’s on top of that first outcrop at the top of this slope.

    Matsiyan shrugged his pack and started walking.


    Nhaima eased herself up and towards the port-side lip of the shuttle’s dorsal skin. Dangling her legs over the slide, she slipped down the sloping side. Cushioning her landing, she stepped back through the door and gathered her pack gingerly back into her shoulders while taking care to avoid actually picking it up with the palms of her hands. She keyed for the surveillance drone once again from the storage locker and set it down on the ramp from the aft airlock. Her gaze turned to her wrist while she paired her electronics with the drone. After a few minutes to run through the preflight checklist, she spun its engines into life and let it hover in the air while she cleared away from the shuttle. With a few more tapped commands the drone lifted into the sky until it settled at a cruising altitude above the, a silvery speck if you knew to look for it. She then slipped a headset around her ears, dropping a nearly transparent lens into place over her left eye, and nodded to Matsiyan and Zelreich.

    “I’m alright, sirs. Eagle-eye is broadcasting loud and clear and shuttle signals ready for dustoff when we are.”

    Zac Turnez

    stowing his pistol securely on his belt, Turnez stands and pulls out his datapad. Hr taps a few commands into the pad and brings up immediate maps of the local area.

    There’s a route up to the left og the outcrop. It should bring us out just on top. From there, we can continue upslope to the monitoring station.

    Turnez adjusts his straps on his pack to make it more comfortable and sets off, leading the way towards the outcrop.



    Is the radiation a significant biohazard for humans? AR – (Low otherwise biology would be out of whack on the planet and basic surveys would have reported) DR – Average, Roll – 81, Result – No

    Matsiyan mumbled as he walked, quasi-subvocalizing instructions to the datapad he glanced at occasionally and tapped. Finally he sighed.

    It is not particularly dangerous directly to biological tissue. It really does seem to be tiny hyperintense EMP bubbles very sparsely spread. Very little damage to living tissue. Maybe a very slightly higher mutation and cancer rate. Shielding buildings would reduce a lot of it. The math makes it look as if the vast majority come apart and attenuate in the field of a shield.

    Power circuits are the opposite though, they are extremely likely to concentrate EM energy flows into a kind of hypervortex that dissipates its energy as heat in a very small radius. Hence the meltdowns. At this density, moderate shielding will reduce that to a very slightly worse MTBF for powered circuits.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Matsiyan.

    Nhaima took up position as an advance skirmisher away from the mission critical equipment and senior officers. Each time they came to a ridge, she would crest it just enough to get a view of the expanse beyond it. She replaced her ruined carbine, opting instead for the other marksman variant like Wilcon had obtained. During their march, she had unloaded the power cell to try and limit the detrimental effects of the energy field… or whatever it was that the commander had deduced. Still, the optics package seemed to be working and that was what she needed it for.

    Is there an obvious danger on the way towards the monitoring station? AR: Average, DR: Exceptional result:63 => No.

    Once her visual scan was done, she dropped to one knee and shifted her attention more fully to the headset. The surveillance drone wasn’t faring as well. The image clarity had begun to degrade, though it was still more than adequate enough to make out the faces, shapes, rocks, and plants between them. It was only every now and then that she noticed the refresh rate drop, but even then it was only for a moment.

    “No contacts nearby Commander, and Eagle-eye has nothing either. We should be good to stop down if you’ve got a lock on those odd readings and we can get the survey underway.”

    Her hand twitched lightly as she shifted just the wrong way, bringing her singed palm in contact with the textured grip of her pulser. She shook her hand, twitched her fingers to wake them up, and then replaced her finger along the outside of the trigger guard.

    Zac Turnez

    Turnez took a knee and dropped his pack onto the ground. Pulling out a small sensor pack, he began setting up ready to take some readings.

    I’ll take some readings close to the source, see what I can gather.

    Are there any discernible patterns in the readings? AR: High; DR: Average; Roll: 72; Result: Yes

    Can Turnez identify what the readings are? AR: High; DR: Average: Roll: 92; Result: No

    Pausing briefly, Turnez frowns at some of the preliminary readings coming through the datapad.

    It’ll take a few minutes to gather the required sensor data. There is something familiar about these readings, but I am not sure quite what. It might also be worth collecting some samples from the surrounding area. When we get back on station, we’ll be able to run more complex analysis and cross-referencing of the data using the full TSN library.

    Matthew Vaj

    While Turnez takes sensor readings, Vaj begins to sample the various flora nearby.

    Are there any plants of significance in the immediate area? AR: average, DR: average, roll: 24, result: yes.

    Vaj took samples of leaves, stems, and roots of several plants. Upon scanning the seeds of one of the plants, and the stamen of another, he identified molecules with high potential for pharmaceutical use.

    Sir, some of these plants have medicinal purposes. I’m going to take extensive samples for further analysis back on station.


    Is the source easily accessible? AR – Average, DR – Average, Roll – 70, Result – No

    Can Matsiyan cobble together a way to reach it? AR – High (Mechanical Engineering/Geology), DR – Above Average (Based on the above), Roll – 04, Result – YES

    Matsiyan synched up with Turnez’ readings and turned to locating the source more precisely. Between the rising ground ahead to the west and the upthrust rock outcrop they had just walked up the south side of, there was a deep pocket of accumulated soil in which a pond had formed from regular seepage upslope. The readings seemed highly localized in a spot a few feet below the pond.

    Matsiyan looked speculatively at Wilcon for a moment and then started cobbling together a drill from a few of the spares for the atmo station and a core sampler. Grimacing he waded into the pond and started probing. After twenty minutes of colourful grunting he emerged with a small reddish rock which on examination shows occasional flecks of tiny crystals. This seems to be the source of the readings.

    Handing the rock over he worked his way around to a less disturbed edge of the pond and tried to get the worst of the mud off with a reasonable degree of success.

    Seeing what this does to field equipment, I’d hate to see its effect on unshielded startship systems.

    Umm. Didn’t ships get damaged when they approached the anomalies near the Diogenes astroforms in the asteroid belt in this sector?

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by Matsiyan.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by Matsiyan.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by Matsiyan. Reason: DR difficulty was Below Avg when is should have been Above. Also fixed a verb tense!
    Matthew Vaj

    I think that was sector IV, not V, but yes, there were some anomalies that caused systems failures. You think there might be a connection? We’ll probably have to take this back to the station for more in-depth analysis to be sure.

    Do we have a shielded sample container somewhere that might dampen the radiation?

    Do they have an appropriate container? AR-Average, DR-Below Average (since there probably is not normally a need for a shielded container), Roll-36, Result: Yes

    Vaj searches through his pack and finds a container large enough for the rock and hands it to Matsiyan.

    Got one! Here, put that thing in this, and we can take it back to analyze.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by Matthew Vaj.
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