This is part of an ongoing campaign. You can find the other sessions over on the sidebar. This session was run on December 29, 2022. This session contains secret communications between me and the individual players. This means that these recaps do not cover everything that happened in the session. I will be reporting only the information that all players had access to. This portion of the campaign uses Zozer Games excellent Outpost Mars setting for Cepheus Engine.
This session began with Mildra and Romilius in the drill site control room with Zalph, Lukas, Hunter, and Alder in the chambers below. The exploration team had just informed Mildra and Romilius that they intended to explore further down a passageway that would take them beyond communications range. After a brief discussion, they decided that they could trust Romilius enough to allow Mildra to join the others below. Mildra used the winch to descend through the bore shaft and at 0900 the exploration team passed beyond communications range.
Lukas noticed that a portion of the passageway wall appeared to have been excavated. After a brief study, he determined that someone (possibly the Martians) had used tools very similar to those used by terrestrial archaeologists to dig something out of the wall. He estimated that the tool markings were several hundred thousand years old themselves.
Romilius’s work in the control room was disturbed by the low pass of a transport aircraft. He played back the video footage from their rover and determined that it had Russian markings. He contacted the ESA flight control office in Adrienne and they reported that there was no Russian-filed flight plan for their area and that they did not currently see the aircraft on radar. Worried that it might have landed nearby, Romilius radioed 10wPink and told her to prepare for takeoff on short notice.
Lukas and Hunter noticed a discoloration on the tunnel wall and, after some time examining it, determined that it was a fossil. The fossil had a shape roughly similar to a jellyfish and was about the size of the excavation they had noticed earlier. Hunter estimated that it would take him about two hours to remove it with the tools he had on hand. He stayed behind while the others continued on to explore further down the passageway.
Lukas noticed another fossil embedded in the tunnel wall. The exploration team decided to head back to where Hunter was working on the first fossil.
A rover pulled into the drill site and four figures in red spacesuits emerged from its airlock and began moving through the facility exterior. Romilius called 10wPink and told her to take off and head towards the drill site. She warned him that it was not safe for her to land on the lake. He suited up and exited the control dome to confront the Russians.
One, who appeared to be the leader, immediately established radio contact and identified himself as Ivan. It quickly became apparent that the Russians believed that he was David Saunders and that there had come to collect “the package” that he owed them. Romilius quickly identified himself as a UNSCO employee and explained that he did not know anything about any package. He opened a second channel to Jin.
Romilius tried to convince the Russians that they were interfering with the investigation of a transport crash, but they did not appear to care. Jin told him that she could not get help to him in time and encouraged him to help them find whatever they were looking for since it did not seem to have anything to do with the artifact. He led them into the residential dome and the Russian began tossing it.
The rest of the exploration team returned to Hunter and helped him finish excavating the fossil from the wall. They begin carrying the fossil back up the passageway.
Back on the surface, the Russians finished searching the residential dome and moved on to the garage dome. Romilius stayed with them, keeping communications open with Jin and 10wPink who was now circling high overhead.
After searching the dome, the Russians moved on to the control room dome. Ivan noticed the displays from the various drone cameras (Romilius had turned off the camera on the drone in the tunnels below) and he told them that he had been working to get them back on line as part of his investigation. They headed to examine the drill rig.
The Russians noticed that the winch was set up over the bore shaft and that a cable had been lowered into the hole. Romilius admitted that he was not alone and that the rest of the UNSCO investigative team was down below. Ivan did not understand how something under Lake Barsoom could have any relevance to an aircraft crash investigation. He orders one of the other Russians, Boris, to take Romilius back to the domes and to have him lower a drone down the shaft so they could see what was happening below. Romilius took Boris back to the garage to retrieve one of the drones.
Romilius and Boris bring a tracked drone to the winch and Ivan’s team starts lowering it. Before he and Boris returned to the control room, Romilius noticed one of the Russians was using a metal detector in the area around the legs of the drill rig.
When the drone was about halfway down the shaft, Ivan entered the control room with a dirty case. He and Boris had a brief exchange in Russian. Romilius piped it to 10wPink who told him that the Russians seemed to have found “the package” they were looking for.
At this point, the exploration team reestablished communications with Romilius, who filled them in on what was going on. Romilius connected Lukas to Ivan and he claimed to be investigating something dangerous below with the aid of a team of U.S. Marines. He encouraged the Russians to leave since they seemed to have found what they were looking for. Romilius decided to have 10wPink do a close pass over the facility. Ivan briefly weighed his suspicion that he might be missing out on something bigger than what was in the box against the apparent U.N./U.S. military presence and ordered the rest of his team to return to the rover to leave. Romilius had 10wPink shadow their rover to make sure that it did not circle back after leaving.
Down below, the exploration team carefully dug out the second box from the collapsed ceiling and made their way back to the surface. The team safely returned to Reunion.