This session was run on May 4, 2023.
Marven carefully maneuvered the Hollow Ranger to dock with the failing Zhodani ship, Ayman Bahamdan. Torvald calculated that they only had three hours before they would have to separate from the Zhodani ship in order to escape the gravitational pull of the gas giant. He warned that, if the travellers did anything to worsen the situation while aboard, that they could have even less time. Once they achieved lock-to-lock contact, they were able to communicate with Nawal, the Zhodani prole who sent the distress signal, thanks to the universal communications couplings.
Nawal told them that she was not sure what caused the emergency but there had been an explosion and lots of alarms went off. She was stuck in her cabin on B Deck because the door was showing that there was no pressure in the corridor. She told them that the individual rooms did not have vacc suits in them. She was not sure if anyone else was alive on the ship. They told her to sit tight and grabbed a bunch of rescue balls before entering the Zhodani ship. Marven and Torval stayed behind in case they needed to disconnect quickly.
They found themselves on C Deck and, as Nawal had said, they were in vacuum. They decided to move directly to B Deck to rescue the one known survivor before doing anything else. The found a ladder leading up to a hatch, climbed it, and stepped into what was clearly a corridor of staterooms. They began knocking on doors until they got a response. Marven confirmed via radio that Nawal was on the other side and heard them knocking. Aryanna prepared a rescue ball and they forced the door open.
They worked quickly to get the young woman into the ball and inflate it. Aryanna then rolled it down the corridor and down through the hatch. As they no longer had a way to communicate with Nawal, she indicated via hand signals that she should sit tight for a bit.
2 hrs 30 min remaining
As they moved down the corridor, they saw that most of the stateroom doors read vacuum on the other side. Hal came to one with red and yellow tape that registered as pressurized and got a response to the knock. Hal sent pictures back to Marven who, after a quick library data search, told him that it indicated that the Zhodani had sealed the room to contain a prisoner.
While Hal was determining what to do with the prisoner’s door, Zarf found another stateroom with a green light indicating atmosphere. He got a response to his knock, motioned for M’han to join him, and readied another rescue ball.
They forced the stateroom door open and entered what was clearly a noble’s room. A Zhodani woman was gasping for air on the floor, and they rushed to get her in the rescue ball and inflate it. They rolled the ball into the corridor and down the hatch to B Deck.
2 hrs remaining
Aryanna joined Hal outside the prison room, and they briefly discussed whether they should risk entering it. Hal pointed out that just because the Zhodani considered someone a criminal didn’t make them dangerous to imperial citizens. In fact, the prisoner might even be friendly to them. Aryanna agreed, they drew their weapons, and forced the door open. Inside, they saw a Zhodani man, in a straitjacket, with some kind of elaborate helmet on his head. They shoved him into the rescue ball before he could suffocate and rolled him back towards the airlock.
While Aryanna and Hal were dealing with the prisoner, M’han told Zarf that he was going to go down to the cargo deck while Zarf headed for the bridge. As the vargr made his way down the silent, airless, elevator shaft, he got a sudden image of cold sleep pods full of children.
1 hrs 30 min remaining
Aryanna and Hal, finished with the Zhodani noblewoman, decided to split up with Aryanna going with Zarf to the bridge while Hal headed down to join M’han in the cargo area.
M’han was glad to see that the cargo hold was still pressurized and that there was a double door between the elevator shaft and hold so he could enter it without venting the air inside. He entered the lock area and spent several minutes equalizing pressure.
Zarf and Aryanna reached the bridge and quickly determined that this must have been the origin point of the explosion that had damaged the ship. The bridge was completely destroyed with only a gaping hole, through which they could see the gas giant speeding past, where the ceiling had been. Here and there, a torso remained strapped into a chair, but there were no working consoles or survivors. Aryanna decided that she would head back to the airlock and get the three Zhodani in rescue balls aboard the Hollow Ranger while Zarf headed down to the cargo area to join the others.
On the cargo deck, M’han cycled through the airlock and stepped into the hold. He estimated that there was around one hundred cryo pods stacked in the hold and a pinnace. He also saw a Zhodani girl hiding behind one of the stacks of pods. M’han tried to coax the girl out, but she seemed to only speak Zhodani and kept gesturing to the pods. The vargr approached one of the pod stacks and wiped the condensation off the window. Inside, he saw a kid of about ten years old. His first impression was that the kid appeared to be of Vilan descent, not Zhodani.
As he was looking at the pod, Hal and Zarf cycled through the airlock. He quickly explained what he found and told them they needed to start loading the pods onto the pinnace as fast as possible.
1 hr remaining
On the Hollow Ranger, Aryanna had finished getting the rescued Zhodani aboard and out of the rescue balls. She began trying to learn who they were and what they were doing. The prisoner, a Zhodani nobleman named Nadeemi, immediately requested that he be allowed to speak with a member of the imperial armed services so he could properly request political asylum. As he was making this request, Aryanna felt a tug compelling her to ignore him and restrain him. She succumbed to this and taped the man’s mouth shut. The noblewoman, Aminaha, told her that Nadeemi was a terrorist who somehow managed to plant the bomb that damaged the ship before his real identity was discovered and he was captured. Nawal, the prole, said she was unaware of any of this and had never interacted with either of the two nobles before.
In the cargo bay, Hal quickly determined that there was no way to fit more than sixty of the cold sleep pods in the pinnace, and no chance of maneuvering them back through the ship to get them aboard the Hollow Ranger in time. Disappointed, but determined to save those they could, they began loading the pods onto the pinnace using the forklift in the bay.
15 min remaining
Hal, Zarf, and M’han finished loading the pods and got the Zhodani girl aboard the pinnace. After they launched from the Zhodani ship and boosted to a safer orbit, they mated with the Hollow Ranger so Zarf could transfer over.
Zarf told Aryanna to remove the tape from Nadeemi’s mouth so he could hear the nobleman’s side of the story after she relayed what Aminaha told her. Aryanna resisted this idea saying that she thought that Nadeemi was dangerous and he should just be sedated or killed. Zarf told her that he thought she might not be thinking correctly and that it was possible that Aminaha was tampering with her mind. This shook Aryanna out of her confusion, and she decided to sedate Aminaha to be safe.
Zarf removed the tape from Nadeemi’s mouth and the nobleman told him that he had been the captain of the spy ship. Several months into their mission, Aminaha, the political officer, had declared that the mission had changed and that they were going to “rescue” psionic children from the Imperium. He refused this order and was imprisoned. The helmet on his head prevented him from using his psionic powers and he warned them that Aminaha was a master manipulator. He told Zarf that he should take the helmet off him and put it on the noblewoman for the safety of everyone on the ship.
After relaying his story, Nadeemi demanded political asylum as a dissident. Since Zarf, as a scout reservist, was still bound by the laws of war, he accepted the Zhodani’s request under Article 7 and promised to deliver him to a Navy base as soon as possible.
On Last Exit
Meanwhile, Arenui and Abigail were trying to keep a low profile on Last Exit. They spent their time watching movies and using Arenui’s new pottery wheel. On the evening of 023, they were interrupted by a knock on the Prismatic Ray’s hatch. Arenui told Abigail to hide in a stateroom and opened the hatch to find Chakraborty, still wearing Berger’s body, standing outside. Arenui let him in.
Chakraborty asked if he could talk to Abigail and Arenui told him that she was out right now. The agent smiled and asked the droyne to tell her that he wanted to talk to her about the possibility of dealing with Fat Tony once and for all. If she was interested, they could come by the station in the morning.