The Alexandrian

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Map - Crater X-91

The crater is roughly 300 meters across.

Mars Fresh Impact Crater, 17 January 2009. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

SECURITY PERIMETER

Direct Action has established their security perimeter with a 1 km diameter (350 meters from the edge of the crater).

MONOFILAMENT SPIMES: These spimes are dropped as “metal marbles” which uncoil to a height of seven feet. Once uncoiled, they’re nothing more than thin, silver threads.

  • SENSORS: Monitored by the Sensor AI; 10% chance that the feed is also being monitored by a human.
    • HYPERSPECTRAL: +20 Perception modifier (Panopticon, pg. 162)
    • INFRARED: With active infrared lighting at night (+10 Perception modifier).
    • INFRASOUND: Capable of detect footprints within 20 feet (+30 Perception modifier).
  • DETECTING:
    • SNIFFING: Interfacing test to detect the signal; Infosec (-30) to decrypt
    • SURPRISE: Infiltration vs. Perception; on success, spot the spimes before being spotted by them. (+10 to Infiltration test if a Perception (-30) test is passed to spot the almost invisible silver stalks.)
  • X: The “x” on the map indicates a hole in the spime coverage where a ridge blocks the sight line of the nearest spime.

FLYING SERPENTS: Two flying serpents orbit the security perimeter. These security bots look somewhat similar to a Chinese dragon. They have railguns bolted to their sides, they shoot plasma out of their mouth, and they have a seeker that can pop out of their underbelly.

  • TRACKS: When not in response mode, the flying serpents are snaking along the security perimeter. The deep groove of the track they’ve worn is easy to spot and trivial (-30 test) to identify.
  • REACTION: If any monofilament spimes go offline, a flying serpent will fly there at top speed (arriving in 1d10 action turns). Both flying serpents will be scrambled as part of a reaction to known intruders.

FLYING SERPENTS: Snake 4/16, Thrust Vector 8/60 (max 200 kph), Armor 16/16, DUR 60, WT 12

+5 COO, +5 SOM, Enhanced Hearing, Enhanced Vision, LIDAR, Neurachem, Oracles, Radar, Radar Absorbent (Panopticon, pg. 149), Structural Reinforcement, T-Ray Emitter

Railgun Assault Rifle (x2): AP -9, DV 2d10+8 – SA, BF, FA – 30 ammo

Plasma Rifle: AP -8, DV 3d10+20 – SA – 10 ammo

Underbarrel Seeker: 3 concussion seekers, 3 EMP seekers


 

LOCATION ROSTER – CRATER X-91

NormalAlert
Security HQ - Area 11 Basic Crater Security2 Basic Crater Security
Security HQ - Area 2-2 Basic Crater Security + Sniper
Security HQ - Area 31d3-1 Basic Crater Security-
Security HQ - Area 42 Basic Crater Security2 Basic Crater Security + Jammer
Security HQ - Area 52 Basic Crater Security + 2 Snipers-
Security HQ - Area 63 Basic Crater Security + Jammer
Research Hab - Area 1-2 Basic Crater Security
Research Hab - Area 3-1 Basic Crater Security
Research Hab - Area 4-1 Basic Crater Security
Research Hab - Roof-Sniper
Security Perimeter2 Flying Serpents2 Flying Serpents
Security AISecurity HQSecurity HQ
Research AIResearch HabResearch Hab
Research AI ForkResearch SpikeResearch Spike
Sensor AIResearch SpikeResearch Spike

* Basic Crater Security can use the exoskeleton in Security HQ 1, see stat block.

Go to Part 3: Security HQ

Crater Dreams

Eclipse Phase: Sunward - Martian City

FIREWALL BRIEFING

The PCs receive a briefing packet via their RED PRIORITY dead drops (the dead drops they are to check at least once daily and which are to be used only for the most time-critical of assignments).

BRIEFING:

  • Three days ago, a second-pass data analysis algorithm detected abnormalities while cross-referencing near-Mars sensor data.
  • Interpolating the data sources revealed an unregistered asteroid that was evidencing deliberate and possibly active cloaking of its albedo.
  • Three weeks ago, this asteroid impacted the surface of Mars in the Terra Sirenum, several thousand klicks south of Pathfinder City in a sparsely populated portion of the planet.
  • This was sufficient to elicit interest.
  • When the orbital path of the asteroid was traced, it was found to have originated 10 years ago from V-2011/Caldwell: The location of The Vulcanoid Gate.
  • In other words, the asteroid had either been ejected from the Vulcanoid Gate (or possibly launched by a TITAN as it passed through the gate) during the final days of the Fall.
  • We also know that a Direct Action militia team has been dispatched to secure the site.

MISSION OBJECTIVES:

  • Establish an onsite presence ASAP.
  • Determine the purpose of the Direct Action team and, if possible, the parties responsible for their presence onsite.
  • Assess the asteroid impact site for a potential existential threat.
  • If a threat is identified, take whatever action is necessary to neutralize it.

BACKGROUND – CRATER X-91

  • Three weeks ago an asteroid impacted the surface of Mars and left a crater several hundred meters across. This is unusual because most asteroids of this size are identified and have their orbits altered before impact (although errors and oversights are not unheard of).
  • Shortly before or after the impact, an organization or individual we’ll refer to as the Host became aware of the asteroid:
    • It was evidencing deliberate and possibly active cloaking of its albedo.
    • Tracing the orbital path of the asteroid revealed that it originated 10 years ago from V-2011/Caldwell: The location of the Vulcanoid Gate.
    • In other words, the asteroid had either been ejected from the Vulcanoid Gate (or possibly launched by a TITAN as it passed through the gate) during the final days of the Fall.
  • The Host mobilized a team to take control of the impact site.
    • Within two hours, a Direct Action team had arrived at the site – termed Crater X-91 – and secured the area.
    • Three days later, research personnel and equipment began arriving onsite. Quick-fab research facilities were erected and the area was further quarantined.

WHO IS OUR HOST?

Discovering the identity of the Host of the X-91 Project is beyond the scope of this scenario. Possibilities include:

  • Virtually any hypercorp
  • Project Ozma
  • Pathfinder
  • An undercover TITAN (or its agents) still active in the solar system

The Direct Action team was hired anonymously through the hypercorp’s secure communication protocols. Direct Action might know who’s paying the bills, but nobody on the ground does.

The research team is composed entirely of forks: They woke up in new morphs, received a recorded message from their alphas which told them they had been paid very large amounts of money, and were then shipped to the job site. (Some of them had done this sort of thing before.) Their alphas might know who’s paying the bills (although that’s almost certainly obfuscated), but, once again, nobody at Crater X-91 does.

BACKGROUND – SILVER BASILISK

What’s in the crater is Silver Basilisk: An exsurgent nanoplague. Instead of a nanoswarm, however, Silver Basilisk takes the form of a strange, silver-black oil.

INFECTION:

  • Anyone touching Silver Basilisk is considered infected.
  • Toxin filters and medichines allow a DUR x 3 test to resist infection.

EFFECT:

  • FIRST GENERATION: Those directly exposed to the concentrated form of Silver Basilisk found in the crater suffer the effects of a mindstealer strain of the exsurgent virus (EP, pg. 367).
    • Suffer 2d10 SV.
    • Succumb in COG + INT + SAV action turns.
    • Suffer -30 penalty to all tests during this time as they feel Silver Basilisk taking control.
  • SECOND GENERATION: Second generation exposure to the virus will suffer the effects of a haunting strain of the exsurgent virus (EP, pg. 366), but on an accelerated timeline of weeks instead of months.
    • Stage 1 (initial infection to 3 weeks): 1d10 SV, gain Psi (Level 1), Mental Disorder, and a psi-chi sleight. Gain new psi-chi sleight every 2-4 days.
    • Stage 2 (3 weeks to 6 weeks): 1d10 ÷ 2 SV, gain Psi (Level 2). Gain new psi-gamma sleight every 2-4 days.
    • Stage 3 (6 weeks+): 1d10 ÷ 2 SV, +5 COG, +5 WIL, gain Psi (Level 3). Fully under the control of Silver Basilisk.
  • ETCHING: In addition, the silver-black oil of Silver Basilisk will etch itself into the skin of victims (or press its way out, depending on how it manifests).
    • It particularly focuses on the face and, later, the eyes.
    • Stage 2: These tattoos will intensify during moments of “ascendancy” in which Silver Basilisk takes greater control of the victim.
    • Stage 3: The tattoos become permanent.

BASILISK EFFECT:

  • The silver-black tattoos of a Silver Basilisk host have the effect of a basilisk hack.
    • Viewer: COG + INT + SAV test; on failure, suffer 1d10 SV and catatonic stupor for 1 minute  + 1 minute per 10 MoF.
    • Avoid: REF x 3 test to block out the sensory input.
  • Silver Basilisk hosts will generally paralyze their victims and then vomit the silver-black oil into their mouths while they’re catatonic. The victim’s experience is that they look at the host’s face… and then wake up (possibly having experienced strange visions and with a bad taste in their mouth).

WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

A final gift from the TITANs to transhumanity? Or was it something trying to hitch a ride with the TITANs that got caught at the last minute and forcibly ejected?

CURRENT EVENTS – BASILISK DREAMS

Those sleeping near the asteroid may experience strange and disturbing dreams:

  • 20% chance of experiencing the dreams + 10% per previous time experiencing the dreams
  • The dreams act as weak basilisk hacks: COG + INT + SAV + 20 test. If this fails, a single suggestion is planted in the character’s mind. (Eclipse Phase, pg. 366)

Features of the dream vary. A few possibilities:

  • Corkscrewed corridors of gleaming fuligin (a material darker than black and almost nonexistent to transhuman eyes).
  • Experiencing emotions that cannot be felt by transhuman minds (and certainly cannot be expressed in words); the absence of those emotions upon waking is an immense and empty sorrow shaped like a lily.
  • The dream seems to end, but the character is paralyzed in their bed and a silver caul creeps up the sides of their face and covers their eyes and smothers them and plunges into their ears and eyes and nose and mouth. Then they wake up. (This dream may repeat several times.)
  • Staring into a mirror at one’s own face and slowly becoming aware that some other ego is looking out from their eyes. And then the reflection turns and walks away and the mirror is a window which looks into the world which they have been locked away from. (Turning to see that the world they inhabit is filled with half-formed items that consist only of those sides and features which might be reflected in the mirror.)

Go to Part 2: Crater X-91

Go to Part 1

ERIC RADOM – NEURALITE CEO

APPEARANCE: A tasteful exalt morph with chocolate brown hair, sharp cheekbones, and a smile of pearls.

ROLEPLAYING:

  • Smooth and controlled.
  • Likes a big smile and a firm handshake.
  • Deflects specific questions by being a “big picture guy”, but “I’m going to have one of my people get back to you with that information ASAP”.

BACKGROUND:

  • Radom was a minor research assistant on the team that helped develop the second generation menton morphs.
  • Not a very good scientist, but very good at corporate self-promotion. Ended up as a mid-tier executive on Cognite’s Thought station in Venus orbit after the Fall.
  • Hand-picked to lead the Neuralite project, Radom is going to move into the lower ranks of the upper echelons of Cognite (assuming the project is a success).

NOTES:

  • He has an ego-cide implant to prevent being captured or interrogated. He has no cortical stack, but instead backs up to a Cognite facility using an ego bridge in his apartment once per week.
  • If questioned about the connection between Cognite and Neuralite, Radom will play it down: He purchased technology Cognite was planning to abandon and independently founded Neuralite in order to capitalize on it. (He may even suggest that anything shady about the situation is the result of him ripping Cognite off; “but sometimes the little guy needs an edge, right?”)

LAURA PANNA – NEURALITE CEO

APPEARANCE: A sylph morph whose elegant features are distractingly marred by the deep lines of worry that have been etched into its forehead.

ROLEPLAYING:

  • Bubbly. Constantly wanting to be liked.
  • Smiles and cocks her head to one side whenever she’s confused.

BACKGROUND:

  • Laura is something of a patsy. She is hopelessly naïve about what Neuralite is actually doing.

LYSANDER VANGELIS – NEURALITE HEAD RESEARCHER

APPEARANCE: An ostentatious menton morph, featuring the attractively bulbous forehead modifications which were popular about five years before the Fall. His skin is a glistening, gleaming silver that seems to pool the light of the room.

ROLEPLAYING:

  • Huge enthusiasm for his research. This can rapidly devolve in to “mad scientist”.
  • Initially opening and welcoming, but quickly dismissive of anyone who reveals themselves to be foolish or stupid.
  • Scratches the back of his head with both hands when particularly worked up.

BACKGROUND:

  • Official cover story is that Lysander was “stolen away” from Cognite by the upstart Neuralite. (In reality, he’s simply continuing work he started at Cognite.)
  • Vangelis has been experimenting with the psi-epsilon opener. It’s granted him several psi sleights, but has also frayed his sanity to the breaking point.

NOTES:

  • Vangelis is on the brink of utter madness. Over the course of the scenario he will deteriorate rapidly (particularly if put under any stress).
  • Maintains a copy of himself in his ghostrider module to assist himself in his research.

LYSANDER VANGELIS

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Lysander Vangelis Stat Block

Morph: Menton

Skills: Academics: Biology 80, Academics: Genetics 80, Academics: Nanotechnology 70, Art: Bodysculpting 50, Beam Weapons 50, Control 50, Deception 30, Fray 40, Free Fall 55, Hardware: Aerospace 50, Interests: Black Market Drugs 50, Interests: Genetics Research 70, Interests: Morph Designs 65, Interfacing 30, Kinesics 40, Language: Native Arabic 90, Language: English 45, Medicine: General Practice 65, Medicine: Gene Therapy 75, Medicine: Nanomedicine 70, Medicine: Trauma Surgery 60, Networking: Criminal 35, Networking: Hypercorp 45, Networking: Scientists: 55, Perception 50, Pilot: Spacecraft 25, Profession: Lab Technician 60, Profession: Medical Care 65, Programming 70, Psi Assault 50, Psychosurgery 60, Research 55, Scrounging 55, Sense 40

Implants: Access Jacks, Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Circadian Regulation, Cortical Stack, Eidetic Memory, Ghostrider Module, HyperLinguist, Math Boost, Medichines, Multi-Tasking

Gear: Backup Insurance, Dr. Bot, Drive (5 doses), Ego Bridge, Fabber, Frequency (2 doses), Guardian Angel Bot, Muse, Nanobandages

Psi Sleights: Instinct, Pattern Recognition, Penetration

Armor: Armor Clothing (3/4)

Ranged: Stunner 50 (DV 1d10 ÷ 2, shock – SA – 200 shots)

Psi: Decerebration 50 (EP, pg. 371)

Psi: Onslaught 50 (EP, pg. 371)


CONWAY FEREN – NEURALITE CHIEF SECURITY SPECIALIST

Conway can be used to bump up the difficulty of any encounter with Neuralite security personnel.


CONWAY FEREN

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Conway Feren Stat Block

Morph: Bouncer

Skills: Academics: Astronomy 40, Academics: Engineering 35, Art: Writing 30, Beam Weapons 50, Blades 45, Climbing 75, Demolitions 35, Fray 55, Free Fall 65, Freerunning 45, Hardware: Aerospace 50, Hardware: Robotics 50, Infiltration 30, Interests: Brinker Groups 60, Interests: Esoteric Muslim Traditions 40, Interests: Habitat Infrastructure 50, Interests: Outer System Habitats 50, Interests: Scum Black Markets 45, Interfacing 25, Kinesics 45, Kinetic Weapons 55, Language: Native Arabic 85, Language: English 35, Language: Spanish 30, Medicine: First Aid 45, Navigation 55, Perception 50, Persuasion 30, Pilot: Spacecraft 55, Profession: Security Procedures 60, Protocol 30, Research 35, Scrounging 45, Unarmed Combat 65

Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Grip Pads (+30 Climbing included in stats), Oxygen Reserve

Mobility: Walker (4/20), prehensile feet

Armor: Body Armor (10/10)

Ranged: Medium Kinetic Pistol 55 (AP -2, DV 2d10+2 – 100 shots)


Go to Part 1

For information on using proactive nodes, see Advanced Node-Based Design.

PROACTIVE NODE – NEURALITE MERCENARY CREW

Eclipse Phase - Reaper

If Neuralite becomes aware of the PCs and decide that they represent a serious threat, they’ll a freelance mercenary pair named Lorn and Ares. (PCs may be able to trace their hiring back to Neuralite.)


NEURALITE MERCENARY CREW (x2)

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Mercenary Crew Stat Block

Morph: Reaper

Skills: Academics: Anatomy 45, Beam Weapons 45, Blades 70, Fray 70, Free Fall 45, Gunnery 55, Hardware: Armorer 55, Hardware: Industrial 35, Hardware: Robotics 50, Interests: Merc Units 50, Interests: Music (Synth Rage) 55, Intimidation 35, Kinetic Weapons 75, Language: Russian (Native) 90, Language: Arabic 60, Language: Mandarin 45, Networking: Autonomists 35, Networking: Hypercorp 60, Networking: Firewall 30, Perception 25, Pilot: Groundcraft 80, Profession: Security Ops 60, Profession: Squad Tactics 65, Protocol 40, Research 20, Seeker Weapons 50, Unarmed Combat 40

Implants: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Combat Armor (Heavy), Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Cyberclaws, Extra Limbs (4), Magnetic System, Mnemonic Augmentation, Pneumatic Limbs, Puppet Sock, Reflex Booster, Structural Enhancement, Weapon Mount (4, articulated)

Gear: Back-Up, Monofilament Sword, Muse, Portable QE Communicator, Seeker Rifle with Smartlink (Frag and High Explosive Seekers), TacNet Software

Mobility: Walker (4/20), Hopper (4/20), Ionic (12/40), Vectored Thrust (4/20)

Senses: 360-degree, Anti-Glare, Radar, T-Ray Emitter

Armor: Heavy Combat Armor (16/16)

Melee: Monafilament Sword 70 (AP -1, DV 2d10+5)

Ranged: Railgun Assault Rifle 75 (AP -9, DV 2d10+8 – SA, BF, FA – 200 rounds)

Seeker: Seeker Rifle (w/smartlink) 60; Ammo: Frag Seeker (AP -4, DV 3d10+6); Ammo: High Explosive Seeker (3d10+10)


PROACTIVE NODE – MODYA THE EXSURGENT

THE CALL: At some point after meeting the PCs, Modya calls: She’s not feeling well. She worries that her condition might be getting worse. She really needs some help and she wasn’t sure who else to call. She asks them to come and meet her at the balcony park she’s calling them from.

BALCONY PARK: A large, ovaloid platform suspended between two spindle-scrapers.

When the PCs arrive, Modya is in even worse shape: Protoplasmic bulgets erupt from her skin as her cell membranes rupture and then her body rips apart as the exsurgent virus takes hold of her. Something protoplasmic and horrible (a jelly exsurgent) tears its way out of her.

THE CHASE: The exsurgent, still fueled by Modya’s panic, will attempt to flee the scene. This triggers a chase scene featuring:

  • Dramatic leaps from one microgravity building to the next.
  • Accelerated microgravity freefalls.
  • Bursting through windows and racing across office complexes only to leap out the other side.
  • Disrupting an aerial dance routine being staged on a cobweb of wires strung between balcony stages.

JELLY EXSURGENT

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Exsurgent Stat Block

Skills: Exotic Ranged Attack (Spit) 40, Free Fall 50, Perception 60, Unarmed Combat 40

Notes: Minimum damage from standard kinetic weapons and blade attacks.

Mobility: 4/16

Senses: Enhanced Smell

Armor: 12/12

Melee: Tongue 40 (DV 1d10+3 plus toxin)

Ranged: Spit Attack (area effect, toxin); Toxin: onset 1 action turn, duration 5 action turns, effect 1d10 ÷ 2 DV per Action Turn


PROACTIVE NODE – LYSANDER THE CONSCIENTOUS OBJECTOR

CALL FOR HELP: The still-sane fork of Lysander Vangelis that is running on his ghostrider module realizes that his alpha has gotten out of control.

This fork can be used to fill the PCs in on anything they’ve missed and warn them of the impending release of the epsilon psike-out (Node 5).

DEVELOPMENT: The fork might be able to actually copy itself out of the ghost module and escape. (Or it might request assistance from the PCs to accomplish that.) The fork might become an ally or resource for the PCs in the future, but it should be noted that even before he went insane Lysander Vangelis was still the sort of guy who would experiment with exsurgent virus strains on non-consenting civilian populations.

Go to NPCs

Go to Part 1

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Water Treatment Facility

The Nova York water treatment facility is nicknamed the “coconuts” because the water reserves are held in huge spherical chambers. Some of these chambers have been built far back into the skin of Metis (feeding water through channels in the skin to distant parts of the city), but the oldest and primary water treatment facility takes the form of a patch of stone “dimples” which emerge from one side of the central chamber.

CORIOLIS GRAV-FEEDS:

  • Four massive, rotating structures are suspended above the dimples. Huge, flexible pipes descend from the structures and can be “dipped” into the dimples below.
  • These roving platforms spin to create the gravity necessary to create water pressure throughout Nova York.
  • Two of the platforms process waste water (filtering it back into the dimples below); the other two platforms suction water out of the dimples and into the NoYo water system.
  • At any given time, generally only one platform of each type is actively spinning. (The other platform moves into position over the next dimple and activates at “changeover” when a dimple has either been emptied or filled.)

SECURITY

  • Neuralite controls security for the facility, but this has mostly been sub-leased.
  • Security guards and water treatment plant workers have no idea what’s going on.

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Water Storage Chamber

NEURALITE GRAV-FEED:

  • Neuralite has used their authority to install “security equipment” in one of the outflow grav-feed platforms.
  • This equipment is releasing the epsilon primer and has also been recently loaded with the epsilon psike-out.

NEURALITE TEAM – ON THE GRAV-FEED:

  • Lysander Vangelis, Lead Researcher (see pg. 17)
  • Conway Feren, Chief Security Specialist (see page 18)
  • Neuralite Security Team (x8 – NPC File 1, pg. 15)

DEACTIVATING THE EPSILON FEED:

  • The equipment is located inside the grav-feed; meaning it’s underwater inside the outer ring. If the outer ring is spinning, characters will experience 1.4g of force. (Their actions will be taken under the equivalent of 2 wounds; -20 penalty to tests, -2 penalty to initiative.)
  • The grav-feed itself can only be shut down from the central control station. (This will also have the result of temporarily crippling Nova York’s water supply.)

RUNNING THE NODE:

  • The Neuralite team is likely getting ready to release the epsilon psike-out when the PCs arrive. (Either because that was the original schedule or because they know the PCs are closing in.) The only thing they’re waiting for is the next changeover when this platform will go live.
  • Vangelis will activate the platform if at all possible. Once that happens, there will be very little time before the psike-out contaminated water flows into Nova York.

Go to Proactive Nodes

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