Aboard the Bettendorf, the crew of the G&T continued the search for medlab and Palmer’s saferoom. The telescreens were found to be nonfunctioning but power was still on, which would mean that the fusion reactor was operational but the AI was not. The Bettendorf‘s pressure irises were also not working properly. A dead body, one of Palmer’s men presumably, was found to have a space-glock with two rounds gone from 15, and in the escape pod room there was another claymore and plenty of missile damage.
You passed by the corridor that led to the bridge, instead moving toward where you thought medlab and Palmer might be. A peek into the AI core yielded a disturbing sight: the Bettendorf‘s AI had been repeated lased by multiple lasers, and had deployed its escape backup. You alerted Djinn to scan the nearby region for the backup.
In the conference room galley, another claymore was planted, and Crewman Sack was deployed to see about disabling it. It went off, throwing flechettes around the room. It was during the search that you stumbled on the creature:
- Djinn said that a very mall jump-drive signature was emanating from the cabinet – jump-drive like, but far too small to be an actual drive
- Immediately before encountering the creature, Tamm saw a flash of gray light that he associated with a ship entering jump-space
- The creature was hiding in a cupboard, octopus-snakelike, and about the size of a chimp, albeit significantly less mass
- The creature first grabbed the drone, and gave every impression of being both agile and strong for its size
In the ensuring battle, the creature was shot several times, and struck with blunt instruments as well. Bullets passed through it, leaving holes that quickly sealed themselves. It did not bleed. It stung Weber once in the abdomen, and nearly holed both Black’s and Tamm’s environment suits. Weber’s suit was patched quickly but there was some talk of Black taking Weber back to the Slice Of Lime to get him out of his suit and examine the wound, but the party decided to carry on after Dr. Wagner examined the wound via drone and pronounced it survivable.
In the area that still retained some atmosphere, and that atmosphere smelled of scorched blood. Beyond, the fusion reactor had been astonishingly damaged. Power aboard was still on, which meant that the core containment hadn’t been breached (yet), but the superstructure above the fusion container had been damaged by both explosives and lasers. Black and Tamm found this to be extremely hazardous, and the likelihood was that at some point the reactor containment vessel would breach, destroying the Bettendorf rather spectacularly.
Beyond the reactor room you found medlab, and Weber asked Djinn to send a message to Palmer and let him know they were close. Djinn also alerted you that he’d found what he thought was the deployed AI core dump – however, Djinn believe it was just the dump housing, not the AI backup itself. Djinn said he would continue tracking the object and feed the data into the Slice for eventual pickup. Behind a panel were found the power and atmosphere connections for the saferoom, and soon the crew had Palmer out of the saferoom. Palmer was shocked at the damage to the Bettendorf, and especially sad at the murder of his AI, named “Jackie.” Palmer wanted to retrieve some personal items from the bridge, but considering the state of the fusion reactor, you decided to leave the Bettendorf as quickly as possible.
Back on the G&T, the crew first examined the AI coredump housing that you’d picked up on the way back in the Slice. Jackie was not in residence; the coredump had apparently been found and lasered post-ejection by whomever had attacked the Bettendorf. Palmer was upset, and you asked him what had happened. Everything was normal, he said, business as usual. Then Jackie went berserk with proximity alerts, inbound missiles from ships that had someone slipped past Jackie’s sensor array. Palmer’s guys pushed him into the safe room just as the missiles were impacting the asteroid – Palmer said he could feel the impacts in the safe room. But other than the short range emergency communications capabilities, the saferoom had no monitoring capabilities. Jackie went offline from lace, but Palmer had assumed it was so that he could devote attention to repelling the attack. But now that he knows what happened, to his men and to Jackie, he wants your help – he’ll get you whatever you want, if you help him get revenge on whoever did this.
Next, Dr. Wagner performed a necropsy on the squid creature, which took a couple hours. The results were very curious: essentially, the creature was comprised of somewhat viscous but otherwise undifferentiated material – no organs, no nerves, no sensory apparatus. Like what you find if you cut into a Stretch Armstrong, Dr. Wagner said. This creature should not be alive, Wagner asserted. Even the stinger organ ought not to have worked, The stinger itself was relatively normal as well as the physical reservoir for the venom or toxin the stinger was designed to deliver, but everything around it – nerves, associated controlling organ structures – were nonexistent.
Next up was Wagner’s examination of Weber’s wound. Weber opted to have the autodoc put him under, and Wagner soon had cause to reevaluate his earlier thoughts on the wound. The examination by drone on the Bettendorf had shown a relatively minor wound, with some inflammation – easily treatable. Now, the wound was much different – a necrotizing agent of some kind had bored through the abdominal wall and begun killing tissue within, already with hours having done some damage to the liver, small intestine and a kidney. With this level of internal damage, Weber should have been debilitated with pain; instead, he was discussing the merits of various scotches with Palmer. Dr. Wagner immediately chased the rest of the crew out of medlab and began to operate on Weber.