We had lunch with our old friend Garth Norwood today, he has a lovely vintage style to his home and good taste in food. He had an odd job for us. There was a Consortium Science Vessel, ‘The Lenore’, dead in the water, it had been exploring Pluto and Charon before it suddenly stopped moving. While I have some misgivings about going to another possibly abandoned facility to find who knows what, Garth seems a more decent sort than that “Mr. Johnson”. We are to explore the ship and bring back any valuables we find. Garth his mostly interested in the ore and our pay depends on the value of what we recover. He was kind enough to provide us a 3D rendering of the ship, no maps with redacted places this time.
So we set off and arrived in record time, we want to get there and back before the Consortium does. We found the ship with power but disabled engines, 12 faint life signs, a functioning RF beacon localized to a Consortium frequency, and a very low mystic field. The security is rather adaptive so we had to break the lock to get in. Roaches were in first, finding closed doors, no people, and no damage, so we enter. First place to check was the bridge, 4 apparent corpses, that were to our horror, still alive and in great pain. (Just when I thought I’ve seen everything…) The terminals were fried, shot by energy weapons….odd….
Nox managed to transform the captain so we could speak with here. From our brief and rather painful conversation we learned a little and once she shared what she knew we put down her and her crewmates as a mercy killing. In the med bay we were able to put together the full story. They were investigating mineral deposits on Charon. The Science Officer got a tear in his suite, and became patient zero, first it seemed like the flu, then he turned violent, insane from the pain of the disease, within 24 hours he started to desicate into a husk. Even in husk form there is full awareness and unbearable pain. It passes by touch and a raised mystic caused whatever it was in the soil to mutate into this rage mummification flu. The virus only lasts minutes outside a host, but can live forever in flesh, so we should be safe. (We’ll call it RMF for short.) We were unable to find a cure so we continued to do the only thing we could for the afflicted crew. Based on the ship’s roster two crewmembers were missing. We found them in with the mana field generator. The turrets in the cargo bay also gave us quite a bit of trouble, it was not a pretty fight but thanks to Nox and Judith we came out victorious.
We gathered up the supplies we could, weapons, armor, medical supplies, the ore, and the personal effects and letters of the crew. Those personal things will go back to their families, of course. The rest we took to Garth and completed our business. I’m starting to get a little worried about some of these recovery missions……abandoned anything seems to lead to horrible revelations lately.
One week later Raza had some work for us, she called while Sheck was building a new arcane gun placement to the ship, for Calliope to throw all her arcane fury at whomever should cross our path.. A Lt. Henderson of the Serious Crimes Division on Port Io is looking for some aid on a case. We are to meet him at 8 am on the center ring. Apparently he is a well known and well respected figure in Port Io, quite decorated and nearing retirement. (I serious doubt that someone that decorated and driven will ever retire.)
Tikal mentions some rumors of tensions flying around Stat Sec, but nothing concrete.
We arrive for our meeting at Stat Sec’s very nice central office, the front desk is a bit sour, we have to leave our weapons, and any other dangerous things behind, not that I find it all that surprising, we are in vagrant space after all.
Lt. Henderson’s case is a rather gruesome one, seven horrific murders of women have taken place over the past two weeks. The killer seems to always avoid the best efforts of the good Lt. so he suspects a mole, which is where we come in.
There is a witness to the last murder, an Erin Killian, aka Glitter, in a catatonic state in the hospital. She’s our best lead, unless we manage to find some physical evidence in one of the crime scenes. All the victims have been found in their “work rooms”, so its likely someone pretending to be a client. Different edible organs are missing from each one, removed perimortem…the monster, but that’s not even the strangest thing. The strangest thing…they all are found smiling. Our task is to find who is behind this before there is another victim. Finding the mole is a bonus. The victims were Honey, Sparkle, Jasmine, Belle, Diamond, Cherry, and Roxane. All of them were human women, Erin is not, so perhaps humans are his type.
Nox manages to charm us through to the extreme intervention wing of the hospital to talk to Erin. She speaks of an unbelievably handsome man, and she was so jealous that he chose Roxanne over her. (What kind of power does this monster have that even knowing what was done, she still feels jealousy over not being murdered?) She’s clearly shattered mentally, but there’s no demonic taint to her. According to her chart, Stat Sec brought her in the night before last, her toxicology screen was clean, no substances, other than the standard stimulants used in such professions. What’s odd is her super low dopamine and serotonin, it’s rock bottom. Her acetylcholine and adrenaline are raised….I’m not a doctor, but sadly this may be permanent for her.
We head back to the ship to pour over the notes, Calliope surmises that Erin’s problem is that she’s burnt out, her reserves of dopamine and serotonin are completely used up, the victims all have the same issue. Nox creates a likeness of the man Erin described, on paper he’s not much to look at, but a paper drawing doesn’t convey the soul behind the face. Perhaps there’s something magical going on, some type of unnatural charisma. Our digital murder board, complete with red string, plots out where each of the victims were found, it’s random but they are all within a 5k radius of one neighborhood in particular, all happen between 2 and 4 am. Stat sec has been unable to find physical evidence. That’s odd…perhaps the mole is making sure it gets lost, that would be a bit lucky though, to be on each crime scene. Roxanne and Erin both worked at the Red Room, perhaps we can still find something Stat Sec missed. It’s a rather fancy establishment, the girls on the floor have special undergarments to chastise groping hands. The bartender wasn’t able to tell us much about what happened to Roxanne, her friend, but she does tell us which room to go to. The room is the standard you would expect, bed, window screen, dresser, nightstand. There’s no blood stains, most of us turn up empty in looking but Tikal (No idea how to spell it, but this is my best guess.) finds a small white scarab carved from bone, likely for one of the victims, about the size of my thumb nail. It has a faint hint of demonic corruption which could explain how our rather plain John has managed to be so attractive. Her last client was Dais Marso, a strange name, but it turns out to be an anagram for Adam Rosi. He’s a beat cop on disciplinary leave due to frequent absence, but he was once an exemplary cop. I suspect we’re getting close to our killer. His last call was to an unregistered ship at the dock, potentially a smuggler ship. The ship is still in port. His partner Jeraldine Cross died in a shoot out at the ship, so there is probably no mole. If Rosi is our monster, then his skills as a cop are how he’s able to stay ahead of them. We pass on our conclusions to Lt. Henderson and receive a blank page order. Rosi’s home is in the center of our circle, so we should pay him a visit. Tikal tried to get a fix on him, but there was a lot of resistance. We move in on the non-descript building, Nox and a roach go up the wall to recon, the rest of us go up the stairs, sans-Judith who has been unwell. The smell in the hall is horrifying, Shara gets viciously sick, well there goes our cover. I went in first, kicking the door open and getting my ribs broken in return. (I’m getting too old for these sorts of theatrics….why did I even think that was a good idea….)
The mask he wears, radiates demonic energy, and it makes for a very vicious and bloody fight. I’d rather not talk too much about it…we managed to save Rosi and Henderson and the cavalry arrived after it was all over to clean up. Needless to say the day was saved. I….need a strong drink and to not think about what happened in that room….