Oh Captain, My Captain
The puddle of goop in the center of the bridge continued to rise, until it formed the shape of a face, and began speaking to the party through their brainites. He identified himself as the captain, and demanded to know why they had invaded his bridge. The party tried to impress upon him the danger the ship was facing, and swore they were trying to help save it.
The captain, however, was unmoved. He mentioned there was a more immediate threat to the ship in Legion, the hive mind of the abhumans inhabiting the lower decks. However, he said he had a plan, and the threat was about to be dealt with once and for all.
The heart had fallen into his posession, and he planned to use its nano-fabrication to construct a flesh-eating swarm of nanites to scour the ship clean of the fully-organic abhumans. He considered the animals in the valley above to be acceptable losses.
The party tried to convince him they could find a better solution, but about that time Kellon finished hacking into the bridge’s systems, and the captain’s mood shifted from preturbed to hostile. Kellon only then became aware of the situation, and identified the captain as a mutineer named Vandar.
The negotiations then deteriorated, and feeling the conversation was going in circles, and sensing that the captain was largely composed of numenara, Astro attempted to interface with him. This shifted the negotiations to a more weapons-based form.
Vandar activated the bridge’s automated defense turret, and began attempting to engulf the party members. Armen landed a nice crushing blow on Vandar’s face, but ultimately furthered his aims, as he sank into the pool. The rest of the party, along with their animal companions, joined in the fray.
Astro continued trying to interface with Vandar, and discovered that while he was a living creature—the pool was revealed to be composed of a thinking material—she was able to make the interface because the captain was tightly coupled with the ship’s computers. She also detected a third machine in the mix, but was kicked out of the interface by Vandar.
Armen was able to escape from Vandar’s clutches with some amazing acrobatics, and the help of their two raptors. Kellon identified an asset in a weapons locker, and began trying to access it. Wally helped with this by using a brute force hacking method to attempt to defeat the security systems. …With his sword.
The battle was pitched. The wolf was felled by the laser turret, and the falcon was crushed by the captain, but Balfor was able to destroy the turret, and Astro was able to activate the heart, distracting the captain.
Finally, Kellon and Wally managed to open the weapons locker, and found 3 overloaded energy rifles inside. Armen landed a shot on the captain, disintegrating one side of him, and melting a part of the floor. Warning messages appeared on some of the screens. Wally fired his rifle at Vandar, and further burned away some of his mass. More warnings appeared on the screens, and the bridge’s lights turned red.
Around this time, Kellon expressed a doubt, but before he could elucidate, the fox took revenge for his fallen comrades with the final energy rifle, and finished off the captain. Warning klaxons filled the bridge, and Kellon explained that the captain had become so integrated with the ship’s computer that neither could function without the other. The ship was experiencing cascading systems failures.
Armen jumped down to retrieve the heart from the pool where the captain had been, and landed in a caustic puddle. The heart was too heavy for him to lift alone, so he asked for help from the burly alligator. As soon as the alligator hit the puddle, his skin began to burn, and he had to be extracted. With help from the armored Wally and the gravity-wielding Astro, the party got the heart off of the bridge.
Wally and Armen began carrying the heart to the valley, while Astro and Balfor helped Kellon survey the extent of the damage. They did not find a way to fix the ship’s systems, but did discover that the valley dome was actually a lander module, and could be jettisoned from the ship.
Just then, Gordivaunt burst onto the bridge wondering what was going wrong. He barged onto the console, and tried to figure out how to save the ship. Ultimately, he decided the ship could not be saved, but they needed to try to prevent the systems overload from destroying the station. He devised a plan, but needed the party’s help.
The first part of the plan was to get the heart back to the forest. Along the way, Gordivaunt revealed he was a master meta-metallurgist, and created a new program for the nano-fabricator. He told Kellon to activate it once the heart was back in place. The party then headed back to the bridge to board the captain’s yacht.
They met up with the fox and the monkey when they returned to the elevator, and found the scarred alligator right where they left him on the second level. As they returned to the bridge, abhumans began to break through the floor. More distressingly, a giant hand made up of the combined bodies of dozens of abhumans punched through the hole and began to spread it wider. The alligator fell behind, and was torn apart. The party hustled.
They made it to the lift to the yacht just as the abhumans began to overrun the bridge, and jettisoned from the ship. As they flew clear, the viewscreen showed them a view of the Beanstalk station, ringed by debris and derelict ships, though with a few still attached.
Gordivaunt pulled the ship around, and pointed at the nose of the large settlement ship. A ring of a gleaming red alloy had grown around the docking clamp of the ship, the fruits of Gordivaunt’s work with the heart. Armen lined up a firing solution on the ring, and fired one of the yacht’s missiles at the ring. Rather than destroying the ring, it acted to shape the explosion and neatly sever the ship from the station.
Kellon launched the domed valley from the main ship, and Armen launched the yacht’s final missile. It punched through the ship’s hull at Gordivaunt’s precisely-calculated location, helping to push the ship further from the station.
As the valley began to slowly drift away from the ship, the giant hand re-emerged from the newly-created hull breach. It was followed by another hand, and a horrifying head made from a mass of writhing abhumans. Legion began to reach toward the escaping yacht, but the abhuman bodies succumbed to the vacuum of space, and the giant began to crumble.
Finally, a series of explosions began to wrack the ship. The first fired a jet of flame through the hull breach, acting to thrust the ship away from the station, where it safely detonated without causing any noticeable damage.
Gordivaunt returned the party to the station, and wished them luck on returning power to the station, as they had promised to do. He reprogrammed one of Kellon’s hacking tools to act as a communicator so they could reach him when they needed. He then took the yacht back to his ship.
When they were back on the station, the party asked the fox and the monkey why they had come with them. The animals explained that they had not been allowed to return to the valley, as they had been in contact with the abhumans and their forsaken sectors, and Kellon could not risk the corruption spreading to the rest of the valley. This must have been what he meant by a one-way trip.
The party returned to the elevator, and were surprised to find that it opened moments before they arrived. They were more surprised to be greeted by the barrel of a rifle, being held by Flint IronStag.
He and his Brobot butler had travelled up the Beanstalk to find the source of a clear but mysterious threat against the Broforce: the body of their chapter’s founder had fallen from the sky, scrawled with the cryptic message “Show me what you got.”
Will the party be able to locate this mysterious enemy?