Forbidden Moon

Refer to: WIP Forbidden Moon Fiction 01

Forbidden Moon
A Mysterious Call For Help

Security Chief Muldoon rubbed his eye spots and stretched his three arms and three legs while arching his torso against the computer chair in his cabin. He let the chair snap upright, grimaced, and then straightened his Medical Services Organization uniform.

The white uniform bothered him as it was a great way to stand out in the wrong environment. If he was honest with himself the truth was he missed his Royal Marine uniform. After all, where they were headed, Station Romeo Alpha 047, was on a frozen moon and white was excellent camouflage. He supposed it was the stupid short sleeves of the MSO uniform that really bothered him; as they clearly revealed the implanted holo tattoo of a lion holding the Royal Marine crest with the motto “Obviam Nox Noctis” seemingly floating on his skin. The tattoo tended to constantly draw his attention since his retirement as well the attention of everyone else around him. With the ship being a MSO rescue scout he could easily get the holo tattoo implant removed in minutes but that would be an admission that the tattoo was really a problem and beside he was too proud of his former career to do that.

The rest of the crew could suck vacuum if they didn’t like his tattoo. After all this was a civilian organization and despite the prig’s of a captain’s delusions of still being in Space Fleet, no one stood on formality anyway. Plus he hadn’t been chosen as security chief for nothing and there was no doubt he was the single most dangerous individual on board, retired marine or not. Frag headed former Space Fleet captains didn’t even count let alone the rest of the civilians. He nodded to himself deciding that maybe he should get two more holo tattoos on his other arms and spit in anyone’s eye who complained.

Muldoon rubbed his eye spots again to re-focused on his computer screen. He’d let his thoughts wander and it wasn’t any wonder since he reviewed all available data on this mission for the infinite time and still drawn a blank. The original call for medical re-supply and possible med-evac was all too brief and vague and every other sub space communication over the intervening two weeks had maddeningly gone into too little detail. So they really had little idea about what was really wrong and that worried the master chief in him. It also didn’t set well with him to be told by Mr Space Fleet that his job was only to keep the ship safe and secure. What did Captain McAllister think asking questions about a possible threat was? idle chit chat?

Muldoon sighed and keyed the play back on the original message with the sound muted, studying the expressions of the face on the screen. Like all dralasites he was able to detect lying due to physiological changes in the skin and face of the one lying but it didn’t work so well with recorded images. Still, his gut told him the director of Science Station Romeo Alpha 047 was not being completely honest or at least he was failing to tell everything that he knew. Muldoon shook himself, he wasn’t getting any answers staring at the video logs yet again.

He pushed up from his chair and decided to quietly sneak onto the bridge and take his station at the laser battery controls before Mr. Space Fleet made a point of calling general quarters just before dropping out of void. No up tight Space Fleet puke who had captained a desk for eight years prior to getting this gig was going to school him on protocol. None of the medical staff paid any attention to the fuss over military protocol and he suspected they were half amused by the pissing contest between the captain and the security officer. All in all Muldoon had the honor of the Royal Marines to uphold and everyone knew Space Fleet sucked vacuum compared to the Royal Marines of Clarion.

Muldoon was irritated. They had transited into system Xiu 55618 without event. He had taken immense pleasure at rattling the Captain when McAllister had idly suggested to the astrogator that they should sound the GQ alarm for void transit and Muldoon purposely misinterpreted that as an order to do it himself. Mr. Space Fleet had failed to notice him at his station for nearly forty minutes or even that he had brought the astrogator a cup of coffee. Captain McAllister had jumped clear out of his chair at the blare of the alarm with a distinct look of panic that caused Muldoon to suspect that the captain’s prior combat experience had required the changing of his shorts after it was over.

Now the science station had fobbed them off, claiming the need to button up as the moon passed behind its gas giant for the projected storms during that event. Yet it was clear that they had nearly two hours before they lost communication and that time could be put to good use finding out what was going on. Yet the captain being heated over his embarrassment had gone along with the station’s excuse and denied Muldoon his opportunity to ask questions. Muldoon knew both of them were being petty now but he didn’t care. The panic on the captain’s face had been too precious and beside, now the captain had a taste of what he’d been doing to the civilian crew.

For once the captain decided to forgo the GQ alarm and simply use the intercom to warn the crew of the orbital insertion maneuvers. Muldoon smirked at that while setting up his gunnery station’s tie-in to the radar and scanners using Royal Marine procedures. It wasn’t so much of a snub against Space Fleet as it was comforting to follow the procedures he could have done in his sleep after doing them for twenty years.

The captain executed the final deceleration burn putting them into orbit and zero gravity. Muldoon didn’t relax with him and the astrogator preferring to stick to marine procedure and confirm their orbital proximity was clear. The captain had left his chair to fetch a squeeze bulb of coffee when Muldoon spotted the first object. He queried his targeting computer and swore as its answer came back. The object was starting to move and it was on a collision course with the ship.

His fist smashed the GQ alarm causing the captain to squeeze coffee all over his white uniform. Muldoon ignored the captain’s swearing, focusing on what were now two mysterious objects on a collision course with the ship with plumes of escaping gas jetting out behind them. It was going to be tight to target and shoot both bogies. The laser battery responded crisply and his first shot scored resulting in a bright explosion. Muldoon had the battery training on the second bogie when the astrogator had finally shaken off his surprise and updated the tactical plot revealing yet a third bogie. Muldoon’s second shot went home resulting in a second bright explosion. He could tell he wouldn’t get the third bogie in time but still tried.

Somehow the captain had found his chair and activated the all hands frequency warning the crew of imminent impact. Muldoon rushed the final shot not waiting for a solid targeting solution preferring to shoot by eye spot rather than not get any shot at all. The laser beams missed and seconds latter the ship was rocked by an impact.

Muldoon knew instantly something was off. He had been in ships hit by weapons, asteroids and even other ships and this impact was not like any of those occurrences. He was wondering to himself what was next when the computer announced the orbit was decaying.

The bridge was crowded with the addition of the ships engineer, chief medical officer and the xeno biologist. A feed from the external cameras was on the main view screen. It showed a blob like throbbing organism that was sticking to the hull like a lump of wet clay.

“Facinating!” exclaimed Mason, the xeno biologist.

Muldoon wished he had actual eyeballs to roll since this was the twentieth time Mason had said that. Why was he the only one concerned that an organism had attached itself to the ship and then angled its gas bladder to push the ship into the atmosphere? He could think of a number of things to call it like alarming, concerning or downright scary but not fascinating. Any minute now Mason would be asking, yet again, if it really tried to use its gas jet to force the ship toward the moon.

Lucky for them Muldoon had shot down two out of three. With the way the captain had struggled to regain control and return to a stable orbit it was positively frightening to think what would have happened if more than one of those things has struck the ship.

Forbidden Moon Background

Six light years northeast of Prenglar system lies the binary system, Xiu 55618. Originally explored and cataloged during the early days of the Age of Exploration immediatly following the First Sathar War, it was classed uninhabitable. Due to the uninhabbitable classification and the subsequent loss of the exploration vessel (with the route to Xiu 55618 being unpublished) the system was ingored for decades till a feighter misjumped enroute to Madderly's Star and brought back word that the earlier report on Xui 55618 may not be entirely accurate.

The freighter captain sold his data on Xui 55618 to recover lost time and money and the system recieved a second look by a private exploration service. This service re-did the survey and discovered several anomalies. Rather than make the jump route from Prenglar to Xiu 55618 public, they auctioned of the route charts to interested parties. Cassidine Development Corporation beat out Pan Galactic Corporation and established a research station in system and maintained the charted route as a company secret.

Ten days (GM's who rule void travel to be instantaneous should make this 4 days) ago the Space Fleet command recieved a medical emergency call from the CDC operation in Xiu 55618. Since the jump route was a secret, Space Fleet was unable to dispatch a vessel. CDC didn't want to release the route charts but their hands were tied by law in that the medical emergency call had been made and a duly commissioned representative of the UPF would be required to investigate. The CDC offices at Port Loren offered to provide an astrogator to plot the jump but space fleet regulations prohibited a civilian from doing this. In the end a Medical Services Organization, while technically a civilian servive, qualified as a government representative. A CDC astrogator was posted to the MSO rescue scout, Samaritan and the ship was dispatched to Xiu 55618.

In Xiu 55618 the crew of the MSO Samaritan discovered a primary star orbited by an asteroid belt, a ringed gas giant with a moon, another asteroid belt and a distant secondary star.

The CDC astrogator gave a 1 credit tour of the system, the asteroid belts had the original names of Inner and Outer. The gas giant was known as Capra and its one surviving moon was Tabulous. The distant companion star was Faindre.

Capra's moon posesses a thin toxic atmosphere and is the location of Science Station Alpha Romeo 47. On Tabulous' closest approach to Capra severe storms sweep the surface accompanied with lightning discharges. The safest place for living organisms is beneath the surface in the frozen tunnels of the science station. The safest place for grounded ships is a box canyon kilometers from the science station. The topography of the terrain around the canyon conveys protection from the storms and ships that are cabled to the grounding rod will not suffer from the lightning discharges.

UPFMS Samaritan

Rescue Scout
 15 5 4 50 LB
Additional Notes: 3 Atmoprobe

The Samaritan is not a purpose built rescue scout but a loaner from Space Fleet. Its assault rockets were off loaded and quick internal changes were made to install a sick bay.

Sick bay qualifies as a hospital for purposes of performing medical skills.

Ship stores
Eva equipment: 10 pair magnetic shoes, 20 life support packs (for space suits), 10 extra suit patches, 4 rocket packs, 16 canisters of rocket pack fuel

Engineering Tools: 2 engineer's toolboxes, spare technician's tool kit, 2 laser power torches, laser torch power packs

Hasardous Environment equipment: 16 gas masks, 10 toxy-rad gauges, 10 hazardous environment skeinsuits (HES suite) with matching bubble mask (see below), 20 spare minipower clips (for HES suite)

Survival Gear: 16 emergency beepers, 2 emergency receivers, 1 food purifier, 1 grappling gun, 2 extra grappling heads, 100m microline x3, crete sprayer and 3 tanks of crete, 3 infla-tents & 6 air canisters, 20 plasti-ponchos, 40 emergency ration meals in foil packs, 20 all-weather blankets, 16 water packs

Power Sources: 40 20SEU clips, 1 power backpack, 4 power belts, 1 type A parabattery

Medical Suplies: 4 med kits, 4 extra freeze fields, 16 aller-tabs, 16 Fungi-tabs, 16 Neutrad, 16 salgel, 16 sporekill, 4 stretcher bots (see below)

Weapons: 10 dose grenades, 5 smoke grenades, 5 tangler grenades & 5 solvaway, 5 sonic stunners, 1 auto-rifles and 3 clips, 1 laser rifle, 10 stun sticks

Miscellaneous Equipment: 4 compasses, 10 flashlights, 16 lifejackets, 6 machetes, 1 magnigoggles, 6 parawings, 4 polyvoxes, 2 radiophones

Note: All crew have the following issued equipment: Presure suit, Hazardous Enviro Skeinsuite w/ attached bubble mask (gray), 1 tool kit for an appropriate skill, chronocom, ID card, white uniforms (no special properties). Engineer and his assistent have space suit armor for eva work in wreckage of damaged ships.

Hazardous Enviro Skeinsuite (HES suite): a presurized skein suit with a bubble mask (in no way a suitable replacement for presure suite in a vacuum enviroment) it has a programable life support unit that will filter toxins or concentrate oxygen in toxic or thin atmospheres. It operates of a mini power clip using 1 SEU per hour thus it has a 10 hour endurance on one mini power clip. 2 kg. 600 Cr.

Stretcher-bot: A level 2 standard body robot equipped with hover mode of movement. The stretcher bot is reconfigurable for a vrusk casualties and is equipped with restraints (to hold a casualty), a removable freeze field, an emergency beeper, a toxy rad gauge, and an emergency inflating "tent" that will filter toxins or concentrate oxygen in much the same way as a HES suite but powered off the type A parabattery running the robot.

Assist MSO medical officers and other MSO personnel
in recovering casualties and bringing them safely
to an assigned sick bay.

 FUNCTION 1Defines all MSO personnel as able to give orders to the
stretcher bot.
Defines medical officers as having level 3 med skill
(reflected in their ID card). These personnel can
counter-mand any order given to the bot by other
recognized MSO subordinates but not of orders given
by an officer with higher med skill.
Defines the assigned sick bay (usually the hospital
facilities it should bring casualties too- in this case
the sickbay of the Samaritan).
Defines safely as avoiding danger to the casualty first
and the robot seconde