The Ghostship

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Date Event
23.04.06  
165.100 Back at base camp Oliveira is impressed with the gang. He proposes he and his gang take over the hover-apc. As a trade, he and his men will steal a yacht for them to get of Westcape.
The group agrees, but because Frank has been badly injured they want to wait a few months to let him heal. Oliveira suggests they camp at Southpoint till then. Heís got some friends there who can help them lay low.
119.100 The group is getting ready to leave. Late that night one of Oliveiraís men arrive and takes them out to the reef where a very luxurious yacht is waiting for them. Itís a catamaran, two decks plus a sun roof, and each can get his or her own double bedroom. Alex admires the craft, and estimates its showroom value at 100.000 cs. The only thing they are not happy with is its name ĎWalkureí. It is quickly renamed to ĎDuck!í.
220.100 In the morning, the Duck!. they make their goodbyes. Being the best helmsman Eileen plugs her jack into the Duck!ís maincomp and a leisurely sets course to Outpost, where the group has been before. From there they plan to visit New Fremantle.
222.100 On the 2nd day the weather radar shows a class 1 hurricane. Eileen Ė who pilots the Duck! most of the time- heads straight south and manages to outrun the storm. One hundred kilometers to the south they decide to anchor here for a few days until the storm has passed.
225.100 With the storm passed Eileen resumes their course along the southern border of Patchwork Reef. The days are spent with fishing and sunbathing. Frank, who is still in pain from his facial wound keeps below deck most of the time.
228.100 At noon the weather radar once again indicates a storm, a class 4 this time. Thatís bad but it gets even worse: the storm is nearing from the south, trapping the Duck! between itself and patchwork reef.
After a quick heads-up itís decided that being this near to the reefs is way too dangerous. Instead, Eileen sets a course into the storm towards El Mar del Sur . Keeping the bow into the waves, sheíll try to skirt the edge of the storm and avoid the worst.
The sky grows dark with each minute, winds whip up the waves as high as houses, tossing the ship around like puck in a hydroshot match. In spite of this violence Eileen manages to keep the Duck! on into the waves, the little craft and its occupants are in for a very rough night.
229.100 During the night the storm increases in intensity. Behind the helm Eileenís stomach gives out and she spills her breakfast across the helm. Despite that she manages to keep the ship into the waves while Frank cleans up the mess.
Just when they think things canít get worse a stray bolt of lightning strikes the starboard engine with a sickening bang. It and the decking catch fire. Reacting rapidly Rave grabs a fire extinguisher and puts out the fire before it can do more damage.
Struggling with the now limping ship Eileen canít control the ship anymore and as a large tears away the port aft decking. Within seconds the port engine is flooded and minutes later it too gives out, leaving the vessel at the mercy of the element.
231.100 After four days the storm finally abates and itís time to assess the damage. Frank and Eileen agree : there is absolutely no way they are going to be able to repair their boat without assistance. The port engine needs to be disassembled to dry, and the starboard engine is fused together.
But when Frank consults the charts he sees they have a serious problem. Adrift and without engine power the Duck! is caught in a strong southward current to the Southern Hope Chain, thousands of kilometers away with no human settlement anywhere close by. Worse yet, the navcomp has lost its signal. The storm has driven them out of range of the navcomp satellite network.
237.100 After six days its wind still, sun burning in the deck. The group dines on freshly caught barbequed fish.
239.100 Frank notices something strange : He has not caught a single fish the last day. Stranger still, he has not seen a single life form for the past day.
That evening the ship enters a think pea fog.
240.100 Breakfast. Itís a good think that Oliveira had the ship fully stocked before giving it to the group. At least they wonít die of hunger.
<beep> <beep> a blip on the radar. A quick analysis later Frank has determined itís a stationary metallic object. The current is transporting them straight to it, and theyíll reach it in 2 hours.
Alex wants to maneuver the Duck! out of the way but Frank and Rave tell him thatís useless: they are caught in the current, and even so : it may be just the break they are looking for. Itís made from metal, hence man-made, so perhaps there are people who can help them.
After a tense two hours the stern of a large ship looms up from the tick mists. Itís at least 16 meters across, with a large A-frame mounted on the aft deck. Itís lists slightly to port. A mast with antennaís and dishes has broken off and hangs aside the pilot house. There are no lights, no mist horn and no signs of life, but an organic alien smell permeates the air.
Closing in further they see a strange, slime-like greenish growth is covering large parts of the ship. The ship itself appears to be caught in a large seaweed-like mat. Then, Frank spots a name on the vesselís stern : The Revelle, hailing from Dyffedd.
The group is silent for a moment. They are not entirely confident they are still on LavOrgís good side, considering Frankís mailbomb went off months ago. But since the ship seems to be deserted they decide to check it out and moor the Duck! to the port of the Revelle, out of the way of the slime-like growth.
Rave and Frank board the derelict, while Eileen and Alex stay behind.
Frank investigates the green goo. it does not seem to affect the metal deck, but on closer inspection he sees that where it has covered the bioplastic bulwark, it has pocked the surface. Drawing on his knowledge of Poseidonís flora and fauna he thinks itís a kind of fast fungus.
Carefully Rave and Frank enter the shipís interior. Itís gloomy and the organic smell is stronger in the unventilated hallway they are standing in. Hopefully Rave tries the light switch but alas, the power is very thoroughly out. On the positive side, nearly each door is labeled with whatís behind it.
The hallway they are in appears to be the central corridor. There are numerous doors on both sides. about 10 meters inside is a hallway to the left, barricaded with chairs and tables. Here and there are patches of the green slime on the floor and walls.
The cargo bay contains a thick layer of mucus and is left alone. The hydrolab features a computer that they take back to the Duck!. After Alex has made very sure that itís slime-free he allows the computer aboard. Eileen will see what information she can glean from it.
Meanwhile, Rave and Frank continue their search of the ship. Rave pokes his head into the WetLab. Just when he decides itís got nothing of interest something drops on him from above. A snakelike worm tries to bite him but ends up with a mouthful of fur. In a reflex Rave has grabbed it by the throat and tries to pull it off him. The worm however is persistent. So is Rave and a few moments later he has ripped the ting in half. Its head is still dangling from Raveís fur.
Getting over their initial shock Rave notices his hands are all slimy. Remembering the stuff outside (and inside) Frank urges Rave to clean it off with alcohol; the HydroLab (where they got the computer) probably has some.
In the hydrolab Frank spots a cupboard above the sink. He walks over, reaches from the doors when suddenly another of those worm-critters erupts from the sink and bites Frank in his wrist. An excruciating pain shoots through his arm as the thing starts burrowing into his flesh.
Back on the Duck!, Eileen is disrupted from her hacking attempts by horrid screams piercing the silence.
Rave rushes to Frankís aid and manages to grab the worm by the part thatís still sticking out. Carefully but firmly he manages to dislodge the worm from Frankís flesh. As soon as it's removed from Frank the worm twists and attempts to bite Rave. Luckily heís got it gripped firmly with both hands and keeps it in check until Frank cuts the thing in half with his knife.
A hasty retreat to the Duck! is made. Once again, Alex refuses to let them come aboard until he has made sure they have no slime clinging to them. On board Frank cleans out his wounds with antibiotic cream and tells Rave to wash his hands with the same stuff. Christ! what on Poseidon are those things ?
Eileen focuses on her hacking again and manages to get in. Sadly, the comp reveals very little information, except from a guidebook instructing the user to store all mission data on the shipís maincomp.
So, what to do now : the worm-creatures are slimy, so they are most likely connected to the slime outside somehow. So, they should avoid the slime. Also, the worms apparently travel the plumbing so they are (semi-)aquatic, meaning that pools, sinks and toilets are potentially dangerous.
They really need to have more information. Perhaps the captainís log will give more information. The most best place to start looking for that is the bridge.
The group loads up : handguns, assault rifles and grenades are packed and BDUs are zipped tight. Carefully skirting around patches of green they make their way to the bridge on deck 4.
On deck 2 is a workboat, unused. 5 meters down the railing are empty berths for life rafts. So at least someone has attempted to abandon ship. But why have they not taken the workboat ? Frank zooms in on the small and sees something moving under the water. Right. Thatís a good enough answer.
The first door on deck 4 leads to the radio room. Navigational charts pinned to the wall show an uncontrolled zigzag course over the last days of this shipís journey. Planks are stocked with books and dataspikes on navigation, meteorology and currents. Frank gladly takes them. Perhaps with these he has a chance to determine where they are.
Next stop is the wheelhouse. When the door is opened a horrid stench of rotten flesh engulfs them. With their hands for their mouths the warily enter the room. In front of the right part of the console three still-clothed skeletons in unnatural contorted positions are stacked together, chunks of flesh still attached to the bones. A brown smudge surrounds the remains.
Frank warns them not to touch the skeletons as they search the wheelhouse. All consoles are dead, and the captainís log can not be found. However, on the rear wall is a map of the ship with all rooms clearly labeled.
Retreating into the fresh air the gang studies the map. On the third deck are the chief scientists stateroom and master stateroom. Perhaps the captainís log can be found there.
First they attempt to look into the rooms from the outside. The scientists stateroom is empty, but in the master stateroom a body is slumped against the wall. The door seems to be battered open. Also, there is some green slime on the floor in the passageway to the room.
Alex suggests to use bedding from other rooms on the deck to cover the slime-growth in the passage way, which is hailed as a great idea. But from the head of that room comes a sloshing sound. Alex : "Shall we open the door and see whatís in there ?". Other players simultaneously : "Hell no!!"
In the master bedroom Rave studies the door. It seems to be bashed in with an axe. Frank studies the body: It is middle-aged a man with a black beard. According to the name-tag this was captain Kendrick Coates. On his left wrist he wears a bodycomp.
Not wanting to touch the corpse Alex decides to use his pick pocketing skill to retrieve the bodycomp. [GM, after player has rolled dice : congratulations, you manage to nick the bodycomp without him captain Coates noticing. ☺]
Eileen examines the bodycomp and finds it to be wide open. Thatís weird, even the biggest moron knows to secure a comp. A quick search later retrieves the captainís log.
The group is silent for a moment. What should they do? Heed the captainís last wish, or get the hell out of there? Driven by the need to fix the engine they decide to attempt to find out more of what happened.
Skirting the outside of deck 2 the Duck!'s crew sees a large hole in the deck, down to level one. According to the maps thatís right above the galley. The hole and its surrounding s are covered with the slime, making it impossible to determine what created the hole.
If they are to find out more of what happened here, perhaps the bodycomp of the doctor can be of use. According to the captainís log, the doctor was shot during the mutiny in the mess.
Cautiously entering the mess the see 6 bodies. Some have their heads bashed in, others are stabbed to death. More disconcerting, there are squelching noises coming from the galley, as well as a stench of rotting meat.
Rave wants to look at the bodies farthest away. Then, without warning and fast as lightning a trio of worms launch themselves at Rave. A fast and furious combat ensues. Frank and Eileen open fire and manage to kill two worms. The third has latched on to Raveís arm and is burying itself a way inside. He grabs it by the tail and pulls it out, but immediately it retaliates and bites him in the other wrist. Assisted by the rest the third worm is killed too.
OK, thatís it. they are out of there. On the retreat Rave steals a quick look in the galley. There are bodies in there, heaped together in unnatural positions, rotten but still clothed. They are clearly dead, but somehow, they are moving along the floor.
Back on the Duck! they discuss the situation and their options. Why is the ship listing? Perhaps some rooms are submerged. Maybe, if they can get emergency power running they can shift additional ballast to port, and capsize the ship that way.
They split up : Eileen and Alex go to the bridge to operate the control, while Frank and Rave will try to get the emergency power generator operational.
In the emergency generator room is a control panel allowing the operator to shift power to specific parts of the ship. After 15 minutes of minor repairs Frank his the button and a dull vibration spreads to the ship. The generator has started.
Over the entire ship dull red emergency lightning ignites and on the bridge Eileen the consoles spring to life like a Christmas tree. While Alex keep a wary eye on the rotten skeletons she engages the pumps and shifts ballast to port.
As more and more water is moved to port the Revelle lists dangerously until the ships safety systems interfere and refuse to pump anymore water. Despites Eileenís best efforts she canít get the Revelle to capsize. Oh well, letís level her out instead.
That done, all regroup on the aft weather deck.
Dressed in a firefighting suit he found in a damage control locker (also noticing a fire axe was missing) Rave decides to use the shipís fire hose to clean the aft deck of the green goo.
After the aft deck has been cleaned one of the Revelleís cranes is used to hoist both engines out of the Duck! .With Alex guarding them Frank and Eileen start cannibalizing one engine to fix the other.
Meanwhile, Rave continues cleaning and spots a half rotten corpse, partially covered by slime near a large door on starboard side. The slime-covered torso has been completely wasted away, while the lower half still had flesh on the bones. Thoroughly disgusted Rave flushes it overboard with out examining it any further.
Hours later the fixed engine is placed in the port cradle. The cannibalized engine is placed in the starboard cradle.
As a final act, the workboat is lowered in the water. During that operation they notice a large hole in the ship's port hull just below the water line, as if something exploded from the inside out. Leveling out the ship made it visible. Apparently somebody already tried to sink the ship in vain.
Before leaving the Revelle the group decides to at least make an attempt to carry out Coatesí last wish. First, they try to extend the hole. One of the cranes is hooked to the hole already in the hull and the handle fixed to 'hoistí. With a creaking noise the crane apparently already weakened by the slime breaks of its socket and topples overboard. Damn.
OK, so that didnít work. Eileen gathers all explosives left from when they raided the Hanover listening post, and using the workboat attaches it to the side of the Revelle. With the timer on 30 minutes they tie the workboat to the Duck!, start the engine and head into the mist. Minutes later an explosion rips across the water surface. Then ... silence.
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