Entering the Facility

Characters: Arthur, Joe, Mazun
NPC: Gunderson, Rrokoth, Dathuel, Lt. Ghall and two guards
Location: Ghasghina Island Defense Facility
System: Korstsouth

1202.18.3 - 14:30 IST, 15:45 Local Time (39.5 hour day)

As noted from the safety of the G-Carrier, the welcome center is pretty beat up. It's D-shaped with the curve facing the landing pad. The curve is primarily composed of acrylamide glass windows from floor to ceiling. Every half meter of height is a 100 cm wide structural band. Ample sunshine reveals that the welcome center is empty. The far wall inside the center as well as the receptionist's desk appear to be made of wood, stained to an orange-pecan finish. The desk is 1.1 meters high. What could be described as a wide "mail slot" is open, revealing a metallic tray stripped of its contents. Pock marks in the receptionist desk reveal a metallic core beneath the wood facade.

The windows are shot up. The doors are off their hinges. Arthur and Rrokoth easily make their way inside. There is no one behind the desk. A chair lies tipped over on the sand-colored tile floor. Behind the desk are a pair of doors that appear to retract into the walls. Through their reinforced glass windows, a set of stairs can be seen. They lead down maybe three meters where another set of similar doors leads to a hallway.

The receptionist's desk contains a series of monitors and a comm system. All are powered down. A couple of the monitors are visibly damaged.

There are two domes in the back corners of the room's ceiling. They look like security camera domes. They're dark. Arthur instructs Lt. Ghall's guards to take out the cameras. They look to her for confirmation, and she gives a curt nod of assent.

While they comply, Arthur and Rrokoth pry open the doors leading to the stairs. They're heavy, but can still be slid along their tracks. Once Arthur is finished with his, he helps out Rrokoth. The group descends the stairs to a short corridor that leads to another set of doors.

Before prying them open, Arthur and Rrokoth peer through the glass. Light filters in from both sides of the hall, more so on the west side. Beyond the doors is a long corridor with several rooms to either side. Not seeing anything moving, they pry open these doors as well.

Not hearing anything, they begin sweeping the corridor and its rooms for signs of activity. The vargr in the group detect a faint, rank odor that they describe as "stale seawater". It grows stronger the further one proceeds down the corridor. With this level being unoccupied, they proceed with a more thorough search of the rooms.

The first room on the right appears to be a waiting room. A horizontal band of windows, 1.5 m from the floor, runs along the west and north walls. A solitary monitor, 140 cm in size, is hung on the south wall. Couches and chairs line every wall but the south. The floor here, like the corridor and other rooms, is covered with a polished stone tile.

The first room on the left is a kitchenette. There are several smashed vending machines as well.

The second rooms on the left and right are long conference rooms. Similar style windows line their outside walls. Monitors can be found on their south walls. Each room has a long wooden table and many chairs. The chairs are in disarray.

The third rooms on the left and right are also long conference rooms, similar to the others.

The corridor ends in an elevator. The seawater smell is now barely noticeable to humans. To either side is a stairwell (indicated by pictogram) behind a set of doors.

Gunderson asks Lt. Ghall, "Where to?"

"The archive should be down. I don't know how far."

Dathuel asks, "What's above us?"

"Colonel Dhukhs said admin offices."

"Is there a chance the plans would be up there in someone's office?"

Lt. Ghall shakes her head. "No."

"Why not?"

"Colonel Dhukhs said that no one kept physical copies of anything. They all utilized the network."

Dathuel turns to Mazun and asks, "Is there a way we can see if the network is still up? Something shot at us. If there's power for a turret, maybe there's power for the network."

Gunderson nods. "Seems plausible."

They look to Mazun for an answer.

Mazun replies, "Yes." He pulls out his spectrum analyzer and holds it up. "I'm not detecting any EMFs. If there's power, I'm not detecting any in this room." He switches over to radio. "Not detecting any wireless networks."

Dathuel says, "They weren't wireless."

Mazun looks at her. "What? I thought this world was tech level 11. All network communications should be wireless."

She nods while pointing at a data port. "Unless you've got something to hide."

"But encryption—"

"Can be broken. A hardwired system physically isolated from the rest of the world is far more secure than any wireless network."

"But what about satellite uplink? Surely they had some form of communication with the outside world."

The group looks to Lt. Ghall. "Don't look at me. I don't know."

Dathuel continues, "They probably did but kept them separate. Regardless, we should check it out." She points with her nose to the data port.

Mazun plugs the spectrum analyzer into the data port. A green light comes on. "The network is active."

Joe steps forward. "I brought a vakh detector."

Gunderson says, "Shouldn't we assume that there's vakh already in the network? Unless someone else is here, vakh fired that turret at us. Lt. Ghall?"

She shakes her head. "No one comes here because everyone thinks the vakh took over this facility once it attacked our world. I've never met anyone who's even lied about coming here."

"A smart wolf would keep the story alive if there was a prize he wanted for himself," Rrokoth says.

Gunderson sighs. "So unless I'm missing something, our only two options are to try to log into the network to find the files and hope that the vakh doesn't hitch a ride with us, or we try to find the archive vault for a physical copy and hope we don't run into anything nasty. Am I missing any other options?"

Joe turns to Gunderson. "No, your assessment matches mine."

He turns to look at the others "Our opponent is either some group of people who survived on this island since the fall, or it's a Vakh infected computer. My thoughts are that the logistics of feeding any sizable force on this island is pretty unsustainable; therefore I am favoring Vakh as the most probable opponent. Even if there were survivors, they would be a small group of untrained scavengers, more likely to hide and skulk in the shadows, now that their big scare tactic—of firing the turret—has failed and a well armed and equipped team has landed on their island. If they are there at all they would only attack us if we approach their nest.

"This detector," he adds while holding up his dummy detector box, "is tuned to pick up Vakh transmissions so if this place was hardwired it might not pick up the Vakh at all."

He once again faces Gunderson. "Therefore, I suggest we focus on looking for a hard copy, instead of plugging into that port. Whomever is our adversary, it is the option with the lowest risk/highest probability of success."

Gunderson nods. "To the archive vault it is."

Looking for the Archives

Characters: Arthur, Joe, Mazun
NPC: Gunderson, Rrokoth, Dathuel, Lt. Ghall and two guards
Location: Ghasghina Island Defense Facility
System: Korstsouth

1202.18.3 - 15:00 IST, 16:15 Local Time (39.5 hour day)

The group reaches the end of the corridor and pauses in front of the elevator with the elevator to either side.

Gunderson says to Arthur and Joe, "Any preference for either stairwell?"

Rrokoth says jokingly, "It would be quicker if we could take the elevator."

With that, there's a "ding" at the elevator control panel. The "down" button is lit. A mechanical groan sounds from the elevator shaft, followed the sound of something heavy moving up. Above the elevator doors, the display lights up. "SL7" then "SL6".

"Crap!" Arthur exclaims.

Dathuel curses Rrokoth. "What did you do that for?"

Rrokoth barks back. "I was kidding around! How was I to know it's voice activated?"


Arthur directs the team to cover, then prepares to engage anything that comes out of the elevator with his LAG.


On hearing Arthur's command, Joe ducks down into a firing stance with his combat rifle, finger on the trigger. Behind the polarized glass of his faceplate, his eyes become steel as he focuses on the elevator. "Everyone, find cover".


Rrokoth moves to the stairwell door to their right, his ACR at the ready to flank whatever comes out of the elevator.

With Arthur and Joe kneeling, Lt. Ghall and her guards stand behind them, weapons at the ready. The doors to the corridor are open.


Mazun, Dathuel, and Gunderson are behind them, standing in the doorways of the closest rooms.


There's a pronounced "ding" as the elevator arrives on this floor. The doors open and a meter high wall of water empties out. It fans out and barrels into the group. Arthur and Joe are knocked off balance but are otherwise ok.

Mazun curses and tries to protect his equipment from water.

The elevator is empty, save for two skeletal arms dangling from handcuffs attached to the inside railing. There is no body.

When no shots are fired, Gunderson says, "What's there?" He splashes through the puddles left in the wake of the elevator's wet payload. "Poor bugger."

Rrokoth laughs at the sight of the wave pouring out. He approaches the elevator. Upon noticing that no one else is laughing, he peers inside. He whimpers a little.

Mazun gets up, assumes the military will cover everything, and looks whether the bones have claws.

Dathuel joins him. She peers inside the elevator and says, "Vargr." Then she turns away to face the rest of the group.

Mazun then conducts an EM scan in an effort to find the voice activation equipment. The scan turns up the elevator control panels, both inside and outside of the elevator, and a security camera near the ceiling looking down upon the entrance.

Mazun looks at Arthur and points at the camera. "Somebody or something might be looking at us through that, care to put it out?"

Arthur growls at the sight of the camera. He takes out his gauss pistol and fires a quick shot at it, destroying it.

Mazun then says, "Give me a second here. I want to check this out."

He then looks for something to block the elevator door so it won't close. Not finding anything in the hallway, he goes back to the conference rooms. He spots some chairs. They're 1.2 meters in height. They're on wheels and they swivel. The parts are a mix of metal and plastic. There are some LED monitors, but they're only a meter in length. Mazun suspects that the chairs are stronger. The conference tables are too big. There are some rectangular tables: 30 x 60 cm tops on 1 m legs.

Mazun grabs a chair and uses it to block the elevator entrance, then gets in.

On cue, the elevator doors try to close. Upon hitting the chair, the doors rebound open.

Mazun inspects the elevator cabin trying to see whether it was watertight or it might have dropped water on the way up. He says out loud, "The elevator came from SL8 or SL7 and had a meter of water. We should find out whether everything is flooded down there."

The elevator doors try to close again. Failing to do so, they rebound open.

Mazun notices water droplets at the top of the elevator. The elevator was apparently not watertight.

"It's not watertight," he announces to the group.

The elevator doors try to close yet again. Failing to do so, they rebound open.

Mazun looks whether it would be possible to lift a floor panel from the elevator. He surmises that if it is easy to do, he will do so and peer down, using some basic sensors to try and find out where the water surface is and how high a level is. He wants to look around to see whether going down this way is feasible.

But the elevator floor is coated in some sort of vinyl. He'd need to find something sharp to cut it.

The elevator doors try to close again, but this time the amount of force applied by the doors seems stronger. The chair remains in place, but it sounds as if a piece of plastic may have cracked.

Gunderson, who has been monitoring Mazun's progress, says, "Mazun, I think it might not be a good idea to stay in there for much longer."

Mazun glances at Gunderson and says, "OK. Hope everybody can swim, lower levels are completely underwater."

Gunderson looks deflated.

Mazun climbs over the chair then pushes it inside the elevator. He says, "SubLevel 5," loud enough for the elevator to him.

The door closes with a satisfactory thud and begins to descend.

Mazun turns around and asks, "Left or right?"

Gunderson says to Arthur, "Unless you have a stairwell preference, I'd say we should take the right stairwell. Judging from the topography of the island, it faces the interior of the island. If there's an emergency exit, it should be on that side."

Arthur replies, "Let's do it."

Gunderson gestures towards the door. "Lead on."

As the group starts moving, Mazun says to Arthur, "There is probably a camera in every level in same spot."

Arthur nods.

Joe joins Arthur at the door. As Arthur crouches down and makes to pull down on the handle, Joe has his ACR at the ready. When Arthur opens the door and pushes in, they find the stairwell empty. Light filters in through small windows, one at each landing.

The group makes its way down the stairs. At each floor, there is text designating the floor number and some kind of card reader. There are also security cameras. Each one has a red light indicating that it has power.

Arthur instructs Lt. Ghall, via translator, to have her wolves take out each of the security cameras they see.

At SL3, the group reaches the emergency exit to outside. From here down the way grows dark.

Gunderson says, "Alright, hold up. Ghall, I know you said that you didn't know how far down the archives were, but I need a best guess."

Ghall replies, "If it were me, I wouldn't put it on the lowest level. Judging from the seawater in the elevator, SL7 is open to the sea and obviously compromised. SL6? It's down far enough to be shielded from prying eyes and may be hardened to attack. And dry."

Gunderson turns to his group. "Does that sound about right to you guys? I'd rather not search every level if I don't have to."

Arthur says, "Right, let's get movin'. If we get suckered down there and cut off from the surface, this is really gonna blow dead goats. So I hope everyone is ready to fight back up the stairwell, or go for a LOOOONNGGGG swim up through the flooded sections."

At Arthur's comment, Mazun looks thoroughly unhappy and secures his equipment as well as he can, assuming impending exposure to water. But then he has a thought.

Gunderson follows up: "Right, then. Down to SL6 then. After you, Arthur."

Before they can go, Mazun says, "Elevator."

Gunderson turns to him. "Come again?"

Mazun explains himself, "Let's check how things are two levels down, shall we?" While everyone ponders this question, he conducts an EM scan. He takes a couple of steps back and up in the stairwell.

Gunderson shrugs. "I'm not sure I see the point. Unless there's some reason to think that the archives are on this level."

Rrokoth tries the door handle anyway. "It's locked," he says.

Mazun waves his EM detector near it. "Ah, it's an electronic lock. Looks like a thumbprint reader."

Dathuel nods, "Nothing to prevent you from exiting during an emergency, but if you want to get back in, you'd better be authorized personnel."

Mazun puts his ear to the door and listens for a "ding" and a "whoosh" or no "whoosh". He keeps an eye on the EM detector. After several minutes of listening, he detects no sound nor does the EM detector indicate any activity beyond the electronic lock.

A puzzled look crosses his face, but he only says, "Something does not add up. Let's go slowly."

The group resumes its descent down the stairs. Mazun's EM detector picks up security cameras—until they're smashed by one of Ghall's guards—and the electronic locks barring entrance to each level, but nothing else. In short time, the natural lighting ends as the group is too far underground. Flashlights are used to light the way.

Down on SL6

Characters: Arthur, Joe, Mazun
NPC: Gunderson, Rrokoth, Dathuel, Lt. Ghall and two guards
Location: Ghasghina Island Defense Facility
System: Korstsouth

1202.18.3 - 15:30 IST, 16:45 Local Time (39.5 hour day)

The stairwell ends at SL6. The air is damp. The door is locked.

Gunderson says, "Mazun? Do you want first crack at the lock?"

Mazun answers by approaching the door. He tries to determine whether there is a mass of water behind the door. First, he checks whether it is watertight by trying to slide something thin through the cracks. He's able to stick a utility knife blade around the door seam, but it encounters some part of the door frame instead of going all the way through.

Not satisfied, he tries a full EM sensor spectrum sweep. He says to the group, "Water transmits EM differently than air." After a few minutes of mixed results, he pounds the door and listens for a difference. At last he feels he has the answer he's looking for.

Rrokoth says, "Should've done that from the start."

Mazun takes out his electronic lockpick set and positions himself in front of the lock while Arthur and Joe ready themselves in front of the door. Gunderson stands at the door handle. Within seconds the lock is disengaged and the sound of a retracting bolt can be heard. Gunderson silently counts to three and pulls open the door.

Beyond the door, the sloshing of water can be heard. It's completely dark and smells like seawater. Flashlights (electric torches, if you prefer) reveal a smooth concrete floor extending as far the beam goes (10 m). A yellow guardrail runs a meter to the left of the door and is perpendicular to it. Shining a flashlight to the left reveals that the floor drops off on the left side of the guardrail and is flooded. Debris bobs up and down. Winches hang from the ceiling. Light shone to the right of the door reveals a concrete wall a meter from the door.

Mazun's EM detector sparks to life. The elevator shaft is powered and isn't far along the right wall. Near it and closer to you is another door with an electronic lock. There's a placard with writing on it, but it's unreadable from the doorway.

"Ok," Gunderson says in a low voice. "Stay away from that railing. I don't need anyone falling in. Let's hope the archive is on this level. I didn't bring my swim trunks."

The group approaches the door, Arthur and Joe taking point. Lt. Ghall and her guards watch the group's back. Gunderson shines a light on the placard. It says in Gvegh, "ARCHIVE - Authorized Personnel Only".

Gunderson says to Mazun, "Since you had no problems with the first, care to give this one a go?"

Mazun approaches the lock and attaches the electronic lockpick. Again, the lock is quickly hacked, and the sound of a retracting bolt can be heard.

With Joe and Arthur at the ready, and everyone else behind them, Gunderson pulls open the door.

"What the..."

Behind the non-descript door appears to be something more substantial: a vault door. With electric torches playing across its surface, the group can see that that the stainless steel door is air and water tight. It also swings inward. Unlike the other doors, its lock is mechanical, not electronic.

The lock consists of five, single-digit numbers. They currently state: 0-0-0-0-0.

Rrokoth grumbles. "Only a hundred thousand combinations. This won't take long at all."

Gunderson says to Arthur, "I guess we're going to need those breeching charges after all."

But before Arthur can start digging through his backpack, Dathuel says, "I got this, Commander."

"Be my guest."

Dathuel approaches the vault, puts an ear up to its surface, and slowly turns the dial on the numbers. It takes her a few minutes, but ultimately she's successful. She pulls a half-meter lever and solid clunking sound is heard.

"Well done, Dathuel," Gunderson says.

Next: In the Archives