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Story 6

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Death Ray

Deep in one of the caves of TafJur, you and your crew are searching for relics from a culture that died with this now cold and barren planet. The caves you are in right now are no natural phenomenon. These caves were cut into the side of this mountain. You find a set of hidden doors while carefully inspecting one of the rooms. You manage to wench it open. While various things line the walls, your attention is drawn to the center of the room where a large metallic object is resting. Before you have a chance to think better of it, you brush some of the dust off of it. It starts thrumming and the room grows a little bit darker as if it is sucking in the light from around it. You call out to a couple of your crew members through your suits comm, “Jenkins, Z, I’ve found something, but I want to know what it is before I decide if we should bring it on board.” 

“Aye, Capt’n,” they both respond in unison.

“I’m sending you my location data now.”

When the two additional crew members step in, even through their helmets, you can see that they know they’re going to be pulling an all-nighter on this one. 

Early the next morning you hear a rap on your cabin door. You open the door and standing there is a tired but excited looking Z. Before you even ask, Z starts talking animatedly, “At first we couldn’t make heads or tales of this, but then I found that the interface was written in a scripted program language but even that didn’t solve all our problems because we didn’t have the foggiest clue about the written languages that this long dead culture used. Then I farted and Jenkins had an epiphany!”

“Wait, what?”, you interrupt. 

“Oh,um I farted, broke wind, ahhhh…flatulence”

“OK, I just wanted to make sure I heard you right, go on.”

“So as I was saying, the mere idea of the odor of flatulence reminded Jenkins about how the Zhian communicate via both words and smell, so we pulled up a copy of the Zhian Prime official alphabet. A few of the characters matched. We started isolating all the characters and matching the ones we knew and started to try and assign values to the other symbols and let the Universal Translator take a crack at it. What we found was a really elegant programming language that linked to various other pieces of code and data structures…”

At this point you raise your hand to stop Z. “This is great work that you and Jenkins did, but what’s the bottom line?”

“Those ancient aliens created a super weapon! During the past hour Jenkins and I have taken to calling it the ‘Death Ray’. Much of its hardware and software are still beyond us but we think we could rig it up and fire it. Calling it a little dangerous is an understatement. What do you think we should do Capt’n?”

  1. You could decide that such a device should never see the light of day and destroy it.
  2. You could install it with the intention of using it one day. It is a one time device that will successfully destroy all NPCs and players in the same sector as you, and even knock out a planetary shield for one round (ships on a shielded planet would still be unharmed as the planetary shield will have taken the damage) and it also causes 1d6 unblockable damage to your own ship. This is a one time use device and ceases to function afterwards.
  3. You could try and sell this to other space faring parties, although tight beam communication is better as you probably don’t want to announce to the entire drift system that you have a super weapon for sale. If doing this last one, you will need to meet the other ship on a planet to complete the transaction.

Clarifications: While the Death Ray can knock out a planetary shield, the Zhian have a double shield around Zhian Prime. Their inner shield would still be up. It is also noteworthy that this device does not harm the Space Kraken.