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Story 32

Trans-Human Project, part II

“Now, on Xia Galactic News, our top story focuses on Azure,” announces the news anchor. The scene switches to a crowded hospital ward with numerous patients restrained by medical equipment. “With a population of over 6 billion, Azure was on the brink of disaster until a cure for SARS-39 was discovered. However, the planet now faces a new challenge as nearly five percent of its citizens have developed a condition being referred to as lock-in after exposure to the virus. This new ailment causes irreversible paralysis of all voluntary muscles, though brain scans show that these individuals are still mentally active. Researchers are desperately searching for a solution to this issue.”

The scene then shifts to a researcher in a white lab coat, who explains, “Those affected by lock-in remain fully conscious but unable to move or react to external stimuli.”

As the newsroom segment returns, the anchor mentions, “We’ll be taking a brief pause for our sponsors, but stay tuned to hear the Super Class Glocken scores when we come back from break.”

Before the commercial rolls, you turn off the holo projector. As you ponder why this problem seems specific to Azure, Charles Truman from the Trans-Human Project contacts you through a tight beam communication.

“Based on my current line of work, I may have a potential solution to assist the countless individuals struggling with Lock-in. My research aims to transfer human consciousness into a crystalline matrix and create a mechanical body for it. While my progress in transferring thoughts and memories to the matrix has been promising, I still have years of development left before the matrix can fully integrate with a chassis. In my original timeline, this was not an urgent issue, but circumstances have changed and I must accept that there are others with more experience in high-end robotics. I have reached out to Dr. Merv Arken, who has successfully created various robotic minions, but we both agree that something crucial is missing – an interface that allows the matrix to control the physical actions of the chassis. This task is far more complicated than our animal trials thus far. We need an advanced AI to bridge the gap between the brain’s desires when contained in a crystal matrix and the actions of the chassis being developed by Dr. Arken based on my research. There used to be a company called HAL, which focused on advanced AI for robotics and starships. Unfortunately, they went defunct years ago and their owners and researchers seem to have disappeared. However, we suspect that much of their valuable research is buried in archives on Lunari. We need you to retrieve this data while I work on etching a consciousness onto a crystal matrix. Once you have both the crystal matrix and the AI data, take them to either Merv’s Missiles or Arken’s Arsenal for integration into the chassis. Then, we will need to quickly increase production capacity beyond what Dr. Arken and I are capable of handling alone. This will involve negotiating with a manufacturing union, so we would like you to go to the Kiln and help us facilitate these discussions with a union boss.”

If the active player accepts this task (and yes, they could be any species) hand them a new [Goal] card titled Trans-Human Project for them to track their progress. The first location they need to travel to in order to accomplish this goal is the Mission Point on Lunari.

Upon arriving at the mission Point on Lunari, read/ listen to Story 87.

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Story 31

The Flea Market

While you are docked at Aeon Space Station you learn that not only do they house numerous dignitaries from various nearby solar systems, but they also host cultural exchanges on a regular basis. On this occasion, visitors from different corners of the galaxy have come to sell and trade just about anything imaginable and maybe even some things you would have previously considered unimaginable.

The area reserved for these vendors reminds you of some sort of perverse looking flea market. The place is like a writhing, pulsating organism, with strange creatures selling a variety of goods. Tall, spindly beings with multiple arms barter with short, stout creatures covered in feathers.

A cacophony of sound emanates from every corner ranging from foreign melodic languages, to guttural sounds, to chirping, clinking, and chittering.

It is a carnival of the bizarre and exotic. There are pulsing, glowing orbs that emit a soft, ethereal hum. Shimmering fabrics that seemed to change color with every breath. Strange fruits and vegetables with spines and tendrils, emitting tantalizing scents. Tiny, wriggling creatures in jars, their eyes following you as you pass by. Crystals that seemed to contain entire galaxies within them. And much more as each item seemed more alien and wondrous than the last.

Amid the various stands, a few booths caught your eye. There was a peculiar feathered creature with strangely jointed legs, selling a variety of unique plants and a particularly intriguing carnivorous tree that you might consider purchasing for a certain bald man on another space station.

At another booth, a pair of B’tor offered advanced technology. One of the most interesting items was a food molecular reorganizer capable of replicating virtually any dish while maintaining a high nutritional value. It can utilize a general nutrition slurry to imitate nearly any food imaginable with the added benefit that the resulting food will even be healthy. However, up to five percent protein in the slurry comes from deceased B’tor, which some find unsettling. Yet in their culture, it is seen as providing for future generations after death. And let’s be honest, the idea of having something other than terrible space rations on your ship is tempting enough to overlook any moral qualms.

A group of insectoid creatures were selling crystals with some very interesting features. One of them was chittering away with your engineer about a way that one of their crystals could be used to improve ship blasters by maintaining beam coherency further out.

The small, fast-talking creatures with brown fur and tails were promoting a chemical they produce naturally that increases productivity. They have now found a way to synthesize it for others to benefit from.

Lastly, there was a tentacled creature at a booth displaying mesmerizing fabrics that changed color as air moved over them. These would surely sell well on Zhian Prime for a nice profit.

Most of these purchases are probably going to set you back about 2,000 credits, although you might be able to talk the insectoid creatures down a little if you get them to split the pair of crystals.

If you are considering purchasing a carnivorous tree, read/listen to Story 82.

If you are considering purchasing a food molecular reorganizer, read/listen to Story 83.

If you are considering purchasing crystals to improve your blasters, read/listen to Story 84.

If you are considering purchasing a drug from the small furry creatures, read/listen to Story 85.

If you are considering purchasing some beautiful fabric, read/listen to Story 86.

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Story 30

May the Schwartz be with you

The low rhythmic hum of the excavator echoes through the damp, limestone walls. As you continue your careful exploration, suddenly the drill jerks forward as if hitting an air pocket. You cautiously back the excavator out and inspect the hole, only to find that it leads into a series of previously carved caves. The smooth walls and intricate carvings indicate that these were created long ago by skilled hands.

A palpable excitement spreads through your crew as they enter the newly discovered tunnels. Suddenly there is a loud rumbling sound. Rocks begin to shift and tumble from the ceiling, burying the excavator in a cloud of dust.

As the rumbling subsides and the dust settles, you key on the comm in your headset. “OK everyone, check-in.”

One by one, all of your crewmen check-in. You breathe a sigh of relief once everyone is accounted for.

Your engineer checks his sensor packs and gazes around with wide-eyed amazement. Surprisingly, the sensors show that the air in this deep underground cavern is actually breathable. You stand in awe, realizing that you have stumbled upon a hidden world untouched by modern civilization for centuries.

“We’re not getting back out that way very easily, let’s explore down here some and see if we can discover another way out. Also, as long as the sensor packs are green lighting the air quality down here, we may want to conserve the oxygen in our EV suits.”

As hours pass and the tunnels branch off multiple times, you must constantly make decisions about which direction to take. Eventually you come to an intersection that looks familiar and based on the cartography software you’re running, you’ve been here before. You raise your hand and motion for everyone to circle up. “We’ve been to this position once before. We need to take a break and make plans. You motion to each of your crewmen in turn.”

Turning to your first officer “I need you to determine what we have in the way of food and water and how long we can survive.”

You look to your comm officer, “I need you to determine if we have a way of connecting to remotely activate the ship’s distress signal.”

You look at your navigator, “I want you to look at the maps that the cartography software has created to see what directions we might want to explore next.”

Lastly, you glance at your engineer, “Your job is to help everyone else and continue to monitor the air, as it’s strange to have such high air quality in caves, that so far appear to be abandoned, on a dead world.”

“I’m giving everyone 30 ticks to make their assessments.”

Only about 15 minutes pass when your first officer comes to you. “Thanks to the reclamation system in our EV suits, it’ll be several days before water becomes a problem, but unless someone forgot about a snacky bar in the pockets of their jump suit, we’ve got no food. I thought you might want to know that before everyone else gathers back up. We didn’t exactly plan for a picnic lunch when we came down to do some excavating.”

You nod in agreement and are about to speak when a hidden door in the tunnel slides open, revealing three short figures wearing hooded robes that conceal their faces. Due to their small stature, they appear unassuming. The leader points to the other two and says “Dink dink” to each of them, which they repeat back. Your universal translator fails to decipher their language. They offer canteens and dried meat to your crew members, repeating “dink dink” as they do so. Without much hesitation, your crew gratefully accepts the sustenance.

The brown-robed figures motion for all of you to follow them, and after passing through the doorway, it closes behind you. You enter a torch-lit anteroom and then follow the dinks through a gothic archway into a vast cavern with pillars and an altar adorned with a ten meter tall statue. The figure sits cross-legged with fiery red eyes, smoke billowing from its nostrils and pointed ears. The dinks stand reverently off to the side as you cautiously approach the altar.

Suddenly, flames shoot out of the nostrils of the statue. Your navigator gasps, and your comm officer whispers, “I think I just added to my suit’s reclamation system.”

“Now what’s going to happen?”, asks your first officer.

Your engineer quips, “Don’t ask and maybe it won’t happen.”

Then a booming voice echoes from the statue, “Silence!”

Everyone freezes.

The voice booms out, “Who dares enter the sacred and awesome presence of the everlasting Know-It-All?!”

You mutter to yourself, “Everlasting Know-It-All … It can’t be … He’s been dead over a thousand years.”

Your first officer inquires, “Who?”.


“Yogurt?”, your first officer repeats.

A door in the belly of the statue swings open and a small gold-skinned being with wrinkles appears and walks down the steps. “You heard of me?”

You respond, “Heard of you? Who hasn’t heard of you? Yogurt, the wise.”

Your engineer joins in, “Yogurt, the all-powerful!”

Even your comm officer chimes in, “Yogurt, the magnificent.”

“Please, please, don’t make a fuss. I’m just plain Yogurt.”

With an awestruck expression, you say, “But you’re the one…”

“Yes, I am the keeper of a great magic. A power known throughout the universe as the…”

Your first officer tries to interject, “Force?”

“No. The Schwartz.”, Yogurt corrects.

“The Schwartz?”

“Yes, the Schwartz.”

You jump back into the conversation, “But, Yogurt, what is this place? What is it that you do here?”

“In one word, merchandising.”

“Merchandising?”, you repeat with surprise.

“Come, I’ll show you.” Yogurt waves the dinks over to a steel shutter, “Open up the store.” As the gate rolls up Yogurt continues, “Come! Walk this way! Take a look. We’ve put the game’s name on everything! Merchandising is where the real money from this game is made. Xia the T-shirt. Xia the coloring book. Xia the lunchbox. Xia the breakfast cereal. Xia the flame thrower! The kids love this one. Last, but not least. Xia the doll.”

Yogurt picks up a plushy doll that looks remarkably similar to him and pulls a string on the doll. In a recorded voice, it says, “May the Schwartz be with you.”

Yogurt flashes you a self satisfied grin, “Adorable.” He sighs and continues, “What I need is for you to use your celebrity status as a spacer to promote this merchandise on the omni. In return, I’ll use the Schwartz to open the passage back to where you came in and even help you retrieve your excavator. But wait, there’s more. I’ll also give you a flask of Liquid Schwartz.”

You and your crew safely make it back to your ship, gain a fame point, and receive a Liquid Schwartz game token that does not require room on your ship and may be used one time to move your ship up to 12 spaces, even when it is not your turn. This game token looks like an Erlenmeyer flask.

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Story 29

Checkhov’s Egg

You give a curt nod to the comm officer as you receive an incoming hail from the Space Zoo. On the screen, a distinguished looking older man with a white beard and hair appears. “Greetings, Captain. I am offering a job that pays 6,000 credits for retrieving an egg and delivering it to me. The only catch is that you must sneak through a planetary shield.”

After a brief moment of consideration, you reply, “I’m intrigued. Can you provide more details?”

The old man nods and continues, “Planet 0 is nearly untouched by modern technology, save for a data beacon and shield generator. It is teeming with unique flora and fauna that may never be discovered due to their ban on xenobiologists and botanists. However, as someone who has been monitoring the planet’s data beacon, I have noticed a large and fascinating creature laying an egg right next to it. If you can retrieve this egg and bring it to me, I will compensate you generously. And if we successfully hatch the egg, your name will go down in history as the first person to bring back a zoological specimen from Planet 0.”

If you accept the job, read/ listen to Story 76 when you get to the mission point on Planet 0.

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Story 28


The emergency function on every ship’s communication system activates with three quick beeps, followed by three long beeps, and another three quick beeps. This sequence repeats itself three times as an urgent message is broadcasted to all vessels in space.

“I am Captain Gormley of the Cruise Ship Brobdingnagian. Our ship has collided with an ice asteroid in the Blench and we are experiencing multiple system failures. The most critical being our emergency displacement system. If our situation continues to deteriorate, not only will we lose the ship, but all passengers on board as well. Our impulse engines are also non-functional. We plead for help from the spacers of the Drift System to rescue us. Our estimated time before complete failure is three strands. Captain Gormley out.”

As you try to process this distressing information, a system-wide message from the Kiln interrupts.

“I regret to hear about the on-going tragedy of the Brobdingnagian cruise ship. I had expressed concerns to the owners about their decision to use non-union workers during construction. I would like to showcase the superiority of union workers by bringing the Brobdingnagian to the Kiln, where I can personally oversee repairs and provide a safe haven for its passengers. In return, I will reward all ships that assist with an additional 2,000 credits. Thank you for your aid.”

Place the Brobdingnagian game piece on the Mission Point located on the Blench [ice asteroid] sector. All ships that help with towing the Brobdingnagian to a living planet or the Aether Processing Station will receive 1,000 credits and a fame point, or if it is towed to the Kiln, all parties that help will receive 3,000 credits but no fame points. There are three rounds till the Brobdingnagian has catastrophic failure and is destroyed. When towing another ship, cut movement in half rounded down, and the ship being towed is in an adjacent space to your ship.

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Story 27

Bring me a dragon

Several spacers receive a video transmission from the Kiln, showing a large bald man with no neck, dressed in a tailored white suit.

“A new and hostile inhabitant of the Drift System has appeared in the Rivening. Scientists have tried to give it some foolish name calling it an astral volucrum reptilium, but what I see is the fuel of nightmares and mythology. I see a dragon. For the safety of the Drift System, I am offering 10,000 credits for someone to kill and haul the carcass of this creature to the Kiln where I may employ others to study this creature. If you choose to work in groups, I will leave it to you to determine how to share this haul.”

The Dragon’s spawn point is on Rivening between the Quarry and the Excavation spaces. The dragon can take 50 damage, fly 12 spaces, has a resilient hide that can absorb [d12] damage from an attack, and and use a plasma breath that can attack twice each round causing [d12] damage at a range of 1-8 spaces provided it has line of sight. If the dragon is attacked it will retaliate on its turn provided you are within range, otherwise it will return to its position on Rivening. If it finishes its turn on Rivening it will heal [d12] per round. Once it is killed, you may haul it to the Kiln. When towing the carcass, cut movement in half rounded down, and the carcass is in an adjacent space to your ship.

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Story 71

General Ein-Dahr on Ularos IX

As you arrive at a military base and disembark from your ship you are surprised to find General Ein-Dahr waiting to greet you. You quickly stand at attention and salute the general.

“At ease, your crew has been making quite the name for itself and this mission that you sent me data on is quite interesting. Our scientists would love to see some of these creatures in person and study them. Giving us a good off world place to observe them is fantastic. We’ve selected some creatures that we think may one day yield military potential, and we don’t think these other milk toast species in this solar system will even look at them that way. We will be happy to send them to the Space Zoo.”

You receive an escort to the DNA cryogenics lab on base and the scientists there provide you with many excellent samples worth 10K when you return to the space zoo.

You have three rounds to return to the Space Zoo with the samples. When you return to the Space Zoo, listen/read Story 55.

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Story 70

Acquiring some more vicious creatures

As you walk into the old man’s office you find him holding a bottle of what looks like infant formula in one hand and cradled in his opposite arm is something that looks almost like a child’s stuffed play thing with black and white white fur. It probably weighs about 250 grams and is approximately 20 centimeters long.

“It is thanks to your efforts that we have this wonderful little guy here, but don’t let his tiny size fool you. When he’s fully grown this Panda of Old Strayos will probably be over 1.8 meters long and weigh a good 150 kilograms. Upon docking I wired the credits to you for your latest effort as the canisters pinged me with data about what they contained. Truly this is going to be marvelous. I am sure your notoriety will continue to grow as word of these new displays attract attention.

“One point eight meters and 150 kilograms! Is this guy vicious when fully grown? If so, there are those on my planets who would pay handsomely to go on safari for such a creature.”

“Alas, you would find this guy less of a challenge. He spends almost his entire life just eating a plant called bamboo and is not renowned for his prowess at hunting or in combat. However, I have heard that your people keep DNA samples of a wide array of dangerous animals from numerous worlds your people have visited or conquered.”

“This is true although we have only rarely released a non-native species on a different planet. It tends to wreak havoc with the ecosystem.”

The old man smiles, “Well, we would like to provide an environment outside of any planet to bring some of those creatures into the Drift System as most of your planets are in other solar systems. I’m sure we could accommodate some of your people to at least observe these animals and see just why they are so dangerous. Besides all that I would pay you quite well for some rare specimens.”

He sets down the formula bottle and pulls another shaving cream canister out of a drawer and sets it on his desk. “So are you up for one last mission?”

No, then walk away and gain a fame point for all that you’ve done to this point.

Yes, then travel to the mission point on Ularos IX and listen/read Story 71.

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Story 69

I like pandas

As you dock with the colony ship you ping the biologist in charge of the cryogenics lab and send her the data about your job offer from the Space Zoo.

Dr Lock-coo greets you with a warm smile as you enter her lab. “When it comes to excitement, you and your crew certainly don’t disappoint.”

“We aim to please.”, you quip while lobbing the shaving cream can in her direction.

She deftly catches it and unscrews the bottom. “This is a rather unique design, but it looks pretty easy to work with. As long as none of the bureaucrats on-board object too much I should be able to get this loaded up pretty quickly. I am definitely going to include panda DNA as that was my favorite as a kid.”

Dr. Lock-coo quickly got to work, expertly extracting genetic samples and carefully storing them in the compartment of the shaving cream canister. As she worked, you couldn’t help but admire her precision and dedication to the task at hand. The colony ship hummed with activity around you, the low thrum of the engines mixing with the gentle beeping of various instruments in the lab.

After what seemed like only a short while, Dr. Lock-coo straightened up with a satisfied smile, indicating that she had successfully collected all the genetic material needed for the Space Zoo. “All done, and I even received clearance back from administration for this task.” she announced cheerfully. “Now, all that’s left is for you to deliver this to the Space Zoo.”

When you return to the Space Zoo, listen/read Story 50.

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Story 68

Exhotic Exhibits from Old Strayos

You express your interest and he reveals that there are actually three jobs available. He opens a drawer and pulls out a metal box containing a can of shaving cream.

“I know Strayons don’t typically shave,” he chuckles, “But this isn’t just any shaving cream. The bottom screws off to reveal a cooled compartment for storing genetic samples. There’s enough coolant in here for three strands once activated, and customs won’t suspect a thing.”

He sprays some of the shaving cream onto his fingers and explains that he wants you to take this on board the Strayos Colony Ship and collect genetic materials from your home world for various animals your people are considering bringing to their new planet. In return, they will fund your efforts to bring abundant life to your new home. If all goes well, he will provide details for the next job.

If you take the job, read/listen to Story 69 when you dock with the Strayos Colony Ship.

If you don’t take the job leave the shaving cream and continue on your way. Discard this encounter card.

Clarification: Three stands translates into three rounds. You would have three rounds to return to the Space Zoo after completing the task of collecting the DNA samples.