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Story 47

Zhian Prime

This is a lab that looks exactly how you expected it. Stainless steel walls and tables with lots of ongoing experiments everywhere evidenced by all the beakers, hot plates, magnetic stirs, microscopes, and sleek looking computer displays. An old Zhian woman in a lab coat turns to look at you upon entry and attempts a smile, but the warm intent is lost on you as you see all her large teeth. 

“Thank you for bringing the sample with you, it is most helpful. We Zhian are an overly proud people as we have been ahead of most of the other species when it comes to technology for centuries. However, that pride is honestly based on hubris. In a relatively short period of time the other sentient species have gained near parity with our level of technology. I would like to think though that our long history of classifying and studying diseases allows us to bring something unique to the table. While waiting for a sample to be delivered I found an ancient text about an obscure old religion that is only practiced by a few people. It makes mention of a disease with very similar attributes. With your sample to use for comparison, I have been digging through all of our old archives and various other places looking for leads. What I found most interesting was something cataloged on the Aether Processing Station. One of the relics they had sifted a while back found an ancient virus with a remarkably similar helix structure. It is likely what wiped out the people on that dead world. They were probably dead before the Great Rikishi Event even took place. It appears that the Great Rikishi Event that happened all those hundreds of years ago may have been what obliterated the disease back then. I will be sure to include all the data that I can.”

Something about her wording gives you pause, “Does that mean that there is data that you can not share?”

“I really wish your people understood our scent language. You completely missed all my subtext while I was speaking. Of course my government puts limitations on the dissemination of sensitive information. What I am really trying to communicate is that I am sending you all the data that I can share, and maybe a little bit more. Be careful how you handle that information as I really like my research position, my head being attached to my body, and the general welfare of my grandchildren. Hopefully that is plain enough.”

Remove a virus token from your hold, and replace it with the purple triple helix token. This represents the data collected from Zhian Prime. It may be taken to Merv’s Missiles or Arken’s Arsenal at any time. Gain 1 fame point when you deliver it to Merv’s Missiles or Arken’s Arsenal.

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Story 48

The cure

“So Doc, now that you’ve got all the data what’s next?”, you inquire.

“I know that I have been asking the solar system to refer to me as Dr. Arken, but that was to help the plebeian masses to trust me. You though, in many ways, are my coworkers and I prefer the informal use of my given name, Merv. The data you have provided has given the Drift System a shot at fighting off this virus. I have been working diligently on both a cure and a delivery method and that last bit of data you delivered finalizes what I need to do. You are going to need to shoot missiles at each of the planets.”

“What!”

“These missiles won’t have destructive warheads on them, they are going to contain the RNA based therapy that I’ve designed to fight this new virus. Because the virus uses just about any animal or insect as a host, we need to treat everything. These bio missiles I’ve developed will make it possible to spread the treatment across the upper atmosphere and then it will work its way down to the ground, where hopefully a majority of species will receive a sufficient dose of the RNA for their bodies to create the necessary antibodies and fight off the SARS-39.”

“Are there any health concerns in using this treatment?”

“Of course there are, but the alternative is potential mass extinction of all terrestrial life on the planet. Whatever the side effects end up being, they are an acceptable cost.”

“Now, for you to deliver these BIO-Missiles you will need some sort of missile armament on your ship already, and then each BIO-Missile you purchase will cost you1,000 credits, however each infected planet that you treat is offering 5,000 credits. The BIO-Missiles are single use missiles.”

When treating a planet, immediately remove all SARS-CoV-39 tokens from the planet, gain 5,000 credits and 1 fame point.

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Story 46

Ularos IX

“We Ilex have a desire for conquest dating back to when we first ventured into the black ocean back in our own solar system. With all of our collective adventures to various hostile planets, we’ve probably been exposed to and seen more diseases than you can imagine. Our government’s willingness to share data with the rest of the drift system is an incredible gift to all the sentient beings in this region.”

When the Ilex virologist pauses for a moment, you take the opportunity to interject, “Does that mean that you already have a cure for this disease?”

“Not yet, but me and my cohorts will figure it out eventually. Maybe one or two of the planets in this drift system would die first, but this virus has yet to take hold on our planet.”

You decide to lob a comment out there and see how he reacts. “Some people have accused the Ilex of designing this disease to wipe out some of the planets aiding in your desire for conquest.”

The Ilex makes either a scoffing noise or has a hairball, “Our great pack may be many things, but attacking with a virus has never been our style. Look at Tig. We declared our intentions, just many didn’t think we would actually try and carry through with it. No, I doubt my people would be the ones to attack with a disease, especially one that could eventually cause us harm.”

Remove a virus token from your hold, and replace it with the gold triple helix token. This represents the data collected from Ularos IX. It may be taken to Merv’s Missiles or Arken’s Arsenal at any time. Gain 1 fame point when you deliver it to Merv’s Missiles or Arken’s Arsenal.

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Story 45

Smuggler’s Den

An old man with many tattoos and an unscrupulous look upon his face looks you over. “Da, I know lots about man made biological weapons. I may or may not have implemented some before to help with specific contracts, but this spreads too easily and doesn’t kill quickly enough to be something I would make. If I make a virus I want it to act quickly and then for it to die quickly without a viable host. A virus like this is likely to eventually backfire and one day kill its own handlers.” 

The tattooed senior continues, “My grandparents were born on Loath over a century ago, back when it was still a forced labor camp. Their parents had committed crimes to land them on Loath, but my grandparents had never done anything wrong other than to be born. When they were old enough they were forced to work in the mines as well. My Grandpa always got a twinkle in his eye when he talked about the day that all the prisoners revolted and claimed Loath for themselves. It is good story and it is true story that my grandparents were amongst the first free people of those that actually claimed Loath as home.” 

“For the memory of my grandparents I will work hard to save a free Loath. Here are my notes on how I would try and engineer such a virus and the most likely ways to have it introduced in so many places simultaneously. Use this information and save my people.”

Remove a virus token from your hold, and replace it with the red triple helix token. This represents the data collected from Smuggler’s Den. It may be taken to Merv’s Missiles or Arken’s Arsenal at any time. Gain 1 fame point when you deliver it to Merv’s Missiles or Arken’s Arsenal.

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Story 44

Neo Damascus 

“On this giant ice ball of a planet I probably see more ‘new’ viruses than anyone else in the drift system.”, states a warmly dressed female scientist talking to you in an ice cave. This planet is coming out of a 10,000 year ice age and with all the melting we keep finding ancient fauna that is still harboring viable viruses. I’ve seen some crazy things before but this clearly engineered monstrosity is something completely different”

“What makes this so unique?”, you ask.

“I’ve never even imagined a virus with a triple strand of DNA.”

Remove a virus token from your hold, and replace it with the green triple helix token. This represents the data collected from Neo Damascus. It may be taken to Merv’s Missiles or Arken’s Arsenal at any time. Gain 1 fame point when you deliver it to Merv’s Missiles or Arken’s Arsenal.

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Story 43

Lunari

Without any surprise, you find yourself entering a professor’s office at the University of Lunari. The most renowned college in the entire drift system. What does surprise you is how big his 36th floor office is. A well dressed bespectacled man notices you looking out the window. 

“I like having my office up so high as it minimizes the number of grad students that come visit me. It has to be truly important, at least in their own mind, to come all the way across campus and wait for our very slow old elevators to bring them up.”

“That explains the height, but why are you wearing glasses? Are they an affectation?”

The professor chuckles, “You are blunt. They are a necessity. Ordinarily a physician would have given me an injection of Retlax V to restore flexibility of the lens, but I have an allergy to Retlax, so it’s more sensible to have a pair of glasses. However, I did choose these old wire rimmed spectacles instead of something more modern and practical to provide, as you called it, an affectation.”

The professor clears his throat, “But to jump to our actual business at hand. This virus is quite unusual in the sense that it can attach itself to more types of cell hosts than other viruses that I’ve studied. It can find host cells in every creature I’ve introduced it to and can therefore be passed along through all animals whether they are humans, Ilex, Strayons, Zhians, or even avians, and insects. This wide range of potential hosts is what prevents a city from simply isolating itself till the disease is gone. A bird, a flying insect, or a woodland creature can simply carry it to the next populated area.”

“So are we doomed?”

“Hopefully not, even though it would not be easy to contain it to one city, or even just one continent. In a strictly practical sense you could probably destroy a world to contain it. My mother-in-law lives on Kemplar II, so perhaps destroying at least that world wouldn’t be all bad. We are better funded, and therefore have better equipment than any of my rivals on other worlds. Maybe the fact that we can provide better scans of the virus itself than anyone else will give Dr. Arken, then he will have the necessary details to come up with a solution before I have to tell my wife that her mother was killed for the good of the galaxy.”

Remove a virus token from your hold, and replace it with the blue triple helix token. This represents the data collected from Lunari. It may be taken to Merv’s Missiles or Arken’s Arsenal at any time. Gain 1 fame point when you deliver it to Merv’s Missiles or Arken’s Arsenal.

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Story 13

SARS-CoV-39

Place a virus token on the mission point of each of the following planets: Azure, Doravin V, Kemplar II, Loath, and New Strayos (if it exists). If for any reason one of those planets is not currently out or has been destroyed you do not need to place a virus on it.

While watching a Super Class Glocken match between your favorite team and one of their rivals a news anchor suddenly cuts in, “BREAKING NEWS: A new variant of the coronavirus, which has been named SARS-39, has broken out. It appears to be particularly virulent and there are concerns that this virus has been engineered. The following planets suddenly have an outbreak of SARS-39:

  • Azure
  • Doravin V
  • Kemplar II
  • Loath
  • New Strayos (if it exists)

The rapid widespread nature of this new strain has caused a lot of speculation as to who might be responsible for engineering and releasing this virus. Some are accusing the Ilex, theorizing that this is somehow part of their expansionist plan. Others are accusing the doomsday cult on Zhian Prime known as the First Order of the Zholar Temple. Still others are accusing the various political factions that have been fighting each other for over a century (sometimes with great violence). Regardless of rhetoric, the interplanetary governments are willing to allow ships to transport samples of the virus to their lead virologists in each coalition. The most renowned virologists from each of the coalitions are located at:

  • Lunari
  • Neo Damascus
  • Smuggler’s Den
  • Ularos IX
  • Zhian Prime

People are dying across the Drift System as a result of this virus. Speed is absolutely necessary for creating either a vaccine or a treatment. This interplanetary coalition recognizes the need for someone with the necessary computational power and the ability to create a viable delivery method for an actionable treatment or vaccine. With those requirements in mind they have agreed to allow Merv Arken’s lab to be the destination for all the research to be gathered. Hopefully Dr. Arken and his robotic minions are up to the task of formulating a vaccine or RNA based treatment along with an actionable delivery method…”

As the news continues to drone on, you already recognize that the broadcast has shared as much pertinent information as it is likely to yield. A text only missive comes in from this temporary coalition of interplanetary governments, and you give it a quick read through. 

Apparently there is a request that the various spacers try to work together to gather samples of the virus from the infected planets and get them to these virologists, where they will, in turn, share data and genetic materials that may aid Dr Arken. Each planet is willing to pay 5,000 credits for delivery of a treatment which should more than offset any fees that Dr Arken is likely to charge for his delivery method. The general action plan is as follows:

STEP 1: Gather samples of the virus.

Travel to one of the infected planets to pick up a sample at the mission point. Currently, nothing else can be done at an infected mission point with respect to missions and you can not take your business/starport phase on a space with a virus. Store a sample of the virus in your cargo hold (the containment system for it makes it take up space). You may store up to five samples, but they each require a separate space in your ship’s cargo hold. Collecting a sample DOES NOT remove the virus from your current location.

STEP 2: Deliver the virus to the virologists.

Deliver virus samples to each of the virologists at the appropriate mission points in any order. Data is needed from each one.

If for any reason any of the aforementioned mission points have been destroyed, as a group determine an acceptable alternative point to use as a proxy.

STEP 3: Deliver the data and biological materials to Dr. Arken.

The data and biological materials collected from the various virologists need to be delivered to Merv’s Missiles or Arken’s Arsenal in order for Dr Arken to create a treatment or cure for this disease along with a delivery mechanism. Each piece of data delivered earns 1 fame point. Once the last piece of data is delivered to Dr. Arken, read/listen to Story 48.

STEP 4: Gather the necessary resources to deliver the treatment.

The mechanism for this will be revealed at the end of STEP 3.

STEP 5: Treat each of the planets.

The mechanism for this will be revealed at the end of STEP 3. Also, additional monetary and fame rewards will be given for this.

Until a treatment/cure is created and implemented the disease will continue to spread. Roll a d8 after each player’s turn and add disease tokens as follows:

  1. Add 1 disease token to Azure.
  2. Add 1 disease token to Doravin V.
  3. Add 1 disease token to Kemplar II.
  4. Add 1 disease token to Loath.
  5. Add 1 disease token to New Strayos (if it exists). If new Strayos is currently not in play, nothing happens.
  6. This spot is reserved for an additional infected planet, once added it would gain a disease token on a roll of ‘6’, until then nothing happens when ‘6’ is rolled.
  7. This spot is reserved for an additional infected planet, once added it would gain a disease token on a roll of ‘7’, until then nothing happens when ‘7’ is rolled.
  8. When an ‘8’ is rolled and no planets have yet to be assigned to positions ‘6’ or ‘7’ on this list, roll a d20 till a living planet is assigned to position ‘6’. The second time an ‘8’ is rolled do the same to assign a living planet to position ‘7’. Once position ‘7’ is assigned an additional roll of an ‘8’ means nothing happens.

If a planet receives an additional disease token after it is completely covered, it becomes a dead planet and ALL PLAYERS lose 1 fame point. If a planet is already dead for any reason, or has not yet been discovered nothing happens when its number is rolled. Also, if a planet has been treated once a cure is discovered and its number is rolled, nothing happens.