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Story 53

A day at the Zhian Zoo

Your first officer starts a conversation, “When I was a kid and visited the zoo with my Dad, one of the things that stood out to me was the compactness of each animal’s habitat. At the time, I spent a majority of my time on a small scout ship out in the deep dark, so I reasoned that they probably adjusted to their confined space just like I did. But this,” says your first officer while motioning to the large sprawling exhibits, “makes me rethink that assessment.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean. These animals seem so at ease in these large spaces with trees and open sky. It could take a couple of days to thoroughly check out all the exhibits.” You say this while taking another photo, tagging it and sharing it with the rest of your crew.

Meanwhile, you and your crew have been quite the interesting exhibit for many of the Zhians, as most of them have never seen a human in real life before. A couple of the more bold Zhians even asked if they could pose for a photo with you.

“Do you think we have enough photos yet?”, your first officer asks while looking at the newest picture you just sent.

“Probably, we should find a public dining area and try some local grub.”

“This is a zoo, it’s going to be this planet’s equivalent to fries and chicken nuggets.”

“I’m ok with that. I’m not sure I’m ready to be all that adventurous.”

“Says the mighty space explorer.”, your first officer quips.

– – – –

Upon finding a table at the zoo’s cafeteria, you send the geotagged photos to the small drone that you had carefully stashed behind some bushes when no one was near you. Your engineer had taken the time to mod it so it looked like the drones the zoo uses for giving the animals injections and drawing blood samples.

The drone goes about its mission without arousing too much suspicion. At the end of its circuit through the zoo it unloads the shaving cream canister and hides it in the same bushes where you had originally stashed the drone. As a final act, the drone flies out over an unpopulated area where it initiates a small explosion just large enough to destroy itself. The explosion was small enough that it didn’t attract any attention at all.

You recover the canister on your way back through. Once you return to the Space Zoo you will receive another ([d4]+2)x1,000 credits for the DNA samples that you gathered in addition to what you will have earned for the DNA gathered on the Aether Processing Station.

When you return to the Space Zoo if your crew is primarily human or Strayon, listen/read Story 54.

When you return to the Space Zoo if your crew is primarily Ilex, listen/read Story 70.

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Story 52

These guys are cold blooded

After docking with the Aether Processing Station and going through decontamination, including eliminating any scents, you receive permission to transport your relic to the reliquary. You load it onto your grav-sled and make your way across the station. This is the perfect opportunity to test your engineer’s environmental systems hack. 

Before arriving, you learned that the Zhian are a cold-blooded species and their space station is always warmer than others due to this fact. Their skin is not sensitive to temperature changes and they rely heavily on readouts. Your engineer has come up with a plan to override the environmental controls and lower the temperature in the reliquary to 9° Celsius, making any Zhian sluggish while keeping making your crew just slightly cool. He activates the hack as you enter the Reliquary.

Upon entering this section of the station you are greeted by an older Zhian woman in a lab coat. “I don’t visit the Aether except a couple of times a stanyear, so it is quite fortuitous that it is during one of my visits that you brought a relic.” She gives you a toothy grin that you’re sure was supposed to be friendly, but all those long jagged teeth are a little unnerving.

“You don’t normally work here?”

“A lot of my people don’t care for the vacuum of space, including me. We have several different areas of expertise that come up here occasionally to collect research or check in on a project. Believe it or not, I’m actually a virologist so I usually sift through these relics looking for DNA and RNA strands from microscopic organisms when I come up here, but we have various biologists and botanists that come up here at times as well. I’ve really learned a lot of fascinating things by doing this.”

You offer her a lopsided grin of your own. “I was hoping we could get the two credit tour of the reliquary while we’re here.”

“I might not come here too often, but I think I can manage to explain this place. I doubt many of the other humans that have come here have ever asked for a tour. I approve of your scientific curiosity.”

There was a lot more to see in the reliquary than you expected and then there came a point where your tour guide suddenly shifted down a gear. She never stopped explaining things but she was definitely moving a lot slower. You glanced at your nav officer and he made his way back to the area in the reliquary where a lot of animal DNA was stored. As soon as the DNA was obtained your engineer started raising the temperature back to 25° Celsius. By the end of the tour the Zhian scientist was back to her animated self.

“I don’t know what happened to me back there. I must be getting hungry; I did work right through my lunch break giving the tour. Oh, let me ping your ship with a couple of tokens so you can visit our planet sometime or, if your vessel is small enough, use our gate.”

“I don’t know what happened to me back there. I must be getting hungry; I did work right through my lunch break giving the tour. Oh, let me ping your ship with a couple of tokens so you can visit our planet sometime or, if your vessel is small enough, use our gate.”

You receive the typical 1 fame point and 2 Zhian tokens for delivering a relic to the Aether processing station. Once you return to the Space Zoo you will receive ([d4]+2)x1,000 credits for the DNA samples that you gathered. Your next stop should be the Zhian Prime Zoo located at the mission point on Zhian Prime.

When you reach the mission point on Zhian Prime, listen/read Story 53.

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Story 50

Exotic Exhibits, part Two

“If all things go as planned for the Strayons, many of these creatures will one day be allowed to populate New Strayos but in the meantime, we can start allowing them to re-emerge into the land of the living right here in this space zoo.”, states your white bearded benefactor as he hands you the money.

The money consists of ([1d4]+2)x1,000 credit for a human or Ilex crew or 5,000 credits and an energy rod for a Strayon crew.

“So you mentioned that this consisted of three jobs, what is the next job that you have in mind?”

“Wonderful! Wonderful! I’m so delighted that you’re willing to consider the next job. This one will be a little more challenging but the payout will be worth it. There are two places for the Zhian that I need you to visit. First, it’s been reported that their reliquary contains ancient DNA from the dead worlds. The second is a zoo on their planet. In both cases I need you to sneak a few samples of some of their more exotic species. On the Aether Processing Station, you may want to take them a relic so that you and your crew gain access to the Reliquary. After that they should hand you a Zhian token making it possible to visit Zhian Prime and visit one of their zoos. Once again, each of these canisters will be stable for three stands once activated.”

This time, the old white bearded man offers you two shaving cream canisters.

If you accept the job, read/listen to Story 52 once you’ve obtained a relic and docked with the Aether Processing Station.