Tonight we played The Final Voyage of The Selene by James Mullen.
It seems that most of the Selene’s crew came to their posts through shame rather than accomplishment. Chief Engineer Camryn Price was press-ganged from a seedy bar on Earth, where he had been indulging in the recreational drug X3. Lieutenant Eve Kazarian lost most of her squad when they were ambushed, and as punishment she was demoted to ship security. Purser Ehrlick hastily got himself assigned to the Selene after a night of booze and infidelity to his wife. And Artiste Bahk left a failing dance career to become part of the ship’s nightly entertainment. The crew has been recently joined by Inspector Dan Ital, fleeing drug-running gerbils on a moderately war-torn planet, and Ambassador Phoebe Masiri, taking the Selene to her next negotiation after a government shutdown cancelled her usual transportation.
When Chief Pryce discovers that the Selene’s coils are failing, he tries to requisition more from Purser Ehrlick, but finds that the bureaucratic process of ordering new parts could take months. Frustrated, he turns to Inspector Ital, who promises he can find the coils in exchange for a favor later. Meanwhile, Ambassador Masiri tries to convince Artiste Bahk to help her solve the diplomatic situation in the Milky Way, but Bahk is horrified at the thought of working pro bono.
Ital, through a combination of favors and blackmail, convinces Ehrlick to give him the legendary Form 2B, which can bump any request to the top of the bureaucratic queue. Ehrlick and Masari, after connecting over their love of order and procedure, spend a steamy night together. Bahk asks Ital to help her find the strange long-tailed creature who has been following her, and he agrees in exchange for her performance at an upcoming party. She warns him that this creature is equally fond of crunchy food and reactor fuel.
Chief Pryce tells Lieutenant Kazarian that he’s concerned about Ital’s shadowy activities on the ship. Kazarian, afraid of disgracing herself again by allowing crimes to happen on board, agrees to a sting operation where Pryce will sell his personal stash of X3 to Ital, to prove that Ital is a drug trader. That night, Kazarian has a vision of the Selene going up in flames after Pryce does something in the engine room. She confides in Masiri, who has no advice for what to do about this vision, but agrees to help her track down the military bureaucrat who betrayed her squad.
The planned drug deal starts, but Ital isn’t playing along — he refuses to accept the stash of drugs. Kazarian, tired of waiting, rushes in and forcibly plants the drugs on Ital before having him hauled away to the brig. Ital attempts to blackmail her with a video of the failed entrapment, but Pryce shuts off the ship’s communication system to keep the video from getting out.
Purser Ehrlick seeks Pryce out in the engineering room to deliver the coil request form, and recruits him to the Church of Stapledom through the rite of stapling the form’s two pages. When Ehrlick visits Ital in the brig, he learns that Ital is a high-level Stapledom official who gives him a gold and platinum stapler he happens to have on him. Masiri wants to continue her romantic entanglement with Ehrlick, but he refuses and shuts her out of his office, a decision which Masiri protests with the help of he crew. The protest does not succeed at getting Ehrlick back into her life, but she does find out from Bahk that they may be long-lost sisters.
Ital has somehow heard about Kazarian’s vision, and convinces her to go and confront Pryce about his drug habit and mental stability. Pryce confides in his friend that he’s planning to resign his commission when the Selene reaches Earth, because he’s pregnant and wants to raise the baby in safety on the planet. Unfortunately, during this conversation, Ital has been eating some crunchy food outside Engineering, which attracts the strange creature Bahk warned him about. The creature bites through the reactor fuel line just as the coils finally fail, exploding the ship somewhere near Jupiter.
Pryce is tragically killed when the reactor explodes. Ital and Kazarian jump into an escape pod, but the creature, who is somehow bonded to Ital, infects Kazarian and makes her its new host. Masiri and Bahk are thrown into space, but thanks to their family’s ability to subsist on little oxygen, they survive long enough to be rescued. Ehrlick, sadly, dies halfway through filling out a pre-authorization form to requisition some oxygen.