Tonight we played our GM-less version of Lasers & Feelings by John Harper with a crew more concerned with using its newfound freedom from Captain Darcy (held in stasis in a medical pod after succumbing to the mysterious psychic entity Something Else) than strictly following orders.
Our nimble, well-armed Raptor is crewed by savvy pilot and intergalactic party-maven Veronica Carl, sexy Z-Tube star turned self-trained doctor Dirk Dorian, support android and chief engineer Mech 226, maverick scientist with a degree in general science Dr. Nick, and strait-laced and order-maintaining alien soldier Athaar. We each had our personal goals, but word came from Consortium Command that we needed to investigate the recent behavior of the Hive Armada. Given the inefficiencies introduced in the Raptor’s systems by Veronica’s extensive modifications when entering the ship into Pimp-My-Ride competitions, we had to refuel before we could make for Hive space, so headed for the planet Gondola-on-Fire in the Nebula E67 system.
When we land at Gondola-on-Fire, we’re confronted by a humanitarian crisis as planet-wide volcanic activity has left the population devastated and in desperate need of medical attention. We send a recovery team out to secure two things: the quantum plasma we need to fuel the ship and the alcohol that Dr. Dorian has requested (for medicinal purposes). Mech, Veronica, and Dr. Nick take the shuttle Talon and follow the signals for plasma toward a warehouse in the ruins of a village near a volcano where they encounter a hoard of fire zombies and decide to capture one to determine if they are a native or invasive species. Dr. Nick tries to hook one with a rope, but the hook gets caught at ground level and three zombies begin scrambling up the rope. Mech quickly rebuilds Veronica’s damaged Zombie Gun but the first shot just spins the zombie on top of Dr. Nick. Mech extinguishes the flames spreading across Dr. Nick’s uniform while Dr. Nick stuffs the zombie into the fireproof refrigerated box, and then, reluctantly, cuts the rope before the other zombies enter the shuttle.
Meanwhile back at the Raptor, Dr. Dorian has been seeing patients. Those he’s put into the spare medpods are healing nicely, but since so many people need attention, he is also treating patients directly and testing the nature of their injuries by setting them on fire, killing four. Aathar tries to organize the crowd outside the ship and calm them as they learn that the treatments are not always successful, but 5 more enter the ship seeking help, two into the medpods and three injected with something by Dorian. The recovery team flies back to drop the now-frozen fire zombie at the Raptor before returning to collect the plasma and alcohol they found at the village. Mech builds a device for tapping the plasma from the earth and they plant the tap into the volcano’s side while Veronica and Dr. Nick gather up copious amounts of alcohol from the warehouse and plan their next party. When the away team returns to the ship, Dorian has successfully concocted a salve to treat his patients’ burns rather than kill them, and we trade the salve for more refined plasma to power the ship.
Our next stop is renowned vacation spot Party Station Alpha where Veronica throws an elaborate party built around six centerpieces: an alcohol-powered model of the tricked-out Raptor, a display of the frozen fire zombie, a room of disembodied kidneys, the medpod containing still-comatose Captain Darcy, a supply of premium narcotics, and an experiment on the efficacy of burn salve on partygoers of multifarious species. This party resulted in only a small number of patrons infected by a mostly defrosted zombie and a quarantine of part of the station, little new information about the efficacy of the salve, the Raptor being encouraged to disembark by station security, and an alien guest staying aboard, mostly holed-up in Veronica’s room.
Finally prepared to investigate the Hive Armada, we take-off for Hive space and welcome our guest Alganon to dinner, where the conversation turns from his cowboy hat to his glowing backpack and what might be inside. After refusing to sign a release form that would have allowed Dr. Dorian to examine the backpack himself, Alganon agrees to show us what’s he’s carrying if we stop at Jupiter Prime. So, we change course and notice that the Hive Armada seems to be following us. Jupiter Prime is a binary planet surrounded by giant rings of debris with a bright sun we can see from our observation deck. Alganon pulls an ancient ornate box that glows faintly from his pack, and as the light of the sun shines between the twin planets and strikes it, a burst of light and radiation engulfs the ship. When the light fades and our vision returns, we see a Hive capital ship blocking our view through the observation windows. We immediately flee, and thanks to Mech’s boosting of the engines and evasive flying by Veronica, we escape. In the lab, Drs. Nick and Dorian discover a new person onboard ship, the now-cured zombie Jessica, who cites consortium law to protect herself from Dorian restoring her to the zombie state.
The Hive catches up to us and Dorian tries to parley but manages to insult rather than calm the Hive who immediately send a swarm of assault pods that latch onto the ship and begin to bore through the hull to release the Hive boarding party. Thankfully, when Veronica activates the Raptor’s showtime sound-activated dance mode, Mech beat boxes the ship into a series of moves that shake the invaders off before they can board us. The Hive demand we turn over the time displacer and Veronica agrees, thinking we can warp away before they realize we’ve left them holding an empty cargo container, but the Hive fleet is deployed to prevent us from warping. Mech remembers a file entry about the Hive’s intention to reverse history by merging their Queen with an unknown artifact, and we realize that Alganon’s box can reverse time, as it did in turning Jessica back from zombie to human. With Mech’s beat boxing putting Dr. Nick “into the zone”, he figures out how to activate the device and sends our ship back in time to escape the threat. We all find ourselves younger than we started, then a revived and refreshed Captain Darcy strides onto the bridge demanding to know “What have you all done now?!”