Death on the Selene

Tonight we played Final Voyage of the Selene by James Mullen in which we sail from node to node through substitial space on board the interstellar vessel The Selene. We begin our story seeing Lieutenant Kazarian awaking from a nightmare about a military squad in danger, drenched in sweat, and ordering a booking aboard the Selene. We see ambassador Masiri attending a wedding, accompanied by his wandering wife, between an Epsilon and Omicron, a joining that would cement the long-sought peace he had brokered between the two warring species, before boarding the Selene. In a montage, we watch Professor Caris board the Selene with a handful of plant specimens, then years later, staying on board because she feels close to a breakthrough, then more years later, again determined to make her breakthrough refusing to leave the ship, and again throughout the years. We see Chief Pryce, a cyborg engineer, getting dismissed from ship after ship, until the merchant marine office gives him one last chance aboard Selene. Finally, we follow Doctor Tsien getting spurred out of his dorm room and general dissipation to answer a job ad for a medical office aboard the Selene.

Act I begins with Chief Pryce visiting Doctor Tsien in the Med Bay and jacking himself into the Doctor’s medical systems and complaining about how his internal systems leak and the interface between organic and inorganic parts don’t always mesh well. Professor Caris sits down with Ambassador Masiri in the Lounge to partake of the flavored oxygen, enjoy the lively theremin music, and talk about the mysteries of the universe that she’s learned from her studies of plant life while sailing on the Selene. Later, the Ambassador visits Lt. Kazarian at the security office to assure her that the death threats against him by an Omicronian sect are very unlikely to come to fruition. Kazarian reports to the Med Bay as ordered to get a prescription to help with the nightmares so she can sleep, but the Doctor only half-heartedly listens and agrees to say he’s seen her when the captain asks even though she leaves without any meds.

In Act II, the Chief interrupts Lt. Kazarian searching the Ambassador’s suite when he comes to repair the sonic showers. She keeps rifling through things until she finds something on a datapad and leaves. Later, after having hacked the ship’s systems to see what she was up to, Chief Pryce confronts Kazarian about the unwarranted search and learns that Kazarian suspects the Ambassador of having betrayed her unit during the Earth-Omicron war at the Battle of Antares 3. Meanwhile, Doctor Tsien calls the Ambassador to the Med Bay to inform him that he appears to have an allergy to travel through the interstitial nodes and that if he continues making jumps he could die, so provides him with a powerful alien medication to help him stay awake but that can have devastating consequences if used incorrectly. Professor Caris meets with the Ambassador again and offers a number of natural remedies that could aid with his condition, but makes a point to explain the truth of her findings, that there is no god and nihilism is the only true creed because nothing we do matters. Distraught, Ambassador Masiri flees until next we see him calling Kazarian because he found his wife’s body, in pieces, in their suite, apparently an accident with the Doctor’s prescription.

Doctor Tsien begins Act III sitting at the bar nursing a drink and lamenting how his prescription caused a woman’s death. Chief Pryce sits with him and suggests that if he wants to do good, to make a difference, he has to actually make an effort to do something, anything, instead of sitting around bored all the time. Professor Caris corners the Ambassador and Kazarian in her cabin to discuss the life of plants and the reality of nihilism and in his grief, the Ambassador agrees that nothing matters, and storms out. Before he can escape, however, Lt. Kazarian confronts him about the information she discovered about the unexplained large deposit of Epsilonian credits to his account just before the Battle of Antares 3. The Ambassador explains that his wife came into a mysterious inheritance about that time, and Kazarian realizes that she may have blamed the wrong Masiri. Finally, we see Chief Pryce jacked into the ship’s engines siphoning off energy until some…thing goes from his systems back up the jack and into the ship itself. When this happens, the Selene lurches out of substial space and begins to break apart.

In the epilogue, Lt. Kazarian manages to drag herself and Ambassador Masiri to a lifepod, but the Ambassador dies from his exposure to the pure nodal energy during the crash. Doctor Tsien also makes it to the lifepod and goes on to develop a cure for nodal allergies. Professor Caris does not make it to a lifepod, but uses her plants to protect her and land safely upon a nearby moon, where she continues her research for hundreds of more years as she learns to use the plants to prolong her life. The last image we see is Chief Pryce floating among the ship’s debris, still jacked into the engine.

Aliens and Science on the Selene

This week we played The Final Voyage of The Selene by James Mullen. We learn how each of our characters originally boarded the Selene: A suspicious figure hands Courier Kerenski a briefcase as he hurries towards the passenger boarding line for the Selene… where his briefcase is immediately confiscated by security. Dr. Tsien, ten years after escaping the virus-ridden Station Rona and signing up to be a ship’s doctor, is assigned to the Selene. Artiste Bahk has been here for years, attempting to improve ship-board morale with his comedy routine. Professor Ursel Carris watches the Earth stock market crash, taking her research funding with it, and moves all her lab equipment onto the Selene as a last resort to continue her work.

In Act One, our characters settle in and get to know each other. Everyone meets up at the holo-pub to enjoy a synth-ale, but Bahk’s best efforts are unable to cheer up a gloomy Professor Carris. Later, Dr. Tsien flags down Kerenski to ask what exactly it is a Courier does, and gets some euphemistic answers. Bahk joins Kerenski for a game of racquetball, where the courier grills him on the ship’s security protocols. At the swimming pool, Professor Carris and Dr. Tsien discuss the struggles of a career in science.

In Act Two, some suspicious things start happening. Dr. Tsien catches Kerenski trying to break into the secure storage area at night, looking for his briefcase, and promises to try and get it released for him. On the observation deck, while viewing an interstellar anomaly, Professor Carris is concerned with eye protection, but Dr. Tsien begins acting very strange. Professor Carris has a private conversation with Bahk, where she urges him not to waste his life as one of the last of his species, and offers him some dangerous dust to use in self defense. This feeds Bahk’s suspicion that he’s being watched, and he asks Kerenski for advice about protecting himself by non-lethal means.

In Act Three, everything comes to a head. Professor Carris confronts Dr. Tsien in medbay and accuses him of exploiting Bahk’s species for medical experiments. The doctor accuses her of raving wildly, and has her confined to a quarantine cell before paging Kerenski to report to the medbay. When Kerenski arrives, Dr. Tsien says he can have his briefcase, and in exchange the doctor wants to hand off something he’s been carrying for too long. It turns out he’s referring to the alien symbiote living in his body, which transfers into Kerenski before he can object. Bahk, passing by in the hall, sees Kerenski leaving medbay with Dr. Tsien’s lifeless corpse behind him. Panicking, Bahk steals the doctor’s keys and tries to take off from the shuttle bay, even though the Selene is still in interstitial space. Meanwhile, Kerenski tries to deliver the contents of the briefcase to Professor Carris, but opening the briefcase in the quarantine area causes some kind of explosive reaction that leads to the Selene’s destruction.

In the epilogue, we see Artiste Bahk, alone in Dr. Tsien’s shuttlecraft, emerge from interstitial space into an unexplored part of the galaxy. Courier Kerenski, walking into a meeting on Earth, tells his contact he’s got something new to deliver.

An Especially Bloody Final Voyage

Tonight we reconvened online to play Final Voyage of the Selene by James Mullen. We begin by seeing how each of us originally boarded the ship. Ambassador Masiri, flanked by security personnel, races to board the Selene, leaving a killing field of bodies behind on a planet bathed in the light of a red giant star. Lt. Kazarian stands among such a wasteland surrounded by the bodies of her comrades in arms, swearing to seek revenge for their deaths before becoming security on the Selene in her search. Professor Carris meets with his old student Dr. Tsien about joining them as a passenger on the Selene in order to study the substitial space the exists between the nodes. Juve Jax Mahler, a scavenger on a war-decimated planet, slips aboard the Selene when it stops for spare parts. Adam Pryce touchingly bids farewell to his mother and his homeworld a dozen years ago, and proves his strength aboard the freighter by working his way up to Chief. Doctor Tsien works at a hospital caring for children but leaves abruptly to join the Selene as their colleagues look on baffled.

In Act One, our dramatis personae get to know one another. Chief Pryce and Doc Tsien talk of sports and the captains of the Selene, who may need replacing. Juvenile Jax Mahler learns of the stellarnet from Prof. Carris and confesses he stowed away aboard ship. Ambassador Masiri and Lt. Kazarian bond over the costs of war and the need for peace over dinner. Dr. Tsien takes Juve Mahler under their wing and ask the youth to check out the contents of the cargo bay. Lt. Kazarian discuss the rumors of a stowaway and the exigencies of love with Chief Pryce before running into Juve Mahler, who they fail to identify as the stowaway. Prof. Carris discusses how stymied is his research with Dr. Tsien and Ambassador Masiri, who can’t help mentioning those slaughtered in war, even at dinner.

In Act Two, Dr. Tsien is discovered rummaging through the cargo bay by Lt. Kazarian and convinces her that they’re looking for evidence of smugglers. Juve Mahler is caught in the bowels of the ship by Chief Pryce, who ends up teaching the boy everything about the ship in a montage that ends with the discovery of the captain dead in his cabin. Prof. Carris erects a complex instrument on the observation deck to study a tear forming in the fabric of substitial space that draws the attention of Ambassador Masiri. He learns that the Ambassador turned his mate into a poisonous weapon before leaving her behind in order to ensure her fidelity, or at least his revenge upon anyone with whom she might be unfaithful. Lt. Kazarian and Ambassador Masiri meet and share a moment before Juve Mahler comes and confesses to having manufactured the machines that massacred her patrol at the Battle of Frakus. The Lieutenant tells Juve that he’ll need to testify to what he knows and takes the Ambassador back to her room. Chief Pryce has assumed command after the captain’s death and Dr. Tsien has proof, they say, that Lt. Kazarian poisoned the captain, so they rush to her room to quarantine the soldier and confront the Ambassador about his secrets.

In the Epilogue, the tear in space sends the Selene hurtling out of substitial space into a crash course with Earth. The Ambassador releases Lt. Kazarian, who accepts Masiri’s alien infection, from quarantine and they use an artifact to escape the crash together. Chief Pryce sacrifices himself to save the lifepod the others have all escaped to. With his dying breath, he successfully converts Juve to his own faith. Doctor Tsien does not make it back to Earth, finally succumbing to the disease that sent them aboard the Selene to seek across the galaxy for a cure. Not long after landing safely on Earth, ancient Professor Carris reports to the intelligence bureau all the information he has gathered about the alien infection Ambassador Masiri carries and the mass killings he’s perpetrated in his missions of peace. Juve Mahler not only converts and makes it to Earth aboard the same lifepod as the others, but also becomes a wealthy, bestselling author. Many years later at an author reading, he hears the words of forgiveness he has long wished for from a much-changed, now-alien Lt. Kazarian.

Stardust Voyage of the Selene

Tonight we return to Final Voyage of the Selene by James Mullen for an online adventure on that doomed interstellar starship. Our story starts as we meet our cast beginning with Lt. Kazarian accidentally joined the crew of the Selene after being discharged from the service when he signs papers to book passage that instead institutes a new service contract. Ambassador Masiri boards from the planet Selassia where he has just successfully negotiated a peace treaty between the Selassians and Gargantia, their longtime rivals in the system. Juve Mahler sneaks aboard the Selene disguised as a technician when it docks at Tetan in search of ancient artifacts he’s heard are available on Earth. Professor Carris leaves Earth to find new avenues of research and books passage aboard the long-haul ship out of scientific curiosity. Chief Pryce joined the crew twenty-five years ago, fresh out of the Academy, to help out his best friend with his first captaincy and has been here ever since.

In the first Act, Juve Mahler talks to everyone he can about the interstitial dust that lines the spaceways in the Void through which we travel from one node to the next. Chief Pryce and Lt. Kazarian dismiss his talk as old wives tales, but Prof. Carris is intrigued by its promise of cellular regeneration. If only they could harness the ship’s neusmatron beam to harvest dust in great quantities, but the Chief shuts them down when they try. Carris tries again with Chief Pryce suggesting that they could go into business together collecting the dust if the Chief built a ship specially kitted for interstitial harvesting. Meanwhile, the Ambassador seems unhealthily obsessed with news of the election now ongoing back on Earth.

Act Two begins with Lt. Kazarian interrogating Professor Carris about his past experiments and confiscating his stash of the interstitial dust, claiming that it’s too dangerous to leave unguarded, but when Chief Pryce asks Kazarian where the dust is, he denies knowing anything about it. He plans on keeping the powerful hallucinogenic stardust for the exclusive use of the crew, but Juve Mahler keeps talking about the necessity of working with the crime syndicate if you want to deal in illicit goods. When Ambassador Masiri discovers them prepping the drug in the ship’s kitchens, they offer him information on his wife in exchange for his silence with the captain. As the act ends, Mahler is explaining how you can mix the stardust with the baobab plant to create metamorphic effects. Could they create a doppelgänger of the captain?

As the final Act dawns, Ambassador Masiri confronts Juve Mahler about the latest election news from Earth. Impressed by Mahler’s initiative and enterprising nature, Masiri promises that they can do great work together on Earth and places his hand on the youth’s neck, where Mahler gets a strange scurrying sensation. Mahler later finds a vorpian spider and believes this is what he felt racing across his neck, a vorpian that the Chief confirms could scuttle the ship if it runs loose through its systems. When Chief Pryce asks Professor Carris about the missing creature, they firm up their plans for a business venture in the future, but the Chief rebuffs the romantic overture from Carris, who turns out to have been one of the Chief’s teachers back at the academy. Smitten, Carris easily forgives the Chief when he confesses to having stolen adamantine serum from his lab back in school. When Lt. Kazarian arrives at the lab and tricks Carris to confessing that his research is based almost entirely on the advice of adolescent Mahler, the vorpian spider’s work is done and the ship crashes out of interstitial space.

Everyone makes it to a life-pod in this slow-motion disaster film and we see their fates play out. The Chief is dragged to an escape pod by Prof. Carris and builds the harvesting ship Carris needs to create his rejuvenation formula from the interstitial stardust. Carris becomes famous and rich, while Chief Pryce retires to write safety manuals. Lt. Kazarian makes it off the ship but never makes it to Earth, not ready for planetary life. Ambassador Masiri returns to Earth and is selected as the Vice Presidential partner of the winning candidate from the election. Juve Mahler escapes carrying the alien viral infection given him by the Ambassador to join the criminal syndicate. Will the alien intelligence inside him fight or focus his illicit ambitions?

The Filed Voyage of The Selene

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.

Final Voyage of the Squirrel

Tonight we played The Final Voyage of The Selene by James Mullen.

Chief Engineer Pryce and Artiste Bahk had served alongside each other on the Selene for decades, sharing a love of the rejuvenating illicit substance known colloquially as “snooze juice”. When some new passengers came aboard at the latest stop, Bahk hoped they’d become fans of his band, the Agents of the Son. But they all had their own agendas. Disgraced Lieutenant Kazarian, of the military organization Agents of the Sun, hoped to find meaning in private security. Professor Carris was continuing her research into void technology, seeking the elusive Boomerang Effect. And Courier Lane Kerenski just wanted to safely transport some sensitive information, while meeting some new people and learning about humanity.

After a tip from Bahk led Kazarian to investigate, it turned out that Kerenski’s information implicated the Agents of the Sun’s leadership in war crimes, related to biological weapons that they’d pressured Professor Carris into producing. In response to this news, Kerenski attempted to punish the professor for her crimes, while Kazarian rebelled against her former life by turning to snooze juice dealing. Pryce, in an attempt to stop the authorities from confiscating his stash and firing him, turned off the ship’s navigation systems. During this chaos, it became clear that several squirrel victims of Carris’s experiments had come back via the Boomerang Effect, to take revenge on humanity for the squirrel plague. Just before the ship was destroyed, Pryce revealed his secret squirrel identity, choosing Kazarian to reign with him as his squirrel queen.
In the end, Professor Carris and Artiste Bahk escaped through a portal, to confront Bahk’s mother, who had used Bahk’s band as a front for her unsavory activities. Pryce, Kazarian, and Kerenski caught a life pod to Earth, where the squirrel people took over and instituted a reign of terror and slam poetry.

Seedy Decks of the Selene

This week, we voyaged through substitial space on the once-great liner The Selene on her (unbeknownst to us) Final Voyage (game by James Mullen). Six characters with competing agendas roamed the ship’s many seedy decks, hoping to arrive on Earth before crucial systems failed, rats overran the ship, or the cult decided to forcibly convert or sacrifice us all. In the end, when the Selene ripped through that final node too fast, the ship tore apart and all were evacuated. We each found our way to an escape pod and drifted down to Earth. Some of us actually achieved our goals, but we all lost something those final tumultuous weeks aboard the good starship Selene.