Slipstream - The Human Odyssey

Tuesday, February 26, 2160...

…to Thursday, March 7, 2160

In the final days before Launch Day, the team was busy with their personal activities.

Alvina found a community of ethereals that has begun to form at the back of the Odyssey in the lower decks. A fledgling community, they have already started a small cantina and gathering place. A few curious warm-bloods have also started to hang around, and have been moderately welcomed providing they don’t case trouble.

Caesar arrived a week after the request was put in. In the last days before launch, Alvina has started to receive dreams of an old man, half-remembered and vague. Purchasing a computer and 3D graphic software, she creates a render of the man’s face.

Chiyo visited family and friends, dinners and tearful farewells, always having in tow her faithful assistant, Elizabeth. Back on ship for the final days before launch, there is another incident with Elizabeth and the unknown harassers. Chiyo is prompted to form CCR, a network group against racism and specism, while again filing a well-written report to Bell. Interest in CCR is meager at the start.

Carter just parties it up and takes advantage of the shipboard facilities.

Bell spent most of the time engaged with meetings, news conferences, and formal dinners, finally getting enough of a handle on things for at least a couple days off just before launch.

Anya doesn’t get a break. She is introduced to Lt. Svensson, a brutal, unamusable pilot in Lt. Harvard’s entourage. Harvard said that she is too busy to ruin Anya’s life herself, so Svensson is going to do it for her. Anya and Gizmo are subjected to harsh military boot camp training as Svensson drives her mercilessly. Anya, used to being pampered and getting her way, lashes back. But, as she is still a civilian, Svensson tries to go through Bell for permission to discipline her, but is ultimately refused. Anya is also talked down by Bell and told to behave.

She still manages to complete her training, and gains her military certification, along with Gizmo. She also finds that she has earned a callsign, and is now Sass. Gizmo is Mutt.

Harvard put out a call for pilots to join in a Launch Day celebration, and while she conveniently “forgot” Anya, Bell signed her up.

Come Launch Day, a large celebration is held in the park of the upper Colonization Pod. Medals were awarded to several of the crew by Admiral Izar, including the Meritorious Service Cross to the team. Carter is also awarded the ECU Bronze Combat Lifesaving Medal for his actions in saving Lt. Brandon from the attack on Mars.

In a rare occurance, and prompted by the fledgling awareness and stern words regarding harrassment of non-human entities, Admiral Izar acknowledged the actions of both Elizabeth and Gizmo, and awarded them the medals as well.

Anya then has to run from the ceremony to the Hangar 2 flightdeck for the flyby. Once in space, she decides that showing off would be a good idea. She performs a deft maneuver over the pod’s dome to the panic and then delight of the onlookers at the celebration. Commander Flint looks directly at Captain Bell, knowing full well who is in that shuttle. Harvard is completely unimpressed and utters death threats against Anya if she shows up back on board. Shuttle 4, Wild Dog, asks Anya to marry him.

As she is coming around to return, Gizmo reports a power overload beginning to build in the #3 conduit. She is forced to shut everything down to avoid an explosion and get towed back in by Shuttle 4.

The others of the team head to the bridge of the Odyssey on personal invites of the Admiral to witness the vessel as it enters the slipstream.

Thursday, February 21, 2160...

…to Monday, February 25, 2160

Session opened with Anya in a simulation of a crashing shuttle. She managed to pull the shuttle out of its uncontrolled descent, despite Harvard’s attempts to disorient and brow-beat her.

Bell met with Commander Flint regarding several issues, including special clearance for his marines to carry high lethality weaponry, and something about an order for several boxes of Crunchy-Munchy Yummy vittles. He is also informed that the woman they know as Nancy has not been located by Eden CPA, as it is believed she left Mars just after the hostage incident. There is also no record of a Olivia de Havilland on the ECU political staff.

Elizabeth was apparently a victim of hostile discrimination in the market district, upsetting Chiyo and prompting her to go to Bell. Elizabeth was not very forthcoming with information, as it is not in her coding to cause problems or seek revenge for wrongs.

Alvina spoke with a senior TNSC official regarding the requisition of an H-Series combat K-9 unit named Caesar. The Proconsul did not seem amused by the request, but since the team are celebrities now, no doubt TNSC resources will be expended to transport Caesar to the Odyssey.

Carter received a contact from Viki who assailed him with multiple questions, which he answered. Partway through the conversation, Gizmo heard him talking to somebody and became curious. Carter picked him up, and brought him into his quarters, after Viki spoke again. At the same time, Bell returned from his meeting and overheard Viki as well. Bell has a talk with Carter and Gizmo, telling them to keep it under wraps, and even told Viki to remain cautious and even deceptive, with her TNSC handlers. Gizmo managed to get the delivery of the Crunchy-Munchy Yummy vittles approved for his compliance.

CWO Homans shows up and tells Carter to stop playing with the dog and get dressed, they are going to see Crash Flight, a band playing in the lower colonization pod. Everybody but Bell goes. On the way there, Carter thinks he spotted Nancy, and follows, while Anya is spotted by a fan, a little geeky guy named Bernie who is a tech on the shuttles.

“Nancy” went to a building and entered, the sign said Digital Bliss Clothing & Textiles. While the group caught up with Carter, a woman exited through the same door, with an appearance similar to Nancy’s. She seemed perplexed by the group outside her building, but ultimately brushed them off.

Wednesday, February 20, 2160, con’t. part IV

Wednesday, February 20, 2160

With hostages aboard, the shuttle lifted off from the mining station, bound for a return to the temple to retrieve CWO Homans, before returning the hostages home to Station Theta. Anya decides on buzzing a nearby rock formation, which ultimately makes a couple of the young adults ill. Lieu gets angry at her.

Landing at Station Theta, the hostages are checked out, and brought inside the main hall after breathers were provided for. This causes panic and frantic questions as mention of a hostage situation starts to spread amongst the faithful there. Bell contacts the local CPA office to help secure the Regency floor 16 in an attempt to box in ‘Nancy’.

Marshall Xin sends out three patrol units. Bell orders Anya to lift off, and fly to Eden. Wisely, he contacts Eden flight control before flying an unmarked, unidentified military shuttle into a civilian population centre. Flight control still sent out a pair of suborbital fighter-interceptors to escort. They lock on and guide the shuttle to Eden.

Landing at Eden Starport, the team is met by a CPA cruiser and driven into the city proper, arriving at the Regency in short order. They find that the street in front of the hotel has been cordoned off, and several CPA vehicles have secured the building, along with a Medlab trauma team, and a control van. Marshal Xin finds the team, and informs him that he has two officers down – one with neural shock, the other with a shatter femur and broken nose. The woman has an accomplice, a man in black with glasses.

Bell asks to see the security tapes, sending the non-combatants off to an Orange Julius across the street. While Lieu is just about to enter, she notices a woman with long blonde hair in a Skylord X37 sport coupe just exiting the hotel with a male driver. The woman looks directly at her before making a point of not seeing her. She calls it in, but is told that all people leaving the hotel have been scrutinized and are cleared.

The CPA have a registry of room occupants, 1621 was recently vacated by an M. Monroe from Earth. 1622 was also recently vacated by V. Montalet, of Titan A54, and1623 is occupied by an older man and woman – Robert and Marguerite Bakely

The security tapes show four possibles. M. Monroe is a long haired blonde woman, V. Montalet could have been either a older balding man, younger man, or middle aged dark haired woman. Carter, examining the images, couldn’t recognize Nancy.

Bell, in an effort to get a more positive ID, takes Gizmo up to the two rooms for scent-identification. He recognizes Nancy’s perfume scent in 1621. Marshal Xin calls in the ID and physical description of the woman, then is informed that the north section just let through a woman named Olivia de Havilland matching that physical. She had ECU diplomatic clearance.

Bell heads downstairs to report in to Odyssey Control. Admiral Izar pulls the team back to the safety of the Odyssey, telling them that they are a beacon to a mission that is unpopular in some circles.

Wednesday, February 20, 2160, cont. part III

Wednesday, February 20, 2160

Having secured the attacking squad, the team boarded the shuttle, leaving CWO Homans and Proconsul Cella behind to watch the prisoners and tend the wounded. In flight, the team makes contact with Marshal Frost of Eden’s CVA SIT unit and Sergeant Howe of the inbound ESerAU teams. They coordinate a landing spot to meet.

Lieutenant Politz, the officer leading the attack on the team, is at first uncooperative, as he is unwilling to aid known terrorists and insurgents. However, Directeur Lieu brings him around with some soothing words.

Linking up, a plan is formulated. Lt. Frost says her team that went ahead reports 26 to 30 hostages, and 10 to 14 hostiles. They agree that the team will pretend to be captives of Lt. Povitz with SIT and ESerAU support. The others move in and the team waits for the signal.

Landing in front of the old mining facility, they are brought in by Povitz. Inside, there are 6 of the hostages, and 4 men in black armor and helmets, a fifth, a tall Aryan man without a helmet, is concluding a conversation with a dark haired woman on a computer. The Aryan questions Povitz about the location of the rest of his team, and why a medvac was launched from Eden. Povitz lies, saying he called for it as some of his team were wounded.

He is shot by the Aryan.

Bell orders a breach, and a firefight erupts. The SITs, armed with laser carbines are silent and very, very precise. The Aryan is shot down by team, and even Lieu managed to hit a target for once, stunning the assailant with her sonic stunner.

The hostages are secured in the shuttle, and Gizmo is called in. He hacks into the computer, but much of the data is encrypted behind heavy security, some that actually hurt him. He did manage to get a fuzzy still-image of the woman, and Carter recognizes her as Nancy from the club. The call was made from the Regency in Eden, from one of 3 rooms on the 16th floor.

Bell orders the team to mount up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2160, cont.

Under the threat of Elizabeth’s termination, Sgt. Carter relinquished his weapon to the attacking unit, while Captain Bell, free from the main team, slipped through the temple’s back hallways. Seconds after Carter gave up his pistol, Lieu, working in tandem with Anya through hand signals, had Gizmo in the control room shut off all the lights. The sudden darkness spurred some of the team into action, either diving for cover or into melee range of the enemy force.

Homans put a round through the hand of one assailant, letting Garrot to snatch up his carbine and shoot him multiple times in the chest. Carter charged forward, guided only by the soft red glow of activating IR googles. Rayne, Anya and Lieu, with IR active on their flight helmets, drew their sonic stun pistols and fired multiple times at the unit, specifically two of the closest members, bringing them both low after a protracted battle.

Bell slipped in behind another soldier, shooting him in the arm with his sonic stun pistol and causing his carbine to fall. As he retrieved his weapon and turned to fire off-handedly at Bell, the Captain rushed forward and drove his foot into his gut.

Homans and Garrot, both armed with projectile firearms, turned and picked their targets with precision, leaving Carter to engage in a protracted hand-to-hand battle with the one ID’d as a lieutenant.

At the battle’s conclusion, the Lieutenant and one other called in for evac, and told another unit to eliminate the hostages. The Lieutenant was tackled from behind by Carter and his sole active compatriot kicked into the ground by Bell. The Lieutenant was secured, and convinced by Directeur Lieu and several guns to cancel the termination order, while a shuttle dubbed Black Bird landed outside the temple.

Garrot, using her Ethereal telepathic abilities, forced her way into the Lieutenant’s mind, and received images of a mine building nearby. Lieu found the guilt-wracked Brother Victor in the communications room and asked him for the location of the hostages. She is told Mining Station 18A, about 6 kilometres directly east of Station Theta.

Lieu, contacting Odyssey Control, is informed that the trio of ESerAU units will be redirected to Mining Station 18A, ETA in 18 minutes. Thinking that too long, Lieu called in Gizmo to link up with Peter Dansfield, and hopefully get his influence to contact NavTech and Eden security forces. Anya spoke with him, and he agreed to get NavTech “to help out his little girl.” They should be there in 8 to 10 minutes.

The shuttle pilots were convinced to enter the temple and render aid with prisoner security and they, in turn, became prisoners.

Wednesday, February 20, 2160

0500 hours Earth Standard Time came earlier when Lt. Brandon work the team up for their visit to the Mars Temple, the original site of the beacon that it is believed summoned the Orb to Earth. Having had a light breakfast, the team checks their vaccsuits and equipment, and climb into a 6-wheeled ATV and headed out along the paved blacktop road to Station Theta.

Station Theta is a collection of buildings deep within a protective crevasse in the Eden foothills. It was founded over 100 years ago and is the site of humanity’s first permanent residence on Mars. Now, it serves as home to the large congregation for the Order of Illuminated Mars and the caretakers of the Mars Temple.

After parking their vehicle, they suited up and met Brother Victor Gontolia inside the large town hall structure. He seem a little uncomfortable, but pleased to see the people that will most likely become the first to meet face-to-face the Benefactors of the New Humanity.

Brother Victor asked if he could impose upon them for a short moment, as many of congregation wishes to meet them, and if they might, take some offerings from the congregation to the Benefactors. Captain Bell accepted, and the town hall filled with the faithful.

Directeur Lieu, eager to learn of the people here, talked with them with her assistant Elizabeth recorded the conversations. After two hours, the ATV was packed up with the offerings, and the team started the hour long hike up to the temple.

The main triangular doors stood 6 metres in height, and the great hall beyond was awesome in its display, despite the scaffolding around the Columns of Knowledge. Brother Victor said that there was a recent seismic disturbance, and they have closed the temple for a short time while repairs are done, also taking the opportunity to clean the Columns, and they strange alien script that covers them.

Some of the group became suspicious with this statement, and given the attack in the hangar, perhaps they had good reason.

Just to the right of the main doors was a memorial plaque showing the four Mars explorers that found the temple back in 2014. It pays tribute to their sacrifice, for when the EMP burst was expelled upon entering the chamber, their own electrical devices were destroyed and they perished.

While they were being shown the Silent Chamber (used for meditation upon all that the Benefactors gave humankind), Lt. Brandon received a message that Captain Bell, Lt. Garrot and Sgt. Carter were to check in with Odyssey Control. Brother Victor offered to shown them to the Temple’s communication room. Bell told the others to stay, and followed the Brother.

Gizmo took the opportunity of freedom to wander a bit.

Apparently the temple was built into the remains of a long dead volcano, and some array, perhaps from the original EMP burst, used the natural crater as a focusing dish. The later human occupation made use of the alien tech for their own devices, and Brother Victor said that it is probably the most powerful comm system on Mars, able to reach Jupiter with ease, to talk or call for… help.

When Captain Bell reached Odyssey Control, he was informed that no such request was sent out, however Lt. Harvard did make a request to know when her shuttle would be returned. At that moment, Lt. Brandon in the entrance hall was shot through the back by a group of 6 black clad commandos, yelling for the rest of the team to get on the ground now.

Sgt. Carter grabbed the wounded Brandon and hauled him behind a Column of Knowledge and into the barren Silent Chamber, under a hail of gunfire. He patched the holes in Brandon’s vacc suit with the emergency patches.

Gizmo, by one of the other doors, was unnoticed by the commandos, and slipped into the room, only to have the door close on him, and unable to reach the open button.

The group’s team communications went dead just prior to the attack, however Lieu previously established a link with Bell and informed him of the attack. Bell grabbed Brother Victor and demanded answers, and being told only that about thirty members of the congregation have been taken for the Brother’s compliance in the attack. The Brother was the one that sent the message to Lt. Brandon’s datapad hoping to get at least some of the marines away before the attack. Unfortunately, the team’s natural paranoia did not work in their favour this time.

Rayne made a motion, trying to adjust her position on the floor and received a boot by one of the attackers. He was told by the one in charge that he will be shot if he causes further injury to the Proconsul.

Elizabeth, trying to protect her mistress, stands up and confronts the attackers. She is called off by Lieu, the command overriding her programming to defend her mistress.

However, that made her a target, and Carter is told to exit the chamber or the android will get shot (to which Elizabeth made her standard comment about androids being a fictional noun of 20th century literature and the correct terminology is SME, before being silenced again by Lieu).

Tuesday, February 19, 2160

The day of the NavTech sendng off event – a big fancy party on the top of the central tower of the Tri-Spires during the Martian night. The major players of the Odyssey mission were called forward, introduce to billions of viewers in a televised ceremony by a self-made billionaire named Peter Dansfield.

Admiral Izar spoke with Bell regarding the team’s performance results in the Sunrunner scenario, and Sgt. Carter thought he spotted Nancy from the night previous, only when he tried to reach her, she was gone.

A new member joined the team, Directeur Leiu of TNSC, and her N-Series assistant, Elizabeth.

Following the ceremony, the team retired to their hotel rooms.

Monday, February 18, 2160

The team launches from Odyssey at 06:00 Earth Standard aboard the Navarro-T1, a Gemini Class shuttle. Anya, piloting decides to engage the sublight engines just outside the hangar, and proceeds to put the shuttle in a spin around the main boom of the Odyssey that leads to the bridge structure. She is placed on report.

Nearing Mars, Anya receives a distress signal from a ship designating itself as the Sunrunner, a 100 year old Nova Star Class transport tug. They report that their engines have fractured by a meteor hit, and the ship is in a rapidly decaying orbit. The vessel is transporting Deutoranox-5 gas that will react extremely badly with the plunge into Mars’ atmosphere, possibly setting back the terraforming efforts there 10 years.

The next nearest vessel is 25 minutes away.

Bell orders an interception.

Aboard the Sunrunner, the team finds the ship in a horrible state – main power and computer systems are offline, life support is minimal, and engines are down. The team splits, with the marines going aft, and Anya, Gizmo and Rayne heading forward to the bridge. After several minutes, Anya locates the main computer, and reboots it, restoring system and flight control. Carter locates five surviving crew in engineering.

A woman then reports she is trapped in the lower observation deck. Bell and Alvina move to rescue her as Mars looms closer. She is trapped behind a sealed door. Limping on one engine, Anya gets Gizmo to plot a course to bounce the vessel off Mars’ meager atmosphere. An error causes the vessel to jolt violently, injuring Bell and Alvina. Gizmo is rendered unconscious when he is propelled against the console.

Bell receives a message from Lt. Harvard after reading Gizmo’s vitals, requesting authorization to abort the scenario. Anya, without Gizmo’s aid, still manages to pull the ship from danger before all systems and engines “miraculously” restart, as the nature of the secret exercise is revealed on Bell’s authorization.

A nearby Spartan shuttle, hidden from both the Navarro’s and Sunrunner’s sensor arrives, and the injured are tended to, as well as mission cleanup.

Bell holds a debriefing aboard the Spartan. Partway through, Gizmo regains consciousness, Anya goes to see him.

Lt. Harvard offers a ride to Mars for the event. The team is met at the landing dome station, 6 kilometres from the crater city of Eden, by a fresh young officer, Lt. Brandon. They are taken into Eden, a domed city within a Mars crater, and the closest point of civilization, next to Station Theta, to the Orb Temple.

Given their rooms at the Regency hotel in the central Hub of Eden, the team decides to blow off steam and head to a local drinking establishment. Lt Brandon suggests an upscale club called the Club Sable, professing a zero-G dance floor 3 storeys in height. There the team meets some locals, include Hans the handsome bar go’er, Hannah and her friends, and Nancy, the shy little dark-haired debutante who has an interest in big marines and men who kill.

Rayne, the party-pooper, stayed in her hotel room.

As the team slowly filtered out, Homans first, after some conversation with a group of navy officers, followed by Anya and her new boyfriend, then Bell with Hannah and company after getting punched by Hannah’s ex-boyfriend, thus leaving Carter alone with Nancy. At closing, Nancy politely excuses herself and slips away – leaving just Carter and the zero-G dancing Gizmo (who was a hit with some Japanese girls due to his pikachu-like qualities and skill in free fall).

Sunday, February 17, 2160

Captain Bell holds a group information session in the team’s quarters (Hexplex 23). Sgt. Carter and CWO Homans (the pair of marines that guarded Admiral Izar aboard the shuttle) are officially assigned to the First Contact team.

Lt. Natasha Harvard shows up with some other navy friends, and invites the group, via Bell, up to Michaelangelo’s Bistro in the upper colony pod. She announces that she is the new CAG officer.

Carter remains behind, and is contacted by Viki through the internal comm terminals, thus beginning a several hour conversation between human and sheltered AI system.

Later that evening, the team is invited to attend an event on Mars hosted by NavTech Computer Systems, one of the largest computer corporations in Sol space. NavTech systems run most of the ships that travel Sol space, including all three of the Odyssey flotilla.

Thursday, Febuary 14 to

The injured receive medical attention from Odyssey MedLab, while others are interviewed and debriefed by various authorities regarding the FHL incident. They are informed that the leading body, referred to as the Conclave, is most interested in how Admiral Izar handled the incident.

Saturday, 12:00 hrs, a memorial is held for Pvt Gunagan aboard ship, led by Admiral Izar. Lt. Colonel Wechlser takes over and concludes the ceremony. Pvt. Gunagan marks the first casualty of an already expected dangerous mission.


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