Space, the ultimate boundary.
These are the journeys of the Infinite Badger.
It's weekly quest to investigate weird new planets.
To hunt out unique lifeforms and unusual civilisations.
To brazenly travel where no one has yet to go!
Zaber Fluke: Mission specialist - Explorer first class.
Explorer's Log 01: Astrodate 21.2010.24.
Captain Darcy and the maiden voyage of the Infinitr Badger
A day ago, the CS Infinite Badger, having passed it's final inspection had it's maiden flight.
The sleek white dart-shaped scoutship smoothly slid out of the star dock and hung in Earth's orbit for a few moments, her pristine hull gleaming in the sunlight.
Captain Darcy was keen to see what the Infinite Badger could do and once clear of the star dock ordered Chuck to accelerate to maximum warp. Over the next few seconds the build up in energy was almost palpable as the engine's quiet hum intensified. Then we were away, the Earth seemed to shrink away as the stars streaked past.
The Infinite Badger continued at warp speed for a while until a cascade of readouts on Chuck's console changed from green to red and the ship had to drop out of warp. Ship diagnostics were showing a discrepancy in the engine output efficiently.
The Doc said the ship's scanners revealed that we had stopped in Sector seventeen had also logged the Infinite Badger passing through a barely detectable strange energy field whilst at warp?
We turned to Captain Darcy and were shocked to see that his was stiffly sat in his chair, unmoving and blankly staring into nothingness.
LISA immediately went over to him and scanned him with her eptacorder. She turned to us and said he was not presenting any signs of consciousness. Without delay we moved Captain Darcy into a medical pod.
LISA ran a more extensive scan on the captain from the pod, it revealed that in Captain Darcy's brain the synaptic neurons were firing electrons in an irregular pattern. There seemed to be no cause for this, LISA believed that this was some sort of psychic event?
Was it possible the strange energy field had damaged both the engine and Captain Darcy's brain?
The Hive Fleet and the Crab-Men
Before we could investigate, a warning tone pinged out of the Doc's console. The proximity warning had been triggered. The Doc quickly went over the readouts, it seemed to him that the sensors had picked up a number of unusual energy outputs, possibly from some sort of battle.
The Doc ran a sensor sweep, it confirmed that there was indeed a battle under way close by. The results indicated that a single larger ship was engaging numerous smaller ships.
Then the Doc warned us that several of the smaller vessels had broken off their attack and were now bearing down on us! He quickly put the shields up.
I turned to my own console and broadcast a multi-frequency message, "We mean no harm and come in peace."
It appeared to work, the ships changed heading and moved back towards the large ship.
At a distance Chuck followed the same vector as the small ships until we closed in on the battle. He recognised the large ship, it belonged to The Crab-men of Gamma Rho Six, a hostile, xenophobic and isolationist race who were incredibly protective of their own territory.
The smaller ships were attacking its weak points for massive damage!
It was so damaged, that it was moving under normal propulsion instead of it's usual unique sideways drive.
Chuck took the Infinite Badger in closer and positioned the ship on the other side of the crab ship, safely away from the fighting.
Once again the Doc's console pinged a warning tone. An additional number of the smaller vessels had dropped out of warp at the edge of the system and were fast approaching the battle. They were travelling in two squadrons, each squadron consisted of six ships that were moving in a hexagonal formation.
By now we had recognised the smaller ships, the were part of the mysterious Hive Armada, they had only ever been encountered at the very furthest reach of Consortium space.
The Hive Armada were a race of insectoids. They were of an indeterminate origin, whose home planet was unknown. It was said that they travelled the galaxy aboard Queenships.
Supposedly a Queenship was the size of a small moon and capable of stripping a planet of all its resources.
No one in the Consortium had ever seen a Queenship.
Mediation and diplomacy, our two watchwords
We briefly discussed a strategy amongst us and decided we should present ourselves as a neutral faction and try and broker a ceasefire between them.
I opened a channel to the Crab-men ship and the image of a large crab-man filled the bridge's main viewscreen. Behind him, his bridge looked wrecked, there were injured crewmen sprawled on the floor, sparks and flames licked the consoles, instrumentation was burnt out and cabling hung from the ceiling.
He introduced himself as Shell-Lord Xxbzitzxx, he seemed quite belligerent until a small explosion on his bridge changed his mind and he asked for our help.
We replied and said that we would try and organise a meeting with the Hive Armada aboard the Infinite Badger.
Next I opened a channel to the Hive Armada. One of the ships responded. This time the view screen was filled with the visage of a single insect-like creature. Unlike the bridge of the crab-man ship, there was instead only a cockpit and it was tiny, even though there was a sole occupant, it still looked cramped.
The insectoid introduced himself as Expenditure 718694. After a brief conversation, he agreed to come aboard the Infinite Badger for mediation.
A meeting had been set up.
A meeting of minds
Shell-Lord Xxbzitzxx was transported aboard. The viewscreen had not done his size justice. He was huge, large enough to fill a small room. It took some effort, but we managed to get him to the conference room.
Expenditure 718694 had refused to transport our to the ship. Instead we allowed him to dock his ship at our shuttle bay.
The Hive Armada ship looked curiously like some sort of maggot! We had come into the shuttle bay to welcome Expenditure 718694 aboard.
Rather disgustingly, the maggot ship split open and a strange fluid spilled out, oozing all over the floor. Expenditure 718694 emerged from the ship, standing up and covered in fluid.
He clicked a greeting to us and waved his antennae about.
He was fascinated with the ship and used the antennae to prod and probe the floor and bulkheads as we escorted him to the conference room. He even prodded LISA, no doubt also leaving a chemical trail behind him.
Once we were all in the conference room, 'pleasantries' were exchanged and the meeting began.
We asked Expenditure 718694 why the Hive Armada had come into the Crab-men's system.
He explained that they had been looking for a lost Queenship for the last six thousand, five hundred years. Their most recent long distance scans indicated that the Crab-men were living on the Queenship; Gamma Rho Six was the dormant Queenship.
Expenditure 718694 explained that they were here to remove the Crab-men from the Queenship.
We turned to Shell-Lord Xxbzitzxx for a reply, but there was no answer, he was not responsive.
Shell-Lord Xxbzitzxx was dead! LISA scanned him with her eptacorder; the analysis revealed that he had been killed by a virulent nerve agent. She examined his body and found a tiny puncture wound in the soft flesh between his shell plates.
It had to be Expenditure 718694, we turned to confront him but he had disappeared from the conference room.
There was a small hole in the bulkhead, somehow the insectoid had managed to create it and squeeze through. Now he was at large somewhere on the ship.
LISA ran to the shuttle bay in case he was trying to escape.
The rest of us rushed to the bridge, Doc ran an internal sensor sweep. Expenditure 718694 was in the engine room.
Meanwhile, in the shuttle bay, the maggot ship had produced some kind of tendrils, they were slowly snaking out and attempting to infest the Infinite Badger's internal systems.
LISA put her surgical programming to good use and with her phasepistol, cut the tendrils off, separating to the two ships.
Back on the bridge, now that Expenditure 718694 had been located, the Doc, Chuck and I hastily made our way to engineering. As we headed there, I set my phasepistol to the VFD setting, which was its maximum setting.
When we reached the engine room we saw that Expenditure 718694 had been interfering with the ship's engines and damaging the systems. Panels had been open, a mishmash of disconnected circuitry and wiring had been scattered across the floor. Warning lights were blinking furiously and we could see readouts flashing error. He was actually holding a control module as we entered.
I fired at him, it was a lucky shot that struck him perfectly. He was instantly vaporised, not even dust remained! The control module dropped to the floor undamaged.
Expenditure 718694 had been expended!
This was no time to gloat though, the situation was critical. both representatives who had been sent to the Infinite Badger to negotiate peace were now dead!
All of us returned to the bridge.
I opened a channel to the Crab-man ship and explained that their Shell-Lord had been killed by the insectoid, they did not take it well.
They immediately opened fire on us. In response the Hive Armada ships also opened fire on us. We were at risk of being caught in a crossfire!
Hesitation was a luxury we could not afford. Chuck powered up the engines and headed for the Hive Armada ships. The Doc and LISA headed down to engineering to see if they could effect repairs on the sabotaged systems.
At the same time the Crab-man ship split into two. The shell was left behind whilst the crab-creature that was inside it fled in a sideway vector, clearly it's sideways drive was functional.
Chuck weaved and corkscrewed the Infinite Badger through the flotilla of Hive Armada ships and a myriad array of phaser blasts, whooping as he did so and hoping that some of the Crab-men phaser blasts might hit the flotilla.
One hexagonal squadron of ships chased the Crab-men, another chased us. The final squadron only had five ships and was hanging motionlessly in space. Expenditure 718694 had been part of that squadron. This was curious.
From my console I performed a tactical scan of our pursuers and identified the lead ship. I had a hunch I was about to try.
The Hive Armada ships fired at us, but with just six of them, their damage was negligible. I concentrated all of my firepower on to the lead ship, it was easily destroyed. The other five ships powered down and appeared to become dormant.
My hunch was correct, the squadron acted as some sort of linked entity, when the lead ship was destroyed, the others would become leaderless.
Victory too, was a luxury we could not afford though. Chuck warned us that the engine's power levels were critically depleted.
The engines are drained
The engines are powered by Plotithium and the Doc scanned the system to see if there were any nearby sources we could mine.
Gamma Rho Six was the only source of Plotithium in the system.
This meant in order to refuel, we had to head towards the home planet of the hostile and xenophobic Crab-men that was also on the cusp of being invaded by another hostile force.
Chuck brought the Infinite Badger around and poured it on, we began following the Hive Armada ships that were following the Crab-men ship!
We noticed that the five dormant ships that been left behind were now part of the pursuit. They had reconfigured their formation into a pentagon, they must have assigned one of the ships as a new lead ship. It seemed that the squadrons had a redundancy system to manage the loss of the lead ship.
A quick scan of the ships behind us confirmed that they too had reconfigured into a pentagon.
Destroying a lead ship only disabled them for a short time, still, it was useful information to know.
As we gave chase and attacked the pursuing Hive Armada ships, managing to destroy one of the squadrons.
We were nearing Gamma Rho Six now and could see that they had launched planetary defences which made short work of the remaining squadron.
Whilst this was happening Chuck decreased speed and we held back. Chuck then put the Infinite Badger on a indirect approach vector for Gamma Rho Six which took us around to the planet, away from the battle and out of direct scan range.
As the planet began to fill our viewscreen, Chuck commented on how it did not look spherical or even ovoid. Chuck said that to him its shape looked like that of a curled up insect of some kind.
The approach vector had brought us to the planet's nightside, just before we began entry into the atmosphere, Doc ran a scan on the surface.
We were looking for a remote or unpopulated region of Gamma Rho Six that also contained a supply of Plotithium.
We were in luck, there was a definite source of Plotithium, but it was located close to an outlying Crab-man settlement.
We landed the Infinite Badger about five kilometres away from the source in a small secluded valley filled with weird vegetation and foliage.
The ship's energy reserves were now almost entirely depleted and certainly not enough to escape Gamma Rho Six's gravity well. Doc also explained to us that there might not be enough power to use the transporters twice, we might be walking back!
The instrumentation had reported that the atmosphere was breathable, so we prepared for a hike back to the Infinite badger.
The transporter beam put us a half a kilometre outside the settlement. It was dark and the shell like buildings were lit, it had an active population.
Our eptacorders pointed in the direction of the Plotithium source. Cautiously we crept over the night shrouded, strange landscape until we reached it.
Extracting the plotithium was simple and before long we had enough to fill the Infinite Badger's energy banks.
We contacted the ship and luckily, there was enough power to transport us back.
The secret of Gamma Rho Six
Repowering the ship's energy banks would take some time, in the meantime Doc scanned the space above us. Because we were on the surface, the scan had limited range. Even so, Doc could tell that there was some ongoing prolonged battle in progress. Gamma Rho Six was under attack from Hive Armada ships.
The situation had left us several unanswered questions. Could it be possible that this planet really was a Queenship, or a giant insect? Expenditure 718694 had told us that their Queenship had gone missing six millennia ago, it was impossible for an entire planetary evolution to occur in such a short timeframe. We needed more information.
LISA and the Doc went to the captured maggot ship. They ran a full diagnostic and thoroughly examined it. They learnt a lot, including how the Hive Armada communicated, issued commands and their operating frequencies.
Up above, the battle still raged, more and more Hive Armada ships were warping into the system. As each wave was destroyed, more were appearing.
By now the Infinite Badger was ready. Chuck ran a ship wide check on his console and a row of green lights winked into existence; all critical systems were nominal.
Powering up the engines, Chuck took us out of the atmosphere and into orbit managingto avoid their planetary scans in the process.
As we left Gamma Rho Six, Doc scanned it again, performing a deep scan beneath the planet's layers of topsoil and sediment, looking for biomaterial, looking for evidence. The result was shocking. He had detected a massive hollow structure comprised of cocoon-like material; within it some sort of bio-tissue was metamorphizing!
It was true, this was or had been the Queenship that the Hive Amada was looking for. Now it was becoming... something else.
We sat in orbit, trying to decide our next step and see if there was anyway of settling this peacefully when a warning alarm pinged on the Doc's console.
A solution to the problem
The gravimetric sensors had detected a change to the star system's gravity map, there was a small but sharp spike in mass. A large mass had inexplicably appeared at the edge of the star system, large enough to subtly distort the local gravity field.
It could only be a Queenship.
There was a risk that events would overtake us, we had to do something and soon!
Now that Doc had an understanding of the Hive Armada's communications hierarchy, he cloned it and issued orders the attacking Hive Armada squadron's to fall back. This gave us some breathing space.
Next we opened a channel to the Queenship and tried to reason with them. We were not meeting with any success, they could not be dissuaded from their task of removing all life from the surface of Gamma Rho Six.
The Doc did learn something though, something important. He believed that they had a different perception of time to us.
The Doc believed that when Expenditure 718694 had told us they had been searching for the Queenship for over six thousand years, he meant something different. The Hive Armada did not calculate time as we did. Expenditure 718694 had not been referring to solar years, instead he had been referring to Galactic years!
A Galactic year was over two hundred million solar Earth years, the Hive Armada had been searching for billions of years.
We came up with a plan, it was desperate, but we had no other choice. It had to work.
Once again we communicated with the Hive Armada. Instead of trying to get them to halt their attack, we instead asked them to delay it! If they delayed their attack by a single day according to how they calculated the passage of time, it would be hundreds of years as we calculated it.
We waited for their reply, they agreed to our terms; they would wait a single day at the edge of the system before resuming their advance.
We communicated with The Consortium headquarters and they agreed to help the Crab-men relocate to a suitably isolated new uninhabited world where they could continue their isolationist existence: Matters were now in the hands of The Consortium central command. The Crab-men might lose their homeworld, but they were saved.
End of Explorer's Log 01.
Explorer's Log 01: Addendum.
Before we left the system and resumed our exploration mission, we managed to contact Hive Armada again.
Now that hostilities had ceased they were willing to communicate with us.
They told us that the Queenships had been separated and for all this time they had searching the galaxy, seeking out this Queenship to celebrate her rebirth as a giant beautiful space butterfly!
When the celebrations were complete, she would be reborn and use her massive antennae to open a wormhole to lead the Hive Armada to their new home in a distant uninhabited galaxy.
Lasers & Feelings
As far as light RPGs go, this is a pretty light one at only 1 page in length.
The rules are simple, all characters have only 1 stat.
All actions are divided into 2 types of actions.
If a player rolls exactly on the stat value, they get a special result called Laser Feelings.
So if a character has a high stat, they are more logical. A lower stat means they are more emotional.
Lasers & Feelings is a scifi RPG designed to loosely emulate the theme and style of Star Trek and this is reflected in traits. Characters are defined by 2 traits which have a sci-fi feel to them.
Finally, characters gain a motivation, includes traits such as solve mysteries, shoot bad guys and so on.
The players also get a spaceship that has 2 traits and 1 weakness.
And that's it, the players are ready to go.
The GM is encouraged to only loosely define an adventure (Or mission.) and let the players define some elements of the plot and run with it.
Lasers & Feelings uses an elegant concept to define characters. hopefully this will lead to interesting encounters and narratives.
Because of COVID we're playing over Skype.
The crew Of The Infinite Badger
CS Infinite Badger: The Consortium's newest, most advanced Raptor class scoutship. Outfitted with bleeding edge engines and sensors, has a crew compliment of six.
Chuck Comet (Of the spaceways): Played by Kevin.
A loudmouth, cocksure, hotshot pilot.
Bridge position: Helm.
Dr Summ Thin: Played by Mark.
A savvy doctor with an insatiable urge to solve the unknown.
Bridge position: Sensors & shields.
LISA (Laser Incision Safety Apparatus): Played by Michaela.
The Consortium's first android doctor, LISA is trial program to evaluate the effectiveness of robotic doctors.
Bridge position: Medical bay & damage control.
Zaber Fluke: Played by Giro.
An intrepid explorer who seeks out knowledge of the quadrant. Latest in the long distinguished line of Fluke explorers and businessmen.
Bridge position: Weapons & diplomacy.
Ensign Felix the space cat: Played by Felix.
Seems to spend all of this time curled up asleep on the captain's chair.
Bridge position: See above.
Medical Log 1
- Unchanged, still unconscious
- Small scratch on hand
- Dr having trouble using sensor equipment, recommend medical check up
- Moral high after ‘celebration crab cuisine’
- Unsure of progress towards goal
- New knowledge gained through examination of new lifeforms.
New lifeforms met:
- Hive Armada
- Crab people
Science Officer’s Log
Settled aboard my new ship, although much confusion around my transfer from SS Dark Star. Everyone thinks I’m a Science Officer, although I’m only rated as an Acting Temporary Probationary Science Technician (Grade 2). Still, didn’t actually damage anything and mumbling about the polarity of the neutron flow seems to keep the others happy.
I will never eat crustaceans again.
Pilot’s log entry
Encountered some hostiles today. Giant xenophobic crabs Vs weird space man-wasps. A total zoidberg situation if you ask me.
Bridge crew asked me to loop the loop round some planetary rings and slipstream off the atmosphere and brake under the crab ship pincers so we could make contact and remain hidden all the time.
Why is it always me who has to do all the dangerous manoeuvres I ask?
“Because you’re awesome Chuck”, they tell me.
So very true
Ship's Cat log
You can download your own copy of Lasers & Feelings by clicking the logo below.
These reports were originally published on Giro's own website, Three Spellcasters and a Dwarf where you can find reports and reviews of all sorts of role playing and board games.