Our Cast of Players:
- Alexei Makarov (Ian): Human Expert – Technician/Adventurer, level 1.
- Christian (Craig): Human Psychic – Adventurer/Psychic Researcher, level 1.
- Hilton “Hiltie” Jones (Max): Human Expert – Biotech Crew/Pilot, level 1.
- Jonah Priest (Alan): Human Warrior – Security Crew/Ground Forces, level 1.
- Lazarus Morgenstern (Dave): Human Expert – Noble/Adventurer, level 1.
- Munroe (Ricky): Human Warrior – Soldier/Merc, level 1.
With all the Chittik in the room now dead, you quickly search it. Most of the room is a mess of upturned and broken tables and chairs, but five distinct “nests” have been fashioned out of the remnants of some rotted cushions and assorted soft furnishings. On a single upright table sit two crystals, both the size and shape of a human thumb and looking as though they are made from alabaster.
Hiltie picks one of the crystals up and examines it. Turning it over he sees it has a button set into the base. He picks the other one up and finds that to be the same. All of your combined technical minds are unable to fathom the crystals’ function or purpose until Christian takes one and thumbs the button on its base. It lights up throwing out a constant, unwavering blue-white light. It is bright, but not dazzlingly so, powerful enough to light up the room you are in. No amount of button pressing will shut down the light source however, and eventually Christian pockets it, still shining brightly.
You check the Chittik and the equipment they had with them. Each was armed with a single barrelled rifle of alien design, breech loading and large calibre. However it seems they are single shot and, although powerful, somewhat primitive in design compared to your weapons. Each Chittik also had a small pouch of cartridges. One of the Chittik, the one killed by Alexei, is displaying something you have not seen before. Embedded into its carapace is a rectangle of yellow metal containing rows of red and black jewels. It looks like it may be some form of rank insignia. Lazarus digs it out with a knife and notices that this one also has a key card hanging around its neck. He takes both.
You make your way back through the little complex of rooms where the Ushans are anxiously waiting in the passageway. They seem pleased to see you and the visible signs of your success. They point at your weapons again and then somewhere towards the centre of the tomb. It seems to you they have more work in mind. Lazarus is less than impressed with this – he has a burning desire to start exploring the tomb and there is a door opposite that you have no idea what lies beyond. He starts to examine the door and one of the Ushans tugs at his sleeve shaking her head. She points to your weapons and back towards the centre of the tomb again.
Lazarus ignores her and presses the stud next to the door. It slides smoothly open and beyond is a small ‘L’-shaped room. It looks as though it was once a medical centre or sickbay of some kind. Inside are two ruined and decayed couches or possibly operating tables. Some low shelving contains rusted and corroded medical instruments of conventional design: scissors, forceps, dishes, tweezers and so on. A cabinet mounted on the far wall catches Lazarus’ attention and he walks the short distance over to it before opening it. Inside are the rotted remains of some bandage rolls and a small stubby tube he recognises as one of the Ushan cutting torches next to an alien power cell. He takes both, naturally.
Returning to the passageway, Lazarus finds that the rest of you have already set off at the direction of the Ushans. It seems plain to you that they are telling you there are more Chittik at large in the tomb, but they do not know their location. Priest takes it upon himself to lead you back in the direction you came but off to the right this time, thereby confirming that several of the passages do in fact link up. This also reveals a previously undetected and short passageway leading off into unexplored territory and initially to a large square room, probably 15 metres on a side. Ranks of decaying hammocks hang forlornly from the ceiling, some dangling by a single strap, others fallen on the floor.
There are two exits from the large room, passageways leading both left and right. Priest leads you right and along another of the ubiquitous bronze passageways. At the end of this one is a square room, about 10 metres square, with a door in the far left corner. Lining the walls are a number of fragile looking glass benches and in the centre of the room is a statue of an Ushan in elaborate robes and with a high head dress. It is made of shimmerglass and fills the room with a soft radiance.
Beautiful though the statue is, it does not hold Priest’s interest and he heads over to the door in the corner. On the other side is a small square room, no more than 5 metres on a side, with no other visible exits. The contents, however, more than catch his interest and he calls the rest of you inside.
Inside are two racks of shelves, one containing several suits of armour, the other several firearms of various types. Munroe does a quick stock check of the weapons: there are three semi-automatic pistols, a revolver, and a combat shotgun. All of the weapons are loaded, and apart from the revolver, they are all in less than perfect condition, ill-preserved and with signs of corrosion. Munroe would not be happy with using them until he has had the opportunity to strip, clean, polish and fully maintain them. There are also three extra clips of ammunition for the pistols.
On the other rack of shelves are scattered the components of an armoured undersuit, two suits of woven armour, and a combat field uniform. All are in less than prime condition, with tattered and frayed straps. The combat field uniform has a small snake design on it and Hiltie recalls that the pirate vessel that disappeared nineteen years ago was called The Serpent’s Fang.
In the gap between the two racks of shelving is a small stack of decorative serving trays, each one embossed with a relief similar to those you have seen on the walls of the tomb. Adjacent to the trays are six small plastic cases, the size and shape of attache cases. Lazarus picks one of the cases up and examines it. It has a carry handle and is closed with a simple clasp mechanism. They appears to be no lock and so he opens it. It is full with plastic packets of a white powder, and he gives a sharp intake of breath. It looks like refined spectrox to him, a stimulants and alleged geriatric agent banned on many worlds, and worth a small fortune on others. He checks each of the six cases and finds the content of each to be the same.
A lengthy argument breaks out as to whether to start transferring the items you have found to The Leadbelly or to leave them here and collect them later The party of Ushans have not followed you to this place and it seems unlikely that many, if any, of these items could reasonably be claimed by them. The argument rages back and forth and in the end the two points of view compromise on taking the contents of the room closer to the shuttle and stowing them in the large room with all the hammocks.
To be continued…