Adventures on the Edge of the Imperium

Shadows of Yorbund (Part 2 of 3)

The group decide to explore the long passageway leading down from the pendulum chamber, Wilhelm and Vann lead the way with Bucky bringing up the rear. Whilst they are walking Bucky stops to collect a sample of the animal droppings that litter the floor. At the end of the corridor the group find a room full of machinery, but its complexity defeats them and they cannot find a way to switch it off. Down a side corridor they find a barred exit to the outside, which seems to lead to the shaft Tommy and Wilhelm found earlier at the base of the largest pyramid. Wilhelm suggests that he could cut through the bars, using his laser rifle, in about twenty minutes but the others want to press on as they only have about two and a half hours of oxygen left in the suits. So, they decide to return back the way they came.

Returning to the upper level and to the shaft where Bucky made his descent, they explore the two side corridors that Bucky ignored when he was first here. The first just leads to another small chamber, whilst the other one leads along to what seems like a door, Vann and Bucky give it a push and slowly it begins to open, flooding the corridor with light and opening a doorway to the outside. Bucky decides to head back to the Aurora while the others begin to rappel down to the lower level. Everyone makes it down the cable without any mishaps.Quickly they make their way along the main corridor to where the pendulum is. Three large chambers are located off the chamber, in two of them the group find what appear to be sets of controls, in one chamber all the controls seem to be turned off but in the other the controls show that power is going to a number of systems in the pyramids. The third chamber is empty except for a curiously smooth block of stone set in the middle of the chamber. In the active control chamber Tommy examines each of the controls and finds three depressions beneath each one, pressing each depression does not seem to change any of the readings, so Tommy and Vann go back to the pendulum chamber leaving Wilhelm to study the controls. One thing Tommy notices is that the pendulum is swinging in an intricate pattern over three plates on the floor, he and Vann remove the plates and reveal eight small compartments. After opening all the compartments all he finds are twelve small metal clips which can be clipped on to a cable to help in climbing.

When they return to the control room Wilhelm says that he has had a bit of luck in decyphering the controls, he presses two of the depressions simultaneously and the power level for that gauge drops to zero. Rapidly, the three of them each take a bank of controls and turn them all off, plunging them into darkness. Tommy radios Oliver and Bucky and tells them that the beam might be disabled, To test this Bucky goes back to the pyramid and looks for something to test the theory, not finding anything on the ground he delves into his pockets and throws the first thing he finds towards the pyramid. The thrown animal droppings do not trigger the beam, and there is a profound silence from the others when they hear what Bucky has done.

Wilhelm tells Oliver to lift off gently and to bring his ship closer to the pyramid, as the ship comes over the dunes there is no reaction from the pyramid, with a sigh of relief from both Oliver and Wilhelm the Aurora, settles back down beside the pyramid. Tommy, Vann and Wilhelm make there way back to the cable and with the help of the clips Tommy found they quickly climb back up and exit the pyramid through the door they found. Wilhelm goes and retrieves his cable before following the others back to the ship. Gingerly Wilhelm takes off and at a safe distance climbs up and back into orbit.

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Shadows of Yorbund
Session #1

Date: 001 – 1105

On the morning of departure the group gather at the starport and Wilhelm takes them out to the landing pad where the Aurora is sitting waiting for them. After showing them to their staterooms and the group have unpacked their belongings Wilhelm shows them around the ship, the ship looks old but everything seems to be working fine and Wilhelm has equipped it well for most situations. He also says that the destination is Regina, as he has a bit of business to conclude there.

During the countdown to take off a large seismic tremor rocks the ship, though take off proceeds normally, once in orbit Wilhelm requests that everyone checks the ship for damage. No damage is found but through a break in the normally dense clouds the sensors detect an anomaly on the planet surface, about 1,000 Km from the starport. Computer enhancement shows it to be some kind of structure, Wilhelm is intrigued by the structure, which appears to be a pyramid complex, as it did not show up on his survey of the world and none of the planetary officials have mentioned anything in his interviews with them. Wilhelm decides it is certainly worth investigating and tells the others that they will head to Regina shortly, but first he wants to return to the planet for a little field trip to examine the pyramids.

As the Aurora is on final approach to the pyramids an energy blast passes within meters of the hull, Wilhelm quickly puts the ship down behind some sand dunes which mask the ship from further fire, but are about one Km from the complex. A computer analysis of the attack indicates that the energy blast originated from the pyramid complex and that there is an 80% chance of the ship being disabled if the energy blast hits the ship. Wilhelm says that the weapon is going to have to be put out of action before he will risk taking off again. The computer also determines that the corrosive atmosphere of the planet will breach the integrity of a vacc suit in about eight hours, so speed will be essential in finding the weapon.

The crew suit up and set out from the Aurora towards the pyramids, except for Oliver Skyler who is going to stay in the ship and provide radio support to the group. The walk to the pyramids takes about twenty minutes and Tommy and Bucky quickly discover that the alien statue at the top of one of the pyramids can be moved to reveal a deep shaft leading into the heart of the structure. It is at this point that Bucky realises that they have no way to get down the shaft, Wilhelm tells him that there are some fifty meter cables back at the ship. Bucky and Vann trudge back to the ship to fetch a couple of them back, returning about an hour later they hastily tie the cables together and attach it to the statue, which looks strong enough to support the weight of someone descending the cable.

Bucky is ‘volunteered’ to be the first one to descend into the depths, after about twenty meters the shaft opens up into a large dimly illuminated chamber, Bucky though carries on his descent. At just about the end of the first cable he finds a ledge where the shaft seems to have been fractured by seismic activity, on the ledge he finds several small skeletons of a snake like creature. As he is about to swing off the ledge his torch beam catches on a small gold coin, engraved with a flame, which he pockets to examine later. Rather than descending further he decides to climb back up to the chamber he passed earlier. After swinging over to the chamber floor he finds that there is nowhere on the metal floor to attach the cable, so he decided to keep it attached to his belt and begins to walk down the wide faintly illuminated corridor. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he sees something scurrying around a corner into what appears to be a side passage, drawing his revolver he proceeds cautiously to where he saw the movement.

Looking around the corner he sees eight small creatures huddling around some stairs leading up to a metal door. One of the creatures suddenly rushes at him, baring its teeth, Bucky fires at it and it is thrown backwards, dead. The noise seems to frighten the remaining animals causing them to rush past him and into the darkness of another side passage. Bucky climbs the stairs and examines the door, apart from a small slot off to one side, he tries to open the door but fails, so he calls for someone to come and join him. Vann agrees to come down and begins to descend the cable.

Meanwhile, Tommy and Wilhelm have continued to examine the exterior of the pyramids, but they cannot find any sign of the weapon that fired at them and the only other feature is another shaft near the base of the largest pyramid, but they do not have any way to descend it.

Using brute strength Bucky and Vann manage to raise the door, it leads to a small chamber filled with boxes that contain some organic material. Further examination of other side chambers reveals more boxes and also some sort of plants growing in some soil, Bucky carefully picks a sample of the plant for later study. Further down the wide corridor they find another large chamber with a shaft leading down in the center, attached to the ceiling is a cable running down into the shaft . Tommy and Wilhelm are called to come and join the others and to help with the exploration, by the time they arrive it has been discovered that the cable is swinging slightly as if it is attached to something loose further down the shaft.

After taking some careful measurements using the electronic sight on his laser rifle, Wilhelm realises that the cable seems to be located under the apex of the largest pyramid in the complex, though there is no obvious reason for it to be there. Off the chamber there are three other large chambers but they are all empty except for some faint markings on the walls, when Vann and Wilhelm examine the markings using their IR goggles striking murals are revealed. Two of them show the pyramids being used for some sort of social or religious gathering by reptilian aliens, whilst the other one shows the energy beams shooting from the faces of the pyramid to attack some sort of flying creatures. Back in the cable chamber Tommy discovers a panel concealing a doorway, when it is opened four flying creatures burst out and begin to attack the group. Wilhelm manages to down two of them with shots from his laser rifle, while Tommy gets one with a carbine shot and Bucky kills the final one but not before it manages to bite him and make a small tear in his vacc suit. After patching the tear the group decide to head down the passageway where the creatures came from.

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Part One: Aurora Days
Shadows of Yorbund - Introduction

Date: 362-1104

Mustering out seems a long time ago, in reality it was only about three months ago. The adventurers had got talking in the mustering out centre on Regina and after a few (or more) drinks in the Starhaven tavern at the starport, they decided to do a bit of travelling in the Regina subsector and try to find some jobs that might add to their ‘retirement’ funds.

Things were going well until they landed at Yorbund. The inhospitable nature of the planet did not help and added to that the well paid job they had been offered had fallen through, due to their patron getting himself arrested. That was all three weeks ago, since then nothing seemed to be going right, no jobs worth taking, the next merchant vessel was not due for another three weeks, so no way off the rock.

The only thing of interest that had happened in the past week, apart from the seismic activity, was the arrival of a Type S Scout/Courier, the ‘Aurora’, and its pilot Wilhelm Seelow. One night in a bar the group got talking to the ex-scout and found out that even though Wilhelm had been retired for about five years he was still doing some work for the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service (IISS). He had been contracted to perform an ‘internal audit’ on the Spinward Marches, it meant he had to visit every system and make sure that the information the Scout Service held was correct. Wilhelm does not hide the fact that he is being well paid for the job, but that it can also get a little boring being out there alone.

When the group explain their situation to him he is more than happy to offer them a place on the Aurora, and says that he could always do with the company and a little more adventure in his life. He says he could even stretch his funds to offer them paid positions on the Aurora.

The adventurers gladly take Wilhelm up on his offer as it means they get off Yorbund, have access to free transport around the Marches and they are going to get paid to do it. Oliver accepts a position of engineer, Vann will act as a gunner, Bucky will be the ships medic and Tommy says he will be a steward in case they pick up any passengers. Wilhelm tells them that they will be leaving in a couple of days, on 001-1105, after he has finished writing his report on Yorbund.

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