Q22

Moon Dig

After successfully removing the squatters and gaining full control over the abandoned factory, the admiral had a less glamorous job for the Sumo. One of the admiral’s pet projects was a dig site inside an old Alpha base on the moon that had been blasted shut after the death of their CEO and the events of the “missile swarm.” With manpower available to the military so low, and the project being not an official priority of the military, the admiral was forced to hire the Sumo’s crew to help dig out the tunnels.

A Lt. Brooke Darnell was in command of the dig site and had been at it for months. Her small crew of 11 was suffering from poor morale due to the poor conditions of the base, resulting in the mining crew spending most of their time maintaining the base rather than digging. With the engineers from the Sumo tackling the base’s systems, the military crew was to able focus on digging and after a few weeks finally reached the bottom of the collapsed shaft.

Exploring the bottom of the shaft, two large doors were found. One door led to a tunnel leading to a network of offices, workshops, and small labs, while the other door led to the main lab complex. Inside the main lab was a circular chamber with what looked like one of the alien pods Alpha had retrieved from the Kuiper Belt object years ago. The room was in disarray with all electronics fried, including a large demolition charge placed inside the bottom of the pod. Manny disarmed the explosives and deemed the room safe for further study. After reporting the situation to the military, a ship was finally dispatched to give the base and its pod more attention and security.

Unfortunately the military was not the only force responding to the news of the discovered pod and labs. Two civilian ships in orbit of the moon had recently changed course and were heading towards the base, as was an unknown moon truck via the surface. Everyone at the dig site quickly began to prepare for the worst, setting up defenses and traps while anxiously waiting for news from orbit.

The civilian ships, cargo haulers out of the Free Colonies, were filled with advanced missiles and drones and engaged the military ship as well as taking some pot shots at the Sumo, which was luckily at the edge of the engagement. The advanced weapons of the civilian ships made short work of the military ship, showing that technology that was top of the line only a year ago had been made obsolete. Worse still, the ships had launched landers to assault the dig site.

At the dig site the military attempted to fire their old portable launchers at the incoming landers, but the point defense guns had no problem shooting down the missiles. Fire from the landers forced everyone to fall back inside the dome of the base and await the next phase of the attack. Communications and all external observation were quickly cut by the attackers. The dig site was told to deliver the pod within 10 minutes or they would storm the base. Both the Lt. Darnell and Captain Ron agreed that the pod can’t fall into the wrong hands, and they’d go down defending it. The 10 minutes was instead used to rig up explosives on the pod and the tunnel leading to it, as well as moving supplies to the office complex to use as a last resort fall back position. The attackers most likely had overwhelming force, but they did not have time on their side as within hours military reinforcements would arrive.

The assault advanced faster than predicted, all traps and resistance were brushed aside forcing everyone to scramble to the fall back position. With the bucket only holding a few people, many of the soldiers resorted to jumping down the shaft, hoping the low gravity and grabbing the walls on the way down would make their fall survivable. In the end 8 of the 12 soldiers and all of the Sumo’s crew made it to the fall back position, with the soldiers reporting brief glimpses of combat robots but otherwise no good visuals on the attackers.

With the explosives successfully detonated the attackers were denied their prize, and they quickly left before the military reinforcements could arrive. They did though leave behind an assortment of hunter-killer drones as a parting gift. Everyone hole up in the office complex had to remain so until the military reinforcements arrived and cleared the base out.

The two “civilian” ships made it back to the Free Colonies, who delayed cooperating with US authorities just long enough to loose track of the ship’s crews after docking, but promised to follow up on any leads relating to the identity of these terrible unsanctioned and quite illegal mercenaries.

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Manny Fired a Net Gun

Upon returning to Earth the crew of the Sumo were not sure how they would be received. One of them was now a robot, all of them had implants and technology given to them by the Belt AI’s, and they were no longer in the government’s or military’s good books. Someone in the military was still interested in them though, an Admiral Erin Bayer requested a meeting with them at the military shipyard at Decatur.

Admiral Bayer didn’t care that the crew ignored procedure back in the belt, she didn’t care that Manny was a brain in a robot body, and she seemed totally unfazed by Captain Ron’s sweet shades. She made it clear she wanted a capable crew to do “odd jobs” for her, mostly off the record. The admiral claimed she represented a group of powerful interests within the government that wanted to make sure the influx of technology from the belt is absorbed by society with as few problems as possible. She also claimed to be in direct contact with the Belt AI’s and was operating along with their advice and guidance. Captain Ron and the senior crew all agreed to this arrangement, but many of the crew were eager retire after years of time on the ship and the stresses of the Mars mission.

With a smaller crew the Sumo took on its first job for the admiral: scouting and securing an abandoned factory with disputed ownership before the Free Colonies did the same. But when the Sumo arrived at the factory they found a complication in the form of squatters, sort sort of cyber-cult pushed out of the Free Colonies Although the initial encounter did not go well, with Manny shooting his net gun at one of the squatters who was reaching for a weapon, the crew was able to get the squatters calmed down and talking eventually. After discussing the situation with one of the admiral’s contact, the squatters were to be given their own small habitat in exchange for peacefully leaving the factory and helping secure it. Giving the squatters their own station was an expensive trade for the factory, but still worth while.

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Back To Earth

The crew of the Sumo were ordered to transport a military diplomatic team to the asteroid structure in order to directly communicate with it after it sent out a massive packet of information containing all their known science as well as an invitation for humans to visit.

Arriving at the massive construction, the Sumo unloaded its military crew and waited. Growing impatient they decided to communicate directly themselves, eventually being invited in due to their much more trusting and receptive attitude compared to that of the military negotiators. Totally side-lining the military, many of the Sumo’s crew members quickly decided to trust the various intelligences living in the station and agreed to receive basic brain implants to let them access computer systems wirelessly. The AI life forms also offered perfect health and immortality, and Manny jumped at the chance to become an immortal super human. Unfortunately for Manny, due to the unknown alien cells in his body he reacted violently to the medical technology, requiring his head to be quickly removed for safekeeping while the rest of his body exploded into some sort of alien horror that the robots quickly destroyed.

Manny was then given two options, to receive a synthetic human body fairly close to his original form, or wait for their technology to re-grow his biological body. Manny decided to become a cyborg because that’s pretty great.

Unhappy with the actions of the Sumo’s crew, the military recalled the Sumo back to Mars 2 to finish out their contract doing menial work. After their contract ended, the Sumo finally set off on the long voyage back to Earth, and towards an unknown future radically changed by a massive influx of technology.

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Manny Made a Net Gun

-Monster autopsy revealed strange biology and metallic brain structures.
-Probe data showed massive structures in the asteroid belt.
-Sumo crew is going to check out the old Mars 1 station.
-Manny built a net gun.

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Mars 2, 2

After docking with the Mars 2 station a crew began exploring and assessing key areas of the station’s hub. All major systems seemed normal and as they should be, but the main computer was in pieces and many components fried. The main docking hanger was also found to have suffered damage to one of its cranes, and in both the hanger and main computer traces of an exotic tungsten alloy were found. Local door access logs showed activity 8 years ago while the station was abandoned 15 years ago. The dates on the most recent logs matched up with an extreme long range manned science mission to the outer asteroid belts, a mission that only reported docking with the Mars 1 station, a mission that was funded and directed by the Alpha corporation.

With the hub of the station assessed and the environmental system “warming up” the main ring of the station was the next target for exploration while another crew began work repairing the main computer. Arriving in the ring the crew was surprised to find a functioning atmosphere and life support system, apparently left on contrary to the station’s official mothballing plan. Worried about squatters or anyone potentially living in the ring the crew explored cautiously while calling out. They soon found the remains of a space suit with the name “Waterbridge” on it surrounded by trees that had strange black divots cut or rotted out. Samples were gathered of both the trees and the black remains inside the suit. Further exploration of the ring was stopped when the crew found what looked like hollow carapace of some humanoid creature. On the way back, alarms in the ring went off signalling a loss of pressure. The leak was found to be a service hatch leading to the hub. Worried unknown lifeforms had entered the hub, Captain Ron ordered all crew to stop work and head quickly back to the ship.

While nearly at the airlock, the exploration crew spotted a creature resembling the carapace they saw earlier. The creature was sneaking and peeking through the door into the cargo bay that the Sumo was docked at. The creature quickly spotted the crew and dashed away down a hallway. When the crew approached the door, 2 of the creatures leaped from hidden positions around the corner and attacked, wounding Manny in their initial rush. After a wrestling match and gun fire, the crew managed to fight their way to the airlock and into the Sumo, although they remembered none of the events after the initial struggle. Manny received medical care and was isolated from the crew as some sort of black clumps were found in his wound. While leaving the station something (most likely one of the creatures) managed to climb outside the station and onto the Sumo and puncture a fuel tank, but the tank was quickly patched and no further sign of the saboteur was found. The clumps in Manny’s wound turned out to be seemingly harmless and Manny was returned to duty after his quarantine and extensive testing.

When the Altair finally arrived, the soldiers on board searched the hub and found no trace of the creatures. With the hub secured the crew of the Sumo were able to get back to work on the main computer. The Altair’s troops then found and killed two creatures in the ring, the creatures had signs of bullet wounds in their shells that identified them as the two the crew of the Sumo had fought with earlier. The main computer was finally repaired enough to get security sensors operational, but despite the sensors and the soldiers searches, a third creature was never found. The bodies of the two dead creatures as well as the shell, Dr Waterbridge’s suit, and samples from the trees were taken to a biolab in the hub for study while Captain’s Ron and Mangrum discussed their orders to fortify the station and get its fuel processor up and running.

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Mars Fishing

The crew of The Sumo were informed that long range telescopes monitoring the asteroid belt had begun to notice activity there, and with more resources pointing towards the belt it was confirmed that there was unknown mining and industrial activity taking place. The government and military decided the abandoned Mars 2 station in orbit of Mars should be re-activated as a military facility and act as a forward base for any potential missions into the belt, and the Sumo was the perfect ship and crew for the job. The Sumo was given a couple months vacation while waiting for the next Mars window, which most of the crew took back home on Earth. At the end of the vacation most of the crew along with reporter Frank Garza met up in Florida for a fishing trip in Captain Ron’s home waters. After their vacation, the crew returned to the Sumo to begin their mission to Mars. The Sumo, along with a newly built military vessel “USS Altair” following a month behind, were sent to Mars along with a large amount of supplies in order to get the Mars 2 station back in operation. The trip, just over 3 months, was uneventful, and the Sumo successfully entered Mars orbit and docked with the station. It will be 23 months until the next return window.

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Banana Stand

The Sumo is sent out to investigate an obsolete factory code named “Banana” as part of a group of 3 ships. With the military running security, the crew was free to begin assessing the station for re-use. Most all systems except for basic life support were down due to a lack of power. The life support system seemed to have been slightly altered to provide a different atmospheric mixture as well as non-standard heat and humidity, but was never able to carry out it’s new parameters but after being brought back online the system refused to shut down, forcing Richard to cut power manually.

The factory’s cargo handling system came to life after the life support was shut down, resulting in the USS Reading’s marines opening fire on various cargo robots until they finally figured out to shut power down to the area. The marines did at least notice that the station seemed to be collecting certain specific containers. With the cargo area’s power cut, the crew of the Sumo met up in the cargo area with the marines to inspect the containers. The first containers contained various high-end manufacturing robots and automated fabrication equipment, another contained a massive mainframe, and the last was full of organic substances of some sort. The cargo was loaded onto the USS Reading which headed back to base to urgently investigate the cargo.

The cargo inspection was then interrupted by one of the station’s manufacturing areas showing signs of use. The area’s power was quickly cut, but it was clear the equipment there was manufacturing small drones of some sort. The Marines split into teams to hunt down the drones while the crew of the Sumo either joined in or attempted to patch into the station’s security system to help track the drones down. A drone was soon spotted in the main reactor attempting to bring it online. SNOT was dispatched to quickly respond and was able to disable the enemy robot but soon found it self being attacked by 2 others. Captain Ron was able to pilot SNOT and evade the enemy drones long enough for the marines to reach the area and destroy the attacking drones.

With the whole operation being a bit of a disorganized mess but relatively safely handled, the government decided the station would make a good proving grounds for future methods of clearing and salvaging or repairing infected facilities. The Sumo was put in charge of developing these new methods as they purge and repair the station. Upon the USS Reading’s return, a larger staff and more supplies will be dropped off to assist the Sumo’s crew.
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Dirt Farming

After turning down a pointlessly dangerous mission to investigate a suspicious factory, the Sumo instead takes on the task of assisting the famous government “Dirt Farm” which suffered total failure after the initial “Alpha virus” attacks. After a few days of work it became apparent that the station could sadly not be brought back online before the various industrial soil grinders and digesters would be ruined. The crews of the Sumo and Dirt Farm worked round the clock for a week to clean out the machinery and were able to successfully prepare the station for an extended period of inactivity until it can receive a new reactor.

Tensions continued to grow around L5 after the destruction of almost all the world’s military ships and facilities. With various corporate security forces appearing at a suspiciously fast pace since the disaster and a brewing independence sentiment, the US government was becoming worried there could be open conflict if they were not able to fill the power vacuum quickly. To help fill this vacuum the military began buying suitable civilian craft and outfitting them with what ever weapons they could. Even the Sumo was given a pair of anti-ship missile launchers. Matters came to a head when an alliance of major space corporations announced they did not recognize the US military’s authority to commandeer their civilian shipyards and demanded the government to officially write up and pass a bill. The move was clearly little more than a delay tactic, as days later when the bill was successfully passed 3 of the 4 remaining major shipyards at L5 along with many colonies declared them selves independent of the US government.

With approximately evenly matched forces but a 3 to 1 production disadvantage the US government sent what little fleet they had to threaten one of the “Free Colonies” shipyards. At the last moment before open civil war a treaty was reached between the government and the new Free Colonies nation. The colonies were to transfer ownership of 2 of their 3 shipyards back to the government, but were otherwise free to go. Conflict was avoided and the US was able to easily secure its future military superiority in space. Many US citizens aboard the now independent colonies decided to return to US territory, while a small trickle of Americans decided to renounce their citizenship and immigrate to the new nation.

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Space Hulk

With the world’s military infrastructure destroyed the Sumo decides to do their duty and assist any way they can. The nearest distress signal is identified and the ship snaps into rescue mode, collecting two off-course life boats full of grateful crew. The Navy personnel are dropped off at a nearby civilian shipyard at the colony “Escambia”. The military agrees to hire the Sumo on as private contractors and provide a basic point defense weapon system. The Sumo is given instructions to survey and collect wreckage from an enemy factory complex. 2 large intact space containers were boarded and found to contain valuable industrial and weapons cargo. A large intact chunk of the factory was next to be investigated, but when the ship came close a small swarm of drones hidden in the wreckage moved to intercept. The Sumo’s new weapons were able to destroy the drones before they could reach the ship. SNOT was sent into the hulk to survey the area and quickly found a large manufacturing area filled with both conventional and unknown manufacturing equipment. An armed boarding party was sent over to investigate the equipment and retrieve any drives or data. A huge crab-like robot was encountered by the boarding party forcing them to flee after their pistols proved ineffective against it’s bulky frame. After outrunning the space-crab the Sumo’s weapons were able to destroy it once the crew were safely out of the way.

The Sumo returned to Escambia after a successful first mission for the military.

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"It's Happening"

The Sumo arrived at the wayward mobile miner they were hired to resuscitate only to find it still perfectly active, just not listening to orders from its owners. A large amount of mineral pods had built up in its storage area, but otherwise seemed to be operating normally. Upon boarding the station and digging into the computer system it was discovered that the miner was extracting a slightly different mix of minerals than previously ordered, and had been doing so for a few days. While poking around the station, an order was received from an unknown source to send the stock of mineral pods to a large orbital factory thought disabled days ago with all crew lost. The crew of the Sumo quickly shut the whole station down, but by then all the pods had been given their orders and were acting autonomous from the station.

After conferring with the station owners it was decided to bring individual systems back online after its communication systems were physically disabled to prevent it from receiving illegal orders. The station successfully retracted its equipment and detached from its asteroid to begin its trip back to its owners for repairs and investigation.

While escorting the mobile miner home the crew speak with the reporter, Garza, to discuss recent events. He informs them that the military had sent a ship to investigate the abandoned factory, the destination of the mineral pods. It was also discovered that many other presumed disabled mining stations were sending resources to various presumed disabled factories, which were in fact quite active.

As the hours went by the crew of the Sumo, and the world, were glued to the news. The world was shocked when swarms of missiles erupted from the factories under unknown control, and heading towards most major military installations. One by one, military ships and stations were destroyed by the swarms over the course of the next days. Several large missiles headed to earth and deployed a swarm of small drones destroying all satellites in orbit and presumably destroy any new ones launched. Despite seemingly only having days to have produced these missiles, they were enough to destroy nearly every military asset of every nation in space due to their exceptionally advanced design. With humanity’s military presence in space destroyed, the sphere could easily be conquered by what ever force or group planned this attack. Humanity awaits this force to show its self, for the cause of these attacks to enact the next phase of its plan.

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