[Taocow PBEM] [Oz] Book 3 - Chapter XVIII

Aaron Clausen mightymartianca at gmail.com
Fri Sep 16 20:47:41 UTC 2016

OOC: Sorry for the very long delay. It was very busy and I had to decide 
how to proceed with Alex not wanting to abandon Louissa to what amounts 
to "house arrest". Hopefully this resolves it.

>> [Lenny]
>> Lenny shakes his head. "You'd better watch that one," he laughs.
>> "She looks like she'll bolt at the earliest opportunity!"
>> [/Lenny]

>> [GM]
>> As the company prepares to head for the wrecked ship,
>> communications come back from New Camelot.
>> "It seems," Captain Neeson says, "that her exit from New
>> Poughkeepsie was, um, unplanned. She is the heir to the throne,
>> and they want her back in New Poughkeepsie as soon as possible.
>> I'll make sure there's a guard placed outside her quarters. It
>> isn't arrest, precisely, simply making sure she gets home in one
>> piece. Though I don't know how we can guarantee that!"
>> [/GM]

> [Alex]
> Alex states, "If she is going to be locked up, I will go with her. I
> promise I will not try and help her escape."
> [/Alex]

Louissa shakes her head. "No, Alex, you go. No point both of us sitting 
on our hands. Besides, the company needs you more than me. Besides, 
escaping here probably means either stealing a vehicle everyone needs 
badly, or dying in a frozen wasteland."


>>>> [GM]
>>>> The hover transport jet picks the company up, along with Lenny
>>>> the Battle Magus, and they leave the ley line ship. The view as
>>>> they fly to the wreck is uniformly dull. Other than the English
>>>> coast line far off to the east, the Irish Sea is one big frozen
>>>> plain, with only large piles of pressure-fractured ice here and
>>>> there to break up the monotony.
>>>> The craft now heads out into what would be open water, until
>>>> the coast line disappears completely. Up ahead a black dot
>>>> appears to break up the unchanging white. Then it grows larger
>>>> until it takes the form of a ship. It is in fact a very large
>>>> freighter. The ice here looks much thinner, and it's probable
>>>> the ship got caught in the ice, and was unable to find its way
>>>> back to open water again.
>>>> As they go for final approach, they can see the hull has been
>>>> partially crushed by the ice, which has left it listing heavily
>>>> to the port side, which will make walking on the deck a little
>>>> tricky.
>>>> "I'm not going to try to land on that ice," the hover jet
>>>> pilot informs the adventurers. "It's way too thin. The ice
>>>> thickens up about six kilometers east of here, so I'll set down
>>>> there. Let me know when you're ready to return. We should have
>>>> room for about a ton of goods, if you find that much."
>>>> The company is lowered to the ship two at a time in a drop
>>>> cage, which sets them down on the main deck. When everyone is
>>>> off loaded, the hover jet flies back westward to find the
>>>> thicker ice.
>>>> For anyone not in a full-environmental suit, it is bitterly
>>>> cold, perhaps 15 degrees Fahrenheit below zero (-26 C) with
>>>> windchill. A cold northern wind buffets the ship, and a ragged
>>>> flag showing the merchant marine colors of New Bristol, a free
>>>> city in close association with New Camelot. There's not a soul
>>>> in sight, and other than the wind, and the moaning of steel,
>>>> there's nothing to be heard.
>>>> [/GM]

>>>> OOC: The company has been set down roughly half way along the
>>>> ship's length (see attached document). The large doors to the
>>>> hold below are buckled, and people could fit through them, but
>>>> there are also several hatches along the deck, as well as the
>>>> bridge and crew areas at the rear of the ship. A glimpse down
>>>> into the hold shows many shipping containers.

>>> [Vesper]
>>> "It is friggin cold." Vesper rubs his hands together to keep
>>> warm. "Let's get inside this thing."
>>> [/Vesper]

>>> [Oz]
>>> Luckily, Oz is in his usual full environmental armor, his face
>>> hidden behind featureless black glass. He starts tapping away at
>>> the computer strapped to his left forearm. "Let's see if there
>>> are any live electronics on this heap. If there's anybody aboard
>>> they'll be running enviro in this cold, even if they don't have
>>> computers or comms."
>>> [/Oz]

>> [GM]
>> The main power generation, probably a nuclear reactor from the
>> looks of the vessel, is at a very low ebb. The reactor was put into
>> standby, but has not been shut right down. There's still some power
>> flowing through the ship, but any large-draw equipment like
>> refrigeration and heaters are offline.
>> [/GM]

> [Oz]
> Oz shrugged. "If anybody's on board, they're cold and quiet. No
> heaters or comms are online." He nodded at Vesper. "Let's try to head
> to the bridge. They should have a manifest up there so we can see
> what they were hauling. We might be able to turn the power back on,
> as well, and read the captain's log." He gestured at the closest
> hatch leading into the bridge tower looming over the deck.
> [/Oz]

> [Veronique]
> "That sounds like a good plan, if power can't be restored from the
> bridge then our next stop should probably be engineering. A lack of
> detectable heat makes me wary that we might find undead or
> entities".
> [/Veronique]

> [Vesper]
> "We will have to keep alert for such things, along with creatures who
> prefer this cold and may not give off heat. Hopefully turning things
> on won't cause further problems, but light and heat would be nice.
> [/Vesper]

Getting to the bridge proves a bit of a struggle. The heavy listing of 
the ship means the company have to almost "climb" their way aft. It 
takes a few minutes, but they finally reach a stairway. There's an 
elevator right beside it, but that seems non-operational. All the while 
the wind blows, and the unearthly metallic sounds rumble through the 
ship, as the ice exerts enormous pressure on the hull.

The bridge is dead quiet, and the only lights are a few glowing 
indicators. The reactor is indeed offline, and whatever power there is 
on the ship is being supplied by batteries. There's a "hull condition" 
map that indicates the hull has been breached in three locations; two 
starboard near the bow, and one midway on the port side. The reactor 
does appear to be intact, at least from the indicators.

It takes a bit of hacking but Oz is able to pull up a manifest. The ship 
is carrying:

- 5,000 tons of grain
- 1,000 tons of frozen beef (containers have their own freezers that are 
likely good for another few days)
- 1,000 tons of frozen produce (lettuce, carrots, cabbage, etc.)
- 3,000 tons of vehicle parts (specifies a long list of part numbers)
- 500 tons of electronics (computers, televisions, surveillance equipment)
- 5,500 tons that is marked simply "SbP". This is the largest amount of 
goods on the entire ship

"I wonder what 'SbP' means?" the Battle Magus asks. "There's a lot of 
it, that's for sure."

As the company is looking through the manifest, a shudder runs through 
the ship. There's another much larger metallic groan, and then a snap, 
like a steel cable breaking. The shudder is almost enough to throw 
people of their feet. On the hull status monitor, the port breach looks 
to have spread, a long crack in the hull that runs right to the keel. 
Another sensor goes off, registering a small of water has entered the 
hull, a few hundred gallons per minute, not an immediate worry, but it 
does show the ice where the ship is is thin, and the ship is still in 
contact with liquid seawater.

Aaron Clausen
mightymartianca at gmail.com

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