The Ghost Bears and their allies are trapped in a crossfire between two pairs of giant cybernetic ‘Zomborgs’. The confines of this anti-hydrogen generator chamber (one of many) don’t allow much scope for maneuver. A massive translucent conduit filled with dimly glowing blue gas occupies the center of the 60-meter hall.
The 3-meter monstrosities confronting the team appear to be completed versions of the cybernetically-enhanced howler-zombie experiments found in the Xarmid research labs beneath Moonbase Ariadne. Grey, Sleestak, Bannstone, Grek and Gooptaz trade shots with the hulking monsters until Sudomo is hit by a random blast of green fire and knocked beneath the glowing conduit. The thick material of the huge pipeline is damaged by another direct hit. A flaring tongue of blazing plasma jets forth, narrowly missing Lexi. Looks like Gooptaz, Sudomo and Titus may have chosen the wrong place to take cover! On the plus side, the zomborgs huge plasma shotguns can now only catch one or the other group in their wide-area blasts.
Gooptaz attempts to render assistance to Sudomo but is exposed and hit. His laser rifle cartwheels across the floor to the other side of the pipeline supports. While attempting to retrieve his weapon the 3-eyed mutant is hit again in the leg and falls sprawling. Bannstone uses his scoped Gauss rifle to start picking apart one of the zomborgs taking cover behind the bulkhead 30 meters distant. Grek uses his mental confusion power…the machine/zombie minds are weak. One wanders out into the open where it is quickly knocked down by concentrated fire from Sleestak and Grey. Lexi uses her mental blast to hit the pair of zomborgs in the other direction, but fails to knock either unconscious. These hulking nightmares are taking a huge amount of punishment without flinching.
Two of the zomborgs charge out of cover, one from either side. Sleestak and Grek burn one down before it can use its massive hammer-fist. The other is confronted by Grey wielding his gyro-jet pistol and energy sword. In his 2.8 meter tall suit of Powered Battle Armor, Grey proves more than a match. The giant armored zombie is hacked and blasted to bits in a matter of seconds. As the zomborg falls, converging beams of green energy from the two remaining zomborgs plasma shotguns strike Grey, flipping him head over heels. Unfortunately he forgot to activate his energy screen! Sleestak is hit numerous times, but is well-protected by his energy-armor’s defensive screen and mutated heat-resistant hide.
Gooptaz screams at Titus, Lexi and Sudomo to take cover. Lexi may provide the only way to communicate with earth, via Slinky in Black Mountain. Sudomo and Titus possess knowledge crucial to finding a way through the star-ship. The laser rifle lies tantalizingly close upon the steel deck, but Goop dare not expose himself. Instead he treats his and Sudomo’s wounds by attaching one of several robotic medikits to his power armor and Sudomo’s armored space suit. The medikits work perfectly on Titus and Sudomo, but often fail when treating mutant physiology. Their power meters are dropping quickly.
The two remaining zomborgs are outmatched by the combined firepower of Grey, Sleestak, Bannstone and Grek. Grey manages to crawl to cover where he scores a lucky head-shot on one opponent. Bannstone uses his precision sniping skills to nail the final zomborg. The team quickly vacates the area and finds a safe place to triage wounds and equipment. An hour later Gooptaz, Titus and Grek have patched everyone up and put all the equipment back in working order.
The Antimatter Core
Gooptaz, Bannstone, Titus and Sudomo find a route through to the Antimatter Drive Core deck while Sleestak, Grey and Grek watch for more zomborgs. A thrumming pulses through the decks. Ahead is a blue glow…the anti-matter reaction vessel! The rim surrounding the chamber is pressurized but zero-g. The area below the reactor core appears to have normal gravity. The bottom is likely filled with hard radiation…best not to fall down there. Sleestak, Grek and Bannstone sneak forward. Stak and Grek are spotted as they crawl to the rim overlooking the blue-glowing chamber. The containment room below is defended by four zomborgs. Two are already pounding toward gangways presumably leading up to the walkway surrounding the containment chamber.
Sleestak and Grek fire first. The power-armored lizard man wields an alien energy projector, essentially the right arm cut from a Tendrakkai Warrior defeated above the Arctic Circle. The brilliant arc of blue-white energy burns off first the right leg, then the weapon arm of the unfortunate zomborg, rendering it combat ineffective. Grek scores a devastating hit to the other zomborg’s head with an armor piercing rocket fired from the four-barrelled micro-missile launcher. The outrage against nature slowly topples over, trailing an arc of smoke from the crater where it’s armored head once existed. A second missile explodes harmlessly behind the zomborgs. Only six seconds into the fight and two zomborgs already down!
Bannstone unfolds the bi-pod on his Gauss rifle and takes up position at a corner. Gooptaz stands at the opposite corner watching both doors to the elevated walkway. He orders Titus, Sudomo and Lexi to hang back down the entryway. Grey throws aside his massive bandolier of spare atomic cells and launches forward toward one of the doors. Grek gets up and runs toward the other door, tossing aside the rocket launcher in favor of his blaster pistol. Both doors are flimsy panels that open automatically when approached.
Grey confronts another zomborg flying up a zero-gravity stairwell towards the open door. Before the enemy can react, Grey burns off a leg with dual integrated blaster pistols mounted in the fingers of his battle armor. The murder-mad ex-Mormon flies down the gangway and finishes off his opponent with energy sword while shrugging off a point blank blast from the zomborg’s plasma shotgun (remembered to activate his energy screen this time).
Grek comes face-to-face with the zomborg coming up the other gangway. At first Grek takes a heavy hit from the plasma shotgun, but the zomborg seems unable to understand that his diminutive orange opponent’s mutated steel-cage skeleton is virtually proof against its hammer-fist. Grek is able to block the doorway for the time being. Bannstone fires dozens of Gauss rifle rounds past Grek into the torso and arms of the behemoth zomborg standing in the doorway. Glowing green ‘blood’ spouts everywhere when metallic armor is pierced.
Seconds later, two more zomborgs emerge from passages 60 meters across the containment chamber. They lay down a withering fire with their wide-area plasma projectors. Gooptaz and Bannstone return fire. When the left zomborg makes a run for the door Grek is blocking, Sleestak scores a direct hit with his Tendrakkai-arm energy projector. The huge cybernetic zombie staggers, but makes it across the platform to the left hand gangway.
The team hears Titus screaming over the comm-net, “behind us! Alien rob…”. Goop and Bannstone turn to look down the hall. A glossy black torpedo-shaped alien security bot has floated silently up from behind to surprise Lexi, Titus and Sudomo. The six radially-mounted tentacles lash Lexi’s serpentine form. Alien plasma and stun beams plaster Titus. The android floats unconscious against the wall. Gooptaz bathes the alien bot in laser energy, overloading its defensive energy screen. Bannstone shoots through the narrow gap between Sudomo and Lexi. Hyper-velocity crysteel slugs penetrate alien armor and damage the bots glowing red sensor orbs. The smoking bot begins to oscillate wildly as its anti-gravity generators malfunction. Globules of glowing metal spray the corridor.
Bannstone gets off one more shot with his Gauss rifle before triangular beams of quavering distortion deactivate his power armor, entombing the screaming goat-man in a casket of silent duralloy. By freak chance the normally eagle-eyed sniper misses his target and shoots Sudomo in the leg. Sudomo spins out of control in free fall. A grisly cloud of vaporized blood puffs out from the quickly-sealed holes in his armored vac-suit. The alien bot knocks out Gooptaz with heavy stun beams, effective even through terrestrial power armor.
Meanwhile, Grey encounters the next zomborg in the right-hand gangway and hacks it limb from limb inside 15 seconds. Sparking cybernetics and blobs of glowing green fluid fly through weightless space. A single cyber-zombie packs insufficient firepower to get through the energy screen projected by the combine battle armor. Grey jets back across the walkway to where Grek is still holding off a second zomborg. The first was destroyed by blaster pistol and Gauss rifle fire from Grek and Bannstone. Sleestak holds his position, alert for the appearance of more alien bots or zomborgs.
Lexi and Sudomo reach a stalemate with the damaged security bot, unable to penetrate it’s armor with their laser weaponry. The spinning bot is no longer able to orient its weapons accurately, though Lexi and Sudomo have been wounded by near-misses a few times. Both Sudomo and his vac-suit are going to need some serious patching. Grek free-falls back toward the access corridor and finishes off the sparking black bot with his blaster pistol. The melee ends when Grey hacks and shoots apart the last zomborg at the entrance to the left gangway.
Bannstone’s power armor starts back up after another ten seconds or so. Goop recovers consciousness a few minutes later. Goop leads the team’s medics in patching up various wounds, especially those sustained by Titus and Lexi. Sleestak takes stock of the team’s medical supplies. Does enough remain to get the team through the battles that are surely coming? Another dose of the swamp-creature Guglorts precious healing-salve, especially effective on mutants, is applied to Lexi and Grek.
Sleestak, Grey and Grek find their way into the antimatter control console via a zero-g tube beneath the anti-matter drive core.
Following instructions previously provided by Star Mother, Titus and Grek are able to quickly decouple the entire propulsion section from the rest of the Daedalus. While doing this, Gooptaz notices a fist-sized blob of sparkling transparent gel attached to the side of the console. Sleestak has Lexi check it with telepathy…sure enough, the blob is mindless but psychically aware. The organic blob seems to function as a kind of psychic switch allowing the Sreelathans to remotely operate the antimatter control console. Sleestak quickly pries off the slimy amoeba and gives it to Lexi for safekeeping. Mission accomplished: the Sreelathans and their minions should now be unable to destroy the Daedalus as part of any ‘scorched-earth’ contingency plan.
Ahead lies a long slog through the entire length of the labyrinthine star-ship. A mere 4000 meters in a straight line, but much farther considering the number of sealed blast doors and power failures that must be circumvented between here and there. The only set of spare atomic cells is used to energize the crucial power-armor worn by Sleestak, Gooptaz, Bannstone and Grey, or about 48-60 hours of additional operation. Grey discards the empties. Can the Ghost Bears reach the forward section of the Daedalus and assault the bridge in time?