Stage II. Quiet ... Too Quiet

Rock Ridge Station

The LV-427 Colonist Habitat Facility (“Rock Ridge Station” to the inhabitants, as proclaimed by a large animated hologram of a grizzled cartoon prospector at the main entrance) uses a classic layout for a pre-fab sealed-environment planetary surface arcology; all Marines received the schematic on their TacNet computers during mission-briefing. There's a vertol landing pad in the external courtyard, with attached hangar bay, and adjacent motor-pool/garage. The courtyard, hangar, and garage all have air-locked entrances into the environmentally-controlled central habitat, which contains the living quarters, administrative facilities, support and recreation spaces (parks, shopping malls, watering holes, etc).

When the PCs arrive, the installation has no power beyond failing emergency lights, and half-depleted battery backups for essential computerized/electronic systems – currently powered off, but able to be brought online (for a few hours at most) with suitable Computer or Electronics Op rolls. The facility generators have been shut down, and will need to be powered up before anything powered in the facility works. This can only be done from the generator's local control station, in the subterranean levels of the facility. The doors all have manual cranks to open and close when without power (requiring 10 seconds either way); they can be bolted from the inside, rendering them inoperable from outside, and doubling the time to open them from within.

Passages and Lifts
The installation has ten levels – seven above ground (mostly the administrative offices, colonist habitat and common/recreation spaces, and the hospital), the courtyard level (hangar bay, garages, airlocks, and the police station), and two basement levels (the upper basement provides storage and maintenance access to courtyard-level facilities; the lower is mostly storage, but also houses the generators). Passages are laid out in a circular grid, easy to navigate; the lifts are found at regular intervals, and obviously don't work without power, but can be opened manually and traversed via access ladders. Climbing the ladders normally doesn't require any roll; under duress, should a Climbing roll be required to keep from falling, it's at +2 per hand on the ladder.

Basement Levels

Assuming they want to restore the facility's power, their first destination will be the basement levels. Most of the lifts don't go below the courtyard (0) level, but the cargo and utility elevators in the hangar (and at each quarter-circle around the central ring of the facility) do.

From Beneath
Even if they don't head down into the basement first thing upon arrival, their attention will be drawn by sounds from below – scratching and thumping and scurrying, then pounding and scraping, then (if ignored for long enough), the shrieking and cracking of the floor being ripped open by an erupting Nydus Worm.

This occurs shortly after their arrival; they need no roll to notice the sounds, but must make Hearing or Electronics Op (Sensors) rolls to determine where it's coming from – below, always below. If they go looking for its source without too much delay, they find the room its coming from, a large storage room on the lowest level, near the outer wall of the station. If they don't tarry too long, they get the door open just in time to see the worm's great head tear through the metallic-composite floor, scattering several storage crates (spilling bland gray underwear, primary-colored plastic toothbrushes, and other colonist supplies everywhere). It swivels about for a moment, presumably flinching and shuddering from Marine gunfire, then flops down facing away from the PCs (deeper into the room) and begins disgorging Zerg.

The first wave is zerglings (3xPlayers), immediately leaping over crates to attack, followed the next turn by hydralisks and roaches (1xPlayers each). The Nydus Worm itself is Size +5, has DR 80 (Hardened 1) and 200 HP, but no attack of its own unless some stupid PC decides to try and charge down its gullet … in which case it automatically succeeds with a bite for 20d cutting damage, and the PCs learn an important lesson about leaping into the mouths of giant alien worms. (Note from game-play: however, if a PC voluntarily arms all of his explosives and then jumps in, that's a Crowning Moment of Awesome which takes out the worm.)

The worm will continue vomiting up Zerg until killed; every 1d turns (or so – adjust to keep the pace hectic, but not completely overwhelming), it makes a horrible gurgling-gushing-retching sound, and spits up one of the following assortments of nasties:
1. Zerglings (2xPlayers)
2. Banelings (1xPlayers)
3. Hydralisks (1/2xPlayers)
4. Roaches (1/2xPlayers)
5. Chokers (1/2xPlayers)
6. Swarm Host (1) and Zerglings (1xPlayers)

If not taken care of, the Nydus Worm will continue disgorging Zerg to swarm the basement levels; eventually, they'll batter and tear their way into the main levels, and overwhelm the entire facility from inside and out. If killed, the worm will cease vomiting up invaders, and its corpse will block the entrance to further incursions, for the time being. Making the blockade more permanent can be accomplished by welding vehicle plating over the breach (Armoury (Vehicular Armor)-2), setting off charges to bring down the tunnel, and melt enough metal to fill in the hole (Explosives (Demolitions)-2), or similar bright ideas.

Storage Rooms
Most of the basement levels are occupied by large storage rooms branching off the wide central passages, each with corrugated garage-style doors. Many stand open and hastily ransacked; several containers in each room are agape or asunder, with their contents mostly gone but occasionally spilled on the floor – food, toiletries, clothing, civilian vacc suits, all bland and functional. An extensive search would take hours without the electronic manifests (inaccessible until power is restored), and be unlikely to yield much of immediate use to the PCs. After power is restored, they can find the master inventory in the warehouse's computer – it shows lockers and crates that have been opened, making it a fairly simple matter to avoid those that have been despoiled. Remaining items of possible interest include power cells, spare parts and tools for servicing station vehicles, devices useful in colonization (survival gear, sensors and scientific instruments, etc), all of decidedly worse quality than what the Marines already have. Apart from a crate of Pulse Rifles (standard ammo only) with underbarrel Gauss shotguns (shotshells only) in place of the grenade launcher, there aren't any weapons or armor.

The generator control room is on the bottom level, at the center of the facility (several rooms away from the Zerg incurion). Once they've gained access to the local control panel, it's just a matter of turning it on – Electronics Op (Scientific), Computer Op-4, or Electronics Op (other)-3 will do the trick. Once power is restored, the facility's computers and electronic systems and functions begin to come online.

Administration Offices

This is the facility's central control and communications hub, including the major planetary comm system, central network servers, security system controls, and surveillance feeds. It seems a natural place to choose as a command post (once power is restored), and does have a lock-down function for use in case of colonial unrest, but is overall less secure and hardened than the Police Station. It does have a single Gauss CAWS in a “Break In Case of Emergency” box, a six-month supply packaged MREs, and a huge stash of porn (mostly “Zero-G Jugs”) in the profile documents of the admin user.

The facility's security and defense systems consist of a network of surveillance cameras in the passages, commons, and virtually every public space. (Someone snooping around the system with Computer Hacking or Electronics Op (Surveillance) finds that there are secret feeds from every room of most private residences, save a handful of administrative and police buildings … success by 5 or critical success reveals that there are super-secret feeds from even those locations.)

Once online, the planetary comm system is powerful enough to easily raise the Bravo Company base, any unit in the field, the Megaera, and even the nearest major Dominion military outpost, Point Pleasant, on the outer moon of the gas giant Apollyon-6. Admiral Nelson takes an interest in the knowledge that Rock Ridge Station has been occupied, and (in his characteristic John Wayne drawl) orders the PCs to secure it to serve as a secondary/fallback command station. He'll aim some drop-pods of equipment and reinforcements in their direction when they pass over again, and order anyone who's closer to the station than to the base to head there instead.


Comm Chatter, Part Deux
Should they check in to see what the overall situation looks like, they find the following:

Bravo, Golf, and Kilo Companies have turned back the Zerg for now, though they've taken heavy losses, and may not survive another full-scale attack.

Delta Company has been ordered to return to the Megaera for repairs after taking heavy damage, and won't be ready for redeployment for at least a day or two;

Echo Company (“The Wascally Wabbits”), are a Ghost Recon sniper and forward observer team, who were able to laser-paint the central hive of a large cluster to the south, which the Megaera then promptly blasted from orbit. They're heading for Rock Ridge Station, but without extraction, it could be a day or two before they arrive.

Romeo Company is en route, but being pursued by a Zerg hunter-killer party – ETA, five hours, if they're not outflanked and overtaken.

Sierra Company had met minimal resistance so far, but is just now entering the canyons from the south, still about a day from Rock Ridge. Sensors show the canyons are crawling with zerg hunter-killer parties.

Apartments & Habitat

The largest portion of the facility is made up of rows upon stacks of identical colonist living quarters, broken up by domed parks (with some real plants, but heavily augmented by holographic underbrush, dappled sunlight, and happily-chattering critters), sprawling mall-plexes, and clusters of bars and nightclubs – all hastily abandoned within the last week. Unless they get a thrill going through the stuff that evacuees leave behind, there's probably little of interest to them in this section. Each successfully searched apartment has a 1-in-6 chance of yielding one of the following:
1. Bandage Spray, 1 can (p. UT197).
2. C-7 Gauss Pistol.
3. Gauss Civilian Rifle – use Gauss Rifle (p. UT142), but Acc 6, Weight 5 (+5), RoF 3, Shots 60(3).
4. Gauss Civilian Shotgun – use Gauss CAWS, but Weight 5 (+5), RoF 3, Shots 20(3). Shot-shells only.
5. Mini Laser Flashlight (p. UT113).
6. Night Vision Shades (p. UT60).

Includes an emergency room with 20 hospital ESUs (p. UT198), a long-term care ward with 50 medical beds (p. UT199), and half a dozen operating theaters (p. UT200). The medical supplies have been thoroughly picked over, but once the drop-pods have arrived, the hospital can easily treat any and all wounded that arrive at the station.

Police Station
The facility's only armory, and overall most physically secure position, is the Police Station. Although thoroughly picked over, the armory still contains a handful of C-7 Gauss Pistols, SR-8 Gauss CAWS, and Z-50 Gauss Shotgun Pistols, as well as M-41A Pulse Rifles with underbarrel shotguns in place of the GL – but only shot-shells for the shotguns, and standard ammo for the Pulse Rifles. The station also includes a security station that can patch into all of the same systems and surveillance feeds as the admin offices, and can also “lock down” from the inside in the same way. What makes the police station more tactically desirable is that it's mostly an internal building (no outside walls vulnerable to breach by an attacking force), but has an airlock that leads directly to the garage/motor-pool.

Stalking the corridors of the habitat level, hunting rats to survive, moving through air ducts and under floors, is an orange-and-white tabby with a red collar, and a tag that reads “Jones.” He's leery of battlesuits, and will flee loud-stomping Marines, but will be overjoyed to see humans, and rubs enthusiastically against the legs of anyone who shows him kindness. If he bonds with a particular PC, that PC gains the Luck advantage for as long as Jones survives (and the human keeps being kind to him) – the PC will be unaware of this until the first time he fails an important roll, when an image of Jones the Cat inexplicably flickers through his head, and he gets to reroll the failure twice and take the best of the three rolls. (Jones can bond with multiple PCs, but only before the first time he grants Luck… after that, he instinctively knows that the PC is only being nice to gain a meta-game advantage.)


An elliptical, walled courtyard extends from one side of the facility, providing the primary entrance for land and aerospace vehicles. The front doors – large enough for any vehicle of SM +5 or less, or SM +6 vehicles that don't stand up (e.g. a Siege Tank, but not a Thor) – can be closed and locked once power has been restored. The walls are 10 meters high and a meter thick of composite-metal, sloping slighty inward to provide the courtyard with some shelter from the often-violent weather that results from the terraforming process.

Loading Pad
Sufficient for vertol vehicles up to SM +6, with ramps for passengers and hydraulic lifters to help move cargo. There's room for at least 2 such vessels (more, if smaller) on the pad at once.

Hangar Bay & Garage
All of the ships capable of trans-atmospheric flight have taken off, but there are a number of ground vehicles in various states of repair – mostly Wheeled ATVs (p. UT225), Hover Jeeps (p. UT227), Utility Hovercrafts (use stats for Armored Hovercraft, p. UT227, but with DR 20 and 6 tons of cargo space, and without all the weapon mounts and military-grade sensors), and Utility Vertols (p. UT229), although there are two legged heavy loaders that resemble unarmed, unarmored Goliaths. Any could be armed and armored for use in combat, or parted out to repair the drives and engines of damaged military vehicles. There are also four last-generation SCVs, as well as tools and facilities to repair both air and land vehicles.

Terraforming Reactor

The true centerpiece of the LV-427 facility isn't anywhere within the arcology/habitat, but is several miles to the east, connected by a long conduit and controlled from an engineering station in the courtyard level (or a local control panel in the facility itself) – the giant, pyramidal terraforming reactor. The reactor wasn't shut down with the rest of the facility, and once the habitat's power has been restored, the controls are accessible from the remote engineering station.

Weather Control
There's little of interest to be done with the reactor … unless the PCs get the idea to kick it into high-gear, in order to try and deliberately cause an electrical storm as a weapon against the Zerg. (They might get such an idea by seeing a cloud come rolling out of the reactor as they watch, sparkling and growing as it overtakes a distant flock of Zerg, then leaves behind their smoking husks as it lumbers off across the highland ridge.) This is possible, and if done with appropriate timing and finesse, can be aimed in a particular direction, and could cause great havoc among those in its path. Such a feat requires Electronics Op (Scientific) -3, or other Electronics Op -6 … the storm begins in 1dx10 minutes, and lasts for 1d hours.

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