#MorningStar 12: An unexpected alliance
* The Throng are planning to march to the hospital to protest against the Keepers, and some former Humanity First thugs seem to be planning something violent around it.
* An expedition led by 101010 and Brother Signal has found the Astrogation Arrays and reactivated its power supply, but the area is still infested with alien “rootkitters”.
* The expedition has discovered that the Morning Star has been in flight for over 750 years, and was redirected towards Andromeda around the time of the Awakening.
* The Keepers have hacked and subverted a network of Bots in the forward section, which were working for an expert system tagged “Contingency/Escape”. They seem to have been modifying a scoutship for interstellar travel with a very small cargo.
* An attempt to redirect power by this Bot network led to power being briefly cut to the City and districts being plunged into darkness. It is unclear what has happened as a result of this.
The Maintenance Collective consults the memories of INC-07 and learns that near the close of the War, humanity made first contact with a technologically advanced, non-hostile species which called themselves the “Travellers”.
The Enforcers have learned that high-ranking medical researchers from the Keepers have been going missing. They have also learned that a group of human tinkerers have been agitating to gain a basic maintenance contact in old Town.
Up in astrogation, the Keepers command their new, mismatched bot-army to set a cordon around the shuttle-bay launch control room. They have the situation under control (they think), so just want to keep an eye on things while they disable the scout ship and work out what to do about Contingency/Escape. After a short period of time, a single bot carrying something rolls out, accompanied by a pair of hologram Echoes, and tries to head off into the dark decks. The Keepers task a group of former Listener bots to shadow them. The escape party heads for the Core, and then to an elevator heading for the spin habitat, which raises the spectre of the “rootkitters” being able to follow them. The surveillance team locks everything down, and gets some images of what the bot is carrying: a hunk of memory core. The minds of the crew?
Meanwhile, 101010 consults the Ship’s records about Contingency/Escape, and learns that it is a hegemonizing expert system with administrative privileges, with the purpose of ensuring crew survival in the event of a crisis. The current crisis is well beyond anything its programmers likely imagined, so it will be well outside its comfort zone and likely improvising heavily. 101010 decides that a direct approach is best, and arranges for the MC to send Lt Elijah to confront it. They time things perfectly, and Elijah is there to greet them, in his officer’s uniform, when they exit the elevator.
Negotiations ensue. The presence of a living crew member capable of giving orders and apparently in control of the bridge undermines Contingency/Escape’s purpose. Is escape even necessary? The Echoes – dead officers living in the memory core and projecting themselves as holgrams – want to be resurrected, something the MC readily agrees to do for those with DNA samples. They also want to be protected from “The Cargo” (as they call humanity). The MC agrees to this too. Its purpose redundant, Contingency/Escape goes dormant. Meanwhile, the MC is going to have to talk to the Crew about The Mission…
The Keepers set their bot army to wage an extermination campaign against the rootkitters, with the assistance of the Listener bots and the MC’s maintenance swarm. It will take time, and their eggs keep turning up in unusual places, but astrogration is made secure.
Meanwhile, back in the City, the Blackout has had a profound effect. It is the first major power loss since the dark days immediately following the Awakening, and the population is in panic. The Keepers follow the Holy Emergency Protocol and step in to protect people, directing them to shelters and distributing emergency supplies in anticipation of a major life support failure. The Enforcers begin negotiations with the Progressive Government (who have a safe haven around Life Support) and start trying to identify other safe locations in case a full evacuation is needed. The MC, on the other hand, withdraw to their powered areas, abandoning humanity in the dark. When the lights and air circulators come back on (after a long, long hour), the Keepers are praised as heroes by many, while the MC are viewed with suspicion.
The Puppeteers move swiftly. Arguing that vital systems need to be taken into their control for better management, they buy the Enforcers’ investment in Life Support in exchange for repairs to HQ (which still bears the scars of the bombing decades ago). They then cut a secret deal with the MC, trading power for schematics and spares, enabling them to step in should anything happen. Nothing has – yet – but they will be ready to move when it does.
The Throng protest march happens, but is somewhat subdued due to the goodwill the Keepers gained during the Blackout, and the Enforcers are able to keep order (but the Keepers end up owing them for it). The experience of feeling under siege unifies the Keepers somewhat.
The Scavs and Porters form a union, and wage a long strike in an effort to win better conditions from the Puppeteers, until the MC steps in to solve it with bot labour, helping the Puppeteers, but making more enemies among the poor and downtrodden.
The MC invests heavily in Astrogation, gaining control (to go with their control of the Bridge). As the Age turns, the Keepers use their researchers at the Hospital to synthesise a plague to target the rootkitters, hopefully removing them as a threat forever.
And that was the Age. It had been a month since the last session, so there was a bit of a lack of momentum, but I think we started to get some back when we started talking about what would happen in the next Age, and people’s plans for their next characters. I’ll put that in the next session, but I’m liking the direction things are heading in…