Starforged: Valentin Sikorski (Session 7)

Session 7 of my Ironsworn: Starforged actual play journal. Valentin is reminded of a child trauma and tries to save a person. Will he succeed?

Details about truths, character and the starting sector.

Character sheet

At the beginning of the session.

Flashback: Rescued

Little Valentin was observing the room through a grating on a cover of an air duct. The room was empty and dark. The only lighting was provided by blinking emergency lights and glowing communications consoles. It was around ten minutes ago when he had to find the courage to get out of the safety of the duct and run to the console to answer a call. Somebody is coming for him. He is scared. What if they die? Like the others? Like Mike, Drake, Nancy… and his mother?

He wasn’t sure how long he was hiding. I must have been for weeks. When the Thing started killing the crew, he managed to run away and hide in the air ducts. The creature was too big to crawl in and he blocked or closed most of the entrances anyway. He learned to navigate the station just by crawling through those tiny tunnels.

He had to sneak out occasionally to get water and rations. He was never able to see the whole Thing. He heard it a lot. Thumps when it tried to get past closed doors. Wheezing of its breath. And distant roars. A couple of times he saw a piece of the body in the dark. The tail. The claw. Just a hint of its head in the shadows. He always made sure to get away and hide as quickly as possible. This saved his life many times. He is the only one who survived. And now, there was hope for the nightmare to end.

The silence was broken by a loud burst of shots fired from a weapon. The sound was coming from the hallway. More sounds followed. Screams, pounding, more shots, an explosion. And silence.

The door opened. A woman with a big gun limped through, her leg injured.

“Are you here kid? That was a hell of a thing out there. But it is dead now. You can come out.”

Lyra outpost

“We should leave. This is not our business. And we have no clue what could have happened here, “ said Kayla.

I kept staring at the blood marks on the door. Flashes of memory. Blood on walls. Dead bodies. Dark corridors. The Thing. I checked my weapon.

“I have to go in. I have to check that there’s nobody left, nobody to save. No matter how small the chance is.” I looked at Kayla. “You don’t have to go. This wasn’t part of our deal. But I have to. I was rescued once. And only because there was one person who risked their lives to save me. They didn’t leave even though it was not their business as well.”

She sighs. “Let’s look around quickly. I don’t want to be the one to explain to Julio how his favourite Valentin died.”

With flashlights turned on we enter a corridor behind the door. It seems it acted also as an airlock and decontamination chamber. The walls are covered in strange symbols. Doesn’t look like any known alphabet but rather like some esoteric symbols. There is a body lying in front of the door on the other end of the corridor. The body is in a VAC suit but the helmet and gloves are missing. The eyes are wide open, hair burnt.

“It seems like they died when trying to open the door,” says Kayla as she points her light at a control panel next to the door.

“My guess is they might have been electrocuted. Maybe a malfunction? Or a trap?”

I reach for my portable plasma cutter. It’s a small but very useful device. It should be enough to cut through the locks and allow me to manually open the door without risking being hurt while interacting with the panel.

Cutting through the locks was easy enough and with Kayla’s help, we were able to pry the door open.

The corridor on the other side was dark. A thick cable was coming from the control panel next to the door. Indeed somebody trapped it. As we turned our lights back to the corridor, we saw a person. Man in dirty overalls wearing a simple breathing mask. He took it off to talk.

“Please, don’t shoot. Please, “ he coughed a few times and had to take another breath from the mask.

“Who are you? What happened here?”

“I… My name is Florian Velez. Botanist. I have been doing research here on Lyra outpost for a pharmaceutical company. I… I don’t know what happened. I woke up today, tied to a chair. The last thing I remember is going to bed after a party. I am not sure how much time passed since then. I am a bit dizzy. When I saw your ship, I figured I might have a chance to get from here.”

I wasn’t really able to get anything more interesting from him. He was a bit out of his mind, maybe sedated. He was repeating himself, talking about symbols on the walls, dead bodies. He wasn’t even able to tell if there was anyone else alive.

“Florian, keep the mask on and stay in the back. We have to search the rest of the place. Maybe there are others.”

The corridor leads us to the Life support room. A big machine with air and water recycling towers above us and spans several levels. Metal stairs and walkways sprawl around to allow access for maintenance. It’s not running. Maybe we could turn it on? Getting power and life support running could be handy.

I examined the system and I found out that it was damaged. It even looks like someone did it intentionally. The air ducts are cut wide open and the control panel is smashed. Nothing for us to do here.

Florian lurks near the door. I whispered to Kayla using the build-in radio in my VAC suit: “Keep an eye on him. Somebody did this. We cannot be sure it wasn’t him.”

Waypoint: Production, Cargo bay, Immense machinery

We arrived at a crossing. Tried to ask Florian which path to take but he continued pointing back to the exit.

I took the left we arrived at a big cargo bay. Apart from various crates along the walls, there was a huge machine parked in the middle. Huge tracks, a small cabin and some kind of heavy arm attached to it. Like a crane, or an excavator. For us, it was just a dead end.

We returned back and took the other corridor. A couple of meters later we stood in front of small blast doors. They were not closed completely and they eve couldn’t be because they were buckled. What could deform the blast door? What we found behind them was even stranger. It looked like a brig. Isn’t this supposed to be a research outpost? Why would they have a brig here?

“Florian, what is this?”

Florian is quiet for a moment, staring into the room.

“I don’t know. The door was always closed. I was never here. I thought it was some kind of weapon cache for emergencies. I have never asked.”

We tried to search the place for clues…

But we found nothing interesting. During the search, my flashlight blinked a couple of times and went off.

“Fuck, that’s not going to make things easier. Let’s continue.”

This place didn’t seem that big from the outside. We continued exploring the labyrinth of corridors, going through mundane utility rooms. Eventually, we found ourselves in a laundry room. In the middle of the room, a few small datacubes are scattered around the floor. I played a few of them using my personal communicator but they were just mundane messages from families and friends of the people working at the outpost.

We arrived at one of those vertically stacked columns of modules. In the middle of the room grows a tall fungus. Not as tall as the ones that we saw outside but it does look like part of the local flora. The room didn’t really look like research would be conducted here. More like a community leisure room. Several gaming devices stood around the wall.

“Florian, what the fuck is this?”

“Don’t worry, this one is not toxic. This fungus is one of the ones we identified and researched years ago. Its spores are safe but they help people to relax and relieve stress. So we grew one of those in our game room. It’s not by the books per se. But trust me, there are not that many options for how to entertain oneself. Any new thing is interesting…”

Florian coughs a little bit and put’s his mask on again. He sits down next to one of the consoles. He seems exhausted. I and Kayla keep searching the room. It’s a bit harder with only one light. Suddenly we hear a scream. We turn quickly but Kayla’s light catches only a glimpse of a figure disappearing through the door. Florian lies on the ground, we hurry to check him. A pool of blood grows under him. A knife was stuck in his side.

Kayla runs quickly to the door and looks out.

“They are gone, should I fallow?”

“No! Stay here. I need some light. I have to stop the bleeding.”

I removed the knife and explored the wound. A deep injury. The blood was pouring out in pulses. The bleeding got quicker when I took the knife out. He was losing the blood too fast. In the last, desperate attempt, I took out the plasma cutter and tried to cauterize the wound. the bleeding stopped. Florian was not moving. Sitting in the pool of blood, I checked his pulse…

I looked back at Kayla and shook my head.

“Fuck! Somebody just killed him in a cold blood.”

“You did everything you could, that was a bad stab, “ said Kayla. “It’s not your fault.”

“Well, I didn’t have to drag him with us around. I swear I am gonna find the one who did this. They are gonna pay.”