Realizing they are in slightly more northern latitudes, the crew scrounge to see what they can find to make lean-tos or crude tents. Etamis is fairly light on trees, however, slightly revealed in a currently dry gully, they find a extremely long, curved carbon-fiber spar, clearly manufactured and in remarkably good shape. Lightweight and springy, they bring it back, and it takes Ari a few tries to find out how to cut it without ruining and fraying the strange “grain” of the spar.
In short order, a tent big enough to house the crew is tarped together, a dry lichen and hard-fern fire is started, the Blazemaster is rolled out of the cargo bay for close support, they link the ship’s sensors into a number of datapads, and some extra wiring is pulled from the ship (hey, why is there extra wiring not linked to the main power conduits??), and build a simple electric wire fence, powered by Ari’s Fenris Mech.
During an early watch, Kassana notices a swarming flight of animals that flies past the campsite, but do not get close enough to be clearly seen. Several hours later, during Ari’s watch, while groggy from having to wake up in the “still not morning really” there is a thump on her head, then three more, then wheeling and diving half-foot long flying squirrels with spider-like mouth parts surround and land on the warm tent fabric and on Ari. Mild panic ensues, but when Roger and Nero, woken by the commlink cries to “get it off my head!” come out, the “flock”, agitated that the warm perch rock is moving, launches back into the air with skittery squeals, and circle and loops off to the Northeast.
The rest of the evening passes uneventfully.
Prepped and ready for a day of investigating the ship. Ari and Nero trade off taking point on various tasks, while Milo acts as a additional set of eyes on the computer system’s activity, while Roger gets into the Blazemaster’s turret to make sure they aren’t snuck up on, and Illyria and Kassana wait to either carry necessary tools, or murder anything new and unusual that the ship might disgorge on them.
Nero and Ari’s first look at the computer system shows that the processes and data stores that they KNOW they saw the earlier evening are gone. Nero makes a copy of the random data from the “wiped” section of the core hard drives. Initiating a physical sweep of the computer core, Ari discovers an electrified armored conduit that feeds directly into the main computer rack, and disappears into the hull plating. Milo, checking in with Roger, fails to notice the sudden spin up on the computer core.
Not wanting anyone to get electrocuted, Illyria comes in, sets her shotgun to “slug”, and fires at the concealed conduit – revealing a fairly impressive, tight kinetic barrier around it as well. It is, however, not enough to stop the shotgun projectile from breaching and fragging the conduit. It is enough that a massive electrical discharge follows the superheated and mildly ionized air back to said shotgun, and causes massive damage to the gun.
“NO! Baby!” shouts Illyria.
It is at this point that the crew notice that the firewall protected processes from the previous days are back in the computer core, and are slamming the firewalls protecting the other important ship’s systems, as well as running a new program in the Galley and Medbay systems. Nero, with Ari and Milo’s help, and a drive to fix the ship instilled by Roger earlier in the day, shut down the Medbay and Galley programs. As soon as they aren’t continuously blocking them, however, while trying to penetrate the firewalls on the insurgent program, it starts them back up. Ari takes that cue to run down to main engineering, and cuts the battery power, and gets to the main reactor core, and preps it for shutdown in order to kill all power to the ship if necessary.
Nero and Milo keep at it, and Nero is finally able to breach the enemy firewalls, and injects a viral program to quick cancel random processes while he preps Roger’s datapad for transfer. Shortly thereafter, Nero is able to shunt all stored data from the protected drive space into Roger’s datapad, at which point, killed processes do not restart, having no source program to be loaded from. Ari stops the reactor shutdown.
No further insurgent programs appear.
Getting handscanners out and keeping their eyes open, the group tries to track the hidden conduit from the computer core back to it’s source. In short order, with concerted effort, they find the armor plated box hidden in the hull of engineering. Noting that there is clearly a power source inside the wall that is distinct from the normal flow of power through the in wall conduits (now that she knows what to look for), Ari surmises that there is likely a high density capacitor, and probably a trap too.
Nero gets some power conductor cables, and attaches them to the bulkhead, and one to the outer hull of the albatross, and one out the engineering hatch into the ground. Back in the cockpit, Milo watches a power spike big enough to kill an adult elcor twice over, when the group pops the hull plate. Safely discharged into the grounding cables, no one is hurt. Inside, they find an armor plated safety box with data and power conduits leading into it. Removing it from it’s hidey hole is fairly simple compared to anything else they’ve done that day, and once disconnected, they restore battery power to the ship.
Gettng into the Blazemaster, they lockdown the ship, drive about a quarter-mile away from everything, take the black box (still with a power source in it), put it on a hill, and get behind the Blazemaster. Ari generates her Defense Drone over the box and uses it’s electrical spike attack to quick melt the bolts out of the black box.
When it doesn’t explode after a minute, they investigate.
Seeing a miniaturized computer core and data store, Milo hands over an old, poorly cared for datapad he found tucked in the wall of the ship while they were extracting the black box, and Nero hooks it up to the black box. Some security hacking later, the VI in the mini-core recognizes the group as “Commander Iskeli” of the “Raskeni”, and provides a detailed report of the 3 non-salarian crews that were “exterminated” to prevent discovery of the Raskeni’s purpose since the last comm check-in by Iskeli. In addition, it notes that at last check in 12 hours ago, the “Raskeni Cache” remained undisturbed by any groups since Iskeli’s last check in (noted as roughly 2 years previous). They query and receive the system command to initiate the secondary wireless network that allows check in on the Raskeni Cache, and then shut down the Assassin VI.
The second hand datapad fizzles and shorts out, dead beyond repair.
Back at the Albatross, they send the command in the computer core, which loads a program, enables a network, sends a ping, receives a response, and shuts down. However, everyone being prepared with handscanners and omnitools allows them to trace the signal with a couple of attempts to initialize the system, and they find themselves at a bulkhead in the cargo bay, like the black box VI, lined with armor plate to present a solid bulkhead to most hand sensors.
Knowing it’s there however, they are able to unbolt the deck plating, and reveal a 1 meter by half-meter by half-meter security safe. Working together, Ari and Nero are able to breach the security and store the 16 digit access for future reference. Inside is a trove of easily concealable weapons, discrete armored clothing, non-lethal grenades, medical supplies, paralytic poison, security drones, and an unregistered cred-stick with 5000 credits on it.
Feeling suddenly better about their ghost ship, the crew distributes gear and material, keeps some in the safe and bolts the deck plating back down, and puts the rest of the standard materials in the general stores. Packing away their makeshift tent and electric fence, and parking the APC back in the Albatross, the group settles in for a comfortable and uneventful night (after cleaning out the chlorine gas that was trapped in the med bay during the “Computer Fight”).
The next morning, with new equipment and plenty of resolve, they set out in the Blazemaster toward what they believe is a potential entrance to the ruins where the last crew was lost when they begin spelunking under the influence of hallucinogenic and paranoia inducing drugs.
As a lark, Roger has Nero transmit the safe code to the Albatrosses main comm array. In short order, remote access to primary systems in gained. Everybody looks at each other, somewhat disconcerted. Everyone is now pretty sure that the Albatross is a former Salarian STG operative’s undercover ship. They move on.
A little searching around the closest surface sensor reading presents them with a low overhanging cave among the rippled foothills west of the crater wall, overgrown with hanging moss and lichen. Inside, and out of sight of casual observation, is a series of four carbon fiber spars, similar to the one they found near their LZ. These, however, appear to be embedded in the ground and extend into the ceiling, in front of a 10’ wide black hole which extends into the ground.
They all look at each other. This is what they came here for, after all.