[SPOILERS for Starfinder Society Adventure #1-09 Live Exploration Extreme! which I plundered extensively for this subplot]
Eigthday 24 Desnus (midmorning), 318 AG | Absalom Station
Jarimana receives a communication that he is urgently needed in the Diaspora, a family emergency. After getting his leave from the Commodore, and apologizing for the timing, he catches a ship bound for the asteroids. The rest of the crew take advantage of their 4-hour layover window to update their social media and pack their gear.
A shuttle takes them from the station to the Exemplarion, Zo!’s private yacht. Six levels of strip clubs, casinos, and restaurant staffed by painfully polite undead. Falak 13, Krysa, and Iliana practically drool over the Signal Superior engines. After the tour, the group is taken to their luxurious private rooms and then escorted down to decks 4 and 5, where they meet Zo! and Luwazi Elsebo. While Zo! explains how the shoot is going to work Melisande and Iliana get briefed by Elsebo. They are to bring the camera crew along but are also to make sure that any info related to the illithid threat avoids outside attention. The trip from the Pact Worlds to Salvation’s End takes a mere few hours thanks to the high end engines.
A shuttle from the Exemplarion takes them, their ghast producer Wazasha Kevir, and a camera crew of ten ghouls down to the surface of the planetoid. The immediate area shows signs of goblin activity. Detritus everywhere, and what looks like signs of excavations and detonations. While searching the rubble Iliana finds a stash containing a pair of pulse grenades. At the site of what seems to be a recent explosion, they find a large breach into a chamber below. Kevir displays the results of a live infosphere poll, “Fans say go!” The krewe rappels down through a fissure and find themselves in a technological installation of some sort. Power is out, other than a dim light from the overheads. With the holovid crew getting underfoot as they do so, they explore the spiraling corridors and their path spirals downwards. The film crew crowds around for close up shots.
Coming around a curve where climbing is required they are ambushed by space goblins. Combat ensues when a space goblin on a ledge takes a shot at them with its junk blaster. Rather than injuring our heros the junk blaster explodes, blowing the goblin off the ledge. Iliana and anther goblin exchange fire, each hitting the other but iliana dealing far more serious wounds. Melisande reaches int the mind of another one, putting it to sleep. As the violence reaches a crescendo, Krysa steps up to the front line and shouts the goblins down (intimidate 28)! Two surrender while their compatriots deeper around the bend of the corridor beat a hasty retreat.
Another viewer poll is in and the audience wants them to take one of the goblins, “the noisy one”, along with them as they explore. After a brief confab away from the cameras, they decide to take him along. Restrained and tied except for his legs, Glick the goblin is then led along by a rope around his neck to keep him out of trouble. They leave the other goblin prisoners tied up fr their fellows to find and have Glick lead them to the site of the goblin excavation. When he does they find a recently blasted hole in the floor that leads to a lower level. Looking into the darkened area below shows little other than some sort of tiles. Darkvision, however, reveals archaic dwarven etched into the floor, the best translation they can manage is Quest for the Sky. The group rappels down to investigate.
As they turn their lights on the near vicinity they seem to be in the half-ruined remains of some sort of computer station, now devoid of power. As they look past the center ring of terminals the room around them has walls of worn and fractured stone, expanding into a large cavern overgrown with titanic fungi and lichens. Falak 13, with Iliana assisting, are able to get a computer terminal powered up, using Falak’s tablet as a display. They can’t get root access, but they can get the basics, including identifying the primary current program running:
Upon reading this Falak looks up, “Commodore, we have to go. Now.”
As usual, debate ensues, and as it does a group of dwarves in primitive arms and armor enter the chamber. Since they are the only one that speaks dwarvish Falak becomes the de facto translator. The dwarven leader introduces herself as Ylsa, Sky Seeker of the Marblehart Clan. Over the course of the conversation, they discover several things. Ylsa’s clan believe themselves to be on Golarion, news which stuns the crew when translated. They claim to have been on a generations-long quest for the sky. Recently they have encountered the “orcs” of legend, surprised much smaller than tales of myth. When Falak tells her they are not on Goalrion anymore she stares at the android a moment, then she laughs uproariously and calls to her men for ale.
While they parlay over libations there are a few small earth tremors which the dwarves ignore completely. Then comes one that makes them scatter, a quake that brings down the chamber roof, blocking the exit. Melisande and Falak take superficial injuries in the cave in. Falak manages to hack in on the one functional terminal and is able to determine that most of the tech is composed of gravity generators, life support, and lithogenesis machinery.
Lacking the manpower or firepower required do dig out through the cave in, the krewe decide to take Ylsa up on her offer to take them back to her clan and then find a way upward together. “If we are really that close to the sky we can find another way.”
26 Desnus, 318 AG | Salvation’s End