Arriving at Sharatar, the 8th planet of the Sirian system - our intrepid party of PCs and NPCs, totaling about 12 people are sent with a recon mission. They're to monitor some radio signals from the planet, so some scans for asteroids and get an updated map of the asteroid fields standing in the way of the fleet and back home. Cause running into things while traveling near light speed would hurt - a lot. Arrival goes well and the party had the chance to gather some good photography of the planet before getting to down to work.
Then things got weird - the radio chatter was definitely of the distressed and corrupted data sort. And the messages implied that something truly horrible had happened on the planet. A bit of analysis on the radio courtesy of Darcy confirmed that the radio signals coming from the planet were subject to the effects of radiation here out in space and subject to local disruption when they were sent 4 months ago.
There's also another signal they pick up - this one a wide-band radio feed containing a digital input. Shortly after that larger signal ends, the ship shuts down. Drifting in space and heading right towards the rings of Sharatar.
While the engineers scramble to make sense of what just happened, the life support systems are down, the gravity plate is off, and even the translators are down leaving everyone fending with the effects of zero-g in the cabin. Not all stomachs handle this change in the direction of up particularly well.
Aati gets to the back room, joined by one of the engineers from the cabin. Under her guidance and with a bit of a game of charades for communication they start fixing the power supply to get the system rebooted. With much banging and bipping, and the occasional tricky way to get complemented on her bum they set to work.
Meanwhile Darcy rushes to the front to assist with the reboot sequence up there, taking the time while waiting for power to flow to analyze the feed they received. She confirms there seems to have been a virus in the data, and it seems to be both Sirian home world origin (not alien!) and have delivered a payload of very complex - possibly AI - nature just before shutting down the system.
Yalara sensing a panic about to spread amongst the troops does some quick calculations and confirms they have plenty of air for at least half a day or more - plus the suit air supplies. Her announcement and general cool headed calm gets the rest of the crew to settle back down.
Tarae (late comer to the session) comes out of the back of the ship where he had been examining the magical conduits for a reported bug - and makes his way to the mages console to be in place when the power gets back up.
After a bit of work, the systems reboot and power is running again and all seems to go well save for one critical problem: The ship hard drives are full to the gills, out of disk space. Which is preventing the last of the boot sequence from completing. The ship is still drifting into the rings (now more rocky than icy) and have no engines to maneuver with. Tarae can confirm that with the ship's own 'brain' as interpreted through his console.
The doors to both the pilot's cabin and engineering shut, effectively splitting the party. About this time a voice pops up on the screens and in the comms: "I'm sorry. I'm so very very sorry." After apologizing, the voice explains that he didn't really have a choice about hijacking the ship, and they need a safe place to go.
Chaos abounds! Tarae tries to get the ship to disgorge some of the files filling the disk-space and finds there is resistance within the ship's systems from an active program. Probably the same one apologizing to them. Meanwhile Aati and Darcy both decide to get the door open to engineering so no one is stuck. And lastly, the good doctor gets an anti-nausea into one of her patients saving everyone the mess and stench of a bout of space sickness in close quarters.
Once the party has reunited, and the voice's explanation sinks it - it seems like everyone is on the same page: They've picked up 20 some digital hitchhikers and it's just too much data for the Joy Rider to hold and handle the reboot at the same time. Meanwhile, the rings are giving the paint job on the ship a bang-up job and the ship is only drifting closer to the denser part of the rings the longer they sit dead in the water.
With understanding of the situation - they formulate a plan! All the data pads hooked together could operate as a spare emergency hard drive. With some wiring from Darcy (and a minor electrocution - all's well but the hair's a bit frizzy), they get enough of the data pads looped together to give the Joy Rider some scratch space to work with. Since the crew seems friendly enough not to go deleting one of his twenty passengers, the AI hitchhiker releases the door cutting Dale off and cooperates with the work - not putting up any resistance at all to these remarkably helpful strangers.
While the system completes the recharge - the ship finally drifts into the danger zone taking a few hull breeching asteroids. F = MA, M can be very small if A is very large and still produce a lot of force. And asteroids move fast. Fast enough, as Ensign Ballard discovered - to punch a small hole though one side of the Joy Rider, through Ensign Ballard, and out the other side of the Joy Rider.
The doctor springs into action, checking on Ballard's condition, while Tarae - ready and waiting at the magical helm for the engines to kick over - yanks the ship up and out of the rings back into safety. While venting air, Dale declares 'mission over, we're going home', and takes over flying duties to return the ship to the Fleet, while Yalara and Tarae tend to Ballard's wound.
Link to adventure notes:
Darcy: 2G, 4S, 1 Gen
Aati: 2G, 4S, 1 Gen
Yalara: 2G, 2C, 2S, 1 Gen
Tarae: 2G, 2M, 1 Gen (late entry)
Hey - hey down here. Look down here. I needs feedback - lemme know where this session ranked for you. Please and thank you. :)