The party went back to the shuttle to perform some first aid and cleaned up the worst of their wounds. Continuing through the rear of the transport they ran across a barracks room that would house around 40 soldiers but was the location of a battle and the room was destroyed and littered with bodies. Off the barracks was the main armory where the party acquired a rifle, some grenades, a set of manacles, and a satchel of plastic explosives.
On the opposite side of the ship, another barracks was found with the entrance covered in runes and talismans and all of the bunks moved to create a barricade. The party made their way inside to the back where they heard singing and saw some light. There they found the first human survivor on the ship who was malnourished, a little nuts, but otherwise in remarkably good shape.
After some talking he was reassured and introduced himself as Sergeant Simmons, a commando unit leader of Operation Hydra. The operation came into being when the Kurgan Barbarians began abducting citizens in large numbers and they were finally tracked to a very distant world where the people were all being sacrificed by a cult Simmons called Elhadites. The fleet reached the world and attacked the massive temple complex and suffered huge casualties from the psionic cultists but managed to eliminate the threat. Simmons had engaged in melee with a high priest and went unconscious when the priest grabbed his head. Later he woke up on back on the ship with the priest’s voice in his head constantly saying the attack was a mistake and that undoing the damage was of paramount importance. Many of the surviving crew had already begun to mutate by the time Simmons awoke and, following the priest’s advice, he barricaded himself in a room with talismans and runes to prevent entry by the mutated crew.
Simmons was terrified of the what the crew had changed into but it was difficult to determine if these mutated crew were the same cult or a different one. Simmons agreed to stay put until the party killed off the cultists so he could leave.
The party agreed and soon found the weapons and defense control room. Rylios managed to run a debug program and downloaded the battle records. In the records, it appeared that the fleet had battled itself but many of the ship IDs were identical but the computer insisted the data was accurate.
At the back of the ship the party found the engineering control room which had been jury-rigged quite ingeniously and there was a woman in robes sitting at the control station who greeted the party and introduced herself as the High Priestess. She was surprised Luske had not come himself and annoying answered the party’s questions with philosophical half-answers. Khan and Consuela went into the main engineering room where they found a large human in a work suit who began walking towards them. Once this brute was about ten feet away he began charging and Simmons also came charging into the room screaming and blasting away with his rifle.
Khan and the Brute began fighting hand-to-hand while the rest of the party was unsure as to what the real threat was (Simmons was charging the priestess). Consuela tried to contact the priestess’ mind with empathy but suffered a psionic shock in backlash and about that time the priestess began controlling Simmons who turned his fire onto the party. Rolf took a shot at the sergeant who was unarmored and physically weak and scored a nasty hit. The priestess dropped the illusion of being human and revealed herself as a giant snake and coiled around Simmons and began striking at the party with her massive scaly head.
The party was loathe to shoot at her since she was now holding a hostage (Rolf realized he should not have shot at Simmons) but using some carefully placed rounds managed to score hits on the priestess snake. Simmons began to regain control of himself and the priestess began to constrict him. Khan rushed forward at the party’s suggestion to remove the now mortally wounded Simmons and the huge Weren did so. Rylios shot the Brute who collapsed and Consuela blasted the priestess at point blank range and killed her.
The party noticed a shiny glint coming from one of the priestess’ many gaping wounds and found the white idol inside. Rylios took it and had another vision of Luske in his apartment being torn apart by gunfire, suffering wounds in the same places the priestess had been struck. They also found a book wrapped in plastic inside the priestess but could not make much sense of it.
The party left the ship whose orbit began to decay without the constant calibrations to keep the damaged ship working. Simmons was stabilized and the party returned to the station. Khan tried to hide the idols with a booby-trap but failed and blew up one of the idols, damaged the shuttle, and burned himself in the process.
On the station they discovered two assassins had poisoned the entire deck where Luske lived and killed dozens. When medical crews arrived, the assassins killed them and were systematically going from room to room shooting any survivors. Security forces arrived but the assassins took their own lives after killing fifteen of the guards. All of Luske’s mercs were killed as well.
The party recovered the key in Luske’s room and found bank cards going to three accounts (under different names) with a balance of 20,000 credits, real estate on a planet, and stock certificates that turned out to be a code the party deciphered with the code book they took off the priestess. Apparently Luske had been in contact with an archaeologist trying to get information on the idols. The doctor in question is actually one of the experts who is en route on the Calypso. The party sold the swag they found and prepared for the ship’s arrival.