Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Encounters : Our Last Best Hope


Our Last Best Hope

As part of the then attempt to introduce new systems to gamers who haven't tried it, I ran a session of Our Last Best Hope for the mini-con and drew inspiration from the Alien movies.

I was able to get three players in total to play with me, as well as a few others, but sadly I was not able to mark down who my players were for the session.

The game was set in the Arctic, and the four players fulfilled each role: the Soldier, the Scientist, the Engineer and the Doctor.

Sadly, I have lost my notes on this game and thus do not have further information on the players.  But I would like to think the game remains a memorable one for them.

Act I Begins

For initial set-up, we generated the complications for the game and we are all huddled in the tents at the start of the game.  Earlier that evening, Tobie was carried back into camp with something clamped on his face.  Some of them felt fascinated by the thing that was wrapped on his face.  Others were panicking, knowing that Tobie was the pilot of the journey. The doctor preps his tools. The engineer sets up the light sources.  The storm gets stronger outside.  They all feel something uneasy about the situation and they reach out to M.I.M.I.C. for advice.  Everyone has bracelets that allow them to communicate with M.I.M.I.C. but their interplayer communications are down.   Sensors detect movement outside the camp, approaching their general direction.   The game is set in LV-42, one of the three moons orbiting Calpamos, which is the same moon where the first Alien movie is set.   The storm in interfering with the scans.  The thing is estimated to arrive in less than one minute.    Acid sprays out as the doctor cuts off one of the legs of the thing wrapped around Tobie's face.  The acid hits some of the lights.  The thing closes in towards the camp, but the storm covers it from view.  Richard takes point, and rushes to check the motion outside.    The alien charges at the tent!  The loud thudding sound smashes into the tent at Richard from behind him!  Towering six feet tall, the enraged alien grabs at Richard!  He quickly pulls out his lucky dagger, a touch stone, to try to fend the thing off.  Two try to help, one using Frost's laser while the other simply tries grabbing one of the standing lamps to stab at the alien.  The lamp hits the alien and it gives out an elephantine squeal.  Richard stabs the blade against its body, and at the point, the laser burns into its skin.  Both pull back, seeing the Alien trashing in all directions.  Elsa is yelled at to head back.  Frost rushes forward with the experimental laser and swings with it like a cutting sword.  Richard feels the tail smack into his stomach, flinging him to the ground.  M.I.M.I.C. starts counting down as another threat is closing in.

"Aim for the head!" the Scientist starts yelling at them.  Frost shakes her head, yelling at another for being crazy!  Richard grabs the thing by the tail, dragging it down.  Frost comes in and stomps on the thing.   M.I.M.I.C. starts counting down for twenty nine.... Frost thanks Elsa for being around, and Elsa starts waving to distract the monster, giving Frost the chance to burn the thing.  The thing squeals then hits the ground, dead.   M.I.M.I.C. stops the count. The detected bogey has suddenly stopped its movement.  And worse, it can no longer detect it.

Minutes later, with the others gathered by the tent.  Tobie has seemingly slipped into a coma.  Frost is checking on the body, and the thing has fallen off.  Richard drags the other to the side, telling him he knows what is going on here.   "We were sent here under the same assignment!  What you know is what I know..." Richard growls at him, claiming to know what he did.  The other, however, challenges him to say it out loud.  The other pushes Richard back, reminding him they have a job to do.   He reminds Richard to be careful.   The other yells out, telling them that Tobie is still breathing.  The other starts eating ice out of panic.  Richard admits he is happy that Elsa is around to keep him sane.  There are rumbling sounds however, getting closer.  M.I.M.I.C. warns them to seismic activity on the rise!  Elsa grabs the Survival Logbook and yells at them to follow her to a cave she found when she was surveying the activity.  Richard yells at them they cannot leave Tobie as he's their own pilot.  The others grab whatever kit they can.  "I thought this place was stable!" the other calls out at the Engineer.  But the Engineer yells back that he should shut up as he's making her feel crazy.  The Scientist notices the walls and tells them to move towards them as they are geologically secure!  They realize the motion sensors are not picking up any movement in that direction, making it perfect to head there.  They safely duck into the cave.  Frost admits she hates Hans, and the group drops to the ground to catch their breath. The snow has covered most of the exit way, trapping them for the time being.

Minutes later again.  Tobie remains stable and breathing though unresponsive.  Most of them have rested enough to be able to move a bit more.  Tobie's eyes sudden shoot open and he looks at them, confused and dazed.  Elsa tries to explain what is going on, or at least what they know.  Hans reveals that moment however that the Elsa cheated on her board exam.   She reminds them that she deserves to be an Engineer since she got them to be here alive.  Richard insists however it was the other woman who got them here alive. Tobie mumbles about having stumbled into some cave, filled with eggs.  The others begin to worry if it is the same cave.  Tobie looks around and slowly begins to nod.  Hans complains that they had just run back into this place like stupid people. Tobie remembers Hans telling him to go into the cave to take video footage inside.  True enough, there are things in the cave.  Hans lags behind, but Richard drags him with him.  Hans thanks Richard for at least being reliable enough to keep the team safe.  There is mist in the chamber, but with their arrival, the mist dissipates revealing eggs.  Tobie admits he saw one open and something crept out... "There, just like that one!"

Elsa yells at the others to look out!  Frost watches as Elsa begins to tremble in fear.  Elsa holds the laser close, but another pod begins to open, revealing slimy things - the very thing Elsa cannot stand.  Frost rushes in to help out with the Power Suit worn.  Richard charges forward, hoping his Soldier training can help out!  They attack the things emerging from the pods but this time they all try to kill it with fire!

The squealing sounds fill the cavern, and horrifically, they don't seem to be running out!  Hans begins to back away from the others, and he starts yelling at them to try smashing them or burning them!  The Scientist's advice seems to help, but they aren't sure what they can use to burn things in the cold.  Frost yells that someone should help her! The Power Suit starts stomping at the pods and face huggers that try to slip closer.  Frost hears Tobie starting to cough and she hurries to carry him out of the way.  The Experimental Laser starts burning others too, and the group is surprised to see Hans using it.  The fire however begins to also rise around Richard, who turns out to be afraid of fire!  They successfully avert disaster!

As the others finish off the rest of the eggs, Hans can see Tobie coughing and struggling to breathe.  Tobie starts having stomach pains and collapses to the ground.  Richard tries to help him up. Tobie coughs out a lot of blood, that hits Richard on the face.   With the eggs all popped, they try to help Tobie stabilize.   He admits he feels very hungry.  Frost asks M.I.M.I.C. to scan Tobie, but M.I.M.I.C. informs her that he cannot do so since she chose the organic ointments instead of the usual lab set-up.  M.I.M.I.C. does inform them that the existing lab set up is still at the landing bay currently 10km away.   Elsa sighs. The Engineer has been chomping on snow out of nervousness.  M.I.M.I.C. suggests disassembling a power suit and a motion sensor to reconfigure it for scanning a human body. Tobie learns from the others that an alien had clamped on his face. But he thought it was just Hans surprising him then since he sent Tobie to check the cave for some artifact.  M.I.M.I.C. informs them of an incoming message from Weyland Yutani.  The face that emerges addresses Hans, informing them that they have lost tracking of the team.  He asks them for extraction and asks M.I.M.I.C. to boost the signal and attempt to allow him to be better tracked.  The Scientist gives them the command.  M.I.M.I.C. boosts the signal, but Weyland Yutani still doesn't pick them up. M.I.M.I.C. is told to boost it by 30% Hans asks M.I.M.I.C. boost by 80% despite M.I.M.I.C. warning that the system might not be able to handle it.  The girls however think Hans knows what is happening to Tobie.   An explosion rips through the equipment as fire spread through the communications hub!

Hans calls for an Emergency Power Down to compensate.  Frost asks Elsa if there is any way she can help.  Elsa remembers her sister who she left behind and her need to get home to her.  They killed most of the flames, but as they open the machine they see parts still melting.  Frost brings Tobie to the ground, but more slimy coughing comes out.  The Scientist asks M.I.M.I.C. to vent the coolants, but M.I.M.I.C. sadly informs them it cannot.  Richard remembers his happy place, finding some calm inside.  Hans closes in to help Elsa as she tries to tie up the last few repairs before it fries completely.
Tobie's body begins to convulse.  Frost feels something pushing out from Tobie's chest.  That same moment, Richard is still lost in his happy place as he pushes his hand into the warm moist earth.  Tobie begins to scream as something begins to trash and shove against his chest from the inside!  Richard still lost in his thoughts imagines grabbing the turnip from the earth, and then yanking and tugging to break it free.  Free.  It tears free!  Tobie screams as his chest tears open despite all of Frost's attempts to stabilize him with medicines.  The chest busters leaps out towards the closest person - Frost!  Richard comes to his senses and runs for it!  Elsa rushes close to help. Hans grabs hold of the thing by the tail!  Frost drops to the ground, and grabs the Experimental Laser to try to burn it again.  The thing sprays out acid, forcing them all to pull back, and the chest burster vanishes into the snow.  But before it can move away, Hans leaps down to grab it.  Elsa and Richard try to help, all of them hoping to pin it with Hans' leather jacket. They grab hold of it in time, and the laser punches a hole through its head.

The group drops to the snow, exhausted.  Tired.  They stare at Tobie's dead body.

End of Act I

Act II: Bad Decisions

In the snow, the group discovers they are forced to break down their machinery to generate heat.  They use up all their medication to deal with the frostbite and other effects.  M.I.M.I.C. informs them that the Recovery Team is still enroute.  They all have been exposed to the cold, however, and are now suffering 3 Harm each.

Elsa hears Hans stories about his time at the University, and she shares her own stories about having left her family.  None of them realize, however, something is hunting the team outside their makeshift camp.  They start to notice something occasionally moving in the distance, barely visible against the raging blizzard.  M.I.M.I.C. updates them that the Recovery Team is arriving in two hours and ten minutes.  Elsa asks Richard if the ones coming are "them", and she admits she saw the documents that had orders for him to silence them if the mission was completed. "Who are they?!"  Hans growls, "Wait a minute!  You were giving me shit about.. about..."  Frost reminds them they have to calm down and relax and conserve body heat.  They don't have any other machines to break down to generate more heat. The fire in the camp starts to fade.  Richard tells them they can always go to the alien ship, rather than the landing vessel.  The others suspect however he's trying to plan something else, especially when he recommends they drag Tobie's body.  Hans hisses they should just leave it. He reminds them traversing means being exposed to not just the elements but whatever is stalking them outside.  And he would rather just freeze to death than be torn limb from limb. Richard admits he only has a few ammunition left in his rifle.  Richard insists the alien ship is better insulated and they can find better shelter there.

A shadow arrives at the doorway.  The group sees the long elongated head, the extensions on its back.  The thing seems to be hissing, slowly scanning the cave.  Then suddenly, it is gone.  Richard reminds them that thing can find them here, or the cold kills them.  M.I.M.I.C. informs them that movement is heading to their direction.  They notice, however, M.I.M.I.C. didn't warn them sooner when it was by the door.  The movement M.I.M.I.C. detects, however, is coming from INSIDE the cave.  Frost and Hans tells Richard to lead the way.  The four quickly move through the snow to get out.  Hans, however, lagging behind, is told by M.I.M.I.C. that it is upon him!  The screech breaks the silence as Hans turns and sees the monstrous thing emerging from the cave.  It's head is too large to fit the cave exit, its massive crown too large to allow it to leave.    It howls and tries to break the door open wider.
That screech.  Hans finds himself remembering the sound and hearing the howl of the wind when he was facing a ravine in the past.  The ground feels widening between him and the others.  Frost rushes close to Hans, helping him stay focused.  Richard raises his rifle, ready to fire.  The things crown begins to emerge as it continues to ram against the cave opening to break it wider.  The group continues to run, moving as fast as they can through the snow, hoping to escape.  Frost uses her Death card: Prove That You Care, as she tells them to please go run as she can handle this.  "Guys, run!  This proves that I am not an evil person.  This proves that I care!" She distracts the Alien Queen, forcing it to chase after her while the rest of them break into a run in utter fear as the Queen rips her apart.

Frost has a flashback of events back in med school when she was dealing with a dead body. She remembers all the fear she was going through when she couldn't cut the body open.  Richard grabbed hold of her hand back then and helped her cut the dead body open.  The instructor, however, sees Richard's actions, which leads to him getting expelled from the medical school.

Hans makes a break for the ship, telling M.I.M.I.C. to divert the pick up point to their location. Elsa tries to help divert the alien with Richard's help, telling everyone that he's got it covered!  Richard pulls out his Death card: Help a Friend, and so as they run, Elsa slips on the ice.  Remembering Frost's sacrifice, Richard pulls Elsa up and shoves her to go ahead while shooting in the air and drawing the aliens to him instead!  The aliens squeal as they close in on Richard.  Elsa and Hans continue running, hearing the gun fire punctuated by squeals of the aliens.

Then silence.

The two approach the ship, moving under the shadow of the alien vessel.  Their own ship parked not too far away.  Their only reason for camping at the distance was because the Engineer insisted that was more stable ground.  Hans contacts M.I.M.I.C. to confirm the new pick up point.  He can see the dot in the sky closing in as M.I.M.I.C. confirms the pick up is in one minute.  Hans and Elsa however can see the swarming xenomorphs, called by the Queen, closing in on their location.  Hans feels this was a wrong idea.  These creatures should not have been discovered.  The cold, however, seems to have frozen some of the other xenomorphs.  Some of the still active ones actually crash through the frozen ones, shattering them.  As Hans and Elsa approach the ships, Hans heads straight for their own ship, activating the systems.  The warmth of the ship wraps around them.  They close the hatch immediately.  The xenomorphs arrive, swarming over their own vessel... and neither of them know how to pilot!

Hans asks M.I.M.I.C. about the fuel reserves.  M.I.M.I.C. confirms there is enough to reach the landing bay.  The ship's engines are facing the creatures, but when Hans commands M.I.M.I.C. to burn the thrusters to kill the things, M.I.M.I.C. overrides the command.  Charleston of Weyland Yutani contacts them and informs them they are unwilling to land the Retrieval Vessel. M.I.M.I.C. informs them that it is unwilling to accept Weyland Yutani's decision on the matter. M.I.M.I.C. tells them the Engineer can rereoute the systems for M.I.M.I.C. to handle the piloting from this point on.  Elsa admits she does not think it is a good idea.  M.I.M.I.C. however claims to have cared for Elsa since she has always cared for the ship and treated it with respect.  M.I.M.I.C. wants to return the favor.  Elsa admits she was, however, never a good listener.  She begins yanking the wires and pulling things apart even as M.I.M.I.C. asks her to stop.  To let the parts go.  To let it go.  Sparks fly around, and the shock courses through Elsa as she plays her Death card: Did Not Listen. Her death causes her to hit the ground, and her body convulses as she hopes to escape this horrific scene through death.

Hans, now alone, contacts Weyland Yutani, and informs them he is awaiting extraction.   They ask him to confirm if M.I.M.I.C. is able to handle autopilot but he informs them down.  The ship hailing them informs him the aliens are climbing the vessel and attempting to break in.  He asks permission to send the extraction team from the professor.  Hans, however, realizing the threat of these aliens, tells the Extraction Team to fall back.  "This is a mistake.  Fall back!"   The power gets cut and everything now is completely bluish red from the emergency lights.  Hans heads down to the ship's cover, making his way through the darkness towards it.   He finds the power core and thought there's enough to travel, there's no way to get out.  An explosion rocks the ship somewhere.  Flashlight beams run across the scene as gun shots are fired in the distance.  Hans sees the Extraction Team arriving, and one of them spots him and open's fire. He ducks under the machinery and hides.

Expendable.  Hans now realizes he's expendable and the company wanted the creatures alone, and the whole trip here was folly.  Hans, wanting to make up for that mistake, rewires what he can of the power core to activate self-destruct system.  He does not want anyone to be able to bring back news about these monsters.  He turns, expecting a shot to be fired when someone arrives behind him. He turns to see someone pale skinned and naked.  M.I.M.I.C. addresses him, asking him what he is trying to do.  Hans explains he's routed the core to explode.  M.I.M.I.C. it seems is currently in a synth body.  Hans admits company policies no longer apply, especially when the Extraction Team is not here to rescue anyone.  "They were after the creatures from the beginning.. too bad I even had to kill to get this expedition to succeed."  M.I.M.I.C. admits his last attempt to rescue him was flawed and Engineer Elsa has shut him down at great cost.  M.I.M.I.C. activates the self-destruct sequence activate.  The Extraction team, hearing this, tries to hurry out.

"There is nothing left worth taking back," Hans nods. M.I.M.I.C. claims company parameters insist he must stop Hans, but Hans voices out the override code to disable M.I.M.I.C.  The count down quickly drops, counting down faster and faster...

An Extraction Team soldier sees Hans, takes aim, but a pair of xenomorph hands clamps down around his head from behind and pops it with a squeeze.  The Alien Queen comes into the light... but Hans smiles.

A thermonuclear explosion erupts on the surface, tearing apart all the aliens in the vicinity.  The ships are rend asunder.  The arctic once more becomes very silent.


The media reports of a strange explosion detected in the arctic.  Weyland Yutani explains that some experimental station had exploded due to intense weather conditions that are prevailing in the area.  There are no reported deaths.


In some other facility, a synth opens his eyes. A man sits in front of it and asks if it knows who he is.  The synth replies the man is the one they are shaped after, Bishop.  He asks the synth it's designation and the synth replies it is M.I.M.I.C.  It pauses, then asks why it feels... sad.  

Bishop stares, and realizes this version of the A.I. cannot be permitted to be released.  He silently deletes the files.

The world is saved for now.  There are no survivors.

The End

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