THE CONFERENCE ROOM
MISSION ONE: THIS POST
The Conference Room is located just ahead of the battle bridge. Its walls are actually rather thick and well-insulated from the noise of the rest of the ship. Occasionally there's a slight vibration, but overall, it's peaceful. It feels almost serene. Moreover, since the crash landing, someone went through and set all the chairs back up in their proper order and position. There's enough places at this long, tastefully-carved mahogany table for up to twenty or so people - perfect for peace talks, briefings, or just chatting it up after hours. There's even a picture of SCAMPS in all his electrobiological glory hanging up on the wall - even though the paper appears to be torn.
You'd heard rumors back in the cells of Tartarus, however many years ago it was, that the briefing rooms aboard their titular ship were glorious, and fit to banquet kings. This is considerably less flashy - possibly because, after all, the Nemesis is a warship. There are no fancy trays of food. There is no lounge and bar with alcohol, or smooth jazz music playing in the background. There is a table, and there are chairs. There aren't even windows.
The rest of the Nemesis Ten are already seated at the long, rectangular table in the center of the room, and you realize you should join them. You walk over to the table and take a place in an empty seat, just as the lights dim, and a screen at the far side of the room lights up.
MISSION 1 BRIEFING
SCAMPS here. Let's run through the typical newbie crap to start with: I don't give a damn about who you are, what you did, or what you think you know how to do. My job right now is to teach you what we need to survive. With that in mind, I'm going to start off with a major breach of protocol: revealing Tartarus's best-kept secret. Our Acting Captain protested this, but I think it'll be beneficial for you titsuckers to see just how bad things are. Maybe you'll pull less of the retarded shit most first-timers do.
Tartarus Incorporated, ladies and gentlemen, is a company that incarcerates criminals... and one that is also run by criminals. We tell the greenhorns they'll go free after the "Big One-Oh", but that's a bedtime story. After the tenth, we stick some probes in your head and analyze whatever's there. The crazy ones get spaced, while the rest get some mental conditioning to keep the company's secrets, and a choice. Some of you get shipped back home under a new alias. Most, though, sign on for a permanent job with Tartarus. We pay well, and the rest of us are criminals too. Anyone that learns this secret early typically gets a surprise execution, but right now, we need cooperation. We can't afford segregation. You'll eat with the crew, you'll work with the crew, and you'll sleep with the crew. Hopefully Tartarus won't kill you or something when we get back, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Welcome to your new life, shitbags. I hope I don't come to regret this as much as you will.
Now, on to business. I'm glad all of you could make it - that's a few more corpses I won't have to ditch yet.
In case you weren't paying attention, it's the year 3152, and the galaxy is just as toxic as it ever was. We're out beyond the edge of humanity's domain on a covert operation. Nobody except up-top even knows we're here. There's no hope of rescue. Our battlecruiser got shot down over Nanyej yesterday, which is alien-speak for "backwoods shithole nobody's ever heard of". Someone overrode our shields, and our starboard nacelle came off during atmospheric entry. I won't mince words: It's sabotage. Our engines are shot for now, but our engineers are giving it their all. In the meantime, we're faced with a bigger issue: The Nemesis does not - nor did it ever - have the power to leave a planet's surface. As if that wasn't bad enough, there's a military base nearby, and we expect to see some overwhelming firepower coming from that direction in short order.
In summary, we're in deep shit and short on time. Fortunately, we have a plan, which I'll walk you through. First, a map of the surrounding area.
((Map scale: 20km across))
The pitifully small "X" on the left side of the map? That's us. Up northeast at the "Z" is the hiltorel colony of Huhoba Qitsit. The nacelle crash-landed south of that at the "Y" - unexpectedly intact, thanks to the hiltorel. At this point, those few of you that graduated preschool ought to have realized that we're on a planet with near-Earth gravity, which hiltorel can't handle. This is where our plan comes together.
The only way the hiltorel could live here is if they're using grav-tech - anomalous materials. Specifically, AM-0025, better known to you highschool dropouts as "stellaplex". Our engineers have rigged up a temporary grav-gen system to make the Nemesis - yes, the whole ship - lightweight enough to take off and reach escape velocity, but we can't do it without Huhoba's stellaplex. This is the primary objective: steal it and get back home. Five of your CASKETs will be equipped with harnesses and gear with which you can rip open their reactor, pull it out, and attach it to a CASKET. Pissing yourself is optional but not recommended. Our veteran REKT squads will back you up, led by Sergeant Anabais. Half of them will be heading out to attack Huhoba's meager spaceport as a distraction to draw their defensive fire.
I'm not deaf, by the way. I do in fact hear your idiotic sighs of relief. "Oh, thank FSM! An easy first mission! This isn't nearly as bad as I thought!" Tough luck, kiddos, there's more to it than that. I'll be splitting you into two squads: Alpha and Beta. You can divide yourselves up, but we have to hit both objectives at the same time. When the squids spot you, they'll realize that we in fact have more than ten functional fighters, and they'll ignore Anabais's diversion to wipe out Squad Alpha before they can acquire the stellaplex.
Beta will head east toward our old nacelle. We expect the hiltorel sent up ships equipped with harpoons to slow its descent. The desperate calamari bastards are probably looking for scraps, and they've almost certainly raided it by now. We would've left it alone, but our engineers suggested a plan to recover it. Acting Captain Retard made it an order, so now we're bringing it with us. Squad Beta will be equipped with a set of large hooks you'll affix firmly to the inner hull, spaced well apart, right where the nacelle was ripped from the Nemesis. Get the scavengers to scram, and get to work. We'll have the Nemesis pick it up when we leave. And, finally, as a side objective: we need a local to interrogate so we can feel out the political situation in the area. Try to get one home unharmed.
Sort yourselves out and get down to the hangar within thirty minutes, or we'll string you to the hull.
The lights brighten again to a comfortable glow. The screen at the end of the room still holds SCAMPS' last image, and the holocomputers in the center of the table hold several 3D models of the Nemesis, the nacelle, and the hiltorel colony.
The job begins.