While the crew prepared for infiltrating Blessings Forgotten’s base in Saturn’s rings, they found another one of her victims in a healing vat. The person had been caught in her trap and roughed up, but his biomorph was almost whole again.
The crew freed him and convinced him to improve their charade by playing prisoner along with Octavius and Solomon. Thessa piloted the steel morph, trying her best to mimic the exhuman’s mannerisms. The hailing frequencies and passcodes worked perfectly, and the Hildegaard was given clearance to approach.
Sensors made out a 100m diameter hunk of rock obfuscated by the dust and ice of the rings. A large lozenge-shaped freighter was tethered to the rock by an articulated metal tube. Sensors indicated heat both inside the vessel and inside the rock.
Once in clear visual range, the crew saw the MemoryKeeper, a lozenge-shaped freighter about 50m long, 20m wide, and 10m high with a symbol of Asclepius painted on the top. Three mobile defence platforms clutched to her surface, one with an array of mini-missiles pointed towards the Hildegaard. Thessa received an encrypted welcome message which she immediately responded to. The defence platforms slowly swiveled away and an articulated metal tube extended from the rock towards the Hildegaard.
The crew entered a 6m diameter spherical room with another door directly across from them, all lit by a pale golden tube down the centre of the room. A console is embedded into the rock wall to the right. Two case synthmorphs man the console. One asked visitors to hold still for decontamination. The far door slid open and a woman in a splicer morph entered. A dry, crusty beige fungus covered the right side of her face and the top of one hand. Her red uniform has small thrusters at each joint, gently propelling her into the room. “Welcome back, Alpha-5. You are just in time — we are preparing five other prisoners for injections. This way.” Her uniform gently spun her around and back through the door. The crew followed, peeking into the side rooms. One held three case morphs in stasis, one held three splicers in healing vats (each splicer cosmetically altered to resemble the pre-exhuman Madeline Yu). One has a blood red vine growing out of her chest, wrapping around her head. Another is almost completely covered in a slick black slime, and the last has large liquid-filled boils disfiguring her hands.
They entered a vertical tube 6m in diameter. Upwards, they saw a large room filled with plants, lit by the pale yellow tubes. They couldn’t see far into the room, but thought they could see the undulating movement of snakes and hear the buzz of insect wings.
Your guide introduces herself as Beta-9, an early beta fork of Madeline.
Beta-9 led them downwards to a 16m diameter spherical room with beds connected to a metal circle around the wall. Two case morphs and a splicer with large thorn-like protrusions down her left leg monitor the five patients (two neo-ravens, one splicer in plain clothes, one Olympian in a martian-style outfit, and one flat in Jovian fatigues). The patients are strapped to the beds, connected by several IVs.
The crew subdues the splicer as Thessa takes over the cameras. Beta-9 does not resist. She explains she has seen the changes in “Mother” and no longer shares her vision, but is no match physically or mentally for Blessings Forgotten. She is willing to help and get people out in exchange for her freedom (and she will take the identity of pre-exhuman Madeline Yu) and the freedom of two of her “sister” beta forks. She says Blessings Forgotten’s morph is oversized and rarely leaves the greenhouse at the far side of the hallway, often sending alpha or beta forks out when needed. She knows of three extra-solar colonies, each overseen by an alpha fork.
The crew disconnects the patients. Intrusion alarms go off and Thessa sees search parties scouring the hab. Beta-9 needs time to apply the cure to the patients, and she is unwilling to share the cure (she believes that you may just leave her strapped to the nearest rimward comet if she gives up that bargaining chip). Two splicers enter the room, firing pulse beams at Octavius and Solomon. A fire-fight starts, so Thessa subverts the doors, closing the one to the lab and the one to the greenhouse. Beta-9’s sisters move Fletcher’s explosives from the Hildegaard to the hab and to the MemoryKeeper.
Through the hab’s spimes, Thessa sees Blessings Forgotten and the image is relayed quickly across the tac-net. Blessings Forgotten’s morph is 3m tall and 2m wide, much of that being a bloated synth arachnid lower body. Four long metal legs ending in sharp claws anchor her to the wall, and two small turrets project from her back. Her body has three synth arms, each ending in long clawed hands. A thick, vine-like appendage sticks out of her chest, ending in undulating black thorns around a mouth-like hole excreting a red pus.
The crew subdues the splicers and makes a break for it. Once Solomon says they have gone a safe distance, Octavius detonates the explosives, destroying the hab and ship.
Fletcher would like the crew to consider gatecrashing to find one of the colonies. He can arrange a trip via the local Fissure gate, or, if the crew would like their old equipment (and morphs) back from Mars, he can arrange for a multi-gate trip from Mars to the Rim and then out to the extra-solar planets.