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Collins Does Solo RPG ‘The Wretched’

Collins Does Solo RPG ‘The Wretched’

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Project Blog by collins Cult of Games Member

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About the Project

Collins is the last surviving crew member on the intergalactic salvage ship The Wretched. Adrift between the stars after an engine failure his ship was attacked by a hostile alien lifeform. The crew is dead. Collins thought he had won, launching the creature out the airlock should have guaranteed his safety.... It didn't.

This Project is Completed

Preparing for the Journey

Tutoring 10
Skill 11
Idea 15
2 Comments

I plan to play this solo RPG and document my journey here.

If you haven’t seen this solo RPG before and want to play it do the following.

  • Go through every entry in this project blog and smash every button to show me how much you appreciate it but don’t read the content
  • Go to loot the room and buy your own copy of the adventure and soundtrack
  • Try to survive the adventure yourself! Don’t forget to document it in your own project
  • Come back here and read my adventure!
Preparing for the Journey

Things I need!

  1. The booklet (or pdf)
  2. Deck of cards (no jokers)
  3. a single D6
  4. Jenga (or other similar – https://bit.ly/Jenga-Alt)
  5. 10 tokens
  6. A way to record it (this project, keep reading!)
Preparing for the Journey

The deck of cards here is a cracker. Picked it up at UKGE (anyone remember what an expo is?)

It’s a regular deck of cards… It’s a make your own dungeon. It’s also a D6, D20, D100 all in one.

You too can be as cool as me with my fancy deck of dice maps cards by visiting inked adventures and getting your own deck.

Warning, this story has naughty language during periods of stress. reader discretion is advised!Warning, this story has naughty language during periods of stress. reader discretion is advised!

Day 1 since the incident

Tutoring 7
Skill 9
Idea 13
No Comments

Day 1, salvage ship The Wretched. Flight Engineer Collins reporting.

The other members of the crew are dead and the engines remain non-operational, though ship integrity remains good and life support systems are still active. I successfully  jettisoned the intruder from the airlock, but it remains alive and continues to try to access the ship. With a little luck I can repair the distress beacon and somebody will pick me up.

This is Joshua Collins, the last survivor of the Wretched, signing off.

Opening Music (Empty Space – Chris Bissette)

Day 2 Since the Incident

Tutoring 7
Skill 10
Idea 10
No Comments

Day 2, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

Well that’s it… the realisation of what’s happened has hit me… what I’ve heard… what I’ve seen… and it scares me.

I barely slept last night, I refused to turn the lights in the berth off because every time I did all I could see were flashes of Powell, the electrical mechanic, being ripped under a section of the engine. The screams he made will haunt me, the wet ripping cracking and crunching likewise is persistent in my ears. I think I eventually drifted off when exhaustion finally took hold but that wasn’t an escape from the nightmare.

The creature stalks me in my dreams. I was running from the fore cargo bay to the upper decks and the safety of escape pods. Sirens were blazing, the visual alarms bathing the corridors in their pulsating red glow. On climbing the last ladder to the upper deck, just as I get to the top I feel something yank on my left leg. I lost my grip of the ladder and fall to the bottom. I land heavily on my head and right shoulder, my vison is blurry as I slowly regain a small sense of consciousness. I can see my laces are tangled on one of the rungs… who the hell makes ladders with gaps in them for stuff to get stuck in?

As the clarity floods back to me and the lancing pain across my shoulder makes itself violently known I start to work on freeing my foot. That’s when it goes dark above me, when I hear the sound of it breathing, I dare not look up but curiosity got the better of me. That’s when I saw it, I don’t know what it is just that it was black, shiny and not human. In one lightning move its down the ladder past my tangled foot and on me, screaming…

I didn’t want to sleep anyway. I woke in a bit of a cold sweat, a horrible nasty sticky feeling. I desperately need a shower before anything else. Just because I’m the only one here doesn’t mean I shouldn’t keep some sense of humanity! I dragged myself off to the refreshers and that’s when I discovered the first problem for the day… The waste water system has sprung a leak and the whole block is flooded. Shouldn’t take longer than a few hours to fix… it’s unfortunate that the leak is before the primary maceration and filtration tank… just my luck, survive a horror story only to be left with the real shitty jobs.

So that’s the tasks for today, fix the craphouse and work on the beacon… Oh and keep my boot laces tied double knots…

Day 2 Entry 2 Since the Incident

Tutoring 7
Skill 10
Idea 10
No Comments

Day 2, Entry 2, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

God what a stinky day. Turns out that the leak wasn’t that bad to fix. Simply needed to find the temporary shut off, open up the wall panelling, and fit a collar brace over the broken pipe. It’s not pretty or a permanent fix but if I’m honest I don’t care. I only need it to last long enough for someone to rescue me!

Rescue me, that’s right I said rescue me… today with the time I saved on the short refresher room repairs I was able to invest into something much more useful. The beacon, I actually got the beacon working!

Well I think I did, I recorded a message and I have it playing on a loop broadcasting what I think are my last coordinates. I could have completely cocked it up in so many ways. I could be playing the message to myself and not actually broadcasting it, I could have told them I was a few parsecs over, I could have conveniently forgotten to tell them about the murderous creature that caused this havoc!

Hey, don’t blame me for that last one, you would do it too…I sure as shit wouldn’t be rushing to help someone who had their whole crew killed to death by god knows what. But seriously, I am concerned about the first two, less so the first one, I’m reasonably certain I did fix it and got it working but that second one, that’ll be the real kicker. I’m no navigator, that star chart stuff was Owen’s job and he is laying dead in an air vent somewhere, I think. I am also aware that just because the engines lost power doesn’t mean the ship immediately stops moving… there’s inertia and stuff happening. That means forward motion continues and it’s not like there is any resistance in space to gradually slow the ship down either. So yeah, i’m actually super worried that the rescue party will go looking in the wrong place. Hopefully they can think of a decent way to triangulate the beacon signal but that would need multiple rescuers and given how my day has gone so far I don’t think I can stretch my luck that far sadly.

Anyway, I’m tired and hungry. It’s time for dinner, unfortunately the specials are all off in the restaurant so I’ll have to go simple and a la carte… prepackaged carbonara perhaps, delightful…

Day 3 Since the Incident

Tutoring 7
Skill 10
Idea 10
No Comments

Music (Between the Stars – Chris Bassett)

Day 3, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

Another restless night… I wasn’t plagued by nightmares but I couldn’t get to sleep. I could hear the creature on the hull. It’s still doing its best to get into the ship, looking for weaknesses. The only one I know of is the airlock I blasted it out a few days ago. Whatever it did on the way out damaged the outer door and I can’t get it to shut properly. The inner door is fine and now thanks to the computer failsafes permanently locked shut. That hasn’t stopped the bastard thing hammering and scratching at it trying to break the seal. It gives up after a while and goes crawling over the hull to another spot. It’s odd, the creature seems to know when I move around the inside of the ship and tries to follow me, it’s becoming super unnerving.

I need to come up with a plan for if the worst should happen… well the worst has already happened but worse than worse. There are several things I’ll need in abundance to survive long term. Food, water, air, medical stuff, security, safe disposal of waste, heat, comfort, entertainment.

Food and water are relatively easy, the mess facility has food in abundance and it can be eaten cold or hot. I can move it around the ship into little stockpiles should that area not be accessible. Water is piped throughout the ship so I don’t need to move that around, so long as the recyclers work I have an unlimited supply.

Air, so long as the integrity of the hull holds out and the atmospheric regulators play ball I have an unlimited supply of that too. If there is a breach the bulkheads seal off the affected compartments and keep the rest of the ship safe. If I happen to be in the compartment that breaches I’m just fucking dead ok, there’s nothing I do about that. Well I could wear an EVA suit all the time but they’re awkward, bulky, have limited life in the CO2 filters and just fucking no ok… I’m not doing it.

Medical supplies are all in the med bay with the exception of IFAKs and area specific first aid kits, you know, burns kit in the kitchen, general ones at random corridors, tourniquets and haemostatic gauzes in the engine room. Maybe I could move the med kits and bulk them up when I figure out where the best chances of survival are.

Security. Well normally that means keeping doors locked right? Well, can do! Quite easily too. I know the creature can’t use the door release mechanisms or it would have found a way in by now and besides when it was in the ship it mostly skulked around and used non-human paths of travel, air vents, maintenance access points, floor and ceiling voids etc. so really I’m talking about personal security of the reach out and touch you variety. I don’t know if you’re well versed on how much weaponry is carried on a mere salvage ship. It’s not a military vessel and so there aren’t any formal repositories of weapon systems like armouries or guard stations etc. I’m pretty sure Captain Coates kept a pistol in the top drawer of his desk along with a fine bottle of scotch. I’m hoping he didn’t have a chance to move it before he was killed as I never saw him with it. Mind you, if I was him I would have had it on me when that monster was picking us off so the chances are that it is beyond my reach now. Still, I had better check his drawers… He wouldn’t want the scotch going to waste.

The final items, heat, comfort, entertainment and waste disposal will all fall in line once the others are determined.

So which rooms suit these needs? Medbay, bridge, my quarters, the computer mainframe, the captain’s quarters, maybe a few other places. I think the bridge is the best bet. The captain’s ready room is right next to it and it has a bed, refresher and basic cooking facilities there. Most of the other stuff can be moved to the bridge and the bridge is where all the systems of the ship can be monitored from, be they working or otherwise. I’m pretty sure I can also seal off the bridge too in an emergency.

Cool, so that’s the plan then. Start moving stuff around the ship that’ll be useful, starting with making the bridge area the best it can be. I wonder whether I should rotate randomly around my hidey holes when they’re all up and running or whether it’s best to stay in once place. I think I’ll stay in one place for the mean time. It is easier and I can spot when things go wrong a lot faster.

I’ll start tomorrow, I can’t be arsed right now and I’m still super tired. I’ll have dinner and hit the hay. Chorizo pasta tonight, I know… pasta two nights in a row, I just can’t be bothered to make a full-blown 3 course roast dinner for one you know… I will however eat that whole bar of chocolate for dessert… because nobody can stop me.

Day 4 Since the Incident

Tutoring 5
Skill 8
Idea 8
No Comments

Music (Drifting – Chris Bassett)

Day 4, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

This morning I was checking on the med kits around the ship when got distracted in the engine room with trying to figure out how to make the spinny make motion happen machine work properly. After all I’m the flight engineer, it’s my job to monitor these things and problem solve their issues. Fixing it can’t be that hard, I’m a technically minded chap. Well, the problem is I used this equipment as a user, I’m not the mechanic or a dedicated technician. I’m reminded of ancient aviation cockpit crews and how they operated back on Earth. Generally, they watched dials, used joysticks and simply held it together until they got the aeroplane back to a port whereby they would complete a detailed report for the grounded mechanics which could boil down to ‘flappy bit not flapping’ then simply wander off to the nearest bar to pick up some locals or other air crew to get battered with and bang senseless till the aeroplane was fixed. God those sound like they were the days. Now the most interesting thing a port has is different colour on the walls, same food, same boring people and usually no booze.

Anyway, I was in the engine room messing around for 4 hours before I realised I had put my hand in a damp patch that was probably some of the left overs of Powell. I vomited, started shaking as the memory flooded back to me, smelt the air and recoiled at the now pungent aroma that had smacked my nostrils for 6, then vomited again. Baffled by the problem and not wanting to stay in there any longer I left in a hurry… I forgot to pick up the list I made about the med kit in there like the idiotic child I am.

On my way up the corridor I could see signs of the creature that had stalked poor Powell in there. Scratch marks and gouges in the walls and floor. It’s seems to leave a trail like a lizard would in sand. Clearly it has feet with claws, I can see those scrape marks. But there is also a drag mark in between, I assume that’s some form of tail. Remember I did see it as it went out the airlock but it was over so quickly that I don’t have the details and when I dream about it the creature changes ever so slightly. It’s still shit your pant scary each time but it does shift. I don’t like to think about it, especially as I know it’s still close albeit on the outside of the ship. Half of me hopes that when I get the engines fired up I find out its been sleeping in the vent and it gets incinerated simply by me starting up the engines… that’ll teach the fucker a lesson.

I found the remains of my dearly departed Captain today. He had his pistol on him. I checked the magazine in it. It doesn’t appear that he was able to get many shots off as it’s mostly full. It’s a fancy one too, I noticed there is a little indicator on the rear and when I point it in different directions it changes colour from green to red. I’m not sure why yet but I don’t think its linked to the magazine or the number of shots left. When I point it at down the corridor to the other end of the ship where the mess hall is it’s green but when I point it at the hull bulkhead its red. I shall have to ponder this. I took the holster for it too and gave it a clean up before wearing it, it was a bit too, soiled for me to be happy wearing it. Still it means I’ve now got my security problem solved. That makes me feel a bit safer.

I’m going to start moving items to the bridge this afternoon, I still think the best place for me to monitor everything is there. First up, food. Whilst I’m at the mess hall I might as well eat something, after all I did empty my stomach like an anorexic schoolgirl before the summer ball.

Day 4 Entry 2 Since the Incident

Tutoring 5
Skill 8
Idea 8
No Comments

Music (Malfunction – Chris Bassett)

Day 4, Entry 2, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

AH COCK! I ballsed up, I ballsed up big time… I was moving things into the bridge area and I noticed that one of the lighting panels was malfunctioning. Once the move in was half done and I decided to have a change of task I went up into the roof crawlspace to try and fix it. Lighting after all isn’t that hard. The worst thing that can happen is I kill myself by doing something stupid like licking the power lines. I can’t risk powering down the ship to solve the issue or even the circuits that the lights are one… remember I’m shit scared of the dark these days due to the creature that stalks me, god I hate him. But more importantly I’m now worried I’ll never get it back up if I do turn off the circuit, especially after by wasted efforts this morning on the engines.

Anyway, when I got up there I did some jiggery pokery with the wiring. I managed to get the lighting panel working again! Happy days! What I didn’t realise is that somehow, I know not how, I have managed to lock myself on the bridge… I mean I don’t mind it when I can control it but this is not good. The door access panel says its unlocked, but when I try to open it the door activates, struggles and then gives up. At least it recognises there is an issue and doesn’t try to force itself open or shut but I’m now stuck on the bridge with a lying piece of shit door between me and most of the supplies I had gathered…

After throwing a hissy fit and slamming my fists on the work tops I went to sit in the Captain’s comfy chair. That’s when I remembered the bottle of Scotch in the top drawer. Well at least I won’t have to worry about my throbbing hand for the rest of the night… Here’s you Captain, thanks for the drink… sorry you and the rest of the crew are dead.

Day 5 Since the Incident

Tutoring 5
Skill 8
Idea 8
No Comments

Day 5, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

Oh god my head hurts. I’ve also decided that I can’t stand scotch… it was like drinking fiery bog water. It did the trick though, I got a good night’s sleep and didn’t have any funky, or rather, terrifying dreams. Silver linings I suppose.

Overnight the locked bridge door miraculously reset itself. Brilliant, problem solved! Or at least it would be if you ignore the need for locks to stay locked until you don’t want them locked. But right now it means I can get out and go and get some more stuff and continue to work on the engines. First I need a decent bit of breakfast however so I’m going to hit the mess facility for some bacon and eggs, or the salvage ship’s equivalent.

Day 5, Entry 2 Since the Incident

Tutoring 5
Skill 8
Idea 8
No Comments

Day 5, Entry 2, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

I spent the day in the engine room trying to fix the heart of the ship. It’s still not beating sadly. I took it apart piece by piece, taking careful notes of what went where and how it was fitted so that when I found the problem I could fix it and still know how to rebuild the engine.

I got to this one part that seemed to have so much torque behind it that the power tool I was using couldn’t shift it so I resorted to adding in fulcrums and additional weight in the form of one hungover human. In hindsight it was never going to work and me smashing myself in the face was entirely predictable. I managed to get a good cut to my forehead when expectations and reality abruptly collided at force.

I dragged my sorry arse around to the medbay. It’s not a large facility but perfectly adequate for the doc to do her thing in. She was still in her office sprawled behind her desk. She would regularly work long and hard, something I never comprehended is that the medics constantly need to do lots of extra work on top of normal work to keep their licenses up to date. I suppose on a small crew there is little to keep the vocational person occupied except research and extracurricular learning.

The only time Amy wasn’t found working hard was either when she was cooking or sleeping. She could always do some amazing things with ships rations and chorizo or paprika which was a welcome change when we all got together for dinners. I miss those dinners and the chatting round the table with my friends I miss it so much.

I patched myself up, not as well as it should probably be but good enough, I won’t die from my misadventure…

I forgot to mention this previously but a few days ago I was in the medlab before. There is a wonderful glass ceiling that is standard for this type of vessel, I think it’s to do with a psychology thing where people who are unwell need to be able to see the outside to aide in relaxation and recuperation. You know, see the stars and planets and any god dammed aliens that are trying to headbutt their way in. I got the handheld plasma torch and some sheet metal from the cargo bay and made a second skin over the weakened section. That way should chief knobhead breach the glass he’ll headbutt metal and I now know how painful that would be but also I want to try and keep this section of the ship pressurised. There is some overly useful equipment in here that simply cannot be moved. An added bonus is that I cannot see the monster when he is there hammering away.

I’ve been wracking my brains as to why the creature is here murdering everyone and how he came to be on this ship. I’m calling it a he now… I obviously don’t know its gender or even if being sexed is a thing for the species, haven’t stopped long enough to look up a skirt or drop a zipper etc but I figure as it’s killing everyone like a crazed psychopath that on the balance of probability it is male. Anyway, the whys. Don’t know, we are a long range salvage ship, we roam about and recover broken stuff, we aren’t a long range probe ship. I doubt we have entered the unknown regions although we weren’t far from the boarder. Oh god… what if the inertia has pushed me out past the Heighlian Gap? That means my chances of someone coming to find me would be dramatically reduced, like catastrophically low, sub zero in fact. That would suck. I’m just going to say that it has not happened, and that people will be able to triangulate the beacon I fixed, and then they will come pick me up, and all will be well.

Day 6 since the incident

Tutoring 5
Skill 7
Idea 7
No Comments

Music (What is it – Chris Bassett)

Day 6, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

Today has been possibly the best day since the incident. Well, perhaps not the best but certainly one of the most productive. My little grey matter did some of its best work in the refresher this morning. I spent most of the time building my masterplan.

Do you dear reader remember that I said I thought the creature always knew when I was moving around the ship and would follow me. Well I decided to make some decoys. There aren’t that many windows on the ship so he can’t be using line of sight vision to track me, so that leaves sound. I went searching for music players, speakers and general noise making devices. I figured if I flooded the ship with so much background noise my little stalker wouldn’t be able to keep up with me. Would make me alternating my little hidey holes a bit more clandestine too. I scrounged enough parts to make 6 noise makers so I placed them in strategic corridors and rooms around the ship. The bridge, engine room, messhall/galley, medbay, main corridor and the cargo bay too. I also managed to find a way to make the turbo lifts operate continuously. I can still call them to the deck I am on but when I’m not using them they simply move from one end of the shaft to the other and back again.

There is no way he will be able to follow me around the hull now. I love it when I’m smarter than the opposition. It’s not check mate but I reckon its check.

Day 7 since the incident

Tutoring 5
Skill 7
Idea 7
No Comments

Music (What is it – Chris Bissette)

Day 7, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

This morning I was abruptly woken by some screaming. It was startling and initially I was unable to determine where it came from. I’ve been staying in the Captain’s ready room as its more comfortable than crew quarters and is right next to the bridge for me to be able to respond to any return signals from my rescuers. My first reaction was to sit up in blind panic, then once I’d momentarily had chance to think I reached for the pistol that was on the bedside. The scream was ear piecing and seemed to be coming from everywhere.

It took me a moment to realise it was a ship wide broadcast on the internal comms channel. It didn’t take long for me to shut it off once I went to the bridge. I can only assume it was the creature trying to freak me out, which it did. Once I had made enough noise from my startled waking I could hear noises on the hull of him wandering around. I managed to do a back-trace on the comm system and learned that the creature had initiated the transmission from the permanently locked inner airlock control board. That is unsettling.

I decided to permanently power down that console, if the terror had become intelligent enough to interact with a human control panel then that means he might be smart enough to open doors and access hatches. That’s not the worst part though. Once I had finished my checks I turned and caught a glimpse of the bastard out the bridge viewport. I shat myself so hard I basically fell backwards over the chair. He was just sat there, staring at me. The most visible part of him was his silverly teeth, the jet black body was difficult to make out until the inertial rotation of the ship brought a nearby planetary object into view behind him creating the most terrifying silhouette. His horribly long tail was swaying behind him as it looked deeply into me. I couldn’t see any eyes but I certainly felt the murderous intent behind his stare. I couldn’t deal with it any more so I scrambled to my feet and slapped the blast/heat shield closure button… I really need to find a way to get rid of it once and for good but right now I’m stuck, sealed in a ship in shark infested waters that will likely be my tomb.

I needed some hope, after that episode with the creature I needed something! I decided to check on the distress beacon to make sure it was still pumping out my mayday call. It was thankfully. I also checked the automated logs in detail to see whether there were any response pings I had missed. There were! 2 nights ago the system had picked up an incoming signal! Oh My God! That’s amazing! I played it back with a hefty bout of excitement, like a school child who’s just learnt that the tuck shop has opened for lunch time business. Then my heart sank, I can see now why the computer elected not to tell me about it. It was all garbled and the small parts I heard sounded like standard docking instructions at some shitty outback station like Sevastopol. It has clearly been bouncing around out there on the solar winds. Fuck.

Still searching for hope I decided to check the scanners. Nothing, I couldn’t even get a decent reading of the planetary body I saw behind the creature. There is nothing out there…

I spent the rest of the day trying to find some humanity. I collected up the crew members, putting them in their own body bags and dragging them to an area of the cargo hold and arranged them neatly in lines where I could then formally say goodbye in a sort of funeral.

Some were easier than others based on their demise method and location. The Captain, Doc, and Loadmaster were all relatively simple and mostly intact. Owen, the Navigator, was harder as he had been dragged up into an airvent and gutted. Took me quite some time to get him in the bag and out the vent. By far the most violent death was Powell’s. He had been dragged under an engine block and pulverised. Tools were required to get him in the bag.

During the makeshift funeral I spoke a few words about each person. You know nice things that people usually say at funerals. Stuff like the Loadmaster Eilidh was a whimsically fun individual who loved to be around animals to the point that you’d often think she would be better off working a farm than a salvage ship. She would jump to help you once you had earned her loyalty but woe betide you if you crossed her, she always had a unique way to let you know that she wasn’t happy with you or your actions. Her loyalty to her friends was one of her defining characteristics that also explained her demise. She threw herself at the creature in a fit of rage when we were trying to escape it early on, you could almost believe she stood a chance…

With all the crew laid to rest I didn’t feel much like doing any more work so I settled to make some food. I made up one of the meals that was earmarked for full crew participation, a roast joint of Nerf with all the trimmings. I popped a bottle of Twilerian vino as well to toast the dear departed and the future health of all those that were left behind. It was delicious and the crew would have loved it…

Day 8 since the incident

Tutoring 5
Skill 7
Idea 7
No Comments

Music (The Wretched – Chris Bissette)

Day 8, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

Breakfast this morning was fun, there was quite a sour smell coming from the temp store fridge in the mess facility. On opening the door I was hit by a wave of stench, it certainly knocked me back and then made me wretch a bit, like a little sick in the mouth but not a full blown chunderfest thankfully.

So yeah. The fridge is knackered, I don’t have access to a spare and unfortunately Rub Al-Khali Prime next rotation deliveries will only deliver to known addresses… they don’t service places like the middle of buttfuck nowhere annoyingly.

The morning cereal was ruined and I had to settle for black tea, how terribly uncivilised. There is a very real chance that I will devolve into a complete savage at this rate. Nah not really, all joking aside this isn’t a huge issue, just some spoiled foodstuffs. The walk in freezer is still working and that has an anti-room which is used as a buffer between standard ships atmospherics and preservation atmospherics. It’s basically a fridge that I walk into by default so I’ll just store the minimum cold goods I need in there and force myself into more of a stock rotation, or rather, only pull out enough for the day and no more. To be fair I can’t really be wasting food, I don’t know how long I’ll be out here. Whilst I think about it I should probably look into rationing too. I seem to remember one of the early human exploration missions to other worlds met with a catastrophe and some bloke called Mark Watney had to grow his own food and stuff. Bet that was fun, can’t happen on this old bucket of bolts though, no soil, nothing to grow and I seem to remember poo being involved… sounds gross actually… oh brilliant back to wretching again.

Anyway, this evening I’ll count the rations, it’ll keep my mind off my little evil stalker that I can hear tapping his way around the hull. I wish I could figure out a way to make the hull lava or electrified or catch him in a jet of air or fire or something and blast him off into the nearest star.

Day 9 since the incident.

Tutoring 4
Skill 7
Idea 7
2 Comments

Music (Malfunction – Chris Bissette)

Day 9, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

My god what a close one. I woke up with a bit of a headache and throughout the day it got worse. I was working in the cargo hold, moving a few bits around and looking for bits to fix the fridge. I realised I was getting really breathless quickly.

I went to check the atmospheric regulator and through the haze my jaw dropped. There was a malfunction with the AREC. There’s a lot of science blah blah that I can’t be bothered to go into but essentially the atmospheric regulator has a section of it that runs externally to the ship so the cold of space can rapidly cool the air to make the separation of molecules easier and save energy. That external component appears to have a jam or be broken or damaged in some way. The computer picked up the problem and stopped air going into the AREC, which is good because that would have been a very quick way for the ship to depressurise. The air however wasn’t diverted to the other systems. Don’t know why. So basically over time I’ve used up all the oxygen and raised to carbon dioxide levels slightly leading to the sickness. Thankfully I figured it out before they got to dangerous levels.

How did the AREC fail. My best bet is the creature smashed it by accident when he has been skulking around out there. If he’s done it deliberately then it is much more concerning. God help me if he has done it deliberately, can’t get in to kill me but will still find a way to kill me from outside. I really need to come up with a fast way to kill him before he kills me.

The race is on and right now I am 9 laps behind the pole position.

Day 10 Since the incident

Tutoring 6
Skill 7
Idea 7
No Comments

Music (Outer Dark – Chris Bissette)

Day 10, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

Today I have decided to grow a monumental pair of testes. In the refresher this morning my brain yet again got to business doing it’s finest work. I’m surprised people don’t take showers more often than once a day as I legitimately come up with all my best ideas in the refresher and this one is a real doozy. But what is it I hear you asking, what is so brilliant that it requires bollocks the size of a building?

I’m going outside.

Yeah I know, dangerously idiotic what with the king of hide and go murder living out there but hear me out ok.

For me to get rescued I need someone to hear the beacon, for them to hear the beacon they need to be reasonably close. Most long-range comms is done via relays and I do not know where the nearest relay is so I have no idea whether it is being picked up and rebroadcast. That means for me to be able to have a better chance of being heard I either need to shout louder or create a narrow comms cone that works in a similar way to cupping your hands around your mouth when you speak. If I can do both then my chances of being heard improve exponentially (or at least I think they do).

Creating a cone is relatively simple, I limit the spread via the control terminal and I can physically angle the antenna to point it in the direction I want it to go. That brings me to the first of the very large problems I need to overcome for this plan to work. Where do I point it? Ok this part is tricky so you’ll have to keep up with very complicated the science here. I’m going to send it all aft, right behind me, as in to where I have come from. Why? Because I know where I have come from and what is back there. When we left Exocron we travelled in a straight line, there were no turns or fancy manoeuvres because we didn’t find anything interesting to salvage. I know since the incident and the engines failing the inertia has kept me travelling forwards, albeit with a slight spin around the centre of mass but importantly forwards. That means that Exocron is still directly behind me… ish. Problem one solved.

Problem two, realign the antenna. I know what you’re thinking, just do that from the control panel too. But this sadly is just like those old space horror movies where there is a convenient plot flaw and the fine alignment can only be done by a control panel next to the antenna or the command cable has been severed or something conveniently inconvenient. Well it’s none of those. This time it is simply that this is an old ship and the tech on here is shit. The alignment is done super old school style. Hit it with a rock till it moves… kinda. I need to release the clamps and then rotate the antenna using the gears system. Its apparently not that hard (so the manual says) as it is designed with EVA suits in mind. Why is this system so archaic. Well these days comms are just broadcast out in all directions and the relays catch it and sent it on to where it needs to go if it’s destined to be a long distance message. The days of needing to send a signal long range by yourself are long gone. Until about 10 days ago that is. As such there hasn’t been the need to do fine tuning for very long time. It is effectively a back up to a back up of something that’s already ancient. So I get to go out there and turn the antenna by hand to solve problem two.

Problem three is a simple but very important one. Don’t get killed in the process. For this very minor but critically important step I have decided to do two things.

One, have a decoy.

Two, go on the attack… I’m told a wizened old general once said that the best defence was a strong offence. Since I’m not as crazy as some of my crew mates I will not be charging the creature head on and try and sock him one up side the head. No, I’m taking the tactically advantageous and definitely not cowardly way of booby trapping the hull. Sadly I’m fresh out of landmines and automated heavy repeating blaster turrets so what I’m going to do is something much more dangerous. I’m going to create a ring of high voltage death around belly of the ship. That way, when the creature moves from the aft to the fore of the ship he’ll end up touching the cable with that ridiculously long dangertail of his and take a huge kick right up his tailpipe…. If that doesn’t kill him outright, it’ll certainly make him jump and if he jumps, he’ll let go of the ship and end up lost to space. Ah, shame…

So this morning I spent my time prepping this whole charade and building the bits I needed. Thankfully I found all the cable I could need in the cargo hold yesterday, it’s amazing what you find when you’re not looking for it.

My decoy is twofold, at the stern of the ship I have set 3 different noise making devices. One that hammers on the hull, one that is general noise and one that’s on an automated pully system that moves from port to starboard and back again. All three get set off at different intervals based on a crude timer and I hope that they’ll keep the creature preoccupied long enough for me to at least rig up the electrified cable of death, it’ll be a bonus if I can get the whole job done and be in before my decoy fails.

Anyway, wish me luck and just in case, this is Joshua Collins, Flight Engineer of the salvage ship The Wretched signing off…hopefully not for the last time.

Day 10, Entry 2 Since the incident

Tutoring 5
Skill 7
Idea 7
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Music (What is it – Chris Bissette)

Day 10, entry 2, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

Well, I made it. I am pleased to announce that I have been outside into the creature’s domain and I lived to tell the tale! I’m on cloud nine right now, I’m so pleased with myself that I can barely sit still!

The diversionary decoys worked brilliantly. They weren’t all that complex but they could have failed at any point. Thankfully they didn’t stop early, break or become too obvious that they were a decoy so happy days!

I got the cable of death all laid out. It’s not overly secure but that doesn’t matter, I can’t see it moving anytime soon. I powered it on as soon as I finished unspooling it. It flickered silently an inviting blue/yellow flicker and the high voltage current surged though it. It would be mesmerising to watch if I had the time and didn’t know just how dangerous it was.

Once the cable of death was done I got straight to work on the antenna. It was just like the manual said, release the clamps and then use the gear system to move the array and then relock with the clamps. It is good to know that when kit isn’t broken it works just as it says it should in the book. So right now the antenna is pointed directly at my point of origin, Exocron. Hopefully with this boost someone will hear my distress call and come looking for me. I certainly think my chances have improved dramatically now. Hence my buzzing excitement, well that and I am still alive after staring death in the face.

At one point on my trip around the circumference of the ship I think I saw the tail of the creature waving at the stern of the ship. Ok so I didn’t stare him in the face so much as spy him from a great distance but it was shit scary and comforting nonetheless. Scary because, you know, he’s trying to kill me but comforting to know that my diversions were working perfectly. However I couldn’t help but keep the pistol pointed in that direction for whatever good it would do. Thankfully he was too preoccupied to notice me… Clearly he isn’t as smart as I have been giving him credit for… I bet that stupid bastard is still

  • <Power loss detected>
  • <MicroUPS activated>
  • <Writing log to file…>
  • <Write successful>
  • <Terminating non-essential connections>
  • <Activating back-up generator – fail>
  • <Back-up power generator check – non-functional>
  • <Life support systems check – nominal>
  • <Basic critical systems check – nominal>
  • <Safe to shutdown>
  • <Quit system>
  • <Shutting down…>
  • <Thank you for using Seegson-Kraft Systems. Goodbye>

Day 10, Entry 3 Since the incident

Tutoring 5
Skill 7
Idea 7
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Music (The Wretched – Chris Bissette)

Day 10, entry 3, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting

Ok today was officially a 2 poop day… as in a shat myself twice… once when I had to go outside and I saw the creature and once when everything died right in the middle of a log entry!

I don’t know what caused the power loss but what I do know is that one component of the primary generator is fried and the backup power generator did not work… why is it that the only thing that works on this God forsaken ship is the antenna array?

The fried component unfortunately is quite a critical one and not one that is catered for in the spares locker. It took me 4 hours of scratching around in the dark to figure this out.

How did I see in the dark? Well… remember when I said I was considering stashing loads of supplies in various places just in case? Boy am I glad I did and I’m thrilled at my foresight in not being able to see. I had a few chemical lights and a handheld illuminator in each kit. That put me on until I could find the small work batteries and inspection lamps in the workshop to jury-rig my own semi-permanent light source for the big repairs job.

The next question I hear you asking is ‘so how did you fix it when you don’t have a spare in the locker?’ easy… I cannibalised the shitty good for nothing backup generator. They’re basically the same specs, now I have one that sort of works and one that definitely does not. Still on the bright side I now have a lot of spare parts should I need more.

I then spent the most part of the evening booting everything up and running diagnostic checks on it. Usually, things need power to work and a lack of power can be bad for computer equipment, hard shutdowns can kill stuff dead. Thankfully the ship’s main computer sensed the power loss and the micro uninterruptable power supply (aka fucking big batteries) did its job admirably, leaving enough time for the system to power down safely and then ensure that the life support was kept operating at one tenth it’s capacity. The ship may be wretched but she’s a good kind of wretched.

I’m going to bed now, I’m tired, hungry and mentally exhausted from today’s roller coaster ride. Let’s hope my rescue comes tomorrow.

Day 11, Since the incident

Tutoring 5
Skill 7
Idea 7
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Music (Drifting – Chris Bissette)

Day 11, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

Today I ran a damage report check over every system and made a list. I wish I hadn’t. Basically everything has a problem, either big or small but ultimately nothing is working at 100%. I graded every issue from critical to minor inconvenience and then again from achievable right now to dry dock required. I then set to work on the critical and achievable. Most of the issues were caused by the creature as he tore through the ship and crew like a whirlwind. Scratch marks, gouges, or simple cuts mostly. I did find an interesting goo near one of the airvents. It was kinda clear in colour, sticky and viscous. It certainly is nothing that came from the ship, you know like pneumatic fluid, oil, water etc. so it must have come from the creature. I can only assume its saliva, blood or some sort of secretion like the ink from a squid. I think its inert, or at least it doesn’t react with the decking of the ship. I haven’t touched it so see what happens and I haven’t put my nose near it to smell it. At this point that seems unwise…

I managed to fix a few, re-connect a few cables, seal up bulkhead leaks with sheeting and even power up a door that hasn’t worked since the tornado roamed the ship. Sadly there was nothing amazing behind the door, it was just a storeroom and a rather general on at that. Still not found that mystical weapons locker with automated gun turrets and rocket launchers… shame, can live in hope.

Speaking of hope, I think that something is coming closer. The ships scanners keep giving me a ping. It is originating from off the starboard bow. It’s so exciting! The sensor can’t tell me what it is yet, it is too far away and it keeps losing the signal too. Nevermind, I’m still travelling forwards so if I give it a few days I’ll get closer to it and get a reading, assuming that it is stationary. I might open the blast shield in a day or two. Could be worth the risk of seeing the creature and opening a weakness in the ship, I’ll put my brown trousers on for that day. Mind you, now I think about it I’ve not heard him on the hull recently, curious.

Mission Day 238.

Tutoring 5
Skill 7
Idea 7
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Mission Day 238, Independent trade ship Errant Venture, Captain Terrick reporting.

Our comms officer caught a mayday call this afternoon.  It came through pretty clear thankfully. It goes as follows.

MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY, This is salvage ship ‘The Wretched’.

MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY, This is salvage ship ‘The Wretched’.

MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY, This is salvage ship ‘The Wretched’.

Class 4 starship recovery vessel with no drive power. Significant damage to several critical systems. 6 souls and 5 casualties on board. Last known location is 422.38.52 Oort Cloud travelling spinward along the Exocron boundary. Please help us, repeating, Over.

The mayday message is repeating every 30 seconds. I think if we divert we may be able to get to them within a reasonable time. That’ll be expensive however for both our vessel, crew and our employer. Time is money in our business and help doesn’t come free in the world of independent trading, I hope they have something valuable onboard to trade… It would be a terrible shame if we were unable to render aid in time… mind you if we are too late to help them there is always salvage rights…

Day 12 Since the Incident

Tutoring 5
Skill 7
Idea 7
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Music (Empty Space – Chris Bissette)

Day 12, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

I found the diary of the good doctor today. It turns out that she kept a pretty good log of her time on the ship. There weren’t many injuries on the ship that needed tending too until the creature visited but then to be fair that didn’t really change the injuries as dead people don’t need bandaging up. There was a lot of commentary about medical papers, notes from pre-recorded lectures and so on. I skipped over most of it as I simply couldn’t understand it. Why they don’t use regular words for things in medicine I will never know. I understand they’re smarter than the average person but there is no need to use ancient dead languages for things now or needlessly long names for drugs like Paracetamoxyfrusebendroneomycin. Apparently it has some pretty alarming side effects!

There was some personal stuff in there too which gave an insight into the doctor as a person. Turns out they have a pet Labrador, a playful thing by all accounts who apparently has the ability to be overwhelmingly cute by coming and resting her head on your knee when she wants something like to go to the bathroom, have food or be played with. The doctor is clearly fond of this animal, there were a lot of photographs too. It’s sad to know that the dog will never see its owner again and that the doctor saw the waggly tail for the last time when we left port.

 

The Doctor's dogThe Doctor's dog

In other news the proximity alarm has been blaring out for most of the afternoon. At first I was excited! Raced to the bridge to have a look half expecting myself to be greeted with another ship coming to my aid and bringing ice cream too! Sadly, the scanners didn’t show me anything different than the last few days. A blip off the starboard bow but it wasn’t close enough to be triggering the proximity alarm, that alarm indicates imminent collision with objects or something directly in path of travel. On the scopes there is nothing to indicate why that would be.

I elected to open the blast shield to see what was occurring with the Mk1 ocular observation apparatus… my eyes. I saw the same clusters as a few days ago, the same planetoid spinning in and out of view but nothing that could trip the alarm. I can’t see what would be doing this so I added it to the list of problems and then deactivated the audio alarm. It’s still active but I simply can’t hear it. Problem solved. I broke out a nice cup of tea and stared out into space for a while, looking at the stars and basking in their wonder. It was relaxing.

Day 12 Entry 2 since the incident

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 6
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Music (What is it? – Chris Bissette)

Day 12 Entry 2, salvage ship The Wretched, Flight Engineer Collins Reporting.

Well it was bound to happen again wasn’t it. It’s the middle of ship’s night and I have woken in a sweat again. Another killer dream. This one is even more unsettling than the last.

I was out on the hull realigning the antenna and setting my trap for the creature and I could see him skulking around at the stern of the ship, just like I had in real life. All went as planned on the hull, I got back into the airlock and had a minor issue getting the door shut and room repressurised but nothing that was concerning. I walked into the dressing room to doff the EVA suit. I broke the seal on the helmet hearing the hiss and feeling the rush of stale shipboard air hitting my nostrils. I lifted the helmet, disconnected the lamp, comms, and HUD cables and then the lights started flickering. It was odd, like an incandescent bulb that is on the way out but the thing is, those sorts of bulbs aren’t installed on this vessel. Sure it’s an old ship but it’s not ancient.

Holding the helmet I turned it to put it on the shelf and that’s when something caught my eye in the glass visor, a dark humanoid shape. It rapidly got larger and took up most of the side of the visor, as that happened I felt a shadow come over my right shoulder. I barely had time to gasp when the EVA suit racking flew towards me. I felt a searing pain in my abdomen as the wall hooks hit me point first and my cheek caught fire with pain as the helmet shelf slammed into it. I tasted metal in my mouth.

After a second I lost my footing and hit the floor. Inexplicably I then was dragged across the floor and immediately felt the weightlessness of flight mixed with falling. Another huge impact, this time solidly across my back and shoulders.

When I realised what had happened I was looking down into my lap, I could see that my normally drab EVA suit was rapidly changing to a new vibrant strangely patterned luminous red. I kept looking around becoming aware that my peripheral vision was black. I couldn’t see anything that wasn’t directly in front of me. As I looked back down to the new pattern on my suit I could see something protruding out of it. It was strange, kind of bonelike, glossy and jet black. I followed it from my abdomen, out in front of me, up and then I saw it join to a shadow. I wasn’t able to make out the details of the shadow, but it was intimately familiar.

I saw a glossy crown hover in front of my face and then there was a lancing pain across face and a high pitched scream causing my ears to bleed.

That’s all I remember… I woke from the scream and I can still hear the echoes in my ears.

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