Crom’s Return

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by Ashley Raburn

Editor’s note: This adventure assumes the characters begin on a starship. If they’re starting-level characters, this could mean they work as crew on some ship owned by a mega-corp of your choosing. If they’re advanced characters, they may be pilots, engineers, or gunners working for a starship owner. They might even have their own ship.

The crew are on their return trip home from a long stint on the job and are asked to check out a distress call that has recently been picked up. The call is a faint “help me” and has been traced to an archeology mission that lost contact several days before. As the crew finds the ship and boards, they are greeted with a strong stench and a dim red emergency light. As they begin to explore the ship they find body parts of the crew. Further exploration will find service robots that appear to have been killing the crew off.

In a small closet there is a crew member who has hidden himself away and is now suffering from a fear of robots. In the bridge the image is more grizzly than even the rest of the ship: there is a body of a young female (the captain of the ship) with her head opened up. On the control panel of the ship near the body there is a sealed container with a brain. The container is wired into the control console.

Why are the robots killing the crew? Who is controlling the robots? What were the archeologists looking for?

The Archeologists were investigating an early robotics factory that had long been lost due to war and destruction on the particular planet 200 years earlier (in 94PF, during the “Age of Adventure” when many corporations raced to explore the stars – often in direct conflict with one another!). It had taken 200 years for the atmosphere to once again become hospitable. The society of the planet had long been the subject of debate as the center of a cult. A cult of robotics so to speak, people who worshiped robots. Alistair Crom had long been said to have been a high lord in the cult. Alistair lived a long lonely existence; with the help of robotics he was now no more than a robot with a hand full of organic parts – a Cyborg of the highest form. As the Archeologists began to make noise he woke. He programmed the ship robots to kill the crew and make sure their findings never reached civilization. He also ordered them to bring the brain of the captain of the expedition.

What did the Archeologists find?

The cult had not only been a cult of robots, but were also practicing self perseverance with the assistance of robotics. They were practicing a complete rebuild of humanity into cyborgs to survive what they called “the downfall of humanity.” Their research had been based on an ancient civilization known only as the Cys who had long been thought extinct. The archeologists found the ordinance to their resting place.