The thought of more radiation causing the crew harm sends the women and man into action. Alison takes the lead as the Engineer in the group, though the others keep a close eye on her to make sure she can keep it together, since she took Jessica’s radiation death the hardest. But that was from the Sun, this is from a cargo hold filled with fissionable materials.
We are 1 die versus 4 right now. Alison’s Harm is adding a die to the Threat, but it really justifies itself in story: images of Jessica’s hairless, blistered body flashing into her mind as she tries to contain the radiation and fix the engines.
Alison immediately hits the emergency vents in the storage that were designed for this very instance, taking any irradiated air or particulate matter and venting it into space.
Alison immediately taps the Oxygenator asset to give her another die. 2 versus 4.
“On the bright side,” Shirley interjects as they start to put Alison’s airtight suit on, “the tablets we had to take from our earlier, um, ‘radiation event’ will stop us from absorbing a lot of this radiation. So in a sense, Jessica is helping us right now.” She forces a smile. The other two don’t return it, but the knowledge does ring true.
Shirley spends a Story Point to offset the Harm Alison has, getting us to 2 versus 3.
The suiting up process is not a short one, but the three are not doing it in silence. Dexter is able to keep a running lecture going about the materials found inside the engines, as well as possible causes for their leaking. Alison may know the technical aspects of the engines like the back of her hand, but Dexter is doing his best to make sure she knows the wherefores before she goes into the storage area. Once she is suited up, Shirley begins suiting up the Scientist, in case the Engineer needs a backup, but in the interim, Shirley goes in alone…
One more Story Point spent to use Dexter’s power of Science to lower the Threat to 2. A fair roll. Let’s try:
Normally this would be a loss, but this is a weird thing about this game: Sixes. A black six is taken away from a Threat: so this is actually me: 6 Threat: 5 YAY!
However, that Six goes into the Event Pool and the Pool now has another black die which makes the final Threat (The Orb that’ll destroy the planet and kill us all, remember?) that much harder. Boo! But for now, let’s look on the bright side.
A palpable hit! But the threat continues.
Alison is able to find the engine by following the Geiger counter attached to her suit. When it begins to sound alarms, she knew she had it. Silencing the alarm, she began poking and prodding at the engine, removing panel after panel, finding it hard to move these small bolts and screws in the bulky gloves of her suit in this airless cargo bay. Soon Dr. Pendragon is beside her, helping her deal with the small entryways.
Now that we’re 1 vs. 2, I send in Dexter to help. We’re immediately at 2 vs. 2, but I now remember Alison’s harm, so it’s actually 2 vs. 3. Shirley spends another Story Point to have the drugs continue to work from the last challenge and keep it at 2 vs. 2.
This time I got the six. I have a choice: Spend 3 Story Points and put a WHITE die into the Event Pool, making me WINNING the game that much easier, or just keeping it there so that I can win this threat and actually survive to the end of the game. Just to offset the black die that just entered the Pool, I decide to give it a shot. So now it’s 5 to 7, with us losing.
Radiation poisoning never comes straight on. You never think: “Wow, I’m dying from radiation,” right away. Usually that thought comes well after it’s already too late. But our two crewmembers working away at our distressed engine were thinking that. Every time they closed their tired eyes to rest for a moment, they saw the flash of light that was some particle or another passing through their eye, possibly damaging a cell. Every time they thought they new something but just couldn’t think of it, they knew that maybe, just maybe, that neural connection was severed due to a DNA error that replicated itself and may eventually become a tumor. They knew they had to work faster, but it was so tiring to work in those suits. Was it really worth it?
So 1 Harm to both Alison and Dexter. Now we have a 1 vs. 4 situation. Alison spends a Story Point to use her Engineer ability (this is a tech challenge after all) and taps the Oxygenator asset again (it’s still working, afterall) to make it a 3 vs. 4 situation. Dexter is helping in the story anyway, so it’s now 4 vs. 4, but Story Points are a short commodity, so that’s where we leave it.
Phew. The Threat is now only Strength 1.
The problem’s been found, now it’s just the finishing touches. All the two think about now is a long shower and sleep. Usually showers are spared and rationed among the crew, but discussions over the radio has already allowed this discrepancy.
It’s 1 vs. 3 (1 strength and Alison’s 2 Harm). Dexter helps. And really, we’re so short on Story Points, that’s all I can add at this point. I begin looking at Death cards and sighing.
HOLY CRAP! WE WIN!
The light flicks to Green and the air returns to the cargo bay. The water of the shower is not the hottest, nor the cleanest, but it feels like heaven as the sweat and the aches are washed away.
Scene cuts to days (weeks? months?) later. The crew looks tired and miserable. The rings under Alison’s eyes match those around Saturn, and the normal upbeat demeanor of Dr. Van Housen seems a little strained. The two are at the dining table, eating another bag of re-hydrated somethingorother in silence.
“So, what did you think about that last broadcast from Earth? Wacky, huh?” Shirley says, hoping to crack the mood.
Alison just shrugs.
“I mean, it’s not often that an entire government agrees to-”
Alison noisily sips on her bag.
“Okay fine! I’ll go see if the other nerd in this place wants to talk! I don’t know how I’m supposed to keep you people together when you’re trying to drive me crazy!”
And with a strong push, Shirley floats away from the table. Alison grins slightly, and then sips from her bag.
Clearly I’m strapped for Story Points, so this little scene was for Shirley to play her Crazy card to show that Alison drives her nuts. Of course, after this long in space, I could see anyone driving anyone nuts, but that’s for another time. So 2 Story Points for Shirley.
The camera cuts to the screen in the MIM. BEGIN JUPITER SLINGSHOT INSERTION flashes onto the screen. A range of coordinates flicker by as the RCS thrusters fire to position the engines in the right position to get the ship to speed. TESTING ENGINE 1 – ERROR, TESTING ENGINE 2 – ERROR, TESTING ENGINE 3 – ERROR, TESTING ENGINE 4 – ERROR
ENGINE 1 BEVEL TEST FAILURE INDICATING FAILURE RANGE GREATER THAN .8 DEGREES.
ENGINE 2 BEVEL TEST FAILURE INDICATING FAILURE RANGE GREATER THAN .8 DEGREES.
ENGINE 3 BEVEL TEST FAILURE INDICATING FAILURE RANGE GREATER THAN .8 DEGREES.
ENGINE 4 BEVEL TEST FAILURE INDICATING FAILURE RANGE GREATER THAN .8 DEGREES.
SLINGSHOT INSERTION CANCELLED.
The camera’s eye goes outside, towards the engine mounts. It zooms in on the exhaust ports of the massive systems, showing the hydraulic systems that can move the great nozzles and steer the machine. It also shows the great amount of frozen hydraulic fluid encased around the mechanics.
That can’t be good.