You would think an explosive decompression would be the most exciting part of the day, but for Doctor Shirley Van Housen, the approaching dot of light on the horizon was the most exciting bit for her. Soon they would start making the maneuvers to sidle up next to the Orb and start, well, saving the world.
It was Jessica’s job to do all this, and somehow the piloting has now become her job. She had been studying the “orbital docking,” as she had been calling it (since the abundance of acronyms were getting too confusing for her) night and day in preparation for the coming maneuvers she would be required to do. Her nose buried in the flight plan 3-ring binder during meals was a common site in the previous weeks.
Maybe it was that stress that caused her previous “incident” that made her think there was an “alien” on board, she thought to herself.
Only now was the real test. Here she was, strapped into the pilot’s seat, and she had no 3-ring binder filled with backup plans and redundancy systems planned and replanned by the smartest minds in the world back home. All of those instructions were shot out of the viewport in the mess hall. Sure, the computer systems did a lot of the work, but all the programs required astronaut approval to ensure that new programs could be added in flight and corrections could be made by steely eyed pilots rather than chrome domes back at base.
But now all those program names and numbers were just memories in her head or meaningless collections of characters in the computer, where the time to look up the proper program may mean successful insertion or bypassing it altogether. Or hitting it head on, she supposed.
Shirley thought for a second and then hit the archaic “Y” on the keyboard in front of her.
That’s a tie! (Remember the 6 gets moved to the Event pool) When you roll a tie (or a zero, as it translates in this system), you have to roll the event pool, and add a new Threat with a strength equal to the amount of “Hits” it scored! This could get deadly fast, especially the way our Event Pool looks now. Of course, playing a Death Card ends any and all Threats, but we only have two people who will survive ACT II as it is! *sigh* Let’s roll and see:
Which ends up with a Black 15. Which is a hit of 4 , so a strength 4 Threat. Let’s get this started. Luckily we have two other characters who can deal with this threat. Kinda.
The moment Shirley hit ‘Y’, a bit of code that was hidden in the computer sprang to life. During any crisis, you can find people that are okay with the idea of all life being destroyed, and when they have access to the only ship capable of saving it, they’ll do what they can to sabotage it. In this case, they programmed a virus to activate when the Armstrong was about to achieve orbit around The Orb. It was a simple bit of code. It would simply change two words around, switching “on” with “off” in the oxygen base codes. Now no matter what alarm was set off, the alert would merely set the O2 to “On” to get the atmosphere back to human breathable levels. But now “On” didn’t mean “On” anymore. Poor astronauts. Shirley recognized the problem the moment she hit ‘Y’ and all the air vents stopped making the familiar whirring sounds and she shouted for Alison to get on that right away.
Now the characters will alternate back and forth, rolling until both threats are dealt with.
Alison (burning a much needed Story Point):
Uhoh. Back to Shirley.
Gah! If I put in the white six, I’ll lose the current threat and take a hit! If I keep the six, I’ll win! I think I have to.
Even without air, Shirley types away, the ship turning and slowing towards The Orb.
A palpable hit!
There’s the code. Right there. Can she fix it before she loses consciousness (and I run out of plot points?)?
The event pool is now extremely deadly, but the orbital insertion is going well.
Lightheaded now, but the Orb is looming ahead and acts as a point of focus for everyone.
Okay, spending yet another Story Point. Did I call them Plot Points earlier? That was a mistake.
Phew! Glad I did!
Now to reboot the system, and as long as there’s nothing in the boot record, that should be good!
Reboot is good and air begins to flow through the ship again.
And now the Event Pool is full.
End ACT I
Event Pool: 10 Black Dice 3 White Dice
The Plan: 3 Story Points 3 White Dice
Alison Haslip: Doomed to die in Act II
Jessica Barnez: Dead
Dexter Pendragon: 1 Harm 2 Story Points
Shirley VanHousen: 1 Story Point
Now we roll on the Consequences table to see if choosing not to use Dexter’s alternate course around Venus was a good idea or not:
Roll = 31 Black.
It was a horrible, horrible choice. It would seem the window we have to work with is very, very, very small. Consequences to be shown in next post.