GTD: What Would Have Been

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What came before

Mission 1 summary

As you guys know, REKT focuses around a large prison ship called the Tartarus. Tartarus is also the name of the company that owns the ship - and the operation thereof. REKT is the name of the relatively small (1 million strong) group of prisoners that are allowed to roam a portion of the ship and take part in missions to retrieve valuable artifacts, such as Anomalous Materials: materials that didn't quite make sense to exist in our universe.

Our story started with the newly-formed Platoon 56 getting blasted down into an impossible mission: at some point in the past, a group of aliens had managed to build a surprisingly heavily-protected outpost (especially for the outpost's size) around a particularly deadly pulsar. Their mission was simple: Destroy at least three of the megaturrets and retrieve the alien artifact that was emitting strange signals. Unfortunately, they suffered heavy losses doing so - some from the pulsar, some from the gigantic megaturrets - but some managed to reach the center of the Area of Operations (AO): the strange alien base.

Meanwhile, Tartarus was detecting a large void of space - Dark Space, as it was called - traveling at an incredible velocity toward the AO. It was a known, but little-understood phenomenon - and it was the first area of Dark Space that anyone had ever seen move at all. Naturally, this was a problem.

SCAMPS (the mission computer aboard Tartarus) warned 56 to hurry it up, and they did so, rushing into the "boss room" where they discovered a strange alien orb, pulsating with energy. It was unlike anything humanity had ever seen, and seemed to telepathically urge people closer, to lay their hands upon it - even despite the swarms of alien drones in the room. Those that touched the orb fell unconscious with strange visions.

Traditional pickup methods were too slow: Tartarus itself flew over the target zone and picked up the prisoners of 56, who only barely escaped with their lives, just before the Dark Space arrived and consumed that entire section of the asteroid belt - practically erasing it from existence. The scientists aboard Tartarus theorized that the megaturrets of the aliens (dubbed "Quantums") had been keeping it away, but that was all they as yet understood.

It was later discovered that the inmates that had touch the active Quantum Orb had gained some sort of "power" from it. Dinosawer, for instance, had the ability to see into the future a short ways, while Squidhead could see into other dimensions. While these abilities were not necessarily useful in most situation, it was nevertheless something Tartarus was extremely interested in, and Platoon 56 had performed well.

Mission 2 summary

The second mission saw Platoon 56 attacking a small convoy of ships that had stolen an odd craft from the previous mission's AO. The craft was seen to be one of many that flew out of the Dark Space - a large drone-ship, seemingly a fighter of some kind. A rival corporation, Mimir Corp., had captured and stolen it from the same pulsar system as Tartarus had fled the area. Tartarus naturally wanted it too, and it was Platoon 56's objective: retrieve the drone-ship however possible. Of course, this was easier said than done. The science ship that the drone was aboard was heavily protected by both a large carrier and a gunship - but all were understaffed.

As the dropship pilots dropped 56's CASKETs at the AO, they enacted their plan: swarm the gunship to knock it out as fast as possible, then board and take control of the Shieldmaiden-class utility ships providing a shield to the science vessel. Then, they would board the science vessel, retrieve the artifact, and get the hell out of there as fast as possible. They would utilize the beacon that Tartarus had given them to call in a squadron of Warp Ships to pick them up.

The plan went to hell rather quickly. Although the gunship was easily taken out, and the shieldmaidens were (mostly) easily stormed, the Mimir HAMMER-class fighters far outmatched the REKT CASKETs, and several people were killed in the combat. The arrival of several other squads of HAMMERs as they were boarding the science vessel only exacerbated the situation, and one by one, REKT crewmembers began to fall to the enemy. In desperation, they used their captured Shieldmaidens to project a shield around the Science Vessel, keeping the HAMMERs out - but then opened a new can of worms when they opened the upper hangar just in time to reveal a new squad of the enemy, which began to decimate everyone that was left.

Inside the science vessel, the ground team worked their way through the ship, killing any Mimir civilians and soldiers that put up any resistance - until they reached the rear hanger of the ship, where the drone-ship was kept. The resulting firefight inside the hangar was just as glorious as that above - in particular, a strange goat-man-beast on the REKT side sacrificed himself in a particularly awesome manner to save his "friends", and Dinosawer began to master the abilities he had obtained from the Quantum Orb.

After extracting the drone ship, the REKT crew retreated, just as Mimir reinforcements arrived in the system: huge carriers and hulking dreadnoughts to secure the area and keep Platoon 56 from escaping with their prize at whatever cost was necessary. A new barrage of HAMMERs, more than they'd ever been up against, quickly swarmed the REKT platoon. The shieldmaiden went down, people died, and all seemed lost - right until Tartarus Inc. revealed its trap and warped in several massive ships of its own. The warp ships surrounded Platoon 56 and carried it to safety, and the mission ended a success.

Mission 3


And that brings us to the last mission - the (regretfully) abandoned one, mission 3: Sitatha Canyons. The Tartarus higher-ups had demanded that you guys get sent in to figure out what had happened to a previous platoon, and bring back (intact this time!!) a Quantum Orb. Everyone was given a set of tools specifically designed to work it loose if necessary.

Sitatha is a rocky world orbiting a gas giant (Aerevoh, iirc) within its Roche limit. This means it should've fallen apart and broken into a ring a long time ago, but for some reason it didn't. Something was holding it together - just barely, but together. So you guys made plans to storm the surface as a single group (disregarding the fact that doing that did absolutely no favors for the previous platoon) and check things out.

Fortunately, everybody's dropships got hit by plasma fire from an AA megaturret on the ground, and you got scattered everywhere. You guys got lucky. The creatures in the air? The ones that downed Francis and attacked Dr. Cha0zz's squad? Yeah, those big baddies? They were attracted by larger numbers of people moving quickly over a large area, which happens to be exactly what you guys planned on doing. But it's okay, I had the AA megaturret kill the dropship pilots, so everybody's happy. You got deposited in three different places on the map and forced to regroup. SCAMPS told you to take down the megaturret and get to the base. (SCAMPS was having severe troubles keeping a solid line of communication up throughout the mission.)

Hema's squad landed in a crater, which had some alien tech inside that quickly formed a shield over it. If they'd decided to mess with the shield generator, they could've found another way out, but, they didn't. They instead opted to travel down a long tunnel, whereupon they got attacked by murderous creatures.

Doc Cha0zz and Dino's squads decided to travel north along a valley, where they soon found the other REKT platoon's remains. After salvaging what they could, they continued north. Then they split up, and Doc's squad got half-eaten by angry territorial sky-beast-monster-things. What fun! Even better, they had a huge pack of angry spider-mantis-monster-things waiting for them on the ground, and got forced into a tiny cave. Good on you guys for making friends with local fauna!

Dino's squad continued onward and killed the megaturret as a group effort. Way to go, team!

And now we're to Foreigner's squad. Initially, Foreigner's squad discovered a strange building with a deep shaft inside, and an unusual artifact sitting on a table. They then split up all over the place for god-knows-what-reason and each member did their very darnedest to get themselves killed, to which I would've happily obliged if it wasn't within the first five turns. -.- That's a little too early for me to be wiping you guys off the face of the earth, so I merely beat you around a bit to teach you a lesson.

It didn't work, obviously. Nor did you get any smarter. You continued splitting up - and then found a really evil-looking Tower of Quantum Terror, before proceeding to split up even more… but, I'm not going to try to change the past. Let's see what happens if we go into the future a bit, and find out What Might Have Happened.


Realizing that the Tower of Quantum Terror was an evil mind-controlling thing, Blake Lowe was quickly captured under its control. Outlander himself was loathe to do any damage to it, and, with some quick thinking from his platoonmates, realized that the ToQT was likely controlling the minds of other entities in the immediate area. Blake Lowe was reporting during his brief moments of sanity that whatever was controlling his mind seemed primitive and savage… and Outlander feared it happening to himself, but was fully prepared to valiantly commit suicide to save Blake Lowe by ramming his craft into the tower.

Fortunately, other people in the platoon actually have brains. They pieced together that killing the ToQT would likely keep Hema's squad from getting devoured by bug-things, and Nequebah (their best PSI user) was sent to assist. She managed to get there just in time, going past the ToQT's quantum shield and, with the help of her squadmates, blasted the tower to pieces.

Hema's squad was saved.

Outlander's squad, however, was not, as it was quickly set upon by wild, savage creatures from everywhere - creatures that lacked the common sense and pseudointelligence of the ones that attacked Doc Cha0zz's squad. Though the struggle was real, they just barely managed to repel them.

Meanwhile, Dinosawer's squad made a dramatic rescue attempt to save Dr. Cha0zz's squad from blood loss and suffocation - and Squidhead just barely managed to arrive in time to patch up Kalah Grimm, saving her life. With the two squads in the same place, they continued (quietly) down the deep canyon toward THE ALIEN BASE. (dun dun dunnnnnn)

Hema's squad managed to get past the evil things when they died (they died when the ToQT died, just in the nick of time), and continued through the Tunnel of Impending Doom.


This solves all the immediate problems the squads were facing. We are now venturing into unknown territory.

Before they leave the canyon, Dr. Cha0zz's squad look at the strange device they've found in the canyonside cave and realize it's a device to seal away and monitor the planet's core - presumably to keep the planet from falling apart. Oddly, though, it seems that something is generating this power rather than using it to create the huge planet-wide shield. About this time they also reach the conclusion that the vast majority of the moon was grown into a natural satellite. This concept leaves people baffled. "Growing a moon? What the hell kind of screwy science are you trying to pull on us? Tal, did you even go to school?" Well, it's Quantums, and they did it, because I said so. (Honestly I would've explained it better than that, but right now, I can't be bothered. Basically, only certain parts of the moon was grown - the caves, bits of the terrain, the foundation of the vast framework to keep the shield operation going, etc, by introducing self-propagating technology not too unlike Quantum Glass (they like crystals).) Before long, they run out of things to argue with the DM about and continue on their merry way.

Partway during their travel down the canyon, Dr. Cha0zz's squad picks up some odd electrical signatures on their equipment. SCAMPS requests someone investigate. Against their better judgment (because Dino doesn't really have judgment, just balls), Dino's squad travels up a ramp out of the canyon to see what it could be, while Dr. Cha0zz's squad continues onward, soon running across the wreckage of Francis's CASKET. This is all mostly unimportant, but they also realize the "glowing chasms" Blake Lowe discovered previously were actually bits of the surface "peeling away" from the subterranean shield. They also see a lot of cool vines on the cliff walls, and are not stupid enough to shoot at them (unlike some people).

Meanwhile, Foreigner & Co. have successfully repelled the invaders (it was scary, but they weren't quite as doomed as it initially seemed), and meet up with Dr. Cha0zz's squad to the north of their initial position - annnnddd find another ToQT. This is both good, and bad. Good: Dino's squad is under heavy attack by the native megafauna (there's a lot more than anybody had expected) and needs some relief. Bad: This probably means that Doc and Foreigner's squads are going to get ambushed after it goes down.

Guess what. They do. Big surprise, but they knew it was coming. Dinosawer & Co. manage to escape alive, and everybody else fights off the beast (which actually retreat in fear after a bit, like a sort of "Screw this, I'm going home").

Hema's squad has discovered some interesting alien tech in their tunnel, and are busy patching themselves up and checking it out, glad to finally have a (brief) respite from combat.

Dino's squad discovers an entire platoon's worth of ships - ships that don't look a thing like either CASKETs or HAMMERs, and naturally SCAMPS isn't around to tell them what's what. They salvage a bit, but continue onward.

Hema's squad lowers a shield around THE ALIEN BASE and everyone meets up in the middle to proceed.


The alien base is monstrous in size - a kilometer across at least - and the inmates feel dwarfed by it. Some more of the alien-flying-creature-things are swarming around the top, which still has a shield over it. Dino's squad managed to get a visual of it before they entered the canyon.

At this point, I've managed to kill off at least two or three inmates, which was fun, and I felt good about it. The inmates realize fully that anyone can, and will die if they're not careful, so they're being very careful. Also Clara might be dead. Spoilers. (She got bad rolls, I just hadn't told you guys yet. If it makes you feel any better, her superior officer was dead too).

You enter the decrepit structure and realize that it is, naturally, enormous inside. Really, what did you expect? It's a big place. I should find that WIP picture I made of it. Anyway, on the bottom floor, coming out to meet you, you find a wiry, withered old man. He speaks to you - in English (or whatever language REKT people speak, I don't know) - and tells you that he is the current caretaker of the structure - but his time is done. This is pretty obvious: the guy is bleeding pretty bad. It looks like something got him. He offers you a choice. (This is the second major plot-changing choice of the mission. The first choice was whether to try to destroy the device you found deep in the cave off the canyon.) The choice is this: He will transfer his quantum powers into two of the inmates present, in exchange for a favor, thereby leaving the people involved Marked as friends of the Quantums. (He waits to see what you call him and goes with that, so he's calling himself a Quantum too now.) He warns you that the choice is yours to make, and is not necessary for you to achieve your goals, and that it may result in the eventual death of the people involved - and that it will have an extreme effect on your future (Basically in my voice as the GM). Maybe you think he's crazy, maybe you don't - but in this version of the story, you say, "No, we'll trust you, old man. Give us your powers." And two of you steps forward and takes the man's hand. His eyes roll back into his head and close, and rivulets of metallic ribbons races down his arms from his head, much like a reverse effect of the Quantum Orbs, and into the two volunteering inmates (who shall hereafter be known as The Marked Ones). The old man gasps out one last request, and dies.

You ponder his request: "Shut it down. Shut it all down, and destroy this world." It sound a bit extreme, and even The Marked One has some misgivings about it, but you continue deeper into the structure anyway. You soon find an elevator, and The Marked Ones realize their powers: One is capable of holding open a path to an alternate universe for a short period of time, and the other is capable of retrieving objects, bringing them back. You use this to repair a couple devices, using spare parts from other dimensions - including an elevator - and quickly continue deeper into the building, spreading out to cover ground faster (because your time is almost out and SCAMPS is getting impatient).

The REKT crew is still traveling, slowly, toward the top of the winding structure. The main transportation system seems ruined, but you guys are getting some loot, so it's all good… but you realize that something's not right. You never learned what hurt that old man - why he was slashed half to ribbons. Well… soon you do. One of you disappears, near-instantly killed. Even the description you get of the death is that something leapt out of the shadows toward a careless straggler. All you find is a mangled corpse. Another REKT soldier soon dies the same way - one of you, not an NPC - but from behind. You know something's out there, but you have no idea what.

If you have any sense at all, by this point you've all formed tight-knit groups and are continuing to progress while keeping sharp lookouts in all direction - and fully utilizing your helmet lamps. This is about when you get a true glimpse of your attackers: mutated, naked humanoid-ish creatures covered in some dark, foul material. Their arms and legs - indeed, all their muscles - seem terribly unnatural, and even their teeth seem to be made of steel. I'll summarize the following combat sequences with this: If there's one thing I force into your skulls this mission, it'll be to watch the fukcing ceilings. Anyone that fails to learn this lesson dies… and maybe even one or two that do.

Remember those ships? The ones Dino's squad found? Yeah, if you remembered to ask SCAMPS and told him about the symbols painted on them, he would've hesitantly identified them as a cultist group - classified information. Those monsters you're fighting are people that the Quantums have mutated to fit their purposes. It isn't much longer before you're at the top of the tower, and are ready to remove the orb. Ten of you (particularly Dino, if he's still alive) manage to obtain new powers from it before it swirls down to a dim glow, refusing to interact with you further. You figure it's about time to take it apart.

As you're doing it, Nequeba uses her new-found powers to look at the little device she's carrying - the little metal doodad she never could figure out.
//It's a message recorder that splits its output among multiple universes, and now she has the ability to see it. It seems to speak directly to her brain, bypassing auditory communication, and the message details what happened on Sitatha… to a small extent. The old man recorded it - he was far younger then, perhaps several hundred years - he seemed hardly past 40 - but he had willingly begun to share his body with a Quantum host. Sitatha was in ruins. The old minds that once controlled the place had died; the life pods that the facility used to hold had been destroyed by an agent - an "Enemy" agent - yet it speaks no further of who this "Enemy" is. Forced from their hosts, the Quantums therefore needed to find new ones… and could find nothing more than the insect and plant species native to Sitatha.

Over a period of millennia, the Quantum minds began to mold and adapt, becoming feebler as they adjusted to the poor intellect of their hosts. They became more savage, less thinking - they lost who they were. They stopped truly understanding anything, except the basest desires to defend their home at whatever cost was necessary - the driving force behind their entire operation.//
The recording ends with the newly-made Quantum saying he would try to put things right.

You finally manage to detach the Quantum Orb, and begin packing it up, getting ready for a trip back to the landing zone for Tartarus's troop transport carrier… But things are never so easy.


Remember how everything attacked you guys when the Towers of Quantum Terror fell? This happens - but on a MUCH larger scale. EVERY creature that had ever been controlled by a quantum mind suddenly loses control and does the only thing it really knows how to do at this point in its evolution: it attacks the intruders.

Remember those vines? Remember how they were capable of throwing rocks at people? They're also capable of intertwining themselves around huge swaths of terrain and ripping it out of the ground. The REKT crew has an awesome action sequence as they defend each other and try to help each other get back to the exit zone in record time. At least one of you dies valiantly holding off the hordes while the others retreat (probably an NPC, that feels a little cruel for a human), annnnddddd you make it back alive. Tartarus's ship picks you up and takes off.

As the lander hooks back up to the orbiting carrier, the entire planet begins to drop away. Its surface cracks - the shield is gone - it warps slowly, lava erupting from massive crevices in its surface as the crust of the planet bends.

That's when things take a turn for the weird. Sets of thrusters appear on the dark side of the world, propelling it even faster toward Aerevoh, and just as the Tartarus carrier begins accelerating to warp speed, you see an enormous magma-like appendage stretch out from beneath the surface, flinging bits of crust aside as it goes…


After the mission, you learn a few more important things from the loot you collected. The Quantums did indeed remake Sitatha to hold it together, and altered its orbit as well. Strangely, though, Sitatha itself actually seemed to be (judging by the rock samples Dr. Cha0zz gathered) from a different universe entirely. The Quantums literally brought a whole planet over from another universe. Analysis of images of the rock strata and formations provided also suggests that the moon wasn't always so close to Aerevoh - that it was intentionally maneuvered there at some point. Unfortunately, this is all you can get out of Tartarus's scientists.

Mission 4

After you spend some time (a month or so ingame) piddling around on Tartarus, they finally tell you, "Ohai, we have a mission." You groan and grumble, following SCAMPS's orders and heading to the briefing room. That's where the fun begins.

Remember those cultists-turned-monsters from the last mission? I called them the "Rashyvr" in my notes… (not actually sure why. Can't remember.) Anyway, they're causing trouble. Their big thing, SCAMPS reveals to you, is Quantum Artifacts. And not just Quantums - but another species of Quantum-like beings I'm going to call Alts, because that's what they were called in my notes (I think I may have mentioned them before). The Rashyvr actually see Quantums as the "bad guys" and want to obliterate any trace of them - and by any means necessary. In the meantime, they're trying to "bring the Alts back" through hokey summoning rituals and ominously pointless chants. Naturally, Tartarus is interested - in the tech, not the rituals. There's profit to be made from that tech, after all! Another evil group with possible knowledge on where to find artifacts? Hell yeah!

At this point I imagine you'd be saying, "Aw, hell no!", and not without good reason. SCAMPS reveals he's sending you to a cultist outpost to hack into their systems and steal any interesting information and/or technology you can find. Naturally, as these are cultists, they have an incredibly well-defended compound that's going to take some serious work (and balls of steel) to break into. As a result, he's sending two platoons instead of one. Yes, I was going to do this. I had a little program set up to do all the calculations for me - simple calculations based on how many CASKETs and CASKET-equivalents were still alive on each side.

So, let me go into how the mission goes down.


Elchar is a planet in the Rim - a mostly-flat, thunderstorm-prone, desert-like world with an atmosphere over twice as dense as Earth's (i.e., nukes are bad, m'kay). You get there just after Platoon 103 - 103 is already headed toward the surface. Their objective is… well, rather grim. They have to keep as many enemy fighters as possible off of you long enough for you to finish the mission - no matter what the cost. Whether they're actually capable of doing this depends on your performance and decisions.

The main complex is built on a small plateau, and covered with a massive dome-shield that's basically inpenetrable. They throw it up as soon as they see Platoon 103 descending from the upper atmosphere. Nobody gets in or out until that's down. They do, however, have a small spaceport filled with cultist fighter planes and larger transport vessels. Another building is a barracks/maintenance area, which has a tunnel leading under the shield and (in an alcove of the cliff) a Systems Node (for lack of a better name) which, although heavily protected would (over a mult-turn hack) allow you to shut the shields down from outside. Also in the building lineup: a communications array, AA turrets, and an administration building. This last is useful for shutting down the AA turrets and gaining early intel on cultist computers so you get rid of any penalties for hacking them.

~~~ The mission proper:

Platoon 103 provides a necessary distraction at the "front gates" to keep as many cultist fighters occupied as possible.

The NPC squads of Platoon 56 start by bombing the communications arrays to keep the Rashyvr from calling for backup. They take very heavy losses from the AA guns. After that, they're yours to command.

The first player squad drop-pods near the administration building (drop-podding to avoid AA guns) and storms it. They get scratched up pretty bad, but manage to hack into the computers (which aren't linked to the main cultist network, and thus have little in the way of useful information) and shut off the AA guns. The point of this is to make things a lot easier for the squads hacking the computers in the main complex. This job is of moderate difficulty.

One squad stays CASKET-bound and destroys any fighters they can find inside the spaceport and begins securing and fueling a few of the large transport vessels. This is critical - without these, nobody gets home. They'll face lighter resistance than some of the other squads - these are probably newbies.

Another squad drop-pods down into the barracks alcove to shut down the shields, and soon has their work cut out for them as alien supermutants emerge from the building to attack. (I always wanted to make a REKT PC game (still do) and was always coming up with ideas for it. This would be the squad the trailer would feature. I wrote up a script for it, set to music.) They take losses - maybe one or two deaths - but shut down the shields and get out of there alive (unless they're stupid, in which case you'll have to look into other options). There's no room to send CASKETs down, so they have to find a way to get up the cliff face.

The final squad stays in their CASKETs and tries to kill off any stray fighters trying to interrupt the other operations. They have more free-range over the area than anyone else does and can be called in for fire support if necessary. Their success (or failure) at this determines how well Squad 103 does - they tip the balance. Soon after they begin, they discover that Rashyvr's big thing is heavy cutting lasers and psionic tech. They're in for a horribly tough fight. This cannot be a newbie squad.

After all of this is done, the squads gather up their CASKETs and begin assaulting the main base (which they can do now that the shields are down). Turrets abound, as do cultists - and the main computers SCAMPS wants you to hack are underground. Platoon 103 keeps the distraction up by forcing a heavy assault which what troops they have left on a fairly sensitive (to the Rashyvr) portion of the base, which keeps you from getting overwhelmed. If most of Platoon 103 has already died due to a poor performance of the aerial squad, you're in for a really rough time of it. Actions (or lack thereof) have consequences, you know.

(You also find a functioning Quantum Orb there. Yay for more powers!)

Fortunately enough, you guys manage to hack into the computer and send an encrypted stream of data to SCAMPS, as well as gathering up some pretty awesome artifacts - although you of course incur heavy losses. About 50-67% of you are dead. Some of you may have your corpses recovered, but anyone out of either platoon that doesn't load up into the commandeered freighters gets left behind.


Instead of getting taken back to Tartarus, you end up on a battle carrier - the Hermes. The Hermes is decently-equipped with some decent combat ability and cutting-edge engine tech, permitting you to traverse the galaxy at warp 15 (almost 600k times the speed of light) - which is twice as fast as most vessels in 3152. Naturally, you're confused by this, but SCAMPS responds by saying they're in the middle of something right now and can't be bothered to come pick you up. For now, your home is on the Hermes.

Your ships are patched up by the engineers, and you receive a new group of inmates to replace your fallen brothers (and sisters). Platoon 103 is not as lucky; Hermes is not carrying enough adequately-leveled prisoners to replace all of their losses.

I feel like I'm forgetting something important, but I'll probably remember it later.

Mission 5

Part 1

Before Mission 5, you're allowed free roam of the Hermes. None of the crew will specifically tell you the reason why, but they treat you far better than you have any reason to expect, to the point that you feel rather odd about it. There are a few areas where you're still not allowed - the armory, for instance - but anywhere else is fair game. The Hermes also has a working prototype of a Quantum Orb, now that Tartarus has had enough time since Sitatha to figure out how it works (or at least, the "important parts"). For a fee (because it draws so much power from the reserves), you can give yourself Quantum abilities without even needing to find one in-mission. You can even use it more than once, if you have the creds.

Eventually, though, Mission 5 begins. SCAMPS calls you up over Hermes' comm systems and orders you to head to a makeshift briefing room. Perhaps you've noticed the engines humming a little more loudly than usual the past few days, and perhaps you've noticed the ship's engineers have been working overtime. Then again, perhaps you haven't. Regardless, SCAMPS goes ahead to explain the reason.

In the data you collected in Mission 4, the Rashyvr listed notes of a Quantum vessel they had managed to track down, but as of yet had been unable to catch. I'll repeat that for emphasis: A real, functioning Quantum ship. (Yes, it's the Quantums again - but to be fair, they're basically what the REKT campaign is based around, so what did you expect?) SCAMPS explains that originally, he was going to send an advanced team after it, but the situation has changed. Within a day of your last mission at Elchar (the Rashyvk outpost planet), an instance of Darkspace began moving towards the Quantum ship at an incredibly high warp speed. The Quantum ship turned and fled, SCAMPS says - and not only that, Tartarus has reason to believe there are likely at least several living Quantums aboard - and not repurposed/commandeered/hijacked humans like the old man you met on Sitatha, but members of the "original species".

Tartarus wants that ship, they want it intact, and they're willing to do absolutely anything to get their hands on it - even if they have to bend the very laws of the multiverse you reside in. Naturally, that's where you come in.


The Quantum Ship (henceforth referred to as the Qcruiser) is moving at the theoretical "maximum warp": Warp 18 - three levels of warp faster than Hermes is capable of moving, and four levels of warp faster than Tartarus can travel. This is roughly 3.6 million times faster than the speed of light - or roughly 400 light years an hour, compared to the 70 ly/h that Hermes can manage. This is tech that isn't supposed to be around for another two centuries. Despite the fact that both Tartarus and Hermes are near its trajectory, catching it sounds impossible. Compounding the problem is the infamous effect for ships traveling at significantly different warp levels: as their levels of warp don't quite match, a vehicle at lower warp is typically ripped apart by the more powerful fields of the ship traveling at a higher level of warp.

Fortunately, Tartarus and the crew aboard Hermes have come up with a "solution"… of a sort.

Stage 1: Hermes is moving to get in position ahead of the Qcruiser and the Darkspace. This isn't enough to catch the Qcruiser, and Hermes would be ripped apart if it tried to approach (as well as almost certainly consumed by the Darkspace).
State 2: Platoon 56 will get into their CASKETs and fly a very short distance in front of Hermes, to a fixed position inside the warp bubble.
Stage 3: Just as the Qcruiser begins to close in, Hermes will utilize the "warp catapult" its engineers duct-taped together to lash you (temporarily) into a velocity nearer that of the Qcruiser.
Stage 4: The "catapulted" warp bubble will rapidly collapse and decay as engineers of today (year CE 3152) haven't managed to stabilize anything past warp 15.
Stage 5: As Platoon 56's warp bubble collapses, they'll be drawn into the warp field of the Q-ship in the manner of two soap bubbles forming into a single larger soap bubble.
Stage 6: Platoon 56 has to find some way to grab onto the Qcruiser, no matter what the price, before they fall into the rapidly-gaining Darkspace.

At this point, things will get messy. Your objective is to take the equipment (The Catapult, a smaller, even more makeshift version of Hermes' platoon-flinging equipment with zero range) Hermes provides you with and install it in the Qcruiser's engine systems. Tartarus has previously obtained the back half of another unrelated quantum vessel, and they believe you can make it work with the proper skills and equipment. Just to be safe, all of you are carrying it so that any one of you can set it up.

After the makeshift warp booster is installed, you'll activate it at your discretion. The Qcruiser (and all within its warp bubble) should be flung forwards and to the side (toward the Tartarus), temporarily breaking the maximum warp barrier and increasing velocity to an estimated Warp 21. This is highly unstable and many times faster than anyone has ever traveled in the history of mankind; as such, no relevant data exists as to how long it can be maintained. It should be aborted immediately if the Qcruiser begins to show signs of structural collapse.

A second team needs to locate every Quantum orb in the structure (as there's bound to be at least one) and place a special device (Quantum Dampener) Tartarus has provided near each, dampening the maximum signal range to mere kilometers so that after The Catapult is activated, the Darkspace won't be able to recover the signal and track the Qcruiser, permitting Tartarus to recover it.

As soon as The Catapult activates, all squad members need to get back to their ships ASAP and take off while still staying within the Qcruiser's warp bubble.

The Catapult's Warp 21 should decay rapidly to Warp 18 after it activates, and by this time Tartarus should be in position to capture the Qcruiser with a powerful warp web system. The warp web will basically "drag" the Qcruiser out of warp - and with it, the REKT ships - but the instability of this system requires any sentients be away from the center of mass if they want to have a fair chance at survival.

There are a few final things to note:
- If you come across any living Quantums, you are to preserve them and keep them healthy and safe if at all possible. Tartarus wants to take them apart to look at their insides.
- If the mission fails, get out of the way of the Darkspace (if possible), put up your shields, let yourself fall out of warp naturally, and switch on your long-range transmitters; Tartarus will send someone out to pick you up.
- Damaging the Qcruiser is preferable to being lost in the Darkspace. Ship-based harpoons and grapples of any (and every) type are highly advised.
- Superluminal radio communication hasn't yet been worked out for anything above warp 15. You'll be out of contact with SCAMPS the entire time.
- Godspeed, gentlemen.


In case you haven't guessed it yet, this entire mission is extremely risky, and very poorly cobbled together. This is the first time Tartarus (or anyone) has actually had an occasion to capture a functioning (and likely crewed) Quantum spaceship; they're pretty desperate to make it happen, even if they have to swipe it away from the Darkspace to do it.

Naturally, Murphy's law applies here in spades.


Loaded out with plenty of ship-based grapples, claws, and more, Platoon 56 takes position in front of the Hermes as Hermes hurriedly moves into position a little behind schedule. The Warp Catapulting is a success: You find yourself launched forwards at unbelievable speeds - the Hermes drops out from behind you almost too fast for you to see - your CASKETs creak and groan under the strain - and the Qcruiser looms up behind you… just as you find yourselves in the middle of an unexpected, massive, fast-moving debris field. Several of you take damage - specifically those that neglected to upgrade their hulls or other protection. I might kill off one or two of you by accident here, but there's one thing that really sticks in your mind: a piece of debris hits one of you - a piece that you immediately recognize as being from the Hermes. You realize, horrified, that the Hermes wasn't able to get out of the way of the Qcruiser's warp field in time. It's gone.

So now it really is just Platoon 56 against the universe, as the horrific nothingness of the Darkspace slips ever closer.

In a heroic move, the members of 56 put aside their differences to form massive ship-chains, holding on from one robotic arm to the next to raise your likelihood for success as high as possible - but you have very limited time (one turn). The first squad in barely avoids hitting the Qcruiser, harpooning the vessel's thick hull and dragging themselves to a stop. One by one, all your squads manage to slow themselves down - though perhaps not without some losses of those that weren't prepared. You now cling like parasites, dangling from the hull of an ancient spaceship far beyond your ken.

And that's when you realize you're very, very far from being alone.

A massive battle rages around you - enormous quantum drones (Qbots) against an ever-encroaching, seemingly infinite horde of Darkspace drones (DS drones) - and the purpose of the DS drones seems clear: disable or otherwise disrupt the Qcruiser's engines to cause it to fall into the void. (I would've designed the map with a "timer" - the void of the Darkspace would gradually blot out the stars as the mission went on.)

First task: Now that you've "slowed down" (at least, relative to the Qcarrier - technically, you've accelerated), you need to find some way to get aboard, but the DS drones are very rapidly gaining on your position. You split up - some of you make your way to the airlocks, some of you stay behind to battle the DS drones with your upgraded weaponry. Hermes (and Tartarus) provided you with some pulse-modulated plasma weaponry a la Quantums, which happen to be particularly good at taking out Alt-related tech (and thus were also valuable in the previous mission against the Rashyvk).

The Quantum drones pay you absolutely no mind, seeming to prioritize the DS drones as the greater evil. This is good, because the Qbots are larger than a CASKET - they're massive mobile turrets that shoot some absolutely unbelievable beams and pulses that practically disintegrate even the DS drones - which normal weaponry couldn't even scratch. You have a feeling SCAMPS would be begging you to make sure you gather one somehow, if you just had comms set up. I would expect that some of you would begin plotting how to do so.

Aboard the Quantum ship, the teams of engineers rush inwards, splitting up as they try to find their way to the engines. There's not a soul in sight, though there are already multiple hull breaches - the DS drones transform into spider/monkey-like bots upon entry, clawing their way inside. A squadron of smaller Qsentinel bots try to keep the hallways cleared, but they're rapidly becoming overwhelmed. Your squads take out some of them, which identifies you as a threat to the DS drones. They begin attacking, and your peaceful incursion becomes an all-out war as everyone regroups, trying to keep from being wiped out as you retreat further and further into the ship.

The squads outside aren't faring much better - one of the main Qbots are down, and the Darkspace seems to have a near-infinite supply of them - they never stop pouring out, and the Darkspace is getting closer - a lot faster than you'd anticipated. Those outside shout frantic warnings at those within as the Darkspace begins to blot out the speckled sky of stars. They try to repair some damaged drones and perhaps build up some more defenses on the outside, perhaps some traps or something - but it's clear they'll be overwhelmed within minutes and need to retreat.

Things look very, very grim, and if I do my job right, you (or those of you that I haven't brutally murdered yet) should be seriously asking yourselves, "Are we actually going to make it out of this one?" If you decide to pull a Francis on me, that is an option, I would write a total platoon wipe (except for those of you that fled), and it'd completely change the rest of the campaign. (another plot split. there are two or three this particular mission, which I always thought of as "The" iconic REKT mission.)

This is when fate changes your situation - for better or for worse. Aboard the Qcruiser, in one of the inner hallways: the air flashes and space folds before two or three of the squads - a figure with two (or is it three?) eyes and other flickering features emerges from the portal. He takes pause when he sees you, and gives you a brief appraisal. He then speaks in Quantum (I wrote a language generator - Quantum is actually a functional language, yay) - and the only ones that can understand it are The Marked Ones (and whoever else happens to have that particular Quantum ability (enhanced language processing)). (Actually I'd just write Quantum in the channel and tell those that could understand it what it meant in PM, demanding secrecy unless you want some great punishment to befall you). His name is Zo'qiir, he says, and he recognizes one of you as a Marked One; he says time is short, but he sees that the Marked Ones can be trusted (else they would not be marked). This is your opportunity to ask questions about the Quantums - with a limited amount of time. Time is short, Zo'qiir says - the ship is going to fall apart at any moment. He says that he notes you carry with you much Quantum technology, and says that in return for answering your questions, he has a favor to ask…

Interim 1

Okay then. For my next act, I'm going to give a brief rundown on what Quantums actually are.

The Quantums (the real Quantums) are a large "civilization" of beings, essentially something vaguely akin to Boltzmann Brains, that reside in a universe very dissimilar to our own that I called "The Nexus" in my notes. (For those that don't know, a Boltzmann Brain is essentially a philosophical theory that states… well, we don't need any of that. All you need to know right now is that a Boltzmann Brain is a conscious entity that arises from random particles in a state of chaos. Or, to put it in other words: a brain made out of an intricate, precisely-placed network of gaseous particles. …Sort of. It's close enough to go with for now.) These "Boltzmann Brains" are the Quantums. They played around in their own universe for untold eons and then invented a method to temporarily transport their consciousnesses into other universes through "gates".

Of course, their universe has no solids. It's a permanent gaseous state. There are no planets, there are no stars, there is no light. We would see it as a vast, empty nothingness. They were naturally curious and interested in all these other universes they uncovered and decided to start setting up permanent research expeditions… and to that end, created the means for permanent exploration: the forerunners of the Quantum Orbs. Through these orbs they were able to direct their consciousness into biological creatures via precise field manipulations (blah blah blah science science yada yada) and… well, basically, live "through" the host. They uplifted a number of species for the purpose, all across the multiverses - some were perhaps almost evolved enough, and perhaps others just needed a nudge, or were already there. One way or another, they got their hosts, and the Quantum Orbs provided them with the means to explore the universe through another's eyes - universes they would otherwise never get to experience for themselves because they (in their original form) would disintegrate if they left The Nexus.

Thus began the Quantum Empire.

The Quantums initially cared greatly for the lifeforms they found scattered across the multiverse, and meddled in their affairs as little as they could. They had vast departments devoted to R&D, and heavily utilized their ability to switch things between universes - from this came the "Anomalous Materials" that Tartarus Inc. is so fond of gathering and researching. As time went on, their ability became such that they were able to transport entire planetoids between universes.

Of course, all things come to an end eventually. The Quantums had one major flaw: their minds in The Nexus were very pliable, and would slowly take on the traits of the minds of their hosts. As, over time, each Quantum mind was able to simultaneously control ever more sentients, this changing process became ever more accelerated. This, combined with the immense power they had, began to grow into arrogance, and from arrogance, to a haughty indifference to "lesser sentients". From this, they began to actually misuse and exploit some of the species they found. This depravity and decadence is what led to their rapid and thorough downfall as they were systematically erased from existence by "The Alts".

Interim 2

What Blake experienced in Mission 3 was certainly possession. However, the "upgrades" are simply another function of the Orbs - they "upgraded" hosts to better serve their new Quantum masters. I say "masters", but really it was more of a parasitic/symbiotic thing, usually with mutual agreement - if the host wanted loose badly enough, they could of course break free (eventually, at least), and were capable of communicating with the Quantum they were attached to at any time by thought. Sent thoughts would get passed through the nearest Orb to The Nexus.

Breaking free would be a rather "painful" process for the associated Quantum, and thus one they would want to avoid. If a host wanted to leave, they would inform the Quantum, who would then tell the host to wait quietly while they "disentangled" themselves. This process wouldn't take long, but would require the host to go into a meditative state and to "assist" where necessary. At that point the host would be fully free to go about their own lives, and the Quantum could find a more suitable host. The host's memory and cognitive abilities would not be affected in any way, although some trace remnants of the Quantum's memories might remain if the host had dwelt on them at some time.

That leads me into the last bit of Quantum explanations. Quantums can't normally experience death, but if they are forcibly disconnected from their hosts - either because contact is shut off unexpectedly (e.g. brain trauma to the host, or destruction of the Orb) or the host is agitated so the Quantum cannot withdraw - then the Quantum's mind will "break" or be "severed" at the points attached to the Nexus-side orb-gates, either destroying them completely or doing the equivalent of putting them into a permanent coma.

edit: Also, I split this topic off from the main one to keep things neat.

Part 2

We'll pick up where I left off last: halfway through Mission 5.

You're aboard a Quantum ship traveling at Warp 18. And just how fast is Warp 18? Fukcing fast. It's over 3 million times the speed of light - that's fast enough to cross the entire galaxy in two weeks, or get from here to Alpha Centauri in forty seconds (which, traveling at today's velocities, would take ten thousand years). If you could cross the galaxy at walking speed, and only walked 12 hours a day for two weeks, that would make the galaxy 840km across. That's roughly how far it is from the southern tip of England to the northern border. Coincidentally, if you converted 840km to 840km2, that's less than half the size of London. London is six letters long, which is as long as the word "galaxy", and only two letters longer than four. Know what else has four letters? "Tiny". Moving at Warp 18 makes the galaxy feel fukcing tiny. That's all you need to know.

The Quantum you've met, Zo'qiir, says that time is short, but he'll quickly tell you what he can. He tells you about the history of the Quantums - what they are, where they came from, how they fell - and then says that in return, he wants you to help him. His race is dying in The Nexus - only very small collections of hosts still exist, scattered across the galaxy in hiding from the Darkspace. If the Darkspace consumes the ship, he explains, it will stretch between all the universes it covers and consume all versions of his ship - and all versions of the hosts. If a Quantum's host is consumed by the Darkspace, he explains, it will also kill the Quantums that used to use them as hosts, even if they're disconnected. ((I'll explain this in greater detail later.)) Zo'qiir asks you - begs you - to reach the bridge no matter what the cost, and rescue his children. You explain to him that you're trying to help him escape the Darkspace. He uses the Quantum Orb to search your mind and finds your plans, and says that you should split up - part of you going to install the boosters to the engines, part of you going to find his children - just in case. With that, Zo'qiir disappears, stepping through a rift in space he creates before him.

And so, those aboard the Qcruiser split up - part going to the bridge, and part heading to the engines.

Meanwhile, outside on the hull, the remnant of the Platoon 56 fighters are rapidly falling. The Darkspace Drones aren't coming anymore - now it's larger, more agile mechanical contraptions easily capable of taking on your CASKETs one on one. You fall back to the Qcruiser and concentrate on just keeping the Qcruiser's defensive systems up and running, but even that begins to look bleak, and it's hardly any time (a turn, maybe two) before you decide that (after a couple more deaths) your only option is to board the ship and try to defend the engines themselves. But as you begin to dock your ship to board, one of the NPCs (Clara if she survived) notes that she's noticed a shift in the stars - the Qcruiser abruptly altered direction, and, if her galactic geography is any good, she thinks you're headed towards the galactic center (and Mimir territory).

Your time is almost up, and you know it. Some of you work with Zo'qiir on the primary engines, some of you work together on the secondary engines. Those on the secondary engines get loot, those with Zo'qiir get knowledge and potentially upgraded skills - and those who go to the bridge have the toughest fight of all, because that's where the Darkspace Spiders swarm the thickest. ((There's a reason for this, but you won't understand it until later in the campaign.)) I expect Dino and Foreigner - the "Action Squads" - to be headed in that direction. Hopefully at least one of the Marked Ones will be in that direction too. If not, I still have ways to make things work. It'll be a desperate fight, and you're not even sure if you'll have enough time.

You're not just fighting for Tartarus anymore. Now you're fighting for your own survival.

… Funny how often that happens.

The "most important" part of the mission, plotwise, is going to take place on the bridge. When the action squads arrive, blasting spiders as they go, they realize the bridge is completely devoid of people, despite there being an orb there. They plant their "orb dimmer" next to it (probably after getting pulled in and touching it), and start looking for Zo'qiir's children… and one of you gets the idea that they may not be in that particular universe. Using your quantum abilities, one of you opens up a rift to a series of alternate universes and "shines it" across the room until you find Zo'qiir's "children" huddled in a corner - apparently a male and a female, with the same shiftiness of appearance common to Quantums. As you see them, they see you - the girl points, the guy looks suspicious - and as the first of you keeps the rift open, another (with the ability to take things back) steps through. They speak Quantum - they don't understand you, nor do you understand them, but they learn unnaturally quickly and rapidly pick up on some of the words you're saying. The male (24ish) feels your mind and realizes that you don't have the ability to take both of them, and relates that to you (one of those with the ability to translate Quantum relays this to the others) - and he sends you back with his sister (19ish) to your own universe as she cries and begs him to come too. Her rescuer pulls her through the rift, and promptly collapses from exhaustion from the intensity of the effort required to transfer an entire person… and the rift slams shut. The girl, on the other hand, is sobbing, tears streaming from her three eyes - which are no longer shifting. You've broken her link to The Nexus by pulling her through the rift between the universes. Her brother is lost beyond hope.

But she isn't down long, and neither are you. Zo'qiir senses his daughter is there, and urges you to quit the engine repairs - to install the Catapult and fire it off, even if the engines themselves are unstable. It's a good call, too, because the Darkspace will be on you in mere moments.

Your engineers rapidly install the remaining bits and everyone fights their way to their CASKETs. Zo'qiir goes down fighting. I'd expect at least one other sacrifice ("I'll hold them off - just try to escape!") while you all battle your way past the spiders, drones, and other darkspace stuff, all the way back to your ships. It would be rough. Fortunately, escorting the girl (who has identified herself as Lin'shih) wouldn't be as annoying as the typical dreaded escort mission - her clothing would be particularly resilient (it's advanced alien stuff, come on), she's agile, and she's an okay fighter as well (I mean, she did spend her whole life on the run).

As you get back to your CASKETs and detach from the Qcruiser, you fire off the Catapult boosters. The engines blaze up with a near-blinding fiery light as you suddenly find yourselves three warp levels above the theoretical safe maximum. Remember how fast I said you were going before? Now you're going about 4.7 times that fast. Everything shakes - time and space seem distorted - you can barely comprehend what's going on.


…And just as suddenly, you find yourself ripped out to a non-warp velocity, with the rear of the Tartarus (the REKT levels) looming before you. The warp web worked. The jolt of leaving warp is horribly disorienting (and tosses you about a bit, kind of like being in a car accident).

"Well done!" SCAMPS exults. If Lin'shih (the Quantum girl) is visible, he'll congratulate you on bringing her back. A few other REKT platoons will rapidly close in on the Quantum ship to cleanse the vessel of Darkspace tech. SCAMPS will order you all to the landing bay for your floor (which is one of the ones at the far rear of the vessel), and you'll get moving.

The mission is over. It's hard to wrap your minds around. You still have full control of your ships - what? Why isn't the GM taking control and ending the mission? You'll just begin to ask yourselves this question, when it happens.

Amidst frantic shouts from SCAMPS, the Darkspace drops out of warp and, flying at an incredible velocity, consumes the Qcruiser, you, and the rear section of Tartarus, slicing it clean as it passes through.

Everything goes dark.

Thread lock, curtains close.

…but it's not over yet.

((mission end))