One day while at a space-port you see a notice looking for mercenaries to do a reconnaissance mission, and the pay is unusually high. Should you contact the man responsible, you find him in a large city, in an office for the King’s bureaucrats–but it has an unusually high number of guards. Once escorted inside, you find yourself speaking with the King’s Chief Warden. He is a hardened and to-the-point man, and explains that one of the King’s internment camps has gone dark, and that he hasn’t had contact with his people there for about a month despite his best efforts.
He explains he doesn’t have enough men to spare to go investigate, which is why he needs mercenaries such as yourself to journey there and find out what’s happened. He suspects there may have been some kind of prison break, and advises it could be very dangerous, which is reflected in the pay.
If you ask for more information, he tells you that the internment camp in question is a mine on a distant asteroid, and is filled with lawfully convicted men working there as penance for their crimes. While not treated luxuriously, they were neither undernourished or abused. It is unusual that they would risk a break under such conditions, but it is the most logical explanation for what has occurred.
Should you accept the job, he gives you a map with directions to the internment camp, as well as a notice of being the Chief Warden’s representative should any of the camp’s guards still be alive. Usually, he says, the asteroid is guarded by a fleet of five marked vessels so that no one unauthorized can access it. In the event of a prison break, they should still be circling the exterior of the asteroid to ensure no one escapes. If the convicts are putting up a fight, his men might be hard pressed to send anyone his way with news.
The sail to the asteroid takes a couple of weeks, and when you arrive the asteroid isn’t guarded by the fleet the Chief Warden told you about. In fact, no-one seems to be around. When you dock, you see all the ships docked as well–as if they were recalled from their blockade for some reason. Upon closer inspection, you can see that the ships are marked with strange weapons and what appear to be teeth marks.
No-one is around, and things are very still. As you venture into the internment camp from the docks, you can see the buildings are very damaged. It appears there was some kind of fire that burned a lot of the internment camp, and if you inspect the area you can see the fire was lit from multiple sources. Inside the ruins are patches of sticky, green slime. It coats some of the walls, ceilings, and other surfaces, but only intermittently.
If you head to the main barracks, you find a lot of it survived the fire. There are books within it, including a journal that the asteroid’s Warden kept. Should you read it, you learn that they were running out of ore in the mines, and so begun expanding to a new section using some explosives. There are no entries after that, over a month ago, and the journal doesn’t mention any hint of dissent among the convicts. In fact, its author remarks upon how well-behaved the prisoners were given their circumstances, saying he would reward them with additional rations.
In these buildings, there are more of those strange weapon and teeth marks. There are also streaks of green poison–different from the slime–splattered along the floor and walls, though you’ve never seen anything like it. If you touch it, even a little bit sends screams of pain shooting from what came into contact with it.
Further into the internment camp, you find more of the green slime. A terrible stench comes out of a room filled with it, and there are small, dead, black creatures like caterpillars with carapaces, large mandibles and stingers scattered about the floor. Above you are large, open eggs glued to the ceiling. Hanging amongst the eggs, however, are human bodies that have been cocooned in the slime. There are holes torn in their chests, as if something clawed its way out of them. It’s clear there wasn’t a prison break here, but rather, some kind of infestation.
Should you leave and head back to your ship, you begin to get the sense that something is watching you. Occasionally you hear noises, as of scuttling in the ruins, or rocks sent skittering across the floor. It’s very different to the stark silence of when you arrived, but you can’t see anything when you look.
Once you’re back inside your ship, it doesn’t start and if you investigate the engine you see it has the same claw and weapon marks as throughout the internment camp. Your ship’s been sabotaged, and now a crucial component has been damaged. However, the parts you need to fix it are common and the internment camp should have them somewhere–though you didn’t see them in the area you already explored.
As you head back into the camp, the sense that you are being watched grows. Eventually you find the parts that you’re looking for in a storage area. But the room is full of slime and more eggs–some of them open, with carcasses on the floor. There are more cocoons on the ceiling, this time alive and moving, though their cries are muffled. If you free the cocooned people, their leader–a heavy-built man with a beard–introduces himself as the Warden and begs you to kill them because he’s seen what happens to the others and this infestation must not be allowed to leave the asteroid.
He explains that they expanded the mining and woke something up, something that had been sleeping. There was only one of them initially, but in a manner of days they multiplied and completely overran the place.
He says that they have a lot of explosives in this room, and pleads with you to set charges and destroy the asteroid so none of the creatures can escape to threaten the rest of the worlds. As he finishes saying this, he doubles over in pain and his chest bursts open. A small creature–different to the dead caterpillars on the floor–claws and bites its way out. Similar to a black, wingless wasp, it has vicious mandibles, many legs with strange claws at the end, and a shining stinger that curves under itself like some kind of reverse-scorpion.
It attacks you, and when you draw blood it is the vibrant green of the poison you saw earlier. Once slain, the ground begins to shake and a huge, Queen wasp breaks through the ground. She has a very long thorax which drags behind her with many legs, and a tall, chitinous crown stemming from her head. Crawling up from underneath her are more of the juvenile creatures, larger than the one you just slew, but still much smaller than the queen.
Once slain, if you place magical explosives over the base you find many more pockets of eggs, and cocoons. As you leave, you can remotely detonate the explosives using a device that came with them; leaving only powder adrift in space where the asteroid once was.
However, in one of the stores of your ship, waits a small clutch of eggs covered in green slime…
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