- Episode One: Trapped in the Airplane Graveyard!
- Zero, Year Three
- WEC Action News, December 2008
- Issue #13 - High and Low
- OOC Question - When Are We?
- Troupe Play, Datafiles, and Picking Sides
- Issue #12 - He's No Gentleman
- Known Victims of the Gentleman
- Message from T.O. Morrow
- Issue #11 - Future Tense
Episode 5 - Benevolent Assimilation
Splice and Stark and the gun thugs of Joy Escorts begin a disruptor shootout in the slums of Joy City. While none of them use lethal settings, the battle is fierce and results in many unconscious goons. Their shipmmate and fellow Laser Dimitri takes a shuttle down to aid them, and Stark confronts the thugs' boss, Kevin Brazil. A massive and heavily augmented human, Brazil agrees to stop the shooting if Stark engages him in one-on-one combat. If Brazil wins, the Lasers have to leave Andarta. If Stark wins, Brazil will come quietly and answer their questions.
A knockdown drag-out fight ensues, with the duplicitous Brazil using popclaws to give him an edge over the Laser. While Stark holds his own for a while, he is eventually brought low by the gangster, leaving him with internal bleeding. Splice and Dimitri fire their disruptors at the end of the fight, nulling Brazil and then warning his watching goons to back off. They take Stark and the manager of the escort company back into orbit aboard the Duck. Stark is tended to by Splice and his robot assistant in the medical bay while Brazil stews inside a brig cell.
Once Stark is healed and conscious, Splice and Dimitri take Brazil to an interrogation room for questioning. They learn that Brazil had confronted the prostitute Kara after his betrayal by her pimp, a man named Fritch. Unwilling to tell the Lasers much more, Brazil is eventually cowed into giving them a location for the missing hooker, whom they hope can tell them where Mar Gravely is.
Stark is brought back to full health by Splice tapping into the power of the Ugly Duckling, and he, Dimitri, and the Cybe head to the coordinates Brazil gave them. The spot proves to be near the edge of the rainforest surrounding Joy City, in the midst of deforested wreckage. They find a shallow grave and the body of Kara inside, her face burned off with a disruptor beam. She shows signs of mutations consistent with the virus Splice discovered on her hair strands at Gravely's hotel room. The doctor also notes that she was sexually assaulted and then beaten before finally being shot, execution style. Examining the scene for more clues, the Lasers find tracks belonging to a species of alien similar to the type Kara was turning into.
They follow the tracks and are ambushed by several Andartan jewel-spiders, a local breed of predator that stalks the floor of the jungle from perches high in tree canopies. Dimitri suffers a venomous bite and Splice is almost lifted bodily into the trees, but Stark helps to save both men with deadly accurate disruptor fire. With the last spider scared off following the demise of his two cohorts, the Regulators continue to follow the alien footprints into a jungle clearing.
The site features a crater caused by a sublight space probe which apparently fell into Andarta's jungle some time ago. There are a dozen gray skinned alien creatures who match the genetic makeup of Splice's tests, apparently locals who have been fully transformed by the virus. One of them, who calls itself "the Eldest", explains that they are now druath, a species which went extinct millenia ago as a result of some unspecified cataclysm. The last druath had concocted the virus to preserve their race and its memories, sending it aboard the probe in the hope of finding transformable sentient beings.
The Lasers identify one of the druath as formerly being Mar Gravely, the corporate exec they had been searching for. The druath ask to be left to continue their attempts to repopulate their species, but the team suggest that they instead stop their virus from spreading and then go public, offering voluntary tranformation instead. While Dimitri would prefer to help the Restreamers cult in wiping the slate clean on the corrupt pleasure world, he reluctantly goes along with Stark and Splice's scheme.
Aided by the druath (who can telepathically sense the presence of the virus in other beings), the Lasers identify and isolate the other victims. They then use Splice's discoveries to help local medical personnel slow and then halt the virus, though many victims still end up being transformed. The druath then announce their presence in carefully monitored broadcast, creating a new cult on the world. The Andartan authorities are pleased by the Laser's plan, but the Restreamers let them know that they will never forget what they perceive as a betrayal. Kevin Brazil is convicted of Kara Canal's murder, and the Loghos Corporation pays the Lasers' fee for finding Mar Gravely - albeit in a new form which no longer thinks of itself as the human businessman.
Total votes 3Will the druath be accepted by the public?
|Vote Yes; people will adjust and some will voluntarily transform themselves|
|Vote No; their virus and its horrific transformation scares the public|
|Vote No; they will not be scorned by few people will voluntarily help them repopulate|
|You must vote to see the resuts.|