In starlit nights I saw you
So cruelly you kissed me
Your lips a magic world
Your sky all hung with jewels
The killing moon
Will come too soon


Our heroes have returned to Coriolis station after breaking Samina’s Corsairs at the Rockhome 3 mining colony. Now they have a mystery to explore – in a previous adventure they learnt of an archaeological dig on Kua that was attacked by some kind of force from the Dark Between the Stars, and they wished to go and explore the dig site, to see if they could recover the artifacts that the fleeing archaeologists had abandoned.

The cast for this session:

  • Gunner Adam (Soldier)
  • Oliver Greenstar (Colonist)
  • Engineer Reiko Ando (Deckhand)
  • Pilot Saqr Geroushi (Pilot)
  • Captain Al Hamra (Mystic)
  • Ship’s Doctor Banu Delecta (Medicurg)

They knew the coordinates of the dig but they were not sure of who else might be there or what the situation was on the surface of Kua so they first decided to do some research on the location, on other archaeologists active in the area, and on the statuette that they had lost to the Draconites. Doctor Banu Delecta knew an old friend from medical school who had married a rich benefactor of the Infoteca, so she pulled some strings to get them into the library. Once there they separated, and spent a few days investigating the background of the dig and its contents.

The statuette and their Nemesis

Saqr and Banu investigated the statuette itself, digging through old books and video memories until somewhere in the back of the library Saqr found a strange headset that could be used to upload mystical impressions, which would then be searched through an extensive and mysterious library of recorded impressions. This strange technology from the Portal Builders matched his impressions from when he held the statuette to a series of obscure poems from a long lost nomad prophet. This prophet had been studied by an archaeologist called Shahr Bhaga, who had recorded details in the marginalia of one of his early notebooks that described a statue very similar in form to that which Saqr had held. This statuette, so old it had no name, was said to be able to store any memory that the holder projected into it – and could recall that memory at any time in the future, perfectly vividly. Shahr Bhaga speculated that this statuette must use a technology similar to that of the fabled Spirit Ray, a legendary artifact of the portal builders that was rumoured to steal souls and store them in its dimensionless memory banks. This piqued everyone’s interest – could that mysterious and storied gun be hidden in the dig? And what would be protecting such a monstrous device …?

While Saqr and Banu chased ghosts through the dusty depths of the poetry section Reiko and Al Hamra dug up information on the dig site itself. They confirmed that there was no official record of a dig being conducted at the coordinates they had been given, which seemed to correspond to a network of tunnels under a large rock that rose out of the Kuan jungle like a plateau. However, they did discover that their nemesis, Dr. Wana, was running a dig nearby, at an old collection of ruins by a river that flowed east of the plateau. They could find no evidence that she had interfered in the dig under the plateau, but she was renowned for her unorthodox and sometimes unethical methods – had she done something to disrupt the dig, or laid a trap of sometime? Could she control darkmorphs, or summon them!? Surely not …

The rest of the area appeared to be a slightly fraught environment. There was a small encampment of Sogoi, the Firstcome people who lived in relatively primitive conditions in the jungles of Kua, and nearby also was a small logging settlement. Reiko Ando intercepted a fragment of a colonial agency report that suggested there was growing tension in the area between the Sogoi and the Zenithian intruders, who they accused of stirring up the spirits of the dead. Everyone guessed it would surely be typical of Dr. Wana to dig up some ancient evil, but somehow misdirect it to kill the innocent labourers on a nearby dig site. They would have to proceed carefully…

The Kuan Swamps

They decided to take a quiet approach to the site, so they did not take the Beast of Burden to the surface. Instead they took its small shuttle, loaded with two grav bikes, a grav crawler and camping supplies, and flew load and as stealthily as their shuttle would allow, passing over the forest and landing on the eastern bank of the river, on the far side of the river from the plateau where the abandoned dig lay. They set the shuttle down on a wide stretch of sandy beach on the edge of a clear lake. A river flowed into the lake from the north, and on the southern side the lake tumbled over a narrow waterfall into a lower valley, where the loggers’ camp was built. To the east of the sandy beach was a narrow line of trees and then broken land that formed into a wide, long swamp. They set up an awning on the edge of the shuttle, laid out their supplies, and rested until evening. It was incredibly hot during the afternoon and intensely humid, so that just setting up camp and exploring the perimeter of the beach left them completely exhausted. They rested for an hour and then, when the sun was low on the horizon, set off on their grav vehicles for the Sogoi village, which lay on the eastern side of the swamp.

The Sogoi village was a small collection of mud huts, surrounded by a low stockade. The Sogoi were poor, with no sign that they had benefited from any of the business being conducted on their land. When the PCs landed their grav bikes they were approached by a small group of young men and women, carrying spears and bows, and led by an older, solid-looking warrior man and a very old, grey-haired woman. These two were obviously the leaders of the group: He was called Kubu-Ghan and she was the shaman, Ixra. The conversation went poorly until they handed over two vulcan pistols and a small amount of ammunition to Kubu-Ghan, at which point he became much more voluble. He told them that yes the archaeologists and loggers were definitely riling up the spirits of ancestors, and defiling their territory, and though they had asked repeatedly for them to stop, and tried to negotiate with them, their wishes were ignored. They indicated that they would be very happy to receive help in driving the archaeologists off the land. The PCs suggested they would help, but first wanted to explore the area, and left the Sogoi as night approached.


Uncertain of how safe they would be in this tense wilderness, they decided to set a watch on the camp, and as night fell it was Al Hamra and Oliver Greenstar who took the first watch. They noticed some strange lights hanging over the swamp just out of sight, lights which Oliver dismissed as perhaps the lamps of Sogoi swamp harvesters, or some strange gas phenomenon over the swamp; Al Hamra, however, heard a strange and alluring music, and enchanted by the lights headed out to find them. Oliver barely noticed him until it was almost too late, when two crocodiles emerged from the still waters of the swamp to ambush Al Hamra as he stumbled heedlessly past them. Calling the others, Oliver raced forward, noticing as he did so that the lights drew together around Al Hamra and began to intensify. Saqr zipped past him on a grav bike, while Adam and Delecta and Reiko charged along behind. Al Hamra woke from his strange dream when the crocodiles attacked him, confused and bruised and looking up into strange, flickering blue lights that hung all around him, forming into pale, luminous faces in the dark that stretched incorporeal greedy mouths towards him, and smacked their lips in soundless joy as the crocodiles bashed into him.

Djanna! He had been lured into the swamp by those strange corpse lights, which would wait for him to die and then manifest to drain sustenance from his dying fears. He could not strike such formless beasts, but he could fight the crocodiles, which he tried to do as Saqr raced towards him on the grav bike. Vulcan bullets zipped past him in the dark as the rest of the group tried to drive the crocodiles away, and a moment later he was able to haul himself, badly mauled, onto Saqr’s bike, firing down at one of the crocodiles with his accelerator pistol as he did. Saqr wheeled around and away while the others fired at the crocodiles. Their meal lost, the serpents slid back into the forest and with a final ripple of disappointed fire the djanna winked out of existence.

They returned to the camp, where Delecta treated Al Hamra’s wounds. They had survived their first evening in the jungles of Kua – but would every night be like this? They settled down to dream unsettled dreams and wait for the suffocating heat of morning.