Serenity: Those Who Stare into the Black....

Game 10: Pieces of a Puzzle

The crew finds clues as to *how* and starts searching for the *why*.

Sunday, 01 Oct 2519
Mid-bulk freighter, Space Otter
New Melbourne, Red Sun (Zhu Que) system
2330 hrs, local time



The Feds have left with the bodies and have delivered an injunction not to leave town in case they need to question us further.

Fine.

After they’re gone, we finalize the cleaning up and start looking for how we were so thoroughly compromised. We split up in teams. Xiu cleans the air vent of gore with Oksana’s help. Verity inspects the ship from top to bottom, bow to stern, with Allyne’s help.

After two and a half hours, the results (so far) are in:

Verity:

  • She finds a couple of backdoors into our system
  • Our nav system is also screwed, such that we’d end up stranded in deep space even though it appears we’re on course. Further attempts to correct course would make things worse.
  • The hacks had been installed sometime in the past 48 hours
  • If we attempt to reinstall our system using our last backup from the prior 72 hour mark, the hacks will fry us.

Xiu:

  • Our engine’s been sabotaged, such that we’d explode if we started up

We’ll need to make repairs. Xiu writes up a repairs list for Allyne.

We speculate why anyone would do all this work on our ship. Are we supposed to be unwitting mules for something illicit? There is nothing we can do about it right this minute. We table the discussion for the morrow. It’s 0300 hours and we need sleep. We’ll tackle the problem when we wake up.


Monday, 02 Oct 2519
1000 hrs, local time

It’s midmorning and once rested and fed, the crew gets back to work. Xiu gets busy with the repairs while Allyne goes over our surveillance systems, trying to spot the holes in our coverage that allowed Lissa to exfiltrate without being seen.

Oksana decides to inventory everything in the med bay in case something illicit has been added to our supplies, or to detect if anything’s been stolen for their street value. After all, she was attacked in med bay. Someone was in there doing something when she’d interrupted them.

Verity lends Oksana a hand.

Oksana finds nothing missing or anything added to our medical stores but Verity finds something added to our medical imaging equipment. It turns out that the foreign module was the insertion port for the viruses/malware that got installed on our ship. Verity works her tech mojo and determines that while the code was likely installed in the past 12 hours, the module itself may have been installed earlier than that.

When?

Well, Oksana points out that we’ve been boarded and inspected by strangers twice since leaving Kaleidoscope. For all we know, the damned thing could have been installed during the first inspection at Harvest.

Oksana takes samples of the dust she’s found on the device, comparing it to known samples from our hardware to rule out it being cobbled from our own stores, and then compares it to known environmental trace evidence found on other worlds. She’s hampered by the fact that we have no Cortex access and our own ship’s records give her nothing conclusive.

So in the immediate, that avenue of inquiry is a bust.

Verity suspects that the device might affect more than just our imaging system in med bay. Rather, it might have affected our entire ship. Like … the surveillance system, maybe?

At the point, Allyne returns with the parts he’s been able to find and also surprises the crew with a present: everyone is given a new set of ballistic mesh armor, tops and bottoms. And thanks to our personnel med records, Allyne had gotten everyone’s measurements exactly.

Such a thoughtful gift. Thanks, Captain.

No seriously. It’s a thoughtful gift. We seem to be getting shot at much more often and the ultra thin flexible armor is lightweight and can be worn under a wide range of clothing.

We tell our Captain what we’ve found in med bay and he gets right on the surveillance system. He finds evidence to support Verity’s suspicion: our surveillance system HAS been hacked by the foreign hardware/software, such that it actually doctored images in real time, using our own med imaging system’s buffer to hide the fact.

Thinking that the possibility that this has been in place since Harvest, we decide to write up our findings and send it on to Malcolm Reynolds in case he’s been hit by the same nasty combination. We ask him to let us know if he’s been affected, so we can tell others what’s happened.

Oksana decides she needs to hit up an internet café for the Cortex so she can research the local and current events. Perhaps she can find out of this is getting reported by others. The crew splits up to their various tasks, owners of pieces of a puzzle and with no idea what picture they are supposed to represent.




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