ENTRY 247: Melikov’s Expedition
Some say the TITANs left, fled to another solar system or retreated through one of the Pandora Gates, or else went into hiding on some distant lump of spacerock or in some unfathomable cavern on Mars. Transhumanity, broken, bleeding, and exhausted from war and the rapid exodus from Earth, was in no shape to pursue en masse. Yet there was one person that understood that transhumanity would never be safe so long as the TITANs existed, and resolved to hunt them. So in the dying days of AF 1, and funded by the alliance of interests that was or would become Firewall, Petra Melikov set off to find where the TITANs had gone in three vessels: the battle cruiser Yama King, the frigate One Bad Mother, and the medical frigate Bama Cruise, with a total expedition strength of 68 transhumans. Melikov’s Expedition has not been heard from since.
Using Melikov’s Expedition
Great expeditions that vanish into the unknown are generally good for two purposes: the surprise return (which would probably herald a collective “Oh shit!” moment, since it means either Melikov succeeded and/or they’re being chased by an exsurgent fleet), or the rescue mission, where the PCs are sent off to go find out what happened to them. Firewall is like to send out periodic feelers along Melikov’s suggested routes and look into any evidence of her expedition and crew. This is an excellent setup for a follow-the-clues space jaunt in the farthest, strangest, most dangerous parts of the solar system—and possibly beyond. Of course, there’s no guarantee that Melikov succeeded, meaning her ship might be a derelict and the crew dead from some critical damage or an encounter with an exsurgent booby-trap left by the TITANs in their wake, but either way returning with proof of the expedition’s demise—or better yet, the captain’s log and blackbox—would be a considerable coup that would raise the PC’s reps considerably.
- The Zone, Mars: Firewall’s surviving records indicate that Melikov was in one of the last waves of ground troops that penetrated the Zone before the quarantine, and described an astrophysics center where she discovered a set of coordinates. These were kept secret, but are believed to have been the basis for the first leg of Melikov’s journey.
- Ursus Gammon, Neptune Trojans: This small observation post was the last station to catch sight of Melikov’s Expedition, and still contains the original logs. Review of these files shows that the expedition stopped off at one of the centaurs (dwarf planets).
- Plexus (exoplanet): Three months ago, an expedition through the Martian Gate stumbled across a campsite in the icy polar regions of a habitable planet, including several pounds of what appear to be human feces in a covered latrine pit. The campsite is on a ridge overlooking a glacier with what appears to be an alien city under a kilometer of ice. Among the scraps discovered at the campsite is a scrap of synthetic cloth that matches the uniforms used on One Bad Mother.