The Specimen from Archipelago Station is a free adventure I designed for the Cyberpunk RED TTRPG, however it is easily transferable to any modern or science fiction setting game.
The mission will take your crew to a crashed star ship on the edge of the combat zone to meet a fixer named Iron Lung, before heading into Low Earth Orbit to retrieve a material sample from the science lab of a space station. After approaching and entering the station, the players will quickly realize that something has gone wrong and that the sample they are to collect is an unknown organism that is infecting and controlling other organic systems.
With a few minor changes or additions the theme can easily lean more toward a horror setting than a simple grab and go mission. I have always had a strong belief that you should play the game and use story game aids like this one the best way that fits your game. Cherry pick, omit, move, adjust, and beat into submission any piece of the written adventure that you are unhappy with until you have something that will fit your players and your game. My only hope is that you can use this adventure or find inspiration in it that will lead to you and your friends having a fun adventure!
Shameless plug: If you have found a desire to run this adventure with your crew, you can find the space station hangar and lab battle maps on my patreon at patreon.com/rpgxnihilo or for sale here. Your support is greatly appreciated and allows for me to continue to provide fun and helpful content in an ever growing professional way. A print friendly file with an added GM cheat sheet can be downloaded here.
IRON LUNG AND THE TRANQUIL EDITH
The team through an already established contact or from a posting found on the old net, are made aware of a job.
The Edith is a crashed combat ship from the fourth corporate war on the edge of the South Night City combat zone run by the locally known fixer and former Sky Admiral, Iron Lung. While the ship is no longer capable of flight after the crash, the remaining crew were able to successfully defend and fortify the ship creating a black market outlet mall inside the remains. The ships team, now known as the Combat Zone Navy, are more of a well organized gang than soldiers and no longer have any affiliations with any corporation or government.
Once the team arrives at the ship, the semi-permanent store booths and black market goods that are being sold around the main cargo bay of the facility can act as a night market if desired. If not, you can pull the item lists from the vendits section in the CP Red source book and have each stall act as a simple item seller.
Iron Lung is often referred to simply as the Admiral. He is an older man who could be confused for an old fisherman except that he continues to follow the life of a soldier even though he is no longer enlisted. His nickname comes from the ancient cyber tech life support tubes that cut in and out of his chest and neck. Attached to the system and held in a glass pack strapped to his gut is a large accordion-like pump that whines as it pushes air into his system.
After a brief introduction with Admiral Iron Lung, he informs the crew that while the job may be simple and quick, it will take place in LEO (Low Earth Orbit) outside of the Highrider territory. Iron Lung will brief the team himself on the details of the mission
“A few days ago, we lost communication with agent Walker, who was aboard the E13 station in the LEO Archipelago system.” The heavy sound of the outdated cybernetic breathing assist system hissed as he turned to the wall activating the display screen. Secured documents marked with the Archipelago logo filled the screen followed by images of the space station.
“Then we received reports that the entire station had gone dark, and images surfaced of heavy shuttle traffic between the E13 and E6 stations.” Turning to the crew, he continued. “The E13 station was an independent analytical lab station. One of the last materials delivered to the station prior to losing our communication was an organic specimen from an asteroid mining colony designated Proto-9. I need you to retrieve a genomic sample of that material.”
Iron Lung can and will answer most of the questions the players may have, but will be hesitant to answer any questions regarding the sample that he wants them to retrieve. If pressed convincingly, or if the team seeks out any rumors around the Edith they can learn that Biotechnica is looking to purchase the genomic material and that it was the second time organic material had been discovered on the asteroid Proto-9. He will also ask the team to obtain a copy of any test data already collected on the specimen, and will offer them a 250eb bonus on top of the 1000eb for returning the sample. If the team asks about the missing informant, Iron Lung will tell them that if they find the agent, she may be useful in providing them with information regarding the sample or station, but the payout is not contingent on her safe return.
CATCHING A RIDE TO LEO
If you’re planning on running this mission as a single session, Iron Lung can provide a small transport ship to the space station from the Tranquil Edith. If you are running through the adventure quickly or looking for a longer mission the team may have to find their own way up into orbit. If you decide to have the team find their own way, it would be reasonable that a lead or two could be found amongst the people at the Edith. Because the location is a downed ship it is not uncommon to have visitors that are pilots, nomads, or space jockeys.
If you want to expand on the adventure and want some ideas, we have a few for you to consider here!
AN OPEN BAY ON STATION E13
As the team approaches the station, it is clear that the facility is not running at full power. The area around the station is devoid of any other shuttle activity. The crew can observe, or the pilot of the ship can point out, that the docking bay doors are open upon the teams approach, and that there is no movement inside the hangar.
Upon arrival inside the hangar the team will have to determine how to close the hangar airlock doors and pressurize the hangar which can be done by using the controls near the hangar bay doors or by accessing the control room. Before securing the airlock the team will need to deal with the zero gravity and vacuum inside the hangar by using space suits or controlled drones.
Floating around inside the bay are the frozen remains of a couple of the former crew members of the Station E13. One of the bodies had been shot, and the other doesn’t look to have any physical injuries. The two crew members, along with any other bodies found in the hangar or control room, are victims of being left behind by an extraction team. When describing their appearances or answering questions the players will ask, keep in mind that they should exhibit signs of struggle or having been killed by human soldiers. You can describe some of them as having packed bags with them, or other items that would indicate they were going on trip to try and give the players more clues as to what happened on the station.
If the crew found their way up to the control room while trying to close the doors, you can use the opportunity to provide them with a bit of background from the station’s computer systems. If they didn’t make their way to the control room, they can discover similar information by jacking into the station, heading for the captains quarters, or toward the bridge of the station. Otherwise, if the crew heads straight for the lab, then you can just let them jump right in and learn the context of the situation later from the missing agent Walker.
Inside the control room the computer systems are still functional but are running on emergency power systems. Looking through the internal station messages, the team discovers that a project went wrong inside the organics lab leading to the death of the on duty technicians.
Messages from the nearby E6 station reveal that the station has been evacuated and that all of the crew has been quarantined at the E6 site. In addition to the crew information, the team can discover a directory with the location of the lab.
THE CREATURES FROM THE DARK LAB
The lab where the team needs to be looks like the epicenter of the destruction.
As the crew make their way through the lab, they come across the bodies of the technician teams that died during the incident. All of the bodies have been torn and ripped like they were attacked by an animal. If examined closely the muscle and skin tissue of the bodies have what look to be dark blue worms writhing through them.
The crew may at this point may be assuming that the worms would provide the genomic sample that they need, and if they happen to jump to that conclusion they would be right. Taking a sample of the creatures would provide the material they need, but does prove difficult to extract. The worms are deceptively long, measuring around a meter in length, and they continually move toward organic material including the players themselves.
“Blood streaks run down the floor and many of the doors have been broken or destroyed. Red emergency lights fill the hallways and the sounds of the fire suppressant systems echo through the corridors every few minutes.”
Luckily for any of the players that come into contact with the worms, they are relatively slow moving. Unfortunately for any of the players that come into contact with the worms, they immediately start to bore their way into the skin. The team will need to make a strength based check to pull the creature out of any afflicted person, however the worm’s skin is covered in angled needles acting like fish hooks so the act of pulling one out does inflict pain and damage to the person.
As the crew investigate the lab, test creatures are on the loose and hungry. While the team is investigating the lab, the bones, and carcasses of dead creatures that were being kept on the ship begin to attack the team as a dark blue sinew winds through them. While the worms have already spread to the bodies of the technicians, they haven’t been dead long enough for the worms to have co-opted their bodies, however if you are looking for a greater challenge or to add to the horror theme of the mission then have the technicians attack the crew as well.
For the creatures I would suggest repurposing the Reclaimer Chief stats and using the melee weapons and attacks only. For Agent Walker you can repurpose the Netrunner for an easier fight, or the Cyber Psycho for a more difficult encounter. All characters are on pages 412-416 of the Cyberpunk RED core rulebook.
FINDING THE SPY AND THE PROTO-9 SPECIMEN
After dealing with or avoiding the lab creatures, the team can find their way to the organics lab where there are multiple tables with different materials spread across them. At the end of each table are the analytical systems that the technicians use for their analysis, and by accessing one of them the team determines that the blue worms were pulled from the Proto-9 sample.
On the table is the sample that looks like a large piece of charcoal that has been broken apart with blue veins running through the structure. The material in the rock is easy to acquire and if the creatures inside the rock are alive, they are dormant and not reactive to being collected.
The team can use any of the computers in the lab to grab the test data that has already been collected from the sample, or if the team finds their way into the offices near the lab, then they can collect hard copies from the filing cabinets.
As the team moves to make their exit from the station, they run into a sole survivor wandering the hallways.
“The woman’s lab coat is torn and covered in blood, her lips are cracked and skin is dry, and the veins in her exposed arm are dark and pulsating.”
As the players approach her or speak to her, she will tell them that her name is Rosalyn Walker, and she will confirm any questions that she is the source who was feeding Iron Lung information about the station. If asked about the Proto-9 sample, she can inform the crew that it was thought to be a rock piece from the asteroid but was determined to actually be organic material in a strange form of fossilization.
Once the material was subjected to a cold hydrogen liquid, the organic material began to respond and dug its way into her and the rest of the organics around the lab. She will tell them that it wasn’t the material that killed the other technicians, but it was actually the resurrected carcasses and the security team that killed the staff.
Walker will try to convince the team to help her evacuate the facility and get back to the Tranquil Edith. If the team decides to take her back to the Edith, then you can have Iron Lung provide the team with a reward, but be careful about providing the players with additional eddies as the mission could end up overpaying the crew. Other rewards could include a discounted place to crash during the team’s downtime, access to an upcoming night market, or an introduction to another fixer which can be used to set up your next adventure.
If the team decides not to help Walker off the ship, then she will attempt to attack the team in a fit of rage. If you don’t want the team to get into another fight or are running short on time, you can have Walker weak and easy to force around because of the impact that the worms are having on her body. However if you are looking to raise the stakes or amp up the threat you can have her altered stat increase her strength and make for a challenging combat when in close quarters. As an additional threat, she would have access to all of the rooms and knowledge of the volatile substances that are in the labs.
BETWEEN A ROCK AND AN IRON LUNG
As the adventure comes to a conclusion and the crew make their way back into the atmosphere they will need to determine if they plan on handing off the sample to Iron Lung. As a man of his word, and with his fixer reputation on the line, he will honor any agreement that he has made with the crew.
The sample, Iron Lung, and the Tranquil Edith can all be used to set up your next adventure hook, or remain in the background of your story to bring up later if you desire.
Specimen from Archipelago Station is unofficial content provided under the Homebrew Content Policy of R. Talsorian Games and is not approved or endorsed by RTG. This content references materials that are the property of R. Talsorian Games and its licensees.