THE STORY SO FAR
After yet another dangerous mission on yet another inhospitable alien planet, you lie back in the commander's seat on the deck of your space-craft and look forward to being warm und comfortable on planet Earth once again. In your beart of hearts you know that one day soon you will get the calling, that indescribable urge to explore new galaxies, discovering new planets and naming them after your favourite cartoon characters. Bot for now, you tell your commander's seat to recline to near-horizontal, call up 'Earth Sound Effects - Babbling Books IV' on the ship's hi-fi, close your eyes and think of home.
The relaxed harmonious environment of your ship is suddenly interrupted by a crackling on the speakers. The Incoming Distress Signal message is projected onto the main display screen, along with hundreds of seemingly random statistics. Suddenly the sub-ether comms link is activated...
"This is Commander Sprake of the Columbos Force Ship Pericles, on a mission to colonise the planet Phoebos. Here's the data..."
The screen in front of you fills wilh even more numbers. YouŽll analyse them later, you think In yourself.
Of course, you know all about the Columbus Force. After all, they gave you the training and experience that has kept you alive so far. They perform the most dangerous part of any colonisation procedure - the initial setting up of a base. The rewards are immense, but they work with little, if any, back-up.
You continue to listen to the disembodied voice extracted from the ether.
"We're in real trouble down here. You must help. Not for our sake - we may be dead by the time anyone picks this up - but you must stop Triax! Please read this information..."
The screen flickers. lt now shows an old news bulletin about a genetic engineer who was found to be tampering with the brains and bodies of helpless victims, tuming them into ruthless terminators. He called himself Triax. He was convicted and sent into space for punishment, destined to drift helplessy in the infinite void for the remainder of his life. You look at the date of the report. It is over a century old - surely Triax should be long dead by now. Yours thoughts are almost immediatly answered by the Commander's voice.
"He somehow managed to land here and start his experiments again. He has extended his own life - altough he looks under 40, he is actually over 150 years old."
"We didn't initially realise that anything was wrong, since he had hidden himself in the western tunnel System, beneath a seemingly impenetrable door. The planet is riddled with caves und tunnels, excavated by an ancient civilisation now reduced to some pitiful imp-like creatures. We set up base in some of the caves, away from the vicious winds on the surface."
"We dismantled a large section of the Pericles for materials, as standart procedure for colonising a new planet. lt seemed safe for us to do so, the worst things we found were some kind of giant wasps, but they usually seem to stay out of the way, close to their nests."
You shudder with revulsion - you have always hated wasps! For the first time you regret losing all of your weapons in your close escape from the Acid Creatures of Ravinox 5. Bot you will have to try to help. After all, where would humanity be wilhout having the explorers and colonists of the Colombus Force to satisfy its insatiable appetite for expansion ? And they'd pay good money too - you wouldn't need to sell your valuable personal transporter if you could rescue the Columbos Force personnel, or avenge their deaths! You listen on intently...
"We knew something was terribly wrong when our Destinator went missing, leaving us no choice but to stay and explore further. We found that the mysterious western door had opened - the entrance to Triax's domain. The screams of the doomed exploration party still seem to be echoing around this hateful place. They had our plasma gun und the latest PX312 Blaster weapon with them, bot it did them no good against the shear magnitude of Triax's evil creations."
You have heard of die PX312, but have only dreamed of possessing one. lt emits a blast of energy in all directions without effecting the user. If only you could find it, and the plasma gun too. You'd have to get through that western door first, though.
"There are terrible ereatures down there, the result of Triax's vile experimentation. His lab is very deep down. He is creating a race of maggot creatures to infest the universe. He has a giant manchine manufactoring them. You must destroy it! He most be stopped! Anyone! You most come! For pity's sake...!"
Spark's voice,up to now the unnaturally calm voice of a condemned man, seems to lose control. There are confused noises in the background, panicked voices intermingled with sporadic icer shots. Sprake barks out some futile orders in desperation, then there is a loud crashing sound, followed by a still silence. You hear the distinctive sound of a Transporter materialisation, then a new voice filled with evil und malice.
"Finally I have you, Sprake. You und your surviving crew will make fine fodder for my experiments. Humans are so much more interesting than the stupid imps und maggots I've been forced to use for the last hundred years. Come, we will now go to my laboratory."
AII thoughts of the warm and comfortable earth are now forgotten. You are heading for Phoebus...