With three players on hand, Munk, Nonny and Dan, we returned to The Crystal Sphere, in which Challenger and Stacy find themselves aboard the USS Paris far in the future, as the science vessel explores a crystal sphere that mysteriously formed around a star system. As Lionel Stroller hadn’t yet rejoined the TARDIS crew at this time, Dan took on the role of one of the NPCs, Science Officer Angela Ferris.1
When we left the travelers, they were on an impromptu EVA to investigate a crystal lattice structure orbiting one of the inner planets of the stay system. A coruscating blue force projected from the crystalline object attacks the Paris, while a figure of the same blue energy appears to Challenger and Stacy, making telepathic contact with them to convey the message that they all needed to leave as quickly as possible.
On board the Paris, Ms. Ferris and the rest of the bridge crew encounter a similar blue energy form, albeit a much more aggressive version that makes all sorts of threats and implications of violence via its telepathic link.
After struggling to get back aboard the ship, Challenger and Stacy are briefly grilled on their EVA experience before the tactical officer detects a Draconian battle cruiser entering the crystal sphere through the hole the Paris created. A tense exchange between the two ships’ captains begins2, culminating in the Paris and its puny single mining laser beating feet out of the sphere.
Stacy feels dizzy just about then and makes her way to the head. While freshening up, she is contacted by the same telepathic voice she first encountered during the EVA. Utterly bewildered by the presence of a voice in her head, Stacy cheerfully acquiesces to its presence and desires. Challenger and Ferris, on the other hand, are nonplussed by the psychic stowaway and put Stacy through a battery of tests in sickbay, creating a scene that is somewhat disturbing with regard to the relative cruelty of medical technology of the far future.3
A struggle in the corridor outside sickbay ensues as Challenger tries to get Stacy back to his own ship, feeling confident she’d be free of the blue entity’s influence. Ferris disagrees. Strongly. While Challenger and Ferris are locked in grappling, Stacy makes off down the passageway, eventually arriving in the engine room, after a brief stop in the TARDIS to arm herself with a frying pan and anti-matter chopsticks.
The security details Ferris called up scours the ship for Stacy, finding her at the controls of the “gustave,” the ship’s impeller drive, which bears an odd resemblance to the Eiffel Tower4, where she has completed some enigmatic task for her psychic companion. Threatening the integrity of the gustave with her anti-matter chopsticks, Stacy successfully bargains free passage for herself and Challenger back to their ship in the cargo hold.
Ms. Ferris expresses uncertainty why that the stowaways would insist on cramming themselves into one of the Paris‘ cargo containers. This upgrades to bewilderment when the container emits a groaning, wheezing noise that culminates in the ship disappearing completely. Her attempt to debrief the captain doesn’t do justice to the nonsense that went on in the last half hour.
1 Thus ending the Angela Ferris curse; any time I ever prepared a game with a character named Angela Ferris, the game wouldn’t run. So I would recycle the name, being a perfectly good one that saved me having to conjure one up, and that game wouldn’t run and so on.
2 I realized as soon as the exchange began I’d fallen into yet another NPC versus NPC situation, which I could only try to resolve as quickly as possible, as there was no sensible way to involve Challenger or Stacy. In retrospect, I suppose the captain could have consulted Ms. Ferris. Did he? I can’t remember now.
3 Her player, Nonny, made some remarks about Stacy’s gerbil-sized brain that honestly made me kinda sad. I can’t remember them now, though.
4 In the future, all starships are powered by national monuments, apparently.