⭗ REDIRECTIONS IV ⭗
⭗ PICARDO STATION ⭗
From the ground, Picardo Station appears as a star, one that moves fast across the heavens, glinting and shining like a gem.
If it were the only one of its kind, then it might be seen as an omen, a god or a distant friend to some, but it is one of many such fast-moving stars, and so it mostly goes unregarded by those who have never left the surface of the planet.
To those few who do cross into the stars, either by rocket, astral travel or by some other means, Picardo Station may hold some interest. Built by some stripe of post-nuclear humans thousands of years ago, Picardo Station has been many things. To its first inhabitants, it was a mining operation built into a sizable asteroid captured and shoved into a synchronous orbit. Later, as the political climate of the world below changed, it became a monitoring station, a place of spying and planning movements for war. When the last desperate war ended and the few survivors of those collapsing nations departed for the stars, Picardo Station became an ark. Generations upon generations hollowed out this place, fighting and loving and building and dying until some strange twist of events left the place abandoned. How and why it remains empty is up to you. Of course, visitors to this relic from another time will know nothing about the history of this place. They will have to explore it themselves to learn who lived here, why and when, and where they went.
Picardo Station is composed of several layers with unique features that your players may encounter as they explore. These features are listed in order of depth, meaning that explorers will often move down the list as they move deeper into a given layer.
⭗ THE ARK LAYER ⭗
The Ark Layer is the outermost layer, and the most recent one, composed primarily of the living quarters, laboratories and converted monitoring stations built out around the original docking facility. Most of the Ark Layer is built from the remains of large starships that were scrapped to make clusters of residential units for those who once called Picardo Station home. In the Ark Layer, you will find:
Receiving: Picardo Station has three docking bays, one of which has been shattered and vented due to the crash of a freighter that made an inelegant entry. The shattered docking bay has no atmosphere, and small shining chunks of wreckage float in the zero gravity environment. The rest of the station can be accessed from this bay with a simple electronics override on the airlock at the far end.
The two functional bays are a different matter entirely. They are equipped with four ancient laser turrets that lock on the instant anything bigger than a football gets close and warm up their batteries. Whether or not they can still fire is up to you.
Inside the functional bays are state-of-the-art refueling systems, unattended crates of cargo (smartplastic ingots and water mostly) and security check-in stations that you can walk right on through since they are no longer manned. The stations cannot grant any kind of security clearance, but they do list all of the comings and goings for the last year, (of which there are none, probably.)
Residential: Most of the Ark Layer of Picardo station is beds and cubicles. The oldest parts of the residential areas (near the elevators to the Tactical Layer) are the most expansive, with rooms that allow a few hundred square feet per resident, but as living situations got more desperate and the station became more crowded, new arrivals had to make due with less. The newest and shinest parts of residential are packed with bunkbeds and trash, with graffiti-covered motivational posters and strange dark stains. At least the plumbing and electrics all still work! Well, mostly.
The Market: After the mass exodus from the planet below, a civilian counsel was formed and they started looking into ways to boost morale. One of the ideas was to clear an area of office cubicles to create a kind of park where market stalls could be rented out to those who wanted to sell or trade what little they had. Most of The Market is overgrown with vines now, cramped and dark. It looks like at least one riot unfolded here, and all of the perishable goods in the festively-lit stalls have rotted away to nothing.
Medical: Medical is completely overgrown with plantlife and vines. The core of Medical is a surgical bay with laboratories and patient rooms built onto it, but most of the valuable medicines and tools have been looted while everything else has been left for nature to claim. Deep within one of the most overgrown rooms, the vine-wrapped corpse of a general has an all-levels security pass on him.
Hydroponics: This is the source of all of the plant life steadily spreading through the Ark Layer, and explorers will have to hack their way through thick vines and brambles just to get near it. The interior of Hydroponics is so overgrown that it is nearly impassible, but tiny pockets of water and air exist that are packed with ripe fruits just begging to be picked and eaten.
Transfer Station: A grungy recycling center exists at the very heart of the Ark Layer. On this end, it is mostly just a processing station packed with trash, but narrow chutes that bypass the Tactical Layer and go straight to the Smelter on the Mining Layer do exist. An ominous heat rises up from them, but they can be traversed, especially by those who are proficient with a cutting torch, possess climbing equipment and don’t mind shimmying through cramped spaces. The smelter itself is still hot, so anything that falls all the way down the chutes will instantly be incinerated.
⭗ THE TACTICAL LAYER ⭗
The Tactical Layer is only accessible by a pair of locked elevators in a couple of immaculate cubicle farms at either end of Residential. These elevators scan occupants for access clearance before they even open their doors, so obtaining a keycard from somewhere on the Ark Layer is required if any explorers wish to pass through. Those who try to circumvent this trip the silent security systems, triggering a pair of heavily armed and armored security bots to deploy where the elevator doors open out into the Security section of the Tactical Layer. Once the explorers make their way into this layer, they may find:
Security: Station security (including monitoring stations that keep an eye on every corner of the station) is clustered around the secure elevators. If the explorers have avoided tripping any alarms, the area will be quiet and empty. At least a dozen terrifying security robots crouch in alcoves throughout the area, waiting for an alarm to activate them. If even one alarm goes off, they will all activate and start patrolling, shooting any humanoid creature who does not have an all-levels access security pass on them. One person with such a pass can use it to grant access to any rooms for anyone traveling with them, and there is a machine in the heart of this section that can make more passes, if everything needed for authorization is in order. Some of the camera feeds have been blacked out or spraypainted over, creating ominous dead zones that will have to be investigated in person.
Armory: All of the doors are open and all of the cool weapons have been removed. A thorough search might turn up some ammunition missed in the frantic rush of whatever happened that required all of these weapons to be handed out, but you’re more likely to find bulbous, one-shot stun-pistols and pepper-spray shotgun shells than anything else here. There are also enough armored, folding barricades built into the walls here to make it a great place for a last stand against pirates, security robots or anything else.
Filing: Even in space, it seems that bureaucracy runs on paperwork. This whole section is packed with dusty file cabinets full of papers and consoles for accessing digital records. A timid digital intelligence flits between mainframes here, curious about anyone who might come poking around, but it is also terrified of being deleted. If a mechanic figures out a way to set the digital intelligence free (and/or give it a body) it can make a very useful traveling companion with some impressive mental statistics. It may offer some clues about what went wrong here, but it doesn’t know for certain. The papers are mostly vital statistics, including birth records, death records and marriage certificates.
Laboratories: When the Ark Layer was built and civilians were brought to the station, the laboratories on the Tactical Layer were decommissioned and sealed, many right in the middle of research. All that remains now are several huge, open, hangar-like structures with rows upon rows of sealed, glass-walled working spaces. Inside each one is a table set with the tools and leavings of an experiment in progress, now all wrapped in airtight plastic. There are a lot of microscopes, computers and other technological tools here, but most of this area was used for biological weapons research, so some of the glass-walled working spaces are quite dangerous to open.
Warhead Storage: When the Tactical Layer was the outermost layer of Picardo Station, it was packed with missile silos. Most of these missiles were massive, interplanetary thermonuclear weapons, but some were modified for other payloads, including those with biological and chemical warfare in mind. Most of these missiles have since been fired or recycled, but there are still dozens of sealed areas in the Tactical Layer where some remain stored. All of these areas are compartments sealed with the highest level of security protocols. Roll to determine contents of a given sealed compartment:
3. Thermonuclear warheads (and dangerous radiation.)
4. Biological warheads (and dangerous biohazard elements.)
5. Chemical warheads (instantly ignites like a fuel-air bomb when unsealed.)
6. Packed with skeletons.
The Pit: At one point, long before the Ark Layer was even a twinkle in a collapsing civilization’s fever dreams, The Pit was the top-most point of Picardo Station. Built like a dome, The Pit is the heart of Tactical and still has enough consoles and systems access points in it that it can serve as a point of operations for controlling all of the functions and security systems of the entire station. As the station built outward, most of the core functions became decentralized, but The Pit is the dome that can rule them all with only a little tinkering. Off to one side of The Pit is an ancient freight elevator that must be called up from somewhere much deeper in the station.
⭗ THE MINING LAYER ⭗
The Mining Layer is the oldest and grungiest layer of Picardo Station. It is only accessible by the original freight elevator which connects The Pit in the Tactical Layer to Old Operations in the Mining Layer. There are no security protocols to separate the two layers (Tactical was using Mining for a while and needed easy access between the two layers) but the freight elevator is very old and unreliable. It may only scare explorers as it descends, creaking and stalling out, then starting again, or it may have a much more dramatic failure. Once the explorers make their way into the Mining Layer, they may find:
Old Operations: Now more of an extension of The Pit above it, Old Operations was the control hub of the original mining facility. Most of the control consoles have been removed and reinstalled in The Pit, but some tinkering can open access to some critical functions (like air and water ) here. A careful eye will also discover that there are navigation screens here that indicate the asteroid may have been flown into orbit from its original captured point. There may still yet be a way to fly the asteroid elsewhere, if the right conditions are met.
Smelter: More of a recycling facility, the Smelter is a massive automated factory full of robot arms eager for instructions that have never come. The incinerator at the core of it all burns hot enough to make anyone sweat. Half-sorted trash sits in bins everywhere, and there are remains of some kind of shootout among the bins, including half-emptied exotic firearms and lightly used armor jackets, helmets and boots. With the right maintenance and instructions from The Pit, the Smelter can be instructed to turn recyclables into just about anything requested. The items must be requested verbally, by name, in the language of the station, and from specific consoles with specific security authorizations, so getting an army’s worth of ray guns or enough food to feed a planet might be difficult.
Reactor: Powering the entire station is the great pulsing reactor that was built as part of the initial capturing and mining process. The reactor is post-singularity technology, contains a tiny, captured neutron star, and is designed to provide virtually limitless clean energy with zero outside maintenance for billions of years. Every function of the reactor is self-maintaining, and even resists sabotage, going so far as to unleash targeted waves of deadly radiation to liquefy anyone who dares to try to attack it. The reactor is not designed to go offline, and if it ever does, the whole station will implode into a single dust mote of incredible mass in an instant.
Thruster Control: In a tiny, glass-fronted room that looks down on the Reactor are the plastic-wrapped consoles and control assemblies for the rocket thrusters that pushed the asteroid into orbit long ago. Everything has been powered down and locked up for centuries, collecting a thick layer of ice and dust. With some patience and some tinkering, the thrusters can be warmed up and the entire asteroid can be flown, but as a ship, it is slow and ungainly. The newest layers of Picardo Station were not designed for the pressures of flight, so if too much thrust is applied, structural alarms will start to sound and windows on the Ark Layer will start to crack, depressurizing large sections of the grungiest parts of Residential first, then proceeding out and down from there.
The Glassy Tunnels: Honeycombing through the asteroid are a network of glassy-walled tunnels where miners with laser harvesters cut everything valuable they could find out of the great rock over the course of thousands of years. There are strange dens full of trash tucked away in here, as well as skeletons in pressure suits, the traces of firefights, and who knows what else. This was clearly both the first and the last place on the station that was inhabited by anyone, or anything.
The Obelisk: Deep in the core of the asteroid, in the center of a huge glassy chamber studded with tunnel openings stands a massive black obelisk with a pyramidal top. The material can’t even be scratched by weapons, and close inspection will reveal a strange, flowing script cut into every surface. Of course, seeing (or worse, trying to read the script) makes more of it visible to the reader. Eventually, it starts to glow green, but only to those reading it. Strange and terrifying dreams follow, along with the understanding of how to build something, but no clear indications of what the true purpose of that something is.
⭗ WHAT ARE REDIRECTIONS? ⭗
My goal with REDIRECTIONS is to add my own contribution to the Psychedelic / Heavy Metal / Ligne Claire art RPG space. Much in the way that people inspired by Tolkien’s style helped give birth to the modern genre of High Fantasy, the style of Jean “Moebius” Giraud (and others like him) seems to be spawning a sort of genre of its own right now, and I want to expose more people to the wonders of it. I want to share it. I want to be a part of it. Most of all, I want it to grow.
REDIRECTIONS is a collection of wondrous places for your RPG characters to visit and explore. Each place is unique, with a bevy of interesting stories, plot hooks and characters to color your experience. What system you choose to use for your sessions and how your players get to these places is entirely up to you. If you like these posts and find them useful, let me know! All art is generated on Stable Diffusion or Wombo because I can’t draw anything better than stick figures, so consider them homages to the genre. This is a series, and each entry is numbered. If you like things like this, please support the true artists whose works are part of the genre, such as the works of Moebius, Luka Rejec's Ultraviolet Grasslands, Luke Gearing's Acid Death Fantasy and Raw Fury's game SABLE.