Jaya Hendricks And The Icy Hell Moon (Solo With Anthropic's Claude)

I was so impressed with Anthropic's Claude AI as a solo RPG referee that I had to try it again. This time, I modified my go-to prompt to try to make the game less frenetic. In my experience, Claude tends to hammer me with twists while ChatGPT plods along procedurally unless you constantly goad it.

I'm still working on refining the perfect prompt (if such a thing exists) but I was satisfied with how this one came together.

It's also interesting to me how quickly and often Claude seems to try to push me into ending the session after a handful of replies. Maybe it's just a fluke, something caused by it referencing its own data, or maybe it's a way to try to minimize usage. It could also just be a way to push the tension, but if that's the case, then it gets a little old with the whole "oh no! Is this the end?" element being used so often. It does seem to have the same issue that Bard has of telling a big huge story instead of prompting the user for actions, but at least the story it tells is more exciting than the one Bard tells.

Speaking of "minimizing usage," I hit a nasty limiter while playing that unexpectedly locked me out of the system for 2 hours. Apparently Claude has a daily message limit that resets at 2pm (my time) and there's no way to know exactly what that message limit is, as it is determined internally by demand on the system from all users. Of course, with the $20/month version, you get 5x more play time, but that doesn't seem like a good deal to me given how short this was. Delicious and fun, but short for sure.

Anyway, this session ends when I ran out of response credits, partly because it was a decent place to end, and partly because I didn't feel like waiting for the limiter to drop off and let me play again. Maybe it's a good thing Claude gives longer replies rather than shorter ones. I can imagine blowing through the reply limit at an unsatisfying speed if it refereed more like a human.

As always, images were generated with Bing.

Anyway, here's the transcript:

Me: Hello Claude, please create for me a detailed original setting for an RPG game which is based on a hard sci-fi alien moon in the far future. The setting should revolve around survival, suspense and scary, body-horror elements. Additionally, please take inspiration from the film Alien and associated media, Firefly, Outland, the zombie apocalypse genre of fiction and the film The Thing. The setting should center around a single character who has crash landed her starship on this alien moon.

Here is an original science fiction setting for a survival-based game with horror elements, inspired by the sources you mentioned:

The year is 2463. Captain Jaya Hendricks is the sole survivor after her small transport starship crash lands on a remote, icy moon in an uncharted star system. Awakening alone in her escape pod amidst the fiery wreckage, Jaya takes stock of her limited supplies—a rebreather mask with 6 hours of air, a medkit, a locator beacon, heat foil blanket, and a sidearm with one clip. She activates her locator beacon, though with communications down, odds of imminent rescue are slim.

This moon, designated RT-89 by initial scans, has a barely breathable atmosphere toxic to human physiology long-term. It orbits a ringed gas giant casting an eerie reddish glow from the sky. Though RT-89’s terrain is predominantly frozen hydrocarbon glaciers, thermal imaging suggests a vast subsurface ocean underneath, heated by tidal flexing. Extremophile bacteria detected in the thick ice give evidence of a possible simple native biosphere.

As Jaya makes her way across the treacherous icy plains towards a faint energy reading, perhaps from a derelict shelter or base, the dangers of RT-89 slowly reveal themselves. Strange bony fragments from unidentified alien organisms litter her path, snarls and shrieks of unknowable creatures echoing in the distance. Dark cave-like openings in the moon’s crust lead to cramped tunnels winding deep underground—the icy nucleus hiding what secrets, Jaya dares not imagine.

Jaya’s breath mask filters protect against the toxic atmosphere for now, but her oxygen is running low. Strange new health issues crop up—rashes, numbness in her extremities, and intermittent pain racking her body. Jaya fears spores or microbes in the air beginning to affect her on a biological level, with parasitic infections taking root from which she has no remedy beyond the limited medicines in her medkit. Survival hinges on making comm contact or escape before the poison fully spreads...

Time is short to solve the riddles of RT-89, signal for help, and confront the horrors lurking beneath the surface which may soon emerge to hunt her. Jaya readies her sidearm and presses on, hoping her training and wits will be enough to survive until rescue comes. The mysteries of this frozen hell-moon may reveal interplanetary horrors beyond imagining...but Jaya intends to live to tell the tale.


1. I'd like you to be the referee for a solo roleplaying game using the above setting where my character is Captain Jaya Hendricks.

2. Please be concise in your responses as we play.

3. Additionally, for each truly challenging action I attempt to make in this game, I would like you to roll a 4-sided die to determine success or failure of that action. On a result of 1, the action fails and something bad happens that makes the situation more perilous. On a result of 2, the action succeeds, but something bad also happens that makes the situation more perilous. On a result of 3, the action succeeds, but only barely. On a result of 4, the action succeeds spectacularly, with additional unexpected positive results.


Understood. I will referee our solo roleplaying game in the icy hell-moon setting, playing the role of Jaya Hendricks as you guide her actions and decisions. My responses will be concise to keep the story moving.

When you attempt a challenging action for Jaya, I will roll a 4-sided die to determine success or failure per your specifications:

1 - Fails, situation becomes more perilous

2 - Succeeds, but situation also becomes more perilous

3 - Barely succeeds

4 - Succeeds spectacularly with unexpected positive results

Let us begin. makes dramatic sci-fi intro gestures Captain Jaya Hendricks awakens in her escape pod amidst the flaming wreckage of her crashed starship on the frozen moon RT-89... I await your first actions and decisions as Jaya. The toxic atmosphere and strange cries in the distance do not bode well the longer she lingers out in the open!

Me: Before I act, tell me about the escape pod and tell me what Captain Jaya Hendricks looks like.


Of course, some additional scene setting first.

Jaya's small spherical escape pod lies slightly cracked open amid flaming debris from the crashed starship. Its interior padded seating and instrument panels are disheveled from the rough landing. Outside the small porthole you see only dark icy terrain and a reddish glow along the horizon.

Jaya herself is a tall, muscular woman in her late 30s, with short brown hair and steely grey eyes that convey determination and grit. Blood trickles from her temple where she struck her head during the violent descent to the moon's surface. Her flight suit is nominally intact though singed in places. The rebreather mask and portable oxygen tank for walking outside the pod are close at hand.

She shakes off the crash daze and steels herself for the first steps of survival on this dangerous frozen moon. Her pod systems are dead but she hopes emergency comms or tracking may still be working if she can reach shelter and power.

Outside the cries echo again, strange and menacing as Jaya awaits your command...

Me: What do I have at hand besides the rebreather and the oxy tank? A locator beacon, heat foil blanket, and a sidearm with one clip?


Yes, in addition to her rebreather mask and small portable oxygen tanks for outside the pod, Jaya also has:

-Locator beacon - can transmit emergency signals to potential rescuers

-Heat foil blanket - reflects body heat to retain warmth

-A laser pistol sidearm with one charge clip - minimal but better than nothing for defense

And of course the flight suit she is wearing and her rugged boots. Other small personal effects like an ID badge and wrist display for checking oxygen levels and environment readings.

With ice and danger all around, even these scant supplies may prove vital. The locator and weapon offer some sense of security though much is uncertain on this frozen hell-moon...

What shall Jaya prioritize doing first? Time is of the essence with that toxic atmosphere and cries in the distance promising possible threats ahead.

Me: I'm going to put on my rebreather. How bad is it outside? Can I gauge the temperature and breatheability without instruments and without putting myself at risk?

makes die rolling motion 

Risk gauging environment outside pod without protection...

die rolls a 3 - barely succeeds

Leaning out the cracked pod hatch, Jaya inhales sharply and immediately feels the burning sting in her lungs - the atmosphere is not oxygen-rich and contains toxic compounds. Through the tears in her eyes from the brief exposure, she glimpses the icy terrain - jagged black rocks and fields of ice under a dark reddish sky.

Temperature reading comes back on her suit display as she ducks back inside gagging and catching her breath... -75°F (-60°C). Deathly cold, but her suit and equipment should provide some protection.

The cries in the distance snap her alert again. Whatever native creatures lurk out there, she won't last long against them without gear. The rebreather hisses softly as she secures it over her mouth and nose, filtering out the toxins. She toggles her suit heater to maximum as the icy wind whistles through the cracks...

shivers dramatically Just barely survived that peek outside but now Jaya has critical environmental data. The terrain is bleak and dangerously cold. But with her mask filtering the atmosphere and suit heater on, she may have a chance of reaching shelter before oxygen runs out. Where to first in this icy hell?

Me: I'll gather up my stuff and quietly step outside. What do I see as I look around? Anything promising?

makes die rolling motion once more 

Stepping outside escape pod onto frozen moon surface...

die rolls a 4 - succeeds spectacularly!

Jaya seals her mask, toggles the locator beacon to transmit distress signals, shrugs on the heat foil blanket and rearms her pistol sidearm. Gingerly she steps out onto the icy rocks, the howling wind immediately numbing her extremities. Through the blowing snow and wreck flames she spots several promising features:

20 meters north - the jagged ridge of a cliff face with what appear to be cave openings etched into the dark rock. Potential shelter if depths can be safely navigated.

100 meters east - flickering lights and mechanical debris strewn about, possibly an impacted supply module from the ship if she's fortunate. Could contain extra gear, oxygen reserves, or functioning comms equipment.

And 500 meters south...Jaya blinks twice to ensure the hypothermia isn't making her hallucinate already. But no - through the gloom shuffle three hunched quadrupedal shapes. Their eyes reflecting the fires as they cautiously circle both the wreck and her position. Native beasts...hunting survivors or scavenging the debris? Their numbers suggest a pack and she has only one clip for her pistol...

Uttering a silent prayer of thanks to the lucky die roll, Jaya weighs whether to seek cover in the caves, investigate potential supplies, or stand her ground as the circling creatures close in...the choice is hers!

Me: I'm headed for the flickering lights and mechanical debris, but I'm keeping my eyes on the native beasts, just in case.

makes die rolling motion for investigating debris while watching beasts

die rolls a 1 - fails with perils!

Jaya moves swiftly towards the potentially vital supply cache and ship debris flickering 100 meters to the east. But the biting winds and unfamiliar terrain in bulky gear soon have her stumbling. She hits an icy patch and ends up sprawled face down, her breath knocked from her for precious seconds. Gasping back to alertness she glances back and now counts 5 of the quadrupedal hunters loping directly for her position!

Struggling back to her feet, Jaya raises her pistol and squeezes off a burst of shots to slow their advance, but her numbed fingers and the swirling snow make aiming difficult. One creature cries out - a strangely metallic shriek rather than organic - but the rest are nearly upon her! She spots what resembles an exhaust vent among the debris... if she can scramble inside while sealing the narrow opening, the creatures may lose her trail. A desperate gambit, but her best chance if that swarm of fanged mouths and talons closes the last few meters! The vent cover hangs invitingly loose...but Jaya must choose whether to dive for possible safety while losing a chance at the cargo stash, or stand and fight the onrushing pack in these bitter conditions for which she is woefully under-equipped and outnumbered...

(to be continued?)

Me: I'm diving for the exhaust vent!

makes intense rolling motion 

Diving for cover in the exhaust vent!

die rolls a 2 - success with perils!

Jaya sprints the last steps and dives headfirst into the dark metal vent, kicking the grate shut behind her. She catches a glimpse of sinewy limbs, lashing tails, and gnashing metal teeth just meters away before sealing off the opening. Safe for the moment, she triggers her suit lamps and takes stock of this tight space.

The icy ventilation shaft appears to run 10-12 meters deep into the rock subsurface before bending out of sight. She detects a very faint oxygen content and rise in temperature the deeper it goes. Breathable pockets under the surface?

Before considering crawling further in, Jaya checks her suit readout. Oxygen is now down to 45 minutes after her frantic exertion. The locator continues pinging, but her harrowing escape has likely carried her out of range for anything to detect at the surface.

Muffled shrieks and scraping sounds indicate the creatures still prowling aggressively right outside, but unable to claw their way inside...for now. She's escaped becoming their next meal, but Jaya has also lost access to potential supply caches.

Venturing deeper into the icy tunnels may be her only way forward now. What other equipment or options remain in Jaya's possession? And does she risk stabilizing here a moment to rest and strategize, or immediately push on into the unknown depths? The temperature rises the deeper this shaft delves...but who knows what else might lurk in those buried pockets of heat and air, never expecting an interloper like Jaya to come crawling down from above!

Me: I'm pushing ahead, on into the depths.

shivers in tense anticipation 

Venturing onward into the icy moon tunnels it is!

makes die roll

die comes up 2 - succeeds with complication

Leaving the shrieking creatures behind in the frigid surface zones, Jaya descends deeper on hands and knees through the horizontal ventilation shaft. After 20 difficult meters, she reaches a sheer drop - the tunnel opens into a vast subterranean cavern, heat and faint moisture rising from below!

Jaya spots what looks like a repelling anchor left by a previous explorer or mining team near the opening. Fastening herself to it, she rappels down the 15 meter rock face to the cavern floor. Her surroundings come into view in her suit lamp glow.

The cavern stretches off in all directions, sediments and strange mosses clinging to the walls nearest hydrothermal vents in the rock. The ceiling glitters with minerals and distant sunlight filters through from the surface entrance. Breathable atmosphere readings flash green on her wrist display. But Jaya doesn't relax just yet...

Her suit sensors suddenly whirr to life with rapid biological detections! There are large organisms picking up her movements and shifting in the darkness ahead. And a new sound...a organic, mucousy slithering and sloshing...growing nearer from the blackness before her lamp light can penetrate further...

Has Jaya descended out of the frying pan and into the nest of something alive - and hungry? Her locator beacon proves useless this deep underground. She readies her pistol, having already burned through half her precious ammo supply. How to proceed when the darkness itself approaches with dripping, gnashing sounds eager to investigate this alien intruder?

(Part 2 conclusion if you wish!)

Me: Are there any cracks or crevices in the rocks that I can maybe wiggle into and hide in to get away from whatever's in the darkness?

squints into the rocky gloom, die at the ready

Seeking a hiding place from the approaching underground threat...

rolls a 3 - barely succeeds

Panicked, Jaya sweeps her beam around the unfamiliar cavern looking for any natural nook or cranny to conceal herself as the noises advance. To her relief she spots a narrow vertical gap in the rocks large enough to admit a person - likely a seismic fault line. Squeezing into the tight space nearly scrapes the oxygen tanks off her back but she manages to worm her way fully inside just as several pale serpentine shapes slide into view around nearby mineral deposits.

Holding perfectly still, she peers between the rocks as best she can, pistol ready if discovered. The creatures have semi-translucent skin, gaping lamprey-like mouths ringed by teeth, and a "head" structure that splits in two proboscis-tipped lobes. Three of the writhing pale forms sweep past her hiding spot, seeming drawn by the light, motion and air currents her descent created. Blind but keen to investigate, they slither surprisingly rapidly on pads and cilia underside their long slug-like bodies.

One pauses directly before her crevice, spade-shaped head raised as if tasting the environment...seeking. Jaya attempts to minimize her breathing, willing her pounding heart to stillness. After an eternity, the monster oceans away from its natural deep sea hydrothermal spawning grounds slides onward into the blackness.

The cavern grows silent and still once more. Jaya reviews her wrist display - 30 minutes of oxygen left. She's deep underground, low on air and ammo, habitats by pale worms with teeth eager to consume her as an interloper. Her locator is useless and she has not dared explore the area more fully. Does Jaya risk leaving her hiding hole to investigate and search for resources? Or creep slowly back to the rappel point seeking escape to the surface before her oxygen runs out? The worms no doubt await any activity to renew their stalking...but staying put without supply discovery also spells doom...what now?

Me: How breatheable is the air down here? It's warm also, right?

nods, checking sensor readings

According to Jaya's suit sensors, the subterranean cavern environment reads:

Atmosphere - Breathable for human physiology but high in ammonia and other compounds toxic over prolonged exposure.

Temperature - A sweltering 98°F (37°C) at points nearest the hydrothermal vents, tapering down to 40-50° further into the darkness.

The heat and breathable pockets under the icy moon's surface likely arise from tidal flexing and geothermal vents that support the serpentine extremophile ecosystem. But Jaya's rebreather filter would only scrub toxins for short periods before needing to cycle fresh oxygen from her suit tanks.

She wipes sweat from her brow inside her helmet in the tropical-like cavern climate as she awaits her next decision...venture forth boldly to seek resources and escape, or exercise caution retreating the way she came? The pale worms conserve their energy but seem to react to movement, light, and fresh currents in the cave system. Stealth and care may see Jaya through to survival yet...

Me: I'm switching over to my rebreather to save my oxy tanks for now. Once I'm calm, I'll sneak back out and try to explore the area.

makes cautious sneaking motions

Nodding slowly, Jaya switches her suit over to the rebreather system, preserving what remains in her rapid-dwindling oxygen tanks. The cavern takes on a faintly greenish ammonia tint through her visor as the scrubbers purify the alien atmosphere for human consumption.

Creeping from the stony alcove, she sticks to the walls and mineral growths to mask her motions and thermal signature. Sliding into a long-dry rift in the rock, her lamp sweeps over the fossilized remnants of bizarre crablike organisms. This moon's past held a diversity of lifeforms...but where there were crabs earlier, now only the serpent worms roam seeking nutrients.

As she descends through the rift and skirts a hissing hot pool surrounded by vents, Jaya nearly trips - her boot kicks something which rolls with a distinctly metallic clatter! Heart racing, she glances down, only to behold salvation - an emergency locker beacon used by cavers and explorers!

The locker proves intact, if dented by seismic activity over untold cycles. Quickly working the sequence to unseal it, Jaya finds an oxygen recharge tank for her suit, flares, high density ration packs, glow-sticks...and schematics imprinted on duraplast which detail a sabotaged mining operation centuries old directly beneath the center of the cavern system! A wide access shaft with flow and haulage capsules long abandoned may provide a route back to the surface if Jaya can reach it past pale worm patrols...

Rebreather glitching warnings snap Jaya's focus back to the present. She has minutes of safe air left even after switching. The locator in her pod far above stays silent...noone but her knows this moon's mysteries run so deep. But at last fortune smiles upon the stranded Captain. Dare she press on for potential escape? Or circle back to overlay the tunnel maps found here while hunting for yet more resources her predecessor explorers may have cached? The worms wait for her either way...but she's more equipped for survival now than when she first dropped into darkness.

Me: I'll gather up the stuff, do what I can with my rebreather and oxy tanks so I can breathe, then use the map to continue sneaking deeper into the mining operation. I figure that if there was a mining operation here, they had to have some way to deal with the pale worms. I'm going to be looking for any way I can to deal with them.

gathers gear and steels herself to advance

Quickly consolidating the locker's offerings into her pack and suit, Jaya works to extend her air supply and buy precious time. She rigs a small breach in one of the oxygen tanks to bleed a minimal mix into her failing rebreather system. The concentration isn't ideal but steadies the scrubber glitch alarms.

Orienting her suit's 3D holo-mapper with the centuries-old duraplast schematics, she logs the mining access shaft location under the cavern's heart - just over one kilometer deep from her current position. A formidable trek, but the maps suggest dredged tunnels wide enough for an entire hover-barge payload. If she can reach it, the route to the surface may be clear.

First, however, to deal with her serpentine wardens...Jaya spots a case of seismic charges in the locker - used for tunnel blasting. An idea sparks - she cannot hope to battle three worms directly, but creating distractions may fox their perceptions enough to sneak past to the mines.

Carefully arranging charges around the locker positioning, linked to a chain detonator, she creeps stealthily towards the cavern's center depth where the maps indicate the mining entrance lies. Her suit sensors ping more worms encompassing the area ahead. At the edge of their detection range, Jaya triggers her makeshift landslide mines!

A string of eruptions back the way she came shakes condensation from the cavern walls. The worms nearest her freeze, then swiftly change course to investigate the disturbance - seeking out the unseen interloper they somehow sense caused it. Keeping to the shadows, Jaya circles wide around the center mass of worms and makes for the abyssal tunnel mouth. Glancing at her display readout, both air and options are nearing depletion. But if she can securely access the mines before the last few pale beasts notice her entry, the path topside lies open...

Me: I'm going to move as fast as I can for the tunnel mouth.

breathless, pushing for the endgame

Putting on a final burst of speed, Jaya sprints the last stretch of open terrain towards the original mining access shaft. She spies the yawning portal, once bustling with hover platforms but now brooding in silence. Passing the ripped and corroded perimeter fences, she triggers the opening mechanism and dives inside just as several worms frenziedly home in on her movements.

Safely beyond their reach in the confines of carved rock, Jaya pants in exhaustion, legs and lungs burning. Consulting the maps, she notes a guard station a few hundred meters down the old vertical transit tunnel. If luck holds, she may find a still-working lift capsule to ride up the 5 kilometer span back to the surface.

With the pale worms left behind for now, Jaya's tiny pool of light advances steadily into once-busy tunnels long since powered down and abandoned. She passes silent evidence of the earlier mining efforts - dormant excavation mechs, process control centers stripped of components, laying open rat nests of snaking cables and tubing in the walls. This site obviously yielded valuable resources before sudden catastrophe ended operations. But what doomed the moon base Jaya now seeks to escape?

Just ahead - the guard station, and if blessed stars allow, a powered capsule to ride to freedom. Jaya touches her dwindling air supply...if she fails here, oblivion awaits, her frozen tomb sharing that of the unnamed miners centuries ago. Steeling her nerves, she strides the last few steps and enters the small control room where ice rimes every surface. Scanning slowly with her beam she sees...

(conclude Jaya's escape journey?)

Me: What's the atmosphere like here? Is there anything nearby that looks useful?

checks sensors at the frozen guard station

Consulting her wrist display, Jaya finds the abandoned mining tunnel atmosphere reading:

Oxygen - 4%

Breathable for short periods without filter with moderate risk. Likely incidental leakage from surface atmosphere and old sealed storage caches rather than full life support.

Temperature - a bone-chilling 22°F (-5°C). Colder than the cavern but her suit insulation still protects for now.

Instruments here still draw minimal standby power it seems. Scanning wider, she finds a locker with intact cold weather gear - parkas, gloves, a heavier rebreather unit. Donning them extends her safety margin.

And alongside, a rack of emergency pulse rifles! Her pistol nearly expended, this is a welcome upgrade. Holstering one, she checks the power cells - 85% charge after all these years in standby. It pulses with a reassuring hum, scatter chamber ready to fire crystallized plasma shards if needed.

With the extra weapons and cold weather equipment, Jaya can better brave the surface again or defend herself underground for longer periods if required. And more importantly - against the far wall, an elevator capsule sits powered down but functional! According to the old maps, it can traverse the 5 kilometers straight up the vertical shaft to the surface base in a matter of minutes!

Jaya crosses swiftly to the controls even as freezing condensation forms on every surface. Powering up the dormant capsule takes precious seconds as she glances between it and her dwindling air supply. But soon the onboard computer flickers alight. "Destination?" it asks in calmly robotic tones...

Me: I'm going to pad my cold weather gear with other parts and pieces of cold weather gear as I can to get the maximum amount of insulation against the cold. After that, I'm going to rig up some kind of harness so I can take all of the emergency pulse rifles with me. With one rifle in my hands, I'll cross to the controls for the capsule and trigger in the command for it to take me back to the surface.

bundles up with makeshift insulation layers

Thinking quickly, Jaya raids the entire guard station locker for every scrap of cold weather gear. Combining parkas, she jury-rigs an extra insulation layer by slitting open some pieces and using the stuffing as added padding underneath. The result is bulkier but should retain heat better on the surface.

Slinging pulse rifles over her back, she straps and braces them together into a makeshift weapons rack. Now prepared for threats both below and above, Jaya crosses to the elevator capsule controls. Frost gathers on her visor as the decades-old systems grind to life. She enters the command to ascend to the surface base.

"Destination confirmed: primary ingress port, surface command center. Warning - unsafe environment conditions detected on surface. Please ensure hazardous environment qualifications and gear before unlocking pod."

Jaya straps tightly into the pod's seating as it shudders and begins rising up the vertiginous frozen shaft towards the surface. What awaits her is unknown after so much time...but it cannot be worse than what hunts the darkness of the caves below. She checks her rifle's power level and braces for the doors to open.

Minutes stretch by silently except for creaks and groans of the aged pulley system hauling the pod ever upward through layers of sediment and stone. Jaya reflects on all she has endured since her ship's crash landing - flames, ice, monsters below and beasts above. Perhaps some clue in the old surface base as to the miners' fate might reveal events on this deadly moon...

With a resounding clank, the elevator shudders to a halt. Jaya tenses, clutching her rifle tight as frost billows across the opening portal. The doors grind open and beyond lies...

(Jaya's finale?)

Me: I'm ready. I've got my rifle sighted on the doors. What do I see when they open?

shivers in anticipation

Rifle raised and ready, Jaya peers down the targeting sight as the capsule doors groan open. Beyond, the frozen ruins of the once-busy mining operation command center lie dark and still. Howling wind and swirling snow rush in through shattered viewport panels overhead. Her suit readings indicate extreme cold and toxic atmosphere once more.

Stepping out cautiously, the ice and debris-littered floor crunches under her boots. This had been the nerve center directing excavation and processing of the moon's resources. Now consoles sit dead with only emergency lighting ringing the room. The wind keens a lonely dirge through the skeletal high-tech wreckage.

A massive hole gapes in the exterior walls where it seems some fiery explosion burst from within. And traces remain of the base personnel's panicked flight - scraps of clothing, cracked utensils, shredded logs and specimens from the science bay. What nightmarish fate befell the operation to cause such devastation?

Jaya's locator beacon pings stronger now from her pod's crash site miles distant. She dares to trigger her suit comm scanning frequencies. Only white noise and static greet her...until...

"H...hello...? Is anyone receiving this? Repeat, Mayday from RT-89 lunar southern pole region! This is Captain Jaya Hendricks of privateer ship Amaranthine Glory! My vessel crashed and I am sole survivor to my knowledge. Please respond!"

Her pulse leaps at even the slim chance her suit comm can transmit to space or landers above. She repeats her automated Mayday distress call even as howls and skittering sounds outside hint the moon's predators may come calling to her position. With rifle ready, Jaya backs into what cover she can find while desperately radioing for rescue.

Minutes tick by with no response as she huddles vigilant against the encroaching sounds outside. Just as she is about to abandon hope, Jaya's comm crackles in reply! An automated orbital relay has detected her beacon and distress call! It provides coordinates for an emergency ascent craft left by the original miners - if she can escape the surface hostiles and reach it, the autonav systems may just have enough fuel to achieve orbit and automated docking with the relay station!

New purpose and ripe terror flood Jaya in equal measure. The launch craft is just over one kilometer northwest. She toggles confirmation of the relay's instructions and loads her final clip into her rifle. This frozen hell moon has tried relentlessly to claim her life. But if Jaya has any say, it will have to be content with the dead miners as she climbs over their bones and blasts her way back into space! Squaring her shoulders, she sprints into the howling storm towards promised salvation...or oblivion!

(Jaya's ending victory?)

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