Captain Sam Vibes of the INS Errant Cavalier, commanding officer of Rogue Expeditionary Force One, led his ship and crew through the Sword Worlds subsector to the war-torn and star-trigger-ravaged Darrian subsector. They were scouting the worlds likely to be soon impacted by the star-trigger wave-fronts, seeking to determine which would be in most need of the rescue ship(s) being built in Zaibon. They first visited Spume, where the small population already seemed to be well prepared and accounted for; then Illium, where they confirmed with the locals (neutrals in the civil war) that their rescue efforts would be both helpful and welcomed.
After gathering information on the expected arrival of the various wave-fronts and agreeing to bring back help to Illium when it is ready, Captain Sam ordered his vessel to the Condaria system; the first Darrian system to be star-triggered in recent history, where one of his officers, Raid McCulloch, was being drawn by debilitating visions.
Approaching the planet Condaria revealed a bizarre and disturbing phenomenon. Devoid of apparent inhabitation or surface life the planet now bore what looked almost like a huge-mouth… a massive crater-like depression ringed by jagged tooth-like protrusions and with a hole descending beneath the planet’s surface at its center.
Upon being woken from medical cryo-sleep Raid insisted that he be taken to the planet’s surface and allowed to descend into the crater. Captain Sam piloted the cutter to the surface to deposit them, then waited in orbit while Raid and his followers dissapeared below the planet’s surface. Mary Moontalker accompanied the Captain on the cutter in order to gather more direct data on the phenomenon. In the meantime, Commander Hinwa Rogueschild was refueling the Cavalier at a system gas giant before rejoining the Captain in orbit around the mainworld.
While awaiting the Errant Cavalier to join them in orbit Mary and Captain Sam tried to keep in meson-communications contact with the three Rogues in the planet below. Raid, Bill, and Jenny reported the the deeper they descended the more anatomical looking their surroundings became. They started to encounter small, multi-legged polyp-like creatures, which largely ignored their presence. Following Raid’s vision-based direction they made their way to what they described as a shaft leading down to water… and what sounded like crashing ocean-waves.
Then the meson-connection was lost.
Captain Sam immediately ordered that the Cavalier prepare a nuclear warhead to seal the opening on the planet surface. As soon as the Cavalier had joined them in orbit and he had docked the cutter in its cradle, the Captain ordered the opening sealed.
When the warhead detonated the entire crust of the planet shifted, the “mouth” closed around the explosion bringing together the “teeth” of stone and dirt in a violent impact that sent debris high into the planet’s atmosphere. The Errant Cavalier remained above the debris though, and her densomitor readings indicated that the explosion had caused a great deal of damage, too much perhaps for their data to be very intelligible. The region seemed to be in profound flux.
Briefly, Raid appeared to be present on the bridge, delivered a message, then vanished again. He was seen by several crew-members, including the Captain, and was recorded on security footage. The message was as follows: “Thank you for delivering me as I requested. I totally understand why you were hesitant to come with me. You are free to go now, if you would like.”
Dr. Apple Adonis proposed that, if they waited, the “mouth” might reopen and they could get a better read on the effects of their efforts. Captain Sam, however, having had quite enough of this sort of bizzareness, ordered the Cavalier to maneuver out to the jump limit and jump back to Zaibon immediately.