I’m putting up a table of contents since it appears some of the incoming websites haven’t updated yet for Chapter 5.
Crash on Volturnus
By Dr. Mike
Story originally created by Mark Acres and Tom Moldvay with Doug
Niles. Story originally edited by Troy Denning. Original story
copyright 1982 by TSR Inc.
Daria Morgendorffer leaned her head against the wall of the shower
and closed her eyes. She had retreated into the warmth of the hot water
ever since the captain of the Serena Dawn had notified her via ship
intercom that they were entering orbit around the planet Volturnus.
Daria had thanked the captain, paged Dorin to start scans of the
planet, and run for the shower. She sighed as she lifted her head and
reached for the shampoo once again. Reaching out a hand, she pushed the
controlling panel a few times increasing the temperature. She hated
The door buzzed demanding her attention. Maybe if I ignored it, who
ever it is will go away, she thought while rubbing the creamy liquid
thru her hair and rinsing it out under the scalding hot water. There
wouldn’t be any opportunity to take long hot showers once they landed
on the planet. They would have to put up with using sonic showers.
Maybe she could get either C’hting or Kurn to rig something up using
the engine of one of their explorers…
“Daria, I can hear the water running in the shower. You’re going to
be a prune if you don’t get out of there,” Jane yelled as she banged
against the door. “I’m sure that you’ve washed you hair plenty of times
Daria slammed the water panel with a hand to stop the water and hot
air blasted out from all around her, quickly drying her body. There was
something about a Wouter shower that just made her feel all tingly
inside. She reached for a nearby set of black stretch coveralls.
“Damn it Daria. You can let me in now. I’ve seen your naked ass
plenty of times. You should be proud of it. While just the other day,
Dorin was telling me that even he liked it and he’s a blob!”
Daria, one hand zipping up the front of her coveralls, reached out
with her other hand and clicked a switch on the top of her desktop. The
door to her cabin slid open. Jane Lane stepped thru the door, watched
it close behind her, and gave a near perfect salute while trying her
best not to smirk too much.
“Assistant Team Leader Jane Lane reporting for duty, Madam Ms. Daria
Morgendorffer, team leader extraordinaire for the exploration of the
planet Volturnus and soon to be rescuer of the lost mission nine months
before us. Tell me. Do you want me to kiss your ass now or in front of
“Do that again and I’ll kick your ass all the way back to the home worlds.”
Jane smirked as she dropped herself into a nearby chair, propping
her booted feet onto the top of Daria’s desk. She wore her normal black
stretch coveralls as well but had added the red vest that was standard
for Truane’s Star Militia units. A towel wrapped itself around her neck
as Daria noticed Jane’s own wet hair. Jane removed a stylus from one of
the many pockets in her jacket, grabbed Daria’s tablet off of the desk
and began to run thru the information presented on the screen. She took
a quick look around the small cabin while waiting for another page to
come up on the screen. Daria slipped her boots on.
“Daria, I would have thought you would have been packed and ready to
go. It’s a five day trip from Truane’s Star. My stuff is already down
at the shuttle.”
Daria removed her own jacket from the back of Jane’s chair. Her
jacket was green with a big logo for Pan Galactic on the breast, a gift
from her Aunt Amy years ago. She paused before answering and placed
another stack of coveralls into a bag sitting on the top of her bed.
“I’ve got Dorin mapping the planet and looking for anything unusual.
He won’t be done anytime soon.” She zipped the bag closed and started
work on filling the second bag.
“Um, yeah. He assigned one of the crew members to run the scans
since he was kind of busy.” Daria turned to see Jane look away as she
brushed her hair dry.
“Um, was he a bit busy?”
“A little.” Jane acknowledged.
“Sorry about that.”
Jane smirked. “Oh, I’m sure we’ll be having campfires and the like on Volturnus. And I know how much you love camping.”
Daria smirked slightly as she remembered the time her and her family
had gone camping. Her father was still complaining over the bill Star
Law had sent them for the rescue. Jane gave her hair a final rubbing
and tossed her towel into Daria’s open bag.
“See? I’m a big help.”
“Sure you are.” Daria removed the wet towel from the top of her
clean clothes and tossed it into a nearby corner. “Pretend you’re an
even bigger help and tell me where we stand.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Jane missed Daria’s dirty look as she flipped thru a
few more pages of information. “The Serena Dawn, this wonderful hunk of
30 year old star craft, will be in orbit around the planet Volturnus in
about 30 minutes. You would have thought that explorers of our
experience would have rated something better but I guess not. Truane’s
Star, the system we left five days ago, has hired us and the rest of
our crew to conduct a preliminary exploration of this newly discovered
planet. We’re supposed to map as much of the planet as possible paying
close attention to any mineral deposits that we find. Truane’s Star is
also interested in having us contact and study any intelligent races
that we come into contact with. Well, hopefully come into contact with.
My bet is that either you or C’hting will probably scare them off first
“I hate you.” Daria zipped up her second bag and turned to work on
her third. “Jane, I know all this. We also have to keep an eye out for
the original exploration team that they sent here nine months ago and
never heard another word from.” Daria paused for a second as she
thought of something. “I still don’t understand why they sent us
though. The first team that they sent was highly experienced. The six
of us together don’t have the background that even one of them had.”
Jane shrugged. They both had poured over the brief of the original
team as part of their brief on this mission. Commander Louis V.
Jameson, the leader of the team, was a long term veteran of the
Truane’s Star military forces, a holder of the Truane’s Star Medal of
Valor, and the commander of two previous exploration missions.
Geeko-sur-Mang, was an Yazirian expert in Geology and computers. Dr.
Itklikdil, a female Vrusk on loan from Capital University, had been
their environmental and cartographer expert. Grod, a Dralasite, had
been their technician and was a genius in anything that had to do with
“Well maybe they were just waiting for us to come along, Daria. And
it’s not like we’re that short of experience. I seem to remember us
having a few adventures since we paid your aunt a visit.”
Daria thought back over the last few months. She and Jane had
traveled to Capital City to visit Daria’s Aunt Amy. There had been an
issue with Ms. Li, their high school principal, and a poster that the
two of them had designed together. Daria’s mother had decided that a
small vacation had been in order to allow things to cool down. Aunt Amy
worked as a middle level planet manager for the megacorp Pan Galactic.
Little did they expect to interrupt a Sathar agent during their tour of
the building. Amy had been knocked unconscious before being able to
raise any alarm and it had been up to Jane and Daria to stop the spy.
After a hair raising chase thru the city, they had finally caught him
just as he had tried to board a shuttle to escape from the planet.
Their training in Ms. Barch’s self defense courses had actually paid
off that day, much to their surprise as well as the agent’s. They
doubted he had thought that two high school students would have taken
down a well trained agent such as himself. After Amy had been awakened,
luckly with no bruises, just a nasty headache, she had offered both
Daria and Jane jobs as trouble shooters for the summer. Since then they
had had to rescue themselves from a shuttle crash in the remote jungle
while they had been escorting a package to another base, defeated
another security breach within Aunt Amy’s compound, captured an alien
creature after it had escaped from the Capital Zoo, and rescued
survivors from yet another shuttle crash.
The strange thing was Amy, Daria and Jane had thought that these
missions were connected in some way. While they were too busy just
trying to get rescued after the first shuttle crash, there was plenty
of evidence at the site of the second one. One part of the bomb that
had brought down the second shuttle bore a red marking of some sort.
Also the men who had conducted the second security breach all wore the
tattoo of a red devil surrounded by a circle of stars. A hypo found by
the cage of the zoo creature that had escaped had also been marked with
the same logo. The three of them had tried to make the connection over
many dinners of pizza but it was still nothing but guessing. Well, that
and the extra pounds that they had added due to the pizza.
Daria admitted one thing to herself. Both she and Jane had learned a
lot in the past few months. Both had received a small amount of martial
arts training while in high school that had seemed to serve them well.
Jane had picked up some medical skills from having to watch over Trent,
her brother, all the time. Jane had also put into practice what she
called her “social” skills. Daria still remembered how Jane had
convinced that businessman to loan her his speeder so that they could
catch the Sathar agent.
Daria had found herself having to put into practice what she had
learned in their biology classes. Jane wouldn’t be alive today if Daria
hadn’t stopped Jane from drinking that contaminated water on one of
their missions. Daria wasn’t too bad with a laser pistol either. She
had found that out when she had had to weaken the escaped alien
creature so that they could capture it. Jane had looked on in near awe
as Daria landed shot after shot against the creature with her laser
pistol. Pity that the alien’s hide was reflective and had bounced off
Daria’s shot but she had still hit it over and over again.
Jane brought her back to the present. “OK, now that I’m finished
with Dorin, he’s busy checking up on the mapping of the planet and
getting the medical supplies together. Since the steward of the Serena
Dawn locked up all of our weapons and captain won’t release them until
right before planet fall, Bakchu’s worried about them not being in
“Is he that concerned? I know the probe didn’t record any large
creatures on the planet when it went thru a couple of years ago.”
Jane shrugged. “You never know. I still have those scars on my
shoulder from where that astrotiger attacked me that you had to shot
off when we were looking for that crashed shuttle. That mission was
supposed to be a cakewalk. Anyway, Bakchu is helping C’hting and Kurn
make sure the explorers and the jetcopter are packed and ready to go.
When they’re done, the only things left to do is get out skeinsuits out
of storage and our weapons out of the ship’s locker.” Jane looked at
the chronocom on her wrist. “Hmm, we should have made orbit by now. I
wonder why they haven’t paged us yet.”
“I’m sure they’ll let us know soon enough. For the last five days,
we’ve had nothing to do but explore their ship. How many times can we
look at the recreation areas, the observation dome, the cargo bay, the
lifeboats, the gallery, and the living quarters. I’m sure that they’ll
be happy to get rid of us,” Daria said as she reached out for her
laptop from Jane and placed it along with her environmental gear into
her third and last bag. This was a small backpack that she now placed
on her back. “Sounds like we’re set. Can you help me down to the
shuttle with my stuff?”
“Damn it, Daria. You packed more stuff than Quinn would have.”
“It’ll be at least three months before the Serena Dawn picks us back
up. At least I left the hairdryer at home.” Daria handed Jane one of
the bags while she picked up one herself. She paused to have one more
look around her cabin. “I always feel like I’m forgetting something.”
Both of them lifted their heads sharply when a small thump was heard off in the distance.
“Did you hear that?” Jane asked.
“You’ve probably worn Dorin out again and he dropped something in the cargo hold.”
Jane smirked. “Oh, I wasn’t that hard on him. Plus with that rubbery skin of his, I seriously doubt I’ll ever wear him out.”
A worried frown appeared on both their faces as a pair of thumps is
heard again in the distance along with the sound of scuffling from just
outside Daria’s cabin.
“That came from just outside, Daria.” They both turn towards the door as a short scream was cut off by a loud thud.
Daria pushed the door release. The bloodied body of the ships’
steward laid on the floor before them, the handle of a vibroknife stuck
out of his chest. Both Daria and Jane gasped at the sudden sight. They
had both seen dead bodies before but it still came as a shock to them.
“Well, well, well. Lookie here. I guess I’ll just have to knock both
of you off at the same time. Save me the trouble of finding you later.”
Another crewman stood in front of them. He reached into his jacket and
pulled out a long knife.
Both Daria and Jane noticed the tattoo underneath the man’s coverall. It was the mark of the Star Devil!
Team Leader Daria Morgendorffer uses Alpha Dawn Shampoo and suggests everyone should try it.