Time's Amber

Arriving to a massive festival on the remote Titanian island of Vidlumina, the player characters' good cheer is halted by a crash-landing spaceship. An evolving invader species of bestial, mind-stealing aliens grows in intelligence, power and numbers across the island, leaving terror in its wake.

The characters explore a modern temple of the local Saturnine aliens in search of the source of these creatures, and discover an invader has hijacked the living building into a shifting labyrinth. They defeat the creature, but two of their party have disappeared in the chaos. The characters hear a sudden massive explosion moments later, and rush to the scene to find an utterly massive pile of rubble where the building's spacecraft hanger once was. Within the rubble is a strange glowing energy signature.

Protected within the rapidly fading energy field is a half-blinded and half-deafened Saturnine child. Soon the dazed child struggles to give the characters a datalog and a seedpod.

Log begins


It began with one stray shot.

I saw the weapon fire - aimed for the creature - a mind-shattering, multi-legged beast of the invader species we have come to call the Primarch.

If only it had struck true.


The core of a spaceship's engine is no welcome home for a plasma bolt. It's the last thing that 500 exajoules of Nexusdrive needs, and anything within 200 meters would have to agree. I slammed the chamber exit door - a futile gesture I knew. At least the Primarchs here would go down with us, among the few fleeing Saturnine worshippers in their church of power.

Sound suddenly ceased.

As we fell to the ground, stunned, expecting the end of all things - I felt pain. Not the sear of my barkskin charring before my molecules ripped to atoms as I had expected, but the simple pain of impact with the living verdant floor. Behind us a struggle unfolded in silence - Primarch creatures rushing forward to blast us with their minds, a DrakeRider launching a bundle of ropes and hooks, and his Drake beast roaring back.

It was not the end of all things... not yet.

As color and sound returned to the world around us, the full fury of life returned. Something... happened.


The melee ended - though the Solarians lacked weapons, the Primarch entities fell fast, outnumbered and outwitted by the rallying Saturnine worshippers, led by a mounted DragonRider. His net restraints ensnared the creatures - though tragically the DragonRider himself fell to their mental blasts, stricken savage.

Myself and my human companion Dagon gathered ourselves, puzzled at the turn of events.


We captured and quarantined the creatures, and restrained the savage DrakeRider. His mount wrestles with sudden newfound intelligence - speaking the tongue of the Saturnine to much of the others' dismay.

If we let these invaders break free from Titan... Progenitors be damned.


As if to punctuate the strangeness of our lot, expressions of shock spread in reaction to the beast's mutterings. I am told it is not the mutters of hunger and survival, but the sudden shift to requests for purpose and answers that leave many shaken. For the first time, I am glad for my ignorance.


One could call it a scene of beauty, perhaps.

Outside the clear, hydrocarbon glass door that I had slammed shut, in the cavernous launch bay beyond, a strange little burst glitters from the dorsal segment of a departing ship's Nexusdrive. It is a cascade of iridescent ripples, fanning out into a fractal, floral fire. Nearby a perfectly still Saturnine wields a plasma cannon, the glowing weapon cocked backwards in recoil, a frozen arc of sparks streaming from the tip. A Primarch hangs in the air, its arachnid limbs splayed out sideways, a phantom spider's web of saliva glimmering off its bared fangs. 5 meters beyond, we can only observe this curious still life that is more terrifyingly realistic than any holoimage.

The glittering burst began as a mote of starlight, yet over the past 20 hours it has blossomed into a demon's eye, a searing harbinger surging at 5300x the speed of light, suspended in time's amber.

Upon assessing the Nexusdrive rupture's deltas of acceleration, luminosity and γ radiation MeV, I conclude that I have made a new scientific discovery. True, it is an n=1, but we stand within a strong case study for the hypothesis that mere gigajoules of plasma energy sent into an activating nexusdrive can generate a "time bubble." Eureka, so they say...

I have also determined the zero point at which the localized 200m spherical frame of reference within this temporal cavitation wave collapses on itself.

Our world ends in 2190 hours.


Fortune smiles - there is a Saturnine scientist among us. Even if live communication with the rest of the universe was possible, the temporal distortion would prove insurmountable. We must work in isolation. Thankfully, between us there are enough diagnostic tools, modulators and nanotech to gain statistically significant insight into a solution.

By the Progenitors, we put forward the hypothesis: With the proper vectors, a Dark Energy Containment Core can fashion an exit doorway out of a temporal cavitation bubble.

The language barrier is no concern - we have mathematics.


I can confidently report an 84% success rate on TCB Exodus Experiments AΩ. Upon Te Ro Ka's delivery of this news, all present erupt in celebration.

Would that all Solarians cared so much for science! We can share our discoveries with the rest of Sol. No matter what happens... one-way communication is possible.

Now for a bigger test. Escape is now a possibility.


The hypothesis proved false.

TC Bubble Exodus Doorway C♉︎ experienced a catastrophic failure. Losses include two of our Saturnine group, one nanotech module, 10% of our emergency rations, most of our telemetry and relay equipment, and 83% power loss from our Dark Energy core.

Escape is no longer a possibility.


With Dagon's urging, the TC Bubble Exodus experiments continue. My colleague in science Te Ro Ka has abandoned this line of research.


It is only after a sudden soft human hand is placed on my shoulder and my eyes open to shocked scaled faces all around, that I realize I have been keening in my many native Venusian voices as I slept.

Dagon breaks the silence: "That was cool, can you do that pipe organ thing again?" Then she laughs and says it was beautiful, hauntingly so. Her comfort eases my long return to slumber.


Te Ro Ka, the genius himself, announces a new line of research - the nature of the Primarchs and their abilities.

I have never reacted so violently before, and shudder to recall Te Ro Ka's face gasping for air, my hands around his scaled neck - all for abandoning us to petty distractions in our hours of need. I wail again in my native voices, vision blurred by tears of rage.

Soon I am restrained, and all rightly fear I have gone savage as the DrakeRider has. They soon resolve it as an emotional, not Primarch-induced frenzy. I must attribute the velocity of my return to baseline to one primary source: Dagon's soothing voice, singing a cheerful song in my eartube.


We know not the origins of these Primarch invaders from beyond the stars and between the Solarian nexus nodes, but after weeks of telemetry, behavioral observation and expert vivisection courtesy of Te Ro Ka's dexterous Saturnine quad-arms, the Primarch Research Study has borne fruit.

This study had multiple phases:

I leave the following abstracts to Dagon.

(I figured I'd do a better job of this than Falron, I think you'll agree.)

Phase 1 - How Do Primarchs Drink Your Brain Milkshake? 🧠🥤

So brains emit brainwaves, right? It's like a speaker blasting "good vibes." Any psychic being can hear those Good Vibes. But Primarchs are different, because they can steal them!

The Primarchs blast their OWN Vibes, but they are Swiper Vibes that swipe the Good Vibes away. Ever heard of quantum entanglement? The Primarchs entangle the brainwaves with their own counter-brainwaves... and use that entanglement as a one-way channel to suuuuck the vibes out, straight into their own brains!

Now why did a bunch of Titanian beasts suddenly get smarter all of a sudden? Well, especially starting out, the Primarch's tiny bodies were weaker, and needed a signal boost for their mental blasts. Good thing they landed in the jungle! It's a perfect environment, since there are plenty of dumber creatures to bounce their Swiper Vibes off and boost their brain signals.

Trouble is, by piggybacking on those lesser brains, they gave some overflow Good Vibes to the lesser brains... and the beasts got some free intelligence for their trouble.


Phase 2 - Shoot 'em in the Head. (The Good Guys??) 🔫🤠

Damn, we've got people with their brains drained.... How the FUCK do you give someone their brain back?

Well... if it's like quantum entanglement - you've gotta know where to look. Two quantum particles could be entangled across the universe and you'd never know. But if you find ONE, you can find the other!

Blast the good guy with some Void Energy at juuuust the right frequency... and you've got a nice blank canvas for all of their hijacked brain Vibes to bounce off of and reveal themselves! Now you know where the Vibe Thief went, because you found the matching pair.


Phase 3 - Shoot 'em in the Head. (The Bad Guys!!) 🔫🤠

Guess what happens when you find the little Swiping bastard? SHOOT 'EM! No, don't shoot 'em dead... Shoot 'em with some Dark Energy (at juuuust the right frequency!) Then the problem just resolves itself - the Swiper vibes cancel out, the tunnel gets busted, and everyone's back to normal!



Before the Progenitors, I announce this Grove. It is small and unique, but it shall be mine, and I shall belong to it; to protect and share in what joy us shared beings may find, in the hours we have.

The human shares her bond with me - the priestly Saturnine among us oblige in a ceremony of entwinement - and I welcome it with boughs bloomed.


My focus is disturbed by the wailing roars of the reawakened DrakeRider. As onlookers faces grow grim, a worshipper kindly translates his speech for me. It is a lament. He curses the restoration of his sapience and the full knowledge of the encroaching demon's eye, the denial of a righteous death and the futility of his present lot.

I return to my research. May the priests bring him comfort.


TC Bubble Exodus Doorway Experiment G♉︎ has resulted in confirmation of a lesser hypothesis: One may escape. One may survive.


The brave Ka Mo La has volunteered as our primary subject for TC Bubble Exodus Doorway H♉︎, an envoy to the outside. The Saturnine child's low mass is all that the 13%-capacity Dark Energy core could possibly contain. With her we will send our data logs, treasured mementos and a seedpod of mine, imbued with Dagon's essence.

I know not what comfort they give in their native tongue as I prepare her to enter the containment field, but the final word is simple enough for a Lo Ce to understand. "Hope."

If the seedpod survives... please grant her the name of Sa Ma Ri.


Progenitors be damned... Heed these words, reader. The Primarch may, if free to multiply and evolve uncontained, capture the collective intelligence of the entire Titan planetoid within 100 hours. Such a massive intelligence may well prove an impossible foe for all Solarian species, and the Sol system may forever suffer under the reign of a single, collective intelligence.

Enclosed are plans:

With a targeted tactical assault supplied by sufficient nanotech modules and power cores, one may quell their spread - if they don't have other surprises in store. I pray they haven't made it that far.

I know now that Fate has given we, the Solarian species, this tiny pocket of time - time to stop this rapid plague before it ascends to primacy over the Sol system. I only regret I will never hear Sa Ma Ri's many voices.

Wind and sun guide you. *i ai i le faatali leaga lelei.*


Though we shall be entombed in this collapsing waveform, our Grove chooses how we face oblivion. The Worshippers bow in prayer, embracing new and old loves, and the DrakeRider and his mount stare the maelstrom down, as if sheer force of will could stay Time's hand.

The eyes of my beloved bonded human glow with greater luminance than the demon's eye, and shimmer with a greater refraction index than the life-giving Venusian vapors.

- Falron Efrethelas, Ph.D., M.V.

End of log.