Friday 16 November 2012

Back on line!

Well that's definitely the longest absence from the blog since I started writing it!

I last posted during the Kickstarted campaign, and while I failed in my bid to post every day, I did manage quite a lot of blog entries while it was running. Towards the end of the madness I just couldn't find the time to write anything here - and if I had written anything it wouldn't have made much sense due to severe lack of sleep! It was a wild and crazy month - and we're still reeling from it, but we're more grateful that I can possibly say to everyone who supported us. As soon as the campaign ended, we were caught up in house moving (and building!) madness, and we are still jot quite through that yet. I'm sitting in the new studio surrounded by boxes that need to be unpacked and desks that need to be assembled. We are back on-line though which is a huge relief - having no reliable internet connection for a couple of months tested us to the limit. Having nowhere to call home can be coped with, but take away the internet and everything pales into insignificance! We're in the new house now though (with internet there too!), so things should return to something close to normal soon.

Battle for Alabaster in 100% finished and waiting to be loaded onto boats in China - as soon as it touches down the Kickstarter orders will be shipped and dispatched, followed shortly afterwards by the regular retail release. I have the first complete copy sitting on my desk, and I have to say we're absolutely delighted with it. Check out the short unboxing video we posted on our Youtube channel.

We have also been hard at work creating all the new content generated by the Kickstarter campaign - with some really great sculpts being made and exciting scenarios written. I'll post some of the material here as soon as I get the chance.

In the mean time, we have just rolled out a great new miniature for the Limited Edition Resin series. Hathya is another great Allan Carrasco sculpt - with that natural brilliance for capturing anatomy and pose that I think makes his talents unique. Check out the pictures below.

Now things are more settled at Studio McVey HQ, I'll try and post more regularly again - there are lots of exciting things happening here, so there's no shortage of things to talk about.



Wednesday 20 June 2012

Tile design - take 2

We just added an option to buy another set of tiles for Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster, so I thought I would share all the final versions of them. There are ten different locations - 

Cargo Bay
Engine control
Reactor Core
Personnel area
Living quarters
Control centre
Science Bay
Transit Station
Escape Pods

All of the above are large (35cm x 35cm) square tiles. The final art is all complete for these now - since we last showed some of the designs we did a final detail pass, and added a little blood and gore.

Here they all are - 

Hope you like them!


Tuesday 19 June 2012

Niven Banks

The Kickstarter campaign for Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster continues to go from strength to strength - and we continue to be completely blown away with the support we've been getting. It's really quite amazing...

We just hit the stretch goal for a Strain version of a promotion figure we've been offering - so anyone who bought the miniature, will now get the Strain version for free. Here's the concept for the character -

- and here he is with an unhealthy dose of the Strain nano virus pumped into him -

Here is the background on him, we published some of this on the Kickstarter, but this is the full version


Conscript Personnel Assessment

Subject: Conscript 343 awv-zer-jo9 – Niven – Banks

Overseer: Conscript AI Minder 001497ksfhvc8

Height: 2 Meters

Weight: 86.1 Kilograms

Eyes: Natural Human

Gene-Index: Human/Post-Augment Conscript

Inception Date: Conscription sentence passed 201.17.4078 Solar Reckoning

Augments: Industrial Class Systems interface, Military Grade Uplink Spool (Disabled)

Killed in action while fighting Firebrand rebels in the Salazar interdiction, Niven Banks, Tech Officer 1st class was uploaded to a battlefield transponder. Under severe viral attack, the transponder suffered catastrophic failure while parts of Banks persona were still reaching engrammatic resolution. Safety interlocks failed due to a Firebrand virus in Vanguard systems and Banks resuscitated to re-enter the battlefield while suffering a massive psychotic break. Combat triggered hallucinations led to a lethal friendly fire incident involving nine other Vanguard.

Banks was discharged and pardoned, then commuted to civilian duty. He did not acclimatize well. After several assault charges he was conscripted for isolation and rehabilitation. His skills and combat background made him ideal for deployment for hazard duty.

Currently Banks is serving as Conscript Class 1 Hazard Tech at the Alabaster SSD, an isolated facility where Banks can serve with a minimum of interaction. After a recent meta-cortex upgrade, his persona has stabilized, and as of his last psychological assessment it would appear he is ready for transfer from isolation to conscript duty in populated civilian clusters.

Be warned, although Banks is currently stable, traumatic events could trigger another psychotic break. Although his AI minder may keep him stable, he is capable of doing substantial harm due to his combat expertise and his aptitude with industrial tools.

Saturday 16 June 2012

Designer's Notes - take 2

I published a short blog on Rob Baxter's thoughts about the creation of the game last week, so this time here's my take. The first version at this piece was originally intended for the rule-book, but it had to be cut to make room for all the 'real' content.


Designer’s notes – Mike

The starting point of Sedition Wars was the miniatures, and however far we go on the journey we’ve started in this universe, it will always come back to the miniatures in the end. Our aim when starting Studio McVey, was to provide the best miniatures possible for painters, collectors and gamers - and I’d like to think we have done exactly that in the last three years. I’ll happily put our miniatures along side any in the industry. I’m intensely proud of the miniatures we have created with the help of some of the most talented concept artists and miniature sculptors in the industry.

We launched Studio McVey with the Limited Edition resin line, and while that allowed us to let our imaginations run wild – producing miniatures for any genre and style, we always had plans to be a little more focused. Sedition Wars is our opportunity to do just that – a chance to create an exciting and evocative universe to set the miniatures in.

The genesis of the Sedition Wars line was one of the Limited Edition miniatures - Lieutenant Kara Black. Right from the initial concept by Sam Wood, she seemed to have a life of her own, and we wanted to find out more about who she was. Little did we think back then – this game is where she would lead us.

We produced one of our most popular miniatures ever from these concepts. The initial plan for that piece was to sculpt the Spider Mammoth as well - but we decided to save that until later (Yes, we will do it at some point!).

We always wanted Sedition Wars to be Kara’s story (I know, it sounds like a terrible Lifetime movie), and we would follow her, much as you would the main protagonist in a video game. Initially the story was her fight against the Firebrand rebellion, and the ways that conflict altered and drove her. Then the Strain arrived.

I can’t remember exactly how The Strain was born – they were the product of the many creative meeting between Rob Baxter and myself. Once they had arrived, there was no ignoring them  – and they quickly spread and infected our thoughts and plans. We really had no choice! That quickly led to the birth of Battle for Alabaster – the first game set in the Sedition Wars universe, and the product for which we have launched the KickStarter campaign.

Once we’d decided to create Battle for Alabaster, we had to fix on what sort of game it was going to be – we soon came to the conclusion we didn’t want it to be a table-top skirmish game. The preferred option was for something fast and easy to play – but that still offered a lot of tactical flexibility, and most importantly – re-playability. We think Battle for Alabaster fits that brief very well – there is a claustrophobic urgency to the games, and they are certainly fast and bloody!

Rob started working on the rules late in 2010, and I took an early version to the following GenCon to see what people thought.

The response was fantastic and I had a great time demoing the game and chatting to people about various different ideas (some of which made it into the game), and that gave me the confidence to push forwards with the project.

The universe has grown and changed since it was first created – in fact it’s almost got a life and momentum of its own. Little ideas mentioned in passing suddenly became central parts of the story, and plot lines developed of their own accord. I think that’s the way it should be – if we were still rigidly adhering to the original ideas we had, Sedition Wars wouldn’t be nearly as exciting and (hopefully!) compelling as it is now.

So Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster is the result of over two years of effort – countless hours of work, but a fun and rewarding journey. Our aim was always to tell a story – if we can immerse people in that universe and keep them coming back to find out what is happening to the characters – we’ll have done our jobs well. We hope you enjoy playing Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster as much as we’ve enjoyed making it.

Mike McVey

Thursday 14 June 2012


We took a look at the Cthonian earlier in the week, so it's time to even things out a little by looking at Hurley, the Vanguard mobile tactical resource unit. Hurley is an autonomous AI capable of offering both tactical support and backup, along with serious offensive capabilities. Hurley's ace card is the ability to deploy and control drones, which are are able to fulfil several different support and offensive roles.

Here is a piece from the Rule Book about him -

The Vanguard Hurley is a tactical mobile combat information centre that interfaces with the Vanguard tactical network. Designed to provide Vanguard troopers with defensive and offensive support, the Hurley fulfils multiple roles through the use of autonomous drones that respond to the Hurley AI’s own instruction. The Hurley uses a class obsidian firewall, and is capable of preventing network intrusion and viral attack on the Vanguard Tac-Net.

It is also armed with a Kinesis Cannon, frequently referred to as the Comfort Gun.

Here is the original concept from Steve Tappin -

Here are pictures of the finished sculpt -



Monday 11 June 2012


Well I totally failed to get anything posted on here over the weekend - sorry! We were at the Golem painting day on Saturday - I was teaching people the mysteries of two brush blending! It was a great fun day (if tiring), so thanks to everyone who came. Then I spent all day Sunday catching up on all the things I didn't do on Saturday...

Proper post today though. We're going to look at one of the new miniatures that is going in Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster - the Cthonian.

Phase 5 Strain are unique creatures - characters for the Strain really, so there is just one Cthonian.

Here is the SolCom scientific report on it -

Phase 5 Exo-form – Cthonian
A massive conglomeration of evolved bio-mass combined with a powered armour carapace. The outer shell is a fully functional exoskeleton wrapped around a squid-like body composed of extremely resilient tissue. Capable of regenerating damage with dark matter conversion, this creature is nearly impossible to kill without the use of high output energy weapons. In addition to its defensive capabilities, the creature is armed with a gravitic beam weapon and a lethal nano-weapon capable of mutating a living target almost instantly.

In addition the Cthonian also seems to be able to exert the same empathic influence on infected subjects as the Grendlr.

At its core is a bio-organic computer, containing an amalgam of the Firebrand Cthon AI and ancient nano-spore techno-directives. Recovery of this system is of prime importance in understanding this outbreak.

And the concept from Roberto Cirillo -

Finally the painted version of the sculpt (which is by Kev White) -

Hope you like it!


Friday 8 June 2012

Captain's Journal

Today's post is a short introductory fiction piece to Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster, from Rob Baxter - Enjoy!


Captains Journal

Kara Black, Captain Command Executive, Vanguard Bastion Arms of Sorrow

Log Classified: Obsidian – Director Clearance only
…Ahem, okay, need to record this. Just in case.

We intercept a distress signal relayed from a comm buoy in synchronous orbit around one of the uncompromised system moons.

We’re not on any rescue detail, so I order my Signal tech officer to log it, store it, and we’ll check when we can. Our section of the armada is focused on a Firebrand orbital platform that has been putting up some heavy resistance. Bigger catch to fry, right?

Arms of Sorrow is splitting fire and flashing in-system at a steady heading. I’ve got two dozen drop-ships ready and loaded for breach. The plan is tactical insertion via bulwark t-cast. Might drain the drive, but it gets us inside the envelope of the platform. From there drop-ships assault the central control facility, we might lose a handful, but we’re spooled to full cortical backup, any casualties are up and in the fight faster than cooking a casserole.

Three hours into mission approach I get a Solcom directive mission order, and a beam cast straight from Coreworld Admin.

Looks like that distress signal I ignored was related to an incident on some deep science SSD out on the Alabaster nebular plenum – a biohazard breach. Solcom directive is clear on this, we need to get the remaining science team out if possible, and THEN contain the breach. You don’t ignore orders from that high up, even if you’re in the middle of a war. I’m not going out like Gheried did.

So we turn and burn, full drives to get there and iron out this matter so we can get back into the fight. About halfway there I realize something that gives me the shivers, we were the only Bastion that intercepted the signal. No one else got it.

But it gets better. We’ve been orbiting the facility for twenty minutes manoeuvring under inertial thrusters only.

We’re not raising any coherent signal from within the facility, except for a low energy hum that has all kinds of weirdness about it.

Firebrand and mercenary ships have been thick in this area only a few days ago, so I want to keep a low profile. T-cast is too visible, and a hull breach is low class. We’re going in full ninja.

I’m ordering a cadre of Samaritans and some specialized personnel to gain a foothold. Scans verify that we’ve got a good chance at accessing one of the outer docking bays.

I’ve got one of my best Combat Medics leading the first excursion – he’ll be able to nail the nature of the biohazard pretty fast. He’s used to spooky ops too, an advantage when you’re this far out of Solcom oversight. “The edge of the Edge”.

Commodore Grist is in charge of the Arms of Sorrow while I lead the boarding and rescue party. Crisis teams are assembled, and I’m planning on being a part of this op, just so I can see first-hand how critical this mission is. I don’t like being pulled out of a combat mission to go into this kind of night country. This reads Solcom core director board all over it. If they’re involved …

I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

This is Captain Kara Black, signing out.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Sculpting the Grendlr

One of the most enjoyable parts of making Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster, was working with the sculptors. Seeing wonderful concepts being realised in 3D is such an exciting process - and one that I never tire of. I'm proud to have worked with some of the very best talents in the gaming industry on this product - miniatures have always been the focus of what we do at Studio McVey, and I wanted to make sure the figures we put in the finished game were as good as anything people had seen before.

The Grendlr is the largest and most imposing of all the Strain miniatures (in this game anyway!) - so it really needed to be represented with an impressive sculpt. I commissioned the work to Jacques-Alexandre Gillois, who I have worked with quite a bit on our Limited Edition resin line - and who's sculpting never fails to amaze me.

The process starts with sending the concept to the sculptor - in this case (as with all the Strain miniatures), the concept was by Roberto Cirillo. I want to talk more about Roberto's contribution to this project in a separate post - but suffice to say, he absolutely nailed it with the Grendlr -

Once JAG had the drawing, and we had discussed the size and other technical aspects of the process - he was away. The first pictures he sent were of the armature with very basic bulks in place - some sculptors are quite approximate at this stage, just building a rough support for the more precise work that will follow. JAG is very precise though - the armature is soldered and the bulks are neat and exact.

Next - the masses of the finished creature are put in place and detailing started. In the picture below, the sculpting is a quite advanced, and a lot of the smaller details are already in place.  JAG works in a polymer clay (or a mix of different 'clays' I believe), so the whole sculpt is wet at this stage and won't be baked and hardened until most of the work in complete.

Here is the sculpt practically finished and ready to be baked.

The last stage is to work on the baked miniature, and use a blade to sharpen up some of the edges, and add any parts that need to be rendered in epoxy putty - including filling any small undercuts. Here's the finished piece with the tongue and infection tendrils in place.

I'm sure you'll agree it's a pretty amazing piece of work, that both captures the feel of the concept and adds to it -  making it seem 'real'.

I'll be posting pictures from some of the other sculptors who worked on this project in future posts.



Wednesday 6 June 2012

Frontline Gamer

Another guest blog today, this time from Jody Barton aka Frontline Gamer. Jody did some absolutely sterling work play-testing Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster for me - his feedback was invaluable.

Also - if you would like to win a FREE copy of battle for Alabaster - check out his blog.



For those of you who don’t know me, don't worry I’m nobody important. I just happen to write a little gaming Blog called Frontline Gamer. You may have heard of it, but you probably haven’t, not to worry I won't take it personally. The long and short of it is that I’m a geek, a big geek, and I have a love for all things toy soldier and war game related. Always have done and always will do. I’ve played countless games from the tender age of 5 of your earth years, and I’m now in my late 20’s… OK, OK so I’m in my early 30’s… don’t you question me!

So I have a lot of experience to call up on, and I’ve played a lots of games. Meanwhile in real life I’m a researcher and statistician by trade, and that means I have an affinity for numbers and systemic analysis. I’m told by games designer types that this unique combination, of quite frankly nerdy skills, makes me a damn fine subject for play testing games. I’ve play tested many over the years, and not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve gotten quite good at it... well people seem to ask me back every now and then!

So when Mike asked me if I’d mind play testing Sedition Wars for him I had to think long and hard about it… for about all of one second. Truth be told I’m a big fan of the miniatures, and a chance to help shape the game that goes along with those gorgeous little miniatures was just too good an opportunity for a fully fledged geek like me to pass up. Obviously I’ve had help from my friends, even someone as awesome (OK so I’m not that awesome, mostly just flukey) as I am needs opponents to crush (note, crushing has been optional thus far). We've approached it with some vigour, and I hope we've provided some useful feedback.

However, I’m not going to talk specifically about the game itself, or even how it’s shaping up, it’s shaping up nicely by the way, but more about the process that Sedition Wars as a game has gone through in the time I’ve witnessed it. Quite often as gamers outside of a project we think writing rules and games is a doddle. Go on be honest with yourselves, how many of you have thought over the years you could improve on a game that you play? Pretty much all of us I guess have thought that at some point or other, but it’s damned hard work let me assure you, and quite often a thankless task.

I’ve seen many projects from the inside now, and while to those of you on the outside it must appear all serene and swan like on the surface, let me assure you that below the waterline there’s a lot of furious effort and paddling going on. And so it has proved with Sedition Wars. Both Rob Baxter and Mike McVey have put so much effort into shaping this game that it has been really gratifying for me to see the Kickstarter campaign be so successful. Obviously I'm close to the project and I myself am quite invested, but if anyone deserves this success it's them.

There have been sweeping changes, the odd walk up a garden path… only to walk back down it again. There’s been iteration and there has been wholesale change. Evolution and revolution if you will, two themes that Mike and Rob have woven so well into the background to the Sedition Wars universe. Now while this is often normal for games still in development, the level of work, blood, sweat and tears from such a small team has been humbling to witness at times. They’ve worked themselves into the ground for this game, and that sort of dedication takes love.

But has it all been worth it? Well that will be for all you to decide when you finally get your grubby little paws on the game. For me though the game has fulfilled its original design brief with some finesse, it is a survival horror… no scratch that, it is a survival terror game on a board. It’s highly tactical and more in-depth than many board games you’ll have come across. At times it can be an unforgiving experience, which just makes those moments of victory all the sweeter. But above all else it’s a fun game to play, with a strong narrative thread. Rob and Mike have done a great job, and they should be duly proud of their achievements so far. Peace out!

Tuesday 5 June 2012


Well I'm delighted to say that Barker is back in the game - we hit the $140K stretch goal - thanks everyone!

We have two new goals up - check them out here.

We have already taken a look at one of the phase 2 Strain - the Stalker, now it's time to look at the other - Quasimodo.

Here's the original Roberto Cirillo concept -

The description from the rule book -

Exo-form – Quasimodo
These twisted monstrosities have merged with a military class weapon. Probably former security personnel, the Quasimodo have been converted into a lethal delivery vehicle for infectious bio-matter. It can strike at range, and never hesitates to do so.

And finally the painted version of the sculpt by Yannick Hennebo -



Monday 4 June 2012

Samaritan Lancer

Well I failed on my blog-a-day hopes while the Kickstarter was running - I was just too busy yesterday to find the time. I'm determined to get as many posts on here as possible in the next few weeks though.

Things are still going incredibly well in the campaign, and we are closing in on the $140K stretch goal that will see Baker Zosa back in the game. I was really sorry to see him cut in the first place - but we only had room for three characters, Captain Kara Back was a must - as was having a medic when there are Strain infections to deal with - so we had to have Morgan Vade. Then it came down to a choice between Barker and Operator Akosha Nama - Sniper rifle vs Fusion Cannon... We decided to go with precision instead of brute force, but it was a hard call.

I'm delighted to see he's nearly back in the game though - hopefully we can reach that stretch goal and confirm it soon!

One of the new miniatures that is going in the game in one of the Elite Samaritan troopers -

Samaritan Lancer.

An interlaced electron beam acts as a guidance system for the plume of superhot plasma fired by the Azriel class fusion lance. The highly intense beam of energy is the equivalent of a controlled solar flare, capable of burning holes through Meridian class hull-plating.

Designed as a man portable, close combat, anti-materiel weapon platform the Azriel is deployed with a Technician class Samaritan specialist designated as Lancer. Serving dual purposes as a breach expert and an anti-personnel sweeper, the Samaritan Lancer is ideal for on point for incursions into hostile facilities and hard point extraction missions.

Here are pictures of the painted miniature -



Saturday 2 June 2012

Sedition Wars Gameplay

We have just released a short game-play video for Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster. It just runs through a few of the core concepts - hope you like it.



Friday 1 June 2012


Just a short post today - it's so hard to find the time for anything longer right now!

Here's a quick look at one of the Phase 2 Strain that come in the game (yes, there will be other types in the future...) - The Stalker.

Here's a little descriptive piece from the book -

A living host exposed to Strain forced evolution and mutation. The stalker is faster and more determined than phase 1 Revenants. The stalker manifests a lethal mono-molecular talon and enhanced mobility. A prehensile tendril acts as vector for Strain infection. 

The original concept is by Roberto Cirillo - 

And finally, the painted version -



Thursday 31 May 2012

Designer's notes

Today's post is a guest blog by the game designer of Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster - Rob Baxter. I first started working with Rob while I was at Privateer Press, and it was immediately obvious he was one of those frighteningly creative people who can take a seed of an idea and grow it into something amazing. We stayed in touch after PP and started kicking around ideas and thoughts about miniatures and games. - One conversation lead to another, and well - I'll let Rob take over -


When Mike asked me to start work on building a setting for his miniatures, the aim was to craft a broad and expansive cosmos. We focused on all the big things we love about science fiction, so we had a lot of clay to sculpt with. The important part was to focus on a setting that allowed for a galactic expanse, yet aim us at an area of play where the battles and struggles had obvious “big picture” implications. Thus the Edge was born, parsecs away from the galactic core, patrolled by the Vanguard, regulated by the SolCom.

At the beginning, Sedition Wars was a miniatures line and definitely *cough* not a game yet. My part was to build out enough background to support some cool bits of fluff, give the miniatures some ground for the imagination to run wild, and scaffold a potential springboard for something bigger.

As I wrote to support the setting, discussions with Mike went deeper. Characters grew attitudes, and started to become people we wanted to get to know better. We wanted to see them in action, watch them take on danger head first. We wanted to watch them grow and see where they lead us.

Sedition Wars is a setting defined by the people who dwell there, and the trials they have to face. The Outbreak that you experience in this game is a beginning to a vast tale, a massive universe of potential that we’ve only just begun to explore ourselves. As a creator, it's an incredible thrill to realize the terrain you have the opportunity to unveil. With the clear themes of the Sedition Wars universe, we discovered elements in the setting that gave us a roadmap. The setting jumped to life and now we have an epic in the making, spanning spiral arms and galactic drifts.

Designing this game, and the campaign within, is just an extension of that universe. In Battle for Alabaster we wanted to craft the foundation of a narrative that will continue. The birth of the Strain is also the birth of our universe as a continuum for play. We want to use a story to anchor the game in a way we find compelling. The Strain Outbreak provides the foothold on the vast universe of Sedition Wars. As the conflict continues to unfold you’ll get to know the Galaxy and the Edge better, and see knew threats and factions arise.

What it comes down to though is that we're just huge fans of science fiction. And there are so many obvious influences to draw from. You'll recognize them when you see them. And as the story unfolds, there will be new opportunities for gameplay, new factions, and new battles to fight.

The Setting of Sedition Wars is our homage to all the things we love about the genre, and we hope to shape a unique place to explore. The Edge is a place of endless strife, where unexplored alien worlds harbor ancient threats, revolutions catch hold, experiments run amok, and law is tenuous and uncertain. As the setting grows so will the terrain, and as the map unfolds, the story will as well. We hope you’ll travel with us on this journey to discover what lies amidst the stars and between them. Welcome to Sedition Wars. Welcome to the Edge.

Rob Baxter
Vancouver 2012

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Phase 1

I've shown some of the new Vanguard troopers, so it's time for some Strain love now! (that just sounds wrong.)

Here are the concepts for the Phase 1 Nerco-form Revenants. There will be more Phase 1 variants in the future that aren't based on necrotic hosts, but for now you'll have to make do with Space Zombies!

Here's a brief excerpt from the rule book about them -

A necrotic host acts as primary incubator and delivery vehicle for the Strain infection. Extremely dangerous in confined conditions, mobs of these creatures can overcome even the most disciplined trooper. Prehensile tendrils with injector barbs act as a delivery vehicle for infection. Rapid incubation results in 100% conversion rate of dead or dying infected. Any corpse found in the battlefield can become one of these in an instant.

Here are the miniatures - there are two variants going in the game at the moment - but we are closing in on the $100K stretch goal, and if that's hit, the third variant will go in there too (it's the one in the middle). You get 14 Phase 1 Nerco-forms in the game.



Tuesday 29 May 2012


Today's post is a fiction piece by Rob Baxter - it explains a little about how the outbreak in Alabaster Station took place.



Signal Station Zero Sierra Gamma

Priority Report: Solcom Science Division Oversight

Co-ordinates: [classified data encrypted for eyes only view]

Transcription of Outbreak event Adamant Hexagon Seven – Tightcast received 17 minutes ago
Alabaster SSD, Code Quietus.

Transmission sent by Senior Science Advisor Miolr Depetrus [Deceased]

[Transcription Begins]

This thing still recording? Good… air is getting stale in here. Okay, where the hell was I? Oh, yeah. Outbreak.
I had cautioned the med team against trying to revive the tissue sample. There had been something strange about it. Smart gels couldn’t stain it – we couldn’t retrieve anything out of the cellular wall aside from what appeared to be viral remnants and fungal spores. We argued for a simulation instead of messing with the actual cellular material. Director Chamf was all for trying to get vital replication off the remains.
Once he said go, you could see the med techs drooling at the prospect.
I could have warned them I think. I should have known. I had seen weaponized nanotech before. Utility mists, combat vectors, any number of smart toxins and metabolic Trojans. This, whatever it was, it was tenacious, and semi viral. I realize now that the tissue from the prime specimen wasn’t muscle or brain matter seeded with fungal spore. It was technology.
The med team thought the viral component on the cellular wall was a rogue protein. Some thought it was a prion. Definitely not a prion – this is some type of black magic precursor xeno-tech. Cunning, wily, every angstrom dense with information. It’s memory, a method of storing sensitive and vital information. Whatever was embedded in the cell walls of the specimen, when it interfaced with our med systems, it went haywire.
In picoseconds it had hijacked the assemblers and the medical splice routines.
The data bridge between the sample and the core systems should not have been that easy to compromise. We had a quantum encrypted data bridge, but data barriers had melted under some external code attack, inserted precisely at the moment of the test.
That’s when I knew we had a mole inside. I hope whoever they are, they got stuck out there, and they’re paying for it now.
Once through the data barriers up into the actual replicator interface, the stuff really started to sing. The sample started writing to the tech and reverse engineering systems, replicating with the medical nano handles.
Sheol, the biomed AI, couldn’t compensate and tried to flush the vat with containment protocols. No luck there. She screamed for about four seconds while her data boiled away under the pressure of the attack on the medical containment systems.
The sample had replicated using whatever nanotech we had in the tank. Once it hijacked the med system it converted the mass of sample tissue, the med container, replicator vat, and all of the bio-medium into a viable cloud of spore. Fifteen seconds after compromise it flowered out of the bio medium in an explosion of tissue and tendrils. I swear I could see a face looking at me, in the middle of that mass.
Desperate, I managed to get through the containment doors and out of the lab before the Director pressed the red button and scorched the room. Everyone in the lab dead – Friends, people I couldn’t stand, people I had just met. He knew I think, he was just too calm about it, like he had expected it. I think he had seen it before.
Still, it was too late. We’d already tried to scorch the thing. We probably could have contained the spore if he hadn’t given it fertile new ground to germinate in. There had been forty-five people in that section of the lab.
The nano-spore birthed the first necroform manifestation seven seconds after the Director plasma blasted the room. This medtech named Gillus, his face was mostly vaporized. The spore hijacked whatever viable cellular mechanisms he had left. Reanimate biomass convulsing under the puppet strings of an impromptu nervous system.
The scanners in the room recorded everything. It’s the only way I know how it works. Just sheer luck, but watching it go to work turning a former human into a necroform, it was impressive.
The others in the room, the ones with enough meat on their bones animate enough to shamble or move, reanimated. The rest, too messed up to be useful or motile, bio-converted into more spore. Utility mist like behavior, it moved – not flowed, not drifted, not wafted – but moved to digest the seals of the door.
Less than a minute after the introduction of the med systems to the tissue sample, and the outbreak was in full swing.
The nano-spore ate through the remaining containment systems voraciously. Force field and static containment failed almost immediately. The crew Director Chamf had scorched came for him through the lab bulkhead, tearing through the armored glass and metal in a frenzy. He screamed for what felt like hours when the Necroforms got him. I watch him every now and then on the security cameras. He’s been mutated into some sort of dog-thing; his med tag is still hanging from what’s left of his uniform. He deserves worse.
I worked quickly in getting most of the remaining techs and bioengineers out. But a lot of them had already been exposed to enough spore to become infected. Some of the security staff listened to me – we contained the outbreak temporarily with force barriers, negative air pressure, and a lot of luck. But eventually the spore reached intention density, and was able to make informed distributed decisions. This is not a rogue vector… it moves with purpose. Smart enough to figure out how to get through the cracks.
Infection in the facility was rampant less than 20 minutes after the outbreak event. New life forms were sprouting from the dead, dying, or infected shortly after that.
They’re prowling the halls now. Security is mostly gone although I hear the cannons from the automated security system fire every once in a while. Survivors? Who the hell knows?
I figure it’s only a matter of time before I’m either dead or one of the things out there.
I’m tight casting this data packet through the facility secure distress transponder. You’ll see that most of the information and telemetry has some very strong profiles on the creature’s capabilities. Hopefully someone will receive this distress call before the lifeform or nano-eco system or hive mind or whatever it is can get out of the facility.
Infection is reversible, but it requires some sturdy auto-doc systems. That’s how I’ve purged myself and the survivors I’ve gathered. Once the spore has started tissue conversion and manifesting biomechanical systems, there’s no way to reverse the conversion process. If you get converted, I think it overwrites whatever nervous system you have, and replaces any core persona with something different.
I can hear them through the security feeds. Some of them are obviously feral, animalistic. Roars, screams, hisses and whistles – Nonsense mostly. But the tall ones, the armored ones. They look an awful lot like the original specimen. Those ones…
They’re obviously communicating. Strategizing.
Figuring things out.

[Transcription ends]