JUST LIKE FINDING THE MARY CELESTE

You are about to participate in a great adventure.

It is the year 2083. Ten months ago, the first humans landed on Argilus. They found cities, towns, industrial installations - all deserted. Doors unlocked. Meals unfinished. Amazing machinery still working. But no people.

It was like finding the Mary Celeste on a planetary scale.

LIVING SHIPS, FLOATING CITIES, A FASCINATING MYSTERY

Science teams were brought in, research bases set up. Four months later, your supply ship has been sent to check on these bases. But when you hail them from orbit, there's no answer. The science teams, too, seem to have vanished.

Now your systems are failing and you and your crewmate have no choice but to abandon ship. But where can you go? Where else?

SCHIZM: MYSTERIOUS JOURNEY is a thrilling First Contact adventure where you play both members of the Earth supply vessel Angel as you explore the fascinating landscape of an alien world filled with mystery and intrigue.

ONLY YOU CAN UNLOCK THE SECRET!

On 4 December 1872, the 103-foot brigantine Mary Celeste was discovered drifting abandoned in the Atlantic 590 miles west of Gibraltar. The captain's log and the crew's personal effects were found on board. The cargo was intact. There was an unfinished letter on the mate's desk, the imprint of a child's head on a pillow on one of the bunks. To this day, no one knows what became of the captain, his family and the crew of seven.

When the first humans landed on Argilus on 24 June 2083, they found towns, cities, evidence of fascinating alien technology, but all abandoned, with clear signs that the inhabitants had only just departed. Doors were unlocked, meals unfinished. Amazing machinery was still working away. But no people. It was like discovering the Mary Celeste on a planetary scale.

Earth Central wanted answers. The planet was classified Restricted and put under immediate quarantine. Experts were sent in. Three science teams - nearly a hundred of Earth's finest first contact specialists - set up science and monitoring outposts at three promising locations: Base One at Bosh's Tunnels, under Dr Angela Davies, Base Two at Symphony Harbor, under Dr Gustav Tomlin, and Base Three at Rainbow Landing, under Dr Frances Bremmer.

Because of a particularly active planetary magnetosphere, the surface teams found it impossible to contact Earth directly. Though able to make limited radio contact with one another, the constant electromagnetic interference in the atmosphere prevented messages being routed through the orbital beacon in the usual manner. At first, eager mission leaders could use shuttles to return to the orbiting expedition base ship, Tarquin, and broadcast from there, but twenty days after the expedition's arrival, Tarquin fell silent and vanished from surface radar scans. It had either left the area or - an alarming prospect - had been destroyed in orbit. The teams on Argilus were effectively cut off from Earth.

That was just the beginning. Scientists began to go missing. One by one, wherever they were working, alone or in company, personnel at all three bases started disappearing. Was it something they touched, some device they activated, some secret they discovered? No one could say. Every day, the survivors were faced with the nightmare of discovering who had vanished this time, and were left frantically, desperately, uselessly seeking answers.

Now, four months later, the mission supply ship Angel approaches Argilus to make the first follow-up contact, but its crew - experienced spacers and xeno specialists Sam Mainey and Hannah Grant - can't raise any response from the planetary bases. There is no sign at all of the expedition mothership.

Knowing that communication from the surface is difficult, and following special ECS mission directives, Captain Mainey takes Angel into a much closer orbit than usual, to where Angel's enhanced com systems should be able to raise someone. There's still no response. Bounceback signatures are positive. Com systems seem to be online and operational, but no-one answers. It's as if the Earth science teams have simply vanished.

Sam and Hannah know what they must do. Given the circumstances, standard ECS procedure is to abort the landing, withdraw to a safe distance and await instructions. But the moment they try to pull back to where they can notify Earth of what has happened, Angel's main systems fail. Com and engines are out. Life support is falling to critical. The ship's orbit is beginning to decay.

Sam Mainey and Hannah Grant have no choice but to use the life-pods and abandon ship, even though they have not yet received the classified 902 mission briefing they were meant to get once contact with the scientists had been made.

STRANGE NEW WORLD

Though Sam and Hannah agree to rendezvous at Base One, and adjust their life-pods' comp systems accordingly, weather and electromagnetic variables cause them to land quite some distance from each other, so their first exposure to the new world finds them on their own.

Hannah lands on a fascinating living ship adrift in the middle of the Great Northern Ocean, and Sam on one of a cluster of balloons floating high above one of the continents. Though their radio links are operational, they both quickly find that the atmospheric interference makes communication impossible. They set their links on record, both as a routine mission log for those back home and in case their missing crewmate can access the data later. Then, with no other choice, they begin exploring this strange new world.

With Sam and Hannah, you will experience every step of this fascinating journey of discovery, face their problems, share their successes and disappointments. With luck and skill, you might even unlock the ultimate mystery of Argilus.


MYSTERIOUS JOURNEY


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