Three months between games was always going to be a tough task for a campaign and especially when the set-up for the next session (zombies!) had been spoiled to the players and hyped them up a little.
Well, to cut a long story short it worked in the most chaos filled freeform sort of way.
I had a number of problems going into the session other than the obvious 3 month gap. The first was zombies and combat. There were 10,000 people on that ship and most of them were transformed into nanite-controlled zombies. Thats a lot of people to fight. In the end, the Zombies were just mooks and then real villain of the piece was the Plasma Warp that the ship was falling into. Oh the tension. Still, the zombies had to be fought and they were, in a very cinematic, running-combat way. NPC survivors were eaten and heroes were grappled only to shoot their way free.
The second problem was that of the rather ship-bound Zeb character. He naturally functions better when he is plugged into the Khanjar, but that means that he is always looking for a high-tech way to get out of a problem. A bit like a runner in a Cyberpunk game. However, the tactics used by the crew and their need to transmit and analyse information within the chaos made him rather active, which worked well.
The third thing was that the rather ridiculous plot would ruin it for the players. This was blatantly a double homage episode to films like Posiedon and The Towering Inferno, as well as Event Horizon and any number of '...of the Dead' films. However, it also had the machinations of an insane pirate lord, a massive complicated double-cross and a random (yet dramatically useful) cosmic event all slammed together with cliche after cliche.
Bless my players! They picked up that particular ball and ran with it as fast as they could. The session started slowly with the players testing theories and then landing on the ship. From then on in, the game entered a searching mode until a sublime scene where Zeb told the 'away team' the fate of the crew, according to the Captains Log, whilst they were standing in a room of dead bodies.... and then *wham* it was Aliens speed from there till the end. And the twist at the end left a great cliffhanger for the next session.
The Ideas Factory questioned in his blog whether the use of cliches and genre stereotypes added or detracted from the session as I planned it. I don't think it did, especially considering the nature of the timing of the session. We needed a good session, a great laugh and something that moved the campaign on to the next series of adventures after the introductory sorties. I think this did it.
Next time, the final face off with One Eyed Elijah ... and an explanation of the intricate plotting that caused the ship to be filled with Zombie Gas...honest!