|Campaign Dates||End of 1098 to 1099-013|
As Sharri escorts Rally and Sergeant Hanson around Starlight Drifter Galen Castor and the Sgt. come face to face again for the first time since Hanson helped extract the former pirate. The two hard some strong words and Sharri commed Viktor to come help intervene. Hanson and Viktor talked and were able to agree to a peace. The two took the C Deck stateroom while Rally was starboard and Galen port on B Deck. Sharri, of course, had the Captain’s quarters. She brought the group together and issued the remaining three the crew version of her high tech ring that came with the ship. As Sharri and Viktor already discovered, the ring pricked them and sampled their DNA to bond to it. That taken care of, Viktor and Sharri share the outline of this venture:
The Starlight Drifter is free to engage in whatever trade or activities it wishes, like any other Far Trader would. From time to time, Viktor’s old employer, Imperial Intelligence will ask them for favors. This will usually result in a flat rate to be divided up among the crew and coverage of basic operations expenses, such as fuel and maintenance. It does not take many days before Viktor has orders on 1089-364, just before the new year.
The mission is to leave on 1099-013 to take an agent, Fielding Lee, to the planet of Fornice. The payment will be Cr10,000. Lee will fly a paid for Middle Passage. Sharri agrees they can depart and in a few days has five High Passages and four Low Passages booked. She also nabs three cases of mail and fills the rest of the hold space with advanced luxury goods. Ironically, these are some of the same goods she saw for sale, but did not have money for speculation.
Cargo arrives on 1099-008 and is fully loaded. On 1099-012, the low passengers arrive. Sharri is a bit distressed that one seems to be an old woman, Victoria, who will most likely be more difficult to revive, but the woman paid her fare, and she did survive the trip here. The others are a Mohthy, who is a miner of radioactives looking to get to Maitz where there was a recent strike, Vivian, a student, and Eddi Cappachini, who may be on the run from a jealous husband. Sharri and Viktor get them into the hibernation pods safely.
The launch day arrives, and the Drifter is assigned to launch that evening. Mora is a busy spaceport, so launch windows are tight, not just to leave the planet, but to fly through clear spacelanes. Unfortunately, a storm is predicted for the afternoon. As the crew is prepping the ship, the High Passengers begin to arrive. Viktor greets them with Sharri, managing their luggage while Sharri acts as Steward. While the low passengers walked up the ramp, these passengers come in through the main airlock into the foyer. Viktor casts a studied eye as they come in. The first, Alec Wyrdin, raises his internal alarm. The man appears to be alert and casing the ship while doing a passable job of disinterest. Mr. Wyrdin surreptitiously watched as Sharri entered the access code in the elevator (something not actually needed with their rings, but a suggestion by Viktor that they keep up for appearances). Viktor texted Hanson to keep an eye on the man and made his own personal note to watch him.
Of the other guests, Jannik Kirkson a Swordwolder Broker clearly on the make offered to make some deals with Sharri even as the boarded. The next was a laid back Varger artist, a sitar slung over his back like some mythical bard named Cavin Kull. As the last two, Lady Mika Belton and her attendant, Annica Nox, arrived, Viktor received an emergency message and stepped aside leaving Hanson to help with bags. Sharri wowed the noble with her acumen and got her settled in. Returning to the Bridge, Viktor relayed the news that their final passenger and their mission, Fielding, was trapped at a motel on the outskirts of the Startown. It seems his cover was blown and now 5-7 agents awaited his departure, and he needed extraction. Still on in the Imperial Enclave, restrictions were not as high, but they could not go charging in in powered armor. Sharri was relieved they had passengers and had an excuse to stay on the ship while the other four went on their rescue mission.
Renting a nondescript van for Cr300, the group drove to the site. A quick drive around showed 7 thugs clearly casing the joint. Two were on the other side, while two were at ends of the building. Three stood by a burning barrel. Viktor told their passenger to get ready to jump and told Rally to back up. They are stopped by the thugs and say they are there to deliver laundry. Despite the thug pretending to call “his boss” they keep backing up and all hell breaks loose. Galen leaps out the back of the van and prepares to fire. The man they were near open fires on the van itself, as do the three men at the burning barrel. While the far shots do not do much, the man closes to the van sends a lucky host straight into its motor. Hanson leaps out and uses the van as cover and takes a shot at the man nearest them. This cover leaves, however as Rally slams the van into forward and drives over the man who shot it, before it comes to a skittering halt. The fight is on. Viktor, Hanson, and Galen being a firefight with the remaining thugs, working to take them down. Rally races from the downed van towards the two big cars the thugs came in to see if he can get it, dodging fire. Viktor keeps up fire at the men at the barrel, while the other two alternate between them and the men closing from the far side of the building. Hanson’s cloth armor and flack jacket take up most of the damage he takes, but Galen is getting hurt. Fielding comes out to help, but misses shot after shot, as he is much more at home in being a spy, not an enforcer.
Bullets rain into the crippled van, but provide excellent cover for Viktor. Rally cannot find keys and dashes back through gun fire to slid up to the man he rolled over. A lucky roll lets him find the keys in seconds. Yelling out he has the keys as a leadership roll, Rally is true to his name. With the boons granted (6 in all) he charges back to the car while his teammates, even Fielding this time, manage to knock out or kill the rest of the thugs. Stopping for nothing they hit the car, and they tear off. Viktor slaps a trauma patch on Galen and performs a quick first aid. He has just enough time to turn to the much less injured sergeant as well. Both have experienced this type of work before, and Galen well knows he is on a clock. He only hopes he has enough time to fly the ship out, because as they head back the storm breaks over them.
At the hanger, Viktor kicks them out and takes the car to be dumped. Using his old tricks this is easy enough and he returns to the Starlight Drifter to strap in as ground control is asking them if they want to wait. Sharri replies,
”I trust my crew. We are good to go.”
In a difficulty take off due to gale force winds, Galen gets the ship into the air and safely above the storm. From there, they have a easy trip at 2Gs to their departure point over the next two hours. Galen ably does the astrogation to Fornice. After giving this data to Hanson, he starts to flag. Hanson spends a few minutes to charge the J-Drives and the Starlight Drifter enters jumpspace for the first time in decades. Galen shuffles down to the med bay and crawls into a bed. Viktor tells Hanson that he will need to do the same. Both will need some time in sick bay. Viktor tells Sharri he will attend to them while she attends to their passengers.
The adventures for the Travallers has begun.
The Starlight Drifter travels through the mystery of jump space towards its destination. In addition to her crew, they have the following passengers on board:
|Alec Wyrdin||Suspicious Passenger||Human||High|
|Jannik Kirkson||Swordwolder Broker||Human||High|
|Cavin Kull||Musical Artist (Sitar)||Varger||High|
|Lady Mika Belton||Noble on Business||Human||High|
|Viktoria Shedyick||Home from family visit to grandkids||Human||Low|
|Mohthy Hutch||Lost job, looking for work, Miner of Radioactives||Human||Low|
|Eddi Cappachini||Rouge/Scoundrel,running from husband||Human||Low|
Galen and Sergeant Hanson into sickbay under the care of Viktor. Viktor estimates it's Sergeant Hanson with only need single recovery call Galen would need 43. Viktor gets to work getting the medbay up and running and taking care of the two of them. Meanwhile Sharri engages preparation of dinner for passengers.
Fielding does not attend dinner saying he what's not up to it. Sharri has a nice conversation with the rest of computers and the lady Mika asks if she could tour of the ship, and this is something the rest of the passengers jump at and Sharri makes a promise to set something up.
The next day the recovered Sergeant Hansen and Viktor talk with Sharri you about setting up tours. Hanson says he wants to do small groups. They start with the lady Mika and her bodyguard. Rally has decided to spend his time focused on and studying leadership in his cabin with the rest of his down time spent in the studio. The initial tour of the noble and her bodyguard goes very well when Sharri is able to answer all the questions of the Baroness. Sergeant Hansen who manages to strike up the beginnings of a friendship with the bodyguard, Annica, who is a former marine herself.
Fielding again apologizes for not making it to dinner the night before space travel does not agree with him. He says he expects he would be spending most of his evening in his cabin. He does send a message to Viktor he would like to set up meeting to do a debriefing, and Sharri suggest that they take care of that business by putting him on a private tour.
Alec reports he is feeling ill and wants medical attention. Viktor and Sharri get him wearing appropriate masks and confirm that his symptoms are like the flu. As they really do not want to risk contaminating the ship, they clear the passages and put him in a filter mask and escort him down to sickbay and begin to run tests. It very much appears to Viktor that Alec has flu and so they take appropriate measures with him and his sick baby bed. Sergeant Hanson is unwilling to let him out of his sight and he stays in medbay using one of the beds that were there. Viktor gives his new patient to significant sedative that should keep him number for some time allowing them to relax a bit and they're vigilant.
That evening while Sergeant Hansen has dozed off, Galen wakes to the suspicious passenger up and fiddling with his gear. He loudly asks the man
“Aren’t you supposed to be sick?”
making sure that he is loud enough to wake the Sergeant up. Finding their suspicious passenger using his comm Sergeant Hansen summons Viktor and the captain.
Viktor arrives and helps get the patient back to bed. As he checks on Galen, he subtlety gives his stunner to the pilot and whispers for him to help keep an eye on the passenger. Sharri orders the computer to not let this passenger move about the ship securing all doors against him. They put Alec back into bed and Viktor notes that his symptoms seem to be better. Running more significant test it is clear but man had used some sort of drug to send me like symptoms and perhaps some sort of stemmed let him fight off the effects of the sedative.
Since he was better Sharri says she wants him confined to his cabin and instructs the computer not to let him leave the cabin. After letting him get dressed Viktor and Hanson escort him up. In the lift, Viktor notices him messing with belt and is just in time to avoid being hit with a stunner that Alec has secreted in his belt. Viktor's pulls his snub nose pistol and shoots their difficult passenger significantly wounding him. The Sgt. tries to put the man in a hold, but the wildly agent slips free. However, in the face of the gun leveled at him by Viktor however he chooses to give up. They haul him back down to the medbay.
Sharri checks the sensor logs and she sees a very clear pattern of some kind of device from the medbay Alec’s cabin in communication. Wanting to take no chances , Sharri agrees with Sergeant Hansen to evacuate the entire passenger deck on the pretext of needing to secure it of any virus. Hason then goes back up to the top deck in his boarding suit and has the computer open the door at range. When no explosion occurs, he goes in to search the room and did see electronic locking mechanism on Alec’s rigid luggage. Sharri uses her computer expertise to disable the explosives and then retreats, allowing the armored man to open the case. Inside he find weapons such as a stealth dagger and a shotgun gauntlet. He ejects the explosives into jump space and then puts all of Alex belongings into the chest which he then secures with his own code.
The most significant thing they find is a tracking device designed to piggyback along the Starlight Drifter’s own communication when they entered systems and had normal comm handshakes. This would have allowed somebody to track the Drifter as it went from starport to starport throughout the Spinward Marches.
Amid Bay interrogated their prisoner told you not to say much but soon enough to know was a threat from his ex-wife and an old rival crime family. Not willing to make a deal with the man and being unwilling to Simply space him because of how Sharri might respond, Viktor chase the man into unconsciousness and told suggested to Sharri did they put him in one of the low births. Day and froze the student and told her she had one the first flight allowing her to finish the rest of her flight and they put Alec into cold sleep for the rest of the trip.
Cavin Kull, himself a musician, ran into Rally during the evacuation and turned out to be a huge, huge fan. He was very excited Rally Owens. Ironically the unfrozen student sees Rally and only to say how big a fan her mother is. Rally offers to arrange a concert at the end of the trip and let the canid musician open for him. Sergeant Hansen finds he is able to spend some time with Annica and very much impressed her over the knights left of the trip giving Viktor a room of his own for several nights.
Fielding briefs Viktor just before the concert: His was gathering intelligence on a shipping concern, Shen-Shalla Concerns (SSC) (and rival to Sharri’s old company Xenander). His blown cover was not that he was Imperial Intelligence but that he was stealing information. This resulted in them going after him with a local team. The big issue is he has uncovered a connection to some shadowy operations linked to LSP. SSC is desperate that LSP not find this out. LSP is moving some sort of material that is illicit in nature but Agent Lee is not sure what. The blown cover meant he had to be extracted.
Arriving at Fornice, Sharri is able to get them a faster travel time using her administrative knowledge . Viktor informs the local authorities to have police standing by. The Drifter lands at the downport without incident. All the low passenger survive and the high passengers and Fielding depart. Annica make sure that Sergeant Hansen has her contact information for his time on Fornice.
The local broker, , Bert Saxby , initially attempts to stiff Sharri. She fails to convince him on point of contract but he recoils in the face of Rally Owens, who shows up saying “Do you know who I am?” However, this brings to the attention of a promoter, Paula Caplan, who has just seen off her last clients on their way on a 6 month tour. Paula, ever on the make, approaches Rally wanting to book him for something on the planet. Rally turns to Sharri as his agent so that they can get in touch the next day.
The group expects they'll be spending their first night on the starship. However, everyone has shopping list of equipment and things that they want. And, today is the first day Sharri has ever set foot on another world.
Having taken the first day to unload, the travallers look to take care of their personal business. Sharri has a meeting with dinner to formalize the crew contracts, as while this was going to be done before they left, things have been hectic. She also has Rally sign her up as his exclusive agent (now his previous contract is complete) and in her first act facilitates the bodyguard arrangement between Rally and Sgt. Hanson. Galen suggests they go ahead and top their fuel, noting they can buy unrefined and process it in a little over two days. It never hurts to be ready to run.
The promoter, Paula Caplan, arranges to meet Sharri and Rally at the Downport in a meeting room the next day. Viktor heads to Startown and the TAS House, while Galen checks into a low – medium end hotel. The other three plan to spend a second night at the Drifter after their meeting.
Ms. Caplan has a possibility of an event in the city of Euridan on the dark side of the planet, to have a show in Eversun Hall. She will provide a luxury grav tour “bus” and put the group up in the penthouse of the luxury Lezgiv Towers. The concert itself will be in 4 weeks. Sharri gets the proposed price up, and gets residuals for Rally’s new work. Caplan promises the “bus” tomorrow.
The vehicle is what you would expect for a flying bus – wider than a lane and higher. Rally’s distinctive logo is on the side in its animated form. Rally’s music even emanates in all of its rocking glory. Thanks to Rally have a strong fan at the port, he is able to have the bus land next to the Drifter and the group gets their things through customs. A quick call to Viktor and Galen adds a touch to the list of illicit items. The armed boarding suits stay behind; the party stash does not.
It is a 17 hour ride to Euridan and the three go in style. The bus itself is automated, with a full lounge area, bar, autokitchen, full fresher, and places to sleep. Rally puts on classical Solmani music, to the delight of Sharri, and then he drops out in his own recreation. They get to sleep after the long day, but not before Sharri gets an invitation for lunch for the next day by Morgan Medgrev with a possible job.
Sharri meets the business contact in the first floor restaurant. When she comes in, an older man rises to greet her. He has a look of recognition in his eyes. He says,
“I was surprised to see the Starlight Drifterback listed in action. I thought the ship was retired. And here you are, looking like Helen.”
Sharri agrees she does look like the former captain of the Drifter and went briefly into her sudden inheritance of the ship last year. Medgrev notes they can have more time to catch up if she takes the job and outline his proposal. What he wants is to transport to Maitz, 2 parsecs way. He, or his men, have found a good spot for radiologicals. He would like to file a claim with the local Knight there, and make it an Imperial claim. This means he does not have to pay the high percentage that the company who owns the planet, Xetos Pertankror, will demand. The problem is, if he makes the claim before he is there, then Xetos will say his claim is “abandoned” and seize it. In fact, until he can defended it, they can pay someone to attack it, and then come in and “liberate” the claim from “claim jumpers” and then turn it into a corporate charter. He wants to pay for the following:
Transport 40 tons and 21 people to the planet, refuel and the land near the claim and stay on station around two weeks while they set up a more fortified base. He will pay half a million credits, 20% up front, 30% departure, 20% upon unloading, 30% upon completion of set up. He has other people who will show up already on planet with vehicles and will be ready to leave Fornice in 4-5 weeks it will take him to get equipment and people.
Sharri says she will think about it and after lunch, uses secure comms to page the two crew not at the Towers to discuss. The team quickly agrees to the job. The wait lines up well with the concert. Hanson goes to get a neural comm augmentation and finds himself getting f=reluctantly upsold to the TL 13 version.
Back at Startown, Viktor spends three days going from hotel to hotel drinking. He is working though his unhappiness that his old life chased him so quickly. He is a practical man, so this funk is not long, and when Shari contacts him that the Drifter has a job offer, he gives his input and heads to join the rest of the company. He arrived and managed to infiltrate the security that Hanson had set up and gave the marine some pointers.
Galen is spending his time working the streets to gather more weapons, ammo, and armor. After the last shoot out, he wants to be far more prepared. Over half a decade serving and running a flying hotel meant he was used to less armor on enemies and a lot less in firepower. Galen planned to correct that imbalance and not be caught outgunned again. He told the team he would be along when his business was completed.
Galen finds a Bwap named Lingu in the One Step Down bar who says he can find someone to get him all his list taken care of. He sends him away with a code, and in the next couple of days, Galen finds himself standing in Arnie’s Gatway Adventures, a travel agency booking flight to baked lands for naturalistic sight seeing by the rather strange large woman calling herself Miss Milli. He heads by himself to the spaceport and boards a VTOL aircraft supersonic Francisco High Flyer. The pilot introduces himself as Styphen, and helps suit Galen up in a still suit, which will keep him safe from the sun, heat, and dryness. They also conveniently cover faces and act as cloth armor.
In middle of baked lands, the High Flyer lands next to a near twin. There is a tent against a hole dug into near by cliffs. Styphen escorts Galen to the tent where three men stand, all in still suits. Two have military rifles slung over their shoulders. As Galen is search for weapons, and they take his pistol, Stypen heads back to his plane. Galen its taken in to meet and make deal by the lessor armed man. Inside the carved out cave, it is cool. A man introduces himself as Mr. Strix. He is also in a still suit and any identification would be impossible. After a brief exchange, he makes an offer. \
Take on a 10 one ton containers with goods that will arrive under an imperial customs seal already in place and bypass normal customs. One will have their “shopping list” which will be items purchased at “normal” prices. Go to Maitz and deliver the 9 containers. Wait for a while and then pick up another 10. Then, get them to the world Palique within the next 2 months. Payment at Palique for final delivery will be Cr100,000.
The retired pirate says he will have to consult with his captain, which Strix understands. Just as his escort hands him his gun, there is an explosions by Stypen’s plane and 7 desert modified boost bikes come roaring up the hill. A loudspeaker announces “Police, surrender!”. The two men with rifles instead open fire, and high powered rounds fly back and forth. Galen and his escort dive back into the cave as Styplen’s plane opens up with an attached autocannon. Inside the man-made cave, Strix asks “Jules” what is going on, and the escort says that it is the Long Huzi gang pretending to be cops. Strix grabs a comm and quickly enters commands, and the cannon on the other Francisco fired. When the shooting stops, there are 6 dead Long Huzi and two dead guards.
Strix accuses Galen of being sloppy and being followed. He then explains the deal is now compulsory, and his organization can make life for the crew of the Drifter very difficult across the whole subsector. He suggests Galen convince his captain to agree and dismisses him. Styphen is much less talkative on the flight back.
Galen then heads to Euridan to join the rest of the group. After he details what happened, Sharri panics. She gets Hanson and Viktor and tries to find someplace secure to talk. When it becomes obvious to Viktor what she is wanting to do, he takes her to an industrial area and the three talk. Viktor helps her weigh the pros and cons, but it is clear that Sharri does not want to smuggle, and certainly does not want to be forced into it. Hanson tells Sharri she is the boss, but this is the sort of thing he used to work against.
Sharri, Hanson, and Rally are spending time touring the planet in the bus, promoting the upcoming concert. Seeing the growing danger, Viktor starts both electronics and on the ground investigations into what maybe be going on with the concert. He is able to see a shift of social media after two weeks, showing someone moving very rabid fans close to the stage. Sharing this information, Hanson suggests several additional electrical props. Sharri is able to convince Ms. Caplan and Rally makes some calls to get the props for Cr3,000. The sgt. plans to be back stage with stun grenades and use the props as cover if it comes to that.
A bit concerned with the use of military equipment as the back up, Viktor continues his work. Further investigation shows that the criminal family the Karanatovs are into running arms. They hail originally from Palique and have maintained that accent. They are involved in many other things, and may well be behind the moves against the crew. Viktor wonders what else they may be doing.
|Campaign Dates||1109-036-051||Month 2|
While Viktor is moving about the city, he notices someone clearly following him. He is quite aware he is being pushed in a direction, but plays it cool. This leads to an encounter with a young man in his 20’s, Agent Janvier, of Fornice Planetary Security (FPS). He discusses how Galen crossed paths with the Karanatov crime family, known for their ties to Palique separatists. Having use the Long Huzi gang to gather information, the agents approached the former Director Petrovich to get clarification. After a brief conversation, it is clear that FPS wants to go after the crime family and would be willing to overlook the meeting for help.
The agent asks for the group to continue to ignore the family. They will help provide security at the concert and help to monitor. He has no doubts there will be ways the group will put pressure on the crew of the Drifter. Before they leave, they will “give in” and then the FPS can see what the family is trying to move. They need the crew to “resist” so that their agreement later does not arouse suspicions.
It also turns out that Agent Janvier is a fan of Rally and he asks about tickets. Viktor promises him tickets for him and his wife, and comes through with four, so they can bring friends. He also gives Viktor some credits to cover minor expenses.
Viktor calls the group together to relay the important information. Sharri reluctantly agrees to the plan, but calls for travel only to be as a group. They all travel to the city of Limoges for Rally’s appearance. Since their is now enough equipment from Medgrev to stat loading, Sharri has Viktor and Galen catch a suborbital back to the starport to supervise Medgrev’s people. She has Rally’ give a limited appearance, and otherwise holes up the team in the tour bus.
At the starport, the loading is going well. Galen is running the loading arm inside the ship, while Viktor is patrolling the outside. As he is aware that one of the port authority workers is out of line of sight, the Drifter announces to the two that someone has just tried to gain entry into the airlock. Viktor goes to the rolling stairs and finds a port authority worker named “Janus” coming down the ladder. Galen is able to see clearly on security footage this man trying to enter the ship. Viktor does not acknowledge anything happened formally, and the man is a master of deception. However, the two know what is going on, and Viktor smothers him in kindness, even as he keeps watching the man who clearly wants to get out of the hanger. The rest of the loading goes without incident, and the two button up the ship and return to Limoges and the rest of the team.
Half a week later, the group is looking forward to arriving back at the hotel. They are flying over the dark side of the planet at 1 in the morning, all asleep except for Rally (with a boxcars luck roll), who is in the lounge watching a historical documentary on 13th Century Terran Music in China. Suddenly, the feed drops, and Rally cannot get access to any planetary network feeds. He calls Sharri who does not respond (-6 Effect on luck roll) as she is sacked out. However, as Rally looks at the autopilot he notices a red light. He calls Sgt. Hanson, who immediately wakes up and is downstairs in armor, with his rifle in hand. It is clear to him that their is a jammer. The rest of the team gets up and Galen and Viktor sit up front to see status. The auto pilot is now flying on inertial guidance and locked down. Galen tries to override it while Viktor does a sensor scan. Sure enough, there are 6 flying heat sources near the tour bus, one below, one above and two on each side. He turns on all the lights of the bus and the whole Rally Owens Tour display system illuminates the night with his rock music playing.
Rally races upstairs to get into a Vacc Suit, as does Sharri. Galen goes to put on his armor and get his axe. He notes he is out of ammo for his pistol and Hanson tells him to take a couple boxes from his stash (“These are a loan”). While Viktor stays on the scanners, Hanson pops up the top hatch, rebreather one and rifle in hand to scan the area. He sees the signatures of LSP Streaker Air bikes. Viktor tells him that all but one seem to have two riders. Hason pops a bike to the right of the bus with an EMP blast, causing it to fall, and its riders to both leap off using wing suits. All three are immediately left in this distance as they spiral down.
Viktor clips into the airlock and leans out to fire at another headed towards the side. Waiting until it is close, his shot does massive damage to the driver as it bursts though him and into the man behind him. At the same time, thinking the man above them is the jammer, Hanson uses his automatic gun to rip apart the bike in the air. Its riders also wing suit away, but the jamming does not stop. The two bikes to the left dodge under the bus to get away from the deadly former Imperial Marine.
As Hanson heads down, Sharri, Galen, and Rally are ready to fight as well. Hanson reloads his grenade launcher in the lift as he charges down. Viktor, checks the scanners and can see the bikes getting ready to approach the airlock. He braces behind the driver seat and gets ready to fire as Hanson heads past him into the Cargo area. Galen moved to the airlock, ready to axe anyone coming in.
The airlock outer door explodes with a shaped charge, and the sudden rush of air shoves Galen out. He is lucky and his arm is caught in the wreckage, breaking it and pinning him against the outside of the bus. Battered, he does not see the backseater getting ready to fire in another shaped charge that blows open the other side of the airlock, depressurizing the whole bus.
Viktor charges forward to try to save Galen but cannot get his body into the bus. The back biker fired at him but missed as Sharri and Rally charged up to help. Galen tried to use his axe to claw his way back into the bus but could not get purchase.
At the bottom of the bus, Hanson struggles to hang from the lower hatch, missing a chance to shoot at one of the bikes before it can move up to strike at the airlock. Recovering, Hanson fires his EMP grenade at the single man bike jamming their communications. The bomb explodes on target with a huge effect, rupturing the fuel cells of the bike. Unluckily (-6 effect), the EMP burst also creates feedback with the jammer and the whole bike explodes, rocking the tour bus, and sending shrapnel into sensitive systems. Immediately, the comm and navigation systems go off-line, and the craft is locking into a straight-line pathway.
Galen again tries to use his axe for leverage but fails, this time dropping his axe. Sharri and Rally get him into the ship while Viktor fires to the side, and Hanson fires from below. The last two bikes are driven off. As Viktor applies first aid to Galen, Sharri grabs her computer with its transmitter and calls for help. They emergency response gives them codes to fly the bus and sends out an escort. A hour later, they have landed at the nearest city, only to be met by FPS agents. The agents say they will debrief Viktor later and in the meantime look the other way while the group takes their bags off the bus to smaller transport back to Euridan and the Lezgiv Towers hotel. There a new bus will be waiting for them. Hanson makes sure Galen’s things are taken along, as he is off to spend two days in the hospital. His grav ambulance takes an agent along for the ride. When Galen gets back to the hotel, he finds a replacement axe courtesy of the FPS.
On the 49th day of 1099, Rally’s concert takes place in Eversun Hall. Sharri is stressing over the event, worried about anything that might happen. Agent Janvier, his wife, and Agent Tremblay and his wife all have front row tickets. Galen and Viktor take up supervision in boxes overlooking the area. Sharri is down back stage, and Sgt. Hanson is to the side. Several agents are in the area as security. Thanks to her -6 effect recon roll, Sharri is worried about the concert itself. Rally is not playing great (which is really normal for him) but he is doing new sets. Paula Caplan, the promoter, is trying to get Sharri not to worry with limited effect. Thus, Sharri does not even see the man in the Mezzanine look as if he is taking out a cane gun to snipe Rally off the stage. Galen, Viktor and Hanson all see the man stand. Agents are headed there. Viktor scans the room, thinking this is a distraction. He and Galen (+6 effect recon) both see the three young women charge the stage. Galen also sees two men leap up with the distraction of the women, guns in hand.
Hason fires off the prepared stun grenade launchers, stunning the young ladies moving up. Thanks to Galen’s warning over the coms, Agents Janvier and Tremblay leap up and tackle the armed men. To cover for the commotion, Rally puts his full persuade behind getting the audience focused on him. True to Rally luck this is a phenomenal success (boxcars again). In fact, this works well enough that later, Sharri is told by Ms. Caplan the residuals will increase by 92% (Ed Note: Percentile roll, and really, it seems Rally’s luck is effecting the real world here!).
The party afterwards is long and full. All three of the young women are treated and it is found they were hyped up with simulants and triggered into the show. They are wired but fine and loved getting into the party. The Agents and their wives get to come back too. Galen and Viktor hang outside, while Hanson keeps an eye on his charge, and Sharri on her talent.
The day after the concert, Sharri gets a message from an anonomoys source that threatens them more after their demonstrations. She coordinates with Agent Janviar and agrees to take on the extra cargo. The trap is now set. Galen wonders to Viktor if he will be able to intercept the 10th cargo container with his “shopping list”.
Ed. Note: The Imperium has 13 months of 28 says each, with the last day of the year as its own day. Dates are normally written and Year – Day, but some things are measured in months. Thus the 3rd month will start on the 57th day of the year.
Day 51, and the first two months of 1099 are almost over. The Starlight Drifter is seeing its final loading. 10 red 1 ton cargo containers, each with impeccable Imperial customs seals, arrive, escorted by a private delivery firm. With almost every supposed “miner” actually an FSP agent, it is easy for these men to be detained in the sting. Every member of the crew is also detained as the hanger bay is shut down. Once everyone else is clear, the containers are scanned for traps and opened by experts several hours later, but before they are moved. One container does hold Galen’s shopping list, and he wistfully watches as it is tagged as evidence and loaded onto a truck. The other nine however, contain much more lethal cargo: micro nuclear explosives. These pocket nukes are built for terrorism and transporting them is illegal by Imperial law. Not that it would have been the first time for Galen to move such items.
The weapons taken, the Drifter is given clearance to launch the next day. As a final reward, FSP delivers sand caster and basic missiles to load the lower turret of the ship. The crew of the Starlight Drifter made an enemy of the Karanatovs today, even if the crew’s connection to the FSP remains covert. It is past time to get off Fornice. The real miners and Morgan Medgrev board and they are ready to depart.
|Campaign Dates||1099, 25-72|
After some last day shopping for supplies, the crew of the Starlight Drifter board and leave Fornice behind. With them is Morgan Medgrev and his 20 crew. His head of facilities, Meriwether Xinyi, will meet them at the planet as he is already there coordinating resources.
Sharri agrees to let the passengers have access to the free space in the hold. Hanson works with the security lead for Medgrev, Alice Wolf, and the two work a rotating call schedule. This allows them to be on top of anything that might develop. Fortunatly, the crew are all experienced spacers, many belters, who are used to tight quarters. Wolf and the other three women are more than able to take care of themselves with the large number of men. Rally agrees to hold a meet and greet the last night of the jump which gives the passengers something to look forward to.
Sharri uses her last day of shopping to fully stock her suite with fine drinks and food. On the first day, she invites Medgrev into her room. Since no one of the crew has ever been in the Captain’s suite, this triggers an alert for Sgt. Hanson. After an hour, he checks on her. Sharri comes to the door, her jacket unbuttoned and relaxed. After her reassurance, Hanson suggests that in the future, she tell him the things he “should not be seeing” and the somewhat embarrassed Captain agrees. True to his word, Hanson does not notice that Medgrev leaves the next morning, nor his visits each evening of the Jump.
During the flight, Sharri has the crew participate in a simulation of a space battle. 5 of the passengers join in to run the “enemy” ship, which is a mirror image of their ship, but neither simulated are equipped with a stealth coating, unlike the real Starlight Drifter. The two ships pummel each other digitally, as they are evenly matched. The crew learns some things about space battles, and they vow to try to avoid fights more than engage in them. While they did win, it was a close-run thing, including Galen on a turret while Sharri flew the ship and Hanson tried to fix it.
At the Maitz Starport, the corporate ownership by Xetos Pertankror is on display in all its overcharging glory. Birthing costs for the Class A facility are near max at Cr1000/day or Cr5000/Week. All fuel is shipped in from Gas Giant in system from Naissance Station, and thus there is no unrefined fuel, and the costs for refined fuel are Cr750 per ton, 50% higher than imperial standard. Further, no use of ice on the planet is allowed as it is supposed to be left for local miners. 500m around the Starport itself has already been stripped of ice.
The group takes three days in port to purchase some of the more exotic items that one can find on a law level 1 world. Medgrev departs to file the claim and as soon as this happens, the Drifter heads to the site. Skilled navigation by Galen results in landing in an optimum site. Now the unloading and building can begin.
|Campaign Dates||1099, 62-72|
The crew is on guard as the set up starts. Sharri spends time helping to organize on the ground. She also helps monitor the sensors with Viktor. Things unpack smoothly until around 88 hours into operations when a remote ship flies overhead. Viktor gives a heads up and sends images to the group. Hanson recognizes it immediately as a drone drop ship as it deploys 20 cylinders. 18 of them perfectly deploy and inflated tetrazoid around them, with the other two crashing into the ground. Immediately, insect like drones sprouted legs and made their way towards the camp, large static blades swinging. Sharri is right in their path.
Hason uses his rifle to take the one closest to Sharri out. No one else had range. It soon became clear that the units were only going after equipment. The team moves in and helped to wipe them out in short order, with most shooting, and Galen wading in with his axe. The damage done to the equipment did put the workers behind, and Galen helps them with his technical knowhow. They radio Morgan, who promises to purchase some more firepower to bring to the party when he came out.
Around 87 hours after set up started, Viktor notes the approach of 8 armed men, in two groups of four. They don’t crest the hill but came around, preventing Hanson from using the top turret which he had trained on the hill. Rally, however, uses the sand caster to pelt four to the east as they jumped into the crater where the build was happening. The rest of the party moves to engage the other four. These were harder targets, all in boarding combat suits. Rally could not get another shot as it was into the area where people and equipment were.
While Rally and Galen move to exit the Starlight Drifter, everyone else looks to fight. Without the range of their security chief, Viktor and Galen have to move forward on the rough terrain. Galen easily absorbs fire from the four, with only minor damage. April Wolf, the security chief emerges in her combat boarding suit and takes a shot with her laser rifle, but the blow is glancing. Viktor and Galen move forward for shots again, and trade fire with the attackers. April fires again, and this time, connected with a powerful shot, downing a man. The good Sgt. is out now, and his first firing sends a heavy burst into another member. The tide turns against the attackers.
Galen charges with his axe drawn, only to see two of the attackers also wield their own. One rattled attacker tries to use a Cryo blast but missed twice as Galen cuts one down and Hason and Wolf take out the others. Galen and Viktor go to investigate where they came from, seeing tire marks in the icy dust. Sharri works to get the attackers into the medbay. 3 she was able to easily get on their feet, 1 needs more care, and two are beyond help thanks to Hanson and Wolf.
Morgan shows up in an rented grav car, the type that Viktor wants and his eyes light up. Morgan tells the group he will put the captives to work. Viktor’s interrogation finds they are just ordinary men hired to attack the equipment. They say that if they don’t report in, actual mercenaries are coming. Morgan is happy to say he brought a working Gatling Laser and has three more on the way. The next group is supposed to be here in another 50 hours or so. This will mean the base will mostly be underground and easier to secure. By then, the communications and sensor tower should be up and the gatling laser can be mounted.
Viktor asks to fly the car for recon purposes, and he and Galen go for a spin. It is clear that Viktor is in love. They fly around the area and decide to keep the Drifter in place and have Rally and Sharri stay inside, as their ranges are poor anyway. The other three and Wolf will be ready outside to defend the site. Now they wait.
With the information from their captives, the team gets some rest and then gets ready. Hanson helps to mount the gatling laser and mans it. Sharri and Viktor take turns on the sensors. Sharri notices four targets coming in. Hanson and Viktor recognize men in battle dress riding what they suspect are cyclone hover bikes. They are two klicks out from the group. Sharri takes Starlight Drifter up, and Hason begins to fire as they close. The attackers all launch anti ship missiles and two strike the ship, damaging the hull, while Sharri’s evasive maneuvers cause the other two to miss. The distance is extreme so Viktor and Galen take up hidden positions in case the men close. It becomes clear the men are in, indeed, battle dress and highly defended. Hason begins using the gun to fire, and Rally uses the beam lasers on the ship. The targets are jinking and hard to hit. Hanson manages to hurt one driver, but he stays flying.
The bikes get off their second set of missiles, with one more strike crippling the and caster turret despite Sharri’s maneuvers. Right after this fire, Hanson hits his target again and knocks him from his bike, even though he is not unconscious, he is 1000m away. The bikes dodge the beam laser blasts from the ship, while Sharri uses the scanners to make sure things are clear. The three remaining bikes close to within 450m and fire plasma bolts at the well defended gun emplacement. Fortunately, the crystaliron shield protected the Sgt. from most of the blast. He keeps up fire! Alice Wolf, the head of Medgrev’s security, fires and destroys the bike, keeping the downed man from remounting and closing.
With Sharri maneuvering the ship again, she tries to help Rally, but managed to make his firing solution worse. However, lucky Rally manages to connect, and the powerful shipboard weapons cut a gouge in the ice, vaporizing the armored figure and his bike. Meanwhile, Sgt. Hanson knocks another attacker unconscious, and his bike slides to a stop automatically. The final man takes a plasma shot to no effect and turns to run. Sharri orients the top of Starlight Drifter to help Rally perfectly line up, and the fleeing bike vanishes in the focused light of the dual turret.
One man left up, but without a bike, he is a klick away. Galen takes off after the man, determined to close and use his axe. The mercenary is not interested in a hand to hand fight, and fires his plasma rifle at the closing pirate. He positions himself so that neither the ship or the gatling laser can target him, and waits for Galen to round the edge. The group watches as Galen dives and dodges. The first blast vaporizes the ice he hid behind, but Galen takes no damage. Hanson calls out for him to stop moving, but Galen keeps going forward. Three shots later, as Galen dives for cover yet again, his luck runs out, and a full plasma blast devastates him, and leaves him in critical condition. At this point, Sharri intervenes and takes Starlight Drifter and Rally strikes the attacker. He is partially under cover, which saves his life, but he is immobilized. Sharri lands near the dying Galen and she and Rally get him to the med bay. By the time Viktor is there, they have him ready for surgery, and Viktor goes to work with Sharri to assist. The Sgt. meanwhile grabs the two unconscious mercenaries and the remaining bike and rendezvous with the ship. Sharri stabilizes the prisoners much to Viktor’s disgust, but Hanson is adamant that prisoners are not killed.
Within the next two days, Viktor treats Galen while the base is completed and fully defended with four gatling laser emplacements. Medgrev pays the team and offers his apologies for the damage to Starlight Drifter. He offers to pay for all damages at the Starport, which Hanson and Viktor lean on Sharri to accept. While he has taken most of the salvage from the attackers, he leaves the group with one of the plasma rifles and gives them three boarding suits. Sharri’s has her name and the four strips of a captain on it.
They take the ship back to the Starport that, while it is under Imperial leadership, runs on contract to Xetos. They are happy to evaluate the damage to make an estimate, which is sure to be inflated. Meanwhile, Sharri has something else to do. While Medgrev has put the hired guns to work, the mercenaries are a different story. As is normal, their employer, Kylfing Tigers, will ransom them back. Sharri engages in a significant negotiation and is able to get them returned for Cr160,000. The group is clearly annoyed at their employer who did not tell them they would face an armed ship, nor that they would be third group in, and they will be having words with their employer.
It is time for some rest and relaxation after a job well done.
|Campaign Dates||1099, (Month 3) 72-75|
After Mohthy Hutch (the previous low birth passenger who signed up with Medgrev) sends the group a message to meet him, the group heads to the bar Glowing Gulch where they find themselves with a hero’s welcome. The applause builds to cheering and they are informed their drinks are on the house. Glowing Gulch is a miners bar, and the occupants are happy to see “The Company”, Xetos get shown up.
Viktor immediately scans the bar for corporate spies and sees a man and woman at the edge of the bar who look out of place. The are poorly hidden with their security haircuts, and the old spy does not think they post much of an immediate threat. Rally and Hanson fall in with fun crowds, and soon Hanson has one and Rally two women interested in their company.
Galen finds himself accosted by a drunk accusing Galen of abandoning him when he fled the casino he owned. Galen has no real defense in fact, because he did flee before the authorities shut the crooked casino down. However, he immediately plied the man, Sal Cole, with more whisky and works to keep him occupied and off balance.
Sharri is unfortunately hit on, but this is broken up by the approach of a well dressed man and his clear body guards. Viktor leaves the group he is with to move towards them. By the time he gets there, the well guards have chased off the uncoth men, and the well dressed gentleman introduces himself as Armos Ayler. He is a known smuggler who has always evaded authorities. He recognizes Viktor and calls him by his old title “Director” and asks if they can go some place private.
What Ayler needs is their help. A young woman, Gwen Solari, is kidnapped and her employer. Ayler believes his competitor, the local crime boss Pitor Nicolau, kidnapped Gwen because she knows too much about his organization after stumbling upon a computer code that controls three-fourths of Ayler's covert operations. Nicolau runs a notorious casino build into one of the many asteroids in the system : Ghanath Lor. Ayler offers Cr250,000 and shopping rights, and service at his private starport, for Gwen is not only an employee, but his daughter as well (a fact of which she is unaware).
The group is on a clock because 4 days from now, Cal Engram, a hired interrogator, will arrive in from the outer system’s belt to conduct a potentially fatal mind probe on Gwen. This will use drugs to help her recall what she saw. She may live but will almost certainly be brain damaged if she does. Sharri says she will think about it that evening. It does not take long for the team to agree and the group heads out the next day in the still damaged Drifter. With its higher thrust than a normal shuttle, they arrive in half a day and dock on an external arm.
Ghanath Lor is a large casino built into one of the asteroids in this system in a trailing trojan orbit behind Maitz. In general, it is 1 day’s travel from Maitz (at the moment a day) via a free shuttle service provided by the Casino. It is wholly owned and operated by Nicolau, and his rule there is law. That law level is that no weapons or armor are allowed inside, and there is scanning and security at the entrance.
The group enters Ghanath Lor with no weapons on recon. The clock is ticking and they need to find where Ms. Solari is being held.
|Campaign Dates||1099, (Month 3) 76-77|
Arriving at the entrance, it is clear the security is mixed. High Tech scanners are in use with those entering the Casino and Resort, taking around 15 minutes to enter. Galen notes wall panels for auto turrets on either side of the entrance area. There are also two armored men who are clearly not military trained, but who are armed with laser pistols.
Galen and Viktor enter without any problem but things are not as easy for their teammates. Sharri is hassled about her command ring due to its high tech level. She summons an imperial law on allowed computers from memory, and flings it in the faces of the guard. He gives up and passes her through.
Rally is recognized and mobbed at entrance. Sgt. Hanson does a fine job as bodyguard, literally forming a hole to get him up to the scanners. He then pressures the guards for better service, and soon, both of them are ushered to a private area. Rally immediately engages in classic big spender activity, along with all that entails. At first he loses big but as he gambles more, Hanson covertly helps him. Over the rest of the afternoon Rally makes more than enough money to send Cr1000 to the other three teammates for their own fun. For Rally’s fun, he consumes the proffered drinks and other drugs as he plays, gathering a crowd, though only the most wealthy are allowed to play at his table.
As the day progresses, a young woman in a scanty dress approaches Hanson and talks to him. It is clear to Hanson she is one of the employees who helps patrons enjoy themselves, though, she is sending off a vibe more of a damsel in distress than a working woman. She seems to want more than to show him a good time. By the time night has rolled on, Rally is in need of recuperation. He has been commped a suite in the London Tower, and Hanson tells Tangie to look him up there later.
Meanwhile, the other three are working the floor. Sharri just gambles to break even, and is annoyed by an older man hitting on her. This seems to be a consistent problem in bars for the attractive blond spaceship captain. Galen and Viktor case the place, spotting cameras and the all male security, all armed with stun batons in basic cloth armor. Cameras, of course, abound. Also on their radar are the sexy workers, female and some males, you move about the room to encourage gambling. After their scoping, Galen loses then doubles the money that Rally sent him, while Viktor plays to break even as he cases, lifting drinks as he goes.
When night sets in, Sharri gets her own room the floor below Rally and scans it for any bugs and finds none. She gets on her personal computer to check on the history of the asteroid and is able to find layouts of the whole facility, including the vault and power areas. Upstairs, Hason and Viktor sweep for bugs and find the suite has listening devices. The men all say together in the suite. Around 11, Tangie comes up and she and Hason go for a long walk.
Tangie asks for Hanson and his friends to rescue her. She is effectively an indentured servant to Nicolau who purchased her debt. She makes it quite clear she will do anything to get help. Hanson says he wants her to talk with Viktor, so they return to the suite, and she takes another walk with a different man. She is able to give Viktor information on how security works, including that the security cards are not biometric. She relates the basic layout and security of the employee area. She knowns nothing of anyone being held in the current holding cells. Viktor heads back up to sleep.
The next morning, the group plots over breakfast downstairs. They come up with a plan for a preliminary recon only. Rally engages in jam session with male employee similar to Viktor’s build and looks. Hanson tries to help but makes it harder for Rally, but the rock star rallies and pulls it off. While he is distracted, Viktor lifts the ID card and gets a quick change of clothes supplied from Tangie. As Rally jams, Sharri and Galen move about the Casino.
Viktor takes an elevator to the employee section and with an outstanding roll on stealth, is able to avoid any suspicion and intervention. He reaches the elevator for the power sector and heads down. The elevator room has two exits. Viktor takes a long moment to choose a direction and heads towards a lone office. Along the way he passes Vacc-Rad suits for emergencies. At the outside of the office, he hits a locked door that is no match for his extra legal skills. Inside the room Viktor is astonished to find their target, Gwen Solari. She is in a medical bed in some sort of “Hot sleep” state. After a brief check of her, Viktor is sure he can get her awake quickly. The former spy makes the decision that the rescue is now.
Viktor sends out communication he needs two separate disturbances on opposite sides of things in 20 minutes. He then wakes up Gwen and helps her get into one of the Rad suits he passed. Donning his own, he helps her to the elevator as alarms start to blare. Viktor looks up through the closing doors to see techs running for the elevator. Controlled Chaos is reigning on the employee floor as security is being called to quell a riot. Viktor uses this to move himself and Gwen, both with faces obscured by their suits, towards the service entrance to the lower docking back.
Hearing the need for a disruption, Hanson clocks a player, knocking him out, and shouts for help that Rally is attacked. Two guards respond and Hanson takes the stun baton from one and knocks him out, while the other hits Hanson with minimal effect. Rally throws his drink into the man’s face, and the Sgt. then strikes the man with his stolen baton, the liquid adding to the effect and the guard crumples. Hanson then shoves both batons into a startled man’s hands and points him out to guards, while Rally calls for help. Guards start to converge and the two make their way to the exit. The two easily get to the exits and get out. They pause at one of the turrets wondering if they can jam it.
As guards are headed to first disturbance, Galen tries to trip one and falls off balance. The guards turn and Sharri panics and says Galen was trying to molest her. Unfortunately for Galen, they knock him out promptly. Sharri is horrified at the results, but Tangie shows up in the nick of time (Galen’s Luck +2) and tells the guards she will manage the man. The two guards charge into the growing riot. All three move towards the exit, but Tangie says the face recognition will get her caught. They can see Rally and Hanson on the other side of the exits. Thinking fast, Galen nabs customer’s ID card, pick pocketing it deftly. Sharri drags Tangie aside and works a quick disguise to hide her facial features and they are through and move.
Rally and Hanson see the three initially come up to the gates and pause. They decide to get weapons and by the time the three have returned, both headed up to get weapons. However, they are stymied at the airlock, as the station side is locked down due to the battle. They are still there when Viktor shows up with their target. Finally, Sharri, Galen and Tangie arrive. Galen pushes everyone out of the way and easily defeats the airlock like the old hostile boarding pro that he is.
The Airlock open, Galen charges ahead towards the lift to get to the pilot’s chair, with Rally hot on his heels to man a turret. As Viktor helps Gwen get through the airlock, a shout comes up from behind as one of the armored guards comes bounding down the docking tube, laser pistol drawn, shouting for the group to stop. Sgt. Hanson blocks the entrance way with his body, guarding Sharri and Tangie as he cycles the airlock controls. The charging guard fires his laser, striking Hanson, who manages to just tumble forward into the two ladies’ arms as the lock closes behind him.
Sharri shouts ”Drifter get us out of here!”. The computer notes that the lock mechanism is not releasing, and Sharri orders it to leave anyway. The docking clamps and long tube are no match for 2 gravities of thrust, and the Starlight Drifter rips off the clamps and the airlock, leaving the guard chasing them staring into space. Sharri and Tangie carry Hanson to the Medical-bay. Sharri shoves Hanson into a low birth to keep him alive, then she leads the two women to the bridge.
The Starlight Drifter is not free and clear yet! Viktor picks up fighters launching, no doubt to pursue them. Sharri orders them to prepare for battle. With their engineer down, there is no one to speed up a jump to get away. This will have to be an old fashioned fight!
Sliding into their seats, it is clear to the men of the Starlight Drifter that the ship is following a command prompt. It is ready for battle, with the turrets deployed, the transponder turned off, and the ship is charging at full speed towards the minimum safe jump distance. Thanks to its tech level 15 fusion plants, Drifter can charges its jump drives too.
As the ladies make it to the bridge, Ghanath Lor sends a signal demanding they return to the station which they ignore. Viktor soon sees four light fighters launch and pursue them. Galen maneuvers the ship to give Rally better shots while the fighters close, while Sharri gets ready on the damaged lower turret to use the sand casters.
The fighters are closing fast, about 10 minutes out. This gives Galen and Rally, working in tandem, time to shoot down two of the fighters. However, the other two enter into dogfighting range and score more hits on the ship, despite Sharri’s use of the sandcaster. In one maneuver, Galen manages to dodge into a shot. However, Rally manages to shoot the final two fighters and the group races away to freedom.
The trip to Ayler Shipping Shipyards takes four days. During the voyage, Sharri settles both of the women into a cabin upstairs. Having been a “hostess” Tangie takes on the shaken Gwen into the same room to look after here. Galen checks the new damage to make sure they are spaceworthy and is satisfied gives his report to the Captain. Viktor checks up on Sgt. Hanson, and is alarmed at his levels, but he is alive.
As they near their target, they ships is hailed and escorted in by a heavily armed system patrol ship. Ayler himself meets them when they land. Hanson is kept in his unit and wheeled straight into a high level autodoc, where the doctor onsite promises he will be OK. He promises them to get their ship repaired and puts his top “Man” on the job, a Githiaskio (JATS Vol. 2) complete with a high-tech environmental suit and drones. The effusive alien promise them a great job on their ship.
The group has a week to recover. Sharri announces that she is keeping back some money for maintenance, but after buying an autodoc, she is dispersing the remaining MCr1 to give each person and to shop for various goods that cannot always be purchased at higher law levels. Viktor does shopping for the hurt Sergeant. Rally wants the Used In'chi'lah Civilian Patrol Cruiser that they flew on Maitz and buys it over the system communications net, spending all his recent earnings, with Sharri and Galen chipping in Cr100k each.
Tangie approaches Sharri and Viktor and asks if she can earn her way as a ship’s steward. Sharri thinks about it over the week and says yes. Galen offers to share a room with her to make sure they can still take maximum passengers as needed. Viktor has the locals create new ID for her for Cr5,000 and asks Hanson to pay for it to which the upright hero agrees when he wakes up after a week in medical care.
Ayler hires group to transport 40 tons of luxury goods very publicly to Maitz. He assures the group that the goods are totally Legal – Personal electronics, spirits, packaged delicacies, fancy clothes – and can demonstrate it. Everything is very above board, including a filed flight plan. He will pay them Cr40,000 (as if it were a standard Jump but without jump costs). To Galen and Viktor, this is clearly designed to draw an inspection from Xentos onto the Drifter
Sharri agrees as they want to fly back to Maitz anyway, and this gives them a payout for the three-day trip. The crew sets off for a milk run.
|Game Date||10/23/22 & 11/6/22|
|Campaign Dates||1099, (Month 3 & 4) 81-89|
After three days of normal space travel, the ship is quiet. The Crew of the Starlight Drifter is taking monitoring shifts. Ten minutes ago, they passed into the non-jump zone and Galen and Rally are on the bridge engaged in a game of cards when the alarms sound: A ship’s launch has maneuvered into an intercept course. The other crew members come up to the bridge, Viktor throwing on clothes. They are hailed by a Mainstrider 300T,the Electric Wind which demands their cargo and their pilot, Galen Castor. To make their point, they fire pulse lasers above and below the Drifter. Galen recognizes the voice but is not sure who it is. Viktor calls for help and a Xetos cruiser responds it is on the way but some time out. Galen rushes to his quarters to get his boarding suit, while Sharri takes the controls. Unfortunately, Sharri is not the pilot that Galen is, and the launch is able to come alongside and force a docking. The group prepares to be boarded.
Sharri stays at the helm, while the Sgt. and Galen head to the airlock. Rally races from the bridge to his quarters to suit up while Viktor sends out a running distress signal. Sharri decides to rotate the docked launch towards the enemy ship. Hanson orders the locks opened and tries to fire a EMP grenade through the doors, only to miss, with it detonating in the airlock. On the other side, a startled pirate also tosses a similar charge and equally misses, detonating in his airlock. For the moment, the defensive systems of the airlock on the Drifter are down.
Pirates begin to storm the airlock, and Hanson begins to fire at them. A stun grenade manages to hurt the men coming in, but also catches the two defenders. Switching tactics, Hanson starts firing bursts into the attacks, even as they are on top of him, while the Pirates are trying to stun them as they close. Galen brings his two handed Static Axe and its armor piercing power into play. Pirates fall, but Hanson has to fall back as they start to use their Static Blade swords, hurting Hanson and gravely wounding Galen who says he cannot take another hit. Hanson grapples with he man on top of him, unable to get the upperhand. Galen strikes the man, but he is still up. It is at this moment that Viktor arrives to shoot the pirate who falls. Rally arrives a moment later and the Sgt. takes the fight to the launch, with Galen on his heels.
On board the Jumping Spider III they find an empty room and sealed hatch. Galen leaps off the ship as the airlock behind them starts to close, but Hanson is too far inside. Deciding to push forward, Hanson slings his rifle and pulls off his plasma gun. Blowing a hole through the door, Hanson quickly has access to the pilot and navigator and orders them to stand down. When the airlock reopens, Galen goes back in to find Hanson covering the others. They quickly secure the launch while the unconscious pirates are put into the low births by Viktor and Rally. By the time they are done, the Electric Wind has jumped away and the Xentos ships are approaching. Hanson agrees to fly the launch in, and Galen joins him.
As they undock to continue the trip to Maitz, both ships are ordered to heave too and prepare to be boarded by the Xentos security forces on the grounds the pirates might have transferred contraband. Sharri stalls them with rules on interstellar law and gets them to agree to an escort. The ships land apart because of their sizes. Upon leaving their ships, everyone is immediately arrested. Sharri orders the Drifter into lockdown to prevent their easy access. As far as she is concerned, they need a warrant to board. The crew and their upright prisoners are led away in handcuffs.
At the shuttle bay, Hanson and Galen are met with the same security. Hanson submits to being arrested, but the former pirate is having nothing of it. Hanson watches with some satisfaction as Galen is stunned unconscious, bound and dragged off. As Hanson is led up to the rest of the crew, three members in the black of Imperial Security walk up with a dark skinned business woman. She introduces herself as Gale Laux and hands the Xentos Security Leader orders from the Imperial Bench. It seems that she is with Ayler Shipping and she has already obtained an order for the release of the crew to her and the Imperial Security is taking custody of the pirates. The Launch is claimed by right of salvage by Ayler, as its contractors were the ones who captured it.
Once uncuffed, Viktor helps the Imperial Security to take custody of the pirates in cold sleep. Ms. Laux takes the team to the Alyer Shipping offices to settle accounts. She pays the group MCr4 to take the launch from them and offers the local head engineer for Ayler on Matiz, Akeakamai (Uplifted Dolphin), to supervise any repairs needed. The group immediately asks to spend MCr3 on turret upgrades, which will take around three days. Galen is returned to the crew intact after two days, fully healed after a stay in an Imperial infirmary. After talking to the other prisoners, he knows this attack was by Jessica Faraday, his old foe from the pirate days.
It is during this time that Viktor receives an encoded message assigning them a new mission for Imperial Security.
|Campaign Dates||1099, (Month 4) 90- 108|
About the same time as Viktor gets his orders, Shari receives a message from Kirsten Barrick, executive assistant to the Assistant Director for Terrorism of Fornice. Director Castillon is seeking discrete transportation to the planet Palique to follow up on the terrorism the group helped discover back on Fornice. She is seeking transportation for her and her 5 agents, a 10 ton Grav Car, and 15 tons of supplies in 1 ton containers. As the Starlight Drifter is a Jump-2 ship, the first leg will be to the planet Hexos and docks, then to the planet Palique. For this she will pay:
|Cr144,000 for 6 Passenger for the two jumps|
|Cr48,000 for cargo|
|Cr32,000 for the Grav Vehicle|
|Cr224,000 Total Payment|
Meanwhile, Viktor’s briefing is clear that Imperial Intelligence believes one of the members of this team is a mole from a foreign power. He has a brief dossier on each member of the team. Viktor and Sharri talk and Sharri arranges a meeting with Kirsten and Director Castillon to finalize the transportation. The Drifter is spending three days in repair to they have some time to observe their passengers in a social setting. They are:
Director Delphine Castillon (Female Human)
Assistant Kirsten Barrick (Female Human)
Agent Jase Morray (Male Human)
Agent Thyme Reeders (Male Human)
Agent Issac Kiani (Male Human)
Agent Justr Derson (Male Vargr)
During the first day, amazingly, Agent Morray, a big fan of Rally, manages to close the bar while Rally and Sgt. Hanson both wash out. The next night they perform better. Viktor notes that the Director tends to spend time to herself buried in work. On the second night he joins her for dinner and is able to talk deeply with her. Castillon cannot understand why someone of Viktor’s rank would leave his job and work on a tramp freighter. Over dinner Viktor is not only able to learn about the drive of the Director, but also persuade her his path makes sense, and she is much warmer to him in the end. Sharri interacts with Kirsten to get things ready for departure.
They team notices that Agent Kiani seems to bed a different woman each night with Agent Reeders as his wingman. Reeders is clearly not on the make. A candid discussion with Viktor revels he is not particularly happy being pulled for so long away from his wife, whom he just made up with last year after almost losing her in a kidnapping.
Finally, the Drifter is ready. Akeakamai, the dolphin engineer from Ayler Shipping pulls Hason aside on their final walk through and tells him that per Mr. Ayler’s instructions, he has fitted a secret second transponder into the ship, nestled into the J-Drive area. It is for a real ship in the Vincennes sector, the Albacore.
Once the everything is stowed and everyone is aboard, the ship leaves and within half a day has jumped for the trip to Hexos, their first stop. Along the way, the crew works to interact with their passengers to ferret out the possible traitor. Sharri arranges tours of the ship for her guests while Tangie takes on the bulk of the Steward duties. Galen takes the night shift, so he and Tangie end up sleeping in the room at different times. Galen uses this time to monitor the camera logs around the ship.
On the second day, Galen notices that some of his favorite cereal Dr. Zee’s Vitabits (“Everything you need to start your day”) is missing from his storage. Tangie denies eating any of it. The pilot decides to secure it in his locked trunk. Strangely the next day, there is still more missing.
The second night, Rally is up late as usual, in his studio jamming after a long day of study of leadership. He is playing classical music as he does to relax, well supported by various chemicals. He looks up to see a purple cat swaying to his music. He shakes his head and the cat is gone. This leaves Rally wondering about just what is in the drugs he took.
On the third day, Justr and Sgt. Hanson move from a discussion about safety to a wrestling match in the hold. This becomes and event, and the three human male passengers come to cheer on their man, while Viktor and Rally cheer on the Sgt. After several minutes, Hanson gets the upper hand, and Rally wins his bet with Jase. Later in that day, Viktor meets with Issac in his cabin and has a good talk.
The day before breakout, Tangie does an emergency summons for the Sergeant first thing in the morning. He arrives at her quarters to see a purple cat sleeping at her feet. Hanson calls in the rest of the crew and the cat notices them and vanishes. Rally tells of his experience and Sharri relates that this sounds like a Crescent Cat, a breed of Ship's Cat that is significantly psionically active. Clearly, this is a teleporting variety. Galen decides to leave his Vitabits out for it to eat. Over the next day, Viktor pours over the ship to see where the cat is going, and it seems to sleep now with Tangie, or spend time on one particular container in the hold. The container is marked for weapon supplies.
After a week in jump space, the Starlight Drifter arrives at Hexos and docks at its space port to refuel. The passengers want to stretch their legs and several of the crew do as well. Galen takes the opportunity to meet with Jase and they have a good talk. It is clear to Galen that Jase is not happy hearing about the cat, but he is not totally sure why. After this conversation, Galen finds himself suddenly tired and ready to call it an evening and at Jase’s suggestion heads back to the ship and dismisses it from his mind.
Back in jumpspace, further discussion with Thyme over reveals he is not happy with being away from his wife for this long. He wants to get this mission done and return, having lost her once before to divorce before saving her from a drug lord and “winning” her back. That first night, the cat is back with Rally, opening the door and sauntering in to enjoy the music. This time it stays for over an hour before heading out to sleep with Tangie.
The next night Jase joins Rally for a jam session and all is going well until the cat opens the door. Seeing Jase there, it hisses loudly and runs away. It is strange to Rally. Jase suggests there is nothing to it, but Rally is unconvinced. By the time the arrive at Palique, Viktor thinks Jase is their man, and he reports that to the Imperial Intelligence contact on the planet.
The highport is in the process of moving into the shelter of the trailing shadow the planet, with the entry into the planetary belt due in three weeks. Director Castillon, however, has reserved official space at the downport. The Drifter is brought down with automated control past a large armored swinging door that will be closed during the upcoming bombardment of the world. The ship is lowered deep underground and placed in a secured bay.
They are asked to wait two weeks by director Castillon, and Tangie asks Sharri if she can leave the ship to tour. Taken aback, Sharri is clear that Tangie is just as much a member of the crew as anyone and free to make her own choices. The crew of the Starlight Drifter wait.
|Campaign Dates||1099, (Month 4) 109-112, (Month 5) 113-130|
Palique is a world of vast, underground cities. Tangie asks for leave to go tour, which Sharri happily grants. The rest of the team settles in for a stay. Gale and Sharri get basic rooms for the week, while Rally books the presidential suite in the planetary capital city, Saint-Denis. Viktor books a room at the Travaller’s Aid Society, but spends his time researching the revolutionary forces, catching naps in various local cafes. He is fully in agent mode. What he finds is an organization that seems to have arisen rather quickly. Most people on Palique have not been that upset with being ruled by Fornice.
A few days in, Rally Owens has been noticed. A local casino wants to show him off and sets up a deal with Sharri for him to play in public, with other VIPs.
Two days later, Rally is waiting in the car while Hanson makes sure of the security. A unmarked van screams up and masked men with stunners jump out and fire. Hanson yells for Rally to take off. Rally orders the car to leave and he looks back to see Hanson fall to the blasts of the would be kidnappers. He frantically calls the team to tell them what is going on and Sharri orders him to go to her hotel. She alerts that hotel’s security and asks them to meet Rally with her. As this is going on, Sharri gets a call from Tangie saying she is headed to check out theGrott d’Organac, a cave system with one of the few places with natural life on the planet.
Galen and Viktor head for the club as they were already going to go there. Viktor uses his ID as a certified driver to unlock the auto pilot and take control of the car manually. When he gets to the club, Hanson is nowhere to be seen, but he spies a van speeding away. As he takes off in pursuit, Galen first redirects his car towards the hotel to rendezvous with the others, but diverts to the chase. Viktor shoots out a tire on the van with his smuggled gun, which comes to a stop in front of a mall. The driver leaps out and runs inside. Viktor checks the van to find it empty.
Galan arrives at the mall at the other end and he and Viktor enter in search of the man. However, all they find is discarded clothing and a weapon. At a loss, Viktor and Galen head back to the hotel and suggest they all gather. Tangie, however, is not answering her comm.
Before the two can make it back, Agent Derson shows up and tells the group to come with him, that Agent Castillon wants them to keep them safe. He is unhappy to hear a member of the crew is missing and one is kidnapped. As Galen and Viktor arrive, there is an explosion in the distance, rocking the city. Arriving at the headquarters with Agent Derson, they see the epicenter of the explosion. They are informed that Kirsten was gravely injured in the attack, with brain damage, and was fighting for her life. They meet in a makeshift tent outside the HQ. Viktor talks her into letting them research Tangie’s disappearance, and he goes with Galen and Agent Derson. They review the public security records and see Tangie make the call on her comm and rather vacantly walk towards someone they cannot see. They notice she was in front of a flower show with its own security cameras. Derson is easily able to use his authority to get access to the cameras and they show the angle. Tangie is meeting with Jase Morray.
It is at this point Viktor puts it all together: Tangie looking drugged or under control, Rally’s odd sensations, the crescent cat’s reaction to the man. Jase Morray is a psion. They return to Director Castillon and report. She is appalled, but clearly believes them. So does the Imperial Agent who has joined the scene, Director of Imperial Planetary Intelligence, Louis Javert. Director Javert assumes control of the situation and places the crew of the Starlight Drifter under arrest. They are sent to separate holding cells. Each member is in an interview room, with the classic grey metal furniture. Javert interviews them each in turn.
Sharri uses her knowledge of Imperial law to stand her ground and refuses to speak until she gets her lawyer. She requests one from her old college friend, Delila Laux’s, shipping firm, back on Mora. She is happy to wait the weeks this will take. She is moved into incarceration.
Meanwhile, Galen is subjected to a more dismissive interview. Javert seems to know far more about his past than he would prefer and the Director holds it over him. Galen protests this was “supposed to be cleared when I left”, unfortunately admitting past crimes. He is not offered a lawyer and it told the gun alone he had on him when they picked it up from the kidnapper. He too, is moved into incarceration.
Rally shows even less circumspection and tells them everything he knows. As a high profile citizen who is also the son of a planetary Knight, Rally is confined to his elegant hotel room. He even manages to get the Director to deliver him a nice red chair to his suite. Agent Derson is placed in direct charge of security to keep him there.
It is clear Javert cannot understand at all why someone so highly placed in Imperial Intelligence as Viktor was would just walk away and be crew on a tramp freighter, doing odd contract jobs for Intelligence. Viktor holds his own and does not bother with asking for an attorney. He knows the drill from both sides. Javert gets no satisfaction from Viktor, but knows that straight incarceration could have blowback on his career, so he sends the former agent to stay with Rally.
Viktor checks the gift chair and notes is it bugged. He then grabs a drink and spends time learning about the Grott d’Organac. Palique is a captured planet from outside the solar system, accounting for its variable orbit. Bacterial life seems to have been fed through the world’s tectonic activity. In these caves it results in spectacular colors and scents as it lives in the water of the caves embedding itself into the very stones.
After significant digging over the course of several days, Viktor finds a key piece of information. Jean de La Hire was a human scientist, who, 21 years prior, discovered some of the bacteria had a degree of psychopsionic activity. She set up a research base near the caves, but her work was cut short with a freak meteorite impact of her grav car. The research ended with her life and has clearly been buried for the intervening two decades. Viktor could find no record of the decommissioning of the base. With effort, he was able to finds its location, near to the caves themselves.
Shortly after this discovery, Director Javert returns with an Imperial Psion in tow to check the crew for contamination. Everyone but Galen is given paperwork to sign for consent. Sharri takes her time agreeing, but after a few hours gives in. Everyone is now more trusted by Javert and they are able to gather together again with the agents from Fornice. While they have been on lockdown however, the planet has transitioned into the planetary belt. Most above ground traffic has ceased. However, on this very day, there is a cyberattack on the planetary underground train system, and suddenly, the cities are isolated from one another.
Director Javert is at a loss. While he is berating staff, the Planetary Duke arrives to understand what is going on. In the confusion, Director Castillon tells the crew to take Derson and go find their friend based on Viktor’s lead. The team races to the Starlight Drifter and prepares to travel. The ship’s cat, as of yet still unnamed, is already in their newly purchased used In'chi'lah patrol cruiser. Viktor plans to keep an eye on it. Agent Derson gets them clearance to fly the In'chi'lah out of the downport, and they exist via a long grav car tunnel. Help is now racing across the icy-rocky planet.
Flying disconnected from the planetary net, the team makes the first real use of their craft. Viktor is at the controls, with Rally in the turret. Sharri mans the sensors. They manage not to be hit by any falling rocks. They discuss their approach to the old base. Galen researches the area of the caves with and finds an out of the way park that should link to where the base connects to the caves with an artificial tunnel. That is around a 6 hour journey through the system. They decide this might be the best approach. Entering into an airlock for the settlement Grott d’Organac (named for the caves) with the vehicle in “civilian” mode, they fly towards the park entrance. After landing, they group attempts to dash from the parking into the cave system without being seen in their combat armor. However, for once, Rally is not lucky and trips, causing Galen to stumble over him. Sharri also makes scene. A family of four stares at the three in the parking lot. Viktor, already out of sight is unsure of how to act, but Agent Derson climbs out of the vehicle and flashes his badge. He tells the group this is government business and to leave the area and say nothing. The dad takes the family and hurries off. Derson is not sure he will keep quiet and hustles the rest to the cave quickly. Fortunately, the cave system has a reasonable pressure and 02 content so they do not have to use their internal life support.
The journey takes as long as advertised, until they find a carved tunnel back to the base. They have another half klick to go, but now no longer through a winding and sometimes narrow cave system. Viktor sends his drone ahead and finds no security. Basically, the dark tunnel is warded with a “Keep Out” sign at one end and a locked door at the other. Galen unlocks the door supported by Viktor and Cassia. They enter what is clearly a decontamination room. The window on the inside door shows a receiving room, with some cargo and two guards sitting down, faces stuck in their comms. Deciding not to run the decontamination sequence, the group turns out their lights and open the inside door. The guards are unable to react before both are stunned and unconscious. Rally’s luck returns and he finds cable to tie up the guards and they store them in the airlock. The next door opens into a conference room with a loan scientist sitting at a table working on his tablet. He, too, is stunned, but not before he manages to telepathically warn his colleagues of the intrusion. Unknown to the group, instructions are passed to other guards. This is the last easy fight for the team.
Still, the scientist, Dr. Mukam Saadai, had not closed his tablet. Viktor keeps the screen open, but sees it is all in Zhodani. Fortunately, Sharri carries a translator program on her personal computer. Together, Viktor cobbles an interface and downloads the data to his security comm unit. It seems the scientists are experimenting with the local psionically active bacteria in ways to increase psionic potential. They cannot transport it away from the local area because the bacteria needs its own kind nearby or it dies. They are trying to synthesize one that is jump capable and that is the very materials that the traitor Agent Jase brought to the planet.
As Viktor stands up, Rally shoots at him with his crossbow. Viktor notices just in time to dive for cover. Galen stuns Rally who seems as confused as everyone else. Viktor yells out ”Get the Cameras” and he and Derson shoot the two in the room. The group is startled with a door slides open and stun grenade is thrown into the room. They return fire at two attackers in the door way, but most of the team fires wildly with the surprise. Denson manages to score a hit before the attackers can do more. After a brief firefight, both guards are down. Viktor calls for the other two doorways into the conference room to be watched while he and Galen head down to check out the opened corridor. However, three steps in, the door to the north slides open showing three more guards with combat rifles. This time the team is ready. The three in the room take cover and shoot, while Galen and Viktor maneuver for shots. Sharri hits Denson with a simulant to keep him active as he takes several hits. However, he gives as good as he gets and takes down a guard. Viktor takes aim and blows the head off of the lead guard. Galen chargers the last man standing with his axe, slicing through his defenses. Viktor goes to check the west hallway while Rally heads to the east. It is then that Galen walks over and strikes her with his axe. Derson tackles him against the wall, holding his axe arm, while Sharri falls over. With his other hand, Derson shuts the doorway, closing of vision with the hallway cameras. Viktor races to perform first aid on the fallen woman, who is only barely conscious. He is able to stabilize her, but she is still clearly dangerously wounded. For his part, Galen is quiet and subdued.
Viktor orders the doors guarded and they check out the hallways which are clearly rooms for guards and scientists. They can count beds and there are three guards and three doctors left to manage, and at least once psion. A search of the rooms turns up some stun grenades and another rifle. Rally takes a stun gun as his crossbow has been less than effective. Derson opens the door and he and Viktor take out the two cameras. They move forward to check the rooms, clearing two store rooms before finding the lab. Here are all six remaining foes. While the guards cover the door, the doctors are huddled in a far corner, almost out of site. Viktor opens with a stun grenade into the corner as the guards open fire. There seems to be no action from the scientists as the firefight rages. Viktor takes down the last man standing with another headshot, skillfully missing the two bio-pods he is using for cover.
The fighting over, they search the facility and find another dead woman. In the bio-pods are four figures, sedated, on the drug slow, and attached to a sophisticated VR system, including a wafer jack plug. Tangie and Hanson are there along with too locals who appear to be named Alecia Grezal and Rogearire Marte. Viktor is reluctant to wake them. He tells Galen and Sharri to go to command room and call for help. Meanwhile, he and Rally collect any weapons or supplies they might want, including psi suppressing and psi enhancing drugs. Viktor finds sedatives and makes sure their living captives don’t wake up, especially the doctors, who all appear to be Zhodani.
Sharri helps to translate the information while Galen activates the consol. He immediately sees a remotely operated ship is plummeting on a collision course to the main entrance of the lab. At first he tells everyone they need to get out, but Sharri points out the remote controls. Gale tries to pilot the ship with Sharri helping him understand the controls. He is unable to stop it from crashing, but the ship slams into the icy-rock outside the base instead of into it. The rumble is felt through the facility like an earthquake. Galen’s futher review of the console finds the codes to unlock the train systems and he transmits those in his call for help.
Help arrives in the form of Director Castillion and her crew, sans the traitor. Medical teams attend to Sharri and Derson while reviewing the pods. While debriefing the team, they start the wake up process, first on Hanson as he is a known experienced military man.
Hanson has been dreaming of being a teen in school. It is a warm place, with inviting people and more technology than he had growing up in his rural childhood. It is a private school, with only three other younger children, Tangie, Alecia, and Rogeaire. All of them are learning to use their minds. Dr. Lofficiers is the headmaster, and Mr. Saadi, Ms. Entun and Ms. Olok are the teachers. Each student gets one on one training. Time is hard to track in the school, and like in a dream, things jump around. This all seems perfectly normal.
It is harder for Hanson than the others, as they just seem more naturally gifted. Hanson knows that this is he is older than the others and less flexible, but that is part of why he is here. He has been selected for a special process to try to make up for his age. They have tried with others, but they did not do as well. Hanson is still struggling to do more than the basics, but he is doing better than the other teen that used to be here, Catalia, who got sick and had to leave the program.
Right now, though, the jumping around seems less normal. There are cracks in the world. Hanson has memories of being older and stronger. He runs to find his friends, but it is like moving through mud. Hanson’s limbs feel more heavy and it is harder to move. He cannot speak, but he hears Tangie in his mind. Things get darker as the world fades. Bright light is shining at his face, and beeping and chirping is in his ears. He hears other voices.
Awake, Hanson is still weak and shaking. He is reassured he is alive and Rally is OK. He is evacuated with the other subjects and wounded to a medical facility to recover. The rest of the group heads back to St. Denis and is back at Rally’s suite until they are all reunited on four days later and have a final debrief with the Planetary Duke himself. He commends the group and offers them each MCr1 for signing a security statement they will never discuss with anyone the events of the past month for the security of the Imperium. Viktor, understanding what is at stake is happy to sign. The Duke ignores Hanson’s question about “or else?” and Galen and Rally agree to sign. Sharri balks at first, but a somewhat alarmed Viktor pulls her aside and tells her this is a payoff and they get to leave. She needs to sign or her crew will be finding other jobs as she disappears. Sharri signs the form and Tangie follows her lead.
With that out of the way, and each having one million untraceable credits, the group goes shopping on the Tech Level 14 world. Sharri also buys 25 tons of surplus electronic components at a steal and has them loaded on the Drifter to sell at Nexine. The team has decided they want a break, and the captain agrees. With the proceeds from the sale, Sharri expect to cover flight costs, put MCr1 into the ship fund, and be able to support a great vacation at the premiere ocean resort on Nexine, Namoehane Bay. The Starlight Drifter leaves Palquie behind on the 136 day of the year. A well deserved rest awaits. T
The Tales of the Starlight Drifter will continue …