Introductory Game. Agents of a T: -2 theocracy travel to the boundaries of their empire, and have a surprise contact with a T: +2 interface ship, whom is trying to scavenge some R-Mass. Hilarity ensues.
We’ve been running hot for a few weeks, but finally made highport five hours ago. Captain ordered the SOTV down the gravity well with half the delivery as soon as we got here — the rest of us won’t have the luxury of leaving the port. We leased a cargo container through an escrow agency at highport for the other half of the delivery, but we’re holding it on the ship until we know everything has gone smooth with the first. Makes me nervous just having that stuff around, like it’s going to get me dead or incarcerated instead of rich and retired.
The engines are going to need an overhaul, and this would be the perfect place. Except that they have to be ready to burn hard if the sale goes wrong — and they need to be ready to make a casual inconspicuous jaunt somewhere without extradition laws if it goes right. So bottom line is the fusion bottle can’t be pulled and my only real recourse is to pack in more coolant.
Which is fine, as we’re pretty much guaranteed to be either missing all our cargo when we leave — or missing half of it and the SOTV if things turn pear-shaped. Either way, the mass savings will let us stow enough spare LOx to let us hard burn at least until the slipknot. Of course then we probably won’t have much of an engine left to be overhauling on the other side.
The bad news is that highport locked us down as soon as they started transmitting to us, and we had to blow out of our coupling to avoid becoming guests of the local gendarme. I haven’t had a chance to look at the port side lock yet, but my guess is it will need to be replaced. We left three men back on the highport, that means we can’t run anywhere that they might have known about.
If we can clear the outer moons before they scramble a response, we’ll be halfway free.
Not much of us left to hold together: Cargo module is shorn off, half the girders are slag, crew and habitat sections holed and open to space.
I thought they had us when the Captain agreed to be boarded, but I sure didn’t hesitate when he ordered the engines lit back up. Cut those bastards right in half. The real surprise is when he set off the atomics. I guess I never really believed that we had them, but it sure puts a few old conversations into a new perspective.
It isn’t going to be pretty if they do catch us. Not for anybody; we’ve done too much already.
There are about four and a half AU’s between us and the slipknot, and three of us left trying to fly a boat built for ten.
I’ve got an Interface Pilot doing the job of a Navigator since my bridge crew got blown into a thin red paste. I’ve got an Environmental Systems Engineer working on cutting un-needed weight off the hull while we’re under thrust. And I’ve got enough Rads in me now to make my golden years rather unpleasant if I manage to get out of this shit storm at all.
On the bright side, we’ll hit the slipknot ahead of the interdiction and our pursuit. But we’ll be burning all the way there to do it and won’t be turning to slow down to make a safe translation — and our Mass and Geometry are completely out of whack, so our slip is going to be… dicey.
Our first clue that something wasn’t right was when we weren’t dead. Then there was the fact that we weren’t picking up radio traffic from a slipknot station or nav beacon — at least none aimed at us. That in turn meant that we probably wouldn’t be shot at for a little while at least. Refreshingly unique.
We’re not a science ship, so taking our bearings with what’s left of our sensor equipment hasn’t been the easiest thing ever. What was pretty clear straight away though, is that the local star doesn’t match the spectroscopy of anything else in the Cluster.
Once we got a better look around, we knew we’d hit our break. If we can salvage some materiel for repair, what we’ve found here could really shift the balance of power back home. Hell, if we can even make it back home, it would change the face of things just having a new slipstream open.
Spent the last few weeks limping to the nearest likely source of R-Mass. If we hadn’t come through that slipknot with dry tanks and more heat than we could dump, it would have only taken a couple days. As things stand, we’ll be in some serious trouble if we can’t get some O2 and provisions fast — fuel and mass shortages notwithstanding.
And provisions are looking like the lower hanging fruit. Our yacht can skim the O2, and there is enough of a biosphere down there to provide as much food as the three of us could want. Frustratingly, our spectroscopy is reporting that all the water we’re surveying is extremely hard. Our limited distilling equipment wasn’t made for this kind of survivalist shit, and most of it got toasted by our own atomics anyway.
We talked over the possibility of contact with the indigenous, but the only radio signals we are getting are automated loops. None of us want to roll the dice on a diplomatic situation with the locals — the folks that own that orbital elevator are putting out a lot of heat and EM, and we can’t afford the chance that whoever-they-are starts shooting.
LIghts are out on the anchor station for that orbital elevator, so I’ve had the pilot park the ship the ship there for now. Looks like it’s been abandoned for a while, so I’ve begun salvaging for parts to make us spaceworthy again. With any luck, they won’t even recognize us when we slip back home.
Deployed a little satellite network with what’s left of our sensor drones. After a couple days of sweeping we finally got a bead on a source of fresh water down below, way up on a mountain crater. Should be more than enough to restock our R-mass for a trip back to civilization, and should be secluded enough that we won’t have any trouble from the indigenous.
Good thing, too. I wasn’t looking forward to shoveling snow or building an industrial still.
(viii – end)
The Pilot and my Environmental Tech have already made a few successful runs down to that crater, with the yacht. One more and we should have enough to top off our tanks. They did run into a few of the locals on their last dive, looked like some real backwoods types with only the most rudimentary industry — no real threat, and seemed to be scared off when they popped some flares.
If thats all the locals can muster, it might be worth taking a quick trip to the base of the elevator to see what salvage we can bring back. Based on what I’ve seen on the counterweight, this place is a goldmine of pre-collapse technology. Once we fence this haul, I’ll have no problems buying a new thyroid or anything else I need to shake of that radiation hit I took from the atomics — retirement is starting to look pretty good afterall.
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