Things were finally going fairly well. The cargo was unloaded (with time to spare), there was a plan to get back into place and fix the ship which involved a fake cargo and documentation, and Jessi Chu paid for the delivery. Grrr Bear made no further rampages.
Trucks loaded with useless pieces of furniture and farm equipment, potentially claimable as antiques or collector items or bound for the Rim, rolled up and began to offload into the bottom hold of the Lucky Break. They brought enough to fill the bottom hold and make a (barely) plausible excuse for having landed in the ass-end of the planet.
While this loading activity was going on, overseen by Alexander Koyla and Gilbert York, and with the cargo hold roughly half full at this point, an elegantly dressed woman in an elegant business suit over which she wore an elegant matching double shoulder holster in which she had two very elegant weapons in plain view walked to the ship, up the ramp and approached Gilbert. She brandished a clipboard (not elegant at all) tapped it a couple of times and said, “I need to see your captain”. The captain happened to be in earshot, identified himself, and she requested to speak to him privately. He invited her to his cabin to discuss her matter privately, which had her a bit concerned regarding his intentions. He assured her that they were honorable, and she agreed to go with him.
Once in his cabin he turned, closed and locked the door, activated his crew-wide comms, and turned back to see she had drawn one of her guns and pointed it at his head. The captain made no sudden moves and showed no fear. She explained that she was miffed (extremely angry) with the captain. He interrupted her speech to slap the gun out of her hand causing it to go off. She, of the lightening quickness (as well as the captain), pulled her other weapon on him and fired – it was a taser. With the captain on the floor (and drooling a little) she recovered her other weapon, leaned down over him, and said, “My name is Ida Ward and I’m the Captain of the Alto Photon. We just landed here with a full load of kelp only to find that no one was buying it, they had all they needed. That was because you had just rolled in here and delivered a DOUBLE LOAD! Now I have a full load rotting on my cargo deck thanks to you! You’re on my bad side captain. You’re on my blacklist, off my Christmas card list, bold print on my shit list. You get in my way again, you cost me another pay day, and I’ll be putting a bullet between your eyes. Nice to meet you.” With that she stood up, produced a device of some kind, and managed to unlock the door to the captain’s cabin.
Having heard the gunshot over the comms, Alexander rushed to the captain’s cabin, arriving just as the door opened and a taser wielding angry woman emerged, casually stunning him as she walked out. She climbed down the central ship ladder as Doctor Stein climbed up the opposite ladder, neither seeing the other. She simply walked almost all the way out of the ship, with Gilbert ‘last line of defense’ York blocking her way at last. She said, “Excuse me, please”, and attempted to step around him (not realizing he was alerted to something being wrong, but he moved to block her path again. She said something regarding the captain’s ungentlemanly behavior and ducked around Gilbert, moving down the ramp and trying to walk away from the ship, but again he moved to stop her, putting a hand on her shoulder. One quick judo move later Gilbert had been flipped onto the ground, none too gently, and she again started walking away (while subtly pulling the taser). Gilbert, leader of the local ‘Try, Try Again’ society got up to make another effort to stop Ida when she turned and dropped him with the taser, then casually walked off down the jungle road. A few minutes later a freighter was seen rising from the jungle nearby and flying away.
So, that was Ida. All 110lbs of her.
Meanwhile, back on the ship, the captain had eventually recovered his senses enough to know that he didn’t recover them all. He felt his way to the console in his cabin and contacted the doctor to come see him. Dr. Stein was busy examining the dead body of the last of the Tuxedo gang that had been bitten by something, most likely a snake, died, and then the insects found him and were still busily feasting on his corpse. Totally fascinated with the spectacle before him, he was unhappy but compliant with the captain’s request.
Arriving at captain Drake’s cabin, stepping over the semi-conscious body of Alexander, he entered. Drake showed him his dark secret (get your mind out of the gutter) as he activated the eject function of his eye implant and explained to Stein how it functioned and coached him in reactivating it. The two journeyed to the med bay where the doctor had fine tools and a really big magnifying glass to help him do the work, and Drake’s vision was restored in short order. Dr. Stein discovered that there was a deactivated locator beacon built into the optical replicator device, and made an adjustment to reset the signal broadcast by it to a different frequency (that only HE knew) and let Drake know what he had done. Drake was pleased and didn’t take out his frustrations on the doctor at all. The doctor was still unaware at this time that all of the animals he had brought onboard had been killed and more or less all consumed .
The rest of the cargo was loaded, the trucks left, and Drake called a meeting to vent his frustrations to the crew. It went well. With all else done, the ship was ready for flight operations. Take off was nominal and the ship was flown by the highly competent Bubba Jones at treetop level to the first canyon point. The pilot dropped the ship into the first canyon and, with the assistance of captain Drake in the copilot seat, flew the very wide ship through the very narrow canyon with no issues.
Unfortunately, it was the first of 3 canyons, and in the next one the number 3 (forward starboard, or front right for you non-nautical types) went into emergency shutdown during some tricky maneuvering. Bubba and Drake managed to get the ship under control (somewhat) and did an emergency landing. Luck was not completely on their side as the forward landing strut came to rest on a small boulder and the landing strut lost the battle of wills, taking damage that was not repairable onsite such that it could not be retracted. The boulder seemed fine.
Zeke broke out his Kit of Reaver Spaceship Repairs (+3) and proceeded to kick ass on the strut. When he was done it worked better than before and was very unlikely to have an issue again. The crew shifted cargo from the front of the ship to the back of the ship in the deck 2 cargo bay to take pressure off of the damaged landing strut. All repairs done, the pilot lifted the ship off, finished canyon maneuver 2 and continued their atmospheric journey. Canyon 3 had some tight spots, but the ship was brought through successfully and eventually, thanks to the cargo shifting, set down on a landing pad at the Daling starport.
The Lucky Break had been given permission to land and refuel, but was immediately land-locked by port control upon landing. An alliance inspection team was waiting to board her when the crew opened the door so Shylock and the captain could go visit port control. While the crew dealt with that, Shylock and the Captain journeyed to port control to find out what the situation was. What they found out is that this is standard procedure these days on Greenleaf.
Walking back to the ship, roughly a half mile journey, Shylock and Captain drake spoke. Drake expressed his displeasure with how things had been going and his lack of information coming from Shylock, who assured him that he had told everything that he knew with one exception. He told the captain that he and the other crew members are now ‘marked’ due to association with him, as associates of the Cosa Nostra, and they will be low level ‘persons of interest’ to a great many people in a great many organizations. That he, Shylock, is a ‘Sharp’ of the Cosa Nostra, which is a high level individual who gets things done for the organization. That in spite of keeping a low profile he was ‘made’ in association with the Lucky Break and that all others associated with that ship are now under suspicion by association. He advised denying any knowledge of the Cosa Nostra beyond what they may have seen in vids, and that they should never play the Costa Nostra card in bluffs or negotiations due to intense and unpleasant consequences from the Costa Nostra, their friends, and their enemies. This situation should cause the crew no long-term problems and subside after a time. Additionally, calling Shylock to bail them out of a situation would obligate them to him in ways the crew wouldn’t like and enduring the fate they are trying to avoid by calling Shylock would probably be preferable. The rest of the crew doesn’t need to know unless the captain decides they should, and if he tells them it should be out of earshot of Shylock, Carl, and Trace and word that the captain or the crew know should never reach any of them as they would be obligated to report it.
Captain Drake was unhappy at this revelation.
Returning to the ship they received the news that the land-lock had been removed from the ship, but they were not certified as space worthy and were restricted to atmospheric flight until repairs were conducted and they passed inspection. However, before repairs could be started on the seals it was important to get rid of the pests that caused the problems in the first place. Fumigation was a pricey and time consuming prospect. With new spacesuits purchased by Shylock the crew opted to simply travel to space, open the ship up, hang out for an hour, and drop back to the landing pad, which they almost did. In fact, they kept the ship 1km below the atmospheric limit of space, but still absent of atmosphere and horribly cold enough to kill all insects, molds, and reptiles that might have been onboard at the time. Upon landing Zeke got to work repairing the ship’s main seals.
With the crew pitching in, Zeke accomplished the repairs needed to allow the ship to be certified as space-worthy (there was no checkbox for ‘barely’ and thus the bureaucrat was defeated). Shylock gave all crewmembers the option to travel with them to Londinium where the ship had been recalled to for 3 days of repairs. Polly, Abby, and Bubba Jones took him up on it, Abby and Polly simply waiting it out on Greenleaf and Bubba moving on to other ventures. The crew making the trip wore spacesuits with their helmets handy for the duration of the trip, and it passed without incident. Gilbert York was an adequate pilot for the job and brought them down at the mammoth Lyndenhall Pulse Drives facilities and campus, complete with its own private starport, on Londinium.
The only incident on their journey was when they were ordered to heave-to for inspection by an Alliance Cruiser as they passed into the core and Gilbert decided to air his political opinions of the Alliance via radio with the people on the cruiser’s bridge until Shylock cut him off. Shylock and entourage met the inspection crew, let them know who he was, escorted them to his rooms, and 10 minutes later they left the Lucky Break looking pale and shaken. The cruiser moved off and the Lucky Break continued it’s journey.
Landing on Londinium, the crew disembarked with all their belongings, guns stored in a gun safe (a big one) and other belongings with them, and the ship was towed into the facility. No crew were allowed into the facility but Shylock and his entourage went ahead by car and were promptly ushered inside.
After a couple of hours the crew received word that accommodations had been arranged for them, and a luxurious company bus carried them to their low-rent hotel. With the exception of their registered companion, this was the nicest hotel any of them had ever seen and their ‘shabby’ rooms (by local standards) were exquisite.
Enjoying 3 days of room service is nice and all, but then the call from Shylock came that it would be more than 3 days, looking more like a month before the ship was ready to fly. He sent over their pay up to date so they could experience Londinium and see how far their money didn’t go. We are made to understand that there were hi-jinks.
The next day word came that the ship was to receive some design changes and a complete overhaul that would take at least 6 months to complete. Shylock called a meeting for that evening, non-mandatory, to make an offer to the crew. Staying true to form, this meeting was to be in the VIP room of a posh hotel, the prestigious Hotel Mela, a 9 star accommodation (a 5 star hotel anywhere else, it also had other earned stars: 1 for being on Londinium, 1 for being in the core, 1 for being in an alliance government center, 1 for being in the capital city).
The next session starts at that meeting. At this time the GM has generously granted all Player Characters the opportunity to do a full overhaul/rebuild, including any character points they may have accumulated. Additionally, all characters are promoted to veteran status and gain 6 character points to spend as they see fit. These changes need to be completed and sent to the GM 2 days prior to the start of the game 2 sessions from now complete with their 3×3×3 in order to use your upgraded character. Wow, that GM sure is a swell guy!