Swan Song

Adventure Log 7/15/12

Back on Acorn, the crew tries to come up with a plan of action. Tempers flare as everyone tries to voice their opinion. Although Sebastian insists it is a bad idea, even Mad thinks that they should take Chapman up on his offer. The general consensus is that the crew needs all the help they can get in order to take down Rejovic. And Chapman has equally strong reasons for wanting revenge. There is a bit more arguing in regards to Laramie’s proposition. Eventually, everyone agrees that it is not a good idea to take him on board. In the heat of the discussion, Colt makes a few comments that cause the rest of the crew to make clear that all consideration of torture or murder is unacceptable.

Leaving a still-recovering Mo behind, Colt, Mad, and Sebastian head to meet Chapman at the Three Moons. As they get closer to the hotel, the graffitied “9s” of the local Tong gangs becomes more obvious on the sides of buildings and along the street. When they ask for Chapman at the front desk, the young clerk says that he is out. Mad jots a quick note containing Acorn’s wave frequency and slips the young man some money to make sure that the note gets to Chapman. Colt also gets directions from the clerk on where to find Malcolm.

As they leave for Malcolm’s, both Colt and Mad notice a figure about Chapman’s size slipping into the Three Moons. It doesn’t take long for the group to arrive at Malcolm’s place of business. He invites them inside his small practice. He is very surprised at the offer of payment, but gratefully takes it. Everyone heads back to Acorn to wait for Chapman’s response. It doesn’t take too long before Acorn recieves an incoming wave. It is Chapman. He agrees to meet everyone at a local tea house at 7:00 that evening. With all of the recent excitement, the crew decides to rest up until it is time to head out again.

Later that night, the crew heads to the tea house and secures a booth. Chapman arrives soon after. The situation is a bit tense, as each party keeps a close eye on the other. Chapman asks if they have thought about his offer. Colt responds that they have. He assures Chapman that the crew “will not seek revenge” for any previous encounters. Colt makes it clear that he is a man of his word. After a bit of discussion, Chapman seems convinced and agrees to meet back at Acorn. He leaves the group to gather up his belongings from the Three Moons.

Before heading back to the ship, the group makes a detour through the marketplace where many more stalls and vendors have appeared now that night has fallen. The crew moves through the market until they find Boris, their black market contact. Boris is willing to sell them crates of ammo and a suspension field generator that he had found for Sebastian. The product will be delivered the following night.

The crew heads back to Acorn and waits for Chapman to show up. He arrives with just a single bag over his shoulder. When Colt informs him that all weapons are to be locked up, it takes a few minutes before Chapman agrees to surrender a handgun and knife. Colt goes over the ship rules, then everyone heads for the Common Room to discuss the Rejovic situation and try to come up possible plans.

Chapman shares that when he and the crew of Ellandri’s Dagger were still working for Rejovic, their main means of communication was through a dedicated source box. Additionally, he thinks there is a good possibility that the box may still be on the wreckage of the ship as the box’s location was hidden in a fake escape pod. The Dagger is currently floating in the Federal shipyard that is in orbit of Beylix. Beylix itself is in the Penglai system which is surrounded by an astroid field. If the group can obtain the source box, then its logs could be used to triangulate the point of origin from any communication sent to it. During the conversation, Chapman admits that he “dabbles” in computer programming.

Colt asks Chapman about the name Dante, but Chapman doesn’t have much information, other that he has heard the name before, but not in any work context. Chapman has also heard that Dante is a pretty heavy hitter. Sebastian next questions him about Rosen Group. Chapman says that he suspected that Rejovic was involved with someone on Persephone, but he doesn’t personally believe that Rejovic is actually hiding on that planet. Chapman says that he and his crew had a contact, Torval, who passed on information at Rejovic’s orders. This is how Ellandri’s Dagger was waiting for them outside of Rio. Chapman tells the crew that the mission was to secure Acorn, or, if that couldn’t be accomplished, to destroy it. Rejovic wanted to make sure that their ship was gone.

Trying to get a sense of Chapman’s talents, the crew asks him about what his role was on Ellandri’s Dagger. Chapman says that his duties were mostly tech in nature, although he picked up some other skills in the war. He is a fair long shot and is good at not being seen. Sebastian realizes that Chapman was the person who wrote the computer virus that was supposed to shut down Acorn. Chapman tells them that he has been waiting for Acorn to arrive at Eavesdown for quite some time. He dearly wanted revenge on Rejovic, but with the loss of his ship and crew, he didn’t have any assets to hire outside mercenaries. He was hoping that their common hatred of Rejovic would be enough to bring everyone together.

Trying to plot where they might head next, Mad estimates that it will take 87 days to get to Beylix. Colt, who is still trying to find ways to alert his sister about Rejovic’s message, wants to know how long it would take to get to Ezra. Mad tells him that it will take 84 days. Once the crew reaches Beylix, it would take an additional 128 days to get to Ezra from that point in space. A bit disheartened about the long distances, and still not having a firm plan, the group turns in for the night.

The next day goes by fairly quietly. Everyone keeps mostly to themselves. That night, a group of men come to drop off crates of “processed meat” from Boris. As Colt gets the crates stored, Mad takes some of her finished leather belts and vests to try and sell to passersby. She doesn’t have any luck, but soon a figure in saffron robes approaches. It’s Laramie. Mad leads him inside the ship and lets the rest of the crew know he is there. Colt tells Laramie that he will need to find an alternate way off planet, but, hopefully, the crew will be able to help clear up his name. Laramie agrees to share some of the information he knows.

Everyone, including Chapman, gathers in the Common Room. In order to help protect their privacy, Chapman and Laramie are not introduced to each other. When questioned about his assisant, Torval, Laramie says that she is a “dead end” and that all the information possible has been gleaned from that source. Colt and Mad understand what Laramie is really saying, but Sebastian presses Laramie for why he thinks Torval won’t have any more useful information. Finally, exasperated, Laramie says that he isn’t going to answer any more questions on that matter. Sebastian finally catches on that Torval is most likely dead.

Laramie tells the group that Torval was receving orders from someone named Dante. She had an apartment of her own in Demeter, but it has possibly been searched by the authorities at the point in the course since Torval is now part of a current missing persons investigation. He gives them the address of the apartment. Laramie also tells them he finally discovered Torval’s betrayal because funds were being siphoned from his accounts. While he won’t tell them how much money was lost, (or, when Sebastian asks, give them his account numbers), he does reveal that the total amount of money stolen was a lot more than what was found at Biggby’s home.

As there seems to be no more information that Laramie can, or will, tell them, the conversation draws to a close. Colt escorts Laramie out. By the next morning, the crew and Chapman will need to have a plan of action. Time seems to be running out.

Adventure Log 6/17/12

En route to Persephone, Mad receives notice from her bank that 700 credits has been transfered into her account. Attached to the transfer is a note of thanks from Esposito. The crew is pleased, but a little puzzled. Sebastian sends her a wave asking about the money and how things are going. Esposito sends a return wave that she is paying them for a job well done. Additionally, she is officially retiring from the Federal Marshal’s service with commendations. She is considering setting up her own private investigator’s business in Calhoun.

After almost a month, Acorn finally touches down in Eavesdown Docks. Mo and Colt leave to meet with Mo’s fence, Gaffney. From there, they will head directly to Badger’s. Mad and Sebastian remain behind to watch the ship. Mo and Colt make their way through the noisy throngs of people, often having to push their way through the crowd. The bazaars of Eavesdown are an extremely busy place. As they move, they find themselves moving into a distinctly Chinese area of the docks, with the Chinese character for “9” marking a lot of the alleyways and structures—probably a Tong sign.

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a hooded figure rises up in front of Colt. Surprised, Colt barely has time to react as a gloved hand slams into his head. Colt is briefly stunned from the impact. It is almost as if he was hit by a piece of steel, not a human hand. The smell of rot trails in the air.

The next few minutes flash by in a blur. Barely pausing, the figure turns from Colt and stabs Mo in the side with a wicked combat knife. Colt quickly pulls his gun and aims it at the mysterious assailant’s head. Mo is stabbed again, although he is trying to pull away from his attacker. Before Colt can pull his trigger, he hears the sound of a gunshot from the quickly dispersing crowd and the assailant jerks as he is hit in the shoulder. Colt fires his own gun, point blank to the cloaked figure’s face, and the man drops to the ground.

Colt quickly turns his attention to Mo, who is barely standing and clutching his side. A young Asian man approaches them, asking them if he can help. Colt has a brief glimpse of a gun in the back of his jacket, but is more concerned with saving his friend. Colt tries to use what medical knowledge he has to help stop the bleeding, but he knows it’s not going to be enough. Upon surveying the scene, the young Asian man quickly moves away and returns with another man whom he introduces as Malcolm, a doctor. Malcolm pulls out a med pack and starts immediately tending to Mo’s wounds. During the process, Mo passes out completely.

As the street doctor works on Mo, Colt calls back to Acorn on the ship phone. He tells the rest of the crew that Mo has been stabbed and asks them to call for help. Sebastian promptly contacts the local emergency services and explains the situation. Then Sebastian and Mad load up on the mule and head for their friends.

The young Asian man introduces himself as Bojing. When Colt thanks him for his help, Bojing replies that he “happens to belive in Karma,” maybe Colt will be able to help him one day. Colt turns his attention to the body of the mysterious attacker. The body is already surrounded by people picking over the corpse, but they scatter when Colt approaches. Colt flips back the figure’s hood. Even in death, Colt can easily identify the man. It is the body of Jubal Early.

The sound of an approaching siren causes much of the crowd to disperse. Even some of the stall merchants quickly pack up and disappear. Colt returns to Mo‘s side and notices a datadisc tucked into his friend’s waistband. He quickly pockets it as Bojing and Malcolm take their leave. Bojing offers to be in contact, indicating that he is staying at a boarding house called the Three Moons. As the ambulance pulls up, Colt’s last glimpse of the now-dead assassin is as a couple of Tongs pull his body into a nearby alley.

The ambulence crew loads Mo into their vehicle and Colt climbs in with them. On the way to the hospital, one of the men records Colt’s statement of events. Colt relates only enough of the recent events to be believable—though the emergency services technician is still clearly skeptical, he also seems to be cynical enough to have heard it all before. The incident is labeled as an “unprovoked assault”. Colt asks what hospital they are going to and is told “Central Hospital.”

Meanwhile, Mad and Sebastian arrive at the scene. The crowd is noticably thinner here and a sizeable blood spot is visible on the street. In the distance, they can hear the sounds of a distant siren moving away. Before the two have time to figure out what to do next, Colt contacts them and tells them which hospital Mo is being taken to. Mad is able to convince a nearby pedestrian to give them directions and they take off again.

The crew is finally reunited in the emergency room waiting area at Central Hospital. Colt quietly tells Mad and Sebastian what happened. Anxious, Mad approaches the reception desk and asks about Mo‘s status. The nurse tells her that Mo is out of surgery and has been moved to a bed. He is allowed visitors, so the crew heads directly to Mo’s room. Upon entering, they find an unconscious Mo lying in a hospital bed. A doctor enters the room and introduces herself as Dr. Vanesh. She explains that Mo is just sleeping on his own at this point, but that she wants to keep him at the hospital for the next 24 hours. He will need plenty of rest to recuperate from his wounds.

After the doctor leaves, the crew discusses their next plan of action. It is decided that Colt and Sebastian will take the mule back to Acorn to check out the mysterious disc while Mad will wait and watch over Mo.

When Colt and Sebastian arrive back at Acorn, a hooded monk in saffron robes suddenly appears. He approaches the two men, and tells them that he has a business proposal for them. It is Laramie, disguised. He asks if they can speak privately on the ship. Once on board, Colt asks Laramie to turn over any weapons he may have. Laramie hands him one pistol, saying he’s “traveling light these days.”

Colt, Sebastian, and Laramie sit down in the common area. Sebastian is noticibly cool towards their former business associate. Laramie begins by saying he had nothing to do with Biggby’s death or any shady financial tranactions. Since all the trouble began, he has discovered that his personal assistant was in the pay of another employer. Now, due to the current situation, Laramie needs to get off world. He has some favors he can call in until the mess sorts itself out, but needs to get to his stash of “liquid assets” in order to do so. He is willing to pay the crew 5,000 credits if they can deliver him to a specific Core planet (the name of which he will reveal once the crew accepts his offer). Sebastian asks Laramie who the mole was working for. It was the Rosen Group. However, Laramie also learned that Rosen Group has a silent partner known only as “Dante”.

Since no decision can be made without the full crew’s approval, Laramie agrees to wait for their answer. He will be in touch. Once Laramie leaves, Colt and Sebastian turn their attention to the mysterious disc that was found on Mo. Sebastian carefully inserts it into the Neccom. The disc contains an audio-only wave that has obviously been filtered through a voice distortion program:

You have all been busy, busy little bugs, poking your little faces into concerns that are not your own. The very thing that brought our paths to cross in the first place. But no matter.

I send my friend Early with this message—and I do hope he gave it the exclamation point I intended—to warn you to extricate yourself from my affairs. You have seen the consequences for young Travis. For Mr. Laramie. For Mr. Biggby. For those that failed to follow my instructions.

I would truly hate for Ms. McKensie, isolated out in Proxville, to pay for her brother’s sins. Her…security…is very much in my hands. Do not forget this.

Until I decide you need another reminder, I bid you good day.

After the wave plays, the disc erases itself.

Colt calls Mad on the ship-phone, and the two talk briefly. Mad will continue to wait with the still-sleeping Mo, while Colt and Sebastian will complete their dealings with Badger. Deciding to leave the mule behind because of the crowds, the two walk to Badger’s “office”, making sure to bring along the disc containing the Reaver footage Along the way, they realize that neither knows the location of Mo’s fence. They will have to ask Badger. Once at their destination, the two are seen fairly quickly. As they are ushered before Badger’s desk, it is obvious that the man is not particularly happy to see them.

Badger bluntly asks Colt and Sebastian if they sold the information about the ship. Apparently the Snoats Brothers have already returned to Eavesdown and collected on their half of the salvage. Badger has also apparently already heard that the Evelle and Gale were given the information from Vargas. Colt protests that, no, they didn’t sell the information. For several minutes, Colt tells Badger what happened, with Sebastian adding to the story along the way. When Colt finishes, Badger is still not pleased, but only says that he better not hear about any else getting those particular packages or they’re going to have “words.” He and his men will meet at Acorn to finalize the rest of their business transaction.

They get directions to Gaffney’s place of business and head that way. It turns out to be a storefont in a slightly seedy part of the Chinese section of town. Upon entering the store, Colt introduces themselves as friends of Mo who are looking for a fence. Gaffney, looking slightly pained at the use of “fence” just out in the open and takes them into a private back room to talk business. They come to an arrangement and head back to Acorn so Gaffney can begin to appraise the haul from their job.

About the time that Gaffney finishes his appraisal, Badger and his men show up. When he finds out how much his cut of the profit turns out to be, Badger says a few choice words—often categorizing the haul as a bunch of luh suh and go se. Nevertheless, they load up their part of the haul and leave. Later, Gaffney returns with some help and takes his haul away after paying the crew in platinum bars.

Meanwhile, back at Central Hospital, Mo finally awakes as evening approaches. Mad gives him a careful hug and then quietly catches him up with the day’s events. A sudden knock startles them both. Mad cautiously approaches the door and opens it slightly. A young Asian man stands before her, who introduces himself as Bojing and asks if he may come in. Mad, consulting first with Mo, agrees. The young man asks after Mo’s health, then takes a seat in a nearby chair. Mad, still cautious, stands close to Mo.

The young man gives his full name as Bojing Chapman. He tells them that he was sorry he didn’t act fast enough to save Mo. Chapman had been looking for the crew because he knew that Early was in town. When he saw Early attack, he acted as fast as he could. Early, Chapman says, was a mutual enemy.

“A mutual enemy?” Mad repeats. Chapman nods. They have another mutual enemy. A certain Commander Rejovic. Chapman lost half of his old crew, including his brother, at the hands of Rejovic (through Early) and now he’s looking for a new crew to hunt Rejovic down. He looks at Mad, and says that her and her friends are going to need to deal with Rejovic as well.

Mad squarely returns his gaze and asks if his previous crew flew on Ellandri’s Dagger. When Chapman says yes, she coldly tells him that there is no lost love between his crew and hers. Chapman acknowledges this, but tells her that while the transactions between their crews were strictly business, it is now personal with Rejovic. He suggests they work together. They all want Rejovic, and Chapman might know of a way to figure out where he is. Mad asks about the rest of his old crew, and he tells her that the captain and pilot are under arrest. He’s the only one left that’s free. Chapman stands up to leave. He’s staying at a boarding house in the Chinese part of town, called the Three Moons. If interested in his offer, the crew can contact him there. After Chapman leaves the room, Mad turns to Mo to ask his thoughts on Chapman’s offer … but Mo has fallen asleep.

Mad immediately calls Colt and Sebastian on the ship’s phone. She tells them that she’s had a visit from a former member of Ellandri’s Dagger. Colt says he wants everyone back on the ship now. Mad replies that Mo isn’t supposed to leave the hospital until tomorrow, but reluctantly wakes him up. When the issue of being charged for a night’s stay at the hospital is brought up, Mo is instantly ready to go, wanting to make sure midnight has not passed so he gets charged an extra day. Colt and Sebastian pick them up in the Nut House so Mo doesn’t have to make the journey back by mule. Everyone breaths a sigh of relief to be back safely on Acorn, but there is quite a bit to discuss after the events of the day.

Adventure Log 5/13/12

Hoping to either figure out a way to escape or to privately communicate with her crew, Mad approaches the receptionist and asks if she can use the bathroom. She is flatly denied and told to go sit back down. Mad heads back to her seat and pulls out her ship phone. She manages to quickly get out that she is being detained before one of the guards grabs it. While the other guard holds Mad at gunpoint, she is frisked down and removed of all communication devices as well as her plate vest.

The guards then lead Mad outside and into their mule. Still at gunpoint, Mad is driven to the security center and taken inside. The clerk behind the counter tells her that she is being arrested on charges of prostitution. Mad, incensed, starts to argue. People don’t have to pay to have sex with her! The clerk interrupts that she better be quiet unless she wants to make her sentence in the mines longer than six months. She’ll have to wait until her case comes before the magistrate. Mad sullenly turns over the contents of her pockets to the clerk and is promptly taken to a cell. She spends a few moments searching the cell and finds a hidden camera, but there is little else to be done besides wait for her captors’ next move.

Meanwhile, Colt, finding himself face-to-face with a buzzboat, tosses the bag of explosives down in front of him and starts to slowly back up. A voice over the boat’s PA system instructs him to lay face down on the ground. Colt puts up his hands and tries to engage the unseen man in a spot of conversation, still trying to put a bit of distance between himself and the bag. He is told to lay face down or he will be fired upon. Reluctantly, Colt lowers himself to the ground. As he lies there, Colt hears his ship phone go off and Mad say that she is being detained. Realizing that the Go se is about to hit the fan, Colt risks moving, repositioning himself so that he can contact Sebastian on his multiband.

Waiting back at Acorn, Sebastian and Mo hear Mad‘s voice over the ship’s phone. Sebastian turns to Mo, not knowing what they should do. When Sebastian’s multiband goes off, he and Mo find out that Colt is also in a bad situation. Not only is Colt being pinned down by a buzzboat, but he has just found out that ground support is heading his way to collect him for detention.

Mo quickly gets the Nut House prepped for flight, while Sebastian grabs what he can to help in the rescue. He also brings along a transmitter with the intention of finding the communication channel the guards are using. As the Nut House lifts off, Sebastian is able to find out that the ground support is only 2 minutes away from Colt‘s location. It will be a race to see who arrives on site first. Mo mentions hearing a faint rhythmic sound coming from the ship phone, but Sebastian can’t hear anything.

As Colt waits face-down in the dirt, his whole body tensed for a fight, he begins to hear another noise over the whine of the buzzboat. It’s the sound of a shuttle-craft accelerating. The next few minutes are a blur of action. Mo aims the Nut House at the buzzboat and yells at Sebastian to “hold on!” Colt jumps up and begins running for cover. There is a horrible screeching sound of metal-on-metal. Although Mo slams the shuttle into the buzzboat, it had started to turn at the last minute. As a result, the buzzboat is still in the air, but is forced down towards the ground…

Right over the bag of explosives.

Colt yells into his multiband for his crew to pull up and hits the detonation button. Mo manages to pull the Nut House out of its return pass just as an enormous explosion goes off. Mo and Sebastian are a bit shaken, but unharmed. The same cannot be said of the buzzboat. The air is filled with the stench of burning fuel and smoke. Colt’s ears are ringing, but he is still upright. Ahead, he notices a mule turning around. The ground crew has arrived just in time to see the destruction of the buzzboat and has decided to flee the scene. Colt shoots the driver of the mule and then quickly moves in pursuit.

Meanwhile, Sebastian and Mo land in the Nut House. Still listening in on the transmitter, Sebastian hears a guard calling for back up, the people they were sent to detain are more heavily armed than they thought. A cold voice interrupts the frantic guard, telling him to “stay off this channel.”

Colt, getting close to the mule, can tell that the driver is down. The guard in the passenger seat is trying to move his fallen companion out of the vehicle. Colt aims for the guard’s arm and fires. In only a matter of minutes, the guard has surrendered. Colt leads him on board the Nut House. The crew starts heading back to Acorn. While Mo complains about the guard’s blood getting everywhere, Sebastian asks the man what main frequency they are using. The guard at first only gives his name, Johnson, and his ID number. Sebastian informs him that if he doesn’t get the information, then his “friend” will ask … and not as nicely. Johnson eyes Colt, then gives Sebastian a new frequency number.

Turning in, the entire crew hears an unknown man giving the order to send in more buzzboats. The cold voice interrupts interrupts again, saying to belay the order. The other man begins to argue, but is told to “Shut up, Rennes.” Then the voice asks " Colt, are you on this channel?" For a moment, no one knows what to do. Then Colt takes the guard’s radio and replies, “Colonel, I never expected to hear your voice again.”

“I’ve got something you want,” the man replies, “We should talk price.” It’s clear to everyone who he means. Colt tells him to remain on the channel. The crew makes it back to Acorn where Mo immediately takes the guard into surgery. Colt tries to question the guard before Mo sedates him, but it becomes obvious that he knows nothing of Sarkaya’s illegal activities.

Meanwhile, Sebastian takes his ship phone off into a quiet area to try to figure out what was making the sound Mo had mentioned earlier. Finally hearing the faint noise that Mo mentioned, Sebastian realizes that it is actually a message in Morse code. The message reads “what’s happening?” Sebastian’s surge of excitement is tempered slightly by suspicion. He messages back for the unseen person to spell out their full initials. The letters “S” “J” “E” come back.

Back in her cell, Mad hears a noise that sounds almost like a sonic boom. Soon after, she is instructed by the clerk to sit down on the bench and hold out her hands. As soon as Mad does so, armed guards enter her cell and place her in cuffs. She is escorted out of the security office at gunpoint and back onto a mule. She overhears a bit of conversation between the clerk and one of the guards about whether or not there has been any word from an officer named Johnson.

The mule starts heading toward the large mansion in the middle of town. When Mad tries to engage her captors in conversation about where they are heading, she is told that Mr. Sarkaya wants his “package secure.” She is escorted into the mansion and led through several doorways before ending up in front of the stern-looking receptionist from earlier. She stares back at Mad frostily. She tells Mad that Mr. Sarkaya will see her shortly.

Back on Acorn, the crew tries to decide what to do next. They have no idea where Mad is being detained. While they debate, Sarkaya’s voice comes over the radio again. Colt is to come to the mansion. The clock is ticking. Once his time runs out, his friend will suffer the consequences.

Eventually, Mad is escorted into Sarkaya’s office. An older man with a hard-looking face sits behind an enormous desk. Instructed to sit down, the two guards flank Mad on either side. Sarkaya asks her if she thinks that Colt will come for her. Mad tells him that if he knew Colt at all, he would know that Colt never leaves a man behind. Sarkaya mentions that he “saw potential” in Colt, but that unfortunately, his vision was “short-sighted.” Mad retorts that it was good thing that Colt didn’t turn into a bastard like him. Although she sees his hand coming at her, Mad can’t dodge fast enough as Sarkaya hits her across the face.

As the crew prepares Acorn for take-off, there is a sudden explosion and the ship shudders. Several buzzboats are swarming over the transport. The ship shakes again and Colt is on the radio. He angrily tells Sarkaya that Acorn is being attacked and to call off his guards. He also asks to speak to Mad to make sure that she is alright. Sarkaya agrees and seconds later, the entire crew is relieved to hear Mad’s voice saying hello. He reminds Colt again that his time is running out. Once the buzzboats fall back, Acorn is in the air and heading towards town.

Back in Sarkaya’s office, there is a buzz from his desk. Sarkaya says “Yes, Ms. Wuhan?” and the stern voice of the receptionist is heard. She tells Sarkaya that " Merlyn didn’t come in today" and that “the man’s never been sick a day in his life.” She didn’t like it, so she sent men to his appartment and found it empty. Sarkaya tells her to “find him.” Wuhan replies that there is a shortage of men right now. Sarkaya orders one of the guards flanking Mad to go help.

As the guard leaves, Sarkaya begins to question Mad about Colt’s involvement in the current situation. Did Colt send a mole into his organization? Sarkaya muses that he didn’t think that Colt would work with either Interpol or the Marshals. Mad asks if he really thinks that Colt would work with ANY kind of authorities? When Sarkaya begins to push harder, Mad replies that she heard that the larger a man’s desk is, the smaller his penis. She is able to move her head just enough that she doesn’t get the full brunt of Sarkaya’s hand upon her face. However, the impact is still hard enough to make her momentarily dizzy. Sarkaya coldly tells Mad to shut her mouth or her clock will run out faster.

Suddenly, the sound of a large craft flying overhead is heard. Almost at the same time, Wuhan buzzes Sarkaya again. Something is going on in the shanty town. She wants to send in more reinforcements. The remaining guard is dispatched to help get the situation under control. Colt calls in on the radio. He and Sarkaya debate back and forth for a few minutes. Colt tells him that he’s “only here for one person.” It is agreed that Colt will come inside the mansion and Mad will be allowed to leave. Colt promises to come in without a sidearm.

Back on Acorn, Colt removes all of his weapons except the small derringer in its secret arm holster and prepares to head inside. Sebastian, still communicating with Esposito on the transmitter, tells her that the ship has landed right in front of the mansion. Buzzboats have followed from outside town and are patrolling the air above Acorn. She replies that she will try to head that way, but that it is chaos on the streets. Sebastian lets her know that Kit’s cover has been busted.

Ms. Wuhan opens the door to Sarkaya’s office and Mad is instructed to walk in front of her. As Mad heads back towards the front of the mansion, she notices the computer at Wuhan’s desk is in the middle of deleting huge amounts of files. At the closed and locked front door, Mad turns towards Wuhan. The woman has a gun pointed straight at Mad. Mad stands cautiously aside so Wuhan can open the door.

Framed in the open doorway, Mad can see Acorn resting on the front lawn. The ramp to the cargo bay has been lowered and Colt stands at the top. Next to him is parked Sadie. When Colt sees Mad, he starts making his way down the ramp. Mad moves foward to meet him halfway. She throws her arms around Colt in a big hug. Moving her mouth close to his ear, Mad whispers to him that they are deleting files inside the mansion. Colt nods his head, then the two part move apart. As Mad makes it up to the cargo bay, Colt arrives at the front door and heads inside.

Wuhan makes Colt stop right in front of her to check him for weapons. Colt is able to subtly maneuver himself so that she doesn’t discover the derringer. She leads him to Sarkaya’s office at gunpoint.

Once safely inside Acorn, Mad runs straight to find Sebastian and Mo. She tells them that Sarkaya’s receptionist is destroying all of their files. She wants to go back in, otherwise there may not be any hard evidence to convict Sarkaya. However, the door to the mansion is shut and Mad won’t be able to get in. Against his better judgement, Sebastian agrees to help hack the keypad lock. If they can sneak past the circling buzzboats, the front door is protected by a portico and they should be able to proceed unseen. As Sebastian tries to time how often the patrolling buzzboats go by, Mad arms herself and gathers a dufflebag of weaponry and other helpful things.

For a moment, both Mad and Sebastian stand in the doorway of the cargo bay. When Sebastian yells for them to run over, Mad quickly moves ahead of Sebastian. Suddenly, a buzzboat appears out of nowhere and begins firing—apparently, in his haste and fear, Sebastian had miscalculated. Sebastian retreats to the safety of Acorn while Mad sprints harder for the cover of the portico. While Mad pulls out burn gel and begins applying it to the front door, Sebastian grabs a magnetic grenade and tosses it at the approaching buzzboat. He manages to get it just close enough to latch onto the metal hull of the boat. The explosion is almost instantaneous.

Inside the mansion, Wuhan stops before the door to Sarkaya’s office and Colt steps inside, bringing him face-to-face with his old mentor. Colt confronts Bursa with his crimes. “Is this what we fought for? Slavery?” Bursa laughs and says “Colt, you were always so eager and so naive. You actually thought that all of this, all of everything, was about politics. It was about power. The power to do what we are destined to do without the interference of an Alliance or any one else to disrupt the natural order. This is what I fought for—the power for the strong to survive. That is my kind of freedom.” The sound of a large explosion reverberates throughout the room, interrupting this diatribe and Colt flicks his wrist, revealing his hidden derringer, outdrawing Bursa who moved for an old Independent sidearm. “You’ve learned a few new tricks since the war, I see.” Colt nods and instructs him to call off the buzzboats and have his men bring in Jakeson Grant. Bursa warily complies. As the sound of further disruptions carry from the adjoining rooms, Bursa admits to Colt “I always saw potential in you. That was the truth.” Colt snarls, “I believed in you. And you do this. You’re just like them, you son of a bitch. Just like the Alliance.” He motions for the older man to lead the way out of the room.

Meanwhile, the burn gel finishes its work and the front door falls inside with a crash. Mad cautiously makes her way inside and begins applying more gel to the second door that leads to Wuhan’s office. As soon as the door falls, Mad tosses a flash-bang into the hole and covers her eyes and ears. The errupting noise and light cause Mad to blink furiously and her ears to ring, but she is still able to move into the next room. Wuhan stands by her desk, clearly disoriented. Mad tries to knock her out with a few blows with the butt of her gun, but, finally resorts to using a stun baton. Wuhan falls to the ground. Mad quickly moves to the computer and, not knowing how else to stop the mass file delete, unplugs it.

The door to Sarkaya’s office opens and he steps out slowly, Colt behind him with a gun pointed at his back. Mad is standing near the unconsious body of Ms. Wuhan. There is still a strong smell of smoke in the room. As the two men start to make their way to the front of the mansion, Sebastian makes his way inside. When Mad sees Sebastian, she asks him to help with the computer. Sebastian retrieves the hard drive and also goes through some of the paper files in Woohan’s desk. The two then head for the font door.

Esposito and Kit sit in a mule parked next to Acorn. As Colt leads Sarkaya across the lawn, Kit approaches and tells the man that he is bound by law. Sarkaya has a bitter smile as he replies, “You think I’m a monster. But we were both in the war, Colt. We’re all monsters.”

Another mule pulls up on the scene. A large young man sits in the passenger’s seat. It’s Jakeson. Kit relates some of what happened while the crew dealt with Sarkaya. As soon as things started to go bad, kit decided to go with Plan B. He downloaded all of the important files he had for the case against Sarkaya and put in a call to the Federal Marshals at Sanguine Grove. He ran into Esposito during the chaos in the shanty town and they both made their way together back to Acorn.

Mad asks Esposito whether or not she and Jakeson want passage back to Ezra. The crew will have to stop at Persephone first, but they are both welcome on-board. Esposito says that she will remain behind and help get Kit get the situation cleaned up before heading back to Ezra. As the crew makes their goodbyes, Esposito leans down and kisses Sebastian full on the mouth. Flushing, Sebastian bids her goodbye as well.

As the ship heads off, the crew belatedly remembers the guard, Johnson, still unconscious on board. Sebastian makes a call to Esposito to tell her that Johnson will be dropped off at the same location where the ship was parked. Once they deliver their package, they dust-off Hera en-route to Persephone.

Adventure Log 4/1/12

Upon arriving on Hera, the crew decides to find a place to land somewhere outside of Yuva. Mad puts Acorn down in a clearing about five miles from the small town. Their cover story will be that the crew experienced mechanical difficulties en route to Sanguine Grove, the closest settlement.

With Mo and Sebastian staying behind to watch the ship, Colt, Mad, and Esposito take the mule into town. Yuva consists of a scattering of buildings nestled in avalley overlooked by a large mansion. There is also a security station, a railyard, depot, and landing strip. The group comes across a canteen and decides this is a good as place as any to start gathering information.

With the exception of the bartender, a good looking bald man in his 20s, the only people in the place are two grubby-looking workers who keep to themselves. The group heads to the bar to order a round of drinks. Mad begins chatting with the bartender. He tells her that if she is looking for a part for their ship, then she should ask at the company office. The young man also tells her that she should stay away from the depot.

While still at the bar, the group notices a new figure enter the building. The man is of average height and build and has a slightly scholarly air to him. Epsosito recognizes him as Kit, an INTERPOL agent that she met at a while back.

The group pays their tab and heads to the company office. Armed guards intercept them as soon as they draw near. The situation is explained and one of the guards relays this information back to some unseen person. The group is given permission to enter the office, but all guns have to be left on the mule. Inside, a pretty young woman sits at the receptionist’s desk. Her name plate reads " Gloria Byers. " Mad asks Byers about the replacement part for their ship. Byers agrees to ask the foreman if there is an extra part (and if they can have permission to buy it), but she won’t have an answer until the next day. The office opens at 8:00 am.

Mad thanks her and leaves the building. Colt, however, remains behind for a few more minutes, flirting with Byers. In doing so, he happens to notice a familiar face on a capture on Byers’s desk. When he asks, Colt is told that the man in the capture is Mr. Sarkaya, the owner of the mining company. Colt, however, knows the man to be Colonel Filo Bursa, a fellow Browncoat and his personal mentor. The man was supposedly lost after the Battle of Serenity Valley. He arranges to meet Byers at the bar later that evening.

The group heads back to Acorn to discuss the situation. It is decided that Esposito will try to slip an earbud to Kit. She wants to make contact with him to find out what the situation is and why he is here. Colt is going to try and get information out of Byers. The entire crew and Esposito head back into Yuva and to the canteen.

Mad heads immediately to the bar and starts flirting heavily with the bartender, who introduces himself as Mark. Colt meets up with Byers and begins working his seductive charms on her, trying to gather information about her boss. Esposito is unable to pass off the earbud to Kit, however, she does manage to catch him as he leaves the building. The two quickly arrange a place to privately meet. Epsosito and Mo head for the meeting place. She tells Sebastian that they should be back within an hour.

Meanwhile, Colt, after plying Byers with quite a bit of alcohol, finally mangages to convince her that they should go back to her apartment. The apartment is actually a dormitory on the company grounds and, as such, is guarded by company men. Colt is required to sign in as a guest and uses his real name.

Back at the canteen, Esposito and Mo return. Esposito mentions that while they were out, she heard a couple of buzzboats overhead (“Buzzboats” are small, open-roofed skiffs often used by paramilitary or police units). Before taking the others back to the ship, Mad tells Mark that she will be back, then leans over the bar and gives him a big kiss. Among the hoots and catcalls, a few workers laugh that the “boss’s boy” is going to get lucky tonight.

Once safely back on the ship, Esposito relates her conversation with Kit. The agent is in Yuva as part of an 8-month investigation into Sarkaya’s involvement in human trafficking. He is undercover as an analyst for the mining company. There is only one week left of his investigation, then Kit expects the entire case to be wrapped up. He doesn’t mind helping Esposito, as long as she or her friends don’t mess up his case.

The crew formulates a loose plan: Esposito will slip into one of the many ramshackle buildings in the town and try to suss out which building Jakeson Grant is staying in. Once they know that, Sheila can contact the crew and they can slip him out either while moving from work to home or from the building under the cover of night.

Mad heads back to town with Esposito, who slips off into the darkness. Mad stays the night with Mark, who has a room at the back of the canteen. When asked why he’s living in the middle of nowhere, Mark tells Mad that his family came to Yuva a while back, and he just stayed on.

The next day, Mad hangs around the canteen chatting with Mark until Colt shows up, after his evening with Gloria. The two take the mule back to the ship. The group discusses their plan to rescue the boy. Colt relates his discovery that Sarkaya is his old mentor.

Mad heads to the company office to continue the charade about the needed part, where she must again leave her weapons on the mule. Byers is not sitting at the receptionist’s desk. In her place is an older, stern-looking woman. When Mad asks about the part for the ship, the woman tells her that the foreman is still looking. She asks Mad to take a seat and wait. When Mad tells her that she can just come back in a bit, she finds her way blocked by guards. The woman repeats that Mad should just sit down and wait.

Colt, dressed in dark clothing, leaves the ship with his bag of explosives, hoping to create a diversion so Esposito can ferry the boy unhindered to where Mad will be waiting with the mule. As he makes his way towards the pre-determined spot, the distinctive sound of a buzzboat comes into range. Colt quickly hides, but, thinking that the danger has moved on, re-emerges after a moment or two to find himself face-to-face with the buzzboat…


Adventure Log 2/26/12

Mad lands Acorn at the Calhoun Space Port. Sheila Esposito is waiting at the dock for them. She greets the entire crew enthusiastically, but both Mad and Colt notice she winces slightly when Sebastian calls her “Marshal”. It is also apparent that she is missing her badge. When Colt asks her directly about it, Esposito blushes, but only says that she’s “on leave.” Dinner tonight will be on her, she tells the crew, and Sebastian can take her out tomorrow. She will return later that evening. After Esposito leaves, there is some speculation as to whether or not her “leave” is voluntary.

That night, Esposito takes the crew to a local steakhouse for dinner. During the nice meal and pleasant chatting, (although Colt remains fairly quiet), Esposito lets it drop that she’s been on leave for two weeks. She won’t elaborate further, however. She does let the crew know that their “friends” from their last stay on Ezra have been sent to Dyton. After dinner, Colt and Mad go out for a night on the town.

The next day, Colt and Mad convince Sebastian to get a nice set of clothes for his date with Esposito. Sebastian also buys a single rose which he presents Esposito with when she picks him up that night. The two go out for a dinner of dim sum during which Esposito explains her current situation to Sebastian. A few weeks to a month ago, a woman named Shandra Grant from Mansdell Crossing showed up at the Marshal’s office looking for her 18 year old son. Her son, Jakeson, had been picked up for disorderly conduct. The constable told Grant that he had sent her son on to Calhoun with the Federal Marshals. Esposito had never heard of Jakeson Grant so she started digging into the situation and discovered some disturbing pieces of information. Jakeson Grant was not the only person who had gone missing in Mansdell Crossing. Many more people, mostly men of a particular age and type, had missing persons reports on file. Esposito began to suspect the constable was involved in a human trafficking ring … one that also involved Adlai Niska. Upon reporting her suspicions to her superiors, Esposito was told to drop her investigation and her partner was re-assigned to a different planet.

However, Esposito could not stop looking into Jakeson‘s disappearance. She had given her word to Shandra Grant that she would find her son. She put in for a indefinite leave of absence to continue her investigations on her own. She is convinced that if she can get up to Niska’s Skyplex and search for information among the throng of people that frequent the ongoing black market, she will get some leads on Jakeson’s whereabouts. However, Esposito has no ship to make the journey, nor does she have a way to get onto the Skyplex even if she could hire transportation. Sebastian is moved by her story and suggests that his crew may be able to help. He will talk to them tomorrow. After dinner, Esposito’s mood shifts to a more romantic one, which makes Sebastian incredibly nervous. In turn, Esposito gets flustered and embarrassed. She takes him back to the ship.

Meanwhile, Colt and Mad go out for a second night. Neither one of them manages to secure company for the evening, so they spend the evening quietly drinking together. Colt tells Mad about his desire to reconnect with the members of his squad from the War. She is very sympathetic and agrees it is important for him to try. Eventually, the two head back to Acorn.

The next day at breakfast, Mad grills Sebastian about his date. Sebastian relates Esposito’s story to the crew. Colt has many questions which Sebastian answers as best as he can. Colt is clearly not enthusiastic about the idea of helping out the Alliance. Sebastian leaves to invite Esposito to lunch so she can explain her situation more fully to the crew and she agrees. Sebastian also contacts Shandra Grant to try and establish a Browncoat connection so that he can try to convince Colt that they should help Esposito. He discovers that Grant’s brother, Landon, fought and died with the Independents in the Battle of Sturges.

Esposito arrives at Acorn. Sebastian draws her aside to tell her about Grant’s brother. He tells her that she should make sure to mention it. As everyone sits down for lunch, it doesn’t take long to start talking business. At Colt‘s request, Esposito retells the events leading up to her leave of absence. Colt can tell that Esposito drops the part about the Battle of Sturges intentionally to try and persuade him, but he also gets the sense that she is truly a woman of her word. After a bit of discussion, the entire crew agrees to help Esposito. However, since it quite possible that Niksa’s people are aware of who she is and the investigation she was leading, it is decided that Esposito will remain on Acorn while the rest of the crew boards the Skyplex to gather information. Esposito goes back to her flat to pack a small bag, while Mo leaves to find a black market contact.

Esposito arrives back at the ship. Mo returns some time later after talking to a contact named Fenhong. For the right amount of platinum, Fenhong has given Mo a secure frequency for first-time visitors to the Skyplex. He also told Mo about what to expect upon arriving. As long as weapons aren’t visible, then it is okay to carry them. However, guests who don’t “place nice” or are considered “non-compliant” are dealt with permanently. Arriving ships are externally scanned before docking and each first-time visitor is given a complete biometric scan.

Mad invites Esposito up to the cockpit so she can enjoy the view of the stars. Once everyone is settled, Acorn lifts off. As the ship approaches the Skyplex, Mad uses the secure frequency to request permission to dock. After stating their business (and dropping Fenhong’s name as a contact), Mad is given the coordinates to dock. Following directions, the crew leaves the ship one at a time. Armed guards in grey jumpsuits and riot gear await them. Each person is required to place their hand on a biometric scanner. After the last crew member finishes, one of the guards directs them to a lift. They crew has a 24 hour pass to the Skyplex. They are limited to this docking ring and the market floor of the main deck.

The crew heads down in the lift. The doors open upon a huge marketplace. There is a pleasure sector, a market, a commissary, a gymnasium, a halo-rec area, as well as lounge suites. The crew starts looking around for a good place for Sebastian to try and access the Skyplex‘s computer network. The first maintenance panel they find is too public and is watched by cameras. Sebastian suggests that the halo-rec area would be a good place to search. It doesn’t take long before a maintenance door is found. Sebastian and Mo head back to Acorn so he can grab his databook.

Upon returning, Sebastian hacks the electronic code to open the maintenance door. Mo stays close to the door. Colt finds a good vantage point to watch the surroundings and blends into the crowd. Mad also finds a good point to keep an eye on things, but purposefully uses her natural ability to draw attention to herself. Sebastian finds a small terminal inside the door. He sits down and gets to work. Upon hacking into the Skyplex‘s docking records, he finds two places that stand out from the rest. Ships periodically arrive whose place of origin is listed as either “Sarkaya” or “Dante”. These locations are a complete mystery to the crew. Cross-checking against Esposito’s list of dates, Sebastian is able to see that two days before Jakeson’s arrest, a ship from Sarkaya docked at the Skyplex. Within a few days after the arrest, the ship departed again.

Not finding any other information, Sebastian tries to insert a “back door” into the Skyplex‘s computer system in order to more easily access it remotely. Upon hitting “enter” on the last keystroke, the entire computer shuts down. Sebastian figures it’s only a matter of time before security shows up. As he alerts the rest of the crew, Sebastian quickly wipes down the surfaces he touched then bolts out of the room. He and Mo make a bee-line for the exit, keeping their heads down. Colt follows at a distance behind. Mad remains in the halo-rec room to see what happens. Colt notices a pair of security guards heading up the corridor they are traveling; he tenses as they then pass the group, making their way toward the halo-rec room. When the pair of security guards enter and start making their way to the maintenance door, Mad slowly works her way out of the room.

The entire crew reconvenes in the marketplace. They are all aware that it may be only a matter of time before they are linked to the computer terminal in the halo-rec room. They split up to try and ask around about Sarkaya and Dante. Also, since it will look odd not to return without any purchases, Colt goes about securing some purchases for the ship—learning the hard way that the underworld deals in metals, not credits. Everyone Mad talks to only tells her that it is best if she just forget about that name. However, Mo finally finds a merchant that tells them (for a price) to ask Captain Irene Valus. She flies a ship out of Hera and can usually be found in the halo-rec area.

While Mo and Sebastian transport the purchases back to Acorn, Mad and Colt head back to the halo-rec area. They find Captain Valus at a video faro table. She is one of the ugliest women either has either seen. Barrel-shaped with a head of flaming red hair, she bristles a bit when Mad offers to buy her a drink. Once she realizes that the two of them have a business proposal for her, Valus takes them into a private room.

It takes a bit of haggling (and a bit of platinum), but Valus tells them that Sarkaya is a man. He hails from Hera and runs a place named Yuva. Yuva is a small, out of the way town on the eastern hemisphere of Hera, but it’s not too hard to find. It’s not a restricted place to visit, but strangers will be noticed just like in any other small town.

Mad and Colt head back to the ship. The guard asks if they will be returning to the Skyplex. The two are given an access code that will be good for two months. Upon getting clearance to leave, Mad pilots Acorn away from the space station, but does not immediately head back to Ezra. There is a lot of information to discuss and plans of action to establish before moving on.

Adventure Log 2/12/12

With Gale’s help, the crew of the Acorn continue to strip down the Rainbird. They stop just short of stripping out the actual sections of inner hull—deterred by the limited space of the airlock doors and the lack of a crane or reliable winch system. Colt tries to talk privately with some of his crewmates, but Gale always seems to be hovering nearby. As the group works, Gale mentions that he and his brother were given this salvage job by a man named Vargas back on Eavesdown.

Finally, after several hours of work, all that is left to salvage is Rainbird’s cockpit … and whatever lies behind the blast doors. The goods are split up between the two crews and each load their share of the haul back onto their respective ship. Since stripping the cockpit will effect the ship’s already fragile life support systems, everyone agrees that it would be best to do that last. Sebastian access the ship’s computer and closes the cargo bay doors. Even though the radiation level has significantly decreased, no one will be able to spend large amounts of time in the cargo bay—even in envirosuits.

Using one of the sets of envirosuits and magnetic boots found on the ship, Colt suits up and moves towards the first set of blast doors. Gale lets him borrow his radiation scanner. Sebastian manipulates the two sets of blast doors between the cargo bay and the machine shop to create a series of make-shift “airlocks” to help contain the radiation and to mitigate the effects of the ship trying to equalize the zero-g environment to that of the rest of the ship.

Colt slowly enters the cargo bay, struggling against the pull of his magnetic boots. Blood smears cover the the floor. There are two escape pod compartments, but inspection of the ship’s computer indicates that neither one has been jettisoned. Colt makes his way over to the wall of storage containers. The electronic panels indicate that the containers are locked and pressure sealed. Back in the cockpit, Sebastian begins hacking the ship’s computer to find them means to unlock them.

Once the compartments are unlocked, Colt starts opening them one by one. Each is filled with crates bearing the Alliance Medical Core seal. As Mad and Sebastian make off-handed comments to each other about Badger’s terms of their employment, they forget that Gale is standing close by. When he asks about Badger, both Mad and Sebastian clam up. Gale is visibily annoyed, but he does not push the topic, only commenting that “crossing him would be a bad business”.

It takes Colt over an hour to move all of the crates to the machine shop. Just as the final crate is deposited and Sebastian closes the blast door for the last time, Mo’s voice breaks in over the crew’s earpieces. Acorn’s proximity alert has gone off. An unknown ship is making its way directly for them—and its configuration does not match any ship in the shipboard database. Almost immediately, Gale receives a smiliar warning from his brother. Mo confirms Sebastian’s inquiry about the incoming ship’s radiation levels: there is a heavy vapor trail with high levels of radiation emanating from the craft.


In a flash, everyone is moving in a near-panic. Mad calls for everyone to get back on the ship as she runs immediately for Acorn’s cockpit. Sebastian struggles to disconnect his power cell from the Rainbird’s computer. Gale heads back to his own ship. Colt quickly turns off his magnetic boots and runs for the docking ring. As Mad yells at them to move faster, Sebastian manually disengages the docking mechanism as Colt assists. As soon as they are safely back onto the ship, Colt starts stripping out his contaminated envirosuit and Sebastian heads to the engine room.

The crew has left the medical supplies behind in the Rainbird’s machine shop.

Mad hits the ship’s comm and tells everyone to hold on tight. She pulls Acorn away from the Alliance ship in a series of hard maneuvers. Almost lazily, the approaching Reaver ship adjusts its course to intercept. Mad flies hard and fast, pulling Acorn out of the path of several incoming missles. However, no matter how adept her piloting, it quickly becomes obvious that the approaching ship is gaining. Mad tells Sebastian to go to hard burn.

With an extra burst of speed that shakes the strained engines of the twenty-year-old ship, Acorn leaves the Reaver ship far behind. Mad watches the ship’s monitors for some time, but it soon becomes clear that they have truly escaped. As the colony is nearby, the crew decides to head to Proxville (on St. Alban’s) for repairs. This will also give Colt a chance to touch base with his sister, Delilah. After Proxville, they will make a point of stopping at Ezra before heading out of the Rim so Sebstian can fulfill his dinner obligations to Marshall Esposito.

The crew stays docked for almost a week while Sebastian does repairs to the ship. Delilah graciously offers a place for the crew to stay. At one point, Colt takes his sister aside and talks to her about his concerns about her security firm’s possible ties to Rejovic. Delilah assures her brother that she is keeping an eye on things. Arrangements are made for hauling cargo and passengers to the Heinlein system, the crew always needing extra cash. After bidding a final goodbye to friends and family, Acorn lifts off into the black.

Adventure Log 1/29/12

After the long journey, the crew of Acorn finally arrives at the coordinates provided by Badger. Up ahead, a Magnum-class freighter lies dead in space. As Mad pilots Acorn closer, more details become apparent. The freighter, the IAV Rainbird, has Alliance markings on her. The ship’s body is scored and pitted. A small gun turret, topside aft, lies destroyed. Towards the rear of the ship, layers of hull plating have been pulled away, revealing only the thinnest layer of metal between the ship and the black. The portside cargo bay door has been obliterated. Acorn’s sensors detect a large amount of radiation surrounding the other ship.

As Acorn rounds the side of the freighter, a Wren-class ship comes into view. The ship, the Shao Yi (which means “little wing”) is attached to the port-side docking hub. The crew, surprised to see that another craft has beat them to their quarry, is also slightly concerned to notice that Shao Yi has a mounted cannon.

With the damage to Rainbird, it becomes clear that the only place to dock is the on the starboard passenger hub. Mad maneuvers Acorn into position but finds that the automatic docking protocols that normally would be in place are non-functioning—the two ships cannot connect. Colt suits up to try and hotwire the controls. After several tense minutes, with Mad urging him to hurry up as she attempts to keep Acorn in place, Colt admits defeat. Much to his dismay, it is now Sebastian’s turn to attempt. Between the two men, the docking controls are finally activated and the two ships are safely joined. While Mo stays behind to guard the ship, Mad, Colt, and Sebastian head aboard Rainbird, uncertain of what, or who, they will find.

Flashing emergency lights provide an eerie backdrop within the other ship. While Rainbird has gravity, it is clear there is quite a bit of damage. Sebastian finds a functioning data port and pulls as much information as he can. The computer system, as with everything at the stern of the ship, only minimum power is available, with the antigravity and minimal life support systems still functioning. Sealed door proctocols have been enacted on the aft of Rainbird, isolating the the engine room and cargo bay.

With Colt leading, the small group heads over to the port-side docking hub. Peering through the door, it is apparent that the other craft is still connected. Not seeing any evidence of another crew, the group decides to search out the ship. Finding nothing of interest in the cockpit, except piles of empty food wrappers and containers, they move on. Upon reaching the captain’s room, they make a disturbing discovery. A desiccated corpse lays on the room’s bed, its arms crossed over its chest and a loaded military pistol laying on top of the nightstand. Searching the room, the crew discovers that the man’s name was Captain G. C. Scott and that, in his younger years, he served on the Alliance carrier IAV Celestial. Captures of family and crew are displayed. They also find a syringe laying on the floor with two empty vials nearby. The vials are labeled G23-PH.

In two other rooms, they find duffles that match the IDs of other people in the crew captures. They also find the room of the first mate, Lt. Commander Malinda Chavez. More captures of crew and her family are displayed. As the group moves on, they make another disturbing discovery. In the ship’s galley, they find another corpse, this one missing part of its left leg from the knee down. From the insignia, this is the late Lt. Commander. A dried blood trail leads from her body out of the galley. A first aid kit is open and scattered on the floor and a large knife lays by her good leg. She is wearing her combat harness, though her weapon is empty of ammunition. As with the cockpit, food wrappers are scattered all over the galley, but there is no actual food left anywhere. A charred pan sits on the stove.

Continuing on, the crew finds the common area empty, except for unused holo-game tables and dark vid screens. Cautiously, they make their way into the last room this side of the sealed doors, the machine shop. Crates are stacked neatly throughout the room, however some have been opened and the contents pulled out. The doors to a weapons locker hang open. The blood trail from the galley leads through the machine shop and ends at the huge blast doors at the back. All three crew members notice sudden movement behind stacks of crates.

Drawing their weapons, Mad crouches down in the doorway while Colt calls out for the others to show themselves. Two tall men stand up. One is skinny with oily, slicked back hair, the other is large with hair combed in a duckbill. The skinny man, Evelle, is noticeably jittery. The muscular man, Gale, challenges the presence of the Acorn’s crew: he and his brother were here first. Colt counters that his crew is here now and indicates that they have more on their ship. He and the man go back and forth with Evelle growing clearly more and more agitated.

Suddenly, Evelle grabs for his gun, but both Colt and Mad are ready for him and shoot first. Colt shoots Evelle’s gun from his hand, but Mad’s shot goes wild and instead grazes Colt. Sebastian screams and flees back down the hall. The brief gunfight causes Gale to re-evaluate the situation. He agrees that that the two crews can work out some sort of deal regarding the contents of the ship. Colt introduces himself and asks where the brothers hail from and is told that the Snoates brothers are from Ezra.

The two brothers head back to their ship so Evelle can bandage his hand. Colt tells Gale that Evelle should just stay on their ship. Shaking his head at his brother, Gale agrees. When the two cross to their ship, Sebastian hacks the mechanism, locking the door behind them. Colt heads back to Acorn to get a new envirosuit since his is now punctured. Not long after Colt returns, Gale appears at the locked door. He and Colt negotiate terms, finally settling on an 50/50 split with the exception of any crates marked G23-PH. These will not be part of the split and will go only to the crew of the Acorn.

Sebastian unlocks the door. Gale and the crew of the Acorn go back into the machine room. A closer examination reveals that the walls have been damaged by sprays of bullets. Mad is able to determine that the gunfire came from the direction of the cargo bay. While everyone else starts pulling crates into the common room, Sebastian heads back to Acorn and retrieves the portable power cell that is attached to his backup computer system (the “Neccom”). Intending to boost the ship’s computer power to have more access to its systems and information, Sebastian is horrified when Rainbird’s computer flashes that emergency protocols will be enacted unless the correct password is entered. Fingers flying, Sebastian races against a countdown timer. Finally, right before the timer hits “0”, Sebastian manages to crack the code.

Now with more access to Rainbird’s controls, Sebastian is able to determine that the radiation levels in the cargo bay are hot. This means that a person in an envirosuit could withstand 3 hours before they started to feel the effects. This also means that it is very likely that all of the cargo in the bay has been contaminated. And while Rainbird does have decontamination showers, it is unclear whether or not the chemical bath would even still be effective after the ship has been so long abandoned. The ship’s manifest details numerous crates of supplies, including food and medical. However, also listed are five anonymous crates containing canisters and four boxes of vials.

Sebastian is also able to re-connect the cargo bay cameras. Gathering the rest of the crew, they stare at the scene revealed. Even in the dim light, signs of battle are everywhere. Blood splatters the floors and walls. Two or three bodies lie next to the blasted cargo entrance, while other bodies lie scattered across the bay, torn into pieces. Crates lay ripped open and their contents strewn haphazardly about. Against one wall, nine storage units are built into the hull. These, possibly, are hermetically sealed and radiation-proof.

The group discusses the ramifications of opening the remaining starboard cargo bay door. The high levels of radiation worry everyone. Besides the inherent danger of transporting radioactive materials back onto their respective ships, there lies the problem of becoming exposed to the radiation themselves. After much discussion, Mad suggests opening the cargo bay doors to vent the radiation. Everything not nailed down in the cargo bay will be lost, but, considering the likelihood that everything not in the storage units is already useless, it seems like the best idea. Sebastian opens the cargo bay doors and the crew watches as bodies and crates go swirling into the black.

While waiting for the radiation levels to go down, the crew resumes gathering up what salvage they can find.

Adventure Log 1/15/12

En route to Persephone, the crew picks up a news bulletin that sheds a bit more light onto the recent events on Wayland Station. Three of the crewmembers of Ellandri’s Dagger died in the explosion. The captain and first mate are bound by law at Wayland Station. The crew sends the article on to Elias Windgate.

Although Laramie’s offices are in Demeter, Mad sets down Acorn at Eavesdown Docks. The crew has some supplies to pick up (and some weaponry to offload), some of which will need Mo’s black market contacts. Mo also starts asking around for any information about the frightening man that assaulted Sebastian in Wayland Station.

Using the Nut House (Acorn’s shuttle), Mad flies herself and the crew to Laramie’s office building in Demeter. As soon as they land, Laramie’s assistant, Liz Torval, is there to meet them along with two security guards. Torval escorts them into an elevator which they take to Laramie’s penthouse suite.

Laramie greets the entire crew and gestures for them to sit down. Taking turns, the crew relates the recent events on Rio and the trap that awaited them there. Is it possible that there is a leak in his office? Laramie is quite adamament that Rejovic (and thus the crew of the Ellandri’s Dagger) could not have learned about the supply run from his office. The only person who knew about the business in Rio was Laramie himself. As it was Jim Biggby who approached Laramie about the job (as an independent contractor working specifically with the Rosen Group), Laramie belives the leak is with either Biggby or the organization.

As the discussion goes on, Laramie’s “business only” attitude causes Sebastian to become noticably cooler towards the man. Eventually, Laramie asks that the crew cut off all business relationships with him until their “problem” is dealt with.

The crew re-boards the Nut House and heads back to Eavesdown Docks and Acorn. As they try to determine what to do next, tempers begin to flare. Sebastian and Colt get into a heated argument about taking Rejovic on head-to-head. If the trail eventually leads to Rejovic’s actual location, Sebastian wants to turn the information over to the authorities and let them deal with it. Colt, however, doesn’t trust the authorities. Sebastian tries to get Colt to promise that he won’t try to take down Rejovic by himself. Colt, knowing that once he gives his word he will not break it, can’t make that promise. Finally, Colt agrees that he will abide by the ship’s vote. He will not hunt down Rejovic until the crew says “yes.”

Still feeling frustrated and angry, Colt heads off ship to buy a scope for his weapon. Not wanting him to be by himself right now, Mad accompanies him. She suggests that getting laid might help him blow off some steam. Colt is able to find a young woman who is interested in taking him back to her place. Mad heads back to Acorn.

Sebastian, meanwhile, starts an entire search of the ship for bugs or other transmitters in case that is how Rejovic is tracking their movements. When Mad gets back to Acorn, she starts searching the Cortex for information that will connect events and people together.

Mad’s searches turn up little more than is already known in regards to Wayland Station. At this point, most of what is available on the Cortex is speculation. On searching Biggby, she finds a bit more information. Biggby is listed as a registered independent contractor that “negotiates trade contracts” and “procures transport.” He has recently closed up his business, however, and is pursuing retirement on Beaumonde. His list of clients is long, as he was in business for many years, but Biggby did work with Iskellian Technology Solutions, a group that often has weapon contracts with the Alliance.

When Mad searches for information on the Rosen Group, she finds that it is a large corporate conglomerate based in Demeter. The company has multiple interests and developments, including a philanthropic division called Human Services. Interestingly, about a year and 1/2 ago there was a lot of shifting of assets in some of its holdings dealing primarily in the Hera system.

Sebastian eventually finds no devices on Acorn. When Colt comes back later on that night, Mad relates everything that she found on the Cortex.

The next day, Mo goes back out to talk to his contacts and put out some feelers about possible job leads. Mad, feeling the need for company that evening, gets Colt to go with her to a local bar. While they are gone, Sebastian is able to find out a bit more information about Biggby on the Cortex. He purchased his retirement ranch (a “modest” 250 acres), while the crew was on Rio. Sebastian also remembers a comment that his assailant from Wayland Station made about capturing another “dwarf,” one that liked fire. On doing Cortex searches about a pyromaniac little person, Sebastian finds an old wanted poster for a Shelby Tenyer who was wanted for assault and arson. He cannot find any information on who collected the bounty, but Tenyer is now serving a 20 year sentence.

Another day goes by, and Mo finally has some good news. While Acorn should be able to pick up some passangers to whatever destination the crew heads towards next, Badger may also have some salvage work that needs done. Mo also finds out the bounty hunter that brought in Tenyer is known as Early. Apparently Early was last working for the Feds, some big job that went really bad, and has now disappeared off the grid. Early also has a reputation for being a really bad character who would seek out only the hardest jobs to take.

The entire crew heads to Badger’s place of business. He remembers them from their last encounter on Eavesdown Docks. The salvage job he has in mind consists of an abandoned Alliance freighter that has been lost since before the war. Badger is particuarly interested in a specific part of the cargo: any crates that are marked with Alliance Medical stamps, particularly anything that is marked G23-PH. These crates must be delivered to him sealed and intact. With a bit of haggling, he agrees to split the procedes from the salvage 40/60 with the crew, with the crew getting to pick the fence. He will provide the coordinates.

The crew agrees to Badger’s offer and he hands them the coordinates. Mad recognizes it as a point that is deep in Burnham Quadrant, far from civilization.

The crew heads back to the ship where Mad plots out the course. It will take 100 days to get to Badger’s coordinates, and they’ll hit several planets en route. Before leaving Eavesdown Docks, several passengers are found for paid transport.

Sebastian starts researching G23-PH and connects the reference to a substance known as “G23-Paxilon Hydrochlorate”. The chemical is integral to a major scandal known as the Miranda Incident or the Pax Wave. Apparently a broadwave went out across the ’verse and implicated the Alliance in the gassing of its citizens with “the Pax”, causing them to either die by complete apathy or by creating Reavers. This revelation triggered another long discussion of whether or not they would let Badger have that shipment, if it was indeed what he was after. The crew came to no clear decision on that point, especially after Mo pointed out the possible consequences of crossing the man.

Acorn dusts off, heading into the black for a hundred day journey to the raggedy edge of space.

Adventure Log 12/18/11

The crew of Acorn finally arrives at Wayland Station. Miracle Mike is let out of the brig and immediately escorted off the ship. O’Reilly still tries to apologize to Mad, to tell her that he didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt. She keeps her back to him, refusing to respond.

The crew realizes its Christmas Eve, what with the way Wayland Station is decorated for the holiday with wreaths and colored, blinking lights. As the crew tries to get their bearings, they notice a bit of a commotion up ahead. Three Federal Marshals are leading a grizzled spacer away. Another man, dressed in the manner of a Shepherd, stands next to a large pallet of crates. He is clearly trying to engage people from the passing crowds, but is rebuffed each time. As the crew gets closer, they are able to make out that the crates are stamped as heading to the New Melbourn‘s Children’s Home.

The Shepherd is a youngish man, with swarthy skin. He introduces himself as Shepherd Patara. He is trying desperately to find a ship to transport the crates of toys and goods to the orphans on New Melbourn by Christams Day. The Federal Marshals just drug away his cargo pilot (a man by the name of Ives), who was discovered to have untaxed pallets of tobacco upon his ship. Since Shepherd Patara had already paid the cargo pilot, he has no more money to hire another ship. It is currently the morning of the 24th.

With a bit of light grumbling from Sebastian about taking another job without pay, the crew agree to transport the toys for the Shepherd. Colt especially feels strongly about helping out the orphans, being as some may be from Shadow or other worlds devastated by the War. In order for the toys to delivered before Christmas, the crew decides to move quickly. The pallets are moved onto Acorn. Everyone agrees to meet at Ling’s Tea House by noon, then splits up to take care of business.

Colt & Mad deliver their package from Jiangyin. Colt also picks up some large boxes from his mailbox, smiling. Both decide to do a bit of last minute holiday shopping. They drop off their goods at the ship, then head to Ling’s.

Sebastian, Mo, and Shepherd Patara head to the Federal Marshal’s office. They talk to Marshal Bryson Cartegan about the situation and how the Shepherd’s money is now gone. Cartegan is sympathetic, but says there’s nothing they can really do. Sebastian breaks in, talking about how the Marshals would love to “avoid paperwork,” and such, using his legal knowledge to sway their decision. While sympathy for the Shepherd’s plight didn’t work—Sebastian’s ploy does: the Marshal excuses himself and then returns with 50 CR of cash in hand. He tells them that this money was “all that was NOT found” on the pilot’s person. In addition, the pilot had apparently already spent some of the fee and the Marshals chipped in the rest.

Next, the three head to the market so that Mo can buy food to resupply the ship and also pick something up for a nice Christmas dinner. Sebastian parts from the group to make some purchases of his own in the busy marketplace of the station. Suddenly, he is grabbed by a pair of strong gloved hands and pulled into the shadows. There is a sickly sweet smell of something spoiled surrounding his cloaked assailant. A creepy voice speaks: " Louis Sebastian Necker, calm yourself or you will die very messily." He removes the earpiece from Sebasian’s ear and crushes it between his fingers. The unseen opponent goes on, waxing philosophical about the souls men being proportional to their physical size, asking the terrified mechanic if “that seems right to you?” The man was not expecting to encounter Sebastian yet, as he has other business to take care of. But he does relate that their “mutual accquaintance” doesn’t want Sebastian, Colt, or Mad dead yet, but his employer didn’t include Mo in that edict. The unseen man tells Sebastian that he could kill Mo from here, and that Sebastian wouldn’t even do “a damn thing” about it, taunting the little man into near hysterics. He then pulls out a gun and aims it at the unsuspecting Mo.

Meanwhile, Colt and Mad make it to Ling’s Tea House a bit early and go ahead and get a table. At the same time Colt hears a tiny electronic pop on his earpiece, he also hears a nearby voice in the tea room that sounds familiar. The last time he heard the deep male voice, Colt figures he was on Sihnon. Turning, Colt notices two people sitting a nearby table. He instantly recognizes them as from the crew of Ellandri’s Dagger. Cursing, he explains the situation to Mad. They need to get out of here quickly and without being noticed. Mad calls over a waitress and indicates a table of folk close to the crew from Ellandri’s Dagger. She tells the waitress that it is the birthday of one of the people sitting there, and pays the waitress to get a large group of staff to sing “Happy Birthday.” As soon as the waitstaff converges, singing and drawing attention, Mad quickly leaves Ling’s. As he will be able to blend in more, Colt remains behind to keep an eye on the two crew members.

Sebastian, in the meantime, decides that he cannot passively stand by while the unseen opponent threatens Mo. He gathers up all of his courage and tries to simulanteously get away and throw off the gun aimed at his friend. While he is not able to break away, he does managed to surpise his opponent and break the man’s aim. “I’m impressed, Louis Sebastian Necker…” the man says, clearly amused at the smaller man’s actions. However, Sebastian also manages to hit the ship phone so that the entire crew hears the last words that the unseen man says to Sebastian: “Unfortunately, I have other business to attend to.” The diminutive mechanic senses the man holster his weapon and activate another device as he is pushed back into the crowds thronging the station’s market place.

All of the crew suddenly feel the ground rock beneath them as the entire station shakes, then slowly rights itself. Confusion ensues.

Sebastian uses the ship phone to summon help. Mad goes in search of him. Colt trails after the crew from Ellandri’s Dagger who have quickly left Ling’s. Mad finds Sebastian, who has fallen onto the ground amidst a crowd of people. She helps him up, then they find Mo and Shepherd Patara. Colt follows the Dagger’s crew to the lifts leading to the docking ring. The man notices Colt just as the doors shut. Realizing that he’s been spotted, Colt heads back to the rest of Acorn’s crew.

Over the speaker’s system comes messsage from Station Command. They are taking steps to correct the situation. The docking ring has been locked down and will remain so until repairs are finished. All inhabitants will be kept posted. It is not long before the announcement changes. The docking ring will be opened in approximately 2.5 hours.

Not wanting to discuss all of the recent events in the middle of the street, Shepherd Patara suggests following him to a nearby shrine. Once there, the crew goes over the events of the last hour. The unseen man is the object of much speculation. It seems obvious to the crew that Rejovic was behind it. Mad also checks Sebastian for electronic bugs the man may have planted on him. Sebastian also reasons out that with the man’s obvious extensive strength and the smell of rot, he may have had cybernectic enhancements and he suffers from Cybernetic Rejection Syndrome (CRS), a not-uncommon malady of those that have such expensive enhancements installed.

Finally, the docking ring is re-opened. The crew makes their way quickly to Acorn. They also reasoned out that apparently the two crew members from Ellandri’s Dagger never returned from being detained on the command ring. One of the docking areas is still being worked on, but much to their relief, the ship is unharmed. Upon boarding, the crew notices that a large Independent flag has been added to Wellfounder’s shrine. It is a gift from Colt. Mad pilots the ship away from Wayland Station and toward surface to New Melbourne. Colt sees a tug that is also departing the station, towing another ship. Sebastian is able to tell that it is a Knorr-class freighter. The crew speculates on whether or not Rejovic had Ellandri’s Dagger taken out. On route to New Melbourne, Mad sends a wave to her brother, wishing him a happy holiday. Colt looks through security tape footage, making sure that none of the Ellandri’s Dagger crew or Sebastian’s unseen assailant tampered with the ship.

Acorn arrives at New Melbourne, docking fairly close to the orphanage. Mad sends a wave ahead to the director, Katelyn Bagby. Bagby is thrilled about the delivery and will send people to the ship to collect the gifts for the children. Shepherd Patara thanks the entire crew for helping him, paying them the 50 CR he received from the Marshals. He tells them that is is very important for everyone to remember the children spread out through the stars this time of year. And for everyone to be our best selves.

Bagby and the folks from the New Melbourne Children’s Home arrive at Acorn. The pallet of crates is unloaded. Bagby takes Mad aside and thanks her profusely for the gifts for the orphans. Mad explains about Shepherd Patara hiring them to deliver the presents. Bagby looks confused. She tells Mad that “Shepherd Patara” is a story told to children all over the Rim. Every Christmas he travels on a comet to deliver gifts to boys and girls, helping people across the ’verse. However, no matter who hired them, Bagby invites the crew to visit the orphanage.

Mad quietly tells the rest of the crew what Bagby said. The crew look around to ask the Shepherd and find that he is not there. The Shepherd is no longer on the ship. Colt runs to the cockpit and checks the security tapes. There is no sign of the Shepherd: it is as if he was never there.

The crew, still a bit stunned, decides to go visit with the children for a while. Upon heading back to the ship, Christmas gifts are exchanged. Mo prepares a nice dinner. Colt presents the crew with custom jumpsuits and flight jackets. Afterwards, the crew departs Rosetta, heading to Persephone and, perhaps, more answers about the recent events.

Adventure Log 11/20/11

As Acorn sets off into space, Mad estimates that it will take 12 days to arrive at Wayland Station, where the ship will need to refuel.

A few days into the journey, Sebastian notices something “odd” attached to the ship’s engines. While he is not quite sure what it is, he knows it is not supposed to be there. Sebastian carefully removes the device and then immediately contacts Colt on his multiband.

Colt heads to the engineering room, where Sebastian explains the situation. The two look over the device again, determining that the object is a regulator, a device that will keep Acorn from using the full extent of her engine power. Immediately, suspicions turn towards “Miracle Mike” as the only person who would have had recent access to the engineering room. Colt tells Sebastian to lock himself in and start a full diagnostic search of the engine system in case of any other “surprises.”

Colt puts the regulator in his coat, then goes straight for the cockpit to do a quick search. Upon finding nothing out of the ordinary, Colt starts going through security tape footage. He also gets on the ship’s intercom system and asks Mad to come up to the cockpit.

Mad, although engaging in some “alone time” with O’Reilly in her cabin, manages to hear the summons. Murmuring apologies, she reluctantly begins to disentangle herself, but O’Reilly reaches up a hand and tries to draw her back down. Mad doesn’t resist for long.

Some time later, Mad makes it to the cockpit. Colt, still searching security footage, describes the situation to date. He asks her to do another search of the cockpit area. She does, not quite ready to believe that O’Reilly was behind the concealed regulator. Just as Mad completes her search, coming up with nothing unusual, Colt catches a bit of footage showing O’Reilly leaving the engineering room. The footage is dated from the day before they left Rio, while the crew was having an impromptu meeting. Colt calls Mo to the cockpit and shows the footage to Mo and Mad.

Suddenly, Acorn’s proximity alarms go off. The ship receives an incoming message from a man introducing himself as Captain Jackson Thibadeux of Ellandri’s Dagger. The crew is ordered to stand down or be disabled. The decision is made to try and escape. Over the intercom, Colt orders everyone to strap themselves in.

Mad throws herself into the pilot’s chair. She quickly pulls Acorn though an impressive series of evasive maneuvers. Ellandri’s Dagger fires two missiles at Acorn, but both go wide. Mad calls down to Sebastian to open up the engines. Acorn takes off in a burst of speed, quickly leaving the other ship behind. Ellandri’s Dagger gives chase, but soon gives up. When it is clear they are no longer being followed, Mad replots the course to Wayland Station. The ship is set to autopilot.

Colt calls Sebastian to the cockpit, then summons O’Reilly. When O’Reilly arrives, Colt asks him if he knows about the ship, Ellandri’s Dagger. O’Reilly says no, but Colt knows that he is lying. He then asks O’Reilly to check out some footage caught on tape. The tape is queued to show O’Reilly exiting from the engineering room.

When O’Reilly turns back to the crew, Colt pulls the regulator out of his coat and confronts the man with it. Although O’Reilly at first tries to protest his ignorance, Colt is able to use his military bearing to persuade the other man to tell the truth.

“No one was supposed to get hurt,” O’Reilly pleads, trying to meet Mad’s eyes. A week before Acorn arrived in Rio, a Knorr-class ship arrived. A man approached O’Reilly with a business proposal that would make him a bit of money, maybe even land him a ship. The man said that a Swan-class ship would be coming in and that O’Reilly needed to get on it and install the regulator. The plan was that the Swan-class ship would be hijacked and the crew dropped off on a rock somewhere. There was a beacon installed in the regulator so that the ship could be tracked.

Colt tells O’Reilly that he’d just as soon shoot him, but asks Mad what to do with the man. Arms crossed, Mad tells him to throw O’Reilly in the brig. Turning to O’Reilly, she tells him that he’s getting dropped off at Wayland Station; if he still wants to get to Persephone, he’s on his own. As he’s being led to the brig, O’Reilly tries again to protest that no one was supposed to get hurt. Mad just turns away.

Now knowing that there is a beacon in the regulator, the crew decides to jettison it out of the airlock. They also send a wave to Elias Wingate to appraise him of the recent situation. The crew starts to discuss how Ellandri’s Dagger could have known they were heading to Rio. They wonder if Laramie’s network is compromised somehow.

One day out from Wayland Station, the ship receives a wave from Felecia Knight. The crew is to receive reward money for their help with the kidnapped team members of Hands Across the Stars. Mad sends her bank information in return so that the money can be deposited directly into her account.

The crew then continues through the The Border Belt toward their destination.


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