Mission: Hanging the Shingle
The Dorothy and Crew traverse a likely Jump-3 route along popular systems from home base at Aonghus to the Trailing end of the frontier, Vesarelict. While they will be taking on reasonable cargo, the focus is to get the lay of the land and declare themselves open for business.
The Dorothy has been refit and travels to Aonghus to begin their next expedition into the deep frontier. The ship still has Hot Spots (d6) due to burnout of engine cones and other mechanical systems, but is otherwise repaired and spaceworthy. Additionally Dorothy has improved life support and filtration systems and the Crew is flush from the payment by the Office of the Magistrate.
The Dorothy will retain its loadout of 4 staterooms and 8 low passage berths, although the staterooms can easily double (or more) in emergencies.
Jump Nav Computer Errors (d8) re-emerge instantly, the jump to Skirl taking 9 days.
Securing cargo for Skirl is made routine by the Skirling predisposition for the legalistic, in turn fueled by their antipathy toward the Imperium and humanity in general. Jill DyVrii takes point in securing the necessary paperwork, and the Dorothy arrives in Skirl with little complication, but little profit as well. Relationships are established with a Yang AG broker named Gryin, a pious New Buddhist who laments the red tape and xenophobia but is not motivated to do much about it, as she is making good money and is generally risk-averse. Jill is unable to secure cargo or passengers to their next hop, Barnhard, but gets some low-value bulk transport for Mishatan, two hops along. During fruitless on-planet negotiations, Jill has picked up a Lung Cough (d6) Complication due to the chlorinated atmosphere of the planet.
The jump to Barnhard goes no better, ending with the Dorothy inside its target Gas Giant's gravity well, second consecutive mis-jump. This leads to five minutes of panic, but no damage.
Barnhard is in some senses part of Mishatan space, being Jump-3 from the Teardrop home system. Forming connections here can prove invaluable to merchants, couriers, and smugglers alike. Unlike Skirl, it is an open port, and Dorothy arrives at Scar (Downport) without challenge. She is met on the ground with a lax inspection.
Ships in system on arrival:
- Type S Scout 100dt, detached duty scout vessel, More or Less. Operated by Lvan Coursi.
- Type S Prospector 100dt.
- Gryphon-class Light Escort 400dt, SA-1187. Operated by an independent Guild-certified security outfit called Miranda. Crewed by cybernetically-enhanced chimerics (Deep Feline type). Jump-3 and possibly Jump-4.
- Jump-2 200dt Far Trader, Kaposche. Operated by NO DOUBT based Guild shipping conglomerate Rho Merkees.
- Jump-2 400dt Fat Trader, Starlancer 6. Operated by SuSAG.
- 2000dt Teardrop-class liner Dirty Bit.
Conversations with Scout Lvan Coursi, while perhaps not perfectly reliable, reveal that the complications with navigation are a known problem, which he attributes to the naval operation in Silis system. Offers a few pointers for how to compensate. Also warns about exposing any networking to Ubiquity, which is Mishatan's version of the 'net.
Discourse with the Miranda ship is curt and unproductive. They are currently indisposed, here are our rates (25% to 45%). However Biscuit schmoozes some local spaceport deckhand who happens to be a bit of a gearhead. According to the source, the Miranda ship is escorting a 300dt Yacht, nicely appointed. The Yacht boarded a Teardrop nearly two weeks ago and the ship seems to be waiting for its return.
Trouble erupts in exploring the underworld, where the Dorothy and crew are Misidentified (d12) for another ship and crew with a very bad, perhaps murderous reputation. There is a brief scuffle in the streets of Scar that is inconclusive. Dorothy crew decide to leave Barnhard rather than risk further mistakes, thinking that the trouble will sort itself out.
Meanwhile Jill makes contact with two brokers, one of whom focuses on passengers (Travel Agent d6, Rich Friends d8) for the jump to Mishatan. Preparations for departure are made and a date is set.
Biscuit is abducted by a shadowy figure labeled the Tall Man, a member of Yellow, the more violent of the two main criminal gangs of Barnhard. The abduction was set up to look like Machine Under rival gang, an illusion that the Tall Man persists in interviewing Biscuit. The Tall Man convinces Biscuit that despite the threats, this is really more of a business deal. His story is confusing and inconsistent, yet plausible.
As part of the ruse, Biscuit is brought to the higher rent pressure of Scar, near where the union buildings are -- where you'd expect to find Machine Under operating. Biscuit is allowed to contact the crew, but does not tell them his status clearly. Dyvrii traces the call back to the municipal pressure, and the crew decides to go in to find Biscuit. Quinn decides to make an explosive vest as a negotiation tactic. Investigation leads the team to the 700 block, level 79. They are detected by the Yellows while scoping the place, who set a tail and a sniper on them. The Tall Man himself investigates, and in the reveal of the bomb vest, calls in the sniper, and an explosion goes off.
The Tall Man leaves the scene battered, burnt, and furious. He goes back to the holding pen to beat the crap out of Biscuit, who avoids being killed by confessing that the crew has a Prokoetaal bounty on their head. They decide to move Biscuit to their headquarters deep in the industrial levels in Scar.
A firefight ensues when Biscuit causes a ruckus during a transfer from the service lifts to the Tube, with Quinn holding down three gunmen, while two others try to shove Biscuit into the subway. A goon goes down, panic in the lobby. Jill gets help, then moves in to rescue Biscuit. Handcuffed and blindfolded, he breaks free and the bad guys take their wounded man and retreat as law enforcement arrives. All three crew are arrested.
A benefactor from the BLP gets council for the crew, a conservatively dressed modified human named Wind, who works for Wind and Wind Exolegal. Wind seems confident that the crew will get off without jail time, due to Barnhard authorities being unable to control local violence as shown by the abduction. However, Dorothy will need to leave Downport for the Mishatan-run BLP. The Dorothy also takes a Notorious (d10) Complication.
Dorothy moves over to BLP private moorage, where they hook up with Control. All communication to and from the ship is monitored, and access to Scar is restricted, but indifferently enforced. After talking with Control and Wind, the crew contact the Teardrop Dirty Bit, who informs them that they will not be welcome in Mishatan without better security built into their system. Quinn calls this a "deal with the devil". Work begins on upgrading the ship's comms with tech level 15 equipment, software, and power. This is done for free courtesy Dirty Bit. Claims that it will take a day are grossly underestimated, for whatever reason.
Dirty Bit says it is able to pinpoint the location of Biscuit's stolen device. It is being held in a slum area of lower Scar called The Terrace, a seedy area known for crime and drugs, mostly loyal to Yellow gang. The crew resolve to go in for revenge and to retrieve the stolen device. The crew hooks up with M.U. starting with a low level thug and eventually meeting a gang boss, part of the muscle end of M.U.'s drug distribution. They resolve to hit the Terrace. Jill goes back to the ship to retrieve her (illegal) laser pistol, which she smuggles successfully, but Yellow is alerted and sets up an ambush. Yellow attacks, hitting a M.U.-friendly bar, and a chaotic firefight breaks out. The crew is hustled away after taking out several Yellow thugs.
The crew is hitting a drug fabrication warehouse under an open commercial-residential bazaar called "The Terrace", which is deep in Yellow territory. With M.U. thugs providing distractions, the crew will hit a utility area and provide brownouts and security cover, then traverse the understructure to the drug fab location where the Multimeter is held. Crew gets lost in the understructure, and pinned down by a Yellow lookout, and actually ends up back in the Terrace. The crew has to use the Yellow-affiliated storefront to reach the lab.
The crew assaults the lab, overcoming some booby traps, but gets pinned down in the open three-story manufacturing floor by a sniper and the Tall Man himself. As Biscuit reaches the Multimeter, he discovers it is booby trapped too. Cops burst in to the lab, but instead of busting everyone, they take out the Captain, revealing that they are corrupt and in Yellow's payroll. It looks like it is all over -- the Tall Man orders Biscuit and Jill to surrender. Just as the crew is about to be taken custody, Biscuit tells Jill to shoot chemical ducts, spraying chlorine everywhere, and the Captain convinces one of the junior cops to call in the real cops to the location, making everyone start to take sides. As the whole situation begins to fall apart, the Tall Man makes a retreat into the understructure, and real cops come in to bust everyone.
Yellow's drug operation has taken a major blow, both from the destruction of the lab and from the rooting out of significant gang members in the municipal police. The M.U. has won.
The Crew spends a comfortable week in the local TL7 hospital, while Mr. Wind resolves legal problems. The crew is introduced to a local broker who will sponsor trade from the outworlders moving forward, and Biscuit meets up with a drug contact for the same reason. Intel is gathered from their potential rival pirates/smugglers.
Dirty Bit reveals more of its mission in Barnhard, and confesses to helping set the wheels in motion for the destruction of Yellow, using the crew (and Yellow's own radical self-desctructiveness) to forward Mishatan's long term influence. Something political also happened, upping the M.U. trade unionist's hold over Scar government.