Those Who Stare In The Black, Game 2.01: New Agendas
Air Date: 03 Aug 2014
Present: Tabby, Sara, Paul and Maer
Verse Dates: 15 May 2520 - 15 Jun 2520
Monday, 15 May 2520
Uncharted Location in the Halo
The crew has been training for the past three months. Each member of the crew has received training to develop cross-skills and to enhance what they already have. During the training period, they've been sent on minor missions to test their skill acquisitions and to familiarize themselves with the clandestine operation David Russell is running.
After training, Russell calls the crew into his office for a meeting.
He informs them of certain current events:
- Destruction of a good portion of the Alliance Naval fleet
- Scanning of ships at ports is prevalent from the Core to the Border
- Core worlds have been placed under Martial Law
- Fighting between Core forces and Independent: unofficial, with some skirmishes
He tells them what he needs them to do:
- Small jobs, mostly smuggling
- Passing information back and forth
As to the reasons for the Martial Law in the Core, he has this to say:
- A ship of unknown design has appeared, kicking Alliance ass
- No one has claimed this ship as theirs, no one is taking credit for the losses dealt
- The mystery ship is mounted with New Tech weapons
As to the Alliance Military/Industrial Complex:
- One of the Alliance shipyards has gone into high-production mode, operating 24/7
- It produces corvettes, gunships, and war carriers
- It expects to recover/replace the losses to the Alliance fleet in a few months
Attacked over the past three months, in rough order of occurrance:
- Military targets drawing fire:
- Military Satellites
- Alliance Sector Control Ships, Tohoku class
- 3 of 6 ships in Sector Control Fleet are out of commission
- Osiris + two Tohokus (Dec, 2519)
- Secondary Alliance Shipyard in Motherlode, Red Sun (Zhu Que) system
- Tohoku on the Himinborg to Kalidasa patrol route
- Half the Reaver fleet is gone, wiped out by space nukes, two weeks + 3 days ago (discovered 29 May 2520)
- David Russell's forward listening station, a satellite of Daedalus, two weeks ago (01 Jun 2520)
- Extremely fast
- Distances between subsequent targets are too far for a single craft signature
- Possibly more than one craft is responsible for attacks but no confirmation as yet
David Russell wraps up the briefing by assigning the crew their first official job: Supply run to Kalidasa to a listening post on one of Beylix's moons. It's a glorified asteroid hosting a mining facility.
Thus dismissed, the crew fuels and provisions up for the trip. They are given general trade goods for cargo, as part of their cover as cargo haulers and also to earn a living while working secretly for Russell's organization.
The crew takes off on 15 May 2520, with ETA Belix on 13 Jun 2520, 4 weeks away.
Tuesday, 13 Jun 2520
Mining Facility, asteroid of Beylix
Kalidasa (Xuan Wu) system
Verity plots a course that will have us detour out of range of the Tohoku running the Red Sun-Kalidasa patrol path. The trip is smooth as silk, without Alliance entanglements.
We're hailed on approach of our destination: This is Mining Station 23 to vessel. Please state your business.
Stone informs the station that they're here early with Supplies. They assign Stone landing space in Bay 7. How long is Space Otter staying, they ask Stone? He isn't sure. They give him a 4-day berth pass. Another ship is scheduled to use Berth 7 after that. Stone thanks them and cuts the channel.
Verity lands the ship nice and smooth. Bay 7 is in a sealed crater on the asteroid's surface. Space Otter lands using her VTOL, the crater is sealed at the top by huge pressure doors, and the station informs the crew that it will be 15 minutes before the bay is pressurized for human use. They also advise the crew that mag boots are needed. The station is only at one-quarter G.
Once everything's pressurized, the crew goes out to meet the Stationmaster. He asks what they've got for trade. Stone hands over the manifest of their official cargo … and slips him the manifest of the private cargo that Stone arranged on the side. The Stationmaster assures Stone that both manifests will be posted publically for trade. Unloading will commence shortly. The Stationmaster checks the crew's papers and are judged in-order. The crew is granted leave to enjoy the public areas of the station.
Miners in heavy gear pushing pallet jacks arrive to offload the cargo. Stone ordersthe ship's grav lowered to ¼ G to facilitate offloading.
Stone and the crew also have covert packages to deliver for Russell. They leave for a bar in the public area and on the way, take in the sights. There isn't much to see: the public areas are utilitarian and industrial. It's grimy and banged up and clearly just an extension of the mining facility that has been repurposed from its original mining functions. It serves well enough and that's all the crew needs to complete the job.
They fetch up at The Torch & Helm Bar. It's a dark dank dirty dive, hollowed out of the rock of the asteroid itself. Some flat screens liven up the walls. A couple of poker tables grace the floor. The best thing on the menu is Mudder's Milk from Higgins' Moon. The next best thing is a station-made product called Moonshine. Undeterred, the crew takes an unoccupied table, orders a round and the stew of the day, and waits.
Stone's comm buzzes him: his contact will be there in 15 minutes. The contact arrives 20 minutes later. Stone checks the man's face against the intel loaded on his comm: yup, face matches. His name is Sam. We have some stuff for sale? Stone shows him the list. Sam picks 3 things off it—this, this, and this. They take up two of the containers we're carrying. They bargain the price. Stone gets 2% less than his asking price but it's within his acceptable margin. They shake on the deal and agree on the pick-up: 1000 hrs tomorrow.
Wednesday, 14 Jun 2520
The crew has sold most of what they've brought along for cargo. The listening post has picked up their clandestine packages as well, leaving us a packet of intel.
Business concluded at the station, Stone decides to go to Newhall to pick up a cargo load of fish to sell to folk on Beaumonde.
Plan in hand, Verity gets station permission for take-off and flies Space Otter for Newhall, the next planet over.
ETA Newhall, 15 Jun 2520.
Thursday, 15 Jun 2520
En route to Newhall
It's a day and a half flight to Newhall and we're still en route when Verity picks up a transmission out of the general comm chatter. It's not meant for us and it's encrypted. Stone sets the crew to decrypting it. It's too garbled to decode and Xiu cleans up our receiver to get a clean copy. Verity handles the decryption and she gets two messages out of the string.
Decrypted, they say:
- Shisutemu o kanshi suru. Tsugi no mokuhyō ni mukau tame no junbi. (Tr.: Monitoring system. Preparing head to next target.)
- Maken 1-ji no sutēshon ni idō suru (Tr.: Demon Sword 1 moving to next station.)
No one aboard knows what it's supposed to mean but Stone judges it's not his job to know. He records both messages, encrypts them, and sends them to Russell's listening station. The spooks there will know what to do with them.
Task completed, the crew flies on for Newhall.