Mission 2: S.O.S. (game summary 11/29)

Corporals Johann, Slade, and Tichat-Ka head for the Falcon to disembark on yet another day in the space lanes. Midshipman Bluto Goorhud, their boarding party leader, greets them at the Falcon's loading deck where they are introduced to a pair of newcomers: Danyon Fenn (mH) and Gret Korg (mY). Danyon is a transfer from the Clarion Royal Guard, the land based military force under Clarion's monarchy. Gret is a former hovercyclist looking for a new lease on life. Once the introductions aer complete, the crew begins t make preparations for launch.

The Falcon has been assigned to inspect an incoming Class:XII liner, a job that promises to kill the bulk of this outing. Just as Lt. Shirrah gets the Falcon's beak pointed in the right direction, Clarion Flight Control orders a Priority Epsilon threat (Epsilon is a non-aggressive threat, but a threat nonetheless). A Class:VI Pacific class freighter has dropped out of the void, hailing from Madderly's Star. Her captain has issued a distress call, informing anyone listening that his drives have malfunctioned and he is unable to get them repaired. The craft is on a direct collission course with Clarion Station. The SS Gullwind, under the helm of Captain Garlus Tylappar, has made many visits to Clarion Station and has berthing dues paid up for the next few months. The fine craft has brought a lot of revenue to Clarion so it is important that the Marines help the crew to not only prevent a collission with our station, but to preserve the craft for future income. As the Falcon nears the malfunctioning craft, Captain Tylappar informs Lt. Shirrah that the drive motivator has been damaged beyond repair, requiring drydock facilities to fix. Unfortunately the drive motivator is the primary controlling feature of the engines, without it deceleration is impossible.

Jr. Lieutenant M'kix Ris'z II reports that the Falcon is currently carrying a spare motivator that might work, and despite the obvious size differences, in theory at least one drive could be restored to operational status with the scout's smaller unit. Shirrah orders M'kix Ris'z to bring the motivator down to the loading deck and have the boarding party meet him there. M'kix Ris'z and Shirrah will be assisting the Gullwind crew withthe drive repairs, and the boarding party will oversee the operations as a security measure. Also, the captain reportsd a small load of parabatteries is in the hold and since the craft will be docking at Clarion Station for repairs, the load must be inspected.

The Falcon races to meet the disabled craft, and gets there with time to spare. The ships are soon linked by their airlocks, and the Falcon boarding party is met by the freighter's captain. Once the group is aboard the Gullwind, Garlus seems somewhat absent minded (he is an elder after all) but will quickly snaps back, apparently eager to get underway. His five dralasite crewmembers assist the Falcon crew with repairs and replacement. Tichat-Ka joins M'kix Ris'z and they follow the Gullwind's rubbery engineer into the elevator, lugging the drive motivator along. The doors close and Bluto nods to the Gullwnind's skipper, suggesting that they get on withthe inspection of his hold since the disabled ship will be docking at Clarion Station.

Garlus calls the elevator and it arrives a few minutes later, and they all pile in. He takes the car down to the 'Wind's hold, and the group exits. Garlus' manifest lists si crates of parabatteries and a rocket battery weapon system, with no destination. "Personal goods?" Bluto asks. The skipper nods, as he is busy stuffing his worn pipe with some Inner Reach tobacco. Johann takes the elevator position as Bluto joins the rest of the inspection team, and begins making small talk with the elder.

"Stuff will kill you, y'know...of course modern medicine can counter that as well." Garlus looks over at Johann, and points to his chest. "A little late in the game to worry about that. Got the big C, detected it too late. Not sure how much time I have left." He begins with some sporadic coughing, but it ends just as quickly. Meanwhile, Danyon and Slade begin to open the crates as Gret and Johann look over the stored weapon system. Both are in order, nothing raises a suspicion withthe inspectors.

Meanwhile, Tichat-Ka begins to install the motivator under the watchful eyes of his vruskan engineer, M'kix Ris'z II. Once it is installed, M'kix gives it a once over and say "You almost got it right, Corporal. But the couplings are reveresed. Fix that and it ought to work." Tichat-Ka apologizes, explaining that he's used to smaller scale technical repairs. He switches the couplings and the Gullwind's dralasite engineer waddles over to the engineering station to run a diagnostic check. After a few minutes of data scrolling, he looks up and bellows "I think that'll do it. We're good to go, that should hold us for the trip to Clarion Station!"

M'kix Ris'z and Tichat-Ka head back to the Gullwind's crewdeck, calling to Bluto that all is well on the maintenance deck. The rest of the boarding party meet them there, along with Garlus. Once assembled on the crew deck, Tylappar informs the group about a class:X freighter that was 20-30 hours behind him that he overheard in a spacers dive at Kdikit Station that may be smuggling contraband, possibly either Ixiol or Streel provided weaponry, that is destined for the Throne City. The rogue freighter is dubbed the SS Nightshade, and Garlus informs the Falcon crew that the dralasite owner is not one to be underestimated.

Several of the inspection team members gather additional information on the Nightshade, and they thank them for the tip. Garlus salutes them as they leave, and he closes the 'WInd's outer hull hatch behind them. Soon after the boarding team is buckled in aboard the Falcon, the craft breaks loose and pulls away. The Gullwind's single drive ignites, and her skipper reports that the repair is working well. He thanks Shirrah over the subspace radio and points the Gullwind's nose toward Clarion Station. Lieutenant Shirrah calls in to Clarion Station Flight Control to report the tip, and then proceeds into deep space to meet the incoming vessel.

True to the Gullwind skipper's word, the SS Nightshade drops out of the void 20 hours after the Gullwind is underway. Lt. Shirrah calls it in on the radio and Clarion Flight Control directs the Falcon to intercept and investigte the claims. After all, the Nightshade is registered under MalCo Enterprises, a company with reputed ties to organized crime, so any inbound loads will require extra special attention, moreso with this intel that was recently gathered...

As the Falcon closes in with the rogue freighter, a lengthy radio conversation ensues. The freighter crew claims they are not stopping at Clarion Station, nor are they carrying any cargo and as such no inspection is required. They insist that they are merely passing through, on their way to Theseus or K'tsa Kar, they haven't decided which. After a lengthy arguement the freighter captain finally agrees to an inspection, telling Shirrah that they have nothing to hide.

The Falcon closes in and docks with the Nightshade. The boarding crew is on the loading deck, and Bluto leads them to the Nightshade's outer hull hatch. A rough looking yazirian meets them at the Nightshade's hatch, and opens it to allow them inside. A dralasite with a rich black cloak flowing over waht passes for shoulders stands near the yaz. The dralasite bellows out "Well, let's get this dog and pony show on the road, we got things to do!"

The dral hands Bluto a cargo manifest, it simply reads "No cargo obtained for Madderly's Star/White Light voyage". The yazirian sneers and points to the elevator. "Right this way, folks." Neither seem pleasant about this uneccesary inspection, both seem anxious to get back unerway. Bluto and Gret remain on the crew deck to watch the airlock and access to their ship, the rest of the group piles into the elevator car and it descends to the Nightshade's hold. The doors open and the group exits. Danyon, Johann, Slade, and Tichat-Ka look around the vacated hold, its floor occassionally littered with broken crate remains and an occassional mangled piece of plasticard.

"Wow, whaddya know, " the dralasite interjects. "Just like the manifest says, empty!" Danyon stoops to retrieve one of the mangled plastisheets and finds it is the remains of an old invoice. He shows it to Slade and Johann, who read the inscription: "FOODSTUFFS - Point of Origin: Inner Reach  ,  Destination: Outer Reach"

The duo both nod and Danyon drops the plasticard to the deck. Tichat-Ka appears to be pacing the hold and tapping the deck with his pistol butts. Once finished the vrusk glances over to Johann and he nods. Johann speaks up, "We'll have to inspect your cabins next." The yazirian looks to the dralasite, who mimics a human expression by rolling its eyespots. "Oooooh-kayyyy," the dral lets out. "Let's go, back into the elevator. A lot of back and forth with you guys today!"

Everyone gets on and the car returns to the Nightshade's crew deck. Johann calls Bluto on the chronocom to report nothing found in the hold and that they are returning to the crew deck to inspect the cabins. The elevator doors open and the group sees Bluto and Gret waiting, and they exit. Johann gives Bluto a whispered update as to what weas found in the hold as far as teh mangled invoice. Bluto begins barking orders to the inspection team.

Slade and Johann begin to search the cabins while Tichat-Ka and Danyon head for the galley. The cabins are all vacant and unkempt, with nothing out of the ordinary. Try as they may, they find nothing incriminating. Then Tichat-Ka returns from the galley holding an empty vial and an aqua-pipe, obvious paraphenalia of a narcotic drug. Bluto nods, and Tichat-Ka asks the dral/yaz duo about it. The dralasite shrugs, but the yazirian dips his head down and mutters out "It's mine, personal use and all that." Tichat-Ka gets cross and demands where the drug is, telling them that while the Clarion Royal Marines can not impound the craft over the items, they can stil issue a fine. The yaz simply answers that he used the last dose a day ago.

Slade begins to ask if they know of a Captain Tylappar while Johann whispers to Bluto, who calls the Falcon C.O. on the chronocom. The dralasite acknowledges Tylappar but knows nothing of his presence in system, simply declaring that like themselves he is an independant hauler making their way through the Frontier. They have crossed paths in the past, and they merely look at him as competition. A heated debate begins as to why Garlus might drop info on "competitors" that may be carrying contraband, but in the end there is nothing gained by this and that the Marines can do little else in detaining this vessel.

Bluto hands the dralasite a plasticard and offers an apology, and that the Nighthsade may enjoy complimentary berthing for up to ten days at Clarion Station as restitution. The group herd themselves back into the Falcon with a feeling of dismay, having garnered nothing and feeling taken for as fools. Lt. Shirrah meets them inside to reassure them, saying that it happens and not to let it get to them. Gret looks back as the Falcon's outer hull hatch is closed and catches a glimpse of the Yazirian in the opposite hatch, who is giving the Falcon crew a nasty look. Gret returns it wiht an unpleasant gesture of his own, one that Bluto countermands him for. "At ease soldier, we don't get to win all the time."

Tichat-Ka clicks off with "Give us a princess to rescue, we're pretty good at that." The witty repartee brings some welcome relief to the group, and they head back to their stations to buckle in so the Falcon can rush to its next job, a Class:X11 freight hauler that just dropped out of the void.

To be continued...