The party members have just finished their last training session with the grav belts at 18.00 when the klaxon sounds to announce that the Forine Rover has emerged for jump. William and Jie immediately head for the bridge, while Grim heads down to the engine room to make sure that the M-Drive has kicked into life.
Aebath keys in coordinates which will take the Rover on to Pavabid and then he asks the party members to bring their stun carbines and grav/belts to the engineering bay. The Rover was obviously involved in some smuggling activities in the past as there is a secret compartment underneath the power plant. The weapons and grav/belts are hidden here just in case the ship is searched and awkward questions are asked.
By 21.00, the blue and green ball of Pavabid fills the forward view screen. Aebath picks up an automated message broadcasting on all frequencies giving very precise landing instructions to all ships. All dipping is banned and any vessel deviating from the path will be met by hostile force. The party members thus get their first hint that this planet is no holiday resort.
William follows the flight plan which Aebath keys in and, a little over and hour later, he brings down the ship onto the allocated concrete landing pad.
Even though it is late in the evening and dark, the Pavabid Starport and Commercial Zone is still a very depressing place. Blanketed in thick snow, the zone is in the middle of nowhere. Apart from a 300m clearcut zone surrounding the starport, the zone is in the middle of dense forests, with only a single-track railway line coming into the area. Surrounded by thick fences, barbed wire and what appears to be minefields, the place looks more like a Gulag than a spaceport.
Once landed, Aebath opens the airlock door; the -20C temperatures hitting him as he does so. Before anyone is allowed off the ship, a jeep load of guards/inspectors arrives. Stony-faced, they spend an hour checking the ship, all of the cargo documents which Max has prepared and give each of the crew members a pat down search before they are allowed off.
Upon leaving the ship, the party members discover that leaving the ship was hardly worth the effort. The drab concrete blockhouse which comprises the canteen serves no alcohol and the food is not only hideously expensive, but also looks highly unappealing. The solitary hotel on the site is a similarly gray and uninspiring building; the rooms basic and over-priced. Normally the party members are glad for any change of scenery after a week cooped up on the ship, but compared to the local amenities, the Rover is like a palace and so they soon return there for the night.
As it is so late at night now, all of the commercial offices and the starport facilities are closed and so there’s little that the party members can do but to get an early night and wait until the following day to attend to their activities.