It was during dinner the previous evening that the alarms sounded to announce the fact that the Vindaar’s Gambit had safely emerged from jump. The viewing ports are opened so that the passengers are able to watch the approach to Collace.
With the ship due to arrive at 01.00, there’s no point in anyone going to bed and so the party members and the other passengers sit in the lounge, availing themselves of the bar one final time. The pilot maneuvers the ship close to Collace highport and Chief Steward Galeana Avalar asks for everyone’s patience throughout the disembarkation process due to the fact that there is construction taking place at the fast-growing starport and the Ship’s Boat, the Vinny is only able to transport six passengers at a time.
Arvor and William don vacc suits once again and are escorted by Otto Hureelee to the cargo bay. The area is evacuated and the cargo bay doors opened awaiting the arrival of the cargo drones. Otto unfastens the magnetic bonds securing the containers before making a succession of calls over his commo. Arvor gets the feeling that Otto is up to something, but he can’t quite figure out what. The rest of the party wait in the passenger lounge where they are able to watch the drones and the Ship’s Boat returning.
The first of the cargo drones arrives and Otto uses his handcomp to start unloading the first of the containers. No sooner has it lifted the first of the containers though than the Captain’s panic stricken voice comes over the intercom:
“Brace for impact!”
Everyone quickly tries to grab onto something as the ship shudders violently as a sickening metallic tearing sound can be heard and felt throughout the ship. Everyone on board is thrown to the ground, sustaining minor injuries. In the cargo bay, a huge rent in the ceiling appears and Otto is crushed by the impact. In the passenger lounge, the ship’s artificial gravity is lost and all but emergency lighting as the power plant was hit.
William and Arvor head over to Otto to try and see if they can save him, but its no use – his faceplate was smashed open by the force of the impact and he is very much dead. The cargo containers are set spinning through the bay by the impact and William and Arvor are forced to dodge them. The cargo drone starts to place the first of the containers back in the bay. William tries to grab Otto’s handcomp, but it’s spinning around the bay and is tricky to grab hold of.
Up in the passenger lounge it’s complete pandemonium as the battered and bruised passengers are screaming and panicked. Jie and Taeva try and calm people as Grim tries to operate the elevator, only to find that it is non-operational because of the power loss. Using his skill with electronics, Grim tries to override it, but it is no easy task.
Back down in the cargo bay, William continues to fumble his attempt at grabbing the handcomp. Arvor eventually has more success by leaping onto the drone and operating the manual override. As he gets to the cargo bar door with it, he sees that a rescue ship has arrived. It’s only been six minutes since the impact though and so Arvor is very suspicious that this is not the rescue service that the Boat appears to be according to its markings.
In the passenger lounge, Grim has managed to get the lift working finally with the aid of Taeva. The pair of them together with Jie and Max take the elevator up to the top level of the ship. Here they find the Gunner armed with a gauss pistol and the Purser who were trying to get the lift working from their side. The captain appears to be in a state of shock not knowing what’s going on. Arvor reports that a Boat has arrived but that he thinks that it belongs to pirates. The captain wants to believe that it really is a search and rescue team from the highport though. Taeva asks him to open the Ship’s Locker so that they can get weapons, but the captain tells them just to help all of the passengers into the escape pods.
Back at the cargo bay, Arvor tries to use the drone to keep the supposed search and rescue team out. The lumbering drone is no match for the boarders though as they sidestep it. They don’t seem to be armed and don’t seem to be aggressive – they simply tell Arvor and William to keep out of their way and to let them pass. Arvor and William don’t know what to believe; they know that they can’t do much against eight boarders when they are unarmed in any case.
On the bridge, Taeva is telling the captain to get a grip and to open up the Ship’s Locker. Grim eventually persuades him and he relents and opens it up, allowing Taeva, Jie, Grim and Max all to grab their weapons. The Gunner and the Purser head down in the elevator to start bringing up the passengers.
Back in the hold, the boarders are ignoring the cargo containers and are heading for the hatch. William opens up the closet of the containers. He finds out that it is not heavy metals inside as Jannar had told them though. Inside the container are hundreds of thousands of badges featuring the Imperial Starburst, which scatter everywhere in the Zero-G atmosphere.
Grim investigates the corridor leading from the bridge. He finds the bodies of the Chief Steward and the 3rd Steward slumped on the deck. The iris valve to the engineering bay is closed; the red warning light on it showing that it is unpressurized behind so it cannot be opened.
William and Arvor decide that two can play at the boarding game. Mounting the drone, the pair of them maneuver it across the gap to the boarder’s launch, surprising the launch’s pilot who tells them to get back on the ship. Arvor tells the pilot to radio the highport, but the pilot refuses, pulling a gauss pistol on them – finally proving once and for all that they definitely are not search and rescue. Arvor launches the drone at the pilot taking him by surprise, practically crushing him in the cockpit, allowing Arvor to grab the gauss pistol. William bundles him out of his seat and radios the highport. The highport tells him that the police are on their way and to hold back.
The corridor from the bridge is starting to fill with passengers now. Grim tries to clear a way for them to the escape pods, but the route is barred with twisted decking. It takes the combined effort of Grim, Jie, Max and the Gunner plus a couple of passengers to flatten the twisted metal, allowing the passengers to pass into the safety of the pods.
Taeva meanwhile is monitoring the security cameras on the bridge. She sees that the boarders are through the hatch now and are trying to make their way to the passenger lounge. She heads down there together with Jie and Max to ambush them. Arvor asks William to bring the launch to the bottom cargo bay. The captain sees him trying to enter and opens the door for him plus the other hatch, allowing him to meet up with the others cutting off the boarders’ access to the passenger lounge.
Within just a few seconds of taking up positions inside the entrance to staterooms, the boarders blow open the door where the first of them are instantly blasted by the party members’ guns before the boarders even know what’s going on. The boarders try and dive for cover but, before they are able to fire back, five of them are unconscious or wounded. There are just two of them left now. Not fancying their chances, the pair of them surrender, tossing their gauss pistols before them and kneeling down on the ground with their hands on their heads. The party members quickly subdue them.
By this time, two police cutters have arrived on the scene. It takes them a while to get onto the lower level through the airlocks where they find the party members waiting for them. Not knowing what has been going on here, the police tell the party members to drop their weapons, which the party members realize that they have no choice but to agree. Not wanting to take any chances, the police cuff everyone – the boarders, the party members and the crew and they are then shuttled back to the brig on the highport, where they are put in individual cells.
Once inside the cells, a police doctor sees to the minor injuries that everyone received during the crash and everyone is given a good meal. One by one, each of the party member are interrogated by detectives. Although the interrogators are polite and non-hostile, they are very thorough and the long process is an exhausting one for each of them as they are asked the same questions over and over again. The police refuse to answer any questions regarding what has happened to the cargo or their personal items.
Eventually, just before midnight they are told that they are now free to leave. Their possessions are at Collace downport and they will be taken down there by police shuttle.