The final five-day journey to Pavabid Down proves to be no different from the previous journey. There are no signs of any cops or gendarmes, but the wahroos prove to be a constant problem every time it gets dark. The party members nurse their ammo as best they can, but no one wants to take the wahroos on in melee combat as they can’t afford for anyone to get injured this far from civilization.
It’s cold down here at such southerly latitudes, freezing at night and thawing again when the sun comes back up, turning the remaining snow into slush. Three days into the journey, one of the horses slips and breaks a leg, bringing the number of horses remaining down to three, meaning that each of the horses has to carry two riders.
And so it is with great relief when they finally finish the long journey and can glimpse the starport ahead of them. The party members have just a handful of bullets left between them now, although they still have the seven grenades left.
The party members wait until nightfall before getting closer to the starport to look for a way in. As they sneak to the edge of the forest, they see that getting into the starport is going to be no walkover.
The starport is at the edge of a bluff, with the forest clearcut around it to a distance of 100m. The perimeter is well lit, with search lights sweeping the area from the watch towers located every 250m. The fence surrounding the starport is 4m high, with razor wire at the top. Several sentries with wahroos walk around the perimeter. As the perimeter is perhaps 8km in circumference though, sneaking past the sentries shouldn’t be the biggest problem. There are signs around the fences that the area is mined and Taeva notices that none of the sentries walk within 10m of the fence.
The only way into the starport (apart from by air) is by the single-track railway running up the bluff. Grim can tell from the gradient that the train is going to have to approach the starport very slowly. Max remember that there is just one train per week going in and out of the starport.
The train enters a small holding area once getting through the main gates, fenced off from the rest of the starport compound. Only once the train has been checked thoroughly, both coming in and going out, is the train allowed to continue into the starport to unload its cargo.
With there being no rush, the party members walk around the perimeter of the cleared area, keeping to the wooded area in order to view the starport from all angles. To their relief, they can see that the Tide is Turning, the ship that they arrived on is still in port and there are some lights on, showing that the ship is still occupied.
Once they have completely walked around the circumference, they move back further into the forest and discuss their options. All agree that the only weak point to the starport’s defenses is with the train going in, and so they make plans for jumping the train and making their entrance that way.
With the plan having been decided upon, there is little that they can do except to wait until the train arrives. They set up a new camp a little further down the lines, well hidden from the starport by a curve in the tracks. They set up a watch rota, with one party member sat between the rails at all time, listening for the vibrations of the arrival of a train, a second keeping an eye on the starport from a tree in case they send out any patrols, and a third keeping an eye over their sleeping companions.
And then they wait…