Mustered Out on Mertactor

262-1106

Taking Back the Goods

For two days, the females plus Hargz and Orlando have been cooped up in the lifeboat and all are getting really desperate to get out of the tiny space now.

According to the information that they received from the cops, the Fast Trader should be arriving some time around midnight, so the party members put their plan into action at 17.00 in case it arrives early.

The party members have a meal together and invite Granzh and Kaspar to join them. Before they deliver the food to the table though, Will slips some drugs into the old belter’s meal without him knowing. Everything goes to plan and, an hour later, Kaspar looks green; he is sweating profusely and complaining of headaches.

“We need to get you to the lifeboat,” Will says.

“Why there and not the Med Bay here?” Kaspar says, a little suspiciously.

“It’s highly contagious what you have,” Will replies. “We can’t risk you infecting all the belters as there is not enough drugs for all of them.”

He reluctantly agrees and the remaining party members inside the base help him to suit up and then escort him to the lifeboat.

Once he is onboard, Taeva and Grim sneak over to the Seeker. Taeva climbs onto the top of the Seeker, where she places some explosives on the barrels of the lasers, before getting back down again. Grim then assists Taeva as she uses her tools to try and hack into the electronic lock on the ship. A couple of minutes later and there is a satisfying click as the door opens. Silently they move through the ship towards the bridge. The door to the bridge is also locked but, once again, Grim and Taeva are able to get through it.

They call Will and Jie over from the lifeboat to come and join them. Jie goes up into the turret while Will attempts to gain control of the Seeker. They spend quite a while working together in order to try and get access the the ship’s computer, but it’s hard work.

Taeva is underneath the computer console fiddling with the circuits.

“Let’s see what happens when I try this,” she says, before switching two circuits over.

Sirens from the ship start blaring loudly.

“Errm… maybe not,” she says, putting them back.

They know that they have just two or three minutes before the belters have vacced up and cycled through the base’s airlock and come storming towards the ship.

“They’re coming out!” Jie cries from the vantage point of the top turret.

Will, sweat pouring from his brow, hits ‘Enter’ for the last time. And there is a whirring sound as the Power Plant splutters into life.

“Great, let’s go,” Taeva says.

Will shakes his head. “Still can’t get the M-Drive operational, but everything else should be working.”

It’s enough for Jie, who blasts the concrete just in front of where the belters are fast bouncing towards them, creating a new crater on the moon.

Realizing that there’s no way that they can fight against a ship’s laser, the belters beat a hasty retreat.

A couple of minutes later and Bob Milligan (aka Bill) comes onto the radio in order to try and negotiate.

He tries to negotiate a settlement with the party members, but there are some strings attached. He goes silent when the party members don’t agree with his terms. But after Jie lasers the commo antenna off the base’s roof, he caves in, realizing that he is pretty screwed. Unfortunately Jie has cut off the radio by destroying the array. Fortunately Taeva realizes they can still communicate by short wave, and a deal is struck.

Five minutes later and he reappears at the airlock with his hands in the air. He makes his way towards the Seeker and Taeva covers him as he enters the ship’s airlock. Jie searches him, but he is not carrying. He mumbles the passcode to the ship’s computer and tells them that the goods are hidden in a disused mine about 15 minutes journey away by ship. He tells Will to follow the ship’s last journey in reverse.

They leave him in the airlock with Jie guarding the door while Will heads to the mine. Arvor follows him in the lifeboat.

Fifteen minutes later and the two ships land in front of the mine. Leaving Will to keep an eye on Bob, the others suit up again and head into the mine. They find the cargo just inside the entrance. Max investigates it and says that it all looks OK to him and so, with everyone working together, they manoeuvres the 6 tons of cargo and place it into the hold of the lifeboat.

Once the cargo is safely onboard, Will radios the Fast Trader, hoping that it is in range. It is; Captain Valens tells them that he is right on time and should be in position just before midnight. He refuses to land his expensive ship on the cratered surface of the moon and so they agree to meet up in orbit. He tells them that his hold is empty and so he will be able to take the entire lifeboat, including its cargo inside the ship, solving the problem of what to do with it.

Will and Arvor pilot the Seeker and lifeboat respectively up off the surface of the moon and into orbit. There’s nothing else to do then apart from to wait another four hours for the Fast Trader to arrive.

Right on schedule, the Fast Trader, the MSS Blood, Sweat and Tears arrives in orbit and joins up with the other two ships. Arvor manoeuvres the lifeboat into the ship’s hold while Will docks with the A3’s airlock.

The party members discuss what to do with the Seeker and Bob Milligan. Taeva grows impatient as the discussion drags on and simply blows her explosives which are still attached to the barrels of the lasers anyway, so the Seeker is no threat.

With that, they all exit the Seeker, leaving a frustrated Bob to pilot the impotent Seeker back to his base.

The steward of the Blood, Sweat and Tears arranges shared staterooms for everyone, as the pilot of the A3 turns and heads for Dallia.

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youngerpliny

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