Bruce (Glamour)———————-Phoenix Hawk
We jumped from Pilpala into the Andarmax system, and were immediately hailed by the Liao customs station at the Zenith. Commodore Southland explained that the Vagabond was hauling “…refugees and medical supplies to Heroditus for resettlement…”, and since its beacons were correct and she still had a commercial (if Davion) licence, they let us drop our sails and recharge. We noticed the JumpShip hailed a couple other vessels, and some limited contact was done shuttle-to-shuttle, mostly trade in luxuries and news from different crews. The rest of us spent the week playing cards, and in discussion meetings trying to nail down some matters that had been building over the past few months.
It was decided that we would offer the techs and support staff we had hired of late proper contracts, so a series of interviews with all the Techs, AsTechs and other dependents of the Dingoes was conducted. Advocate compiled files on each person, including a picture, rough personal information, and areas of expertise. That task kept the crews aboard the Dingoes’ Den busy all week, and with this information in hand, we decided to pay all our registered members two months standard wages upon landfall on Heroditus, in raw gold bullion from our reserves. The news was well received, and a “bonus” of a year’s wages to our oldest friends, the Gibbons. We also contracted with “Sunset” and her LAM to a full year’s service in the Dead Mans’s Hand Reserves, after which we could re-negotiate her situation. It was also decided to drop “Tick-Tock” on Heroditus with 1000-Cs and let him find his own way, keeping his Stinger LAM and repairing it for our use (since it had been captured under rights of salvage, unlike Sunset’s surrender).
Paladin and the command staff entered into a discussion with Arlana Jericho and her corporation, “JeriCorp Trading”, regarding contracts and serving the Dingoes as full-time transport. It became apparent, however, that the financial needs of her company, JeriCorp, were very high (millions of C-Bills would likely be required, with payment every month). They inquired as to what she normally did as a Corp, and exactly how big she really was, to which she explained that it was only her JumpShip, the Vagabond, and that they usually hauled as an “Interface Line” along the Periphery borders. She further explained she had gotten a “sweet deal” to haul diplomatic cargoes to the Marik Capital at Atreus, and was hauling mining equipment and “incidentals” through Claybrooke on her way back to Davion space, when she was contacted by Milo Carsebloom to take a trip out-system as a “diversion”. JeriCorp Trading presently had no plans beyond Heroditus, however, she hoped to get a few DropShips to return to Davion space once again. She agreed to a contract in principle, that upon arrival at Herditus, she would need to stay a month or more (shore leave for the crew, trade of the corporation’s goods, and some active maintenance at the recharge station), and so she would grant the unit “right of first refusal”, before leaving the system. The unit felt that they could determine things at a later date, as they got closer to Heroditus.
The command group also spoke briefly with Captain Adam Kristophe, gaining a better understanding of what his DropShip, the “Star Mistress” was about, and whether they might hire her. Costs were examined, and since he was travelling to Heroditus with the Dingoes, they felt they didn;t need to hire him at the moment, though the free cargo space his ship had was looking very valuable as a potential asset. They also learned that his ship was very much a family affair, and the two would not likely part company.
When we had charged our jump core, we bounced into the next system.
Jumping into Repulse, we encountered a single Merchant-Class JumpShip, its sails deployed. The ship, “The Exostar”, was hauling a pair of Mule-Class DropShips, and its command crew was unusually curt and unresponsive, refusing to exchange crews. About a day later, she furled her sails, and jumped out-bound without any hails. The “Star Mistress” aboard the Vagabond, undocked and made a run in-system to pick-up some cargo bound for Heroditus.
A couple days later, a Scout-Class JumpShip bounced into the jump position, and immediately hailed the Vagabond. Voice, who had taken to monitoring all local communications as something to do, caught a part of it, as did Glamour and Lt. Dajus-Marik who were on the bridge at the time. Boasting a Davion ID Beacon, the vessel was identified as the civilian corporate JumpShip “The Nebula”. It detached a small escort ship of some type, and quickly burned towards the Vagabond, hailing itself as carrying a representative of “..a private Corporate entity, seeking re-fueling and discourse with the head of JeriCorp…”. Panic set in among the lead elements of the Dingoes, as Voice informed everyone in the Line Unit of the situation, and Wraith verified “…I’ve got a bad feeling about this…”. Paladin quickly gave out unit orders, and contacted Captain Lord and the Snow Dusters, asking them to ready some infantry in case things went south. She activated her “ready force” (a pair of squads) to gather at the JumpShip locks, while the rest of her squads, techs and dependents suited-up and armed themselves. Our techs also readied weapons and came to some semblance of order.
Paladin, Wraith, Fixer and Advocate gathered at the airlock, waiting just down the corridor to “keep an eye on things”, while Voice continued to monitor comms and Glamour and Dajus-Marik waited on the bridge. Commodore Southland and Arlana Jericho arrived and they were soon joined by several techs in engineers vacc-suits. A squad of marines in grey, unmarked armor and a grizzled man in a perfect business suit, appeared at the airlock, and he identified himself as Ship’s Master Brinton Young of Excalibur Corporation. Arlana offered the boarding party the freedom of the ship, and Young dispatched most of the squad to take their time in the mess, while he “conferred” (said with a smirk) with the JeriCorp executives. Paladin split the group, with himself following the five troopers headed to the lounge, while Wraith followed silently (in his sneak suit) to Arlana’s offices in the forward cargo bay, and Fixer and Advocate kept an eye on the airlock.
Paladin noted that the group had brought “boarding packs”, and once they were in the lounge, began offering tobacco, liquor and a few other incidentals in trade for hard cash from them. Over the next hour, the five troopers seemed to get most of the JumpShip crew to travel through the lounge and engage in a bit of trade. The crew seemed to give quiet respect to the troopers and seemed to welcome the opportunity, though they spoke little and quickly moved away from the sqaud to their own places. Paladin also noticed a velcro-attached symbol on their suits of a sword rammed through a planet in black outline. Wraith was unable to slip into the offices, but waited outside, wishing he’d brought his ram-mike system to gain some insight into what was happening in JeriCorp’s offices. The airlock remained quiet. Glamour noted that the “escort” ship that had docked was a Vampire-Class Dropship, (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Vampire), an infantry assault DropShip known for speed, and its unusually small size. monitoring the local channels, Voice was able to overhear the common conversations between the technical crews as they refueled the shuttle on the hull. He overheard the techs commenting on the odd, flat black color of the ship’s hull, which made it seem warm and capable of melding into the Void around it.
After an hour of closed discussions, the call came to the marines to ready themselves and rendezvous back at the airlock. The lounge crew packed-up and made haste back to meet their patron, pocketing their rolls of newly traded currency. The boarding group together once more, pleasantries were exchanged, and the unit boarded their ship, making quickly to undock. As soon as the docking hatches were sealed and the ship began to pull away, Fixer noticed Arlana scowled, swore like a marine, and overheard her mutter to the Commodore, “…I really don’t know how they tracked us, but at least we’ve got some goods to cover our losses. At least, for now…” She returned to her offices, while the Commodore headed for the bridge. The escort made quickly for their JumpShip, the “Nebula” across the way, docked and the JumpShip deployed its sails and began a recharge cycle. Glamour, on the bridge, noted that there were numerous signatures on the “Nebula”, and careful study of the sensors revealed there were three Vampires attached to the hull of the Scout-Class ship… obviously the vessel was modified beyond standard practice…
Over the next day, Arlana put a lock on all system communications, and numerous conversations took place, back and forth, between the JumpShip and the Repulse HPG. Voice identified the comms channels being used, and identified the conversations regarded Arlana, as Executive Secretary of JeriCorp, making regular contact with the “New Avalon Central Bank” regarding interest payments of a rather high amount. Later in the day, a tech from the Dingoes crew reported to Voice that his supervisor, one Eduardo Sadeh, was missing. He explained that his team was salted to do repair work this morning on the foot assemblies of the “ready” Mechs, but Tech Sadeh didn’t show-up for work. The team did their tasks anyways, and afterwards attempted to contact him, but he was nowhere to be found. Voice informed Paladin, and soon a ship-wide alert was processed, and tech teams fanned throughout the Dingoes Den, looking for Tech Sadeh. The airlocks were investigated, as were the escape pods and Aero hangar-bays. They turned-up nothing.
The search was quickly expanded, alerting the other ships, the Vagabond especially, that one of the Dingoes’ crew was missing. Advocate began to rummage through his newly made files, and quickly identified who Sadeh was; a former lead tech in the Outback Irregulars, he had taken service when the Dingoes sacked the “Eden’s Promise Cache” on Claybrooke. Copies of his picture were made (thank goddess for all that office equipment in the cache), and quickly spread to search crews. Advocate began “interviewing” Sadeh’s crew, asking questions about “if he’d had anything happen to him lately”, to which his crew agreed that the only thing of note, was back a system (in Andramax) he had gotten some sort of message via the HPG. The two with him when he read it, claimed he had seemed very alarmed, turned deathly pale, and had to use a ventilator he carried with him in his pocket. He soon recovered, and as the days proceeded, he treated his crew to a special stash of his private stock of alcohol (rum as it turned-out), and seemed to regain his jovial manner. A search of his quarters revealed nothing at first, but Fixer eventually pointed-out that a Tech would never be without his tools, and they were not found amongst the things in his room.
As the search spread across the fleet, members of the Vagabond’s crew were attached to tech crews from the Dingoes’ Den, and they fanned throughout the JumpShip. Paladin, leading one crew team, headed down to the lifeboats, and his crew literally tripped over Tech Sadeh, as he staggered into them in a corridor near a lifeboat access. In horrible shape, he collapsed and muttered in Paladin’s ear, “…I had to try and get off-ship… they want it… they want it bad…”. The strain proved too much for Sadeh, and he finally collapsed, uttering “Tequila…. the Shining Beach…” with his dying gasp. Paladin alerted the ships that they had “…found their missing crewman, and that he was off his meds and had suffered some sort of break-down”, and then carted his corpse to the Seeker’s medbay. He dispatched some of his techs with Sadeh’s remains, and investigated the nearby lifeboat access, finding a pair of shoulderbags, taking them back to the ship with another announcement to the Vagabond’s engineers to check-out the lifeboat’s systems.
Gathering the senior unit members in his offices, Paladin and the group began to investigate the bag’s contents. In the larger, they found a collection of fine tools, and in the other a wide collection of items. The second, smaller shoulder bag was stuffed with military rations, a bundle of seven ComStar bank drafts in 2000 C-Bill increments, a collection of currency (3058 C-Bills in cash and coin), a few personal papers (of no consequence, including Sadeh’s Guild membership ID), a tourist brochure of the planet of Claybrooke, and two other items of note. The first was a very old gold pocket watch, on a chain with a small telescope fob. Looking into the telescope revealed a pornographic hologram of a red-headed Mech pilot. The watch was heavily chased and engraved, in a “stag” motiff; Glamour identified the item as being rare and from Old Terra, and worth forty to fifty thousand C-Bills to a wealthy collector. The other item was a small, spiral-bound notebook, filled with handwritten notations (mostly in code), tables, and strange diagrams which might be maps.
Paladin took the notebook, promising to try his hand at Cryptography, a hobby of his, and break the code over the next few weeks. Glamour took possession of the watch and tossed it and the money into the unit cash reserves. Luckily, the conscripted medical team included several skilled bio-scientists, so Voice requested they perform an autopsy on Sadeh. Within hours, Doctor Sutherland and his team determined that Sadeh had died of some sort of slow-acting poison… Suspecting the ventilators he had used, the handful of used dispensers found in his quarters were also examined and they were identified to contain some sort of slow-acting poison, in particular, a rare form of powerful opiates. Voice suggested the source of all this trouble might lay in the HPG message Sadeh had been received, and accessing the Vagabond’s computers, copied across the now-garbled file, and cracked it to discover a few phrases and words. Noteworthy among them was the comment, “…give me the object, but whether you do or not, I will get it, and you will die…”. The files were somewhat corrupted, and the bulk of the transmission was lost.
The next day, Paladin decided to ask Arlana a few questions, and visiting her offices, encountered a grumpy Executive Seretary, but she willingly took some time to talk with him. He commented about if there were any problems, and if there was some means by which he and the Dingoes might help. She was about to say something, then changed her mind and commented, “No, not really. I just have obligations to meet is all.” They talked about a few other matters, and he then excused himself, feeling she had wanted to ask for something, but was unable to…
The crews of all the ships were sullen and somber over the next few days regarding the recent death, and the eventual return of the “Star Mistress” was a pleasant change. The fleet warily watched the nearby “Nebula” and its DropShips. When the Star Mistress was declared secure, and all other DropShips reported their status, the Vagabond called for all-quarters, and jumped out-system, hoping to put the incident behind them.
The Renown system had little of note occur, making its name seem false. Arlana co-opted the comms channels again upon arrival for a a few hours. A military Union-Class DropShip on a Scout-Class JumpShip with a company of Kincade’s Rangers travelled through bound for Repulse, and a shipment of ore on a Merchant-Class JumpShip came through from the uncharted Periphery. With the “lull”, the DropShips and JumpShips held an intra-ship “Olympics” in the Vagabond’s cargo bay, involving various zero-G activities, though none of the PCs participated.
An industrialized arctic planet producing a few export products (mostly electronic components and civilian ICE engines), the system had fair traffic, despite its location near the Periphery, and the fact that it would take three week’s travel via DropShip to get to its primary planet’s rocky surface. Arlana once more took command of all local communications for a couple hours. A couple of merchants bounced through, deploying sails or retrieving their DropShips for transport elsewhere.
In a stream of several parties held to break the boredom, one particularly eventful bash stood-out. Paladin was noted as getting very deeply into his cups, and disappeared for several hours… in the morning, he discovered a large portion of his cash-on-hand was missing, and numerous origami cranes made out of C-Bills in his bed. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he might have spent the night making origami cranes out of his cash and then “set them free” out an airlock. From the same party, Glamour and Wraith got into an argument with a Dingo Tech and a civilian dependent, over some religious point; the exact details having been lost in the fog of the party.
A garrison system and noted for its large mercenary groups of construction crews, Ward’s population of 1.5 billion provided little beyond foodstuffs. Visitors included a frontier fleet of an Invader-Class JumpShip hauling some assault DropShips, a Scout-Class military courier, and a civilian Starlord-Class JumpShip from Hellespont Industrial with a full cluster of merchant Buccaneers, Mules, and a single Mammoth, all bound for the heart of the Sian Commonality. Arlana took control of the comms for a couple hours, making her usual communications with the Ward HPG.
Among the group, Fixer found his and nearby rooms aboard the Dingoes’ Den had suffered some sort of accident, with venting spewing toxins into all the affected chambers. Also Voice had a temporary glitch, as his new systems on the Hunchback suffered failures. It took most of the downtime while waiting for their sails to charge their drives before the problems with both systems tracked and fixed. Fixer spent most of the week in his BattleMech cockpit, rather than his quarters, while they worked on the entire life support system. He also began to feel “stuffy”, as the weeks aboard a closed system were starting to affect his allergies.
Also, a couple days after arrival, “Tinman” Captain Balmer awoke from his coma, and after a day of observation, was spoken to about his “situation”. It became apparent that he was in a bad position with few options, and readily accepted taking a year’s contract with the Dingoes in their Reserve Unit, flying a repaired Stinger LAM as the Recon Lance’s senior officer. He was also expected to act as a trainer for any future “students” as part of his duties, a task for which he seemed well qualified. While it meant taking a drop in rank, he recognized that it was a good offer.
The group was getting anxious, and with Heroditus so close, they discussed what they knew about the “Repulse Incident”. Paladin revealed his discoveries in translating the notebook found on Tech Sadeh, and it was a hit like a ten-ton hammer. The notebook contained the coded records of Sadeh’s actions in the service of his prior patron, Brigadier Magdan Zane.
Tech Sadeh was more than the simple leader of a tech squad, he had been Brigadier Magdan Zane’s personal lead tech for several years. His memoirs detailed a series of repeating events; the Outback Irregulars were privately funded, and would jump from system to system as salvagers and treasure hunters. The Outback Irregulars would bounce from boring garrison contract to boring garrison contract, always for corporations or small planetary militas, and always for specific planets. While on-planet they used the cover of their “LowTech” Mechs and pair of Galleon lances as their garrison forces, while their “elite” pair of Thorns, Sentinel and Black Knight would comb the backwater stretches of their chosen planets on treasure hunts. Mostly fueled by speculation and rumor, his hunts always found something; a few lost parts here, a battered Mech there, but always turned a profit while the “line” unit’s contracts paid the unit salaries and covered their activities.
Sadeh commented that he didn’t know who funded their operations, but that it was obviously someone with good finances, and a great deal of trust in the Brigadier. The unit maintained a high tech ratio, but tended to go through pilots quickly; mostly through attrition, as the “hidden” unit would often be suspected as bandits and had to fight planetary militia while on their hunts, on a regular basis. Often, he would move the DropShip and its garrison forces to a suspected site of “bandit activity” as a cover to get his techs and vehicles to uncover the cache and provide footage as proof of eliminating “bandit” Mechs. His activities had been very profitable of late, with better and better information coming from his patron. The way the Brigadier had spoken of regarding the “Eden’s Promise Cache” it was likely an answer to all his plans and dreams. His death at the hands of the Dingoes made all that moot, however.
Following the raid on the cache site by the Dingoes, Tech Sadeh writes, things began to unravel. As the Brigadier’s personal tech, he knew about a few things, like where Zane kept a couple very valuable personal artifacts he had collected during his travels. He knew that something in Zane’s possession was worth a lot, since lately he was given such good information from his patron. It was obvious that the patron was giving Zane a reward in return for whatever it was. During the confusion of the Dingoes’ raid on the cache, Tech Sadeh looted the one spot where Zane kept his most valuable items, and found the watch and some smaller pieces he had since gambled away. He was hired by the Dingoes, and just kept quiet while he figured-out what to do.
About a month after the Dingoes returned with their loot to Fort Anton, Tech Sadeh started to get messages. At first, they were typed hardcopy messages, telling him to “…turn over the Sangreal, before something bad happened…” kind of demands, but as Spring arrived and it was becoming obvious that the Dingoes were panning to leave planet, they became adamant that he turn over the object NOW. The Dingoes raid on Deadwood and prompt abandonment of the planet must have taken whomever it was by complete surprise, because all communication ceased. Until the HPG message in Andarmax, and the events that followed. From his writings, it is obvious that Sadeh was becoming unstable, and paranoid. His final few comments in the book show he was suffering from advanced stages of paranoia, and combined with the appearance of the mysterious Excalibur Corp and the last use of his ventilators (which teh PCs now know were poisoned by someone), pushed him over the edge and he wrote a need to leave the ship and flee somewhere they could not track him…
An intensive study of the pocket watch ensued, with the science team of Doctor Sutherland examining it for any “microscopic items that might have been missed”. Nothing seemed extraordinary; it was a very ancient watch with a high value to collectors. Seemingly having hit a dead-end, the PCs noted the incident, and recalled his final words regarding “…Tequila… the Shining Beach…”. They consulted the Encyclopedia Galacticana holograms (Episode 0 – Escape from the Ice Hook), but it said nothing. Commodore Sutherland and his navigator knew nothing, either. The group remembered, however, that Captain Adam Kristophe, was a noted veteran of the Periphery, and might know more. Visiting him on-board the Star Mistress, he shared some rum and while smoking his pipe, answered their questions.
“Have ye ev’r heard of a Shadowport, laddies?” When they acknowledged they had not, he elaborated. “A Shadowport, is a place where bandits, outcasts and renegades go when they need supplies or repairs. A hidden port, usually along the borders of any given realm, and always unknown to the authorities, Tequila Beach is one such place. Built in a Nebular cloud Rimward and Trailing of the Davion regions of Islamabad and Kearny, it is a massive armed and armored asteroid, ruled by the old pirate, Cardinal Benjamin Taft. You can get anything there; slaves, food, repairs, even second-hand and newer Mechs and DropShips… if you can pay the tariff…” He gave vague directions, claiming to have never been there himself, but the Dingoes now understood a little more of the situation. Paladin commented “…is an old pocket watch was worth the value of a man’s life?”; everyone, including Paladin, knew unspoken the answer to that simple question… They agreed there was little to do about it for now, but if they should ever be near the Reaver’s Rift or the Davion Outback, it was worth looking into…
With the jump to Heroditus a day away, the Dingo command staff gathered once more, and discussed their final approach to contracting the Vagabond. Its value in storing salvage, and the independence it gave the unit might be worth the cost, they decided. Discussing the financial difficulties that JeriCorp might be undergoing, they realized that there was a powerful fact the unit had forgotten. They inquired of the Commodore, what the exact problems the company was facing, and while he did not feel it proper to talk about specifics, he claimed all the independents have been under pressure from the various mega-corps in the Periphery, but they had recently lost a cargo, and they’d had to spend nearly a year trying to solve the financial morass that had ensued. When asked for clarification, he admitted it had involved “The Ice Hook Incident”, and that he was unwilling to discuss more without Arlana’s approval…
The Ice Hook! Fixer suddenly remembered back when they managed to flee the Ice Hook, before it hit the atmosphere, he had caught a fleeting glimpse of the ship that had attacked their transport; it had looked sleek, and black and small… like a Vampire-Class DropShip, he now realized. He shared this information, and the Dingoes were stunned. They all agreed that the Ice Hook had somehow been “hit by raiders” and destroyed, and possibly by the same mega-corp they had met a month ago at Andarmax; Excalibur Corporation. They remembered Arlana saying the Vagabond had been hauling mining equipment and “incidentals” through Claybrooke, and were picking-up a shipment of food for Pilpala before having to spend that year at the Claybrooke Nadir. The Dingoes (then 13th Provisional Company) had been the “incidentals” on the Ice Hook.
Taking this bit of information with them, the command staff quickly met with Arlana at her offices, and asked to speak with her. They sat down and began to lay out their suspicions and the facts as they saw them; She had lost a cargo of mining equipment and “incidentals” in Claybrooke to raiders, and the Dingoes had been the incidentals. Voice explained the group had been prisoners on the losing end of the recent Civil War, and that the Ice Hook had not simply fallen prey to mechanical difficulties, but rather had been hit by slavers as it approached the atmosphere. They described the ship that had sent the raiders aboard, and described the uniforms and armor… similiar to the armor worn by the boarding party from the “Nebula”. They remembered that Pockets and Pitbull both had suits of the stuff in their quarters, and fetched them as further evidence. They admitted they did not understand exactly why Excalibur had wanted the DropShip “Ice Hook” destroyed, but that its loss had obviously made JeriCorp Trading more unstable, and they had done it for a reason. The arrival of the armored vacc-suits proved their point beyond question in her mind, and Arlana filled in the missing information that remained.
“The History of JeriCorp Trading” : JeriCorp Trading came into existence twelve years ago when Arlana’s father, a successful merchant, had cobbled together the finances to purchase “The Vaga”. He had brought the ship into the border worlds of the Davion Outback, hoping to exploit the growing demand of the Davion war machine for raw materiel from the region, and similar to a dozen other small, independent operations was somewhat successful. Arlana had been working the business end of matters for about five years, when her father had died in a shuttle accident the year prior to arriving at Claybrooke (3015).
She admitted many of the independents had, of late, been under pressure from the mega-corps operating in the Davion Outback, organizations such as Sternmetal Horizons and Excalibur Corporation. This, by itself wouldn’t have been too bad, as the Periphery was vast, and a JumpShip could never occupy more than a single system and deal with only a handful of DropShips at any given time. However, the mega-corps had begun to target the smaller independents, since most were on shoe-string budgets and the acquisition of their ships and crews would make expansion easier than waiting for new ships or trying to outfit new crews. About the time of her father’s death, JeriCorp had been reduced to accepting questionable contracts on the fringes of the “Reaver’s Rift”.
Following his death, JeriCorp’s bitterest enemy had proven to be Excalibur Corporation; the company is a large, diversified holding spreading along the Davion Outback’s Periphery edge, with many of its holdings in the Periphery of Anterior Space. Excalibur’s competitors are often fond of reminding its traders that the corporation was founded under dubious circumstances centuries ago, and that its initial investment capital was very shady in origins. Excalibur Corporation has been singling out certain independent organizations for persecution and outright piracy, and has taken a particular interest in JeriCorp Trading, due probably to the skill of its crew and the value of its ship. Over the past year, there have been a dozen attempts to discredit the Corp, frighten off its employees, and sabotage its contracts.
The destruction of JeriCorp’s leased DropShip, the “Ice Hook”, might have been the final blow. Only large mega-corps can afford to buy or build the DropShips needed for trading; other corps have to “lease” the vessels, with little hope of ever actually owning their own. Even with financing, there are few available, however, and the waiting lists are long. JeriCorp had been leasing the Ice Hook for a trip to Pilpala, hauling foodstuffs, ice, mining equipment and “incidentals” (now identified as the PCs) to Pilpala, but its destruction under questionable circumstances had forced the company to use almost all of its reserve capital in meeting their lease contract. They had been forced to wait at the Claybrooke Nadir for almost a year, while they renegotiated their contract for payment on the Vagabond. The interest payments were about to drive the final nail in their coffin, when Milo Carsebloom had contacted them and offered a large sum of hard currency in exchange for a trip away from Marik space as a “diversion” for him to leave the system. Unable to miss more payments, they had accepted a bank draft from “Carse Technologies Corp (CTC)”, as an assurance to their bankers that they were trying to meet their financial obligations. It was all that was keeping them from having JeriCorp Trading go bankrupt and Arlana lose everything she and her father had tried to build…
Arlana could now see the truth of what the Dingoes had shown her, and admitted Excalibur Corp was likely the culprit behind destroying their DropShip, taking its crew as conscripts and incidentally slaying the PCs, all in an effort to get their hands on JeriCorp Trading’s single asset, their JumpShip the “Vagabond”. That they would disatch a Scout-Class JumpShip and several elite DropShips to “shadow” the ship for most of a year, hinted at how far they were willing to reach for what they wanted… What they hadn’t counted on, however, was the luck and determination of the 13th Provisional Company, soon to officially be known as “The Iron Dingoes”.
The Dingo command staff checked their maps, noting, for future reference, where the Davion Outback was, and hoping an opportunity might present itself for them to take the fight back to Excalibur Corp in the future… Arlana thanked the PCs for their offers, and admitted she felt much better about working with them in the future. For now, they had a few more plans to make before Heroditus.
The group began various last minute projects, such as conducting research on Excalibur Corp, making a list of salvage the unit could potentially sell in the limited Heroditus markets, as well as plans to spend some hard-earned downtime for a few weeks. Glamour asked for a list of all the smaller corps that might also be in the same position as JeriCorp, though Arlana admitted she wasn’t sure she could provide much or even all of them, just those she knew about. Glamour seemed to have plans to create some sort of “Trader’s Decree” and forge a force against their attackers. Plans set, and their drive coils finally charged, they jumped into Heroditus…