“Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gunpoint.”
Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk LAM
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Battlemaster
-————————— Maxim Heavy Hover Tank
July 25th, 3022 : L5 Debris Field – Clump 23, Kigamboni System, Federated Suns : Returning to “The Freedom of the Stars” and the “Dingoes’ Den”, the unit docked their gunship and pair of aerofighters for repairs. Taking an hour to revise their plans, they slowly moved back to the debris point with the comet husk, and boarded a pair of squads along with Major Kanto Jokukad “Pitbull” and Mechwarrior Pol Baca “Templar” on the gunship, escorted by Lieutenant SG Eric Balmer “Tinman” in his EGL-R6 Eagle.
The pair of aeroships moved into the debris point, identifying a cloud of debris around the comet husk, as well as the gutted remnants of a Buccaneer-Class DropShip. A slow fly-by of the husk revealed an obvious hangar bay (sealed), which the gunship approached. Finding a small personnel airlock along one side of the hangar bay doors, the marines slipped over to it, while Pitbull and Templar spent some time examining it for booby-traps. Close study revealed it was trapped where its explosive bolts would activate, blowing the entire airlock into vacuum. Assisted by the marine squad’s technician, they deactivated it, and began moving the squads through the airlock into the comet base.
Beyond the airlock was a corridor that slipped around a large open hangar bay, visible through numerous large portholes. Eventually the corridor entered a control room with massive bay windows over-looking the hangar bay and main airlocks, and containing monitoring equipment, access to the bay itself, and a simple data control center, with access to the central core. Simple data access was allowed, giving a general status update of key locations also with computer access; Control Room, Habitat, Medical and Storage.
Examination of the computer core began, with Templar requesting (but denied) guards, and the two squads spread through the base looking for information or inhabitants. It was discovered that at least two hours previously, the base had been abandoned, from access to the hangar bay doors, and Templar found a buried code deep in the computer’s programming, that was counting-down. The third and forth marine squads were requested, and the gunship moved out to the Den to gather them, while the search continued.
Careful searching revealed several dormitories, capable of housing up to 300 personnel, though only about 20 of the 0-G bunks were being used regularly. Life support was salvaged from the nearby Buccaneer, as was the equipment for Medical and the Kitchens. A large Exo-Ball court was found in the Habitat area, and the Control Room was revealed to have hidden surveillance at all key locations (airlocks, bulkheads, important rooms). Deep beyond the core, near the kitchens, they found a large Stores area, with a direct cargo access along a separate corridor and airlock to the outside. In one back room, easily locked from the outside, they found a collection of civilian corpses, somewhat well-to-do, based on their clothing, each executed. It was agreed they were likely hostages, eliminated when the pirates abandoned their base.
Meanwhile, examination of the computer files revealed that it was tied to the main system’s power; and in all their searches, they had never found a central fusion core. Close attention to the hangar bays, however, revealed that in addition to literally a good gigaton of refined hydrogen fuel stored in numerous tanks along the walls, was an ice refining station and a large heat source – likely the fusion core. The new marine squads arrived, and began helping in the search, and one of the new marine techs was sent down to examine the modules. In addition to the large (630-ton) fusion engine mounted along the bottom of the bay, was an unidentifiable module. He identified it as nuclear demolition charge, powered by the main reactor…
Trooper Bodrick Thompson “Blaster” volunteered to look at the device, and accompanied the pair of tech squads that were travelling to the facility. Meanwhile, Templar noted that the facility count-down gave the unit approximately 8 hours, and his attempts at programming might be able to allow him to stop the clock, but there was a concern that if that should happen, it might activate the demolitions charge. They decided to wait for Blaster, since he had the skills to conduct a proper examination of the device.
The marine crews quickly searched through the large collection of containers in the Stores, noting several 0-G cargo handling devices were present, though energy charges on the devices limited their efforts to hauling twelve crates. Search of the Stores began, and led to them finding numerous sorts of things, from copper and gold ore, to basic electronics to combat cybernetics and a small agribot. Key cargoes were identified, and slowly moved down the tunnel access corridor, while the Dingoes Den was moved into position near the cargo airlock.
Blaster agreed with the tech’s assessment, and quickly determined the device would go off if it lost power, or the clock ever stopped for whatever reasons. Recognizing the device was going to blow, regardless of their efforts, Colonel Michael Ruxbondy “Paladin” gave the unit 6 hours to clear and salvage the base, and then move out of the nearby debris point to a safe location and let the device destroy all evidence of the pirate’s efforts.
The techs and marines quickly began salvaging operations, and once they had exhausted the fuel cells on their handling equipment, locked everything down and promptly abandoned the base themselves. All vessels moved carefully from their debris points and slowly moved to a safe distance. The detonation was spectacular, with the comet husk crumbling in on itself in a massive explosion and EMP pulse.
July 26th, 3022 : The group slowly made their way back to the remnants of the Vigilant Corvette and began a quick survey of the site, thinking it might have been kept as a fall-back site for the pirates, but cursory examinations revealed that wasn’t the case. The pirates and their shuttle were well-hidden in the field… somewhere. The decision was then made to evacuate the Dingoes’ Den and her crews back towards the planet of Kigamboni, hoping to encounter the trail of the shuttle, but leaving the Freedom hidden in the field, along with the Gunship, and see if they were still hidden in the field.
The Den quickly accelerated towards the planet, and after some hours, began to pick-up a fast-moving object making its way towards the debris clump, on an intercept course. The Den began to decelerate, and turn around, but the fast-moving object turned-out to be “Azrael’s Dagger” moving at maximum thrust. With no way to intercept or meet the ship at the debris clump, it was all in the hands of the Freedom and her crew.
A couple hours into the wait in the clump, the Freedom picked-up a sharp communications burst from a nearby debris point. Though coded and garbled, the crew knew what it meant, and carefully loaded their gunship with a reinforced marine squad and moved towards the site. Although it took a sharp strike to its left wing upon entering the debris point, they found a lone S-7A Class Bus at the site, promptly boarded and swarmed the bus in the debris point, capturing it with only one casualty ( Hans-Too-Tall… again… ). Taking possession of the bus, the marines prepared for the arrival of the Achilles, and it too soon arrived, almost screeching to a halt outside the debris clump. It sent a hurried command to dock in its port small craft bay, and the bus left the field at maximum thrust, it’s trojans aboard her.
The docking was wobbly, but successful, and the reinforced marine squad stormed aboard the Achilles. A desperate assault began, with the reinforced and tougher marine squad from the Dingoes against the crew and typical marines squad of the defenders. Initially even, it quickly turned against the pirates, when the Dingoes marines managed to get their M56 “Smartgun”s into play, and the entire pirate crew of the “Azrael’s Dagger” died to the last man. The vessel was under Dingoes control.
Several hours later, the Den arrived and sent additional techs and medics to look after the casualties. Among the cargo aboard the Star Bus was a small portable data comp, with the in-system pirate contacts and activities, along with a reference to several other “major assets” of the pirates. It hinted that the pirates were one branch of an organization known as “The Principii”, a pro-Taurian militant group of terrorists. Most importantly, it was rumored that the Principii were led by Karl Lotjonen, who was wanted by the Taurian government for terrorism.
A skeleton crew was supplied over to the Azrael’s Dagger from the Den, to get the vessel to the jump-point, where it would be locked into a docking collar until it could be turned over to a new captain… likely Commander Warrick “Mister” Christie and his crew he was gathering in System – Tequila Beach. The pair of DropShips then moved towards the jump-point at a casual speed, taking several days, while the Freedom moved to a safe distance from the debris clump, and prepared to jump back to a rendezvous in Cumberland with .
July 29th, 3022 : The Dingoes Den and Azrael’s Dagger both docked with the Iron Vagabond, and spent the better part of the day transferring cargo and personnel.
July 30th, 3022 : Both the Freedom and Vagabond jumped into Cumberland System, deployed their sails and began charging operations.
August 6th, 3022 : Hobson System : Both ships jumped in-system without incident. They both deployed sails and began charging operations. Seven days later, they jumped out-system.
August 13th, 3022 : System – New Syrtis : Jumping in-system, the group couldn’t contact their people deployed on New Syrtis, left behind to fulfill their obligations under Contract – Operation “Blue Harvest”. Having two days left in the contract, the group gathered aboard their DropShips, the “Brush Wolf” and the “Dingoes’ Den”, and made the casual 4-day burn towards the planet.
August 17th, 3022 : Landing at Saso starport, the landed DropShips made contact with their counter-parts the “Pandora’s Box” and the “Star Talon”, their local commander Captain Fionna Lord “Angel Frost” and their Federated Suns liaison officers.
It became apparent that Captain Lord had strongly employed “Dingo Pack Tactics” during their mission, and might have over-stepped their bounds. She had apparently chosen to strike several basic suppliers (with the fake guns supplied for their activities) and using their vehicles slipped into all her targets under the contract without incident, taking control of all the facilities with ease. She then advanced up the supply chain, raiding several other facilities along the supply chain until she and her people had actually taken control of the starport and its warehouses at the final point, allowing their DropShips to land and begin “loading” operations, uncontested by local defenses. That several tons of whiskey, cigars and other goods had gone missing from the customs building was being overlooked in exchange for the Dingoes keeping the security breaches quiet. The contract was paid-out and the Dingoes dismissed from service. It was further decided to take some time-off for all the troops, to enjoy some R&R for several days.
Plans were then discussed in approaching the Pleiades Cluster, in search of Lotjonen at his facility, marked in their data as something known as “Jackson’s Folly”. It was further decided to keep the matter silent, and not inform the government, especially since they would likely lose salvage rights to Azrael’s Dagger and any other ships or items they might salvage from teh facility in question. Things would develop into a Black Op, but this time, they would have access to the entire Line Troops for the operations…