Friday, April 8, 2016

IW 3 - Two thousand miles per second

The TCIV CAMEROON fitted a second hand Jump-2 drive that they purchased from a scrapyard on Callisto. They loaded up with freight jobs, two nuns and 6 dT of fragile pharmaceuticals on their way back to Terra. There, they expect to fill the CAMEROON up for a jump to Prometheus (Alpha Centauri).

Callisto is a Terran colony administered by a representative of the Saudi King, Abn Al-Baghdadi. It is a frozen world on the fringe of the solar system where few bother stopping.

Location: shahat-1, Callisto, Terra system
Terran timestamp: March 28, 2170 AD
The crew started to feel like Callisto was old hat by the 28th. There were two days left before the freight job was ready for pick-up. The entertainment buffet had gone bland. Tom befriended a veteran marine capable to cast a wide net over the Jupiter sub-system to recruit people. Aeryn got herself embroiled into a cash fight against a dependent of the Saudi King’s representative. She walked away bruised and with a limp. From the wayside, Tom had an inkling that a victory could have turned into a trouble magnet for the crew.

By the 30th, the nuns were on board as well as 7dT of freight and 720 KCr worth of pharmaceuticals that Jane scored from a shifty broker/bodybuilder. Escaping Jupiter from Callisto was a smooth burn. Destination: TSS Obama in medium Earth Orbit for a fit of the Jump-2 drive.

Location: Acceleration phase, Asteroid belt, Terra system
Terran timestamp: April 2, 2170 AD
The CAMEROON had settled in a simple routine by the 2nd as it reached its midpoint. UWO interplanetary command (UWO/IC) issued a privileged connection. UWO/IC determined that the CAMEROON was the only ship capable to intervene in an emergency situation in the belt. They offered an acting-deputy license if the ship was to engage a particular target prosecuted for piracy. The crew accepted.

The pirate ship was a small corsair navigating a busy asteroid area. The speed differential was 1967 mps (miles per second). Nothing could be done about this huge velocity vector on time for the intercept as it took two days of continuous push to achieve this velocity. Diane couldn't get a fix on the sensor array so Jane plotted in the blind and rather conservatively. The pirate ship appeared late and the intercept would be made at 15K miles. This would require timing. There was no sign of having been detected by the pirates when the light show began.

Diane spotted the ship 17 miles from a belter’s bubble. She passed the contact to Tom who began painting the target with the lead laser. A return lead laser hit them shortly as Jane began erratic vector maneuvers. Once surface spots on the target got to 500C, the dual 100MJ laser started to pulse. At the same time, forward sensors started to scream as the CAMEROON’s hull got breached and pressure in the habitat started to drop.

Standing by in sickbay, Aeryn was monitoring the external surface sensors. It became clear to her that the forward armor was melting away in two areas. Anticipating a breach, she put on her vaccsuit helmet and ran for the bridge. A blast of light came in and the air from the habitat blew the melting metal out. By then, Aeryn had barged into the bridge while Flo (the nursebot) had dashed for the rear. The structure screamed as the air howled through the pinhole made by the pirate’s laser. Diane and Jane had to gasp and reached for their helmet. On the floor, Diane missed the chance to get a readout on the damage cause to the pirate ship by their own fire. The crew stood stunned for a few second, hurling into space at 2000 mps in an uncontrolled drift.

“The nuns!”, exclaimed Aeryn as she remember hustling them to her bunk room just before the engagement. Tom and Aeryn secured their helmets and warned the other that they would be attempting a rescue in the decompressed habitat. As the hatch opened, the vacuum sucked them in and they found themselves in microgravity: tumbling in the lounge. They found the two nuns in Aeryn’s quarter. One of them had panicked and vomitted all over the 0G room and showed sign of severe ebullism. The other nun was breathing into her mask, curdled in the fetal position.

Sisters Maria and Angeline had better days before their unfateful decision to travel onboard of the CAMEROON.

Diane tunnelled into Flo’s video feed. Flo was on the other side. Molly has suited up and was getting ready to enter the habitat when the hatch-unlocking warning light started to flicker. The light went off for a second and the pressure stepped down. Aeryn and Tom got thrown back into the lounge, clasping tumbling nuns.

Flo aimed for the nun covered in vomit: her lungs had collapsed and her blood was a bubbly mess. Tom, Aeryn and Flo applied first aid to revive both of them while Molly returned to the habitat to assess the breach. By then, Jane was filling the intercom with chinese obscenity as she tried to restore the gravitic field in the breached area. About 30 minutes later, Molly abdicated and admitted damaging the hull patching kit beyond repair. An EVA to fix from the outside wasn’t advisable in the belt, so they decided to evacuate as much material from the habitat for the next three days.

Flo, the ship's nursebot
Location: TSS Obama, Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), Terra system
Terran timestamp: April 5, 2170 AD
UWO/IC processed the CAMEROON’s log and issued a SITREP 3 hours later. System arrays scanners suggested that the CAMEROON had either destroyed or disabled the pirate ship.  The CAMEROON built a makeshift sickbay and kept the nuns alive during the deceleration thrust that lasted about 3 days. When they docked to TSS Obama, they were granted immediate access and a medical team took the nuns away (without paying the CAMEROON). Because the damage had incurred under an acting-deputy license, the UWO/IC committed to have the ship’s hull fixed and placed on a queue.

Location: TSS Obama, Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), Terra system
Terran timestamp: April 9, 2170 AD
Molly took advantage of the top-notch UWO/IC equipment to install the Jump-2 drive and reported readiness. She bought a shuttle ticket and headed to British Columbia to visit her family on the surface.

Jane was drinking along in her cabin after botching the sales of the pharmaceuticals with a 15K loss. Live and learn, she concluded.

Location: TSS Obama, Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), Terra system
Terran timestamp: April 10, 2170 AD
Tom took upon himself to recruit passenger for a departure for Prometheus on the 16th (the projected date for the completion of the UWO/IC repairs). It does looks like filling the passenger room will be easy this time around. However, a pair of passengers drew his attention:

Philip was a portly dentist from New Jersey, accompanied by his brother-in-law Marion were looking for a pair of high passages to Prometheus. They were willing to pay 9KCr for it, but conditionally to 4 low passages for their porters, 3 dT of unknown cargo that they claimed to be hunting supplies, and the necessity to be dropped at a particular location in the wild without the knowledge of Prometheus’ ground command. They also expressed the interest to pay 15KCr for a similar pickup on short notice up to 5 days later, possibly with up to 6 dT of cargo.

Back at the ship, Jane and Anika opposed the job as it smelled bad and that they were only 6 weeks out of a Brazilian UWO prison. The rest of the crew, however, showed an overwhelming level of enthusiasm for the hunting dentists.  

Character Cast

  • ✦✦✦ Tom Anders: Retired Marine, gruff, good hearted. Now get off his cargo hold.
  • ✦✦✦ Diane Ayetou: born rich and far less qualified than given credit for. Gets an A for A-fort.
  • Jane Calhoun: Business-like business end of things. Reluctant pilot, appreciate spirits and solitude.
  • Anika Kaprescu: Recluse. Did some time, killjoy. The ship’s cat.
  • ✦✦ Aeryn Lorien: Stumbling steward, athlete and nurse. Gets the ribbon for caring the most.
  • Molly Pepper: Engineer and ship’s puppy. Her giggles are wasted on the crew.
  • Flo : Diane’s nursebot, dodger of decompressing habitats.

✦ : 1 vote are this session’s most awesome player.