The Hunt

Recalled. So what?

Well, we got recalled to duty. We reported to Iderati’s combined Naval/Scout base on the planet. We spent the first night free. We woke up to go to a firing range and to some vehicle simulators.

We then were brought to the secure communications room. It had a black-globe-derived energy shield that shut our civilian communits down. We went through a minor briefing about the lost scouts and we were issued military communits— those actually worked within the energy field.


(I borrowed this image of the White House Situation Room)

We were given positions:

  • Nair: Nominal Mission Leader
  • Jim: Captain
  • Brian: Find and return the missing Scout ships
  • Edward: Gunner
  • Otto: Leader of the Marine security team

We were given the ISS Michael Westen. She’s a jump-3 scout ship.

We were told the last place the missing scouts were is on 975-452=

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JIm's Diary entry #1

Jim’s Diary #1
So I knew I was being set up when I was selected for spook school, but I thought I’d at least be able to take the Aimlessly Wandering out for a spin, maybe make a few bucks before I got sucked in. No such luck. And it’s guaranteed that they expect to be using me a lot after this. Otherwise they would not be so eager to dangle the Michael Weston at me. I may be piloting it but I can expect to be under orders all the time. No way they are going to just let me go roaming around in it. So much for detached duty.
I feel totally under gunned for this. We are not a war ship. Just a survey ship with a few guns. I’m not trained for combat piloting. I’m just a glorified bus driver. While I’m in space I need to practice all of those combat maneuver simulations that I never wanted to bother with. Yippee!
Need to think over what to do on the way over there. It’s really Niar’s job to decide but I hope he is open to suggestions. The way I see it if we ask around we need to be really careful. If we are not careful we will just let the bad guys know we are coming and walk into an ambush. On the other hand if we don’t ask then we will are likely to just blunder in. I guess we should quietly ask the folks at the star bases if Samantha or Ryan passed through and if they did maybe we can find some folks that they talked to. I need to be at those discussions. Ideally I can get someone else to do the talking so I can sit back and read their body language. Maybe I can catch someone looking unduly nervous and that can lead to a break. Brian may be a big help here. He probably can get star base records without raising a big fuss. We could probably get a lot of information about what Samantha and/or Ryan did while they were here, what supplies they took on, which folks serviced their ship and so on. It might give us a place to start looking. Also would be interesting to see if any ships left soon after they did. Of course all this supposes we actually find a star base where they stopped over.
They picked an interesting group for me to work with. I’m hoping Brian turns out to be our ace in the hole. His connections should prove invaluable. The rest of the group are all killers of one flavor or another. If we need to do a lot of killing I think we are in trouble. The Michael Weston is not cut out for combat no matter how expert our gunner is. If we get into serious space combat I think we will be screwed. Same thing with our combat folks Edward may eat nails for breakfast but there are only him and 4 marines. If we run into a serious fight we will all get killed. Well I’ve had about all the cheery thoughts I can stand for the moment. Time to practice the combat maneuvers I hope I will never need.

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Edward's Diary #1

My life seems to have a lot of irony in it. Trained as a fleet gunner and tactician, I am recalled to active duty to run the batteries on a small scout ship. It has been a long time since I run a set of turrents in anything but teachign mode. Somebody has a grim sense of humor. Even worse, most of my companions are not miltary types — scouts instead. I wonder how they will hold up on the sharp edge of the knife?

The pre-mission training did not help. Deciding not to mention I was trained in gun combat, I hit a robot with a cutlass repeatedly. In a real space battle going after a robot with a knife would have gotten me killed. If you can’t open up the suit to space then a laser carbine is the way to go.

Oh well, at least it was one last excuse to sober up. Training posts always worked out badly because drinking was a good way to forget about what happens on strike missions when civilians get in the way. Human or Vagar, in the end they suffer just as much. I wonder if anybody will notice if I pack some extra ethanol for the trip?

Scouts wouldn’t know what to do with a gunner, anyway . . .

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Otto Journal log

It’s going to be a long voyage to 875-496 our first transit point in route to 975-452, the last know destination of Samantha and Ryan… To Fill up my time I’m going to get a little training, give a little training and try to improve my instruction techniques. I need to cross train and acquire more skills…“There is no such thing as knowing enough, that one thing you don’t know can get you killed”. That’s what my first commando instructor drilled into us. To pick up some skills I’m having Steven instruct me in Electronics, but while he’s doing that I’m going to try and pick up some of his teaching techniques to better train others. I’ll practice what I learn on Edward as I try to teach him the proper use and application of “Battle Dress”,

It will be good to have Steven with me again. I hope we can get back the same combat rhythm we had back on Mertactor. I don’t know much about these other guys but hopefully I can get Edward up to speed on Battle Dress. In the mean time I’m going to have to hit the weights to get back into fighting shape and tune up my combat skills. Maybe I can get in a little hand-to-hand with some of the other Marines. Fighting robots in a simulator never was my thing. There is nothing like going up against a real intelligence to test your skills.
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List of Inspection Items

Here’s a list of the things we should “inspect” given our cover story.

  1. Inspect infrastructure
    1. Buildings
    2. Landing pad
    3. Fueling Tanks
    4. Refueling Gear
    5. Roads
  2. Inspect Personnel
    1. All present or accounted for
    2. Training is up to date
    3. Organization
  3. Mission
    1. Mission Statement
    2. Operations Logs
      1. MSDS records
      2. Inventory of items
      3. Comings and goings
    3. Flight Logs
    4. Actual fleet
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Jim's Diary #2

OK so our mission is already in jeopardy. On our way to rescue Ryan and Samantha we have found that something weird is going on at 875-496. First there was a small tech level 12 craft where there should not be one. It immediately took evasive action I was not able to track it. But I did find that the locals are building a large star base. I doubt they are doing it for the benefit the Imperium or else we would know about it. All other alternatives are not good and may be more important than a couple of missing scouts.
When we got down do the base it immediately became obvious that the base was involved in whatever was going on with the locals. The base commander was very nervous and pawned us off one of her lieutenants as soon as we could. Brian and Otto conducted an’ inspection’ while I kept an eye on things. One of the scouts, Danny, let us know he wants off. He’s obviously scared. It may be in our best interest to offer him a way off the base in return for information. On the other hand it looks like the scouts may hang themselves without his help. After a little while I caught Lin issuing commands to the rest of the scouts to get rid of a barrel. Edward tried to get the scout with the barrel to stop so we could take the barrel from him. He ignored warning shots so Edward shot out his engine. We are sending marines down to retrieve him and the barrel. It’s important that we not let the guy throw the barrel off the boat. I’ll ask Edward to keep an eye on the boat using the sensors. If he starts to throw the barrel off of the boat he needs to threaten him with sinking the ship.
Here on base we are a little short handed. Nair and one of the marines are heading back with fuel so they will be gone foe several. Down here we have Otto, me, Brian and one marine. There are currently 9 scouts here with one on his way back ASAP. We will need to stick together so we can’t be ganged up on. My big fear is that the scouts will contact their local friends or maybe the space ship we saw. If this escalates we are dead. This may be a low tech world but I think the probably have missiles and definitely have lots of people. As soon as possible I need to check all communications to make sure they have not already contacted our friends. It’s possible that our best bet is to just get out of here, use our batteries to force the scouts to let us refuel and then high tail it to Imperium with this information.
Even if all goes well Nair will have a hard decision to make do we stay with the mission and head in to save Ryan and Samantha or do we bail, at least temporarily and make sure what we find out here is known to the Imperium.

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Edward's Diary #2

I really need a stiff drink. I’m all alone aboard the ship so who would know??

This mission is starting to get familiar. Rather than tracing the missing scouts, we have signs of local meddlers planning something deadly. An unregistered space port in our own backyard. I hope that we will be doing the right thing and blowing it back into the stone age. I miss military duty — there we had easy access to nukes and that would end this issue real quick. Teach the natives one hck of a lesson as well (at least those who lived through it).

It’s the only way to handle this type of situation — no matter what you live with afterwards.

Still, there are some bright signs. The scouts had the guts to escalate a warning shot to actually blowing the engines out of an airraft. They have some guts at least. I am just hoping that they have the guts to go all of the way . . .

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875-496 Day 1. Hassle already.

Dispatched with alacrity and alarm. Must impart mission urgency to team and crew. Sam and Ryan are our friends and this Zhodani/Sword Worlds thing may get out of hand soon. Must bring news of the two expeditions back to Fran. 208th fleet looks sufficient on paper to stop some Zho or SW intrusions. Not all. We need to figure out what Sam was up to. Talos Main full of politics so I guess that’s it or something to do with it.

Ryan had same class ship as us. Jump 6 map from 875-496= shows Squallia, Ochecate, Penelope, Gohature, and Karin in range. Obvious path to Sam’s last loc is to Ochecate. Hope Ryan went straight Rimward from here. Refueling takes 2.5D more.

Continuing investigation of scouts involved in some kind of Deal. Took cover story of surprise inspection. Bigcrane gave us a tough list and our Iderati credentials gave authority to ask tough questions— like SW Secret Police! Scouts on the take. Captain acted quickly when plot revealed. That Fleet Gunner speared a Scout A/R from orbit, nice shot. Brought that guy along for this reason. Marine major understood inspections well.

For next 2.5D, look at illegal (maybe not) starport: assess ownership, control, authorization, type, capacity, facilities, purpose, build TL, and time to operational status. Follow money. Contact local authorities. Bypass compromised local scout team.

Conjectured purpose of starport:

  • Move grav plate ceramics off-world while still in Amber Zone status
  • Land parts for manufacturing facility/TL9-10 to make grav plates locally (consider economics?)
  • Facilitate wholesale commercial plunder of world once AZ travel hints lifted
  • Bivouac for mercs to pull a bunch of TL7 troops into an off-world war
    Or all of above? Maybe. Any connection to SW, Zho, or Darrians here? If starport is of sufficient capacity we may need interdiction team / SDBs or maybe to destroy it. Do not want participation of starport in upcoming war if not Imperial-allied.

Dispatching news of starport to Karin/Iderati hard/impossible given mission parameters. Sam and this war have priority over unincorporated backwaters. However note: when “St Edward/875-496/New Istanbul” signs Imperial, must ensure starport rights (maybe exclusive) go with the charter.

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Edward's Diary #3

Okay, I think that I am sensing a theme with our mission. Instead of a relentless focus on the goals of finding the missing personal, we seem to be trying to get involved with everyone else’s problems. First, we discover that the scouts are running a drug ring. Now we seem to be about to get involved with missing Aslan children.

So far I see a lot of mission creep and a lot of opportunities to get killed. Heck, we are bringing blades along on the surface on our latest world — these will look impressive until a sniper with a laser rifle takes a shot.

I guess this is the price of being involved with scouts instead of soldiers. I wonder if ay of us are coming back from this mission.

And, to make things worse, the ethanol supply is running low. Any chance they have a distillery here??? Somehow I think that I am just not that lucky.

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Jim's diary #3

So we figured out more or less what was going on at 875-496 scouts ignoring a threat to the security of the region to cover up their drug deal. Hopefully they will spend a long time in jail for this. Oh well on to Ochecate. I spent the time on the jump practicing my pilot skills. Once we got there we have a request from the Arslan doctor who let us on planet to look into disappearing Arslan babies. I’ll see if I can find anything out on the internet or using our sensors. Of course this is a side line and must take a back seat to our mission, but it did get Nair on planet. Anyway, first priority is to send our report on 875-496. Second to find out if Ryan or Samantha were here and if so see if we can find any clues about why they may have disappeared. Third see if we can find anything about the missing babies.

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