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26 May 2173 (1222-A Dingir, near Dasadi)

Well, we finished the outfitting and are making our way outbound to test the guns.  We will not be doing any test firings of the missiles as they are too expensive.

Later – Testing went off without a hitch.

We started to analogize the data on the memory stick.  It was quite sparse and only included a set of coordinates in the Fomalhaut (1024-E) system.  We copied them down and jettisoned the memory stick out the airlock.

29 May 2173 — 4 June 2173: Transit from 1222-A Dingir (Dasadi) to 1224-C  Kinunir

Spent the trip doing my std language study and continuing the development of the B.E.A.R. weapons system.  The rest of the crew was doing the norm or training on the new weapons system.  We stopped at the locate go-juice joint for a quick refuel (unrefined).  Woot, payday.

6 June 2173 — 12 June 2173: Transit from 1224-C  Kinunir to 1024-E Fomalhaut

Spent the trip doing my std language study and continuing the development of the B.E.A.R. weapons system.  The rest of the crew was doing the norm or training on the new weapons system.

13th June 2173 (1024-E Fomalhaut)

We approached the given coordinates and can detect a 200-ton Hero class vessel adrift.  Preliminary scans indicate loss of power and some external hull damage.  We also detect an S.O.S. from the Hero (her name is Betty) class ship.

Since we know that the ship was jumped, boarded, and ransacked, we can only assume that most, if not all, of the crew had been killed and the the S.O.S. is more than likely automated.

We were wrong.  As we get closer we are detecting signs of life.  We even establish radio contact.  However, the story we are getting does not jive with what was overheard in the bar.  This smells like a trap.  I would like nothing better than the open up with all our lasers at point blank and vaporize the pirates on board.  Unfortunately, during the radio conversation we discover at least one Terran female is on board.

Our initial plan is to have them EVA to an air raft then transfer to us.  But, they are claiming airlock damage and the inability to EVA.  They are claiming the need to do a physical connection with a docking ring in order to succeed.

I was smelling a rat, now it’s a dead elephant as there are numerous airlocks in the Hero class that could not all be damaged.

I talk the Captain, and the Hero crew, into allowing an air raft flyby in order to do a physical inspection and plan for the requested physical hookup.  I think after I finish with the B.E.A.R. prototype (and a few guns) that I need to build some surveillance drones.

During the flyby, I could see at least one additional female Terran on board (in the upper deck living quarters.  As we come around and under the Betty, we found a large gash in her lower cargo area.  I make the snap decision to insert myself to do some recon.  Without stopping, I let my pilot (via suit-to-suit radio) that I am getting off.  He slows down just enough so I can jump off safely.  He then returned to the Emerald Monarch.

As I enter the cargo area, I see that most of the cargo is there and the power is off.  Gravity is still on however.  I look around the cargo area and found the local terminal.  It is in intruder lockout mode.  We may be in luck and the Vilani may not have access to the computers,  comms, etc.  Double luck, they left the default maintenance password enabled and I am able to access the whole system.  I setup a computer modem radio link with the Emerald Monarch so we can access the Betty’s systems, change all the passwords, and re-lock the system.

I headed over to the gash to report in, now that I know they cannot use the ship’s comms to detect me, and we formulate an attack plan.

1.  Using the pretense that the Betty’s normal airlock is not accessible (due to the fuel scoop protrusions), plan on joining at the rear airlock.

2.  Lure all the pirates into Engineering and the rear cargo areas.

3.  As the Emerald Monarch approaches, and air raft with the assault team enters through the lower cargo gash.

4.  When the assault begins, lock down all doors to trap the pirates in the rear areas and jam all radio traffic that is not on our freq using the Betty’s own comm systems.

5.  The assault group will enter the main deck through the hatch in the airlock area.

Well, the assault started ok.  We did not see any pirates until we got to the bridge.  We could see one pirate, in space combat armor, on the bridge, facing the door, with a pistol to a female Terran’s head.

Quick plan:

1.  Mr Mathews and I will lay prone and aim at the bad guy.

2.  The others will brace against the bridge bulkhead.

3.  I write a quick program to increase gravity to 3g, open the door, then normalize gravity.

4.  Mr Mathews and I are to shoot as the door opens.  Hopefully the max gravity pulse will make the pirate drop teo the floor.

You know what they say about “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy”, they are right.  As soon as gravity kicks in, on of our guys collapses.  It gets worse from there, as I take a shot at the pirate’s face (he is still standing with the pistol in his hand), the bullet embeds itself into the face shield and does not penetrate.  That is one luck SOB.  Mr Mathews gets off a good burst from his laser pistol and turns the pirate’s pistol to slag.  Remi lets off a burst from his rail gun and turns the guy’s arm into hamburger.

Second problem, gravity does not normalize and the guy ducks behind a bulkhead to get the rifle off his back.  Considering the arm, that is going to take a while.  The Terran is crawling to wards us.  I take some time to manually restore normal gravity.  Remi carefully moves forward to finish off the pirate while the rest of us clear room and assist the Terran to the safety of the crew area behind the bridge.

—more to come as we look for the second (or more) Terran–

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25 May 2173 (1222-A Dingir, near Dasadi)

Today we started the weapons install at Dasadi.  It should take about 60 man-hours to complete.  I will stay on the ship, even in the off shifts, to make sure the install goes smoothly.

25 May 2173 (1222-A Dingir, near Dasadi)

Remi and the guys apparently had a fun time at the bar tonight.  As I heard, some Vilani were spouting off about killing some Terans and stealing their ship, or something.  From what they told me the Vilani had a memory chip that contained info on the attack and the current location of the ship.

It was a hands-only bar brawl and our guys did well and came away with the memory key.

We are done with the weapons install and all seems fine.

24-Apr-2173 (06:25:18)
Ships Status: All systems normal
Navigational Status: DINGIR SUBSECTOR (1222), DINGIR

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13 May 2173 (1222-A Dingir)

After some preliminary research, we still have yet to ID the bandits who jumped us at the last system.

On a better note, we have a lead on putting some pop-guns on this boat.  We are headed to see a Mr. Iishugi in Gershumse about getting some lasers, missile launchers, and some sand-casters.  He has scheduled a meeting to view some samples and make arrangements for payment.  We took a shuttle to a warehouse and met with a representative who showed us a sample of the items.  They will need some minor hardware and a bit of software changes to make them compatible with our systems.

While waiting on the issue of some self-defense weaponry, we did get the 4 Low-Birth modules and bulkheads I need to complete the isolation of the passenger section that I planned out a few weeks back.  I had the low-births strapped into the Eng section while I work on fitting the bulkheads.

After a couple of days, a Mr Enshii cam on board to arrange for payment.  The deal has us acting as transport for “Misc Freight” (the weapons in disguise) that we will take to Dasadi (in system) for installation.  Payment is due before takeoff.

We lifted off without issue, but seemed to have picked up a tail (a local cruiser) on the way out.  Instead of heading straight for Dasadi, we have decided to try and fool them with an in-system jump and arrive far enough off axis to sneak in.

16 May 2173 — 23 May 2173: Transit from 1222-A Dingir (main)  to 1222-A Dingir (Dasadi)

We had enough time while in the jump to install the bulkheads and 2 of the Low-Birth units.  I plan on doing the other two when I have some more free time.  While at the last station, I was pondering the issue of I need a better weapon system.  This old semi-auto 7.62 ain’t going to cut it any more.

Being the tinkerer that I am, I have begun work on a modular bullpup weapon system that I can make multiple calibers (and different cartridge types – ie std, caseless, etc) for.  I am also working on a method to add Electro-Thermal (ETC) enhancement to normal ammo.  The name of the system will be based on the acronym B.E.A.R. (Bullpup Enhanced Adler Rifle).  It will come in a few different basic sizes like Black B.E.A.R. (Sub-Machine gun based cartridges), Griszzley B.E.A.R. (5.56 carbine to 300 Win Mag), and Kodiak B.E.A.R. (the really big stuff like 50 cal).  The ides is to have a basic frame and each caliber would just need a barrel, magazine and bolt change in order to change ammo.  To help with accuracy, it will use a “floating” barrel system, electro-mechanical primer ignition system, and an internal recoil buffering system.

Here is what I plan to be the first Grizzly B.E.A.R. in 7.62mm.  To save time I am going to use the barrel, magazine, and a few receiver parts from my Self-Loading 7.62mm rifle.  To help on the Legal front, the pistol grip can be interchanged so that it can only fire semi-auto.  It will also have all the standard “smart rifle” enhancements, accessory mounting points, and mountable brass caters if needed.

First Grizzly B.E.A.R. in 7.62

24 May 2173 (1222-A Dingir, near Dasadi)

So much for planning to sneak in.  As soon as we popped into normal space and focused our passive sensors toward Dasadi we detected the same cruiser that followed us to the jump point.  Soon after they began to hail us and the jig was up.  We were instructed to meet her and prepare to be boarded for inspection.  The ship turned out to be the Cruiser Shimluur.  The boarding party was led by a Lt. Shapkupi.  The captain met with Lt. Shapkupi privately while the rest of us were being watched by the rest of the party.  They seemed to be a bit too relaxed.

After a while, the Lt. and the Captain came out, shook hands and the boarding party left.  It turns out that this system, being the first major Terran-friendly system from Nusku, is a popular place for Terran ships to arm up on their way into Vilani space.  It cost up all our Iridium, but we were allowed to continue to Dasadi and finish the weapon installation.  Nice little business they have going here.  I bet that crew retires rather well off.

13-Apr-2173 (14:05:10)
Ships Status: All systems normal
Navigational Status: DINGIR SUBSECTOR (1222), DINGIR

12 May 2173 (1222-A Dingir)

We arrived on Dingir without any issue.  Our instructions were to deliver the kids to their Uncle, a Mr. Enshii.  The kids were very happy to see him and he was not expecting them.  After the introductions, he invited us to a party.

While we waited for the party to start, I bought a slab of tri-metal alloy to replace the docking ring that was damaged on the 5th.  Since I bought a square slab , yet only needed a doughnut, I was able to save a lot of metal for later projects.

We had a lot of fun at the party and our host actually had wine from Paris, Terra.  Unfortunately, since I had to work later that night, I had to skip on the wine.

We found a side benefit to knowing Mr Enshii.  He is very well connected and will be able to be a conduit for some ship weapons.  The plan is to outfit us with 6 lasers, 4 sand-casters, and 2 missile launchers.  The Captain also approved my plan to isolate the passenger compartment and buy 4 low births for emergency medical service and passengers.

Well, it is the 13th and the ring is about half complete and we are waiting to hear about the weapons.

12-May-2173 (11:44:10)
Ships Status: All systems normal.
Navigational Status: DINGIR SUBSECTOR (1222), DINGIR

15 Apr 2173 (1622-D Apishat)

My first task once we arrive in Apishal was to determine what to do with all the life-support equipment used on the return trip for the survivors.  The Captain had me analyze it for useable parts.  I was able to salvage 70% of it for our own use.  The rest we scraped.

Almost forgot, payday (the 10th) was during the transit.  Don’t mean much when you have nothing to spend the money on.

One of the things I realized on the Altair station was how much I need to learn Vilani.  Once we had leave in system I went shopping for a Vilani teaching program/device for Terrans.  Boy, did I pick the wrong system to try that in.  The spaceport was barren of anything helpful, and that was putting it nicely.  I was able to pickup a Terran to Vilani dictionary.  I am currently driving my staff nuts putting Post-It notes all over my Engine Room in order to teach myself Vilani.

While on the planet, the Captain took Daniel to meet with one of the survivors from Altair.  He was the lead scientist from the station.  Funny thing these Vilani, they did not look like they were too upset when we turned over the bodies from the station.  Frigid lot they are.  They also apparently did not want the cargo we were sent to deliver to Altair back either.  It was mostly basic supplies and foodstuffs.  Turns out the survivor will be with us a little longer.  He wants a ride to Zaggisi (1523-B).

18 Apr 2173 — 25 Apr 2173: Transit from 1622-D Apishat to 1523-B Zaggisi

Spent most of the transit covering Engineering in Post-It notes… damn it’s fun bugging my staff.  Besides, it is good for them to learn the tongue of where we will be spending the next year or so.

Zaggisi was everything Apishal was not.  It was a huge industrialized planet and friendly (for Vilani) to boot.  While in port we met the crew of a 200 ton Hero-class Free Trader called the Reaver.  She was a Terran vessel and was headed back home to Nusku.  They agreed to carry letters and small packages back to Nusku, and into the Terran mail system, when they head back.  It took a couple of days, but the crew put together their stuff and the Reaver left for Nusku two days later.

On the Vilani learning front, I was able to get a program while here.  It will work a lot better than the Post-Its, but not as fun.  I will still use the Post-Its for a while.

Remi and I got to spend some “dude” time while on Zaggisi.  We actually went fishing one afternoon.  I caught 7 decent size fish, but Remi caught a near-record size fish.  Remi actually took a class later that day on how to prepare it according to local cuisine.  I gave a couple of my larger fish to the crew of the Reaver as a “thank you” for taking our mail.

I worked on Jenny II for a few hours while here.  I even took her for a spin around the spaceport.  She rides real well.  However, she does have a weird little “tick” at 1200 rpm that I have to find.  I do not think it’s serious, but it bugs me that it’s there.

Time to go back to work.  It looks like we have a new client.  He wants to transport his children, ahead of himself, and cargo (a full hold!) to 1222-A Dingir.  Apperently he is in bad with some local hoods because the crew is all cloak-and-dagger getting the kids aboard.  The client did not want to handle the transfer to the starport for fear of a leak and attack on the kids.  We did see some shady characters during the transfer, but they could not follow us into the starport.  Just to be sure, I checked the cargo for any potential problem prior to takeoff.

28 Apr 2173 — 05 May 2173: Transit from 1523-B Zaggisi to 1324-C Shulgi

The transit was uneventful but I cannot say the same for the arrival.  As soon as we arrived in system, we detected a 100 ton scout class ship near the arrival point.  While this is not abnormal, his rapid acceleration to our arrival point was.  It became crystal clear what his intentions were as soon as his radio message arrived.  His demands were simple, “Hand over the children”.  Well, that was not going to happen.

The Captain decided to play along with their demands while we formulated a plan.  This I can tell you, they picked on the wrong people that day.  Being that I had a background in blockade running, I had extensive training and experience in counter-boarding operations. We set about formulating a plan based on lulling them into thinking we are an easy target, which isn’t hard considering we are unarmed and they have at least one turret.

They approached us from above and docked with our upper hatch to their lower hatch.  This prevented them from threatening us with their turret while they were docked.  It also let us see them form our portholes while they could not see us, amateurs.  As soon as they docked, Mr. Remi (who was hiding in the Air Raft bay) went EVA and approached their ship from the rear.  While we delayed the boarding party he approached their turret and placed a C4 charge (which I had built during the approach) under the central barrel hinge.  He then made his way back to the rear of the ship.

While he was doing this, the crew setup an ambush near the airlock exits.  We split the crew into two ambush points, one hear Sickbay and the other near the Engineering Workshop.  We also sealed the door at the end of the stores area so they could not get to Engineering from the airlock area.  Mr. Remi positioned himself near the Port engine and fired a grenade launcher into the main combustion chamber housing.  The grenades wound not damage the ship, but they would cause enough damage to the injector pups and fuel sensors thereby guaranteeing that the engine would need to go to a shipyard in order to get fixed.  Mr. Remi was knocked off his footing when he fired, but he had a lanyard and was ok.  At the same time he fired on the engine, I set off the turret charge remotely.  This made sure that they could not use the turret against us.

With the enemy ship disabled, the boarding party started the attack with smoke grenades.  I called engineering and had them do a rapid decompression to have the air evacuated.  We had already made sure the passengers were in rescue balls before the enemy came on board.  When they cam up through he airlock, we opened fire.  They did not stand a chance.  They never got a chance to make an effective and coordinated attack.  We took out 3 of them and captured one.  On the way back to the Air Raft bay Mr. Remi fired a grenade into the enemy transfer tube and into the chest of an enemy boarder.  Needless to say the tube was put out of action and the last thing Mr. Remi saw was the enemy ship leaking atmosphere as he came aboard our ship.  We did not suffer any injuries and were able to dislodge the enemy ship using a high-g roll that tore off the docking clamps.  I will have to fix that once we get to Dingir.  We secured the prisoner in the sickbay till we could decide what to do with him.

We did a gas giant refuel and got the hell out of there ASAP.

06 May 2173 — 12 May 2173: Transit from 1324-C Shulgi to 1222-A Dingir

Payday on transit again… WOOT!!

I spent some time in transit working on ways to help defend the internals of the ship in case we ever get boarded again.  I will make a proposal to the captain as soon as I have the cost estimates done.  I want to make some Passenger Isolation Doors and add some Low Births for injured crew and prisoners.

15-Apr-2173 (16:32:40)
Ships Status: All systems normal
Navigational Status: DINGIR SUBSECTOR (1622), APISHAL

26 Mar 2173 (1622-D Apishat)

It has been a busy week since I last logged in.  We have been scurrying over the ship getting ready for the jump to Altair and let’s just say I already see many improvements that I can make to the ship.  I wish I had two months to work on her in a proper shipyard as I see many areas that can be improved.

I was able to shoot off a quick email to Megs.  I hope it gets to her soon.

27 Mar 2173: Transit from 1622-D Apishat to 1522-E Altair

We have arrived in Altair without any incident.  I did get to spend the week tuning the engines a bit.  My Assistant Engineer’s name is Susan and from what I have seen so far she may work out ok.

Our mission in this systems is to drop off supplies at a research station that is orbiting a moon orbiting a gas giant.

04 Apr 2173: Arrived at Station

We arrived at the station today, but have been unable to make contact.  We are getting ready to board her and assess the problem.  Initial scans show micrometeorite damage to the hull and elevated radiation levels most likely related to a leak in the core.  It’s orbit is also in decay, but it has a few weeks left before it is in any danger of reentry.  There are 3 lifeboats missing and presumed to have been used before it was too late.

05 Apr 2173: Repairing the Station

We spent most of yesterday repairing the core of the station.  As we thought, micrometeorites caused widespread damage to the station.  The damage was swift and unexpected as many computers were still logged in.  We discovered 5 dead on board including one in Engineering.  All bodies were recovered for later return to whomever is in charge of the station.

06 Apr 2173: Finishing Repairs to the Station

With Susan’s help I was able to finish repairs and stabilize the station’s orbit.  The station has been put into a stable orbit and been placed in an automated station-keeping mode until such time as here owners want to return.  After the station was repaired we used the station’s sensors to locate the life-pods.  All three had landed in relatively the same area on the moon below.  The moon has an atmosphere, but it is hostile in nature and requires supplemental air to survive for any length of time.

07 Apr 2173: Rescue Mission

We were able to find all the survivors on the moon except one who had perished during the landing of his pod.  At the first pod site we ran into these huge beasts that were a cross between potato bugs and elephants!  There were four of them and I almost killed myself trying to get back into the air raft.  Four times I slipped and banged against the hull while trying to get back in.  Finally one of the crew was able to give me a hand and pull me in.  Thank God I had my biosuit because I was covered, head to toe, in muck from constantly falling down.

After getting in I quickly grabbed my rifle and helped to dispatch the charging creatures.  The rifle’s low recoil is normally fine, till you’re covered in muck and sliding around the raft.  Every time I fired, I moved back a bit.

After the creatures were stopped we were able to track, thanks to Mr Matthews’ bio-sniffer, the rest of the survivors who had gathered in a cave.  On the way there we found the above mentioned crash victim.  After getting everyone aboard the Emerald Monarch, we set up a quarantine area as several of the survivors were showing signs of infection.  It will take us a few days but we are going to take the life support equipment from the station’s shuttle and create a self-contained environment in the cargo bay for all the survivors and members of our crew who were exposed to the infection, in order to isolate them and negate a strain on the ship’s life support systems.  I had our crew transfer bunk-beds from the station for the survivors to sleep in for the trip.  There were a total of 10 survivors and 6 bodies recovered.  Before leaving the system we look them back into the station in order to retrieve any items they wanted to bring back.

08 Apr 2173:  Transit from 1522-E Altair to 1622-D Apishat

The trip back was uneventful.  The doctor released the quarantine as he deemed the virus as non-threatening.  I had some time to look at Jenny II (still in the crate) while in the cargo hold talking to the survivors.  Maybe next week I will have some time to work on her.

We arrived in Apishat on 15 Apr 2173.