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–