Cold Betrayals

The morning after Kella’s rescue, after the blizzard had cleared, a courier delivered a message from Mr. Duushii, Haank’s Astro-Core security boss, requesting his presence to brief him on what had occurred the previous night. Haank did as he was bidden, and told Mr. Duushii the whole of what happened, including the discovery of the Aslan ruin, as he had no cause to be suspicious, and informed him that they had promised to take Kella out to the site when the weather cleared. Mr. Duushii warned him against returning to the site, as the geology crew had declared the area “dangerously unstable.” Haank asked to speak to someone in Geology about the area, hoping to gain some insight into what sort of dangers a survey team might expect from the area; Mr. Duushii made the call. A couple of geologists arrived, and they all went over the maps—paper maps; these guys are Old-School—and data together. Haank had some trouble following their geological jargon, but their story matched that of the security boss; stay clear of the area. Haank acknowledged the warnings, and responded that they were going to take all necessary precautions to get a “quick scan” of the site, for the sake of their promise to Kella, and return. On the way out of the office, Mr. Duushii cornered Haank and, in a subtly-threatening manner, again warned Haank to stay away from the area.

Now, with plenty of cause to suspect Mr. Duushii’s intentions, Haank brought the matter to the rest of the Team. It was decided to go ahead with the mission: the Team would take Kella to the site in the Proud Mary’s air/raft, while Ella and Haank would remain behind to observe and report whatever actions the security department might take in response.

Not long after the air/raft departed for the SE range, Haank, while practicing his golf-swing on the roof of the ship and keeping a subtly-watchful eye, spotted a pair of rollers leaving the colony in the direction of the Eastern mining facilities; he zoomed in with his HUD-glasses, and identified the occupants as eight members of the security department. He radioed ahead to the rest of the Team that company was on its way.


Meanwhile, the air/raft arrived at the crevasse they had discovered the night before, now re-buried in snow. Although the plan, as discussed, was to scan the ruins from the safety of the air/raft, on arrival, Kella excitedly jumped out and set about digging it clear, so Abe and Sam followed; Buck remained aboard to keep watch, bringing out his hand-held sensor pack to scan for incoming vehicles. Once the crevasse was cleared, Kella wasted no time, but immediately secured a line and climbed down; Abe and Sam followed after. The conclusion from the night before was easily confirmed; it was an Aslan colony, dug into the rock-face. Skeletal remains of Aslan colonists were found; Abe scanned them, and determined that they were likely between 5-10 years dead, and riddled with bullets—given the behavior of the colony security team, everyone presumed that the attempts to warn them away from this place was an attempt to cover up a massacre. Everything witnessed was recorded for later study. Knowing they had little time left before the security team would arrive, Abe and Sam convinced Kella to leave—perhaps to return later.

Before they could climb out of the crevasse, Buck’s sensor picked up incoming vehicles; the security team had arrived. Buck alerted the team via radio, and still seated atop the air/raft, placed his laser rifle across his lap, expecting a fight. The colony rollers pulled up to their position and the team dismounted; ENS Smith and ENS Jones were among them. The team-leader, LT Richards, with a haughty sneer that belied his ill-intent, declared that they were trespassing, and should surrender; seeing only Buck at the moment, he demanded the location of the remainder of the Team. Buck was undaunted; he patted his laser rifle, and in so many words, inquired which of them wished to die first. As a result, some of the security team began to think less of their leader’s murderous plan; an argument was sparked, and in typical ENS Smith fashion, ENS Smith shot LT Richards on the spot. A brief firefight ensued among the security team; some fled for cover, some stood their ground trying to follow their orders by firing on Buck and the “traitors,” while the others (ENS Smith and Jones) tried to prevent them. Sam was the first out of the crevasse, and joined in the fray from a distance. The fight ended with one dead, two seriously wounded (including LT Richards), and the others surrendered; ENS Smith was wounded as well, though not severely. Abe climbed out of the crevasse in time to see to the wounded, and Kella followed without incident.

Once the call went out that the rollers had arrived, Haank and Ella fired up the ship to come to the Team’s aid; it arrived as the fight was ended. The wounded—including LT Richards—were taken aboard, while ENS Smith and Jones drove the rest in the colony rollers on a “scenic route” back to the colony (to give the Team time to interrogate LT Richards before, themselves, returning). Abe patched up the wounded, and forced LT Richards to consciousness. Ella began to question LT Richards, still on the medical table, as to the nature and source of the orders he was attempting to execute; when he refused to cooperate, she responded by poking at his wounds with a finger until he changed his tune (to Abe’s irritation). LT Richards confessed that his orders came from Mr. Duushii, but knew nothing of why they were given; they had initially headed for the Eastern facilities for the purpose of “plausible deniability,” leading the Team to believe that the non-corporate colony administration was unlikely to be involved in the plot.

After a brief discussion of their findings, the Team decided the best course of action would be to report the incident to the Colony Director, and go from there…