District 268 Back Roads Jaunt

"Welcome Hotep. Would you like the usual?"

(Noctocol)

After making an uneventful refuelling dive into Tarkine’s gas giant, the team headed to the 100 diameter limit and safely made it into jump space. Over the intervening 6 day breather, they checked over the ship. Durion dealt with a nagging screen prompt of some kind appearing on a console on the flight deck, discovering that it was a program of some kind connected to the ship’s transponder equipment after much swearing and effort. He figured it was some kind of dead-man’s-switch and Rus T Knives disconnected the computer from the transponder, crossing fingers that it was shut out.

Del found the ship’s very nicely stocked bar. Rusty found the crumbled remains of two zombies in the engine room. One of the team discovered a person in an unopened low berth pod and Durion decided to pop it open and revive the occupant. The occupant turned out to be a journalist escaping from the unpleasantness back on Klinger’s Mine (Tarkine). Due to a flub in the revival process, he experienced freezer shock and spent the entire remainder of the trip on his back recovering slowly.

Some of the activity in the cargo bay elicited animal noises from the far end. Cages containing cute, healthy, big-eyed and three-eyed alien mammals were found. Under the cages were label placards with odd names like “Somnicaine”, “Hyperviagra”, “Psicose”, “Sarcophagene”, “Draculin”, “Flogaine”, and “Fucitol”. This was assumed to be part of more nefarious activity by the previous owners.

After popping back in to normal space at Noctocol, the previously disconnected console began trying to squawk a mayday-hijacking signal through the transponder and couldn’t now.

Upon arrival in normal space, a distress signal was immediately received by a spacecraft configured as a free trader. Rusty had the ship bracketed at a comfortable distance with his sensor skills. Durion determined through his career experience and comms skills that it was identifying itself with a badly-forged signal. The ship continued pleading for air and fuel as the team veered the Hotep away from the craft.

Further scanning of space revealed a powerful radio station-like signal being broadcast from the exact coordinates that Durion had received from the dying old man back on Klinger’s Mine (Tarkine). It was a signal informing all visitors in the system about the “What Luck Casino And Freeport” and to come and visit. Very little radio noise was detected coming from Noctocol’s inhabited main world, consistent with its status as a known insular settlement.

Deciding to not waste precious time and spend 20 days stealthily jetting across the system to a gas giant to refuel, the team decided to fire up the engines for 1 day to head to the What Luck Casino signal and investigate.

Identifying themselves as the Hotep and contacting the “What Luck Casino” yielded the reply, “Welcome Hotep. Would you like the usual?”

They came upon a smallish, glitzy-but-tacky, disk-shaped space-city having buildings rising off of it on one side. The other side being less glamorous and more utilitarian, contained a Class D-level starport on that side. A large chunk of comet ice floated nearby with attachments running to the space city.

A check of the ship’s logs by Durion for any clues on what the destination was expecting by “the usual” revealed some facts: the ship has passed through here and stopped here routinely. Also the ship was involved in a battle a number of weeks ago and insurance was payed out by a group called “Executive Outcomes, Inc.”

Docking, they were met by monks of the Universal Brotherhood requesting donations for stranded travellers on Noctocol’s dead-end main-world slums. Later, they were then met back at the ship’s airlock by a VIP asking for Direktor Zil. The team sent Shane Holliston, the journalist, to fast talk and delay him a couple of days. Del released one of the strange creatures in the cargo bay to cause distraction and urgency at the encounter. Succeeding exceptionally with this, Shane also got the VIP to reveal he wanted to talk to “whoever is the captain of the ship this time around”, making things a little easier for the rest of the team when or if they wanted to deal with this individual.

Playing things very cautiously, the team got the ship refuelled, resupplied, and got some basic maintenance handled, only to have the VIP return again. On the bright side, they managed to charge the refurbishing to the Hotep’s account with the starport, a pretty stiff sum.

88 days remain on deadline.

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MattMcKennie

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