The Mafdet returned to the site of their recent battle, and recovered three crude anti-ship missiles from the debris of the damaged pirate corsair. In addition to the missiles, several crates are recovered. The crates contain crude caseless assault rifles. Buy the quality of their build, Ranso realizes they were home-built and notices a ‘Freedom Arms’ logo stamped on each weapon. Nobody has heard of the company before but it seems somebody is creating budget weaponry that is getting into the hands of the pirates.
The Mafdet is suddenly hailed by a Patrol Frigate which had approached concealed in the gas giant’s upper layers. FInch, realizing the value of the missiles, hides them below the deck plates next to a power conduit to prevent them from being discovered. The Frigate docks with the Mafdet, but instead of an official inspection team, an agent and two security officers board. The agent identifies himself as Agent Cyanry of the Special Justice Group, and explains he is following up on some pirate activity originating out of the Tortuga system. He and his men search the ship, but don’t find the hidden missiles. The crew willingly show Cyanry the crates of assault rifles, which intrigues the agent. He confiscates the guns, but congratulates the crew on finding and turning in the weapons. He explains that he will try to use them to track down the weapons manufacturer supplying the pirates. He and his men then leave, the Frigate undocks, and the Mafdet proceeds back to Port-aux-Paix.
While resupplying, Finch receives a message from the Tower Monks who say a vital supply ship will be arriving in a few weeks, and request that the Mafdet escort it into the system. The crew take the job, and realize they could make some money on the way out to the edge of the system selling off their newly acquired armaments.
After making some arrangements ground-side with Mada Xuan, the crew finds a buyer for the missiles among one of the asteroid clans. The Mafdet travels to a refining station on the edge of the system, trailed by the Oculus as Pradeet continues to gather ‘footage’ of the crew for his film.
The Mafdet docks with the station, and the crew bring the missiles onboard and meet with their contact. As they are in the middle of the deal, two figures step from the shadows, announce they are agents of ‘The Galactic Patrol’ and open fire. A short gun battle ensues, with the PCs taking several hits, however the ammunition appears to be some sort of mild pyrotechnic round that inflicts minimal injury.
Regardless, the PCs return fire with much more lethal weaponry and quickly bring down their attackers. When Ranso checks on one of the downed figures, he recognizes ‘Judy’ the bioroid from Pradeet’s movie crew. Feeling betrayed by Pradeet, Ranso takes out his anger on the wounded Judy, executing her with a head shot.
Pradeet broadcasts to the crew, announcing that the scene is over and he has some excellent footage. He doesn’t even appear to be upset about Ranso killing his leading lady. He explains he paid off the crew of the station to help set up the scene and allow his actor bioroids to board the station and prepare the fake ambush. The miners still go through with the missile deal, however, and buy the three missiles for $100k credits, so Ranso’s rage is someone muted.
The crew then makes a supply run to The Pebble to pick up more fuel and supplies. On arrival, they find a salvage crew already in the docking bay, sorting out a large amount of scrap. The salvage crew’s captain introduces himself as Drake, owner, captain and sole proprietor of The Petty Drake salvage ship. He and his crew discovered the scattered wreckage of a ship on the edge of the system and brought it in to Pebble to sell. The Pebble is fairly busy for an outpost, and in addition to The Petty Drake, several other tugs and shuttles are docked to the station.
The Oculus arrives shortly thereafter, and Predeet goes about charming everyone aboard the station. This sticks in Rence’s craw, as Predeet’s charming especially extends to Alawan, the station commander, who Rence had been intimate with on his last visit. A romantic rivalry develops as Rence tries to woo back Alawan, but Predeet throws around a great deal of cash which makes him very popular with everyone but the Mafdet’s crew.
In the main hanger bay, Claudia and Finch investigate the wreckage the scrappers had been sorting. Claudia convinces Finch to make a deal for some navigational components she spots in the wreckage. She takes the components off to a corner of the bay and begins tinkering with them. She finds navigational logs for shipping routes for the asteroid clans. This data could be highly damaging and/or valuable so she memorizes the data then destroys the original hardware.
The crew does manage to enjoy some down time, and get along well with the employee’s of Drake’s company. They share a meal and talk shop. The scrappers tell about how they found the debris and they suspect it was a small freighter moving cargo from one asteroid facility to another. They are uncertain about how it came to be destroyed, and found no evidence of any crew.
A strange and awkward addition to the dinner party is Predeet’s leading actors, Punch and Judy. Judy appears none the worse for wear despite being executed at the hands of Ranso only a week earlier. Predeet offers up no explanation for this but the crew realizes he must have multiple copies of the bioroids on board the Oculus. While she shows no physical damage, Judy reacts to Ranso, and visibly flinches when she sees him and avoids him as much as possible. Pradeet explains that she has all the memories of ‘Judy’, and that he can re-format blank slate bioroids as needed to play her role.
The crew finishes up and prepares to leave, Rence being throughly disgusted by Alawan’s interest in Predeet (or at least his money). As the crew prepares to leave the station, they discover that Claudia is missing. They check the bay, and find Judy standing in the corner of the bay where Claudia was last seen. She spots Ranso, and immediately makes a run for it. Finch tries to block her, but she grabs his outstretched arm and vaults over it, dislocating his shoulder as she passes.
The crew immediately blame Pradeet for Claudia’s disappearance, figuring he has set up another ‘scene’ for his film. The rush to the Oculus’ airlock, and find a sign taped to the door saying: “Follow the tug!” The crew check with station control, and discover that a deep space salvage tug has just left the station (not Drake’s though).
They return to the Mafdet, but there seems to be trouble getting clearance to leave. Rather than wait, the crew engage the engines, ripping free of the station and tearing off a set of docking clamps. The Mafdet catches up to the tug and Ranso disables its engines with the tactical sensor array’s overcharged laser. The Mafdet moves to dock with the disabled tug, but the docking clamps from the Pebble are still stuck to the outside of the ship. Rence performs an EVA to pry the clamps loose, but comes under fire from someone shooting a laser rifle from the cover of the salvage tug.
Ranso grabs his rifle, charges out the airlock and hauls Rence back in by his tow line. He has trouble with the cable and they are nearly shot as he struggles to get Rence back in. Finally, Rence is back in the airlock and Ranso launches himself towards the tug, hoping to surprise whoever is shooting at them.
Meanwhile, on the bridge, Finch is watching over things. Still hurting from his dislocated shoulder, he has taken some ‘recreational pharmaceuticals’ to take the edge off the pain. He is quite giddy and thinks it would be a great idea to try to use the Mafdet’s laser to take care of the person shooting at them from the tug, but neglects to take Ranso’s presence into account. Finch opens fire, and while he does manage to hit the sniper, his spray of the area catches Ranso several times. Ranso only survives due to his beam ablative armor, but is still badly injured.
Rence makes it back to the bridge and relieves the giggling Finch from command. Seeing Ranso in dire straights, Rence charges the Mafdet forward, scooping Ranso up in the cargo hold and spearing the tug on the Mafdet’s nose. Suddenly space twists and turns, and everyone realizes that the tug was attempting to jump into hyperspace just as the Mafdet rammed it!
After a nauseating hyperspace jump, the crew come back to their senses. They are no longer in the Tortuga system, and appear to be near a rogue planet in the middle of nowhere. The crew has no time to verify their location, as the tug is now impaled on the end of the Mafdet. With Ranso badly hurt, it falls to the still giggling finch to lead the charge as the crew investigate the tug.
The tug is mostly empty, but Finch finally encounters a single figure in a space suit, barricaded behind a crate at a hallway junction. Finch fires a lucky shot, and catches the suited figure in the faceplate with his blaster, quickly dispatching them. The crew continue to search the vessel, and eventually find Claudia unconscious and taped up in a storage closet.
Ranso uses construction foam to seal up hole in the tug around the Mafdet’s nose, and the crew manages to re-pressurize the tug and perform a thorough search of the vessel. Ownership records indicate it was the property of a small mercenary firm, but no other details could be gleaned. It appeared there were only two crew aboard, one of which was almost vaporized by the Mafdet’s laser. Likewise, Finch’s lucky face shot left the other unrecognizable, and the crew had neither the time nor inclination to probe deeper as there was the looming question of exactly where in the universe they came out of hyperspace.
Claudia was revived and found to be unharmed. She observed the local star constellations, and after several hours of observation and navigational deduction, she realized that the Mafdet was all the way over on the next galactic arm due to the miss-jump! The crew made some stop-gap repairs and properly connected the Mafdet and the tug via docking clamps. Ranso patched the hole in the tug up with additional construction foam, and made it spaceworthy, at least for a little while.
The crew, looking for resources, decided to investigate the rogue planet that had pulled them out of hyperspace. After scanning the planet, it began to emit increasing amounts of energy. To their terror, the crew realized the entire planet was starting to move towards them and bathe the ship with high-energy emissions all across the electromagnetic spectrum. The energy was not immediately dangerous, but would eventually fry the ships!
The crew quickly outran the planet, which gave up its approach/attack/greeting? once they were far enough away. The rapid maneuver cost almost all the Mafdet and the tug’s fuel though, and the ships were stuck in deep space with almost no resources. The tug had a large salvage hyperdrive, so it was capable of entering hyperspace with salvage attached. This meant that the tug could at least pull the Mafdet into hyperspace with it, but there was the question of the route home. Going the ‘long way’ around down and up the galactic arm would take over a century, and the ships were nearly out of fuel anyway. Realizing they had no fuel to make multiple jumps, the crew had to go for broke and attempt the long jump across the void of intergalactic space to get home. The probability of a jump being successful over that distance was very small, but the crew had no other options left. Claudia aimed the ship as best as she could and crossing her fingers engaged the tug’s hyperdrive.