After a mind-twisting hyperspace jump of Brobdingnagian proportions, the Mafdet and the deep space tug (called the Rattletrap) slam back into normal space. Claudia tried to aim for Tortuga, but over vast distances precise aim was problematic. The crew were relieved to come out of hyperspace at all though, as if the Rattletrap’s hyperspace trajectory had not intersected with at least one gravity well, the ship might never have come out of hyperspace.
After a few moments to catch their bearings, the crew realized they were only a couple jumps away from Nassau station in a star system on the periphery that they had never been to before, or even heard of. Before the crew could do anything though, they detected several attack ships locking on to them and received an order to surrender and prepare to be boarded!
The attack ships claimed to be agents of the Bahmani Sultanate, and that the Mafdet and Rattletrap were trespassing in Bahmani space. The crew, being out of fuel and under the watch of many weapons, surrendered. Troops in very expensive powered combat armor boarded both ships and searched them, holding Claudia on the Rattletrap, and the rest of the crew on the Mafdet at gunpoint.
Claudia very carefully explained the navigational miracle they had just performed, and provided the data to prove it. The soldiers reported the information back to their ships, and after several hours a large cruiser arrived on the scene. The crew were invited to meet the captain, and an ‘honor guard’ of battlesuited troopers escorted the crew to the hanger bay of the new ship.
The captain introduces himself as Makdaw, and welcomes the crew aboard his ship, the Fakhir. He explains that the Sultanate runs a mining and resources concern in this sector, and that the PCs have bumbled into their mining operations. He is intrigued by the PCs story and data, and proclaims that they have probably jumped further than any human being has ever gone. He inquires how they ended up making the jump in the first place, and Finch is careful to leave out the details of Claudia’s kidnapping, instead proclaiming that the Mafdet just happened to run into the tug in a navigational error.
While Fakhir was dubious about their story, he did accept that the jump happened and remained impressed. He offered to assist the PCs by performing temporary repairs on their ships and offering them enough fuel to make it back to Nassau station. The crew, not wanting to wear out their welcome, quickly agreed.
After some temporary repairs, the Rattletrap and Mafdet were escorted out of the system in the company of an armed merchantman called the ‘Abu Zaid’. The ship escorted them through the jump and all the way to Nassau before taking its leave.
At Nassau, the crew pick up supplies, fuel, armor and ammo. Ranso is particularly happy to find some new ablative plates for his armor, since his were evaporated during the unfortunate ‘Finch used the Mafdet’s laser while high as a kite’ incident. They also recall that they inflicted a fair bit of damage to the Pebble’s docking clamps and order replacement parts. The parts won’t be in for at least a month or two, however, so the crew will have to return later.
Meanwhile, now that they have two ships, the crew decides it is time for the group to properly form a business. Rence forms a sole proprietorship and re-registers the Rattletrap as the ‘Absconder’. Meanwhile, Finch negotiates repairs for both ships, and manages to score a trio of drop pods that can be used to carry external cargo on the Absconder. He also purchases some food and medical supplies on spec that he figures he can sell for a profit back at Tortuga.
The crew jump back to Tortuga with their new ship and equipment, and return to Port-aux-Paix. They discover that the Monks have abandoned their tower on the moon and have come to Port-aux-Paix. The freighter that they were expecting (and the Mafdet was supposed to escort before its accidental pan-galactic hyperjump) never arrived. Without their supplies and extra help they were overrun by the local bandits, and barely managed to escape with their lives.
The monks said that a data core was left behind, buried under the tower, which was highly valuable to them. A substantial reward would be given if the Mafdet’s crew could manage to retrieve it from the bandits. Feeling a little bit sheepish about not making it for escort duty earlier, the crew accepts the request and head down to Tortuga to see what they can do. They leave the Absconder docked at Port-aux-Paix, and land the Mafdet at Tortuga Downport.
The crew find out that traffic in and out of the system is being plagued by pirates. Finch sells his food and medical supplies for a tidy profit as shipments in system are becoming scarce and business is hurting. The crew resolves to take care of the bandits at the tower in the hopes that the data core from the observatory will help them figure out where the pirates are operating. (also the reward!)
Finch borrows a grav sled from Mada Xuan, and the crew head out across the desert towards the Monk’s tower. As they drive along, they are ambushed ineffectually by another grav sled, which makes a run for it when a gyroc attack misses Mada Xuan’s sled. The crew then turn off the main road, not wanting to be ambushed again. They work their way around the upper plateau behind the tower, hoping to attack from better cover.
The crew parked the sled in the hills near the edge of the plateau, and Ranso and Claudia went forward on foot to recon the approach to the tower. As they went along the edge of the hills they noticed a suited figure enter a doorway built into the side of the hill. The crew gathered and went in, only to discover a hidden underground hanger bay.
Several pirates were in the bay, moving crates of weapons. Two ‘hopper’ cargo shuttles were also parked in the bay. Relying on the element of surprise, the crew attacked the unwary pirates. In the resulting gunfight, Rence and Ranso were both moderately injured, but in the end the pirates were eliminated. Finch and Ranso checked the bay, discovering a large stash of the ‘Freedom Arms’ assault rifles they had encountered before. They then turned their attention to the two parked hoppers.
The first hopper had 23 missiles stuffed aboard as cargo. Clearly the pirates were moving weaponry. On the second hopper they discovered four local miners bound and unconscious. When the miners came to, they explained they were isotope miners that worked on the surface of Tortuga (the moon). Their leader, Kalilee and her three best men were tracking a group of bandits who stole some equipment from their camp. Unfortunately the group were ambushed by the pirates and taken captive.
The miners rearmed and re-equipped themselves with weapons from the fallen pirates, and offered to assist the PCs in attacking the tower. After a strategy meeting, the group decided to crash the empty hopper into the valley right in front of the Monk’s tower. The crash would stir up enough dust and cause enough commotion out front that the group could sneak into the tower through the rear entrance and take it.
Claudia programmed the hopper to suffer a sudden engine failure as it took off, in an attempt to make the crash look like an accident to the bandits. Ranso headed out to try to get into position before the distraction, and the rest of the crew and the miners prepared to sally forth in Mada Xuan’s sled. The hopper launched and crashed in front of the tower, generating a huge dust storm. Ranso, not anticipating the degree of dust that would be generated, became lost and wandered around on the edge of the upper plateau for some time. Meanwhile the sled, driven by Claudia, managed to find its way to the tower and the group attacked sans Ranso.
After clearing out resistance in the airlock, the group realized that a well-equipped opponent was occupying the very top of the tower. He was holed up on the uppermost level with a sentry gun guarding the access hatch in the floor. After an exchange of gunfire to disable the turret, Claudia popped up the hatch just in time to have a pair of grenades hurled directly at her. She managed to parry the grenades and send them back into the room as she dropped back down the hatch.
Meanwhile, Ranso finally got his bearings and made his way to the tower. As he approached he saw gunfire from the broken dome on top of the tower, and realized his crewmates were engaging somebody in the top room. He used the low gravity to perform a high jump, and brought himself up to the level of the tower dome. He looked through a hole in the roof just in time to see Claudia deflect the grenades, and saw a figure scrambling to pick one back up. Ranso opened fire with his gauss rifle and wounded the figure, causing him to drop the grenade again just as it went off, destroying the top of the tower.
With the top exit and upper tower secure, Ranso joined the rest of the crew and the miners as they slowly worked their way down the tower, clearing each room. Finally they reached the lower level, where they met stiff opposition by bandits armed with the Monk’s own laser carbines. The miners attempted to charge in, but were cut down by a soldier in merc’s armor firing a full-on military laser rifle at them.
As the miners fell, Claudia used her rifle to take out the laser rifle while a hail of gunfire from the rest of the group cut down the soldier. After he fell, the crew worked their way in to the bay to take out the last of the resistance. A large mining robot was busy excavating in the middle of the room, and continued to do so even as the firefight raged around it. Just as the last bandit was dispatched, the robot pulled the Monk’s data core out of the ground, announced ‘task complete’ and shut down.