With Rense safe and sound, the crew pause to take stock of the situation. Claudia continues to use her system access to try to track down all the thugs involved in the situation. She also checks out bay 87 in more detail, which is where Soimah’s gear was supposed to have been taken. Rense and Mercury work on repairing the ship’s internal doors, while the rest of the crew head out for more investigating.
Finch, Ranso, and Claudia go to the bay, and discover it is a small shuttle dock. After some investigating, Claudia finds it hosts a regular weekly shuttle run from a refinery elsewhere in the system that typically hauls supplies. She also identifies a pair of dockyard workers who serviced the shuttle when it last arrived, Cyrus Bernett and Eli Simmons.
The crew go to question the two workers, but discover nothing of import and from his empathy sense Finch realizes they are not involved. Seemingly at a dead end, the crew decide to take a break and grab some lunch at the local Soylent shack. As they finished eating, a Nebayan worker approached Finch and said: “You have half of the key. We want it. Come to the Nebayan Trade Office.”
The crew returned to the Mafdet and Absconder, and mulled over the Nebayan’s offer. Not wanting to go unprepared, Claudia hacked in to the central security office and stole a permit form for carrying weapons aboard the station. Finch managed to edit the digital token to give Ranso clearance to carry a needler onto the station.
The crew also checked up on the progress of the bomb squad, and found they had finally removed the explosives from the clamps and swept the area for any other surprises. The Mafdet and Absconder were now safe.
Rense and Mercury finished repairs on the Mafdet and Absconder to make sure they could leave in a hurry if things went bad. With Ranso now armed, Finch, Ranso and Claudia felt safe enough to try visiting the Nebayan office to see what was what. The crew made their way across the commerce level and approached the Nebayan’s private section of the station.
Before crossing out of the common area, the crew were set upon by thugs dressed as workers but carrying gooper guns similar to the ones used by station security. After trying to warn them off with a few wounding shots, Ranso fully engaged with his needler. Ranso took down the attackers in front, while Finch fended off a surprise attack from the rear with his concealed blaster, gunning down the first attacker with a well-placed volley and scaring off the rest. With their opponents fled or down, the crew took stock of the situation. Opting for more subtlety than his blaster, Finch picked up a gooper gun while Claudia tried to figure out what was going on by hacking back into security.
To Claudia’s surprise, somebody was actively hacking the systems around her and trying to seal them into the area except for one door. Through the remaining open door Ranso heard a large group running towards the room. Finch and Ranso took up positions on either side of the door to meet the oncoming charge.
A group of people armed with various blunt instruments charged down the corridor towards Ranso and FInch. Over the din they could hear the mob screaming how much they were worth as they charged. Ranso opened fire in the tight corridor, inflicting savage wounds across the group with a spray of needles. Finch somewhat awkwardly opened up with the gooper gun, and between the sticky mess and hail of needles they dropped the small mob charging them.
To Ranso’s surprise, none of the charging mob was really deterred by his gunfire, and they charged right up to the end which he though lacked self-preservation instinct. The reason for the charge was quickly revealed, as a man wielding a large plasma cutter came charging behind the pack burning everything in his path.
Ignoring friend or foe, the fiend with the plasma cutter charged forward through the mess in the hallway, immolating everything and nearly catching Ranso and Finch in the flames. Ranso peppered him with needles, and Finch lit him on fire with a goober round ignited by the plasma, but he still kept coming. Finally, after over a dozen needle hits, and being on fire for several seconds, he finally dropped. The fire remained, however, and the room quickly began to fill with smoke.
Meanwhile Claudia had been sparing with the hacker that was attempting to lock them in the room. After a brief battle, Claudia managed to open one of the doors, only to find shipping containers hastily rammed up against it on a forklift. Ranso gave her a boost, and Claudia with her tiny stature managed to squeeze between the containers and reach the forklift, backing it away from the door and allowing Ranso and Finch to escape.
Seconds after leaving the room, the hydrogen tank on the plasma cutter exploded, blowing out the room and causing a breach. The crew braced, and Claudia managed to close the door back up behind them. The breach triggered the station’s emergency pressure doors, and the trio were trapped in the section. An advertising screen was located in the corridor, and to their surprise, pictures of all three of them with the figure $700,000,000 was posted underneath. Claudia quickly realized that this image was displayed across the station.
As they weren’t being shot at for the moment, Claudia tried to back trace who was causing them all this trouble. Her cyberspace search led her back to the very bakery the group had previously holed up in. The only clue she had was an external camera recording from about an hour previous, strangely showing a garbage can rolling into the bakery doorway. Realizing that eventually station security would be on scene to check on things, Claudia abandoned her attempts, called up some station schematics, and the crew found their escape via some maintenance corridors that allowed them to circumvent the pressure doors.
Somewhat singed, but relatively unharmed, the crew finally made their way to the Nebayan office. Finch wanted to confront them to see if they would be surprised about their arrival, hoping to reveal them as the instigators of the previous attack. On entering the office, they found a clerk waiting at the reception desk. He commented that the group was a bit late, and that he was out 50 credits on a bet that Finch wouldn’t show.
Finch sparred verbally with the clerk, hoping to gain some information, but the clerk seemed to know nothing of significance except that the crew had the cryptographic key. He offered to broker a deal, but Finch challenged him, saying that if the deal was serious then he wouldn’t be speaking with a low level clerk. The clerk told him that his superiors didn’t have time to deal with the likes of Finch, and that he was as far as it would go. Not trusting the situation, and offended by the Nebayan’s snub, Finch turned and left.