We still have a few days to burn so we continue to question Holo-chai about his past and available memories. He begins talking to us about how one of his crewmen was killed by a brainbug and be began hunting down the supplier, eventually locating a group referring to itself as “the Underworld.” As it turns out they’re a pretty large organization. Holo-chai eventually killed some more lieutenants and was able to figure out that there’s just one person at the head of the organization, Eribos the Head of the Underworld. At that point the organization attacked him and killed most of his remaining crew, at which point he went to hire us. Much of our first assignments were while he was gathering information about the Underworld and its dealings. It was that trail that Holo-chai recounts until it brings us up to events shortly before Hawke’s death.
Holo-chai indicates that it doesn’t sound like we’re on the “bad list” of the underworld, more that it was just him. However it sounds like the Underworld knows about our ship.
Hawke indicates that it could be a service to the Rim and the Concord for us to work against the Underworld, not to mention a number of their figures would be worth very large bounties, so it may be in our best interests to help take them down.
As we approach the planet we’re directed to a docking/parking orbit. Sinon sits on the bridge and focuses intently, spending about half an hour concentrating. He’s able to tell with his psionic abilities that the target person is nowhere on the planet.
We complete docking at Nectara station and consider our next move. It’s possible that he’s headed to Thorn Shipyards, the company he allegedly sold the secrets to. Aiden manages not to break the computer as he attempts to use it, beginning to look for whether there were any recent postings to charter a ship to Thorn. He hunts and pecks away over an extended period.
Blake, Gargoyle and Seamus go out to carouse in a local bar while we wait on Aiden’s hunting and pecking. He finds the station to be rather tightly controlled, without many opportunities to really get into trouble. In any case the bar at this space station is still a rather large and nice one with a semi-circular room, dance floor, restaurant and other things you’d expect in a dance bar. To Blake’s trained eye he notes a number of security guards who are trying to blend into the crowd but not doing a good enough job of it. He gets the feeling that the bar is fairly heavily secured.
While they’re drinking and dancing Aiden accidentally presses a sequence of buttons and manages to turn up some useful information. He locates a flight plan filed by a ship called the Star Mule headed for the McCoa star system, which happens to be en-route to Talbot where Thorn is located. Only one passenger, using a male name, was onboard. Very little traffic goes in that direction normally so he feels that it’s likely a significant lead. Additionally it’s of interest that there’s a small Borealan research station on that planet. The Star Mule made starrise three days ago. The ship is a bit older with about a 5.7 Ly range so we anticipate it will take them two jumps to arrive. Conversely we would arrive in just one jump so we would expect that we could arrive ahead of him if we leave within about a day.
Sinon notes the pseudonym we’re assuming this passenger used to book passage to Talbot and is able to confirm that it was the same one that was present on the ship that brought our target here.
Given that we have no further work to do on this planet and we have about a day until our stardrive has recharged we elect to go down to the beach and drink cocktails for the day. Aiden realizes, while on the planet, that we didn’t have too hard of a time picking up the trail of this guy and likely there are a number of other bounty hunters probably after the guy.
Afterwards we shake the sand out of our shorts and return to our ship and depart. A few days after we make starfall to McCoa. During the interval in drivespace Holo-chai offers to be a teacher to us on some of his areas of expertise. Some of us elect to learn Law skill while others choose to learn Research. We each spend about 20 hours a day as there’s nothing else to do while in drivespace.
A short time prior to starrise Holo-chai calls us back to the bridge. Shortly thereafter in a burst of red light we emerge from drivespace. Thanks to Blake’s expert navigation we emerge only .1 au from the planet. Talbot is a dusty world with ammonia lakes and an inert, non-breathable atmosphere of argon and lots of CO2. Sokara station is a domed research station about 15 years old and funded by the Borealans. Only about 200 people are present in the system. As we begin moving towards the planet (about an 11hr journey) we get in touch with the local communications net. A few other ships are present in-system; we don’t locate the Star Mule yet so likely we’ve beat them here. We do locate another ship inbound, several days away; likely they made starrise very far from the planet. We know that our target was bringing supplies to the planet so we anticipate landing there to pick the guy up upon his arrival.
As we near the planet a pale-faced and nervous scientist gets on the com to us by the name of McDermott. He wants to know why we’re visiting the system. We explain we’re bounty hunters, which doesn’t really calm his nerves. We explain the situation and ask to land to apprehend the criminal when he arrives. The scientist becomes extremely concerned that we’re somehow going to disrupt the peace of his station with our activities. We reason with him as to the problems that might be caused by letting the guy not land. The guy goes off-camera to talk with his security chief; they speak off-camera. The boffin comes back and indicates that we would be allowed to apprehend the guy if we can do it without using weapons that might damage the dome and without using any excessive violence. We explain that some other bounty hunters might not be quite as nice as us and try to argue that their own security arrangements will not be sufficient against a single group of bounty hunters, much less the multiple groups that will be coming, not to mention the criminal that is heading this way. He doesn’t like the sound of that and hangs up on us.
Shortly thereafter the guy calls us back and says he may have been a bit too hasty. They’ve decided that standard personal arms should not damage their dome. We take a look at the layout of the spaceport from our position in space and begin to formulate a plan to land ahead of time and wait at the spaceport for his transport to land.
During our planning Holo-chai informs us that about an hour and a half ago he detected a starrise of an unknown craft. It’s too early to be the Star Mule so we must assume it’s more bounty hunters. We revise our plans a bit, especially considering the volume of ships that will likely be arriving. We check in on the other two ships in the area; one of them, the No Equal, are rather arrogant and don’t often follow the conventions of other bounty hunters. The other ship, the Red Hook, isn’t one that’s known to us.
We elect to head down to the planet to prepare for their arrival and talk with the staff on-planet, electing to take a number of stutter weapons with us as well as bladed weapons. We land and mate airlocks with the station, although the airlock doesn’t immediately open. The security officer for the station greets us, requesting us to transmit our bounty hunter licenses to him, which we do. He questions us as to whether we have any heavy weapons on us. Gargoyle tries to be diplomatic and does a reasonable job of convincing him that we wouldn’t dream of bringing dangerous weapons inside. The airlock opens finally and welcomes us to the station. He indicates that we’ll need to stay on our ship as they don’t have guest accommodations. We proceed down the jetway towards the dome, walking through (and setting off) a single security checkpoint. We head to a tram that takes us a few kilometers from the spaceport to the dome – a large, transparent structure that appears to be quite solidly built. Inside is a single large building with what looks like a verdant park area surrounding it.
The security guy explains that they generally will not prevent those who can do damage to the dome from landing, mainly because they have no capacity to stop them. That’s of course not good news to us. They apparently have all of four security officers. We get some information about the docking area and the lower cargo delivery area that the freighter would likely use.
While looking over the place Hole-chai buzzes us that the No Equal wants to talk with us; he forwards us the call so we can all listen in but Gargoyle ends up speaking for us by default because he’s the only one who can be diplomatic (or at least he thinks he can). A face appears from the incoming call – a Solar wearing a fedora and sporting large wire-frame spectacles. He introduces himself as captain Thaddeus Burns introduces himself and indicates he’d like to speak with Mordecai; Gargoyle indicates that he’s indisposed. Burns states that he wants to negotiate with us to leave the bounty to him. He offers 25% of the bounty in exchange for our cooperation. We politely indicate we’ll bring the offer to him and end the conversation. None of us think that offer is worth a second thought.
The Red Hook then comms us; Gargoyle again takes the call. A scarred, grizzled guy named Captain Rackam comes on the line. He indicates that that the No Equal has offered them 25% to displace us; he instead offers to split the bounty to turn on the No Equal. We say we’ll think about it and end the conversation. We have about the same interest in their offer as the other.
Burns from the No Equal calls us back; Gargoyle takes the call. Gargoyle again tells him that we’ll consider it and signs off.
We consider the situation as a group and decide not to ally with either group, not wanting to split the bounty. We offer to give $10k to Rackham upon capture of the bounty to thank him for giving us the info about Burns. After a couple of hours no further contact is received. Both ships continue their courses towards the planet.
With that we end for the night. We all receive two character points.