Our Brave Crew:
Aerik, the Serran scout.
Kavyr, the Aurax security specialist
Thinkbug, the insectoid psychic
S.A.M: The Shipboard Autonymous Mechanic
Dak Ralter: The new guy enthusiastic pilot.
After an incident involving the loss of their previous ship, along with its pilot and perhaps everyone else, the remaining members of JC Expeditionary Team #45AP09 receive a very detailed and information rich set of new orders:
JumpCorp Deployment Orders:
To: JC Expeditionary Team #45AP09
Subject: Extended Scout System HD 1989
Danger: --Redacted-- High
First Contact: --Redacted--- Negative
In conjunction with Expeditionary Team #46WW32, you are to depart port with due haste, utilizing a JumpCorp Long Range Scout.
On arrival in system, your team is tasked with identification/evaluation of exploitable resources
on the one world believed to be present in the star's bio-sphere.
Team #46WW32 is tasked with deployment of a hyperspace nav-beacon on arrival, and then will
sync up with your team.
highest ranking commander of remaining teams to take command.
One world is known to exist in the bio-sphere, additionally
Exercise due caution
The jump itself ended up taking 7 weeks as this was a system that did not yet have a hyperspace navigation beacon.
Seven weeks is a very long time to spend in close quarters, and you learn quite a lot about your shipmates… some of which you may regret learning:
Aerik discovered early on that his culture’s inhibitions against lying were inconvenient as deception made things so much easier. Sadly this outlook cost him his best friend who joined the priesthood and rejected Aerik for his crooked ways. On the plus side those same attributes make him a valued JumpCorp employee.
Thinkbug has a hidden agenda, but the part that isn’t hidden is its quest to recapture the taste
Of a piece of celery it had found years before. Nothing since has come close, but Thinkbug has faith that every jump is one jump closer to that piece of celery.
S.A.M. is two years old. The first twenty seconds of his life were the loneliest, but then he connected with the shipboard AI… and their relationship went past that of being professional. S.AM. isn’t sure if the AI is female or male, or what their future is, but this is love.
The crew decided to name the ship “Fool’s Errand’, so SAM went EVA in hyperspace to paint it on the ship.
The ship arrived without incident into a system with one planet in its habitable zone with two moons.
The captain, being unavailable for no adequately explained reason, appointed Thinkbug as acting CO.
A large gas giant with a complex system of moons sat at the periphery of the system.
“Well it is pretty obvious where we need to go...” remarked Aerik.
For the umpeenth time Dak, the new pilot thanked everyone for the opportunity to work with them, and for the umpteenth time everybody told him to shut up and fly the ship. With a thumbs-up he turned to the business of getting closer to the planet.
At about 36 hours away from the world, S.A.M. started a scan of the planet and its orbital bodies.and with the assistance of Thinkbug’s creepy mental powers guiding him noted the following:
- There were no notable power emissions from the planet
- Extensive orbital debris existed in the form of… presumably ancient artificial satellites.
- Something in the vicinity of that orbital debris noticed, and began targeting the ship.
Some frantic electronics work led to convincing the satellite that the ship was benign, and also led to the discovery that the satellite had been in orbit around 20 years, was designed to “shoot & phone home” when encountering unknown vessels, and that it had shot down what appeared to be a scout vessel from the Tanzanian Empire a year ago.
The team decided to move to the other side of the world and in the process noted what appeared to be a lunar base on one of the moons.
At this point Aerik was engaging in an ‘Art Project’ as Thinbug discovered that the planet was covered in strange hexagonal biospheres, where one hex might be jungle, one plains etc.
This was obviously not natural and parts of the world were ‘unchanged’. As they closed on the world, humanoid lifesigns were detected, at which point Aerik had a terrible feeling that something was going to happen and he radioed the crew: “Something bad is going to happen!”
Dak asked if he should turn on the shields or something to which everyone responded: ‘YES!’
Just as the shields came online, the Fool’s Errand shuddered with the impact of an energy weapon. It did not take long to discover that there was another satellite on this side of the planet that they had not noticed.
Some quick work by Sam and Thinkbug convinced the satellite that the ship was benign, but not before it had sent a signal to something about its presence.
A quick jaunt to the orbital base revealed that the primary world in this system was once the home to a thriving colony of humans from a slower than light colony ship centuries before.
(Aerik also planted his homemade flag and claimed the system as ‘Aerik Beta’... The ship’s AI sighed audibly and registered the claim.)
Thirty to fourty years prior, this relatively new lunar colony was attacked by several alien ships that entered the system, breaching the dome as they passed the moon enroute to the world below.
After packing their ship full of mined ore, the crew finally decided to land on the planet. Choosing a hex that was near the crash site of the Tanzanian scout ship, they noted on approach that all remnants of the ship were gone.
Upon landing they were greeted by a settlement of humans that immediately prostrated themselves before the ship. What appeared to be an odd arrangement of structures from the air turned out to be a series of corrals and troughs for feeding…
The humans of Aerik Beta had been turned into livestock by some unknown alien force decades prior.
This was not going to make JumpCorp Legal happy.