Unfortunately, our little venture was off to a rough start. A crew needs time to gel, to catch their stride, to understand each other’s strengths, and to realize it’s very, very hard to properly prepare Korolev Sandworm. Sometimes they’re not offered the chance before people start shooting.
I mean, a lot of things can go wrong in an off-the-grid arms trade, but this was on a new level of batshit, even for me.
The Memoirs of “Gentleman” Jack Cartwright
The Expectations lands at New Tombstone and the crew shuttles to the local hospital, which is a little dated, but clean and well-equipped. Dirk convinces the local administration to let Aidan use the facilities without supervision and thus the party finds itself ensconced in a room built for six patient and access to a surgical suite. Over the course of the next ten hours, Aidan performs successful surgeries on both Daniel and the prisoner.
Meanwhile, after notifying Jack, he responds stating that his direct contacts for the trade aren’t responding, however he is confident in their professionalism and feels like a third party has gotten involved. He informs the crew that the merchandise is ludicrously expensive and fundamentally irreplaceable. After some prodding he finally reveals that they are four naval capital-ship-class quad auto-cannon turrets.
That evening, they wake an interrogate the prisoner. As it turns out, she is a member of a local gang of pirates and scavengers who took notice of “some suits” making deals in their territory. When they decided to demand a cut it became violent and the arms traders were killed. The gang took the merchandise back to their base in the desert. One of the members, “Burke” suggested that someone would be coming for the merchandise and there would be the chance not only to get the payment, but maybe even hijack the transport – this is where they collided with the crew. After quite a bit of persuasion and threats, the prisoner gives up the location of their base.
The crew works the streets a bit and learns a gang named the “Desert Rats” made a big score and will be looking to sell. They also make connections to some hired guns if it comes to that. Additionally, they acquire some small arms to better stock the ship with.
Julian acquires a long-range surveillance drone and they monitor the gang’s base as best as they can. While they don’t see the cargo containers, they do see evidence that they had been transported there and are likely under cover. The base seems well-defended and defensible. Cara is fairly certain that without some serious subtlety that the crew will likely not be able to muster, the best way in is to drop in the middle of them and start shooting.
The party requests backup from Jack. He states he can send back-up from IBI but it’ll take a week or more to get there, and at a minimum the crew needs monitor the base to make sure the cargo isn’t relocated. He also states he’ll open a credit line to the team to hire help if necessary.
The turrets go up for sale. The Desert Rats are requiring funds be deposited with a proxy before meeting, so attempts at luring them to a trade location won’t work. The auction runs for an entire day and closes with no buyers.
Cara makes contact with a former Marine who has access to an old Lancer assault vehicle, and the party begins to plan their raid.