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
15-16 February, WY602 – Myrr, Roberts
The Guardian Lancer assault craft hugged the ground and swung around to survey the homestead. The pilot identified himself to Tomoe as Lt. Henry Blackmoon. He informed her he had “at least three branches of the WDF screaming at him over the radio” and the crew needed to get onboard quickly. He brought the ship in and set down outside the house, just as the marine lander a few kilometers away opened up with artillery and began shelling the homestead. The crew raced aboard the Lancer – Aidan and Din hauling their one prisoner with them.
Once aboard, they were confronted by Master Chief Petty Officer Charles Scoville, who held them at gunpoint until they made their weapons safe, then put his weapon away and relaxed for the 90-minute trip to the Guardian base near the northern pole of the moon. He told the party that the Dauntless and the troop carrier with it had broken orbit and were burning for parts unknown – but besides that he didn’t have much information for them, and the crew didn’t have many answers about why they had been attacked. He was sure, however, that he and Lt. Blackmoon would be arrested upon arrival for disobeying orders. During the trip, Dirk and Tomoe put their heads together and assembled a legal defense for them that would likely clear them of most charges in their court martial, assuming they received a fair trial.
Guardian Station Myrr was a small facility composed of several buildings and hangars, housing around a hundred troops. Upon landing, the crew was greeted by Colonel Danny Feldman, the CO of all Guardian forces on the moon. He had Blackmoon and Scoville arrested immediately, and had the prisoner escorted under guard to their hospital. Feldman had already sent a message to his commander, Rear Admiral Dougherty on Roberts, but it would be at least nine hours until he got a response. He informed the crew that they hadn’t been flagged as fugitives, and because Dauntless was acting so squirrely, he was disinclined to arrest everyone. He informed the party they’d be disarmed and held in a barracks until he received orders from the Admiral. He also made a point to promise Daniel that he’d get Betsy back as long as he walked out of the Station a free man. Cara and Roland were allowed to keep their officer’s swords, and Angelica concealed her stunner from detection.
At the barracks, the crew found a table of fresh food, showers, and Guardian-issue utilities. As everyone was showering and eating, a surgeon showed up with an AutoDoc and got Daniel situated in it for the night, as well as checked on everyone else’s field dressings. After some brief discussions, everyone slept.
About nine hour later, Colonel Feldman returns and speaks with Cara semi-privately. He says that the Navy steadfastly denies that Dauntless was even in the system, all records indicating it is in drydock at Rebekkah. Even the soldier in captivity, who is identified as an active-duty Marine, should be stationed at a base in Helena. As far as any official channel is concerned, the assault didn’t happen (even though Tomoe’s video feed is going viral across the Roberts system). This leaves Colonel Feldman free to offer the crew shelter at the base or a ride to any of the cities on the moon. Cara asks for his help in retrieving the cryo pods in orbit, and he accepts, taking the wake-up code and instructing the Guardian cutter Lafayette to recover the pods.
The crew attempts to figure out the motivations of their attackers, but doesn’t get far. Besides Angelica’s investigation into the arms flowing to the Grove rebels, very little makes any sense – so much so that it’s posited that perhaps they were surfaces d from jump space entirely by accident. Angelica leaves to wander the base and see if anything can be discovered while the rest of the crew continues to debate their next move.