To: Fleet Admiral Komiko Halsey
I do not know who needs to hear this, but kindly cut it the fuck out. My friends don’t know anything.
Though…I am becoming curious.
Hugs and Kisses
P.S. Do you know where Dauntless is?
The Memoirs of “Gentleman” Jack Cartwright
The crew’s mission to Korolev is relatively simple: board the ITC A Series of Unlikely Explanations a small Grendel-class freighter under command of an IBI company man named Otto, currently docked at Trinity, travel to Korolev and land at a given set of coordinates in the deep desert on the 21st of April. They will take delivery of four standard shipping containers, ensuring with a cipher key that they had not been tampered with since being sealed at their origin.
After a series of legal and gray-market firearms purchases around the station, they spend about three weeks R&R and training on Trinity, with nothing more eventful than a security officer being assigned to tail Dirk for the length of his stay. The crew boards Unlikely Explanations and begins their two-week transit to Korolev.
On arrival, the ship lands in New Tombstone and the crew spends their remaining week getting to know the town. Angelica manages to get satellite imagery of the exchange location from some locals. The evening before the pickup, Cara contracts an acute case of food poisoning (grilled sandworm!) and Aidan provides her with some medication that renders her mostly unconscious.
The day of the pickup, the crew lands Unlikely Explanations a few hours early and are met by a group of fairly rough-looking but well-armed individuals. Din speaks for the party. The leader of the smugglers asks if they have payment. Din rolls with it and says he has to validate the merchandise first. The four cargo containers appear to have been rapidly painted, and not only have they not remain sealed, but they’re not even the right containers in the first place, the cipher is a clear mismatch. Still bluffing, Din indicates to Aidan that the containers are a bust and, at the same time, Otto comes on the comms to let the crew know that someone has hacked Explanations and forced the ship into a ground hold.
A desperate firefight ensues. The smugglers are well-armed and covered by snipers. Julian rushes back to the ship and tries to lift the hack, while the rest of the party puts up a fight (including some disruptive work by Tomoe on the ship’s cargo crane). During the fight, both the smuggler leader and Daniel are grievously wounded, and a number of the other members of the crew are hurt severely. Finally, Julian releases the hold and the crew retreats to the safety of the ship. After a daring rush by Din into no-mans-land to take the smuggler leader prisoner (in which he is also seriously wounded), Explanations rockets into the Korolev sky.