The date is February 21st, 2237.
The crew of the Dead Crow had finally arrived for their meeting with infamous pirate lord Al’Shaddur, and had been escorted (without Winston of course, who sent Mr. B as his eyepiece) into the pirate lord’s throneroom. Armand Broeker, who Al’Shaddur thought long dead after he had sent Ariel to assassinate him, was operating under the incredibly convincing fake identity of Banker Ramrod.
Having admitted them to his throneroom, the group asked Al’Shaddur for any information he cared to share about the recent attack they had been caught in. Al’Shaddur explained…
The Red Spacers were behind the attack on the station that the group was on. However the story behind it was strange… The station was owned by the Jaipur clan. A week or so ago a Red Spacers station was attacked by a ship flying the colours of the Jaipur Clan. The two pirate gangs have been fueding for a long time, but usually don’t escalate to full on violence. The Jaipur Clan ship approached the Red Spacers station and asked for docking clearance. Oddly they didn’t send a personal voice message or anything… only an electronic docking request. The Red Spacers station told them to fuck off of course. The Jaipur Clan ship asked again for clearance. Red Spacers again told them to fuck off. So the Jaipur Clan ship began to approach the station and fired it’s breaching tubes in, trying to board! The Red Spacers reacted quickly and blasted them off the side of the station before anyone could come aboard. Strange though, that the whole time the Jaipur Clan ship refused to answer any hails to figure out what the hell they wanted. So the attack on the station the group was on was a retaliatory attack by some of the more hot headed Red Spacers pirates.
The group also asked about what Al’Shaddur had found out about the event back on Mars that he had tasked the group with investigating. Al’Shaddur explained that he had tracked the shipment that had contained the offending disk back to a small freighter that had come from the Neptune area, but beyond that the trail went dead. Wherever the disk came from, it hadn’t appeared on any cargo manifests.
While the crew and Al’Shaddur discussed possibly solutions to the problems facing them, the pirate flagship began to power up it’s engines. Al’Shaddur immediately reacted, demanding answers from his crew since he had given no order to power up and had no been informed of any emergency that required doing so. Attempting to contact his pilot and other crew over the shipboard intercom system resulted in only static, and trying to access one of the computer panels in the throneroom was met with a blank screen and a completely shut down user interface. Meanwhile, on the Dead Crow, the ship had mysteriously started acting on it’s own as well. The Crow disengaged itself from it’s dock with the flagship and fired up it’s own engines.
When the flagships alarms announced that the ship was now losing oxygen Al’Shaddur decided it was time to get his guests to an armoury to suit them up in emergency Vacc suits. It was at this point that Banker Ramrod revealed himself as Armand Broeker, brandishing the small fletchette SMG that he had smuggled onto the flagship. He announced that he had come to kill Al’Shaddur, but that due to circumstances his goal had changed. Al’Shaddur was furious at Ariel for her betrayal of him, and he/she was in turn furious at Armand for his subterfuge. Escorting Armand under armed guard, Al’Shaddur and the group rushed towards an armoury.
However, on the way to the armoury the group passed by a hallway, and one of Al’Shaddur’s guards was shot dead by a laser blast from the far end of the obscured hall. Offering to investigate, Armand determined that the shot had come from a ceiling mounted turret, part of the flagships own internal defenses. Displaying tremendous courage an un-armoured Ariel and a lightly armoured Lo-Ren dove across the hallway to recover the weapon of the downed guard. In a stunning feat of athleticism Ariel was able to pick up the laser carbine and fire a perfectly placed shot right down the barrel of the sentry turret. The immediate threat being dealt with, the crew continued to the armoury.
In the armoury the crew found enough armour and weaponry to outfit themselves against whatever danger awaited them on the ship. They also found a full suit of battle dress… although Armand was the only one with the training to be able to use it, and Al’Shaddur understandably did not want the man who had come to kill him wearing a full suit of battlefield armour. The group agreed to allow Mr.B to carry along the battle dress suit in case they encountered another crew member who had the training to use it.
After trying and failing to access the ship’s bridge due to a heavily sealed blast door the group decided to descend to the depths of the ship to investigate the engine room and computer core. But they were met with an obstacle when the jeffries tube that they had been using to get around the ship (due to the elevator not functioning) had been collapsed in some sort of fire fight, leaving them with the only option of going through the cargo bay to access a second jeffries tube system on the far end of the bay. Al’Shaddur finally took this as reason to tell the group that the freighter was carrying a shipment of battlefield combat robots, and that due to the similarity between this event and the even on Mars he had reason to believe they might have been compromised and hostile.
Sure enough, upon sending Mr. B into the cargo bay to investigate they found that it was filled with combat robots that had been activated and had begun scrounging weaponry from dead crew members. Noting that the robots appeared to be ignoring Mr. B Winston guided him through the dangerous cargo bay and through the tube on the other side and down to the engine room. In the engine room Winston instructed Mr. B to shut down the computers, to which Mr. B steadfastly refused. Sensing that something had gone seriously wrong Winston attempted to take direct remote control of Mr. B. Mr. B immediately began activating a suite of programs that Winston had never seen before and sending conflicting error reports back to him. The robot then shut itself off completely and the connection was lost.
Seeing that their only option was to traverse the cargo bay themselves, the crew readied themselves. Al’Shaddur finally relented and allowed Armand to don the battledress, but insisted that he do it far away from where Al’Shaddur was hiding. The crew stormed the cargo bay; Adrian, Lo-Ren and Armand attempting to distract the robots by rushing them head on while Ariel and Mirek snuck around the back of some cargo crates, attempting to gain access to a Mantis Combat Walker which was parked at the far end of the bay. A bloody battle full of flying robot bits ensued, with Adrian taking a powerful hit from a cargo droid and Armand and Mirek each taking smaller hits from the various droids. The Mantis walker took heavy damage in the fight, but Mirek managed to use it’s Vulcan Light Autocannon to do substantial damage to the rogue robots before it became unusable.
Finally gaining access to the engines and computer core the crew reactivated Mr. B and searched the area. But finding no direct signs of tampering the crew was left with a mystery… After some brainstorming the crew was able to determine that the various computers systems in the encountered robots, Mr. B himself, and the flagship and Dead Crow were running a number of intensely hidden processes and programs that none of the crew recognized. Winston set to work on the Crow attempting to regain control using a combination of shutting down systems, re-installing factory software, insulating systems, and bypassing network connectivity. Armand attempted to aid the situation by taking this chance to finally gain his revenge on Al’Shaddur, blasting him with a point black shot from his cryo-jet.
After disposing of Al’Shaddur’s body the group went to attempt to gain access again to the bridge. Inside they found a scene of destruction similar to the rest of the ship: most of the crew executed by the internal defense systems, with a single survivor to recap what had happened. At this point the robot menace and the internal defense systems had been overcome, the few survivors of the massacre gathered to discuss their next move…
The date is now February 21st, 2237.