Having taken Constable Won’s “bounty”, the crew decided to head out by Blazemaster after a night’s sleep to the coordinates of the raider camp gotten from the vehicle data core.
Upon arrival, they were greeted with a mostly deserted encampment surrounded by a disabled security fence, and three full grown Selcha spigers rooting through the trash and garbage of the camp. Deciding to take a pot shot to scare them off, the group got their first taste of why the a Traveler Advisory is posted on Etamis. With reflexes that bordered on the supernatural, the crack of the Blazemaster’s turreted rifle saw the spiger already leaping airborne, avoiding the projectiles streaming toward it.
With a mix of rushing around the remnants of the camp, and nearly vertical leaps of 3 meters, the spigers were upon the Blazemaster. Several attempts were made by the beats to pierce the metal interloper’s skin with their stabbing limbs. While none did appreciable damage, the Blazemaster’s armor shivered and cracked at several of the impact points.
This time fire from the group’s guns found their mark, raking the spiger’s tough hides. Intelligent enough to see that the Blazemaster was not easy prey, the spigers began loping and vaulting away out of sight of the camp.
Staying within sight of the parked Blazemaster, most of the crew began examining the camp while Milo remained in the turret on overwatch. Simple, worn modular habitats, and a mobile habitat/cargo truck were the main features of a crate like strip mine, with three mine head airlocks driven into the sides of the bowl-shaped camp. Some well kept belongings suggested that the keeper of the data pad from the raider assault truck was likely the leader of the gang, as well as on the run from something, having maintained items with pictures of family, encrypted cred sticks, and business clothes.
While searching the lot, evidence of tampering with the truck, and attempts to pick the lock on the front cab were found. The continued search reveals a camp wide security station in the hab on the truck bed which has been disabled – apparently shutting down the security fence along with locks on the mine-heads. Powering it back up, a muffled voice comes through the security speaker, asking if the spigers are gone,and if they can open the mine head door – it’s stuck from the inside.
The party discuss briefly and then open the mine heads, and reveal a decrepit, crazy-looking old human, who introduces himself as Larson Belker, a freelance prospector from the northlands between Cardinia and Rhinebeck Colony. The raiders jumped his claim, and they beat him and left him for dead, but the leathery old man clearly survived with food and medicine stashes that the raider’s missed.
Tracking them down, he decided he’d wait for them to go out on a raid, at which point he’d break in, disable the security, load as much of their ill gotten gains onto their very own truck, and steal back what had been stolen from him. Except when he disabled the security on the mine heads, the security fence when down, and while he was noisily exploring and moving loot to the truck, a pack of Selcha Spigers came to investigate the sounds and smells. The truck cab had an extra physical lock, and in a panic Larson wasn’t having luck picking the lock, so instead he ran into one of the mine shafts and slammed the emergency close button, which did it’s job, and then promptly broke, trapping him in the mine.
After some discussion and some investigation, the group comes to the conclusion that the camp probably wasn’t made by the raiders, but rather, another claim jump. Using some of the ground sonar gear among the mining tools, they find what appears to be a collapse with the lightly discernible outlines of humanoid bodies – probably the original prospectors. They haggle with Larson for a bit relinquishing salvage rights to the old coot, and he takes most of the unrefined ore that the raiders had collected, seeing as there is no way to assign ownership as well as the mining equipment, and the truck/habitat, while the crew takes some unrefined gold, aluminum, and platinum, and the personal belongings of the raider captain, as well as some video recordings of the encampment and Belker’s testimony of what happened to him, to provide proof to Constable Won that the raiders are likely done with so they can collect their bounty.
Driving back to Cardinia, Won reviews the data, gives them the mercenary pay for checking out the site, takes the name and identicard of the presumed raider captain to see if there is a Citadel Bounty or Warrant for him, and gives the ok to the deal with Larson, since Won has already checked with the other colonies, and there is no record of the prospectors who made the camp at those coordinates. He also informs the group that thanks to their previous tip, they’ve been able to bring in and have a chat with the mole in the starport, and Won is working with the other wildcat colony security forces to see if there is a bigger blackmail ring going on.
The group decides to settle in and relax for a day or two before joining up with Molly as vehicle backup for her hunting job. Reviewing the final repairs to the Albatross and their current funds as well as the income from the bounty hunter’s salvage, the group certainly isn’t wealthy, but they are in a better place than they were just a month prior.
END OF SESSION