After dealing with the Anti-FTL Mine/Assassin Mech, and noting that while not Geth in origin, the systems had been upgraded with Geth program code, the crew made it back to Etamis, reported the danger, and were recruited by Cardinia’s constable to investigate the FTL burst they saw off the main transit line during the incident, as well as an unsurveyed system in the cluster which the Anti-FTL mine had in its data banks suggesting it as a point of origin.
Making a 1 or 2 shot burst sensor array that they could fire off to get readings quickly before bugging out, the crew made their way back to the area, while Etamis’s colonies sent a mail ship to alert Citadel Forces of a possible Geth presence.
The crew found a catastrophically damaged Geth mobile space dock, destroyed a erratically piloted Geth gunship, and destroyed the engines of a Geth corvette docked at said space dock. Using remote controlled drones, the recon suggested the Geth were updating a different species’ technology to Geth compliance, but the upgraded assassin mechs turned on the Geth, disabling the station.
Some difficult hacks later, remaining nav data suggested that the space dock had originated in the same unsurveyed system as the previously checked anti-FTL mine, also, review of the FTL burst they had recorded suggested one or more ships likely headed on a trajectory toward said system.
Scanning local space and reviewing the acquired nav logs, the crew found 3 more Anti-FTL mines already en route to the main space lane. Deciding that eliminating them first was more important than speeding toward the uncharted system, the crew was able to blow 1 up, accidentally trigger another, but lure the assassin mech to a ambush in the main hold where they defeated a highly upgraded version with shield systems and drone support, before finishing the last one off with ship’s guns.
They then laid in the course to the uncharted system…
Wary of the Anti-FTL Kill Mines, the crew arrived outside the boundaries of the Oort cloud, and knowing what silhouettes to look for now, was cautiously optimistic that while the outer boundaries of the system was likely seeded with them – they were not operational. Better safe than sorry, Milo nonetheless spun the Albatross up over the system’s ecliptic and came in on a short FTl line to get a good position to scan the system.
Luck was with them as initial visual scans picked up strange flashes from the system’s asteroid belt, as well as from a likely habitable inner world – likely orbital impacts. And then radio band scanning picked up burst traffic – Geth Encrypted. Realizing their FTL arrival was now only minutes away from visual scanning by Geth interlopers, the crew built a course to flash their high powered sensor array and bounce around the system before fleeing with whatever data they could. A hair raising chase ensued by jumping away from suddenly arriving Geth interceptors – flashing it’s sensor pod, and rabbiting across system, before gravity assisting out past a super terran ice world in the outer reaches – and learning at that second that the Geth had at least one cruiser as part of their occupation.
Spinning out of system, the crew decided to change course last minute from a dense dust cloud and gravity well between the uncharted system and Etamis, and instead head direct to Chandresekar in hopes of being able to broadcast their data to any inbound Citadel forces.
Just short of a week later, they arrived in Chandresekar, in time to see a mixed Turian and Alliance task force readying for their transit at the local fuel mining facilities. Hailing the task force, they were docked with, minor repairs were offered as well as removing remnants of the FTL Mine grapple cables from the Albatross’ hull, and they shared their information with the task force. Thanked for their efforts, and the new coordinates, the task force released them, fell in, and jumped out to engage the Geth in the uncharted system.
30 minutes later, as the crew jumped out system back to Etamis, they caught an FTL flash in the outer reaches of the system. Cutting FTL, and turning back around and jumping in-system, the crew saw the entire massed Geth fleet with multiple cruisers, frigates, gunboats and support ships moving toward the civilian mining facilities and the Mass Relay.
Rabbiting ahead, the albatross sent a emergency hail to all the local traffic, and, as the HE mining facilities around the local gas giant were struck by the Geth fleet, the crew organized a rescue and retreat of the ExoMetals crew from the deep space fuel depot by the Mass Relay, cutting through a group of Geth Interceptor gunboats, and leading a jump to the currently building Systems Alliance military colony of Ontarom.
Alerting Alliance forces of the Geth fleet caused an immediate mobilization of local ships, while the Albatross and it’s cadres of refugee ships were escorted into orbit. Refugees were shuttled off the Albatross, and ExoMetal Mining ships were allowed to land, but the Albatross was left to wait, until a military shuttle docked. A terse and aggressive Lt Commander engaged them demanding information, only to be shocked as multiple systems went offline as Nero discovered and locked down a transmitter on the ship’s hull of unknown origin. Back up minutes later, the unknown transponder became the target of the Officer’s ire, but with the crew co-operating fully, they were merely shuttled down to Ontarom, and given rooms in a “hotel” used for visiting dignitaries to the base and colony construction sites, while their ship was impounded pending review.
Free to move about the planet, Roger made visits to the escapees, who were expressing their respect and thanks to any who would listen of the crew’s daring, and the utter failure of the turian led task force to follow procedures for the protection of civilians.
Two days later, the group is visited by an Earth Alliance Commander, who after enabling multiple anti-snooping precautions, frankly speaks with the crew about the bug on their ship, and how the Systems Alliance would like to hire them as bait. They are sure the transponder was put on during their docking with the Systems Alliance frigate in Chandresekar, and is one of what they believe to be a web of such transponders using Systems Alliance military channels to send encrypted messages to an unknown organization. While they have no proof yet, the likeliest suspect is an underground humanist organization called Cerberus, but they need to know if that’s true, or a misdirection to hide another player in interstellar espionage. In exchange for several upgrades to the Albatross, the crew agrees.
In addition, the Turian failure to leave a force to protect known civilians from a potential Geth fleet has led to a political uproar, and the crew will be asked to attend a dinner with several Citadel dignitaries in a weeks time which will act as a media focus. They all receive tailored formal attire in exchange. Using that week, the crew IDs a rim station where they can get more heavy duty upgrades to the Albatross that Ontarom’s facilities aren’t currently up to spec for, and finds various trade goods they could bring there and to Etamis.
11 am local time, a message comes in: The dinner is canceled. The reason will become clear when the news drops roughly 12 hours, galactic wide. The Albatross is ready to fly. Be prepped to leave no later than the news burst.
The crew get their purchased cargo signed up for shuttling to the ship in low orbit, and take a passenger shuttle up. They review the defensive and gun upgrades while the cargo is loaded into the main bay, and prep a flight plan.
Shortly after reviewing all the upgrades, the crew went to double check their cargo, and found it to be several large, powered, multi-locked refrigeration crates.
While trying to decide what they had, since it clearly wasn’t the entertainment materials they had purchased, the prox alarms went off as a heavy assault shuttle with sensor cloaking design swung up and mag-clamped to their primary airlock. The crew took positions, and as the masked and uniformed boarders went to open the inner lock doors, said, “Hello, welcome aboard” and opened the inner door.
A tense standoff and discussion ensues. In the end, the aggressors stand firm on the fact that they too got the wrong cargo, but unhappily not the crew’s missing cargo, and that the people, and they do admit that the crates have cryogenically frozen people in them, are heavily cybered folks who have paid for this exodus away from the core of galactic society where they are ostracized for their extreme modifications. The crew finally relents but does not drop their guard – and the black/white/gold uniformed boarders crisply transfer the cargo, and when asked, gladly give up the cargo they received – 2 pallets of adult novelties.
With the shuttle gone, the crew move to queue at the Relay to jump out-system and get the local news burst just before leaving: Commander Aurora Shepard, First Human Spectre, and hero of the Battle of the Citadel, is MIA, presumed dead, after the destruction of the SSV Normandy to a Geth Heavy Cruiser.
With two cargo pallets of dildos, and some digital media they bought, the crew aim for upgrades, specifically toward a rough and tumble section of space near the Perseus Veil. Despite it’s nearness to Geth Space, Dobrovolski in the Pamyat system of the Hades nexus remained largely unmolested. A rough and tumble, but technically legal, space station connected with Altai Mineral Works, Dobrovolski Station had what they needed: a drydock and shipyard facilities capable of handling the Albatross, without any of the inconvenient oversight and regulations of a Citadel or Earth Alliance station.
On the way in-system, the Albatross passes through the system’s asteroid belt, and within a few hours flight of a known Dark Station, which serves the needs of pirates, marauders, and smugglers who are too hot even for Dobrovolski. A small wing of merc fightercraft hails and threatens the Albatross – and is met with a withering hail of fire from it’s Systems’ Alliance upgraded guns and targeting system. The heavy freighter hiding behind a nearby asteroid, and likely the drop ship for the fighters, sees the altercation and rabbits before the Albatross can intercept. No one else accosts the Albatross.
The crew arrive at Dobrovolski, witness an unfortunate defense grid “accident” and are then allowed to dock. After some small translation issues with the local Russian language server, the crew line up transfer of cargo, and schedule a week’s worth of upgrades. While taking in dinner at one of the local station restaurants, the group is approached by an Asari and a Turian, the second acting as bodyguard for the first. The first understandably paranoid that the person she was told to make contact with SIX relay jumps away is sitting in the same bar in the ass end of space. One nearly terminal introduction later, Lyalia, another “ward” of Quoth’s, and Calea Ternifolia, a mustered out Turian soldier for hire, join up with the crew in hopes of getting out of sight and off the beaten path as soon as possible.
The group spends the next week locked in the forward compartments of the Albatross, surrounded by the clunks, thuds and spangs of nearly round the clock work, with the occasional work crew escorted to the inside compartments of the engineering section. Once complete, the crew fire up the engines, and plot a course back to Etamis. At the Relay in Dakka in the Nubian Expanse, Milo is vexed in his attempt to continue the jump as two Eclipse Merc Corvettes jockey around an unmarked frigate which has lines similar to those used by the Systems Alliance, but it broadcasting no transponder information. Finally lining up the jump, a second unmarked frigate jumps in, and the eclipse corvettes begin taking heavy hits as the crew makes haste to leave the battlefield.
Just shy of 5 days later, the Albatross gets back to Etamis, sells access to some of its collected “current” digital media, and checks in with Constable Won about the bounty on the head bandit of the Claim Jumpers they took out about a month and a half back. Cash in hand, they plan another trip to the Ripple Hill Ruins.
MORE TO BE ADDED SOON