Untangling the Knot

Clever Pun

- Recap: at the “Fancy Party,” Halabaster and Sandman busy themselves with tracking the data feed to Tamber Kord’s last known communications. The team pinpoints a closer location and flies out in a two-week trip into Shodani orbit (greeted by crewmen Sly Slapnuts, Dak Mantauk, and Hork Jazztap)

- While floating between the systems, for a few hours, Sandman picks up some off-beat computer scans on the ship’s computer systems. It only takes a few minutes before Slapnuts picks up three ships closing in: a Tannhauser interceptor, a T3 patrol cruiser “Futurebird”, and a T2 “Wild Weasel”/“Manmission” One ship hails the POS with a strict ultimatum: “This is Tannhauser Military Vessel (fucking, whatever) Mir’s Regret. Prepare to be boarded.” The POS brings those blue sparks and shifts out from the range of the patrol cruiser. The Wild Weasel seizes the communication network of the shift for a bit, frying some of the electronics on board. Ronk flips on the beam weapons and points them up in the grill of the interceptor, which takes a hull breach. The interceptor sinks in behind a wall of torpedoes, with Ronk fries as many as he can and Dirk spins and yaws the ship around. Dirk tosses up some “hard neutrino power base” over to Hal and Hal throws it into the engine core. Ronk walks back the beam shots into and out of the breach, the torpedo tubes going off, and the ships explodes – he says, “What could possibly be a consequence of that?”

- The ship makes it into inner-system Shodan at the station they suspected was close to where Tamber was at, surrounded by ships. The crew suspects that the signal is coming from one of them, possibly the closest one: the “Lickety Split.” (hailing code: if the ship’s rockin, don’t come a dockin’). The ship is a fairly old T3 “scout hunter,” a small slip-capable vessel, not packing a lot of weaponry. Sandman and Watson hail the ship and access a communications login prompt. They only get so far into a rather advanced security system, but learn that the ship is humming with minimal power and no life-support systems on for at least two years. Cross-checking it with the Port Authority data system, most of the traffic is local Shodani ships coming and going, with outsiders mostly Ford and Tannhauser ships. The “Lickety Split,” for example, is a ship logged with past docking fees unpaid, but it seems as if there’s still activity between the ship and the station.

- The team tries to float EVA-style up to the ship and find a way in. Watson’s stick in a dark and cold interior, stuck in vacuum, but the inside of the hull is lined with what seems like the most “old-advanced” ship he’s ever seen. Investigating the ship’s engine, the reaction mass of the ship is extremely small, and the ship is made for habitable living on a skeleton crew. On the bridge, lights glow and dim out, and Hal makes his way into the engine area. The engines are so advanced that the slip-drive is the most compact, and the reaction engines are the most efficient. Watson tries to interface with whatever equipment he can. All he knows is that it’s armed with high v-shift and great electronic warfare, but its cargo is tiny and its weapons are only beam-based.

- Proceeding deeper into the bridge, display screens begin to light up. A graphic pops up in the center with the shape of a man’s head, scanning the room with its “eyes.” On-screen, a couple of ships appear in what looks like a braking maneuver, extremely close to the hull of the ship, slowly rotating. The screen sharpens: it’s two Tannhauser interceptors.

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