Mission Two: Ostscout Repossession Caper

Even at a 1.5g acceleration burn, it still takes Bun-bun a few days to reach the nadir jumppoint below the star’s south pole. Nonetheless, the Union-class dropper is met by an old, weathered Scout-class jumpship, with a conspicuously empty dropship docking collar. Jack informs you that their original jumpship is nearby, but not fully charged. But the new jumper opens a channel, and hails the ship.

Jack listens intently for several minutes, smiles, and turns to his crew. “Weeeellll,” he says, drawing out the word as he rubs his hands together. “Looks like we have a new job.”

He waives the mercs over to the ship’s holotank. He fiddles witht he controls for several seconds, frowns, and gives the unit a swift but pronounced kick, which causes him to hop up and down in pain. Meanwhile, the empty air above the unit fills with an obvious stellar cartography map of the local neighborhood. “Here we are,” he says, pointing at an insignificant looking star outside the Successor States. “And here is our next job,” he points at another insignificant looking star within a purple shaded boundary, which you guess must be within the Successor States. “Apparently, some schmuck took out a ‘loan’ to pick up an Ostscout. They defaulted on that ‘loan.’ We’re here to ‘reposess’ it.”

He waives a hand, and a schematic on the Ostscout comes up. It’s a very rare mech, and unfamiliar for many of the group. Long legged, with a strange pod-like torso, its arms end in a pair of sensor wands, giving it a very inhuman appearance. Looking at the technical data, one can see that it is also very fast, over 120kph running. A mech like that can’t have much armor. “But these things are so rare, and the sensors package so good, they sell regularly at perhaps 3 times the normal cost for a mech of this size. And we’re gonna take it back…”

Lenny pipes up. “Will this be a ground operation then, sir? I mean, I assume it will be easier to storm the ‘mech bay and neutralize the crew rather than catch the thing when it’s actually got a pilot in it, right? What kind of facility is the thing housed in anyway?”

Nigel rolls his eyes. “And by ‘we’ you mean “us” right? Because that whole friendly fire strategy of yours isn’t going to work if we’re trying to catch this thing intact…”

Jack looks at the two of you, clearly trying to come up with a come-back. After several seconds, it becomes apparent he doesn’t have anything, so instead he belches loudly. “That’s the plan…

“We’re going to hit the world of Sierra. It’s a little crapsack world on the edge of the Periphery. Now our vic…er…debtor has been hiding out here for several months, along with the ‘package.’ It’s our job to get it.

“That’s where you all come in.

“All you’ve got to do is sneak in there, find out where the mech is, and I’ll come in and pilot it out. You guys can provide close escort, to make sure no other, umm, ‘interested’ parties try to interfere. Any questions?” Jack said.

Nigel looks at him skeptically. “Just about the part about you driving a hideously expensive mech to the rendezvous point. It seems to me it would be best if you waited at the dropship for us, and we drove the mech out. We get the mech out in one piece, you get, what’s that phrase again — oh, yes — plausible deniability.”

Lenny taps his nose with the pointer finger of one hand while pointing at Nigel with the other.

“Plausable deniability, eh?” he seems to mull this over. “Hey Fred! What sort of booze does Sierra have?”

One of the bridge crew, who you assume is named Fred, taps some buttons and then replies, “Some microbreweries, and a small but lively moonshine business. Local government turns a blind eye to it, so it’s fairly available. But the major alcohol producing industry seems to be centered around various fruity wine coolers; the Sierra Mountain brand is well known in the local systems around them…”

“Wine coolers!” Jack exclaims, “That’s for girls. Still, booze is booze. I think we have a plan here!”

Lenny snickers. “Moonshine… blind eye… get it – heh!”

Noticing all the blank stares from Jack and the bridge crew, Lenny ventures, “See, if they don’t distill it properly… Ugh, never mind…”, and walks away sulking and shaking his head.

Dirtside

The Bun-bun settles into the docking collar of the Scout-class jumpship with a number of metallic thuds as the coupling gear secures the ship. Within an hour, the jumpship makes the translation from Hardisey’s Haven to Sierra almost instantly. Yet, during the translation, your universe is compressed down to a 2-dimensional one that is always disconcerting to someone who does not frequently engage in space travel. Nonetheless, the 20.6Ly journey is accomplished with no expenditure of time, and the Bun-bun de-couples several AU from the northern pole of the tiny yellow sun.

The burn in-system is much more leasurely than the last mission, with the dropship making 1G accelleration. You are more comfortable under normal gravity, and are able to get quite a bit of maintenance done on your mechs. Traffic is sparse, but nonetheless, you encounter a Mule-class cargo dropper on its way out to the jumppoint — relatively speaking a close call at 60,000km.

Within a week, the 3,500t Union-class dropship settles outside of the capital city of New Nevada at the planetary spaceport. Terrain here is relatively dry, though not nearly as bad as the terrain back on Galatea. Mostly it is scrubland, broken up by the occasional rolling hill or rain gully, with mountains and the capital off in the distance. Lowering the cargo door, you and Jack drive out in a couple of ground cars.

“Sooo Jack, who’s the owner? An individual or a consortium? Who are we looking for here?”

Jack replies back: “Ummm, some dude name Christophos Tsaka-laka-yabba-dabba-doo. Can’t pronounce the name, too complex. Mech jock. Maybe try the local hang-out? Anything else?”

“Why so nervous Jack? We’re doing good works here, re-uniting property with its rightful owner, right?” Nigel asks.

“Nervous? Me? Naahhh… I just have a ‘meeting’ to go to, if you know what I mean,” he nudges you with an elbow, and winks. “Besides, I want to make sure I get back to the ship before the crap goes down. You never know who might be upset by this little caper…” Jack says.

“So what do you know about this Christophos Tsaka-laka-whatever? Like, does he have any friends who might be backing him up?” Nigel says.

Jack looks thoughtful — a major accomplishment for him — and then says: “Friends? Well, I guess that all depends on how loyal his employer is to him. You never know. But from what I’ve heard, he’s taken a contract with the local forces. Oh, they happen to be some 2nd rate crap unit. Something like the 5th Oriente Hussars. Pushovers. Other than that, how many friends could a merc really have? I mean, look at you guys? How many friends do you have? Not many! I’m sorry, that was a little insensitive of me. No, wait, scratch that: I’m not really sorry. Heh…”

“Got a picture of him? How about known haunts? I’d rather not spend the next three days crawling through ratgut bars looking for some merc.” Nigel asks.

“The only place we know that he hangs out at is a dive called ‘Rattail’s.’ Owned by some ratty guy, I guess. Dude is dark haired with a beard. Speaks Greek, and English with an accent — maybe Russian I guess. Other than that, the rest is your job. Oh, and keep it on the down low. No need involving the authorities…” Jack replies.

“Right. Wouldn’t want to do that.” Nigel says, and tips his hat in a goodbye to Jack, who gets into one of the ground cars and heads off at a fair speed towards town. The mercs do as well, but at a more reasonable velocity.

New Nevada

New Nevada looks quite a bit more upscale than your previous port, with ferrocrete roads, and buildings constructed from a combination of brick and sheet metal. Flags fly from poles, and the population looks well scrubbed.

The mercenaries go to Rattail’s. They are not surprised, considering the name, that the place is a dive, a seedy bar in the “bad” side of town. There are mostly down-and-outs here, and a few mech jocks (guessing by the patches on their coats). They order some drinks, and the vodka is surprisingly unadulterated and strong. It’s a few hours, but as the afternoon sinks into evening, they see their “mark” come in.

Dark haired and bearded, he is wearing a jacket with some sort of mech logo on it. It’s a non-standard uniform, and by the looks of it one guesses it is an item from a Capellan uniform. He is alone, but it doesn’t take long for him to find some “friends.” The ladies are painted, and it’s a good guess they’re hookers. Or maybe just easy. Matter of fact, the mercs aren’t really sure, but can definitely tell that their glory has fallen, and their better days are behind them. This seems to suit Christophos just fine, though…

Nigel walks over to the bar, and as he orders another vodka (putting down a hefty tip as he does so) he asks the bartender “What’s up with Mr. Ladies Man over there? He a mech jock or something?”

The bartender picks up a glass and begins cleaning it with a rag. “Him?” he says, pointing with his chin. “Yeah, mechjock. Everyone in here is a mechjock, wants to be one, or wants to boink one. Him, he just got in a few months ago, but has been hanging out here ever since. Dissappears for a few weeks about a month ago, then comes back with money to spend. Hear he’s attached to the 5th Oriente. They’ve been here for some time, but he’s new. Got some sort of light mech, and pulls specops missions into Commonwealth space. Are you gonna drink that, or stare at it all day?”

“Drink it of course,” Nigel says. “Actually, make it an alpha strike for our friends over there. It looks like our good pal and his girls could use another round or three.” Picking up the drinks, Nigel heads over to the mechjock’s table.

“Next round’s on me friend”, Nigel says, putting down the glasses as he pulls up a chair at the mechjock’s table. “Third one’s on me too if you can tell me about landing a piloting job on this dirtball. Got in two weeks ago, and ain’t found much that’s worth my time.”

Lenny walks up behind Nigel, toting an oily-looking stout, and claps a friendly hand on his shoulder. “Hey, Freddy! Been here only 5 minutes and you’re already meeting new people! Care to introduce me to your new friends here?”

“This guy? You don’t know this guy?” Nigel asks. “Oh man, this is Christophos — hottest mechjock on the planet. Word has it this guy is the shit. And word has it he’s hiring…” Nigel says, with all sincerity.

“Hiring?” Christophos says, pushing a sagging floozy off his lap. “Not hiring. Very sorry, but 5th Oriente, maybe hiring. You got drink? Thank you!” He takes the Alpha Strike from your hands, and downs it with one gulp, followed by some snorting and a scratchy voice “Smooth. Like broken glass…”

“Don’t know Christophos, but we know of Christophos. Heard you did some fancy piloting to get yourself into the 5th Oriente. Am I right? And I said to myself, self, you gotta find a good pilot on this rock so you can get you into a class outfit.” Nigel says, taking a drink. “This 5th Oriente, they decent? Must be if they hired a mechjock like you.”

“Fifth Oriente decent?” Christophos says, looking around to see if anyone else has heard. He leans close and says conspiratorially. “Wars not good for Oriente Hussars. Badly mauled. Understrength. That’s where I come in. Watching for Commonwealth. I have an Ostscoutyou know. Good sensors! Fast! Jumps! Just what is needed to not get blowed up…”

“They looking to hire on a few more hands? My friends and I could use the work.” Nigel asks.

“Hmm, you must see Colin Gray. He is XO. He also hires. You got light mechs? Maybe you work with me. Other targets also good for not me getting blowed up!” he laughs at this, slapping his knee, not seeming to care no one else found it funny.

Nigel throws in a laugh. “Good one,” he says, throwing back his drink. “Turns out we do have a light mech or three and just might be able to provide that cover you’re looking for. Though we’d rather blast ’em all to hell than get hit. So where can we find this Colin Gray?”

About this time Walkabout meanders into the bar. He looks around for a moment until his gaze settles on Nigel chatting up his new friend. Walkabout picks up a drink and heads over to the table.

“Hey guys. Who’re your new friends and is it their turn for the next round?” Walkabout sprawls out on a chair at the table next to Nigel, Lenny and the target.

“This Christophos. Mechjock. Hell of a good one from what I hear. I’m up for another round.” Nigel raises a hand to attract a waitress, then floats another round of drinks.

Walkabout waits until Christophos turns his attention to one of his women, then motions to Nigel to meet him away from the table.

“Allrighty. I had a few before I got here so I’m gonna go water the bushes. Or a wall. Or whatever doesn’t look like a power outlet. Only make THAT mistake once, let me tell YOU!!”

Walkabout gets up and starts to weave in the general direction of the jakes. After only a few steps his abruptly turns around and grabs his drink from the table. After a big swig, he continues toward the bathroom, taking his drink with him.

Hey, new friend is gone? Shows up for drink, then goes for pee. Is weak I guess,” he finishes off with a hearty laugh… What is this? All of Christophos’ new friends leave? Well, guess that means more women for me! Barkeep, more booze! C’mere honey…”

“Small bladder. Which reminds me, I could use a break. Thanks for the heads up Christophos. And enjoy your new friends!” Nigel takes his leave of the table and catches up with the others.

A New Job…

When we’re out of sight and earshot, Walker asks everyone, “What’s our real mission here? Do we just get the ‘mech, or do we want to try and recruit Christophos, too? I’m not sure I’m qualified to pilot that specialized thing of his. I don’t feel right unless I’ve got a lot of MLAS to melt some paint.”

“And if we really do just want the ‘mech, why can’t we just stagger back into the bar, get all cozy-like with him and then shoot him in the head?”

“We need the mech. We’d probably be doing the galaxy a favor by offing Christophos, but we don’t know exactly where the mech is. I say we talk him into taking us to see the mech. Nothing like a towering hunk of steel to impress the ladies right? Then we can decide what to do next.”

“Sound like a plan?” The others nodded their agreement.

Nigel and Walker head back inside. “Well I’m about a liter short and a few kilos lighter now,” Nigel says, walking back over to Christophos’ table with an exaggerated swagger. “So Christophos, how about we go check out them mechs? ‘Cause I hear the women, they love do’n it in a mech. Am I right, or am I right ladies?”

Walker says, “Huh, this is turning into a sausage party, if you know what I mean. I’ll see you guys later.”. Walker then heads back outside and takes up a good position to keep an eye on the bar so that I can see Chrostophos leaving.

“You want to see mech?” Christophos says. He has a noticeable slur now. “OK, you can see mech. Ladies, are you coming?”
He looks amused by his comment, smiles a little “Hah. I think I make funny…”

He staggers out of the bar, and Nigel follows.

Meanwhile, Walker tries to hide himself in some bushes that he thinks will be an ideal hiding spot, but too late realizes that he cannot see most of the street from this position, and it will be difficult to keep a track on Christophos, Nigel, and the floozies. Walker is about to give up when he sees another figure exit the bar, look both ways, and walk in the same direction as the party. He is a large man, deeply tanned, wearing a short-sleeved black shirt that barely covers his bulk, a set of fatigue trousers, and a black beret.

Nigel follows the drunken Christophos through the streets, clearly heading for the part of town that encompasses the military base. Christophos is unable to walk a straight line, but he seems to be doing fairly well. He stinks of cheap alcohol and cheap perfume, but you figure that’s simply how he rolls.

You reach the outside of the military base, when Christophos stops you. “Have to recycle alcohol,” he says, arranging a couple of garbage cans, and proceeding to urinate.

Nigel feels a hand clap down on his shoulder, and as he turns around to see who it is, a fist brutally encompasses the range of his vision:

His head still ringing from the blow, Nigel turns and asks “what the–?” while fumbling for the slug thrower on his hip. He sees a big man, wearing a black t-shirt, military style fatigues wearing a beret. He is massaging his knuckles, smiling slightly. He appears to be readying another swing.

From behind Nigel, he can hear “Hey, will you keep it down? Christophos is having pee…”

Off in the distance, come the sounds of shouts and muttering. It sounds like the scuffle and Nigel’s startled yell may have attracted some attention…

“What the hell man, can’t you see my friend here’s trying to take a piss?” Nigel raises his gun. “Now back the fuck off before I put a bullet in your brainpan”.

The man in the military fatigues is not impressed, and stares at Nigel with steely eyes.

“Umm, Walker, little help here…” Nigel mutters.

The man laughs at Nigel. “Better put that away before someone gets hurt, little man. Christophos, mind telling me what the hell you think you’re doing hanging around with these guys?”

Christophos looks over his shoulder. From the sounds of things he’s done with his task, and Nigel hears his feet scrape unevenly on the pavement as he turns.

“New friends want to see mech. Always impressed with mech. I pilot an Ostscout you see. Really, really expensive. Usually I impress the chicks with it. This time impressing new friend. Hey! New friend! This does not mean I am gay! Thank you!” Christophos says.

Nigel slowly lowers his pistol. “Nigel. Mech pilot. Christophos and I got to talking, he mentioned their might be employment opportunities on this rock. Plus, you know, chicks dig mechs.”

“You’re looking for a job?” He laughs. About this time two armed soldiers round the corner and level their laser rifles at Nigel. They look like top-of-the-line Star League era weapons, complete with hip-mounted power pack. The stranger waives his hand, “At ease, troopers…” The soldiers lower their rifles but look on warily.

“How convenient: Christophos was just about to report back to base for a mission. You got a mech? Maybe I might have a job for you…”

At the mention of a new mission, Christophos looks crestfallen. “Aw, man….”

Walker strides around a corner and calls out to Nigel. “Hey, Nigel! I thought I left you back in that bar with the that cool mech pilot. What’re you doing here?” Walker eyes the big man warily.

“I was wondering when you’d show up. Tell me, what is your interest in hiding in bushes and stalking my mech pilots? What incentive do I have for not having my men drill laser holes in your carcass?” the commander says.

“Stalking? Nah man, you’ve got it all wrong. Walker was just covering our backs. Christophos, well, he was none to quiet back at the bar. We were worried about him — thought someone might end up doing him wrong, if you know what I mean. And you? You’re a smart guy, so I know you know … you know? So I made sure I had his back … and made sure Walker had mine. Everyone’s gotta have a wingman, right?”

Nigel punches Christophos in the shoulder (assuming he’s wondered back over). “Right man?”

“Sure Nigel. Just looking out for things. Was also trying to scope out a few of those ladies, if you know what I mean…”

“Ouch!” Christophos says, rubbing his arm. “I have been wounded in action! Cannot pilot, will have to go on mission later…”

The big man leads you towards the base, revealing his name as Sergeant-major Sergio Diaz, of the 5th Oriente Hussars. Besides his duties as a senior regimental NCO, he informs you that he is also in charge of all attached mercenaries under short-term and medium term contracts. As he leads you inside the gates, the two soldiers fell in behind you, and did not shoulder or sling their laser rifles.

“We were hit pretty hard,” he offers as he leads you through the base. Even in the dead of night, there is activity. You see mech bays filled with mechs and techs, other shelters ranked with tanks, and all over the base you see well equipped infantry pulling guard duty. “The Elsies crossed the border a few months ago — reconnaissance in force — and caught one of our battalions out on maneuvers. Mauled them pretty bad, lost close to a company of machines. Then one of the other battalions went on a parts raid — PPCs mostly, since our capacity to manufacture them went up in nuclear smoke n’ fallout back in the Second — and got pretty messed up then too. We’re rebuilding, but filling in open slots with small-time mercs where we can. That’s where you guys come in.”

“Christophos here is a recon jock, and when he’s not drunk one of the best in the Inner Sphere too. You’d think with his pettigree and family he would handle himself a bit better on his off-time. Why, he can’t even be bothered to wear his uniform properly. But then, that’s officers for you. Heard your dad sold of an estate or two to buy you that toy, eh Christophos?”

Christophos merely mutters something under his breath you don’t catch.

SgtMjr Diaz leads you into an aluminum and concrete shelter, and as you are about to get a bearing of your surroundings, Nigel feels his communicator vibrating in his pocket…

…and the caller ID reads “King Leonard IV”.

“Nigel – where the hell did you two get off to? That little hussy at the bar blew me off. I think I’m off my game – gotta be too much time in space lately.” asks Nicoli Ivanov.

“So you boys wanna job?” the big man asks. “Well, I got a job for you. Don’t I, Christophos?”

The mechwarrior looks sullen as he slowly nods his head. You suspect whatever it is, won’t be good.

“We like to call these missions ‘Hopscotch’ missions. Cause you’ll be hopping from the start…

“As you may-or-may-not know, Christophos here pilots an Ostscout. These are great for recon missions: fast, jumps, and has the best sensor package of any mech — anywhere.

“The Elsies are starting to rumble again, and we need to know what they’re up to. Christophos has been good at finding out stuff, and that’s what he’s going to do again. You boys will provide escort, so he can complete his mission and not die.”

The Sergeant-major indicates an old-fashioned wallmap. You notice it is of the border, with Lyran worlds colored blue, League worlds in traditional purple, and a number of unaligned worlds in yellow.

“We’re going to drop in here: Bolan. I hope your urdu is up to date.”

Christophos pipes up: “What is urdu?” but Sergio ignores him.

“There is word from human intelligence that Lyran forces may be massing here. Given recent history, it can only mean one thing: They’re planning an invasion. Your job is to get in there, confirm the concentration, and try to find out what regiment or regiments are massing here. You have 45 minutes to get your stuff and your mechs to the assembly point. I’ll assign a guide to get you to the correct dropship. I suggest you get moving…”

The mercenaries accept the job, and start heading back to the Bun-Bun

Schemes within Schemes

On the way back to the Bun-bun to retrieve the mechs, Lenny speaks up, looking concerned. “If we’re to travel in their dropship, how the hell will we make our escape after pinching the Ostscout?? Or do we go through with the mission, and then grab the scout once we’ve returned to this world?”

Nigel scratches his chin. “That’d work. Or we nab it at the destination world, and call the Bun-bun to pick us up. Either way could work. I think we’ll need to improvise.”

Walker chimes in, “Christophos seems generally unhappy. I think we should try and talk to him enroute and get him to defect WITH the mech. Then we get the intel ’cause intel’s always valuable to someone, but instead of rendezvousing with their dropship we rendezvous with ours.”

“I don’t know. What if he turns on us en route? That could get … messy. Still, he does look miserable. Might be worth it to at least ask if he’s interested in other work, you know? Then we can see how it goes. Maybe make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Nigel says.

Bolan

The Dropship burns out to the awaiting jumpship, taking nearly a week to traverse the interplanetary space between the planet Sierra and the jumppoint 1 AU or so over the parent star’s pole. “We’ll shadow you,” Jack informs the mercenaries as they prepared to leave. “As a Lyran-registered ship coming in from the Periphery, there shouldn’t be too much confusion. With a little luck, we’ll meet you there for the…uh…’repossession.'”

The journey from the Sierra system to Bolan takes more than a month, jumping from star-to-star, with sufficient downtime to let the jump core recharge. Using mostly uninhabited or lightly settled star systems, the unmarked jumpship makes the journey mostly undetected (though in one uninhabited system, they did bump into a merchantship; the cover held).

On board the an ancient and somewhat decrepit Confederate-class dropship, the ship makes a high-G burn from a pirate jump point, as there is no way to mask the emergence signal of 100,000t of starship tearing through the fabric of spacetime. The captain informs everyone that based on the duration of the precursor IR signature, and the amount of IR radiation being put out by the local space the ship would soon occupy, the Bolan defenders will be able to calculate the distance traveled, and determine where they came from (“of course this violates causality, but no one important will ever know,” the captain laughs; physics jokes seem to go over the crew’s heads).

The mercenaries make Planetfall on Bolan a few hours later, a mountainous, wrinkled and dry planet with only a few large oceans or green areas. The Jenner Brothers — Nigel and Walker — head out in their Jenner mechs escorting Christophos in his Ostmech. As they approached their destination — a series of red-brink ridges — they heard increasing military comm traffic as the defenders of Bolan scrambled to intercept them. Two succeeded: a pair of Commando-class mechs.

The Jenners movedto intercept the Commandos while the Ostscout moved to one of the high points on the nearby ridges. A fierce firefight ensus in which the Ostscout was slammed by heavy fire by one the Commandos while the other moved to engage Nigel’s Jenner. Seeing an opportunity to badly damage one of the enemy mechs, Walker launched a rear assault on Nigel’s Commando, but then has to break off his attack to save the Ostscout.

Nigel desperately tries to destroy the mech facing off against him, but most of his attacks when wild while the Commando hit home.  The Commanado blew off the Jenner’s right leg, then moved to intercept the Ostmech.  Fortunately, Christophos managed to gather the much-needed data, and began to withdraw from the battlefield.

Walker’s Jenner provides cover, intercepting the Commando that caused Nigel so much trouble and destroying it. The other Commando continued to follow the fleeing Ostscout, and the two Jenners met up in an attempt to make good Christophos’ escape. Nigel, realizing his mech was all-but-destroyed, decides to send a his mech crashing into the surviving Commando. He fires his jump jets and lines up the shot, but misses. At the last moment he hits the ejection button and floats to safety, his mech smashing into the ground.

Meanwhile the Ostscout successfully flees the battlefield. Realizing there was no hope of victory, the Commando withdraws. Walker pilots his mech over to Nigel, picked him up, and leaves to catch up with Ostscout.

On the way back to the rendezvous point, Walker confronts Christophos. He explains that he and Nigel actually had two objectives on this mission: 1) secure the recon data and 2) … secure the Ostscout. He explains that this could go badly for Christophos … or it could go less badly. He asks him to turn over the mech to Walker and his crew, and in return Christophos would get a cut of the C-Bills from their current gig, as well as the sale of the Ostscout. Alternatively, he could die. The mech pilot sees the wisdom of joining the Hellfire Aces, and reluctantly turned over his mech.

As the last mech clambers on board the Bun-bun, Jack gives the order and the dropship burns off the planet’s surface. “Since we’re a Lyran registered ship, shouldn’t be any “entanglements” with the locals,” he says. “That Leager dropper however just kicked over a hornet’s nest.” 

Bun-bun makes for a leisurely burn to the jumppoint, pulling a standard 1g. “So I see you got the mech and recruited a pilot? Well the latter is your business, but the former belongs to me,” he says. “It’s a good thing too; losing that Jenner is gonna cost. Not gonna be a lot of profit for this one. And Bolan was mostly settled by Pakistanis — Muslims — so ain’t a decent drop of booze anywhere, except the black market and offworlder cantons. Ahh…”

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