SAFCO, along with Flint Sideron and Ronda the Pilot begin the game on the freetrader, floating outside the asteroid complex they raided in game 7. They have already done ship maintenance, but have not yet skimmed the local gas giant for fuel. The set off to do just that, while discussing their next course of action. They have a hold full of military weapons that Sammy Oberon had stolen from the RCMP, but of course Sammy is dead so Flint can’t get his bounty. Mergatroyd and Reesus Peesus are waiting on Mylor for the team to return with the loot. The members of SAFCO confer amongst themselves regarding the best course of action. Should they return the loot to the dirtbags on Mylor as agreed, or return it to the RCMP, two jumps away on Planet Overon, just across the board of the Prometheus subsector. They decide it would be smarter to be friends with the RCMP, and simply give the scum on Mylor a cut of the reward to keep them happy. Ronda agrees to the new terms which will net her 30,000cr. They will eventually pay Mergatroyd and Reesus back for the fuel they spotted them, and whatever else will keep them relatively happy. After all, they didn’t risk their lives.
They make a Jump-1 to the unnamed system just one parsec rimward. That system, charted but unexplored, proves to have 6 planets, including a gas giant. One planet teeming with life but no signs of intelligent inhabitants. They do drive maintenance in that system and continue working on the drone (failing all their rolls, again).
They then make the Jump-2 to Overon, a rocky world of size 5, and home to a large RCMP mining operation. As they land, they see massive transport ships being loaded with refined and raw ore. A big operation. Flint was stationed on this planet for five years, and knows people. He suggests they visit Administrator Robert Tilton, in charge of security and law matters. The local Law Level is 6, so they leave their weapons on the ship. Barney stays on the ship to begin drive maintenance. He and Fardt keep an eye on Ronda, while Flint, Roger, and Lucky head out to see Tilton.
Legal administrator Tilton remembers Flint well. After some small talk, the team explains there can be no bounty on Sammy Oberon because he’s dead, but they have recovered a lot of RCMP military gear. Tilton agrees to pay them what it’s worth, a hefty sum of 470,000cr. (they keep a few things too – a set of combat armor, some gauss rifles, combat environmental suits). After paying Ronda her 30k and deducting 40K to repay the cost of their fuel of the job, they have 400K left, plus 10 good vacc suits worth 10,000cr each. They give Fardt a 22,000cr bonus, for which he is quite grateful. To celebrate they head to the local casino, where everyone places bets, no one has gambling skill, and everyone loses to the house. Fardt thinks gambling sucks now. They head to the a tavern recommended by Flint, the Mooch Mine. The tavern specializes in an alcoholic drink called Mooch, with mild hallucinogenic properties. Flint sees a number of familiar faces.
A women comes in who looks familiar to Flint. She’s missing a leg, and has a cheap prosthetic. She’s being treated shabbily by the other patrons. He recognizes her as Sergeant Nora Slimjack, who served with him on a few campaigns. Flint buys her a drink and invites her to sit with them. Eventually, Nora confides that she’s like to hire the team with the balance of her retirement account from the army. It seems her son, a biologist, was on the nearby world of Uetonah doing research, and was kidnapped rebels on the world fighting against the Samson Mining Company, who operate a mining colony on the planet. She has 200K. The planet is an amber zone world – serious caution required of anyone landing there as their is military conflict happening. The team considers it. Ronda says “You guys are really going to walk into a war zone to help this hag?” She seems to not want a piece of this action. However, she reconsiders. The team is glad to have her on the job – she is one more person an enemy might aim at during a firefight other than them. Looking at the star map, it is clear that going to Uetonah before heading back to Mylor will cost them only an extra week in jump space, and will of course net them some good money. They take the job. They complete preparations on the ship and take off of Uetonah. Successful jump roll made by Roger.
During their time in Jump Space, Barney assists in the drone construction, and they finally finish it.
They arrive in the Uetonah system, and as per their usual habit decide to skim the gas giant, but first they contact the local authorities, thinking this might be a good idea given the situation on the main world. The response “You are directed to land on Uetonah, at the spaceport, and submit your ship for inspection before you may refuel.” They learn that the locals insist on checking all incoming ships for weapons shipments to the rebels. While they don’t like this, they agree.
As they enter the atmosphere of Uetonah, they see a nearly global jungle. Heavy foliage, very tall trees. You can’t see the ground. As they approach the spaceport, they see a vast area where the jungle has been completely clear-cut. Decimated. Strip mining is occurring. They see lots of activity. Machines and large beasts of burden moving things around, hauling ore, etc. The spaceport and colony are 2km from the mine, also in a clear-cut area, with a 30′ tall stone wall surround the entire city.
They land. Immediately the local inspectors great them and insist on checking the ship. Barney stays onboard with Fardt and Ronda. The others are asked to speak to the head of security, Sergeant G. Gottfried. As they leave the ship, the crew sees raw ore being loaded by massive green elephant-like creatures ridden or directed by human and alien workers. The beasts are 12′ tall, have 4 tusks, and use their great strength and tusks to slowly and carefully pick up massive ore containers and carry them into cargo holds.
A small man with a grating voice, Gottfried asks Roger, Lucky, and Flint what they are doing on Uetonah. They explain they are looking for one Jason Slimjack. Gottfried has a record of his arrival, but nothing beyond that. He suggests that he might have checked into the local in. They explain that he was apparently kidnapped by rebels for a ransom. Gottfried explains that this is not uncommon, as the rebel scum do anything they can to raise money and pay for smuggled weapons. Barney asks what the rebels are upset about. Gottfried shows the crew a flyer, one of many that are distributed around the city, that say “Free the Pachyderms!”. He explains that Uetonah mines valuable minerals useful in high-efficiency fuel purification systems. Criminal elements in the subsector want Samson Mining to pay “protection” but the company refuses. So the criminals have convinced a small faction that the big animals seen working in the docks – the Pachyderms – are sentient, intelligent beings. These true-believers, though few in number, are causing a lot of grief to Samson Mining.
He tells them that if Jason has been kidnapped, it will be hard to find him (if he’s still alive). The rebels are constantly on the move. The jungle is dense and difficult to travel through. Barney asks of the Pachyderm ARE intelligent. Gottfried laughs. Look at them (pointing out the window). They was some of the creatures doing their work, occasionally defecating like a cow might as it lumbers around. “No, they certainly are not sentient. Watch them. They are just big, strong, dumb beasts, though useful.” He goes on to demonstrate his lack of respect for the biosphere in general. Clearly to Gottfried this is simply a world with resources to be exploited.
He writes the team permits to carry their weapons outside the walled city, as they clearly want to look for Jason. He tells them the jungle is very dangerous, but certainly they are free to explore.
The team regroups and goes to the Inn, where they ask about Jason. The innkeeper has not seen him, but offers the team lodgings. They politely decline.
5 weeks, 2 days have passed. 37 days.
Game time elapsed 169 days. 5.63 months.