Dark Frontier

Plan of Attack
4th April 2159: 7.30 pm

“Right”, said Laura. “You’re sure this contact of yours is in Port, ah, Franz?”
.
“Sure” said the Engineer. “I bumped into her yesterday. If we can charter their ship at Mr. Wests expense, that should resolve the transport problem.”.

“Fine. Get onto it.” said Laura.

“And the rest of us?” asked Rackham.

“Well lets hope for a departure tomorrow, or the day after at latest. A little digging on our target or this Cult might be in order. Otherwise make your personal preparations.” replied Laura.

“And bring your Vacc Suit.”

“Ah.” said Hanson.

“What?”

“I… uh, can’t afford one.” muttered Hanson.

“A Marine without a Vacc Suit” laughed Rackham.

“This is a problem” said Laura sharply. “No room for dead weight.”

“Tut. How much do your need M’ Dear?” smiled Rackham like a shark.

“I don’t….” Rackham held his hand up.

“It will be a loan at exhorbitant rates I assure you, not a gift.” he interrupted. “How much?”

“Well Cr 2000 with what I have left would allow me to get a decent Armored Hardsuit” said Hanson.

“Fine. And when we get paid you give me Cr4000. " said Rackham. “Is it a deal?”

“That’s robbery!”

“You need a suit now. It’s business.”

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The One Off
4th April 2159: 5.00 pm

Fortunately, they had all come appropriately dressed.

The Glintorn Restaurant was one of the nicest places on Caikuang Station, set in a large dome through which the a vista of the system was projected. The surroundings were modeled after eighteenth century Venice, with troughs filled with unnaturally blue water, walls designed to look like elegantly dilapidated buildings and tendrils of artful plant life winding through open window-frames. The restaurant itself was a hangout of the well-to-do. The local AR tags pointed out the conspicuously high cost of some of the fixtures.

“Whoever this is has taste” offered the languid voice of Rackham.

“And cash” added Hanson, the ex Marine. There was a pause – none of them knew one another apart from their brief introductions.

The awkward silence was interrupted by a hail from a handsome looking man in his early forties, sitting quite casually at a large, circular table. He was wearing fashionable clothing, and gave an overall appearance of being fairty relaxed.

“Ms. Chen?” he offered. Laura and the others approached.

“Alessio West” he flashed a brilliant smile. Formalities were exchanged. West called over for drinks and the group sat down. Looking around Laura noticed several well dressed men trying to appear inconspicuous.

“Not a fool then” she thought.

“So Mr. West”, said Laura. “This is the team I have assembled. You gave few details about the job, except that it was a rescue mission?”

“Rescue mission. Yes.” said West. “The job is to find, secure and return with one Jim Segall: The Segalls are a very wealthy family who hold a major stake in Jenseitech.”

“He’s in trouble then?” fished Rackham.

“Hmm. Jenseitech has recently acquired an old mining Facility – Furari Station. The plan is to disassemble it and use its equipment on a new venture within the Belt: so far so good.”

“Unfortunately there a squatters on the station -some sort of fringe cult – and as you can imagine, this complicates proceedings.”

“So where does Segall come in?” asked Laura.

“We believe they are holding Mr. Segall.”

“What?” snorted Rackham. “How did they get hold of him?”

“It is my understanding that Mr. Segall visited the station in order to deliver charity and relief to those living there. Mr Segall is committed to helping those without his wealth and privilege. Indeed, as are all his family.”

“I’m sure” muttered the taciturn Kurtis. Laura shot him an acid look, before turning quickly to Mr. West.

“You’re sure he’s not thrown in with them – it’s not unprecedented. Rich kid falling in with Cult.” Mr. West frowned.

“No. No, not at all ", he replied. “Mr. Segall simply isn’t that sort -he is past such youthful indiscretions. Our view is that he is being held against his will, and we want him rescued.”

“How hard do you want him rescued?”

“Well,” said Mr. West sitting back, “Our remuneration would be quite generous.”

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The Times are A Changing
4th April 2159

“And after the break we have an interview with Doctor Katrina Orlov, One of the eyewitness survivors of the Mining Riots on Luna. Back in five.”

John Hackney flashed his charismatic world weary “I’ve seen it all” newsreader smile, and Laura turned away as some bimbo advertising perfume flashed across the holoscreen. She downed her drink in one. Time for business.

She hated Luna; she shared this antipathy with her current location in the Asteroid Belt, but here she was, stuck since leaving the crew of the “Louis Bleriot”. In fact there were a lot of things Laura wasn’t too keen on: all work and little play – and that mostly solo chess and heavy drinking.

And now there was a potential job, but the Mr. Johnson had indicated that a team was required, and Laura as the sole owner/ employee of Dakai yanjing Investigations on her own was not a team. And so she had done some fancy footwork on the local net. She’d picked four from the reply resumes from the dozen she’d received. All would be desperate for work to have bothered replying so quickly given the minimum notice and deadline, but that suited her fine. The message hadn’t given much away apart from the Jenseitech logo and the instructions to meet with a contact – Mr. Alessio West—at the Glintorn Restaurant, located on the Main Piazza in Traveler Sector.

Laura had opted for a mixed skill set- a marine, a tech, a spacer and a wastrel who clearly knew how to talk the hind legs of a donkey. She had almost smiled as she twigged to a couple of the more probable half truths (unverifiable in the time available of course) he had shown in his resume. All had submitted copies of firearms verification certificates

Anyway, here they were: in Smokey’s Bar. Next stop the Glintorn.

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