A Black Die Affair or The Piano Guy

Season 1 Episode 3

The crew of the 209 are on the way back to Persephone after their last adventure. Mickey has managed to repair the damaged caused on triumph and also fixed the sensors and communications which were both sabotaged. A flurry of messages start coming through the cortex. There is a message for Ivan. The message was from James. “I heard what happened on Triumph and we need to talk when you get back to Persephone.”

Another message was for Rocky. His old friend Adrian asked for Rocky’s help. He also says he found something Rocky was looking for.

The next message was an invitation to participate in an annual cargo ship race, but Ivan wasn’t interested.

Ivan has also received a list of parts Mickey wants them to get to repair the ship. The parts will cost 8000 new.

Suddenly the cortex link broke again. Ivan berates Mickey. As he tries to find the fault he discovers their communication is being jammed and the system is working fine.

Ivan concerned that they will be boarded again, jerks the ship into a spin to stop any potential ship from docking. Rocky at the tone was in the toilet and the sudden spin maneuver by Ivan caused a temporary gravitational shift as the artificial gravity tried to compensate the sudden change. This caused Rocky to fall off the toilet creating a major mess.

As Ivan begins to reduce the spin, Ivan attempts to scan the space around them, but the jammer was messing with their sensors. Mickey tries to locate the source, but the jamming was too strong. As they look out the window to see if they can see any ships, they suddenly see a bright light flash. They decide to investigate the light, although they were tempted to run away. As they got closer the saw an explosion in the same spot. Attempting to use the scanner despite the jamming reveals a cruise liner, but the jamming stopped them from identifying which cruise liner. Widely the comms unit starts to chirp. Although the transmission is garbled, they can distinctly hear a message. “Mayday, mayday, this is the star of sihnon. We require immediate assistance. Please respond.”

Rocky eventually joins them after using duck tape to shut the toilet. Apparently some significant professional cleaning help was required.

Mickey checks the shop registry database on board the ship to see what kind of ship is the star of sihnon. He finds the ship to be the flagship of the five star line out of the docks only 6 months ago. The ship carries 3000 passengers and 1000 crew.

Mickey attempts to contact the star of Sihnon using a fake name in case this was a trap. He gets a response requesting help to evacuate passengers. Rocky asked what happened, the response was there has been explosions on the ship taking out half of their escape pods.

Being good Samaritans, they decide to help out. As they approach the liner, there is a clear visible gap in the ship with fires all over the ship.

Once they rock to the liner and open the door, smoke Cooke’s pouring in. Through the smoke they can see chaos. Crew members are trying to keep the panicking passengers calm. An officer approaches the crew. His rank insignia had fallen off and his typical cruise liner white uniform was dirtied by blood and dirt. He asks how many they can take. Ivan responds with a 100, but children and women first. He starts to bark orders to his crew to get passengers aboard. Suddenly another explosion rocks the ship and the panicking passengers start to run for the 209. The liner crew have lost complete control of the situation and a crowd of people is now rushing towards the 209. Rocky attempts to convince the passengers to calm down by pulling his gun out. Although this had an effect on the ones in the front, they were being pushed forward by the others. Ivan and Rocky begin retreating to the stairway and closing the hatch behind them. They begin heading up the stairs when they suddenly find themselves suspended in the air.

Mickey deduces the cruise liner must have suddenly rotated as he can see from the bridge window that they are still attached to the star of sihnon. The ship’s artificial gravity must not have compensated in time. All this is going through his head before he hits the ground injuring his shoulder. Ivan and rocky managed to avoid any injury.

Ivan shouts to Mickey to close the hangar doors.

While Ivan heads into the cockpit, the ship starts shuddering and shaking. As he is looking for the detach switch, the 209 breaks free. Searching through the star charts, Ivan finds the nearest populated planet to be Brisibgham and begins his burn procedure for the planet. After a while the 209 gets rocked about. Ivan slowly rotates the ship to see the star of sihnon rip apart with multiple explosions. It doesn’t look like anybody else has survived.

Mickey finds something is wrong with the ship. Investigating the fault he finds nothing is wrong with the ship. The life support system simply isn’t powerful enough to recycle the amount of CO2 currently being generated aboard.

Rocky decides to go to the hangar and find out how many passengers they rescued. Upon entering he finds the hangar brim full with passengers. The passengers are of varying class, age and dress. There are children, people in evening dresses, people in pyjamas etc. He even sees someone carry a violin box. There also seem to have two crew members from the Star of Sihnon aboard. He starts to count the passengers, but due to the sheer numbers he soon loses count and estimates there are about 200 passengers aboard.

Rocky asks the violin player to play some music, but there isn’t enough space. Rocky and Ivan agree to move the parents and children into the spare quarters. The violinist request a number of the other members of the orchestra which survived to be allowed to play with him. Rocky doesn’t mind and secures a space by the stairs for them to play. The orchestra now includes a violinist, saxophone player and a piano player with a holographic piano. (GM: I still don’t know who said there was a piano player. I never said there was one!) The music helped calm down the passengers.

Later, a passenger approaches Rocky and asks for food and water. After a bit of forth and back Rocky finally provides the passengers with whatever food and water they have on the ship. Unfortunately in the process of distributing the food and water, a fight breaks out which Rocky manages to resolve without incident.

In the meantime, Mickey tells Ivan to find another planet as the CO2 level is rising and they won’t make it to Brisign. Ivan finds the closest possible planet is Hammer. Hammer is still in the state of terraforming. Compared to the other planetoids, Hammer’s terraforming is the most advanced. The planet is far from complete, but should provide a breathable atmosphere for everybody. With no other choices, Ivan changes course for Hammer.

At one point during the trip, Rocky decides to find out if any of the passengers happens to be domestic staff which could help in cleaning up the mess in the toilet. Rocky makes an announcement to the passengers, but received no response.

As they approach Hammer, Ivan scans the planet for a suitable landing spot and begins his manoeuvres. As he steers the ship to land, he sees them pass a structure which looks like a terraforming station. The ship sets down without incident and he opens the hangar doors to allow the planetary air to circulate through the ship. The air is thin, but enough to be breathable.

Ivan and Rocky decide the best is to move the passengers off the ship to the processing plant. Unfortunately the passengers were not prepared to move. Rocky gave a convincing speech promising better facilities (at least definitely cleaner). The passengers were convinced but had one stipulation. One of the them would lead the passengers to the facility. Rocky and Ivan agreed to take them to the new facility and leave Mickey behind to guard the ship.

Ivan leads the way with Rocky covering the rear. The reach the facility without incident. The find the facility door locked. Ivan attempts to crack the electronic lock and botches it. Using their radio they tell Mickey to come over and unlock the door. Mickey gathers his tools, locks up the ship and makes his way over to the facility.

Mickey decides to repair the lock before attempting to unlock the door. The repair was successful but manages to break the lock again. Fed up of trying to unlock the door, he pulls out his cutting torch and cut the lock. As Murphy’s law strikes, the torch slips out of Mickey’s hand and cuts the hinges. The door completely falls off.

They enter the facility and search the place. They find there are food supplies for everybody for a day, a conference room with a communication station, computer rooms and a bunch of terraforming equipment.

In the conference room Mickey attempts to establish a connection. He successfully figures out how to use the conferencing equipment to discover a connection can’t be established presumably due to the jamming.

He then tries to hack the main computer to see how many stations are on the planet and if any of them currently have staff. He discovers there are four other terraforming stations, but they all appear to be empty at the moment. In the meantime the passengers have started to settle into the terraforming facility.

Ivan considers the possibility of transporting the passengers to a populated planet or take off to find help. The nearest populated planet is Birm and is still 12 hours away. Whichever way, they decide Mickey should head back to the ship in an attempt to boost the life support system. Hopefully boost it enough to carry the passengers to Birm.

Mickey returns to the ship with no incident. He attempts to boost the life support system but instead managed to cause the system to malfunction. But during this time he does notice the compression coil is missing. Without it, they can’t get into orbit. Mickey tells Ivan and Rocky over the communicators about the missing coil. He then spends his time fixing the life support system hoping Ivan and Rocky don’t notice.

Ivan and Rocky suspect one of the passengers must have stolen it. A general search didn’t help. Rocky begins talking about strip searching the passengers, but decided against it. They then hear a ship fly past.

Mickey sees the ship approaching from the cockpit. Rocky attempt to hail the ship using the conferencing facility. The ship identifies themselves as the Alliance Interceptor Vengeance searching for the survivors of the Star of Sihnon. They tell them about the incident and their location. Mickey sees the ship turnaround and head for the processing facility.

The ship is an ASREV. Ivan and Rocky watch as the ship lands with Alliance markings. 4 men step out wearing Alliance uniforms. Something about the alliance officer doesn’t seem right to Ivan. He asks about which station he is based on. The officer responds with the Alliance cruiser Sun Tzu. Ivan does know there is an Alliance Cruiser in the sector.

The officer then asks for a list of the passengers and Ivan responds they don’t have one. He insists they put a list together. Ivan tells the officer to do it himself. Not happy, he commands his other three men to start building the list. The three men try to put a list together, but the passengers have spread themselves all over the processing facility. The officer is starting to get extremely agitated by the delay.

After a while, he becomes exasperated and calls his men back. He addresses the passengers and demands to know if there were any survivors which were part of the orchestra. Rocky asked why the orchestra and the officer responded with those were his orders. At that point the violinist steps forward.

(What happened now?)

Ivan gets the drop and manages to shoot the officer before they manage to use their guns. The officer and one of the men start running for their ship. The other two shoot at Ivan and Rocky. Ivan and Rocky manages to hit the officer and falls down on the ground. The man with him turns around to protect the officer. Rocky asks for their surrender and they start to think about it. Ivan throws a concussion grenade to knock out the officer and his compadre. The concussion grenade knocked the man protecting the officer into a half conscious state, but the officer wasn’t affected as he was on the ground. The other two decided to run for it. The officer manages to crawl into the ship. Mickey and Ivan decide to chase the officer. As they reach the ship, the officer has already climbed his way in. Rocky shoots him and as he dies, he says: “Carmen will bring the others, no escape for you. Mark my words, the Boss is in too deep to let this go, she’ll kill all of you to get that treasure”.

The remaining soldier begins to recover. Ivan goes out and shoots him dead.

Ivan attempts to convince the passengers to return the part. They are awed by his speech and start pointing fingers at each other. The compression coil doesn’t reveal itself. Rocky tells Mickey to join them in the processing plant. Mickey locks up the ship and starts making his way to the plant. Rocky tells him to check if he can see the part on the way over.

As Mickey makes the journey to the processing plant, he hears the sound of more ships approaching. He begins to run to the facility. Ivan begins blocking the doorway using the door as cover ensuring there is one choking point. Rocky curses that he forgot to get Mickey to bring his sniper rifle with him.

As soon as Mickey arrives, they see three ASREVs arrive. They land in a T formation ensuring Ivan, Rocky and Mickey don’t have a clear shot into their cargo bay. Rocky decides to take a shot at one of the ASREVs cracking the cockpit window. They see 8 spreading out. Based on Rocky’s experience, they looked far more professional than the previous lot. Ivan took the first shot successfully hitting one of them. Rocky wasn’t so lucky. The return fire missed them, but Ivan had a plan. They will retreat into the building letting the soldiers in creating a two in the corridor. Both Ivan and Rocky got hit in their retreat while the soldiers started moving forward. Ivan and Rocky waited for the soldiers to enter. To break the stalemate one of the soldiers threw a smoke grenade. Mickey seeing the grenade attempts to hit it out of the facility. Unfortunately he misses and the grenade releases enough smoke to make the whole corridor invisible. Ivan, Rocky and Mickey can hear footsteps approaching but can’t see them. Suddenly one guy appears in front of Mickey and another in front of Ivan. Ivan successfully manages to dodge his goon, but Mickey wasn’t so lucky and got smacked onto the floor. Ivan pulls out his submachine gun and decides to pepper the place with bullets hitting both goons. Rocky does the same killing the two gone in the corridor. Two bond return fire from the doorway missing them. Ivan decides to throw a flash bang, but the gone saw it in time and avoided getting blinded. Just before they attempt to enter, a large explosion rocked the place. Suddenly there was a lot of shouting outside. A ship could be heard trying to takeoff followed by another explosion. When Rocky looked through the doorway, he could see one of the asrevs in flames. As they approached the doorway they could see the soldiers firing their weapons into the air, obviously attacking another ship. They didn’t last long. They were son gunned down by the other ship. As son as the dust cleared, another asrev was landing south alliance markings. As the officer got out and greeted them. They were looking for a ship which rescued passengers from the star of sihnon. They were able to get a description from the cruise liners black box. The alliance cruiser sun tzu was in orbit. They requested Ivan and co carry the passengers to the cruiser as the asrev couldn’t carry any passengers. They told the officer that their compassion coil got stolen. The officer said he had a spare onboard. Mickey installed the part and they were soon underway with the passengers to the alliance cruiser. While the passengers were disembarking, the alliance commanded them to stay and wait in the great conference hall. Not too long crews of cameras started appearing and not long after that an admiral stood on stage and started his speech.

He told the story of the loss of the star of sihnon and the mystery of its destruction. Only to discover it was sabotage in an attempt to steal a Stradivarius violin. He then brought the violinist to the stage to show the violin. He then began to praise the bravery and sacrifice the crew of the Uflric 209 made and called Ivan, Rocky and Mickey to the stage where they received a grand applaud. And the five star line had rewarded them 5000 credits for the rescue of the passengers.


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