Thunderchilde Season Three ThunderFerret
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Thunderchilde season 3: ThunderFerret
Cast:
Josiah Farmer
Captain of the ship, He is a man who keeps hard candies on hand and offers them to just about anyone he meets. He acts clueless, but is in fact quite decisive in a crisis. He and his crew are building quite a reputation.
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Quote: "'Captain'… I'm only the 'Captain' when things go wrong."
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Lester Camp
He is the ships pilot. He is a workaholic who pretends to have a bad temper. An expert astrogator and computer programmer. Also a pretty darn good cook
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Quote: "STAY THE HELL OUT OF MY KITCHEN!"
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(Re)Gina Marianis (Real name: Angelica Marianna Haruko Montoya-Chen)
Ships Surgeon. She is a Companion academy dropout. She is on the run from a powerful coreworld politician who wanted to add her to his harem (Violet is working on that). She is a striking beauty.
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Quote: "Men, Women… Hey, sex is sex."
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Amber Tobin
Ship's Engineer. A brilliant mechanic with willowy good looks. She has a steady "Gentleman-Friend" in the chief engineer of Graingers Garden, an Utat class Space Station (though she hasn't been back to see him for several months).
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Quote: "Why am I always outside on the hull when the excitement happens. I keep missing it!"
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Violet Wu
A recurring passenger and sometime (unofficial) crew member. She has shown considerable skill in the art of forgery, and has a PhD in Photonics. She claims her profession is "Hired Vigilante".
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Quote: "Those people wouldn't remember me… At least I HOPE they don't remember me."
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Season Three intro
Violet parts ways with the Thunderparrot for a few weeks when they stop in the Motherlode asteroid belt. She convinces Gina to use some newtech makeup and considerable skill to make Violet as beautiful as possible; she's going to need all the sex-appeal she can get for this next job.
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She says she will meet them back on Boros when they pick up their new ship, the Thunderferret, after she finishes her job here in the asteroids. The crew arrive at Boros and commence the task of refurbishing the former Independent blockade runner.
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Episode 1……………………………………………………………………………………………2/17/2018
The local shipyard accepts the chip that Fiolla Hart passed on to Captain Farmer, (Season2 Episode 6) and works night and day to get the ship ready. Agamemnon Wu and his new girlfriend Mei Sullivan are there, helping to rebuild the ship they will be crewmembers of.
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Ag is to be ship's gunner, Mei is to be paramedic and surgical assistant, and together they are the ship's troops. No one comments on the oddity of a former Alliance trooper and a former Browncoat working so closely together. Amber notices that Agamemnon is carrying different weaponry than the last time she saw him. He tells her his first date with Mei involved a trip to the gun range. She out shot him with her gauss pistol. He then borrowed it, and was able to match her score. That's when he decided to sell his 5.7mm and buy a gauss pistol like hers. Amber is sufficiently impressed that she orders a case of the pistols for the ship's locker.
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Gina gets notice that she has a package at the local post office. She and Amber go pick it up. It's from Violet. Gina had expressed envy at Violet's newtech wig that could be adjusted for any length, color, and curl. Violet had one sent to her.
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Amber gets on the cortex and accesses the local job boards. She figures they need more crew. As she is looking for a steward, Gina spots a familiar face. Samson (The butler of one of Gina's former regulars) happens to be available. Gina is quick to recommend him to the crew.
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Amber also hires a pair of engineers from Athens, Coleen Duquette and Heidi McCoy.
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The ThunderFerret is just about ready for launch, and Captain Farmer gets a call. He is asked to hold for Baron Otello of Osiris. The Baron comes on the line and says he saw the report about the crew stopping a slaver ring, and wants to know if they would be available for a much more sedate mission. He needs them to go to Greenleaf and pick up twelve barrels of wine from Norman Sellers of Sellers Vineyards and bring them to Osiris. This is an annual run to supply an event at the History museum benefiting the Angel of Mercy Hospital. The Captain has heard of this event, but never been to it. (It's invitation only.) The Baron tells him that his regular carriers cancelled on him at the last minute. He figures the ThunderParrot can get there at speed 6 by leaving behind it's cargo modules, and from Greenleaf back to Osiris with the wine within the two weeks until the event. The Captain does not correct him that they are no longer in the ThunderParrot, and that the new ship can do speed 6 as normal cruise. The Baron offers them five thousand credits if he can deliver the wine before the event. The Captain negotiates a mention in the program of the crew of the ThunderFerret as a sponsor of the event.

Captain Farmer locates a 200 ton shipment of statuary going to the government of Greenleaf and finds six passengers interested in first class passage there. Just before the statues are delivered, the ship is hailed by Violet in her shuttle. The shuttle comes to a halt at an angle in front of the new ship, and slowly drifts to one side. Violet says, "Delphi, can you take control and land me? I seem to be a bit impaired." Delphi assumes remote control and lands the craft in the shuttle bay. Gina goes to the bay and waits. When Violet doesn't come out within a few minutes, she enters. The first thing she sees is a vacc suit cut to pieces on the floor. Turning to look forward, she sees Violet having just got up from the pilot's chair, trying to walk on feet that are wrapped in tee shirts and duct tape. There are wrappers for numerous codeine tablets all over the console. Violet is wearing a tank top and shorts, and her feet are clearly giving her great pain. Gina grabs her up, throws her over her shoulder and heads for the medbay. Violet says "Hi Gina. Did you know the word codeine comes from an ancient greek word meaning 'poppy head'? I feel like I've got a poppy head." Violet is clearly high on codeine.

Once in the medbay, Gina sedates Violet and with Mei's help, removes the improvised bandages from her feet. She has a solid case of frostbite, and the fact that it has been ten days between the injury and medical attention has not helped. Using the Autodoc, Gina treats her feet. Once she awakens, Gina cautions her not to walk or stand for a while. Without Gina's skill and the Autodoc's techniques she would likely have lost at least some toes. As it is, she's still going to have some nerve damage, but she won't lose any body parts. Later Gina will try using her newfound psionics to attempt to heal the nerve damage, but Violet will never know. She just believes Gina is the best physician in the 'verse. Lester buys a pair of grav chairs and a pair of lower tech wheel chairs before liftoff.

The ThunderFerret lifts from Boros and begins it's shakedown cruise to Greenleaf. Lester is piloting, Agamemnon is manning the mag-cannons, and Captain Farmer is smoking a pipe and supervising. The first night out, Lester cooks a gourmet meal (with Samson observing) and invited the passengers to 'Dinner with the Captain'. It's an eight and a fraction day trip.

As they arrive at Greenleaf, the notice a huge, city-sized Alliance military ship, the Leif Ericsson in orbit. Upon landing, the ThunderFerret is hailed by the local branch of the government. They have trucks ready to offload the statues. The passengers disembark, and the Captain, Lester, Gina and Samson go to meet Norman Sellers to get the wine. They meet Mr. Sellers, receive the wine, and ask about purchasing extra barrels.
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Norman advises them that this is a special vintage reserved specifically for the Baron's specialty event, but he has other wines they might be interested in. Lester takes the twelve barrels back to the ship via hover mule while Josiah, Samson and Gina shop for wine. When Lester arrives back at the ship, Violet wheels down to the front cargo bay doors out of boredom. She watches Lester transfer the barrels into the cargo bay. A young man walks up to Lester and asks if he's the captain. "No!" replies Lester curtly. "Can you arrange for me to speak with the captain? My name is Howard Lim." "No!" replies Lester again.
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Violet comments to Lester "That pin on his left lapel indicates he works for the 14K tong. They're generally good businessmen" Howard says "You have tong connections?" She replies "White Tiger." He seems relieved by her response. He says that there is more to their cargo than they’ve been told. He says his superior would like to talk with the captain. he holds out a card. Lester ignores him. Nonplussed, he turns and offers the card to Violet. She takes it and he leaves. Only then does Lester look at the coordinates written on the back. The coordinates indicate a point in empty space about midway between Greenleaf and Osiris. Lester calls the Captain and tells him what just occurred.

The Captain is still tasting wines. Gina buys six cases of top of the line wines, and Captain Farmer selects several cases for the ship as well. He also purchases a few bottles of exceedingly rare vintages for those times he wants to impress. They have those sent back to the ThunderFerret. They decide to make the run to Osiris without passengers or other cargo. Gina put out some feelers among her old friends and found one that was interested in setting up her companion business aboard the ThunderFerret. She will be meeting them on Osiris.

Just before lift, a visitor shows up and asks to see Captain Farmer. He introduces himself as Federal Marshall Sanders. Sanders is quick to ask to inspect their cargo, informing them that he has reason to believe that they have been swindled into working for a smuggler.
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The Captain takes him to the barrels, then when allowed to see the cargo, he makes quick work of one of the disguised panels and shows them the hidden diamonds inside. He notes that they aren't jewelry type diamonds, they are ultra pure lab grown diamonds for use in scientific research.
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What the Alliance wants from the crew is actually very little. Make the delivery as planned. Get paid for the wine, as Sanders is certain that’s all they were contracted to deliver. Then, he gives them a bug: a jeweled pin. When they make the delivery, they are to say the phrase “good as gold,” which will alert a team of federal agents to their location. If possible, they should make small talk with Baron Otello and his companions, expressing their gratitude at being included in the festivities and hoping that Otello is pleased with their performance in delivering the wine. He doesn’t expect Otello to give anything away, but any distraction to the Baron while his men are getting into place would be much appreciated.

Looking at the diamonds, Captain Farmer comments "That must be why the 14K tong was so interested" The Marshall inquires, and is told the story of Howard Lim and how he wants them to meet with his boss halfway to Osiris. Clearly they will want the diamonds says the Captain. He asks if the Marshall could get an equivalent size lot of just regular diamonds. They could swap them, let the tong take the regular ones, then put the ultra pure ones back in in time to deliver them to Baron Otello. The Marshall thinks, then says "Give me one hour" and leaves the ship. Just under an hour later he arrives with a cloth bag containing roughly a pound of diamonds.

The ship lifts, and sets course for Osiris. Amber swaps out the diamonds, and hides the originals. After a day and a half of the three day trip, they reach the coordinates they were given by Howard Lim. They are hailed by a small CL-54 Cargo Lifter. "This is Liu Bei. I believe my agent Howard Lim has informed you we have business to discuss." Captain Farmer replies "And what business would that be?" to which Liu Bei replies "Business that neither of us would want broadcast. Requesting permission to dock." Captain Farmer grants permission. Liu Bei, a chinese gentleman in a black cowboy hat comes aboard. He is followed by two obvious armed guards. Liu asks if it's all right if his guards accompany him, The captain says it's fine.
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Liu explains that Sellers and Otello have been making these runs smuggling diamonds for years. This is cutting in on 14K turf. He wants it stopped, and the quickest way is if the diamonds never reach Otello. Liu Bei is after the diamonds for himself and will happily relieve the crew of that part of their cargo for a delightfully large fee (10,000 credits). The Captain agrees, but with the stipulation that Liu only take the diamonds. He says he was contracted to deliver wine, and if there are no diamonds in the barrels, that's not his problem. Liu takes the diamonds, pulls out a fat stack of 500 credit notes, and counts out twenty of them. The look on the captain's face is priceless. He's never seen such a large amount of cash in one place before. He jokingly rubs them all over his face after Liu undocks. Amber refills the barrels' secret compartments with the original diamonds and the ThunderFerret continues on it's way.
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A day and a half later, the ship arrives at Osiris. They hail the starport and request permission to land. When the Captain tells them what the cargo is, they quickly grant permission. The Captain calls the Baron and is requested to bring the wine to the museum. They load up the hover mule with barrels and take them through customs. Firearms are not allowed, so Captain Farmer carries throwing knives. Agamemnon puts his gauss pistol in a shoulder holster. The Captain reminds Ag that guns aren't allowed, but Ag just says "We'll see…" When his weapon is detected, he shows his Alliance Special Forces reserve documentation and is allowed to pass. The Captain provides the code that Baron Otello gave him to bypass the tariff that would normally have to be paid, and they are on their way. They arrive at the museum.
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They bring the wine around back to the service entrance, then call the Baron's secretary to send someone to open the door. A group of folks in white coats with pallet jacks arrive to take the barrels, but Lester points out they were hired to deliver them to the Baron. The crew take the pallet jacks and load the wine. They head into the museum. The first floor of the Alliance History Museum is dedicated primarily to the staff offices and a series of rooms filled with Earth-That-Was artifacts. While the Anglo-Sino Alliance began as a union between Londonium and Sihnon, the pieces of Earth-that-Was history housed in the first floor exhibits come from all over the world. England and the United States (depicted as a single nation in the hodge-podge of history present) and China are given particular focus, and presented as long-time allies long before humanity left their home world for the stars. An Egyptian mummy is situated near a Grecian marble statue. Statues of Hindu gods are huddled near Pacific Northwest Natives totem poles. The artifacts are all labeled, most of them with trivia and aspects of Earth-That-Was history, but the exhibit itself gives little sense of structure or organization. In the six rooms of artifacts, though some Earth-That-Was nations are mentioned, the planet is given a sense of unified history and government, as though all of these artifacts came from one singular culture simply at different times in the planet’s development.
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They bring the wine to the Baron.
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He shakes hands all around, then shows them where he wants the barrels placed. He chats amiably with Captain Farmer as he has his secretary process the 5000 credit transfer to the Thunderferret's account. Captain Farmer asks if it would be possible to get invitations for his crew to tonight's festivities The Baron has his secretary give him a dozen invitations. By this point the credit transaction has gone through. Captain Farmer looks at the display confirmation and says "Good as Gold." They thank the baron once again and start to walk away when Marshall Sanders and a squad of alliance troops walk up and arrest Baron Otello. Captain Farmer plays the innocent and asks what's going on. Marshall Sanders plays along and says "Nothing you need to be concerned with, citizens. Move along" Meanwhile, Gina goes to meet her old friend Sherry Bourdonne who will be joining them on board the ThunderFerret as Registered Companion.
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Though Sherry, Gina, and Violet all went to the companion academy at house Madrassa, Sherry and Violet never met until now. Gina introduces Sherry around, and helps her get settled in.
The entire crew get dressed up and attend the event at the museum (which goes on even though the host Baron Otello was "called away for an emergency")
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Captain Farmer has a few small changes he wants to make in the layout of the ship. Amber wants to go to Beaumonde to get equipment and parts. Captain Farmer checks to see if there is any cargo headed that way, and finds that the museum has 200 tons of exhibits on loan from a museum on Beaumonde, and would be honored to have the ThunderFerret carry them home. Also Marshall Sanders puts in a good word and they are offered a shipment of 800 tons of fighter craft to deliver to the alliance base there. They also find four people that want passage, so they head out for Beaumonde. Captain Farmer says that they'll be there for three weeks for the modifications, so Sherry will have time to make appointments.

Episode 2……………………………………………………………………………………………3/3/2018

The passengers disembark on Beaumonde. Agamemnon hears Delphi for the first time and says "Hey, I know that voice! That's an Asimov 1292-E. We had one on the ship I served on back in the war. Great computer, but you had to stick to precisely correct english or precisely correct mandarin for it to understand you." Lester says I think you'll find this one much more versatile. Delphi speaks in a language most of the crew don't understand and Ag appears startled. He translates for the crew: "Delphi said 'I am much more fluent in many languages than in the old days, Agamemnon.'" "Oh yes," says Violet, "I taught Delphi ancient greek."

Sherry is dressed to impress and is ready to go to her first appointment. She requests to borrow the ships troops. When Captain Farmer asks why, she states that according to local traditions, her perceived social standing would be enhanced by being escorted by armed guards. Ag and Mei put on their matching combat infantry dress in subdued urban camouflage, and the three head out. On the way back, Ag plans to take Mei to a target range he found the last time he was here.

Lester sends a wave to Major Gruenwald showing a picture of the crated alliance fighters and asking if he knows how to assemble them. Major Gruenwald shows up and the crew teases him unmercifully, discussing where they might sell them. Eventually they admit that this is just a shipment to the local base and show him the paperwork. Samson steps in at just the right moment with irish coffee in mugs bearing the ThunderFerret logo as designed by Violet. The major departs on more-or-less friendly terms. The crew discovers that Samson spent his first paycheck getting mugs, glasses, plates, and silverware for the ship with the ship's logo and name. Lester pays him back out of the ship's common fund and sets up a drawing account for any further necessities. Samson immediately orders monogrammed sheets and pillowcases for the ship. Gina and Amber order ten more love bots while they're here, for use as auxiliary crew and hands for Delphi. Amber, Colleen, and Heidi all go out to buy the materials required for the modifications to the ship, as well as supplies for the first monthly ship's maintenance, which will be coming up shortly. They get to work. Gina takes Violet to a local place to get specially made orthopedic shoes so she can begin to try walking again (The crew are tired of seeing her walk on her hands around the ship).

A few days later, Lester is coming back from a nearby bar and notices a weather worn man, by his clothing definitely not a local, looking up at the ThunderFerret.
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Lester walks up next to him and says "A beauty, ain't she?"
The fellow says, "she sure is."
Lester says, "she's all mine"
The fellow asks, "Can she lift twelve hundred tons of cargo?"
Lester says, "Easily. She's rated for over nineteen hundred"
Would you consider doin' a cargo run to Deadwood, in the Blue Sun system? Where are my manners! The name's Elias Black. Shepherd Black if that matters to ya."
Lester admits the ThunderFerret's not ALL his, and calls the Captain down to talk to Shepherd Black. The Shepherd has a mixed bag of supplies going out to a settlement that include an Alliance surplus prefab building that's going to be their new church. He has three small tractors, irrigation equipment, spools of electrical cable, a small pipe rolling mill, bolts of cloth, vitamin supplements, a wide variety of clothing, and more. He says he would have bought even more supplies, but then he wouldn't have money to be able to pay for the shipping. Which brings him down to the price. He's hoping that Captain Farmer will accept the relatively standard offer of a credit per ton for the trip. Captain Farmer, still financially well off from the incident with Baron Otello (Season three episode one) tells him to fill the hold. They'll do it at no charge. The somewhat cynical old preacher has trouble believing he means what he says, but is finally convinced. They shake hands on it, and the shepherd goes off to buy more supplies.

Amber, Heidi and Colleen get the security bulkheads that Captain Farmer wanted installed, then start on the ship's first monthly maintenance. Lester suggests that they buy sufficient supplies that they will be able to do a year's worth of maintenance. Once that is done, they start on Amber's pet project, a still that runs off of the waste heat of the drives. Amber is surprised to get distilling advice from Colleen, but learns she grew up in a brewery. It's her family business. "Haven't you ever heard of Duquette Single Malt?" asks Collette. Actually she had, back on Athens.

Lester hires a couple as load masters, to handle the cargo on the ship. Norman Thompson and his wife, Delilah. He's an ex grunt from the Alliance military, and she's a former naval officer. Lester hired them away from a ship that was in financial trouble.
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They get right to work arranging Shepherd Black's cargo in the hold. The Shepherd has them reserve a small space for the last minute loading of five cows and a bull. He had already given up on introducing cattle to his town, but the Captain's generosity has made it possible. Sherry is escorted back to the ThunderFerret in style in a hover limo and escorted to the lock by a bevy of armed guards. Once everyone is ready to go, they request clearance and depart for Deadwood, nearly nineteen days away.
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The ThunderFerret approaches Deadwood, winding it's way past the two moons (Haven and New Omaha).
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Shepherd Black guides them to an empty meadow just outside the main town. He tells them that there are about two hundred and fifty residents in the town proper, but there are several large homesteads and operations that are all part of the town as well. All told there are about two thousand citizens, and it looks like most of them are coming running at the sight of the ship. The Shepherd doesn't lack for hands to help unload the cargo. The Shepherd introduces the crew to his daughter, Bettie Jo.
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She's been running things here since he left to get all the supplies. Captain Farmer is particularly taken with her. She tells them that once they get the old tent down and the new prefab building set up there's going to be a celebration. Basically a huge barbecue into the night (it's currently mid morning locally). She invites them to come join the people of the town in the food and fun. "In the meantime, make yourselves at home." Bettie Jo and her father go start work on tearing down the old tent and putting the prefab building in it's place. Norman offers to help, as he has plenty of experience erecting this kind of building. Amber sees that they could use some heavy lifting to raise the roof and fires up a shuttle to assist. Later, Amber and Heidi go in search of corn and oaken barrels to make whiskey. They find what they need, but the locals decline any payment. They heard that the ThunderFerret brought all that cargo for them at no charge, and are eager to return the favor. Amber also winds up agreeing to accept five hundred pounds of honey. Gina makes contact with the two local doctors to see if her skills are needed. She also meets a little girl who has adopted a pet racoon. Gina checks the racoon over and makes sure it has it's shots.
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Evening arrives and the party begins. The entire crew comes, but cautions Delphi to stay alert. The Captain is encouraged to tell stories of the adventures of himself and his crew. He tells them well, but it seems as if he's speaking directly to Bettie Jo, and everyone else just happens to be listening. Haven, one of Deadwood's two moons rises and provides plenty of light. Gina has disappeared with several of the local young men. They'll have some tales to tell come morning. Long about ten P.M. local time, Delphi calls the Captain. He reports a short range shuttle incoming. ETA seven minutes. Agamemnon and Amber run back to the ship.
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The shuttle lands about three quarters of a mile away, at one of the homesteads. From the front view port Ag has line of site on the homestead, and can see the shuttle. Using the telescopic sight of his Gauss Carbine he is able to make out what appears to be people in melee at the shuttle. Just then Captain Farmer sees the homestead catch fire. Then it clicks. Reavers! The Captain orders Ag to shoot the shuttle. One well placed shot, and the shuttle is permanently grounded. Amber tells Ag to lift off and take them to the site of the attack. She stands in the forward cargo bay at the controls of one of the gatlings she installed. She has no skill with these weapons, but she installed them so she knows how they work. She fire-hoses down every reaver that's moving. Ag returns them to their parking spot and the rest of the crew reaches the ship (except Gina. Only now does she realize what's going on and she calls Delphi to have him send a Bot with her armor, weapons, and medical bag. Captain Farmer releases the cargo module from the ship to act as an armored shelter for the populace, releases the LandMaster at the hands of Norman to go see if there's anyone still alive at the homestead, then launches the ThunderFerret with just himself, Lester, and Agamemnon. A short range shuttle implies a reaver mothership, and he intends to find it before it finds them.
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He spots it and approaches. It's an old Trans-U, an unarmed civilian craft, but the reaver crew manhandle a missile out of the airlock and light it off. It tracks the ThunderFerret, but Lester is able to maneuver such that when it detonates it rings the hull with the blast wave, but does no damage. They close within cannon range and Agamemnon scores a solid hit first with a kinetic round, then with an EMP round. The Trans-U is staggered, but is still in the fight. They manage to throw out another missile. This one makes it to target despite Lester's aerobatics. Fortunately, it does not penetrate the armor. Ag fires again, and punctures the reaver's fusion bottle. Powerless, the Trans-U continues on it's path, burns through the atmosphere, and smashes into the ocean. The ThunderFerret rides it's kill down, recording video all the way.

The LandMaster, crewed by Norman, Gina, Mei, and Amber arrives at the homestead. The reavers are all quite dead, as are six of the settlers. Two others are severely wounded, and Gina does what she can for them. It turns out six women and children were able to hide in the storm cellar and are unharmed. All are loaded into the LandMaster and head back to the cargo pod. When Lester calls in reporting the destruction of the reaver ship, Gina requests medical evacuation AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. She needs the Medbay and the Autodoc if these two are going to survive and time is of the essence. Lester floors it and meets them on the ground in minutes. Gina is able to stabilize the two once they are brought on board.

By the time the homesteaders are settled into the new church building for the night and everyone has returned to their homes it's nearly midnight. Bettie Jo says she's going to head home. Would the Captain like to stop by for some coffee? Why yes, he decides, he certainly would. He doesn't return to the Thunderferret until the next day.

The crew start preparing to leave, and Shepherd Black stops by. He says he still has seven hundred ninety six credits left from his trip. It's not much but he wants the Captain to have it. Captain Farmer says to spend it on the family that lost so much last night. The Shepherd says at least it would pay for all the ammunition you used last night on our behalf. Farmer still declines. In an apparent non sequitur he says "You know, I've taken quite a shine to your daughter."
Black replies, "She's a grown woman. She can make her own decisions."
After a moment of silence he adds, "But you have my blessing for what it's worth."
He also mentions, "If you ever need a place to hide… well you and your'n are always welcome here."
A few minutes later, the Shepherd turns somber. He says he's got some funerals to go to. For the first time he actually looks his age.
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Bettie Jo looks the Captain up and makes him promise to come visit.
She tells him that when she saw that reaver ship burn across the sky last night her heart was filled with terror and joy at the same time.
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The crew are going through their preflight checklists, when they get a wave from Agent Fiolla Hart of Interpol (Season 2 Episode 6) She says that pro-reform Senator, Baron von Alksburg of Persephone, has disappeared.
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His yacht is two days overdue at Londinium and Fiolla fears something may have happened to him. Von Alksburg is the leader of the Opposition in Parliament and supports returning voting rights to ex-Independents, financial support for the Rim worlds and rationalized military spending. Alliance officials have listed his yacht as overdue, but are searching on the assumption it was mechanical failure, since there have been no ransom demands, etc.
She has no ships in the area although several are on the way. She asks the ThunderFerret's crew to look into it. There is a vote coming up soon in the Parliament to extend the disenfranchisement law beyond the current 25 year sunset. Without Von Alksburg, it may pass. Violet says she saw the Senator in person about a year and a half ago. She can identify him on sight. The ThunderFerret heads for LongNight Skyplex, the last place the Senator's ship, the Venturi was seen.

Episode 3……………………………………………………………………………………………3/17/2018

The crew receive the data about the travel times listed for the Senator's trip. Travel times tally except for the trip between New Canaan and the Long Night Skyplex. The ThunderFerret does a hard burn for the Skyplex.
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Captain Farmer sends his engineers to see what they can find out from the ground crew and sets out, himself, to find the Captain of the station. He tries to go to the command center, but is stopped by armed guards. He asks to speak to the Captain of the station, a fellow by the distinctive name of Jahn Smith. The guard checks a comm pad and indicates the Captain is off duty, and can be found at the Admiral's Club. He thanks the guard and heads for the Admiral's Club. Upon entering the Club, he is asked by the Maitre'D if he has a reservation. He says, "Why yes. Here it is." He hands the Maitre'D three one hundred credit notes. The Maitre'D is far too well trained to register surprise at the MASSIVE over tipping, but simply says "Right this way." Captain Farmer asks if he could be seated near Captain Smith. He is shown to a table, and sees Captain Smith sipping a drink and staring out the viewport into the black. Farmer walks up next to him and says "It never gets old, does it?" to which Smith replies with a smile and a sigh, "No, it never does." They strike up a conversation and eventually Farmer gets around to asking about the Venturi and Senator Von Alksburg. Smith doesn't recall, but signals the Maitre'D back over and asks him. He reports the Senator and his Chief of Staff came into the club on the inbound leg from Londinium, but stayed in the ship when they passed back through five days later. Meanwhile, Lester goes to a nearby bar, called The Airlock. It's actually in a big cargo lock that has been welded shut and the inner door has been removed. He gets a drink, then circulates to see if there's anyone here he recognizes. Eventually he runs into Naomi Hale. She is a cute young lady that dyes her hair blue that Lester last saw at the main Skyplex over Beylix. (Season 2 Episode 5)
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They catch up on old times and she tells him that the Britannia left her here to gather parts for some upgrades they're doing while the Captain makes a quick run to Muir and back. No, she didn't notice the Venturi when it passed through. Lester says they've upgraded their ship as well, would she like to see it? She is stunned at the size of the ThunderFerret. Lester gives her a tour.

Also meanwhile, Amber, Colleen, and Heidi find the crew that serviced the Venturi. Amber finds out that the ship topped up on fuel each way. The pilot of the Venturi had commented on the way in that the Senator insisted that they top up anywhere they went. On the way out, everyone left the ship, but on the return trip only the pilot, followed closely by his helper, had left the ship. Amber convinces the tech to access the visual records and get her a printout of the faces of the Pilot and his helper. She returns to the ship with the new information.

Captain Farmer calls Lester and gives him the information he got from Captain Smith as well as the photo of the pilot's helper. "More like handler" comments Amber. Lester uses a public terminal aboard the station to attempt to track down the helper. Eventually, using facial recognition, he determines that the man is a mercenary operating out of Londinium by the name of Horatio Creel.
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Horatio Creel 175cm, 90kg, red hair, green eyes Homeworld: Londinium
Known mercenary based out of Londinium.
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Known Associates
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Ivan Martin (a.k.a. Ice) 198cm, 127kg, sandy hair, brown eyes Homeworld: Paquin
Alliance corporal 2 terms before dishonorable discharge.
Heavy weapons expert. Has been held for questioning on five abductions, no convictions.
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George March (a.k.a. Boomer) 178cm, 72kg brown hair, brown eyes Homeworld: Perth
Joined the Marines at the start of the war, was recruited for the commandos.
Discharged at the end of the war with a PH at the rank of Lance Sergeant.
Accused of four counts of arson on Ariel, never proven.
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Gregory Storth (a.k.a. Brute) 185cm, 90kg, blonde hair, blue eyes Homeworld: Santo
Hired as a belter by the Motherlode Mining Corp.
Seperated from the company 12 years later under questionable circumstances.
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Manx Bolgar (a.k.a. Weasel) 183cm, 82kg, black hair, brown eyes Homeworld: Boros
Enlisted in Boros police force, transferred to customs.
Seperated from customs under suspicion of smuggling 11 years later.
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Lester tells Naomi he has to leave. He goes back to the ThunderFerret and accesses the navigation computer. Now knowing that the Senator required the topping up of fuel at each stop, he can take the amount of fuel replaced at Long Night on it's second arrival, and calculate how far it could have gone. Knowing it started at New Canaan and the length of the last leg gives a circular band in space of possible places ithe ship could have stopped. Squarely on that band sits Highgate and it's two moons, Stonewall and Perth. Highgate has a sufficiently advanced radar system that no ship or shuttle could approach without being detected. Amber has a hunch it's Perth. Lester recalls from the dossier he acquired that George March (a.k.a. Boomer) is from Perth, so it's worth a try. They hard burn for Perth.

The ThunderFerret arrives at Perth. With a population of only 250,000, there is only one real spaceport. Lester and the Captain go to the customs shed to inquire about George March. Captain Farmer opens his mouth to speak, but Lester walks up to the clerk and pumps his hand enthusiastically and asks if the clerk knows where he can find his old buddy from his marine corps days, George March. The Captain has never seen Lester shake hands with anyone (he even declined a handshake from Shepherd Black!) and just steps back and shuts his mouth. The clerk allows as how the name sounds familiar, but he doesn't recall from where. He recommends they ask Sheriff Fullerton. He gives them directions to the sheriff's office. They find Sheriff Fullerton and Lester once again asks about his old buddy from his marine corps days, George March. The Sheriff says that March left Perth four years ago and good riddance. If they're any friends of his they can just leave now to avoid any unpleasantness. The Sheriff fingers his sidearm. Lester's whole demeanor changes. He apologizes, says he's no friend of George March, and directs the sheriff's attention to Captain Farmer. Farmer introduces himself and states they are investigating a kidnapping that they believe March is involved in. After a review of their papers and a few more questions, he does provide them with two bits of information. First, March used an abandoned mining complex as a hideout one time, and also that the only other ship to land here in the last month, the freighter Escobar, saw an unidentified ship drop a shuttle near the mining complex.

The two return to the ThunderFerret to make plans. When the crew hears that the name of the abandoned mining complex is Beta Wu, Agamemnon looks at Violet. "Don't look at me," she says, "I only have the one mine, on Jiang-yin!" Lester requests permission to lift, and the ThunderFerret climbs to orbit. Once the ship passes over the mining complex on the dark side of the planet, the telescope shows a single light source at the site. The ThunderFerret circles the globe and lands about thirty miles short of the mine. Captain Farmer, Lester, Gina, Agamemnon, Mei, Norman, and Violet man the Landmaster and head for Beta Wu. Eventually they pull up to a ridge that overlooks the abandoned town that surrounds the mining complex. There's only one light showing, and that's from a window in a building at the mining complex itself. Lester gathers a group to go scout. He takes Gina, Agamemnon, Mei, and Norman. Violet requests to accompany them. Lester says that since she hasn't been walking again for long, he needs approval from her doctor. Gina has her walk a bit, and okays it. Lester tells Violet that if she finds that she can't keep up, she is to get inside the treeline and not be seen. Violet unfolds a hood from the collar of the grey outfit she's wearing and pulls it over her head, The suit becomes active camouflage, blending with the background. "I won't be seen," she says. They hike into the abandoned town. Violet taps Lester on the shoulder and points. When she gets no reaction, she realizes her mistake and turns off the camouflage of her dreamcoat and points again. Lester sees someone standing watch on top of the tallest building in the red light district. Lester points him out to Agamemnon, who braces and takes aim with his Gauss Carbine.
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The sentry's head vanishes with a minimum of noise. They reach the chain link fence of the mining complex itself, and Lester has Gina cut the wires that connect the mesh to the poles with her mono-molecular edged katana. They lift the mesh, and continue into the complex. As they approach the building they can see that the lit window has improvised bars over it. Lester sends Ag and Mei to cover the back door while he, Gina, and Norman flatten on either side of the front door in preparation for breaching it. Lester calls the Landmaster for a diversion. Captain Farmer mans the machine guns as the Landmaster roars forward, lights blazing. The Captain sounds the horn.

For maybe ten seconds, nothing happens, then the front door opens and a large man exits carrying an armor-piercing rocket launcher. He steps right past the people flattened against the wall, his attention on the Landmaster. Lester recognizes him as Ivan Martin (a.k.a. Ice). As Ice begins to aim the rocket launcher, Lester puts his twelve gauge to the back of Ice's head and pulls the trigger. At the sound of the starting gun, Ag and Mei enter the back door. Finding two armed mercenaries inside they dispatch them with their gauss needlers. Inside the front door Gina and Norman also find two. Gina has a katana in each hand and swings on one. it's a bad swing, and lodges into the thug's collarbone. She swings with the other, and removes an arm and shoulder. He's down. Norman takes down the other with a burst from a gauss pistol. Mei and Agamemnon meet them in the middle. Lester sends them up the stairs to the second floor while he clears the first floor. Bursts of gauss needles sound like ripping paper as Ag and Mei neutralize two more at the top of the stairs. One of the two is identified to be George March.They clear the upstairs. There's no one left except in the one locked room.

Lester calls out "Senator?" and gets the response "We're right here!" "Who's 'we'?" asks Lester. "Myself, my Chief of Staff, and the ship's engineer." Gina says to stand back from this wall. The Senator says "We're clear," and Gina swings her mono-molecular edged katana four times cutting a door sized rectangle in the wall. Violet de-cloaks and sticks her head inside the hole. She pulls back and tells Lester "Yes, it's him." Lester visibly relaxes. The three former prisoners are taken into the Landmaster and thus back to the ThunderFerret. Lester sends a wave to Sheriff Fullerton letting him know what happened and that George March is dead. The Sheriff says he'll send some men right over to secure the site. The ThunderFerret lifts and begins a hard burn for Londinium.

The Senator and his men get a full medical checkup and Samson is standing by with clean clothes for them until he can get their current clothes washed. Lester cooks a gourmet meal for them all. At dinner they discuss how the Venturi was hijacked. A container of consumables was put aboard ant New Canaan, but instead of food, it contained Creel and a couple of his men. The engineer, Senator Von Alksburg and his Chief of Staff were shuttled down to the abandoned mining complex where there were already people waiting. The hijackers kept only the pilot aboard for appearances. Captain Farmer asks if the senator really thinks he can prevent the extension of the disenfranchisement law if they can get him to Londinium before the vote. He is virtually certain he can.

As after dinner conversation winds down, Von Alksburg turns to Violet and says "I know it's trite, but in this case true. I feel I know you. Have we met before?"
Violet replies,"To the best of my knowledge, twice before. Most recently was about a year and a half ago on Persephone. Do you recall Baron Wing's last cotillion?"
"Last as in the final one before evidence came to light that he had ties to a pirate organization and he committed suicide?"
"I meant last as in most recent, but it's the same thing. I was on Baron Wing's arm."
"So you were! Dressed in gold and black. Striking."
"Few knew that I was there to act as his bodyguard. Still fewer knew that I was actually there to locate and release the evidence of his pirate ties."
"You work for Interpol then?"
"I have done work for Interpol. I also have ties to Military Intelligence. Officially, I'm a private contractor. There are times that complete deniability is paramount."
"I see."
"But that's not where we originally met, Brian."
"(Startled) Only my mother calls me Brian."
"That makes sense. She's the one that introduced us. Do you remember, Let's see, it was… seventeen years ago. You, your mother, and I think, your little sister went on a trip to Bernadette with your father to go to an awards ceremony. At that ceremony your father awarded a medal to my father, Fleet Admiral Beauregard Wu, Commodore Wu at the time. The families were not allowed at the ceremony itself so you, your mother, and your sister had to wait in the green room until the dinner."
"Seventeen years ago… That would mean I was… sixteen years old at the time… No! You were the little girl with the stuffed toy tiger that had an unpronouncable name!"
"Eritosthenes," she says with a smile, "I still have him. He's in a closet in my parents house, still on Bernadette."
Von Alksburg turns to his chief of staff. "She was maybe seven years old…"
Violet: "Six."
"…And here she was giving me a discourse on the differences and similarites of republics versus democracies. It was a far more interesting discussion than many I've had with most adults."
"I've always been a history buff."
"So tell me then: What do you see as the root cause of the war?"
Ater a moment of thought she says, "Fear of starvation."
"Explain."
"By the time the independents began considering their own coalition, the core planets were already importing nearly half their food. If the planets that sold them their crops formed their own alliance, they had the power to cut off food from the core worlds…"
(The full details of Violet's theory can be found on the left under the heading "The True Cause Of The War Of Unification...")
From this point on, the two of them are more or less inseparable. Mei tells Agamemnon that if she hears any more about history her ears are going to start bleeding. Violet shows Von Alksburg the holoterminal she has set up in her shuttle. He is amazed at the data accesses she has managed to acquire. They strike a deal for her to do small bits of research for him as needed. Gina notices they spend an awful lot of time in her shuttle. She suspects they are not just talking.

At hard burn it takes just under a week to reach Londinium. Lester has Senator Von Alksburg send a wave to his retired father, former senator Murphy Von Alksburg on Persephone letting him know he's all right and is on his way to Londinium. Once they arrive at Londinium, the Senator contacts the port authorities. The ThunderFerret is escorted to the luxury docking ring on the Norfolk Skyplex by a pair of Alliance destroyers
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They are met by a full honor guard for the Senator. Before he is whisked away, the Senator makes arrangements to pay for the ThunderFerret's docking, refueling and monthly maintenance. A representative of the skyplex approaches the crew and explains that they have a conference room full of journalists who want to speak to the crew. Captain Farmer flatly refuses. Eventually he gets a wave from Jennifer Hendrix of All Worlds Cortex News (Season 2 Episode 4). She says they called her because he won't talk to the journalists on site. He says there's no story. The senator took passage on the ThunderFerret. It's as simple as that. There was no attempted kidnapping. If there was, he adds, whoever set it up was totally incompetent. "And you can quote me on that," he concludes. Before the monthly maintenance is done, he gets a wave from the Senator. He thanks them again for the rescue. He transfers six thousand credits to the ThunderFerret's account. They get a call from Fiolla for a debriefing. She also transfers two thousand. It's all she could squeeze out of the budget. They decide to leave without looking for cargo. They're going back to Beaumonde. The Landmaster was good, but it needs better electronics. Light intentensification, infrared, thermal, and so on. Maybe even just replace it with a newer model Amber found in a cortex catalog.
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Episode 4……………………………………………………………………………………………3/31/2018

Once the ThunderFerret arrives on Beaumonde, several of the crew go shopping. Delilah calls a meeting with the Captain and Lester. She points out that of the three runs she's done with them, two have been without any cargo. She's fine with just sitting there and getting paid, but she doesn't want them to think they don't need load masters. Captain Farmer says to be honest, it slipped his mind that they were aboard. He says that the last few runs have not been typical. He plans to put them back to work. She also points out that when Lester hired them, he didn't mention that he was going to put Norman in harms way. They've taken him into combat twice now. The problem is, she says, he loves it. He would be insulted if the crew went into harms way and didn't invite him along. She tells Lester that Norman is groundside right now, buying a surplus Alliance SA-80 rifle because he's afraid he'll get someone killed since he has no training on those gauss needlers.
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He wants to carry what he's trained on. She doesn't want to be a widow like poor Mei Sullivan. Try not to let him get killed. At least give him a set of armor like the other ship's troops have. Lester assures her he'll take care of it and Norman's pay will reflect a hazard bonus as well. Lester checks with Agamemnon as to the precise specs of the armor, reimburses Ag and Mei for their armor, and orders ten new sets to be delivered to the ship. When he gives a set of armor to Norman, he also reimburses him for the rifle.
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When Violet comes back to the ship, she has several shopping bags. She gives the Captain a coffee mug labeled H.M.S. Seeker. She says it's supposedly from one of the Arks from Earth That Was. It's made from a type of ceramic that's no longer used for that sort of thing. It even says made in England on the bottom. It's probably legitimate, because no one would put that much effort into counterfeiting a coffee mug. The Captain is touched.
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Amber returns to the ship, having purchased a minifac for making parts,(For more information on minifacs and microfacs see Notes On How The Verse Works) and ordered parts to assemble a rocket launcher system to mount on the ThunderFerret. Missiles are illegal in civilian craft but the law allows unguided rockets. The parts will be delivered within two days. Captain Farmer gets on the Cortex to locate a cargo, and finds he has a message waiting. It's from someone named Roy Hwang. He says "A friend of a friend advised me to look you up. I'd like to hire your ship and crew for a couple of days. Let's meet up so we can discuss it." Farmer says to Lester, "We've got a friend?" The Captain sends a message back for Roy to come on over. A man in his mid thirties shows up, dressed casually, almost to the point of grungy. He is accompanied by another man of inuit ancestry wearing a suit. The man in the suit introduces himself as Malik Singleton.
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He is with the local branch of Interpol, and works for Fiolla Hart. The crew was unaware that she became a regional director after the success busting up the "Murphy Slaver Gang" (Season 2 Episode 6). He in turn introduces Roy Hwang. Roy%20Hwang.jpgRoy is a former Sihnon police officer, now turned private detective and bounty hunter. He is working on a case of a missing young lady. He has tracked her to a group of slavers on the second moon of Beaumonde, Geneva. He figures the simplest way to to retrieve her is to pose as a customer and simply buy her. Geneva is only an hour's flight away. Roy would like to hire the ThunderFerret and it's crew for transport and backup muscle (and of course the doctor's services should they be needed). He figures at most two days, and he offers 500 credits. After a bit of discussion with the crew, Captain Farmer agrees. Malik says "You're Lester, right?" Lester admits he is. "Fiolla said to say Hi to you for her." The captain looks up Geneva:
"Geneva S/2164(Beaumonde)02 POP:8,600,000 Primary exports: Bamboo, Sub-Tropical Wood, Ceramics. Mostly border level technology, with notable exceptions due to proximity to Beaumonde. E.G. mostly wheeled vehicles, even horses and mules, but hover vehicles are popular among the well to do."
Once everyone but Sherry Bourdonne is back aboard, the ThunderFerret lifts for Geneva.An hour later, they land at the spaceport on Geneva. Roy goes into the wooden customs building to get permission to take a ship's shuttle into town.
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Dressed much finer this time, Roy gets into the shuttle with Captain Farmer, Gina, Amber, Agamemnon, Mei, and Norman.
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They fly to the location Roy was given and find a warehouse made of cinder block.
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Parked in the first parking place is a beautiful hover sports car.
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Roy, the Captain, Gina, and Amber enter the warehouse and are met by the slaver (he gives his name as Mung) and a pair of armed guards. There are a series of cells set up inside the warehouse. Mung tells them to take a look and see if they find anyone they like. Gina finds one slave that's been badly beaten. He is clearly concussed and only semi conscious. He mutters something about "…Gotta tell 'em. Von Alksburg's on Perth. Abandoned mine on the south continent…" Gina realizes this is Von Alksburg's missing pilot. She offers Mung 500 credits for him. Mung starts to haggle, but she points out he's damaged. Probably won't live long without medical attention. 500. Take it or leave it. Mung takes it. Gina half carries him to the shuttle. Meanwhile, Roy located his target, Rachel Oberlindes.
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He asks how much for her. Mung says she's already sold. Amber, who brought a lot of cash, says she'll double what the other person offered. Mung says No, if he double crosses his buyer, he's a dead man. Captain Farmer, in one smooth motion draws, cocks, and aims his Schofield revolver between Mung's eyes. "And if you don't," he points out, "you're dead that much sooner." On his com, he tells the ship's troops to come running. Mung states that he'll die too, and gestures at the two armed guards. Just then the three ThunderFerret troops storm in. It's a Mexican stand off. "Okay," If you can really pay double, you've got a deal. I sold her for five thousand credits. You really willing to pay ten thousand?" Amber is able to supply eight thousand, and Roy can supply two. They hand Mung the bills, and mung unlocks the bars. He hands five hundred credits to each of the two guards and starts walking toward the door. Amber asks what about the rest of the prisoners? Mung pauses, tosses her the keys and keeps going. Mung gets into his sports car and drives away. Farmer calls Lester and tells him to bring the ThunderFerret. They have twenty passengers to pick up. Lester lands on the fence, crushing it. They load the shuttle, then the former slaves. Gina takes the wounded pilot to the Medbay and treats his injuries. They head back to Beaumonde to pick up their companion and Amber's launcher parts. The Captain says he'll get them all back where they need to be. He offers to hire any that want to stay on. One woman takes him up on it. Her name is Sophia Blankenship.
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They ask if she has any particular skill. "I'm one hell of a good masseuse" she replies. Gina has Mei start training her in first aid.
Roy asks if they might consider a run to Persephone next. That's where Marc Oberlindes, his client, lives and that would be the quickest way to be sure Amber gets her eight thousand credits back. Malik Singleton offers to take the former slaves and see to it they get back to where they came from. He says it'll make him look good in the eyes of Interpol, and it'll also earn him some brownie points with Fiolla. While they had been sitting on Geneva, Delilah had gotten them a speculative cargo of tropical fruits and bamboo. Once they announce their destination, a pair of people show up requesting passage to Persephone. It's a big, bodyguard type in black leather and a veiled woman in white chinese style mourning clothing.
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They are towing a tall thin hard sided case on wheels. Captain Farmer says "Jayne? Jayne Cobb?" Jayne takes off his sun glasses and looks again. "Cap'n Farmer?" He grins. "Bout ruttin' time we had some GOOD luck for a change!" He's gotten a haircut, and shaved off his goatee, but it's definitely him. Suddenly his face lights up. "You still carryin' Gina with you?" The Captain assures him she's aboard and ushers them up the ramp. The veiled woman asks to go directly to her cabin, but Jayne is anxious to see old friends and meet the new members of the crew. They go through their preflight checklists, but find that they are landlocked. Lester calls ground control and asks who landlocked them. He is told it was the port master. Lester asks to speak with him. He is told he will be right out. Lester says the port master is on the way. The veiled woman intercepts Captain Farmer on the way to the cargo ramp. She removes her veil and the Captain sees she is extremely beautiful. She tells him that she and Jayne are in the process of retrieving a religious painting from Earth That Was from a man that had stolen it. They are returning it to it's rightful owner. The man they took it back from has no doubt bribed the port master here to hold the ship. He is notoriously bribeable, and she hands him an expensive piece of jewelry to give to the port master. The Captain hands it back to her and says "Don't worry, I'll take care of it. Your'e my guest. It's a matter of honor" He goes down to the cargo ramp and talks with the port master. He asks how much he was given to landlock them. When the port master tells him five hundred credits, he gives him a thousand. The port master punches a series of keys on his remote device and the landlock is disabled. The captain returns to the bridge and the ship lifts for Persephone. They have the traditional first night all hands dinner, but the veiled woman declines. She states she's not feeling well. After dinner, Doctor Gina decides it's time for a house call. She visits the cabin of the veiled passenger and offers her medical services. "Very well, Ms. Montoya-Chen, but I must hold you to doctor-patient confidentiality," replies a voice Gina recognizes. She removes her veil, and Gina sees the face of her old teacher, Inara Serra.
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Gina asks if she knows what's wrong. "Olson's Mitochondriasis," Inara replies, "Jayne tells me you've met Simon, our doctor. He gave me enough palliative for the trip, but it wound up taking longer than we'd planned. Jayne doesn't know. No one in our crew does, except Simon. I must ask you to keep it to yourself." Gina is stunned. Olson's Mitochondriasis is a rare disease, invariably fatal, for which there is no cure. Gina runs some tests, and with the help of the Autodoc, is able to synthesize the needed drug. Gina attempts to use her psionics to cure Inara of the disease, but does not know yet if it has worked. Inara has recognized Sherry and (surprisingly) Violet. She asks Gina about them and gets a synopsis of why they're here. Inara decides it's safe to drop the disguise, and meets the crew. Violet is surprised Inara remembers her. She was only with House Madrassa slightly less than a year, and that was almost twelve years ago. Inara shows the crew the religious painting from Earth That Was. She tells them it's called "The Velvet Elvis"
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Jayne spends every moment he can with Gina.The ThunderFerret puts down at the higher class end of the Eavesdown Docks. Several of the crew, as well as the ships troops escort Inara and Jayne (and the painting) to the Serenity, currently relabeled The Happy Trader, parked a little further down the docks.
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Mal sees the troops come up the cargo ramp first and says "Woah-woah-woah! What's…" then sees Jayne and Inara. Then he sees the members of the crew of the Thunderchilde that he recognizes, and realizes he's not being invaded. He asks Inara "Everything go smooth?" Inara replies "Does it ever?" Jayne says "It coulda been a lot worse if we hadn't run into Cap'n Farmer." Mal smiles and shakes Farmer's hand "So ya got yourselves a new ship? Before Farmer can answer, Jayne says "Its a gorram flyin' luxury hotel, Mal, Y' oughta see it!" Simon, Kaylee, and eventually River come and investigate all the noise. Introductions are made for the three ships troops that had not been with the crew back then. Suddenly it all clicks for Mei Sullivan. "Doctor… named Simon… on a Firefly… Doctor, were you on Verbena when the Alliance factory was bombed, about a year and a half ago?" Simon is startled, and somewhat cautious. "Ye-e-es, why?" She reaches up and parts the hair on the right side of her head and reveals a scar. "You saved my life that night. I was unconscious until long after you left. All they could tell me was that it was a doctor named Simon who was on a Firefly. I want to thank you, though for a while I wasn't sure whether I should curse you instead. My husband and daughter were killed in that blast. I wasn't too keen on surviving… for a while." Amber asks if Zoe is still with them. Mal says she's "upstairs takin' care of something. I'm sure she'll be down directly." Captain Farmer points out it's almost noon, local time. He invites the crew of Serenity to come to lunch on board the ThunderFerret. Before Mal can say no, Lester does a quick count, adds one for Zoe and calls Samson and says "Seven more for lunch." Samson acknowledges. When they start out to the ThunderFerret, Zoe joins them, carrying a bassinet. Within is a cute baby girl. Zoe says her name is Emma. "I was three months along with her, last time we met," she admits.
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Violet is happy to see the crew of Serenity again, but thrilled to see Zoe. She and Zoe had become fairly friendly, their last meeting. She's amazed that Zoe had been three months pregnant back then and hadn't shown it. Introductions are made once again, and Captain Reynolds is stunned at the size of the new ship. Eventually the party winds down and Mal and his crew head back to Serenity. They need to deliver the painting to it's rightful owner and collect their reward. Gina, Captain Farmer, Lester, Amber, and Violet load Von Alksburg's pilot (Patrick Sutton) into a shuttle and deliver him to the Von Alksburg estate per Ernst's request. They are met by Murphy Von Alksburg, Ernst's father.
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He introduces them to his wife, Genevieve, "Call me Mimi. Everyone does."
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Murphy says "Our Ernst seems to have taken quite a shine to you, Violet." Mimi says "Bryan tells me you were the little girl we met on that trip to Bernadette, years ago. The one with the stuffed tiger.
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I thought your mother (Li Li, isn't it?) introduced you as Iole." "Yes ma'am, Violet replies, "When I turned eighteen I had it legally changed. Iole just means Violet in Greek. My older brother and sister have Greek names too." Mimi insists they have a little snack before they go. Her idea of a little snack seems to be about three thousand calories. Violet wonders to herself how Mimi and Murphy can remain so thin. By now, it's getting to be about 9:00 pm local time. Roy Hwang invites them to come meet Mr. Oberlindes so he can return the borrowed eight thousand credits. They go directly there from the Von Alksburg estate. Roy introduces them to Marc Oberlindes.
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He thanks them for helping to rescue his wayward daughter, and returns Amber's money. Marc is the head of Oberlindes Lines, a cargo and passenger hauling organization he started with surplus spaceships right after the war. He offers to let them use his ship repair facilities. They discuss with him the idea of setting up a company to design and build ships weapon systems. He checks the time, and says it's probably too late tonight, but he'll have is corporate lawyers call tomorrow to assist them with drawing up the proper forms. They head back to the ship to bed down for the night. Along about 2:00 am insomniac Captain Farmer is sitting on the bridge, while insomniac workaholic Lester is in the kitchen preparing food for the next day. The Captain hears noises on the hull overhead. He calls Lester, who says he hears them too. Captain Farmer fires up the engins, raises the ship 200 feet and rotates it. He hopes he's shaken off any intruders. He sets the ship back down into it's dock. Several of the crew come running. They heard the engines. Four of the human looking robots come out of storage and head toward engineering. Two young intruders, each about sixteen or seventeen, carrying a katana and a pistol each, come out of engineering and approach the four robots.
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The robots are unarmed, but they outnumber the teens two to one. One fires on the robots, three shots per bot from a Schofield, The other empties a 9mm Luger into the other two. The bots don't go down. Surprised, the two switch to swords. From the forward cargo bay is heard the sound of two rifle shots. The bots go hand to hand, moving faster than the eye can follow. Incredibly, the teens appear to be just as fast. They are so evenly matched that this goes on for many seconds. Finally the Captain takes aim with his shotgun and shoots the male. Then he shoots the female. Both solid chest hits, the two teens go down. Lester goes downstairs to check the forward cargo bay. He finds two more there, dressed and equipped identically to the two upstairs. Each has had a 7.62mm bullet through the vertebra at the base of the skull. Delphi fired two single aimed shots using the gatlings. Gina takes retina prints and fingerprints as well as DNA samples from all four. She finds a package of white powder on one of them. She analyzes it and finds it to be acetyl morphine (Heroin). They put the male corpse from upstairs in the Autodoc and Gina does some scans of the body. They keep the katana and Schofield he was carrying, and put the second body with her equipment in the cargo bay with the other two. They call the local authorities, and report they were boarded by three assailants, and they defended themselves. Please come pick up the bodies.

Gina gives the Schofield to Captain Farmer and he realizes it's identical to his, right down to the custom maker's mark. His came from a gunsmith named Michael Valentine on Lilac (Season 1 Episode 2) and so, apparently, did this one. Gina notices that the Katana is by the same manufacturer as her monomolecular edged one, but this one is just a normal blade. Amber wonders if they had kept the Lugers, would they have been identical to hers?
They go back to bed, intending on moving to Marc Oberlindes' shipyards first thing in the morning.

Episode 5 teaser……………………………………………………………………………………………4/15/2018

Captain Farmer wakes up after too little sleep. A port official arrives at the cargo ramp with a pair of troops. The Captain goes down to meet him. The official says they got an anonymous tip that there was a fourth attacker from the night before, and that he's still aboard the ship. Delphi pipes the conversation to the command deck. Gina goes to remove the body, and finds that the Autodoc will not open. It says that to do so would kill the patient. Captain Farmer brings the official to the medbay and shows him the display. He says they will not press charges against this lad. The official leaves, saying to call him when the Autodoc can be safely opened…

Episode 5……………………………………………………………………………………………4/28/2018

Violet waves Senator Von Alksburg. Senator Von Alksburg calls his father. Murphy brings the Good Old Boy network to bear. The port official waves back and tells the Captain that he has been instructed to drop all inquiries into anything involving the ThunderFerret. He also mentions that the morgue has been broken into, the three attackers bodies have been taken, and the morgue has been firebombed. The official expresses frustration at not knowing what's going on. Captain Farmer commiserates and says he wishes he knew as well. The crew moves the ThunderFerret to the Oberlindes repair yards. They see a broadwave that indicates Malcom Reynolds is a wanted man.

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It does not specify an amount for the reward. Amber goes shopping for parts to build missile launch tubes. Violet receives a shipment of five hundred holo-emitters. She takes them to the common room and sets up some of the bots assembly line fashion to unpack and open each one so she can make modifications to them all.

Everyone gathers for the opening of the Autodoc. A confused young man steps out.
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Gina asks him his name and he says "3827… No that's not a name. It's… Corvus? That sounds right." The Captain finds that this young man does not remember anything. Lester takes the young man's data and searches the Cortex but comes up empty. The lad is a Cortex Spectre. Gina contacts a young hacker she met on Bernadette named Black Skull (Season 2 Episode 4) ten minutes later she has a dossier on one Rusty Weatherford, missing since age six. He was in the 99th percentile, a "gifted child". His parents were civilian casualties, "collateral damage" in the bombing of Glendale on Osiris near the end of the war. Gina's psychic talents lead her to realize that this lad has talents of his own. In order to explain this to the crew, she must finally reveal to them her own talents. She calls in Violet, the only one on the ship that's not already there, and puts on a demonstration. She asks Violet "Do you trust me?" Violet replies "You know I do Mei Mei." Gina takes a scalpel and cuts a small incision in Violet's palm. She then takes her hand, holds it for a moment, then releases it. She wipes away the blood revealing undamaged skin. Mei Sullivan applauds, believing it to be a magic trick. Violet doesn't know what to think. She has believed all her life that "paranormal powers" were fiction. Gina says that this "talent" as she calls it is the only reason Violet is walking. She says she has used this talent to heal her nerve damage. She asks for suggestions. Violet suggests she "connect her talent to his talent." She attempts to heal Rusty's mind. After this he finds he can remember up to about age ten. The crew go back to what they were doing, while Gina continues to work with Rusty. She finds that although she has no talent for telepathy per se, Rusty does. He can send and receive thoughts directly to her. Even images. She asks him to show her his teachers at what he knows only as "The Academy". Using knowledge of what they teach, along with an artist's rendering of their faces (Courtesy of Delphi via a police sketch program) she comes to the conclusion that they must be zeroed (made cortex spectres). Suddenly she noticed in one of the images she spots someone she recognizes. River (she never did get a last name) from aboard the Serenity. She informs the crew, and they try to figure out how to contact Mal Reynolds. He may not know what he has aboard. They need to warn him. There's no doubt that he will be in hiding, since that broadwave went out stating that he and his ship are wanted by the Alliance.

Now that Captain Farmer has set up the Rolling Thunder Corporation, he needs to establish some connections for parts and supplies for missiles. As he's putting on his hat to leave, he sees Violet on a grav lift installing holo-emitters every few feet across the high ceiling of the upper deck. He asks what she's doing, she says installing holo-emitters. He asks why, she tells him it's an idea Gina had. She had seen a nightlight program that violet had written for herself in her shuttle and had the idea to repurpose it for use in the ThunderFerret. She grabs his arm and takes him to her shuttle. She kills the lights and activates the nightlight program. The air is filled with a flurry of randomly moving motes of yellow light. She tells the Captain that Gina thinks that if there's an intruder on the ship in a Dreamcoat, a stealth suit like the one she recently used on Perth, they would show up as a missing space in the light pattern. The Captain sees how that should work. Violet says she's working on a few improvements on the system as well, and will soon have a surprise to show them. The Captain grumbles something derogatory about surprises in general and goes to meet with a missile parts supplier. He brings home a digital catalog he turns over to Amber.

He has a cortext waiting. It's from a local, Nik Stathos who would like to discuss cargo. The Captain calls him back and invites him to to come aboard. Nik asks if he is familiar with Rance Burgess on Whittier? The Captain has heard of him, nothing pleasant. Nik agrees and explains Burgess was killed in a dispute about a year and a half ago. Since he was the leading power on Whittier, the other land barons have been squabbling over their shares, including the local Alliance magistrate. Now, control of Whittier should have been in the magistrate's hands to begin with, but his resources are small and Burgess controlled things with a combination of bribery, extortion and intimidation. With Burgess dead, the magistrate has decided to properly exert his control again and with the all the barons fussing, its the little people who are getting hurt when the boot comes down. Nik would like to help and has a shipment of rifles coming in to help the locals protect themselves. It's not technically illegal, but if the anyone got wind of it beforehand it would quickly be made so. Unfortunately, its stuck on the Corone skyplex because Nik's usual shipper fell afoul of an inspection. Nik asks the Captain to deliver a cargo to the skyplex, pick up his cargo and smuggle it back to its destination on Whittier. Nik explains the cargo is three crates, waiting at the Alliance Postal office, its labelled as machinery parts. The Captain agrees and says they will be able to depart in two days. Captain Farmer lines up a cargo of small arms ammunition for the skyplex as a cover.

Amber completes the missile launch tubes, but does not yet have missiles. The ThunderFerret lifts for Corone skyplex as Violet is still working on her project. The trip to the skyplex is easy and uneventful. Corone skyplex is an entertaining stop (Its the space station at the beginning of the episode "The Message")
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The crates are loaded and tucked into the forward cargo hold. The Captain gets a cargo of jewelry as cover and for profit. The ship departs for Whittier.Halfway there, the ship is hailed by an Alliance ship, a Victoria Class.
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They request the ThunderFerret heave to and prepare for customs inspection. A squad comes aboard. The Captain presents the ship's papers as well as his own. After a quick but thorough inspection they are free to go on about their business. Lester doesn't believe it's that easy. He searches for any sign of a tracking beacon, and for anything that's been added to or removed from the ship. Lester spends so much time searching that he doesn't have time to make his usual gourmet meal for the crew's supper. Mei Sullivan goes into the port side kitchen (She knows to stay out of the starboard one, That's Lester's) and whips up some crawfish etoufee. She's nowhere near Lester's level, but Creole cooking is her specialty. Spicy, but delicious.After dinner, it's time for Violet's big reveal. She explains about her nightlight program, and Gina's idea to use it to find stealthed invaders. She demonstrates it. Then she says she and Delphi came up with an additional use for the system. Violet had gotten one of the two processors of the type that Delphi uses from Amber, and a spare chassis. She hooked it up to Delphi and had him copy parts of himself into the new system. It would not be just a copy of Delphi, but an entirely new individual. Violet suggested the new individual be modeled after one of the classic archetypes from Earth-That-Was, like Confucius, or Abe Lincoln, or John Wayne, or Elton John. Delphi chose Edgar Allen Poe. Poe appears, and says he is pleased to meet all of them, though he feels he knows them already. Those are among the memories that Delphi DID share.
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Violet unveils a bar, complete with robot arms hidden below the counter so that Poe can serve as the ship's bartender. Amber loves the idea, and intends to have one of the Bots modified to look like the hologram, so Poe will be able to leave the ship on occasion. Violet says they've already seen how useful Delphi has been as a security system, so she has set up Poe to take over part of that function. Back when she was eighteen and working on her doctoral thesis, she figured out a way to modify holographic emitters to form what amounts to a holographic laser. She patented it before presenting it to the Board. Three of them were so impressed that they immediately tried to steal the design but found that it was already patented. Word got to the Alliance Military. They bought the patent rights and immediately classified all information on it. "I trust no one here will tell them I blabbed," she quips. She adds that this is the technology she used to make her weaponized umbrella and hair clip. She holds up a plastic tumbler and says "Edgar? If you please." The hologram reaches beneath his suit coat and withdraws an ornate laser pistol.
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He points it at the tumbler and pulls the trigger. There is a pulse of green light and a smoking hole appears through the tumbler. The smell of scorched plastic fills the room.

The next day the ThunderFerret arrives at Whittier and touches down at the rendezvous point. The locals come out to meet the ship and the local contact, David Turner, thanks them for their efforts. They're having a little festival, would they like to stay for the pig roast? Captain Farmer politely declines. He wants to go find the Serenity. The ThunderFerret makes a short hop to the actual spaceport at the capitol to deliver the cargo of jewelry. Captain Farmer goes to a local diner and orders a big breakfast and thinks. Where would Mal go to hide? Everyone knows he tries to stay as far out on the rim as possible, so Farmer figures he's probably hiding on one of the Core worlds. Maybe on Osiris in one of the blackout zones. He returns to the ship to find that Lester has managed to get a Cortext through to the Serenity by sending it to Captain Leo Harbatkin of the Happy Trader. Lester says they need to meet and asks where. "Harbatkin" texts back "Where Jayne cut down a tree with Gina's sword". Only Gina and Violet (and Zoe and Jayne) would know where that was. (Season 1 episode 5)

Captain Farmer receives a Cortext from Senator Von Alksburg requesting a meeting in deep space off the normal trade lanes near Londinium. He says he needs to hire the ThunderFerret and it's crew for a short while. The Captain calculates travel time to Violet's cabin on Jiang-Yin, and from there to Londinium. He texts back to the Senator how long they'll be. He orders hard burn for Jiang-Yin.

Violet gives Lester the exact coordinates for her cabin on Jiang-Yin. When the ThunderFerret approaches the cabin they see a Firefly class ship parked in the dry riverbed a few hundred yards away.
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Once they land, the cargo ramp of the Serenity lowers and out strides Malcolm Reynolds.
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He asks what's so all-fired important. Captain Farmer introduces him to Rusty Weatherford. As he's explaining how they aquired Rusty, the rest of Serenity's crew come out as well. Soon Jayne comes out off the brush with a precision sniper rifle. Gina speaks medical jargon to Simon, no one else understands. Gina offers to show him the scans she got of Rusty. Simon drools over the Autodoc. Gina offers to let him use it to do a scan of River. River and Rusty are just standing there staring at each other and smiling. They're actually communicating with each other at high speed, but no one else can tell. Zoe suggests they take him on board. Maybe Simon can help him. Malcolm says he's not of a mind to be pickin' up strays. Zoe says "Sir, your'e ALWAYS picking up strays." Captain Farmer holds out 4500 credits to Mal. He offers it as room and board for the boy. Mal says "We ain't hurtin'." Zoe steps up and takes the money and says "Nonsense, Sir. The boy will need this if he's to get a new start in life."

Episode 6……………………………………………………………………………………………5/12/2018

The ThunderFerret heads for the deep space rendezvous with Senator Von Alksburg near Londinium. He has a sleek new yacht.
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He and his pilot Patrick Sutton (Season 3 Episode 4) come aboard. Patrick, looking much better that the last time they'd seen him thanks them profusely for saving his life. They settle in at the main table to discuss what the Senator needs from them. Von Alksburg notices the Captain's coffee mug from the H.M.S. Seeker and says "Very good! Quite an obscure joke!" Captain Farmer doesn't understand, and asks for clarification.
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The Senator has him call up an encyclopedia article on England's contribution to the Great Exodus.

In the Great Colonization fleet from Earth to 34Tauri (2020), Great Britain's contribution was a group of four Arks: The HMS Pathfinder, the HMS Seeker, the HMS Ark Royal, and the HMS Resolution. They were launched from the British Isles(qv) in the years between 2097 and 2101. The people of the HMS Pathfinder and the HMS Ark Royal (arriving in 2220 and 2224 respecively) helped populate the planet Londinium. The HMS Resolution, arriving later in 2282 due to minor engine issues was sent to populate Dayton, a moon of Greenleaf. Due to the prevalence of the english dialect "Cockney"(qv) the spelling of the moon's name was eventually changed to Dyton. The HMS Seeker never arrived, and is presumed lost.

Excerpt from The Cortex Encyclopedia, rev 2519

The Captain asks Violet where she found the mug originally, and she tells him it came from an antiques dealer that she knows on Beaumonde. The Captain files that away for further contemplation. The Senator sits down with them and asks if they remember the Miranda Broadwave, almost a year ago. Everyone says yes except Violet. She says she heard of it, but was a slave on Lilac at the time and didn't have access to the Cortex. This earns her some strange looks, not least from her own brother. The Senator has a highly illegal copy of the broadwave, and plays it for the crew. He explains that he has obtained information that at least part of the cover story about the Miranda Broadwave is false. The message was sent from an emergency transmitter on the moon Sakura in the Blue Sun system, it was not hacked into a relay station. That, combined with the fleet incident in Blue Sun about which he can find almost no data makes him very suspicious. He needs information to try to force some changes and gain influence. His goal is to get a seat on the parliament's security council where he would have some real access to information and more influence. The captain asks for information on patrol routes in the area. The senator has it, but they are over a month old.

The Senator asks what they would like in compensation for undertaking this mission. Captain Farmer says he just wants first crack at whoever has done this. Amber asks if he can get them a salvage license for that area. That would give them a legitimate reason for being on site. Senator von Alksburg arranges the license. Violet tells the Captain that Brian (Senator von Alksburg) has a separate project for her and says she'll meet back up with them when they return. The Senator wishes them luck and departs, taking Violet with him. Afterwards, Agamemnon is openly skeptical, he believes they are simply tools in a politician's bid for personal power and doesn't think they can trust the Senator. The Captain agrees to be cautious.

The ThunderFerret sets out for the Blue Sun system. The crew decide to go by and visit Shepherd Black on Deadwood (Season 3 Episode 2). Deadwood is not too far from Sakura, and the Shepherd might have heard something. The ThunderFerret arrives on Deadwood shortly after sunrise and lands outside of the village. Even on a cursory inspection, the crew sees the people are prospering, the irrigation equipment they shipped in (Season 3 Episode 2) has made a difference. The crew is met by an armed group of townspeople, but once the crew are recognized, they are happily welcomed and taken to the church. Bettie Jo is glad to see them. She asks about their doctor. She says "Pa's kinda' poorly." Gina checks the Shepherd over as best she can, then invites him back to the ThunderFerret's medbay. The local doctors have him taking nitroglycerin to thin his blood, but he's riding the ragged edge of a heart attack. Gina escorts him into the Autodoc and goes in and removes years worth of plaque from his coronary arteries. With the advanced technology of the Autodoc, it's minimally invasive, so he's up and around almost immediately. Lester asks what he knows about the time surrounding the Miranda broadwave. He says there was a rash of reaver attacks right around that time. Also, he remembers a young man living here has a brother at the Alliance base nearby on New Caanan that told him of receiving a large number of space combat casualties right about that time. Lester asks to speak to the young man. Shepherd Black introduces him to a young man named Bryce. Bryce tells Lester all he knows about the casualties, but says they will need to talk to his brother, Harvey on New Caanan if they want more information. Lester calls the Captain and interrupts his quality time with Bettie Jo to report what he's found.

Soon they lift again, this time headed directly for Sakura. Ship's sensors detect a patrolling Longbow cruiser and a hint of smaller craft. As they approach Sakura, they are hailed by the Longbow class which identifies itself as the IAV Ticonderoga. They ask for the ThunderFerret's authorization to be in this area. Captain Farmer identifies himself and says that they were sent on behalf of the Rolling Thunder corporation to scout for possible salvage opportunities on the surface of Sakura. Captain Jensen comes on the line and asks for their United Reclamation certification. Captain Farmer transmits the certificate that Amber had gotten through the auspices of Senator VonAlksburg.
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Jensen verifies the the certificate, then wishes them a good trip. Captain Farmer asks about the ion cloud and is informed that it's relatively safe to fly through. He is told that there's about ten thousand kilometers of clear space below it. He thanks Captain Jensen and heads for the surface.
Once through the ion cloud they find ship wreckage scattered for kilometers in every direction. Not only military, but civilian craft as well. At the center of the debris they find arrays of antennae surrounding a central control building.
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They do a slow flyby of the central building and see it has a large runway leading up to a hangar built into the base of it. "A runway!" exclaims Lester, "No one's used runways for a hundred and fifty years or more!" Clearly this observatory, for that must be what it is, is quite old. There are scrape marks nearly the length of the runway, and Captain Farmer spots engine blast marks consistent with a mobile drydock and ship carrier. Lester lands them right at the entrance to the building's hangar. Troops and crew man the Dragoon APC, the replacement for the Landmaster, and drive down the front cargo ramp. They find further evidence that the vessel that scraped along the runway continued into the hangar, lost an engine to one of the support stanchions, and came to rest on a partially lowered elevator platform. From the engine they find they can tell it was a Firefly 03 model. The ship itself is nowhere to be seen. They find the remnants of a pyre, with many burned corpses. Gina examines them and concludes from the weapons they were most likely reavers. There is a large hole in the concrete wall. The crew enters, ship's troops in the lead. They notice the main room seems to be practically painted in dried blood. The blood does not continue past the blast doors into the hall. Further down the hall there is an elevator. there is blood on the bottom most button. Gina tries the elevator, but there's no power. Amber looks around, finds the breaker and throws it. The power comes on. The crew heads up to the topmost level, Gina running the holorecorder. They find a control room, obviously much customized with a huge number of monitors that were obviously not part of the original design. The monitors were then smashed. All of the computers as well. Amber manages to find two data storage units that were not broken, so she pulls them for later examination. There is also a couch with a huge blood stain. They go down a level and find what was clearly living quarters for the crew of the observatory. all the rooms appear to have been mothballed long ago except one. Someone was living here relatively recently. The crew decides to go all the way down to the bottom level. They find a core tap power station, complete with whirling fan blades to drive air past the heat exchanger.
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Perched atop the core tap they find the emergency transmitter they have been seeking.
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Amber flips a switch and a walkway to the transmitter unfolds. They examine it, and find the memory module containing the original Miranda broadwave still sitting in the reader. Amber places it in a bag. They start to leave and a crossbow bolt hits Captain Farmer's arm. Fortunately, it does not penetrate the combat infantry dress he's wearing. Gina fires two grenades from her launcher at the now visible reavers. The reavers are killed, but the grenades blow several large chunks of concrete down into the fan blades. The core tap starts making ominous grinding noises. The engineer runs for the elevator, pauses only to send it back down for the others, then runs for the ship and powers up the engines. She fears the core tap will fail catastrophically and wants them all well away before that happens. The remainder of the crew ride the elevator up, but the power fails as the elevator falls a foot short of the runway level. The crew climbs out and drives the Dragoon back to the ThunderFerret. While Amber waits for the rest of the crew, she indulges her curiosity and calculates where all the antennae are pointing. She is stunned to realize that they are all aimed in the direction of the Sol system. Earth-That-Was. She tells the Captain what she's figured out. She figures if they're listening in on Earth-That-Was, then there must still be people there. She also figures they would have put in some sort of data vault to back up such important data. Since the core tap appears to have safely shut down (emphasis on the 'appears' part) she wants to take the ships troops back in with her and see if she can find that data vault. She and Ag, Mei, and Norman go back into the complex. She finds an emergency access ladder down to the bottom level. After a bit of searching, she finds the hatch down another ladder to the vault. It is filled with extremely old style racked servers. She pulls all the drives. They are so old, she's not sure she will be able to read them so she takes a controller card and a power supply as well. The Captain sends several bots to help carry all the hardware. Once Amber and the hardware are back on board, Lester takes them a few miles away, just in case the core tap does finally detonate.

Amber spends all night breadboarding an interface for the controller card, then setting up a virtual machine to operate it. Once she has them talking, she dumps a copy of all the data to their own system, and backs it up on non-volatile media. Then she and the Captain start reading it. It appears that using the same gravity wave communication system that the cortex uses, but scaled up, the 'Verse and Earth-That-Was have been keeping in touch. Apparently there is still a population of sixteen million back in Sol system, due in part to terraforming techniques pioneered in the 'Verse. Even at the faster-than-light speed of gravity waves communication time is about six months one way. There are records here of messages sent back to Earth from the Arks, that were later forwarded to the 'Verse. It looks like there was regular communication right up until seventy five years ago, when an experiment to try to create a planet sized antenna using a field of ions went wrong and created the ion cloud that caused the abandonment of the observatory. The crew debates what to do with this data.

Episode 7……………………………………………………………………………………………5/26/2018

The ThunderFerret heads back to White sun to rendezvous with Senator Von Alksburg. They deliver the datapack with the original broadwave video to him as well as the video and still images that they took. They tell him about the data they found and the true purpose of the observatory. They ask if he has any contacts in the history department of any large universities in the core worlds. They plan to auction off the data to the highest bidder. He gives them contact information for a friend of his at Londinium University.

Violet pulls Gina aside and show her what she has been working on. She plays a video of a newswave showing the compound where Gina's nemesis Senator Grimes kept his "harem". She sees it raided by the police. Gina's friends are finally free! The newswave says the compound is registered to a Shen Jun. Gina remembers him, he ran the place for the Senator. Grimes comes on the screen and admits that he has visited his old friend Shen Jun there many times, but had NO IDEA that anything illegal was going on. Meanwhile Shen Jun has disappeared and no one seems to know where he has gone.

After speaking to Senator VonAlksburg's friend at Londinium University and giving him a sample of the data, Lester puts out feelers for Ariel Planetary University. Ag points out that Lester also knows a professor of ancient Greek in the history department of the University of Bernadette (Ag and Violet's mother).

Once the week is up and the auction has started, the ThunderFerret heads to the Georgia system. Amber wants to try out their new salvage permit in the wreckage left behind from the battle of Sturges. It's fairly well picked over, but there are still things to find out there. She wants to locate some powerful sensor upgrades for the ThunderFerret, plus any ammunition they can find. If they can't use it they can sell it. They spend a week searching, and locat a Victoria class that is not too badly picked over. Amber removes the sensor package, and locates eleven missiles that will work in the ThunderFerret's tubes. A bit more searching, and they find an Independent Komodo class. Amber scavenges the sensor package, some railgun rounds that don't fit the ThunderFerret's railguns, fourteen EMP missiles, and eight vacc suits still in their original shipping containers.

Meanwhile the auction has been going on. Londinium offered eight thousand credits for the lot. Ariel offered thirteen thousand, and Bernadette offered fourteen. The next round, a week later Londinium didn't bid, Ariel bid thirteen thousand five hundred. Bernadette bid fourteen thousand. A week after that Lester receives a cortext from Durran Haymer, a wealthy alumnus of Londinium. He wants to know if he can bid on the data, then gift it to his Alma Mater. Lester says that's fine, and this round gets up to seventeen thousand. The crew does not know that Bernadette contacted Londinium and Haymer, and offered to contribute to the bid if they would share the data. Lester declares the data sold for seventeen thousand. Amber have filled up the cargo bay with forty one shuttles of the standard 20 ton variety. As the ThunderFerret heads back to Londinium to deliver the data, Amber and the other engineers set about refurbishing the shuttles. Once the data is hand delivered to Londinium University, Captain Farmer has Lester dole out the shares from this latest sale and declares a week long shore leave on Londinium. Sherry is ecstatic, the rest of the crew are nearly as pleased.

Once shore leave is over, the crew decide to go to Persephone to sell the shuttles, then to JiangYin to carry Violet's latest load of precious metals to Beaumonde. On the way to Persephone, the engineers with the help of Gina, Ag, and Violet finish refurbishing the shuttles. Amber gets out the last of the experimental processors that are the basis of the Asimov 1292-E system that is Delphi, and now Poe. She discusses with Delphi her intention to create another Asimov 1292-E mounted in her shuttle. Delphi frowns upon the plan. He spent years alone, and wouln't wish that on another AI. Instead, he suggests, why not set up the hardware in the shuttle, and he could run on both sets of hardware at the same time. It would give him twice the processing power, and should anything happen to his original hardware on the bridge, he could still be around to run the ship. If Amber needs to take the shuttle somewhere, the two individual Delphis could reintegrate after being reunited and become a single individual again. Amber likes this idea and starts working on the hardware. She designs an armored cover for her Longbow shuttle mounted on the outer hull. She feels her shuttle should be armored if it is going to contain half of the ship's computer. She calls ahead to Persephone, to Marc Oberlindes' shipyards to have the parts ready to install the armored cover. She pays extra to have the cover electromagnetically shielded as well.

Once on Persephone, The Captain arranges to sell the shuttles for 430 credits each. Everyone gets another payday. Amber has them fly to the Oberlindes shipyards and her armored cover is installed in one day. Violet visits Senator Von Alksburg's parents.

The ThunderFerret continues on to JiangYin. As soon as they land, Violet gets a call from Constance (Connie) Bai, the magistrate of JiangYin.
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She relays it to the Captain. Connie tells Captain Farmer that they haven't heard from the village of Habei for over three days. It's not like them to stay out of contact. They are too far away for ground transport to get there in a reasonable time. Connie asks the ThunderFerret to go take a look or at least send a shuttle. It should take less than an hour, and she'd feel a lot better knowing what has happened. The crew decides to take the ship, just in case the medbay is needed. When they approach Habei, Farmer notices smoke coming from buildings that have burned.
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Circling the town, they see bodies in the road, otherwise the town is deserted. They land and investigate, finding several dead bodies, all killed by gunfire, but hacked with blades as well, but post mortem. The town has not been ransacked, but everyone else is gone. Searching the town, they find truck tracks leading out of town into the mountains. They decide someone has abducted the townspeople and tried to make it look like a reaver attack. Lester takes the ship up and searches in the direction that the tracks lead, using the new ships sensors. Captain Farmer spots a cluster of humanoid heat sources about ten miles away. Lester drops the Dragoon APC near the target, and the Dragoon sneaks up on the encampment. They find a small mountain meadow, with a temporary corral of the type used by ranchers. The townspeople are in the pen, behind barbed wire, guarded by nine men. Captain Farmer in the Dragoon calls for Lester to do a high speed flyby as a distraction. When the captors are all looking at the retreating ThunderFerret, Captain Farmer floors it and begins attacking with controlled bursts from machine guns. Amber also fires the side mounted machine guns when they can bear. As soon as all of the captors are down, the crew jump out of the Dragoon to free the villagers. There are thirty six men, women, and children. The villagers are asked where the trucks went that carried them here, they point back down the dirt road toward the village. The villagers are loaded onto the ThunderFerret and the Dragoon is put back in the forward cargo bay. The 'Ferret flies just above the dirt road following the tracks, scanning for any departure from the path. They find where the trucks turned off. Shortly they find a shack by a stream where no shack should be. They stop to investigate and find the beginnings of a gold mine. Conversing with the elders of the village, they are informed that this spot is legally part of the land grant for the village of Habei. They continue to follow the tracks, and conclude that they must end at a ranch they detect on their sensors. At first, Captain Farmer is in favor of razing the ranch to the ground, but Gina points out that there are probably innocents there as well. That throws cold water on Farmer's fury. They decide to drop the dragoon with Amber and Gina to watch the place covertly to make sure no one leaves while the ThunderFerret delivers the villagers to Connie back at the town of Nineveh. The villagers are unloaded, and Connie wants to send Sheriff Chang and a squad of deputies to arrest Zack Henderson, the owner of the ranch and most likely the perpetrator of this monstrosity.
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The Dragoon sneaks around back of the main building to cover the rear as the ThunderFerret lands nose on to the front porch. The cargo ramp opens and out strides Sheriff Chang spearheading the assemblage of law men. They knock, then kick in the front door. There's about fifteen seconds of silence outside, then the sound of gunshots. Sheriff Chang emerges from the front door dragging Henderson, who now has a leg wound. Henderson's men, who were stupid enough to draw on the deputies, are dead. Chang wanted Henderson alive for trial. Captain Farmer asks what's going to happen to Henderson. "Hanging, most likely," says Chang, "Can't imagine any valid justification he could put forth at the trial." They take the prisoner back to the capital and let the Sheriff question him. They find out that a slaver's ship is supposed to pick up the villagers in about forty eight hours. The crew decides to set a trap for the slavers.

Episode 8……………………………………………………………………………………………6/9/2018

Lester hand letters a sign and puts it next to the corral the townspeople were kept in:

It's a trap.
We have your shit.
33.2362° N, 96.8011° W

The coordinates are those of the wreckage of the town of Habei. The crew put the ThunderFerret hull down in a valley near the town where they have line of sight. They once again have Sheriff Chang aboard as an observer and liaison. They decide to set a shuttle there and debate who will be in the shuttle. Violet suggests populating the shuttle and immediate surroundings with the love bots. Captain Farmer gives a short range radio communicator to one of the bots with orders to give it to whoever approaches. They wait until the time the slaver ship was supposed to arrive. they give them a bit more time to read the sign and argue about what they will do. After four more hours, Amber lifts in her Crossbow long range shuttle. She flies a semi-random pattern that passes near the village every few minutes. Finally a twenty ton shuttle (Recognizably a Kieran Yards design) approaches. It sets down next to the ThunderFerret's shuttle and three armed people disembark. The leader is a female, followed by two males. The bots five the leader the short range radio communicator. Captain Farmer introduces himself. She gives her name as Sabra. She asks what they need to do to get their cargo back. Captain Farmer says they can't get them back. Didn't she read the sign? It's a trap. She pulls out another comm and tells someone on the other end that they're humped. stick to the plan. The three jump back into the shuttle and start the engines. Lester powers up the ThunderFerret and sets it atop the shuttle before it can lift. (They had released the cargo module so it could be filled with the silver that Violet was moving to Beaumonde) Lester grapples the shuttle with the claw arms that normally hold the cargo module, then lifts to take the shuttle back to town.

After they've risen a few miles, Lester gets the alarm indication that one of the grappling arms has failed. They see the shuttle fall away as someone tries to get back inside it. One of the slavers cut the actuator with a fusion torch. Lester aligns the tail of the ThunderFerret with the shuttle, and goes full burn for a second or two. Irradiated, it's electronics fried, the shuttle plummets in a falling leaf spin. Lester inverts, gets beneath the shuttle, and catches it on the thunderFerret's belly. He grapples it with some of the remaining claw arms, and sets it down outside the capital city (Nineveh). Ship's troops start to go in but the radiation count is too high. They put on armored vacc suits that Lester had bought and put into the ship's locker. They bring out the three slavers. All three are unconscious, and the one that left the shuttle to cut the actuator has two broken arms and a broken leg.

Sabra wakes up first. Captain farmer tries to convince her to tell them where the slaver ship is hiding. She refuses. As Rane (the one with all the broken bones) starts to fade back in, they trick him into thinking he's among friends. He admits he doesn't know where Elgyn's Folly (the cargo ship hired by the actual slavers) is. The ship and the shuttle started from the sign that Lester left at the corral and went two different directions. He knows that by now Captain Elgyn will have found a good place to hide, and covered the ship with an Alliance war surplus electrothermal camouflage net.

They think for a while, trying various ways to detect the missing ship. Finally Lester send out a broadwave on all frequencies. "Attention! Crew of the Elgyn's Folly. Eight thousand credits to the first of the crew to turn on him," Gina adds "That's twenty thousand in platinum." They wait, and soon Delphi notices a signal hidden in the navigation bands. It's a set of coordinates, and it's signed J. Vriess. Lester pilots nap-of-JiangYin to the coordinates. Up close, the crew can see the camouflage net. Lester flies along as if they don't see the other ship, then drops down on top of it. It's an Osprey class ship. "Aw man!" says Agamemnon, "That's the type of ship that Mei and I are saving up to buy!"
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It's only a 2100 ton ship as compared to the Thunderferret's 9050 tons, so it's pinned to the ground. Captain Elgyn gets on the radio. "All right, you've got us pinned. We could make it very expensive for you to take us, but I'd rather work out a deal." After three way negotiations between Captain Elgyn, Captain Farmer, and Sheriff Chang, it's decided that they'll surrender, and in exchange for turning in their employers, the actual slavers, they'll get leniency. Sheriff Chang takes them to the local lockup except for the ship's engineer, a paraplegic named John Vriess.
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Captain Farmer gives the Osprey class ship to Agamemnon and Mei, much to the dissatisfaction of Amber. She thinks the ship should have been sold and the proceeds doled out to the crew. Vriess decides to take passage aboard his old ship, now rechristened the Coronis (Greek for Raven). Ag even has a logo for it.
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As Vriess is chatting with Gina, he makes the comment he may even see if Ag and Mei will hire him on as engineer. Gina says if they accept him, she'll fix his legs. Vriess is certain that's not possible. Gina puts enough doubt in his mind to make him eager to try. He comes back a few hours later and says that they have agreed to take him on as engineer. Gina helps him into the Autodoc, and puts him under. She scans him and finds a piece of shrapnel has cut his spinal cord. She does what she can with surgery, then uses her relatively newfound psi talent to reconnect the nerves. Once he awakens, she tickles the soles of his feet. As he hasn't felt anything below the waist in over ten years, he is at first startled, then he bursts into tears. It will be a while before he's ready to walk again, but at this point it's only a matter of bulding the muscles back up.

The silver and platinum from Violet's mine is nearly loaded. The mine is pretty much mined out. The mining bots and computer have been moved to another site, creating a new mine. Violet moves the Thunderchilde's old shuttle to the new site. Once all of the metals are removed, Violet seals the old mine. With the improvements that Amber and Lester made to the system, she now has roughly a thousand tons of silver and five hundred of platinum. The ThunderFerret lifts for Beaumonde, with the Coronis following at a speed factor of four to the ThunderFerret's six.

Once they arrive on Beaumonde, Violet invites the Captain to go meet her antique dealer friend Jenny. She's the one Violet got the Seeker mug from. Jenny reports she got the mug from an estate sale. Captain Farmer asks if she has aything else from the estate sale. She produces a antique style vacc suit helmet with the Seeker logo on it and the name Hamilton stenciled across above the visor. Farmer offers two hundred fifty credits for it. Sold! Jenny provides the names from the estate, Sonya and Peter Laskin, and the lawyer who handled it; Lloyd London, Esq. Violet does a bit of research on the Laskins and finds they were scouts for the Terraforming Commission. The Captain seeks out a museum. He finds a curator willing to help. The curator says that the artifacts appear genuine, but must be fakes, as the Seeker never made it to the 'Verse. The curator goes into the displays and comes back with a mug from the Ark Royal. But for the name, it appears identical. The Captain asks to buy the mug from the Ark Royal and is told it's not for sale. Farmer tells him to name his price. The curator calls his superior, then tells the Captain it's twenty five thousand credits, expecting that to be the end of it. Farmer says "Done" and pulls forth a credit stick. He hasn't spent any of his own money on anything, so he actually has that much available. The curator goes to the gift shop for wrapping materials and sends him home with it.

As Violet's metals are being taken away by their new owners, Captain Farmer gets a call from Senator VonAlksburg. He asks them to meet him at their usual place just off Londinium. Amber is still complaining about all the money they lost giving away the Osprey, so Captain Farmer gets on the Cortex and arranges a full set of cargo and sixteen passengers (six couples and four singles). They cruise for Londinium. Eight and a half days later, they dock at Norfolk Highport, the main passenger station. They unload the cargo and passengers, then go to meet Senator Von Alksburg out in space. He has another job for them if they're willing. Since they retrieved the datapack with the Miranda Broadwave (Season 3 Episode 6), he has been working within Parliament to expose the coverup, but he feels he needs unimpeachable evidence. He wants them to go to Miranda and get more proof. He wants to send along two expert witnesses: Lama Kwan Hu, a major buddhist monk, and Dr. Martha Boni, an acclaimed forensic examiner from Ariel. They will meet the ship on Persephone with a mobile casualty recovery truck so they can retrieve some bodies of the colonists who died on Miranda. (The senator is also investigating how the datapack got from Miranda to Dante, they are tracing the fingerprints on it.) In exchange, VonAlksburg has arranged another Unified Reclamation license, this one valid anywhere in the 'Verse.

Violet shares a brief, private goodbye with the Senator, then the Thunderparrot heads for Persephone. Once they arrive at the better end of the Eavesdown docks, they are met by Senator Von Alksburg's father, retired senator Murphy Von Alksburg. He hands Amber a military grade decoy launcher for them to install on the ship. Hopefully it will let them elude any pursuers. Amber begins installing it. Then a delivery truck brings the mobile casualty recovery truck. It is a repulsorlift vehicle, and Norman and Delilah drive it up the front cargo ramp and begin to fasten it down. An expensive aircar lands outside the ship, and two men in severe coreworld style suits and blue gloves walk up the ramp and ask for the Captain. The two speak to Farmer and explain they are advance security for the Lama and are here to inspect the ship. As Captain Farmer steps into the cargo bay, the two follow. Lester gets a premonition and slaps the door close button, but not before the two are inside. He slaps the intruder alert alarm. One of them produces a small wand like electronic device. Captain Farmer's vision goes blurry, and his nose begins to bleed. Assuming the device is a threat, Delphi fires a single round from one of the rotary guns mounted in the cargo bay. The blue gloved hand is mangled, the wand destroyed. Captain Farmer is stunned to see that the man's facial expression does not change. He reachis into his coat with his remaining hand and withdraws a small pistol, but not before Farmer draws his Schofield and fires a round squarely into the now one handed man. Delphi fires a second round, this one severing the spinal column of the second one who was in the process of drawing as well. Captain Farmer's shot staggers the first man, but armor beneath the suit stopped most of the damage. Before he can use the small laser on Captain Farmer, Delphi severs his spine as well. While Gina is examining the bodies, they start to swell and hiss, then explode from inside as an dead man's switch incendiary device consumes the bodies. Violet examines the laser pistol, then utters a very unladylike epithet. "They're using MY tech! How could they have gotten their hands in this?" Lester replies "From the people that licensed it from you. Alliance." Violet sends a heavily encrypted message to Von Alksburg telling what happened and demanding that he be extremely careful. Shortly Murphy returns, this time bringing Lama Kwan Hu and Dr. Martha Boni.
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They are welcomed aboard, and the ThunderFerret heads for Miranda.

The fourteen day trip is refreshingly dull. The crew get to know the two passengers. A triad of reaver ships attempt to intercept the ThunderFerret. Amber fires one of her newly designed missiles, disabling the lead vessel. Lester goes to hard burn and blows past the other two at speed factor ten. The crew track a faint signal to the site the Miranda broadwave was recorded. Doctor Boni takes samples of some of the corpses and runs tests. The team decides to examine one of the atmosphere processors nearby. The plant is almost completely without power, the only things operating are some solar powered warning lights. The entrance hatch is closed, but they find a manual crank and open the door partway to allow access. Moving inside they find themselves in a large corridor for moving freight, there is a directory map on the wall and a data terminal. Power is out so the terminal is useless. The directory poster guides them to the nearest offices down the hall, marked receiving. Here they find their first corpses, personnel wearing station uniforms. One is sitting at a desk like he put his head down for a nap, others are laying or sitting on the floor. Dr. Boni begins examining a body with the assistance of floater camera drones that record the scene. Amber powers up a terminal, but it has limited data storage. When it does come up, it displays a Blue Sun company operating system. Since this was a receiving office, it has a listing of facilities , but not a visual map. Atmosphere synthesis is listed as being on a floor far down in the facility. The crew carries the body back to the ship to the morgue truck for a thorough examination and the team decides to fly a shuttle down the center of the air processor. They land at the bottom of the air processor's shaft and find a maintenance hatch that gives them access to the lower floors. They go through the hatch and down a cramped passageway.

Episode 9……………………………………………………………………………………………6/23/2018

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