Interlude Prior to Episode 23

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Below you'll find the first part of Interlude 23. Those of you with characters in the campaign, please let me know what actions if any you'd like to take based on the situation presented by Sunday. I'm off Monday and would like to write the next installment then. I've gone ahead and included everyone from our regular D&D game on the mailing list, if anyone would rather not receive these e-mails on my Alternity campaign just let me know and I'll take you off the list....

I know each of your characters picked out some specialties for their space skills, can you guys drop me a line letting me know who specialized in what. For example communications, gunnery, piloting etc. Thanks....Mike Cross.


Father Gerald dozed in the corner of the galley, a towel wrapped around his neck. He'd been especially sensitive about anyone touching his neck since his vision in the mess hall aboard the harvester. He had been so shaky when he arrived back aboard the Crusader that Elsworth had given him a sedative. Stone sat in the opposite corner of the galley staring at the Priest, a sly grin on his face. It was hard to tell if he was actually amused at the situation or merely in another drug induced trance courtesy of the good Dr. Lloyd who stood between the two, eyeballing each in turn as if he was afraid of an explosion from one of them at any moment. On the bridge Jordan and Kepler Reese were running a diagnostic on the StarDrive. The rhodium lining should be good for a year of normal use, but an imperfection in the layering could cause a starfall to go awry and the two planners in the crew weren't going to allow that to happen. Tom Sunderland sat in the captain's chair a VR helmet on, doing a combat sim.

When the message klaxon sounded Jordan almost jumped out of his skin, but quickly recovered and hurried to the communications console. He cursed under his breath when he saw the incoming signal was a narrow beam laser. This was line of sight communication and it was hard to lock onto the signal. The advantage was no one could eavesdrop on the communication. Whoever has hailing them wanted to keep the conversation private. Jordan struggled to lock onto the signal and was only partially successful. What he got was Martin Lloyds voice: "Crusader. This is … Lloyd. … inbound … our friend … have been spotted. Fire up … and be … to roll."

Elsworth shut down his medical gauntlet, and strapped himself into a seat in front of a ship's workstation that usually went unused. "Still not used to hearing my fathers voice...and I certainly don't like hearing that sort of fear in it." Elsworth began flipping through external camera views on the screen in front of him. "I hope its VoidCorp security...and not the fucking grays."

Rusty stood over Elsworth's shoulder, not bothing to strap himself into a seat. "Somebody get some external sensors going...find out what's coming our way."

Billy was already doing just that, flipping though sensor readings on a small 3D platform adjacent to his workstation. There was a soft hum and a steady vibration that signaled that Tom had abandoned his combat-sim, and was bringing the main engines on-line.

Rusty smiled..."I've been out of it too long...bullshit injuries...surgeries...fucking doctors...time to get back in the shit! Oh yeah!"


Tom had indeed abandoned his combat sim and was shouting instructions over the intercom. "Everybody get their butts to the bridge or plug into the command channel. Billy I've got you at station 11 I'm transferring sensors to you there. Doc I've got you at 10...scan through the visuals and let me know if you get anything. I'm firing up the main engines. I don't know what's going on here, but the rest of you might want to consider getting some suits on!

At that moment Jordan switched Martin Lloyds transmission to the intercom: "I've got our informant here with me. I've borrowed a VoidCorp orbital shuttle. Deploy the airlock docking sleeve and be ready for a manual docking. I'm 3,798 klicks out on heading 279er, ETA 6.07minutes."

Billy was calling out on the command channel, "I've got three bulk carriers in geo (geosynchronous orbit) over Proteous (the planetary capital). Two SDB's (system defense boats) in low geo over the poles and a VC naval destroyer Southwick inbound way out around Virgo (the fifth planet out in the system) about 28 AU's out he's not in the picture for at least 18 hours. The SDB's aren't moving at this point.

Elsworth chimes in, "I've got a visual on the shuttle, I can verify time and distance."


On a private channel Elsworth hears Tom Sunderland's voice: "Cutter what is Mr. Mason's status? Have you got him drugged again?

Elsworth replies, "No, Commander. He should have as much control of his actions as he ever does."

"Is he there with you?"

Glancing over his shoulder, Elsworth saw that Stone was still sitting in the corner of the galley. The half amused look still on his face as he watched the kinetic scene unfolding before him.

Elsworth replied with an edge of apprehension in his voice: "Yes, he's here…why?

"Have him suit up and get to the airlock to deploy the docking sleave."

Elsworth's voice rose half a notch as he replied, "Do you think that's wise?"

"We've really no other choice at the moment Cutter, now please get him moving."

Father Gerald came rushing onto the bridge and breathlessly asked, "Where do you want me?"

Tom Sunderland replied, "Father take over for Mr. Fox on communications. Mr. Fox, please pull up the navigation tactical and plot us a course out of here. A course that avoids the Southwick and those two SDB's if you don't mind.

Crow's (Billy) voice was even over the command channel as he gave an update: "I'm picking up two energy spikes towards the Valincia region of Cleopia (Argos moon)…hold on a second… let me check my gauntlet…yeah VC has a naval base there. Mainly refueling and a wing of fighters. Sh*t that could be fighters!

"Shuttle ETA is now two minutes and six seconds." (Cutter)

"Where is Ms. Fox?" (Commander/Tom)

"Keep your panties on Tom. I'm in engineering with ----. It was closest to my quarters. I've already brought up the combat tactical. That good with you? Anybody with a free hand grab some vacc suits and start passing them around to the people who are busy at stations." (Stephanie/Crazy Cat)

"Stone are you in position yet?" (Commander/Tom)

"I'm putting my fu*king suit on you bunch of but*munching pr*cks. Going as fast as I fu*king can!"

"Shuttle ETA is now one minute thirty nine seconds." (Cutter)

Rusty pulled Elsworth/Cutter from his chair by his arm. "Jesus Doc, you're as ham-fisted with those sensor controls as you are during surgery!"

Elsworth willingly let Rusty/Crusty take his seat at the sensor controls. "I trained to fly these things...I didn't claim to be a sensors expert, *sshole."

As Rusty made some adjustments to the sensor settings, he smiled at the fire Elsworth had showed talking back to him. "Tom, the Shuttle's about 45 seconds out, now. I'm sending you its approach"

"Copy. O.K...adjusting our speed and position...should save us some time. Where the h*ll is Stone?" (Commander/Tom)

"I'm at the f*cking airlock...sleeve is ready to deploy." Stone's voice dripped with disrespect. "Give me the word...Commander."

The dull monotone that Billy's voice has become while announcing the results of his long range sensor scans cuts Stone off: "Vampire, Vampire" he says, giving the traditional naval announcement for inbound missiles. "One…no wait, two inbound at 349er. ETA 2:46 and 2:47. They came off the bogies from Cleopia. Wait a minute…something else…well shit ain't that peachy, the two SDB's are firing up main engines. Let me work out the math on how soon they'll be in firing range, but this don't look good. They've got us in the center of a triangle!"

"Thank you Crow. Mr. Mason please deploy the docking sleave. We're going to have to make a fast transfer once Cutter's dad gets here." (Commander/Tom)

"No shit commander, ya think! (Stone)


"OK boys and girls. We're going to have to make a run for it once Mr. Lloyd Sr. is aboard. We're in a triangle so our only option is to try and break free and put some distance between us and Argos. Ms. Fox I am releasing control of weapons to you. Anybody have a free hand to help out Steph? (Commander/Tom)

Over a private channel Tom hears Jordan Fox's voice: "Commander I've plotted a solution (for Starfall) for deep space that'll leave us within one fall of Helix."

"That's a little risky this close to Argos gravity well Mr. Fox."

"Probably not as risky as fighting our way out of this triangle!"

"Just don't Fucking hit the jump to hyperspace before I get out of the airlock! I don't want to spend the entire trip flopping around in this damn vac-suit with no gravity!"

GM: Michael Cross (e-mail)

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