Boondocks Episode 2, Season 3
Halcyon, a small system a few light years away was experiancing a problem with pirates. The assignment was to travel to the system and “deal with the problem”. The Shooting Star departed immediatly, having already been restocked back on the Drift, and made the jump to Underspace as soon as they were clear of the atmosphere.
While waiting to revert back to realspace, the crew read up on their destination. The Halcyon system was a recent addition to the Alliance and was unusual in the fact that the system contained two inhabitable planets. The first, Halcyon Prime was a terraformed world with most of its surface covered in oceans. Because of it climate and topography, the planets had a large tourist industry. It boasted many beach resorts catering to the discerning traveller. The second habitable planet was currently uninhabited. A naturally lifebearing world, it had an earth-like environment and possessed complex organic life. A younger planet than Earth, its native life could be described as “prehistoric” as many of its larger animals resembled terran dinosaurs.
As soon as the Star reverted back to realspace, Captain Wiles contacted the planets starport and obtained landing permission. The Star was directed to small landing pad on the outskirts of the port and the Sgt Tyler performed a precision “text-book” landing. Leaving Ford and Samson in charge of the ship, Wiles and Tyler disembarked and headed to the governers office to report in.
After learning that the governer was in a meeting and would not be free for an hour, the two split up. Capt Wiles visited one of the casinos and choose to spread the wealth in the hope that it would loosen a few lips. He learnt that the pirates had been attacking outgoing ships, mainly the cruise liners but there did not seem to be a pattern to the timing of the attacks. On the other side of town, Tyler paid vists to the colonial record offices and the starport controller. After greasing a few palms, he obtained sensor records from security patrols isolating their engine signitures. The visit to the Starport threw up a possible lead. A month earlier, one liner had failed to arrive in the system after departing its port of departure. No sighting of the liner had been made in any system along its intended route. The dissapearance had been hushed up by the governer. There did not seem to be any motive for the cover up other than an attempt to protect the planets tourist trade.
The two met up just before heading off to see the governer and exchanged information. They speculated on a number of topics including the fate of the liner. After comparing information, the earliest attacks seemed to coincide with the disapearance of the liner. This lead to speculation that its disapearance may have had something to do with the origin of the pirate attacks.
Eventually they got to meet the governer. Capt Wiles outlined his assignment brief and was assured that he would recieve the full cooperation of the colonial adminisitration. This was to be expected of course but other than that there was not much more that he could tell them.
After leaving his office, Tyler retired to the ship while Wiles, Ford and Samson hit the bars and casinos. Captain Wiles made a big splash with local media, winning big at the slots and throwing his money around. Making the most of his war hero status that he had garnered after the events at the Battle of Thermopolye a year earlier. With a girl on each arm he got himself invited to exclusive parties and liberally tested the local beverages.
48 hours later, a rather inebriated Wiles returned to the ship. As soon as the airlock sealed behind him, he stood up straight and ceased slurring his words. The plan had gone off without a hitch. By spreading his money around liberally he had created a buzz loud enough for the pirates to hear even if they were in a different star system. Pretending to be drunk, Wiles had let it be known that they were going to be spending a few days on Halcyon B playing “hunt the T-Rex”.
The Star leisurely broke orbit and began to travel on sublight drive to their destination a few hours away. Using only passive sensors, they picked up the engine signiture of a suspected pirate in the vicinity one of the planets’s moons as they approached. Playing dumb, they entered orbit over Halcyon B and focused their active sensors downwards as if searching for a landing spot. And they waited.
Suddenly two ships reverted to realspace either side of the Star in a terrifying display of precision jumping. The plan suddenly started to backfire. They opened fire with EMP weapons and took out the Star’s weapon systems before she could even fire a shot in defence. Despite performing evasive maneuvers, it was only a matter of time before they got a lucky shot on the engines.
With a splutter, the engines died the Star began to drift. By now Wiles had sealed himself in the engineering bay while the rest of the crew had retreated to the Command Pod. Both areas could be sealed off the rest of the ship by internal airlocks. Wiles armed the internal security systems while Tyler decompressed the rest of the ship by blowing the exernal airlocks before the two pirate vessels could dock.
The pirates boarded in armoured spacesuits and began to explore the ship. They were confronted by pop-out guns, gas jets and pressure cannons (airtight spaces pressurised well above norm and filled with flechettes, when opened compressed air propelled the flechettes like a shotgun blast). The pirates took several casualties and after as few minutes there were only two survivors.
Incensed the undocked and gently knudged the crippled star into a decaying orbit. The ship began to fall into the atmosphere in an uncontrolled descent. Ion drives, Grav-Drives, Jump-Drive, RCS thrusters all were inoperable and the pirates were following them down in the dive to make sure they impacted. Wiles struggled valiently with the engines and with less than 30 seconds before impact managed to coax them back into life.
Tyler pulled up on his controls, stating over and over that his long term goal was to die of old age and not become a blackened crater on some wilderness planet. The Star pulled out of its dive sending up clouds of dust as it swept along the ground at a ludicrously low altitude. One of the pirate vessels was not so lucky and it impacted belly first. The second ship was quickly on the Stars tail. For several minutes they played cat and mouse and exchanged fire at supersonic speeds. Ford scored a significant hit on the enemy ship with the dorsal rail gun crippling its engines as it scored a direct hit on the rear of the Star with its EMP cannon. Both ships careened into the ground, thanks to its pilot, the Star only suffered superficial damage.
While the captain worked on the engines, Tyler and Ford manned he guns. Ford had switched places to the ventral rail gun and used it to create a security cordon around the ship, defending it against any wayward wildlife should they stray to close. Tyler manned the dorsal gun, training it on the enemy ship just across the plain.
After an hour the shuttlebay doors on the enemy ship opened. Tyler immediately opened fire, spraying the opening with a hail of fire. Suddenly a shuttle broke through and accelerated away. Tyler unbuckled and raced towards the port cargo bay. The little used bay had been converted into a launch bay for a microfighter. With a blast of thrust exhaust, the craft rocketed skyward.
Locking on to its exhaust, Tyler tracked the shuttle down and slotted his fighter in behind. In a display of acrobatics the shuttle span 360 degrees on its axis and fired on Tyler. The laser blasts were easily evaded and Tyler pressed his attack. As they passed over a canyon, he fired over the shuttles roof forcing it down into the canyon, hoping that the reduced room to maneuver would force them to make a mistake. It wasn’t so easy, the pirates had a good pilot at the controls. They were briefly able to get behind Tyler, but only for a few seconds. By now, Tyler was running out of patience. When the shuttle made a break for it by pulling into a vertical climb, Tyler piloted his craft into a suicidal maneuver. Literally missing the shuttles nose by a few centimeters, he cut across the shuttle’s climb forcing it to fly through his turbulent engine wake. The shuttle lost control and slammed into the ground creating a huge ball of fire. After confirming the crash, he decided to check out the wreck of the other pirate ship to determine if there were any survivors.
Meanwhile, back at the Star Wiles had finished repairs on the ships engines. He discovered that the ships sensors were completely fried and would need to be replaced. With nothing else to do, he turned his attention to the two captured pirates the doc had secured in the captains quarters. Interrogation did not go well. Even after shooting off both kneecaps off one of he pirates, he learned little. Things went from bad to worse when one of the pirates decided to commit suicide by trigging an internal cybernetic bomb. With a flash and a cloud of expanding gore, his head erupted into an expanding cloud of lethal flechettes.
Several hundred miles away, Tyler approached the downed vessel cautiously. Despite impacting hard it could still prove to be a threat. As he zeroed in on the crash site, he was surprised to see a vapour trail reaching up into the sky. The vessel was not as damaged as previously thought and had already taken off. Kicking in the main drive, he gave chase and thirty seconds later he broke atmosphere just behind the pirate vessel.
Despite being outgunned by the enemy, Tyler was not ready to give up. They had already made him look bad by disabling the Star twice while he had been at the helm. Now it was time for payback. Ignoring a warning to back off he gunned his engines and accelerated to attack speed. Several panels opened up on the rear of the enemy ship revealing a plethora of weapon systems. Without any preamble they opened fire. As the hail of bullets and missiles streaked towards him, Tyler grinned. Who were these guys trying to kid. This is what he trained for. With a whoop of exhilaration he expertly threaded his way through the storm evading every single shot. Energy readings began to build up as the enemy ship pulled away. Despite being more maneuverable, the microfighter could not hope to keep up with the enemy ship it went to full thrust. It didn’t help that the microfighter did not possess a jump drive. Using the energy build up as a target, Tyler locked onto the enemies power plant and fired. Direct Hit! Immediately the engines and weapon systems shut down as main power died.
Almost immediately a section of the ships hull blew out and a small ship shot out of the hole. Tyler called on it to surrender but twas frustrated when it umped to underspace leaving him gripping the controls with white knuckles. At that moment Captain Wiles opened a comm channel and ordered Tyler to return to the ship. Tyler complied but not before blasting the remains of the pirate ship to atoms in the name of “removing space debris from a shipping lane.”
Back at the Star, Doc Samson was treating Wiles for minor injuries while Ford cleaned up the remains. Tyler made his report and took the ship into orbit. Using the sensors from the microfighter, Wiles was able to jury rig a temporary replacement for the Stars destroyed sensors. Using them, they performed a planet by planet sweep of the system and found no sign of the pirates of a base.
They returned to New Vegas and made their report. A follow up team searched the wreckage of the downed pirate ship and using its computer systems were able to confirm that the pirates were not based in the Halcyon system. The Star went into drydock for repairs and the crew was given a few days leave.
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