Boondocks Episode 6, Season 3
When Wiles checked in, a message from McCavity Thorn was waiting for him. It had been received A few hours ago and had come in on a mail ship direct from the Core. Along with the usual banter, Thorn indicated that a major event would be taking place soon, and was sorry he was going to miss it.
The crew spent the rest of the day patching up the ship and restocking the supplies. Ford began the process of requisitioning a new doctor from HR and Wiles removed the bomb racks from the hull. Early the next morning he was called into a briefing. A ship who’s drive signature matched that of the pirates from Halcyon system had been spotted in a nearby system. Since the Star’s crew was familiar with their tactics they were being sent to apprehend them.
After informing the crew the Star made the jump to NSC-1778. Officially the system had no installations or colonies. However unofficially, 1778 was a Shadow System. Shadow Systems were star systems that contained Unlicensed Colonies that were heavily involved with smuggling, piracy, black markets or other criminal enterprises. In 1778’s case, it contained a number of orbital platforms where the authorities tended to turn a blind eye to what goes on as long as it doesn’t endanger the station.
Their quarry had been sighted near an orbital platform circling one of the systems inner planets. As soon as they were in sensor range, it was immediately apparent that something had gone wrong. The ring-type station had broken up into a cloud of debris. They immediately began scanning for survivors and on the largest chunks of debris they picked up power signatures. Maneuvering into the range of personal communicator, they attempted to raise any survivors.
24 people had survived the disaster. As the new doctor treated those with the most serious injuries, Wiles interviewed those able to talk. They reported that a ship had approached the station seeking permission to dock. However, before it could do so, the fuel storage tanks on the station suddenly detonated precipitating a chain reaction of explosion which blasted the station apart. Wiles sent Ford to check on the stations computer to see if the sensor data had been logged. He returned with proof that the mystery ship had been the pirates they were looking for. Furthermore, a datalink signal had been detected a fraction of a second prior to the supposed accident coming from the ship. It now appeared that this disaster had been engineered by the pirates.
Using wideband passive scanning, they were able to locate the ship in the system approaching one of the outer planets. Since under conventional thrust it would take days, if not weeks to get to the position, the decision was made to wait until the Jump Drive was recharged. This gave the crew enough time to transfer life support supplies from the damaged section in order to support the extra number of people on board the ship.
The reverted to Underspace with a few thousand kilometers of their target. The pirates had docked at a station orbiting the systems primary gas giant. According to the survivors, the station was a deuterium mining facility that used atmospheric skimmers to collect hydrogen from the gas giant for refining.
Wiles commed ahead and apprised the station commander of the situation. Despite not being a member of the Alliance, he agreed to recognize Wiles’s legal authority and offered his complete and unconditional support. Station security began to search for the pirates as the Star approached.
Once docked, Ford and Wiles boarded the station and met up with the commander. Meanwhile, Tyler launched the microfighter and, using thrusters, stationed it just a meter from the cockpit window of the pirate vessel surprising a very shocked pirate who’d had his feet up on a console reading a comic book. Station security had apprehended most of the pirates but a small number were unaccounted for.
As Wiles discussing how to find the missing pirates, Tyler (who had been listening in over an open comm) suggested that they could try bringing the pirates to them. If they stationed guards at every airlock and escape pod and then triggered an appropriate evacuation alert they could filter the people trying to get away.
With the guards in position, the station commander triggered a fake emergency alert. As the miners and other occupants of the station, security picked up all but a handful of the missing pirates. With only three left, security began a room by room, deck by deck search starting on deck 1 and working their way down. According to the already incarcerated pirates all that remained was a hacker and his two bodyguards.
They finally caught up with one of them on deck 13. Unfortunately he was already dead. He was identified as one of the bodyguards. A scream alerted Ford and Wiles to an altercation down the corridor. The two ran down the corridor and were confronted by a chilling scene.
A female bodyguard was lying at the feet of the hacker. He had a fireaxe raised above his head in preparation for a killing strike. His eyes were wide in terror, his body movements jerky and a bank of LED’s in his wireless mind jack were blinking furiously. Both Wiles and Ford came to the same conclusion, someone has hacking into the hackers brain and using it like an organic remote. Ford raised his hand blaster shot the hacker, its electrical energy sparking throughout his cybernetically enhanced nervous system. The hacker dropped like a rock.
As security rushed in to secure the two pirates and see to their injuries. Wiles spotted a figure in the darkness. A bank of LED’s on his head indicated the presence of a wireless mindjack. Ford raised his weapon to fire but a series of sparks and cackles indicated that something had fried its electronic circuits. He threw the now useless weapon at the figure as he drew his sidearm. Wiles opened fire with is peacemaker shooting the figure through the shoulder.
They began chasing the figure down a series of corridors but suddenly an announcement came over the PA system warning of a reactor shield malfunction. According to the station commander this was real. Someone had hacked into the system remotely and shutdown the safety systems and the containment field. They literally had minutes before it blew.
Wiles and Ford raced to the Star and detached from the docking arm. Tyler swung his fighter round and hit his boosters, moving away from the station at rapid speed. Thankfully, due to the earlier security operation, evacuation of the station was completed and all personnel escaped to minimum safe distance.
Once the crew had reunited, they made their way back to New Vegas. The pirates were arrested once they landed and formally charged with piracy. They pleaded innocent to the destruction of the orbital platforms in NSC 1778.
Soon after, Wiles was notified of a possible complication to their next mission. A major media corp from the Core had shown interest in the Colonial Alliance and the rise in unsanctioned military action in the Boondocks. In order to get their story across accurately, the Alliance had invited the company to send a number of film teams to shadow Alliance crews in their operations. The Shooting Star was one of the ships chosen to participate in this PR exercise.
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