2 – Cold Storage
Recovering after their successful escapade on Walston, the new crew of the HIGHNDRY decide to celebrate at the local bar in the highport above the Imperial planet Flammarion. Dozens of highport personnel begin rushing up and down corridors, and codes are repeated over the station-wide comms. Moments later, the crew feel a sudden shake as a large and devastating sound is heard. All viewports that looked out onto the planet below are closed, and large protective barriers are sprung into place around airlocks. The station’s lighting switches from a warm yellow to a dull red.
While still slightly inebriated, Wade grabs the bartender and asks to know what is going on. The bartender explains it is likely the station has entered lockdown to prevent a breach somewhere on board. The Travellers decide to investigate what has occurred and find a security booth with a young man frantically dealing with a flurry of frustrated and panicked bystanders. They are able to ascertain from the man that a ship has crashed into the upper deck of the highport, and an automatic quarantine was also enacted, forcing a complete lockdown for a period of time.
They agree they need to get to the top level of the highport, but find the elevators have been shut down due to the ongoing event. While Phoenix attempts to hack the elevator’s console, an older man, Paul Gerson, in a maintenance uniform attempts to tell them off. Asang quickly draws his pistol, where the man offers his access card, however useful it may be, and recommends to use the ventilation system if they want to get to a different level.
Gun still drawn, Asang follows the man through the ventilation, and the rest of the crew trail behind. Some skittering is heard in the vents and they exit on the second level where they need to change to a different vent to get higher. Gerson attempts to flee into a crew locker room and attracts the attention of Waltev Colley, another highport personnel. Wade attempts and fails a stun punch against Gerson, while Asang aims for the his legs as a warning shot. Phoenix is able to calm both parties, just before lizard-esque alien creatures drop into the room. A fight ensues and the Travellers are able to stun and kill some of the lizards. Phoenix performs a brief examination of the lizards and is able to determine they have recently awoken from a deep-freeze state, commonly associated with low berth technology.
Now on the top level, they attempt to find the ship that has caused this quarantine. They duct tape the mouth of Gerson and search around. After convincing a security contingent they are ‘helping’, the Travellers put on station-owned vacc suits and explore further.
Wade and Bradley – who have experience with vacc suits – find them comfortable, while Phoenix and Asang experience great difficulty. Wade is able to hack open an airlock leading to the crashed ship, and they proceed forward where they clearly see the ship, The Gesona, crashed upon a far wall with some serious damage. They attempt to reach the airlock, which due to the ship’s lean is angled above and away from them. Bradley and Wade are able to reach and explode open the exterior airlock, and after some time get Phoenix and Asang onboard as well.
They begin to look around the room they have entered and notice some machinery which looks to be fitted in a non-standard design for a Type-A Free Trader. Heading through engineering, Bradley is able to get a computer terminal online and reviews the ship’s log for information as to what happened. The ship’s log indicates the vessel was travelling from Debarr – located one standard jump away – but the ship wasn’t able to compensate for activating the jump drive and a device called an ‘MLB’. Without authorisation, Bradley isn’t able to get much else from the computer.
The Travellers head through the Cargo Bay towards the Bridge. Much of the floor and walls are icy, and they notice many sealed transport cages hosting lizards they encountered earlier. Some cages have had their doors flung open. At the bridge, Wade is able to add himself to the ship’s crew register as ‘Admiral McDougall’ to get additional access to the Ship’s computer system running on emergency power. They find out the ‘MLB’ is a Mass Low Berth, a prototype unit fitted on Debarr. The power requirements for the system – topped with the massive requirements for a jump – caused damage to the ship’s electrical systems. Further review of internal cameras show the crew set the ship to auto-pilot for when the ship came out of jump, and turned off as many non-critical systems as possible to preserve the MLB and living cargo. The crew of the Gesona then placed themselves in the largest cages hosting Howler Monkeys to share the sealed-off life support of these cages. The ship after its jump was unable to wake the crew, and set course for the closest starport as a fail-safe. Without a dedicated crew to finalise the docking procedure, the ship crashed alongside the top level of the highport of Flammarion.
The crew of the Gesona are pulled from the cages, and the MLB is turned on with what minimal power remains. They attempt to wake the Captain, Ross Jeck, who is at first hysterical. He comes to his senses and realises the gravity of the situation. Pleading to the Travellers, he offers his air/raft and payment for assisting him with restoring as much power to the ship as possible and helping him get the vessel space-worthy. His illegally imported cargo – along with the damage caused to the station – would have him locked up in an Imperial prison for a life time.