Friday, August 12, 2016

IW 10 - Orbital decay


The CAMEROON made it through rocky fields and radiation belts to the low orbit of Prometheus IV. They are to deliver 60dT of crated components to build a large Gauss accelerator. However, the Vilani-owned Khurram TOLSOI station is in an unstable orbit and is periodically going over periods of atmospheric friction.


Prometheus IV is a distant gas giant, some 47 AU from the main world. The area is considered "high density planetary belt", with a unusually high radiation belt, and unpatrolled. The TOLSTOI is a station designed to harvest and refine rare gas and ship them out of the gravity well using a powerful electromagnetic accelerator. It is incomplete and damaged by violent brushes with the upper atmosphere.

Location: low-orbit, Prometheus IV, Prometheus
Terran timestamp: June 3, 2170 AD

Once that the CAMEROON entered low-orbit, the TOLSTOI got into a clear sensor picture. Tom coerced the station commander to admit that the predicatment was caused by sabotage from former crewmembers. The renegades are now on the IRMA, a free trader. The station was tumbling slightly in an elliptical orbit. They could make a safe approach and catch the station passed the next atmospheric passage, or they could try a more daring interception. Tom argued for the slow and safe option while Diane pushed for the daring one. She cited the possibility of a return of the potentially hostile free trader on their tail (maybe). Tom, Anika and Molly worked the maneuver drive to provide excess power while Diane assumed the navigation station and Jane had her fingers on the controls. The extra boot proved to be necessary, and the CAMEROON rendez-vous'd with the TOLSTOI.

Vilani-operated Khurram TOLSTOI

Location: low-orbit, Prometheus IV, Prometheus
Terran timestamp: June 3, 2170 AD

The TOLSTOI had to jettison one of its habitat and reported a damaged shield unit. Twenty of its 45-crew complement needed to be evacuated and treated for radiation damage. The CAMEROON's crew decided to use trusses from the station to fashion a towing-rig to perform orbital correction. Tom, Anika and Aeryn went out in vacc suits to perform some field welding while Jane kept the CAMEROON in position using the fine thrusters. As neither of them were welders, the operation ran long and had to be suspended upon atmospheric entry. Tom and Anika's suit got singed as they fumbled to the station's airlock.

As the station tumbled violently, the crew remained unmoved due to the gravitic compensation. The only hint of chaos was the uncompensated visual of the gas giant underneath. Aeryn and Anika joined the frazzled medic in the sickbay. They assisted with various cases going from radiation burns to hematopoietic disorders.

Diane spotted the free trader at 100k miles, some 1/2 LS away. She passed on the information to Tom who passed it on to the station commander. Dr. Smi-Tolstoi explained that the renegade crewmen has identified a buyer for the accelerator and wanted to sell it, close the station and share the profits. The accelerator was apparently worth 35 MCr.

Tom had a few brackets manufactured in the Minifac, then completed the fastening operation once that the station was clear of air friction. Jane waited for the perigee and performed an adjustment to bring the TOLSOI into a stable circular orbit.

Location: low-orbit, Prometheus IV, Prometheus
Terran timestamp: June 4, 2170 AD

The TOLSTOI's wounded were ultimately looking for a passage to Nusku, some 3 jump-2 away from prometheus. Aeryn and Flo triaged the wounded to identify the 10 that were the most likely to survive cryogenic passage. Meanwhile, Diane's attempt to charge 200KCr for 20 beds turned into a rare moment of compassion and she more or less agreed to take them home for free. She soon realized that, although it made sense to her, this wouldn't fly with the crew. Diane checked the credentials of the passengers: all were Nusku citizen and of Vilani ethinic stock.

The station commander asked whether the CAMEROON would be interested in hunting down the IRMA, the renegade crew threatening to strike the station after their departure. The CAMEROON's crew turned down the offer, citing the presence of a large number of wounded on board (and remembering the last time that passenger were in during a space fight).

Their next mission will be to escape the IRMA, break through to the 100D line amidst the debris and radiation and jump back to Terra to fill the holds with cargo.

Character Cast

  • Tom Anders: Retired Marine, gruff, good hearted. Now get off his cargo hold.
  • Diane Ayetou: born rich and the ship's manager. 
  • Jane Calhoun: Reluctant pilot, appreciate spirits and solitude.
  • Anika Kaprescu: Recluse. Did some time, killjoy. The ship’s cat.
  • Aeryn Lorien: Stumbling steward, athlete and nurse. Gets the ribbon for caring the most.
  • Molly Pepper: Engineer and ship’s puppy. Her giggles are wasted on the crew.

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