Characters: Slade, Captain Shiraamer, Gvarokh & Vincent
NPC: Chuck Strider
Location: Crew Lounge on the Miishakaal, parked at the Larkarda Starport.
1125.6.4 - 19:55 / 18:25 local time (18 1/2 hr day)
You get to the crew lounge and see several small boxes of take away food on the countertop. Chuck is sitting down with a plate full of food. He has the holoscreen on and is apparently watching the local newsfeed. Upon seeing you guys enter the room he gets up and starts rattling off what's in each box. A couple of boxes are pushed off to the side and have a "V" marked on them. Chuck informs you that those boxes are for vargr stomachs only, though they could be cooked for humans.
Each of you grabs a plate full of food and a beverage and sits down with Chuck, though not necessarily next to him, to watch the newsfeed (Chuck has offered to rewind it for everyone to view).
You're about to begin when a somewhat nervous looking Vincent enters the ship. He has a laptop underneath his left arm. He stops when he see you all there looking at him. For just a moment he stares at all of you and you all stare at him.
Shiraamer looks up from getting food nods to Vincent. She goes and sits down at the table.
Chuck breaks the silence, "Heya Vincent. Got some take away food there on the counter if you're hungry. Plenty for everyone."
Vincent replies, "Thanks, I think I'll grab some grub."
The captain tries her food. Surprisingly, it's quite good. "Hmm...Not bad Chuck. Thanks for bringing it in."
"My pleasure cap'n."
Vincent grabs a plate of food and sits down. He keeps the laptop close at hand.
Chuck asks, "Everyone ready?" People nod their assent.
Chucks cues up the news feed. The logo for TNS floats in the air before fading to black. A map of the local area comes into view. It zeroes in on Lishun 0203, Ilani, a world 11 parsecs coreward and spinward of Larkarda.
Headline: Ilani Falls. The narrator begins, "On 1125.1.4 corsairs streamed over the border from the Voekhaeb Society into the Ilani system and captured it in a swift and efficient attack. Some say that it was just a matter of time before the Ilani fell."
Long range video shows a squadron of corsairs making quick work of local defense batteries.
"This video taken by a fleeing courier shows the fall of Ilani. Like many worlds in Lishun sector, Lucan's withdrawal of the Lishun fleet left Ilani vulnerable. Lacking any strategic value the world was forced to make it on its own without any immediate hope of defense from the Imperium. Ilani seceded from the Imperium hoping that the invading vargr would spare it from attack. This strategy worked for several years. In the meantime, the Ilani tried to build up whatever planetary defenses they could muster. Unfortunately, time finally ran out.
"Ilani had an E starport and was home to over 2,000 Imperial humans and vargr. Their fate is now in the hands of the Voekhaeb."
The TNS logo returns with the message, "Next News Story Loading..."
A couple seconds later the next news story begins. The map returns and moves 2 parsecs due rimward of Ilani to Shuka. Headline: Shuka Secedes. "1125.2.4 Shuka (Lishun 0205). News of the fall of Ilani reached Shuka today. An emergency meeting between the leaders of the world's factions was convened. It didn't take long for a unanimous decision to be reached. Shuka has now formally declared itself to be a member of the Restored Vilani Empire. The naval base commander, Michel Petit, announced his support of this decision."
Video shows several faction leaders arriving at the starport and walking with their various retinues to a meeting chamber.
"Previously, a treaty of non-aggression and a mutual defense pact against vargr invaders had been signed between Shuka and the RVE."
Video shows Michel Petit being interviewed by various media elements outside of the chamber.
"Petit had this to say, 'It's a sad day when an Imperial world has to look to its enemies for protection against an even greater threat. The Emperor has turned his back on his people, leaving them little choice but to pursue their own path to survival. Fortunately, the Ziru Sirkaa has chosen to take the high road in these dark times. They are no longer Shuka's enemy.'"
The TNS logo segue happens again. This time the map swings 5 parsecs trailing to Naloz (Lishun 0707). Headline: Naloz Attacked. "1125.3.5 Naloz came under attack again today as several corsairs jumped in system and fired several salvos at planetary defense forces before retreating. It was the fourth attack in the last eight weeks.
"Naloz was abandoned by Imperial forces in 1119. They retreated to Vakkuum (Lishun 0607) where they've held the line. Naloz was declared 'non-aligned' and has served as a buffer zone between Imperial and Voekhaeb forces ever since. Several battles have occurred between the two sides above Naloz. Both sides have been careful to spare the starport from conflict as there are no gas giants in the Naloz system to perform refueling in the event that the starport is destroyed."
Everyone has finished eating as the TNS logo reappears with the words "End News Update" now showing.
Gvarokh gets the comm number for the Aerlay Craver from the captain. He then proceeds to the bridge where he calls them up to let them know he's headed over to pick up the cargo.
Vincent informs the captain and those still in the room that he had some luck with hacking but that he needs to go to his room to work as he's "not quite done yet."
Gvarokh returns to the lounge to say that he's headed next door to pick up the cargo. Chuck volunteers to go with him. Shiraamer nods to Gvarokh and Chuck as they say they will go to pick up the cargo.
Before Gvarokh and Chuck start to leave for the Aerlay Craver and Vincent to his room, the computer announces over the intercom in the lounge that there is an incoming call from Lakir.
Realizing that his conversation with the captain is done, Vincent leaves the lounge and heads to his room.
Gvarokh and Chuck hold off on their departure so that they can hear what Lakir has to say.
Hearing that Lakir is sending an incoming call, the captain answers, "Shiraamer here Lakir. You've just caught us catching a bite to eat. Have anything to report?"
"Hey Cap'n. Vlad, Simrii and I are coming through the starport gate, heading back to the ship. Just wanted to make sure Vincent wasn't doing anything naughty. I know how he sometimes gets when he's curious."
Shiraamer smiles when she hears this and with a chuckle in her voice she replies. "Vincent is all safe and snug. But what about you three. Vincent is only 1 there's 3 of you to get into things. Coming back now or is there other stuff you were planning on doing?"
Simrii smiles and shakes his head, "Are you sure about Vincent?" He looks about to make sure there's no police within earshot, "The cops are going ape-shit down here looking for someone near the port who's hacking the net."
Shiraamer gives a big sigh and smiles sweetly back at Simrii. "One moment please, we are experiencing technical difficulty." She grins while she puts Simrii on hold. She looks at Gvarokh. "Tell Vincent what Simrii just said and perhaps he should stop for now. Have him report back here on what he has found out so far."
Gvarokh quickly leaves to hunt down Vincent in his room and ask if he is done yet.
Shiraamer takes them off hold. "Ahhh, seems I have volume again. What's that? We'll check on wayward son. Keep your ears and eyes peeled for anything else." And the connection is terminated.
Vincent is just entering his room when Gvarokh gives a shout out to him, "Hey Vincent wait up! Are you done with your 'investigation'? Simrii just called in saying that the cops are searching for someone hacking the local net near the starport. We just want to make sure you are done and have left a cold trail. If you aren't done, you probably don't have much time to clean up."
Gvarokh stops and smiles and says, "Unless there is someone else hacking the net."
Vincent replies, "Yup, that was me...I got the computer to shut down, now I just have to go and disable it and get rid of the worm on it. I am going to try and retrieve the information I got out of it. If all else fails, I destroy it."
Gvarokh returns to the lounge and relates his conversation with Vincent to the captain, "He said that he got the computer to shut down and now just has to go and disable it and get rid of the worm on it. He's going to try and retrieve the information he got out of it. If all else fails, he'll destroy it. I also told him that you want a full report when he's done."
At this point, Gvarokh and Chuck have gone next door to pick up the Aerlay Craver's cargo while Shiraamer sits in the lounge waiting for Vincent's report.