Attacked!

Character: Verroel
NPC: Vuedueloghz
Location: The pirate base
System: Gamgilebo - near the gas giant, Getes

1126.7.5 - 23:30 Imperial Time, 7:30 Vilani Time

Verroel and Vuedueloghz have spent the last two days repairing the maneuver drive and the power plant. Verroel, the ship's engineer, led the repairs and pointed out those sections where Vuedueloghz, an electrician, could help out.

It was towards the end of the first shift of the day when they felt the rumble of an explosion.

"Did you hear or feel that?" Verroel asked.

"Yes, let's get to the Bridge," Vuedueloghz replied.

Once on the Bridge, they could see a starship blasting away at the interior of the corsair base.

"That's a Garu class far trader," Vuedueloghz stated.

"Yeah, but it's painted like a vargr ship," Verroel pointed out.

"That things a fat ghak. I don't know any wolf who would want to own one of them."

"But it's carrying heavy firepower. That's plasma splatter I'm seeing."

"What do you want to do?" Vuedhueloghz asked.

"Go back to Engineering and wait this out. Maybe if we keep our noses down they'll ignore us and go away."

"Good idea."

So the two corsairs made their way back to Engineering, after a pit stop in their rooms to pick up their pistols.

"I'm going to lock the air-lock," Verroel said.

"Couldn't hurt," Vuedhueloghz replied.

After a while, the rumbling ceased.

"How long do you want to wait?" Verroel asked.

"Let's give it a couple of hours. Make sure they're gone."

"I got a better idea," Verroel said, "let's patch the exterior camera in through here. There's not enough power for sensors but video we can do."

"Yeah, that is a better idea," Vuedueloghz agreed. "Better than being blind."

Verroel hit some buttons on the interface panel. "Owwwww. The place is all vacuum now."

"You don't have to tell me twice," Vuedueloghz replied. Each wolf then scrambled into his vacc suit. Aftewards, there seemed to be something wrong with the sensor interface.

Vuedueloghz said, "Here, let me have a look at it." After a few minutes he slapped it in frustration.

Verroel threw his paws up in the air and stomps around. "Fukh, fukh. What a lousy time for the compute to freeze up."

Introductions

Character: Darrurz and Verroel
NPC: Vuedueloghz
Location: The pirate base
System: Gamgilebo - near the gas giant, Getes

1126.7.6 - 00:35 Imperial Time, 8:35 Vilani Time

A voice comes over the internal comm, it says, "Can I help at all?"

Verroel and Vuedueloghz jump at the sound of the voice.

"And who might you be?" says.

"I'm Darrurz. I came on the ship that is in the process of obliterating this base, and I hold the command codes to this ship. The Swift Little Biter. I quite like the name, don't you? Anyway, as I said, can I help?"

Verroel starts to laugh, while Vuedueloghz shakes his head. Verroel contains his laughter long enough to say, "It would seem, Darrurz, that you have all the teeth and what we want matters as much as whether or not prey wants to be eaten."

Vuedueloghz adds, "What my friend is trying to say is, yes! Of course, you can help, but we're at your mercy, sir."

Darrurz replies, "OK, so now we have that out of the way. Would you like to introduce yourselves, letting me know what you can do, and what state the ship is in?"

Verroel, who is of average build, introduces himself, "I'm Verroel, the ship's Engineer. I make sure that the Swift Little Biter stays swift and keeps biting."

Vuedueloghz has a broader build. "I'm Vuedueloghz. I provide the bite. Besides being one of the ship's gunners, I'm an electrician and computer programmer."

Verroel adds, "He's also scrappy in a fight. I wouldn't want to be the dog that pissed on his leg."

"No, you'll be the one that shoots me from across the street."

"Make it a hundred meters and you've got a deal."

Both vargr burst out laughing at this.

Verroel composes himself first, "Yes, I believe you wanted to know the condition of the ship. Well, we've got the maneuver drive repaired but the power plant is still offline. I don't know if you saw it while outside the ship, but we're sucking our power from the base's teat, which is in a cavern another fifty meters down."

Vuedueloghz interjects. "I guess your pack didn't shut it off before torching the base, otherwise we'd have to switch to internal batteries."

"I'll have the power plant fixed soon," Verroel says, "If no one else decides to shoot up the place, or me, I can have it finished in two hours."

Vuedueloghz backs him up. "He's a wolf of his word."

"We're still down a turret, thanks to your pack, but otherwise we'll be good to go."

"The ship's boat is solid too," Vuedueloghz adds.

"So Darrurz, shall Vued and I get back to work or do you have something else in mind for us?"

Darrurz replies, "Well that's not too bad then. Yes, I won't hold you up any longer." He releases access to Verroel and Vuedueloghz's accounts so they can do their work, but not command access. "You should have access now. I'm sure you'll get command access back in a while, Vuedueloghz, but you can work on the power planet with Verroel if he needs your help at the moment."

"Yes, that's what we were doing before your pack started shredding the base."

After a minute or two, Darrurz asks them a question, "O by the way, can either of you fly a ship, or run up a jump sequence?"

Verroel replies, "I can run a jump sequence, though our former captain preferred to do it himself. Either one of us could fly the ship in a pinch, though our experience is with small craft, not anything this big."

Darrurz asks, "Is there anything in the base's vehicle hanger worth having?"

Vuedueloghz replies, "There's a pinkie launch over there and an air sled. The launch won't fit but the air sled will."

Darrurz says, "Now they are worth having. I'll see what I can do about getting them. Do you know if they are fueled and ready to go and do you know the command codes for the launch?"

Vuedueloghz replies, "The air sled is kept plugged in so that it's ready to go the next time someone needs it. Don't know about the launch though. Command codes? Verroel is shaking his head. We have no idea what they are. Sometimes we have Osangghang do a factory reset on small craft computers before they get sent out to Auction or other buyers. It makes them easier to sell to nervous customers. But no, we don't know if Osangghang got to it or not."

"Vuedueloghz, meet me at the air-lock. Bring a hand computer if you have one. Let us see if they are still there, and if we can bring them over."

"Will do."

"Do you trust him?" Verroel asks Vuedueloghz.

"No, but he seems intent on recruiting us for his pack. He either doesn't have back up or no one with any skills to run this ship." He pauses. "If I see an opening, I'll challenge him."

"Good hunting."

Checking the Vehicle Bay

Character: Darrurz and Verroel
NPC: Vuedueloghz
Location: The pirate base
System: Gamgilebo - near the gas giant, Getes

1126.7.6 - 00:50 Imperial Time, 8:50 Vilani Time

Vuedueloghz meets Darrurz at the airlock. Upon seeing him, Vuedueloghz chuckles. He's short and slight of build. A nasty scar runs down the left side of his face. He's holding a laser rifle and a hand comp. If Vued could get the runt separated from his weapon, he could easily take him. "You're a lot smaller than I expected." He looks around. "What? You came alone? You must have some set of teeth on you." He nods towards the laser rifle. "You'd better be good with that thing." It isn't a threat, but he's certainly testing him.

Darrurz replies, "I'm small but I'm effective and I work my advantages. Remember I had you both by the tail before you were here looking at me. And if you would like to test my skill with this," indicating his laser rifle, "take any fruit you like, put it on your head and stand up to 500 meters away. I won't touch a hair on your head while I split it for you to eat."

Vuedueloghz eyes Darrurz with suspicion but doesn't call him on his possible boast.

Darrurz indicates the air-lock controls when he continues, "And now it's time to finance our future. Ready?"

Vuedueloghz grunts in agreement.

The pair make their way out of the airlock.

Darrurz takes the lead and indicates Vuedueloghz should take a look. Vued sees that the outer airlock door is completely unusable, having a large hole melted in it. He stops a third of the way across the open hangar. He howls at the sight of the carnage. He turns to face Darrurz. "Your pack did all this then left you here? Alone? Explain!" His tail is wagging intently. There's enough of a gap between the two that Darrurz would be able to get a shot off before Vuedueloghz could reach him, but if he missed, he'd be in trouble. Still, Vuedueloghz's posture isn't threatening imminent attack, but it is confrontational. He's all bark at this point, but that could change if Darrurz says the wrong thing.

Meanwhile in Engineering, Verroel has stopped working. He's listening to the audio feed of this conversation and eagerly anticipating Vued's actions.

Darrurz changes the feed to engineering to an audio-visual one so that Verroel can see Vuedueloghz from his feed. "Ok, we're going to do this now are we?" Darrurz asks rhetorically.

"Fine. Vuedueloghz change your feed to audio-visual so Verroel can bark if that is his wish." Darrurz holds his laser rifle so he can get a shot off at Vuedueloghz if he needs to but without overtly threatening him. As Vuedueloghz changes his feed, Darrurz continues, "I'm Darrurz, former captain of the Fair Wind, a trader that this corsair band took away from me. The scar you see on my muzzle was a gift from your former pack mates. I live, and from that moment this," Darrurz indicates the destruction of the base and the Swift Little Biter, "is what I have worked to achieve. Call it payback, or call it revenge, that is up to you." Darrurz's attitude now becomes far more confrontational and aggressive. His ears fold back along his head and his tail stops moving. He is ready for action and will move on a heartbeat. "I chose this time to leave my former pack because I was not captain. I chose now because it made my enemies weaker while it made me stronger. I chose now because there was opportunity, there was a ship, and for the first time in a long while there was a future. For me. For me to build a new pack and a new future. I'm a pilot, a trader, and I am CAPTAIN ... and I'm DAMN good at all of them." Darrurz steels himself for an attack from Vuedueloghz but it's a defensive posture, not an aggressive one. "Now is the time for you to choose: Challenge or Follow?"

Both Verroel and Vuedueloghz howl their allegiance. The latter smiles and wags his tail in an approving manner as he says, "Now that's a leader's speech. Please forgive my boldness but I had to make sure you had the teeth. The last thing Verroel and I want is to be led around by a toothless castaway."

Verroel adds, "Vued, it's a good thing he's not an Aslan."

Both Vargr laugh heartily.

Verroel gets back to work while Vuedueloghz gestures towards the vehicle bay. "Lead on, Captain Darrurz. You have the teeth."

Darrurz and Vuedueloghz arrive in the vehicle bay. Neither the launch nor the air sled appear to have been caught up in the path of destruction.

The key is still in the air sled and Vuedueloghz turns it on to make sure it's ok. "It's carrying a full charge and the instrument panel says all systems are nominal."

He then moves on to the launch. "Yes! Osangghang wiped the security codes so she's a blank slate. All systems are reading nominal so we can take her out of here too." He turns to face Darrurz. "Ok, Captain Darrurz, what's the plan? We both know the launch won't fit inside Swift Little Biter's cargo hold. I suspect you don't want to lose the ship's boat so how do you want to do this?"

Darrurz replies, "Let me know the state of her fuel and life support and I'll think about how we might get a payoff for her."

"Both of them are full. My guess is that Aerrdathin was getting ready to sell her."

"Ok link her into the Swift and then see if she can link into the base's sensors. We need eyes on the outside of the base. If we can't get the base's sensors we'll have to leave her on the landing pad to use her as a remote sensor platform until the Swift is up and running."

Vuedueloghz works the controls. "I've got her linked to the Swift but I can't get the base's sensors." He gestures towards the ruins of the office complex. "When your former pack shredded our living quarters, they destroyed the computer network. The external sensors, assuming they weren't destroyed are hardwired into the system. There's a conduit that holds the power and data cables which runs from C&C up to the sensors. Judging from the look of things, I'd say that those cables have been severed. Fortunately, the safety protocols have kept the power plant running otherwise Verroel would have to rely on emergency power to fix the power plant."

Darrurz frowns. "Do you guys know when the next ship is due in?"

"Two ships were due in today: The Bitter Tasting Poison From My Teeth and The Fifth Claw. I don't have a time frame. Verroel and I were supposed to get the repairs finished on Swift Little Biter in case both ships needed to be repaired. We were due to ship out sometime within the next couple of days. Our former captain wanted intel from The Fifth Claw before he finished his plans."

Darrurz asks, "What type of ship is the Fifth Claw?"

"Corsair. Ueknou class."

Darrurz says, "Ok, let's move the launch to the landing pad outside. We'll feed the sensor data to the Swift until the power plant repairs are done."

Vuedueloghz moves the launch outside onto the landing pad. Darrurz pilots the air sled over to pick him up. They then return to the vehicle bay to look for anything else of value. All the while, Vuedueloghz wonders if The Fifth Claw, or any other ship for that matter, will show up.

Rummaging through the vehicle bay, there isn't much left of value. An electrical, mechanical and metalwork tool set are there (much to the delight of Vuedueloghz) and several stock panels of BSD for patching holes. And that's it.

"What? No spare parts?"

Vuedueloghz replies, "The captains typically tell their crews to grab anything that can be sold, no matter how odd or cheap. Aerrdathin threatened to cut off the tails of anyone who stole the tool kits. Then again, they're so big and heavy they'd be hard to pocket."

They load up the air sled with the useful stuff, wishing that the safety protocols that kept the power plant running didn't include the grav plating in the deck. Darrurz drives the air sled back to the SLB and up into the cargo bay on deck one.

"I'll go back and help Verroel," Vuedueloghz volunteers.

"I'll be on the bridge," Darrurz answers.

Leaving the Pirate Base

Character: Darrurz and Verroel
NPC: Vuedueloghz
Location: Swift Little Biter, inside the pirate base
System: Gamgilebo - near the gas giant, Getes

1126.7.6 - 03:15 Imperial Time, 11:15 Vilani Time

Verroel comms the Bridge and informs Darrurz that they're ready to fire up the power plant. "Are you ready?" he asks.

Darrurz replies "Me? Born ready. You?"

"From night one. Firing it up."

Verroel is pleased by what he sees and howls his delight. "Good as new. We should be good to go in twenty minutes."

Vuedueloghz asks, "Darrurz, do you want me to get the launch out of the way?"

"Yes, and I want you to put it in the cargo hold. Can you do it?"

"Sure, if we do it outside."

"Fine. We'll do it outside. Go get the launch ready. Oh, and coordinate pulling out the power cable with Verroel."

"You got it," Vuedueloghz says with some measure of enthusiasm.

Darrurz asks, "While we wait for the power plant to warm up, I've got a few questions I hope you two can answer."

"Ask away," says Verroel.

"Do we still have the fuel bladder?"

"Unfortunately, no. We lost it several months ago in battle. I'd like it if we picked up another one. I don't care for being limited to these one parsec trails. It makes it too easy to be hunted."

"Did the Touzagh capture or destroy any Khalidurton ships?"

Verroel laughs. "No, that would've been a mistake. Khalidurton relies on us, I should say relied on us, to push their Vilani competition out of the way. If we attacked their ships, they would certainly whine to Ngath, who would bring the might of his Navy down on us. More loyal corsairs would gain favor and we'd have to find refuge and prey elsewhere."

Darrurz adds, "And can we do anything about getting that bloody Vilani flaming eye off the side?"

Verroel and Vuedueloghz both laugh. "Yes, there would be some explaining to do if we ran into our old pack. We can get it painted over, but not here in Gamgilebo. People would ask too many questions. Unless you want to go into pinkie space and explain to the Vilani that you're not really a pirate, I'd suggest Ugarun, which is rimward-trailing of here. There's no Touzagh base there."

While the power plant is charging the engines, Darrurz comms Verroel, "What's our life support and supplies situation?"

"We were supposed to ship out tomorrow so we're ready to go: enough food, water and air for four weeks."

"I want you to put a shot through the base's power plant once we're clear. And when the launch is loaded you can run up a jump sequence to Ugarun."

Verroel replies, "I'm not a gunner; Vued is. If you want, I can climb down the access shaft and shut down the coolant system. After we're gone, it will overheat, the built-in safety protocols will kick in and shut down the reactor. It won't explode, but the excess heat will cause enough damage. It might even be enough to weaken one of the supports to the hangar deck and bring it crashing down on the reactor. It might even breach it."

"No, stay with the Swift. We'll see if Vued can target it from the outside otherwise we'll just leave."

Twenty minutes have elapsed. Verroel lets Darrurz know that the SLB is ready for departure.

Darrurz eases the SLB off of the base floor and slowly exits the base. Once in the clear, he opens the cargo hatches on deck one. "Ok Vued, bring the launch aboard."

Vuedueloghz takes his time and is ultimately rewarded for his caution. The launch is safely aboard without mishap.

"Good job, Vuedueloghz. Do you think you can hit the power plant with the turret from outside the base."

"Hmmmm, it might take a few shots and the angle won't be all that good, but I think so."

"Go for it."

Darrurz moves the SLB into position just outside the outer airlock doors.

Either Vuedueloghz was being modest or he's lucky. His first shot burns a nice hole in the base's deck. The second one punctures the power plant, a small burst of plasma visible through the sensors being the mark of success. "Ok," he says, "the containment wall has been breached, it should take care of itself at this point."

"Verroel, please plot a course to Ugarun."

The Swift Little Biter slowly makes its way out of Getes' gravity well.

07:30 Imperial Time, 15:30 Vilani Time

The Swift Little Biter has made it to safe jump distance without incident. Darrurz lets his crew know that he is jumping.

Once the ship has successfully made the transition to jumpspace, Darrurz says, "Verroel, Vuedueloghz, thanks for both your good work today. I'm going to sleep."

"Hey, we're going to have private rooms," Verroel says.

"I wish the circumstances had been better," Vuedueloghz adds. "May our new pack sleep better than the old."

After Darrurz has sealed himself in his stateroom and gone to sleep, Verroel and Vuedueloghz meet in Engineering.

"What do you think," Vued asks.

"So far, so good," Verroel answers. "Let's see how well we get along during the bordeom of a week in jumpspace."

"And if he likes your cooking," Vued adds.

Both vargr laugh heartily.

Next: Jump to Ugarun