Serenity: Those Who Stare into the Black....
Game 03: Breadcrumb Trails
Monday, 11 Sep 2519
Back of Beyond, Kaleidoscope
White Sun (Bai Hu) system
1030hrs, local time
It takes us a day to get our bearings. We recognize the tattoo on our prisoner/patient as a gang tattoo. The members are from a compound nearby and they seem to be involved in banditry.
We decide to turn the man in to the law. We fly from the supplies distribution point on the Northern Continent of Kaleidoscope and drop him off with the proper authorities.
They take him.
We look for a job to keep us in credits.
We find two jobs.
One is on-planet delivering supplies to an outlying settlement, for 100 credits.
One is off planet delivering cargo to Greenleaf in Red Sun for 300 credits.
We take both.
We complete the dirtside run first. The settlement is in a cul-de-sac at the end of a narrow defile of a canyon. Think: Petra. Think: Beggars Canyon. Oksana thinks: Killing Box. But it’s not her call to make.
Verity flies us into the canyon, the settlement being inaccessible directly overhead by air, and our sensor pick up 2 signatures flanking us. We hail the settlement and inquire as to the signatures and they assure us they’re our escort.
It’s a tense flight but true to the settlement’s word, the escort is just an escort and not an ambush party.
Verity does a perfect bootlegger U-turn in the tight confines of the cul-de-sac once we arrive and puts Space Otter down light as you please. We are nose out and positioned for a quick getaway if we need it.
People start arriving. The settlement is dug into the living rock of the cul-de-sac walls, Pueblo-style. Some of the people look up and see Verity through the bridge windows and they seem to recognize her. A silent exchange of hand signals follow. She answers back with a variation that seems to satisfy the people below.
Their attitude toward us seems to friendly-up after that and the unloading of the cargo ensues without a fuss.
The Headman of the settlement introduces himself as Jonathan Masters. As the unloading goes on, we notice that some of his men have tattoos just like the one on the criminal we turned in. Only instead of being on the left forearm, theirs is on their left shoulder. Does Masters know anything about this other group running around with the tattoo?
Masters says that the tattoo is an Independent regimental insignia and those with the forearm tattoo are a breakaway element who did not agree with the regiment’s ethics. The settlement here has nothing to do with the bandit gang.
Masters also takes Allyne aside to discuss another matter. Would we be interested in doing runs for them as they need us? Do we have a problem with doing business with folk like him and his? Allyne affirms we have no problem and would like to enter into a business arrangement. The men exchange contact information and shake on the deal.
We leave the cul-de-sac and pick up the off-planet job. We take off on the 12th. It will be ten and a half days of traveling the Black before we make Greenleaf, time enough to settle in as crew.
Tuesday, 12 Sep 2519
Mid-Bulk Freighter, Space Otter
En route to Greenleaf
One day out from Kaleidoscope, Allyne approaches Oksana and asks her to do a favor for him. Scan Xiu and tell him what she finds. He wants to make sure she’s okay.
Oksana manages to do a routine physical of Xiu—assuring her that there would be no needles or blue gloves—and scans her. Oksana finds out a few things.
- Xiu has undergone brain surgery of an unconventional type, similar to needle biopsy
- The brain surgery has left scars and brain damage … almost as if with deliberate intent
- There is evidence of surgery elsewhere as well
- Xiu has suffered broken ribs at one point and the calluses are only a few months old
Oksana gently questions Xiu about her life before her surgeries and Xiu cannot tell her much. She admits she likes some things less than she had before.
Oh, gaps. Sand.
Oksana mentally adds blue gloves and needles to the list and goes on to ask:
What else is different from before?
Well, Xiu freaks out sometimes. She has nightmares when she’s awake.
Oksana sees that the questioning is starting to make Xiu upset and she thanks the young woman for her candor. She leaves and promises she will come back in a moment. Oksana goes straight to Allyne. She asks him how he came to know Xiu. He admits she broke herself out of some secret facility (disguised inside a robot) and he’s helping her escape.
Oksana asks if Xiu’s injuries a result of being at that facility. Allyne cannot say, as he’s only just met Xiu. He doesn’t have the entire story but he believes in the young woman’s need to escape. He wants Oksana to use the information she’s gathered to fake up medical records so as to help hide her true identity
She returns to med bay to check on Xiu and finds out the woman has drunk methyl alcohol. There is no time to ask if it was a suicide attempt or an attempt to get drunk—Oksana quickly pumps the woman’s stomach and saves her life. She sedates the woman to get the procedure done and straps her down for her recovery from anesthesia.
That’s a mistake.
Xiu thrashes in panic when she wakes. The straps have triggered a PTSD attack and it throws her into a seizure. Oksana does a quick-save with anti-seizure meds and once the danger is past, puts Xiu under again. She straps the woman down for safety and stays awake at her side.
While she waits, she reviews her data and as the sedation wears off, she unstraps the woman before she wakes. Once Xiu is conscious, Oksana gently questions her some more. Though Xiu’s answers are somewhat odd and non-linear, Oksana manages to glean some information.
- Xiu has PTSD
- Xiu suffers from mild to moderate paranoid schizophrenia
- She has trust issues with men
- She has trust issues with women, though not to as great an extent as with men.
- She exhibits emotional damage common to the aftermath of physical abuse and/or rape
Oksana realizes that her attention is making Xiu uncomfortable and that the engineer is interpreting it lesbian interest on Oksana’s part. She assures Xiu that she has no designs on her and ends the interview. She lets Xiu recuperate in her bunk where familiar surroundings will make her more comfortable. Instead, Xiu spends the time in her hammock in the engine room, with the ship humming all around her.
Oksana completes a full faked medical history for Xiu and gives it to Allyne.
Friday, 15 Sep 2519
En route to Greenleaf
The crew continues to settle in. They catch up on their reading and hobbies and oh, the news. The Miranda Wave notwithstanding, the Alliance news channels are still spewing out the line that everything’s hunky-dory, that everything’s fine.
The reaction from the crew is mixed, depending on the individual’s politics. Oksana keeps her opinions on it to herself.
Thursday, 21 Sep 2519
In orbit over Greenleaf
Red Sun (Zhe Que) system
We arrive at Greenleaf and while on approach we pick up a public service message:
Civil unrest in the Rim. All ships be aware: All ships will be scanned, all cargoes inspected, and all crews submitted to background checks.
The message is broadcast on continuous loop and as we draw nearer, we see the ships waiting for their turn in orbit.
Looks like the message is true. There’s no landing on Greenleaf until inspection.