It’s funny how a short jaunt through the Black can go so wrong, so fast. Working/riding on some passenger freighter one moment, wake up in a cell the next. The crew found themselves in stony cells with cold floors and recycled air that tasted like it was an asteroid mine. The 4th wall was bars and they weren’t alone. Shylock and Gale found themselves locked in a cell with an older man wearing a patch, and Lindsay was alone in the cell across the way, and they all had odd collars around their necks.
The old man, who introduced himself as Pryas, seemed distant and distracted, not paying any mind to the rest of the folks, but the other three got to know each other well enough. Apparently the three of them were all on the same ship and they believed someone tampered with the environmental controls and knocked everyone out. Gale added that this was likely was a slaving/salvage/smuggling operation, snatching ships from the black, stripping them of their valuables, and turning a profit on them.
A few hours later someone wearing the garb of a shepherd, with a slave collar over his shepherd’s collar, came down the hall bearing a tray of food. When asked who he was and why he wasn’t in a cage, he explained that there was no market for a slave shepherd and letting him go would likely draw the ire of the Order. They were going to kill him until they found out he could cook and doctor, so they pressed him into that service and he’d been there for several months.
He introduced himself as Hart.
After they had been fed, a pair of gentlemen came down the hall, one wearing pistols and the other holding a shotgun, the latter having a fresh bandage on his face. Gale and Lindsay recognized the bandaged one as someone that was on the ship they were taken from. The pistol- wielder introduced himself as Karis Dell, the proprietor of the rock, and his associate was Mason. Karis apologized to the slaves if they had been mistreated, explaining that injured/mishandled slaves were worth far less, and gave Lindsay a meaningful glance. Lindsay was kept isolated because of her beauty, to keep both the slaves and other captors from taking advantage of her.
Karis explained that Mason tried to take liberties with her when she was unconscious, only to find she wasn’t as unconscious as he thought, and she was armed. She’d pulled a knife from somewhere and slashed him across the face before completely succumbing to the gas. Mason glared at her but said nothing while Karis continued. Gale was slated for a mining colony and calls were still out on Shylock and Lindsay.
Given her Companion connections, it was likely she’d be parceled out to someone who could properly break her and teach her how to behave like a proper woman.
After Karis had left, Pryas quietly explained that, in 45 minutes, the power was going to go out on the rock and he was leaving. He had a ship waiting for just him (a 2 man scout), but there was enough salvage around, plus the slaver’s ships, that they should be able to get away. He could not take them with him, but he could create an opportunity. The key was that, once they were on the outside of the rock, they had 4 hours to get more than 50 kilometers away before the burst collar system came back online and detonated them. Hart came back during this time and Pryas explained the plan to him. He indicated he was in and would be ready.
When the time came, there was a burst that shook the entire asteroid and the lights went out. Pryas led the way, able to see in some way while the rest of the folks followed, hand in hand. They reached the end of a long, circuitous hallway and ended in an old airlock with multiple mining suits in it, in the “universal” size and varying conditions. The group quickly suited up and exited the station, finding themselves at the bottom of a deep crevasse with minimal gravity. The group climbed up out of the crack and saw a small 2-man scout vessel hovering there, with the hatch open and a suited person sitting there, pointing a pistol at the group. Pryas jumped out to it, pointing around the outside of the rock and indicating the salvage ships were there. The ship pulled away, leaving the crew on the rock.
The crew made their way around the asteroid as quickly as they could, noticing a number of salvaged hulks floating around the installation, the debris of a long salvaging/smuggling career. After a few moments of climbing, they found an old Da Xiang hulk, named the Belle Starr, mostly intact, bolted to the asteroid. Climbing into it to check it out, it looked spaceworthy (if only barely), and had some fuel left.
Gale, Shylock, and Lindsay used what engineering skills they had to get the ship ready to fly while Hart ran off to get supplies.
It took the better part of 2 hours for the crew to get the ship up and running. Hart dropped off his supplies (which contained the crew’s belongings that he’d gathered prior to the explosion) and went outside to work on unhooking the ship from the asteroid while the crew continued their engineering. After another hour, the ship pulled free of the rock and began moving away under its own power, albeit slowly.
Hart scrambled in from the landing gear and into the common area as the ship only had atmosphere in the common area and bridge, even engineering was in vacuum. With only minimal computers, Gale ran navigation from his memory of the area, and the best planet in their range was Blackwood, a moon of the gas giant Fury, so they made their way there. During the journey they discovered three bodies of Independent soldiers, obviously killed in action, spacing them after Shylock collected their tags and Ids.
The Starr made it Blackwood with no issues and Shylock contacted someone there that, while not a “friend”, is at least a friend of the “family”, and they got a place to land. Once landed the friend, a gentleman by the name of Milo Sanders, tasked his daughter Mikki with helping to get the ship outfitted more appropriately while Milo and Shylock worked on legitimizing the ship, christening it with its new name, the Lucky Break. While they worked on the ship, Milo also found a cargo for them, medical supplies that were needed on Rhamba, a planet in the Kalidasa arm, as well as a pair of passengers, two adventurers who are looking for a ride to that section of the rim, Pat and Bob. The crew was told that the cargo was time-sensitive and not to be opened, as the crates were sealed, and they were not told what was in them. Hart stocked the sickbay and the larder (with a limited budget), Milo fueled up the ship on credit for Shylock, and the Lucky Break lifted off for Rhamba, its first cargo run.
After a few days in the black, the ship picked up a distress call, an evacuation pod with its distress beacon lit. Gale diverted course to investigate (without consulting anyone, because at this time there was no captain), and called Hart to let him know they may be taking on injured. Gale found the pod, floating free near some wreckage, and the crew pulled it in. Opening the pod, the victim within looked exactly like a Reaver, and guns were drawn in alarm. Hart pulled the man out and helped him explain that he was not a Reaver, he’d been captured by them, and for his freedom could tell the crew where they could find untold riches. Hart took him to sickbay because, in addition to all the injuries he had, his tongue appeared to be split.
Lindsay, Gale, and Shylock met in the common room and discussed energetically what should be done, weighing options, risks, and rewards when the ship’s proximity alarm went off. Rushing to the bridge, the crew saw a Reaver scout vessel closing fast on the Break.
Gale fired up the engines and went for a hard burn to try to escape but they all realized the futility of it, and if the Reaver ship had to shoot to slow them down then they’d be stuck, so he killed the engines and the crew set up defensive positions in the common room.
The ship lurched as the scout latched onto the dorsal airlock and the Reavers scrambled aboard, two at a time. As the first two entered the area between the bridge and the common room, the crew (including Pat, Bob, and Hart on an old shotgun) opened fire. There was a lot of missing and a lot of collateral damage as the Reavers fired back. One Reaver dropped, two more came down the ladder and into the firefight.
Shylock, in his panic, only got a couple of shots off, and Hart did more to the bulkheads than to the Reavers, but Gale and Lindsay managed to keep the Reavers from taking the ship.
All told six Reavers died in that hallway and Lindsay was hurt. Hart carried Lindsay to the sick bay while Gale fired up the sensors in time to see a larger Reaver ship closing. Gale put the engines into full burn and began fleeing the larger vessel, pulling away slightly but knowing they couldn’t hold the distance for long without hurting the ship when they were hailed by an Alliance victoria-class frigate.
The frigate was at maximum sensor range and directed the Break to divert course towards them so they could intercept the Reaver vessel.
Gale did so without hesitation and the Break and the frigate passed in the black, the frigate opening fire on the Reaver ship, which returned fire. The frigate asked the Break to stand down but Gale was on full burn and kept it that way, letting both the frigate and Reaver ship fade off into the distance of their sensors.