Background: The PC's decide to steer clear of Red Rock for a couple of weeks until things can calm down again. Once they've decided enough time has passed, they take the hover mule there and camp outside of town. Marlin goes in alone (leaving Lily's Memorable complication and Betty's habitual trouble-making at camp) to secure replacements for the firearms that the Red Rock sheriff's office thoughtlessly "misplaced" while they were in custody. Marlin and Lily get new fangled powered revolvers (Newtech) and Betty gets a replacement for her pump shotgun. Marlin also manages to refuel the hover mule while he's in town, as it's the only place in the area to do so.
Meeting up again at camp, the PC's move on to the shipyard outside of town to meet discreetly with Gabriel Watterson. They're recognized by the receptionist there from the Death by Gold incident, but Lily manages to persuade her to let them meet with Watterson anyway. During the meeting the PC's establish that Gabriel holds one-quarter ownership of Jahn Luhn Gohn (the Hornet fast courier). Gabriel isn't offering any information on the whereabouts of the ship, nor is he willing to discuss selling his share unless the PC's can get him out of the mess he's in with Patience.
Gabriel apparently worked up an impressive gambling debt in town a while back, as well as killing one of Patience's "collection agents" and maiming two others in the process. He claims to have just enough wealth stashed away to pay off his indenture but Patience isn't willing to let him leave the shipyard even to collect it. He suspects she feels she's getting a better bargain by putting his skills to work at the shipyard and would actually lose out if he were to pay his debt.
If the PC's were willing to collect his stash for him, though, he might consider turning over his share of the Jahn to them in exchange. The PC's accept his proposition and they shake hands, sealing the deal. Before he can give any more information, in walk three of Patience's Really Big and Nasty thugs to discuss with the PC's the merits of getting the hell out of there. Words are exchanged, but the SMG's the thugs are toting convince them it's time to leave. Before they go, Gabriel grabs Lily by the arm and whispers, "Go see Abe Long, he'll get you squared away."
The PC's make a hasty departure from the shipyard and park the hover mule outside of town to discuss things. None of them recognize the name Abe Long, so the PC's drive back home to check the cortex. Betty finds the name on a local listing of business establishments. He is apparent owner/operator of a small trade post about fifty miles off. The PC's load up their gear on the mule and head out that way.
As the PC's approach the trade post, they see a couple of old, rusty hover cars parked outside the place. They park and immediately hear a ruckus coming from inside the place. They take up positions around the post and try to suss out what's going on inside. Through the windows they get a clear view of several nasty looking men (three of them the very same Really Big and Nasty thugs from the shipyard earlier) are inside tearing the place apart. Another man, well dressed and well armed, is intimidating a civilian (presumably Abe Long).
The PC's decide they're woefully outgunned and will wait to take action only if Abe's life is in danger. Marlin sneaks off to quietly ditch the hover mule out of sight away from the post. Waiting, they see Abe at last give up and fetch a data disc from a stash behind the counter and offer it to the well-dressed man...at which point he pulls his pistol and points it at Abe's head. The PC's move in with Marlin crashing through the front door to unload on Well-dressed man. Betty and Lily open fire through the windows on the thugs.
Caught off guard, two of the thugs are cut down by the girls in their free round. Marlin gets some impressive attack rolls on Well-dressed man, knocking him down. Panicked burst fire from one of the remaining thugs clips Lily twice, but she manages to drop another thug. Betty drops her own thug, but takes a hard hit in the process. Well-dressed man, however, scrambles to his feet and out the backdoor. Marlin turns his attention to the thugs and drops the last one, having never taken a hit.
The PC's scramble around back to pursue the Well-dressed man. Lily goes around the north side of the building and nearly runs straight into him (while Marlin runs out the back door and Betty take the south side). Well-dressed man gets the initiative and unloads on Lily, knocking her down and out. Hearing the shots, Marlin and Betty come around and find her laying there. They see well dressed man dive into one of the hover cars and escape into the sky.
Lily takes her Second Wind for the day, but doesn't manage to rouse. Marlin carries her into the trade post and tends to her, while Betty scares Abe Long into telling them what the heck is going on. From Abe they learn that Gabriel left a data disc with him to turn over to his ex-partner (apparently, Uncle Sanchez) if something happened to him. He'd heard Patience was after him for killing and maiming a couple of her men and feared he might be in serious trouble. Abe kept the disc since then but, hearing that Sanchez (their uncle) had passed on recently, he decided to make copies and mail the discs out to his surviving relatives. He's relieved to learn that the PC's are the Sanchez kin and eagerly turns over the two copies he's made so far. Abe, being an honorable man, has never looked at the contents of the disc. He reckons it ain't his business.
Abe advises the PC's high-tail it as he plans to wave Patience immediately to try and make peace. After all, ain't his fault her men got shot up and the Well-dressed man got the disc he was after. After that, he's packing up and getting the hell off Whitehall via the next available transport.
The PC's load Lily into the mule and head for home, to allow her a safe place to recuperate. At the church Betty examines the disc and finds Gabriel's last will and testament, in which he leaves his share of the ship to their uncle and makes reference to "his share of the take from the Smoke Hills job". She also finds a set of coordinates and a small photo album with a number of video captures showing Uncle Sanchez, Gabriel Watterson and two other crew in and around the fast carrier Jahn Luhn Gohn. Betty succeeds in noticing that one of the pictures is embedded with a second image, but it's encrypted. She attempts to break the encryption but is unable to. A quick cortex search turns up several possibilities for the "job" in question around the time when Gabriel and their uncle must have been partnered. Most notable is a bank robbery that occurred in the town of Smoke Hills on Regina nearly twenty years ago. The robbers made off with an estimated 28,000 in platinum.
Realizing that Patience or her men are likely already checking out the coordinates from the original data disc, they confer on whether or not to rush out there and misbehave. They reason that with their copy of the will in hand (duly encoded and witnessed), they already have legal claim to the ship, if they can just find it. The coordinates, they figure, probably have to do with Gabriel's share of the "Smoke Hills job". Lily attempts to contact Gabriel at the shipyard by wave and manages to convince the receptionist to put her through. They speak with Gabriel for a moment, but he is obviously shaken and unwilling to offer any help. Their conversation is terminated at the other end before any serious communication can take place.
The PC's decide that they're happy enough with Gabriel's will and they spend the next 24 hours letting Lily and Betty rest and heal. They'll check out the coordinates then and hope to get lucky. Well-dressed man, meanwhile, recognized Lily back at the trade post and has contacted Patience who, in turn, dispatches two local mercenaries to take care of the PC's. The two kung-fu assassins arrive late that night and set up an ambush. While the PC's sleep they damage the ignition system on the hover mule. They wait until morning, then position themselves casually nearby.
The PC's wait until noon before departing, Betty and Lily having recovered a bit. When the mule won't start, Betty notices it's been tampered with but none of them see the kung-fu assassins stroll up until they attack. The two KFA's grab Betty and Marlin's pistols from their holsters and toss them away (both of the PC's fail to stop them). Melee ensues and Lily draws her pistol. A few blows are exchanged and one of the KFA's attempts to disarm Lily, unsuccessfully. Figuring that the two KFA's are probably heathen Buddhists, Lily shoots them both in the head. She misses Betty's KFA but clips Marlin's right on the noggin.
Having taken a bit of beating already, Marlin makes good use of Lily's head shot and lays his KFA low. Betty, however, isn't faring well with her assassin, who pulls a wicked looking blade once his partner goes down. Betty manages to avoid being grappled but takes a nasty cut to the face. Lily dodges the KFA's kick attempt to disarm her and unloads two rounds into his head. He's down.
Lily decides not to waste time treating the two "Buddhist bungers" and tends to Betty's wound instead. Marlin fetches the local sheriff (who has recovered since the first episode) and he binds the surviving KFA by law and has him drug off to the jail.
When the PC's finally get out to the coordinates from the disc they find an old spaceship graveyard, filled mostly with the husks of old Unification War spaceships, airships and armored vehicles. They stop far enough away for Betty to check out the area with binoculars. She notices a corpse at the shed near the entrance, presumably the owner of the place, and sees a lot of unidentified activity going on inside.
Marlin throttles down on the mule and slips as quietly as possible up to the corner of the grounds, out of sight of the entrance. The PC's disembark and Marlin takes point to look around. Inside, after a bit of dodging from cover to cover, he spots at least ten workers stripping down the remains of a large bulk transport. The hull has been almost completely sliced apart and most of the old ship is laying in several loose piles all around. Marlin also immediately sees Well-dressed Man overseeing all the activity and notes the three shotgun-totin' thugs standing with him.
Marlin reports back to the group and Betty makes note that the coordinates are very precise, centering exactly on the spot where the bulk transport lies. Lily remarks that it's odd the bad guys have been stripping the thing down since yesterday and still haven't found Gabriel's stash. Betty wonders why they haven't just beaten the information out of Gabriel anyway.
The PC's confer and decide to take a lesson from the KFA's and sneak back outside the ship graveyard. There Betty and Lily do some impressive sabotage on the bad guys two large trucks and well-dressed man's hover car. They search the vehicles as well, but don't find the rifles they were hoping for. They do, however, find a few odds and ends (including a rather expensive handheld cortex terminal).
At last they decide they'll take their chances at going up against well-dressed man and his thugs. They move in again to find cover and coordinate an ambush. Thankfully, the loud noise of the workers stripping down the transport masks their moving around. As the PC's are moving into an agreed upon position, however, Betty notices something at the back of the yard...a Hornet class fast courier. She radios to the others to hold up and moves in to take a closer look. While apparently old and rusted, Betty easily determines that most of the apparent damage to the ship is camouflage...it's been made to appear in far worse shape than it really is. She suspects that if she were able to give a proper once over she might even find it space worthy. Relaying the information to the others they all move in and meet at the airlock of the ship. There Betty rubs the thin layer of dirt and grime off the plate near the airlock and reveals the vessel's designation, "Jahn Luhn Gohn". Thrilled with their discovery they attempt to enter the ship but find it locked down tight.
Marlin breaks out a few handy tools and attempts to bypass the locks on the ship. In the process two of the workers from the strip down occurring nearby wander over and spot the PC's. They yell out, "Hey! Get the hell back over here and get to work! What, you think you're on break, you bei bi shiou ren!"
Marlin continues working the lock while Lily tries to deflect their attention from him. She succeeds and quickly engages the workers in a conversation. However, one of the workers suddenly realizes he doesn't remember seeing this woman coming in with them and she's quite the memorable sort. Besides, she dressed up kinda like a Shepard and the three are all carrying weapons (Betty is even totin' her shotgun). Marlin manages to get the airlock on the Jahn open while Lily attempts to bluff the two workers, who are beginning to draw the attention of the thugs by their standing around jawin'.
The PC's scramble inside and Marlin quickly locks the airlock again. Betty heads straight to the cockpit to check on the status of the ship while Marlin and Lily cover the airlocks from the hallway. While the thugs and the well-dressed man speak with the two workers that spotted them, Betty discovers Jahn's fuel tank has been evacuated and the ignition sequence doesn't seem to be doing anything at all. She joins the others at the airlock.
Figuring they may have screwed up by entering the ship, the PC's decide to make the most of it and take cover in the cargo hold for a last stand against well-dressed man and his thugs. Meanwhile, well-dressed man has figured out who it is that's causing all the commotion and drags his workers off the strip down and sets them to welding the Jahn's airlocks shut. He then sends one of his thugs to retrieve the portable cortex terminal (to contact Patience) and is seriously ticked off when it can't be found.
Inside Jahn, Betty notices the strange sound coming from the airlocks and points it out to Marlin, who recognizes it and tries to convey the warning that they're being sealed in to the others. He fails and decides to write it in the dust on the wall. By the time he gets the message across, the airlocks have been welded shut and well-dressed man is already hustling the workers back to tearing apart the larger transport. He and two of his SMG's totin' thugs watch over Jahn while the work continues.
Trapped in Jahn, the PC's cast about for another way out. They find no other point of egress, other than going through a wall or window which will surely prove difficult and time consuming. While they search Marlin catches the eye of well-dressed man through the cockpit window and gets a smug sneer that ticks the PC's off. After searching around for a while, the PC's decide to look for tools and quickly find a full set of decent mechanics tools and variety of others in the cargo hold. They can't find a cutting torch, unfortunately, but do find a couple of pry bars. Still, breaking a window, or even the seal around one, will likely prove a daunting task in a spaceship. They get to work anyway on the hallway window and spend the next three hours at it. During that time the well-dressed man moves off back to the strip down, leaving the two thugs to watch the Hornet.
As the PC's continue to work furiously at the window seal the portable cortex terminal in Marlin's pocket suddenly chirps. He pulls it out and answers it. To everyone's surprise they find themselves talking to Patience, who is more than perturbed to be speaking with them instead of the well-dressed man. Lily attempts to bluff Patience, claiming they've wiped out all her men and laid claim to the stash. She succeeds and begins negotiating for Gabriel's release. Patience refuses to release him until his debt is paid off and smugly insists that the PC's ought to be able to do that now that they've uncovered his stash of platinum. Lily tells Patience she'll call her back when she's conferred with her siblings and hangs up on her.
When night falls the workers finally find what they were looking for...buried shallow in the ground under the now-skeletal remains of the bulk transport. Furious at all the time wasted tearing the ship apart, the well-dressed man pulls the two thugs off the Hornet and takes far too much pleasure ordering his thugs to massacre the workers. As the PC's watch from Jahn's cockpit, well-dressed man orders his men to start dragging the unearthed crate out of the graveyard and tips his hat to them in farewell. The bad guys all depart.
After about another hour the PC's finally manage to break the seal around the hallway window and pry it out enough crawl out. They scramble out and leap to the ground, immediately dashing for the entrance to the ship graveyard to hop on the mule and go after the bad guys. They stumble right into them, though, having forgotten that they sabotaged their vehicles on the way in. Everyone is surprised and most of the thugs are half-buried in the engines of various vehicles (trying to figure out what's wrong with them).
Marlin and Betty open fire while moving to cover and well-dressed man dives for a nearby SMG. The various thugs (and Lily) all scramble for cover and fumble for their weapons. Marlin manages to hit well-dressed man and, to everyone's surprise, he goes down. Betty lays two rounds of buckshot into an unarmored thug from cover, catching him diving from under the hood of one of the trucks. He drops. Marlin and Betty are both hit despite their cover, but Lily manages to drop a thug with her newtech pistol. She is struck by a burst of SMG fire, though, and is dropped herself.
As several round of fire are exchanged Marlin, too, is hit and brought down. Two of the remaining thugs are dropped, mostly due to Betty vicious shotgun, and the remaining thug high-tails it. Betty grabs Marlin's powered revolver and drops him on the run from a respectable range.
Marlin and Lily both take their Second Wind and manage to come to. They work together to drag the crate off one of the trucks to drag it toward their mule. Finding it a bit light, they open it to check the goods. They find far less platinum than they hoped, but still plenty enough to pay off Gabriel's debt and then some.
The PC's briefly discuss the possibility of simply keeping the platinum. They quickly reason, though, that it wouldn't be worth the trouble of making off in a ship they don't completely own yet. As long as Patience holds Gabriel in debt, she has a legal claim to his share of the ship. In the end, they decide it's better to pay Patience off now while she's still ignorant of the ship's existance than have her pop up later as co-owner. While Marlin and Betty loot Patience's dead and dying thugs, Lily calls her up on the cortex and makes arrangements to pay off Gabriel's indenture.
Making arrangements to meet at the PC's home town sheriff's office to make the exchange, the PC's head there straight away. They arrive without any trouble and proceed to the sheriff's office. There they speak with the sheriff and he agrees to oversee the exchange. None of the PC's notice anything odd about the sheriff.
When Patience, her three men and Gabriel Watterson all arrive, the sheriff insists that everyone disarm before the exchange takes place. He's been in enough scraps, he says, that he don't wanna get in another one 'less it's necessary. Patience agrees and the sheriff assures the PC's he'll stick around just to be sure. After everyone has turned over their weapons the PC's hand over the near-empty box of platinum (after already removing just enough that it barely pays off Gabriel's debt). Patience releases Gabriel and he thanks them excitedly.
Once the exchange is made, however, Patience announces that the deal is done and all...but there's still the matter of all the trouble the PC's done stirred up for her. At that the sheriff turns his pistol on the PC's. "Sorry" he says, "the money was just too good." Patience's men all pull extra pistols from various hidey holes as well, while Patience chuckles at the PC's.
Lily drops three plot points on an attempt to convince Patience not to kill them outright, but she gets them back. Patience pronounces Gabriel's debt paid and runs him off with a couple of shots at his feet. Turning to the PC's she declares, "Don't you worry none. I ain't gonna kill yah. I reckon our deal's square and I done had my reputation sullied enough with what Mal and Zoe pulled last week. No, you all get to be made an example of. I'm gonna haul you all right back to Red Rock. And then I'm gonna let folks see what happens to them what goes up against me and kills my boys. I'm gonna tar and feather you Sanchez ung jeong jia ching jien soh, and then I'm gonna dump you in a freighter and run you right off of Whitefall for good."
The players confer and decide to go along with Patience, hoping an opportunity for escape will present itself. Barring that, they figure they can always just get tarred, feathered and run off. Worse case scenario, they can always come back and get revenge later.
The PC's are trussed up and hauled off to Red Rock to take a dip in hot tar.
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