We begin in the Stick system, on Strife, one of the less populous moons of the Stick gas giant.
Port Flora, like most starports, is at the edge of a major body of water. In this case, Angel Bay is a far southern body on the moon Strife circling the gas giant of the Stick system. Glaciers calve at the far end of the bay from the port, producing waters too turbulent to support much wildlife, consequently the Company met no resistance in positioning a starport — and its consequent heat dumps from landing frigates — in this antarctic area.
As we open, several of the crew are returning from a supply run following a delivery job to the ? system. Ox had remained on the Oxcart to oversee some fairly large-scale maintenance and backups. Anthony Montleon, Julian Glada, CuriKhan, and Forest Napoleon stopped briefly to shift their cargo about.
That’s when they noted a small commando of Imperials wearing covert mission armor exiting the Oxcart. Although the crew accounted for four of them with the support of some Stick locals, a fifth escaped after setting off a Cortical EMP that disabled much of the equipment on the ship.
Examining the damage to the ship, Montleon also discovered that Ox’s main backup drives had been taken. He and Forest were able to restore Ox to a secondary drone from an auxiliary backup, but clearly there would be some recent records that were missing. What could the Imperials have wanted? The ? system mission just couldn’t have been that important, could it?
Looking over the bodies of the dead, Glada found them to be Viccebossters from the Saligua system — clearly recent and forced recruits. But was their mission as generic Imperial busybodies, or was this the work of Ox’s constant pursuer, Commander Reginald Lambert?
So what’s next? And where the hell did Helgrimm get off to? Shouldn’t she be back by now?