Stellar Horizons

Every Man for Himself
Survival in the new frontier

Nobody said it was easy living in the new frontier, but when simple folk get caught between political and economic powerhouses, life can get downright tough! Hutchinson is a busy port on the edge of Alliance territory. Official and well-patrolled shipping lanes head coreward from the domed cities and extensive orbital stations, while small and medium-size independent contractors brave the more risky space between Hutchinson and new frontier planets like Crockett II and Boone III.

While there are no shortage of ships and Captains willing to brave the dangers of frontier space in exchange for the freedom and potential profits they desire, a good crew is harder to come by. So it was that Captain Gavin Summers found himself in need of a few good men and women to man his ship, the Lady Luck. He had a job and a surly first mate named Jace, but he lacked a decent pilot and mechanic. When he found a "fixer" named "Art", the other two came as part of the package.

The job seemed simple enough; deliver a load of luxury goods to the Magistrate on Newton. But the crew's suspicions were roused by the relatively light load they were carrying. Those suspicions were confirmed when they discovered that Captain Summers intended to make a "quick stop" on the way. Where they stopped was Kepler 442b V, which wasn't on any civilized trade route as there wasn't supposed to be any kind of settlement there. What they found was a makeshift smuggler's den and trading post. While scavenging for parts in a local junkyard, [Joel's character's name] met a slave named Hodges, who seemed to be as much of a mechanical wizard as he himself was. Hodges had the short, squat and burly build of a heavy worlder, as he had grown up on Kepler 442b V. He was also ugly and socially dysfunctional, as he had been a slave all of his life; a fact that [Joel's character] learned when he engaged the man in conversation.

The group's stay on Kepler 442b V was brief, and they were soon on their way to Newton with a full load of "luxury goods." "Art" talked Captain Summers into sharing details of the new cargo, which he figured out consisted of materials originally destined for the settlers of Newton and other frontier planets, but which had been stolen by pirates and was now marked for delivery to Newton's Magistrate.

Shortly before arriving at Newton, Lady Luck was intercepted by an Alliance destroyer named Dauntless and ordered to heave to and prepare to be boarded for inspection. The Alliance ship was on special anti-piracy assignment due to political pressure triggered by recent pirate activity in the area. "Art" spoke with the ship's Captain, Commander Kren. He identified himself as a CTC (Colonial Trading Consortium) representative and eventually convinced the Captain to forgo the search.

Arriving at Newton, they discovered a great deal of civil unrest as colonists suffered from lack of supplies (due to the pirate raiding). The crew were ordered to help unload the cargo onto anti-grav palettes hooked to a truck for transport to the Magistrate's palace. [Joel's character] rigged the palettes to topple shortly after the truck left the hanger area. This would happen at about the time that the shipment was part-way through the crowd of hungry colonists which had gathered around the port in anticipation of a shipment of supplies. Meanwhile, "Art" assessed the crowd and Magistrate's guards who were keeping the crowd back. He spoke the right words into exactly the right ears so that when the palettes dumped their cargo and the shipping containers broke open, the guards were kept busy while the crowd quickly captured and redistributed the goods to those who needed them.

This did not sit well with the Magistrate, of course. Captain Summers and "Art" traveled to the Magistrate's palace to get paid for the shipment (technically they had completed delivery to the Magistrate's men prior to the goods being "stolen"). Meanwhile, the rest of the crew retired to Newton's Rest, the local tavern and eatery. While First Mate Jace managed to start a fight with the locals and get all of them thrown in jail, "Art" thoroughly convinced both the Magistrate and Captain Summers that he was actually an official representative of the CTC, and that he was traveling incognito through the colony worlds to consider new trade deals which could be profitable for local authorities.

So in the end, the goods went back to the colonists who needed them, Captain Summers (and the PCs) got paid for the delivery even though Magistrate Collins didn't receive it, and the PCs helped settle Newton a little in the short term. Magistrate Collins also hired the crew to deliver a load of locally harvested raw materials to Hutchinson for sale to manufacturing interests.

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