Amber Nebula Campaign Log

5. Spin Doctors

17 May, 2775. 13:15 UTC. Sunrise + 2:00 Lyrane time. Log entry by Ogier.

Course set for Bollux. Astrogation calculations look good. All passengers and cargo safely aboard. Cargo ramp sealed. Air lock sealed. Preparing for hyperspace skew...

18 May. 20:42 UTC. Log entry by Iki Piki.

A most curious incident has occurred.

I was in the cargo bay assisting Tom and Brenda, our passengers, in a game of zero-gee tennis, when Brenda screamed and said there was something moving in the corner behind the cargo crates. The rest of the crew came running, with weapons ready, as I tried to flush out whatever it was. A small furry creature bounded out from the wall and floated across the room, but I managed to grab it. It was a white rabbit.

An inspection showed that there was a hole in the plastex B cargo crate, and a space inside in which the rabbit had been stuck until it managed to squeeze out. It was hungry and I have fed it some synthetic vegetable protein, which it seemed to like. Spanners is busy building a cage to keep it safe and out of the way for the rest of trip.

24 May. 01:05 UTC. Log entry by Ogier.

We have just skewed back from hyperspace. We are on course for Bollux and have about 8 hours flight before re-entry. Brenda and Tom are quite excited by the view of a new planet, and are keen to see the landing process.

03:12 UTC. Ship's radio log.

Voice: Mayday, mayday. This is a the BSS Canary II requesting urgent assistance. We have been holed by a space rock and are losing air. We are unable to patch internally, but we are sending a crew member out for EVA to assess damage and attempt to patch the leak. We are donning vac suits. If the air leak continues, we will not be able to reach Bollux.

Serron: Canary II, this is the Legacy, we have your position and are setting course to intercept. We should be with in about five hours.

Voice: This is Bollux Aerospace Control to Earth ship Legacy. We want to confirm you have received and are acting on the distress call from BSS Canary II. You are the only ship within rescue range and are required by law to respond.

Serron: Aerospace Control, this is Legacy. Confirm receipt and action on distress call from Canary II. Now on intercept course.

Canary II: What the...? We've just had a rupture of our water tank! We are losing water rapidly and the jet is causing us to spin. What? Oh, damn! Jenkins, the man we sent outside to patch the hull has been knocked off the ship and is drifting away rapidly!

Jenkins: Help! I don't have enough thruster fuel to get back!

Serron: We have Jenkins on our radar. We'll keep track of him.

Canary II: He only has air for six hours. I suggest picking him up first and them coming for the rest of us. Meanwhile, we'll send out another couple of crew to get this leak patched.

Ogier: Roger, Canary. Adjusting course.

Serron: Canary, suggest you try patching your water leak from inside. Stopping the water will prevent further spinning even if the hull breach remains.

Canary II: Agreed, but that will be difficult since our water tank doesn't have access hatches large enough to allow a person inside.

[Spanners speaks in Chatka]

Iki Piki: Our engineer suggests you try to rig some poles as remote manipulators to apply a patch internally to the water tank through whatever access hatch you have.

Canary II: Roger that. I'll get some men on it.

06:47 UTC. Log entry by Spanners.

We are approaching the Canary II's drifting crew member, after which we will change course and be able to intercept the ship itself in about three hours. We have a few possible plans of action:
  1. Simply evacuate the crew of the Canary II on to the Legacy and fly back to Bollux, leaving their ship adrift.
  2. Stop Canary II from spinning, transfer the crew, attach tow cables, and tow the ship into a parking orbit about Bollux for salvage purposes.
  3. Stop Canary II from spinning, transfer half our water supply to allow both ships to return to Bollux under their own power.
The captain of the Canary II is offering us a substantial fee if we can help him get his ship back into Bollux orbit, so that their salvage costs will be less than those for a deep space salvage. The main problem is to stop their ship from spinning. It is tumbling end over end as it drifts. With almost all of their water gone, they do not have the reaction mass for their attitude jets to make much difference.

06:58 UTC. Ship's radio log.

Canary II: Legacy, we have a failure of our main rocket engine power supply line. That rock must have caused some secondary damage to internal components which are only failing now with the stress on the superstructure from the spinning. We won't be able to fire up the main engine, so it looks like the water transfer option is out.

Ogier: Copy that, Canary. We're still trying to figure out how to stop your ship from spinning anyway. A water transfer wouldn't be possible with one ship spinning.

Canary II: Right. We do, however have some good news. The air leak has been patched and we still have some air on board, though not enough to last us the day or so it will take to get back to Bollux. Whatever we do we're going to have to evac our crew to your ship.

Serron: Canary, we're just approaching Jenkins now...

Jenkins: Glad you guys could make it. My air's starting to get a little stale. I see your airlock door... using manoeuvring thrusters to match velocities and get inside.

07:02 UTC. Ship's automatic security log.

Warning. Blaster fire noted in bridge area.

07:02 UTC. Ship's radio log.

Canary II: What the hell is going on over there!? That sounded like blaster fire!

Ogier: Nothing... er... just a minor malfunction. Nothing to worry about. We have your man Jenkins safe and sound.

07:26 UTC. Log entry by Iki Piki.

Methinks Serron is a little too paranoid for our own good.

Serron assisted Jenkins out of the airlock, and to remove his helmet, and then immediately injected him with a dose of morphazine. Unfortunately, Jenkins failed to succumb to its effects, possibly thanks to the adrenaline in his system, and accused Serron of trying to drug him. Serron didn't really have a good counterargument to this, at least not in my opinion. Jenkins then insisted on being let on to the bridge to supervise the rescue of his crewmates, but Serron forcefully interposed himself, at which point Jenkins hit Serron with a fist.

Serron drew his blaster and threatened Jenkins. I grabbed Serron's gun hand to restrain his fire, but he let off a shot which luckily missed everyone and left only a pit of vapourised metal and a scorch mark on the wall between the bridge and the forward starboard cabin. This was enough to cause Jenkins to turn and flee down the portside corridor, claiming that we were all mad.

I have sent Ogier down with a bottle of whiskey to try to establish more cordial relations with our guest. Luckily we had confined Tom and Brenda to their cabin, although with a video link so they can see the rescue in progress.

08:13 UTC. Ship's radio log.

Iki Piki: Canary II, we have an idea that should help you stop spinning. If you punch a hole in the hull to let the remaining air escape in the right direction, you might have enough to cancel most of the rotation.

Canary II: Copy, Legacy. We're on it. We can pull up engineering details to let us figure out the optimum hole placement. Thanks for that.

Serron: We have some cable ready for towing you back to Bollux orbit. We'll need to weld it on to the hull of each ship while we're transferring crew to Legacy.

Canary II: Okay, we'll get some welding gear ready. Oh, damn... we've just lost power to the cargo deck. The whole power and motive systems seem to have been damaged by that rock we hit.

09:50 UTC. Log entry by Ogier.

We have matched velocity with Canary II and they have managed to neutralise most of their spin. Their crew have just transferred to Legacy after welding the tow cables to their ship. Spanners and Iki Piki are EVA now welding the other ends to Legacy. We have also decided to rig the cable with an explosive charge and remote detonator so we can detach quickly in an emergency. Iki is handling that.

Serron has expressed a fear that there may be some unknown alien creature eating its way through the Canary II, and that we should be on watch for anything crawling up the tow cable. Perhaps more likely is that the Canary II's antimatter bay may be compromised and the ship will blow up.

We have patched in our computer to the Canary II's systems monitor and are keeping an eye on the status of all components.

16:21 UTC. Log entry by Serron.

And they call me crazy!

With all the Canary II's crew safely aboard, we were on our way to Bollux when Canary's system monitor reported an initial failure in the outer containment vessel of its antimatter bay. Since we were headed directly for a medium level orbital injection, we had to change course to avoid cutting the Canary off on a collision course with the planet. We settled on putting it into an elongated elliptical orbit since this involved the least manoeuvring, and also brings it close to Bollux for salvage, then detonated the charge Iki Piki planted on the cable.

It seems Iki used a little less plastex B than necessary, because the cable didn't break. This got Iki a bit riled up, and he raced into his vac suit and out the airlock, muttering something about finishing the job. And then he sat by the airlock and fired his blaster at the cable! Took him four shots to hit the damn thing, and it didn't break!

So finally, with imminent antimatter explosion looming, he walked over to the cable attachment points and cut it with a laser cutter. We accelerated away and not ten minutes later the whole Canary II blew up in a huge ball of plasma.

The Canary crew aren't too happy, but at least they're alive.

25 May. 02:35 UTC. Log entry by Ogier.

Aerobraking completed without incident, and we are on course for a landing on Bollux, at Hallspire Spaceport, near the city of Justin.

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