Amber Nebula Campaign Log

21. Any Port in a Storm

31 August, 2775. 23:36 UTC. Beldano Ocean Navigational Authority radio log.

Beldano: This is Beldano Ocean Navigational Authority calling vessels Sirius and Kamana.

Captain Stecker: This is the Sirius. Go ahead.

Captain Derrys: Kamana here.

Beldano: We've had to cancel the helicopters that were on their way to you. There is a major storm bearing down on Beldano and conditions will be impossible for flying and landing safely within the next few hours. I'm afraid the best we can do is for you to proceed here and dock as quickly as possible so we can treat your wounded.

Captain Stecker: Acknowledged, Beldano. What about the ships coming to investigate the underwater city?

Beldano: We're battening down everything here. They won't be able to make it out until the storm passes.

Captain Stecker: Fair enough. We'll see you in about 24 hours. We have the wounded in stable conditions. I don't think there'll be any problems.

1 September, 2775. 00:03 UTC. Field log entry by Paris.

We are continuing on to Beldano. We discussed the option of returning to Flargess, but with our current contract for delivery of cargo to Vallauris we don't have time to spare. Captain Stecker assures us he is experienced in docking the Sirius in bad weather, and doesn't forsee any serious problems.

00:21 UTC. Video report by Lycroft.

"Pirate Attack Aftermath"
An exclusive report
By: Lycroft the Intrepid for ISN

After being attacked by Larrokite religious zealots, Serron the Magnificent led an elite strike team underwater to rescue the kidnapped crew members from becoming sacrifices. At great personal risk, Serron managed to shut down the underwater city's power grid to enable the crew to escape. Unfortunately, Serron was injured, and has lost some fur, giving him a more rugged and complex look well suited to the battle-hardened veteran of Rubilith and Oceania he is.

Now, Serron has taken charge of this fleet, this rag-tag fugitive fleet, seeking the safe haven of Beldano, and wisely bringing the injured to medical attention. The cowardly authorities have refused to investigate the scene of the pirate attack, citing poor weather as an excuse for not getting involved. Serron, however, has never shirked his responsibility to oppose dangerous crazy aliens and fight for truth, justice and the Sparrial way.

01:38 UTC. Legacy crew private communication log.

Iki Piki: The computer entry on Vallauris says "the people of Vallauris loathe associating with stupids."

Serron: And we're going there?

Lycroft: Hmm, we'd better keep the Paris in the ship.

Paris: Hey!

Lycroft: Oh, there you are. I challenge you to a game of Qu'Bindi.

Paris: Qu'Bindi?

Serron: It's a Sparrial game.

Paris: I see. What's the stakes?

Lycroft: What do you mean?

Paris: Well, if I win you must call me "Paris the Most Magnificent."

Lycroft: Hmm... all right. And if I win you must give me all of your money.

Paris: Er, no.

Lycroft: Half your money?

Paris: No.

Lycroft: Well then, you must call me "Lycroft".

Paris: No, that'd spoil my fun... How about I call you "Croftie"?

02:49 UTC. Video report by Lycroft.

"Anti-Piracy headquarters on the High Seas"
An exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse
By: Lycroft the Intrepid for ISN

Lycroft: I've come aboard the Kamana, Serron's luxuriously appointed headquarters during this difficult campaign against the sea pirates of Oceania. Captain Derrys, could I have a moment?

Derrys: Sure.

Lycroft: How does it feel to be working alongside Serron the Magnificent?

Derrys: Who?

Lycroft: Serron, who rescued the prisoners from the clutches of the Larrokite zealots.

Derrys: Oh. I haven't seen him much. He spends most days in the galley.

Lycroft: Thank you for your time. As you can see, viewers, Serron doesn't have much time for socialising, and spends most of his time planning his battles in the galley which has been converted into his HQ.

[Camera follows the corridor down to the galley. Lycroft pushes the door open.]

Serron: Lycroft! I've been wondering where you were. You're missing some excellent food. The menu says this is Himalayan food. Yeti steaks. Water buffalo fried in low-fat oil. You should try some.

06:13 UTC. Field log entry by Spanners.

Still about 18 hours out from Beldano, the sea is starting to get quite rough. Most of the crew are getting some sleep, but this rocking motion is making me feel a bit queasy.

14:47 UTC. Field log entry by Iki Piki.

We have a serious situation here. The Larrokite prisoner from the underwater city has managed to escape while most of us were asleep. We've searched the Sirius but can't find him, so we presume he jumped overboard. Unfortunately before he left he paid a visit to the bridge, where Captain Stecker was on watch, and knocked him out. He has a serious concussion and is unconscious in the sick bay. The first aid drugs we've administered will keep him that way until we can get to Beldano.

The weather is getting worse. The ship is pitching violently, but should be strong enough to withstand the storm. The tricky part is going to be when we get to Beldano. With Stecker out of action, docking is going to be tricky.

17:06 UTC. Video report by Lycroft.

"Severe Storm Threatens Vessels"
An exclusive on-the-spot story
By: Lycroft the Intrepid for ISN

Derrys: Sirius, copy that. Where's the second in command?

Paris: He's here piloting the ship, but he doesn't feel confident about docking the ship during a storm at Beldano.

Lycroft: Captain Derrys, why don't you go across and take control of the Sirius?

Derrys: I'm not qualified for a ship like that. It's a cargo vessel, much larger than anything I've handled.

Lycroft: But you have docked ships in bad weather?

Derrys: Sure.

Lycroft: And you are the most experienced sailor we have.

Derrys: True, but my responsibility is to my own ship and crew first. Beldano will be better equipped to put someone on board when we arrive. Besides which, how could I get over there in these rough seas?

Lycroft [To video camera.]: And there you have it, viewers. Inexperienced captain refuses to save injured and sick on floundering vessel.

Serron: Who's sick?

Lycroft: Spanners is sea sick. I thought it'd add a hint of tension to the story.

Serron: Not bad. You might want to edit this bit out though...

2 September, 2775. 00:27 UTC. Field log entry by Serron.

We have arrived at Beldano, where the storm is at a peak. Captain Derrys has just docked the Kamama, but the Sirius is standing off while the port works out how she can be docked with Captain Stecker unavailable. Lycroft and I have gone to the passenger lounge on the floating starport, where we have a view of both the starport and seaport areas. The port is made of many large floating tiles, articulated to ride over heavy swells. The motion is damped down a lot by the size of the tiles, but they are rocking slowly up to about ten degrees off horizontal.

00:32 UTC. Legacy crew private communication log.

Beldano [heard over radio on Sirius bridge]: Sirius, we have an experienced cargo ship captain here who is willing to guide the Sirius in.

Paris: Thanks Beldano city.

Serron: Is it a frog?

Paris: Beldano, is this captain a Larrokite?

Beldano: Most of the cargo crew around here are Larrokites. Why are you asking that?

Paris: No reason.

Serron: I suggest you frisk the frog when it comes aboard. Might be a religious zealot seeking revenge.

Beldano: We're not sure how we're going to get him on board. The sea is very choppy. A tender boat will be swamped.

Serron: Tell them we have a mini-sub which can be used.

Paris: We have access to a mini-sub from the Kamana which just docked.

Beldano: Copy that. She'll have to surface a fair distance from the Sirius to avoid crashing against the hull. You'll have to rig a system to pull him in.

Paris: Don't worry. Send out the pilot, and if he gets into trouble, I'll personally dive in and save him.

00:49 UTC. Field log entry by Spanners.

We have the Larrokite pilot aboard the Sirius. He boarded the mini-sub on the Kamana and used it to approach to within about 20 metres of the Sirius. Iki threw a line out and we pulled him aboard through the waves.

01:04 UTC. Video report by Lycroft.

"Dramatic Docking Attempt in Wild Storm"
An exclusive video coverage
By: Lycroft the Intrepid for ISN

[Video shows the Sirius as it approaches the dock. Serron is watching on. Seas are rough and heavy rain and strong wind lashes the heaving docks.]

Lycroft: Sirius, you're doing fine. Bit to the left. Straighten her up.

Pilot [over comm-link]: Shut up!

[The Sirius comes closer, and closer...]

[Crash! The rolling seas force the ship against the docks, slamming into the sides of the docking bay. There is a crunching and grinding of metal against metal.]

[Video goes wild. Lycroft and Serron barely avoid falling into the sea. One dock worker is not so lucky and falls in. Others are quick to throw life-preservers and haul him out.]

Lycroft [to camera]: Incompetent captain destroys Beldano docks in drunken spree!

Serron: Drunken?

Lycroft [putting his hand over the camera's microphone]: I'm sure he drank some sea water getting aboard.

Serron: Good point.

Dock worker: Look out!

[Video swivels to catch sight of a floating platform which is sinking, and a small spaceship rolls off into the heaving sea, where it floats. A cargo crane collapses.]

Serron: The Legacy!

[Video turns to follow Serron as he runs to another platform which is also sinking. The Legacy is there, but sea water is lapping at the sides of the vessel as the platform is slowing sinking.]

[After a few minutes Paris appears, soaking wet, with Iki, Tepi and Spanners]

Lycroft: What happened to you?

Paris: I fell in the sea on the way here. But a nice big Larrokite dock worker saved me.

Iki Piki: The ship is sinking!

Paris: How are we going to load the cargo?

Serron [returns]: Only the port side corner is underwater so far. If they're quick they can load the cargo without getting too much water in the ship.

Dock Worker: We're not loading cargo in this weather! It's much too dangerous. Everyone needs to get down to the city where it's safe. Come on!

Lycroft [to camera]: Beldano dock workers strike over workplace safety concerns!

01:50 UTC. Field log entry by Paris.

In a tricky operation, Iki Piki has operated the cargo moving equipment to get our cargo off the Sirius and on to the Legacy. The weather made this difficult, but he somehow managed to get it done, despite the landing pad listing at an angle and being partly submerged. We really needed to get the cargo on board and skew into hyperspace quickly, since the Legacy was at risk of sliding off the pad into the ocean.

Unfortunately waves have partly filled the cargo bay while we had the loading doors open, and there is now about a metre of water in the cargo bay, and we need to plug the life support modules for the livestock into the ship's power supply.

01:53 UTC. Legacy internal security log.

Paris: We can't plug in the cargo pods until we know it is safe to do so. Sea water conducts electricity.

Iki Piki: Don't we have a food bot?

Paris: You say that as though that solves everything.

Iki Piki: Can't we open the inner doors?

Paris: That would flood the rest of the ship!

Iki Piki: Put down paper towels.

Lycroft: Couldn't you open the outer cargo door in space?

Iki Piki: That seems to be our answer way too often...

Spanners: We can pump the water in the cargo bay into the reaction mass tank. There's an access hatch between the two.

Serron: But the reaction mass tank is full of fresh water. We drink that.

Spanners: We can pump some of that out first through the rocket exhausts. Salt water will work just as well in the rocket motors, and we can distill water for drinking. It'll be fine until we reach Vallauris.

Paris: Sounds good, let's do it. We need to get into hyperspace quickly before this starport sinks.

02:35 UTC. Legacy internal security log.

Paris: Beldano spaceport control, this is the Legacy. We are ready to depart en route to Vallauris. Sorry to leave in such a hurry, but we're in danger of being swamped out here.

Beldano: Roger Legacy. Sorry about the weather, but we understand. Have a good trip.

Paris: Thanks Beldano. Legacy out.

Lycroft: How can you be sure Serron hasn't programmed the ship to take us to Rubilith? He did want to go there.

Paris: What, you think he's smuggling weapons in those crates instead of seafood?

Iki Piki: Seafood could be used as weapons.

Paris: I challenge you to a duel! Swordfish at ten paces. Could be painful in some places.

02:52 UTC. Log entry by Spanners.

The cargo bay is now dry and the seafood containers are plugged in. Hyperspace skew was successful, but we have a problem. It seems the jostling on the Beldano starport damaged the starboard landing strut, which is not retracting into the hull. If we could skew back to realspace right away, we wouldn't have drifted very far from Oceania, and could get help, but the Legacy's capacitors take eight hours to recharge for another skew. By that time we could have drifted far enough to end up in interstellar space.

As it is, we can't use Serron's original astrogation, since the ship's silhouette is now different. We could come out of hyperspace in two weeks' time almost anywhere. We have a few options:

  1. Skew out of hyperspace in 8 hours, do an EVA to fix the strut, then re-astrogate and skew again a further 8 hours later.
  2. Do an EVA in hyperspace to fix it, then re-astrogate.
  3. Re-astrogate with the current situation and fix the strut at Vallauris.
It looks like the third option is the best, since we don't lose 16 hours of time, which may be important for our cargo delivery contract at Vallauris, and it doesn't rely on us being able to fix the problem with an EVA.

05:17 UTC. Log entry by Serron.

I have redone the astrogation calculations to take into account our damaged landing gear. Paris has just engaged the engines, and we now have 14 days in hyperspace before we reach Vallauris.

3 September, 2775. 16:30 UTC. Legacy internal security log.

Paris: I want a re-match of Qu'Bindi.

Lycroft: You'll only lose again. Even if I am spacesick.

Paris: Perhaps. I have this 120 year old whiskey here that goes down like heaven. I'm willing to share... what do you say? Drink for drink? If you beat me, I take a swig. If I beat you, you take a swig.

Lycroft: Okay, you're on.

4 September, 2775. 04:43 UTC. Legacy internal security log.

[Paris wakes up on the floor of Lycroft's cabin next to an empty bottle of whiskey and an unconscious Lycroft.]

Paris: Did I win?

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