Amber Nebula Campaign Log

24. Stars and Strikes

03 October, 2775. 04:57 UTC. Legacy internal security log.

Serron: Since we're almost there, let's have a look at what the computer has to say about Banforth. What are you looking at?

Iki Piki: For a moment there you looked just like Lycroft.

Serron: We look nothing alike!

Iki Piki: All Sparrials look alike to me.

Spanners: Anything with only two arms looks alike to me. I just don't see the point of having less than four arms. Strange creatures. And the food they eat... like Pachekki food. Urgh.

Iki Piki: It's not only tasty and nutritious, it's entertaining. [reading the computer description] I don't like Banforth. "No personal ranged weapons of any kind."

Serron: That can't be good.

Spanners: What's the range of Plastex-B?

Iki Piki: "And penalties are severe."

Serron: Maybe I can have a crossbow with a hypo spray on the end.

Spanners: A crossbow is a ranged weapon.

Serron: No, it's a medical device. For curing people at twenty paces.

Iki Piki: Makes sense if they have the plague.

Serron: It's says here Banforth is wracked by terrible storms most of the time. They must have trouble giving names to all of their sports teams. "The Banforth Storms". What other names are there?

Spanners: Plenty. "The Blizzards". "The Flurries". I like "The Flurries".

Iki Piki: "The Glaciers".

Paris: Julio Glaciers?

Serron: What?

Paris: Sorry, Earth-joke.

09:38 UTC. Log entry by Captain Paris Smith.

We have come out of hyperspace skew on course for Banforth. Navigation shows we have six hours flight time to atmospheric re-entry. Attempting to contact Banforth space traffic control.

09:42 UTC. Banforth Space Traffic Control Communications Log.

Paris: This is the free trader Legacy calling Banforth Space Traffic Control. We have just skewed back from hyperspace, outbound from Vallauris. We have a shipment of explosives for delivery under contract by BMM Limited. Delivery location is either Sarwun or Hampstead Spaceports. Please provide inbound flight path and planetary approach vector for most convenient port.

Banforth Space Traffic Control: Legacy, this is Banforth Traffic Control. Approach vector for Hampstead is optimal for your inbound trajectory. Transmitting now on standard navigation sub-channel. Hope you enjoy your stay - you might be here a while.

Paris: Oh? Why is that?

Banforth Space Traffic Control: Afraid there's a cargo-handlers' strike on. You won't get your cargo unloaded until they go back to work.

Paris & Iki Piki: How will we unload our 47 tonnes of explosives?

Banforth Space Traffic Control: You'll have to wait until the strike is over. Even then, there are nearly fifty ships ahead of you in the queue.

Serron: Couldn't we unload it ourselves?

Spanners: With what?

Serron: Iki loaded our cargo on Oceania, using a fork-lift.

Spanners: But we don't have a fork-lift.

Serron: No, but don't we have a food-bot?

18:33 UTC. BMM Limited - Hampstead Spaceport Office - Security Log (later erased).

BMM Representative: Hi, my name's Mike Vare. My secretary tells me you have a problem. How can I help you?

Paris: Captain Paris Smith, free trader Legacy. We have 47 tonnes of your plastex-B on our ship that needs to be unloaded as soon as possible. We have an urgent appointment on Arawne. Is there any way we can get it unloaded?

Mike: Not here, I'm afraid. You're just going to have to wait until the handlers' union calls of their strike. They're very strict on labour rules.

Serron: Is there some... less official channel we can go through?

Mike: Hmmm. Let me think. That shipment was mostly due to be sent to one of our mining bases - in the arctic regions. You could fly your ship directly there and we'll get our workers to unload for you. And I could arrange a new cargo of machinery parts to be ready for you to take to Arawne. You'd be bypassing any involvement with the cargo handlers' union that way.

Iki Piki: Are there any legal problems with doing this?

Mike: Nyyyaaahwell....

Iki Piki: That's a good definite "No".

19:54 UTC. Legacy internal security log.

Paris: But we don't have the moral right to go behind the dock workers' backs!

Spanners: But we need to get to Queen Natasha's side, to help her during the coming battle.

Paris: I still don't think it's right.

Spanners: This strike affects one planet. Queen Natasha's military campaign affects many planets. [Holding out a left hand, then a right hand] One planet - many planets. [Holding out the other left hand, then the other right hand] One planet - many planets.

Paris: I think we should meet with the striking workers and hear their side of the story.

Spanners: We don't really have the time for this.

Paris: I'm sure I can make a difference.

Spanners: Yes. I'm sure you can make a difference.

Serron: I definitely don't have time for this. [Injects Paris]

Paris: What?... [Falls unconscious]

Serron: Let's set a course for the BMM mining base. Perhaps we should tie up Paris, in case she wakes up during re-entry and tries to warn the workers what we're doing.

Spanners: I don't think we should tie her up.

Iki Piki: Packing foam.

Spanners: Your answer to everything is packing foam.

Iki Piki: It's so good I carry around a can.

20:17 UTC. Banforth Space Traffic Control Communications Log.

Serron: Traffic Control, this is Legacy. We're filing a flight plan to Sarwun Spaceport. Hyperspace skew and immediate skewback for re-entry. Since we're stuck here until our cargo can be unloaded we're going to do some sightseeing.

Banforth Space Traffic Control: Roger Legacy. Departure imminent?

Serron: About to flick the switch. See you in two seconds... [Ship flickers into hyperspace momentarily then returns to realspace high above Banforth] Traffic Control, this is Legacy. Please supply flight vector for Sarwun Spaceport.

Banforth Space Traffic Control: Transmitting now on standard nav channel. Welcome back to the real world...

20:24 UTC. Log entry by Serron.

We are inbound once again to Banforth. Although we intend landing at the BMM mining base in the northern polar regions, we've filed a flight plan to Sarwun Spaceport, to deflect any attention from the cargo handlers' union whose strike has forced us into this action. We have a flight of about five hours until re-entry. Weather conditions at the landing site look severe, but I'm sure I can land the ship safely.

04 October, 2775. 01:09 UTC. Banforth Space Traffic Control Communications Log.

Serron: Traffic Control, this is Legacy. We have been invited to inspect some mining facilities at the BMM mining base at Frozen Gulf. We've modified our flight vector to make the landing. Please update our flight plan to reflect.

Banforth Space Traffic Control: No problem Legacy. Have fun up there in the ice.

02:10 UTC. Log entry by Spanners.

We have landed safely, though I would not wish to repeat the experience of landing in a snow flurry with Serron at the controls. He is now taxiing into the hangar where BMM workers are waiting to finally unload our cargo. Unloading and loading of our new cargo will take several hours. We will take an opportunity to get some sleep.

02:14 UTC. Legacy internal security log.

Serron: When Paris wakes the story is -

Iki Piki: - the planet shifted underneath us.

Spanners: "Did the earth move for you?"

Serron: We'll tell her that we're unloading our cargo here but we're videoing everything, and when we leave we'll give the video to the striking workers, as evidence of strike-breaking activity. This way, we get our cargo unloaded, and we help the workers. That should keep her happy.

Iki Piki: You're going to video everything?

Serron: We'll tell her that's what we're going to do.

Iki Piki: Surely even Paris isn't stupid enough to give us away while we're loading and unloading cargo?

Spanners: Paris by name, Paris by nature.

Serron: Once a Paris, always a Paris.

10:32 UTC. Log entry by Iki Piki.

Paris has still not woken from Serron's morphazine injection. Serron has been told off by the BMM workers for trying to take a joy ride on a snowmobile. When told to get off the vehicle he went to the mess hall and proceeded to eat everything in sight.

The plastex-B has been unloaded and our new cargo is now being loaded on board. BMM have paid us in full for the shipment, a total of 37,230 Banforth credits, or nearly Earth$89,000.

10:49 UTC. Legacy internal security log.

Serron: So you see, we're helping the workers by giving them evidence of strike-breaking.

Paris: Hmm, well, since we're already here...

Iki Piki: This version of reality was filmed in Serronvision.

Serron: Do we have any parachutes on board?

Iki Piki: I'm stunned to think where this question is leading.

13:13 UTC. Log entry by Spanners.

Paris and Serron have taken up an invitation to go down the mine shaft here at this base. It descends through three kilometres of solid ice to the land beneath, where excavation gathers hundreds of tonnes of ore per day. Meanwhile cargo loading continues. We should be able to leave for Arawne in about four hours.

17:08 UTC. ISN News Report - Just Arrived From Rubilith.

Rubilith - 28 September: The multistellar fleet of battleships organised by the exiled Queen Natasha to oust Viscount Conrad has just skewed out of hyperspace and is approaching Rubilith on orbital insertion trajectories. Sixty-one ships strong, the fleet presents a formidable obstacle to Conrad holding on to power. We are led to believe the fleet has transmitted a demand of surrender to the Viscount and his forces, but at this stage we do not know any details of the message contents. Whatever it said, it appears that Conrad is not giving up without a fight. Defensive forces are mobilising and several warships have launched and skewed back ready to take up intercepting positions.

The population has reacted with small outbreaks of violence against the occupying forces. So far there have been no casualties but the situation looks almost certain to escalate. It remains to be seen just how serious this conflict will become. Latest reports from Arawne say that Queen Natasha and her fiance Crown Prince Patrick of Inverness are awaiting news and wishing the best for their people.

17:23 UTC. Legacy internal security log.

Serron: Any word from Lycroft in any of these news reports?

Iki Piki: No.

Paris: What about Tepi?

Iki Piki: Nothing about Tepi. But the striking cargo handlers have found out about our trip to this mining base, and they're not happy.

Spanners: Another planet we can never come back to.

Iki Piki: Add it to the list.

Serron: Okay, astrogation is ready, stand by for hyperpace skew for Arawne!

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