The deep space transport exits the Drift and everyone begins moving to get a look out the nearest viewport. A vast nebula fills the void of space and an outpost hangs nearby surrounded by the bustle of regular ship traffic. Freighters of all sizes maneuver for position to either drop off or pick up containers full of refined materials destined for other systems throughout the galaxy. Patrol craft move through the crowded space lanes while a Destroyer drifts outside the clutter to better observe the activity.
Welcome to the deck of the Astraeus Terminal. Everyone has some reason for coming to the edge of the universe. What's yours?
After an hour or more delay the passenger transport finally receives clearance to dock and unload.
As the crew disembark the transport, they move to retrieve their luggage and begin the intake process.
Everyone's Ident Card is scanned and they must await their assignments. Another hour goes by and everyone but the characters have been dispatched to their assignments or general quarters. Finally, the characters are told to report to the Dock AT-11 in eight hours for their first assignment. Each character is issued a cred chip for payroll and credit for one month's basic lodging at the Wandering Star Berth.
Security releases them to Yellow Sector to redeem their lodging vouchers and get some rest before reporting for their first assignment in twelve hours.
After traveling to Yellow Sector, the crew checked out their quarters and decided to explore the station. Plenty to see and do, they discovered Blue Sector was a retail and gambling oasis. Satisfying their initial curiosity the crew turned in to rest up for their assignment.
The docking bay is bustling with loaders and personnel loading and unloading ships. Dock AT-11 is generally clear with a single sentient browsing a data log and waiting near the airlock.
Wearing tramp freighter's coveralls, he could be the pilot, captain or mechanic. He looks up from the data log and smiles at the approaching group.
The figure appears to be human like other than the strange color of his skin and the odd eyes. He doesn't appear to have any hair but his smile seems pleasant and genuine.
"ello, you lot can call me Erid. You must be the greenies they decided to saddle me with for this milk run. No concerns my new friends, I'm sure we'll get along just fine... or I'll space ya like the last ones." another grin and a quick wink.
"Get in, we'll get outta this mad house and get some space under our feet like civilized sentients."
The characters board an auto shuttle and launch toward a line of parked freighters. Erid is keen to know each character, where they're from, where they've been and where they'd like to go next. He will also explain their job for the next couple weeks.
"We have been tasked with dropping off supplies at various facilities throughout the STX-97H solar system. It's not glorious work but it does pay and offers a great opportunity to see more than the inside of a mining facility or hard labor."
The shuttle approaches a particularly rough looking Brecca-class transport and docks.
"Welcome to the Oni-guf. She might not look like much but she's seen some amazing things. Everyone out, let's get these fires lit." says Erid as he ushers everyone into the freighter.
The hold of the freighter is packed with crates, tools, parts of vehicles and any number of other supplies you'd expect to find headed toward frontier settlements.
First stop the Crucible-R Outpost to drop off some air filters and fuel rods. It takes one day to reach the outpost.
Second stop is Z5 Crucible-G to deliver drone repair parts, laser drills and more survey pods. It takes another day to reach this outpost.
Third stop is Z4 Crucible-G to deliver gas buoys and skimmer parts. It takes half a day to navigate to this outpost.
Fourth stop is Z3 Crucible-G to deliver drilling tools, blasting supplies and various sensors. It takes a day to reach the planet and another full day to offload most of the cargo at various mining facilities across the planet. Other than Astraeus Terminal, this is the most populous location in this solar system due to all the facilities dotting the wasted landscape.
Fifth stop is Z2 Crucible-G to deliver gas buoys and skimmer parts. It takes a day to reach the delicately balanced outpost just inside the gas giant's atmosphere.
Sixth stop is Z1 Crucible-G to deliver heat shielding, graviton drills and drone repair parts. It takes half a day to reach this outpost.
The whirlwind tour complete Erid sets course for the Terminal and begins the long haul back.
As they pass Z4 the crew pick up a faint distress beacon broadcasting on an odd channel. Through triangulation and persistence, the crew trace the beacon to a crashed ship deep in the debris field of Z4.
The ship, registered as the Oranos, was apparently an exploration and survey ship that vanished over a decade ago. The explorer ship provided the warning about the dangers of using Drift drive tech inside the nebula.
Erid lands his transport nearby and the crew travel to the Oranos. When they arrive it is obvious that the crash wasn't the only thing that happened to the ship. Signs of claws on the exterior of the hull and on two bulk head doors warned of potential dangers still lurking. The lost crew were apparently attempting to affect repairs when something attacked.
Zopa moves to check the status of the reactor and engines while the rest of the crew began sweeping the ship for signs of what happened.
Two skeletons in shredded flight suits are discovered in the cargo bay. Two more skeletons are discovered in the engineering section of the ship along with six strange crystalline pods attached to the walls of the compartment.
The crew gather back in the cargo bay to discuss options. Kallie'Dar, Zopa and Glack returned to the engineering section to investigate further where they are suddenly attacked by 'space dogs', later identified as akata.
Six of the creatures descend on the three characters and began trying to eat them. Strig, Drax and Gideon enter the fray after making their way back to their embattled crew mates. The akata nearly end Zopa and Kallie'Dar but Glack manages to stabilize them while the other crew members end the akata threat.
Two more bodies are later discovered locked in the bridge of the wrecked ship. Apparently, they survived the attack but succumbed suffocation.
With the immediate danger out of the way, the crew discovers the cocoons are a purified star metal called noqual. They manage to gather up enough to sell (5000 credits).
The crew then set to repairing the crashed ship. It took nearly ten hours, but systems came back online and the crew limped the salvaged ship back to the Terminal for proper repairs.