This is the personal log of Retired Petty Officer, 1st class, James Madison. I am about to relay to you the most fantastic story. Though this will seem little more than fiction, I assure you that the events depicted herein are, in fact, true, to the best of my recollection.
Six months ago, I moved to Mutara Station, along with my wife Cecilia, in order to escape the stresses of Imperium Space. Though I was quite content to work on my hobbies and enjoy my retirement, Cecilia, ever the curious explorer, was quickly growing restless with our predictable life. Rumors spread through the station quickly, and one in particular captured the imagination of Cecilia. I speak of course of the tale of Gethil. Now, the story of Gethil, if you are not aware, is the most ridiculous, naive story out here, dealing with space pirates and buried treasure and the like. Well, not just buried treasure, but an entire treasure planet. Yes, that’s right, Cecilia convinced me that we should hunt out a hidden pirate treasure planet. After I stopped laughing at the absurdity of the situation, I realized she was sincere.
Now, I would like to point out, I am a simple man. If left to my own devices, I would likely spend most of my time building model star-ships, or coding efficiency algorithms. Adventure isn’t really in my blood. But Cecilia gets so excited about the prospect of discovery. I knew that if I didn’t go along with her, she would go by herself. So it was decided. I insisted that we speak with a few of our friends on the station. I am rather close to one of the dock-workers, an earnest man named Truck. Cecilia and I had also befriended a former nobleman, and I figured that, if nothing else, his way with words and his abundant capital would at least help us find a decent crew. We set about trying to find more information on what I presumed to be a fictitious planet.
After several hours, we met with limited success. By limited, I mean we had it narrowed down to the possibility that if it DID exist, and that was a strong maybe, it might be within a seven sector range. SEVEN SECTORS! Being a man of above average intelligence, I am sometimes uncertain of just exactly what my companions are capable of understanding. My 16 years of naval experience instilled a very deep understanding of just how LARGE seven sectors actually is. But this didn’t seem to dissuade our group in the least! On the contrary, they felt that this was a solid lead! Again, I am a simple man, and generally avoid confrontation, so I just smiled, and suggested we find a pilot.
I would like to take this opportunity to point out the fact that there aren’t exactly a glut of skilled pilots our here on the outer rim. I swear we must have talked to every single pilot on the station, and not one was a more accomplished pilot than I am. I suggested we check the planet of Naiwa, one sector over. Naiwa is a very rich industrial planet, and I ventured that we should be able to find a more skilled pool of candidates there.
So we gathered our things, prepared for the jump to Naiwa, then made ourselves comfortable for the long journey. Several days later, we arrived, and immediately set about finding a better pilot (not to mention one willing to fly into uncharted pirate territory). After asking around in the landing center’s pilot lounge, Truck was approached by a woman who wanted to know what we were looking for. The details of the encounter are better told by Truck, but the result was that she asked us to meet her at midnight at the loading docks. My alarm bells were raging out of control, but my companions seemed happy to oblige this completely mysterious, potentially dangerous stranger. ‘Great, sure, what’s the worst that can happen,’ I said, ‘let’s go meet the random person on the unknown planet by ourselves at the dark loading docks at midnight!’ Sometimes, I think that I’m the only person with any sense.
The woman tried to convince us that she was a private investigator, hired by an unnamed corporation, to discover if the planet Gethil did in fact exist. She then fed us this bogus story about how she was unable to charter a flight herself to find out, but that she was willing to get us in with a shipping fleet that was flying shipments to a moon that she said was likely the fabled Gethil. I didn’t exactly believe her, but my companions did, and, after all, I’m a simple man; I’m humble enough to admit that I’ve been wrong in the past.
The arrangement that she set up with us: we would pose as contract workers in order to join the shipping convoy. Once we made the jump and arrived at the moon, we would engage a tracking device that would enable her to find the location. From there, we were entitled to anything we could carry. Sounds idiotic. So of course we agreed (sigh).
Before we left orbit, a few of us insisted on checking our cargo. I have never been more happy that I followed my instincts. Within our cargo hold, distributed among the 15 one-ton crates, was fourteen and a half tons of GOLD. The more astute of you might wonder, what about the last half ton? Oh that? It was just a large explosive, carrying a big enough payload to tear out the entire butt of our ship. THIS is exactly why I choose to play it safe. We considered jettisoning the crate immediately, but we were concerned that the other ships in convoy would notice the launch, and take a hostile course. After considerable debate, it was decided that the safest plan was to just seal the crate back up and forget about it. We cautioned that it was actually just there to ensure we didn’t run off with 14 tons of gold.
The lead ships entered jump, and we followed close behind. Again, we settled in for another long trip through jump space. I was just starting to relax and forget about the immense danger we had been in thus far when Truck ran into the cockpit and told me that there was a beeping coming from that crate. Well sh@&.
We knew that we had to jettison that crate ASAP, but we faced two problems. One, opening an airlock in jump space is suicidal. Two, if we opened up the cargo bay, assuming we survived, fourteen and a half tons of gold would go flying out the back, never to return. My main concern was that the shipping company that hired us on would do everything they could to recoup that loss from us. My companions seemed more concerned about losing all of that gold for themselves. Granted, it IS a lot of gold, I agreed. Cecelia, you might be surprised, is quite the accomplished mechanic, and she pointed out that the structural support beams in the cargo bay were theoretically strong enough to lash down the 14 crates, leaving the one behind to be sucked out of the airlock. Truck agreed, and the two set out instructing us how to most quickly tie it all down. Thanks to the expertise of both of them, we were able to get everything lashed in about three and a half minutes, and as soon as it was tied, we evacuated back into the main cabin, and opened the airlock. And just like that, we were saved. But our trouble was only just beginning.
When we emerged from jump, the lead ship opened comms with us, and seemed to be distressed. “Uh, Kyrie, are you guys alright?” I knew that there was no way they could have tracked our jettison in jump space, so we knew that they had fully expected us to die. “Yes, we’re fine, just a little engine trouble, why do you ask?” Thirty seconds of silence passed before the confused helmsman called back, “no reason…” I knew that we had to get out of there ASAP. Lucás tried convincing them that our engines were malfunctioning, but that we had the situation well in hand, and that the convoy should go on without us, but the middle ship informed us that they were coming in for a closer look. Again, we tried to convince them to continue forward, but we were informed that they intended to board our craft. We all knew that if that happened, we would most assuredly be murdered, so I concocted a plan.
Using my naval experience, I rigged the power system to fluctuate, just enough to convince whoever was scanning it that we were having some sort of power failure. Cecilia rapidly plotted a jump course (no mean feat, I assure you), and we prepared for the incoming ship to move to docking range. Truck watched through the porthole for their approach, and as soon as their docking tunnel was almost fully extended, he gave the signal, and I punched the engine for everything she had. The convoy ship was completely surprised by this maneuver, and within moments, we entered jump, leaving the convoy far behind.
Fourteen and a half tons of gold. That is what we stole. I am shaking as I write this. If we get caught…
I would also like to inform you that we did scan a moon. Gethil is quite likely real. I, of course, have no intentions of going back, and for the future protection of my more reckless friends, I also have no intention of divulging what sector the moon was in. Better to completely forget about it.
I thought I moved out here to relax.