Based on reconnaissance from the previous battle, Commodore McClain directed his ships to the Condaria System to hunt down a base of the Silent Silver Pirates. The Rogues set up a temporary base in orbit around the system’s gas giant and sent out a series of probe drones to keep watch over the vicinity. They waited for two weeks, doing maintenance, refueling, and the like, hoping that their newest ship, the Argent Assurance (with Cyborgia, Dr. Hauberk, and the five Darrian Professors), would emerge from jump space behind schedule to join them. It did not.
They contacted the mainworld of the system (Condaria), and were largely brushed off. The planet seemed not to care about their presence one way or another as long as they didn’t want to bother it.
After waiting two weeks for Cyborgia, Orkin decided to launch the assault on the pirate asteroid-base.
Based on previous experience with Silent Silver, the Commodore ordered all available guns to begin firing long before optimal range. Once again, the AI pirate ships were not able to put up any real fight against the CNS Odin‘s guns. None of those who attempted to fire up jump drives and escape are known to have succeeded.
A robot (calling itself “Seven”) who answered when the asteroid-base was contacted, would only tell them that it worked for someone named Doctor Silver. Refusing to cooperate further or give more information, the robot instead activated the station’s black globe generator. Unfortunately for the pirates, the Rogues were familiar with the limitations of this technology, and simply overloaded the shield’s capacitors with their meson guns and destroyed the facility with a massive plasma explosion from the inside.
One of the AI ships, in the Silent Silver fleet surrendered out of self-preservation. The Commodore ordered it “surgically” removed from the ship and put in storage on one of the hanger decks of the Odin. Darla oversaw the operation personally (at least in projected person) and it seems to have been performed successfully. Darla has assured Orkin that the AI is still operational, though contained.
Leaving Captain Sir Vud in charge of salvage and repair operations (including refitting a number of captured vessels), Sir Orkin re-contacted the system’s mainword to see about selling salvage or other cargo. The mainworld expressed some hesitant interest in purchasing some of their abundant Imperial spares. The Odin left the rest of the squadron to focus on salvage, leaving behind a large part of its own engineer-maries to help, and headed to the innner-system on a trade mission.
The planetary government of Condaria contacts the Odin on its way to the inner system… and turns out not to be the party they had been talking to previously. The government does not wish outsiders to make contact with their citizens and has no desire for trade.
The Commodore decides to change approach vectors, come at the planet from the opposite side from the source of this new contact. The original contact then contacts them again, apologetically identifying themselves as speaking for a lesser polity of the planet (“the Buumi of Plains”) and offers regrets for not warning them before hand.
The Buumi, turns out to be a frail elderly woman confined to a grav-chair. She explains to them that the chair, and other such luxuries to which she has become accustomed, require her to occasionally make off-planet deals, such as this, despite the objections of the planetary government. She assures them that she can smooth over any difficulties the transgression raises.
Sir Orkin and his chief broker manage to negotiate the sale of most of the cargo they have with them, leaving a lot of open space for picking up more salvage when they return to the outer system.
Before leaving the planet Orkin is contacted by the local representative of the Darrian Special Arm. He invites Orkin to the planetary capitol (and secures the local government’s approval of his doing so), to discuss a possible job for the Commodore’s special-forces units. Sending his escorts back to the ship, Orkin takes his personal battle platform to the capital city to meet with this “secret” Special Arm officer.
Shortly after his arrival, while still transiting the planetary atmosphere on his way to the orbiting Odin, Commodore McClain transmits the following message on a squadron-wide channel:
“I’ve advised the Darrians to star-trigger this system and fry this planet. We should get out of here. Be ready to go when I get there. This applies to everybody.”
Lieutenant- Commander Redshirt confirmed the reception of the message in the outer-system, and the Zaibon Huscarls readied themselves for departure while the Odin powered for the outer-system at full thrust.
Rumors abound among the crew about what sort of thing would warrant such a response. Some claim to have heard the Commodore remarking to his close officers that, “I don’t want to find the devil,” and “grandpa was bad enough!” Others claim to have heard mutterings among officers of a deep-sea exploration gone awry, and a raving-mad survivor. Another “source” apparently saw the Commodore talking to the ghostly image of an old hooded man in a dark hallway.
Speculations regarding the Commodore’s origins and nature, not to mention who or what on that planet spooked him so badly, are wild and abundant.
The destination of their flight from Condaria was the familiar and welcome port of the Sky City of Mire, a mere one parsec away). The Darrian hospitality was as warm and comforting as ever after such a mysterious and foreboding event.
The Vargr “cultural exchange” festival on the Sky City, which drew a small audience on their first visit, drew a much larger one this time, intrigued with a morbid curiosity about the barbarism of their Vargr fellows. They got everything they bargained for and more. The now war-bloodied crew of former slaves and convicts tore at each other in unrestrained feuds of violence and brutality. The refined and cultured Darrian sophisticates watched in rapt horror and fascination as former Captain, Fermi Meat Redshirt (in his irregular and unexpected second match of the event; which was the culminating final match of the event as well) reclaimed the captainship by savagely rending his former first officer with claws and teeth so badly that medics had to rush onto the mat to try to reattach organs and save the recent captain’s life.
The Darrian audience sat in shocked silence, while some Rogues (primarily Vargr, Aslan, and Ithiklur) cheered. The (once-again) Captain himself looked on in clear concern while his first officer was pieced back together, and appeared as relieved as anyone when the medics signaled that (ex) Captain Guezk’n would live.