Tramp Space Cutter 'The Fulsome Sow'
The Captain (Astronaut)
The Pilot (Astronaut)
The Smuggler (Astronaut)
The Fulsome Sow has just made a delivery to the luxury resort planetoid of Dresh and the crew attempt to unwind in the ozone-reeking steel tunnels of the service starport complex. The Captain, a trade-school reject and former facory laborer that inherited a starship from his upper-middle class family, seeks out comissions for cargo deliveries but only finds offers of surplus pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and meditation chamber crystals from the station quartermaster that are all out of the party's price range.
Meanwhile The Smuggler, through shady contacts garnered through his past as a deep space one-man drug smuggler, comes by some intel regarding the location of potentially lucrative ancient ruins on the planet Dresh, a desert world inhabited by primitive xenophobic scum, the descendents of outcasts, criminals and refugees, located a two-parsec jump from Dresh.
The fully refueled and restocked tramp cutter clumsily trundles off of the planetoid and spends several days using its reaction thrusters to maneuver to the rim of the Dresh system gravity well before transitioning to hyperspace and transcending lightspeed.
Three days a blinking hazard indicator and danger siren rouse the crew who rush to the engine room to discover that the housing of the hyperspace crystal chamber has developed minute flaws that are admitiing occasional oxygen molecules into the contaiment void where they are minutely eroding the anitmatter matrix of the hyperspace crystals; the warp engines begin violently shuddering as the crew shut down the reactors, meanwhile the Fulsome Sow stutters into realspace in the vicinity of a blindingly sullen blue giant - the Mohabit system inhabited by lesser-tech sectarian religious fanatics that attempt rare acts of terrorism against the paradise resort planetoid Dresh as well as practicing sport hunting upon the primitive inhabitants of Dozold
Fortunately the Mohabat system also features the planetoid Rokshaar, a moutainous world inhabited by a single prosaic settlement of exceptional craftspeople with an especially famed bookbindery. The Sow spends three days manueuvering into orbit before making contact with the spaceport beacon and landing in a simple rockmelt field next to a town of pretty rustic houses and white picket fences in a vally between granite mountains encrusted with sparse scatterings of spindly pine trees.
The spaceport field features a simple girder tower, the beacon, with a small hut at it's base as well as two other vessels: a sleek, needle-shaped silver ship like a gleaming sword; and a brighly colored vessel consising of a sphere of sundry panels in bright reds, yellows, blues, greens and oranges clustered on it's underside by a legion of mismatched struds, girders, legs, robot limbs, supports that serve as the landing gear.
The party exit the vessel and approach the hut where a sideburned pipe smoking man in knee breeches, waist coat, lace shirt and bill-cap leans against the side. They greet the station master who informs the party of the berthing fees; the Pilot uses his space yoga to stimulate the sociability chakras of the station master which incites him to waive the fees in light of the party's misfortune.
They discuss their engine problems and the station master informs them that the town blacksmith, Floyd, would be able to repair the hyperspace containment; the party detaches the crystal housing and the station master lends them his 'trundle', a simple hand-cart, to transport the heavy warp engine component into town.
He also informs the party the the town is mouring the brutal murder of a local girl; she was to be married and her father hired a band of Space Gypsies to perform at the wedding, including a puppet show featuring the wedding-party depcited as puppets with the groom defeating a space-dragon; although the entertainment was splendid one of the Space Gypsies got drunk and propositioned the bride. Violence ensued and the howling, swearing gypsies were forcibly ejected and talk of witholding payment was espoused.
Later screaming was heard and the bride was found stabbed and with her throat slashed; bloody footprints led towards the space port and when the gyspy starship was searched a ritualistically slaughtered pig was found alongside the bride-puppet, hacked apart by a machete!
Although the town constable was on vacation, Paladin Trucca, a holy zealot from Mohabat and his retuine had arrived at Rokshaar several days before, on an inspection tour from Mohabat to enforce morality and hunt out any devil worship or witchcraft, and in light of the evidence in the Space Gypsy vessel has the entire family arrested for murder and black magic; they are being held in the town jail until they are burned at the stake in three days.
The party thanks the station master for the information and wheel their engine component into town; women in bustle skirts, fancy hats and lace gloves whisper about them from behind parasols while gentlemen in silk hats and find jackets avoid eye contact and cross the street.
They are approached by a guardsman in a ballistic vest with a halbard and revolver; he informs the party that weapons are not allowed in town; the party vehemently replies that they are only dropping their hyperspace crystal housing off at the blacksmiths before returning to their ship. The constable blanches and backs away stuttering; the party continues.
They soon approach a house with a signboard bearing an oversize sheep-horseshoe and an attached shed, from which the whine of a plasma welder can be heard. The town blacksmith Floyd is inside working on a plow; the party interrups him and strenuous negociations ensue.
The blacksmith is very busy and it will be two weeks before the hyperspace housing will be repaired; the price is 500 terces with a payment of 400 required up front. Much browbeating and arguing ensues, as well as failed attempts at psychic interference, before the party pools their sole reamining collective funds of 360 terces and presents it to the blacksmith with the promise of another 140 in two weeks times.
The party returns to the ship to supp on gray tasteless nutrition paste, sleep in narrow sleep bunks, and scheme on house to raise another 140 terces; the Captain in eagerly anticipating watching an execution in three days.
Their respite is interuppted by the sight of a band of twelve armed men and a robed man approaching the Fulsome Sow across the landing field...