Pandora 23

New Hires
Welcome to The Rock!

The date was August 24th, 2434.

Liska, Bobby Watson & Aurora Skye have had their resumes approved. Liska is the new Head of Security for Pandora Engineering Group on Pandora 23. Aurora has also signed on with PEG as a Shuttle Pilot. Bobby has been transferred to P23 to act as Quartermaster for The Space Corps. The three of them were picked up from their various locations by Space Corps transports and whisked to an Earth orbit station. From there they boarded a freighter, The Queen Lisa, headed for The Pandora System.

The trip was surprisingly short. Only an hour from Earth to the wormhole. The wormhole was a storm of whibbley, wobbley, swirly yellow lights. Entering the event horizon shook the ship to its core. But, then it was smooth sailing for about fifteen minutes. Exiting the wormhole was … different. It felt as if your body was being pushed down by a giant block of, specifically, Peach Mango Jello.

The sight of the Pandora System was breathtaking. One star, Pandora Alpha, large and violet, orbits a smaller and yellow Pandora Beta, pulling streamers of gas from its surface. A third, blue and smaller still star, Gamma, orbits the mass of the other two, ejecting smaller streamers outward into an immense, wide belt of glittering asteroids. Fairy lights from thousands of ships could be seen plying their way between the huge chunks of rock, domed settlements and neon pink & green stations. The Pandora System appeared to be an ocean of danger and chaos.

Immediately upon exiting the wormholes, calls went out for passengers to disembark. Shuttles arrived to take people to their various destinations. A school of smaller ships could be seen through the ports and on the view screens, docking with the massive freighter. A thousand passengers were off to work in the mines and shops and corporations around the system. Three passengers, our Aurora, Bobby & Liska, boarded a small shuttle, Hobo Rex, headed to Pandora 23.

Pandora 23 is, in a word, ginormous. The original asteroid was 17 kilometers across. Now, solar sails tower across one surface, 5 & 10 kilometers high, making the mine look more like a sailing ship from a thousand years ago on Earth. Structures; comms towers, Helium 3 storage tanks and barracks, jut out here and there, appearing to be barnacles growing on the rocky ship. In many ways, the mine is a ship, it has thrusters and engines, and the solar sails not only collect light for power but can be used as sails to catch the ever present solar winds. The winds blow the He3 that collects on and in the asteroids. Motes of dust and frozen helium 3 blow past the mine as Hobo Rex began docking procedures.

Once docked, the group was greeted at the shuttle harness by two women. One wore a tan uniform with a gold insignia indicating she is a Senior Certificated Officer in the Space Corps, her dark hair is pulled into a severe, slick ponytail. Her serious dark eyes could cut through a bulkhead. They softened only slightly as she introduced herself as Executive Officer Commander Mary Decker. She turned and gestured to the other woman, a woman in a yellow pantsuit with a tremendous smile and even bigger blond hair. Commander Decker introduced the woman as Shirley Pasco, Human Resources Coordinator for Pandora Engineering Group. Shirley waved saying “Hi y’all! Wel-come!” and upon seeing Liska stated brightly “My! Aren’t you just precious!” This drew a tired but tolerant sigh from Liska and a bit of backlash from Aurora. Aurora felt Ms. Pasco could be more respectful of Liska. Liska informed Aurora she could fight her own battles and as for Shirley Pasco, she was entirely flummoxed by the whole exchange.

Cmdr. Decker guided the group to their various quarters, instructing everyone to meet on the Bridge at oh-seven hundred in the morning. It didn’t take long for the group to go exploring.

Aurora found several of the shuttle bays. All bays & vehicles in disarray and disrepair. None of the shuttles were in actual working order. After visiting a few bays and their disappointing contents, Aurora wandered off to the Mess Hall.

Liska & Bobby had already dropped their gear and found the Mess Hall. The hall, made for hundreds contained only dozens and these were silent, P23 appears to have a serious morale problem. Liska & Bobby observed each other and eventually found a common table. Introductions and small talk ensued. Aurora found the pair and dove into the small talk. Soon, Aurora introduced alcohol into the conversation and the small talk got a little deeper.

Bobby related the story of how he ended up on P23. One ordinary day at Bobby’s previous assignment, a certain Admiral Yang came on a site visit. Bobby was working on some equipment, but there was an malfunction. Bobby just managed to push the Admiral out of the way of the Rube Golbdberg-esque series of flying debris, catching a spinning jackhammer to the chin (and a scar to prove it) for his trouble. For saving his life, the Admiral rewarded Bobby with Tenure, guaranteeing Bobby would never leave the Space Corps. For nearly killing an Admiral, the XO reassigned Bobby to P23, guaranteeing Bobby would never leave the Space Corps.

It was late and the three New Hires returned to their rooms. About 3 AM, Bobby was awoken by a noise at his cabin door. He swung the door wide to discover an ancient droid, cleaning a spot of dusty floor with a tooth brush. The droid had burns, torn skin, and exposed wiring. The droid noticed Bobby. He snapped his head around to face the new quartermaster, revealing broken features and a simple, puppet like mandible. “Corpse humping smeg pot!” bellowed the droid, then he picked up an oil burning lamp and a hockey stick and trudged down the corridor. Bobby shook his head, closed his door and returned to his bunk.

The next morning, the three reported to the bridge for more introductions and joyous paperwork. Along with XO Decker and HR Rep Shirley Pasco, the group was introduced to Mort, the accountant. With paperwork complete, XO Decker gathered the three in her office for a closed door chat.

Decker had a mission perfect for three new employees. She relayed that the mission could not be official as it would be embarrassing for The Corps. Until the group “volunteered”, she wouldn’t reveal many details.

Once the group volunteered, XO Decker could be seen to visibly relax. She related the details of the mission. It turns out some pirates boarded a shuttle, stealing a crate and a stasis pod. The pirates were very precise, stealing those items while more valuable items, even a crew that could have been held for ransom, were left behind in a burning ship. This brings up concerns that P23, the intended destination of these items, might have a security leak.

The only other item the pirates took was the shuttle’s comm system. The comm contained the IFF transponder. The pirates turned that off, however this activated an emergency transponder. This has been pinging away ever since, it should get the group close to the pirates, but only so close. In the asteroid field, the signal will bounce around a great deal. However, the crate & pod have a short range signal that should lead the group the rest of the way. Fingers crossed.

This leaves one last issue: a ship. The Space Corps wants no direct link to this mission. So, they cannot issue a ship. XO Decker has given the group access to The Junk Deck, a collection of refuse, junk, garbage and who-knows-what. Deck 48 is chock full of 60+ years of whatever broke down or was just in the way. Deck 48 has a large landing bay, supposedly for waste removal, but it has been rarely used as such. XO Decker “has it on good authority” that there is enough bits & parts to build a ship dumped in there. She also claims there is enough heavy equipment to move the bits around.

The group has seven days to build a ship, find the pirates and figure out how to get the goods back. Welcome to P23.

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Junk Mine
One Man's Treasure ...

Our intrepid victims … er … party enter Deck 48 of the Pandora 23 mine. This deck, known as the Junk Deck, is simply awash in dust, detritus and refuse. The deck had seen better days, at least according to the signs, this was once the Recycle Deck. Now it is merely a neglected trash heap.

Almost immediately, the party sensed danger, the sound of tiny metal feet in the duct work. Upon entering a hold filled to the gills with half destroyed shuttle bits, they were attacked by six legged rogue skutters! The skutters, armed with wrenches, pipes and bits of rotting wood, began launching themselves at the party, and anything else that got in the way. Often, these great leaps did more damage to the skutters than anything else, however Liska was badly injured early in the fray. Eventually, due to keen skill, luck and the stupidity of these mad mechs – the party was victorious and most shockingly – alive!

The party determined that the skutters were infected with a computer virus. After an inventory of the hold, an inventory that revealed indeed there would be enough parts to build a ship, the group adjourned to do some research and gather supplies. They discovered in the records that a few decades ago there was an issue with a virus called Vomisa. These skutters seem to have been infected as well. Fearing the worse, the party investigated the rest of the mine, as well as they could remotely, to see if other mechs were revolting and attacking. No immediate threat was detected, perhaps this virus had been contained.

The group decided to return to the deck, only this time better armored. They found padded armor (in bright colors!) in the practice dojo. They are ready to kick tiny metal butts and build a shuttle!

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Below the Surface
... or How to Build a Shuttle in Four Days.

Liska, Bobby & Aurora returned to Deck 48 leery of more rogue skutters, but eager to pull together the shuttle they need to complete their mission.

But, first, now that they have an inventory, they need a place to build the shuttle, not to mention a way to move the extra large pieces and tools for disassembly & reassembly.

Fortunately, the old dust coated Recycle Deck provided. Exploration of the deck found a large space hangar, fuel tank storage, a room for mech recycling (with lots of tools) and another room with heavy moving equipment, even more tools (welders, hydraulic cutters, etc.) and lots more fuel.

The team cut, moved, welded and assembled a new (mostly) space worthy vehicle in what seems like record time; a mere, short, four days. Unfortunately, paint was a problem. All that could be found were white and red primer. There were fears the two mixed together would produce pink. Instead, it produced a searing bright red. The new shuttle was dubbed (perhaps temporarily) the SS Civilian Casualty.

Aurora took the Casualty out of the bay … or tried to – she pulled right, the ship lurched left and removed a landing stanchion. Who needs those, anyway?

The location devices the team received earlier led them out into the wilds of the Pandora System, where the He3 slush, blown by the powerful solar winds, kept visibility to a minimum. Eventually it was determined that they were heading directly into a fire fight. A Space Corps vessel, Fighter 359, was in a laser cannon battle with the pirate cutter the team was seeking.

The pilot of the Space Corps fighter contacted the Casualty, informing them that the shuttle would be fired upon if they entered the area near the fight. A quick thinking Aurora opened a video channel, flashed her ta-tas at the stunned pilot, then maneuvered the shuttle to the protected side of the besieged pirate cutter.

The team found a docking port just over the starboard engine nacelle. Aurora made for the dock, at the same time the fighter delivered a hull crushing blow to the cutter! The pirate ship lurched starboard as Aurora slid forward. Seeing the danger, Bobby grabbed the stick and pulled. The shuttle bounced off the hull of the pirate ship, but not without issues. The emergency pyros fired, separating the forward section of the shuttle from the rest of the ship. This left the team with a dwindling supply of breathable air. At that moment, emergency spacesuits dropped into the laps of the team. Next, the lights and artificial gravity cut out.

The team spent the next minutes struggling into their suits and deciding what to do next. Finally it was decided to again attempt to dock. This docking would actually be facilitated by the loss of the landing stanchion. Things were looking up!

The docking went off without a hitch, just a small loss of primer. The dock led to a room with a strange set of pads on the floor – that turned out to be a short range teleporter! As Liska and Bobby tried the teleporter, with mixed but fruitless results, Aurora opened the door – to find two armed pirates playing cards. Aurora again flexed her erotic charms, which seemed to work quite well on the not terribly bright pirates. While they drooled over Aurora, Liska stunned the poor suckers.

At the back of a pirate star ship, full of murderous thugs, in the middle of a fire fight, we leave our team … until next time!

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Pirate Cutter
Can pirates really be this dumb?

We left our Heroes in the precarious position of just having boarded a pirate vessel being fired upon by the Space Corps. Over the next hour, the group slowly advanced fore, facing seemingly dumber and dumber pirates as they went. Liska stunning, Aurora lasing and Bobby punching.

Along the way, as we have come to expect, Liska was quite the marksbeing with her stunner, and she was hit several times by enemy weapons, nearly killing her – again, as expected.

The surprise of this fight came from Aurora, who, after multiple attacks, missed only a few times – leaving a trail of vaporized pirates in her wake.

The final tumultuous battle, between the group and the Pirate Captain, led to another surprise. Bobby, who is not much with a pistol, is a darned good shot with a laser pistol set on overload and used as a grenade! The captain didn’t stand a chance!

In the end, the team found the crate and the stasis pod they were tasked to retrieve. They succeeded in using the controls in the pirate captain’s office to take over the ship, gas the crew, call off Fighter 359 and even talk the flyboy into giving them an escort back to Pandora 23. As a bonus, the pirate ship, crew & cargo generated bounties and they were able to tow the hulk of the SS Civilian Casualty back for repairs.

The next evening, the contents of the crate & pod were revealed – at Capt. Cassius Case’s birthday party. The crate contained a fake cake and the pod contained a pleasure gelf with six breasts and real bunny ears! Turns out, her rescue also generated a reward: $£250.

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BunnyGurl Ranch
Strippers run amok!

Commander Mary Decker asks the team to resume their assumed identities to return the pleasure GELF from the Captain’s party.

The Civilian Casualty and her crew fly off to make the return to the closest franchise of BunnyGurl Ranch Inc., this franchise being owned by one Phil Dimpledong who has all the creep-out factor of John Waters without any of the charm.

After the successful return of Mr. Dimpledong’s property … er … employee, the franchise owner reveals he has a problem. He has heard of the Casualty and her crew and thinks they could help. It would seem he had sent out eight of his prized slaves … em-er … employees and they have yet to be heard from. They were sent to a small He3 mine called Victory. Mr. Dimpledong, whom our heroes have begun to refer to as “Double D”, offers a handsome bounty. The team accepts and off they go.

Long range communications with the mine are down, by the time the Casualty is in visual range, short range communications are established. Their calls are answered by Raul Mayweather, the mine foreman. He has the mine workers & staff locked up in the vault where they keep their precious metals ready for transport. The foreman informs our heroes that there have been no fatalities but that the BunnyGurls have run amok! They are ripping apart the mine, they have attacked the employees and at this point many of them are chasing after the service mechs with Bazookoids!

The crew jumps into action, getting the schematics and security codes for the mine’s systems. They realize that direct action is required before someone gets hurt. They try the airlock, but, even with all their might, they are not able to budge the damaged heavy door. It would appear someone melted it from the inside with a mining laser!

Checking the schematics, our heroes discover another way in – a cargo elevator platform. Normally one would reach it from the inside, but from here it will require a space walk. This quickly proves dangerous as none of the team members are very good in micro gravity.

Next, our dogged heroes investigate the auto shuttle the BunnyGurls used for travel. It’s a small shuttle; a very simple cockpit with ten passenger seats and a small common area/galley. In the galley there is a waste container with a dozen vials of XXXtacy XXXperience, a “love drug”. There is also one empty vial of XXX-12 Combat Cocktail. Another vial missing three doses is in a nearby injector. There are four more vials in a nearby box. In short, it would appear the BunnyGurls each injected themselves with a drug making them killing machines instead of their typical aphrodisiac. The bottom of the combat drug box is signed:

Get Groovy! Apollo

The team looks into Apollo, discovering he is a small time drug dealer … and that while they are researching him, he had been apprehended by Commander Bo Kellogg of the Space Corps.

The team again decides to attempt to get inside the mine. Liska works out a scheme to turn off the air to most areas of the mine, suffocating the raging strippers. Aurora pilots the auto-shuttle to the cargo elevator platform. The team descends to the main level where they again find a door that has been fried from the inside, miraculously it still holds air. The team puts forth an effort to open the door, but it’s Bobby that finally pulls the crowbar with herculean strength and swings the door wide.

Almost immediately upon entering, the team finds themselves in a fire-fight. The BunnyGurl shooting a Bazookoid on full auto, the team firing back with stunners. This pattern repeats itself several more times, Bobby takes a hit to the chest that is absorbed by an armored jacket. Aurora is thrown across a room when her makeshift shield is targeted & hit square. Liska manages somehow to NOT get set on fire …

The valiant crew soon have the BunnyGurls stunned, hogtied and sedated. The grateful foreman pays them for their services. Liska gathers the tapes of the incident for later editing as an action/horror/porn blockbuster! With the return of the strippers, the legend of the SS Civilian Casualty and her crew grows ever wider.

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