Coming out of their tenth jump, Commander Wo Xian of the UED Prowess, Fleet Six’s spacecraft carrier, addressed the city ship. The fleet would remain in this star system for ten days while scouts were sent out to find a suitable course into the unknown regions of space beyond the Aesh-provided star maps.
While effectively rooted in place, the crew of the Lexi Belle negotiated a private deal with a mining crew, settling on a generous 35% cut, and set out to do their own speculative exploration and mining adventure.
After the scouts returned, the fleet excitedly jumped into the black for the first time and took up orbit around a water world where scans indicated microbial life. Always eager to make a quick credit, the crew hired a xenobiologist and took samples of their own on the surface of the planet.
Their scientific discoveries were unfortunately not unique. Other scientists had come to the same conclusions about the microscopic life; that it was highly dangerous to humans as they had no immunity to infection of this alien germ. This gave Captain Rong an idea…
Back in the city, the not-so-good captain decided to ensure Jinsu Kang‘s death, assuming he had returned to the fleet during the 10-day delay, by smashing a mason jar of water containing the alien microbes through the Kang hideout’s window.
Again, the fleet jumped. This time into a red dwarf star system with a pair of gas giants to refuel from and a nice asteroid belt to mine. As is always the case, however, seven ships chose to investigate a nearby asteroid cluster rather than the closer belt, and were attacked by Sky-Hive Drakes.
Following the Combat Air Patrol to the rescue, the Lexi Belle bared her teeth for the first time. Three Javelins and four Darts squared off against a pair of Drakes. By the time the crew arrived in the combat bubble one of the Javelins was already wreckage and they witnessed one of the darts reduced to ruins before they got their first shot off.
It was a glorious fight for the intrepid free trader and it’s crew. The first volley of pulse laser fire sheared off a Drake’s wing as it punctured the gas bladder in a wing-arm, igniting the hydrogen stored within.
The injured Drake swooped into and latched onto one of the remaining Javelins, causing micro explosions along it’s hull, damaging its rear turret and disabling the power plant. The second Drake destroyed another Dart almost effortlessly and turned to pursue the third.
Another volley of pulse bursts from the Lexi Belle resulted in additional wings being crippled, as well as a lucky neck shot in an attempt to rescue the crippled Javelin. Alas, this was not to be, as the Drake punched it’s head into the escort ship’s hydrogen storage tanks and thrashed it’s tail, piercing the canopy and causing an explosive decompression of the Javelin’s bridge. The two men inside were sucked out the breach, though only one was able to activate his emergency bubble.
Moving into position near the survivor, Xie Da Shuo bravely performed a space walk to rescue the man, bringing him on board just as the remaining Javelin focused it’s beam lasers on the injured Drake, accidentally igniting the now-leaking hydrogen tank, causing a massive but brief ball of fire, ending the Drake and the two remaining marines on the disabled Javelin at the same time.
Meanwhile, the two remaining Darts waged an impressive dogfight with the second Drake. Unfortunately, one of the fighter jocks fell to the space dragon’s terrible hydrogen wingtips, but the fourth jock, call sign Bù Chènzhí, proved to be an ace pilot. He evaded repeated attacked while peppering the beast with pulse laser fire, tearing great holes in the armored carapace along it’s chest and tail.
With one down, the crew came to aid of the brave fighter pilot. With a mixture of incredible luck and no small amount of gunnery skill on Mr. Huang‘s part, a series of three quick shots pierced the Drake’s right eye and put two separate blasts through it’s exposed chest into it’s heart.
After the battle, Captain Rong was allowed to salvage four destroyed free traders and one of the darts while the Javelin and Bù Chènzhí looked the other way. In all, the spoils of their little war included a spare warp drive, a mostly intact triple turret, a second pulse laser and a slightly damaged beam laser.
Upon returning to the city ship, Captain Rong’s day was further brightened by the news of the Kang residence being ‘thermally cleansed’ by a bio-hazard containment crew. He is hopeful that Jinsu was inside at the time.