Several days pass after blasting out of New Milan, Venus.
The group is crammed into the small shuttle – it was not meant to accommodate this many bodies for this long. Or, it wasn’t meant to do so comfortably.
As Jocelyn guided the tiny shuttle, she detected a distress call. A Kwik Kargo transport was nearby, broadcasting an automated general distress message. The group decided to approach the ship and offer assistance … removing any valuables …
On approach, it was obvious the ship was in trouble. It was adrift, tumbling, spewing plasma and burning gases, surrounded in a cloud of metallic debris.
Jocelyn attempted to hard dock the shuttle to the ship – not an easy task given the situation. She managed to merge the two ships, but not in a desired fashion. The golden, gaudy shuttle now had a punctured hull! The group managed to remove the antennae that had penetrated the shuttle’s skin and patch the hole. Duct Tape to the rescue!
Jocelyn maneuvered the shuttle off and tried a different approach. She was able to reach the automated docking computer aboard the freighter and then slave up the shuttle. The computer docked the shuttle on the freighter’s shuttle deck.
The group then discovered the true nightmare this ship presented. Life support and other systems were either off-line or intermittently off-line. Fires burned in many of the sealed sections. Other sections were vented to space. The ship was a total loss. Once the log was accessed, it was revealed that the freighter had encountered a rogue asteroid – it was an insurance write-off with no survivors.
Or were there?
Teams formed for explorations of the ship. Cheza led the effort, and was immediately ensnared by an artificial gravity plate gone haywire! Myari with help from Gwynfor and Jocelyn were able to retrieve her. She was concussed, but not in any permanent danger.
Later teams were extra careful. Searches of the cargo areas revealed beings in cryo containment. Again, OmniPet had sold off Sapipets to the Saturnian military. (Could they have a special program for transgenic, sentient animals?) Two previous inhabitants of the Flower Fields were found and revived. Since everyone was old friends, the revived Sapipets joined the effort.
The engines were checked, in a space dock, they could be refueled and repaired in a few weeks. Adrift between planets, they were so much space garbage. The bridge was accessed from outside the ship by remote – the bridge was open to space, no apparent survivors and not much in the way of useful, working systems.
In the end, a few items were taken from various holds. A small shuttle was tacked to the back of Bubba’s shuttle to provide more room – but this did nothing for the looks of the vehicle. The group, now two bodies larger, launched – leaving the Kwik Kargo 38 to tumble in space …
To pass the time, Jocelyn ran a few searches and discovered something, a message on a public classified section. The message read:
Mr. Happy Seeks his pets.
Why did you run?
Dew contact me!
It was quickly determined that the message was from Happy Harry. The group called Harry. Harry was pleased to hear from the group. He was curious what happened. Recounts of events were exchanged. Apparently, Bubba Impressive escaped the Dew Drop Inn without much trouble. Harry was not happy about how the whole situation had played out, but he was happy that the group was alive and well. To that end, he informed Cheza and Gwyn that they had been freed – they were no longer slaves!
When Harry heard the group was cooped up in a tiny shuttle, he told them to expect a call from a friend of his that owed him a favor, a man named Novik.