The ships jump back to the Polar Star system, where the ICC’s 2nd Fleet is stationed. There, they dock with the Cruiser Saratoga and undergo medical attention and individual debriefing. However, after less than a week, the group are all summoned to a meeting room. When they enter, they find BDU’s and combat armour (for the Marines) and flight uniforms (for the Navy) waiting for them, along with standard issue equipment and weapons (Pulse rifles, standard side-arms, etc). Any requests for personal equipment located aboard the Captain Flak are refused. Two Majors from CMIC (Colonial Marine Intelligence Corps) inform them that a situation has arise and that they are to be deployed to investigate, as they have previous experience in this type of mission. The debriefings will be suspended until after they return.
They are assigned the CSV Harrier, a Courier-class ship and given the basic background on the situation: Some months ago, an ICC scout found a new Earth-type planet. This is only the third such planet so far discovered, so its discovery has been kept secret whilst ICC scientists investigate its potential. An ICC supply ship has not returned from the planet, and is now two days overdue. The mission is to travel to the planet (the co-ordinates are already loaded in the jump computer) investigate as to the fate of the supply ship, check on the science camp and then report back. Nothing more.
The jump to the planet is uneventful, and nothing appears to be in range of the ship or, as they approach, around the planet. Going into high orbit, the ship’s sensors soon pick up a metallic object on the surface which could be the supply vessel. It’s in a heavily wooded area, so the Harrier lands several kilometres away and the party treck to the crash site. The Corporal takes (the only) grav-bike (a Honda Tornado). Guns scouts ahead and soon finds the furrow the ship carved in the landscape as it crash-landed. He’s not too far from the rear of the vessel and immediately recognises it as a Toyota StarAce light freighter. It looks like it was damaged by an impact to the rear. The Corporal goes into overwatch above the site whilst the others tactically approach the ship.
Once deciding the area is secure, the Corporal and Sergei announce they will search the ship. Pilot and Ash say they will inspect the damage and check the engines. Sergei and the Corporal discover lots of cartridge cases on the ground as they approach the open ramp of the ship. Stooping to pick a few up, Sergei declares they are not of a calibre he recognises and reckons they’re alien – most likely Sathar. The Corporal finds lots dried blood on the ship’s ramp. Venturing further inside, they find the ship deserted and no bodies or obvious signs of fighting (though the place is in a bit of a state due to the crash-landing). They enter the cockpit and try to power up, but the ship seems to be dead, so they locate and remove the black box. They also find the ship’s cargo is still aboard and seemingly untouched. The contects of which all seem to food, medical supplies and scientific supplies and equipment. Sergei checks the manifest, but is disappointed to find there are no explosives listed amongst the cargo.
Outside, the Combat Engineer finds trace of another vehicle; four burn marks on the ground, presumably left by rocket nacelles.
Pilot and Ash inspect the damage and conclude the ship was probably hit by a missile. They can’t tell for sure, but they think the hull may be ruptured. One of the sublight drives is definately beyond repair. Ash advises that standard protocol in situations like this is to dump the nuclear core; hence why there’s no power. They even hypothesise that the ship was shot at as it was entering the planet’s atmosphere.
In the meantime, Guns has been taking a perimeter walk and discovered tracks leading away from the crash site. It was difficult to tell due to the deep carpet of woodland foilage, but he reckons three bipeds (he wouldn’t identify them conclusively as Human). He continues to follow the tracks whilst the others are checking the ship, until he gets to the 3km range of his communicator. The others soon start to catch up to him, so he continues forward. He starts to see a plateau sloping upwards above the trees and tracks the trail up the incline. It’s not too steep and he makes good progress. At the top he soon comes across a single strand of electrified fencing at about waist height. It looks to be of Human manufacture. He waits for the others to catch up (and resists the urge to pee on it).
Guns and the Corporal crawl under the wire and carefully continue ahead. They soon see silver-skinned tents through the trees. Going around, they hear voices in English, a woman’s and a man’s. They make themselves known to the voices; the woman being Professor Parkinson, and the man Dr. Williams. The rest of the party approach once Guns advises it’s safe. Doc converses with the two scientists and basically confirms what they’ve already figured out; that the ship was hit by a missile as it was entering the atmosphere, and that the Sathar shot the crew. The scientists do not know where the Sathar are, but do not think there are many of them. They assume they do not know about the science base on top of the plateau. Prof. Parkinson believes the Sathar are based somewhere near the river to their south-west. Prof. Parkinson also tells Doc that it was her team that retrieved the three dead crew members from the crashed vessel, and that they are in cold storage. Doc inspects the bodies and confirms they all died from bullet wounds.
Doc tells the group that they need to find the Sathar and eliminate the danger, so they head back to the Harrier. The trip is uneventful, with any small woodland creatures in their path moving away from them. Pilot, Sergei and Ash power up the Harrier and start scanning the river area for anything metallic. They soon find something and quickly identify is as a ship. However, what they find is that the ship is hidden several meters underwater, in the river itself!
The Corporal and a couple of the others are all for taking off, locking a pair of missiles on it and destroying it. But Doc points out that this is a Sathar ship, and no Sathar ship has yet been captured intact. “Think of the intelligence it will provide. They will wipe the slate clean and forget about the incident on Paradise if we can give them a Sathar ship” says Doc. It takes a while, but the others are eventually talked around. It is decided to use space suits to enter the water and try to gain entry to the ship. The Harrier only has two space suits, so a quick trip to the crashed freighter soon doubles that number. Doc, the Combat Engineer, Ash and Sergei either volunteer or are chosen to break into the ship.
The party cautiously approach the area of the Sathar ship and prepare to break in. Although the current is moving at a lazy pace, Ash and Sergei are dragged along with the current for a few meters. (Bad Swim rolls). Doc is the first to reach what he believes (correctly) to be an external hatch, some six meters under the surface. There are a group of indentations, so Doc just randomly puts fingers against a few of them and the hatch opens! (Critical success roll). the rush of water into the chamber beyond carries both him and the Combat Engineer inside…
[Session ends here]