Across the Bright Face

(The Classic Traveller Adventure Across the Bright Face, used almost whole with only a little editing to fit into Serenity)

Short summary- While Lennon and Dr. Liz have a getaway on Beaumonde and Wilks looks into some brewing secrets, Sata, Howard, Jackson and Lang are hired to transport a corporate executive on a tour of the mining world Aberdeen. The executive is assassinated at the beginning of a workers' revolt and the crew has to escape across country in a mining crawler.

Introduction

The Yellow Submarine arrives in the Kalidasa system and makes a stop on Zephyr to pick up Dr. Liz Hammerstein who is going for a little vacation with Lennon on Beaumonde. The crew stops and chats with Magistrate Hofmeyer as well. Arriving on Beaumonde, the crew unloads their cargo and passegers, the newly married Ang Lin and his wife, Ang Shao Yu. Once the ship is settled, Lennon and Liz depart for Lennon's clinic rounds.

Howard and Jackson have some issues to discuss with Captain Sata. Since Finx has taken a leave to deal with his dirtside business interests, Howard proposes that he buy out Finx and become the fifth partner in the ship. The other shareholders discuss and agree and Howard is no longer an employee, but a part owner of the ship.

Jackson's issue is with ship maintenance. As much as he hates to admit it, the recent upgrades mean that he is barely keeping up with the ship's needs on his own. Therefore, Lang Ye is offered a full time position as an employee, instead of trading labor for passage.

Inspection Tour

Once all these issues are settled, the crew turns to practical matters: dealing with the ship's monthly maintenance needs and finding a cargo. Sata puts up a listing that the ship is looking for a contract and receives a call from Paul Deng, personal assistant to Armand Streen of the Aberdeen Corporation. Mr. Streen is one of the majority stockholders in the Aberdeen mining company and is planning on an inspection tour of some of the facilities on Aberdeen here in the Kalidasa system. He has leased a Star Falcon class runabout, the Danube, and needs a crew for her and to serve as a security detail. He has seen the news reports about the crews' exploits in rescuing Senator Von Alksburg and feels they will be ideal.

Sata, Howard, Lang and Jackson agree to go along on what is billed as a five day trip, Lennon and Wilks will be on Beaumonde while the ship undergoes maintenance in the Blackbird Yards.

The crew transports Mr. Streen and his assistant across system to Aberdeen on June 21st. The ship lands at the spaceport near the capital city of Rhylan and they take a monorail ride to the mines near Napan. The party stays in luxury hotels and eats in expensive restaurants. Other than escorting Mr. Streen and Lang carrying his personal briefcase, the job is practically a vacation.

Assassination

On June 25th, the group gets up early in the city of Medianne and goes to observe a new processor plant employing a proprietary new technique. While outside on inspection, Mr. Streen is killed by a sniper's bullet through his faceshield. Sata lunges for Paul Deng to get him to cover, but only manages to move him enough that the next bullet punctures his helmet and wounds him in the head instead of hitting his faceplate and killing him. Sata drags Mr. Streen's body and Paul to safety and patches Paul's helmet while the rest of the group takes cover.

The party is contacted by an anonymous person who demands that they surrender, lay down their weapons and bring out Mr. Streen's briefcase. If they do, they will be allowed to leave. The group instead makes their way to a nearby vehicle park and boards a mining crawler with Paul and Mr. Streen's body. Sata fires up the crawler and Howard mans the mining laser on the roof. Once power is up, they take off while Howard cuts down (literally) their pursuers with the laser. He is hit by a round from one of them and retreats inside for first aid from Sata. The radio on the crawler brings them a mix of news reports and emergency calls; the workers of Aberdeen are in revolt due to poor working conditions. They are seizing control of most of the mines and two of the three cities. The crew decides to drive cross country to reach the spaceport and hopefully escape.

Escape

The trip across the vacuum deserts of Aberdeen is punctuated by earthquakes and an avalanche. They travel across ice fields and lakes of frozen gas and at one point the airlock and gun turret are jammed by deposits from a geyser of molten gold. Jackson is badly hurt during one of the quakes and has a mild concussion. With nothing else to do, Lang and Jackson attempt to open the secured briefcase with the meager tools they have in the crawler. Jackson accidentally burns through the case with a laser cutter and damages the laptop inside and burns the 300,000 credits worth of bearer bonds of Aberdeen stock…Lang manages to remove the memory unit from the laptop and wires it up to his computer; the memory is intact but encrypted.

Safe at Last

Finally, 54 hours after the assassination, the crawler reaches the perimeter of the capital and is stopped by a patrol of Alliance hovertanks. The crawler is boarded by troops and inspected, then directed to a docking garage at the city. Alliance troops take them inside for questioning and Paul, Jackson and Howard are taken away for medical treatment. After a period of interrogation, the crew is allowed to leave Aberdeen and fly the rental ship back to Beaumonde on the 29th. The crew is short their pay, but they have the memory unit from Mr. Streen's computer, and their lives.