Lucifer's Remains

Low on cash at Ceres, the crew is approached with an offer for a charter: transport a Martian professor and his grad students on a geological expedition to the leading Trojan asteroids. Sounds like easy money, right?

Welcome Aboard
The crew of the Hellhammer, an Aruna class transport, is stuck on Ceres looking for work. Normally, with all the trade that flows through Ceres Station, it's easy to pick up a small job for a tramp freighter, but pickings are slim. A contact steers them to a martian looking to charter a ship and they arrange a meeting at the SLJ bar. The patron is Professor Doctor Arjuna Khamavant, a Martian of Indian descent, but he speaks with a pure Oxford accent instead of the Mariner Valley Texan twang. He offers to charter their ship for four to eight weeks, paying 60% of their capacity as a charter fee. He has three assistants and about ten tons of cargo, mostly equipment. He also offers fresh food sent by his university as part of the funding for the mission. They are doing a geological survey in the leading Trojan asteroids.
The crew agrees and makes plans to have the cargo loaded in the next "morning" shift and the professor and his team will come aboard then. The cargo handlers deliver several canisters; a portable suit locker, an electronics container, an explosives bunker holding at least a ton of high explosives and two shipping crates that look like ordnance containers. The professor and his students come aboard, the students are Jin "Louise" Louyang, an attractive Chinese-Martian, she does have the Mariner Valley accent. Next is a Belter named Borislaw Kral, blond with a short mohawk and a few Belter tattoos and Alfur "Al" Valisson, another blond Belter from Ceres.
The professor and his team begin checking over their supplies. The suit lockers contain four well used but high quality asteroid prospectors' suits with lots of survey and sampling gear. The electronics container has more analysis equipment and some sensors that the professor asks be temporarily mounted on the hull and connected to the ship's sensors. Redstar suits up and goes outside to install them. The ordnance like containers hold two remote operated vehicles, small Epstein drive drones with sampling gear and sensors. Once everything is secure, they undock from Ceres and maneuver to a safe distance before lighting their Epstein drive, they head off on a one-half G course, planning to take a week or so to get to the Trojan Asteroids.
The first night's dinner is a chance to get to know the passengers. Boris comes from a successful rockjack family who struck it rich. He grew up as a prospector and is the team's demolitions expert. His family made enough to send him to Mars for school, but he also got a scholarship. Al's family parents are high level corporate managers on Ceres, it was no trouble for them to pay to send him away for school. Boris has worked hard to minimize his Belter Creole, but it slips through sometimes, Al has very little Belter accent. Solo is interested in the only young and attractive woman aboard and talks her into coming to his cabin for the night. Unfortunately he fails to perform, leading to some bad feelings… (Lee botched).
The students have homework assignments that keep them busy and they need to do some prep work for the mission. Everyone tries to get together for dinner. The passengers are social, but have a tendency to slip into shop talk randomly. They seem to mostly be discussing radioactive dating techniques, they spend a lot of time comparing radiation byproduct profiles of fission versus fusion. Solo hangs out, trying for another chance with Louise, but she is only slowly warming back up to him. After a few days, Solo realizes they're comparing the profiles of fission versus fusion BOMBS. They also mention "Lucifer", which is a name for the hypothetical planet that broke up to form the Asteroid Belt. Asking the professor just gets more general answers about geologic surveys and comparisons.
The ship arrives at their layover point, the Athens Station transfer station and everyone goes aboard for a change of pace. Matty goes to a locals' bar and picks up a woman, but has a flashback in her room and ruins the moment… Solo and the grad students go to a Belters' bar in the zero G central section of the station. It's called the Last Breath, the sign is an old suit helmet with a broken faceplate and a skull inside. When they get settled at the bar, a drunken Belter makes a "baby dusters" comment about Louise and she gets offended, turns out she has a temper. She sucker punches the Belter in the face with a drink bulb and the brawl is on. Solo calls Matty for help, then joins in. He and the students knock out the Belter and his friend, then run from the bar. Solo tosses some cash to the bar tender and they get out ahead of station security.

Breaking Rocks
After resupply at Athens Station, Professor Khamavant gives them a course to the area they want to survey. On the way, they prep the two drones for launch. The drones will be used in rotation, surveying for suitable asteroids and making close passes to reduce danger to the ship. If they find one, they will need to space walk to the asteroid and plant charges to get samples. After five dull days, the scientists find a likely asteroid. They all suit up and Redstar does so as well to keep an eye on things. Boris plants the charge and the ship backs away before he detonates it. The science team goes back out with sampling equipment and pulls some cores from the inside of the asteroid and return to the ship. The professor tells Solo they can get underway again.
The science team is excited for a few days while they analyze the samples but are soon a bit down again. A few days later, another good asteroid is found, but the first charge fails to crack it completely. Boris plants a second charge which shatters the rock. Solo has to make some evasive maneuvers as fragments scatter in their direction. The team goes out and retrieves more samples. While the science team discusses samples at dinner, Matty finally asks exactly what they are looking for. The students look at professor Khamavant, who decides to explain. He describes the theory that the Asteroid Belt was once a planet, nicknamed "Lucifer", that broke up for some reason. Occasionally rumors and faked samples appear of fossil remains in asteroids, suggesting Lucifer had life. One theory is that the Luciferians were intelligent and destroyed themselves in a suicidal war that caused the planet to shatter. The expedition is looking for traces of radioactive isotopes and such left behind by nuclear or antimatter explosions to test the theory.
A few days later, the science team excitedly reports they have found an asteroid with a higher then normal level of radiation. It could be a suitable object, or maybe it's rich in radioactive ore, which would make it commercially valueable. But, as the Hellhammer approaches, a pirate ship emerges from within the asteroid and begins radio jamming. Solo cuts power and goes on the drift. Redstar suggests using the drone as a decoy and they fire it up and send it away. Solo waits for the pirate ship to go after the drone, then creeps away under low power. Matty asks the science team to prep the other drone with a demolition charge, then get in their crash couches. Solo picks up laser scatter off the drone; the pirates are hailing it with a laser communicator. The pirate ship is an old Loa class courier. It fires up its drive and pursues the drone and closes the distance. When the drone fails to respond, the pirate ship shreds it with a PDC burst. Solo warns everyone and hits the juice and accelerates hard, taking the ship up to ten Gs. The pirates reverse course and pursue, pushing twelve Gs. They order the Hellhammer to stop accellerating and be boarded or they will torpedo the ship. The crew cuts power and decides to ambush the boarding party and possibly launch the drone as a missile. The pirate comes along side and grapples its boarding tube to their main airlock. Four boarders come aboard, carrying a mix of zero-G weapons. Their armor is even more varied, a couple of improvised suits, with armor plates added, a partially armored suit with the bottom half of a different suit and an old earther made suit with a lot of wear and repaired damage. When the boarders close the open airlock door, but before they can open the inside door, Solo redlines the drive. He angles away from the pirate ship, ripping the grapples off the hull and tearing off the outer airlock hatch. He turns the ship and directs the point blank drive flare of the Epstein drive against the pirate ship and accelerates away. The boarding team is slammed to the floor by the acceleration and pass out without juice to compensate for the acceleration. The Loa tumbles away with a hole burned through her hull below the bridge deck. Solo cuts power and Redstar enters the airlock before the boarders can recover and opens their helmets so they die in the vacuum. Once they are a safe distance away, Matty sends a distress signal, alerting the authorities about the pirate base. Professor Khamavant decides the mission is over; they can stop by Athens Station on the way home or proceed directly to Ceres. Behind them, the pirate ship is starting to stabilize its tumble, probably under emergency control from engineering. They decide to head for home. A little while later, a MCRN patrol destroyer responds that they are inbound.
The Hellhammer returns to Ceres and drops off the science crew, Professor Khamavant pays them for the full six weeks of the charter and they also receive a 5,000 credit reward for the pirate ship and base.

Silly Quotes and Smart Remarks
Handing out XP chips at the beginning of the session and reminding Lee and Mike that blue chips can be given to other players to reward them for good ideas and roleplaying. Lee and Mike immediately look at each other and hand their two blue chips to each other
Jim "Fuck you both"
Mike "We're off to a good start"
Jim "You got the GM to say 'fuck' and you haven't even rolled any dice yet. You haven't even said 'buttstroke' yet"

Lee is talking about how his math skills help his character's gambling skill
Mike "So you're Rain Man"

The SLJ bar on Ceres is a Samuel L. Jackson themed bar. His movies run on the wall screens and the drinks are named after his movies and movie quotes
Mike "Is there a Royal with Cheese?"
Jim "That's on the pub menu"
Lee "The number of Mother Fuckers is how hot the food is. 'I'll have a Hotdog on a Plane with five Mother Fuckers sauce' "
Jim "But only four Mother Fuckers on the loaded fries"

Looking at all the cargo the scientists bring aboard
Mike "Space suits, sensors, explosives, Tex-Mex food"
Jim "Those last two might be easily confused"

Matty is looking for sex, but wants to pick someone up, not go to a whorehouse
Lee "But the girls in the brothels are probably clean, the dockworker chicks are loaded with space syphilis"
Jim"Spyphilis. Our first space joke"
Lee "Spyphilis, Sperpes"
Jim "Don't forget Sponorrhea"
Mike "Spamydia, SpAIDS"

Solo and the grad students go to Last Breath belter bar in the zero g section of the space station
Lee "This place is going to have the best nachos"
Mike "Everyone is wearing leather"
Lee "If I see more than three OPA neck tattoos, we're out of here."

After the bar brawl, Solo throws money at the bartender
Lee “Sorry for the mess”

Discussing the theory the Asteroid Belt is the remains of the planet Lucifer
Lee "The most metal planet ever"

How to handle bad maintenance rolls
Michael "The reactor is smoking, I'll just open a window"

Under attack by the pirate ship
Lee "If we ram them, I think we can kill them"

Lee had a sugar rush from a cupcake MC got him for his birthday
MC "I have Humalog on tap"
Lee pulls his hockey jersey half over his head
Lee "I am Cornholio!"