Reporter And Rifle Interlude

Introduction

The Yellow Submarine is on Liann Jiun, after finishing Circuit Racers. The Jackson discusses upgrades to the ship's reaction thrusters, based on design elements from Sander's hoverbike jet turbine, but money is too tight for now. Capt'n Sata wants to keep a larger cushion of cash in the ship's fund. Though completely unaware of the situation, Lennon, recognizing Sata's efforts in his and Archibald's blackmailing of Race Commissioner Taffat, donates 500 credits of the money he earned for his medical clinic. While Sata and Archibald are out working on cargo contracts, Lennon receives a call from Margaret Doubet, a reporter for Ariel Cortex News. She wants to interview the crew about their defeat of a pirate group last year on Regina. (The Warehouse). She invites them to dinner at Sakuro's and Lennon agrees. The crew wants a little backup, so Howard and Lang Ye go along, planning to enter the restaurant separately and keep an eye on things. Unfortunately, they don't have reservations and are turned away by the maitre'd.

Tell My Readers

Margaret questions the crew about the incident and makes it plain that she has read the report from the local security firm on Regina. She asks them for any more details and impressions they might have and is particularly interested in the former Alliance soldier turned pirate who was listed as dead in his official record. She answers their questions about her intentions by explaining that she is doing a series aimed at the misuse of funds in buying big capital ships that don't provide sufficient coverage and that there must be corruption in the Core worlds allowing piracy to continue. "Pirates need customers to survive" she says, implying that their are groups with an interest in piracy continuing. Lennon delivers an impassioned rant about the Alliance abuses of the Rim Worlds.
Wilks is also thinking about the Butcher. He asks Lang Ye to nose around the Cortex for Major Yegevny's public record. Wilks also approaches Capt'n Sata who asks Lang Ye to look into what happened to Yegevny's unit after the war.

Red Sun Sniper

The crew departs for Silverhold in Red Sun with a cargo. Unloading at Silverhold is routine, Lennon takes Julia out for a clinic visit that spills over into the second day. Cargo starts coming on the third day and loading continues on the fourth as Archibald did an excellent job lining up contracts. While overseeing loading on the morning of the fourth day, Sata is shot by an unknown sniper. Wilks pulls him inside and calls for help on the public emergency frequency, Howard closes up the ship. Lennon comes down and stabilizes Sata with Wilks' help, then they carry him up to the infirmary. Lennon successfully operates and recovers the bullet from where it lodged inside Sata's armored jacket. It is an old Independents issue round from the war. Wilks and Howard scan the area looking for the sniper, who is now gone.

Local security forces arrive, first a two man patrol, then an officer to investigate. They question the crew and examine the scene where Sata was shot. Lennon lies and tells them he was unable to recover the bullet, it went completely through Sata's shoulder. They tell the crew they will be back in the morning, the ship is left in landlock and unable to depart. Once Sata recovers, Lennon and Wilks question him about who might have wanted to kill him. Their best bet is that is was a member of the Bloodcoats whose plans they foiled on Santo, less likely is Chambers, the crimelord from Paquin, whose hitman was involved in attempts to sabotage the race. The three veterans keep things quiet for now. Howard contacts the port authorities and arranges for cargo loading to be finished in the morning.

Officer Caswell comes back in the morning and speaks with Sata and takes pictures of his wounds. He provides a little information about the shooter and clears them for departure. Lennon is still in charge and they depart for Santo in White Sun. Lennon is mad at Wilks for getting the police involved and searches the ship for Wilk's beer stashes and confiscates them as punishment. Lennon also finds some pictures of Tao-Shu Wilks had tucked away.

Santo Layover

After some more rest, Sata returns to command and the crew reaches Santo and unloads without issue. The crew splits up, Lennon goes off for an evening clinic, Sata and Finx supervise unloading with Lang's help. Saxon heads to the casinos and Howard goes to hang out at some of the spacers' bars. Wilks, on the other hand, finds a bar and picks a fight with the biggest guy he can find and lets him get in the first crushing blow. After exchanging a couple shots, Wilks throws the guy into a table, and while he's on the floor, makes his escape. Wilks loses pursuit and goes to another bar for a couple of drinks before returning to the ship. Needless to say, his appearance gets everyone's attention. Lennon returns around midnight from his clinic, in a somewhat annoyed mood, and Sata tells him to go see Wilks. Lennon visits Wilks in his room and sees he has a tremendous black eye. Lennon orders Wilks into sickbay and treats him and asks him what this was about. Wilks drops the pictures of Tao-Shu on the bed and they discuss Wilks' unresolved feelings about her and her death.
Sata sets Lang Ye a job while Finx is looking for cargo, Sata wants to replace the Newtech submachinegun that was seized by an Alliance patrol earlier in the year. After hitting a couple of dead ends, Lang contacts Long, one of the Tong's enforcers back on Gonghe and gets a recommendation. Lang is able to find the weapon Sata wants, but at a very high price. Finx secures a medium sized cargo for Beaumonde and the Yellow Submarine lifts off from Santo. On Beaumonde the crew stays for a few extra days for the monthly maintenance, then departs for Ariel with a cargo.