⚡️THUNDERFANG S2 #18
Locke prepares himself for the unknown with John. Speaking of the unknown, they've just landed in it.
Into the Unknown
Season 2, Chapter 18
// Undertake an Expedition
Alright! We need to travel in secret. And let's make this a Dangerous expedition to get to where we need to be going.
And (50/50: 78, no) Ira does not tell them where they're going ahead of time.
+2 (shadow) + 1 Infiltrator = +3
The entire Salvi Pass is on high alert and is one big protected area. There are people looking for him all over. That's how I'm justifying the use of Infiltrator here.
9 vs 1, 10. Weak hit.
+1 progress [2/10]
+1 momentum from Infiltrator 
Terminus space sighting, 59->Descriptor + Focus -> 31, 34: Depleted Faction.
This could be a good thing. Makes me think of an abandoned ship.
What's the peril? Spaceborn peril, 42: Life support system malfunction. Okay, a minor issue. Perfect.
The alarms blared that oh-so-familiar-fucking sound as we exited the jump. A quick scan of the warnings indicated that it was a—mostly—minor issue with the life support systems. Yet another instance where even basic knowledge of mechanical repair would have come in handy. How the hell was I going to fix this?
I left the cockpit to tend to the issue, going through basic safety techniques I remembered seeing or hearing about. Something about positives and negatives—luckily, getting shocked wasn't a true concern for me.
Yelena rushed over, and before I could greet her she began talking nonstop about something that completely escaped me. A few words caught my attention, which made me stop and give her my full attention. "I'm sorry, did you just say you realized the life support systems are malfunctioning?" She'd come to that conclusion without the scans?
She nodded and repeated the jargon that sounded like some precursor language decoded. After a moment, I stopped her and pulled her along with me. "Perfect. So glad there's an actual mechanic on board."
// Face Danger
So, this was originally going to be a Repair, but I've realized in my time playing Starforged that the "perils" faced are more reactionary. Repair or Secure an Advantage should be reserved for when I have more control.
+2 (wits) + 1 Yelena = +3 => 9 vs 7, 9. Weak hit. Better than a miss!
-1 momentum 
I had only seen some of her handiwork with Watt, but because we were missing parts I had failed to witness the true scope of Yelena's mechanical prowess. She was a genius. It took us a while but she eventually got everything in working order once again.
Shit. Was I going to have to pay her eventually? How much did I normally charge for a case, again? Would there be money left over from a case to actually pay a crew?
Shit. When was my last actual case? The Usagis?
"She'll be fine now," she said wiping sweat from her brow. She seemed happy, lighter—like she wasn't worried about the world collapsing around her.
I was glad there was someone on the ship who didn't feel like everything was falling apart.
We walked back to the main area together and I thanked her profusely for her work. I was truly in her debt. She rejoined Fletcher and Kaisa while I stopped to glance out of a viewport, finally noticing the seemingly abandoned ship floating not too far away.
We needed supplies, badly. And if that ship had even an ounce of useful material, I wanted to have it.
I realized John was finally lying down in one of the back rooms as I made my way back to the cockpit. A jabbed a few button and did a quick scan of the ship with the Scarlet Adler's sensors.
// Secure an Advantage
+2 (wits) => 5 vs 7, 8. Miss.
Glad I didn't "Explore a Waypoint" like I had planned on.
Let’s go with “You create an oportunity for an enemy” and mark 1 on that clock. [5/6]
No life or dangers showed up on the scan. Good sign.
"Anyone want to come explore the ship with me?" They all shook their heads. Understandable.
I suited up and headed out.
// Explore a Waypoint
I'm gonna tempt fate anyway.
+2 (wits) => 5 vs... 5, 6.
This game hates me. -sigh-
Let's fill that clock up, shall we.
The ship was a complete waste of time.
I spent over ten minutes flying to it, another ten getting inside, and a complete hour looking around for anything salvageable. It was stripped of anything even remotely useful. It was smaller than the Scarlet Adler, and seemed to be in pretty good shape. I couldn't tell why it was abandoned. I cursed my luck and got back in the pod to return.
"Locke!" It was John, his voice coming in through the comms on my suit. Before I could ask him about his nap, he blurted out, "Something's coming."
I checked the information John sent to the suit and cursed. A large number of ships, headed directly towards us. Fuck. I had wasted time and given them ample opportunity to catch up.
I flipped switches and turned off safety settings. The pod accelerated faster than typically allowed for safety reasons. At this speed, the pod was liable to overheat or short-circuit. This was an emergency, though. We needed to be gone immediately, so I'd take the risk.
// Face Danger
+1 (edge, to get back fast enough) => 7 vs 2, 6. Strong hit!
+1 momentum 
Within moments, I docked and flew through the interior to the cockpit with speed, and without a moment's hesitation, we were off into another jump.
// Undertake an Expedition
+1 (edge) => 3 vs 9, 10. Another fucking miss.
We're sitting ducks out here.
For my price, I'll pick “important device fails or malfunctions.” So, they cant get in contact with anyone.
Let's give us a fighting shot, though.
We're at a new waypoint now.
Terminus space sighting, 97: Roll twice. Fun.
87, 57: dense nebula cloud. Okay, easy and 57 is descriptor + focus.
Safe and sound once more, I pulled John aside. He was tense, but at least he was moving and talking. Small victory.
"Thanks for the warning. I wasn't expecting you up just yet. How are you feeling, John?"
"As good as I can, I guess." He absentmindedly rubbed an elbow, avoiding eye contact. This wasn't John or Ripley—perhaps NEVERMORE? Was this the boy who was betrayed by his family and other Branded just like him? He seemed shy and timid, almost scared even.
"If...if you need to leave, I'd understand." It sounded like the right thing to say, and I truly did care for this kid. I didn't like seeing him like this, despite not actually wanting him to leave. John was chipper, bubbly, annoying—I stifled a laugh remembering him bursting into Ira's and my bedroom. Conversely, Ripley was professional, stoic, and annoying in a different way. If I hadn't known who he truly was, I would have probably let him go a long time ago. He was so well put together it made me nervous.
Together, they were the perfect combination, able to flow in and out of one persona to the next, blending in to whatever situation he came across. A born leader one moment and a goofy teenager the next.
This? This was neither. We were entering into unknown territory here.
"No," he said softly. "I'll be fine. I just feel...exposed. I've worked so hard to hide who I am in public. The first time I felt like I could be myself was with you and Ira. I...I want to be myself in public, ya know? I just haven't had the chance to. Maybe this is my chance."
He nodded, perhaps to convince himself of his words, and he stepped off into the ship.
"Locke, wake up."
John jostled me awake and dragged me to the cockpit. I was clearing the sleep from my eyes as he explained whatever was wrong.
"So, we stopped here. There's a dense nebula cloud, so a bunch of our sensors are fucked until we get out—that's not the issue, in fact, we chose to stay here because we hope that if we can't see out, no one else can see in. Going to recharge here and hope for the best.
"The problem comes from what information we did get." John pointed to the screen.
The coordinates didn't make sense.
"Are those scrambled or something?"
"Nope. We've been following the directions Ira sent us ever since we lost the fleet of ships. We should be on course, but...this feels off."
I stepped forward, getting a closer look at the data. It didn't make it any more clear.
// Undertake an Expedition Result
69, 85: "New system."
The two words are literally "New System."
WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY?! I have five options: 1-2Rulz, 3-4Hawking, 5-6Salvi, 7-8Barbosa, 9-10Wolfe.
If I roll Salvi, I’ll move from Teminus to Outlands.
I have just the last names of the clans, and put no real thought into who or what they are. I just know one of them has a purpose outside of the Salvis. Das it.
Let’s roll up their influence: 23 → isolated: limited influence in a remote location. So, Wolfe doesn’t hold much power. I—
Is this the clan I’m thinking of then? 50/50: 13. YUP.
That makes sense, considering that they’re isolated.
I'm not gonna lie: this was an inevitability. We were going here at some point before the season finale.
I just didn't think it'd be...now. And like this!
Sector name, 48: Hollow/Limits
"We're not in the Salvi Pass anymore?" I said. As much as I'd wanted to, I'd never left the Salvi Pass. I had no idea what to expect. At the very least, we wouldn't have to run anymore.
"Data says the proper name of this sector is...Wolfe Hollow? It's small, just a few uninhabited planets and stellar objects. There's one primary settlement—wait, in the entire sector? That's so weird. It's called—"
His voice caught. I shot a look to him. His eyes were wide. The expression wasn't fear, more...shocked? He zoomed in on a screen I couldn't see, then flipped back and forth between different sets of data. "No fucking way."
"What's wrong?" I said, approaching slowly. I wasn't sure if I could take anymore surprises.
"Did you know Ira was sending us here?!"
"No...Where is 'here'"?
John rapidly pressed a few buttons and a window appeared on a large screen before me. I skimmed it quickly, looking for the pertinent information.
My jaw dropped.
"He's...He's taking us to the Ironlands?"
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