(37) Blowout

The Mora Campaign (229-1120 to 237-1120)

Referee notes
(Referee only)

229-1120 : Roulette / unknown / unknown

    The Third Eye has just entered orbit around Jackpot.  Helia Sarina convinces Misha Ravanos -- acting Captain until the Marquis Marcus Crestworthy feels ready to resume his duties --  that they should orbit another day to check out the world.  She doesn't like the idea of plunging blindly down into a world, even if there is plenty of ocean to refuel.
    Actually Helia doesn't want to land at all -- she'd rather stay off the planet and refuel at the gas giant.  Nevertheless the decision has been made, and she'll comply with it.  Even her cautionary tale about a ship landing on an apparently uninhabited world does not sway his decision.

230-1120 : Roulette / unknown / unknown

    The health of the crew continues to improve.  Teri Cralla is now fine, the Marquis is still sick, and Robert Morris has been upgraded from critical to bad.

    They've detected no signs at all of inhabitants.  There are no radio signals, no sign of artificial light, no concentrated heat sources, no signs of settlements or agriculture.
    Under the circumstances Helia decides to do a fast drop.  It's a flawless power landing in the ocean.

    The location she has selected is out in the middle of the ocean, as far away as possible from what little land there is.  As they hurtle down, they notice a couple of large floating vegetation patches.  Helia avoids them.
    Mich Saginaw starts refueling immediately.  Helia tells everyone that if they want to do any readings, they'd better get started because she's going to take off as soon as Mich says he's clear.
    Of course they are running the sensors -- not necessarily to collect data, but to make sure they know if anything approaches the ship.  Helia seems to have most of the crew a little worried about staying here.
    The dense atmosphere makes it easy to purge the systems and freshen up their air storage.  The ship will leave here with life support fully replenished.
    The planet is perhaps the closest to standard they've been on for a while.  Gravity is 0.84, temperature moderate, and if it weren't for the dense air and the fact that the world is almost all ocean, they could be on Earth.

    It takes only six hours to fill the tanks, but it'll be a further nine hours before refining is complete.  As soon as Mich gives the signal, Helia takes the Third Eye up to orbit as fast as she can.

    Up in orbit, the ship is ready to head for a jump point.  The question is, where to go now?  Helia and Sagan confer on the rudimentary starmap they've compiled.  The galactic core is located, so it's quite clear which direction they need to head.  They decide that with unknown systems in all directions, they'll stick to jump-1.  That way, if the system they arrive in has no fuel available, they can jump right back here and start again.

231-1120 : Roulette / unknown / unknown

    The Marquis is now in full health, and assumes command.  Robert too is much better -- his condition has been upgraded from bad to merely worse.

    The Third Eye continues to orbit Jackpot, waiting for the explorer and astrogator to figure out the local neighborhood of systems.

232-1120 : Roulette / unknown / unknown

    Sagan and Helia now have the local stars mapped.  They estimate that they are currently only about ten parsecs from the Spinward Marches.  The actual location is still a mystery, as their local area is not on the starmaps.

    Robert has been upgraded to sick, and resumes his duties.  He checks the sensors for any kind of communications, but finds the system empty.

    The decision is made to jump to the system that they now call Hope.

233-1120 : Roulette / unknown / unknown

    Helia pilots the ship out to the jump point.  All seems to be normal, until she runs the calculations for the jump to Hope, and finds that the computer gets a different answer from hers.  She obviously uses her answer rather than the computer's.  She's rather disturbed by the computer not working properly.
   Mich fires up the jump drive, using the regular zuchai crystal array.  Immediately there's a serious problem -- barely in time, he notices that some of the crystals are breaking down.  It's impossible to stop a disaster, but he tries anyway.
    The Third Eye suddenly hurtles off -- not into jump, but in a complicated path and spin.  Helia grabs the pilot controls and straightens out the ship.  "Hello," she says, "What's happening?"
    Mich replies, "We had a failure in the zuchai crystals.  They looked like they were destructing.  So to save the remaining ones, I had to dump the power into the fuel refining system and vent it as plasma.  I have to take the jump drive off-line and repair it... and replenish the fuel we've lost.  Had this happened a split second later, we would definitely been dead."

    Helia assesses the situation.  She finds they have just barely enough fuel to make it to the planet -- not enough for a gas giant refueling, and only enough for one shot at the landing.  She recommends to the captain that they land on the planet, and tells him they need to shut down as much of the ship systems as possible.  They'll be eating cold food for a few days.  Mich shuts the grav plates down, maintaining 0.1g in essential areas -- enough to reduce the risk of crew accidents.  The module is shut down completely.

    Helia plots a course, eases the ship around, and pulses the thruster plates.  It's a perfect course.  The Third Eye starts coasting towards Jackpot.

    Grand Admiral Baron Bridgehead tells them about the flight of the Anastasia after their misjump disaster, how they piloted the ship just by eye, and how Linda landed them on Pimane.

    Helia says to the Marquis, "Sir, can we get a new ship?"  She's perfectly serious.  Marquis Marc is sure Mich can fix it (he says dubiously) and Helia points out that Mich is the reason they're in this mess.

    Mich finds that engineering is a mess.  A lot of circuits have been burnt out from his power shunt, but that's repairable easily enough.  Unfortunately four zuchai crystals have shattered -- and they only have two spare.  That means he'll have to rig up something with the matter phase inverters to get them home.

237-1120 : Roulette / unknown / unknown

    The Third Eye arrives at the planet Jackpot.  Helia glides them in under aerolift only, reserving the remaining power for the contragrav to make the landing softer.  The approach is of course made easier by the dense atmosphere.
    The Baron insists on watching from the bridge.  It's far too much like the Anastasia for his liking, although at least this time they have inertial compensators and the ship isn't actually falling apart.  Nevertheless he grips the arms of his chair very hard.

    It's a perfect landing.  Helia glides the ship down, slipping into ground effect over the ocean, and and settles the ship into the water on the contragrav.

    Mich immediately starts refueling operations.

    Helia, with assistance from Robert, runs diagnostics with the computer to see why they disagreed on the jump coordinates.  Everything seems to be working just fine.