The Starship Notorious is at Lancaster. Jewel Frye helps the crew repair the jump-drive. Her fee is MCr 1, but this is not a problem since the crew have acquired a lot of money during their recent adventures.
Jewel Frye 686DD9 Scientist age=30 Engineering-3 Cr20,000 Gravitics-3 A-Pistol Computer-2 A-Pistol-1 (Scientist at Lancaster University.)
Jewel also make an experimental improvement to the jump-drive. Using a gravitational focus, the jump-3 drive now has a theoretical limit of 3.46 parsecs if the ship is unloaded. This matches the shortest jump-4. The ship must be unloaded when executing a jump-3.46 since she uses part of the cargo bay as negative volume.
Jewel tells the crew that she is researching gravity effects on jump-space. She has used her cutting-edge research to calibrate the jump-drive to perform better. She also mentions another scientist that has inspired her: Aloha Round (who unfortunately worked for the Rimmies) has had similar ideas. The Rimmies forced Aloha to build a graviton weapon using his theories. This weapon was used and then lost at the Space-Battle at Gettysburg.
If there is an opening for an engineer aboard the Notorious, she can fill that position. If not, she will have to write a program that can inform and educate the chief engineer on how to operate the improved jump-drive.
Before the Starship Notorious has been offered any cargo and while the repairs are ongoing the crew receives a message from Baron Ludwig van Lancaster. The Baron needs help with a problem in a mine that the crew have visited before (in S1E6).
The Baron describes the problem: it seems the miners have dug too deep and reached a cave-system and awakened some kind of monster that must be dealt with before it kills the miners. The Baron wants the crew to catch the monster. It may be of interest to our xeno-genetics division to examine it alive. If that is not possible, the crew may kill it. The Baron asks if the crew will do this for just kCr 100, since they will be heroes again. The crew will get an extra kCr 50 if they catch the creature alive. In a negotiation the baron may double this before he asks someone else.
The crew of the Notorious agrees and goes to the mine. They meet George Coventry who is the manager of the local administration who has agreed to help them with maps of the mine. They also talk to representatives for the workers who are very worried about the monster. Now they cannot work and will be deeper in debt to the company store. How will they ever be able to save enough for a ticket back to the civilization? Some of them work in the mine anyway, but a few miners are lost every day.
Hugo Hicks is the leader of the workers union. He will explain the company store like system of the mine. “Muckmen are recruited with a promise of a good hourly payment plus a share of the value of the ore. Sure, if you work 12 hours each day and never get ill, then you can return to civilization with some cash. But most return with nothing after they had paid for their tickets back. Most of us can never get back! We owe our souls to the company store.” Hugo also explains that the kidnapping of the Baron’s son (in season-1 episode-6) was an attempt to get the press to notice the situation for the workers here. He says that it was stupid of his predecessor and even more stupid to hire the Death Quartet for the job.
Adolfus James is the workers safety representative. He explains that families are in the worst situation. At least one parent must work, or they cannot afford food and rent. But in a growing number of families, one parent has already been taken by the monster. Adolfus James has a leg prosthetics that he got after he lost his leg in a mining accident. He had to pay for his new leg himself. He thinks that he will never be able to leave or retire. He also says that some people who cannot work anymore commit suicide. Those who cannot commit suicide are taken care of by the other workers. The workers can pay a percent of their earnings to a retirement fund for the old that cannot leave. The company totally ignores the old.
From the few miners that have seen the monster and survived, the crew learns that the monster looks like a hairy humanoid with long claws. They also learn that there is probably more than one monster. The monsters were first encountered in the mechanical shop on the second level. That is why the workers now call them Mikeril Monsters. (Mikeril is local miner slang for mechanic.)
The crew, Emmanuel Zechariah and his team go down an empty mine armed with their modern weapons. It is dark on the third level in the mine. The lighting has been broken. The group must rely on electric torches. (The batteries will work for 30 minutes.) They will manage to kill a few monsters but must then run back to the elevator. The monsters are too fast and strong to fight in an enclosed space like the mine. The monsters throw rocks and use their clubs and claws in close combat.
The monsters take Emmanuel Zechariah while the crew aren’t looking and they don’t see that he is killed. The crew cannot help him and must run for it. (Keep counting the ammunition.)
For a chance to get their extra kCr 50, the crew can take one of the killed monsters with them to the elevator. The weight of the monster is about 100 kg. They must also carry, drag or help wounded crew-members or the two remaining volunteers.
After the first attempt by the crew to kill all monsters they are approached by a Hugo Hicks. Now he needs the crews help. First, he wants the crew to either rescue Emmanuel Zechariah Zechipaul or find his remains. He also wants the crew to contact the press now that they have a dead monster. That is something that the press would write about, and at the same time, the press can learn about the situation for the workers here.
The crew sends some images to the press and they arrive at the next day. A few brave reporters insist that they join the rescue operation. They have thermal cameras that may be helpful in the cave.
The Second Hunt:
During this second attempt, a few monsters are killed but then the crew and the brave reporters must retreat. When looking at the reporters’ video afterwards they can see that one of the monsters have a flesh tunnel ear-ring and other piercings that match Emmanuel Zechariah.
The reporters also talk to Hugo Hicks. Hugo explains the situation for the workers here. The press promises to report the abuses of workers in addition to the danger of the monsters.
The Third Hunt:
Now Hugo Hicks sends a few electricians with the crew. The electricians can repair the power within 10 minutes, while the crew protects them. After this it is easy to kill the last monsters. The crews’ job here is done.