Amber Nebula Campaign Log

26. The Liberation of Rubilith

26 October, 2775. 08:26 UTC. Field log entry by Captain Paris Smith.

Lycroft is dead. He saved Queen Natasha, but the medics couldn't save him after the fall from the hotel balcony.

08:47 UTC. Hotel lobby recording, Planteth Aston Grand Hotel.

Serron: So Natasha wants to see us. We should make sure we get the money she owes us.

Paris: I could try...

Spanners: Sex appeal won't help with Queen Natasha.

Paris: I don't know... she might be gay.

09:02 UTC. Conference room recording, Planteth Aston Grand Hotel.

Queen Natasha: My friends, it is good to see you again. As you know, the fleet is about to leave for Rubilith. I would like you to go along, as civilian advisors, since you have met Viscount Conrad and know some of the layout of the Royal Palace where he is likely to be found. This is Colonel Bhatraj, commander of an elite tactical marine squad. You will be attached to his group.

Colonel Bhatraj: The squad consists of twenty highly trained marines - experts in these sort of missions. You'll be in no danger.

Serron: No danger? How can you guarantee that?

Colonel Bhatraj: You'll be there only as advisors. You won't be going in with the troops.

Iki Piki: Yeah, we won't be going in with the troops. They'll be following us.

Paris: Shhh! So what are the mission parameters, Colonel?

Colonel Bhatraj: We are to locate and capture Viscont Conrad.

Spanners: Do we have to capture him alive?

Iki Piki: If we do we can put him in packing foam.

09:41 UTC. Log entry by Spanners

We have returned to the Legacy to pack for our trip to Rubilith. We will be leaving the ship here on Arawne since the naval fleet has about twice the hyperspace speed as Legacy. The trip should take five days, as opposed to the ten it would take in our own ship.

09:47 UTC. Legacy internal security log.

Floyd: You're going on a navy ship? You must take me with you!

Paris: Why?

Floyd: Do you want to eat military rations for five days? I can cook good meals for you!

Serron: He has a point... Can't we take him? He's just a robot...

Spanners: "Just a robot..."

Iki Piki: It was just a rabbit...

Spanners: What are you doing to him?

Serron: I want to install a remote control device in Floyd.

Iki Piki: A remote detonator? Sure, I can do that.

Serron: No... just a remote control. I'm going to fill his internal space with blasters and grenades.

Iki Piki: And fit him with a parachute?

Serron: You can never have too many blasters, grenades, and too much Plastex-B.

Spanners: I think you can. The operative word being "you".

12:52 UTC. Field log entry by Iki Piki.

We have taken a surface-to-orbit shuttle to transfer to the Arawne Navy vessel Steingart, which will take us to Rubilith. We've packed our equipment, including Floyd the chef robot, into our quarters, and are preparing for hyperspace skew.

27 October, 2775. 03:29 UTC. ANS Steingart electronics workshop recording.

Serron: So you've rigged the secret compartment with the weapons?

Spanners: Just have to screw this plate back on...

Floyd: Ah, ah am zanking you, mon ami, for 'elping moi to be of zervice!

Serron: What have you done?... You've made him French!!

07:42 UTC. ANS Steingart armoury recording.

Colonel Bhatraj: You can requisition any hardware you need for the assault on Rubilith...

Serron: Like experimental combat drugs?

Colonel Bhatraj: ... so long as you can justify the need. And all military equipment will of course have to be returned.

Serron: Don't you mean "accounted for"?

08:57 UTC. ANS Steingart recreation room recording.

Spanners: We need to decide what equipment we want to requisition...

Serron: I want some monowire.

Paris: What excuse can you give to get some of that?

Iki Piki: Flossing?

30 October, 2775. 18:23 UTC. Field log entry by Captain Paris Smith.

We should emerge from hyperspace at Rubilith tomorrow. We've spent the time on this trip becoming familiar with some new weaponry and armour which we've borrowed from the Arawne Naval forces. Once we emerge from hyperspace we'll be landing in a marine drop-ship, just outside the Royal Palace in Rheydt, and then assisting the marines as they storm the palace looking for Viscount Conrad.

Spanners has also finally managed to fix Floyd's voice synthesiser to get rid of the French accent. He's fixed it so Floyd now speaks in Chatka instead of English. Serron and Colonel Bhatraj have also fallen ill to some sort of mild food-related problem. They are each spending an inordinate amount of time in the toilets...

31 October, 2775. 05:37 UTC. ANS Steingart drop-ship bay recording.

Serron: I'm not sure about getting involved too closely in this operation. It could be dangerous. Besides, they have twenty fully armed and trained marines.

Iki Piki: Twenty marines? How much damage can they do? We better go!

06:15 UTC. ANS Steingart military operation recording.

Colonel Bhatraj: Right. As soon as we land I want everyone dusted off and the perimeter secured. Got that?

Marine: Helicopter gunships to port!

Colonel Bhatraj: Fire!

[Thumping rattle of gatling laser fire. Explosion.]

Marine: Targets eliminated, sir!

Colonel Bhatraj: Good work soldier! Brace for landing!

[Thud and clunk of doors opening.]

Colonel Bhatraj: Okay! Move, move move!!!

[Clattering of guns being readied and feet running.]

Marine: No people in sight! Area secured, sir!

Colonel Bhatraj: Right. Now to get into the palace...

Serron: How about we go in the secret entrance?

Colonel Bhatraj: Yes, that was the plan.

06:22 UTC. Field log entry by Spanners.

We have entered the Royal Palace with the marines and are helping them search and secure the building. We've found abandoned rooms that look like they were recently occupied. It appears Conrad and his followers left in a hurry when they heard the invasion fleet was approaching. If they managed to board a hyperspace ship they'll be long gone and we have no hope of catching them here.

06:41 UTC. ANS Steingart military operation recording.

[Low rumbling noise in the distance.]

Marine: What was that?

Fleet Communication Control: Colonel Bhatraj, we have detected a surface-to-orbit ship launch in your vicinity.

Colonel Bhatraj: Roger Fleet-com. That might be Conrad and his cronies blasting off from the small port near the palace. They probably only have orbital shuttles there, no starships. Team A! Investigate the launch hangar, three blocks west of the palace!

Marine: Yes, sir! Team, follow me!

Serron: Let's go with them!

Colonel Bhatraj: Team B, continue searching the palace! Fleet-com, order that ship blockaded! On no accounts is to dock with a hyperspace-capable ship.

06:41 UTC. ANS Steingart military operation recording.

Marine: Colonel, we're at the hangar. There's one ship left here. The hangar attendants have been wounded by blaster fire. The civilians are looking after the casualties and checking the computer for any records.

Paris: This one's dead!

Iki Piki: This one's alive, but barely...

Serron: Let's get on the ship.

Marine: Colonel Bhatraj - we have boarded the ship and are going in pursuit.

Serron: Who said we're going in pursuit?

Marine: I just assumed...

Spanners: What the... The computer's locked up!

[Loud alarm bells go off.]

Paris: What have you done to it?!

Serron: Why are you closing the hangar doors Spanners?!

Spanners: I'm not sodding closing the doors!

Serron: We're prepping for take-off! We need the doors open! Paris... get in here!

[Sirens approach from outside the hangar.]

Spanners: ^%@^%#@& computer!!!

Serron: How soon can we blast off?

Paris: As soon as the hangar doors are open!

Iki Piki: How about we blast through them? Or I could set up a small explosive charge...

[Running footsteps enter hangar.]

Policeman: Freeze! Police! Get away from there!

Marine: We're part of the liberation force! We need to get the doors open to chase Conrad!

Policeman: Get out of the way... What have you done to the computer? Geez... give me a second...

07:02 UTC. RRNS Foslight bridge recording.

Paris: I've got the escaping ship on the radar. They're faster than us.

Serron: What do you mean faster? How can they be faster?

Iki Piki: They did have first choice of ship. They would have picked the faster one...

Serron: Oh. So we can't catch Conrad?

Iki Piki: We could go to 105% on the reactor...

Spanners: I have engineering skills.

Iki Piki: I'm getting off!

Spanners: It'll be okay.

Serron: After what you did to the computer?

Spanners: But this isn't a computer...

Iki Piki: Yeah, it's just a nuclear reactor...

Paris: We need to do something. They're not slowing down... the blockade won't be able to stop them. It looks like they're heading into the outer solar system. There's an asteroid belt out there.

ANS Steingart Communications Officer: Steingart to Foslight. Your chef robot wants to talk to you...

Serron: Floyd? What does he want?

Floyd: I heard something about a ship heading to the asteroid belt. The smuggling routes in me database show a secret smuggler's base out there.

Paris: Can you give us the coordinates?

Floyd: Sure.

ANS Steingart Communications Officer: I'll transmit the orbital parameters direct to your nav-comp.

Paris: Good. Now how are we going to catch up to them? if there's really a smuggler base out there Conrad could transfer to a starship and esape into hyperspace. Spanners..?

Spanners: I don't want to tinker with the engines while they're running.

Serron: I don't want you tinkering with the engines while they're not running. We don't have time!

Spanners: I'll see what I can do.

11:38 UTC. Field log entry by Serron.

Spanners has successfully adjusted the engines for boosted performance. The ship we are pursuing is not answering any radio messages, so we can only presume Conrad is on board. It will reach the asteroid base in about 14 hours. We've adjusted our acceleration so we can pass the ship just before it reaches the base. Our relative speeds at that point should be low enough to allow a few shots at it from the gatling lasers on board. Iki Piki will man one gun while one of the three marines on board will man the other.

01 November, 2775. 01:41 UTC. RRNS Foslight bridge recording.

Paris: Here we go... we're approaching Conrad's ship. Relative speed is a few hundred kilometres per second. Aim well guys... you'll only get one shot.

Iki Piki: I see them. Here goes!

Serron: A hit!

Paris: Looks like major damage. That's it, we've flown past them. We're out of range again.

Iki Piki: We'll be back!...

Paris: An escape pod just ejected. The ship's drifting. Setting course to intercept pod.

04:21 UTC. Field log entry by Captain Paris Smith.

We have intercepted the escape pod from the runaway ship, and brought Viscount Conrad and one of his assistants on board. Serron stunned them as soon as the airlock doors opened and Iki has used packing foam to stick them to a bulkhead, upside down.

We are now heading back to Rubilith. The fleet reports that the invasion has been a complete success, with small cells of troops loyal to Viscount Conrad rounded up and arrested, and the rest of the population freed from tyranny. A message ship has bene dispatched to Arawne with the good news for Queen Natasha.

06:32 UTC. RRNS Foslight bridge recording.

Serron: Now we just need to get our story straight about how all the equipment we borrowed from the armoury has been irreperably damaged or lost.

Iki Piki: Yeah... "I lost my chameleon suit. I put it down and it was so well camouflaged I couldn't find it."

Spanners: We should tell the fleet about the smuggler base.

Paris: They've done nothing wrong.

Spanners: What do you mean? They're smugglers!

Paris: What's the difference between smuggling and ripping off the Navy?

Spanners, Serron, Iki Piki: Us!

Paris: Stealing for yourself is much worse that stealing for someone else.

Spanners, Serron, Iki Piki: What?

Paris: Stealing for someone else has some moral value.

02 November, 2775. 08:10 UTC. Field log entry by Iki Piki.

We have landed on Rubilith and are helping Colonel Bhatraj and the fleet restore order as we wait for the arrival of Queen Natasha. She should get back to her planet and her people in just over a week.

11 November, 2775. 11:18 UTC. State Funeral Service for Lycroft the Intrepid.

Queen Natasha: We have assembled today to pay tribute to the life of Lycroft the Intrepid, nephew to Serron the Magnificent.

Lycroft was a youth reporter for the Interstellar News network, ISN, and in his time recorded several important stories. These included an exposé of a secretive Larrokite doomsday cult on Oceania, coverage of the tragic accident which destroyed the port facilities of the city of Beldano during a terrible storm on the same planet, dramatic human interest footage of a slime boat race on Vallauris, during which his leg was broken, and several stories on the underground resistance movement here on Rubilith during the traitorous pretendership of Viscount Conrad.

Like most Sparrials, Lycroft had an adventurous nature. He would often recover missing items unaccountably lost by other people and, out of the goodness of his heart, return them. On one memorable occasion, he prepared a special meal of Sparrial delicacies for his uncle, whom he had not seen for several years.

These achievements stand as testimony to the loss we all feel on this sad occasion of marking his passing, and commemorating his honour.

Lycroft first became known to me at a meeting on Arawne three months ago, not long after Viscount Conrad's coup d'état. He impressed me as an enthusiastic, forthright, and determined young Sparrial. His friends were instrumental in assisting my escape from Conrad's rebellious forces, and introduced me to him during my time of exile on Arawne.

In Rubilith's darkest hour, Lycroft returned to the terrorised planet, seeking out resistance cells and aiding them in their quest to overthrow Conrad and restore benevolent rule. At great personal risk to himself, he infiltrated the palace being used as a headquarters by Conrad, and learnt of his dastardly plan to ambush the combined fleet heading to Rubilith to liberate the planet. With this vital information he stowed away on board a ship now used by Conrad in an attempt to exert his evil influence over Arawne as well.

Picked up by his friends in space near Arawne, Lycroft assisted ably in taking control of the first battleship out of hyperspace and through his actions averted the otherwise inevitable conquest of Rubilith's close ally.

Lycroft then insisted on being the media representative chosen for the dangerous task of negotiating with Crown Prince Patrick of Inverness, who was now holding me as a hostage in the Aston Grand Hotel on Arawne. With quick thinking and commendable bravery he almost managed to single-handedly defuse the situation and obtain my release. Tragically, he was cornered and with no other option sacrificed himself to save me.

For this selfless act of valour, I hereby award Lycroft the Ruby Star of Rubilith, our planet's highest honour.

And now we commit Lycroft's mortal remains to the eternal cycle of renewal and regeneration. His ashes will be released to space, to drift amongst the stars whence we all came, that he might find the peace and rest denied him in his last moments of life. From stars we are born; to the stars we return.

[Two minutes of silence.]

Queen Natasha: But this is also an occasion of celebration, as we mark the liberation of Rubilith. I now wish to call on Serron the Magnificent, Captain Paris Smith, Iki Piki, and Spanners, to come forward and accept our planet's second highest award, the Gold Star of Rubilith.

[Triumphant music. Wild applause and cheering.]

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