With Ultraviolet in the Drift, and gravity on low, Mongoose stands looking at the rear bulkhead, resting her elbow on the top of Astrid

“You’re a fucking marvel Astrid! That’s amazing work, especially in the middle of that shitstorm. Honestly, I thought it was over for us. I guess surrender was an option, but you saw those grubs and spacers in that morgue. I don’t think they’d hesitate to get rid of us. OK, fine, just me. They’d probably keep a superstar like you?”. Astrid chirps and beeps in response, happy for the praise, and then a bit more mournful at the prospect of losing Mongoose.

Mongoose stands, places a hand on either side of Astrid’s chassis and plants a kiss above the sensor array. “Thank you for saving my life. Again. You’re the best”.

“Now, let’s find something to brace this knee. I bet it’s all purple.”

[Heal - miss]

Oh man it is purple. She shouldn’t have looked. She tries to straighten it, and pain lances through her. So, she duct tapes an icepak down there, get’s back into her vacsuit. She’ll need to get a professional to look at it.

Sometime later Ultraviolet exits the Drift at Lagrange station. You can see it was a big Ore Hauler, and the landing bays are in a gargantuan converted ore bin, behind a fancy energy shield. She tries to query the station BBS about the status of Wayfinder, and newest bounties in the sector.

[Gather information - weak hit]

She’s not on the bounties list, but there’s a Savarin Clan Shuttle in a landing bay - that complicates things. Also, Wayfinder is still here. She lands, and as every freelancer in the galaxy does, she removes the Ultraviolet’s Nav Computer, a squat cylinder - 20cm tall, 12cm across.

There are a few deckhands, seeing if she’s here to unload anything, and she shakes her head, no. She doesn’t see anyone in Savarin markings around.

She limps, and Astrid glides, to a kiosk where she slots in her computer, 90 degree turn clockwise to lock it in place. The black screen on the kiosk flickers and hums to life.

It’s here where Mongoose can trade any Passages she’s found for information in kind, or straight creds. It also serves as a communication relay - encrypted data is synced with her computer - data from other travellers, from people on this station. In this way the vagabond ships of the Forge serve as a communication network, one where the ‘packets’ travel randomly and slowly. She can only access the stuff she has the key for, like the news feeds, the Grub message boards, and her subscription to ForgeFlix.

But this allows Mongoose a bit of pettiness, where she gives away the Passage to Prism for free, unencrypted, and then, on the Grub Hub, the info that there’s a precursor Vault in orbit too, but the warning that the locals are a bit shooty.

Those rude jerks are about to get a lot more visitors.

She had considered going back there and checking the Vault out herself, but she really needs to leave the Sector.

She then grabs the handle on her nav computer, counter-clockwise turn to pull it free, and back into her satchel, as the kiosk powers down again.

She limps into the main concourse, and goes to “Jackpot’s Health Hut” - A cubicle like shop with a open curtain for a doorway. There’s a man sitting at a desk, with a headlamp and an eye-piece working on a cybernetic arm. He tall and wiry - the frame of someone who grew up in low-G like her, but broad shoulders. He’s wearing coveralls, but the top half is off and tied around his waist, and he’s only wearing a mesh singlet, so she sees some tattoos - sector symbols - some she recognises, most she doesn’t. No grub or scav markings - maybe grew up in a trader fleet?

“Heyya doc?”

He turns, sees someone that looks like him “Hey there! What can I do for you?”

“I hurt my knee - don’t be floating around when full gravity is restored”

He clucks his tongue “you look like you should know better!”

“Well, I’m not the one who turned it on. Without warning”

He grins - “ahhh. And walking around on it seemed like a good idea to you? Got creds?”

She nods, he closes the curtained front of the cubicle, and:

[heal - iron - weakhit -2 momentum]

She get’s braced, painkillers, her burn wounds looked at, and, “yeah, that’s a cracked rib - nice bruise growing. Look, I only just met you, but from your injuries, I’m already worried for you!” He grins. She smiles back, feeling a bit woolly in the brainmeats, but certainly no pain. She pays the man using a cred stick, and shakes his hand in the spacer fashion - basically the ‘predator hand clasp meme’ grip.

Feeling a bit buoyed, Mongoose pulls out her communicator - and dials up Wayfinder. The call connects and as Mongoose inhales to start an angry tirade, Wayfinder says “I’m at your ship” and hangs up.

Frustrated, Mongoose hobbles back to the landing bay, and see’s the figure of Wayfinder hiding in the shadow of Ultraviolet behind a landing strut.

Wayfinder is large. Not as tall as Mongoose. But Wayfinder looks like she grew up in gravity. And ate a lot of protein. And did a lot of weights. She’s solid - broad-shoulders, strong jaw, pale skin, white and scarred on the left side due to long exposure to vacuum. A cybernetic arm on that side of her body too. Her hair is a muddy brown mop, shaved on the scarred side. Her Savarin Clan tattoo is very visible on her neck. She’s dressed in a nondescript navy blue coverall, left arm sleeveless to get the full effect of the cyberarm. She carrying a bulky, heavy duffel bag, with no apparent effort.

“Did you get it?” she asks Mongoose, looking around - nervous scared.

Mongoose stares daggers at Wayfinder, hands balled into fists, knuckles turning white. “You. Fucking…”

Wayfinder holds up her hands, looking Mongoose up and down “look I’m sorry! Obviously it didn’t go so easy, let me explain. Not here though. I think we’re BOTH in a lot of trouble now. Can we get on your ship to talk?”

Mongoose draws her blaster, keeping it at her hip as the ramp of the Ultraviolet lowers. “You first”

At the top of the ramp is the cargo bay. Wayfinder doesn’t look at the Vayan shipping container at all. Mongoose looks pointedly at Wayfinder. Then the container. Then Wayfinder. Confused, Wayfinder looks at the container. “Oh! Is that Vayan’s stuff?”

“Shouldn’t you know?”

“OK, so I lied. I’m not a Vayan. I’m not Savarin Clan. Not anymore.”

Fuming, Mongoose raises her blaster, but quicker than she can follow, Wayfinder has snatched it out of her hand and continues to talk holding the gun by the barrel.

“Listen! My old Clan were up to some shady evil shit. ESPECIALLY Major Kasia Vayan. They were abducting certain people. Grubs, and explorers mainly. I didn’t understand it all, but they grabbed people who were having visions about the Precursors. Questioning them at first, then it turned to medical testing, and then… then the experiments. Something to do with artificial intelligence. Don’t ask me how. I didn’t want to know. The Drift Runner A.I. had been acting really really strange. I think the experiments were its idea. I… I led a mutiny. Disabled the A.I. But Vayan… they put down the mutiny. Violently. Killed everyone. Made me watch. Then put me out the airlock”.

“Part of the mutiny was putting contractors and the unaffiliated on escape pods - I was able to space walk to the closest one, but not without a cost”. She gestures with the hilt of Mongoose’s blaster to her own vacuum burns and cybernetic arm.

Mongoose, still a bit out of it on painkillers, is a bit in shock. Visions about the Precursors?

“We made it here, the local rigger saved my life. I guess the Clan assumed I was dead? My Clan access still worked, saw that the Drift Runner had gone dark, awaiting recovery, that Major Vayan and whoever was left of the crew abandoned ship. I figure the rest of the Clan might not fully support what was happening on the Drift Runner so Vayan and co were regrouping. Or maybe the Clan leaders do know. Either way, you turned up the next day, and I thought it would be a quick salvage, get that dodgy A.I off the board, and put a big wrench into their plans”

“Why make me feel like shit about taking everything that wasn’t bolted down??” Mongoose blurts out, her hand half reaching for the gun being held so casually in the larger woman’s hand, before thinking better of it. “Why nearly kill myself, twice!” Wayfinder winces “to retrieve all of Vayan’s stuff?”.

“I thought it would piss them off”

Mongoose starts to shake, leans back against the bulkhead, and slides until she’s sitting. The shaking is silent, hollow laughter, that becomes loud and raspy “I shot a Savarin Clan marine in the face getting Vayan’s stuff from their quarters! I destroyed a Savarin Clan Interceptor getting this shipping container of their wordly belongings! All to just piss them off?!”

Wayfinder looks chargrinned, and then appraisingly at Mongoose. “I thought it was abandoned! Unprotected! I thought Vayan’s stuff might have been their dumb grandfather’s rapier and whatever other knick knacks they had.

“I owe you a lot. I can see that. I will make it up to you. Did you get the…”

“Yes I got the fucking core too. An A.I! A fucking Founding Clan A.I! just sitting in a drawer of junk over there” she waves a hand absently before resting her wrists on her knees. “You could own a sector… several, with the creds from one of those”

“Which is why we need to get far away from here. They’re going to stop at nothing to get it back. I know somewhere safe. I’ll make it up to you. Promise.”

Mongoose snorts, trust the word of a liar? “Fine. “

[milestone reached - Deliver the Computer Core and Vayan belongings from The Drift Runner to Wayfinder]

“I’ll take you there. I just want somewhere safe to rest and be safe for a couple of days. But just so you know, I still hate you”

Wayfinder steps over Mongoose, holds out her cybernetic hand. “Understandable”

Mongoose considers slapping the hand away, but doesn’t for two reasons. One it’s a metal hand, and that would hurt. And two, with her knee banged up, she didn’t consider how hard it would be to stand again. So she takes the hand, and Wayfinder pulls Mongoose to her feet, and gives her back her blaster.

“Where do you want to go?” Mongoose asks, in a sulk.

“Sisyphus, on the planet Feldspar”

“Do you have a Passage?”

“No”

“Of course you don’t”

Wayfinder thumbs something into her communicator “I’ve sent you the coordinates”

Mongoose yells over her shoulder “crew quarters are up that ladder. Plenty to choose from”

[undertake an expedition - miss]

The Ultraviolet leaves Lagrange, and enters the Drift. Near the topside, a small grey dome sits, that wasn’t there before, looking for all the world like a tracking device. Huh.

Wayfinder comes into the cockpit, dressed a bit more casual - cargo pants tucked into mag-boots. A green-grey cammo pattern midrift top, showing off a sweet six pack, and wearing some sort of thick plastic jacket with armoured shoulders and elbows.

Mongoose turns and is at six pack level and then looks up at Wayfinder’s face - less hard and dangerous at the moment - relaxed. “I guess the maid hasn’t been for a few… decades? I cleared some quarters out”

Mongoose snorts “I don’t entertain much”

“huh? Wouldn’t have guessed” - Wayfinder smiles, trying to break the tension a bit, but the look from Mongoose says things are still tense.

“did you say you destroyed an Interceptor… a SAVARIN Interceptor, in (no offence) this?” she gestures at the ship vaguely.

Mongoose shrugs. “they disabled us with an ion cannon - but we replaced the fuses…”

This time Wayfinder snorts “you use fuses?”

Overly defensive, Mongoose says “yeah, well, those overload protectors take too long to reset. A lot easier to replace a fuse when one of those weird space storms hit, or, as it turns out, an ion cannon knocks you out of the sky. I played dead, as we spun out of control. Timed a shot just right. I got lucky. Then your Drift Runner was firing a beam weapon at us - got into the Drift before that messed us up too badly”

Wayfinder gives an appreciative whistle, and pats the bulkhead next to her head. After a few seconds silence she remarks “So, they got the Runner going again? Well. Shit.”

Mongoose considers not getting drawn into conversation, but can’t help herself. “There wasn’t much wrong with her, that I could see. It was running on emergency power, but no structural damage, most of the terminals were still active. And the booby traps”

“I should have thought of that. traps. Typical Vayan. Sorry. Again. And marines showed up?”

“yeah, pretty quickly too. Must have already been on their way? I thought maybe I tripped a silent alarm, or the assault bot…”

“there was an assault bot?”

“fuck yeah there was an assault bot” Mongoose spits angrily. “thought I was done for, thought that was the worst of it. Then your Savarin Inceptor showed up, and marines boarded the ship, got power and gravity working…”

Mongoose slowly shares the whole story, and Wayfinder apologises for the extra risk the Vayan property added to the job. Mongoose, still upset, just shrugs. “I swore on iron”, to explain everything. She shows where the A.I is, explains that that bin is shielded, is that cool?

“It should be fine - especially on an old ship with old systems.”

Mongoose chooses not to mention she turned it on already.

Added 3 x Develop your relationship:
1. swearing an iron vow
2. completing a quest to their benefit
3. sharing a profound moment

Wayfinder says “I underestimated you Mongoose. I’m impressed with what you, and Astrid, are capable of. Once we get to Sisyphus, we can get rid of that dangerous core, and all vows, even those under false pretenses, are square. Right?”

Mongoose nods, and turns back to the console - “we’re about to exit the Drift, lets see what we see”.

What they see is a creature. A massive space octopus/eel thing. It’s just travelling along, silently through space - what manner of propulsion, Mongoose couldn’t say. Actually a lot more than 8 tentencles. It’s 20 klicks away, but almost fills the entire viewscreen of the Ultraviolet

Both Mongoose and Wayfinder stare in awe, and then Mongoose starts taking some pictures. “The people on the Grub Hub are going to love this!”

“Grub Hub?”

“Oh, the Grub message boards - I’ve still got a login”

“You don’t consider yourself one anymore?”

“No, not…” Mongoose is not sure how to say she’s had a vision from the Precursors and she had to leave her Grub Clan to stop a catastrophe, and also, knowing that they were experimenting on people like her on the Drift Runner, she lamely finishes “… not full time. Trying other things, seeing the sights.”

As the creature moves away slowly, Mongoose yawns real big. “I’m so bloody exhausted - going to catch a couple of hours sleep while the e-drive charges. Wake me if we’re in mortal peril please.”

And even though there’s a big scary ex-Savarin Clan mercenary that can’t be trusted on the ship, Mongoose falls into a deep sleep instantly.