Red Sun → The Wall → Compass Rose → The Hunters
On the 8 day flight back to Destiny, the Hunters relax, re-coop, and recharge. Charlotte performs a medical examination on both Melissa and Dalton to make sure they are in good health. Melissa is fine other than the abrasions and bruises she aquired, that and tired. Dalton on the other hand is another story. Charlotte finds that he had been at the brick for quite some time and his mental defenses had been broken down. There are times he is very lucid and other times not so much. The party talks with Melissa in which she is polite and cordial, but seems to keep to herself most times. She is seen speaking with b0z off and on. She mentions that she is a business woman that travels a lot and from time to time Maloch request something from her.
Also during the trip back everyone seems to have an encounter with Dalton.
As you look him in the eyes, he tilts his head and says: “Family is everything. We must always help family. I had a family… I think.” He gets a far away look on his face as if recalling the past and says nothing beyond this.
As you enter your room you finds Dalton standing in the middle facing away from you. Without turning around he says: “Colin. They are hunting you. They don’t like what you found.” Colin reaches out and touches Dalton’s shoulder and he startles as if waking from a trance and on seeing Colin the throws him self under the bed screaming: “Hiding… Hunting… Killing… Not Safe… Never Safe… Can’t see me… Can’t find me…”
On returning to the engine room after dinner, you find Dalton there staring at the engine working and he says: “So peaceful in here. Everything is working in harmony as it should be. Nothing out of order… synergy… unified…” Dalton turns his head and looking at Ramus says: “You must keep everything in balance. Balance is key… everyone should be told… have the right to know… Find the secret… Tell everyone… Balance…” At this Dalton goes back to staring at the engine
You enter the lounge to get something to eat and see Dalton sitting at the table. As you approach he looks up and and says: “Hello Pretty. I know you… Ray… From somewhere… He… He misses you…. Needs you… Find him…” He then looks away and does not respond after this.
Sitting in the pilot’s seat you hear someone enter the room. Glancing over your shoulder you see Dalton looking around and when his eyes meets yours he says: “You… You know the secret… You know the way… From Highguard… There must be balance… You must thread the needle… Thead it!!! Thread It!!!” at which point Dalton collapses rolling into a fetal position sobbing.
Rest of the trip to Destiny is uneventful.
As they arrive at Destiny, they return the the warehouse they were originally going to meet Abernathy and drop off the artifacts they had found on Whittier. Melissa, Abernathy, and Dalton are dropped off with the Artifacts and Abernathy tells them that Maloch will be in contact soon as to what to do from here. Sure enough less than an hour later b0z calls everyone together as he is calling.
Maloch says: “Well done Hunters. I was just updated on what happened and I could not be more pleased with your performance. You are my greatest asset. Keep it up. For now, I want you to lay low until we can figure out what we can from all of the artifacts and information you have uncovered. I will be in touch with you. Oh, and don’t forget to remove the surveillance equipment attached to your comms array you left intact.” Roland and Ramus exchage a look that speaks volumes and Maloch continues “Don’t worry about this call being monitored as I am speaking directly through B0z.” Ramus makes his way to the top of the ship and removes the equipment.
With their new instructions to lay low, Charlotte says she was raised her on Destiny and we can go to my family’s ranch and stay there until we hear more. Everyone agrees and flying low to avoid detection the make their way to the Laren Ranch.
The park the ship undercover of trees a ways away from the ranch and take the shuttle the last few minutes. As they arrive, they see old man holding a hunting rifle standing on the porch of the house. Charlotte recognizes him as her grandfather Carl Laren. As soon a Charlotte identifies herself, Carl recognizes her and wraps her in a big hug, starts crying and says “Oh Lottie, it is so good to see you.” He explains her grandmother Ellie is not doing well and is laid up in bed. Charlotte introduces everyone and she heads up stairs to see if she can do anything for her grandmother. When she enters the room she sees her sleeping with a girl around 30 years old holding her hand. Charlotte recognizes her younger sister Cynthia. After a quick examination she sees there is nothing physically wrong with Ellie. That is when Carl explains how they just received news that Cheryl, their oldest daughter, has died in an accident on the moon Clio and Ellie has not been the same since. Charlotte realizes she is suffering from depression and gets some medicine for her to ease how she is feeling. Carl ask the party to travel to Clio to retrieve Cheryl’s body so they can give her a proper burial here at her home. He was planning on going the day before, but did not want to leave Ellie the way she was. Roland says that Clio is only 6-8 hours away and they should easily be able to say undercover with the secondary ID of the ship.
As they are getting ready to leave, they ask Carl about their initial greeting with the hunting rifle and he says “Well Lottie, ever since you left the school some men keep coming around looking for you every couple of months. The first time they came they were very rude and pushed me and your grandma around, but I have found if I just stand my ground and tell them I haven’t seen you they leave. I got their number, don’t worry about them.”
The crew returns to the ship and makes their way to Clio. Upon arrival the go to customs and pick up a simple box coffin and return it back to the ship with all of the paperwork. Charlotte looks through and sees the cause of death was labeled as an accident, but there was no autopsy done. Curious she opens the coffin and finds her sister inside. She decides to perform her own autopsy so gets her transferred into the med bay and placed on the exam table. Upon removing her clothing she finds no signs of drug use or any outward sign of death. She does find a 6 inch incision in her abdomen that has been recently sutured closed, maybe a week ago. Curious about the incision she starts to opens the sutures when Cheryl sits up screaming in pain. Charlotte quickly anesthetizes her and stitches her back up.
Wanting to know what is going on and knowing Cheryl is going to be out for several hours the crew head into town to get some information. They stop at customs and ask who delivered her sister to them and they told her that the coroner is who they need to speak to. When they go speak to the coroner, he says he does not recognize the name and says no one has passed through here in over a week. Rayna gets online and can not find any news of the accident nor can she find any record of Cheryl living or working on Clio.
They decide to head back to Harvest and get some answers from Cheryl when she wakes up. When she wakes up they ask her what is going on. She explains she was working for a very bad man by the name of Donavic and once you are part of the organization, there is only one way out so that is how she got out. When Charlotte ask about the incision Cheryl tells her that is her retirement fund. She took 4 bags of some drug that is worth a lot of credits. Charlotte gives Cheryl a lecture on the bad things that could happen, and then using the ships medical center removed the 4 bags from her. While Cheryl is recovering she test a bit of the drug and finds it is a pure form of Syncafalin. A synthetic caffeine/adrenalin which in pure form will kill you. If mixed properly it can keep you up and running for days. This is big on the black market and she is guessing the amount she has here is worth over Cr. 500k
Arriving back at the Laren ranch on Harvest, both Carl, Ellie, and Cynthia are relieved to see that Cheryl is alive and Cheryl tell them the story of what happened and why she had faked her own death. Rest of the evening passes mostly un-eventfully with Collin and Cheryl sitting and talking quite a bit.
The next morning everyone is sitting at breakfast when the sound of a small shuttle landing in front of the house. Carl walks out to the porch with his hunting rifle thinking it was the people looking for Charlotte. Peering through the window Cheryl says it is some of Donavic’s heavys and that she needs to run. Colin grabs her and tells her he will protect her and she calms down. Charlotte looks at her and asks “Do you trust me?” Cheryl looks up at Collin and then back at her sister and nods her head and they quickly get to work. They quickly arrange a room to look like they were getting ready for a wake while Charlotte injects Cheryl with more of the drug to induce a death like state. They prepare her while Charlotte walks outside to her grandfather telling him to go back inside and get ready for the ceremony. She turns and looks at the men that have exited the shuttle and after looking back to make sure Carl was inside she tosses a satchel with the 4 bags of drugs to the men and tells them that she does not know what it is and that no one else knows it exists, just for them to take it and go and let them lay her sister to rest. The leader of the men looks into the satchel, nods and tosses it to one of the other men and motions them to get back in the shuttle. He says to Charlotte that he would like to pay his respects as well. Charlotte realizes he just wants to confirm Cheryl is dead, she leads him in to where they have her prepared for the ceremony. the leader looks at her and runs his hand down her cheek stooping at her neck feeling for a pulse. He turns to the family and says he is sorry for their loss and walk out to get in the shuttle and fly off.
With that crisis narrowly averted the ranch goes back to a more normal state of being. Collin and Cheryl seem to be spending a lot of time together and becoming close. Everyone else is enjoying the break from being shot at and constantly on the move. All in all, it is a good vacation.