Moorland Station, Planet Leviathan,
Day 45, 49th Year, 3rd NER
After a few weeks of training, the group was considered ready for more challenging mission.
First, the team was given Moorland as its initial base of operations, with responsibilities covering not only Borea, but also Lower Vesta.
While on Moorland, the team was sent to verify if a research team conducting a geological survey along the Fall was okay. The research team was being coordinated by Dr. Till Markham and had not been heard from for several days.
When the team contacted Dr. Markham, he said the research team was made up of students from various institutions of higher learning located throughout the Known Worlds, who were collaborating on a study of Leviathan’s geology. For the researchers, the Fall presented an excellent opportunity to study a cross section of the planet’s rock strata without the need for extensive drilling.
Dr. Marhkam was concerned since the researchers usually checked in every two to three days, sending status reports and personal messages to their respective home worlds. Supply runs were scheduled and the last one—some five days ago—indicated everything was fine.
Hours after taking off from Moorland, the Jumpsec Team, now led by Garett Sloane, arrived at the research site.
Garrett piloted the hopper which he circled around the site to get a better look at what may have happened.
From the air, it was clear that something had gone terribly wrong. The team spotted tents and other portable structures all torn, equipment scattered about the site, and a few bodies lying dead in the open.
When the team landed, the team found more evidence that the site had fallen victim to an attack of some sort. Laser burns were visible on some of the temporary shelters, and the word, “NO” was painted on the few intact walls which remained.
A small number of anklebiters were scavenging off of the researchers’ remains, but a few shots from the team sent them running away.
Zeebo checked the bodies and said that they had been killed by laser, while a few were killed with the use of a machete.
Mysteriously, some of bodies appeared to have sustained damage as if from a great height. However, Zeebo said the damage was post-mortem.
Chastity and Takota both noticed a set of prints that seemed to have frequented the area during the last few days.
When the team was about to follow tracks, a voice from somewhere nearby suddenly yelled, “Look out!”.
Suddenly, from up above the cliffs, five Drakes—vicious flying lacerauns—dove down upon the team.
During the fight, Chastity was hurt pretty badly, but the group managed to kill off all of the Drakes.
When they went to investigate where the sound had come from, they were surprised to see a young woman emerge from the nearby jungle. She was dressed in a jumpsuit similar to those worn by the dead researchers. Although a little worse for wear, the woman appeared uninjured.
She identified herself as Kerr Langstrom, grad student from the Phoenix Institute for Interplanetary Studies working on her doctoral thesis in plate tectonics.
She told the team about how a hopper landed at their site four days before. They thought it was an unscheduled supply flight, but then a gang of armed men poured off. The just started shooting as soon as they got on the ground.
Kerr managed to hide before she was spotted. The armed men tore the site apart, burned all of their field notes, pulled the drives from the the computers and smashed them. The men also painted “NO DEFILERS” all around the camp before leaving.
Kerr broke down, not understanding who would do such a thing to a peaceful team of researchers. She went on to explain that she hid out hoping to be found by a supply flight or rescue party. The drakes arrived a day or so ago. They were drawn by her friends’ bodies and had gotten one or two, but had dropped some from a great height.
Langstrom was ecstatic to be rescued, and even took a liking to Garrett. She told the team she was going to remain on Leviathan to continue her studies.
Garrett offered to come visit her in Ralston as soon as he could.
When the team returned to Moorland, Jumpsec was very interested in the rangers’ report, as their findings was evidence that the Natural Order had expanded its operation on Leviathan. Until now, JumpSec had assumed the terrorists were likely only active in the vicinity of Ralston.
In fact, the chain of command had begun to hope the organization had exhausted itself in the original attack on the capital a few weeks prior. Now, JumpSec feared the situation was far worse than suspected.