Once in the Black, Chan figured it would be a good idea to get out of the Mao Quadrant and decided it was time to visit family on Aberdeen in the Burnham Quadrant. Chan knew that Burnham was the center of the upheaval rocking the rim, but was where her family lived and she needed to check on them. The trip was going to take eleven days, counting the fuel spent on the Hard Burn to Ita, Chan ordered Marsh to stop at Skyplex Jiuxing in order to refuel as Chan was certain that arriving at Aberdeen low on fuel would be a bad idea. 

The Ghost docked six days later on 6 July 2518. Keeping to a tight schedule, Chan had the ship restocked and refueled during the pause. Xavier spoke to Chan asking for time to access the local Cortex. Chan was reluctant, but eventually decided that letting her go would be okay, but insisted William go with her. Xavier did not like the idea of an escort, but agreed. However, while moving on the station the two ran into poor family looking to book passage to Aberdeen, a man, his wife and two teenaged daughters. They were short on cash, but had assistance via the Angels of Mercy, a charitable organization that would pay for their trip if the good gentleman would go with them to the local office. 

When William went to introduce his companion, he found Xavier had vanished. Williams was furious but agreed to go with the family. Xavier easily found a quiet access node and flawlessly inserted her bid to become Miss Universe (INT D12 making D12 +D2 and talented for D12 +D6 plus 4 plot points) Initial roll 19, used things go smooth to re-roll and got a 29!) She managed to reach the ship before running into William, who was waiting in the shadows of the cargo bay.  He wanted to know why she’d given him the slip.  She said she needed to check on her family with all the troubles going on. William didn’t buy the story, but let her slide. He did make a note to keep an eye on her to see if she tried anything funny again, as the passengers he’d booked arrived at that moment. 

The family Nickerson was settled in and the ship departed seven hours later at 1800 hours on 6 July 2518. All during the trip, the rhetoric regarding “The Broadcast” got hotter and hotter until, Willis, who was working on improving his piloting skills called everyone to the bridge on 10 July 2518 at 1400 when he picked up a broad wave, “Citizens of the Alliance. The events of the last two weeks have proven our Alliance’s enforced rule is unfit to lead. We of the Neo-Browncoat Union have begun operations to cast off the shackles of our oppressors. The time is now for freedom! Fight back if you can, resist if you cannot!  Let there be no more planets like Shadow or Miranda! Fight for the right to live free!”

There was stunned silence for several seconds as the meaning of the wave sunk in, and then Marsh asked, “When do we join?” Chan explained that Taylor-Leigh would lead her followers to ruin either way events played out. She would either fail, getting everyone killed in the process, or merciful Buddha spare us, if she succeeded.  She would replace a negligent Alliance with an evil empire. Either way, she was on her own.  Marsh found only the Nickerson’s agreed that it was a good idea to fight the Alliance (Dad, Mom, one daughter – aye, one daughter, nay) and the pilot decided to remain silent. 

Somber at the outbreak of a wave of terrorism or maybe even civil war the remainder of the flight was subdued.  On arriving at Aberdeen at 1100 on 11 July 2518, Chan had Marsh set down near the town of Opportunity a community of 600 roughly nine miles from the Wu family farm. The credits earned bringing in the Nickerson’s gave the crew the leeway to enjoy time off the ship for a change. 

The news from off world was grim as the New-Browncoats found a ready ear in the disrupted Burnham Quadrant. Chan’s family had already decided that rebellion wasn’t going to be their way, even Chan’s two younger brothers were not swayed. This solid rejection of the Neo-Browncoats was enough to give Marsh pause and ultimately led him away from looking deeper into the movement. 

Checking into likely cargos, the only clear cut game in town was for “the cause” which Chan wasn’t remotely interested in doing. The next day, Chan wanted a full court press to find any legit cargo. Neither Xavier nor Marsh were interested in clutching at straws, but Chan offered to buy the first round when they were done. Xavier agreed, but Marsh dug in his heels wanting to assist Willis. Chan made it clear she wanted everyone paired up even though Opportunity was a decent town, passions over “The Cause” was making people unsettled.  Not having a choice, Marsh joined Xavier in looking for work. Chan joined Cindy, as William went with Li Ming. Late in the afternoon (1600 13 July 2518), while looking for passengers wanting to leave the Rim, as cargo was just not to be had, there came a bone chilling cry Reavers! A frantic warning from the Town of Sweetwater, some fifty miles south of Opportunity reported half a dozen raiders had entered atmo. Three of the raiders had broken off to head north, that gave the town less than two minutes to get ready! 

Chan immediately contacted Willis to have him get the ship moving. Lincoln Haversol the mayor did a heroic job of rallying the town’s defenses. Chan realized they could not reach the ship in time, organized her crew to help and prayed Willis would be able to rescue them. Thanks to the mayor’s phenomenal skills, the town separated into three groups. A defense of roughly one hundred people lead by the mayor, sheriff, and with every vet in Opportunity, their job was to actively engage the Reavers. Group two’s job was to screen the retreat of the nearly four hundred children, elderly, and other non-combatants. The screen consisted of another hundred people, led by the sheriff’s best deputy. Group three including the Ghost’s crew was made up of every visitor in town, a total of twenty-eight people, most unarmed, but thanks to Chan’s precautions, all six members of the crew had side arms.

The rumored loss or at least disappearance of the Burnham Quadrant fleet and a party of Reaver activity was the Genesis of the town’s rapid response. Just as the three Reaver ships hove into view, the bulk of the defenders were taking up positions and the bulk of the screeners were herding the non-combatants out of town. Chan contacted Willis who reported the Ghost was just powering up, but would not leave the ground until the same time as the Reavers arrived. 

The three raiders swooped in low over Opportunity dropping rappelling Reavers as they approached. Defenders with long guns had a quick volley before the Reavers hit the ground and then the battler was joined. The defenders fought in three groups against the three sets of raiders.  Unknown to any of the defenders, six shuttles with eighteen raiders were also attacking the rear guard. Chan and her crew were in a ragged group of roughly 35 defenders centered on the sheriff and one of his deputies. A total of fifteen Reavers rushed their hasty defensive position in one howling wave.

As the Reavers closed on the crew’s group, their ship could be seen wobbling away in the distance. Forced to concentrate on immediate survival, the Crew delivered a final volley into the closing pack of Reavers. One wounded Reaver fell from a shotgun blast, but five others suffered such severe wounds from the Crew they did not fire. Chan, William and Cindy all had to dive wildly out of harm’s way, but three other defenders weren’t so lucky.

Chan snatched up the assault rifle of one of the fallen and split the skull of a closing Reaver. William did the same to a Reaver closing on the terrified Xavier with Marsh killing another.  Cindy shot the heart out of a Reaver attempting to attack the sheriff. Li Ming killed yet another leaving on three of the horrors standing who attacked three unarmed visitors wounding all three with vicious looking knives. Surrounded, the three Reavers were shot to ribbons before they could finish off the wounded.

As the last of the Reavers fell, Marsh picked up a signal from Willis. He’d managed to break contact with the Reaver ships and was ready to attempt a pickup. The ground force of Reavers fought and died hard but was too outnumbered to survive. However, the defense came at a heavy cost in the form of 77 town folk and ten visitors fell to the onslaught.

Marsh got on the comm and began talking Willis through how to make the approach. Willis’ landing was far from spectacular, but he managed to get the ship down safely and in the right spot. The rest of the crew of the Ghost bolted for their ship, but soon found there were several others heading for the ship as well. In addition, the three Reaver ships were surrounding the Ghost. However, in their frenzy to be first to disable their prey, the Reavers were in the way of each other giving those heading for the ship a narrow window to escape.

As was typical, Li Ming was first to reach the ship with an awkward jump getting her aboard.  Xavier was hard on Li Ming’s tail, but made a much smoother jump. Cindy reached the ship and landed a footstep behind Xavier. Chan’s attempt to board was stymied by a pack of panicked people stampeding into her back. As the mob clustered at the ramp, three Reaver shuttles swept in low firing harpoons that transfixed one of the mob and forced Marsh into a diving roll. 

Chan knew if anyone was going to survive, she was going to have to take control of the mob or no one would escape. Using her best command voice she immediately seized control and quieted the panicked crowd, giving time for William and Marsh to get on board. The other three Reaver shuttles swooped in with two having clear shots, one killing another terrified boarder and the second narrowly missing Chan.

William helped pull three of the mob onto the ship, but there were eight more desperate people trying to board with the largest of the Reaver raiders slipping into firing position. Chan managed to maintain some control over the crowd but had to leap onto the ramp herself as Willis screamed they had to go now or never leave. Three more boarders safely made it aboard the ship before they had to move, leaving a man and a woman distraught behind them.

Three men and three women had made it to safety as Willis applied full power to escape the Reaver ship attempting to bring its weapon to bear. Roaring down Main Street, Willis kept the Ghost below the roofs of Opportunity. The Reaver ship fired its electromagnetic grappler hitting and blowing off the steeple of the town’s church. Once the cargo ramp was fully closed, Willis, with Li Ming’s assistance started to gain altitude. 

William and Xavier helped the six passengers get strapped in, as Marsh and Chan raced for the bridge. Cindy bolted for her cabin to grab her SMG and body armor. Marsh all but leapt into the pilot’s seat and Willis gladly raced for engineering. No sooner had Marsh taken control when he heard Li Ming gasp. She had checked the scanners and found two more contacts moving their way. Just as Chan reached the bridge, Marsh rolled clear of the Reavers second shot. Chan yelled for Marsh to head toward the Wu Ranch as she activated the comm..

Marsh risked using the scanners and detected all five Reaver ships were pursuing them, three behind and two ahead of the north. When Marsh banked to the west, the only direction left, all five Reaver ships behind the Ghost began closing. Even worse, the Reavers were beginning to coordinate their fire, but fortunately only two ships were shooting. Chan gave Marsh a specific vector to approach her family’s farm and Marsh said they would be there in twelve seconds.  Willis reported he was in engineering and setting up for a Hard Burn.

Marsh screamed over the Wu Ranch, and then executed a snap climb. The lead Reaver followed and from the ranch there were four contrails screaming up from the surface, caught completely by surprise the lead ship didn’t have a chance to evade the four missiles that slammed into the raider, causing the Reaver ship to explode in a most satisfactory and complete fashion.

Chan explained that her oldest brother had been in charge of an aerospace defense squad and during the confusion after the war had managed to escape with his squad’s launcher. The unexpected reprieve was short lived as there were still four more Reavers closing on them.  Marsh’s evasions were so skillful that he was gaining some distance on the pursuing Reavers, but their pursuer’s speed advantage was negating that distance. 

William arrived on the bridge and offered a suggestion, the one large raider was the only raider firing, and the three smaller ones were acting like pack animals keeping the prey unable to turn.  William suggested using his next evasive maneuver to get enough distance to turn directly toward one of the flankers and play a game of chicken. Marsh was surprised the normally conservative William would come up with such an insane plan, but loved the idea because it was so insane. 

Not having much choice Chan agreed and hoped her brother could get the missile launcher reloaded in time, but that did not happen, forcing Marsh to have to improvise. When the large raider closed to fire, Marsh spun the protesting Ghost hard to port and abruptly slowed causing the pursuing Reaver to run right up on the ghost’s backside, Marsh then yawed back to starboard and directly at the pursuer closing from the front. Accelerating, Marsh masterfully kept the Reaver behind him so close that he was completely hidden by the larger Ghost and roared at the raider in front of him. At the last possible instant, Marsh snap rolled inverted to slide under the Reaver closing from the front. The two Reavers collided with an explosion so violent that Marsh was unable to completely avoid and the Ghost was caught by the fringe of the blast, suffering moderate damage.

Whipsawed by the concussion Marsh was nonetheless able to keep the damaged Ghost in the air.  Willis called frantically from the engine room to report they couldn’t go to Hard Burn because of the damage and he was going to need some time to jury rig some repairs. Chan ordered Marsh to head back for the Wu Farm. Marsh screamed over the farm again and the missiles lanced upward masked by Marsh’s low pass. The four missiles rippled through the Reaver ship, gutting it from stem to stern and sending it cart wheeling into the ground to create another crater.

The good news of reducing their pursuers to only one remaining ship was tempered by the reality that it was at that desperate moment that Willis reported they could go for Hard Burn. Chan told Marsh to get some distance from the area to spare the farm from the chaos the powerful pulse drive would do to the surface. Marsh easily evaded fire until over an empty area of the planet.  He pitched the Ghost’s nose up and lit off a full Hard Burn the back blast hit the Reaver ship and spun it sideways. The pilot attempted to compensate, but failed to keep from creating one final crater on Aberdeen. 

Marsh returned to Opportunity to find the six Reaver shuttles still harrying the town. Swooping in fast, at William’s suggestion, to take advantage of the Reavers hunting reflex Marsh led the shuttles into deep space. After a few minutes a pair of ragged looking excuses for fighters arrived and made quick work of the Reaverized shuttles. The two fighters waggled their wings and banked away in silence.

On landing back at Opportunity, the mayor explained that the fighters were called Derringers.  Homemade fighters cobbled together by backyard mechanics and held together by luck. Chan’s family explained away the use of the missiles as no big deal as they already had an order in for more. The whole town was chipping in to offset the cost. Chan and Li Ming each donated a hundred credits to help.

One of the passengers is named Harvey Killian and was extremely impressed by the skills of the crew and even more grateful they saved his life. He needed to get to Beaumonde and could both offer triple the going rate, he was so impressed with the crew that he had a long term job for them. Needing repairs at a real shipyard, Chan readily agreed and after three hours to work what repairs Willis could do in the field, they departed with Killian and the five others they had rescued.