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File 148704560551.png - (219.24KB , 600x600 , The Sunfish2.png )
779392 No. 779392 ID: b073ca

Previous thread: http://www.tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/762401.html

Wiki: http://www.tgchan.org/wiki/The_Sunfish

Discussion thread: http://www.tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/106228.html
518 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 800593 ID: 3ce125

>>800589
No, don't retreat! The gun is on the front, and that's the rear! You're in the clear to approach. DO SO. You are armed, and those inside are likely busy with repairs. Make sure the Starlette is disengaged with the asteroid and ready to come pick you up at a moment's notice, but don't attract attention with it.
>>
No. 800595 ID: b412df

>>800593
We're out of fuel for our MMU trusters, we can't board their ship unless we want to risk missing the jump and spending eternity drifting in space, because they will shoot the starlette down if we call it over to rescue us. We need to go back down. Darnit.
>>
No. 800599 ID: 3ce125

>>800595
Dude, their ship is right there. They've landed on the asteroid for repairs. We don't need thrusters to get to it. Also we COULD probably get the starlette over here since I doubt the engines on the enemy ship are ready to go. They landed for a reason!

At the very least we should pull out the tablet and tell the others where the enemy ship is so they can get a boarding party over here.
>>
No. 800600 ID: b412df

>>800599
That doesn't look landed to me, more like a really big thing close to the asteroid with part of it going below the horizon.
>>
No. 800604 ID: 3ce125

Oh, and even if the MMU thrusters are out of juice, we can use the recoil from the gun to maneuver in space to an extent.
>>
No. 800650 ID: fe7355

>>800593
No, you're wrong. The frigate has laser cannons on this side. Check the update where they opened fire on the asteroid. (>>795129) The shots clearly came from the boxy lower portion of the frigate on this side of it. Which means if they're coming up over the horizon and not going down behind it, they can and will open fire on Bucky's position the second their sensors detect him. Going out in the open in that case would be suicidal.

>>800599
They haven't landed. Check the previous images of the frigate, like when they open fire on the asteroid. (>>795129) There's clearly a boxy portion of the ship that is still below the horizon. They're moving around the asteroid. Now, the big question is, are they coming up over the horizon, or heading below it right now.

And why the heck would they need to land for repairs at all? Whether their hull is touching rock or they're floating free, the repairs will still need to be done via space walk. Now, maybe they'd be worried about the Sunfish's mining laser taking a few pot shots at 'em before they can return fire, but they could just hang out on the far side of the asteroid from the Sunfish in that case. Or so close to the Sunfish that the mining laser can't hit them.

>>800604
With that frigate patrolling about Bucky would be a sitting duck the second he was out of cover. They'd easily pick him off with a laser barrage.
>>
No. 800651 ID: 3ce125

>>800650
Oh, all right, I misremembered. Then Bucky should stay down and hope they just pass by.
>>
No. 800653 ID: fe7355

Your immediate course of action here is very much tied to whether that frigate is coming up over the horizon or dipping below it. If it's rising, then get below ground now and keep going down 'cause as soon as even one of their laser cannons clear the horizon they will get a bead on your dumb ass and vaporize you. And no, you cannot possibly make a run for it. Even if you did have MMU fuel left you couldn't get over the horizon before they opened fire. On mag-booted foot you're as good as dead out there.

Now, if the frigate is falling below the horizon and, importantly, doesn't start to slow like they spotted you and are reversing thrust to bring their guns to bear, then you have a small window of time to figure out what the fuck you're gonna do. Whether you bring the Starlette in low to get you or run to meet it. But if they do slow up then you're gonna have to duck back underground before they can get a shot on you.

Simultaneously check if you can get a radio link back to the Starlette. It should be near this position so you ought to be able to reach it. If you can't, then either the frigate blew it away already, it's been boarded and taken over, or the frigate is running a jammer. The first one means you're well and truly fucked, the second means you're fucked, and the third that you're possibly fucked. But if you can link with the Starlette, in the case the frigate is coming up over the horizon order the Starlette to release its tethers and execute a evasive maneuver program that'll keep the asteroid between it and the frigate. In the case the frigate is going below the horizon and not slowing up to reverse course, fly the Starlette in low and fast to get you, then keep the asteroid between you and the frigate.

In the case you have to duck back below ground, check your O2 level, pull back into the tunnels and expect a Repo Man team to drop in to hunt you down. Thankfully the iron-rich asteroid will block their comms back out, so if by some miracle you or the creatures in here wipe them out the frigate will be none the wiser. ...Assuming they don't come packing a bag of comm relays to stick down as they go along. And you'll probably end up having to search the mine for a charged O2 canister as well. The atmo generation system for the mine likely has one.

Oh, and make sure to mark the tunnels you've gone down. Grab one of the ruined tools you cleared out use it to gouge in the left hand wall of each tunnel entrance you go into.
>>
No. 800720 ID: 5f2b81

>>800650
No one's shooting at Bucky. They need him alive and intact.
>>
No. 800727 ID: 5b93d3

>>800650
It's also possible the frigate bas belly-landed on the surface and the lower module is obscured behind a lump of the asteroid's surface.

If Bucky has a good knowledge of starship sensors (i.e. whether they are even able to detect a human moving against a rock background from off-axis at a few tens of metres, which may not be the case for a broadband array meant to look for metallic objects at megametre distances) then it may be feasible to approach on foot undetected. If so, simply external sabotage like inserting rocks into RCS ports and the main engine bells if possible would be extremely effective. Such action is minimally detectable until the engines are fired (because who installs a non-pressure-based FOD sensor in a starship engine?) and does not carry the risk of actually trying to enter the ship.
>>
No. 800761 ID: 9a036d
File 149437432513.png - (131.74KB , 600x455 , 2-93.png )
800761

You send the Starlette a quick update: moments later the two tethers detach from their moorings and the corvette's thrusters burst to life. Your ship drops below the horizon just as the frigate's weapons pod rises into view.

Lasers lash the surface of the rock in frustration and you duck back into the hole.

You check your O2 levels: your mix levels are starting to get low and CO2 is up slightly as the scrubbers struggle. The Starlette is programmed to play cat and mouse, keeping the asteroid between itself and the Repo-men. It'll end up costing you fuel, but hopefully the Repo-men aren't in any condition to give chase. However, pinned as you are, all they have to do is wait you out.

You're surprised when a message flashes onto your HUD: Shut down engines and surrender immediately.
>>
No. 800762 ID: 70983e

Don't reply, your electronics are compromised. Can the Starlette handle evasion by itself or do you need to remain outside the asteroid?
>>
No. 800763 ID: 3ce125

>>800761
They think you're on the Starlette? This is fine. Keep watch on the enemy ship. Optimally what we want to do is jump to it and start a hostile boarding action by entering through the hole in their hull.

I wonder if you can accomplish this by complying with their demands then sneaking up on their ship when they dock with yours?
>>
No. 800820 ID: 91ee5f

You said you couldn't fit through there while wearing your jetpack thingy, so is there a reason it won't fit while you drag it behind you or push it in front of you? That way you can put it back on after you climb out.
>>
No. 800829 ID: fe7355

>>800820
But Bucky can fit through the barrel of the railgun while wearing his MMU just fine. It was the railgun's loader airlock that he couldn't fit into while still wearing it and be able to cycle the airlock. And thanks to the airlock getting smashed open Bucky could then squeeze through while still wearing his MMU. It's how he got to where he is now, at the muzzle of the railgun's barrel.
>>
No. 800845 ID: b88e47

Do not answer.
>>
No. 800848 ID: e01e87

I don't think Bucky... wants to try a hostile boarding action. A handheld blaster versus... everything they've got?

The problem is the Starlett is their only ticket out of there, so he can't just go hide in the Sunfish. Unless he could hide the Starlett inside the Sunfish somehow?

I don't know if there's anything he can do at this point. He's already accomplished the impossible and destroyed their ship with a broken railgun. If that only slightly inconvenienced them, then all I can think is he needs some other way to sabotage them. Explosives, maybe?

Otherwise, just... keep staying out of their sights, and hope for the best I guess? If you surrender, they'll take apart your ship to repair their own, and blow up the rest. So, if that's your only option, you're gonna have to blow it up first.
>>
No. 800859 ID: d36af7

Shut down the Starlette's engines and tell them that no one currently on board the Starlette will resist, but you can't be held responsible for everything on the asteroid or the Sunfish.

Assuming they fall for that lie of omission, and send a boarding party over to the wrong place to capture you, seal the Starlette's airlocks and screw around with the life support settings to keep them alive but contained, and presto you've got hostages. Assuming they're not willing to risk killing their own boarding party, that gives you the option of shooting at their ship, using any weapons on your ship, with minimal worry about return fire.
>>
No. 800861 ID: 91ee5f

>>800859
That's not going to work. If they send someone over to capture whoever they think is on the ship, they'll have weapons in case of resistance, so they'll just shoot apart the Starlette to get out. And they also have smart fog, meaning they only need to spray it all over the Starlette's controls and they'll have taken over our ship!

We better not let them onto our ship!
>>
No. 800866 ID: 8d4593

Could just Kamikazi the Starlette into the frigate.
Sure you'd be stuck here too, but the single repoman boarding party would quickly be overwhelmed by the Sunfishes sheer numerical superiority. You'd be left with two ships worth of scrap to pick over. With Old Buckey's help you might have hope of building the sunfish a pinch drive. Or maybe one for a shuttle. At the very least, with all that scrap conditions on the sunfish would get a bit more comfortable.
>>
No. 801001 ID: 9a036d
File 149446387987.png - (106.43KB , 600x600 , 2-94.png )
801001

You settle back into the narrow passage and think about what you have at your advantage.

It doesn't seem like the Repos know your position and are broadcasting on a wide bandwidth. You might be able to use that to mislead them.

Also to your advantage is the Frigate's weapon system. Anything that can vaporize slabs of iron is going to produce an enormous amount of heat, and managing your temperature is one of the hardest and most critical things to do in space. It's fairly easy to fry yourself with your own weapons if you aren't careful about dumping heat; and with that recent light show, they're probably running a fever right now. With any luck, your attack may have even damaged their heat pumps.

Your third advantage is the Starlette itself. Now that you've reestablished contact with it, you have access to its ship to ship defenses: which are...limited, but better than nothing. It's primary defense is it's "shields": essentially massive reflective sails several times larger than the ship itself, but only a few molecules thick. The idea is to unfurl them and place them between yourself and enemy laser fire, while trying to position yourself to snipe around the enemy shields. It's kind of like jousting... but with a lance of infinite length and shield a kilometer wide. The problem is that shields are extremely fragile and easily destroyed by projectiles, which is why most combat takes place over vast distances.

Also onboard is a chemical laser of modest power. Normally you wouldn't trust it to go up against a military grade warship, but you diiiiid just put a gaping hole in its armor, as well as compromised the dorsal weapons system.
>>
No. 801002 ID: 3ce125

>>801001
In other words, if you engage in combat with them they're going to overheat?

Hey, if shields are laser defenses that can be pierced by projectile fire, why don't you lay down some projectile fire once the fighting starts? Shred their shields and you can do some damage with that mining laser.

I say go for it. You could even pilot the starlette to try to play peek-a-boo with the repo men to get them to waste shots and overheat even faster.
>>
No. 801141 ID: 5b93d3

>>801001
High-risk-high-reward strategy would be to let the shield free-float around the asteroid towards the frigate, and fly the Starlette around the other way. Got to time it so the shields crest the Frigate's horizon just seconds before the starlette does: the goal is to get the Frigate to see the shields, oreint their 'best' side to it to being to bear weapons and position their own shields, then have the Starlette pop them from behind before they can re-orient again. The main risk is if they have a working weapons array on the other side too.
>>
No. 801162 ID: fc33ea

is it possible to damage their shields with small arms? You shoot at the shields and draw their attention, the Starlette comes outta nowhere and finishes 'em off.
>>
No. 801172 ID: a1190b

>>801001
Go for it. Let's dogfight.
Consider pinging the Starlette's comms to send a message via the ship broadcast. Something to get the enemy ship going, like "Suck my dick, slave owner."
>>
No. 801214 ID: 70983e

Compromise that weapons pod even further.
>>
No. 801242 ID: d36af7

>>801162
Awesome enough to be worth a try. Since this is way inside the usual engagement range for ship-to-ship stuff, you shouldn't have too much trouble picking out specific targets. Top priority would be the source of their beams, since even a tiny flaw in the lens of a weapons-grade laser rapidly deteriorates into acute gun-blowing-up-in-your-hand syndrome. Once their weapons are disabled (or hidden behind armored shutters) the next best thing would be the hole you made with that railgun, since it's a known breach in the armor. Heat deposited on internal structures whose plumbing is already out of commission will be a lot harder for them to deal with that any sort of surface damage.

The clever part is, you pick your target with the Starlette's laser as if the shield was gone, and then aim your corner gun at the conveniently bright spot on their shield, shattering it with kinetics at the relevant point, all while keeping your delicate organs behind several meters of rock. Might need to lead your shots to account for a moving target, but there's no significant gravity or atmo to worry about.
>>
No. 801255 ID: 7b3f54

Keep in mind that they're probably aware of the tactic to shred the guy's shields with bulet so your lasers can get them. They can do it to your ship just as much as you can to theirs. The heat issue would probably be the best advantage. Not only are their systems compromised, your disadvantage at operating remotely becomes an advantage when your ship doesn't have to keep the insides at comfortable temperatures.

If only there was some way to turn up the heat for this battle... but you're far away from any star or other heat source.
>>
No. 801371 ID: 449741

>>801255
The hell we are. Do you think the Sunfish's engines still work?
>>
No. 801372 ID: 449741

>>801371
Oh, wait, nevermind. Comms is out. We have no way to signal them.
>>
No. 801416 ID: 9a036d
File 149463622211.png - (88.64KB , 600x345 , 2-95.png )
801416

You grin to yourself in the dark as you relay instructions to the Starlette
Above you, the frigate flares into evasive maneuvers as a shimmering golden curtain explodes over the horizon. The Repo-men silently deploy their own shields, positioning them over their damaged midsection. You cackle.
>>
No. 801417 ID: 9a036d
File 149463622775.png - (135.24KB , 700x350 , 2-96.png )
801417

Seconds later the Starlette crests the opposite horizon at full burn. The Frigate's turret swivels in a panic to counter your feint as the detached shield drifts by, forgotten. The Starlette's laser cuts a boiling scar across the black surface of the hull, slips inside and pours its deadly light into the heart of the slaver ship. 
"Choke on my giant! Laser! Co-"
>>
No. 801418 ID: 9a036d
File 149463624258.png - (95.01KB , 340x600 , 2-97.png )
801418

"-AAAAAUGH!"
You look down, still screaming.
A familiar gleaming eye winks back at you in the darkness as jagged rows of teeth sink into your flesh. You flail your leg against the wall in exasperated fury, feeling the fangs saw deeper as the jaws tighten. 
>>
No. 801419 ID: 9a036d
File 149463624802.png - (234.11KB , 600x600 , 2-98.png )
801419

You stop. 
"Fuck! No, no, no!"
You signal the Starlette, frantically dumping the maneuvering thrusters into space as momentum does its terrible work. You watch helplessly as the Starlette lifts its nose and tries to twist away before slamming into the enemy frigate. The two ships wrap around each other violently like broken-necked swans before pirouetting away in opposite directions. 
>>
No. 801420 ID: 9a036d
File 149463625370.png - (70.00KB , 600x600 , 2-99.png )
801420

You climb out of your hole, heart sinking and pain momentarily forgotten as you watch your ship drift away into the void. 

END OF CHAPTER 2
>>
No. 801421 ID: e5b57f

:O

Holy shit.
>>
No. 801423 ID: 3ce125

Nipped that problem in the bud! Call your friends and arrange for a pickup.

Or I guess you could just jump over to the sunfish.
>>
No. 801429 ID: d79f26

take rage out on leg biter
>>
No. 801436 ID: 91ee5f

>>801423
We're out of communication range. Which means we've gotta be pretty far away from the Sunfish. So far away, that it'll either be a tiny speck in the distance or we've drifted far enough away that we can't see it anymore. I think Bucky's stuck and, unless Sam and Annie can convince the Sunfish's captain to get the ship moving to follow the asteroid, he's gonna die from lack of oxygen.
>>
No. 801443 ID: fe7355

It's a terrible loss, Bucky, but even if the cost was too high you removed the threat of that frigate and left the Repo Men on the Sunfish with nowhere to go and no backup. Now just focus on staying alive and getting back to Sam and Annie.

Take photos of the wrecks of the Starlette and the frigate and sensor readings so you'll know where they're drifting to. It may be possible to tow and salvage them using the maintenance skiffs from the Sunfish. There's also that boarding craft the Repo Men used that could possibly be used if it's captured in working order.

Hurry back into communication range of the Sunfish and contact Sam or Annie and give them the bad news. Upload the images you've taken, along with the one of the monster, and the sensor data so maybe a salvage crew from the Sunfish can get to the wrecks before they're out of range.

>>801423
Yes, that did nip that particular problem while creating a much bigger one. The Starlette and that frigate were the only two FTL jump capable ships in the system. With them both destroyed, Sam, Annie, Bucky and everyone else on the Sunfish are trapped in this star system. Trapped either for the rest of their lives or until another ship jumps into the system and finds the Sunfish. And if these Repo Men sent back a report to ReNu on where they were going before jumping in, that next ship will likely be another Repo Men one, or more than one, and will come much, much sooner than anyone would like.

And don't suggest anything like salvaging the pinch drive from either wrecked ship, bolting it to the Sunfish and jumping away. For one the Sunfish is much, much larger than even the frigate and would need a pinch drive of appropriate size. Two, it almost certainly takes more than just the drive to make a ship jump capable. Stuff like the ship superstructure being built to take it and a suitably large power source. It's not a drop-in and go module.

>>801429
Don't! If it's bitten into flesh that means its compromised the suit's integrity. Pulling it off may result in damage too severe for the suit's auto-repair to fix.

>>801436
What the fuck are you basing that on? That Bucky couldn't reach the Sunfish while inside the asteroid? He couldn't because the asteroid is iron rich, and that blocked the radio signal. And if you're basing it on the Sunfish not being in view right now, it's probably because Bucky is on the far side from the Sunfish. And the asteroid was not that far from the Sunfish, so even with the tether cut it won't have gone far. And that's taking into account the force of one railgun shot and one rapid decompression from the opposite side from the railgun that did shoot pushing in the opposite direction.
>>
No. 801490 ID: 8d4593

It's a bitter victory, but a victory none the less.
Contact the girls.
>>
No. 801506 ID: fe7355

Take a photo of the goddamn legbiter as well to send alongside your query as to what the fuck it is and request as to how the fuck you get it off yourself without ripping your suit beyond auto-repair.
>>
No. 801519 ID: 8a204b

"Good news everyone! The Repo ship totally beefed it.

The bad news is that our ship also beefed it."
>>
No. 801520 ID: 5b93d3

>>801420
In the event you do need to salvage parts from them, check the time and try and remember the stars the ships are drifting past (make up your own constellations to make them memorable). That should be enough to figure out later what their trajectories are in order to catch up with them.
>>
No. 801556 ID: 3ce125

>>801443
I was trying to be funny. Yeah, losing both FTL-capable ships is a huge, huge problem. We are absolutely going to have to try to retrieve them. The Sunfish itself can chase after them if the skiffs don't have enough range to do so by the time we can organize an attempt; it has engines!

It occurs to me that the wrecked ships are likely still in orbit (it depends on how much Tox is fudging how gravity and momentum are working here) and that orbit may not be stable. We may not have a lot of time to pull them into a more stable trajectory, either. Bucky needs to do some math to calculate the danger and how much time we have to fix it.
>>
No. 801559 ID: 8d4593

>>801556
Yeah it takes a lot to disrupt an orbit. they didn't really have enough room to accelerate to seriously alter their orbital arrangement in any quick way. though salvage should be done sooner rather than later as fuel is surely at a premium.
>>
No. 801583 ID: 3ce125

>>801559
Well if the orbit is stable then we can just wait for them to come back around. Depends on if we're willing to wait long enough.
>>
No. 801600 ID: 8d4593

>>801583
True but if they are sharing roughly the same orbit that could take WEEKS.

The difference in our velocities is going to be miniscule when compared to the speed required to maintain orbit.
>>
No. 801743 ID: 8111b6

>>801600
Well, we could drop periapsis to catch up. ...or raise apoapsis so they orbit faster.
>>
No. 801984 ID: 9a036d

Next Chapter: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/801983.html
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