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Traveller: Session 33

 


This session was run on June 15, 2023.

 

130-2108

 

They confronted Reverend Kavanaugh about the wrench and the explosive bolts and he changed his story again. He now claimed that, even in his revised story, he had still tried to protect Dieter and his memory. Dieter had not just surrendered to fate and drawn straws after his failed attempt to poison Kavanaugh at breakfast. As soon as it was clear that the paralytic was not working, he attempted to choke Kavanaugh. As the two wrestled, Kavanaugh grabbed a wrench from the toolbox, left in the common room during their repair efforts, and bashed Dieter over the head. He had then flushed Dieter’s body, along with the wrench, out of the airlock. He claimed not to have known about the explosive bolts and said that, because there were only two of them aboard, there were sixteen hours each day where only one of them was awake.

 

Unable to determine if this latest story was true, they informed him that they still intended to put him in the cryo pod for the trip back to Mars and then hand him over to the authorities at Mars Station. He explained that he would not resist them but there was no chance of him getting a fair trial on Mars Station. The government there was prejudiced against him and his church and had been looking for a way to pin something on him for years. He would be found guilty no matter what.

 

He proposed an alternate solution. The Church of the Heavenly Stigmata had been preparing a generation ship. This ship was nearing completion and he, and his followers, would be using it to leave for Eden. He offered them two million dollars to take him to Phobos, where the ship was being prepared, instead of Mars Station. This would present no real risk to them, since they could claim that they just returned him to his place of residence. Believing that there was a reasonable chance that Kavanaugh was a murderer, they declined his offer and put him into cold sleep for the trip back to Mars.

 

190-2108

 

When the Far Horizon arrived at Mars Station, they informed station control that they had Kavanaugh aboard in cold sleep and gave a brief explanation of what they found on the Star of Rhea. Station control instructed them to keep Kavanaugh on ice and told them to dock with the station instead of taking their shuttle over. The police would meet them at the airlock to take control of the prisoner.

 

Less than ten minutes after they achieved lock with the station, the buzzer rang indicating that someone was requesting to board. Bob checked with station control who confirmed that it was the police and they let them in.

 

Four station police officers entered and asked to be escorted to the cryo tanks. Once they confirmed that the man in the pod was Kavanaugh, they instructed Kurt to begin the thawing process. They told the crew that the government would reimburse their fuel costs for the return trip and pay them a twenty-thousand-dollar reward for their rescue mission. They signed the voucher for the transaction and the police escorted the still groggy Kavanaugh away on a stretcher.

 

An hour later, they were busy unloading life support items that needed to be refreshed when two station police officers arrived to take custody of Kavanaugh. When they explained that the station police had already taken Kavanaugh into custody, the two officers seemed confused. They called station control, and the officer on duty, who had just started their shift, had no record of any officers being dispatched earlier, or Kavanaugh being processed into the system. Bob showed the police the footage from the camera on the airlock and the badge numbers he had collected from the “officers”. The police stated that the badge numbers were real, but out of date. They did not recognize anyone in the footage.

 

The police told them to stay put for a few days. They did not think that the crew had done anything wrong, but they may need them as witnesses against whoever was working with the reverend on the inside. They also offered them a reward of five thousand dollars for coming to the rescue before they left.

 

The crew decided that there was a very good chance that they would be used as scapegoats and interpreted the police’s orders to mean that they had to stay in orbit, not that they had to stay physically connected to the station. They disconnected and used the shuttle to complete their business on station. While the Far Horizon was not armed, its engines were far superior to anything that Mars Station had. They knew that they could outrun any attempt to restrain them.

 

Knowing that forewarned was forearmed, they spent some time researching the various people and entities wrapped up in the Star of Rhea incident. They learned that Dave Pendleton, the planned third crew member, had died on Titan of an unknown illness after the Star of Rhea left. Their background investigation into Dieter Park showed that he had been accused of a string of small crimes (fraud, bad checks etc.) over the years. He always managed to ship out before he had to stand trial and would spend enough time away that the authorities had lost interest by the next time he was in port.

 

The Church of the Heavenly Stigmata was, in fact, preparing a generation ship, The Crimson Dawn. It appeared that the effort was backed by the trillionaire, Patrick Wu. Wu was the founder of the Wu-Ketai Corporation, the biggest company in the system, and the richest human alive. Some additional digging revealed that he was a devotee of Kavanaugh and a long-time member of the church. He had funded several of their projects over the years, including a museum on the surface dedicated to “the true history of the Martians and their message from God.”

 

The crew decided that it would be worth going to the surface and visiting the museum. They also ran some checks on the progress on the Crimson Dawn’s construction. While the details were not public, it appeared that major construction had stopped, and the ship had started taking on consumables. It was likely that it would be leaving in the near future.     

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