At the conclusion of a cargo run to the Haladron system, Captain Verona gets a mass message from an acquaintance pleading for help from anyone in the vicinity of the Drelnor system. Two factions of Kaizans are fighting over a colony, and some friends of his affiliated with People First! traveled there to provide aid to the mostly-non-Kaizan residents of the colony. They have been arrested and the message asks for someone to rescue them. Being just one jump away, the Spartucus is nearby and Captain Verona judges intervention to be the right thing to do, and so they head off for the Drelnor system.
After some research, the crew does find one notable name among the eight People First! members—a human woman named Cynthia Kent is the daughter of Harold Kent, governor of the Padra-5 space staton. In addition to noting that relationship, Cresh compiles a list of names that might be recipients of any messages the captives might try to send.
Upon arriving in the Drelnor system and making their way to the colony, Cresh is able to find multiple messages from the People First! members, but is not able to access their contents. None of the messages are recent, and they do cut off abruptly after a flurry that likely coincides with the arrest.
Meanwhile, Captain Verona reaches out to one of the media ships loitering at the blockade and, in return for having a camera drone following her around for the duration of her trip to the colony, gets a planet-side media contact that should have a lot more information about the happenings on the ground. The contact is a Teekan named Dorl.
After Captain Verona and Charlotte analyze the patrol pattern of the blockade ships, they manage to find a hole that Charlotte pilots through undetected. She manages to sneak the Spartucus within 15km of the edge of the colony, at which point the captain, Cresh, and Charlotte disembark to infiltrate the colony.
Upon approaching the barracade surrounding the colony, the team finds that a series of turret-topped pylons connected be force fields form the barrier. It is further protected by roving patrols of six mercenaries in lightly-armored All-Terrain Vehicles. Captain Verona’s two attempts at a stealthy approach to the barricade to disable a pylon both failed to fool the turrets’ sensor system, so the team decided on a more direct approach.
Using his DNI CYTE and a Data Bomb program, Cresh managed to overload the control system of three turrets. Then the team started forward toward the pylon supporting the middle of those three turrets. However, the next turrets in line on either side of the three disabled turrets opened fire. Cresh suffered moderate wounds while Captain Verona was critically wounded, leading to a hasty retreat. Fortunately, after reaching cover a safe distance away, Cresh managed to stabilize Captain Verona while they waited for the Spartacus to come pick them up.
While the captain recovered from her wounds, Cresh and Charlotte continued to investigate the colony and besieging base. They witness some fighting between the two factions, precipitated by the Conquest Faction forces lowering a section of the barricade then advancing under the cover fire provided by a small group of Scorpion Attack Robots. The skirmishes never managed to advance the battle line, just inflict damage and casualties (usually higher on the defenders’ lines).
Once Captain Verona was able to rejoin the surveillance, she was able to deduce that the skirmishes had little tactical value beyond forcing the defenders to expend some of their limited resources as well as to demoralize the defenders. The attackers never tried to claim territory, and usually withdrew well before the tide of the battle turned against them.
They managed to identify six buildings within the attackers’ camp that were more heavily guarded than others. However, they were not able to determine which, if any, held the arrested People First! activists.
The team then ventured back to the edge of the barrier and drew a patrol away from the defenses. They managed to defeat all four of the mercenaries and capture the patrol vehicle, though they were unable to jam communications and so the attack was most likely reported.
While Cresh investigated the vehicle, Captain Verona woke up one of the unconscious mercenaries and coerce him into getting them inside the barrier n exchange for his freedom. Once inside, they abandoned the vehicle and made their way on foot to find Dorl. The Teekan has been tracking the movements of the besiegers and offers to give the team a warning when the next attack is emminent.
Using the skirmish as cover, Cresh took down a section of the barrier through cyberhacking to allow Charlotte and Captain Verona to go into the Kaizan camp after Cynthia Kent. They managed to free her and one other prisoner, but lost the last remaining prisoner as the made their escape. They managed to sneak back to the barrier to wait for Cresh to let them through.