While Captain Artimis Brown tries to find a pilot Ruth having had to take a leave of absence for the family reasons the ‘lads’ – George, Thelonious & Alien Al go out on the town in the serbo Croat social democratic republic of Princip.
However a few drinks into their revels and calamity occurs – government soldiers turn up and gather foreign spacers into vans.
They are transported to a primative interment camp. Kept in the dark & separated from other ship crews though Al gets to speak to some Aratsu and gather some clue of local politics. Between this and canabalisng equipment to make a radio (the local stations constantly playing patriotic music and the neighbouring colonies concerned that the coup is a move by the Black Hand Party.)
The Arny are replaced by amateur ‘black hand’ Milita and the revelation that the Black Hand is being advised by non other than psychic miscreant Fernando Mulch former leader of the Arkivists Cult. Reasoning he won’t be happy to see the crew who destroyed his cult the Scattergunners decide to make their escape. Despite George being stuck on the wire Thelonius destructs guards with the age old gambit of a thrown stone & they flee into the dark.
They trek through fields hiding from overflying Princip star fighters. They encounter a farmstead where Al manages to negotiate for food and directions from a suspicious family of two husbands and their children. Continuing their fleeing towards Princep City they spot an Army mecha up ahead and Milita ‘technicals’ (machine gun laden trucks) hot on their trail. George’s hacking skills he able they to temporarily control the mecha to open fire on the militia leading to a friendly fire incident in which they make their escape.
Getting the the edge of the city they steal a pick up truck (after some fumbled attempts to get into it but Theolonius hot wires it one handed.) Driving into town blagging their way past a checkpoint with IDs left in the glove compartment and the intervention of a helpful mosquito. George uses his streetwise skills to find a suitable dive and talks business with a local gangster. For a gratuity they are given an address and their they meet fellow offworlder Beiang Xianang a swaggering bravo of a space pilot unburdened by conspicious modesty. He advises them on this small world the spaceport and air defence net are one and the same. Noticing a local patrol boat nearby they with sole uninterested guard (the remainder of the crew over the river) they determine to steal it access the spaceport via the canal that is used to supply it.
Theolonius manages to mock up some black hand Milita uniforms via odds and sods left aboard the boat and they are able to get past the space sport check point. Noticing the defenders of the port they consider their next move. There is one Starfighter and two VTOL untis being serviced.
AD is hardened locations with point defence cannon and SAM (Surface to Air) battery. MG are machine gun posts (2-3 soldiers with a general purpose machine gun.) APC is an armoured personal carrier something primitive like a BTR-60 a metal wheeled battle bus with a machine gun in a turret. MASH is a medical tent and Fighterstore a hanger of supplies and parts. The Canal is bridged by a moveable drawbridge