We jumped to a promising-looking star system in the hope of finding life and minerals... only to find both, in great abundance! After surveying the planets and moons, the party landed on a moon and chatted to the residents.
A huge open-cast mine (for radioactive material) was now disused, but the locals said it had been operated by the T'sa. We also noted a large 10-legged spider (called a wider! lol) which seems to be biologically related to the beasts we encountered in Log 7 (below).
The T'sa had provided water with phenonemal healing properties to enable slaves to work inside the mine. A small amount of this water remains, but we will try to make more as it would be handy, in any case!
Mold Castle under siege! But we could not allow ourselves to be distracted by that red herring! We had bigger fish to fry...
Last day of preparations spent searching the plane for transponders (suspicious of how emnemy had seemed to predict our movements?!)
At last darkness fell, and we left Belvoir Castle. We flew west, looking for a Welsh Valley to begin recon. Passing Mold Castley we did observe (and ignore) a heated war zone.
Setting down in a quiet dell we spied nothing so walked to a hilltop. Thence we spotted a squadron of 12 bombers heading for Mold!! Every 30 minutes another 12!! Another!! And another!! A terrifying sight to behold...
And then a collossal ship (150 times the size of ours) began spraying liquid! We thought it was chemical weapons, panicked, and called for help with a UV flare. But Invictus Illuminati saw the flare too, and 12 ships came to investigate! They fried our ship with an EMP! 8 peeled away but 4 landed. 20 people got out, led by one taller and more slender. The big ship even sprayed over them, and Seth who was outdoors, with no bad consequences...
They referred to the biggest ship as the “Flying Farmer” -- it was terraforming Wales and southern England by spraying plant seeds supported in a life-giving goo. It transpired that our very own Ella Newton’s mother is their inspiration! She operates from Bryn Bras Castle! We’re thus captured and taken to meet her!
Invictus Illuminati didn’t seem that bad after all, and we couldn’t remember why we ever thought otherwise!
Seth got given a free holiday to Dublin Cathedral. He went as a spy, yet came back bewitched by their life of leisure! He also brought me a nice book of puns as a gift.
In fact, it turned out that the most senior among the Invictus Illuminati and Brotherhood of the Old Keep are in cahoots! Colluding to bring about world change! They were freely trading every precious morsel of technical knowledge, every technique imaginable, to advance the common cause! This worried me because Invictus Illuminati could launch their laser-lifted platforms into space, but only with a special heat-resistant alloy that I was ordered to explain to them.
But we needn’t have worried... Brotherhood of the Old Keep have been building a space ship too... it landed before our very eyes... and it’s 700m long!
We find that we have 85% ammo in aircraft (wasted some on cows during last journey) which will last us two more encounters.
Pressing Ta'Shaa Ker for info on next mission, it seems that Dublin Cathedral is monsterous edifice disappearing into the clouds, deep in Invictus Illuminati territory, yet we must devise a way of retreiving a device from it. Invictus probably don’t know what the device is, but they seem to know it’s value since they store it Dublin Cathdral. Physically it is a cube, with a control pad and an electrical port in the side.
We deliberate for ages how to obtain it; considering the following possibilities:
1. Visiting -::- Quick snatch with Star Wars “trench run” approach up Dublin streets.
2. Visiting -::- Conduct “heist” while posing as pilgrims worshipping in cathedral.
3. Remote -::- Bribe a minister who works within the cathedral.
4. Remote -::- Kidnap a high-ranking official elsewhere in enemy territory.
We decided to visit and consult with a former Isle of Man resident who opted to leave two years ago when the IoM was invaded. He lives in a suburb of Edinburgh, in a ghetto of Isle of Man refugees. He has a goat and chickens and is a craftsman. He used to be a knight; now is preparing his own suit of armour in order to re-enter that profession. He gave us some background info [now incorporated into Invictus Illuminati page!] but had nothing new on how to tackle them.
We left Edinburgh and flew out to the North Sea, but after 45 minutes we were soon attacked by submersible flying machine!! We defeated this with dextrous flying and missile operation.
Passing over coast near Grimsby, ground forces appeared to have been expecting us and were moving to intercept us! Hard manouvering caused injury to the frail Ta'Shaa Ker, and our medic Seth Mauve discovered that Ta'Shaa is a Fraal!
We limped home to Belvoir Castle.
In response to our debrief, a team was despatched north in an APC to pillage the wreck we shot down (it had crashed into the coast).
I led an R&D team to enhance (1) Communication (2) air-to-air warning and defence (3) stealth technologies. We’re told that Victoria has already been sent out on a diplomatic to Bryn Bras Castle.
The party took a poor breakfast before Ta'Shaa Ker flew us to Castle Edinburgh. A lot of amunition (and our reputation) was wasted, by using livestock as target practise en route.
Landing outside the city we were greeted by George Strongheart II before making the short hop by aircraft into the central courtyard. Entering the castle the suitcase exchange was conducted uneventfully. Our new payload was a mystery, but was placed safely inside the aircraft. Ta'Shaa Ker painted the craft while the others banqueted, drank, and made merry!
It was the birthday celebration for Eilyn Strongheart -- only daughter of George Strongheart II -- who is motherless and has never left the castle. Ella Newton nows her. Ella gets very intoxicated due in part to alchohol intolerance, but is ably assisted by medical skills of Seth Mauve who remains sober.
Females of the castle show interest in Aron, and liaisons are made of the type that make one late for breakfast. Astutulus narrowly escaped the constricting advances of four generously proportioned females. He was sensitively saved by young Kinthia who he very properly showed back to her quarters before retiring alone.
Next day at breakfast time Ta'Shaa Ker istributed keys for a secure lock that he has fitted to the cargo hold door. Yet still he takes nil by mouth. Shaa has also finished painting aircraft white, with black at the rear, and Christened her: Black lettering adorns the upper surface, spelling a name... “VICTORIA”!
Travelling by the north road, after down we spot an RD-104 and deduce (it has no night sensors / a 12 hour range / is morning / is flying W to E) that it belongs to Invictus Illuminati. It must have seen us!
Later we meet a party hauling a large fusion bomb along a railway line! Twenty slaves are supervised by armed guards. They talk without violence, but they reveal nothing. Conversation is interrupted by the return of the same RD-104 -- this time unleashing it’s forward-facing weapons! The drone is neutralised by a joint effort, but unfortunately it’s remote operators chose to destroy it by diving and detonating amid the slave party.
An Invictus Illuminati VTOL aircraft promptly arrived to exact further aerial revenge! Again it was neutralised, this time not by firepower but by "causing" pilots to eject and then by "causing" the craft to settle on ground in controlled manner. "Cause" was not readily obvious... but unspoken consensus credits Ta'Shaa Ker with these phenonema!!
In gratitude the slave-drivers become more talkative. Turns out the “slaves” were mere convicts; and these men innocently want to adapt the fusion bomb to peaceful ends; as a power source for the Sheffield Republic. We let them carry on moving it towards Sheffield.