The cargo Cindy located is loaded – bulk fertilizer and the ship departs in the morning of 17 June 2518. Chan rolled a 16 over an average task for a critical success for a full 400 ton cargo at one credit per ton netting 400 credits for the five day trip to Regina (127.5 hours). In addition to the regular cargo, Li Ming was able to also roll a 16 over an average task for another critical success netting six passengers (two couples and two individuals) for an additional 600 credits making this trip a thousand credit run!

Chan and William ensured the lift day tradition was maintained even though additional food had to be purchased in addition to stocking more standard food for the passengers. The passengers are a mixed lot. LuAnn Joyce and son (8) Jebidia to visit family, Peng Bihai checking on her mining investments, a pair of terra forming scientists Blake Atkins and Larry Lin, and Hu Xiulan a woman returning to her home from a business trip. Mrs. Hu immediately began complaining initially about the smell of the cargo, but continued on seeing her cabin. Cindy tried to placate the woman who demanded to see the captain. Cindy was able to buy time explaining that the captain was very busy with the pre-launch sequence and would talk to her later.

Jebidia Joyce was found wandering by Willis and returned to his cabin, where Willis gave Mrs. Joyce a politely delivered lecture on the risk to an unsupervised child on a space ship. Chan did eventually speak to Mrs Hu and kept her in check. The lift day meal was an average presentation that failed to please Mrs. Hu. Atkins and Lin argued frequently over terraforming theories, being on opposite camps in a current debate on how best to increase oxygen output. William entered the discussion once, but the concepts were too obscure Willis grasped the basics, but not well enough to technically resolve the dispute. His one attempt to spiritually intervene got the two scientists so mad; they stopped speaking to each other. 

On day two, despite a meal made of protein and canned food, William served a meal so good that even Mrs. Hu was satisfied for a change. On day three Jebidia snuck onto the bridge. When Marsh yelled, the boy tried to play hide and seek, but the nimble pilot was too fast and caught the boy before he could escape. Chan lashed Mrs. Joyce so severely, the woman all but collapsed into tears, forcing Li Ming to become ship’s nanny. Jebidia was smitten with Li Ming and quickly calmed down and Mrs. Joyce was calmed down.

On day four, 21 June 2518, not even Li Ming could settle Mrs. Hu down. However, Marsh picked up a signal that was flooding the Cortex. A wave showing a disheveled woman that explained that the Alliance had added a chemical compound to the atmospheric blend of a planet named Miranda caused 30 million settlers to become so docile to prevent aggression that they just laid down and died! However, as horrible as that was, a small percentage had a savagely opposite reaction to the chemical known as “the pax” they became so aggressive that they were no longer human. The image ends with the woman firing on some of these savages, then tries to kill herself before being knocked down and ends with her screams, which take a painfully long time to stop.

The entire crew instantly realized the Reavers were created by the Alliance!  Everyone except Xavier had heard of Miranda to some degree remembering it was declared a black rock after a terraforming mishap. This bit hit Akins and Lin very hard, but it was William that blanched so white he had to sit down. He had made arrangements to be one of the colonists, but decided with the tensions between the Core and the Rim were too high to venture off to some unknown world.  He could have been one of those that died or God’s mercy a Reaver himself. 

The broadcast stunned everyone into silence and made the rest of the journey subdued.  However, the Cortex was on fire with accusations from the rim and counter arguments from the core.  The wave picked up the title of “The Broadcast” and while who sent it was unknown, the senders were epic heroes on the Rim, where Browncoat sentiments were a flame with a “We told you so” fever. 

By the time the Ghost reached Regina, 22 June 2518, some order was being lost as reports of a disastrous battle in the Burnham Quadrant was starting to leak onto the Cortex whipping up a frenzy as word of thousands of causalities began to trickle out despite all Alliance denials. The Parliament feed stopped transmitting as the members turned on each other and tied government into knots. The uproar has Verbena airspace checked with unscheduled departures and crowds at the port. Marsh squeezed the ‘Ghost in for a landing Chan quickly decides the only way to reach the shipper’s office, who has not answered waves, is to go via the large mover mule and well armed. Chan, William, Cindy, and Li Ming would checkout the shipper, while Marsh guarded the airlock with Xavier in the cockpit and Willis keeping the engine ready to lift.

First up however, was to get the passengers to safety. The three trips got all six passengers to their destinations without incident as the brandished assault rifles were enough to drive the crowd back. On the fourth trip this time to see the shipper, Chan’s words to get through had worn thin. Surging in frustration, William tried to force his way through and this set the crowd off.  Cindy began to get nervous and Chan just barely heard the safety on Cindy’s SMG click off.  Chan barked a stand fast command and Cindy obeyed. Chan ordered the crowd back again and this time they were scared enough to step back.

Arriving at the shipper’s office confirmed their fears, the office was a burnt out shell. Returning through the crowd was tense, but accomplished safely. However, a group of Alliance soldiers arrives and tries to bully the mob only to find the crowd is in no mood to listen, a bottle flies and chaos ensues. The Purplebellies panic and open Fire! Dozens fall, but the crowd is so angry, that the Purplebellies are overwhelmed going down in a sea of enraged fists. William manages to boost the mule over the crowd. But the flying rocks and bottles battered the four who were saved by their armor from injury. On reaching the ship, the Cortex is jammed with images of chaos.

The Alliance forces have withdrawn to their forward operating base and mobs rule the streets. It takes Marsh a couple tries to reach the shipper on Harvest who tells the crew to deliver the cargo to Salisbury, an eighteen hour trip. Not having much choice, Chan agrees. Li Ming contacts Chan via intercom to let her know there are people trying to get off world, but the mob is pressing the remaining security very hard. If they don’t choose now, they won’t be able to help at all. Chan knows instinctively if she opens the boarding ramp, a stampede will ensure. Heart wrenching as it is, the danger to the crowd and the ship forces Chan to say no and order Marsh to take off. Marsh barely avoids the chaos in the airspace above Regina, but got the ‘Ghost clear.  All through the trip to Salisbury, The Bbroadcast’s ripple effects rage over the Cortex and what the crew will find next is unknown.