Rather than continue to put their lives at risk for meager military pay, Iota 4 offered to do a personal favor for the significantly wealthier Rear Admiral James Falkland instead. They were given the location of a single shipping pod accidentally released from a Keeper military transport, whose recovery would cost the government unnecessary time and money. Leaving an emotional Veronica and Lenne behind, Iota 4 headed out of the Spire and towards its destination. The group brought with them the services of Ace-Hole, and was immediately thankful they did.
Nearing their objective, a desperate Ace-Hole broke onto the comns, advising they get the hell out of the area. Despite Gerrard’s best efforts, Iota 4’s dropship was sent careening uncontrollably in the blast wave of a multi-stage fusion warhead detonation. Flames and radiation swept the area clean and smashed Gerrard’s ship onto a rocky outcropping, a shaken Iota 4 immediately beginning their deployment. A wide variety of insurgent forces, wtih motivations and origins unknown, were already surging toward their position from outside the blast radius.
While the squadron’s ship looked to be going nowhere in a hurry, shot after perfectly placed shot felled hostile aerospacecraft and condemned hostile dropships to the fate their own had suffered. As Lira used her Synth’s jets to mount one of the unfortunate transports and plunge her mining drill deep into the pilot’s compartment, an array of armored vehicles deployed from its underbelly, tearing into her friends with a variety of vicious weapons. While they tore layers of armor off of her comrades (still fighting for their lives against swarms of aerospacecraft), a sudden overpowering burst from Lira’s jets and gravitic manipulator send the dropship hurtling downward, crushing at least one of the offending Runners. At the edge of the asteroid on which he had crashed, Gerrard attempted to hold off an approaching Corvette with Ace-Hole’s assistance.
In a desperate attempt to draw away the final squadron of hostile air forces, jets of smoke and flame hurtled from Ace-Hole’s engines as his outdated Corvette attempted a full bell maneuver. He failed, smashing the nose of his craft into Gerrard’s own cargo bay. Left with little other option, he made up for his previous failure with a drastic and dangerous success. A barrage from Ace-Hole’s missile banks annihilated the entire aft of the dropship, flinging the bumbling corvette skyward once more. Now in a perfect vertical ascent, the pirate’s rear flak projectors erupted on the inbound enemy fighters, tearing them to pieces in a storm of searing shrapnel.
Just as the first wave had begun to thin, a full squadron of twelve hostile Synths stomped onto the edge of the battlefield, having previously escaped from the confines of their downed dropship. As the rest of Iota 4 bemoaned their arrival, Rayne saw an opportunity to eliminate the new threat in one swift stroke. Using her cloaking device to sneak behind the enemy, Rayne prepared the targetting system for the Sword of Dawn I7 heavy particle beam mounted on Gerrard’s ship, which had worked up the power for a single shot. Unfortunately she missed. Critically.
As Gerrard’s pride and joy locked on to Rayne’s own Synth, she developed a plan to take the enemy with her. Diving behind the line of hostile vehicles with her jumpjets, the Sword of Dawn tore after her, shredding the enemies that stodd between it and its target. While Rayne’s own Stallion was torn apart, she had decimated fully half of the squadron, and the rest were quickly routed by the group, ejecting safely away from the chaos. But once again, any hope of victory was quickly dashed away from Iota 4.
A colossal Dragon-class transynth hurled itself into the fight, slamming into the ground and sending a downed dropship tumbling towards the huddled defenders. As Rayne watched in horror, the enormous vehicle proceeded to use the squadron’s own dropship as a weapon, sending Iota 4 scattering across the battlefield. Shot after shot seared into its armor, great floods of molten metal dripping off with each impact of Reicher’s main weapon. The group tried to disable the Dragon’s secondary defenses, but not before they took their toll. It’s frontal particle beam scorched the thin atmosphere it passed through, with a shoulder-mounted missile cluster steadily pounding away. Finally, weapons and armor billowing with smoke, the Dragon fell. A mangled Iota 4 stood around its wreckage, just as the colossal form of The Leviathan roared to a halt overhead, ten seconds too late to be of any real use.
The group was brought aboard, meeting with a baffled Falkland and receiving their well-earned payment. The means by which the Dragon had been discovered, let alone excised from its container, brought online, and hijacked by terrorists, eluded and terrified the Rear Admiral, and he was quick to send the group on their way so a proper investigation could begin. Though Gerrard proposed they take the time to share a drink, Iota 4’s collective exhaustion took hold, and they scattered to their homes to await the call to service once more.