Star Date 4300.6.1.7
Nervous about the aliens they have discovered on the planet, the crew of the Haphazard films an “autopsy video” that they hope only conspiracy theorists and the mysterious Aleafinctan that they saw fleeing from the caverns will pay attention to. They hope to flush the suspected traitor out of hiding. The plan backfires, as the Aleafinctans believe the video, leaving the crew with their second viral video sensation in less than a week.
The crew arranges for and meets with the generals of the Aleafinctan defense forces ans share the information they have obtained. The Aleafinctans begin a recovery effort at the collapsed underground complex.
At that time, the sensors on the Haphazard begin to pick up advanced communication signals being beamed into the Aleafinctan capital, Aleafi. The crew takes their ship into space, and detects three small alien vessels hiding in the asteroid belt orbiting the twin gas giants Alea and Finctus. They move to intercept the vessels, and in an initial battle are disable by one ship and destroy another. An alien boarding party attempts to gain control of the Haphazard, but are ultimately repelled in a bloody firefight through the corridors of the vessel. Shadow manages to restart the ship’s engines, and a temporary escape is made.
The reprieve is short-lived, however, as the third alien vessel moves in for the kill. However, after some shooting and fancy flying, the third vessel is destroyed when crushed between two asteroids.
The Haphazard then chases down the remaining alien vessel, whose crew was decimated during the boarding action, and gains control after a their own boarding action. Investigating the vessel, Orchid and Lucius-555 find the “engine room” of the vessel, along with a crew of some ten or so enslaved Reynar. Orchid manages to download much of the data of the alien vessel to the Haphazard’s computers.