"TSS ELDRIDGE"
PILOT EPISODE:
"THE SHROUD"

    The Episode started off with an explosion on board the Vanderov.  The 1st Officer, Medical Officer, and Engineer on board are killed.  Upon returning to the Mars Shipyards for repairs, Heather put in a general request on the Network for replacements.  Willas Bryce came on board with no luggage.  Finland Boothe arrived with a toolbox of devices new and unknown.

    I played the opening credits at this point.  I had picked this simple track from the hardly known 2010 Soundtrack.  This remained through most of the first season.  Very few of the players that came on board were here yet.  They would arrive slowly as the game progressed.  Rio,  Max, and John won't appear until the 1st episode.  Most of the first hour was just introduction.

   Heather decides to meat up with an old friend at a local bar.  There, he tells her that someone asked him when the Van was arriving.  Apparently someone is looking for a good Mule.  The Van came highly recommended.   Not being able to locate the the individual, the Van leaves but realizes that someone has implanted a lead in their log.  The coordinates are in the seldom trafficked Byron System.  It was a system not fully scanned by Burners.  4200 parsecs away, the system is not a easy detour but Heather decides to go anyway.

    En-route, the Van is cut off by a Snark.  The crew claims the lead is owned by them that they acquired legally from a K34 bee that they own and operate.  Heather talked her way out of a sticky situation and the two crews decide to team up.  The Snark, the "Shenendoah" is Captained by Elina Moore

   The Shenendoah is named after the movie?  nah.  It was named after the spacecraft in the cheesy monster film "Creature"--one of the many film references that would pop in over the game.

    Still outside the Byron system, the Van and Shenendoah encounter and recover an escape pod with marking connecting it to no known ship built of lost.  The passenger on board has no memory and mumbles something about a "shroud".  He has radical mood swings and continually asks about the war.  Bryce reports the passenger's readings keep going wonky...like the guy is having a mirco-stroke every minute.  They decide to keep him in the isolation ward.  However, he vanished from the sealed room...then reappears when the crew was not looking.  He then dies from seemingly old age.

        The Byron system is getting crowded.  Upon arrival, the two Mules encounter a third -- A Cobb.  It opens fire but soon listens to reason.  The Masidonia, Commanded by Jordan Baker, arrived from info he purchased from a corporate Burner.  He has been here for three days but has found nothing.  As the three captains are discussing their options, Heather looks out the window in mid-sentence and sees a 2 kilometer spacecraft....no build up...it was just there.  They see a name across the side: "ELDRIDGE"

   I used music right from 2010 again.  Copying a scene right from the movie, as the crew looks out in shock out the window.  It offered quite a surprise to the group.  I immediately plugged in my search music, this time Ennio Morricone from "The Thing."  The Eldridge cam from the movie and actually factual accounts of The Philadelphia Experiment.  The episode is a repeat of the same experiment...the characters would soon learn.

    The board the craft.  It is in perfect condition.  Carbon Testing indicates it is less that three years old.  The search reveals some human crew members imbedded in the hull.  Lights are on but the power is off.  One crew member locates a strange reactor near the middle of the ship no one can identify.  No serial numbers are labeled.  The log is encoded and unbreakable.  They activate the reactor and the Eldridge vanishes into a strange vortex, when deactivated, the Eldridge appears almost a parsec away and two weeks in the future.  The worst discovery is the ship's mass is too high for these three ships to tow.  Realizing the potential funds even split four ways, the three ships enlist the services of another.  Heather recommends the "Whitworth", and Outrigger three days away.

    Upon arrival, the four ships pull the Eldridge away from orbit into deep space.  The ships decide to part their seperate ways, each with the coordinates of the craft, no hidden safely in an asteroid field.  Finland privately reveals he could activate the Eldridge's engines if he wanted to but made sure no one else could.

    The Shenendoah will leave for Breaker's Yard to secure the corporate contract, The Whitworth will head for the nearest TMA Installation while the Masidonia and the Van will go the nearest Skybase.  They must find a buyer and procure a rendezvous for salvage rights.

   It wasn't easy breaking up the ships.  No one wanted to leave the ship.  The Whitworth and the Van had a past relationship detailed in Heather's lifepath.  They wanted ot stick together.  The Masidonia was a ship that felt it could get more money so it went off on its own.  As for the Shenendoah, I brought up some excuse like them having some rich buyer on Breaker's Yard.  They would rendezvous at the ship later.

   Bjorn contacts a friend at the TMA who says that the Eldridge doesn't exist in the Authority's registry.  Heather probes the history books and picks out on reference to a vessel in a long forgotten war.  The vessel was the subject of a secret experiment.  Elsewhere, Admiral Montgomery discovers that the Eldridge was found.

    At the Skybase, Heather refuses a standard heck by the automated mecktecks but the Whitworth decides to have a ful checkup.  Heather is asked to meet someone at the coolant towers.  She meets a shadowy figure with a hidden face.  He says that approaching the military was foolish and that the Masidonia was destroyed in an "Accident."  He also adds that Mecktecks can be modified. Heather bolts out of the room and runs to the bay but not in time to see the Whitworth incinerate when it engines activate.

   I used an explosion from "Blown Away" as the background.  I even threw in a "slow - mo" sequence where Heather tries to get to the Whitworth in time...but not enough.

    The Van heads to Breaker's Yard to meet up with the Shenendoah before it meats an untimely fate.  Bjorn is told from his contact that the Eldridge was commishioned 20 years ago but vanished.  On Breaker's Yard, the Van finds out one person has been trying to locate those who found the Eldridge.  The Van locates this man but he runs and a chase ensues through Breaker's Yard (through the streets and such).  Before they catch him, he is hit and run over by a car.   Finland locates a bomb on the Van as well.  When the Van searches around the bay for the perpetrator, a man walks from the shadows to reveal himself.  The same man from the Skybase, he has been following the Van for some time.  He works for a secret group that will stay hidden for now.  He identifies himself as "Sapphire".  He says that the existence of the Eldridge can be very dangerous for all who know and valuable for those who posses.  It was an experiment in cloaking a vessel totally from sight and radar but when the Eldridge vanished...it never reappeared.  The Project leader was Colonel Montgomery who has quietly covered this stain on his profile since the mission result in the loss of a Heavy Cruiser and 500 men and women.  Terrance Montgomery is about to be elected of Military Operations at the TMA and you don't get to that kind of position without knowing how to sidestep a few land-mines.
    Montgomery is eliminating the evidence.  Sapphire gives them the code for the Log.  Meanwhile, a battle cruiser searches for the Eldridge.  The Van and Shenendoah meet up and head for the Eldridge.  If they can get this Heavy Cruiser working, they might be able to get it to a base in time before Montgomery locates them.

    They find and activate the craft and successfully move it into Hyper Transit.  Part way there, Montgomery's battle cruiser, Illuminati cuts the Eldridge off.  A standoff occurs.  The Illuminati opens fir and the Eldridge puts up a fight but as the Illuminati's superior weapons overtake the Eldridge, Heather decides to activate the ships cloaking drive and escape.  The Van is cut off but saved by Corporate battle cruisers.  The Illuminati stands down.  The Eldridge vanishes.  The Van realizes that they were saved by Sapphire but what power does he have?
END.