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Season Finale - "The Mother Load"
Elanna was contacted by an old "war buddy," Todd Wilkinson. Todd said he had a line on the "Mother Load", a lost convoy of alliance ships that were just sitting abandoned out in the black. Todd needed a ship and pilots to recover the convoy and was willing to cut the crew in on the job. Todd was accompanied by two of his other war buddies, "Ace" an former browncoat sniper and "King" a former browncoat pilot.

The first step was to find out the exact location of the convoy. Normally, this would be nearly impossible as that kind of information is only stored in the alliance databanks. Todd came through on his end though. One of the colony worlds that was bombed by the alliance during the war was recently opened for salvage (looting.) Todd knew of an old alliance outpost on the colony that should have the records the crew needed. The crew was dubious, but Todd offered to pay full passage for him and his buddies if it turned out to be a bust.

The crew set off for the colony. Surprisingly, Todd was true to his word. The alliance outpost was unguarded and even though it had been looted there was still an active connection to the alliance cortex. There was a small misunderstanding with some of the other looters. This was quickly resolved use of overwhelming yet inaccurate firepower. (Jonsey wasn't INTENDING to set the building on fire with his laser.)

The crew and their erstwhile partners now had the coordinates of the convoy in hand, with only one small problem. The convoy was smack in the middle of Reaver territory.

Todd, Ace, and King said they didn't believe in Reavers. The crew, knowing better, prepared the Ring of Fire to repel boarders, "Just in case."

The ships were far out in the black, and it would take a few weeks in space to reach them. Along the way, the crew had to skirt an alliance patrol, fend off an ambush from Reavers, and navigate a treacherous asteroid field. They also discovered an abandoned asteroid outpost. The biodome had been damaged but the facility was otherwise intact. The crew resolved to come back on check it out fully later and headed on to the convoy.

When they reached the convoy, it was the mother-load indeed: 3 alliance patrol ships, an alliance cargo ship, and a huge alliance fleet refueling ship. The fuel alone on the refueler would be worth millions!

Wary of more Reavers, the crew spotted a Reaver skiff attached to the refuler. Using a "crybaby" to lure it out, the Crew was able to ambush the skiff and blow it to pieces.

The crew favored recovering the small ships first. Todd, Ace, and King disagreed, wanting to board the refueler right away. A tense situation followed, but the crew agreed to let Ace, King and Todd take a shuttle over to the refuler while the crew worked on the smaller ships. Todd, Ace, and King boarded the refuler and said they were going to head for the bridge. Shortly afterwards, the crew lost all communication with them.

Investigating the first patrol ship, the crew discovered it ransacked by Reavers and out of fuel. Unfortunately, they did not discover the Reaver booby trap on the airlock and their shuttle was severely damaged when it tried to undock.

With some fancy flyin', the Ring of Fire was able to recover the damaged shuttle (and crew.) The crew decided to look at the cargo ship next, with an eye toward recovering it's shuttle for use in the recovery. The cargo ship was in much the same shape as the patrol ship, ransacked and out of fuel. This time, however, the crew made sure to disable the trapped airlock before docking.

Unable to raise Todd, Ace, or King on the comm, the crew decided it was time to check out the refueler. Upon docking a firefight ensued with a large group of Reavers. The crew won the fight, but not without a few wounds of their own.

Exploring the rest of the ship the crew discovered the reason the convoy had been abandoned. The fuel cells in all the ships had been infected with a biotoxin causing everyone on board to become ill. The convoy crews had been evacuated, but the alliance chose to mothball the ships for later investigation. This meant that all the fuel stored on the ship was probably tainted and unusable. Luckily, the crew discovered a small stash of backup fuel cells that pre-dated the tainted fuel. they now had enough fuel to power the refuler or a few of the smaller ships.

Continuing to investigate the ship, the crew was attacked by Ace and King when they tried to enter the bridge. The two had double crossed Todd and killed him and were now trying to steal the refueler for themselves. In the ensuing firefight, Ace was killed and King was taken into custody.

The crew was about to mete out some frontier justice on King when he made them a more tempting offer. If they would let him live, he would tell them where the bomb was hidden that Ace had planted on board the Ring of Fire. The crew agreed and discovered a bomb in Ace's room that would have easily blown a large hold in the side of the Ring. The crew came to an uneasy truce with King and allowed him to assist with the recovery of the ships. (But without of share of the loot.)

Having secured all the ships, the crew began the laborious task of docking all of the smaller ships with the refuler so they could be moved en masse. Since it would be nearly impossible to sell the alliance ships whole, the crew decided to take them back to the asteroid outpost and store them there until they decided what to do with them.

This adventure was the "Season Finale" for the crew of the Ring Of Fire. The crew is now rich enough not to have to worry about taking day to day jobs to support themselves or the Ring of Fire. Baleeze, Elanna, Jonsey, and Yume will return in Season 2!

See The Mother Load for details on what the ships are worth.
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