“Guys, we have a problem.”
A day out from Deadwood, and Jules informs the rest of the crew that she’s discovered a bomb placed deep in the engine. It looks as though Cash’s gang rigged Icarus when they were aboard. The bomb straddles the main compression lines: Not enough to blow up the entire ship, but enough to cripple the engine.
Aida shuts down the engine, so that Jules can work on the device more safely. Icarus drifts along, dead in space. No heat, no life support circulating. The crew urges Jules to work quickly.
Jules discovers that the bomb is booby-trapped to go off if the cowling is removed, so she stops short of taking it off, only prying it up enough to get a look at the small batch of ChemPlast which forms the explosive core, and the small computer which serves as the bomb’s “brain.” Running a cautious diagnostic on the brain, she discovers that the bomb has an altimeter trigger — it was set to detonate just before they broke atmo, which would result in the engines cutting out completely, followed by a quick plunge from the skies into a pancake of flaming debris on the planet’s surface. The good news is– that obviously didn’t happen. They made it into the Black.
The bad news: The little computer shows that the bomb DID trigger. Which means that for whatever reason, a loose connection, or some other glitch, it didn’t detonate…..but could at any moment, for any reason…or not, as it could be a dud. There’s no way of knowing. The vicious little package is very much live.
Debate ensues (imagine that).
The crew comes up with a plan: Aida will re-start the engine.
Best Case Scenario: The bomb doesn’t detonate, and Icarus takes a detour to Aberdeen (which is about a day away). They stay in orbit, and head down to the surface in a shuttle, pick up a replacement Main Compression Line, remove the one with the bomb attached, install the new part, and continue on their merry way to Hera.
Worst Case Scenario: Bomb gets all ‘splodey, engine is crippled. Crew takes refuge in shuttles (which still have heat and life support, while Renner and Leda take Renner’s ship (which has more range than a shuttle) to Aberdeen, where they pick up a replacement Main Compression Line, and then come back to Icarus. Jules then installs the new part, and continue on their merry way to Hera.
Come on now. Did you really think the Best Case Scenario was gonna happen?
Aida starts the engine.
Engine crippled. Icarus no go…ever. (Unless replacement part found)
The crew suits up (since opening the cargo doors to get Renner’s ship out will depressurize the cargo bay…which is also how they get to the shuttles), and takes refuge in one of the shuttles, as Renner and Leda head off towards Aberdeen.
About two hours out, Renner spots something: Another ship, on a heading directly for Icarus. He’s sure that the crew of Icarus hasn’t spotted them because the shuttles don’t have long-range sensors, and besides, they’re trying to conserve energy for heating and life support, and are unlikely to be running sensors anyway. Cursing himself for a heroic fool, he wheels his ship around and heads back towards Icarus.
Eventually, Aida spots the ship approaching. As it gets closer, she activates the shuttle’s sensors, and discovers that the approaching vessel….
…is a Reaver ship.
There is a moment or six of intense panic.
Aida wants to wait until they get close, and then launch the shuttle and run. Willem doesn’t want to leave his ship, nor does Jules. Gideon thinks it might be fun to kill something.
After a brief argument, Aida finally relents, and unlocks the shuttle hatch. Willem, Gideon and Jules take up positions in Icarus, waiting to repel the Reavers. Aida and Kai stay in the shuttle, keeping it ready for escape.
The Reaver ship approaches, waldo-crane arms reaching forward for Icarus…..
…and at that moment, Renner and Leda rocket into view, cannons blazing. Trumpets sound, a cheer goes up, etc.
The Reaver ship whirls about, activating its electrical arc weapon, ready to take out this new threat.
Renner (prompted by elbowing from Leda) whips his ship around in a dogfight with the Reaver, firing his cannons and occasionally launching a missle when he gets a clear shot. Explosions rip across the surface of the Reaver ship.
Meanwhile, the spacesuited Willem pops the upper hatch on Icarus and climbs out onto the hull with his sniper rifle, eager to assist…. Just in time to see Renner use the Icarus as cover. The Reaver fires its electrical arc weapon, which misses Renner’s ship and strikes the hull of Icarus. Willem gets electrocuted, and nearly passes out….barely managing to grab on to the open hatch before drifting off into space. He swears a lot.
Renner, meanwhile, fires another salvo at the Reaver ship, and a huge explosion rips through the vessel, leaving the wreck drifting in space.
It is at this point that the crew members who all share the “overconfident” flaw (Willem, Gideon, Renner and Leda), decide that it would be a good idea to BOARD THE REAVER SHIP, and salvage the part they need from it.
I’ll wait here, while you re-read that sentence.
OK. So, they take a shuttle over, and board the Reaver ship. The minute they get a look at the interior — haphazard welds that make no sense, bone piles, tendons strung like Christmas tinsel — they begin to figure out that this might not have been the best idea in the history of ideas…ever. Sure enough, within minutes, they are attacked by the surviving members of the Reaver crew (if you can call it that), and are running through the spiders-nest of walkways, pipes and grating, fending off attacks and trying to find the engine. Before long, they are nearly as covered in gore as the Reavers are….and Willem has been wounded by a harpoon, his suit punctured. Things look bleak.
Eventually, they find their way to the engine, and remove the Main Compression Line from the Reaver ship, which is covered in knucklebone fetishes and arcane language scratched into the surface by someone’s fingernails.
Problem is, they were so intent on keeping an eye out for attack (Gideon even pumping shots into every corpse they passed), that they got themseves turned around, and now can’t quite remember the exact route back to the shuttle.
Willem has a brilliant idea: They’ll follow the trail of spent brass. Like Hansel & Gretel with breadcrumbs, they’ll keep an eye out for their own ejected bullet casings, and follow that trail back to the shuttle.
The plan works. They make it back to the shuttle, but come under attack along the way. This time, Renner gets wounded, his suit sliced open.
They make it back to the shuttle, to find it occupied by a female (they think) Reaver, who attacks. Willem grabs her wrists as she scratches at his helmet with the razors, wire, nails and screws that she had inserted into the flesh of her finger tips, which shriek against the faceplate of Willem’s punctured space suit. Not good.
Leda tries to shoot, but misses, nearly causing explosive decompression in the shuttle. Also not good.
Gideon shoots, and blows a chunk out of the Reaver, but doesn’t kill her. Again with the not good.
Renner takes one of the Reaver weapons (an improvised axe), and tries to chop her head off. He damages the Reaver, but she still is intent on ripping Willem to shreds.
Say it with me: Not Good.
Finally, Leda runs up, places her gun against the Reaver’s skull, and pulls the trigger. The body falls (where it receives a few more shots, just to make sure).
They leave the wreckage of the Reaver ship, and return to Icarus.
Jules, notoriously possessed of a weak stomach, meets the crew as they disembark. They are covered head to toe in gore, and proudly display the Main Compression Line, complete with knucklebones. Naturally, Jules loses her cookies.
Kai patches up the wounds on Willem and Renner.
Jules installs the Main Compression Line, after Aida has cleaned it off.
Aida hits the Three Magic Switches (the ones above her pilot’s station)….
…and nothing happens.
Jules realizes that the ship had been hit by the electrical arc weapon earlier, which most likely tripped all of the circuit breakers. She re-sets them, Aida hits the switches again, and Icarus comes to life.
They continue on their way to Hera, and Serenity Valley.