But - In spite of the bloody death that may have been at hand, victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat! (Literally!) Then the Intelligence and Pacification Group rocked up, cleaned up the scene, debriefed the crew and captain, gave them some hazard pay and a reason to keep their mouths shut over what happened. So everyone went home, returned to base and unwound for a while - but not before getting a knock on the door from a Robert "Rags" Raggleton and from an Arin Berelai.
Adventure called once more when the group's favourite TV show was interrupted by a transmission by an entity named Cain. He threatened Yamatai and Nepleslia with destruction unless Luca turned himself in to protect the universe from his influence. The IPG showed up once more, and escorted Luca and the crew to a small, faraway galaxy designated N-357. The planet where the signal was traced from was a beautiful place, abundant and rich, save for Cain's Fortress putting a mark on the landscape. Fighting through the fortress has entailed combat with an invisible fighter, an old enemy of Hitori, and even a mysterious Power Armoured Ninja.
The virus was found, and destroyed, and so was the way it would be delivered to Yamatai and Nepleslia. SAINT and the IPG dealt with it accordingly. It then came time to confront Cain, after storming their way through the castle, confronted Cain and Mindwrecker. A short 'last' meal happened before a cacophony of flying lead, smashing statues and frenzied punching against Cain and his cohort ensued - Cain appeared to be defeated - until he came back with a vengeance, and a very new, gargantuan, and gelatinous body. Fear only washed through the crew for a moment before they took action! With the help of a spared, good-natured goon by the name of Danny Hanley-Lewis, they overcame the beast.
Then came getting off of N-357, achieved by stealing a Vampire Class ship and taking it home. On the way, they found Valo amongst a chunk of debris. They fished him out of the wreckage and got him back to a semi-operational state, much to Arin's objections. When they landed at home, the crew rewarded handsomely for saving the world.
They christened the ship as the ISC Big Bird.
Celebrations didn't last, however. The following morning, Luca turned on the Televisor 12000, and found that the NMX had rocked up, and were messing the galaxy up, namely Nataria. Luca decided to go off and defend Tami with the crew in tow. They agreed, but not everyone was pleased with the change. On their way, they ran into Mr. and Mrs. Merchant, and the crew bought liberal amounts of ammo and weapons for the battle ahead.
As they got to Tami, they were greeted by Saeko Marujou, or the affectionately titled “She-Bitch”. She and the captain got into an argument on letting them into the planet, but after a heated debate - the captain coaxed her to coincide with his camaraderie-caulking coerce 1). The ship landed, and were greeted coldly by her, but further diplomacy (read: intense argument) lead to them being open-arms welcome as long as they don't break any laws. While waiting, Luca decided to outfit the crew with GP-ORV vehicles, three of them paradropped into their proximity. During which, he got a surprise delivery from Mr. and Mrs. Merchant - Plasma Ammunition!
The crew waited. And waited… and waited… until they got an order from Saeko to pull out. Once they pulled out, however, they got right back into it! As they were leaving, the Mishhu JUST happened to rock up. Evil has inexplicably good timing. The ship turned around, and got right back into the thick of it, landing quickly and kicking righteous amounts of arse. Some setbacks were encountered. Robert had his leg broken, the captain was shot and nearly killed, and to top it off, their former overseer, Saeko, had been brainwashed by the Mishhu. The crew was generally rattled by the experience, making a hasty retreat after blowing up something which looked important.
The crew headed to Nepleslia, they packed up everything that wasn't bolted down in the Base, and left in a hurry, during which, Zeta Five met the crew. Their next move is to have a well-deserved relax on Nepleslia Prime. On the way, they bumped into Vincienzo Bortelli on an Escape Pod and decided to take him in. The relaxation on Nepleslia Prime wasn't all that relaxing, as no less than four assassinations were attempted against the Captain, including a Sniper, Malice, a thrall of Vitriol; and a professional Nekovalkyrja. Oh, and there was a band member of the worst band in the universe being carried off on a giant inflatable crocodile. 2)
However, between Malice and the Nekovalkyrja, there was a Kohanian, who, after having his attempt foiled and running with the Captain and crew in hot pursuit, and the crew was ambushed by the Nekovalkyrja. The Kohanian had a change of heart after some convincing - and showed his prowess in killing. The captain, grateful for this intervention, and display of skill struck a bargain with the Kohanian. Whispering Trees “Panther” had joined the crew. And later that morning, Uriel Hisshana had struck a deal with the captain for safe passage, as had the pint-sized tinkerer Seiren Isbala for a thrill.
The next day was initially fine, with breakfast, and some bounty paid for taking down the various assassins and some shopping for weapons, ammunition, armour and the like. However, lunch was a bit strained - as Michael Kreisen decided to brawl with the crew. However, he was biting off more than he could chew, and ended up tied to a flagpole whilst his clones were savagely messed up.
The next plan was to leave Nepleslia Prime, since Luca was already attracting too much attention, in between fighting politicians and assassins. Drift seemed like a worthwhile place, and too secluded to have any major enemies show up. It was going to be a long road to get there, with the Mishhu threat on the main space lines.
During which, they picked up two very interesting stowaways, Echelon and Naoko. Echelon was a a Freespacer who lost her body in the Yamataian/Freespacer conflicts, and decided to possess the Big Bird for a bit, but she was talked out of it, and now possesses an old Super Demon she uses as a body. Naoko was found in a fridge during the crew's pitstop to Star's Crossroads before heading 'South', and the road ahead looked smooth. The crew then had an unusually well cooked dinner, courtesy of the Chef to lighten the tense atmosphere.
Once they touched down on The Libertarian Republic Of Drift after days of travel and acquaintance, they were immediately greeted by Drift's governor, Galar Vanatosk. An informal celebration was to be held, but a would-be assassin from the infamous Jet Bulls crashed the party. Barely dodging this incident and dealing with it quickly, the team knew that they'd landed in something bigger. This was punctuated by Yuki's arrival, a very, very powerful rogue Nekovalkyrja mercenary making her presence known.