As the New Republic crumbles and a new Galactic Alliance is formed from the remnants, Countess Adriana sees both dangers and opportunities. Much of the bureaucracy, once standing in the way of her finding a new home for her people, now finds itself without any authority. On the other hand, many of her enemies also find themselves with more freedom to act. She decides to take advantage of the temporary chaos to accelerate and expand her colonization plans.
The truth about her grand plan is finally revealed to the characters. For several months, they have been passing secret messages, ferrying military personel with sealed orders, and picking up sealed cargo. Far more equipment was brought to the Nightengale than they were delivering to the colonies. Now, the Countess tells them why.
On a rogue asteroid, between the galactic arms, where nobody will bother to look, they have been quietly gathering whatever light freighters they could buy at bargain rates. The ships need only be able to make one trip. Each is being equipped to serve, not as a ship, but as a base for a colony in a hostile environment. Many of these ships were bought as scrap.
Countess Adriana’s plan is to colonize every rock of any use at all, across the entire cluster, all at once. The ships will travel in one big wave, escorted by her remaining capital ships. On arrival, each will be assigned a planet, moon or asteroid to land on. Once landed, the ships will be scuttled, partially buried and converted into permanent structures, which Lt. Polera likened to “mobile homes in space.”
So far, they have hundreds of transports hidden on the rogue asteroid. They need thousands. The Serenity is sent to the planet Acheron, with a budget of several million credits and 20 extra pilots. Their mission is to visit two used starship dealers and buy as many cheap freighters as they can get.
Acheron is a very hot planet, far too close to its parent star. Most of the planet is too hot for most life formes and the sun is bright enough to set most people on fire from just a few seconds exposure. The only habitable zone is in the shadow of the planet’s rings, which is only about 3 miles wide. Acheron’s axial tilt is almost 0, so the shadow is stable enough for permanenet settlements. Breathable air is provided by atmospheric converters and by shade-loving plants which have been transported from other worlds.
Unfortunately for the characters, Acheron is owned by the Mining Guild. Buying so many junk freighters at once is making the guild security forces suspicious.
The situation quickly devolves into a series of running battles across the surface and in the planet’s rings as the Casperians try to escape with as many ships as they can.
At the end of the day, they have managed to buy, capture or steal 37 freighters, mostly old Corellian YT-1300’s and YT-2400’s. They also score a single Consular class cruiser.