The players lick their wounds and fix their equipment. Despite obtaining a sizeable loot from the last battle, a large majority of the high-value equipment was unfixable and the faster battlemech engaging eurich was completely destroyed. The repair bill from the Marauders also ends up being millions of credits, as one of the engines is lost. As per custom, BHI pays the players a bonus for their victory, which ensures that they do not end up deeply in the red, but the fight is nonetheless a setback. As a notable message concerning their notoriety, the Sirak brotherhood accepts the anonymous contract for their destruction in MERCnet.
As before, Meek-Ria questions the prisoners and Heem-Lyeh listens in. As the conversation is held entirely in Suvak language(s?), the players have absolutely no idea of the content of the exchange. The russians are again tasked to take the prisoners to the main BHI compound, and again Heem-Lyeh joins in. The drop-off itself is uneventful, but on the way Heem-Lyeh gets the idea to fetch a proficient technican to help them with the dropship. A quick call to Fuub provides the players with a list of names and indeed they find a person who fits the criteria in every possible way (knows suvak, has coded interfaces for vehicles like this, uses vim instead of emacs). The kind of person who does not take his work too seriously, not out of laziness but because he seems overqualified for everything. The kind that does not tell anyone if he takes a vacation, but nobody says anything because he's too valuable. Best of all, this middle-aged weleka male simply introduces himself with his online handle, CheekyChic69.
Regardless, it is easy to persuade this kind of a character to do a new and interesting task, so they ferry him back to the dropship. Upon toying with the dropship's computers, Cheeky informs them that translating most of the interface "is a bit tough", but takes "a couple of weeks, tops". Alexander asks about the costs, and after juding the navigator carefully, CheekyChic69 states that he'll do the job and work for them for a measly 50000 credits per year (which is an outrageous amount). Disappointment about the "careful" offer is evident in his when Alexander immediately agrees, but the programmer clearly isn't the kind of person to rehaggle his own jokes and he simply gets to work, determined to cash in as soon as possible.
As for the problem with the interrogation translations, Heem-Lyeh's previous contacts are extremely unlikely to be of help. The russians suggest the local university and seek a student with the necessary Suvak skills. This isn't a particularly difficult task and through a bulleting board, the players soon find ten reasonable candidates and true to their form, select the youngest female among the group, Hune-Boo. They drive to meet her on the campus, and while the student is rightfully terrified of the hovertank, they manage to catch her and explain the situation. After being promised a hefty sum for translation services, she agrees to help them.
Unlike the whores, Hune-Boo is incredibly fast and professional and equipped with software specifically designed for the task. She writes almost as fast as she listens and the translitteration is soon done. While the student is further frightened by the content of the tapes, the players simply promise her more money and set her on her way with the promise for more work in the future.
The content of the discussions themselves is more brief than previously. Unlike the young Sybaris recruits, the Suvak mechwarriors seem completely aware of the situation, their rights and their probable fate. They are steadfast and reluctant to reveal anything about their organization, only repeating that their ransom will be paid and then they will simply be on their way. The other, however, is more chatty and has a brief conversation about Sybaris with Meek-Ria. An important detail in this is that it considers the humans unprofessional and driven by desires irrelevant to the battle itself. It also claims that Sybaris probably won't take losing well, and warns Meek-Ria to be aware of this. It also states that "everyone knows what BHI is building in the orbital docks", but doesn't elaborate further on the matter. As Meek-Ria refuses to comment on this quip, the players are left wondering what it means.
While this is happening, Cracked Mask and Karamat-Via push the remaining enemy forces northward until they come in range of the defense towers in the spaceport. One of the towers is fixed to the extent that it can be aimed manually, so that it manages to deter the attacking troops momentarily. Veer-Niva prepares to shell the tower to the ground, but Sybaris sends them a requests for a very brief ceasefire so that it can release the civilians. Both Weston Devine and Veer-Niva consider this stalling and a weak bluff, and are confident that they could take the spaceport with minimal losses, but BHI's representatives regardless agree to the terms because they do not want to lose civilian lives or cause further damage the spaceport. The suvak's warning seems to have been well-informed, however, as the Sybaris dropships immediately retreat and a warning to the spaceport defenders is broadcast openly before the orbital assets drop a sizeable rock on the premises.
As the first serious act of escalation in the current war, this causes a serious uproar. Willingness to destroy infrastructure is worrying for the general population and a change can be observed in the general atmosphere. However, there is little time to ponder this, as all forces are ordered to march west to reinforce other battles. As the players are preparing to do this, they get a transmission from Fuub-Ark to get to Vetakai immediately. The general consensus is that Fuub is their "bro", so they load their ship and boost away from the planet. Both CheekyChic69 and Hune-Boo are recruited as semi-permanent assets at this point, because the players suspect that they need both in the future.
While en-route, Veer-Niva calls them to heavily protest and accuse them of mutiny, but the players simply close the connection. Before Karamat-Via can take further actions, a new development changes the playing field. Sybaris forces in orbit activate and accelerate toward the orbital factories, with a small detachment heading for Vetakai.
While the players are deliberating what they see, Fuub contacts them and suspects that the detachment will try to take control of the Vetakai mass driver in order to further escalate the situation and threaten the orbital factories. The players are a bit late, but their vessel is much faster and the Sybaris landing force has to navigate around Vetakai space defense systems, buying them time and still losing them a couple of vessels. The players arrive just in time to reinforce the installation and prepare for attack as a barrage of heavy smoke shells reduce the visibility to near-zero.
This time, Sybaris is trying to push through a large amount of troops and supports them with mechs. However, the players secure an early advantage as Eurich one-shots the enemy command Atlas and ensures a local superiority. The remaining mechs are outclassed against Black Nebula forces and the fight soon evolves into a defensive battle where the players search for approaching troops amidst the smoke and try to thin their numbers before they reach the facility. Josef's mech is crippled by Sybaris's Griffins, but the only real loss is Heem-Lyeh's hovertank, which is badly hit and immobilized by an SRM platoon. Heroically Heem-Lyeh climbs into the turret to suppress the approaching troops, but eventually the tank's armor is breached and the other mercenaries see its gun go silent. The last word they hear from it are "It's allright Eurich, I know what you did on the border".
Even though most of the player units are really badly equipped to deal with infantry and the loss of the hovertank is a heavy blow, the outcome of the battle still favors the players due to the overwhelming amount of tonnage they field. Eventually Juho's dual plasma cannons are too deadly and the sheer volume of Eurich's missile barrage is too much for the infantry to handle. Without friendly mechs to cover their advance, the morale of the infantry is broken and the rest either flee or surrender. Almost two hundred wounded or dead are gathered from the battlefield.
Heem-Lyeh is dragged out of his tank, and fortunately for him, the engine has died quietly and there hasn't been an ammunition explosion. Despite being gravely wounded, his life can be saved. The session ends when Black Nebula is left defending the mass driver and Fuub informs them that he will be arriving shortly. The atmosphere is that of bad news.