Surprisingly, despite being ordered to the briefing by Fuub, the players learn that he has been transferred, and that he is no longer in charge of the defense of Mirika. Instead, a ruling-class male called Bivo-Ak and the leader of the local Karamat-Via detatchment, Veer-Niva, share the responsibility.
Knowing that the spaceport is under enemy control, and that this makes it both easy for them to bring reinforcements and that this is already happening, they want to take action. Veer-Niva suggests a southern assault through the hills. By capturing the southern agricultural centers near city, and settling on the southern shore of the marsh, the city could be threatened directly and air defense assets could be brought very close to the airfield, preventing its successful use.
The players, on the other hand, have different plans. Since they recieved images of the Sirak clan resources in the area, capture of such a dropship was an extremely alluring prospect. All of Huug, Eurich and Alexander presented this argument to Veer-Niva and Bivo-Ak, veiled as a surprise attack to the spaceport itself. However, this received a lukewarm response. The awese opposed the fact that the players' forces would not be able to assist the main assault, and that the relevance of their forces on the north would be meager at best. It seemed unlikely that the plan would be accepted.
However, as a compromise, Veer-Niva suggested that the players attack from the north first, forming a diversion for the main force. This seemed like suicide, and protests ensued. Fortunately the leader of Cracked Mask, Weston Devine, senses that the value of human lives is pretty low for the awese, and challenges the strategy altogether, threatening to withdraw from the main attack if the players' sugestion would not be seriously considered. On the back foot and needing the support of Cracked Mask, Veer-Niva eventually agrees on the players' plan to attack from the north after the main force faces the enemy in the south.
At this point, all is technically well, but the players have no actual intention to engage in a real battle with enemy forces. Instead, the light stealth powersuits Heem-Lyeh had obtained earlier, are dug up and everybody prepares for an infiltration and sabotage mission. The other mercenary companies are naturally not informed, which establishes Alexander's habit of misinforming even his allies of his intentions.
As soon as the others set out on the early hours of the morning, Juho takes the Satan dropship and prepares to drop the players in the shallows to the north of Aloss. The drop itself succeeds without any complications, but naturally Juho is detected by enemy radar and two Rusalka fighters are launched to pursue him. While he weawes and evades to get under friendly anti-air territory, the fighters are skilled and relentless. They pursue him as far as possible and try to land as many shots as they can. On the last possible volley, the fuel tank of the Satan takes a critical hit and the dropship loses power. Juho ejects only to see the dropship crash hard and be utterly destroyed.
Seeing as the loss of the dropship translates into a significant portion of Black Nebula's transport capability and a huge sum of money, the success of the plan suddenly becomes much more important. Fortunately for the players, at least the beginning goes well. Evading the recon team investigating what the dropship might have left is easy, as finding man-sized targets in murky water was almost impossible. In about an hour or so, it is possible to set out for the actual spaceport, which is around four hours of walking away.
When nearing the spaceport, the players see how the airfield experiences constant traffic as the Sybaris and Sirak forces fly to assist local forces. Radio transmissions indicate that a full-scale battle is being waged on the southern shore of the marsh, drawing in practically all of the local military assets. This provides good cover as practically all of the enemy military assets are in use. As the spaceport had previously been under BHI control, the entourage had access to all design documents of the launch bunker and the blast gas corridors, which allowes them to close in on the central structures of the spaceport unmolested and avoid seeming particularly suspicious.
When the players near the actual launch pads, the party split into two. On the first team, Huug-Gun, Eurich, Gunther and Alexander head to the spaceport interior, while Ivan, Josef and Heem-Lyeh leave to secure the dropship itself.
At this range, the huge landing pads and the massive, 80-meter tall laser point defense towers guarding the port are clearly visible. In addition to securing the escape itself, destroying these towers would allow BHI forces air superiority in the region, so their neutralization was an important objective. The point defense towers themselves are way too big and well-armored to be seriously harmed by the amount of conventional explosives they could carry, so each team places strategic blocks of C7 (like C4, but SPACE) into any power transformers and cabling they see, hoping it will manage disable the towers and be difficult to repair.
While doing this, the teams meets surprisingly little resistance. Working early in the morning and acting swiftly and professionally certainly helps. All in all, the players are easy to mistake for a Sybaris squad on patrol. Despite this, it would have been impossible to actually infiltrate the spaceport building without Gunther's sublime people skills. Whenever they meet any local engineers, he manages to convince them that they were just doing their duty and that the battle required heightened security procedures. Gunther's genuine demeanor and similarly genuine lack of hesitation is also helped by the fact that he, least of all, knows what he should be doing. This combination is even enough to confuse the guards inside the spaceport launch bunker and allow them access to the air control tower.
At this point, however, things start to turn for the worse. The russians encounter about three dozen suvak awese engineers minding the dropship, and are unable to convince them that their presence on the ship was needed. While the engineers quote an agreement that Sybaris (and humans in particular) will have no control over their activities. Heem-Lyeh retorts that they should refrain from being racist so he'll refraing from being racist in turn. Unfortunately being witty is not enough and one of the maintenance crew informs them that he's checking facts from the command. Ivan's notoriously thin patienc ends the conversation with a shotgun blast. The engineers scatter like flies and several try to seal the bay hatch, but Josef is faster and forcibly dissuades them of this. Heem-Lyeh cuts his way into the cockpit, and starts to hack into the dropship system. Hacking is an artform, and as they say, local access is root access – it is difficult to prevent theft when the thief is well-prepared and has access to the actual hardware. Armed with the roms of the dropship software, Heem-Lyeh simply reflashes the system and makes himself the new superuser upon boot, ensuring that the dropship is firmly in his control.
Josef and Ivan seal the ship and patrol for any local military personnel. Unfortunately for Josef, when he enters the upstairs fighter bay, he also gets to notice that one of the two Striga bombers stationed there is manned. The rear gun sharply turns towards his direction and blasts away, but only manages to damage the powersuit. Josef dives under the fighter and slaps a brick of C7 on the hull before the pilot launches the catapult and takes his leave. Josef calmly watches it turn and try to start an attack run before activating the remote detonator and blowing the fighter to kingdom come.
Naturally this all immediately starts a full red alert. While the civilian personnel on the control room are not a threat, the spaceport goes on lockdown and the elevator begins to climb again. Even though the players prepare an ambush, the doors open to reveal six guards and another two in powersuits much better armed than theirs.
The firefight is extremely brief and bloody. The guards inside the elevator are easily dispatched by incendiary grenades, but the powersuits scoff at this type of attacks and manage to cripple both Gunther and Huug-Gun. Huug is seriously injured, only managing to avoid death due to sheer luck and his exceptional endurance. After the fight, it is relatively easy to convince the civilian operators to shut down the lasers and further to use them as a shield while fleeing the spaceport. Naturally it helps that the remaining unarmored guards are hesitant to put up a fight against opponents in powersuits, no matter how light they happen to be.
As the players run to their newly captured dropship, basking in the light of the multitude of explosions they set off, they also see the approaching columns of Sybaris hovertanks. While many guns blaze and PPCs dig into the armor of the dropship, the defenders' effors are nevertheless in vain. The Sirak dropship is heavy enough not to be seriously harmed, and the players soon reach friendly anti-air cover. It remains to be seen how permanently the air defense will be compromised
Despite disobeying orders and failing to fulfill mission parameters, the presence of friendly air in the southern battlefields greatly aids Karamat-Via, who secures a victory over the smaller towns and settles on the southern shore of Lake Aloss. The players are (at least initially) praised for their efforts. While the new craft is being repaired and refitted, Veer-Niva cautions the local mercenaries to be ready for new orders.