Our characters live on the fringes of the Safe Worlds, a extraplanetary corporatocracy run by several mega-corporations who control information and weaponry. The biggest mega-corporation is A Better Tomorrow which owns the biggest banking conglomerate, the Saif Bank.
The Tinfoil is a 100-ton scout ship captained by Sil, an explorer from Cone, a world still recovering from the Collapse.
Her crew includes:
the Marvelous Mark, a con artist from Beautiful Home, a veritable wasteland of biological hazards and dangerously malfunctioning terraforming technology.
Spishak, an adventuring warrior from Zyst, a failed colony world with an invasive atmosphere and toxic biosphere that terrifyingly alters those exposed to it for too long.
Tau Bai, a mercenary from I-Tong, a well-established Safe world that is considered a capital world for the mega-corporations.
The Tinfoil arrived at the Happy Safeport™ around Vallejo to meet with Diego, an information broker that is friends with Sil. They asked about the Jump Gun that was found on Vallejo and Diego said he knew that somebody was holding it on Sindarin Station. Diego described a starship that had gone missing that everybody wanted the schematics for, and proposed that if Sil could get him the schematics he would get them free access to Sindarin Station with no questions asked. They agreed.
The planet of Vellajo has five countries locked within a cold war teetering upon mutually assured destruction. Elencia is one of the countries and their military had built the missing ship. Vallejo has eight moons but only three orbit directly above Elencia. Sil scanned the moons but found nothing - meanwhile they were followed by another merchant starship.
The Vallejo system also holds a gas giant with seven moons and an asteroid belt, and Spishak suggested that if Elencia were testing a weapon they wouldn't do it around their own planet. They flew the Tinfoil to the gas giant and the merchant ship stopped following them. Sil scanned the asteroid belt, and found most of the belt was composed of a material that would explode when coming into contact with metal. There were also two Elencian starships in orbit but they ignored the Tinfoil.
Sil moved away from the gas giant and began scanning the moons, but once the Elencian starships were out of sight returned to the asteroid belt and almost immediately found the missing starship. It was not crashed as was previously believed but had landed on an asteroid. Nearby were four bodies, apparently killed from vacuum decompression and wearing Elencian military garb. There were no external signs of damage to the ship.
Sil took Tau Bai and Spishak down to the ship, leaving Marvelous Mark alone on the Tinfoil. They found it easy to access the abandoned ship's front ports, and after exploring several decks they found the computer, then it spoke to them. Calling itself Illuminator, it demanded fuel, and refused to let Tau Bai or Spishak leave until Sil agreed to recover fuel for it from the Tinfoil. Sil agreed to give some fuel and left to return o the Tinfoil while Tau Bai and Spishak kept exploring the Illuminator.
During their discussion Illuminator said "crew designation Sil and Marvelous Mark essential, crew designation Tau Bai and Spishak non-essential"
Sil replied "No! Spishak and Tau Bai are essential."
To which Tau Bai said "We keep Sil and the other one alive, therefore we are essential."
"incorrect, Spishak and Tau Bai useful but not essential"
Illuminator then suggested that Sil commandeer the Illuminator and blow up the Tinfoil in its place - presumably so the Elencian vessels will believe their missing craft is destroyed. Illuminator was asked what it wanted and it replied "expand memory banks"
When the Tinfoil approached, Tau Bai used an escape pod to leave the Illuminator but Spishak refused to leave the bridge. Sil moved the Tinfoil in an attempt to ram the front windows of the Illuminator's bridge, and Iluminator cut into her headset, saying "crew designation Sil owes 23 million credit debt, debt could easily be increased"
Sil asked "Are you suggesting you could also erase my debt?"
Illuminator replied with an audio clip from the Tinfoil's databanks "You'll never know."