"The trick to roleplaying is to be crazier than the NPCs."
On board the Valley Forge, Gonzalez and Rayn make a grisly discovery - a human skeleton, hanging from a hook, stripped of meat. 'Reavers' breathes Gonzalez; Rayn insists there ain't no such thing, but he tightens his grip on his gun all the same. As they explore, Rayn triggers a booby trap attached to a door. Boom!
Meanwhile, the other ship that just powered up approaches the Midnight Moon. It's a smaller ship, barely half the size of the yacht - but those claws and power-saws look mighty nasty. Cromwell retreats back to the minefield, in the hope of luring the other ship into a mine. Instead of following blindly as Reavers might, the scavenger takes up a position between the Moon and the wrecked Independence fleet and waits. It transmits a message ordering the characters to surrender. Scanning, Seiryu discovers that the scavenger is running low on power, but it's still a threat.
Rayn's sent flying across the cargo bay by the explosion, but is miraculously unscathed, having managed to get the door between him and the blast. Immediately, the pair are attacked by a skeletally thin figure in a Browncoat uniform, but an accurate shot from Gonzalez takes the madman down. He rants about how no-one is left alive in the universe, and how these ships are Hell. Worse, he's got friends. Rayn and Gonzalez retreat, and eventually find a locked door. Someone knocks from the far side. It's Yarje Ross, the Browncoat officer who sent the distress call.
Back in the minefield, Cromwell's plans to lure the mobile mines over to the scavenger run into a problem - the Moon can't detect the mines reliably, but the scavenger can. Plan B - fly at the sluggish scavenger at full speed, then whack him with the last escape pod. The scavver is sent spinning towards the Valley Forge, and another nudge ensures that the smaller ship is tangled up in the warship's communications tower. Cromwell positions the yacht's thrusters over the scavver's cockpit, and Seiryu opens negotiations. Pretty soon, the scavenger - Azrel Mars - is on board and handcuffed. His story is that he and his crew made it through the minefield using the same technique as the Moon (send a load of junk in first and pray real hard), but 'Reavers' ate his boarding party and a mine damaged his ship, so he's been stuck here for weeks.
Despite being stuck on a crippled starship for nine months, Yarje Ross is almost still the model of a gentleman officer of the Independents, full of colonial charm and discipline. When no rescue came and supplies ran low, there was a skirmish between the stowaways, and the 'mutineers' turned to cannibalism. Ross's men have taken refuge on another ship, linked to the larger Valley Forge. The Moon docks with it and takes the survivors on board.
Cue lots of debate. The scavenger, cowed by Seiryu and Cromwell, suggests looting whatever can be salvaged from the ships and getting the hell out of there. Ross wants to recover at least one of the ships and head out to the Rim. The characters are increasingly of the opinion that coming here was a mistake, and that just getting out alive would be nice. It's decided to wait at least a few hours until Ross's men have recovered a little from their long ordeal, and then look into salvaging the gunship Rappahanock. As for the mutineers, Ross insists that they're all insane cannibals.
The characters remember that the shuttle from the Moon is still docked with the Valley Forge. When they head over to collect it, they discover that there are two mutineers on board. Cromwell manages to make peaceful contact with them; the mutineers are desperate, savage men indeed, but not as crazed as Ross claimed. Seiryu insists that they try to rescue everyone - but when the mutineers are brought back to the Moon, a fight breaks out as soon as they see Ross. The mutineers blame Ross for stranding them on board crippled and dead ships for the better part of a year. In the firefight, Cromwell takes a shot at an unconscious Ross, believing that the officer's death will end the threat from the mutineers. Rayn jumps in the way and is severely injured. Seiryu and Gonzalez secure the mutineers in the shuttle.
The Moon leaves the minefield, abandoning the last Independent warships to be scrapped by the Alliance. The war is over, both for those ships and their crews. The mutineers are dropped off in the wilderness; Ross and his men are left at the farm at Stonybrook.
The Moon heads out deeper into the Rim.