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Last Updated    October 12 2017
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From The Jaws Of

Gathered Data And Frustration

Lanth      The morning burned on after Emkir searched for and called an office he hoped to get data from on the permit process.  Fesic learned that attempts to expedite permits could be seen as illegal attempts to subvert the laws and create openings in the system's defenses.  Rol looked for information on Sir Brian's family and learned they'd come to the Lanth system from the Wypoc system(Lanth).  Terin decided to take a break from his projects, and considered he'd have to adjust his body clock to the local system's time.  Something the others were also realizing too.  Mikah and Zimzod had hit a few bars to hunt info on getting a cargo permit and come away with very little.  And Aali and Munarshu were working on the drives.

The crew gathered to share what they'd learned, and realized the Docking Security office wouldn't open until eight in the morning the next day!  Faced with that delay, the crew realized they might be spending a large amount of time on Lanth and there was grousing.  Still, Zimzod said they'd be able to trade in-system easily after they sorted out the permits, and that was worth money.  The others nodded at that, but had to decide what to do until they could legally move their work forward?  Fesic decided to see if he could find anything of value in the libraries stored in the cargo and customs system they had in the cargo bay.  Sadly, after an hour mining searches on topics and subjects, he learned the system had a wealth of interstellar and Imperial regulation data.  But no real data on the local regulations.

While Fesic worked on his searches, Terin returned to his various studies.  Realizing the ship's clock was well off the local clock, Terin decided to start shifting his body clock, and racked out for three hours.  He figured he'd do other shifts to finish adjusting to local time later.  But before he racked out, Terin made sure that he'd be woken if he got any calls, because he was still waiting for the Duke's office to confirm the Knight's audience in His Grace's court on Monday morning.

When Mikah and Zimzod returned to the ship and talked with everyone on their efforts, she had also suggested everyone change their sleep patterns, shifting to the local clock.  Fesic told them was going to do some research with the cargo customs system before sleeping.  Aali agreed with Mikah and, thanks to having the androids working 24/7 in engineering, felt she and Munarshu could act on that now.  So Aali asked Mikah if she had some drugs which would knock them out now, and keep them asleep until alarms rang the next morning?  While Munarshu said he was sure he could manage his own effort to change patterns, Aali used her rank to order Munarshu to take the drugs Mikah provided.  And since Aali was planning to sleep through Saturday, Emkir joined her.  But he set his alarm so he could get up early and go out to the Docking office Sunday morning well before it opened.

Mikah and Zimzod chose to break up the shift rather than handling things the way Aali had.  So, they slept for five hours and woke again to ride out the day before getting a night's sleep.  No matter what, Mikah was committed to being the first crew at the door when the Docking Control Office opened at eight the next morning.  Rol and the others went to sleep for five hours except Fesic.  After he finished his search on the cargo system, he planned to sleep for three hours.

Fish And Future Meetings

     With the local day starting up around the port, Terin's alarm went off and Fesic found himself awake despite his plan to sleep an hour more.  Terin finished his morning routine right off, if a bit abbreviated, and checked his comms, to see if the Seneschal's office had called?  Since they hadn't, he went into the lounge to cook himself some chow before choosing a project or class and diving into the heavy workload he'd set for himself.  While trying to sleep more slowed Fesic down, he worked out and showered but didn't shave before he left his stateroom.  The two men were surprised to meet in the lounge while Terin was cooking up his breakfast.  Terin offered to cook for Fesic too.  Done eating, Fesic went to the ship's cargo bay and did some studying on the cargo sealer.

After Rol woke and did his mourning routine, he arrived into the lounge to find Terin working at a terminal.  When he asked, Terin said he and Fesic had eaten and Fesic was in the ship's cargo bay.  After eating, Rol decided to do some studies with his stent before doing calisthenics, since they had no real plans for the day.  Mikah and Zimzod arrived in the lounge looking for food while was Rol finishing cooking.  Mikah ate while deciding to check out what there was to do in this port?  With a population just under eight hundred thousand and an early interstellar technology base, Lanth was a system where many tasks had been automated.  So, she realized, they would run into a lot of androids and robots.  Still, the population were mainly concentrated around the one major city on-world, with a number of smaller coastal cities and small settlements scattered around the planet.

A good number of those were defensive posts, serving atmospheric, orbital and near-world defense surveillance.  Concerned with the amount of trouble the crew could cause her, Mikah checked out the legal restrictions they might face?  What Mikah found made her smile, because the local laws were very simple and regulations light.  Of course, Mikah knew that conflicts on worlds with a low level of legal intrusion could get "Interesting" on their own.  So there was a whole different level of concern she'd have to show.  Another annoyance was the sulfuric taint of the otherwise perfect nitr-ox atmosphere.  That meant the crew would need to wear filter masks whenever they were outside sealed facilities.

Add a generally high atmospheric humidity to the sulfur taint and that suggested the crew were not planning on spending any time outside sealed facilities unless they had to.  As Mikah read, she saw that civil defense and attack survival shelters were common and visible "Everywhere".  And most of the population belonged to some civilian-level defensive militia or other organization.  That assured that events falling into the grey areas in the law would be dealt with by people who often stored their militia-issued weapons at home.  After getting an idea of the society waiting outside the port, Mikah decided to look for local tours and other ways to quickly get an idea what there was to do?  What she saw was that, despite the smaller population of the world, there was a large number of entertainment options.

At first, Mikah considered that the crew should take a coastal cruise.  But Mikah saw that would take Aali and Munarshu away from the work they had to do in the engineering spaces.  Still thinking of something on a boat, Mikah considered renting out a fishing boat and even considered that Emkir could be the pilot for the boat.  When Mikah looked up and mentioned the idea, Zimzod suggested buying tickets on a fishing run aboard a day-tour boat, so they weren't the ones responsible for the boat or working.  Rol, who was cleaning up after cooking, said he'd come along and Mikah called the others awake.

Fesic said he wasn't coming, preferring to stay aboard the ship where the air was clean.  Terin, who'd been studying or researching nearly non-stop decided to take a break and signed on.  When most of those awake signed on, the tickets cost Cr 90 each and included an android-driven pick-up grav-Van to get them to and from the pier.  After a van ride during which Mikah handed out sunscreen and other protectives and each of them checked their filter masks, they arrived for a six-hour fishing tour party boat adventure.  Dressed down and newly arrived in-system, the Knights were pleased to not be recognized.  Even the boat crew were used to Nobility slumming it and paid only the required extra attention to their ranks, and only when needed.

After the craft, a dual-hull catamaran design, cast off, the four enjoyed a six hour 'chug and drift' where the boat moved from point to point, then killed their engines to drift while the customers fished.  Throughout the 'cruise', the crew played vids of educational shows about the sea life and environment of Lanth, and the adaptations of imported bioforms to the sulfurous taint of the biospheres.  An amount of the information covered the care and research which had gone into importing species of animals and plant-life to prevent run-away breeding or predation.  Or the removal of a native species from its environmental niche.

When it was all over, Mikah and Terin had each caught a decent sized fish and Zimzod caught a fish on the smallish side of the scale.  But the joke of the ride was Rol, who apparently hooked something large!  Real Large!  Large enough that it managed to yank his fishing pole out of his grip and over the side of the boat!  Of course, having been raised on a world where there was very little free-standing water of any kind to start with, it wasn't much of a surprise he wasn't skilled at fishing.  Still, Rol mostly enjoyed the views of the vast ocean horizons.  By the time the event ended, they got back to the ship by 8pm for a late dinner.

On the ride home, they talked about the drift of time and the fact that Aiden's clone would be decanted sooner than they planned.  Since they now seemed likely to spend even more time on Lanth than planned, and were only six weeks from Aiden being decanted, they had to watch the calendar and be ready to send new messages to Aiden on what to do to meet them.  This sparked jokes about how much Aiden might remember and they tried to remember when he'd last had a scan done?  As a result, when they got back to the ship, Rol planned to check for a TAS facility on-world so he could see if he could update his scan?  He did that while he cleaned and cooked the fish for dinner.

Food, Files And Sleep

     As he'd planned, Rol first prepared to freeze the fish Mikah and Terin had caught because Zimzod's fish had been small enough they had to throw it back.  And they'd never recovered Rol's fishing pole, even if there had been some way to cook it.  After getting the fish stored, he cooked a light snack, because those awake planned to sleep soon.  While working, Rol sparked a search for the TAS facility in-system.  He saw that every important Imperial system in the Marches had a TAS facility.  There was even one in the Chronor system, in the Zhodani Consulate!  So Rol saved the TAS 'Emergency' and 'Hotel contact data' before calling the TAS concierge line.  After connecting, Rol explained that he had cloning insurance and wanted to update his scan.  So he asked if there was a facility on-world where he could have that done?

Because the average tech present on-world was the upper edge of 'early interstellar', Lanth couldn't host its own cyber-scan systems clinics.  But, since Lanth was a subsector capital, the world had attracted campuses from off-world institutes and universities.  So, there was a facility where they could do an update scan and return it to him.  Then, Rol would have to connect with the X-mail office and invoke the clauses in his insurance which pre-paid shipping of the data along the x-boat networks.  Then, where cloning facilities existed, they would automatically receive the data as it arrived at each system, so that all the facilities had the most up-to-date scan available should it be needed.

When Rol asked about pricing, he was a bit annoyed as the normally Cr 1,000 scan was priced at Cr 2,000.  After thinking about the cost real hard for a few seconds, Rol decided he didn't know what accident or event might be around the corner, and asked TAS to set up an appointment for him.  After a bit of a wait, Rol was told they felt they could get him an appointment to be scanned the next morning.  Rol knew the only thing they had scheduled which he had to be part of was the appearance in the Duke's Court, and that was tentatively scheduled for Monday morning.  Rol was reasonably sure the Duke's people wouldn't suddenly schedule the crew to appear on a Sunday morning.  So he felt that was good.  After they put him on hold briefly, Rol was told the appointment was set for 9:30am.

At the same time, Mikah checked her on-ship account and found she'd received a message while they'd been out.  When she checked, Mikah saw it was a very large data-message, and was listed as "Shipping pre-paid".  Checking the message wrapper data, Mikah found the message comprised of twenty very large files.  All sent by the University of Rhylanor.  Reading that, Mikah saw those were the book scans from Sir Brian's library, which should have caught them at D'Ganzio.  Opening some of the files to check on the quality of the scans, Mikah could see their money had been well spent, and knew Emkir would be very excited when told the scans had arrived.  Mikah started downloading the files and planned to copy them into the ship's entertainment library.  She also told Zimzod about the files, since he was interested in old legends and such.

Zimzod had cleaned up and was relaxing until Mikah announced the book scans had arrived.  He planned to scan through the list and considering the books after they showed up on the ship's entertainment unit menu.  But Mikah could tell the files were so large they would take several hours to download.  Because of that, Zimzod relaxed while Rol finished cooking snacks.  After Mikah began the download, she went to clean up too, and relaxed while Rol finished serving what he'd made.  Rol did tell Zimzod he had set up a scan update and Zimzod nodded.  But he accepted that he might be needed the next day, when Mikah and staff went back to the Docking Control office.  So he didn't set up a scan update at the same time.  And Rol made sure Mikah knew he'd be off ship getting his brain scan.  Mikah only joked, telling him to let her know if they found anything?

After they'd eaten, the four considered the plan for the next day and decided what to do?  All of them had 'not exactly' matched their body clocks to local time.  And Mikah wanted to be up early enough that they would be the first people on the line at the Docking office.  So everyone squared away very soon, set clocks and went to sleep.  Terin set an alarm for eight, because the work he had to handle was all on-ship and under his control until a demand was made.  Mikah set her alarm for early, so she and Zimzod would be awake early, as would Emkir and Fesic.  Fesic also set his clock early, after enjoying the snacks.  Rol was able to sleep in a bit more, since he could wake later so long as he made his appointment for 9:30am Sunday morning.

One Step Forward And One Back

     Back on his personal schedule, Munarshu woke at 5am and went to grab some caff before heading below decks to check on the 'droids and the day's maintenance schedule.  With him in engineering, Mikah and Zimzod were the next up and found no one cooking breakfast!  Considering her options, Mikah decided it was time to get 'the servant' to cook something.  Before she could act, Fesic stepped into the lounge to join them.  They greeted Fesic while Terin lay awake in his stateroom, having woken much too early in his opinion.  Lying there, trying to get back to sleep, Terin's plans were interrupted when a series of thumps said someone was banging on his stateroom door.

Figuring it was something he didn't care about, Terin called, "Can I help you?" without getting out of his bed.  Hearing that, Mikah demanded, "Get up and cook breakfast."  He began to rise and called back, "I'm sorry.  I didn't realize your fingers were broken.  I'll be right there."  Mikah returned to the lounge after reminding him, "You are the servant you know", referring to his indentured status.  Mikah, Zimzod and Fesic then relaxed in the lounge while Terin showered and took his time preparing before getting out to the lounge himself.  Half an hour later, Terin served chow and Emkir had joined the diners to eat before they went off to the Docking Control office in hopes of actually resolving something that day, if not that morning.  Emkir dressed up, in his most fancy suit and made sure to have the order pins for each of his knighthoods on.  Even if one was just a planetary order along with the ball and chain Rol had given him as a gag gift.

At the office, they saw a number of people milling around the entrance to the office but no one standing in front of the portal ready for it to open.  When she quickly moved into position, a number of those milling about began to complain and Mikah made it clear anyone who felt slighted should have moved into position she did if they wanted to whine.  And as she reacted, Mikah gave off enough of an attitude the others backed off.  When the door opened, Mikah and the others made their way directly to the closest manned desk to ask for an escort to the Docking Security Office.  Mikah also blathered on about not having gotten the valuation form but the technician at the desk was already reacting to what he had to, and could care less about the rest.

Looking up at Mikah with the gaze of someone long dead inside, the technician said, "Thank you for coming to the Lanth downport docking control office.  How may I offer you excellent service today?"  This, despite the fact Mikah had already said what she wanted.  The comment also showed exactly zero enthusiasm and much of it was said while the technician ignored their presences and scrolled through something on what appeared to be a personal data tablet!  Sighing, and realizing why they'd waited on line so long the other day, Mikah asked, "Get us an escort?  Please?"  Looking up from his tablet, the worker said, in a voice as dead as he had before, "Please stand off to the side while I notify the correct office that you need an escort."  He then began to ignore her, making it clear he expected them to leave his space.

Rol woke on the ship, and got to the lounge after the others had left.  After preparing some food, eating and cleaning up, Rol called for a cab to get to the neural facility for his brain scan.  The ride in an automated car cost him Cr 30.  Aali had managed to eat with Emkir and felt she had a chance to work on her stent as they left.  Still, she called down to Munarshu, to check in with him before testing.  She wanted to see if she could connect to Marvin wirelessly, using her stent after that?  After speaking to Aali, Munarshu came to the lounge, fearing he'd missed breakfast all together.  He was happily surprised to see Rol just arriving in the space until the cook told him Terin had cooked and he'd have to settle.  Shortly after that, Rol left for his appointment.

After serving Munarshu, Terin noticed Aali was sitting there with glazed eyes and worried she was having an episode or something!  Getting her attention, Aali explained what she had been doing and Terin had to admit he'd not seen anything in the training manuals he had which discussed wirelessly connecting to systems!  When he asked her if the TAS class she'd been given taught that, Aali laughed and said it didn't.  She then pointed out the comm-dots and a multiplexer to link them.  Aali said the dots connected her devices in a personal wireless network.  So, using one connected to the multiplexer, another connecting to her stent and a third to her comms. the dot connections let her use her stent wirelessly.  Impressed, Terin made a note to order a set of comm dots as soon as he could, since that was the exact reason why he'd gotten a stent!

As Terin considered getting his own set of dots, Aali thought about the opportunities that offered.  If he got his own private wireless network, and they tied their networks together, they could establish a wireless local area network!  Connecting it to the hand comps of others and Zimzod's battledress could create a combat network, not that Aali liked the idea of risking being attached to a wireless network during combat.  In the Docking Control Office, Mikah and the others had waited for just over an hour before a guide arrived to escort them to the Docking Security Office.  That space was an actual office where there weren't many "customers" at all.  There, they were brought to a desk where Mikah explained that they needed a cargo valuation form.

Nodding at the request, the worker at the desk made a virtuoso performance out of playing his keyboard and checking each screen of data he brought up while he worked at a process only he understood.  So skilled was the man that he brought them to a number of moments where they were certain he'd finished his work, to simply dive back into a flurry of typing.  When he finally did complete whatever arcane task he'd worked at, the worker simply looked up at them and said, "It'll be about forty minutes."  And with that done, the four crew stood there waiting until realizing they'd been dismissed.  Nonplussed, Mikah asked the man, "Is there a place to sit or should we just stand here staring at you?"  To her complete surprise and disbelief, the man happily answered, "Oh!  Feel free to stand there and stare.  I get that all the time.  We get classes on how to ignore that sort of thing."  He was even smiling a real smile!

Not knowing what to do at that point, the four decided to find a section of wall to hold up until called.  Before they moved, Emkir said, "We appreciate the excellence of your service." and the man replied, "I'm so happy to give excellent service."  While Emkir polished the turd, Mikah put all of her energy into keeping her mouth shut, deciding that Emkir would do all the talking from then on.  Before she killed someone.  Still, they did all stand there in a semi-circle around the man's desk, making sure no one else brought him any work to get in the way of their needs.  After twenty minutes, Emkir considered whistling a tune popular with guessing programs until he realized it might become annoying enough for security to ask them to leave rather than speeding up the process.

Finally, near the forty-minute mark, the four of them heard an audible beep from the man's console.  Despite their reactions and expectations, the man continued typing!  After waiting a brief space more, Mikah asked, "What was that noise?"  The man looked up while his fingers continued their dance and asked, "Oh?  There was a noise?  Hang on."  Then, he started typing even faster!  But now he seemed to be checking his screen at each moment that seemed to them to be a pause in the typing.  Then, with a sudden and pleased exclamation of, "Oh, look at this!  Hang on!" and the flourish of a finger the man raised his hand and poked a single key.  Then, as there seemed to settle a bubble of silence around his desk, the man turned to what was obviously an in-desk printing unit!

Waiting until the flimsy was completely done printing and the printer ejected it, the man grabbed the page and handed it across the desk saying, "Here you go.  I have a cargo valuation form for you."  Emkir began thanking the man but Mikah interrupted, asked about parking validation.  She was sorry she did because the man's response flowed out faster than his thought and the mass of disjointed words started piling up like a string of derailed rail cars.  The gist was that parking validation was in a different section and they'd need a form for that.  Mikah simply thanked the man without waiting for his mouth to come to a rest as they told their escort they were done.  So, at nearly 10am, they were ready to make the half-hour trip back to the cargo permit office.  And, when they got back in that office, the four saw the same conditions they'd found when they were first there.  Having learned from experience, they simply chose a line and waited.

After a long wait, they finally reached the shoulder-level desk and the technician there greeted them and asked how he could help them in a tone which assured them he could care less what they needed?  Emkir sparked up, saying, "We are in possession of our cargo validation paperwork, which we needed, and we'd like to...  Emkir was interrupted as the technician said here's your number.  Please wait until you're called.  Again, the technician brushed off with an attitude that made it clear they had no other options.  So the crew found another piece of wall to hold up while again waiting until they were called.  When that happened, the technician had Mikah hold her Ident against a sensor as she had the first time they'd come to the office.

Confirming Mikah's data, and asking the name of the ship again, the technician worked at his board to check the port certification.  He then talked to himself as he used the valuation form to confirm the registry of their cargo.  Next, the man looked up and said, "There you go.  Your application is complete.  You will be notified of the decision within three days."  This was delivered in a tone, and expression of face, which firmly told Mikah she was in the machine and couldn't get out without following the process.  With nothing else for it, Mikah confirmed the port would call the ship and thanked the technician before leaving the office.  On the ship, Munarshu was working with the androids while Aali worked on her stent.

At a facility which turned out, ironically, to be an on-world campus of the D'Ganzio Medical Institute.  When Rol arrived, he was charged the Cr 2,000 for the update and then led into a clinic where they had him remove most of his gear, but not undress.  After that, they had him lay down on a padded table before connecting his stent and several sensors taped to his skull to the system.  Then, they told him to just relax and let the process run its course, which would take nearly half an hour.  After they finished with Rol, they said they'd send his scan data as covered by his insurance, which was a service likely added because he was a TAS client.

After leaving the clinic, Rol considered what to do with the rest of his morning and decided to go see a vid.  Similar to Lunion, the theaters were places where one could buy a ticket to schedule the showing of a vid.  That would be advertised locally and the size of the room or auditorium in which the vid was shown would be based on the number of people buying tickets to see it.  Rol checked the few vids already selected, since it was early in the day, before he selected one himself.  Finally, after learning the vid would be ready in half an hour, Rol went to shop during the wait.  He was told they could deliver to him a "lunch box" meal, so he could eat while watching the vid, and Rol accepted that, paying Cr 25 for the movie and meal.

In the port, Mikah and her team realized it was lunch time when they left the offices.  Not really looking to have to think about what she was eating, Mikah looked up the local Brubakers.  A chain that advertised the fact that every one of their restaurants was "exactly the same" as every other, except the staff.  But that promised the menu and food quality would be known, and easy.  Another plus was that they served known brands of alcohol, and Mikah planned to ease her pains a bit during lunch.  Eventually, they each spent Cr 20 on lunch and relaxed.  Still, after lunch, Mikah didn't feel like going back to the ship.  And she was sure 'in the next three days' wouldn't be 'today', because she was sure the Lanth port didn't move that fast.  So there was no reason for her to rush either.

When Mikah said she wanted to find something to do, Fesic suggested, "Let's blow something up."  Despite this being one of Mikah's more enjoyable past-times, Mikah fixed Fesic with a glare and said, "You...go back to the ship!" and got a laugh from Emkir and Zimzod.  Recovering, Emkir suggested, "Well, we could go to a gun range."  Fesic jumped on that saying, "That's what I thought you meant.  At a gun range." and Mikah said, "No."  Fesic echoed, "No?  Darn!"  Mikah looked at the red top Fesic happened to be wearing before saying, "Well, we could go to a gun range and look for a red shirt to kill."  When Fesic said, "But you're not supposed to aim at them." Zimzod joked, "The fact they're wearing a red shirt means you don't have to aim at them."

Eventually, they decided to look up shooting galleries to see what options they had?  Of course, there was always InstellArms.  And while Mikah was interested in the closest, InstellArms was the least expensive.  Having that much inventory gave you the kind of freedom to lure in 'the wannas'.  And inexpensive was a good enough thing they didn't dig hard for something closer.  Chipping in Cr 5 each, they got to the very-well advertised entrance of the weapons sales venue.  Still, as they walked in, they were surprised both at the small size of the place and the wider variety.  Part of the reason for this wider stock were the many displays of captured Sword Worlder gear.  A number of older displays showed true artifacts from the Third Frontier War as accents among the wider selection of captured gear from the Fifth Frontier War.

There were even displays showing some smaller "captured" Sword World gunships maintained securely in orbit.  And it was apparent there were things for sale here that couldn't legally be sold in the Rhylanor system.  As the expected forward sales people closed in, asking if they needed help, Mikah said, "Well, we came here for some weapons practice but we'd like to see what you have.  Nodding, the salesperson easily said the range rentals for target practice were Cr 100 per person per hour plus the ammo spent.  Having laid out the pricing, the woman asked who wanted to shoot and all four of them raised their hands.  Nodding, she asked them to hand over their Idents, so the rentals could be set up while the four shopped.  Of course, that was the end of the "Ordinary" shipping experience for them.

It was visibly clear when the woman realized just exactly who it was she was dealing with.  Especially Lady Mikah.  And as she quietly said, "One moment please?", the woman raised her comms and asked, "I need a manager?"  Emkir asked if they qualified for special rates and Zimzod answered, "You qualify to pay more." with a laugh.  It was obvious the Rhylanor branch had spread the word about this crew.  Realizing that, Mikah asked if they had any FGMP-15's lying around they wanted to get rid of.  They were surprised when told they could rent time firing one.  But, to buy one, they needed the proper permissions and paperwork.  Of course, Zimzod was excited to get a chance to fire the weapon again, even if Mikah figured he wouldn't blow up any cameras this time.

The concierge who stepped up to start dealing with Zimzod's desires told him the additional shielding and security of the range he'd need would cost an additional Cr 1,500 and Zimzod shrugged the expense off.  When the others stepped up, they asked Mikah, Emkir and Fesic if they wanted to fire on the same range?  Mikah emphatically said, "No!"  Spending time on the range, Fesic burned through Cr 500 in ammo.  Emkir felt like trying something new and asked if he could fire a loaner laser rifle?  He paid Cr 100 for the charges to the battle packs.  Still, there was an impressive bit of a light show as Emkir struggled with the surprisingly heavy weapon.

Making the switch from shooting to shopping, they all saw prices in this facility were noticeably higher than in Rhylanor.  Looking for something new or exotic, they all checked the stocks of "captured" Sword Worlder gear, which only meant the InstellArms buyers had arrived before the Sword Worlders surrendered their arms to the Imperium.  The most interesting items were Sword World models of combat armor and battledress.  But the models were also all designed andbuilt by lower technical base factories, because the Sword Worlds Confederation had a tech level which lagged behind the best of the Imperium.

Weapons And Wet Dreams

     Mikah did spend some time looking through the ships on the video display, to see if they had a destroyer like the one they'd nuked in Rhylanor?  While she didn't find anything that excited them, Fesic reminded Mikah they'd used one of their breaching charges.  So they should see if they could replace it?  Mikah and Emkir both admitted the man had a good point as they started looking for one of the nearby concierges.  When one stepped up, Mikah ordered a breaching charge and was told that would have to be delivered to their ship, which Mikah was expecting.  So she paid the Cr 5,000 for the charge and a Cr 50 delivery fee.

About the same time the others were finishing up on the firing ranges, Rol had left his vid and went looking for something else nearby?  Ironically, the vid theater wasn't far from InstellArms and Rol walked in as they were firing their last rounds.  Shopping with the others, Rol asked if they'd checked out any of the other stores nearby?  Mikah said they hadn't because they'd spent their morning with the bureaucrats.  While Mikah was finishing the deal for the breaching charge, Zimzod and Rol talked about the FGMP-15.  And while Zimzod talked about shooting through reinforced plates, Rol commented on the damage he and his people had done to ships in their time.  The others listened to the chatter and considered just how few spaces on any ship, including theirs, they wanted to see that kind of weapon used...even if it was on their side.  They also knew that using ammo like HEAP and HEAT rounds did a large amount of those jobs without destroying ship's systems and blowing through internal bulkheads.

With the deal done, Mikah, Emkir, Zimzod and Fesic went out for more shopping.  Rol said he was gonna check out rocket launchers and the others said good bye as they wondered if he was serious or not?  As a member of the Hotel California crew, Rol got that extra level of service as they gave him a tour of their firing systems and ammunition loads.  While they didn't have micro-nuclear missiles or those other weapons considered "extreme" military level, they had a very good selection.  Rol also learned that locals often had licenses for such ammo loads because they were members of a civil defense organization.  Something Rol couldn't claim because he was just a visitor to the system.

After the rocket launchers, Guided launchers and multiple launch systems, Rol went to look at VRF gauss guns.  Moving in that direction, Rol pondered the fact that Zimzod had a decidedly negative opinion of the weapon system, though he'd never said why?  Rol had to admit the weapon was so big it had to be vehicle mounted.  That would make it hard for their crew to use in the field.  But, though he'd told no one about it, he had been thinking of air-lock security aboard the California since seeing the comedic 'artillery piece in the lock' museum display in the Equus system.  Still, as he looked at VRF gauss weapon systems, Rol realized none of them would fit where he thought of putting them.  That, in addition to the prices, which started at KCr 350 at this InstellArms venue.  After his window shopping, Rol went back to the ship.

While Rol was shopping, Mikah's group had stepped out to look around and saw that they were close to a number of places.  One called 'the Velvet Chariot' advertised customized and tricked out vehicles.  Another was called 'The Frozen Mask' and there was even a cleaner's called 'The Tasty Bomb Cleaners'...  None of them even wanted to think what that was all about?  Another place was called 'Julius Scissors', and turned out to be a hair styling salon.  Nestled between the other venues was a place called the 'Blue Tooth Café, but they'd had lunch before they started shopping.  Not overly inspired to explore more, the group returned to the ship.

Dinner And Plans

     On the ship, Aali and Munarshu had been working all day long in engineering while Terin worked on his classes.  Earlier in the day, after his chat with Aali, Terin looked up a set of comm-dots and a multiplexer.  He found a set of locally-made dots for Cr 1,500.  Beyond that, there was a tech level 14 set for Cr 2,000 and a TL 15 set for Cr 4,000.  Not sure how much the dots were really worth, Terin went below decks to ask Aali how much she'd paid for hers?  Aali just laughed and said she'd had them long enough she didn't remember.  Terin asked if Cr 4,000 sounded high, Aali said she felt that was very high.  Terin told her he'd found a locally-made set for Cr 1,500.  Aali suggested waiting until the ship got to someplace 'not on the very edge of the empire'.

Thinking about that, Terin knew they "planned" to jump to the Sonthert system if they got permission.  But they weren't even going into the Duke's court to start that effort until the next day.  Thanking Aali for her help, Terin returned to his terminal and ordered the TL 14 set for Cr 2,000.  He also paid a Cr 50 fee for delivery, but that made his life easier because he had a lot to do.  Despite his work load, when the delivery came, he did spend just under an hour and a half working to configure the dots before deciding where to put them?  While he would keep one permanently connected to the multiplexer, he had to decide which devices he keep connected, and which he'd swap in and out?

Eventually, everyone returned back to the ship and Rol cooked the fish caught the day before for dinner.  While eating, they discussed the fact that they still hadn't gotten the call from the Duke's Seneschal about the next day's court session.  Despite not knowing, Mikah warned everyone to be prepared to attend His Grace, because she knew it was just like Seneschals to call at the last minute.  When she said this, Terin said he'd call the office to see if he could ask about an answer?  But when he called, Terin was told they did see the unconfirmed appearance in the pending docket but nothing had been certified on that item yet.  The tone of the tech on the line was, at least, apologetic as Terin was told they'd call once they had a firm answer.  Worst coming to worst, they suggested just showing up and being prepared.  To say the least, Terin was unimpressed.

When they talked about who needed to go, they realized everyone on the crew was now a Knight of some kind, thanks to the elevation of the entire crew to planetary Knighthoods in the Lunion system.  After that and dinner, Emkir took advantage of Aali's plans to decide what to wear into court and create "another reason" to keep her in their stateroom.  Before she lost the fight to prepare, the couple decided to wear their order uniforms.  Rol prepared his Order uniform for the next day.  Mikah went to plan what she would wear, knowing she'd where her "Domain of Deneb" earrings with whatever she selected.  She eventually chose the tea-length Lavender dress which had been a gift from Duke Luis in Lunion.

Terin not only got his clothes ready but also prepared again to take his work to court, against the chance the Duke might call him on his research then and there.  Still, that wasn't likely as they hadn't introduced the idea yet.  But Terin did set up an introductory speech to ask for the permission.  Fesic set up his gear for the next day before spending more time working on the cargo system and Zimzod prepared his Order uniform along with his .45 in a hip holster.  Other than Munarshu, who doggedly set his alarm for 5am, the rest of the crew planned to wake between 6 and 6:30 the next morning to prepare.  Before finally going to sleep, Terin called a vehicle service for a van large enough for them all.  He set up transport with them for the next morning.

News And Attitudes

     As Munarshu's alarm was waking him in his stateroom, Terin started awake to the sound of his comms.  When Terin answered the comms, doing his best to put on a pleasant tone, he was told the caller was from the Duke's Seneschalate.  Terin asked how he could help and was told the crew were confirmed for a 10am audience in Duke Rakaa Kiraarri's court.  After that, they ended the call with Terin very politely thanking the caller who thanked him too.  But, as he shut off the comms, Terin cursed, "DICK!" knowing full well they didn't just make this decision in the middle of the very early morning.

Someone had to have scheduled that call, holding the decision until they'd decided it was 'just right' before the on-duty technician would make the call.  Terin was ready to bet a recording had been made for someone's pleasure.  After that, Terin decided to try and get back to sleep and actually wasted 40 minutes at that.  When he finally gave up on it, Terin got up and "got pretty for court".  His choice of court-wear was his best suit.  Hitting the lounge, Terin found Munarshu just finishing up a cup of caff before going to engineering.  Seeing the navigator, Munarshu asked in a confused voice, "What are you doing up?"  Fixing the engineer with a look of scorn, Terin asked, "What?  Are you the only one on the ship allowed to get up early?"

Munarshu said, "Normally", and considered events when his face suddenly shifted to a horrified mask.  He then protested, "Don't tell me you're gonna cook breakfast instead of Rol?"  Terin was surprised the man's tone was even more horrified than the look on his face.  So Terin answered, "Keep talking and I will" in a threatening tone.  Munarshu quickly finished up his caff and fled to engineering before Terin could act on his threat.  Terin decided to sit and work on his stent.  While nowhere near advanced enough to get any real results, Terin connected a comm-dot to his stent and worked to access the device.  Despite his tries, and the mild headache which went with it, Terin could only sense there was a port beyond the device and could make no connections.  The only results he eventually got were having to take some pills for the headache before heading to breakfast.

That was the sight Rol found as he arrived in the lounge and asked, "What's wrong with you?"  The question was tinged with equal amounts of annoyance the navigator was rifling through the ship's supplies and had been stupid enough to hit his head or something.  Especially when there were so many people aboard who would have hit his head for him!  When Terin just said, "I've got a headache", Rol asked "From what?" a tone that was half demanding and half-incredulous he could have done something to injure himself so quickly in the early morning.  Mumbling, Terin answered, "Probably my fucking stent-work." and Rol had to stop and think.  After a brief pause, Rol asked, "That's causing your headache?" in a flat and disbelieving tone.  Trying to win where he'd already lost, Terin jabbed back, "Well, I actually work at my stent work", suggesting Rol was lax in his training.

Fesic walked into the compartment to those comments as Terin continued, explaining that he'd bought the comm-dots in hopes of connecting his comms to his hand computer.  Terin then explain his attempts to actually connect with the devices, despite knowing he wasn't that advanced.  Rol and Fesic contemplated the brilliance of trying to defuse a bomb because you wanted to learn and then running out to buy one?  Not having a stent, Fesic had to wonder about the possible brain damage that could be done?  Just arriving in the compartment to hear the last of Terin's woes, Munarshu shook his head and said, "You should've gotten an Apple."  That filled the compartment with laughs which didn't help Terin's headache.  Turning to address the engineer, Terin snapped, "Don't you have a vent to crawl in?"

Seeing the drug wrapper in Terin's hands still, Fesic asked, "So, now you're doing drugs?"  Terin turned to look at him saying, "Of course.  Don't you?"  When Fesic firmly said, "No!" Terin answered, "So that's what's wrong with you."  After the laughs that got, Terin said, "Talk to me later.  I can hook you up."  Rol just shook his head and started making breakfast for the crew.  Terin figured, 'Screw this' and turned on the news.

News Of The Day

    Rhylanor (A434934-F  2  Hi Cp   810  Im  M2 VI)                           Date: 036-1113
    In news from Rhylanor, Arch Duke Norris is beginning to make appointments in
    hopes of further improving relations and trade within the Spinward Marches.
    While many of the appointments are career diplomats and came as no surprise,
    the elevation of Dame Inger Martinusdtr Vik to an ambassadorial position was
    a surprise.  Her Ladyship was additionally elevated to a post as a Lady of the
    Deneb Domain, and granted the authority of an advisor to the Imperial Seal.
    This last authority was granted by the Arch Duke under the rights of the
    Arch Dukes and Duchesses of the Imperium under Imperial Edict.

    In statements made during her recognition and elevation, the Arch Duke
    discussed a number actions by Lady Vik resolving Sword Worlds and Solomani
    sore points in the Rhylanor system using diplomatic means.  The Arch Duke
    explicitly said he hoped others would learn to follow.  In his statements, Lady
    Vik's appointment was as Ambassador to the Sword Worlds system of Sacnoth.
    Ambassador Lady Vik had famously been a member of the crew of the Hotel
, serving under Lady Dame Mikah Kirlim.  While there still remains no
    detail on Her Ladyship's transition from her position aboard that ship to her
    more direct service to the Arch Duke, data released by the Main Highport of
    Rhylanor indicate this is indeed a step towards peace.

    When reached for comment, the Embassy of the Sacnoth system confirmed
    they had extended an invitation for then Dame Vik to visit their system after the
    assistance she provided to merchant citizens from that system in the port of
    Rhylanor.  There was no comment on exactly what issues were resolved or
    how, but investigative research suggests then Dame Vik worked as a
    supernumery for the port to resolve issues with the SMS Star Daughter.
    Questions on the details of that issue were not answered or commented on
    by the SPA or any management of the highport.  Not in-system, there has been
    no mention of commentary from the Hotel California however the comments
    from the Starport authority and in-system nobility have been positive.
    In a highly unusual move, the Merchant Spacer Hall has also released
    a statement in support of this move.                             

    Rhylanor (A434934-F  2  Hi Cp   810  Im  M2 VI)                      Date: 035-1113
    The Geonee-owned and operated IMS Dragged Keel has been declared
    missing and lost with all hands out of Port Rhylanor.  Per their filed flight
    plan, the ship had lifted for the Equus port with the intent to trade along
    the coreward spinward main from that system.  Additional data from Port
    officials in Rhylanor indicate the ship lifted with under-inspected jump drive
    systems against port advise and after suing to lift departure restrictions.

    Further incidental data on this suggests that Lady Dame Inger Martinusdtr
    Vik may have played some role in assisting the ship's Captain in removing
    port restrictions.  Requests to the newly elevated Ambassador's office were
    not responded to as Her Ladyship's staff stated they were busy preparing for
    the move from the Rhylanor system and Imperium to her new offices in
    the Sacnoth system.

    When reached for comment, Duke Leonard's Seneschalate have stated that
    a review of the actions involved have indicated the port could not hold the
    ship against the demands of her Master or Captain.  As a result, the
    ambassador appears to have only advised the ship's captain of his rights at
    the most.  Contacts from the Spacer's Union and Merchant Captain's
    Council have backed this position up, asking why the Ambassador should be
    held to account for supporting spacer's rights?

    Quietly, there have been further comments by those who wanted their names
    withheld that the results of such decisions are entirely the responsibility
    of the ship's Captain and ports should remember their limitations under the
    laws.  The Duke's office and local Admiralty of the Imperial Navy have
    notified all SPA, IISS and Naval facilities of the missing vessel and
    added it to the list of ships listed as missing.

    On a remotely related note, some media outlets briefly played speculative
    coverage on the relationship of the IMV Hotel California to the now missing
    Dragged Keel.  This was furthered by dated coverage of the missing Far
    Trader IMS "Kard Damasc", a Yacht owned by Lady hault-Evers.  The piece
    speculated on involvement of the Hotel California's crew, at that time aboard
    the Dawnstar Horizon with the loss of the "Kard Damasc".  This brief stream
    of rumor was cut down quickly as officials from Duke Leonard's office
    opened an official inquiry into the intent and suggestions of the coverage?
    Coverage of the rumors quickly dwindled down to adversarial stories about
    the complete lack of anything even resembling a solid rumor by the minority
    reporting agencies as the story died.                             

    Rhylanor (A434934-F  2  Hi Cp   810  Im  M2 VI)                      Date: 035-1113
    In economic news from Rhylanor, Duke Leonard announced rewarding Count
    Sir Krenowl, holder of the County of Lashukaskhe(on Rhylanor Prime) for
    his work increasing shipping efficiency among a chain of global electronics
    concerns.  Normally known for quieter administrative work, the
    Counts and Countesses of Rhylanor are considered a think tank supporting
    Duke Leonard but overshadowed by His Grace.  Most often, the landed
    Counts and Countesses appeared in news related to decisions resolving
    conflicts within their lands.

    Focusing on the deal itself, the main thrust of the change would be to contract
    a single transport firm to handle over-all deliveries to these related firms.  When
    questioned on the origins of the deal, which appeared to have risen from the
    Count's office, Count Krenowl said the deal had been refined from previous
    discussions and conversations regarding the control of costs in-system.  In a
    surprise nod, the Count also credited the late Sir Zachariah Wood, who had
    brought him a flawed proposal some time ago.  While the shipping factors
    involved in that proposal were not willing to show the flexibility needed to
    insure guarantees against some possible abuses in writing, this current program.
    promised to do so, based on projections.

    The office of Duke Leonard's Seneschal have announced this proposal will
    be tested over the next year in-system.  Insuring that the economic
    activities involved were appropriately monitored and evaluated, the
    Seneschal's office have created a shipping franchise and awarded
    that to Count Sir Krenowl to administer.  His Excellency, the Count
    has also been elevated to consulting responsibilities with Duke
    Leonard's economic council.  In addition to his administrative
    duties, Count Sir Krenowl has been recognized for his combat service
    in defense of the Rhylanor system at the end of the Forth Frontier War.
    This added to his honors in addition to his family's hereditary titles.    

    Rhylanor (A434934-F  2  Hi Cp   810  Im  M2 VI)                      Date: 037-1113
      In a move to expand their in-system service capabilities, the New
    Stars, LLC have signed a deal with the Askvig Arron Inc to expand
    cargo space on their largest freight hauling vessel.  Formerly jump-
    capable, the IMV Durgarna Kishgi had become too expensive to maintain
    by its previous owners, and was sold, at auction, to New Stars.
    The contract calls for Askvig Arron engineers to remove the ship's
    remaining jump drive systems and jump fuel cells in-service.  This allows
    the ship to remain operational while the work proceeds.  A key factor
    increasing the favorable response to the announcement is that Askvig
    Arron Inc. have agreed to sell off the removed systems as salvage and
    take payment for their operations from those sales.  This mutual
    benefit to Askvig Arron Inc and the cash-strapped New Stars LLC
    signals an improved position for both firms.  News of the contract
    was favorably received by investors and industry insiders.  The estimated
    deal value is worth BCr 4.14 to the fledgling company. 

    Additional coverage of this story included the involvement of the newly
    elevated Ambassador Lady Vik, formerly of the Hotel California crew.
    The financial records of the firm show the Ambassador was only one
    member of the California's crew to have invested in New Stars.  This, at
    a time when the experts were promising that the venture would only
    cost an investor their money.  While the viability of the firm very much
    depends on charges levied against the firm's ownership, many experts
    are admitting they missed a possible prize in this firm.                             

    Rhylanor (A434934-F  2  Hi Cp   810  Im  M2 VI)                      Date: 034-1113
    Continued complaints are rising regarding the Arch Duke's order to attend him
    in the Rhylanor system before he embarks on his grand tour.  The Seneschals
    of many of the Spinward March's landed nobility had created a flood of requests
    asking to extend or excuse those Liege Lords and Ladies they serve, as they
    were outside the reach of communications before the required deadline.  The
    level of requests had expended as the deadline was now less than five
    months away.  Not providing any appearance there may be relief,
    spokespersons for the Arch Duke have simply said the Arch Duke would be
    evaluating each of the fiefs involved on a case by case basis.

    Questions that suggested regarding the levels of investigation and evaluation
    were not commented on by the Arch Duke's office.  Neither were comments
    given regarding questions this re-evaluation might finally provide some home
    rule, under newly assigned nobility, to the worlds of the Five Sisters subsector.
    Viewers will be reminded that the Five Sisters subsector has been under the
    administration of the Imperial Navy's 208th Fleet since beginning of the Second
    Frontier War in TI 615.                             

    Rhylanor (A434934-F  2  Hi Cp   810  Im  M2 VI)                      Date: 034-1113
    Additional releases have been given to the media from the Arch Duke's office
    regarding his planned Grand Tour of the Domain.  His Grace's military liaison,
    Admiral Sir Shakaar Muurkamisirpa has stated that His Grace's flagship will be
    escorted by a combined vanguard of vessels from the core fleets of all four
    sectors comprising the Domain.  For this reason, the Deneb core fleet,
    remaining in the Spinward Marches since the end of the Fifth Frontier War, have
    held their stations.  As news continues to flow about the organization
    of the tour fleet, there have been precious few statements on when His
    Grace plans to visit each system in his travels?  Speculation on this point
    centers around the windows of preparation the Arch Duke wants to
    telegraph for those systems he will be evaluating in the absence of that
    system's senior landed nobility.

    In addition to the Nobility of the Domain, the Arch Duke's office have
    recalled all Senior Field Grade Imperial officers to Rhylanor in
    preparation for the Arch Duke's grand tour.  According to a release
    from the office of the Arch Duke, these meetings will plan the dispositions
    and posture of Imperial Naval and colonial forces during the Arch Duke's
    Grand Tour.  Despite placing the High Command in motion, the Imperial
    Admiralty are fully confident the conferences can be completed without
    fear of offensive actions from enemies beyond the borders or disruptive
    elements in the Marches.  Adding an additional level of disorganization,
    the reshuffling of Imperial fleets from subsector to subsector have been
    continuing as planned.                             

    Rhylanor (A434934-F  2  Hi Cp   810  Im  M2 VI)                      Date: 034-1113
    As the leaders of the Spinward Marches watch for moves on the evolving
    structure of the Domain government, orders have been released routing
    all decisions for the Regina system to Lady Seldrian Aledon.  As
    speculated, the Arch Duke seemed to be taking the public steps needed
    to transfer the fiefdom of the Regina Duchy to his True Daughter.
    This news was met with increased speculation and commentary
    regarding all of the Arch Duke's personal holdings within the
    Spinward Marches.  Viewers would be reminded that the Arch Duke
    personally holds the Barony of Yori and other minor systems in addition
    to the fealty of the County of Jewell.  The elevation of the Arch
    Duke has opened many questions regarding the leadership of a
    significantly contested region of the sector including both the
    Regina and Jewell subsectors.

    The Deneb Domain government have announced the beginning steps
    to create a Deneb military structure to mirror that of the other
    existing Imperial Domains.  This includes the creation of an elite
    formation to serve as the "Deneb Domain Guard".  In the opening
    steps of this process, Domain spokesman Lord Sir Ardika Ladimla has
    announced that creation of the formation will be assigned to General
    Baron Sir Uarmish Aerdaar Ilerkam, decorated for his inspired tactics
    when facing invading Zhodani surface and orbital forces in a number of
    systems during the Fifth Frontier War.  When specifically asked about the
    composition of the intended force, Sir Ladimla confirmed the 4518th
    Duke's Own Huscarles would remain an asset of the Duchy of Regina.
    As such, those members of the 4518th in the Rhylanor system will
    remain under the direct command of the Duchy, currently delegated to
    the Duchess Presumptive, Lady Seldrian Aledon.                            

    Skull (C2237C7-9  N  Na Po  601  Im  M1 V M0 VI)                 Date: 022-1113
    Reports from operations in the Skull system continue to cover strikes in
    domed and under-city locations on-world.  Forces of the system's Baron
    continue to move against an insurgent force discovered late in the year
    1112.  After actions it is rumored the Arch Duke's agents took a hand in,
    the forces of the Baron were prepared to move against the growing
    movement.  Numbers have not been provided as yet regarding damage to
    facilities and loss of life, however the rumored losses are said to be
    significant.  At this time, as many as thirty of the world's domes are said
    to have been damaged or are currently embattled.  There is no data on
    the so-called "under-city" regions, that are the extensive structures
    on which each city is built.                           

    Mora(A99AC7-F  2  Hi In Cp  112  Im  M5 V)                             Date: 021-1113
    News broke today, in a release from the Mora system, of planned improvements
    to trade and commerce routes in the Spinward Marches.  In response to
    the on-going assessment of Imperial trade, communications and military
    mobility in light of the events of the Fifth Frontier War and pre-war trade
    and transit records, Her Grace the Grand Duchess has agreed to shift
    funds for the development of two new X-Route stations.  The new
    stations, each a multi-billion credit contract, are planned to achieve
    two separate goals.

    The first stated goal intends to improve transit times and
    communications between core Imperial worlds and the Regina and Jewell
    clusters.  To this end, The Grand Duchess' office have announced
    they are seeking to complete contracts with firms to begin improvements
    to the downport of the Tureded system.  There is no highport in the
    system.  This program will also be carried out in conjunction with
    a colonial settlement program from over-populated worlds further within
    the Imperium.

          Tureded System Notes:
                 Tureded is an agricultural, non-industrial world with a
                 growing agro-economy lacking enough population to
                 expand its economy.  As an agricultural world, it is a
                 near-ideal environment for producing quality foodstuffs
                 of plant, animal, and other forms.
                 Quality foodstuffs are a major export commodity for this
                 world, though in amounts which can't compare with
                 other garden systems in the Marches with adequate
                 populations.  Tureded requires extensive imports of
                 outside technology to maintain a modern, star-faring
                 society.  Tureded must import most manufactured and
                 high tech goods, driving the price up for these
                 items at this world.

    The second intended goal of the planned expansion targets improvements
    in trade and communications with Imperial allies in the Spinward Marches.
    To that end, the office of the Grand Duchess have announced the offering of
    contracts to upgrade and carry out improvements in the Gothe system.  This
    planned upgrade of the local port to C-class is expected to increase trade
    between the Five Sisters subsector and the Darrian Confederation.

    The announcement also said further funding would be directed to encourage
    further construction of surface domes as well as expanding the sub-surface
    habitations on that world.  Further news on these actions will depend on
    the negotiation and signing of those contracts with the firms to be engaged
    for the work.  Early comments have suggested the Spinward Development
    Corporation have already had agents investigating these planned actions.     

    Lunion (A995984-D  2  Hi In Cp  810  Im  M3 0 M7 D)                    Date: 028-1113
    The office of Duke Luis Adorania Jestin have released details in preparation
    to select an appointee to be created the first Baronet of the Sharrip system.
    Long undergoing atmospheric terraforming as well as an early stage of
    bioforming, the Sharrip system is nearing entry to a new phase of terraforming.
    Expected to last eighty to one hundred years, the new phase of the operation
    centers on introducing more significant aquatic and terrestrial plant-life.
    This plan seems to favor the current botanist in charge of the project, Lord
    Kagirii Maar Shaagmu.

    Experts and commenters suggest that, despite the advantage held by Lord
    Shaagmu, there are many candidates from respected families with a long
    history of either interstellar management or development.  In additional
    comments from the Rhylanor and Mora systems, The Arch Duke and Grand
    Duchess have dispatched teams to oversee and consult on the process.
    This added note of flavor promises to increase the amount of gossip the
    selection has been producing.          

    Rhylanor (A434934-F  2  Hi Cp   810  Im  M2 VI)                     Date: 033-1113
    Spokespersons for Duke Leonard's office have confirmed that the Duke, after
    consultation with the Arch Duke, has begun consideration of additional
    system monitors to augment the Rhylanor system's security.  Without any
    details yet released on the scope of the project, military experts agree the
    rumored monitors are most likely to be flight-support stations maintaining
    significantly armed patrol spacecraft.  As facts about this possible project
    begin to replace rumors, it is expected job numbers will improve significantly
    in Rhylanor's orbital economic sectors.

    Not without controversy, media representatives challenged the Duke's
    spokesperson regarding issues such as space on the orbital plane, operational
    flight paths and communications occlusions.  While serious questions were dealt
    with, a reporter asked a disparaging question about the crew of the Hotel
and how their presence in some systems matched periods
    of destabilization in those systems.

    While the question, when asked, appeared to surprise the press core, it can
    be reported the Duke's spokesperson skipped not a beat in having the specific
    reporting team arrested.  The spokesperson then reminded the remaining
    reporters of his invoked warning against fraudulent charges being lodged
    by the media.  While that stricture was lodged at the time in support of
    Sir Rol Kaihvos, it now certainly appears to cover rumors about
    the entire crew.                           

    Mora(A99AC7-F  2  Hi In Cp  112  Im  M5 V)                            Date: 024-1113
    As the issues surrounding the estate and rights of singer Ardella Mestler fade
    to local news, an enduring stamp has been placed on laws Sector-wide.
    Courts and legal organizations are re-aligning their precedents as shifts are
    likely within Imperial law respecting the rights of clones.  This anticipated
    re-alignment is expected as the interpretation of Imperial law is aligned
    not only with the findings of the courts of the Five Sisters Subsector and
    Admiral Elphinstone but with the stated positions of Their Graces
    Arch Duke Norris, Grand Duchess Delphine and the subsector Dukes and
    Duchesses of the Spinward Marches.  Firms involved in legal reporting are
    watching the Spinward Marches Senate for indications they will take up
    these considerations either in the 1113 calendar or schedule the matter
    for serious consideration in 1114.                           

    Rhylanor (A434934-F  2  Hi Cp   810  Im  M2 VI)                      Date: 033-1113
    The Imperial Navy today announced that Fleet operations in the Kegina
    system have ordered a moratorium on landings on any world in that
    system until the reports from initial investigations could be considered.
    Admiral Lord Sheduug Uknisiir, commanding the fleet element under
    the orders of Arch Duke Norris and Duke Leonard of Rhylanor, has stated
    that it is imperative to stem the flow of settlers from the Bevey system.

    In concert with this move, General Sir Shaaakam Gekilaa has begun landing
    elements of Duke Leonard's dispatched peace-keeping force.  Sir Gekilaa,
    known as "Shak" to his men, is a veteran of multiple landings and surface
    actions ousting Zhodani invaders during the Fifth Frontier War.  In advance
    of Imperial Army landings, it's believed the General ordered a wide media
    campaign of coverage from those actions his commands took part in.  This
    is unofficially believed to be a quiet warning not to test the General's resolve
    in carrying out the Arch Duke's orders.

    Reporting from the Kegina mainworld suggests the newly installed government
    is moving to legislate permanent safeguards into the planetary constitution
    allowing for the settlement of those populations seen to be beneficial to the
    world's economic health.  Subsector legal and governmental experts suggest
    this is a covert move to create the economic structures which might grow
    sympathy in the Subsector and Sector Senate for the world's new provisional

    Regina (A788899-C  2  Ri Cp  703  Im  F7 V M8 D M6 V)                Date: 042-1113
    In news from the Regina system, the office of Seneschal Branj Dilgaadin
    released an update on the case of Sir Jeremy Lewis.  Since Sir Jeremy was
    turned over to authorities in-system, he has been provided representation
    and access to those resources the Knight claims will prove the legitimacy
    of his book.  Despite his assurances of exoneration, lawyers for the firm
    Aaskimi, Uigdi and Iidiikhuu who are assigned to his case are much less
    optimistic about the outcome based on the data they have available to them.
    Lead defense attorney Sarliuk Uigdi has said her team has been working with Sir
    Jeremy on the data he is providing while also working more specifically to
    determine under which laws a case may be brought against Sir Jeremy.

    In an ironic move, where the case of "Sir Jeremy Lewis vs Sir Rol Kaihvos"
    is concerned, a team of officials from the Jesedipere have recently arrived,
    and requested status as 'Associates to the Charges'.  That request is being
    separately considered, as is the data provided to the court by the
    arriving officials                             

    Lanth (A879533-6  2  Ni Cp  710  Im  F5 IV M9 D)                      Date: 063-1113
    Despite the negative reviews regarding this work, Enli Iddukagan's "Lost
    Treasure Ships of the Abyss Rift" has been selling well and sales numbers
    say the book continues to perform well in many markets.  While this
    was expected in markets such as the conspiracy fringe, Mr. Iddukagan
    is developing an increased following thanks to the high-profile
    disappearances of some ship's in the Marches sector recently.

    Ironically, sales are especially strong in the Rhylanor system, where
    recent events have portions of the system's population concerned
    about shadow-fleets and the failures of Imperial resources to track
    traffic and protect citizens.                             

    Mora(A99AC7-F  2  Hi In Cp  112  Im  M5 V)                            Date: 023-1113
Proposed Annexation     Rumors continue to surface of an expected annexation of the empty space
    between the Smoug and Grote systems(Lunion) and the Gunn and Caliburn
    systems (Sword Worlds).  Some of these rumors are based on claims of
    increased scout operations from the Wardn and Caladbolg system scout
    bases as well as the Imperial naval base in the Elixabeth system.
    Responses from the Admiralty point out such activity is exactly what one
    would expect in the post-Fifth Frontier War universe.  While no authority
    would go on record regarding any part of these rumors, the suggestions
    have been treated as nothing but the wildest of speculation by the
    Imperial Navy.

    Official requests for comments in the Courts of Rhylanor, Glisten and Mora
    have been ignored as beneath comment.  Still, supporters of the claims
    repeatedly point out that no member of the Admiralty or High Sector Nobility
    have stepped forward to deny the rumors.  At the same time, commenters
    and experts have pointed out how such a move could complicate issues
    evolving in the Thanber and Dekalb systems.  Indeed, it is only when these
    two topics are mixed that the Admiralty have cautioned the media and
    so-called rumor mill not to exacerbate situations where lives are actually
    being lost.

    Jewell (A777999-C  2  Hi In Cp  G  623  Im  G7 V)                            Date: 032-1113
    In news from the Jewell system, teams are arriving from Imperial systems
    throughout the coreward-spinward quadrant of the sector in hopes of
    winning contracts to support Naval and Scout base construction in the
    Denuli system.  In addition to the financial rewards of earning an Imperial
    Naval contract, this eagerness is in part believed to be based on expectations
    the contract conditions will more completely describe the native race.

    To this point, the Imperial Navy has been very quiet about any details
    regarding the race, only identified as being called "the Shriekers".  Despite
    the silence of Imperial and Naval authorities, many fanciful descriptions
    have begun appearing in media as merchant crews who claim to have
    experience in that system sell their stories.  Sadly, an examination of these
    many accounts show few similarities and many outright contradictions.  So
    it is the position of TAS that these are only rumors until some concrete data
    are officially provided.                             

    Mire (A665A95-C  M  Hi Cp  110  Da  M6 V)                                       Date: 010-1113
    The continuing reports from the Darrian Confederation are now including
    reports of the efforts to begin repairs and recovery.  In addition to those
    medical and sophont-support services which have been responding ever
    since the recovery of the Entropic systems.  Heavy construction firms and
    suppliers have begun to make use of Confederation funding to move in and
    apply for reconstruction contracts.

    In addition to the serious start of reconstruction, Confederation military
    commands have begun setting up temporary facilities and expanding
    both support and security operations on all affected worlds.  Where this
    activity has reportedly brought those forces into conflict with Biologically-
    Darrian citizens who support pro-Sword Worlds movements, the Darrian
    government has claimed to firmly seek a path of de-escalation.  Where that
    has not been possible, the forces detailed to respond to such incidents
    have been ordered to contain and capture where at all possible.

    Imperial authorities and Admiralty have met with the Darrian Ambassador
    on Mora to ask if it might be possible to co-locate Imperial forces in bases
    on those worlds.  Such a move would, as suggested by Lord Sir Dershol A
    Ziilkhak, a spokesperson for the Domain of Deneb, reduce the chances future
    Sword Worlds adventurism might try again to change the borders for reasons
    of national pride or as some other distractive move towards interstellar
    violence.  There has been no response or comment from the Darrians regarding
    this request or any similar moves to interlock allied forces.                   

    Entrope (E336AAA-B  Hi  110  Da  G6 V M1 D)                       Date: 008-1113
    Academics have been on the edge of their seats since Professor Iaeheheh,
    of the University of Zlodh, announced his team on the world of Entrope have
    completed a first phase of sonic and orbital photographic detail scans of
    specific sites on-world to better identify the scope of ruins on that world. 
    Additional "teases" the Doctor has released are that some of the earliest
    identified artifacts have been subjected to batteries of tests and some
    of those reports are becoming more complete.  This means the pictures
    those data present are becoming more coherent.

    Professor Iaeheheh reminded those in the media too ready to spread wildly
    unfounded theories that the ruins are certainly not of an age to associate
    them with "The Ancients".  When pushed, the Doctor admitted that, if he
    had to hazard the most outrageous of guesses, he'd say the materials had
    been in the ground for well over 50,000 standard years but no more than
    150,000 years.  This put them well after the period of the Ancient's
    'Final War'.

    Still, Professor Iaeheheh cautioned that this was only a guess, and was
    made more difficult because of the exotic nature of the recovered artifacts.
    In a surprise, the Doctor said his people had been collaborating with exotic
    materials experts from the University of Glisten and some specific experts
    from GLIPS, also from the Glisten system.  This was a surprise as this was
    the first statement made which indicated the Darrian researchers had
    actually brought in researchers from the Imperium.                             

    Arden (B5549CB-9  Hi  810  FA  M4 V M5 D)                         Date: 296-1113
    Reviving older symbols from history, The Federation of Arden re-introduced
    imagery not used for some centuries, when a Federation had first been formed
    after Imperial borders were rolled back to trailing at the end of the Third
    Frontier War.  Viewers are reminded this region of space had first been
    settled by early explorers of the Third Imperium and Arden had, at its
    most politically important point, been an Imperial County seat.  Indeed,
    the heraldry of that bygone era are still maintained in Imperial archives.

    Historically, the Zircon and Utoland systems were settled from the Arden
    system as the Imperium grew.  But those early gains were pushed back
    due to losses in the early frontier wars with the Zhodani.  Currently, experts
    are still seeking to understand Arden's movement to invite the Zenopit system
    into its Federation.  While that system had admittedly been part of the
    County of Arden, the most basic of assumptions is that Arden can supply
    Zenopit with a badly needed supply of water.  But, in return, Arden can only
    get those most basic of raw materials they have in abundance in their own
    system.  That and hundreds of thousands of fluid-starved citizens.      

    Regina (A788899-C  2  Ri Cp  703  Im  F7 V M8 D M6 V)                Date: 042-1113
    Reports from the Regina system show the Oberlindes Corporate offices are
    very satisfied with the financial performance of their Jump-3 route between
    the Regina and Arden systems.  In addition to other resolved irregularities,
    the firm have stated they have added security to their runs in the face of
    rumored vargr corsair attacks to the coreward-spinward of Regina.

    Increased security efforts were echoed from Dhain and Paya in the Aramis
    subsector as Corporate officers began to negotiate to provide passage to
    the Zenopit system as well as Arden.  On a political front, Baron Marc
    Oberlindes had accepted the expected ascension of Lady Seldrian to the
    Duchy of Regina and begun campaigning for some of the lesser prizes.
    One of these appeared to be the Yori system, which experts counted as a
    move to better thread together the trade routes of the family business.
    Critics of the move suggested the divided loyalties of fiefs within the County
    of Count Evan and Duchy of the presumed Duchess Seldrian might
    cause issues.                             

    Rhylanor (A434934-F  2  Hi Cp   810  Im  M2 VI)                     Date: 033-1113
    With the Ramshackle fleet issue resolved, the Admiralty have stated they are
    continuing to consider the Federation of Arden's request for military aid.  As
    ministers from Arden work at multiple lines of effort including working to
    establish embassies on Mora and Rhylanor, the Admiralty are working to
    bring the delegation from Arden into a more diplomatic stream of meetings
    with the Domain and Sector governments.

    In a break from talks, Commander Sir Diirsa-ha Shansox reminded some
    organizations that negotiations with the Federation were not automatic
    because they had been an Imperial system centuries ago.  Over the nearly
    two hundred years since the County became independent due to the Third
    Frontier War.  Especially with the heavy invasions and destruction of
    facilities which came with the Fifth Frontier War.  Between the hard times
    the system had fallen on since the late 900's and present day, their culture
    had changed greatly and this new perspective needed to be respected.

    Rhylanor (A434934-F  2  Hi Cp   810  Im  M2 VI)                      Date: 033-1113
    Rhylanor's system management office have released their first report
    following on the battle with Baron von Kreden's fleet.  Thanks to the vast
    amount of data available, it was finally determined that the battlecruiser
    "Vengeance", von Kreden's flagship, had been engaged and annihilated by
    the Imperial dreadnought "Allamu".  In port for repairs since the battle,
    the crew of the INS "Allamu" were recognized by Arch Duke Norris for their
    courage and actions.  The ship was awarded a Medal for Conspicuous
    Gallantry for driving at the "Vengeance" under the single-minded guidance
    of her commanding officer.                             

    For that officer's drive and determination, he was personally awarded an
    MCG and promoted to much fanfare.  The solemn awards ceremony for the
    ship's crew, once their specific role had been learned, was broadcast
    system-wide.  Especially as the efforts of a number of naval crews had
    been overshadowed by the role of celebrity crews in the battle for so long.
    At the end of the ceremony, the nameplate of the Vengeance was awarded
    to the captain of the Allamu by the Arch Duke.                             

    Natoko (B582211-8  N  Lo Ni  801  Im  M2 VI M6 D)                        Date: 036-1113
    The system blockade established by elements of the Imperial Navy under
    the command of Rear Admiral Uuela have begun enforcement of stop and
    search operations for all ships bound to and from the system's inhabited
    worlds and stations.  So far, the command base reports forced but civil
    compliance with the blockade.  Senator Kudila approved of the control
    measure as he worked with the Admiral to plan a search of the system for
    evidence of improperly owned or operated combat vessels.

    Once the Naval flotilla established the system blockade, Senator Kudila
    reached out to all ports in the system demanding their recorded system
    data.  While the Starport Authority port ignored threats from the world
    government and complied, other ports were not so willing to submit.
    Admiral Uuela has been blunt that ports which do not comply will be
    "Visited" by Imperial Marine teams to investigate their data.  The
    Admiral also communicated to the Natoko government the Imperial
    Navy's absolute commitment to the safety of the Starport Authority
    facility, should there be any untoward actions.

    As a precaution, the system has been flagged as an Amber zone and ships
    intending to transit Natoko space are warned to heed all system beacons
    and naval communications.                             

    Hammermium (A5525AB-B  Ni Po  535  Im  M3 III)                 Date: 010-1113
    The Count of Katarulu has personally broadcast his assurances to the people
    of Hammermium to promise he is investigating conditions on-world.  As part
    of the message, the Count very clearly pointed out that rioting or the
    destruction of equipment or mines would destroy the tools which brought
    the people the very wealth they wanted to enjoy.  So, he advised, those
    who act out destructively can easily cost their own people any of the benefits
    they had wanted to enjoy.  He even warned that significant damage to the
    mines or systems could even swing the pendulum back to a point where
    work could not be done at all in some regions and families could
    find themselves starving!

    Sadly, the Count's speech missed the intended target significantly and
    appeared to much of the worker population as a plea to save the company's
    property!  Additional security forces were moved in to certain regions to
    clamp down on reactionary responses and one mine was sabotaged through
    the use of explosives and hacked mining robotics!  Despite this outcome,
    the Corporation is still working hard to de-escalate the situation and prevent
    losses of life.  Using the energy of the event against its own escalation,
    Hammermium Corp. executives have led a "very visible" drive to deliver
    food and necessaries to the mining families idled by the mine sabotage,
    broadcasting the action system wide to show that, as ill-spoken as the
    Count's words were, the results were real and the corporation did care.                     

    Porozlo (A867A74-B  Hi  201  Im  M1 V M9 D)                      Date: 034-1113
    With the battle lines now established, and fresh supplies, troops and ready
    command officers, the three-way war on Porozlo is burning white-hot.
    The forces of the Ko Qiquiang nation were quickly broken, being heavily out
    numbered with the failure of their surprise first strike to open a door and
    take out much of the fresh enemy forces they were now facing.

    Lucky for them, the other two sides had not planned to fight on additional
    fronts so the generals of Ko Qiquiang ordered their troops to dig in and
    create defensive lines to hold their borders.  After weeks of hot
    war, the losses had been significant but the lines held as the forces
    drawn off the offensives between New Jindabyn and Sertao Forros kept
    them from making any advances on either of their foes.                             

    Frenzie (A200436-A  N  Ni Va Cp  110  Im  M2 III M3 D)                      Date: 296-1112
Affected region of space     In a stunning turn of events, with the Thanber system
    government finally managing to get their crisis
    under control, a vessel arrived at the Frienzie Imperial
    naval base from the Dekalb system.  When greeted, the
    commanding officers of the Dekalb vessel announced they
    were a duly commissioned Imperial ship of the Imperial
    Navy of Dekalb.  They further announced that the former
    government of the Dekalb system had collapsed, and been
    replaced with a government willing to serve the system's
    population.  As a result, the system had declared itself
    an Imperial member state!

    While all knew there was more to joining the Imperium than a simple
    declaration, this action could not be ignored.  The ship's "Captain" said
    he had, aboard, a team of government officials prepared to complete the
    steps needed to proceed with formal re-entry into the Imperium.  Additionally,
    per a copy of Imperial documents generally available, the leader of the
    governmental team formally requested the naval command dispatch an
    Imperial naval flotilla to establish a protective and defensive presence in
    the Dekalb system.

    While Count Sir Kukakhumum-Lisen, the local commanding Admiral, couldn't
    be reached for comment, legal commenters who examined the situation
    agreed there seemed to be nothing the Admiralty could do other than welcome
    the returning system.  Lord Melashshikami appeared to speak for them
    all when he said, "Imperial Doctrine was written to bring systems in, not
    exclude them.  So, unless there is an existing reason not to accept their
    application, we seem to have our hands tied.  When asked if anyone could
    demand membership and protection, Lord Melashshikami said there were cases
    where existing crisis situations could be prepared for so a process can be
    stopped.  However, in this instance no cases were prepared.  No one
    expected this turn of events.

    When asked what he expected next, Lord Melashshikami said he expected a
    very fast ship to be dispatched to the Mora system with some very concerned
    naval officers.  At the same time, he expected that Admiral Kukakhumum-
    Lisen was looking for ships he could spare to dispatch a Squadron to the
    Dekalb system with an Admiral who could play "Imperial Governor-Pro Temp".
    And then, they were all going to hope this did not topple the efforts of the
    Thanber system government to control its population.                             

The Bright Lights Of Brief Forgetting

     Listening to the news, Emkir said how pleased he was about their investments in New Stars.  Mikah was surprised there had been no news from the D'Ganzio system, but Zimzod reminded her InstellArms was cleaning up the mess and may 'not want' any news of the event to spread from the system.  Emkir nodded darkly at that suggestion.  Terin also suggested they'd only just arrived from D'Ganzio too, so the news may not yet be spreading even as news organizations were getting the details on the story.  When Fesic asked about the stories mentioning Rol, Terin joked, "Oh, nothing.  Someone's just claiming he's a war criminal."  Rol waived that off saying it was an old issue but was being handled.

When Rol comfortably said Sir Jeremy was being "handled", Zimzod reminded Rol Sir Jeremy had written a book which was still selling well.  Zimzod continued that the book would keep telling its story, regardless of what happened to Sir Jeremy.  Rol suggested that could be dealt with by him writing a book of his own.  After the brief silence that caused, conversation shifted to Inger as Terin said, "Dame Inger got a big promotion too, didn't she?"  In part, he was hoping to get more of the story on the female Knight who had suddenly left the crew the same day he and Munarshu had been hired.  While he'd heard snippets, and knew Lady Inger had been a party to all the ship's secrets to that point, the sudden arrival of the Duke's men in armor and pointing guns to remove her gear was never really explained.

Ever the politically correct maven aboard, Terin suggested the ship release a statement congratulating Lady Inger on her promotion and new position.  When Rol asked if Terin wanted to set himself up for liable or slander charges, Terin said, "No.  You just release a statement saying she was a valued member of the crew and that you wish her well in her new position."  After Zimzod asked, "Dude!  You want to lick her and lube her all over to get some gifts now she's promoted?" Mikah said she actually agreed with Terin because it made sense to play nice.  With her decision made, Mikah asked Emkir to "write something flowery" to release to the media and that would become part of the news cycle and spread without them paying for it.

Eventually, Terin got a comms saying their van had arrived along with a bill for Cr 500.  When Mikah asked why the hell it cost Cr 500, Terin said that he'd called asking for a large van to carry the Knights to the Duke's court in comfort.  He guessed they went overboard but it was too late to change that now.  To that, Zimzod said, "Ok.  Your mistake so you're paying."  Without an answer to Zimzod, Terin shrugged and paid.  That done, and after a last check that everyone had dressed pretty enough, they locked up the ship, boarded the van and rode off for the half-hour trip to the Duke's court.

When they arrived, the crew checked in with the Heralds, and then waited until called.  With the time nearing 10am, they were finally called, as a crew, but in Order of Precedence.  In the presence, they began by delivering their regards to the Duke through Mikah as their spokesperson.  Following that, Terin requested recognition and was allowed to step forward and request permission to both enter the interdicted Sonthert system and possibly land on some worlds in-system.  As part of his presentation, Terin delivered a prepared abstract on his research and also provided the endorsements of his request from the Courts of Duke Luis of Lunion and Baron Aagirke of D'Ganzio.  While he didn't say anything out loud, Duke Rakaa was concerned anyone would enter his court with a proposal they'd already vetted with a Duke foreign to his fief and a Baron who was one of Duke Rakaa's vassal-Lords.

Fixing Terin with a very quizzical look, the Duke asked, "And why would I grant you such a thing?"  Terin did his best to dissemble.  He managed to suggest the data gathered could lead to discoveries of new aupplies for known medically beneficial plant-life right off.  He then speculated that the data gathered might be the basis of further activity in the system, outside those worlds for which the system had been interdicted in the first place.  When the Duke asked for more information, Terin addressed his delivered research abstract and reviewed the main points recommended from the opening statements.  Giving Terin's presentation the time he could in a Court which had a schedule to adhere to, the Duke was not uninterested and asked how long the Hotel California's crew had planned to remain in port?

When Terin estimated they'd be in the Lanth system between one and two weeks, Duke Rakaa nodded and said he'd set something up with his ministers to investigate and respond to Terin's data.  After Terin was told he would have a chance to present his request in detail, Rol raised his hand to gain the focus of the court.  Rol made his request for an endorsement to his request for the right to own battledress armor and Duke Rakaa noted that too had been endorsed by Duke Luis and Baron Aagirke.  The one thing Duke Rakaa noted was that it had not yet been submitted to the Imperial Navy, which organization administered such requests.

Considering that, Rakaa nodded and said he would allow his ministers to discuss this with Sir Rol while they were meeting with Sir Terin and Lady Mikah over the request to visit sites in the Sonthert system.  Rol said he appreciated the consideration and the Duke asked if there was any other favors those of the California would beg of him?  He was not surprised when Zimzod stepped forward and made his request Duke Rakaa endorse his bid to own an FGMP-15!  Reacting to the request and considering the raw power of the weapon, the Duke fixed Zimzod with a look and asked, "Really?"  No one in the court could miss the negative emotion in the Duke's voice.  Despite the obvious reaction, Zimzod continued smoothly, suggesting it would improve the ability of his crew and himself to support Imperial needs in the Spinward Marches.  Sadly, even some in his own crew couldn't keep the humor and disbelief from their faces.

Duke Rakaa had to give Zimzod points for making his request with a straight face.  So, he allowed that his ministers would discuss the request with Zimzod, and investigate his case before deciding to endorse or not.  At the same time, he reminded Zimzod and Rol they would have to submit their requests to the Imperial Navy regardless of how many endorsements they did or did not get.  Turing to Lady Mikah, the Duke said, "My Lady, you certainly have an entertaining crew."  Mikah simply thanked the Duke for what she took as a note of camaraderie.  But, having delivered their respects and with promises from the Duke to have his ministers meet with them over those, they had no other requests and were out of the Court by about 11:40am.

When Rol suggested they find a bar, Terin satirically asked, "What could possibly go wrong", Terin said he had the car for a trip back to the ship.  So they all piled in and relaxed as they rode back to the berth.  There, people changed from their court clothes into things more casual.  While changing, Aali took the chance to both link with her stent and commune with the 'droids.  After everyone changed, and while Aali was asking Emkir what he wanted to do over the lunch Rol served them, Mikah announced, "Let's go to the amusement park!".  When Mikah followed that up with, "Fesic doesn't have to come if he doesn't want to", the gunner was pleased.  He hadn't really enjoyed the last one that much, and wanted to try out their new gunnery training software.

Others were already sparking up terminals and checking out the park's attractions.  The completely enclosed park allowed them to have fun without wearing masks, and was a showpiece of imported technology as well as entertainment.  Anti-grav constructs lifted rides to thrilling heights while virtual-reality rides allowed visitors a huge amount of experiences.  And the more they looked, the more everyone except Fesic was in.  So they called a van and rode to the park, paying Cr 100 each for the ride and entry.  One of the attractions that drew a lot of the crew were the virtual rides.

Rol only had to hear about the virtual starfighter combat simulator ride.  Despite the fact it cost Cr 25 more per ride, it was well attended and Rol had to do it despite having no flight training.  Terin got into it too.  When she heard Rol was in, Mikah joined in too, hoping to "help teach Rol how to fly"...or was that "Die"?  Zimzod figured he'd watch and looked forward to the laughs.  When the ride got going, Zimzod wasn't wrong as he watched the simulated action.  In the battles that flared as people died and re-spawned, Terin had a shit time.  Somehow, despite respawning in different locations each time, Terin had been tracked by some brat with a hot stick and was repeatedly blown out of the game.  The only time he didn't get popped by the kid turned out to be the time some idiot with no clue how to fly at all rammed into him.  And in that wreck, both Terin and Rol died.

Despite his first experience, Rol had to try that ride again while the others spread out and enjoyed the park.  Emkir and Aali didn't do the virtual fighter ride but Emkir had the time of his life riding the coasters.  And everyone ate something, so the whole group paid Cr 40 for a meal.  When it came to souvenirs, Rol had to have a holocube made showing the moment his fighter crashed into Terin's, and paid Cr 150.  Along with that, Rol sprung for the Cr 15 model of the fighter too.  After the fun and rides, Rol went home much happier than Terin did, but not nearly as happy as a junior fighter jock named Vanessa, who had a number of "kill videos" to show her friends at school.

The team ate dinner and talked about their favorite rides while Terin complained, and they thought about heading back to the ship.  But, as night came on and the park lit up, Mikah decided it was time to ride the rides in the dark with all the gleaming and glowing lights.  When Terin even had to admit the roller coasters and thrill rides were likely better than the fighter ride, Emkir snarked, "Yeah.  You can't even lose on them." with a smile.  A number of people joked that he couldn't unless he lost his meal.  After an evening riding in the lights, Terin had to admit that made up for Every Thing!  The rest of the crew had varying levels of fun which were balanced or pulled down by the exhaustion of a full day and evening on the park.

Before they finally did leave, Aali got a shot of her and Emkir on one of the rides with the park lit up at night behind them.  When Emkir suggested x-mailing it to the folks at home, Aali decided to get a second image to keep.  That cost the couple Cr 40 which they felt well worth it.  While the crew rode back to the ship on a dedicated starport shuttle, Fesic worked on the cargo sealing system classes, relaxed and enjoyed his solitude.  As things got late, Fesic secured the ship and hit the sack, grabbing sleep before the others got back.

Before the crew got back to the ship, Mikah remembered to tell Emkir she had a job for him.  She told him to write a congratulative statement for Lady Inger on her promotion and new job.  Mikah told him to make the statement all, "flowery" and comment on "how they all loved her and all that crap."  As she finished telling Emkir what to do, Munarshu was astonished how close Mikah came to actually sounding sincere.  With his orders, Emkir started working on what he would say in his head, so he could craft the statement and send it to the press when they got back to the ship.  He also planned to send a personal note to Admiral Uuela congratulating him for getting command of the Natoko blockade and investigation fleet.  But he wasn't sending that one to the press.

Emkir also told Mikah they should send congratulations to the management of New Stars, LLC because they were share-holders.  Mikah agreed, but told him to make sure that message was sent privately as x-mail.  The mail to New Stars cost Cr 16 and Mikah covered that.  Because Natoko was off the x-boat route, there was a Cr 10 fee on top of the Cr 16 X-mail fee, so Emkir paid Cr 26.  After getting to the ship and getting the messages out, they knew they only had to wait for the Duke's ministers to meet with them, and to hear back on the cargo permit.  Rol found a place to secure the fighter model, which was made to securely attach to any surface in a starship.  He also found a place he liked to display his holocube.  After that, Rol went to sleep, to be 100% sure he'd synched with the local clocks.

Folks settled in and Terin set his alarm but acerbically bet he wouldn't sleep til it rang.  Fesic also set an early alarm while Munarshu did his usual.  Rol set his alarm, needing to get up and cook breakfast while Aali and Emkir felt they had no reason at all to set an alarm.  So they went to bed to burn off the last of their energy before fading out to sleep in.

A Bright Morning And Dark Day

     Despite sleeping all the way to when his alarm was set, Terin was a bit out of sorts because he could have slept in after all.  But he didn't because he was so sure he wouldn't that he had set an alarm for 7:30am.  After showering and cleaning up, someone had the perfect timing to ring his comms.  When he answered the call, Terin was told the Duke would like his people to meet with the crew regarding their requests at 2pm that day.  Thanking the caller, Terin went into the lounge and started spreading the word.  Eventually, everyone woke up and the crew were relaxing aboard the ship except for Aali and Munarshu.  They planned on burning off the day relaxing until they had to get ready to meet with the Duke's people.

When she was told of the summons, Aali suggested it sounded like they were all going to get dragooned into something.  Familiar with their luck with nobility, everyone had to agree.  That feeling turned even more sour when, after spending the day relaxing and finally dressing, a Seneschalate vehicle arrived to transport them all.  Aali and Emkir had dressed in their Order uniforms, like they had the day before.  Emkir had all his appropriate awards on too.  Rol wore his blue formal suit, and Zimzod also were a formal suit because he'd worn his Order uniform the day before.  Mikah also chose to wear a business suit.  In a continuance of the tidal wave, Terin and Munarshu also wore formal suits and Fesic re-wore his only formal suit.  He did wear a different tie, to make it seem like it was a second suit.

At the seneschalate office, the crew were led to a board room where they found a collection of military officers and civilians.  The crew were sat in the room to wait.  Eventually, a team of Seneschalate officers arrived, sat at the head table and looked over the crew.  After the pause, the spokesperson said, "So, what's up with Sonthert?"  Surprised at the casual nature of the question, Mikah stuck a thumb at Terin and said, "That's his deal."  Having been thrown under a starship, Terin stood and re-explained his proposal to conduct botanical research in the system.  He also handed out his abstracts and offered to email them his research datafiles with an index guide.

Nodding at Terin's case, the spokesperson then turned to Zimzod, and asked, "Really? in a flat and almost accusatory tone.  The scene was so comedic that most of the crew couldn't hold back their laughter.  Unphased, Zimzod stood and made his case, which most thought fell short.  Largely because there really wasn't a good reason for Anyone to have the weapon.  Still, Zimzod gave it his best.  After that, the spokesperson turned to Rol and asked "Battledress?"  Saying, "Yes, Sir", Rol stood and faced the group as the spokesperson admitted, "Well, you're certainly trained for it", while scanning a document whose content Rol now really wondered about?

After a brief and almost awkward pause, the spokesperson said, "Well, we do have another issue.  Related."  Mikah joked, "You're a war criminal." as Rol stood waiting and wondering about the suddenly flat tone of the spokesperson's words.  Despite the chuckles from some of the crew because of Mikah's joke, the temperature in the room didn't rise.  And Rol's waiting ended as the spokesperson continued, "There is a request for summary judgement which we've been made aware of.  And we've just received word on that from the Regina system."  The room now became completely silent, and the crew were asked if they'd been listening to the news recently?  Not sure where this was going, Rol slowly said "yes", stretching out the word as he did.

Nodding, the spokesperson said, "So you're aware of what's been going on in the Regina system?  Especially those news stories with your name included in them?"  Rol couldn't help but notice the satisfied tone of the speaker's voice, as if his awareness of his involvement helped with the issue somehow.  Nodding, Rol again answered, "Yes, I've been made aware of them." while still unsure where this was going?  Scanning the entire crew, the spokesperson started, "So, we've queried His Grace's...  Excuse me.  We've queried Her Grace's Seneschal, we presume we know what his answer is going to be."  So we have a ship standing by to take your ship as cargo.

The entire crew watched, fixated on the speaker, as they were told, "And you will be getting an all expense paid trip to the Regina system.  Well, certainly all expenses paid one way."  As Rol grunted "Hmmm" and said, "I see", it was clear there was the expectation of legal charges against Rol.  Scan as they might, no one could tell if the team of seneschalate officers were pleased or annoyed at the news, though it was clear they were pleased it wasn't a mess for 'their Duke'.  The speaker continued, "We assume your ship is going because the rest of your crew would like to speak on your behalf at the proceedings."  No one mistook that as an offered chance to back out and stay behind.

When Mikah and Emkir both asked about delivering their cargo at the same time, the speaker said they could always return to make their deliveries.  The tone was the sort of casual assumption those raised on worlds by those who didn't travel the space lanes made easily.  Ironically, for the first time since trying, Emkir correctly pointed out they had a cargo which had a time limit placed on it by the government.  When Emkir said they had two months to deliver the cargo and just getting to Regina would take a minimum of a month, Mikah asked if they could, at least, negotiate?  When they were asked how long they thought it might take to complete their work, Mikah said they were still waiting on the cargo permit.

Nodding, Mikah was told the crew could be given two weeks to get everything resolved.  They were told that was the soonest they expected to hear anything in continuing news from Regina, where they'd sent a jump-6 courier for instruction.  The courier, itself, wouldn't return for a total of six weeks.  Despite that lack of short-term communications, they made it clear they wanted Rol to go.  And they clearly felt the crew should accompany him.  Breaking the pregnant pause that was growing, Fesic asked, "So, is that a yes for Sonthert?" and everyone in the crew busted out laughing despite the situation.  The seneschals and other officers simply closed up their materials and left the room, leaving the crew to be escorted back to the van waiting to return them to the ship.

Where everyone is at the end of the session:

     Aiden: cooking for another 6 weeks and 3 days(Decant Date: 110-1113)
     Everyone Else: In the office of the Duke's Seneschal after a meeting

Next: Days Of Fun And Forms