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Drugs And Culture

     Regina The entire crew were relaxing in the suite and watching the new news stories which had arrived with the "morning" Xboat.  The only news that really impacted them was that Prince Lucan had been in the Margesi system 59 days before.  That meant he'd only been two jumps from Rhylanor at the time!  Now, two months later, he should be even closer, despite any stops for ceremonies.  That meant he'd likely been on Rhylanor under 40 days before.  With a week of ceremonies, he could be as close as the D'Ganzio system now.  From there, the Prince was only four jumps away!

Watching the news, Mikah, Aali, Aiden and Jocelynn were waiting for word from their clothier on the final costs for their suit and gown orders.  While Jocelynn had walked out of the shop with her jewelry, the others had ordered customized items that would also take time to create.  Fesic also had two more days to wait for his "Locksmith in a Box" order, which had been expensive to buy, but promised to deliver 'an entire business'.  It advertised each owner could become their own locksmith.

Planning her day as the news ran, Mikah said she wanted to go out for medical supplies.  Hearing that, Jocelynn signed on to go with her.  Rol said he'd be spending the day relaxing in the suite and "not spending money", to make up for his losses at the casino.  Terin decided to do more stent-work and then jog.  While they got ready for that, Fesic logged into a terminal to start advertising that the Upgrade was in port and available.  He took some flak from the others because they had no idea when they might lift or be going when they did.  Fesic only defended himself by saying they might miss a job offer too good to pass up if they didn't advertise.  The others shrugged but didn't stop him.  After that, Fesic was open to what any of the others wanted to do.

After her research, Mikah, Jocelynn and Zimzod went off shopping for medical supplies.  Knowing she eventually had to get back to the ship and androids, Aali wanted to get out and jog in the open air of her homeworld until it was time for lunch.  When she asked Emkir if he wanted to go, he simply laughed and asked, "Are you kidding?"  He then dug into the entertainment system for a movie to watch until Aali got back.  Aiden logged into a terminal and checked distance and access to the local scout based and TAS.  Confirming he could log into his TAS account on-line, Aiden checked his own accounts and saw he already had two unsold High Passages.  Because of that, he chose not to request another one.

Checking for a paymaster, to cash in the Cr 100 for his Silver Asteroid, Aiden saw the scout base had an office in Credo-down port.  Roughly an hour away.  Seeing that, Aiden figured he'd have to pay for a ride there and back again, and lunch outside the suite too.  All for a mere Cr 100.  It crossed Aiden's mind that he could split the fare to save some cash.  But that only worked with a cab, and those were more expensive than mass trans.  But, if they took mass trans they'd each have to pay full fare and would save nothing.  Doing the math on the work he’d have to do for a doubtful profit, Aiden wrote it off as a bad idea.  Especially since Zimzod and Mikah had taken the gravCar to shop.  Deciding that, Aiden joined those watching vids and relaxing.

Seeing no one was doing anything he wanted to join in on, Fesic decided to take a walk in the city and see if he could find a park to enjoy.  An affluent city on a rich planet, much had been done to "green" Atora.  And thanks to the anti-grav tech and advanced building materials, the city "grew up" more than out, so a lot of the ground space was green and natural.  Because of that, parks weren’t hard to find and Fesic enjoyed his wandering.

Preparing for the trip, Mikah reminded Jocelynn that she would be Mikah's "Escort" and could go armed.  Technically, that wasn't true because Mikah's rights let her hire an escort, not give the right to bear arms to anyone she chose.  Still, she didn't think anyone would push the issue on Regina at the moment.  Because of that, Jocelynn grabbed the snub pistol she'd brought with her "just in case" something happened in the suite.  Especially since she'd heard about the last time they'd been on Regina and the gravCar attack.  Mikah had holstered her laser pistol and Zimzod his gauss pistol, while leaving his cutlass behind because this wasn't a ceremonial trip.

The first stop Mikah wanted to make was a place she was sure could help replace the supplies for the autodoc.  When they arrived, Mikah was offered a Cr 50,000 "complete package" which would fill all the medicinal and other stocks.  She was also told how to get a report from the device of the current stocks after returning to her ship, so she could spend less and dial in, ordering exactly what she needed.  Mikah just went with the KCr 50, and figured they'd have spare stocks of some supplies.  Mikah billed the buy to ship's funds and they went off to find ingredients to make a new batch of vargr juice.

The search led her to spots across the city, both because most of the ingredients were controlled medical substances, or because some were only available in vargr societies.  And there just wasn't a large and permanent vargr population on Regina.  There had been many vargr back on Inthe, where Inger first ran into the stuff and brought it back to Mikah.  On top of everything else, many of the supplies were just down-right dangerous.  So, by lunch time, Mikah could add what they bought to what she had on the ship. which now totaled fifteen percent of the supplies needed.  After that, they hit a restaurant and then went looking for an interesting museum to visit.

The place they ate at was an average lunch stop, and they each spent Cr 20 there.  One thing they made sure of was that the place had in-table-built terminals so they could look for a good museum to visit.  They talked as they ate and searched, and eventually decided to visit an art museum that boasted a large collection of classical Vilani art as well as many neo-Vilani works.  There were also secondary collections, such as works created to honor House Aledon, ruling house of Regina.  The three would spend much of the afternoon there before returning to the suite.

Adventures In Learning And Drinking

     When it came time to make lunch, Rol checked who was still in the suite?  He found Aiden, Emkir, Aali, Terin, Fesic and himself.  After cooking, eating and cleaning up, Rol relaxed in the suite's living room with his comms training.  After he'd eaten, Terin decided it had been a long time since anyone had dug into the data on the Order of the White Star.  So, he located his files on that and dug into the data they'd copied from the fob's database.  Fesic sat at a terminal after eating, and looked up specialty museums to see if any struck his interests?  The list he came up with included, museums of Literature, Desserts, Regina Heritage, Military design and a museum of Zhodani espionage.

When Fesic read the list of museums and asked if anyone had an interest, Emkir said he’d like to go to the Literature museum but no one else was really up for that idea.  Terin had already planned to look into the White Star order and waved off the field trip.  Emkir and Aali were both interested in the Desserts and Espionage museums and they talked until they decided to visit the Zhodani Espionage museum first.  Then, they'd go to the Dessert museum.  Eventually, they also talked Aiden into joining the group while Rol wished them luck.

The Zhodani Espionage museum turned out to be a collection of those artifacts the Regina and Imperial military had captured or taken during the frontier wars and was willing to declassify and display.  Added to that, they had collections of counter espionage devices Regina had used in the past.  Along with that were stories of various agents over the centuries and their most daring, but still very real, adventures.  Some of these were the obvious basis for modern espionage vid-entertainments as well as those of the past century.  After that, the small group went to the Desserts museum, where they enjoyed many of the displays and the free samples.

Eventually, everyone got back to the suite in time for dinner.  Terin mentioned that he'd been working on the White Star database but found no new mentions of anything in the Spinward Marches sector.  As they traded stories of their day, Jocelynn got very excited about the dessert museum but it was late enough she couldn't push to go there that night.  A bit later, Fesic asked Jocelynn if she wanted to go out contact hunting again?  When she said they should, they both agreed to go to the same part of town but to look for a different bar.  As they rode, they joked about signing Terin up to compete in "The Gauntlet" if the ship came into a system they were visiting.  Fesic brought the subject up and they both got laughs about how to do it.

Once in the neighborhood, they got out and wandered while scoping out bars.  They found the one they chose was pretty full when they walked in but more than a few heads turned to look over the new comers, so they couldn't just turn and leave.  Jocelynn followed Fesic as he looked for a table in the middle of the floor, hoping to be surrounded by listening opportunities.  Another thing they could tell, just by appearance, was that most of those in the bar were locals.  Some outsiders had tables scattered in the mix, but most looked like they walked to the bar that night.  None of them were obviously spacers, and Fesic couldn't find any tables near any of the other outsiders.

Both Jocelynn and Fesic had dressed casually, so they could have looked like off-worlders or just folks not local to the fashion scene.  Not that it looked like those in the bar paid much attention to the fashion scene themselves.  Fesic also had his cane with him, "just in case".  The bar's wait staff were a mix of human and android where the humans took orders and the androids generally delivered the drinks and bussed tables.  There was also an "in-table" electronic ordering system customers could use while waving the wait staff off.  After they sat, a waitress came up and took their drink orders.  After the android delivered their scotch, they settled in for an evening of hope and eavesdropping.  As they planned to spend the evening listening, Jocelynn looked about and told Fesic she liked the place and they should stay there instead of moving from bar to bar.

In the suite, Emkir had worked with Mikah on clik training while Aali and those who had stents practiced together.  After the stent practice broke up, Zimzod took up working with Mikah.  While they did that, Emkir asked if anyone wanted to play video games and Rol stepped up to the challenge, asking what game?  When Emkir told him to choose, Rol checked the library and selected a game called "Candy Land Doom", more as a joke than anything else.  After a laugh, Emkir queued up the game and they saw the challenge was to cooperatively maneuver through a maze and landscape made of candy-like constructs.  Adding to the absurdity, there were a number of monsters constructed of candy some of which were brittle and easy to kill while others were made of toffies or more elastic candies and harder to dispatch.

Each player took the role of an avatar in the game who had to seek out weapons and other supplies in order to survive as long as possible.  Seeing that, Aiden, Terin and Aali joined in on the fun.  As the crew in the suite clashed with fanciful monsters and traps, Jocelynn and Fesic sat in the bar, nursing drinks and listening in where they could.  Sadly for them, the conversations they overheard were of no real interest, nor did they offer any hint of opportunity.  Listening in, Jocelynn overheard people talking about the recent news that the Raptors had been beaten in the sector finals and told Fesic she'd really like to go to some kind of sports event.  He just taunted her about her interest in the dessert museum during their dinner conversations.  Eventually, as their evening ended and they went back to the suite, Fesic suggested they find a seedier location the next time they went out.


Desserts, Discoveries and Dots To Connect

     At five thirty in the morning, both Jocelynn and Terin woke in their bedrooms.  While Jocelynn was able to get back to sleep, Terin wasn't, and he got up to go about his day.  Half an hour later, as he finished his morning routine and went out into the suite, alarms started waking Rol.  Jocelynn also woke for the second time at the same time Rol was waking up.  Putting the caff on and dialing in the news, Terin was surprised to catch a new system-wide flash report!

    Regina ( A788899-C  2  A  Ri  Cp  703  Im  F7 V  M6 V  M8 D )              Date: 315-1113
    -- FLASH -- FLASH -- FLASH -- FLASH -- FLASH -- FLASH -- FLASH -- FLASH
    System orbital authorities are flashing all traffic in-system as
    they establish an exclusion zone for the INS Adzin Ilgimsumaa and
    her flotilla.  The Tigress-class dreadnaught and her escorts had
    been expected as early as yesterday, and will be settling in a
    secure orbit of Assiniboia in Regina's trailing la grange point.
    It is expected the warship and her escorts will be bringing in-
    system the senior "seconds" and "thirds" of every fleet assigned
    an area of operations within the Duchy as well as the County
    of Jewell.

    While this gathering is certainly in advance of the arrival of
    Prince Lucan and Arch Duke Norris, there have been unsettling
    comments made about the need to keep the senior-most officers
    on station.  TAS reminds readers that any post within the
    Imperial Navy comes with its responsibilities.  And, some
    of those costs include missing out on high profile events such
    as this.  A junior Admiral, speaking on the condition of
    anonymity, suggested that the senior-most fleet officers have
    already made their grade.  That officer suggested this was a
    good chance for the Prince and Arch-Duke to assess their
    rising officers to guide them in deciding who may lead the
    defense of Imperial space in the future.
                

A popular piece of artwork Checking the system schematic available to civilians, Terin could see a large section of local space trailing Regina's orbit had been graphically blocked off.  There were no details on the fleet element that had moved in outside the mention the element's flagship was a Tigress-class dreadnaught.  Vessels of that 500 K Ton class were the newest and most rare in the Imperial fleet.  Replacing older Plankwell-class warships as fast as they could, the Tigress-class ships had been given the unofficial (and much disliked by the Imperial Navy) nickname, "Happy Fun Ball of Death".  Despite the less than officially accepted chatter, the new class was slowly increasing in size and few gave up any chance to get a view of the ships where they were stationed.  This was another reason for the remote placement of the fleet element in-system.  Ferry shuttles would bring the visiting officers to the Regina Naval base for quarters for the duration of the ceremonies.

As Terin watched the news and relaxed, Jocelynn and Rol came out of their bedrooms to join him.  Rol moved to cook breakfast as Jocelynn settled in and they waited for the others to wake.  After cooking and eating, Rol stripped and cleaned his gauss pistol and watched vids.  Terin also watched vids as he waited for the others to wake, to see what they'd do.  He was interested in setting up a group activity for the entire crew.  Jocelynn, who'd heard of the museum over dinner and talked about it with Fesic at the bar, wanted to go to the Dessert Museum.  While Rol was more wary of the idea of a museum of desserts, Terin logged into a terminal and called up the site for the place.  And on top of everything else, the site offered a virtual tour.

All three were willing to take the tour while they waited for the others to wake, so Terin clicked on the button and they watched.  As expected, the tour was made not only to advertise but also to lure them to actually visit the museum too.  The tour advertised all the free "tasting opportunities" if you actually went to the museum.  Outside that, the site had links to allow one to order any of the dishes that were regularly available in-system.  Still, there were specialties made with ingredients that only the museum imported.  So, a visitor could only order them at the museum's shop, called "The Dessert Bar".  Another reason to go there in person.  As they immersed themselves in the holographic displays, Aiden stepped out of his bedroom in a bathing suit heading to the pool with a towel.  He only paused briefly at the sight that confronted him.

Continuing with his plans, Aiden's posture and expression made clear he was casting his best "I am not involved" aura as he judged the decadence the other three were surrounded by.  Stepping out of the suite, Aiden was glad he was going for a swim and had to admit to himself that he might have put on two pounds just by looking at the holograms he'd seen.  When Jocelynn told Terin they should get the whole crew to do the museum once everyone was awake, Fesic taunted her asking, "Are you sure you can wait that long for dessert?"  They continued talking and laughing about the museum until Emkir, Aali, Mikah and Zimzod came out of their bedrooms.  By that time, Aiden had returned from the pool, done the rest of his morning routine and fell in with the rest.

Despite Aiden's disregard and obvious disapproval, the new arrivals could see Terin and Rol hosting an obviously enraptured Jocelynn in a massive and sinful display of holographic dessert displays.  At one point, as they followed the links, they came on a scanner/printer which could make candy statues of any items scanned, and could scale the size to print larger or smaller output than the original.  Jocelynn joked about making statues to deliver until they checked the site's gallery and saw that life-sized "gummy" candy figurines had been made of Norris when he had been Duke, and of Seldrian too.  Seeing that, Jocelynn suggested making figures out of some other candy while the others assured her it had likely been done.  Even if they didn't have "every" image on the site.

After eating breakfast, Emkir considered his translation projects and again accepted that there would be no progress with the Risek runes.  The sample set was just too small to work with and he had no hope of getting more data to work with.  Still, he had the scans of the untranslated book he'd been working on from Brian's collection.  He'd made some progress with frequency and positioning, though not gotten close to translation.  And then, he'd stopped working on it more than infrequently for some time.  Considering that, Emkir decided to work more on the book scan and pulled it and his notes up on his computer.  When he and Aali had talked about the coming day, he knew he was able to do his work anywhere so he could go her with her to the ship, where she planned to work.

Aali planned a trip to the ship to check in with the androids while they worked on resetting the systems.  Running on port-fed power, that let them kill all but critical systems, so everything possible was undergoing maintenance.  Just after she mentioned her plans, Mikah asked everyone who wanted to go to the Dessert museum with her?  Surprised, Aali considered delaying her trip to the ship a day, because she could download and review reports from the androids later.  Still, she decided she had to get the work done.  Of course, as she was deciding that, Jocelynn was ready to grab everyone and drag them to the gravCar.  That meant waking Fesic up so he'd have a chance to come along too.

Fesic was awake, and had been going through his morning routine when Jocelynn started knocking on his bedroom door.  Making sure he was descent before opening the door, Fesic answered to be told by an excited Jocelynn, "We're going to the dessert museum!  Hurry up!"  Looking her up and down, Fesic asked, "We're going already?  Why don't we go after dinner?"  Jocelynn only answered, "Mikah wants to go now." while there were choruses of, "Eat dessert first!" from Emkir, who was poking fun at the trip while Aali continued getting ready for her day.  Some of the others joined Emkir's chant.  When Fesic complained, "But, I haven't even had breakfast yet." Jocelynn admitted they should let him eat.

Hearing that, Rol picked up a random item and offered it to Fesic, joking, "Here's an energy bar.  Let's go." as he mimicked Jocelynn's interest in the museum.  So, Fesic was going along with Mikah, Jocelynn and Terin.  When it came to Aiden, Mikah and Jocelynn both pushed until Aiden said he'd be going too.  Finally, they all got underway with Aali and Emkir calling for a cab while Mikah took the others in the gravCar.  Zimzod stayed behind to break down and clean his gauss pistol and polish his cutlass.

Not long after all the others had left, while he was cleaning his weapons, Zimzod got a call on his comms.  Answering, he found it was someone from the War House with an answer to his question about gunnery training systems.  The caller told Zimzod they had contact with someone who had downloaded the weapons training system from a decommissioned Imperial Interceptor Cruiser.  They wanted to know if Zimzod and his crew would be interested?  Zimzod asked how much the package would cost and he was told KCr 500.  Zimzod immediately said they were interested in the download despite not understanding what a "download" would mean?  He just knew he was interested.  When he was asked how the ship would pay for the package if they bought it, Zimzod realized he had to bring Mikah into the conversation.

When Mikah asked if anyone could use the software, she was told it was a download and they'd need their ship's computer officer to set up a method to install it.  After that was agreed on, the representative from War House said they had to meet to close the deal.  He also said that Zimzod would have to bring his ship's Captain and computer officer with him to the meeting.  When the meeting was set for 1 pm that day, Mikah agreed and Zimzod told Mikah he'd call Emkir.  After the call ended, Zimzod commed Emkir, who was riding with Aali in the cab and almost at the port facility where the ship was berthed.  Zimzod quickly explained the deal and told Emkir he had to be at the meeting.

Already in the cab, Emkir figured he'd use that ride as a gauge to tell him when he had to leave Aali, to get back to the suite?  Until then, he'd work on his translations while Aali worked with the androids.  Then, he’d take a cab back to the suite to get ready.  There, he'd meet up with Zimzod and they'd go to the meeting from there.  Mikah would leave from the museum to meet them at the meeting.  At the museum, the group had gotten through all the early displays about how desserts were made, and the differing ingredients.  They'd seen displays on those ingredients which were common on the sector-wide interstellar market and those which only came from specific worlds.  That explained why some items were often impossible to get outside easy trade with those systems.

It was after those displays, as they were getting to taste the "raw spices", sweeteners and other base ingredients when Mikah got the call from Zimzod.  After the call, Mikah checked a map to figure out what she had to do to get to the meeting and then decided how much more of the museum she'd get to see before having to leave.  When Mikah told the others Zimzod had bought gunnery training software, Fesic let out a cheer and Mikah joked, "He just got his dessert."  Fesic answered that by calling out, "Good job!"  After that, Fesic said dessert could wait because he wanted to go with Mikah to the meeting.  Several of the others were horrified, even accusing Fesic of sacrilege because he said dessert wasn't important.  Fesic only defended himself by saying, "I gotta go see what lame ass software Zimzod bought us."

When Mikah said Jocelynn could come back to the suite with her or stay at the museum, Jocelynn checked with the others.  Except for Fesic, they all wanted to stay and finish the museum, so Mikah reminded Jocelynn she'd no longer be an "Escort".  Nodding, Jocelynn handed her pistol to Mikah to return to the suite since it wouldn't be legal for her to carry anymore.  That way, Jocelynn could stay at the museum.  They had only just moved into the individual world displays, where the museum had tasting stations, when Mikah, Aiden and Jocelynn's comms began to buzz.  At the same time, Aali's comms began to go off in the cab.

Each of them answered to find it was the clothier's calling to follow up on the tailoring, to make alterations.  When they were asked, Aiden and Jocelynn realized they could both share a cab and go together from the museum.  That left the question when they could get to the shop?  Both said they could be there later in the afternoon.  Mikah had to tell them she had a meeting early that afternoon and wasn't sure how long the meeting would last?  Still, she said she could get to the shop the next morning.  At the ship, Aali also said she could visit the shop the next morning too, because she didn't want to get nothing done and just go back to Atora after the ride out to the ship.

Finally, those at the museum made it through a number of displays before Mikah and Emkir had to leave for the software meeting.  When they finally got to the address given, the place turned out to be a small operational "flight base" that was part of the Regina COACC (Close Orbit and Airspace Control Command) network.  Organized as an aerospace launch and support base, there were lines of ready DEFC(Dual Environment Fighter Craft) launch systems as well as an air strip and VTOL pad.  Along with those were the lines of aircraft, hangers and base buildings for support, administration and barracks.  Signing into the base was simple, because they were expected, and they were directed to an admin building where they were taken to a meeting room.

When the War House rep arrived, he came in with a small number of officers and ratings and introductions were made around.  After everyone was seated, the senior officer explained that their base had been selected because they had unused buildings on-base, but outside the secure sectors for operations and air/spacecraft.  So, the spare space on-base was made available for a military salvage sales.  At the same time, the senior officer in the group said some items could be sold on the economy and others couldn't.  With the cruiser recently decommissioned, there were items that had to be sold to different classes of buyers, and Lady Mikah's ship was in a class to be offered this download.  The cruiser was an older model, so the tech level of the software was TL-14.

When it came to technical specifications, the package offered had been isolated and encrypted when it was removed from the Cruiser's computer.  It had been archived and would be sold "as is".  That meant the software would not only support the turrets the Upgrade had but could also support missile, high energy and meson weapons.  As the navy techs talked, everyone realized there was a lot more in this package than they'd need.  Still, they would be getting a Navy-grade training expert-system if they got it installed.  What they would have to do...  What Emkir would have to do, was upload the software to their ship's computer and figure out how to integrate it into their system.  There would be no automated install.

Hearing that, Zimzod realized there would be a lot of grunt work involved, so he started asking if there were any options to reduce the price?  With that, negotiations began and Emkir moved up to speak for the crew.  Eventually, the price the officers could reduce to was KCr 450 and that was where they had to decide if they were taking it or not?  At that point, they turned to Mikah, who would access the ship's funds to pay for the software before Fesic suddenly spoke up.  He complained it was irresponsible to be spending their "repair funds" on software that was much more than they needed.  He said they should wait until they found something which was closer to what they actually needed, and was less expensive.  Zimzod shut him down, saying he'd be covering half the buy with his personal money and Fesic backed off when he heard that.  Ignoring both Fesic and Zimzod, Mikah handled the finances and paid for the system with ship's funds because Zimzod would pay the ship back his half later.

After that, one of the officers asked Mikah when they could bring the ship to the base so the software could be uploaded to their computer?  Interrupting that, Zimzod asked if they could return and re-download the software, free-of-charge, if ship and installed software was lost in action?  He was told that would not be possible, and was reminded the software was being sold as part of the Navy's salvage sale program.  Turning back to moving the ship, Mikah turned back to Emkir and he said they should call Aali to check with her first.  When they got Aali on the line, she said none of her work would be interrupted so she was good with moving the ship any time.

Next, they had to decide who was needed for the move?  Since Emkir was already with Mikah and Zimzod, they decided he'd go to the ship and handle the flight from, and back to the port.  With lesser computer training, Fesic said he could help Emkir with the work on the program and wanted to go too.  Mikah and Zimzod didn't feel they had a role in the work, so they weren't needed because the payment was already made.  Still, "they" had the gravCar so they had to drop Emkir and Fesic off at the port and leave the gravCar for them to use to get back to the suite.  From the port, Mikah or Zimzod could call a cab and go about their day while Emkir and Fesic moved the ship and Aali kept her work going.

In the ship, Emkir sparked up his controls and cleared a flight plan with the port while Fesic strapped in as his co-pilot.  With the clearance and flight path, Emkir flew the Upgrade through the hop and were met by a crew at the assigned landing pad on-base.  Quickly, the Regina military personnel worked with Emkir and Fesic to pop an access hatch so they could connect a data umbilical to the ship and make a computer to computer connection.  With that, they waited for the half-hour transfer of the bulk archive containing the software.  Following that, the umbilical was disconnected, the hatch sealed and Emkir and Fesic moved the Upgrade back to its berth in the port.  With that settled, Emkir and Fesic secured the ship and moved into the computer core to start checking the download and preparing to de-archive it.

From there, he and Fesic had to start investigating the files to begin the work of understanding what they had?  Until they got past that first step, they couldn't start understanding the basic ideas of how to integrate the package with their weapons systems.  At the same time, Emkir had asked about the rest of the salvage being auctioned back during the download, and was told they could check the auction site from any computer connected to the global network.  Zimzod and Mikah wanted to check that site but waited until they got back to the suite to spark up the site.  Zimzod was hoping to see options for upgrading the ship's weapons.  Mikah reminded him this would be an auction for demilitarized salvage.  So, no weapons or weapon systems.

When Zimzod considered who to talk to, to see what he could get, he realized they couldn't use their Noble contacts because the nobility couldn't command the Navy.  So, he'd have to hunt down the right office to start with, and work his way through the Navy's restrictions and rules to get anything.  When he started to suggest that to Mikah, she reminded him they would likely have to upgrade the ship's power plant and engineering in order to handle more powerful weapons, and that was just too expensive.  Zimzod accepted that and backed off the idea until they struck it really rich.  Mikah just said, "Yeah.  Good luck with that." in a sarcastic tone.

As Mikah and Zimzod rode back to the suite, she got a call from Fesic.  He asked her to give him back his bridge rights and he promised to behave.  Mikah said she'd consider that but said it shouldn't be needed immediately because Emkir could unlock things until she made her decision.  Eventually, the pair got back to the suite and checked the site the Regina officers had given them.  They saw this truly was a salvage sale and included such items as:

        GravLock Cargo movers: 1 pair, Condition: Functional, Heavily used, Age: 50 yrs
        Dockside welding and cutting system: Robotic: 1 system, Condition: Non-Functional, Age 120 yrs
        Hydrogen Fuel pump: Lot of 5 - Condition: Variable, Age: Variable
        External Cargo Mounts: Variable sizes, Condition: Variable, Age: Variable
        Portable Survival Module: 10 dTon(4-man), Condition Functional, Age: 45 yrs
        Cargo mover, Pneumatic/Electric: 2 dTon-Single Operator, Condition: Needs repairs, Age: 30 yrs
        Heating/Cooling Equipment: Variable equipment, Condition: Variable, Age: Variable
        4-man gravCar, Enclosed: Condition: Non-Functional, Age: 25 yrs
        Lots of Androids: Condition: Variable, Age: Variable
        Port worker pod - 5 dTon: Condition: Working but needs VacSeal repairs, Age: 50 yrs

The list went on for several pages and Mikah and Zimzod realized they'd have to decide what they were looking for?  Some of the stuff obviously contained miles of cabling and other potential hardware that could be harvested if they wanted to spend the time.  The question was, how much time and work would it take to separate what they could use from what they bought?  And how long would it take to test what they'd salvaged to see if it would work when needed?  Still, they considered that there might be stuff they wanted and they wanted Aali's opinion on the items to be auctioned, so they sent her the link on her comms.  When Aali checked the site, she admitted any of the lots "could" have items of value.  To find out, they'd have to go there "day of auction" and eyeball the lots personally.  That way, she could see what was on offer and what they could get from anything they could afford?

After sending the link to Aali, Zimzod realized he and Mikah were alone in the suite and he eyed Mikah before roaring, "Bring me that ass!"  Mikah acerbically pointed at him and said, "You're sitting on it."  When he said, "No.  I meant yours." she laughed and he said he figured they could do a repeat of the last time they'd been in a suite alone, the last time on Regina.  Mikah said, "No.  We're not gonna go through all that because...  Remember how that ended?"  Nodding back to her, Zimzod chuckled and admitted, "Ah, yeah.  But we can take precautions this time."  Mikah shut him down, saying she wanted to go back to the dessert museum and finish the place.  Accepting that, Zimzod let her go and dressed up, with his gauss pistol on his hip and his cutlass hanging from his belt, and went to visit the Knight Defenders of the Marches Order house.

As they had found the last time they'd been in-system, the Order's presence was a modest one.  The facility had some "support and assist" functions, including the concierge they'd been made aware of on arrival.  Still, they mostly tied those who needed them with directions to venues or services the Order recommended or had vetted.  Arriving there after a cab ride, Zimzod spent time wandering and meeting other order members.  Soon, he got a call from Jocelynn asking if the crew wanted to meet up at a restaurant for dinner?  When he said he was eating there, and others could join him, Jocelynn and Aiden said they'd meet him there.  After hearing others would be meeting him there, Zimzod spent time meeting people and browsing what the Order house had to offer.  Sadly, it did not offer coffee.

Business Before Drinks

     After they'd left the dessert museum, earlier that afternoon, Jocelynn and Aiden had grabbed a cab to get to the clothiers.  In the shop, each was shown the various ordered outfits and tried them on so alterations could be marked up and prepared.  Both had to admit the gowns and suits looked great, as expected given the cost.  After the alterations were figured, Aiden was told he'd end up paying Cr 1,200 for his suits.  They also said the outfits would be delivered in a day or two.  Jocelynn was asked if she wanted actual gold thread or gold-dyed thread for her gold accents.  Knowing actual gold would degrade over time and ruin the gowns, she chose the dye.  That also cost less and meant her gowns would come in at a cost of Cr 2,200.  Both, she and Aiden were happy because those costs were lower than the higher estimates they'd been given.

When Aiden asked about the cuff links and lapel pin he'd ordered, they said that was up to the jeweler and was a separate order which would take longer.  The same went for the jewelry Aali and Mikah ordered, but they were not there.  After an hour and a half at the shop, Jocelynn suggested they call rest of the crew and see if everyone wanted to gather for dinner at a restaurant?  When she called, Mikah said she was on her way back to the dessert museum and planned to have "dessert and dessert" there and skip dinner.  She invited Jocelynn and Aiden to join her.  Zimzod said he was at the Order house and they could meet him there for dinner.  After discussing it with Aiden, the pair decided to take a cab to the Order house and called Rol and Terin to see what they planned?

After Aiden and Jocelynn left for the clothiers, Rol and Terin went on viewing the museum, eventually spending several more hours there before reaching one of the access points to the gift shop.  That shop not only had recipe books and e-books but also cooking kits, ingredients and a great deal of "dessert based" art work, kitchen tools and cookware.  In there, Rol spent Cr 200 on three dessert recipe e-books.  Rol also worked with a service team member of the shop to order a variety of ingredients which would fit into a "two cases" space.  He ordered that to be delivered to the suite.  That cost him Cr 150.  After that, he and Terin continued wandering the museum, planning to return to the suite when it was near time for Rol to start cooking dinner.  Before they finished the museum, Jocelynn started a conference call about meeting at a restaurant.

Zimzod was at the Order house and said he was gonna eat there, so they could join him.  When Jocelynn and Aiden said they'd do that, Rol and Terin said they would too.  On the ship, which had been berthed again in the port, Fesic and Emkir were examining the download they'd received and trying to gather basic data on the files when Fesic's comms went off.  When he answered the comms, he found it was the concierge calling back with a list of brokers they had for him.  After they sent him a list of the top five brokerage firms, Fesic thanked them and the line was cut.  Not long after that, as they worked on the earliest of steps in their work, Jocelynn called about gathering for dinner.  That quickly changed to meeting at the Knight's Order house when Zimzod said he planned to eat there.  Slowly, the conference call reached out to everyone in the crew.

Getting back to the museum, Mikah had no interest in finding Rol and Terin, and knew she'd be there through dinner.  So, she decided to "skip" dinner and just enjoy the desserts!  When Jocelynn called about meeting up at a restaurant, Mikah blew that off, saying she had plans, but told Jocelynn she and Aiden could come back to the museum and join her.  Not interested in that, Jocelynn continued to call the other crew into the conference call.  Mikah just shrugged and wanted to go on enjoying herself without them.  Still, when they got Emkir, Fesic and Aali on the line, and those three agreed to return from the port in Credo, Mikah gave in and said she'd join them at the Order house too.  Still, she did threaten loudly, "But they better have damn good dessert there!"  That got lots of laughs.

Hearing Mikah was coming back to the museum, Rol and Terin decided to look for her and spend the time before they had to leave walking with her, viewing displays they'd already seen.  And Mikah knew she'd have to rush through the museum or come back yet again later, if she wanted to view, not to mention taste, more than she had before.  Rol's position was that they'd might as well only pay for one taxi for the three of them.  Getting into things, Terin told Mikah, "We'll meet you in the pie room." even though there had not been a space designated the 'pie room'.  Aiden had looked for that so he could create pies to smack his crew in the face with.  After that, he would have certainly claimed any reprisals would have been completely unjustified because of the righteousness of his actions and the belief anything his crew did was the wrong thing.

Still, the conversation on the conference call shifted to "who would drive the rented gravCar", which Mikah and Zimzod had left at the port.  Mikah told Emkir not to let Fesic drive it, because he'd run over someone during the crystal incident in the Inthe system.  Fesic immediately sparked up, complaining he'd only done that because he'd been ordered to!  Mikah just laughed that off.  Since Emkir didn't have grav-vehicle skills and Fesic had no vehicle skills, they promised Aali would drive.  Still, she only had skills driving a ground car, so her actual performance was "very slow and careful".  Making the drive much longer than it should have been.

Getting to the location first, Zimzod had a good amount of time to wander around and shop.  One extremely high-level vice he'd picked up a taste for, was "actual coffee".  Not a local brand name that didn't really have the taste and bite of real coffee, but grounds from a bean which had been grown and cultivated as genetically close to a match with the Terran bean as possible.  And while the selection at the Order House had been growing, thanks to the rising importance of the Regina system, coffee was not one of those items.  There was no market for it so it just wasn't showing up in the system.  What he did see were a large number of delicacies, many of which Aali would be able to identify since she was a Regina native.

Added to Regina specialties, were specialties from the other major worlds of the sector including zero-gee beef imported from Glisten.  Specialties from Lanth, Lunion, Rhylanor and the other subsector capitals as well as noted venders throughout the sector.  This included the Zila chardonnay Mikah had developed a taste for.  In addition to that, they had wines like "Liquid Ruby", a noted red wine from the Persephone system.  Zimzod and others of the crew would have heard of the lesser brand, "Red Thunder", which is sold at a much lower cost.  It would turn out only Rol and Terin had heard of the variant, "Death Ruby", which was highly addictive and illegal.  Also on offer, were appetizers made with "Miragu Berry", a bright red, translucent, berry with a faintly spicy flavor, that contained minute traces of metal salts.  The raw berries sparkle brightly when exposed to light.  Those were from the Jenghe system, and used in a much-sought after but rarely-exported sparkling wine.

When they were all finally gathered together, Terin asked how much a bottle of Liquid Ruby cost and was told the Order House could sell it for Cr 1,000.  Hearing that, Emkir bought a bottle for the table, out of his gambling winnings.  For the first time since the gaming, Emkir finally told Rol the man who'd lost all that cash had been interested in him.  But past that comment, that topic went nowhere.  Aali bought them each one of the Miragu berry appetizers at Cr 20 each.  Other specialties from Regina included food made using Groundberrys, Whiffelberries, Oranges and the Cigurk fruit.  One drink Aali was tempted to have, just to re-live childhood memories. was the "Jara Cigurkade" soft drink, made using the Cigurk fruit.  Of course, there was an after dinner brewed drink Aali recommended which was made with the Feesle stick.  Those were small twigs from a Regina-native bush that had a pleasant, sweet taste and whose sap worked as a mild stimulant.

While he'd looked over the menu, Terin wondered if they might have specialties from his home system of Lysen, which was six parsecs away in a straight line.  Unfortunately, it was five jumps "as the cargo ship flew", so it was over a month in shipping at no less than Cr 1,000 per ton.  Since Lysen was also a minor system, there were no dishes or ingredients from that system available.  Still, Rol floated the idea of visiting each of their homeworlds as an idea while they'd been eating.  Zimzod said he had been trying to angle their travels toward his homeworld, but they kept turning in other directions.

During their chatting, other members of the order came over to introduce themselves.  When it came time for dessert, they joked as Mikah ordered for herself.  Aali ordered a dessert and a supply of feesle sticks, both for the table and to take out.  When they talked about the high-end wine, Fesic and Zimzod were not fans and had set their glasses aside to order other drinks during the meal.  Rol, Emkir and Aali liked it well enough to drink, but wouldn't write home about it.  The rest of the crew really liked it.  Jocelynn liked it so much she ordered a bottle to have delivered to the suite.

When dinner was done, they started talking about what to do next and Jocelynn joked, "The dessert museum!"  That got laughs from Mikah.  When Zimzod suggested hitting a bar, Jocelynn agreed with that.  When the others also agreed, Rol mentioned he could use something better to drink.  Terin said he could bring them back to the bar where he'd gone the night they landed and they all agreed.  And, Since Aali had driven the gravCar back, they didn't need a taxi.  When they walked into the bar, the bar tender remembered Terin and they traded greetings while he served up the same beer Terin had been drinking the other night.  When the man asked Terin if the Baron would be coming in too, Mikah looked at Terin and sharply asked, "Baron?  What Baron?"

Having not let the crew in on what had happened before, Terin explained that he'd met a Baron in the pub.  He'd been telling war stories and drinking the night they'd arrived.  Terin also pointed out, that was the trip to the bar everyone else had told him not to make when they went to sleep and didn't come with him.  As they ordered drinks, Terin gave them the story and told how the man had been telling stories of being on Efate when the war started.  And being evacuated off that world.  During the telling, Terin mentioned that he'd noticed the grizzled and hard-used leather holster in which the man had a pistol, and the pig-sticker type dagger on his other hip.

From the conversation, no one seemed to have met or heard of this Baron.  Rol said he'd been stationed on Efate, but left before that point in time so he couldn't have met the man.  After more thought, Rol considered the encounter at the casino and said, "You know, I may have met this person."  He then went on to describe the man with the money at the casino, asking Terin if that matched the Baron he'd met?  But the man he, Emkir and Aali had encountered had a tanned complexion where the Baron Terin met had been very fair and even pale of complexion.  So, they decided it had to be two different men.

Still, while there were a lot of veterans who'd been on Efate, Rol found the two cases "interesting".  When they asked him about the man at the casino, it came out the man had a holstered pistol so Rol admitted the man had to either be some kind of nobility or someone licensed to carry for other reasons.  In a disgusted tone, Zimzod asked Rol, "Did you bother to even ask?"  The way he spoke the words suggested Rol should have at least done that much.  Rol just answered, "Nope."  As Zimzod demanded, "Why?" Terin jumped in and ragged, "Well, that was your first mistake.  You should have asked for his name at least.  Since you were talking to him."

Switching back to the Baron, Mikah asked, "So Terin.  Did you get this guy's information?"  Despite asking, she was fully prepared to hear he hadn't, based on the level of competence shown by her crew.  Mikah was quickly surprised when Terin answered, saying, "Of course I did." with a smile.  Recovering well, Mikah asked, "Why don't you call him up?  Invite him for a drink."  Nodding, Terin said, "I could do that.  See if he wants to step down."  With that, Terin pulled out his comms and tried to connect with Baron Zander.  When he got the Baron, the man asked how he could help?  Terin invited, "Greetings your Excellency.  My crew and I were just hanging out at the bar where we met and I wondered if you'd like to stop by for a drink or two?"  Thanking Terin for the offer, the man said he was otherwise occupied for the moment.

That was followed by thanks and platitudes before the call ended and Terin told the others the Baron had been busy.  Stepping into the pause that followed that, Fesic decided to tell the others about what he and Jocelynn had seen of vid-show, 'The Gauntlet'.  All of the crew had heard of the series and Terin decided to make his opinion clear, saying he wasn't impressed.  Most of the crew made it clear they were not impressed with him, so his opinion meant little to them.  Jocelynn told Terin, "Maybe you have to experience it in person." in a taunting tone of voice.  A taunt that suggested she didn't think he could survive it.  Mikah acerbically reacted to that by asking, "Yeah, but where is he gonna find nine friends."

As the crew let out roars of laughter, Zimzod followed that up saying, "He doesn't have that in the 'verse."  When Terin claimed, "This show just takes advantage of under-privileged people and slaughters them for entertainment." he was quickly corrected.  He was told there were Celebrity and even VIP challenges which offered prizes of MCr 1 to 10!  So, it wasn't only the low income who competed.  Fesic stepped in again, claiming, "You could buy out your indentureship contract!" and Mikah cut that off saying, "No he can't!" very firmly.  Turning to her and the others, Fesic smiled and said, "Come on!  Work with me folks!"  He then turned back to Terin saying, "You could buy out your indentureship" as if he were trying to convince Terin to act on the comment.

After Terin swatted that aside, saying, "I already had that money if they'd let me do it." Jocelynn asked, "How hard is this gauntlet to do?"  Despite what she and Fesic had seen, neither was very familiar with the show or its statistics.  She was reminded there were lawsuits because some people had died.  When Terin tried to suggest "most" people had died, he was corrected and told he had no idea what the truth was because he had no facts either.  Some of that had come from the peanut gallery in the bar, who were starting to take note of the conversation.  In fact, some of those in the bar stepped up saying most of the apparent deaths on the show were faked by special effects to rattle the competitor and their team.

Considering that, Jocelynn said, "I wanna try it.  Others said the ship had last been reported to be moving towards Regina in the news.  Zimzod threw in, "You still need to find nine friends."  While others in the bar pointed out they only had to be volunteer helpers.  The rest of the crew were laughing at Zimzod's joke.  Mikah was privately thinking she wouldn't be doing it for anyone or any reason.  Not catching the joke, Jocelynn defensively said, "I have eight associates."  Terin continued to comment without invitation that he wasn't a big fan of the show only to be asked by Rol, "So, you're not interested in participating, I gather?"  Terin only turned to him and dryly said, "Ah, No."  When Zimzod said, "I guess we're not getting rid of him that easily." Fesic joked, "Curses!  Foiled again!"  After drinks at the bar, the crew went back to the suite with Mikah and Aali talking about using the rented gravCar to go to the clothiers.


Paths To Relaxation

     Once again, Terin was the first member of the crew to wake, but managed to get back to sleep.  Rol and Fesic were the next crew awake, and Rol started cooking while Fesic got in his way to make caff before turning on the news.  After that, Fesic waited for breakfast and then figured he'd just hang out until Emkir had woken, eaten and was ready to return to the ship to work on the gunnery program.  With breakfast served, Rol figured he'd probably go out but wanted to wait until the others woke to see what they had planned?  By 7:30, Emkir, Aali, Mikah and Zimzod were awake and out in the lounge.  While eating, Fesic mentioned going to the ship and Mikah and Aali said they had to go the clothiers.  Zimzod started talking about visiting the War House.

When both Mikah and Zimzod wanted to use the rented gravCar, they realized they had more people needing the rental than they had rental.  While they talked transportation options, Terin stepped out of his bedroom and joined the crowd.  While Terin ate and they talked transport, Rol asked what he had planned and he said he wanted to do stent-work, since it had been missed the night before.  Fesic pointed out that he and Emkir would need to work on the ship for a week or more and it didn't make sense to keep calling cabs back and forth because the ride was nearly an hour each way and very expensive.  Terin suggested they just stay on the ship instead of shuttling back and forth an hour each way every day.

Emkir agreed but Fesic wasn't into that idea.  Aali reminded them they wanted to keep the meals stored on the ship for when they were in space.  Listening to that, Mikah agreed they should rent another vehicle, joking that Fesic had to promise not to run people over.  Missing the joke, Fesic again defended himself that he'd only run the man down because he'd been ordered to while the others laughed.  Of course, before they could rent more vehicles, they had to check who was qualified to drive what types of vehicles?

They decided to rent a ground car Aali could drive, and made plans for that and the already rented gravCar.  Zimzod called a cab to get to the War House.  Emkir and Fesic also called a cab to get to the ship.  Aali and Mikah would use the gravCar to get to the clothiers, then go back to the suite to grab the ground car.  Then, she could drive herself, Emkir and Fesic back to the suite later.  Seeing he had a free day and wanted to wander, Rol called the concierge to see if he could rent a grav vehicle for himself too.  He asked about getting it for a month, since he was willing to bet he'd have a lot of free time on Regina.

Overhearing his call, the others agreed that whatever they rented would need to be available for the month they planned to be on-world.  That decided, they had him change his ask for both another grav vehicle and a ground car.  The concierge said they could set that up and have the vehicles delivered to the building for the crew.  The concierge was able to set up those rentals for Cr 4,000 for both vehicles for the next month.  And Mikah had that billed to the ship.  For another Cr 50, the vehicles would be delivered to the building so Rol agreed to that.

After that, Mikah took Aali to the clothier in their already available gravCar.  Rol waited for the other vehicles and planned to go out sightseeing.  While Terin started his stent-work, Zimzod called a cab and went out to the War House.  Fesic and Emkir took a cab to the port to work on the software.  Shortly after they left, Jocelynn came out of her bedroom.  As Jocelynn ate, Rol asked if she or Terin wanted to go to the TAS office to see what they could recommend for sightseeing?  Jocelynn said she'd go after she finished eating and got herself ready and Rol agreed to wait.  Ironically, as Jocelynn was just finishing eating and ready to get cleaned up to go, Aiden came out of his bedroom.

As Aiden sat to eat, Rol explained his plans and said Jocelynn was going with him.  He then asked if Aiden wanted to come too?  When Aiden said he did, Rol said he'd wait for Aiden to be ready and Jocelynn went into her bedroom to get ready for the day.  After everyone was ready, they grabbed the newly rented grav car and went to the TAS offices.  There, Rol sat with a concierge and asked about the many tourism and sightseeing opportunities in the region.  Faced with such a large and open request, the TAS concierge started offering categories rather than attempting to provide a raw list of the many options.

There was a very large list of museums, many historic reservations, Wildlife reserves, Bio-research stations, Historic hotels and B&B's now occupying formerly important structures or sites, sites related to industrial tourism and "innovation parks", Amusement parks, water parks, Aerial parks(Anti-grav entertainment), military monuments and more.  Rol had been interested in hitting some of the older historic sites, then a few military monuments before finding a brewery.  When Rol asked Aiden and Jocelynn for their input, Aiden asked for specific information about amusement parks and nature reserves.  Jocelynn was up for looking at animals because she had so little contact with the natural living universe in her life.

Rol's take from Jocelynn was that she really wanted to go to a nature reserve or zoo to see live native animals.  Turning to the others, Rol offered that they each pick one site within reasonable driving distance and make a day trip out of hitting those three sites.  When they strung their sites together, they saw the closest "real" nature preserve would take them about an hour to get to.  There, they would spend over an hour hiking and visiting before returning to the gravCar.  From there, it would be another forty minutes to an hour to get to the amusement park.  After three more hours there, enjoying the thrill rides they could still stand on line for after hours of hiking and other physical self-abuse, they were then talking about visiting a military-historic site to do even more walking before going back to the suite.

That begged the question if they really wanted to do all three things?  Rol changed that idea to visiting a nature preserve and then stringing together a small number of military historical sites to visit.  Both Aiden and Jocelynn agreed to that and they took a digital copy of the maps on their hand computers and returned to the gravCar to go out and see the sights.  The rest of their day was spent gliding over the terrain of Regina in government-approved transit routes to land and spend time either visiting natural or historic sites.  Their day would eventually end returning to the suite later in the evening.

At the clothiers, Aali was shown a mock-up of the platinum necklace she'd ordered, because an artist was still working on the artwork for her arms.  She was told her gown would come in at Cr 720, which was below their initial estimate.  Mikah's gown would come in under estimate too, at Cr 925.  A jeweler was still working with an electronics specialist to design her jewelry order.  Done there, Mikah drove Aali back to the suite so Aali could get the keys for the ground car and drive out to the port to return to her work in the ship's engineering.  While it didn't take her as long to drive as it had the other day when she was forced to drive an entirely unfamiliar type of craft, Aali had not been at the wheel of a ground car in some time and it still took her a good deal longer to get to the port than it would have a more experienced driver.

At the port, Aali boarded the ship and checked in with the guys in the computer core before joining the androids and working engineering issues.  One thing they had done was to shut down the ship's powerplant, taking their power feed from the port connection.  As long as they didn't "over-draw", that was included in their port fees.  Mikah had dropped Aali off and gone to the suite to change into her bikini to go swimming in the pool.  Considering buying another bathing suit, after she finished swimming, Mikah cleaned up, dressed and went out to shop for new bathing suits.  She ended up buying one that was a "thinner cousin" of a wet suit.  While easier to manage getting on and off, it would still be of value when swimming in colder waters.  The other suit was a basic black one-piece bathing suit.  The two suits cost her Cr 230.  After that, Mikah wandered the shops to see what she would find, if anything, and planned to get back to the suite by lunch.

By 11am, Terin had finished his stent work and decided to return to investigating the data from the White Star Order.  At the same time, Zimzod had gone to visit the War House to see what they had and perhaps find new and interesting toys.  While they had no FGMP's for sale or even on display, they did have a number of "captured weapons" displays.  That was just like other systems where weapon shops displayed what had been pulled out of battle sites and not sold off.  One big item they did have was a PGMP-13!  That was a plasma gun which was the baby ancestor of the fusion reaction firing FGMP Zimzod wanted.

PGMP-13 When Zimzod said he wanted to try firing that, they told him it would cost him Cr 100 per pull of the trigger!  That was because they had to set up specialized radiation shielding in a range for him to fire on.  And, they had to reinforce the down-range shielding.  When Zimzod didn't bat an eye, they went to it while taking his credit information in advance of billing him.  with everything set, they'd set up a stand which was shielded so Zimzod could reach through and do something few had done.  Get a "bare-handed" feel for firing the plasma gun.  Stepping into the firing position setup for him, Zimzod spent the next twenty or so minutes firing off five rounds.

For his down-range target, they'd towed in a damaged armored vehicle and settled it in the "fire hole".  With each pull of the trigger, a radio-active plasma reaction was created and magnetically "fired" down-range to hit the target vehicle.  Each hit caused a plasma-white "burn" igniting the armor plating and sub-structure, followed by that material simply....melting away.  After Zimzod finished firing the weapon, he asked how much it would cost and was told they couldn't offer him a price unless he had certification from the Imperial Navy to buy and own the weapon.  Zimzod was encouraged to return to them after he got naval approval and they'd sell it to him for several million credits.  When Zimzod said he didn't have several million credits, they said he could come back when he had the funds and naval approval.

Disappointed, and a bit annoyed at having paid to fire something he couldn't buy, Zimzod asked about fifty caliber sniper rifles?  While the sales personnel had no idea he wasn't trained in that class of weapon, they were happy to show him around and offer him something the customer "could" legally buy.  As he checked out the offerings, Zimzod considered that that both Aiden and Emkir were trained in rifles and he figured they were mostly useless as front-line troopers.  So, getting one of them a sniper rifle might help them add value to the crew.  When he asked how much it cost, he was told Cr 950.

Zimzod refused the weapon carrying case but did buy a Cr 30 bipod and an electronic scope with laser target designation, range finding and a minor amount of computerized aim correction built in.  The sales person told him the computer chip in the scope would calculate local gravity vs "1 gee" and correct the expected drop of the round over the range measured by the scope.  He also said there might be other bells and whistles available for it in higher tech systems.  The scope cost Cr 1,500.  The shop threw in a weapon cleaning kit and the sales person asked if he wanted to buy ammunition for the weapon?  Zimzod said he wanted five magazines and a case of 1,000 rounds.  He got the case for Cr 750 and the magazines for Cr 50.  The total for that package was Cr 3,280.

After that, Zimzod looked for a recoilless, automatic 12-gauge shotgun with a 100-round drum.  He was quoted Cr 125 for the weapon and offered 50-round drums for Cr 150 pre-loaded.  Hearing that, Zimzod ordered the weapon and five drums before asking about specialty rounds?  When he was asked what kind of specialty rounds he wanted, Zimzod said he wanted one drum of "High Explosive", which they offered for Cr 200.  He also wanted a drum of "Armor Piercing" rounds which cost him Cr 400.  Zimzod hit a snag when he asked for a 50-round drum of white phosphorous rounds.  At first, the salesman was shocked at the request.  When Zimzod made it clear he was serious, the man checked his datapad and said they'd have to get back in contact with Zimzod because they didn't have any "refrigerated" drums.  And even just loading the rounds into a non-refrigerated magazine that large would allow the rounds to start warming up.

The largest white phosphorous magazine they sold was a ten-round refrigerated unit.  Accepting that, Zimzod asked about acid rounds, he was told they didn't stock those.  The salesman did offer taser, tranq and discarding sabot rounds.  While Zimzod declared the taser and tranq rounds boring, he ordered three drums of the discarding sabot rounds for Cr 350 each.  Added to that, he wanted one drum of 00-buck shot, which they sold him for Cr 50.  They offered him all that for Cr 1,675.  After those orders, Zimzod headed back to the suite and would get back there by lunch time.

In the suite, Terin continued his research on the White Star data through lunch and did find markings indicating systems outside the sector.  But, by dinner time, he'd found no more listings indicated in systems in the Spinward Marches.  On the road, Jocelynn, Aiden and Rol first hit a large reserve and spent three hours wandering some hiking trails.  After that, they mapped out a course back that took them to a number of military sites open to visitors.  The last place they went as they returned to the region of Atora was the historic "Palace of the Marquis".  That had been the home of Marquis Caranda Aledon, the man who became the first Duke of Regina.  They planned to be back at the suite for dinner.


Where everyone is at the end of the session:

     Emkir and Fesic are working on the software(Day 1) on the ship
     Aali is working on the ship's engineering systems (Day 1) aboard the ship
     Rol, Jocelynn and Aiden are on the road, stopping at military historic sites
     Mikah is returning to the suite for lunch
     Terin is in the suite researching the White Star order until dinner time
     Zimzod is returning to the suite for lunch after weapon shopping

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Next: A Short Field Trip