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Last Updated     Jan 26 2024
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Recovery And Reorganization

Plans And Invitations
     Following the conversations earlier, the members of the crew in the berth went about their studies or interests.  Jocelynn was working at her psi tolerance training.  Zimzod knew he'd be woken very early the next morning to have the last of his Med-Slow injections.  He'd then be out of things until the 43rd day of the year.  Then, he'd be under observation that day until the medics handed him back over the Mikah.  Having heard Fesic say they'd need all their cargo space for Sonthert, Colinne decided to ask about the gear she'd heard of, which the Arch Duke had given them.  Since they were on a world with a colder environment, and would need to get rid of the stuff either there, in Ghandi or Lanth, Colinne asked, "So, remind me again.  Why are we not selling all the stuff the Arch Duke gave you here?  It seems they could really use it here."

Fesic considered the question and said he'd not been told they wanted to sell the gear.  He added that he thought he remembered them agreeing to keep the gear, because they might need it after all.  Jocelynn suggested, "I'd sell it.  We'd likely get good money for it because they need it here."  When Fesic suggested they had decided they might land on the hyper-arctic worlds, Sekea chimed in saying he recalled the decision matching what Fesic had.  That was despite his words to the opposite twenty three days before.

So, for reasons he didn't explain, Sekea had changed his position and stood with Fesic, who "had" always wanted to hold onto the gear.  But Mikah had said they would not land on Laurasia or Oseaan at all.  So, that gear wasn't needed any longer.  In the confusion created by shifting positions and faulty memory, Fesic asked for a crew meeting to decide on it.  Especially since keeping the gear would prevent them using nine tons of cargo space for survival supplies during their explorations in the Sonthert system.  Mikah agreed to have a meeting and they called up to the Maadashmim Zikheaa so Zimzod could chime in with his thoughts.

After they had everyone they could get in on the meeting, Fesic explained Colinne's question and asked what everyone thought?  Did they feel the gear was worth the space or could it be better used to carry potable water and other supplies?  Mikah stepped in and said she didn't really think they needed the gear.  She added that they'd planned to scan Mynbou.  If they didn't find anything there, they'd pass by Laurasia and Oseaan and scan them only.  If they did detect something of extreme interest on those worlds, they'd include it in their report to the Arch Duke and let his people deal with it.  But they weren't going to land.

Mikah continued that none of the gear could withstand the environment of the worlds.  So, if Norris or one of his people wanted it, let them go and get it themselves.  Zimzod agreed with Mikah, and Fesic nodded saying he'd follow through with that plan.  Fesic did say he was sure the Arch Duke or his people would involve them in their plans if it was convenient.  Everyone glumly agreed with that.  Still, Fesic began looking for any venues he could find to set up the sale.  He also said he wanted to find some way to offer it to Imperial buyers first, or prevent the Erskin from buying anything, at the least.

Stepping in again, and despite his earlier comments, Sekea suggested he thought he remembered some discussions suggesting they keep the ice cutters in case they found something frozen in ice on Mynbou.  Hearing that, Fesic asked if they wanted to save any of the gear?  Mikah considered the gear and decided to get rid of the snow cat and environmental suits right off.  When she asked about the portable fusion reactor, the others told her it could be used to power anything that could also plug into the ship's power.

Mikah considered that and said they should keep that unit, the ice cutters and the portable collapsable shelter.  Fesic decided to look up the Snowcat and other gear to see what they could get for it?  He found the regular cost could be Cr 45,000, though on a poor planet like Denotam, he doubted he could get that much.  They also had seven Hazardous Environmental Suits, each of which could sell for as much as Cr 80,000.  They'd also sell the three portable densometers, which could go for 10,000 each.  Again, Fesic knew Denotam was a poor world, and he figured they'd not get the actual values for anything.

Aboard the medical ship, the physical therapists were pushing Zimzod as hard as they could to build him up before the coming injection.  Despite the fact he'd been through it twice, the medics explained what Zimzod should expect.  They also explained what would happen the next day, which Zimzod was more interested in.  Because, before and after they woke him, they'd be cleaning him up, testing and scanning his body, and then they'd turn him back over to Mikah.  And, that was what he was working for.  When they asked him what he preferred, Zimzod just said they should get it over with.

Aboard the ship she'd been brought to, Jocelynn was told they'd finish up with the history section.  That was because they were certain she believed what they'd been working to teach her.  An advantage of having telepaths was that she couldn't lie to them.  Because of that, she would be allowed to relax that evening, and get to know her team on a more personal level.  The next day, they said they'd wake her early and put her through a battery of tests.  After that, they'd teach Jocelynn two basic skills.  The first would help her to block her mind so she wasn't broadcasting her mind constantly.  The second would help her to shield herself from anyone looking to detect psions.

They did stress that neither of the skills they'd teach her would help against a powerful, or moderately skilled but determined psion.  Because of that, they told her the best defense she had was keeping herself from being noticed.  That way, she'd have the best chance of being overlooked by psionic attackers.  They also told Jocelynn that if she got into a situation where she needed help, any Imperial psions who could would try to help her.  Of course, they also said there might not be psions close enough to help her, since they were few and spread widely across the Imperium.  So, there would likely be more times where she was on her own.  Jocelynn snarked, "I'm used to that.  Go anywhere with Terin and you get used to that."

In the berth, Mikah considered the afternoon and thought, again, about watching a vid.  She remembered the Hiver vs K'Kree movies, but still wanted to save those for when Zimzod was back with them.  Mikah then remembered the play they'd been set to watch a farcical community play presented on the naval base called "Our Downwell Cousins".  They'd been set to see the play on the evening of the 29th day of the year when they'd learned of the safe house in the village of Wezsaen.  Mikah cancelled those tickets that night and they flew off to Clan Erskin territory.

Remembering that, Mikah decided to call and see if they were staging another performance?  When the call was answered and Mikah said who she was, the woman on the other end got very excited and said they were staging the last week of performances.  When Mikah apologized for having to cancel on them before, the woman waved it off, given they had "been the news" in-system for some time.  The first performance of the week would be on the next night.  Mikah then paid Cr 18 buying tickets for everyone who'd be in the berth the next night and made it an order that they'd all dress up and attend.

Aali had two projects she had to work on.  The first was the laser crease burned into cutter's hull.  The second was her continuing work on their ship.  Starting with the cutter, Aali figured she'd check on the laser burn to see how much damage might have been done by the hit?  She was working on cleaning up the burn when Mikah came to tell her about the play.  Considering the burn, Mikah had Aali step back and look at it artistically.  Mikah told Aali she thought the burn gave the cutter "character", and told her to leave it.  Of course, Aali first wanted to make sure there wasn't any hidden damage, which Mikah said she could do. But then, she was to just clean up the scar and leave it as it was.

After that, Aali considered the work she'd have to do to make sure the hull wasn't damaged dangerously.  Checking with the parkbay crew, Aali asked what help she could get?  Regretting their part in the toaster incident, they offered her the help of two technicians and an android.  With that help, Aali was happy to be able to link back into the network and connect with the shipyard and read the reports on the work being done on the Upgrade.  When Aiden came offering to help Aali, she handed him a toothbrush from her kit and pointed at the crease.  Aiden protested and Aali reminded him the scar would need delicate cleaning, so Aiden bowed to it.

When Fesic connected to the port looking for options, they only said they could post it on the Imperial Intranet within the bases and village if he wanted to do the work himself.  Still, that wouldn't stop people from talking.  And that might also lead to non-Imperial buyers with merchant or other legitimate log ins trying to buy what he was selling.  The man from the port suggested he could hire a broker, that seemed like a great idea.  He hoped the broker could help with the work and get values Fesic didn't feel he could.  With that, the port sent a list of brokers for Fesic to consider.

Fesic reviewed the information on the brokers and chose a man named Forlu Penan, who would take 20% of the gross.  When Fesic started with the idea he wanted to make a first sale attempt to only Imperial buyers, Penan advised against that.  Given the goods Fesic wanted to sell, Penan said the world was poor, but the Clans had limited chances to get much of the gear.  Because of that, they'd scrape up as much as they could for one item when they couldn't buy the whole slate.  And, since there were seven clans, that meant they could get buyers paying a good price for a single item each.

Added to that, there were many Imperial interests in-system who might not want to wait the months a regular order might take.  That means they may spend more money to avoid having to wait for their orders.  Since Fesic was worried about the clans, the broker suggested they create a "buy in", forcing anyone who wanted to bid to pay an entry price first.  Hearing that, Fesic said, "You can do what you think it best", which gave the man an open hand on setting up the auctions.  Thanking Fesic for that, Penan said he'd call the next day with updates on what he'd done.  Fesic thanked him and the call ended.

Relaxing, Mikah got a call on her comms and saw it was from the naval base commander.  Answering, Mikah asked what was up and the officer told her they would be having a special event on the base in a conspiratorial tone.  When Mikah asked what it was, the man said they'd isolated Cenawo Adsi's cargo pod.  They'd have EOD and other specialists available, and were planning to crack the cargo pod open.  The man also said they'd been working to clear the section of the downport surrounding Kennot Watalo's ship.  So, the next day in the afternoon, they planned to attempt a number of boarding actions which they hoped would cause little or no damage to the ship or anything within.  When Mikah nodded, he asked her if she wanted to be present at the cargo pod and ship openings, and who of her crew Mikah wanted along?  Mikah said she wanted to be there and wanted Aali and Colinne to come with her to both events.

A Morning Of Surprises
     The first of the crew to be awakened was Zimzod, who expected the rush of activity as he was prepared, catheterized and prepared him for the injection.  Then, they finally gave him the jab and things went dark.  In her stateroom, Jocelynn was also woken fairly early, but she was also fed and cared for in a more civilized manner.  Aiden and Aali were the first to wake in the berth, and they both did their morning routines before stepping into the common areas.  Making their way to the kitchenette, Aali began checking the supplies while Aiden went about making caff.  When Aiden suggested banging on Fesic's door to demand he get up and cook, Aali threatened to stuff him into an android fitting as punishment.

Fesic was the next one to wake, and he came out of his room after his morning routine to find Aali and Aiden had cooperated on what seemed to be a breakfast.  Seeing Fesic arrive, Aali handed him a plate of food and said, "Try this."  When Fesic tried a fork-full, his eyes lit up and he started shoveling the food into his mouth.  He liked it very much, and, between mouthfuls, said as much while also asking, "What's everyone else gonna eat?"  That suggested he was gonna eat everything they'd cooked so far.  Eventually, they were joined by the others and they all ate and chatted about the coming day.

After eating, while Mikah, Colinne and Aali went to dress for their day, Fesic was cleaning up when his comms started buzzing.  The call was from the broker, who'd set up the auctions and had everything prepared.  The one thing he had to get before he could let the auctions go were pictures of the merchandise.  So, he wanted to know when he could come out and get pictures of the stuff?  That had Fesic over a barrel, because those items were in the ship's cargo hold on the shipyard.  So, he had to decide what the best idea was for getting the pictures taken and the auctions started?

Fesic started talking up the idea of taking their cutter up into orbit to start moving the cargo back down to the berth.  When Mikah overheard, she said, "No!  No.  You just have to wait for the broker and fly him up to take the pictures.  There's no need to bring the stuff down here."  Shaking his head, Fesic reminded her they'd have to deliver the things eventually, so having them in the berth would be handy.  When Mikah asked if he'd be able to get the snow cat into the cutter, and said it could be very difficult, Fesic said he'd ask Sekea to lend a hand.

Fesic then told the broker he'd call back when he and his crew got the cargo down from orbit.  Fesic then asked for help and Sekea said he would.  So, the two of them got ready to mount up in the cutter, get port clearance and lift for the shipyard.  On the way, they also called to the shipyard, to let them know they were coming and what they planned to do.  The people at the shipyard were annoyed at the constant coming and going interrupting their work routines.  Still, they gave clearance for the cutter to arrive.

Aiden was as helpful as he could be until the cutter lifted, then had the idea of doing some stent training.  Unfortunately, with Zimzod in medical, Jocelynn "away", Mikah, Colinne and Aali visiting the naval base and Fesic and Sekea flying to the shipyard, Aiden was the only one home.  So, he could do individual stent practice, but there would be no group training.  After he did some personal stent work, Aiden settled in to relax and watch a vid.  he figured he'd wait and see who returned first and what the news was from whoever they were.

Arriving at the naval base, the ladies were brought out to a remote section of the base where they'd put Adsi's cargo pod.  Riding out to that section of the base, they were told the navy and marines had had teams do multiple scans of the pod.  Mikah stood talking to the officers while Aali and Colinne got a fair bit closer to see what they could of the pod?  Colinne came back first, and leaned close to Mikah.  As she did, she whispered, "This should be entertaining.  We should step back a good distance before the show."  Generally trusting Colinne's "intuition". Mikah called Aali back over and made sure the three of them stood a good bit of distance from the pod.  Far enough that some of the navy lads chuckled.

Soon enough, technical teams moved up to each side of the pod and each worked on their facing.  There were men passing data from their work to either side while the main teams worked.  Fifteen to twenty minutes into the work, one of the teams started to argue, gesticulate, shout and give orders one over the other.  They were also very upset and got the alarmed attention of the other teams.  It was shortly after they started backing off that they heard a loud "FOOM!"  next was a "Fhwump" and "BOOM!" as the panel exploded away from the pod!  A couple of the workers hadn't backed off in time and ended up being wounded in the blast.

Right after the blast, a heavy armored vehicle rushed up to place itself between the wounded and fleeing men and the exploded panel.  Next came teams of medics who rushed in to treat those on the ground or thrown.  the other times had all dropped their tools and fled.  Watching as the events happened, Mikah quipped, "Well.  It's open now." with a smile.  Next to Mikah, Colinne hummed and muttered, "I thought it would be bigger." in a disappointed tone.  The three then watched as grav rescue vehicles moved two of the wounded to the hospital while the others were treated for minor wounds, shock and other minor issues.  Soon enough, a team and officers moved in to inspect the situation.

What they found was the outer side-panel had blown out and exposed the innards of the cargo pod wall.  That did expose the wiring and other mechanisms.  They could also see what wiring had run to either of the panels around the pod, so they could guess what was connected to what?  That work, in addition to cutting through the inner panel, took another hour.  During that delay, the base commander invited Mikah and the others into the base for lunch.  When they came back out, after eating, the inner panel had finally been cut away and they could start exploring the contents of the cargo pod.

What was revealed seemed to be a very cramped one-man working and living space.  After the investigators stepped in, they had a stream of support techs bringing out everything from small hand-tools, to boxes holding small caches of parts or components.  They'd known there were solar power collecting cells on top of the pod, but the cramped space had been packed in.  One thing no one was surprised to see was that a battledress charging station was installed in the pod.  Along with that was a combat armor set, which they guessed Adsi had for when he didn't want to show off his battledress.

There was also a panel that opened like a door from the wall, on which were organized a group of long arm and hand weapons.  Everyone, including the ladies, watched as they tagged and removed each weapon and a number were "military issue", with some tagged as likely being part of armory assigned to the Regina's Storm.  So, they could see the plot was thickening.  After those were all listed, the base commander only flashed a smile in Mikah's direction and said, "Looks like Adsi's pending sentence is growing."  Eventually, he stepped closer and asked Mikah, "By the way, do you know anything about how dame Jocelynn got her armor?"  Mikah only answered, "Yeah." because she wasn't sure where that was going.

The man nodded and said, "Good.  Because we're having problems tracking the serial number of the seized battledress suit.  He then asked if Mikah could give him more details on how Jocelynn got her armor?  Knowing the "storyline" they were supposed to stick to, Mikah explained how they'd given Jocelynn the money to buy the armor from a port officer in the Tremous Dex system.  Hearing that, the man wasn't pleased and said he'd hoped her armor was the suit she'd worn while aboard the carrier. That way, he explained, they could use the serial numbers on her suit to tie his suit serial number to their unit.  He also didn't ask how she'd had a link to a suit that supposedly belonged to Cadman when her suit had been bought in Tremous Dex?"

The base commander did say they could still convict Adsi of having possession of armor without legal authorization, but couldn't nail him for having stolen military armor if they couldn't track the serial number.  Still, when they'd emptied out the cargo pod, the loot were all organized on tables in a room nearby.  While the collection was entirely under guard, Mikah and the others could see a varied collection.  Some of the weapons were barely legal anywhere in the Imperium, and had come from the Vargr, Sword Worlds or Zhodani.  There was even an isolated section of weapons which were made to inject or apply poisons.

Because those weapons made to administer poison were moved as they'd been stored, they could see all of them were "combat ready"!  Classified as assassin's tools, the 'ready to use' status meant intent was implied, which meant they could seek the death penalty on Imperial territory.  And, the base was Imperial territory, as was the starport.  So, Adsi'd had willingly had them in Imperial territory at some time in the last month.  Mikah was a bit annoyed that they hadn't seen everything, and that items were being moved to an adjoining room they'd not been allowed into.  Despite her annoyance and Aali's curiosity, Colinne seemed content to wait for events to play out.

Soon enough, all the gear was moved and a pair of Marine MP's asked Mikah and the others if they'd like to step into that next room?  The women quickly followed the MP's, and were told to stand in an area where they could see the navy techs had set up a line of "booths".  They could guess the gear had been distributed into the booths for some reason, but couldn't see into many of them from where they stood.  Not long after they moved in, they saw more MP's leading Adsi into the room, along with a small number of navy officers.  Adsi looked worse for the wear because he was now shackled by both the hands and feet.  He also seemed much less confident or certain of his situation than he'd been.

The navy people were unconcerned by the flinch Adsi gave as he saw the three ladies watching.  They simply muscled him over the line of booths and started dragging in into each.  One by one, they made their way in and out of each booth, and as they did, Mikah could feel a buzzing in her head.  When they'd gotten him a third of the way along the line, Colinne chuckled a bit at some item in her thoughts.  Outwardly, she only muttered, "This must be very uncomfortable for him." with a thin smile on her face.  Mikah nodded and said, "Oh.  I can imagine."

Aali looked to find the base commander and asked him, "Are these proceedings classified or can I record them?"  He first asked, "To what end?" and Aali said they had a crew member who had a personal interest in what was going on.  The officer nodded and said, "Ah, Dame Jocelynn.  Unfortunately, she'll have to miss this."  He then told her this was a legal proceeding and could not be recorded except for the needs of the court.  That meant, 'No pictures'.  Aali regretted she couldn't record the situation for Jocelynn.

Still, as they watched, Adsi didn't get much more than half way before he realized they had him and he agreed to tell them whatever they wanted to know.  After that, Adsi was taken away to be more completely questioned and to write out full and complete confessions.  Thanks to a murmured word from Colinne, Mikah learned that Kennot wasn't gonna be happy and that Adsi was willing to give them all the access codes and keys to Kennot's ship.  So, Adsi was done.

At about the same time, though he was unaware of that, Aiden was relaxing in the berth when klaxons filled the space with alarms.  Quickly after that, Aiden heard a recorded voice play over the speakers telling anyone in the space, "Please shelter in place.  You are not in any danger."  Leaping into action, Aiden made for his gear and snapped into his combat armor before grabbing his weapons.  Next, he moved to his comms and called the port offices to ask what was happening?  A tech on the other end curtly said, "We'll tell you when we are authorized to release that data." and cut the line on Aiden.  With nothing better to do, Aiden simply sheltered in place and never thought to raise the alarm with the rest of his team.

In that room in the naval base, Mikah, Aali and Colinne had watched Adsi be led away just before all sorts of alarms began going off.  While all the naval personnel except the MP's securing Adsi's gear scrambled for other places and duty stations, the base commander only grabbed his comms and said, "Talk to me."  They could only guess the number 1 auto-link in his settings was a situation officer.  Nodding as he said, "OK" and ended the call, the officer looked at the ladies and said, "you're going to stay here while I take care of this."  He didn't look concerned, but did look annoyed as he left the room.  Looking around, they could see the security MP's and a few technicians apparently not needed in the situation.

While Mikah had her laser pistol with her, she considered that they might need something that did more damage if the fight ended up coming to them after all.  So, she decided to check out the items laid out in the booths until she found something that looked like the right toy.  Moving past the booth openings, Mikah finally saw some weapons and turned to get a closer look.  At that, one of the MP's called out, "Please don't touch the exhibits because they're needed for the coming trial."  And while that man didn't approach her, he lowered his weapon from a guard position.  And, some of the techs did move closer to her.  Mikah got the message that she'd have to back off if she didn't want to have to deal with her own legal proceedings.

Mikah still turned to the MP and told him, "If we come under attack, I'm considering them here for use."  The man nodded her comment away and said, "In the very unlikely event."  he then continued, "The situation isn't here at the base."  When Mikah said, "Oh." and then asked, "Where is it?" the MP told her it was at the starport.  Mikah chuckled as Colinne snarked, "I wonder what Aiden did?"  That was a reasonable question because it was obvious something was happening and Aiden hadn't called them to make them aware of the situation.  Since that should have been his first action, if he could, then it was reasonable to assume something or someone was keeping him from raising the alarm with the rest of the crew.  Or, calling for help.

Acting on that thought, Mikah sparked up her comms and called Aiden, to see what she could learn?  Checking his comms, Aiden answered saying, "Hi Mikah, for some reason the starport's in lockdown."  From what she could tell from the tone of his voice, Aiden wasn't excited or under duress.  So, there was no reason he hadn't called to let people know something was happening on the port.  When Aiden continued, "And, they told everyone to shelter in place." Mikah nodded and said, "OK.  Just be prepared."  When he nodded, Mikah added, "Just keep me informed if something else happens."  Aiden said, "Will do." and they cut the call.  After that, Aiden unlimbered his LAG and then went through each of the crew bedrooms looking for and looting the grenades they had.  Including the stash of EMP grenades Aali still had.

Aiden also spent some time evaluating the furniture in the berth.  Making up his mind, Aiden started piling furniture up in front of the portals.  It wouldn't stop any weapons powerful enough to fight through the port security with, but it would keep them from aiming when anyone first arrived.  It would also block rounds designed to shatter and scatter, like dumb dumbs, because they broke up and became shrapnel when they impacted anything.  At the same time, the call between Mikah and Aiden had ended and the women had nothing better to do than look over the gear in each of the booths.

So long as they didn't try to step into any of the booths, the MP's only watched them more closely.  Moving past each opening to look in, the ladies were impressed by the breadth of Adsi's collection.  Much of it were from other polities or even independent worlds.  There were samples of Gvegh, Zdetl and other languages.  The weapons they saw were separated between generic blades and fire arms, Heavy combat weapons and weapons for assassins.  Electronic gear were labeled as decoders, security defeating systems, field generators and more.  In one booth were the battledress and charging station removed from the pod.  A separate booth had the set of combat armor.

More than the equipment itself, the display had been set up to break Adsi even more.  Because of that, the techs made sure to highlight what was illegal about every piece.  So, there were screens showing key information like which items had come from the Regina's Storm.  The gear ranged from sapper and spy craft electronics to specialty explosives and more.  many of the weapons were military grade, and most devices demanded Imperial Navy licensing within the Imperium.  All items of that class were marked as "Not Licensed", and pending legal review and trial.

Another set of items were the computers and other programmables.  Each of those had cables and other connections allowing the base's programming and data specialists access to hack.  That work was on-going and the base command hoped to derive as all the data they could crack.  Of course, they hoped that would tie in with any data they got from Kennot's ship when they cracked those computers.  Over all, the three ladies were impressed with both the collection Adsi had built up and the response the navy had to what they'd found in his cargo pod.

In the berth, Aiden had fortified his position with every grenade he could find and was prone with his LAG, behind what cover he could make.  When he started to hear noises from a point he couldn't observe, Aiden's first thought was to call it in.  Of course, with all the authorities busy reacting to whatever situation had cause the alarm, Aiden could only get someone from the port who said it could be a tech from their parkbay trying to update him on the situation.  Aiden then called Mikah, to tell her there may be an intruder in their berth.  At the same time, Aiden heard a man shout, "Hello?  Is anybody here?"

Aiden decided to rise up carefully, while maintaining his cover, hoping to carefully maneuver around and could get eyes on the person without exposing himself.  The issue was that the berth was an open space, made larger and more open because the cutter wasn't there.  So, other than the bedrooms and offices along the side walls, the berth was just one large open space in which ships as large as 500 dTons could be parked.  So, it wasn't a jungle of walls and machinery in which he could hunt.  Deciding as he moved, Aiden called out for the man to identify himself.

The other person said he was a technician assigned to the parkbay, and had been told to connect with any ship crews in the parkbay to update them on the port's security situation.  Already having called the port, Aiden told the man to call in to his boss and have the port officials confirm who he was?  While the tech scoffed at the idea, he did as he was told and Aiden soon had a tech call in a condescending tone to confirm the man in his berth was a port employee.  Stepping out into the open after that, Aiden could see a man in a grey stained set of coveralls, with tools hanging from his belt and no weapons he could see at all.

The man saw Aiden, and the look on his face was a cross between amusement at Aiden's over reaction and surprise at the amount of cowardice he saw.  After Aiden was wound down enough to listen, the port tech told him they were bringing an update to all the ship crews in the parkbay.  They explained there was an attack happening on another part of the port, and this parkbay wasn't in danger.  Still, the port leadership didn't want people moving between buildings or structures until the attack could be dealt with.  He also said the Imperial Navy had dispatched Marine units to augment port security.  When Aiden demanded to know why he wasn't being updated by port security, the tech told him port security were busy in a snarky tone which suggested Aiden should have been able to figure that out himself.

Aiden heard the man out and then, thanklessly, said, "Alright.  You've told me.  Now, you can move on."  Giving Aiden a satirical half-bow, the man then turned his back on Aiden and moved to one of the service doors connecting their berth to the tech spaces.  He then stepped out of the berth and locked that portal from the other side.  After the tech left, Aiden did his best to further lock down the berth and called Mikah to update her on what he'd learned.  Mikah nodded as Aiden spoke, and guessed it was Clan Arnstruther again.  She told Aiden to stay put and let the port forces deal with things.

Soon enough, the base commander came back to where Mikah and the ladies were, and told them the situation was being handled.  When they asked, the officer said it appeared an organized team of well-armed and equipped civilians seemed to have made an assault from off the port and tried to reach Kennot Watalo's starship.  That surprised the ladies, and the man added that the attackers didn't seem prepared for the forces the port already had around that ship.  He added that they thought the attackers may have been Kennot's crew, but couldn't prove that yet.  Mikah and the others admitted they'd wondered if the man had a crew at all, but the commander reminded them this was only a guess at the time.

Nodding, Mikah excused herself so she could call Aiden to give him an update.  She also let him know it would be nothing he needed to worry about.  She told him to follow any instructions from the port officials and not to leave the parkbay.  Aiden told her she didn't have to worry about him wandering around, and reminded her he had the berth in lock down, as much as he could.  Especially with the very graphic reminder the parkbay's technical crew could get into any berth any time they felt they had to.  Past that, the base commander soon had his people return the ladies to the parkbay, where they started going through and reclaiming grenades from Aiden's collection.

Not long after that, Fesic and Sekea signaled they were about to de-orbit with the first of their deliveries.  This was the snow cat, which had been the most difficult to load into the cutter's cargo bay.  At two tons, there had been a lot of trying and failing before they got the vehicle into the bay with centimeters to spare in some cases.  While the shipyard administration were becoming annoyed at constant interruptions to their work, they had loaded the snow cat and would have to make several more trips.  Two trips would be needed to bring down the hazardous environment suits and densometers.  But, when they landed, all hands were needed to get the snow cat out into the berth.

Of course, before they'd landed, the port had given them very specific instructions for their de-orbit burn and approach vectors.  They were warned not to deviate at all from the approved flight and landing instructions.  That was due to "an advanced security situation on the port" which they were promised wouldn't endanger them unless they didn't follow instructions.  If they did, they were also warned port defense systems might react to alterations of their flight plan.  And, when they got low enough to see it, there seemed to be smoke, flames and explosions where there might be actual combat happening on the port.

Thankfully, the HUD-like projection of their flight plan on the forward viewports showed them their parkbay was quite a distance from the area of combat.  The battle seemed to be happening in an area of "the harbor", where ships had been parked out in the open.  In the cockpit, Sekea said Denotam was almost as bad as Arden, though there had been no open warfare on that world.  Still, he joked, "I can't wait 'til the next shit hole we go to." without enthusiasm.

Transfers And Gatherings
     After they'd landed and gotten the snow cat out into the berth, Fesic and Sekea prepared to return to the shipyard for the first of two more trips to bring all the gear downwell.  Before he boarded, Mikah told him to tell the shipyard people they'd need to be a bit more active, and would be visiting the ship at least once daily.  Fesic told Mikah he knew they wouldn't be pleased with that and she just laughed and said they'd have to deal with it.  Not long after the two men lifted the cutter and burned for the shipyard, Mikah got a call from a member of the Arch Duke's staff.

When Mikah answered, she was told, by the tech calling, that the Arch Duke and Prince planned to leave the system within the next two days.  Mikah was told the public announcement would be made shortly, but the Count and local governments had already been made aware of that.  Mikah accepted that and asked to be told as soon as possible of anything they needed from her crew.  She also wished them a "grandly unspectacular trip" as they moved forward with their plans.  Those were to eventually reach the Retinae system and they'd actually spent more time in Denotam than they'd planned.

With most of the crew back in the berth, they went through the process of recovering their grenades and peeling Aiden's anxiety from the berth ceiling.  While they worked or relaxed, events on the port finally quieted down and then Mikah got a call from a Naval officer.  That man said the planned visit to Kennot's ship the next day would have to be delayed.  In the fighting, the ship had been damaged and its hull breached in several points.  While the navy had secured the site, they had to have teams come in and insure that section of the port was safe to visit.  That included several "custom security features" which may now be active because of the fighting and damage to the ship.  So, their visit would be delayed.

He also commented on the new prisoners, who were either entirely in custody, or "collected in pieces".  When Mikah said she was good with that and had to get ready for the play that night, the officer said he was told to ask Mikah a technical question.  When Mikah said she was ready to help, he asked how advanced the genetic sequencers and readers in her ship's med lab were?  Mikah explained the capabilities of her lab systems and he asked if she could help them sequence the genetics from several of the remains?  They could then use arrival data from the Idents of Kennot's crew to try and identify some of the bodies?  He thanked Mikah and she considered having to visit the ship to activate the medlab and do the work.

If she did that right away, she'd be late for, or miss the play and she decided she didn't want to do that.  So, she told the man she'd do that work the next day and he said he'd have the medical team hold off on delivering the samples until she was ready.  She also got a giggle when the work suggested there'd been some attackers who'd been so blasted their remains could only be identified using genetics.  After that call was done, Mikah called Fesic and Sekea and told them to inform the shipyard people that she'd be arriving there personally, to carry out some work in the ship's med-bay.  She wanted to be sure they could support that because she was doing work for the Imperial Navy.

Despite his giggles when he heard the instructions, Fesic did try to keep his smirk to a minimum as he told the tech in charge of the work on their ship about Mikah's planned visit.  Especially, since they were working on the ship's software and integrating the new hardware to the system.  But, he admitted, they already had the cloning system installed and integrated and were mostly working with the sensors.  So, he agreed their work wouldn't get in the way of anything from the med lab.  After that was said, Fesic let Mikah know and then worked with Sekea to get two more tons onto the cutter.

With the cutter on the way out and back, the others went about their own activities or started preparing for the play after dinner.  There was still enough time in the afternoon for the cutter to make the two trips, so Fesic and Sekea were back in the berth and ready when it came time to have dinner.  Through the afternoon and dinner, they watched the vid, where news programs had a large amount of information on the attack that morning.  They'd even had drones up filming a lot of the action, and presented a number of video reports.

It was apparent a group of five people described as "Spacers" had so augmented themselves that some port authorities suggested they performed as if they were twenty.  The coverage also showed that the attack had to have led to a very fast invasion of the port for that team to get as far as they did before port security assembled a blocking force.  Part of that was the security cordon set up around Kennot's ship, and part of the port's quick response relied on the open fields of fire created when they removed ships from that part of the harbor.  That opened space for port defenses to use in firming up a blocking force, and for Imperial Marines to deploy into as the conflict developed.

On the assumption this was simply another Clan Arnstruther attack, the Marines deployed fire teams with standard weapons.  When things escalated in the face of heavier weapons, the Marines sent in their heavier battledress armed units to put the assault down.  It was already recognized the first deployment decision had cost friendly lives, and there would be funerals, but the response in waves also provided for a flanking counter-assault, which finally ended the invading attack entirely.  Despite that, they did get close to the ship which was their objective, and that ship had been damaged during the battle.

At the present, that section of the port was again cordoned off, and teams were moving through collecting forensic data and evidence.  At the same time, they were recovering body parts after having recovered the primary bodies earlier in securing the area.  When the vids played clips captured during the fighting, Aali quipped, "They look like us."  Colinne shook her head and said, "From what I've seen on past vids, they fight better than you.  More organized and better equipped."

About that time, a sequence played in which an obvious Vargr combatant in a vacc suit caught a small missile center mass.  The only thing that could be said about that person was that the lower arms, legs and paws would be available for forensic investigation.  Aiden reacted by saying that the fur was definitely flying there.  Still, much of the crew spent their time watching coverage of the fighting and some were picking events from which the genetic material Mikah would work on came.  That led to dinner, after which they changed for the play.

Finishing up with dinner, they got a call saying that the base commander was sending a large vehicle for them to ride to and from the play in.  He felt it was wise given the concern there might be more of Kennot's sympathizers out there.  Or Adsi's.  Or, some clan element.  The crew's list of enemies on-world was growing.  As they all boarded, Colinne sat back in her seat with a snarky smile and said, "This is certainly a way to get us all on one place for a missile strike."  Still, her attitude appeared to be laid back and relaxed so no one took the comment seriously.

Arriving, they could see the base had pulled out all the stops trying to decorate the hall in an understated way.  There was even some light applauds when those already in the hall saw that Lady Mikah and her people really were coming to this performance.  The hall continued filling, and time was getting close to the curtain time when a man in uniform stepped into the room and off to the side.  Quickly after that, he pressed a stud on the side of a box he held and the Imperial Anthem began to play.  Despite the ripple of surprise that went through the entire room, they all stood and some came to attention.  It was then that Prince Lucan stepped into the room followed by Arch Duke Norris.  The surprise was so complete that Mikah couldn't stop herself calling out, "Oh Stars!"

While Lucan ignored the cry, Norris nodded and waved to Mikah.  She responded, saying, "Hi guys.  I didn't know we were gonna make this such a large event."  The others in the hall were shocked with the familiarity Lady Mikah used publicly, but neither Lucan or Norris reacted to that, so it became grist for the rumor mill.  Norris did smirk at her and say, "Since we're leaving the system tomorrow, we figured we might as well."  That hit like a thunderbolt, because the public statement the Prince and Arch Duke were leaving had not been made.  There were also ripples when people saw that neither Lady Mikah's people or the officers of the base commend staff seemed surprised.

After everyone was seated, the play was acted.  While some of the actors seemed a bit stiff through the beginning, there were only a few gaffs the audience could pick out and then they got to the curtain calls.  Because it was a farce, there were points of comedy and even a theme to consider and discuss.  Following that, the cast and audience usually gathered and shared drinks and conversation.  In the case of the Prince and Arch Duke, they stayed long enough to raise a toast to the cast and company.  Then, they announced they had other duties to attend and would be leaving soon.  Still, they did stay and do the "pressing the flesh" thing for a bit, giving people a chance to say, "I got to meet the Prince" or other official.

The event also got longer when both the Prince and Arch Duke spent moments of recognition with troopers who'd taken part in the fighting earlier.  Names were taken in order to refer decorations and thanks were given.  But, soon enough, the Prince and Arch Duke left the party to the Count, Countess and Lady Mikah's crew.  Soon enough, that started to dwindle and the crew got back to the berth and relaxed or hit the rack.  Not much later, everyone was asleep.

In her quarters, Jocelynn was woken early that day and despite the fact she spent much of that day in an inclined bed, she felt like she had run a handful of marathons in those hours.  When they were done testing her for her psi talents, they brought in food and then brought in a woman they said was a medic.  That woman leaned down to Jocelynn and put one hand on her shoulder and the other on her forehead, as if she was trying to see if Jocelynn had a fever.  Still, after the woman stood like that and closed her eyes, Jocelynn started quickly feeling much better!  Everything felt better except for a slight buzzing in the back of her head.

Before Jocelynn felt she could comment, one of those around her said, "This is what modern medicine can do with psionic enhancement."  Jocelynn could only answer, "wow."  One of the others said, "you are likely the least wounded person this commander has ever worked on." and Jocelynn noticed the woman's naval rank.  When Jocelynn asked if that was good or bad, they said it was certainly good for the healer.  Usually, her patients bodies were ravaged, torn and dying.  By the time she got done with them, they'd healed enough that normal medical and bio-augmentation could save them.  As she heard that, something clicked in her memory of when Mikah had been shot in the chest.  And, while she didn't much look at Mikah's bare chest, she had seen enough of where she'd been shot to notice Mikah didn't have any scars from that event.  Now, Jocelynn figured she knew why?

After they'd let her rest up and shared lunch, they started teaching her some basic skills.  They told her the buzzing in her head would help her figure out when any psions were active nearby until she had real training.  Then, they taught her how to try and shut down her mental abilities.  That way, she wouldn't broadcast constantly, or do something any active psion nearby would be able to detect.  They also taught her a very basic ability to shield her mind.  But, they also told her that was tissue paper to a trained psion conducting a search, so her best plan would be to keep her head down, metaphorically, and not do anything that would start anyone looking for her.  After the training, they told Jocelynn they'd be taking her on a field trip the next day.  After that, they'd return her to her crew.

Secrets, Tours and Toys
     As the day began, Jocelynn's team let her sleep in.  They weren't in the compartment when she came to breakfast, so, she shrugged and started eating from the food laid out.  Soon, the team members came in one by one and when each of them arrived, she either felt a buzz or didn't.  Doing that, Jocelynn realized three of the team had talents and the others didn't.  Of course, one of those was the woman who'd helped her heal the day before, and another was the man who'd used telekinesis aboard the shuttle that first day.  After Jocelynn was ready, they led her back to the shuttle bay and onto the craft.  So, they were leaving the ship they'd been aboard and she'd sat in a seat without an observation port.

Zimzod was woken as soon as they felt it medically safe.  The staff moved in because getting a month's worth of nutrients, medications and fluids into him and dealing with what had to come out of him had been a major production.  And, after administering three such treatments, the medical staff hoped it really was over.  After they cleaned him up enough, he'd be off for full-body CAT and MRI scans as well as other tests.  Those would confirm how Zimzod had healed during the third and last treatment?  Of course, once he was aware and able, they explained everything to him and got him up and walking too.  While the test were read, they'd do PT with him until they could sign him out and hand him over to Lady Mikah for his continuing care.

Eventually, Zimzod was pronounced healthy enough to hand back over the Mikah.  Because of that, they planned to put him through physical therapy until Mikah called to collect him one way or the other.  Still, earlier in the morning, they had called Mikah to update her.  Unfortunately, that meant they woke her up.  After they explained themselves, they told Mikah they had to run several tests and confirm Zimzod's condition, but they expected him to be returned to her care that day.  She asked when they would be returning him and how it would work and they told her they could bring him downwell to the naval base or she could get a shuttle to their ship and pick him up once he was ready.  After Mikah finished with Zimzod's medical team, she decided it was time to roll over and go back to sleep.  Sadly, as soon as she tried that, her comms started buzzing again.

Disgusted, Mikah answered that call to find it was a lieutenant from the naval base.  He reported to her that some of their people were able to access the damaged ship over-night and, somewhat thanks to their "new prisoners", they have all the codes and have made accessing the ship safe.  Because of that, the lieutenant said Mikah and her people could take a tour of the ship if she wanted?  Mikah said she did, but also asked the officer about the genetic work they wanted her to do?  He agreed the navy still wanted her to do that, and she also said she'd be getting Sir Zimzod back from their medical team, so she had a bit on her plate already.  But, she still wanted to tour Kennot's ship.

The lieutenant offered to have the bio-material delivered in the next hour, and asked if she needed a shuttle or other craft to get to the shipyard to work on it?  Mikah first started to tell the man she had their cutter and could get to the shipyard herself, but then changed her mind.  She said it might be good to have the Navy's obvious support and asked if he could lift her and anyone she needed in a naval craft?  The lieutenant nodded back and said he could get them a ride on a naval shuttle.  Mikah said that would work, and the officer said he'd send a car for her and whoever she wanted to bring along.

Mikah got up and prepared, and then went to pound on Sekea's bedroom door.  When he woke, she told him he was coming with her to assist with "the boring work" in genetic sequencing.  Sekea also quickly got dressed and they grabbed some snack foods from the kitchenette before leaving the parkbay in their vacc suits to wait for the navy car.  Mikah also woke Aali, to come along and get eyes on the work directly.  That would let her see for real what they were doing and put her hands on some of the work.  While they talked about the trip, Mikah called the base commander and confirmed she was going to work on the genetics over the morning and then come back down well with her people for lunch.  After that, she figured they could tour Kennot's ship because they'd be landing at the naval base anyway.  In all the noise, Colinne woke and got the gist of what was happening, and asked if she could come along?  In all the time since she was hired, she'd never actually seen the Upgrade.

Not long after they were picked up, Mikah, a naval rating and the others sat in a seating section able to carry 100 people.  When they arrived, Mikah was satisfied to see the looks on the faces of the shipyard management when she led her small team off the shuttle.  Moving aft, to the med bay, Mikah explained what she had to do and needed.  Since she was there, Mikah also checked on Rol's gestation chamber to make sure there had been no issues with that system.  Mikah saw there was an auxiliary power unit connected to the chamber, since they sometimes had to take the ship's power off line.  The data from the chamber told her everything was fine there, so she led them back to her medical systems while Aali went to meet with the ship workers.

In the berth, Aiden and Fesic woke and Fesic called the broker to set up an appointment later in the day to take pictures of their gear and start the auctions.  With that done, and a light breakfast, they went to the gym to get a workout.  While Mikah's team did that and the two men worked out at the gym, Jocelynn's team had flown her to one of the massive battle cruisers that was part of the Prince's battle Squadron.  As dangerous as that ship was, Jocelynn was certain every crew member would have been vetted within an inch of their life as well as the past lives of their ancestors.  The ship was so large there were transit cars running the length of the vessel as well as other mover-systems to get people to many stations.

Wondering why she'd been brought aboard that vessel, Jocelynn followed the undescribed tour from compartment to compartment.  Eventually, as they moved, Jocelynn got that buzz in the back of her head as she looked around the compartment.  Every crew member there was working hard at their jobs, preparing the ship for the coming jump.  The fleet would be jumping out to carry the Prince and Arch Duke to their next stop.  Moving from compartment to compartment, Jocelynn became aware of fewer than a handful of active psions on the crew who worked alongside crew mates who were possibly ignorant of the special talent those naval members had.  Done aboard that ship, they brought Jocelynn back to their shuttle and moved on.

They next went to one of the other battle cruisers to do the same thing.  And, with the many hundreds of crew, there were less than a handful more psions.  Added to that, Jocelynn decided there had to be more psions working aboard who were asleep and worked the cruiser's night shift.  Not long after they left the second cruiser, that fleet started to move off in formation headed towards the jump limit.  On their course, they visited a few smaller vessels and some stations to find at least one psion aboard and active.  Before Jocelynn could decide there were this many psions in every system, they pointed out there was a reason for the gathering in the system at the moment, and most of these psions would soon be reassigned back to where they came from or further along the line of Lucan's fleet.

When Jocelynn asked if they were all additional security or had other jobs, she was told they worked in fields where their talents benefit their services.  Jocelynn was fascinated by everything she learned and said she hoped someday to use her talents to serve.  She was told that she would if her talents became needed, the same as others in her situation.  Jocelynn asked if the Prince and Arch Duke were aware of the special crew and were told they were.  Not by name and job, but as a class of service person.  Jocelynn was also willing to admit that, if the Prince and Arch Duke could trust them, she could also trust them even more.  Jocelynn was reminded that by "trusting them" she was also trusting herself, because she was "one of them".

In the hours Jocelynn spent traveling from place to place, Mikah and Sekea worked at sequencing the samples.  As it neared lunch time, Mikah finished her work and could provide an exact genetic read on each sample.  When she gave them back to the navy med-techs, she was certain they'd be able to use them to connect disparate "parts" to the various remains they had.  It would give them a more complete record of what happened to some of the attackers while also allowing proper identification of those they didn't yet have names for.  The working theory was that all five attackers had been crew aboard Kennot's ship.  With their work done, they all gathered aboard the shuttle and returned downwell.  Colinne was pleased with her chance to experience the ship even if the vessel's main computer was powered down.

Down on the planet, Fesic and Aiden had gone to the gym and Aiden had asked about a pool, at that facility or elsewhere.  There were no pools that they knew of, and the best they could offer was to cut a hole in the ice-crust so Aiden could swim in the world's near-frozen under-ocean.  Aiden rejected that immediately and firmly.  After their workouts, both men returned to the berth where Aiden did some personal stent work because all the others with stents were off elsewhere.  Fesic called the broker and set up to have him come to the berth and take the pictures he needed to get the auctions started.  Then, while the broker was on his way, Fesic moved the gear into place and set up lighting to help the man take the images he'd need.

Fesic then spent time with the broker, who got his images and promised Fesic the auctions would be up by the end of the afternoon, and set to run for five days.  He also promised a front end detector that would read the network addresses from which each contact came and vet them by polity.  So, Imperial addresses would pass through while clan-based network addresses would trigger a "pay to play" entrance.  On top of that, any bids send from Clan Erskin would be dumped without consideration.  There would be other identifier code in the software to fine tune who the bidder was and which would increase prices for Clans like Erskin or Arnstruther.

As the master of the auctions, Fesic would also have to decide what he would do if someone from Clan Erskin did place the highest bid on an item?  That was because he would have to post the current high bid, and if that figure was less than the Erskin bid, they would know the auction was rigged against them.  But, he was happy to deal with that if it happened.  Fesic also had the man stipulate in the auctions that the buyer would have to come pick up their items on the Imperial Navy base, because he was sure they could set that up when the time came.  After that, he left the man to his original instructions: "You can do what you think it best".  So, Fesic mandated no other requirements, like a reserve or specific starting bid.

On the naval base, Mikah had Sekea return to the berth while she took Aali and Colinne to join her on a tour of Kennot's ship.  When they were joined by the base commander and some of his officers, they were driven out to the part of the port harbor where the ship was cordoned off.  They first did a slow "ride around" and Mikah could see where some kind of light missiles had been used.  And some of those had hit the ship after missing their intended targets.  The base commander told them the ship would be sold at auction and the repairs would be an added expense for anyone who bought it.  They could see the damage was mostly to the ship's after sections, meaning internal damage could be to the ship's engineering systems.

Stepping off the wheeled vehicles, the base commander said the ship and its contents had been seized officially.  So, it and everything aboard were the property of the Imperial Navy.  Looking the ship over, it looked like a standard long-haul far trader, capable of two-parsec jumps.  But, Aali could see things were "off" when they entered into the cargo hold.  They then spoke to one of the naval technicians working on the ship, and he told them the ship had been converted to jump three.  The man added that the ship tanked enough fuel to jump as far as four parsecs, so they had a one parsec emergency supply.  That would help the ship make many "non-standard" jump approaches to a number of systems in the Marches.

Another method of gaining space to re-engineer the ship was that Kennot and his people had scrapped their ship to ship weapons.  This, along with the armory they found aboard the vessel would mean they planned to fight off raiders after they boarded.  One of the other officers with them mentioned that analysis of the logs suggested Kennot had been master of the ship for twelve years, so it was expected they were fairly successful in what they had been doing.  Another officer laughed and said that also seemed to be borne out by what looked like quite extensive records.  Still, the navy techs hadn't gotten through all that data yet, so there was nothing big that was yet revealed.

All Mikah, Colinne and Aali could think of was that the activities supported piracy of a type, and the entire crew would have killed themselves off by keeping such good records of their activities.  The only question was if Adsi had also taken part in their piracy?  Then, the death sentence would be applicable to him too.  When Colinne asked, they were told the techs had recovered the source of all the gear from the Regina's Storm.  It seemed that all came from a buy made from the salvage vessel Sadeid Ig.  Because that ship was now identified, it would be considered in violation of Imperial regulations because they didn't report any drifting hulks related to Imperial Navy ships.  Since the salvager had obviously had contact with either the wreck of the Storm or one of its boats, and not reported it, the ship had been added to a "report and detain" list and could be seized by the navy pending an investigation of the ships activities.

That order was being sent to every Imperial port by x-boat and would have spread to all ports in the Marches in the next few months.  The three woman were considering the ramifications of that when everything stopped.  As they had been moving forward from the cargo bay, they suddenly all saw a rack on one of the walls which had three FGMP class weapons racked into it.  This also suggested there had been as many as three battledress suits to go with those weapons since they couldn't be fired unless the person using them wore that kind of armor.  Continuing their tour past that rack, they saw the ship was packed very full, and had a great deal of equipment the Imperial Navy was unhappy to find.

Where Kennot and the others had planned to sell the goods, if not keeping them, was an interesting question.  And while the techs worked furiously to determine what would now happen to all that gear, others were working to learn which port they planned to sell most of it in?  Then, this very ship would likely be used as a trojan horse, to enter in with all the correct codes.  After that, they'd use newly installed "pop-up" naval weapons to fire on the port's defenses while regular navy attack vessels moved in to capture and secure the place, along with any other ships caught in the port.  Still, the list of gear and source ports and cultures showed Kennot was quite an eclectic collector.

After the middle of the afternoon, Jocelynn was brought to a larger but less menacing cruiser which was on its way out-system like the rest of the Prince's fleet.  Still, it lagged behind the fleet a bit and, as they boarded, Jocelynn saw it was a hospital ship.  Moving through the ship, Jocelynn saw a number of injured being treated and every so often felt that buzz.  She considered people with medical talents would be assigned to this ship.  The team soon brought her to the outside of a treatment compartment where the door was open.  While they stood there, Jocelynn heard some medic's voice asking, "Concentrate on this panel and tell me what you feel?"

Then, at the same time, Jocelynn felt that buzz in her brain while she heard Zimzod say "OK."  As soon as they heard Zimzod's voice, they brought Jocelynn into the treatment room to see Zimzod concentrating on a board a medic was holding.  Seeing Zimzod and feeling the bussing, Jocelynn crossed her arms while a huge smile split her face before she said, "Well, no shit!"  Hearing her voice, Zimzod turned to her and said, "Well, nice to see you too."  Of course, as he did, he stopped concentrating and the buzzing went away, so the conclusion was inescapable.  Accepting the obvious, Jocelynn looked Zimzod over and said, "Huh.  You don't look too much worse."  Of course, he was wearing hospital paper pajamas which covered the massive amount of scars now added to his torso.

When Jocelynn asked him how he felt, Zimzod said he felt like a bag of dog shit, because all the modern wonder drugs he'd experienced still couldn't stop his body complaining against all the insults it had received.  When Jocelynn turned to her team and asked if they were gonna just watch Zimzod do PT, they said they were leaving her with Zimzod.  They also said the rest of her crew would be along soon enough.  They then returned her weapons to her and thanked her for her cooperation before leaving.  After they were gone, Jocelynn sat in a corner so she wouldn't get in the way of Zimzod's PT.

On the port, Mikah and the others had a very interesting tour of Kennot's ship.  There were all manner of things the Navy would take back, and insure went back to environments where they belonged.  And, everything was safely locked down or stored so none of it could be "borrowed" again.  After that, a naval car returned them to their berth about the same time Mikah got a call saying she could come pickup Zimzod if she wanted?  So, she boarded the cutter saying Aiden would fly her to the medical ship and Sekea would come along in case a band aid had to be replaced "or something".  The flight to the medical ship was quick and easy, and they were led to Zimzod's treatment compartment after they docked.  Of course, they were surprised to find him talking to Jocelynn as they walked in.

Seeing Jocelynn Mikah asked, "What the hell are you doing here, Jocelynn?" in a tone of surprise.  Jocelynn could only shrug and say, "This is where they dropped me off."  And, of course that didn't explain who "they" were?  When Mikah asked "Who?" Jocelynn only answered, "The people I was with."  Knowing so much was classified, Jocelynn came up with the excuse, "Well, after the debrief with Adsi and all, they kept me on for some other training and classes and things."  Since they were on a medical ship, Mikah could only hope one of those classes was first aid.  Turning to Zimzod, Mikah asked, "What's the buzz man?" in a not so casual hope to secretly drop a hint.

Of course, Mikah knew what she expected from Zimzod as he answered, "Hey!  I got all these new parts.  Wanna try them out later?"  The others in compartment were glad he didn't try to test them out right then and there.  Jocelynn actually asked if she could leave the compartment before they started.  Zimzod only called back, No, you can watch." as if she'd asked permission.  Hearing that, Jocelynn waved the idea away and made it clear that was something she didn't want to see.  Suddenly afraid of what she might mentally overhear, Jocelynn began to concentrate on shielding her mind in self-defense.

While both Zimzod and Mikah knew neither of them was concentrating, they both suddenly felt a buzzing in the back of their heads.  Turning to look around, they saw Jocelynn was the only one in the compartment who seemed to be concentrating.  As the pair turned to look at her, Jocelynn only winked back before Mikah grunted, "Uh huh.  Great."  Jocelynn then asked, "Do I need to explain anymore?" and Mikah just shot a "nope" at her.  From then, the medical staff helped get Zimzod ready to leave and handed Mikah the brick of PT and treatment instruction crystals and discharge medications.  Then they escorted the crew back to their cutter so they could fly back down to the berth.  That done, the medical cruiser started a more sustained burn to catch up to the rest of the fleet.

When they arrived, Fesic welcomed Zimzod back and asked him if his penile extension was every inch of his expectations.  That got a huge laugh from everyone.  Zimzod laughed and yelled back, "Really?  Well, bend over baby!  It's time."  They all laughed, but soon enough dinner was cooked and people looked to the evening's activities.  Mikah and Zimzod went to her bedroom to pressure test his new parts to see which one's fell off?  Jocelynn decided to practice her mind shield skill and only succeeded in annoying Mikah and Zimzod, since Colinne could simply block her out.  With the gravity turned down in their bedroom and a web deployed, Mikah swung herself to where her comms were stored and sent Colinne a message to shut Jocelynn down.  Colinne answered Mikah that doing that would cost extra.

Still Jocelynn thought she was practicing when she got an object lesson in how little protection she got from the talent currently.  Colinne's voice formed a sentence in her head saying, "The Captain would appreciate it if you stopped practicing."  Given what she knew Mikah and Zimzod were doing, there was a sudden moment of embarrassment when "she" was interrupting them!  Still, Jocelynn went back to armory videos.  Aali decided to relax and watch the news to see what was happening in the wider Imperium.  To her pleasure, she and the crew were not "the news" that night.  A local story covered the beginning of the Iron Buck competition, and the early moves of the various hunters and teams taking part.  There was also a lot of coverage for the attack on the port earlier.  Aali did find it interesting what seemed to have been scrubbed from the news.

While it wasn't related to the attack on the port at all, there was a surprise commendation from the departing Prince and Arch Duke for military units which had apparently cracked a major smuggling ring.  Despite that announcement, there really wasn't any news about the ring, when it was detected or brought down or any other details.  The attack on the starport pointedly didn't make any mention that it was related to the Youkan Debou or any other ship in the port.  The closest connection came when Kennot Watalo and Cenawo Adsi were mentioned as being arrested as smugglers.  Still, that depended on people knowing who either of them were, or what they were related to.

Hearing the news for the first time, Jocelynn was shocked and demanded, "What did I miss?"  Aali joked, "There was this play...  Let me tell you about it."  While the ladies talked, Aiden was considering starting a daily journal, so he could remember things he wanted to write to his father on Craw.  The idea with the journal would be to help him send smaller but more frequent x-mails instead of an epic every year or so.  Sekea worked on his computer skills and Colinne split her time between mapping out the security hacking program and meditation.  Eventually, everyone racked out for the night.

Fitness And Fire Power
     After she'd woken and done her daily routine, Jocelynn wondered if the Marine officer who would have been put in charge of investigating Kennot's ship would let her take part in the investigation.  But, she remembered, her crew had no real legal standing, so she wouldn't be allowed to push her way into the investigation without starting a political fight.  She could have used her right of appearance, to step before Norris' court, if he held one, and begged permission from him to join the investigation.  But, even that would start a fight and the Arch Duke and Prince had left the system.

Figuring the next best thing would be to ask someone who'd been there, Jocelynn looked to see what Aali was doing as the day started.  When she found the engineer and asked her, Aali looked around to see if Zimzod was in earshot before quietly telling Jocelynn about the tour of the ship and things she'd seen.  Especially the FGMP's.  While Aali spoke, Jocelynn got visibly upset about the amount of gear they'd had which came from the Regina's Storm.  Aali talked her down, pointing out that they now knew the name of the salvage ship, and Jocelynn just said she hoped they got what was coming to them.

In Mikah's bedroom, the two had "slept in".  During the night's pillow talk, Mikah had told Zimzod about attacking the house and shooting the bomb.  Zimzod told her that wasn't a bright thing to do, though he didn't really have a leg to stand on thanks to his performance aboard the Cedna and on the port in Tremous Dex.  While they shared time alone, Aiden figured he'd do more for his own personal health.  Instead of planning to be more active and mobile, he decided to look for exercise gear so he could preserve his precious 'read and do nothing' time.  So, Aiden said he was going to InstellArms, and asked if anyone also wanted to go?  Colinne planned to meditate some of the day and then spend more time breaking down the computer hacking software.

When she heard Aiden say he was going to InstellArms, Aali decided she'd go with him.  Sekea also said he wanted to go to InstellArms, but he wanted to rent a shooting range, and do some pell work.  So, where Sekea wanted one thing and Aiden planned for another, they had to talk and decide which?  When Sekea asked the others about taking time to practice with their weapons, Aiden agreed he could use some time with his snub rifle and Aali said she could shoot targets.  Hearing that discussion, Fesic also said he'd like to do some shooting.  With the decisions made, the group organized their weapons and prepared to leave when Zimzod and Mikah finally emerged from their bedroom with him wearing her bathrobe.

Seeing Mikah, Jocelynn asked if it would be possible to go to the ship so they could make a more recent backup of her mental image?  Jocelynn also suggested Zimzod check in with InstellArms to see if they had any modifications in stock to upgrade his battledress.  That wasn't a certain thing because the Count had his people do the work on her suit, so what InstellArms stocked in this system was a question.  Jocelynn also told them all she had plans to get a flamethrower built into her armor too.  Jocelynn also realized she had the grenade launcher installed, but had no grenades to load into it.  A quick check using their network site showed they also didn't sell those kinds of munitions in-system. So, she'd have to fill up on those in Ghandi or elsewhere.

Jocelynn shrugged as she said she hoped someone would have those grenades in Ghandi, and Zimzod said he was sure the local military would.  But, she reminded him, the military wouldn't share or sell to anyone.  Jocelynn also said they wouldn't sell the three FGMP's she'd seen aboard the Youkan Debou.  Saying that, Jocelynn watched Zimzod and could tell the news surprised and excited him, but he also quickly realized they had no way of getting hold of either of those weapons.  They also knew that being as stupid as the presumed crew of Kennot's ship and trying to steal one would only lead to them being burned down in combat.  No matter how many toys you have, you will always be slammed down by equally well armed forces with vastly superior numbers.

When the group of crew got to InstellArms, They made a point that Sekea had been the one who wanted to go shooting, so he would pay for the rental of a target.  With the added pell, they charged him Cr 60, and he unlimbered two of his blades along with his pair of gauss pistols.  Using his gauss pistols, Sekea concentrated on using both pistols on each target he faced, and burn through Cr 500 of ammo.  Aali brought her six-shooter snub pistol, to play with the feel of the weapon, and planned to burn through Cr 200 of ammo and replace that.  Aiden brought his snub rifle, customized gauss pistol and bullpup shotgun.  He planned to burn through Cr 250 per weapon.  Fesic had brought his snub pistol and accelerator rifle, and planned to burn off Cr 500 in ammo.

Before he went shooting, Aiden had wanted to shop for an exercise rig he could use aboard the ship, so his workouts were not hostage to an on-world gym.  When he said so to his concierge, she got him into their cart and drove off to various sections of the facility to show him what they had available.  Aiden's eye was caught by an item they had received as a mis-shipment.  The load of goods had all been from a much higher tech system, and the item he saw was a "gravitic workout system".  The system had a gravitic generator unit which could be powered by any standard fusion powered outlet, like those aboard starships, and one pair each of wrist and ankle cuffs.  The cuffs were made of a specific set of blended materials and the grav generator "only" affected those materials in concert.  So, the unit was advertised to not affect anything else aboard a ship or in a building.

The user would put on the cuffs, and then activate the grav unit.  A crystal provided with the set carried the user guide, which explained what settings went with what exercise routines.  Each pose or activity would have controlled resistance provided by the grav unit.  Additionally, sensors in the cuffs would read bio-data such as heart beat, blood pressure, etc...  Readings went into skin-chemistry changes and more, to protect the user against abuse or medical events.  Still, there was a warning the system could not detect stroke risk, etc... since it wasn't a "full-body" scan.  When Aiden asked what they were asking for the unit, he was told the item was listed at KCr 25, since it was mistakenly shipped to the Denotam system.  In truth, Aiden knew it should have been sold for much more but the people in Denotam really didn't have the money for such luxury goods.  Combat goods?  Yes.  Luxury?  Nope!

Drinks And Discreet Discussions
     Jocelynn was in the common spaces with Mikah and Zimzod when the others left for InstellArms.  Soon after, while they chatted and the couple ate a late breakfast, Colinne came out of her bedroom and wandered over to them.  Seeing just those she'd detected some kind of activity from, including the surprise when Jocelynn returned from her time with the Navy, Colinne made sure they were alone before saying, "We need to talk."  When Jocelynn got a worried look on her face and asked if they were allowed to, Colinne said, "It's just us and the bulkheads unless you've got a recording going?  Jocelynn grumbled, "You never know about Fesic." and Mikah laughed as she said, "That's true."  Nodding, Colinne continued, "I'm guessing you've all been tested."  Without needing to ask about "what", Mikah and Jocelynn both said "Yup" while Zimzod only nodded.  With that, Colinne said, "I think you've all pretty much guessed that I've been quite a bit more than tested."

Hearing that, Jocelynn tried to keep herself from laughing and failed as she said, "Some of us knew that about you."  Colinne reacted to that by looking at Jocelynn and asking, "Excuse me?"  Jocelynn only said, "Like I said, I had a feeling." though she'd never said that to Colinne.  Colinne only nodded and then told them, "At this point, I don't know what they've told you but until they tell me otherwise, I'm supposed to act like you've not been tested."  Mikah verbally stepped up and said, "As far as we know, we're the only ones on the ship who've been tested."  Jocelynn then said, "I don't know how much I'm supposed to tell you, if anything, but one of the training videos they showed me had you in it."  Colinne's face showed she was surprised, but she controlled her voice when she answered, "Hooray for me."

Colinne did say, "You're probably not supposed to tell anyone that, including me."  Jocelynn answered, "Then I won't mention it again." and Colinne said, "If you have questions I can answer, I will.  Jocelynn jumped right on that and said she was glad Colinne had offered and she had a few questions.  First, she asked, "Is it possible to practice things like shielding myself or my 'defense' talent without bothering anybody else?"  Colinne said there was no way to do that, because the shielding they taught the three were just an on/off talent and would let anyone in the neighborhood know you were there.  And the talent to hide their minds isn't a thing one could practice.  Colinne said, "You do it and hope.  And your ability to do it gets stronger as you get trained with other full talents."

"As for real talents", she continued, "You work on them when you are isolated and people can't detect it.  When we're on the ship, and in space, we can work on our abilities and everyone who can feel it will know it."  Jocelynn said she prefer that not happen, because there were people aboard the ship who wouldn't react well to it.  Colinne said they wouldn't feel it, so she'd have to practice in her stateroom, where they couldn't see what she was doing.  Colinne also said she was pretty sure she knew who Jocelynn was referring to.  Colinne also said, "That's why I meditate a lot.  Because I have to recover the energy that I use.  And, if we use too much energy, you will collapse."  Jocelynn asked, "Even if you're using defensive stuff?" and Colinne said, "If you use energy.  And when you reach the bottom of the well..."  She just spread her hands wide in a gesture of, it is what it is."

Jocelynn wasn't happy and admitted she wanted to be able to learn to defend herself, and Colinne asked if they'd trained Jocelynn in any particular talent?  Jocelynn explained the two things she had learned and Colinne repeated those were not talents they could practice.  She also told Jocelynn that she was pretty much at the peak of her current abilities.  She went further to say they wouldn't be able to control those abilities until they learned to control their energy levels.  Nodding, Jocelynn said she wouldn't bring it up again since she now understood that.  Colinne then turned to Mikah and said, "Having me send that message to Jocelynn cost me three hours meditation."  Mikah just smiled and said, "OK.  I'll pay you an extra three hours."  They all laughed and Mikah pointed out, "You know, you could have gotten up and gone over to her to say cut it out.  Then, you could have walked away and she'd have gotten the message."

Colinne agreed but also said it didn't feel like that was what Mikah wanted.  Mikah snapped back, "No.  I didn't care how you did it."  Colinne accepted that, saying "OK" and then mentioned, "But, you could have messaged her yourself and told her to cut it out."  When Mikah said, "I didn't think I could do that." Colinne made a face and said, "With your comms, like you messaged me."  Jocelynn, who thought Colinne's tongue had slipped and she was suggesting Mikah was telepathic had to reel that thought back as she also realized what Colinne meant.  And Jocelynn repeated that she'd not do the same things since she now knew it wouldn't do any good.

Getting past that, Zimzod wanted to eat and go back into the bedroom, but Mikah shot that down.  She even said he was a big boy and could take care of that himself, which got laughs.  Jocelynn asked about creating a new backup of her mental image, and Mikah agreed to take her up to the ship to do that.  Colinne said she wanted to join them, because she wanted to bring some of her gear up and put it in the stateroom they assigned her.  Mikah said she'd fly them and, as they prepared to go, Zimzod said he'd ride along.  On the way to the shipyard, they decided to update Jocelynn, Colinne and Zimzod's mental images.  So, they'd be on the shipyard most of the afternoon.

When they reached the shipyard, they had to spend a good amount of time talking with the team leaders working on the ship.  First, they had to decide if the workers were working on systems that would prevent Mikah using the imaging device?  When they were sure that was OK, they had to work to isolate the med-bay systems so anything they were doing didn't interfere with Mikah's work.  Finally, they got the med-bay systems activated and Mikah got a tour of the newly installed imager device.  When that was done, Jocelynn was the first to lay down for her update.  In the meantime, Zimzod showed Colinne around until it was his turn in the imager.

The one question Colinne had was why they named the ship Upgrade?  They told her about the misjump out of Regina and how they lost the Hotel California.  Still, she said, the new ship was an upgrade compared to the California, so they named it Upgrade.  Colinne just nodded and accepted the explanation.  Having heard snippets of information and bad jokes about the dead guy, Colinne finally got the full story about how Terin died, as well as how Zimzod got all shot up.  And despite the crew blaming everything on Terin, she had to admit his death was his own fault, but Zimzod getting all shot up was Zimzod's fault.

While Mikah worked to back up images, the others had returned from InstellArms to find no one at the berth, and the cutter missing.  Seeing that, Aali sparked her comms and called Mikah to find out they were at the shipyard and wouldn't likely be back until dinner time.  Since they hadn't had lunch, Aali suggested they go somewhere for a mid-afternoon snack.  Considering their options, they went to a bar for drinks and bar food.  Aiden, Aali, Sekea and Fesic spent Cr 20 each for food and drinks.  Aboard the ship, after her backup, Jocelynn checked on Rol and found that the gestation chamber had been connected to alternate power, so it wouldn't fail during the work.

In the bar, the four had ordered appetizers and were relaxing.  The vid was showing news wrapping up the attack on the port.  Some of the spacers there were trying to guess what was so special about that ship that one of the clans would attack the port to get at it?  At their table, the four considered letting the others in on the truth, but didn't want to spill the beans who they were and what their role in events was.  The last thing they wanted was to be swamped with fans, or, worse yet, find that one know-it-all or more would start a fight over their imagined truths.  They did joke that Fesic was with them to get beat up if a fight started.

They decided not to get involved, but still listened in.  Some of the misinformation they heard was people not having listened to the news.  There was also the fact the news hadn't released all the information so, again, they knew more than they, or the authorities, wanted the general public to know.  Finally, they got to the cringeworthy talk when one or two of them started speculating on how hard it would be to sneak in, grab something and run now that security seemed to be backing off.  Sekea suggested they could report them or give them some friendly advice, depending on how nice they wanted to be?  But, they agreed that reporting speculation had no facts and giving them advice might only lead to a fight, so they let things go.

Fesic specifically said they shouldn't act because the spacers were not actually planning to do anything.  Aali reinforced that, and said going over to talk would prove they'd been eavesdropping in the first place.  Finally, they paid their checks and went back to the birth, to find no one had returned.  Relaxing, Aali turned on the vid and tuned to the news, which was still reporting on repeats of the already reported details of the port assault.  Discussion now included the expected charges against a group of spacers, some of whose names were not given.  Fesic checked the auctions the broker had set up and saw they were set to run for five days and had brought in Cr 300 from clan bidders signing up.  One thing he noticed was that no one had signed up from Clan Erskin.

Sekea decided to sit, relax and watch vids after Aali was done with the news.  After the news, Aali jumped back into the reports coming from the workers and androids working on the ship.  Aiden set up his new exercise toy and started trying it out while Fesic went back to his lock pick training.  They worked at those interests until just before dinner, when Mikah let them know she was inbound and preparing to land.  The crew all moved into sealed parts of the berth as the space's doors opened to let the cutter maneuver through the passage ring and float in using grav systems.  After the cargo doors closed and the space re-pressurized, those in the berth came out to greet the others stepping out of the cutter.

Back in the berth, Mikah announced she was hungry and asked who was cooking?  Aali suggested it should be something special since it was Zimzod's first meal back home.  Others agreed even though no one mentioned it was Jocelynn's first meal back too.  Jocelynn was told they'd saved the last of the Ice-Berry Cider for her.  Jocelynn knew she wanted to get more bottles of that, and figured she'd look for that after eating.  That left the question of cooking or going out and they quickly decided to go out.  When it came to "where" they would go, there were several suggestions until Jocelynn suggested going to the Duke's Feasthall again.  They'd been there without Zimzod before her re-education camp, and she'd liked it.

They then started talking it up for Zimzod and told him about the buck steaks which, he immediately dubbed "Butt steaks".  When he was uncertain how good they could be, everyone except Aiden chimed in and Aiden became the butt of a number of jokes about being too cheap to pay the Cr 30 extra for the meat.  They described it as the one real reason to go to the failed tourist site, and Mikah showed him pictures of the place she'd taken.  Soon enough, Zimzod was both on board and hungry enough to take a chance on it.

Getting to the feasthall, the folks there were thrilled because they weren't just celebrities, but they were repeat customers!  When they arrived, as the manager and workers reacted, Mikah introduced Sir Zimzod.  The manager brought out a bottle of wine instead of champagne.  Like the last time they'd eaten there, a number of people showed up "after the fact", and there were more than a who came to greet them at their table while they ate.  Still, Zimzod really did enjoy the iron buck steak and Aiden actually paid the Cr 80 for that meal.  Another thing they did while they ate was poke fun at Aiden's miserly attitude.

When Aiden was asked if he's spring for the iron buck meal, he didn't just accept.  His acceptance speech was an aggrieved whine from a put upon miser compacted into very few words.  Added to that were discussions of his KCr 25 workout system earlier that day.  Zimzod even joked that Aiden had been replaced by an imposter who was willing to spend Aiden's bankroll.  When an attended came to the table, Sekea asked if they carried the ice-berry cider Jocelynn liked so much.  He was told they could send runners to buy a stock of it, but they didn't carry it, so it would cost extra.  Hearing that, Zimzod said they could look for the cider after they finished eating.

The feasthall management did help keeping interruptions to the minimum, and there was no sign of the media.  That was because cameras at the door would only catch visitors in vacc suits, and the feasthall wasn't letting them set up a camera inside.  That meant there could be a reporter or two listening and taking notes, but nothing more.  The meal was good and even Aiden had to admit the iron buck steak was worth the price.  When they were done, and back in their vacc suits, the crew went off looking to stock up on iced-berry cider.  The search went from shop to shop until they found a case that was three quarters full.

When Zimzod asked where the brewery it came from was, he was told it came from a firm in Clan Erskin territory, of all places.  Hearing that, Mikah announced they'd buy the nearly full case, but that was it.  She worried that any order tracked back to them might be laced with poisons or worse.  Zimzod floated the idea of ordering through a third party, like the owner of the shop they were in.  And Fesic suggested trying to get the broker to order a volume of it too.  But they didn't know what volumes were available to buy, and how they were distributed?  They certainly could ask the broker to try and set up a deal for a volume of the cider to ship as cargo, but that volume might not exist.  Of course, if they managed to get a "shipping volume", then they'd have to decide to ship and sell it or keep it in the cargo bay and drink it.

While the shop keeper listened to all the discussion, he realized they really wanted the bottles he had, so he had a chance to make a bit more profit.  Because of that, he told them the price for the nine bottles was Cr 550!  That was Cr 100 more, in scale with what Fesic had paid for the one bottle.  When they complained, he said he was being bought out, and wouldn't be able to sell to his other customers.  There was a bit of back and forth before they agreed to the price.  Hearing the man's argument, Fesic failed his comprehension roll and suggested they just buy eight of the bottles.  He assumed that, since they weren't "buying him out" anymore, the price would go down to the Cr 50/bottle he'd paid in the other shop.  The others had understood the man was just looking to make more profit.

Mikah had realized the man was gonna gouge them no matter what, and said they should just pay what he was asking and move on.  Jocelynn suggested they buy the bottles there, and then have Fesic lead them back to the shop he'd bought the first bottle at.  Zimzod bought the bottles, and said, "See Jocelynn.  Don't say I never do anything for ya."  Jocelynn laughed and said she'd never say that about him.  After they had the case paid for, Jocelynn asked Fesic to lead them to the store where he'd bought the first bottle.  That was a quick enough trip and soon they were outside the shop.

Not wanting to show their hand, like they had in the first shop, only Fesic and Jocelynn went into the shop.  Fesic then asked the shop keeper for a case of the ice-berry cider if he had it.  When the man checked and said he had five bottles left, Jocelynn suggested they buy four of them.  Recognizing Fesic as a return customer, he sold them the bottles for Cr 40 each.  Thanking the man, Jocelynn paid the Cr 160 total and they took the bottles to add to her cache.  Past that, they knew there were likely places that had enough bottles they wanted to almost give it away.  The issue was "finding them", which asked if they wanted to spend the rest of the evening going shop to shop looking to see if anyone in the village had stocks, or they wanted to do something else?  Because, going door to door would be noticed and they'd end up gouged like the first merchant had done.

Eventually, they went back to the berth so Jocelynn could crack open a bottle and share it out.  Those who'd had a sip or two at the party would enjoy it while Zimzod and others who'd not tried it could get a taste.  When they did, there were those who liked it very much and those who loved it like Jocelynn did.  Soon, Jocelynn decided they'd have to keep the remaining bottles for special occasions, and Mikah suggested a toast to those she hadn't gotten to shoot on Terin or Munarshu's birthday.  After that, the crew relaxed and hung out in the berth's common space until it was time to sleep for the night.

A Fast Few Days Of Surprises
     Anyone who watched the news as the day began saw a number of mentions for the Iron Buck competition, because it began that morning.  They'd expected to get the ship back near the 51st day of the year, but now were adding at least a week to that because of the computer operating system replacement.  In general, that would take a week, but the installation team also had to check all the specialty hardware built into the Upgrade.  Ironically, Aali would have to rely heavily on Colinne to help her monitor and check on that work.  So, they'd have the ship back anywhere from the 58th day to the 65th day.  That meant they'd have more spare time on Denotam.  And, after they got the ship back, they'd have to plan out shakedown cruises.

Zimzod suggested they spend some of their time looking for the ice-berry cider.  Other than that, the coming weeks would see Zimzod rocking his physical therapy schedule.  Beyond that, he'd get involved in whatever came up that he felt he could participate in without dragging the team down.  Like Zimzod, Mikah would have to work with Zimzod on PT, but also wanted to "prescribe" Zimzod time on the range, because he'd been out of that game for some time.  When they discussed that, Mikah said he should spend at least three days of the next five doing days of target shooting, and spending around Cr 700 a day.  Mikah also planned to keep up her medical studies.  She also planned to practice with her laser weapons along with her gauss rifle and gauss pistol.  She planned to burn through Cr 2,000 each of the three days she went.

Sekea planned to spend over Cr 1,000 per day and concentrate on his pair of snub pistols.  He also wanted to spend nearly half the time practicing at the pell with two of his blades.  Off the range, he'd keep working on his computer and forgery skills.  Aali planned to keep up checking on the shipyard's work, and keeping notes she felt she needed while things got done.  She also planned to keep up on the news, and expand her morning work outs, part of her morning routine, with walks outside the park bay and between structures.  She'd also take time to relax and work with the crew on their interests.

Aiden planned on spending at least two hours a day working out with his new kit, until he was used to it.  He also wanted to do stent practice and spend over Cr 700 each day in target practice.  Aiden also suggested they find ways to practice zero-g situations and combat skirmishes.  That encouraged Sekea to ask for help checking and testing the vacc suit he was using since he didn't want to rely on his basic skills.  That would normally have been handled by Rol the current "Rol In A Can" just wasn't doing it for people.  So, they had to rely on each other or hire techs from firms like InstellArms.  Aali volunteered to help with that But Sekea chose to take it to InstellArms.

Aiden was also concerned his neural image hadn't been copied in some time, so he wanted to get that done.  Aali also wanted hers done.  Mikah joked about annoying the tech crew despite the fact their mistakes, intentional or not, could cause the crew significant issues.  Still, Mikah said they'd do that the next day.  Fesic wanted to hit the gym every morning and then do lock pick training.  He wanted to go to the range once each week, and planned to burn through Cr 1,000 in ammo each time.  Fesic also planned to manage the auctions the broker had set up and plan for the delivery of each item when it was bought.  Fesic also wanted to speak to the broker about an investment, but this broker was largely involved in trading, not investments.  Still, he set up an appointment on the 50th day of the year to sit down with the gunner and see how he could help.

Jocelynn planned to continue her armory videos and also participate in both the visits to the shooting range and do pell training.  She also asked Sekea if he'd like some independent sparing.  Sekea said he'd like that but they had to set up spaces where people wouldn't walk into swinging blades, not matter how blunt they might be.  Sekea also offered to help Jocelynn with any first aid training she'd like, since she'd just been gifted a first aid kit.  Jocelynn also wanted to have her tattoo worked on, and augmented to fix the damage done when she was shot.  Hearing Sekea and Jocelynn talk about blade training, Aiden said he wanted to get into that too.  Organizing that would demand finding a space to train in, or rent one from InstellArms.

Throughout the days leading to the 49th day of the year, the work and play the crew planned happened more or less as expected.  There was both more and less fallout from the events surrounding Kennot's ship, crew and companions.  Cenawo Adsi had been charged with a great many Imperial charges.  Those were based not only on what they'd found on Kennot's ship computer, but other computers in Cenawo's various computers and electronic systems.  But, most of all, because one of Cenawo Adsi's cargo pods held four deployable nuclear weapons.  That violated one of the very few "Shoot On Sight" laws.  Kennot and his surviving crew, now that their relationship was confirmed, were also all tied to Imperial crimes including treason, piracy and Sophont trafficking and slavery!

The only negotiation left with them was choosing either a painless death or a tortured killing.  The Navy now wanted to know more about a number of these events.  Especially, the sale of sophonts they'd 'acquired' and where those sophonts had been sold.  Especially where it related to Imperial citizens and most especially where some of those citizens may have been active military members or nobility at the time.  Almost all the gear recovered from the various cargo pods and ship were being "reclaimed and reassigned" under the Naval or Marine organizations.  Other equipment would be designated for sale on-world as salvage.  The ship would also be sold "as is", and needing a good deal of repair at auction.  And the recovered battledress suits would be sold as salvage at auction, after being transported to another base in another Imperial solar system.  That last, to prevent it being sold to any clan on-world.

Settling Up Again
     After breakfast, but before they could divide up, the port called for Mikah.  As always, the call was both apologetic and exploratory.  They told Mikah the ship's payment for their berth had run out and they needed to tell the port what they intended to do?  Were they planning to leave on that day, move to another port or extend the berth rental?  Mikah chose to renew the berth rental for two more weeks, charging Cr 2,000.  After that, the only item they were watching for was the end of the auction for the hyper-arctic gear.  They kept the collapsable emergency shelter(10x10x10), Portable fusion plant/heating unit and 2 wheel-mounted ice cutters.  That ate three tons of cargo space in their bay.

The other items they offered in auction and the auctions ended in the afternoon of the day:
  The snow cat had a book value of Cr 45,000 if bought on any world from InstellArms.  On Denotam, it could be sold for almost double that value to a clan buyer, but none of the clans bid on it.  That left the highest Imperial bid of Cr 45,500.
  Each of the Hazardous environment suits would sell from the books for KCr 80.  On Denotam, they were known to sell for..."much more".  Three were sold at book value or ten percent above book to Imperial buyers.  Another sold for 120%.  Clan buyers bought two of the remaining three for 150% and 200%.  Two of the densometers sold for 110% and 170% to clan bidders.  the last one had to be sold for 90%.  So the sales were:

Sale results: Gross Take: Cr 804,800, After paying the broker: Cr 643,840.
    Bidding Sign Up charge: Cr 300
    Snow Cat 111% of book: Cr 45,500
    Hazardous Env Suit 110% of Book: Cr 88,000
    Hazardous Env Suit 110% of book: Cr 88,000
    Hazardous Env Suit 200% of book: Cr 160,000
    Hazardous Env Suit 100% of book: Cr 80,000
    Hazardous Env Suit 100% of book: Cr 80,000
    Hazardous Env Suit 120% of book: Cr 96,000
    Hazardous Env Suit 150% of book: Cr 120,000
    Hazardous Env Suit 100% of book: Cr 10,000
    Densometer 90% of book: Cr 9,000
    Densometer 110% of book: Cr 11,000
    Densometer 170% of book: Cr 17,000

That meant the crew could divide up the Cr 643,840 according to the formula the crew agreed to.  So, the ship's funds got 30% off the top.  The Cr 450,688 that was left was split evenly between the crew for Cr 50,076 each, with the Cr 4 remainder going to the ship.  Everyone was pleased with that.  Especially Colinne, who very nearly doubled her finances.  The only person who's spent enough to make a dent in that was Aiden, who still made a profit of more than 50% of the income.

Where everyone is at the end of the session:
     Everyone but Rol: In the berth at 3pm in the afternoon
     Rol: 5 Weeks To Decant

Next: Fun With New Toys And Embezzlement