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Last Updated     April 25 2024
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Rushing To An Anticlimax

A Pause For Your Shopping Pleasure
     Not long after the crew got up and rode to the InstellArms simulations facility, the crew were reviewing their performance and disappointments in the first of three simulations.  While they talked about issues and improvements, Aali reminded them they could ask the InstellArms people for new items to buy, or test the value of in the simulations.  The various concierges eagerly agreed they could help and stepped up to earn commissions "helping" the crew with new gear.

When Aali asked about reconnaissance drones, her concierge asked what they hoped the drones would be able to do?  Aali first said they should hover, or move using anti-grav generators.  She also said it should operate using multiple visual and audio modes.  She also wanted the drone or drones to be triggered whenever they captured movement or new sounds within their range.  She also wanted them to be remote-piloted, but her words faded as she imagined the modes she wanted to ask for.  Of course, InstellArms was ready and willing to step up and offer anything and everything they could to drain the accounts of their customers.

Aali's concierge quickly stepped up and offered a device called a 'Sensor ball'.  That came in two parts.  The sensor ball itself, and a wrist-worn remote control bracer.  The two-inch radius ball was anti-grav propelled, and could be directly managed using the controller.  It could also follow a pre-programmed set of mission orders coded into the ball from the wrist unit or a linked computer.  Anyone with the proper stent skills could connect the controller using a comm dot, and manage the unit mentally.  But Colinne was the only member of the crew that skilled with her stent.  The sensor balls had both audio and video acuity, and heat-based sensors.  Those were very much valued in the cold environment of Denotam.

Each unit could be bought for Cr 15,000 if they were interested?  While the others were silent, Aali said she felt it was worth the cost to buy a couple of them.  Hearing that, Sekea asked how capable they would be in detecting holographic illusions?  He was told they could use their micro-LIDAR sensors to detect an "actual morphology" which didn't match the visual presentation, but outside of that, defeating holographic camouflage was largely up to the sophont viewers.

Despite the niche usage issue Sekea worried about, Aali liked the drones beyond combat uses.  She also considered the modes and abilities and thought they could help her better monitor the engineering spaces.  She especially remembered when Munarshu had been working in the jump compartment aboard the Hotel California when they'd been hit in combat.  She was so busy with the maneuver and power systems she didn't know he'd been wounded until she could step away from her panel and look for him.  Then, she saw he'd been badly injured.  A drone would have let her see that immediately.  So, she wanted a pair of the drones for herself if no one else stepped up.

Aali also knew she had a drone already, which was quite capable of handling many of the missions she might find for it, but that used "fan-based" propulsion.  Aali felt these were more compact and the grav-propulsion would serve her better getting into small holes to investigate damage to the ship's systems.  Especially in airless environments.  That, especially, drove Aali to step up and buy two of the units while the others just nodded.

That decided, one small team of technicians started coding the two new drones into the crew's equipment list to use in the next simulation.  Aali's concierge also taught her how to tie both drones to a single wrist bracer, so she only needed one unit.  While that was done, Aiden started wondering about the five drones in Rol's spy box, which had sat literally ignored in the ship's locker for years.  Because he had the unit model numbers, thanks to a recent search through the box, he asked about the drones.  One drone was a "high end" unit while the other four were low end devices.

The better of the units was anti-grav propelled and allowed for poly-vis and poly-sound data collection which could be broadcast to configured displays.  The low end units were fan-driven, and all five were controlled by a wrist or belt unit.  What Aiden worried about most was learning to control them, since he'd not be sitting in a cockpit seeing everything he needed to make flight and course decisions?  The higher end unit had in-built software to prevent accidental collisions and other issues.

The sensors and programming provided for an interactive "expert" application which would spark up if the unit entered conditions which matched a large list of hazard conditions.  The interactive application would work with the user to prevent accidents the sophont operator didn't realize they were driving the drone into.  Asking advice on who should pilot the drones, the concierge said a user should be intelligent enough to know what they were doing, smart enough to understand flight conditions and how they change, and be dexterous enough with their fingers to manage the controls on the remote well.  Nodding, Aiden had them enter those drones into the simulation equipment list for use in the next sim.

After deciding that, the crew talked about who should manage the drones?  Aali already had two drones of her own to manage, and everyone agreed Colinne would likely be the best of the crew to manage one or more drones.  Aiden suggested they should split the drones between at least two people and suggested those be in separate fire teams too.  When Jocelynn said she could manage some drones, Aiden mansplained right over her words that she'd be on point and "he felt" that made her and Zimzod bad choices for drone operation.  Aiden was then put in his place as he was told the battle computers in their battle dress rigs could help them, which made them much better choices to manage drones.

Stepping in to reduce tensions, Aali asked if Rol had ever set them up with comm dots and was told he hadn't.  But, she was also told that would be easy to do if someone had the spare comm dots.  And, that was a much harder qualification for most of the crew.  They then shifted from "who" to "how many" and Aiden admitted they shouldn't bring in all seven of the drones.  When Aali asked if they wanted to only bring in the new ones she'd bought or the old ones from Rol's box, Aiden recommended some of each, to see how well each type worked?  Agreeing on that, they were back to "who" when Mikah said she could take on some drones.

Zimzod said he'd tie one of Rol's low end drones to his battle computer and set it to hover above and just behind him until it got new orders.  But, she also reminded them she'd have other work to do "if somebody shot someone else in the back" and have to hand her drones off.  Colinne said she'd take on a drone if needed to.  She was told she'd be one of the best members of the crew to handle the work.  Especially given her skills with her stent.  When Aali suggested Colinne manage three, Aiden asked, "Simultaneously?" in a shocked tone.  Aali pointed out Colinne could use one drone actively while keeping the other two orbiting above her in reserve.  Then, swap in another if the lead drone is taken out or damaged.

When Colinne liked that idea, they gave her the high end drone and two low end units from Rol's box.  Along with the two new drones Aali bought, they would have a total of six drones "in the air" with the operators choosing which to use actively over the simulation.  Done with that, Aiden also wanted a lanyard to connect his "mirror stick" to his armor, so he could drop the rod after peeking around a corner without losing it on the floor.  His concierge told him they could sell him an item like that for Cr 1.  The item was a flexible polyweave strand with catches that would "stick" to his armor and the rod.

While they had the programming team add that to the sim-equipment list, Aiden also said he wanted to buy another set of comm dots.  Checking the stock listings, his concierge said she could sell him a set for Cr 3,000.  Aiden liked that price and paid for the set, and asked for that to also be programmed into the sim.  When the set were delivered, he had the techs help him set the muxes to operate in tandem, so he could cross all data over all 20 comm dots.  And, only one of the 20 dots had to be on his comms to broadcast all data out to the rest of the crew.

Done with the electronics, Aiden asked about getting smoke, flash bang and high explosive grenades, plus standard grenades?  Aiden was told a market for smoke grenades didn't exist on Denotam, so they didn't have any in stock.  That was especially true since the local Imperial authorities frowned on them supplying the clans with combat gear and the military brought in their own.  It was a small laugh when the InstellArms people groused about the open secret that smugglers kept the clans well enough supplied.  Despite the lack of smokes, they had limited amounts of high explosives and flash bangs to serve the iron buck hunting market.

When Aiden asked if they could program grenades into the sim, with two per person, the techs said they would do that.  Zimzod wanted three flash bangs.  Hearing that, Mikah said said everyone should be armed with two HE grenades.  Since the concierges also said they had six high explosive grenades to sell, and Jocelynn said she wanted to buy some of them, Sekea said he did too.  Aiden also wanted some, so the six were split 'two each', for Cr 500 each.  Aiden then asked about flash bangs and the concierges said they had 11 of those for sale at Cr 50 each.  When it came to the simulation, Aiden suggested everyone get one flash bang each, and Jocelynn said they should have two.

With those programmed in, Sekea asked if they had gas grenades like tear gas, morph, and other affects?  He was told, bluntly, that those types of grenades could not legally be sold to their crew.  It was also mentioned that, where the population were most often in vacc suits, that type of grenade would be useless.  When Sekea persisted, and asked if they could be programmed into the simulations, the InstellArms people eagerly said, "Sure!"  Of course, they were looking forward to how the crew would try to use them, since the opposing forces would be in vacc suits or sealed armor.  So, gas grenades "should be" useless.  When no one else wanted a gas grenade, Sekea asked to have one programmed in for himself.

Hearing Sekea ask about thegas grenades, Zimzod joked, "I'll make them cry when I shoot them." and got laughs.  Jocelynn said she wanted to buy five of the available flash bangs, and Aiden bought three of them.  Aali also asked the InstellArms people to program two of her EMP grenades into the sim, which they did.  Outside grenades, Sekea asked about holographic camouflage the team could use?  The team from InstellArms pointed out the reasons that wouldn't work as a mobile defense system.

Buying Tickets And Toys For The Ride
     When Jocelynn asked about mounting a shoulder cannon on her armor, they explained that would take longer than just programming the weapon in.  They'd have to teach her how to use such a weapon.  They also pointed out the weapon would draw more power from the suit, where she already had add-ons threatening her battery storage.  While Jocelynn had that chat with the techs, the others started talking about organizing their teams.  Some suggested it wasn't needed to break up the crew, but others said it would be good to have separate teams set up in advance.  Aali pointed out they didn't want to have to figure out who would do what after they were being shot at.

They also had to decide which scenario they'd try, and Mikah suggested they "capture the ship".  Agreeing with that, Zimzod and Jocelynn, their ground combat leaders, chose teams.  Zimzod chose Mikah, Sekea and Aali while Jocelynn chose Colinne, Aiden and Fesic.  Aiden and Fesic were a package deal, because neither had Zero-g combat skill.  Aiden had a hunting saddle which could connect to their surroundings and hold him in place.  And Fesic could tether to Aiden to keep stable.  While they organized, the techs set up the scenario.

That would take place aboard an 4,000 dTon Leviathan class freight cruiser.  Those who were part of the crew in Equus remembered the Sohturn Behemoth, and the La Belle armored bears.  They also remembered that was the mission Aiden had died on, though Aiden had to be cloned and only knew what they'd told him about the mission.  Aboard the simulated ship, the fusion core would be operational but all the other systems would be off-line with the computer on stand by.  Realizing this would happen in simulated space, Colinne accepted that "now" was the time to buy a vacc suit.  So that when something like this happened in the future, she'd have the gear.  So, Colinne started working with some of the InstellArms techs and her concierge.

A review of the ship's layout included the Bridge and main computer control, on B Deck, and the upper and lower drive rooms on decks D and C.  H deck had the auxiliary bridge.  While the main bridge and computer rooms were prize locations, they had Aali.  She told them they'd need to get to the ship's engineering compartments to get her system's started.  With that targeted, they had to decide where and how to force their way aboard the ship?  They had a brief discussion of the electronic lock pick software, but realized they'd have to share it with the InstellArms crew to have them code it into the simulation.  Of course, they knew that after anyone from InstellArms learned of the software, they'd snatch it, let the secret out and market it.

Deciding not to share their "secret", they asked the InstellArms techs for any software solution they might have?  The techs "very innocently" suggested that no one should have, or be working on, software that could subvert Imperial Naval security.  Sekea was disappointed with that answer, but realized there was little he could see as leverage to change their minds.  Especially when admitting to having such software could be admitting to Imperial crimes.  Considering a tack which might give him a chance, Sekea asked about the idea that InstellArms could help them with any hacking codes used for Imperial Search and Rescue operations.

The facility team lead explained to them all that such a system was also restricted to Imperial services.  Meaning he was out of luck.  That meant they'd have to try things the hard way after deciding where to try and breach the ship?  Looking over the options, Zimzod could see that any portal they'd use had an air-lock construction.  So, he'd have to use two breaching charges no matter where they tried.  Seeinging that, Zimzod asked InstellArms to equip him and Jocelynn with two breaching charges each.  He also wanted another member of each team equipped with a spare charge.

Sekea pointed out they'd void the ship if they used breaching charges, and not be able to activate life support.  He also said they'd cause vibrations the other team would feel if they used the charges.  So, he asked if there might be other ways of getting into the ship?  As for their over-all strategy, Sekea warned they might hit engineering and restart the ship only to have the other team take the bridge and "steal the ship out from under them."  Sekea finished his suggestions by saying they should split the crew with one team taking over the ship's engineering and the other heading for the bridge.

After he'd spoken his piece, Sekea was reminded they could lock out other stations if they had control of the engineering systems.  So, they'd certainly have to fight if the other team also wanted to take engineering, but they could lock them out if they went for the bridge.  Having heard the disagreement over depressurizing the ship, members of the InstellArms team offered to sell them a portable airlock.  That would let them seal the unit over a lock or hatch, then blow that while still being able to seal the environment.

Mikah suggested they see if a port-a-lock could be simulated, to see how well it worked, and Sekea then asked the concierge.  That woman, who had been smiling brightly in hopes they'd just buy the unit and explode her monthly commission, was smiling less brightly as she said they could do that.  And, the crew had to consider the large area of tonnage they'd lose in their cargo bay if they did buy an actual lock with the size to cover the freighter's cargo hatch.  Mikah and Sekea both said they'd love to try it before buying it, with no real intention to waste the millions of credits or cargo space on a real portable lock.

Accepting the fact they wouldn't have a software solution to open the lock, Sekea pushed for an "energy cutting" solution.  But, they also knew that using energy solutions would take a large amount of time which they'd be ceding to the enemy team.  That meant that if the other team used a breaching charge, they'd have a significant advantage.  In the end, Sekea suggested they use thermite to try and burn through the plates.  When they asked about that, the InstellArms teams were happy to tell them thermite wouldn't work.  Despite that, they did have a kit which used extreme oxidants and would burn hotter, to actually cut the plating.

The available kits were "Burn Gel(Breacher)": For cutting through any metal or composite:
      This was a powerful cutting agent comprised of the separate components, Xenon difluoride in amounts that wouldn't be
      completely burned away, and Lithium metal 5 nm nanoparticles.  These components were encapsulated in a high viscosity
      gel of Lithium Fluoride which suspended both elements so they could be dispensed onto a surface using an applicator which
      appeared to look like a common caulk gun.

    After the product was applied to a surface and activated, it would achieve heat to 2,000 deg C, and release the nanoparticles.
      That let them react with each other.  The heat of this reaction causes a rapid chain reaction causing all the product applied
      to undergo decomposition.

    That would release a large amount of heat, gas(Xenon), and the powerful oxidant 'mono atomic fluorine' (XeF+ and F2) along with
      the other fluorinated oxidizer, rapidly reacting with the substrate, oxidizing it.  The heat and release of gas would have the effect of
      "blowing away" the surface of the target material as oxidized material or molten metal, to cause a "cut" in any material.
    This should be activated remotely since the reaction is very violent.  In a vacuum and/or zero G, it will project molten material and
      oxidized material away from the surface where it can damage vacc suits, armor and even protected environment suits.
    Alternate uses: It can also be used to quickly and silently destroy electronic equipment or other devices on a ship or vehicle, disabling
      them.  Or Spiking a gun emplacement or turret.

    Burn Gel can also be used in an atmosphere or gravity field with the same danger of molten and oxidized material being projected out,
      possibly promoting fires and fluorine gas or other poisons in an oxygenated atmosphere.

    It is designed to be activated remotely, by feeding electronic power to it from the "Igniter" box(Included with the dispenser), although
      firing a laser weapon can ignite the gel at need.  The Igniter has an in-built timer setting and can be activated remotely by radio.

    Once the product's dispenser applicator seal is breached, it can be resealed with a cap, although its shelf life is impacted.  An unused
      dispenser should be disposed of after 2 years, if not used.
    Sealed or resealed, it can become dangerous the longer it is kept, and resealed dispensers should not be kept longer than three months.
      The dispenser should be kept in a cool dry place, and a note taken of its expected viable shelf life.
    Dispose of any unused portion after the shelf life times above are expended.

The concierges were also quick to mention they also had a second gel, which was used for emergency repairs in the field:
  Sealing Gel: For use to burn a sealing between any metal or composite
    This product is comprised of the powerful oxidant Silver difluoride and an equivalent of Lithium metal 5 nm nanoparticles encapsulated
      in a high viscosity gel containing lithium fluoride in 5 nm nanoparticles that suspends both elements.  This is sold in a dispenser appearing
      much like a caulk gun, from which it can be applied over a cracked metal surface to be repaired.  In this instance, the redox reaction only
      releases high amounts of heat with no gas evolution.  That melts the cracked surface, allowing it to flow and seal a breach.  This is
      only certified for field repairs on an emergency basis, when time and other resources are not available for more thorough repairs.
    As with Burn Gel, the product applicator can be resealed with a cap, but doing so seriously reduces the shelf life(3 Months), and it will
      become dangerous the longer it is kept.
    Even with the dispenser seal intact it should be kept in a cool dry place, and a note taken of its expected viable shelf life(2 years), and
      disposed of after this shelf life is expended, even if not used.

Mikah was impressed enough with the idea that they also ordered a "kit" for the Upgrade though Sekea warned that the kit could spontaneously combust so it had to be carefully stored.  Mikah joked about putting it in Fesic's stateroom and the other's laughed.  Still, they bought two kits for Cr 1,500 each, paid from ship's funds.  After that, the techs asked the crew about anything else they already owned which they'd like to add to their kit since they'd decided on the scenario type they wanted to face.

Aali had already mentioned her two EMP grenades despite the fact none of the others were happy with the idea.  She also had them feed in her hand-comp and engineering, electronic and compact tool kits.  Added to that, she had control of the two drones she'd bought.  Aiden had them add in his combat kit with one clip ball and one of HE for his snub pistol.  He also had his gauss pistol with two magazines.  He also brought his hunting saddle, because the drones on the ends of the stabilization cords would automatically seek holding points.  When they came to Colinne, she'd already worked out an order for a vacc suit much like the one Sekea had recently bought.  That would be delivered the next day, and had less features, bells and whistles than Sekea's.

Her suit had self-sealing skin, a 48-hour PLSS, and 270 deg helmet with visor(with .5 mile night-vision telescopic) and HUD, and cost her Cr 32,000.  Colinne also asked them to program combat armor into the simulator for her, so she could have experience in that.  Like the previous simulation, she had her gauss rifle and lone magazine with her, along with her gauss pistol and five magazines.  She also had her dagger strapped to the armor, and they programmed in her wearing a set of executive armor.  Colinne also made sure she had her hand computer.

She also added her auto-grapnel gun and first aid kit, along with her machete.  Colinne was also tasked to handle three of the drones from Rol's box.  Thanks to her skills, she was able to tie all three into a single wrist controller.  When they talked about burning into the cargo hatch, Aali suggested Colinne also step up, to help her with the kit and be ready with her drones.  Jocelynn was happy with the same kit she'd used in the first simulation, after they'd added their grenades.  Mikah was also happy with what she had.  Sekea had them simulate in his vacc suit to get more experience using it.  Zimzod swapped his pistols out for pain and misery, and added his auto-shotgun.  For that, he added fifty round drums of HE, HEAP and a drum of 00 buck.

Lights, Cameras and Action
     With that, the crew were ready to move into position to "enter the simulator."  Moving up, Aiden asked about any in-built defensive systems they could use.  He was told there were standard anti-hijack and counter-border systems that could be activated.  But, he was also told they'd have to get the systems powered up and then Colinne would have to get into the computer "brains" for the systems and configure them so the anti-h and Counter-b systems didn't attack them too.  So, that was not a short term idea.

The simulation began with the entire crew grasping a "grabber ring" that was placed around the outside of the airlock hatch.  When the lights and gravity went away, they found themselves hanging outside the portable airlock, which had been programmed to be sealed to the freighter's cargo hatch.  Aali was right next to the controls for the portable lock, and was able to open that hatch.  Looking into the space, they saw that part of the crew would have to wait until they'd defeated the outer hatch of the ship's lock, at the least.  So, when the portable hatch was open, Aali, Colinne, Zimzod, Jocelynn and Mikah moved in and closed the hatch behind them.

Moving up to look for panels, it took the ladies nearly 30 seconds before Aali found a panel and pointed it out to Colinne.  After examining the port, Colinne decided to try and use her stent to reach out to the panel, because it was powered up.  "Feeling" what she could reach of the device, Colinne realized it was a complex device.  She felt she could work it through her stent if she had the time to figure the panel out, but knew they were racing against the other team.  So, Colinne backed her mind out and told Aali she'd work with the engineer to get the lock hatch open.

While they worked, Colinne also took some time to try and "sense" herself and Aali, and found herself blocked by an anti-psi field.  That was just like the first simulation, so Colinne could say it was certainly an intentional decision made by InstellArms to do that.  And, it appeared a standard precaution they took, though she doubted the system they had could simulate a "psionic level" even if they wanted.  Still, Colinne decided she'd find a chance after the simulation and let Mikah, Zimzod and Jocelynn know what she'd learned.  Especially since she had no idea why InstellArms might do that?

It was about ninety seconds into the simulation when the crew got their first hint of intelligence on the other team.  That came through the hull of the ship and portable airlock, as everyone felt a shudder coming through their hands.  Mikah immediately muttered, "Somebody used a breaching charge" over the team's comms.  Aali very dryly joked, "Or, they've already reached the engineering systems, started them all up and we're all about to die."  Almost right after that, Aali and Colinne were able to get the hatch control panel working and found it wasn't locked to start with!

Aali happily announced that to the others while they started opening the ship's outer airlock hatch.  The cargo space inside that would be enough to fit the entire crew and more, so they also opened the portable lock hatch and let the others in.  They left the portable lock hatch open, because there was no need to close it.  As soon as they got into the cargo lock, Aali and Colinne moved to the next control panel, which was more obvious.  While the rest of the crew moved into the airlock, Aali was able to confirm the inner airlock was not secured either.  So, they could start opening the inner hatch as soon as they closed the ship's outer lock.

That would put them in the main cargo bay, which was open to D and E decks.  Aft of the cargo bay, they'd have to get to the center of the aft bay bulkhead, where they'd find an IRIS valve.  Getting through that, they'd cross into a common space flanked by entrances to crew staterooms to either side.  Continuing aft through that space, they'd come to another IRIS valve.  Through that would be the "circulation space" just forward of the lower drive room.  This was one of the key compartments from which the ship's engineering was managed.  So, after opening the air lock, they'd have to start moving aft while also guarding their asses, as they rushed towards the target.

Adding to the haste, they had no idea where the other crew was?  Or, what their objectives and tactics were?  If they were also headed for the same compartments, the narrow companionways might become bloody battlefields.  All they currently knew is that there had been "an explosion" aboard.  While it was assumed to have been a breaching charge, no one had paused to do the math and say "Only one breaching charge?"  That because Zimzod had looked over the ship's configurations and all paths into the ship would have required defeating "two" hatches.  So, they may have run into one hatch that was locked.  Or, "something else" happened, with no evidence suggesting what that "something else" was?

In the cargo bay, Zimzod first visually scanned the space, switching through all the visual modes his HUD gave him, and called it clear.  He then took point with Sekea, Colinne and Mikah in that order.  Entering the cargo bay, Zimzod had ordered Jocelynn's team to cover the forward side of the bay while they organized.  After Zimzod's team begam moving to the IRIS valve, Jocelynn ordered her team to remain spread ut at first, guarding their rear.    Reaching the valve, like every other portal they'd reached so far, the system was on "stand by", but powered up.  And it wasn't secured.  After the first team got through the valve, Jocelynn had her people follow them while she covered their six.

Sekea asked if finding the valves unlocked was normal, or suggested someone else had control of the hatches and valves?  He was told that all the portals could be left on standby in any condition desired.  So, it could well have been set that way by the simulation, or could be controlled by someone.  Since they had no idea what the other team was doing, they couldn't tell one way or the other.  "Normally", a ship found drifting in space was usually power-dead, with her batteries drained.  So, while it was unusual there was battery power to all the hatches and valves, nothing could be read from that.  Added to the other issues they faced, neither Aiden or Fesic had zero-g skills.

Aiden had brought the hunting saddle to deal with that.  Still, he was finding did slow him down a bit in null grav.  Each time he moved, he had to make a "leap" to where he wanted to end up.  That was always a bit dangerous, because he really had no skill in making his jump a "controlled" leap.  And when he got to where he wanted to be, he had to hope he could grab onto something to stop him so he could activate the saddle.  If he missed, his only options were to wait until he hit something or activate the saddle and see if it could grab onto something with hard enough of a seal to stop and hold him.  Added to that, Fesic had no skill or grav-assist equipment, so he had to tether to another member of the crew.

When Fesic suggested he tether himself to Jocelynn, she said, "Hell no, he's not!"  That was because she expected to have to jump into the nastiest firefights they'd face, and she didn't want him bouncing around uncontrolled as she dove into and fought through all the situations they'd face.  He'd certainly be no more than an uncontrolled obstruction and an added weight she'd have to deal with in her maneuvers.  Colinne refused him for similar reasons, because she had her jobs which included managing some of the team's drones.  So, she didn't need to have to control him too.

That left him tethered to Aiden, making the pilot's "leaps" that much harder to control.  soon enough, everyone was in position and Zimzod activated the IRIS valve with his weapon ready.  Zimzod had taken the left side of the valve to aim into the right side of the space.  Across from him, Sekea had his weapon covering the compartment's right side.  What they saw looked like a crew common space, lined left and right with the entrances to staterooms.  There was also a small two-man lift that could drop them down to C Deck at least.

Seeing no enemy troopers, Zimzod ordered his team to enter the space, kick open the doors and clear all the connected compartments.  Zimzod made a leap across the space to reach and check the most remote compartments.  Everything they found was 'as expected'.  The aft bulkhead of that compartment were taken up by an enclosed common fresher and an open space fronting on another IRIS valve.  When Zimzod had given the order to check the compartments, Jocelynn joked, "Check your pillow cases" and the veterans on the crew laughed.

When Aali asked if they wanted to take the time to check the staterooms, Zimzod said they should do it right every time, because it would become automatic.  And, very quickly, they cleared the spaces and started moving aft, to the next valve.  Behind Zimzod's team, Jocelynn ordered her people into the compartment and was the last in.  Before Jocelynn's team got in and the valve was sealed, Aali tasked one of her drones to stay in the cargo bay, hovering "above" the valve as an observing post.  Closing the valve behind her, Jocelynn locked the portal just in case.  While that happened, an alarm started to blare from the ship's public systems.

Those who'd had experiences on civilian ships, as well as Marine or Naval training, knew the alarm was a "Minor alarm" tone.  That word was spread to the rest of the crew.  The meat of the alarm was that some part of the ship's forward sections had decompressed.  They couldn't get any more information without getting to either an Engineering or Bridge station.  What the crew couldn't know was what the other team was doing?  The initial shudder they'd felt when they were opening the cargo lock was an explosion the other team had caused.  That computer-generated team had "made the assumption" all the ship's hatches and valves would be locked.

Because of that, the team had tried to hack their way into one of the freighter’s escape pods on D Deck.  While none of them had been hurt, they failed, causing a minor explosion, which had made the ship shudder.  Now, they'd finally forced their way into that deck's capsule ready room.  But that was done at the cost of burning through the escape pod, fore and aft, which opened the compartment to space.  That set off the alarm.  So, that team now had to potentially catch up on the progress the Upgrade's crew had made already.  Especially since there was only one more compartment between the Upgrade's crew and the lower drive room.  Added to that, the secondary computer control room was also connected to that next compartment.

After clearing the common room and connected compartments, Zimzod moved to the aft IRIS valve.  With his team moving up, and gun play possibly imminent, Zimzod called Mikah to the valve before he opened it.  Sekea and Aali came behind.  While they took position, Sekea asked if they shouldn't send a drone into the next compartment ahead of them?  Zimzod answered, "That's coming", suggesting he'd planned for that.  When they were set to move, Zimzod raised his weapon and activated the valve.

What he saw, in subdued lighting, was a passage made by the door to a generic stateroom on his right and a door to what was listed as the ship's sickbay to his left.  That short passage seemed to open to the space listed as the "main circulation room".  The space had doors to the right and left, leading to other smaller compartments.  It also had a large cargo lift, and the aft bulkhead was dominated by a double-wide hatch through the right side of the bulkhead and an IRIS valve through the bulkhead's left.  Those two portals led to the lower drive room.  Also to their left, past the lift, was the secondary computer room.  And, viewing through the valve, Zimzod could detect no movement or hidden figures.

Next, Zimzod used his HUD controls to order the drone following him into the space.  Zimzod also had to adjust his HID views so he could see "reality" and "drone feed" while minimizing other detail registers in his view.  Using his HUD controls, Zimzod guided the drone into the starboard corner outside the computer room.  As the drone moved, Zimzod could see no evidence of hostile forces.  Watching Zimzod's feed on her HUD, Jocelynn was planning to get Colinne to the secondary computer room and let the rest of her team play security.

Using the speed of his battledress, Zimzod moved to the door of the computer room and opened it with his weapon ready.  Mikah kicked in the door to the sick bay, and could see the first section empty.  But, there was a door in the back that Mikah would have to continue into the room to check.  While Sekea moved down to the double hatch which would let him into the lower drive room, Aali moved to the bit of wall between that hatch and the IRIS valve.  There, she flattened her back against the wall so she could be facing any attacks coming from behind their team.

With the people in front of her moving, Jocelynn pulled her hand comp, and drew a line to the secondary computer room.  She then bounced that to Colinne with the message, "Go there".  Colinne only nodded because that had been her plan.  When Colinne started moving, Jocelynn covered her back and protected her.  Because Jocelynn was covering Colinne, her "leap" wasn't as smooth as the computer tech.  So, Jocelynn had to bounce against an IRIS valve and correct herself.  With Colinne in the ship's backup computer controls, Jocelynn was her "armed guard at the door".  While she moved, Aali watched to see if she smacked Fesic in the head and knocked him out again?

Aiden dragged Fesic to a point outside the sickbay door, covering that location while Mikah worked to clear that space.  With everyone in the compartment, Aiden was able to close the now-forward IRIS valve.  That was good for him because he was realizing his "hunting saddle" wasn't the prize he'd hoped for.  While he could deactivate it and "try" to move where he wanted to go, he had little control.  And even when he missed or bounced, and ended up floating free, he could activate the saddle.  The drone stabilization tethers would sense and connect to walls and other structures.

But, when they held firm, he'd be right out in the middle of any passage or structure.  If he wanted to hide behind a corner, he had to get the saddle there while it was inactive.  And he didn't have the skill to move in zero-g for that.  So, if anyone kicked in the forward IRIS valve, he'd be hanging in the open, in the middle of the passage as an easy target.  And, if he tried to hide behind the saddle, any shots that weren't still hitting him or the wall behind him would be ripping the saddle apart, because it wasn't made for combat.  That, or shooting up Fesic, since he was tethered to Aiden and had no skill either.

While Aiden came to that realization, the rest of his crew were clearing compartments and checking out what they could see?  Aali opened the IRIS valve leading to the lower drive room and sent her drone in to check the compartment.  At the same time, Sekea opened the hatch into the drive room to see it was clear.  With the rest of the team clearing the compartments, Aali and Sekea moved into the drive room and Colinne into the computer room.  While they knew they'd have to also secure the drive room on the next deck down, she examined the systems in the drive compartment.  Aali saw the systems there managed the power plant and maneuver drives.  Moving to the power systems, to get to work and Sekea stood ready to help her.

In the computer room, Colinne found the local terminal in standby mode.  Devoting her attention to the system, she started working to get access.  The terminal was connected to a guest account, so she had to find an exploit that would promote her to an admin level.  While she did at that in the computer room, Aali saw she could lock out the power systems in the drive compartment they'd taken.  Still, she also knew she'd have to have control of systems in the other drive room.  The concern was that anyone getting to the primary computer room could cut Colinne out if she didn't get access and change the passwords first.  If she got that done, she could stop anyone taking control from her.

Despite the dangers, Colinne was very familiar with the operating system she found when she queried the terminal.  Using that as a spring board, she tried a basic user command and switched her role to the highest authority role the system had!  With that, she has the keys to the kingdom, and had to decide what to do next?  The first step could be to change the password for that role, but that could also create problems.  If there were automated scripts which also used that role, and had the passwords coded into them, a change of passwords would also break those systems.

Colinne knew she had to choose very quickly if she wanted to make things easier for her crew or work to lock out the other crew.  She could start working on creating a file with the data for her crew, along with the settings needed, then run a script that would read that file to authorize her crew as users of the highest level.  Or, she'd have to take actions to block access to the systems if the other crew managed to reach the ship's primary computer system without breaking things they may need.  At the same time, Jocelynn's team had moved into the circulation space, so Jocelynn moved in and secured the forward hatch.  Jocelynn then assumed a security stance in the space, protecting both the entrances to the drive and computer rooms.

In the back of her mind, Colinne recognized the situation was simulated, so they'd have to kill or defeat the other team no matter what.  Which meant "not breaking things" mattered less, but still...  In the end, Colinne decided the poison pill was the way to go and started changing the top level password regardless of what that broke.  After that, Colinne started digging into engineering systems to try and find ways of opening up access to Aali.  When Colinne then announced what she was doing, Aali asked her to use the computer to check why the alarm had been sounded earlier?

Agreeing to do that, Colinne opened a window into the ship's security logs and looked for the file which would have been updated by condition alarms.  Finding that, she searched for alarm data and found the alert.  Calling up the data packet tied to that alert, Colinne found that the ship alarm said there had been a decompression on C Deck, in the "Capsule Ready Room".  The capsules were escape pods, to be used by the crew to abandon ship.  The sensors also suggested that compartment was now pressurized again, so they must have found some way to reseal it.

While Colinne did that, and Aali worked on the ship's power systems with Sekea's help, Aiden checked with Jocelynn and then he and Fesic moved into the drive room to help secure it while the engineer worked.  Mikah had cleared sick bay and then gone to check a back room.  Zimzod recalled his drone while moving into the drive room.  He planned to crack the hatches leading up and down to the surrounding decks and check them for activity.  With the others moving into the space, Zimzod just told them to open the hatch leading to E deck.  With that opened, Zimzod moved the drone down to see there was no activity in the main jump drive room.  He saw that location was currently entirely secured.

Things Are About To Get Anti-Climatic!
     Seeing that space was secure, Zimzod stepped into the drive room, recalled the drone and secured the hatch.  Of course, that meant he wouldn't see if anyone did eventually open the hatch and move into the space.  Ironically, he wouldn't have to worry about that because the opposing crew had decided to do a "stormtrooper rush" from the forward sections of the ship to the aft compartments, to reach the drive rooms.  It was only because Aali was paying more attention to the ship's engineering systems, that no one saw them quickly crossing the open cargo bay.

Seeing the crowd in the compartment, Zimzod was worried about the group being bunched up and ordered Aiden and Fesic to leave the compartment while he prepared to open the hatch to C Deck, to check the second drive compartment.  While they repositioned, Zimzod cracked the hatch and sent the drone through to check the compartment.  And when he got his first view of the drive compartment, Zimzod saw troopers entering it from the forward IRIS valve!  As soon as he realized what he'd seen, and much to the surprise of the others, Zimzod pulled the pin from one of his HE grenades, dropped it through the hatch and sealed it!  As he did, he called out, "Contact!"

While Zimzod had no way of knowing it, he did see some more before the grenade went off.  On the video, the first man seemed to see it before it detonated.  The second man didn't spot it at all.  And, the blast caught the two in the compartment by surprise, killing them and possibly wounding a third trooper just entering the valve.  The blast also unintentionally damaged a significant number of the panels in the place, and also took out the drone.  That meant Zimzod had to crack the hatch to see what he'd done.  Calling in the others, Zimzod had them ready their weapons before he opened the hatch.

After opening the hatch, Zimzod dropped into the room, which was filled with debris, smoke and bodies.  Zimzod could see two bodies on the deck which had parts blown off, and parts which remained of his drone.  Checking the valve and hatch, Zimzod could they were both closed and had been locked.  So, there had been other troops who had survived the grenade.  Zimzod had never been 'ship's troops', but he knew an IRIS valve or hatch wouldn't close itself unless the ship's systems detected a loss of pressure.  And, even in those cases, the hatches might not close, much less lock themselves.

Still alone in the compartment, Zimzod moved up to the IRIS valve to see if he could get it to open?  He still had a breaching charge and burn gel kit with him, but wanted to hold those off until he'd checked the situation.  Zimzod also wanted more guns to join him in case he popped the door and had to step into a fire fight.  With the added laser pistol mounted on his armor, he'd be a two-weapon plow but they could have more weapons, surprising gear or a tactical deployment which Zimzod would prefer to overpower rather than stand and fight alone.

Having decided that, Zimzod called for Mikah and Aiden to join him.  Since Fesic was tethered to him, the gunner came with Aiden.  Soon, the four of them were down in the compartment while Zimzod had also set up a breaching charge to blow the valve.  When Jocelynn offered, Zimzod told her to stay there and guard against a two-sided attack.  They also warned Sekea to be ready, in case someone had entered the E deck compartment Zimzod had checked but not posted a drone in.  He'd have to defend Aali while she worked if someone came through that hatch too.

On both sides, the situation was becoming clear and plans had been made.  Zimzod was assembling an "assault team", and they'd all step up after the valve was blown and pour fire into the compartment on the other side.  The hope was to mow down anyone who wasn't behind cover after the door blast wounded some of them, and then engage, pin and kill anyone who did have cover.  In the compartment with Aali, Sekea was "security" and would engage anyone coming from the other hatch above the compartment.  And Jocelynn was in the circulation compartment, defending both the door to the computer room, where Colinne was working, and the drive room door.  That was in case there were more enemy forces on the same deck as them.

On the other side of the coin, with two of their men dead and one wounded, the enemy crew had assigned the wounded man and another to "hold the compartment".  At the same time, the remaining men had decided to try and flank Mikah's crew.  The compartment they were in had a lift which moved between C and D deck.  So, they planned to mount four of their remaining six men on that and activate it.  Then, they planned to rise up into the circulation compartment, currently guarded only by Jocelynn, mow down anyone there and then attack those in the drive room.

What the electronic crew hadn't considered, which was being studied by InstellArms simulator technicians, was that anyone "above them" would see the lift cover move and slide open before they could actually spot and target those defenders.  Because of that, when they did activate the lift, Jocelynn saw the sliding cover and reacted.  She pulled the pins on both HE grenades she'd been equipped with, and tossed them into the opening lift shaft before diving for cover and readying her gauss rifle.  While the men weren't trapped on the lift, another event was going to give the situation an ironic twist.

The men on the lift had just activated it when Zimzod set off the breaching charge on the hatch.  Because of that, the men on the lift who were closer to the valve suffered wounds from that blast.  That meant their attention was entirely taken away from the opening lift cover above them.  And they didn't see or realize grenades were falling on them until those hit the lift deck.  There was a lone, sudden despairing cry of "Oh Shit!" before the grenades went off.  After that, the only remaining members of the electronic crew were the two who'd been left to hold the compartment.  And one of them was already wounded.

Before they'd blown the valve, Zimzod had told them to all hold back, until that was done, keeping them from getting hurt.  After the blast, Zimzod would rush to man the right side of the valve and Mikah said she'd cross to the other side.  Fesic untethered himself from Aiden and grabbed onto Mikah, to "ride" her to the far side of the valve.  Aiden worked to get himself next to Zimzod.  Of course, the movement took a few beats, which gave those still alive in the next compartment time to recover from the shock and awe they'd faced.

Following the blast, Zimzod and Mikah moved almost surgically, while Fesic and Aiden might have gotten where they wanted efficiently, but had to spend extra time organizing themselves.  Some fire came through the blown valve space while they moved, but not much.  And it hit nothing.  Aiden wasn't pleased because "getting his saddle set" to allow him to fire pushed him far more out in the open than he liked.  Still, they hit their marks and were soon leaning out to engage any of the shooters targeting them.

Above them, Jocelynn had called out contact, and had her gauss rifle ready, and on a 4-shot setting.  Despite her preparation, the only thing she saw were most of two bodies and other random "parts" as the lift rose.  One body had obviously been cut in two because it was hanging half-off the lift before it rise to meet the upper deck.  Zimzod's team could see the compartment they were firing in was a bloody mess of body parts.  Assessing her situation, Jocelynn called out, "Turkey shoot on D Deck!" before explaining her situation.

Having heard the muffled sounds of the explosions and felt the shudders, Sekea responded, "Sounds like you had a blast."  Returning fire with Zimzod's team, Mikah chimed in, "I think we found the last two."  Ignoring the joke, Jocelynn spared some focus for the report her battle computer was giving her.  It said it had spotted four combat troopers.  All were in combat armor!  They were armed with, a laser carbine and gauss pistol, a gauss rifle, snub pistol and a RAM grenade launcher, an accelerator rifle and snub pistol and a Laser rifle, revolver and a grenade launcher.  So, InstellArms was upping the ante after the last simulation.

In the computer compartment, Colinne heard all the sound and comms, and found a point to step in and ask Jocelynn for a sit rep.  Jocelynn admitted she wasn't aware what happened below decks, but explained what she'd done and her results.  That pleased Colinne, because it let her work without interruption.  Below them, Zimzod's team exchanged fire with the last two members of the electronic crew.  In the final exchange, Zimzod was hit and took a nasty wound while their fire killed one of the two and wounded the other.  That man surrendered, which ended the simulation.

Time For The Review And Some Souvenirs
     InstellArms people moved in with stim-drinks, as the sim ended, to sit the crew down and help them relax.  With everyone settled in, the technicians began a mission review for the crew.  While Mikah's crew had started on D Deck, finding the cargo lock was unsecured, the electronic crew assumed the locks would be secured and decided to try breaching one of the ship's escape pods on C Deck.  They learned the shudder they'd felt when they were working to open the cargo lock was because the electronic crew had made a mistake, causing an explosion that destroyed that pod.  That was a "decision anomaly" the InstellArms techs had to look into.

After that mis-step, the electronic team eventually got into the freighter but knew they were behind the clock.  Given that, the team organized and drove down the deck's central passage quickly.  They'd planned to reach the drive rooms much like Mikah's crew, and were one deck below them.  While Aali left one of her drones behind to watch the cargo bay, both she and Colinne were busy working at their tasks and didn't see video from the drone when they crossed the space.  Because of that, Mikah's team wasn't aware of the electronic team's approach until Zimzod saw them in the drive room.

One issue shown up in the tactical analysis was the low or incorrect use of their drones.  They pointed out that Mikah's crew rarely sent drones in before them when entering unknown compartments.  More critically, they covered a point where Zimzod opened a hatch, checked the compartment, and didn't post a drone to keep an eye on the space.  While an assault had not come by that route, the enemy team could have.  And, when Zimzod did use a drone, he then left it to be destroyed when he dropped grenades on the enemy troopers.

From there, the investigation moved on to the disaster on the lift.  Since the electronic crew were supposed to have provided Mikah's people a challenge, it was up to the InstellArms techs to figure out why the electronic crew had not triggered the lift cover to open while they were ready to spot through the initial gap?  That would've let them open fire on Jocelynn before she could react.  Of they'd done that, they still would have taken wounds from Zimzod's breaching charge, but it would have left more of the electronic troopers active, and provided more of a challenge.

The techs also pointed out mistakes made by the crew in reconnaissance.  While the gambit with the lift worked out for Jocelynn, it could have been disastrous if she'd not seen the cover open when it did.  If that had happened, Jocelynn would have been lucky to survive and Colinne, Aali and Sekea would've ended having to fight for their lives from separate locations.  Several of the concierges also wanted to offer the crew an account, based on how often they destroyed drones.  And, based on their commissions for replacing the devices.

Soon, the conversation moved to drones and then 'suicide' drones.  Zimzod was interested in what he referred to as robotic grenades.  While the local InstellArms didn't have any models of that weapon, one of the concierges said they could send a message to the Ghandi InstellArms, to have samples of the weapon system available.  Since Sekea had also asked to have a message sent to Ghandi to show off the pell bots they had, This would only add to the shopping session the crew would take part in there.  After analyzing the crew's performance, the InstellArms concierges did a performance presentation of the crew's weapons.

When they brought the topic up, Jocelynn said she wanted to talk about customizing her weapons.  Nodding, her concierge said they could have lunch brought in and he could discuss her interests with him.  Everyone agreed to lunches, which would cost each Cr 30.  When asked what she wanted, Jocelynn first said she wanted her four hand weapons customized for her use.  Her concierge said she'd have to bring in her Gauss Rifle, Laser Pistol, Semi-Automatic, Snub Pistol and Shotgun, then spend the rest of the afternoon being evaluated by their technicians as they analyzed how she held and used them.  After they were done with that, having her go through her paces in and out of armor, they could modify the physical weapons to improve their performance in her hands.

When Jocelynn also said she wanted to have her bladed weapons worked on, they said Jocelynn could work with the fire arms that afternoon and then work with the team the next day on her blades.  When Jocelynn agreed, they charged her Cr 8,000 for the four guns and Cr 9,000 for her six blades.  That also meant Jocelynn would be working with their techs until after lunch the next day with some free hours that night.  Hearing what the InstellArms techs were selling, Aali decided she was gonna make her concierge a happy man and spend some cash!

Aali had a gauss rifle that was HUD-integrated and had an installed Gyrostabilizer, GunCam and Comm-Dot.  She could replace her telscopic sights with a Cr 750 scope that gave her Light intensifier and infrared modes along with telescopic modes.  Aali could also have the gauss rifle customized, so she'd be spending the afternoon with a tech team on that.  Her gauss pistol was already customized, so she added a scope to it, which gave her telescopic and infrared modes.  That cost Cr 600.  Aali also had three snub pistols, where one was a customized six shooter, the next an unaugmented six shooter and the last, a semi-automatic.  She decided to improve all three.

The first six shooter had a laser sight kit, GunCam and Comm-Dot.  When she asked, she was told they could replace that with a laser sights that added distance measuring and infrared, for Cr 1,000.  Aali asked for the other two snub pistols to be customized for her, and bought matching sights for them.  She also paid Cr 750 to have them integrated to her HUD using along with guncams and comm dots.  While they couldn't make them perform exactly like the first, all would be improved.  Next, Aali had a bullpup and combat shotgun.  She asked for both to be customized first, then she wanted telescopic scopes on both, which also had distance measuring and infrared.  Aali next had Emkir's 9mm revolver, which could be physically customized but which would be difficult to upgrade electronically.  Because of that, Aali chose to only have the physical work done.  Lastly, she had a Pulse Tazer, which they advised there would be no reason to modify.  Still, she had the revolver and pulse tazer connected to her HUD and augmented with comm dots and gun cams.  That all came to 16,950 total.

Fesic also asked his concierge what electronics they had to help him with his laser rifle, accelerator rifle and snub pistol?  Of course, that depended on what they had in stock, so the woman checked her datapad to see what she could offer.  Normally, she'd lead off with gyrostabilizers for each of the long guns, but they didn't stock those on the Denotam venue.  She did say there were sports sights they had which could be mounted on all three weapons.  Sadly, they also didn't stock computerized fire corrective gear, but she did mention it might be available in other ports.  Since the list of potential devices was vast, she asked Fesic what he was interested in?

When Fesic asked about sights, she admitted they didn't stock that kind of accessory for his laser rifle.  For his accelerator rifle, they did have a high-end unit in stock.  The sight provided distance measuring and provided sighting modes including light enhancement, infrared, telescopic along with x-ray laser target designation.  That would cost Cr 1,500.  The sights they had for snub pistols were "low end", but would provide for some improvement.  One set of sights they had for sale tested environmental conditions like the effects of local gravity on aim as well as wind conditions, etc.  It then offered visual guidance using the scope's displayed aim point.  That would cost Cr 2,000 and fit the snub pistol.  Fesic spent the Cr 3,500 for scopes to mount on his accelerator rifle and snub pistol and paid Cr 50 to have them mounted and zeroed.

Aiden hoped to have his snub rifle and shotgun improved.  For his snub rifle, Aiden wanted to have the weapon customized, and to get a HUD integration kit.  The good news was that where shotguns were never "precision" weapons, but he could have that physically customized for him.  The world had a market for the snub rifle, thanks to hunting the iron buck.  So, they could provide him sights, scopes, stabilizers and other accessories.  One item they wanted to offer him were 30-round magazines for the rifle.  Aiden also had a HUD integration kit which wasn't installed.  So, they could install that for him.  Aiden also paid Cr 50 to have the HUD kit he had installed into his vacc suit.

Aiden asked about the stabilization kits for snub weapons, because he believed they were inherently stable.  It was explained to him that firing them did not "cause recoil".  Still, any person firing one is going to suffer various forms of uncontrolled movement.  A stabilization aid, like a gyrostabilizer, helped the weapon enforce its own stability.  So, there were kits to assist in stabilization available.  So, in the end, Aiden wanted to have his snub rifle and shotgun physically customized, and he wanted a HUD integration kit for the snub rifle.  Aiden was told he would have to spend that afternoon working with the technical teams, and that would cost him Cr 2,000 each.  Aiden also wanted two of the 30-round magazines at Cr 75 each.

Aiden also asked his concierge about hardened or damaged drones he might buy so he could use them and damage them while he learned how to fly the drones.  The concierge suggested Aiden buy a set of very low end drones in a 20-pack.  Then, he could use those to learn and practice all he wanted.  The woman told Aiden she could sell him a box of twenty palm-sized 'throw away' drones which he could use to learn.  Pleased with the idea, Aiden paid the Cr 200 for the box of drones, and planned to spend as much time as he could practicing with them until he felt he was as good as he had to be.

Colinne was relieved the locals had gotten over the novelty of her Zhodani gauss rifle.  She asked what they had which she could mount on the weapon?  They said they had a gyrostabilizer for Cr 4,000.  She also asked and was told they could sell her a telescopic sight with infrared mode.  They wanted Cr 4,000 for those sights.  Being frugal, Colinne accepted those and paid the Cr 50 to have the gear mounted on her rifle.  Sekea asked his concierge about customizing his new blade, since he'd begun fighting ambidextrously.  He was told that could happen the next day, in the afternoon because the tech teams were scheduled.  He also wanted his gauss rifle physically customized along with a snub pistol he had sights on.

Sekea then asked about his snub pistols, to see if they had sights in stock for the one snub that didn't have a scope?  He also wanted both his snub and gauss pistols customized.  One of his gauss pistols already had a gyrostabilizer on it, and he asked for a scope for the other pistol.  So, he would be electronically and physically updating all his fire arms and one of his blade.  The concierge quoted him prices of Cr 3,500 for the rifle, Cr 1,500 per pistol and Cr 1,500 for the blade while charging Cr 500 each for the snub and gauss pistol scopes and Cr 1,000 for the gauss rifle scope.  His bill came to Cr 14,000 total.

Mikah didn't want to buy anything new, but did have kits which weren't installed.  She had a Guncam for the UAC-21 gauss rifle she'd "inherited" from Munarshu, and she wanted that installed.  Her concierge pointed out she had no scope or specialized sights, and asked if she just wanted the cam connected to the weapon's iron sights?  Mikah decided, 'What the hell' and bought telescopic sights they could attach the cam to.  Then, they could also install the HUD integration kit she had too.  That would cost her Cr 250.  Mikah also had two gyrostabilizers, which she wanted installed on that gauss rifle and the laser carbine she had which didn't have one installed.  That would cost her Cr 100 more.

Zimzod told his concierge that he wanted to have his gauss rifle, his .45's Pain and Misery, his K-bar and his vibrocutlass customized.  The concierge said he'd also be scheduled for the next afternoon, when their tech teams became available.  Zimzod was told the cost would be Cr 9,000.  While each of the crew worked with their concierges, and after she was done with her gear, Colinne found ways to quietly talk to Mikah, Jocelynn and Zimzod about what she'd learned about InstellArms blocking psionics.  The three just shrugged and said "OK".  Mikah figured it was good to know but wondered what they'd do with the knowledge?  They certainly weren't going to ask the InstellArms techs about what Colinne had learned.  They agreed it was something to keep in the back of their minds in case it became important in the future.

Where everyone is at the end of the session:
     Mikah: Done with two simulations, Mikah could return to her own projects for now
     Aali: cheduled to work with InstellArms techs that coming afternoon
     Colinne: Done with two simulations, Colinne could return to her own projects for now
     Jocelynn: Scheduled to work with InstellArms techs this coming afternoon and next morning
     Aiden: Is scheduled to work with InstellArms techs this coming afternoon and next morning
     Fesic: Done with two simulations, Fesic could return to her own projects for now
     Sekea: Done with two simulations, Sekea's weapons will be customized the next day
     Zimzod: Done with two simulations, Zimzod's weapons will be customized the next day
     Rol: Cloning: 4 weeks, 3 days until decant

Next: Pending