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Last Updated    January 2 2018
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Bad First Impressions
    In The Inthe System

Off to the Port

Inthe     Finally fueled and prepared, the crew had stood ready as Aiden Radetsky dimmed the lights before activating the jump drives to leave the Yori system.  The week in jump went normally, as the crew settled into their own pursuits again.  Zach helped Aiden, who wanted to learn navigation.  Aiden also taught piloting to Mikah.  Zach studied gunnery with Zimzod, who also kept up his grav vehicle studies.  The others continued studying what they'd worked on during the jump to Yori.  After the expected week, the jump passed and the alarm sounded, warning they would shortly emerge from jump in the Inthe System.  All the crew got into vacc suits, preparing for emergence.

The ship precipitated into the Inthe system and they started receiving the normal flow of starport and system control beacon reports.  After the jump wash faded, they held their mandated "offer to help" to the Marquis' office, not wanting to advertise the ship's name right after arrival.  Everyone agreed it would be best to "tank up" before landing, so they could leave quickly.  With that decided, Aiden plotted a course to the naval port, to fuel up before turning to the civilian highport.  When their turn came, they had all hands at stations or in the lounge as they fueled up.  Having to choose, they rented an inner berth at the highport, despite the extra cost.  They also signed up for feed with the planetary computer network.

Burning in to the port, they'd decided not to contact the Marquis' office from the ship, to keep it "clean" for undercover operations.  Inthe was balkanized, with many countries controlling territories.  The world's primary downport was in the city of New Port Dunslade, in the Republic of Inthe, a country friendly to The Imperium.  Docked at the highport, they contacted the office of the Marquis, saying they were proceeding downwell, and did some shopping before leaving orbit for the downport.  Dirtside, all but Sir Brian, Rol and Zach left for the terminal.  "Parked" in an enclosed berth in the port's harbor, the best route to the building was the starport crawler.  These large vehicles could be caught at regular stops throughout the harbor, at fifteen minute intervals, for Cr 1.

              NOTE: "Harbor" is a hold over reference from Terra,
              referring to the area of parking bays and long term
              pads where ships were parked while their crews did
              business on-world.  It was separated from the launch
              and landing positions as well as "the docks",
              terminals and other facilities or offices.

Rol's Big Walk

     Rol contacted the local TAS facility and, after a brief talk, ordered an air-car transport to the hostel, to learn about the city.  As the others left, Rol went with them to await the aircar.  Sir Brian volunteered to stay in the secured ship, while Zach talked about going to the terminal to get trading credentials and start researching potential smuggling and black marketing.  Figuring he'd be alone, Brian thought he could pump sound throughout the ship, to vibrate all surfaces and check for any issues with the ship's internal structures "the easy way".  Brian waited until he saw the iris valves on the lock cycle closed meaning the others had left.

After the TAS driver picked Rol up, they made a short hop to a Port customs point to scan for anything violating local laws.  Then, the driver brought him up and made a line drive to the TAS facility.  During the ride, Rol got a good overview of the city's general layout and viewed some of the "hot spots".  One was marked with smoke rising from some obviously significant activity.  Without incident, they got to the hotel and Rol was greeted by the concierge.  He was welcomed and given a tour of the facility, which was much like any other high class hotel, providing services and rooms to a gentrified and restricted clientéle.  After learning as much as he felt he could at the TAS Hostel, Rol chose to get a feel for the real city from the ground up.  While too far to completely walk back towards the port, he did some "sightseeing" as hours passed during his walk.

Eventually he saw a bar that doubled as an eatery and slipped in.  Rol ordered a drink and listened to the chatter as some local business owners talked about what was going on near their neighborhood.  Eventually getting a grip on a few of the issues, Rol tried to join the conversation and found himself viewed as a stranger, butting into something that was none of his business.  He didn't know it at the time, but his efforts were scoring about as well as much of his team across the city.  So, Rol decided leaving was his best move.  Back on the streets, Rol decided not to try getting involved and simply absorb the feel of the city for the moment.  Eventually 'walked out', Rol hailed a taxi and headed back to the port, and the ship, for the evening.  He'd see what the others had come up with?

Meanwhile, Back on the Ship

     Before leaving to get credentials, Zach figured he'd research, on a computer terminal in the ship's common area.  He started by connecting to the port and shooting down the automatic ads which popped up on connection.  Zach then started looking into the port information when he was suddenly assaulted by high volume discordant noise which some might call music!  Immediately adding two and two, Zach hit the comms and tried to reach Brian, but the knight didn't answer.  Trying again, Zach still got no answer so he headed aft to the ship's engineering section.  There, he saw Brian obviously enjoying the "music" while checking and reseting ship's systems.  Zach also saw Brian wasn't wearing a shirt and had a scar which looked like a long blade slash down his back!

Shouting, Zach got Brian's attention and began trying to get him to turn the music off.  But Brian, though he didn't say why, refused.  Zach tried to convince Brian it was needed so he could work, but Brian still refused.  The knight even drew a pistol to make his point!  Eventually, after much discussion, Brian agreed to kill the music in the common areas only.  Though Zach first thought he'd gotten Brian to agree to only play it in engineering.  That worked out, Zach went topside again and re-started his research.  After an hour or so, Zach found the costs of getting certified as a Broker/Trader, with full access to the port, would cost Cr 550.  Not having that available since his losses speculating at Regina-Down, he comm'd Dame Mikah.

Not Making Friends With Mikah and Zimzod

     Having agreed everyone except Brian and Zach would be heading to the port terminal, the rest of the crew passed through their berth's berm and mixed with the handful of others heading to the terminal shuttle stop.  Trying to not appear as a single group, the various crew waited some 15 minutes until the shuttle crawler pulled up.  Boarding, they settled until they were nearing the terminal.  The entire trip took approximately an hour.  Arriving at the terminal, Dame Mikah and Sir Zimzod went off looking for a public comms device to call the Marquis and establish their arrival on-world.  Before they could get that far, Dame Mikah's comms buzzed and she answered to receive a call from Zach.  He told her about the registration costs and she agreed to cover them when she got back to the ship.

After that, Mikah cut contact with Zach and called the Marquis' office from a public line.  She got a receptionist who was used to taking many calls from those wanting to talk to the Marquis, so their call didn't go far fast.  Dame Mikah identified herself and Zimzod as visiting knights who wanted to pay their respects to the Marquis, and were finally pushed to another worker.  This man had more on the ball as he checked their Idents and realized these were some of the knights the Marquis had been waiting for.  That worker told them there was a meeting set up for them at the Marquis' Seneschal's office at 1400hrs.  Surprised at that, and at the fact that it was already 11:00, Dame Mikah and Sir Zimzod got a map and directions before ending the call to grab a transport, get back to the ship and change for their meeting.  When they got back, they found the ship filled with solid music, blasting even inside the airlock.  Sighing and figuring it must be Brian, Mikah and Zimzod stepped inside to find things quiet in the common area.  Zach was working there, and Mikah allowed him to use her funds to submit his paperwork to the port.

They then changed and took the ship's air/raft to the meeting at the Seneschal's office.  There, they found they were to meet with a number of officials including the Marquis and his Seneschal.  In addition, they would meet the Mayor, Police Chief and other municipal government leaders of the city the port was located in, New Port Dunslade.  While the world was balkanized, this was the world's primary port, located in a nation called 'The Republic of Inthe'.  Things stepped off badly from the meeting's start, as Dame Mikah asked if there would be IRIS representation and got reactions ranging from "fearful surprise" to the stated belief that IRIS was a figment of people's imaginations!  From there, the conditions inside the meeting worsened repeatedly.  Mikah and Zimzod realized they saw their presences on Inthe "Very" differently than the others did.  The Marquis had been asking for help from The Imperium for months and, along with the municipal leaders, had thought this would come in the form of money, equipment as well as advisors.  Not a team of troubleshooters.

That the locals would be saddled with unasked for troubleshooters immediately put the team in the middle of a "turf war".  Attitudes very plainly said, "This is our world and our home, not yours".  When Dame Mikah innocently asked for a ground vehicle to be placed at their disposal, it looked to the Police Chief like she was dictating her demand, not asking.  When she said the vehicle should be "civilian" and not look like a police unit, the official sarcastically wondered if she'd like customization?  Making assumptions on the resources of his department and money in his budget?  When Mikah made it a point that he should handle it personally, the Chief had taken enough.  He was not her servant and wasn't going to just take dictation from this interstellar tin hat!

Knowing how the game was played, he demanded her justifications before shooting them down, and was astounded when she suggested he was the only officer who could be trusted!  As he tried to find the right words to react with, Dame Mikah flatly stated that she did not want information about the vehicle and the knights to be leaked to the gangs by corrupt cops!!  Finally, the Chief explained in a cold voice that his department had things well in hand, and they'd see what resources were available when he could detail an officer to handle it.  But the accusations had set his temper off and, as he defended his people, they all saw getting any agreements was going to be a long fight.  As the meeting ground along, barriers were raised left and right.  It was into this atmosphere that Dame Mikah's comms went off.

Aiden and Emkir's Not so Excellent Scout Adventure

     Leaving the ship with the others, Emkir and Aiden planned to visit the IISS down-base on-world.  Aiden wanted to collect on his Silver Asteroid.  Emkir figured he'd tag along and see if he could pick anything up?  The trip was a simple one, from the crawler to the terminal before hopping a monorail out of the port proper.  Then they'd transfer to another monorail that took them to the "main gate" entrance of the base.  From there, they entered the base proper and went to the personnel section.  The process for making Aiden's claim was straight forward as he presented his Scout belt buckle.  The DNA-coded device maintained a chip with the former scout's entire bio, service history and medical work up.  That scanned, payment was made quickly and the Cr 100 was added to Aiden's accounts.

After Aiden was paid, Emkir tried his charms and other talents on the woman behind the payment window but got nowhere.  After Aiden got his cash, the two former Scouts looked for an on-base bar or pub to make a few "connections" or collect rumors.  They did find a bar serving both Scout and Naval personnel and tried the direct approach.  Walking up to a space between tables, Emkir asked if there was anyone interested in helping a few new arrivals get a drink?  The active duty scouts around them looked up to see two obviously former scouts, and assumed they were there under contract.  The thought of spending their service wages to help someone earning more in a civilian job didn't go over well.

Seeing that fall flat, Emkir still tried to fix things by saying they only needed to know what was good to drink?  He also asked the scouts nearby what was new?  It didn't help that his rank insignia established him as a former Admiral in a grunt bar.  Now he was obviously fishing for something, though it seemed he was failing more than anything else.  Finally, Emkir decided to try the generous approach, and offered drinks for the room!  This convinced everyone listening that this guy was trying too hard and had to be trouble.  Since he wasn't figuring things out on his own, some of the scouts were moving to the decision that they should show him out, the direct way.

Finally seeing the gathering storm clouds, Emkir talked Aiden into finding a table to sit at, and see what they could overhear?  But they only ended up in a bubble, thanks to the cold shoulders earned by Emkir's performance.  Eventually, after learning nothing and being leaned on to buy a drink or leave, the two decided to head back to the ship and try a fresh start elsewhere.  Returning as they came, they left the IISS base, paid the monorail fares and headed back to the extrality line and port.  Unfortunately for them, while they were done with their day, the day wasn't done with them.  Just after the monorail got moving, the door at the front of their car suddenly slammed open.

Three scruffy Vargr, wearing obvious 'colors', entered from the next car forward and began sizing up the "citizens".  They soon moved toward an older Human woman sitting and trying to ignore them in hopes they'd pass her by.  But the Vargr were intent on violence and grabbed her, beginning to rough her up as they robbed her!  Sitting there without weapons or anything useful, Emkir decided to try to comm the police for help.  Sadly, he was more obvious in his actions than he intended, and the Vargr had better hearing than he'd realized.  One of the Vargr locked eyes with him as Emkir started to whisper into the comm-unit!  Dropping the panicked and crying woman as they ripped her purse from her grasp, first the one and then all the Vargr started moving towards Emkir.  The Admiral realized he now had very few choices available to him including taking what was coming or fighting.

Standing and entering the aisle between the front-facing rows of train seats, Emkir tried to decide how to take on a being with faster reflexes, claws and teeth as Aiden mentally cursed.  He couldn't believe Emkir was getting him into a fight with Vargr and no available weapons!  Seeing no other option, Aiden stood and prepared to enter the fight to back the Admiral up.  When the lead Vargr chose to charge, Emkir tried to knock him down with a shoulder rush while bracing to take the impact.  Moving faster than Emkir had planned, the Vargr had gotten much closer before Emkir made his move.  So Emkir barely hit his attacker and only pushed him back a bit, ending up in the Vargr's embrace and held by his claws!  Seeing this, the other two Vargr swarmed up the seats to either side allowing their leader to drag the Human back between them.  Responding, Aiden stepped up behind Emkir looking for a way to help in the rapidly devolving situation.

Stuck in a worsening situation, Emkir decided to "go for the balls" with a knee thrust to the crotch on his attacker.  Aiden decided that reducing the numbers facing Emkir was the best he could do and swung at the Vargr coming in from his left.  While Emkir's attacker shifted side-on to deflect the knee thrust, the turn didn't fully protect the gang-banger.  So the Vargr remained standing and Emkir went down when his knee moved further than he'd planned!  Stepping up immediately to protect him, Aiden swung a hard punch and connected, though the ganger responded with a swung claw.  That connected, slashing Aiden diagonally down his chest.  Hitting the ground, Emkir slid left between two seats rather than rising once more.  That left Aiden facing the three oncoming Vargr as the two again swarmed up the backs of seats on the third's flanks!  Thinking, "Well, damn!" Aiden figured what the hell and swung again at the standing Vargr, catching him square under the muzzle, knocking him back and down.

Surprised, but adjusting to the new situation, the remaining Vargr still moved forward but Emkir, now between the seats on Aiden's left, reached up and grabbed the one as Aiden randomly swung at that puppy too!  As a result, Aiden's punch so disoriented the Vargr that he went down between the two seats on top of Emkir, catching his chin on the back of the seat in front of him.  At the same time, the other Vargr had swung a claw while not expecting his target to slide sideways.  So the attack missed.  No longer needing to deal with the Vargr on his left, Aiden turned to face the Vargr attackers to his front and right, but the one which had been in front of Aiden had scrabbled and run.

That left the attacker perched on the seats to Aiden's right.  That Vargr, realizing he'd been abandoned, leapt at Aiden as the Human swung on him.  Aiden's punch connected and the Vargr went down as he began to hear cries from the left.  Emkir had gotten hold of 'his' Vargr, who's head was held up on one seat and rear legs held up by the seat behind him.  And as Emkir pulled, the Vargr's back was bent in directions it shouldn't have been, creating great pain.  Satisfied that Emkir was on his side, Aiden swung a hard kick, connecting fully with the downed Vargr in front of him who let loose a howl of pain.  Struggling to pull as hard as he could, the one Vargr broke Emkir's grasp and spun to maintain the top position.

Suddenly, a huge "BOOM" sounded from the front of the car!  The sound even hurt their ears.  Aiden swung another kick, then looked up to the front of the car dreading the source of the blast.  Emkir tried to regain a hold on his Vargr, who reared up to attack his tormentor only to stiffen during the report of a second BOOM.  He then slumpped down dead, with a gaping bloody hole in his chest.  Aiden could see, standing at the open front door of the now nearly abandoned car, a train conductor with a revolver.  In front of him on the floor was the Vargr who'd tried to run for it, also shot through the chest.  Bleeding from the chest slash, Aiden swung a third, and this time unopposed, kick and heard a very satisfying crunch.  Emkir, now covered in Vargr blood, pushed the body off of him and rose as well, to find himself very briefly sighted by the conductor.  The conductor then said they'd be pulling up at a platform for the police very soon.

The arrival at the platform was a circus as police teams rushed into the train, taking custody of all the civilians and examining the "crime scene".  The process was very short as officers who were all too used to this sort of thing assessed the situation.  They pronounced the woman very lucky two tourists risked their lives to get the Vargr off her.  They then pronounced the tourists very very very lucky idiots.  Cooperating with the police, it was decided Aiden would be taken to hospital for the slash he'd received and Emkir was free to return to the ship.  They'd be contacted if they had to appear as witnesses.  The lone surviving Vargr was secured and none too gently taken to hospital for treatment of his wounds.  Emkir thought this would be a good time to call Dame Mikah and report the events to her.

Interrupting her meeting, Dame Mikah took the call when she saw it was from Emkir.  Once told of the events, she informed those in the meeting of the incident.  As the Chief of Police listened, he became visibly more upset.  While the knights has sworn they'd 'just arrived' and planned to work with him and his people, their lie was now exposed.  Now it appeared the "high and mighty" knights had put operatives in his city before they'd even met!  This widened the wedge between the knights and the police department.  After Dame Mikah verified the two were not being charged with anything, she advised Emkir to allow Aiden to be taken to the hospital and she'd examine his wounds later.  Emkir returned to the ship without incident.

At the end of the meeting, the Marquis invited the knights to dinner to discuss the various issues in New Port Dunslade.  He explained that few people, in his experience, had ever seen IRIS in action and most believed the organization mythical.  He admitted he knew they were real, but had never worked with them and seemed impressed the knights had both worked with them and come out alive.  As they spent the evening eating and talking about the issues concerning the city, the knights realized they were there at the behest of Duke Norris.  They also realized the Marquis knew nothing about them being there until a message arrived from Regina saying help was being sent.  After the evening's dining and talk, the knights took their air/raft back to the ship.  Aiden was treated at a local hospital to a standard that Dame Mikah would later determine was acceptable, but would leave a scar.  When she did examine him, she noted a significant burn scar from a laser weapon on his chest.  She filed the knowledge of the wound from his past away.

Next: Ms. Vik's Port Job and Doggie Date