The day began early for Mikah, Zimzod, Rol and Ms. Vik.  They'd set personal alarms in their staterooms, in case Brian "adjusted" the ship's clock again.  Ironically, Brian forgot to set his own clock, and ended up sleeping as late as he'd been able to.  Mikah threw on a robe and stepped out of her stateroom to see who else was awake?  In the passage, she met Zimzod, who had a determined look on his face and a pouch in his hand.  They were unaware Ms. Vik and Rol were still in their staterooms, going through their morning routines.  Hungry for breakfast, Mikah ignored Zimzod and went to Zach's stateroom.  There, Mikah hit the call stud on the door's comms panel, repeatedly buzzing until Zach answered.  When he finally did, with a confused response, Mikah told him it was time for the cook to get up and make breakfast.
Sure food would be cooked, Mikah went to check out what Zimzod was up to?  He was doing something with Brian's stateroom access panel, and had the wiring exposed.  She watched as Zimzod straightened up and tested his ability to open and close the portal with a wicked smile.  Mikah listened for any sounds in Zach's stateroom, waiting for food, as Zimzod moved to the galley to get a bowl from storage.  He then turned on the hot water and tested the stream with his finger.  Realising what Zimzod was doing, Mikah got her medical kit from her stateroom.  Back in the lounge, Mikah found Zimzod carefully balancing the bowl as he walked to Brian's door.  Stopping him with a hand gesture, Mikah tested the water to be sure it wouldn't shock Brian awake.  She then pulled a bottle from her med-kit and opened it whispering, "topical sleep enhancer".  Both grinned as she poured a dose into the water and mixed it with a sterile depressor.
Mikah then put her kit on the floor against the wall, taking the bowl so Zimzod could open Brian's door again.  While they were doing that, Zach had thrown on bottoms and a robe after quickly washing, and left his stateroom.  Crossing to Mikah's stateroom, to 'report in' before cooking, he spared a moment of confusion as he saw them at Brian's door, but dismissed them and went to cook.  They also looked up and saw Zach, but ignored him, intent on their mission.  Mikah continued balancing the bowl as they moved to Brian's bedside and looked down on the engineer, sprawled in his bed.  Setting the bowl on the floor, Mikah watched as Zimzod gently took one of Brian's hands and lowered it carefully into the water.  Unfortunately, for the intrepid pranksters, Brian was light enough a sleeper that the water woke him.  Mikah backed off as Brian suddenly reared up in the bed with arms flailing.
Brian reacted as Zimzod fell back on "controlling" the situation with his most basic tactics.  That left him facing off against Brian's martial arts skills as Brian became more aware of the situation.  When they started to fight, Mikah first watched, then grabbed the water bowl to threw it in their direction.  She mostly got Brian.  Mikah and Zimzod started laughing while Brian complained until Mikah told them to get ready for breakfast.  Finally, Mikah and Zimzod left the stateroom, with Zimzod grumbling a bit about not getting away with the prank.  Brian hit the shower, dressed and made a mental note to set his alarm clock if he tried that stunt again.  About that time, Aiden had started his morning routine and Rol finished his.  Rol relaxed in his stateroom, cleaning his snub pistols before looking for chow.  Ms. Vik dressed for work and left her stateroom as Mikah and Zimzod came out of Brian's.  Zimzod went for caff as Mikah grabbed her med-kit and went back to her stateroom to shower and dress.More Planning And Preparation
Ignoring the "morning show", Zach had cooked and was starting to serve breakfast as Ms. Vik sat near a terminal to eat and read the morning news.  Coverage of the Inthian President's visit from the day before featured pictures of, and speculation about, the Imperial Knights.  About then, Emkir left his stateroom heading to grab a meal.  As she cleaned up, Mikah couldn't help being annoyed by the events so far.  While she ate, Mikah wondered who in the city she could trust?  Knowing Inthe didn't have an effective "world data-net", Mikah figured she'd try the IRIS contact number.  But when she hit her comms, she got an electronic voice saying simply, "Leave a message".  Shrugging, Mikah left the message, "We could use some support!" with her name.
Brian took some time to figure out how Zimzod picked his stateroom lock, so he was the last to eat,  Brian planned to "upgrade the lock" as soon as he could.  With the crew together, they talked about the local news until the news reached out to them, too.  When the ship's comms chime announced a call from outside, Emkir answered.  He found himself talking to a reporter, who asked for interviews or answers to a few questions?  Asking how he found their ship, the reporter told Emkir the Pilot error had been listed as "in-port", per standard port operations.  When she heard this, Mikah got even angrier, because she felt they should have been asked for permission by the port.  Still, they couldn't do anything about it at the moment, so they had a rushed discussion while the call was muted.  Mikah told Emkir to tell the reporter they wouldn't be answering any questions "now", but would make a public appearance later that night.
The plan they chose, since nobody knew they were on any mission, was to try and become part of the machine, and then be a problem for the baddies.  They decided to stage a huge party at a big club, hoping to lure in gang members and get any leads they could.  After the call ended, Emkir was told he'd be the knight's "PR Man".  He was told to find a club with a big enough draw, that was willing to share its profits for a "night for the knight's" appearance.  They planned to hire a club to stage a party to which the public and the press would all be invited.  The club could charge a cover and whatever they wanted for drinks and amenities while the knights, with their security, would provide the draw.  Emkir would also call all the news agencies, to insure a heavy press attendance at the fiasco.  Before calling anyone, Emkir started setting parameters for clubs while the others went about their interests.  Things continued that way until the Inthe Army group arrived for their weapons permits.
Zimzod worked with Emkir while Mikah dug into the police database again.  Ms. Vik had checked into the port security master's background for scandals, social networking and any other data bits she could find.  Just in case he was trying to put her off by volunteering as an ally.  She also spent time digging into the port data-chip with Zach's help.  Taking breaks from time to time, Inger looked into classes she was considering taking.  Aiden got ready for the party by cleaning his snub pistol, before loading a few tranq rounds.  He wanted to keep things simple with the locals, considering their "record so far".  Rol joined Emkir and Zimzod, eventually wondering if any of the news outlets had launched airborne cam-units to watch what the knights were up to?
When they thought of using the ship's sensors, 'carefully', to look, Mikah and Brian told them about the day Zimzod activated the active sensors and weapons array.  In Credo down-port, Regina!  After that, no one was up for trying the ship's sensors.  Zimzod had done what he did after Brian had played a prank on one of their former crew members, Sir Quinn.  Reacting to that prank, Quinn had hit their ship's emergency alarm.  Thinking they were under attack, Zimzod moved to man a turret and activated the systems with interesting results.
back on the drones question, since they couldn't use the ship's sensors, Aiden and Rol went to an upper lock and used their Mark I eyeballs and binoculars.  After some time, they realized they couldn't see if there were any drones or observers watching.  As they did that, Brian worked at technical issues on his own design, until the Inthian Army team arrived.  When the Army arrived at the berth, Mikah called everyone to bring out the weapons they wanted authorizations for.  Surprising her, Brian activated a program shutting down the locks and doors, sealing the ship tight and freezing all terminal access to the ship's comms and computers.  This made Brian a lightning rod for no apparent reason, and all hell broke loose aboard.
While Mikah ordered Brian to unlock the systems, Zimzod moved in physically.  Not wanting to fight in Brian's stateroom again, Zimzod lured Brian away from his terminal and smashed it to deactivate the software.  Unfortunately, the terminal only accessed the ship's computer and the program was running on the main BUS.  That meant they had to have Brian's help to release the lock-out.  With everyone's nerves wearing a bit thin, the crew convinced Brian to unlock the ship.  Once things settled as much as they were going to, Mikah told them to get out all the gear they wanted the Inthe Army to bless.  And, as she let the army team in, the crew went to their staterooms to recover their toys.
By the time the IAT boarded the Pilot Error, Zimzod had snapped into his battledress.  That meant his appearance in the ship's lounge greatly impressed the officers.  They asked for access to the armor's systems, and some "try outs", and even offered to buy the suit, but Zimzod refused.  As the army techs looked over the gear, concerns grew about the use of 'significant military tech' without a real cause.  Seeing this could be an issue, Mikah promised that wouldn't happen.  Still, ss they talked, Brian suggested Zimzod had a potential for abusive use of weapons.  But, when Zimzod swung an augmented slap at him, Brian surprised them all.  He intercepted the attack with a hand-held device he'd pulled from his stateroom.  Suddenly, and to everyone's surprise except Brian, Zimzod was frozen as his battledress locked up!  Zimzod was stuck in the suit without explanation, as the core processor was scrambled and the suit reinitialized!
In the sudden excitement, everyone demanded explainations how Brian had done that with a simple hand-held device?  And Brian refused to answer, except to say he'd been working on it for some time.  He also absolutely refused to hand the device off to anyone.  Still, things settled down and the crew signed agreements not to abuse dedicated military tech, the army issued certifications to carry weapons in the Republic.  When they stressed that the approvals didn't effect starport regulations and permissions, Ms. Vik said that was "in hand".  During the work, the ship was regularly hit with media calls, and Emkir told each caller they had no comment at that time, but the knights would be making a public appearance that night in the city.  Still, they did want a fiasco so he did take their contact data down, to include them in the invitations later.  After everyone's credentials were updated, the army team left and they got serious about preparations for this "party".Half-Baked Plans
Mikah decided to shop for "party supplies" and Ms. Vik realized she needed some things too.  But Ms. Vik also had to do some work for the port first.  When they checked shopping opportunities on the network, like most tech-capable ports, they found a digital shopping network.  Soon, calls were made and a shop set up appointments for their various needs.  Mikah also hired a clothier to come to the ship and fit her out, generally describing what she was after.  Mikah ended up spending Cr 750 for a loose fitting black dress with accessories that worked with her Imperial Starburst earrings and lanthanum bracelet.  Mikah wanted the dress to have an adjustable bustle, to cover her laser sword power pack.  After that, Mikah hit the port for other personal supplies.
Ms. Vik also hired a clothier, but set the meeting for her at port offices.  Then, she called to have a car pick her up.  Once at her office, Inger apologized to the staff as her clothier arrived.  She told the Director she was part of the knight's team and had to be ready for their planned 'party'.  Mr. Vougazgi noticed and metaphorically sniffed around for any information or angle he could benefit from.  Sensing his interest, Ms. Vik saw an opportunity herself, and invited him to "escort her" to the party.  He accepted and the date was made.  So, Vougazgi would go to their ship with her after she was done with work at the port.  She eventually spent Cr 250 on a slinky green dress and some other clothing items.
Brian and Rol left the ship together, to look for parts and clothing for their various needs.  Brian looked for electronics, to upgrade some of their tracking toys or trick out his stateroom door lock.  After hitting a few shops, they found one vendor who took them "downstairs" to see his 'off register' items.  One of the items turned out to be a computer memory module that Brian thought he could use to upgrade the ship's computer.  Brian also bought parts to augment his door lock and a the computer module.  Rol was less shy, and bought a Gauss Rifle inducer, hidden in the "specialty section" for Cr 2,000.  After that, they separately shopped for clothes because Brian's interests were more 'high fashion' where Rol's were more affordable.  Brian finally spent Cr 150 on a suit in a port-side shop.  Rol spent Cr 50 on casual clothes in a shop on the city's edge, before deciding to walk back to the port.
While Rol and Brian were out shopping, Emkir and Zimzod scouted out a short list of "A level" clubs.  Emkir also kept up with the media calls that came into the ship.  After they thought they had a list of likely clubs, they called the first, to try and cut a deal.  But the owner, or manager, who wasn't 100% sure the call wasn't a joke, laughed and said they were 125% full every night.  And that was without paying some inbred nobility for the favor.  Saying he paid enough taxes already, the man hung up on them.  Not put off, they realized the top line clubs might be successful enough to not care about the knights. So, they dumped their list and searched for new or up and coming clubs, who might want to make their mark.  Clubs who would be looking to grow new business.  They soon found club serving both Vargr and Humans that fit their needs.  After consideration, they called a Human-based club.  While they worked in the ship's lounge, and Aiden worked in his stateroom, there was an alarm and chime warning someone had approached the ship's lock.
First looking at each other, Zimzod and Emkir checked from the lock.  Waiting there was a woman in a short skirt and otherwise unremarkable clothing.  Asking what they could do for her, the woman said she was a reporter, wondering if she could speak to the knights?  Resigned to this escalation, but resolute, they told her about the party and turned her away.  She persisted, asking to leave her card and they told her again that she should look for the knights that evening.  They also promised to get her details of the party first if she was patient and spread the word.  The woman accepted that, and the two shut down the door-cam and returned to work.  Pleased they'd turned the encounter to their needs, Zimzod and Emkir bent to their work until they heard someone clearing their throat.  When they turned, they saw the "reporter" standing behind them in the middle of the ship's common area!
The pair were metaphorically shocked to see her while Zach was literally shocked.  He had leapt at her in the name of ship's security, and been taken down with her very small personal taser!  Demands of how she'd gotten into the ship died, unspoken, as Zach cried out, fell and spasmed on the floor.  With a deadpan look, the woman said, "You sent for us?"  There was a pause before Zimzod realized she was responding to Mikah's IRIS summons!  He quickly apologized and told the agent Mikah wasn't aboard, but could be called.  While Zimzod called Mikah, who said she'd return ASAP, Emkir embarrassed himself trying to flirt with the agent.  As they waited, and Zach began to recover, Emkir attended to the press calls.  Mikah had been in a shop when the call came, looking over an assortment of dye packs as she plotted.  Not your average dyes, these organics were designed to get into the cells of natural fabrics for a quality of permanence.  She eventually bought a packet of red and one of blue.
Mikah finally got back and explained what was going on to the agent before asking for any help from IRIS.  The agent said the limited IRIS assets on Inthe supported "certain Imperial interests".  The issues the crew were dealing with were not under that mandate.  While the port's problems were a rising concern, IRIS didn't have assets or data she thought would help them.  She did say she'd pass the request on and see if there was something she was not aware of, but excused herself as she'd travelled some distance.  She needed to get back to her assignments.  Then, the agent left them to their work as if she'd not been there.  Emkir and Zimzod went back to club hunting and eventually cut a deal with a club owner.  The club could run nearly normally while the knights could cordon off parts of the club as private.  The party would have a cash bar, to cover the knights bill, and the club could pad its prices.
The club would have its own security, which the knights could augment with their own people.  As word spread, Aiden said he'd stay with the ship.  He prepared his gear, in case he had to defend it, before e-shopping for a camo-coverall he could wear over cloth armor or a vacc suit.  He found an exo-suit that fit the bill for Cr 100.  Mikah checked on how the party preparations were going and made her own preparations for some other items as well.  having worked on his own, Zach said he'd found some interesting trends in the police data on the arrests of smugglers.  He said it pointed to increasing levels of small 'drug cache' arrests.  Brian, who was satisfied with his purchases, was on his way back to the ship.  Ms. Vik continued working with, and familiarizing herself with, the port's core staff in the control section of the Administration tower.Sudden Excitement At The Port's Edge
When Rol got close to the port with his purchases, he called to see if anyone could pick him up with the air/raft?  Zimzod agreed, and went to 'gear up' and get Rol.  But as he signed off, Rol heard a number of sharp cracks and the concussion of explosives!  He also heard the sound of shattering glass and debris as gun fire ripped through a set of terminal doors in the distance!  Taking cover at the back of a parking lot he was about to enter, Rol watched as a team of weapon-toting Vargr backed out through the shattered portals, firing back into the building as they did.  Calling the ship again, Rol told Emkir to tell Zimzod he should be ready for a fire-fight, and broke contact.  Confused by the lack of detail in Rol's message, Emkir told the others something had happened and Rol needed help.  Zimzod, Aiden, Emkir and Mikah quickly geared up, to find out what had happened and rescue Rol.  Mikah and Zimzod grabbed their gauss rifles and Aiden snagged his ACR as they hit the air/raft bay and lifted for a check point nearest the sounds of battle while Emkir planned to drive.
Powering up the air/raft after getting his vacc suit on, Emkir comm'd Rol to see what port section he was nearest, so they could make the pickup.  Rol had been moving forward and observing as he could.  Without telling anyone, Rol planned to move in close enough to get behind the group of Vargr and take one down for questioning.  This only succeeded in getting him closer to the combat zone and line of fire without armor or a weapon!  Even worse, he concentrated on his plan instead of talking to the team.  Annoyed, Zimzod reverted to sergeant-mode in frustration, and angrily demanded, "Rol!  SITREP!"  Rol said, "Well, I am here."  His updates, when made, told the group nothing and added to their frustration with the contractor.  Once in the air, it was very easy for them to spot signs of the battle and they moved that way as they comm'd to Ms. Vik.  In central offices, Ms. Vik confirmed an incident was under way as she asked permission for her team to support port security.  When that was denied, she told the Director one of her crew was caught in the fight, unarmed and unarmored.  This got them permission to try and rescue their man, but no more.
About then, the team reached a checkpoint near the shooting and saw the roof-top security teams were not engaging the gunmen!  They had to wonder who was running the security response, as engaging from above would give them an advantage over the two dimensional battlefield below.  Aiden decided he'd do better as a sniper, and suggested they land so he could set up a roost.  The knights agreed, but Zimzod firmly announced he'd be the sniper, clearing his seat for Rol to jump into.  Emkir landed the air/raft on the port section's roof, as close to the fighting as possible without violating the check point as Zimzod hopped out.  Mikah called Rol and told him they were there to rescue him, but the retired Marine was still "concentrating" on his "plan".  Forgetting he'd not told them the plan, Rol said he didn't need rescue!  Saying "screw it, let's kill something", Zimzod took a position, telling the protesting officer to check with his command as he ignored port security.
After Zimzod left the air/raft, Emkir lifted and vectored to a course that would run them alongside the battle.  By this time, the fighting had spilled out into the first line of ground vehicles in the lot.  Everyone had charged their weapons and sighted ground targets as they passed over the horizon, becoming targets themselves.  They were satisfying to see none of the vargr were looking up as their weapons came to bear.  Mikah and Zimzod set fire selectors to 4-shot pulses as Aiden prepared to send a heavy slug down range.  The team identified four actors, backing through the ground vehicles as they traded fire with port security and advanced from the shattered portal into the crew's kill zone.  The first round of fire went well for the crew as two vargr dropped.  The other vargr, and some of the security, reacted with wild glances scanning in all directions for the new danger.  Zimzod thought his target was down hard, but Mikah wasn't 100% on hers.  Aiden couldn't spray and decided to be more selective about taking shots.
As they curved around to cut behind the vargr, Rol began retreating, finally having realized he couldn't engage any of the targets and was only putting himself in harm's way.  The team put down a second round of fire, but the vargr were now ducking behind vehicles.  Zimzod's fire bounced harmlessly away.  Mikah had better luck from her angle, shooting partly down a row, and tagged a Vargr who went down.  But again, she wasn't sure he was completely out of the fight.  Squeezing off a shot, Aiden put his round through part of a ground car and the puppy using it for cover too.  He marked that doggy as 'down for the count'.  At the same time, port security began a quick 'leap frog' advance with two waves consecutively covering each other as Emkir landed the air/raft near the vargr.  All weapons were trained in case anyone was still moving, but it turned out the dead were meat and the wounded wouldn't be getting up any time soon.  Satisfied the battle was done, Mikah angrily asked which fool was leading the port's lack-luster attempt to stop these guys?
She was quickly set back on her heels when told these were the 'few who got away'.  The main battle was happening inside the port building.  That fight, she was told, was being directly led by the Port Security Director.  After answering her, the port team grunts began securing the dead and wounded while their sergeant reported back on the port network.  For the moment, they ignored the knight's team until the sergeant was told to have the knight's move inside, to meet up with the Security Chief.  The fighting seemed to have ended on all fronts.  The sergeant did as ordered, but sounded like he was insulted by the knight's attitude.  Before being asked into the port, they linked up with Rol, and went inside together.  There, they learned the four gunmen they'd engaged were part of a 20-man vargr squad.  The vargr tried to pass through the terminal from the harbor
They had been carrying what they said was a casket in which they were returning a dead comrade to bury.  There was a casket, but they'd been told to bring that in via customs, to be properly scanned.  Those orders had been met with resistance then gunfire.  The vargr fought their way into the terminal as the security force built to stop them.  As the battle reached its peak, the smaller group opened up with 'fire and drop' heavy weapons and punched across the extrality line.  They then fought their way out of the terminal, where the knights had joined the engagement.  The main battlefield was spread with bodies around the shot up casket, covered with pooling blood, splattered flesh as well as shattered plaster, glass and other materials.  Moving directly over, the Security Director checked the casket for locks or booby traps before opening it.
Inside, they saw a body.  But, it was packed around by packets containing some foreign substance that looked remarkably like bags of a powdered drug.  After the crew were quickly debriefed on the scene, they were sent back to their ship because their part was done.  There, they compared notes and got ready for the party.  They hadn't really planned who would do what, but decided they'd have Emkir pilot the ship's launch to the club and land on the roof.  They knew they'd have to fill positions like PR, Security and Personal Aides as well as controlling Mr. Vougazgi.  With things settling down in the port, Rol got the OK to take the ship's air/raft to the club and spec things out, to make some plans.  After he got there, Rol watched as the place moved from "newly opened for the evening" to "pre-party" mode as Emkir's publicity calls began having an effect.
Rebroadcasting vans and stations had set up as news crews moved in and the early evening party and dinner crowd were joined by onlookers and the general public.  Rol checked the club out and asked the managers about setting some areas off as "VIP"?  He watched the bouncers and security arrive and briefed them before they allowed in the early crowd.  As time passed, Rol saw the club become a "news frenzy target".  The curious and "news groupies" moved in to get drinks or look for ways to become part of the story.  The area quickly became a ground-vehicle driver's nightmare and quagmire for those just trying to get home from work.  Seeing that, Rol called the team and told them hiring ground transport wouldn't be an option.  As they had planned to fly in andland on the roof, that wasn't an issue.Getting Dressed And Moving For The Party
After things finally calmed down, Ms. Vik and Administrator Vougazgi were able to get free and had a port car drive them to the Pilot Error's berth.  The plans settled as they decided the vargr would be safe in the cutter while Emkir prepared for the flight.  So, as Ms. Vik brought Vougazgi to the berth, the knights talked about "playing" him.  They planned to tell him they wanted his help with a proposed illicit business deal.  They also finished getting ready for the party as they waited for him to arrive.  Ms. Vik brought Mr. Vougazgi into the Pilot Error's cutter before she went to change.  As she did, Vougazgi explored the public spaces of the boat under Emkir's watchful eyes.  With the team in their party clothes, Emkir was told he could do the honors and they prepared to fly off.  Aiden sarcastically wished them good luck while planning to continue research on Ms. Vik's starport database.
At the club, Rol watched the circus grow ever larger.  While nothing had gotten out of order, he shook his head and hoped the knights knew what they'd set themselves up for.  Emkir relaxed as he powered up the cutter and got used to the craft for the first time.  The controls were fairly standard and, though not configurable, were not too difficult to get used to.  His first thought was that it seemed a fairly blunt model as his control panels and systems responded.  Emkir contacted the port for lift and flight authorization, and sent his Inthe Army authorizations plus the credential bona fides from Ms. Vik.  The port cleared the flight plan, but he was asked to hold until a clearing in traffic was available.  Once they were cleared, Emkir smoothly lifted the craft and activated the flight plan programmed into the system.  With that locked in, they were on the way as everyone in the back got comfortable.  They shared small talk, relaxing before the coming storm.
As he flew, Emkir explored more of the controls and systems when he could.  And he got some interesting and unexpected surprises.  Not having spent any real time in the cutter, Emkir thought it was a cut-down model for a second rate yacht or personal transport.  But, he soon realized it had been a combat cutter!  And, it had some legacy systems installed too.  The system that most surprised him was a chameleon-hull system!  A very expensive modification that let the crew change the cutter's outer hull to camouflage it in combat zones!  Certainly not your standard yacht cutter this!  As Emkir flew, Rol found himself being explored.  A woman who'd arrived early turned out to be a free-lance reporter looking to get a jump on her syndicated competition.
She'd planned to scope out the club and plan how, and from where, to make her approach?  She couldn't believe her luck to find the knight's lone advance man inspecting the place too!  Unable to resist, and opening a button or two on her top, she moved in for the scoop.  Sadly for the newsie, Rol wasn't an amateur and knew her interest in him specifically was just a ruse to gain access to the knights she thought employed him.  In her approach, she suggested she wanted to do a piece on him specifically.  This was a traditional bone, thrown at a working stiff whose head might be turned by star treatment.  But Rol had seen the effects the press had on the "uninitiated" as a Lieutenant, in the Zykoca system.  He also knew the secrets he held and didn't need the media picking at them.The Last Bits Before Arriving At The Party
Once they got moving, the knights had planned some small talk before putting their plan in play.  Early on, Mr. Vougazgi started coming into his own, experimentally pushing the envelope to see who he could push and who he would follow?  For her part, Ms. Vik masterfully played her role for crew and cause, playing the bait while backing off as they moved in.  Dame Mikah, moved up for the first time that evening with Sir Zimzod.  They more casually introduced themselves after the curt and formal introductions they'd exchanged on his arrival.  Friendlier in demeanor than earlier, Dame Mikah invited Mr. Vougazgi to sit with them at the back of the cabin as they relaxed with drinks from the cutter's bar.  As they sat, Vougazgi waited attentively.  In the presence of the knights, he knew he had to play this as it came.  Very quickly, Sir Zimzod brought the small talk around to suggesting a working relationship with the vargr administrator on a planned business venture on the Inthe side of the extrality line.
Interested, and a bit excited, because this deal could well elevate him while also turning a profit, Mr. Vougazgi's ears were up and there was a bit of a periodic twitch to his tail.  The vargr immediately showed his openness to any project they had in mind.  He did say it had to be legal on Inthe, as it was in Imperial space.  Vougazgi then leaned forward, asking just what plans they had?  In their answers, the knights danced around a suggested point, giving general answers.  Where they could, they gave no answer at all.  In the exchange, responses got short and direct until Mr. Vougazgi decided the knights had no plan.  Not able to get a read on the knight's intent, he tried to change the conversation asking, "So what would be my pay?  What kind of payment are we talking?"
Again, the knights danced around the issue, promising percentages well above the usual one or two percent.  But, they avoided giving any concrete numbers on what these would be part of?  Even when he directly probed for values, the knights gave him nothing but promises and potential values from which his "cut" would come.  Vougazgi figured they were trying to draw him out, as many others had in the past, but wasn't certain why?  Finally, he decided he couldn't convince them to answer his questions so he needed to lead them down his own path.  Preparing to rise, with ears slightly down and back signaling his slight disappointment, Vougazgi bluntly said, "I see.  You do not really have a plan for any business, and are only luring me out for some purpose you are not ready to disclose.  I am sorry but we may as well end this until you have something real to discuss."  Stopping Vougazgi with the blunt tone of his voice, Sir Zimzod cut in saying, "What we want is transport for gauss rifles.  We can, and intend to, move weapons.  Any type.  To anywhere on Inthe.  We want your help locally.  Can you help us?"
Suddenly, the universe changed before Mr. Vougazgi's eyes.  And as quickly, he sat again with his ears coming back up and his eyes hardening.  He then asked, "What role do you expect me to play?  And what risks do you think I might face?  Zimzod was just as blunt, answering "We want you to help us figure out how to transport our goods?  Find out who our competitors are?  Be our information man on the ground."  Seeing something he could finally seriously sink his teeth into, Vougazgi upped the ante saying, "I see this would start out as an 'Agent on hire', per job relationship.  And then move to a percentage payment once things got moving."  He continued, "For ten thousand credits, I can do what you ask and better.  I can have you a list of possible transport methods and potential competitors inside 24 hours.  And, I can add a list of possible buyers to that."  Sitting back with a smile, Zimzod said, "That is perfect for us.  Exactly what we need to get started."  Ears up and forward with his tail showing the periodic twitch again, Mr. Vougazgi relaxed too.  He assured himself they could finalize delivery the next day.  After payment was made.
In the cockpit, Emkir finished his inspection of the ship and opened a comms aft to tell the others the craft had a chameleon hull.  He asked if they wanted him to set the hull to any of the presets, or broadcast any music through the external speakers?  Unfortunately, they hadn't known about the feature, or pre-programmed any hull patterns.  A list of the available patterns all seemed combat-oriented camouflage patterns.  So, they decided not to make use of the system.  As they relaxed, Rol efficiently navigated the hazards of his situation at the club to post a beacon on the roof.  Emkir acquired the beacon and homed in on the building, to land smoothly on its rooftop.  Those in the back watched out the viewports as they arrived.  In the streets below, they saw a blunt and no nonsense display of the insanity they had committed.  On the cutter's external speakers, Emkir began to broadcast an Imperial March.  And once the cutter was in sight of the building, the circus cycled up into full swing.
_________________________________________________________________________ Next: Day Three on Inthe - The Party