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Last Updated     February 7 2017
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Sitting In Anarthon's Home

Risek     In Anarthon's home, the marines sat the team down to give the techs room as they were either connecting their devices to the console or pouring through the data the computer held.  Since this was not explained to him and not one to sit idly by, Zimzod stood, intending to explore other rooms.  But he was brought up short by a trooper's address.  "Can I help you Sir?" the trooper asked in a firm voice that indicated Zimzod's moving was a cause for concern.  Zimzod answered sarcastically, "Can you come with me to find the little boys room?"  Unphased, the trooper responded, "Hold up here while I check my map, Sir."  The man then stood a bit more still while the map displayed on his HUD.

Unwilling to be held on the sidelines like he was in kindergarten, Zimzod told the trooper his team had an investigation going.  He reminded the man they were the reason the marines had been called to begin with.  The trooper was unimpressed and acknowledged Zimzod's statement while adding, "While I understand that Sir, please remain seated here."  When Zimzod pushed things, by refusing to sit, the trooper called his Sergeant to deal with the unruly civilian.

The Sergeant knew of their credentials, though he was barely aware of their involvement in the plague investigation.  He explained that they had to stand by until debriefed about the data they found.  His manner was no nonsense and direct.  Zimzod tried to pull rank as a Knight, saying he didn't take orders from the marines, and was asked who he took orders from?  That landed squarely in Mikah's lap and she attempted to defuse the situation by asking the trooper to contact his commander so they could speed things up.  Mikah connected with the trooper's Lieutenant and began pushing her medical mission and the fact the Navy put them into this to start with.

In the meantime, Zimzod made a point of his independence from Marine commands by trying to wander about again.  This prompted other troopers to move in to hem in his activities and demand he sit.  When Zimzod heatedly refused to sit, it seemed as if the marines would have to take him into custody!  Quickly, Mikah comm'd Ms. Vik to get the Captain back on the line.  Remembering suddenly, she asked Inger to check with the hospital on their status was with the looters after that.  Inger called for Captain Kristianson and got Lieutenant Shiikhugke instead.  She quickly explained the issue and Shiikhugke was connected to Dame Mikah.

He asked her some basic questions before having the Sergeant linked in.  The Sergeant's orders were to secure the location and they were concerned Zimzod seemed intent on making execution of those orders difficult.  He was very firm that he'd carry out his orders which included nothing to allow the civilians to order them otherwise.  When Mikah asked about her team leaving, she was told they wanted her team debriefed by navy intel, especially Zach Wood.  Mikah asked how long that would take and was told they had no ETA yet.  Exasperated, she pointed out they needed to continue their investigation and had work to do.  As Dame Mikah had a point, the Lieutenant agreed her team was not leaving the arcology and could be debriefed later.  While they wouldn't have further access to the residence, they could go about following up other leads.

Heading For Fuel

     As Aiden piloted the ship to the logistics station for refueling, he periodically tried to reach the fueling boss or flight traffic control for a slot in the fueling queue.  Once half the flight was done, an annoyed voice contacted Aiden and said his approach vector was in tracking.  He was told he could request access to the queue once his ship was in local space with the logistics base, not before.  Aiden tried to thank the naval tech, but the line was abruptly cut from the far end.  While Aiden continued the flight, Emkir slept in his stateroom and Brian worked on the jump engines, storage capacitor systems and the crystal to lanthanum transfer linkages.

On Station 371

     Ms. Vik called the hospital to ask about the status of the detained looters?  The doctor who answered was confused and said he knew nothing about looters, saying no one had arrived for observation.  Thanking him and cutting the comms, Inger called Mikah to update her and got the Knight's outgoing message.  She left an update before looking for some task and seeing there was nothing to do at the moment.  For the first time in three days she was at loose ends, and decided to look into recreation and "real" food.

Once he'd dealt with his weapons issues, Rol cleaned himself up as much as he could before heading out to find a base exchange.  There, he picked up some snacks before heading back to the admins working on the SuSAG search.  Arriving to find a different shift on duty, Rol identified himself and asked for a demonstration of what they had so far?  As far as he could see, things were going properly so Rol had them open a terminal for him.  Setting himself up, Rol dug into the election and campaign of one Alexi Anarthon, finding a great deal of data in left over ads, web sites and blogs from both campaigns and talking heads. Taking it slow, he began digging in trying to make heads or tails of it.

The Next SuSAG Location

     Freed from waiting to be debriefed, Mikah and team headed to the nearest SuSAG facility, nearly 20 minutes away.  There, they found it closed and locked.  Zimzod looked over the doors, noting the locks were electronic.  Not being able to pick the lock, he moved until he was pressing against the door and simply leaned in until it broke inward.  Once inside, they looked around, seeing the place was some sort of educational clinic.  There were also recruitment type brochures, showing smiling workers posed in various pursuits and pleasures.  Not impressed, Mikah told Zach to check the computers and he headed into the building looking for a manager's office.

As Zach searched and worked, Zimzod hunted for the clinic's security room.  In each room they entered, Zach and Mikah searched what unlocked drawers they found for ID's or credentials.  Zach also looked through any unsecured papers he found.  Mikah eventually found a note in the reception desk that looked like a "Log in" ID and password for a girl named "Anit".  She used it to log into the reception computer as Zach found what he thought was the manager's office.  He powered the desk terminal up trying to hack it as he had Anarthon's.

Using the ID she'd found, Mikah dug into the receptionist's account finding very little there.  Exploring the extent of her access, the Knight settled for the clinic's appointment book.  From the main page, Mikah saw tabs for meeting and class schedules as well as a visitor's log under the main calendar page of the book.  Easily, she searched throughout the book and its attached data for any hint of Shaslu Kishman, Representative Anarthon, any employee of the dispersion device maker's staff or those who planted the device.  After the searches failed, Mikah searched for any mention of specific components of the viral stew they wiped off the first dispersion device.

Meanwhile Zimzod searched each office he came to until he found a security closet in one of them.  The office was not dedicated to security as the clinic was too small to devote such space.  But the closet had a safe and crystal data recorder rigged to cover the reception and classrooms.  Clearly the safe was for data crystal storage as well as other items.  When he tested it, Zimzod found it secure.  Repeated tries to get a hold on the safe or force it open all failed despite his battledress, so he decided to explore the room.  He checked the desk and whatever other furniture was present before coming back to the safe.  With no other options, Zimzod tried to rip the safe from the closet.  He then stepped out to search the other offices, but repeatedly came back to try.  He spent several hours coming up empty as did Zach and Mikah.  After one last effort, Zimzod gave up on pulling the safe from its moorings and they considered their options.

Ms. Vik and Rol Rumor Hunt

     Rol found no major issues while digging into the election, which was for a largely functionary post in the operation of the port.  He did again find what he heard from others about accusations of illicit funding from the losers and praise of donations from "the little guy" from the winners.  It all seemed like the same sort of clap trap heard in any representative system where elections were held.  Once done he could boil the debates, if you could call them that, down to efficiency, honesty and campaign funds.  While Rol worked with the admins, Ms. Vik wandered the non-duty parts of the station.  As she did, she increasingly noted the need for naval ID of some sort for almost everything, be it on duty or off.

As she wandered, Inger also overheard people talking about the plague and their comments were a mix of suspicions from the activities of some megacorporation to Imperial secret research gone wrong to a Sword Worlds or Zhodani plot...  Fears spanned the spectrum, but some were openly wondering if anyone would get out of the solar system alive?  Deciding that she needed her credentials and that the speculation of the station crew was just too depressing, Inger decided to ask Lieutenant Shiikhugke if the team's credentials had come through yet?  Once contacted, Shiikhugke told her the ID's were ready and directed her to the print shop.  She thanked him and killed the line as she checked the data and headed for the shop.  Once there, Inger verified the ID's for all of the team and then comm'd Rol to update him and find where he was?  She then headed to the admin core to give him his ID.

On her way, Ms. Vik also comm'd the rest of the team, telling them where their credentials would be stored.  When she arrived at the core, Rol pulled her to the side as he took the card and asked her to look into the election as well, just for anything "odd".  Ms. Vik said she would help out after taking care of her plans to get some decent business clothes and hit the port for any information on Shaslu Kishman there.  After talking to Rol, Inger headed for the on-station shops and eventually spent Cr 600 buying a business suit and a casual outfit (Jeans, etc.)  The clothes had something of a military style and definantly had the stamp of Vilani fashion, but the selection was what it was.

After talking to Inger, Rol did a bit more digging to see if he could get a better feel for Alexi Anarthon?  He dug to see if he could figure out what the man was into, or involved in before the election?  He also investigated the man's reasons for selecting the party he did, as well as any actions while in office, that might shed light on his off-record interests.  As he was working, and Ms. Vik was shopping, they received word from Aiden that the ship was still en route to the fueling station.  He estimated it would be "some time" before they could get authorization to enter the fueling queue.  Ms. Vik told Aiden their ID's for station 371 were available and he should tell the others, so they'd know when they return to the station.

Checking The Leads And Back To The Cargo Bay

     Having found nothing in the SuSAG clinic, Mikah's team decided to pull the crystal loaded into the recorder and view its contents for any leads.  As they watched, the facility was being closed and secured.  The time and date stamp indicated it was recorded two days into what they now knew would have been "bloom period" of the disease.  Curious to see if the staff had left the arcology before the system was locked down, they called Rol.  They asked if he could get the admins do a check to see if the forty clinic staff had left the station?

Rol asked one of the lead techs, and was told he could do the research himself.  So Rol promised to provide a report in the next two hours.  With nothing jumping out and begging to be investigated, Mikah and the team realized they had no solid leads.  With no clear direction after three days, they decided to go back over ground covered.  Of most interest was the black market stash in bay 700, so they returned there.  During the ride, Zach looked up, on his handcomp, the one SuSAG-specific chemical used to make the acid from the attack on the Aku Iikhi.

He linked to what few functioning local networks were left and found a list of things it was commonly used for locally.  The list was not very notable, being used for electrolyte stabilization in a wide number of products from industrial to cleaning.  When he showed the list to Zimzod and Mikah, the only note was that SuSAG had to be making a mint off their local monopoly on production.  Zach then remembered Captain Kristianson had said they had a small stack of pictures of those who had entered and left the bay.

Realizing they'd only focused on representative Anarthon, Zach reached out to the Captain's office to ask about the other pictures?  He got the captain's aide, and Lieutenant Shiikhugke agreed to forward the data to him.  When Zach asked if the people in the shots had been identified, the Lieutenant dryly reminded him that these were a handful of random people out of the population of an entire city.  When Zach asked about using the data the Navy secured, Shiikhugke reminded him this data was ripped from the city's computer systems.  It didn't necessarily contain pictures of every citizen, was not organized and the Navy hardly had time to shut down operations and look for captured year books to go through until they found them.

Eventually Zach got twenty pictures, which he shunted to his handcomp before reviewing them.  Twelve were uniformed figures or persons in obvious work clothes.  The other eight, including Anarthon, were in civilian clothes.  Zach examined the two pictures of Anarthon and noted that, in one of them, the man was holding something in his left hand.  Doing his best to enhance the shot, Zach was able to make it out as a bunch of Credit Chips!  While he couldn't tell, a cold chill hit him because they could almost be matched with the chips he'd recovered in the residence.  Looking at the pictures again, Zach realized he had no resources with which to identify them.

Remembering the engineers they'd worked with a few days past, Zach asked if Mikah could reach out to Master Engineer Mossi to see if he could help?  She recovered the man's contact data and called out to him, only to learn he had contracted the mystery disease since they'd last talked.  Mikah said she hated to ask, but they needed to see if he could help ID anyone in the pictures they had?  Mossi agreed, and they shunted the captures to him and hoped.  While he didn't know any of the people pictured except the politician, he did identify the divisions some of the uniformed or work clothed people belonged to.  Of the station operations divisions he identified, two were security and one was maintenance.  This gave the team a bit more to consider as they rode the final distance to the cargo bay access.  They arrived to see the bay was still guarded by marines, but learned they could enter when they asked.

The bay was under the command of a Marine Captain who had been organizing operations there.  When they checked with him, the team were told fifteen containers arrived during the thirty days before the "attack".  The Captain also said they could examine the shipments when they asked.  These were identified as Tools, Cybernetic Parts, Spices(unidentified at this time), Petrochemicals, Vacc Suits, Radioactives, Fruit, Liquor, Firearms, Aircraft, Silver, Polymers, Firearms and Computer Parts.  The three decided to go box by box except for the radioactives, Firearms and Silver shipments.  Those had been restricted by the Marines.

The first box, listed as "spices" on the manifest they'd been given, was sealed.  When they opened the cargo container and the small corrugated box within, they saw packets of purple powder with lines of yellow material running through it.  Mikah immediately recognized it as the very powerful and extremely illegal drug "Caterpillar Delight"!  Both surprised and intrigued, they considered asking the marines if they could take a few of the individual packets?  Eventually, Mikah was directed to the Captain, to ask about a removal policy?  He looked down as she asked, and also recognized the contents of the package.  With a suddenly stern look on his face, he said he couldn't possibly allow that package of drugs to be removed from custody.  Mikah pulled herself up fully and looked him in the eye as she asked, "Are you a doctor, Captain?"

The Captain replied frostily, "No MiLady, but I know what that is and the restrictions regarding it."  Expecting an answer like that, Mikah said, "Can you prove there's no chance this drug will cure the disease?"  Obviously very uncomfortable with the surprise turn in the conversation, the Captain answered, "While I can't, I very much doubt it is possible that could be the case."  The skeptical look on his face confirmed his feelings.  "Skeptical or not," Dame Mikah answered, "I am willing to try anything in order to save these people."  Still uncomfortable under the Knight's stare, the Captain finally agreed to send one packet, in the hands of one of his marines, to the hospital lab to be tested.

Seeing this was the most she'd get out of the Captain, Mikah accepted the offer.  A marine was dispatched and the rest of the shipment was moved to the restricted part of the bay along with the radioactive rocks.  Moving to the next shipment, the team found a cargo rack holding five vacc suits.  The hard "fish bowl" and "snap to" connections showed it to be of a comparatively low tech for vacc suits.  A closer examination by Zach found the cloth of the suits thin enough to suggest they were tech level ten, and could have been made locally or been shipped in to the system.

The third container held a ton of canned fruit.  Desert Pears from the Nutema System(Rhylanor), known for their tart flavor and juicy meat.  The pears and their juice were delicacies in a number of systems across the Marches and in the neighboring Deneb Sector.  On food starved worlds, a shipment of these could make a person wealthy.  Not very interested in the pears themselves, the team moved on to the next container to find it subdivided into twenty cases.

Opening one of the cases, Mikah stopped in surprise as she recognized the label.  The contents of each case were, in fact, a case of chardonnay from the wineries of the Zila system!  These wines were so lucrative that the Imperial Navy had once been called in to stop the shooting in-system between cartels vying for speculative transport contracts.  Once more, Zach's expert knowledge was called on and he estimated each bottle could claim twenty to fifty thousand credits in the right markets.

Dame Mikah's interest was raised again, and she called the Captain over to ask about the wine.  The Captain, Meelack Leeder, was already wary of the Knight and her demands as he came to investigate this latest intrusion.  When he refused her first attempt to get one or more of the cases moved, she changed direction on him.  Dialing up the friendliness and cooperation, she made sure he understood the value of the wine before finally pushing an offer across the deck.  They would remove two cases of the wine to a separate location and each would take one case from there.

Mikah began attempting to sell the deal to get a case(or more) for themselves.  To say she epically failed would be putting it mildly.  It was as he watched the Knight go down in flames that Zach stepped in as the polished merchant that he was.  The broker and dealer in him came out as he smoothed over the holes ripped in the deal by the Knights as he also carefully searched for a thread of greed too.  Then came the shark, loosed from its tank.  Zach tread softly on the repaired connections, firming up the avarice he'd found in the Marine Captain, and then hooked him.

As Zimzod and Mikah stood by, hoping Zach knew what he was doing, Zach knew the deal was already done.  And soon enough it was.  Leeder's chief concern was that he'd be double crossed.  In the end, a deal was made and the captain agreed to trust the team and pick his case up from them at their cutter.  Smiling inside their helmets, Mikah, Zimzod and Zach pulled two cases from the container as the captain instructed his marines that the team would be allowed to remove them for "medical testing".

As they made their way to the kart, Mikah told Zach to send copies of the pictures from bay 700 to Inger's team on the naval station, to identify the pictured people.  Zach agreed, and started sending the files as Mikah called Rol, then Inger, asking them to look into the pictures.  She also asked Ms. Vik to look into the ship list Captain Kristianson gave her.  On the way to the station's flight bay to catch a port shuttle when she got the call, Ms. Vik remembered connecting the ship name 'IMS Scarlet Tree' with Kishman and seeing it on the Captain's ship report.  She said she'd check for more info from the Navy and see if they had data on the ship's current or last operations in-system?

On Station 371

     Working in the computer admin core, Rol got the call from Mikah and tried to reach Ms. Vik.  He found she was using her comms and figured Mikah had called her directly.  He left a message asking her to get back to him and went back to researching the election.  Rol specifically looked into who backed Anarthon's campaign?  Changing her course to head for the computer core, Ms. Vik called Captain Kristianson and learned the Navy had a filed flight plan for the 'Scarlet Tree'.  It was a run from Podesta to an arcology which was part of the Tarallo Alliance five days before.  Being proactive, they'd verified the destination wasn't the Tarallo arcology that was attacked by the acid dispenser.  Trafficking data confirmed the ship did leave Podesta space, but the trail went cold after that and the people of the Alliance had no record of a ship by that name arriving.  As a result, they were checking if ships of that class or description arrived or left in that time window.

Ms. Vik arrived at the computer admin office to speak with Rol about the pictures.  When he asked for help trying to identify the people, Inger pointed out he had many resources at his disposal and asked him to handle it.  When Rol asked, she said she was heading to the SPA port to find info on Kishman and his ship there.  She also pointed out there were six more dispensers out there.  Rol accepted that and Ms. Vik headed to the shuttle bay again.  On her way, she called Mikah to give her an update on what she'd gotten on the Scarlet Tree and the Navy's continuing efforts there.  As Ms. Vik left, Rol looked at his "tasks in hand".  He decided to set up a search for pictures with the same file details as those he had instead of trying a brute force "scan and compare".  He then set up a second search for hits on the forty names sent by Mikah from the SuSAG clinic.  After taking some care on each of the other issues, Rol returned to working on Anarthon's election.

Aboard the Pilot Error

     Brian steadily worked at reducing his 'to do list' on the jump systems, to finish "between Jump" maintenance as they crossed the system for fuel.  While he worked, Emkir woke in his stateroom and checked the clock.  He then called down to Brian in engineering, to see what was happening before calling the bridge.  When he did call, Aiden sardonically welcomed him back and asked if Emkir could take the bridge so he could get some sleep too?  The Admiral agreed, and cleaned up before slipping into a shipsuit and relieving Radetsky.  Once relieved, Aiden went back to his stateroom, secured his gear and set his clock for four hours before grabbing a nap.

Reassessing Back In The Cutter

     Once they arrived in the docking bay Mikah, Zimzod and Zach decided only one person needed to cross to the cutter to store the chardonnay.  Zimzod was selected, and his powered armor helped as they took the time to craft a vacuum safe container for the booze first.  The bay workers again asked hopeful questions about getting off the arcology, only to be told that nothing had changed yet.  Once he crossed over to the cutter, Zimzod decontaminated himself and the container before moving the box into the cutter's passenger bay.  While there, he recharged his air and power before taking stock of the decontamination supplies as Mikah asked him to.

He found they had enough for one more full wash for each of them, now that he'd come aboard.  Once done, he started gearing up to return as he comm'd Mikah a report on the supplies.  Still in the bay, Mikah tried to call Aiden and realized his comms were off.  She then opened a channel to the ship's comm frequency and called to get Emkir on the bridge.  Surprised Aiden would give up control before the ship was refueled, Mikah asked where Aiden was and was told he was asleep while Emkir manned the bridge.  This pleased Mikah as she'd not have to deal with the paranoid scout.  Explaining that they were again low on decontamination supplies, she asked Emkir to bring the ship back and deliver more.

Half amused, Emkir considered Aiden's reaction, which gave him another chuckle as he cheerily said, "OK" and began to plot the return course.  Mikah heard the chuckle and decided she and the Admiral were definitely on the same page.  Thanking him, Mikah signed off.  Done with the "housekeeping" Mikah, started tending to the workers.  As she did, she saw several of them were exhibiting the first signs of the illness.  Disappointed, Mikah chose not to tell them, as there was nothing they could do about it anyway.  As she worked, Zach had little to do but go over their situation in his head.  It didn't take long before he thought of finding decontamination supplies on the arcology.  He figured that finding supplies on the station would stop them being dependent on deliveries from the naval station.

Emkir completed a plot and called Naval control to get permission for the transit.  Naval control gave the OK saying, "Whatever".  Before hitting the thrusters, Emkir comm'd Brian about the planned activity but, being polite, he let Aiden sleep.  As he had worked, Brian found, and swapped out, some stress damaged parts and dug deeper into the linkages and systems to make sure everything was working properly.  Brian took periodic breaks and reviewed the list of parts suppliers he'd developed.  When he felt he had the time, Brian opened a comms to contact a few of them.  As he was putting feelers out, Brian found one prototyper who made him an offer instead of information on parts.  The man asked Brian to send the plans, and give him a week to make a prototype.  Not wanting to give away his work to someone who'd reap the profits, Brian was cautious as they discussed how the deal would work.  Finally, Brian said he liked the idea but wanted to protect himself.  He asked the guy, Ealal Seewa, if he could talk to his team's legal man.  When Seewa said that'd be fine, Brian put him on mute and called Zach.

Still considering finding supplies as Mikah worked with the dock workers, Zach welcomed the questions.  With his legal and merchant training, Zach quickly identified the areas Brian needed to protect and what was needed.  He also told Brian he had a stock contract of the type on his wrist computer.  If Brian wanted him to write one up, he could do that and send it over.  Brian said that was perfect and asked Zach to hold on as he patched the lines together.  Once Zach was introduced and sent his credentials, Seewa worked with the two to hammer out the details of the deal.  Finishing that, Seewa had Zach send him a copy of the contract for review and they electronically signed the agreement, pending Seewa's lawyer approving it.  Seewa said that shouldn't take more than a few hours and promised he was already lining up work details for the prototype.  Once that was done, Brian sent Seewa a copy of his plans.

Getting Supplies And Making Steals

     Once Zimzod returned to the arcology, the team decided to return to bay 700, to check more of the containers that arrived in the last month.  On the way, they followed up on Zach's idea by checking locations where they could find their own decontamination supplies.  It was not long before they saw store fronts and checked out one that had obviously been looted.  As Mikah and Zach primarily looked for supplies, Zimzod was on the alert for active security devices.  Lucky for them, the power grid to this location was damaged enough there were no active cameras or security measures of any type.

Once they found the needed supplies, they began making plans to move material to the docking bay and Mikah called Emkir to tell him they no longer needed the ship to return.  Realizing there was no reason for him to drive Aiden even crazier, he told Brian and figured the plot back to the fueling area queue.  Calling the Navy, he got permission to turn around from a now mildly annoyed flight controller and brought the ship back onto a return course as he sighed because he'd miss Aiden's reaction to Mikah's orders.

In the store, Mikah saw insects crawling on some shelves while loading up several days of supplies.  Curious about the bugs and the disease, she took some containers from the shelves to capture bugs for testing.  While she was doing this, Zach stopped her saying, "You know, the store has a pharmacy too..."  The way he let his voice trail off left no question in Mikah's mind as she brightened and decided to loot the pharmacy for the needs of the ship as well as "other" needed supplies.  They also considered the docking bay workers, holed up near their cutter and decided to grab real food and healthy drinks for them.  In total, they made two trips to the docking bay with supplies.

After several hours, they had delivered the supplies to the bay, though not transferred them over, and fed the workers.  That done, they finally decided to head back to bay 700 to check more containers.  Once back at the bay, and passed by the posted guards, they got to work hitting the containers.  The first they examined contained silver ingots that seemed to have been diverted from some precious metals banking exchange or other metal-based deal.  Once this was checked out, the Marines stepped in to secure the shipment for further investigation.

The second case got more attention as it was labelled "Cybernetic parts".  Once the container was opened, the crew saw well packed and preserved electronic items in stabilized protective foam with markings on the internal bays and slots.  They saw there were two languages stamped on them with the first being Galanglic, nothing special.  But the second was identified by Zach as Darrian.  It took him longer than normal to identify the language as some of the characters were "not right".

Taking more time to investigate, Zach realized the print-type was an older version of the Darrian alphabet than he knew!  Zimzod and Zach both realized this likely meant these items were old.  Possibly very old!  The two men quietly told Mikah the early settlers of the Sword Worlds brought Galanglic to this part of space long before the rise of the Third Imperium.  So, these could be extremely old parts indeed!  While there was nothing saying some corporation wasn't using the old script for modern reasons, there was also nothing suggesting those were not true Darrian artifacts.

Deciding they needed more time with the parts, Mikah called the Captain over to "build on their newly formed friendship" and talk him into letting them take custody of the container.  But Zach's zeal and interest in them had him verbally tripping over his tongue.  This instantly told the Captain there might be something of interest in this container himself!  Realizing their silver-tongued trader was falling on his face, Zimzod stepped in to try and salvage the situation.  Trying a 'one marine to another' approach he found the Captain willing to talk, though not so willing to give anything away without a reason.

Once Zimzod was finally able to get the idea of a deal back on track, the Captain was wondering what he was giving away and had started asking questions.  Mikah stepped in, coming at the situation with a short but technical medical lecture that was somewhat involved.  When that did not lose the captain, she shifted to suggest the parts were from a technology that might possibly allow the doctors to manufacture a cure to the plague!  This grabbed the Captain where he lived, as no one was getting off the arcology until there was a cure including him.  Also, he was completely lost in much of the medical jargon, so soon Leedor simply issued orders to loan out their grav lifters so the Knights could take the case to their kart.

As they prepared to leave, he decided he might have given the team something they valued and wanted something for himself.  He called Mikah over as they prepared to leave and suggested they may need to "test" two more cases of chardonnay.  Hearing the ring of avarice in the man's voice, she was very quick to agree, and soon two more cases had been moved with the container of Darrian parts.  This time, as they were leaving the bay, Mikah wondered what IRIS was up to in the system?  Wanting to get back to the cutter with the containers as it was getting late, Mikah called Brian on the ship.  She asked him to check into an IRIS presence when he could, and he agreed he'd do so in a break from working on their engines.  If he couldn't reach them from the ship and had to, he'd do so once they are back on the naval station.  If they ever got refueled...

News Before Heading to the SPA Port

     Arriving at the station's shuttle bay, Ms. Vik found taking a shuttle to the SPA port, or anywhere else, wasn't as easy as grabbing the base taxi.  The restrictions on ship and personnel travel had affected shuttle access.  The duty officer wouldn't let her book a seat until she got him to call the Captain's office and had her aide pushed the right buttons.  With an apology, the officer booked her onto the next shuttle, departing on the hour.  As she waited, Inger did some investigation of the SPA port.  She checked out all the deck plans she could find on publicly published sources and tried to puzzle out where best to hunt for information on a smuggler?  Eventually, ten minutes before she had to board, Ms. Vik contacted the Captain's office and got the latest from the Lieutenant.

Sadly, there wasn't much more, but he could send her the data telling when the "Scarlett Tree" had officially entered or left the system in the last six months.  She stored this data, to review during the flight, and signed off thanking the Lieutenant before she boarded the shuttle.  Once aboard, she got situated as quickly as she could.  Her last call was to Mikah, as she wouldn't be able to use her comms while aboard the shuttle, due to crisis restrictions enforced by the Navy.  On the Naval station, Rol continued his investigation of Anarthon's campaign, which seemed to have been very expensive.  There was a lot of speculation on how a simple port worker could have put together such a large organization or taken in so much in donations?

But there were also few real challenges to his money, and only two which seemed to have had steam.  The first ended when the challenger was embroiled in his own scandal.  Rol found the second challenge, a demand to reveal Anarthon's funding sources, was blocked by a Municipal Junior Administrator named Irderi Geamga.  Interested in this interference, Rol added him to the investigation and finished what was on his current screens before starting to look into Geamga.  After a number of hours, Rol found Geamga was a major power broker.  He appeared to be able to run unopposed in his own election runs.  Rol decided to concentrate more on Irderi Geamga the next day, before finally saving his data and going to find a place to relax and eat.

A Nap And More News

     Back on the cutter, the team were settling down after realizing the air inside the Darrian cargo container was potentially contaminated and couldn't be opened.  Setting the container in the cutter, they shared rations before hitting the rack.  Before grabbing sleep, Zimzod downloaded the pictures he had stored to his combat computer and sent them to Brian.  On the ship, Brian checked out the pictures.  He found the computer the team found in bay 700 was a TL9 microcomputer, which seemed worthless.  The pictures of the "cybernetic parts" were nothing Brian had seen before.  Zach also spent some time looking over the pictures, comparing the stuff with artifact data he had.  But it was nothing he could figure out.

Thirty minutes after much of the team hit the rack, Emkir noticed scan alarms on his readout on the bridge, and started pulling up the data feed.  As he investigated, Emkir saw that twelve new ships had arrived in-system!  Two of them massed over one hundred thousand tons!!  As he set his sensors to pull more data, Emkir comm'd the rest of the team.  On hearing the comms, and expecting the station alarms any second, Rol headed for the team's briefing room to see what data came in there?  Brian came up to the bridge from engineering, to see what was happening directly and Mikah told them to keep her informed.  When she got her comms on, Inger suggested they open a common channel so everyone could listen instead of channel hopping.

Soon everyone, except Aiden, was linked in while the former scout slept, unaware, in his stateroom.  As everyone watched, the ship ID's began to arrive.  First on the scan was the Tigress Class Dreadnaught "INS Imperial Might".  The next ship ID was the 150,000 ton hospital ship "INS Emperor's Mercy".  The rest of the ships in the flotilla ware heavy and light cruisers in escort.  Hard on the heels of the ship identifications, a message came system-wide.

        "Attention all commands! This system is now under interdict, and the direct
          control of Leonard, Duke Rhylanor.  Compliance with relief forces is mandatory
          and any refusal to comply may be met with deadly force.  All senior naval
          commanders in-system are ordered to reply with status and prepare to
          gather aboard Imperial Might for a command conference in the next
          three hours".

Once the uproar was over, everyone realized the excitement was over for at least a couple of days as the ships moved in-system.  Rol racked out as did the cutter team.  Emkir checked his navigation and then planned to wake Aiden to take his shift as if nothing had happened.

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Next: A Cure!