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Last Updated     April 21 2018
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Preparations Before The

Docking And Appointments Before Shopping

Station      When they entered the port's docking pattern, the Hotel California was asked how long they intended to be in port, and what services they would need?  Mikah asked about a new fuel purification system and the port politely said she'd need to contract with a shipyard for that.  Considering that, Mikah said they'd need standard services for an indefinite period.  When the port tech started ticking off, "We have one week, one month...", Mikah cut him off saying, "Book us for one week and we'll go from there."

The tech asked, "Do you want full hookup to station services?" and Mikah said she did.  Checking if they wanted catering, Mikah said no.  The port tech said their fees would be Cr 1,000 for the first week and change as scheduled.  When the tech asked if they needed cargo services or advanced security, Mikah said they didn't need cargo services at the time and their security needs "remained to be seen".  This made the tech uncomfortable, and he asked if she could explain?  Mikah flatly said "No."  and he had her hold before leaving the comms for a few minutes.  When he returned, he said he'd checked with his manager and they were moving the California's assignment to a secure berth which would cost Cr 1,500 a week.

Mikah protested she was sure they wouldn't need advanced security, but he said that was immaterial.  The port was acting based on their concerns with the answers she'd given.  Mikah asked if they got amenities with it and the operator said it would be harder for people not approved by the port to get to their ship.  Hearing that, Mikah accepted the assignment, and told the port they had a cutter returning to dock with the ship.  The port had no issues with this, saying subcraft would have full access.  Once Mikah was given the coordinates, she called Emkir.  He said they were close to the port themselves.  As they flew, Emkir and Zach talked about what happened?  Zach was surprised that Hortalez apparently didn't believe his claims.  Emkir quipped, "Go figure, an insurance company that doesn't want to pay claims."  Quietly Emkir wondered to himself what Zach expected?!

Once the California docked, they started getting advertisement feeds and bought a port-feed connection for Cr 100.  As soon as they had a network account, they were hit by a blizzard of advertisements and sales notices.  Food, dockside, ship yards, decorators, servants aboard, engineering services, etc...  You name it and it flooded onto the screens for a few minutes.  As this happened, Mikah asked Brian if he'd like them to hire engineers to help get the ship's maintenance caught up?  Brian said he'd like that a lot and she asked if he had an idea how much it would cost?  Brian said they'd need to come aboard and give a quote.  The serious chat of hiring people aboard degenerated down to a few jokes about the last time they had someone aboard.  They finally agreed, Brian would set up a meeting to get an estimate, for the next morning at 9am as they needed to meet the Countess before 9pm.  Talking about meeting the Countess, Zimzod said he wanted to visit the InstellArms location.  Others in the crew agreed they wanted to do that too, but Mikah reminded them they had to make an appointment to meet with Duke Leonard's people.

Before they left the ship, Mikah called the Duke's contact details, and was routed to someone to schedule their meeting.  They settled on meeting with the Duke's team the next day, at 11am, and then called Duke Norris' people, who were not certain who she was?  When she suggested they call the Seneschal on Regina, they remind her that would take a few months.  Asked again who they were, Mikah temporised, saying "How to put this.  We are on a ship the Duke gave to us, to use on an assignment he gave us..."  She was interrupted by the man, who asked, "And the ship's name is?"  When Mikah said, "Now it's the Hotel California." he asked, "What was it when he gave it to you?"  Mikah said, "It didn't have a name."  As she watched, the man punched in the data and said, we have no information on a Hotel California.

Then, she told him it was named the "Pilot Error" when they left Regina.  The man punched that in and obviously got a hit, based on his reaction.  He said, "Now we know who you are!" in a friendlier tone.  "What can we do for you, your Ladyship?"  Happier, Mikah said, "Well, we'd like to stop by and talk to you about some changes to the ship, and..."  She was interrupted as the man said, "OK.  So you need to talk to the Duke's business agent."  Catching herself, Mikah said, "Sure", and was offered an appointment at 1pm the next day."  Mikah checked with the others, and was reminded by Brian they'd set up an 11am meeting with Duke Leonard's people, and might be busy at the time.  Mikah turned back to the comms, asking "Do you have anything later or the next day?  Because we made..."  Again, the tech interrupted her, saying, "Sure!  We can make sure he is available.  Just let us know what your schedule is?"  After talking with Zimzod she offered, "How about 4pm?"  The person in Norris' office confirmed, "4pm tomorrow?"  When Mikah confirmed that, he said, "Ok, we can do that."

Research And Returns

     While the others went to InstellArms, Rol stayed aboard, researching where Sir Jeremy might be hiding on the odd chance he'd get any information to act on for vengeance.  Of course, he was aware every media outlet in the system was also looking, and had come up with nothing.  That meant Rol didn't have much of a chance.  Rol followed the news, and set an alert up to update on the Adamar incident in the Heya system.  He called the TAS concierge in-system, and asked them to have the high passage ticket he was due sent to the Hotel California.  The TAS agent professionally and efficiently handled the call, saying the passage would be delivered by a courier as soon as possible.  Rol thanked the agent and broke the connection.  After a brief period getting nowhere on Sir Jeremy, Rol considered the security camera web they'd set up.  He decided he'd like to also have the video routed to a data screen in his stateroom.

When he thought about setting up the network, Rol started to realize it would be simple to add a redirect shunt to send data to his stateroom's vid-screens.  Then he had to worry about limiting the amount of memory the feed would take up.  Thinking, Rol decided he'd have to write a program to check the time, cut the feed into limited length files and delete the old files.  Rol felt he could do this, and routed comms to his stateroom before going to work on the in-stateroom computer console.  First, Rol considered setting a camera in his stateroom, with a feed that only came to his stateroom.  He set up the camera fairly easily, then realized while he worked that the programming project was not as simple as he thought it was.  Half an hour after his call, a courier with TAS ID rang at the ship's berth and Rol signed for his High Passage.  Now he had to consider how to sell it while keeping a low profile.

After another hour's work, Rol got a signal from Emkir and Zach on the cutter, that they were making their approach to dock.  Deciding to have a little fun, Rol said, "I'm sorry.  I have to make sure you are who you say you are.  Please give the counter sign at this time."  Not having had a fun day so far, Zach simply growled back, "Open the fucking door", and Rol switched back to his business demeanor replying, "Got it."  As he went to the bridge, Rol wondered what had the merchant's panties in a bunch?  The two on the cutter had spent their time discussing Zach's situation with Hortalez and Open Skies.  As Emkir guided the cutter in, he considered what contacts he had in-system who might be "helpful"?  Zach's situation was funny, but the danger of investigation was too high to risk.  On the bridge, Rol hit the settings to let the cutter dock.  Settling the cutter in its bay, Emkir shut down the spacecraft's systems as he checked the fuel levels and considered suggesting they refuel the cutter.  Heading aft, Rol met Zach, who was first off the cutter, and welcomed him back.

When Rol asked if he was all done with things, Zach said "Hopefully", signaling a willful intent to try to forget his legal and insurance issues could well be just starting.  Rol accepted that asking, "What was the problem over there?  I understand you were out of contact for a bit."  Zach said he was out of contact, explaining that he'd first been "grilled" by the insurance company and then been grilled by his former employers.  As Zach explained things to Rol, Emkir finished locking down the cutter and went to a comms console, to start making calls to Rhylanor.  He wondered if he could make contact with some of Duke Norris' people?  Having been away from Rhylanor for only a few months, the connections he made working with Duke Leonard's staff should still be very valuable where help was needed.  But first, he decided to see just what Norris' people had to offer?

When Emkir connected with Norris' office, and identified himself, the operator checked and said he would bounce the call to someone who would help him.  Emkir was quickly transferred to a woman who smoothly reviewed the text brief from the call operator as she greeted the Admiral.  As Emkir introduced the reason he was calling, she made it clear this was new information, and started asking basic questions to build her understanding of his issue.  His answers quickly suggested to her that this hinted at classified information.  Interrupting, she asked Emkir if he really wanted to discuss the matters over an open line?  When Emkir agreed it would be better discussed off-line, she checked and told him his crew already had a meeting with the Duke's Business manager at 4pm the following day.  Emkir agreed that waiting until the next day was a better course.

While Emkir worked to make contacts, Zach found it hard to even explain things to Rol, who wasn't involved with, or aware of, the Quasar Viper.  In an epiphany, Zach realized this made his situation worse, because he couldn't even talk freely with a member of his own crew.  Rol also realized there were wheels spinning with this crew that he was unaware of.  When Zach said that Rol, as a military man, should understand classified issues, Rol asked who could explain things to him?  When Zach thoughtlessly said, "Duke Norris", Rol was both very surprised and dubious of the answer.  Rol just told Zach, if he ever felt the need to unburden himself, the former marine would be available.  Rol wished Zach luck in dealing with his "associates", since the merchant didn't want to explain the situation.  Zach naively said it would hopefully be worked out when he spoke to Duke Norris' people, and Rol ended the conversation saying he was sure they'd be talking in the future.  Rol reminded Zach his offer was open, if the merchant wished to talk about "things" and Zach thanked him.

Shopping At InstellArms

     Having left the ship earlier, the rest of the team stopped to check a data screen just outside their docking bay for directions to the InstellArms presence on the port?  They saw they had to walk a bit further towards the station's core, to reach a people mover.  That would get them into the station ring section, which connected all the docking concourses on their level.  After riding that mover, they'd transfer to another people mover system that would bring them to the correct section of the port.  There, they could enter the large conglomeration of station modules that were owned by InstellArms by hatches on their station-level.  After thirty minutes travel, they found the well-lit entrance, and its gilding of vid-screens, barker-systems, call-out advertising, etc.  Of particular note were the loss prevention people, in advanced armor systems, patrolling the "shop" exits.

Entering, the crew saw specials advertised, and boards showing large ticket items not in the store(like starships).  Zimzod looked for pricing and saw the big ticket items just had contact codes on them, to call sales.  Aiden paused in the entrance, to see which departments were where?  While they were all there to look at the pretty toys, Aiden knew there was a wide range of merchandise.  Everything from efficient camping gear to "adventure" gear, like mountain climbing, grav ball, orbit-diving, etc.  In addition, InstellArms had every need for shipboard or adventure lifestyles, even down to hygiene items.  Seeing these displays and considering their interests, Zimzod and Mikah said they wanted to get some generic equipment to fill out the ship's locker.  Back-up vacc suits and quick grab generic weapons, ammo and basic equipment and first aid kits.

After wandering, talking and looking around at first, Zimzod went to the body armor section, to look at powered armor.  He found a large variety of systems, from detachable exoskeletons to enclosure skeletons to sealed armor and, of course, battledress.  While he checked pricing, he saw a 50 year-old TL-E Battledress suit priced at KCr 500.  Checking the suit out, Zimzod realized he'd lose significant functionality compared to his suit.  He noted that the internal computers that ran that suit wouldn't be able to control the more advanced functions in his old, damaged suit.  And some systems that could be run by that computer were too large to be installed in his suit, as swap-outs.  That meant this suit would be quite a step down.  Looking at the combat armor, Zimzod found the unsealed stuff went for KCr 20 to 25, and sealed units started around KCr 45.

For KCr 75, there was an exoskeleton that could be added to sealed combat armor.  Negatives for this unit were that they were not armor buffered, and were less articulated and "fluid" in motion than battledress.  Zimzod wandered through the display and soon came to a sealed center case with a lone, top of the line battledress unit.  Checking the data panel, Zimzod saw it said this was the best of the best.  It was an Imperial "Planetary Assault" model of battledress, less than two years old and priced at MCr 3.5.  It appeared in excellent shape.  While having been trained in battledress, Zimzod had never seen this level of armor systems except on vid-feed.  Zimzod recorded a number of the prices he'd seen so he knew what his options were once he had money to spend.

Zimzod then went to the executive armor section, and looked for additional armor, for backup if needed.  He found they had everything for the modern executive, with selections including bottom to top of the line armor.  They offered custom "scan-and-fit" armor and even sub-dural armor options.  The displays were explicit, that executive armor would not prevent injury, but was based on "lifesaving" or "survive until treatment" support.  As he eyed the available stock, Zimzod looked for a trench-coat-like item, finding such a coat was available for KCr 6.  He read, on the display datapad, there was an option for an internal electronic suite.  This power grid allowed charged batteries to connect to devices in the coat's pockets or on sleeve outlets for use, and sold for an extra thousand credits at TL D.

The coat came with one battery pack and he could buy more.  When he checked the other options, Zimzod saw there was a chameleon mode.  This gave low grade camouflage support, and would cost an additional thousand credits.  Coming to a decision, Zimzod got a "shopping pad" from one of the sales reps and entered the KCr8 purchase onto his electronic cart.  Connecting his Ident to the pad, Zimzod made the payment and the rep said that the staff would organize the purchase and have it ready in a few minutes.  When he was asked, Zimzod said that the "default color" for the coat should be black.

After that, Zimzod checked out shotguns as he considered the empty ship's locker.  While shopping, he looked for fully automatic shotguns, finding a number of single to auto-fire units.  They included everything from grav-stabilizer and computer "aim-assist" to "vision assisting" sights.  But as he shopped, Zimzod realized he'd never really worked with shotguns.  Wandering further into the weapons displays, Zimzod found a section devoted to zero-gravity weapons, which were more in line with his training.  As Zimzod looked over the displays and data pads, he closed in on a display of snub pistols.  Deciding he might want a snubbie, Zimzod began checking the ammo information available.  He found the range of ammo included almost every class, as well as very illegal "acid rounds"!  Eventually, Zimzod picked up an automatic 5mm Snub pistol for Cr 1,250 along with 195 rounds of HEAP and 90 rounds of Tranq in 15-round clips for Cr 800.

While Zimzod shopped, Ms. Vik looked for a thigh holster for her 9mm.  She found them and checked the available styles.  Finding one she liked, Inger paid Cr 45 for it and then considered her options for body armor.  Inger finally found a poly-filament armor she could have a business suit made from, and called a rep to ask about costs and options?  Inger chose a fabric appearance and the rep told her the suit, in green, would cost between KCr 12 and KCr 15.  The price wasn't bad in her opinion, and Ms. Vik decided to buy.  With the arrangements were made, Inger followed the rep to a body scanner, that took the readings in order to create the tailored suit.  After scanning, the rep went over the details with her and she asked if the skirt could be a bit loose, to accommodate a thigh holster when needed.  Without blinking an eye, the rep made the adjustments and Ms. Vik selected a hue of hunter green for the fabric color.

As they got to the store, Aiden left the others with his priorities already set.  Having been there in years past, Aiden went right for a section he'd rarely been in, other than gauging the weapons market.  Grenades.  Glossing over the types available, Aiden wanted a box each of HE, HEAP and High Explosive Anti-Personnel (HEAP).  Due to costs, he only ordered a box of 20 HEAP, for Cr 800.  Mikah was also fairly certain what she wanted, and shopped for an automatic snub pistol with Tranq, HEAP and HE ammo.  She also wanted a shoulder holster for the pistol.  After buying that, Mikah looked for a discreet knife, in the event she ended up in a scrape without time to arm herself.  Mikah bought an ankle scabbard for the blade, as well.  The only one who didn't plan to shop was Brian, who was with them only because they'd be going from there to Countess Ursara's ship.  As he watched a few of the others in their shopping, Brian did buy a shoulder holster for his .45.  By 7pm, they were done shopping and went, with their receipts, to visit the Countess.  All their ordered items would be packaged and delivered to the ship.

Emkir And Zach Shop

     Back on the ship, Zach finished settling in and asked Emkir if he wanted to head over to InstellArms, as they'd missed out on the crew-trip.  When Emkir said he was thinking of grabbing some downtime, Zach reminded Emkir he needed a vacc suit.  The Admiral felt InstellArms wasn't necessarily the first place anyone should look for vacc suits.  And, He pointed out to Zach, he couldn't afford a new suit anyway.  Still, Emkir decided to go out to check the costs of vacc suits after Zach pushed him, figuring they could do that and visit InstellArms too.  As they left, Emkir made it plain they should start looking for a used suit, or something that was going to be fairly cheap.  Accepting that, they started by hitting a number of pawn shops, before eventually finding a non-fitted Tech Level D vacc suit.  When Emkir checked, he found it didn't have a PLSS and was missing some auxiliary systems, but was in fairly good shape.

Liking what he saw, mainly because he had the PLSS from his old suit on the ship, Emkir considered his finances and where he could get more cash?  He finally decided it was time to get paid a bit, for his months of service, so he comm'd Mikah.  When she got on the comms, as the team were on their way to the Countess' ship, Emkir explained that he and Zach had found a decent used vacc suit for Cr 7,000, and he was a bit short.  He asked if the ship could help out a bit?  Mikah considered, having talked about restocking the ship's locker with Zimzod, and how she felt about used equipment.  She told Emkir they should talk about it later, and that they'd be filling out the ship's locker and getting some spare gear for everyone.

When Emkir clarified, asking if he should or should not buy that suit, Mikah told him not to.  After that, they broke the connection and Emkir told Zach they could head for InstellArms.  Getting there, Zach said he wanted to check out body armor, such as the executive armor he'd seen advertised.  He found prices between Cr 1,000 and 1,500.  He decided to spend the Cr 1,500 for a set of that and to get a shoulder holster for his pistol.  While a rep was escorting him to be scanned for the armor, Zach also decided to buy five magazines of ammo for his gauss rifle.  Emkir bought 100 rounds for his revolver, and for his rifle.  He got the rifle ammo in ten round clips.  All together, they each spent Cr 150.

Visiting Countess Ursara

     Having called ahead, the Knights found The Countess had a greeter waiting as they arrived at her docking bay.  He quickly and professionally checked their Idents before allowing them into the berth.  They were then led aboard the ship, and to a sitting room aboard Ursara's main yacht.  That ship was much more opulently appointed, and was apparently equipped with real living spaces rather than just "show" rooms.  The Countess greeted them all as friendly as expected, with the Knights getting the brunt of the greetings.  But once they were settled, she transitioned to business, saying the faceting went very well as drinks were served.  She also said she had a number of presentations that would work very well, and had been shown to a few people she knew in-system with "loose lips".  "As a result", she said with a satisfied smile, "the word is already spreading on-world if not across the whole system."

From where they sat, it was a short walk from her sitting room to an access hatch connecting the main ship to Dulcinea.  They were soon back in the gemstone display room.  But now, a central area in the room had been cleared and set up both for display of the stone and to very obviously seat a sales audience.  As they first walked in, the stones were, anti-climatically, on an unlit podium and unassembled.  Rather than assembling everyone around the podium, Ursara thumbed a remote and metal panels separated from the room's floor, "unfolding" to form a handful of comfortable looking metal seats.  She had everyone sit as she started explaining the faceting and technicalities.  A screen brightened as she talked, and they saw magnified displays of each of the stones before she assembled most of them.  Ursara also explained the experimentation she had done with illumination.

Ursara assembled all the stones, while she spoke, except the cap stone.  She then slipped in and activated an LED.  Then Ursara slipped on the cap and stepped back to let the team see the results.  The effect of the soft blue-white light, as broken up and refracted by the stone and its facets, was very nice.  Everyone in the room appreciated it.  The effects were especially nice as the LED irregularly pulsed through a number of intensities.  These varied the play of light through the stones, reflecting and refracting through them.  After completely presenting the blue-white LED, Ursara showed the team two other presentations, with a Red-Amber and Green Yellow LED.

Each of the presentations was very nice, and Zimzod was very pleased, joking at one point, "I'll bring all my stones for you to work on."  After presenting the stones and LED's, Ursara started discussing possible jewelry enclosures that could be made for the gem, which would enhance the value.  Finally, she said there were 10 slivers which could be sold in-system, crafted into small jewelry.  The remaining smaller slivers were valueless, as they didn't exhibit the qualities that made Tellona Diamonds special.  When Zimzod asked, he was told there were 22 slivers of that size.  After consideration, Zimzod decided he'd have eight rings made using the slivers for the crew.  Seven of them would have one of the stones in it, and his would have two of the remaining three stones.  The Countess graciously accepted the last sliver when he offered it to her.

When asked about metals for the rings, Zimzod wanted Lanthanum rings, right off, though it would cost him several thousand credits for the lump metal.  After he waved off the expense, the cost for having the rings made was about Cr 5,000, and he agreed to have them made.  After the discussion of the stones was done, they turned to the size of circus they wanted to create with the sale?  Ursara admitted that they had little real control over the auction, except in setting the opening bid.  Ursara recommended they start the bidding at KCr 500, and wanted to know how long they wanted the sale to drag out?  Zimzod admitted he didn't know the gemstone market, so he was willing to follow Ursara's advice on the bid.  As for the length, they all felt certain they'd be in-system for a month's time, so Zimzod said he'd like to have the auction run no longer than that.  He made it clear he wanted the money before they left system.

Everything seemed to be moving along nicely, as the Countess said that would make for a very good sale.  After making the decisions, they returned to the sitting room as the staff put out snacks and drinks, and they talked a bit more.  Mikah asked for advice on meeting with Duke Leonard's people.  Ursara asked why they were meeting Leonard's people and Mikah explained it was part of the confirmation process for their titles.  she added, "...and there was always business to take care of."  Mikah added, saying "And there is our mandate, from Duke Norris, that we have to take care of, so..."

Ursara had interrupted her, asking what business they had with Leonard, but changed her direction immediately when Mikah mentioned the 'mandate'.  In a curious tone, she asked, "What mandate??"  Realizing her mistake, and letting a bit of that show on her face, Mikah very quickly said, "Oh!  We can't discuss it.  Sorry." in a matter of fact voice.  Looking around the small group first, the Countess conspiratorially said, "We're among friends here", with a very friendly and slightly innocent look on her face.  But Mikah simply said, "Nope, we really can't.  Sorry."  There was a pause before Mikah relented a little saying, "We did something for the Duke, and he gave us this ship, and...we're somewhat, sorta, kinda, staff.  Let's put it that way."

The Countess nodded back in that, 'Ok, but I have no idea what you mean' manner and asked, "And this is Duke Leonard?"  Mikah answered, "No.  We have to speak with Duke Leonard, as part of the process of having our Knighthood's confirmed."  Ursara answered, "So, this is not Duke Leonard.  So, which Duke gave you the ship?" and Mikah said that was Duke Norris.  After a pause, and with her face marshaled, Ursara said, "You people have all the fun." in a pouty voice.  There was some laughter at that, and both Mikah and Zimzod invited the Countess to join them if she'd like?  Ursara answered that, as fun as it sounded, she did have her own business to run.  But she asked, "You really can't tell me a little about what's going on?"  Mikah, more sympathetically, answered, "No.  Sorry." and Ursara mock-pouted a bit more.  Continuing from Mikah's request, Ursara told them Duke Norris and his people were not in the circles in which she generally traveled.  "As for Duke Leonard", she continued, "be about the business.  Take things seriously, be honest, be straight forward, if you have any documentation about what you are doing for Duke Norris..."

At that point Mikah interrupted, saying "Oh no." in a foreboding voice.  "We have the ship's papers but that's about it.  We're just troubleshooters is all."  Without any real information, Ursara advised them that the confirmation would be about 'how he felt about them' rather than anything official.  She added that he was the third highest Nobleman in the sector.  Not because he was the third highest land holding Noble in the sector, but because of his relationships with the other nobility and where his work fit into the mechanics of everything else.  Especially his position with the military.  She did lean in conspiratorially as she said, "Just to let you know, he is about ten to one hundred times more powerful than Duke Norris is.  He is not as powerful as Duchess Delphine, but he is more powerful than Duke Norris.  So understand this going in.  He's not someone you handle without care."  When they asked about his likes and dislikes, Ursara said Leonard absolutely hated politics, and despised the machinations of the political factions in the sector.  Since they were part of one, that was part of the baggage they came with.

Brian, wondering if Rol's situation had done any damage, asked if she'd read the book on him?  When she asked, "What book on Rol Kaihvos?", Brian said that there was a book on him, just released.  When Ursara asked who Rol Kaihvos was, Brian explained about the book naming him a war criminal, and asked if she'd heard about it?  Ursara said she had no idea who Rol Kaihvos was, and asked why she should?  Zimzod stepped in, pointing to Brian and saying, "He's his man servant."  Ursara became slightly alarmed saying, "Oh!  Is he one of your staff?  I am sorry!  Was he one of those people you brought with us on Jae Tellona?  That is pretty bad for you, isn't it?" stressing 'for you'.  As Mikah said "Yeah", Ursara continued saying, "I would fire him." fairly firmly.  Brian said, "Fire him, wow.  Yeah."  Ursara continued, saying Brian certainly didn't want to be on the hook for any of his servant's actions, so the man should be fired just to be safe.

The conversation then devolved into the sort of gossip common in high society, about who was doing dirt to who, who was having an affair or in money troubles.  Ursara did say that a few of the things she knew could be used to tweak a few bids, though she didn't say how she saw this happening?  In one case, a particular Knight was on the outs with his wife and might be in the market for a stone, to make things up with her.  When Mikah steered the conversation into what Ursara knew about Duchess Delphine, the Countess said the next months or so would not be a fun time to meet with her.  But she waved it off, as an issue for the Knights anyway.  When everyone looked at Ursara for more, she explained that Duke Norris was going to the Mora system from Rhylanor.  His presence in the system would be a major irritation.  She also pointed out that, despite their month planned in Rhylanor system, they appeared to be planning to meet Duke Norris in the Mora System. They could see that was something they couldn't avoid.  When Zimzod asked, "So why isn't it going to be fun to meet with her?" Ursara answered, "because Duchess Delphine is going to be a bitch."  After a pause, she said, "Let me correct that, because she is always a bitch, but she'll be angry."

Mikah asked, "Is it true, she is as old as they say?"  Ursara slyly asked, "How old have you heard she is?" with a wicked smile on her face.  When Mikah ventured, "More than a hundred", Ursara said, "Yes.  She is as old as all that.  And she tries to keep it secret.  But those of us who know are aware she uses agnathics.  And it is an addiction with her.  You just have to make sure not to become part of her vengeance collection."  Several of the team said, "Too late" at the same time, and Ursara straightened up saying, "No.  Your still alive, so you're not in that collection." which drew confused looks.  At that, Ursara explained, "When someone dies, their body can be reduced to carbon.  And the carbon can be reduced to a gemstone.  She is rumored to have a vengeance collection of 'gemstones'."  As an aside, Ursara said, "At least, she hasn't had herself cloned, thank the stars."  The rest of the conversation revolved around drinks and small talk about people in the Rhylanor system.  Eventually things became very late and the crew had to get moving given their appointments the next day.  Then, goodbyes were said and they headed back to the Hotel California.

Back To The Ship And Settling In

     On the way back to the ship, Brian asked the others for a reminder of what they had to do the next day?  They reminded him of the appointments with Duke Leonard and Duke Norris' people in the morning and afternoon.  As they made their way back to the ship, Zach and Emkir stopped at a kiosk for food.  About 10:30pm, everyone was back at the ship and Rol had given up trying to write the camera program he wanted.  They spent some time looking at their schedule for the next morning, to decide who needed to be at which appointments?  At 9am, the port was sending someone for an estimate on helping catch the ship's maintenance up.  This was hard up on their scheduled meeting with Duke Leonard's people at 10am, so Sir Brian saw he'd have issues attending both meetings.  Given the coming day, Dame Mikah turned in quickly after that chat, setting her clock.  Sir Zimzod decided to have some food before lounging a bit, and then going to bed before setting his clock.

Zach did research on implanted computer and navigation skill enhancements for a few hours.  He eventually estimated it would cost him Cr 5,000 for enhanced computer abilities, along with medical costs and a three week class.  And for the Navigation abilities, it would cost him Cr 15,000, along with medical costs and a two month class.  Of course, these were mid-range prices and top-range facilities would cost a great deal more.  Zach didn't want to consider what low-range facilities would cost despite the possible savings.  Inger checked her messages and found there were a number of people who'd responded to her calls.  A few asked when she was free, and she returned some calls, saying her crew had some things they had to take care of.  She said she'd know her schedule better, and they could see a show, once that was done.  Emkir went back to his cabin to check his comms messages.

Emkir found a priority comms message requesting his presence at noon the next day!  The only return address on the message was that it was from the Duke's staff, but it had a location code so he knew where to be.  There were a few more friendly messages and one 'chops busting message' about poker.  Mostly, his friends were curious about Emkir's return to Rhylanor.  Especially after the news and rumors from Porozlo and Regina.  He sent out general responses to most, and confirmed he would be at his noon appointment.  Emkir then pulled out and prepared his dress uniform before turning in.  Brian also grabbed some late chow before checking his systems, seeing everything was in good shape.  That done, he went to his cabin thinking about asking his contractor in the Risek system about his decontamination station?  Before he went to bed, Brian called the IISS message center asking for a search on his name, for in-bound messages.  Brian then set things up for the next morning before going to bed.

Rol, who'd come out of his stateroom to catch up with the others, saw people cooking and tried to look menacing as he pushed them to clean up after themselves.  But he was tired, so he headed back to his cabin and went to sleep.  Aiden decided to have a snack before hitting the rack himself.  As he was doing this, and checking the bridge systems, he saw there was a message in the ship's system for him.  Opening it, he saw it was a greetings from the local TAS facility in-system, reminding him of their services and availability.  One of these services, which caught his eye, was to have a High Passage ticket delivered to him.  Considering this, thoughts of an extra KCr 10 in his pocket urged him to call the TAS office to have them deliver one.  As with Rol earlier, they said a courier would deliver the passage as soon as possible.

So, Aiden decided to stay awake until the courier arrived.  He also considered picking up the Cr 100 for his Silver Asteroid, but made no decisions on doing that just yet.  Aiden knew he'd have to either take the cutter to the Scout base for that or handle it at the Scout facilities dirtside.  Eventually, the TAS courier arrived and Aiden, who had set the comms to the bridge to be sure no one was woken up by the arrival, met the courier.  He signed for and received his high passage ticket.  After that, and making sure things were secure, Aiden racked out after setting an alarm for himself.

Next: Learning To Fence With Words