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Last Updated    April 28 2018
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Mid-Day Madness

An Academic Lunch

Station     At the University of Rhylanor, Mikah and Zimzod had finished their presentation, and were led from the auditorium as the eleven different institutions began considering how much they’d be able to offer for access to the Knight's data.  They were escorted to a well-appointed office belonging to Dr. Thrauld, where drinks and food were laid out for them.  They were also joined by some Senior UR scientists.  As they relaxed, the doctors asked about the Knight's plans in-system?  Why they came to the Rhylanor system, and what they'd like to do while visiting?  Mikah said they were there to meet with Duke Leonard of Rhylanor.  To get his confirmation on their Knighthoods.  She said they’d also like to explore a bit, see the sights, attend a few parties.  Mikah said they'd especially like to see the Ancient artifact on-world.

When the artifact was mentioned, Doctor Thrauld asked if they'd seen it before?  Mikah and Zimzod said only a few in their crew had, and they had not personally.  The conversation then turned to how exciting it was, and how much they would enjoy a visit.  One of the professors sparked up a portable computer and started pulling up pictures.  Mikah and Zimzod realized they had been taken inside the artifact, despite that being highly illegal!  Zimzod tried to intimidate the man into copying the pictures and videos for them.  The academic laughed and made it clear Zimzod was not an authority, or even a threat on this score.  For her part, Mikah simply looked over at Zimzod and said, "Be Nice."

Dr. Thrauld decided to sweeten the pot, offering the Knights access to the artifact as part of one of the University's research teams.  He said this would give them a lot more access to the device, and even the ability to take pictures of their own.  He nodded to the pictures the other professor was showing as he spoke.  Mikah was not drawn off the money, and said she'd love to go with a University team, if the University of Rhylanor ended up with the highest bid.  Disappointed but undaunted, Dr. Thrauld continued to chat actively as the conversation moved away from the negotiations and on to other interests the Knights had.  Zimzod tried to start conversations on work the University was doing in weapons and armor advances.  Mikah asked for access to medical seminars, to keep her skills up.

While talking about her medical background, Mikah mentioned on her work in Risek.  When she mentioned the plague in the Risek system, and her team's work there, she got control of the floor.  All the scientists in the room showed significant interest.  They had been told at Command center three, and seen in the news, that the Imperial Navy had kept this 'very well’ under wraps.  There was very little real information shared, even with top Universities.  Mikah ended up giving another seminar, to the senior staff of the University on a technical level that left Zimzod feeling ignored.  Except for the very rare question Zimzod could field about his actions and what he saw or determined from his work, Zimzod listened in.  Still, the information she gave them went well beyond the requested limits of the Imperial Navy and Mikah did not care.

Putting One's Foot Squarely In One's Mouth

     Aboard the Hotel California, Aiden came off the bridge asking, "What’s for lunch and who's cooking?"  About the same time, Sir Brian took a break for lunch and told the engineers they could too.  Wanting to get chow someplace off ship, they saw the media frenzy which had gathered and decided against leaving.  Brian could plainly see they hadn’t carried lunch with them and had meager supplies.  Considering how much they were being charged for the service, Brian went up-deck, leaving them to their meal as they decided to eat, in the cargo bay.

Brian came up from engineering, asking, "Who's cooking chow?" as Rol agreed to cook.  Rol said he was, and threw together a hasty meal, because he wasn't sure when the Admiral's promise to "handle things" would come across.  While Rol cooked, Emkir asked Rol to confirm his requirements, and the basics of what he wanted to give to the media?  Rol agreed to the idea of an exclusive one-shot 'one on one', and added the limit that, if the interview was rebroadcast, it had to be broadcast unedited and not piece-meal.  Emkir said he was uncertain if he could get anyone to agree to that, but he'd try.  After organizing his points, Emkir went below decks to make his final announcement to the press gathered at the berth.

Passing the techs eating in the cargo bay, Emkir put on his best 'Morale Boost for the Troops' grin and confidently said, there were nice restaurants near the berth and they didn't have to eat in the bay.  Ignoring Emkir's winning smile, they thanked the Admiral and cautiously asked if there was any extra food in the galley?  Emkir, assuming the techs had spilled the beans about Rol, twisted the knife a bit suggesting they go above and 'ask the War Hero' if he wanted to make them any food?  Not aware Rol was the ship's cook, this completely confused the techs, who decided not to explore a ship 'full of mad nobility and war criminals'.  Emkir happily left them in his wake.  When Emkir stepped out of the bay, the crowd switched from managing their gear, or doing 'set up' shots to rushing into position or sparking up recorders.

Emkir saw the crowd had grown vastly since his attempt to get control earlier.  In his most official manner, Emkir hit the comms button on the berth's door and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen of the press.  I'm sorry to have kept you waiting.  I just wanted to check with our local war hero, and make sure he's happy with the details I'm about to announce."  At the words 'war hero', Emkir was nearly drowned out by shouted questions, and held his hands up saying, "Please hear me out.  You’ll all be heard.  We would like to arrange for an exclusive live interview, to be aired en-toto.  This is your opportunity, gentlemen and ladies, to get the actual war hero and get his actual experiences.  What we'd like to do is get bids on paper.  We will begin receiving them tomorrow.  We are not interested any interviews where we do not have the questions ahead of time..."  Emkir went on to grandly suggest the benefits on an interview to the agency with the highest bid.

He then told the media bids would be taken starting the next morning, and he'd be out in the berth to personally collect offers.  Of course, this fueled a media fire, as the reporters started screaming offers and asking for his comms info, etc...  Emkir only thanked them for their patience, saying, "There will be no further comment until the interview is set up".  He then turned off the berth comms and went back to the ship via the cargo bay.  As he neared the open bay, he heard a port engineer angrily demanding, "Do you want to go up into the ship and wander around until you get shot?!"  Emkir made a mental note of this as he passed by, seeing the former speaker notice him and quiet down.  Emkir swept the group with 'the evil Admiral eye' and said, "Grilled cheese sandwiches up in the galley gentlemen."  As he arrived above decks, he heard Aiden saying he'd be on the bridge watching the crowd as he moved forward.

Inger's Call To Station Offices

     Having agreed to do what she could to help, Inger called 'Dockside Ops' and began checking to see if they could do something about the hazard the media crowd offered?  Ms. Vik was told station offices were aware of the situation, and had begun taking standard precautions.  This, to Inger, meant they'd begun putting plain clothes officers into the crowd, and shifting more substantial assets into place in case things got out of hand.  They stressed the fact that the media crowd had not impeded anyone dock-side from doing their job or gotten in anyone's way, except the crew of the Hotel California.  And since the crowd had not done anything illegal yet, the Ops office was not planning on doing more than preparing at the moment.  They reminded her that the press knew the laws, and how to game the system, pushing just to the edge of the envelope.

When she asked for clarification, Ms. Vik was told the station would act if the media prevented the crew from coming, going or doing business.  Beyond that, Central offices were waiting to see what happened.  Because she wasn't there, Ms. Vik asked if it would be OK to call them when she planned to return to the ship, so that she could report on conditions.  When the tech offered to make a port car available to her, Ms. Vik thanked him but said she'd prefer to see how the press reacted without port security standing right there.  She did reinforce the concerns of the people aboard her ship.  Inger then called the ship back to discuss the issue with them.  When she heard that Rol needed to leave in an hour's time, to meet with an Admiral, Rol would certainly need a port car, while she didn't.  Without asking Rol, Ms. Vik cut the line and called the port again, to ask for a port car for the retired marine.

With that done, Inger comm'd Rol to tell him of the ride, and found out that Admiral Uuela had promised to "take care" of things.  Inger asked if Rol felt he could trust the Admiral?  They discussed if it would be better to trust the military, in who's interest Rol was acting, or the port security, over whom Inger had some power?  Rol told Ms. Vik he'd check with the Admiral's office, to let them know about the other car and get back to her with what he was told.  He then comm'd Admiral Uuela's office and got the Admiral's assistant.  Greeting the rating, Rol explained that he needed to speak to the Admiral, as other arrangements were made for his transportation.  The admin blinked and asked, "Really?  Because he's already on his way."  Rol asked, "Really?" in a surprised tone and then said, "Well, OK...  Is there any way to contact him?"

The rating said there was, and asked Rol to hold.  Soon the screen of his comms split and Rol could see the Admiral, who was riding in an obviously buffered vehicle of some kind.  Admiral Uuela greeted Rol's call with a smile, asking what he could do for Rol?  Rol asked if he could get some details on the transport the Admiral had planned?  Uuela had Rol hold as he leaned forward and yelled to someone off-screen "Time on Target?"  He was answered by another voice yelling "Fifteen minutes, Sir!"  As that happened, Rol processed a vague memory of a number of armored vehicles that might match the one the Admiral was in.  This became enough for Rol to thank the Admiral and call Ms. Vik back.  He told her that the Admiral's plans were well underway and stopping them might prove, messy.  So, trusting the officer seemed the way to go.  Ms. Vik asked for the Admiral's name, and then told Rol she'd call off the port car.

Inger first called port security, to tell them an Admiral was picking Rol up, in case they wanted to give their people in the berth a heads up.  At the same time, Rol gave up fixing the meal, with fifteen minutes left.  Zach took over while Rol went to clean up.  Emkir also cleaned up, in order to grab a ride.  This left Aiden, Brian and Zach behind.  Zach packed some food for the others while the scout and engineer ate.  Finishing his lunch, Brian said to Rol and Zach that he'd like to sneak past the media, and go looking for a deal or two if he could.  He asked Zach to keep an eye on the engineers as Rol and Emkir would be leaving soon.  Zach agreed, having to take it easy and recover from his wounds.  Zach also discussed renting a fork lift, to move the cargo out of the ship's bay and into the berth, to create space in the bay.

Brian's Escape Attempt

     Finished in the galley, Zach got an update on the engineers from Brian and went down to introduce himself to the techs.  After that, he got them working again after their meal-break.  Zach said Sir Brian had business off the ship, and tried the "buddy approach" as the engineers looked his alien appearance up and down.  Zach did this as Brian considered the one 'droid shop he'd visited, and where else might be a good place to go?  He also decided to check the station-web, to see where he might find better deals on androids and systems before leaving.  Brian considered buying a basic and 'easy to use' blade too, for self-defense.  Thinking about the web-displayed markets, Brian quietly considered looking for any hint of a black market on-station.

Done with his research, Brian went below, to leave the ship.  As he passed through engineering, he saw Zach had the techs back at work.  Stepping out of the bay, Brian came face to face with the media horde.  As they saw the engineer, the media responded as they had with Emkir, with cameras swinging into line and reporters preparing.  Having fun with the horde, despite the coming ordeal, Brian waved happily to them.  And the more it seemed this new person was coming out to speak to them, the greater the frenzy grew as Brian reached the berth door.  Reaching the portal, Brian thought about getting through it without letting the press spill into the berth.  Brian finally hit the comms stud and, in an authoritative voice, said "Please step back for your own safety."  As they complied, Brian slipped through the door into the bubble created.

This made him the "lamb in the kill zone" as questions and demands started coming in from every direction.  Every media reporter there began trying to get their question answered, or gain Brian's attention at the same time.  Making his choices on how to get through the crowd, Brian called them down, saying that statements were being prepared, as well as an interview.  And if they would all be patient, all their questions would be answered.  Brian then paused, to see who was buying this as he invented other possible stories to get past the horde of freaks.  When he saw some of the media taking vids and pictures, he called out "By the way, this is my good side." while pointing and canting his head with a big smile.  Of course, this triggered more picture taking, for which Brian posed while making sure they have the correct spelling of his name.

One of the reporters called out, "How do you know Rol Kaihvos?" and Brian asked "what?" having barely heard any part of the question.  When the reporter repeated the question, Brian asked "Who?" with a true air of confusion that caused more than a few of the reporters to pause.  But the reporter pressed on saying, "Major Kaihvos?  The war criminal?"  This actually did confuse Brian, who questioned back, "War Criminal?"  Realizing they meant Rol, Brian recovered with, "Oh!  He was framed."  The last part was said in the flat and serious voice of self-certainty.  Several in the crowd demanded, "Can we quote you on that?" and Brian fired back "Absolutely!"  Another reporter called out, "Are you going to testify in his defense Sir Brian?" to which the Knight confidently answered, "If I'm asked? Sure."

New questions, "Do you know who's going to be trying him?" and "Do you know anything about the trial?" were firmly answered, "I do not.  This is the first I've ever heard about a trial, so I can honestly say I have no idea what you're talking about.  By the way, this is my good side." posing as he finished the sentence.  This was followed by demands why Brian said he'd testify for Brian if he knew nothing about a coming trial?  Brian verbally 'rammed' back, "I said I 'would' if asked.  I didn't say I knew of any trial.  But I would step to his defense if asked."  The back part of that was nearly lost in a flood of new questions.  One reporter asked, "How would you characterize Rol Kaihvos?"  Without missing a beat, Brian responded, "A good cook." and in an endorsing voice, "He makes a hell of a grilled cheese sandwich!"

The Admiral's Arrival

     As he said the last, Brian suddenly had the attention of everyone else in the bay.  As a result, he was the only one who saw the bay's main bulkhead doors open.  He was also the only person to see as three very serious armored military vehicles entered the bay, stacked with armored figures.  All armed with big guns!  And as Brian ignored the continued storm of questions and requests, he watched as the vehicles assumed a vee formation and began to move on the ship.  Especially since he was in the media crowd, and they were in the vehicle's path!  As the back ranks of reporters started to notice something was happening, Brian said, "Well!  I guess that trial is gonna begin sooner than we thought."  That caused even more of the reporters to follow his gaze.  Looking around as innocently as he could, Brian continued, "I didn't think you guys were serious, but I guess so!"

As Brian watched, many of the reporters and crews turned, with some of them doing double takes, as they realized Imperial military vehicles had arrived and were bearing down on them!  In the complete vacuum of activity, someone called out, "Looks like the Imperial Navy is here to arrest Major Kaihvos, the war criminal!"  Brian called out, "I'll defend you Rol!"  Those with cameras had to make hard choices on where to film, and what to capture as a sudden and very official and commanding voice was broadcast from the APC’s saying "In the Name of The Emperor, Clear The Area!"  As silence suddenly fell, Brian got in another a conspiratorial comment, saying "That would be you guys."  The media all gave way as the APC’s moved to stop, three abreast, with their rear access portals dropping open.  As this happened, teams of Imperial marines came at the reporters, brandishing heavy weapons and screaming, "Out of the way!" with attitudes that made it clear this was not just a threat.

Brian saw his chance and simply abandoned the protesting or fleeing press to move on about his way.  As he did, Brian saw another figure exit the center APC.  And while this person was wearing Battledress too, it was very well marked.  It was very obvious this person was a highly ranked individual.  Realizing this must be the guy coming to pick up Rol, Brian decided to meet the officer, but was blocked by more marines threatening violence if he didn't clear the area.  Brian quickly accepted that the marines had no clue who he was, so starting a fight over it wouldn't work out in his favor.  With that, Brian set a walking path that appeared to be clearing, escaping the area while letting him watch as he walked.  Despite early signs of protest, the press showed they'd been through this all before, and backed off in an orderly manner.

The apparent commander moved up through the teams of marines to the berth entry to hit the comms stud on the panel.  Despite the distance, Sir Brian could still make out Aiden's angry growl as he responded to the chime with a loud, "No Comment!"  The former scout then cut the line without even glancing at the screen.  Brian grabbed his comms and earnestly said, "Aiden, you wanna comment on this one."  Aiden answered, "Oh Great!  What'd you get us into now?"  Enthusiastically, Brian said, "Oh, come on.  Open the door.  This'll be cool.  I wanna see what happens."  More worried by Brian's response, Aiden said he was not opening the door for anyone, and told Brian he could explain to Dame Mikah if he wanted to.  He then cut the line. After evaluating his odds at getting to the door to open it, Brian took the easier way, comm'ing Aiden again to say, "There's a Navy Admiral at the door.  Imperial Navy."

Sighing in resignation to the coming disaster, Aiden asked, "So why didn't you say so?" as he began to allow the officer into the berth.  Brian said, "Because you're too busy whining, you putz."  But the line was cut as Aiden's voice came from the berth entry comms saying, "Hotel California.  Can I help you?" in as friendly a manner as he could make himself sound.  Leaning down so the voder for his battledress could be heard by the comms, the Admiral flatly growled, "Tell Major Kaihvos that his ride is here."  Aiden muted the line and picked up the all-ship to say, "Hey Rol.  You might want to grab some weapons.  They're out in front with armor and they say your ride is here."  Surprising Aiden with his reaction, Rol simply thanked the pilot for letting him know and let Emkir know the Admiral had arrived.

Aiden came to the bridge hatch to confirm what he'd heard.  Rol and Emkir both casually moved to a down-hatch and happily climbed down to engineering, heading to the cargo bay.  As they passed through engineering, Rol was friendly and cheery as he waved hello to the port engineers.  They gave him a very wide and clear path.  As they cautiously nodded back, Emkir asked, "Did you get those grilled cheese sandwiches in the galley?" which confused Rol.  The former Marine looked back to ask Emkir, "Grilled cheese?"  Emkir only smiled confidently back and confirmed, "Grilled cheese", with a very satisfied smile on his face.

Emerging from the cargo bay, Emkir and Rol saw the media pushed back to the entrance of the bay by a cordon of battledress armored marines.  They protected an open area in front of the berth entrance, which was occupied by three Naval APC’s.  At the berth entrance stood Admiral Uuela, in an extremely advanced version of battledress.  Stopped to take in the scene, both men saw Sir Brian standing out from the media crowd, smiling and enjoying the event.  Seeing Rol and Emkir, Admiral Uuela touched a stud on his arm which opened his helmet visor so they could see his face.  Uuela greeted Rol as they approached, and asked about Emkir coming along.  Rol explained that Emkir had an appointment on-station, and it might help if Emkir could hitch a ride.

Nodding, Uuela looked at Emkir and asked, "So where are you headed?"  Emkir said he was going to be talking to a firm about setting up security for Rol.  With a measuring look on his face, Uuela asked why they needed security for Rol?  Looking around, Emkir nodded towards the APC and said, "Let's talk about it later."  Walking towards the APC, Uuela said, "It seems fairly cut and dry.  I could post a couple of guys right there", pointing at the berth entrance, "and they wouldn't get into this whole area." pointing to the rest of the bay.  Emkir agreed it might be an excellent idea, and he'd be very appreciative.  With that, Admiral Uuela said, "OK!  Consider it done."  When Rol said they should ask how the station felt about the move, Uuela what he could do to respond to that.  Like increasing local customs patrols.

This changed Rol's position, as he politely suggested they get moving.  Uuela said, "After you", with an arm gesturing to the center APC.  They walked while reporters in the crowd shouted questions, like 'What are the charges?' and 'Where is the trial going to be?"  Drowned out by the crowd was Sir Brian's call, "Make sure you're wearing clean underwear!"  As Rol and Emkir headed for the APC, they could hear Admiral Uuela ordering the marines to clear everyone from the berth.  From the opposite side, Sir Brian got moving as the marines shifted into 'public address' mode with their weapons very much at the ready.  They directed people out of the berth as Brian got going while the getting was good.  Some in the media cloud filmed while most just ran.

While making good his escape, Brian was grabbed by the shoulder as the 'grabber' said, "Hey!  Sir Brian, can I have an interview?"  Looking the reporter up and down, Brian smiled and said, "Yes!  Yes you can."  When the reporter asked, "How much you want?"  Brian said, "How much you got?"  The reporter suggested they hit a bar where he could check with his editor and see how much they could pay?  Brian swung his arm as he said, "OK, you got it." allowing the reporter to lead the way.  Grabbing his camera and support people, the reporter led, and Brian basked in the attention as he went along.  In the APC, Admiral Uuela began giving orders securing the berth as they moved out.  Their APC pulled away, leaving the other two, and their marines behind, to secure the area until long term decisions could be made.  Looking around, they noticed the APC was well stocked with equipment, including a full wet bar, much to Emkir's delight.

Done with the basics, Uuela turned to the pair and they talked about their needs for security.  He also let Rol know they'd have a tailor at the office to fix up a dress uniform for the marine, and asked Emkir if he needed a uniform too?  Emkir said he had one, but also said, when further asked, that he wouldn't say no to a new set.  He admitted he preferred a vacc suit.  So it was decided that Emkir would have a new uniform made too.  When asked why Emkir was addressing the press, Emkir said they needed to raise the cash for a new fuel purification plant.  Uuela joked, "It's a very brave officer who volunteers to face the media."  Emkir explained how this helped the ship raise cash, and helped local military, as he thanked his friend for volunteering security and calming down the circus.  The Admiral just nodded and said, "Let's just hope that's how my boss feels about it", recognizing that he had stepped on a number of civilian organizations and rights.

Sir Brian's "Interview"

     Sir Brian followed the reporter to a seedy cheap bar that seemed to serve dock-services types and other low level locals.  For his part, Brian was very pleased.  Some of the crew he was with were less happy.  The reporter was just concerned with closing the deal and getting the interview recorded.  He first asked about limits, being those things Brian wanted him to ask or not ask about.  Brian said they should start, and whatever he didn't want to answer, he wouldn't.  Brian did ask the reporter, appearing in his late twenties, who he wrote for, and the reporter admitted he worked for a news blogging organization.  He was small, but had a legitimate audience.  More seriously, he said his editor only authorized Cr 2,000 for the interview, but hoped to butter him up by suggesting Brian could be providing a key public service.

Brian pushed back, saying "Two thousand, and some information?"  Now it was the reporter's turn to be wary as he asked what Brian was after?  When the Knight said he was interested in used android shops, the reporter agreed cheerfully.  He then asked Brian to introduce himself and Sir Brian hammed it up for the camera with his best, 'I'm your friend until you discover the bad motivator in the 'droid I just sold you' smile.  He then gave his full name, making sure everyone watching knew the proper spelling, his title and professional pedigree as a merchant and engineer.  Brian was then asked when and how he became a Knight?  He said it happened in 1110, just after the end of the Fifth Frontier War, but demurred on just how.  Brian knew the circumstances remained classified.

They then asked who he was working for, and Brian started, saying the Hotel California belonged to Duke Norris of Regina.  He was interrupted as the reporter asked, "So, you're working for the Duke then?"  Correcting the reporter, and covering his own ass, Brian said, "I work for the ship.  Wherever the ship goes, I go."  When asked, "Does the ship work for Duke Norris?" Brian said, "I don't know.  You'd have to ask it." with a smile on his face.  He then got more serious, saying "I work for Dame Mikah.  I'm a part of her crew.  I don't know what she's doing here, so you'd have to ask her."  "So", the reporter continued, "What are you folks doing in this area of space?"  Brian said they needed to meet with Duke Leonard, to get their titles confirmed.  He also pointed out that Rol had business with the Imperial Navy.

Leaning in, the reporter asked, "Do you happen to know what business he has with the Navy?" and Brian admitted he didn't.  Next, Brian was asked how Rol came to be aboard the Knight's ship, and the answer was, "He came aboard as our Vargr advisor.  And he makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich."  Confused, the reporter repeated as he asked, "Wait.  He is your Vargr advisor, and yet, he makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich?"  The man was obviously confused at how the two comments related?  Brian didn't bother explaining the technicalities, saying "He likes to cook.  He enjoys it.  It's a hobby."  Surprised, the reporter asked, "Really?  It's not the kind of thing you think of when you consider someone accused of war crimes."  When Brian said, "Rol will surprise you every day." the reporter asked, "So you don't deny he's a war criminal?"

Brian faced the reporter saying, "I don't know what's going on actually.  I don't know what they want, I have no knowledge of what they're asking or saying of him.  As there are with any issue, there are many opinions, and it will play out how it will.  I know him as a crew member, a loyal crew member and a good person."  When the reporter asked, what interactions Brian had had with Rol, Brian admitted that Rol was not an engineer.  But he pointed out Brian was very willing to help where he could, and otherwise he kept to himself.  Brian continued, "He's a quiet and helpful crewmember but he's never been a bad guy, or caused problems."  After another twenty minutes of questions and answers, they used their Idents to transfer the Cr 2,000 and thanked Brian for his help.

They then asked what he needed to know about 'droid shops?  When Brian explained his needs, they said he should hit the campus of a college on-station.  Teaching robotics meant a shop for senior students to work and learn in.  They also sold equipment at low prices, because the rigs were donated, for tax write offs, and had been re-worked and modified heavily.  Any 'droids from there might have eccentricities, but generally worked well enough.  The reporter went as far as giving Brian a contact in the robotics lab, to get a good start.  Brian thanked him for the tip and asked if there was anything else he'd like to know?  The kid admitted he'd really like to know what the Knights and Rol were doing aboard one of Duke Norris' ships?  Brian again said, "You'd have to ask Dame Mikah" and the reporter asked if Brian had her contact information?  Brian said, "Well I live with her on the ship...", and was interrupted, "Wait!  You live with Dame Mikah?!" as the reporter emphasized the words "live with".

After some explaining that they lived "on" the same ship, hence 'together', Brian said he couldn't give out Mikah's private comms data.  The reporter excitedly asked, if Brian could comm her and set up an interview with Mikah?  Brian said he could try, but couldn't promise anything because she was a tough person to crack.  The reporter said it would be worth it, because, as Captain of the ship, she'd be able to answer some of the questions he couldn't.  Brian joked that she might shoot him again.  When the reporter followed that up, Brian said she had not shot him, and tried to make a joke out of it.  Still, the reporter said it was a pretty bizarre comment to make and Brian knew he wasn't out of the woods on that score.  Trying to get out of the hole, Brian said he'd try to set up an interview with Mikah and got their contact information in case Mikah agreed.  Forty minutes after meeting the reporter, Brian walked away with some money and potentially valuable data on getting some engineering 'droids to help with his work.

Lunch And Accusations

     At the University, Mikah and Zimzod had spent an hour having snacks and relaxing as they waited.  But when the comms buzzed, they were told all the groups in the lecture hall had agreed it would take them a bit longer to come up with a number to offer.  They admitted to not expecting as much as the team had, which Mikah felt was a very good sign.  They asked if they could work on it and contact the ship when they had offers to make?  Mikah agreed to that, and asked Doctor Thrauld if they would still get the insider tour of the artifact?  The doctor graciously said, "Absolutely.  So long as The University of Rhylanor gets access to your data, we'll set that up for you."  He then leaned toward her conspiratorially, and said, "Of course, we don't have to tell the other institutions about that?" and Mikah agreed.  They then escorted the Knights to the exit, and Mikah decided they should have lunch.

Leaving, they saw the crowd there had grown and now had added media attention.  One of the more connected reporters recognized her and Mikah heard, "Dame Mikah, Aren’t you the Captain of the Hotel California?"  She ignored the call and kept walking as the same voice called out, "Dame Mikah, are you aware that the military took one of your crew prisoner this morning?"  While this happened, more and more calls and questions started to raise the volume and intensity of the crowd.  Still ignoring the press as they fought their way through the crowd, Mikah flatly said, "It doesn't surprise me." over her shoulder.  Then, the crowd really got going, between the academics and the press, and Mikah decided hailing a cab wouldn't work.  She called on the local net, and was told a vehicle was on the way.  Mikah offered a ten percent bonus if they got there fast.

Less than a minute later, the whine of an electric engine could be heard as a port car came streaking down the access way, sounding its horn as people jumped clear.  It was still screeching to a halt as a window rolled down and Mikah and Zimzod fought their way to the craft.  The driver asked, "Are you Dame Mikah?" and she happily answered, "Yes I am" as she reached for the door.  He said, "I'm your ride" as she and Zimzod piled in to escape the crowd.  The driver none too gently parted the crowd by force and Mikah asked to be taken to a restaurant.  Then she added, "Not so nearby."  When she was asked what kind of food they wanted, Mikah said she didn't care.  The driver promised to take them someplace good and roared off.  Zimzod looked back and saw they weren't being followed.

They watched as the cabbie punched some buttons on what they thought was the port car's nav-system.  Then, they found themselves sitting comfortably as the cab drove past traffic by driving onto the walls of connected buildings!  Playing with the grav-system, the cabbie made turns and course-changes lower tech vehicles couldn't follow.  Pleased, Mikah looked around the cab and found an info-panel showing entertainment shorts and 'news of the day'.  As she watched, Mikah saw clips of Emkir putting his foot in his mouth, making various statements to the press that morning and making things worse as he tried to undo his mistakes.  The most comedic part was Emkir, in his 'high and mighty Admiral' pose, saying "The Admiral was not aware he was making a statement", as if that would convince the press not to run with the recorded comments.

The coverage, in clips and bits, eventually came around to the climatic "arrival of the Imperial Navy to take Rol Kaihvos into custody".  The piece had pictures of armored cars and armed marines in battledress!  As Mikah watched, the commenter stated that apparently Retired Admiral Meshrumiikiim was also arrested.  The anchor there was noinformation on the charges, and no answers had come from the Navy yet.  As Mikah and Zimzod watched the piece, the whole process looked surprisingly friendly.  Not at all like an arrest, despite the commencer’s drone.  This reminded Mikah about her belief one of Emkir's Admiral friends sicc'ed his people on them at the University, to get the nomad data.  Reminded of her anger, she sparked up her comms and called Emkir.

Almost to Admiral Uuela's office, Emkir got the buzz from his comms and recognized it as Mikah and answered, "Yes Dear?"  In the conversation that followed, Mikah first got updated on what happened at the berth.  Emkir confirmed that no one was arrested.  Emkir explained the free security and other benefits offered, and Mikah demanded he tell the Admiral to call his goons off them.  She insisted that they needed to sell the data and not give it away free to the Navy!  When Emkir said his situation had nothing to do with that, Mikah pointedly said she didn't care.  She repeated that they needed to sell the data for money for the ship.  Emkir said he was aware of that, and Mikah said she didn't appreciate being accosted and nearly kidnapped.  When Emkir asked in shock who did that, Mikah blamed Admiral Uuela.

Emkir empathized, but said the encounter must have been a complete misunderstanding.  He said he would clear that up.  Emkir also said that the occupation of the berth was just to keep the media off their doorstep, and let them do what they need to get done.  A favor between friends.  Emkir made sure Mikah knew the Navy people he was dealing with were behaving.  He said they would be controlled and held accountable for their actions by both himself and Admiral Uuela.  Rol heard Emkir's side of things and raised an eyebrow in question.  Emkir explained what he could, without making inappropriate comments in the presence of Admiral Uuela.

The cab eventually pulled up at a place Mikah and Zimzod could see advertised as a 'Distinguished Viliani' restaurant.  Both being of Viliani heritage, they were familiar with Viliani home cooking and curious how good the food was?  Inside, it looked like the average Viliani place, with traditional fabrics on the wall and very clean.  They were seated with menus, but kept an eye open for crowds as they enjoyed the food.  It was just as the meal ended that they noticed, on one of the vid-screens in the place, a late breaking news story.  As the screen changed, they saw what looked like Sir Brian, giving an interview in a seedy bar!  They watched as Brian introduced himself and said his ship's Captain was Dame Mikah Kirlim.  After a cut, he said the ship was owned by Duke Norris of Regina, though he directed them to Dame Mikah as far as what they were doing for the Duke.

Sections of the interview were then played, in which Brian described Rol as "private", and a "loner"!  It was clear the interview had been bought by the major network, though a minor organization appeared to have done the work.  Stock footage had been added, of Imperial Marines in combat situations, as they filled in more of Rol's supposed history.  This also played while they played in Brian's comments about Rol's grilled cheese sandwiches.  As they sat in silence, watching the interview, Mikah was not at all surprised that her comms started to buzz.

Arriving At Admiral Uuela's Office

     Eventually, the APC carrying Rol and Emkir arrived and Admiral Uuela had finished his work setting up their security.  He also said they shouldn't need a civilian company to provide anything.  Emkir said he'd call them and cancel, to be polite.  After that, Emkir asked about Mikah's charges, that they were accosted by Naval personnel?  Uuela was surprised by the action, and asked if Mikah knew the unit the officers were from?  Emkir said he could check on that.  Emkir made it clear the crew intended to sell the data on the Jae Tellona nomads, rather than just hand it over.  When he became aware what the data was, Uuela said he saw where it might be related to Imperial Military Security.  But if so, he was surprised they left her on the street.  They then discussed Rol and Emkir's connection with the Knights, and both admitted it was a lot more exciting than taking a quiet job in retirement.  Rol admitted it got scary, but Emkir simply joked that it depended what side of the microphone one was on.

Soon, drinks were served and there were any number of navy ratings taking care of every need as the officers relaxed.  When talk turned to the uniforms, Emkir asked if his friend could direct him to a place he could get an inexpensive vacc suit?  This resulted in some ribbing about his former vacc suit, which had once been a bragging point for Emkir.  Uuela also asked questions about how the old suit was destroyed, which Emkir had to 'not answer' creatively.  Eventually, Uuela suggested he check the pawn shops in military sectors of the station, as troops were often moving around.  They often dumped gear for cash.  Rol asked about the honors ceremony, to find it would be held at the Duke's Palace on Rhylanor proper.  There were a couple of hours of parades and speeches, where he would be a "decorative add on" to the Admiral's formation.  Eventually, the fittings were done and Rol asked what he owed for the work?  The officer waved it off as Rol was doing him a favor.

Zach's Legal Services

     On the Hotel California, Zach worked on the interview contract and began his search for media ratings while he was overseeing the engineers.  He also walked around every ten minutes, to check on the workers and the jobs they were doing.  Especially as they did not know he had no clue what he was looking at.  He spent the hour after lunch framing and adding clauses to a 'stock' interview contract, and got a good general sheet done.  Zach then changed over to hunt media news headlines and network ratings.  It didn't take him long to look into the headlines and find they wouldn't help him.  He then spent another hour looking into media organization ratings.

Trying To Play Tourist And Failing

     After the whole "ride for Rol" thing, Ms. Vik decided to grab some chow.  Eventually, she stopped for lunch at a fairly basic eatery and spent Cr 10.  After lunch, Inger planned to shop a bit, and maybe see a show or attend another concert after she set things up for Zach.  Inger kept her comms handy, just in case there was some reason not to come back to the ship and get immersed in drama.  She enjoyed window shopping, but eventually wondered how the transportation thing worked out?  Inger comm'd Rol, who was in the Admiral's office being fitted.  He said things worked out well, but he was a bit tied up when she called.

When she asked if that was literal, he explained that he was being fitted for a uniform.  He explained that they didn't seem to need help from the port anymore, and Emkir could fill her in more on that?  Rol added Emkir to the conversation, so he could explain how his friend, the Admiral, provided security by militarizing the ship's berth.  Knowing how she'd feel, Inger paused at this, and asked if anyone had told the port that the military had elected to step on their toes?  Emkir asked if he hadn't made that clear the last time he'd spoken to her?  When Inger pointedly said he didn't say anything about this, Emkir apologized and asked if she might be willing to call the port and update them?  Ms. Vik heatedly said she would not do that, saying it was Emkir's mess and he could clean it up.

Taking a breath, Inger calmed herself and asked how bad it was, to which Rol replied, "Zimzod, writ large."  Swallowing her next thought, Ms. Vik calmly said to Emkir, "I would appreciate it if you could deal with this Admiral."  Emkir happily accepted, saying he never thought it was a problem.  She replied that she was just thinking how she'd react if this sort of thing happened on her port.  At the same time, Rol assured her he had the feeling this happened a lot in Rhylanor.  Inger listened to that without saying she believed it.  She told them to have fun getting uniforms, with her voice trailing off as she said she'd go see a show or, something.

Convincing herself it wasn't her problem, and maybe it did happen in Rhylanor, Inger kept window shopping.  Soon enough, she was looking at the display of an electronics store.  It wasn't the goods that captured her attention, but Sir Brian's happy face displayed on an advertised vid-screen that got her attention.  Looking directly at it, Ms. Vik realized he was obviously being interviewed by someone!  With a sinking feeling, she decided it would be better to know first than be hit by it later, so she entered the store.  As she walked in, Ms. Vik was just in time to see the reporter characterize Rol as a "quiet loner", with Brian cheerily agreeing!  First, Inger let the wave of 'not again' wash over her.  She then reached for her comms and called Mikah.  As the Knight answered with a snapped "What?" Inger moved to an offensive defense saying, "I didn't give this interview, this is not my fault, first off.  Second off, do you think it's time to move berths at this point?"  Mikah said that it probably was, and speculated they'd probably have to go down to the planet.

After the briefest of pauses, Mikah told Ms. Vik she'd better call Brian and tell him to get back to the ship.  Inger correctly guessed that Mikah didn't want to talk to the Knight right now.  Ms. Vik said she'd let Brian know it was in "his best interests" to get back to the ship and then call the port, to see what she could do to set up a move.  Mikah thanked her for her efforts and was ready to sign off when Inger said that an invasion of battledressed navy troops was not going to endear them to the port.  Mikah, who had enjoyed the video coverage of the Navy's arrival, asked "They're still there?" obviously surprised by that.  Inger said she wasn't sure, but said how she'd feel if she were the port director and that happened.  She also said that she felt her credit had just about been burned as Mikah asked her to do what she could, and they signed off.

Inger then called Sir Brian, who answered as he felt, saying, "Hey Baby!" in a cheery voice.  In her most professionally polite tone, Ms. Vik said, "Oh, Hi.  I'm thinking that Mikah told me to tell you, If you're thinking of returning to the ship, now would be a good time to do it."  Not done with what he planned yet, Brian said so, but moderated saying he'd be back there as soon as he could.  Letting a pause squeeze in, Ms. Vik asked him, in a practiced and moderated tone, "Was it really Battledress?"  When the Knight confirmed it was, she asked how many, and learned the horde were two squads of troops and one very well decorated Admiral.  But Brian was also quick to point out that this had nothing to do with him, and it was all Rol's fault.

Ms. Vik shifted to her best, I really hope you're listening to my voice as she said, "When you get back to the ship...  'Cause I have a feeling you'll..."  Then, more hopefully, "Are you on your way back now?"  "Sure", Brian lied easily as he mentally plotted out his next move.  With that, Inger asked him to tell the crew she was heading to Port Operations, to smooth things over.  Even as he moved further from the ship, Brian decided to be helpful, and offered to call Emkir and Zach directly.  But Ms. Vik told him she would do that, and they broke the comms connection.  Ms. Vik called Emkir back, to check on what he'd done?

Once on the line with Emkir, Ms. Vik explained that Mikah would like to move the ship, and she was heading to station ops to see what she could fix with her friends?  Emkir was upset about this, as he planned to take bids the next day, but he didn't feel he could talk in the Admiral's office.  From a military point of view, he also didn't feel there was anything wrong to begin with.  At the end of a muted conversation with her, Ms. Vik suggested he call Dame Mikah and discuss it with her directly.  That ended their conversation and Emkir tried to comms station offices.  He found they were too busy for his attempt to apologize for stepping on any toes.  Emkir then sparked up Dame Mikah's comms.  As soon as Mikah answered, they got into it, as Emkir said he opposed moving the ship.  He also asked about any information on the unit the Naval officers at the university belonged to?

Emkir started to say he wanted to collect bids from media outlets but Mikah cut him off, and separated issues.  She first said that, while there were not noticeable unit markings on the uniforms, the name of the Captain that 'accosted her' was 'Bolalias'.  Emkir said he could pursue the Captain from where he was, and then launched into his main concern.  He said it would make things difficult to collect the bids if they had to move the ship. That would make getting any money from Rol's interview more difficult.  Mikah considered what Emkir said and told the Admiral she'd talk to Ms. Vik about it.  With that, Mikah cut the line and called Inger again.  When Inger picked up, Mikah was in 'fact finding' mode.  She asked about what Inger knew and how she learned of things?  She also asked how bad things really were for the port?

Inger had to admit she was guessing how bad it was, based on her past experiences.  But she hadn't called station offices yet.  When Inger expanded on how she would have responded, and how she'd bet the merchanters were responding to this Admiral's move, Mikah stopped her and asked, "Which Admiral?"  Ms. Vik said, "Admiral Uuela."  As soon as she heard that, Mikah's voice took on an I've locked onto you now quality and Mikah told Ms. Vik she'd call her back.  Mikah cut the connection and dialed up Emkir again.  Surprised to be called again by Mikah so quickly, Emkir answered and was forced to listen as Mikah said that his buddy seemed to be causing more trouble.

Mikah then told Emkir to have the Admiral call off his troops at the berth, and that they'd hire port security or a private firm.  Her tone brooked no disagreement.  When Emkir asked if they could afford that, Mikah said they could, though she joked that she'd take it out of Emkir's pay first.  Emkir shot back that it was OK, as he could just stay at Rhylanor anyway.  Once Emkir agreed to follow Mikah's instructions, as Captain of the ship, Mikah called Inger back to tell her Emkir was having the Navy pull the troops from the ship's bay as soon as possible.  She said she hoped this would help Ms. Vik soothe things over with the port.  Inger said they should just follow procedure at that point.

Inger also pointed out that, since they were not requesting any favors or reduced fees, Mikah should request the additional security as the ship's Captain.  Ms. Vik said, once things started to quiet down, she'd go to the port director and see what could be done to fix things.  Mikah agreed to call the port and set things up.  Ms. Vik said Mikah shouldn't be surprised if they emphasized that there was no need for extra security.  She explained that, until the folks in battledress showed up, the port saw everything as "under control".  So, she said that, while they may now need some extra security for a few days, it would likely not really be needed.

Calling Off The Troops

     In Admiral Uuela's office, Emkir did a good job of diplomatically asking his friend to call off the troops.  When Emkir explained Dame Mikah's feelings and orders, Admiral Uuela was easily able to answer her concerns, but he was not talking to Mikah, and Emkir didn't want to call the Knight.  So, while he was surprised, Admiral Uuela simply hit a comms switch on his desk, to his aide, and gave the orders to withdraw all forces from the bay with a shrug.  With that, Uuela said, "Let me know if you need anything else." with a smile.  Emkir shrugged and said, "A drink and a card game would go down real well right now." in a dejected voice.

Mikah Calls The Port

     In the restaurant, Mikah called port services and, in a conciliatory tone, introduced herself and explained that she'd been off-ship handling business all morning.  She said she was just made aware of the events at the berth as she'd left her Chief in charge.  Mikah told the ops tech that she'd been in contact with the Admiral, who will withdraw his troops from the berth and civilian port docks.  Mikah also told them the crew planned to hire private security, and hoped things would stay quiet now, after this incident.  The tech answered, "That would be nice." in an even voice as Mikah finished.  After agreeing with the tech, Mikah continued that they would leave port if services wanted them to.  She did point out they'd like to stay, if they could, for a bit longer.  The tech said they hadn’t sanctioned the ship, or any crew, while they were certainly dealing with additional fall-out from the events.  The tech also said, very diplomatically, that the Port Director had not decided how to respond to the situation, but doubted they'd be asked to leave.

Mikah thanked her and told the tech they had no idea the Navy Admiral was going to act as he did.  She pointed out there were mitigating circumstances.  The tech thanked the Knight for the additional information, as they were working to establish just what happened?  When Mikah said she'd love to know the whole story too, the woman said she could understand that.  The tech said she was certain someone from the Director's office would contact them to investigate the situation.  As they talked, the tech suggested they might notice an increased amount of port security in the berth until they contracted their own people.  Mikah said they'd welcome the support, as hiring someone could take a day or so.  As the conversation closed, the tech professionally thanked Mikah for her help, and said they looked forward to her helping to resolve the issue.

Brian Buys A Pet

     Brian considered his situation, as he decided that expediting his trip would be in keeping with getting back to the ship now.  So, he went to the college campus the reporter had told him about, to follow up on the lead.  He got directions to the sub-basement level tech-shop, where some students were working.  The space was 50% class, 50% tech shop, 50% hang out, 50% kit-bashing or outright destruction and 100% chaos.  As Brian walked in, a group of apparent students were cleaning up in a corner of the room.  From what kind of disaster, Brian could not tell.  He did see the remains of electronics and robotics, with one apparent hand unit partly embedded in the wall.  The haze of smoke and parts oozed from more than one unit amidst the smell of ozone, suggesting an explanation.  But Brian was there to make friends.

When Brian coughed, and asked for the kid he was directed to find, those there suddenly straighten up and suggested he'd be in the 'parts room'.  As they recovered, further confirming Brian's guess, they asked "Can we help you?"  Brian said he was in the market for some maintenance 'droids, and someone suggested their shop.  The students in the room instantly became interested in Brian's answer.  They asked what kind of maintenance 'droids he was looking for?  Brian said he was looking for ship's engineering androids, along the lines of a model he'd been looking at new.  He pulled out his hand-comp and showed them the specs on the one he'd checked out.  As they talked, Brian said he'd prefer more than one if possible.

As they looked at the specs of the 'droid, they admitted it was much newer than anything they had.  Brian said it also cost Cr 30,000 and they said that was the new cost.  They added that he'd likely get it cheaper in a used 'droid shop.  As they talked, Brian sketched out what he could live with, as the students suggested they could likely build him something close to what he wanted.  In the end, he told them that, if they could meet his specs, he was interested in two 'droids.  They took his comms info and didn't react as he revealed he was from the Hotel California.  He figured they lived in the shop and hadn't seen the news in weeks, so he shrugged it off.  Brian asked if they could estimate the costs he might be facing if they could build something?  They admitted it depended on what parts they could find to use.

Leaving the college campus, Brian looked around for what was nearby, and realized he was in a section of the station that catered to port workers and spacers as well as the college students.  Searching on his hand-comp for used 'droid shops, Brian found a few not far off.  And a shop where he could pick up a hand weapon or two.  In the weapons shop, Brian found a decent hand blade with flex-scabbard for Cr 25.  He stopped in a few 'droid shops as well, and found he could buy a 'droid similar, but not as good as the one he wanted, for Cr 18,000.  This unit had a grav-lock to lock down to the deck, that "could" come loose.  And it might not be able to reach the tops of every space in the ship's engineering section.  It was also not as smart as the new unit.  But he considered his options as he tried to haggle with the shop staff.

Eventually, they agreed they could take Cr 15,000 for the 'droid, so Brian decided he could upgrade it later. He said "done" and they did the paperwork.  When Brian left the shop, the 'droid followed him like a loyal puppy dog as the engineer headed back to the ship.  The 'droid was a TL-C unit, programmed to starship engineering skill level 3.  It had 'basic' human-interact and "dictionary issues".  As he closed on the ship, Brian saw that, while there were a few hold out reporters and media, there were a large number of port security there too.  Once into the bay itself, the place seemed to have become a port security hub station!  When Brian arrived, the security people repeatedly checked his Ident and scanned the used 'droid for hazards.  Brian also noted, during this process, that the ship's dorsal forward turret 'tweaked' slightly in his direction!  He moved to the ship more cautiously, and watched the turret as it very accurately tracked him.

Zach Targets His Research As Aiden Gets Annoyed

     By the time Brian began returning to the ship, Zach was pleased as he'd found a large amount of data on the local ratings market.  He found there was a significant amount of factionalization, with regionally important broadcasters.  But no dominating media figure.  Zach had found at least one figure who was important over two thirds of the world, and a second figure who more or less owned the orbital market.  There were two other broadcasters who also had large markets on-world, and covered the rest of the planet with the first.  The four made up Zach's 'top tier' of media figures.  The only thing that had bothered Zach all morning were the calls from Aiden as media outlets continued to call.  But after the second call from Aiden, Zach told him to shunt them all to Emkir, because he was taking calls.

Aiden refused to give out Emkir's comms, and started just hanging up on the callers when it became plain they were media.  Zach also compiled a list of some twenty other media figures in a tier just below his 'top four'.  Having done his research, Zach decided the best tactic was to contact the top four first, and give them a day or so to respond before moving down the ladder.  When he called each media company, Zach said, "I'm calling on behalf of Major Rol Kaihvos.  He is interested in having an exclusive interview."  Each of the four companies either stopped him at 'Rol Kaihvos' or 'exclusive interview', and bounced Zach to a producer's aide.

Once plugged into that person, Zach repeated that he was calling on behalf of Major Kaihvos, and was interested in an exclusive interview.  He said they were reaching out to all the major media companies.  Zach gave them each the list of requirements Rol had described earlier and asked them to please talk to their people.  He said they should call back with a bid to handle the interview, so they could pick things up later.  Invariably, he was asked what kind of bid they were looking for, in order to get guidance.  Were they were looking for just money?  Or money and quid pro quo?  Perhaps the talent wanted the best on-site quarters, or a pet handler?

Zach said they were looking for a straight money payment, and the news organization to pay the security costs during the transit to and from, as well as during the interview.  Zach said he and the crew would determine the security details when asked by the producer's aide.  The man warned that the outlet would not sign an open check in the name of security, so they needed some understanding of what was involved in the plans?  That way, they could estimate the costs.  When Zach replied, "Well, you can plan the security and we'll look over the plans to make corrections if we find anything lacking." the producer aide verified, "So, there would be some negotiations but we're in charge?"  After that, Zach was told they would get him a bid and the call ended.

Another show simply threw out an offer for Cr 30,000 for an hour's interview, in their studios with secure transportation.  Zach promised to get back to them once he'd heard the other bids.  After the calls were made, Zach called both Emkir and Rol, to let them know what progress he'd made.  The officers were sitting, chatting in the Admiral's office since the uniforms were done.  Once Zach explained what he'd gotten from each organization, as well as their pro's and cons, they agreed to sit back and wait to see what bids came in.  Then Rol asked what was happening back at the ship?  Zach said he was waiting for Brian to return, having called before Brian got back, and watching the techs working on the ship.  Things were quiet.

When Rol got more specific, and asked what was happening outside the ship, Zach looked and reported there was a "shit ton of security" milling about in the bay.  Other than that, the bay was surprisingly empty.  Rol asked if they were military or station security, and was relieved when Zach said station security.  Rol asked if they'd contacted the ship at all and was told Zach was not aware of any contacts.  Zach also complained to Emkir about Aiden's whining about press calls, and Emkir told him to broadcast that any bids were to be made in writing.  Zach shot that down sarcastically, saying "Yeah, like that's going to happen."  Rol confirmed that Aiden was still on the bridge, and that no one else was aboard other than the engineers.  He then signed off with Zach and called Aiden.

The former marine was surprised when Aiden answered in a friendly voice, so he asked if Aiden had been updated about the security forces outside the ship?  Aiden said he hadn't, but he'd taken some of his own security measures.  Not wanting to ask, Rol simply said, "That's scary."  More grumpy, Aiden asked, "So when are your people going to stop calling the ship with interview offers?"  When Rol started to say, "They were supposed to contact the Admiral..."  Aiden cut him off asking in what universe Rol thought they'd actually follow instructions?  After saying he was sorry, Rol said they were on their way back to the ship soon, and Aiden could have a long conversation with Emkir when they got back.  Aiden simply said, "Oh Joy."

Hearing Rol's side of the conversation, Emkir called Aiden as Rol signed off.  When Aiden answered, Emkir suggested he put a recording on the comms, saying to submit a bid for the interview in writing to the ship.  Aiden shot back, asking if he shouldn't put a recording on that 'if you can't follow instructions, you can't have the interview' with a sour voice.  Emkir said Aiden could do that if he wanted, as that would get him off the hook.  Aiden said, "I don't think anything will get us off the hook except shooting people."  Emkir decided to resolve this the nuclear way and added everyone not in the same room with him into the comms call.

Mikah and Zimzod's Return

     Mikah paid the Cr 20 bill for their taxi ride with a Cr 20 tip because she felt it was worth it.  After the ride, lunch and the various comms calls, Mikah and Zimzod headed back to the ship with less excitement.  As they arrived at the bay, there were a few reporters still in the bay who tried to get the Knight's attention or ask questions.  As the pair made their way from the cab to the bay, they developed a tail of reporters, following and begging for any comment or response.  Mikah finally had the port security step in.  Officers told the reporters to take a step back and be respectful, which each one of them did.  Once in the cargo bay and engineering section, they found Zach watching the engineers, and refining the data he explained to Rol and Emkir.  When she saw Zach, Mikah instantly stopped any possible comment demanding, "Where's Brian?"

Zach said, "He's not aboard, and has not been seen", but admitted he'd been a bit busy with research.  Zimzod said, "Oh Really?" derisively while Mikah said, "I'm going to go to the bridge.  I'll be down in a few."  When she got to the bridge, she found that Aiden had manual fire control set up on the ship's dorsal weapons turret!  It was not tied to the active sensors, but it was weapons hot!  Seeing this, Mikah said he could keep tracking people with the turret, but had to take the weapons off-line.  He defended his actions as she chewed him out, saying he activated the weapons when the APC's rolled in.  Mikah pointed out they were long gone, along with the battledressed troops.  She said she felt they had enough station security that he could stand down.

After a pause, Aiden powered down the weapons grid and went into the lounge to get something to eat.  As he was leaving, Mikah suggested he watch the news and he dryly responded, "Oh Joy!"  Aiden then moved into the galley, grabbed a foil pack and drink before watching the news, moaning into his food as he watched the vids.  He also started mentally reviewing his weapons and supplies for when all hell broke loose.  On the bridge, Mikah deactivated everything but the turret controls as she waited for Brian to return.  In the meantime, Zimzod went back to his stateroom to do some gear maintenance.  He was prepared to head out and join in the fun as soon as Brian got back to the ship.  As he worked on his gear, he evilly planned for the coming fun.  Evilly.

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Next: The Calm After The Storms