Sitting in the lounge reading, Aiden was surprised when Zimzod picked up a comms and called TAS to get himself cloning insurance. He hadn't seemed too worried about death. But Aiden decided to listen in, given recent events. When Zimzod agreed to set up an appointment to implant the stent later, he was told he had until the 314th day of 1112 to have that done or the policy would be voided. As Zimzod ended the call, Aiden decided to ask a few questions while Sir Terin, who had just joined the crew, also listened in.
When Zimzod asked what Aiden wanted to know, the pilot pretty much asked him to explain the procedure? Saying he only signed up for the insurance so far, Zimzod explained that and how TAS helped him. He said he had to set up the operation to have the stent implanted, but Aiden should check the research notes Zach had created. Both men couldn't ignore the ironic humor that the now-dead merchant had done the most research but not lived to act on it.
Taking Zimzod's advice, Aiden sparked up Zach's files on cloning and read up on it before calling TAS himself. As with Zimzod, they told Aiden the insurance would be effectuated on 2, Jan 1113. This was because the paperwork and payments needed to be carried out before the insurance could start. It would normally be effective the first of the month following that, but the first of the next month was Holiday. So nothing would legally get done until the second. Aiden was also told he had until the 314th to get his stent implanted.
As Aiden got on the comms and began working out his cloning insurance, Terin asked if he could speak with Zimzod? When Zimzod settled in for more questions, Terin said that he'd been considering having a stent implanted for some time. When Zimzod asked why, Terin explained a bit about his being wounded badly during the war. As Zimzod allowed him to continue, Terin explained that he simply did not have the money to have a stent implanted. Terin said, if the ship would pay for his stent implantation, Terin would give up his monthly salary of Cr 650, suggesting the ship would save back the costs quickly. Zimzod did the math, and realized the ship would save the cost of the operation in two years, and Terin was offering to give up his salary entirely. But Zimzod knew that, once the stent was implanted, there was little keeping Terin on the ship.
So Zimzod told Terin he would need the navigator to sign a contract, making himself an indentured servant to the ship for the two years at least. Since he had been directed to this position by the Order, Sir Terin was not planning to go anywhere anytime soon and agreed, knowing he'd still get a slice of any ship's profit. And with that, Sir Zimzod brought Terin over to a terminal and sparked up the ship's legal forms software. After they selected the correct form, Zimzod and Terin filled it out and certified their identities. Once that was saved, Zimzod transmitted the form to the port and the merchant hall and hiring hall, so it could be filed and certified as legal.
As the pair were completing that work, Munarshu arrived with his gear to start moving in. Aiden was working at another comms terminal and Inger was watching vids along with Emkir, who was also cleaning up the galley. Munarshu looked around and couldn't see Aali, his new boss, so he assumed she was in engineering. He knew the ship's captain and Sir Rol were in the hospital. Munarshu was directed to the stateroom that was Sir Brian's on the previous ship. Of course, they made a play that Brian had lived in there to keep up the storyline. As this was happening, Aali was in her quarters, working to access the internal services of her stent, based on the class she'd had. As the other's talked in the lounge, Emkir cleaned up the galley but made sure to put things where he wanted, rather than where he knew Rol preferred things. Once done cleaning up, Emkir decided to relax and let his wounds continue to heal.Recovering and Leaving Early
In the hospital, and after her lunch, Mikah's doctor came to discuss her case. They covered concerns about infection, though it was very good news that none of her organs had been damaged. This was very surprising, and even more lucky. As he described her treatment at the moment, Mikah was largely healing on her own, having been given regrowth enhancers and having her wounds sewn up. Now they had implanted bio-degradable sensors which would look for the early signs of infection for several more days before beginning to break down and be excreted out. When Mikah asked, based on that, why they were still keeping her under observation, the doctor said they just wanted to be sure for a few more hours. Not liking that answer, Mikah decided to sign herself out, as the sensors would tell them if she needed more treatment.
In his hospital bed, Rol was relaxing when an orderly led in a man dressed in a station security uniform. The man provided his credentials and turned out to be a detective inspector with the organization. When Rol asked how he could help, assuming this had to do with the ambush, the Inspector reminded him of the attack he'd suffered at the trade fair the first time the crew had been in-system. When Rol said he remembered, the inspector said they were preparing to try his attacker. Rol remembered the man from the Jesedipere system, who'd grabbed a pole and attacked him at the trade show. When the inspector asked, Rol was happy to agree to come to their offices and go over his testimony while they had a chance to record it for the man's trial.
While they could come to Rol's ship to take the testimony, based on his medical condition, they didn't want to do it in the hospital. Rol agreed to do what was needed to answer the questions he could and the inspector thanked him. Then the inspector bumped Rol his contact data and left Rol to himself. Sitting in his bed with nothing else to do but comply with the medical staff's periodic requests, Rol surfed the news, looking for any new information on the arrival of Duchess Muktheswara. Of course, there were no new facts but lots of speculation, only some of which was not completely off the wall.More Morning Organization
Calling the port again, Inger reached the shift leads and checked in on the investigation. Port security had completed their work ripping the lives and living quarters of the thugs apart. Despite some assistance and participation with both Naval Intelligence and the Duke's Intelligence people, what they found was pretty much nothing at all. Evidence could be tracked that the crime boss had gone into deep hiding. He would be found eventually, but, at the moment, he was well hidden. Thanks to his "offer" of a bounty on Zach, each of the thugs had pooled their resources, pulled a few more jobs and gotten enough to buy some revolvers.
Thanks to the events that followed, Station security were able to follow events backwards and resolve a number of crimes. They even arrested a fence or two, and recovered some of the stolen loot related to those crimes as the thugs worked towards buying their firearms. The two gun dealers were also busted and a small collection of weapons taken into evidence. That the most dangerous of these were some sub machineguns and a very old, battered gauss pistol spoke volumes about how difficult it was to get weapons onto the station illegally. Of course, this news did nothing to comfort the increasingly unhappy public.
And none of this led to Tarulli himself. Despite his promise to pay anyone who killed Zach, the gunmen were all known to be dead or in custody, so there had been no message sent or other attempt to pay the lone survivor. And word of the bounty had been available "all over" the station, so there was no way to localize where it started, to use that as an investigative point. So, all they could do was to reinforce the security in the concourse where the ship was docked. The only good news Inger got was that the new "Hazard" classification they were under had given the port a reason to restrict media access. So the media would no longer be allowed to loiter in the concourse or berth unless given permission by the crew.
Once she got that information, Inger asked Zimzod if there was anything he wanted her to ask? When Zimzod asked about the space the port was planning to give them for Zach's funeral, they said they had several down-checked concourses with those docking spaces due for renovation. Any of these spaces could be available to them. So the space available ranged from open warehouse storage to small and intimate berths. When they asked Inger what Zach's religion had been, Inger had to admit she didn't know and asked Zimzod? Zimzod remembered Zach had been half Darrian and half human.
But beyond making fun of the Church of Stellar Divinity and the Pavabid system's version of it, they'd never talked religieon. So, without any known option, Zimzod had Inger tell them they hadn't decided what kind of service to hold yet. Zimzod figured they could easily hold a non-denominational service before shipping out. Then they could consider what to do next, which included their ideas about bringing his body home to the Five Sisters subsector and his family. They could also revisit the idea of "how" to return his body. The current and most favored method was to have him cremated, because they could not just fire him out a missile port.
As Munarshu finished setting his gear up in his new stateroom, a buzz at the berth let the crew know Instel-Arms had arrived with his weapons. Since the timing couldn't have been better, Munarshu checked with Zimzod for permission to load his weapons. Zimzod confirmed he'd had the tour of the ship and all, then told Munarshu he was added to the roster. With that, Munarshu worked with the IA techs to receive his weapons and ammunition and move them to the ship's locker. As the crew in the lounge watched, their new assistant engineer received eight boxes of loose ammo, a number of secured cases holding loaded magazines and seven weapon cases. As they watched, he unsecured the snub pistol he'd named "Blair", and hung Her by Her holster off his hip. The rest, he moved to the ship's locker.Stowing His Weapons
Once in the bridge and looking into the ship's locker, Munarshu saw the crew obviously didn't use the locker. One side appeared organized while the other side was less so. Especially given the blow up-Human female sex doll sitting deflated, atop a pile of gear. Looking over the weapons snapped into hold-points, Munarshu saw that Sir Terin's weapons and ammo had been stored as expected. The only other weapons snapped in were not designated to anyone in the crew. Given what he'd heard of this crew, he expected they all kept their weapons in their staterooms. That left him to wondering whose weapons the unidentified items in the racks were and why the crew armed their staterooms? As Munarshu snapped his weapons into the rack, he thumb-print locked them in and entered his name in the displays.
Done locking his weapons in, Munarshu looked at the gear that was in the locker to see what this crew did store there? Ignoring the sex doll, he first saw a jury-rigged device with what he recognized as silicon photo-voltaic cells on it. It was obviously jury-rigged and had many anchor-points and a few feed cables extending from it. What it was put together to do, other than convert light to power, was not clear. Besides that, Munarshu saw two suits of sealed combat armor. One appeared to be for a crew member who was at least 7 feet tall, as did an advanced vacc suit stored near it. The other was for someone slightly smaller than he was himself, but obviously a bit wider. Given what knew about combat armor, especially sealed suits, these either belonged to someone who expected to armor up while on the bridge or they were spare, and wouldn't fit anyone currently on the crew.
There were also containers for four rescue balls in the space. As well, he saw two large duffel-storage bags in the locker, one on each side. The one on the organized side was clearly marked as owned by Sir Terin, and was labeled as an emergency survival kit. The other wasn't labeled at all. When Munarshu checked, it appeared to be an emergency kit less-well stocked than Sir Terin's commercial kit. On a shelf, Munarshu saw eight commercial language translators, though it wasn't apparent which language they were programmed for? From the walls hung some organized lengths of ropes and cables. There were also wall-racks, one of which contained eight filter masks and another eight protective face masks. Seeing this, Munarshu added his Filter Respirator to the collection.
Also hung from a peg and secured to the wall were what looked like rags. When Munarshu checked these, it seemed they were a set of very rustic robes. There were also some electronics, like a set of binoculars. Munarshu also saw a lump of what appeared to be glass with a bushing captured inside it. Picking it up to examine, Munarshu couldn't see any explanation for the item. Setting that down and looking around, Munarshu noticed a transport box, like those used to carry around electronics. It was obviously old, and had odd markings he didn't recognize. When he tried to open it, Munarshu found it was locked. Once done, Munarshu stowed the snub pistol he'd named "Blair" in his stateroom, then he went down into engineering.Settling Everyone In
In the lounge, Zimzod got the call from Mikah that she was signing herself out of the hospital and needed a ride back to the ship. Telling her he could set that up, Zimzod heading out into the berth, to check and see if the Order still had a vehicle and driver, when Inger caught him. She said her friends in the port wanted her to come out to dinner with them and finally get to see the whole show she'd had to leave early due to the shooting. Inger said the port was sending a secure transport and covering all the bases. Zimzod said, "Enjoy the show." and Inger said she hoped she could without getting any more calls. But she made it clear she'd be back late that night. With that, Zimzod went out to talk to the Knights in the berth. He checked, to be sure they had eaten and been taken care of before he asked for help picking up Lady Mikah. As earlier, the Knights agreed.
On the way to the hospital to pick up Mikah, Zimzod asked what the driver did and if he worked the Order? The man said he was between jobs and was heading out to meet a ship he had a berth on when the Order sent up the alarm. When Zimzod asked what kind of berth, the man said he was a ship's gunner. This impressed Zimzod, who knew they could use better qualified gunners themselves, though they had no space to house anyone they hired. When Zimzod asked for more details, he was told the knight would be joining a ship bound for Regina, and beyond. It was headed into the Gvurrdon sector and Vargr space. Considering trying to hire him away from the mission, Zimzod asked how much they offered and the man said he was getting combat rates. Zimzod knew that was more than their ship could afford and let the idea drop.
Soon enough, they arrived at the hospital to find Mikah waiting after having done the paperwork for her release. Her doctor admitted that he would have preferred her to stay until after dinner, but knew they could get to her if treatment was needed. After that, she waited until Zimzod eventually pulled up in a gravVehicle driven by a knight wearing the uniform of their Order. Mikah was escorted out to the vehicle in a gravChair and officially signed out. Once on the way back to the ship, she asked where they got the sweet ride and Zimzod told her it was due to the Order. He had introduced the driver, but hadn't explained what the Order was doing for them. After that, Zimzod started telling Mikah about the two new crew members, saying he managed to get one to sign up as an indentured servant. This caught her completely by surprise and Mikah asked how Zimzod had done it?
Zimzod explained that Terin wanted the ship to cover his stent implant, so he was able to get the man to sign a contract to serve the ship for two year's time to pay for that. Mikah was impressed, and suggested she might have him do all the negotiations for new crew. When she asked about the other new crewman, Zimzod said he was a top shelf engineer, and even had more guns than Zimzod had himself. When she heard that, Mikah joked that they'd have to fix that! Zimzod joined in with her as she laughed at her own joke. After that, Mikah asked what else she'd missed and asked if Emkir had shot Aiden again yet? Zimzod said Emkir hadn't, and then went on to say they had Zach's body in stasis. Mikah agreed they had to decide what to do with him.
When Mikah asked if anyone had reached out to the Duke's office, Zimzod said he had and the Duke wanted to speak at the funeral. As they discussed it, Zimzod said they agreed to keep the Duke's office in the loop when they set things up for the funeral. After agreeing on that, Zimzod mentioned the news from Mikah's home system, Hammermium. He suggested that, with everything happening there, they might want to head in that direction once they left Rhylanor? he also suggested they could stop at his home world on the way. When she shot him a look, he said "I could introduce you to mom and dad." with a laugh as he played on her engagement joke. They both laughed. Then they agreed to hold off on extending the joke until they were among the crew and could get some good reactions.
But before leaving Rhylanor, Zimzod mentioned the idea of getting certified to carry x-Mail parcels. He admitted the idea came from the crew, talking about bringing Zach's body back to his homeworld, but also said there was more support for firing Zach's coffin off in a small rocket and using it for target practice. Mikah laughed at that even as Zimzod said the Duke's office made it clear Zach's funeral would be "theater for the masses" and things had to be respectful. Mikah suggested they should call a crew meeting to decide what to do next, and about Zach?
When Mikah asked if people were starting to get paranoid, Zimzod said it was no more than normal. He did say Rol was whining more about people being after him recently. As they joked about that, Zimzod said they should return to the ship, have a cup of coffee and relax until they could have the crew meeting. When Zimzod mentioned coffee, Mikah thought about their thinning supplies and realized they needed to restock the ship for food, to cover the larger crew size. She also wondered, with one of them being Darien, if there were any special dietary needs?
Once done organizing the rest of his gear, Munarshu went into engineering to start getting a better understanding of the ship's condition. He began looking into the engineering logs, to check on the ship's maintenance. But what he found was surprisingly short and mostly handled by military engineers! So it appeared the crew had somehow been hiring the Imperial military to do their maintenance work! After finding that mystery, and wondering why the log had been truncated, Munarshu set about investigating the files to make sure the systems and documentation were complete. Even checking to make sure the ship had manuals for all on-board systems.
At the same time, Aiden finished his research and set up his insurance before returning to reading. He wouldn't set up his surgical date until he could talk to Mikah. Terin had also gotten the cash set up to get a stent implant, but wanted to hold off and talk with the ship's captain, to get permission to take the time needed to have the stent implanted. With nothing else to do, Terin went to the bridge to pre-configure a navigator's console. As he did this, Inger had returned to relaxing and waited for the next shoe to drop while Emkir watched vids because Aali was again communing with her stent.
That was how Zimzod and Mikah found them when they returned to the ship. Figuring everyone was aboard except Rol, Zimzod decided to call a crew meeting. As Mikah joined in, calling for everyone's attention, Zimzod asked if she wanted him to call Rol, to get him involved? Mikah said no, because she didn't know who might be listening. When Mikah made it clear she wanted to interrupt Aali, Emkir volunteered to get her attention. Not pleased, Aali knew it was ship's business and that came first. So she pushed aside the progress she had been making and let her head clear as she came out for the meeting.Meeting And Making Plans
As she started the meeting, Mikah said, "Well, we all know Rol is still in the hospital. And we have two new crew members, I see?" Munarshu simply said, "Captain" with a nod of his head in greeting. Terin gave a more complete introduction saying, "I am Sir Terin Yundis Geryen." Mikah turned to him saying, "Oh, you're a knight?" When he confirmed that, she asked him how he was elevated and Terin said it was due to a combat situation. She nodded and said it was good to know before confirming he was their new navigator. Turning back to Munarshu, she asked, "And you are?" At first he said, "Call me Sid." but Munarshu could see Lady Mikah was not having that.
So he introduced himself properly, "I am Munarshu Sidigur." as he used his professional name. Looking him up and down, Mikah asked, "And you're not a knight?" Munarshu agreed, saying "No." Nodding, Mikah asked, "And you name your weapons?" following up on what Zimzod had told her on the way back to the ship. When he answered "yes" she said "I'm gonna call you Gladys." dismissively. Completely confused, Munarshu asked "Why?" and she stopped turning away from him and answered, "I name my tools too." After a few chuckles from the others, Mikah said, "As we all know, Zach is dead." Turning to Terin and Munarshu, she said, "You didn't know Zach so you don't have to be involved in this if you don't want to."
Not agreeing completely, Zimzod reminded her Sir Terin was a Knight, and an indentured servant of the ship. Terin pointed out he was being paid a share whenever the ship made a profit and there was a discussion about that. This ended when a smiling Emkir said, "You're not getting paid, and you're not getting laid. But you are getting screwed." This caught everyone by surprise and they all burst out laughing for a bit before things recovered. Once Mikah had the floor again, she said "From everyone who knew Zach, I want fair opinion on how we should dispose... I mean, lay him to rest. Perhaps still laughing inside, Inger got an attack of the giggles at Mikah's comment and had even more trouble controlling herself as Emkir suggested, "Target practice?"
Turning to look Emkir in the eyes, Mikah said, "You need a lot of target practice." When Emkir shrugged and said "I just fly it, they're the gunners" and Mikah replied, "Aiden's ass is not that big, so you shouldn't have hit it." Emir protested that had been an accident as everyone except Aiden, Terin and Munarshu broke out in more giggles. Once that died down, Mikah asked, "Aali, what do you think?" and the engineer asked, "Have we heard from the Duke yet?" Zimzod answered, "The Duke wants to speak at the funeral and we're keeping his office in the loop." Aali mulled that, saying "Outside what the Duke wants, it's up to us what we want. So what do we want?"
Mikah took that up saying she planned to have him cremated and returned to his parents. After that she suggested they could either take him in the Hotel California or x-Mail him. Of course, when she mentioned x-Mailing him, that re-ignited talk of how expensive that would be. Especially from Aiden, who flew for the IISS Communications branch. Picking up on more Zimzod had told her, Mikah said she'd heard they'd talked about getting the ship certified to carry x-Mail parcels. Again, Aiden and Terin stepped in, saying that they could get certified to carry up to five tons of mail to outlying systems for Cr 5,000 a ton carried. They did point out there wouldn't always be five tons to carry, as this was to "off route" worlds. So the business to those worlds could be light to non-existent. It also meant they'd have to jump to worlds off the X-Boat routes, which might slow them down.
So the max-pay for that would be Cr 25,000 where they'd have to pay Cr 37,500 for a full tank of refined fuel. Munarshu said they could still make a profit by buying and purifying unrefined fuel from the port. As this discussion went on, Aiden annoyed Mikah by saying it might be smart, while seeking certification, not to mention how often they'd had their ship shot out from under them. as Mikah turned on him, Munarshu asked, "Shot out from under you?" The others pointed out they'd only lost the Dawnstar Horizon, fighting pirates and told the new engineer Aiden's nickname was "Captain paranoid". In the meantime, Emkir pushed things back on track, saying they should reach out to their many friends who might help as they sought certification. that might help them get approved faster than normal.
This reminded most of the crew that they did, in fact, have many friends. Especially low friends in high places. When Sir Terin pointed out that Emkir was an IISS Admiral, Mikah dismissed that as unimportant. She said they needed people actively in government and sometimes fairly high up. Changing the topic suddenly, Mikah looked at Terin and said, "So you're Darrian, right?" When Terin said he was, Mikah asked about their funeral practices. Terin explained quickly that Darrian funeral practices were based on the origin of the race, when they lived in the "Groves of the Ancients". When a Darrian died, they were placed into an alcove in the tree in which they lived which then "closed up" and they became part of the tree. This led to very natural ceremonies were the body was "returned to from whence it came." It meant a burial was the norm, but allowed for cremation, which pleased Mikah.
Terin took some more time, explaining some of the more simple rituals which were acceptable among his people. Having that piece fit in place, Mikah said they should start preparing for the funeral by finding a place that does cremation and move forward from there. Terin asked if the hospital would do that and Zimzod and a few others joked, "Just fire up the engines." After those laughs, Zimzod changed the topic, telling Mikah he'd bought a cloning insurance policy and needed to set up to have his stent implanted. He continued that he was holding off setting up the procedure until he could see if she wanted to assist? Knowing she'd get paid, Mikah joked, "You want my initials carved into your brain, don't you?" Zimzod laughed as he played at nodding in agreement.
As the talk turned to getting stent implants, Zimzod turned out to not be the only one. Mikah had been told about Sir Terin, but was surprised when Aiden told her about his policy. Knowing Rol had to deal with his implant the next morning, despite being wounded and in another hospital, Mikah started to consider her schedule. As she thought about it, Munarshu asked about why everyone was getting stents, and even asked if it was mandatory for crew on the ship? Mikah said it wasn't and pointed out that she didn't have one, joking that she only installed them. As others in the crew explained their interests to Munarshu, Mikah sparked up her comms and called RolFilling Rol In On The Changes
In the hospital, Rol had been relaxing into the firm grips of sleep and boredom when Mikah's call woke him. When he answered, Mikah asked what had been done about Rol's appointment for the next morning? Rol said he'd had to cancel the procedure, "due to unforeseen circumstances." When Rol said he was not sure when he'd reschedule it, Mikah said, "Good, because I now have four to do." This surprised Rol, who asked "Who got shot?" in a startled voice. Mikah laughed as she said, "Only you." When Rol asked, "What happened while I was out?" Mikah explained who the others were, including the ship's indentured servant. When Rol asked "Our what?!" Mikah said they new had an indentured servant working for the ship. When Rol asked where they got one of those, she said she had to give the credit to Zimzod.
As she explained things, Mikah told Rol they had the new navigator and an additional engineer. Rol asked what the new crew were like and Mikah began with Terin saying, "One's a Darrian. And he's a Knight. And he's the indentured servant." This caught Rol completely unprepared as he said, "Wai-Wai-Wait! A Knight? And an indentured...never mind!" Mikah laughed at his reaction while Rol wondered how strong his medications really were? As Mikah's laughing faded, Rol asked, "What about the other one?" and Mikah said "He's a top-grade engineer. He's gonna be helping Aali and he seems to be Vilani." When she continued, saying he was weird, Rol asked how and she told him Munarshu named his weapons. Then Rol asked how his being weird was different from anyone else in the crew?
When she again said, "He names his weapons", Rol said, "that sounds like some privates I knew." Continuing her updates, Mikah suggested they may have found a home for Brian's sex doll and Rol said they should get rid of it before the new crew saw it. As Mikah agreed with that, Munarshu and Terin were listening in to her side of the conversation. So when Munarshu chimed in that he'd already seen the doll, Mikah answered him, "It's yours." in an offering voice. Relieved they were going after the other guy, Terin snapped out, "Good luck with that! Have fun", happy he'd dodged a hazing hazing bullet. Getting back to business, Mikah asked Rol if he cared when she scheduled his stent surgery? Rol pointed out that it had to be within the next ten days and after he recovered enough to leave the hospital.
That said, Mikah decided she'd schedule two a day over a two day period to get them all done. Rol said he just had to make sure he was healthy enough and Mikah told him to ask his doctor. Rol agreed to do that and suggested they set his surgery for three days from then, on the 303rd day, guessing he'd be well enough because they planned to release him the next day. Mikah agreed and they finished up their call. After that, Mikah backed out of the crew meeting to call the hospital, setting up two surgeries on the 303rd day and two more on the 304th day of the year. As she did this, the crew discussed the timing after the surgeries and figured they wouldn't be leaving the system for fifteen to sixteen days.
In between questions, answers and pauses, Mikah and Zimzod stacked up the issues they had to face. In dealing with Zach's body, they had to find a crematorium that did Darrian ceremonies. They also had to get a safe installed and get certified for x-Parcels. They also needed to deal with Brian's books, the parts Brian disassembled from the grav-Vehicle and android, as well as testing that 'droid's gravlock. And those getting stents needed to deal with the classes. And they had the Darrian cybernetic parts, which Zach had not dealt with. As if prompted by Mikah's thoughts about those, Munarshu asked about the box, wondering what it was?Replacement Parts And Implants
As Mikah considered how dangerous an unopened box could be, she decided to give the new crew a baptism of sorts. So she pointed at Terin and said, "you should look at it. It's probably Darrian. As Mikah led the way, she let Munarshu follow along as he was an engineer and could possibly help too. Once in the ship's locker, most of the crew recognized what they'd already identified as a box containing old Darrian cybernetic parts. What Terin saw was an old, beat up 3 x 2 x 1.5 foot electronics transport box. More important than the general details were what appeared to be pre-Maghiz Darrian glyphs on it! Terin could only mutter, "I don't know what it is but it's really old." He kept his thoughts to himself that the box was at least 2,000 years old! Terin ignored Mikah's acerbic, "Yeah, we got that." response to his comment. Turning back to Mikah, Terin looked her in her eyes and said, "This is pre-Maghiz old." as he stressed the words.
Shrugging as Terin said he couldn't tell what was in it, Mikah said, "Open it." Thrilled at getting the chance to even touch the two thousand year old box, Terin opened the lock the crew had put on it and opened the case. Inside, he saw a padding-filled void protecting seven electronic components which appeared to be cybernetic in nature and easily as old as the box itself! Saying that to those assembled around him, Terin asked hopefully, "Can I take some out and look at them?" When Mikah said, "Yeah, if you're careful with them." he agreed. As Terin gingerly lifted a component from the padding, the part slid out as if it were willingly released by the foam. Terin began to examine it, and Mikah asked if they still worked. Terin said, "I don't know. They'd have to be tested. I can tell you these are cybernetic parts." Stepping closer, Munarshu asked, "Wait, wait wait! Are you saying these are cybernetic parts, pre-maghiz and Darrian?" The excitement in his voice was a quality only an engineer could muster as he got to look at something truly mythical.
Guessing at the value of the parts, Munarshu asked, "How many ships do you want in your fleet?" Mikah eagerly said, "Oooh! We can get a dreadnaught?" Pouring water on the coals, Terin said, "There's only one problem." When asked what that was, he said he'd bet they couldn't just post the parts for sale on the network and hope to avoid some authority showing up to take the parts from them, or even arrest them for having the box. The whole crew knew they were extreme antiques, and the Darrian Confederation could just claim them as stolen and hand them a finder's fee well under Cr 100! As they thought about that, Munarshu said, "Underground. Black market." Mikah shook her head, saying that was Not the way she wanted to go. Of course, she privately figured they'd likely have to go that way.
As they talked, Terin did his best to examine each of the seven pieces, but had to admit he couldn't identify them any more than he had. Setting that to the side for the moment, as they couldn't do anything about them right away, Mikah started setting the calendar for the operations. Calling the others over, Mikah told them the operations for Zimzod first and then Terin would be on the 303rd day. Because she was doing two per day, Mikah had to start early and set Zimzod's operation for 9am, so they'd have to be at the hospital by 7am. It also meant Terin's operation would happen at 1pm. And the next operations, first Aiden and then Rol, would be at the same times on the 404th.
As she explained the schedule, she didn't say the Hospital had confirmed Mikah would be paid Cr 1,500 for each TAS member and Cr 3,000 for Sir Terin. That was a total of Cr 7,500 total. After telling the others that, Mikah returned to the meeting business and asked if anyone objected to becoming certified for X-parcel service? They were reminded this would take up seven tons of their fifteen cargo space. When no one had any issues, they decided to move forward on applying. Then Mikah asked if there was anything else anyone wanted to bring up? Aali said she'd spoken to Admiral Kiamman and gotten permission to visit the 'droid storage warehouse again the next morning. She also said she planned to bring Munarshu with her.What's Next, Again
As they considered Aali's trip the next day, Mikah said it was clear they'd be on-station for two weeks, while settling the various stent implants. Having that much time, they realized they'd have to replace meals eaten and resupply the ship. As she comment on that, Zimzod offered Mikah coffee and she gladly accepted. Sparking up, Emkir said, "Since we have two weeks, we can always have a party!" When Mikah asked, in an exasperated tone, "Is everything a party with you?" Emkir challenged, "Is there a reason we shouldn't party?" Mikah pointed out that it wouldn't look good with Zach's funeral and all. As Emkir admitted to that, Inger suggested they could hire a video-shooting gallery and get in some combat exercises. This got agreements from Aali and Emkir, who remembered the night they'd played the game before.
In the pause that happened as the others considered the laser tag, Mikah remembered the name plate from the Sword Worlds destroyer and said they needed to mount it on a wall space on the ship's bridge. Zimzod remembered meeting Sir Gihe Rielepo in one of the Order's common rooms before the shooting, when he'd been looking for a line on getting permission to get an FGMP-15. The Knight turned out to also be a Baron, and had bumped him his info, saying, 'Call me when you and your Captain get a chance.' When Zimzod told Mikah about the guy, she said, "Let's call him."
Once they had Baron Sir Rielepo on the line, he greeted them and said he was sorry for their loss. After that, the Baron reminded Zimzod they'd met because he was looking for a permit to buy an FGMP-15. When Zimzod said he remembered, the Baron said, "Sometimes, with the Imperial government, it is better to ask forgiveness than getting permission." He continued that if Zimzod got an FGMP, and how he used it if gotten, those actions might determine how many Imperial authorities reacted. If Zimzod were to be seen using restricted tech to benefit the Imperium, many people might look the other way. He admitted this wouldn't be protection from customs inspections, so they'd have to become smugglers in their own ship.
When Zimzod asked for more information, the Baron said Zimzod could spend more time making and working connections in-system to advance his permit request. But he pointed out that could take months. On the same token, they could jump out to one of the more liberal ports, where laws were not so restrictive in order to go shopping. Zimzod said that sounded more like a plan. When Mikah asked the baron about his level of influence on the process, she was thinking they were also connected to quite a few offices that would likely have even more influence if they found and pushed the right buttons. With an epiphany, Mikah realized that could work for getting X-Parcel transport certifications too.
Thanking the Baron, they completed the call and Mikah called the Arch Duke's office asking for Baron Ondallah. Mikah explained their interest in being x-Parcel certified and Baron Ondallah said they would sponsor the crew for certification if they submitted the paperwork. Mikah was very surprised with Ondallah's quick support, and thanked him. Once they thanked him and signed off that call, Mikah sparked up a terminal and started filling out the paperwork on the IISS' network page. As she worked, Mikah had Emkir help her with his expertise. As that started, the crew meeting was done and Aali went back to trying to access her stent. During her last session, Aali had found getting to the stent itself was becoming easier and she was now able to "feel" a number of the control objects in her mind.
Munarshu went back to the engineering spaces. He'd already found the ship's main engineering logs were all well in order, but had new questions. The first disturbing thing he'd found was the short log, as if someone regularly emptied the data. He figured he'd have to ask if they were copying the log and storing it elsewhere on the ship? Perhaps Aali's stateroom computer? The other thing he'd noticed was the repeated military support in maintaining the ship's systems. Munarshu had to wonder how these knights had managed to get the Navy to do their work for them so often? It certainly promised to make this an interesting berth.
Before they left, and while she was talking to Baron Ondallah, Mikah told Dame Inger and Aiden to put the name plate of the GNS Lilmett kin Vyste up on the wall in the bridge. Aiden, because he knew the bridge and could find wall space that was otherwise inconsequential. Inger, because she had the mechanical training to weld it or do what they needed to do. As Aiden went into the bridge to choose a spot, Inger grabbed her tool kit and joined him, pulling out a roll of microfoil.
After setting up a station on the bridge, Terin sparked up a terminal in the lounge, planning to check the many forums he was a member of. He'd had time, after leaving the IISS and while having stomach surgery to finally repair issues remaining from his war wounds, to connect to the herbal devotees in-system. As he had found, the most important items to hit the forums were generally the arrivals of ships carrying fresh spices and herbs. Since Rhylanor brought nearly everything in by starship, getting fresh goods were premium. There were also precious few specialty growers in-system whose goods always came at a higher price, so one only hoped for news of very rare sales when it appeared in the forums. This was in case, as many posters sought scraps of news from the few personalities in the forums who were "in the know".
As Terin prepared to do that, Zimzod decided to work out, and asked the others who wanted to get a zero-g workout in the cargo bay? Hearing Zimzod's question, Terin decided he was up for that and squared away his work station before changing into a ship's suit to join in. Emkir said his doctor would get pissed if he pulled his wounds open and Inger said she preferred to relax, as she was going out with some port folks later. As Zimzod and Terin went to the cargo bay and passed through engineering, Munarshu joined them in what became a "One on One on One" game of gravBall, without the numbers to play the game the crew invented en route from Mora.Deploying The Admiral
Thirty minutes after they started, Mikah and Emkir finished the X-parcels certification paperwork. After they got an official application submission number, Mikah copied that and sent it to the Arch-Duke's office, for them to sponsor. Shortly after that, they got a response back from Baron Ondallah saying the Arch-Duke's office had sponsored them. He also cautioned them that this was a sponsorship but not a boost. Like a character reference, it would play well when it came to that part of the process, but the process would grind along at a speed that could last days or even months.
Realizing they'd need to do something more if they wanted to move the process faster, Mikah asked if getting Duke Leonard's office to sponsor them would help? Emkir guessed that would be another reference check, and said they wanted to get through the checks and certifications faster. When Mikah asked for his advice, Emkir suggested they do some research to find out "how" their case would be assigned and who would get the case, so they could grease the right palms. When Emkir said the first step was to find out who assigned the cases and get them to assign it, Mikah interrupted him and told the Admiral it was his job.
Taking it as a challenge, Emkir happily said "OK", and moved to another terminal to start reaching out to friends and hunt information. He broke his friends down into those who might know anyone in the specific office, or who had worked with those involved in the process. Once he had that, Emkir started reaching out to say "hi", and start gathering information. As he started that, Mikah went to the bridge to find Aiden and Inger finishing up mounting the plaque on the wall. As she entered, Aiden seemed to be pressing the plaque against a blank space on the aft bulkhead of the bridge as Inger was storing something back in her tool kit. There also seemed to be a cloud gas or smoke being cleared by the compartment's air circulation system.
Before Mikah arrived, Inger had pulled out a spool of a material she called microfoil, and played out several inches of the material. She measured where on the wall she felt the name plate should be and pressed the microfoil pieces on the wall. Then she ran wire-like leads from the microfoil out from the plate's position. After that, she had Aiden hold the name plate against the wall over the microfoil while she pushed an battery pack against the wires to spark the reaction. And as Aiden held the plate firmly, a cloud of exhaust flowed out from under the name plate as it was chemically welded to the wall. When Aiden asked, "Is it supposed to do that?" in a concerned tone, Inger took a step back and said, "Don't worry about it." in a nonchalant voice.
Ignoring all the other signs of distraction as she entered, Mikah asked Inger to call the port and ask them if their clergy could handle a Darrian ceremony? She said they planned to have him cremated and hold a basic Darrian ceremony. After Inger agreed to make the call she told Aiden he could step back from the panel. Done with Inger, Mikah went back to the lounge to relax and continue her recovery as Inger sparked up a terminal to call the port. Once on with Central offices, Inger confirmed there would be no issues with a Darrian funeral. Having nothing better to do, Aiden joined Mikah, sitting in the lounge and watching vids. As Emkir started to compile his information, Inger confirmed things were set for them to call when they had a date and knew the size of the space they'd need for Zach's funeral.
Eventually, Inger went to change as Emkir called for a car to take him to the IISS offices, to see if he could locate a target to work on. Because this was ship's business, Emkir hit Mikah up for permission to charge the cab rides to the ship's accounts? She agreed and he went and changed into his full Admiral's uniform. With full insignia and honors, even if he was retired. Once at the base, Emkir decided that establishing his rank wouldn't get him the respect he needed. In this case, it was not his rank but his connections that mattered. So he ignored the information staffer and asked someone obviously not there to deal with customers where the senior staffer was? Getting the automatic, "Can I ask why you need to speak to him?", Emkir said, "Yes. The Arch-Duke has sponsored my application and I wanted to make sure that paperwork got here with the application."
Despite using a tone that was not over-loud but obviously able to be heard by most of those present, to say the least, one could hear a pin drop in the office after Emkir said his piece. When he was asked the name of his ship, the mood of the room almost did a flip as he smiled and said, "The Hotel California. The office manager rushed out of an office to speak with "the Admiral" as another staffer attacked a terminal, diving into the electronic stack of applications to find the California's. Once the paperwork was located, and the related sponsorships were checked, Emkir managed to get a bonus. While they checked the data on the files, Emkir smiled and said in a loud and pleased voice, "Oh Good! Duke Leonard's sponsorship has also arrived!" As easily as he played the mood of the room, Emkir also smoothly ignored the fact the entire place had stopped again, to watch the office take care of Emkir.
And Emkir accepted this as naturally as a duck took to water since he'd been raised in a celebrity family and risen to an Admiral's rank. This only added an air of natural authority to his uniform rank, which now came to the fore after making the correct connections cleared the road. Still, the paperwork did have to get done even if it was expedited. So two hours after he left the ship, the trip and all were done and Emkir had the name of the officer who would be handling their case. This was a huge victory, as Emkir learned most applications took a week to ten days just to process, before waiting for assignment to an officer. So it could be almost a month before most applications got to that point. Thanking the members of the office, most of whom had heard of the exploits of the Hotel California, Emkir left the office with a lot more respecte than he would ever get from his crew.
Once he was out of the office and heading somewhere for a snack, Emkir comm'd Mikah and asked what his budget was for palm-greasing? When Mikah suggested Cr 1,000, Emkir said he could try and Mikah said, "Well, let me know if you need more." After a Cr 5 snack, Emkir went hunting information. Since he knew he couldn't use the same gambit he had at the first office, Emkir figured he'd have to stoop to social engineering. So after he spoke to Mikah, Emkir set about learning everything he could about the man who'd be handling their certification and those he worked with. He did tell Mikah he planned to be back at the ship for dinner, but would have to return the next day to finish the job. And Emkir asked how much of the ship's money he could spend for lunch? Sadly for him, Mikah shot that down.Terin's Snake Oil Special
Eventually, a station security vehicle showed up to give Inger her ride to meet with the station director and other friends, for their evening plans. In the hospital, Rol's evening of boredom was only broken by an orderly serving him dinner and several medtechs checking his condition and healing. More rarely, there were injections of growth enhancers and infection fighting drugs. Rol was, at least, entertained to see they'd changed the color of the gelatinous blob in which they'd ground some other treatment-based items that had to be eaten rather than injected. In the ship's cargo bay, Zimzod did his best to test the new navigator and engineer, but Munarshu wasn't up to the challenge despite trying hard. And while fairly fit, Terin wasn't trained or experienced enough to keep up with Zimzod. And as dinner-time neared, the scores showed that. Soon enough they finished up and went to the lounge, to see about food.
In the lounge, they were considering who would cook dinner and Mikah wondered if it was safe to order food to be delivered under the circumstances? Mikah certainly wasn't cooking while still recovering from her wounds. Considering the situation, Terin said he was not much of a cook but he knew spices. When she asked if he was willing, Terin said he'd cook for the ship and moved into the galley. Checking the supplies, including some of his own herbs, Terin cooked for a while and then the crew gathered, including Emkir who'd returned from the scout base. As they tucked into Terin's dinner, Aiden really liked it! He thought it was great, and dug in with pleasure, really enjoying it. Sadly, He was the only one, as the rest could barely get past the first fork-ful. Even Terin himself had to admit it smelled much better than it tasted, and didn't at all taste as he'd expected.
Mikah officially pronounced that Terin wouldn't be the ship's number two cook. As everyone else was up for ordering food to be delivered, even Aali doubted she'd be able to stabilize her mind enough to work on her stent. At least, that was the story she was going with in order to take the evening off and relax. As Aiden gratefully cleaned his plate, Mikah announced he had leftovers for four to five days. She then sparked up the ship's comms and ordered Cr 40 of pizza for the crew. After they'd all eaten, and Mikah'd gotten some time talking with Emkir, Aali decided to go down into engineering and manually work on some of the checks and tasks she knew had to be done. She also planned to check on her new engineer's work as well as Wall-e. Emkir was feeling his wounds after his travels, and decided to take some of his drugs and hit the rack.
As Emkir made his announcement and started to rise, Terin got everyone's attention and asked if those who'd been wounded wanted an herbal tea that might help them heal? A bit concerned, Mikah asked what was in this tea he was offering her and her patients? Slipping a bit into "lecture mode", Terin gave them a brief description and explanation of the herbs in the tea and what they were noted for. As Mikah listened to him, a part of her mind was involved in cross-indexing what she was hearing with what drugs she already knew the wounded were prescribed. As she considered what Terin was offering, Mikah was surprised to realize there would be very few likely side effects from the tea.
Afer Mikah said the tea "wouldn't hurt", Terin told her he found it very helpful. This caught her up short as she asked, "You do? You use this often?" Terin said the herbs were his personal scientific passion. When this got an odd look, Terin explained the Darrian school paradigm, and how every student was expected to complete works of research, and encouraged to establish a scientific specialty. The Herbal work was his. Reacting to the word "Specialty", Emkir laughed and said, "I didn't know you were a doctor?" Terin said he wasn't a doctor, but his area of study was 'drugs, alchemy and the like'. What Emkir took from that was, "So, Drugs? Cool!" When Terin tried to dial it back in, saying they weren't recreational drugs, Emkir asked if Terin did have recreational drugs and Mikah told the Admiral to calm down.
Making an excuse as Mikah suggested Emkir should just go to bed, Emkir said, "I got shot." He also winced as he lifted his arm in evidence. Mikah laughed and winced herself as she said, "I got shot worse, now shut up!" Despite the words, there was a smile on her face as she fought more laughter to also avoid more pain. Speaking in an authoritative tone, Terin jumped in saying, "And this will aid in your healing." stressing the word "will". As he was rising to head to his stateroom, Aiden said, "At least it could aid in shutting him up." Mikah suddenly asked, "Will it? Please?" As Aiden muttered about shooting Emkir again, a confused Terin asked, "What? Shoot him or help him heal?" and Mikah answered, "Either. So long as it shuts him up." Terin offered that he could also throw some herbs in to help Emkir sleep and Mikah encouraged that.
Since Mikah had pronounced the tea was likely safe, Emkir took a cup and Terin asked if he could add those taking some tea into his research database? When that got even more questions, Terin explained he was primarily a researcher when it came to his teas, and that led to jokes about medical experimentation on sentients! Defending himself, Terin offered to show a list of other people who had taken part in his research and their outcome tracks from his data. Emkir wasn't up on the science at the moment and took a cup of tea saying "Whatever", and thanking Terin for the drink.Rolling Into The Rest Of The Evening
When Aali asked Munarshu if he was going to do some evening work too, he said things looked pretty good and asked if there was something he should be made aware of? Not sure what he was asking, Aali said there wasn't. She did say she didn't want to rely on computers as what they say might not always be correct. Concerned about her apparent worries, Munarshu asked if the system had that known flutter and she said it didn't. She just liked to check the dials physically, to be sure. And that was a sentiment Munarshu could certainly respect. As a result, Munarshu decided to spend a few more hours working with her, to get the hang of how she worked. After dinner, Aiden decided to get some alone time, so he spent the evening reading in his stateroom until he went to sleep.
Zimzod watched vids the rest of the evening and then hit the rack early, despite Terin's interests in more zero-grav gaming. Mikah also relaxed, watching the news and vids before turning in and continuing her recovery. Not able to get Zimzod into grav-games, Terin mentioned to Mikah that he'd noticed the ship had very little survival gear in the ship's locker. She said they had four rescue balls in an unconcerned voice. Terin pointed out that their "survival kit" was pretty bare bones, saying he was trained in survival and had his own kit, which could keep four alive for a few days. When he claimed his kit was "way better" than their kit, she asked him if he was donating it to the ship as well as his services?
Terin said he wasn't doing that, but wanted to talk to her about perhaps upgrading the ship's survival gear. When Mikah said that nothing would happen, Terin agreed but said that they should be prepared in case that small chance of something happens. Mikah then sat up a bit and asked if Terin was that uncertain of his skills as a navigator that he was worried about survival? Terin defensively said he wouldn't be the cause of and accident and started to say, "But what if the pilot runs into a small rock or..." Mikah interrupted him to ask, "Now you don't have faith in our pilot?" Color rushed to his face as Terin didn't realize Lady Mikah was playing with him. He also couldn't see if she was baiting with into a trap?
Trying to get out of the hole as Aiden began to look up and pay attention to the conversation, Terin said, "If another ship should come by and shoot us, and leave us for dead..." He was again cut off as Mikah asked, "Who would do that?" in an obviously sarcastic tone as she affected a clueless attitude. When he pointed to the news reports of the crew's actions and said that suggested a number of enemies, Mikah dismissively said, "Oh, that." and told him to draw up a list and they'd talk about it the next morning. When Terin agreed, he also said he'd work on finding out anything about the cybernetic parts.
Mikah suggested he look into the Darrian government's position on antiquities, and Terin said that 'going with the government' wasn't likely the way they wanted to go. Mikah answered that saying, "Don't even say underworld. If you say underworld, I'll shoot you right here." Not sure what Mikah had against the underworld connections that many in the Rhylanor system used daily, Terin agreed not to say it but he was still thinking it. When Terin said he'd do his best to do some on-line research, Mikah growled, "Just don't leave a trail." As good as his word, Terin sparked up the forums and only followed existing conversations on antiques. As forum after forum pointed him to the subject matter he wanted, Terin never even had to run a search for what he was researching.
As the others went about their activities, Mikah was the second to take some drugs and hit the rack, after Emkir. The staff medicated Rol in the hospital and he drifted off too. Once they were done with a few hours evening work in engineering, Munarshu went into his stateroom for a shave and shower. And Aali relaxed and watched vids as Aiden finally sacked out in his bunk. Terin's research showed up better places to look for discussions on antiques and, ultimately, Darrian artifacts. And while there were more comments about flame sculptures and the more flashy lost technologies, Terin had some good direction for where to dig deeper. In addition, Terin saw activity and interest ranging from Universities and research labs to the underworld and less savory interests.
By the end of the evening, most of the crew had dropped off early. As well, most had no reason to set alarm clocks and didn't do so. In keeping with his personal schedule, Munarshu set his clock for 4am so he could wake and complete his morning routine by 5am. When Aali reminded him to set an alarm because of their field trip, she was mystified as he explained his personal schedule to her, but shrugged and set her own alarm as she slipped into bed with her unconscious husband.
_________________________________________________________________________ Next: Planning To Move Forward Again