It took the crew five days to get the ship as operational as possible, working as hard as they could.  When they finished, Zimzod relaxed while the flight crew ( Scouts Ryddoth, Radetsky and Emkir ) setup and executed the tandem jump from deep space to an out-system fringe of the Gileden System.  During the week in jump, Zimzod began studying starship gunnery, to better respond to threats in the future with the Viper's weapons.  Emkir worked to improve his ability to handle hazards as he studied sensor operations.  In his downtime, Emkir watched vids or tried luring the others into games of chance.  Aidan took shifts on the bridge and shared in shipboard life to an extent.  But kept to himself as something of a safety measure.
Ms. Vik and Dame Mikah began studying starship electronics as Sir Brian taught "on the job" classes.  During this first jump from deep space, Sir Brian "forced" the crew to all sit and watch both the Jayme Dawson documentaries, pointing up significant lost data or changes in the more modern program.  In the end, Sir's Brian and Zimzod discussed differing opinions on the legend.  This showed the crew a deep and strange understanding both men had of such legends.  It also did something to explain the cache of rare books Sir Brian owned, as well as his reaction when they were "stolen".
Jayme Dawson was the Captain of the Christian and her crew,             And he flew and fought the Christian in the War of '82.             Now the Christian was the finest ship along the Spinward Main,             And the crew of Jayme Dawson was the same.             On patrol in sector seven, keeping watch on Mirriam's sun,             They were jumped by three light cruisers though they weren't a match for one.             As they came to general quarters and they sent out the alarm,             Dawson's crew was sure they'd finally bought the farm.             Now, They say that Jamie Dawson was no man to cut and run,             and they say that when he fought, he had the fury of a sun.             But they say he made his bargain with some power of the night,             That he sold his soul to win this final fight..             No one living saw that battle though the fleet was quick to leave.             But at the site, they found a scene no sane man could believe.             Three light cruisers cut to ribbons, scattered wreckage all around,             But no trace of Dawson's Christian could be found.             There are stories of the Dutchman, the Celeste and Barnum's Pride,             There are stories of the Horseman and the Lady at his side,             But the tale that makes my blood run cold, more because it's true,             Is the tale of Jayme Dawson and his crew,             Yes, the tale of Dawson's Christian and her crew.                (instrumental interlude)             I was second mate on Hera's Dream, a freighter of the line.             We were running precious metals from the colony on Mine.             I was standing second watch of that most uneventful flight,             When the pirate ships appeared out of the night.             Well I thought our fate was settled, for they had us four to one,             And you can't fight dirty pirates when your freighter has no guns.             So we stood by to be boarded by a party yet unseen,             When another ship appeared upon our screen.             First, we thought it just a pirate, but the vector was all wrong.             Then we thought it might be rescue, but the signal wasn't strong.             As our hailing brought no answer we all felt a sudden dread,             sensors showed her weapons hot and glowing red.             Now the courage of that single ship is shown by very few,             and I thought, none but a madman could fly the way she flew.             She was out gunned! She was out numbered, but a cheer rose from our lips             As she swung to target on the pirate ships.             And the stranger's beams burned brighter than all beams I'd seen before.             And the strangers armor harder than the heart of any whore.             As the battle rent the ether, while we watched and shook our heads,             The pirate ships were cut to bloody shreds.             The pirate ships were cut to bloody shreds.             Just as quickly as it started then the fighting was all done.             For the pirate fleet was shattered, and the stranger's ship had won.             She matched our vee and lay beside us as we watched her full of awe             As she hove in closer, this is what we saw.             There were thirty holes clear through her and a gash along one side,             And we knew that when it happened, every soul on board had died.             Then she rolled to show her markings, and we read them and we knew,             The fate of Jayme Dawson and his crew.             She was the Christian...and a grave for all her crew             Then she turned as if to leave us, but then began to fade,             First the hull, and then the bulkheads as we watched her, all afraid,             And there's twenty men who'll wear with me, the last to slip from view,             Were the bones of Jayme Dawson and his crew.             Yes, the bones of Jayme Dawson and his crew.             There are stories of the Dutchman, the Celeste and Barnum's Pride,             There are stories of the Horseman and the Lady at his side,             But the tale that makes my blood run cold, more because it's true,             Is the tale of Jayme Dawson and his crew,             Yes, the tale of Dawson's Christian and her crew.             They're out there.. Jayme Dawson and his crew...
( Follow this link for an original version of this song by Duane Elms )          ( Follow this link for a Firefly version of this song by Tony and Vixy )
The crew were all relieved when the ship's computer warned them they were coming out of jump near the scheduled times.  Once they precipitated, there were three questions.  First, did they arrive where they wanted to?  Second, did the Quasar Viper arrive with them?  And third, Was there anyone close enough to scan them?  As the sensor interference faded, the second question was the first answered, as they pinged the Viper, drifting nearby.  Then Aiden worked his magic on the sensors to make sure they weren't being scanned, and the rest of the crew prepared to get fuel for the next jump.  Sir Brian also led the team back to board the Viper to do the mountain of engineering work needed to get done.  The flight crew prepared for their work and watched the sensors.
Ms. Vik helped Sir Zimzod seal the Viper's bridge hull again, as there had been some seam failures on their repairs during the jump.  Brian supervised pumping to fill the Horizon's tanks from the Viper's once they docked the two ships and connected fuel systems.  They would then use the Viper to make a frontier fueling run to fill her tanks for both the next jump and to refuel the Horizon at the next stop.  Once done with the engineering work, Brian and his helpers returned to the Horizon.  As she could, Ms. Vik made it a priority to recover training materials from the computers of the Quasar Viper for the crew to use.  Thanks to the close calls with Lady hault-Evers' ship, the crew realized they needed to sharpen their skills and look for chances to scroung training systems for the Horizon.
As they prepared for the refueling run, Zimzod prepared to "help the flight crew".  In his battledress, Zimzod stood "Marine duty" while Radetsky and Emkir piloted the Viper in-system to frontier refuel at the system's outer gas giant.  This was especially dangerous, since the end of the recent war, as most systems had some defensive vessels hiding inside the upper atmospheres of gas giants.  That would allow them to prevent armed forces, pirate or enemy, from refueling exactly as the crew planned.  And it turned out to be the case in this system!  As they opened vents in the planet's upper atmosphere to suck in and purify hydrogen, the Viper was challenged by a flight of three System Defense Boats hiding in the gas giant's atmosphere!  Aiden cursed as Emkir thanked the stars they'd taken the steps to prepare for this.  Before burning in-system, Emkir and Aiden had donned the naval vacc suits but made sure the emblazoned name of the ship was not visible.  They also brought Zimzod in his battledress because he would appear to be an Imperial Marine guard.
In the comms camera's visible arc, they appeared to be the bridge crew of a naval ship running under advanced security conditions.  Beyond the visible, it was all up to Emkir's acting skills.  The Admiral not only answered the system defense boat commander's hail, but took charge of the conversation.  Using the visual evidence on the comms, and aware the commander couldn't see the ship's markings, Emkir spun a tale about moving classified data and resources.  When asked about their transponder, Emkir leaned in aggressively, reminding the commander about regulations for covert missions.  He then flashed pictures of the repairs to the interior of the ship's bridge as he off handedly 'admitted' they couldn't use the transponder even if they wanted to, "..thanks to pirates we've encountered."  He also adjusted the comms camera to show some of the hull repair seams up close, which directed the camera lens off themselves.  When the camera was turned back, the commander saw Emkir's satisfied smile and congratulated him on his kill.
He then ordered his SDB's back to patrol depth and gave the Viper free access to refuel.  As this happened, Brian and those helping worked feverishly to reset and work on the Dawnstar Horizon's systems.  He knew he wouldn't finish everything he should get done and, worse yet, he'd not be able to do much that would be needed on both ships.  On the destroyers return from refueling, Brian worked to reset the Viper and Horizon jump drives while Ryddoth, Ms. Vik and Zimzod sealed more hull tears in the engineering section.  This would allow future work to be done in a safer environment.  While in final preparations, Emkir was told Ms. Vik recovered a sensor training file for him to use.  Meanwhile, Aiden and Ryddoth began working on the settings to prepare the destroyer for the next jump.  Eventually, a plot was loaded and everyone returned from the, now cast off, Viper as preparations continued.  All done, they gathered again to watch as the tandem jumps were initiated to cross two parsecs, to the Pirema System.  As they left, on the 88th day of 1112, the entire crew were unsettled, knowing they had five more jumps after this first one and were already dodging patrols.
Not an auspicious beginning.
_________________________________________________________________________ Next: The Path To Regina