Again, the crew prayed and punched the button, jumping to the Pirema System.  Things aboard ship were a bit quieter as everyone had found a discipline to study or a skill to practice in their isolation.  During the jump, Zimzod continued studying the combat systems manuals recovered by Ms. Vik.  Mikah and Inger continued studying electronics under Sir Brian.  Another week in jump was spent minding systems, sharing small entertainments and either studying, practicing or teaching, for Sir Brian.
Ms. Vik began doing her best to study the Viper's weapons computer systems with Sir Zimzod, to use the destroyer's guns in the event they were forced to fight.  Of course, the destroyer was significantly weaker since he'd fired off all the Viper's missile stores.  Aidan happily added the navigational manuals to his studies, making things much easier to understand as he worked on the basics of this very complex discipline.  Emkir dug into the sensor training with breaks for chats, games, vids and sleep.
Once in Pirema system, the patterns re-occurred as Zimzod rejoined the "Destroyer Crew" with Sir Brian, Ms. Vik and Dame Mikah to check the engines before the Viper went to refuel.  But this time, they wanted to fill the collapsible bladders aboard the Horizon, to stow enough fuel to jump to the K'kirka and Rech Systems without refueling.  This was because conditions in the Rech system almost guaranteed discovery with the only gas giant's orbits occupied by archologies.  Thankfully, all proceeded quietly as they worked in Pirema after their experiences in the Gileden system.  After everything was checked and prepared, the crew again loaded the jump programs into the Quasar Viper's computer and transferred back to the Dawnstar Horizon.  Following three days working on the systems of the two ships, they jumped for the edge of the K'kirka system.    094 to 102-1112: Background Insert: "Captain" of the IMS        Raining Coins (100 ton Trade Hopper)
As the crew of the IMS Struck Bargain loaded selected cargoes aboard             the Coins, Zach was busy dealing with paperwork and nav-plotting.             Finally clear of the 3,000 ton Struck Bargain, he burned for the 100-d             ring and hit the jump activation.  Very quickly after that, the effects             of misjump sickness struck and Zach was incapacitated!  After almost             a week of crippling illness Zach could barely keep water down but             was recovering.             Just a day after his recovery, and a week in misjump, he emerged             into normal space.  But the ship's engineering systems were fried and             ship wide power failed, shunting to the emergency battery systems.             This forced Zach to abandon the Raining Coins.  Lucky for him, the             Struck Bargain's captain had a shuttle "jump netted" to the Coin's             hull and Zach shifted his gear and two dTon containers of tech             goods to the shuttle and detached from the crippled hopper.             Uncertain where he was, Zach worked to both determine where he             emerged from misjump and tried to reach any traffic or local and             sentient communications.  He was thrilled when his sensors picked up             a nearby rush of tachyons signaling the arrival of a starship, and             started signaling immediately.    099 to 109-1112: Jumping to the K'kirka System ( Lanth )
A week passed with boredom and studies as the Horizon passed through jump to emergence.  Inger and Dame Mikah continued studying ship's electronics as well as relaxing.  Again, as they arrived, the crew detected the arrival of the Viper in close formation, and had to pump fuel from the bladders into the ship's systems, collapse them and make the jump to the Rech System.  Pumping the fuel was simple and Ms. Vik's mechanical skill saw her helping as Dame Mikah and Sir Brian crossed over to the Viper while Aidan would man the bridge and sensors.  Emkir would cross to the Viper's bridge to help prepare for the next jump.  They'd check out the ship's engineering and later be joined by Ms. Vik as they worked.  But as the work began, the ship was hailed by someone speaking galanglic!
With all hands rushing to stations, sensors showed the hailing ship was a class of small "shuttle" spaceship.  Speaking with the hailing pilot, they learned he was from a one-man jump-trader owned by the Open Skies Interstellar Shipping corporation.  The 100 dTon craft, normally carried by one of the trading line's 3,000 ton Mora MK Class Freight Traders.  The IMS Struck Bargain had detailed off the 100 ton IMS Raining Coins with its pilot, Mr. Wood, while en route to Rhylanor-Prime orbit.  His trade mission was to jump to the outer worlds of the Rhylanor system and carry out speculative trade there.
Unfortunately, the Trade Jumper misjumped and her engineering systems were completely fried, leaving only emergency battery power and life support.  Strapped to the Jumper's hull in a jump-net, Mr. Wood was able to abandon ship in the loaned shuttle, along with two one-dTon containers of "tech goods".  Mr. Wood plead for assistance and they could verify he wouldn't be able to survive the trip into the K'kirka System proper.  It was some hours before the shuttle's adjusted course would bring it close enough to easily communicate with the ship he was tracking, whose transponder was strangely silent.  This fact became more understandable when he got close enough to determine "the ship" were actually a pair of Imperial military vessels.  But by then, he'd been told he would be allowed to dock.
After Mr. Wood settled his shuttle in the bay of the Imperial destroyer, he was taken into custody by an Imperial Marine in battledress.  In custody, He was led from the destroyer, which oddly seemed to have been mostly powered down and abandoned, to the Scout Courier.  By then, that ship had docked with the larger vessel.  Soon, Zachariah found himself in an odd situation as he realized the ships were under the control of a motley crew of military and civilian personnel.  And the "marine" turned out to be one of several Imperial Nobles who were apparently not in overall control!  But beggars couldn't be choosers so Zachariah handed his resume over and asked for working passage.  When he asked, the captain of the Scout vessel, a detached Courier, told Zach he'd misjumped into the K'kirka System ( Lanth )!  A full six parsecs away from where he should have been.  And this "small fleet" was en route to the Regina system, further from Rhylanor.
Zachariah was put in the custody of a retired Imperial Scout Admiral, and assigned to share staterooms aboard the small vessel with the Admiral.  No one seemed interested in discussing the destroyer or why it had no assigned crew?  Now, Zachariah had to settle into his new situation and observe this strange set of crew and ships as they made preparations for their next jump and took stock of their situation.  He figured he'd report the misjump to the IISS when he could.  After being cleared by the crew, he offered to work aboard until the Dawnstar Horizon's crew could "drop him off".  After securing the shuttle and Mr. Wood, it was time for the crew to refuel and prepare for the jump to the Rech System.  Their second to last jump before jumping to the Regina System.    112 to 119-1112: Jumping to the Rech System ( Lanth )
The jump routine was only broken by the novelty of getting used to Mr. Wood and learning about him to the extent the others were interested.  Finally, a week of studies and life aboard ship ended as the Horizon arrived in the Rech System, joined in milliseconds by the Quasar Viper.  Unfortunately, no sooner did they verify their position and condition when they were lit up by sensors and challenged by a 30,000 ton Imperial Gionetti Class Cruiser!
_________________________________________________________________________ Next: The Battle in the Rech System