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Last Updated    January 10 2018
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The Party, and
       the Morning After

Lights, Camera, Insanity!

     In hopes of drawing out information, the knights had announced a party and invited everyone to join the spectacle.  Especially, the press.  Ms. Vik had invited Mr. Vougazgi, playing a dangerous game to draw him out.  And they were now en route to the club, aboard the ship's cutter.  After Emkir settled the cutter on the roof of the club, they opened the lock.  Rol, who'd been their "advance man", joined the club owner to greet the arrivals.  As those aboard prepared to leave the cutter, Mr. Vougazgi tried to take a place of precedence in the queue.  He first tried to take the lead, but was cut off by Dame Mikah.  When he tried to follow her, Sir Zimzod grabbed the vargr by the back of his collar and pulled him out of the way.  Since this wasn't the time or place for a challenge, and better things were coming, Vougazgi waited for Sir Brian to exit.  After the knights, Ms. Vik took his arm and they followed next, at the head of the rest of "the entourage".  This pleased Vougazgi enough, and he made sure his ears and tail were high for any cameras filming the pleasantries with the club owner.

Then, the show was on, as they moved onto the stage at last.  Greeting the knights, the owner told Mikah the press were getting antsy, and a bit annoyed.  They'd been promised a press conference, chances to ask questions and get answers, and were starting to think they'd been played.  The sea of people which had washed into, and filled, the club were a disorganized mix of press, partners and celebrity hunters.  They were joined by those looking to get into the story for their own fame, club regulars and those drawn to try the place out for the chance of adventure.  Dame Mikah said it was the perfect place to hold press interviews.  If anyone could get questions to her and understand her answers, they'd be lucky.  With that, the owner led them down a flight of stairs, into the club proper for a grand entrance.

Mikah reminded the crew this wasn't about answering questions or being pinned by the press.  It was a game, to see what came out of the woodwork?  Sir Zimzod added, "And making a profit!" to which they all agreed.  As they moved from the pan into the flames, they saw the club was a grand circus of insanity illuminated in a torch of chaos.  As the team descended other flights onto the stage, they found themselves the center of a well-lit circle as the club's speaker system came to life.  An announcer happily called, "Sophonts all!  Your hosts have arrived!" as a wild cheer went up and a wave of press and public rushed the stage.  Pressing closer to the crew, they shouted well wishes, demands, thanks and questions.  Facing the wave from above while the club security below maintained a "VIP space", they finally came face to face with their challenge.  Mikah, Zimzod and Rol were firmly committed to the letter of the plan.  They'd decided Sir Brian would be the party's "MC" and Ms. Vik took on the risk of daring the party while "Playing the Puppy".

To keep Vougazgi on her leash, Ms. Vik had to play both the 'fawning follower' while also keeping his lust aroused but in check.  All, of course, from the safe and chaste distance of at least one or two hands spans whenever possible.  As well as the secondary hazards of drink, a rowdy crowd, possible bar fights and more, the team's main concerns were looking for contacts and targets.  Mikah worked to keep moving, to keep from being pinned by the press and opening chances for encounters with possible contacts.  But, between a few drinks, the crowd and everything else, Mikah found herself cornered more than once, by a reporter or small group of media.  Still, each time, Mikah got away with a few generic or piecemeal answers.  The questions ranged from the banal, like, "How long do you plan to remain here?" to the absurd like, "Are you here to lead the way for the Imperial take over?"  As events unfolded, and the evening proceeded through deep night into early morning, Mikah hit herself with a stim when her energy started running low.  She also gave stims to those others of the team who'd come to her for help

Zach found himself facing something he'd not experienced before, as he dipped in and out of the party atmosphere.  Sharing a few more drinks, and chatting more than the others, Zach was soon corralled by a number of ladies whould later turn out to be reporters.  By the time he'd saw that, Zach was feeling his drinks much more than expected from his younger, partying days.  Sensing loose lips, the ladies kept his glass full and hoped for hours of question and answer.  Starting with serious questions, Zach's answers were a flood of information.  But his answers, like his memories of events, were confused and mixed.  And filled with gaps on things he didn't know.  This was even more confused by drink.  His answers passed through meetings with nobility, space battles with pirates and other forces, aboard secret vessels hiding in deep space while taking part in actions no one could know of.  Because his senseless answers seemed more fanciful than he could explain, or they could understand, they switched to more circular questions.

Zach was asked about the knight's travels and life aboard their ship, hoping to find some loose ends to follow, or trip him into something larger.  Answering this a bit more coherently, Zach said he'd misjumped and they'd rescued him, taking him into their crew.  He said the knights had come to Rhylanor from the Regina System, which was nothing new.  But he did mention tense high level meetings in Regina, which was new to some.  Zach said things on their new ship were confusing and fluid, with mixed camaraderie and conflicts, including supposed shootings!  He gave confused answers about their older ship, on which descriptions varied.  Zach told them about Dame Mikah having shot the clearly 'still alive' Sir Zimzod, and followed the first tale with a second story that had her shooting the knight again!  The lady's hopes faded as they realized Zach could clearly not hold his drink as well as they'd hoped.

Zimzod evaded all but the most cursory press conflicts, working the crowd for contacts.  He also looked for people that either didn't fit in, or fit in well enough to be brokers or other persons of interest as he did.  Sadly, Zimzod was never in the right part of the club when anything happened.  He found himself only responding to encounters and finding the actors had faded into the crowd.  Fatigued, due to the hour and activities, Zimzod saw he was sliding into exhaustion and hit Dame Mikah for stims.  Those kept him awake until it was time to leave.  Throughout the evening, Sir Brian made all he could of his MC post.  He rarely left the stage proper, and deflected the press with his claimed 'need to deal with the whole crowd' instead of letting himself be monopolized.  Still, Brian answered the same range of questions others had in their encounters.  But he gave answers that suited his comedic or satiric tastes.  The reporters quickly learned to avoid him for other targets.  In his free time, Sir Brian did his best to enflame the drinkers, for the ultimate benefit of the team's finances.

Unlike the others, Admiral Emkir Meshrumiikiim was in his element!  With many tales of glory to share, and the true spirit of the party in his heart, he set out to make new friends and influence weak minds.  Emkir wasn't going to wait for someone to magically appear, or come hunting him.  He was gonna make waves of his own and rock the local swimming hole enough the waves would force some shadows into the light.  Not only did he enthrall his fellow drinkers with tales of the Fifth Frontier War and beyond, but liberally mixed into his tales descriptions of the fight on the train days before.  He embroidered that with other tales of local baddies done in, casting himself as the action hero responsible!  He was loud and proud as the 'new man on the block', checking in on these 'supposed knights' and their party for a drink on their coin.  He challenged that he was ready to carve his territory out of those who wouldn't meet him face to face to cut a deal.  Able to better out drink his hangers on, Emkir made a great many friends and loudly invited all to reach him, through the port contact boards.  By that route, he hoped not only to get messages from those whose challenged ears were filled with tales of the new self-styled "Puppy Pounder" in the neighborhood but also his "adoring public".

Only once, in the middle of the evening, did Emkir covertly visit Dame Mikah, for stims to keep his energy levels high before returning to the party.  In addition to spinning his tales, Emkir played double duty, switching roles from "member of the knight's team" to an apparent criminal.  He gloriously claimed to have tricked his way into the knight's entourage, to fleece the lions in their own den.  And his bravado had him increasingly surrounded by adoring fans and low-level thugs to whom it seemed he couldn't be challenged.  Emkir used that to his advantage when approached by Zimzod during the evening.  As Zimzod asked how he was holding up, Emkir brushed him off, brashly bluffing that he was doing much better than the knight himself!  As that had been just before Zimzod went to Mikah for stims, the knight's exhaustion was showing.  And the unanswered brush off and rebuke placed Emkir firmly "above" the Imperial Knight Sir Zimzod in the eyes of the gathered Vargr!

With problems of her own, Ms. Vik had convinced 'the dashing Mr. Vougazgi' that keeping her from the press would be better than her answering questions that could damage the knight's plans.  She also played on his need for fame, saying that appearing in the media was better done in pictures then in quotes.  These drew on his desire to be seen as an important player in the game.  Inger played his vanity, inciting him to seek out poses in front of the cameras with those who could be identified as of possible value or social worth.  She also made suggestive plays of romance in front of, or within, groups of vargr, both stroking his ego and his need for social notice to elevate his position.  These ploys would let her use him to hopefully hunt out contacts with any of his agents, as well as other organizations who might have come to the party on their own.

Midnight Turns To Morning As The Flames Burn

     Ms. Vik's methods also left the gate open for enemies to make their presence known.  Unfortunately, the first situation she had to deal with was racial instead of a hoped for gang issue.  As she and Vougazgi toured the party filling the club, a half drunk human male came at them muttering anti-vargr slurs.  After a few disjointed comments, he finally demanded, "the 'Vargr bastard' get his paws off the human female."  Of course, the man followed his drunken demands with flying fists.  Vougazgi roughly pushed Inger aside, for her safety, as he bared his claws and responded to the attack.  Trying to right herself and call for help on her comms, Ms. Vik found herself pushed back again, by a crowd surging forward to get a view.  Concerned, Inger grabbed the grip of her knife, not drawing it from the scabbard just yet.  But she wanted to be ready in case of a close quarters fight.  In the end, responding to her calls, Rol waded in and got her safely out of the knot of growing violence.  They pulled back as the fight ignited tensions in the party, along racial lines in that part of the club.  Humans joined in to kill Vargr and Vargr responded in kind.  And the bouncers and club security ran ragged into the fray to put out the latest fire.

Once things finally died down, they discovered a new problem.  The disappearance of Mr. Vougazgi!  Concerned for Inger's safety, Rol agreed to look for Vougazgi only after getting her somewhere safe.  At least, until things settled down.  Once things were safe enough, Ms. Vik returned to wandering the crowds more carefully, searching for any sign of her missing date.  Rol first searched for the Vargr, but found he couldn't find any leads.  Accepting that, he returned to trolling the crowds and watching for stand outs, as he had since the party went into full swing.  Still, Rol kept an eye out for any trace of the vargr or anyone marked with bruises from the fight, whose actions might lead to clues.  Rol both watched the crowd and also tracked his team mates while scanning for people who just didn't belong.  After long hours, Rol was surprised when a group of well-dressed toughs pushed their way through the doors some distance from him, followed by another group of well-dressed Vargr.

Once inside, and having forced a clear space out of the crowd, they stood observing the party filling the club as Rol observed them.  Quickly, Rol got on his comms and told the others about the new arrivals.  But, by the time he got an answer, the new arrivals were fading, either out the door or into the crowd.  After a brief play at identifying one of them, Rol returned to his plans as things settled down again.  Ms. Vik returned to searching again, with no sign of either Mr. Vougazgi or the well-dressed Vargr and their body guards.  Rol tagged a bouncer, and asked who the Vargr had been.  He was told they were the local Gzaks Gang boss and his entourage.  Nodding and asking if this was unusual, or even ominous, the bouncer said it was only special that Oghznul Khoraz personally came down instead of sending a underling.  In any case, the bouncer didn't think the appearance had any importance and went back to his many pressing duties.

Zach continued drinking and chatting ss the party continued, and fatigue finally caught up as he fell asleep!  Mikah continued to circulate and Zimzod hunted contacts as Emkir regaled his crowd and turned admirers into followers.  The whole time, Brian worked the stage.  Back at the ship, Aiden spent his night investigating ship's systems and digging into the starport database  Eventually, it was both dark and late.  At about three thirty in the morning Aiden comm'd Mikah to say he was locking up the ship and hitting the rack.  They'd have to use their own security codes to get back aboard.  As the ship's cutter and air/raft had their pre-programmed access codes, no one was worried, so she acknowledged his call and let him sign off.  Things continued on at the club until about 5am, when one of the club staff told Dame Mikah his managers were approaching the end of the agreement for the party.  Realizing there wasn't any more reason to stay at the club, Mikah told the others to pack things in.  As Zimzod took a last run around the club, he found Zach with his head down on the table he was sitting at, and out cold.

Very annoyed, Zimzod looked the sleeping merchant up and down and decided Zach had to be taught a lesson.  Especially when he saw Zach's holstered gauss pistol hanging from his belt!  That made it even worse, in Zimzod's opinion.  Zach was not just supposed to be working, but had fallen asleep while being armed!  As Zach slept, his very expensive and very rare high-tech Darrian gauss pistol was free for anyone to grab, to steal or to open fire with!  That told Zimzod how to teach Zach his lesson.  Zimzod slipped the pistol out of its holster and hid it in his gear before he woke Zach.  As he did, he was unaware some enterprising bouncers had been by and relieved Zach of Cr 40 in chits earlier too.  The others got the word over comms and, after Rol helped Ms. Vik with one last fruitless search for any trace of Mr. Vougazgi or his kidnappers, they all headed up the stairs to the cutter.  Emkir peeled himself from his "adoring public", slipping up a separate flight of steps to pilot the cutter back to the ship.

With Zach staggering, and those who hadn't taken stims seriously fading, they made their way up to the cutter, which had been guarded all night.  As they organized, Mikah asked the manager about collecting their cut?  She was told the accountants would have to count the till and figure the cut.  The cash wouldn't be delivered until that was done.  As everyone settled into the cutter, Emkir powered the boat up and executed his preflight while calling the port.  He asked for flight authorization and filed an intended flight plan taking them directly back to the ship.  After a brief delay, as the port was a constant hub of flight and transport activity even in the dead hours of the night, they got their authorization and Emkir announced they were lifting.  Soon, they were in the air and not much later arrived back at the ship.  There, those on stims tried to sleep and failed.  As they changed to casual clothes and considered their situation, the others had staggered to their staterooms to collectively "play dead".

A Morning For Some, A Plot For Others

     Emkir, Mikah and Zimzod wanted to sleep but had to pay, for some time, for the sin of taking stims during the party.  Knowing it would be some hours before the stims would be out of their systems, the three bought some morning time at a gym in the port terminal, to burn it out.  Taking the air/raft, they paid a total of Cr 60 for a few hours of unassisted exercise.  By noon, with their blood streams more purified and as they began to fade, they grabbed their gear.  Back at the ship, the men crashed while Mikah took up her evil plan.  First, she snagged a spray administered anesthetic from her med-kit.  Then, she made use of the trick Zimzod showed her to get into Brian's stateroom.  Not taking a chance, she hit the sleeping engineer with a brief burst from the spray before she went to work in his stateroom fresher.  After she finished, Mikah cleaned up after herself, making sure not to leave a trace as she finally crashed in her stateroom.

Shortly after the three returned and disappeared into their staterooms, Aiden woke and did his morning routine  Then, he grabbed some caff and breakfast to munch.  Aiden then went back to researching the starport data chip.  Some time later, Zach woke and staggered from his stateroom without changing.  He had a pounding head and was suffering other hangover symptoms.  Zach looked for Dame Mikah, hoping for medical assistance, but she wasn't visible.  Hoping she was just dressing in her stateroom, Zach went over to lightly knock on her stateroom door.  When she didn't answer, he saw he'd have to suffer and went to the galley.  Seeing the walking dead, Aiden abusively shouted, "YOU OK??" with a sly smile on his face.  Very hung over, and casting glances about the common area, Zach winced but didn't otherwise reply until Aiden got up to grab a bottle of water.  Handing it to Zach, Aiden said, "Here, drink this."

Zach thanked Aiden and sat at the dining table, to suck on the water and suffer until he had the energy to see if Dame Mikah was awake and off ship?  Aiden ignored him as he continued his research.  At three in the afternoon, Sir Brian woke up, still dressed in his party clothes, and wandered from his stateroom unchanged.  In significantly better shape than Zach, Brian decided he was hungry and hunted through the "ready to eat" stores before deciding to cook something for himself.  Realizing how selfish this would be, Brian decided to cook enough for the whole crew and see who would eat his cooking?  The ship's lounge began to smell very alluring as he worked.  Eventually finished cooking, Brian took a heaping plate for himself and set the rest out for the others.  Soon after the food was cooked, Rol and Ms. Vik, who had woken up and gone through their morning routines, emerged for food.  Seeing the prepared food waiting to be eaten, both considered the meal.  Inger eventually decided to make her own food while Rol dug into Brian's cooking.  He found it OK, but a bit spicier than his taste.

Over the afternoon, Aiden was getting mildly frustrated at not finding anything he considered substantial from his research.  As Zach started to feel just a bit more human, he took a shower and cleaned up as the others were waking up.  Sitting to eat, and thinking of watching the news, Ms. Vik decided to call Mr. Vougazgi and see if he'd returned to his apartment after the events of the night before?  Unfortunately, she only got his voicemail and left a message as her concern ratcheted up.  Just as she'd hoped he might turn into a worthwhile contact and tool for the team, he'd disappeared without explanation or trace.  Figuring it couldn't last, Inger decided to watch the news and see what coverage of the party there was on the vid?  Activating a viewer on her terminal, Inger was not disappointed, as the party had been the event of the week.  Inger watched half-intently, though she listened more and looked up whenever shots of the crowd or of people leaving appeared, hoping she'd catch a glimpse of the missing administrator.  But she had no such luck.

Gathering Together The Pictures

     Mikah, Emkir and then Zimzod awoke around 6 pm, and worked through their "morning" routines before emerging from their staterooms to join the others.  Finding cold food waiting in an obvious buffet style, they dug in and sat to eat until Brian said, "Glad you like it."  Both Mikah and Zimzod reacted, suddenly faking as if they were gagging slightly while Emkir simply paused before shrugging.  He figured it was too late already, so he finished his plate.  After a longer pause, the others finished their servings too.  While they ate and listened to the sound of various talking heads going on about the party, the discussion began.  It was obvious Zach had run his mouth off more than a bit, according to the reporting.  What could be gotten from his early answers were taken as a confirmation that secret Imperial fleets of ships were building in deep space, to assault and overtake the Inthe System.  Knowing much more about the real meaning of his words, a number of the crew were disturbed and uncomfortable about how close to the truth of the Quasar Viper affair his comments were, if they'd been at all intelligible.

His later answers, about the lifestyles and travels of the knights, were picked apart by the commenters.  They reached the many various conclusions that supported their various points of view, political leanings or gave evidence of ideological or actual attacks against their points of view or leanings.  The discussions heated up in waves as coverage switched to other items before returning to the party.  It was during one of those pauses in discussion that Ms. Vik and Dame Mikah noticed an unrelated report, in news from outside the system, about a missing personal Yacht.  The yacht, apparently owned by a "Lady hault-Evers", was reported overdue after departing the Porozlo System some months earlier.  It was now being reported as "suspected lost with all hands".  All IISS, SPA facilities and resources as well as the Imperial Navy in the Spinward Marches were being notified in the event they had any data on the missing vessel.  After the announcement, no questions were answered about the missing ship or suspected reasons for the loss given.  It was released that Her Ladyship had a number of Noble friends and some Imperial Officers aboard her yacht at last record.

No comment was made about Lady hault-Evers' business in the Porozlo System or why she left port?  The flight plan submitted by the ship was also not released, except a general statement that they were expected in the Mora System some time later and were well overdue.  This, too, gave Ms. Vik and Mikah a shiver, even if there was no way anyone could tie them to the ship.  Mikah thought, "So long as a particular Scout kept his mouth shut and a given merchant didn't get drunk again..."  Beyond that, it was in the hands of Duke Norris' people.  Soon, the conversation widened and speculation came up about the previous day's profits.  Zach begged Mikah for medical help with his hangover and Brian decided to grab a shower and finally change into fresh clothes for the day.

Getting up to get her medkit, Mikah surreptitiously kept an eye on Brian and tried her best to keep the growing anticipatory smile from giving him warning something was in the air as he went to his stateroom.  Taking the pills Mikah offered, Zach dug into a small helping of Brian's food, just because it was over 24 hours since he'd eaten and his body was complaining about that too.  Frustrated with his failure to find anything other than basic trends in the port database, Aiden locked his terminal and joined into the conversation too.  Once he left the terminal, and since everyone except Brian was there, they filled him in on what happened at the party, including the appearance of Oghznul Khoraz and his entourage.  And the disappearance of the port administrator.

Simple And Low Tech Transformations

     As they talked in the lounge, Brian had stripped down, turned on his shower and set it to his favorite water temperature before moving under the shower head with eyes closed.  As the warm water flowed down and relaxed him, Brian willed the stresses that remained after sleep to flow down with the water.  He eventually stepped back and blew a breath to clear his mouth and nostrils as he opened his eyes.  Standing with his chest in the line of the water's flow, it took a few relaxed minutes enjoying the warmth for him to realize something was wrong with the picture his eyes were seeing!  It took even longer for him to gather his wits and sharpen enough to fixate on the color of the water raining down on him, which was a rich and bold royal blue!  Taking a step back and looking down, Brian realized the water was not the only thing that was blue.  As he stood, he took in the washed pattern of intermixed deeper and lighter spots on his dyed skin.  Reacting more quickly now, Brian reached up and unscrewed the shower head which, on investigation, had a webbed packet of dye stuffed in it.  Or what remained of the dye.

Cursing slightly, Brian dumped the packet from the shower head and held it in the direct flow of clear water to clean it off.  Brian then stepped back into the flow and tried to wash off some of the dye.  When that failed, he screwed the now clean shower head back on and reached for his soaps and other skin cleansers to no avail.  Brian eventually realized, as he soaped up and scrubbed, that this wasn't just going to go away quickly.  He knew he'd been 'gotten even with' by someone in the crew.  Dying his towels a bit as he dried himself off, Brian decided not to give anyone the immediate satisfaction and dressed in an almost completely skin-covering set of clothes.  Even including a hat, to cover as much of his now blue-purple-red hair, thanks to the dye's unequal mixing with his natural color.  Brian then recovered the memory module he'd bought the day before and planned to slip out of his stateroom and head directly for the iris leading down to the engineering section in the lower deck.  Unfortunately for him, Mikah was waiting.

Unable to contain herself, Mikah had waited for the sounds of some reaction from Brian's stateroom.  Now, as the door opened and the almost comically dressed Brian stepped out, she called him over.  He didn't turn to face her or anyone else, and simply said he wanted to check something in engineering in a raised voice.  It wasn't possible to tell if it was Mikah's sudden change of focus, the energy Brian used saying he had to check engineering, something abnormal catching the eyes of a casual observer or something completely different, but Brian was caught.  The war of emotions he had rose, fell and then burned out as he gave up and joined the rest of the crew.  Bowing, at first, to the slow start of jokes and laughter, Brian just gritted his teeth and waded in.  The first was Zimzod, half muttering a comment about this being more ridiculous than blue balls.  Then came a reference to ancient mythical comic figures called 'Smurfs', whose origins were lost in history.  Slowly, the group moved through the 'moment of comedy' as Brian realized Mikah was egging the others on.  She wasn't even taking the big shots herself.  In the midst of some minor jokes from her, he locked eyes with Mikah and they silently acknowledged she was behind this revenge strike.

Getting Serious About Answering Questions

     Once the laughter blew over and the team were again sharing information, Ms. Vik told everyone she still had no contact with Mr. Vougazgi.  While some of the others offered their theories, this bothered Mikah enough she decided it was time to call the authorities.  They reached out to the police while Ms. Vik called the Port management office's, to see if they'd heard from the Administrator?  As this began, Brian actually did go below decks to see if he could use the memory module in the ship's systems?  While the police pretty much gave the request for action the expected brush off, the port officials took the matter more seriously.  Inger was told they would begin making contacts and start taking contingencies.  They then asked her to hold while they transferred her to the Port Security Master.  This happened as Rol reached out to the Starport Security offices, asking if they'd made any progress with the prisoner from the shootout the day before?

They said that, while they were thankful for the crew's help, they were proceeding properly with the case and it was not an outside concern.  When Rol tried to dig a bit harder, they were not as polite and bluntly said it was no longer any of Rol's business.  After Ms. Vik was connected to the Security Master and explained the situation, he asked hopefully if Vougazgi had been killed, and taken out of everyone's misery?  He was visibly disappointed when she couldn't say either way.  After a few questions, Ms. Vik made it clear there was no trace of him as far as she and the crew could find.  He said he'd start looking into it and asked if Ms. Vik would meet him at the club where the disappearance happened?  When she said she would, he advised her to dress casual.  Once contact was broken, and Ms. Vik explained what was up, Mikah, Zimzod and Rol decided they were going as well.

Inger dressed in bulky cloths, with a jacket to conceal her cloth armor, revolver and two speed loaders.  Mikah was in jeans and a top already, and grabbed a jacket along with her medkit, auto-pistol and two spare clips.  Rol geared up with a 6-shot Snub Pistol, Gun belt with spare ammo and flashlight under his Travel Duster.  He also slipped on a fedora and Fingerless Gloves.  He only paused further to strip a few rounds out from the magazines of his snub and replace them with a "2 tranq/4 HEAP" mix.  Zimzod was wearing civvies, and threw on a leather jacket under which he carried his .45 with two spare clips.  He also reached into his kit and grabbed two doses of combat drugs, in a hard case that snapped to the bottom of his pistol holster.  They all linked in with their personal comms once they were ready, and headed for the air/raft, Ms. Vik perhaps a good bit less casual about gearing up than the rest of the group.

In the meantime, Brian got the casing for the ship's main computer open and was checking the system's memory sockets to see if he could install the module he bought?  Examination and comparison, along with his memory and some research into the ships internal on-computer manuals, showed him he could, after half an hour's research.  But Brian saw he'd have to make some modifications, buy some expansion parts and manually create a conversion kit to do the job.  Once he was ready, Brian would also need to completely shut the ship's computer down cold.  So it would have to be a planned maintenance job.  In the ship's lounge, Emkir had begun checking into the starport message boards, to see if any of his 'adoring public' had moved to contact him.  Or, more importantly, any of his threats had found a target who had reacted.

He was disappointed to see none of his antics had yet triggered much more than light chatter.  He still accepted that, because most of those who were at the club were most likely hung out to dry, wishing they were dead after having to get up for work on a Sunday morning or still potentially fast asleep.  That was if they were not still strung out on something that kept them from acting.  After his disappointment, Emkir returned to his studies of ship sensor operations.  But he kept an ear out, in case he was needed or the rest of the team shouted for help.  Not yet feeling completely human, Zach had heard Aiden's complaints about not making progress with the port database and offered his help as a researcher in tracking down trends.  Aiden accepted when he recalled that Zach had already pulled a few minor trends from the database.

Next: From One Kind of Party to Another