Welcome to the

Last Updated    October 12 2017
The Characters
The Ship
Campaign History Page
Granted Rights
The Frontier Wars
About Legends
The Spinward Marches
Artist's Credits
House Rules
Recent Updates
Email Me
Where The Dust

Doctor Kirlim And The investigation
Station     After the fight, Mikah began her examination of the idiot on the floor.  At the ship, Aiden left the bridge to get Emkir's attention and have him call Admiral Uuela, to see if he could get Rol out of custody.  With her med-gear out, her initial readings showed the man's blood-oxygen levels were dropping fast.  His skin color was also getting "blueish".  Mikah could also see, once she cut his shirt away, that there was a significant contusion on his chest, suggesting the sternum may have been damaged.  To make things worse, it was possible the xiphoid process was damaged or crushed outright.  While the possible bone and nerve damage might have been something to consider, her priority was to get him oxygen.

So Mikah started calling out urgently for an oxygen kit.  She could worry about the other things, and lack of surgical gear, later.  Lucky for her, the trade show had all kinds of gear, including a set of fully demonstration-ready oxygen feed gear.  Some officers quickly recovered one of these items and delivered it to her.  Once Mikah had the kit, and assistance getting the thing on the idiot, she set the pressure levels.  Looking over the function and readings, Mikah considered what to do next, and how much of a risk she wanted to take with an unstable patent?  Estimating him to be about 5'7 and 200 lbs, Mikah decided to do some careful physical exploration, to see what she could determine about bone damage.  Once done with a careful exploration of the bruised area, Mikah was certain the sternum was damaged to a degree, but that told her nothing about possible damage to the xiphoid process.

As for his breathing, her readings showed his breathing was still ragged at best, despite the slight improvment.  This suggested having the air knocked out of him played a major role, and the thoracic damage was delaying that from resolving.  But the idiot was no longer as blueish, and seemed to have some color returning to his face.  Mikah's medical skills made her the only non-security presence near the guy, as everyone else was moved back and the area cordoned off.  The venders were becoming restless, which was a sign of who was familiar with the local legal structure and who was going to get arrested soon.  Mikah knew well that security here didn't take any crap.

The Countess and her people were outside the cordon, as were the rest of Mikah's people.  But they were closer than others, who'd all been pushed further back.  As she maintained a vigil, Mikah decided against further action, as the man's breathing started to normalize and he appeared to now be resting comfortably.  Largely because he couldn't feel the pain from his sternum, Mikah thought to herself.  As she watched the readouts on her gear, Mikah figured the strike Rol laid on the guy so disrupted his ability to breath that, without the oxy-mask, he would have died.  She also decided there likely was no neurological damage, and the sternum issue was minor and could be dealt with at a local hospital.

This happened while the investigation went on around Mikah.  Those officers not holding the cordon against the crowd were working diligently to recover evidence including the pipe, the man's possessions and his on-station records such as could be found.  A device was used to scan the pipe before recovering it, and several more passes on either end were made before it was lifted by the middle.  An officer held the injured man's hands up, one by one, without interfering with Mikah as another scanned the finger surfaces and they compared data.  As the man's breathing started to recover, the officers were willing to say that, after a field investigation, it seemed clear that the 'victim' was certainly holding the pipe before he was attacked.  No other prints of those involved seemed to be on it.  They further said they'd begun reaching out to the inordinate amount of media representatives present at the time of the incident.  They hoped to recover video surrounding the event soon enough.

The pipe was actually called an "extensor rod", a pipe-like device with a push button on it.  Holding it between two objects and depressing the button caused both ends to extend until the rod had braced itself between the two objects.  The rod came from atop a nearby table the man was apparently staffing and, while the officers wouldn't advance theories why it was thrown, they did take measurements to find the amount of force used.  When Mikah asked about the table, and who they were, she was told they were displaying trade items from Vargr space.  The items were presented by the Imperial Ministry of Trade by staffers from trading posts on the border worlds.  According to this guy's Ident, he was a member of a delegation from the Imperial trading posts in the Jesedipere System, in the Aramis subsector.

When Mikah and the others suddenly started reacting to the news, the police asked if that suggested any motive for the man to be involved with Major Kaihvos?  After Mikah explained the new information to them, she asked how long the investigation might take, and how soon Rol would be free to at least return to the ship until an official determination was made?  The senior officer explained, in his most diplomatic, that they'd opened an investigation and things were on-going.  But there was no way to determine how long it would take to gather evidence and resolve the issues.  As a result, Rol was going to have to remain in custody until more information was available.  The officer could, unfortunately, not give an accurate estimate as to when that would be.  This didn't please Mikah.

As this happened, Station medical response had arrived, and the officers asked if Mikah would continue to monitor the man until they could fully take over?  Mikah had no problems with that, and asked for his information so she could send him her doctor's bill.  At an immediate loss, the officer said that, by law, emergency medical treatment was extended free of charge to all sophonts in-system.  When Mikah said "Not for me, I'm private practice." the officer told her that this was part of the law, and applied to everyone.  She was about to say something else, and was stopped as her comms began to buzz.  Checking the readout, she saw it was Emkir, and answered saying, "Emkir, Rol was attacked, the perpetrator is, well, broken.  And police have taken Rol into custody.  I want you to get in contact with Admiral Uuela and let's see what he can do for Rol."

When Emkir, who'd been reached by Aiden, asked about legal representation, Mikah said they had none yet.  When he asked where Rol was taken, Mikah said they were at the trade show and she was sure the Admiral could figure it out from there.  Taking the time aside, Emkir asked, "By the way, did you get my comms that we now have the new engineer aboard?"  Mikah brushed that off saying she'd seen the message, but not listened to it yet.  Emkir simply smiled to himself as he said, "When you get the chance.  Talk to you later." and they broke contact.  Once off the line, Mikah checked her patient's blood-oxygen levels and made sure he was stabilizing nicely.

Then, out of curiosity, she called up Emkir's message to see just what he was on about?  As she heard what Emkir had to say, Mikah could only shudder thinking, 'Oh dear God!'  She figured it certainly explained why Captain Piirirshu didn't back off.  Mikah even worried she might well be a bigger problem, just like her friend Emkir...  When Emkir called Uuela, the Admiral was very pleased to hear from him until Emkir explained the situation.  Uuela confirmed that he'd heard of the incident, both from his aide and because it was breaking news on the station already.  Uuela characterized the media as hyperbolic on the issue, and Emkir suggested he might want to call Dame Mikah directly, since he had a better ability to gather information.  Emkir gave Uuela her direct comms data.

Information, Rank And Weight

     Still contemplating the various meanings of Emkir's message while observing her 'patient', Mikah's comms began to buzz.  The caller data was not anything she recognized, but she answered it under the circumstances.  When a male voice asked to speak to 'Dame Mikah', she asked who it was?  Once Admiral Uuela introduced himself, Mikah explained what happened and asked him to help if he could.  Uuela asked about the legal steps security had taken so far, and asked for a more detailed description of events.  Mikah described things step by step with more details, and the Admiral confirmed she told this all to security.  Mikah told him the attacker was out cold but under her care and still alive.  This prompted Uuela to say that, from his record, Rol must be losing his touch.  Mikah agreed, saying "He's out of practice now, and spends a lot of time as our cook."  As the Admiral snorted, she said, "Rol makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich."

But back to business, Mikah told him about the rod that was recovered and tested, but ended up coming back to their concerns.  Rol was being held.  The Admiral took a reserved position, suggesting that the police would hopefully find some media teams with filmed evidence and things would resolve.  He then said that, given recent events, he felt it was better if his office not get involved and "further muddy the waters."  Mikah was frustrated that, now, the Admiral was the soul of restraint?  After the fiasco he'd created the other day?  But Admiral Uuela had been nothing but respectful, and suggested this would all work out in Rol's favor, once the dust settled.  So Mikah couldn't help but stick one more barb in when Uuela asked if there was anything else he could do by saying, "No.  But don't call us when he's not available for your little shindig."

The Admiral just politely said he was sure it would all work out, having dealt with self-important nobility like Dame Mikah before.  Mikah considered her options as she turned off her comms and thought that she might want to do some cognitive tests.  As he seemed to be doing well enough, she considered waking her patient up.  Standing nearby, the others had been more or less looking around them to see if anything was changing, or needed to be reacted to.  Looking for media updates or news coverage, Zach noticed that the trade show displays had been locked on show information only.  While their part of the show was cordoned off, the rest of the venue continued to operate as planned, and the police encouraged everyone not to stop and observe.

As they stood there, he, Ms. Vik and Zimzod saw that the entire delegation working the table the attacker manned had also been detained for the time being.  They were clustered near by.  While they could see the delegation members were being questioned, and some of them were quite animated, they could not hear anything from the activity.  As Zach started edging in that direction, Ms. Vik fixed him with a look and suggested, "I wouldn't bother if I were you."  She suggested he check his computer for news.  As he started checking, Zach found a number of breaking stories.  The headlines started to flow as soon as he keyed in his search.

"Murderer Kaihvos assaults man at Tradeshow!", "Murderer Kaihvos claims another victim!", "Kaihvos kills innocent Merchant!"  There were a small handful of outlets taking the cautious position that something happened and Rol was involved.  But most had leapt on the yellow journalism bandwagon to sell their headlines.  Looking up from his comp-screen, Zach saw Ms. Vik looking off into the crowd and, following her gaze, saw a small group of people in very expensive clothing approaching.  At each point where someone got in their way or tried to stop them, a card was waved and, while none of them could see it, each blockade evaporated quickly.  As he watched, Zach was certain these were the Countess's lawyers, arriving like a strike fleet, to save the day.

They also watched as another team could be seen approaching, though they were not as expensively dressed and had to fight their way through the crowd to the police cordon.  Ms. Vik speculated that this would either be the Port's civilian legal team, who should be getting some better cooperation, or the Jesedipere delegation's lawyers.  As the first team arrived, the police had already given up even attempting to intercept them and they entered the investigation asking for the lead officer in charge.  When the lead officer identified himself, this new team's leader identified himself as Mr. Shrev, Representative of his Grace the Duke.  The introduction was delivered with a level of verbal weight that hit everyone like a ton of lead.  This surprise rippled out, as everyone not in the police comms network learned who this team represented.  Even the Countess was taken by surprise as she straightened up and quieted her people down to better hear what he had to say.

As the lead investigator came to a version of attention, Mr. Shrev demanded to know what the police had on this case?  Apparently used to such briefings, the officer started enumerating the points of the investigation, clearly and methodically.  As Mikah and the others listened, they heard that the police had taken into custody video of the attack from a media team!  Once the list of points was given, Mr. Shrev asked if they could link to the team holding the video evidence, to see what it showed, as that spoke to the heart of the incident.  The officer said that was not procedure in cases like this.  The Duke's representative brushed that aside with the authority of his master, as direct ruler of the system.  As he dryly repeated his request as a command rather than a question, the officer got about getting that done.

As this was happening, the other team arrived and turned out to be the Countess' lawyers.  They simply joined the Countess' people and listened quietly knowing, what Mr. Shrev was if not exactly who.  After a few minutes communication, and some minutes tech work, everyone saw the lead officer, Mr. Shrev and some others cluster around a small display.  Soon, Mr. Shrev straightened and said "I assume this means you'll be releasing Major Kaihvos immediately?" in a casual voice.  Again, this question came out as a command.  When the officer again mentioned procedure, he was interrupted as Mr. Shrev said, "This can be handled in due process.  The man was attacked and defended himself.  The evidence clearly shows this, has not been altered and will be entered into the case file.  You will contact your people immediately and have the Major released."  The lead officer straightened up and said, "Yes Sir."

Working The Engineering And The Media

     In engineering, Aali was going about managing the port engineers, and also made spot examinations of her own, to see how bad the neglect had been?  She could see there was a lot of work for her, as the ship had been understaffed for some time.  Systems needed to be cleaned, tuned or brought into true.  Maintenance had to be brought up to date.  Nothing she found was in truly bad shape, but there were issues to catch up on.  As she worked, her presence had an effect on the port engineers.  They were both surprised the ship had hired new crew, disturbed at her physical appearance and aware that she was qualified enough to know what they're doing, and how it should be done.  This changed things, as the others watching them had allowed for a more lax pace.

In the berth, Emkir got off the comms with Uuela and announced to those few media remaining in the berth, and the port security, that he was closing up shop to monitor the news reports from inside the ship.  He told the Sergeant that he'd be back out around 3pm, and recommended they get some lunch while the media found another circus.  The sergeant accepted the advice with a look that made it plain he was well aware what was going on.  Emkir then passed back into the ship, through engineering, where he exchanged some pleasantries with Aali.  Once she said, "Down boy.  Not in front of the hired help", he moved on.  Aiden was thankful, as the saccharine was making him queasy.  Once Emkir settled in the lounge, he started taking notes on the slants of as many outlets as he could monitor.  He did his best to figure which were honest.  Aiden stayed with Emkir, as he just wanted to spend the time finding out just what happened.  And keep up on what was going on now that the circus had moved on?

As he started sparking up the entertainment system, Emkir said that he'd like to check many channels, to see if he could find anyone who might be sympathetic to Rol.  As Aiden worked to set up as many different displays as possible, Emkir prepared to take notes with two intentions.  While he clearly wanted to find an outlet that might be friendly to Rol, he also wanted to identify those stations broadcasting hyped versions, to delete their offers outright.  Once they found a channel not flashing pejorative banners or obvious negative graphic images, it took more than a few moments attention on each before they could figure out if they were positive or negative.  This meant they could cover very little ground before the news coverage changed radically.

The few outlets Emkir identified were those making an obvious effort to not read into circumstances.  While there was no evidence they were not skewing the data, they appeared to be trying.  He found two outlets covering both the story and the apparent story about the story.  Then the news changed, like a sudden wave, as all channels switched to one of two different videos showing the actual attack.  The outlets that had gone after Major Kaihvos were now forced to reassess, and couldn't be identified.  Emkir wanted to know who released the videos, but didn't want to leave the general feed just yet.  He considered calling the media outlets to find out where they hired the feed from later.

A Reversal Of Direction

     In the vehicle, Rol looked about its cabin as he was questioned.  Scanning the "amenities", Rol noted a number of tools of the trade, where the trade was questioning and interrogation.  This was certainly not a garden-variety paddy wagon, and he had entered as he was followed by other officers.  As the car began moving, the officers with him had settled in and began by asking him to repeat his testimony once more?  This time, there were stops and pauses, questions on details and repeated questions of items covered earlier.  They make it through that retread, and had started once more with increased questioning as the comms in the cabin rang.  Rol fell silent as the senior officer answered the line.  As this happened, Rol actually felt a change in the speed and direction of the vehicle.  Once he had picked up the line, the officer's entire demeanor changed.

He first stiffened up, and then seemed to settle into his reaction to the information he was being given.  Once the conversation came to an end, the man simply said, "Yes Sir." as he closed the call.  Then he looked up at Rol politely saying, "Well Major Kaihvos.  It seems we'll be returning you to the trade fair.  We're sorry for the inconvenience."  Rol relaxed as he said, "No inconvenience, but, no investigation?"  Worried that it was being washed under the rug for relations purposes, Rol was seriously hoping this would result in removing some dangerous people from his path.  But then the officer explained about the new evidence uncovered, and explained they would be taking the attacker into custody and investigating him.  They did tell Rol that he would be expected to testify eventually, and Rol was ok with that.  As he felt the vehicle complete it's u-turn, the conversation became friendly and they remained apologetic, wanting to make up for taking him into custody.

This One Mess Gets Wrapped Up

     Once the decision was made to release Rol, the Countess' lawyers began a quiet monolog with her Excellency.  As the team watched from their own points of view, they suddenly heard a loud protest from where the Jesedipere delegation were being held.  Turning to see, they watched as the entire delegation was taken into custody.  As well, Mikah finally saw the welcomed sight of an arriving medical vehicle, to take over care of the attacker.  He had been restrained once she woke him, and she was able to hand over significant test results and information on her treatment.  This favor was 'returned' when they transferred to her a group of documents which had to be completed and returned by close of business that day.  All she could do in response was grumble that she'd better find some way of getting paid for this.

As the medical authorities took the patient away, the others were allowed to gather with Dame Mikah.  The Duke's man joined them and said, "From what I understand, you're Dame Mikah", as he pointed to her.  "And you're Sir Brian and your Sir Zimzod." pointing at the two men.  Zimzod smirked at the man, and nodded to Brian as he said, "Yeah.  Make sure to get his good side."  Ignoring that, Mr. Shrev said "The police have your statements and the evidence.  And it appears this was a situation of 'wrong place at the wrong time'."  Mr. Shrev told them Rol would be returned to them shortly, and he thanked them for their assistance in the matter.  Mikah sparked up saying, "We'd like to thank the Duke for his assistance.  Without you, Rol would have been in custody for the next couple of days."  Mr. Shrev waved the thanks off, saying he was just doing as ordered.

Mikah thanked him again anyway, and said they'd be seeing Mr. Ahkuariyo, and would let him know how grateful they were for his assistance.  Mr. Shrev said they worked in different departments, and asked Mikah for her medical notes on treating the attacker.  He gave her his comms information, so she could send that file in once she'd created it.  After that, he said that the Duke was looking forward to meeting with them when he could schedule it, and Mikah was surprised.  When she asked, "Really?"  Shrev was surprised at her reaction, and said he thought they'd expected to meet with His Grace.  Mikah just said she was just surprised it would be sooner rather than later.  He reminded her he'd said 'as soon as he can schedule it.'  As his team left, Mr. Shrev said he hoped they enjoyed the rest of their time in-system and Mikah said she hoped so too.

As they watched the Duke's people leave, the press, who were deferential to the police, appeared to completely evaporate out of the way of Leonard's people.  Soon, with the press staying a bit distant and security helping to re-open that part of the event, the car with Rol came back.  He stepped out as they again apologized to him for the inconvenience.  Rol was both friendly and forgiving as everything seemed to have ended well.  The press did seem to show a marked increase in deference to the team and Countess' people as the security melted away again.  While they made sure everything was ok with Rol, Zimzod discretely sparked his comms to the station's shopping grid and ordered a custom shirt reading Rol couldn't kill his attacker and all I got was this lousy shirt.

As he finished, the Countess and her team joined them and Ursara introduced her lawyers as being from the firm Mikah was to meet with later that day.  While introductions were made, Ursara said it might be a good idea, now that they'd made their impression on the fair, if they found an alcove and discussed their business.  When Mikah and the others agreed, the Countess made use of her rank to get them a private speaking room, and have it curtained off so that no one could look in or read lips.  This was made available, free of charge, for the Countess and the media were backed off by the fair staff.

Emkir Scanning Outlets

     On the ship, Emkir and Aiden watched as the media shifted from "breaking news" mode to "analysis mode".  Soon, all the stations were correcting their reports to the released details as they said word from the highest authorities had now clarified things.  Even those who had been most judgmental had to find a way to admit it was obvious what they'd been told was not what happened as they fell in line.  Of course, their sources were all un-named, through some veil of obscuration.  Many did moderate the shift, by adding commentary that Major Kaihvos was accused of war crimes in the Jesedipere system so the accusations were considered reasonable.  They also discussed the identities of all the others from the Hotel California and Countess Ursara's ship.

As the news feed learned that the attacker was from the Jesedipere Trade station delegation, speculation spun around a possible act of vengeance or revenge.  Some of the talking heads even colored their speculation, wondering if Rol had only defended himself from the attack.  Or if he'd intentionally used excessive force himself, as he was a trained combatant.  Additional details were given that Rol had been released, the attacker was in custody and not dead but in medical services.  It was released that the rest of the Jesedipere delegation had been taken into custody during the investigation.  As Emkir watched for signs of bias, he did see a few outlets saying Major Kaihvos was not expected to be charged and appeared to be the victim in this incident.  Others were fairly obvious as they allowed the unreported to hang like a suggestion that there were still significant questions.

After the story started repeating into the reporting cycle, it got easier for Emkir and Aiden to spend time looking at each outlet for any signs of positive or negative reporting bias.  But the sheer number of channels was such that Emkir couldn't cover a large enough percentage of them.  As he realized he was not going to be able to cover as much ground as he wanted, Emkir considered using the computer to filter key words from the data stream.  While the math was very much against him, Emkir thought it will help remove some outlets.  As he considered this, Emkir unhappily realized this was going to eat a lot of his time for very little return.  For his part, Aiden was at least aware of the disasters that were descending on him and kept working on collecting data for Emkir.

Meeting With The Lawyers

     As the lawyers and Countess's people moved into the room with the Knight's team, Rol joked about staying at the door as a bouncer.  That hit like a lead balloon as the door closed and the lead lawyer said, "Ok folks, this is how it looks.  With what we've seen, there are some minor legal issues that can come back to Major Kaihvos, and we'll look into that.  But we also have an iron-clad civil suit against the Jesedipere Trade Commission, and we can name in that the Subsector government of the Aramis Subsector, because they sponsored the team to be here.  So, at this point, we're willing to cover the felony case and accusations against Major Kaihvos pro-bono, as everyone's going to get paid from the civil suit.  After a pause, he continued, "You can thank the Countess for that.  We don't normally give up our initial fees, but she's a very good client, she brought us to you and has encouraged us to treat you as we would her.  So there is that.

Issues we can foresee from this event will surround use of force", at which point he also glanced at Rol.  He then continued, "And there will be a question of, how to put this, exacerbating factors.  We don't expect this to be a problem, based on an initial review of the evidence, and we can argue self defense and sudden circumstances as mitigations.  We can also use the video to prove the time available to you to argue that choice was taken away from you by your attacker.  Finally, we can argue that you used your expertise to incapacitate, but not kill the man."  When Rol responded, "I did try", the lawyer grimaced saying, "We did not hear that.  And you will not say that again." in a stern voice.  Despite the circumstances, Brian couldn't help laughing out loud at the comment, and even a glare from the lawyer didn't remove the smile from his face.

Rol quickly corrected, saying, "I meant, not to kill him.  I did try not to kill him." and was admonished to use his words better in the future, as Zimzod sniggered to himself.  The lawyer allowed for a pause before saying he felt that they could put the trade fair incident in the hands of his legal team and move on.  He also said he was fairly certain they could record everything they needed, so that none of them needed appear in any future hearings.  That covered, the lawyer said "But our meeting was actually set up yesterday, to discuss other issues so how can we help you?"

Taking a breath, to organize her thoughts, Mikah began saying, "Well, first and foremost...  We were in a situation which is classified.  We can not tell you what that situation was, but that situation was how Mr. Wood came to be with us.  We had to save his life because his ship had misjumped.  Imperial law required that we rescue him, as no one else could.  That's the only reason he's with us.  But because he was with us, he was not able to report his situation until quite a long time after.  And he did report it as soon as possible.  But he's since been accused of crimes.  He's had his certifications suspended and he's not allowed to trade or represent negotiations.  And he needs this to stop."

The lawyers considered that, and asked, "With regard to understanding that you were involved in a situation that, as you say, was classified.  Do you have any documentation that says you were involved in an operation that was classified at the time?"  Zach snorted out right and Mikah admitted they didn't have any paperwork.  The lawyer said, "That's going to make things difficult."  Mikah added that the only option they were aware of was to reach out to Duke Norris' offices and Seneschal in the Regina system, and that would take some time.  Even likely beyond the time they expected to spend in the Rhylanor system.  While they covered those items, a team of paralegals and assistants banged away at their keyboards, and one leaned forward to make a muted comment to the lawyer as Mikah finished her summation of the situation.  As Mikah finished her summation of the situation, one of them leaned forward to make a muted comment to the lawyer.

He turned to Zach saying, "From our understanding, Mr. Wood, all of your business certifications and license to act as an agent have been suspended."  Zach agreed as the man continued, "However, there is a great deal of business in this system which, I'm sure you're aware, has nothing to do with certifications or requiring a legally certified agent."  Zach interrupted saying, "But I can't even pay for something using the ship's funds."  The lawyer said, "Ah, you can if you're not acting as an agent."  He then pointed out that, while this would prevent Zach working in deals that required bonding, insurance and the other trappings of high finance, their research showed he had not been involved in MegaCredit deals in some time.  He then recommended that Zach handle things in a less official manner, and bring in brokers when they needed a broker or agent.  And he made it clear this was what they could do on the top side of the economy.

If Zach did business with the underworld, and his existing contacts there, the suspensions didn't matter at all.  In the end, he recommended two approaches.  The first, a "very slow boat" process, was for Zach to hire them to reach out to Regina in his absence.  He made it very clear this was not pro-bono work, and they would have to be paid in advance.  But in this process, they would reach out to Regina and receive anything the authorities there might release in regard to the situation.  They would then use what, if anything, was released to clear his record.  But Zach should be prepared to be disappointed.  Simply admitting someone was doing something covert damages the covert nature of anything that was done.  Instead, he could wait for everything to resolve on it's own, which it could well do while waiting for word from Regina.  The other suggestion was to plead the case directly with Duke Leonard, and hope that he offered some level of temporary relief from the suspension until the charges were resolved.  Being honest and direct, the lawyer said he did not recommend this, as they didn't have a lot of the facts on which to build a case.  So it might work faster, but could make things worse.  The third option was that Zach ignore it and move on, hoping that those he'd worked for would clean up the issues for him.

Jumping in, Mikah said there was a military attaché in Duke Norris' in-system offices who was familiar with the situation, and might be able to help.  When asked how familiar she was with the attaché, Mikah said they'd met with him and confirmed he was aware of the situation.  Choosing his words carefully, the lawyer asked, "How open would he be to being contacted by a third party in regards to the situation?"  Mikah had to admit she didn't know, and that they were waiting on word back from him anyway, regarding speaking to Duke Leonard's people.  As things came to a settle point, the lawyer said that he could get his people moving on setting up the paperwork to contact authorities in the Regina system, at the very least.  But it seemed they needed to resolve things with the attaché before it would be proper for them to get involved.

When Zach asked how much getting the paperwork started would cost he was told Cr 3,000.  Zach discussed his lack of funds and Mikah said they'd talk to the attaché and she'd decide if she wanted to invest in resolving things that way?  Zach agreed that waiting might be best at that point.  When the lawyer asked if there was anything else he could do for them, he was surprised by activity from yet another direction.  Mikah said they were negotiating with Rhylanor University in regard to data on the Nomads of Jae Tellona.  Not even having heard of this culture, the lawyer could only ask if they'd gotten any kind of written agreement yet?  When Mikah said they didn't, the lawyer immediately said that was a bad thing.  He recommended that they should always have everything being agreed to written down, so there was legal recourse to examine the document for intent in the case of attempted fraud.

He pointed out that if there were verbal agreements, and there was any money involved, it was at risk.  Mikah said there were no agreements yet, and he suggested they still have all negotiation points written down to protect themselves.  He also recommended they have legal representation when drawing up the negotiation points, to protect themselves against local legal pitfalls they might not be aware of, not being from the system.  He continued, saying such representation would then be available from his firm at a base fee, to take part in the negotiations, and review any agreements or contracts.  Dame Mikah enthusiastically said, "That would be wonderful.  We would definitely need your services for that."  He answered, "Depending on how complex the situation is, that cost could go from Cr 100 to..."

When Mikah expansively said, "One hundred Million Credits", he said the largest he could recall was in the megacredits.  Mikah agreed this wouldn't be anything near that, but said she'd like to have his firm involved when the negotiations began.  He answered, "We're here to serve" with a smile, and they agreed she'd contact them when the time came.  After that, there was nothing more they needed the lawyers for so they left.  Realizing they were now free for the rest of the day, Countess Ursara asked what sort of entertainment Mikah was up for in a slightly sarcastic tone.  Mikah admitted she was up for something more sedate than their earlier activities, and Zach said he'd still like to check out more of the trade fair.  They considered this and also considered asking security about others from the Jesedipere system, or even hiring some private security.

As a result, with some security precautions taken, they returned to the fair and seeing things they didn't know existed, or were made in different ways.  They also pulled out the cards the cabbie gave them to check out.  First, they went to the table advertising the self-cooking meal pouches.  As they checked this out, they found the stand was stocked with 'micro-pouches' to show off their process to possible customers.  They were willing to spend hours, if not days, discussing their product if not their process.  Rol tried the entree sample and Zach tried a desert.  Both admitted they tasted good and the consistency, texture and other features were pretty good.  Curious, Rol started discussing price and delivery, to find their prices ran about 10% higher than a prepared meal of a similar quality.  Rol told Mikah they should consider it when they restocked their galley and Mikah considered the recommendation.  When Mikah said to get their contact info, Rol said he already had it and told the staff they'd be in touch.

As they were moving through the fair, they seemed to be on a collision course with another team being led by someone fashionably dressed.  When the Countess didn't seem alarmed, they followed her until they had to stop to address each other.  At that point, Countess Ursara said, "Good afternoon Lord William" in a friendly voice.  The man greeted her back saying, "Good afternoon Countess", in a friendly voice.  Brian realized he knew the guy was important, but didn't know who he was, and whispered this to Mikah.  When Ursara asked, "How is your Lordship enjoying the trade fair?"  The Knights all noticed the subservient tone of the words because Countesses stood much higher on the order of precedence than Lords.  This signaled that something unusual was going on.

Lord William responded, "Well Your Excellency.  I think this is a really interesting crop and I wonder what contracts will come out of it.  My brother will certainly enjoy any benefits to the system."  A major clue came out when Ursara replied, "Well, I'm certainly looking forward to seeing if I can get an audience with your brother during my stay."  As she said this, Brian realized exactly who 'Lord William' was and who his brother the Duke was.  Dame Mikah got it from his Lordship's comments about benefiting the system.  When Lord William asked how long she was in system, Ursara said, "At least a month."  Nodding in Zimzod's direction, she said, "I'm handling a sale for this particular Knight, who I understand your brother already has business with."

Ursara continued in a more social tone, bringing them all into the conversation as she said, "Let me introduce you.  Lord William Kirgashii, Dame Mikah Kirlim, Sir Brian Montgomery and Sir Zimzod Egosion.  They are in the process of having their Knighthoods confirmed, so your brother has a very real hold on their future."  As he was introduced, Lord William nodded to each of them and said it was nice to meet them all.  He then said he'd heard they'd had some excitement in their visit to Rhylanor.  Mikah agreed, stepping in to say she wanted to thank Mr. Shrev for his assistance in resolving the matter.  Lord William said that, "It is absolutely our pleasure to make sure the truth is acted on.  Here in the Rhylanor system, there is so much that happens that it's always beneficial when we can clear things up before they become mired in red tape and accusations."

When he asked if they would be at the renewal festival the next day, Mikah said they would, and he enthusiastically responded, "That's wonderful!"  He then turned to Ursara, saying, "You should come too.  Perhaps we'll be able to talk privately with my brother at the festival."  Countess Ursara was very pleased with this, saying that would be a wonderful opportunity and she looked forward to it.  Pleased, Lord William suggested they make a date of it, having lunch together when the festival broke for lunch.  As he spoke, His Lordship included all the nobility in his gesture.  At that point, Sir Brian turned and said, "Not you Rol." and gave the former marine a raspberry to the surprise of everyone else.

With a slight smile on his face, Lord William gave them a very Vilani half bow from the waist, and bid them enjoy the rest of the fair as he led his party on.  Brian turned to Mikah excitedly saying, "Finally some real company.  Mikah turned to Ursara as the Countess said, "That!  Was great!  That was a real coup." in a very enthusiastic tone.  Still getting the idea into her head, Mikah answered, "Yes.  I totally agree.  Thank you so much!"  Ursara said, "No, thank you.  I'll benefit from this probably as much, if not more, than you will!" and Mikah could only say, "Well, that's good.  It's good to have a relationship like that."  Catching Mikah's confusion, the Countess asked her, "have you ever met Lord William before?" and Mikah said she hadn't.  At that, Ursara explained that Lord William was Duke Leonard's younger brother.  He was actually a professor at Rhylanor University.  When Mikah commented on their dealings with the University and said she'd comment on it to him, Ursara pointed out that Lord William was part of the literature department.

When Ursara asked about what they'd been able to offer the University, and what was going on with the talks, Mikah reminded the Countess they were able to collect data on the attack on Zimzod and at other times.  The crinkle on Ursara's nose was evocative as she said, "Yes, I remember that."  As they started moving again, Mikah explained they were talking with the University on how it would help their research and how much it was worth?  As they walked, Countess Ursara asked more questions, to understand the value of the information and nature of the deal.  Soon, she understood the University was offering the deal because they hoped the data could lead to understanding the nomad's abilities.  Mikah admitted that they didn't have facilities on their own ship to research it.  Ursara said it was too bad they didn't have the facilities and Mikah agreed, considering how much the unlocked secret would be worth.

Switching the subject just a little, Ursara asked if Mikah thought the University would be interested in other "not publicly known" data about the nomads?  Like their migratory patterns.  Mikah said she was sure they would be interested in that, and Ursara said she'd have to follow up on it.  Mikah smiled, saying she could offer some contacts, after their own sale.  The Countess gave her a sly smile on hearing that.  Mikah then said, "I wouldn't tell the military what you have, though."  When Ursara asked why not, Mikah said that once the military somehow found out about their data, they were nearly kidnapped by them.  Ursara tried to make her smile not appear patronizing as she said, "Dear, let me be brutally honest on this.  If they wanted your information enough to kidnap you, you would have been kidnapped."

She stressed the words 'would have'.  Ursara then continued, "So, it may have not necessarily felt as gracious as possible but, as I'm sure your time in the military educated you on their lack of social graces."  Mikah broke in, saying she was well aware of the gracelessness of many officers, and Ursara said, "I thought you would be, dear." with a satisfied smile.  Finishing her thought, Ursara said, "So I would recommend you accept the fact that you may be reading more into this than was actually intended, and that the military were not as bad as you might think."  Mikah agreed to keep that in mind.  As they walked, they found themselves eventually getting close to the stall displaying the PDA application Zach had been told about in the cab.

Zach suggested they look at it and the group moved in the check the application out.  The application was an interesting, small sized database-driven package able to work on almost all personal portable computer units.  The database-driven AI reached into all the applications on a device, and any docked devices, so long as it had enough time.  It then offered AI-enhanced access and usability to all the data and applications installed.  It also allowed a blending of features in installed packages, when working on data or output.  So data in one application, thatdisplayed in a second program with desired features the first didn't have, a temp-file would be created in the second application to let the feature manipulate the data before it would be returned to the first.

This was very popular with text-translation programs receiving spoken word data and producing it in multiple languages.  It was also extremely popular with math-based data processing apps that normally did not share features, or graphics-management software.  When Zach asked the cost, he was told Cr 500.  When he tried to haggle, he found they were offering it for Cr 500 as a "show special".  He discussed the package a bit more with them, and asked about capabilities.  Eventually he decided that he needed to think about it some more and asked about their presence on-station?  Zach was told they had an outlet and could sell over the station-web.  Zach repeated that he'd think about it and get back to them.  They said, "That's fine.  Think about it or let our application think for you."  Nothing else sparked the crew's interest, so they soon headed back to the transport and went to Dulcinea.

Word From The Top

     In the lounge of the Hotel California, Emkir had finally set up a list of word filters and created an "audio to text capture".  He checked the ship's entertainment computer system to see how much memory was available to work with?  Thinking about how much space to use, he considered twenty percent of the memory and bounced that off Aiden for thoughts.  Aiden suggested compairing the cost of memory in the entertainment versus that of the ship's main computer systems.  Eventually they decided to use ten percent each of the entertainment computer and the ship's main systems.  As Emkir started to activate the filters and migrate the design into active systems, the many news programs playing were all broken into with a news release.  Both Aiden and Emkir came up short as all stations announced a "statement on the incident involving Major Rol Kaihvos" from the Office of Leonard, Duke of Rhylanor!

At that point, all the outlets seemed to become one as the main display space became the same image.  A full screen shot of a spokesman, in a very conservative suit standing in a briefing room.  Having the focus, the man stated, "For the record, Duke Leonard has been made aware of the incident involving Major Kaihvos.  Duke Leonard has also been made aware of the hyperbole surrounding communication of the incident to the public..."  As he said this, the spokesman stressed the words 'the hyperbole'.  He then continued, "...and would like it known that the organizations that broadcast inappropriately edited rumors will be prosecuted."  Again, the spokesman stressed the words 'will be'.

Surprised at the turn of events, Aiden sat down saying, "ooooh" in both appreciation and surprise.  The spokesman continued, "It is further to be announced that His Grace the Duke formally welcomes all awardees of the Starburst for Extreme Heroism, as awarded by the Imperial military, to the Rhylanor system in general.  And in specific, to Major Rol Kaihvos, who is, in fact, a Hero of the Imperium, and who has proven this in military action in the defense of innocent civilian lives throughout the sector, and who is to be thanked for his military service."  "The Duke would like it further announced that the Duke would like to append his social calendar on the events of tomorrow evening.  Further information will be released when that appointment is firmed up.

As the screen darkened, the various voices of each press outlet they'd had active announced in their own method, 'We now return you to your regular broadcast.'  Emkir let out a loud "whooo" and settled deeper into his seat.  Having worked for the Duke himself, Emkir called the Duke's Seneschal’s office.  When he got a tech, he explained about their work, to set up an interview and stated a great many things that had nothing to do with what he wanted from the Seneschal's office.  So the tech stopped Emkir when he decided to punt the call.  He didn't just hang up on this possible nutter, as the call trace came back with a verification that the call was from the Hotel California.  A second data scan certified that was the ship on which Major Kaihvos was listed as crew, and a voice scan confirmed this nutter was Admiral Emkir Meshrumiikiim, who had reported to Duke Leonard directly for a year.  So he said, "Why don't we set you up for a meeting.  When is good for you?"

Emkir laughed as he said, "About a week from now" and went into a bunch of details the tech didn't care about regarding some kind of media deal.  As the Admiral threatened to blather on, the man interrupted, "With respect, The Duke is a very busy man..."  Emkir interrupted, saying "Yeah Yeah Yeah, we all are", which the tech ignored as he continued, "His appointments for the next day are in flux at this point, so with respect to how busy your day is, and how busy your week is...  Again," And now he stressed each word he enunciated clearly for the Admiral, "When would be good for you to come in and speak with the Seneschalate with regard to this?"

Considering his next words carefully, Emkir said, "Tomorrow the Knights I'm with, Dame Mikah, Sir Brian and Sir Zimzod are going to the renewal festival.  It would be good if you could meet me there, so I could get a list of those stations you are planning to prosecute, so we can remove them from consideration for the interview with Major Kaihvos."  The tech explained that there would be no need to hand off the list physically.  Once it was generated.  He then reminded Emkir they were still in the process of investigating, and that could take upwards of a month to two months.  The tech continued, "They can then forward you a list of the media outlets as they will be publicly announced and they'll be filed suit against.  So it will be all over the media.  If you are approved, they can give you a day's advanced warning that it will be released.  However based on what you've described, I doubt that will suit your needs."

Emkir attempted to make it clear he didn't want to step on any of the Duke's people, and was assured that his efforts would not get in the way of the Duke's efforts.  He was also told that if they developed valuable information, they would reach out to him.  Emkir said that he would willingly share any information he had and hoped he could benefit from any information they developed as well.  The tech said he was certain the Admiral would be able to get any information released publicly.  As for any information developed in private, that would have to be discussed with the Seneschalate before anyone outside the investigation would have it shared with them.

Emkir was told his status outside the Rhylanori government, legal system and military made it highly unlikely that any internal information would be shared with him at all.  As he was told this, he turned on the charm and tried to change the tech's mind, only to be told the best he could do was to work with his supervisor to get Emkir a meeting to discuss this with the Seneschalate.  Emkir thanked him, and then tried to get enthusiasim for any help by suggesting issues with vargr sympathizers and the Jesediperei, the man had no idea what the Admiral was talking about.  But as Emkir promised to keep the Duke's people aware of what he came up with on these scores, the tech explained that this was no more than they'd expect of any loyal Imperial Citizen.

Realizing he was getting no where with this guy, Emkir thanked the tech and they broke the call without Emkir having gained anything except a possible call back from the Seneschalate.  He then considered the renewal festival the next day and realized he had no real reason to go.  So he and decided to stay with the ship, crunching numbers.  As the Knights party were on their way back to the ship, having left the Countess at Dulcinea, Emkir was under several worlds of collected data, Aali was preparing to sign off on the port engineer's work papers and spend her first evening on the ship and Aiden was planning on relaxing.

Next: Before The Renewal Festival