There is a covert presence (known only to high ranking officers) maintained here, with a 3000-ton Midu Agashaam class destroyer (the Harald or the Ethelred on rotating duty), and sometimes other smaller ships, on permanent station hidden behind the sun and the various planets. Most admirals know how to send a simple coded signal to get assistance from the ship.
The Porcupine had several examples of heavy guns, extremely effective at limited range, which although not of a high tech level are unknown in the Imperium; the source of this ship, and other relatively high-tech ships that appeared at the same time, has not been determined and is of great interest to the Imperial Navy.
Chiang Ho and David Brock find the bar, accompanied by the TDS pair. The (only) bar is a fairly rough-looking place, as might be expected in a prospecting base--it serves good cheap drinks and fights are broken up quickly. Their idea of an exotic drink here is a beer and a whisky. Routine, DEX, EDU, Negative SOC to get in unmolested!
From the Hermes, Mich Saginaw and Sir Bridgehead go ashore--Mich to the bar (this looks like just his kind of place!) and Sir Bridgehead looking for "companionship" and a "good time."
Chiang Ho, meanwhile, has politely declined the weak stuff they serve up to visitors and has acquired a bottle of "home brew" that resembles 120 proof dark rum. It looks like the place was built in more prosperous times. The clientele is definitely miner/prospector, with an occasional argument breaking out but rapidly calmed down. Chiang Ho mentions the survey on Ianic, and a man (with a bottle in his hand) approaches him and intimates that he might be interested in dealing for the information. Chiang Ho tells him a few (careful) details. The man says his name is Ivan Putski, and they make an appointment for early the next morning.
On the way out, Chiang Ho and NoName are attacked by someone with a throwing knife, but NoName pushes Chiang Ho out of the way, and by the time Chiang Ho gets there the attacker is dead--Chiang Ho later says NoName did something with one of his hands, and the other chap fell to the floor. They start to leave, but then go back to the bar to collect David Brock and his shadow (Joe), and head back to the Woodstock past the dead body.
Threasis Fostriades has spent the whole time on the ship dealing for goods through the computer.
Mich is still in the bar. At about 15:00, Sir Bridgehead arrives with a lady (Helen Merrick) in tow. He sits down with another customer, William Avon, and buys all three a bottle of the home brew. He then goes over to Mich (who has joined Ivan Putski) and buys everyone another bottle of the "brew." Gerard Delaney, clearly an ex-Navy man, joins them subtly. Sir Bridgehead questions Ivan Putski closely about what he calls the "rebellion" (the Porky's Raid).
Delaney and Avon have been working for a while as "rock movers" on asteroid clearing duty. William Avon had been severely hurt in a gunnery accident (his turret blew up) and wounded out of his home System Navy with a severe injury to his left leg.
After a while everyone reaches the Hermes. Mr. Delaney, Mr. Avon and Miss Helen Merrick (very good as a Steward) join the crew. It turns out that Sir Bridgehead has involuntarily (but with his knowledge!) financed the supplying of a large amount of the Home Brew to both ships.
Delaney has been serving as Captain of the Ethelred, the 3000t Midu Agashaam class destroyer on covert operations in this system. He has left the service, but is under "voluntary instructions" to check anyone weird in this "sensitive" system.
By 15:00 both ships are loaded and ready to go. When they reach orbit, Chiang Ho is hailed by the Tao, an 800t airframe starship with Ivan Putski as Captain--he heads off for Ianic, the Woodstock and Hermes soon jump for Spirelle.
Sir Bridgehead operates on William Avon's old leg injury. It is quite a long operation, and Avon should rest for a couple of days to recover. By the time they come out of jump space it should be OK, but Sir Bridgehead will insist on him using a crutch for a few days after that, especially in any sort of gravity. They will arrange his stateroom to start him off at low G and acclimatize him to full gravity by the time they reach the next planet.
Meanwhile, the TDS guys have set up a fermentation vat (beans, mostly)
and a still on the Woodstock, in Engineering and the "attic" storage
area. They encourage Chiang Ho and Brock to look at the little books they
gave them, and practice a lot on their combat skills--they are starting
to learn some of the simple blocking maneuvers.