(25) To Be Named
The Crusader Campaign (107-1123 to 127-1123)
This file has yet to be fully
This file has yet to be fully
Nightshade has just entered jump somewhat
hastily, headed for Mithras / Glisten. This time will
again be a normal jump so they can come out in stealth at what is
believed to be the destination of Santanocheev's fleets. It is
late evening. They expect to beat the fleets out of jump by about
Once they get settled in jump and they are sure the
ship is fine, everyone starts work on their own pet projects.
Robert Morris continues work on the encryption scheme used by
Santanocheev's fleets. Mich Saginaw makes spare football sensors
for Edward "Shark" Teeth. Mich also works with Helia Sarina and
Kalida Siena, Marchioness of Nakege on a simulation of Llannamith
defenses. Sir Misha Ravanos continues to practice his reading.
Robert gets frustrated at following a dead end for a
while, and has to take a few steps back and start working on the
encryption scheme again.
Soon after lunch, Helia asks the Captain for
permission to leave the ship. He asks her where she's going, and
when she says "Just outside," tells her she can do so.
Helia heads aft, dressed just in her
zack, and leaves from the port airlock in Engineering. She pushes
off and heads out through the jump grid field.
She's gone for three hours. Sir Misha tries to
track or locate her using the command console is sparkly pink, but
can't do so.
Helia comes back aboard
quite subdued. Rather than talking to anyone or heading forward,
with a nod to Mich she goes straight to the Engineering console and
sparkly pink. Mich goes into sparkly pink too, to observe her
manipulates the jump grid to get readings.
After a few minutes, Helia drops out of
sparkly pink and starts rattling off equations and formulae at Mich,
who nods and records it all but does not understand it at
all. She goes from there straight to the Bridge and spends
several more hours in sparkly pink at her console.
Helia does not arrive in the Lounge in time for
dinner. They eat without her.
After everyone is done, Helia arrives in the Lounge
and tells Sir Misha that there might be a problem.
"What is it?" asks Sir Misha.
"I tried to show Mich but he didn't understand
it. I can show you if you like."
"I wouldn't understand it. Just explain what
the problem is."
"Something's not right. Jump is not right."
"Our jump is not right."
"I guess that's the only one that really matters at
"Well... it depends. It's possible that
somebody else's jump could matter, but I don't think it does in this
case. I mean, really, everyone's jump matters to everybody else,
if you actually look at it, but the effects are very small except in
certain circumstances. I could show you those if you like."
She smiles brightly and waves her puter.
"So in what way is our jump wrong?"
"I don't think we're going where we were planning to
go. And it might take us a little longer."
"All right. How much is a little?"
"Oh... I'm not sure. It's kind of like we're
becalmed. And sometime the wind will blow and we'll come out
Kalida says, "Could you force us out before then?"
"I could," Helia says dubiously.
"Do you have any idea where we would be?"
"Do you have any idea where we'll be at the end of
this long jump?"
"Probably within... most likely within 40 parsecs of
where we left." There are cries of shock from the assembled crew,
and Helia continues, "That's the top limit. We might end up where
we came from. We might end up where we were intending to go, but
if we do it's by accident. Mich calls it a misjump, but that's
kind of an obsolete term."
"What caused this problem?"
Helia pauses and says, "It looks like there might
have been a mistake in the calculations. Perhaps the presence of
the other ships around us and the relative motion introduced
nanogravity terms we did not account for correctly."
Sir Misha says, "Are we more likely to end up closer
to where we intended by kicking ourselves out now, or waiting?"
"It doesn't matter, because we're not actually going
anywhere, because we're in jump. You don't go anywhere in
jump. Nothing moves. We're more likely to be in the same
shape when we come out, if we let ourselves come out. And I mean
Sir Misha wants to be sure. He says, "You mean
the word 'shape' literally."
"Yes," Helia says with sickening cheerfullness.
The crew is unanimous that they would prefer to be
shaped the same when they come out.
Helia adds more somberly, "The Doctor might want to
be ready, though."
Baron Bridgehead knows exactly what she means.
He's quite familiar first hand with treating jump sickness, and while
he's not looking forward to it he is certainly equipped and ready to do
so. He also says he'll need some help, obviously first from Shark
as backup Medical Officer. He also asks Mich to check that the
regular and emergency low berths are fully operational and ready to be
Kalida has lots of threads to track down now.
For one thing, being somewhat paranoid, she wonders if something she
did in the klatrin trance directly or indirectly caused this. She
also wonders if she can figure out where and when they might come out
Mich and Bridgehead conduct training sessions on the
the low berths, including the emergency ones. If there are no
medical crew or facilities available to treat the crew, they are to put
themselves into emergency low berths to survive as long as
possible. At least on Nightshade they are assured that
the ship will not run out of power or life support. Personally,
Robert is confident that should he go into low berth, the ship will
wake him again when everything is safe.
Helia spends a lot of time working on the jump
calculations, trying to figure out exactly what the problem was, what
factors had been misrepresented or not considered. She has an air
of blameless investigation, as if mathematics itself was responsible
rather than it being her own mistake.
Nightshade would be due to come out after
breakfast. Even though it does not, at least Helia is happy --
she's found the problem and is sure it will not happen again.
Kalida has been trying to follow the problem of the
misjump, but not only has she not been able to guess when or where the
ship might come out of jump, all threads are starting to get a little
faint and hard to follow. She can see where the threads were, but
she can't really tell anything since they left.
Robert still hasn't figured out the encryption, and
has stopped talking about it at all.
Strangely enough, after lunch, Jack knocks on
Kalida's stateroom door. Kalida invites her in.
Jack hesitantly says that she knows Kalida's been
thinking about the fleets, and she has a hunch that perhaps the
Marchioness might like to hear. It's not anything
She tells her that she thinks the Wonstar fleet
might wait a couple of weeks and jump to Caladbolg / Sword
Worlds, probably arriving about
three weeks from when Nightshade left Dawnworld.
She apologizes that it's all she has, and asks Kalida to keep her
source quiet and not tell anyone.
Kalida promises to do so and thanks her.
Jack offers her help with anything if Kalida wants
it, and leaves with a friendly smile.
Kalida starts puzzling over this new hint. She
really can't see any reason why the fleet would want to go to Caladbolg.
Later at dinner, while chatting with Sir Misha,
Kalida mentions that Santanocheev's fleets would just now be starting
to come out of jump at Mithras. She adds that she is sure
that the fleet at Dawnworld would have sent a courier there
after their encounter, and that would be arriving in a day or two.
Robert looking just a little pale and
unwell, just picking at his food. It's not too noticeable,
however, as most of the crew is being uncharacteristically quiet.
Kalida has dropped into a reverie, considering the
Porky's Raid. Most of that action was in Zaibon / Lunion,
with a military raid on Bronze / Sword Worlds. Of course
she knows more about that than the general public, but even that
doesn't seem to help her figure out what on earth Santanocheev might be
thinking. Caladbolg has three suns, a Scout Base, and a
whole bunch of farmers. She has worked out that Santanocheev's
decision to send the fleet there resulted from her own unintended
consequences. Although it had nothing to do with their own
military action, it was more likely a result of them being seen on Adabicci.
The timing works for that. That might even be the threat to
Adabicci. From Caladbolg they can get to Iron, Biter,
and Bronze, all three of which are just one jump from Adabicci.
After dinner, there is another knock on Kalida's
door. It's Jack again, with another hunch. She says the
fleet that is going to Caladbolg will
stay there for several months.
"But they don't matter, not immediately," says
"And the other thing is, I have a feeling that Lanth
Santanocheev's," says Jack.
"I've been wondering about that for a while."
Nevertheless, she believes that the threat to Adabicci is not from
Jack says that's all, and that she's not expecting
any more guesses. She bids Kalida goodnight, leaving Kalida
wondering where she gets her ideas.
Robert's looking a little better at breakfast.
Kalida is still very preoccupied, trying to figure
out several large knots. She reflects that the bulk of
Santanocheev's fleet should be coming out of jump at Mithras
right about now.
In the morning they're already well into the eighth
day of the jump.
At breakfast, Kalida has started talking
herself. Staring at her computer she says aloud to herself,
"Unless something absolutely humungous happens, the fleets are going to
Tussinian, and I'm assuming Santanocheev himself is going with
them, but there's something else going on, so what am I missing?"
Bridgehead says, "You're probably missing enough
coffee. Here." He pours her a refill and adds, "Aside from
half your brain from all that fish oil stuff."
Kalida nods her thanks for the coffee and looks
up. She says, "Fish oil is why I know as much as I do."
"Well, I wouldn't recommend that during a misjump."
Kalida agrees. "We could come out at any
moment, and I wouldn't want to miss that. Although if it comes
down to an emergency low berth, the klatrin looks better."
Here Bridgehead disagrees. He is certain that
the low berths on this ship are definitely safer.
"I didn't say anything about safety," smiles Kalida.
"In theory we could probably sit around in a low
berth on this ship for hundreds of years. Not that I'm suggesting
we will, you understand."
Sir Misha says that since he suggested it, if it
happens then it will be the Baron's fault.
In turn, Bridgehead suggests that it was Mich's
fault. He was probably messing with something.
Sir Misha asks, "Would you like it better if it was
"Much better, yes. I'll accept that. You
should keep a better handle on your Engineer and your crew. And
you shouldn't let them drink fish oil."
"I probably shouldn't let them whine at the
breakfast table, either."
"Absolutely not, I quite agree." The Baron
looks around, puzzled why everyone else has just burst into laughter.
By tonight, not only would all of Santanocheev's
ships have reached Mithras, but so would the messenger from Dawnworld
with the news of the battle.
At breakfast Kalida is talking aloud again.
She is now wondering again if the threat to Adabicci might be
internal. Shark would certainly agree with that.
Back in her stateroom, she starts concentrating on
the link between Santanocheev and Adabicci, trying to figure out what
the link might be. But it's all rather fuzzy, and the blackness
has started floating around there too. The threads are definitely
getting fuzzier as this misjump continues.
Still she continues examining the threads. She
wants to see if their action against the Wonstar Fleet has changed
anything. Of course everything has unintended consequences, but
Santanocheev's momentum is heavy. It's going to be hard to adjust
anything about his path. Amid the fuzziness she is sure that
there's going to be a small change, but she can't see any sign of
anything rippling out from there.
Kalida tells Sir Misha that their
poking about with the Wonstar Fleet hasn't done a lot to change
Kalida now resolves to spend the day not thinking
about the wider
issues. She'll need to occupy herself with something else, of
Sir Misha has already switched from reading to practicing his sword and
zack, and Kalida joins him. It's a very effective
glass of whiskey rounds out the night and helps her sleep. She is
the ship is well supplied, although sooner or later they'll have to
restock the whiskey.
Now that Jack has drawn attention to herself, Kalida
keeps an eye
on her to see what she does during the day. Jack is dividing her
between the Lounge, her stateroom, and a considerable amount of it in
By dinner, Nightshade would now be
officially thoroughly overdue even if they were a normal ship doing the
usual 6-8 day jumps.
On the tenth day of jump, Baron Bridgehead says he
is starting to show slight
symptoms of jump sickness. He reassures everyone that if the time
comes when he is unable to attend to his duties, that Shark is fully
qualified to act as backup Medical Officer.
He adds that anyone who notices themselves showing
any symptoms should come down to Sick Bay. He says that they
might well have something that could help.
Bridgehead's condition is unchanged, still showing
only slight symptoms.
Today, however, the eleventh day of jump, Kalida
starts to pick up headaches, a touch of nausea, and slight problems
with balance. Zack training will have to stop.
Now that the second crew member is showing symptoms,
Captain Sir Misha commands that everyone is subject to mandatory daily
examinations. Bridgehead approves thorougly. Sir Misha says
they are to be especially careful about Helia -- she's their highest
When Kalida reports for her examination, the Doctor
confirms that she is suffering from the first stages of jump
sickness. He gives her some pills that should alleviate the
symptoms, but warns her to avoid anything strenuous. Kalida asks
him if tactical thinking is ok, and he says it is as long as she
doesn't stray into paranoia. At the slightest sign of paranoia,
she is to report to him immediately.
The pills do help, and Kalida is grateful.
The Baron is much worse today and has checked
Sick Bay. Kalida is unchanged, however, and quite comfortable
with the medication.
Bridgehead informs Sir Misha that Helia is starting
to show symptoms.
Immediately Sir Misha goes to see Helia. He
asks her what she thinks about precipitating out of jump at this point,
and she reiterates that it's more likely to be a disaster than
not. She adds that candy helps with the jump sickness, but admits
that no-one else on board could kick them out of jump if she was too
ill to do so.
Sir Misha calls a ship's meeting. He says that
they've been in jump for twelve days now. He says that Helia says
they'd be better to come out naturally, but she could kick them out,
but they are likely not to come out alive. He adds that the
larian is starting to suffer from jump sickness, and if she gets too
ill they'll just have to come out like any other ship, when chance
takes them out. He asks for opinions.
Mich points out that they have unlimited life
support and power, and are well stocked on food. Normal ships
would run out of air in a few weeks, and run out of fuel too.
Neither of those will happen to Nightshade.
Kalida says she thinks they should wait for at least
a day or two. The crew look around in silent agreement with her.
Bridgehead has stablized, but is still only capable
of very light duties, acting in an advisory capacity to Shark.
Helia is unchanged, kept under control with her candy supply and some
medication that Shark insists that she takes.
is a little weaker. The medication isn't completly controlling
the symptoms now.
There are, however, five new cases: Sir Misha, Teri
Cralla, Vonish Kehnaan, and Jack are showing slight signs, while Shark
is decidedly worse than those four.
The ship has now been in jump for two weeks.
There are two new cases today, with Mich and Robert
both starting to show symptoms. Teri and Sir Misha are still only
lightly affected, while Shark remains the same as the day before.
Then the bad news starts. Jack and Helia are
both weaker than the day before, while Kalida and Baron Bridgehead are
worse. Bridgehead is incapable of even light duties now, and has
put himself under full medical care in Sick Bay. Unfortunately
Vonish has crashed badly, and he too is confined to medical care.
Rather than clutter up Sick Bay even though she is
quite ill, Kalida rests in her stateroom. That doesn't stop her
pointing out that they are only about 20 days from the crisis at Tussinian.
Callisto is the only crew member currently
unaffected by jump sickness.
Sir Misha calls another meeting of the crew.
Baron Bridgehead and Vonish are, of course, unable to attend. The
Captain asks if anyone thinks they should change their course of action.
Helia still stands by her opinion that they should
just ride it out. Callisto is feeling fine and backs Helia up
enthusiastically. The rest of the crew don't see to have an
121-1123 (cont.) : Somewhere / Somewhere / Somewhere
Around 21:00, about halfway through the fifteenth
day of the jump,
Nightshade emerges into normal space. There is widespread
rejoicing by those who are not too sick to rejoice.
The ship is in stealth. Mich reports that
everything is in fine shape.
Callisto says she's going to need some time to
figure out where they are. There is no system in the immediate
vicinity, although there is one about a parsec away.
It doesn't take long for Callisto to report that she
thinks the nearest system is a trinary, with a white main and two red
dwarfs. If they're within 40 parsecs of Dawnworld, that
limits it to only a few system. Off the top of her head she
recalls Regina / Regina and Caladbolg / Sword Worlds
(wouldn't that be coincidence?), and a few taps at her console quickly
adds Toroska / Reidan and Jusk / Scorpio to the list.
Another two hours, and she still can't narrow it
down to one of those, and after another hour and a half she reveals
why. With embarrassment she admits a mistake in her initial
observations, and that she'd mistakenly added an extra red dwarf to
what is actually just a binary system. With a sigh she adds that
it will take a while to figure it out. Fortunately Callisto is
the one crew member in perfect health, so she can put her full efforts
122-1123 : Somewhere / Somewhere / Somewhere
While most of the crew are not any better, Sir Misha
recovers his full health, while Kalida is capable of light duties
again. Bridgehead and Vonish are improved too, but still
remaining in Sick Bay.
Callisto announces that she believes they're in 0601
/ Foreven, one parsec away from Jost.
Kalida says that they are 5 jumps from Mithras,
their original destination, and 6 jumps from Bicornn /
Glisten. She points out that once everyone is well, they can do
quick jumps again. They can also make the first four jumps They
are also four jumps from Caladbolg, but she doesn't think that
matters and so doesn't mention it.
Sir Misha says that before leaving here, they must
everyone essential to travel is at full health. He adds that
to decide what jumps they will need, and whether they'll be short or
slow. He says he would prefer slow, given a choice.
Kalida says that she doesn't think they can afford
any slow jumps until the last one.
Mich says he wants to be completely recovered, and
spend a day
checking the ship, before they do any short jumps at all.
and Kalida agree that's a good idea. The Captain also adds that
Helia should take extra time to check her calculations.
123-1123 : 0601 / Tardele / Foreven
Teri is now full recovered too, while Vonish is
discharged from Sick Bay. Jack, Shark, and Kalida are feeling
comfortable under the magic medication.
Bridgehead himself, however, is still confined to
Sick Bay. Helia, Mich and Robert feel no better either, so the
124-1123 : 0601 / Tardele / Foreven
Jack, Shark, and Kalida have now recovered, and
while Bridgehead is still feeling bad, Vonish, Helia, and Robert are
able to resume duties under medication. Mich remains a little
under the weather.
125-1123 : 0601 / Tardele / Foreven
Vonish and Helia recover today. Bridgehead has
resumed his duties as Medical Officer, while not fully well yet.
Mich still hasn't improved, while Robert has suddenly taken a drastic
turn for the worse and is now confined to Sick Bay under the Doc's care.
126-1123 : 0601 / Tardele / Foreven
No-one is feeling better today, although Robert at
least is no worse.
Kalida has turned her attention to considering what
Trin and Norris
might be doing, and concludes that they're probably all ready and just
waiting for Santanocheev's advance.
127-1123 : 0601 / Tardele / Foreven
Finally, Mich and Baron Bridgehead recover their
full health. Robert still hasn't improved, and is remaining
stable in Sick Bay, but he's the only crew member who's ill.
Mich immediately starts checking the ship. By
21:00, he declares Nightshade is all red and ready to go.
Kalida says they'll have to change their
plans. Assuming they do four quick jumps and a regular jump into Mithras,
they'll be long gone. If they do five quick and a slow into Bicornn,
they're probably going to be gone. She believes everybody is
going to be well on their way to Tussinian by that time unless
they forgo stealth and go in with a quick jump. So they can do
all quick jumps and within a day or two catch up with them in Bicornn,
but they would be seen coming in and vulnerable for anything from
minutes to hours. Alternatively, they can bypass that and head
straight into Tussinian, where they don't know anything
additional to help anyone out, and have effectively discovered
nothing. And then there is always Adabicci -- they could
get there well before 140. "But everything affects everything
else," she concludes, "And I still don't know what the threat against
Adabicci is, so I don't know what if anything I could do."
After a pause, she adds that they do have time to
make choices. Their first few jumps will be the same no matter
where they go in the end. It'll take a couple of jumps just to
get back into the Spinward Marches.
Sir Misha asks for other opinions.
Kalida turns to Jack and asks what she thinks.
Jack looks embarrassed and gives a friendly
shrug. "I don't have any opinions," she says. To Kalida she
adds, "I don't know any more than you do. At this point.
Until someone breaks their encryption system or something, we're not
going to have any more information than we had when we left Mora."
Kalida sighs, "I would have to say our mission so
far has been an utter failure."
Suddenly Jack asks, "How much would it cost us to
stop at Karin?"
Kalida ponders this. "It might not hurt
anything," she says. She fiddles with her puter for a while and
says firmly, "It won't make any difference."
"Then I'd like to request a brief stopover in Karin.
A few hours. Half a day would be ideal. I'd like to check
in at the base there, use the systems, grab a few resources, and leave."
Sir Misha asks, "Why?"
"Because there might be something that will
help. The FarSpace Service gathers data, and there might be some
data they've seen that can add to what we have."
That's good enough for Sir Misha. "All right,"
"Three jumps to Karin," says Kalida,
"However, for it not to make any difference it'll have to be a quick
jump in, which means no stealth. We will be seen."
Jack says, "My people aren't going to care, and
everybody else is not going to worry about it."
Kalida and Sir Misha agree that it won't be a
At 21:30, Nightshade is on the move
again. They jump for 0401 / Urnian.