(7) Making Progress
The Misha Campaign (317-1120 to 349-1120)
317-1120 : Jumpspace
(from Goose /
The H.M.S. Third Eye has just jumped for Varsae,
after their unintended stopover in the Goosesystem.
Their journey to Brod
/ Tardele, the last known location of jump drive expert Professor
is under way again.
Mich Saginaw is completing repairs to the gcarrier,
and thinking about ways of rigging psi
shields around various areas of the ship.
Helia Sarina, Ed "Shark" Teeth, and Misha Ravanos
spend a lot of time practicing with their zacks. Just how to
with the suits is a problem -- they'll run out of furniture to throw at
each other soon. Helia is particularly concerned about whether
could hurt her wings, although she believes that the suit won't hurt
As she says, "If you're afraid of the suit, it blows the whole zen of
Helia and Misha get into an involved discussion
of how the suit compares with a swordsman's weapon, and how it all
on the attitude of the wielder. Somehow they manage to sustain a
heated discussion despite both holding essentially the same point of
For the time, Helia just decides to wear her suit
around the ship until Misha tells her something else to do with
Misha would rather she practice not cutting things up.
is sure she won't cut anything up involuntarily.
Helia's suit has a hood-like cover that she can
pull down over her folded wings, or retracted so that she can stretch
wings and fly. She does some practice flying with the suit on,
finds it feels no different from wearing anything else.
Misha, however, goes on the assumption that a
is a powerful weapon, and therefore dangerous in the hands of the
He practices in the exercise room, with the help of Teri Cralla.
At the moment he can be sure of triggering the suit at will and
something, but can't aim any part of it at all reliably. He is
to get a feel for which parts respond to certain actions.
Something comes from under the forearm; he has claws
that extend from the fingers (that's harder to activate); something
to the forearm weapon is on the shins; he has toe claws; something from
the knees; something from the heels. The forearm and shin weapons
are about the length of that limb, as if it were stowed along the limb;
the claws (hands and toes) are about 3 cm long; the heel is about 4 cm.
Helia watches his practice sessions from her hammock
on the bridge.
320-1120 : Jumpspace
(from Goose /
Misha has been continuing to practice. So far
he has not hurt himself. He decides to test Helia's theory that
suit will not hurt itself, and tries to cut himself with his forearm
To his unfortunate surprise, he cuts his leg through the bone.
Fortunately the exercise room is just down the
from the sickbay. In response to Helia's gleeful, "Medic to the
room!" Grand Admiral Baron Bridgehead comes running to Misha's
He quickly stabilizes the leg so it won't fall off on the way to
and transfers his captain to a medical station. Misha does not
him to cut the suit off, but opens it up normally and helps the Doc to
get it off him.
Bridgehead calls Ed to help him, since he was such
a good assistant last time. Ed is pleased to expand his medical
this way. In fact the Doc allows Ed to do some of the work
and is impressed with his technique Their prognosis is that Misha
will be in sickbay for about three days.
As to the issue of repairing the zack, Helia's
is that it will repair itself. Ed tries to push the edges of the
cut together -- it seems to have lined itself up and stuck, although he
things he could pull it apart very easily. He checks with Vonish
to see if he has any samples of the seawater along with his food -- he
does not. Neither does Mich have anything from the refining
So Ed just lays the zack out in the captain's quarters.
While Misha is confined under medical care, Ed
the opportunity to review Misha's work with the suit as much as
He tries to find out how Misha can reliably trigger the cutters, where
they are, and so on.
Misha can't describe it too well, but does a fairly
decent job. He can activate it by thinking himself into a certain
state. Not activating it under threat is much harder -- it would
have to involve blocking the physical reactions to such a threat.
For the rest of the jump, Ed practices with his
also with the help of Teri. She runs through the tapes of Misha's
practice and helps Ed come up with a suitable practice regimen.
One tool that Ed designs is to suspend a long heavy
steel rod from the ceiling. He sets it swinging and tries to
it. The first time he tries it, it hits him in the arm and knocks
him over. The next time, he positions himself to have it swing by
him, and tries to cut it, imagining a blade coming out of his
That doesn't work, so then he gets in its way and practices blocking
The remaining pieces Teri uses as weapons to throw at him. She
to swing staves and so on at him -- she doesn't think it's wise for her
to do that.
Ed asks Mich and Robert to set up a waldo for Teri
to use in combat against him. In the meantime, he continues with
the swinging poles, lumps of metal, and furniture. He does set up
a pivoting figure with arms to practice with, but it hits him more than
he cuts it.
Ed takes notes after each short session, linking
them with the videos to provide a lasting record.
Next he asks the Baron for a basic EKG/respiration
monitor that he can wear under the suit, to link that to the videos to
work out what exactly triggers the zack. Unfortunately he finds
with the monitors, the suit never works. Ed gets bruised a
The commdot doesn't affect the suit, but those monitors certainly did.
323-1120 : Varsae
/ Reidan / Foreven
The Third Eye slips out of jump in their
The ship has performed perfectly on this trip.
Despite Misha's problem, Helia continues to wear
her zack most of the time. Ed suggests she not do so on planet,
case someone startles her and she hurts someone -- or at least, until
know how to use it. He convinces Helia to practice in the
room with them during the next jump.
Misha is now up and around, and takes up the
chair during their approach to the mainworld.
has a class A, high tech starport.
It's just as they would have expected coming into the Imperium,
except of course they're not in the Imperium. They request
to land at the downport, and are allocated a landing spot under the
that it is expensive. For the 600t Third Eye, it will
Highport costs are 100Cr a day. Ed withdraws their request for
access, and says they'll dock at the highport instead.
Ed then taps in to the local visitor information
channel. It advises that personal travel for non-residents to the
planet is very expensive, but they welcome visitors to their
Law level is 6, with a civil service bureaucracy. The atmosphere
is very thin, there's low gravity, and the world is exceedingly
Much settlement is underground. The planet orbits the innermost gas
giant. Tech level is E, on a par with the Imperium, but this
very small world houses six billion people. Weapons limited to no
open carry, only recreational long arms permitted under certain
No open carry of blade weapons is allowed. Ed suggests that Misha
might consider taking up a cane.
Mich has several spares he wants to
They will cost about 2000Cr. In addition, Misha orders new
to replace the stuff he has torn up, and some plastic scrap to use for
Misha determines that they will move through
jumps rapidly. They will take as little time insystem as is
until they reach their destination at Brod
/ Tardele. The next stop is clearly going to be Torquin;
after that, they have more choices of route.
Ed hooks into the Yonder Veterans Network, to
sure the ship's information is all up to date, and to check on any
The YVN is a free service, of course. There are also local
concerned mainly with local events. Enough news is generated
it seems. They still mention some unrest to spinward, and
should be careful in Corona and beyond.
Military here is a strong system navy, high tech
and apparently well organized. In every respect the system seems
on a level with the Spinward
Marches, a typical border system military presence.
Ed posts contact information in the usual way,
the limitation on time. As it turns out, he is not contacted
325-1120 : Varsae
/ Reidan / Foreven
The stop in this system has been hassle free and
Everything on Mich's list, and the plastics, have been loaded on
The ship is ready to leave.
Helia pulls the Third Eye out of orbit and
heads out to jump. Once again, jump transition is smooth and
331-1120 : Torquin
/ Reidan / Foreven
During the jump, more experiments have been done
the zacks. Ed figures out that most medical monitors stop the
from working, but that commdots don't affect it at all. He also
various cloth patches under his and Misha's suit to try to localize the
issue, and finds that anything bigger than a commdot, or located on the
skin of the body, prevents the suit working properly. In-mouth or
swallowed medical monitor units work fine; the Baron insists that Ed
the unit, cleaned of course.
This research does lead to a "safety" for the suit:
a handkerchief worn over the breast will prevent it triggering, and in
dangerous situations they can just reach in and remove it. Helia
decides she'd rather use a necklace instead; she walks around with the
necklace outside the suit, so everyone will know what state her zack is
Misha's suit has healed itself. There is a
visible scar, but it is intact although possibly a bit weaker at that
He can now invoke the suit even on non-threats; threats invoke it if he
tries to block, while if he doesn't block, the suit does not trigger
he does so himself.
Helia has also joined the suit practice, and gets
fairly decent with it. She is disappointed that the suit does not
seem to improve her flying. She takes some persuading to take
in the combat exercises, but does get into it. She's the one who
impales a plastic ball on her claws, allowing everyone a quick look at
the claws in action. It doesn't stay for long, as the claws slice
through the plastic, not even long enough to get a picture of it.
They add new exercises like this to their program.
Ed used the cut-up balls to try to measure the size
of the claws, but didn't spend a lot of time on it. He is more
with learning to activate the suit.
During the days they have practiced with the suits,
while in the evening they run gravcraft simulation races.
The Third Eye arrives insystem and
towards the mainworld. The minimal starport on the vacuum world
of a designated empty stretch of rock next to a large mass of water
There is no sign of any local inhabitants, despite the write-up of the
world indicating that they make their money on trade passing through
system. They see no reason to land, and so Helia takes the Third
Eye directly to the nearest gas giant (the outer one) for
333-1120 : Torquin
/ Reidan / Foreven
The refueling and refining proceeded without
and allowing for rest for Helia. the Third Eye is ready to
Just as they're about to leave, a large freighter
in the 2kt range enters. The transponder indicates it's from Varsae.
It heads directly for the mainworld and the class E starport.
Ed hails the ship. It's from Varsae
on it's way towards Lirian.
They check on their possible routes. Darfil
seems interesting, although they won't be there long, and does have a
A starport. The starport level makes it sound more desirable than
the alternative, Wallneck.
Given the choice, Helia votes for the better starport.
Once again it's a routine insystem transfer and
jump transition. Helia is getting a bit more comfortable with the
state of her ship.
339-1120 : Darfil
/ Lirian / Foreven
During jump, zack practice continues, as do the
Ed asks Teri if she knows much about short blade
combat, which he thinks might be what's needed for the zack.
melee combat might be better, or both. Teri, however, is a heavy
weapons and demolition specialist, and aside from pointing out that
are analogies with battledress, she can't help. She has been
on blade combat with Misha, but they'd be better off getting
from Misha himself.
The best they can do is work on combat methods
Ed decides to approach it from the brawling point of view, his best
skill. Ed also realizes that it might really be good for him to
a little vaccsuit skill from someone, now he's spending so much time on
Oddly enough there is someone on board who is really
quite accomplished in brawling and short blade -- the ship's cook,
Kehnaan. This would take his time out of gravcraft work, however,
and Misha considers that a much higher priority. As a compromise,
Vonish suggests several movies for them to watch.
It occurs to Ed that there might be some race that
fights with weapons either attached to or naturally on their forearms
shins. His search reveals no such known race. The closest
is the Aslan, with their
ritualized dewclaw combat, but it is not what he's looking for.
The movies Vonish suggests are screened in the
conference room. They turn out to be really bad martial arts
They involve people jumping around with sections in slow motion,
over and landing behind people, tearing in with dual swords, moving so
fast they seem to teleport -- all requiring a suspension of disbelief
beyond that of the viewers.
Mich and Robert Morris have continued to work on
investigating the matter phase inverter units, but have drawn a total
There is no reason they can see why they fail in such a fashion.
The Third Eye arrives without incident in
They proceed with the insystem transfer to the mainworld, and land at
starport. The main starport is on the ground, although there are
orbital facilities. Costs are higher at the orbital stations.
Ed's appetite for information leads him to look
up as much on the natives as he can find. There are not many
on planet. The alien natives are called urchins by the
humans. They are egg-shaped, with the smaller end pointing
They are mostly white in color, about 2.5 m tall, covered in spikes or
hairs, and walk on five spindly legs. There is very little known
of their physiology. Tech level here is D, quite high. The
urchins have a substantial colony on the inner world of the system.
Everything in this system is made easy for the
One agency of the local government handles all matters with
and unlike many bureaucracies seems to exist for the purpose of making
trade easy, hassle free, and inexpensive. While orbital transfer
fees are above standard, there are no hidden fees.
The atmosphere here is very thin and tainted.
They decide to purchase regular life support supplies here rather than
go through the hassle of filtering the atmosphere.
341-1120 : Darfil
/ Lirian / Foreven
From here, it's a simple Jump1 to their next
The description of the place doesn't sound promising, especially the
high temperatures of the mainworld.
An alternative would be Junian,
but the advisories there mention something about cooperating with local
officials of the severe dictatorship. Ed says that sounds like
sort of place where Robert could get into trouble too easily.
Their next stop in either case would be Vargoe.
That sounds most unpleasant too, but they have no reasonable
It is at least a class A starport, and it does sound a good place to
food and so on.
Helia takes the Third Eye up into orbit,
out to jump for Crosspatch.
347-1120 : Crosspatch
/ Lirian / Foreven
The ship arrives in the system, and Helia pilots
to the mainworld.
Nothing has been much different on this jump.
Practice has continued as before.
Refueling in this system is cheaper at the orbital
starport. Prices for wilderness refueling permits are
While costs at the orbital station are standard, there are fees
for every conceivable extra.
There is no reason to land on the planet -- it's
well over 200 degrees -- and no reason to pay charges to visit the
facilities. Everyone stays on board.
349-1120 : Crosspatch
/ Lirian / Foreven
The Third Eye leaves orbit, and heads out to
jump for Vargoe.