The situation in the system seems to be
There's the usual traffic one might expect for a class A starport
near the Imperial
with normal Naval traffic for a system with a base.
Helia takes the ship in to the mainworld. Meanwhile Marquis Marc sends a message to his friend, Sir Geoffrey Karennia. The reply comes back telling him to come on over, and land on the lawn at his place -- coordinates are provided. The site is a good way away from the downport, around the planet from it. They'll be arriving late evening local time in the 34-hour day, about mid-day Imperial time.
Ed "Shark" Teeth intends to pick up a couple of catbots -- a large one for himself, and a small one for Helia.
Marc carries out public data searches on Professor Benshani Farol and their intended destination of Digitis (1212 Spinward Marches, 0402 Vilis; E53668A-5). Neither search brings out anything new. There's nothing new on Robin Sherwood, either.
Helia brings the ship in to land on the white X on the lawn in front of the large mansion. Marc will be spending his time here with Sir Geoffrey, but he invites the crew to take the air/rafts if they want to travel.
Marc steps out onto the grass. Sir Geoffrey
walks enthusiastically across the grass towards him -- he's dressed
with a bright purple smoking jacket. They exchange small
while Geoff admires Marc's ship. Sir Geoffrey invites Marc's crew
to come and join them on the patio for drinks and snacks.
Several of the crew come ashore -- Misha complete with ceremonial sword and jherig, Helia, Mich Saginaw, and Sagan. Marc mentions the rest of his crew, including an excellent cook (Vonish Kehnaan) -- Geoff says he might just have to steal him away!
Geoff of course left the Navy some time ago -- when Marc did, right after they were both awarded the Starburst for Extreme Heroism -- and now has an interest in archeology. He's planning a mission to some asteroid belt somewhere, probably next year.
Marc says he's on a zoological expedition to Digitis, to collect interesting fauna and so on. He mentions Pimane, and asks Geoff what he knows. Marc tells him nothing was going on there -- no rebuilding or anything like that. Geoff suspects they might be waiting for someone to bid on the contract, or for money to be raised for the project.
The conversation turns to their time together in the Navy. Marc asks Sir Geoff about the 248th Squadron, but he's never heard of it. Marc says it's sitting there in Pimane, with an old prison ship (sort of halfway pretending to be a rescue ship); he mentions the mostly airless world, and the large crack with critters at the bottom of it.
Geoff asks Marc, "I know it's classified, but did you ever figure out where we were? Just wondering, if you ever find out, I'd be curious to know..."
Marc shakes his head, and adds, "Well, I can make some guesses: An Amber or a Red Zone, no more than 40 parsecs from Five Sisters, and it might not even be an Imperial holding."
Geoff says, "I figured it had to be somewhere where there weren't many people, and it had to be somewhere in Foreven -- but you'd pretty much worked that out from the stars. I don't know anything about that area."
The pleasant conversation, good wine, and good food, while away the warm night... The Marquis invites Sir Geoffrey to brunch tomorrow.
Meanwhile Robert Morris has been checking the Imperial Navy message traffic. Nothing unusual seems to be going on, just routine operations. He intercepts some encrypted messages, but it seems to be only about routine border patrols coming in and leaving. The situation is clearly relaxed at present.
Edward plans to contact some "friends" here -- he sends out a message and sets up a meeting for lunch tomorrow.
Meanwhile, back on Sir Geoffrey Karennia' lawn,
serves an excellent brunch for their host. Geoff compliments
cooking, and asks what it would take to steal him away from the
employ. Marc replies that he's signed on the Third Eye
the rest of this trip. Geoff tells Vonish that if he ever wants a
job here, there'll always be one open for him.
Marc thinks it would be fun to do some equestrian riding, while they're here. Geoff is glad to provide him a mount from his stable, and accompany him too. Sir Geoffrey and Marquis Marc will take the opportunity to enjoy some pleasant noble company, and the two old friends will be spending the next few days on Sir Geoffrey's estate, doing noble sort of things.
Once brunch is over, the Marquis turns on his special data recorders, and leaves them on for the duration of the visit. To his disappointment they don't record any activity.
Misha suggests that they could do a trip into
The Marquis would like him to check out Navy gossip and so on, and
wants to see the sculpture, and surely others would like some shore
Misha suggests spending a day or two at the city.
Sagan will remain at Sir Geoffrey's estate, soaking up noble culture and behavior, and looking out for any more interesting stories.
Helia wants to go on the trip to Downport City, but doesn't want to drive, so Robert will fly the air/raft. Mich and Misha fill the other two seats. Like Ed earlier this morning, he immediately hooks into the traffic net and they complete the trip on autopilot.
Edward returns with his air/raft to the Third Eye. Rather than risk any problems (his launch wasn't too elegant), he parks on the lawn and asks a servant to move the air/raft to the hangar for him.
Once in town, Misha puts the word out on the
that he's interested in any information on Pimane,
and wants to talk to local snitches, crime bosses, and so on.
will help him connect with the Navy underground -- there are some bars
near the Naval base that fit the bill. All four of them visit a
of lower-class bars to that end, spending all day drinking and enjoying
themselves; sightseeing will wait until later.
Misha is wholly successful in his mission. He slips into the underground of Adabicci's Downport City like he grew up there. Unfortunately there is nothing about Pimane at all.
That evening, before it's dark, Helia takes them
to visit the famous sculpture at the entrance to the Naval Base.
It's certainly imposing -- it's a 30 m bronze globe with a cratered
"Bronze! Oh! Bronze is the planet, get it?" exclaims Helia. "Don't tell me that's the planet, they just brought it back here, shrunk it!"
Circling the globe is an intermittent light source, that spins and has weird rolling motions within it. At intervals a stream of light shoots out of it and hits the globe.
Misha takes a perfect picture of Helia in front of the sculpture, just as the ball of light shoots its ray at the surface.
The plaque at the base of the sculpture describes the event briefly: on 168-1107, an Imperial force struck at targets on the Sword World planet Bronze, which contributed to peace on the Frontier, resulting in the Treaty of Quar.
The day is quite hot, with the temperature into the 30's. It's summer. The day is long, and the crew is tired before night falls. They find a small family dining establishment, that they noticed during their pub crawl earlier in the day. It is exactly what they wanted. Following that, they go out drinking. Unfortunately there is no gambling on Adabicci.
In the evening, Misha calls up Marquis Marc to confirm what information he was interested in: Pimane, Robin Sherwood, Digitis, the 248th Squadron, and Professor Benshani Farol.
They still know very little about Digitis.
Here on Mirriam,
the class E starport is not a good source for information. Misha
is somewhat concerned that they could be going into trouble.
Marquis Marc describes what he knows of their destination from the message that carried the rumor: "It's a pleasant enough place, there's farmers, there's forests, there's a city that actually has a directory, called First City, and there's critters that do magic. Something that eat only carnivores."
Helia has been playing with her small catbot. She has managed to get it to wiggle its butt when she comes into the room.
During these jumps, the Marquis' birthday passed. He's now 46.