Fading Suns: Empire Divided

Once Again into the Fray...

The group is at the Icon Jumpgate to jump into Midian space and then onto Leagueheim. The Gate seems to be taking its own time and the crew of the Hyperion commences with maintenance, drills, and the well sought leisure. Lavinia’s leisure is currently playing ‘hide and seek’ with the Hawkwoods. In searching around, she finds Brea in Henrietta’s closet clutching a bottle of whiskey. She claims to know where her father, Graeme, hides and the two go off to find him.

Corbin has chosen leisure time with Linsey and a pair of swords, in the engineering room. He notices Lady Lavinia and the child approaching Engineering. The captain notices that Corbin is sweaty and Linsey is hanging from a pipe with a sword drawn. Brea points to a crawlspace for Lavinia to climb through to find Graeme. She tells Brea to fetch Chaos. When she returns with the ferret, Lavinia hold him up and tells the creature to go fetch Graeme. She sits down to wait, making Corbin very uncomfortable.

Surami Sun is the medbay relocating a marine’s, Archer’s, shoulder. He is attempting stoicism while she pops it back into its socket. He and the crew are looking forward to Leagueheim, where shoreleave is very entertaining for those with firebirds in their pocket. While they are chatting, Henrietta comes in to take inventory of the supply cabinets…again. As Archer is leaving, Surami gives him a stern lecture on taking it easy for a few days and let the marines practice against themselves than against him for the next few days. The next patient arrives, Lord Graeme, with bites and scratches all over his head. What happened to you? Our resident ferret took me for a hull rat… Henrietta makes another note and leaves, as requested by Surami Sun. Some discussion commences as to the ferret and wounds.

Sir Alexander is inside the Pilgrim attached to the outer hull. The HUD in the Pilgrim detects missile launch at a craft nearby. Alex calls out to Master Lo Wang, Master of the Ship, to announce that there are three missiles imbound to a ship close by from a position showing no current ship. Master Lo curses and confirms that the ship had been attacked by a cloaked ship. When the ship begins to explode and causes Hyperion to be knocked sideways, Master Lo makes adjustments as Captain Lavinia makes it to the Bridge. Soon the Comm Officer, Master Pilot, XO Hawkwood, and Sir Alexander have filled in their positions. The captain asks for information, since the ship did not answer hails. When the Li Halan Navy asks for information, Lavinia passes on visual and sensor data as well as willingness to render aid.

After a long wait, more information is given. Marquee Theodore Li Halan has just lost a wife and heir in the destruction on the ship. As Lavinia is going back to her quarters, the Gate opens and Hyperion jumps to Midian, waiting another 12 hours, to finish the journey to Leagueheim. In that time, Graeme returns Chaos to Lavinia with some harsh hintings at unfairness. Alex is on deck with the sensor crew and is called over to one of the panels. “I think I’ve got something.” The sensor-man shows a reading that is masking a stealth ship as a star radiation reading. Hemmings, the sensor-man, is even tossing the possibility of Corbin to mask the ship with some tinkering with the engines. Alex goes to Lavinia to report what is going on, and she encourages them to follow and speed up if possible to catch the cloaked ship.

Masking the ship as a different ship, the Hyperion increases its speed to catch up with the stealth ship. The pilot gets a little too close and buzzes the target, much to his chagrin. The ship is on general alert. Captain, XO, Alex, and Archer meet to decide best plan of action. The plan is to turn the ship and blast them with EMP and then take out weapons, grapple and board. The boarding party is: Archer and five Phoenix Guard, Corbin, Alex, and Lavinia.

Pirating the Pirates...

As the Hyperion turn, the other ship launches a barage of missile and a spray of laser fire. The EMP gun is unleashed but misses. After another laser barrage, the EMP goes off and the damage done by the Hyperion shoots up. Grappling guns are unleashed and the ships are pulled into boarding. Mauraders are leaping from the stealth ship onto the Hyperion, including pathfinders, on their way to board.

The hyperion board group are moving to the opposite ship. Lavinia points to the mauraders and the boarders on lines and orders those with energy weapons to shoot. The ex-marauder Phoenix guardsman has leaped and taken a shot with a mini-rocket launcher at a cluster of enemy marines. Lavinia takes a card out of the marauder’s example and hurtles herself through space onto the enemy ship. She takes a minor shot while crossing, but makes it across otherwise safe. Soon enough, the marauders have landed on the Hyperion and are engages by some of the Phoenix guards. Alex engages a nearby marauder with a vicious attack and the soldier retaliates. The knight’s spacesuit is ruptured. Corbin shoots the attacker twice, doing a bit more damage.

The ex-marauder, Nigel, is busily shooting rockets at enemy boarder, clearing out the enemy’s sniper and ten more enemy boarders. Lavinia draws her sword and goes after marines popping out of portals on the enemy ship, after calling over to Corbin that he is needed to hack the airlock. On the other side, Corbin grabs a line and hand-over-hand to the captain. Alex is contemplating the severity of his situation and decides to propel himself to the other ship and repair in flight.

Lavinia and the marine are still in combat, him missing with the dirk her slashing with her Kurgan Sidesword. The marine retaliates with his shocker dirk and cuts her shallowly. Archer has landed on the enemy ship and cleaves one marine and pitchs another into space. Lavinia finishes off the first marine in time for another to emerge from the portal. She swings at the new arrival. She hits him solidly only to be stuck with a shocker dirk and has a suit rupture. As Corbin is crossing he gets a message from one of his engineers, Eflin, that she has been psychically attacked. Apparently the attacker is powerful. Engineer Ragnar warns the boarding party of the presence of a psychic.

Alex has landed with a newly patched spacesuit. The knight takes in the scene. He drops to a knee and begins to shoot his splintergun to cover the group. Lavinia pulls out of combat to patch her suit, calming herself in the process in order not to be FUBARed. The Hyperion goes full burn and the ships begins to tilt-a-whirl, some lines beginning to strain. Corbin calls engineering and tells them to take the ship to full stop.

In the ship, currently in her vac-bag, Surami Sun is called to the bridge. Pulling herself along on the handholds she makes her way to the injured. On the other ship, Corbin makes it to the other side. Alex blows his target to shreds, and Lavinia caves in her targets chest with a massive kick, killing him. Soon after, the turret being target by Nigel explodes and a gaping hole is open to the boarding party. The dynamics have changed.

Surami Sun makes it to the bridge and finds the master pilot with a katana stuck out of his back. The communication officer is hiding, while Lord Graeme and Master Lo are fighting. Surami Sun chooses to cleanse Graeme first, but chooses wrong and finds Lo’s katana scabbard empty. Cursing quietly she goes after Master Lo and finally manages to grab ahold of him to cleanse him of the psychic invasion. After the Master of the Ship pulls from the psychic influence, Surami moves to help the pilot. She gets him stable and then helps out Graeme who is currently trying to patch the many holes of his suit. Laying on hands she heals some of his injuries from the fight.

Lavinia, Alex, Archer, Corbin, and Nigel slip through the hole in the hull. Lavinia sends Nigel with Corbin to Engineering and takes the others with her to the bridge. Corbin and Nigel double-time it down the hall only to run into a couple of marines at a crossing. Nigel hacks the first with his boarding axe with a brutal downswing. Corbin slashes out swiftly with his blade and connects with the last marine. The marine retaliates and causes a rupture in Corbin’s suit, only to be finished off by Nigel. Corbin fixes his problem, and they continue on.

The three going toward the bridge encounter an airlock they believe is where they need to go. However, it is not the bridge. The people scurry around with Engineer Guild patches on. It seems we found the stealth drive. Lavinia impresses upon them that they need to lay down their weapons and stay safe. She asks them the way to the bridge and gets pointed to a hatch with a ladder inside. Leaving Archer behind with the Engineers, she and Alex start to climb to the bridge.

Nigel and Corbin make it to the Engines and hack their way through the lock. Nigel goes in first and has Corbin stay outside the lock just in case. Corbin cycles in and sees the Engineers shooting at Nigel with lasers and shouts, “If you stop attacking now, you will be left alive.” One stops immediately but another runs over and begins to flip switches and push buttons that cause warning bells. They finish off the moron and find out he has tripped with self-destruct.
Corbin moves over to the engineering consoles and commences finding a way to turn off the self-destruct. With only 8 seconds left, it is disabled and he announces Engineering cleared. Lavinia orders them to bring the last remaining Engineer to the stealth room. Meanwhile, Alex pressurizes the hall and opens a door they encountered before the bridge. Inside is a woman wearing the symbol of the church wearing a loin cloth and bearing the markings of beating. While they are getting the lady down, the forward missile battery explodes, soon after a smaller explosion of the brig.

The woman gets stuffed in an extra suit and the Engineers are forced off the ship with the boarding group.

Salvage and Sins

Lavinia and the boarding crew make their way back to the Hyperion with the injured woman and captured Engineers in tow. She orders a casualty report and for all systems to return to normal while people report to MedBay for any treatment. Corbin suggests an occupying force on the stealth ship to look for booby-traps, but he wishes to look at the state of the comm systems before Hyperion takes over a search for the launched escape pods. He and Linsay make their way to engineering, finding some of the ship burning in plasma, much of it scragged. When he pulls up the information on the Comm System, he finds it not online, and checking the equipment, he finds the array damaged or missing, possibly blown up.

After much argument and bad news (severely injured pilot, continued explosion on other ship, possible problem of selling ship on Leagueheim), Master Lo assigns a crew to make repairs and do a thorough search of the ship. Surami Sun is trying to figure out how to extract a katana from a pilot, when a Phoenix Guardsman brings the captive woman from the other ship into her MedBay. She is very, very pale and Surami begins to examine her to find all her wounds to stabilize her. She begins an IV drip and blood transfusion, as well as a shot of elixir, while setting up her scanner to get a better look at her damage. The ex-captive’s eyes open, “Where am I?” She is of the White Orthodoxy, a novitiate on her way to Grail. Her abbess died and the Guilder sold her to the Muster as a slave. The being who bought her was a Ur’obun, Rinden Alsun, who is also our psychic. Surami sends for the captain, and she takes up gently questioning the girl. Apparently Rinden was working for someone, only more webs to untangle.

Corbin has disarmed most of the traps onboard, yet one has even Nigel scratching his head. A device has been attached to the stealth drive and no one has an idea what to do. It takes hours of Phoenix Guards teasing out the bomb before it is disarmed. The Engineer also determines that the stealth drive is built around, not just installed on a ship, so it can only be sold for salvage not kept. Bad news for the Captain, but good news: salvage may be worth 250k firebirds. He reports to her that the ship has been stabilized, fires extinguished, but the shields are compromised so it could not go any faster than ¼ speed. With talking with Henrietta about finances and risk vs. reward, Lavinia decides to cut up the ship and store the most valuable parts in the hold. That way, a buyer does not have a ready made stealth vessel for piracy. Four days of hard work, and a thorough salvage job, rips most things of value off the pirate ship.
Meanwhile, Surami Sun is caring for Alaine Rosby, our White Novitiate. Bad news: she is with child about 4 weeks old with no birth defects. After further testing, her child is fully human, but she is carrying three different STDs, one that needs to be cleansed or causes an auto-immune deficiency. The next day, Surami comes back and flushes out the STDs from her system. The two begin to talk and a story of drugging, rape by the crew, and torture begins to come out. Alaine is mostly quiet, happy to be safe, and spends a lot of time around MedBay without another place to go. It is a day later that she shares that she is a Penitent, a psychic, with Surami Sun. As Surami is assuring her that she has seen much in her life, Archer comes in with a spear in his arm. Growling at him she yanks the weapon out of his muscle, allowing him to feel the full pain of stupidity. Alaine holds his hand and is kind enough that he mutters, “You should keep that one, she is a better nurse than Gabrielle.”

Things to think about acquiring: shuttle, armored spacesuits, new pilot…

When the Shit Hits the Fan...

The Hyperion and her crew make it to Leagueheim without further incident and with a hold full of pirate booty. In effort to make shore-leave go smoothly and to get a feel for the plans of her senior staff, Lavinia calls a meeting of Master Lo, Archer, Surami Sun, Graeme, Corbin, Sir Alex, and the current Master Pilot. When she asks if anyone has urgent needs on planet, the first to talk is the pilot. He states quite firmly that he will no longer be serving upon this ship, and at least does not seem to upset with why he needs to part, saying that there should be pilots raring to go on a deep space mission. Surami is in need of going to the planetary cathedral, and Alex is in need of a shopping spree on the last port of call in normal space. Corbin, however, has a much greater need to go to an Engineer clinic for repairs on his eye and his power core. In hopes of cutting his downtime from ship repairs, he asks if Surami Sun will come when Linsay calls her to help heal him up with her more efficient laying on hands. She agrees readily, and Lavinia moves on to ask about needs and concerns that must be cared for before leaving familiar territory for Vau Space.

Problems pop up like toadstools after a rain. A Phoenix Guardsman has reported to Archer that he suspects an Engineer, Ethlyn (?), of being a psychic from her hermaphroditic sexuality. Uncomfortable with a conversation about sex between crew members, Lavinia states she will look into it, with a bit of a pointed look from Surami. To add to the sexual issues aboard, Graeme brings up the distraction that is Gabrielle Thana. Apparently many of the men and a few women have voiced intent or frustration over her skills and lack of practice, or not enough. It is hard to tell, but her very attractive self may be an imminent issue. Again, the Captain agrees to talk to Gabby and ask her opinion as well as her view on what is going on.

Corbin waits for Lady Lavinia at the end of the meeting to go with her to talk to his fellow Engineer, Ethlyn. Soon enough she admits that she has some psychic abilities, something that made her parents seek out the Engineering Guild. They wanted her to be somewhere she could be different without any difficulties to her. Lavinia listens to her, and though she knows that the church may have a serious issue with her non-penitent existence, accepts her being aboard with the caveat that others will not accept her as easily and that her gifts should be used only for the good of the ship and its inhabitants. Any use on another, except in extreme self-defense, will get her put off or perhaps even killed. Next Lavinia goes in search of Gabrielle.

She finds the exotic woman newly showered and wrapped in a towel, walking down the hall to her room. The Captain asks to speak with her in private, and the two go into her room for a discussion. Lavinia lays out the issues that Graeme brought to her attention and then asks Gabby what her intentions aboard are. Does she want to do Courtesan work? Does she want to use her more militant skills of stalking and killing? Gabrielle also brings up a good point that the ratio of men to women may be an issue in the future, though there is no guarantee it will come to a head. When asked if she should hire professional entertainment for the crew, Lavinia is not really given a definite answer. It could be a good idea, though who knows how long they will be in Vau Space or even if it will be necessary. Something to think on. Ultimate, Gabby decides to go down to Leagueheim and search out the answer of who she wants to be and what skills she wishes to perform, or if she even wishes to remain aboard. Lavinia will await her answer at a later time.

Corbin goes in to get his eye and central power repaired. Though tempted with package deals and improvements, he opts only to get the repairs and goes into surgery. Though the eye repairs were quick the power repair takes another half-day to fix. As soon as he is out in recovery, doped up to his gills in painkillers, Linsay calls Sister Surami Sun. In order to get the very obviously church affiliated healer into the Engineer Clinic, Surami is dressed in a jumpsuit and hurried through the corridors to his room. Having ordered all the orderlies out of his room, the Sister was free to get her glow on and heal the hurting Engineer.

Meanwhile, Lavinia and Henrietta are unloading the pirate loot onto customers in the Leagueheim markets. The two are able to make over 175k Firebirds on the items and are walking along the streets of Leagueheim, when Henrietta snatches Lavinia to a nearby alley. Glaring at her factor, Lavinia peeks around the corner and is caught sight of by the Count Dimitri Decados and his two companions. With a smile he veers to intercept the two. Lavinia’s mouth splits into a welcoming smile and moves to greet the Count. He introduces her to his niece, Asya, and nephew, Radimir. Lavinia’s eyes roam over the well-formed Radimir, while bantering with the Count. She eventually invites them to meet her for dinner later that night. When they are out of sight, Henrietta suggests that they invite Lord Alex as a distraction to the Count. Even more absurb and creepy to Lavinia, she suggests that the noble should flirt with him while there and keep the Count questioning and unbalanced. Lavinia reluctantly agrees that her logic is sound and asks the factor to call him.

Sir Alexander Danaher is riding around the streets of Leagueheim in his car, in mid-shopping spree. He answers the call from Henrietta. She formally asks him to join the Lady Lavinia at dinner; less formally, she informs the Knight that he has made it onto the list of the Marquessa’s suitors. Panic lurching him to a stop, Alex pulls over and exclaims, “What!?” With a bit more soothing talk, Henrietta gets Alex to meet Lavinia for dinner well equipped with a sword for any impromptu duels. Little does he know that the Count Decados will be there, or even the minor technicality that he is not truly being considered for suitor-dom.

That night at dinner was uncomfortable to say the least, well except for a quickly intoxicated Lavinia. She commenced with flirting and being completely out of her usual sorts, while also gaining some useful information. I seems the Count is looking to be on Leagueheim for a while to find a large ship to carry a decent amount of soldiers, though for what there is no telling. Something about a person that had upset him. The more intriguing bit was that Asya, his niece, was a former star navy officer with a good amount of piloting ability. Since Henrietta had informed Lavinia that the Charioteers were of the opinion that the Hyperion was unlucky, there may have to be reparations to be paid to get a Charioteer pilot. She insinuated there may be around it, and Asya looked like she may be an alternative.

The ending of the dinner was not nearly as happy as the dinner itself. Lord Graeme Hawkwood makes an appearance at the restaurant and is intercepted by Henrietta. Lavinia is hailed over and makes some unfortunate choices when speaking to Graeme, one being that she was there with Alex in a more friendly capacity and the other that she was there with the Count Decados. Graeme’s anger begins to show when Henrietta interrupts to bring an issue to everyone’s attention. The newest addition to the ship, one Penitent noviate by the name of Alaine, has been seen leaving the ship with the two Engineers left in charge with Corbin in surgery. Surami Sun is contacted and all Hell breaks loose. With the help of Corbin and Linsay, she is able to get a list of drinking establishments they may be visiting. The list is divided between Surami and Linsay, Lavinia and Graeme, and Alex.

Luckily, Alex is able to find the two Engineers and novitiate before too much trouble, though Alaine is on a table, drunk and dancing. Carlos is taping the scene for future use and Ethlyn(?) is cheering her on. Alex lifts the drunken Penitent off the table and orders the two naughty Engineers after him. He sets Alaine in his car and calls Surami Sun and a now detoxed, aka less drugged, Corbin. Due to the story given, the Engineers are allowed to go on their way, but the drunken girl is driven to a space taxi hub to be taken back to the ship. Surami meets Alex at the hub and takes over with her punishment and dressing down from there.

The story that Alaine gives Sister Surami begins to grow a huge distrust in her. Not only was Ethlyn(?) a non-penitent, but her and Carlos looked to be in cahoots to take Alaine to the Engineers to sell her to the Guild. Surami Sun detoxes the noviate and angrily tells her that she was ignorant and endangering not only herself with her naivete but her child as well. She goes on to tell the girl that she should NEVER trust herself with a Guilder, that they would happily use and sell off a psychic such as her and she would find herself in another prison of a different sort. Ashamed and chastened, Alaine goes to be alone and flog herself to repent for her sinfulness. Surami Sun however decides she needs to do something about this Ethlyn(?) .

Corbin is doing his own chastening. He is at the Guild Hall with Linsay, Ethlyn(?), and Carlos, talking about what truly happened. Ethyln(?) speaks about what her brother went through being made penitent by the Church and how he did not survive it. It was the reason her parents gave her over to the Engineers so that she may be saved the persecution the Church gives psychics. Corbin never knew what Penitents were put through and is a bit sickened by what he hears, even understands that she was trying to save the girl from the pain. However, she was caught and being caught was going to be a problem for him. There was a huge chance going into Vau Space for new tech and riches, and their stunt put that in danger. Meanwhile, Carlos is continuing to irritate Corbin and grumbling about the 30k lost in getting caught. He, unlike Ethlyn(?), is not understanding and, worse, is making Corbin worried that he may do something stupid that cannot be negotiated around. Linsay sees his frustration and worry and takes Carlos out to deal with him. When she returns, all she has is a bloody faceplate that used to belong to Carlos.

Graeme passes Lavinia another coffee to sober her up some more. Lavinia realizes that this incident is going to blow up into a mini-war between Guilders and Church aboard the Hyperion. The two discuss what needs to be done. Graeme says he will go and talk to the Engineers and be supportive of them so they do not believe they are without an advocate, and that Lavinia should do the same for Surami Sun. The plan is great on paper, but not so easy on Lavinia’s end. She knows that there was going to be more involved than drinking with the group, but there is no proof. Worse yet, she needs Guilders to fly her ship into Vau Space, no way she would get there without them. The quest to save the Empire is very important to her and she only hopes that everyone can see that.

So when she goes to see a normally very tolerant Surami Sun, she finds a member of the Church on a mission. Her first demand is that Ethlyn(?) needs to go, that the Engineers tried to kidnap the Penitant and sell her and they have to be gotten rid of. Sighing, Lavinia tries to explain that there is no proof, and that the Engineer has the confidence of Corbin. Shaking her head, Surami Sun begins to explain all of her reasoning that she KNOWS that they were going to sell her off. Lavinia tries again to explain that she cannot just dismiss someone for getting a fellow drunk, but is continually interrupted by an increasingly agitated Surami. Lavinia’s calm being of limited amount she blows up at the Almathian and tells her that she is the captain and that it is her decision not Surami’s. The Sister’s parting words are that the Pancreator will punish her for the sin of allowing this non-penitent psychic free reign. Lavinia assures her that she can take a whip to her anytime she feels that the Lady needs to pay, but she will not change her mind.

In a rage of impotence, Lavinia goes to see Corbin almost directly after Graeme has given him an encouraging talk. Corbin explains he knows what went on. Engineer Carlos was of the mind to turn Alaine into the Guild for a finder’s fee, and Ethlyn(?) went along out of being duped by Carlos. He believes she has a good heart and meant no harm in the endeavor, but Carlos has been disappeared, for good. This assures Lavinia a bit, but she also warns Corbin that the safety of her crew is of the utmost importance. If anyone, either Ethlyn(?) or Alaine or another, were to harm or kill another crew member, their life would be forfeit. If his Engineer were to be caught with the intent of selling off Alaine again, then she would be put off the ship. The captain also warns him that Surami is not happy and does not want Ethlyn(?) anywhere near Alaine. When he objects to this absurdity, Lavinia throws up her hands. Everyone has been warned. It is time to get along as best we can…

Next Steps
- Corbin: Setup factory to produce Pilgrims, Reach out to contacts to see if he can find a linguist, Higher Carlos’ replacement, try to use guild bureaucracy to fix Lavinia/Hyperion’s standing with the Charioteers
- Lavinia: Figure out pilot situation , purchase armored space suits, hire entertainment?,

Wrapping up Business

Sorami Sun introduces the noviate Alaine to Archer, having him show her the weaponry available to her and having her try them out. Eventually they settle on a medium auto-feed pistol. She returns to the surface with the noviate and tours her around to introduce her to the sights she was so curious about the other night. Henrietta, Lavinia, and Alex go down to the planet to look for a new shuttle, something larger that will fit Alex’s car. Eventually they settle on a craft that will be able to fly in space, though it is in need of a short flat take-off area. Henrietta saves them a little cash, and they are able to get the new shuttle for 23.5k.

Alex leaves from the negotiations of the shuttle to meet the Count for a drink. They meet at the top of a skyscraper surrounded by gardens and music. He begins the conversation with commentary on the height of the skyscrapers as well as his surprise at seeing Alex here. The conversation moves to his niece and nephew, praises heaped on Asya while not so much on Radimir. Baron Decados also mentions how he knows about Lady Lavinia’s difficulties with the Charioteers, and suggests that she may wish to go to another Guild, such as the Reeves or Scravers. Both have an interest in space. He also hints that he may wish to acquire one of our group for his own uses, someone able to blend in to society as well as strike someone down skillfully.

Corbin is in need of setting up his Pilgrim factories on the planet. He finds that he is short several thousand firebirds to set up his own prodution lines. So the Master Engineer’s first stop is to Linsey. After offering her a stake in the company, a good 25%, Linsey says she will get the rest of the start up money for him. They decide to utilize Henrietta to draw up the necessary paperwork.

Lavinia calls in Ethlyn, Alaine, and Graeme into a conference room. The Captain has a talk with the two and makes sure that they are alright with each other. They seems to like each other, though Alaine is a bit more hesitant than Ethlyn. Lavinia is quite proud at how mild they are with each other, and decides to bring Corbin and Sorami Sun into the conversation. She allows them to get settled and begins her orders. Lavinia needs a ship that runs smoothly, and the tension between the more pious and the less is causing too much distraction and discord. Since the two involved in the incident see no issue with each other, then she expects everyone to act according to the requirements of their position. Lavinia stands and dismisses the others, while leaving first to remove herself from any further complaints. Graeme pulls the sisters aside to ask a favor. He needs help tutoring his daughter in the ways of the Pancreator. They readily agree to help and Graeme becomes more uncomfortable as they do not move off on their own. Sorami dismisses Alaine and begins to delve into Graeme’s issues, his lost soldiers, the horrors, Lavinia…

Corbin goes to the Engineer Guild Hall in search of a replacement for Carlos. He looks into the postings of Engineers looking for positions and finds a few Robotics Engineers and one particular XenoTech specialist who seems to know the Vau language. Corbin decides to talk to this very rare person, ??. She also seems to work on commission rather than by contract, which may be problematic. She also does not seem to have a problem with an Almathean aboard either.

Lavinia has a talk with Alex about the pilot problem. He informs her of the Counts information that a Scraver or a Freeman may be a good option if we do not want to go with the Charioteers. Lavinia’s vengeful side rears its ugly head, and she tells Alex to do what he can to help her avoid the Charioteers and their demands. She also talks to Graeme about bringing on Asya on board. The Hawkwood does not seem thrilled but he knows he can keep an eye on her on the bridge. Meanwhile, Alex goes on the search for a Scraver pilot. He comes up with the name of a talented smuggler. The knight finds the guy at a local dive bar. The smuggler is sitting in a booth with a couple near-naked ladies. Alex walks up to the man and tells him he needs to talk business. Eventually, the smuggler shows his interest and tells Alex he wants his pay, equal share of the take, and 5 extra firebirds per fight, fully aware that he is being asked to fly into Vau Space.

An Impromptu Wedding
Leagueheim/Vau Space

To be written…

To Boldly Go Where Few Have Gone...
Vau Space

The Vau ship powers up and shoots over the Hyperion’s bow. The galliot takes evasive maneuvers and then pauses, not wishing to cause more agitation. Seth runs up to the bridge to talk to the Vau vessel. After some time he informs Lavinia that they do not wish humans here and that they must go back through to Vril Ya. The decision is made to have the Vau ship open the gate back up to Vril Ya and then to repeat the process done earlier, with an added external power source, tethers, and a better description of target system, hopefully to better success.

While Corbin cannot get the actuators open, Sorami has a vision. She is surrounded by pure while light and is surrounded by whispering of many, many voices. Finally one of the voices is distinct and asks, “Why do you wish to journey down this road?” She tells them about the rift between brothers that brings war and the end that Alexius’ waking could end. They are impressed with her conviction, though question whether this will change anything. After talking with the voices and answering their questions, the Gate begins to move and cycle. Corbin moves quickly out of danger but is bumped of course into the JumpGate’s event horizon. As the shuttle tries to pull Corbin out of the gravity well, the Engineer is unaware. Slipping into the swirling mass, he slips into a vision. He is in his parents home. It is raining and Corbin is creeping through the home, trying not to wake anyone. He washes his hands, younger hands, drenched in blood up to the elbows. Looking up at the mirror, a 13-year old Corbin notices blood splatters on his face and chest and washes those off. Pulling an electric knife from behind his back, he cleans that as well. Satisfied with himself, he replaces the knife and returns to the storage room he was in originally. Inside is a dismembered body of a classmate, a female he was fond of, one that had disappeared or drummed out of the program. The vision is ended when he is being pulled back to the shuttle.

Asya asks Corbin to go get Sorami Sun. Unable to hail her on the comm, he grabs her and shakes her awake. Once they get back to the shuttle, Asya docks and the Hyperion launches through the Gate. A space station is on the other side. Seth communicates with the station and tells them that his Mandarin recalled him. When on their way to this Mandarin, Seth gives Lavinia a symbol to paint on the side of the vessel to look more mercantile.

On the way, during the week and a half flight…
Sorami visits Lavinia and tells her what was shown to her by the Gate. This affirmation of destiny has made the Sister more confident and calm, and Lavinia believes she should share these visions with the crew during sermon. Later, Corbin visits Sorami to discuss what happened in the two JumpGate incidents. He listens to her explain the first as a vision future and the second as a test of her resolve. Corbin seems a little unfulfilled by her answers, not seeing his second vision as one of resolve. When the Sister asks what he saw, he dances around the details. He tells her it seemed like a memory, though it is not one he had in his mind, and it was very unpleasant. Still disturbed by his vision/memory and the lack of viable guidance, Corbin seeks out Taylor. “Given where we are and what we are doing, I need to know how you learned the Vau language.” Apparently an Engineer Xenotechnologist has access to learning the Vau tongue and what is known of the tech. She has a good understanding on some Vau information, while only high level theory on other aspects. Corbin would like to understand as much as Taylor can provide on the Vau.

The Calm Before the Storm...
Vau Space

The flight to the destination planet will take around 12 days. On day four, Alex is on the bridge with Graeme and Lucky Liam. There are a lot of reports of a whole lot of nothing going on, from both the bored gunners and the comm officer. Liam comments that Sir Alex has been keeping Asya up a lot lately. Graeme looks at Alex and comments that he is interested in said information as well. Alex mutters that it would be a lot better if it were not for her scary uncle. “So where are we going anyway?” Graeme tells Alex that they are going to a world named Enfeer, and someone there will get us back on track. Their conversation runs the gamut of stories about the Vau to complaints about half crew on alert.

Brea comes up to the bridge and tells them that her roommate, Alex, had two visitors, hence why she is not asleep. The first did not give a message. The second, however, has a message for him. Brea bends over, smacks her bottom, “If you are good then you can bite this.” Graeme goes bright red and picks up his daughter, giving Alex the bridge. When Alex comments that she will know way too much by 10, Liam tells him to look at her as a mascot. Everyone, even the guardsmen, love the child. Graeme come back seething for the rest of the shift.

When he gets off shift, Alex first goes to pay a visit to Gabby, who is evidently in the sparring area. The two begin to talk about Brea, her studies as well as the difficulties curtailing her wanderings. A little later, the issue of Alex’s visitors comes to a head when Archer confronts the knight about the problem. Alex adeptly accepts his fault and tells him that he will fix this, then begins to ask Archer about dueling and shields. After talking to Archer and Gabby, Alex hides on the second level, avoiding top-side and a run in with Graeme.

Lavinia is getting ready to replace Graeme on the bridge, when he comes into their quarters. He seems to be in the same snit as earlier and grumbles to his wife about the Decados and Gabby and Alex. Playing her part as sympathetic and more sane partner, she suggests that when he is on the bridge that Brea can stay in their quarters. Lavinia would not mind her in the bed with her during that time, or she will spend her time in the drawing room doing work otherwise. This seems to calm him a bit and she move out to the bridge to give him some peace.

Sorami Sun and Alaine are bored. Sorami is teaching her a different view of penance, one that come from a more Almathean point of view. As some point, Alaine brings up the subject of Holy Terra. Later, the noviate and sister approach Lavinia on the bridge. Apparently, Alaine had an idea to tour around the ship and bring snacks, coffee, and water to the crew. Lavinia smiles at this idea, believing it will be good for morale. The two scrounge around the galley for cheese, crackers, biscuits, etc and begin to move around the ship. This seems to be a big hit with the crew, having something to disrupt the boredom.

Finally, the two enter the Engineering Bay, and Corbin looks around to make sure no one is doing something stupid. Linsey is currently plugged into a console; Ryan is looking at smut magazines and pleasuring himself at his station. Corbin pushes the alert button which Linsey sees, but Ryan does not. When Alaine turns a bright pink, Sorami becomes suspicious, prompting Corbin to hurry over to Ryan and smack him in the back of the head. When Sorami asks what is wrong, Alaine mutters something that only confuses the sister. Ryan only continues to be creepy and embarrassing, causing Corbin to seek Linsey’s assistance in removing him. The two move off to the tool room, where a few sounds of pain emanate. Linsey comes out with a pair of Engineer coveralls, not her own. Later she tells Corbin that she clamped the problem.

Later, Corbin goes to MedBay to talk to Alaine. He also informs Sorami Sun that Ryan has injured himself in a rather awkward way. She grabs her kit to attend to the young Engineer. Corbin goes back to see Alaine doing inventory, catching her attention with a knock. He apologizes for Ryan’s behavior. He asks that if she has some free time in the future that they could talk more about the Pancreator and other topics. Meanwhile, Sorami asks where Ryan is, and Linsey shows her to the room and warns her that he is naked. When Sister Sun wakes him, Ryan accuses Linsey, the barbarian, of clamping his “conduit” and inserting an object up his “chute.” She injects him with painkillers and commences to treat him. After he is treated, she sends him back to quarters and goes to confront Linsey. The explanation seems to calm the Sister a bit, and Sorami believes that Ryan should attend confession. When Sorami returns, she sees Corbin talking to Alaine, who seems much more at ease.

A few days later, Alex comes back from a duty shift into his rooms, showers, and begins to relax when there is a knock on the door. Outside is Sarah. Alex invites her inside, trying to come up with a conversation. “So do you like me or are you trying to avoid me?” Alex is a bit flabbergasted and tells her he is mostly trying to stay off of Graeme’s grid. He makes a few mistakes in speaking to her, insinuates that he is also with Ensign Decados. When asked why, was she boring? is he just having fun?, he tells her he is looking for the right woman. Sarah tells him about what it is like to be female on a starship, about being used as a bed warmer, but she had thought he wanted her for more than that. This seems to make Alex very uncomfortable and apologizes for misleading her. She asks him to make up his mind and tell her his choice. As they are talking more amiably, Brea and Gabby enter. Gabrielle asks for the girl to get her bags packed to go visit her father and step-mother’s quarters. She sends the child ahead of her to talk to Alex. Gabby asks for him to keep the mess down, since it seems to drive Brea a bit crazy. Once Sarah leaves, he begins to kick himself.

Another Stasis Pod?
Enfeer- Vau Space

Two days out from Enfeer, when Hemmings announces a strange message and six ships on an intercept. Lavinia sounds general quarters and asks Seath to the front. The Vau studies the message and tells the captain that they have recognized the vessel as foreign and ordered the Hyperion back where it came from. With some back and forth with the ship, Seath has convinced the six vessels that this is a captured ship under his command. Two of the ships will escort the Hyperion to the planet and the rest will go to the Jumpgate. Shortly before they get to the planet, a request for a lesser official to come aboard is sent. They decide to meet in the forward marine staging area, hiding weapons and Phoenix Guardsmen the area. Otherwise it will be Lady Lavinia, Sister Sorami Sun, and Seath to meet the Mandarin.

A shiny Vau ship docks. The first being to step into the airlock is a dark-skinned human with bright green eyes and tightly braided hair. She immediately talks to Seath, who responds, and then turns to Sorami and Lavinia. She introduces herself and her mistress, the Mandarin, and asks for more information on the ship as well as an interest in these documents that Seath mentioned to her. Lavinia says she will allow the woman to see the documents, though not take them, to report back to her mistress. Sorami tells her that they were sent with permission to Vau Space by Ka’zhari Dronsauri, as well as the expectation of an escort. Seath confirms this, and the woman leaves the ship.

When she return, she is followed by warriors much like Seath and the Mandarin, who has to stoop a bit being almost 10 feet tall. She speaks to Seath first and then turns to Lavinia and Sorami. When the Mandarin asks for the documents, Lavinia keeps her eyes down and mouth closed as she extends the paperwork. Her master wishes for several people to experience and see the Vau culture, and they will be making a gift of technology that will assist in them in breathing the fickle air on the planet. She suggest no more than eight to attend. The Mandarin, Zivhara Eskavili, then requests to go on the tour of the Hyperion. Lavinia asks that Seath take Zivhara on a tour and then meet with the Master Engineer for any questions.

Lavinia will call the Phoenix Guard down and go to the bridge to make a list of potential candidates for planet visit. The Vau Mandarin meanders through the ship for a while and then spends over a half and hour looking at all the systems in Engineering. She eventually turns to Corbin and tells him there are many improvements that could be made, but he has done a fine job. Then she continues on her tour with Seath. Meanwhile the list of candidates is settled: Lavinia, Alex, Corbin, Sorami, Taylor, Archer, and 1-2 more Phoenix Guards.
Archer goes back down to a group of nervous Guardsmen. He has decided to bring Max Foss with him, in case there is a need for forward intelligence. When asked for recommendations, Max suggests Valaslav. Nodding at the suggestion, Archer agrees and also recommends covert ops gear as well as official gear.

The Mandarin returns planetside, and the group wait a day or so for the return of the human ambassador. They return carrying suitcases. These are the groups sheathes, providing life support, translation, and help with any foreign foods consumed. She explains the clothing and armor can be worn over it, since the Mandarin has allowed the group to wear armor and carry weapons within reason. The ambassador pulls out a gray jumpsuit with a broach on the right breast. She pushes the broach which opens up the suit; she instructs to step in and then push the broach again to be fully sheathed. When asked who wants the first one, Corbin rushes forward. He moves into a nearby room and strips down to don the sheath. One by one the group follows in donning the sheathes.

After packing and arming, the group will board the shuttle to the surface, flying over domed cityscape surrounded by rocky desert. The shuttle lands in a dome. When the party leave the ship they are greeted by a small group of soldiers and a trio of Mandarins, one being Zivhara. Seath makes all the proper abasements and tells the Mandarins he has pledged to help these humans in their quest. The front Vau makes mention that it is good that he has helped these humans. He steps forward and looks to the group, telling then that he is Worthy Jakaro, who governs the world of Enfeer. He looks at the documents provided by the Council of Worthies and tells the group that they are under the Vau protection. He says they will provide food and lodgings to the group, and everyone follows the last Mandarin to where they will be staying for the term. Boarding a high speed train for several hours, they leave the desert area for a lusher jungle area with trees that have huge, reddish leaves.

When the group disembarks, a group of different, stockier Vau take the luggage. The humans are led to hovercrafts and ride for a half an hour to a very small palace. The palace is small but ornate, sitting on the shore of an inland sea at the very edge of this lush foliage. The escort says this is theirs for the stay, workers and soldiers for the groups protection and comfort. The visitors are allowed to explore as they wish.

After a minor incident with Lavinia and an acid filled lake, the 36 hours of light begins to fall and a equal amount of darkness will ensue. The jungle fills with luminescent plants and animals, catching the amazement of a certain animal-loving noble. When she begins to ask questions about hunting and pets, she gains the attention of a worker Vau who shows her a program used to teach children. Touching a spot on the wall, he pulls up a holographic program about animals on the planet. Excited beyond words, Lavinia rushes out and has him show the others this program. Corbin immediately engages the programs about a complicated Vau culture and how to work the house, which he finds can be completely transparent, sink into the ground, and has its own energy shield.

Archer has assigned Max guard duty outside, and on top of, the house. He sees what seems to be a Vau hover-tank approaching the palace at high speeds. He reports to Archer who goes to find Lavinia. She apparently turned on a holographic jungle, got lost, and went to sleep. He informs her that a craft is approaching. She orders him to summon everyone to the lobby in full war regalia. Still watching from the roof, Max sees Seath and a soldier exit the vehicle and have words. Seath wins and moves to the doors, wielding his staff and donning armor. He comes inside and tells them that the group is not the only one from the known worlds, that a human came in a stasis pod with a label of danger to Vau.

Corbin tells the house to environmentally seal off a section of the house to bring the stasis pod to. Seath rounds up workers to bring in this large crystalline stalactite thing…

A Day for Firsts
Enfeer- Vau Space

Sorami and Corbin go in with the stasis crystal. Alex and Lavinia will stay outside of the quarantine watching, while the three Phoenix Guard will stay outside awaiting any trouble. The substance is opaque, so a bit difficult to make out features, though it appears female physically. Corbin tries several methods to interface or open the pod, while Sorami uses science and theurgy to figure the health of the inhabitant. When Corbin reverses his translator to project Vau language, he is able to get the resin to break down. The woman is covered in lesions and begins to breathe. Sorami Sun rushes forward to help the female. When she lays on hands, glowing eyes and hands and mouth, the lesions begin to close. Continuing to try to heal the woman of her affliction, Sorami notices the disease is not going way. Observing her with the medical scanner, the inhabitant has a genetic disease that is breaking down her skin and her code is abnormal, though not necessarily harmful, and matches Emperor Alexius’ as his daughter.

When Sorami whispers to Corbin that she is awake even though showing unconsciousness, he loudly announces his intent to go over and see if she is alert. He walks over to tap her gently, only to have his neck wrapped dangerously in her legs, showing off of a large mantis tattoo. Sorami tries to charm her down from killing the Engineer. “Why am I here? Who are you?” After a bit more coaxing, mostly about the harmlessness of Corbin, the woman lets her go. Sorami asks what she last remembered. The woman says that her companions and herself were travelling the worlds, though not the well-known ones. They had managed to get onto the Vau continent on Manitou, in search of very specialized assistance. Apparently both her mother, Lady Salandra Decados, and her suffer from the same malady.

When Corbin asks the house to identify any infectious diseases in the room, the computer shows one that is highly infectious to Vau and identifies it with a series of symbols. Sorami asks the Engineer to make a speaker system for her to communicate with Lavinia before she breaks her hand on the wall. As Sorami explains what has happened, Corbin tries to get the house to form a genetic lab. The two notice the crystal is beginning to reform around the Decados, so Corbin snatches a hunk of hair out of her scalp for genetic material. The house begins to flash red lights and announces attack is imminent. When Lavinia goes to Seath for explanation, he tells her that the attack will probably come from bombardment. She rushes back in to tell everyone to evacuate with anything they value.

Everyone piles into the Vau hover-tank, and Alex get the quickie course on how to pilot it. Good luck with that! It’s not especially comfortable, but Alex is able to make the tank speed in the direction indicated. The group begins to talk about how to get out of this situation: 1. steal Vau ship and leave without the rest of crew, 2. go back to ship and be outgunned and outpaced, 3. raise the white flag and speak. Lavinia for once chooses to speak peace and mutual help for Vau and human. She waits for a reply to her pleas. The Mandarin is upset at Seath’s coercion, at the danger this Decados poses. Lavinia continues to speak peace and love for the Vau and asks them to allow the humans to help them. Finally, the Mandarin asks for the group to return to the city.

The group is directed to a certain part of the city. Lavinia disembarks and lays down all her weapons and stands with her hands to her sides. The Mandarin they spoke to approaches. He agrees to allow them access to the information on this disease. The Mandarin turns to Seath and says he has much to answer for. Lavinia squares herself up and tells the Vau that he is her friend and ally and that she will stand with him. The Vau warns of bodily harm, and a possible breach in peace. She announces that her harm will not breach peace. The Phoenix Guard step forward as well.

Corbin and Sorami Sun cooperate to analyze the information on the data crystal provided. Corbin sees a pretty common Gene Engineer signature in her code. With this information, Sorami looks at the genetic code. Having a better understanding of human physiology, the Sister is certain she can isolate and treat the two diseases, the one introduced by the Engineers and the other that is more natural. She informs the Vau that she would be able to help with proper facilities. Being told this, the Mandarin says that he will show them to the facilities.

Alex, Sorami, and Corbin go to the Vau medical rooms, finding a group of wide-eyed Mandarins impressed by the Humans’ insight in the problem. The Sister’s attempts at explaining the problem has caused a bit of confusion. The Mandarin’s seem to have no clue as to what to do. Finally, she is able to get her ideas across to the Vau scientists. So they isolate the Decados and bombard her with an unknown radiation that removes all of the genetic anomalies. After a couple of days of observation, they rule her no longer catching and release her to Lady Lavinia.


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