Fading Suns: Empire Divided

The End of the Beginning?

The group climb up to the surface, Foss going first and the Pilgrim last. They find lots of Manshogo bodies and no ship. Come to find out that the shuttle is orbiting and waiting for communication from the land team. When they land the story is thus: there was a fight with a group of Manshogo and though the natives got the worse end of the deal Nigel came out the a crystal spear in his guts, Hikatsu lost legs and part of face, and Medic Vasilov is missing an eye! The Sister hurries aboard and takes over the care of Nigel, managing to stabilize him, as well as Sara who was also impaled by a throwing spear. Meanwhile Corbin finds that the shields are fried and all other systems are at 50 percent or less. As the Gargoyle climbs from the earth, the shuttle manages to take off and limp its way back to the Hyperion.

It seems the Hyperion has also been assaulted by Manshogo forces. Master Lo is bandaged and missing a hand. The infirmary is filled with crew and guardsmen. Even worse, Archer is still MIA . Corbin and the comm officer coordinate to calculate where the crew members were spaced. While searching the area, one of the gunners thinks she sees a body and when they move in closer they see the body of a large person. Alex and Max suit up for a space walk, with Alex in the Pilgrim, and manage to grab the body, an alive but pissed Archer. His thrusters are nonfunctional, his faceplate is cracked and one arm shoulder is crushed and frozen.

With crew in the infirmary and the group recovering from an encounter with a Gargoyle, the Hyperion meets up with five Vau ships at the rendezvous. That morning, Lavinia wakes up to see bright yellow cat’s eyes staring at her in the mirror, and when Graeme awakes he is graced with snow white hair. Marching out to the bridge she examines Alex, finding nothing changed, so she orders him to sleep while taking over watch. She summons Corbin up and looks him over closely and also notices nothing. He has also not slept since the Gargoyle, and she sends him to check on Sorami and Alain.

Medbay is full, and the Sister and Alain performing surgery while the medic takes care of first aid and minor injuries. Corbin does not wish to disturb them and leaves a message for them to report to the Captain when they are free. He decides to go find Lady Catherine. She has not been able to sleep either and has seen no changes to herself, although she admits, “I don’t know much about Gargoyles but strange things have been known to happen.” Corbin leaves her to go see Foss. He seems to have napped but only feels a bit nauseous. They report this to the Captain, and Lavinia tells Foss to visit Medbay when he has a chance.

In the Medbay, Sorami glances over at a table and thinks, “I need that.” Soon after that thought the table comes crashing toward the two. The Sister dodges out of the way but Alain takes a table to the face. Sorami Sun calls up to the bridge to see what has happened only to have it reported that nothing has occurred. After some discussion, Lavinia calls Graeme to go check for invisible assailants and tells Corbin to check for damage to the gravity netting. While Corbin is down at Medbay, Corbin asks Alain if she has developed any new psychic powers that may explain the table. When she tries and fails, Corbin continues to flirt a bit with the initiate. He also notices a nice floral scent coming off of her, though to Sorami it smells like incense.

Alain sends Corbin off and gives Sorami her side arm. The smell of incense is a theurgic stigma and that means she needs to be subdued. She is an Abomination. Theurgic psychics are know to go crazy, and Archer is called to escort her and Sorami to the Captain. An incident ensues where Alain tries to commit suicide through Archer and Lavinia has to subdue the Guardman and have a talk with everyone else. The Captain also begins to have suspicions that the flying table may have been triggered by Sorami, not Alain. Meaning the Sister may be an Abominiation as well. She send the two to the Medbay under guard to continue their care of the crew.

Alex and Sara are having “relations” in his quarters when he begins to see the ebbing power of the conduits glowing and pulsing through the walls and ceiling. When Sara asks what is wrong, he tries to explain and the two get into a minor fight about “it’s not you, it’s me.”

After about 8 jumps and a 1 ½ weeks of Vrilya repairs the breakdown of powers is as follows: Lavinia can find Chaos, her ferret; Alex can see energy fields. While visiting Alain, Corbin shows her the odd discoloration on his side and she asks, “Did you get drunk and get a tattoo?” When he says no, she scurries off to find Sorami. It seems that the Master Engineers skin has darkened into the symbol of a Jumpgate. When the Sister thinks about finding a mirror, one flies at her head which she catches. A bloody nose ensues.

Lavinia calls a meeting of everyone touched by the Gargoyle to have a talk. Apparently Alex, Sorami, and Max may now be psychics, while Alain and Corbin may be new theurgists. YIPPEE!! For now, Graeme only has white hair. With this new information the group arrive at Cadiz and dress the part of a noble entourage and leave the Hyperion to acquire a less-assuming transport to Byzantium Secundus.

When they land they go to see the Duchess, Catherine’s mother, in hopes of curing her disease. She is being brought out of stasis while the Sister scans her. She finds a micro-charge on her brain, while Corbin and Max see someone attaching something to her pod. Corbin goes to inform Catherine while Max tackles the man messing with the bed. Foss breaks the bad tech, but the chamber that the Duchess is in is now cooking her. Alex uses his new abilities to troubleshoot as Sorami opens the pod and uses theurgy to save the woman’s life.

Catherine rushes to her mother’s side and carries her to the surgical suite for Sister Sorami Sun. They work on her with elixir and theurgy until she has regrown her skin and can stand again. In the coming days the Duchess gets stronger and the group gathers strength in order to board a couple of ships to go to B2 and save the Emperor.

They land on Byzantium Secundus, a huge group of Lavinia, Sorami, Alex, Max, Corbin, Alain, Brea, Henrietta, Catherine, Gabby, and the Phoenix Guardsman make their way to the palace while the Duchess and her entourage of Hironem and Seath distract the city. Archer is able to help them make their way past two groups of Guardsmen into the Imperial Chambers. There the Emperor lies old, drawn and full of tubes. Sorami inserts the plant extracke into his lines and after a long wait behind a barricaded dorr, the Emperor Alexius awakes.

After a lot of talking, a surprise daughter, and a meeting with six Order of the Phoenix (one being the Count Vladmir of course!), there are many gifts to the group to be spoken. He excuses all but the Order of the Phoenix there and will speak the the group each individually over the next few days…

FOSS: becomes a Colonel and a Knight with an island on Rampart, arranging the personal security of Catherine. When he goes back to his new rooms, the Duchess Salandra is awaiting him, “ My daughter seems to like you, this concerns me.” She wants no harm to come to Catherine or to have any men use her.
SEATH: serving as a Phoenix Guardsman.
SORAMI: goes to a secret lab and finally heals Duchess Salandra. She offers the sister a bishop-hood on Cadiz, but Sorami still feels wanderlust. Instead, she asks that the Duchess can always show her appreciation by funding the brothers and sisters on Grail.
CORBIN: meets with the Emperor in the basement of the palace. His “Librarian” has seen a dark possible future for him, so he has changed Corbin’s position from Weapon’s Master to an assistant to Hamad the Librarian as well as a manager to household logistics. The state has the shields and PTS weapons to maintain as well as some artifacts to study, Vau artifacts. He only need provide a thesis to the guild who will expedite the promotion. Hamad also has seen some potential he wishes to tease out of Corbin (theurgy maybe?).

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Did you say Taser Vines? Visions? Gargoyles!?
Srega

Sorami Sun tells everyone that the plant has red leaves, purple berry clusters, with a pretty flower that should not be sniffed, as it is poisonous and has a barb in the center than stabs outward in protection. The drop off into the room is around 30 feet. The river may contain something within it, though there is no certainty, and the water itself is probably 20’ at the deepest and 7 yards wide. Leaving Alex and the Pilgrim above on over-watch, the others rappel down to the floor. There is a waterfall coming from the ceiling and there is a good chance the group will need to explore behind it as well. Lavinia chooses to divide them up into two groups to search the banks for the flower and possible fording areas. Downstream toward the Bend: Sorami Sun, Alain, Corbin, Max Foss, Seath; Upstream toward the Waterfall: Lavinia, Graeme, Catherine.

The Downstream crew all have seen this strange movement across the river, though no one gets a good look at it. They also find a obelisk fallen across the river, and as they near it they get a true sense of the size of the chamber, large enough to hold a dreadnought. Corbin notices something hanging over the chamber, a possible human-like face that is covered in vines. The prospect of finding Annuki ruins makes Corbin careless as he begins to cross the river via the obelisk to get to the ruins. Max notices the Engineer wandering off and calls to him, asking him to stay nearby not to go off on their own.

The Upstream crew do not get the same intriguing sights. Catherine is quite impressively nimble and Graeme is in full chameleon suit, skulking about. Lavinia sees in the pool of the falls a pale, naked woman bathing in the pool. When she pulls Catherine aside and asks if she sees that and gets, “See what?” Graeme wishes he could see naked women and informs Lavinia that the voice that says bad stuff is happening is going off in his head. When Catherine sees non existent snow, everyone becomes uneasy. Psychic forces? Graeme sees a “symbiot” across the river and starts to shoot and track the imaginary foe. Lavinia has a small talk with Catherine about shock collars and contacts Alex for any info he may have on her husband’s whereabouts. No Graeme, but eventually he contacts his wife, “I found a pit.” Though he avoided the pit there was another trap. Lavinia and Catherine make their way across the river, behind the falls, to get to him.

Since the Downstream crew is still on task and without threat so far, they continue on across the river. Max and Corbin find an area walled off with an entrance on one side, also around the piled wall structure look to be headstones. On some of them is carved a jumpgate cross. Sister Sorami is too busy looking at the Annuki face, so that Max has to spin her toward the headstones to show her the crosses. When asked, Sorami tells them that they should continue to look for the plant and then rejoin the rest by the waterfall. Amongst the gravestones are brilliant green flowers on vines. Max accidentally steps on the vine and is shocked violently, collapsing. Sorami attempts to go get him and falls twitching as well. Seath radios Lavinia and reports the incidents. She tells him to pull them out and stay put til she gets there.

Lavinia turns to see a decomposing Vorox beckoning to her and chooses to discharge a round out of her shotgun. It disappears. Damn it! Back down the river, Seath attempts to bring the two twitchers from the area. When he removes them from the taser vines, they stop convulsing and are fine, mostly. When they look closer to the headstones there are human names and words inscibed in Latin, though the dates cause some wonder, in the 3850s. Sorami makes notes of the names, as Seath pulls out the vines to show the electricity arcing from them. When they enter the stone building, there is no roof but there is a floor. On the stones themselves are painted murals, though they have flaked off. Corbin sees a high-tech chrome backpack. Foss pries at a loose flagstone and finds a weapons case. Inside is a rough-looking energy rifle. Corbin is almost certain he has found a hover-pack. Foss uses the Falcotta(?) to sear away some of the shocker vines, dimming those nearby.

Lavinia easily scales a nearby object easily, and almost to the face of an Annuki, a handhold feels like a sword-hilt. There is a sword stuck fast into the rock. Max and Alex can see her from afar, and Alex switches completely over to visual optics with magnification. He sees what may match the description of the plant they are looking for. He begins to direct her up and to the right fifteen feet. Hot damn, it may be the plant! She calls down to Sorami what to do, only to get knowledge that what is needed is with the Sister. She secures herself to the face and begins to dig around with a knife to get at its roots as well. Lavinia secures it in her pocket and goes back to the hilt and begins to pull it out. It looks to be made of the same type of crystal as the guide’s. It is well balanced, sharp, and glows faintly. The whole structure begins to move and everyone hears the rumble through the chamber.

Those watching from afar see the Annuki statue open its eyes, as Catherine and Alain fall to the ground bleeding out of their noses. Lavinia climbs down fast and jumps the last 10 feet to get away. When a psychic wave washes over the rest, Max finds himself in a different place. He is standing outside in a foyer near a Ball, music playing. He is wearing the finest clothes and is introduced to the crowd as General Max Foss, Lord of… He comes out and back to the animated statue chamber. Lavinia takes off fast, “Graeme if you want to live you better scream!” He begins to mutter about seeing out sons. Cursing aloud, she moves to Catherine, injects her with Elixir and swings her over a shoulder. Lavinia even sees the naked woman as she runs toward her best guess direction for Graeme.

Everyone farther away see this Sphinx-like statue yawns. Sorami kneels down to Alain to Lay on Hands to heal her. The Sphinx stretches and snaps vines, as it opens its mouth a brilliant beam shoots forth and melts the ceiling. Another psychic wave engulfs the party, overwhelming most. Alex shifts to a villa overlooking lands, feeling peaceful watching people working in the yard below him. It is the most content he has ever felt. Max recognizes the surroundings of his shift. He sees Colonel Newman going into the back of a brothel on Tethys. He meets an Al-Malik there and hits a few buttons on his ear and pulls off his face to reveal another Al-Malik. He shows him a file with Lady Catherine on it and says she will die an agonizing death thanks to his contacts in the Engineers.

Lavinia does finally find Graeme. He is currently fighting with hatchet and knife against a tree, large barbs sticking out of his leg. She wakes him from his nightmare and pulls him away, showing him the statue burning the ceiling. They begin to run back to Alex. Sorami glances around and sees Seath fighting an imaginary being and Alain is still unconscious. He insists to the Sister that he is training young Nicholas, Lord Maxwell’s son, to fight. She coaxs him out of the vision and they all lead Max out toward the exit of the chamber.

Alex looks at the Sphinx through the sensors and though its physical face is looking at the ceiling, he is seeing it staring at him. Suddenly he is chasing a woman with auburn hair down a darkened street, “I am coming to catch you, you can’t run that fast.” She smiles and taunts him, that he is not as smart as her as she darts between two buildings. This dress cords get snagged as he comes out of the vision. Corbin slips into a sight of a burned out city, surrounded by dozens of suits of powered armor. Someone holds up a tablet and shows that their forces are pushing back the Church. Lavinia finally slips into a vision. She and Graeme have been stalking a stag for days, in a snowy forest that feels of home, and the weight of the world is no longer on her shoulders. They take the shot and the stag falls, and she silently thanks the stag for its sacrifice. She slowly comes to with Graeme gently slapping her face. Sorami begins to see her ancestors back and back until she comes to a couple on a ship, the woman much the same as the Sister and the other is a warrior, Almathea and Manteus.

Everyone has gotten themselves as far away as they can, back to where Alex is an anchor. The statue is surgically carving from the ceiling, steam issuing from its heat. Both groups set down their semi-conscious psychics, and Lavinia watches as the same phantasm, the naked human-like woman, steps from the ice. Everyone sees the same. Lavinia is a bit disgruntled, “You have followed me this far, what do you need?” Apparently she has been woken from a great dream, her time has come to heal and teach. She affirms that the woman is also the Sphinx and that the sword kept her from waking. She wishes to give them all a gift and then steps back into the ice. Lavinia holds out the plant to Sorami, and Catherine points over to where the Sphinx uprooted itself. There is more of the plant. Sorami rushes over and gathers it the way it is needed to be stored to stay alive.

As everyone makes their way out of the ice caves, Max makes certain no one gets left behind. Rocks and ice are tumbling from the ceiling from the rumblings of the Sphinx. Foss looks back to see Catherine clutching her middle and beneath a cracking ice ceiling. He moves to pull her out of the way. He pulls her away and covers her with his body as the ice bounces off his energy shield. She comments that the damn visions have shown her what it feels like to be nine months pregnant and scamps on. Finally everyone makes it to the entry lines that have dropped down. Everyone is out of the ice caves and move to the awaiting shuttle…

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Into the Haunted Ice Caves...
Srega

The Mandarin calls the ship and suggests that the ship launch its shuttle to the surface and the Hyperion to retreat to a safe distance. The captain announces that everyone going to the planet to get ready to go in ten minutes and meet her down by the shuttle. Apparently the pilot of the day: Lady Catherine. Sir Alex goes down to the Medbay to help jury-rig an oxygen set up for the penitent.

Everyone is loaded and ready to go and the flight is mostly a smooth ride until atmosphere is entered, meaning normal. The shuttle lands on the agreed upon coordinates. Lavinia, Graeme, and a Guardsman go to find the guide that was said to be provided. Alex and others stay to unpack the Pilgrim and supplies for the trek. All those who went out to secure the site and look for the guide see a humanoid with horny protuberances, fur, black and white stripes, wearing a skirt, padded fur vest, and belt with a sword across its back. Seath names it a Manshogo, a race that inhabits this planet. There is a high probability it is the guide.

As this Manshogo approaches, he seems to be 7 feet tall and clawed. He stops in front with his arms at his sides and palms toward Lavinia. She reciprocates. He speaks and sheath translates. He is Samir Asam. He states that it is a long walk and that he had to open the caverns since they have frozen shut. Everyone boards and flies for a few minutes to the location of the caverns. Everyone is getting ready to go into the cold.

Outside is a yurt with a cavern that has had ice chunks hacked out of it. The entrance will be a vertical one down with some obstacles. When Sorami looks around and asks for Archer, some silence meets her. Finally, Lavinia informs her that he has been MIA since the attack and that search was underway when the group left the Hyperion. The group rigs rappelling ropes and make their way down with no major problems, including the jumping Pilgrim. The first chamber is huge, with many tunnels branching off. When told what is being sought, he points the direction and will accompany them as long as he can, any farther is forbidden to him by curses.

As the group gets deeper into the cavern, a strange eerie moaning echoes through the tunnels. The next entrance is a bit small for the Pilgrim so he will need to go in first to break open the necessary space. Four disembodied faces and torsos begins to come toward the pilgrim. One passes through the body of Alex, while Lavinia turns to Sorami and asks her to armor herself and the others with the Pancreator. The last three pass through the Pilgrim on their way to the party. Once hangs out in the missile launcher and strange symbols begin to show on the monitors. Corbin begins to hear voices telling him to run away, because HE is coming. Something begins to approach from behind.

Slightly smaller than Vorox, five eyeless, four-legged monstrosities with teeth and claws come into the cavern. The come in for a vicious attack, one grabbing Graeme in its jaws and running up the wall, others scratching and biting the group. Graeme begins to hack at the monster, while Sorami, Foss, and Corbin manage to hit their targets with guns. Foss’ next shot goes off mark and hits Graeme, while Lavinia manages to slice at her target this time. As the creatures move in and past the front line, they overtake and kill the Manshogo. Another attacks Alain, causing Corbin and Sorami to turn on it. The Pilgrim manages to turn itself around and Alex takes aim at the monstrosity on Graeme and the one Seath filled full of holes. The one drops Graeme while the other is a fine red mist. Alex and Corbin both draw the attention of these creatures, while the other two go after Lavinia and Sorami. Graeme unloads his gun into the one attacking Lavinia.

In the midst of attack, one of the critters begins to attack the one on Lavinia, causing a fight amongst the monsters, apparently a side effect of Alain’s abilities. The pilgrim toasts another, two are fighting, and all are injured. Eventually the group manages to kill the rest of the creatures, leaving Alain and Graeme seriously injured. Corbin rushes to Alain’s side to inject her with elixir while Sorami works on Graeme. Finally, Lavinia injects her husband with elixir at bring him out of serious danger.

The group moves on, sans guide, keeping an eye out for more creatures and ghosts. The Pilgrim and Corbin see worked stone, telling everyone that we may have passed into a structure. Lavinia agrees that some time should be taken to uncover the iced-over wall. It seems to be a gateway with strange symbols etched in the stone. At the top is a humanish face, much like the ones seen on a jumpgate. Software in Corbin’s second brain alerts him to the fact that the symbols are Annunki in origin. The tunnel has a lot of ice runoff, and will give way to the sounds of a river and the sight of dim light. In the room beyond is a room filled with ice and ruined statuary. There is also a small river running through it and the light is coming from a mounted celestial sun.

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Surprise! (not in a good way...)
Srega

Two jumps away from Srega, the accompanying Mandarin, Dwelphut Numu calls for a face to face meeting with Lavinia and anyone she chooses to include. Numu’s ship docks with they Hyperion and he comes aboard, met by the officer’s of the ship in full uniform. Apparently the world being explored is very cold, and the plant can be found in one of the many ice caverns on planet. Though the natives are a part of the Hegemony, they are not Vau. A native has been acquired to help locate this plant, though the race is know to be fickle. They are great hunters and follow their passions, and the caverns also have predators that the sheaths will not protect against. There seems to be some ice to be traversed and walls to be climbed. They decide that the compliment for the ice caves will be Lavinia, Alex, Corbin, Sorami, Foss, Graeme, Archer, Seath, and possibly Alain, Linsay, and/or Catherine. A pilot will be left with 3 to 4 Phoenix Guardsmen at the point of landing, for the purpose of communication with the ship and possible quick escape if necessary. Lavinia excuses everyone and tells Sorami to speak to Alain and Corbin to speak with Linsay.

When Sorami lays out the situation and the request by the Captain of her possible attendance, Alain agrees that she would be happy to help and bring about the will of the Pancreator. Archer informs Foss that he will be required to go on planet mostly because of his relevant skills. He wants the Guardsman to prepare for cold conditions and predators, as well as checking with Lady Lavinia if any supplies are needed and what she is planning to dress in/take on planet. Corbin discusses the difficulties of his decision with Linsay. He tells her he trusts her more than anyone with his Engineering, but she is torn because she feels the need to protect him. Since the Guardsmen will be there, Linsay is taking the option to command and possibly gain rank. At the end of his conversation, the issue of Ryan Dunn resurfaces and the possibility that his behavior is being tainted by his cybernetic implants. After speaking with Sorami Sun, Ryan will be sent to medbay for tests.

Lavinia knocks on the door to Lady Catherine’s quarters. The discussion within is enlightening. Though Catherine never met her father, yes she knows, she decided to take on this quest to heal him. She mostly did it to piss off her mother, who stopped being her mother at 10 when she sent her to the cold shit-hole planet Malignatius. Lavinia invites her to join them on another cold planet to find said plant needed to bring Alexius back from the brink of death.

Meanwhile, Ryan reports to Sorami Sun for his physical. The news is horrific, a series of brain tumors and failing organs. The sisters pour all their time and effort into saving the man, but the unshielded cybernetics have flooded his system with poisons beyond their ability to stem. The young Engineer eventually dies on her table, and Sister Sorami is left with a death on her conscience. She has to call up Corbin to inform him of the loss.

After a few days, the Hyperion approaches Srega and is brought into orbit. The guide the group is to seek out is Weago. The comm officer looks perplexed when he announces that there was something going slow enough to enter the ship shields. About the time she asks for more information, there is an explosion that rocks the ship. Lavinia hits the alarm for general quarters and rushes to get her armored spacesuit on to go kill whatever comes through said hole. Corbin is in Engineering when he feels the explosion. He checks where the holes may be and finds the front gunner and gun gone, as well a hole in the main cargo bay.

The Vau ships are being attacked by hundreds of small fighters and the energy balls are pulsating. Lavinia gets the report from Corbin and starts heading aft toward the cargo bay. She tells Alex and Graeme to send half of the Guardsmen forward and half aft. Foss, who is left in charge with Archer MIA, leads a team aft and sends another team to the front. Corbin shrugs on his spacesuit and sends Linsay to work on sealing off the fuel leak while he goes up front to work on shields.

Alex and Lavinia take the elevator down to the cargo bay, where Alex has to bypass the airlock door’s locking mechanism. The door to the bay is bowed in and will not slide open, meaning a hole needs to be cut open to the cargo bay. Guardsmen to the rescue! Nigel triggers his explosives, once everyone is out of the area, and the group rolls through the small opening into an evacuated cargo bay. The hole is punched through the bay’s bottom. “Was anyone in this cargo bay?” At which point Foss informs them that three are missing, including Archer.

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As the Ship Turns (cue soap opera music)
Enphear- Vau Space

Corbin goes to visit his new fascination: Alain. He asks her how she is dealing with being aboard a ship going to strange alien worlds. She seems to think it a blessing that she should be a part of it. He goes on to speak with her about his newly aware faith. The two continue to talk about the goings on in the ship and eventually he takes her back to Engineering to show her where and how he works. It soon becomes apparent that her loose clothing is a hazard around the machinery, so Corbin finds her a spare jumpsuit. They are having a good time until they meet a certain Junior Engineer, who has his front unzipped with his “happiness” shown to the world. Corbin intercepts him before he gets to Alain, threatening him with another Linsay encounter. With some more coercion and talk of Sorami Sun, Ryan finally goes off to clean the waste reclaimation units. Or is he?

Sir Alex has put a lot of effort into this date with Sarah, the thruster jockey. Wine and rearranging shifts with Master Lo, and yet she is still not there. Come to find out she has been selected for special engineering duties, that is the cleaning of waste units given to her by Ryan the Clueless Wonder. Alex goes down to Engineering to talk to Corbin and demand the meaning of this “special” duty. Corbin’s irritation grows as he suspects what has happened. Thus the Master Engineers time with the lovely Alain is over. Now time to go see what is going on.

Going into the crawlspaces of the waste processing unit, Corbin notices the smell coming from an open valve. He finds a distracted Ryan, who is staring at Sarah busily working on a leak that has sprung all over her. The Clueless Wonder finds this situation arousing and is getting off on it. Corbin excuses Sarah and tells Ryan that he was tasked with this duty. With a whine he tells him that she is always helps with the jobs in small areas. When the Master Engineer suggests that the Junior Engineer try anyway, he tells him it is a physical impossibility. When Jockey Whittle leaves, Corbin begins to criticize Ryan’s social interactions and his lack of judgement, revoking his ability to command starmen to perform any tasks for him.

At the top of the trap door, Alex sees a shit-covered Sarah crawling out. Master Lo hurries up as she is about to go get cleaned up and asks for her to mop up her footprints after her. She scurries away as Corbin comes out of the hole. While talking to Lo about Starman Whittle, Lord Graeme walks up, “What is this?!” Corbin states that it is waste and that Mr. Dunn will be taking care of all clean up. Graeme makes certain that Corbin will be able to take care of this, after all we do not want this distracting the captain.

When Sarah finally meets up with Alex, she is much cleaner and much better smelling. She explains how the whole system should have been locked down, that the spewing should never had happened. Apparently, Ryan had promised her a recommendation to the Engineering Guild, which Alex scoffs at. He suggests she should go to Ragnar and skip everyone else. When she informs him that the Master Engineer is kind of scary, Alex looks perplexed. The two have a small talk about they want in life, when Alex suddenly asks if she can steer a shuttle. This turns into her learning that he was never an ensign and was promoted to a Gunnery Officer without knowing how to do most of the things he should. Suspiciously she looks around him and asks what he is hiding. Grinning, he reaches behind and pulls out a bottle of wine. Wide eyed, “Where did you get that?” Strangely enough, the talk turns to Henrietta and her strangely fair book-keeping. They sit down to drink and talk and have a very good time with great conversation.

Sorami Sun is in the infirmary with Alain talking about a lot of things, but mostly Corbin. When she speaks about her time with him, she is smiling happily. Alain asks Sorami why men are so easily aroused. A bit surprised, Sorami asks who is she speaking of, not Corbin. Alain shakes her head and says he was very gallant, not to mention very interested in the Pancreator. When asked who, the Initiate backpedaled a bit and says maybe it was her fault. Finally, Sorami is able to get the story of Ryan out of her. Alain feels guilty and even comments that she promised the captain she would not use her gifts, which could have distracted him. The Sister tries to soothe Alain’s guilt as well as asking if maybe they should go to the captain about self-defense.

While Linsay is complaining about missing attire, there is a knock at Corbin’s door. Outside is Sister Sorami Sun. The discussion about Ryan begins. Both seem to be struggling how to correct this problems with the Junior Engineer. He has spent most of his life in a guild hall and may need some realignment. He is young and socially inept, and Sorami suggests some “Sunday schooling” for him. The conversation turns to his faith and his intention with Alain. Corbin seems uncertain of what he wants with her, telling Sorami that it will be up to her rather than him. “Let me ask a completely off topic question. What do you think of our new Decados passenger?” Corbin thinks a bit and states that he does not trust her. He is uncertain if she is a threat to the mission, or if it is just her nature.

Sorami leaves Corbin to visit with Gabby, assassin-nanny extraordinaire. She is supervising Brea’s reading time when the Sister visits. Sorami wishes to hire Gabby’s free-time out personally, which causes Brea to ask what exactly she needs her for. “Lady Lavinia says we should always be mindful of the needs of our smallfolk.” Gabby asks the child to go to the guardsmen and ask if they need help with anything. Brea brightens but worries her father will be unhappy. The Thana assures her that he is in conference with the captain and will be distracted. Sorami brings up lessons for Ryan. Gabby believes that he needs lessons in submission, that he enjoys punishing others and needs a taste of it as well. Sorami agrees, though a bit flushed at the idea. “Or we can wait until he makes the critical mistake of rubbing up against a certain Decados noble.” The subject soon enough turns to Lady Catherine. Gabby’s impression is that she is lost and lonely.

Next time on As the Ship Turns:
Seath goes to visit the sparring room and asks the NCO on duty, Max Foss, if he can join in on training…
Lavinia is spending a lot of time with her step-daughter and finding out how precocious she is, sometimes even outwitting her father. The two wake up together and talk about issues of Engineering reports and the crew. Eventually the conversation comes to Alex and who he may be having a relationship with. Graeme seeks to find out…

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Away we go
The Vau facilitate the continued journey to Srega.

Here is the GM’s Plan of Action:
I would like to be able to use our next game session for some character development story arcs aboard the ship as the Vau are escorting you through the several jumps to Srega. The following session or two will be devoted to your Srega mission. What I’ll need from you is to brainstorm any kind of character-driven conversations/interactions you think your character might be involved in. Any objections??

And now for the story
After some debate and discussion it is agreed that the crew will provide the Vau with some details about the worlds they have visited among the Known Worlds. Each crew member may decide what kind of details they wish to give.

In exchange for this the Vau will refuel the ship and agree to provide a small escort ship to accompany the crew’s starship. This will open Jumpgates for and help to smooth out any potential diplomatic ripples the crew might encounter.

A Vau Mandarin is in charge of the escort vessel. His name is Dwelphut Numu Kel’Endi Vrehn Salamo. He has been sent from the Council of Worthies to ensure the success of the mission. He seems to be a friendly yet aloof being. He has informed Lady Lavinia that they will be taking the most direct route. He has warned that if the crew’s ship stray too far from his own vessel then there might be “unfortunate occurrences”.

Seath is okay with the terms and remains the crew’s steadfast protector and advocate. Alas, being only a soldier he lacks the authority that the Mandarins possess. Seath has promised to not allow any harm to come to the crew. Several of the ship’s crew look upon Seath favorably and consider him to be a friend.

The journey to Srega will take almost two weeks and will occur over 5 jumps from Ophear. Now that the ship is in Srega space there is much to decide. Who is going down to the planet’s surface? Will the shuttle be used? What equipment must be taken?

Dwelphut Numu has informed the crew that what you seek are in the vast ice caverns in the northern part of the planet. He has already communicated with the locals and has assured the crew there should be no problems. A local guide can be arranged if you so wish.

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To Space or Not to Space?
Enphear- Vau Space

Lady Lavinia calls together senior staff to discuss their current choice: go to get the quest plant via a Vau ship while the Hyperion is refueling with most of the crew aboard or refueling and going with the Hyperion and Vau help. During this discussion, the issue of Catherine Decados comes up. Asking Lucky Liam to be escorted out by Archer, Lavinia informs the others about her lineage. Apparently, she was born around the same time as the twins causing Graeme to have a coronary. He suggests several times to just forget she exists and have her disappear. Lavinia stoutly refuses this and continues on. Sorami Sun and Alex are suggested to go talk to Lady Catherine and find out her threat and usefulness.

A fully armed Phoenix Guardsman is outside the Decados’ door. He lets the two pass to knock on her door, which is answered by a “come in.” She knows Sorami but does not know Sir Alexander Danaher. She seems entertained by his lack of house and black knighthood. Sister Sorami explains that they do not wish to have her cooped up, but since she may be a security risk they need to ask her questions. Thus her story goes:

One of the Lady Catherine’s companions suggested she go to the Engineers. They also, like the Almatheans and Apothacaries before them, could do nothing. So she and her companions stole a ship and flew it as far as Manitou. The group had to sneak onto the Vau continent, and the Eskatonic used an artifact to cloak their presence (though an impure artifact. There was a fight, though she was quite feverish and unaware of much, and she knows not their fate. There was a compound they needed to bring back (surprise surprise).

Alex believes her, and of course wishes to privately console her, while Sorami Sun believes that she is a possible danger to her quest. Sorami’s hands begin to glow as she directs her theurgy at Catherine. The Decados picks up Sir Alex and slams him into the Sister. Alex holds up his hands and begins to yell at everyone to stop, if Catherine goes out of the door he cannot guarantee what will happen. And what was that Sorami? “She is pulling Decados tricks and lying!” Once Alex has both women settled, Catherine requests that Lavinia see her at her earliest convenience.

Meanwhile, Lady Lavinia is speaking on comm with a Mandarin. The two most viable options he proposes is: go on the Hyperion with fuel or allow a Vau expedition to retrieve it for them. In return for the fuel and support, they want the Xeno-Engineer and all information on the Known Worlds that can be gathered, especially on Symbiots. After asking questions of the Mandarin on his intent with the information, Lavinia agrees. With a compliment for her calm and peacefulness, the call ends and the Captain goes back on the bridge to be told that Alex was not the cause of Sorami Sun “bad mood.” Lavinia, Graeme, and Alex retreat to her quarters. Alex fills them in on what happened in the discussion with Lady Catherine. Before going to speak with the Decados herself, she goes to talk to Sister Sorami.

Graeme and Lavinia find the Sister pacing in the Medbay. She is obviously agitated and disheveled. Dismissing the Pentitent, the Captain asks Sorami Sun her take on the situation. The Sister adamantly believes that she is a liar and a danger to the mission. With this is mind, the two continue on to talk to Lady Catherine. Her first statement is that withholding the whole truth is not lying. Lavinia makes it known that she does not see it that way, but understands that many nobles do. In the end, her actions and lack of escape and not fatally harming the Almathean gives the Decados a chance at proving her worth. She will be allowed to roam the ship with an escort, one being Sir Alex and the other being Max Foss. Lavinia discusses with Alex that he should be her friend, in hope that she may reveal some of her true self to him.

Sir Alex goes to meet the Lady, and she asks him for something for self-flagellation. They finally agree on wire and move to Engineering. Corbin comes forward to introduce himself. She grabs his hand, “This one is not cybernetic.” She grabs his other and finds it is not as well. “I know what is!” and she grabs his crotch. When that does not yield a false member, Catherine seems impressed. She asks if perhaps they could dine together and speak of his uniqueness. The Lady tells him that she finds she likes men that can handle tools, causing him to stutter a bit. Catherine begins to rub his upper arm and Linsay steps over, “Please kindly remove your hand from him.” Corbin protests but the Decados removes her hand and moves away from him.

Alex shows her around the ship a bit and finally find their way to the MedBay/Chapel. They greet each other coolly, and Catherine asks if she can pray here especially since she needs some purging. The Lady begins to pray and soon will remove her robe to flagellate herself. Alex looks away but stays in the room. Alaine looks on and asks if she is to join her. Sorami does not believe that is necessary since she has done nothing to deserve it. The Sister notices that the Lady has beaten herself into a bloody mess. Finally, the lash slips out of her hand and is gasping for bandaging. Sorami motions for Alaine to take care of the woman. So she applies analgesics, salve, and bandages to Catherine’s back. When asked what troubles her by the Sister, she replies that she lost her companions when she swore to them she would never loose them.

Before leaving, she suggests to the sisters that Alex may make a very good paramour. Sorami smiles a bit, “Let us just say we may have to get in line.” A bit surprised, she smiles knowingly. With that she leaves to her quarters to recuperate. When asked for alcohol, Sir Alex goes to Henrietta and returns to her quarters. Next she asks for dermal adhesive, though she will not tell him why. As he goes to find Max Foss, he runs into Graeme. When he tells the XO about the self-flagellation, the Hawkwood is stunned. “Damn Lavinia, should have let me throw that woman out of an airlock.”

Alex goes to the Phoenix Guard Quarters and asks after Foss. Since he is asleep, he talks to Radha who offers to wake him. Alex and Max begin to talk about his assignment to the Decados. Alex finds out that he is to keep her from harming others or the ship, which was acceptable though highly unlikely. The biggest warning he has for Foss is to watch out for her getting into his head. If she does, Alex will take care of it. When he leaves the Guardsman, he goes to wait for the Thruster Jockey Sarah to get off of rotation. The two begin to talk about what happened on world and on the ship. Sarah is awfully bored with no corrections to make, and she also insinuates she would like to spend more time with him.

Archer comes up and asks if he can talk to Alex. Sarah scurries off, and Archer asks if there is something he should know to protect the ship. Alex can not tell him any more information than Graeme or Lavinia can give him. Archer makes a comment about remembering that nose somewhere, though he cannot recall where. The conversation moves on to Sarah and how she is smart and has promise, but the scuttlebutt says that she is involved with more than one man, one being a complete SOB. He is concerned that if Alex sticks his head out for her that he may get burned.

Seath will return and reports to Lavinia. When asked about his status, she finds out that he is no longer acknowledged by the warrior caste. He will be sent to a lesser populated planet to spend his days wandering. Lavinia feels an anger at this misuse of a great warrior and ask perhaps he can stay with her. She will show him Vera Cruz and he could see the Known Worlds with Vau eyes to help the Hegemony. He does not think this will be possible, but Lavinia will hear none of it. Something inside wants to save him from this mistreatment as she sees it. Finally, Seath announces that he has a gift: schematics for a new console that will make the ship more maneuverable, removing the need for thruster jockeys. She tells him to take that down to Corbin, where it will be of most use and make him very happy. Corbin is ecstatic and asks what he can do in return and is told that he needs a refrigeration unit for his fruit.

The next shift, Max Foss goes to escort the Lady Catherine around. She tells him that she will not be out much today, but perhaps there is a place she can work out. He points out the sparing area to her, and she accepts that she may have to go easy because of her tender back. The Decados begins to ask him questions about himself, which he seems none to eager to answer. Foss watches her eat, and then she goes to pray. After her prayer, she gets her bandages changed and talks to Alaine. Soon after Catherine goes in the sparing room to take in some light exercise. Returning to her room, she again begins to ask him about himself, such as his native planet and history. She begins to talk about her hopes of one day having an orchard on an out of the way planet. Using an earlier comment, “So how many wives should I have sergeant?” Quite glibly he says, “I once heard an al-Malik say it was a waste to have more than the days of the week.”

Once he goes off duty, Archer tracks him down. He asks about his day escorting the Lady around the ship. Foss states that it was enjoyable to see different bulkheads. When he mentions the number of wives, Archer blushes a bit. He tells him that the XO is concerned that she is not to be trusted, and Archer is concerned that the officers are keeping things from them. Max just shrugs to that and says he got into the Guards to get away from the politics…

*Note: Need to have literate crew recollect knowledge of home world’s flora, fauna, and general knowledge.

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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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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…

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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.

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