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.