(8) To Be Named

The Nightshade Campaign (061-1123 to ???-1123)

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061-1123 : Adabicci / Lunion / Spinward Marches

    Nightshade has arrived in the Adabicci system, out of stealth mode and with the usual transponder signal indicating they're a private yacht from Dulu in Foreven sector.  It's three weeks until Marquis Marcus Crestworthy is due to arrive.
    Mich has been working on several jump drive books: Jump Drive for Dummies, and The Tao of Jumpspace.
    Since they're here openly, picking up news is easy and straightforward. now they've cleared the blackout in Five Sisters, they find there's a lot of items waiting for them:
    The Tukera items look like the Imperium really is going to give the megacorporation a hard time, pushing their more marginal activities further out towards the borders of the Imperium.  The ruling against them includes a nice little quote about "expansionist means of conducting business should be reserved for places that are expanding."  For Imperial worlds, Tukera will require Imperial approval for trade monopolies, to ensure they are not being declared unilaterally.  Even though this only applies for new situations, Kalida Siena, Marchioness of Nakege, declares she likes this ruling very much.
    As far as Tussinian is concerned, Tukera is not being permitted to have a monopoly there.  The monopoly status they claimed is being revoked and denied.
    Mich Saginaw notes with surprise that Berlin was caught on the ground, and did a very dangerous jump at one diameter.  The report says they were under fire all the way up, and jumped at one diameter after sustaining damage.  There has been no further sightings reported.  It's been a long time since there was any report about pirate activity -- the last item was that the Berlin was involved in a shootout with another pirate.  Mich voices his opinion that this is probably the end of the Berlin.  Severe damage usually puts holes in the jump grid, and jumping from 1d is a bad idea even in a perfect ship.
    Pannet is finally recovering from the crash of a merchant ship into the Downport Dome.  For once this had nothing to do with Nightshade or her crew.
    Obviously the whole description of the matter in Five Sisters has nothing to do with what's actually happening in the area.  The problem is how to tell the government about it -- how did they come across the information, and how do they know where they're going, especially as the commander of at least one of those fleets hadn't even been given those orders yet.
    They could not have left just before the blackout -- the timing just does not work that way.  They would have had to have left Five Sisters illicitly, perhaps trading whisky for fuel.  Perhaps they could blame a misjump somehow, although Helia Sarina insists that if they do, it has to be clear it's Mich's fault.  The news from Five Sisters was just 35 days after they left Rhylanor, and were very much in the public notice there.  They left Rhylanor on 247, and the news item was on 272.  So if they ran into someone in, say, Saxe -- in Five Sisters but not in the Imperium -- they maybe could pick it up there?
    Sir Geoffrey of Adabicci was born in 1074, the same age as Marquis Marc.  There's enough people in their group who know him personally for him not to question the source of information, especially since he'd believe them if they said it was a somewhat disreputable source.
    The first thing, of course, is to find out where Adabicci stands.  They must do that before sharing any information.
    Edward "Shark" Teeth proposes a timescale.  On 312, maybe 315, they met some disreputable person on Saxe.  They certainly could have got here in that time.  If asked how they know this person, they can simply say they'd prefer he not ask -- bourbon transactions are sometimes not tracked legally.
    Suddenly Shark brightens and says he would love it if they could blame it on the woman who had him arrested -- Darya Krelft.
    The question now is how much information to give him.  Should they give the whole database dip?  That would of course depend on making sure he's on the "right" side, whichever side that is.
    The military here in this system is normal.  There is no build-up, no setting to receive fleets, normal security.
    Last time they were here, they were on H.M.S. Third Eye.  Marquis Marc had still not left yet, and in fact celebrated his birthday on board.
    Kalida says the very first thing is to make contact.  Shark is concerned about the right procedure to do this.  Kalida says she could probably just knock on the door and say "Hi!", but Shark would rather be more subtle.  Kalida convinces him that they should definitely go for a less formal approach, or Sir Geoffrey would suspect something was odd.
    So Kalida sends a personal message saying she's in the system, and invites him to dinner with them.
    In about an hour, Sir Geoffrey calls Kalida back, delighted that she's here.  He insists she come in to land by his mansion, and Kalida is happy to oblige.  He says he'll start the arrangements for a party.  He asks how big is Kalida's ship, and she tells him the dimensions.  It's a particularly long ship, and will take special arrangements rather than just dropping it on the front lawn.  He says he'll get some sheep moved and put down a big white 'X' to mark the landing.
    Sir Geoffrey's estate is around the far side of the world, and it will take several hours to get there at reasonable speeds.  Helia takes them there efficiently and lands perfectly on the X.  Nightshade is in the color scheme with windows showing and the red maltese cross on the sidepods.
    Shark muses that the last time he saw a ship like this, Sir Geoffrey almost died and lots of people freaked out.  But at least this time the windows are open.  Shark suggests they land using the landing legs to look as normal as possible.
    The crew eagerly -- or anxiously -- await Sir Geoffrey's reaction.  They watch him as the ship makes the approach.
    Helia settles them on the legs, letting the weight rest on the legs but setting the drives to hold it there.  The house is about 500 meters away.
    Sir Geoffrey is still standing watching the ship, ahead of a group of vehicles and people.