It is late evening. The party on their arrival at
Sir Geoffrey's estate is starting to break up, and everyone either
staying in his guest rooms or returned to Nightshade.
This is an early end for one of Geoff's parties, but it was thrown
together in a couple of hours so it is understandable. The guest
rooms are certainly different from the ship. They are all outside
rooms, with a nice view out of a natural window. Furnishing is
luxurious, and they're even bigger than the staterooms on Nightshade.
But before the party ends completely, Kalida Siena,
Marchioness of Nakege, finds Geoff and asks if he's adding anything
interesting to his private bar. He has a very interesting new
collection of wines, he says, and gladly agrees when Kalida asks about
sampling some. He asks if she remembers where it is -- she does,
and goes on ahead while Geoff finishes off saying his goodbyes to the
rest of the guests.
Misha Ravanos catches her on her way out and asks if
she wants company, but the Marchioness declines. He goes on to
Most of the crew have chosen to remain on
shore. Jack returns to the ship, as does Edward "Shark" Teeth who
wants to examine some recordings from earlier tonight.
The private bar is set up in several levels,
screened from each other. There's a top level overlook out
towards the back of estate, a second level in modern eccentric, and a
third inner area which is furnished in dark colors centered around a
fireplace. The inner level is the one that has always appealed to
Kalida. The wine cellar is accessible off this inner section, odd
as it is to have a cellar on the third floor.
Discreet servants stand ready to fetch whatever she
might want, but as usual Kalida goes to browse the cellar
herself. She goes through the heavy door beside the fireplace and
into the cellar.
This private lounge is not shielded, of course, and
she wants somewhere that cannot be overheard. She glances over to
one of the bookshelves; behind that will be the room she wants.
In the meantime, she examines the cellar.
Geoff has expanded this room substantially since last time she was
here, taking out some interior rooms to make space for it. She
notes with approval several interesting looking wines of which she has
never heard, one of which she picks up for tonight.
Kalida doesn't notice the time passing, caught up in
exploring the vast selection, but it's about half an hour before Geoff
arrives. She hears him arrive in the lounge.
Shark, meanwhile, is analyzing the tapes of Sir
Geoffrery talking with his security guy. He needs Robert Morris'
help for processing the recordings, because good as the remote sensors
are, they're not really up to pulling one conversation out of a group
of people. It is, of course, not in Robert's native language;
this makes it more difficult.
Robert has been investigating the local
network. He finds that Sir Geoffrey has a conventional Imperial
setup. He's located pretty much everything, but hasn't bothered
to look into it all yet.
The conversation goes along these lines: Geoff tells
the security person that the ship out there is classified and has
obviously been assigned to them for some purpose. They are to
cooperate with them and keep them safe, whatever they need to do.
The Marchioness has been assigned this project, she's the person for
the job, and whatever they need, do it. He goes on in the same
theme for a while.
It's now approaching midnight local time. Even
so, Shark calls his captain.
Misha is in a luxurious suite, relaxing. On
being assured it is an interesting interruption and worth pontentially
waking him, he listens to the important part of the recording as Shark
plays it for him. He doesn't, however, think it's worth
contacting the Marchioness and letting her know yet. The two of
them retire for the night.
Morning breaks bright and sunny, albeit after a long
night with the long rotation.
Kalida knows they have good coffee there, and is
looking forward to breakfast. Today it is being served out on the
lawn where the party was, or of course in the guests' rooms on request.
Those staying in the house all opt for breakfast on
the lawn. Their host is already there; they are the only guests
at this meal. He adds that he thought they might want a quiet day
today, since they've been on the ship for a while.
Misha is having some trouble adjusting to the idea
that "outside" is luxury here.
Vonish Kehnaan is up early and helping prepare it,
which is enough to drag Shark, Jack, and Robert from Nightshade
for the occasion. Vonish does seem to be having a good time.
There are no organized plans for the day, Geoff
says. He adds that the rest of the family might pop over later,
just to say hi. He again insists that Kalida takes some of the
wine, and in fact he's taken the liberty of putting together a
selection for her. He says again that he really wants to find out
where last night's wine came from. Kalida resolves to pick up a
case of Blockade Bourbon for Geoff's birthday -- what better present
could there be?
Light small talk follows. Robert of course
speaks through a translator, relayed through Nightshade, as he
can no longer speak galanglic.
Geoff tells them they're welcome to go wherever they
like, and that respirators and filters are available at all the
exits. He adds that in this area, the increased humidity takes
some of the edge off the air.
Shark muses to himself that he won't need that, not
with the hood of his zack. Early in the morning his thoughts
drift to Goose, and how they use black tech there. He
wonders if a zack is black tech, and whether the Arden Society knows
about zacks. He then wonders about whether Akim Gavrolovitch
could write about black tech as long as it was fiction.
Eventually the conversation turns to golf, and Geoff
enthusiastically invites them to join in. Kalida is, however, the
only one who plays. Geoff says they'll put together a foursome
that morning and Kalida can try out his new course. They can
certainly get at least 9 holes in before the family arrives, and even
then they're no reason to break up a good game.
Misha asks if Sir Geoffrey has a library. He
is glad that the noble does, and Misha says he'd like to spend the day
there. A servant will show him the way and make sure he has
everything he needs. Shark will accompany him.
Helia is not present at breakfast. It'll be a
while before she's likely to be needed, so she's taken the opportunity
to take a shot of klatrin. She'll be out for a while. Grand
Admiral Baron Bridgehead is of course disgusted, but will look after
her in sick bay as best he can. The Baron adds that they have
other pilots and astrogators on board should she still be out when they
leave. He has no confidence in the predictability of klatrin
The library, Misha and Shark find, is almost more a
collection than a library. It doesn't show many particular areas
of interest, but it does have quite a large number of interesting or
obscure old books. It's almost random in subject, and they can't
find any pattern to them. It's quite difficult to find anything,
as it is not well catalogued at all.
Robert takes a look, and what he determines is that
if there is any pattern, it's a tendency to the quirky and
obscure. There are more books from the Spinward Marches than
further in. Local histories, books interesting for their sheer
age, but many of them have some sort of oddity to them. It is a
pattern of eccentricity. Almost any book could be pulled off the
shelf for one to exclaim, "Look, this is interesting." Checking
the books themselves is very difficult for Robert, of course, as he has
to pull them off the shelf, open them, scan them, and wait for a
Shark finds some books on Ancients, and looks among
them for anything on Victoria. He does find plenty of
books on magic, most of them quirky local descriptions, including
apparently practical textbooks for magicians.
Robert suggests looking to see if there is any book
of the kind that got them into trouble on Rhylanor, but they
find nothing on Willi Marsh. He also finds nothing with any
samples of script language. He resolves to catalog Sir Geoffrey's
library for him. This will take many days, but they will be here
for a while after all. He remarks to Shark that if they find any
books they really want, they can take them back to the ship and read
The collection does include a leather bound
collection of every paper that Marquis Marcus Crestworthy has
published, including all those that were of restricted
publication. Shark eagerly spends the day reading those.
Misha's looking for a much simpler thing. He's
looking for books on his reading level, and has a good time with the
ones he finds. He even takes a couple of books to the "outside"
lawn room, where he settles down for a good read of several books on
various local folk tales.
Out on the golf links, Kalida is having a good time
with Geoff's new course. While her technical game is not too good
today, she does have a wonderful time. She comes last in actual
score on the first 9, but comes out a thousand credits up on the side
bets. Geoff suggests that since it's been a while since Kalida
has played, that they might want to take a break for lunch and finish
off the game afterwards.
As they are walking in to lunch, a very smart
efficient-looking gravcraft hurtles overhead and drops out of sight
behind the trees by the house. Geoff mentions that would be his
father, the Duke. He observes that he's just in time for lunch,
perfect timing. Geoff makes his excuses and goes off to welcome
his new guests, and asks Kalida to tell the others that the Duke will
presumably join them for lunch.