(59) To Be Named

The Crusader Campaign (186-1123 to 195-1123)

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186-1123 : Mora / Mora / Spinward Marches

    Nightshade now has 593 missiles.

    It's time to head to Adabicci.  They have lost their cook to Norris's law team, but Vonish Kehnaan left them a well stocked and prepared galley.  Mich Saginaw is fine, as he has plenty of MREs to carry him through the next year or two.
    Helia Sarina wants them to do a fast jump (Quilton Jump, as she's now calling it, or Helia Jump as everyone else does) so that Mich can do it by himself.  She is really keen to make sure the ship's Chief Engineer can do it.
    Kalida Siena, Marchioness of Nakege, selectes 0104 / Mora as their first destination.  They can do a fast jump to there.

    Nightshade takes off and heads out to jump at 4g.  At 04:30 they jump for the empty hex at 0104 / Mora.

    It takes 5 hours until jumpspace stabilizes to Mich's satisfaction, going into sparkly pink to feel the essence of jumpspace.  He's getting a good feel for jumpspace, and how inviting it is out there.
    Helia agrees that he's picked the right moment.  They are ready to exit at 09:30.  Mich informs Sir Misha Ravanos, and he authorizes the jump exit.
    Mich returns to sparkly pink.  It's an interesting process.  There isn't enough energy to perform this, so he uses the energy from this dimension to pull the energy out of the next dimension to pull the energy out of the next dimension in a cascading sequence until he finds enough.  He himself has to feel his way personally through those dimensions.  It's fun, and quite addictive.

186-1123 : 0104 / Mora / Spinward Marches

    Nightshade drops very smoothly out of jump at 09:30, with status indicators red across the board.  It takes 15 minutes for space to stabilize around then, and then another hour for Callisto to confirm their location.

    Mich says that this is a very good time to switch missile regeneration to run off the large power cube.  They're in empty space with no gravitational objects around, which will make it easier.  He announces that to do something of this scale, he'll need to turn gravity off all over the ship, and shut down almost all the ship's systems because he's doing a very complex operation.  He estimates it will take two days.
    Mich has prepared the materials and process while Callisto is running her scans.  Those scans are unnecessary, of course.  He knows now that Helia was right to know exactly where the ship arrived -- knowing how jumpspace folds makes it an exact operation, none of the fuzz most people assume is built into jumps.
    Also, he has new insights into the way jumpspace works.  Those vortex generators are a good first approximation, but there is definitely room to work on that now he knows what they actually do.  There's some multi-dimensional apparatus he could perhaps build into Engineering at some point that would change the way the ship interacts with jumpspace.
    He decides to start work after lunch.

    Edward "Shark" Teeth prepares for the inevitable crew injuries that will result from a couple of days of zero g.  Locking everyone into low berth is not really an option -- the crew will no doubt be moving around trying to do normal things.

    Shark doesn't have to wait long.  On the afternoon of the first day, Callisto has hit her head quite badly.  He takes her to Sick Bay for examination.
    There's no serious damage, fortunately.  He returns her to her stateroom.  He'd love to make the stateroom padded, or tie her to the bed, but that isn't an option.
    Shark is curious what happens to the waterfall under zero g, and is surprised to find it seems unaffected.  It is after all part of the life support systems, and even though it looks like a waterfall it might not work the same way as one.

187-1123 : 0104 / Mora / Spinward Marches

    In the morning, Callisto again has trouble.  This time it looks like she's broken her arm.  Shark pulls out a grav stretcher to bring her to Sick Bay.
    Mich screams to shut it off, it's interfering with his work.  In fact, just turning the grav stretcher on has set him back two hours.  He's lucky the impact was that low.  He makes a general announcement for no-one to use any grav devices, and to stay out of the Conservatory.  The latter must have been prompted by Shark's interest in the waterfall.
    Shark straps Callisto down in Sick Bay.  He'll keep her here so that she can't hurt herself further.  He estimates that it will take five days to bring her back to full health, which would be on 192-1123.
    Kalida too has problems.  She thinks she's broken her wrist.  Shark fetches her to Sick Bay, but says that she's just sprained her wrist, not broken it.  He keeps her here too for safety.
    Shark reports the crew situation to Sir Misha -- Shark will cover sensors for the next few days.

188-1123 : 0104 / Mora / Spinward Marches

    At 15:00, Mich is done.  By 16:00, he has the ship up and running again, restoring gravity very carefully to avoid any further injuries.
    Nightshade can now regenerate missiles all the time, regardless of stealth or shield operation.  It is only during the few seconds of a Quilton Jump exit that it will be interrupted.
    Mich heads off to his stateroom for a well deserved rest.

189-1123 : 0104 / Mora / Spinward Marches

    Early the next morning, Helia approaches Robert and asks to have a large quantity of fish oil.  He agrees readily, and hands over three liters of the klatrin.  That's from his original stock of 20 liters.
    Helia then goes to talk to Captain Sir Misha.  She tells him she'd like to retire, take a sabbatical.  She assures him that Mich can jump the ship, do the fast jumps, and understands exactly what's going on.  The ship is pretty good at piloting, and Mich could do it in Engineering if he had to.  She leaves Sir Misha a card with an address on Mora that he can use to contact her if needed.
    Sir Misha says he'd like to talk to the rest of the crew about this first.

    At breakfast, Sir Misha addresses the crew.  He tells them that Helia would like to take a sabbatical from being part of the crew, and wants to know if anyone has any issues over not having Helia on board.
    The crew look at each other, but no-one says anything.
    Sir Misha looks at Mich, and says that apparently he can handle jump well enough.
    Mich nods and says, "Well enough."
    The rest of the crew is silent.  Sir Misha tells Helia that her request is approved.
    Helia says brightly that she'll get her stuff together and leave.
    Sir Misha asks her, "Where do you want to be dropped?"
    "Oh, I'll leave from here, it's ok," replies the larian.
    Mich laughs to himself, but it seems that no-one is really surprised.  He says, "Do you want us to be in jump when you leave?"
    "No, this is fine," Helia says.  "Misha knows where to contact me if you need me.  I need to go check on Helia, Sally, the Professor, and Sir Arken is there too, he'll want to know all about this."
    "And you have to write those books," says Mich.
    "Yes, I do," says Helia, "Although I left you some notes.  You'll understand some of them better now."
    Helia waves goodbye and goes to her stateroom.
    Sir Misha passes Mich the card she gave him.  He then looks around at everyone and says, "Well, all right.  That was interesting."
    There is a sharp bang.  It does indeed sound like a vacuum being filled.  Helia has apparently jumped.
    The crew try not to look like their hurrying, but dash to look at her stateroom.  It opens for them, and the room is empty aside from the ship's furniture.

    After breakfast, with everyone well rested, they take a short jump to 0303 / Lunion.  This is the first jump Mich has done without Helia at least monitoring, with the added difficulty of an empty hex, but he does it flawlessly.
    Robert checks it, of course, but Mich and the computer disagree.  Mich goes with his calculations, of course, while Robert tries to figure out why the computer might be wrong.
    Nightshade enters jump at 10:00.  It then takes 35 minutes for jumpspace to stabilize, according to Mich.  He informs the Captain, who tells him to bring them out.
    This time the computer agreed with Mich.
    Sir Misha reminisces that jumps used to be very productive.  They used to get a lot done during jump, but now no sooner are they in jump and they are ready to come out again.

189-1123 (cont.) : 0303 / Lunion / Spinward Marches

    Mich brings them out of jump at 10:35.  There is a slight shudder as the ship comes out.  He runs his diagnostics and finds that one emitter is in spec but could use realigning to be perfect.
    It takes four hours for space to stabilize, and another hour for Callisto confirm their location.  At 15:35 they are ready to jump again.
    This will be a normal jump directly to Adabicci / Lunion.

    Now that Mich has a better understanding of jumpspace, he starts working on what he would need to do to make normal jumps go faster.  He collaborates with Robert to try to improve the simulation, but when Mich's feelings and Helia's maths come together, it gets into very strange ground.
    Robert keeps giving Mich strange looks.  Here he is trying to simulate jumpspace, and this engineer monkey keeps jabbering that "it doesn't feel right."  It is extremely frustrating and irritating.  What's the problem, does it not have enough bananas?  The simulator might be as good as it needs to get, feels Robert.  It's functional enough, even though Mich is grunting that it's wrong.  Why is it wrong?  "Ooh! Ooh! Aah aah aah! AAH!".  Definitely not enough bananas.
    Helia did indeed leave copious notes, but they are far from basic.  It will take some time for Mich's maths to catch up to a level where he can understand them.  She also left her hammocks attached to the aft wall of the Bridge.

    After Sir Misha's comment on how they used to do things in jump, everyone is very productive this time.
    Kalida practices her Environmental Combat in a safe manner.
    Mich works on his books: Jumpspace for Dummies is sufficient as it stands, the second three-volume set is salvageable with some large sections rewritten, and the third set of volumes needs to be completely thrown out and started again with what he knows now.

195-1123 : Adabicci / Lunion / Spinward Marches

    Nightshade now has a full missile complement.  Kalida breathes a sigh of relief, and considers it neat that they've restocked at the place where she fired them all.

    At 03:35, they arrive out of jump at Adabicci with the transponder running.  There are lots of ships insystem, of course.  There's a fleet and a half of Imperial Navy ships, a whole bunch of Sword World ships, along with plenty of civilian traffic.
    The crew look at each other.  Who will be the pilot now, and why did they agree to their only pilot leaving after their backup pilot went off to be a lawyer?  As Sir Misha says, he did ask and no-one objected!
    The best one they have is Mich, it seems.  After checking the ship's systems, he walks up to the Bridge and takes over the pilot's seat.

    Broadcast messages state that the old starport is closed, and that ships are to proceed to the new starport at P2.  Most of the ships are clustered around this world, with others around the gas giant P3.  Imperial and Sword World ships seem to be intermixed.
    They do have a message for the Duke, and have been instructed to place themselves at his disposal.  It does look like the system is operating like a normal Imperial system at present, so the obvious thing to do it go to the starport.

    Mich takes the helm and heads to the new starport at 4g, arriving an hour and a half later at 05:05.

    Once at the new mainworld, Robert opens up a channel, Sir Misha works his way through the red tape to contact the Duke's office.
    Sir Misha says that he's the Captain of the Nightshade, and he brings a message of extreme urgency for the Duke from the Archduke's palace.  Obviously they don't know about the Regency here, so that would just complicate things.  It would take six weeks for the news to get here from Mora.  He gets an appointment for 09:30, and Sir Misha is given a flight plan to the Naval Base where the Duke is conducting business.
    It's now 05:30.  Sir Misha decides there is no point in hanging about in orbit, and so orders them to the Naval Base.  The base assigns them a landing pad, and they touch down at 06:30.
    They are met by a gcarrier with Imperial Navy insignia which places themselves at their disposal.

    It's three hours until the meeting.  Once again breakfast reveals the need for a real cook, although it turns out Teri is decent at it.  She's still using the meals that Vonish prepared before he left, as that is still better than anything she can do.

    As the time for the meeting approaches, Sir Misha, Kalida, Teri leave the ship.  The gcarrier already knows where they're going, and takes them to the main administrative center of naval base.  They are escorted inside.
    They are taken to a high level conference room, where just the Duke of Adabicci is waiting for them.
    Sir Misha greets the Duke.  He hands over the package while explaining the circumstances.  He says that Santanocheev's rebellion has been slightly successful to the extent that a Regency has been formed for the Archdukedom.  The Duke of Rhylanor stands as the Regent, and the matter of who is to be the future Archduke of Deneb is to be settled before the Emperor.
    Adabicci considers this an interesting solution.  "Rhylanor stands with Norris, right, we've determined that?  Or has that changed?" he asks.
    "Rhylanor privately stands with Archduke Norris, and publically stands neutral, and perhaps with Santanocheev leading."
    "OK.  What's Norris doing?"
    "Taking a vacation."
    Nakege adds, "Taking the first fast safe ship he can get to Regina."
    "Well, that's interesting," says Adabicci.  "What happened, a battle...?"
    Sir Misha says, "There was no battle.  There was some swift diplomacy and I am given to understand that the new Duke Regent came with Santanocheev from Rhylanor as part of his fleets, and proposed the notion of a Regency and the settlement before the Emperor.  Santanocheev proposed this to Archduke Norris, who accepted with appropriate conditions."
    Adabicci ponders this.  He then takes the package and says, "Well, let me look at this if you don't mind.  Help yourselves to drinks."
    Teri fixes the drinks for everyone, which is coffee all around for Nightshade's crew, and a martini for the Duke.
    Adabicci says, "Well, this is interesting.  It looks like the settlement with the Sword Worlds is going ahead.  Our Sword World friends will be glad to hear that."
    "Really? Our Sword World friends will be glad to hear that?" says Sir Misha.
    "Yes.  In the state we've been in here, I would really hate to have to fight them.  They've been a lot of help, and the Sword Worlds have a few tricks on dealing with worlds that are a little rough, a little better than our techniques.  They're going to help us out, and it looks like we are going to help them out in very short order.
    "There is going to be some fighting, probably, or at the very least a show of force.  You'd just as well know... we're going to be moving on Gram soon."  Adabicci looks at the message again, and says, "I'm not sure some of these worlds are going to want to join the Sword Worlds.  Caladbolg is going to be a tricky spot, and I must say I'm sorry to see that one go.  Considering the state we're in right now, with most of our fleets tied up somewhere else, it looks like a pretty decent solution.  It's certainly going to change the Sword Worlds.
    "So, it says here that you are officially at my disposal.  It also says here not to push it.  You are to appear to be under my disposal, so the answer is don't do anything that looks like I might have told you not to.  Also, stay out of Mora for a couple of months."
    Sir Misha nods his agreement those conditions.
    Adabicci continues, "Other than that, the answer is do what you like.  If you want to do some stuff for me, you're welcome to.  It's really entirely up to you."
    "What do you need done?"
    "Some communications, at the moment, coordinate the Sword World forces.  Apparently Grand Admiral Winchester is going to lead the Imperial operation with the forces we have here, plus we're going to need some reinforcements from Lunion.  We need to get a message to Lunion, we need to get a message to the Sword World capitals of the new Trilateral Alliance, and we're going to need to get messages to the outlying Sword World fleets that moved to make sure we didn't go back on our word.  Lot of communications to do, which I can handle unless you really want to do some of that."
    "OK," says Sir Misha, "I'll take it up with my crew and let you know."
    "As for the system here, we're doing our best to recover but it's going to take a long time.  We're getting a few things up and running and attempting an appearance of normal.  Not triggering something like this again would be a good thing for you to do.  Anything I can do for you?  I'm afraid golf is out of the question at present."
    Sir Misha thanks him for his time.
    "You're welcome.  As far as anyone else is concerned, you should be treated as an agent of mine so you'll have an easy time here, and as the message works its way around, any of the Sword Worlds who are on our side."

    They leave, and at 11:00 are back on board Nightshade.  Sir Misha is a little disturbed that people seem to think this was their fault.  Kalida reminds him that even the lack of golf courses is really their fault, since she psychically sneezed.
    On their return, Callisto also puts in a request to leave the ship.  Things have been dangerous, and it's all a little more than she signed up to do.  There's a lot of work to do here with the reconstruction, and she can find a good job to help out.  Shark can handle the sensors, she says.  She understand she's still bound by The Rules of course.
    Mich muses that they could have done a built in amnesia procedure for the issue of Black Tech.  They could checkpoint whoever comes on board, and when they leave restore them from the backup.  They could tell them ahead of time that they will lose any experiences while they were on board, and...
    ...and as Sir Misha and Kalida take great delight in pointing out, they might be missing body parts, have new enemies, might be married somewhere, and have all sorts of other consequences from the missing years.
    Sir Misha says, seriously, that he is very comfortable with the existing safeguards.  He accepts Callisto's resignation.

    That leaves just seven on board now: Sir Misha, Shark, Mich, Robert, Kalida, Teri, and Jack.  Teri says her loyalties are to this crew now, Scorpionis doesn't exist anymore and she has no ties anywhere else.

    So what now?

    Kalida suggests they should head up to Regina and get a cook.  On the way there is Victoria, which is where Marquis Marcus Crestworthy and Sir Geoffrey of Adabicci are on the archaeological expedition at the Ancient Site.
    This seems as good an idea as any other, and this keeps them well out of the way of anywhere they're not supposed to go.  It's two jumps to Victoria from here, then a further two to Regina.  They could take just three jumps if they went directly to Regina, but it would be nice to drop in at Victoria on the way.
    Then of course there's the beans from Faldor to add to the list, although of course perhaps Duke Bridgehead might stop there on the way to Five Sisters.  Without him, they don't have the recipe for the babblejuice.  That isn't in his notes.
    Also there's the ancient data base that they could investigate.  There's one each in Whitestar, Spinward Marches, and Foreven -- the one in Foreven is at Carei / Carei, but the others are a lot more vague.  In the Spinward Marches, it's probably somewhere in the Lanth - Regina - Jewell - Vilis area.  That doesn't narrow it down a lot.
    Robert says they could go back to Goose and try to talk to the acolytes again and try to pinpoint the locations.  They should also report there the experience they had with the Silver Ship, although as Robert says, "That's iffy because they are expecting us to know more about it than they do."  He wonders if there might be an equivalent to the Arden Society for the other technology.  That would indeed be interesting.
    Sir Misha says that for the time, their destination will be Victoria and then Regina.
    Mich asks whether they should hire a pilot, but Sir Misha isn't in any hurry for that.

    Time to move on.