Robert does not join them. Shark takes breakfast
to his room, but when he enters his stateroom he finds that Robert is passed
out. Shark pulls out his medical scanner from the black ship, and
finds that Robert reads completely red. Interesting -- he's been
reading partly blue recently, and now he's passed out he's fully red.
Shark sighs and tries it on himself. Shark too reads fully red.
Next step is to take Robert to Sick Bay and run a scan. The medical equipment indicates that Robert is in the same state as the very first fish oil trance. Shark gets a grav stretcher, loads Robert -- and breakfast for the Doc and Teri -- onto it and heads off for the black ship.
Misha Ravanos, Helia Sarina, and Mich Saginaw join him. Vonish comes too, to try to decipher the cryptic galley. That leaves just Sagan on board the Third Eye.
On arriving at the ship, Shark takes Robert directly
to Sick Bay. He checks with Teri to make sure that she and the Grandam
did get some sleep the night before -- she reports that the beds are very
The Baron is enthusiastic to have a patient, especially one with such interesting brain activity. He brings up an internal hologram of Robert, and points out to Shark all the strange things going on in Robert's brain.
The galley is pretty much unchanged, even after there are now galanglic labels all over the ship. Vonish starts investigating it with interest. He asks Shark for tips: "Red is good, blue is bad." That's all.
Shark returns to the Sick Bay. Robert is still
out. "So, Doc, how do we put a drip into him so he doesn't dehydrate?"
"Oh, he'll be fine," says the Baron. "He was last time."
"We just left him for three days without hydration?"
"Yes, that's right."
"That's unusual. Most people left without water for three days die."
"Well, he was fine last time. You can see from this holodisplay that there's nothing really wrong with him."
The holodisplay shows various red and some yellow bars; the yellow ones are neutral, where good or bad doesn't apply.
Shark wants to get a basic intern level instruction in this Sick Bay. The Baron replies that this is not regular medicine, and it might take some time. Shark says he'll come back in a couple of hours and spend the rest of the day as his student.
Shark then visits Mich, who is of course in Engineering.
Mich is studying the manual, and while some of it is now in galanglic,
most of it is still ideograms. He asks Mich to try a handheld diagnostic
scanner on his robot, since it didn't register on the medical scanner.
It doesn't register on Mich's scanner either, although he can confirm that
there's no red line going to it from the cube -- it's not powered by the
cube. It is interesting that Shark's handheld did work, powered by
the cube, while he was over on the Third Eye.
There's still no indication of how long the power will continue to run. How long can a 1600t ship run on 24 batteries?
The damaged ship like this one (in Arm C) didn't have any of the batteries -- presumably they'd been removed -- but it did have a power cube. Mich suggests a very careful gravbelt expedition into the 10kt shot up ship in Arm B to search for more batteries. He'd expect a huge rack of those batteries for such a large ship.
Shark says he knows the perfect person. Helia is a flying expert, and small too. Nevertheless she points out that with her wings extended she is not much smaller than a human, although of course the larian is otherwise about the size of an eight year old. She asks for a laser gun, and a nice bright light around her head. Of course she'll be wearing her zack -- she does everything but shower in it. She'll also bring a handful of her toys.
Mich will accompany her, with gravbelt. He'll take a diagnostic tool so if they do find the batteries, they need only take ones that work.
Shark, of course, will spend the whole day with the Doc in Sick Bay. No-one envies him.
The engineer and the larian leave the black ship,
and make their way through the station to Arm B, where the large ship resides.
They walk out onto the platform and look at the swiss cheese ship.
The ship has similar outriggers, which would presumably be the maneuver drive. That gives them a pretty good guess for finding the Engineering section, if it's laid out like the smaller ships. Actually, the ship has only one outrigger remaining -- the near one -- while the absence of the far one makes for an easy entry to Engineering.
The two of them make their way carefully into the ship. The whole section is a twisted mass of metal, except for the parts that aren't there at all now, but they can see that the layout is very similar to that of the smaller ships. Mich glances over at the jump drive -- it has been torn apart by something, ripped and scored as if solid metal were modeling clay. Radiation levels are normal.
It's particularly difficult maneuvering in here. They proceed slowly and very carefully.
Mich works his way over to the power cube, after finding it knocked across the floor. This one is about three and a half meters a side, a good bit larger in volume than the one in the smaller ship -- about 5 times larger, in fact.
Then they move carefully back to the electronic shop, where the rack of batteries was located on the other ship. This one too has an identical rack, laid out for 36 of the rods -- there are apparently no more here than on the smaller ships. Not all the batteries are in place, however, and of those that are, not many show up as working on Mich's handheld diagnostic indicator.
Nevertheless, Mich and Helia carry out five working batteries. This still doesn't give them the 24 it took to start up the power cube.
Mich muses, "If we could figure out how to recharge... evidently they can be recharged, or once they were drained they would be blue. But apparently they degrade over time. If they couldn't be recharged, there really wouldn't be much sense in keeping ones that were blue."
Helia replies, "That makes sense. But you know, if the ship is nothing but a big mind-sucking joe, it'll start recharging once people are on board..."
Mich laughs nervously.
"Do you think the ship could be a big mind-sucking joe?" continues Helia. "I don't know, there's a good chance it could."
Mich pointedly ignores her as they make their way very carefully out of the ship, then return to the intact ship. After the tension of the mission, Helia takes a nice long relaxing flight all the way back.
Mich tests the five salvaged batteries. He
is pleased to find that all of them are charged.
Shark asks Mich if they found any bodies. The engineer replies that there were no bodies at all. He then asks Mich about the launch in the hangar. Does it have a power cube? Does it have a hole in the wall with two prongs?
Mich replies that it has none of these.
"Where does it get it's power?" asks Shark.
Mich laughs, "This line right here." He points out a power line on the holodisplay that shows that the launch is powered from the ship's power cube. The boat does have some systems under the deck, but there are no power plants or fuel on board.
It's now lunchtime. Vonish has been working
with the galley, and has figured out how to operate a stove. If they
want to bring some supplies from the Third Eye, he can cook here.
Helia and Teri go back to the Imperial ship to fetch some food.
Shark continues working with the Doc. He tries
to direct the Baron towards procedures that are actually useful, i.e. first
aid, automated surgery through the holodisplay, and so on. Shark
doesn't plan on doing any brain transplants or memory transfer. Most
of the equipment here doesn't really need a fully qualified doctor, and
Shark could direct a trauma unit here, and stabilize everyone with the
automated surgery capabilities.
Shark asks the Baron how long it would take to grow him a new elbow, to replace his artificial one. Apparently it would take no more than a month.
Also, it is Bridgehead's opinion that this Sick Bay was designed for fully human patients. He's sure he could work on any number of races, but the autodiagnostic capabilities are primarily intended for humans -- or at least beings with a very high human component. He hasn't been able to find where the crew's medical records were stored, but he has Robert's data stored, and brings that up to show his student.
While he does, Shark asks Mich if he can figure out from the power display where medical information is physically stored. That isn't something that shows up. Shark's idea is to find out where on the other black ships crew information might be stored, but it looks like they won't be able to do that yet, anyway.
Vonish prepares lunch and serves it in the lounge.
This area also has transparent walls, looking out on the bay of A Arm.
During lunch Shark works out in the gym with his zack.
After lunch, at Shark's encouragement, Vonish tries
simply cutting open one of the containers. He plops something that
looks like a thick soup into a pan.
Shark scans it, and that along with how it smells indicates it's probably a thick vegetable broth or puree. He can't identify what plants it might be derived from.
Shark and Vonish taste it. It's ok as a basic ingredient, nothing wrong with it, but the vilani wouldn't serve it as it is. His standards are much higher than that.
Shark scans himself, then Vonish. Apparently they are both still healthy.
Now they have a symbol that translates into vegetable broth. Shark estimates that there is food stored in the galley for several weeks to a month. Some of the cabinets are empty -- there's room to add more supplies, spices, and so on.
Shark asks Vonish if he's looked at the plants in the solarium.
Vonish replies that he's only seen the galley and the lounge so far.
So Shark takes Vonish back through Engineering. He observes that apparently the builders of the ship trusted everyone on board, as they don't make Engineering off limits, and they even have to go through there to reach the solarium. He leaves Vonish to wander through the garden while he returns to continue his medical education.
Later, Shark announces to the crew: "Anyone who wants
to spend the night aboard this ship, go back and get what you want from
the Third Eye. Misha, what do you think about leaving the
starfish aboard by hirself?"
Misha points out that Sagan is alone on the ship right now. Anyway, Helia locked the pilot console, so the hiver can't fly it away anyway.
Mich's list of items of course includes a self-powered coffee pot for engineering. He for one realizes that there's no power outlets on the black ship. On his list, however, is a fuel cell and some fuel for it, so they can run Imperial items on board.
Teri and Shark take the list, and fetch everything from the Third Eye.
Mich takes some monitoring gear to the platform outside the ship. He is astonished to find that there are no emissions at all detectable, at least with the ship powered up but sitting still.
The crew start dividing up the staterooms between
them. The staterooms are very large and luxurious, but with only
one bed. The spacer veterans in particular are surprised that a room
that large could be single occupancy.
Helia picks room 14, close to the bridge. She scatters her toys around it, and will go back for more. There isn't anywhere for her to hang her hammock, but Mich can help her set up a couple of suction hooks to use for that.
Misha, as captain, takes number 17. Like Helia, he wants to be as near the Bridge as possible.
Mich picks one of the aft staterooms, room 25, to be near Engineering.
Shark takes an aft stateroom too, room 22. He wants to be on the other side of the ship, and as far away as possible, from the captain. That way the chance of both the captain and first officer being incapacitated by an accident are minimized.
Baron Bridgehead takes another aft stateroom, number 24, for easy access to Sick Bay.
Teri takes the room next door to Misha.
Mich assesses what he'll need to run Imperial electric
equipment. He'll take gear from the station Arm workshop -- like
batteries and charging units -- and run them from a fuel cell setup, with
portable hydrogen tanks. That should last a very long time, since
all they're doing is charging batteries -- and powering the robot pets,
of course. Then there's laser weapons to charge, and battledress
and FGMP's to refuel...
All that equipment, and more personal gear, is moved over to the ship. Everyone but the hiver will stay on the black ship for at least a few days, while they work on it. They're not planning to abandon the Third Eye (says Shark), but they'll be concentrating on this ship for a while now.
Mich wants to measure emissions with the ship's maneuver
drive operating. He and Shark go outside, and do their thing while
Helia flies the ship.
Mich and Shark see a blue glow from the rear of the outriggers -- but that's it. There are no other emissions at all. The only way to detect the ship would be with visual sensors, not power detection or anything like that.
Helia has fun swooping the ship around in sparkly pink mode. She brings it back into a perfect landing. Every time she does this, she gets more comfortable with the ship. She resolves to practice again tomorrow. Maybe then she'll practice with the regular controls as well as sparkly pink mode.
Before settling down for the night, at Shark's request Helia goes back to the Third Eye to run a sensor check. Nothing has come into this system, or flown anywhere. The only thing registering is the starport beacon.
When she comes back, she tries the sensors on the
black ship. She goes into sparkly pink mode... it's sort of similar
to the pilot mode, but she can move her point of view around. Right
now she can only get to the wall of the container.
"Can you get outside the container?" asks Shark.
"I'm at the wrong station to do that," says Helia.
"Because the sensors are limited by the fact that we're inside another container. I think I could get used to it and pick up more, but right now what the ship really knows about is the stuff inside here. Once we're more attuned and it's, you know, done it's mind-sucking joe thing..." -- for Mich's benefit -- "...it should be much more attuned to me, just like piloting it is."
The squatters on the black ship spend the night very comfortably. As they settle down to sleep, the lights in their staterooms dim.
After the captain has retired to his room, Shark
goes to the command center on the Bridge and tries the systems. He
notes that in certain areas of the ship, like the staterooms, the crew's
exact location is not available, just the information that they're in the
room. He plays with the system for a while, shifting points of view,
zooming in and out, and so on.
Shark then returns to his stateroom. He says "Opaque the wall, please," and his view window becomes a solid wall. He smiles at having managed to make the ship to work for him again.
Mich wonders about moving the Third Eye into this bay. Shark is concerned that they might get stuck in here, and he doesn't want to have to shoot their way out -- especially since all the 720 missiles on board the black ship are nuclear.
Shark asks the ship to teach them it's language,
but it merely says "I don't know." He brings up a dictionary and
encyclopedia on his hand computer, and continues with Robert's work teaching
the ship galanglic. After that he continues with other basic books.
He intends to spend most of the day on this.
Mich also feeds the computer technical engineering texts, including his papers on jump drive work -- the correct version, without the deliberate mistakes.
In the late afternoon, Robert wakes up.
(Referee and Character's player only)
Baron Bridgehead examines him carefully. He
finds changes in the brain chemistry related to the ones he detected after
the first fish oil trance, but there's no traces of the charging-up phenomenon.
He intends to monitor his patient every few hours. He asks Robert
how much he drank, and it seems he had what would be a regular shot.
Back on Goose, it was
served in a round-bottom 40cc glass.
Robert's first comment is on the displays: "You changed them all."
"Yes, I have most of it to where I can understand it."
"I guess if it helps you..."
"Yes. It helps to read it."
Shark cuts in, "Are you implying you can read them without the changes?"
"A lot of it."
"I definitely need a couple of shots of that stuff," laughs Shark.
"It's just tremendously easier this way. It makes so much more sense."
"Well, on your consoles... but for those of us who haven't yet learned to read... maybe you can start teaching me?"
Robert shakes his head sadly.
"You can't teach me?"
"I'll have to talk it over with the captain and see if I need to go on a drinking binge."
"OK, well I suppose you want more of the stuff translated."
"Well, we're working with the dictionary."
"Yes, but while you were asleep that was the best we could do. I think first help with engineering. The most important to the survival of people travelling on a ship is engineering. Then comes astrogation, and piloting, and so on and so forth. So let's work at that now."