(11) Dogfight

The Regency Campaign (243-1123 to 249-1123)

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243-1123 : Regina / Regina / Spinward Marches

   Sir Misha Ravanos, Mich Saginaw, and Teri Cralla return to Nightshade, where a situation has arisen with the person who is supposed to be the new cook.  Misha is needed to deal with the command issues, while Shark requested Mich to scan Chuck's weapon cases and to assess the modifications the vargr requested.  Teri is merely along to watch the show.
    Kalida Siena, Marchioness of Nakege, briefs her Captain as he comes on board.  Those weapon cases are still on the cargo lift with the nose of Wandering Pearl.  Misha says that Mich need not worry about scanning them at this time, and that he is not to consider Chuck's modifications yet either.  There is a more important matter to handle at the moment, and that's the question of who is in command, Misha or Chuck.

    Misha goes straight to his quarters, where he leaves a message for his new cook to meet him there.  When Chuck does not arrive, he checks with the ship -- was there a problem delivering the message?  The ship assures him the new cook has been informed.  Five minutes pass.  Misha walks to the cook's stateroom.  The door is open.

    Misha makes an impressive entrance, with his zack, cape, and sword.
    Chuck is sitting in front of the computer terminal.  He does not look around when Misha enters.
    Misha says, "Are you busy?"
    "Who are you?" says Chuck.
    "I'm the Captain."
    "Ah, you're the person who calls himself the captain, are you?  I've been waiting to meet you."
    "I've been waiting to meet you."
    "I've been waiting," Misha continues, "In my quarters.  Were you not informed?"
    "I was informed."
    "And why are you still sitting here?"
    "I am still sitting here because I wanted to see what you would do."
    Misha almost grins.
    Chuck points at Misha's sword.  "Do you know how to use that thing, or is it just to make you look tough?"
    "I think I know how to use it."
    "Shall we find out?"
    "If it would make the rest of our relationship go smoother, fine."
    "I assume my weapons are on board and you have not chosen to release them yet."
    "They are waiting... to see what you would do," Misha smiles.
    Chuck grins a toothy grin at Misha.  "This is going to be interesting.  Good."  He pauses, then asks, "You do understand what we are fighting for?"
    "Not really.  Perhaps you will inform me."
    "I propose a formal duel, as done by my people, and what we are fighting for is whether I respect you or not.  If I respect you, I will be a loyal member of your pack.  If I do not respect you, I will remain an outsider who is here under orders of his previous leader.  That is what the fight is about."
    "OK," says Misha.
    "Now, a few things.  It will be a formal duel to first blood.  We will fight naked, with our swords, in front of the entire crew.  They will not be permitted to offer assistance.  They are welcome to cheer, and they are welcome to bet, but the whole crew must watch.  The new pack must witness it -- they need to see what their leader is made of too.  Is now good?"
    "Excellent.  Is the whole crew here?"
    "That will be acceptable."
    "Preferably in open space, outside."
    "Under the ship?"
    "Certainly.  Somewhere the crew can watch in person."

    Shark's first concern is to make sure there are no paparazzi.  The area is clear, but of course he can't assess whether any of the staff are about to retire and want to make money.

    Misha first announces to all the crew, including Lucas, that everyone is recalled to duty and that the new cook and himself will be doing a demonstration of arms under the ship immediately.  He then calls Shark and Mich to help the new cook find his sword.
    The Captain looks at the vargr, then leaves.

    Shark quickly briefs Misha on what they know about Chuck, including what they know they don't know and what that implies.  He has already checked that the tranq rounds in his gauss pistol will work on vargr.
    Misha then goes to his stateroom and tries to look up vargr and the formal fights.  He wants to know what is meant by "naked" in particular.  Unfortunately vargr cultures are far too varied, and there is no record of what it means.  It's possible that no-one in the Imperium knows what Chuck was talking about.  He strips to underwear and takes up his blade.
    The last thing Misha does before going down for the fight is to tell Teri that the demonstration is supposed to be to first blood, and she is to make sure it stays that way.

    Shark accompanies Chuck to fetch his sword from his weapons cases on the cargo lift.  Chuck offers to open them both, and when Shark nods he does so.  The second one contains a full set of vargr battledress with weapons and accessories.
    The first one contains Chuck's sword.  It would probably be called a sabre, although it's more curved and longer than traditional human sabres.  It also seems to be made of a non-traditional material, apparently the best that can be made at tech level 15 craftmanship.  It's a plain sword, not anything with tech assist, and when Shark scans it with his bioscanner he confirms it is not poisoned.
    Chuck says Shark is welcome to examine his other weapons, but does not recommend trying them.  Immediately to view are a bow and arrows, again high tech materials in a simple design, and also what looks like a very long muzzle loading flintlock rifle, or rather the best rendering of it tech level 15 can do.
    Shark warns Chuck that there is a history of people dying on hunts with this group.
    Chuck says they can fix that, or continue it if that's what they want.
    Shark says it was the guy with the gun who died.
    The vargr grins and says that perhaps one of these days Shark should try his gun.  He points out the powder containers, and the ammunition.  Shark says they can continue looking at them after the fight; Chuck agrees, as then they will know the basis on which they look at them.

    With the crew gathered, Misha and Chuck face off under Nightshade for the formal duel.
    Chuck says, "I shall not salute you before the fight.  If you are worthy of the salute after the fight, I shall do so then."  He adds quietly, "Until we do so, we do not know where we stand."
    Chuck says, "We can start when you are naked."  That settles that question, and Misha complies.
    The vargr is indeed completely naked.  He is missing a patch of fur on his lower left abdomen, scar tissue clearly showing.  Shark believes it was some kind of energy weapon burn.

    Shark opens the betting pool by putting 5 credits on the Captain winning 27 seconds after they come together.  He laughs and says that he is sure no-one here will be betting against the Captain.  It's very obvious that anyone who did so would attract Shark's very stern disapproval.
    Chuck glances up and Shark and smiles.  Clearly the crew's banter meets his approval.

    The duel begins.  The fighters approach cautiously, but Misha clearly takes control of the pace immediately, making space for Chuck to lead with an attack.  Chuck in turn beckons Misha with a grin, inviting him to make the first move.  Misha shakes his head, smiling that Chuck was the one to call for this fight.
    Chuck moves in.  He's very quick on his feet, and his swordwork is tricky to defend.  Misha parries smoothly.  Chuck then steps up the level of the attack, delivering a fast snick-snack that threatens to be too fast for Misha's long sword -- but the Captain still parries that smoothly.
    The vargr grins and says this is more interesting than he thought it would be.  He continues with a fine display, dancing around and delivering quick precise attacks.  He is very, very quick.  Misha thinks, however, that while Chuck is tall for a vargr, he's not that strong, and if this fight goes on for an hour or so Misha could simply outlast him.
    Chuck again steps it up a level, smoothly and easily, but MIsha's counter is masterful and he takes the lead.
    Misha's attack is a blistering flurry of the long sword, but it's parried and dodged by the vargr.  Misha keeps up the pace, challenging Chuck's ability to the full, but the vargr matches him.
    Shark has definitely lost the pool.  This fight is a spectacular display of master swordsmen and looks set to continue for some time.
    Misha, on the other hand, has realized that Chuck seems to be holding something back.  He continues to press the attack strongly, but for every move he makes, the vargr has a counter.  In fact, now the fight is clearly so serious, Chuck has started to counterattack after each defense, something only a highly trained fencer could do.
    It's one of those attacks that Misha finally can't match, but Chuck doesn't take the opening and press home the strike.
    Misha steps back and lowers his sword.
    Chuck says, "This fight goes to first blood.  We've given a little display, let's step it up, shall we?  I shall not do that again."
    Misha strikes hard and quickly, with Chuck countering the human's moves.  The great sword weaves a complex pattern in the air, surely impossible to follow, but somehow wherever the blade moves, there's the sabre to counter it.
    A few more flurries like that, and Misha slips in a simpler move, then steps it right back up again.  Chuck counters very strongly and takes the lead in the fight.
    It's at this time that Misha starts to notice a little thing that might give him an edge.  Chuck is telegraphing his moves, tightening his calf muscle on the side the true attack will arrive.  Misha is pretty sure this is not deliberate, and he can take advantage of it.
    Now Misha seems to have the measure of Chuck's attacks.  He's defending more smoothly and easily, making the vargr work harder than the human.  Inevitably Misha makes a fine counter and takes back the lead, sweeping in with a masterful attack.  Chuck still matches it, and still counters as he finishes his parry.
    Misha changes his approach.  The vargr is quicker than the human, but not as strong.  Misha throws his full strength into his strokes, looking to overwhelm the lighter Chuck with sheer power and not just quickness.
    This definitely pushes Chuck to the limits of his abilities, but he pushes just a little harder and responds with renewed quickness.
    (Lucas too has been watching carefully.  He hasn't seen swordfighting like this, but two people matching each other with bluff and counter bluff happens all the time in his card games.  He can see the similarities.)
    Chuck looks like the heavier attacks from his opponent are wearing on him.  He'll have to push this to a conclusion soon or the barbarian human will outlast him.
    Misha goes back to quickness and dexterity in his next attack, but Chuck counters and takes the lead, pushing the attack quickly while he still can.
    Chuck strikes hard and throws in a very fast move that wasn't telegraphed.  It catches Misha off balance, and there's no sword where he tries to parry it.  For a moment Chuck's sword was in the other hand, and Misha's upper right arm is bleeding from a small cut.

    Misha steps back and lowers his sword.
    Chuck sticks his nose in the air and says, "Good fight, sir!"  He touches his sword quickly to his neck, his lower abdomen, and his ankle, then brings it up sharply in salute.  He tosses the sabre to Teri -- she looked most likely to be able to catch it -- then strides up to Misha and gives him a hug and a heavy clap on the back.  "Good fight, sir!" he says again.
    "Good," nods Misha, "Very good."  He retrieves his sword, his underwear, and his dignity and boards Nightshade.

    As they're walking back to the lift, Chuck says to Misha, "Sir, I have some specifications I'd like to show to your engineer, with your permission?"
    Misha tells Chuck to meet him in his quarters in a few minutes.

    Shark tells Teri to put Chuck's battledress in the armory, and takes a close look at the other weapons.  The weapons look very old fashioned design but are all completely modern materials, high tech produced by craftsmen.  Several of them even have signatures engraved in them.
    The rifle, for example, looks exactly like a long barrel flintlock but uses a piezo-electric crystal or similar instead of a flint and powder bowl.  The barrel is over a meter and a half long, and Chuck would have to stand on tiptoe to load it.  It has no sights.  Hunting knives and so on are also high tech, and are the closest to anything that would be concealable.
    There are no handguns of any kind.  The closest to normal is a regular mass market submachine gun.  Shark isn't likely to be able to put the vargr in a black suit with sunglasses and a shoulder holster.

    Chuck indeed arrives at the Captain's stateroom shortly.
    Sir Misha has had a chance to get dressed and settle down, and looks his normal self when the vargr comes in.  He compliments Chuck on his swordsmanship.
    Chuck says, "You are much better than I had given you credit.  I have not fought a human who has
fought so well."
    "I thank you for the demonstration."
    "You too.  It was enlightening.  You possess quite some... leverage."
    "So, given the outcome, are you going to have difficulty following my orders?"
    "Not in the slightest.  It was never about who won the fight, it was about whether I would respect you."
    Misha looks confused.  "All right.  Perhaps I misunderstood."
    Chuck laughs, "Humans do that all the time to us.  Of course, we try to win, but the questions is whether you are worthy to be following your orders.  The answer, is yes, you are.  I would like to transfer my allegiance to this pack, with your permission."
    "Thank you."
    "Who was your previous pack?"
    "Norris.  I would prefer not to move against him, we have... a history."
    "So how much information are you required to deliver back to him?"
    "As of this moment, none.  Obviously I will not repeat any confidences I obtained in my previous position."
    "I expect no less.  It's clear you have some combat ability, there are occasions on which this crew must engage in those types of skills.  Would you be interested or willing to partake, beyond the regular cook's duties?"
    "Of course!  I enjoy the bow the most, but it is not my best.  As you have just seen, fencing is one of my best, and I am also extremely good with my rifle, although I find these modern ones difficult and I prefer to use mine."
    "Can you fight in battledress?"
    "I can."
    "Do you have a battledress that fits you?"
    "Yes.  In my other crate.  I prefer... I prefer to smell the battle."
    Misha warns him that most of the crew is also the ship's owner, so there is a good bit of democracy in non-combat situations.  Would Chuck have a problem with that?
    "It will still be your orders that I follow.  My position relative to the rest of the crew is not clear, but I will follow your lead."
    "Well, my lead, at least to the extent you can, is to defer to the crew in their areas of expertise, and to try to learn where those are.  So, these plans... what are they?"
    "The areas in the upper part of the hull I was shown, that your previous chef used as storage, I wish to put some extra refrigeration facilities in there -- to my specifications, I am not fond of the existing ones -- and a smokehouse as well as a tight chamber for ageing meat.  All these will need special atomspheric consideration."
    "Have you served on a ship before?"
    Chuck smiles.
    "Military ship?"
    "I have fought against and for the Imperium."
    "If it's ok with the engineer, it's ok with me.  Talk to Mich.  Anything else?"
    "No, sir."
    "What's for dinner?"
    "There's a limit with what I can do with the stores on board at present.  I think I will look for something that is a pleasant Vilani-Vargr fusion."
    Misha nods his assent, and with his permission Chuck leaves.

    Back in his stateroom, Chuck asks the ship where Mich is, and then if he can speak with him.  Mich replies, and Chuck tells him he has some specifications for equipment for the upper storage area.  He wants to replace the former chef's refrigeration units, and add the smokehouse and ageing chamber.  He says he would be grateful if Mich would look through them and see if they fit into his systems or if they require modifications.  He is aware that the smokehouse will have environmental considerations and the ageing chamber will need biosecurity.
    Mich brings up the specifications.  They look pretty sound, taking into account the need to avoid sustained fire on board ship, and biofilters for the other chamber with a sterilization lock.  Mich can definitely do this easily, although with black tech modifications of course.  Chuck has even suggested good places to locate the equipment.
    Mich will improve on it all, but none of this will cause any problems.  He'll replace the sterilization chamber with a simple and superior sterilization field.  These modifications will look like part of the ship when done, not like some Imperial gear shoved in haphazard.  Anti-stick surfaces, grease trap, containment for the wood, all these things flow off Mich's mind as he draws out the plans he'll actually use.
    Mich tells Chuck this will take about 4 days, and he'll be finished at the end of 247-1123.  Chuck will arrange for supplies to be delivered when it is done.

    Shark in the meantime talks to Misha about new crew requirements.  They have pilot, backup astrogator, and possible grunt for Teri.  What they need now is a top-notch sensor operator.  It's would be simple enough to find someone as good as Shark, but finding one better is going to be hard.  He recommends to the Captain that they look for someone, but they're unlikely to find them on the first planet.  He puts out an advert on the TAS bulletin board and other normal channels for a senior sensor operator for a private yacht.
    Shark even asks Mich if he has any old navy buddies who might still be around.  Any channel they can tap for a sensor operator will not stay untapped.

    Mich has prepared the galley for Chuck, laying out everything in a neat fashion as he would expect the vargr to need.
    Chuck clearly thinks it's impossible to come up with something from these ingredients, but he does the impossible for dinner.  It is very unfamiliar to everyone.  It could probably be described as Vargr-Vilani fusion, whatever that is, but it is certainly very good indeed.

    Teri returns to town that night, but Mich has work to do here on his new project.  Most of the others go back to the downport apartments, but Misha remains on board, reading all he can find about vargr.

    Lucas calls the number and spends the evening at a different game, different people, same house.  It's an interesting game and he makes out very well, and as a consequence so does the loan service the game's sponsors provide.

    Shark starts working on a flying target, programmable for random speeds, directions, patterns, and so on.  He wants it to be tough enough to withstand a physical practice arrow as well as detect laser shots.  This is his new project to replace his flying pig.

244-1123 : Regina / Regina / Spinward Marches

    Spiced friend meat cubes is not normally what the crew expects to eat for breakfast, but that is what Chuck produces for them this morning.  It turns out to be an excellent breakfast, in fact, with a very interesting combination of spices and side dishes.

    In mid morning, Misha gets a message from the local police about one of his crew members.  Teri was briefly arrested last night for disorderly conduct, but released when none of the eight people she beat up in the bar wanted to press charges.

    Shark has found a high end custom build personal weapons shop.  He wants top quality personal weapons, beautiful in design but perfect in functionality.  Out here on the Imperial border, the border of the Spinward Marches even, this is where the really good personal weapon shops exist.  Just hand weapons, with the focus on recoilless weapons that can be used in zero g like laser pistols.  To finish the order, he'll need to come back for a second fitting on morning of 246-1123.

    Lucas also goes shopping, having come into some extra cash through his games.

245-1123 : Regina / Regina / Spinward Marches

    The ad has generated some responses, but they are mostly applicants from small merchants and so on.  No-one with a specific Scout Service background has applied, and none of them seem on paper to be better than Shark.
    Chuck suggests hiring on a pirate.  No-one runs sensors better than pirates, he says.  You have to know your targets, you have to know where everything is in the system.  He'd go for a corsair every time, he says, and a vargr knows a good bit about corsairs.  Chuck has fought with them, after all.
    Shark laughs that they should recruit one from the New Berlin, grab one off Robin Sherwood's crew.
    Chuck is sure there must be pirate worlds not too far away from here.
    Shark suggests blockade runners, exchanging glances with Kalida.
    Chuck is not so sure of that, and insists pirates are the best.  "You need the guy who comes into the system, looks at all the ships and bases, and says THAT is where the profit is.  That's what you need a Corsair for."  It's hard to do with a ship as large as Nightshade, but a good trick is to pretend to be a merchant and recruit from the ship that attacks you.
    Shark says that sounds like fun.
    "It is," says Chuck enthusiastically.
    Shark muses again that at some point they should go and track down the New Berlin.

    Shark says that Chuck should get a medical baseline scan.  Chuck is reluctant to do that, and looks to Misha -- but as Misha says it's necessary, he cooperates fully with Shark.
    Chuck shows up mostly red, with some blue where he has his scar.  Internally it's been patched up somewhat, and still isn't quite right.
    Shark says he can help with those twinges Chuck has in his side there.  He tells stories of replaced grown new arms and so on, but that doesn't sway Chuck.  The vargr says he doesn't want that yet -- the twinges remind him of how he got them.
    Of course this isn't a full brain scan, but it does give baseline medical data.

246-1123 : Regina / Regina / Spinward Marches

    Shark goes for his final gun fitting.  That takes about an hour, and he is to pick up his weapons in person later that day.

247-1123 : Regina / Regina / Spinward Marches

    At the end of the day, Mich finishes his work on Chuck's new equipment.  The supplies will be delivered early tomorrow.

    The noble social scene has been remarkably quiet.  At the other end of the scale, Teri hasn't been arrested again.

    There are still no remarkable applicants for sensor operator.  Anyone demobbing from the Scouts here must already have positions, or are just retiring from space work.

    Misha announces that they will leave planet tomorrow evening for Boughene.  They could take a look at Shionthy (where a Final War battle took place) at some point, but for the time the other end of the portal is more likely to be interesting.
    Then there are the Library Caches.  There is one in the Regina - Lanth - Vilis - Jewell area, but where it is exactly Robert doesn't know.  They could go to Goose again and Robert could look at the map more closely, but at the moment the only one where they actually know the location is Carei in Foreven.
    Now if they're going to find a sensor operator who can find one of those, then they'll need someone good.  Picking out a tiny shadow on the spatial anomaly sensor is not something for a run of the mill Imperial sensor operator.
    It's not something Shark could do, so they really do need a better sensor operator -- one who understands the concept of spatial anomalies, not locked into conventional sensor technology.  He says perhaps they need the sensor equivalent of Professor Farol.  Perhaps there's someone in the IFSS, and they have a line not only into that non-existent service but in its Special Branch, the IFSS-SB.
    Robert points out that Jack could get them into the brown box system so they could intercept Imperial Navy transmissions after they're installed.
    Or perhaps they want the person in the Wonstar System Navy who first discovered the laser sweep sensor method of detecting stealth mode ships...?  On Mora they got lucky and did a credible job of trying to follow them, but they never really got it.  That System Defense Boat on Wonstar is the one who did it, and surely they can track down which ship and what crew were involved.  If they have to, they can pull on the authority of the new Duke of Five Sisters -- one the Duke and the news of his appointment reach there, of course.
    Chuck's request is somewhere they can actually hunt fresh meat instead of being stuck with farm meat.
    Certainly the law level on Boughene would allow it, but the corrosive atmosphere really doesn't bode well for edible wildlife.
    Kalida assures them that there is almost certainly good hunting on her estates on Nakege, and they are planning to go there anyway, right?
    Shark points out that the G band communication interference near the gas giant Komesh will interfere with local sensors too, so they can safely come out of a quick jump there.  They haven't done a quick jump in a while, and this is a good opportunity.
    As an aside, Shark tells Lucas about Sparkly Pink.  He just has to sit in the pilot seat and Be One With The Ship.

248-1123 : Regina / Regina / Spinward Marches

    The vendors deliver Chuck's order this morning.  Meat, vegetables, wood, micro-organisms, all are brought on board and loaded in the right places on board.

    That means that "Teri the Tiger" has to stop her dance show at the Hotel Royale, although Shark makes sure he gets plenty of the posters so he can put them up in inappropriate places.

    Nightshade leaves that evening for Boughene at 20:00, after an excellent meal with Chuck's own ingredients, a unified cuisine after throwing out all Vonish's supplies.  It's not a meal you would ever see at a noble banquet, but the crew figures they can change those expectations.
    Chuck is pleased with Mich's setup in the Galley, and really likes the facilities.  He also likes the equipment Mich installed for him, although he's not sure about what looks to him like very light containment.  Still, his leader said to defer to the crew in their areas of expertise, and obviously this is Mich's area.

    Lucas takes the pilot seat and Is One With The Ship.  He's lying slightly above the ground, just enough to be comfortable... but it would be a whole lot nicer to get up and move around.
    Nightshade gets clearance to leave from the downport.
    Lucas sees a clear path marked out in front of him, and takes off along it.
    Whoa!  He's flying!  This feels great!
    Nightshade hurtles up at the full 20g, Lucas grinning like an idiot.
    He's flying!  He can dart around wherever he likes, spin himself around just like this, this is great!
    He does realize they actually want him to go somewhere specific, and after buzzing a satellite or two settles onto the astrogation path and relaxes and cruises.
    "Sorry," says Shark to traffic control, "We have our runaway thrusters under control now, it will not happen again.  Our engineer was experimenting."

    It doesn't take long to get out to 100 diameters.
    Lucas emerges smiling from sparkly pink, telling the Captain that he has a great ship!
    Shark points out quietly that they don't really want to stand out that much, and the pilot says he'll be working on that.

    They slip into jump for Boughene.

249-1123 : Boughene / Regina / Spinward Marches

    After 6 hours, in the very early hours of the morning, Nightshade is ready to exit jumpspace.  Misha decides they don't need to come out right away, and they can get a good night's sleep and a meal before they do.

    After another excellent breakfast of fried meat, at 10:00 Mich brings Nightshade into normal space.  It disturbs Chuck rather a lot to be coming out of job so soon, and for the ship to be shutting down all non-essential systems to do so.  Shark assures him it's normal, and it's because they have a particularly good crew.
    This is the first short jump for a long time, and it doesn't help that this is not a smooth transition -- a large blam shakes the entire ship as it forces its way back into an approximation of normal space.  Mich isn't worried, that's just how the exit goes sometime.  A loud blam is better than a ping.
    Mich checks the diagnostics.  Three emitters are out of alignment, which takes him three hours to fix.  Space has not yet stabilized by the time he is done.

    Shark gets a quick visual equipment fix to confirm they're in the right place.  He explains to Lucas that no, they won't be putting anything out there until it stablizes.  His robot ... folded ... last time they sent it out.
    Lucas is very interested.  He noticed the strange jump field and its rapid fluctuations right before the exit that didn't look right somehow.  He asks for the visual records from that pig incident, and sensor readings from this current situation.  Space is definitely doing something very interesting here.
    Shark points out the planet that seems to moving around, even though they and the planet are not.  He asks Mich if they're still in jumpspace, sort of, is that what the fuzz is?
    Mich says, "We're in normal space, it's that it's... not all here yet."
    Lucas wants to know if it's not quite all here, or it's just unsettled.
    "We haven't measured that," says Mich noncommittedly.
    "If we'll be here for several hours, then let's do that!" says Lucas enthusiastically.
    Shark suggests that space around them is a spatial anomaly.  Clearly he doesn't really understand it, though, because he's put down quickly.
    That is simply not the case in this frame of reference -- if there is a meaningful frame of reference, that is.  It's not a spatial anomaly because it's not an anomaly in a distinct space.  The space itself here is perfectly normal, it's not not... stable yet.
    Shark would love to try to track it in more dimensions than the ship can handle, but settles for every sensor he can get his hands on.  He focusses on a fixed object and records the variances that shouldn't be there.  Except... it kind of is a stable image, or not...
    Shark hands his data straight over to "the brainiac", hoping Lucas can make sense of it.  The may not be making sense of it yet, but that won't be for a lack of data, surely.

    It takes a total of 6 hours for space to stabilize, at which point it just... clears.

    Over an excellent lunch, Shark apologizes to Chuck for the bump.  It just happens sometimes, he says.

    Nightshade is not trying to hide here.  They stay out of stealth mode and will investigate openly. 
    Shark reminds Lucas that no ship can do 20g, not even a Marchioness's ship.
    "Yeah, yeah," says Lucas, grudgingly.
    "But if the need arises," says Mich.  Private he wishes he'd found out how to push the drives on this ship like he could with an Imperial one.