The Ghosts of Eden
Monday 21st September 2303Andi, Miho Takemura, Antonio and Robert Smith-Umbuto all arrive at Trilon HQ at Triton to interview for jobs advertised under TI&A/ES0308204. In all cases except Robert there are clearly people present who are better qualified for the jobs. Nevertheless all four are offered the jobs and, as far as they can tell, are the first choice of candidate.
Tuesday 22nd September 2303The crew meet Komiko Jones who is their direct line management. She is taking a holiday from her job as a Trilon executive to pursue an interest in the Ancients sites in the galaxy. The vessel to be used on the ship is renamed the Joyous Venture and the four main crew are given leave until 5th October.
Speculation Komiko, from information discovered by Andi, appears to have seriously upset another Trilon executive by sleeping with her husband and the "holiday" appears to be in some sense an enforced one. Observing the rather quirky nature of the crew and the service history of the craft one might speculate that it is a holiday from which she is not intended to return. On the other hand there must be cheaper and less convoluted ways to get rid of an opponent - Komiko herself has a reputation for such behaviour so it may be that the "holiday" story is some sort of bluff.
Wednesday 23rd September - Monday 5th OctoberAll four crew return to their previous place of work or to see their families (in some cases both).
Antonio visits his mother and observes he is being followed by Komiko Jones' bodyguard, Sanjeev Singh. Since Antonio is semi-on the run from Kurrito he allows Sanjeev to continue following him. At the end of his stay Antonio is attacked at the space port by two Kurrito agents and only rescued at the last minute by Sanjeev who kills them.
Andi returns to Thisbee where she digs up what information she can on Komiko Jones. It is worth noting that she was unable to find any information on Komiko that was more than a couple of years old. She is also vaguely threatened by her ex-husband, Roland, though this is not unusual behaviour for him.
Robert returns to work where is his contacted by unidentified parties who offer him a lot of money in return for information about the nature of the expedition Komiko has hired him for. Robert turns down the money but agrees to pass on information if they can put him in touch with members of the Kafer species. They say they will get back to him.
Miho visits her family on Earth. While there she is contacted by "Maria" who she forms the impression is an Italian or Spanish woman based off-world. Maria warns her against Komiko without providing any further details. Miho also contacts Komiko asking if she has access to the papers Felix Holsten was unsuccessfully trying to get published. These papers arrive within hours suggesting that Komiko was already in possession of the material. She also discovers that Robert's father, Charles, did most of the original surveying of the Ancients site on Beekhu.
Monday 5th OctoberThe crew board the Joyous Venture for the first time. It is decided that Komiko, Andi, Antonio, Robert and Miho will all have cabins while Sanjeev, who is also on the voyage, will have one of the berths off the main communal area.
Antonio Falchi needs new, non-Kurita issue clothing. Komiko lends him her credit card. He then checks out the ship with his sub-cranial interface and is impressed by its eWar capabilities.
Andi arrives as Komiko inspects the armoury. Its contents include: 3 large and 3 small pistols, 2 serious assault rifles, 6 (naff) work overalls with big pockets for armour plates.
The interior of the space ship is roughly:
Vac suits are assigned as follows:
Komiko gives Robert permission to bring Clarence on board on condition he is kept restrained. Clarence will not fit inside Robert's Vac Suit so Robert resolves to construct some sort of portable cat box for him.
The visit to Beekhu is discussed and it is noted that the Ancients site is part of a Holy Site and is difficult to see.
The first jump to Quinyan is eventless (apart from Miho's space sickness). Quinyan is empty and Komiko orders an in-system jump to the gravity well.
Komiko is noticeably nervous during the jump to Van Maarten's star where Kurita vessels can be expected. The Joyous Venture arrives in the afternoon.
Antonio immediately spots the vapour trails of two ships. Komiko orders that the plasma drive rather than the in system jump be used to travel to the gravity well. The ships are both Kurita merchant ships - the first leaves the system almost immediately, the second is about 2 days ahead of the Joyous Venture in the refueling cycle.
Hydrogen is also replenished at the local Kurita station. Credit has been arranged - the crew note that this must have taken place in advance of the adultery which is supposed to be the reason for Komiko's trip.
October 16thThe Joyous Venture jumps to the DM+4 system. Komiko is very tense and insists on a place on the bridge. Beyond suggesting she intends to suggest that Trilon will trade with the Beekhu she appears to have no specific plans or contingencies for contacting them - or at least none she is prepared to share with the crew.
On arrival the crew observe a nest of ships in orbit around the Beekhu homeworld and a couple around the Hau homeworld.
2 hours in to the system they are challenged by Kurita Mustafa Krantz, a standard commercial vessel fitted with plasma cannon and used as a police cutter. A ship leaves Beekhu and sets out on a intercept course. Its speed is consistent with an intention to engage in missile combat but not to fly alongside. Komiko orders an in system jump to arrive in close with the Beekhu homeworld. She gives no hint as to her plans for when they arrive there.
There are about a dozen ships around the Beekhu homeworld. A couple are flying inefficiently and are presumed to be Beekhu.
The Joyous Venture is hailed by Kurita Harriet Upjohn and ordered to Heave to and surrender. When the Joyous Venture fails to respond she is probed and sensor locked. The sensor lock is traced to Kurita Shinju a purpose build warship. Antonio engages in range gate velocity pull off (dodging the sensor lock) - he will not be able to keep this up for long.
Andi Moran tries to contact the Beekhu homeworld but radio signals are being jammed. She manages to patch through a laser contact instead. Robert contacts the Beekhu and identifies the Joyous Venture as a Trilon ship seeking trade. They are given permission to dock at the orbital station and the Beekhu ships fly interference between the Joyous Venture and the Kurita ships, although it is clear that this would be pretty ineffectual if the Kurita ships really wanted to get rid of the Joyous Venture. After 15 minutes the sensor lock goes.
Robert's contact is Arg'kre ing'shrr (the first name is a personal name and the second indicates rank - in this case a member of the government responsible for trade). It is she who will meet them. It is agreed that all the crew will wear the standard armoured overalls (without the armour plates) to increase their anonymity in front of the Beekhu and emphasize Komiko's status as matriarch. Sanjeev and Antonio are armed with large visible weaponry. Andi takes a pistol. It is agreed that they will travel with Komiko in the centre, Sanjeev and Antonio in front, Andi and Robert either side of her and Miho behind her.
They are met by Beekhu guards wearing plastic armour. When they meet Arg'kre ing'shrr her personal guards are in metal armour with halberds. 3 humans - a woman in executive clothing and 2 kurita security men are also present. This is Kurita envoy Telstar. Arg'kre ing'shrr is angry with her about the Kurita intervention.
Robert discusses Komiko's desire to see the Holy site with Arg'kre ing'shrr. The Beekhu want warp drive and in return might be prepared to try and organise a visit. Robert recalls that the Holy site is considered to be a former residence of the gods and there is a Beekhu legend which tells how a vaguely Promethean Beekhu hero stole a fiery drink (Ambrosia) from the vacant residence and this gave the Beekhu something equivalent in their minds to a soul. Arg'kre ing'shrr has been planning a visit/pilgrimage to Va'atchi'iktuon for a while and agrees to take the crew of the Joyous Venture with her. In the meantime they are supplied with various Beekhu holy books and they discuss ways they might make copies of these without offending/being discovered by the Beekhu.
Arg'kre ing'shrr devises a plan to take Komiko to Va'atchi'iktuan as a subservient female. This will give her the right to proffer one of her harem in gladiatorial combat which, even if he loses, will give her status within Beekhu society.
Antonio and Sanjeev are the obvious choices. Antonio is better at learning the ritual aspects of the combat and he proves better at second guessing his opponent than Sanjeev. Antonio shaves his head to look less prey-like and decides to oil up in preparation.
Perusal of the holy books reveals that the Beekhu believe that the gods came from Heaven/Mount Olympus/Va'atchi'iktuan but the gods have gone from there. In times of crisis heroes can nick things from it - compassion, love, regard, awareness, honour are all attributed to Ambrosia. A travel guide to Va'atchi'iktuan is laid out as a description of a pilgrimage complete with pictures.
Next TimeTune in next time for: The big fight! More Beekhu book reading, the Beekhu holy city and fun and games on the Beekhu Internet.
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