We take off from Kizars Bizaar, and jump towards Yellan, and prep 4 drones for remote sensing. We’ll hide in the lake with a remote sensor on cable to know when they’ve left.
The old Psionic wakes up after a few days and tells us that Keysk shields his thoughts habitually. He tried to probe deeper, and confirmed his worst fears.
“The Sisterhood of Jild has been able to make contact”
Marquis “Was this the red haired woman?”
“Yes. Things have become quite serious, as they have been able to get in contact with Rhaynae. Ah yes, you’re living in the dark ages. Some history for you. You realise that we’re in the beginning of middle of the great reach. You humans always surprise me - you’ve never wondered why this space is unexplored. Many millennia ago there were the galactic overlords who ruled this entire area. They attained their power through enormous scientific advancement, where they could be considered gods. They were capable of creating and bending wormholes anywhere they wanted. And of course, such egos don’t sit easily side by side, and they more or less destroyed themselves, allowing civilisation as you know it to exist. The problem is that we have heard rumours of a potential return. When we heard the Sisterhood were active in the 5 Sisters, are fears were confirmed. It looks as if one of the Galactic overlords opened a wormhole to this time. I cannot emphasise enough what a disaster this would be for the imperium.”
Marquis “I can’t understand what the overlord’s capabilities would be”
“He would bring an armada of 500 ships, an expeditionary force”
Marquis “And the ships would be more powerful?”
“Some yes. Of the ancient shipyards, they come with remarkably advanced drives requiring miniscule amounts of fuel of a sort your people have not been able to harness. The problem is not just their numbers, but their ability to move and fight inside your primitive ability to react 3 or 4 systems of a jump at a time requiring a week. They can jump faster and operate independently for months at a time”
Marquis “What does the cult have to do with that?”
“So you don’t know that either? There is much confusion. The Sisterhood of Jild were the right arm - priestess witch warriors of the galactic overload. They brought the fire and brimstone to cleanse the worlds and light the way for the galactic overloads. You have often confused them, but do not underestimate them”
Marquis “We’ve seen some of their doing on a planet we will visit”
“Excellent! That would allow us to date it.”
Marquis “A planet was cleansed and we found survivors”
“Not unusual. But survivors are unusual. They must have been diverted. We are in luck they are in small numbers. Their machinations behind the scenes are incredibly effective, on the fringes of the imperium. Who else knows of what happened on this planet?”
Marquis “No one beyond our crew”
“Ah! a good test! We can tell people and see how they react”
He confirms that the Keysks think that they work for the Duke, whilst thinking that the Duke doesn’t have the Imperium’s best interest in mind. And he mentions he is called Arun.
We decide to set up in the Yellan system, with a medical emergency
“IDS Salamander this is the Garrotson, we have a fully equipped medical bay for up to 3 patients. What is the nature of the emergency?”
“Unknown brain issue” on Arun
“Flash you coordinates to RV. Own shuttle?”
“We’ll come alongside and use temp docking array” Boarding will be the Marquis, George as cushion holder for low cost but exotic gifts, Armitage to push the stretcher and Arun “unconscious” (psionic sleep) on the stretcher
The ship is an oversized, wedge shaped Patrol Cruiser, likely with capabilities like a Frigate but not the size. Technically a commercial vessel. It is about 2 and half times the length of the salamander. A lot taller, 2 decker. On the Starboard side, there is some kind of orbit to planetary weapon, perhaps a railgun. Captain Danash, instructs us to come in on starboard side Engineering-Gunner and Chief Comms Officer Law-San confirms that they have a pressurized extendable airlock
First officer Benetto will be greeting us with medical officer Lareby and 1 crew member to assist. Enter tube and tight airlock, tilt stretcher on a diagonal, pass into the SS Garretson
Security Officer Bezile is on standby, seems quite supercilious.
Captain Danash explains the ship is owned by a wealthy benefactor who likes polish with what he does. Helps with morale. He also gets to pay us a little less than we’re worth as we know it’s a good deal.
Constructed in the Bolan Yards, outside of Imperial space, complement of 6 crew (currently undermanned, implies will be picking up more), well served for gunny/comms, Xo, 2 engineer assistants, 2 deckhands. Well armed, can go in harms way. Azar cannon and quad turrets. Autonomous for 2 months. Can’t really carry cargo. Medical bay, low berths, own shuttle, probe capability launch and retrieve for recon and a couple of life boats. Whilst on bridge, Marquis feels like someone brushed his shoulder. The captains quarters are below decks, not next to the bridge, which is unusual. Military style internal bulkheads and baffles. Layout seems a little off though.
Red flashing light, picks up an ear piece, puts it in “Really? you don’t say Dr Lareby?”
“My dear Marquis”
“Yes? Is something wrong”
“You didn’t mention that your patient was psionically inclined. Please accompany me to the medical bay”
Dr L “Bit concerned about his vitals. Should be dead. I can only speculate, but appears to be psionically capable and screening us. Couple of minutes ago, shield went down. This not a human being. He has 2 hearts. He’s a genius. I’m amazed. But Captain Danash has a right to ask you some questions about what is going on here”
Cap Dnash “Good summary. What is going?”
Marquis “I’d like to know too. We picked him up on Prospero’s Dream. Our Patron said he would help us”
George “I knew he didn’t look good. Marquis, you’ve been played”
Capt D “Find myself in a difficult position. I can’t eliminate the fact that you be in cahoots with this individual”
M “For what?”
Cap “I can only speculate. It’s distressing. I don’t need complications on this mission”
In M’s head “Try saying I mean nothing to you, your happy to leave without him, the lying bastard”
Marquis says “Don’t really know why he was smuggled under my nose to being my guest, but here, what do we do with him now. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather not have an alien on my ship”
Captain Danesh looks M in the eye and says “If I space him right now, you don’t care?”
Marquis “No I don’t”
Cap looks at Marquis, inches form his face and looks “Christ almighty, where is that other guy?” Escort Armitage into the corridor
Cap “My Marquis this started out so well, I’m pissed. I can’t believe you’re taking advantage, but you’re getting off now. The minute your gone, this guy is getting spaced”
Security close in and escort us off
We retreat, back on the Salamander. Body ejected out of the cruiser. Spins underneath the Salamander and we lose sight of him
The Marquis says “I wonder if that’s the last we see of the geezer”
George drops a glass and the old guys walks round a corner
“That could have gone better couldn’t it? I was waiting for some intervention. Is this how you treat your friends. Maybe I underestimated you Marquis…I suppose it’s a reasonable time to explain some things” He disappears and reappears beside the Marquis “I can change my location…teleportation. Very useful skill when your friends leave you in the lurch. In the commotion, only had to blank one person on the bridge, and I have the coordinates”
“So in addition to the coordinates, I owe you a bit of an explanation Marquis. It’s impolite to point out I’m a superior being. You’d be surprised how many dates have gone south because of it”
“Come from a race renown for psychic abilities, not party tricks, our way of life. If I have a good mental image of somewhere not to far away, I can displace myself there and back. I can penetrate peoples minds, but difficult, taxing and dangerous. I can manipulate people’s priorities to not notice certain things. Officers on ships tend to be quite attuned to anomalies - which led to our problems. Whilst they were spacing me, I passed back by the bridge” and he hands over a data stick “Yes, you provided me with a good mental image. I went back to the bridge, and downloaded it”
Marquis “We’re a little short on time”
Arun “You should try and de-crypt the data then. I just copied their system”
Dr Ntesh did at one point say to the Marquis “George seems incredibly bright. It’s not unusual in street kids to hide their talents, to not be picked out and bullied”
George yells out “Yeah wasn’t too tricky, guys is an idiot. Boss, it’s just like your thought - it’s the wormhole in 2433”
The Cruiser, Ucas says “Quite an exotic cruiser for Imperial space, never seen one. 80% were jump 3, few long legged with Jump 4. Probably been converted. Almost definitely Jump 3”
Varun can tell us that there were at least 3 other spare bodies - almost as much security as crew. Other Patrol Cruiser was standard imperial design.
Jump to 2433, with a lead, to edge of system.