The Voyages of the PS Nones
Chapter 26, Going Home and Settling Up
When last we left our heroes, they had just finished a presentation by Kritstnik on assorted goodies they could buy to take back home with them.
We start this episode discussing what to buy. We're fairly sure we want to buy the Baron Munch, but we'll want to augment it with an updated furnisher, punched up radiation screens, assorted teleporters, a laboratory, additional AIs, and better scanners.
Gannar investigates the system on the Baron Munch. It's sentient, but with a very non-human psychology. In a nutshell, it's very introverted -- more concerned with ship's engineering than social interactions. We give it the details of the modifications that we plan on making. It has no other suggestions.
Morniesul wants to buy additional AIs for the Obscura, as well as an experienced, sentient, multi-role characterizer to play the part of the staff at his estate in the Reach. In addition, he wants to stock the Obscura with trade goods, especially the gemwoods, and hawk silk to barter for dwarven gems which he can sell for a huge profit in the Reach.
We buy autodocs for each of the vessels, including the Nones. For trade goods, we buy a shipment of the high temperature and micro ergoplasm, as well as a dragon's hoard of the pretties that Kritstnik showed us. Kate especially likes the silks and velvets.
We decide to leave a few million lucre points invested here and now, since we assume we'll be back some day and may need some pocket change. We ask Kritstnik if he'd be willing to administer a 2 million lucre point fund. He's pleased to handle it for us. We tie his fee to the interest earned. We also leave a million in the local bank in a nice conservative fund.
Dafnord speaks with the Baron who sold us owned the Munch. They agree to remove the insignia on the nose. Dafnord designs a new insignia; a club with a child's jack imposed on it. Dafnord also requests the AI to respond to the name "Edvard." He briefly entertains thoughts of acquiring "The Scream."
Morniesul likes the new nose art so much, he has the Obscura repainted. The result manages to be black and gaudy at the same time, which is truly impressive.
Six weeks pass quietly while the ships are outfitted and our trade goods arrive. To the GM's relief, we leave Martshayla Port for Helene and our "home" time.
As we set course for home, we have a tussle with the Munch. It informs us that time travel may cause chronological anomalies. As if we didn't know that. Robbie, Gannar and the Nones have a short but intense "discussion" with the Munch. It's not happy, but it will do what we want. Upon reaching the edge of the Martshayla system, we coordinate among the 3 ships and head for the Helene a hundred years in the past. Unfortunately, the Nones cannot extend it's hyperstate envelope and shield to include both the Obscura and the Munch, so we're forced to travel at the speed of the slowest ship.
After an quiet week of travel and training, we arrive at Helene. Dafnord congratulates the Munch on succeeding at its first jump through time. It thanks him in a sullen, toneless voice. It's clearly not thrilled. We land at Cantrel's spaceport.
[And we change GMs. Thanks to Earl Wajenberg who guided our trip through the Terraform Reach and the Authority Zone. Jim Burrows will be the GM for our next adventure.]
The duffer who's in charge of the lower hanger comes out to greet us, along with a few security guards, "Ah, you're back."
Dafnord replies, "We've picked up a few ships that will require berths."
"Do you have cargo?"
"Yes. It will need to be shipped to the ranch"
"Will you permit pilots to move the ships, or will you require direct control."
Gannar asks, "Can't the ships just move where they're told?"
The hanger manager replies frostily, "We prefer to have someone on the ships." After a moment of silence, he asks, "Uh, is Mr. Noon with you?"
"Then who is captaining the Nones?"
Dafnord gestures at Robbie, "Mr. Roberts."
The manager leans over to Robbie and says quietly, "Mr. Roberts ... the Nones is already in it's berth."
Robbie replies, "Oh," slowly. "Keep the Nones ready for immediate lift. We'll take care of that shortly." He nods at the instance of the Nones behind him -- the one we've ridden around in for months, taken from about thirty years in the future.
After we conclude our discussions with the hanger manager, he hurries off to his office. Soon a klaxon sounds, and the crews working in various places on the field stop what they're doing and head indoors, grumbling. They're replaced by new, similarly dressed crews. As soon as the changeover is complete, opaque force fields are raised over the three ships, and they're swiftly off-loaded. Three hours later, the fields drop. Dafnord takes the Munch to its temporary berth in the lower hanger, while Robbie and Morniesul board the Obscura and Nones and lift off for the journey to the Nones' home time, 30 years in the future. The rest of the crew requisitions an air-van for the trip out to the Ranch.
When they arrive at the Ranch, they're greeted by Jackson, the caretaker. "Will you be staying long?"
Dafnord replies, "At least a few days."
"Then I'll go prepare your rooms." Jackson counts noses, and comes to Gannar. "Excuse me sir. I don't think we've met."
"How do you do. My name is Gannar."
"My name is Jackson. I'm the caretaker. Please call me if I can get anything for you." Jackson starts to bustle away, and then comes back to say, "Mr. Noon is away." After a moment's hesitation, he continues, "He may be in the library."
It's been a long day. The crew decides to leave the mystery of Tom's location until Morniesul and Robbie arrive. Other than noting that the library door is still broken from when Morniesul moved his time sled through the mirror, they do nothing besides retiring for the evening.
Morniesul and Robbie arrive with the trade goods, in the morning. Once we've finished breakfast, Morniesul says, "It's up to you how we want to proceed. Some of you can go over there and trade for dwarven gems, or shall I pick up the gems in 20 years or so?"
Dafnord replies, "I don't know when we'll be going there."
Morniesul shrugs. "Then I'll pick up my gems in 20 years." We walk him to the garage where his repaired time sled is parked and wish him a good journey before he zooms off to Pericles and the Obscura.
Returning to the house, we manage to find Jackson and ask him about Tom's last visit. He tells us that Tom met a large, red-headed woman who came from the south. They sat on a wall and talked for quite a while, then entered the house, went into the library and never came out.
After Jackson finishes his tale, we thank him and start querying the house security system. It has excellent pictures of the woman. None of us recognize her. And the house system can't match her to anyone it's seen, or anyone in either Cantrel's databases or the planetary database. More interestingly, there's no recording of their conversation, though the security system should have been able to pick it up. Nor is there any record of Tom either sealing or erasing the conversation. It's simply silent.
We go to the library. The door is still busted. Dafnord calls in Jackson. "Why isn't this repaired?"
Jackson replies, "It's my habit to not interrupt when someone is using the library."
"Nobody's using the library now."
"Very well. I'll see to it immediately."
We search all the usual places, but there's no message from Tom. The house has no messages from him either. The most likely place he and the mystery woman could be is in Vinyagarond, on the other side of one of the library mirrors. He could also be in Co-Dominion Helene, through a second mirror or he could be on the far side of one of the variable destination mirrors. We think Vinyagarond is the best place to look for him. Before taking that step, there are a few details that we need to tidy up here.
We sell the goods that we brought from the Terraform Reach and Martshayla Port. As expected, they fetch a very nice sum. We retire our debt to Cantrel, with interest. After about a day, our local affairs are in order, and we're ready to resume the search for Tom.
We assemble once more in the library, where Jackson has efficiently fixed the door. He's been told that we'll be gone for a while. We step through the mirror to the library in Vinyagarond. On the other side, we can hear a deep rumbling sound. Kate sends a viewpoint through the door to the next room, where an Elven maid is dusting. Continuing outside, we find an assembly of "biker dwarves." Suddenly we're aware of Tom being on the net. The feeling we get is that he's busy but pleasantly surprised to "see" us.
Last Updated: 7-Oct-06
©2004 Barry Tannenbaum, All Rights Reserved