Due to what is possibly a preferred spot in landing queues afforded to governmental folks, the DNC Amadaun is approaching one of the landing pads in the Impiruil Baile space port. The people on board any ships that accompanied him back would be able to look out the windows, or whatever viewing apparatus was popular with their ship’s designer, and see that many of the paths throughout the space port form a profile view of a raven wrapping one wing around a heart. The more astute viewers might also notice the port doesn’t seem to have the usual amount of metals, plastics, and the like.

Keth flips the comms to talk with the ships coming down with him “As we approach the planet, the council would like to remind you that attempting to abduct the local plants and animals is frowned upon. By the plants and animals. We also ask that you keep your arms and legs inside your vessels until you have come to a complete stop.”

Mikial follows Keth closely, not wanting to become lost in all the hub-bub around the space port. He looks around at the planet below, “Wow….. I only ever saw the X-47 colony, the trading station of our allies was out of their system, so very few that worked with them ever saw their planet…. Amazing!” Mikial is too busy following Keth and taking glances at the rest of the planet to notice the materials of the spaceport, though he does seem interested in the raven-heart design, Vachok chitters at it, perched on a bar coming off the side of Mikial’s captain’s chair.

Armored panels separate, pivot, and slide out  of the way as landing struts extent and thrusters actuate to Bring the Oskolok down gently before retracting into the body of the ship and their panels seal them inside when the ship comes to rest. Mikial pops open the cargo doors again, being the main exit when gravity is involved, and steps out, visible to something other than a living ship for the first time. He has an angular jaw with some stubble, short, dusty, sandy blond hair, green eyes, thick neck, broad shoulders, standing at around 5′ 11″ and it’s clear he’s probably an ‘old’ mercenary of 26. He has on coveralls that are a dark blue-grey with a slight camouflage pattern color variation. On these coveralls, a horizontal slash on his left thigh has reddened the front and side of that pant leg almost to the built in knee pads. He seems to have completely forgotten about it, as he hasn’t done anything to it, and it has mostly stopped bleeding. You can see the chain of his dog tags around his neck, though the tags are tucked under the coveralls, accompanied by a capsule with hearing protection and a pair push-daggers. He has left the carbine inside the ship this time, of course.

“Alice, lock everything down nice and tight.” Mikial calls into the ship as Vachok flies out to rest on his left shoulder, “Fine, fine, I’ll look after the ship… kind of hard not to when you’re part of it, y’know?” Mikial chuckles and closes the ramp before looking around where he’s landed now that he’s out of his ship.

Sophie is flying her Model 052 and makes a landing as well. Her landing isn’t particularly dramatic, demonstrating the skills of someone who knows how to pilot a ship without any special frills.

Once out, she’s followed by Orby, who now has extended a small hook from its side and is carrying a black bag that matches Sophie’s clothes. She’s still dressed exactly the way she was on the ship, including the dress with wings on her back. Notably, she’s quite small for a human, standing at only five feet tall. Her red irises now glow brighter. Then the woman looks around, waving enthusiastically to everyone.

There’s nothing particularly exciting about the Amadaun’s landing. It’s just a run of the mill small ship suitable for playing tourist in. Nothing terribly unusual about the guy who walks out of it, either. His darksih brown hair is kind of scruffy, and his eyes are a dark green. Reasonably fit. Just jeans and a t-shirt today. And a perfectly normal three foot penguin walks out beside him, looking cheerful as only a penguin can. The least normal thing here is the critter that looks like someone stuck a kitten’s head on a ferret. Very patchy black brown and white pattern to her. She darts around from one shoulder to the other to Keth’s head at random intervals, occasionally standing up on her hind legs to wave at the other landed folks.

“Welcome to Eriacre! Now if you’ll just follow me through customs, we’ll get you two a quick once over from the medical staff, and make sure your vaccinations are up to date… you’ll definitely want that if you’ve never been here before.”

It’s about this time that into orbit arrives a rather large vessel, practically a battlecruiser. Once it assumes standard orbit, a smaller dropship departs from within and heads to land at the spaceport pad. Once the gangplank lowers, a small gold faceted orb floats out. Spotting Kethren, it heads in his direction. “A good day to you once again. I see you have new arrivals?”

Mikial smiles and waves at Sophie, giving a curious but still warm and friendly look at her attire. He points at the Sophie’s orb, “That’s pretty nifty!” He says walking over, “Nice to meet you.” he puts out his hand for a handshake if it’ll be taken.

When Kethren and his own entourage come into view, the kitten-ferret catches Vachok’s gaze, and  he starts chattering, fluffing his feathers and fidgeting on Mikial’s shoulder, “Tssk!” he scolds Vachok a bit, “Not food.” He walks slowly toward Kethren, keeping a sideways eye on Vachok to make sure he doesn’t cause an incident. Once he’s close enough, the same handshake hand is held out to Kethren, “Thank you for taking on us two cast-aways”

The second orb comes floating into the group as Mikial starts looking at the penguin closely, “I’ll definitely have to get my ship compatible with the tech around here a.s.a.p. so I can experiment with new drone designs and ai types…” he turns toward the golden orb, “are these high grade utility drones? they look to be quite handy from the looks of things.”

“Oh, you like Orby?” Sophie asks excitedly as she shakes Mikial’s hand. “He’s a little quirky sometimes but he’s really good at filming things. Oh, and sorry for not figuring out the warning sooner, I got there just a moment too late to do anything, but it’s okay now so hopefully everything’s fine!” Then she smiles, “And nice to meet you too, I almost forgot that part!”

Sophie then begins walking towards Kethren, waving excitedly as she does so. “Okay!” she says agreeably to Kethren.

Then Sophie spots the large ship landing. This doesn’t alarm her as she continues her way towards Kethren. Then when the golden orb comes out she isn’t particularly bothered by that either. “Look, Orby, it’s someone like you!” Sophie seems happy about this. Orby is another story, taking up position directly behing Sophie. “What do you mean you’re scared. It’ll be fine, Orby.” Orby for its part only moves to keep up with Sophie walking.

Keth takes a moment to shake the offered hands just before catching a jacket tossed his way by a passing guard. Which he does put on, but not without some slight eye-rolling. Not that it’s a bad jacket. It’s a dark green, with a bit of a leafy pattern sewn in, and a lapel pin with the raven/heart pattern on it. “Sigh. Gotta look official now that I’m back in town. And good morning, Galactix! Yeah, found this guy drifting out in space, and he had the dubious fortune to meet up with a Kemetti. I thought here’d be a better place to come to grips with everything.”

The orb suddenly disappears behind a holographic projection of an elderly human male, dressed in khakis and a forest green polo shirt. “Ah, yes. He was fortunate to escape intact. Perhaps the creature was not hungry at the time.” he says. “I myself have returned from visiting the Rigel system. Rather rough place… the amount of hard radiation in that system will make colonization of any type extremely difficult, if not impossible.”

Mikial looks at Orby, “Filming, huh? What do you and orby film?” Mikial looks to Ila, “Wait, warning? What warning?” He looks at Galactix, “Intac-… Hungry?!……. Damn, I knew something felt really off about that creature!” Mikial shudders slightly thinking about how shafted he could have been if the creature had decided to have a snack.

Mikial introduces himself to Galactix, hesitant on the handshake as he isn’t sure if it would be rude to try to shake a holograms hand if it wasn’t tactile.

“Don’t worry, Orby and I talked to Kemetti and told him to let you go. I would have done more but he was busy calling me a lesser one and I had to correct him. I even offered him a Tarot reading but he wasn’t interested. Maybe I should have told you at the time but you were already leaving by the time I figured everything out and didn’t want to alarm you any more than necessary.” Sophie explains. Then she smiles brightly, “Oh, right, Orby! He films me and I post it for all my followers to see! We got some pretty good stuff from my ship but it needs editing. And maybe some effects. This is going to be the Demon Queen Ila’s most exciting review yet! I wonder what my fans will offer me next.”

Then she notices Kethren and the hologram talking. Orby is still behind Sophie, “Come out of hiding Orby, this one won’t hurt you.” she declares. Orby does indeed obey and takes up a position a couple feet away from Sophie’s right side. “I’m not interrupting anything important, am I?” she asks of Kethren and the hologram.

Due to being a government type, the usual customs process is somewhat streamlined for the group. Including some medics coming over to do a quick scan on any cooperative patients, updated vaccines included.

Ila gets a shake of the head “Oh, not at all. Meet Galactix, he’s an old acquaintance that drops by the planet for a visit now and then.” Wark!  “Pity about the lack of colonizing options out there… but eh, plenty of other planets out there. Space being quite large, after all.”

Galactix nods to Mikial. “Yes. That creature is known as a Yaralu. Most are benevolent, but this one has.. shall we say… a neutral personality. He recently attacked and consumed a passenger starliner, and destroyed a military vessel sent to deal with him.”

His attention turns to Ila. “Not at all my dear. I have simply been assisting in exploration efforts, but thus far found little that would be considered promising. I am fortunate that my positronic core was sufficiently shielded; the radiation in that system could have caused irreparable damage.”

Then, finally, to Kethren. “I do look forward to the reports of the other expeditions. I myself intend to depart once more after I have sufficiently restocked my fuel supplies.”

Mikial listens to Ila intently, but the expression on his face might show that she lost him somewhere between ‘post’ and ‘followers’ and again at ‘review’, but he listens nonetheless.

Mikial cooperates with the vaccines, “Don’t want to contract anything too funky, now do we?” and gets some minor treatment for the scalpel cut. “so, I just happened to catch an apathetic, starship eating, bio-ship called a Yaralu in a non- biting mood… and that’s why I’m still here?” Mikial gives a nervous laugh and contemplated thickening his already thickly armored hull. “So, umm…. I have a ship, and probably nothing currency that would be valid here… will Istill be able to outfit my ship with updated information for here? do you require licenses or anything? Because other than what you guys have given me already, I have nothing official here, other than the fact that I know I own everything in my ship…”

Sophie as well cooperates with the vaccines. Anyone paying attention to the medical scans would realize her eyes are cybernetic and she has a neural interface at the back of her neck, normally covered by her hair. She makes a point of being stoic about it but her face grimaces in such a way to show being vaccinated is an experience filed under the not fun category. Once that is done she smiles and says, “Hello Galactix!” her enthusiasm isn’t quite all the way back, but she’s at least making an effort to smile while she makes the greeting. “I’ve never been exploring, but it sounds kind of dangerous the way you explain it.”

Then as Mikial expresses his concern she frowns, “Well, I’m sure there’s something you have to be able to do! I mean, you can obviously fly a ship. That’s something.”

Keth chuckles a bit at Mikial’s concern.  “Well, thing is, for practical purposes, we’re just filing you in the paperwork as a rifter. Not strictly accurate far as I know… you didn’t just appear in a flash of blue light. Not that I saw, anyway. But the effect of suddenly finding yourself thoroughly displaced from home is much the same. And we’ve always has a policy in place to help new rifters get settled. You won’t be obligated to stay here of course, but we’ve got a room reserved above the tavern, meals included, so that you can focus your attentions to finding a good spot in what’s essentially a new universe. For now though, what say that we all head on over to the hotel, and get to know each other better over a nice meal. And it’ll give you a chance to see some of this city. I promise you won’t find another like it.”

“It can be dangerous, but then again, it can be rewarding, for every disappointment, there is discovery.” Galactix says, looking to Mikial. “Not to worry. As Mr. Kethren has mentioned, many worlds are accustomed to dealing with displaced individuals, regardless of the circumstances of displacement. I, myself, was displaced in time and space, shortly before I would have met my demise. I am in debt to Mr. Kethren, for he discovered my broken hull floating through space, and repaired me to perfect working order. Rest assured, you are in good hands.”

“Oh, of course I could use my ship for a number of things, I’m just concerned from what I remember the elders telling stories from the first generations stories of Earth, people taxed beyond belief, permits  that had to be paid to be renewed almost every month for just about everything but breathing, which was probably already taxed… and if you didn’t, you were either homeless or incarcerated…. Then again, who knows how long ago that was now.” Mikial responds to Ila. “But it sounds, from Keth and Galactix here, that I’m not the first oddball case they’ve had to deal with, So… it sounds like I might be able to dodge all the wadded, tangled ball of red tape, at least starting out, so that’s a big relief. ” he turns to Kethren, “I’ll probably take you up on that room and food offer, and *especially* a meal with friends! I assume our smaller companions won’t be minded in there?” He says, scritching Vachok under his neck feathers.

“It’s not like that where I’m from!” Sophie declares. Then after a few seconds she adds, “Okay, it sortof is like that. Well, not as bad as you make it sound!” she says as she tries to recover. Then as Kethren mentions a meal to Mikial she asks, “Are Orby and I invited too?” she asks. “I mean, I don’t want to intrude but I wouldn’t mind a meal. I’ll pay for my own?” she offers with an inflected tone.

“I don’t explore space like you do, Galactix.” Sophie admits next. “I mean, I tell people what things are good and what things are of poor quality.” Then her voice raises a little with mock indignation, “Like a certain Model 052.” Then her voice goes back to a quieter tone, “Maybe I should go exploring sometime! I am good with computers and can handle things like that. I’m sure that’s useful to explorers somewhere. Maybe they need algorithms or something!”

Keth starts walking towards the exit as he smirks slightly at Mikial “I’m pretty sure I’d be abusing my position by having Floriana with me all the time if they weren’t. You’ll find that, on this planet, long as folks behave, we’re not too concerned with how many legs they have. It helps that most of the life here is smart enough to understand the concept.” Ila gets a nod “Well, yes. I did say all of us. Besides, it’s a good chance for you to see some of the local decor.”

Galactix gets another smirk. “You make it sound like I did all the work.”

Galactix grins. “In the shape I was in, I would have remained that way for ages had you not intervened. Don’t sell yourself short.” he says, looking over to Ila. “There are many roles to discovery. With the exception of myself, a ship needs many crew to operate. It is a crew that discovers, be that a crew of one or a crew of a thousand.”

Mikial follows Kethren and the rest to the tavern mentioned, “Is there anything I should know about maybe _not_ eating, if that living ship ate an entire ship, I feel safe to assume there are other species with diets I might croak on if I ate them. In case I get a wild hair to try something exotic!” He laughs.

“Okay!” Sophie replies to Kethren. Orby still follows along. Then as Galactix makes the point about crew she smiles, “I’m sure I could do it sometime! I did have to study a little bit of navigation to get a pilot’s license after all. I don’t think I’d want to do it all the time but it might be interesting to do just once or twice!”

“I don’t know much about where you’re from, but even if you just stick to human food there’s plenty of stuff you’ve probably never heard of. Even if you just wanted to eat noodles there’s so many varieties!” Sophie adds for Mikial, particularly cheerful when it comes to food. “So just imagine what else is out there for you to try!”

Keth leads the way out of the spaceport, but slows down a bit as they come to what’s probably the center of town. The center of which is a large, ornate fountain. A fountain, that like the roads around it, is clearly made of wood. Countless roots and vines grow together to form a wide basin, at the center of which is a spiraled column spraying water. Spaced along the road that circles the fountain are a series of vines that stretch upwards, ending in large indigo blossoms.

“Couldn’t go to the tavern and not stop here for a moment. That fountain’s the oldest part of town.” The critter on his shoulder looks oddly pleased.

“My databanks contain records on cuisines from numerous cultures.” Galactix says. “I would be happy to take some scans and find some that would not adversely affect your digestive tract.” He then looks at the fountain. “I never get tired of looking at this myself.”

“Hmm, I come to think of it, from what I read in my history classes as a kid, earth was pretty diverse culturally, and a lot of the elders complained about the colony’s food being a bit monotonous for them.” Mikial smirks at Sophie, “One more thing to look forward to!” He turns to to hear Galactix, “That would be most appreciated! would hate to be clutching the hotel trashcan because I ate something poisionous by mistake! Or worse, not quite make it to the bin!” he chuckles.

They come to the fountain, and Mikial’s head is on swivel, a look of wonder on his face, “So much is wooden here…. is that… usual?” Mikial wonders aloud, “All the buildings back home were made almost entirely out of metal of some sort… it looks so-…. so flammable…”

“It’s pretty!” Sophie declares as she looks at the fountain. Orby for its part points its lens towards the fountain, likely recording it. “We have someone to help you make sure it’s fine!” Sophie adds, motioning towards Galactix. Then she continues, “Most colonies have shared ideals, it’s just how they were sent out, so it makes sense things would be a bit monocultured. Do you know which culture yours came from?” she asks Mikial.

Keth smirks slightly, still looking at the fountain. “Oh, we’re not too worried about fires. We treat the wood to prevent that, and anyway, living trees are less susceptible to spontaneous combustion.”

“I find the architecture fascinating, myself. Many cultures want to beat their environment into shapes and forms to suit their needs. Here, they live in harmony with it.” Galactix says.

“Wait, those are still alive?!” Mikial exclaims, astounded. “Uh, yeah, the colony was a separatist group from Earth, but much of the ideals were lost after they crash-landed the colony ship into the planet. The colony ship was still almost a geological feature still when I was a kid, too, used to explore around in it, pick scrap out, found a few neat things in there, too. Anyways, found out after one too many scouting parties went missing that some of the trees could kill most anything bigger than a rat and smaller than a ‘hippo’ I believe they’re called. But there were two main types we worried about, one used prehensile vines as snares, and the other used a sort of pressure trap, they were able to grow mineral spears depending on what was the most abundant and suitable where they grew, and they would impale anything they felt on their little ‘pressure plate’ they grow under the soil. As far as we were able to tell, it was for fertilizer for the plant.”

“It’s still alive.” Sophie observes. “Of course, I’ve seen many stranger things than a fountain that’s made of things still alive!” she adds quickly afterwards, trying her best to not look too interested in the fountain, though Orby is still recording it. Then as Mikial explains where he came from she adds, “Death world?” Sophie asks. “Well, it does make sense why you would have trouble if the flora could kill people. Thankfully I’ve never seen anything like that myself.”

Keth chuckles a bit as he leads the way around the fountain, somewhat leisurely. “Not just the fountain. We grew the entire city. Those indigo blossoms are the street lights when it gets dark out. Don’t worry too much though. While this planet has its share of… hungry creatures, the trees are not numbered among them.”

“I have encountered many worlds with similar lifeforms in my travels.” Galactix says. “Though they are many lightyears from here, on the other side of the galaxy, in fact.”

“Sort of,” Mikial responds to Ila, “It was a problem for everyone when they first landed, but by the time I was born, most colonists didn’t run into the trees unless they went outside of their town’s walls, but mercenary crews ran into them pretty regularly, so we would try to train recruits to identify the trees in boot camp, before they were sent on any missions or anything, but still squads of new guys would always have one incident, seen it more times than I care to, a squad of new guys put with us, walking along a path in the forest and getting rounds coming in from ahead, half of the new guys dash into the trees to one side or another, not realizing it’s a grove of reapertree or sycthtree, and that half of their squad is all dead, there was rarely a survivor. They’d learn real quick what the trees were then, but it always happen to a new group _once_, only once, but it would still happen once…. Though it wasn’t uncommon to be flung into a tree from an explosion or something of the likes, though that wasn’t too common, and usually involved a lot less numbers than half a squad rushing for what they think is cover.” Mikial shakes his head and sighs and listens to Kethren and chuckles, “Well, that’s good to know! I can trust the plants well enough here.”

Mikial rubs his chin, “I wonder if you ever came close to where our colony landed… our navigation wasn’t the most thorough there, and the only reason I ended up anywhere near here after the incident was because I had managed to find a half corrupted trip navigation file from earth to there when I was a kid exploring around the old beached ship, managed to clean it up and thought to put it into my ship for a good luck charm when I bought it.”

“I suddenly feel the urge to make a public service announcement about the potential dangers of life on other planets.” Sophie says, but instead of her enthusiasm, this is delivered more flatly. Then she smiles again, “But I’m glad you made it this far!” she says to Mikial, the cheerfulness coming back rather quickly. “I had to learn some star based navigation but I’m glad I have a fully working map of most of the settled areas around here.”

Keth looks at the fountain for just a bit longer “Alright, let’s keep going. Foodwise, I’d recommend the miniature leghorn. Quite popular around here. We can go see the flock first if you want. Either way though.”

“If I had the coordinates of your colony, it is possible I could determine if I was in the vicinity. I have explored this galaxy for over 500,000 years, and still, there is so much to find.” Galactix indicates. “Though it is possible that in the universe from which I hail, it was not the colony you knew, or if the colony was even established.”

“Right.” Mikial says about Galactix’s travels, “I wouldn’t doubt we landed there some time after you had cataloged it…. 500,000?! And I thought _my_ ship weathered time nicely! Lookat’cha’, all shiny!” Mikial grins.

“Me too, Ila, feel lucky as hell, that Yaralu makes the third hairy situation I’ve lucked my way out of, even if this time it was because trouble wasn’t hungry!”

Kethren gets a double take and an excited grin from Mikial when he mentions seeing a flock, “You mean we get to _hunt_ our dinner? Ahh, and I left my marksman in the ship.”

“That sounds delicious.” Sophie says agreeably to Kethren. “So you’ve met others like me, right Galactix? I’m not alone, am I?” she says next. Then as Mikial observes how lucky he was, “Being lucky isn’t a bad thing. I’m pretty sure I have terrible luck myself. I went to a casino once and lost all my money in fifteen minutes!”

He lets his eyes slip out of focus for a moment before chuckling at something. “I just checked, and the kitchens assure me that they have enough leghorn in stock already. You’ll get a good idea why pretty soon.”

“Yes… I have been operational for some time, but as I said, I hail from a different quantum universe. Things there may not be the same as they are here.” Galactix says, looking to Sophie. “I would have to check my records to be sure, but even after 500,000 years, I have not explored the entire galaxy. Even with an advanced drive system, it is a great deal to cover.”

“Of course!” says Mikial, raising his bionic left arm, “Otherwise, who knows, I might have lost a lot more than my arm when I ended up losing it.” he articulates it, it has more degrees movement than you usual human arm, joints that usually don’t bend both ways do on the artificial arm; fingers, the elbow, and the shoulder has a a lot more movement than the biological arm it has replaced, “Though I have to say, this thing makes for a real good quick-draw.”

“All right then, lead the way big kahuna.”

Mikial looks at Galactix, “…..I’m not even going to pretend to know what all being from a different quantum universe means and entails…”

“I’ll look forward to dinner.” Sophie begins to say to Kethren. “Oh, well, if you ever find others like me let me know, okay?” Sophie requests of Galactix. Then she watches Mikial’s arm, “It is a nice arm. A little bit strange but I’m glad wherever you’re from can appreciate good artificial replacements. I mean, I’m not an expert on that kind of thing but I know a bit of their potential!”

Keth nods a bit as he starts leading the way a little out of the more developed looking areas “Oh, yes. Good prosthetics like that can be hard to come by.  Hopefully it doesn’t come to it, but Aina’s good at that sort of thing. If not exactly her preference.” The critter that was resting on his shoulder’s just scurrying from one shoulder to the other, occasionally waving at folks.

“And, we’re walking, we’re walking… farmer’s market here. Bit late in the day for that though.” A bit more walking takes people past the vegetable fields and the orchards, and onto a fairly sizable chicken coup. Indeed, the things inside look a lot like chickens. If chickens were over three feet tall with stubby legs, mismatched eyes, iridescent feathers, and a very hawk-like beak. “I’m not sure about whoever named these things…”

“Someone with a sense of humor, no doubt.” Galactix says with a chuckle.

“Hmm? You mean that’s not a costume, Ila?” Mikial asks.

“Yup, the arm has served me well so far, feels just as natural as the original, and certainly has been great EVA, I get tactile feedback with it, I can feel with it, as much or as little as I want, and it helps immensely with anything outside the ship out in the black. I have my suit custom to where it seals just past the shoulder, so no bulkiness or touch numb through any glove… I freaking love it, if I wasn’t so partial to not blowing off my right arm I’d have done the same with my right.” Mikial jokes. “Aina? and by that you mean she _does_ like working with prostheses? Or that it’s not really what she prefers?”

As they pass the giant chickens, Vachok stares at the creatures, bewildered.

“Orby! Film the oversized chickens!” Sophie commands. Orby for its part complies, pointing its lens at the large creatures. “Oh, this is how I usually dress.” she explains to Mikial. “I started about six years ago and the people who saw me loved it so I kept up with it! The wings are my own flourish, I did those myself! It is fitting for a demon queen, naturally!” Sophie seems quite excited at the opportunity to talk about her clothes.

Keth smirks slightly as something resembling a furry snake with big mouse ears dashes through the coop, well clear of the leghorns. “Well, like I said. The miniature leghorns are quite popular. Though I wouldn’t recommend trying to eat four of them with a single carbonated beverage.”

“Would such a meal be considered an ‘explosive combination’?” Galactix inquires.

Mikial remains silent, but gives Sophie a quizzical look.

He shakes the look off his face, “Well, it’s a good thing I intend to be drink vodka, then!” He says with a grin.

“Four sounds like a lot.” Sophie observes. “Wait! Is it a pun? You know, where you write “Four” and “Death” the same way?” she asks, her voice becoming more animated and her eyes widening as she tries to guess this.

Keth just shakes his head slightly “Oh, nothing as profound as that. Just ran across an old movie awhile back, some guy in an eatery tries to order four fried chickens and a coke… and those were surely considerably smaller than our leghorns are.” Looking thoughtful for a moment, he reaches down to his penguin, and flips open the torso so he can reach in and grab a pen. Once his hand is free, the torso closes back up. “Dunno why I left that in there.”

Galactix nods. “Ahhh… human history. I admit that although I have studied it, I am not entirely up to speed on references and humor.”

“Oh.” Sophie says, sounding disappointed at Kethren’s answer. “Mechanical penguin?” she asks next as she looks down at the torso being opened. Then she looks up at Orby, “No, you don’t need to look like an animal, you’re just fine just the way you are.” Orby just bobs in place a couple of times.

Kethren nods “Yep. Kail’s a robot, and one of Aina’s finer works I think. She’s quite the artist. So you can probably imagine the quality of cybernetics she can do when she wants to… I just get the feeling she prefers robots. Good surgeon, too. Got her to put a neural interface in my head awhile back.”

“Well, if you will excuse me folks, I have to get to my resupply.” Galactix says. “A great pleasure to meet you all.”

“I suppose a lot of people are able to do things like that.” Sophie says to Kethren. Then as Galactix mentions leaving she smiles and offers a wave, “Nice to meet you as well!”

“Really? Well, I guess I’ll have to get a hold of you and Aina next time a chunk of me falls off.” Mikial considers before waving a short, two finger salute to Galactix, “A pleasure, for certain.”

Keth nods to Galactix.  “Safe travels. Never know what weird people will have to fix you up next time!”

With a bit of a stretch, he looks back to the leghorn coop. “Well, everyone had enough of the giant chickens? We can head on to the tavern as planned if folks have had enough of this.”

Sophie blinks suddenly, her eyes look like they’re staring off into the distance. Then she frowns, “It looks like we have to go, Orby.” Then she explains for the benefit of everyone else, “It looks like the rental time on my ship is almost up and I have to return it in a hurry. I’ll see everyone again!” she adds, sounding cheerful at the end.

Mikial turns, “Oh, you’re leaving, too? Well, Hope to see you again out there. If you need something, I’ll probably be for hire, or good for a favor.” He chuckles.

“Well, looks like it’s a few drinks and wings between gentlemen, huh?”

Keth nods slightly at the departing Sophie “Do be sure and visit when time is more generous.”  Mikial gets a bit of a smirk “Leghorn wings are a bit large for that sort of snacking, but I’m sure we can find something.” Kail gets a brief glance “Hey, why don’t you scurry on home, and get Nuala to meet us at the Tree.” Wark!

Mikial chuckles, “Sounds like I’ll have to get used to such new and strange creatures… and changes in meal proportions, too, from the looks of things.” He glances at the little robot as Kethren gives it commands, then looks back to his host, “Sending for some familiar company? Mmm, that reminds me, you said you worked in government, and to that you sem rather well known by those in the port when we landed, not to mention how busy it seemed while we were landing, and how easily we were let in. What is it that you do for the government here, then?”

Kethren smirks a bit as Kail starts to waddle off rather quickly, and he starts to lead the way back into the more  densely populated parts of town.  “These days? Mostly I deal with the government’s business interests, keep contracts kosher, that sort of thing. It was growing the city that got me shoved into the position though.”

Mikial turns slowly as he looks up and around at the trees, “By growing the city… in which sense do you mean that..?” he says as he faces back at Kethren with an eyebrow raised.

The government chap chuckles a bit as he continues to walk through the town “Same as the fountain. I think I mentioned it was the oldest part of the city. I grew that fountain as a proof of concept… we spent a long time in tents before that.”

“I can imagine… How fast does it grow? if it’s anything like what I’m used to it would have taken awhile.” Mikial says as he follows his way through the dense streets

Keth smiles some as he keeps on heading through town. “Oh, a few days for something the size of that fountain, week or two for a house or business, depending in its needs and complexity. Have to allow for things like electricity when you plan these matters…. Nearly there.”

Mikial ponders growing tree construction for a moment, ” Must have been a sight, watching you and your team twisting branches and vines into the shape you want them to grow, sometimes twisting in wires into the bundles of new growth and all that.”

Mikial nods, looking ahead, keeping an eye out for anything that looks like a tavern.

It doesn’t take long for the pair to come up to a particularly large tree. A large tree with an ordinary tree door. And signage. No point in having such a conspicuous stealth business.

“Was an interesting experience, certainly.” And with a bit of an odd smile, he leads the way to a table in the back. A table that’s got rather sturdy looking white tiger sitting up by one of the chairs. (edited)

As they approach the table, Mikial notices the white tiger, “Nuala, I presume?” He asks no one in particular.

Keth scratches the tiger’s head affectionately as he takes a seat next to it.”That’s her, yeah.”

Mikial gives a closed smile, and reaches out to also pet Nuala’s head if the tiger allows it. “So, has there been any changes to what humans drink for some fun in the stars since my group left some centuries or, hell, maybe even millennia ago?”

Keth settles back into his chair, while the tiger goes along with some petting. “Just don’t act too threatening, and you’ll be fine. And if you mean alcohol based drinks, yeah. They’re still fairly popular. A lot of what we have on hand is imported from Pyracan, though we do have a couple of local varieties.”

“Pyre-a-can? Can’t say I’ve heard it before. but as long as I can get my whiskey and vodka, I’m pretty happy.” Mikial admits, using his free hand to pull a flask out from one of the cargo pockets on the coveralls he’s wearing.

Kethren nods. “It’s where the pyracani come from. Basically humanoid, kinda doggish. Nice folks. It’s one of the better planets for folks who arrive suddenly like you did to visit.”

“So, dog-folk. Sounds fun!” Mikial chuckles. “um, they probably wouldn’t take too well with fake throws, would they?” Mikial thinks about what he just said, then says, “Maybe it’s best I don’t go there until I get used to all these new races…”

Keth chuckles as the kitten-ferret on his shoulder wakes back up and waves for some service. “Well, I’d imagine their military wouldn’t be too amused, at the least. That’s one of the reasons this is a good place to visit while adjusting, really. Mostly humans here… a few exceptions of course, and obviously the indigenous life.”

“Right, grenades probably wouldn’t be the best weapon for their military, anyways… So, what all is out there, So I don’t go flipping shit when I see them? and any taboo’s they may have?” Mikial says as he watches the wheaslecat thing wave for service. He turns to Vachock, “Why haven’t you learned that trick?…” whereupon Vachock pecks Mikial’s head once. “Gah! ok, ok.”

The government guy shrugs slightly “Military matters really aren’t my wheelhouse, though I’d imagine they use a few grenades. Something of a standard feature among such organizations. Probably not a good idea to antagonize your companion like that… and on a related note, most of the life on this planet’s smart enough to understand that sort of teasing. Which is a minor concern, given that it’s generally advised to not wander very far from town without both permission and an armed escort.”

Mikial thinks of the tragedies he could think of if the canine folk were anything like the dogs back home, and the tragedies involving chasing a ball shaped grenade. He tries to remain stone faced, _this_ time, when thinking this. It takes a good bit of willpower, too. Maybe some whisky will help calm him down… He also tries to catch the attention of any waiter or waitress, or hell, if the bartender has for some reason come out from behind the bar, Mikial needs his whiskey!

About then a waitress comes by with a bottle of whisky, a couple of suitable glasses, and a bowl of semi-frozen raspberries. Keth nods at the arrival of libations and without glancing at the menu, says to her “Thanks. I think I’ll just have the leghorn lunch plate today.”  Looking back to Mikial he opines “Well, there’s all sorts, really. A lot of humans, humanoid dogs, humanoid birds, there’s a race that sort of resemble crystalline jellyfish, another race is… essentially humanoid, but only so high.” So high would appear to be a slightly separated finger and thumb.

“I’ll try whatever he’s having.” Mikial says, reaching for the whiskey and a shot glass. “Crystal jellyfish? That sounds mesmerizing.”

Keth nods “Interesting people, certainly. Hover about through the air somehow.”

Mikial pours himself and Kethren both a shot, downs his, and refills it, “So, what are the raspberries for?”

Possibly Floriana was waiting for the question. Possibly not. Either way she takes that moment to dive off Keth’s shoulder into the raspberry bowl, and to start chewing rapidly from one end to the other. “You’d be amazed how much these little fellas can eat.”

Mikial laughs heartily, “Looks like! Small creatures do seem to tend to have high metabolisms… What is she called? Her species, that is.” he says as he pulls out his flask and a funnel hidden in the bottom of the flask, and begins refilling it.

Kethren takes a lingering sip of his drink “They call themselves ser.”

“Ser, huh?” he says, peering down at the fuzzy creature as the sound of the pitch shift in the sound from the flask indicates it’s filled, and Mikial sets the bottle next to the bowl of raspberries between them. He smiles, “Cute, don’t you think Vachok?” he reaches up to scratch the bird behind the neck feathers as Vachok make a soft noise.

Keth finishes his drink and nods “One of the many intelligent species native to this planet. Awhile back a bunch of them came on through, and a few decided to stick around. With specific people.”

“One of many? what else is out there? anything that finds us nutritious and delicious?” Mikial says as he closes the flask and stows the small funnel away as well

“Nnnrhaaaa!!!” Vachok vocalizes as he fidgets on Mikial’s shoulders, then looks at the small ser.

“Hush, food’s coming…. and no, you can’t eat her!”

Keth smirks a bit. “Well, there’s a race that… well, just picture wolves with wings. They’re friendly enough, though. That’s the thing, really. Most of the life on this planet is smart enough that if you don’t go trying to invade their territory or destroy their homes, they’ll leave you alone.”

Mikial takes a drink of his whiskey before speaking this time, “Would that include hiking out there? The territory invading part. I’m used to hiking- well, more patrolling- in the dense growth, and seeing all the new plants here with Vachok was something I was considering doing after I’ve gotten some rest, but I don’t want to piss anything that’s _too_ big off.”

Keth nods idly at the waitress as foods get delivered. “Well… what can you tell me of your background?”

A short, squat, humanoid creature stumps in from outside. He is wearing a heavy, fur-lined coat that extends down to his ankles. Silver hair and beard are long and frizzy, each tied off into a queue. Green eyes peer suspiciously from under heavy brows, on which rest a pair of thick goggles. The Halaghi looks about the room for a moment before he finds his way to a table near Kethren and Mikial. “I was hearin’ that you biggeruns have the bestest bakeraters in town,” he says to the waitress who steps over, “Can I get me some fruit piemajigger?”

It is not long after the Halaghi enters that another creature, appearing like a floating crystalline Jellyfish, floats in through the front door. This one appears rather small, and holds in each of its 8 tentacles a paddle ball that it is furiously working, keeping all 8 going in time. It floats up and down happily, a small machine clamped around the portion of its body where the tentacles attach, under the bell. Every so often, this machine lets out a loud hiss and then a soft sucking sound as if exchanging gases. /Hi!/ it sends telepathically to everyone around, before another follows in behind it, this one much larger, and instead of speaking through minds, it vocalizes from the machine it wears. “Mind your manners, little one. It is not polite to speak to the minds of others unless they have given their permission.” (edited)

“Ah, well, back home I was a mercenary in a Rapid Response and Deployment group, got tired of saying that after a while and shortened it to RRD, and then one guy came through who either talked a bit too fast or something and pronounced it as ‘RED’ and eventually that became the nickname of the type of group our unit was.” Mikial rattles off, slowing and trailing off when the Halaghi enters, “usually got hired for the corporate ‘wars’, if you want to call them that, of the mining cor…por…at-…” followed by the two crystal jellies, “Huh! Well, that didn’t take long.” he says to Kethren, “Get to see first hand!” he starts when the telepathy comes through; he’s not used to the experience quite yet, but he’s getting there.

Keth chuckles a bit as the paddle-balling space jellyfish comes floating in. “He’s doing pretty well with those things. Anyway, if you really want to go exploring, I’ll see if I can’t find a patrol you can tag along with. They’ll be in a good position to keep you apprised of what’s too dangerous.” Meanwhile, Floriana dashes back up Keth’s arm to the top of his head, dripping raspberry juice all the way, clearly eager to get a good look at the paddle ball action.

“Yeah,” the Halaghi grumbles at the juvenile Centauran, “Keep yer mindtalkery out of my thinkdome!” The waitress seems to have worked out what he wants and comes back with some sort of pie, which he begins to eat with gusto.

The little Centauran bobs sadly. “I’m sorry.” it vocalizes, the paddleballs stopping as it droops its tentacles. The elder Centauran floats up and puts a tentacle around it. “There is no need to be gruff. It is a child, after all.” it vocalizes.

Mikial nods unconsciously a bit, agreeing with the floating land jelly before wondering about its chances if the shorter one decides to start a bar brawl. “They don’t sting like jellyfish, do they?” he asks Kethren in a hushed voice.

Keth shrugs a bit. “I think the jellyfish resemblance is coincidental…”

“There be no reason for lotsa things,” the Halaghi replies with a snort as he gobbles up his pie.

“Pay him no mind, little one.” the elder Centauran vocalizes, and guides its child over towards Kethren and Mikial. “We have no ability to sting, so do not fear.” it vocalizes.

Mikial knocks down the last of the whiskey in his lowball glass, “Ah, well, I was actually thinking it would be interesting to see….eh, oh well” moving right along, “Ah, well then, in that case, I suppose a handshake is possible then? I’m Mikial Nachen.” He turns to the smaller Centaurian, “And hey kid, don’t let that ol’ brick over there get you too down, a’right?”

Keth chuckles good naturedly. “Well, long as we’re in no danger from accidental poisoning, come join us.”

“Wouldn’t be wantin’ the thing raised properlike,” the Halaghi snorts before gulping down a glass of milk.

“A handshake would not be a good idea. Our surface temperature in this environment is around -80 degrees, your hand would likely freeze in short order.” the elder Centauran says. “My name is Sanhitlontorpindonpekmarlismek, but you may call me Sanhitlon for short. My child here is Darsanhitlontorpindonpekmarlismek, but most call it Darsan.” (edited)

Mikial laughs, “I think I will use those name shortenings, thank you! And I guess a small salute will have to do then” He smiles and does just that, a short, two finger salute.

Mikial turns round in his seat, “Would it help if I bought your grumbly face a drink? I mean, it’s a kid who made one mistake and was corrected already, for….whoever’s sake!” He says as he suddenly realizes there are probably many more religions now than there ever were records of before or on his planet. Mikial turns to Kethren, “Um, so…. I’m probably going to regret asking this but…. how many religions are there now? And do I need to worry about any of them knocking on my airlock while I’m out there?”

Keth shrugs lightly “Can’t say as I’ve kept a count of galaxy wide religious observations. But if you figure at least one or two for every space faring race, you’d probably at least get something… somewhat accurate. Any rate, I haven’t heard a lot of stories about religious persecution… I’m sure some’s out there, but it’s hard to travel among the stars without accepting that other planets like some other system of pondering the imponderables.” The tiger at his side gets a friendly scratch on the head. “So how’s everyone doing today?”

The Halaghi eyes Mikial with some suspicion for a moment before his bearded face breaks into a broad smile. “That be the best thinkerin’ I earholed all day,” he says, “These folks sure know how to unmilkify a goat.” He holds up the empty glass.

“We are doing quite well.” Sanhitlon vocalizes. “I thought it would be good experience for my young one to visit other worlds and experience their cultures.”

Mikial pauses for a moment, as he remembers he doesn’t have any currency here, being a cast away, of sorts. He pulls his flask of freshly refilled whiskey back out, reaches over, and pours a hearty amount of whiskey out for the Halaghi, “Unmilkify a goat?…… Anyways, so, what race are you? I’m new to this area of the ‘verse.” When he’s done pouring the drink and straightens back up again, in a low tone he says to Kethren, “Remind me I owe you a good few drinks and such and their price when I’m sober and not broke…” He rubs his head, now acutely aware he is utterly broke and relying on others; a situation he’s never been comfortable in, even before, when he was just thinking about it.

Mikial pushes the thoughts back with another glass of whiskey, though, and smiles, “That’s a great idea, Sanhilton! That’s part of why I became a mercenary, wanted to get out and see the rest of the planet beyond the walls. Even if there wasn’t a whole lot of cultural or ethnic diversity. Most of the diversity was geological or geologically and environmentally driven. But it was still an experience to see it!”

Just then Vachok hops aggressively onto the table next to Mikial’s plate, glares up at Mikial, and screaches. “AH! Damnit, I forgot to give him a sliver of meat…” Mikial picks up a knife and fork and begins cutting a piece of leghorn meat off, “…And now he’s pissed.” Mikial brings the fork with the large sliver of poultry up to beak level for vachok, “Ahh…” He gives Vachok the signal to take the meat, which the bird does quickly, then hops back onto Mikial’s shoulder to put the meat in one of his talons and starts tearing pieces off of the chunk and gobbling them down.

Keth nods while the calico critter on his shoulder waves at the space jellies. “Yeah, travel’s a good thing. Was on my way to a thing on Earth when we ran into this guy adrift.”

The squat humanoid stares into his glass at the whiskey with less enthusiasm than one might expect. He sniffs at it with a bulbous nose. “Smells like a gasicator…” he mutters before looking back up at the mercenary. “‘M a Halaghi,” he says, “Name’s Hal’Qazam. Dirigible piloter.” He takes another sniff of the whiskey.

Darsan floats closer to look at Vachok as he gets his meaty treat. “Oooh. Pretty birdy!” it vocalizes, as Sanhitlon watches carefully to make sure it doesn’t try to touch it. “I am an engineer by trade myself. I offer my services where needed.” the elder Centauran vocalizes.

“Mikial Nachen, merce-…..ex-mercenary now, I suppose, or at least until I get a feel of this part of the galaxy.” Mikial introduces himself in turn.

Mikial smiles as the young Darsan peers at Vachok, “And a skilled tactician, too! More than once, he’s saved my skull from a snipers shot by dive-slamming into them right before the shot goes off, throwing their aim way off and giving away their position, too. Then he high-tails it out of there and out of the blast radius of either our grenades or mortar fire.” Mikial scrtiches under vachok’s chin, “Smart bird… and he’s little feathery my battle buddy.”

“Oh you do? well, I may take you up on those services then,  I don’t know what all people expect out of ships around here, but I suppose the authorities will want to do some sort of safety check before I go much of anywhere. Not to mention She’s been floating about for lord-only-knows.” Mikial says to Sanhilton.

Keth chuckles a bit, mirrored by the kittenferret on his shoulder. “On the bright side, even at this remote corner of civilization, it’s not hard to find people who can and are willing to look at and work on old vessels. Should’ve seen the shape Galactix was in when we found him.”

The Halaghi seems relatively unenamored of the whiskey, but finishes it before pulling some currency from his jacket to pay for his meal.

“I would be glad to look over your vessel.” Sanhitlon vocalizes. “If it is an older vessel, I would consider that a rare treat.” Darsan bobs up and down happily. “Oh boy, can I help?”

Mikial chuckles, “Well, I used a cryo-sleep chamber to get here,  and this guy and his friends seem to think of that as ancient, from their reactions. And you can come along as long as it’s ok with your dad.”

Mikial leans back in his seat, “So, I’ve been thinking, I could still offer my mercenary services that I have experience in. But looking around here, things in some places is less combative than my home world. So, I was thinking about using some of my old hobbies to get by, I’m guessing that there are still frontier planets and colonies around these days? Old battlefields full of scrap and twisted spacecrafts and debris fields? I could gather refine and sell scrap, repair frontier colonies as I hop about, and sell anything I manage to make out of the junk I find out there…..weather or not that turns out to be a metal sculpture or an explosive is up to what I come across.” Mikial ponders out loud.

Keth takes a good swig of his drink, while the kitten-ferret on his shoulder zips over to his other shoulder. For whatever reason possesses such critters. “Not sure there’s a lot of colonizing going on these days… probably more than I realize. More than a few places that could broadly be called frontier, though. This planet probably qualifies, city’s pretty young after all. There are definitely mercenary groups around… normally I’d recommend one, but I think the group I’d normally refer someone to isn’t hiring at the moment. Anyrate, plenty of governments who are willing to hire on people from the past. It still means shelling out for some educating on history and tech changes, but it’s often easier than dealing with someone entirely new to the work force. Well, apart from the ones who just snap when they wind up in a new time.”

“Plenty o’ scrapgatherin’ out in the Arm’s Fringe, I hear,” Hal’Qazam pipes up, “Some big boomstickfightery in the long times ago. Been out there me own self. Just navigationate clear ‘o the Line o’ Pain. Bad ‘nough them lizardy things crawlin’ all over there, what with that big monster space whale eatin’ ships an’ near startin’ some brand new boomstickfighterin’.”

“Entering cryostasis for a long journey is a rather outdated practice, they are correct. Which brings up a question. Do you recall the approximate Earth year it would have been when you entered stasis?” Sanhitlon inquires.

“Well, that’s good to hear, though I’m not too keen on joining another group or long term contract. If you hear of anyone needing a bodyguard or something needs escorting, and they’re contracting individuals to get from point a to point b, that’d be ideal. Just, I don’t know, anything over four months seems to drag on too long, get too repetitive for me any more… at least it seemed that way before I watched my homeworld splitting apart like a walnut being smashed by a hammer…..damn, I know it’s been awhile, but it’s still fresh in my head, try as I might….” Mikial admits. He listens intently to the Halaghi, trying to make sense out of his dialect that Mikial is totally unfamiliar with. Time to get with the times, kid!

“Yeah? I’ll have to find out where Arm’s Fringe is when I get a moment to sit with the starcharts. Don’t know about any lines of pain though, is that a particularly notorious debris field? Mmm, turns out, I toured said space whale. guess it either wasn’t hungery or I taste like garbage to it. ” Mikial shrugs.

“No, I don’t know the Earth years, we didn’t use them on the homeworld, either, at least not long. there are some carvings that some said were in earth years, but I never paid attention to them as a kid, and didn’t have the time as an adult, besides, the chronometer gives weird readings anyways… It’s something I’ve yet to get around to fixing…”

Keth idly scratches that tiger at his side “Line of Pain? Um… something of a political situation you might want to avoid. At least until you’ve had time to get caught up on the broad strokes of galactic history. Might help you get an idea of how displaced you are. Assuming it’s a topic you wish to pursue, at any rate.” That tiger is quite lifelike. Purrs at the scratching and everything.

The Halaghi thinks about something, then upends a bowl of complimentary mints on his table.

“This be us here,” he says, holding up a blue one. Placing it in one corner of the table, he takes up another and places it on the far corner, “The Orion Arm be way out over here. That be a star called Sol. Part of some big politickery called the Stellar Consortium.” He puts out a few more mints to represent the Consortium.

“The Fringe be out here. Quaquan, Ungstir where the rockhoppers are, and some hole called Tomin Kora. Tomin Kora’s full of baddies. Piratorers and slavemakerers all over. Here be the Line o’ Pain.”

He takes up the salt shaker and sprinkles out a line that cuts off the “map” he had been making.

“Line o’ Pain is the border of the Parallax. That be Nall country. Never been there, never goin’ there. Those murderatin’ lizards’ll kill anything that crosses that line.”

“With the current unrest at the Line of Pain due to the entity Kemetti it is even more dangerous than before. My colleagues here are quite correct; the Nall are not to be trifled with.” Sanhitlon says. “The Fringe, however, may be where you would be able to get a start on a salvage business. The market is more ‘free’ there compared to within the Consortium, and the denizens there are a bit less… constrained, by trade laws, as it were.”

Mikial listens intently to the three that are about the table. He starts nursing his whiskey now, and slices off another chunk of meat for Vachok, then himself, before speaking, “Well then, sounds like it’s the Fringe for me. Of course, not before a once over of my ship, and maybe a very quick biology lesson to get me up to speed here. I find it a little weird that you would find people as disorientated as you say. For those of us from my homeworld, it was just a given and a fact of life that you had to deal with, the fact that you’d wake up to a world that was at least a little different. I mean, sure, some things need clarification, but we were trained to expect things to change quite a bit on the news feed on the ship when we would wake up, any time we went into the pods.” Mikial rambles on for a short while.

Keth chuckles slightly, as does the kittenferret on his shoulder.  “Well, as our hovering friend mentioned, cryopods are somewhat out of fashion. They stopped being terribly practical when FTL drives came into being. The current Tillsworth-Cooke design has done a lot to make travel convenient.”

Hal’Qazam nods beardily at all this. “Took me a bit to assimiloratify to all the new gizmos and whatsits about my own self.”

“Yes. With the failure of the OtherSpace drive, there was little alternative. However, the TC drive is quite workable and a solid design, and completely independent of any entity to control it.” Sanhitlon says.

“AH, well that explains a lot. The one in my ship is temperamental, doesn’t like to go too very far in one go… something about a component or two becoming overheated with use and destabilizing….. alot of speedsters or fleeing pirates kept learning that one the hard way when those drives came to our planet from the space fairing race that we had found, shortly before the event that landed me here.” Mikial explains.

“Entity?” Mikial asks Sanhitlon quizzically.

Keth shrugs slightly “Afraid I never made much of a study of defunct propulsion methods. Much as I enjoyed engineering, that corner of the field wasn’t really a priority when we were still in those tents.” Wark?

“Was hard to rejiggerify my dirigible with one of them engines,” Hal’Qazam grumbles, “Needed to constructicate a brand-new power-makerajig and everything.” He stands to his feet, drops some currency on the table and gets ready to go. “Reminds me,” he says, “Should be all filled up on fuel by now.”

“Yes.” Sanhitlon vocalizes. “The OtherSpace drives required a trans-dimensional being known as a Hive Minder to operate. Little did we realize, it was a ruse to capture vessels to use in their wars against other races. They were defeated in due course, but the result was OtherSpace drives no longer function. Thus the TC drive was re-visited, and using modern technology, enhanced, though its basic principles of operation remain the same. It is perhaps not as expedient, but it is enough for our purposes and permits travel and commerce to flow through the galaxy once again.”

By Brody

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