James (jholloway) wrote,

(Luke was called away at the last minute, so Piotr stayed in bed with some kind of psychic head cold for much of the expedition.)

The Fancy Fancy Ferret docked on Izadi. Professor Murphy had an authorisation code for the Izadi City spaceport, which he gave to Samir. The Massimeris Commonwealth destroyer in orbit around the planet wasn't much bigger than the Ferret, but it bristled with weapons and armour. It didn't do much.

Down on the planet's surface, the crew passed through customs. Eduardo grumbled about Izadi City's restrictive weapons laws, but was reassured to know that he could carry his pistol outside the city "in case of ice-weasel attack". They chatted with the guards and visited a bar, learning a little about Izadi's history and culture. In particular, there was a major clash between the Izadi Progressive Party, which was loosely aligned with Massimeris, and the Izadi People's Party. They also learned more than they cared to know about spoats, the spider-goat hybrid species that produced Izadi's major export, spoat silk. They considered a couple of jobs, but didn't decide on anything, preferring to deal with the Murphys first.

Samir heard a story about how Izadi's climate had been getting colder since the Scream destroyed whatever pretech terraforming gadgets had been keeping it temperate.

There were three bars in town, so the three healthy members of the crew split up to visit them all. Jin went to the Spacer's Rest, which she gathered was the local resistance bar. She observed some people making what she was pretty sure were letter drops. Eduardo went to the Laughing Spoat, where people were generally pro-government and pro-Massimeris. He won a game of cards, but won so convincingly that no one would play with him after that. Some locals tried to get him involved in buying spoat silk for export, but he declined; Jin had already told him she didn't think it would be profitable. Eduardo went to the Harbour Inn, where a local band, Prokopios Robinson's All-Star Jazzadi Experience, were playing. He saw Professor Murphy dining with Dr Braithwaite, the Massimeris envoy to Izadi, as well as Captain Abernathy, the head of the Commonwealth military presence. Braithwaite was keen to join the expedition, but Abernathy told him it was too dangerous.

While he was drinking in the bar, a mysterious woman approached him, expressing the idea that a working Biryat al-Hikma archive might do as much harm as good; she seemed to be aligned with the Church of the Admonition. When Samir (politely) disagreed with her, she left him alone.

The next day, the expedition set out in some rented farm trucks to view what Murphy believed was the archive site. The journey took about a day and a half, with the terrain growing ever hillier and colder. Finally, Murphy identified what he believed to be the entrance part of the way up a cliff face. The road was badly damaged by ice and rockfalls, making it impossible to get trucks up to the entrance, so they proceeded on feet. Samir spotted another vehicle following them and believed that it had been following them earlier as well. Eduardo calculated when he thought it might arrive and set the alarm on his compad to go off about 15 minutes before then.

The electronic keypad of the archive door wasn't working, but Jin cracked it open and rigged the system up to a Type A power cell, activating the override. The group proceeded into the hallways of the abandoned archive building, lit only by the glowbug Jin carried. They located the complex's reactor, which had been flooded by meltwater which has then frozen. They also identified what appeared to be one or more ice weasels living in the maintenance and storage area. They also located the paper archives, although they were not able to get the computer archive working. The bodies of three archive staff were presence; one had a strangely deformed skull. They gathered various personal effects, including a grenade of unusual design, a dermofilm a portabox and some other gadgets.

When the alarm went off, the team went outside to confront their pursuers. They turned out to be local farmers with what seemed to be Admonitionist sympathies. They offered to pay the crew 2,000 Cr to plant a device which would wipe out the computer archives. Eduardo agreed. Murphy was apoplectic, but once the Admonitionists were safely away they told him they had no intention of doing so. Jin buried the device safely in a snowfield.

They resolved to get as many of the books out of the archive as they could in case the anti-tech group returned. They even resolved to make camp in the archive building, but in order to do this they would need to clear out the nest of ice weasels. Cautiously, they entered the abandoned maintenance area. A female ice weasel attacked Eduardo; the party filled the room with mag flechettes and laser blasts, hitting nothing. A juvenile ice weasel attacked Jin. Eventually, the female was dealt with, but at that moment an adult male attacked. Another frantic exchange of fire, and the male also went down. Jin rounded up the juvenile and put it in a bag. Both Eduardo and Jin had suffered fairly minor bites. They set up camp for the night in the archive room.
Tags: stars without number
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