So that whole thing turned out to be a bloody shitshow. I mean, I guess getting a rep for ruthlessness with the gangs of Korolev is…a thing? In any event, it was behind us. Mostly. At least I thought.
The Memoirs of “Gentleman” Jack Cartwright
The two-day transit from Korolev to Whistler is uneventful, and the crew finds itself navigating the shipyard traffic at the orbital Phoenix Propulsion Labs complex. Otto informs them they have a pickup from a small station owned by Phoenix Dive Systems, a subsidiary of the shipbuilding giant.
At one point, the Explanations passes within visual range of Damocles, a massive dreadnought under construction by the WDF. Otto starts a brief discussion about the need for such a vessel and pontificates about how the Unification Wars exposed the authoritarian bent of the Council. There’s a concern that some designs on the dreadnought have a sole use of planetary bombardment, which has never happened in the colony’s history.
The Explanations docks at the small Phoenix Dive Systems manufacturing station and some of the crew head to the business office. The receptionist there states their chief engineer wants to speak with them before releasing the product to discuss a liability waiver. After a brief wait, the engineer arrives and introduces himself as Jimmy Gerstman. He opens with “I know what you’re trying to do, but it won’t work.” The following comes up in the discussion:
- The product that PDS manufactured is a custom Grade 2 Dive Capacitor, designed to to retrofit a Grade 1 capacitor in a very specific model of ship. Since it is five times the size of the Grade 1 device, the extra space had to be designed to fit into the adjacent compartment and flush with a wall.
- The dive capacitor shunts a massive charge into a dive grid which, when combined with a dive computer, creates a subspace jump. The more power, the further the distance jumped. Dive capacitors and dive grids are rated by their ability to absorb the power required to initiate the jump, and dive computers have to have increased sophistication to accurately target a destination.
- Gerstman’s objection is that it’s obvious the capacitor he’s built is designed to shunt power into a grade 1 dive grid. He states emphatically that civilian grids aren’t designed to handle the load, though the military builds them tougher. He believes attempting to use the capacitor will cause a misjump, but he built it as a favor to Jack. The waiver he’s asking the crew to sign absolves PDS of the liability of the capacitor not creating a stable jump. Dirk finds the document to be in order and signs on behalf of the company.
Meanwhile, the remaining crew identify two men in suits rushing to the Explanations docking area, then settling in to wait and watch at a bodega, their behavior screams of law enforcement. Angelica heads out to confront them. They identify themselves as Bureau Agents Gibson and Lee, who are investigating proliferation of arms and a massacre at the Desert Rats base on Korolev. The agents have satellite info placing the Explanations at the scene and are looking into the potentially illegal sale of capital-grade naval weapons. Angelica delays and distracts as much as possible until the rest of the crew shows up and Dirk shuts down the interview. The agents don’t have a warrant or any particular probable cause to search the ship, so they depart peacefully.
Once the new dive capacitor was brought aboard the ship, the crew meets in the hold to have a call with Jack. A summary:
- Jack remained steadfast about not telling the crew the plan, though he seemed legitimately saddened to do so. He insisted that security is paramount and he promised to tell everyone the whole story as soon as he possibly could. When asked if he was building a warship, he responded, “you’re all very smart people”.
- The crew were given the month off at Whistler. Jack stated that since the rescuers hadn’t been home in several months and those rescued even longer, they needed to take a break. He indicated that it may be quite a while before things return to normal.
- When asked if there was a vendetta or political motivation to his actions, he paused for a moment before responding int he negative. Jack explained to the crew that he feels there’s a legitimate market opportunity, but it can’t hurt “preparing for any coming storms”.
Explanations docks at Eriksson Station and the crew disembarks for their shore leave.